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'They were just leaving them on the street': Texas Gov. Abbott has sent over 6,100 immigrants to DC as he expands to NYC

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 4:14pm  |  Clusterstock
Migrants from Venezuela, who boarded a bus in Del Rio, Texas, hold their belongings in plastic bags after disembarking within view of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on August 2, 2022.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has sent over 6,100 immigrants from the border to Washington, DC, per NPR.
  • In April, Abbott announced he would send buses of migrants to DC to address immigration.
  • Abbott announced on Friday that the first charter bus of immigrants arrived in New York City.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent over 6,100 immigrants from the border to Washington, DC, his office said on Friday 

After the 36-hour journey to DC's Union Station, migrants who exit the charter buses are met with volunteers from mutual aid organizations to help them get settled but not officials from the local or federal government, NPR reported. 

"It was really crazy because they were just leaving them on the street," Abel Nuñez, executive director of DC's Central American Resource Center, told NPR while describing the first bus arrival on April 16. 

"We knew it was on its way so we were there since 5 a.m. just waiting for them along with mutual aid organizations," Nuñez added to NPR. "It was incredible how shell-shocked these people were coming out of the buses."

In April, Abbott announced he would send charter buses of migrants to DC to help Texas "cope with this latest escalation of the Biden border disaster." It came after the Biden administration announced the end of Title 42, a pandemic-era public health order that blocked many migrants from entering the US. 

"Because of President Biden's continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe," Abbott said in a statement.

On Friday, Abbott announced the first arrival of a charter bus of immigrants in New York City, which will "now be a drop-off location for the busing strategy as part of the Governor's response to the Biden Administration's open border policies," the statement said. 

"In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city," Abbott said in the statement. "I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief."

While criticizing Abbott, New York officials said the immigrants, over 40 of which arrived Friday, will be welcomed to the city. 

"Governor Greg Abbott is continuing to play with the lives of human beings. We think this is cruel, it's disgusting and it's pure cowardice," said Manuel Castro, commissioner of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, per CBS News

Read the original article on Business Insider

A hotel chain saw a 25% jump in job applications after offering to pay for staff's tattoos, piercings, or haircuts

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 4:09pm  |  Clusterstock
  • A hotel group in Germany has attracted more job applicants by offering an unusual perk at work.
  • Ruby Hotels gives staff up to €500 to get a tattoo, piercing, or haircut after six months, per CNN.
  • Since the campaign started just over a month ago, Ruby Hotels has seen a 25% jump in job applications.

A German hotel group has found an unconventional way to attract more job applicants.

Ruby Hotels, which has just over a dozen hotels across Europe, has started offering new hires up to €500, or $511, to pay for the cost of a new tattoo, piercing, or haircut after they complete six months of employment, CNN reports.

"We love people with personality and that's what we want to communicate," Uta Scheurer, Ruby's vice president of human resources, told CNN. "The mix of individual characters is what creates the mood and the success of Ruby."

Since starting the offer in June, Ruby Hotels has seen a 25% jump in job applications. The offer will last through the end of the year, per CNN.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Brian Kemp says Georgia Republicans must 'run like we're hungry again' to counter Democratic gains in the state

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 3:14pm  |  Clusterstock
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said state Republicans must "run like we're hungry again," per the AJC.
  • Kemp made the remark at a campaign event in a state that has become an electoral battleground.
  • Kemp is running for reelection against Democrat Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 race.

In November 2018, now-Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia won that year's gubernatorial contest over former Democratic state House minority leader Stacey Abrams by a 50.2%-48.8% margin — a narrow result in what used to be solidly Republican territory.

Two years later, President Joe Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump in the state by roughly 12,000 votes in the 2020 election, with Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning the dual Senate runoff elections in January 2021.

The Peach State began to take on a hint of blue as it morphed into a purple battleground that has become truly competitive for both political parties.

And Kemp, who is again facing Abrams in a rematch this fall, recognizes that the Georgia of 2012 is not the Georgia of 2022.

During a recent campaign event in Toccoa, Ga., Kemp made the case that the upcoming election will test the strength of the GOP as the party must now compete in a state that has changed dramatically in recent years, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"We've been in control for a long time," the governor said at the event. "We've got to run like we're hungry again — like we did back in the mid-2000s."

He continued: "We've got to bring that mentality back, that work ethic back, and we have to have the ground game to do that as well. Quite honestly, the Democrats have beaten us at that game. But we're not going to let that happen in this election."

Many of the firmly Republican suburbs around Atlanta have taken on a bluer hue as some of those voters turned away from the GOP during the Trump presidency, but Kemp contended that the party must fight hard for their victories once again, similar to the drive they had to end generations of Democratic dominance in Atlanta.

Republicans have controlled the Governor's Mansion since 2003 and also assumed control of the Senate that year. The party would go on to win control of the state House of Representatives during the 2004 election, and has held the Speaker's gavel ever since.

Abrams, a prominent voting-rights activist, has been at the forefront of voter registration in Georgia for years and hopes those citizens can provide her with a boost this fall.

And Kemp, a former secretary of state, is trying to win reelection in a state that may have become more competitive, but still has a strong base of conservative voters — many of whom did not turn out in the 2021 runoffs.

This fall, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is seeking a full six-year term and will face Republican nominee Herschel Walker, a former NFL star and University of Georgia alum, in a key race that could determine which party controls the United States Senate.

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Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to 'a public debate' on the company's bot data

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 3:10pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Elon Musk issued a "challenge" to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Saturday.
  • The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO called for a public debate on how Twitter reports its spam bots and fake accounts. 
  • Musk has repeatedly accused Twitter of having far more bots than it reports, citing this as one reason he no longer wants to buy the company.

Elon Musk is once again challenging Twitter on the data it reports on spam bots and fake accounts, and this time he wants a public debate to settle the matter.

Responding to a tweet thread by cybersecurity researcher Andrea Stroppa summarizing Musk's countersuit against Twitter, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO wrote on Saturday that he would proceed with his proposed $44 billion takeover of Twitter if the social platform disclosed how it tracks bots. 

"If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they're confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not," Musk wrote. 

In a follow-up tweet, he added: "I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!" He also created a poll, asking for yes or no answers to the prompt "Less than 5% of Twitter daily users are fake/spam."

Information on the number of Twitter users that are actually bots and fake accounts has been crucial in Musk's legal feud with the company.

When Musk said he wanted to back out of his deal to buy Twitter, one key reason he cited was his belief that Twitter has far more bots and fake accounts than it lets on. He also accused Twitter of withholding its bot information from him, which the company has denied.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has said he thinks at least 20% of Twitter's daily active users are fake or spam accounts. While Twitter claims the figure is actually less than 5%, Musk said he hasn't seen proof corroborating that number and that he won't move forward with the deal until he does.

In his recent countersuit against the company, Musk accused Twitter of deliberately "miscounting" the number of spam accounts on its platform as part of what he called a "scheme to mislead investors about the company's prospects."


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Chuck Schumer wants to dare Republicans to vote against a popular $35 insulin cap

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 2:40pm  |  Clusterstock
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., flanked from left by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., holds a news conference on Thursday, May 5, 2022.
  • Schumer wants to dare the GOP into knocking out a popular insulin cap plan, per two people familiar.
  • The $35 insulin cap is a major Democratic priority included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • Schumer's maneuver would set the stage for a tough vote for Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to dare Senate Republicans to knock out a popular $35 monthly cap on insulin prices from the party's big bill under consideration, per two people familiar with the move.

Those people were granted anonymity to reveal confidential discussions.

The $35 limit on insulin co-pays is one of the most popular elements of the legislation that Democrats want to pass using budget reconciliation. That maneuver allows Senate Democrats to sidestep GOP resistance and approve certain bills with only a simple majority vote if they all stay united.

But the insulin cap has always been at risk of falling out of the bill since it may not comply with its strict procedural rules. The process is overseen by the Senate parliamentarian, who gave the green light to most of the Democratic legislation's climate, health, and tax provisions overnight.

The fate of the insulin cap remains formally up in the air. But one of the people familiar said that the parliamentarian sustained a GOP objection to it during the "Byrd Bath," meaning the top official didn't believe it complied with reconciliation's rules.

The $35 insulin cap is still in the Inflation Reduction Act for now. If the parliamentarian strikes out the provision, Senate Democrats can still keep it in and force Republicans to raise a "point of order" to take it out. That would set the stage for a recorded vote to overrule the parliamentarian at a 60 vote threshold.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, who has worked with Democrats in the past on drug pricing said she was waiting to see the final language before weighing in on the Democrats' plan. Her vote would be crucial to getting past the 60-vote threshold. 

"I still don't know what language has survived and what language hasn't," Collins told Insider. "So, I'm going to wait and see what the parliamentarian's final decisions are."

