Ten states, however, have adopted their own laws that specify which patients, based on their income and family size, qualify for free or discounted care. Among them is Washington, where Providence is based. All hospitals in the state must provide free care for anyone who makes under 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that threshold is $83,250 a year.

In February, Bob Ferguson, the state’s attorney general, accused Providence of violating state law, in part by using debt collectors to pursue more than 55,000 patient accounts. The suit alleged that Providence wrongly claimed those patients owed a total of more than $73 million.

Providence, which is fighting the lawsuit, has said it will stop using debt collectors to pursue money from low-income patients who should qualify for free care in Washington.

But The Times found that the problems extend beyond Washington. In interviews, patients in California and Oregon who qualified for free care said they had been charged thousands of dollars and then harassed by collection agents. Many saw their credit scores ruined. Others had to cut back on groceries to pay what Providence claimed they owed. In both states, nonprofit hospitals are required by law to provide low-income patients with free or discounted care.

“I felt a little betrayed,” said Bev Kolpin, 57, who had worked as a sonogram technician at a Providence hospital in Oregon. Then she went on unpaid leave to have surgery to remove a cyst. The hospital billed her $8,000 even though she was eligible for discounted care, she said. “I had worked for them and given them so much, and they didn’t give me anything.” (The hospital forgave her debt only after a lawyer contacted Providence on Ms. Kolpin’s behalf.)

was a single room with four beds. The hospital charged patients $1 a day, not including extras like whiskey.

Patients rarely paid in cash, sometimes offering chickens, ducks and blankets in exchange for care.

At the time, hospitals in the United States were set up to do what Providence did — provide inexpensive care to the poor. Wealthier people usually hired doctors to treat them at home.

wrote to the Senate in 2005.

Some hospital executives have embraced the comparison to for-profit companies. Dr. Rod Hochman, Providence’s chief executive, told an industry publication in 2021 that “‘nonprofit health care’ is a misnomer.”

“It is tax-exempt health care,” he said. “It still makes profits.”

Those profits, he added, support the hospital’s mission. “Every dollar we make is going to go right back into Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Alaska and Montana.”

Since Dr. Hochman took over in 2013, Providence has become a financial powerhouse. Last year, it earned $1.2 billion in profits through investments. (So far this year, Providence has lost money.)

Providence also owes some of its wealth to its nonprofit status. In 2019, the latest year available, Providence received roughly $1.2 billion in federal, state and local tax breaks, according to the Lown Institute, a think tank that studies health care.

a speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures.”

Ms. Tizon, the spokeswoman for Providence, said the intent of Rev-Up was “not to target or pressure those in financial distress.” Instead, she said, “it aimed to provide patients with greater pricing transparency.”

“We recognize the tone of the training materials developed by McKinsey was not consistent with our values,” she said, adding that Providence modified the materials “to ensure we are communicating with each patient with compassion and respect.”

But employees who were responsible for collecting money from patients said the aggressive tactics went beyond the scripts provided by McKinsey. In some Providence collection departments, wall-mounted charts shaped like oversize thermometers tracked employees’ progress toward hitting their monthly collection goals, the current and former Providence employees said.

On Halloween at one of Providence’s hospitals, an employee dressed up as a wrestler named Rev-Up Ricky, according to the Washington lawsuit. Another costume featured a giant cardboard dollar sign with “How” printed on top of it, referring to the way the staff was supposed to ask patients how, not whether, they would pay. Ms. Tizon said such costumes were “not the culture we strive for.”

financial assistance policy, his low income qualified him for free care.

In early 2021, Mr. Aguirre said, he received a bill from Providence for $4,394.45. He told Providence that he could not afford to pay.

Providence sent his account to Harris & Harris, a debt collection company. Mr. Aguirre said that Harris & Harris employees had called him repeatedly for weeks and that the ordeal made him wary of going to Providence again.

“I try my best not to go to their emergency room even though my daughters have gotten sick, and I got sick,” Mr. Aguirre said, noting that one of his daughters needed a biopsy and that he had trouble breathing when he had Covid. “I have this big fear in me.”

That is the outcome that hospitals like Providence may be hoping for, said Dean A. Zerbe, who investigated nonprofit hospitals when he worked for the Senate Finance Committee under Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa.

“They just want to make sure that they never come back to that hospital and they tell all their friends never to go back to that hospital,” Mr. Zerbe said.

The Everett Daily Herald, Providence forgave her bill and refunded the payments she had made.

In June, she got another letter from Providence. This one asked her to donate money to the hospital: “No gift is too small to make a meaningful impact.”

In 2019, Vanessa Weller, a single mother who is a manager at a Wendy’s restaurant in Anchorage, went to Providence Alaska Medical Center, the state’s largest hospital.

