Slave To The System Thu, 16 Sep 2021 03:35:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Slave To The System 32 32 Could the next Austin City Limits Music Festival event be canceled? Thu, 16 Sep 2021 03:03:21 +0000

The Pecan Street Festival and Bat Fest were each canceled recently after the city of Austin denied them special event permits. With the Austin City Limits Music Festival just three weeks away, many are wondering if ACL is next.

“The Austin Center for Events understands how important special events are to Austin’s culture and our economy,” said Brydan Summers, director of consumer services at Austin Center for Events.

Summers with Austin Center for Events, or ACE, explains that this is why ACE has actively reviewed its COVID-19 security guidelines for allowing events to return to Austin.

“At the start of the pandemic, ACE did not allow special events, but in April we implemented a new process when conditions improved and ACE began issuing special event permits,” he said. Summers said.

However, the new ACE guidelines for indoor and outdoor events have left popular Austin festivals like Bat Fest and the Pecan Street Festival canceled because the city refused their special event permits.

“Currently, the current permit requirements for indoor events with more than 1,000 attendees or outdoor events with more than 2,500 attendees must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours before the event [or proof of vaccination], you have to maintain social distancing and you have to have blackout areas and outdoor events where social distancing is not possible, ”Summers said.

The Pecan Street Festival was one of the events unable to follow these updated guidelines. The festival has already had to cancel three times previously due to COVID and had to cancel again weeks ahead of schedule.

“The town that met us and she told us they should more than likely turn us down if we couldn’t provide proof of vaccination or proof of non-COVID testing,” said Shannon Sedgwick, president of the Old Pecan Street Association and Pecan Street. Festival. “First of all, we don’t sell tickets so there’s nowhere we could check this out and there aren’t any doors because it’s wide open on Sixth Street for everyone to see. can enter. “

However, Austin City Limits Festival announced on its social media that it will follow these protocols, a step ahead that could mean the festival is still awaiting further additions to the ACE COVID protocol.

“[ACL] could still be canceled if things go as badly as they are now in the city of Austin and our numbers continue to rise and deaths, so it is very possible that they will find out at the last minute as well ” , Summers said.

ACE says public safety is its top priority. They will continue to work closely with Austin Public Health and review its COVID security requirements as necessary.

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SpaceX Inspiration4 Launches Four People into Orbit on Company’s First-ever Tourism Mission Thu, 16 Sep 2021 02:43:00 +0000 The launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida was dramatically illuminated by floodlights against the night sky, and when the nine SpaceX rocket engines ignited just after 8 p.m. ET, they flooded the surrounding wetlands. of a flame of light as it soared into the upper atmosphere and made a dramatic and ghostly light show above. After reaching orbital speeds – over 17,000 miles per hour – the capsule carrying the four passengers detached from the rocket and began to maneuver into its intended orbit.

The team of amateurs – which includes a billionaire who self-funded the mission, a cancer survivor, a community college teacher and a Lockheed Martin employee – strapped into their 13-foot SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. wide Wednesday afternoon before their SpaceX rocket roared for life and detonated the capsule in orbit. The crew will remain aboard their capsule for three days as it flies over orbit before returning on Saturday for a landing off the coast of Florida.

For the next three days, passengers will float around the capsule as it circles the planet once every 90 minutes, traveling at over 17,500 miles per hour, while passengers float and admire panoramic views of the Earth. To top off the trip, their spaceship will dive back into the atmosphere for a fiery re-entry and splash off the coast of Florida.

Splashdown is currently scheduled for Saturday, but that could change if weather or other issues cause an earlier or later return. The capsule contains enough food and supplies to about a week.

This is only the third crewed launch from U.S. soil in the past decade.

The crew includes 38-year-old billionaire Jared Isaacman, who personally funded the trip; Hayley Arceneux, 29, childhood cancer survivor and current medical assistant at St. Jude; Sian Procotor, 51, geologist and community college teacher with a doctorate; and Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Lockheed Martin employee and longtime space fan who claimed his seat through an online raffle.

The four passengers will spend the entire mission aboard the SpaceX capsule, a 13-foot-wide gumball-shaped spacecraft that detaches from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket after reaching orbital speeds and was originally built for carry NASA astronauts.

And yes, during the three days in space, passengers will all have to share a special non-gravity toilet located near the top of the capsule. No showers will be available and the crew will all have to sleep in the same reclining seats they will use during launch.

