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Off-Topic / Rudy Giuliani claims Black Lives Matter 'will be proven to be a terrorist organi
« on: Yesterday at 10:19:57 am »Message ID: 1332078
Rudy Giuliani claims Black Lives Matter 'will be proven to be a terrorist organization' for its ties to radical activist who was a part of a terror group and pardoned by Bill Clinton

* Rudy Giuliani blasted the Black Lives Matter movement on Friday on Hannity
* 'It's certainly a violent organization and I believe in the course of time it will be shown to be a terrorist organization,'
   Donald Trump's lawyer said on the group
* Giuliani has previous denounced the group as racist, even though it seeks to fight against racial inequality and the
   opression of black people 
* Black Lives Matter advocates for non-violent civil disobedience
* Giuliani slammed it for its ties to Susan Rosenberg, a radical activist who was a part of terror group M19CO
* She was jailed in 1984 and pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001

Rudy Giuliani has slammed New York Mayor Bill De Blasio's commission of a Black Lives Matter Mural outside Trump Tower and accused the group of being a terror organization.

'Black Lives Matter is an organization run by three Marxists and financed by a convicted terrorist – who I happened to have convicted, who got 58 years in jail and got a corrupt pardon from Bill Clinton,' Donald Trump's lawyer Giuliani said on Hannity on Friday.

'This is not a benign organization. I can’t say yet that we can prove it’s a terrorist organization. It's certainly a violent organization and I believe in the course of time it will be shown to be a terrorist organization,' he added.

Black Lives Matter is an organized movement that advocates for non-violent civil disobedience to protest police brutality against African-American people.

The movement started with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of black teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012. It has regained traction following the brutal police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

The three founders of the movement and hashtag are activists Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, who have expanded the project into a national network of over 30 local chapter between 2014 and 2016.

BLM is a network run by umbrella organization Thousand Currents, which radical activist Susan Rosenberg serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.

Black Lives Matter and Thousand Currents is yet to reply to's request for comment.

Rosenberg was an active part of far-left revolutionary terror organization May 19th Communist Organization (M19CO), which sought to over throw the US government through armed action and a people's militia. The group was a part of the Black Power Movement and the New Communist Movement.

She was arrested in 1984 in possession of weapons and explosives and sentenced to 58 years of imprisonment on the weapons and explosives charges. Giuliani was US Attorney of the Southern District of New York at the time.

She spent 16 years in jail, during which she emerged as an author and AIDS activist, and President Bill Clinton pardoned her on his final day in office on January 20, 2001.

'Susan Rosenberg, who handles their finances is a convicted terrorist who was involved with the Black Panthers who used to slaughter police officers,' Giuliani said on the show.

'This convicted terrorist was sentenced to 58 years. Clinton’s corrupt last hour pardon set her free. Now we are paying the price,' Giuliani, 76, tweeted Friday.

However, Giuliani has been vocal is his disagreement with the movement, slamming it as racist when the group advocates against the mistreatment of black people. 

Giuliani continued to blast De Blasio for slashing New York Police Department funding by $1billion and allowing the Black Lives Matter mural to be painted in front of the president’s residence.

'He’s putting "Black Lives Matter" in front of the president’s personal residence. The president he wants to …help bail out New York – [he] is only is a communist but is a stupid one,' Giuliani criticized.

He said that allowing Black Lives Matter protests to go on while all other major events in the city have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic is hypocritical.

'I thought he was the worst mayor in the history of the city, now he will have written that like a headline in history,' Giuliani said.

'Just think of the contradiction. I mean, everybody else can't march. We have to wear masks. We have to separate ourselves. But if you are protesting, you can stand together, you can spit in each other's face, you can hug and squeeze and you're not going to get COVID-19,' he added. 

Off-Topic / The Biden family rap sheet: How Joe's relatives have been busted for drug posses
« on: Yesterday at 10:13:55 am »Message ID: 1332076
The Biden family rap sheet: How Joe's relatives have been busted for drug possession, credit card theft, fights with the NYPD and multiple DUIs - but have never served time

* Caroline Biden, 33, was arrested last August for driving under the influence and driving without a license in
   Philadelphia suburb, according to a report
*  In 2018, she was sentenced to two years probation by a Manhattan court for using a credit card to buy more than
    $100,000 worth of beauty products
*  In 2013, Caroline Biden, the daughter of Joe Biden's younger brother, James, was arrested for fighting her roommate
    after she was asked to pay rent
*  Despite lengthy history of run-ins with the law, no member of the Biden family has served time in prison
*  Frank Biden, Joe Biden's youngest brother, has been arrested multiple times for driving under the influence and theft
*  Joe Biden's daughter, Ashley Biden, 39, was arrested when she was a freshman in college for possession of marijuana
*  Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, 50, was cited for drug possession in 1988. He's also reported to be subject of
    investigations into alleged money laundering

Joe Biden’s troubled niece Caroline Biden was arrested last August for driving under the influence and driving without a license in a Philadelphia suburb, it has been revealed.

It's the latest run-in with the law for a member of the extended Biden family - none of whom have served time in prison.

The 33-year-old daughter of the former vice president’s younger brother, James Biden Sr, was taken into custody last year by law enforcement officials in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, according to the New York Post.

The case, which is still active, was never made public.

In 2018, she was sentenced by Manhattan Criminal Court to two years probation after pleading guilty to taking part in a scam in which she borrowed a credit card to buy more than $110,000 worth of beauty products at Bigelow Pharmacy in Greenwich Village.

Prosecutors previously said Caroline Biden asked to borrow a credit card from a victim, who was not identified in court documents, to buy a single item for $672.

But instead Biden opened an account at Bigelow Pharmacy and spent more than $110,000 between April 2015 and June 24, 2016, buying the store's lavish products.

On May 5, 2017, police arrested her and initially charged her with grand and petit larceny.

'I not only acknowledge my conduct and take responsibility but deeply regret the harm caused,' she told the judge during sentencing in July 2018.

'I can assure you that I have made amends, full restitution, completed community service and that nothing like this will ever happen again,' Biden said.

In 2013, Caroline Biden was arrested by the New York Police Department for harassment, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice after she got into a fight with a roommate who demanded that she pay rent for living in their Tribeca apartment.

While she was taken into custody, Caroline Biden allegedly took a swing at a police officer, resulting in the obstruction charge.

During her arrest, Caroline Biden was heard telling police: 'I shouldn't be handcuffed! You don't know who you're doing this to!'

As officers removed her from a precinct after her arrest, she covered herself up in a blanket and had police wheel her out on a gurney.

Caroline Biden, who was reportedly in and out of rehab for anger management and a drug addiction, also managed to escape jail at the time when the court ordered for her charges to be dropped if she behaved for six months.

In 2009, Caroline Biden was briefly detained by Amtrak police because of a 'misunderstanding over a train fare,' an Amtrak spokeswoman told the AP at the time.

The Biden family has had a history of arrests and scandals in recent years.

When asked if Joe Biden used his position of influence to intervene on behalf of relatives who have been arrested, a campaign spokesperson told the Post: ‘No he didn’t, and this entire story is garbage.’

Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, 39, was arrested for possession of marijuana when she was a 17-year-old student at Tulane University.

Court records from New Orleans do not list any conviction for Ashley Biden.

The New York Post reported in 2009 that Ashley Biden was known for her hard partying during her college days.

The newspaper reported that it was offered footage shot from a hidden camera which purported to show a woman resembling Ashley Biden snorting cocaine.

In 2002, it was reported that Ashley Biden was arrested for making ‘intimidating statements’ toward a police officer after a brawl at a Chicago bar.

The charges of obstructing a police officer were dropped after she apologized in court.

Ashley Biden is the youngest of three siblings. She is the only one born to the vice president and his second wife, Jill.

Joe Biden’s first wife, Neilia, and their 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, died in a 1972 car crash.

Her two half-brothers are Beau Biden and Hunter Biden, 50.

Beau Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware, died in 2015 from brain cancer. He was 46 years old at the time of his death.

Beau Biden was survived by his wife and two children.

Joe Biden’s youngest brother, 66-year-old Frank Biden, was arrested in August 2003 when police pulled him over after he made a wide left turn in Fort Lauderdale.

According to the Miami New Times, Frank Biden’s eyes were red and his speech was slurred. Officers said he smelled of alcohol.

Police also reportedly noticed an empty bottle of Popov vodka in his car.

When police gave Frank Biden a field sobriety test, he kept losing his balance and was unable to touch his finger to his nose, according to the New Times.

Police then ran a scan of Frank Biden’s license, which revealed that it had been suspended four times up to that point.

Frank Biden was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. He pleaded no contest, according to the New Times.

A court sentenced Frank Biden to six months of probation and an additional six months of having his license suspended.

Just two months later, before his drunk driving case was taken up in court, Frank Biden was arrested on charge of petty theft for allegedly trying to steal DVDs from Blockbuster Video.

The alleged incident took place at the now-defunct Blockbuster location in Pompano Beach, where employees began arguing with Frank Biden after they observed him stuffing his pants with two DVDs.

Frank Biden was taken into custody by a sheriff’s deputy, but he reportedly failed to show up for a court hearing in the case.

There is no available documentation on the outcome of the case.

