Two United States Army Veterans Awarded New Mortgage-Free Homes in Houston Through PulteGroup’s Built to Honor® Program

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a celebratory dedication event, U.S. Army Sergeant James Ford and U.S. Army Specialist Kisha Dorsey were presented with the keys to their brand-new, mortgage-free Pulte homes in the Windrow community located in Hockley, Texas. The two homes were awarded through PulteGroup’s Built to Honor® program, which provides the gift of a new home to deserving veterans and their families.

After being surprised with the life-changing news that they were selected to receive a new home late last year, and breaking ground in February, Sergeant Ford and Specialist Dorsey saw their completed homes for the very first time during the dedication event. With family, friends and community members in attendance, the ceremony featured performances by the local Waller High School cheerleaders, drumline and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and a special appearance by County Commissioner Precinct 4 Jack Cagle to present each veteran with a prized seedling from the Muster Oak, a historical landmark in La Grange, Texas.

It’s a tremendous honor to welcome Sergeant Ford and Specialist Dorsey to their new homes as a token of our appreciation for their service to our country,” said Lindy Oliva, president of PulteGroup’s Houston division. “We are grateful for the generous support of Operation Homefront, Sempra, Four Hands and all of our trade partners and suppliers who made these homes possible.”

Each veteran received a brand-new 1,500+ square foot single-family home with three bedrooms and two baths. As an extra surprise for the Ford and Dorsey families, the homes were fully furnished, complete with personalized kids’ rooms and well-stocked kitchens. The décor and furniture items were graciously donated by Four Hands, a global designer and wholesaler of trend-forward home furnishings, based in Austin, Texas.

We are honored to partner with PulteGroup to make these new houses feel like home,” said Candace Bridges, Four Hands Chief People Officer. “At Four Hands, we are committed to giving back to our local communities and are proud to support veterans and their families in this new chapter of their lives.”

PulteGroup partnered with Operation Homefront to award the homes to Sergeant Ford and Specialist Dorsey. Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so that they can thrive – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.

PulteGroup’s longstanding commitment to our important mission through their Built to Honor program has literally opened the doors for many military families to realize their dreams of homeownership,” said retired Brig. Gen. John I. Pray, Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. “We are grateful for PulteGroup’s continued support and are proud to stand alongside them, our partners at Sempra, and all those who made this special day possible for the Ford and Dorsey families.”

Construction of the homes was made possible through the generous support of Sempra, a leading energy infrastructure company serving nearly 40 million consumers worldwide, with operations in the Houston area. The award is part of a broader commitment by Sempra and its family of companies to improve lives and help build stronger, more resilient communities.

We are grateful for the opportunity to continue advancing a better future for all, especially the futures of these two veterans and their families, as we recognize their service and sacrifices by providing a path to homeownership,” said Mitch Mitchell, senior vice president of diversity and community partnerships for Sempra. “It is an honor to support these veterans and work with Operation Homefront and Pulte Group to provide new homes and strengthen the Texas communities we serve.”

About Built to Honor®

PulteGroup’s Built to Honor® program recognizes and thanks returning military personnel who have been injured during their term of service by providing mortgage-free homes to veterans and their families. Launched in 2013, the program has built and donated more than 70 homes across the country. Built to Honor works in partnership with nonprofit organizations to identify veteran candidates. For more information about Built to Honor, go to builttohonor.org. Follow Built to Honor on Twitter: @BuiltToHonor and Facebook.com/BuiltToHonor.

About PulteGroup

PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM), based in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of America’s largest homebuilding companies with operations in more than 40 markets throughout the country. Through its brand portfolio that includes Centex, Pulte Homes, Del Webb, DiVosta Homes, American West and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, the company is one of the industry’s most versatile homebuilders able to meet the needs of multiple buyer groups and respond to changing consumer demand. PulteGroup’s purpose is building incredible places where people can live their dreams.

For more information about PulteGroup, Inc. and PulteGroup brands, go to pultegroup.com; pulte.com; centex.com; delwebb.com; divosta.com; jwhomes.com; and americanwesthomes.com. Follow PulteGroup, Inc. on Twitter: @PulteGroupNews.

