Friday, October 6, 2017


Las Vegas sheriff: Mass killer led a ‘secret life’ before attack

The Las Vegas gunman behind the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history spent decades stockpiling guns and living a “secret life” that investigators may never be able to fully understand, police say. Clark County, Nev., Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that it was only logical to “make the assumption” that Stephen Paddock had “some help at some point” in pulling off Sunday’s (10/1) massacre. As evidence, Lombardo pointed to gunman Paddock’s huge arsenal, explosive materials found in his car and his meticulous planning. “What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” the sheriff said. Authorities also revealed that they believe Paddock had an escape plan, even though he turned the gun on himself as police closed in on his luxury suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds in the attack as he fired from his room on the 32nd floor. Authorities were still searching for a motive. (Fox News)


EU regulators are saying ‘show me the money’ to Apple and Amazon.

For years, tech companies have been moving parts of their businesses overseas to countries that offer better tax deals. The idea being that companies save money, and countries become investment hubs for some of the biggest names in tech. The EU says these tax deals are illegal if competitors aren’t getting the same VIP treatment. The EU says Ireland charged Apple a corporate tax rate of almost zero in recent years. Officials have already tried to get the money but Apple has been fighting back and Ireland hasn’t been cooperating. The EU says Amazon also paid way less in taxes to Luxembourg than it should have. This wouldn’t be the first time Luxembourg’s been accused of helping a company save an extra dollar. Amazon says it never received special treatment, and will consider whether to appeal. However, the EU says that both, Apple and Amazon, need to write some very big checks (nearly $300 million in Amazon’s case, and nearly $15 billion for Apple). It also said it’s taking Ireland to the EU’s highest court for slacking off on a deadline to get its money back from Apple. (The Guardian)


Trump-Russia collusion? Still investigating, senators say

Earlier this week, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced they still don’t know if Trump’s team was involved with the Russian messing with the US Presidential election. But what they do know is that Russia interfered in the election, that it’s still trying to interfere today, and that it will probably ramp up again in the 2018 midterms. Meanwhile it came out that last year, possible Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin – two swing states that Trump won on Election Day. And Russia may be targeting the personal phones of NATO soldiers. This is reportedly to gather intel on things like troop operations, and also to psych them out. (AP News)


Gun ‘Bump Stocks’ for Rapid Fire Are Legal. Senators Ask “Why?”

The other day (10/4), a group of Democratic senators introduced a bill that would make so-called bump stocks illegal. Earlier this week in Las Vegas, a 64-year-old man shot and killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others. And at least a dozen bump stocks were found in the hotel room where he carried out the attack. Bump stocks: attachments you can get online that make semiautomatic weapons more like a machine gun by allowing it to fire bullets faster. There are a lot of regulations against machine guns, making them pretty hard to buy in most states. But bump stocks are still legal. The bill introduced tries to close that loophole. A few Republicans have said they’re interested in learning more, and that they’re open to it. (NBC News)


3 Special Forces Troops Killed and 2 Are Wounded in an Ambush in Niger

Three US special forces troops were killed and two were wounded in an ambush in Niger on Wednesday (10/4). The US reportedly said they were likely attacked by an al-Qaeda affiliate. This is the first time US troops have died under fire during this mission, in which the US is helping train forces in Niger to fight extremist groups. Niger – a poor, sparsely populated West African country – has been seriously struggling to battle jihadist groups in the region, even with the help of the US and France. It’s dealing with groups like an al-Qaeda affiliate, Boko Haram, and a new-ish Islamic State affiliate. (NY Times)


All’s fair in love and a bidding war 

From sending a giant cactus to CEO Jeff Bezos to promising to rename themselves Amazon, cities across North America are outdoing themselves  to be chosen as the site of the tech giant’s second headquarters. The Seattle-based retail giant announced plans last month for a $5 billion “HQ2” facility with as many as 50,000 workers;  Fortune magazine calls it “the most significant corporate location decision in modern U.S. history” for its potential to transform the winning city. Seattle has been called America’s biggest “company town” — the e-commerce firm occupies more office space than the city’s next 40 employers combined. The deadline for HQ2 pitches is October 19th.

  • In an effort to bring HQ2 to Tucson and Southern Arizona, economic development group Sun Corridor loaded a 21-foot Saguaro cactus onto a truck to deliver to Amazon.
  • Birmingham, Alabama has installed three massive Amazon delivery boxes around the city to coincide with the launch of Mayor William Bell’s formal bid for the second headquarters. The city plans to add more boxes, too.
  • Amazon, Georgia? Earlier this week, the Stonecrest City Council in Georgia voted to de-annex 345 acres of its land if selected for Amazon’s second home. The new area would be called the city of Amazon. (Stonecrest, which officially became a city in January, is about 20 miles from Atlanta. It has a population of 53,000.)
  • Mayors from Danbury, Connecticut, Frisco, Texas and Washington D.C. have enlisted Alexa’s help. In separate videos, each mayor asked Amazon’s voice assistant where the best place for the company’s second headquarters is, and Alexa answered with their respective city name.

(CNN Money)


The FDA will take steps to speed up the approval process for generic drugs

In an effort to introduce more competition to the pharmaceutical market, this will ultimately help lower drug prices. Such moves are unusual for the regulator, which has historically focused on the safety and effectiveness of drugs rather than market dynamics. The announcement was followed by an unexpected approval of Mylan’s generic version of Copaxone, the blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug from Teva. But before Mylan breathes easy, its own EpiPen — at the center of pharma price gouging controversies — could be on the FDA’s target list. (Reuters)


Finally Friday brings in:

*American Libraries Day 
*Jackie Mayer Rehab Day 
*Lee’s National Denim Day  (First Friday)
*Mad Hatter Day 
*Manufacturing Day  (First Friday)
*National Diversity Day  (First Friday)
*National German-American Day 
*World Smile Day  (First Friday)

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