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

US gas prices are sliding toward $4, but hurricane season will have a big say in whether they stay lower

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 1:51pm  |  Clusterstock
A man pumps gas into his car in Miami, Florida.
  • US average gas prices are headed to $4.00 a gallon, extending a recent run of price declines. 
  • Gas prices have dropped for more than 50 straight days in the face of demand destruction after prices soared above $5 this year. 
  • But a disruptive hurricane could propel prices upward again, said AAA and OPIS. 

Drivers across America may soon pay, on average, less than $4 a gallon for gasoline, with prices steadily decreasing over the past month, but energy experts say an active hurricane season holds the potential to kick prices back up. 

The national price average of regular-grade gas was $4.113 as of Friday, according to tracking by motor club AAA. The price marked the 52nd consecutive decline in what's been a painful few months at pump stations for millions of Americans. Down from a peak of $5.01, the national average stood at $4.80 a month ago but was much higher than $3.19 a year ago.

"A back-of-the-envelope calculation seems to suggest that the daily cost for consumers by around the middle of this month we'll be about a half a billion dollars per day less than what it was in the first 10 days or so of June," Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at OPIS, told Insider this week. He separately said Friday the country was "a few hours" away from the average price slipping below $4.10 a gallon and that the median price was $3.939. 

The market saw considerable demand destruction when gas prices hit $5 a gallon and that's contributed to the consecutive drop in pump prices, he said. The downshift was taking place with the summer driving season moving closer to an end as Americans wrap up their road trips. Traditionally marked by Labor Day holiday, the summer driving season will conclude September 5. 

What will still running on the calendar, however, is hurricane season. August through October will be the peak months in a season set to end on November 30. 

Above-normal hurricane season

"Atmospheric and oceanic conditions still favor an above-normal 2022 Atlantic hurricane season," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said this week in updating its 2022 outlook. It now sees a 60% likelihood of an above-normal season, edged down from its previous call of a 65% chance. 

"A lot of production comes offline because of a bad hurricane season domestically," said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs at AAA Colorado, told Insider. "Even what we import … comes through the Gulf refineries, it's not just [what's] produced at home," and a disruptive storm "could really send prices upward again." 

NOAA's outlook, which covers the season's six months starting in June, calls for 14 to 20 named storms marked by winds of at least 39 miles per hour. Six to 10 of the storms could become hurricanes, with winds registering at least 74 miles per hour. Of those, said the agency, three to five could become major hurricanes with winds clocking in at 111 mph or greater.

"I can promise you there's going to be a reduction in [gas] prices after Labor Day unless … a bad storm knocks off refining capacity," said McKinley.

"Historically, generally, those costs are regionalized. So it's not necessarily true that folks in Colorado, for example, will be paying more because of bad hurricanes. But folks certainly in the Gulf region will and depending on how bad, it could affect the entire country." 

The market has been experiencing a "streak of luck" with no major hurricanes or refinery disruptions so far this year, said Kloza. "If we don't get a tropical storm threat in the Gulf of Mexico, we're gonna see retail prices drop below $4 a gallon, probably by about August 15 or 16th," he said. Gas prices would rebound quickly in the event of a storm disruption but perhaps not to as high as $5.0150, he said. 

Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin could try to inflict more pain on the West by curbing crude, Kloza said, which would send gas prices higher again. Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, traded around $95 a barrel on Friday and West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, fetched about $88.80 a barrel. The benchmarks lost ground for the week but were still up by roughly 18% and 22%, respectively, year-to-date. 

Gas prices started to spike up after Putin launched a war against Ukraine in late February. The average US price was $3.60 on March 1, said McKinley. Gas prices will eventually return to pre-war levels, he said.

"Will that happen in the near term? Look, if it does, it's bad news. If prices fall back to $2.50 or even $3 very quickly ... it's a sure sign that we've got some significant economic problems that we're either experiencing or that are on the horizon," McKinley said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden tests negative for COVID-19 but will continue White House isolation, physician says

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 1:37pm  |  Clusterstock
President Joe Biden.
  • President Joe Biden tested negative for COVID-19 on Saturday after rebound case.
  • Biden will continue his isolation in the White House pending the results of a second antigen test.
  • He first tested positive for the virus on July 21 and started taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid.

President Joe Biden on Saturday tested negative for COVID-19 but will continue his isolation pending another test, according to the White House physician.

Biden's physician, Kevin O'Connor, said in a memo that the president had a negative antigen test this morning and remarked that the commander-in-chief was feeling "very well."

"The President continues to feel very well," he wrote. "Given his rebound positivity which we reported last Saturday, we have continued daily monitoring. This morning, his SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing was negative."

He continued: "In an abundance of caution, the President will continue his strict isolation measures pending a second negative test as previously described."

On July 21, the White House announced that Biden tested positive for COVID-19 and was "experiencing very mild symptoms" and had "begun taking Paxlovid," an antiviral drug. 

A little over a week later, on July 30, Biden tested positive for the virus again and stayed in isolation, although he said at the time he was in good spirits.

"Folks, today I tested positive for COVID again," he tweeted at the time. "This happens with a small minority of folks. I've got no symptoms but I am going to isolate for the safety of everyone around me. I'm still at work, and will be back on the road soon."

The president and first lady Jill Biden are slated to travel to Kentucky next week to meet with families after devastating floods killed at least 24 people and ravaged several communities in the eastern part of the state.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Colorado GOP Senate nominee rejects a Trump presidential campaign in 2024: 'I hope he doesn't run'

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 1:13pm  |  Clusterstock
Colorado Republican Senate nominee Joe O'Dea.
  • Colorado GOP Senate nominee Joe O'Dea on Friday dismissed a Trump presidential candidacy in 2024.
  • "I think a lot of people are ready to move our country forward," O'Dea said on Friday.
  • O'Dea, a first-time candidate, won a primary against a more conservative challenger in June.

The Republican nominee for Senate in Colorado said on Friday that former President Donald Trump should not run for president in 2024.

Joe O'Dea, who is running as a center-right candidate, said on "The Ross Kaminsky Show" that he didn't want the current commander-in-chief or Trump to run for the White House in 2024. O'Dea is vying for a seat in a state which in recent years has morphed from a conservative stronghold to Democratic-leaning swing state that backed President Joe Biden by 13 points in 2020.

"As far as Trump's concerned, I hope he doesn't run," O'Dea said of Trump. "I don't want to see him as president."

He continued: "I think that seeing a Biden-Trump rematch again in 2024 would rip the country apart. I think a lot of people are ready to move our country forward. So, I wouldn't support him running again."

With regard to a Biden run, O'Dea, immediately dismissed the Democrat as "the worst president we've ever had."

"Look, I don't think Biden should run for president ... we're done with that," he said.

O'Dea will face two-term Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet after defeating state Rep. Ron Hanks in the June GOP primary.

During the interview, O'Dea stressed that the party had plenty of fresh faces that would be suitable contenders for the White House, naming Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

"There's a lot of great talent out there. We need to move this country forward," he said.

O'Dea, a construction company executive, then said that the economy would be a major focus for him if he wins the election this fall.

"I'm a fiscal conservative. We don't need more taxation; we need less spending. It's very simple. That's how you move our economy forward," he said.

"I believe we need a voice in Washington that's going to support working Americans," he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Claims of new Russian atrocity after gruesome image appears to show the head of a Ukrainian POW stuck on a pole

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 12:44pm  |  Clusterstock
In this photo taken from video a view of a destroyed barrack at a prison in Olenivka, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.
  • A new image posted by Ukrainian officials appear to show the skull of a Ukrainian soldier impaled on a stick.
  • The news comes recently after prison was bombed in Olenivka in the Donetsk Region, killing 53 POWs. 
  • This report contains details some readers may find disturbing. 

A new image posted by a Ukrainian official appears to show the skull of a Ukrainian prisoner of war placed on a stick outside a building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Popasna, which was captured by Russian forces in May.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Ukrainian Luhansk province, shared the unsettling photo on his Telegram channel. Insider has not been able to verify the image independently. 

Geolocation tools suggest it is genuine, said The Guardian, and the gruesome photo was taken in late July, not far from the center of Popasna.

Near the head are the remains of a decapitated body, in uniform without its hands. Two hands have been placed on metal spikes on a fence on either side of the head, a video shows, reported The Guardian.

"There is nothing human about the Russians. We are at war with non-humans," Haidai said under the image. 

Popsana is in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has fought hard to capture territory after its army was humiliated in the debacle of the first months of the invasion. The Ukrainian army retreated from the town in early May. The president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, claimed his troops had seized control of the town, per The Guardian.

Allegations of the new atrocity follow the shelling of the Olenivka prison housing Ukrainian prisoners of war. Russia and Ukraine blaming the other party. 