View Source

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

Ukraine pleads for air defence as Russia turns sights on Lysychansk

  • This is not an accidental hit, Zelenskiy says of strike on mall
  • Russian attack on frontline eastern city kills eight: Ukraine
  • G7 leaders promise nearly $30 billion in new aid for Kyiv

KREMENCHUK, Ukraine, June 27 (Reuters) – Russian missiles struck a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, as Moscow fought for control of a key eastern city and Western leaders promised to support Kyiv in the war “as long as it takes”.

More than 1,000 people were inside when two Russian missiles slammed into the mall in the city of Kremenchuk, southeast of Kyiv, Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram. At least 16 people were killed and 59 injured, Ukraine’s emergency services said. Rescuers trawled through mangled metal and debris for survivors.

“This is not an accidental hit, this is a calculated Russian strike exactly onto this shopping centre,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an evening video address, adding there were women and children inside. He said the death count could rise.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Russia has not commented on the strike, which was condemned by the United Nations and Ukraine’s Western allies. But its deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, accused Ukraine of using the incident to gain sympathy ahead of a June 28-30 summit of the NATO military alliance.

“One should wait for what our Ministry of Defence will say, but there are too many striking discrepancies already,” Polyanskiy wrote on Twitter.

As night fell in Kremenchuk, firefighters and soldiers brought lights and generators to continue the search. Family members, some close to tears and with hands over their mouths, lined up at a hotel across the street where rescue workers had set up a base.

Kiril Zhebolovsky, 24, was looking for his friend, Ruslan, 22, who worked at the Comfy electronics store and had not been heard from since the blast.

“We sent him messages, called, but nothing,” he said. He left his name and phone number with the rescue workers in case his friend is found.

The United Nations Security Council will meet Tuesday at Ukraine’s request following the attack on the shopping mall. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the attack was “deplorable”.

Leaders of the Group of Seven major democracies, gathered for their annual summit in Germany, condemned what they called an “abominable” attack.

“We stand united with Ukraine in mourning the innocent victims of this brutal attack,” they wrote in a joint statement tweeted by the German government spokesperson. “Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held to account.”

Dmyto Lunin, governor for Poltava which includes Kremenchuk, said it was the most tragic day for region in more than four months of war.

“(We) will never forgive our enemies … This tragedy should strengthen and unite us around one goal: victory,” Lunin said on Telegram.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, Ukraine endured another difficult day following the loss of the now-ruined city of Sievierodonetsk after weeks of bombardment and street fighting.

Russian artillery was pounding Lysychansk, its twin across the Siverskyi Donets River. Lysychansk is the last big city still held by Ukraine in the eastern Luhansk province, a main target for the Kremlin after Russian troops failed to take the capital Kyiv early in the war.

A Russian missile strike killed eight and wounded 21 others in Lysychansk on Monday, the area’s regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said. There was no immediate Russian comment.

Ukraine’s military said Russia’s forces were trying to cut off Lysychansk from the south. Reuters could not confirm Russian reports that Moscow’s troops had already entered the city.

‘AS LONG AS IT TAKES’

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” to rid the country of far-right nationalists and ensure Russian security. The war has killed thousands, sent millions fleeing and laid waste to cities.

During their summit in Germany, G7 leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, said they would keep sanctions on Russia for as long as necessary and intensify international pressure on President Vladimir Putin’s government and its ally Belarus.

“Imagine if we allowed Putin to get away with the violent acquisition of huge chunks of another country, sovereign, independent territory,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC.

The United States said it was finalising another weapons package for Ukraine that would include long-range air-defence systems – arms that Zelenskiy specifically requested when he addressed the leaders by video link on Monday. read more

In his address to the G7 leaders, Zelenskiy asked again for more arms, U.S. and European officials said. He requested help to export grain from Ukraine and for more sanctions on Russia.

The G7 nations promised to squeeze Russia’s finances further – including a deal to cap the price of Russian oil that a U.S. official said was “close” – and promised up to $29.5 billion more for Ukraine. read more

“We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” a G7 statement said.

The White House said Russia had defaulted on its external debt for the first time in more than a century as sweeping sanctions have effectively cut the country off from the global financial system.

