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Libra’s co-creator at Facebook touts progress after an exodus of key backers of the crypto coin – CNBC

The co-creator of Facebook-backed libra defended the cryptocurrency on Wednesday after a number of recent high-profile companies abandoned the effort.

Libra ran into issues Friday after Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay and Mercado Pago bolted. Booking Holdings, formerly Priceline, left Monday. Each of the companies would have potentially invested $10 million each into the project.

The digital currency will not be run by Facebook, but rather by a nonprofit association supported by a range of companies and organizations.

"It wasn't a tough week," said David Marcus, head of Facebook's Calibra digital wallet, which can serve as a way to store and exchange Libra. Calibra won't be the only wallet. It will interact with other Libra-accepted platforms.

"I would rather have all of these companies come with us," he added, saying that he understands companies have to respect shareholders who are skeptical of the digital coin.

Instead, Marcus pointed to Libra's progress in a "Squawk Box" interview. The founding members, including Uber, Lyft and Spotify, held their first meeting on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland where they settled on an organizational structure and a five-seat board of directors, including Marcus and representatives from Libra-backer Andreessen Horowitz, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

The goal of Libra using blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin on other cryptocurrencies is to make it as easy to send money across the world as it is to send a photo. But unlike bitcoin and others, Libra will be backed by more stable government-backed money.

Governments so far have been skeptical of the digital coin, with policymakers around the world upping pressure on libra. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to face Congress next week to answer questions on libra.

Though Marcus stressed on Wednesday that the project is just that: an idea with room for improvement. Libra, which was announced in June, is aiming to launch in the first half of 2020.

"It's kind of odd that all of this is happening at the stage of this project because it's a project. It's an idea. It's a whitepaper. Nothing is operating yet," he said when asked about the political pressure. "It's kind of sad in a way to see all the issues that we currently have with the current system."

Marcus, testifying before House lawmakers, also indicated in July that the group fully plans to move forward with libra.

When asked by Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., whether Facebook would postpone its launch plans until regulations were in place, Marcus didn't give a definitive answer. Waters said his answer "was not a commitment."

See the article here:

Libra's co-creator at Facebook touts progress after an exodus of key backers of the crypto coin - CNBC

Watch 76ers’ Ben Simmons Discuss the Progress of His Jumper: I’m Getting Better – Bleacher Report

Fernando Medina/Getty Images

The mere mention of the name Ben Simmons is almost always accompanied by a discussion of his jump shot, or more accurately the need for him to develop a reliable one.

The Philadelphia 76ers star point guard faces consistent questions about his jumper, and he was asked on Wednesday if the Sixers could reach their championship aspirations if he didn't shoot better, or if he even thought he needed to improve in that area:

"It's not that I don't need to do it. It's something that I'm working toward and getting better as a player. ... Everybody works to get better. ... And that's just my game. I'm confident in saying I'm not a great shooter. I'm getting better, though. But it's a game, it's five people on the court. I lack something that I'm not as great at but in other areas I'm very great. I run the floor as well as anybody, I'm physical, I can rebound the ball. I'm a 6'10" point guard, I can guard 1 through 5. [The jumper] is just one thing that's coming into my game, which I'm excited about, I love getting better. I love spending time in the gym and building that confidence."

It was an honest answer that showed his maturity.

AsPaul Hudrickof NBC Sports wrote: "[Simmons] has spoken to the media more than ever during training camp and coming into the preseason. He's focused more on becoming a leader and wanting to make sure his bevy of new teammates are up to speed on the team's terminology and concepts."

There's little doubt that an improved jump shot would not only make Simmons a truly elite player but would also make the 76ers much better. One of the issues with the pairing of Simmons and Joel Embiid is that Simmons' inability to space the floor often allows opponents to help off him and double Embiid in the post.

In the past, the Sixers have put Simmons in the dunker spot in the half-court offense or have pushed Embiid out to the perimeter. Neither option is ideal. But Embiid might have to take on an even bigger onus in the offense with Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick no longer in Philadelphia, meaning the days of hiding Simmons in the dunker spot are probably over.

Instead, head coach Brett Brownhas saidthat Simmons will often be positioned in one of the corners when he's off the ball in the half court. That means he'll see some open looks from three, and a willingness to take themand the ability to at least make some of themwill be vital for Philadelphia.

One positive for the Sixers? Simmons took a pull-up three before the buzzer at the end of the first half in a preseason game against theGuangzhou Long-Lions, sinking the bucket as the Philly fans and his teammates went berserk.

"The time went down," Simmons told reporters after the game, perKeith Pompeyof Philly.com. "I had the ball. So I had to take a shot."

It was the first three-point make of his NBA careerhe'd only attempted 18 (17 in the regular season), though many of them were end-of-quarter heavesand exactly what Philadelphia fans were hoping to see this season. Nobody expects Simmons to suddenly morph into Stephen Curry, but a willingness to take open perimeter shots and sink them at a decent clip would do wonders for Philadelphia's spacing and offense.

It's the next natural step in Simmons' evolution as a player, and he seems to be embracing it. That's good news for the Sixers and potentially very bad news for the rest of the NBA.

See more here:

Watch 76ers' Ben Simmons Discuss the Progress of His Jumper: I'm Getting Better - Bleacher Report

California and New York Show the Ugly Face of Progress – The Wall Street Journal

Dont be fooled by the dozen people on stage for Tuesdays Democratic presidential debate. For now, this is a two-person contest between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, who have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack in national polls and in the early-voting states.

We know that many liberal elites, particularly in the media, would prefer to replace President Trump with a hard-left Democrat like Ms. Warren. But if Hillary Clintons loss in 2016 taught us anything, its that the political preferences and sensibilities...

Link:

California and New York Show the Ugly Face of Progress - The Wall Street Journal

GM CEO meets with UAW negotiators, another sign of progress ahead of union leadership meeting – CNN

