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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 373)

Ernst & Young Chair Responds To Sexist Training: ‘Mistakes Have Been Made’

Kelly Grier, the U.S. chair and managing partner of Ernst & Young, acknowledged that a leadership training offered by the giant accounting firm contained offensive and inappropriate content in an email and video sent out to the company’s alumni and obtained by HuffPost.

Grier was responding to a HuffPost report on the contents of a seminar that has drawn widespread condemnation since news of its existence was first published Monday

Westlake Legal Group 5da726972100001a0e34a1f3 Ernst & Young Chair Responds To Sexist Training: ‘Mistakes Have Been Made’

ISABELLA CARAPELLA / HUFFPOST The 55-page presentation offered at Ernst & Young featured advice on how to dress.

At the day-and-a-half program, held in June 2018, women were given advice on how to dress ― no short skirts because “sexuality scrambles the mind” ― and how to act around men. They were also told their brains are smaller than men’s and not to talk to a man face to face because that was intimidating.

“Let me start by saying how deeply I regret the negative association that this program has had on EY in the media, and to acknowledge that mistakes have been made,” Grier said in the email. 

The first woman to lead the company in the U.S., Grier also sent alumni a link to a video discussing the “Power-Presence-Purpose” program. Initially about five minutes long, the video was shortened later in the day, in part to remove remarks that were highly critical of the media.

Grier called media characterizations of the company’s culture “unfair and misleading.” She also appeared to take a swipe at HuffPost and the other news reports released this week. “The objective of the media is to create news and to attract clicks, and there is no doubt that this story was done with that objective exclusively in mind,” Grier said. Those remarks were edited out of a subsequent version of the video.

“We celebrate differences and authenticity and the courage of conviction, and we encourage bold leadership and a culture of belonging,” she said.

Grier said only a few women at EY had ever participated in the program — fewer than 1%, she writes ― and that it had not gone through an appropriate review at the firm. “This was an unfortunate breakdown in our processes,” she said.

In the video, Grier ― who is No. 38 on Fortune’s list of the most powerful women ― said she was “deeply troubled” by some of the “offensive” content in the program. 

She said if she’d taken the advice offered to women in the presentation, she likely wouldn’t have made it to the top.

“Had I heeded those aspects of the program, I can assure you that I would not be sitting here today as your U.S. chair,” she said in the video.

For its story on Monday, HuffPost shared the 55-page PPP presentation with three experts in women and leadership ― two academics and one consultant ― who have all worked on these kinds of trainings. All agreed the program was threaded throughout with outdated and debunked stereotypes about women. 

At least two EY alumni HuffPost spoke with on Wednesday said they were not won over by Grier’s note. 

Eh, if you could see me roll [my] eyes,” said a former female executive director with the firm in an email to HuffPost, who did not want to include her name due to fear of career reprisals for openly criticizing her former employer. 

“It’s about what I would expect them to say,” the former executive director said.  “It’s a focused response to what they’ve tried to minimize as a specific error with a specific program, while being seriously tone deaf on the larger cultural issue.”

She emphasized that overall, EY leaders probably do believe they are doing all they can for women, but when you look at the numbers, there is clearly a problem.

Just 25% of EY’s partners and principals in the U.S. are women, according to data EY shared with HuffPost. The company emphasized to HuffPost on Wednesday that women comprise nearly 40% of Grier’s executive team.

Have you worked at EY or do you work at EY? Tell us your story. Email: emily.peck@huffpost.com

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Google Claims To Achieve Quantum Supremacy — IBM Pushes Back

Westlake Legal Group ap_19289742165002_wide-8a24dfa58a35a04f77cf426b7a3afa704e7f2bc6-s1100-c15 Google Claims To Achieve Quantum Supremacy — IBM Pushes Back

Google’s processor, Sycamore, performed a truly random-number generation in 200 seconds. The achievement marks a major breakthrough in the decadeslong quest to use quantum mechanics to solve computational problems. Above, a Google sign at the company’s campus in Mountain View, Calif. Jeff Chiu/AP hide caption

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Jeff Chiu/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Google Claims To Achieve Quantum Supremacy — IBM Pushes Back

Google’s processor, Sycamore, performed a truly random-number generation in 200 seconds. The achievement marks a major breakthrough in the decadeslong quest to use quantum mechanics to solve computational problems. Above, a Google sign at the company’s campus in Mountain View, Calif.

Jeff Chiu/AP

Google says it has built a computer that is capable of solving problems that classical computers practically cannot. According to a report published in the scientific journal Nature, Google’s processor, Sycamore, performed a truly random-number generation in 200 seconds. That same task would take about 10,000 years for a state-of-the-art supercomputer to execute.

The achievement marks a major breakthrough in the technology world’s decadeslong quest to use quantum mechanics to solve computational problems. Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that the company started exploring the possibility of quantum computing in 2006.

In classical computers, bits can store information as either a 0 or a 1 in binary notation. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which can be both 0 and 1. According to Google, the Sycamore processor uses 53 qubits, which allows for a drastic increase in speed compared with classical computers.

