Altruism Today

Opioid Addiction as Growth Industry

June 28th, 2016  |  Source: NPQ

Source; Cape Cod Times

As circumstances change, venture capital money and for-profit organizations are crowding into areas of addiction and mental health treatment that were previously covered mainly by nonprofit entities.

Massachusetts Chapter 258, passed in 2014, requires insurers to cover 14 days of in-patient addiction treatment without prior approval. It has been a boon to enterprising rehab facilities unwilling to settle for state reimbursement rates. Another factor that makes substance abuse treatment potentially more lucrative is the fact that that children can stay on their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26.

The need for behavioral health services has been there all along, but the money was absent until the passage of Massachusetts’ Chapter 258 and the federal Affordable Care Act. “Venture capitalists, who are the ones lending the money, see behavioral health as a growth area,” said David Matteodo, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems. Kenneth Weber, whose Recovering Champions, Inc., opened Awakenings Lodge on Cape Cod in 2015 as a for-profit treatment center, concurs that the missing ingredient for his business plan was money.

One consequence of VCs and for-profits moving into the field is that nearby nonprofit facilities will see their work made more difficult as lower-paying MassHealth patients become more dominant in their income mixes.

NPQ readers will remember this same dynamic took place in hospice care over the past few decades, driving up Medicaid costs through a combination of practices that do not benefit patients. In fact, one could argue that quality of service for patients has declined. Are these, perhaps, areas where nonprofits should get contract preference and capital to expand? And, finally, for the umpteenth time, why do state governments contracting for services get away with not paying full costs?

How the Marriage Equality Movement Won Over the American Public

June 27th, 2016  |  Source: NPQ

On June 26, 2015, history was made when the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land. This victory for social justice would not have been achieved without the efforts of tenacious leaders and litigators, diverse LGBT organizations, straight allies, elected officials, celebrities, and most importantly, hundreds of thousands of people toiling at the grassroots level. But a crucial, and largely unknown, force was also at work: the Civil Marriage Collaborative, a consortium of foundations that helped change hearts and minds—and move the country toward marriage equality.

The Civil Marriage Collaborative (known as the CMC) was created in 2004, at a time when there was strong backlash against the idea of gay marriage. Less than a year earlier, the Massachusetts high court had ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a decision that prompted a media and political firestorm. President George W. Bush called for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, and similar measures started making their way to the ballots in more than a dozen states. The LGBT movement was overwhelmed: It did not have the financial or operational capacity to mount the larger public education, policy advocacy and litigation effort that was needed to deal with the onslaught.

A Vision to Win

That’s when a handful of foundations came together to create the CMC, which would work in tandem with Freedom to Marry, an organization founded in 2003 that would eventually become the engine of the marriage equality movement. Launched with a grant from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund in San Francisco, and led by Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry was based on a simple premise: Civil unions and domestic partnerships did not go far enough in removing obstacles for gays and lesbians in virtually every area of mainstream life. And by securing marriage equality, the LGBT community would gain rights in many other areas, such as in health care and the right to adoption.

No individual foundation could achieve this goal by itself, which is why the collaborative spirit of the CMC was so vital, both financially and logistically. From 2004 to 2015, the CMC and its funders contributed together and separately $153 million to build and strengthen a broad and diverse grassroots constituency and powerful public education apparatus to advance the marriage equality movement. Just as important, the CMC and its funders played a critical role in helping the LGBT movement develop, coalesce around and pursue a shared strategy to secure the freedom to marry state by state and then nationwide. Indeed, the formation of the Civil Marriage Collaborative proved to be a classic example of how foundations could come together and effect social change on a massive scale, for relatively little money.

It was not an easy task. Along the way, the movement faced losses and other major setbacks—California’s anti-marriage measure Proposition 8, just to name one. By exploiting fear and ignorance about gay people, opponents had real success in claiming that marriage equality would damage the institution of marriage and harm kids. Much of the problem at the ballot box could be traced to a perceived values gap: Research showed that most Americans didn’t think gay people shared their values. Instead, they saw gays and lesbians as unconnected to family, church, and other societal institutions.

The movement knew it wasn’t connecting with the public and began investing in deep psychographic research to determine what was really going on inside people’s heads. This more exhaustive research—which involved focus groups, multi-hour interviews with carefully selected individuals, and developing and testing dozens of different approaches—was quite expensive. The initial investment cost 10 times more than a typical statewide poll in California, not even factoring in the expenses of further research and testing. Finding the money was extraordinarily challenging.