SpaceX is hoping this will be the first of many similar tourist missions, paving the way for a future where it’s as common to take a space trip as it is to jump on a plane. And the Crew Dragon capsule is SpaceX’s first stop on the way. Although it was designed and built under a contract with NASA and intended to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, SpaceX still owns and operates the vehicle and is licensed to sell seats or missions. whole to whom the companies wish it. And with that, SpaceX and its space tourism customers can design the entire mission – from selecting the flight path and training regiment to choosing which foods passengers will munch on in orbit.

At a press briefing on Tuesday night, Sembroski, the 42-year-old who obtained his ticket via a raffle, told reporters joining the Inspriation4 mission felt like “we write the rules, we break them. a few that NASA used to demand … We can sort of do it our way. “

This is far from the first time that civilians have traveled in space. Although NASA has been opposed to hiring non-astronauts on routine missions after the death of Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire teacher who was killed in the Challenger disaster in 1986, a cohort of wealthy amateurs thrill ride paid its own way to the International Space Station in the 2000s through a company called Space Adventures. American investment management billionaire Dennis Tito became the first to self-fund a trip in 2001 with his eight-day stay on the International Space Station, and six more have come after him. They all booked rides alongside professional astronauts aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

This mission, however, has been touted as the start of a new era of space travel in which average people, rather than government-selected astronauts and the occasional adventurer with deep pockets, wear the mantle of the space exploration.

But to be clear, we are still far from that reality, and this trip is still far from “average”. This is a one-time, personalized mission funded by a billionaire founder of a payment processing company, and while pricing details have not been made public, it likely cost over $ 200 million. . (According to a government report, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule costs around $ 55 million per seat.)
Jared Isaacman during deployment to Launch Complex 39A on September 11, 2021.
Isaacman – who will become the third billionaire to self-fund space travel in the past three months and the first to purchase orbit travel on a SpaceX capsule – presents the mission as one that he hopes will inspire future space adventurers. Hence the name of the mission, Inspiration4. He’s also using it as the centerpiece of a $ 200 million fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, of which $ 100 million he personally donated and the rest he hopes to raise through online donations and at an auction scheduled to start Thursday. Items will include a ukulele that Sembroski will play in space and 66 pounds of beer hops.

So far, the fundraiser has brought in $ 31 million of its goal of $ 100 million.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Christa McAuliffe’s home state.

Exclusive-HRW: Eritrean and Tigrayan forces killed and raped refugees | World news Thu, 16 Sep 2021 02:02:00 +0000

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Eritrean soldiers and Tigrayan militias raped, detained and killed Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, an international rights watchdog said Thursday.

The Human Rights Watch report details attacks around two camps in Tigray, where local forces have clashed with the Ethiopian government and their Eritrean allies since November in a conflict that rocked the Horn of Africa region.

Tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees live in Tigray, a mountainous and poor province of about 5 million people.

The Tigrayans were suspicious of them because they were of the same nationality as the occupying Eritrean soldiers, the Eritreans because the loyalty of the refugees was suspect after they fled their homeland.

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“The gruesome killings, rapes and looting against Eritrean refugees in Tigray are clearly war crimes,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), whose work – reported for the first time by Reuters – based on interviews with 28 refugees. and other sources, including satellite imagery.

Eritrea’s information minister did not immediately respond to calls for comment, but Eritrea has previously denied the atrocities and said its forces had not targeted civilians.

A spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray said that official Tigrayan forces in uniform had only recently moved into the area and that it was possible that abuses were committed by local militias.

“It was mainly last month that our forces moved to these areas. There was a huge Eritrean army presence there,” Getachew Reda told Reuters. “If there were vigilante groups operating in the heat of the moment, I can’t rule it out.”

International investigators were invited to visit the area, he said.

Prior to the Tigray conflict, Ethiopia hosted around 150,000 Eritrean refugees fleeing poverty and authoritarian rule.

Much of the report focused on two camps – Shimelba and Hitsats – destroyed during the fighting. HRW cited figures from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR that 7,643 of the 20,000 refugees then living in Hitsats and Shimelba camps are still missing.

The UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said it was “appalled” by reports of “immense suffering” in the refugee camps, which it was unable to access from November to March.


Eritrean forces arrived in the northern town of Hitsats on November 19, killed residents, looted and occupied the refugee camp, HRW said. Some refugees aided the direct looters, a resident told HRW.