In November 2004, Frank Biden was arrested a third time - this time by law enforcement officials in Juno Beach, Florida.

He then pleaded no contest to driving with a suspended license. Instead of the mandatory 30-day jail sentence, Frank Biden was allowed to check into a rehabilitation center in Delray Beach, where he stayed for three months.

In 2011, Frank Biden told the Miami New Times: ‘I was an alcoholic. I'm a sober person. I'm very proud of that fact.’

Before Frank Biden’s criminal troubles, he was also on the wrong end of a costly civil judgment.

In February, revealed that Frank Biden was found legally responsible for the death of Michael Albano in August 1999.

Albano was killed when he was struck by a Jaguar XK8 convertible that was driven by Jason Turton, who was then 25 years old.

Frank Biden, who was in the passenger seat, shifted the 290hp car into manual and told Turton to ‘punch it.’ The vehicle reached speeds of 80mph even though the legal limit in that section of HIghway 101 in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, was 35mph.

Albano, who was crossing the highway, was struck and killed. Frank Biden is alleged to have told Turton to ‘keep driving’ and flee the scene after the collision.

Another passenger in the car is said to have told police that everyone in the vehicle was drinking.

Frank Biden fled California leaving a trail of unpaid bills and never even turned up in court when Albano's family sued him, according to court documents.

After failing to turn up for a single court hearing in the case, Frank Biden was found to be liable by way of a default judgment. He was ordered to pay the Albano family nearly $1million.

To this day, Frank Biden has not paid the family a cent. When Joe Biden, then a senator from Delaware, was tapped to be Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008, the family appealed to the future vice president to get his brother to pay.

But the family was told that Frank Biden was broke.

After Joe Biden became vice president, Frank Biden reportedly earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from a series of positions that appear to trade heavily on his family name.

Frank, 66, describes himself as a senior adviser to his brother's political action committee, and lives in Florida.

Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s 50-year-old son, was arrested in 1988 for drug possession.

‘I was cited for possession of a controlled substance in Stone Harbor, NJ,’ Hunter Biden said in 2006.

‘There was a pre-trial intervention and the record was expunged.’

Last December, it was revealed that Hunter Biden was linked to several criminal investigations involving fraud, money laundering and a counterfeiting scheme.

The allegations were filed by a private-eye firm, D&A Investigations, in relation to Hunter's paternity case involving his baby mama Lunden Roberts.

They seek to lay bare his finances in an attempt to recoup child support.

Among Hunter's assets, as claimed by the documents, is a $2.5million home in the Hollywood Hills.

One of the claims involves Burisma, the Ukrainian oil company that was at the center of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Trump came under fire for a phone call with Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, urging him to investigate Hunter's work with Burisma, while withholding some $400million in military aid.

The new allegations accuse Hunter and business associates of establishing 'bank and financial accounts with Morgan Stanley … for Burisma Holdings Limited … for the money laundering scheme'.

The new allegations accuse Hunter and business associates of establishing 'bank and financial accounts with Morgan Stanley … for Burisma Holdings Limited … for the money laundering scheme'.

D&A claimed that the accounts showed a value of nearly $6.8million between March 2014 and December 2015, according to the Post.

In addition, the documents allege that Hunter and three associates attempted to con Sioux Native Americans out of $60million through the sale of tribal bonds.

It's unclear what agencies are allegedly investigating Hunter. But shortly after the allegations were filed, a judge struck them down because they were filed by an 'intervener,' according to the New York Post.

Off-Topic / Naya Rivera's poignant selfie telling fans 'tomorrow is not promised' less than
« on: July 09, 2020, 10:19:48 am »Message ID: 1331729
Naya Rivera's poignant selfie telling fans 'tomorrow is not promised' less than a week before she vanished on dangerous California lake known for rip currents and chilly water after taking a boat out with her four-year-old son!

* Naya Rivera and her son Josey rented a pontoon boat on California's Lake Piru on Wednesday afternoon
* Three hours later, another boater raised the alarm after seeing the boat drifting and the child asleep on board
* Cops found Rivera's life vest on the boat and her car parked nearby, saying the 33-year-old may have drowned
* She grew up 20 miles away, in Valencia, California, and some 60 miles from Rivera's Los Angeles home
* The four-year-old has said that his mother did not climb back on the boat in 'challenging' interview with cops
* It's unclear what exactly happened when Rivera got in the water; eight people drowned in the lake between 1994 and
* It is known to have rip currents and deep columns of chilly water that can overwhelm swimmers
* The enormous lake has a surface area of 1,240 acres. It is closed to the public while rescuers search for Rivera
* Rivera starred as Santana Lopez in 113 episodes of the hit musical series from 2009 to 2015
* She was due to start filming a new season of the dance show Step Up 

The search for Glee actress Naya Rivera resumed on Thursday morning, a day after she went missing on a California lake that is known for rip currents and having cold, deep waters that at least eight people have drowned in. 

The Glee star and her son Josey rented a pontoon boat on Lake Piru, which is 60 miles from Rivera's Los Angeles home and around 20 miles from where she grew up in Valencia, on Wednesday afternoon. They were alone and their car was parked nearby.

Three hours after they took the boat out, another boater saw their pontoon drifting. When they approached it,  they found Josey on board, asleep, but there was no sign of Rivera.

Josey was wearing his life-vest but an adult life-vest was found on the boat, suggesting Rivera was not wearing hers. 

The boy later told investigators that he climbed back on the boat and his mother did not, but the circumstances are unclear and cops say it is 'challenging' to interrogate a toddler. According to TMZ, the boy says his mother 'jumped in the water and didn't come back up'.

Rivera had shared a poignant picture of herself and Josey just a day before her disappearance, with the caption 'Just the two of us', in a post which has since attracted an outpouring of sympathy and prayers.

In recent weeks, her social media has been full of posts of the pair at home. Last week, she shared a selfie about appreciating life, writing: 'no matter the year, circumstance, or strifes everyday you're alive is a blessing. make the most of today and every day you are given. tomorrow is not promised.' 

Divers and helicopters were scouring the reservoir until darkness fell but no trace of Rivera has been found.

On Thursday morning, they returned to the lake at daybreak. It is closed to the public while the search for her continues. The divers focused their search to the lake's rocky shores.

At least eight other people have drowned in the lake since 1994, including a father who died in 2008 after saving his daughter who'd fallen in to the water. He was able to get her back onto their boat before it drifted away and he died.

In a 1997 Los Angeles Times article, a lifeguard at the lake described how easy it is for inexperienced swimmers to get into trouble on the water.

'Someone will come to the beach, maybe wade out a little, step into a deeper hole or get picked up in a rip current and they begin to panic,' Steve White, Ventura State Beach lifeguard supervisor, said.

The lake is more comparable to the ocean because it is so vast and deep, he said.

It holds 'deep columns of chilly water that can overwhelm people', the report said.

Some are holding out hope that Rivera will be found alive. 

Demi Lovato was among the celebrities to hold out hope last night, asking her 87million Instagram followers to 'pray for Naya Rivera to be found safe and sound'.

Rivera's former Glee co-star Heather Morris said: 'We need all the prayers we can get to bring our Naya back to us... we need your love and light.'

Glee cast member Harry Shum Jr, who played Mike Chang, simply wrote 'Praying', while Iqbal Theba (Principal Figgins) and Max Adler (David Karofsky) have also posted concerned messages on social media.

Rivera's ex-fiancee Big Sean signalled his concern this morning by liking a series of tweets praying for her safety and demanding that the search for her should continue.

Zack Teperman, a publicist who said Rivera was 'one of the first people I had the honor of working with', said he was 'in complete disbelief and shock right now'.

'Was just messaging Naya a few weeks back. This can't be true. Prayers for her little boy,' he said last night. 

Officials told NBC Los Angeles that Rivera's disappearance was 'considered to be a horrible accident', saying there was no suspicion of foul play.

Authorities believe Rivera to be 'presumed drowned,' according to Captain Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. He told the Ventura County Star that authorities were searching for a body.

Reports say that some of Rivera's possessions including a purse, wallet and food were found on the boat. Another purse is said to have been left in Rivera's car,  a Mercedes G-Wagon which was still in the parking lot. 

A search and rescue dive team and a helicopter with a drone were both dispatched to the lake, around 60 miles north-west of downtown Los Angeles.

The search was suspended overnight but is due to continue 'at first light', authorities said last night.

Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, told reporters after darkness fell that Rivera and her son were seen going out on the lake at around 1pm.

'Approximately three hours after they left the dock another boater out on the lake discovered the boat drifting with the [son] on board asleep,' they said.

'So they contacted the rangers and began an investigation and we've been actively searching for the mother since that time. We have both aerial search going on and our dive team as well.

'Indications are that we believe she did go in the lake. At this point it's still a search and that's what we know up to this point.

'The [son] said that he had been swimming with his mother and that she got back in the boat and her mum didn't. 'We know that the [boy] had a life vest on, there was another adult life vest found on the boat.

'You can imagine it's somewhat challenging interviewing a three-year-old and getting those kinds of details.

'We're going on the belief that she did go in the water, and we've not been able to locate her. This may well be a case of drowning.'

Buschow said it was not known how deep the water was at the spot where Rivera went into the water or what kind of conditions they might have been facing. 

