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Amazon touts 'even faster' deliveries made to customers 'within hours'

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 6:42pm
Amazon touted its fast deliveries in its fourth-quarter earnings report on Thursday.
  • Amazon is pushing "even faster" deliveries to customers around cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix.
  • Same-day delivery customers can now get orders "within hours," per Amazon's Q4 report.
  • Amazon Prime members can get free shipping on the breakneck deliveries, if their orders qualify.

Amazon is betting on its model of getting orders to customers sooner than ever, saying that it has ramped up the pace of same-day deliveries to customers living in and near many big cities in the US.

The e-commerce giant's same-day deliveries are now "even faster" for customers around Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco, along with other busy hubs, according to its fourth-quarter earnings report, released on Thursday. 

In the report, Amazon said that customers in those areas "can now receive hundreds of thousands of items within hours." Amazon Prime customers can get free same-day deliveries based on where they're located and what they're ordering, according to Amazon's website. 

The retailer's emphasis of fast deliveries comes as the pace of work at Amazon has been the subject of multiple citations by federal safety regulators, who have warned that the "gamification" of work at Amazon's warehouses can lead to higher rates of injury. 

But the retailer has to contend with stalled growth in its US Prime memberships. In 2022, Amazon Prime had an estimated 168 million US members, per Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. That was a decline from the 170 million US members the prior year, according to CIRP's estimate. 

An Amazon representative questioned those figures at the time, telling Insider then that Prime "continues to grow" but that the company wouldn't provide "country-specific" figures for Prime membership in the US. 

On Thursday, the company said that customers in Belgium also now have access to same-day delivery options.

Overall, the tech giant's report indicated a lackluster quarter with sales growing 9% and net income of just $300 million, down from $14.3 billion during the same time last year.

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Getir lays off 100 employees in the latest sign of trouble for the rapid-delivery startup

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 6:31pm
Getir laid off roughly 100 corporate employees in the US at the end of January, marking the second round of layoffs since last year.
  • Getir laid off roughly 100 US corporate employees this week, Insider has learned.
  • The layoffs come as Getir combines operations with Gorillas, which could lead to store closures.
  • Getir's US arm has struggled to pay store employees properly and held them to strict time goals.

Rapid grocery-delivery startup Getir has laid off about 100 corporate employees, Insider has learned.

The company made the cuts earlier this week, and they affected employees on several teams, including Getir's legal, operations, HR, fleet, and finance departments, a source familiar with the details told Insider. Before the layoffs, Getir's Slack channel for US employees contained roughly 260 corporate employees. Afterward, that number was about 160, according to the source, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.

More cuts could be on their way at Getir's stores as the company combines its US network with that of Gorillas, another rapid-delivery startup, and eliminates overlapping locations, the source said. Getir uses small storefronts to fill orders and deliver them to customers close by, using bikes and scooters.

In November, Getir reached a deal to acquire Gorillas, Insider reported. The acquisition closed for $1.2 billion, a steep discount to Gorillas' 2021 valuation of $3 billion. The companies haven't yet combined their teams at the corporate or store level.

Getir did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

One employee said in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday that layoffs had happened. "My time at Getir has come to an end," she wrote. "Like several of my colleagues, I was notified my position was eliminated."

The layoffs are the latest challenge for Getir, which delivers groceries and other essentials in as few as 10 minutes. The company laid off 14% of its workforce last May, the New York Post reported. 

In 2022, Insider reported on the conditions that Getir employees faced filling and delivering orders at the company's US stores. Workers risked being terminated for not meeting strict time limits, such as packing orders in less than two minutes, as well as trips to the hospital after accidents riding the company's electric bikes and scooters to delivery orders.

Getir also struggled to pay store employees in full and on-time, several told Insider. That prompted an investigation from New York state's Department of Labor.

The most recent job cuts were spread across different teams at Getir, the source familiar with the layoffs said. They also swept out many high-performing employees, some of whom had helped build Getir's business since it launched in the US in late 2021.

"What a lot of people are thinking is that they're getting ready to pull out of the US market altogether," the source said. "They're trying to save money. It looks like they're getting down to a skeleton crew."

In January, Getir appointed Kristof Van Beveren as its first US general manager, Insider reported. Van Beveren previously served as Getir's UK general manager and was founder and CEO of UK grocery delivery service Weezy. Getir acquired Weezy in 2021.

Before entering the US, Getir built its businesses in densely populated European cities such as Istanbul, London, and Amsterdam. Even in those markets, Getir and its rivals have struggled to achieve profitability. 

The US presented additional challenges for Getir. Customers were used to buying all their groceries at once instead of making smaller daily trips, and the company had to build its operations from the ground up instead of relying mainly on acquisitions of similar businesses as it had done in Europe, analysts and former employees told Insider in 2022.

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Amazon is bragging about the popularity of Netflix's 'Wednesday' and its star Jenna Ortega — even though the streamers are rivals

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 6:17pm
Jenna Ortega stars in Netflix's wildly popular show "Wednesday."
  • Amazon touted the success of Netflix's "Wednesday" in its Q4 2022 earnings report on Thursday.
  • The series, which stars Jenna Ortega, is one of Netflix's most-watched shows of all time.
  • It was produced by the MGM film and TV studio, which Amazon bought last year.

"Wednesday" is a smash hit for Netflix, so why is the rival streamer Amazon bragging about it?

The tech and retail giant touted the series' popularity in its Q4 2022 earnings report on Thursday.

"'Wednesday,' an MGM-produced series on Netflix, debuted at No. 1 on Nielsen's weekly streaming charts and earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Musical or Comedy Series and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series (Jenna Ortega)," the company wrote in a press release.

The Addams Family spinoff, which debuted on Netflix in November, was one of the streaming giant's biggest releases of 2022 and became its third most-watched show of all time, behind "Squid Game" and "Stranger Things" season four. It was viewed for 1.237 billion hours globally in its first 28 days of release, according to Netflix's own figures.

For the latest ranking released on Thursday, which accounted for the week of January 2 through January 8, the series was still being watched for over 1 billion minutes that week — the seventh week in a row that it cleared that number — according to Nielsen's streaming charts.

So why is Amazon bragging about it? Because Amazon owns MGM, which produced the series. It bought the film and TV studio, which is also behind the James Bond films, last year for $8.5 billion, and recently launched the MGM+ streaming platform.

Speculation swirled online last month that "Wednesday" would leave Netflix for an Amazon streaming platform after an unfounded Independent story posited as such because Netflix hadn't announced a second season yet.

Soon after, though, Netflix announced it had renewed the series for season two, exclusively for Netflix.

No matter where it's playing, that's still a win for MGM — and money for Amazon's pockets.

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Google is on the tech cost-cutting bandwagon. Its CFO just flagged more cuts could come.