Photos from the shelling show burnt corpses and skeletal remains. 

According to a prisoner recently released from the Olenivka detention center outside Donetsk, Ukrainian POWs are tortured and murdered.

"We heard their cries," Anna Vorosheva told The Guardian. "They played loud music to cover the screams. Torture happened all the time."

The aftermath of a shelling at a pre-trial detention center in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the settlement of Olenivka in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine July 29, 2022.

Soon after the bombing, a video circulated on social media showing a Russian soldier castrating a Ukrainian prisoner. 

A Ukrainian MP told Insider, "I wish I could turn back time and not see this video. But we knew that this was happening in the occupied territories. The Russian military rapes, mutilates, and kills Ukrainians, both civilians, and POWs."

Responding to the footage, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International's Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said, "This horrific assault is yet another apparent example of complete disregard for human life and dignity in Ukraine committed by Russian forces."

Meanwhile, The head of Amnesty International's Ukraine arm has resigned after the human-rights organization blamed Kyiv for endangering civilians and violating international laws with its wartime tactics,  according to reports.

The group said Ukrainian forces had established military outposts in schools, hospitals, and civilian areas, in contravention of international human rights laws. 

Oksana Pokalchuk, head of Amnesty International Ukraine, said in a Facebook post late Friday that the report "became a tool of Russian propaganda," per Politico.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyyslammed the report and said it had sought to offer "amnesty (to) the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim."

 Secretary General Agnes Callamard told AFP news agency that Amnesty "fully stands by our research."

Read the original article on Business Insider

US stocks close mixed as investors assess implications for Fed policy after monster July jobs report

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 12:40pm  |  Clusterstock
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell appears during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.
  • US stocks closed mixed on Friday after July's strong jobs report fought back recession worries.
  • The US added 528,000 new jobs in July, about double expectations as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.
  • The strong employment gains will put pressure on the Fed to continue with its interest rate hikes.

US stocks closed mixed on Friday as investors assessed the catch-22 scenario in which a strong economy likely means more interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The US economy added 528,000 new jobs in July, which was more than double the consensus economist estimate of 250,000 new jobs. The strong gains were driven in part by the hospitality sector and resulted in the unemployment rate falling to 3.5% from 3.6%.

The US economy has now fully reclaimed all the jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the jobs report is good news for the US economy, as it bucks the idea that a recession is imminent, it also puts pressure on the Federal Reserve to continue with its aggressive interest rate hikes as it attempts to tame inflation. The Fed's next FOMC meeting where it will determine what to do with interest rates is in late September.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Friday:

The July jobs report also showed a better-than-expected gain in average hourly earnings, with a 0.5% increase to $32.17, ahead of estimates for a gain of just 0.3%.

Also putting pressure on stocks was the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, which seems to now have full support of all 50 Senate Democrats needed to pass the reconciliation bill. The agreement made Thursday evening between Krysten Sinema and Chuck Schumer scraps the closing of the carried interest tax break, and instead imposes a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks.

Corporate stock buyback programs have long been seen as a big source of demand for US equities, and JPMorgan estimated earlier this year that stock buyback programs would hit a record $1 trillion in 2022. A 1% tax may not be high enough to fully deter the practice, as dividends get taxed at a higher rate, but it could ultimately reduce demand for stocks. 

European gas prices are on track to rise for the third consecutive week as Russia continues to threaten cutoffs in its supply. Meanwhile, Russia has taken the second top spot in exporting oil to India as it sells the commodity at a discounted price. 

Another obscure China-based stock saw head-spinning gains on Friday, with Magic Empire surging more than 5,000% in its IPO debut. The financial services company saw its market value peak at near $5 billion on Friday, despite it generating only $2 million in annual revenue last year.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 0.35% to $88.23 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, rose 0.07% to $94.19. 

Bitcoin fell 1.07% to $22,933. Ether prices rose 1.22% to $1,681.

Gold fell 0.88% to $1,790.80 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose 14 basis points to 2.84%.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump blasts the Democratic-led climate and tax bill, says 'old broken crow' Mitch McConnell was 'taken for a ride' by Joe Manchin

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 12:28pm  |  Clusterstock
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a "Save America" rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on August 5, 2022.
  • Former President Trump blasted McConnell and Manchin over the Democratic-led climate and tax bill.
  • Trump said McConnell was "taken for a ride" by Manchin, whom the ex-president said had "sold out."
  • Senate Democrats are aiming to pass the sweeping legislation through reconciliation this weekend.

Former President Donald Trump on Friday slammed the Democratic-led climate, health, and tax bill, arguing that Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was "taken for a ride" by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

"The radical Democrats now intend to impose the biggest tax hike in American history, the exact opposite of what I did," Trump said at a "Save America" rally in suburban Milwaukee ahead of Wisconsin's primary election on Tuesday.

"And they are working feverishly to pile on more regulations at levels never seen before. You're going to have regulations like nobody's ever seen before."

The sweeping Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which was crafted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Manchin, was prime fodder for the former president as he continues to hint at a 2024 presidential campaign.

Trump said that McConnell — a onetime political ally who has become a frequent target of the former president after lambasting his conduct on January 6, 2021 — was "taken for a ride" by Manchin, who came to an agreement with Schumer after weeks of negotiations that stunned senators on both sides of the aisle who assumed that an ambitious climate agenda was all but impossible before the midterm elections.

"Joe Manchin has totally sold out West Virginia," the former president said, who was stumping for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels alongside Adam Steen, a GOP state House candidate looking to unseat state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

He continued: "What he's done to that state is disgraceful. And I told the old broken crow, Mitch McConnell, that this was going to happen. I said, 'It's going to happen to you, Mitch. It's going to happen to you.'"

For over a year, the more moderate Manchin has served as a Democratic bulwark against some of President Joe Biden's most ambitious domestic plans, notably after he torpedoed the Build Back Better Act, which before it fell apart was envisioned to cost nearly $2 trillion and would have funded climate initiatives, an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, and universal pre-K.

The new tax and climate bill — in its current form — would allow a three-year extension of subsidies for individuals to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, while also providing nearly $370 billion for climate and energy programs and $300 billion to reduce the federal budget deficit. The bill would also generate roughly $739 billion in revenue over the next decade.

Republicans, who have been firmly opposed to the larger domestic Democratic spending bills, were taken aback by the legislative breakthrough between Schumer and Manchin last week.

When the agreement was announced, the Senate had just passed a $52 billion chips-funding bill that attracted significant Republican support; several GOP senators were incensed that news about the reconciliation deal came after the chamber passed the aforementioned legislation.

Regarding the timing of the announcement, Manchin said at a press event last Thursday that "there was no malice intended whatsoever."

"We should be looking for what's good for the country," he said at the time. "I'm hoping my Republican friends will look at this bill ... how it was presented and what's really in it."

Virtually all Senate Democrats were onboard with the proposal last week, but Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona for most of this week remained a key holdout, as she had previously expressed opposition to narrowing a carried-interest loophole favored by hedge fund managers and private equity investors.

Schumer, who needed Sinema's vote to proceed with the bill in the 50-50 Senate, stripped the carried interest provision from the bill at her request. The moderate lawmaker on Friday then agreed to support the bill, pending additional review from the Senate parliamentarian that it complies with the upper chamber's reconciliation rules.

Democrats are seeking to pass the legislation through the budget reconciliation process, which requires a simple majority and isn't subject to the 60-vote threshold needed to break a filibuster.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Newark Liberty International Airport is in the running to win America's best public restroom

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 12:21pm  |  Clusterstock
This Newark Liberty International Airport bathroom is a finalist to win America's best restroom.
  • Newark Liberty International Airport is in the running for "America's Best Restroom," an annual contest held by Cintas Corporation. 
  • The current title for best public bathroom belongs to a subway-themed facility in an Ohio pizza restaurant.
  • The contest first started in 2002, and winners receive a $2,500 facility service or restroom cleaning.

Newark Liberty International Airport is making headlines, but not for the reason you'd probably think — it's currently in the running to win "America's Best Restroom" of 2022.

The annual Cintas Corporation-sponsored contest features the 10 finalists for best bathroom around the US located in spas, restaurants, and, of course, airports.

The contest is only open to public restrooms or washrooms in the US. Anyone can nominate a bathroom, although the nomination period ended in June, according to contest rules.

The all-gender bathroom in Terminal B of the Newark Liberty International Airport was designed "to create a calming environment" and alleviate "inadequate capacity at the existing restrooms," the contest website states. 

"Local imagery, integrated into the architectural treatment of glass and tile, establishes a sense of place to remind the users where they might have visited or what they might want to experience during a return trip," a photo caption of the bathroom reads. "Sound and scent compliment the visual experience to create a calming environment."

The nominated bathroom at Newark Liberty International Airport.