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"},{"title":"Unilever wants to halve its use of new plastic by 2025","duration":"02:25","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/07/unilever-plastic-halving-packaging-gold-firstmove.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/07/unilever-plastic-halving-packaging-gold-firstmove.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180212065619-cnnmoney-unilever-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/07/unilever-plastic-halving-packaging-gold-firstmove.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"Unilever has u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/07/business/unilever-plastic/index.html" target="_blank">committed to halving its use of new plasticu003c/a> by 2025. To get there, Unilever will offer more reusable and refillable packaging, and sell more "naked," or unwrapped, products. The company will also use more recycled plastic in its packaging. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/hadas-gold" target="_blank">Hadas Goldu003c/a> reports.","descriptionText":"Unilever has u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/07/business/unilever-plastic/index.html" target="_blank">committed to halving its use of new plasticu003c/a> by 2025. To get there, Unilever will offer more reusable and refillable packaging, and sell more "naked," or unwrapped, products. The company will also use more recycled plastic in its packaging. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/hadas-gold" target="_blank">Hadas Goldu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"US blacklists 28 Chinese organizations and companies","duration":"00:45","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/08/us-blacklists-chinese-organizations-companies-xinjiang-camps-romans-es-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/08/us-blacklists-chinese-organizations-companies-xinjiang-camps-romans-es-sot-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190605162432-china-us-flags-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/08/us-blacklists-chinese-organizations-companies-xinjiang-camps-romans-es-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"Washington is adding 28 Chinese companies, government offices and security bureaus to a United States blacklist over their alleged role in facilitating human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region. CNN's Christine Romans reports.","descriptionText":"Washington is adding 28 Chinese companies, government offices and security bureaus to a United States blacklist over their alleged role in facilitating human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region. CNN's Christine Romans reports."},{"title":"Jobs report: Unemployment at 50-year low","duration":"02:11","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/04/romans-september-jobs-report-lkl-unemployment-job-growth-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/04/romans-september-jobs-report-lkl-unemployment-job-growth-newday-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190904143420-august-jobs-report-expectations-190904-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/04/romans-september-jobs-report-lkl-unemployment-job-growth-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"The US government released its September report showing unemployment at its lowest rate since 1969 with 136,000 jobs added.","descriptionText":"The US government released its September report showing unemployment at its lowest rate since 1969 with 136,000 jobs added."},{"title":"US, UK, Australia urge Facebook to stop encryption plan","duration":"03:18","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/tech/2019/10/04/doj-uk-australia-zuckerberg-facebook-encrypt-messages-gold-lkl-first-move.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"tech/2019/10/04/doj-uk-australia-zuckerberg-facebook-encrypt-messages-gold-lkl-first-move.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191003152913-facebook-zuckerberg-encryption-file-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/tech/2019/10/04/doj-uk-australia-zuckerberg-facebook-encrypt-messages-gold-lkl-first-move.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"US Attorney General William Barr along with officials from the UK and Australia wrote an open letter urging Facebook to halt its end-to-end encryption plan. ","descriptionText":"US Attorney General William Barr along with officials from the UK and Australia wrote an open letter urging Facebook to halt its end-to-end encryption plan. 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CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich reports. ","descriptionText":"The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement with General Motors to end a 31-day strike by nearly 50,000 workers. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich reports. "},{"title":"Businesses struggle to stay afloat in Hong Kong unrest","duration":"02:58","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/intl_business/2019/10/14/hong-kong-protests-businesses-struggle-during-unrest-stout-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"intl_business/2019/10/14/hong-kong-protests-businesses-struggle-during-unrest-stout-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191007110808-03-hong-kong-unrest-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/intl_business/2019/10/14/hong-kong-protests-businesses-struggle-during-unrest-stout-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"The u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/10/12/asia/xi-jinping-balancing-act-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html" target="_blank">civil unrest that has shaken Hong Kongu003c/a> is taking a toll on small businesses. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kristie-lu-stout" target="_blank">Kristie Lu Stoutu003c/a> reports.","descriptionText":"The u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/10/12/asia/xi-jinping-balancing-act-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html" target="_blank">civil unrest that has shaken Hong Kongu003c/a> is taking a toll on small businesses. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/kristie-lu-stout" target="_blank">Kristie Lu Stoutu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"Watch Shepard Smith announce he's leaving Fox News","duration":"01:00","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/11/shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-orig.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/11/shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-orig.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191011165209-shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/11/shepard-smith-fox-news-departure-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"After 23 years with Fox News, chief news anchor Shepard Smith announced on his show that he's leaving the network. ","descriptionText":"After 23 years with Fox News, chief news anchor Shepard Smith announced on his show that he's leaving the network. "},{"title":"Trump: Trade talks between US and China going well","duration":"01:18","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/11/us-china-trade-talks-trump-meeting-sebastian-firstmove.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/11/us-china-trade-talks-trump-meeting-sebastian-firstmove.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191010173216-03-trump-1010-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/11/us-china-trade-talks-trump-meeting-sebastian-firstmove.cnn/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"As trade talks continue between the US and China, President Trump has signaled that negotiations are moving in a positive direction.","descriptionText":"As trade talks continue between the US and China, President Trump has signaled that negotiations are moving in a positive direction."},{"title":"He convinced the world's biggest brands to take a risk on reusable containers","duration":"03:47","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/07/risk-takers-terracycle-loop-tom-szaky-orig.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/07/risk-takers-terracycle-loop-tom-szaky-orig.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190917112315-20190917-rt-gfx-tom-szaky-terracycle-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/07/risk-takers-terracycle-loop-tom-szaky-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky convinced Nestl, Unilever and other brands to sign on to his reusable container initiative, Loop. 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CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/christine-romans" target="_blank">Christine Romansu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"Zero fee trading could have unintended consequences","duration":"02:10","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/09/zero-commission-online-brokers-phil-bak.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/09/zero-commission-online-brokers-phil-bak.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191009123340-20191009-markets-now-07-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/09/zero-commission-online-brokers-phil-bak.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"Zero commission trading sounds like a win for investors but Phil Bak, CEO of Exponential ETFs, warns there are potential consequences to be aware of when it comes to your data.","descriptionText":"Zero commission trading sounds like a win for investors but Phil Bak, CEO of Exponential ETFs, warns there are potential consequences to be aware of when it comes to your data."},{"title":"China censors a lot, from Winnie the Pooh to the NBA","duration":"01:56","sourceName":"CNN Business","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/08/china-media-censorship-nba-orig.cnn-business/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/08/china-media-censorship-nba-orig.cnn-business","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191007164318-south-park-apology-chinese-internet-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/08/china-media-censorship-nba-orig.cnn-business/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"China's censorship laws are decisive and broad, and they include everything from Winnie the Pooh to the NBA.","descriptionText":"China's censorship laws are decisive and broad, and they include everything from Winnie the Pooh to the NBA."},{"title":"Kroger and Walgreens to stop selling vaping products","duration":"00:58","sourceName":"HLN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/business","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2019/10/08/kroger-walgreens-stop-selling-vaping-e-cigarette-products-mxp.hln/index.xml","videoId":"business/2019/10/08/kroger-walgreens-stop-selling-vaping-e-cigarette-products-mxp.hln","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191007152446-kroger-e-cigarettes-blu-file-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2019/10/08/kroger-walgreens-stop-selling-vaping-e-cigarette-products-mxp.hln/video/playlists/business-news/","description":"Kroger and Walgreens announced they u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/10/07/business/kroger-will-stop-selling-e-cigarettes/index.html" target="_blank">will stop selling e-cigarette products.u003c/a> Kroger cites an "increasingly complex regulatory environment" as part of its decision. 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Original post:

GM CEO meets with UAW negotiators, another sign of progress ahead of union leadership meeting - CNN

Progress Partners Advises travAlliancemedia on Its Sale to Northstar Travel Group – Business Wire

BOSTON & NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Progress Partners, a Boston and New York-based M&A advisory firm, is pleased to announce that it has advised travAlliancemedia on its sale to Northstar Travel Group, a portfolio company of EagleTree Capital. The travAlliancemedia content and technology platform will extend Northstars reach to the travel advisory market at a time when consumers are looking for more curated travel experiences giving travel suppliers strategic access to a reemerging sales channel.

