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The German Auto Industry Is Finally (Maybe) Done With Gas

Its inevitable: The age of the internal combustion engine is ending. Growing demand for cleaner, greener transport means the fossil-fuel burning powerplants that humanity hasrelied on and refined over the last century are on the way out. But, like so many great dynasties, it’s leaving a power vacuum in its wake. Auto manufacturers the world over are scrambling to figure out whatcomes next.

The best place to find thefuture of the automobile? Its homeland. 130 years after Karl Benz patented a three wheeled vehicle powered by a single cylinder engine, Germany is home to 41 car and engine plants, which make one in every five cars sold worldwide. Cars represent the country’s biggest industry. German giantsBMW, Porsche, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have changed the shape of the world by exploding gasoline.

Yet last week, the country turned its back on that history. The Bundesrat, which represents German states at the federal level, voted to ban all diesel and gasoline cars by 2030. Yes, in just 14 years, the country wants all new cars to be emissions-free.

OK, it’s a non-binding resolution, and India, the Netherlands, and Norway already have similar proposals on the books. But considering the importance and significance of Germany’sauto industry, it’s the boldest proposal yet.

Gone Electric

From the outside, the automakers seem ready for the change.At this year’s Paris Motor Show, Mercedes showed off a battery-powered concept SUV, the first in a coming line of electric cars. Since VW admitted to selling 11 million over-polluting diesel cars, it can’t say enough about EVs. BMW Chairman Harald Krueger said lastweek his company will systematically electrify all its brands and model series, starting with a new Mini-E and an electric X3 crossover.

Seems grand, but these promises may be more about buying time than a full scale shift of focus.

“There are people who have a horse in each race, who are talking as much about marketing as they are about technology,” says Brett Smith, who studies advanced powertrain technology at the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan. “Its tough to cut through to what is actually happening.”

“This is a fork in the road,” agrees Mary Gustanski, VP of engineering for Delphi, a major industry supplier that specializes in electrification technologies. “The manufacturers are taking a pause to make sure they select the correct fork.”

Das Dead Diesel

Until recently, the diesel engine was the darling of Deutschland.Automakers promoted the energy-rich gasoline alternative as a way to reduce CO2 emissions without changing the internal combustion status quo. European regulators went along, and diesels accounted for half of car sales on the continent.

VW pretty much ruined that arrangement, but tighter EU regulations on NOx emissions and recognition of associated health concerns were already pushing diesels out of favor.

A big part of the problem is that customers aren’t clamoring for electrics. Switching from diesel back to petrol is an easier alternative, particularly while oil prices are low. But regulators around the world are demanding cleaner cars. Europe has set aggressive 2025 targets, China has ambitious 2020 goals, and the US has its increasingly stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

Staying Flexible

Still, there’s the Tesla effect. Elon Musk has made battery power cool, and the big players can’t ignore years of salivating love for the Model S and X, along with 373,000 people plonking down $1,000 to reserve their Model 3—a car that doesn’t even exist yet. For comparison, VW sold 533,000 Golfs in Europe in 2015—the continent’s most popular car.

The mainstream public might not be buying electric cars en masse, but the thought leaders, the hip kids, and the celebrities are. Automakers have recognized they need an electric halo product, so they dont look like theyre being left behind. Witness Porsche’s Mission E, BMW’s i8, and the recently axed Audi R8 e-tron. Those limited-run cars and concepts that might hit the road maybe somedayhelp the industry look “on the case,” but leave it wiggle room if conditions change.

Take the all-electric, autonomous I.D. concept Volkswagen revealed last month in Paris. With blue tires, a disappearing steering wheel, and a price under $30,000, it’s heavy on promise, light on technical detail. VW says it’ll be ready around 2020—so if some breakthrough somehow makes hydrogen-powered cars viable (LOL), the manufacturercould still pivot to embrace fuel cells instead of batteries. Or, you know, quietly drop the whole idea if EVs fall out of fashion and those strict standards get rolled back.

Electrics may work as publicity-driving halo cars—even the $30,000 Chevy Bolt can fit this description—but automakers avoid going all-in on electrics because the profit margins stink. Batteries are expensive, and it’s hard to make money on the things—just ask Tesla.

That, and moving away from internal combustion cars requires major investment. Building a car with any element of electrification requires a new supply chain, or the ability to build components like motors in-house. When BMW talks about electrifying every car, it likely means starting with something like a 48-volt mild hybrid system, which uses a small motor and battery for an efficient power boost. Delphi builds the tech, and Gustanski says manufacturers are keen to get in on the act.

That could always change. Technology advances, and if regulations don’t relent, automakers may have no choice. The internal combustion is fading—but it will breathe oxygen and blow it up a while longer. “The automotive industry is in its hottest phase for 20, 30 or even 40 years,” says BMWs Krueger.

Despite their promises, the automakers are still on the starting blocks. And if they decide on a direction, it’ll be an interesting race to watch.

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Trump attacks Clinton: CNN’s Reality Check Team inspects the claims

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump on Wednesday gave a major speech attacking presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and CNN’s Reality Check Team put the billionaire’s statements and assertions to the test.