The nomination comes after Newark Liberty International Airport recently received recognition in a less positive light: A FlightAware analysis for CNN ranked the airport number one alongside LaGuardia for most summer cancellations, with nearly 8% of departing flights canceled from Newark since May 28. 

Past winners, dating back to 2002, are featured in the "Hall of Fame" on the contest's website with a short description of what makes each bathroom special.

The reigning winner is a subway-themed bathroom in Two Cities Pizza located in Mason, Ohio. Winners of the contest receive Cintas services, including $2,500 in facility service or restroom cleaning, according to a July press release.

The 2021 America's Best Room winner is this subway-themed restroom in Two Cities Pizza in Mason, Ohio.

Notable 2022 best bathroom finalists include Headlands Lodge and Spa in Oregon, North Hollywood Recreation Center in California, and Tampa International Airport in Florida.

Voting closes August 31.

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Balenciaga is selling an $1,800 trash bag that 'looks exactly like a Hefty bag you'd use in your kitchen'

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 12:11pm  |  Clusterstock
Balenciaga trash bag
  • Balenciaga is selling a $1,790 trash bag as part of its fall collection. 
  • The "Trash Pouch" first turned heads after making its debut on the runway at Paris Fashion Week in March.
  • Twitter users are calling out the ostentatious product. 

Balenciaga has never been shy to push boundaries, but the edgy luxury brand may have taken it to new extremes with its $1,790 trash bag. 

Dubbed the "Trash Pouch," the drawstring calfskin bag officially hit stores as part of Balenciaga's fall collection after it first turned heads on the runway at Paris Fashion Week in March. The launch of the bag — which comes in typical garbage-bag colors like black and white, as well as blue and yellow — is drawing newfound scorn on the internet, where users are again scoffing at the ostentatious product. 

"It looks exactly like a Hefty bag you'd use in your kitchen trash," one user wrote

"Balenciaga has a trash bag for sell for $1,795. I think designer fashion is a morbid social experiment," wrote another

The bag first drew attention after it was gifted to Kim Kardashian following the March runway show. In an Instagram story showing off the bag, Kardashian wrote, "Look what I got. I got the 'trash bag' bag from the show. I am so excited. "How cool is this?"

This isn't the first time a Balenciaga product has sparked controversy, thanks to its penchant for loftily priced utilitarian products. In 2017, the brand debuted a $2,145 tote designed in the style of Ikea's large, blue 99-cent shopping bags. More recently, the company spurred eye rolls with its partnership with Crocs, selling versions of the shoe that retail for upwards of $950.

"I couldn't miss an opportunity to make the most expensive trash bag in the world, because who doesn't love a fashion scandal?" Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia told Women's Wear Daily in March

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump told a crowd he'd be back in the White House after the 2024 election and made a slew of campaign-like promises at a rally

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 11:29am  |  Clusterstock
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America" rally in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 9, 2022.
  • Former President Donald Trump again promised to return to the White House after the 2024 election.
  • Speaking at a Friday rally in Wisconsin, Trump appeared to make a bunch of campaign promises.
  • "We will restore law and order in America," he said to cheers.

At a Wisconsin rally on Friday night, former President Donald Trump made a series of what appeared to resemble campaign promises  — he also vowed that to return to the White House.

"We are going to take back our magnificent White House, we're going to take it back," he said to cheers.

After losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, the former president began hosting a series of rallies that have served as a barometer of his popularity among conservatives and could help him maintain momentum for a potential campaign bid.

On Friday, he targeted Biden's policies and named various initiatives he'd lead in the White House.

"We will shut down Biden's border disaster, reinstitute our strong remain in Mexico policy, strengthen the patriots of ICE and border control," he said.

"We will again end catch and release, one of the dumbest programs ever," he added. "We will end chain migration. We will end the visa lottery and we will clamp down on illegal immigration just like we did less than two years ago."

"We will stop the crime wave in Democrat-run cities, we will give our police the power they need and the respect they deserve and we will not take immunity protection away from our police," he continued."

"We will restore law and order in America. We will hold China accountable for unleashing the virus upon the world. We will protect innocent life. We will defend our constitution. We will defend our totally under siege Second

Since losing, Trump has said at various times that he expects to win in 2024 should he run in the next presidential election. Friday's rally marked only the latest time that he made such a claim.

During an American Freedom Tour in March, for example, Trump promised to return to the White House in 2024.

"With the support of everyone in this room, we will take back the House, we will take back the Senate and we will take back our country, and then most importantly in 2024, we are going to take back our beautiful White House," he said, addressing a crowd of rallygoers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Read the original article on Business Insider

One of Indiana's biggest employers, Eli Lilly, says it's looking at 'employment growth' outside the state following strict anti-abortion law

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 11:21am  |  Clusterstock
In this photo illustration the Eli Lilly and Company logo seen displayed on a smartphone.
  • Indiana passed a near-total ban on abortion on Friday. 
  • Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, said has raised concerns.
  • The company said it "will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state."

Eli Lilly and Company said the company would " be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state," following Indiana's near-total ban on abortion.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 1 on Friday, becoming the first state to establish an abortion ban following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The new law makes exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest, when the pregnancy threatens the mother's life, or if "the fetus is diagnosed with a lethal fetal anomaly."

The ban goes into effect on September 15.

Eli Lilly, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, employs over 10,000 people in the state.

In a statement to Insider on Saturday, the company said they're concerned the ruling will impact their ability to attract "diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world."

"While we have expanded our employee health plan coverage to include travel for reproductive services unavailable locally, that may not be enough for some current and potential employees," the statement said.

"As a global company headquartered in Indianapolis for more than 145 years, we work hard to retain and attract thousands of people who are important drivers of our state's economy. Given this new law, we will be forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state."


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Democrats' surprise inflation deal still leaves 800,000 Floridians uninsured as recession fears loom

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 11:00am  |  Clusterstock
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (left) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York have arrived at a surprise inflation deal that the Senate will start considering on August 6.
  • Democrats in Congress are poised to start voting this weekend on an inflation deal. 
  • But the deal doesn't expand healthcare coverage for people with incomes close to the poverty level.
  • About 800,000 Floridians will remain uninsured and the next shot at coverage might not be til 2024.

When Democrats in Congress announced last year that they were working on a massive spending bill to transform the social safety net in America, healthcare advocates in Florida were optimistic there might finally be a way to get medical coverage to more people.

Last week, however, their hopes were dashed. One of the many items to hit the cutting room floor in Democrats' compromise $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act was a provision to sidestep Republican state legislators to expand Medicaid to almost 800,000 Floridians.

The omission is a big blow to Florida's uninsured, particularly at a time when many are worried about a recession, and residents already are facing high costs at the grocery store and at the gas pump, as well soaring rental bills, healthcare advocates say.

"It's definitely a missed opportunity, especially if the whole thing centers on inflation and the impacts of inflation," Scott Darius, executive director at the nonprofit advocacy group Florida Voices for Health, told Insider.

Florida is among 12 Republican-led states that refuse to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Under the law, states pay 10% of costs while the federal government picks up 90% of the tab.

Florida isn't likely to have a shot at expanding Medicaid until 2024 at the earliest. Florida healthcare advocates and Democrats have little faith that Republicans in the state legislature will change their position against Medicaid expansion, so they hope to put the question on a ballot in the 2024 election to have voters weigh in directly. 

"The ballot measure is our best chance of getting Medicaid expansion passed," state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat who sits on the state Senate's health policy committee, told Insider. 

"This should be the top priority for us, but the Republicans have shown us time and time again that they are not interested in what makes sense," Jones added. "They are interested in what feeds their base." 

In 2021, President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package tried to sweeten the Medicaid deal by defraying state costs for two years, but Florida still didn't go for it. Republican Gov. Ron. DeSantis' office told the Washington Post in March 2021 that he "remains opposed to the expansion of Medicaid in Florida."

The governor's office and several other GOP leaders in the state legislature did not respond to Insider's questions about whether any circumstances, such as a recession, could alter their stance on Medicaid expansion. 

Republicans have raised concerns about picking up more healthcare costs, citing fears that the federal government might someday claw back Medicaid payments. 

House Speaker Chris Sprowls, a Republican of Palm Harbor, said he thinks Medicaid should go only toward the most vulnerable residents, rather than be based on income, he told the Orlando Sentinel in March 2021. 

Under Obamacare, people making $13,590 or less for an individual or $27,750 for a family of four qualify to enroll in Medicaid. This raises objections from Republicans given that it doesn't factor in disability or work status.

Rev. Vanessa Tinsley, the executive director of Bridge to Hope, a Miami-based community organization whose services include a food program, said the narrative around people on Medicaid was not true. Many of the client she serves have jobs and college degrees.

