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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy took a massive pay cut in 2022, making $1.3 million. He made over $200 million in 2021, including stocks.

Fri, 04/14/2023 - 1:08am
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy took a massive pay cut in 2022, making just $1.3 million. He made over $200 million in 2021.
  • Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's pay was just $1.3 million in 2022 — a huge drop from $212.7 million in 2021.
  • While not receiving any in 2022, he got nearly $212 million in stock awards in 2021 which are to vest for 10 years. 
  • They are to represent most of his compensation for the coming years.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy took a huge pay cut last year.

Jassy was paid just $1.3 million in 2022, including a $317,500 base salary plus another $981,000 in 401(k) plan contributions and security costs, according to the company's annual proxy statement filed on Thursday.

It's a massive drop from the $212.7 million he received in 2021 when he got promoted to CEO. Jassy's total compensation was $35.8 million in 2020.

That said, Jassy's base salary jumped 80% from $175,000 in 2021, according to Thursday's filing which comes ahead of Amazon's annual shareholder meeting on May 24. 

In comparison, Apple CEO Tim Cook received $84 million in total compensation in 2022, including bonuses and a $3 million base salary — although this may fall to $49 million in 2023. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was paid a total compensation of $55 million in 2022.

Jassy's much smaller compensation in 2022 was due to him not receiving any stock awards during the year. Jassy had received nearly $212 million in stock awards in 2021, but they will take 10 years to vest and are intended to represent most of his compensation for the coming years, Amazon said in a May 2022 regulatory filing. According to his stock vesting schedule, Jassy vested $31.9 million in 2022 and is expected to vest $18.9 million in 2023.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive chair of Amazon, received $1.68 million in total compensation in 2022 — the same amount he received in 2021 and 2020.

Bezos' salary included a base of $81,840 and a personal security allowance of $1.6 million. Bezos — who started Amazon from his garage in 1994 — has never received any stock-based compensation but is the e-commerce giant's largest shareholder owning nearly 10% of its shares. Amazon is worth about $1 trillion as of Thursday, making it one of the world's most valuable companies behind Apple, Microsoft, Saudi Aramco, and Alphabet.

Amazon's proxy statement came on the same day Jassy issued an annual letter to the company's shareholders. In the letter, Jassy described 2022 as "one of the harder macroeconomic years in recent memory."

Like many other tech companies, Amazon has been dealing with a downturn in the industry after business boomed during the pandemic. However, earnings are weakening amid fears of an impending recession. 

Amazon reported $278 million in net profit in the fourth quarter of 2022  — a sharp slowdown from $14.3 billion in net profit in the same quarter of 2021. To cut costs, Amazon announced two rounds of job cuts, slashing 27,000 jobs collectively.

Amazon shares closed 4.7% higher at $102.40 on Thursday. The stock is up 22% so far this year.

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Mike Pence in pink boots, Ron DeSantis in a big ball gown. Here's how the 'RuPublicans' Instagram account uses AI art to call out GOP lawmakers — by dressing them in drag.

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 11:47pm
Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis dressed in drag by AI.
  • The "RuPublicans" Instagram account posts AI-generated pictures of GOP lawmakers in full drag.
  • The images range from Mike Pence in sparkly pink boots to Ron DeSantis in a big ball gown.
  • The duo behind the account told Insider they want to hit back at the "GOP's anti-drag rhetoric."

You've seen AI-generated art of the Pope in Balenciaga. Now get ready for Former Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and other GOP figures in full drag.

The images are the work of an Instagram account called "RuPublicans," which uses AI to dress Republican lawmakers in drag — complete with frills, feathers, jewels, and wigs. The account's name is a play on Republicans and RuPaul, a famous drag queen and television personality.

The AI images feature DeSantis in a bejeweled blue gown that would put Cinderella to shame and Pence wearing nothing but a bright pink blazer and glittery boots, paired with a fluffy feather boa.

Also seen on the account was Sen. Ted Cruz in pink feathers and bold winged eyeliner and Sen. Josh Hawley decked out in a slinky golden dress, to name a few. 

The captions are colorful, too.

"Cruzella Deville - Serving homophobic realness, she struts her stuff in fur coats lined with family values and defends every fetus and every gun, every day, heeeennnyyyy," read the account's caption on Cruz. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by RuPublicans (@rupublicans)


And on DeSantis, the caption read: "Rhonda Santy - Category is: Book Banning Princess Eleganza. She's on a mission to turn that Magic Kingdom into a Tragic Kingdom and isn't afraid to give Mickey the finger(s)." 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by RuPublicans (@rupublicans)


Also featured in the AI art were other GOP figures like Sen. Lindsey Graham, pictured riding a fancy horse, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in all-pink drag regalia

The brains behind the account, married couple Craig, 37, and Stephen, 39, said the "GOP's anti-drag rhetoric and actions" inspired them to find a way to hit back.

"Drag artists have brought us joy and laughter, helped heal old wounds, and given us the permission to love ourselves," the couple told Insider in an email. Craig works in the education industry, while Stephen is a creative director in marketing and technology. They did not provide Insider with their last names for privacy reasons.

"For the past two weeks, we have been creating and posting AI-generated art and captions that are just as over the top and ridiculous as the false narratives around drag," they said.

The duo said they used the AI image generator Midjourney to create the images.

"We don't always get what we want, but sometimes the AI generator gives us something we couldn't have imagined that blows us away, and we run with it," the couple said.

Their first post on "RuPublicans" was uploaded on March 30. Within two weeks, they have amassed a following of more than 139,000 people, at press time.

Some of the GOP lawmakers in drag have a history of pushing anti-trans rhetoric 

Several GOP lawmakers that the "RuPublicans" account called out have, in the past, pushed anti-trans messages.

In Florida, DeSantis is targeting drag queens, framing his crackdown on drag shows as a crusade to protect children.

Cruz has been vocal about his distaste for trans people. In 2021, Cruz introduced a bill that blocked trans women from competing in women's sports

In February, Pence railed against a school district's attempt to create safe spaces for students in the process of transitioning

And at a Senate hearing on abortion rights in July, Hawley claimed that men cannot get pregnant, sparking a heated argument with a law professor who called his line of questioning transphobic. 

Anti-trans laws are also being enacted nationwide. Oklahoma banned insurance coverage for transgender care in February, and the South Carolina Senate passed a bill to ban gender-affirming medical care for minors in March.

Craig and Stephen said the content they create is "pure fantasy," but "the fear the GOP is spreading and the legislation that they're trying to pass is the reality for so many people."

"Our hope is these images spark conversation and capture the hypocrisy of the GOP," they told Insider. "If it takes wigs, glitter, and fashion to do it, we're here for it."

Representatives of Pence, DeSantis, Graham, Cruz, Hawley, and McConnell did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.

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The world's first supersonic trainer jet is on the market for just $800,000 — take a look inside the T-38 Talon

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 11:28pm
The 25th Flying Training Squadron perform training maneuvers over Vance Air Force Base.
  • The T-38 is the main trainer jet of the US Air Force. 
  • Aircraft maintenance company Thornton Aviation put one up for sale for $800,000.
  • The T-38 has also been used by NASA to train astronauts.
The Northrop T-38 Talon is the world's first supersonic trainer jet.Northrop T-38 Talon Air Force Trainer on final approach in Las Vegas.

The T-38, which was manufactured by the Northrop Corporation, was first introduced in March 1961. The plane was built on the innovations of the first-ever supersonic flight on the Bell X-1 in 1947. Supersonic flight means that the aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound, or more than 768 miles per hour.

The last T-38 trainer units were built in the early 1970s, but the jet continues to be used by the military, most notably by the US Air Force and Navy, and several other national air forces. Some 72,000 US Air Force pilots have flown the trainer since 1961, according to industry publication Air Force Technology. 

The trainer is known for its "design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record," per the US Air Force. It remains the most produced supersonic trainer in history.

Though it's a military aircraft, civilians can own one of these jets for $800,000.A T-38 Talon aircraft flying from Columbus Air Force Base in Ohio.