The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
    Reality Check: Trump criticizes leaders for offshoring, but Trump brands also did it
    By John Newsome, CNN
    Trump criticized politicians and business leaders, arguing that they created policies that allowed and encouraged the offshoring of American jobs to America’s competitors.
    “We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism — focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class — to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move wealth and workers to foreign countries, all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy itself,” Trump said.
    A CNN investigation shows that Trump and his businesses offshored jobs to a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, and even China.
    Trump cut a deal with the global apparel giant PVH to manufacture his clothes in 2004, the company told CNN. And ever since, the Donald J. Trump Collection has been produced by factories in Central America and Asia, then shipped to the U.S. for sale in stores and online.
    CNN purchased several of Trump’s clothing items in 2016, whose tags indicated they were manufactured throughout Asia.
    We rate Trump’s claim that policies allowed and encouraged offshoring as accurate, but Trump left out his own role in that process with his businesses. For that reason, we rate his claim as true, but misleading.
    Reality Check: Trump started off with a ‘small loan’
    By Jeremy Diamond and Sonam Vashi, CNN
    “I started off in Brooklyn, New York, not so long ago, with a small loan and built a business that today is worth well over $10 billion,” Trump said.
    We reported on this claim last October.
    That small loan from Trump’s father was worth $1 million, probably given before Trump entered the Manhattan real estate market in the early 1970s.
    If Trump’s father made the loan in 1968, the year his son graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, that $1 million would be worth $6.8 million in today’s dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index inflation calculator.
    Trump has built up a multi-billion-dollar net worth, expanding his father’s lucrative real estate business to new heights. But while much of Trump’s success is a credit to his work, he was born into a successful, wealthy family, inheriting part of his father’s more than $200 million net worth.
    Trump’s narrative of self-making his entire fortune doesn’t quite hold up either — The Washington Post Fact Checker found that he profited from loans, loan guarantees, his father’s connections and trusts to help create his empire.
    Trump has boasted over and over that his net worth is $10 billion, but it’s unclear how true that really is. Last year, Forbes rated his net worth as $4.5 billion — less than half of what Trump claims. We’ve only gotten a glimpse of Trump’s financial details, especially as Trump has refused to release his tax returns (because he’s being audited, he claims), but we know he’s worth at least a billion.
    Given that for almost all Americans, $1 million is hardly a small loan, especially back in 1968, we rate his claim that he started his business with a “small loan” as false.
    Reality Check: Trump on Clinton’s landing in Bosnia
    By Laura Koran, CNN National Security Producer