"It's not about hard work — we have that here — but they work very hard at low paying jobs," she said, adding that even though Florida raised the minimum wage it hasn't kept up with soaring rents. One big medical issue can evaporate savings or raises, she said. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) walks past Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee mark up, on Capitol Hill on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.US House version of Biden's agenda cut price tag by more than half

For more than a year, Democrats in Congress explored ways to sidestep GOP lawmakers in Medicaid holdout states. An estimated 4 million people nationwide who are uninsured would be able to join Medicaid if all states expanded the program, according to a federal government report compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The US House's $2 trillion Build Back Better Act passed in November 2021 came up with a solution to fill the Medicaid gap. It would have paid the full cost of premiums for private health insurance for people with earnings close to the poverty level.

But the provision was among many stripped out to create the Inflation Reduction Act, though the bill retained other healthcare policies on drug pricing and private health insurance for people with higher incomes who wouldn't qualify for Medicaid. 

The bill could still change. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia is planning to introduce an amendment to help people who can't access Medicaid. He'll present the amendment during "vote-a-rama," a marathon session of amendment votes that could end up changing the final draft of legislation. The Senate is considering the inflation deal beginning Saturday. 

Florida Voices for Health is working with Southerners for Medicaid Expansion to push Congress this week to support Warnock's amendment. 

But conservative Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have been wary about increasing the price tag of the legislation. One estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found the Medicaid idea from the Build Back Better Act could cost the federal government $125 billion. 

Florida Sen. Shevrin Jones debates a bill, dubbed by opponents as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, right before the bill was voted on during a legislative session at the Florida State Capitol, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida.'We might have to get creative'

Without a federal solution or an immediate ballot vote, the fate of Medicaid is in the hands of state lawmakers or voters.

Tinsley of Bridge to Hope said she was "terrified" of a recession given that she already sees people living on the brink. She knows families whose parents can't get married because otherwise their children wouldn't qualify for Medicaid,  people who skip needed medications, or fathers with asthma who cannot afford health insurance and are left to borrow their children's inhalers. 

"The people in my food line used to be donors and volunteers," Tinsley said. "Our resources are shrinking." 

Not being able to afford healthcare worsens people's circumstance, she said. And many people across Florida who have to cut back on spending can only do so through lowering their grocery bills, she added. Often, less expensive foods are also less healthy, and that leads to problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure that in turn increase people's healthcare bills. 

DeSantis is up for reelection in Florida and is expected to win given that Florida Republicans have out-registered Democrats in the state by 220,000 people. Both Democrats running for the nomination in the August 23 primary to face him — Rep. Charlie Crist and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — support Medicaid expansion.

Jones faces a primary opponent on August 23. If reelected, he plans to introduce a bill to expand Medicaid, he said. This round, however, he said wants to try to see if there's a way to come to a bipartisan deal as some other GOP-led states have done — particularly after hospitals and health insurers unified behind the effort. 

"We might have to get creative," he said.

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The 50 best places to live in America, ranked

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 10:46am  |  Clusterstock
Huntsville, Alabama, was named the best place to live in America in 2022.
  • U.S. News & World Report releases a list of the best places to live in America every year.
  • Its 2022 ranking for the best places to live looked at five metrics: job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration.
  • The best place to live in America is Huntsville, Alabama, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado.

When deciding where to put down roots, many factors are in the eye of the beholder, such as climate, politics, or proximity to extended family.

Other aspects are desirable to nearly everyone: affordable housing, access to well-paying jobs, a low cost of living, good schools, and quality healthcare. In its ranking of the best places to live in America for 2022, U.S. News & World Report gathered data on these crucial components for more than 100 US cities.

U.S. News categorized the data into five indexes for each city — job market, value, quality of life, desirability, and net migration — to definitively rank these major metro areas. You can read U.S. News' full methodology here.

Scores for "value," a blend of annual household income and cost of living, and "quality of life," which accounts for crime, college readiness, commute, and other factors, are included below on a 10-point scale, as well as the city's population and average annual salary.

Huntsville, Alabama, came out on top, while Colorado Springs trailed close behind.

Keep reading to discover the 50 best places to live in America.

50. Peoria, Illinois

Peoria is quickly becoming a place where families comfortably occupy the suburbs while the youth can enjoy new entertainment districts.

In the warmer months, festivals pop up around the city each weekend, and nature lovers have access to trails for hiking, hunting, and biking.

Population: 403,747

Average annual salary: $54,330

Quality of life: 6.6 (out of 10)

Value index: 8.2

49. Charleston, South CarolinaCharleston, South Carolina.

Charleston's charming, historic, and sophisticated ambiance is exemplary of southern culture. "Not only is the area overflowing with entertainment and good food, but this low country locale is also gorgeous," said a local expert.

Tourism is booming in Charleston, creating plenty of jobs, especially in the summer months. Year-round, jobs in tech, sales, marketing, and advertising keep the city's economy strong.

Population: 790,955

Average annual salary: $50,810

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 6.1


48. Fort Wayne, IndianaFort Wayne, Indiana.

The Rust Belt hub of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is being revitalized as of late. Manufacturers including General Motors and BAE Systems have brought jobs to the area, while its economy is seeing a spike from young people eager to move downtown from the suburbs.

"With its low cost of living and quiet neighborhoods, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is an excellent place to buy a house, start a career, launch a business and raise children," a local expert said.

Population: 409,419

Average annual salary: $48,060

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 8.4


47. Hartford, ConnecticutHartford, Connecticut.

Located in the Connecticut River Valley, Hartford was once the home to notable historic figures, including Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Among the city's historic attractions, today it offers nearby entertainment venues, ski slopes, state parks.

The aerospace, healthcare, and financial services industries dominate the job market in Hartford, which is home to Aetna Inc., United Technologies Corp., and Hartford Hospital.

Population: 1,205,842

Average annual salary: $65,750

Quality of life: 7.2

Value index: 6.1



46. Asheville, North CarolinaAsheville, North Carolina.

It's no surprise why the mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina, is beloved by tourists and residents alike. Nestled in between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, Asheville is a magnet for outdoor lovers as well as fans of music, art, and craft beer.

Population: 459,344

Average annual salary: $46,310

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 6.7



45. Buffalo, New YorkSkyline of Buffalo, New York.

Located only 20 miles away from the tourist destination, Niagara Falls, Buffalo offers a more tight-knit community. Residents of Buffalo can enjoy a game of two of their beloved professional sports teams or ski the slopes in the winter.

Nearby are the Allegheny National Forest and Letchworth State Park for nature enthusiasts, and art lovers can enjoy cultural attractions as well.

Population: 1,129,018

Average annual salary: $53,300

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 7.8

44. Pensacola, FloridaPensacola, Florida.

This diverse area is home to a 10-day fiesta, gorgeous beaches facing the Gulf of Mexico, and great areas for fishing. Pensacola received high marks for desirability and net migration, meaning more and more people are interested in moving to this beautiful part of the country. 

Population: 496,278

Average annual salary: $45,170

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 6.5


43. Greenville, South CarolinaGreenville, South Carolina.

Once a sleepy small town, Greenville has witnessed a cultural revival in recent years, complete with an influx of new restaurants and businesses. Though the summers can get hot, the city's typically mild weather makes it possible to explore downtown on foot any time of the year.

An influx of manufacturing jobs has also boosted Greenville's economy, with brand-name companies, such as GE and Michelin, setting up shop in town.

Population: 908,680

Average annual salary: $47,100

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 8.0



42. Rochester, New YorkRochester, New York skyline.

History meets modernity in Rochester as the city has made strides to preserve its roots while updating its downtown to make it more attractive to suburban residents.

In the winter, Rochester offers ski slopes and sledding hills while they have access to Lake Ontario during the summer for boating and fishing.

Population: 1,071,784

Average annual salary: $54,550

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 7.0

41. Cincinnati, OhioCincinnati, Ohio.

Cincinnati is a city that loves its food, sports, and culture. There's something for everyone in the Midwest's Queen City, from a strong job market to a busy event calendar filled with museums, baseball, and local heritage events.

Residents appreciate the city's affordability — housing there is cheaper than the national average, despite Cincinnati being one of the 30 biggest metro areas in the US.

Population: 2,214,265

Average annual salary: $53,650

Quality of life: 6.7

Value: 7.8


40. Kalamazoo, Michigan

The small-town atmosphere of Kalamazoo calls to anyone intrigued by chili cook-offs and farmers markets. It's a hot spot for lovers of arts and culture.

Visitors of the city can enjoy craft breweries, museums, and live music during their time in Kalamazoo.

Population: 264,322

Average annual salary: $51,480

Quality of life: 6.5

Value index: 8.0

39. Tampa, Florida

Tampa residents can enjoy the laid-back vibes of the beach while maintaining access to a metropolitan area full of entertainment options — including an NFL team.

