provided to Variety. When his appeal was measured again in July, (before he released his video apology) it dropped to a 24 from a 39, what Henry Schafer, executive vice president of the Q Scores Company, called a “precipitous decline.”

Apple has delayed films before. In 2019, the company pushed back the release of one of its first feature films, “The Banker,” starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, after a daughter of one of the men whose life served as a basis of the film raised allegations of sexual abuse involving her family. The film was ultimately released in March 2020 after Apple said it reviewed “the information available to us, including the filmmakers’ research.”

Many in Hollywood are drawn to Apple for its willingness to spend handsomely to acquire prominent projects connected with established talent. But the company has also been criticized for its unwillingness to spend much to market those same projects. Two people who have worked with the company, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss dealings with Apple, said it usually created just one trailer for a film — a frustrating approach for those who are accustomed to the traditional Hollywood way of producing multiple trailers aimed at different audiences. Apple prefers to rely on its Apple TV+ app and in-store marketing to attract audiences.

Yet those familiar with Apple’s thinking believe that even if it chooses to release “Emancipation” this year, it will not feature the film in its retail outlets like it did for “CODA,” which in March became the first movie from a streaming service to win best picture. That achievement, of course, was overshadowed by the controversy involving Mr. Smith.

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Exclusive: With a Russian nudge, Turkey and Syria step up contacts

  • Any normalisation would reshape decade-long Syria war
  • Intelligence chiefs held meetings over last few weeks
  • Focused on Ukraine, Moscow urges political solution in Syria

ANKARA/BEIRUT, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Turkey’s intelligence chief has held multiple meetings with his Syrian counterpart in Damascus over the last few weeks, a sign of Russian efforts to encourage a thaw between states on opposite sides of Syria’s war, four sources said.

A regional source aligned with Damascus told Reuters that Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), and Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk met as recently as this week in the Syrian capital.

The contacts reflect a Russian policy shift as Moscow steels itself for a protracted conflict in Ukraine and seeks to secure its position in Syria, where its forces have supported President Bashar al-Assad since 2015, according to two Turkish officials and the regional source.

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Any normalisation between Ankara and Damascus would reshape the decade-long Syrian war.

Turkish backing has been vital to sustaining Syrian rebels in their last major territorial foothold in the northwest, after Assad defeated the insurgency across the rest of the country, aided by Russia and Iran.

But rapprochement faces big complications, including the fate of rebel fighters and millions of civilians, many of whom fled to the northwest to escape Assad’s rule.

Turkey, a NATO member country, has troops on the ground across the area, deemed occupying forces by Assad.

During the meetings, Fidan – one of President Tayyip Erdogan’s closest confidants – and Mamlouk evaluated how the two countries’ foreign ministers could eventually meet, according to a senior Turkish official and a Turkish security source.

“Russia wants Syria and Turkey to overcome their problems and achieve certain agreements…which are in the interest of everyone, both Turkey and Syria,” said the Turkish official.

One big challenge is Turkey’s desire to include Syrian rebels in any talks with Damascus, the official added.


The Turkish security official said Russia has gradually withdrawn some military resources from Syria in order to focus on Ukraine, and had asked Turkey to normalise relations with Assad to “accelerate a political solution” in Syria.

The Damascus-allied source said Russia had nudged Syria to enter talks as Moscow seeks to nail down its position and that of Assad in the event it must redeploy forces to Ukraine. Russia has sustained stunning losses on the ground in Ukraine over the past week.

The most recent meetings – including a two-day visit by Fidan to Damascus at the end of August – had sought to lay the ground for sessions at a higher level, the source said.

The senior Turkish official said Ankara does not want to see Iranian or Iran-backed forces – already widely deployed in government-controlled parts of Syria – plugging gaps left by Russian withdrawals.

The Turkish security official said neither did Russia want to see Iranian influence expand as it reduces its presence.

A diplomat based in the region said Russia had pulled a limited number of troops out of Syria’s south earlier this summer, particularly in areas along the border with Israel that were later filled by Iran-aligned forces.

While Fidan and Mamlouk have spoken intermittently over the last two years, the pace and timing of recent meetings suggests a new urgency to the contacts.