"The addition of travAlliancemedia's well-known brands serving the retail, home-based and independent travel advisory market complement Northstar's leadership brands including Travel Weekly US and TravelAge West serving the retail travel industry," said Thomas Kemp, Chairman & CEO of Northstar Travel Group. "The acquisition provides Northstar with an unparalleled portfolio of marketing services, online media, events, and marketing tools serving the travel advisory community and connecting travel suppliers and destinations to this audience," said Kemp.

The M&A advisory team from Progress Partners, which acted as financial advisor to travAlliancemedia in the transaction, was led by Senior Managing Director Chris Legg and Managing Director Chris Karl. The attention to detail, responsiveness, and thorough execution by Progress Partners was exemplary throughout the process, said Mark Murphy, founder and CEO of travAlliancemedia. Chris Legg reflected on the growth potential from the transaction, The combination of these two companies highlights the importance of the travel advisory market as an important conduit to an emerging class of travel enthusiasts. We are happy for the travAlliance team to join forces with the talented team at Northstar.

About Northstar Travel GroupNorthstar Travel Group is the leading B-to-B information and marketing solutions company serving all segments of the travel industry including leisure/retail, corporate/business travel, corporate and sports meetings, incentives, hospitality, and travel technology.

About Progress PartnersProgress Partners is a Boston and New York-based boutique M&A investment bank that works with technology companies, with sector focus in vertical categories including martech, adtech, fintech, ecommerce, and traveltech. Since 2002, we have aimed to work with exceptional entrepreneurial teams on solutions for growth. Our firm serves buyers and sellers of high growth companies to complete M&A transactions, raise debt or equity capital, as well as, develop and implement strategic growth plans. Securities offered by Applied Capital, LLC, member of FINRA and SIPC. Visit http://www.progresspartners.com for more information.

See the article here:

Progress Partners Advises travAlliancemedia on Its Sale to Northstar Travel Group - Business Wire

Schiff: ‘Dramatic Progress’ in Impeachment Inquiry, As Intel Committee Does the Job of Special Counsel – CNSNews.com

Chairman of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff speaks to reporters on October 15, 2019. (Photo by Eric BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House intelligence committee, told a news conference on Tuesday that his committee is making "dramatic progress" in its investigation of President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky, thanks to "courageous" State Department witnesses who have testified over the objections of the Trump White House.

Schiff also defended his committee's closed-door secrecy, saying Democrats are doing what "independent counsels or special prosecutors" have done in other cases leading to impeachment.

Republicans say Democrats are neither independent nor fair by insisting on secrecy and by selectively leaking information intended to damage President Trump. And it is a fact that Special Counsel Mueller was famous for not leaking.

"I think people need to understand the fundamental difference between where we are today with the Ukraine investigation and how the Russia investigation was conducted, how the Watergate investigation and how the Clinton investigation were conducted," Schiff said.

In each of those cases, there were either were independent counsels or special prosecutors doing the investigation, doing the initial investigative work, and that was all done behind closed doors. And it was done behind closed doors for a reason by those special counsels, and that is, there is a profound investigative-- not only interest but need -- to make sure that one witness does not have an opportunity to read another witness's testimony and either hide the truth or color the truth or know just how much they can give or how much they can conceal.

I'm sure the president would like nothing better than to have witnesses have the advatage of what others are saying. But there are reasons why special counsels Mueller did his investigation before a grand jury and not in public sight. There are reasons why the Watergate and Clinton special counsels did their investigations in like manner.

There is no special counsel investigation going on of the president's misconduct vis--vis Ukraine. None. Congress has to do it. And the reason there is none is because Bill Barr's Justice Department, when a referral was made to the Justice Department, said there's nothing to see here. And we don't even want to look, because the fundamental attitude of the attorney general is the president is above the law.

Well, the president's not above the law. But it has forced the Congress to do the initial investigative work that normally a special counsel would do. So there are good and sound reasons.

Schiff also pushed back on Republican criticism of the secret proceedings that allow only the Democrats to subpoena witnesses. Schiff said Republicans have as much opportunity to question witnesses as Democrats do -- but these are witnesses called by Democrats and seen as unfavorable to Trump.

Schiff said he anticipates releasing transcripts of the hearings eventually and calling back some witnesses to testify in open session.

'Dramatic progress'

Schiff said his committee has "learned much" in recent weeks, thanks to "the courageous testimony of State Department officials" who are "doing their duty" to testify over the objections of the Trump administration.

In the last couple weeks, I think we've made dramatic progress in answering some of the questions surrounding that July telephone call between President Trump and President Zelensky in which the President of the United States sought to coerce a vulnerable ally into conducting, I think, what can best be described as sham investigations involving his opponent and involving a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

We have learned that call was not in isolation. There was a great deal of preparatory work that was done before the call. There was a lot of followup work that was done after the call.

...

We are also learning a great deal on the issue of conditionality, that is, the effort to condition a White House meeting that was desperately sought by the Ukraine president in order to get a commitment from that president to do these political investigations on behalf of the president of the United States.

So we are learning about the conditionality of that meeting. And I want to underscore just how important that meeting was for Ukraine. It is, I think, at the very top "ask" of most countries to have a meeting with the President of the United States, but this is most particularly true for a country that has been invaded by its neighbor Russia -- that is in the midst of still a very hot conflict; that is dependent on the United States economically, politically, diplomatically and militarily to show that the new president had a good relationship with the President of United States.

And so that gave enormous leverage to President Trump to coerce what he wanted from the president of Ukraine.

Schiff also mentioned "a complete effort by the administration to stonewall," when it comes to requested documents from the State Department and the Pentagon.

"And were it not for the fact that at least some witnesses have given us documents, we would not know that there was a paper record of efforts to condition this meeting and perhaps condition military support itself on these political investigations Donald Trump wanted," Schiff said.

Read more from the original source:

Schiff: 'Dramatic Progress' in Impeachment Inquiry, As Intel Committee Does the Job of Special Counsel - CNSNews.com

Amarna Therapeutics Raises 10 million to Progress lead Development Candidate into Clinical Trials and Appoints a new Supervisory Board – Business Wire

LEIDEN, the Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amarna Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company developing a next-generation SV40-based gene delivery vector platform named SVac that promises to transform gene-replacement and immunotherapy across many disease areas, today announced that it has raised 10 million. The round was led by Flerie Invest AB, a Swedish investment company with another substantial contribution coming from an innovation credit from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) and existing shareholder Pim Berger.

The Company plans to use this funding to progress development of its SVac platform towards a first in man clinical study to commence in two to three years from now.

In addition to raising new funds, Amarna has recruited a new Supervisory Board to help underpin this new clinical phase of its growth and development. Thomas Eldered has been appointed as Supervisory Board Chairman. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Maarten de Chateau, Ted Fjllman, Pim Berger and Guillaume Jetten have also joined the Supervisory Board (see biographies at the end of the release).

