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Archive Monthly Archives: November 2017

Revealed: how British American Tobacco exploited war zones to sell cigarettes

Documents show how the worlds largest publicly traded tobacco company pursued growth and profit amid instability in African and Middle East countries

British American Tobacco (BAT) has promoted sales of its cigarettes in some of the most fragile, war-torn and unstable countries of Africa and the Middle East, documents seen by the Guardian show.

tobacco a deadly business

While civilians were being killed and cities ravaged by violence, BAT pursued opportunities to grow its markets.

The documents describe how cartons of cigarettes were distributed to traders hidden in black bags in Somalia after Al-Shabaab banned sales and threatened punishments under Sharia law between late 2008 and early 2009.

They also show that BAT made plans to launch in South Sudan just two days before it gained independence from the north after years of destruction from a civil war that left 4 million people displaced.

And they tell of a town in eastern DRC that is not on any map, created by BAT to produce and process tobacco leaf, where, according to a whistleblower, millions of dollars were delivered to pay farmers and staff, carried in secretly.

Paul
Paul Hopkins and hired gunmen protecting BAT management and local staff in Mogadishu, Somalia. Photograph: Paul Hopkins

The documents were shown to the Guardian by Paul Hopkins, who was employed by BAT in Africa for 13 years, until he blew the whistle internally on what he describes as unethical conduct; he was later made redundant and left in December 2015. Hopkins tried suing BAT for unfair dismissal but an employment tribunal in London ruled that his employment contract was governed by Kenyan rather than English law preventing him from further pursuing his claim in the UK.

The Serious Fraud Office said earlier this month that it was investigating his allegations.

The details of BATs promotion of cigarettes in troubled countries, come as BAT works to raise financing to conclude its purchase of Reynolds American, which will make it the biggest tobacco company in the world. The revelations also follow a Guardian investigation revealing that BAT and other multinationals have used threats against at least eight African nations, demanding they axe or dilute the kind of tobacco control measures that have saved millions of lives in the west.

Hopkins says that fragile states were of interest to BAT, in spite of the practical difficulties and dangers involved in moving cartons of cigarettes and money about.

If you have no government, you have nobody annoying you about health warnings and nicotine content, he told the Guardian. No customs. You basically pay your tax to the local militias on the airfield where you are landing.

Asked by the Guardian if it had avoided local customs duties and paid cash to local militias, particularly in the DRC, BAT insisted that it observes all relevant laws and regulations in the 200 countries in which it operates and that it had pre-paid excise duty to the DRC government.

Millions of dollars

One
One of the smaller cash drops, worth $2.5 million, which Paul Hopkins says was taken over the Ugandan border to the BAT town of Auzi in DRC Photograph: Paul Hopkins

Hopkins, a former soldier in the Irish Armys special forces unit, says he was required on several occasions to take millions of dollars in cash into the DRC. He says it was destined for the town of Auzi in the northeast, unnamed on maps.

Auzi had been built by BAT in the 1950s with a church and a school. It was run by the subsidiary company BAT Leaf. Usually an outside security company took cash into the DRC to pay for the leaf, which was graded in Auzi but then transported through Uganda to Kenya for manufacturing. But while the usual couriers were on leave, Hopkins says he was told to do the run.

When the weather is not bad, you can drive, said Hopkins. Its about an hour from Arua in Uganda, across wooden bridges and along dirt roads.

Hopkins has a photograph of a huge stack of notes, totalling $2.5m, that he says he picked up in Kampala and took with him on a Cessna plane that took off from a private airfield outside of the city.

He says he flew to Arua, where a security company employed by BAT supplied him legally with a pistol. Once on the other side of the Congolese border, he said, I would rent an AK47 for a couple of days.

But, he said, your best protection was the 40,000-plus farmers [in eastern Congo]. They didnt want the rebels to get you because you were carrying their money. He said he would camouflage the dollars in bags of promotional items, such as BAT hats and pens, which he would give away to the rebels.

In Somalia, the documents show BAT had a strategy to continue selling its cigarettes in spite of warnings by the fundamentalist group Al-Shabaab that it would punish those who sold them under Sharia law.

