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Westlake Legal Group > News Releases (Page 70)

Hundreds Of Hong Kong Protesters Trapped Behind Barricades As Police Surround University

Hong Kong police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to force back anti-government protesters trying to escape a university, in which hundreds of people are holed up with petrol bombs and homemade weapons amid fears of a bloody crackdown.

Dozens of people attempted to flee the Polytechnic University campus on Monday after a night of chaos in the Chinese territory, during which a police officer was shot with a bow and arrow, major routes were blocked and a bridge set on fire.

Protests have been raging in the former British colony for six months – at first in opposition to a highly controversial extradition bill, which could have seen Hong Kong residents detained in mainland China. 

Westlake Legal Group 5dd24847210000906434d3b6 Hundreds Of Hong Kong Protesters Trapped Behind Barricades As Police Surround University

Tyrone Siu / Reuters Police detain protesters who attempt to leave the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) during clashes with police in Hong Kong on Nov.18, 2019. 

After the initial backlash, the bill was withdrawn, but protests have evolved into broader rebellions against both the police and what is perceived by some as the encroaching influence of Beijing.

Public broadcaster RTHK reported that “many” had been arrested near the campus, while in Nathan Road – the nearby commercial district – activists brought traffic to a halt and forced the closure of shopping centers.

“We’ve been trapped here for too long. We need all Hong Kongers to know we need help,” said Dan, a 19-year-old protester on the campus, as he burst into tears.

“I don’t know how much longer we can go on like this. We may need international help.”

The Hong Kong government involved a colonial-era emergency law in October banning faced masks commonly used by protesters. The High Court ruled on Monday the ban was “incompatible with the Basic Law.”

Remember you have life in your hands. Why do you need to push us to death?

The Basic Law is the mini-constitution setting the terms under which the former colony returned to China.

Following a group who had attempted to make a run for it in the morning, protesters tried again to escape in the afternoon – but were pushed back with volleys of tear gas. 

Thirty-eight people were wounded over Sunday night, the city’s Hospital Authority said, with eyewitnesses from Reuters describing protesters suffering burns from the chemicals in police water cannons. 

“Remember you have life in your hands. Why do you need to push us to death?” one person shouted at police from a campus rooftop as protesters wearing gas masks and clutching umbrellas looked for ways to escape.

Police urged protesters to “drop their weapons” and leave.

Westlake Legal Group 5dd2408c2500007f08d2d5dc Hundreds Of Hong Kong Protesters Trapped Behind Barricades As Police Surround University

Tyrone Siu / Reuters A protester is detained by riot police while attempting to leave the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) during clashes with police in Hong Kong on Nov. 18, 2019. 

“Police appeal to everyone inside the Polytechnic University to drop their weapons and dangerous items, remove their gas masks and leave… in an orderly manner,” they said in a statement.

“They should follow police instructions and must not charge at police cordons.”

Live video footage from the scene showed protesters sitting cross-legged in the road with their hands tied behind their backs as riot police watched over them. 

Police said they fired three live rounds when “rioters” attacked two officers who were attempting to arrest a woman. No one was wounded and the woman escaped amid a dramatic escalation of the unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into chaos for almost six months.

Westlake Legal Group 5dd248822500007f08d2d5e6 Hundreds Of Hong Kong Protesters Trapped Behind Barricades As Police Surround University

Thomas Peter / Reuters Protesters, some of whom stand behind the umbrellas which have become a symbol of the protest, attempt to escape the campus.

Demonstrators are furious at what they see as Chinese meddling in Hong Kong’s promised freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and claim they are responding to excessive use of force by police.

China says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula granting Hong Kong autonomy, with the city’s police denying accusations they use undue violence.

However, the U.S. has condemned the “unjustified use of force” in Hong Kong, and has called on Beijing to protect the territory’s freedoms, a senior official in Donald Trump’s administration said.

Chinese soldiers in a base close to the university were seen on Sunday monitoring developments at the university with binoculars, some dressed in riot gear.

Chinese troops in shorts and T-shirts, some carrying red plastic buckets or brooms, emerged from their barracks on Saturday in a rare public appearance to help clean up debris.