The regional source allied to Damascus and a second senior pro-Assad source in the Middle East said the Turkish-Syrian contacts had made a lot of progress, without giving details.

A third regional source aligned with Damascus said Turkish-Syrian relations had begun to thaw and were advancing to a stage of “creating a climate for understanding”.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the contacts, which have not been publicly disclosed.

The Russian foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkey’s MIT declined to comment and the foreign ministry did not immediately comment. The Syrian information ministry did not immediately reply to emailed questions from Reuters.


Turkish-Syrian rapprochement seemed unthinkable earlier in the Syrian conflict, which spiralled out of an uprising against Assad in 2011, killing hundreds of thousands of people, drawing in numerous foreign powers, and splintering the country.

Erdogan has called Assad a terrorist and said there could be no peace in Syria with him in office, while Assad has called Erdogan a thief for “stealing” Syrian land.

But in an apparent change of tone last month, Erdogan said he could never rule out dialogue and diplomacy with Syria. read more

Erdogan faces tight elections next year in which a key issue will be repatriating some of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees now in Turkey. read more

The Turkish-Syrian contacts come against the backdrop of a flurry of meetings between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, including one planned on Friday in Uzbekistan.

In July, Turkey helped seal a U.N.-backed deal that lifted a blockade on grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports which had prevailed since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbour.

After a recent visit to Moscow, Erdogan said Putin had suggested Turkey cooperate with Damascus along their joint border, where Ankara has waged several offensives into areas where Syrian Kurdish groups have carved out autonomy since 2011.

Turkey has been threatening to launch another offensive against the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, which Ankara deems a national security threat. Russia has signalled opposition to such an incursion.

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Reporting by Orhan Coskun in Ankara and Laila Bassam and Maya Gebeily in Beirut; writing by Tom Perry; editing by Jonathan Spicer and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Iran to join Asian security body led by Russia, China

Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev meets Iran’s counterpart Ebrahim Raisi ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan September 14, 2022. Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan/Handout via REUTERS

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DUBAI, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Iran has moved a step closer towards becoming a permanent member of a central Asian security body dominated by Russia and China, as Tehran seeks to overcome economic isolation imposed by U.S. sanctions.

Foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Thursday said Iran had signed a memorandum of obligations to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is holding a summit this week in Uzbekistan.

The body, formed in the 2001 as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan, with a view to playing a bigger role as counterweight to Western influence in the region.

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“By signing the document for full membership of the SCO, now Iran has entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation,” Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote on his Instagram page.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was in the Silk Road oasis of Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday to attend the summit. He held a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian state TV reported.

Last year, the central Asian security body approved Iran’s application for accession, while Tehran’s hardline rulers called on members to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West over its disputed nuclear programme.

Iran will now be able to take part in the body’s meetings, although it is likely to take some time to achieve full membership, deputy secretary-general of the organisation Grigory Logvinov told Russian state TV, which also reported the signing.

Iran’s economy has been hit hard since 2018, when then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, including Russia and China.

Months of indirect talks between Iran and U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration have hit a dead end over several obstacles to reviving the nuclear pact, under which Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The U.S. sanctions and growing concerns about an emerging, U.S.-backed Gulf Arab-Israeli bloc that could shift the Middle East balance of power further away from Tehran have prompted Iran’s clerical rulers to pursue closer economic and strategic ties with Russia, itself hit with sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

“Iran is determined to boost its ties with Russia, from economic to aerospace and political fields,” Raisi said during his meeting with Putin, according to Iranian state media.

“The cooperation between Tehran and Moscow can significantly neutralise the limitations imposed on our countries by the U.S. sanctions,” he said.

In July, just days after Biden visited Israel and Saudi Arabia, Putin visited Tehran in his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Putin said on Thursday that a delegation of 80 large companies will visit Iran next week, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported, in another sign of the growing ties with Iran. read more

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Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Ethereum’s Long-Awaited ‘Merge’ Reaches the Finish Line

The moment finally arrived, in the last minutes before midnight on the West Coast on Wednesday.

After years of delays, discussions and frantic experimentation, the popular cryptocurrency platform Ethereum completed a long-awaited software upgrade known as the Merge, shifting to a more environmentally sustainable framework.