A slide from a powerpoint presentation from 22 June 2011 says: Market Assumptions. Somalia. The No-Smoking ultimatum made by Al-Shabaab now in effect. Cigarettes are now a black market commodity. Distribution is being made in black paper bags. This resulted in about 16% decrease in IMS in May, with 1st week of June already 23% down compared to plan.

Paul
Paul Hopkins says BAT brand cigarettes were hidden in plastic in Somalia after al-Shabaab banned sales. Photograph: Paul Hopkins

A second slide shows pictures of cartons of BAT brands Sportsman and Royals, packed into unidentifiable gunny bags (hessian sacks) and delivered for sale.

Hopkins tells of supplying security for the visits of BAT staff to Mogadishu, where they would check the prominence of BAT branded cigarettes on sale in the war-torn city. He has photographs of them posing with local militiamen, hired to protect them.

Somalia is a profitable market for BAT, he says, because people like the more expensive brands. The whole strategy of the marketing department is to get people smoking cheap brands like Sportsman and migrate them up to the global brands like Dunhill that are more profitable. You go into a market with a value-for-money brand that the poor people can afford, he said.

That was the strategy in impoverished South Sudan, a new state created after years of war and with millions of people displaced and in dire poverty. Two days before independence was declared on 9 July 2011, BAT met to plan the launch of its cheapest brands in the new state.

Our strategic intent for this market is to develop sustainable volume initially and the value will come later. The intention is to enter the market with Sportsman and Safari brands which are already widely recognised. The majority of the market is in the Low and Very Low segments, said the minutes of the Project South Sudan Kick Off Meeting.

A February 2012 document from BATs Group Portfolio Management Office Strategy & Planning stated that the break-even point would be the sale of 75m sticks for year one. The overriding objective of this project was to enter the South Sudan market in Q4 2011 and establish a viable business model with a consumer relevant brand portfolio that delivers a sustainable month on month organic volume growth with the lowest possible investment, it says.

In the Middle East also, BAT has nurtured sales in what it describes as volatile markets countries emerging out of war or even in the middle of conflict, like Syria. An October 2011 internal BAT publication called ezine says: The Middle East continues to deliver outstanding results in a volatile environment. Dunhill has driven strong share growth in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council region], and both Iraq and Iran have achieved impressive volume increases

In Iraq, [the BAT brand] Kent is growing at a spectacular 80% and consolidating its leading position in the premium segment. In Syria, despite very difficult trading circumstances, Kent has doubled its monthly running rate.

For BAT every person is a potential smoker and every country is potentially exploitable. Fragile states are particularly so because the normal rules do not apply, taxes can be avoided, and cigarettes can still be sold profitably. In other words as long as money can be made, anything goes, said Anna Gilmore, Professor of Public Health at the University of Bath and UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. Plus at some point many of the fragile markets will formalise. BATs aim is generally to get in there early, get smokers addicted to its products before its competitors and, where relevant, get the best deals on local manufacturing options.

As long as money can be made, anything goes

Paul
Paul Hopkins in Somalia. Photograph: Paul Hopkins

Matthew L Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said: The allegations against British American Tobacco reflect a company willing to … exploit any vulnerable population in order to make money no matter the consequences.

As cigarette sales decline around the world, British American Tobacco sees fragile states as one of the few remaining growth markets for its deadly products. For a company that doesnt care how it makes its money or what laws need to be broken to ensure future profits, countries experiencing instability present a unique opportunity.

The Guardian asked BAT if it had promoted sales of its cigarettes in a number of fragile, war-torn and unstable countries including through under-cover operations, while civil war were ongoing, and if this had allowed them to ignore health warnings and nicotine content.

In a statement, a British American Tobacco spokesperson said:We take our commitment to the responsible marketing of our products very seriously. We have strict, company-wide marketing principles in place to ensure that our products are marketed responsibly, in addition to adhering to all relevant laws and regulations in the 200 markets where we operate.

Specifically, we comply fully with the regulations for tobacco products in the DRC which have been in place in this country since 2007 that prescribes health warnings and health warning sizes, and sets limits for tar and nicotine content. Additionally, in other African countries, including South Sudan, Somalia and Somaliland, where there is no tobacco regulation in place, we voluntarily apply a side panel health warning on all of our products sold in those markets.

