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Westlake Legal Group > News and News Media (Page 93)

Evacuation order lifted amid Texas plant fire, blaze contained, officials say

An evacuation order was lifted Friday for around 50,000 residents on the Texas Gulf Coast after officials determined a chemical plant fire that erupted after two explosions two days earlier was under finally control.

“We are in a position to say it’s contained. We feel comfortable with the efforts that have been made by our firefighters,” Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said at a news conference in Port Neches, about 80 miles east of Houston.

Several small fires were still going inside the TPC Group facility, which makes chemical and petroleum-based products. It was not clear when those would be extinguished.

Westlake Legal Group AP19331724248284 Evacuation order lifted amid Texas plant fire, blaze contained, officials say Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc edb30b98-37c3-5fb3-9fa4-9e4eab4b5174 article

Smoke rises from an explosion at the TPC Group Port Neches Operations plant on Wednesday in Port Neches, Texas. (Marie D. De Jesus/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The first explosion occurred around 1 a.m. Wednesday at a TPC plant in Port Neches, sending large plumes of smoke into the air, stretching for miles. A second blast happened just before 2 p.m., prompting authorities to issue a mandatory evacuation inside a 4-mile radius around the plant.

Water cannons were trained on a surrounding plant to prevent another explosion.

The blasts shattered windows and ripped off doors off hinges in nearby homes. Three workers were injured in the second explosion. The company said about 30 employees were working at the plant at the time were accounted for.

Westlake Legal Group AP19331706771084 Evacuation order lifted amid Texas plant fire, blaze contained, officials say Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc edb30b98-37c3-5fb3-9fa4-9e4eab4b5174 article

A boarded up window bears a message for TPC Group as residents and business owners throughout Port Neches, Texas clean up from the damage caused by an explosion on Wednesday. Three workers were injured early Wednesday in a massive explosion at the Texas chemical plant that also blew out the windows and doors of nearby homes. (Kim Brent/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)

Branick said it could be several months before the cause of the explosions are known. He said the air quality does not pose a danger to residents but cautioned that construction on the plant began in the 1940s and that asbestos had been thrown into people’s yards.

Officials urged residents to not touch debris they find, KFDM-TV reported.

“There’s still going to be smoke in the air. There’s still going to be flames visible at night,” said Troy Monk, the TPC Group’s director of health safety and security.

“I would love to tell you we’re going to be done by the end of the day,” he added. “I would not be telling you the truth if I made that statement. It’s very difficult for us to quantify in days how long this is going to take.”

He noted there was no damage estimate to surrounding neighborhoods.

The Texas petrochemical industry has seen a series of high-profile incidents this year. In March a fire burned for days near Houston that was linked to a plant in nearby Crosby and prosecutors have filed five water pollution charges against a company after chemicals flowed into a nearby waterway.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

In July, an explosion at an ExxonMobil refinery in the Houston suburb of Baytown injured more than a dozen people. Toby Baker, the head of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said the petroleum industry must be held accountable.

Environmentalists noted that the TPC Group explosion occurred just a week after the Trump administration scaled back chemical safety plant measures that had been prompted by a 2013 explosion at a Texas fertilizer storage facility that killed 15 people.

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP19331724248284 Evacuation order lifted amid Texas plant fire, blaze contained, officials say Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc edb30b98-37c3-5fb3-9fa4-9e4eab4b5174 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19331724248284 Evacuation order lifted amid Texas plant fire, blaze contained, officials say Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox news fnc/us fnc edb30b98-37c3-5fb3-9fa4-9e4eab4b5174 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Westlake Legal Group real-superhero_custom-487bb62b4968550ab2dbce6f3c7106de536e4a5a-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

The graphic novel Grand Theft Horse tells the story of a trainer who rescues a horse from its villainous owner. Based on actual events, journalist Taylor Haney set out to learn how much of the story is true. Above, a scene from the novel. Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin hide caption

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Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

The graphic novel Grand Theft Horse tells the story of a trainer who rescues a horse from its villainous owner. Based on actual events, journalist Taylor Haney set out to learn how much of the story is true. Above, a scene from the novel.

Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

The Hollywood Park stables were quiet that night. Gail Ruffu had planned it that way.

It was around midnight on Christmas Eve, 2004, days before the winter racing season would start at Santa Anita Park, about 30 miles away in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia.

It would be easy for Ruffu, a horse trainer, to slip into the Hollywood Park stables without anyone noticing.

It would be easy to find the horse she once trained, Urgent Envoy. He was in a barn just across the road from her own. She could lead him into a trailer, talk her way past a guard and drive away. And that’s exactly what she did.

“I figured, whatever it takes, even if I go to jail, I have to save this horse’s life,” Ruffu said.

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-564067409_custom-416f7e74bd228b18e023c61c4bd02eef4fe4c9d1-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Gail Ruffu photographed at a horse boarding barn near her home in Los Angeles in 2007. Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images hide caption

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Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Gail Ruffu photographed at a horse boarding barn near her home in Los Angeles in 2007.

Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Ruffu had trained a handful of horses before, but Urgent Envoy was special. Over the previous year, she helped transform him from a dangerous rebel into a gentle athlete. It seemed he was her one shot to train a winner.

For 15 years, I knew a similar version of this night at Hollywood Park. I had been told that my father, Steve Haney, had hired Ruffu to train his first racehorse. When he fired her, she stole the horse. My dad was the victim.

Westlake Legal Group ue2-74fee118614e55faad7e112097edc2a1b5c4ab55-s800-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Since 2004, when Gail Ruffu took Urgent Envoy from the Hollywood Park stables, the horse’s whereabouts have been unknown to all but Ruffu and her confidants. Above, Urgent Envoy trots in a paddock on Aug. 18, 2017. Courtesy of Gail Ruffu hide caption

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Courtesy of Gail Ruffu

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Since 2004, when Gail Ruffu took Urgent Envoy from the Hollywood Park stables, the horse’s whereabouts have been unknown to all but Ruffu and her confidants. Above, Urgent Envoy trots in a paddock on Aug. 18, 2017.

Courtesy of Gail Ruffu

But then last year, an unexpected discovery changed everything. I stumbled on a graphic novel called Grand Theft Horse. Written by Ruffu’s cousin Greg Neri, it paints a much darker narrative. In this version, as in real life, my father is an attorney. But here he is portrayed as a fiend, while Ruffu is the heroine who must save Urgent Envoy from certain death.

The villain in the novel is Bud Clayton, a blond, angular lawyer with a mobster’s name. He’s a picture of greed, and a foil for Ruffu’s best intentions. He’s bent on racing his horse with an injured leg.

“I don’t care if all four of his legs break off,” Clayton says in one scene. “Run him now or I will take him away from you.”

The picture was far from flattering, but as Neri told me, it was based on an extensive review of documents and hours of interviews with Ruffu and others who knew her best. But none with my father.

I wasn’t sure what to think. It was hard to believe my dad could have resembled this villain, Bud Clayton. I had to know the truth.