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:57pm
Google parent Alphabet warns that more cuts are coming in its four-quarter earnings report.
  • Google warned that more cuts could be coming in its 2022 Q4 earnings report. 
  • It expects to spend $500 million to reduce office space and up to $2.3 billion in severance packages.
  • The cuts come just weeks after Google announced that its laying off 12,000 employees. 

Google just warned that more cuts could be on the way after a year when it's already slashed jobs and other spending.

Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat of its parent company, Alphabet, didn't detail the possible cuts in the company's fourth-quarter earnings report, but what she telegraphed was clear.

"We have significant work underway to improve all aspects of our cost structure in support of our investments in our highest growth priorities to deliver long-term, profitable growth," she said. 

Alphabet's possible cuts come just weeks after Google announced that it will lay off 12,0000 employees as part of its measures to trim costs amid challenging economic conditions.

And the cost-cutting hint comes after big tech companies like Meta and Twitter laid off thousands of workers and eliminated lavish perks in an effort to save money, signaling that more cuts loom across the tech industry.

Meanwhile, Google could be paring back its office footprint even further than it already has, the company said.

Google said that it expects to incur costs in 2023 of $500 million to reduce office space. And as for job cuts, the company said it expects to pay between $1.9 billion to $2.3 billion in employee severance packages in just the first quarter alone.

CEO Sundar Pichai said on the earnings call that Google will slow the pace of hiring this year. 

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Here's how a wildly outgunned US Navy pilot outfoxed one of the Soviet Union's best jets, scoring a string of kills in a legendary dogfight

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:52pm
A close view of an F9F Panther jet touching down on the deck of the USS Oriskany, tail hook engaging the arresting wire, smoke coming from impact of tires, in November 1952.
  • An outgunned US Navy pilot downed four Soviet MiG-15 jets in a legendary dogfight over 70 years ago.
  • Royce Williams was flying an inferior F9F Panther.
  • Military aviation experts say Williams' success that day was a result of his training and readiness.

More than 70 years ago, a US Navy pilot took on seven Soviet aircraft — then among the world's best interceptor fighters — and shot down four of them in a legendary dogfight that was classified for decades.

The Korean War air battle is no longer a secret, and the pilot, Royce Williams, was recently awarded the Navy Cross for his display of "extraordinary heroism."

Williams was outmatched that day, fighting in an inferior plane with the numbers clearly on the enemy's side. Insider asked naval-aviation experts how he pulled off a win with the odds stacked against him. They said it was his training and readiness that saw him through that.

On November 18, 1952, the day of the battle, Williams was flying an F9F Panther, a Navy carrier-based jet fighter, as part of a team of three planes from the fighter squadron VF-781 during a combat-patrol mission over the Sea of Japan when they encountered seven Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 jet fighters. This swept-wing Soviet aircraft was considered to be superior to the straight-wing American Panther in terms of overall performance.

The Soviet jets engaged the American team, and it wasn't long before Williams found himself fighting alone. An unexpected fuel-pump issue forced the team's flight leader to return to the aircraft carrier Oriskany, leaving just the young lieutenant and his wingman. Then when Williams shot down one of the enemy planes, his wingman pursued it, and Williams was left to take on the six remaining Soviet aircraft on his own.

Williams was outgunned and outnumbered as he took on the Soviet jets in what became the longest dogfight in US military history, but he held his own. According to Pacific Fleet, during the 35-minute battle, he shot down four MiG-15s in a single fight, something no American pilot had ever done. But as the US and Soviet Union were not engaged in open conflict, his exploits were kept secret.

According to Williams' Navy Cross citation, his plane was "severely damaged" by a direct hit from one of the Soviet MiG-15s, but he continued to engage the Soviets until he managed to escape through the clouds and land a "nearly uncontrollable" plane back on the USS Oriskany.

A Grumman F9F Panther firing its guns during an attack on the North Korean port of Hungnam.'The only thing I could do was out-turn them'

Manufactured by Grumman, the F9F Panther first flew in 1947 and became the backbone of US Navy and Marine Corps air fleets during the Korean War, according to the National Museum of the US Navy. They were armed with four 20 mm cannons and also carried air-to-ground munitions.

Hill Goodspeed, the deputy director at the National Naval Aviation Museum, told Insider that during the Korean War, the Panther primarily conducted ground strike missions as opposed to engaging in air-to-air fighting.

The MiG-15, meanwhile, first entered service in 1949 and operated against United Nations forces during the Korean War, according to the National Museum of the US Air Force. This aircraft was armed with 23 mm cannons and a 37 mm cannon.

A Soviet Union MiG-15.

Though the MiG-15 could fly faster and climb to a higher altitude, the Panther had the advantage in turning ability. When an aircraft is able to out-turn another, it can prevent an enemy from getting a good shot. The Panther also had certain firepower advantages with a more stable firing platform than the MiG-15, Goodspeed said.

Williams told the American Veterans Center in a 2021 video interview that the MiG-15 was the "best fighter airplane in the world" at the time and that "plane on plane," he was at a clear disadvantage.

"In the moment I was a fighter pilot doing my job," Williams said in an account of the fight, according to Pacific Fleet. "I was only shooting what I had," he recalled. "They had me cold on maneuverability and acceleration — the MiG was vastly superior on those counts to the F9F. The only thing I could do was out-turn them."

Goodspeed said human factors and the ability to understand the enemy were critical in a fight like this, explaining "it all comes down — first and foremost — to the person in the cockpit and the training they've received."

Two US Grumman F9F Panther jet fighters refueling after having been armed with rockets under their wings in 1951.This dogfight was 'a very rare feat'

Guy Snodgrass, a career Navy fighter pilot and former US defense official, told Insider that Williams' engagement "justifies" the role of institutions like the US Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program — also known as TOPGUN. It's not always possible to change the equipment that the US has in its arsenal, but military institutions can help shape training and readiness levels.

"Having a better piece of equipment can lull you into a false sense of security that your equipment is going to take care of the engagement for you. And that's not the case," said Snodgrass, a former TOPGUN instructor. "Once you get inside that visual arena, then you're in a position where your skills, your dedication, your hard work, staying in the fight — all those things become outsized factors that can really turn the tide of the conflict."

Snodgrass said one element of the TOPGUN training was studying "adversarial" aircraft made by countries that the US might have a greater chance of going up against in the future — like Russia or China. These are then compared with the strengths and weaknesses of US aircraft.

Williams' dogfight isn't the only example of US planes battling enemy aircraft that are superior on paper. During World War II, for example, the Navy's F4F Wildcat went up against Japan's Mitsubishi A6M Zero, which was considered to be the more capable plane in part because of its maneuverability, Goodspeed said.

That said, "in the jet age, to shoot down multiple jets in air-to-air combat was a very rare feat," Goodspeed explained, comparing later fights with those during World War II, when an aviator might shoot down several planes in one day.