The report acknowledges that the processor’s practical applications are limited. Google says Sycamore can generate truly random numbers without utilizing pseudo-random formulas that classical computers use.

Pichai called the success of Sycamore the “hello world” moment of quantum computing.

“With this breakthrough we’re now one step closer to applying quantum computing to—for example—design more efficient batteries, create fertilizer using less energy, and figure out what molecules might make effective medicines,” Pichai wrote.

IBM has pushed back, saying Google hasn’t achieved supremacy because “ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity.”

On its blog, IBM further discusses its objections to the term “quantum supremacy.” The authors write that the term is widely misinterpreted.

“First because, as we argue above, by its strictest definition the goal has not been met,” IBM’s blog says. “But more fundamentally, because quantum computers will never reign ‘supreme’ over classical computers, but will rather work in concert with them, since each have their unique strengths.”

News of Google’s breakthrough has raised concerns among some people, such as presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, who believe quantum computing will render password encryption useless. Theoretical computer science professor Scott Aaronson refuted these claims on his blog, writing that the technology needed to break cryptosystems does not exist yet.

The concept of quantum computers holding an advantage over classical computers has dated back to the early 1980s. In 2012, John Preskill, a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech, coined the term “quantum supremacy.”

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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

Tennessee teen wearing ankle monitor admitted to shooting, sexual assault of Nashville rideshare drivers: police

A Tennessee teenager faces several charges after a violent crime spree Friday night that included the shooting of a female rideshare driver and the sexual assault of another, police announced on Wednesday.

Reginald Williams, Jr., 17, who was wearing an ankle monitor under the supervision of the Department of Children’s Services during the alleged crime spree involving rideshare drivers, admitted to his involvement, according to a Metropolitan Nashville Police Department news release.

CALIFORNIA LYFT DRIVER IS PULLED OVER SO POLICE CAN ARREST HER PASSENGER

Police said a female Lyft driver responded around 9:15 p.m. on Friday to the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville, Tenn. to pick up three young men who, according to WKRN-TV, used a stolen phone to request the ride. The woman then drove them to a location about twenty minutes away and that is where she was robbed and sexually assaulted at gunpoint, investigators said.

Police said about an hour and a half later officers responded to a Nashville supermarket where a man reported that he was approached by a man with a gun on a street about five minutes away and was forced to drive to the grocery store to withdraw money from an ATM inside the store. When the victim came back outside, the suspect was gone.

TENNESSEE MAN SHOT WITH HIS OWN GUN AFTER CONFRONTING CAR BURGLARS, POLICE SAY

Police said the gunman then used the stolen phone to order a ride back to the street where he had come from, where he attempted to rob the female Lyft driver. The driver told officers that he grabbed her by the throat and put a gun to her head, according to the news release. She said she reached for her pepper spray and began spraying the gunman who fired his gun. Police said she was shot in the arm and foot and her injuries were reportedly not life-threatening.

Westlake Legal Group Reginald-Williams-Jr Tennessee teen wearing ankle monitor admitted to shooting, sexual assault of Nashville rideshare drivers: police Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/nashville fox news fnc/us fnc edf36772-3556-5815-8bbc-ad0efaa987eb article

Reginald Williams, Jr., 17, who was wearing an ankle monitor under the supervision of the Department of Children’s Services during an alleged crime spree involving rideshare drivers, admitted to his involvement, according to a Metropolitan Nashville Police Department news release. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

Investigators said the gunman took off and requested another rideshare. He then allegedly robbed the driver of his minivan, which, police said, has still not been found.

Williams, of Nashville, has been charged in Juvenile Court with attempted criminal homicide, aggravated robbery, carjacking and evading arrest. Police said charges related to the robbery and sexual assault are pending.

Investigators said they are still working to identify two other suspects.

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A spokesperson for Lyft did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment regarding the arrest.

Westlake Legal Group Reginald-Williams-Jr Tennessee teen wearing ankle monitor admitted to shooting, sexual assault of Nashville rideshare drivers: police Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/nashville fox news fnc/us fnc edf36772-3556-5815-8bbc-ad0efaa987eb article   Westlake Legal Group Reginald-Williams-Jr Tennessee teen wearing ankle monitor admitted to shooting, sexual assault of Nashville rideshare drivers: police Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/nashville fox news fnc/us fnc edf36772-3556-5815-8bbc-ad0efaa987eb article

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

Hailey Baldwin’s ‘I’ll Kill You’ post had nothing to do with Selena Gomez’s new song: source

Westlake Legal Group Baldwin-Bieber-Gomez Hailey Baldwin’s ‘I’ll Kill You’ post had nothing to do with Selena Gomez’s new song: source Julius Young fox-news/person/selena-gomez fox-news/person/justin-bieber fox-news/person/hailey-baldwin fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/feud fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f9e9a86d-8d20-5f09-a167-3960c13a0626 article

Hailey Baldwin fired back at speculation on Wednesday that she reacted to Selena Gomez’s new single, “Lose You to Love Me,” by posting another song called “I’ll Kill You” to her Instagram Story.

