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Synagogue of Jewish judge who signed off FBI search warrant into Trump's Mar-a-Lago home cancels Sabbath service following antisemitic abuse

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 8:16am
A screenshot of a Facebook Live of the Friday night Shabbat service at Temple Beth David, showing an empty bimah — the raised platform on which the Torah is usually read.
  • Judge Bruce Reinhart is the magistrate who approved the FBI search warrant into Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.
  • Reinhart, who is Jewish, has received antisemitic abuse and violent threats online following the raid.
  • In response, his synagogue canceled its Shabbat service on Friday night. 

A Florida synagogue canceled its Friday night Shabbat service after Judge Bruce Reinhart, the federal magistrate who approved the Mar-a-Lago raid, received a deluge of antisemitic threats online, according to the Religion News Service.

Reinhart, who is Jewish, signed off on the warrant that allowed the FBI to search former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property.

According to Vice News, far-right extremists responded by harassing Reinhart online and making violent threats. On 4chan, Telegram, Gettr, Gab, Truth Social, and pro-Trump message boards, people reportedly posted his address, phone numbers, and the names of his family members.

One online user on the imageboard 4chan wrote of Reinhart: "That is a k---. And a pedophile … He should be tried for treason and executed," reported the Religion News Service.

The outside of Temple Beth David, where Judge Bruce Reinhart sits on the board of trustees, in Florida.

Temple Beth David in Palm Beach Gardens, a conservative synagogue where Reinhart sits on the board of trustees, responded to the antisemitic abuse by canceling a Shabbat service on Friday night, Religion News Service reported.

A Facebook Live that usually broadcasts the weekly 6.30 p.m. service, which marks the start of the Jewish day of rest, showed an empty bimah — the raised platform in a synagogue on which the Torah is read.

It is unclear whether the Saturday morning service will go ahead.

Insider contacted Temple Beth David for comment on Saturday morning and did not receive a response. (Insider notes that observant Jews often refrain from working or using electrical devices during the sabbath.)

On Thursday, Fox News aired a digitally altered photo that replaced an old image of Jeffrey Epstein getting a foot rub from Ghislaine Maxwell with the body and face of Judge Reinhart.

The altered photo — originally an image of the late convicted sex offender Epstein cozying up to convicted sex trafficker Maxwell on a private jet — was broadcast during "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Thursday while Fox News' Brian Kilmeade was serving as guest host. 

In a tweet on Friday, Kilmeade addressed the use of the doctored photo in Thursday night's segment and said he was "showing a meme in jest."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Air Canada rebooked two children and their mother on different planes after canceling their flight

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 8:12am
Air Canada planes at Toronto airport.
  • Air Canada canceled a flight and then put two children and their mother on different planes.
  • Their father said the airline then put them on a flight that did not exist.
  • He said there was no excuse for putting two children on a different flight to their mother. 

Air Canada rebooked two children aged 9 and 12 and their mother on different planes after canceling their flight.

They were flying from Los Angeles to Halifax on June 23 but were told on a layover in Montreal that their connection had been canceled 30 minutes before the scheduled 6:30 p.m. departure. 

Jason Belleville told Insider that his wife and children were left waiting for two hours before being told they were now booked on a flight on June 25 at 1:05 pm.

"Nobody reached out about hotels vouchers, compensation or anything – they were just adrift in Montreal. That's when things actually got worse," he said.

"My wife, when checking her tickets, realized that Air Canada had booked her and the kids on the same row … but on different flights," Belleville said. "She would have had to abandon them in Montreal for five hours while they waited."

Insider has viewed documentation indicating the children were booked on a flight later that day.

After failing to get through to Air Canada's customer service helpline, Belleville called his brother who is a preferred flyer and was able to jump the queue, but still took him two hours to get through.

"He was able to finally get them rebooked on an Air Canada flight on early Saturday morning that flew from Montreal back to Ottawa and then to Halifax. And best of all, my wife and kids would actually be on the same plane."

However, at 3 a.m. Belleville's brother called to say Air Canada had texted him to say that his wife and children had been rebooked on a flight that "didn't technically exist." 

He then decided to buy tickets on another airline to get them back to Halifax that morning.

Canada recently instituted an air passenger charter that is intended to protect passengers in such situations by offering compensation for alternative flights and accommodation. However, Belleville said Air Canada was blaming unforeseen staffing shortages due to COVID-19 and not paying claims.

"They are wording their responses to cloak themselves in the COVID crisis even though they aren't claiming any specific crew were sick. And, even if you believed crew shortages was the problem with the initial flight they have nothing to do with what happened to my family," he told Insider.

It was not acceptable to expect his children to be left alone for several hours in Montreal airport due to the airline's error, Belleville added.

Insider has viewed the family's flight tickets and itinerary. Air Canada did not respond to a request for comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet the marketing mastermind behind 'Doug the Pug,' who grew her pet's brand into a money-making empire complete with merchandise, sponsorships, and licensing deals

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 8:00am
Leslie Mosier and Doug the Pug.
  • Leslie Mosier is the woman behind the scenes of Doug the Pug's online fame.
  • She said his brand took a lot of work to build and made very little money in the beginning.
  • She capitalized on a viral moment to get into licensing, a major part of her revenue now.

The love of pets may be the one topic that unites the internet, which should come as no surprise considering the impact animals can have on humans. Interacting with animals has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce loneliness, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

Social media has allowed people to capitalize on this by making stars out of their beloved animals — one of the earliest and most well-known examples being Doug the Pug, a six-year-old dog living in Nashville, Tennessee. Today, Doug's digital fandom includes more than 5 million followers on TikTok and Facebook, more than 3 million followers on Instagram, and 566,000 subscribers on YouTube

Human Leslie Mosier sits at the helm of Doug's brand, having helped the adorable pooch snag not just likes but sponsorships, public appearances, and a line of merchandise.

Mosier told Insider that Doug has transformed her and husband's lives. But while they see a steady stream of revenue — Mosier said Doug's brand has allowed the family to afford a home and cover costs associated with her endometriosis treatment —  she said Doug's happiness remains an ever-present focus, as does giving back to those that love him so much. Here's how Mosier and Doug got their start.

A humble beginningMosier and Doug.

Doug first entered Mosier's life in 2012 while she was a student at Belmont University, and she said she knew right away that he was special. As soon as she brought him home, he sat down to watch "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" with her.

"This dog is not like any I've had before," she said of her initial reaction.

Soon after getting him, her mom began sending him shirts to wear. Doug loved being dressed up, Mosier said, and so friends and family began suggesting that Mosier start an Instagram for him. At the time, Mosier was working in social-media marketing in the Nashville music industry. 

"I feel like from the very beginning doing social-media marketing for artists, musicians was all I knew how to do," Mosier said. With that in mind, she treated Doug like she would a budding music act, regularly posting videos and photos of him on her personal Instagram and getting popular pug fan pages, including @pugsofinstagram, to share her posts.

Another crucial effort that helped Doug reach fans in the beginning was media outreach. Her first breakthrough came from Mashable writer Brian Koerber, who wrote about Doug in September 2014. Koerber has mentioned Doug in at least 18 other articles since then. 

Creating consistent content was key to keeping Doug's following on the rise, Mosier said. She would create the videos and have her husband, the musician Rob Chianelli, edit them between tours. Chianelli also produced original music for Doug's videos, and he continues to perform both roles.

After inking a $500 deal with the travel platform Skyscanner in March 2015, Doug became a priority for the family, and she put in her two weeks' notice at work. "I just had a feeling I needed to be free," she said. 

But Mosier said her new role came with its own set of difficulties. Convincing brands that an animal celebrity was a viable endorsement proved trying early on. She was able to turn the corner by using a first-year book and calendar sales as proof of Doug's brand value. 

Mosier and Doug at work.

"We definitely lived paycheck to paycheck in the beginning, but the smartest thing we did was hire our business manager-accountant on day one," Mosier said, referring to her first hire into the Doug brand, who was recommended by a friend. "She took a chance on us, as we were making virtually nothing at the time, but saw our vision."

A viral moment takes Doug mainstream

Prospects began to change on March 26, 2015. Mosier uploaded a 56-second video of Doug wandering around outside with a pug balloon, set to the tune of Harry Nilsson's "Best Friend." It went viral in short order, racking up more than 20 million Facebook views in one day, according to Mosier. By the end of the week, Doug the Pug had more than 1 million Facebook followers and media requests for appearances on "Good Morning America" and other shows.

Doug at Mosier and Chianelli's wedding.

Mosier said she ramped up outreach efforts, reaching out to more publications, popular social-media channels, and other potential avenues for exposure. Mosier said using past brand milestones are an excellent way to meet influential media and business figures.

"It was so much easier to be able to send other press outlets emails and show them that we had success," Mosier said.

Right around the time of Doug's follower boost, Chianelli returned home from touring. The couple worked together to create more content, often incorporating movies and TV shows like "Harry Potter," "Breaking Bad," and "Friends" into the shoots. Mosier said making parodies felt right. Growing up as a fan of the "Wishbone" TV series, she always loved a dog in a costume. "That's when everything really started taking off."