Ethereum is arguably the most crucial platform in the crypto industry, a layer of software infrastructure that forms the basis of thousands of applications handling more than $50 billion in customer funds. The upgrade is expected to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption and set the stage for future improvements that will make the platform easier and cheaper to use.

Celebrations erupted on a YouTube livestream where engineers and researchers who worked on the Merge had gathered to mark the milestone. It was a rare moment of joy in a grim year for crypto that saw a devastating market crash drain nearly $1 trillion from the industry, forcing some prominent crypto companies into bankruptcy.

announced in August that it would pause certain Ethereum deposits and withdrawals during the Merge as a precautionary measure.

In interviews before the Merge, Ethereum developers said they had prepared for snags, though they downplayed the possibility of a systemwide collapse.

“I don’t want to claim everything will go perfectly without a hitch,” said Tim Beiko, who works for the Ethereum Foundation, a nonprofit that helps maintain the platform. “We’re kind of confident we won’t see network-level issues just because we’ve run through the thing so many times before.”

The technical details of the Merge are mind-bendingly complex. But, ultimately, the process boils down to a shift in how cryptocurrency transactions are verified.

In traditional finance, an exchange of funds involves an intermediary, like a bank, which verifies that one entity has enough money to make a payment to another.

Crypto was designed to eliminate such financial gatekeepers. So, early crypto engineers had to devise an alternative system to ensure that users had the funds they claimed to have. Their solution was called “proof of work.” Under that system, powerful computers run software that races to solve complex problems, verifying transactions in the process. The system is widely known as “mining” because the computers earn payments in cryptocurrency as rewards for the verification service.

Bitcoin, the original and most valuable cryptocurrency, runs on a proof-of-work system. And, until the Merge, so did Ethereum. But the process is environmentally draining: To run all those computers requires an enormous amount of energy.

The Merge shifts Ethereum to a verification system called “proof of stake” that uses less energy. Unlike proof of work, the new framework does not involve an energy-guzzling computational race. Instead, participants deposit (or “stake”) a certain amount of their crypto savings in a pool, which enters them in a lottery. Every time a crypto transaction requires approval, a winner is selected to verify the exchange and receive a reward.

By some estimates, Ethereum’s shift to proof of stake will reduce its energy consumption by more than 99 percent. And the project’s developers say the switch will make it easier to design future updates that minimize so-called gas fees — the costs of executing a transaction in Ether, the cryptocurrency associated with the Ethereum platform.

The process of shifting Ethereum to proof of stake required years of intense study and debate. The platform was founded in 2013 by a teenage software engineer, Vitalik Buterin, who remains one of the most influential people in the crypto industry. Ethereum is now run by a loose network of coders from around the world. For months, they have gathered on video calls streamed on YouTube to discuss the intricacies of the Merge.

The shift to proof of stake took so long partly because it required the construction of an entirely new blockchain — the public ledger where cryptocurrency transactions are recorded for all to see. That new chain, the Beacon Chain, was unveiled in December. A series of tests followed this year.

The Beacon Chain has now finally combined with the original Ethereum blockchain, signifying the “merge.”

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Insights on the HVAC Pump Global Market to 2030 – Market Income Will Be Bolstered by Rising Sustainability Trends Toward Energy Saving –

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The “HVAC Pump Market By Product Type, By End-User, By Pump Type: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2030” report has been added to’s offering.

The HVAC pumps market size was valued at $31,560.5 million in 2021, and is projected to reach $55,457.0 million by 2031, registering a CAGR of 5.7% from 2022 to 2031.

Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are increasingly being used to maximize energy in residential and business infrastructures. Exponential increase in population combined with the construction of new business centers such as offices, factories, warehouses, sports complexes, hospitality, and healthcare has prompted the deployment of compact and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. These building mechanical systems improve thermal comfort while also improving air quality, thus driving the growth of the global HVAC market.

The global HVAC pump market is expected to develop due to rapid urbanization and green building construction. The most frequent type of pump utilized in these systems for water circulation operations is a centrifugal pump. The main characteristics that make it a favorite choice in commercial and domestic businesses are cost-effectiveness, easy maintenance, and enhanced safety. HVAC pumps are commonly used to keep the flow rate and distribution systems in the HVAC unit and helps in running smoothly.