She was 24 weeks pregnant and experiencing severe abdominal pains. “Let this just be cramps,” she recalled telling herself.

Ms. Weller was in labor. She gave birth via cesarean section to a boy who weighed barely a pound. She named him Isaiah. As she was lying in bed, pain radiating across her abdomen, she said, a hospital employee asked how she would like to pay. She replied that she had applied for Medicaid, which she hoped would cover the bill.

After five days in the hospital, Isaiah died.

Then Ms. Weller got caught up in Providence’s new, revenue-boosting policies.

The phone calls began about a month after she left the hospital. Ms. Weller remembers panicking when Providence employees told her what she owed: $125,000, or about four times her annual salary.

She said she had repeatedly told Providence that she was already stretched thin as a single mother with a toddler. Providence’s representatives asked if she could pay half the amount. On later calls, she said, she was offered a payment plan.

“It was like they were following some script,” she said. “Like robots.”

Later that year, a Providence executive questioned why Ms. Weller had a balance, given her low income, according to emails disclosed in Washington’s litigation with Providence. A colleague replied that her debts previously would have been forgiven but that Providence’s new policy meant that “balances after Medicaid are being excluded from presumptive charity process.”

Ms. Weller said she had to change her phone number to make the calls stop. Her credit score plummeted from a decent 650 to a lousy 400. She has not paid any of her bill.

Susan C. Beachy and Beena Raghavendran contributed research.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

ADDING MULTIMEDIA Cornerstone Building Brands CEO Rose Lee Named 2022 Pinnacle Award Recipient by Asian American Business Development Center

CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cornerstone Building Brands, the largest manufacturer of exterior building products in North America, today announced that President and CEO Rose Lee was named a 2022 Pinnacle Award recipient by the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC). The Pinnacle Award recognizes individuals widely acknowledged as leaders in their fields and at the top of their professional careers. It is the highest honor of the AABDC’s annual Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Awards program. As a Pinnacle Award recipient, Lee joins a prestigious group of more than 30 prominent Asian American business leaders who have been recognized since the award’s inception in 2004.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized alongside such accomplished peers. As the AABDC marks its 21st anniversary, this award underscores the dedication and impact of Asian American business leaders across many industries,” said Lee. “I draw strength from this community as I work to ensure the continued success of Cornerstone Building Brands and advance the contribution and visibility of Asian American business leaders. I also congratulate my fellow Pinnacle Award winner, Reshma Kewalramani, and all the 2022 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award recipients.”

“Rose Lee is an accomplished member of a select group of CEOs who are not just Asian Americans, but also female. Rose is accustomed to being one of the few, whether as an aerospace engineer or steadily rising through the business leadership ranks in manufacturing industries traditionally dominated by men,” said John Wang, founder and president of the Asian American Business Development Center. “AABDC is pleased to have selected Rose for the Pinnacle Award in 2022. I know she works tirelessly to shine in her leadership role while striving to close the gender gap in her industry and to promote a workplace that is diverse and equitable.”

Lee has served as President and CEO and a member of the board of directors of Cornerstone Building Brands since September 2021. Lee is the first female Korean American CEO of a Fortune 1000 company and will chair The Manufacturing Institute’s Women MAKE America Initiative in 2023, where she currently serves as vice chair. She is also an independent board member of Honeywell and was recently named to the National Association of Manufacturers board of directors.

Prior to joining Cornerstone Building Brands, Lee was President of DuPont Water & Protection reporting segment. Earlier in her career, Lee held senior leadership positions at Saint-Gobain, Booz Allen & Hamilton and Pratt & Whitney.

About Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC)

The Asian American Business Development Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1994. It assists Asian American businesses in strengthening their capacity to compete in the mainstream market, to expand business opportunities and to promote recognition of Asian American businesses’ contributions to the general economy.

About Cornerstone Building Brands

Cornerstone Building Brands is the largest manufacturer of exterior building products by sales for residential and low-rise non-residential buildings in North America. Headquartered in Cary, N.C., we serve residential and commercial customers across the new construction and repair and remodel markets. Our market-leading portfolio of products spans vinyl windows, vinyl siding, stone veneer, metal roofing, metal wall systems and metal accessories. Cornerstone Building Brands’ broad, multichannel distribution platform and expansive national footprint includes more than 20,000 employees at manufacturing, distribution and office locations throughout North America. Corporate stewardship and environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibility are embedded in our culture. We are committed to contributing positively to the communities where we live, work and play. For more information, visit us at www.cornerstonebuildingbrands.com.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Putin Alludes to China’s ‘Concerns’ Over Ukraine War

Credit…Pool photo by Alexandr Demyanchuk/Sputnik

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Thursday that Moscow understood that China had “questions and concerns” about the war in Ukraine — a notable, if cryptic, admission from Mr. Putin that Beijing may not fully approve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He made the remark as he met with Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, in Uzbekistan. China has staked out a neutral position on the invasion publicly, even as it has echoed the Kremlin’s rhetoric about Russia’s being treated unfairly by the West and as China’s propaganda apparatus has parroted Russian disinformation about Western bioweapons.