'This is a big reservoir, it's deep, these kinds of things happen. We don't know all the circumstances. Investigators are working on that, getting as much information as possible,' he said.

The sheriff's office initially referred mistakenly to a three-year-old girl, but later clarified that the child is a four-year-old son. 

Investigators have made contact with Rivera's family and said they were working to 'reunite' the toddler with relatives, which they have now done.

It is not clear whether Rivera had driven from her LA home or was staying somewhere closer to the lake.

Rivera had last posted on social media on July 7, sharing a touching photo of her with her so Josey. 'Just the two of us,' she wrote as a caption.

The actress starred in Glee from 2009 to 2015, playing high school cheerleader Santana Lopez for all six seasons of the popular series.

Naya welcomed son, Josey Hollis, with then-husband Ryan Dorsey in 2015. She called her young son 'my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him' in her 2016 memoir 'Sorry Not Sorry.'

Rivera and Hollis divorced in 2018, after Rivera had earlier applied to end the marriage in 2016 but the couple had initially reconciled.

On Thanksgiving weekend 2017, Rivera was arrested in West Virginia on suspicion of domestic battery against Dorsey.  The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office said Dorsey later asked that Rivera not be prosecuted.

Dorsey, also an actor, has appeared on shows including Ray Donavan and Justified.

Former Glee co-star Matthew Morrison defended Rivera at the time of her arrest, saying she was a 'great mom'.

Before that, Rivera was engaged to rapper Big Sean but they broke off their marriage plans in 2014. Big Sean featured on Rivera's debut single 'Sorry', which was released in September 2013.

Rivera also dated co-star Mark Salling, who killed himself in 2018 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

In her memoir, the actress admitted that she was not surprised by his criminal record.

She wrote: 'I can’t say I was totally shocked. When Mark dumped me, I thought it was the worst thing ever, but can you imagine if that didn’t happen?... and I was laying there in bed when the battering ram came through the door?'.

The Glee cast had already been hit by tragedy in 2013, when Cory Monteith was found dead in a Canadian hotel room. A coroner's report blamed the 31-year-old's death on a fatal dose of heroin and alcohol.

Rivera later described Monteith's death as one of her toughest personal moments, saying in a 2016 interview that 'the Cory chapter really choked me up' when she was writing her memoir. 

Born in 1987, Rivera began her acting career at just months old, starring as a baby in adverts for Kmart before landing a significant role as Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family at the age of four.

After years spent playing guest roles and reoccurring TV parts Rivera secured her breakthrough role in Glee at the age of 22. The role earned her award nominations for numerous accolades.

During this time, in 2011, she signed to Columbia Records and launched a solo singing career, releasing a single with rapper Big Sean in 2013 - who she was then dating - titled Sorry.

Rivera made her first film debut as Vera in the horror film At the Devil's Door in 2014, then returned to TV to play the reoccurring role of Blanca on Devious Maids in 2015.

Lake Piru is a reservoir located in the Los Padres National Forest and Topatopa Mountains, created in 1955.

Child actor and Glee star: The life of Naya Rivera

Naya Rivera was born to former model Yolanda Rivera and actor George Rivera on January 12, 1987, in Santa Clarita, California.

She began her acting career at just months old, starring as a baby in adverts for Kmart before landing a significant role as Hillary Winston on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family at the age of four.

Rivera's personal life came into in the spotlight during her stint on Glee, which began in 2009.

She started dating artist Big Sean in April 2013, becoming engaged in October 2013 but ending the relationship six months later - later hinting that she had caught him cheating with singer Ariana Grande.

Talking about the split in her book she wrote: 'We'd been fighting for five straight days while he was traveling, and then on the one day that he was back in LA, he said he didn't want to see me.

'Well, a******, I've got a key to your house. I walk in, go downstairs, and guess what little girl is sitting cross-legged on the couch listening to music? 'It rhymes with 'Smariana Schmande.''

She then began dating actor Ryan Dorsey, who she had previously dated in her early 20s. The pair married on July 19, 2014 in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico - using the same date set for her marriage to Big Sean. 

Seven months later they announced they were having a son, Josey Hollis, who was born in September 2015.

In November 2016 the couple filed for divorce. They briefly reconciled until November 2017, when Rivera was arrested and charged in Kanawha County, West Virginia, with misdemeanor domestic battery against Dorsey.

She allegedly hit him in the head during a row over their child, but charges were later dropped.  The couple finally divorced in 2018  and split custody of Josey.

Rivera's stint on Glee won her nominations for numerous accolades. She had secured the breakthrough role at the age of 22 after years playing guest roles and recurring TV parts  in shows including Baywatch and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

During this time, in 2011, she signed to Columbia Records and launched a solo singing career, releasing a single with rapper Big Sean in 2013 - who she was then dating - titled Sorry.

Rivera made her movie debut as Vera in the horror film At the Devil's Door in 2014, then returned to TV to play the reoccurring role of Blanca on Devious Maids in 2015.

A year later she published her memoir, at the age of 29, titled Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up. 

Rivera's brother Mychal Rivera is a former NFL player for the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. Her sister Nickayla Rivera is a model.

Off-Topic / Cat survives 12 hot minutes in active washing machine
« on: July 07, 2020, 10:33:48 am »Message ID: 1331456
He’s a laundro-cat.

A Burmese cat named Oscar proved he had multiple lives after surviving a grueling 12 minutes in an active washing machine after apparently venturing in to take a nap.

“The poor little cat had his hands on the glass as he was doing the rotations, and he was looking at me,” Oscar’s owner, Amanda Meredith, tells ABC Sunshine Coast of the traumatic incident. The Queensland, Australia native was first alerted to the 2-year-old kitty’s ordeal when she heard a peculiar meowing sound after her husband, Angelo, loaded bed sheets into the washer.

Fortunately, despite getting beaten up by the appliance’s fins during the crisis, Oscar emerged from the incident without serious injury, albeit “very soft,” according to his grateful owner.

After a course of anti-inflammatory medication and a 24-hour stay at the vet, the lucky kitty was allowed to return home, where Amanda says he slept for a full week.

And Oscar continues to be feline fine after his impromptu whirlpool session. The cat reportedly recovered from the ordeal within several weeks, although his owner jokes that he used up “three of his nine lives.”

Unfortunately, the tumble-tuous experience hasn’t dissuaded Oscar from nosing around the washing machine. His owner suspects he might be suffering from “PTSD” (post-traumatic spin-cycle disorder, we presume) as “he has to sit at the door watching the wash cycle.”

This isn’t the first time a washing machine’s taken a kitty for a spin. Last June, a hardy Minnesota cat spent a whole 45 minutes getting sloshed about in a washer and lived to tell the tale, er, flick his tail.

Pet Cat Reunited With Its Family 12 Years After It Escaped

Amanda initially thought the noise was emanating from the cupboard, but soon realized the hair-raising truth: Oscar was in the washing machine.

His veterinarian, Dan Capps, later suspected that the cat might have crawled into the unit to escape Australia’s frigid winter weather.

“It was tragic,” said the distraught owner, who was forced to wait an agonizing two minutes for the front loader to shut off, so the door could open and she could free the feline from the hot cycle.

Amanda then phoned Capps, who said the next six hours would be “touch and go” for the cat.

Off-Topic / Don't go to China: Australians are issued a chilling warning they could be LOCKE
« on: July 07, 2020, 10:27:08 am »Message ID: 1331454
Don't go to China: Australians are issued a chilling warning they could be LOCKED UP in hellhole detention centre just for stepping foot in the communist nation

* DFAT said Australians are at risk of 'arbitrary detention' if they travel to China
* Warning said China had detained foreigners for 'endangering national security'
* Australians have been urged not to travel overseas at all due to coronavirus
* The menacing message comes amid growing tensions between the two nations
* Last week China said it is 'not afraid' of Australia's plans to bolster its military

Australians have been warned they could face 'arbitrary detention' in China if they travel to the communist nation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a travel advice update on Tuesday featuring a chilling message for travellers planning to head to mainland China.

Australians have already been told not to travel overseas during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the update went further and stated the Chinese government has detained foreigners who it accused of 'endangering national security'.

'China will not allow most foreigners to enter China due to COVID-19,' the DFAT update reads. 'Direct flights between China and Australia have significantly reduced.

'If despite our advice you travel to China, you'll be subject to 14 days mandatory quarantine. Quarantine requirements may change at short notice.

'If you're already in China, and wish to return to Australia, we recommend you do so as soon as possible by commercial means.

'Authorities have detained foreigners because they're "endangering national security". Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention.'

A 2019 Amnesty International report said China had 'legalised arbitrary and secret detention', allowing for prolonged periods of no contact with detainees, and an increased risk of torture and other ill-treatment and forced 'confessions'.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances continues to seek permission to visit China to get a first-hand account of the situation.

It comes amid growing tensions between the two nations after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

China responded by calling Australia 'chronically racist' with accusations of spying on nationals and spreading fake news, while boycotting local industries and urging its students and citizens to study and travel elsewhere.

Controversial Chinese national security laws have been implemented in Hong Kong which threaten life imprisonment for conspiring against the Communist government rule.