It was once home to the "Cigar Capital of the World" and the Tampa Bay metro area includes the beaches of St. Petersburg.

Population: 3,152,928

Average annual salary: $51,770

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 5.9

38. Syracuse, New YorkSyracuse, New York.

Syracuse is a haven for lovers of winter, but this central New York city is one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the US. Wine lovers will delight in its proximity to the Finger Lakes where they can enjoy some of the best wine the region has to offer.

The city offers a city center that's only a short distance from surrounding suburbs, and it's only four hours away from New York City.

Population: 650,211

Average annual salary: $54,890

Quality of life: 7.7

Value index: 7.0

37. Myrtle Beach, South CarolinaMyrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a popular vacation destination.

Popular vacation destination Myrtle Beach is rife with job opportunities in the hospitality industry thanks to tourism from beachgoers. The tourist hot spot offers recreational activities, quality restaurants, and mild weather.

The low income taxes and company incentives make an ideal home for small business owners.

Population: 481,489

Average annual salary: $39,250

Quality of life: 6.0

Value index: 6.4

36. Seattle, WashingtonSeattle, Washington.

Seattle is sandwiched between water and mountains and doesn't get as much rain as you'd think, said one local expert. The city's residents are drawn to the area for its atmosphere of "calm and patience" and its close proximity to nature. 

Jobs in Seattle are concentrated in tech, healthcare, and maritime industries, but the city is also a huge manufacturing center for companies like Boeing.

Population: 3,928,498

Average annual salary: $74,330

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 5.4



35. Harrisburg, PennsylvaniaHarrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Located on the banks of the Susquehanna River and the foothills of the Appalachian Trail, Harrisburg offers residents unlimited access to the outdoors.

Many are employed by the state and federal government in Harrisburg, but there's also several large private-sector companies that are top employers, including Hershey's, Rite Aid, and D&H Distributing.

Population: 574,691

Average annual salary: $52,700

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 7.6


34. Lexington-Fayette, KentuckyLexington, Kentucky.

Lexington, Kentucky, is known as the horse capital of the world, and residents are especially proud of their city's reputation for equestrian. On top of world-famous horse parks and racecourses, the area has more than 1,000 horse farms, not to mention streets named after Triple Crown winners and a bevy of horse statues in parks around the city. But love of equestrian activities isn't the only thing Lexington offers.

Younger residents move there for its college-town feel and appreciation for local sports and music. And the area is a haven for fans of the outdoors — the nearby Red River Gorge and Cumberland Falls are scenic places for residents to explore their surroundings.

Population: 514,273

Average annual salary: $48,150

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 7.6



33. Knoxville, TennesseeKnoxville, Tennessee.

For sports enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike, Knoxville, Tennessee, is a great place to call home. Close to the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Ijams Nature Center, getting outdoors and enjoying nature is a breeze in this Southern city. 

Population: 861,872

Average annual salary: $47,740

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 7.9


32. Dallas-Fort Worth, TexasDallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

A healthy balance of urban and rural, Dallas offers residents "big-city excitement and quiet, suburban living," shared one local expert. There's local bars, retail shops, and plenty of sports spirit to satisfy the huge population. The city — with large employers in business, finance, and education — is teeming with young professionals.

Population: 7,451,858

Average annual salary: $56,190

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 6.7


31. Hickory, North Carolina

Located just an hour outside of Charlotte, Hickory is garnering attention from young professionals after being home to mostly retirees and families. 

Residents have access to the mountains of Asheville an hour west and local art around town by way of outdoor sculptures and art galleries. Tech giants Apple and Google each have data centers here.

Population: 367,982

Average annual salary: $43,630

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 8.9

30. Charlotte, North CarolinaCharlotte, North Carolina.

A "melting pot effect" draws all types of people to Charlotte, a place with "equal parts old-fashioned southern charm and high-energy cosmopolitan bustle," touted one local expert. NASCAR and motorsports are a cultural cornerstone of Charlotte.

The Queen City houses Bank of America's headquarters and major offices for Wells Fargo, making it one of the largest financial hubs in the country.

Population: 2,595,027

Average annual salary: $55,330

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 7.1



29. Omaha, Nebraska29. Omaha, Nebraska.

Due to a combination of Omaha's history of cattle ranching and its current landscape of bustling tech startups, the city has earned the nickname "Silicon Prairie." Plus, eight Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Omaha, including Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Mutual of Omaha.

Young professionals and families are attracted to the city primarily for its affordability, safety, and strong economy.

Population: 940,163

Average annual salary: $53,050

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 7.7



28. Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln is the capital city of Nebraska and home to the Cornhuskers of University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although the city attracts thousands of college football fans and students in the fall, the low cost of living keeps people around.

It's home to large tech companies – such as Hudl and Spreetail – as part of the Midwest "Silicon Prairie."

Population: 333,193

Average annual salary: $50,240

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 7.7

27. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MinnesotaSt. Paul, Minnesota.

The Twin Cities have "big-city amenities like museums and sports stadiums, but also have an approachable, Midwestern feel," according to a local expert. Residents are accustomed to the area's changing seasons, participating in ice fishing and cross-country skiing in the winter and music festivals and baseball games in the spring and summer.

Jobs are available in science-focused fields at companies like Xcel Energy and Medtronic as well as retail corporations like Best Buy and Target.

Population: 3,605,450

Average annual salary: $62,560

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 7.2



26. Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaPittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh is taking steps to rehabilitate its industrial reputation with increasing amounts of green spaces and state parks.

Local expert Cheryl Werber also explains that more and more companies are also migrating to the Steel City, bringing exciting job opportunities to the area. Housing in Pittsburgh is also more affordable than other major cities, despite rates slowly beginning to rise.

Population: 2,234,447

Average annual salary: $54,300

Quality of life: 6.6

Value: 8.3

25. Nashville, TennesseeNashville, Tennessee.

Honky-tonk culture and an entrepreneurial spirit define Nashville.

"A blossoming job market and an exploding entertainment scene [are] fueling an appetite (and thirst) for all things locally sourced and artisanal in craft," a local expert said. Thousands of residents work in healthcare at the area's large hospitals and research centers, small startups, and business accelerator programs.

Population: 1,904,186

Average annual salary: $52,170

Quality of life: 6.1

Value index: 6.7


24. Jacksonville, FloridaJacksonville, Florida.

Jacksonville's beach-adjacent location makes it ideal for outdoor activities. In addition to spending lazy days in the sand, residents can also visit the area's prime golf courses or go hiking, camping, and kayaking in the nearby parks. Jacksonville also continues to grow, with burgeoning art and music scenes, as well as new business development, according to a local expert.

Population: 1,533,796

Average annual salary: $49,940

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 6.1



23. Salt Lake City, UtahSalt Lake City, Utah.

Salt Lake City might experience some of the snowiest weather in the country, but residents make the most of it through the multitude of ski resorts perched in the city's backyard. In warmer weather, residents can take advantage of Salt Lake's more than 900 acres of public parks and enjoy outdoor performances from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square.

Population: 2,522,032

Average annual salary: $52,094

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 7.0


22. Portland, OregonPortland, Oregon.

Portland isn't for everybody — its slogan is "Keep Portland Weird," after all. But one local expert asserts that it's a "well-rounded city with more than just the offbeat shops and events" and a population that has "more academic degrees than the national average."

Major employer Intel Corporation calls Portland home, as well as the headquarters for Nike, located about seven miles outside of Portland.

Population: 2,472,774

Average annual salary: $61,860

Quality of life: 6.7

Value index: 5.6



21. Albany, New YorkAlbany, New York.

Despite the snowy winters, living in Albany comes with several advantages. Albany offers a cost of living lower than the national average and the cost of housing sits well below the rest of the US as a whole. In terms of jobs, the city's state government and health care companies are Albany's primary industries for residents there.

Albany's downtown is lined with art galleries, wine shops, and churches for visitors to peruse. In keeping with the city's cold climate, hockey is the sport of choice for residents.

Population: 880,766

Average annual salary: $58,880

Quality of life: 6.9

Value index: 7.5



20. Melbourne, FloridaMelbourne, Florida.

Between fishing, boating, and a plethora of bars and restaurants, there's never a shortage of things to do in the Melbourne area. The city's ripe with retirees and "snowbirds" — people who split their time between colder climates in the summer and Florida in the winter — who can enjoy days on one of the many nearby golf courses and nights out exploring the local shops and art galleries.

Population: 594,001

Average annual salary: $51,740

Quality of life: 7.0

Value index: 6.6



19. Washington, DCWashington, DC.

The District's neighborhoods each give off their own vibe, but across the city residents often "gather for block parties, mingle at dog parks, and converse at coffee shops," explained a local expert. While Washington, DC, is known as a hub for politics, there's also a strong job market for education and health services.

