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Kidnappers in Haiti Demand $17 Million to Free Missionary Group

Once a relatively small criminal operation that operated in the countryside and trafficked in stolen cars, the gang expand its criminal activities in the chaotic months following the president’s assassination, said Mr. Jean, the human rights group director. By forging alliances with other armed groups, it was able to control an area stretching from the east of Port-au-Prince to the border with the Dominican Republic — a territory so vast that the police are unable to pursue gang members.

“The police are in a situation of powerlessness,” Mr. Jean said.

The 400 Mawozo gang accounted for 60 percent of the kidnappings from July to September, Mr. Jean said. They are held responsible for kidnapping five priests and two nuns this year, and are also believed to have killed Anderson Belony, a well-known sculptor who had worked to improve his community, according to local news reports.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the State Department was working with the F.B.I., the Haitian national police, churches and other groups to get the hostages released. But he noted that the kidnappings were “also indicative of a larger problem, and that is a security situation that is, quite simply, unsustainable.”

Mr. Blinken said the United States would continue to support the Haitian police and community programs in their efforts to stem gang violence. “But it’s a very challenging, and long-term process,” he said.

Gangs have gained so much power that they have taken on a nearly institutional role in some communities, said Mr. Vorbe, the political party leader, substituting for the police or providing basic services like road cleaning.

“​​They have stepped in for the state,” he said.

The growing gang presence, and now the attack on a group of missionaries, have cast a pall over other aid organizations and projects in the country.

In Fond Parisien, about 20 minutes from where the kidnapping took place, is another mission project called Redeemed Vocational School, which teaches trades like auto mechanics, sewing, and computer skills. The group had been planning to build a larger school building, but the violence has made it harder to travel and get supplies, said Kenlyn Miller, 46, the chairman of the school’s board in Gambier, Ohio.

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The Economic Rebound Is Still Waiting for Workers

Some businesses seem determined to wait them out. Wages have risen, but many employers appear reluctant to make other changes to attract workers, like flexible schedules and better benefits. That may be partly because, for all their complaints about a labor shortage, many companies are finding that they can get by with fewer workers, in some instances by asking customers to accept long waits or reduced service.

“They’re making a lot of profits in part because they’re saving on labor costs, and the question is how long can that go on,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist for the employment site ZipRecruiter. Eventually, she said, customers may get tired of busing their own tables or sitting on hold for hours, and employers may be forced to give into workers’ demands.

Some businesses are already changing how they operate. When Karter Louis opened his latest restaurant this year, he abandoned the industry-standard approach to staffing, with kitchen workers earning low wages and waiters relying on tips. At Soul Slice, his soul-food pizza restaurant in Oakland, Calif., everyone works full time, earns a salary rather than an hourly wage, and receives health insurance, retirement benefits and paid vacation. Hiring still hasn’t been easy, he said, but he isn’t having the staffing problems that other restaurants report.

Restaurant owners wondering why they can’t find workers, Mr. Louis said, need to look at the way they treated workers before the pandemic, and also during it, when the industry laid off millions.

“The restaurant industry didn’t really have the back of its people,” he said.

Still, better pay and benefits alone won’t bring back everyone who has left the job market. The steepest drop in labor force participation came among older workers, who faced the greatest risks from the virus. Some may return to work as the health situation improves, but others have simply retired.

And even some nowhere near retirement have made ends meet outside a traditional job.

When Danielle Miess, 30, lost her job at a Philadelphia-area travel agency at the start of the pandemic, it was in some ways a blessing. Some time away helped her realize how bad the job had been for her mental health, and for her finances — her bank balance was negative on the day she was laid off. With federally supplemented unemployment benefits providing more than she made on the job, she said, she gained a measure of financial stability.

Ms. Miess’s unemployment benefits ran out in September, but she isn’t looking for another office job. Instead, she is cobbling together a living from a variety of gigs. She is trying to build a business as an independent travel agent, while also doing house sitting, dog sitting and selling clothes online. She estimates she is earning somewhat more than the roughly $36,000 a year she made before the pandemic, and although she is working as many hours as ever, she enjoys the flexibility.

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Emma Raducanu is the new face of Dior

Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

Emma Raducanu has been named a Dior ambassador just over a month after winning the women’s singles title at the 2021 US Open.

The 18-year-old British tennis star will represent the womenswear collections of French luxury fashion house as well as its skincare and makeup categories. Ahead of the announcement on Tuesday, Raducanu was spotted at the world premiere of the James Bond film “No Time to Die” in September wearing a Grecian style gown designed by Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri for the Cruise 2022 collection.