According to aviation maintenance company Thornton Aviation, one unit of the T-38 is currently on the market. Its official website states that the "basic 'core' package" of the jet is available for sale, and can be refurbished with customizations to suit the customer.

The one T-38 unit is the only available unit "in stock military condition," per Thornton Aviation's website. The T-38 is the first plane to be "offered as a project" by the company for civilian use. The available trainer is a T-38A, as opposed to the AT-38B jet for weapons training or the T-38C with upgraded avionics.

Some of the notable features of the T-38 include a streamlined fuselage and rocket-powered ejection seat.

The aircraft is known for its usability as a training platform for inexperienced or student pilots. For example, it has tricycle landing gear with a steerable nose wheel, which makes landings easier, per the US Air Force. 

The T-38 is also used by advanced students to train for acrobatic flights, formation flying, night flights, and instrument and navigation training.

Thornton Aviation did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

Space agency NASA also operates the jet to train its pilots.NASA Dryden's two T-38A mission support aircraft fly in tight formation while conducting a pilot-static airspeed calibration check near Edwards Air Force Base.

NASA currently has a sizeable fleet of the T-38 — the space agency operates 32 in total. The jet is used to train astronauts to land spacecrafts on runways. 

"The T-38 is a great aircraft for what we need at NASA because it's fast, it's high-performance and it's very simple," pilot Terry Virts said in a NASA article, adding that the jet is "safe" and "one of the best" compared to other trainer planes.

It costs an estimated $25 million to $30 million per year to maintain its fleet of trainers, according to NASA. 


Over a dozen variants of the jet have been built.A view from the student pilot seat of Aircraft 177, a T-38A Talon belonging to the 2nd Fighter Training Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base.

The most popular variant is the T-38A, which is the most basic version of the plane. In total, some 1,187 units of the trainer were built, according to Air Force Technology.

Other notable variants include the AT-38B, units upgraded to include weapons training for military pilots, the DT-38A, used to direct drones, and the N-205, which had triple rocket engines and could launch vertically.

Despite having a decent safety record, some 149 US Air Force pilots have been killed while flying the T-38.A T-38 Talon flies during a training mission from Holloman Air Force Base.

The US Air Force grounded the T-38C, an upgraded variant of the jet, in 2008 due to fatal crashes that took place in April and May of that year, killing four pilots. 

Several crashes have since occurred following these incidents. In November 2018, a pilot was killed while training in the T-38 at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas. The cause of the crash was determined to be miscommunication and instructor error.

Another two pilots — an instructor and a student from the Japanese air force — were killed in February 2021 while flying in Alabama. An investigation into the incident determined the cause of the crash to be a pilot error.

As of 2021, the average fatality rate when flying the aircraft is one, which means that there is one fatality per 239,595 flight hours, per the US Air Force.


The T-38 measures 46 feet and four inches in length, and 12 feet and 10 inches in height.A US Air Force F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron and T-38A Talons assigned to the 2d Fighter Training Squadron fly in formation over southern Idaho.

The jet has a wingspan of 25 feet and three inches, per the US Air Force. In comparison, the Lockheed Martin F-35B, the US Air Force's most advanced fighter jet, has a wingspan of 35 feet. 

The T-38 uses two General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines. It has a range of 1,093 miles and a maximum speed of Mach 1.08, or 812 miles per hour. 

Some variants can also be fitted with armaments. While the T-38A and T-38C variants cannot be fitted with armaments, the AT-38B can be fitted with a practice bomb dispenser. The AT-38B can also be fitted with a gun pod and gun sight, among other weapons attachments.

One unit of the T-38 cost $756,000 in 1961, adjusted to today's currency, per the US Air Force.T-38 Talon pilots make their final adjustments in the cockpit before takeoff at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

While the T-38 is no longer in production, the US Air Force commissioned a structural modification program — the T-38C Pace Classic III — in May 2018. The program's purchase orders were awarded to CPI Aerostructures. 

According to the Air Force Technology, the modification kits to maintain the T-38A, T38-B, and T-38C cost $67.5 million. The program to refit the trainers is expected to extend the airworthiness of the jets until at least 2030.

While the US continues to use the jets for training, several foreign air forces have since phased out the T-38.

For example, the Turkish Air Force once had 33 units of the T-38M variant, before announcing plans to replace them with a locally-built trainer. The Korean Air Force had 30 units of the T-38A variant but were returned to the US in 2009 and replaced with the locally-manufactured T-50 Golden eagle.

The US Air Force has also pursued a new trainer jet to replace the T-38. The T-7A Red Hawk, manufactured by Boeing, is expected to help pilots prepare for fifth-generation fighter jets, according to a September 2019 press release by the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs.

In 2018, the US Air Force paid Boeing $9.2 billion to develop 351 T-7A jets and 46 simulators and other relevant ground equipment. The first T-7A jet is scheduled for completion this year and will be delivered to the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

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A Florida Republican who sponsored an anti-drag bill 'can't answer' whether his wife's charity event featuring 'sultry performers' would be criminalized under his own law

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 9:52pm
Rep. Randy Fine, R-south Brevard county, debates during session Wednesday, March 11, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla.
  • A Florida Republican couldn't say whether his wife's charity event would flout his anti-drag bill.
  • The wife of Rep. Randy Fine is hosting a gala featuring "sultry performers," and kids have attended in the past.
  • Rep. Fine told Insider that he doesn't believe children should be invited to such events. 

A Florida Republican who has defended his anti-drag legislation in the name of protecting children, couldn't say whether his wife's upcoming charity gala — which is billed as featuring "sultry performers" — would flout his own proposed bill to criminalize "adult live performances" in front of kids.

State Rep. Randy Fine sparked controversy this week while discussing legislation he introduced earlier this year that would block venues from admitting children to certain performance events. The bill itself does not directly mention drag, but opponents say the legislation is meant to target drag performers and could effectively shutter local pride parades.

During comments on the Florida House floor on Wednesday, Fine, whose district covers southern Brevard County, acknowledged that queer performers would likely be impacted by the proposed law. 

"If it means erasing a community because you have to target children, then damn right, we ought to do it," Fine said.

—Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) April 12, 2023


But the Protection of Children Act could have unintended consequences for non-drag-related events — including Fine's own wife's charity work.

Wendy Fine is listed as the co-host of an upcoming annual gala to raise money for a Florida children's charity called Spring Forward for Autism. The description for the event advertises an "evening filled with sultry performers."

Local news site The Space Coast Rocket was first to report on the forthcoming Saturday event, as well as Wendy Fine's previous role as an apparent performer in the 2021 gala, during which female dancers were photographed wearing revealing costumes and what appeared to be lingerie. 

Rep. Fine's proposed legislation defines "adult live performance" as "any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience, which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities."

The Spring Forward for Autism website features photos from past galas, most of which appear to include a dance performance element featuring women in "sultry" outfits. Photo collections from the 2018 and 2019 gala suggest that at least one child was present at the event and even performed with adults during the 2018 gala.

A representative for Spring Forward for Autism did not immediately respond to Insider's question about whether children will be excluded from this year's "sultry" event, but nothing on the flyer or the organization's website indicated that kids are not allowed. 

Rep. Fine, who is listed as one of the gala's prominent sponsors, told Insider that he has been to the event "several" times and cannot remember a child ever being there.

"It isn't an inexpensive ticket and isn't billed as family-friendly," he said.

But the lawmaker could not ultimately answer whether such an event would be criminalized if his bill becomes law.

"To qualify as an 'adult live performance' under the proposed law, an event has to meet many criteria and without knowing exactly what they are doing, I can't answer your question," he told Insider.

"That said, whether this law passes or not, I would agree that children should not be invited to an event involving 'sultry performers,'" he added.

Wendy Fine did not respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Rep. Fine's legislation comes amid a wave of anti-drag and anti-trans sentiment across GOP-led states, especially in Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis revoked the Hyatt Regency Miami's alcohol license earlier this year after one of its facilities hosted "A Drag Queen Christmas" with minors present.