The summit, meant to signal the strength of the relationship between the two authoritarian leaders at a time of increasing animosity with the West and challenges to their agendas, is particularly important to Mr. Putin, who has become more isolated by the United States and its allies over his invasion of Ukraine. Russia has also faced a spate of recent losses on the battlefield.

“We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Mr. Putin said in televised remarks at the start of the meeting. “We understand your questions and concerns in this regard. During today’s meeting, of course, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have spoken about this before.”

After the meeting, China released a statement saying that “China is ready to work with Russia in extending strong support to each other on issues concerning their respective core interests.” It said that “in the face of changes in the world, times, and history, China is willing to work with Russia to demonstrate the responsibility of a major country, play a leading role, and inject stability into a turbulent world.”

The transcript did not have any comment from Mr. Xi regarding Ukraine or the threat posed by NATO. Mr. Putin, by contrast, railed against the “unipolar,” American-led world order that he sees Beijing and Moscow aligned against.

“We jointly stand for the formation of a just, democratic and multipolar world order based on international law and the central role of the U.N., and not on some rules that someone has come up with and is trying to impose on others, without even explaining what it’s about,” Mr. Putin told Mr. Xi. “In general, I must say that the attempts to create a unipolar world have recently acquired an absolutely ugly shape and are absolutely unacceptable for the vast majority of states on the planet.”

One of the core principles of Chinese foreign policy, repeated again in official statements from Mr. Xi’s meetings this week with Central Asian heads of state, is that countries should not intervene in others’ internal affairs and should respect one another’s borders.

Mr. Xi, who is under pressure as China’s zero-Covid policy hurts the economy, needs to project power in the weeks before a meeting of the country’s Communist Party leadership.

The two held talks on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a multilateral, security-focused organization that includes China, Russia, India, Pakistan and four Central Asian nations.

Chinese support is important to Russia. China bought record levels of Russian oil in May, June and July. But Beijing has been careful to avoid violating sanctions on Russia that could lead to it being punished as well.

Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi last met in February, before the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. In a 5,300-word statement, they declared a friendship with “no limits” and criticized the influence of the United States in their regions.

For Mr. Xi, the meeting is also a chance to resume his role as a global statesman.

As he tries to build up a regional power base, Mr. Xi went to Kazakhstan on Wednesday for a brief stop at the start of his trip before heading to Uzbekistan in the evening. Mr. Xi used a 2013 trip to the country to announce a vast international investment and development program that became known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

LoadSpring Solutions and Blattner Technologies Announce Strategic Investment Agreement

BURLINGTON, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LoadSpring Solutions, Inc., the enterprise market leader in project platform solutions, has accepted a strategic majority interest investment from Blattner Technologies. Blattner Technologies is on a mission to be the leading provider of Predictive TransformationTM services and tools in the data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning industries.

LoadSpring’s partnership with Blattner Technologies aligns with our industry focus on digital transformation and advancing data usability, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Blattner’s focus on AI and predictive technologies will help lead to our customers’ next generation of advancement.

“Today’s investment announcement will enable LoadSpring to rapidly expand its vision of driving the project controls industry to a future where it aspires to be. This new partnership, including the additional board membership, will accelerate our platform development and AI/analytics technology innovation to enable faster geographic and industry expansion, truly unlocking LoadSpring’s potential. Together, our expertise in providing global cloud solutions for project-based organizations and our new partner’s expertise in building companies will provide next-generation solutions for our customers,” states Eric Leighton, President and CEO of LoadSpring Solutions, Inc.

Blattner Technologies’ CEO Russ Blattner says, “LoadSpring has the resources and tools to complement the list of companies Blattner Technologies is acquiring in our mission to build a predictive transformation model that takes our customers from the basics of data management and analytics to operationalizing AI/ML and true predictive analytics throughout an organization.”

LoadSpring’s global office locations and executive management teams will remain in place, with Eric Leighton continuing in his leadership role as President and CEO. Blattner Technologies representatives Russ Blattner and John Leschorn, along with Terrance Berland, co-founder of Unicorn & Lion, LLC, will join the LoadSpring Board of Directors, providing operational and technology vision to drive customer solutions into the future.

“This investment combines secure technology infrastructure and next-generation tools and analytics to create a truly distinctive solution offering for customers. This is an industry trend that will continue as organizations better understand the power of controlling and mining their data and look for partners that can bring them complete solutions, not just pieces,” says Terrance Berland, a member of the Forbes Technology Council.