In response to an Instagram post about the rumors, Baldwin, 22, wrote: “Please stop with this nonsense… there is no ‘response.'”

“This is complete BS,” the “Drop the Mic” host added.

SELENA GOMEZ ‘SEEKING TREATMENT’ TO ‘TACKLE HER EMOTIONAL ISSUES HEAD-ON,’ SOURCE SAYS

On Wednesday, Gomez released her first single in four years at midnight. Moments after the song came out, Baldwin shared a screenshot of the music she was currently listening to on her Instagram Stories — the Summer Walker and Jhené Aiko record, “I’ll Kill You.”

Fans immediately clamored that Baldwin’s post was in response to Gomez and her new single in which the former Disney Channel standout convinced many that she was singing about her ex, Justin Bieber, 25. Baldwin is now married to Bieber.

However, a source close to Baldwin told Fox News on Wednesday that simply wasn’t the case and the model only wanted to share with her followers what she was listening to and in no way was attempting to upstage or issue a reaction to Gomez’s new song.

“So many people were hitting Hailey up about Selena’s new song, asking her if she had heard it and Hailey was basically saying ‘No, I haven’t because I’m listening to this at the moment, not that,’” said the insider. “Hailey has a lot of love for Justin and she knows how much of a role Selena played in Justin’s life. She could never disrespect his past like that. This is nothing.”

HAILEY BALDWIN CALED ‘FAKE CHRISTIAN’ FOR CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN — HERE’S HOW SHE RESPONDED

In the song, Gomez croons: “Set fire to my purpose and I let it burn,” which had many fans speculating she was referencing Bieber’s 2015 album, “Purpose.”

Other lyrics in the song say, “In two months, you replaced us / Like it was easy,” which some fans thought was the timeline in which Bieber and Baldwin had reportedly reunited.

The “Sorry” singer and Gomez officially split for good in March 2018, about three months before news broke that Bieber and Baldwin were an item again.

JUSTIN BIEBER TAKES OFF WIFE HAILEY’S GARTER WITH HIS TEETH IN A RISQUE INSTAGRAM POST

The couple, who secretly married at a New York City courthouse in September 2018, wanted a second, more religious ceremony that included friends and family. Per People magazine, the new wedding took place on Sept. 30, 2018, at Somerset Chapel in South Carolina.

In an interview with Vogue Australia, Baldwin said, “Marriage is always going to be hard, and I think good relationships are the relationships that you put the work into.”

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Before marrying Bieber, Baldwin acknowledged: “I had never lived with someone before. I never had to cohabit with somebody in that way, so I was learning how to share space with someone for the first time. We were trying to bend in each other’s direction and learn what was comfortable.”

Fox News’ Andy Sahadeo contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Baldwin-Bieber-Gomez Hailey Baldwin’s ‘I’ll Kill You’ post had nothing to do with Selena Gomez’s new song: source Julius Young fox-news/person/selena-gomez fox-news/person/justin-bieber fox-news/person/hailey-baldwin fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/feud fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f9e9a86d-8d20-5f09-a167-3960c13a0626 article   Westlake Legal Group Baldwin-Bieber-Gomez Hailey Baldwin’s ‘I’ll Kill You’ post had nothing to do with Selena Gomez’s new song: source Julius Young fox-news/person/selena-gomez fox-news/person/justin-bieber fox-news/person/hailey-baldwin fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/events/feud fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f9e9a86d-8d20-5f09-a167-3960c13a0626 article

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Julie Andrews Praises Going To Therapy: ‘It Saved My Life In A Way’

Westlake Legal Group 5db09ac1200000bf22506954 Julie Andrews Praises Going To Therapy: ‘It Saved My Life In A Way’

The hills are alive with the sound of Julie Andrews’ amazing comments about therapy.

The actor said that going to therapy “saved my life in a way” in an interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday. Andrews, who also wrote about therapy in her new book, “Home Work,” said she made the decision to go after separating from her first husband.

“My head was so full of clutter and garbage. Believe it or not, it was [director] Mike Nichols who really tipped me into wanting to go to therapy because he had been … he was so sane and so funny and clear. He had a clarity that I admired so much, and I wanted that for myself and I didn’t feel I had it. So I went and got into it, and it saved my life in a way.”

Colbert went on to ask Andrews why she felt it was important to share her experience with therapy. Again, the actor dismantled stigma while calling attention to why it’s so hard for most people to go.

“Why not [talk about therapy] if it helps anybody else have the same idea?” Andrews said. “These days, there’s no harm in sharing it. I think everybody knows the great work it can do. Anybody that is lucky enough to have it, afford it and take advantage of it, I think it would be wonderful.”

“These days, there’s no harm in sharing it. I think everybody knows the great work it can do. Anybody that is lucky enough to have it, afford it and take advantage of it, I think it would be wonderful.”