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Judge denies Trump's latest request to delay the E. Jean Carroll rape case — this time to probe billionaire Reid Hoffman's support for the litigation

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 9:27pm
Left: Reid Hoffman. Right: Donald Trump.
  • Trump's lawyers asked to delay the E. Jean Carroll battery and defamation trial a month on Thursday.
  • They said they want to probe a nonprofit backed by Hoffman that gave money to Carroll's defense.
  • The judge ruled to reopen discovery but not to postpone the trial's April 25 start date.

For the second time in three days, lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked to delay his rape claim trial for a month — this time to probe a nonprofit that they paint in court papers as bankrolling his accuser E. Jean Carroll's litigation. 

In a court filing on Thursday, Trump's lawyers asked to reopen discovery because it was recently disclosed to them by Carroll's lawyers that a nonprofit whose "primary backer" is billionaire LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, had paid "certain expenses and legal fees" to their firm, Kaplan Hecker & Fink. 

Trump's lawyers argued they needed an additional month to gather information about Carroll's financial backing as it's central to their defense that the case is a "hoax" because it's politically motivated — which they've claimed from the start.

US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled later in the day that he would allow some additional discovery for Trump's team to explore the issue of credibility (since Carroll previously said her case was not funded by a third party). Beyond that, he ruled the funding has no bearing on the case.

"The question whether and when plaintiff or her counsel have obtained financial support in this action has nothing directly to do with the ultimate merits of the case," he wrote.

Carroll's lawyers had maintained the funding is not relevant to the defamation and rape suit — which comes down to whether or not Trump raped her and then called her a liar for publicizing it — and say the money came from what was left of a grant first used to fund another case. 

They also maintained Carroll herself never met the funder, an account backed up by Dmitri Mehlhorn, one of Hoffman's philanthropic advisors.

"Carroll has never met and has never been party to any communications (written or oral) with anyone associated with the nonprofit," said Carroll's lawyer Roberta Kaplan.

It is unclear how much of Reid's money granted through his nonprofit was used by Kaplan Hecker & Fink for the Carroll case.

The nonprofit American Future Republic was founded in 2019 by Hoffman and listed total revenue of 21.9 million that year, according to public records. In 2020, the organization listed total assets at around $10 million and donated more than $2 million in support of Biden's bid for president, according to CNBC.

Mehlhorn said that while Reid's political philanthropy has a history of supporting Democrats "heavily since Republicans elevated Mr. Trump," it has "also supported Republicans who have stood up for the safety and security of our Democracy, from Rusty Bowers in Arizona to Brad Raffensberger in Georgia."

Trump's lawyers, though, dismiss Hoffman as a "vocal critic" of Trump's, citing the fact that he said he would 'spend as much as [he] possibly can' to keep the former president from a second term in the White House.

Meanwhile, The New York Times has reported that Trump used $10 million from his PAC in 2022 to pay his legal bills, including about $2 million going to Alina Habba's firm. Habba represents Trump in the Carroll litigation.

Kaplan quickly responded to the request to delay the trial on Thursday saying Carroll had nothing to do with her firm securing funding from the nonprofit and that the money was used to help Carroll nearly a year after she filed suit.

She said Carroll has a contingency fee arrangement with her firm, meaning if they win the case, the firm gets a percentage of the recovery. 

Trump team's most recent delay is part of an ongoing strategy to postpone the trial, she argued.

Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is pictured in New York in 2020.

On Tuesday, Trump's lawyers asked the judge for a one-month delay to allow the "media frenzy" around his arrest to die down. 

"Trial is less than two weeks away, and Trump has now requested two different one-month trial adjournments in the past three days. His latest transparent effort to keep a jury from deciding Carroll's claims should also be rejected," Kaplan said. 

Judge Kaplan has also complained about numerous attempts to delay the case in the past. 

Carroll did not immediately return Insider's requests for comment. 

"The letter speaks for itself," Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said when reached for comment by Insider on Thursday. "This is a very serious issue." 

The lawsuit in question is the second suit Carroll has filed against Trump. Carroll initially sued Trump for defamation in 2019, when he loudly denied her claim that he raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman changing room in the mid-1990s.

But that has been in limbo while appeals courts weigh in on whether Trump can even be sued in that case. Trump's lawyers and the Department of Justice have been campaigning to remove Trump from the initial lawsuit citing  a federal law that they say shields public employees like Trump, who was a sitting president when his initial comments were made. 

The second lawsuit was filed last year after New York passed a law temporarily allowing new sexual assault lawsuits in cases for which the statute of limitations had expired. It includes a claim of battery for the alleged sexual assault and defamation for a comment Trump made about Carroll after leaving the White House.

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Pentagon leak suspect Jack Teixeira was reading a book on a porch when the feds showed up to arrest him

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 9:16pm
Jack Teixeira was arrested by federal agents in connect with the recent leak of secret Pentagon documents.
  • Jack Teixeira, 21, was arrested in connection with the recent leak of secret military documents.
  • Teixeira is a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who worked in the 102nd Intelligence Wing.
  • He was reading a book on a porch when federal agents arrived to arrest him. 

NORTH DIGHTON, MA — A Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who was arrested on Thursday in connection with the recent leak of dozens of secret Pentagon documents was sitting on a porch and reading a book as federal agents gathered to take him into custody, footage from the Boston-based news channel WCVB-TV showed. 

Jack Teixeira, 21, was arrested in "connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information," Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday. 

Teixeira, whose identity was first reported by The New York Times on Thursday, is believed to be the leader of a private group on the gamer messaging platform Discord called Thug Shaker Central, according to reporting from The Washington Post. The Post found that a man referred to by other group members as "OG" — possibly Teixeira — began sharing the secret documents on Thug Shaker Central in late 2022. The Post described OG as a gun enthusiast. 

In his last message to his online friends, OG said to "keep low and delete any information that could possibly relate to him," the Post reported. 

One member of the group, who told the Post he'd been in touch with OG in recent days, said that OG "seemed very confused and lost as to what to do" and was "fully aware of what's happening and what the consequences may be." The member said OG was "pretty distraught about it."

When federal agents finally arrived to arrest Teixeira, he was apparently sitting quietly with a book. He was arrested "without incident," Garland said.

—WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) April 13, 2023

Media outlets swarmed the Massachusetts neighborhood where Teixeira was arrested on Thursday, with local children gathering in curiosity. Law enforcement has blocked off the street where the arrest occurred. 

Tyler Ellinwood, 24, a resident of North Dighton who went to high school with Teixeira, told Insider that Teixeira essentially "only hung out the with kids that were very gung-ho about going into the military after high school." 

"I think it's wild," he said of Teixeira's arrest in relation to the leak, describing his former schoolmate as "definitely one of those kids" who played video games. 

Hayden Ellinwood, 20, Tyler's brother who went to the same high school, told Insider that he recalls Teixeira having a small group of friends.

Teixeira worked in the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. 

During a press conference on Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder would not confirm the identity of the suspected leaker. But when asked for more information on the mission of Teixeira's unit, Ryder said: "In general, intelligence wings throughout the Air Force support what you might imagine — Air Force intelligence requirements worldwide to support a variety of types of intelligence missions and requirements, which include active guard and reserve components."

The secret military documents that were leaked on various social media platforms exposed US spying on allies and adversaries alike. The documents, many of which were labeled top secret, largely pertained to the war in Ukraine and some have expressed concern that their exposure could put Ukrainian forces at a disadvantage. The leak, which former CIA and military officers have described as embarrassing for the US, raises serious questions about how the government safeguards its secrets and has placed Washington in an awkward position with key allies. 

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Trump could admit to having an affair — if only so he can use Melania as a defense if his case ever makes it to trial, legal experts say

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 9:11pm
Former president Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.
  • Three former prosecutors told Insider that AG Alvin Bragg's hush-money case against Trump is weak.
  • But if the matter does make it to trial, the former president could use his wife to his benefit.
  • "There are many men who would make those payments if it avoids trouble at home," one legal expert said.

Melania Trump, the exceedingly private former first lady, could eventually be forced to the forefront of her husband's criminal defense on felony charges — if the case ever makes it to trial.