Ben van Leent, CEO of Amarna said:We are very happy to have attracted such strong investors. This significant new funding allows Amarna to accelerate the development of SVac and our lead product AMA001, and to help us achieve our ultimate goal: to become a leading global gene therapy player.We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the members of our new Supervisory Board, led by the outstanding healthcare and biotech pioneer Thomas Eldered. They bring many years of in-depth life science knowledge and entrepreneurship to Amarna.

Thomas Eldered, new Chairman of Amarnas Supervisory Board, commented:Im very much looking forward to working at Amarna. Its viral gene delivery vector platform has the potential to make major medical breakthroughs possible, so that patients can be actually cured of significant diseases for which, to date, effective treatment have not become available. Together with my highly qualified and experienced colleagues in our new Supervisory Board, Im fully committed to help progress Amarna into the next important clinical stages of development of its groundbreaking technology.

SV40 Vectors are non-immunogenic in humansViral gene delivery vectors that are currently used for in vivo gene therapy are ineffective because the particles are instable upon injection (in the case of lentiviral vectors) or because the particles are immunogenic in humans (in the case of AAV vectors). Gene delivery vectors derived from the macaque polyomavirus Simian Virus 40 (SV40) are an attractive alternative to lentiviral and AAV vectors for clinical gene therapy. Humans can be considered nave to SV40 since the virus only replicates in macaques, where it causes symptomless infections. Replication-defective SV40 vectors are non-immunogenic in humans and moreover, have the capacity to induce immune tolerance to the transgene products. SV40 vectors therefore hold a great potential for clinical applications treating genetic disorders, cancer, allergies and degenerative/inflammatory conditions such as neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and many more.

Amarnas SVac platform: the benefitsAmarna has genetically engineered the SV40 genome used for the production of vector particles and in parallel generated a novel Vero-based packaging cell line named SuperVero that produces similar numbers of vector particles to the currently used packaging cell lines but without contaminating wild type SV40 particles. Since SVac is safe, highly efficient, non-immunogenic in humans and vector particles can be cost effectively produced in SuperVero cells, Amarnas vector platform paves the way to clinically evaluate a whole new generation of SVac-based therapeutics for todays major diseases.

Notes to Editors

About Amarna TherapeuticsAmarna Therapeutics is a privately held Biotech company founded in 2008 with its head office in Leiden, The Netherlands, and with a research facility in Seville, Spain. The company has developed the SVac viral gene delivery vector platform, the key to the success of gene replacement therapy and therapeutic reverse vaccines. SVac is safe, highly efficient and non-immunogenic in humans, creating opportunities to treat diseases with high unmet clinical need including genetic disorders, degenerative/inflammatory/autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cancer.

About Flerie Invest ABFlerie Invest AB is a Venture Capital firm located in Stockholm Sweden focused on life science investments globally.

About the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl)The Netherlands Enterprise Agency operates under the auspices of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and stimulates entrepreneurs, NGOs, knowledge institutions and organizations. The agency aims to improve opportunities, strengthen positions and help realize international ambitions with funding, networking, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations.

New Supervisory Board member biographies

Thomas Eldered received a graduate degree from Linkping Institute of Technology and founded Swedish listed pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing company Recipharm AB. Presently, Thomas is Chief Executive Officer at Recipharm AB and at the Board of several companies including Kahr Medical Ltd, Provell Pharmaceuticals LLC, and Sixera Pharma AB.

Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum studied biochemistry and physiological chemistry at the University of Konstanz and received his PhD in 1989. He moved on to work at the Rockefeller University and the Pasteur Institute before making a career in the pharmaceutical industry where he covered a broad range of technological and disease areas. In his most recent position, Bernhard served as head of Global Research and Early Development at Merck Serono where he was a member of the board. Currently he holds further Supervisory Board and SAB positions at Omeicos, Redx, FutuRx, Enlivex, KAHR and BioMedx.

Dr. Maarten de Chteau is Chief Executive Officer at Swedish biotech Sixera Pharma and Buzzard Pharmaceuticals, focusing on the development of drugs that restore the balance in diseased skin and cancer respectively. Maarten has extensive experience in pharmaceutical clinical development at Sanofi and Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi). Prior to that he worked as a financial analyst at two investment banks and conducted basic research at Lund University and Harvard Medical School. Maarten was the founder and CEO of Cormorant Pharmaceuticals, leading the development of an immune-oncology project. Cormorant was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2016.

Dr. Ted Fjllman is the CEO of Prokarium, a London-based biotech, focusing on targeted oral vaccines and microbial immunotherapy. Ted has worked for clinical research and strategy consulting firms and built two early-stage companies. Ted holds a PhD from the University of Guelph, Canada, and has been recognized as a leader in biotechnology under the Sloan Foundation funded Synthetic Biology Leadership Accelerator Program (LEAP). He is a member of the international Bacterial Vaccines Network (BactiVac) management board, as well as an active member in the UK Bio-Industry Association (BIA).

Pim Berger is CEO and co-founder of Dutch IT company Schuberg Philis and one of Amarnas pioneering informal investors for over 10 years. He was managing director Netherlands of SiteSmith Inc., a US-based Internet infrastructure management services company. In 2000 SiteSmith Inc. was acquired by Metromedia Fiber Network Inc. (MFN) in a transaction valued at approximately $1.4 billion. Pim became Senior Vice President of MFNs European Region. In a management buyout by Pim and two partners in 2003 the Benelux subsidiary of MFN Inc. became Schuberg Philis.

Before this, Pim held several senior executive positions at Dutch IT companies Pink Elephant and PinkRoccade (now part of KPN). He holds a masters degree in computer engineering and economics from the Hogeschool IJsselland.

Guillaume Jetten is the CFO of Netherlands based MercachemSyncom, a leading European mid-sized contract research organization. Guillaume has been working in the healthcare industry for most of his career. He held positions at Merck, Sharpe & Dohme, and served as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Wolters Kluwer Health. He also worked as CFO for Galapagos between 2009 and 2014. Guillaume holds a masters degree in economics from the University of Maastricht and is a Certified Registered Accountant.

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Amarna Therapeutics Raises 10 million to Progress lead Development Candidate into Clinical Trials and Appoints a new Supervisory Board - Business Wire

Most Chicago-area rivers continue to fall some flooding still in progress – WGN TV Chicago

Area-wide most rivers in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana are falling. Moderate flooding continues on the Pecatonica River at Shirland. Minor Flooding is occurring on the Fox River north of Algonquin to south of Montgomery and the Rock River at Rockton and Latham Park. A Flood Advisory for near bankfull conditions exists at Byron and Dixon on the Rock River.

The latest Hydrologic River Stage/Flood Forecast Summary issued by the Chicago National Weather Service follows:

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Most Chicago-area rivers continue to fall some flooding still in progress - WGN TV Chicago

Sons of Italy progress – KETV Omaha

ALEXANDRA: BACK IN OMAHA, A BRAND NEW SIGN ON 10TH STREET SHOWS PROGRESS AFTER A FIRE DESTROYED THE HISTORIC SONS OF ITAL >> THIS THING IS GOING TO BE A CROWN JEWEL ON 10TH STREET WITH ALL OF THE REGROWTH AND BUILDINGS GOING ON HERE. WE ARE QUITE EXCITED TO BE A PART OF IT. ALEXANDRA: ITS BEEN NEARLY THREE YEARS SINCE THE FIRE AT 10TH AND BRIGGS. AN ANONYMOUS DONOR COVERED WHAT INSURANCE WOULDNT TO REBUILD. AS FOR THAT NEW SIGN, OMAHA NEON SIGN COMPANY DONATED IT TO SONS OF ITALY.