Snodgrass said there were lots of big-picture lessons to extract from large-scale wars like Korea or Vietnam, and specific engagements — like Williams' dogfight — demonstrate how a pilot can use their strengths in a situation where they may be outmatched.

"The machines have advanced. The tactics have advanced," the former aviator said. "So it's really more the principle that you're going after rather than the specifics of this case."

Williams receiving the Navy Cross at the age of 97.

The US government classified the legendary 1952 dogfight, and Williams, who was awarded the Silver Star in May 1953 and retired from the Navy in 1980, was sworn to secrecy about what happened until his story was finally declassified about 20 years ago.

Because Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro has the authority to upgrade awards, he decided to review Williams' case and said it stood out. On January 20, he presented Williams with the Navy Cross, which is the service's second-highest military honor.

"It was very clear to me that his actions were extraordinary, and more closely aligned with the criteria describing a higher award," Del Toro said of Williams during a ceremony in San Diego. "And sir, what a tremendous honor it was to tell you in person, that after all these years, your courageous actions would finally get the recognition they deserve."

Correction: February 2, 2023 —An earlier version of this article misstated the Grumman F9F Panther's place in naval aviation history. The first carrier-based jet-powered fighter was not the Panther. It was the McDonnell Aircraft Company FH-1 Phantom.

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Google is making a change to its earnings report next quarter that shows just how important AI has become

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:48pm
CEO of Alphabet and Google Sundar Pichai in Warsaw, Poland on March 29, 2022. 
  • Alphabet said in its Q4 earnings press release that it will begin disclosing investments in AI. 
  • The move signals the increasing importance of AI to the search giant. 
  • Q4 earnings showed a slowdown in revenue growth from the previous year. 

Google parent company Alphabet announced in its Q4 earnings report that it will make a change in how it discloses its investments in artificial intelligence going forward.

Whereas previously its DeepMind AI research division was buried within the "Other Bets" category, it will be reported as part of Alphabet's corporate costs, reflecting its increasing use across the entire company in areas like Google Services and Google Clouds. 

"As AI is critical to delivering our mission of bringing our breakthrough innovations into the real world, beginning in January 2023, we will update our segment reporting relating to certain of Alphabet's AI activities," the press release states. 

Alphabet's latest move signals to the market that it's are serious about investing in the rapidly advancing space. Google has been under pressure by OpenAI and its ChatGPT product, which can respond to queries with human-language responses based on information its gathered from around the web. 

Investors will be eyeing how the search giant responds to the challenge, as OpenAI investor Microsoft plans to integrate the chatbot technology into its Bing search engine, Information reported. It will also incorporate the technology into its Azure cloud offerings so developers can take advantage of the AI technology. Microsoft already offers another OpenAI service, the code-writing tool Codex, through GitHub. 

Breaking out its investments in particular projects offers transparency to investors, who can see the exact financial performance of Alphabet's various projects. Alphabet revealed Google Cloud and YouTube's financial performance for the first time in 2020, for instance. 

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1 out of every 4 migrant kids separated at the border by Trump still hasn't been reunited with their family 2 years later

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:48pm
In this Jan. 22, 2020 file photo, David Xol-Cholom of Guatemala hugs his son, Byron, at Los Angeles International Airport as they reunite after being separated about one-and-half years ago during the Trump administration's wide-scale separation of immigrant families.
  • The Department of Homeland Security says nearly a thousand migrant children are still separated.
  • Nearly 4,000 kids were taken from their families at the US-Mexico border between 2017 and 2021.
  • The Biden administration set up a task force in 2021 to reunite the families separated under Trump.

Nearly a thousand — or one out of every four — children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border by the Trump administration have yet to reunite with their families, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The DHS's Family Reunification Task Force released a statement and fact sheet on Thursday detailing how many migrant children have been reunited and how many are still left without their families.

The task force said it identified 3,924 migrant kids who were taken from their families between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" border policy.

Out of those separated children, 2,926 have been reunited as of February 1, 2023, the Family Reunification Task Force said. The Family Reunification Task Force said it had reunited 600 children with their families, and the rest were reunited before the task force was established in February 2021.

The data leaves 998 migrant children who are still separated from their families.

The task force said that part of what has made it so difficult to reunite migrant families is that the Trump administration kept "patchwork at best" records of how many children were even taken in the first place. 

The Council on Foreign Relations has reported that unaccompanied children are typically placed in group homes, foster care, or other long-term facilities while they await their reunions. 

The reunification process can be an uphill battle at times because "The number of new families identified continues to increase, as families come forward and identify themselves," according to the fact sheet.

But the task force said it "will not stop until all the separated families are afforded the opportunity for reunification."

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2 House Republicans caught saying Ilhan Omar removal was the 'stupidest vote in world' before begging reporters to not tell GOP leadership what they said

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:45pm
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota gives a thumbs-down during a vote to adjourn in the House chamber during the third day of elections for Speaker of the House at the US Capitol Building on January 5, 2023 in Washington, DC.
  • House Republicans removed Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from one of her committees on Thursday.
  • The party-line vote struck at least a pair of GOP members as a dumb move.
  • The dejected duo called it the "stupidest vote" and panned leadership for making Omar a "martyr."

Two disillusioned House Republicans unloaded on their vengeful leadership for inadvertently making a hero out of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar by publicly stripping her of a high-profile committee assignment in what one deemed the "stupidest vote in the world." 

The not-so-private condemnation of Speaker Kevin McCarthy's campaign to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs panel happened after Republicans clinched the retaliatory strike on a party-line vote of 218-211. 

As they rode the elevator away from the House floor, congressional newspaper Roll Call reported that Foreign Affairs Committee GOP member Ken Buck and Republican Rep. Mike Simpson reflected on what had just transpired and decided it was a boneheaded move.

After Buck decreed it the "stupidest" political move, Simpson said the expulsion would probably make the Minnesota Democrat into a "martyr." 

After airing their grievances, the pair reportedly asked those around them "not to let leadership know their thoughts."

Buck and Simpson's offices did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The polarizing ouster only fell into place after McCarthy won over a handful of Republicans who had voiced objections to the effort — including Republican Reps. Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Victoria Spartz of Indiana — by promising to reform internal punishment procedures moving forward. 

Incensed Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York denounced the entire process as hypocrisy writ large. 

 "Don't tell me that this is about a condemnation of anti-Semitic remarks, when you have a member of the Republican caucus who has talked about Jewish space lasers, and also elevated her to some of the highest committee assignments in this body," Ocasio-Cortez said on the floor, referring to Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. "This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America."

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San Francisco homebuyers are benefiting more from the cooling housing market than those in any other big US city

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:45pm
  • Monthly housing costs in San Francisco have declined by 14.8% since their peak in October 2022, Redfin said in a report.
  • One agent said that mass layoffs and lower stock prices could mean that home prices have further room to fall.
  • However, housing inventory still remains "scarce" in the Bay Area as competition heats back up.