More than a week after former President Donald Trump was indicted on 34 charges of falsifying business records, legal experts are skeptical of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's case.

"I would not be surprised if you see this be a hard-fought legal battle before we even start to talk about whether they could prove this at a trial," Joshua Ritter, a partner with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers and a former Los Angeles County prosecutor, told Insider. 

Earlier this month, Trump was charged with 34 felony counts in connection to a hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, pleaded guilty to several felonies related to the payment in 2018.

Trump has repeatedly denied having sex with Daniels and the former president pleaded not guilty to all the counts against him in a New York courtroom last week.

Despite the unprecedented nature of the indictment, which is the first of its kind against a former US president, legal experts are dubious about the strength of Bragg's case, and two former prosecutors told Insider this week that there is little chance this matter will ultimately go to trial.

Still, that doesn't mean it's entirely implausible that Trump might find himself in a New York courtroom come 2024 or later. Three former prosecutors speculated about possible defense strategies the former president might use in such a case. 

The Melania defense

Trump has repeatedly denied ever having a sexual relationship with Daniels, but the salacious nature of the alleged affair at the heart of the indictment could hand the 2024 Republican presidential candidate a practically perfect defense, according to Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers and a former federal prosecutor.

To craft such a defense, Trump would either have to admit he was unfaithful to his third wife, whom he married in 2005, and who has reportedly raged about his alleged infidelity or simply maintain his current stance that Daniels was extorting him for money.

"If jurors believe he did this, not to help his election but to save his family from embarrassment, then it's not a felony, it's a misdemeanor," Rahmani said. "It's a pretty reasonable defense, too. Who wants their wife and kids to know they're having an affair?"

Ritter echoed that sentiment, saying Trump's defense could smartly frame him not as a man afraid for his presidential campaign, but as a man who "happened to be accused of infidelity."

"There are many men who would make those payments if it avoids trouble at home," Ritter told Insider. 

Would Melania cooperate? 

The defense wouldn't even necessarily need Melania Trump's support or cooperation with such a tactic, which could be important given the former first lady's step back from the spotlight in recent years, coupled with her noticeable absence in the wake of Trump's arrest.

From a public relations perspective, Melania's visible support for her husband in court could aid his case, according to Ritter, but her testimony at a trial would be highly unlikely and unnecessary.

"As much as she may be the impetus for why he would make such a payment, her thoughts or understanding of what went on is irrelevant," Ritter said. 

It's a defense strategy that could play well with jurors, legal experts said, especially if Trump paints himself as a successful businessman uniquely at risk of extortion who made the decision to pay off Daniels in exchange for protecting her personal life. 

"As long as he keeps it in that kind of tone, he may have 12 jurors looking around at each other going 'what are we doing here?'" Ritter said. 

Former President Donald Trump appears in court for his arraignment on charges related to falsifying business records in a hush money investigation, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in New York.The busy businessman defense

Trump could also opt to leave his private life and wife out of any defense, instead emphasizing his apparent ignorance as the reason for the illegal payments, Ambrosio Rodriguez, a former prosecutor, told Insider..

The former president could simply argue that he had no idea how the money he was paying Cohen was being distributed.

"I have multiple companies and corporations. I had no idea it happened," Rodriguez said, imitating a possible Trump line of defense. 

But legal experts stressed that any speculation about a possible Trump defense at this point is still entirely conjecture. The indictment will likely have to survive several appeals and perhaps even multiple courts before the former president would ever face a jury of his peers.

"If they get past all those challenges, what you'll be left with at a trial level is did he actually commit a crime in the way he made these payments," Ritter said.

And an answer to that question is still months away. Rahmani said there's virtually zero chance this case would see a courtroom come January 2024.

"Trump will push this back if he thinks it will help his chances as president," Rahmani said.

But experts say a trial is unlikely 

"I think the defense has a very good chance of beating this case at the motion level, meaning they might be successful in getting the case thrown out," Rodriguez said.

He added that the public should prepare for a "summer of motions and hearings" ahead of Trump's next scheduled court date in December, during which his legal team will likely try to litigate their way out of the indictment, filing appeals and attempting to escalate the case to a higher court where, they hope, a judge will eventually throw it out entirely.

The 34 felony charges are all predicated on misdemeanor charges, legal experts say, and if Bragg and his team can't prove that Trump made the payments in service of a larger crime — such as avoiding tax laws or skirting campaign finance rules — the charges will be downgraded to misdemeanors and almost certainly dismissed due to statute of limitation laws. 

"His team is going to challenge this on every possible legal basis," Ritter said. "His people are anything but shy about litigation."

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Catholic leader accuses Ron DeSantis — who has positioned himself as a defender of the Christian faith — and Florida Republicans of seeking to criminalize 'empathy' with new anti-immigrant crackdown

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 8:52pm
Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski, speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, at the Archdiocese of Miami Pastoral Center in Miami Shores, Fla.
  • Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski says a Republican immigration bill would criminalize "empathy."
  • Backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the bill makes it a crime to knowingly transport an undocumented migrant.
  • Wenski accused Florida Republicans of trying to "demonize" vulnerable people.

A proposal in Florida that would make it a felony to knowingly provide transportation to an undocumented immigrant is a "punitive" measure that would effectively make it illegal to be a good Christian, the Catholic archbishop of Miami said Thursday, accusing its promoters — including Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis — of seeking to criminalize "empathy."

There are around 772,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida, according to the Migration Policy Institute; around half have resided in the United States for more than a decade. Under a bill making its way through Florida's GOP-led legislature, providing any of those people transportation, be it to a school or church, would be a felony offense and conflated with trafficking, with violators risking prison time.

Last month, a group of evangelicals in Florida spoke out against the proposal, saying it would make them criminals for preaching the gospel.

In a statement issued Thursday, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski echoed that criticism, accusing Florida Republicans of playing state-level politics with a federal issue.

The bill, SB 1718, "would criminalize 'empathy' by expanding the definition of 'human smuggling,'" Wenski said. He took issue not just with the transportation provision but the requirement if passed, that hospitals check the immigration status of those they treat, which Wenski argued: "would discourage migrants from seeking timely medical care and would end up overburdening hospital emergency rooms."

He added: "The sponsors of this bill want to take out their frustrations on the migrants with various punitive measures that unfairly demonize them and gratuitously seek to make their lives even more difficult."

A spokesperson for DeSantis, a practicing Catholic who has positioned himself as a defender of the Christian faith, did not respond to a request for comment.

It is not the first time that DeSantis and Florida's Republicans have run afoul of the Catholic Church. In February, the Florida Catholic Conference, which represents the state's bishops, told Insider that it opposes a DeSantis-led push to expand the death penalty. A pending bill would allow a convicted criminal to be put to death even when jurors are opposed, a proposal the conference's executive director, Michael Sheedy, said is "deeply concerning."

The church has also criticized DeSantis on immigration. In February 2022, Archbishop Wenski took issue with DeSantis' rhetoric on unaccompanied minors at the US-Mexico border, accusing him of dehumanizing rhetoric and arbitrarily distinguishing them from Cubans who earlier came to Florida as refugees.

"This was a new low in the zero-sum politics of our divisive times," Wenski said. "Children are children — and no child should be deemed 'disgusting' — especially by a public servant."

DeSantis, however, has shown no signs of responding to the criticism. At the time Wenski made his earlier remarks, then a spokeswoman for DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, went on the offensive. "Catholics do not have to support illegal immigration or human smuggling," she wrote on Twitter.

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Jack Teixeira, 21, arrested in connection with Pentagon document leaks: Attorney General Merrick Garland

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 7:17pm
Police block a road in Dighton, Massachusetts, where federal agents reportedly arrested the suspected Pentagon leaker.
  • The suspected Pentagon leaker was arrested Tuesday by federal agents in Dighton, Massachusetts.
  • Merrick Garland identified the suspect as Jack Teixeira, 21, a guardsman specializing in intelligence.
  • Teixeira allegedly shared highly classified documents about the Ukraine war online.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Massachusetts Air National Guard member was arrested Thursday in connection with the disclosure of highly classified military documents about the Ukraine war and other top national security issues, an alarming breach that has raised fresh questions about America's ability to safeguard its most sensitive secrets.