Westlake Legal Group gth3_custom-e58c39b0127a1f334df2b7366b765afba45871c4-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Grand Theft Horse, a graphic novel written by Greg Neri, portrays Gail Ruffu removing Urgent Envoy from another trainer’s barn at Hollywood Park around midnight on Christmas Eve, 2004. In the novel, Ruffu is a hero who rescues the horse from certain death. Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin hide caption

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Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Grand Theft Horse, a graphic novel written by Greg Neri, portrays Gail Ruffu removing Urgent Envoy from another trainer’s barn at Hollywood Park around midnight on Christmas Eve, 2004. In the novel, Ruffu is a hero who rescues the horse from certain death.

Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Racing deaths

If Ruffu’s recollections were true, it would mean my dad had been part of a grave problem with horse racing.

Since last December, 37 horses have died at Santa Anita during racing or training. The latest death came earlier this month at one of horse racing’s most prestigious events, the Breeders’ Cup, held this year at Santa Anita. Before a prime-time television audience, Mongolian Groom suffered a devastating leg fracture during the event’s marquee race, the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. He was loaded onto an equine ambulance, driven away and euthanized.

The spate of deaths at Santa Anita, while not out of the ordinary relative to past years at the track, has drawn renewed attention to a broader racing culture that has been decried by critics for putting profits ahead of equine health. Painkillers and performance enhancers are regularly administered to horses, critics charge, which can mask injuries and clear the way for horses that are already at risk to compete. In the case of Santa Anita, a strenuous racing schedule and the effect of unusually wet weather on the track itself may also have played a role.

Last year, the sport saw 493 deaths in the United States and Canada, according to the Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database. But that number does not include deaths from injuries sustained during training.

The problem is one that Ruffu has agonized over for most of her career. She says horses are raced too young, too often, too medicated and all for the prestige and payout that comes with victory.

“A million-dollar purse for one race? People are willing to throw away several dead horses trying to get that,” Ruffu told me.

“Horse whisperer”

Westlake Legal Group gth4_custom-e579d030868a2b7dc4f8523f354177809ed07aad-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

In her career as a trainer, Gail Ruffu says she has agonized over the use, or overuse, of medication in horse racing, as illustrated in the graphic novel Grand Theft Horse. Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin hide caption

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Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

In her career as a trainer, Gail Ruffu says she has agonized over the use, or overuse, of medication in horse racing, as illustrated in the graphic novel Grand Theft Horse.

Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Ruffu and my dad weren’t always enemies. They met in 1999 when Ruffu needed a lawyer. My father took her case.

Ruffu had filed suit against several California horse racing entities. She had been banned from the Santa Anita, Del Mar and Hollywood Park tracks for nine months, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported. Her unorthodox training methods and habit of distributing flyers at the track got her in trouble. The fliers said two-year-olds were too young to race in the Breeders’ Cup. A judge sided with Ruffu and she was reinstated.

At the time, my dad called Ruffu a “horse whisperer.”

“The people who are in control of the horse racing establishment don’t know how to do things Gail’s way,” he told the Tribune. They parted ways amicably, and he mentioned maybe owning a horse with her someday.

In 2003, an opportunity came up when Ruffu found a horse that had already injured two stablehands.

“I heard of a horse that nobody wanted because he was a bit of an outlaw,” she laughed. “Of course, that’d be the one for me. That’s my specialty.”

She called my father, Steve Haney. He brought in three other investors and together they bought the horse for $5,000. That July, they made a deal with Ruffu. They would bankroll the horse, and in return for her labor Ruffu would get a 20% stake. They renamed the horse Urgent Envoy, after his sire, Urgent Request.

Westlake Legal Group gth9_custom-26affeb4e32eda913089779c796060586dd60164-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Gail Ruffu and the author’s father started out on good terms. The above scene from Grand Theft Horse shows him as on board with Ruffu’s training philosophy. Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin hide caption

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Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Gail Ruffu and the author’s father started out on good terms. The above scene from Grand Theft Horse shows him as on board with Ruffu’s training philosophy.

Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

“We really put our trust in Gail,” my dad recalled. “She had some kind of different ideas. Certainly in the beginning we all believed in her.”

It took nearly a year for Urgent Envoy to race. Ruffu wanted to bring him up slowly to avoid injuries.

A typical horse trainer and her veterinarian might turn to medication to relax muscles, ease pain from inflammation or control bleeding. The list of approved medications for racehorses includes controversial drugs like furosemide — commonly known by the brand name Lasix — that Ruffu says are designed to hide problems and keep equine athletes in the race. Rather than treating her horse with medications, Ruffu says she would stop training until she was sure the horse had recovered even from minor issues, so they did not become injuries.

“She told us the horse needed more time, but we were paying her monthly to take care of the horse,” my dad said. “At some point we wanted to see that come to fruition.”

The first race for Urgent Envoy came on June 16, 2004. It was a clear day at Hollywood Park. His jockey wore green and white. Urgent Envoy wore a red saddle cloth.

But nothing seemed to go right that day. My father recalls the jockey had trouble getting the horse into the starting gate.

“The jockey was terrified and just did a horrible job of riding him,” Ruffu said.

Video of the race shows Urgent Envoy drifting away from the rail on the backstretch and swinging wide in the final turn. After nearly a year of training and at least $17,000 in costs, Urgent Envoy had finished dead last.

Westlake Legal Group rago_npr_horse_dscf3459_hires_custom-13b97c8b45f194866d10ce4ad3cbde94016e5c35-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Steve Haney, a litigator and trial attorney, poses for a portrait at home in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. Rozette Rago for NPR hide caption

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Rozette Rago for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Steve Haney, a litigator and trial attorney, poses for a portrait at home in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.

Rozette Rago for NPR

Showdown at Santa Anita

Urgent Envoy was scheduled to race again three weeks later. In training, Ruffu said he developed a sore shin. It was a bump on the leg. A veterinarian recommended rest, so she pulled him from the race. Better not to risk a fracture.

“Your father and his partners threw a fit,” Ruffu said. She continued, paraphrasing them, “We’re not waiting any longer. You can just give him some drugs and run him anyway.”

By the middle of July, Ruffu was out. She would keep her 20% stake in Urgent Envoy, but the other four owners had voted to remove her as trainer.

My dad denied wanting Urgent Envoy to run while injured. He said Ruffu was removed when the owners lost confidence in her due to concerns about her training methods and the fact that she had never won a race. They were bringing on a new trainer, Richard Baltas, who is now one of the top trainers in North America by purse earnings.

“If we’re going to put money into this thing, let’s go with somebody who’s got a little bit more of a proven track record,” he said, summarizing their thinking. “Which Gail didn’t have.”

Two days after sending a letter to Ruffu delivering the news, they arrived at her barn at Santa Anita to take Urgent Envoy. The owners asked the stewards, who oversee rules at the track, to transfer him to the new trainer’s barn. The stewards verbally approved, in a process Ruffu would later argue was improper. The Arcadia Police Department, track security and my dad came to oversee the transfer on July 17. Ruffu stood between them and the horse.