“In every house, people have been killed,” a resident told HRW.

Four days later, Tigrayan fighters attacked an area near the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Hitsats camp, killing nine refugees and injuring 17, HRW reported.

“My husband had our 4 year old on his back and our 6 year old in his arms. As he came back to help me enter the church, they shot him, ”a refugee told Human Rights Watch.

Two dozen residents of Hitsats town were reportedly killed in clashes that day, HRW reported.

The report states that HRW was unable to determine the extent to which formal Tigray forces directly command the local Tigray militias operating around Hitsats.

Soon after, Eritrean soldiers arrested two dozen refugees, who were never seen again, HRW said. They also returned the 17 injured refugees to Eritrea.

Eritrean forces withdrew from the Hitsats camp in early December. Tigrayan forces returned on December 5, sending the refugees to flee under attack.

Refugees around the villages of Zelasle and Ziban Gedena, northwest of Hitsats, said they were the target of gunfire and grenade attacks. The Tigrayan forces marched the fleeing refugees towards Hitsats, shooting at some laggards, the refugees reported to HRW. Some women also said they were raped by Tigray fighters as they fled. A 27-year-old woman said Tigrayan fighters raped her along with her 17-year-old sister.

The Tigrayan forces withdrew from the Hitsats on January 4, HRW said. Eritrean forces returned, ordered the remaining refugees to leave, and then destroyed the camp.

In the northernmost camp, Shimelba, Eritrean forces killed at least one refugee, raped at least four others and killed local residents, HRW said.

Violence and severe food shortages have forced some refugees to return to Eritrea. Others fled south to two other camps, Adi Harush and Mai Aini. Tigrayan forces took control of these camps in June and refugees have reported killings and looting.

“We are extremely concerned about the current situation of over 20,000 Eritrean refugees living in Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps in southern Tigray,” UNHCR told Reuters on Wednesday, saying there were severe food and water shortages and health care unavailable.

(Edited by Andrew Cawthorne)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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Alberto Salazar’s ban confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport Wed, 15 Sep 2021 21:01:21 +0000

Alberto Salazar, the famous Nike trainer who in October 2019 was banned from athletics for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited anti-doping behavior”, had his ban confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The news, which was first reported by the BBC and The temperature from London, has been confirmed to The runner’s world by a source with knowledge of the matter.

USADA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The runner’s worldnor Nike.

Salazar, 63, was coaching several athletes at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar when his suspension was announced in 2019. He was excluded from competition before several NOP riders, such as Dutchman Sifan Hassan and Americans Donavan Brazier and Craig Engels. , had finished competing.

No Nike Oregon Project athlete has ever failed a drug test. At the time of the 2019 decision, Nike was alongside Salazar.

“[The] decision had nothing to do with administering banned substances to a Project Oregon athlete, ”a Nike spokesperson said in a statement. “As the panel noted, they were struck by the care Alberto took to ensure he complied with the World Anti-Doping Code.”

The statement said at the time that company officials supported Salazar’s decision to appeal.

Following Salazar’s initial decision, Nike shut down Project Oregon and its athletes dispersed to different coaches. Many, like Brazier and Engels, were already training mainly under the guidance of Pete Julian, Salazar’s longtime assistant, when the ban was imposed.

Galen Rupp, who won two Olympic medals under Salazar, now trains under Mike Smith of Northern Arizona University. Rupp won the 2020 Olympic Marathon trials and finished eighth in the Tokyo Olympic Marathon.

Jordan Hasay, who has suffered injuries since Salazar trained her to a 2:20:57 marathon in 2017 in Chicago, was coached by former world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe. In March, she joined the training group led by Julian.

Nike CEO at the time, Mark Parker, resigned in January 2020. He continues to be the company’s executive chairman.

Salazar was also suspended by another governing body, the US Center for SafeSport. In January 2020, Salazar’s name appeared in the centralized disciplinary database of this body. He was found to be temporarily suspended, after reports by or on behalf of at least three runners trained by Salazar.

On July 26, 2021, this suspension was reclassified as “permanent ineligibility” for sexual and emotional misconduct, but it was subject to appeal.

In November 2019, former Salazar athlete Mary Cain said in a New York Times op-ed that she was emotionally and physically abused by Salazar, and that the all-male coaching staff at NOP were convinced she needed to lose weight. According to Cain, they weighed her in front of her teammates, she stopped running well, and she started having thoughts of suicide.