Changing Hearts and Minds

Over time, we learned that our side was making a huge mistake leading with an “equal rights and benefits” argument, which is what superficial polling said was the best approach. Why was this a mistake? In hindsight, it seems painfully obvious: the research showed that when straight people were asked why they got married, they said for love and commitment. But when asked why gay people got married, the straight respondents said “for rights and benefits.” In other words, our “rights and benefits” frame only reinforced the belief that gay people were operating from an entirely different values frame—love vs. a better dental plan.

From that point on, the movement changed its message: Gay marriage was not about rights and responsibilities—it was about love. And we learned that the most effective messengers were not gay couples, but rather parents or grandparents of gay and lesbian people who had been married for decades. It was a strategy that resonated with everyone. The marriage movement had finally found to way to move hearts and minds on marriage.

The CMC and its partners kept moving forward, consistently aligning grant dollars behind the marriage movement’s shared strategic plan. That involved supporting a wide range of related activities, including national coordination through Freedom to Marry, litigation, public education, community organizing and robust communications. In key states, for example, foundation dollars supported public education campaigns that included door-to-door canvassing, polling, phone-banking, mobilizing faith communities and earned and paid media.

There were many ups and downs and it wasn’t a flashy approach, but it played a significant role in getting marriage equality across the finish line, dramatically increasing public support for marriage equality and relegating laws like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act to the dustbin of history.

It’s not every day in a social justice movement when you can actually win and say that the job is done now, but in the case of marriage equality, that’s exactly what has happened. Both Freedom to Marry and the Civil Marriage Collaborative are triumphantly shutting their doors, a testament to what foundations can bring to the table, particularly when they work together. It also shows what can happen when we remain true to our values, when we connect our hopes and dreams to a broader vision for the nation, and when we take action to ensure that everyone has opportunities to thrive.

More turnout for charitable giving than for elections

June 24th, 2016  |  Source: Philanthropy Daily

Americans are more motivated to give to charity than they are to vote for president: perhaps they feel charity will make more of a notable difference.

"When it comes to performing their civic duty, Americans are more inclined to give charity than cast their ballots at the polls.

"During the most recent presidential election, 53.6 percent of Americans voted, according to the Pew Research Center. That same year, 59.7 percent gave to charity, a Philanthropy Panel Study concluded.

"Donors have continued to give at record rates, while voting patterns remain fairly consistent."--Eleanor Goldberg, The Huffington Post

Read her post Here:

Number of Global Refugees at Record Levels in 2015

June 22nd, 2016  |  Source: NPQ

Source, NPR

On World Refugee Day 2016, observed on June 20th each year, the White House issued this statement, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released this annual report declaring that the number of displaced people is now at its highest ever, even surpassing the number of people displaced by WWII.

By the end of 2015, 65.3 million individuals, more than half of them children, were “forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations.” This number represents one out of every 113 people, or a little less than one percent of the earth’s population.

Three countries—Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia—accounted for more than half of the refugees under the UN’s mandate. And most of those refugees, 86 percent, are hosted in developing countries. Lebanon hosts 183 refugees for every 1,000 inhabitants, the highest ratio in the world, while Turkey hosts the highest total number of refugees—2.5 million people.

UNHCR reports “on average 24 people worldwide were displaced from their homes every minute of every day during 2015, some 34,000 people per day.”

This represents a level of risk for which the world’s nations know no precedent and have no common strategic vision to address it. It took the viral image of a drowned Syrian child to compel world leaders to begin to reckon with their legal and moral responsibilities, let alone to fully appreciate the scale of the growing crisis.

The UNHCR report indicates that there are three reasons why forced displacement is continually rising. The situations causing refugee outflows are lasting longer. (The conflicts in Somalia and Afghanistan are in their third and fourth decades, respectively.) New or reignited crisis situations are occurring more frequently. While the number of refugees and internally displaced people increased from six people per minute in 2005 to 24 per minute today, the rate at which the world’s nations are finding and offering solutions has been falling since the end of the Cold War.

World Refugee Day is meant to honor the courage of people displaced worldwide and recognize the contributions they make in their communities wherever they may be. UNHCR has this hashtag and video to promote awareness: “We Stand #WithRefugees 2016—Please Stand With Us.”

Amnesty International and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), among others, observe this day as well with their individual campaigns.