Emma Raducanu at the "No Time To Die" premiere in Dior.

Emma Raducanu at the “No Time To Die” premiere in Dior. Credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

In an interview with British Vogue, Raducanu expressed how meaningful the red carpet event was to her. “Being able to wear a dress like that made with all the magic in the Dior ateliers was a totally unique experience,” she said. “The detailed embroidery was exceptional and I was so honoured to attend my first movie premiere in it.”

Raducanu shot to fame following her strong showing at Wimbledon this past summer, then stunned the tennis world when she won the US Open as a newcomer, beating out 19-year-old Canadian tennis player Leylah Fernandez in the finals. She is the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title.

Raducanu was a wild card to win the US Open title this year.

Raducanu was a wild card to win the US Open title this year. Credit: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Dior gig isn’t Raducanu’s first foray into the fashion world. She made her Met Gala debut last month in a printed black-and-white Chanel ensemble before signing on with Tiffany & Co. as an ambassador to the famed jewelry brand. Now, she’ll be working with Churi as well as Peter Philips, who helms Dior’s skincare and makeup lines.

Other recently named famous ambassadors for the brand include K-pop star Jisoo and actor Yara Shahidi.

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Instant Reaction: Housing Starts, October 19, 2021

New home construction fell modestly, 1.6% in September from the prior month, but the year-to-date activity is solidly higher by 17% compared to 2020 and by 23% compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019. More housing inventory will therefore steadily emerge. Newly constructed homes are generally larger in size and more expensive than existing homes, and not geared toward first-time buyers. Nonetheless, more supply of these homes allows trade-up buyers to make their move and in the process place their previous homes on the market. In addition to construction, more inventory will appear as the mortgage forbearance program is winding down. The current mortgage default rate of at least three months is running high at 3.5% compared to less than 1% before the pandemic. However, foreclosures have been at historic lows so far due to the forbearance support. The default rate will certainly fall as long as the economy continues to generate jobs, but the end of the federal support program inevitably means some homeowners will need to sell. This will be another source of housing inventory.

The listing count across the country is still below one year ago and near record lows. Based on increased home construction and from the ending of the mortgage forbearance program, more inventory will appear next year compared to this year.

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The Austin Bungalow Had Charm. But It ‘Needed Everything.’

Ricardo and Daphny Ainslie happened upon the house that would become their home while strolling the North University neighborhood of Austin, Texas, in 2009 and noticing a dejected-looking man outside a compact 1920s bungalow.

“There was a realtor sitting, literally with head in hand, on the front steps,” said Mr. Ainslie, 72, a psychology professor at University of Texas at Austin who is also a writer, filmmaker and musician.

After striking up a conversation, the agent told them that a prospective buyer had just canceled a contract to buy the house. “The reason ended up being that they found so many problems,” Mr. Ainslie said, including issues with the foundation, plumbing and wiring.

PFA Design Group, on a second-floor addition of about 600 square feet that would include two bedrooms. And while the house was under construction, they decided, they would take the opportunity to overhaul the ground floor, too.

Liz MacPhail, an interior designer whom they had met at their sons’ preschool, which Ms. MacPhail’s children also attended. The project began when the Ainslies won a design consultation with Ms. MacPhail at a school fund-raiser auction, and continued when that initial meeting evolved into a yearslong relationship.

“I have to say, I was a little skeptical,” said Mr. Ainslie, who wondered if they really needed a designer’s help. “But the minute she came in and started showing us her ideas, she won me over. I thought, wow, she’s got such a great aesthetic and great eye.”

Before long, Ms. MacPhail had devised a plan to keep as many original details as possible, while moving a few walls and doorways to make the ground floor feel less awkward.

“My passion is really old homes and saving them so that they can work really hard for the next hundred years,” Ms. MacPhail said. “We think about how we can get these homes to support the ways we live now, while touching them minimally. It’s finding that balance between change and preservation.”

When they decided, for example, to cut a new doorway from the living room to a hallway and to cover up one of two doorways that led directly into the children’s bedroom, they disguised the changes by retaining and reusing the home’s shiplap paneling, which already had a cobbled-together look. And they expanded the kitchen by pushing into a space that was previously a screened porch.