Getting into licensing

With his fame on the rise, Mosier said she once again relied on her music-industry marketing experience, as well as borrowing some of the strategies behind another famous social-media figure. Using Tardar Sauce, better known as Grumpy Cat, as a business model, she began lining up an array of licensing opportunities for Doug. 

"They've created such a licensing empire," Mosier said of Grumpy Cat's reach, which includes a McDonald's commercial, Lifetime movie, and book line

Today, Doug's footprint is seen across various sponsorship and licensing agreements, including an annual calendar, puzzles, and deals with brands like Disney. The Doug the Pug plush has sold more than 500,000 units, Mosier said, while his latest book, released in 2020 by Scholastic, has sold more than 625,000 copies. Mosier said they're now working on additional books with kindness and inclusivity as the theme, expected to arrive this fall. 

Growth hasn't removed the couple from the creative process. Typical days include social-media content creation, Mosier said. "We just get to go off of what Doug is up for."

To stay focused on content, they delegate various tasks to a group of six employees that include book and licensing agents, a lawyer, and a business manager. "Our goal is to keep this going and keep people really happy," Mosier said.

Collaborations with celebrities, like music videos for Fall Out Boy and Katy Perry, have helped them keep up the momentum. After Doug made an appearance in Netflix's animated comedy "Mitchells vs. The Machines," Mosier said the "ultimate dream" now seems closer than ever: a Doug-focused animated series.

A family dog through and through

Mosier emphasized that Doug is still, and always will be, the family dog. "I can't tell you how many times it doesn't register that he's famous," Mosier said. She prioritizes his health as much as his brand, feeding him a raw diet and bringing him to sessions with a herbalist. While Doug may seem exceptionally active in some videos, Mosier said that editing and filming make him appear more involved than it may seem. "He's so well taken care of and the happiest guy," she said. 

Through the Doug the Pug Foundation, Doug and other therapy dogs visit children with cancer and other life-threatening conditions in hospitals. Formed in December 2020, the nonprofit has been an eye-opening experience for Mosier, who said that seeing children's smiles reminds her of Doug's real purpose: to make people happy. 

"It's been an unbelievable and emotional experience and one of the most rewarding things we've done," she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I'm a travel agent who used to have to convince people they needed me. Here's why I don't have to anymore

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 8:00am
Travel agent Jason Poole, of Nashville, Tenn., seen here on the Celebrity Beyond cruise ship, works to cultivate clients based on his cruise and other travel expertise.
  • Jason Poole is a Nashville, Tenn.-based travel agent, who specializes in cruises and European travel.
  • I don't charge my client fees to work with me. I'm 100% free. I make my money from the resorts, the cruise lines, and the hotels paying me a commission to bring them clients.
  • This is Jason Poole's story , as told to writer Jamie Killin.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jason Poole, a Nashville, Tenn.-based travel agent who specializes in cruises and European travel. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I have a passion for travel. I joke that I vacation in Nashville, Tenn., where I live, but my true home is at the airport, on a cruise ship, or in a European city.

I've always found value in using a travel agent, especially when I was in a different career and too busy to book my own trips. My travel agent always told me she thought I would be great at it and after turning her down many times, I joined her team. We now co-own a Cruise Planners franchise together and I've been an agent for seven years.

I love helping people experience things for the first time.

Cruising is my personal passion. I've found the most successful travel agents discover a niche – so my areas of expertise are all-inclusive resorts, cruises and European land travel.

I love helping people experience things for the first time. I tell my clients, I can be as hands-on or hands-off as you want. Some of my clients are veterans who don't need my help booking a flight or a hotel.

However, I also have a family of three who just returned from their first trip to Europe and they wanted assistance with everything. I loved crafting their itinerary, from flights to transfers to tours and excursions, to help them have the perfect vacation that fit their budget.

Jason Poole, seen here on a trip to Santorini, Greece, travels as part of his work as a travel agent to experience cities and cruise ships first-hand.

I don't charge my client fees. I'm 100% free. I make my money from resorts, cruise lines, and hotels who pay me a commission to bring them clients. I'm also often able to get clients prices lower than those on resort or cruise websites, as well as complimentary amenities.

I get so many offers for familiarization trips, I have to turn them down all the time

Because I'm in the Cruise Planner's Millionaire's Club – which means I do over a million dollars in sales per year – resorts and cruise lines always want me to do familiarization trips. I get so many offers I have to turn them down all the time. I pay for personal trips out of pocket, and those make me more of an expert in cruise lines and resorts.

Most of my business comes from word-of-mouth and referrals. Getting bookings is easy, however, I don't want bookings – I want clients who work with me because they want boutique service. You can call me, email me, text me, Facebook message me, even Instagram message me - my phone is glued to my hip. You can email sites like Expedia but you will get a response in weeks - versus hours with me.

That's important right now since travel is in a state we have never seen. Some people call it revenge travel, but I hate that phrase because it sounds so negative. What we're seeing is people traveling more, and people spending more; the person who used to fly economy is now flying Business or First Class.

Now people are searching for great travel agents – especially those with authority

When I started out, I often had to convince people of the benefits of using a travel agent. I'd tell people at cocktail parties that I was a travel agent, and always get the same response: 'They're still around?' The internet completely revolutionized travel. People thought since they could book things on the internet, they didn't need a travel agent.

But now people are searching for great travel agents – especially those with authority about resorts, cruise ships, and cities they want to see.

I think the pandemic taught us that life is short. It's helped people see the value of travel agents and want to travel more. Even in my own travels, I find myself focusing more on new destinations and new experiences.

Travel Tips:
  • When you fly, download the airline app to your smartphone. It's the fastest way to get notified of any changes from the airline.
  • Purchase travel insurance. People don't realize that not only does it cover trip cancellation, it also covers emergency medical transportation for getting you back to the U.S., which can cost hundreds of thousands.
  • Give yourself a bit more time at the airport, especially with layover times for international trips when you have to go through customs, grab your luggage, recheck it and go through TSA again.
Read the original article on Business Insider

See inside Boeing's first-ever 777X aircraft testing tech like the jet's revolutionary folding wingtips

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:50am
Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough Air Show 2022.
  • Boeing announced its next-generation 777X passenger jet at the Dubai Airshow in 2013.
  • The plane is a stretched version of Boeing's successful 777-200/300, but with reduced emissions and operating costs.
  • Insider toured Flight Test 1 — Boeing's first-ever 777X aircraft — to learn more about the program.
The Boing 777X is the planemaker's newest passenger aircraft, having first flown in January 2020.Boeing 777X.

Source: Boeing

The jet is the third generation of Boeing's successful 777 family, stretching longer than the 777-200 and 777-300 models.El Al Israel Airlines Boeing 777-200ER.

Source: Boeing

Boeing will initially build the 777X as the 777-9, which will be the world's largest twin-engine jet, with plans to build the smaller 777-8 variant in the future.Boeing 777-8 and 777-9 passenger planes.The company also has plans for a freighter version — the 777-8F — as cargo demand continues to skyrocket. Qatar Airways will be the launch customer, with the first delivery expected for 2027.Qatar Airways 777-8F rendering.

Boeing just unveiled the freighter variant of its new flagship 777X jet as cargo demand continues to skyrocket — take a look at the massive plane

According to Boeing, the 777-9 is currently the largest passenger aircraft in production.Flight Test 1 being built.

Source: Boeing

The Airbus A380 previously held the title, but the program ended in 2019 due to low demand for the jet. Emirates, which operates 118 A380s, was the only carrier to make a significant investment in the double-decker plane.An Emirates Airbus A380.

Lufthansa is bringing back its beloved A380 jet next year, reversing a pandemic-era decision. Here are the airlines that have resumed flying the plane since 2020.

The 777-9 is also the longest commercial airliner ever built at 251 feet and nine inches, beating out the Boeing 747-8, which is just two and a half feet shorter at 250 ft and two inches. The 777-8 will be shorter at 229 feet.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.

Source: Boeing

The flagship 777X takes the success of the 777's large airframe and long-range capabilities and builds upon that with improved efficiency and lower operating costs.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.

Source: Boeing

Insider went onboard the manufacturer's first-ever 777X test plane, known as Flight Test 1, at the Farnborough International Air Show in England to learn more about the program — take a look.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.The plane is powered by two large GE9X engines made by General Electric. A Boeing 737's fuselage could fit inside one of the 777X's engines.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.The engines power the plane's 13,500-kilometer range (8,388 miles) and offer 10% lower fuel costs compared to the 777-300ER, according to Boeing.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.Inside the jet is a slew of testing equipment and tools, with one of the most important being the large black water tanks located at the front and back of the plane.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.Engineering captain Edwin Navarro told Insider the tanks help control the 777X's center of gravity (CG), which is necessary for analyzing the stability of the aircraft.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.He explained that engineers shift water between the tanks via pipes to change the plane's CG. Because some tests need a specific CG, the barrels are important for testing very niche conditions.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.Behind the tanks are several rows of seats arranged as they would be in an economy class. These are for ferrying Boeing staff between test flights.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.The seats give a preview of what a completed 777X interior could look like. The plane is built for ten-abreast seats in economy, which would accommodate up to 426 passengers in a two-class configuration — 30 more than the 777-300ER.Air New Zealand 777-300ER economy cabin with 10-abreast seats.