– Julie Andrews

It’s meaningful that Andrews is commenting on the power of mental health help. Not only because she’s a celebrity (experts say public figures who speak out about therapy make it more likely that fans will go), but also because Andrews, who is 84, comes from a generation where mental health conversations were ― and are still ― extremely taboo.

Data from the American Psychological Association shows Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to report mental health concerns. They’re also more likely to report they have received treatment or have been to therapy. Those in older generations feel less inclined to talk about mental health or go to therapy.

Andrews’ remark about being lucky to afford and take advantage of therapy is important, too. Therapy is incredibly expensive, and that’s often the top reason why most people don’t go. There is also a major lack of mental health professionals in many parts of the country, making therapy difficult to access for a large portion of people.

The reality is that everyone could benefit from talking to a mental health professional. There shouldn’t be barriers ― cultural, financial or otherwise ― that prevent people from doing that. The more people acknowledge that, the more likely it is to change.

In other words, we don’t need a spoonful of sugar to help the idea of therapy go down. And that’s thanks in part to candid testimonies like Andrews’, who sings its praises.

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

Google Claims To Achieve Quantum Supremacy — IBM Pushes Back

Westlake Legal Group ap_19289742165002_wide-b3f94e3c3a38f65918502be2e1765dd50208d2ae-s1100-c15 Google Claims To Achieve Quantum Supremacy — IBM Pushes Back

A Google sign at its campus in Mountain View, Calif. Jeff Chiu/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Jeff Chiu/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Google Claims To Achieve Quantum Supremacy — IBM Pushes Back

A Google sign at its campus in Mountain View, Calif.

Jeff Chiu/AP

Google says they have built a computer that is capable of solving problems that classical computers practically cannot. According to a report published in the scientific journal Nature, Google’s processor Sycamore performed a truly random number generation in 200 seconds. That same task would take about 10,000 years for a state-of-the-art supercomputer to execute.

The achievement marks a major breakthrough in the technology world’s decadeslong quest to use quantum mechanics to solve computational problems. Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that the company started exploring the possibility of quantum computing in 2006.

In classical computers, bits can store information as either a 0 or 1 in binary notation. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which can be both 0 and 1. According to Google, the Sycamore processor uses 53 qubits, which allows for a drastic increase in speed compared to classical computers.

The report acknowledges that the processor’s practical applications are limited. Google says Sycamore can generate truly random numbers without utilizing pseudo-random formulas that classical computers use.

Pichai likened the success of Sycamore to be the “hello world” moment of quantum computing.

“With this breakthrough we’re now one step closer to applying quantum computing to—for example—design more efficient batteries, create fertilizer using less energy, and figure out what molecules might make effective medicines,” Pichai wrote.

IBM has pushed back, saying Google hasn’t achieved supremacy because “ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity.”

In their blog, IBM further discusses their objections to the term “quantum supremacy.” The authors write that the term is widely misinterpreted.

“First because, as we argue above, by its strictest definition the goal has not been met,” IBM’S blog said. “But more fundamentally, because quantum computers will never reign ‘supreme’ over classical computers, but will rather work in concert with them, since each have their unique strengths.”

News of Google’s breakthrough has raised concerns among some people, such as presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, who believe quantum computing will render password encryption useless. Theoretical computer science professor Scott Aaronson refuted these claims on his blog, writing that the technology needed to break cryptosystems do not exist yet.

The concept of quantum computers holding an advantage over classical computers has dated back to the early 1980s. In 2012, John Preskill, a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech, coined the term “quantum supremacy.”

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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

Lizzo shares ‘Truth Hurts’ writing credit, slams plagiarism accusations

Westlake Legal Group lizzo Lizzo shares 'Truth Hurts' writing credit, slams plagiarism accusations fox-news/entertainment/music fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article addfa1d2-3987-5e99-bf2b-9a57c5d6f401

Lizzo is sharing writing credit on her hit song “Truth Hurts” with the creator behind the song’s signature line, but not with two other writers who claim they also contributed to the track.

“Truth Hurts” features the popular line, “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100 percent that b–ch,” which originated from a 2017 tweet by singer Mina Lioness and was turned into a popular meme. On Wednesday Lizzo wrote on social media that Lioness “is the person I am sharing my success with.”

LIZZO RECALLS TIME SHE NEARLY QUIT MUSIC: ‘I WAS LIKE, F–K IT, I’M DONE’

The line was also used in Lizzo’s song “Healthy,” created in 2017 with the songwriting brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen. The Raisens feel they deserve writing credit on “Truth Hurts” as a result, though Lizzo wrote they “had nothing to do with the line or how I chose to sing it.”

“The men who now claim a piece of ‘Truth Hurts’ did not help me write any part of the song. There was no one in the room when I wrote ‘Truth Hurts’ except me, Ricky Reed, and my tears. That song is my life, and its words are my truth,” Lizzo wrote Wednesday.