Population: 6,250,309

Average annual salary: $77,210

Quality of life: 7.0

Value index: 5.8



18. Boston, MassachusettsBoston, Massachusetts.

Boston attracts a diverse group of residents, including everyone from recent college graduates to retirees and musicians to engineers. The historical city — often referred to as the "Cradle of Liberty," according to one local expert — also overflows with team spirit for the Red Sox and 2017 Super Bowl champions, the Patriots.

Population: 4,854,808

Average annual salary: $73,850

Quality of life: 7.2

Value index: 5.2



17. Madison, WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's capital is a "hotbed of the healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing industries," said a local expert. The area is also home to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, providing hundreds of jobs in education. 

Madison has a unique food culture that's a blend of fine dining and farmer's markets catering to the city's college students, young professionals, and families.

Population: 660,212

Average annual salary: $57,680

Quality of life: 7.3

Value index: 6.8



16. Grand Rapids, MichiganGrand Rapids, Michigan.

Grand Rapids attracts "college students and young families with its healthy job market, affordable housing, and outdoor recreational activities," said a local expert. The self-proclaimed "Beer City USA" has more than 80 breweries as well as dynamic public art and music scenes.

Once a hub for furniture production, Grand Rapids' job market is now dominated by education and healthcare, with many opportunities for workers without a college degree.

Population: 1,069,696

Average annual salary: $49,700

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 8.2



15. Boise, IdahoBoise, Idaho.

Idaho's capital city is "a recreationalist's paradise," according to one local expert, who also said Boise sits "squarely on the boundary of urban and rural, civilized and wild, refined and raw." The region is home to more than 25,000 Boise State University students and provides jobs at government agencies as well as in tech and healthcare.

Population: 730,483

Average annual salary:$49,010

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 7.0



14. Des Moines, IowaDes Moines, Iowa.

Des Moines is drawing millennials and young families alike for its "one-of-a-kind shops, locally-owned restaurants, and hip bars" as well as its historical residences in quiet neighborhoods, said a local expert. Home to more than 80 insurance companies including giants Allied Insurance and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the job market is thriving.

Population: 690,585

Average annual salary: $55,660

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 8.0


13. Austin, Texas

The capital of Texas gains about 150 new residents daily, many seeking out the city's "music, outdoor spaces, and cultural institutions," said a local expert.

Austin is beloved for its live music scene and is host to some of the country's biggest music and culture festivals, including South by Southwest and Austin City Limits. The city was nicknamed "Silicon Hills" in the 1990s for its status as "among the top areas for venture capital investment in the country."

Population: 2,173,804

Average annual salary: $57,830

Quality of life: 6.6

Value index: 6.3


12. Naples, Florida

Naples sits between the Everglades and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. With its sunny beaches, fine dining, and golf courses, it attracts many older, wealthy residents, including retirees and snowbirds. Tourism and frequent development means jobs in the hospitality and construction industries dominate.

Population: 379,345

Average annual salary: $50,040

Quality of life: 7.4

Value index: 5.2

11. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is primarily known as a college town but is attracting more full-time residents downtown and along its outskirts. Born in the mid-1800s, the city is set among hills, with the Huron River running through it.

Residents will find plenty to do outdoors throughout the year, from kayaking to ice skating. More than 90% of residents live within 10 minutes of a public park by walk, according to the Trust for Public Land.

Population: 368,385

Average annual salary: $59,200

Quality of life: 8.0

Value index: 6.5

10. San Francisco, CaliforniaSan Francisco, California.

A local expert described San Francisco as "the heart of the bohemian lifestyle, the epicenter of the LGBT rights movement, and the launching point of the technology era." In the last decade, thousands of tech companies have raced to set up shop in the Bay Area, sending the cost of living through the roof.

But despite all the focus on the tech and startup scene, the city also has plenty of business jobs available with more than 30 international finance headquarters.

Population: 4,709,220

Average annual salary: $81,840

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 5.1


9. Sarasota, FloridaSarasota, Florida.

Sarasota boasts "warm temperatures year-round, award-winning beaches, and a thriving arts and cultural scene," said a local expert. The biggest employers in Sarasota are in education, trade, and transportation, and the leisure and hospitality sector touts a low unemployment rate powered by a recent increase in tourism and a flood of new residents.

Population: 821,613

Average annual salary:$48,180

Quality of life: 7.0

Value index: 6.2



8. Portland, MainePortland, Maine.

Located right on the water at Casco Bay and lined with cobblestone streets, Portland immediately evokes the quaintness of a much smaller town. Between fishing, sailing, cross-country skiing, and exploring the city's buzzing nightlife, there's no shortage of things to do. Seafood lovers can nosh on fresh catches at the city's modern oyster bars and or grab one of Maine's signature lobster rolls.

Population: 536,314

Average annual salary: $55,790

Quality of life: 7.2

Value index: 6.6



7. Fayetteville, ArkansasFayetteville, Arkansas.

Fayetteville sits among the Ozark Mountains and is home to the University of Arkansas' flagship campus. The surrounding area of northwest Arkansas is home to headquarters for seven Fortune 500 companies including Walmart and Tyson Foods.

The city has experienced immense growth, according to a local expert, who said the region has evolved "from a small town to a center of higher education, culture, commerce, and entrepreneurialism."

Population: 526,101

Average annual salary: $50,470

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 8.3


6. Raleigh-Durham, North CarolinaRaleigh, North Carolina.

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are collectively known as the Triangle, an area anchored by its foundation in research and tech. The Triangle employs nearly 40,000 residents at companies like IBM, SAS Institute Inc., and Cisco Systems as well as surrounding colleges Duke, North Carolina State, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A strong job market coupled with a burgeoning microbrewery and dining scene draws new residents every day, said a local expert.

Population: 1,999,253

Average annual salary: $59,174

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 7.1

5. San Jose, CaliforniaSan Jose, California.

The sprawling city of San Jose is "as much defined by its suburban neighborhoods and large tech campuses as it is by the high-rises in its business district," said a local expert. Young residents and recent graduates of nearby Stanford and UC Berkeley have no trouble finding jobs in the area, which touts Facebook, Google, and Apple as its largest private-sector employers.

Population: 1,985,926

Average annual salary: $93,450

Quality of life: 7.6

Value index: 5.5



4. Boulder, Colorado

There's never a shortage of outdoor fun to be had in Boulder, with more than 60 parks and 155 miles of hiking trails at residents' disposal. Downtown, locals enjoy the prominent arts scene, craft breweries, and farmer's markets. Major employers in Boulder include companies in the technology, aerospace, and bioscience industries.

Population: 324,682

Average annual salary: $70,450

Quality of life: 7.7

Value index: 5.1


3. Green Bay, Wisconsin

The oldest settlement in Wisconsin, Green Bay used to be a key shipping center. Today, it's better known as the home of the Green Bay Packers. Residents can enjoy craft breweries and wineries, boutique shopping, museums and art galleries, and outdoor fun on trails and the Fox River.

Some of Green Bay's largest employers include insurance companies like UnitedHealth Group and Humana and shipping firms like Georgia-Pacific.

Population: 320,827

Average annual salary: $50,020

Quality of life: 7.1

Value index: 8.5


2. Colorado Springs, ColoradoColorado Springs, Colorado.

Colorado Springs is "booming, with new residences popping up alongside quality schools, parks, and cultural attractions," touts a local expert. The city is just an hour's drive from Denver and in close proximity to Aspen and Vail's world-class ski resorts. Military jobs influence Colorado Springs' culture and economy, but jobs are also available in medical innovation and tech.

Population: 735,480

Average annual salary: $55,540

Quality of life: 6.4

Value index: 5.7



1. Huntsville, AlabamaHuntsville, Alabama.

The once-sleepy town of Huntsville, Alabama, gained fame in the 1960s when it became a hub for NASA. Now Huntsville is undergoing another renaissance, with tech companies, craft breweries, and artists all flocking to the town in recent years.

Huntsville is the fastest-growing city in Alabama, and residents are enjoying an emerging downtown shopping and dining scene even as the city maintains a low cost of living. If you can handle the heat and humidity, you might find yourself at home there.

Population: 464,607

Average annual salary: $58,730

Quality of life: 6.8

Value index: 8.5



Read the original article on Business Insider

I'm a luxury travel agent for the ultra-wealthy. I've sent out search teams for lost luggage and booked a $15,000 private flight for a COVID-positive client.