Westlake Legal Group 5dd2492c2500008f08d2d5e7 Hundreds Of Hong Kong Protesters Trapped Behind Barricades As Police Surround University

Thomas Peter / Reuters Police storm the burning barricade at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

Chinese forces have appeared on Hong Kong’s streets only once since 1997, to help clear up after a typhoon last year.

Asked about the clean-up operation, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said their efforts were welcomed by Hong Kong citizens.

The city’s Cross-Harbour Tunnel, next to the Polytechnic University, linking Hong Kong island to the Kowloon peninsula, remained closed after protesters torched a bridge above the toll booths on Sunday.

Some train services and many roads across the Kowloon peninsula were closed. All schools were shut.

As police approached the barricaded front gate of the university in the predawn hours, protesters retreated into the campus and started fires at the gate and a footbridge.

We need to fight until the end. If we don’t fight, Hong Kong will be over. Ah Lung, 19

As some protesters discussed attempting to leave, others reinforced the barricades and distributed boxes of petrol bombs around the site. 

Thousands of residents and protesters flocked to districts around the university including Tsim Sha Tsui, Jordan and Yau Ma Tei, to try to penetrate the riot-police lines to rescue the trapped students.

“If we can only hold on until dawn, more might come,” said one young activist in the university.

University President Teng Jin-Guang said he had brokered a truce with police to allow protesters to leave the campus peacefully, however it was unclear whether a truce was taking effect.

Some of those trapped on the sprawling red-brick campus close to the city’s harbor said they would never surrender.

“We need to fight until the end. If we don’t fight, Hong Kong will be over,” said Ah Lung, 19.

The unrest in Hong Kong poses the gravest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. Xi has said he is confident Hong Kong’s government can resolve the crisis.

Beijing denies interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and has blamed Western countries for stirring up unrest.

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

Record Women’s Super League crowd sees Arsenal win at Spurs

The drive to raise women’s football attendance in England is taking on a more persuasive tone, almost obliging supporters of the men’s game to see the quality on offer.

The Women’s Super League campaign — “ a true fan supports their whole club ” — contributed to record attendances on Sunday as the post-World Cup boom continues in England.

“It’s quite edgy and a little bit sort of punchy,” Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game in England, said at Tottenham which drew a WSL record crowd of 38,262 for the visit of Arsenal.

While hostilities between the north London rivals go back around 130 years in the men’s game, this was their first WSL derby.

“It was incredible to be part of it,” said Arsenal captain Kim Little, who broke the deadlock in the 66th minute before Vivianne Miedema sealed a 2-0 victory to stay third in the 12-team WSL.

Arsenal brought 3,000 fans across the capital to add to the tribalistic atmosphere being encouraged.

“Little things like getting booed when taking a corner was a weirdly nice experience,” Arsenal striker Beth Mead said, “because it’s part and parcel of the game.”

Tottenham’s men reached the Champions League final last year, but the club is only a few months into having a fully professional women’s outfit after gaining promotion.

“It’s momentous for Spurs Women, to see how far we’ve come,” said Karen Hills, joint manager of a Tottenham side sixth in the standings. “The players deserve to be playing in front of these big crowds. Hopefully it won’t just be an occasion, hopefully it will be the norm.”

The crowd surpassed the 31,213 at Manchester City for the visit of Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season in September.

There has been an upward trajectory in attendances since the Women’s World Cup when England reached a second successive semifinal in July.

The cumulative crowd across six WSL games on Sunday was 74,247, taking the total after six rounds to 184,926. The figure across the entirety of last season was 107,141.

The increased following has been helped by clubs using their main stadiums, like Tottenham’s slick new 61,000-capacity venue that opened in March.

Anfield was used for the Merseyside derby on Sunday and 23,500 fans saw fresh struggles for two-time WSL champion Liverpool.

While the men’s team is top of the Premier League, their female counterparts are last in the WSL after Lucy Graham’s speculative strike slipped through goalkeeper Anke Preuss’ grasp to give Everton a 1-0 win.

“It’s going to hurt us more as we were the better team today and we gave them a goal with a mistake from our keeper,” Liverpool manager Vicky Jepson said. “It was a goal we chucked in the back of our net. There was no way they were going to score today if we didn’t give them that.

“(Preuss) came to me and put her arms around me and apologized for the mistake.”