One city has emerged as an unlikely place where recent buyers are saving the biggest amount of money on their monthly housing payments: San Francisco. 

While the Bay Area is well-known for its notoriously high housing costs, recent homebuyers in San Francisco have been benefitted the most from falling mortgage rates and softening demand. Monthly housing costs have dropped from more than $9,800 at the peak of the market in October 2022 to around $8,500 today. That 14.8% decline is the most significant between the 50 largest metro areas and more than double the national average over the same time, a new report from Redfin details.

"We're in a sweet spot where prices and rates have dropped enough to make a meaningful difference in housing payments but there's still less competition than there has been for the last few years," Angela Langone, a Redfin agent who works the San Jose market, said in a statement. 

But it's not all gravy for new Bay Area homeowners. Overall, the median home price in San Francisco was still $1.28 million in December 2022. To Langone, this shows that home prices still have room to fall considering that remote work has made it so homebuyers don't often have to consider their commute to an office when they purchase a home. 

One factor that could push home prices lower is the high volume of layoffs that are impacting the tech industry, Langone added. For instance, companies like PayPal, Salesforce, and Google have collectively laid off tens of thousands of employees since the beginning of the year. 

Another reason why Langone believes home prices will continue to drop is that the stock market is still facing headwinds from high interest rates. The Nasdaq Composite Index, which is primarily made up of tech stocks, has lost more than 4% of its value over the last six months, which has left some homebuyers — particularly tech workers who typically get lucrative stock bonuses — with less money for down payments

Layoffs and lower stock prices have also helped drive down the cost of housing in other tech hubs like Seattle and San Jose, Redfin's report shows. For example, the median monthly housing payment in Seattle declined by 12.1% between October 2022 and December 2022, or from more than $5,100 per month to around $4,500. In San Jose, the median housing cost declined from $9,000 to about $8,100 per month, representing a greater-than 10% decline over that period. 

Looking ahead, Langone said she is encouraged by the fact that "a lot of Bay Area house hunters are starting to tour homes and make offers again." However, inventory levels continue to be an issue as new listings "remain scarce," she said.

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I make 6 figures as a hospital pharmacist. Here's why it's a great career, and my advice to anyone who wants to pursue it.

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:19pm
Dewan Rummana.
  • Dewan Rummana graduated from pharmacy school in 2019 and started working for Hackensack in 2021.
  • Her hospital and pharmacy is open 24/7, and she works 8-hour shifts including Sundays at times.
  • Rummana said the job is always fast-paced, but she's grateful and loves being a hospital pharmacist.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Dewan Rummana, a hospital pharmacist at Hackensack University from New Jersey, about her job. It's been edited for length and clarity. 

I always knew I'd go into healthcare, so when I was an undergrad, I took all the prerequisites and science courses needed to get into pharmaceuticals. 

I studied planning and public policy for my bachelor's degree at Rutgers University. Then, in 2012, I got my master's in biomedical sciences from the University of Medicine and Dentisry of New Jersey (UMDNJ, which now falls under Rutgers).

During my final three years of undergrad and my first year of grad school, I worked as a pharmacy technician. I started working at CVS and then transitioned into hospital pharmacy at St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital in Wayne, New Jersey. That was my first exposure to the pharmaceutical field and what solidified my decision to go into pharmacy school. 

In 2015, I enrolled at the University of Maryland in Baltimore for my doctorate in pharmacy and graduated in 2019. After I had completed my pharmacy-school rotations, Hackensack University Medical Center reached out to me and I applied for a position.

I first met with the manager of the pharmacy over Zoom. After that briefing, I had another Zoom interview with three of the hospital supervisors for a more formal interview. A few days later, I received an official offer letter.  

I started working at Hackensack in January 2021 as a hospital pharmacist, and I make $71.60 an hour.

During the final year of pharmacy school you do clinical rotations, and I really enjoyed my rotation at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center 

I worked in the lung-cancer clinic, and it was such an eye-opening experience. I was able to learn about the different chemotherapies the patients were taking, and in particular, the oral chemotherapy coming out for lung cancer, including immunotherapy and target therapy

Patients flew in from all over the world for treatment for various cases. I spoke to the patients, talked over their cases with my preceptor (a resident clinical pharmacist with a specialty, who mentors pharmacy students during rotations), and learned about various medications and treatment methods. 

We had a weekly meeting specific to the oncology rotation. Every Wednesday, pharmacists, social workers, and pharmacy students could sit in. The doctors would review every patient's case, including treatment plans and the best ways to get the patient home. After the meeting, the pharmacists could speak with the physicians and ask questions. 

That was a very collaborative experience. After the end of the rotation, my instructor told me being in the clinical field was something I'd be really great at. I took that with me, and that's how I got into my current field today.

My hospital and pharmacy are open 24/7, so each week I have a different shift and schedule 

I can work from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., or sometimes I work in the evening from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Based on what the hospital needs, I can also work Sunday mornings or Sunday evenings. I don't have a preference for which time slots I'm given. 

Usually, at the start of a morning shift, we'll have a little huddle or meeting with the supervisors and other pharmacists just to get up to date if there's something new with a patient's medication or if we have a shortage of medication. We're not as involved in our patient's care, since I'm not in a clinic for a specific ward, as I was during my rotation. 

I work with all types of patients. We're a level-one trauma center and nonprofit research and teaching hospital with more than 800 patients at a time. We care for all levels and types of injuries, including preventative measures and rehabilitation.

After the morning meeting, everyone sits at their individual stations. Then the physician prescribers put in orders, so we can review each of the medications and make sure they're being sent upstairs to the pharmacy technicians who deliver the medications. 

If nurses, physicians, or nurse practitioners have questions regarding a certain medication, side effects, how to administer the medications, or the duration of a patient's treatment, they'll call the pharmacy. Pharmacists answer phone calls specifically related to pharmacy. If the pharmacist can't answer the question, they'll refer the call to a supervisor. 

I work on a very large team

My team is made up of more than 50 people, and it takes everybody to make the team work because everyone plays a different role.

There are different pharmacists for each department. Usually, there's a pharmacist covering pediatric ER, one for the emergency department, and one for ICU patients. Other pharmacists verify and check medication for orthopedic-surgery patients, and pharmacists in the IV room compound and make all the IV medications. Then you have chemotherapy pharmacists who compound the chemotherapy medications. 

Pharmacy is always very fast-paced, whether you work in retail or a hospital 

When you're in retail, you have many people coming for their meds all the time. You have to answer questions from patients, doctors, and providers who call in orders. 

