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Modern Appealing Clothing, with its unremarkable front entrance cut into a drab tan building on San Francisco’s Grove Street, is easy to ignore. But step inside, and you begin to discern the store’s many treasures: dresses and coats with exotic patterns, neon-ball adorned pillows in the shape of abstract faces, free-form paintings of googly-eyed swans, bookshelves not with volumes of verse but glass heads, and hand-printed posters decorate the space. Enlarged artistic replicas of a honey-colored suit and a flowered sundress loom above the clothing, like ghostly disembodied giants.

Ben Ospital, his sister Chris Ospital, and their mother, Jeri Ospital, founded the “fashion-forward” boutique in 1980. In its two San Francisco stores, clothes by well-known designers such as Comme des Garcons and Dries Van Noten hang next to small, independent labels. Their reputation for cutting-edge style secure, the Ospitals are also known as staunch supporters of arts and social justice nonprofits in the city.

And on March 16, the Ospitals broadened their portfolio by suing Ivanka Trump’s clothing line for what they say is its unfair competition with clothing boutiques around California. In a class-action suit filed in San Francisco County, Modern Appealing Clothing (also referred to as MAC) claims that Ivanka Trump Marks LLC—which sells business casual attire, dresses, and accessories at department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Dillard’s nationally and in California—has gained an unfair advantage now that Ivanka’s father, Donald Trump, is president. Since the election, the plaintiffs assert, Ivanka Trump’s brand and its employees have exploited “the power and prestige of the White House for personal gain.”

The complaint also claims that the president himself has used his power to help Ivanka’s brand thrive—for example, by publicly condemning Nordstrom after the retailer dropped the line. (A Nordstrom spokeswoman quickly clarified that the decision to drop Ivanka Trump’s brand was “based on performance.”) White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also endorsed Ivanka Trump’s products in an interview on Fox News—from the White House briefing room, with the White House insignia visible behind her.

These promotional activities magnify the unfair advantage Ivanka Trump LLC gained when its founder—who has since left her post running the company and transferred its assets to a trust controlled by her relatives—started “working for the president of the United States,” the plaintiffs state. As the Washington Post reports, Ivanka disputes the assertion that she technically works for her father, but she has both a security clearance and an office in the White House. Between January and February, from Trump’s inauguration to his first months in office, the Ivanka Trump clothing line’s sales shot up 346 percent. Since February, the brand has enjoyed “some of the best performing weeks” in its history, a spokeswoman said in mid-March. Some of those sales are unfair profits at the expense of other California boutiques, argue the MAC plaintiffs, who seek a court order that would stop the allegedly unlawful promotional behavior. A spokeswoman for the Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment.

It’s not exactly clear why MAC’s owners felt that they should be the ones to file the suit against Ivanka Trump; neither they nor their lawyers would comment about the subject for this story. But theirs is only the latest chapter in a long line of controversies surrounding the Trump family’s business entanglements. Earlier this month, as my colleague Russ Choma reported, the owners of Cork Wine Bar in Washington, DC, filed a lawsuit alleging that the nearby Trump International Hotel has an unfair competitive advantage in its ability to attract lobbyists and interest groups hoping to curry favor with the president. “We feel the president of the United States owning restaurants, promoting restaurants, is unfair and to the detriment of other restaurants,” one of the plaintiffs told Choma. The MAC lawsuit echoes this sentiment: “My clients just want an even playing field,” R. Michael Lieberman, the Ospitals’ attorney, told Courthouse News Service.

But the Ospitals aren’t the most unlikely candidates to spearhead such a confrontation either. Located in San Francisco, they are business owners in a progressive city in a state that’s increasingly establishing itself as an anti-Trump stronghold. Growing up in Stockton, California, “we all had a radical streak,” Ben told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2016. “At 12, I was making signs for United Farm Workers protests.” After the Ospitals opened the boutique’s first location in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, art collector Dodie Rosekrans and even Madonna paid visits. (During her “Like a Virgin” tour, “she bought a bra out of patchwork fabric,” Ben told the Chronicle.) The director, John Waters, claims MAC is his favorite clothing store; the owners have this “status-free, age-free concept of fashion,” notes journalist Cintra Wilson. The Ospitals have been involved with California College of the Arts, and have for many years displayed work by artists from Creativity Explored and Creative Growth, organizations that work with adults with developmental disabilities.