The USADA ban on Salazar is expected to expire in September 2023. It is unclear whether he will appeal the SafeSport ban and return to training.

In July, New York Road Runners removed Salazar, who won the New York City Marathon in 1980, 1981, and 82, from its hall of fame. In August, following the SafeSport decision, Nike renamed the Alberto Salazar building on its Beaverton, Oregon campus to Next%.

This story will be updated.

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Music streaming subscriptions reach $ 4.6 million amid streaming boom, RIAA reports Mon, 13 Sep 2021 20:27:19 +0000

Top line

The music industry is rebounding in 2021, with increased revenues from CD and vinyl sales – which were hit in 2020 by forced store closings due to the pandemic – and an increase in streaming, which has become the main source of income for artists and record labels amid the coronavirus pandemic.


The industry’s trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), said US music retail revenue grew 27% in the first half of 2021 to $ 7.1 billion. , up from 5.6 billion dollars last year.

The majority of music revenue over the past year has come from streaming (84%), followed by physical CD and vinyl sales (10%), digital downloads (5%), and rights licensing. music author (2%).

Paid subscriptions to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, which pay music rights holders a percentage based on the number of streams, led the revenue growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total revenue ($ 4.6 billion). dollars) with over 80 million paid subscriptions recorded for the first time.

With concerts, tours and live events canceled, rescheduled, or set at limited capacity throughout 2020-2021, there is a growing need for artists to rely on streaming apps like Spotify or apps. popular social media organizations like TikTok for their income.

CD and vinyl sales grew from $ 393 billion last year to $ 690 billion, with vinyl sales leading the increase in revenue, nearly doubling from $ 241 million to $ 467 million and surpassing CD sales for the second year in a row.

RIAA CEO Mitch Glazier also noted that new platforms such as “short videos, fitness apps, and chat and social media apps” that allow music are developing, and homes record companies are working to “make sure these growing services pay for the music they depend on.”

Key context

The RIAA said the coronavirus continued to affect music industry revenues with tour cancellations and store closings throughout the pandemic. The music industry is slowly recovering from the revenue decline of the past year, which saw ad revenue growth decline on platforms such as YouTube and Spotify by around 14%. CD and vinyl sales were also hit in early 2020 due to forced store closings at the start of the pandemic, with revenues totaling $ 1.1 billion, slightly lower than in previous years. Digital download revenues decreased by 18% in 2020 compared to the previous year, continuing a downward trend year on year. Apple Music recently revealed in a letter obtained by the The Wall Street Journal, it pays music rights holders one-third to half a cent per stream, while Initiated found Spotify pays between $ 0.003 and $ 0.005 per stream. As other revenue streams are affected by the pandemic and streaming gains in popularity, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers has called on music streaming services to pay more per streaming for music rights holders.

Further reading

RIAA revenue figures show music fans turned to vinyl during the pandemic (Forbes)

New RIAA figures show CDs are all dead and downloads are on Life Support (Forbes)

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CDC study: Unvaccinated people 11 times more likely to die from Covid-19 Sat, 11 Sep 2021 22:26:50 +0000

As the Biden administration ramps up efforts to get the shots fired, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released a new study that highlights the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against serious illness or death.

The study, which looked at hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 over a period of more than three months, found that unvaccinated people are more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 than those who have been vaccinated, and 11 times more likely to die from the virus, according to CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

The study – along with two others also released by the CDC on Friday – is still an early version, which means there could be changes in the final version. But the results nonetheless provide some clarity on the state of the pandemic as the delta variant leaves its mark on communities across the country.

As the delta variant spread in the United States over the summer, the study also found that protection against initial infections decreased slightly – but “the vaccine’s effectiveness against the hospitalization and death hardly declined during the entire period, “according to the Washington Post.

Another of the studies confirmed that the efficacy remains high overall. The three vaccines available in the United States – manufactured by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson – are 86% effective in preventing hospitalizations due to Covid-19 and 82% effective in preventing emergency room visits or healthcare. emergency due to the virus, according to the study’s findings. The researchers also found that Moderna is the most effective at preventing hospitalizations, at 95%, with the Johnson & Johnson injection providing about 60% protection against hospitalizations.

Despite the remarkable effectiveness of Covid vaccines, however, the virus continues to plague the United States as the country grapples with vaccine resistance.