In the hospitals, you have hundreds of patients with a variety of issues, and some of them are very serious conditions, so they need medications right away. Some are very urgent, some are maybe not as urgent — but still very important. 

When you have that happening, maybe a stat order (a priority order) comes in because a fentanyl or morphine order might be needed immediately for a patient who needs to be intubated. Sometimes they have a code and they need a tray taken upstairs. At the same time, the ambulances might come for their medication replenishment. 

It's a really rewarding career

If someone wanted to help people, I think this would definitely be a career for them. If a person is on the fence about doing pharmacy, they should get exposure by working as a pharmacy technician, or maybe take on an internship or even shadow someone in a pharmacy. 

If you really enjoy science and the healthcare field, this is definitely a career to think about. Seeing people leave the hospital and lead happier, healthier lives can be translated into a career as a pharmacist.

At the end of the day, I know that it may not be directly, but I help patients in many ways. For me, that's really rewarding. So when I come home at the end of each day, I feel satisfaction and I'm grateful to be able to do what I do. 

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Samsung Galaxy S23 preorder deals: All the ways you can save money, including a free storage upgrade and up to $100 in Samsung credit

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:10pm

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The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Those who preorder will get a free storage upgrade and a credit to use on other Samsung gear.
  • Samsung's new Galaxy S23 phones use the newest and fastest Snapdragon processor.
  • The flagship S23 Ultra introduces a 200-megapixel camera.
  • For a limited time, Samsung is offering a free storage upgrade and up to a $70 credit if you preorder.

Samsung just announced its Galaxy S23 smartphone lineup, which includes the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra. 

These premium devices use the fastest mobile processor to date, which helps boost performance while managing battery use more efficiently. The highlight is a 200-megapixel camera in the S23 Ultra — a first for Galaxy phones.

But premium devices like the S23 phones come with high price tags. But here's a deal to help lessen the wallet damage: If you're a Galaxy fan looking to upgrade to one of the new models, Samsung is offering a limited time preorder exclusive that lets you upgrade the storage capacity on select models to the next tier for free, and receive up to $70 in instant credit to use on Samsung's online store. 

For example, if you preorder the 512GB of the S23 Ultra, it'll cost the same as the 256GB model. 

In addition, you can save even more if you trade in an eligible phone. Here's how you can redeem these offers.

How to get up to $100 credit with a Samsung Galaxy S23The S23 series includes (from left to right) the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra.

For a limited time, Galaxy S23 preorders from Samsung all come with a credit of up to $100 for your next Samsung purchase. The amount will be indicated during checkout. The offer applies whether you order one thats unlocked or locked to a carrier. The credit cannot be applied to the preorder itself, but can be used on accessories or other products through the Samsung online store. The credits must be used at time of purchase.

Samsung S23 preorder deal from Best Buy

Best Buy is also offering a storage upgrade on select models, plus up to $100 in a form of a Best Buy gift card. If you don't want to be tied to buying Samsung products with your credit, the Best Buy gift card is an excellent option.  

Are there any carrier trade-in programs?

If you're hoping to save even more on the new Galaxy S23, you'll want to consider trading in your old smartphone. Here are the trade-in offers available from different carriers and Samsung.

  • AT&T: Get up to $1,000 in bill credit when you buy on a qualifying installment plan with an eligible trade-in smartphone. 
  • T-Mobile: Get up to $1,000 in bill credit when purchased on a monthly payment plan with qualifying Magenta Max rate plan (new or existing line) and an eligible trade-in smartphone.
  • Verizon: Get up to $800 in bill credit when you purchase with a new or upgraded line for select 5G Unlimited plans and an eligible trade-in smartphone. 
  • Samsung: Get up to $500 off the S23 Ultra or up to $350 off the S23 and S23+ with instant trade-in credit with an eligible trade-in device, including tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches. 

The actual value you'll receive depends on the brand, model, and condition of the device you submit. Carriers only accept smartphones for trade-ins, while Samsung accepts smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches from most major brands, like Apple, Google, LG, and Samsung. 

To get the most immediate savings, we recommend going with Samsung's instant trade-in credit. Carrier offers often take a while to pay out bill credits over a duration of months, whereas Samsung's trade-in program results in an immediate discount from the device — although the credit amount is less. 

When will the Samsung Galaxy S23 be available?

Though preorders are open now, the Samsung Galaxy S23 will not be available until February 17. 

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US stocks trade mixed but Nasdaq surges ahead of fresh mega-cap tech earnings

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 5:03pm
Apple CEO Tim Cook
  • US stocks closed mixed Thursday. Tech stocks added to early gains. 
  • The Nasdaq Composite surged more than 2% as markets cheered the Fed's toned-down rate hike. 
  • Investors were bracing for earnings from Alphabet, Amazon and Apple after the closing bell. 

US stocks ended mixed on Thursday, as investors turned their focus to a handful of key earnings reports due from mega-cap tech firms after the closing bell.

The Nasdaq Composite added to gains earlier in the session, and ended the day higher by more than 3%. Tech stocks climbed since Wednesday when comments from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell that were heard by Wall Street as a sign that that central bank is getting ready to end its rate-hiking campaign. 

Tech giants including Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon and Apple were set to report quarterly earnings after the closing bell. 

But investors were hit with more data on Thursday that highlighted just how difficult the path ahead remains for the central bank. Weekly jobless claims plummeted to a nine-month low last week, and the labor market is showing frustrating signs of strength for Fed officials hoping that the last year of rate hikes would be enough to cool the economy. 

Jerome Powell's Wednesday comments urged markets to reconsider hopes of declaring victory in the battle against inflation, and labeled any such notion as "premature." Elsewhere, the European Central Bank raised benchmark rates by 50-basis points, while the Bank of England followed suit with an additional 50 points. 

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:30 p.m. closing bell on Thursday:   

Here's what else is going on: 

In commodities, bonds, and crypto: 

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A New York man who admitted to leaving threatening voicemails for Marjorie Taylor Greene dared her to file charges against him

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 4:39pm
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia
  • A New York man pleaded guilty Wednesday to leaving threatening voicemails for GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
  • Joseph F. Morelli, 51, called Taylor Greene's office from his Endicott home and threatened to hurt her, prosecutors say.
  • Morelli — who dared the lawmaker to press charges — now faces up to 5 years in prison.

A New York man who pleaded guilty Wednesday to leaving threatening voicemails for right-wing GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene dared her to press charges and even spelled out his full name and left his phone number on one of the menacing calls, federal prosecutors say.

Joseph F. Morelli, 51, admitted that he called Greene's office three times from his Endicott home on March 3, 2022, according to the US Attorney's Office in New York.

According to court records, Morelli pled guilty to three counts of interstate threatening communications. He also identified himself in the voicemails in federal court. 

Prosecutors say Morelli admitted he left Greene a voicemail saying, "I'm gonna have to take your life into my own hands… I'm gonna hurt you. Physically, I'm gonna harm you."