Mr Morrison said Australia is 'actively considering' offering a safe haven for Hong Kong residents to provide support in the face of the sanctions.

China said it is 'not afraid' of Australia's plans to bolster its military after Mr Morrison unveiled a $270billion boost to the nation's defence forces last week.

The Prime Minister announced Australia will spend $75billion on the navy, $65billion on the air force, $55billion on the army, $15billion on cyber security, and $7billion on space.

China's state-owned media responded on Friday saying the communist nation won't back down to the 'provocations' and could counter by upgrading its forces.

'These weapon procurement plans have widely been interpreted as being aimed at China,' an article that appeared in The Global Times on Friday stated.

The English language newspaper is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and has recently run another article that alleges Australia is sending spies to China.

The Global Times article titled 'China prepared against military provocation from Australia' quoted 'Chinese experts' who said Australia is a 'follower of the US'.

'Chinese experts said on Thursday that while the Chinese military has no intention of provoking Australia, it is also not afraid of Australian provocations.' the report reads.

Off-Topic / Delta flight from Florida with 43 passengers on board makes an emergency landing
« on: July 07, 2020, 10:18:37 am »Message ID: 1331453
Delta flight from Florida with 43 passengers on board makes an emergency landing at JFK after bird strike completely caves in the nose of the plane

* Delta Airbus A319 was travelling from Palm Beach Airport in Florida to LaGuardia Airport in New York
* Bird hit the nose of the aircraft as it traveled just outside of New York City, damaging the plane's radar equipment
* Pilots performed an emergency landing at nearby John F. Kennedy Airport, safely landing all 43 passengers on board

A Delta flight from Florida has been forced to make an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York after a bird strike damaged the front of the aircraft.

The Airbus A319, which was carrying 43 passengers, was en route to nearby LaGuardia Airport from Palm Beach on Monday evening when the incident occurred. 

The front cone of the aircraft, which protects the plane's radar equipment, was bent out of shape when it was hit by a flock of birds, prompting pilots to make the emergency landing.

The Airbus managed to touch down safely at JFK around 7pm. No passengers or crew were injured in the incident.

Pilots initially believed that heavy hail may have been responsible for the damage, before they determined that birds were the likely cause.

After the safe landing, ABC7 filmed vision of the plane on the tarmac, which showed its front cone completely pushed in.

The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating the accident.

Bird strikes are uncommon in the New York City area - but they cause serious damage to planes flying in midair.

Back in 2009, a US Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing in the waters along the Hudson River after the plane lost engine power after being struck by a flock of Canada Geese following take-off from LaGuardia.

 All 155 people on board the aircraft were safely evacuated onto boats, prompting the event to be dubbed 'The Miracle on the Hudson'.

The National Transportation Safety Board dubbed the landing the 'most successful ditching in aviation history', and hailed pilot - Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger - a hero.

A feature film based on the event was released in 2016. The blockbuster, which was directed by Clint Eastwood, featured Tom Hanks in the lead role.

Off-Topic / Real-life The Terminal: Tourist has been stranded at Manila Airport for more
« on: July 07, 2020, 10:10:19 am »Message ID: 1331449
Real-life The Terminal: Tourist has been stranded at Manila Airport for more than 100 days after getting stuck due to coronavirus in echoes of Tom Hanks film

* Roman Tromifov has been stranded in Manila's departures hall since March 20
* Philippines stopped issuing tourist visas and AirAsia scrapped all its flights
* His ordeal echoes the 2004 film The Terminal starring Tom Hanks and set at JFK

A tourist is pleading to be rescued after spending more than 100 days living in a Philippine airport during the coronavirus crisis.

Roman Tromifov has been stuck in the departures hall of Manila International Airport since he arrived from Bangkok on March 20. 

He was denied entry to the country after the Philippines suspended entry visas because of the virus pandemic, but he could not get out either because AirAsia cancelled its entire schedule and there are no flights back to his home in Estonia.

His ordeal echoes the 2004 film The Terminal in which Tom Hanks plays an Eastern European tourist left stranded in JFK Airport after a coup in his home country.

The film was loosely based on the true story of Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who lived in limbo at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 to 2006.

Trofimov took an AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Manila on March 20, just as the world was becoming engulfed by the pandemic.

The Eastern European tourist had been travelling in south-east Asia but his schedule was thrown into chaos when the Philippines shut its borders.

When he arrived in Manila he was told that the Philippines was no longer issuing tourist visas, meaning he was unable to enter the country. 

He had an onward flight to Cebu province booked for the same day on March 20 and a return flight to Bangkok for April 2, but both were cancelled.

According to Estonian broadcaster ERR, Trofimov was travelling on a so-called 'grey passport' for people of unclear citizenship.

Estonian authorities say the document - also known as an 'alien's passport' - is issued to people with Estonian residence rights who cannot get another passport. 

Trofimov claims that AirAsia took the passport when he arrived at the airport, meaning that only AirAsia can fly him back.

However the airline cancelled all its flights in the Philippines in March because of the virus pandemic, and has yet to resume its international schedule.

Trofimov says the Estonian embassy was unable to arrange for his repatriation, although officials claim he declined an evacuation flight.

'It is important to note that he flew to the Philippines during a time when countries had announced emergency situations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had given a travel warning,' a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Trofimov says the embassy offered him a flight to Amsterdam but claims he was asked to pay for the €1,500 ticket from his own pocket, which he could not afford.   

He has now been living in the airport for 110 days, from March 20 to July 7.   

The tourist likened his situation to being a prisoner. He said: 'I've been stuck here for more than 100 days. I need help getting out.'

'The airline said I need to wait for Enhanced Community Quarantine to be over before I am allowed to fly,' he said, referring to the Philippine lockdown order.   

Trofimov has been sleeping in an airport departures hotel room and surviving on food and snacks donated by staff.

He added: 'I am a person with disability, my health is getting worse because of malnutrition, lack of sun, and fresh air. I have no other choice, but to go public.'

The Tom Hanks film was inspired by the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who spent almost two decades at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. 

After being denied entry to Britain in 1988, he was sent back to France where authorities ruled he could not enter the country nor be deported from the airport.

Off-Topic / Sailing into a storm: Two US aircraft carriers conduct drills in the South China
« on: July 07, 2020, 10:02:37 am »Message ID: 1331448
Sailing into a storm: Two US aircraft carriers conduct drills in the South China Sea just days after Beijing threatened to destroy the strike group as tensions rise in the hotly contested region

* The Navy's USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan are conducting exercises in the contested South China Sea
* Navy hasn't brought carriers together for such shows of force in the region since 2014 when the USS George
   Washington and USS Carl Vinson sailed there side by side
* But this year's drill comes amid heightened tension as US criticizes China over its novel coronavirus response and
   accuses it of taking advantage of pandemic to push territorial claims in South China Sea
* China's foreign ministry said the US had deliberately sent its ships to the South China Sea to flex its muscles
* China officials have also accused the United States of trying to drive a wedge between countries in the region
* The US show of forces comes just days after Chinese state media said the country could destroy the US aircraft
   carriers at any moment with missiles in chilling threat 

Two US Navy aircraft carriers have been pictured for the first time together on operations in the contested South China Sea just two days after Beijing threatened to blow them up.

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan came together along with their attendant strike groups, carrier-launched F-18 fighters and a B-52 bomber for military exercises.

The US Navy hasn't brought carriers together for such shows of force in the region since 2014 when the USS George Washington and USS Carl Vinson sailed there side by side.

But this year's drill comes amid heightened tension in the region, as the US continues to criticize China over its novel coronavirus response, and after Donald Trump threatened the country with a trade war.

The US has accuses China of taking advantage of the pandemic to push territorial claims in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

The vessels were in sight of Chinese naval vessels, which were spotted near the flotilla.

'They have seen us and we have seen them,' Rear Admiral James Kirk said in a telephone interview from the Nimitz, which has been conducting flight drills in the waterway with the Seventh Fleet carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, that began on July 4.

Images of the exercises, which were first released on Monday, show a B-52 bomber flying in formation with the two strike groups over the South China Sea.

The bomber flew from Louisiana on July 4 and participated in a maritime integration exercise with the two strike groups before landing at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. 

The US show of force comes after Chinese state media said the double US aircraft carrier deployment to the South China Sea is 'at their pleasure'.

In a tweet The Global Times also warned: 'China has a wide selection of anti-aircraft carrier weapons like DF-21D and DF-26 'aircraft carrier killer' #missiles.'

The state run Global Times said analysts noted that they could destroy the carriers at any moment with missiles in a chilling threat.

The paper wrote: 'The South China Sea is fully within the grasp of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), and any US aircraft carrier movement in the region is solely at the pleasure of the PLA, which has a wide selection of anti-aircraft carrier weapons like the DF-21D and DF-26 'aircraft carrier killer' missiles.'

In response, the Navy Chief of Information shared on Twitter: 'And yet, there they are. Two @USNavy aircraft carriers operating in the international waters of the South China Sea. #USSNimitz & #USSRonaldReagan are not intimidated.'

China's foreign ministry said Monday the US had deliberately sent its ships to the South China Sea to flex its muscles and accused it of trying to drive a wedge between countries in the region.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the exercises were performed 'totally out of ulterior motives' and undermined stability in the area.