The guardsman, an IT specialist identified as 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, was taken into custody without incident after FBI officers converged on his Massachusetts home. Attorney General Merrick Garland said he is to be charged with removing or transmitting classified national defense information, a crime under the Espionage Act.

Garland did not reveal a possible motive, but accounts of those in the online private chat group where the documents were disclosed have depicted Teixeira as motivated more by bravado than ideology.

While Thursday's arrest was a pivotal moment in an investigation into the highest-profile intelligence leak in years, the military and Justice Department were still scrutinizing how sensitive government secrets shared in a chat room ended up circulating around the world. The emergence of Teixeira as a primary suspect is bound to raise questions about how such a profound breach, one that the Pentagon termed a "very serious risk to national security," could have been caused by such a young, low-ranking service member.

"We entrust our members with a lot of responsibility at a very early age. Think about a young combat platoon sergeant, and the responsibility and trust that we put into those individuals to lead troops into combat," said Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman.

Teixeira was a "cyber transport systems specialist," essentially an IT specialist responsible for military communications networks, including their cabling and hubs. In that role Teixeira would have had a higher level of security clearance because he would have also been tasked with responsibility for ensuring protection for the networks, a defense official told the Associated Press, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

Hours after the arrest, Rep. Mike Turner, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a statement pledging to "examine why this happened, why it went unnoticed for weeks, and how to prevent future leaks."

Teixeira, who was wearing a T-shirt and shorts at the time heavily armed tactical agents took him into custody, is due to have his initial court appearance in Massachusetts on Friday. He could also face charges in a military court.

It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf, and a phone message left at a number believed to belong to his mother was not returned.

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What we know about Nima Momeni, the tech consultant charged with murder in the stabbing of Cash App creator Bob Lee

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 7:05pm
  • San Francisco police arrested Nima Momeni on Thursday and charged him in the murder of Bob Lee.
  • The suspect was charged with murder and has been linked to an IT company.
  • Here's everything we know about Momeni from friends, records, and reports.

San Francisco police arrested a tech consultant named Nima Momeni on Thursday on a murder charge in the fatal stabbing of Cash App creator Bob Lee.

The SFPD identified Momeni as the suspect in a Thursday press conference in San Francisco. Momeni, 38, was taken into custody in Emeryville, California, "without incident," police added at the conference. 

The local news outlet Mission Local first reported the arrest and said it took place at an address of a Nima Momeni. The name is also associated with the owner of Expand IT, an IT services company based in Emeryville, California. Reuters and The New York Times also identified the suspect as the founder of Expand IT.

Insider was unable to reach spokespeople for Expand IT or Momeni for comment. SFPD did not confirm whether the man they arrested was a tech consultant and declined to provide additional details on the case as the investigation is ongoing.

Momeni was booked around 9 a.m. PT on Thursday, records from the San Francisco Sheriff's Office show. 

Here's everything we know so far about Momeni. 

Friends and acquaintances 'can't imagine it'

Alex Pourshayegan, who has known Momeni since he was a teenager working in Pourshayegan's window and glass store, told Insider Momeni is a "very likeable kind of guy." 

Momeni immigrated to the U.S. from Iran with his mother and sister, Pouryeshgan said, and grew up outside of Berkeley. Momeni later became Pourshayegan's IT vendor.

"I just can't find it that he was upset enough to do such a heinous crime," Pourshayegan said. "I just can't imagine it."

In his last conversation with Momeni, several months ago, Momeni expressed interest in buying a ranch somewhere in the countryside. "He's a nature boy," Pourshayegan said.

Momeni's neighbors described the man as "friendly," ABC7 news reported.

His professional life

Momeni lists UC Berkeley and Laney College in Oakland, California, on his LinkedIn profile. A spokesperson for UC Berkeley told The San Francisco Chronicle the institution has no record of Momeni.

He started his own IT consulting company, Expand IT, in 2010, according to the Chronicle. On its website, the company said it worked with non-profits, government agencies, as well as healthcare clients, and other startups.

Two people who hired Momeni as an IT vendor told Insider that he was competent, professional and unassuming.

He had also worked at several other startups in the Bay Area, per the Chronicle. 

The police department confirmed prior reports that Momeni knew Lee, but it's unclear how exactly they knew each other, or what led to the alleged incident. Momeni and Lee were driving together through downtown San Francisco in the early morning hours of April 4, in a car registered to Momeni's name, according to Mission Local.

His run-ins with police

In 2011, Momeni was charged with driving with a suspended license and with selling a switchblade in California, but the switchblade charge was later dropped, according to Forbes. The Daily Beast reported that one neighbor said Momeni had a few guns and knives at his residence.

The tech executive was also charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly driving under the influence in 2004, KTVU Fox 2 reported. The publication said officers discovered a "butterfly knife" in his vehicle when they pulled him over, but the case was dropped.

Momeni will be arraigned on Friday at 1:30 p.m. PT. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said her office is planning to file a motion to detain the suspect without bail.

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Photos show crowds storming the headquarters of the world's richest man as they protest France's proposed retirement age raise

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 6:47pm
Protestors against the French government's proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 briefly stormed the LVMH headquarters.
  • Protestors opposing France's plans to raise the retirement age stormed LVMH headquarters.
  • Top executives, including LVMH CEO and world's richest man Bernard Arnault, have offices in the building.
  • LVMH's stock price recently reached a record high due to China's reopening and high demand elsewhere.

Protestors opposed to the French government's proposal to raise the retirement age to 64 from 62 stormed the headquarters of LVMH Thursday where the world's richest man, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, has offices.

Photos show protestors entering the building with flags and flares, but people in the building told The Wall Street Journal the protestors did not stay for long. 

Striking railway workers entered LVMH's headquarters to protest the French government's proposal to raise France's retirement age.

French President Emmanuel Macron proposed raising France's retirement age to 64 by 2030, saying that France's pension system needs the reform to be able to support future generations of retirees. In March, Macron invoked a constitutional power to force the bill through without a parliamentary vote. The country's constitutional council is set to decide on the bill on Friday.

"Apparently our government is struggling to finance our social security and pension system, so money needs to be found where it is, which is in billions in companies like LVMH," Fabien Villedieu, a union leader for Sud-Rail, told French news channel BFM TV, outside the building.

Protestors inside LVMH's headquarters in Paris.

Arnault is currently the richest person in the world, and recently saw his net worth cross over $200 billion. 

LVMH, the world's largest luxury group and home to Louis Vuitton and Moët, saw its shares reach a record high due to China's reopening and high demand in Europe and Japan, the WSJ reported

Protestors entering LVMH headquarters on the Rue Montaigne in Paris.Read the original article on Business Insider

After 55 years in flight, the US Air Force is planning to keep its biggest plane in action for a few more decades

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 6:11pm
A US Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy takes off.
  • Since 1970, the US Air Force's C-5 cargo planes have carried troops and gear all over the world.
  • The C-5 is the Air Force's biggest plane, and the latest model can haul 281,000 pounds and fly 518 mph.
  • Thanks to recent upgrades, the Air Force now plans to keep its C-5s in service until at least 2040.

In March, the US Air Force announced that it had successfully incorporated 3D-printed parts into one of its C-5M Super Galaxy strategic transport planes.

The printed parts were blocks and wedges that supported a wing hump panel, which is needed for air to flow over the wing properly. Using 3D-printing, airmen were able to produce and install the parts quickly and cheaply. The Air Force said the material used to make the parts showed "promising results" and appeared "to be impervious to natural elements."

The use of 3D parts could result in faster turnaround times and reduced costs for maintenance on the C-5, the largest aircraft in Air Force's inventory and the workhorse of US Air Force Air Mobility Command.

The announcement coincided with the anniversary of the rollout of the first C-5 from Lockheed Martin's plant in Marietta, Georgia in 1968. The plane entered service two years later, and despite a series of technical problems, it has proved its worth, playing an important role in every US conflict since then.

The GalaxyThe C-5A Galaxy lifts off from the Dobbins Air Force Base for its maiden flight on June 30, 1968.