What happened next is in dispute.

Grand Theft Horse portrays an intense confrontation. A towering, burly man in a tank top pushes Ruffu aside and snatches the horse’s reins. A man in uniform grabs Ruffu’s arm. She tries to take back the reins, and in response the burly man wallops her on the arm with his fist. The uniformed man restrains her on the ground.

“They literally attacked me,” Ruffu told me. “They grabbed me and held me down by my arms in the dirt while they went in and took the horse.”

This version of the story floored me. Would my father just stand by while guards hit and grabbed an outnumbered woman?

When I showed my dad the scene in Grand Theft Horse, he chuckled.

“That didn’t happen,” he said. He recalled a security guard having to grab the reins from Gail, but no physical confrontation.

“There was no big guy,” he said. “Gail wasn’t arrested or apprehended, or from what I recall, even physically restrained.”

There is a record of that day, but it doesn’t clarify much. Ruffu filed a report with the Arcadia police. She told officers she tried to grab the horse’s halter and a handler hit her arm and then walked the horse to a van. The handler, backed up by a witness, told police that when Ruffu grabbed the halter, he pushed — not hit — her arm away because the horse “began to rear and become extremely agitated,” the report says.

Westlake Legal Group gth16_custom-1880b593192d3be324d099863ea80ee1a7d2ebd8-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Grand Theft Horse portrays Urgent Envoy being removed from Ruffu’s barn in an intense physical confrontation. Steve Haney says Ruffu was never hit or restrained and that Santa Anita Park security took the horse’s reins from Ruffu in order to keep the horse from rearing up and hurting itself. Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

Grand Theft Horse portrays Urgent Envoy being removed from Ruffu’s barn in an intense physical confrontation. Steve Haney says Ruffu was never hit or restrained and that Santa Anita Park security took the horse’s reins from Ruffu in order to keep the horse from rearing up and hurting itself.

Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

“The gloves were off”

After Urgent Envoy was moved, the bump on his leg grew worse. An X-ray showed a stress fracture. Following a veterinarian’s advice, Baltas, the new trainer, turned Urgent Envoy out to pasture. There would be no racing or training.

According to an investigation by the California Horse Racing Board, when Urgent Envoy returned from pasture in December 2004, an X-ray showed the stress fracture was still healing. Baltas put the horse on a 30-day walking regimen to rehabilitate it, the investigation found.

“I gave it the proper time off,” Baltas told me.

But Ruffu was unconvinced and growing more panicked by the day.

“I began to suspect that they might be about ready to try to get an insurance policy payoff by going ahead and killing him,” she said.

“That’s crazy,” my father said. “I would never want any person or animal to die so I could make money.” Besides, he said, the owners never had an insurance policy on Urgent Envoy.

It ended up not mattering. On Christmas morning, Urgent Envoy was gone, and the owners received an email from Ruffu. It read: “Merry Christmas, boys.”

“The gloves were off,” my father said. “She wasn’t just stealing our horse. She was rubbing it in our face.”

What followed next was years of insults, investigations and legal battles. Like Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick, they chased their revenge at all costs. The Hollywood Park Board of Stewards suspended Ruffu’s training license and ordered her to return Urgent Envoy. The district attorney in Inglewood, Calif. charged her with a felony count of grand theft horse.

In November 2006, a jury acquitted Ruffu. She fired back by suing the owners for breach of contract, but lost that suit in 2009 and was again ordered to return the horse. She ignored the order.

By the time the civil suit was over, Urgent Envoy was eight years old — past his prime racing age.

“I always felt if we got him back, that we could turn the story around and it would win a big handicap stakes race and be the subject of a Hollywood motion picture,” my dad said, smiling. “That was my hope. And after a few years, I slowly gave up that hope.”

Ahab

Westlake Legal Group gth91-d60c3166a49b3eaff8e5ffd334d6afd9f8c2ee1f-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

The district attorney in Inglewood, Calif. charged Ruffu with a felony count of grand theft horse, as portrayed in the above scene from Grand Theft Horse. She was acquitted in November 2006. Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin hide caption

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Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

The district attorney in Inglewood, Calif. charged Ruffu with a felony count of grand theft horse, as portrayed in the above scene from Grand Theft Horse. She was acquitted in November 2006.

Courtesy of Greg Neri and Corban Wilkin

What are two enemies willing to lose to right a perceived wrong?

For my father and his co-owners, the fight to win back a horse that finished its one and only race in last place cost, by his estimate, $100,000. Gail Ruffu defied judges, lost her license and her livelihood for more than six years. The California Horse Racing Board let her reapply for her license in 2011.

Neither time nor distance has changed how either one feels about the past. Even now, 15 years after Urgent Envoy was taken, both told me they do not regret their actions, only that they trusted each other.

I had thought, perhaps naively, that time would have changed their perspectives, eased the animosity. Instead, having lost so much in this fight, they held on tightly to what they still had: their stories.

Ruffu doesn’t think about what happened as theft. She sees it as a rescue and says she was willing to sacrifice her career because of her love for Urgent Envoy. She still has him — he’s 18 now — but she keeps him in a secret location, afraid someone might steal him away in the middle of the night.

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-458754227_custom-38dcc218d9be28a26c8fa548da58468af9f263b7-s1100-c15 He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

A groom walks a horse in the stables at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  He Was A Horse That Never Won A Race. So Why Would Someone Steal Him?

A groom walks a horse in the stables at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

I want to believe this caution is just Ruffu being paranoid. But then I have to remind myself about how my father told me that when he heard about the graphic novel, he spoke with the only other living buyer of Urgent Envoy, his 82-year-old father (my grandfather) about getting a trailer and taking him back.

“I just think it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s not really a practical decision. I just hate to see a wrong go unpunished.” He concedes, “I think she’s won, and I’m a sore loser.”

Talking to my dad, now 62, I could understand how hard it must have been to give up the fight. To lose your case in court, to spend years in litigation with no tangible results, to chase your stolen property and never get it back: these things can torment a successful trial lawyer.

I felt how badly he wanted to recover his dream. Still, if I ever have a Gail Ruffu of my own in life, I would hope I could learn from his story, to know when I’d lost a fight, to forego revenge and walk away sooner.

While working on this story, I came across a video by Neri, Ruffu’s cousin and the author of Grand Theft Horse, that was posted online to help promote his book.

In the video, you see Ruffu lead an enormous horse to a paddock. The horse rolls around, scratching its back in the dirt.

In the background, Neri quietly utters a code name: “Ahab, a.k.a. Urgent Envoy.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Black Friday 2019: What You Need to Know

Westlake Legal Group 29blackfriday_8-facebookJumbo Black Friday 2019: What You Need to Know Shopping and Retail Luxury Goods and Services E-Commerce Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Shopping)

In the age of e-commerce, Black Friday can feel like an anachronism. But don’t be fooled. The Friday after Thanksgiving remains enormously important — at least symbolically — to the retail industry. And millions of shoppers will still be out in stores, working off that turkey and stuffing by racing to find the best deals.