We fully comply with the relevant tax law in every country in which we operate. Specifically, in DRC, excise on tobacco products is prepaid to the government at the time of ordering excise/tax stamps. This is a process that BAT adheres to strictly for all products it sells in this country.

In each market where we are present, we offer consumers a choice of products, which can include local brands, international brands and our global drive brands. Our strict international marketing principles apply, and are adhered to, in each of the 200 markets around the world where we operate.

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Influential Instagrammers: Local creatives discuss the Baton Rouge blogging scene – LSU Now (blog)


LSU Now (blog)

Influential Instagrammers: Local creatives discuss the Baton Rouge blogging scene
LSU Now (blog)
When she arrived in Baton Rouge, the city's creative scene was lacking and she had no interest in blogging. “When I first came here, it was simply for college and I didn't think much of Baton Rouge in terms of a creative center— where someone could

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Behind the Scenes of the Internet’s First Football Game

At 5:05 am Sunday, long before the rest of Sunnyvale, California will wake up, Yahoo’s control room is packed. Seventeen people, many of them standing, face a wall of screens. On the two largest, the hosts of Fantasy Football Live, Yahoo’s decade-old web show about fantasy football, are discussing their best bets for the week to come.

Producer Evan Doherty has a chair but is too restless to use it. Tall and spiky-haired, he talks constantly into his black headset mic, ordering shots and telling the hosts to wrap it up and move on to the next segment. He tugs at his shirt, a black polo embroidered with a Yahoo Sports logo. He rubs his hands together, purses his lips, and jiggles his legs like a restless kid waiting for school to end.

The day is coming when people will stop subscribing to cable altogether. Yahoo has to be there.

Doherty has produced and hosted shows more complicated than this, but the stakes are higher today. According to the big red numbers counting down on the clock, the team has 85 minutes until Yahoo’s coverage turns to the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game being broadcast live from Wembley Stadium in London. It’s Yahoo’s first NFL game, and the first time an NFL game has appeared exclusively online for free to anyone with an Internet connection. It’s a glimpse into the future of sports, and television.

It’s also a chance for Yahoo to show everyone what it can do with technology and content.Less than a week earlier, the company took a $42 million writedown on its original content, all but admitting defeat. “We couldn’t see a way to make money over time,” Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman told investors. So itpivoted: rather than chase Hulu and Netflix and the like, Yahoo is trying to go where millions of people already congregate: sports.

Yahoo’s spent weekspromoting, testing, and rehearsing for this game. It’s streamed other NFL games to no one, worked with network partners around the world, and tested every gadget it can think of. they can think of. It all works.

All that’s left to do ispraythe game doesn’t suck.

The Future of Football Is Apps

The NFL and Yahoo announced the the partnership in June, and even then referred to it as “an experiment.” The NFL could afford to take chances: Everyone expected the game to be a snoozer between two lame teams, and broadcast so early that it wouldn’t bother anyone. But it was a chance for Yahoo to prove it can do live video, an opportunity to establish itself as the go-to place for the transition from cable TV to Internet TV.

“I think about it from the perspective of a hundred-and-fifty-plus billion dollar industry that is set to be disrupted,” says Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s senior vice president of mobile and emerging products. The day is coming, he says, when people will stop subscribing to cable. Yahoo has to be there.

Sports are a uniquely powerful agent for that change. “This is unique programming,” Cahan says. “It’s the kind of things that people will shift their behaviors with.” He says Netflix and its ilk offer a service that is increasingly commoditized. Live sports, on the other hand, move the industry. It made HDTV important, brought satellite TV to the fore, and will play a huge role in determining what happens next. Yahoo’s thinking is that people will go where the games are, and then all it has to do is keep them around when it ends. (Call it The ESPN Plan.)