About Blattner Technologies

Nashville, TN Blattner Technologies – Building on a 115-year legacy of innovation by the Blattner family of companies, Blattner Technologies is on a mission to be the leading provider of Predictive TransformationTM services and tools in the data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning industries.

About LoadSpring

Founded in 1999, LoadSpring is a global project management provider obsessed with offering advanced managed cloud services. LoadSpring delivers expert project management and control solutions, fast data and business intelligence access, and hundreds of best-of-breed project-based applications. Data safety is assured through SOC 2 Type II security certification, providing an impenetrable cloud environment. LoadSpring customers and partners get higher productivity and ROI through our proprietary project platform while reducing the burden on their IT departments.

For more information, contact Stacey Witt at switt@loadspring.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

PGT Innovations celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week with gifts and fanfare across its family of brands

NORTH VENICE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PGT Innovations (NYSE: PGTI), a national leader in the premium window and door category, is commemorating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week with five days full of gifts and fanfare for team members across its family of brands.

The annual holiday is September 11 through September 17 this year and celebrates the hard work and commitment of the 3.6 million truck drivers across the country who deliver the goods and resources that keep our nation moving forward, as well as keep our highways safe.

PGT Innovations is proud to have 158 Class A CDL truck drivers who deliver products from its family of brands to businesses and construction sites across the country. Since the start of 2022, the company’s team of dedicated drivers have covered over 3.5 million miles.

To show their appreciation, PGT Innovations will be thanking their drivers with goodie bags, coffee, and donuts on Monday; with snacks, drinks, a certificate of appreciation, and an on-site breakfast on Tuesday; with breakfast sandwiches and a PGT Innovations branded truck driver appreciation t-shirt on Wednesday; with $50 gas gift cards, snacks, and drinks on Thursday; and with two movie tickets, a coupon for free popcorn and a drink, and the driver’s car washed by area high school students on Friday.

The festivities will take place at the main manufacturing facilities for CGI Windows & Doors®, PGT® Custom Windows + Doors, Western Window Systems, Anlin Windows & Doors, Eco Window Systems®, and NewSouth Window Solutions, located in Hialeah, FL; Venice, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Clovis, CA; Medley, FL; and Tampa, FL, respectively.

“I can’t express enough how much I truly appreciate each and every one of our drivers and the culture of care they act with every day,” said PGT Innovations President and CEO Jeff Jackson. “PGT Innovations wouldn’t be where we are today without these hard-working team members who share an unwavering dedication to always driving our company forward. Our drivers have a commitment to excellence, as well as pride in their trade, and I am thankful to have these individuals as part of our PGTI family.”

PGT Innovation’s drivers are also stewards of their community – for decades, stepping forward and volunteering to travel through hurricane-ravaged areas to deliver essential, disaster-relief items to communities that have been devastated by storms. And within the past few years, they have embraced the opportunity to undergo Highway Heroes training, which taught them how to spot the signs of human trafficking across motorways and report it.

Earlier this year, PGT Innovations was recognized for its efforts to end human trafficking by the Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody by being named a founding member of the 100 Percent Club. This statewide initiative invites business owners to commit to training 100 percent of their workforce to spot instances of human trafficking through the Highway Heroes training. To date, every single PGTI driver has completed the training and is an official Highway Hero, and the company has now expanded the anti-human trafficking training to field service and sales teams.

Last year, PGT Innovations also addressed the national shortage of CDL drivers by collaborating with FleetForce Truck Driving School to offer its own in-house driver certification training course for its existing team members. Instructors from FleetForce lead the course by guiding a group of team members through a full week of classroom learning at PGT Innovations’ Venice campus, followed by three weeks of driving instruction in a controlled parking lot.

About PGT Innovations, Inc.

PGT Innovations manufactures and supplies premium windows and doors. Its highly engineered and technically advanced products can withstand some of the toughest weather conditions on Earth and are revolutionizing the way people live by unifying indoor and outdoor living spaces.

PGT Innovations creates value through deep customer relationships, understanding the unstated needs of the markets it serves, and a drive to develop category-defining products. PGT Innovations is also the nation’s largest manufacturer of impact-resistant windows and doors and holds the leadership position in its primary market.

The PGT Innovations’ family of brands include CGI®, PGT® Custom Windows and Doors, WinDoor®, Western Window Systems, Anlin Windows & Doors, Eze-Breeze®, NewSouth Window Solutions, and a 75 percent ownership stake in Eco Window Systems®. The company’s brands, in their respective markets, are a preferred choice of architects, builders, and homeowners throughout North America and the Caribbean. Their high-quality products are available in custom and standard sizes with massive dimensions that allow for unlimited design possibilities in residential, multi-family, and commercial projects. For additional information, visit www.pgtinnovations.com.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Solar America Continues Industry Leadership With Inc. 5000 2022 Award Ranking

DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solar America, the leading solar and alternative energy company, has been recognized as one of America’s fastest-growing companies with a coveted spot on the Inc. 5000 2022 rankings. America’s leading provider of solar, smart home, and security solutions, the accolade is the result of impressive and continued growth during the past three years.