League leader Chelsea opened the season by hosting Tottenham in front of around 25,000 at Stamford Bridge but usually plays at a smaller stadium in south London.

For Sunday’s visit of Manchester United to Kingsmeadow, the crowd of 4,790 was a WSL high for a game not played in a large stadium usually used by the men’s team.

It was a contentious victory against the league newcomers.

United believed Millie Turner was unfairly penalized for challenging Fran Kirby in the penalty area and Maren Mjelde’s spot kick sealed a 1-0 victory.

Chelsea remains a point ahead of Manchester City, which beat West Ham 5-0 in front of 2,145 at a smaller stadium on its Etihad campus. Georgia Stanway scored twice on her 100th City appearance before being sent off.

While England is home to Europe’s only fully professional women’s league, players across the continent are still fighting to earn a living.

Spanish women’s league players went on strike this weekend demanding better wages and worker protections, leading to eight games being postponed. Players are lobbying for better conditions, including protection in the event of pregnancy.

Westlake Legal Group Arsenal-women Record Women’s Super League crowd sees Arsenal win at Spurs fox-news/sports/soccer fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 392bcdb8-74a0-5e6d-852d-490d10168836   Westlake Legal Group Arsenal-women Record Women’s Super League crowd sees Arsenal win at Spurs fox-news/sports/soccer fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 392bcdb8-74a0-5e6d-852d-490d10168836

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Iran Intel Leak: Main Takeaways From Secret Cables

Westlake Legal Group xxpistachio-pics-11-facebookJumbo Iran Intel Leak: Main Takeaways From Secret Cables United States Defense and Military Forces Suleimani, Qassim Quds Force Iraq War (2003-11) Iraq Iran Defense and Military Forces Abadi, Haider al-

Information from a trove of secret Iranian intelligence cables was published simultaneously by The Intercept and The New York Times on Monday. The leak exposed Iran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing the painstaking efforts of Iranian spies to co-opt Iraqi leaders and infiltrate every aspect of political life.

The trove consists of roughly 700 pages of reports and cables written mainly in 2014 and 2015 by officers in Iran’s version of the C.I.A. who were based in Iraq. The documents were sent anonymously to The Intercept, which shared them with The Times.

The Intercept and The Times verified the authenticity of the documents but do not know who leaked them. In encrypted messages, the anonymous source said that he or she wanted to “let the world know what Iran is doing in my country Iraq.”

Here are the key takeaways.

The country has been roiled by deadly antigovernment protests in Baghdad and the Shiite-dominated south for nearly two months. Protesters have called for an end to Iranian influence and corruption. At least 300 people have been killed.

At the same time, tensions are high between the United States and Iran. President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions last year. The White House has blamed Iran for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, reviewed war plans and rushed ships to the Persian Gulf.

The Trump administration also said it had intelligence showing that Iran was preparing attacks on American targets in Iraq. Iraqi officials are increasingly worried that a provocation on either side could set off a war between the powerful countries vying for dominance in their homeland.

Many of Iraq’s leading political, military and security officials have had secret “special relationships” with Iran, including Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his predecessor, Haider al-Abadi. The Iranians have long been known to influence Iraqi leaders, many of whom became allied with Iran as exiles battling the regime of Saddam Hussein, but the character of their relationships has rarely been revealed in such detail. The revelations could increase pressure on those officials as protests continue.

Many of the files show that as senior American diplomats met behind closed doors with their Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad and Kurdistan, their conversations were routinely reported back to the Iranians. A top political aide to a former speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, for example, was identified as an Iranian intelligence asset.

Iranian officials also cultivated networks of informants who had once worked for the Americans. After the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, many of those informants were jobless and fearful that their work as spies would be revealed.

One former C.I.A. asset, known by the nickname “Donnie Brasco,” offered to sell Iran the locations of agency safe houses, details of weapons and surveillance training, and the names of other Iraqis who had spied for the Americans.

The notion that the Americans essentially handed control of the country to Iran now enjoys broad support, even within the American military.

The cables show how Iran began amassing power in the chaotic aftermath of the 2003 American invasion. Iran quickly moved its best intelligence agents to Iraq, seeking to counter what it saw as Washington’s aggression.