Many others will simply stay at home, content to cruise the internet to do their shopping. Whether it’s in stores or online, our reporters will be covering it here, with a little help from our friends at The Wirecutter.

Follow our Black Friday coverage here.

It’s hard to think of a better time to be a shopper. There’s one-day delivery, online purchases with in-store pick up, even $17 cocktails served while you shop for shoes.

Retailers are trying to be all things to all shoppers, but it is proving to be a tough and, some say, unsustainable way to run their business. The more money retailers invest in new initiatives to boost sales, the more their profit margins seem to shrink.

Amazon is driving a lot of this pain, as old-school retailers try to catch up with the online giant, which sets the standard for speed and convenience.

— Michael Corkery

Let’s get real: Black Friday shopping, online and in stores, really starts on Thanksgiving and lasts all weekend. So it will be awhile before we know how the retail sector did this year. But one early indicator was positive: Shoppers spent $4.2 billion on Thursday, about 14.5 percent more than on Thanksgiving 2018, according to Adobe Analytics.

Adobe, which tracks purchases made on thousands of websites, said the top-selling items online were toys and products affiliated with the movie “Frozen 2,” L.O.L. Surprise dolls and toys, Amazon Fire TV products and Apple laptops.

Separately, the software company Salesforce projected that online sales would reach $7.4 billion in the United States on Friday alone, about 16 percent more than last year, and $40 billion globally, about a 24 percent increase.

The company found that more people had started their Black Friday shopping early by looking for deals online on Thanksgiving, and 60 percent of those digital orders were placed on mobile phones.

At Costco, the website was slow so the store extended one-day online deals intended for Thanksgiving into Friday. “The website is currently experiencing longer than normal response times,” Costco wrote in a banner across its home page. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

— Jacey Fortin

People who get an early jump on their holiday shopping inspire both envy and awe, and there has been even more early shopping this year.

During the first week of November, consumers had completed 24 percent of their holiday shopping, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. It was the highest level in the history of the trade group’s survey, and up 16 percent from a decade ago.

For the retail industry, it means that the all-important holiday shopping season is getting longer, and Black Friday’s importance is increasingly fading.

— Michael Corkery

When Barneys, the iconic Manhattan department store, was sold for pieces last month, it marked the end of an era in New York retailing. It also set the hearts of consumers racing, as talk of an unprecedented liquidation sale swirled. What sorts of deals could be had on cashmere? Would Gucci be in the bargain bin?

Alas, consumers have since been disappointed. Barneys’ liquidators — led by B. Riley Financial’s Great American Group — have largely limited the discounts to just 5 percent or 10 percent off the chain’s luxury wares. Twitter has been rife with incredulous shoppers. “I just checked out Barneys New York closing down sale and socks are $97,” one user wrote. Another remarked that they needed more than 10 percent off, noting, “This is like a rich folks sale.”

This week, however, B. Riley said it would deepen discounts at Barneys beginning on Wednesday, for an average of 30 percent to 35 percent off items throughout the weekend. It promised additional promotions for in-store shoppers. There’s a chance that will spur sales — though shoppers may continue to wait for even bigger discounts during December, as the liquidators will have to offload all of the inventory at some point.

— Sapna Maheshwari

Black Friday offers an avalanche of tech sales, and many aren’t worth your time, either because of the quality of the item or a discount that isn’t very exciting.

TV doorbusters, for example, are usually filled with low-quality, off-brand products, or even stripped-down models from top brands that are only available for the holidays. But that doesn’t mean all TV deals are bad deals. The Wirecutter Deals team has found large high-end models from last year at a bargain. We’ve also seen nice discounts on well-regarded midrange sets for everyday viewing or gaming.

While many people are hoping to snag Apple products for a steal, only select product lines are exceptionally priced. Surprisingly, some of the newest models are being discounted, though the reductions are meager. The best deals we’ve seen have been on older model watches. In general, you’re more likely to see discounts on Apple tablets and accessories from big box stores, but if you see a too-good-to-be-true price from a third-party site, it’s likely a refurbished unit with a shorter warranty and no quality guarantee.

In the world of gaming, consoles, controllers and subscription plans have seen strong discounts, as have tech accessories like wireless mice and keyboards. But before you get swept up in the hype and marketing language, we always suggest comparison shopping to ensure you’re getting the best deal on the best products.

— Nathan Burrow

Thanksgiving is just another Thursday in Europe, but Black Friday is a bone of contention: embraced by some and rejected by others as an alarming invasion of American consumerism.

Black Friday sales can be found in many countries, from small stationers to major chains to car dealers. In Britain, many retailers, like John Lewis & Partners, a source of appliances and furniture, started offering Black Friday discounts days ago. Curry’s PC World, an electronics retailer, has a “black tag” event claiming savings of up to 50 percent.

On the rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais district of central Paris, nearly every boutique within a one-block stretch is plastered with signs promoting “Black Friday” in English. While France has been slower than other European countries to join the trend, retailers forecast 6 billion euros in sales this year around the event.

In some cases, something is lost in translation. In Germany, the “Friday” is often dropped in signs promoting a “Black Sale” or “Black Week.”

But a backlash has been gaining steam. In France, lawmakers this week proposed to ban some Black Friday promotions starting next year, citing misleading pricing tactics and the rising environmental cost from the delivery of millions of packages.

Élisabeth Borne, the French environment minister, warned of “a frenzy of consumption” in which people are encouraged to buy products they don’t need.

“We need to consume better, not more,” she added.

Parisian authorities also asked the government to allow cities to slap a so-called eco-tax on Amazon and other delivery platforms to make e-commerce players pay for pollution and rising delivery traffic.

Protesters from the Extinction Rebellion movement and other environmental groups held “Block Friday” demonstrations throughout France. Many of the events were aimed at Amazon, with some banners saying “No to Amazon and its world.”

— Liz Alderman and Stanley Reed

How did the week of Thanksgiving become so entwined in consumerism?

It may have started with Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 32nd president of The United States was so eager to jump-start the economy in 1938 that he moved the holiday’s official date up a week in order to create more shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It was a bold move — and unpopular. The nation had been celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November ever since Abraham Lincoln declared the day a federal holiday following the battle of Gettysburg.

Roosevelt reversed course in 1941 and returned Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of the month, where it remains.

The holiday’s late arrival this year is worrying retailers since it means there are 26 shopping days before Christmas, six fewer than last year.

The abbreviated shopping period is one of reason Morgan Stanley analysts labeled their 2019 holiday retail outlook “The fright before Christmas” and are expecting a less than stellar shopping season.