The award recognizes Solar America’s outstanding growth and success by ranking the company at a time when the U.S. solar industry saw record solar and energy storage demand in 2021 despite concerns over supply chain interruptions and tariff investigations. As a result, Solar America has had one of its most successful years in business.

Solar America operates a national marketplace for solar, partnering with the top solar installers in the nation. The company connects people to the clean energy marketplace by giving them choices. More information is at https://solaramerica.io/.

The list represents a one-of-a-kind look at the most successful companies within the economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent businesses. Each of the companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 have achieved consistent substantial successful revenue growth and demonstrated distinctive resilience amid supply chain woes, labor shortages, and the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Among the top 500 companies on the list, the average median three-year revenue growth rate soared to 2,144 percent. Together, those companies added more than 68,394 jobs over the past three years. First published in 2007, the rankings were built on of the success of the publisher’s famous Inc. 500 list of top companies, first introduced in 1982. Complete results of the Inc. 5000 can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

The accomplishment of building one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., in light of recent economic roadblocks, cannot be overstated,” says Scott Omelianuk, editor-in-chief of Inc. “Inc. is thrilled to honor the companies that have established themselves through innovation, hard work, and rising to the challenges of today.”

The Inc. 5000 ranking is now a sought-after hallmark of entrepreneurial success that is often compared with the famous Fortune 500 list and has previously honored leading household brand names including Pandora, 7-Eleven, Zipcar, and Zappos.com and has become a distinguished editorial awards presentation, a celebration of innovation, and an effective public relations showcase. First published in 2007, the rankings were built on of the success of the publisher’s famous Inc. 500 list of top companies, first introduced in 1982.

About Solar America

Headquartered in Denver, CO, Solar America operates a national marketplace for solar, partnering with the top solar installers in the nation. The company connects people to the clean energy marketplace by giving them choices. More information is at https://solaramerica.io/.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Live Updates: Charles Is Officially Proclaimed King

LONDON — Swiftly taking on the mantle of Britain’s monarch, King Charles III returned to London from Scotland on Friday, a day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, to pledge that he would serve the British people “with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life.”

The king’s speech capped a day of mourning across Britain, but it was also a vivid demonstration of continuity in this constitutional monarchy. He met with the new prime minister, Liz Truss, just four days after the queen anointed her at Balmoral Castle, in the last official act of her seven-decade reign.

“Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived, a promise with destiny kept,” Charles said in a televised address that was at once dignified and deeply emotional, a son’s grieving eulogy for his mother and a sovereign’s solemn oath of duty.

Recalling Elizabeth’s vow, on her 21st birthday, to serve her people for the remainder of her life, “whether it be long or short,” the 73-year-old king declared, “I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.”

As king, Charles will no longer be able to throw himself into the charity work or the policy issues, like climate change, that occupied him during his long wait for the throne. Instead, he will shoulder his mother’s unique burden: imperial symbol of the United Kingdom, but a largely ceremonial figure, strictly removed from politics.

Charles’s ascent also marks a new chapter in the relationship between Britain’s head of state and its head of government — one that, under the queen, stretched back to Winston Churchill, her first prime minister. And it augured a new royal style, led by a king who has signaled he wants to reshape his family’s role in British life.

A glimmer of that new approach surfaced on Friday afternoon when Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla, arrived at Buckingham Palace. The king jumped out of his vintage Rolls-Royce to engage in some distinctly democratic glad-handing, more typical of a politician on the campaign trail than a member of royalty.

To cries of “God save the king,” Charles shook hands, clasped elbows, and even accepted a peck on the cheek from the iPhone wielding well-wishers lined up outside the palace. Then he and Camilla lingered to look at the flowers and cards laid at the wrought-iron fence, before turning to walk into their new home.

Credit…James Hill for The New York Times

Once inside, the king recorded his nine-and-a-half minute address in the blue drawing room, a photo of the queen on the desk beside him. He made some news, bestowing his old title, Prince of Wales, on his eldest son and heir, William.

The king’s words were piped into St. Paul’s Cathedral, echoing under its cavernous dome where Britain’s political establishment gathered for a service of thanksgiving for the queen, who died on Thursday at Balmoral, her summer retreat, at the age of 96.

The rituals were the start of 10 days of ceremony that will strike some as charming and others as hopelessly out of date. Next up is an Accession Council, convened on Saturday to formally designate Charles as the king, followed by a proclamation, to be read from the balcony of the Friary Court by the Garter King of Arms. The mourning rituals will culminate with a state funeral in Westminster Abbey, the first since Churchill’s in 1965.