In a statement, Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said this about the refugee crisis:

Each year, UNHCR seeks to find a glimmer of hope in the global statistics we publish to show that the world is finding solutions to help heal the trauma refugees are living through on a daily basis. But this year the hopeful signs are hard to find. […] Against this tragic backdrop, divisive political rhetoric on asylum and migration issues, and disturbing levels of xenophobia, are together threatening the international agreements that protect those forced to flee war or persecution. Instead of burden sharing, we see borders closing; instead of political will there is political paralysis. And humanitarian organizations like mine are left to deal with the consequences, while at the same time struggling to save lives on limited budgets.

NPQ has written forcefully many times about the global refugee crisis, such as here andhere. As a word of encouragement or warning, here is the conclusion to another NPQreport:

This is yet another of those issues that nonprofits might hope to dodge as “not their issue,” someone else’s concern and priority, but it’s not. If the U.S. slams the door on desperate Syrian refugees, the nonprofit sector that claims to represent openness, inclusion, and democracy will find its credibility seriously damaged should it fail to do whatever it can to confront the politicians using fear and hatred as a tool for political advancement.

Sen. Grassley Calls Out Red Cross for Stonewalling Haiti Investigation

June 20th, 2016  |  Source: NPQ

Source; WBUR-FM (Boston Public Radio)

Senator Charles E. Grassley of the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees issued a letter on Thursday essentially declaring that the American Red Cross (ARC) is stonewalling his investigation on questions of accountability where its activities and spending in Haiti are concerned. The ARC received approximately $487 million dollars to provide food and shelter in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

Eventually, questions began to be raised about the organization’s effectiveness in Haiti, with charges about inefficiencies and waste. Grassley mentioned that reports also surfaced about the ARC viewing the disaster as a public relations and fundraising opportunity.

Most of the work the ARC did in Haiti under the Haiti Assistance Project (HAP) was in fact subcontracted to other organizations. Still, the Red Cross retained around 25 percent of that money, or $124 million, for its own operations and program costs. The rest, around $367 million, went to contracts with partner agencies, but the whole picture is obscured by a “complex yet inaccurate process to track…spending.” Consequently, the organization has been unable to answer questions about, for instance, how much went to oversight and evaluation activities—an important accountability measure, as far as Grassley is concerned. He writes that the ARC blames its lack of precision on its reliance on “nonprofit accounting standards which allow for the use of estimates rather than actual numbers.”

In the same vein, Grassley charges that the ARC attempted to stop and then successfully limited a GAO audit, whereupon it still refused to respond to requests for information. And, finally, it has downsized its own Investigations, Accountability and Ethics (ICE) unit from 65 full-time employees in the immediate aftermath of Katrina to just three today. Further, that unit reports to the organization’s general counsel, who was the contact pushing limits on the purview of the GAO review.

All of this, writes Grassley, creates substantial and fundamental concerns about ARC as an organization. Readers can go here to read the letter and the Red Cross’s response to queries.

The Stable State in Giving USA’s 2015 Numbers: $373 billion raised

June 17th, 2016  |  Source: NPQ

Giving USA 2016’s eye-catching headline touts 2015 as “America’s most generous year ever.” A record amount of $373.25 billion was raised, reflecting annual growth of around four percent. Additionally, no subsector of nonprofits appears to be falling behind in receipt of these gifts except foundations, a category that is essentially volatile. But here’s the thing about tracking fundraising in an economy where ever-more-marked structural inequality exists: the numbers of that overall philanthropic recovery can be just as skewed as in the whole economy.


As with the overall economy, a recovery is in progress. Gifts to nonprofits working on international affairs have spiked upward, but that may simply be a relatively late recovery to losses felt during the Great Recession. Other subsectors are seeing more modest growth rates, which may reflect a bit more faith in personal budgets. Even giving against GDP has recovered to 2.1 percent—just a tenth of a percentage point below the all-time high of 2.2 percent.

Once again, the cutoff on the category of “mega-gifts” has been increased—this year, to $300 million. Last year, it rose from $80 million to $200 million. This means that nothing under $300 million qualifies as an oddball “mega-gift” in their econometric model, although we are almost certain that it would qualify as such to you.

And, as always, most of the mega-gifts largely went to the usual suspects—universities and foundations—with just a bit of a wrinkle: Because the art market is so hot right now and good valuations were available, we saw a lot of massive art donations to museums and universities. Thus, for instance, Stanford received an art collection worth $622 million from family members of philanthropist Harry W. Anderson. Likewise, Princeton University was gifted with 2,500 rare books and manuscripts valued at $300 million. The Art Institute of Chicago received a collection worth $400 million from Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, in what the museum says is the largest gift of art in its history.