Sons of Italy progress

Updated: 8:48 PM CDT Oct 15, 2019

A brand new sign on 10th street shows signs of progress after a fire 3 years ago destroyed Sons of Italy hall.Dan Matuella, State President, Sons of Italy says "this is going to be a crown jewel on 10th street, with all the regrowth and building going on. We are quite excited to be a part of it."Omaha Neon Sign Company donated the sign to the fraternal order.

A brand new sign on 10th street shows signs of progress after a fire 3 years ago destroyed Sons of Italy hall.

Dan Matuella, State President, Sons of Italy says "this is going to be a crown jewel on 10th street, with all the regrowth and building going on. We are quite excited to be a part of it."

Omaha Neon Sign Company donated the sign to the fraternal order.

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Sons of Italy progress - KETV Omaha

NYCFC making progress on and off the pitch – MDJOnline.com

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd,racist or sexually-oriented language.PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.Don't Threaten. Threats of harming anotherperson will not be tolerated.Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyoneor anything.Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ismthat is degrading to another person.Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link oneach comment to let us know of abusive posts.Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitnessaccounts, the history behind an article.

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NYCFC making progress on and off the pitch - MDJOnline.com

ASN: The Nightmare in Toronto reveals little progress in Berhalter’s first year – AmericanSoccerNow.com

For over a month, Canada was talking about wanting to beat the United States. Last night, they backed up their talk over a U.S. team that lacked desire and had neither desire nor confidence. That should be a huge concern.

The U.S. team was thoroughly played off the field by Canada on Tuesday night in a 2-0 loss in Toronto. And the loss could have been far worse too. The U.S. team dodged a bullet when Mark Anthony Kaye had to leave the game early with a hamstring injury.

Once again, the U.S. team was disjointed and the most telling fact is that the U.S. team played far, far below the sum of its parts. Canada has some similarities with the U.S. right now in terms of the make up of its players. Both teams still have portions of its core that play domestically (and it can be argued that many of the domestic-based players for the U.S. team are in better form with their clubs too). Both teams also have a number of young players who have moved to big European teams.

But in terms of the ability to take a group of players and put them into a collective unit? That was not similar at all. Canada had a true collective unit on the field with properly defined roles. The U.S. team had players who looked like deer in the headlights.

Its hard to say no one saw this coming. Canadian players and fans have been talking about this game for months. They wanted this game. The knew they could win it.

Following the game, Gregg Berhalter said he was disappointed by a lack of desire. Thats telling because that is on him. What is also telling is that confidence and desire go hand in hand. A lack of desire is often a symptom of problem, not the problem itself. What's the reason for a lack of desire?

Teams only have desire if they are confident in what they are doing. This U.S. team has no basis at all to feel confident. With performance after performance, there is no sense of that this team can play beyond its talent level and play with team it used to.

For old-time fans, its particularly disappointing because the very elements that the U.S. team is missing right now used to be its hallmark.

In the 1990 and into first few years of the millennium, the U.S. team used to come together and almost will itself to win games few people thought were possible. Beating Argentina 3-0 at the 1995 Copa America, beating the likes of Portugal and Colombia at the World Cup, never letting Mexico push its way around (particularly at home). These results came with desire and confidence. The system and team culture were built on a philosophy of always being one of the hardest working national teams in the world. It often a direct style that wasnt always attractive soccer, but it was effective.

Then heading towards 2009 and 2010, the U.S. team just added better players onto this system and team culture. Right now, the U.S. team is trying to add some decent players into a system that isnt working. Having players at Chelsea, Schalke, Werder Bremen, and Newcastle is fine but it only works if the system works and the culture is positive.

One retired former U.S. national team player put it best to me recently when he asked: Why cant we just look to be a better version of ourselves? What he meant was that he hoped the U.S. team would always keep its old identity while looking to improve the player pool in future generations. But somewhere along the way, the U.S. team lost its core identity. Of course, this predates Berhalter (the 2015 Gold Cup was the first time it was apparent that opponents were outworking the U.S. team on a regular basis), but so far, Berhalter isnt doing much to fix the problem despite trying to overhaul the player pool.

Watching Canada last night was like watching the old United States games when the team was looking to make a name for itself in the international arena. The players always had a chip on their shoulder trying to change the perception that Americans didnt play this sport. The U.S. team lost games during that era, for sure, but it was never due to a lack of desire or confidence. The teams reputation is that it always worked extremely hard and treated every game as final. That was Canada last night.

Canada won every 50-50 ball. Canada had the extra energy at the end of the game and Canada had the killer instinct.

Berhalters admission of a lack of desire on the team is alarming. The core bedrock principle of the best-performing U.S. teams (that he was also a part of) is missing. And its tough to get back.

Its at a point where Berhalter is at a crossroads. The Canada game was a perfect representation of a World Cup qualifier and the U.S. team failed miserably. It is on him to have this team believing they can get results in hostile environments, punch above their weight, and then compete against very good teams. Right now, that seems to be getting further away with every passing international window.

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ASN: The Nightmare in Toronto reveals little progress in Berhalter's first year - AmericanSoccerNow.com

It Looks Like it’s Working! NASA InSight’s Mole is Making Progress Again Thanks to the Arm Scoop Hack – Universe Today

NASA and the DLR are making some progress with the Mole. The Mole has been stuck for months now, and NASA/DLR have been working to get it unstuck. After removing the moles housing to get a better look at it with InSights cameras, the team came up with a plan.

The team is using the scoop on the end of the landers instrument arm to exert sideways pressure on the Mole. That pressure is pushing the Mole against the side of its hole, supplying the friction the instrument needs to continue hammering its way below ground.

There arent a lot of details on the progress right now. All NASA has given us is a tweet. In the gif, you can see the Mole working its way a little deeper.

The Mole is the short name for the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument. Its role is to hammer its way to a maximum depth of five meters (16 ft.) and to measure the interior temperature of Mars. Its a key part of InSights overall mission to learn about the Martian interior and how it and other rocky planets formed.

But the Moles mission has suffered setbacks. After being carefully deployed, the Mole began hammering into the surface only to strike a rock (Or so its thought. There was no way of seeing in the hole.) For a while, it looked like the Mole might work its way around the rock, but unfortunately it became stuck and made no further progress.

The Mole was provided by the DLR, the German Aerospace Center. The DLR team operating the Mole ruled out a rock, and thought that the Mole might be stuck because of the nature of the Martian soil itself. The Mole relies on friction between itself and the sides of the hole its creating to hammer itself further into the ground.