In London and other parts of the realm, it was a day replete with tributes to the queen. Bells pealed at St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, and Windsor Castle. Artillery guns roared in Hyde Park, the Tower of London, on the island of Jersey, and in the shadow of the Rock of Gibraltar. In the House of Commons, the members stood in a minute’s silence, a rare stillness blanketing their often-raucous chamber.

Credit…Mary Turner for The New York Times

Opening the tributes in Parliament, Ms. Truss hailed the queen as “the nation’s greatest diplomat.” She recalled watching Elizabeth charm a meeting of global business executives last year. “She was always so proud of Britain and always embodied the spirit of our great country,” Ms. Truss said.

The prime minister heralded the dawn of a new Carolean age, a phrase previously used to refer to the reign of Charles II from 1660 to 1685. Praising Charles III’s commitment to issues like environmental protection, she said, “We owe him our loyalty and devotion.”

Her recently deposed predecessor, Boris Johnson, noted wryly that the queen “saw off her 14th prime minister,” after he submitted his resignation to her at Balmoral on Tuesday. “She was as radiant and knowledgeable and fascinated about politics as ever I remember,” Mr. Johnson said of their leave-taking.

Mr. Johnson, now speaking from the backbench, recalled that at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, the leader of a Middle Eastern country asked if the queen really had jumped out of a helicopter, wearing a pink dress, and parachuted into the stadium — a memorable live stunt that cemented her status as a pop-cultural phenomenon.

Later in the afternoon, Ms. Truss traveled to Buckingham Palace for her first face-to-face meeting with the king. Neither the palace nor Downing Street disclosed details of the session, though it was not hard to imagine they discussed the energy crisis and soaring inflation that is gripping the country — Ms. Truss’s most daunting challenges as she takes up the job.

If history is any guide, the relationship between the new king and Ms. Truss will remain opaque. The queen never discussed the advice she gave her prime ministers, and the prime ministers have been uniformly tight-lipped about what goes on during their weekly audiences at Buckingham Palace.

Credit…James Hill for The New York Times

Charles, however, has never been shy about voicing his views on climate change, organic farming, architecture, or other favorite issues. When candidates for the Conservative Party leadership began raising doubts in July about Britain’s ambitious target to reach “net zero” in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Charles got involved in the debate, seizing on the record-setting temperatures set during a heat wave.

“Those commitments around net zero have never been more vitally important as we all swelter under today’s alarming record temperatures across Britain and Europe,” he said in a statement.

Given the obligation of the monarch to stay out of politics, Charles will now have to keep those opinions to himself. But that does not mean he cannot seek to influence policies in his private discussions with Ms. Truss, said Vernon Bogdanor, a professor of government at King’s College London.

“He’s got a lot more experience than this prime minister because he’s mixed with senior politicians for decades,” Professor Bogdanor said. “That’s the reverse of the position the young queen was in with Winston Churchill.”

Harold Hongju Koh, an American legal scholar who has taught at Oxford University, said the monarchy acts as a kind of “balance wheel” for the government, stabilizing the ship of state if its political leaders tip it too far in one direction.

“The Charles-Truss dynamic will inevitably unfold very differently from that of Elizabeth-Boris,” said Professor Koh, who teaches at Yale Law School. “The balance between the partners will inevitably get struck in a different place.”

For the king, the transition has also reinforced his partnership with his wife, Camilla, who made her public debut on Friday as the queen consort. It is a title her mother-in-law wished her to have. In marking her 70 years on the throne last February, the queen anticipated this moment of transition. She appealed in a personal statement for Britons to open their hearts to Camilla, as well as to Charles.

Credit…Mary Turner for The New York Times

“When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me,” the queen wrote. “It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”

That settled a longstanding, delicate question about how the former Camilla Parker-Bowles would be known when Charles acceded to the throne. The two were romantically involved before and during Charles’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales. He and Diana later divorced, and Charles married Camilla. He then pursued a subtle but persistent campaign to recognize her as queen consort once he was king.

In his speech, Charles said, “I count on the loving help of my darling wife, Camilla.” But he saved his final words for his mother. Quoting from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the king said, “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Chile Votes on Constitution That Would Enshrine Record Number of Rights

SANTIAGO, Chile — Voters in Chile on Sunday could transform what has long been one of Latin America’s most conservative countries into one of the world’s most left-leaning societies.

In a single ballot, Chileans will decide whether they want legal abortion; universal public health care; gender parity in government; empowered labor unions; greater autonomy for Indigenous groups; rights for animals and nature; and constitutional rights to housing, education, retirement benefits, internet access, clean air, water, sanitation and care “from birth to death.”