Michael Corkery

Black Friday may be known as the raucous kickoff to gift-giving season (especially this year, as Christmas and Hanukkah overlap), but some people aren’t actually shopping for loved ones.

Instead, Wirecutter readers’ lists seem squarely rooted in everyday products. Some of the items our readers have asked us to look out for deals on: baby gates, electric toothbrushes and a garage door opener. And the retailers know this. The Wirecutter Deals team has found excellent pricing on everything from shower curtains to fly traps to computer cables that don’t exactly scream gift. Though, perhaps, nothing says “I love you” like a dongle.

— Annemarie Conte

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Elton John reveals he wore diaper, and used it, during Las Vegas show: ‘If they only knew’

Westlake Legal Group Elton-John Elton John reveals he wore diaper, and used it, during Las Vegas show: ‘If they only knew’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 324a3c1d-6d59-5c21-a63d-18613e29df09

Elton John who revealed in an interview with BBC One, that he actually urinated on himself while performing on stage.

The music icon made the revelation on “Elton John: Uncensored,” on Thursday and explained to Graham Norton in the lengthy interview that in 2017, just two weeks after undergoing an operation for prostate cancer, he was enduring after-effects of the procedure which impacted his bladder control.

“If only they knew,” John, 72, said of his audience during that particular show.

ELTON JOHN ON THE ‘LION KING’ REMAKE: IT’S ‘A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT’

John was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017 and elected to have surgery soon after instead of undergoing chemotherapy. Though the operation was a success, days later John was forced to deal with an infection that nearly took his life, he said in his memoir, “Me.” (via the Guardian)

During the interview, John also touched on his dislike for being bald, which he said is why he wears a toupee,” telling the outlet he looks “like Shrek” without one.

ELTON JOHN HIJACKED ROLLING STONES CONCERT HIGH ON COCAINE; KEITH RICHARDS WAS NOT HAPPY

Of his pacemaker, John said he digs the contraption.

“I’m like the bionic woman,” he quipped, noting that he has a pacemaker but doesn’t have tonsils, a prostate, an appendix or hair.

The “Rocket Man” crooner’s interview comes just two days after the legend called off his performance in Orlando due to an ear infection some 20 minutes after the show was supposed to start.

“The rescheduled Orlando date, a stop on Elton’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, will be announced in the near future so please hold onto your tickets,” Amway Center tweeted on Wednesday.

ELTON JOHN RESPONDS TO VLADIMIR PUTIN’S LGBTQ COMMENTS FOLLOWING ‘ROCKETMAN’ CENSORSHIP

While the abrupt cancellation frustrated and angered concertgoers, John released a statement on Twitter saying he was “sincerely sorry” for the shutdown.

“We are sincerely sorry to everyone due to attend the shows in Orlando last night and Tampa tonight,” the statement began. “Elton has been on a course of antibiotics to combat an ear infection and it was expected that these would clear the infection in time to play the Orlando show.”

The statement continued, “Elton and his band play 100% live and with impaired hearing and ear pain he wouldn’t have been able to deliver the performance his fans deserve. He will take a couple of days rest to allow the infection to clear up and both will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

John broke the news that he would be retiring from tour life at the beginning of the year. The singer announced that he would embark on the three-year farewell tour to give his devoted fans once last chance to see the “Rocket Man” in action.

Fox News’ Morgan M. Evans contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Elton-John Elton John reveals he wore diaper, and used it, during Las Vegas show: ‘If they only knew’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 324a3c1d-6d59-5c21-a63d-18613e29df09   Westlake Legal Group Elton-John Elton John reveals he wore diaper, and used it, during Las Vegas show: ‘If they only knew’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 324a3c1d-6d59-5c21-a63d-18613e29df09

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

New York lawmakers seek to ban doctors from performing ‘virginity checks’

Westlake Legal Group LiYEJIH-BNmKJVjP6mjsrgRaczQaR4AyUoSMjwYieHo New York lawmakers seek to ban doctors from performing 'virginity checks' r/politics

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In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

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Black Friday 2019: What You Need to Know

Westlake Legal Group 29blackfriday_8-facebookJumbo Black Friday 2019: What You Need to Know Shopping and Retail Luxury Goods and Services E-Commerce Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Shopping)

In the age of e-commerce, Black Friday can feel like an anachronism. But don’t be fooled. The Friday after Thanksgiving remains enormously important — at least symbolically — to the retail industry. And millions of shoppers will still be out in stores, working off that turkey and stuffing by racing to find the best deals.

Many others will simply stay at home, content to cruise the internet to do their shopping. Whether it’s in stores or online, our reporters will be covering it here, with a little help from our friends at The Wirecutter.

Follow our Black Friday coverage here.

It’s hard to think of a better time to be a shopper. There’s one-day delivery, online purchases with in-store pick up, even $17 cocktails served while you shop for shoes.

Retailers are trying to be all things to all shoppers, but it is proving to be a tough and, some say, unsustainable way to run their business. The more money retailers invest in new initiatives to boost sales, the more their profit margins seem to shrink.

Amazon is driving a lot of this pain, as old-school retailers try to catch up with the online giant, which sets the standard for speed and convenience.

— Michael Corkery

Let’s get real: Black Friday shopping, online and in stores, really starts on Thanksgiving and lasts all weekend. So it will be awhile before we know how the retail sector did this year. But one early indicator was positive: Shoppers spent $4.2 billion on Thursday, about 14.5 percent more than on Thanksgiving 2018, according to Adobe Analytics.

Adobe, which tracks purchases made on thousands of websites, said the top-selling items online were toys and products affiliated with the movie “Frozen 2,” L.O.L. Surprise dolls and toys, Amazon Fire TV products and Apple laptops.

Separately, the software company Salesforce projected that online sales would reach $7.4 billion in the United States on Friday alone, about 16 percent more than last year, and $40 billion globally, about a 24 percent increase.

The company found that more people had started their Black Friday shopping early by looking for deals online on Thanksgiving, and 60 percent of those digital orders were placed on mobile phones.

At Costco, the website was slow so the store extended one-day online deals intended for Thanksgiving into Friday. “The website is currently experiencing longer than normal response times,” Costco wrote in a banner across its home page. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

— Jacey Fortin

People who get an early jump on their holiday shopping inspire both envy and awe, and there has been even more early shopping this year.

During the first week of November, consumers had completed 24 percent of their holiday shopping, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. It was the highest level in the history of the trade group’s survey, and up 16 percent from a decade ago.

For the retail industry, it means that the all-important holiday shopping season is getting longer, and Black Friday’s importance is increasingly fading.

— Michael Corkery

When Barneys, the iconic Manhattan department store, was sold for pieces last month, it marked the end of an era in New York retailing. It also set the hearts of consumers racing, as talk of an unprecedented liquidation sale swirled. What sorts of deals could be had on cashmere? Would Gucci be in the bargain bin?