Russia rejected the claims, telling investors to go to Western financial agents for the cash which was sent but bondholders did not receive. read more

The war has created difficulties for countries way beyond Europe’s borders, with disruptions to food and energy exports hitting the global economy. read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Writing by Angus MacSwan, Nick Macfie and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Catherine Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

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

Blackstone Completes Acquisition of Crown Resorts in the Firm’s Largest Investment to Date in Asia

MELBOURNE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Blackstone (NYSE: BX) today announced that real estate funds and private equity funds managed by Blackstone (“Blackstone”) have completed the acquisition of Crown Resorts Limited (“Crown”) in the largest transaction to date for the firm in Asia Pacific. The transaction comprises three premium resort and casino properties in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Blackstone will work with the management team at Crown and its thousands of dedicated employees, as well as their representatives from the United Workers Union and other partner unions, to transform these properties into world-class entertainment destinations and continue Crown’s transformation to operate at the highest standards of compliance, governance, and integrity.

As one of Australia’s largest entertainment groups, Crown makes a major contribution to the Australian economy. Crown’s core businesses include two of Australia’s leading integrated resorts, Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, as well as Sydney’s latest premium hotel resort and dining precinct at Crown Sydney.

Alan Miyasaki, Head of Real Estate Acquisitions Asia, Blackstone, said: “We are thrilled to become the new owner of Crown, bringing our expertise in hospitality to help the company achieve its full potential as a leading travel and leisure company. We first invested in Crown two years ago, seeing the tremendous underlying potential of the company and its people. We look forward to working with the teams at Crown and applying our experience in owning and operating marquee hospitality brands around the globe with the highest levels of ethics and integrity to create something unique for employees, local communities, and visitors.”

Chris Tynan, Head of Real Estate Australia, Blackstone, said: “This is a great opportunity that plays to Blackstone’s strengths – investing significant capital and resources to rebuild Crown into an iconic destination for travel and leisure that everyone can be proud of. Blackstone has built a strong Australian presence over the last 12 years. We look forward to supporting the local economy, creating jobs, and attracting visitors to Crown’s exceptional properties.”

Steve McCann, Crown Resort’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today, Crown emerges as part of the Blackstone family, which is the start of a new era for this great company and its 20,000 team members. Over recent times, Crown has undergone immense transformation, and we know under Blackstone’s ownership, we will realize our vision to deliver world-class entertainment experiences and a safe and responsible gaming environment.

Australian tourism has entered a recovery phase, and we believe this trend will continue. Crown’s suite of outstanding assets has built a loyal customer base over the past 28 years, and we are excited about the opportunities ahead of us as we revitalize Melbourne and Perth and celebrate the addition of Sydney. With Blackstone’s investment and expertise, we’re confident Crown will cement its place on the global stage as one of the world’s leading owners and operators of integrated resorts,” he said.

Blackstone has built a strong track record in the wider hospitality, travel, and leisure sectors. The firm completed the sale of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas this year, after transforming the property into one of the most vibrant destinations on the Las Vegas Strip. During its 8-year ownership, Blackstone implemented significant operational changes, developed best-in-class management team, and invested significant capital to renovate 3,000 guest rooms and enhance F&B offerings. In addition, Blackstone owned Hilton Hotels Corporation for 11 years, during which it helped double the size of the company to more than 5,300 properties and 400,000 employees worldwide. Its other recent investments in these sectors include the acquisition of an 8-hotel portfolio across Japan’s top tourist destinations; acquisition of Bourne Leisure, a premier British holiday company; and joint acquisition of Extended Stay Hotels.

About Crown Resorts

Crown Resorts is one of Australia’s largest entertainment companies, owning and operating a suite of world-class integrated resorts. Its property portfolio includes three award-winning resorts in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, as well as London’s prestigious Crown Aspinalls, a high end, boutique casino in the West End.

For 25 years, Crown Melbourne has been Australia’s leading luxury integrated resort and casino, offering guests a range of exceptional entertainment and event experiences; premium hospitality, dining, spa and retail; and gaming. Crown Perth is Western Australia’s only integrated resort and casino, and features a combined 1188 hotel-room capacity, expansive lagoon and private pools, and 33 bars and restaurants. Crown’s newest property, Crown Sydney, opened in December 2020 setting a new standard in luxury hotel and dining experiences. Crown Sydney is the tallest building in New South Wales, and features 349 hotel rooms and villas, 13 signature restaurants, a VIP, members only casino which is due to open shortly, two pools, a spa, and Crown’s first ever luxury serviced apartment offering.