But the soil where its operating is too crusty and isnt falling into the hole. NASA describes it as a kind of duricrust, a cemented soil thats different than other soil on Mars, and a type they didnt expect to encounter. The duricrust as about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) thick, hidden by the loose surface material above it. When they deployed the Mole, they had no way of knowing the duricrust would be there. Rather than flowing into the Moles cavity and filling up space and providing the necessary friction, the duricrust is stubbornly refusing to help the Mole penetrate.

The first attempt to counter the duricrust was to push down on the soil around the hole with the scoop on the end of the instrument arm, to try to compact it against the Mole. That, the InSight team thought, would restore the required friction. But that didnt work. The Mole was positioned near the furthest reach of the arm and the scoop, and the mechanics meant the scoop couldnt push down very hard.

Then they decided to try something else. With the HP3s support structure removed, they used the scoop to push directly on the Mole sideways, to force it into contact with the hole.

According to NASAs tweet, this might be working. But we cant be certain yet.

The Mole has a maximum operating depth of 5 meters (16 ft.) but it can work at a shallower depth. At 2 meters it can do useful science, but at its current depth it cant measure anything.

Stay tuned for updates on the InSight landers Mole.

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It Looks Like it's Working! NASA InSight's Mole is Making Progress Again Thanks to the Arm Scoop Hack - Universe Today

Sports Pistons still in the murky middle, hoping to show progress 10:55 AM, Oct 16 – WXYZ

DETROIT (AP) In a league with so many teams either contending or rebuilding, the Detroit Pistons haven't been doing much of either.

What they did do last season was make a playoff appearance, a rarity in recent years. Now the challenge is to build on that.

"Not saying we're ready for a championship, but we're taking some big steps," coach Dwane Casey said. "This is a bridge. We're going across it, to continue to improve offensively, defensively, to get to our ultimate goal, which is to win a championship."

The Pistons have resisted the win big-or-tank model that seems to be all the rage in the NBA. Two seasons ago, they gave up a first-round draft pick in a trade for Blake Griffin. That wasn't enough to put them in the playoffs in 2018, but they made it a season ago and were immediately swept by Milwaukee. There's still a clear gap between Detroit and the top teams in the league, but there's also enough talent on hand that the Pistons could rise a bit in the Eastern Conference.

Last season was only the second playoff appearance in 10 seasons for this franchise. Winning a round would be another step forward.

"We're not here just to get by, or just to get into the playoffs," said Casey, who is entering his second season at the helm. "We want to do big things, and we're building that foundation."

With Griffin and center Andre Drummond under big contracts, the Pistons haven't had much roster flexibility and Detroit hasn't been a prime destination for free agents. If the Pistons are going to make anything more than mild improvement, they'll probably need some unexpected contributions, perhaps from a recent draft pick like Sekou Doumbouya, a first-rounder this year who doesn't turn 19 until December.

Detroit also brought in Derrick Rose, the former MVP who has battled injury problems but may still have some upside at age 31.

"Just to be completely candid, there are teams on paper who are more talented, or have more guys that are regarded as more talented, I guess," Griffin said. "But I think we have the mindset to come in and compete every night, and if we do that I said this last year I think the fans, the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, will get behind us."

HEALTH

Griffin managed to play in 75 games last season, a good number given his spotty injury history, but he began having knee problems at the very end and missed two playoff games. That obviously wasn't ideal, so keep an eye on his minutes this season as the Pistons try to keep him as fresh as possible.

POINT GUARD

Reggie Jackson has had an erratic tenure with the Pistons. He averaged 18.8 points per game in 2015-16 but hasn't reached that level since. His assist and turnover rates both dropped slightly last season, with Detroit able to run its offense through Griffin if need be. Now Rose has arrived, and although his minutes will probably need to be managed, it will be interesting to see who Casey trusts in crunch time.

YOUNG PLAYERS

Luke Kennard is the only one of Detroit's recent first-round picks still making a significant contribution for the team. He can give the Pistons 3-point shooting and some offensive punch off the bench. Bruce Brown, a second-round pick in 2018, played 20 minutes a game last season, averaging 4.3 points.

OTHER ADDITIONS

Aside from Rose, the Pistons also added a potential contributor in Tony Snell, who averaged 6.0 points for Milwaukee a season ago. Joe Johnson is also with Detroit now, but after not playing in the NBA at all last season, he'd likely be at the end of the roster if he makes the team.

TEAR IT DOWN?

The Pistons have been loath to give up on their current path, sticking with the trio of Griffin, Drummond and Jackson, but a poor start this season could bring about a tipping point. Owner Tom Gores indicated he wants to keep Drummond, but there's been no agreement yet on an extension. It may now be a bit easier for the Pistons to move on from Drummond and/or Jackson if things are clearly going south.

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Sports Pistons still in the murky middle, hoping to show progress 10:55 AM, Oct 16 - WXYZ

Chicago-area rivers continue to fall some flooding still in progress – WGN TV Chicago

Area-wide rivers in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana are falling. Moderate flooding continues to be reported/forecast on segments of the Rock River at Latham Park and the Pecatonica River at Shirland. Minor Flooding is occurring on the Fox River north of Algonquin to south of Montgomery and the Rock River at Rockton. A Flood Advisory for near bankfull conditions exists at Byron and Dixon on the Rock River and Russell on the Des Plaines River.

The latest Hydrologic River Stage/Flood Forecast Summary issued by the Chicago National Weather Service follows:

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Chicago-area rivers continue to fall some flooding still in progress - WGN TV Chicago

Dont get too excited about progress on Trumps greatest and biggest deal ever – MarketWatch

The greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country, as President Trump described it, triggered a broad rally Friday. But the buying momentum has faded with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.08% and S&P 500 SPX, -0.20% kicking off trading this week on a weaker note, with buyers wary amid a report China wants more talks.

Check out all the trading action in Market Snapshot.

Indeed, our call of the day, suggests last weeks push higher move may have been overdone, considering the lack of meat to the announcement.

Morgan Stanley MS, +0.61% says those who are banking on this trade deal wrapping up are getting ahead of themselves and that the deal with China is an uncertain arrangement at best, according to a note from the banks strategists Michael Zezas and Meredith Pickett.

There is not yet a viable path to existing tariffs declining, and tariff escalation remains a meaningful risk, they wrote in the note to clients. Thus, we do not yet expect a meaningful rebound in corporate behavior that would drive global growth expectations higher.

Nevertheless, investors seem to be focusing on the silver lining. Trump said Washington will suspend a tariff hike planned this week on $250 billion of Chinese goods, in return for China agreeing to buy as much as $50 billion of American farm goods. Future hikes remain in place, though.

For real progress to be made, Morgan Stanley says it will need to see more progress on issues like enforcement and intellectual-property protections.

Until such evidence is available, we must conclude that this pause is more uncertain than durable, the strategists wrote.

Kevin Muir, strategist at East West Investment Management, calls this illustration from Crescat Capitals Tavi Costa his new favourite chart.

Tavis chart illustrates clearly the market is completely complacent about inflation, Muir wrote on Twitter TWTR, -0.92% . Yeah, I know the deflationists will argue that it will resolve itself with a GFC-type-bust. Maybe, but true financial crises occur when something happens that NO-ONE-BELIEVES-CAN-HAPPEN.