Source: Insider

The dense layout is common on the current 777, but the 777X will offer more room so passengers can travel more comfortably.As the world's two biggest plane makers, Boeing and Airbus are great rivals.

Source: Insider

The configuration competes with the rival Airbus A350. Historically, mainline carriers have only configured the plane with nine seats abreast, minus a few budget airlines like French Bee that have squeezed in ten.Ten seats abreast on French bee's A350.

Source: Flight Global

However, Airbus is working on a denser cabin configuration that would allow for ten-abreast in economy "without compromising seat width," company CCO Christian Scherer told FlightGlobal.Nine seats abreast on Italian carrier ITA's A350.

Source: Flight Global

Boeing has also innovated the windows on its 777X to compete with the A350. Flight Test 1 had an example of an A350 window in its cabin to visually compare.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.According to Boeing, the 777X's windows are placed higher on the fuselage and are 29% bigger to make the plane feel more spacious and give every passenger a better view.Boeing 777X interior rendering.

Source: Boeing

In the middle and the back of the plane is where engineers sit during test flights.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.The area is affectionately called 'The Pit,' test director Wesley Herbert told Insider. Engineers bring their own laptops to hook up to the stations.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.The seats are padded and come with a drink holder and a five-point harness.Each bank, which includes a TV screen and other tools, monitors a different part of the plane's flight systems, including instrumentation, engines, and weight.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.A lot of the instrumentation, like orange wiring throughout the cabin, is purely used for testing and is not in production aircraft. It sends information to the engineers so they can analyze data in real-time to ensure the plane is performing.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.Herbert told Insider that the average test flight lasts between three to four hours, although they can last as long as eight.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.According to Boeing experimental test pilot James Murrell, the aircraft is one of four 777X planes in the company's fleet, all of which are based at Boeing Field in Washington state.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.Murrell told Insider that Flight Test 1 has flown about 1,100 hours across more than 400 test flights. As a fleet, the planes have flown a collective 2,500 hours across about 800 test flights.Boeing 777X flying display at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.The company has also rolled out 20 production aircraft for customers.A Boeing 777X aircraft being built by Boeing.

Source: Aviation Pros

Murrell explained Flight Test 1 is mainly testing the jet's characteristics, like folding wing tips, which are a brand new technology.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.

The folding wing tips on Boeing's massive new 777X are a first in commercial aviation. Here's why the plane needs them.

At 235 feet and five inches, the 777X has a 23-foot longer wing span than former 777 models when the wingtips are folded down.Boeing 777X wingspan.Boeing increased the 777X's wingspan to generate more lift, which reduces fuel burn by about 10% and makes the plane more efficient than its predecessors.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.However, the longer wingspan would not fit at most airport gates. To eliminate the need for new infrastructure to accommodate the wider jet, Boeing needed a mechanism that folds the wingtips up when parked.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.When retracted, the 777X's wingspan is the same length as the older 777s, meaning they can fit into airport gates that are already built for current 777 variants.Air New Zealand Boeing 777 at the gate at LAX.According to Murrell, the wingtips are safe due to the redundancies built into the plane.Boeing 777X."We have a whole slew of alerts that make sure the wingtips are extended prior to takeoff," he said. "It's part of our before takeoff checklist, which is electronic."Inside the Boeing 777X cockpit.Murrell explained that a switch in the cockpit will signal to the checklist that the wingtips are fully extended. "I can't takeoff without that, he said. "The auto-throttles won't work, and alarms will sound in the cockpit."Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.He further explained that the entire system is mechanically locked once airborne, so nothing can be changed during flight. But, as the plane lands and slows to about 50 knots, the wingtips automatically fold.The Boeing 777X at Dubai Airshow 2021.In the case of a go-around, the wingtips will still be deployed because the plane has to be on the ground and at a certain speed to fold.Boeing 777X.Murrell also explained that the wingtips are "easy to use and are just a switch in the cockpit," so the system would be a simple transition for crews switching from flying former 777 models to the 777X.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.However, he said that during test flights, the pilots will note how the crew interacts with the system and if any human factors-related things could be improved.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.As far as the flight deck as a whole, Murrell said the 777X is similar to the 787. The cockpit has all touchscreen displays, which he said are intuitive and effective.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.While Flight Test 1 has its own schedule and specific tests, other aircraft in the fleet have their own purpose. For example, one plane has a nearly complete interior, so that jet is meant for more cabin-related tests.Boeing 777X interior mockup.Meanwhile, Murrell told Insider that Flight Test 2 just completed a campaign that tested how the plane performed with artificial ice sheets on the wing's leading edge. "If you have that amount of ice, you want to make sure the plane still flies well, and it does," he said.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.While the 777X is still in the testing phase, Boeing hopes the plane will have its first delivery by 2025.Boeing 777X Flight Test 1 aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show 2022.However, the goal is already well-past Boeing's original plan, which expected the first jet to be delivered in 2020. Moreover, the planemaker has also stopped production of the jet until at least the end of 2023.Boeing 777X parked at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

Source: Forbes

The move comes after the Federal Aviation Administration told Boeing that its current certification plan for the 737 MAX 10 and 777X were "outdated and no longer reflect the program activities."Boeing 737 MAX 10.

Source: Reuters, Boeing's best-selling 737 airliner just celebrated 55 years of production. See inside the factory where the plane is built.

Boeing said the delay would cost a whopping $1.5 billion but is necessary to stop "producing airplanes which we then may have to rebuild and rework," the Seattle Times reported.Boeing 777X in Everett, Washington.

Source: The Seattle Times

While Boeing is temporarily halting production, with London-based analyst firm Agency Partners calling the announcement a "dreadful set of results," Emirates CEO Tim Clark told Simple Flying that he is still committed to the 777X.Emirates Boeing 777X rendering.

Source: Simple Flying

"As far as the 787s are concerned, we're having a good hard look to see whether they fit into the program or not," he said. "It's far more important to us that they (Boeing) concentrate on getting their 777X out the door."Emirates Boeing 777-9, Boeing 777-8, and Boeing 787 rendering.

Source: Simple Flying

Emirates currently has 115 Boeing 777X planes on order — down from 150 it originally ordered in 2013.Emirates Boeing 777X rendering.

Source: Boeing

In addition to Emirates, Boeing has seven other 777X customers, like Qatar Airways...Qatar Boeing 777X rendering.

Source: Boeing

...British Airways...British Airways Boeing 777X rendering.

Source: Boeing

...and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways. So far, the planemaker does not have any orders from US airlines.Cathay Pacific 777X rendering.

Source: Boeing

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Intelligence Committee Rep. rubbishes Trump's claim of a 'standing order' to declassify documents as 'utter baloney'

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:47am
Rep. Jim Himes, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee.
  • Rep. Jim Himes said Trump's claims of a "standing order" to declassify any documents he took are "utter baloney."
  • Himes said the declassification process is complex and can often take months.
  • The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified records from Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Rep. Jim Himes, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Donald Trump's claims that he had a "standing order" to declassify any documents he took are "utter baloney."

Himes told MSNBC that while the president is a declassifying authority, there is a "really elaborate documented process for declassification," which can often take months.

"Of course, he's going to say that because it creates a little bit of confusion and throws a bit of mud into the water. But I can tell you as someone who also sees the most sensitive information this country has, that's utter baloney."

The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified records from Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, some of which were marked top secret and meant to be stored in special government facilities because of their sensitive nature, according to the inventory of seized items.

In a statement to Fox News, the former president defended himself by claiming that he had a "standing order" whereby documents were declassified "the moment" they left the Oval Office.

Himes,  the representative for Connecticut's 4th congressional district, dismissed Trump's claims and described the stringent security process for accessing sensitive documents in government facilities.

"If I take documents out of that facility, I have committed a felony. And if a president takes them out of a facility, he too has broken the law," he said.

Himes said he did not believe that Trump thought the documents were declassified and would have been immediately corrected even if he had expressed that belief.

"If he thought that that was, or told anybody that that would be the case, you know, there would have been about 50 people that say 'no sir, that doesn't work.'"

Himes suggested that Trump's latest claim is just an attempt to deflect the issue, such as his unrelated comparison of former President Barack Obama taking documents to Chicago after leaving office.

"We should try to keep our eyes on the main thing here, which is we're in the world of the typical Trump defense," Himes said.

Following the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, the Department of Justice is investigating whether Trump broke three laws, including the Espionage Act, when he took government records after he left office, according to the warrant unsealed on Friday.

The possible crimes being investigated do not depend on the classification of the documents, as they relate to the handling of national security information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet a nurse who quit 2 jobs and has given up on the promises of the Great Resignation offering workers more power: 'That is absolutely not true'

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:45am
Nurses face tough conditions despite an abundance of jobs.
  • Jade, a 24-year-old nurse in Georgia, worked in a small emergency room when the pandemic hit.
  • She left for something more stable but had to take a pay cut and doesn't have great benefits.
  • She thinks that nurses don't have power despite the Great Resignation and need unions.