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5 things to know before the stock market opens Tuesday

Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:

1. Stock futures jump after S&P 500, Nasdaq log 4-day win streaks

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), October 12, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

2. Dow stocks J&J and P&G each fall after earnings

A healthcare clinician prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for a commuter during the opening of MTA’s public vaccination program at the 179th Street subway station in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, U.S., May 12, 2021.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Johnson & Johnson said in Tuesday’s earnings report that it sold $502 million of its Covid vaccine in the third quarter. Per-share profit exceeded expectations, while revenue fell short. The Dow stock fell in the premarket. The New York Times reports the FDA is expected to clear J&J and Moderna boosters and allow mix-and-match shots this week. Then the CDC will weigh in. Pfizer boosters were authorized last month.

Bottles of Tide detergent, a Procter & Gamble product, are displayed for sale in a pharmacy on July 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Shares of Procter & Gamble, also a Dow component, fell more than 1% in the premarket after the consumer products giant on Tuesday reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue in its fiscal first quarter. However, higher costs were a drag on profit, which was slightly lower than the same quarter a year ago. Revenue grew just 5%.

3. Bitcoin pushes higher again ahead of first bitcoin ETF launch

Bitcoin on display.

Chesnot | Getty Images

Bitcoin rallied again Tuesday, trading above $62,000 and approaching April’s all-time highs near $65,000. With a summer slump that sent bitcoin briefly below $29,000 in the rear view, traders have been powering the world’s largest cryptocurrency higher in advance of Tuesday’s launch of the first U.S. bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund. ProShares said Monday its futures-based Bitcoin Strategy ETF will list under the ticker BITO. Four more ETF providers are hoping to move forward with trading this month. A second futures-based ETF could come as soon as this week.

4. SEC says brokers are making trading into a game to lure investors

A person wearing a protective mask exits from a GameStop Corp. store at a mall in San Diego, California, on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The SEC said online brokerages, enticed to increase revenue through the controversial industry practice of payment for order flow, are turning stock trading into a game in order to encourage activity from retail investors. Wall Street’s main regulator on Monday released its highly anticipated report on the GameStop mania earlier this year. It detailed how the trading frenzy went down and raised red flags on a number of issues, including the back-end payments that brokerages receive, gamification of trading, as well as disclosures on short sales. But it stopped short of laying blame on a single cause or entity. GameStop shares, already up nearly 900% in 2021, were higher in the premarket.

5. 10-year Treasury yield ticks higher ahead of housing report

New townhomes are under construction while building material supplies are in high demand in Tampa, Florida, May 5, 2021.

Octavio Jones | Reuters

Bond yields rose Tuesday ahead of a key report on the U.S. housing market. The 10-year Treasury yield was trading around 1.6% in the lead-up to the government’s 8:30 a.m. ET release of its latest data on new residential construction. Economists expect September housing starts to dip 0.3% after a strong 3.9% increase in the prior month. Building permits are seen falling 3.4% in September after a 6% advance the prior month. While August overall was strong, U.S. single-family homebuilding fell for a second straight month as builders continued to struggle with shortages of materials and labor.

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Feast Your Eyes: Maximalist Midcentury Modern Condo Is Listed in Palm Springs

The move-in ready unit is now on the market for $850,000. And while the blush-colored 1960 Caddy visible in the listing photos isn’t part of the deal, you could always make an offer.

Collectors of midcentury modern furniture (and cars), the current owners purchased the property in 2018 for a mere $260,000.

However, this corner unit with mountain views wasn’t in great shape back then—it had been a rental and was in need of some serious TLC.

It sits in Canyon View Estates, a condo community that’s a quintessential Palm Springs property. Built in 1963, the development was designed by the legendary architect William Krisel and built by a well-known local developer, Roy Fey.

The owners made a number of improvements to the 1,708-square-foot dwelling, including a new roof, new electrical, and new ceramic tile on the floors. Inside, the residence’s two bathrooms have been completely made over and now pay a spectacular homage to the 1960s.

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Every space is filled with carefully curated pieces, such as an Arne Jacobsen egg chair, Eero Saarinen stools, and a Harry Bertoia bird chair. Bold pops of color and serious style combine to create a feast for the eyes. Decor and finishes were curated by the owner, who is a professional interior designer.


Watch: California’s Priciest Property Is Incredibly Perched Above the Pacific Ocean


Feast Your Eyes: Maximalist Midcentury Modern Condo Is Listed in Palm Springs appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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Spin Master Spins Up $100 Million Venture Fund To Back Games, Toys, Entertainment Startups

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