Market income will be bolstered by rising sustainability trends toward energy saving. HVAC systems account for over 30% of the energy consumed by commercial buildings. The use of 3D printing and computer modelling in HVAC pump manufacturing has resulted in tremendous growth potential for market players across the sector.

HVAC pumps can be found in nearly every sort of manufacturing facility, including textiles, chemicals, automotive, food processing, and forest products. For instance, in September 2021, Carrier China, a subsidiary of Carrier Global, teamed up with Huadian Corporation to provide centrifugal chillers for the Guangzhou Wanbo Central Energy Station in China.

The global HVAC market is segmented into pump type, product type, end user, and region. On the basis of pump type, the market is fragmented into booster pumps, circulating pumps, centrifugal pumps. By product type, it is divided into multi-stage and single stage. Depending on end user, it is segregated into industrial, residential, and commercial. Region wise, the global market analysis is conducted across North America (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico), Europe (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and rest of Europe), Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, India, South Korea, and rest of Asia-Pacific), and LAMEA (Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa).

Key Benefits For Stakeholders

Key Market Segments

By Product Type

By End-User

By Pump Type

By Region

Key Market Players

For more information about this report visit

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Turkish pop star’s arrest over religious schools quip stirs fierce criticism

Turkish pop star Gulsen performs during a concert in Aydin, Turkey March 27, 2022. Depo Photos via REUTERS/File Photo

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ANKARA, Aug 26 (Reuters) – The arrest of a Turkish pop star over a quip she made about religious schools has drawn a fierce response from critics of the government, who see it as bent on punishing those who oppose its conservative views.

Pop singer Gulsen was jailed on Thursday pending trial on a charge of incitement to hatred after a video of a remark which she made on stage in April was broadcast by a pro-government media outlet.

“He studied at an Imam Hatip (school) previously. That’s where his perversion comes from,” Gulsen says in a light-hearted manner in the video, referring to a musician in her band.

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President Tayyip Erdogan, whose Islamist-rooted AK Party first came to power some 20 years ago, himself studied at one of the country’s first Imam Hatip schools, which were founded by the state to educate young men to be imams and preachers.

Sabah, a pro-government newspaper, published the video on Wednesday, saying Gulsen had previously drawn criticism for “actions she displayed on stage, extremely low cut dresses and holding up an LGBT flag”.

Several ministers reacted to Gulsen’s words on Twitter, with Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag condemning what he called “primitive” remarks and an “antiquated mentality”.

“Inciting one part of society towards another using begrudging, hateful and discriminating language under the guise of being an artist is the biggest disrespect to art,” he wrote.

On Thursday, Gulsen apologised to anyone offended by her remarks, saying they were seized upon by some who want to polarise society.


Gulsen’s lawyer, Emek Emre, told Reuters her legal team had filed a challenge to the formal arrest decision on Friday, saying the process of her detention had been illegal and irregular from the start.

“We expect everything to be done as required by law. My hope and expectation is that this (arrest) decision will be overturned,” he said.

Thousands on social media spoke out in support of Gulsen, saying she was being targeted for her liberal views and support for LGBT+ rights.

“I think she is under arrest because she is a figure representing secular Turkey and an artist sensitive to giving support to the LGBTI movement,” said Veysel Ok, a lawyer and co-director of the Media and Law Studies Association.

“I think they were looking for an excuse to arrest her and found it with the quip four months ago,” he told Reuters in an interview in his Istanbul office.

In a rare move, several staunchly pro-government columnists criticised Gulsen’s arrest.

“Are we going to jail pending trial anyone who speaks nonsense? Let society dole out her punishment,” said Mehmet Barlas in his column in Sabah.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said the arrest was aimed at polarising society to keep Erdogan’s AK Party in power.

Erdogan and the AK Party say Turkish courts are independent.

The lawyer Ok said the case showed that on the contrary, the country’s judiciary is not independent, referring to the imprisonment of philanthropist Osman Kavala, pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas, and many other politicians and journalists over recent years.

“The Gulsen case has shown again that the Turkish judiciary is the biggest weapon of the government,” he said. “It makes you feel that if you live in a way other than that of those in power your life and freedom is in danger.”