    Donald

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    Actually, the trade deficit rose only 12% if you look between 2008 and 2012, which is the most accurate way to measure what happened under her tenure, which ran from early 2009 until early 2013, according to federal trade data.
    However, if you cherry-pick the data from 2009 to 2012, the deficit jumped 34%. But that’s because the trade gap narrowed during the depths of the recession in 2009.
    Either way, Trump’s assertion is exaggerated. Therefore, we rate it as false.
    Reality Check: Trump on losing nearly 1/3 of manufacturing jobs since NAFTA and China admitted to World Trade Organization
    By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
    Trump lashed out at Clinton’s support of trade agreements that he said were “among the most destructive ever signed.”
    Specifically, Trump cited the North American Free Trade Agreement, which then-President Bill Clinton signed in 1994, and China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in late 2001, for which the former president smoothed the way.
    “We’ve lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs since these two Hillary-backed agreements were signed,” Trump said.
    The presumptive Republican candidate is exaggerating the figures a bit. The nation has lost 27% of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was signed in 1994. The sector, which employed 16.9 million people back then, now has 12.3 million workers.
    But that masks the fact that the industry actually expanded it payrolls slightly under the remainder of Bill Clinton’s term.
    The bleeding really began in the early 2000s and continued through and immediately after the Great Recession.
    Manufacturers, however, have been adding jobs since early 2010. Employment is up 7.3% since then.
    Yet it’s not clear how much free trade deals drove the decline in manufacturing employment. Corporate America was already shifting jobs to lower-wage countries, and technology already made it more costly for U.S. companies to produce goods here. Also, today’s factory jobs require more education and skills, leaving many less-educated Americans on the sidelines.
    Trump also said that the nation will lose millions more jobs if Hillary Clinton is elected because she will adopt the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which the former secretary of state had supported but now opposes. His comments here are misleading, too, because only Congress has the power to ratify trade agreements.
    We therefore rate Trump’s statement as true, but misleading, because there were many other factors beyond trade that led to the decline in manufacturing employment after China entered the WTO.
    Reality Check: Trump on Clinton speeches
    By Cristina Alesci and Laurie Frankel, CNNMoney
    Trump said Clinton made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests in less than two years after she left her job as secretary of state in early 2013.
    “When she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests, and, in less than two years, secret speeches that she does not want to reveal, under any circumstances, to the public,” he said.
    A CNN analysis showed that Clinton gave 92 speeches between 2013 and 2015. Her standard fee is $225,000, and she collected $21.6 million dollars in just under two years. Clinton made eight speeches to big banks, netting $1.8 million, according to the analysis.
    John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, has said in April that Clinton won’t release transcripts from speeches given to Wall Street unless it becomes a political norm.
    Verdict: True.
    Reality Check: Trump claims Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry
    By Cristina Alesci and Laurie Frankel, CNNMoney
    Trump said, “Hillary Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the government of Brunei when she was secretary of state — plus millions more for her foundation.”
    Clinton did receive 18-carat gold, sapphire and diamond earrings, a necklace and a bracelet worth $58,000, according to the State Department website. That gift was recorded in September 2012. The former secretary did accept the jewelry and justified it by saying that not doing so would’ve “would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government.” However, Clinton was not allowed to keep the jewelry. Under State Department rules, if a gift over $350 cannot be refused, it automatically becomes property of the U.S. government, and the recipient must report the gift and transfer it to the Office of the Chief of Protocol within 60 days.
    As for donations from Brunei to the Clinton Foundation, that is true.
    The government of Brunei donated between $1 million and $5 million to the foundation, according to its website.
    Trump also said the “Sultan of Brunei has pushed oppressive Sharia law, including the punishment of death by stoning for being gay.
    Brunei became the first East Asian nation to adopt Sharia law in 2014.
    Our verdict on the jewelry: true, but misleading. Although she received the gift, she turned it over to the U.S. government as required by law.
    Reality Check: Trump claims Clinton support for ‘regime change’ caused Syrian bloodshed
    By Eve Bower, CNN
    Trump fiercely criticized Clinton’s Middle East policy during her tenure as secretary of state, claiming her “support for violent regime change in Syria has thrown the country into one of the bloodiest civil wars anyone has ever seen.”
    It is true that the civil war in Syria has been one of the deadliest in modern history: according to a recent U.N. estimate, since the start of hostilities in early 2011, more than 400,000 Syrians have been killed.
    But it is difficult to determine how much of Syria’s fate can be attributed to a Clinton proposal that was never adopted.
    In April 2012, Clinton indeed advocated for the “overthrow” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to a State Department document released by Wikileaks as part of her email archive. (The email was undated but references a statement made “last week” to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak about “the toppling down of Assad.” Barak made that statement on April 19, 2012, dating Clinton’s email in late April.)
    In the leaked message, Clinton pressed for a multilateral intervention in Syria, writing, “Only the threat or use of force will change the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s mind.” Specifically, she advised, “Washington should start by expressing its willingness to work with regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to organize, train and arm Syrian rebel forces.”
    Clinton was not alone in calling for the end of Assad’s rule. Almost one year earlier, in August 2011, President Barack Obama had said “the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” But crucially, at the time, Obama refused to pursue regime change, saying, “The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria.” It appears that Obama persisted in his opposition. The New York Times, citing unnamed administration officials, said that in the summer of 2012, Clinton had been working on a plan with then-CIA Director David Petraeus to arm Syrian rebels but that Obama “rebuffed” their plan.
    Because it is impossible to attribute the ongoing bloodshed of the Syrian civil war to the rejected policies of a secretary of state now out of office for more than three years, we rate Trump’s claim FALSE.
    Reality Check: Trump on Clinton’s support for the Iraq War
    By Kate Grise and Laura Koran, CNN
    Trump also took shots at Clinton’s record on the war in Iraq. “It all started with her bad judgment in supporting the war in Iraq in the first place,” he said.
    He added, “Though I was not in government service, I was among the earliest to criticize the rush to war, and yes, even before the war ever started.”
    Clinton did vote in favor of the Iraq War resolution in October 2002. Years later, Clinton said her vote was a mistake.
    Verdict: True.
    However, Trump’s claim that he was one of the first to criticize the Iraq War is less clear.
    In an interview with Howard Stern on September 11, 2002, Trump said that he supported invading Iraq after Stern asked him if he was “for invading Iraq.”
    “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
    The Washington Post seems to have the earliest quote from him criticizing the invasion. Trump told the paper at a 2003 Oscars after-party days after the invasion that “the war’s a mess.”
    He was more vehement in an August 2004 Esquire Magazine interview, saying of the invasion, “I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the country? C’mon.”
    Trump has also tweeted the link to a July 2004 Reuters article titled, “Donald Trump Would ‘Fire’ Bush Over Iraq Invasion” to emphasize his opposition.
    But these statements were made after the war began, mostly in 2004. There’s no indication he said anything along the lines of “Do not attack Iraq” before the invasion began, as he has previously claimed.
    Verdict: It is true that Trump did criticize the war shortly after it began, but his claim that he criticized the war before it started is false, especially when considering his statement of support for the war to Stern before Congress voted for the invasion.
    Reality Check: Trump on American taxes
    By Kate Grise and Tami Luhby, CNN
    “We are, by the way, the highest taxed nation in the world. Please remember that,” Trump said.