Jade, a 24-year-old nurse, always said she'd leave the ER if she ever lost her compassion. That was before the pandemic made her job too difficult to stay, making her one of the many front-line workers who quit their roles — but still remained powerless if they stayed in their fields.

Jade, whose real name and employer are known to Insider but withheld for privacy, has been working as a nurse since she was 20. She was drawn to the pace of the small-town Georgia emergency room she joined prior to the pandemic.

"It's kind of a balance of high chaos, and then you recover," she said.

That all went out the window when the pandemic hit. Like millions of workers, Jade's job changed dramatically in March 2020. But instead of working from home and doing Zoom happy hours, she was contending with a full-to-the-brim ER in an area with few virus mitigation or masking measures. 

"We got overrun pretty quickly, and there was no sign of it stopping," Jade said.

"It was really hard to not simultaneously be angry with people who didn't take the pandemic seriously and would question us as we tried to care for them," Jade said.

It weighed on her and took the joy out of nursing. She quit to try out an ER at another hospital, but found many of the same problems. It was a conundrum that revealed how quitting for a different role wouldn't necessarily change the issues dragging her down — they were widespread and systemic. One day, she found herself balancing two patients in the ICU, another patient with COVID-19, and a fourth coming in from an ambulance.

"I had to take a moment in the supply room that day to cry, honestly, because it's really hard to find out where you should split your attention when you have four patients, two of whom are critically ill," she said. "That's when I decided I needed to find a less stressful job."

Last August, she left emergency-room nursing altogether. Jade became one of the near-record number of Americans quitting their jobs for a better deal, but she also came up against the constraints of  how much a job switch can change the material conditions of work, as her new job still came with difficult concessions. The power of quitting your job is often the only power a worker can wield, and even that isn't available to everyone. In nursing, where shortages abound, it may not be hard to get a new offer — but systemic issues are harder to escape.

'There's nowhere else to go'

In the fall, Jade began working as a primary nurse for a cardiologist. She was drawn to the hours — a steady 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead of the 12-hour shifts expected at the ER. She wouldn't have to work nights, weekends, or holidays. 

"I enjoy the work that I do," she said. "I've learned a lot more about cardiology, and I like nursing. So learning about it is a plus in my book."

But there were trade-offs. She had to take a $5-an-hour pay cut. She's the only nurse in the office. She also doesn't have a bank of sick days, and instead has to use paid time off, which she accrues over time. 

"When I first started this job, I didn't know I had asthma at the time, but I got pretty sick and I had to be out for a week before I had started accruing PTO," she said. That mean she started with a negative balance of PTO. When she got COVID earlier this year, she also had to take PTO for the five days she had to quarantine.

While Jade would "love" to get another job, she needs the health insurance her current role provides, especially as she deals with her own medical issues. Jade is coming up against just how much the Great Resignation — and job switching — can change an individual's circumstances. Her current role offers conditions and experiences that are better than weathering the ER during the pandemic, but that doesn't mean the underlying factors have changed. 

"A lot of folks tossed around the idea that workers, especially nurses and other healthcare workers, would have a lot of power right now because we are in such high demand. That is absolutely not true," she said.

For instance, she gets emails and calls from people offering travel contracts that would pay her twice as much an hour as she'd earn at a hospital.

"If workers' power is having as many job offers as you could want, then yes we do" have power, Jade said. "But if that means being able to have more time off than I do on shift if I want to work in the ER, or being able to be sick without being worried about being fired, then we do not have that."

That's likely due to the fact that companies wield what's called monopsony power, where they have the ability to dictate wages and working conditions because there's a lack of competition. The Department of Treasury has found that workers make 15% to 20% less than they would in a "perfectly competitive market." Solutions to reducing monopsony could include raising the minimum wage and stricter antitrust measures, according to Treasury.

She's had a lot of people tell her to try her hand at lucrative travel nursing, because "there's nowhere else to go." It seems like the only option where if it's "shitty," at least "you'll get paid a lot."

"I either have one place where I have solid 12-hour shifts, don't have to worry about staying late — but also you don't have a lunch break. You eat if you have time and if you don't, well, you don't," Jade said. "Or I can go to another place where you do have a lunch break, but you're gonna have to try and balance the job of two people for 12, maybe 13, hours." 

The only thing that could bring workers in nursing actual power, she said, is unionizing. Her mind was blown when she heard that some unionized nurses have a protected lunch break and safe patient ratios — things that nascent doctors unions have also been pushing for on the job.

"We talk, we know that this sucks, we all bitch about it to each other, but we all know that there's nothing that we can do," she said. "So that collective action, I think, seems to be pretty powerful in places where it works." 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Many retirees could get an extra $1,900 next year thanks to inflation's impact on Social Security. It would be the highest cost of living adjustment in 30 years.

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:35am
Even a conservative projection puts next year’s Social Security cost-of-living adjustment as the highest since 1981, when the US was in a recession.
  • The Senior Citizens League projects that senior citizens will get $1,900 more next year from Social Security payments.
  • That's due to a cost-of-living adjustment based on inflation, which has surged this year. 
  • It'll likely be the biggest COLA adjustment since 1981. 

Inflation has been hurting Americans at the grocery store and at the gas pump, and it's even driving many into debt. It's posing a particular problem for retirees, as it endangers 401ks and causes their credit card bills to surge

But there's likely a bright side for older Americans — and other households who receive Social Security payments — next year. 

That's because experts predict a significant increase for cost-of-living adjustment in 2023, around $1,900 for the typical recipient, to keep up with inflation. 

The Social Security Administration calculates its yearly cost-of-living adjustment based on inflation data from July, August, and September, announcing the official number in October of a given year. The Senior Citizens League estimates that next year's hike will be an average monthly increase of 9.6%, based on inflation data from this summer. If inflation continues to ease, the researchers found, older Americans may find some relief from the benefits gap that has hit them in recent months, as prices have skyrocketed. 

The COLA period isn't quite over yet, with inflation data for August and September yet to be released, so the Senior Citizens League bases its predictions on Consumer Price Index data using July's numbers. If inflation runs higher than the recent average, the group estimated, the COLA could be 10.1%; if it runs lower than the recent average, it could be 9.3%. Nonetheless, even a conservative projection puts next year's adjustment as the highest since 1981, when the US was in a recession. 

The average monthly benefit in 2022 was $1,656, and based on that, a 9.6% boost would mean a monthly gain of about $159, or $1,900 per year, the nonpartisan group said. 

"A high COLA will be eagerly anticipated to address an ongoing shortfall in benefits that Social Security beneficiaries are experiencing in 2022 as inflation runs higher than their 5.9% COLA," from this year said Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League, in a press release. 

Inflation prospects are looking up, but prices are still high 

Inflation cooled in July as gasoline prices fell, but inflation remains high, with consumer prices up 8.5% from a year ago. And not all items are in the clear; the CPI's food-price gauge rose 1.1% over the month in July, growing from June's 1% gain. Grocery costs climbed 1.3%, also accelerating from the prior month's pace. While futures for some food commodities like wheat and corn have fallen since last month, the latest CPI report suggests food costs won't fall as quickly as gas prices have.

And high prices have proven prohibitive for those on a fixed income, especially older Americans. More than 40% of Americans age 60 and older rely exclusively on Social Security for income, according to a 2020 study by the National Institute on Retirement Security. And credit card debt is an indicator of where older Americans have turned to in order to pay their expenses — people over 70 owed $380 billion collectively in credit card debt as of April, more than three times greater than they did in 2010, when they owed $110 billion.

"Credit card debt in retirement can quickly get out of hand, and this is especially true during periods when interest rates climb," Johnson said in a statement earlier this year.

The Senior Citizens League said it expects the Social Security Administration to announce next year's COLA on October 13, after September inflation data is confirmed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Orcas sink a sailboat and ram another on the same morning. Scientists look for answers, reports say

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:21am
Stock photo of a pod of orcas swimming near a boat.
  • A group of orcas attacked a small sailboat off Portugal's coast, causing it to sink, per reports.
  • Shortly after, orcas rammed into another small vessel nearby.
  • Scientists are investigating why so many killer whale attacks are happening in the area.

A pod of orcas attacked a sailboat off the coast of Portugal on July 31 and, just hours later, targeted another vessel in the same area, according to reports.

The first incident, which local media described as "very much worse than usual," saw orcas ram a small sailboat carrying five people approximately seven miles off the coast of Sines, Portugal.

Orca attacks have sometimes immobilized sailboats, but local media said that, in this instance, it caused so much damage that the vessel started to sink.

The five crew members, who were on vacation, per The Sun, made it onto life rafts and radioed for help. A nearby fishing vessel was able to rescue them, according to a statement by the Portuguese Navy.

Unusually, another orca attack took place nearby just a few hours later.

Newsweek reported that the second orca attack involved a small sailboat with two passengers aboard.

The passengers, who were sleeping at the time of the attack, were traveling from Lisbon to the Algarve, per the local media outlet Portugal Resident.

The orcas, which can grow up to 26 feet long, struck the boat and bit the rudder, immobilizing it, the Portugal Resident said. It was towed to the dry dock.