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Additional reporting by Yesim Dikmen
Editing by Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Underground theatre: Ukraine actors return to stage in bomb shelter

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MYKOLAIV, Ukraine, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Actors in a heavily bombarded city in southern Ukraine have returned to the stage, putting on their first performance since Russia’s invasion in an underground shelter converted into a tiny theatre.

A few dozen theatre-goers descended steep concrete steps into the subterranean venue on Thursday for the opening night of a show put on by the Mykolaiv Art Drama Theatre. Their usual venue, an ornate 450-seater hall, has been closed due to the six-month war that has seen Mykolaiv, a strategic southern port, repeatedly targeted by Russia forces.

“Of course, many plays have been cancelled, because some male actors went away to fight, some went abroad as temporary refugees. So, our theatre company has become smaller,” said actress Violeta Mamykina, speaking in her cramped dressing room before going on stage.

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Theatre manager Artem Svystun described the performance as “art-therapy”, giving local people who have stayed on in the city some brief respite from the stress of the war.

Ievhen Studzinskyi, who was in the audience for Thursday night’s show, agreed.

“When I went outside, I said it plain and simple, ‘it was fun’,” he said. “There were tears. There was food for thought. There was a philosophy, depth. I felt really good.”

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Reporting by Umit Bektas; Writing by Andrii Pryimachenko and Alex Richardson; Editing by Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Green Cay Life Plan Village, Inc. Announces Plans for $250 Million Boynton Beach CCRC Senior Living Community

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Green Cay Life Plan Village, Inc., a Florida not-for-profit corporation, announced plans to develop a $250 million continuing care retirement community (CCRC) on a 15-acre site at Jog Road and Flavor Pict Road. Acquisition of the site sets the stage for a new generation luxury senior living offering in a market where demand is growing and land for new development is scarce.

Designed for a resort feel and all-inclusive lifestyle, plans call for approximately 200 residences (+/-170 independent living, 16 assisted living and 16 memory care) in a three-story, 340,000-square-foot building. The community will incorporate smart technologies throughout, wide-ranging amenities and services with a focus on hospitality, active lifestyles and wellness. Features include multiple dining options, a bar and bistro, fitness and wellness centers, yoga studio, salon, movie theater, multi-purpose spaces, a pool, patios and outdoor areas, as well as access to the adjacent Green Cay Nature Center.

Independent living residences will range from one- to three-bedrooms; assisted living apartments will include studio to two-bedroom options, and memory care will be provided for in studio apartments. CCRC buy-in costs are expected to begin in the mid-$600,000s. The to-be-named community, for residents 62+, is projected to break ground in 2024 for completion in 2026. A pre-sales office is planned to open in fourth quarter 2022.

Green Cay Life Plan Village, Inc. has engaged BRP Senior Housing Management LLC and Greenbrier Development LLC as co-developers for the project.

Delray Beach, FL-based BRP Senior Housing Management is an affiliate of private equity real estate firm Big Rock Partners (BRP). BRP’s $400 million senior living portfolio of more than 1,000 units includes Florida luxury rental communities Mariposa in suburban Lake Worth, Windsor at Celebration in the metro-Orlando area and Unisen Senior Living, a CCRC in Tampa.

Richard Ackerman, BRP Managing Partner, said, “The Baby Boomer generation’s higher expectations continue to redefine the next generation of senior living communities. With the County’s senior population growth, timing is right for this new upscale buy-in option that gives residents predictable costs for peace of mind.”

Ackerman spearheaded the novel approach of creating a not-for-profit corporation specifically to develop or redevelop a CCRC, enabling the use of tax exempt bonds to lower financing costs. Residents benefit since profits are reinvested in the community, helping to offset the costs of operations and future improvements.

Dallas, TX-based Greenbrier Development LLC, in addition to a co-development role, will market and manage Green Cay. The company is currently responsible for developing and/or marketing 25 senior living communities in the U.S. and has provided strategic consulting services to more than 100 senior living communities and providers since 2006.

Ziegler, a specialty investment bank, underwrote a $36 million dollar Bond Anticipation Note issued through the Palm Beach County Health Facilities Authority for the $18.6 million land acquisition and soft costs.

The community’s location is within two miles of multiple shopping, cultural and recreational alternatives and within 5-10 miles of downtown Delray Beach, the Boynton Beach Art District, 20 golf courses, two hospitals, as well as the 100-plus acre Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands.