The invasion, of course, became an occupation. The army was dismantled and officials linked to Mr. Hussein’s regime were stripped of their posts, fueling grievances in Sunni communities. As the country descended into sectarian conflict, Shiite communities looked to Iran as a protector.

The cables show how tensions arose between Iranian intelligence units as Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, recruited and mobilized Iraqi militias to defend its interests.

At one point, agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Iranian version of the C.I.A., feared that Iran’s gains in Iraq were being squandered because Iraqis resented the militias. Above all, they blamed General Suleimani, criticizing him for posting photos on social media publicizing his role in the military campaign against the Islamic State.

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Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa set for hip surgery in Houston

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is scheduled to have hip surgery in Houston.

Team surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain said in a statement Sunday that Tagovailoa will have surgery on his dislocated right hip Monday. An Alabama spokesman declined to disclose where he was having the surgery citing privacy reasons.

Cain says the medical team “consulted with multiple orthopedic experts across the country, who specialize in hip injuries and surgeries.” He reiterated that they expect Tagovailoa to make a full recovery.

The fifth-ranked Crimson Tide’s star, a potential top pick in April’s NFL draft, was injured while being dragged down by two defenders late in the first half of Saturday’s 38-7 win over Mississippi State.

Tagovailoa had been nursing an ankle injury and Alabama was considering holding him out of this game. Defensive linemen Phidarian Mathis and Raekwon Davis posted a picture with a smiling Tagovailoa in his hospital bed Sunday.

He passed for 418 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to No. 1 LSU less than three weeks after right ankle surgery.

Westlake Legal Group Tua-Tagovailoa2 Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa set for hip surgery in Houston fox-news/sports/ncaa/alabama-crimson-tide fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 475eef15-9bf7-5a63-bd77-56f32d8f5b23   Westlake Legal Group Tua-Tagovailoa2 Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa set for hip surgery in Houston fox-news/sports/ncaa/alabama-crimson-tide fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 475eef15-9bf7-5a63-bd77-56f32d8f5b23

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Ronaldo stuck on 99 goals but Portugal through to Euro 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo will have to wait a little longer for his 100th international goal, scoring only once as defending champion Portugal secured its place at next year’s European Championship with a 2-0 win at Luxembourg on Sunday.

The Juventus star needed two goals for a century, but could only bundle the ball in from inches out near the end of a closely-contested match on a bumpy and muddy field far removed from the pristine surfaces Ronaldo usually plays on.

It moved Ronaldo 10 goals behind former Iran striker Ali Daei, who with 109 goals is the only player in world football to have outscored him on the international stage.

Portugal qualified automatically along with Group B winner Ukraine, which was already through and twice rallied to draw 2-2 at Serbia.

Serbia needed to win and hope Portugal failed to beat Luxembourg, but must now instead go through the playoffs to try and reach Euro 2020.

There was a century elsewhere, as France coach Didier Deschamps celebrated his 100th game in charge with a 2-0 win at Albania. It ensured France finished top of Group H ahead of Turkey, which won 2-0 at Andorra.

Group A winner England had already sealed its place and took its whopping goal tally to 37 in eight games with a 4-0 win at Kosovo thanks to a late flurry of goals after Harry Winks’ first-half opener.

ABLE KANE

The prolific Harry Kane got England’s second goal on the night to move atop the Euro 2020 qualifying scoring charts with 12 goals, one more than both Ronaldo and Israel’s Eran Zahavi.

It was Winks who put England ahead in Pristina after 32 minutes with a neat finish. Kane then made it 2-0 in the 79th before Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford and Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount added late goals.

Kane was still comfortably the oldest of the goal-getters — and he’s only 26 years old — with Winks 23, Rashford 22 and Mount just 20.

In the other Group A game, Bulgaria beat Czech Republic 1-0 in Sofia thanks to a second-half goal from defender Vasil Bozhikov.

Although the Czechs lost to Bulgaria for the first time, they had already qualified for next year’s tournament in second place.

99 AND COUNTING

Furious at being substituted in recent games by Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri, this time Ronaldo played the whole match — including four minutes of injury time — but he was largely quiet and ineffective.

He stabbed teammate Diogo Jota’s scuffed effort over the line from inches out, when the ball might have rolled in anyway.