According to the Portugal Resident, more than 200 attacks by orcas against vessels have been recorded along Portugal and Spain's Iberian Peninsula since 2020.

Orca (Southern Resident Killer Whales) in the Pacific Northwest.

Scientists are looking into the growing number of orca attacks, the media outlet said, to determine if the killer whales are acting out of curiosity, mischief, or revenge.

Insider previously reported in 2020 about a series of aggressive actions by orcas along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts. At the time, experts told The Observer that the killer whales might have been mounting deliberate attacks, perhaps indicating high levels of stress.

Read the original article on Business Insider

American just received the first Boeing 787 delivery in 15 months. Here's why the FAA paused deliveries of the jet and how it impacted airlines.

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:18am
American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has given the green light to Boeing to resume deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner.
  • The agency halted deliveries in May 2021 after production flaws raised quality concerns.
  • On Wednesday, American Airlines was the first carrier to receive the plane since last year.
American Airlines announced Wednesday that it had taken delivery of a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.The acquisition of a new jet, which is a fairly standard event for airlines, wouldn't usually seem that notable.Singapore Airlines 787 at a delivery ceremony.But, this is the first 787 the airline has received this year, and the first Boeing has delivered since May 2021 after its rollout was halted due to a series of production flaws.Flying internationally on an Air Canada 787.The Dreamliner program is not new, having first flown in 2009, but it started showing problems in 2019 when Boeing engineers voluntarily grounded eight 787s.First Boeing 787 flight.

Source: Boeing, Reuters

The employees discovered paper-width gaps in parts of the plane's fuselage, prompting the FAA to launch its own investigation.Boeing 787s at Boeing's Washington assembly line in June 2022.

Source: Reuters

"Individually these issues, while not up to specifications, still meet limit load conditions," Boeing said at the time. "When combined in the same location however, they result in a condition that does not meet limit load requirements."Boeing 787 on the assembly line.

Source: Reuters

In 2020, the FAA confirmed the issues on 787 and effectively paused deliveries in October that year. However, Boeing was still able to deliver 14 jets by May 2021, including to United Airlines.United Boeing 787.

Source: Aviation International News

Nevertheless, the Dreamliner's problems persisted. The FAA raised concerns about the planemaker's inspection method and re-halted future deliveries on May 28, 2021.Boeing 787s at Boeing's Washington assembly line in June 2022.

Source: Reuters

The FAA's strict response to the 787 came after two separate crashes involving its brand new 737 MAX jet.A lineup of Boeing 737 MAX jets at Boeing's manufacturing plant.

Source: Insider

Investigators found that design flaws in the plane's flight control systems played a part in both the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March 2019.Boeing 737 MAX jets, including Lion Air.

Source: Insider

The 737 MAX was grounded after the two fatal accidents, but the FAA gave the plane the all-clear in November 2020 after the agency approved Boeing's software fix and new pilot training.American Airlines operated the first commercial Boeing 737 MAX flight in the US since its grounding.

Source: Insider

Prior to the accidents, Boeing spent years essentially giving oversight over its own planes. However, moving forward, the FAA insisted that all Boeing planes have to comply with the agency's specific approved designs.Boeing 737 MAX 10.

Source: WSJ, Delta just ordered 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets to upgrade its narrowbody fleet. Take a look inside one of the test planes.

The pause left Boeing unable to deliver 120 jets, worth a collective $25 billion, and has been a long-term detriment on the aviation giant's cash flow, per the WSJ.Japan's All Nippon Airways placed a $6 billion order for 50 Boeing 787s in 2004.

Source: WSJ

American was forced to cut five international routes from its summer schedule because of the delay, including Edinburgh, Scotland; Shannon Ireland; Prague, Czech Republic; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Hong Kong.American 787.

Source: Insider

The setback also impacted several other carriers, like United Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Emirates.Insider toured one of Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliners at the Farnborough International Airshow 2022.American CRO Vasu Rasa sent an internal memo to employees in December, which was shared with Insider, that said 13 Dreamliners were not going to be delivered on time, forcing the carrier to make the cuts.

Source: Insider

American's vice president of network planning Brian Znontins told Insider that for summer 2022, the airline's widebody capacity would only be at 80% of 2019 levels due to the delayed 787 deliveries.Boeing 787 engine.

Source: Insider

"We're so disappointed in Boeing right now because they are not delivering the airplanes that they promised they would, and if they did, we would be flying even more to Europe than we are in our current schedule," he said.First American Airlines' Boeing 787.

Source: Insider

Nevertheless, Rasa told employees that the airline still has "great confidence in the Dreamliner and continue to work with Boeing on when these planes can be ultimately delivered to us."An American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Source: Insider

Now, after years of paused deliveries, the FAA finally approved Boeing's plan for fixing the problems and gave permission for the planemaker to resume deliveries of the jet.Boeing 787s at Boeing's Washington assembly line in June 2022.Last Thursday, FAA acting Administrator Billy Nolen met with inspectors in South Carolina ahead of the approval.A Boeing 787 outside the South Carolina assembly line.

Source: Reuters

The agency said the visit was "to ensure that the FAA is satisfied that Boeing has taken the appropriate steps to improve manufacturing quality and to guarantee the autonomy of workers who ensure regulatory compliance on the company's assembly lines."Boeing 787s at the North Carolina assembly line.

Source: Reuters

American was the first airline to receive a 787 jet since May 2021.American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.

Source: American Airlines

However, the FAA said it still insists that federal inspectors need to assess the airworthiness of each aircraft prior to approving final delivery. American's plane passed inspection on Monday, per the WSJ, citing people familiar with the matter.American's first 787 since the FAA paused deliveries.

Source: Aviation Week, NPR

With Wednesday's delivery, the airline has 47 active 787s, with a further 42 on order. It expects eight more jets to be delivered by the end of 2022.American Airlines cancels 1,175 more flights for July and August.

Source: WSJ

Lufthansa is expecting to add the first of 32 787's the airline has on order "within the next few months".Lufthansa's first Boeing 787, named Berlin.

Source: Simple Flying, Lufthansa

The German carrier's first Dreamliner has been named Berlin, while the second will be named Frankfurt am Main.Lufthansa's first Boeing 787, named Berlin.Read the original article on Business Insider

2 reasons why China is still in lockdowns, more than 2 years after the pandemic started — and what it'll take for life to go back to normal

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:10am
Chinese President Xi Jinping is still holding onto the Zero COVID strategy more than two years into the pandemic.
  • More than two years into the pandemic, parts of China are still in and out of COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • The prolonged restrictions are taking their toll on China's economy and spilling over globally.
  • China faces elderly vaccine hesitancy and the lack of a domestic mRNA vaccine to exit its COVID-19 stance.

More than two years into the pandemic, parts of China are still in and out of COVID-19 lockdowns.

In the last few months, traders and bankers in Shanghai slept in their offices to continue working amid a lockdown. Factory workers have been told to live and work on-site intermittently when cases surge. Just this month, China locked down the popular resort island of Hainan after authorities declared it a COVID-19 hotspot, stranding 80,000 tourists.

China's long-drawn exit from pandemic lockdowns is worrying economists and policymakers. China is the world's second-largest economy and a manufacturing powerhouse, so investors and businesses are concerned about the continued restrictions' impact on economic activities.

"The economic dislocations are now spilling into the larger world, fueling inflation, disrupting supply chains, triggering a retreat or pause by some foreign businesses in China, and increasing external concern over China's deepening isolation," wrote J. Stephen Morrison, Scott Kennedy, and Yanzhong Huang for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US-based think tank, on June 27.

The prolonged restrictions are already taking their toll on China's economy. Top leaders told government officials in late July that the country may not hit its 5.5% growth target this year, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund in July downgraded its global growth forecast to 3.2% in 2022 — lower than the 3.6% it had early predicted in April, citing lockdowns in China as a contributing factor.

There could be more pain ahead as it'll likely be "well into" 2023 before China lifts its zero-Covid approach, according to the Eurasia Group, with aggressive testing and lockdowns continuing to stave off a public health crisis — but not an economic slowdown.

Here are two reasons why China is so reluctant to abandon its zero-Covid policy — and what it'll take to eventually get there.

1. Elderly Chinese continue to have vaccine hesitancy

China's vaccination rate is high, with almost 90% of its population fully vaccinated, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

But elderly vaccination rates have lagged behind the national average, with just 61% of those above 80 years ago immunized, China's National Health Commission reported in a July update. Reports accounting for vaccine hesitancy among China's elderly are sparse, but reasons include concerns about safety, adverse reactions, and the low incidence rate of COVID-19 in the country, according to a study of 92 individuals in China, including those 60 and over, published in the Vaccines journal in November 2021.

And China has not yet developed its own mRNA vaccine — which is hampering the country's exit from the pandemic. Most Chinese are inoculated with inactivated vaccines.

In a bid to bolster public confidence in homegrown vaccines, a top official for the China National Health Commission said in late July that China's state and party leaders have all been vaccinated against Covid-19 with made-in-China vaccines, Reuters reported.