Neither side would discuss what Yahoo paid for the rights to broadcast the game, though $20 million was widely reported. Yahoo doesn’t seem to care about recoupingthat money—and almost certainly didn’t. This is a chance to show the NFL—and advertisers—what it can offer over time. Yahoo says it worked with 30 domestic and international partners and locked up some big-name sponsors. It’s appealing to advertisers, because the enterprise offers the data of online ads and the reach of television. “We’re going to be able to give information about users,” Cahan says, “that also says what screens did they access it from, what geographies were they in, what type of network were they accessing on.”

We have a significant portion of the world’s Internet bandwidth reserved for this game.Yahoo VP Ron Jacoby

The Yahoo Video team has featured concerts by Taylor Swift, streamed the Emmys, and was at the Electric Daisy Carnival. It has apps for every platform you can think of, and supports most dongles, boxes, and sticks. The technical infrastructure is robust. But an NFL game is another thing entirely.

The football audience is much bigger, for one thing, and has little tolerance for low resolution or lag. “There will be a lot of motion, a lot of action, the ball moving on the screen,” says P.P.S. Narayan (everyone calls him PPSN), Yahoo Video’s VP of engineering. “We want to provide the best experience for our users, so we decided we needed to provide the highest-quality HD video.” The team decided early on to try streaming 720p video, at 60 frames per second, with 6Mbps bitrate1. “We have a significant portion of the world’s Internet bandwidth reserved for this game,” says Ron Jacoby, Yahoo’s vice president and chief architect for connected TV. In all, Yahoo streamed 8.5 petabytes to users.

Few people’s connections can support such ridiculous throughput, so Yahoo made its stream more adaptive. The software knows the quality of your network and the size of your screen, and tries to deliver the best picture possible. As long as it’s not buffering, that is. “Nobody should see the spinner,”Narayan says. After all, TV doesn’t buffer.

Game On

Others handled most of the game production—it was a CBS broadcasting crew, and an NFL Network halftime show. Yahoo’s job was mostly to make sure things stayed live. Representatives from nearly every team at the company sat in a room, their noses in laptops, constantly providing status updates. In the control room, everyone watcheda panel of twelve screens showing the status of the fiber feed and satellite backups.

The real show is down the hall, in another Yahoo studios. Two card tables are set up in a V, facing a giant unbranded television. Six men sit at six mics, trying something new: an alternative, fan- and fantasy-driven audio stream for the game.

The set of the fantasy broadcast, Yahoo’s alternative audio for Sunday’s game. Yahoo

Shaun King, a former NFL quarterback and the day’s designated Jaguars fan, is on a roll. It’s the middle of the second quarter, the Bills just turned the ball over again, and the Jags are about to go up 27-3. King, having shed his pre-game show outfit of shirt, tie, suit jacket, and camo cargo shorts in favor of a polo shirt and camo cargo shorts, leans back in his flimsy chair, giggling. “This is awesome” he shouts at Kirk Morrison, aformer linebacker and the day’s Bills fan. He’s spent the last 15 minutes telling everyone how horrible Bills quarterback EJ Manuel is. Morrison shakes his head. When the game breaks for a commercial, King sips his tea, pumps his fists, and shouts “Yes! Yes! We killing them!” Morrison sighs, again.

Yahoo didn’t want to try too many new things and risk pissing off fans or the NFL. Most people saw and heard the normal broadcast, hosted by CBS stalwarts Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon. But the “fantasy broadcast” is the start of something big, says Yahoo Sports executive producer Ryan Dornbusch. He argues that the buttoned-up, straightforward CBS show “is not authentic to what a viewer is saying on their couch as they’re slapping their heads, frustrated.” Listening to the fantasy broadcast was like watching the game alongside two whip-smart former pros who are having a blast. It was great fun.

The fantasy broadcast is the start of something big for Yahoo’s coverage.

Dornbusch notes that this is how most people experience the game—as fans, with biases and feelings and money on the line—and thinks Yahoo can cover it that way, too. He points to examples like Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN and now at HBO, who created a huge following in large part because of his aggressive homerism and love of Boston teams. “I’m resolute to allow our talent to be more subjective and invested in the things they’re passionate about,” he says. “That makes for better entertainment. It makes them care more, which makes the audience care more.”