In addition, Lizzo’s lawyer Cynthia Arato announced Wednesday that a lawsuit has been filed to establish that the Raisens, as well as Justin “Yves” Rothman, are not entitled to any credit for the song. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, notes the Raisens “expressly withdrew any claim to “Truth Hurts,” in writing, in April of this year, and subsequently assured Lizzo, again in writing, that they were making no claims to the work.”

MACAULAY CULKIN DANCES WITH LIZZO ONSTAGE, SOCIAL MEDIA GOES WILD

The songwriters credited on “Truth Hurts,” which is spending its seventh week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, are Lizzo, Ricky Reed, Tele and Jesse Saint John.

After the claim made by the Raisens, CeCe Peniston wrote on Instagram that Lizzo’s “Juice” plagiarizes her classic ’90s hit, “Finally,” calling it “a clear example of #copyrightinfringement.”

“Truth Hurts” was originally released in September 2017 but got a boost this year after it was featured in the Netflix film “Someone Great,” released on April 19, the same day Lizzo dropped her album, “Cuz I Love You.” The song wasn’t originally featured on the 11-track “Cuz I Love You,” but her record label added it to the deluxe version of the album, released on May 3.

“Truth Hurts” was submitted for the 2020 Grammys in categories like song and record of the year — where songwriters and producers also earn nominations; the Recording Academy will announce its nominees on Nov. 20.

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Lizzo is currently selling T-shirts on her website that read “100% that b–ch.”

Westlake Legal Group lizzo Lizzo shares 'Truth Hurts' writing credit, slams plagiarism accusations fox-news/entertainment/music fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article addfa1d2-3987-5e99-bf2b-9a57c5d6f401   Westlake Legal Group lizzo Lizzo shares 'Truth Hurts' writing credit, slams plagiarism accusations fox-news/entertainment/music fnc/entertainment fnc Associated Press article addfa1d2-3987-5e99-bf2b-9a57c5d6f401

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Democrats are ‘setting themselves up for utter failure’ by running ‘dirty impeachment,’ Ari Fleischer says

Westlake Legal Group ap17223742671429 Democrats are 'setting themselves up for utter failure' by running 'dirty impeachment,' Ari Fleischer says Nick Givas fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 8288a71a-dc45-523c-a8be-09f3ecba4a4d

Congressional Democrats are “setting themselves up for utter failure” for their impeachment efforts in the Senate by keeping the process secretive in the House and breaking from historical norms, according to former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

“How can the American people know what the evidence is when the evidence is held in secret?” Fleischer said Wednesday on Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime.” “Perhaps it’s not as bad as the leaks want to make it look to be.”

“I think what the Democrats are doing is setting themselves up for utter failure in the Senate,” he added. “You cannot have a dirty impeachment in the House and expect the Senate to take it seriously.”

SUPPORT FOR IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY REACHES NEW HIGH: POLL

Fleischer called the entire process “dirty” and said the public has no way of knowing the facts if witnesses are being interviewed in secret.

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“This is a dirty impeachment because it’s all being done in secret,” he said.

“We have secret witnesses, secret transcripts and the public has no way of knowing if what is being selectively leaked is reflective and accurate, or if witnesses are being cross-examined — if there are other facts that are emerging in private.”

He also called the probe a waste of the country’s time and said the investigation is an unfair shot at the president, for political reasons.

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“[The process] is brutally unfair and does not represent the best of our government when it comes to looking into wrongdoing,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group ap17223742671429 Democrats are 'setting themselves up for utter failure' by running 'dirty impeachment,' Ari Fleischer says Nick Givas fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 8288a71a-dc45-523c-a8be-09f3ecba4a4d   Westlake Legal Group ap17223742671429 Democrats are 'setting themselves up for utter failure' by running 'dirty impeachment,' Ari Fleischer says Nick Givas fox-news/shows/outnumbered-overtime fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 8288a71a-dc45-523c-a8be-09f3ecba4a4d

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Republicans Grind Impeachment Inquiry to Halt as Picture Darkens for Trump

Westlake Legal Group 23dc-impeach-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Republicans Grind Impeachment Inquiry to Halt as Picture Darkens for Trump United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Schiff, Adam B Scalise, Steve Republican Party House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Gaetz, Matt Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — House Republicans ground the impeachment inquiry to a halt on Wednesday, staging an attention-grabbing protest at the Capitol that sowed chaos and derailed a crucial deposition as they sought to insulate President Trump against mounting evidence of misconduct.

The day after the most damning testimony yet about Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign to enlist Ukraine to smear his political rivals, House Republicans stormed into the secure office suite where impeachment investigators have been conducting private interviews that have painted a damaging picture of the president’s behavior — and refused to leave.

Chanting “Let us in! Let us in!” about two dozen Republican lawmakers — most of whom are not on the committees conducting the inquiry and are therefore not entitled to attend their hearings — pushed past Capitol Police officers to enter the secure rooms of the House Intelligence Committee, which is leading the investigation. Republicans who are on the committees have been in on the hearings from the start and have heard all the witnesses.

“This is a Soviet-style process,” declared Representative Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican. “It should not be allowed in the United States of America. Every member of Congress ought to be allowed in that room. The press ought to be allowed in that room.”