Two firms with extensive senior living experience have been engaged by the development team – Dallas-based PRDG, a boutique architectural firm, and Fort Lauderdale-based Moss & Associates as design and pre-construction consultant.

To learn more about Green Cay Life Plan Village, visit

About Big Rock Partners

Delray Beach, FL-based Big Rock Partners is a private real estate equity firm that has invested in and managed over $1 billion in assets. Its affiliate BRP Senior Housing Management is a vertically integrated firm with capabilities in development, renovation, operation and restructuring, and expertise in both rentals and CCRCs. Big Rock’s senior living properties, in well-located, sought-after areas, are built and operated to support the changing needs of seniors with a continuum of care and an enriching lifestyle that promotes wellness, utilizes smart technology and incorporates first-class amenities.

About Greenbrier Development

Dallas, Texas-based Greenbrier Development provides comprehensive planning, development and management services for the senior living industry throughout the United States. With more than 150 years combined experience in the senior housing and Life Plan Community development arena, Greenbrier principals have been involved in developing some of the industry’s leading senior living communities. Collectively, the team has participated in the planning, financing, development, and marketing of more than $3 billion in senior housing developments, including some of the largest and most exclusive communities in the country, with individual project budgets ranging from $10 million to over $300 million.

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Long War Looms, Officials Say, Despite Ukraine’s Defiant Message

Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine — Even as the Ukrainian government sought to bolster the nation’s resolve with defiant commemorations of its Independence Day, military leaders tried to brace the public for a long, bloody slog ahead as Russia appeared to be aiming to strengthen its grip on Ukrainian territory it has seized.

“It’s going to be very difficult; it’s not going to be easy,” the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said in an interview aired Wednesday with Radio Liberty, a U.S.-funded independent news organization. “And if someone thinks that we have already passed some kind of Rubicon and that the rest will be like clockwork, unfortunately, it will not be.”

The Russian Ministry of Defense has said it was slowing the pace of its military campaign — a reflection, Western military analysts say, of the Kremlin’s need to explain the lack of military progress at home after going weeks without gaining significant new ground in Ukraine.

But Moscow continues to rain rocket strikes on the country, including on Wednesday, when two dozen people were killed in an attack on a train station in the east. And the United States warned that Moscow may try to stage “sham” referendums, possibly as soon as this weekend, in order to provide a veil of legitimacy as it moves to annex parts of the country under its control.

“We expect Russia to try to manipulate the results of these referenda under the false claim of the Ukrainian people wanting to join Russia,” John F. Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, told reporters on Wednesday. “It will be critical to call out and counter this disinformation in real time.”

He did not offer more detail on why the United States thinks referendums could move so quickly, or what effect such a move could have on efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has previously said he would end talks with Russia if Moscow holds referendums in occupied areas.

The Ukrainian government has been urging people living under occupation to resist pressure to participate in the referendums. Its network of partisan fighters have stepped up their attacks on local Russian proxy administrations.

The Ukrainian military’s southern command said on Thursday that “local resistance prevents the Russians from taking organizational measures to prepare a fake demonstration of will.”

The concern about Moscow’s referendum planning underscores the steep challenges Ukraine faces as it seeks to translate losses it has recently inflicted against Russian forces into successfully regaining territory. Moscow is now estimated to control some 20 percent of Ukraine.

Strikes against ammunition depots and command centers — along with the work of partisans targeting Russian occupation forces behind enemy lines — are part of a counteroffensive as the Ukrainians seeks to both degrade Russian forces and sow chaos.

But as Mr. Zelensky and other leaders have vowed that Ukraine will win the war, they have also repeatedly urged Ukrainians living under Russian occupation to be patient.

Ukrainian forces have yet to make any major push to drive the Russians from occupied territory, and officials have said they understand they have a limited amount of time to take advantage of Russia’s apparent struggles. And Ukraine, too, has lost fighters and equipment, as its civilians have suffered through frequent Russian strikes.

Mr. Danilov said the hardest days may yet lie ahead.

“We will have a big war with this country,” he said, “and we will have to put a lot of effort in order to win.”