That means letting talent talk about their favorite teams, their favorite players, and especially their fantasy teams. If Yahoo is the future home of football, fantasy will be a big part of it. During the pregame show—which, don’t forget, is called Fantasy Football Live—every player card they showed included the player’s positional fantasy rank. Just before the game started, everyone in the green room was on their phones setting their lineup. During the broadcast, Yahoo fantasy expert Brad Evans dropped in a few times to talk about how different players were doing in Yahoo leagues. When the guys discussed aplayer’s performance, they didn’t discuss his yardage or touchdowns. They talked about fantasy points. They also discussed his dollar value in daily fantasy, an increasingly key part of the Yahoo Sports puzzle.

Part of what Yahoo hopes to do with fantasy in general is bring more people into watching sports. Fantasy is to football what your bracket pool is to March Madness: an easy wayto get excited about a few teams before you get hooked on the game. It’s just one part of the challenge facing Yahoo, too. A big part of its pitch to the NFL was its ability to turn a billion monthly Yahoo users into viewers. There was an in-game video with Katie Couric, anotherwith tech columnist David Pogue, and lots of entertainment-meets-sports coverage around the game. Still, Dornbusch cautions that such additions arepart of a bigger show. “There was so much publicity and so much attention just to an NFL game being live-streamed and free on the web, that we wanted that to be the focus.”

About that. On Monday, Yahoo proudly declared there had been 33.6 million streams of the game by 15.2 million unique viewers in185 countries. Big numbers indeed. But when you consider that, for instance, the game autoplayed for anyone who went to Yahoo.com during, the streaming figures seem dubious. The more telling number may be the 2.3 million viewers for an average minute of the game. (There were likely peaks and valleys, but that number compares more closely to how Nielsen measures TV.) That’s a fraction of thenumber that watch even a crappy game on TV.

Yahoo says the stream went well, but from the numbers and tweets, it’s hard to tell.

Reviews ofthe stream itself were all over the map. You didn’t have to look far to find the furious, the amazed, and everything in between. At one point, many were complaining about an intermittent beeping on the broadcast—it turned out to be a part of the NFL’s feed, and was resolved quickly. Personally, my viewing experience was solid, though there were one or two jumpy spots. Yahoo says its rebuffering ratio was near one percent, meaning 99 percent of the broadcast streamed perfectly to everyone.

The NFL, for its part, is happy. No one at the league got back to us, but Commissioner Roger Goodell told NFL.com he was pretty stoked. “It took a game that was going to have a limited amount of distribution on television—it probably would have gone to 10 percent or less of the country on Sunday had we not chosen this distribution,” he said. “We reached new fans through this platform. We can really formulate our media strategy and how we can continue to reach the broadest number of fans.”

Yahoo is stoked too. As the post-game show ended—long after an epic Bills comeback gave Morrison plenty of shots back at King on the fantasy broadcast but ultimately ended in 34-31 win for King’s Jaguars—the Yahoo team celebrated. People popped champagne, drank up, then went home, presumably to bed. The feeling within Yahoo is that they’ve proven themselves a worthy partner to the NFL, and they hope to do more live sports soon.

There’s more to do. The Yahoo crew is thinking about DVR-type experiences, more ways to watch and share the game, and an easier way to find the alternative broadcasts. Dornbusch has lots of ideas about how to integrate more content, more fantasy, more fan perspective.Narayan—the guy everyone callsPPSN—knows the network and streaming performance can be even better. But if this was a trial, it was a successful one.

Now comes the part where Yahoo arguesover billions of dollars with ESPN, Fox, and who knows who else. We’ve all seen what sports on the Internet looks like. It looks pretty good. Everyone’s going to want in.

UPDATE 10/28 12:39PM: We originally wrote that Yahoo streamed 1080p footage—it was actually 720p. (1080p would’ve been nice, though, come on guys.)