While traders are understandably preoccupied with the trade deal, the third-quarter earnings season kicks off this week with the first reports expected Tuesday from big banks JPMorgan JPM, -0.23% , Goldman Sachs GS, +0.46% and Citibank C, -2.42% , along with fellow Dow components Johnson & Johnson JNJ, +1.75% and UnitedHealth Group UNH, -0.67% .

Away from the markets, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador caught up in the latest White House controversy, is expected to tell Congress his text message reassuring another envoy that there was no quid pro quo in their interactions with Ukraine was based solely on what President Trump told him. Stay tuned.

Theres lots of build-up heading into Tuesday nights Democratic presidential debate, and with Elizabeth Warren challenging Joe Biden for the front-runner label, the backdrop is significantly different from prior discussions.

12.4% Thats how much Brown Universitys $4.2-billion endowment rallied in fiscal 2019. No other Ivy League school managed to beat the S&P 500s SPX, -0.20% 10.4% over the same time period, Barrons reported.

Banks are closed for Columbus Day, and there are no economic releases on the schedule. Notable reports coming up this week include retail sales figures and September housing starts, due out Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Oversubscribed! The utter failure of cutting the cord.

Ken Fisher is paying the price for his inappropriate comments.

Alex Trebek gets real about his situation.

Should we soak the rich? Absolutely!

This dark video was shown to a bunch of Trump supporters at the presidents Miami resort last week, according to the New York Times.

Need to Know starts early and is updated until the opening bell, but sign up here to get it delivered once to your email box. Be sure to check the Need to Know item. The emailed version will be sent out at about 7:30 a.m. Eastern.

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Dont get too excited about progress on Trumps greatest and biggest deal ever - MarketWatch

Review Of The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card – LowCards.com

Nearly everyone would benefit from an increase in their credit score. This is especially true if you have struggled with your finances in the past. One way to improve your credit profile is to obtain a secured credit card that reports your monthly activity to the countrys major credit bureaus. If you use the card wisely, this may start to slowly improve your credit score. One card that may help you build your credit profile is the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card.

Synovus Bank issues the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card. Located in Columbus, Georgia, Synovus has close to 300 branches throughout the southeastern United States. The bank was formed in 1888, and used to be known as the Columbus Bank and Trust Company.

There are some drawbacks to the card. If you do not pay off your balance in full one month, you will be assessed a fairly significant interest rate of 20.74% (V). The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card does carry a fairly reasonable $29 annual fee which is charged immediately upon approval. But First Progress does not operate in four states, so consumers will not be able to obtain the card if they live in Arkansas, New York, Iowa or Wisconsin.

If you have a checkered financial history which has resulted in a poor credit score, you may want to consider the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card. The card is fairly easy to obtain, since consumers are not required to have a credit history or good credit score. The issuing bank reports your monthly activity to the major credit bureaus, so the card can help you build your credit profile if used properly. While the card has a fairly low annual fee of $29 for a secured card, the APR of 20.74% (V) is almost twice as high as the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card. So consumers may want to consider that card if they plan on carring a balance at any tme from one month to the next. Neither of these First Progress cards are offered in four statesNew York, Iowa, Wisconsin and Arkansasso if you live there, you should definitely not apply for these cards.

If you do have a low credit score, you need to immerse yourself into building that score. This can have a positive effect on future loans and a number of other things in your life. Here are some things to do:

Step 1: Make a Personal Budget

It is critical to know how much money you are bringing in as well as how much money you are spending on a monthly basis. Keep a record of all your expenditures for several months. Jot down every dollar spent and put those expenses into certain categories. This will give you an idea of where your money is going. Study this to see where you may be able to cut back in your spending. Also, figure out how much money you are earning each month on a take-home basis. Once you have come up with your monthly revenue and expenses, you can see how much money you can put toward paying your outstanding debts.

Step 2: Take Stock of Your Current Credit Situation

There are two financial tools that you need to obtain: your credit report and your credit score.

All Americans have the opportunity to get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus each year: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You can obtain these directly from the agencies or can go to annualcreditreport.com. Once you receive these reports, take a close look to see if there are any suspicious accounts that have been opened in your name, or any errors on the report. Incorrect data could be harming your credit score and also be a sign that your identity has been compromised. If you do spot any incorrect information, write a letter to the credit agency, requesting the removal of that information.

These reports may also give you some insight as to what may be leading to a low credit score. There are five different factors that make up any credit score: Payment History (35%), Credit Utilization (30%), Length of Credit History (15%), New Credit (10%), and Credit Mix (10%). A close look into each of these factors may give you an idea on how to improve your situation.

Payment HistoryThe most important element of your credit score is your payment history. If you make a late payment on any credit card bill, it could have a detrimental effect on your credit score. It is critical to make on time payments on every bill you receive. If this presents a challenge to you, take advantage of some of the tools that are available from your issuer. Most credit card companies have the ability to send you an email or a text when your bill is about to become due. You may want to pay your credit card bill automatically from your checking account. If you are mailing your payment, make sure you allow enough time for delays that may occur with the postal system. If you make payments on time for a year, you may see your credit score start to increase.

Credit UtilizationThe second biggest factor in your credit score is your credit utilization. This is a mathematical calculation of the amount of debt you have divided by your available credit. Credit experts say you should use no more than 30% of your available credit. So if you have $12,000 available on your credit cards, you should not carry a balance over $3,600. If you are in a situation where you have a significant amount of debt, you need to pay down that debt as quickly as possible. Here is where the budget will come in handy. You will be able to see how much money you can put toward paying down your debt each month. If you cut down your expenses by $100 one month, then put that $100 toward paying off your credit card balance. Not only will it help your credit utilization, but you also wont be penalized the high interest rate on that $100 going forward. If you have debt on several credit card accounts, determine which one has the highest interest rate and pay off that one as quickly as possible. Make the minimum payment on all cards every month, but put as much money as you can on paying off the balance on the card with the highest interest rate. Once that is paid off, move on to the card with the second highest interest rate. Continue this until you have paid off the balance on every card.

Length of Credit HistoryThere may be a temptation to close some of your credit card accounts when you are trying to increase your credit score. But it is better to keep those accounts open, especially the older accounts. One of the factors of your credit score is your length of credit history, so keeping accounts open is beneficial to your score. Credit bureaus take into account the age of your credit accounts and create an average age. Closing an older account will decrease the average age of your accounts and might lead to a decline in your credit score. Closing an account has another negative impact: it lowers your available credit on that account which has a negative effect on your credit utilization score.

New CreditWhen trying to increase your credit score, stay away from applying for multiple credit cards. Chances are you will not be approved for that card with a low score; and if you were approved, it would likely be at a steep interest rate. Secondly, every time you apply for new credit, the issuer does a hard pull on your credit report. Too many hard pulls in a short period of time may negatively affect your credit score.

Credit MixIssuers like to see a good variety of accounts on your credit report. This is the fifth factor of your credit score called the credit mix.