'Against such a backdrop, the US deliberately dispatched massive forces to conduct large-scale military exercises in the relevant waters of the South China Sea to flex its military muscle,' Zhao said at a daily briefing.

The Pentagon, when it announced the dual carrier exercise, said it wanted to 'stand up for the right of all nations to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows', describing its 100,000-ton ships and the 90 or so aircraft they each carry as a 'symbol of resolve'.

Over the weekend, the Navy said the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan along with their accompanying vessels and aircraft conducted exercises 'designed to maximize air defense capabilities, and extend the reach of long-range precision maritime strikes from carrier-based aircraft in a rapidly evolving area of operations'.

About 12,000 sailors are on ships in the combined carrier strike groups.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, through which some $3trillion of trade passes a year. China routinely objects to any action by the US military in the region. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims.

China has sought to shore up its claim to the sea by building military bases on coral atolls, leading the U.S. to sail warships through the region in what it calls freedom of operation missions.

Contact with Chinese ships had been without incident, Kirk said.

'We have the expectation that we will always have interactions that are professional and safe,' he said. 'We are operating in some pretty congested waters, lots of maritime traffic of all sorts.'

Washington does not officially take a stand on the rival territorial claims in the region, but is closely allied with several of the claimants and insists that the waters and the airspace above be free to all countries.

Rear Admiral George M. Wikoff said of the exercises: 'The purpose is to show an unambiguous signal to our partners and allies that we are committed to regional security and stability.'

Wikoff, commander of the strike group led by the Ronald Reagan, said the exercises were not a response to those being conducted by China, which the Pentagon criticized this week as 'counter-productive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability'.

China dismissed the US criticism of its drills on Friday and suggested the United States was to blame for increasing tensions.

China announced last week it had scheduled five days of drills starting July 1 near the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both Vietnam and China.

Vietnam and the Philippines have also criticized the Chinese drills, warning they could create tension in the region and impact Beijing's relationship with its neighbors.

The US accuses China of trying to intimidate Asian neighbors who might want to exploit its extensive oil and gas reserves.

And while the US show of force is strong this week, in recent months, the Navy has taken some hard hits amid the pandemic.

The spread of the coronavirus aboard the carrier while on deployment in the Pacific in March exploded into one of the biggest military leadership crises of recent years.

More than 1,000 members of the crew eventually became infected, and one sailor died. The ship was sidelined for weeks at Guam but recently returned to duty.

The outbreak led to the firing of then captain Brett Crozier after he sent a letter to Navy leaders asking that most of the crew be taken ashore.

That letter was subsequently leaked to the press. Last month, after a two-month investigation, the Navy decided that Crozier would not return to the Roosevelt and not be eligible to captain another ship.

The COVID-19 outbreak on the Roosevelt was the most extensive and concentrated spread of the virus across the US military.

It eventually sent all of the 4,800 crew members ashore for weeks of quarantine, in a systematic progression that kept enough sailors on the ship to keep it secure and running.

More broadly, it put out of commission a massive warship vital to the Navy´s mission of countering China's power in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Roosevelt spent weeks in port in Guam, as crew members rotated ashore for quarantine and isolation at the military base and in hotels around the island.

After about two weeks of training at sea, the carrier returned to operations at sea with a reduced crew on June 4.

Sailors have continued to fly back to the ship from Guam after they have recovered from the virus or completed two-weeks of quarantine.

Meanwhile, tensions between China have remained, partly due to President Donald Trump claiming that China may have spread the coronavirus intentionally.

Last month, the president made the claim in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. 'There's a chance it was intentional,' Trump said of the coronavirus spread that started in Wuhan and traveled around the globe earlier this year.

Without providing any evidence, the president speculated China may have had economic motivations letting the virus escape.

Off-Topic / Gunman 'cordoned off' after a 'shooting' at the largest Marine Corps base in the
« on: July 07, 2020, 09:50:12 am »Message ID: 1331445
Breaking:  Gunman 'cordoned off' after a 'shooting' at the largest Marine Corps base in the US in Southern California

* A shooter opened fire at the Twentynine Palms Marine Base at around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning
* The suspect has been 'cordoned off' by military police but the Corps could not confirm whether they have been taken
   into custody
* There are no details yet about injuries or victims 
* Early reports said it was an active shooting situation but San Bernardino Sheriff's Department spokeswoman later said
   it was not but was a shooting on base

A gunman has been 'cordoned off' after a shooting at the largest Marine Corps base in the US in Southern California.

A shooter opened fire at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, early Tuesday morning.

The Corps said the suspect has since been 'cordoned off' but could not confirm whether they have been taken into custody.

There are no details yet about any potential injuries or victims.

The Corps confirmed on Twitter that gunshots rung out at the base at around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Military police are investigating and the area has been cordoned off. 

Early reports said there was an active shooter on the base and that an individual had been taken into custody.

Captain Nicole Paymale later clarified that a suspect has been 'cordoned off'.

She said this is a military term and could not confirm the suspect has been taken into custody.

A San Bernardino Sheriff's Department spokeswoman said the base told them it was not an active shooting situation, but that a shooting had taken place on base.

The base did not require Sheriff's assistance, the Department added. 

The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center did not immediately return's request for comment.

Residents on the base were sent an alert message, telling them to shelter in place as the incident unfolded, reported the Express.   

'Please shelter in place until notified,' it said.

'Code White: There is an Active Shooter in the A M C C. Remain calm.

'Silence your cell phone. Run, hide, fight. Help is on the way.'

Another urgent alert message warned 'you are at serious risk' and told peopleto 'lock and barricade the door.'

One terrified resident took to social media to tell how they were on lockdown in the base.

'Active shooter on the base in 29 Palms. We are locked down here with the kids,' one woman tweeted.   

The vast Twentynine Palms base is located in the desert 125 miles (201 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

It is the largest Marine Corps base in the world, with around 8,500 people estimated to live there.

Off-Topic / West Point cadets to be 'part of one team & one family
« on: June 13, 2020, 10:48:44 am »Message ID: 1328232
Trump calls for West Point cadets to be 'part of one team and one family, proudly serving one American nation,' during commencement address in veiled reference to George Floyd unrest

* Donald Trump arrived at West Point to address the graduating class at the U.S. Military Academy Saturday 
* He said the class of 2020 come 'from every race, religion, color, and creed' but must be 'one team'
* He said the US is not 'the policeman of the world' but if 'threatened, we will never hesitate to act'
* Direct mention of Floyd or the ongoing protests across America were notably absent from his speech
* Yet he congratulated the US army for helping win the battle against 'the evil of slavery' and in the battle for civil rights
   - despite some West Point graduates fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War
* Trump made a dig at China over the 'invisible enemy' of the coronavirus pandemic from the 'distant land'
* Tensions between the White House and the military have escalated amid protests over Floyd's death
* Trump has clashed with several top military officials, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper who publicly opposed     * Trump's call to use active-duty troops to crack down on the demonstrations
* Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said Thursday it had been 'a mistake' for him to join Trump at the
   infamous St. John's Church photo op where protesters were teargassed from their paths
* The West Point ceremony was also mired in controversy after 15 West Point cadets tested positive for coronavirus
   after they were summoned to return so Trump could go ahead with the ceremony
* Hundreds of West Point alumni sent a letter to the graduates blasting Trump's politicization of the military

Donald Trump called for the 1,100 West Point graduates to be 'part of one team, and one family, proudly serving one American nation' during his commencement address, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to the nationwide George Floyd protests and amid his own tensions with the Pentagon over his infamous photo op in Washington DC.

The class of 2020 come 'from every race, religion, color, and creed' but must be 'one team' as they graduate into a 'crucial time in American history', Trump said.

'When times are turbulent, when the road is rough what matters most is that which is permanent, timeless, enduring and eternal.' 

The president arrived to give the Commencement Address at the historic Parade Field at the US Military Academy in New York Saturday morning, regaling an impassioned speech where he skipped over any direct reference to Floyd or the ongoing civil unrest, vowed the US military will not be the 'policeman of the world' and launched a fresh attack on China over the coronavirus pandemic.

His hotly-anticipated address to the future members of the armed forces comes during a fraught week for relations between him and top military officials.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley sought to distance himself from Trump this week and issued an apology for his decision to accompany Trump to St. John's Church to hold up a Bible for a staged photo - which involved tear gassing peaceful protesters out of the president's path.

Tensions have also mounted between Trump and Mark Esper after the defense secretary publicly opposed Trump's call to use active-duty troops to crack down on the demonstrations over Floyd's death.   

Saturday's ceremony itself has also been mired in controversy after 15 West Point cadets tested positive for coronavirus after they were summoned to return to the campus in the virus epicenter New York because Trump wanted to plow ahead with the ceremony irregardless of the pandemic.

Just hours before his arrival, a group of several hundred West Point alumni then sent a letter to the 2020 graduating class blasting Trump's politicization of the military.

Trump touched down at West Point at around 10a.m. and was met by military officials as he descended the steps of Marine One.

He was then welcomed to the ceremony with a 21-gun salute, before making his way to the stage alongside United States Military Academy Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams - stopping on route to admire a military helicopter.

He and Williams saluted the cadets while the national anthem was sang. Everyone on stage with Trump was tested beforehand for COVID-19. 