According to the feds, Morelli admitted he said in another voicemail: "You promote violence, and I think as a true patriot and humanitarian and human being, I think I'm gonna have to show you, to your face, right up front, what violence truly is and I don't think you're gonna like it." 

At one point, Morelli even spelled out his name and told Greene's office where he lived, according to court records.

"My name is Joseph Morelli, M-O-R-E-L-L-I," he said, according to court documents.

He also dared Greene to press charges, according to the documents, saying it'd give him a chance in court to say "how bad you are for humanity."

Morelli is under house arrest until his sentencing on June 1. He faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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The $400 Tiffany & Co. and Nike sneaker collab is just the beginning — the brands are also hawking silver accessories like shoe horns totaling over $1000

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 4:38pm
The Nike Air Force 1 Low Tiffany & Co. "1837" releases next month.
  • Nike and Tiffany & Co. are releasing their first sneaker collaboration next month for $400.
  • The sneaker is just the beginning. Accessories for the release can set shoppers back over $1,000. 
  • Accessories are a sterling silver shoe horn, sneaker toothbrush, deubré, and a referee whistle.

Nike and Tiffany & Co. are getting set to release their first sneaker collaboration next month.

Sneakerheads have not been shy about expressing their disapproval for the shoe online after photos of the upcoming collab leaked. Samples and custom designs of what the shoe could have looked like have also surfaced this week.

The official sneaker hitting stores comes in mostly all-black suede and features a Tiffany-blue swoosh and a silver heel plate. The shoes, releasing on March 7 for $400, also come with four different sets of laces — white, black, yellow, and blue. NBA superstar LeBron James recently wore a pair of the unreleased shoes before a regular-season matchup between the LA Lakers and the New York Knicks.

But the sneaker, dubbed the Nike Air Force 1 Low Tiffany & Co. "1837," is just the beginning. The accessories set to accompany the release will set back customers well over $1,000. 

Many sneaker collaborations tend to include apparel drops. But in classic Tiffany's style, the luxury jeweler is selling a sterling silver shoe horn, sneaker toothbrush, deubré, and a whistle as part of the release. Each will cost between $250 to $475. 

—Tiffany & Co. (@TiffanyAndCo) January 31, 2023


Tiffany's has a history of selling everyday items crafted in sterling silver. A loop baby spoon is on sale for $220 on its website. The brand also sells sterling silver photo frames, bowls, and pens, among other items. 

Since being acquired by LVMH in 2021 for $15.8 billion, Tiffany's has worked on a number of collabs, including partnering with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, in efforts to shake off its old-fashioned image and attract younger customers. 

In an earnings call last week, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault told investors that Tiffany's exceeded $1 billion in profit for the first time in 2022. Revenues for LVMH's jewelry and watches segment, which includes Tiffany's, Tag Heuer, and Repossi, increased 18% to about $11.5 billion.

"Everyone said to me, why are you buying this business at that price? It's far too much," Arnault told investors on an earnings call last week referring to the Tiffany's acquisition. "But I mean, it wasn't perhaps managed in the most dynamic way, I won't dwell on that at the time. But if it were listed today, probably worth twice as much."

This is Tiffany's first official foray into sneakers. Back in 2005, the jeweler's banner colors were the inspiration for the Diamond Supply Co and Nike SB Dunk

Tiffany's sister brands Dior and Louis Vuitton have released their own collaborations in recent years with Nike on the Air Jordan 1 and Air Force 1, respectively. Each retailed at $2,000.

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Goldman Sachs' commodities team reportedly raked in $3 billion in 2022, with wild swings fueling one of its best years ever

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 4:34pm
  • Goldman Sachs' commodities traders pulled in $3 billion in revenue in 2022, Bloomberg reported Thursday, marking a near-record performance. 
  • Traders profited from big prices swings for energy, metals and other natural resources after Russia invaded Ukraine last year. 
  • The commodities group has emerged as a key profit source for the investment bank. 

Commodities traders at Goldman Sachs hauled in more than $3 billion last year, Bloomberg reported Thursday, marking one of their best performances as they profited from sharp price swings set off by Russia's war against Ukraine. 

The investment bank posted financial results last month but doesn't break out revenue and profit generated at the commodities desk. For total trading in fixed income, currencies and commodities, revenue jumped 38% to $14.68 billion.

Sources told Bloomberg that commodities trading alone brought in over $3 billion, well above revenue of about $2 billion in the prior two years and approaching the high of $3.4 billion in 2009.

Goldman's commodities group emerged as a key source of profit in a year when overall net income was halved to $10.8 billion, the report said. Its strong performance has reinforced its renewed status inside the center of power at the investment bank following a slump, it added. 

The commodities team navigated through a turbulent market in 2022 for natural resources, highlighted by big price swings for energy, metals and agricultural products after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

Ukraine had large shares of the global market for wheat and barley and other commodities, while Russia's vast oil and gas supplies were largely shunned by the West or were cut off by Moscow. 

The volatility cultivated a particularly profitable period for traders from physical commodity houses to hedge funds, banks and other participants in financial markets.

For instance, commodities trading giant Trafigura generated $7 billion in profit during its fiscal year that ended in September, more than it made in the previous four years combined, according to Bloomberg.

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You don't need an electric vehicle with a long range — buy one you can afford instead

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 4:27pm
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  • Many prospective electric car buyers worry about an EV's range, or how far it goes on a charge.
  • But with new battery tech and more available charging, range shouldn't be a prime factor.
  • EV-buyers should focus on other things instead, experts say.
  • This article is part of a series called Getting Ready for Electric, a practical guide to buying your next EV.

When car-buyers consider going electric, they typically wonder about the vehicle's cost, charging setup, and how far it can go on a full battery. But some experts say that in picking the right electric car, that last question of range is becoming less important — and less helpful. 

Take the first Nissan Leaf, which offered a range of just about 73 miles when it debuted over a decade ago. Today, it can go 212 miles without plugging in. And that's for a $27,800 car. If you're willing to drop $138,000 on a Lucid Air Grand Touring, you don't have to worry about recharging for more than 500 miles.

These rising figures stem largely from improving battery tech. But even with better batteries, range isn't necessarily the best factor by which to select an EV.

That's because in reality, most drivers don't need long-range EVs

"That's the key thing: Reassuring people in the first place about how far they're really, really driving," Nigel Zeid, an EV educator and sales specialist, told Insider. "You need people to understand how far they're actually driving in a day."

Most drivers don't need long-range EVs, experts say.How much range is enough for your electric car?

Most estimates suggest a full tank of gas in an internal-combustion engine vehicle gets on average 300 miles. If drivers are good with that, a 300-mile-range EV should be more than enough.