It doesn’t matter what those donors bought their pieces for; they could get a tax break of up to 30 percent as assessed in this high market. If that amount exceeded what one is allowed to deduct in a single year, they’d spread it over multiple years. Here is how the Wall Street Journal described the art donation calculation:

Peter Jason Riley, a certified public accountant in Newburyport, Mass., ran the numbers for a hypothetical U.S. taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of $500,000 who owns a painting appraised at $100,000 that she had purchased for $20,000.

What happens if she donates the painting? For donations of art, owners generally can claim a federal tax deduction of up to 30 percent of their adjusted gross income each year, making the limit in this case $150,000. So donating the painting to a qualifying museum would permit this owner a deduction in the current tax year of $100,000, assuming she hasn’t made other art donations totaling more than $50,000. (If donations in a given year exceed the limit for deductions, the overage can be deducted in following years, up to five if necessary, with the 30 percent limit applying each year.)

That means the tax benefit this year for the donor in this case would be $41,118, according to Mr. Riley.

If the painting was sold for the appraised value of $100,000, assuming a typical 15 percent sales commission to an auction house or art gallery, the seller would owe $31,372 in capital-gains tax, resulting in a net profit of $53,628, Mr. Riley says.

But, as the article notes, there are no guarantees the piece will sell at the appraised figure. The New Yorker just ran an article likening the art world to the tech market in the creation of weirdly anchored valuations and “unicorns.” So, with all of the celebration of increased giving, we may wish to remember that these kinds of dynamics of a wildly unbalanced financial system are occurring below the surface.

One last thing worth noting is that the artist who actually creates a piece of work and donates it to an auction or a museum gets absolutely no deduction in return. This may remind you of the more general structure of our economy.

Giving USA 2016 details many other interesting aspects of the giving landscape that are, we are sure, far more relevant to your fundraising. What’s happening to corporate gifts? Will prospects for the arts continue to improve? You can purchase a copy of the report at Giving USA’s website.

Senate filibuster ends as Democrat claims gun control victory

June 16th, 2016  |  Source: The Guardian

Chris Murphy, who led Democrats in holding floor for more than 14 hours, says deal was struck with Republicans for vote on background checks and terror watchlist

A marathon Democratic filibuster in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacrecame to an end in the US Senate on Thursday morning after Republicans apparently agreed to hold votes on tighter gun control measures.

Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, led the filibuster which lasted for more than 14 hours along with several colleagues. In the early hours of Thursday morning in Washington, Murphy said a deal had been struck with Republican leaders to hold votes on key measures.

Murphy yielded the floor at 2.11am, saying he had won commitments from Republican leaders that they would hold votes on amendments to expand background checks and ban gun sales to suspected terrorists.

The Connecticut senator had promised at the outset that he would remain on the Senate floor “until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together” on gun control.

To Know a Town, Know Its Fish Mark

June 15th, 2016  |  Source: PS Magazine

A tour through my favorite fish markets in the world, which have taught me more about the economics and spirit of a city than any guidebook ever could.

Bobby was the first person I met in Korea. He sold flounder and baby octopus at the fish market. In Dubai, my first acquaintance was the immigrant cook who made me a breakfast of South Indian fish curry. If you want to understand daily life in an alien place — to meet the people who give a city its rhythms — go straight to the fish market.

As a food and travel writer, the first thing I do whenever I arrive in a new place is hit the fish market. In a world where entire countries have altered their streets and customs to attract moneyed tourists, fish markets — and the people who work there, hauling carcasses in the wee hours — remain relatively authentic. No other single site offers such a thorough orientation to a people, an economy, and a culture. Except for a few of the biggest (Tokyo’s Tsukiji or Seattle’s Pike Place), these aren’t marketed as tourist attractions. Yet for travelers looking to taste local delicacies — Hawaiian limpets called opihi, Seattle’s famous salmon, or baby octopus in Korea still wriggling around on the plate — seafood markets offer a no-frills place to find not only the food, but the life of a city.

Fish markets rarely compete with palaces or parks in the mind of the average tourist — you’re unlikely to frame a photograph of mollusks the way you’d frame a photo of Westminster Abbey; you’re unlikely to Instagram your fish congee for breakfast at Tekka Market in Singapore the way one might a croissant in a Paris café. Yet these markets are still visual feasts. These are the scenes that remain in my mind after travel: Stall after stall of iridescent stock in Negombo or simply laid on a tarp in Passikudah (both in Sri Lanka); silver fish stacked over sparkling ice in Seoul, South Korea; countless crabs, climbing upward, claws akimbo, in Dubai’s Deira Fish Souk.