Alas, consumers have since been disappointed. Barneys’ liquidators — led by B. Riley Financial’s Great American Group — have largely limited the discounts to just 5 percent or 10 percent off the chain’s luxury wares. Twitter has been rife with incredulous shoppers. “I just checked out Barneys New York closing down sale and socks are $97,” one user wrote. Another remarked that they needed more than 10 percent off, noting, “This is like a rich folks sale.”

This week, however, B. Riley said it would deepen discounts at Barneys beginning on Wednesday, for an average of 30 percent to 35 percent off items throughout the weekend. It promised additional promotions for in-store shoppers. There’s a chance that will spur sales — though shoppers may continue to wait for even bigger discounts during December, as the liquidators will have to offload all of the inventory at some point.

— Sapna Maheshwari

Black Friday offers an avalanche of tech sales, and many aren’t worth your time, either because of the quality of the item or a discount that isn’t very exciting.

TV doorbusters, for example, are usually filled with low-quality, off-brand products, or even stripped-down models from top brands that are only available for the holidays. But that doesn’t mean all TV deals are bad deals. The Wirecutter Deals team has found large high-end models from last year at a bargain. We’ve also seen nice discounts on well-regarded midrange sets for everyday viewing or gaming.

While many people are hoping to snag Apple products for a steal, only select product lines are exceptionally priced. Surprisingly, some of the newest models are being discounted, though the reductions are meager. The best deals we’ve seen have been on older model watches. In general, you’re more likely to see discounts on Apple tablets and accessories from big box stores, but if you see a too-good-to-be-true price from a third-party site, it’s likely a refurbished unit with a shorter warranty and no quality guarantee.

In the world of gaming, consoles, controllers and subscription plans have seen strong discounts, as have tech accessories like wireless mice and keyboards. But before you get swept up in the hype and marketing language, we always suggest comparison shopping to ensure you’re getting the best deal on the best products.

— Nathan Burrow

Thanksgiving is just another Thursday in Europe, but Black Friday is a bone of contention: embraced by some and rejected by others as an alarming invasion of American consumerism.

Black Friday sales can be found in many countries, from small stationers to major chains to car dealers. In Britain, many retailers, like John Lewis & Partners, a source of appliances and furniture, started offering Black Friday discounts days ago. Curry’s PC World, an electronics retailer, has a “black tag” event claiming savings of up to 50 percent.

On the rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais district of central Paris, nearly every boutique within a one-block stretch is plastered with signs promoting “Black Friday” in English. While France has been slower than other European countries to join the trend, retailers forecast 6 billion euros in sales this year around the event.

In some cases, something is lost in translation. In Germany, the “Friday” is often dropped in signs promoting a “Black Sale” or “Black Week.”

But a backlash has been gaining steam. In France, lawmakers this week proposed to ban some Black Friday promotions starting next year, citing misleading pricing tactics and the rising environmental cost from the delivery of millions of packages.

Élisabeth Borne, the French environment minister, warned of “a frenzy of consumption” in which people are encouraged to buy products they don’t need.

“We need to consume better, not more,” she added.

Parisian authorities also asked the government to allow cities to slap a so-called eco-tax on Amazon and other delivery platforms to make e-commerce players pay for pollution and rising delivery traffic.

Protesters from the Extinction Rebellion movement and other environmental groups held “Block Friday” demonstrations throughout France. Many of the events were aimed at Amazon, with some banners saying “No to Amazon and its world.”

— Liz Alderman and Stanley Reed

How did the week of Thanksgiving become so entwined in consumerism?

It may have started with Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 32nd president of The United States was so eager to jump-start the economy in 1938 that he moved the holiday’s official date up a week in order to create more shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It was a bold move — and unpopular. The nation had been celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November ever since Abraham Lincoln declared the day a federal holiday following the battle of Gettysburg.

Roosevelt reversed course in 1941 and returned Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of the month, where it remains.

The holiday’s late arrival this year is worrying retailers since it means there are 26 shopping days before Christmas, six fewer than last year.

The abbreviated shopping period is one of reason Morgan Stanley analysts labeled their 2019 holiday retail outlook “The fright before Christmas” and are expecting a less than stellar shopping season.

Michael Corkery

Black Friday may be known as the raucous kickoff to gift-giving season (especially this year, as Christmas and Hanukkah overlap), but some people aren’t actually shopping for loved ones.

Instead, Wirecutter readers’ lists seem squarely rooted in everyday products. Some of the items our readers have asked us to look out for deals on: baby gates, electric toothbrushes and a garage door opener. And the retailers know this. The Wirecutter Deals team has found excellent pricing on everything from shower curtains to fly traps to computer cables that don’t exactly scream gift. Though, perhaps, nothing says “I love you” like a dongle.

— Annemarie Conte

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Black Friday 2019: What You Need to Know

Westlake Legal Group 29blackfriday_8-facebookJumbo Black Friday 2019: What You Need to Know Shopping and Retail Luxury Goods and Services E-Commerce Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Shopping)

In the age of e-commerce, Black Friday can feel like an anachronism. But don’t be fooled. The Friday after Thanksgiving remains enormously important — at least symbolically — to the retail industry. And millions of shoppers will still be out in stores, working off that turkey and stuffing by racing to find the best deals.

Many others will simply stay at home, content to cruise the internet to do their shopping. Whether it’s in stores or online, our reporters will be covering it here, with a little help from our friends at The Wirecutter.

Follow our Black Friday coverage here.

It’s hard to think of a better time to be a shopper. There’s one-day delivery, online purchases with in-store pick up, even $17 cocktails served while you shop for shoes.

Retailers are trying to be all things to all shoppers, but it is proving to be a tough and, some say, unsustainable way to run their business. The more money retailers invest in new initiatives to boost sales, the more their profit margins seem to shrink.

Amazon is driving a lot of this pain, as old-school retailers try to catch up with the online giant, which sets the standard for speed and convenience.

— Michael Corkery

Let’s get real: Black Friday shopping, online and in stores, really starts on Thanksgiving and lasts all weekend. So it will be awhile before we know how the retail sector did this year. But one early indicator was positive: Shoppers spent $4.2 billion on Thursday, about 14.5 percent more than on Thanksgiving 2018, according to Adobe Analytics.

Adobe, which tracks purchases made on thousands of websites, said the top-selling items online were toys and products affiliated with the movie “Frozen 2,” L.O.L. Surprise dolls and toys, Amazon Fire TV products and Apple laptops.

Separately, the software company Salesforce projected that online sales would reach $7.4 billion in the United States on Friday alone, about 16 percent more than last year, and $40 billion globally, about a 24 percent increase.

The company found that more people had started their Black Friday shopping early by looking for deals online on Thanksgiving, and 60 percent of those digital orders were placed on mobile phones.

At Costco, the website was slow so the store extended one-day online deals intended for Thanksgiving into Friday. “The website is currently experiencing longer than normal response times,” Costco wrote in a banner across its home page. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

— Jacey Fortin

People who get an early jump on their holiday shopping inspire both envy and awe, and there has been even more early shopping this year.