Americans still lag behind other wealthy countries in immunization, and only 52.76% of eligible Americans are fully immunized, according to the New York Times. In the United States, only about 700,000 doses of the vaccine are given each day, about 300,000 fewer than the Japanese immunization program currently reports, despite Japan’s smaller population.

Currently, the United States averages nearly 146,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day, compared to less than 12,000 new cases per day at certain times in June of this year. At the height of the pandemic this winter, the country was reporting on average more than 250,000 cases per day.

But a new move towards stricter vaccine requirements coincides with a seven percent decrease in daily reported Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks, according to the New York Times. Tests are also up 21% over the same period, with an average of over 1.6 million tests administered per day.

Deaths, however – which tend to lag behind in new cases – are currently on the rise in the United States. As of Friday, the country recorded an average of more than 1,600 deaths per day from the virus.

While this latest statistic is grim, however, there are signs that the delta-fueled outbreak of cases over the summer is leveling off at least as more people get vaccinated.

Cases in Mississippi, where the virus has pushed hospital capacity beyond its limits, have declined by a third in the past two weeks. In Tennessee, which currently has the highest number of cases per capita of any state, the vaccination rate increased 47% from July 12 to August 2, and the rate of increase in infections in the state began to rise. to slow down.

“Our patience is running out”

As the United States continues to fight Covid-19, President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all businesses with more than 100 employees must require either vaccination or weekly testing for Covid-19.

“Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who still go unvaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective and free,” Biden said at a press conference Thursday, denouncing this which he called “pandemic politics”. From Republican leaders who downplayed the importance of Covid-19, spread disinformation and fought against measures like vaccination and mask-wearing.

“We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the vast majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to normal lives,” Biden said.

U.S. companies are also warming to vaccine mandates, with big companies like United Airlines and Tyson Foods implementing vaccine requirements for their workers. United has set a Sept. 27 deadline for vaccinations for all its U.S.-based employees, and it says more than half of its previously unvaccinated employees have now been vaccinated, according to NPR.

Pediatric cases of Covid-19 are on the rise

However, despite the important protection offered by vaccines, not everyone is yet eligible. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to clear a Covid-19 vaccine for children under 12, and pediatric cases of Covid-19 are increasing as children return to school in person – especially in schools. States that have pushed back mask warrants.

Public schools in New York City, the largest school system in the country, will test their own Covid-19 policies on Monday at the start of the school year. All employees of the New York City Department of Education must be fully immunized by September 27.

This is also the case in Los Angeles, which on Thursday became the first major public school district in the United States to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for all eligible students as well as teachers after a unanimous school board vote.

In Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is currently fighting to prevent districts from demanding masks, pediatric deaths from Covid-19 have more than doubled since July. While the death toll is still extremely low compared to other age groups – only 17 children have died from Covid-19 in the state since the start of the pandemic – seven of those deaths have occurred between March 2020, when the epidemic began in the United States, and July 2021, a period of 15 months. The remaining 10 took place after July 30 of this year, Politico reported Thursday.

Additionally, according to Politico, the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office is investigating the anti-mask mandate policy of the Florida public education system. In a letter to Robert Corcoran, commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne Goldberg warned that the policy could violate the civil rights of children with disabilities by preventing them from “safely returning to their homes. in-person education ”.

With the increase in pediatric cases – and the scrutiny of Covid-19 prevention policies at school – pressure is being placed on vaccine manufacturers to determine whether their inoculations are safe for children.

According to German newspaper Der Spiegel, BioNTech will share the results of its clinical trials in children aged 5 to 11 this month, seeking global approval for the vaccine for use in this age group.

This could mean that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could be authorized for children in this age group as early as the end of October, Reuters reported on Friday.

BioNTech, which has partnered with Pfizer to manufacture its vaccine, also intends to seek approval for use in children aged 6 months to 2 years by the end of the year, and Moderna has said it has completed its list of clinical trials of its vaccine in children aged 6 to 11 and is working to determine an appropriate dosage for children as young as 6 months old.

In the meantime, however, Biden officials have stressed that widespread adoption of the vaccine among those eligible for the vaccine is the best way to reduce pediatric cases of Covid-19.