'There is no place on earth on I would rather be than right here with you,' he told the crowds as he took the podium to muted clapping.

'We are here to celebrate your achievements, and great achievements they are.'

Direct mention of Floyd or the ongoing protests demanding police reform and an end to systemic racism across America were notably absent from his speech, though he made a number of thinly veiled references to the ongoing civil unrest ravaging America as he spoke of the 'turbulent' time in US history that the cadets are graduating into.

He also congratulated the US army for helping to win the battle against 'the evil of slavery' and its role in the battle for civil rights - something that is widely disputed given some West Point graduates fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

He then went on to specifically name the National Guard in his show of thanks to the US military: 'I want to thank the men and women of the National Guard who respond with precision to so many recent challenges from hurricanes and natural disasters to ensuring peace, safety and continued rule of law on our streets.'

The president has come under fire for sending in the National Guard to tackle largely peaceful protesters in DC - in particular the clearing out of demonstrators with pepper *bleep* and tear gas so he could carry out his PR stunt in front of the damaged church on June 1.

Trump then went on to insist the US is not 'the policeman of the world' but that if 'our people are threatened, we will never hesitate to act', before reeling off a self-congratulatory list of investments and measures his administration has channeled in to the military over the last four years.

He praised his own administration's support of the army during his time in office, patting himself on the back for what he called a 'colossal rebuilding of the armed forces'.

'After years of budget cuts and the military being depleted by endless wars we have invested $2 trillion - that's with a "t" - in the most powerful fighting force by far on the planet,' he said.

'It is not the duty of US troops to solve ancient conflicts in faraway lands that many people have not heard of - we are not the policemen of the world.'

He added: 'If our people are threatened we will never ever hesitate to act and when we fight from now on we will only fight to win.'   

Trump could not resist using the stage to make another dig at China over the 'invisible enemy' of the coronavirus pandemic that he said came from the 'distant land'.

'I want to take the opportunity to thank all members of American armed forces... who stepped forward to battle the invisible enemy - the new virus that came to our shores from a distant land called China,' he said.

'We will vanquish the virus, we will extinguish this plague.'   

The president also reeled off a dramatic list of battles in American history as he told them to 'remember the soldiers before you'.

He likened American soldiers to 'titans who strode through cannon blasts' to face enemies that embodied 'sadistic monsters [in] the gates of hell' and told them that 'no evil force on earth can match the righteous power and glory of the American soldier'.

'The survival of America depends on men and women just like you and people who love their country with all their heart and soul,' Trump said.

'It depends on citizens who build, sustain and nurture institutions like this one - that is how society is made.' 

Trump ended his address by saying that 'America will always prevail'. 

The event, which was the only service academy where Trump had not yet taken to the stage, was vastly different to the usual annual occasion as steps were put in place to limit the risk of attendees catching and spreading coronavirus.

The class of 2020 were seen wearing white face masks as they marched to their socially distanced seats on 'The Plain' ahead of Trump's arrival.

They were able to then remove the masks once seated but there was no handshaking with the president as would typically occur during the annual ceremony.

Esper, who has locked horns with the president in recent weeks, did not accompany Trump to the ceremony but delivered a congratulatory speech over videotape.

'Take inspiration from the brave soldiers who serve before you,' he told them.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Jack Reed and several West Cadet alumni members also spoke via videotaped messages to the cadets.   

Williams addressed the crowds ahead of Trump, addressing the fact that the ceremony looked different this year to the usual annual event - with family and friends unable to join the graduates at the event.

He paid homage to Christopher 'C J' Morgan, a cadet who died in a training accident at the academy last year, while an empty chair was seen with his photo on in his honor.

Williams then calling on the graduates to: 'Be the officer worth following and take care of your soldiers'.

Trump's commencement speech to the 1,100 graduating cadets was delivered as arguments continue to rage over his threat to use American troops on domestic soil to quell the ongoing protests across the nation.

Tensions between the White House and the military have escalated following the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed when a white cop knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he begged for his life saying 'I can't breathe'.

In the past two weeks, Trump yelled at Defense Secretary Mark Esper for publicly opposing Trump's call to use active-duty troops to crack down on the demonstrations.

Trump then shut down Esper's attempt to open a public debate on removing the names of Confederate Army officers from military bases.

Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, further risked Trump's ire Thursday by declaring it had been 'a mistake' for him to accompany Trump on a June 1 walk through Lafayette Square.

It also emerged the general was considering resigning over the incident which has outraged the nation. 

The trip - which involved clearing peaceful protesters out of the way - ended with the president holding up a Bible and posing for the news media outside St. John's Church, which was damaged by fire during the unrest.

Milley's comments amounted to an extraordinary expression of regret by Trump's chief military adviser, who said his appearance led to the perception of the military becoming embroiled in politics, which in his view - one shared by Esper - is a threat to democracy.

The events have stirred debate within the military and among retired officers.

More than 500 West Point graduates from classes spanning six decades signed an open letter this week reminding the class of 2020 of its commitment to avoid partisan politics.

The letter, published on Medium, also alluded to the problems Esper and Milley encountered at the White House after Floyd's death.

'Sadly, the government has threatened to use the Army in which you serve as a weapon against fellow Americans engaging in these legitimate protests,' they wrote.

'Worse, military leaders, who took the same oath you take today, have participated in politically charged events. The principle of civilian control is central to the military profession. But that principle does not imply blind obedience.'

They added: 'We are concerned that fellow graduates serving in senior-level, public positions are failing to uphold their oath of office and their commitment to duty, honor, country. Their actions threaten the credibility of an apolitical military.'

Trump has also been slammed for forcing Saturday's ceremony go ahead while many other ceremonies have been canceled across the nation over fears of renewed spikes in coronavirus cases.

Fifteen West Point cadets tested positive for coronavirus as the class of 1,106 were summoned back to campus at the end of May ahead of Trump's speech.   

The US Army confirmed last week that 15 cadets had contracted the deadly virus, saying they were diagnosed when all cadets were tested as soon as they arrived on campus and were immediately isolated so the virus did not spread to any other cadets.

The US Military Academy said it had taken a number of measures to bring the cadets back safely for their graduation, after Trump announced it would be business as usual for the event.

'The Army and West Point have done meticulous planning to ensure the health and safety of the returning cadets of the US Military Academy's class of 2020,' the US Army said in a statement last week.

'There is mandatory screening for all, and we've had a small number - about 1.5 percent - test positive. This was anticipated. None were symptomatic, and no cadet has contracted through person-to-person contact while under the Army's care. Those who test positive are isolated, and receive appropriate care and attention, while we continue an orderly reintegration of our cadets.'

Back in April, Trump shocked everyone when he announced he would be speaking at the event as planned.

According to the New York Times, the news even came as a surprise to West Point officials.

The cadets for the military academy had all been sent home in early March as the coronavirus outbreak spread across the US and they had not returned to campus since.

Officials had been looking at various options for the graduation including delaying the presidential commencement speech. 

But it seems Trump did not want to pass up the opportunity of speaking at the only service academy where he has not yet taken to the stage.

Before any decision was reached by West Point officials, Trump announced in a press conference on April 17 that he would be going ahead with the event at the campus based in New York - which was the virus epicenter of the world at the time.

His announcement came just one day before Vice President Mike Pence gave a commencement speech at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony in Colorado Springs.

At this commencement, the underclassmen were sent home and cadets marched six feet apart and sat eight feet apart.

But the president brushed off the possibility of a socially distanced ceremony at West Point saying he wanted the 'look' of it to be 'nice and tight'.

Trump came under fire following his announcement, with Senator Tammy Duckworth branding it 'reckless' and an excuse for 'photo ops'.

'Trump's reckless decision to gather 1,000 Cadets at West Point for a speech puts our future military leaders at increased risk - all to stroke his own ego,' she said back in April.

'Our troops need stable, consistent leadership during volatile times like these, not a commander-in-chief who values his own photo ops and TV ratings over their health and safety.'   

Other academies had taken a more cautious approach given the risk of sparking fresh outbreaks of the virus among the nation's servicemen and women.

The Naval Academy decided against bringing back its nearly 1,000 graduating midshipmen to its base in Annapolis, Maryland, for its commencement this year.   

A group called Veterans For Peace announced a protest outside West Point's main gate Saturday against what it called 'Trump´s dangerous narcissistic Photo-Op Stunt at the West Point Graduation.'

But the White House defended the move with White House spokesman Judd Deere this week saying: 'Saturday's graduation is about these incredible cadets and their amazing accomplishments, and as the commander in chief, President Trump wants to celebrate that and thank them for their service to our country.'   

Army officials also defended the move, saying the cadets would have had to brave the health risks of traveling back to campus anyway for their final medical checks, equipment and training.

Historic West Point is located 40 miles (65 kilometers) up the Hudson River from New York City, the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak.   

Some cadets said they welcomed the chance to see their classmates again.

'We're going to be scattered all across the world, and it might be years, or tens of years, until we get to see some of our classmates again,' said 2nd Lt. Daine Van de Wall, of West Friendship, Maryland. 'And so coming back and getting to have closure for our West Point experience, I think, is extremely important.'