    As CNN’s Reality Check team did when Trump made this claim in the past, we’ll look at each part of his claim that American individuals and businesses pay more taxes than any other country.
    Do Americans really pay more individual taxes than citizens of any other country in the world?
    Hardly.
    America ranked 16th out of the 34 Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development member countries for average rate of income tax and employees’ social security contributions. In America, that rate is 25.6%. In Belgium, the country with the highest average rate of income tax and employees’ social security contributions, citizens pay 42%. Germany, Denmark, Austria and Hungary round out the top five countries with the highest average rate of income tax and employees’ social security contributions.
    OECD’s 34 member countries are advanced, industrialized nations, which makes their data valuable in comparing the United States to similar countries. China, Russia and India are not included in the OECD’s list because they are not member countries.
    We can also look at total tax revenue as a percentage of the country’s gross domestic product. This time, America ranks even lower: 27th out of 34 OECD member countries in 2014. America’s tax revenue is 26% of the country’s GDP. Denmark tops the list with its tax revenue being equal to 50% of the country’s GDP.
    Looking at whether American citizens face the highest taxes, we rate Trump’s claim as false.
    Turning to companies, it’s true that American businesses face the highest official corporate tax rate. The federal rate stands at 35%.
    But that’s not what many companies actually pay. The Government Accountability Office found that large, profitable U.S. corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of 12.6% in 2010 thanks to things such as tax credits, exemptions and offshore tax havens. In each year from 2006 to 2012, at least two-thirds of all active corporations had no federal income liability, according to the GAO.
    U.S. corporate tax collection totaled 2.6% of GDP in 2014, according to the OECD. That was the 16th highest rate among the 34 nations.
    So when it comes to American corporations, we rate Trump’s statement as true, but misleading. The United States has the highest official corporate tax rate, but that’s not what many companies actually pay.
    Reality Check: Clinton and the Benghazi attacks
    By Ryan Browne and Laura Koran, CNN
    Trump slammed Clinton’s response to the September 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
    Here is what Trump said: “Ambassador Stevens and his staff in Libya made hundreds and hundreds of requests for security. They were desperate. They needed help. Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused them all. She started the war that put them in Libya, denied him the security he asked for, then left him there to die.”
    During her testimony on Capitol Hill before the House Select Committee hearing on Benghazi last year, Clinton acknowledged that “a number of” requests were made but added, “I did not see them. I did not approve them. I did not deny them.”
    During the same hearing, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, estimated that about 600 requests or concerns were raised with regard to Benghazi and Libya.
    A State Department independent investigation into the attack chaired by former Amb. Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen found that senior officials in the State Department had “demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability … in their responses to security concerns posed by the Special Mission Benghazi.”
    The investigatory board, though, did conclude that no employee “engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored his or her responsibilities.”
    However, the report also notes that while most of the requests were not fully fulfilled, some measures and concerns were addressed, at least in part.
    Because State Department officials were deemed responsible for not adequately responding to security concerns and because Clinton was secretary of state at the time — even though there is no evidence that Clinton was directly responsible for the inadequate response — Trump said it was “Clinton’s State Department” that ignored the requests not Clinton herself. However, because Trump overstates his claim and says “all” requests were refused and because he later implies that Clinton herself “denied him the security he asked for,” we rate this claim as false.
    Trump also made the assertion that Clinton attributed the attack to an online video that was critical of Islam: “To cover her tracks, Hillary lied about a video being the cause of his death,” Trump said.
    Trump cites a family member of one of the victims as evidence that Clinton attributing the video as the cause of the incident.
    That person was the mother of Sean Smith, who told Fox News, “She lied to my face.”
    Some of the family members of the victims have indeed said that Clinton misled them on the cause of the attack, but did not mention the video.
    Kate Quigley, sister of CIA operative Glen Doherty, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that in the wake of the attack Clinton had mentioned protests but not a video.
    “She spoke to my family about how sad we should feel for the Libyan people because they are uneducated and that breeds fear, which breeds violence, and leads to a protest,” Quigley said, adding that Clinton chose to “perpetuate what she knew was untrue.”
    While some administration officials, including then-ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, did not immediately call the attack a pre-planned terror operation, emphasizing the video and protests, it is less apparent that Clinton attributed the attack directly to the online video.
    In a statement made immediately after the attack, Clinton mentioned the video but did not tie it directly to the attack, saying, “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
    But in an email exchange from the night of the attack, Clinton told her daughter Chelsea — who was using the pseudonym “Diane Reynolds” — that the attack was launched by “an al Queda-like group.”
    A few days later, on September 21, Clinton publicly labeled the attack an act of terrorism, saying, “What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans.”
    Because Clinton’s email exchange indicates terrorism’s role in Benghazi and because there is conflict between family members about whether a video was mentioned, there’s no way to determine conclusively the veracity of Trump’s claim. For that reason, we rate this it’s complicated.
    Editor’s Note: This post has been updated after a review of the previous conclusion.
    Reality Check: Trump claims Clinton ran the State Department like a personal hedge fund
    By Cristina Alesci and Laurie Frankel, CNNMoney
    According to Trump, Clinton ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund, doing favors for oppressive regimes and many others in exchange for cash.
    To make this claim, Trump cited several examples from the book “Clinton Cash” by Peter Schweizer. Among the accusations: Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20% of America’s uranium holdings to Russia while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.
    While the deal to sell Uranium One to a Russian company was completed in 2010, there’s no hard evidence of a quid pro quo.
    Even Schweizer admits there’s no smoking gun. According to The New York Times, although significant donors to the foundation stood to benefit from the transaction, which allowed a Russian company to buy the rights to one-fifth of U.S. uranium deposits, “Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown.” CNN several times has asked the Clinton Foundation to confirm whether the nine investors who benefited from the deal also contributed to the foundation, but the foundation has yet to respond.
    But even if foundation donors profited from the sale of Uranium One, the State Department was one of several agencies that needed to sign off on the transaction.
    The Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the Unites States, an interagency body that reviews deals that could result in a foreign entity owning a US business, reviewed and approved the sale. The committee includes representatives from nine agencies, including the State Department.
    Verdict: False.
    Reality Check: Trump on Clinton’s increase in refugees from Syria
    By Kate Grise, CNN
    “In fact, Hillary Clinton supports a radical 550% increase in Syrian refugees coming into the United States, and that’s an increase over President Obama’s already very high number,” Trump said.
    “Under her plan, we would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees from the most dangerous countries on Earth — with no way to screen who they are or what they believe,” he continued.
    Clinton said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on September 20 that she would like to see the United States accept more refugees than Obama’s plan to increase to 10,000 per fiscal year 2016.
    “Look, we’re facing the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II and I think the United States has to do more, and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in,” Clinton said, implying that her figure, like Obama’s, was per fiscal year.
    That would be a 550% increase in total refugees, so we rate that part of Trump’s claim as true.