During the first week of November, consumers had completed 24 percent of their holiday shopping, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. It was the highest level in the history of the trade group’s survey, and up 16 percent from a decade ago.

For the retail industry, it means that the all-important holiday shopping season is getting longer, and Black Friday’s importance is increasingly fading.

— Michael Corkery

When Barneys, the iconic Manhattan department store, was sold for pieces last month, it marked the end of an era in New York retailing. It also set the hearts of consumers racing, as talk of an unprecedented liquidation sale swirled. What sorts of deals could be had on cashmere? Would Gucci be in the bargain bin?

Alas, consumers have since been disappointed. Barneys’ liquidators — led by B. Riley Financial’s Great American Group — have largely limited the discounts to just 5 percent or 10 percent off the chain’s luxury wares. Twitter has been rife with incredulous shoppers. “I just checked out Barneys New York closing down sale and socks are $97,” one user wrote. Another remarked that they needed more than 10 percent off, noting, “This is like a rich folks sale.”

This week, however, B. Riley said it would deepen discounts at Barneys beginning on Wednesday, for an average of 30 percent to 35 percent off items throughout the weekend. It promised additional promotions for in-store shoppers. There’s a chance that will spur sales — though shoppers may continue to wait for even bigger discounts during December, as the liquidators will have to offload all of the inventory at some point.

— Sapna Maheshwari

Black Friday offers an avalanche of tech sales, and many aren’t worth your time, either because of the quality of the item or a discount that isn’t very exciting.

TV doorbusters, for example, are usually filled with low-quality, off-brand products, or even stripped-down models from top brands that are only available for the holidays. But that doesn’t mean all TV deals are bad deals. The Wirecutter Deals team has found large high-end models from last year at a bargain. We’ve also seen nice discounts on well-regarded midrange sets for everyday viewing or gaming.

While many people are hoping to snag Apple products for a steal, only select product lines are exceptionally priced. Surprisingly, some of the newest models are being discounted, though the reductions are meager. The best deals we’ve seen have been on older model watches. In general, you’re more likely to see discounts on Apple tablets and accessories from big box stores, but if you see a too-good-to-be-true price from a third-party site, it’s likely a refurbished unit with a shorter warranty and no quality guarantee.

In the world of gaming, consoles, controllers and subscription plans have seen strong discounts, as have tech accessories like wireless mice and keyboards. But before you get swept up in the hype and marketing language, we always suggest comparison shopping to ensure you’re getting the best deal on the best products.

— Nathan Burrow

Thanksgiving is just another Thursday in Europe, but Black Friday is a bone of contention: embraced by some and rejected by others as an alarming invasion of American consumerism.

Black Friday sales can be found in many countries, from small stationers to major chains to car dealers. In Britain, many retailers, like John Lewis & Partners, a source of appliances and furniture, started offering Black Friday discounts days ago. Curry’s PC World, an electronics retailer, has a “black tag” event claiming savings of up to 50 percent.

On the rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais district of central Paris, nearly every boutique within a one-block stretch is plastered with signs promoting “Black Friday” in English. While France has been slower than other European countries to join the trend, retailers forecast 6 billion euros in sales this year around the event.

In some cases, something is lost in translation. In Germany, the “Friday” is often dropped in signs promoting a “Black Sale” or “Black Week.”

But a backlash has been gaining steam. In France, lawmakers this week proposed to ban some Black Friday promotions starting next year, citing misleading pricing tactics and the rising environmental cost from the delivery of millions of packages.

Élisabeth Borne, the French environment minister, warned of “a frenzy of consumption” in which people are encouraged to buy products they don’t need.

“We need to consume better, not more,” she added.

Parisian authorities also asked the government to allow cities to slap a so-called eco-tax on Amazon and other delivery platforms to make e-commerce players pay for pollution and rising delivery traffic.

Protesters from the Extinction Rebellion movement and other environmental groups held “Block Friday” demonstrations throughout France. Many of the events were aimed at Amazon, with some banners saying “No to Amazon and its world.”

— Liz Alderman and Stanley Reed

How did the week of Thanksgiving become so entwined in consumerism?

It may have started with Franklin D. Roosevelt. The 32nd president of The United States was so eager to jump-start the economy in 1938 that he moved the holiday’s official date up a week in order to create more shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It was a bold move — and unpopular. The nation had been celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November ever since Abraham Lincoln declared the day a federal holiday following the battle of Gettysburg.

Roosevelt reversed course in 1941 and returned Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of the month, where it remains.

The holiday’s late arrival this year is worrying retailers since it means there are 26 shopping days before Christmas, six fewer than last year.

The abbreviated shopping period is one of reason Morgan Stanley analysts labeled their 2019 holiday retail outlook “The fright before Christmas” and are expecting a less than stellar shopping season.

Michael Corkery

Black Friday may be known as the raucous kickoff to gift-giving season (especially this year, as Christmas and Hanukkah overlap), but some people aren’t actually shopping for loved ones.

Instead, Wirecutter readers’ lists seem squarely rooted in everyday products. Some of the items our readers have asked us to look out for deals on: baby gates, electric toothbrushes and a garage door opener. And the retailers know this. The Wirecutter Deals team has found excellent pricing on everything from shower curtains to fly traps to computer cables that don’t exactly scream gift. Though, perhaps, nothing says “I love you” like a dongle.

— Annemarie Conte

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

New York lawmakers seek to ban doctors from performing ‘virginity checks’

Westlake Legal Group LiYEJIH-BNmKJVjP6mjsrgRaczQaR4AyUoSMjwYieHo New York lawmakers seek to ban doctors from performing 'virginity checks' r/politics

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In general, be courteous to others. Debate/discuss/argue the merits of ideas, don’t attack people. Personal insults, shill or troll accusations, hate speech, any advocating or wishing death/physical harm, and other rule violations can result in a permanent ban.

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Chris Wood supports his wife, ‘Supergirl’ star Melissa Benoist after she reveals she’s a domestic violence survivor

Melissa Benoist’s husband, Chris Wood, is publicly standing next to his wife after she told followers on Instagram that she is a survivor of domestic abuse.

The newlyweds tied the knot over Labor Day weekend. Wood, 31, took to Twitter on Thursday and praised his “Supergirl” wife using the hashtag #IStandWithMelissa, which has been circulating on social media since Benoist shared her revelation on Wednesday.

“Happy Thanksgiving! I’m going to kiss my wife and hold her tenderly,” he tweeted. “All day. And every day. How do YOU show love?”

Benoist, 31, spoke to her Instagram followers in a lengthy, emotional video on Wednesday and claimed that she endured months of abuse by a younger romantic partner.