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 10:34am  |  Clusterstock

Stacy Fischer Rosenthal is the president and owner of Fischer Travel and has been in the business for 40 years. Her clients pay a $100,000 initiation fee to become members at Fischer Travel.
  • Stacy Fischer Rosenthal is the president and owner of luxury travel agency Fischer Travel.
  • We've never seen delays and cancellations at the magnitude we're experiencing post-COVID.
  • This is Stacy Fischer Rosenthal's story, as told to writer Amber Gibson.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Stacy Fischer Rosenthal, the president and owner of luxury travel agency Fischer Travel who's been in the business for 40 years. Her clients pay a $100,000 initiation fee to become members at Fischer Travel, which has already gained seven new clients this year and is considering raising the initiation fee. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I've been doing this for 40 years and I've not seen anything quite like it in terms of chaos.

COVID has left long-term negative effects on all aspects of travel: Airlines are dealing with staffing issues, hence the cancellations, and there's a huge shortage in general in the hospitality business – hotels, restaurants, guides, drivers, and greeters. The demand for travel is there — there's just a shortage of supply.

We are accustomed to delays and cancellations, but never at the magnitude we're experiencing. The reason people come to us is they want to feel taken care of, to have flexibility, and to have options.

Recently, my team planned an independent trip for a new client.

We arranged French lessons for her in Provence, hiking and biking guides, and people to have dinners with her for casual French conversation. Then, after two days, the hiking and biking trails were closed because of the heat so she decided to just go to Paris instead.

I felt bad for the providers that we found, but understood that she would rather be in a city, and be inside and have a museum experience. And so now we're crafting this completely different itinerary for her for Paris; we arranged chocolate-making and croissant-baking classes, and professional shoppers to take her out for a day of fashion, and we were able to curate this with just two days' notice.

Pre-COVID, people traveled for maybe a week to 10 days. What we're seeing now is families and multi-gen people traveling for four to eight weeks this summer.

The intensity of planning a trip of that magnitude is huge. Sometimes when they are leaving, we don't even have the back end of the trip completed yet because we're still waiting for answers from the client, and waiting for confirmations from suppliers because everyone is so delayed. Even in the very best hotels anywhere in the world, concierges are short-staffed. 

Lost bags are also a huge issue that's more prevalent than ever before.

On another recent trip, a client's daughter, who is an equestrian, traveled from London City Airport to Nice, and checked her medication and equestrian equipment. Her bag didn't make it to Nice and it was the week of the Queen's Jubilee.

She was offering a £5,000-reward for the bag. We sent people to both airports and nobody could find it. That was on Monday. On Tuesday, when they hadn't recovered the bag, I thought, what if we pack another bag in New York and we fly it to Nice.

I couldn't spare an employee so I called a friend of mine. The client's assistant packed the bags in New York, I had a driver pick up my friend from New Jersey, and she boarded a 7 p.m. United flight out of Newark. A driver met my friend in Nice and they delivered two bags to the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. My friend spent two nights in Nice, then flew back on Friday. 

She literally dropped everything to get on that plane, and our client's daughter had her riding things and medication on Wednesday.

COVID is still an ever present issue, too.

At least three times a week, there's a 411 about somebody needing to get off a yacht, or get staff off the boat or get new staff in, because somebody got COVID.

We had a new client who was at a bachelorette party on Exuma in the Bahamas in May when she tested positive for COVID. Her parents called and wanted to get her home, otherwise she had to go to a quarantine hotel in Exuma for a week. I remembered reading something about the Rosewood Baha Mar flying people home if they were positive, so I called the managing director, and within three hours we had her on a private plane to Miami, through Trinity Air Ambulance for $15,000.

Having a human travel agent right now is more important than ever.

We have amazing relationships to get things done correctly. We're overseeing every move our clients make, checking them in, facilitating the greeter, car and driver, plus constantly monitoring any airport shutdowns, flight cancellations and entry and exit requirements. It's an ongoing process of reconfirming two or three times to ensure everything goes smoothly.

We are the one point of contact for the whole trip and we don't pass that off to other people. If there was one thing I'd love to change, it would be that the service levels would be back and the response time would be a lot faster.

We're seeing the most interest in Europe right now. Not that people didn't go the last few years, but it's so popular right now and people are missing it. Big families are traveling for weeks at a time to one or multiple destinations. It's not just getting the villa, it's staffing the villa and providing the sightseeing, activities, restaurants, etc. There are so many different facets to every trip.

Creating magical, memorable moments is the best part of our job. Travel is not one size fits all. I try to stay in the moment, and welcome the new business and welcome the challenges and opportunities. We're working so hard and when people appreciate what we're doing for them, there's nothing like that.

We've been hiring because of the demand and we know that it will take time for people to learn our business.

I just hired five students coming out of amazing colleges like Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

I look for a passion, listening skills and openness to being creative. Obviously, you have to be very detail-oriented, too and you have to come in with a very open mind to work on a team because that's how you'll be successful here. We are all bringing our skill sets and travel knowledge into the equation to help our clients.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A pharmacist who refused to fill a woman's emergency contraceptive prescription did not violate her rights, Minnesota jury rules

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 10:28am  |  Clusterstock
State laws banning abortion "from the moment of fertilization" could interfere with access to emergency contraception.
  • A Minnesota woman sued a pharmacy for denying her emergency contraceptives in January 2019. 
  • The pharmacist told Andrea Anderson he couldn't fill her prescription because of his beliefs.
  • However, a jury ruled the pharmacist didn't violate her rights. 

A Minnesota jury on Friday ruled that a pharmacist did not discriminate against a woman when he refused to fill her emergency contraception prescription. 

Gender Justice, which represented the plaintiff Andrea Anderson, said they  believed the pharmacist's "actions constitute illegal sex discrimination and will appeal the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals to ensure Minnesota patients can safely access the health care they need."

In January 2019, Anderson's doctor sent a prescription for Ella, or ulipristal — an emergency contraceptive, to the only pharmacy in her town, according to court documents. 

Anderson's initial form of birth control had failed and she needed emergency contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. The pharmacist at Thrifty White told her he couldn't fill the prescription because of his "beliefs" and warned her against trying another pharmacy in the area, the complaint said. 

She then drove to a CVS that was 20 miles away, which also told her they couldn't fill it, according to the complaint.  Anderson said she had to drive to a pharmacy over 50 miles from her home in a snowstorm to have her prescription filled, the complaint said.

Gender Justice argued that refusing to fill Anderson's prescription was illegal sex discrimination and violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

 "To be clear, the law in Minnesota prohibits sex discrimination and that includes refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception," Gender Justice Legal Director Jess Braverman said. 

The group noted that there has been a noted rise in pharmacies denying patients emergency contraceptives after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Anderson said she's concerned about other women being turned away when requesting emergency contraception. 

"I can't help but wonder about the other women who may be turned away," she said. "What if they accept the pharmacist's decision and don't realize that this behavior is wrong? What if they have no other choice? Not everyone has the means or ability to drive hundreds of miles to get a prescription filled. I can only hope that by coming forward and pursuing justice that others don't have to jump through the ridiculous hurdles I did."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Taiwan scrambles its fighter jets as Chinese war planes conduct simulated attack, officials say

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 10:20am  |  Clusterstock
A Taiwanese F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet lands at Hualien Air Force Base on August 06, 2022 in Hualien, Taiwan.
  • Chinese ships and aircraft conducted a simulated attack on Taiwan on Saturday, Taiwanese officials said, per Reuters.
  • Taiwanese jets scrambled as Chinese military assets conducted missions around the Taiwan Strait, Reuters said.
  • Taiwan's defense ministry said 14 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line.

Chinese ships and planes rehearsed an attack on Taiwan on Saturday, Taiwanese military officials said, prompting the island nation to scramble its jets, per Reuters.

Taiwan's defense ministry said 20 Chinese aircraft and 14 warships conducted missions around the Taiwan Strait on Saturday afternoon, Reuters reported.

The ministry said that 14 of the 20 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line — a 110-mile-long strait that acts as an unofficial buffer between China and Taiwan.

Taiwanese jets scrambled, the ministry said, and the army also broadcast a warning and put shore-based missiles on stand-by, Reuters said.

A source familiar with security planning told the news agency that, off Taiwan's east coast, Chinese warships and drones also simulated attacks on US and Japanese warships.

Reuters reported that China's Eastern Theater Command has continued to conduct sea and air joint exercises near Taiwan to test the system's land strike and sea assault capabilities.

The Chinese exercises, which include live-fire drills, began on Thursday and are set to continue into Sunday. The exercises came after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visited the self-ruled island of Taiwan that China claims as its own territory.

Beijing had repeatedly warned of a possible military reaction to Pelosi's Taipei trip, Insider previously reported.

Since Thursday, drills have included firing ballistic missiles over and around Taiwan.

China also deployed aircraft and vessels around the Taiwan Strait on Friday, Taipei's defense ministry said, with some military assets crossing the median line. Insider reported that while this is not unprecedented, it's emblematic of the recent uptick in tensions in the region.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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