By the 1960s, US military logistics were under increasing strain. Vehicles and equipment were getting larger and heavier, and the US's expanding set of global commitments meant they had to be transported farther.

The workload was proving to be too much for the Air Force's turboprop-powered Douglas C-133 Cargomasters and jet-powered Boeing C-135 Stratolifters and Lockheed C-141 Starlifters. The Air Force needed a single plane capable of carrying loads of over 150,000 pounds to distances over 3,000 miles.

A request for such a plane was announced in 1964. A year later, the Air Force selected Lockheed's C-5 Galaxy as the winning submission in the Cargo Experimental-Heavy Logistics System Program, or CX-HLS.

Trucks unload from a C-5A Galaxy during an operational utility evaluation test in July 1980.

At 247 feet long, 65 feet tall, and with a wingspan of 222 feet, the C-5A was the largest plane in the world when it rolled off the production line on March 2, 1968.

It had a maximum payload of a staggering 220,000 pounds and could fly 500 mph. The pear-shaped fuselage contained a cargo hold 13 feet high, 19 feet wide, and 143 feet long. Front and rear access doors enabled easier loading, and the 28 wheels could partially deflate for landings on softer terrain.

The wheels could also partially retract to make it easier to load and unload large objects or while on uneven terrain.

A C-5A Galaxy over the San Francisco Bay in July 1983.

The cargo hold has a reinforced deck with detachable roller lines and 36 pallet positions. The hold can also be fully pressurized, allowing the C-5 to carry up to 270 troops when seats are installed.

A second deck above the cargo hold has an 80-person passenger cabin, a crew cabin with beds, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a hay loft for extra storage. A system with hundreds of sensors throughout the aircraft monitors and reports any technical issues.

The C-5A had a range of 3,700 miles at maximum payload and was capable of aerial refueling, allowing it to extend its range whenever necessary.

Development, upgrades, and futureA C-5 and other US Air Force aircraft during an air show at at Andrews Air Force Base in May 2007.

The C-5 was officially introduced into service in June 1970 and was almost immediately sent on missions, with its first flight to Southeast Asia a month later. Its larger carrying capacity instantly set it apart from predecessor aircraft and proved invaluable to the US military.

The C-5s were not without problems though. Cracks developed in their wings early in their service, creating a safety hazard that forced the planes to fly with well below their maximum payload. Breakdowns were also common, requiring extensive maintenance and spare parts.

The problems led crews to give the C-5 a new nickname: "FRED," short for "F---ing Ridiculous Economic/Environmental Disaster." The wing cracks became such an issue that by 1973 it was determined that all 81 C-5s that had been delivered needed new wings. Production of new C-5As was halted that year, and the first contract to re-wing the C-5s was signed in 1975.

US airmen work on an engine on a C-5M Super Galaxy at Travis Air Force Base in California in May 2021.

C-5s still proved to be essential assets. They delivered nearly half of the more than 22,000 tons of military equipment given to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War despite flying only about 25% of the total delivery missions. They also had a vital role in the evacuation of South Vietnam.

In October 1974, a C-5 deployed an ICBM from its cargo bay while over the Pacific, showing the US could launch ICBMs from the air.

Those successes gave the C-5 program new life. A contract for a new C-5 variant, the C-5B, was signed in 1980. The first re-winged C-5A was delivered in 1983. In 1986, the first of 50 C-5Bs was delivered, and in 1988, the first of two C-5Cs — variants used to carry equipment for the space program — were delivered.

A C-5M Super Galaxy taxis at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in August 2015,

In 1999, Lockheed began to upgrade 52 C-5s to the C-5M Super Galaxy standard, with the first flight of a converted C-5M coming in 2006. The upgrades include new avionics to increase reliability and new engines to increase thrust.

With more powerful engines, the C-5M could carry more — it has a maximum cargo capacity of 281,000 pounds — and hit a top speed of 518 mph. The Super Galaxy can fly over 5,500 miles with 120,000 pounds of cargo or nearly 8,100 miles with no cargo.

Thanks to the constant cycle of upgrades, the Air Force plans to keep its fleet of 52 C-5B/C/Ms in service until at least 2040. The service has also indicated that its C-5s and other cargo aircraft could take on new roles, including as a platform for strike missions with palletized munitions or as a mothership for unmanned aircraft.

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A new nonprofit signals Chris Smalls, president of Amazon's labor union, may be pursuing new projects

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 5:58pm
Chris Smalls, a leader of the Amazon Labor Union, leads a march of Starbucks and Amazon workers and their allies to the homes of their CEOs to protest union busting on Labor Day, September 5, 2022, in New York City.
  • Amazon Labor Union's president, Chris Smalls, has registered a new nonprofit.
  • The move signals that the union leader may be pursuing new projects.
  • The nonprofit aims to raise funds for Amazon, but it also wants to expand its work beyond the tech giant.

Chris Smalls, the president of Amazon's labor union, has registered a new nonprofit, signaling that he may be turning his attention to projects beyond the unionizing effort that's turned him into a national labor figure. 

Smalls — who first rose to fame in 2020 for leading a unionization effort at the Staten Island Amazon warehouse where he worked — launched the new organization in February, along with several of his fellow organizers, under the same name as a previous group he ran, The Congress of Essential Workers. 

Smalls' leadership of the Amazon Labor Union has been called into question in recent months, amid stalled organizing momentum and election losses at two other facilities. Smalls' frequent travel and media appearances have also raised concerns among some Amazon Labor Union members that his rising public profile is drawing him away from the grueling, day-to-day work of labor organizing. 

In early December, Smalls was caught on camera fighting a former Amazon Labor Union organizer who had been threatening him after becoming particularly upset about Smalls' growing fame. The internal rift culminated days later, when several key organizers left the union. 

Smalls previously told Insider that criticisms of his leadership were unfair, and his supporters have alleged critics attempted to launch a "coup" against Smalls. 

The new nonprofit is led by Smalls and three of his closest allies. Although the new group does intend to raise funds for the Amazon Labor Union, according to its certificate of incorporation, it also has bigger ambitions beyond Amazon. 

Gerald Bryson, one of the directors of the new nonprofit, said that the nonprofit's ultimate goal is to promote labor organizing at other companies "whenever we finish with Amazon, whenever this whole ordeal is pretty much under control, and everyone's falling in line."  

But Rutgers labor professor Susan Schurman warned that even beginning to think of the next big project could be detrimental to the success of the ALU. 

She said the most important thing that ALU leadership can do right now is secure a contract with Amazon.

"There may be people who think it's great that clearly this guy's a charismatic leader, they're thinking beyond organizing at Amazon," Schurman told Insider. "But the fact is a contract with Amazon at that warehouse would be a huge win for organizing everywhere."


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San Francisco's DA called out Elon Musk for his 'reckless and irresponsible' tweet about Bob Lee's death

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 5:58pm
Elon Musk had said "violent crime in SF is horrific" following the fatal stabbing of Cash App founder Bob Lee last week.
  • San Francisco's DA is calling out Elon Musk for a tweet he made about Bob Lee's death.
  • Musk tweeted "violent crime in SF is horrific" following the fatal stabbing of the 43-year-old Cash App founder last week.
  • DA Brooke Jenkins says there's evidence the suspect knew Lee, and that Musk's tweet "spreads misinformation." 

San Francisco's district attorney says Elon Musk made a "reckless and irresponsible" statement over the recent death of tech executive Bob Lee.

The San Francisco Police Department said in a press conference on Thursday that a suspect, 38-year-old Nima Momeni, has been arrested following Lee's fatal stabbing last week. The 43-year-old was the founder of Cash App and former CTO of Square; at the time of his death, he was working as the chief product officer of another fintech company, MobileCoin.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said during the press conference that there is evidence that Momeni knew Lee.

She also addressed a tweet from Elon Musk over Lee's death.

"Very sorry to hear that. Many people I know have been severely assaulted," Musk had tweeted about Lee's death last week. "Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately. Is the city taking stronger action to incarcerate repeat violent offenders?" he asked, tagging Jenkins in the tweet.