The goal was arguably the easiest he’s ever scored but came in the 86th minute, leaving him little time to reach 100. In his desperation Ronaldo cynically fouled a Luxembourg defender when trying to latch onto a hopeful long ball.

Serbia had to win and Ajax forward Dušan Tadić stroked home a ninth-minute penalty to give the home fans hope in Belgrade.

But Ukraine is unbeaten in qualifying for a reason, and showed its steel as center forward Roman Yaremchuk equalized in the 32nd.

Burly striker Aleksandar Mitrović restored Serbia’s lead shortly after halftime, but substitute Artem Besedin netted an injury-time equalizer for a resolute Ukraine side which conceded only four goals in eight qualifiers.

DESCHAMPS CELEBRATES

While Deschamps crowned his 100th game at the helm with a 65th win, there was also cause to celebrate Corentin Tolisso’s first international goal.

The Bayern Munich midfielder headed France ahead in Tirana after nine minutes, before Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann ended a lean spell for Les Bleus with his 30th international goal in the 30th.

With France assuming control of the game, center forward Olivier Giroud went close to his 40th goal for his country but he was denied from close range early in the second half by goalkeeper Etrit Berisha’s stunning one-handed stop.

Giroud athletically surged forward into the penalty area, and then hit a powerful shot from about 10 meters which Berisha palmed away despite being off balance as he fell backward.

France finished two points ahead of Turkey and six clear of third-place Iceland, which won 2-1 at Moldova in the group’s other game and could yet secure a playoff spot.

Forward Enes Ünal scored twice early on for Turkey, which recorded an impressive eighth clean sheet in 10 games.

Midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson scored Iceland’s winner midway through the second half, and soon after had a penalty saved at Stadionul Zimbru in Chisinau.

Westlake Legal Group Cristiano-Ronaldo Ronaldo stuck on 99 goals but Portugal through to Euro 2020 fox-news/sports/soccer fox-news/person/cristiano-ronaldo fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 3a198dec-28e4-5535-b0e0-75c0485245c4   Westlake Legal Group Cristiano-Ronaldo Ronaldo stuck on 99 goals but Portugal through to Euro 2020 fox-news/sports/soccer fox-news/person/cristiano-ronaldo fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 3a198dec-28e4-5535-b0e0-75c0485245c4

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Cybercrime Booms As Scammers Hack Human Nature To Steal Billions

Westlake Legal Group email_scams_deborahlee_wide-7651f18e957af656189b902e83ec59c409e4d0a7-s1100-c15 Cybercrime Booms As Scammers Hack Human Nature To Steal Billions

Cyberscams are getting more sophisticated. Deborah Lee for NPR hide caption

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Deborah Lee for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Cybercrime Booms As Scammers Hack Human Nature To Steal Billions

Cyberscams are getting more sophisticated.

Deborah Lee for NPR

The secret to comedy, according to the old joke, is timing. The same is true of cybercrime.

Mark learned this the hard way in 2017. He runs a real estate company in Seattle and asked us not to include his last name because of the possible repercussions for his business.

“The idea that someone was effectively able to dupe you … is embarrassing,” he says. “We’re still kind of scratching our head over how it happened.”

It started when someone hacked into his email conversation with a business partner. But the hackers didn’t take over the email accounts. Instead, they lurked, monitoring the conversation and waiting for an opportunity.

When Mark and his partner mentioned a $50,000 disbursement owed to the partner, the scammers made their move.

“They were able to insert their own wiring instructions,” he says. Pretending to be Mark’s partner, they asked him to send the money to a bank account they controlled.

“The cadence and the timing and the email was so normal that it wasn’t suspicious at all. It was just like we were continuing to have a conversation, but I just wasn’t having it with the person I thought I was,” Mark says.

He didn’t realize what had happened until his partner said he’d never gotten the money. “Oh, it was just a cold sweat,” he says.

By the time they alerted the bank, the $50,000 was long gone, transferred overseas.

It turned out Mark was on the vanguard of a growing wave of something called “business email compromise,” or BEC. It’s a category of scam that uses phony emails to trick employees at companies to wire money to the wrong accounts. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center says reported BEC amounted to more than $1.2 billion in 2018, nearly triple the figure in 2016.

“The thing to keep in mind about these statistics is this is just what we’re aware of,” says James Abbott, a supervisory special agent with the FBI. “This is just the victims that are reporting to the FBI.”