“That’s why this collective responsibility we have as a society to make sure that we don’t just take care of our own health, but reduce the chances of us passing a virus on to someone who is more vulnerable – that’s is why this is so important, ”Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Friday. “And that’s what the efforts announced yesterday by the president will help us do: reduce transmission, protect lives and protect our children too.” “

Blues Fest Draws Music Lovers to Downtown Bluefield | New Sat, 11 Sep 2021 22:10:00 +0000

BLUEFIELD – Fans from as far away as Ohio and South Carolina came to downtown Bluefield on Saturday for the blues music served by the 2021 Bluefield Blues Festival.

Commerce Street was closed on Saturday for a blues concert featuring singer, songwriter and guitarist Samantha Fish as well as bands Matt Mullins & The Breakdowns, 7 Mile Mushroom, The Carpenter Ants, The Steele Cookin ‘Band and The Nighthawks.

“Well this is our sixth Blues Fest,” said Tommy Cole of The RailYard as he helped with the final preparations. “Obviously we had to postpone last year, but we’re really excited. Samantha Fish is our headliner. She just released an album yesterday, which opened for ZZ Top last night. We are so glad to have it. Two years ago, we announced his coming and it was great news. We’re really excited to have him and we have a really great team.

Music fans were soon arriving with portable chairs and clamoring for the best vantage points they could find. While there were many local music lovers who came to Commerce Street for the festival – Cole estimated that as many as 600 could arrive – there were others who traveled hundreds of miles for the outdoor event. Local restaurants including The RailYard, Blue Spoon Cafe and Vault Downtown were preparing for visitors.

“Something smells good,” said Glenna Bullins of Marion, Va., As she and her husband, Ronnie, arrived at Commerce Street. “We had breakfast, but it smells good.

They quickly found good places near the stage and started setting up their chairs.

“We’re just big blues fans and also Samantha Fish fans,” she said. “It was a little over an hour away.

Nearby Mike and Rhonda Fleeman from Lindside had also found good places for their chairs.

“We’re just coming for Samantha Fish. We went to Stanton, Virginia in 2018 to see her, and this is our second year, ”Rhonda said. “You’ll have Myrtle Beach people all over here. She is the star of the show.

Besides blues music, the festival offered a chance for friends to reconnect.

“We were from Myrtle Beach and they were from Ohio,” said Robin Wooley, who attended the festival with her husband, Dean. Jennifer Wooley and her husband Keith Pishnery had driven from Cleveland, Ohio for the show.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Robin Wooley of the possibility of seeing an outdoor performance. “That’s really nice.”

Contact Greg Jordan at

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Tunisian President Saied Announces He Will Amend the Constitution | World news Sat, 11 Sep 2021 21:31:00 +0000

By Tarek Amara and Angus McDowall

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisian President Kais Saied on Saturday said he was preparing to change the country’s constitution, but said he would only do so using existing constitutional means, seven weeks after taking power by measures that his enemies have qualified as a coup d’etat.

The comments represented his clearest statement yet on what he intended to do next, having vowed there was “no looking back” on the situation in the North African nation before. his intervention on July 25.

Speaking live on television on a boulevard in central Tunis, Saied said he respected the democratic constitution of 2014, but that it was not eternal and could be amended.

“Amendments must be made within the framework of the constitution,” he told Sky News Arabia and Tunisian state television.

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One of Saied’s advisers told Reuters on Thursday that the president plans to suspend the constitution and come up with an amended version via a referendum, drawing opposition from political parties and the powerful UGTT union.

Concern has grown, both internally and among Western democracies that have supported Tunisia’s public finances, about Saied’s intentions since his July 25 announcement that he was sacking the prime minister and suspending parliament.

The former professor of constitutional law justified these measures by citing emergency measures in the constitution which, according to his detractors and many jurists, did not support his intervention.

Although he has extended the measures indefinitely after a month, he has yet to appoint a new government or make a clear statement of his long-term intentions, as Tunisia struggles to cope with a continuing economic crisis.

Saied also said on Saturday that he was on the verge of appointing a new government. Ambassadors from the Group of Seven Advanced Economies urged him this week to do so quickly and return to “a constitutional order, in which an elected parliament plays an important role.”

Saied’s intervention garnered broad support after years of political paralysis, but it plunged Tunisia into crisis a decade after rejecting autocracy and embracing democracy in the revolution that sparked the Arab Spring.

Political leaders have complained about the constitution since it was adopted in 2014, calling for it to be changed to a more directly presidential or more directly parliamentary system.