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How Bored Panda Survived Facebook's Clickbait Purge – WIRED


WIRED

How Bored Panda Survived Facebook's Clickbait Purge
WIRED
It's a surprising ranking for a 40-person site associated with the early days of blogging—a throwback to when the Internet was less an addictive, stress-inducing reflection of the ugliness of modern life, and more a place to kill time when we were

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Dallas Cowboys Week 13 rookie report: Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie primed to have larger role – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Dallas Cowboys Week 13 rookie report: Xavier Woods and Chidobe Awuzie primed to have larger role
Blogging The Boys (blog)
The Dallas Cowboys fell to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thanksgiving Day in yet another ugly game. The offense still can't get going, the defense cannot make the plays needed in important games, and the injuries (and suspension) have been too much to …

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McGregor Upset Over Mayweather Would Put UFC Model to the Test

On Saturday night in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather will put his undefeated record on the line against mixed martial arts’ biggest star, Conor McGregor. But the person with the most to gain — and lose — may be Dana White, president of McGregor’s employer, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

By letting McGregor step into the ring, UFC and its owner WME-IMG are highlighting the financial differences between boxing and mixed martial arts. UFC will make money on the fight, and a McGregor upset would give mixed martial arts newfound status. White’s company may also risk losing its biggest star to a sport that will pay him much more.

Whatever the outcome Saturday, McGregor will make more from his first professional boxing match than he has in 4 1/2 years as a UFC fighter — one who’s held titles in two different weight classes and been a part of five of the eight most lucrative fights in UFC’s history, based on ticket sales.

McGregor could make $100 million from the fight, and Mayweather will make well over $100 million, White said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “It’s tracking as the biggest digital event we’ve ever been involved in,” he said.

Saturday’s fight is expected to sell more than $72 million worth of tickets, a record for a professional fight of any kind. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the match-up should also set a record for pay-per-view sales. To do so, it will need to surpass the 4.6 million orders for the 2015 fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Read more on the big fight from Bloomberg Intelligence

All of those numbers dwarf the take from the biggest UFC fights. When McGregor fought Eddie Alvarez in New York City last November, UFC sold a record $17.7 million in tickets. The promoter’s record for pay-per-view buys is 1.6 million, a night headlined by McGregor’s fight against Nate Diaz in 2016.

But it’s about more than boxing’s popularity — the way fighters get paid in the two sports is also totally different. In a standard boxing pay-per-view event, fighters get about 60 percent of the pay-per-view money. (The rest is split between the network and the cable providers.) UFC doesn’t disclose how its money is divvied up, but the company keeps a large percentage of what’s available after the cable providers take their share. That’s why McGregor, as the sport’s biggest star, has likely never made more than $15 million for an MMA fight.

“The question is what parts of the UFC business model need to be changed in order to satisfy Conor’s monetary needs, now that he’s made over $100 million as a boxer,” said Ross Greenburg, former head of HBO Sports and a consultant for Showtime on the Mayweather-McGregor fight. “The UFC business model is threatened by this fight.”

Pay Criticism

In recent years, UFC fighters have criticized their employer for its relatively miserly revenue sharing, and few have been more outspoken than McGregor. In April 2016, he voiced his displeasure in a Facebook post, highlighting the amount of money he’d made for UFC in his previous three fights and clarifying that he’d refuse to fight unless he renegotiated his contract.

A few months later, after he knocked out Alvarez and UFC was sold for $4.2 billion to WME-IMG, he said he wouldn’t fight again unless he was given an equity stake in the company. “I want what I deserve,” he said. “I want what I earned.” He hasn’t been in an Octagon since, and White has acknowledged UFC may have to pay him more.

In the run-up to the Mayweather boxing match, McGregor has said that he’d like to continue to contend for titles in both MMA and boxing — “and I will rule both with an iron fist.” It may be more complicated than that. He’s under contract with UFC and had to negotiate to make this boxing match happen. Any conversation about a future in boxing will likely have to include UFC.

A lot of this will depend on how McGregor fares Saturday. He’s a heavy underdog, but that hasn’t stopped the betting public from backing him to win. Should McGregor lose, Greenburg said there probably won’t be enough of an appetite for him to keep boxing, at least not in another major pay-per-view fight. If he wins, it’s great for UFC’s brand — the company can say its champ, with no pro boxing experience, did what 49 previous pros could not — but that likely complicates the MMA star’s return.

“The more record-breaking this fight is, the bigger the issue they have with Conor McGregor and his managers when he tries to negotiate his next UFC deal,” Greenburg said.