Everywhere in the world, fish markets fill up before dawn with working-class people hustling to make a living through a fragile and expensive commodity. Fish markets are both a reflection of the values and economy of a place, and a microcosm of the city itself.

All over the world, the aisles of the fish market are a microcosm for the streets of the town.

Take Noryangjin, Seoul’s largest fish market, where tuna auctions wrap by 6:30 a.m. and workers hustle to pack up the fish that’s been sold. Tables overflow with large carcasses, sorted by type, down the center of the room.

Like the rest of Seoul, Noryangjin teems with people and fast-moving hand-carts that brush by brisk walkers. I met Bobby there along a series of stalls where smaller tanks showcase live fish. Bobby overheard me speaking in English and came over to talk. This was common in Korea, to find offers of help and hospitality proffered from within the chaos of the street. The same people who jumble against you as you’re packed into the a Seoul subway car will stop everything on the street and offer directions if you so much as glance at a map.

After years living abroad — in Texas, of all places — Bobby returned to his home country of Korea, where he now ran this two-square-foot fish stall. “What kind of fish do you want?” he asked, offering to translate for other vendors if he didn’t have it. The kitchens that line Noryangjin’s outer aisles are BYOF: bring your own fish. I bought a flounder and a baby octopus, and he followed me to the restaurant behind his stall to translate my preparation requests to the chef.

Fish markets serve the best breakfasts. While I waited for my platter of sashimi, fish head-and-skeleton soup, and still-twitching raw baby octopus, I surveyed the room. A table of 20-somethings all dove from their seats to catch their friend as she swayed with drunkenness. A young couple, too, seemed to be soaking up booze. A table of men still wearing waterproof overalls from their night shift gathered over what was, for them, dinner. They seemed excited to see a visitor in the market and fed me bites of their food, including abalone — which tastes like an oyster, except more so: chewier, saltier, sweeter, and just a bit buttery. I was, possibly, the only person starting their day, rather than ending it.

Everywhere, the aisles of the fish market reflect the streets of the town: in Negombo, Sri Lanka’s largest, dirt paths jumble back and forth with ill-defined edges. Slow-moving vendors amble under weighty loads.

Green, blue, and red-striped boats cut through the lagoon, making a beeline for the docks, where a man in flip-flops and soccer shorts shuffles around piles of big and small fish, mixed together, laid out on the ground: one, the size of a small child, is sliced in thirds. In the same haphazard manner that rickshaws careen through the streets, carcasses lean against pillars or sit in water washing in from the lagoon. But, like everything in Sri Lanka, the disorder and disarray is offset by a backdrop of beauty: outrigger canoes and multi-hued boats cutting calm paths, the sun reflecting warmth off the water and the vendors’ smiles.

In Dubai, as with Bobby in Korea, conversations flowed freely in a way that tourist economies normally don’t make possible. There is a myth of tourists wanting to live, eat, or travel “like a local.” Yet most tourists skip the fish market, perhaps the most local place of all. More often, tourists opt for a cleaned-up, well-funded, or Disney-fied version of local — hardly the same kind of “local” that means starting work at midnight and finishing — reeking of fish guts — before most travelers have exited their air-conditioned hotel rooms.

Such was true at the Dubai fish souk, where I wandered after a night spent eating and drinking in the shadow of the tallest building in the world. The white tile fixtures of Dubai’s fish souk line up neatly, numbered on the cement floors, all polished, clean, sanitized: the fish market version of the mall-boulevards that host the country’s famous luxury stores. But while the surfaces here are sanitized, the personalities are not.

Those vendors rarely make money from tourists: visitors have no kitchen in which to cook the fish, and very few of them patronize BYOF restaurants. Plus, unlike at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, nobody in Dubai is sending boxes of fish home for relatives. When I visited the fish souk, men outnumbered women by a rough factor of 100 to one (I was the one woman). Yet it didn’t seem as though the locals found me out of place. Or, rather, they didn’t treat me as if I were: They were busy minding their own business, tending their own fish.

Instinctively, I slowed to match the meandering pace of the market, slid into the routines around me. The unhurried tempo here might come from the heat or maybe from the casual attitude: Unlike in Korea, it is not all business. Here, I don’t press against glass tanks to avoid fast-moving piles of fish. Instead, I listen in as vendors gossip jovially and share cups of milky, murky tea at the aptly named Fish Market Cafeteria. There’s no song and dance and salmon-throwing show. Just real people, looking to make the day more fun: handing an octopus to my husband to pose with, pretending to chase us with a shark.