Some big losses have made the news in recent months, such as the $37 million BEC scam suffered by a Toyota subsidiary and the $11 million lost by a U.K. office of Caterpillar. But cybersecurity consultants say other losses have been kept quiet, even some worth millions of dollars. Companies want to avoid bad publicity, but this secrecy helps the scammers by keeping the threat under the radar. The next potential victims are less likely to expect such a sophisticated attack.

“What we’ve seen in 2019 is that the wave that’s breaking is primarily focused around social engineering,” says Patrick Peterson, CEO of Agari, a company that specializes in protecting corporate email systems. “Social engineering” is hacker-speak for scams that rely less on technical tricks and more on taking advantage of human vulnerabilities.

“It’s not so much having the most sophisticated, evil technology. It’s using our own trust and desire to communicate with others against us,” Peterson says.

In the past, scammers have pretended to be business partners and CEOs, urging employees to send money for an urgent matter. But lately there has been a trend toward what Agari calls “vendor email compromise” — scammers pretending to be part of a company’s supply chain.

Law enforcement is scrambling to keep up. In one recent operation, the FBI announced the arrest of 281 people worldwide in connection with international BEC networks. Seventy-four of those arrests were in the U.S., and many were allegedly lower-level enablers of the scam — especially “money mules.” They’re people in the U.S. who set up bank accounts to receive stolen money. American bank accounts are less likely to raise suspicion during a scam.

“It’s a big deal across the country,” says Miami attorney Nayib Hassan. “And many people are getting caught up in it.”

Hassan says he has represented accused money mules in Texas, California and Florida. One defendant was a friend of his, Alfredo Veloso, who was convicted and is now serving a federal sentence.

“In his mind, when it first got presented to him, it sounded possibly legitimate,” Hassan says of how Veloso first agreed to become a money mule. He says Veloso may have convinced himself that someone somewhere had innocent reasons to move money quietly, perhaps to hide it from family.

“But then at some point, you understand that it’s fraudulent,” says Hassan. “And he understood it.”

Many mules are recruited with the promise of easy cash — they usually keep some of the funds flowing through their bank accounts. Others start out as victims.

“[The money mule] is often a late-stage romance scam victim,” says John Wilson, the field chief technology officer with Agari.

Romance scam victims are people who have been grifted by fake love interests, usually people they meet online. At first they’re asked for loans, but later they can find themselves pressured to help the cybercrime network launder its money.

“Very often the victim has perhaps sent compromising photographs or may have moved money once or twice or something,” says Wilson. “When they say they want to get out, that’s when they may be reminded, ‘Hey, I have pictures of you. You moved this money through your bank account — you’re part of this now.’ “

Romance scams are lucrative in their own right. The FBI says Americans reported losing $362 million to romance and confidence scams last year, a big jump over the $211 million reported the year before. And they can be just as sophisticated as BEC scams in the way they target and manipulate their victims.

“It’s not something I would necessarily fall for,” says Wilson. “But the folks that get roped into these things are very carefully selected. They [the scammers] know, demographically, the people that are going to be the most susceptible.”

He says the fake online love interests use “scripts,” conversational gambits that have proved effective for keeping their victims on the hook.

One victim was a divorcée in Texas with children. She asked to stay anonymous because most people in her life don’t know she was scammed. She says her fake love interest always seemed to know just what to say.

“Just very complimentary, understanding and … someone who had a real interest in me, which was new to me,” she says.

When he asked her for money, she says she cried. She says she suspected he was a fraud, even as she sent him the funds.

“The best way I could describe it is you have two brains,” she says. “When you have this excitement or these feelings of love or passion. Because you know it’s wrong, and you’ve read stories about it and people are telling you. You’d tell your best friend, ‘You’re crazy — don’t do it!’ But then you do it.”

The Texas romance scam victim bucked the trend and never was turned into a money mule. Instead, she got a warning from cybersecurity researchers at Agari, who’d been investigating a cybercrime gang in South Africa and saw it communicating with her.

“I had to know that they were a scammer,” she says. And the warning from Agari “was finally the evidence that proved that to me.”

In the end, she sent the scammers almost half a million dollars over three years. She lost her house and is now mired in debt. She’s mystified by their powers of manipulation and considers her victimization a matter of “brain chemistry.”