It is perhaps the most important vote in the 204-year history of this South American nation of 19 million — a mandatory, nationwide plebiscite on a written-from-scratch constitution that, if adopted, would be one of the world’s most expansive and transformational national charters.

legalized divorce only in 2004, would suddenly have more rights enshrined in its constitution than any other nation. If they reject it, Chile would have little to show for what had once been seen as a remarkable political revolution.

the new administration of President Gabriel Boric, a tattooed, 36-year-old former student-protest leader who took office in March, but has quickly faced plummeting approval ratings amid rising inflation and crime. The constitution would enable Mr. Boric to carry out his leftist vision, while rejection could mire his term in more political fighting about what to do next.

A year ago, most Chileans would have bet that the country would embrace the proposed constitution. There has long been widespread discontent with the current constitution, which has roots in the brutal dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 until 1990.

In 2019, nationwide protests that left 30 people dead led Chile’s political leadership to grant a referendum on the constitution. A year later, nearly four out of five Chileans voted to replace it.

banned all forms of abortion until 2017, when it legalized the procedure only in cases of rape, an unviable fetus or a threat to the mother’s life.

some of the most expansive rights for Indigenous people anywhere, according to experts.

protesting in a Pikachu costume. Seventeen seats also went to Indigenous people.

Leftists won more than two-thirds of the convention’s seats, putting them in full control of the process since a two-thirds majority was necessary to add measures.

The motley crew deciding Chile’s future drew unwanted attention at times. There was the woman who gave a speech bare-chested and the man who left his camera on while showering during a remote vote. Many voters felt that the convention was not taking the process seriously.

“The behavior of the convention members pushed people away the most,” said Patricio Fernández, a leftist writer who was a convention member.

In recent months, Chileans have been bombarded with marketing from the “apruebo” and “rechazo” campaigns, some of it misleading, including claims that the constitution would allow abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy and ban homeownership.

On Thursday night, each side held closing rallies. Hundreds of thousands of “apruebo” supporters packed downtown Santiago and watched concerts by famous Chilean music acts, from rap to Andean folk.

“I’ve already lived, but I want deep change for the children of Chile,” said María Veloso, 57, who runs a food stand.

In a wealthier part of town, in a hillside amphitheater named after the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, a much smaller crowd gathered to mark their campaign to reject the leftist text. (Mr. Neruda, ironically, was a communist.) Hundreds of people waved Chilean flags and danced to an act impersonating the flamboyant Mexican singer Juan Gabriel.

“Here in Chile, they’re defending dogs more than babies,” said Sandra Cáceres Ríos, 50, an herb seller.

Regardless of the vote’s outcome, there is more political negotiating ahead. In the case of approval, Chile’s Congress, which is ideologically split, will be tasked with figuring out how to implement many of the changes. Lawmakers could try to significantly limit the scope or impact of some policies, such as abortion or Indigenous rights, by passing laws interpreting the constitution’s language in a narrow way.

Ultimately, the real effect of many provisions would probably be determined by the courts.

If the text is rejected, Mr. Boric, Chile’s president, has said that he would like to see a new convention draft another proposed charter.

He would, in other words, like to try it all again.

Pascale Bonnefoy and Ana Lankes contributed reporting from Santiago, Chile.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

U.N. Inspectors Gauge Risks at Nuclear Plant as Ukraine and Russia Trade Accusations

Credit…Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The bitterness and acrimony from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spilled onto the tennis courts of the U.S. Open again Thursday as Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3.

Kostyuk, who has been outspoken in her belief that players from Russia and Belarus should be barred from the sport, refused to shake Azarenka’s hand after her defeat, opting only to tap rackets with Azarenka when it was over.

In April, Kostyuk and several other players from Ukraine called for ruling organizations of tennis to ask players from Russia and Belarus if they supported the war and to denounce it if they did not. In the absence of declarations against the war, Kostyuk and the other Ukrainian players said the players from Russia and Belarus should be barred from any international event.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal, and that time is now,” the statement from the players said.

Speaking with journalists at a news conference after the match, Kostyuk explained that she had no interest in shaking hands with players who had not spoken out publicly against the brutality of the war. She also criticized players from Russia and Belarus for not reaching out to players from Ukraine, several of whom have not been able to go home since Russia invaded their country in February.

Kostyuk texted Azarenka before the match to tell her she would not be shaking her hand after the match, but the two did not speak beforehand.

It was the second time in two weeks that Kostyuk went after Azarenka, who in years past made multiple appearances with President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus. Last week, Kostyuk pushed officials from the United States Tennis Association to prohibit Azarenka from participating in an exhibition to benefit relief efforts in Ukraine. On Thursday, she defended those actions, saying it would have been akin to having a German attend a benefit for European Jews during World War II.

Azarenka had planned to participate in the benefit until Kostyuk and other players from Ukraine protested.