In the press conference Thursday, Jenkins said Musk's tweet "spreads misinformation at a time when the police are trying to solve a very difficult case."

"While we are not going to release any additional facts at this time, I must point out that reckless and irresponsible statements like those contained in Mr. Musk's tweet that assumes incorrect circumstances about Mr. Lee's death serve to mislead the world in their perception of San Francisco and also negatively impact the pursuit of justice for victims of crimes as it spreads misinformation at a time when the police are trying to solve a very difficult case," Jenkins said in the conference. "Since this incident happened, since waking up to Elon Musk's tweet, my office has worked hard to tell people not to make assumptions about this case, about the facts of this case."

Several tech executives expressed shock and shared their condolences when the news broke last week.

Jack Dorsey, who cofounded Twitter, said Lee's death was "heartbreaking." Lee was the CTO of Square, Dorsey's fintech company, from 2010 to 2014.

"It's real. Getting calls," Dorsey wrote on Nostr. "Bob was instrumental to Square and Cash App."

Several tech executives and VCs who commented on Lee's death via Twitter shared concerns about crime and safety in San Francisco, and others had speculated that he'd been killed in a random attack.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Ukraine is getting Soviet-era fighter jets from Poland after Germany approves transfer

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 5:47pm
Polish air force MiG-29 fighter jets from Lask Air Base take part in a NATO shielding exercise on October 12, 2022.
  • Poland will provide Ukraine with five Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets.
  • The jets originally belonged to East Germany during the Soviet era and were sold to Warsaw.
  • The German government approved the transfer on Thursday.

The German government on Thursday authorized Poland to transfer five Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine, boosting Kyiv's ability to challenge Russia by air.

Poland obtained the MiG-29 jets from Germany in the early 2000s, according to media reports. They were originally used by the armed forces in Communist-era East Germany.

Because Germany imposes limits on the subsequent transfer of military equipment that it sells, Poland had to ask permission from Berlin to hand the jets to Ukraine. Boris Pistorius, Germany's defense minister, said that request was received and granted on Thursday.

"I welcome the fact that we in the federal government have reached this decision together," Pistorius said in a statement, as reported by ABC News. "This shows you can rely on Germany!"

Ukraine has been asking its allies for months to provide it with more air power.

So far, however, allies such as France and the United States have rejected requests to provide their own advanced fighter jets, leaving it up to Ukraine's allies in Eastern Europe to pull from their stockpiles of Soviet-era aircraft. Poland has said it was willing to provide Ukraine with its entire fleet of 28 MiG-29s. Slovakia has also promised to chip in.

Germany originally balked at allowing its former jets to be sent to Ukraine.

"So far, everyone has agreed that it's not the time to send fighter jets," Pistorius said just last month.

First, put in service in 1983, the MiG-29 is considered a fourth-generation fighter jet, similar to — if not quite on par with — the US-built F-16 and capable of flying at more than twice the speed of sound.

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It's much easier to buy a home in these 5 cities than it was last year

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 5:30pm
Raleigh, North Carolina, one of the places where power has shifted most to homebuyers. A typical property sat on the market for 53 days in March.
  • It's a tough time to be a homebuyer: prices are high and mortgage rates are still relatively high.
  • But in most US cities, it's actually gotten easier for buyers to negotiate prices and sales terms. 
  • Here are five cities from North Carolina to Hawaii where power has shifted to buyers the most. 

There at least one glimmer of hope for homebuyers lamenting still-sky-high mortgage rates and stubbornly expensive house prices.

Power is shifting into their hands in many cities across the US. 

Last month, it took sellers in 98% of the America's largest cities longer to sell than it did a year prior, according to a an April 3 report from online brokerage When homes linger on the market, sellers cut prices and offer concessions to buyers like closing costs or mortgage-rate buydowns.

That's good news for those looking. In most places across the country, buyers can get a better deal from sellers keen to close a sale than they could fathom in the spring of 2021. 

Properties that sit longer on the market are also a sign of less competition among buyers.

Indeed, the number of people buying a home has dropped significantly since the spring of 2022, which was when mortgage rates began to skyrocket from pandemic lows around 3% in January to as high as 7% by October. Higher monthly payments deter many people who would otherwise be eager to buy.

When the pool of people house-hunting and making offers is smaller, there are fewer bidding wars, and sellers become even more willing to adjust prices or other terms of a sales contract to meet a serious buyer's wishes.  

Those same relatively higher mortgage rates and property prices that still hover well above prepandemic levels, though, make it exceedingly hard for many Americans who want to buy a home to do so. Economists say a massive dearth of supply, or homes for sale, around the country will underpin high home prices for years. 

Still, some improvement is better than none for buyers — especially those who want to buy in hot parts of the country, including the southern swath of states from Georgia to Arizona known as the Sun Belt and idyllic New England towns. Places like those are seeing the biggest housing-market slowdowns.

Here are the five cities — from Hilo, Hawaii to Lebanon, New Hampshire — where buyers have gained the most power since last spring. All data is from March 2023 and sourced from

5. Lebanon, New HampshireLebanon, New Hampshire was among the idyllic New England towns that movers flocked to in 2022, so it makes sense that it might be trickier to sell with the market slowing overall.

Median number of days home stayed on the market: 70, 40 more days than in March 2022

Median home price: $499,000


4. Hilo, HawaiiMovers have flocked to Hawaii in recent years in search of paradise. Now that the markets has slowed, it's actually easier to buy a house in a place like Hilo.

Median number of days home stayed on the market: 88 days, 41 more than in March of 2022

Median home price: $628,000

3. Raleigh, North CarolinaMovers flocked to cities like Raleigh in the Sun Belt region of the country before the market began to slow last year.

Median number of days home stayed on the market: 53, 42 more days than in March of 2022

Median home price in March 2023: $450,000


2. Chico, CaliforniaCalifornia saw a population decline of 500,000 in 2021 and 2022, according to the Census Bureau. A decreased population typically means less fervor for homes and leads to them lingering on the market longer.

Median number of days home stayed on the market: 78, 43 more days than in March 2022

Median home price: $431,175

1. Huntsville, AlabamaHuntsville, Alabama was ranked the best place to live in 2022 by US News and World Report.

Median number of days home stayed on the market: 59, 49 more days than March of 2022

Median home price: $399,875

Read the original article on Business Insider

Why Hooters Air, Pan Am, and the Concorde all disappeared from the skies

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 5:12pm
  • Over the years, many airlines have struggled to stay in business.
  • Pan Am was an icon of early travel that no longer exists, and even Hooters had its own airline.
  • Meanwhile, the Concorde was an engineering marvel that wowed passengers, but it no longer flies.

Did you know that the restaurant chain Hooters once had its own airline, where the wait staff got a chance to work at 32,000 feet? But the business didn't last long. 

Getting a new airline off the ground can be the easy part, but many struggle to stay above the competition.

Take Pan Am. America's premier airline boasted the first ever scheduled international flight and became an icon of early air travel. But this wasn't enough to save the company from going under.

And then there's Concorde. The elegant supersonic jet was the preferred mode of transport for the rich and famous and could cross the Atlantic in just over three hours. Since its last flight in 2003, no other airliner has come close.

These three stories have it all — glitz, glamour, and tragedy. Where did it all go wrong?

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon warehouse workers are seriously injured at twice the rate of employees at similar warehouses, study finds

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 5:06pm
Amazon warehouse worker injuries are becoming more frequent and severe, the Strategic Organizing Center report found.
  • The serious injury rate among Amazon warehouse workers is more than double the rate at other warehouses. 
  • The report from the Strategic Organizing Center found Amazon worker injuries are becoming more frequent and severe.
  • The report analyzed federal data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The rate of worker injuries at Amazon warehouses was 70% higher compared to other warehouse companies in 2022, according to a recent report from union coalition Strategic Organizing Center.

The report also found that the rate of "serious" injuries was more than double the serious-injury rate at other warehouses. 

The SOC said these findings reflect a growing trend at Amazon facilities compared to other warehouses: that Amazon warehouse worker injuries are becoming more frequent and severe, and Amazon facilities are growing more dangerous. 