    However, Trump continued saying that there is no way to screen those immigrants.
    There is a vetting system in place, which begins with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, according to the White House. This group collects identification documents, performs an initial assessment, and interviews applicants to confirm refugee status and the need for resettlement. They then refer strong candidates for resettlement to the United States.
    The Resettlement Support Center compiles a file on each refugee and then the security checks begin. The National Counterterrorism Center, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the State Department are all involved in these security checks. Before arrival in the United States, refugees are interviewed, fingerprinted and given medical screenings, among other security checks. Finally, they arrive in the United States, go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center and then must apply for a green card within a year of arrival, which triggers another set of security procedures.
    While it is true that there is no screening system that is foolproof, to say that there is no way to screen refugees or that Clinton believes that they should not be vetted is false.
    Reality Check: Trump on Clinton’s server being hacked
    By Tal Kopan, CNN
    Trump asserted that Clinton’s private email server was hacked when she was secretary of state.
    “Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments, perhaps even by her financial backers in communist China,” he said. “I’m sure they have it, putting all of America and our citizens in danger.”
    While it is true that Clinton used a privately-run server for email during her time as secretary of state, there has been no conclusive evidence that the server was compromised, nor any indication that foreign governments were involved in any attempts to do so.
    Two law enforcement officials told CNN that security logs turned over from the server showed no apparent signs of hacking. They cautioned, though, that does not show definitive proof that no one ever got in, as skilled hackers may have been able to cover their tracks.
    In a May inspector general report from the State Department, the IG cited instances where hacking attempts were suspected as part of evidence that officials were aware of her email practices. The IG said that in January 2011, a Clinton technical adviser notified her deputy chief of staff for operations that he shut down the server “because he believed ‘someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in i didnt [sic] want to let them have the chance to.'” He shut the server again down later in the day because of another attack attempt. The next day, the deputy chief of staff emailed officials above him to not email Clinton “anything sensitive” and that he would explain “in person.”
    In May 2011, Clinton’s staff discussed via email her receiving a suspicious link to her email, and she later that day replied to a message from the account of the undersecretary for political affairs with a suspicious website link in it, “Is this really from you?” The IG dinged Clinton and her staff for not reporting the incidents.
    In none of the accounts, though, was there a record of the attempts being successful, nor indication of who was behind it.
    The BBC also reported last year that there was other evidence of hacking attempts in the emails that were released by the State Department. Five so-called “phishing” emails were sent to Clinton’s email that contained malicious software disguised as speeding tickets. If someone had opened the malware, data would have been transmitted overseas, including one based in Russia. But again, there was no evidence the phishing attempts were ever opened.
    There have also been boastful claims by a hacker that he broke into Clinton’s server — with no evidence to back it up. Recently convicted Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar, who pleaded guilty to hacking email accounts belonging to figures including former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush and Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal, made such a claim from prison in an interview with NBC News.
    Verdict: Because there is no conclusive indication that Clinton’s email was ever breached, let alone proof that foreign governments were behind even such attempts, we rate Trump’s claim as false.
    Reality Check: Trump says Clinton money for refugees could rebuild every inner city in America
    By Sonam Vashi and John Newsome, CNN
    Trump said, “Hillary also wants to spend hundreds of billions to resettle Middle Eastern refugees in the United States, on top of the current record level of immigration. For the amount of money Hillary Clinton would like to spend on refugees, we could rebuild every inner city in America.”
    First: how much do we spend on refugees, and how much more does Clinton want to spend?
    In fiscal year 2015, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is under the Department of Health and Human Services, had about 1.6 billion to spend on services such as medical assistance, employment services, and English language training, among others.
    More than half of the ORR’s budget, or about $950 million, goes to temporary custody and care of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children, who are almost all from Central America and Mexico.
    In fiscal year 2015, the State Department spent about $3 billion on Migration and Refugee Assistance, and it spent $50 million on Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance.
    On CBS News’ “Face the Nation” last September, Clinton was asked if the current U.S. plan to increase the number of admitted Syrian refugees to 10,000 was enough. She replied, “I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in.”
    There’s no clean or accurate way to estimate how much each refugee costs the U.S. For an overly simplistic estimate: if we look at the part of ORR’s budget that is not dedicated to the custody of Central American children (about $611 million in FY2015), the total number of refugees admitted (about 70,000), and then add in the 55,000 more Syrian refugees Clinton is proposing, the cost to the U.S. government might look something closer to $1.1 billion per year (about $500 million more than what ORR spends now), plus the $3 billion per year from the State Department.
    That $4.1 billion doesn’t include resettlement services funded by the private sector; NGOs like the International Rescue Committee, which helps resettle refugees in the U.S., are heavily funded by private donations. It also doesn’t include the positive economic impact refugees have on their communities once resettled, according to studies.
    Meanwhile, the amount of money required, both from public and private sources, to revitalize all of America’s inner-cities is so massive it is hard to quantify.
    The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City organization, a Boston-based incubator and accelerator for inner-city growth, calls such an undertaking enormous.
    “We cannot put a price tag on the vast long-term public and private investment required to revitalize America’s inner cities. We know that there are at least 328 inner cities in the United States with high levels of poverty and unemployment. They demand enormous public and private resources to deal with the profound challenge of economic inequality that plagues our cities,” the group’s CEO, Steve Grossman, tells CNN.
    Given how massive the price tag would be to revitalize all of America’s inner cities, it’s clear that it would be much larger than the approximate $4.1 billion per year that the U.S. spends on refugees.
    Verdict: False.
    Reality Check: Trump on George Washington and protectionism
    By Amy Gallagher, CNN
    Trump said one of the first significant bills that former President George Washington signed was for the protection of American manufacturers. This is true. The Tariff of 1789 was one of the first major pieces of legislation to be signed into law and it placed a tariff on most imported goods in part to secure income for the new nation and in part to protect the fledgling manufacturing industry.
    It is worth noting that there is some debate as to which was the primary purpose, protectionism or revenue, with most scholars believe the pressing need to pay off the debts of the Revolutionary War was the driving concern. While it was one of the first bills that Washington signed, it was not without some controversy at the time.
    In particular, southern states objected to the tariffs that benefited northern manufacturers at the expense of southern agricultural interests. For example, a later tariff on British-manufactured cloth both reduced the demand for American cotton as a raw material and increased the cost of imported cloth, hitting southern cotton farmers twice. It was this tension between agriculture and manufacturing that kept tariffs low for many years.
    The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that supports free trade, argues that protectionism is a failed policy and that the economic growth during the nation’s first decade was not because of but in spite of protectionist policies. The institute contends that most of the economic growth of the new nation came from western expansion, immigration, transportation, farming, mining and construction of infrastructure.
    Verdict: True.