Frustrated Democrats temporarily shut down the session before resuming it in the afternoon, when Laura K. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, began testifying.

Across the Capitol, leading Republican senators who have become resigned to the prospect of serving as jurors in the impeachment trial of their own party’s president were struggling to cope with the revelations about Mr. Trump.

“The picture coming out of it, based on the reporting that we’ve seen, I would say is not a good one,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, told CNN. “But I would say also that until we have a process that allows for everybody to see this in full transparency, it’s pretty hard to draw any hard and fast conclusions.”

His comments came a day after Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, denied a claim by Mr. Trump that the senator had told the president that a telephone call he had with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which has become a crucial focus of the inquiry, was “perfect” and “innocent.” Mr. McConnell said he could recall no such conversation.

In the House, Republicans were rushing to Mr. Trump’s defense as the president has publicly demanded, as they protested the inquiry and insisted on access. Some brought their cellphones into the secure room, which is not permitted and considered a security breach. The sergeant-at-arms, the top law enforcement officer in the Capitol, was called in to handle the situation as Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, attempted to intervene.

The standoff stretched into the afternoon as protesting Republicans ordered pizza and fast food for the throng of reporters assembled to witness their spectacle. It came the day after the explosive testimony of William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, who effectively confirmed Democrats’ main accusation against Mr. Trump: that the president withheld military aid from Ukraine in a quid pro quo effort to pressure that country’s leader to incriminate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and smear other Democrats.

Democrats said the timing was no coincidence, and characterized the Republican disruption — “sit-in, stand-in, call it whatever you want,” said Representative Harley Rouda, Democrat of California — as a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the damaging testimony.

At the White House, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to assail Mr. Taylor and his lawyer John Bellinger — and to offer encouragement to Republican protesters.

“Never Trumper Republican John Bellinger, represents Never Trumper Diplomat Bill Taylor (who I don’t know), in testimony before Congress!” the president wrote. “Do Nothing Democrats allow Republicans Zero Representation, Zero due process, and Zero Transparency.”

For weeks now, lawmakers on three House committees — Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs — have been conducting private question-and-answer sessions, which have produced a stream of compelling testimony from government witnesses, much of it confirming and expanding on the intelligence whistle-blower complaint that touched off the impeachment inquiry.

Those sessions are attended by both Democrats and Republicans, and both have an opportunity to question witnesses; more than 100 of the 435 members of the House are eligible to participate. Democrats have said that they plan to hold open hearings after the committees finish deposing witnesses, and that they intend to make public complete transcripts of witness testimony after they have been reviewed for classified material.

But amid a drip-drip-drip of news accounts from the closed sessions, Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated, complaining that Democrats are controlling the narrative.

On Wednesday morning, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida led a parade of his colleagues to the bowels of the Capitol, where Ms. Cooper was to be deposed in the secure room, known as a SCIF, for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.

Also on Wednesday, House impeachment investigators leveled new demands of the State Department, requesting access to a relatively narrow set of communications, notes and memorandums related to American policy toward Ukraine that could bolster damning witness testimony.

Among the documents in question are summaries of key executive branch meetings, diplomatic cables about Mr. Trump’s decision to freeze $391 million in security assistance for Ukraine, text and email messages among key figures in the inquiry, and other records created as Mr. Trump and his allies sought to pressure Ukraine into undertaking investigations into his political rivals.

“These documents include information central to the inquiry’s core area of investigation: the president’s efforts to press Ukraine to initiate investigations that would benefit his personal and political interests, and not the national interest,” wrote three Democratic committee leaders guiding the inquiry, Mr. Schiff; Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, the acting chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee.

In keeping with confidentiality rules around the investigation, the three Democrats did not specifically identify the documents in question, but they appeared to match descriptions of records referenced in recent days by key witnesses.

On Tuesday, Mr. Taylor told the committees that he kept detailed notes of his time in Kiev that allowed him to recreate a damning portrait of events in his testimony. He referred to memos, including a June 30 account of his conversation with the Ukrainian president, that could provide new and potentially explosive avenues of investigation for Democrats if they get their hands on them. He also discussed a late-August cable he composed “describing the ‘folly’ I saw in withholding military aid to Ukraine at a time when hostilities were still active.”

A lawyer for Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, indicated before his deposition with investigators that the ambassador had produced communications and other records to the State Department that he hoped would be handed over to investigators. They were not.

And another former State Department official told investigators that one of his former colleagues, George P. Kent, had written a memo documenting an early October meeting with a State Department lawyer about how to respond to the impeachment inquiry that had alarmed him.

The Democrats did not put a due date on their request, and for now have chosen not to issue a subpoena. The State Department defied an earlier, broader subpoena for a swath of potential records related to the case. It may be considerably more difficult for the department to justify not handing over documents matching the latest request, though, given the political pressure created by the testimony from Mr. Taylor, Mr. Sondland and others.