As one of Australia’s largest hospitality employers, Crown’s properties support the employment of a diverse mix of over 20,000 people.

About Blackstone

Blackstone is the world’s largest alternative asset manager. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our $915 billion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, infrastructure, life sciences, growth equity, opportunistic, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis. Further information is available at www.blackstone.com. Follow @blackstone on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

View Source

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

Ukraine News: Russia Calls E.U. Move to Advance Ukraine’s Joining ‘Hostile’

Credit…Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press

BRUSSELS — The European Union officially made Ukraine a candidate for membership on Thursday, signaling in the face of a devastating Russian military onslaught that it sees Ukraine’s future as lying in an embrace of the democratic West.

While Ukraine’s accession into the bloc could take a decade or more, the decision sends a powerful message of solidarity to Kyiv and a rebuke to Moscow, which has worked for more than a decade to keep Ukraine from building Western ties.

The step was seen as almost impossible mere weeks ago, not least because Ukraine was seen as too far behind in terms of eliminating corruption and instituting economic reforms.

But the decision to nonetheless give it candidate status was another leap for European nations that have been rapidly shedding preconceptions and reservations to back Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion.

“Agreement,” Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said on Twitter. “A historic moment. Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU.”

Candidacy in the European Union, which the 27 E.U. leaders also granted to Moldova, is a milestone but little else. It signals that a nation is in position, if certain conditions are met, to begin a very detailed, painstaking and yearslong process of changes and negotiations with the bloc, with a view to eventually joining.

When that might happen depends on the readiness of the country in question, which must align itself institutionally, democratically, economically and legally to E.U. laws and norms. On average, the process has taken other countries about 10 years; Turkey has been a candidate for 21 years, but is unlikely to join.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called the E.U. move “one of the most important decisions for Ukraine” in its 30 years as an independent state.

“This is the greatest step toward strengthening Europe that could be taken right now, in our time, and precisely in the context of the Russian war, which is testing our ability to preserve freedom and unity,” Mr. Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

The European Union began in 1952 as a free-trade bloc among a core six nations. It has grown through the years to not only include huge swaths of the European continent, but also to encompass policies far beyond trade and economics, although those remain its strongest and best-aligned types of joint work.

The war in Ukraine has forced the European Union into foreign policy, defense and military alignment, areas that it is both politically uncomfortable with and legally underqualified to address. Although no substitute for NATO, the bloc could in future years — by the time Ukraine actually joins — develop into more of a military union.

The leaders of Germany, France and Italy, the largest E.U. nations, gave a preview of the decision to grant candidate status to Ukraine in a visit last week to its capital, Kyiv. Still, a handful of member countries needed to be convinced that despite Ukraine’s unreadiness to join the union, it was vital to give it the prospect.

Important as the moment is for Ukraine, it is deeply significant for the European Union, too. Most members had been eager to keep the bloc from growing, partly because its 27 members already find it at times exceedingly hard to agree on key issues like democratic freedoms, economic overhauls and the role of the courts.

The bloc nearly doubled in size in the decade from 2004 to 2014, adding 13 members, many of them poorer former Soviet nations that swiftly gained access to wealthier labor markets and ample funding by the bloc.

That integration is still not complete, with several nations struggling with corruption, rule-of-law issues and economic backsliding. This calls into question the bloc’s capacity to absorb a country of Ukraine’s size and population.

Some European nations would have also liked to see Albania and North Macedonia, Balkan nations that have been candidates for more than a decade, admitted before Ukraine. Western Balkan leaders met with their E.U. counterparts earlier Thursday, but the meeting yielded no progress.

The move to grant Ukraine’s candidacy is bound to irritate Russia, which has described Ukraine’s aspirations to align itself with Western institutions like NATO and the European Union as a provocation and interference in its sphere of influence.

View Source

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

As Midterms Loom, Mark Zuckerberg Shifts Focus Away From Elections

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, made securing the 2020 U.S. election a top priority. He met regularly with an election team, which included more than 300 people from across his company, to prevent misinformation from spreading on the social network. He asked civil rights leaders for advice on upholding voter rights.

The core election team at Facebook, which was renamed Meta last year, has since been dispersed. Roughly 60 people are now focused primarily on elections, while others split their time on other projects. They meet with another executive, not Mr. Zuckerberg. And the chief executive has not talked recently with civil rights groups, even as some have asked him to pay more attention to the midterm elections in November.