"For vehicle range, we will reach a 'good enough' number, especially as charging infrastructure gets built out in more and more places," Scott Case, CEO of firm Recurrent. "You don't need batteries that go 800 miles when it's convenient and easy and quick to recharge every 300 miles. 

"You will start to see fewer and fewer cars that have the really long range," Case added, "and somewhere between 250 and 350 miles of range is probably where the market settles out."

EV charging stations for electric cars seen in Gothenburg.How you should pick your electric car instead

Prospective EV-buyers can dive into other variables instead, like ease of charging, cost, and vehicle particulars.

The nation's charging build-out has a way to go in terms of affordability and functionality, and even availability. The US needs four times as much charging infrastructure by 2025, and eight times as much by 2030, to accommodate the coming influx of EVs, according to an estimate from S&P Global Mobility

And automakers can't expect all EV-buyers to plug in at home, given various living arrangements, income, and geographic barriers.

"We estimate that roughly a half of American car buyers could plausibly install and control a home charger sometime over the next five years," Patrick Anderson, founder of Anderson Economic Group, said.

Whether a vehicle qualifies for federal EV tax credits might be another factor. 

Meanwhile, another thing car-buyers should focus on: Until recently, there weren't many EVs available that spoke to the top segments in the US: pickups and SUVs. That's shifting, said Steve Patton, EY Americas mobility sector leader. 

"It's no surprise and no coincidence that most of the new models being introduced or planned to be introduced over the coming months are around that segment," Patton said. The automaker "has to produce the vehicles that we as consumers want to purchase."

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A Floridian is leaving for Portugal because he said pollution, traffic, and overcrowding have turned his home of 20 years into a rotten paradise

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 4:15pm
Victor Zubriski.
  • Victor Zubriski, 74, is leaving the Boca Raton area after 20 years and moving to Portugal.
  • He said rising housing costs, overcrowding, and pollution have decreased the quality of life.
  • Zubriski is part of a vocal movement of residents leaving Florida as the state's population grows.

Victor Zubriski has lived in Boca Raton, Florida, and its surrounding towns for the last 20 years. He said it's far from the paradise everyone's made it out to be.

"If I had $1 million, the last place I'd want to live is Boca Raton," said Zubriski, who settled in the area after a series of moves driven by his work in medical sales and clinical psychology. Over the last two decades he's watched housing costs soar alongside glassy towers that he said sit dark at night. 

"There's no lights on," Zubriski said. "And there's at least a half a dozen under construction."

According to Redfin, the median sale price in Boca Raton is $585,000, an increase of nearly 17% from this time last year. It's increased 83% since early 2018, when the median sale price was $319,500.

Rents are also on the rise. The median rent in Boca Raton has increased $339 from the same time last year to a median of $3,675, according to Zillow. That's 75% higher than the national median rent of $2,097.

Add on top of that Florida's wages versus its cost of living, with job search site Joblist pinpointing it in a 2019 study as the state with the highest disparity between the two. In May 2022, CBS News ranked Florida as the "least affordable" state in the country.

Zubriski said Boca Raton and the surrounding towns have become less and less desirable to live in in tandem with its population growth, increased air pollution, and traffic. 

Boca Raton's population has soared since Zubriski's arrival. He said overcrowding has ruined the quality of life once offered by the town.

"The essential factor down here in Boca Raton is overcrowding," he said. "When I first moved here it was a small little beach town. You could walk to the beach, there wasn't a lot of traffic. There wasn't a lot of pollution."

As Florida's popularity has surged, so have complaints about its quality of life from soaring insurance prices to low wages to severe weather — and defectors from the Sunshine State love to talk about what drove them out.

Now, Zubriski said, locals call Boca Raton "Manhattan South" because of the influx of northerners and folks from outside of the country who have contributed to its gridlocked streets and decreasing air quality. 

"They would come down here, buy a condo, and think they'd be living in paradise," he said. "But they discovered paradise is rotten."

Zubriski listed the one-bedroom condo he purchased for $80,000 in 2014 for $220,000 in January, and plans to donate many of his belongings before leaving the country for Portugal. 

He's eyeing the Algarve region at the country's southern tip, specifically a town called Lagos, where he wants to rent and leave the materialism of American life behind. 

Zubriski wants to move to the Algarve region of Portugal.

"I just want a place with a view, a comfortable bed, and someplace where you can get good food so you don't get fat," he said.

His piece of advice for anyone considering moving to Florida is to spend a month in the state before committing to it. 

He added, "It may not be what you expected."

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Putin says Russia faces German tanks, just like at Stalingrad, but hints that this time Moscow has nukes

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 4:12pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with members of public patriotic and youth organizations at the Battle of Stalingrad Museum and Panorama in Volgograd on February 2, 2023.
  • Putin made another veiled nuclear threat on Thursday as the Ukraine war rages on.
  • This came as the Russian leader likened the war to the battle of Stalingrad during WWII.
  • But in the case of Stalingrad, Russia (then part of the USSR) was being invaded — not doing the invading.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday leveled another veiled nuclear threat in relation to the war in Ukraine as he ripped into Germany for providing battle tanks to Kyiv, while comparing Russia's unprovoked invasion of its next-door neighbor to the Soviet Union's fight against the Nazis during World War II. 

"Unfortunately we see that the ideology of Nazism in its modern form and manifestation again directly threatens the security of our country," Putin said during a speech in Volgograd, per Reuters. Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad after the Soviet dictator, was the site of the World War II battle that put Nazi Germany on the path to defeat at an estimated cost of 750,000 Soviet lives.

"Again and again we have to repel the aggression of the collective West. It's incredible but it's a fact: we are again being threatened with German Leopard tanks with crosses on them," Putin added. 

The Russian leader left out some key facts, however. The Leopard tanks will be operated by Ukrainians, and Germany joined the US and the UK in offering battle tanks to aid Ukraine in regaining territory it has lost since Russia invaded almost a year ago. The US and other Western powers have avoided providing longer-range missiles and fighter jets that Ukraine could use to strike inside Russia.

Putin said that the battle of Stalingrad was indicative of "the indestructible nature of our people," adding that those who draw European countries into a new war with Moscow and "expect to win a victory over Russia on the battlefield, apparently don't understand that a modern war with Russia will be quite different for them."

"We don't send our tanks to their borders but we have the means to respond, and it won't end with the use of armored vehicles, everyone must understand that," Putin said, in an apparent reference to Russia's nuclear arsenal. The Russian leader has repeatedly made nuclear threats since the war began, and has been condemned across the world as a result. 

Russian lawmakers have reportedly been urged to make comparisons between Stalingrad — a battle against Nazi invaders — and the present-day fight in Ukraine, despite the fact Russia is now the aggressor. Putin has frequently harkened to WWII — which Russians remember as the Great Patriotic War — to seek greater support as the country faces economic hardships and well over 100,000 casualties from Ukraine.