“I am a survivor of domestic violence or IPV (intimate partner violence), which is something I never in my life expected I would say, let alone be broadcasting into the ether,” she said. (via People)

‘SUPERGIRL’ STAR MELISSA BENOIST MARRIES CHRIS WOOD

Benoist did not name her alleged abuser. She described her ex-romantic partner as a “magnanimous person, who didn’t really give you a choice not to be drawn toward him,” adding that “he could be charming, funny, manipulative, [and] devious.”

The “Glee” alum said that during her relationship with the individual, after about five months, he became more violent and physical with her. The first instance of physical abuse came when he allegedly threw a smoothie in the face of Benoist.

Westlake Legal Group melissa-benoist-chris-wood-getty Chris Wood supports his wife, ‘Supergirl’ star Melissa Benoist after she reveals she’s a domestic violence survivor Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 49dfc25b-e02f-5ca2-9d67-d40a96ac23ca

“Super Girl” star Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood attend the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City. The pair married in early September 2019. (Getty)

She said she feared speaking up about the alleged violent encounter because she was ashamed and further detailed other experiences she had with said individual.

“The stark truth is I learned what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard the wind was knocked out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head-butted, pinched until my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked,” she explained.

MELISSA BENOIST SAYS IT’S HARD WORK TO BE ‘SUPERGIRL’

“I learned to lock myself in rooms but quickly stopped because the door was inevitably broken down. I learned to not value any of my property — replaceable and irreplaceable. I learned not to value myself.”

The “Whiplash” actress said the tipping point came when her partner allegedly chucked an iPhone at her face, resulting in major injuries.

“The impact tore my iris, nearly ruptured my eyeball, lacerated my skin and broke my nose,” she recounted. “My left eye swelled shut. I had a fat lip … Something inside of me broke, this was too far.”

“Leaving was not a walk in the park. It is not an event, it’s a process,” Benoist continued. “I felt complicated feelings of guilt for leaving and for hurting someone I had protected for so long, and yes, [a] mournful feeling of leaving something familiar,” she explained.

‘SUPERGIRL’ AND ‘ARROW’ STARS RESPOND TO REPORTS OF ALLEGED SHOWRUNNER HARASSMENT

“But luckily, the people I let in, the more I was bolstered, I never lost the sense of clarity that kept telling me, ‘You do not deserve this.’”

Benoist concluded that in sharing her story, she hopes that other women will be compelled to exit their abusive predicaments and prevent women from suffering the same form of abuse, noting that one in four men and one in four women experience domestic abuse, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I want those statistics to change, and I hope that telling my story will prevent more stories like this from happening,” she said. “If you are enduring what I went through and you see this, you might be able to find the tiny straw that will break the camel’s back.”

Benoist was previously married to her “Glee” co-star Blake Jenner. They split in 2016 and their divorce was finalized in 2017.

Westlake Legal Group melissa-benoist-chris-wood-getty Chris Wood supports his wife, ‘Supergirl’ star Melissa Benoist after she reveals she’s a domestic violence survivor Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 49dfc25b-e02f-5ca2-9d67-d40a96ac23ca   Westlake Legal Group melissa-benoist-chris-wood-getty Chris Wood supports his wife, ‘Supergirl’ star Melissa Benoist after she reveals she’s a domestic violence survivor Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 49dfc25b-e02f-5ca2-9d67-d40a96ac23ca

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Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river

This puts a somewhat different spin on the famous quote “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”

An ancient Roman grooming set — complete with tweezers and a metal earbud for cleaning ears — has been discovered during construction of a bridge in the U.K. The discoveries were made earlier this year in Ebbsfleet Garden City in southern England, SWNS reports, following the excavation of a drainage trench on the south side of the River Ebbsfleet.

The unusual artifacts could be up to 2,000 years old, according to the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, which is building the bridge. A piece of timber that may have been used in ancient construction was also found. “It is likely that it found its way to the bottom of the River Ebbsfleet after being dropped from a barge during transportation,” said Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, in a statement.

ROMAN SOLDIERS’ VERY RUDE GRAFFITI REVEALED NEAR HADRIAN’S WALL

Saxon pottery has also been discovered at the site. “All the items discovered at the construction site, where archaeologists were employed full time, have been removed for further examination and documentation,” said Ebbsfleet Development Corporation. Experts have also been commissioned to preserve the timber in wax.

Westlake Legal Group RomanTweezers Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river James Rogers fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science/archaeology/culture fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc ce00b6da-25b9-5b9c-969c-9ad1f5c4d5cf article

The tweezers appear to be part of an ancient grooming kit. (Ebbsfleet Development Corporation)

In Roman times the source of the River Ebbsfleet was the site of a settlement called Vagniacis.

The U.K. continues to reveal new aspects of its rich Roman history. An ancient quarry near Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, for example, has offered a smutty glimpse into the lives of the Roman soldiers who built the famous fortification.

ROMAN ‘HAND OF GOD’ UNEARTHED BY ARCHAEOLOGISTS NEAR HADRIAN’S WALL

Last year archaeologists unearthed boxing gloves at the site of Vindolanda, an ancient Roman fort just south of Hadrian’s Wall. A mysterious bronze hand was also discovered during an excavation at Vindolanda.

Westlake Legal Group RomanEarbud Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river James Rogers fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science/archaeology/culture fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc ce00b6da-25b9-5b9c-969c-9ad1f5c4d5cf article

The metal Roman ear cleaner. (Ebbsfleet Development Corporation)

In 2017, a trove of artifacts, including Roman swords, was discovered at the former fort. Researchers also found 25 wooden ink documents at Vindolanda, offering a fascinating glimpse into everyday life in the Roman Empire.

Elsewhere in the U.K. other Roman sites have been revealing their secrets, such as mysterious villa at Abermagwr in west Wales and a 2,000-year-old cemetery in Lincolnshire.

MYSTERIOUS ROMAN VILLA REVEALS ITS SECRETS

Archaeologists in Leicester also unearthed a 1,600-year-old Roman mosaic and lifted it out of the ground. The mosaic floor, which dates from the late 3rd or early 4th century A.D., was discovered next to a parking lot by the same team that found the remains of Richard III in the city.

Westlake Legal Group RomanTimber Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river James Rogers fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science/archaeology/culture fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc ce00b6da-25b9-5b9c-969c-9ad1f5c4d5cf article

A piece of timber, which may have been used in an ancient construction project, was found at the excavation site.(Ebbsfleet Development Corporation)

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In 2014, a stunning hoard of ancient silver, believed to have been used as bribes by Romans, was found with a metal detector by a teenager in Scotland.

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Westlake Legal Group RomanTweezersSplit Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river James Rogers fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science/archaeology/culture fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc ce00b6da-25b9-5b9c-969c-9ad1f5c4d5cf article   Westlake Legal Group RomanTweezersSplit Roman tweezers and earbud discovered near UK river James Rogers fox-news/science/archaeology/history fox-news/science/archaeology/culture fox-news/science/archaeology/ancient-rome fox-news/columns/digging-history fox news fnc/science fnc ce00b6da-25b9-5b9c-969c-9ad1f5c4d5cf article

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