Nicholas Fandos, Emily Cochrane and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

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One Family Built Forever 21, and Fueled Its Collapse

Westlake Legal Group 00forever21-01-facebookJumbo One Family Built Forever 21, and Fueled Its Collapse Shopping Centers and Malls Shopping and Retail Forever 21 Fashion and Apparel E-Commerce Chang, Jin Sook Chang, Do Won Boards of Directors Bankruptcies

When Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy last month, the fast fashion chain described its history in documents that read, at times, like a pitch for a memoir or a Netflix special.

Photos of the company’s husband and wife founders, Do Won and Jin Sook Chang, and their two daughters appeared under headings like “Forever Striving: A Story of Grit, Determination, and Passion.” The filing emphasized the improbable success of the Changs, who immigrated to the United States from South Korea in 1981 and built a multibillion-dollar business from scratch.

There were references to the daughters’ undergraduate degrees from “Ivy League universities” — both are top executives at the company — and summer breaks spent at Forever 21 stores. A definition of the American dream, as explained by Investopedia.com, even appeared on one page.

The Changs were indeed a unique success story, and Forever 21 was far from a run-of-the-mill family operation. At its peak, the retailer brought in more than $4 billion in annual sales and employed more than 43,000 people worldwide in hundreds of stores. Now it is leaving 40 countries and closing up to 199, or more than 30 percent, of its stores in the United States as part of its bankruptcy, and former employees and industry experts are pointing to the Changs’ insular management style as a significant reason for the collapse. They cite disastrous real estate deals and the chain’s bungled merchandising strategy in recent years.

“On the founder side, this hubris thing is pretty common, but it’s particularly deadly if you’ve been successful for a long time,” said Erik Gordon, a management expert at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. “They didn’t have a board of directors to give them a reality check, they didn’t have equity analysts to give them a reality check.”

He added: “You can live in your self-created bubble for a lot longer, but then the bubble pops.”

The bankruptcy filing provides a rare glimpse inside a retailer that has been intensely secretive and privately held for decades. Six former employees, including three executives, also spoke to The New York Times about their experiences at Forever 21 on the condition of anonymity, citing nondisclosure agreements.

Forever 21’s missteps, combined with industrywide changes in consumer tastes and shopping habits, will have far-reaching effects for thousands of people who work for the company, its vendors and malls. The chain says it will still operate hundreds of stores, along with its website. Through a spokeswoman, the Chang family declined to comment for this article.

Forever 21 — named because Mr. Chang considered 21 to be “the most enviable age” — was built on the idea of identifying apparel trends, then working with vendors to bring those products to stores quickly at cut-rate prices. From its early days, Mr. Chang, who is still the company’s chief executive, oversaw landlord and vendor relationships while Mrs. Chang led design and merchandising.

Former employees say that the top floor of the company’s Los Angeles headquarters was viewed as Mr. Chang’s world, where corporate strategy unfolded and people kept quiet outside his office, while the bottom floor was Mrs. Chang’s domain of buyers and planners, who showed their bags to security when leaving the building. Three former employees said that, as recently as this year, Mr. Chang was personally signing off on employee expenses and questioning executives about receipts for lunches or Uber rides.

The couple’s daughters eventually joined the executive ranks. The oldest, Linda, is the executive vice president and has been viewed as Mr. Chang’s successor; her sister, Esther, is vice president of merchandising.

The Changs never took Forever 21 public, unlike their biggest fast-fashion rivals, “declining numerous opportunities that would facilitate generational wealth,” the filing said.

Their inner circle included another Korean-American couple: Alex Ok, Forever 21’s president and a former supplier, and his wife, SeongEun Kim, who works in merchandising. Internally, some referred to Mrs. Chang and Mrs. Ok as the “Missuses,” a powerful pair who directed the tens of thousands of styles that landed in Forever 21’s bustling stores. The filing showed that the Chang family owned 99 percent of equity in the chain, while Mr. Ok held 1 percent.

As the business expanded, the Changs struggled with their desire to hire experienced executives and their distrust of outsiders, five of the employees said. In recent years, they said, Forever 21 eagerly recruited experts to overhaul parts of the business, then later ignored their recommendations on everything from new technology to marketing.

Some were reminded of that dynamic after the singer Ariana Grande filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 in September. The company’s marketers had urged it to partner with Ms. Grande for a holiday campaign in 2014, according to two former employees, but management hired the rapper Iggy Azalea instead. Now, Ms. Grande is far more popular, and Forever 21 is defending itself against claims that it used a look-alike model of the singer in online ads.

The Changs’ Christian faith played a role in the way they ran the company. Forever 21’s bright yellow shopping bags are stamped with “John 3:16,” a reference to a Bible verse. Mr. Chang has said the verse “shows us how much God loves us,” and hoped others would learn of that love. Former employees said Bibles were sometimes visible in conference rooms and on Mr. Chang’s desk. It was not unusual for department leaders to have ties to the family or their church but no experience working for another retailer, employees said.