Safeguarding elections is no longer Mr. Zuckerberg’s top concern, said four Meta employees with knowledge of the situation. Instead, he is focused on transforming his company into a provider of the immersive world of the metaverse, which he sees as the next frontier of growth, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot have underlined how precarious elections can be. And dozens of political candidates are running this November on the false premise that former President Donald J. Trump was robbed of the 2020 election, with social media platforms continuing to be a key way to reach American voters.

2000 Mules,” a film that falsely claims the 2020 election was stolen from Mr. Trump, was widely shared on Facebook and Instagram, garnering more than 430,000 interactions, according to an analysis by The New York Times. In posts about the film, commenters said they expected election fraud this year and warned against using mail-in voting and electronic voting machines.

$44 billion sale to Elon Musk, three employees with knowledge of the situation said. Mr. Musk has suggested that he wants fewer rules about what can and cannot be posted on the service.

barred Mr. Trump from its platforms after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has worked over the years to limit political falsehoods on its sites. Tom Reynolds, a Meta spokesman, said the company had “taken a comprehensive approach to how elections play out on our platforms since before the U.S. 2020 elections and through the dozens of global elections since then.”

recently raised doubts about the country’s electoral process. Latvia, Bosnia and Slovenia are also holding elections in October.

“People in the U.S. are almost certainly getting the Rolls-Royce treatment when it comes to any integrity on any platform, especially for U.S. elections,” said Sahar Massachi, the executive director of the think tank Integrity Institute and a former Facebook employee. “And so however bad it is here, think about how much worse it is everywhere else.”

Facebook’s role in potentially distorting elections became evident after 2016, when Russian operatives used the site to spread inflammatory content and divide American voters in the U.S. presidential election. In 2018, Mr. Zuckerberg testified before Congress that election security was his top priority.

banning QAnon conspiracy theory posts and groups in October 2020.

Around the same time, Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $400 million to local governments to fund poll workers, pay for rental fees for polling places, provide personal protective equipment and cover other administrative costs.

The week before the November 2020 election, Meta also froze all political advertising to limit the spread of falsehoods.

But while there were successes — the company kept foreign election interference off the platform — it struggled with how to handle Mr. Trump, who used his Facebook account to amplify false claims of voter fraud. After the Jan. 6 riot, Facebook barred Mr. Trump from posting. He is eligible for reinstatement in January.

Frances Haugen, a Facebook employee turned whistle-blower, filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing the company of removing election safety features too soon after the 2020 election. Facebook made growth and engagement its priorities over security, she said.

fully realized digital world that exists beyond the one in which we live. It was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” and the concept was further explored by Ernest Cline in his novel “Ready Player One.”

Mr. Zuckerberg no longer meets weekly with those focused on election security, said the four employees, though he receives their reports. Instead, they meet with Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs.

Several civil right groups said they had noticed Meta’s shift in priorities. Mr. Zuckerberg isn’t involved in discussions with them as he once was, nor are other top Meta executives, they said.

“I’m concerned,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who talked with Mr. Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, Meta’s chief operating officer, ahead of the 2020 election. “It appears to be out of sight, out of mind.” (Ms. Sandberg has announced that she will leave Meta this fall.)

wrote a letter to Mr. Zuckerberg and the chief executives of YouTube, Twitter, Snap and other platforms. They called for them to take down posts about the lie that Mr. Trump won the 2020 election and to slow the spread of election misinformation before the midterms.

Yosef Getachew, a director at the nonprofit public advocacy organization Common Cause, whose group studied 2020 election misinformation on social media, said the companies had not responded.

“The Big Lie is front and center in the midterms with so many candidates using it to pre-emptively declare that the 2022 election will be stolen,” he said, pointing to recent tweets from politicians in Michigan and Arizona who falsely said dead people cast votes for Democrats. “Now is not the time to stop enforcing against the Big Lie.”

View Source

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

Bitcoin Plummets Below $20,000 for First Time Since Late 2020

Square, another payments company, bought $50 million of Bitcoin and changed its name to Block, in part to signify its work with blockchain technology. Tesla bought $1.5 billion of it. The venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz raised $4.5 billion for a fourth cryptocurrency-focused fund, doubling its previous one.