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    Tapping an Audience: From Blog to Books – Booksellers.co.nz

    Tapping an Audience: From Blog to Books
    Booksellers.co.nz
    The publishing of blogs in book form is not a new phenomenon, internationally every year hundreds of blogs, ranging from recipe, to humour, to comics, to personal are converted and published into books. But the recent successes of Emily Writes' Rants

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    Google Deepmind: Should patients trust the company with their data? – BBC News

    Image copyright Thinkstock
    Image caption The NHS is rich in data and Google is the world’s biggest data mining firm

    Google’s artificial intelligence unit DeepMind is getting serious about healthcare – with ambitious plans to digitise the NHS – but first it needs to convince patients to hand over their medical records.

    Back in February, it began work with the Royal Free to create an app to help doctors spot patients who might be at risk of developing kidney disease.

    The first most knew of the partnership was when it emerged some months later that it would be accessing 1.6 million patient records as part of the deal.

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption The records shared by the Royal Free go back over the past five years and include full names

    That led to some pretty negative headlines and questions from some of the patients involved as to why they had not been informed their data was being used in this way.

    The app – dubbed Streams – is now under investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) while the National Data Guardian, which is tasked with safeguarding health data, is also looking at it.

    Newly determined to forge a better relationship with the public, Google hosted its first ever patient engagement forum this week at its new headquarters in King’s Cross, pledging that it wanted, in future, to work in closer partnership with the public.

    “Patients are at the heart of what we do and as we embark on this decade-long opportunity, we really need a diverse group of people to help us design the products,” said Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind and head of DeepMind Health.

    The audience was polite during the presentation – making encouraging comments and seeming excited about the possibilities.

    So far, DeepMind has two other continuing projects:

    • research into age-related macular degeneration at Moorfields Eye Hospital which will involve the use of one million anonymised patient scans
    • a new partnership with University College Hospital to see if machine learning can speed up the time it takes to plan radiotherapy for head and neck cancers.

    But, during the course of the forum, it became clear that DeepMind has much more ambitious plans when it comes to patient data, so much so that anyone attending could have been forgiven for thinking that it had won a contract to digitise the NHS.

    Mr Suleyman spoke at length about a patient portal that would be accessible to both patients and doctors and available on their own smartphones.

    Image copyright Thinkstock

    It would allow doctors to search a patient’s entire medical history in chronological order before they arrived at their bedside. Patients may be able to input their own data, for example, if they suddenly had a change in their condition or experienced problems after an operation.

    The plan shocked some audience members who had not spoken out earlier.

    “What was astounding to me, was the sense of entitlement that this commercial company clearly feels to access NHS patient medical records without consent and that many in the room seemed to have accepted that unquestioningly,” said Jen Persson, a co-ordinator from campaign group Defenddigitalme.

    “Patients have been left out so far of what DeepMind has done. The firm is not at the start of ‘patient and public engagement’ as it put it, but playing catch-up after getting caught getting it wrong,” she added.

    The patient portal is just an idea at this stage, admitted Mr Suleyman, and his team is probably “years away from building it”.

    The audience raised concerns about how safe such data would be and valid questions were asked about how DeepMind could ensure data did not get into the wrong hands.

    “It may be that we stream data so it is not stored on a local device or that we have Trust-owned devices with an encrypted operating system or that data won’t be accessible outside of the Trust’s wi-fi,” offered Mr Suleyman.

    But he admitted there were also big hurdles: “How do patients verify themselves, how do we handle someone forgetting their password? There is a lot of work to do.”

    There is currently no national agreement between the NHS and DeepMind and the BBC understands that there was no representative from NHS England at the event.

    Charity

    The forum – which was a mix of formal speeches from doctors and patients who have been involved in DeepMind’s trials as well as views from the audience – also heard from a health data-sharing advocate, Graham Silk.

    The businessman was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2001 and given three years to live. He found out for himself the power of having his data in the right hands when he was invited to join a trial with an experimental new drug.

    He has since set up a charity to put doctors and patients in touch with new drug trials and believes that we have a hypocritical view when it comes to data-sharing.

    “Millions go on Amazon every day and give away their name, address, bank account details and it is bizarre that they don’t feel the same about health data which has the power to do the most good,” he said.

    He thinks data is the “lifeblood” of the NHS but cannot understand why some patients might be wary of sharing information that could ultimately save their life or the lives of others.

    He wants to see a system where the NHS can earn money from selling patient data to commercial partners.

    “Much of the focus of the media and others is on whether using data is safe but, if we are to improve patient outcomes, we have to utilise this precious asset.”

    Perhaps the most pertinent question posed during the forum was one from a patient who asked simply: “What’s in it for Google?”

    Mr Suleyman has previously told the BBC: “Ultimately we want to get paid when we deliver concrete clinical benefits. We want to get paid to change the system and improve patient outcomes,” something he reiterated at the event.

    Ms Persson is not convinced.

    “DeepMind couldn’t answer clearly what their business model was with these NHS Trusts and what was in it for Google.

    “Given that Google spent over 400m buying the DeepMind start-up in 2014, they clearly expect to make money from something,” she said.

    Image copyright Thinkstock

    Google is not the only firm that the NHS shares data with but it is difficult to say how many there are as they are not centrally stored and each trust makes its own agreements.

    Each one goes through a rigorous approval process.

    DeepMind said that patient information is held “with the highest level of security and encryption.. and isn’t shared with Google.”

    Patients can opt out of sharing data by emailing their NHS Trust’s data protection officer.

    Only 148 Royal Free patients decided to do so after learning about the DeepMind partnership.

    Those figures chime with a survey commissioned by medical research charity the Wellcome Foundation earlier this year to find out more about public attitudes to data sharing.