Cheryl Connors, a 1983 West Point alum whose son Cameron graduates Saturday, said the moment is 'bittersweet.'

Her three older children graduated from the academy, too.

'I'm super proud of him and his classmates. It´s a great accomplishment,' she said. 'And it´s heartbreaking at the same time to not be able to be there and celebrate with him.'

Off-Topic / George Floyd a 'violent criminal'
« on: June 03, 2020, 11:07:25 am »Message ID: 1327040
George Floyd a 'violent criminal' he's been involved in three police shootings

In a letter released Monday, Lt Bob Kroll, (president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis) described protesters demonstrating over Floyd's death as terrorists and criticized the city's politicians for not sanctioning greater use of force against them in a letter to union members.

He also defended the four officers involved in Floyd's death, including Derek Chauvin who is facing charges of murder and manslaughter. All four officers have been fired.

Kroll's April interview, however, revealed the extent to which he and his colleagues were involved in police shootings and how he believes cops should not be blamed in settlements for wrongful death cases.

 'There's been a big influx of PTSD,' Kroll said. 'But I've been involved in three shootings myself, and not one of them has bothered me. Maybe I'm different.

'Out of the 10 board members, over half of them have been involved in armed encounters, and several of us multiple. We don't seem to have problems,' he added.

'Certainly getting shot at and shooting people takes a different toll, but if you're in this job and you've seen too much blood and gore and dead people then you've signed up for the wrong job.'

Later in the interview, Kroll tells host Maxwell Thomas Silverhammer his thoughts on pressure from the city's mayor and city council asking police to forgo raises, claiming that they are instead 'p*****g away' money on programs like a transgender coordinator.

He added that police should be held blameless for the costly settlements in wrongful death cases and blamed the city attorneys who he feels did not defend them properly when they were sued over fatal shootings.

'What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd. The media will not air this,' he wrote.

'I've worked with the four defense attorneys that are representing each of our four terminated individuals under criminal investigation, in addition with our labor attorneys to fight for their jobs. They were terminated without due process.' 

While Floyd had served time in prison for aggravated robbery, and it is unknown if Chauvin knew this as he detained him, video footage of the arrest shows that Floyd was not behaving violently towards the police, nor was he armed or suspected of a violent crime.

A coroner has since confirmed that Floyd's death was homicide. Dr Allecia Wilson of the University of Michigan, one of the two forensic doctors who performed the independent autopsy, said the evidence pointed to homicide by 'mechanical asphyxia' meaning from some physical force that interfered with oxygen supply.

In his letter, Kroll also blamed city officials for not giving police enough support to deal with the protests and riots that have broken out in Minneapolis following the death of Floyd.

'What has been very evident throughout this process is you have lacked support from the top,' he wrote, addressing union members.

'This terrorist movement that is currently occurring was a long time build up which dates back years.

'Starting with minimizing the size of our police force and diverting funds to community activists with an anti-police agenda.

'Our chief requested 400 more officers and was flatly denied any. This is what led to this record breaking riot.'

Off-Topic / Plane graveyard: Hundreds of jets are parked
« on: May 17, 2020, 10:35:58 am »Message ID: 1325160
Plane graveyard: Hundreds of jets are parked in the Arizona desert as coronavirus kills air travel - with many unlikely to ever take to the skies again!

* Pinal Airpark located in the desert in Pinal County, Arizona, is used for storing planes no longer required
* It is home to hundreds of retired commercial and military aircraft - the desert conditions help prevent rusting
* Delta and others have sent planes that are no longer needed there as they drastically reduce operations
* Many of the aircraft early on came from Delta Air Lines. JetBlue has accounted for most of the arrivals in April with Air
   Canada and its low-cost subsidiary, Rouge, having sent about 30 aircraft
* Some older aircraft that were due to be retired in the coming year will now likely not fly ever again
* In the U.S. alone, the numbers of passengers traveling are just 5% what would normally be expected

Stunning aerial pictures show hundreds of aircraft parked in a desert 'boneyard' after airlines including Delta and United placed them in long-term storage as flight operations are cut to around 5% of normal operations due to the coronavirus.

Ranks of jets are seen lined up at Pinal Airpark, 90 miles south of Phoenix, where the dry desert air helps to keep them in good condition and stops them from rusting while they are not being used during the global health crisis.

The 'boneyard' was already home to hundreds of retired commercial and military aircraft but now major airlines have parked up huge amount of their fleets for the foreseeable future.     

Pinal Airpark is the largest commercial aircraft storage facility in the world, but it is not just a parking lot.

Airlines are paying not only for the parking spots and for technicians to ensure that the planes are ready to go should they be needed again.

Many of the aircraft early on in the health crisis came from Delta Air Lines, while JetBlue has accounted for most of the arrivals in April.

Air Canada and its low-cost subsidiary, Rouge, have sent about 30 aircraft.

Canadian airline WestJet had its 737-MAX aircraft stored at the airpark even before the current health crisis, after the entire global fleet was grounded following a pair of horror crashes in 2018 and 2019.

But some older aircraft that were due to be retired in the coming year will now likely not fly ever again, as airlines desperately try to cut costs and save money.

Airlines have been forced to cut back on services due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many countries closing their borders to foreign travelers in unprecedented efforts to flatten the curve of infections.

The demand for travel has plunged worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, as business and leisure travelers cancel their trips.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been publishing information on how many passengers have passed through US airport checkpoints each day, with a comparison to how many traveled on the same day of the week last year.

In the U.S. alone, the numbers of passengers traveling are just 5% what would normally be expected, meaning there has been a whopping 95% decline travel.

Photos & article:

Off-Topic / Italy reopens
« on: May 16, 2020, 11:40:29 am »Message ID: 1325078
Italy reopens: Restrictions are eased after three months of lockdown with people free to fly from June 3 and shops set to reopen on Monday!

* Italy will be open to European tourists from June 3 after three-month lockdown
* Regions could also reopen their economy fully under strict safety measures
* Country did not specify which foreign nationals would be allowed to enter Italy
* In a press release, the government said it respected the 'legal order' of the EU

Italy will reopen to European tourists from June 3 and scrap a 14-day mandatory quarantine period, the government said on Saturday, as it accelerated its exit from the coronavirus lockdown.

The move will also apply to countries in the Schengen Area, and comes as the Italian government announced plans to also lift some travel restrictions on people within the country.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte enforced an economically crippling shutdown in early March to counter a pandemic that has so far killed more than 31,500 people in Italy.

The Prime Minister has resisted calls from some regions to open sooner, and has instead lifted measures gradually fearing a second wave of the virus.

From the same date, regions will be allowed to reopen all sectors of the economy, providing strict safety and social distancing measures are observed.

This includes restaurants so long as customers are kept one meter apart, with staff wearing mandatory face masks. Customers will also be required to wear face masks if they are not sitting at tables.

Shops in Italy are set to reopen on May 18, and people will be allowed to move freely within individual regions, allowing people to visit their friends.

Italy is holding off lifting travel restrictions further until after its June 2 Republic Day in an attempt to limit any mass travel over the long holiday weekend.

The shutdown halted all holidaymaking in a country heavily dependent on the tourism industry.

Although Italy never formally closed its borders and has allowed people to cross back and forth for work or health reasons, it banned movement for tourism and imposed a two-week isolation period for new arrivals.

In March, the European Union banned foreign nationals from entering its Schengen zone, an open border zone comprising 22 of 27 member states, with exceptions for medical workers and essential travel.

But on Wednesday, the EU set out plans for a phased restart of summer travel, urging member states to reopen its internal borders, while recommending that external borders remain shut for most travel until at least the middle of June.

In a press release, Italy's government did not explicitly state which foreign nationals would be allowed to enter, but said its new measures respected the 'legal order of the European Union'.

Beginning on June 3, visitors within the Schengen zone will be allowed to enter Italy with no obligation to self-isolate. Italians will also be able to move between regions, though local authorities can limit travel if infections spike.

Movements to and from abroad can be limited by regional decree 'in relation to specific states and territories, in accordance with the principles of adequacy and proportionality to the epidemiological risk', the government said.

The latest decree is also a boon to Italy's agricultural sector, which relies on roughly 350,000 seasonal workers from abroad.

Farming lobby group Coldiretti said farms were already preparing to organise some 150,000 workers from places including Romania, Poland and Bulgaria.

Elsewhere, in France, hundreds of beaches reopened today as residents flocked to seasides for a swim.

There is a strict ban on sunbathing, among other restrictions, as the country eases its lockdown measures after the government gave them the green light to do so.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, visiting a beach in Normandy, warned 'we won't hesitate' to close beaches if rules aren't respected.

Beachgoers can take a dip but cannot lay in the sun or picnic in the sand. Social distancing rules must be maintained and groups must be limited to no more than 10 people.

Some regions, like the Pas de Calais and Le Nord, gave the go-ahead for boats, with restrictions, while those living in Marseille must wait until the start of June to enjoy the 21 beaches in the area.

Beaches in Italy also opened on Saturday, but gatherings of large groups are still banned across the nation.

The peak of Italy's contagion passed at the end of March but with experts warning a second wave cannot be ruled out, Conte had been reluctant to lift the lockdown quickly.