The study pulled its findings from federal data submitted from 2017 to 2022 by Amazon to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 2022, the serious-injury rate among Amazon warehouse workers was 6.6 serious injuries for every 100 workers — more than double the rate at other warehouses, which was 3.2 serious injuries for every 100 workers. 

The SOC defined "serious injuries" as injuries that left workers unable to perform their regular job functions, or they were forced to miss work entirely. 

Amazon was responsible for 53% of serious injuries in the warehouse industry from 2022, despite Amazon employing 36% of US warehouse workers, according to the SOC report. 

Amazon's serious-injury rate dipped slightly in 2022 from the rate in 2021, which had a 6.9 serious injury rate per every 100 workers, per the SOC report. But both years reflected an increase in serious injuries compared to 2020, when Amazon's serious injury rate was 5.9 for every 100 workers.

"The safety and health of our employees is, and always will be, our top priority, and any claim otherwise is inaccurate. We're proud of the progress made by our team and we'll continue working hard together to keep getting better every day." Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in an emailed statement to Insider. She said the SOC findings "paint an inaccurate picture." 

Nantel said that Amazon's own safety report showed that since 2019, the recordable injury rate across Amazon dropped more than 23% and the lost time injury rate dropped more than 53%. Amazon said the company prefers to analyze these two metrics because they encapsulate the employee injuries "that are most severe and actually require time away" from work.

Amazon said the SOC's "serious injury rate" metric was "misleading." The company said this metric captures any injury — including injuries that are serious and injuries that are relatively minor, such as a strain — that could lead an employee to take time off from work or switch to working in a different role. 

Within the last few years, Amazon has come under increased scrutiny for its injury rate. Just a few months before this report, Amazon was fined $60,269 for warehouse conditions that led to high rates of back and joint injuries among workers, Insider previously reported. At the end of 2022, Amazon was hit with 14 citations from federal regulators for failing to record workers' injuries

Faced with a constant pressure to quickly meet performance targets, Amazon workers are also at an increased risk for injuries, according to Insider's Warehouse Nation series. Some Amazon workers who have endured workplace injuries have found them to be debilitating amid working in fast-paced conditions, Insider's Katherine Long reported. 

In an emailed statement to Insider, Amazon disputed the claim that Amazon employees are expected to meet "quotas." The company said, "like any other business," they have "performance expectations" for their teams.

"If there's ever a concern about a manager misusing productivity guidance or asking employees to prioritize productivity over safety, we immediately investigate and take appropriate action. Safety is our number one priority at Amazon," the statement read.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We paid $4 million for a cabin on a cruise ship that will sail the world year-round. We want to travel in total comfort, without the 'bag drag' from place to place.

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 4:58pm
Myle Hammond and family.
  • Myle Hammond reserved a two-bedroom cabin that cost $4 million on Storylines' MV Narrative.
  • His family vacations often and the ship's annual fee will be on par with their former travel budget.
  • Hammond has yet to decide whether he'll live at sea full-time, but he isn't ruling it out.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Myle Hammond, 50, about his decision to reserve a cabin on Storylines' MV Narrative, a luxury residential cruise ship that will circumnavigate the globe every three years. The company anticipates a 2025 launch date. Hammond's cabin will have a roughly $132,000 annual fee that includes most food and beverages on the ship, WiFi, and housekeeping, among other perks. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

I retired from the Marine Corps after 23 years in 2014. Since then, I've been a financial trader and I work from home.

In the Marine Corps, I spent over a year living at sea. Originally I had no desire to take a vacation on a cruise ship, because I thought it was going to feel like being at work. If you're a secretary, you don't want to go on vacation and take notes.

But I really enjoyed my first cruise. I've cruised with a number of different lines — enough to figure out the things that we like and the things that we could do without.

I enjoy traveling, but I crave the comfort of my own bed

We love to travel, but doing the bag drag from destination to destination can get tiring.

Hammond's cabin will have a kitchenette, a living area, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms.

When I saw the opportunity to buy aboard the Narrative, it was one of those things where it's the best of both worlds: the ability to essentially purchase a second home, or something that might eventually become a primary home, that's sitting on the water — but not just sitting on the water, sitting on the water with a view that changes on a daily basis.

We purchased a two-bedroom, two-bathroom for the life of the ship. It was $4 million. We figured it gives us enough room that we won't feel like we're stuck on top of one another. It's got a living room area and a small kitchenette.

It's large enough that if we wanted to have guests come and stay with us, they could. If we don't have guests, there's room to spread out and work. I can really work from anywhere and this offers the ability to truly see the world and still have the connectivity that I need.

Hammond's cabin will also have a balcony overlooking the sea.

I love to travel, but I always miss my bed. I sometimes joke that I've gotten really finicky after spending enough years sleeping on the ground.

They provide furnishings for you, but you do get a selection of things you can upgrade, like the type of mattress. And once that's done, you're ultimately responsible for your own furnishings.

The thought of being able to bring all those important things with me, while still being able to see the world, is attractive.

The annual fee is about the same as our yearly travel budget

Every unit has its annual fee that, for the most part, should cover everything. It's a significant fee. We did the calculations on how much we spent on vacations a year. And if we were to up that by just a little bit, we're kind of hitting that target zone.

We've got a nice home, but when we travel, I don't want to spend my vacation time in something that is not as nice as my home. Because we've done pretty well, we like to go to nicer places and stay in nicer places.

The Hammond family taking a photo in front of the Trevi Fountain in Italy.

When I was looking at the cost, one of the questions I asked myself was, "How much would you be willing to spend for a condo that was overlooking the water?" This is one of those things that checked all the boxes that we were looking for.

I love to travel with the family. I have two teenagers that are currently in high school, but in the next couple of years they're going to be heading off to college.

Once the kids get older, we're leaving options open. We're not planning on selling the house right now. The plan is keeping both and part of it is just getting a feel for what kind of balance we would have.

Life is too short to not go for what you want, because this is something that I want to succeed and that I can be a part of. It's something that I'm willing to put my money behind.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon announces 'Bedrock' AI platform to take on OpenAI

Thu, 04/13/2023 - 4:58pm
Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy.
  • Amazon announced on Thursday its generative AI toolkit called "Bedrock."
  • Amazon Web Services customers can use Bedrock to build chatbots, generate text, and create images.
  • The announcement comes after Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company will "invest heavily" in AI.

Amazon announced on Thursday it's releasing an AI platform for businesses called Amazon Bedrock, which will compete with enterprise offerings from OpenAI and others in the generative AI space.

Bedrock is a suite of generative AI tools that can help Amazon Web Service customers — businesses who run their operations on Amazon's data servers — build chatbots, generate and summarize text, and make and classify images based on prompts.

Bedrock users can perform specific tasks by selecting from a range of machine learning models it calls "foundation models," such as AI21's Jurassic-2, Anthropic's Claude, Stability AI's Stable Diffusion, and Amazon Titan. 

A content marketing manager, for example, can use Bedrock to create a targeted ad campaign for a new line of handbags by feeding it data so it can generate product social media posts, display ads, and web copy for each product, according to an AWS blog post.

A screenshot from Amazon's announcement of Bedrock.

The announcement comes after Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in his annual shareholder letter that his company is betting big on generative AI. The e-commerce giant will be "investing heavily" in generative AI and large language models — LLMs for short, Jassy said. He called them "transformative."

"Let's just say that LLMs and Generative AI are going to be a big deal for customers, our shareholders, and Amazon," Jassy said in his letter.

As generative AI tools have become more widely available to the public, people have flocked to consumer-facing tools like ChatGPT to start their own businesses. Some firms are even implementing ChatGPT into their operations to boost productivity. 

Amazon is the latest big tech giant to release generative AI tools alongside companies like Microsoft and Google, which launched their own versions of generative AI chatbots earlier this year.

A preview of Amazon's generative AI toolkit is currently limited to select AWS customers. So far, Coda, an AI-document generation firm used by companies like Uber and the New York Times, is using Bedrock to scale its business operations, according to Amazon.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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