Excitement hit a peak in April last year when Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, went public at an $85 billion valuation, a coming-out party for the industry. Bitcoin topped $60,000 for the first time.

Last summer, El Salvador announced that it would become the first country to classify Bitcoin as legal tender, alongside the U.S. dollar. The country’s president updated his Twitter profile picture to include laser eyes, a calling card of Bitcoin believers. The value of El Salvador’s $105 million investment in Bitcoin has been slashed in half as the price has fallen.

Senators and mayors around the United States began touting cryptocurrency, as the industry spent heavily on lobbying. Mayor Eric Adams of New York, who was elected in November, said he would take his first three paychecks in Bitcoin. Senators Cynthia Lummis, Republican of Wyoming, and Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, proposed legislation that would create a regulatory framework for the industry, giving more authority to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, an agency that crypto companies have openly courted.

Through the frenzy, celebrities fueled the fear of missing out, flogging their NFTs on talk shows and talking up blockchain projects on social media. This year, the Super Bowl featured four ads for crypto companies, including Matt Damon warning viewers that “fortune favors the brave.”

That swaggering optimism faltered this spring as the stock market plummeted, inflation soared and layoffs hit the tech sector. Investors began losing confidence in their crypto investments, moving money to less risky assets. Several high-profile projects crashed amid withdrawals. TerraForm Labs, which created TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin, and Celsius, an experimental crypto bank, both collapsed, wiping out billions in value and sending the broader market into a tailspin.

View Source

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

Infighting Overshadows Big Plans at The Washington Post

When Sally Buzbee joined The Washington Post a year ago this month, she took over a newsroom that had nearly doubled to more than 1,000 journalists under the ownership of Jeff Bezos, who bought it in 2013. Its coverage regularly won Pulitzer Prizes.

The newspaper has continued growing in the months since. It has opened breaking news hubs in Seoul and London to become more of a 24-hour global operation. It expanded coverage of technology, climate and personal health. Its reporting won the Pulitzer Prize for public service this year.

But Ms. Buzbee is now on the defensive, yet to completely win over the newsroom and facing internal strife that has eclipsed some of her bold plans.

tweeted in unison last week in support of the newspaper’s direction.

joined The Post last June, becoming the first female executive editor in its 145-year history. She had spent her career at The Associated Press, most recently serving as executive editor. She replaced Martin Baron, who remade the newsroom over eight years to much acclaim, including 10 Pulitzer Prizes.

said was too vague and unevenly enforced. Mr. Baron faced similar tensions under his tenure, including a clash with a star reporter, Wesley Lowery. Mr. Baron threatened to fire Mr. Lowery for violations of The Post’s social media policy, including expressing political views and criticizing competitors, according to a copy of a disciplinary letter.

tweeted: “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”

Mr. Weigel quickly deleted his tweet and apologized. Several days later, with several staff members fighting about his actions online, Ms. Buzbee suspended him for a month. In emails, she implored Post journalists to be collegial. After an employee replied to everyone in support of Ms. Sonmez, The Post cut off the ability for staff members to reply-all in a newsroom-wide email, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.

But Ms. Sonmez never stopped tweeting. She said the newspaper unevenly punished journalists for what they wrote on Twitter, and critiqued her co-workers publicly. (Ms. Sonmez previously sued The Post for discrimination after she was barred from covering stories related to sexual assault after she publicly identified herself as a victim of assault. A judge dismissed the case in March.)

termination letter sent by The Post accused her of “insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.”

Less than an hour later, Ms. Buzbee met with the features department to quell another social media flare-up.

Taylor Lorenz, a technology reporter lured to The Post from The New York Times this year, had tweeted that a miscommunication with her editor led to an inaccurate line in an article. The tweets were discussed and agreed on by Ms. Lorenz and multiple editors before she posted, said three people with knowledge of the discussions. The tweets prompted an outcry from critics on Twitter who accused her of passing the buck.

Before the corrections, Ms. Buzbee had offered the well-respected editor, David Malitz, a promotion to run the features department, according to one person with knowledge of the offer. He had agreed to take it. But several days later, Ms. Buzbee pulled the offer.

In the meeting with the features group, Ms. Buzbee fielded angry questions about Mr. Malitz’s treatment. She said he was “in no way reprimanded or punished for any errors,” according to a copy of notes taken at the meeting, but would not say what was behind her decision. She said she couldn’t talk about personnel issues.