Putin has offered a series of justifications for launching the invasion, including the bogus assertion that Ukraine is led by neo-Nazis. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and lost family in the Holocaust, but the Kremlin has continued to make references to Nazism in an effort to justify the ongoing war. 

Top Russia experts say Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine because he has been preoccupied with subjugating it for years and wants to restore the power and prestige enjoyed by Moscow during the Soviet era. Putin, who has repeatedly suggested that Ukraine is not a real country, once described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. 

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200,000 student-loan borrowers will be 'severely harmed' if a judge rules in favor of 3 companies who want to block them from getting $6 billion in debt relief, a new legal filing says

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 4:10pm
Students from George Washington University wear their graduation gowns outside of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 18, 2022
  • A federal judge signed off on a settlement giving 200,000 student-loan borrowers $6 billion in debt relief last year.
  • In January, three companies requested a stay on the relief, citing reputational harm the settlement brought them.
  • Borrowers in the case recently filed a motion opposing the stay due to the harm postponing the relief would bring.

A group of student-loan borrowers who believe they were defrauded by their schools responded to the companies that want to block them from getting long-awaited debt relief.

In January, two for-profit higher-education companies — Lincoln Educational Services Corp. and American National University — and Everglades College, Inc., a nonprofit, filed notices to appeal federal Judge William Alsup's November decision to give 200,000 student-loan borrowers $6 billion in debt relief and requested that he put a stay on that relief as the appeals process plays out. Some of the borrowers who were set to see debt forgiveness attended colleges run by those companies, which were among many named in the November settlement.

This was a result of a lawsuit, Sweet v. Cardona, first filed in 2019 under former President Donald Trump's Education Department, in which the plaintiffs accused the department of failing to process borrower defense to repayment applications, which are claims borrowers can file if they believe they were defrauded by their school.

Per the terms of the settlement in favor of the students, the Education Department identified 153 schools it found to have engaged in misconduct, and any student who attended one of those schools would receive full relief automatically. 

While President Joe Biden's Education Department agreed to the settlement and Alsup signed off on it, the three companies filed an appeal claiming they were not given "due process" after being included in the settlement, saying that they "will immediately suffer the stigma of having all BD claims against them summarily granted—without any administrative process, judicial factfinding, or reasoned decision on the merits."

Last week, the plaintiffs in the case filed an opposition to the request to the stay the relief, writing in the legal filing that the companies would not be harmed if the borrowers get relief, but the borrowers would be "severely harmed" if the process was paused.

"They have already waited years for the resolution of their borrower defense ('BD') applications, some of which have been pending since 2015," the filing said. "The loans that would be discharged under the Settlement continue to shadow them, affecting their credit, their livelihoods, their mental health, and countless other aspects of their lives. One hundred and forty-four borrowers have submitted declarations attesting to the harm a stay would cause them."

The filing went on to push back on the companies' concerns of reputational harm, saying they have failed to provide evidence of such harm, but noted how delaying this relief during the appeals process will significantly hurt borrowers. For example, one borrower said in the filing that the "stay will keep me from being able to take out enough loans to finish my degree, which I need in order to have a career that I can make a meaningful, livable wage with."

Alsup is set to take up the issue of granting a stay on February 15. Eileen Connor, president and director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending, which represents the borrowers in the case, said in a statement that "each day that justice is delayed means additional harm for borrowers and their families who have already been forced to wait years for a resolution."

"These baseless appeals show just how hard students must fight to protect their rights and get relief they are owed under the law," she said. "The court's decision granting approval of this settlement is clear and unequivocal, and as our filing details, further delay would only compound the significant harm and trauma borrowers have suffered throughout this process."

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Two years before beating Tyre Nichols, a Memphis police officer didn't report that a colleague ripped a woman out of her car and dislocated her shoulder just for laughing

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 3:55pm
Demetrius Haley is one of five former Memphis police officers charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols.
  • Former Memphis officer Demetrius Haley came under fire two years before beating Tyre Nichols.
  • In Feb. 2021, Haley was on the scene when another officer ripped a woman from her car.
  • Despite seeing the officer dislocating the woman's shoulder, he didn't write a use of force report.

Years before beating Tyre Nichols, then-Memphis police officer Demetrius Haley was on the scene of another brutal incident where a woman was ripped from her car by a fellow officer who didn't approve of her laughing, according to police disciplinary records obtained by Insider.

On February 21, 2021, Haley assisted three other Memphis officers in a shooting investigation. One of the four officers approached Kadejah Townes, who was running into a Walgreens to get a Redbox movie to watch with her aunt.

The officer asked Townes if she had seen or heard shooting and the woman said she hadn't, Townes reported to the department.

After Townes returned to the car where her aunt had been waiting, another officer, Alexis Brown, approached again, this time demanding that she get out of the car and give her ID.

"Ya'll over here laughing, I need to see ID," Brown said, according to the complaint. "As a matter of fact, get out of the car."

Townes said she refused to get out of the car because she hadn't done anything, but that Brown reached through the window, unlocked the door, and pulled her out. 

Haley then assisted in putting Townes in handcuffs and placing her in a cruiser. He later told department investigators he didn't know what she was being arrested for.

Haley said he had mentioned the women were laughing before Brown approached the car, but he "didn't think anything of the occupants laughing because it's not illegal to laugh."

The officers then transported Townes and her aunt to jail, but several of their family members followed the cruiser, according to the report.

At one point, Brown pulled the cruiser over and drew her gun at Townes' brother, who had been following them, and issued him a citation for interfering with police, according to the report.

Townes was booked on disorderly conduct and her aunt was released and driven home. 

After Townes made a complaint of excessive use of force to the Memphis Police Department, a hearing was held on the misconduct. 

The allegations against Brown were sustained and she ultimately resigned. 

Haley, though, only received a written reprimand for failing to write up a use of force report. 

Haley — who joined the department in August 2020 and was a member of the now-disbanded SCORPION unit — is one of the five officers charged with the murder of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.

Haley — along with Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, and Desmond Mills Jr — pulled Nichols over less than 100 yards from his mother's home on Jan. 7 and beat him so severely he died in the hospital three days later

Nichols' death prompted national protests against police brutality and led to the disbandment of the SCORPION unit.

Within 20 days, the five officers were charged with murder. Two other officers have been on paid administrative leave. 

In addition to the use of force incident, Haley's disciplinary records include a traffic violation in which he struck a stop sign with his cruiser.

After that incident, his superior jumped to his defense.

At a hearing on the incident, Haley's supervisor, identified only as Lt. Flagg, said that he was one of "her best officers" and that he was hard working.

"She stated the department needs several more officers like Haley," the January 2021 hearing report says.

Insider's attempt to reach Townes was unsuccessful Thursday. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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