A pillow made by an artist from Creative Growth, pictured at Modern Appealing Clothing

The Ospitals say that since they filed the suit, they’ve received lots of support. But that won’t tip the scales in court: California attorney and law blogger Kent Schmidt, who specializes in unfair business practices, wrote in his blog, LeftCoastLaw, that he is “doubtful that the lawsuit will survive a motion to dismiss.” It will be tricky to prove that Ivanka Trump Marks LLC or its employees “engaged in this allegedly ‘unfair’ business practice as opposed to merely benefiting from ill-advised comments of others,” he wrote.

University of California–Berkeley law professor Prasad Krishnamurthy sees a little more hope. California business code prohibits unfair competition under illegal, unfair, or fraudulent acts. Since the federal ethics code restricts government officials from making commercial endorsements, the MAC lawsuit could hinge its argument on the premise that Ivanka Trump’s agents in the White House broke the law in promoting her products. Krishnamurthy adds that the remedy for the MAC lawsuit is fairly limited, which might mean a judge could interpret “unfair” pretty broadly in this case. Whatever the outcome, the suit is “symbolic in a way,” Krishnamurthy says.

Shirley Juster, a tall woman in a leopard jacket and not a strand of hair out of place in her honey-colored bob, has been shopping at MAC for 30 years. The first thing she purchased was a “sculpted terrycloth bathrobe”; since then, she’s tried to buy at least one or two pieces from the store every season. Upon learning of the Ospitals’ lawsuit this week, “I felt I should come in and say hello and let them know I appreciate their efforts,” she said, turning to examine a black wool sweater with fluttery sleeves on the racks.

Racks of jackets at Modern Appealing Clothing

 

Source: Mother Jones

CBS Sunday Morning today featured a piece from Ted Koppel on America’s serious divisions and a back-and-forth between Koppel and Fox News’s Sean Hannity on the subject.

Koppel opened by talking about the “alternate universes” Americans are living in these days, running clips of people like Hannity, John Oliver, and Tomi Lahren in talking about the people who are “driving the country further and further apart.”
Source: Live Leak

Conflicting reports are emerging of the death toll and extent of damage caused by a collapsed building in west Mosul last week (March 17).

Iraq’s military claims some 61 bodies were recovered from the site after ISIL militants booby-trapped the building with explosives.

The statement, which refers to an incident in the al-Resala neighbourhood of the city, casts doubt on earlier accounts by local authorities. They reported up to 200 civilian deaths in an air strike led by the US-led coalition, which targeted ISIL fighters and equipment in the Jadida district.

A spokesperson for the Iraqi armed forces said there was no sign of a coalition air strike on the building.

This further heightened the confusion surrounding the March 17 incident. On Saturday, US officials said they were investigating an air strike on that date at “the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties.”

Iraqi forces are battling to fully recapture Mosul, ISIL’s last major stronghold in Iraq.

Recent fighting has focussed on the al Nuri mosque, from which ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate almost three years ago.

According to UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, nearly 700 civilians have died since the offensive in west Mosul began last month (February 19). Hundreds more are said to flee each day, but some 600,000 are believed to remain in the besieged area of the city.
Source: Live Leak

http://x2t.com/3/france

Like Brexit and Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen could defy predictions to become president of France later this year, Goldman Sachs strategist Bobby Vedral has said, noting how “political correctness leads people to lie in the polls.” Global head of Goldman Sachs’ MarketStrats group, Vedral said the market is too complacent over the upcoming election in France. This week, he sent customers his analysis by email which read: “while the base case is that she won’t, it is at best naive, at worst negligent to assume she can’t.” While he agrees with polls, which show arch-globalist former banker Emmanuel Macron will be made president of France in May, the strategist cautioned that there is data in the surveys which raises doubts.
Source: Live Leak


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Our advocacy for marijuana is based purely on medical grounds. We don’t support people abusing the plant. Before you take marijuana, it should be on a concrete reason. The plant should serve a specific and important purpose for you – health wise.

For those in the United States who are fortunate to have access to marijuana, we recommend you consult a health expert who knows about the efficacy of the plant before taking it. We are starting this educative campaign, and will report on views of various health experts who are familiar with marijuana.  We are doing this because we certainly know marijuana will soon be accepted nationwide in the United States, and most likely, around western nations across the world.

medical marijuana

Currently, Canada is said to be moving closer to allowing the use of marijuana. New regulations on the plant are expected to take effect this summer. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that a new marijuana law is ready to take effect in the country.