"Vaccination in elderly populations will improve in the coming months but will not be sufficient to eliminate overall health risks for this population," wrote Eurasia Group analysts in a July 25 note.

2. Getting technology in place for the next pandemic

While China can import vaccines as a quick fix, it's of national interest to develop its own mRNA vaccine and not have to rely on imports, experts say. Beyond that, it's also about ensuring the country has the technology in place for the next outbreak.

"It's not just about national pride but also so that vaccine manufacturers will know what to do in the next pandemic," Bo Zhuang, a senior sovereign analyst with Boston-based investment management firm Loomis Sayles, told Insider.

"The Chinese government doesn't want to have to subsidize companies in developing this technology from scratch the next time a pandemic comes around," he told Insider.

He estimates China is likely to end lockdowns only after Chinese New Year, which will be in late January 2023.

Beijing is counting on imported COVID-19 treatments over vaccines so it doesn't have to shift its narrative

Experts say China needs two things to start making its long journey out of covid-Zero: Imported treatments, and a change in public messaging.

"Unlike vaccines, there is a much higher willingness from Beijing to import treatments," wrote the Eurasia Group analysts, led by Scott Rosenstein, the consultancy's special advisor for global health.

Beijing is counting on medicines like Pfizer's Paxlovid pill to treat COVID-19, particularly since it would be hard to reverse early state messaging that cast doubt on the efficacy of foreign vaccines.

"This is likely because Beijing characterized the development of homegrown vaccines as a demonstration of its sophistication in the pharmaceutical space and news media have repeatedly characterized foreign vaccines as inferior products. Therapeutics are not hamstrung by similar government or population reluctance," the Eurasia analysts wrote.

"A pivot out of Zero Covid will likely need a successful deployment of treatments," added the analysts. That's particularly since over 1.5 million people may die in China if the country were to abandon the Zero Covid policy without vaccination or access to medication, according to data modeling by scientists in the US and China, published in a May 2022 paper.

Even with Covid treatments, China will need to embark on a public-messaging campaign to convince the Chinese people that health risks from both vaccination and therapeutics have become reduced — which is unlikely until well into 2023, said the Eurasia Group analysts.

Given that the next meetings of the national legislature and the top political advisory body — known as the "Two Sessions" — take place in March 2023, the messaging will likely only quicken after this meeting, they added.

Official messaging suggests a long trek out of zero-Covid.

"Even if there are some temporary impacts on the economy, we will not put people's lives and health in harm's way, and we must protect the elderly and the children in particular," President Xi Jinping said in June, according to an official transcript.

Read the original article on Business Insider

American Airlines sent a 12-year-old unaccompanied passenger to the wrong state

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:05am
An American Airlines plane.
  • The child was supposed to fly to Columbus in Georgia, but was sent to Columbus, Ohio instead.
  • The agent making the booking assured the child's father that it had the right destination.
  • The child could not initially be located and his journey home took an additional 12 hours.

American Airlines sent a 12-year-old unaccompanied passenger to the wrong state after it booked him on an incorrect flight.

He was supposed to fly from Dallas, where he was visiting his mom, back home to Columbus in Georgia on June 7,  but was sent to Columbus in Ohio instead. 

Daniel Patton, the boy's father, told Insider that he repeatedly told the agent on the phone that it was Columbus, Georgia and not Columbus, Ohio when making the booking. 

"What is frustrating is that I looked up the correct flights already but it doesn't allow parents to purchase tickets themselves or I would have booked the flight [online]," he said. 

Patton said the agent assured him that the journey was booked correctly. The ticket cost $250 with an additional $150 unaccompanied minor fee. "They charge you money but don't take care of kids," he said.

Insider has viewed the ticket and booking confirmation, which only stated the airport's code rather than the state. The code for Columbus, Ohio is CMH and CSG for the airport in Columbus, Georgia.

Patton only realized the error when he got to the airport in Georgia and his son wasn't there. He called the airline before the flight landed and staff at Ohio found him about 15 minutes after the flight landed. 

"At first we didn't know where he was. It was an absolute nightmare," he said. 

"I found out he was in Ohio and called the airline to ask why he was sent there. They told me that's the ticket I bought and I said 'no you told me it was for Columbus, Georgia'," he added. 

The child had to fly from Ohio back to Dallas and wait for another five hours before catching a flight to Columbus, Georgia. That meant his journey took 12 hours more than it should have. 

"Mistakes happen but when they drop the ball it's a big deal especially when you already take the agency and liability away from parents when making the booking," Patton said. "We're not going to use American Airlines again or trust them because they're incompetent."

The airline issued an apology on email, which has been seen by Insider, and refunded the cost of the journey. 

American Airlines did not respond to Insider's request for comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Here are 14 electric vehicles that might qualify for new tax breaks under the climate bill

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 7:05am
There are now more than 70 battery-powered, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell electric vehicles available, including the Rivian R1T.
  • Electric vehicles from Tesla, Ford, and General Motors might qualify for new $7,500 tax breaks.
  • The climate bill has price and manufacturing requirements that disqualify most current models. 
  • Some automakers are pushing for delays until they can shift supply chains away from Asia.

Electric vehicle makers, advocates, and market analysts have been poring over the massive climate bill to understand what models might be eligible for up to $7,500 in tax credits at the time of purchase. 

There are now more than 70 battery-powered, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell electric vehicles available. But once President Joe Biden signs the Inflation Reduction into law, any vehicle that isn't assembled in North America no longer qualifies — eliminating 70% of what's on the market, said Auto Innovators Alliance President John Bozzella.  

By the beginning of 2023, further restrictions on price and where battery components are manufactured and mined take effect. Only SUVs, vans, and pickups priced below $80,000, and cars below $55,000, will qualify.

A vehicle's battery also must be made with a certain amount of parts and critical minerals either sourced in North America or from countries with which the US has a free-trade agreement. This rules out China, where the vast majority of minerals and battery components are now sourced from, according to the International Energy Agency.

In the meantime, some EV companies including Rivian are trying to get ahead of the new requirements by working with customers to sign a contract now for an SUV or truck. Rivian, Ford, and other automakers have hiked EV prices this year due to rising demand and higher costs.

The battery criteria makes the equation more complicated. Bozzella said no models will meet those requirements in the first few years. He encourages Congress to adjust its approach, while other EV advocates say supply chains are already shifting away from Asia and automakers will adapt in enough time to benefit consumers before 2032, when the provisions expire.

There are 14 current and forthcoming vehicles that could qualify for the tax credits based on their price tag and assembly in North America, according to Consumer Reports:

Cadillac LyriqCadillac Lyriq. Starts at $59,990.Chevrolet Blazer EVChevrolet Blazer EV. Starts at $47,995.Chevrolet BoltChevrolet Bolt. Starts at $31,500.Chevrolet Bolt EUVChevrolet Bolt EUV. Starts at $33,500.Chevrolet Silverado EVChevrolet Silverado EV. Starting under $40,000.Ford F-150 LightningFord F-150 Lightning. Starting at $47,000.Ford Mustang Mach-EThe Ford Mustang Mach-E. Starting at $43,895.Nissan LeafNissan Leaf. Starting at $27,400.Rivian R1TRivian R1T. Starts at $79,000.Rivian R1SThe Rivian R1S. Starts at $72,500.Tesla CybertruckTesla Cybertruck. Starting at $39,00.Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3. Starting at $46,990.Tesla Model YTesla Model Y. Starting at 65,990.Volkswagen ID.4Volkswagen ID.4. Starting at $41,230. (2023+ models made in Tennessee)Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump's latest defense for Mar-a-Lago documents is everyone 'brings home their work from time to time' and the files were automatically declassified

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 6:59am
Former President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
  • Trump's new explanation for Mar-a-Lago documents is that "everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time."
  • Trump claimed he had a "standing order" to declassify documents "the moment" they left the Oval Office.
  • The DOJ is investigating whether Trump broke three laws when he took government records to Mar-a-Lago.

Former President Donald Trump said that everyone takes work home sometimes, as he sought to develop a new line to explain why top secret government documents were stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

"As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time. American presidents are no different," said the statement from Trump's office on Friday night read out on Fox News.

Trump further claimed that he had a "standing order" to declassify documents "the moment" they left the Oval Office.

"President Trump, in order to prepare for work the next day, often took documents, including classified documents, from the Oval Office to the residence. He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them," the statement said.

—Acyn (@Acyn) August 13, 2022


It claimed that the power to classify and declassify documents rests solely with the president and that he did not need approval from a "paper-pushing bureaucrat."

This new defense – portraying Trump as just another hard-working American – contradicts previous statements by Trump and his lawyers that baselessly claimed the FBI could have planted evidence while on site.

While the president has the authority to declassify documents, legal experts say they must follow a defined procedure. It is not clear if Trump ever did.

"He can't just wave a wand and say it's declassified," Richard Immerman, a historian and an assistant deputy director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, told NBC News. "There has to be a formal process. That's the only way the system can work." 

Immerman noted that declassified documents are marked with the date they were declassified. It is not the case with some of the documents returned from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives this year, per NBC.