It was at that meeting that Ms. Sullivan, The Post’s media columnist, accused Ms. Buzbee of damaging Mr. Malitz’s career, and other staff members said she hadn’t earned their trust. Some told Ms. Buzbee that their doubts stemmed from rarely hearing from her until that meeting.

Ms. Lorenz has been moved from the features staff to the technology team, according to three people with knowledge of the move. Mr. Barr has been asked to review her articles before publication, two of the people said.

On Tuesday, Ms. Buzbee met with dozens of editors in person and over videoconference, fielding questions about the recent upheaval. One editor relayed the concerns from employees who were wary of becoming editors at The Post after recent events.

Ms. Buzbee said in the meeting that she was optimistic about the future of the newspaper. She also told editors that it was their collective responsibility to protect the staff, the readers and the newspaper’s credibility.

On Wednesday evening, newsroom employees were emailed a draft of updated social media guidelines and told that senior editors would hold “listening sessions” this week to get feedback on the revisions.

The draft says that no employee is required to post or engage on social media platforms; journalists must not harm the integrity or reputation of the newsroom; and journalists are “allowed and encouraged to bring their full identity and lived experiences to their social accounts.”

The draft guidelines also note that The Post considers it a priority to protect its journalists from online harassment and attacks.

View Source

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

L.A. Advocates March Against Criminalization of the Homeless: ‘Sweepless Summer 2022’

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Advocates from Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), the housing advocacy division of AHF, will take part in “Sweepless Summer 2022,” (LA March Against Criminalization of the Homeless Friday, June 17th starting at 10:00 a.m. from historic Olvera Street across from Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles (845 Alameda St, 90012). The march—which will proceed to the Federal Building (300 N. Los Angeles Street, 90012)—is part of a national action against unjust clearing of encampments in DC and cities across the country and is being held in solidarity with the National Poor People’s Campaign and National Coalition for the Homeless events that will be taking place in Washington, DC this weekend.

What:

MARCH AGAINST CRIMINALIZATION of the HOMELESS and in SOLIDARITY with the National Poor People’s Campaign and National Coalition for the Homeless events taking place in Washington, DC this weekend.

 

 

When:

L.A. March: Friday, June 17, 2022 – starts @ 10:00 a.m. (meet @ Olvera Street)

 

NOTE: March should take approx. ½ to 1 hour from start to finish

 

 

Where:

Starts: Olvera Street (across from Union Station)

 

845 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles 90012

 

Marching to: Los Angeles Federal Building

 

300 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

 

March Media Contact for AHF: Eduardo Martinez, Eduardo.martinez@ahf.org 323. 535.8511 c

Housing Is A Human Right will also use the events in Los Angeles and Washington to announce and celebrate its new partnership with National Coalition for the Homeless, which will include co-locating NCH’s West Coast headquarters at HHR’s Hollywood offices, collaboration on projects and strategies to reduce homelessness and increase the supply of permanent housing for the unhoused.

“Housing Is A Human Right is excited to provide a growing presence in Los Angeles for the incredible work of the National Coalition for the Homeless!” said Susie Shannon, Policy Director for Housing Is A Human Right. “Our organizations have collectively fought for the rights of our unhoused community and for permanent housing. Together we will be a formidable force in promoting real solutions to homelessness.”

“National Coalition for the Homeless is excited to open an office in Los Angeles. – the homeless capital of the United States – in partnership with Housing is a Human Right. NCH and HHR have shared goals in ending and preventing homelessness and finding real solutions through a Housing First approach,” stated Don Whitehead, National Executive Director of NCH. “We look forward to expanding our coalition throughout the State of California.”

AHF’s Los Angeles Domestic Advocacy team will provide the hand-made posters, banner, and about a dozen or more mobilizers for the march. Drinking water will be provided for everyone. Some of the signs and slogans will include the following:

For more information on Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), click here, and follow HHR on:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/housinghumanright/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/housinghumanrt

For information on the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), click here, and follow NCH on:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/NationalCoalitionfortheHomeless

View Source

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

Europe steps up support for Ukraine as Russia presses offensive

  • Ukraine EU candidacy signals major shift in European geopolitics
  • ‘Europe can create a new history of freedom’ Zelenskiy says
  • Battle for Sievierodonetsk grinds on
  • Ukraine claims strike on Russian tugboat

BRUSSELS/KYIV, Ukraine, June 17 (Reuters) – The European Union gave its blessing on Friday for Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova to become candidates to join, in the most dramatic geopolitical shift to result from Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine applied to join the EU just four days after Russian troops poured across its border in February. Four days later, so did Moldova and Georgia – smaller ex-Soviet states also contending with separatist regions occupied by Russian troops.

“Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country’s aspiration and the country’s determination to live up to European values and standards,” the EU’s executive Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels. She made the announcement wearing Ukrainian colours, a yellow blazer over a blue shirt.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

President Voloymyr Zelenskiy thanked von der Leyen and EU member states on Twitter for a decision he called “the first step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our victory closer”.

Moldova’s President Maia Sandu hailed a “strong signal of support for Moldova & our citizens!” and said she counted on the support of EU member states.

“We’re committed to working hard,” she said on Twitter.

While recommending candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova, the Commission held off for Georgia, which it said must meet more conditions first.

Von der Leyen said Georgia has a strong application but had to come together politically. A senior diplomat close to the process cited setbacks in reforms there.

Leaders of EU countries are expected to endorse the decision at a summit next week. The leaders of the three biggest – Germany, France and Italy – had signalled their solidarity on Thursday by visiting Kyiv, along with the president of Romania.

“Ukraine belongs to the European family,” Germany’s Olaf Scholz said after meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Ukraine and Moldova will still face a lengthy process to achieve the standards required for membership, and there are other candidates in the waiting room. Nor is membership guaranteed – talks have been stalled for years with Turkey, officially a candidate since 1999.

But launching the candidacy process, a move that would have seemed unthinkable just months ago, amounts to a shift on par with the decision in the 1990s to welcome the ex-Communist countries of Eastern Europe.

“Precisely because of the bravery of the Ukrainians, Europe can create a new history of freedom, and finally remove the grey zone in Eastern Europe between the EU and Russia,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

If admitted, Ukraine would be the EU’s largest country by area and its fifth most populous. All three hopefuls are far poorer than any existing EU members, with per capita output around half that of the poorest, Bulgaria.

All have recent histories of volatile politics, domestic unrest, entrenched organised crime, and unresolved conflicts with Russian-backed separatists proclaiming sovereignty over territory protected by Moscow’s troops.

PORT BLOCKADE

President Vladimir Putin ordered his “special military operation” officially to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine. One of his main objectives was to halt the expansion of Western institutions which he called a threat to Russia.

But the war, which has killed thousands of people, destroyed whole cities and set millions to flight, has had the opposite effect. Finland and Sweden have applied to join the NATO military alliance, and the EU has opened its arms to the east.

Within Ukraine, Russian forces were defeated in an attempt to storm the capital in March, but have since refocused on seizing more territory in the east.

The nearly four-month-old war has entered a punishing attritional phase, with Russian forces relying on their massive advantage in artillery firepower to blast their way into Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainian officials said their troops were still holding out in Sievierodonetsk, site of the worst fighting of recent weeks, on the east bank of the Siverskyi Donets river. It was impossible to evacuate more than 500 civilians who are trapped inside a chemical plant, the regional governor said.

In the surrounding Donbas region, which Moscow claims on behalf of its separatist proxies, Ukrainian forces are mainly defending the river’s opposite bank.

Near the frontline in the ruins of the small city of Marinka, Ukrainian police made their way into a cellar searching for anyone who wanted help to evacuate. A group of mainly elderly residents huddled on mattresses in candlelight.

“There’s space down here, you could join us,” joked one man as the officers came in. A woman named Nina sighed in the darkness: “There is nowhere. Nowhere. Nowhere to go. All the houses have been burnt out. Where can we go?”

In the south, Ukraine has mounted a counter-offensive, claiming to have made inroads into the biggest swath still held by Russia of the territory it seized in the invasion. There have been few reports from the frontline to confirm the situation in that area.

Ukraine claimed its forces had struck a Russian tugboat bringing soldiers, weapons and ammunition to Russian-occupied Snake Island, a strategic Black Sea outpost.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Additional reporting by Abdelaziz Boumzar in Marinka and Reuters bureaux; Writing by Peter Graff, Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

View Source

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