But before this is done, health experts are providing significant education to the Canadian public regarding how best they can make use of medical marijuana. The medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at George Washington University, Mikhail Kogan recently told Canadian Press in an interview that taking marijuana up the butt is actually much more effective than smoking it. Dr Kogan revealed rectal administration of the plant allows it to function effectively in the body, but because people nowadays are not comfortable with such administration of drugs, it mostly becomes difficult convincing people to attempt this method.

medical marijuana

“Rectally is actually a lot more preferred because of the volume of absorption. You can put a lot more and it gets absorbed a lot better, but not everybody is open to this way of administration,” he said.

Dr Kogan is not the only health expert recommending Canadians take marijuana via the rectum. A dispensary based in the province of British Columbia, Kootenays Medicine Tree, has also said suppositories are a good option for people who are seriously ill; they can take large doses that activate quickly and don’t give patients a high.

Health experts supporting marijuana are recommending the rectal administration of marijuana due to some reports suggesting smoking marijuana can have adverse health effects. The Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse (CCSA) recently reported “Smoking cannabis may be even more harmful to a person’s airways and lungs than smoking tobacco, since cannabis smoking often involves unfiltered smoke, larger puffs, deeper inhalation, and longer breath holding.”


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medical marijuana

Although the CCSA report needs further studies, it is necessary we find another option to be able to use the plant without any adverse side effects. Therefore, health experts are recommending this method.

According to observers, Canadians would probably find it difficult to follow this recommendation. However, this isn’t new to the United States.

Vaginal marijuana suppositories that are meant to reduce menstrual pain are said to be on sale in some states where medical marijuana laws have passed in the United States.

As marijuana increasingly becomes popular in the United States, so too does its popularity in Canada. A study conducted recently revealed almost half of Canadians have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime.

medical marijuana

In the United States, the number of Americans using marijuana is rising at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, a poll published by the American research company Gallup Incorporated revealed the percentage of American adults who smoke marijuana has nearly doubled in three years.

In 2013, Gallup poll revealed that 7 percent of American adults smoke marijuana, but the same poll in 2016 found the figure had increased to 13 percent. Marijuana advocates say the sharp rise in marijuana use in the country is due to successes in educating the American public about medicinal and other beneficial values of the plant. People are responding to the education and are ridding their former negative perceptions about the plant.


This article (Medical Medical Marijuana via the Rectum is Safer, More Powerful than Smoking It) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.


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In 2016, a group of notorious hackers infected more than 10 million Android phones and tablets with the HummingBad malware system. Researchers from security firm Check Point Software Technologies claimed the malware installed more than 50,000 fraudulent apps each day, displayed more than 20 million malicious advertisements, and generated more than $300,000 per month in revenue.

That was last year, and the culprits were hackers with malicious intent.

In March 2017, Check Point Software Technologies performed a malware scan and detected a severe infection in 36 Android high-end Smartphones and Tablets manufactured by a number of famous brands including Samsung, LG, Asus, and Lenovo.

Distributed by two unidentified firms, a telecommunications company and a multinational technology company, these Android devices were found pre-installed with malware programs. Check Point mobile threat researcher Daniel Padon told Ars:

“This finding proves that, even if a user is extremely careful, never clicks a malicious link, or downloads a fishy app, he can still be infected by malware without even knowing it. This should be a concern for all mobile users.”

According to Check Point, the malicious apps were not part of the official ROM supplied by the vendor; they were added during the supply chain and manufacturing process. Check Point’s security experts wrote in a blog post:

“Six of the malware instances were added by a malicious actor to the device’s ROM using system privileges, meaning they couldn’t be removed by the user and the device had to be re-flashed.

“Most of the malware found to be pre-installed on the devices were info-stealers and rough ad networks, and one of them was Slocker, a mobile ransomware. Slocker uses the AES encryption algorithm to encrypt all files on the device and demand ransom in return for their decryption key. Slocker uses Tor for its C&C communications.


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“The most notable rough adnet which targeted the devices is the Loki Malware. The malware displays illegitimate advertisements to generate revenue. As part of its operation, the malware steals data about the device and installs itself to system, allowing it to take full control of the device and achieve persistency.”