“Every once in a while, when we hired someone who had been there, we’d learn that they were never allowed to see the totality of the business performance and they were only given reporting on their specific sector,” said Margaret Coblentz, a former e-commerce director at Charlotte Russe. Rivals saw Forever 21 “as both monolithic and inscrutable,” she added.

But Forever 21 made its biggest mistakes in real estate. In the years before and after the recession, the company expanded aggressively and decided to open huge flagship stores, setting up in cavernous spaces once occupied by Mervyn’s, the bankrupt department store, as well as Borders, Sears and Saks. Its former head of real estate told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2011 that “having really big stores has always been Mr. Chang’s dream.”

The stores became hard to fill with new merchandise, then turn over, however, and saddled Forever 21 with long leases just as technology was beginning to wreak havoc on American malls. Seven of the leases at the old Mervyn’s stores were not set to expire until 2027 or 2028, which is longer than a typical lease, according to internal documents obtained by The Times.

In an interview conducted last month, when the company filed for bankruptcy, Linda Chang acknowledged issues with the larger stores. “Having to fill those boxes on top of having to deal with the complexities of expanding internationally did stress our merchant organization,” she said.

She also cited shifts in mall traffic and the rise of e-commerce as challenges, and said that the bankruptcy was “a strategic move on our part.”

Mr. Chang, who sought to sign each lease and design every store himself even as the count soared past 500, was loath to close even underperforming locations, and at times, would simply move a store to another spot in the same mall, two former employees said.

“Forever 21’s problem is not the malls — it’s that they didn’t get out of the malls earlier,” Mr. Gordon, the management expert, said. “If they want to point a finger, they need to stand in front of a mirror and point it at themselves.”

The retailer also raced into expensive, massive new stores overseas without local expertise, as it surged from seven international stores in 2005 to 262 a decade later. Two employees said that the chain often did not understand local labor laws and made mistakes, like failing to recognize that customers in some European countries shopped for winter merchandise earlier in the year than American consumers. One employee said the chain moved into Germany without realizing stores in the country typically closed on Sundays. It didn’t help that many of these areas were familiar turf for H&M, which is based in Sweden, and Zara, whose owner is in Spain.

Forever 21 said in the filing that most of its international locations were unprofitable as of 2015 and that its stores in Canada, Europe and Asia were losing an average of $10 million per month in the past year. Overall, the annual occupancy cost of Forever 21’s stores was $450 million.

“They’ve gotten into categories and expression of fashion that are not closely aligned with their fast-fashion customer’s preferences,” said Mark A. Cohen, the director of retail studies at Columbia Business School. “They never built the intelligence into the business that would have cautioned them from this real estate orgy and would have kept them from the kind of exposure that they have now.”

Yet even as its errors abroad became clear, Mr. Chang and his real estate counterparts bet on even more United States stores. An internal playbook from 2015 described the retailer’s plans for a new strip mall chain called F21 Red that would target mothers under 35. Its $1.80 camisoles and $7.80 jeans were meant to swipe at the Irish retailer Primark, which entered the United States that year.

The playbook showed that six stores were already open, and that Forever 21 planned to open 35 more that year, including in regular malls, which was a surprise to the employees who had planned F21 Red. By 2017, several new F21 Red stores were posting sales that were around 50 percent below company projections, internal sales reports show.

That year, Forever 21 also introduced a beauty chain, Riley Rose, that was viewed as the company’s next wave of growth and sought to capitalize on the boom in Korean skin care products. It was created by Linda and Esther Chang and called “ground-breaking” in the bankruptcy filing, which grouped its sales with the slumping international division.

While former employees praised the sisters’ work ethic, they said that Riley Rose, which had 15 stores this year, was an expensive gamble in high-priced malls and struggled to maintain vendor relationships. The company told The Times last month that Riley Rose may end up as a store within Forever 21 locations. It has filed to reject leases for nine previously planned Riley Rose locations.

Mrs. Chang’s side of the business was also making errors with the sprawling store base. Merchandising was based on the previous year’s sales, and Forever 21 bought too little inventory in 2017, then too much in 2018, the filing said. It also duplicated merchandise by designing for “styles” like weekend or work looks, rather than categories like tops or dresses.

Forever 21 had about 6,400 full-time employees and 26,400 part-time employees when it filed, numbers that will likely shrink throughout the bankruptcy process. Forever 21 said that it would change how it merchandises, winnow its operations to the United States, Mexico and Latin America, aim to increase e-commerce sales to more than just 16 percent of the business and take other cost-cutting measures. When it filed, the company owed $347 million to its vendors.

And the Chang family will be listening to new voices. Its board of directors will grow from three members — Mr. Chang, Linda Chang and Mr. Ok — to six, including Forever 21’s former head of real estate, a lawyer and the former chief executive of Things Remembered. It also said that it had added several new managers in recent months, including a new chief financial officer. Mr. Chang remains the chief executive.

“Forever 21 has basically been a one-trick pony,” Mr. Cohen said. “The founder and his wife did remarkably well until the business got too big for them to continue to do remarkably well by themselves.”

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