When reports of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago emerged in May, former Trump administration official Kash Patel claimed that Trump had declassified the files shortly before leaving office but that the classified markings had not been removed.

When searching Mar-a-Lago, FBI agents recovered 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked top-secret.

The Department of Justice is investigating whether Trump broke three laws, including the Espionage Act, when he took government records to Mar-a-Lago after he left office, according to the warrant unsealed on Friday.

One of the laws relates to removing information about the US's national defense, and the other two relate to the concealment or destruction of government records.

The possible crimes being investigated do not depend on the classification of the documents.

"Because the Espionage Act speaks in terms of national defense information, it leaves open the possibility that such information could be unclassified as long as an agency is still taking steps to protect it from disclosure,"  Steven Aftergood, who runs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, told The New York Times.

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Going electric could cost the auto industry hundreds of thousands of jobs

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 6:55am
The Volkswagen ID.4 is built at a plant in Germany.
  • The global auto industry is barreling full-steam toward an electric future. 
  • Automakers and suppliers could lose jobs on a large scale amid the transition. 
  • Electric cars require less manual labor and different skillsets than conventional vehicles.

Automakers from General Motors to Toyota are on a mission to phase out gasoline vehicles.

And while a future full of clean, electric cars will help reduce harmful emissions and stunt climate change, it may spell disaster for the thousands of auto workers whose jobs will be rendered obsolete by new technologies and manufacturing processes. 

As one might surmise, workers who assemble gasoline engines, transmissions, exhaust systems, and the myriad of other parts not needed in electric vehicles will likely bear the brunt of the transition. Moreover, electric motors and batteries are much simpler than traditional powertrains, allowing carmakers to maintain the same production output with fewer workers. 

Both Ford and Volkswagen have estimated that electric cars require 30% less labor than conventional vehicles. The consulting firm AlixPartners reckons that 40% less labor goes into an EV's motors and battery pack than an engine and transmission. 

The impact this epic shift will have on automotive employment isn't fully understood yet. But some industry watchers warn that the sector will lose jobs.

"The industry is going through a transition unlike anything we've ever seen," Brett Smith, director of technology at the Center for Automotive Research, told Insider. "There's a pretty strong chance that there will be fewer people building these cars, fewer people building the parts to these cars, and that will create challenges in some automotive communities."

In a September study, the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank, said that the US could shed 75,000 auto jobs by 2030 if electric cars rise to 50% of domestic sales. (Today, they account for around 5%.) European automotive suppliers estimate that rapid electrification could cost them 275,000 jobs by 2040, even accounting for new positions that arise making EV parts.

To be sure, a flurry of activity in battery and motor production will offset the erosion of traditional automotive jobs to some degree, but not without massive upheaval.

According to an analysis by Boston Consulting Group, the shift to EVs in Europe will result in 630,000 fewer jobs at automakers and suppliers of parts for combustion-engine vehicles by 2030. But booming demand for batteries, charging infrastructure, and the like will create 580,000 new roles. 

"While the core automotive industry will certainly suffer significant job losses, some new industries that support electrification will experience tremendous job growth," the firm said. When all is said is done, policy measures to spur domestic EV production could help the US add 150,000 automotive jobs overall, the Economic Policy Institute estimates. 

Still, there's no guarantee that displaced workers will benefit from newly created positions. "It's not going to be the same people getting new jobs. It's often going to be new jobs created in new places for new people," Smith said. Automakers and their partners are planning a slew of battery plants in the US, but many of those factories will be far away from current auto manufacturing. Battery packs lend themselves to automation, Smith added. 

White-collar jobs won't be immune either. People who design systems for combustion vehicles will either need to be retrained so they can apply their skills to the next generation of EVs or face losing their jobs, said Tammy Madsen, a business professor at Santa Clara University.

These cuts may already be underway: Ford reportedly plans to lay off some 8,000 salaried employees from its combustion-engine division.

While nobody can predict the exact contours of the budding EV revolution, it appears that the technological shift will disrupt automotive manufacturing and employment as much as it will overhaul the makeup of streets and highways. 

"We absolutely have too many people in some places, no doubt about it," Ford CEO Jim Farley said on a recent earnings call. "We have skills that don't work any more, and we have jobs that need to change."

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Though Trump had a reputation for avoiding briefings and flushing meeting notes, he would ask officials for documents: 'Can I keep this?'

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 1:50am
U.S. President Donald Trump talks about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting with House Republicans in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.
  • As president, Donald Trump had a reputation for being difficult to brief and destroying meeting notes
  • At times, he would ask officials if he could keep documents he received, according to members of his staff.
  • "From time to time the president would say 'Can I keep this?'" Trump's former Chief of Staff told CNN.

During his presidency, Donald Trump developed a reputation for being difficult to brief and may have destroyed meeting notes by flushing them down the toilet but would ask officials to keep documents he received, according to members of his staff.  

Trump's reluctance to sit for the Presidential Daily Briefing while in office was well documented. His first briefer, Ted Gistaro, told CBS News the former president "doesn't really read anything," while intelligence officers described him as "far and away the most difficult" new president to brief. The daily briefing was more often delivered to Vice President Mike Pence than the president, The Guardian reported. 

Hoping to encourage the president to read more of his briefings, Gistaro's successor, Beth Sanner, included a one-page outline and a set of graphics, former CIA officer John Helgerson recounted in his book, "Getting to Know the President."

When he did attend meetings, former President Trump is rumored to have destroyed records, including by flushing written notes down the White House toilets. He also had a habit of ripping and shredding documents, The Washington Post reported. The shredding was so prolific, Politico reported, that an entire team was dedicated to taping documents back together for preservation.

"I have seen Trump tear up papers, not into small, small pieces, but usually twice — so take a piece of paper, rip it once, and then rip it again and then throw it into the garbage pail," The Washington Post reported Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, said. 

In addition to his habit of destroying meeting notes, several staff members noted that Trump would ask officials if he could keep documents he received. 

"From time to time, the president would say 'Can I keep this?'" Trump's former Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, told CNN's Erin Burnett on Friday. Mulvaney added the White House had "entire teams" of people dedicated to preserving official documents. 

Though Mulvaney would not draw a direct line between Trump's habit of asking to keep records and the search of his Mar-a-Lago residence in pursuit of classified documents, his comments echoed those of John Bolton, Trump's one-time national security advisor.

"Often the president would say [to intelligence briefers] 'Well, can I keep this?'" Bolton told CBS News. "And in my experience, the intelligence briefers most often would say 'Well, sir, we'd prefer to take that back,' but sometimes they forgot."

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From tapes to emails, here are the ways federal officials from Donald Trump to Richard Nixon and Hillary Clinton have been accused of mishandling government records

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 1:11am
Hillary Clinton; Donald Trump; Richard Nixon
  • The Mar-a-Lago raid was part of an investigation into Trump's handling of government records.
  • Federal officials seized 11 boxes of classified information, though Trump has denied wrongdoing.
  • Hillary Clinton and Richard Nixon are among the officials who have also been accused of mishandling records.

Federal agents conducted an unprecedented raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday, but the potential issues being investigated are not new territory for the Justice Department.

The agency is investigating if Trump broke three federal laws related to the handling of national security information. One of the potential violations falls under the Espionage Act and concerns the removal of information that pertains to national defense. The others involve concealing or destroying government records.

The FBI seized 11 sets of classified or top secret documents from Mar-a-Lago, according to court documents unsealed on Friday. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

It's relatively rare, but not unheard of, for the Department of Justice to investigate and even bring charges against federal officials accused of mishandling government records, including some that are considered classified or top secret.

From former President Richard Nixon to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, here are some examples that include documents, emails, and audio tapes.

President Richard Nixon

Nixon is in part responsible for the creation of the Presidential Records Act, a law passed in 1978 that mandates the preservation of records created or received by the president and vice president during their time in office. It also established that presidential records belong to the US and are to be maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration at the end of a president's time in office.

The law was part of a series of measures passed to address potential corruption after Watergate, when Nixon sought to destroy millions of pages of documents and hundreds of hours of tape recordings from his time in the White House.

Following Nixon's resignation, Congress passed a law in 1974 that would require him to turn over the documents. Nixon challenged it, but the Supreme Court ultimately ruled it was within the legislative body's rights to request them.

The Presidential Records Act was passed four years later, solidifying presidential records as public, rather than private, documents.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Clinton's emails are perhaps the most well-known example of a federal official being accused of mishandling government documents. While serving as President Barack Obama's secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, Clinton used a personal email address and server to conduct official business, rather than a more secure government email server.

After The New York Times first reported in 2015 on her use of a private email and potential violation of federal requirements, it became one of the major stories of the 2016 election cycle, when Clinton was the Democratic nominee for president against Trump.

A State Department inspector general report released in May 2016 found she had violated government policy but that it did not constitute criminal conduct. In July 2016, FBI Director James Comey said their separate investigation found there was "evidence of potential" criminal violations concerning the handling of classified information but that there wasn't sufficient reason to bring charges.

Another State Department investigation that lasted for three years and ended in 2019 found Clinton's use of a private email server put classified information at risk but that there was "no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information." No charges were ever brought against her.