Shortly after Kostyuk spoke Thursday, Azarenka held her own news conference and defended her actions. She said she had reached out to players from Ukraine but had sent the messages through intermediaries with the WTA Tour, which she helps run as a member of its Players’ Council.

“I’ve had a very clear message from the beginning, that I’m here to try to help, which I have done a lot,” Azarenka said. “Maybe not something that people see. And that’s not what I do it for. I do it for people who are in need, juniors who need clothes, other people who need money or other people who needed transportation or whatever. That’s what is important to me, to help people who are in need.”

Azarenka said if Kostyuk wanted to speak with her, she was “open any time to listen, to try to understand, to sympathize.” She added, “I believe that empathy in the moment like this is really important.”

Tensions among players from the warring countries have been mounting for months.

Iga Swiatek of Poland, the world No. 1, who has held her own fund-raiser for relief efforts in Ukraine and who has condemned the invasion, said the sport’s leaders missed an opportunity to manage those tensions when the war first broke out.

“Right now, it’s kind of too late, I think, to fix that,” Swiatek said Thursday. “Right now, it’s easy to say that maybe there was lack of leadership, but at that time I didn’t know what to do either.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

U.K. Energy Price Cap to Rise 80%, Regulator Says

Energy prices paid by most British households are set to rise 80 percent this fall, putting further pressure on consumers squeezed by higher prices and posing a daunting challenge for the next prime minister.

A big jump in energy bills had been forecast for weeks, but the specific numbers released Friday morning by Britain’s energy regulator — a typical British household would pay 3,549 pounds (about $4,200) over a year for electricity and natural gas, from the current £1,971 — hit like a thunderclap in a country already reeling from double-digit inflation.

It is the latest economic blow to European consumers and businesses as the war in Ukraine stretches already tight markets for energy.

54 percent rise in April.

The news of the price increases came during a moment of deep political drift in Britain, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson preparing to leave office and his Conservative Party preoccupied by a contest to replace him. Mr. Johnson has left it for his successor to craft a response to the skyrocketing energy costs.

The front-runner to replace Mr. Johnson, Liz Truss, has promised targeted aid to help those hardest hit by higher bills, though she has steadfastly refused to detail her plans. She and her opponent, Rishi Sunak, both reject more sweeping measures, like using state subsidies to freeze the energy price cap for two years.

Consumer prices in Britain rose 10.1 percent last month from a year earlier, the fastest pace in 40 years, squeezing household budgets. The Bank of England has predicted that inflation would peak at 13 percent in October as the new energy prices turn up in household bills. Other estimates are higher; analysts at Citi have said the rate could reach as high as 18 percent next year.

“The pressure on stretched households will only intensify, and the calls for support will get ever louder,” wrote Martin Young, a utility analyst at Investec, a financial services firm, in a recent note to clients. Mr. Young expects another jump, to £4,210, in January.

The price hikes and how to deal with them have become a hot subject of political discourse in Britain and across Europe. While the British government has offered a package that includes £400 per household to help residents with soaring bills, a wide range of politicians, consumer advocates and energy executives now say that more forceful intervention is needed to cushion households from the surge in energy costs.

Recently, Britain’s opposition Labour Party said that it would freeze energy tariffs where they are now, paying part of the £29 billion cost by increasing the so-called windfall taxes that the Conservative government imposed earlier this year on oil and gas giants operating in the North Sea.

The main component in Ofgem’s calculations was a more than doubling of wholesale electricity and natural gas costs. These account for about 70 percent of the new price cap.

Coping with increases of such magnitude is beyond the scope of Ofgem, whose role is to protect consumers from profiteering by suppliers, Mr. Brearley said. “The truth is this is beyond the capacity of the industry and the regulator to address,” he added.

Looking to the race for the next prime minister, Mr. Brearley called on the winning candidate to intervene decisively in the energy markets.

“What I am clear about is the prime minister with his or her ministerial team will need to act urgently and decisively to address this,” he said. “The outlook for the winter without any action looks very difficult indeed.”

The leadership contest has been dominated by Ms. Truss’s promise to cut taxes, which is popular with the rank-and-file Conservative Party members who will vote for the next prime minister. But economists say it will do little to protect the most vulnerable people from the ravages of soaring energy bills.

With another hefty price increase looming in October, the public outcry over energy costs is likely to haunt the next prime minister. Unless the government develops an effective response, some analysts said, the issue could cripple the government and tilt the next election to the Labour Party.

The peculiar nature of Britain’s price cap system, analysts said, also amplifies the sticker shock from rising increases.

“We have a sort of worst-of-both-worlds system,” said Jonathan Portes, a professor of a professor of economics and public policy at Kings College London. “Household prices are related to the spot market, and we sort of save up price increases and dump them on households all at once.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<