A few of the infected Android devices that put your safety at risk are:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
  • Samsung Galaxy A4
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
  • Oppo N3
  • Oppo R7 plus
  • Vivo X6 plus
  • Asus Zenfone 2
  • Xiaomi Redmi
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
  • Lenovo A850
  • Lenovo S90

Though Check Point confirmed that none of the manufactures mentioned in its analysis they were installing malware, Samsung and Lenovo are reviewing the findings. A Xiaomi spokesperson told the INQUIRER:

“In a report concerning preinstalled malware on Smartphones, Check Point stated that the ‘malicious apps were not part of the official ROM supplied by the vendor, and were added somewhere along the supply chain’. We can confirm that the malware listed do not come with any official ROM on Xiaomi Smartphones. Xiaomi takes security very seriously and strongly recommends users go through official channels when buying our Smartphones to ensure they receive the official version of MIUI.”

If your Smartphone/ Tablet is on the list of infected devices, you would either need to root your device and uninstall the malware apps or you would need to completely reinstall the Smartphone/ Tablet firmware/ROM via flashing. To be on the safer side, download and run highly regarded malware scanners as soon as you first fire up your new Smartphone/ Tablet.


This article (ICYMI: Famous Brands’ High-End Android Smartphones Found Hiding Pre-Installed Malware) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.


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The big news now in the Northeast Asian regions is the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployed to South Korea by the US. The US claims it is alarmed by North Korea’s increasingly provocative behavior in the Korean Peninsula, hence the deployment of the weapon to protect South Korean and US interests.

THAAD is an advanced anti-ballistic missile system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles in their terminal phase. The method, naturally, unnerves any nation situated within its range.

THAAD

The US and South Korean actions have angered the regional powers, China and Russia. These two countries are not only regional powers but also major world players. South Korea allowing the US to deploy a volatile weapon like THAAD at their doorsteps, is the equivalent to a national security threat to their countries. There is no doubt that if the deployment of THAAD occurred in Mexico by China or Russia, the US would construe it as military aggression. Both countries have issued a joint statement demanding that South Korea back down from installing the weapon.

Nonetheless, the South Korean government isn’t ready to listen to the concerns expressed by the two regional heavyweights. South Korean officials have said they expect the missile system to start operating this year. One unidentified official even said he believes the weapon, in its entirety, could be deployed by the end of August.

Although Russia is worried about the installation of the weapon in the region, it is only moderately expressing its concerns.

THAAD

China, on the other hand, is taking a more radical approach. China argues that THAAD could be used to track its military operations. As a result, China has launched a special economic pressure against South Korea, aiming to deter it from installing the weapon.  The world’s most populous country has called on its citizens to boycott all things from South Korea.

The South Korean government has already signed a land swap deal with the multinational retail conglomerate, Lotte.  The deal will see Lotte exchanging its golf course for another location. The golf course will then become the future home to THAAD.  Lotte has business interests in China. The company was due to take a multibillion dollar real estate project in China, but Chinese officials have canceled the deal. Citizens too are responding to the call to boycott South Korean products or services. This is taking a heavy toll on South Korean companies doing business in China.

“No one wants to shop here when our government is having some sort of dispute with South Korea. Luckily we don’t have angry protestors around so we can still operate,” a Chinese saleswoman at Lotte Supermarket in Beijing’s Chongwenmen district told Forbes in an interview.

THAAD

The state-run newspaper, China Youth Daily wrote a full editorial supporting the boycott of Lotte. The paper said: “Lotte turned over its land to the South Korean government out of so-called national security concerns. Such reckless behavior will be boycotted by Chinese consumers, who have every right to say no to this company.”


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The extensive economic losses have resulted in mass closures of Lotte stores across China.

Apart from the Lotte boycott, China has also denied visas to South Korean pop stars who were due to perform in the country. China has also removed South Korean television dramas and broadcasts, and has ordered all online travel agencies to stop selling South Korea-related tour packages.

Particularly on tourism, the new measure will hit South Korea hard. According to statistics by the Korea Tourism Organization, Chinese travelers accounted for half of all visitors to the country in 2016. A popular Chinese travel agency, Tuniu, said the company took down South Korea-related products because customers’ demand has sharply reduced, following the arrival of the THAAD missile defense system.

THAAD

The Swiss bank, Credit Suisse reports that if the travel ban is left in place by China, it could lead to a 20% (equivalent to $261 billion) decline in South Korea’s Gross Domestic Product growth this year. The bank currently forecasts the South Korean economy to grow at 2.5%.