    Image copyright AP
    Image caption Google co-founder Larry Page, who suffers with a vocal cords problem, has made no secret of the fact he believes everyone should share their health data

    Its survey of more than 2,000 patients, conducted in April, found that most were unaware that their data was being shared with commercial organisations and that there were “red lines” that patients felt should never be crossed – such as sharing data with insurance companies.

    But only 17% said that they would never consent to their anonymised data being shared with third parties, even for research purposes.

    There is obviously a lot of good that can be done with patient data and advances in data mining and artificial intelligence offer an incredible new tool for doctors and care-givers.

    But it is a tool that needs to be used carefully, thinks Ms Persson.

    “Hospital trusts should think twice before gifting commercial companies confidential data on an ad hoc basis, without informed patient consent, without transparent oversight, and patients should be asking what precisely will it be used for, by whom, and with what safeguards.”

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    Tony Romo's Retirement Creates $14 Million Cap Space For Cowboys As Official Post-June 1 Release – Blogging The Boys (blog)


    Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Tony Romo's Retirement Creates $14 Million Cap Space For Cowboys As Official Post-June 1 Release
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    When a player is released or retires, the entire unamortized signing bonus money (the remaining prorated bonus money) left on his contract accelerates immediately and counts against the current year's cap. In Romo's case, that would be $19.4 million in …

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    Tony Romo's Retirement Is A Win For The Dallas Cowboys – Blogging The Boys (blog)


    Blogging The Boys (blog)

    Tony Romo's Retirement Is A Win For The Dallas Cowboys
    Blogging The Boys (blog)
    Tony Romo has retired from the NFL but the Cowboys still won this offseason rift that never was. by Michael Sisemore@MrSisemore Apr 4, 2017, 7:00pm CDT. tweet · share · pin · Rec. Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports. Throughout the course of the next few …
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    Dallas Cowboys Football News, Schedule, Roster, Stats – SB NationSB Nation

    all 983 news articles »

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    Hedge Fund With $2 Billion Sets Bets on Crazy in a Trump World

    Buying the losers of the past decade could pay off in a world where Donald Trump is in charge of the worlds biggest economy.

    Norwegian hedge fund firm Sector Asset Management, which manages about $1.7 billion, is turning its portfolios around to bet on bank, energy and materials stocks that may thrive as fiscal stimulus is about to be unleashed after years of global austerity.

    U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has signaled massive fiscal stimulus, including tax cuts and infrastructure spending, causing bond yields to soar as investors factor in accelerating inflation.

    You need someone that is crazy enough, like a Trump, Peter Andersland, founder of Sector, said in an interview on Tuesday at his office in Oslo. Someone that just says: lets do it!

    Read More: How Trump Might Try to Fix Bridges and Highways

    Monetary policy has reached its end and fiscal expansion is now the only option to revive the economy and prevent further populism from spreading, according to the 55-year-old founder of Sector.

    Animal Spirit

    You must use the bazooka to get it going, he said. A QE for the people can come. A fiscal policy in coordination with central banks. Then we can get an economic impulse for some time. The question is whether thats enough to revive the animal spirit so people take the baton and start to spend money.

    As rates may have reached a bottom, Sector is decreasing long exposure to stocks within consumer staples and discretionary, which have been the winners in the low-rate regime.

    We avoid a lot of the winners in the past five to six years, Jannik Arvesen, 57, manager of the Sector Sigma Nordic Fund, said. Good companies, bad stocks.

    The most obvious winners are now U.S. banks, according to Andersland, who manages the Global Equity Kernel Fund. The fund holds JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and regional banks such as U.S. Bancorp and Fifth Third Bancorp. European banks still have a long way to go in cleaning up their balance sheets, he said.

    When long rates become higher than the short ones then the banks make money, he said. The U.S. banks have cleaned up their balance sheets.

    Sector is also increasing in energy stocks on the view that the bottom in oil prices has been set. Andersland prefers the big integrated producers and holds BP Plc and Chevron Corp. among others. His global fund had a return of 7 percent through September compared with 6.6 percent for its benchmark.

    We didnt have any energy, down to one to two percent, now our target is 13 percent, he said. We buy the dips within energy. You can accumulate that now along with finance and materials.

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    Should Snap buy Twitter?

    Now that Snap is flush with public dollars, the question becomes: How to spend it?

    One suggestion floated as a what if scenario among armchair executives in banking, finance and tech over the weekend is that Snap could make a bid for Twitter.

    To be clear, we have not heard any sources tell us that the two companies are in talks. And reached for comment, Snap said BLAH, and Twitter said BLEURGH (actually Snap didnt respond to a request for comment and Twitter declined to comment). But theres more logic than one might think in a potential tie-up.

    For starters, Twitter has had a not-so-hidden For Sale sign hanging on its front door for some time. Kara Swisher and Kurt Wagner at Re/code detailed the potential bidders last September. Interested buyers reported throughout the Fall of last year included just about everyone. At a price tag of roughly $18 billion, the deals would have been worth a stiff 60 percent premium to Twitters current valuation.

    At one point Apple, Disney, Microsoft, Salesforce and Google were all rumored to be interested in making a bid for Twitters twittering masses.

    If sold at the previously rumored $18 billion mark, Twitter would be a big bite for Snap to swallow, but not a complete impossibility. Notably, both firms have billions in cash, which could make a tie-up interesting from an accounting perspective. At the same time, $18 billion would constitute 56 percent of Snaps current valuation, using Google Finances tallies for both firms.

    Why is Twitter for sale? While the media-popular social network has a solid user base that has continued to grow, its growing at a glacial pace. Meanwhile, investors, especially public market investors, want to invest in rocket ships, not icebergs.

    In short, Twitters core product isnt growing usage quickly enough to drive a rising share price, regardless of its corporate financial performance.

    Dynamic duo?