Like most of the working-class people in Dubai, the fish market staff are not from Dubai, but they are the locals. Less than 20 percent of the city is Emirati, the rest made up of migrant and immigrant workers, a population that is heavily South Asian. Thus, at the Grill & Shark Restaurant in a small outbuilding of the market, the cook — like the cuisine — was from southern India. Very little in Dubai is native to the area; the fish market and its denizens are no exception. In fact, the food there was similar to the food served in Sri Lanka, where — a four-hour plane ride from Dubai and a six-hour drive across the island from busy Negombo — I found a different style of market: smaller, less formal, yet just as indicative of the area I was in.

As the sun rose over the broad, white-sand beach of Passikudah, I looked out over the bath-water warm bay. I saw something up the beach — dots of color floating in. Fishing boats arriving. Off I went to sniff out the market.

Despite the luxury hotels lining the bay, the market reflected the town more than the tourists. A tarp lay on the sand while a gray-haired man in a maroon sarong held an old-school scale — two bowls hanging from chains, connected by a wooden stick. The fish went on one side, while his young assistant put weights in the other. A half-dozen brightly colored boats floated onto the beach. Young men shared the load of carrying big baskets up to the tarp marking the market.

There were none of the big tuna that you see at Noryangjin, none of the stacks of blue crabs or giant prawns of Dubai. Few of the fish were longer than my arm. One big fish, one red fish, and a big pile of sardines. These don’t get sold here, a friendly man with a bushy mustache told me, picking up a large fish to show off for a photo — all of them are getting loaded onto a truck which will take them back to Negombo, where I’d toured the day before. Locals don’t buy their fish here.

Later, I learned where they did: As I was sitting in front of the Victoria Guesthouse, trying to convince Mercy, the owner, to cook me dinner later that evening, a man rode up on a bike with a pile of sardines in the basket. He exchanged words with Mercy. She balanced the youngest of her three children in her arms and turned to me: “You want fish for dinner?”

Orlando attack: why was gunman able to buy weapons?

June 13th, 2016  |  Source: The Guardian

With fewer than half the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting identified, questions have mounted over how gunman Omar Mateen was able to buy weapons despite having been investigated twice by the FBI for suspected terrorist sympathies. Mateen, 29, a US citizen of Afghan heritage, launched the three-hour attack, which left 50 people dead and 53 injured, early on Sundayusing a legally-purchased 223-caliber assault rifle and 9mm semi-automatic pistol with multiple rounds of ammunition. Twenty minutes into the assault, he called 911 to declare his sympathies to Islamic State. Mateen worked as a courthouse security guard in Port St Lucie, Florida. Former wife Sitora Yusifiy said Mateen was “mentally unstable and mentally ill [and] obviously disturbed, deeply, and traumatised”.

Pulse nightclub massacre: questions over how suspect on FBI’s radar could buy guns

No single market access for UK after Brexit, Wolfgang Schäuble says

June 11th, 2016  |  Source: The Guardian

In Der Spiegel interview German finance minister rules out Britain’s chances of enjoying bloc benefits from outside EU

Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has slammed the door on Britain retaining access to the single market if it votes to the leave the European Union.

In an interview in a Brexit-themed issue of German weekly Der Spiegel, the influential veteran politician ruled out the possibility of the UK following a Swiss or Norwegian model that would allow it to enjoy the benefits of the single market without being an EU member.

“That won’t work,” Schäuble told Der Spiegel. “It would require the country to abide by the rules of a club from which it currently wants to withdraw. If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out. One has to respect the sovereignty of the British people.”

The German conservative’s intervention seems to rule out the “reverse Maastricht” option floated privately by some British MPs and government sources, whereby pro-remain MPs in Westminster could use their parliamentary majority to retain access to the single market after a British exit from the EU.

Their first target is likely to be to try to ensure that despite a Brexit the UK could remain in the single market by joining the European economic area, of which the non-EU countries Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland are currently members.

The single market – to which Switzerland also has access despite not being a member of either the EU or the EEA – guarantees the free movement of people, goods and services inside the bloc.

Supporters of the British leave campaign argue that it is in Germany’s economic interest to maintain barrier-free trade relations with the United Kingdom. Britain is the third-largest export market for German car manufacturers and the destination of around 7% of total German exports.

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