Many analysts believe this economic pressure will compel South Korea to think twice before installing the weapon.

“They [Chinese officials] believe it is feasible to get a reversal of the THAAD decision by putting an economic impact on the big [South Korean] companies. But the deployment might already be partly completed and hard to reverse”, said Andrew Gilholm, director of Greater China & North Asia analysis at consultancy Control Risks.

In fact, Chinese citizens have responded positively to the boycott call from their leaders. This isn’t the first time Beijing has used nationalism as a diplomatic weapon. In 2012, China encouraged its citizens to boycott Japanese products following Tokyo’s control of disputed islands in the possibly resource-rich East China Sea.

South Korea will elect its new president in May, following the ouster of Park Geun-hye over corrupt practices. Whether the new president reconsiders the country’s decision on THAAD is to be seen. The Chinese are planning another strong economic measure to disrupt business fortunes of South Korean consumer electronic giants, including Samsung and LG.


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For every single bullet or bomb fired by United States forces, more people are driven into the hands of militants. The War on Terror continually misses its target, rarely hits the terrorists where it counts, and the Pentagon continually misconstrues the facts. Simply put: innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of United States’ firepower. Since the United States started the War on Terror in the Middle East in 2001, literally countless amounts of civilians have lost their lives in the region.

In February 2016, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed a record high count in civilian deaths and injuries caused by the United States’ War on Terror in Afghanistan the previous year. UNAMA said Afghan civilian casualty figures in 2016 – killed or maimed from the war – stood at 11,418.

civilians dead

Recent raids by the United States military on alleged al-Qaeda training camps in Syria and Yemen left over 100 innocent people dead, according to human rights groups monitoring the situation in the two restive countries.

Currently, the United States is leading a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria, claiming to be targeting members of ISIS. The airstrikes started in 2014. The Pentagon continually states that since the airstrikes began, ISIS has been losing ground, and that civilians are safe in the two countries.

civilians dead

However, independent reports emerging from areas where the bombing campaigns are taking place, show contrary to the Pentagon’s claim. Civilian deaths are soaring.

In Syria, the city of Raqqa, located on the northeast bank of the Euphrates River is the de facto capital of ISIS. On March 20, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that over 33 people were killed in an airstrike on a school in a village west of Raqqa.

civilians dead

The rights group said the building in al-Mansoura was being used as a shelter for displaced people, when it was hit by a United States-led airstrike. Another activist group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), said as many as 50 families are missing after the devastating strike on the building. Residents of the village told activists that displaced families from Raqqa, Homs and Aleppo provinces were living in the school.

RBSS again reported that 20 civilians were killed by coalition air strikes on the town of Tabqa, an area close to Raqqa. The Syrian Observatory said the al-Mansoura air strike meant at least 116 civilians – including 18 children and 23 women – had been killed by coalition air strikes between February and March. RBSS even puts the civilian death toll in the Raqqa area at 134.

civilians dead


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The Pentagon announced recently that the coalition against ISIS is supporting an offensive by an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters aimed at capturing Raqqa. As part of an operation to isolate the city by the coalition, helicopters airlifted the Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters behind ISIS lines.

This operation paved the way for the indiscriminate bombing of areas close to Raqqa. Meanwhile, the areas being bombed are populated by civilians. Common sense would tell the coalition to first evacuate vulnerable civilians before even airlifting the Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters to its enemy lines.

As this sickening and appalling slaughter of innocent civilians continues in Syria; in the city of Mosul, located in northern Iraq, the situation is no different. Early this year, the Iraqi military and Arab tribal fighters launched a special operation to retake the city from ISIS.

These anti-ISIS fighters are backed by the United States-led coalition. The coalition provides air support for the ground fighters. The operation has therefore increased the number of bombs dropped by the coalition in and out of areas close to Mosul. These areas are densely populated, and of course, civilians are not a priority for the coalition.

 

The United Nations is now reporting that the Mosul region has suffered the highest number of civilian casualties among Iraq’s provinces since February 2017, due to the new operation to retake the area from ISIS. According to new figures by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), in February, a total of 329 civilians across Iraq have been killed and 613 others injured. The majority of these people were victims of the coalition-led airstrikes, as well as rocket and artillery fire from the Iraqi military.

Even UNAMI said it didn’t get full access to areas being constantly bombarded by the coalition and the Iraqi military. It revealed the death toll could be much higher than what is initially estimated.


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