Clinton's email server was found to contain more than 100 emails with classified information, 22 labeled top secret, and over 2,000 that were designated classified at a later date.

Sandy Berger, national security adviser to President Bill Clinton

Sandy Berger, who served as a national security adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001, pleaded guilty in 2005 to the unauthorized removal and destruction of classified documents from the National Archives.

After leaving his White House post, Berger testified before Congress's 9/11 commission, which was examining the government's response to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Berger said he made multiple visits to the National Archives to revisit relevant materials.

But a National Archives employee said they saw Berger leaving with documents wrapped around his socks and under his pant leg, prompting a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. Berger was found to have smuggled out highly classified documents, destroying some, and lying about possessing them.

He agreed to plead guilty and was fined $50,000, sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, and stripped of his security clearance for three years.

Lower-profile federal officials are more commonly charged

In addition to former presidents and top White House officials, lower-profile federal agents are more commonly charged with mishandling government documents.

The FBI and the Justice Department have conducted at least 11 investigations into such crimes since 2005, Voice of America reported.

The outlet compiled a list of notable cases that included former members of the military and Defense Department employees or contractors; NSA and CIA contractors; and former CIA, FBI, and NSA employees. The sentences included thousands of dollars in fines and several years of probation.

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Trump had access to national security information not seen by most American citizens. Here are the different levels of security clearances and who is allowed to have them.

Fri, 08/12/2022 - 11:29pm
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
  • During Monday's search of Donald Trump's office, officials found Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret documents.
  • Not everyone can access classified documents, but the President can grant access through executive order. 
  • Trump could theoretically give Russian President Vladimir Putin a security clearance, a lawyer speculated in 2019.

FBI officials found that Donald Trump had classified documents not meant to be seen by most Americans during a search of the former president's home at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Monday,

According to the search warrant, unsealed by the Department of Justice and obtained by multiple news outlets on Friday, officials seized 11 sets of documents labeled Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret—the three levels of security for US documents in ascending order of importance and secrecy. 

Trump defended himself and said that he declassified the information in the documents or stripped them of their classified status so those without special clearances could view them. 

Most officials working with the government must have security clearances as well as a reason to access documents restricted by the government. However, as the president, Trump did not need to pass any security clearances.

In fact, the President, Vice President, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and many elected officials are not required to get permission for security clearances of any classified documents as their positions in office mean the American people decided to entrust them with national security secrets, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

Generally, US citizens working in the fields of national security, defense, and other sensitive areas of government must go through a security clearance process, which includes an application and a background check, according to the CRS report. The National Background Investigations Bureau must determine whether or not the applicant needs the information specified and whether or not they can be trusted to keep said information a secret.

Agencies like the FBI and the White House Security Office determine who gets clearances within the White House, NPR reported in 2019.

Nearly 3 million government employees and contractors had security clearances and over 1.2 million of those clearances were Top Secret, according to a 2019 report of annual security clearance determinations

However, a Top Secret clearance does not mean an official has access to all of the government's highest classified information. Among Top Secret clearances are various categories of Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Programs, which is Top Secret information that corresponds to various areas of work in the government or special policies or projects. Officials must be working in a particular field to access those documents and programs.

Compartmented information has been declassified before. In 2010, Former President Barack Obama declassified the number of nuclear warheads in the US stockpile.

Presidents can give clearances, usually through executive order, to staff or anyone in their orbit, even against the wishes of those tasked with granting said clearances. In 2018, Trump ordered that his son-in-law, former senior adviser Jared Kushner, be granted a Top Secret clearance, despite concerns from intelligence officials, The New York Times reported in 2019. Sources told NBC in 2019 that fears over Kushner's family businesses and foreign contacts led the FBI to initially reject his application.

Trump could have theoretically given Russian President Vladimir Putin a security clearance during his time as president, Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer, told NPR in 2019.

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The DOJ is investigating if Trump broke 3 federal laws, including the Espionage Act. Here's what the Espionage Act is.

Fri, 08/12/2022 - 11:21pm
Former President Donald Trump.
  • The DOJ is investigating if Trump potentially broke three laws, including a key facet of the Espionage Act.
  • The law relates to the illegal removal of any sensitive materials relating to national defense.
  • If convicted of violating the act, it carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The Department of Justice is investigating whether former President Donald Trump broke three laws — one of them being a key facet of the Espionage Act — according to the warrant unsealed by the department on Friday.

The facet of the Espionage Act relates to the removal of information pertaining to the US national defense, while the other two laws relate to the handling of government records.

Earlier this week, federal investigators seized several boxes from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, a lawyer for the former president said. According to the warrant, the FBI agents took "miscellaneous top secret documents" and "confidential" material from the former president's Florida residence.

Sources told The Washington Post on Thursday that classified documents related to nuclear weapons were among the items the FBI was searching for during the raid.

The Espionage Act of 1917 dates back to World War I, essentially prohibiting the sharing of information that could harm the US or give an advantage to other foreign countries, according to the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University.

Section 793 of the act specifically is concerned with "gathering, transmitting or losing defense information," which relates to any document relating to national defense that "through gross negligence" was "illegally removed from its proper place of custody ... to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed."

If convicted of violating the Espionage Act, it carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, according to a report by The Guardian.

Trump has claimed that the documents were declassified (a president can declassify information through a specific process, though it's unclear if Trump used that process), and he has not been charged with any crime.

While the name of the law refers to targeting spies, Trump could be in violation of the act due to the apparent sensitive nature of the materials seized from his Mar-a-Lago home.

"If reports are accurate and contained among these documents are some of the most highly classified information our government holds — information classified as top secret/secure compartmented information — then it would explain a great deal about why the department and the FBI took the step of obtaining a warrant to recover the documents," Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said in a statement.

"It appears that the FBI sought to remove those documents to a safe location previously, but Trump did not fully cooperate," Schiff continued. "Every day that information of such a classification sits in an unsecured location is a risk to our national security. If any other individual had information of that nature in their possession, the FBI would work quickly to mitigate the risks of disclosure."


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The FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago. Here's what classified documents are.

Fri, 08/12/2022 - 10:45pm
  • The FBI retrieved several boxes of classified documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort this week.
  • Classified documents are sensitive material that require legal protections to ensure national security.
  • There are three levels of classification in the US: confidential, secret, and top secret. 

Federal agents seized 11 sets of classified documents from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence after executing a search warrant on Monday, some of which were reportedly marked top secret.

An inventory list of the items retrieved, which reportedly included about 20 boxes in total, including a handwritten note; Trump's order commuting the GOP strategist Roger Stone's prison sentence; information about the "President of France"; and binders of photos.

Some of the documents marked top secret, according to The Wall Street Journal, were only ever meant to be housed in special government facilities given their highly sensitive nature.

Trump thus far maintains that "it was all declassified" in a Friday statement.

What are classified documents?

Classified documents are material that a government agency deems so sensitive it requires official protections to ensure national security. Classified information is legally restricted to people who carry the necessary security clearance to access it, and mishandling of such documents can lead to criminal charges for offenders.

Only people with the corresponding security clearance can view or handle classified documents, and government employees must undergo an extensive background investigation and interview process in order to secure the clearance.

There are three levels of classification in the US government, listed in ascending order of sensitivity:
  1. Confidential
  2. Secret
  3. Top secret

The government assesses the degree to which disclosure of the information would harm national security and makes a determination of which level the documents should be marked.

Confidential information, the lowest level of the three, is defined as information that would "damage" national security if made public, according to Executive Order 13526, which in 2009, replaced earlier laws on the matter. Examples of confidential information could include intelligence related to military strength; training specifics; or information on munitions of war.

Secret information, meanwhile, is defined as information that could be expected to cause "serious damage" to national security, including intelligence that could disrupt foreign relations; specific military or intelligence operations; or scientific developments related to national security.

And top secret information, the most classified of all, is information that if released would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to the country's national security. This includes intelligence that could spark armed hostilities against the US; compromise national defense plans; or reveal sensitive intelligence operations. Some top secret information is specially stored in what's known as a SCIF, where there is special security in place.

Can classified documents be declassified?

The Obama-era executive order on classified information also laid out the system for declassification. As time passes and information becomes less relevant or sensitive to a modern world, some documents may be declassified or partially declassified and become available to the public.  

Under the updated law, agencies are required to declassify their information after 25 years unless they are covered by one of nine specific exemptions. Documents that remain classified after 25 years or more must be reviewed by any relevant agencies. Any documents older than 75 years have to obtain special permission to stay sealed.

Legal experts told The Atlantic that US presidents have near-total authority to classify and declassify most documents. However, there is a process for doing so, and it's unclear if Trump followed that process, which would include showing on the documents when they were declassified.

It's the defense Trump has already mounted in responsive statements to the FBI raid. But even if the former president did "declassify" all the documents seized from his South Florida resort, experts told NBC News, that it might not matter when it comes to potential legal woes for him down the road.

For one, presidents cannot declassify nuclear secrets; that information is inherently top secret. And The Washington Post reported late Thursday that the FBI was specifically searching for classified documents containing nuclear information during the raid.

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