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What Will Happen to Black Workers’ Gains if There’s a Recession?

Black Americans have been hired much more rapidly in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns than after previous recessions. But as the Federal Reserve tries to soften the labor market in a bid to tame inflation, economists worry that Black workers will bear the brunt of a slowdown — and that without federal aid to cushion the blow, the impact could be severe.

Some 3.5 million Black workers lost or left their jobs in March and April 2020. In weeks, the unemployment rate for Black workers soared to 16.8 percent, the same as the peak after the 2008 financial crisis, while the rate for white workers topped out at 14.1 percent.

Since then, the U.S. economy has experienced one of its fastest rebounds ever, one that has extended to workers of all races. The Black unemployment rate was 6 percent last month, just above the record low of late 2019. And in government data collected since the 1990s, wages for Black workers are rising at their fastest pace ever.

first laid off during a downturn and the last hired during a recovery.

William Darity Jr., a Duke University professor who has studied racial gaps in employment, says the problem is that the only reliable tool the Fed uses to fight inflation — increasing interest rates — works in part by causing unemployment. Higher borrowing costs make consumers less likely to spend and employers less likely to invest, reducing pressure on prices. But that also reduces demand for workers, pushing joblessness up and wages down.

“I don’t know that there’s any existing policy option that’s plausible that would not result in hurting some significant portion of the population,” Mr. Darity said. “Whether it’s inflation or it’s rising unemployment, there’s a disproportionate impact on Black workers.”

In a paper published last month, Lawrence H. Summers, a former Treasury secretary and top economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, asserted with his co-authors that the Fed would need to allow the overall unemployment rate to rise to 5 percent or above — it is now 3.5 percent — to bring inflation under control. Since Black unemployment is typically about double that of white workers, that suggests that the rate for Black workers would approach or reach double digits.

The Washington Post and an accompanying research paper, Jared Bernstein — now a top economic adviser to President Biden — laid out the increasingly popular argument that in light of this, the Fed “should consider targeting not the overall unemployment rate, but the Black rate.”

Fed policy, he added, implicitly treats 4 percent unemployment as a long-term goal, but “because Black unemployment is two times the overall rate, targeting 4 percent for the overall economy means targeting 8 percent for blacks.”

news conference last month. “That’s not going to happen without restoring price stability.”

Some voices in finance are calling for smaller and fewer rate increases, worried that the Fed is underestimating the ultimate impact of its actions to date. David Kelly, the chief global strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, believes that inflation is set to fall considerably anyway — and that the central bank should exhibit greater patience, as remnants of pandemic government stimulus begin to vanish and household savings further dwindle.

“The economy is basically treading water right now,” Mr. Kelly said, adding that officials “don’t need to put us into a recession just to show how tough they are on inflation.”

Michelle Holder, a labor economist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, similarly warned against the “statistical fatalism” that halting labor gains is the only way forward. Still, she said, she’s fully aware that under current policy, trade-offs between inflation and job creation are likely to endure, disproportionately hurting Black workers. Interest rate increases, she said, are the Fed’s primary tool — its hammer — and “a hammer sees everything as a nail.”

having the federal government guarantee a job to anyone who wants one. Some economists support less ambitious policies, such as expanded benefits to help people who lose jobs in a recession. But there is little prospect that Congress would adopt either approach, or come to the rescue again with large relief checks — especially given criticism from many Republicans, and some high-profile Democrats, that excessive aid in the pandemic contributed to inflation today.

“The tragedy will be that our administration won’t be able to help the families or individuals that need it if another recession happens,” Ms. Holder said.

Morgani Brown, 24, lives and works in Charlotte, N.C., and has experienced the modest yet meaningful improvements in job quality that many Black workers have since the initial pandemic recession. She left an aircraft cleaning job with Jetstream Ground Services at Charlotte Douglas International Airport last year because the $10-an-hour pay was underwhelming. But six months ago, the work had become more attractive.

has recently cut back its work force. (An Amazon official noted on a recent earnings call that the company had “quickly transitioned from being understaffed to being overstaffed.”)

Ms. Brown said she and her roommates hoped that their jobs could weather any downturn. But she has begun hearing more rumblings about people she knows being fired or laid off.

“I’m not sure exactly why,” she said.

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