    It isnt hard to summon a clutch of reasons why a Twitter-Snap link-up would prove interesting.

    Snap is already lining up strategic partnerships (and large investments) with big media companies like NBCUniversal, and live events like the Olympics are big part of that. Twitter has worked along similar lines to bring live sports content to its own platform.

    Snaps media play already has some points on its board. As NBCUniversals chief executive wrote in a memo to his staff first reported by Re/code:

    Most notably, we produced a pop-up Discover channel which featured Olympic content produced by BuzzFeed. Throughout the Rio Games, this content generated over two billion views. On the heels of that success, we are already planning an expanded partnership with Snapchat and BuzzFeed for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. Our entertainment programs have been among the first shows to launch a Snapchat series, including The Voice, SNL and E! News The Rundown. We expect to launch even more Snapchat shows with additional NBCU brands in the coming weeks.

    Buying Twitter would give Snap another live platform that draws millions of viewers from the blue birds big deal with the NFL. As others have written, sports content is going to be critical for Snaps success as a platform. And as Twitter makes a push into e-sports, it could open up another significant streaming market.

    (That both companies are working to bring sports video to a social network instead of bringing a social network to sports video is notable; theres likely a lesson in the move for other content verticals.)

    There are other potential advantages to buying Twitter from the Snap side of things. The company has different demographics from Snaps millennial media mavens, attracting users whose income doesnt necessarily depend on an allowance from mom and dad. SnapTwitter could pitch advertisers a way to reach individuals from their youth through to adulthood inside a single social entity.

    A Twitter buy also allows Snap to pitch products to a new demographic without diluting its brand: Snap could protect its dominance among millennials, while still expanding its reach without fear that a younger generation would leave the platform after seeing it overrun with olds.

    For Tom Goodwin, a senior vice president of digital strategy at Zenith Media, Twitter adds a thin layer of content that makes Snap more horizontal and lets it compete with some of the other players who approach content distribution in a more multi-pronged way. It moves from being a channel to a cross-channel player.

    Finally, Snaps acquisition could take the social networking fight to Facebook after being on the receiving end of several lumps from the social networking giant. A more visually minded Twitter could conceivably compete more aggressively with Instagram and be more of a challenge to Zuckerberg & co. on their own turf.

    Facebook itself is more than an explicit threat to Snap. Some observers expect that Snap will eventually monetize at Facebook-like ARPU levels. That seems difficult, given the per-user information advantage that Facebook enjoys over Snap. Twitter lies somewhere in-between, implying that it might be able to help Snap push its ARPU higher than it could on its own. Perhaps.

    A troubled union

    Positives aside, there are significant problems with any scenario in which Snap comes in as a White Knight for Twitters troubled social network.

    For one investor we spoke to, brand dollars are easier for a video-centric product like Snap to capture than Twitter. Whatever data Twitter has may also be meaningless for a company like Snap, the investor said. That could limit corporate synergies across ad budgets.

    Another executive in the media business opined that adding Twitter could open up usership and a new audience, but at an extremely high overhead; that opinion was seconded by a banker. For the deal to work, Snap would have to gut Twitters headcount and reduce its infrastructure costs, they both said (although, given the high cost of its own infrastructure and how that impacts its bottom line the Twitter buy could give Snap instant scale).

    For Snap to go down that path, there would need to be a turn in market sentiment with respect to their growth curve, the executive said of both companies.

    In fact, a Snap acquisition of Twitter would probably have been viewed more favorably if the deal was done while Snap was still a private company, the executive claimed.

    Beyond the problems with investors, Twitter has talent retention issues that have been widely reported in the media. Rapid-fire departures are either a vote of no-confidence in the business by those exiting, or an inability to manage the demands of keeping talent in place by management.

    Finally, there are Twitters well-documented problems with the developer community and its almost comical inability to make money off its active user base. For Snap, which has been pushing away its own influencers through heavy-handed tactics, it may not be a great bet to align itself with another poor talent manager.

    Still, the parlor game of who should buy Twitter continues to flit its way through the Valley. One investor friend thinks its Salesforces opportunity to lose, while another thinks the most likely buyer would be Softbanks still-forming multi-billion dollar fund or one of the big Chinese internet players (whod view the company as a massive foothold in the U.S. market).

    Impacts

    While the Snap-Twitter tie up has a number of potential positives and downsides, its worth keeping in mind that any marriage of the two platforms would only work to cement the winner-take-most style of the social space. Consider the companies both dying and dead that Snap left in its wake. If it consumed Twitter as well, the social landscape would constrict further at least in the United States to something approaching a duopoly.

    Capitalized messaging companies that have failed to raise capital in recent years total at least 12. That list of social startups has raised a combined $739 million to date. If they fail to find an exit, all that illiquid capital could disappear. And if Snap buys Twitter, the move could satiate its appetite for acquisitions for years to come.

    Big bites, etc. If Snap stops buying, who else might have enough capital and gumption to get purchasing? It isnt clear. Twitter could, therefore, act as a blocking agent in the event of a union with the younger Snap.

    Snap is the new kid, Facebook the big brother. If you already spurned your eldest sibling, perhaps a battlefield alliance with the middle child is a prudent possibility.

    The enemy of Zuck is my Jack?

    Alex Wilhelm is the editor-in-chief of CrunchBase News.

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    Osayi Emokpae Lasisi: 5 Reasons You Need Blog as an Entrepreneur – Bella Naija


    Bella Naija

    Osayi Emokpae Lasisi: 5 Reasons You Need Blog as an Entrepreneur
    Bella Naija
    When I wrote my first book, many people thought it was a miracle. They couldn't imagine how I had the time to write the book, especially since I was a practicing attorney at the time. They would always ask me how I even decided to write about that

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