Meantime, White is enjoying his foray into boxing promotion.

“When two guys like this come together, these type of events show you where the bar is set for the right guys and the right place at the right time — and what a big fight can do,” he said on Bloomberg Television.

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    Your Horoscope For The Last Week Of Mercury In Retrograde Has Things Looking Up

    It’s been a helluva retrograde cycle this month, with a total solar eclipse, a new moon, and with Saturn (the disciplinarian planet) going direct after months of retrograding in Sagittarius. This month, we’ve all been challenged to reassess the areas in life where we feel we can improve, where in life we feel we’re ready to step into a more authentic version of ourselves, and your horoscope for the week of Aug. 28 will continue that trend, with the focus more on play than on work.

    You may have given something up, either literally or figuratively, and been dealing with the consequences of that. You may have adopted a new outlook on life before truly giving up another, and Mercury retrograde has taught you that you need to be more thorough. This week, that focus will be on your love life, and your money — not how much money you make, but the ways in which you make it, and how much joy it brings you.

    Ultimately, because of Mercury’s retrograde coinciding with the solar eclipse, we’ve all been forced to utilize this time in the most efficient way possible, and we have one week left to go before Mercury goes direct. Here’s what to expect in that time.

    Venus in Leo: Hot Sex On A Platter

    Venus is the planet of romantic love, beauty, and money. Leo is a sign of drama, theatrics, play, creativity, and being in the spotlight. This last week of Mercury retrograde, you’ll be wanting a lot of attention. You will be stepping into the spotlight in your relationship, wow-ing your partner by being more expressive, outgoing and romantic. Your warmth is bound to attract others, whether you’re single or attached, so enjoy the attention!

    If your focus is less on your love life and more on career, you’ll be feeling like you want to start making your money in ways that allow you to shine the way you feel you’re meant to.

    Venus Square Uranus: Unconventional Methods

    Venus is the planet of love, beauty, and money. Uranus is the planet of unexpected surprise. It’s easy to remember because, like a finger in your ass, this planet always surprises you. Your love life could come across some fairly sudden, abrupt changes… or you could find that your regular toss in the sheets just isn’t doing it for you anymore. You need change to keep moving forward, so if you’re single, try saying yes to that date you thought was “too whatever” for you. Think of it as an experiment. If you’re attached… dare I suggest a finger in the ass? If you’re into that.

    If your focus is on money rather than your love life, chances are you’ll start finding alternative ways to make money this month. Beware of impulsive changes before Mercury stations direct on September 4.

    You may have been feeling like making sudden moves throughout this Mercury retrograde period, but have been restraining yourself. GOOD for you. Keep doing that. Restraint of pen and tongue during this last week of Mercury retrograde will keep you in a stable place, as the information that needs to reveal itself before you make changes will do so in the next week.

    You may feel stuck in the hallway of life, but remember, that’s just a part of life. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

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    How Long Before You Start Making Good Money Blogging? – Business 2 Community (blog)


    Business 2 Community (blog)

    How Long Before You Start Making Good Money Blogging?
    Business 2 Community (blog)
    The one blog topic that doesn't fit this approach is “Make Money Online” and that's simply because there's too much misinformation and disinformation out there. There are legitimate bloggers who are writing about and earning an ethical living helping

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    Three ways the Dallas Cowboys can jump-start their offense – Blogging The Boys (blog)


    Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Three ways the Dallas Cowboys can jump-start their offense
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · Shop · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on.

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    Scott Disick Opens Up To Khlo K About Anxiety In New ‘KUWTK’ Clip

    Khlo Kardashian is worried about Scott Disicks mental state when hes not around his kids, according to a sneak-peek trailer for Sundays new episode of Keeping up With The Kardashians.

    During the clip, Scottopens up to Khlo and says ever since Kourtney took the kids for the week, he feels anxious and he needs to book his time up to keep his mind off his family.

    This usually means making club appearances for money.

    Khlo makes the point this may not be the best choice for him at the moment and suggests he finds other ways to make money.

    Im going to be honest, Im not the biggest Scott Disick fan. I think he was kinda funny for a little a few seasons back, but hes now mostly an annoying whiner.

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