His approach frustrated many of Italy's regions, with some already allowing businesses to reopen before the restrictions were lifted.

Restaurants, bars and hairdressers are being allowed to reopen on Monday, two weeks earlier than initially planned.

Shops will also open and Italians will finally be able to see friends, as long as they live within their same region.

Church services will begin again but the faithful will have to follow social distancing rules and holy water fonts will be empty. Mosques will also reopen.

As of May 16, Italy had recorded 224,760 cases of coronavirus, with 31,763 related deaths.

The number of deaths recorded over the past 24 hours was just 153.

The last time the death count was that low was March 9, the day after the nationwide lockdown was announced.

Off-Topic / Autopsy report on Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
« on: May 16, 2020, 10:49:48 am »Message ID: 1325076
Autopsy report on Kobe Bryant helicopter crash victims reveals pilot had no drugs or alcohol in his system, all were killed instantly and Gianna's basketball jersey was found at scene!

* The Los Angeles County coroner's office released the autopsy reports Friday
* The reports confirmed all the crash victims died from blunt trauma
* The clinical and graphic report tells describes broken bones, dismembered body parts and a stench of fuel on what *
   remained of clothing that burned
* The pilot's report confirmed there were no drugs or alcohol in his system
* Kobe Bryant's autopsy revealed the only drug he had in his system was Ritalin

The Los Angeles County coroner's office has released the autopsy reports Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others who were killed in a California helicopter crash in January.

Bryant was headed to his daughter's basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, on the morning of January 26, when the accident occurred 39 minutes after takeoff.

The victims were killed 'rapidly if not instantly' when the helicopter slammed into a hillside, according to autopsies released Friday. Their causes of deaths were listed as blunt trauma.

A National Transportation Safety Board report in February had revealed the helicopter was travelling at 184mph when it hit the hillside according to coroner's report, Ara Zobayan - the pilot - did not have alcohol or drugs in his system.

Also killed were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter's basketball team; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna´s teammates.

The reports by the Los Angeles County coroner´s office provide a clinical but unvarnished look at just how brutal the crash was, describing broken bones, dismembered body parts and a stench of fuel on what remained of clothing that burned.

The full report is 180 pages long, with 17 pages covering Kobe. It describes injuries to almost his entire body.

The report for Gianna noted that a basketball shirt which carried her number 2 on the back was found at the scene.

Among the drugs the pilot was tested for were benzodiazepines, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, marijuana, opioids, phencyclidine and amphetamines, according to the autopsy report obtained by 

The report on Bryant revealed the only drug in his system was methylphenidate, which is sold under the brand name Ritalin and used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.

The crash occurred when the helicopter flew into fog. Zobayan climbed sharply to try to get above the clouds, turned left and plunged into a hillside.

Federal authorities are still investigating the accident.

The NTSB released a preliminary report in February, which suggested that the pilot came very close to navigating the unfavorable weather conditions and steering the helicopter out the other side to safety.

It stated the aircraft was only 100 feet away from exiting the heavy cloud and emerging into better visibility.

However, instead of holding off for the short time and continuing to increase altitude, Zobayan appears to have attempted a maneuver moving the aircraft up and forward to quickly clear the clouds, reported aviation expert Mike Sagely.

'When he went into the clouds, he had a full on emergency,' Sagely said.

The pilot then likely made a fatal left turn, sending the aircraft hurtling into the steep terrain at more than 180 mph.

Sagely said that turning during the pop-up maneuver is 'catastrophic . . . 80 to 90 percent of the time.'

The report also details the helicopter pilot's contacts with air traffic control in the lead up to the crash, which support these findings.

The pilot had flown under special conditions lower to the ground while it navigated bad weather, but appeared to be climbing immediately before the crash.

The report states: 'The SCT controller then asked the pilot his intentions, to which he replied he was climbing to 4,000 feet. There were no further transmissions.'

It notes that the helicopter climbed to 1,500 feet above the highway, before beginning a left turn towards its destination.

The report adds: 'Eight seconds later, the aircraft began descending and the left turn continued. The descent rate increased to over 4,000 feet per minute (fpm), ground speed reached 160 knots.'

Investigators stated that the helicopter did not show any signs of engine failure.

They believe that since a tree branch at the crash site was cut, it appears the engines were working and rotors turning at the time of impact.

Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant, and surviving relatives of the passengers have sued pilot Zobayan and helicopter charter company Island Express for wrongful death.

Off-Topic / J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy
« on: May 16, 2020, 10:37:34 am »Message ID: 1325072
J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy and will shutter stores after struggling with debt amid coronavirus closures!

* J.C. Penney has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it was announced Friday
* The company has struggled for years with weak sales and competition from online retailers, discounters and specialty
   chains that squeezed its business
* The 118-year-old company said late Friday it will be shuttering some stores - although it has not announced how many
* CEO Jill Soltau said the decision was made 'to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our
* Penney is the fourth major retailer to go bankrupt amid the pandemic,  after Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Stage Stores
 * Many experts are skeptical about Penney´s survival even as it sheds its debt

J.C. Penney has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after  the already struggling department store chain was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of its reorganization, the 118-year-old company said late Friday it will be shuttering some stores - although it has not announced how many.

It said the stores will close in phases throughout the Chapter 11 process and details of the first phase will be disclosed in the coming weeks.

Penney is the fourth major retailer to go bankrupt amid the pandemic.

It is the biggest retailer to file for bankruptcy reorganization, and joins luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Stage Stores.

Plenty of other retailers are expected to follow as business shutdowns across the country have evaporated sales. In fact, U.S. retail sales tumbled by a record 16.4% from March to April.

'The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country,' said Penney's CEO Jill Soltau in a statement.

'As a result, the American retail industry has experienced a profoundly different new reality, requiring J.C. Penney to make difficult decisions in running our business to protect the safety of our associates and customers and the future of our company. '

Many experts are skeptical about Penney´s survival even as it sheds its debt and shrinks the number of its stores.

Its fashion and home offerings haven´t stood out for years. And moreover, its middle-to-low income customers have been the hardest hit by massive layoffs during the pandemic.

Many of them will likely shop more at discounters - if they shop at all, analysts say.

'This is a long, sad story,' said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, a retail research firm. 'Penney offers no reason to shop there compared to its competitors, whether it´s Macy´s or T.J. Maxx or Walmart. How are they going to survive?'

Penney said that it has $500 million in cash on hand and has received commitments of $900 million in financing to help it operate during the restructuring.

It said that it will be looking at different options, including the sale of the company. The restructuring should reduce several billion dollars of its debt and provide more flexibility to navigate the financial fallout from the pandemic, Penney said.

Like many department stores, Penney is struggling to remain relevant in an era when Americans are buying more online or from discounters.

Sears has now been reduced to a couple hundred stores after being bought by hedge fund billionaire and its former chairman Eddie Lampert in bankruptcy in early 2019.

Barneys New York closed its doors earlier this year and Bon-Ton Stores went out of business in 2018.

The pandemic has just put department stores further in peril as they see their sales evaporate with extended closures. Even as retailers like Penney start to reopen in states like Texas and Florida that have relaxed their lock downs, they´re also facing Herculean challenges in making shoppers feel comfortable to be in public spaces.

In fact, Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm, predicted in a report last month that more than 50% of all mall-based department stores will close by the end of 2021. It expects that Penney will eventually liquidate its business, noting that a smaller company won't solve its main problems.

Like Sears, J.C. Penney´s troubles were years in the making, marking a slow decline from its glory days during the 1960s through 1980s when it became a key shopping destination at malls for families.

The company´s roots began in 1902 when James Cash Penney started a dry good store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The retailer had focused its stores in downtown areas but expanded into suburban shopping malls as they became more popular starting in the 1960s. With that expansion, Penney added appliances, hair salons and portrait studios.

But since the late 1990s, Penney struggled with weak sales and heavier competition from discounters and specialty chains that were squeezing its business from both ends. Penney´s began flirting with bankruptcy nearly a decade ago when a disastrous reinvention plan spearheaded by then CEO Ron Johnson caused sales to go into free fall.

Johnson drastically cut promotions and brought in hip brands that turned off loyal shoppers. As a result, sales dropped from $17. 3 billion during the fiscal year that ended in early 2012 to $13 billion a year later. Many longtime customers walked away and have not returned. Johnson was fired in April 2013 after just 17 months on the job.

Since then, Penney´s has undergone a series of management changes, each employing different strategies that failed to revive sales. The company based in Plano, Texas, has suffered five straight years of declining sales, which now hover around $11.2 billion. Its shares are trading at less than 20 cents, down from $1.26 a year ago, and from its all-time peak of $81 in 2006.

Soltau has acted swiftly since joining the company in October 2018. She jettisoned from stores major appliances that were weighing down operating profits. That reversed the strategy of her predecessor, Marvin Ellison, who brought appliances to the showroom floor after a 30-year absence in an attempt to capitalize on the troubles of ailing Sears.

Soltau turned the company´s focus back to women´s clothing and goods for the home like towels and bed sheets, which carry higher profit margins. Furniture is still available, but only online.

Still, sales and profits have remained weak. For the fiscal fourth quarter ended Feb. 1, sales at stores opened at least a year dropped 4.7 adjusted for the exit of appliances. Profits were down 64%.

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