Article 144 of the constitution states that an amendment to the document can only be put to a referendum if it has already been approved by two-thirds of parliament, an institution that Saied last month called “danger to the world.” State “.

The current parliament was elected in 2019, a week after Saied was elected. It does not have the power to dissolve it and call a new election, but some of the parties in the deeply fragmented chamber have indicated that they could do it themselves.

Moderate Islamist Ennahda, the largest party in parliament with a quarter of the seats, accused Saied of carrying out a coup and said on Saturday that departing from the constitution would mean a withdrawal from democracy.

The UGTT, the main union in Tunisia, also signaled on Saturday that it opposed the idea of ​​suspending the constitution and instead called for new parliamentary elections – a path Saied may now consider.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara and Nayera Abdallah, written by Angus McDowall, edited by Paul Simao)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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White House, Democrats argue over Biden’s attempt to raise taxes Sat, 11 Sep 2021 12:58:13 +0000

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has a simple message for fellow Democrats about his plan to raise taxes to remake large swathes of the U.S. economy: look beyond the bottom line.

Biden is trying to persuade Democrats to take a more emotional argument that the plan is fair, that it raises taxes on those who can afford to pay more and spends money on programs targeting children and the middle class.

The president has proposed more than $ 3 trillion in revenue increases, mainly through higher taxes for the country’s wealthiest corporations and households, as well as stricter enforcement of the IRS that would target rich. Leading lawmakers expressed doubts last week about the size and possible impacts on the economy as congressional committees reviewed the measures and a wide range of business groups sifted through the details to put highlight what they oppose.

Interviews with three administration officials suggest that the White House is comfortable settling for a lower price as part of the negotiation process, as long as the end result produces a tax system voters deem fair. Officials, who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing negotiations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Democrats were united on this front.

If the Voter Calling Playbook sounds familiar, it was the same strategy Biden used to cement a bipartisan infrastructure deal earlier this year.

“It’s a common sense thing that people agree with,” said Kate Berner, deputy director of communications for the White House. “They don’t understand why companies can park their profits overseas and not pay taxes. They don’t understand why a hedge fund manager pays a lower tax rate than a pipefitter. It is something that people see as fundamentally broken.

In a sign of uncertainty, the administration has also remained publicly silent about the low level Biden is willing to drop to lighten the package. The administration also finds itself grappling with interest groups the White House sees as intentionally distorting its tax plans in hopes of eroding support. Officials say job loss claims from the US Chamber of Commerce and other groups are exaggerated and ignore investments in family leave, children, child care, care health and environment which they believe will help the economy.

The president outlined his tax plans in his budget proposal, establishing a baseline for congressional committees. Some Democratic lawmakers, including West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, have already opposed the amount of spending and tax hikes. Manchin raised concerns early on about Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

“If you want to be a world leader and the superpower of the world, you better have a competitive tax rate, period,” he said.

While Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, both voted for the budget plan that allowed Democrats to start crafting the social package, they made it clear they would not support the spending figure. proposed $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years. .

“Setting an artificial spending figure of $ 3.5 trillion and then reverse-engineering the partisan social priorities that should be funded is not how you make good policy,” Manchin wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

On the House side, Democrats can afford to lose just three votes and still pass the spending bill if the GOP unanimously opposes it, as expected. There have already been early signs of trouble, with Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Voting against two sections of her party’s bill in a committee hearing last week, and Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., Joining her in voting no on one of those votes.

“I don’t know how much we spend, how much we collect, how we spend part of the money and how we collect part of the money,” complained Murphy.

According to Biden’s original proposal, the corporate tax changes would generate around $ 2 trillion over a decade, of which around 70% of that would come from setting the corporate rate to 28% and revising it. a worldwide minimum tax on profits. An additional $ 755 billion would come from an increase in personal taxes on the wealthiest Americans, including an increase in the rate charged on profits from the sale of fixed assets such as stocks or real estate.

An increased enforcement by the IRS would net an estimated $ 460 billion. But a Treasury Department analysis indicates that figure would rise to $ 1.6 trillion over the next decade as more IRS employees were fully trained, one of the main arguments for saying the budget would be fiscally responsible.

Part of the challenge for Democrats is remembering the backlash of voters against proposed tax increases in the 1984 presidential election against Ronald Reagan almost four decades ago.