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card could be a good way to begin improving your credit and may provide some opportunities to you for better credit card offers in the future. But if you think you may carry a balance from one month to the next, you may want to consider another First Progress card, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card.

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Review Of The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card - LowCards.com

The residential colleges: progress or problem? – The Vanderbilt Hustler

Residential colleges are a core component of Vanderbilts FutureVU initiative, but some students have questioned whether the new living spaces actually create active and engaged communities, noting feelings of isolation in the new dorms.

The residential colleges were initially meant to address issues of self-segregation among the student population at Vanderbilt, according to Senior Director of Housing Operations Jim Kramka.

One thing that the university noticed was that Vanderbilt undergraduates self-segregated in various ways, Kramka said. That was not consistent with the university Vanderbilt wanted to be or wants to be.

Vanderbilt began the Residential College project in 2012 when the university broke ground on Warren and Moore Colleges. The initiative was inspired by the success of the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, which first opened its doors in 2008.

In 2016, two years after the completion of Warren and Moore Colleges, Vanderbilt continued its expansion of the residential college system by beginning the construction of E. Bronson Ingram College (EBI). EBI was officially opened to students in fall 2018, and construction of a third residential college is currently underway.

According to Kramka, different housing patterns have emerged within subsects of the student population. Students involved in Greek life often chose to live in Branscomb or Towers suites, while other students were dispersed elsewhere on campus. The upper class residential college system was developed to intentionally bring these students together in diverse communities.

I would never want a single in Kissam or EBI, because people say that it is very isolating and quiet, junior Jenny Pigge said.

This sentiment was echoed by Kayla Bach, a sophomore EBI resident.

Im in a suite with three of my friends, which is so nice, but I do think if I was in a single or a double it would be different just because its so quiet, Bach said. In EBI, everyone keeps their door closed, and the halls are always quiet. You kind of have to know people and plan to go to their room versus just walking out and meeting people.

Mattigan KellyThe front of Branscomb, a dormitory built in 1962 that is described as loud, social dorm that is a popular choice for students in Greek life. (Photo by Mattigan Kelly)

The residential colleges are intended to diffuse the effects of student self-segregation, but it is possible that self-selection continues to play a role in this new student experience. According to Bach, many freshmen in Greek life did not even apply to the residential colleges because they wanted to live with their friends in Branscomb.

One student chose to leave the residential colleges due to its detached environment.

I left Kissam to become an RA, but my reason for leaving was also mostly social, former Warren resident Douglas Finnegan said. I had a hard time engaging with people in the common room, and people always kept their doors shut. It seemed like people werent looking to make new friends.

Finnegan is now a resident adviser in Branscomb. In his experience, the atmosphere in Branscomb is opposite that of the residential colleges, as it provides a loud, social environment that fosters new friendships and connections.

While some students find the residential colleges to be lacking in community and connection, others have enjoyed their time in the new dorms.

I think that theyve been very intentional by allowing for facilities that can help build community and have better programming, Warren College RA Dallas Wilson said. I dont think the top-down approach is going to be successful though, where people from the top say This is what the students need.

EBI RA Amaya Allen said that shes had an amazing experience in the residential college and thinks that students are beginning to create a sense of culture in EBI. For Allen, the residential college was essential in transitioning out of living on Commons.

For the first time, I felt like I had a base, and it was almost ripped right out from under me, Allen said. Res colleges stepped up and helped me build a new one, and for that Im very appreciative.

One student expressed that he didnt mind the quiet nature of the residential colleges. Moore resident Carson Fallon said that in the beginning of the year, the separation from friends in Branscomb felt more prominent, but the distance has become a positive of living in Moore.

Its nice to come back home to something thats more calm, Fallon said.

While Fallon said he felt connected with people on his floor, he thought that Residential Education programming events felt forced.

We are in an early phase of the residential college system and how to work with the facilities, and again, this is where we have to learn from students, Kramka said. We must ask What is it about the residential colleges that might make you feel isolated?

Kramka was optimistic about the future of the residential colleges and believed that students would eventually develop intentional uses for the various spaces in the new buildings.

Those patterns and uses have not yet been established by the students themselves, said Kramka. This will take time.

Read more:

The residential colleges: progress or problem? - The Vanderbilt Hustler

Professor: Progress Toward Warp Drive Has Been "Enormous" – Futurism

Full Speed Ahead

Warp drive is, arguably, the holy grail of space exploration. With a propulsion system capable of faster-than-light-speed travel, humanity could reach distant corners of the galaxy and beyond.

Unfortunately, warp drives have long been relegated to the realm of science fiction but according to aerospace engineering professor Jason Cassibry, scientists are getting closer to cracking the physics of a warp drive straight out of Star Trek.

Cassibry teaches at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, where he advises undergraduate student Joseph Agnew, author of a recently published warp drive study that got the scientific world buzzing.

In a recent interview with Motherboard, Cassibry noted that theoretical progress toward building warp drives has been enormous thanks to the efforts of Agnew and other researchers.

Theoretical progress is one thing, though physically building a warp drive is another, and as Cassibry noted in his interview with Motherboard, scientists still have a long way to go before they reach that latter goal.

Still, the first step toward building anything is making it work on paper, and the increasing scientific interest in warp drives could lead to the creation of a system that actually lets us zip around space at a speed faster than light. Some day, anyway.

READ MORE: This Student Is One of the Top Scientists Studying Faster-Than-Light Warp Drives [Motherboard]

More on warp drive: The US Secretly Funded Research on UFOs, Wormholes, and Warp Drives

Read more here:

Professor: Progress Toward Warp Drive Has Been "Enormous" - Futurism

Good talk: 3D printing leaders weigh in on additive’s progress – The Fabricator

In recognition of national ManufacturingDay, celebrated Oct. 4 this year, Desktop Metal hosted a roundtable discussion about additive manufacturing.

Titled Additive Manufacturing: The Next Frontier, the panel was comprised of Ken Washington, chief technology officer at Ford Motor Co.; Ric Fulop, co-founder and CEO of Desktop Metal; and John Hart, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. The moderator was Terry Wohlers, president of Wohlers Associates.

Topics discussed during the roundtable included:

Degree of AM adoption to date.

Acceptance of the technology at the C-suite level.

The road ahead.

Design flexibility and the changing role of the designer.

How 3D printing fits into digital manufacturing.

The next generation of engineers.

Will AM change the world? (Hint: Yes!)

"Additive Manufacturing: The Next Frontier" panel (from left): Terry Wohlers, Ken Washington, Ric Fulop, and John Hart. Credit: Desktop Metal

The panelists and moderator shared two sentiments, which each expressed in their own way.

One is that manufacturers are just starting to understand the transformative capabilities of 3D printing.

Additive, said Fords Washington, lets us see the glimmer of a future where we will be able to make things we cant make any other way.

The second sentiment is that AMs a technology thats going to evolve and make an impact on manufacturing for a long time.

Additives growth is on a really long arc, said Desktop Metals Fulop. I think this industry is going to grow for 100 years.

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Good talk: 3D printing leaders weigh in on additive's progress - The Fabricator


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