Many older Democrats and those in more conservative areas fear voters will penalize them if taxes increase too much, even though Biden and advocacy groups support the argument that voters now reject Reaganism and will reward Democrats for having increased taxes on businesses and the wealthy.

“We are in a generational struggle within the Democratic Party,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of the Americans’ Tax Fairness Group. “We are in a very different time, and these Democrats have not caught up to the time we are in.”

Americans for Tax Fairness is among the organizations trying to persuade Democratic lawmakers to support Biden’s tax proposals. The groups commissioned national polls and six state battlefield polls, and mobilized 97 national groups and 620 state organizations to support the plans on the assumption that they are popular.

Although groups of companies oppose parts of the plan, their objections may vary by industry. The Chamber of Commerce underscored its aversion to higher corporate rates and capital gains, while the American Bankers Association on Tuesday sent a letter to lawmakers expressing concerns about increased reporting requirements to the IRS on customer accounts.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, whose members include Target, Best Buy and other major retailers, urged congressional leaders on Thursday not to raise corporate tax rates, but to strengthen IRS enforcement and to ensure that all businesses pay at least a minimum tax before an increase in the corporate tax rate is taken into account.

“We have a lot of meetings to educate members on this issue and to make sure they understand how a price increase will hurt retail and the importance of making sure all profitable businesses contribute,” said Melissa Murdock, vice president of the business group.

The American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the United States’ oil and gas industry, is pushing to push back a proposed methane emissions levy that its supporters say would slow climate change and dramatically improve performance. air quality in communities near oil and gas facilities.

The group is running a more than $ 1 million ad campaign that tells energy viewers, “Washington wants to chart an extreme path” that could make energy more expensive and less reliable. “

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, spoke in the plenary press to reshape or even remove the tax increases.

“You have all of the big financial interests in the country fighting us day in and day out,” Sanders said. “At the end of the day, in my mind, what we’re trying to do is restore the confidence of the American people that their government can work for them, not just for Capitol Hill lobbyists or big money interests. And we will win.

But even as trade groups focus on the individual details of a complex budget, the proposed funding of $ 3.5 trillion in additional spending over the next decade is the biggest hurdle. Neil Bradley, executive vice president and director of policy at the Chamber of Commerce, said the proposed tax increases are unprecedented but also insufficient to pay for all programs while respecting Senate budgeting rules.

“’I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” Bradley said. “Based on this experience, I think a package this size collapses under its own weight.

– By Josh Boak and Kevin Freking

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Limitless Tire Saves Customers 12 Months of Payments with No Credit Check Financing Fri, 10 Sep 2021 20:56:07 +0000

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Toronto, Ontario – (Newsfile Corp. – September 10, 2021) – Limitless Tire offers rim and tire financing anywhere in Ontario without any credit checks or down payments. Now you can get tires, custom wheels, full car wraps, lowering / raising vehicle suspensions and more without having to worry about it affecting your credit score. Low credit scores, new credit scores and bankruptcy are no longer a problem.

“Unfortunately, this industry thrives by taking advantage of the customer,” said Faisal Mohammad, vice president of operations at Limitless Tire. “We’re here to change that. We’ve partnered with several financial institutions to make sure customers receive the lowest monthly payment options.” Limitless Tire is one of the largest wheel and tire retailers in Canada and has been endorsed by several well-known Canadian personalities including Superfan Nav Bhatia, Drake OVOROXX’s personal trainer, rapper / philanthropist Kardinal Offishall and personality from the morning talk show Azalea Hart.

Limitless Tire has always offered options to customers that are not available in the mass market. They continue to follow this model by further exploring and creating options that will make it easier for consumers to purchase automotive products, including tires and rims. For this reason, Limitless Tire is also growing rapidly with the opening of several locations each year since 2018.

Automakers produce millions of cars every year, and many people want to make their vehicle unique and different by modifying and changing the vehicle as they see fit. Unfortunately, it is not within the capacity of every person to be able to afford these changes. Limitless Tire makes it all possible by offering unique financing services that make it easy for customers to make their dreams come true without having to worry about breaking the bank.

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About Limitless Tires:

With over 10 years in business and over 40,000 satisfied customers, Limitless Tire has become one of the most popular names in the wheel and tire industry. Our staff have extensive experience in tires and wheels, which makes problem solving very easy and helps customers meet even the most unique requests.

For more information, please visit

Contact :
Safer Qureshi
VP Investor Relations

To view the source version of this press release, please visit

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