“I believed everything that they told me,” she says. “It was … a crime against everything that I thought I knew. I had to change the way I thought about myself.”

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#OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-94256769_custom-869ec059a892fa3ca9868864a42b1a0422716ece-s1100-c15 #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

The phrase “OK, boomer” has gone global. It has become young generations’ retort to ideas they consider outdated or off base. Neil Webb/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Neil Webb/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Westlake Legal Group  #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

The phrase “OK, boomer” has gone global. It has become young generations’ retort to ideas they consider outdated or off base.

Neil Webb/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Sophie Vershbow has seen her share of “OK, boomer” memes in recent weeks. The phrase that’s suddenly everywhere is meant to convey a fundamental disconnect between younger generations and baby boomers who cling to outdated, off-base ideas.

To Vershbow, a 30-year-old social media manager, the sentiment behind the memes is this: “I think it’s a dismissive, ‘OK, whatever you say.’ “

Case in point: 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker Chloe Swarbrick recently hurled the “OK, boomer” phrase at older colleagues heckling her during her speech in support of a climate change bill.

The cross-generational insults have ratcheted up in recent weeks, also inspiring a backlash, including from those comparing “OK, boomer” to racial slurs. Last week, AARP, the group most identified with boomers, weighed in. That did not go well.

These warring posts — and the social commentary around them — suggest a yawning gap between the old and young. They speak to different attitudes about social and political change, and they raise questions about how deep those differences go.

Vershbow, who works at a book publisher in New York, says she likes working with boomers but says there can be issues. “These younger generations keep feeling very misunderstood,” she says.

Westlake Legal Group sophie-vershbow-6836b72e30f441acafa0841400c903518553d37c-s800-c15 #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

Sophie Vershbow, a social media manager, says discussing age at work, even where it’s professionally relevant, can be tricky. Courtesy of Peter Cunningham hide caption

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Courtesy of Peter Cunningham

Westlake Legal Group  #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

Sophie Vershbow, a social media manager, says discussing age at work, even where it’s professionally relevant, can be tricky.

Courtesy of Peter Cunningham

That’s not surprising. Outside of family, the workplace is where generations interact the most. People are living — and therefore working — longer than ever. Now, for the first time in history, the workforce spans five generations, from the Silent Generation, in their 70s and 80s, to Generation Z, just entering their 20s.

Work is also where many social issues play out, presenting the potential for generational debate over everything from gender-neutral bathrooms to the #MeToo movement.

But Vershbow says discussing age at work, even where it’s professionally relevant, can be tricky. For example, she says she once noted during a meeting how her age cohort shops differently. “I was literally called ageist,” she says.

She felt silenced, aware that she is not the one in a position of power. That still lies with her elders.

“I think these are really sensitive issues that are superdifficult to discuss in the workplace, even when they’re vital to the work you’re doing,” Vershbow says.

Kashti Khan, who is 22 and sells advertising for the Houston Chronicle, says she has a lot in common with the baby boomers she works with directly. But outside that circle, that’s not always true.

“You look good today,” an older man might tell her. “And I’m like, that’s such a weird thing to say,” Khan says.

She also thinks, “OK, boomer,” to herself when colleagues don’t understand the concept of a fluid gender identity. “They’ll say something like, ‘You know, there are only two genders.’ And I mean, I understand that that’s how they were raised, but that kind of stuff just doesn’t fly now.”

Older workers need to figure out how to overcome these differences and pass the baton to the up-and-coming new leaders, says Meagan Johnson, a consultant for companies on generational differences.

“Unless the older generation really lets their ego down and allows the younger generation to come on board and challenge the way they do things, there’s gonna be this disconnect,” she says.

Of course, generational griping and stereotyping are nothing new. Remember when Gen Xers were called “slackers”? So not everyone agrees that “OK, boomer” speaks to deep, underlying tensions.

“I have to tell you, I was a little surprised by it, because we have a lot of research that shows how much workers actually like to work together no matter the generation,” says Susan Weinstock, a boomer herself and a vice president at AARP.

So it might be that “OK, boomer” is just another example of how social media sows a sense of discord — the way it has in politics.

In fact, AARP unwittingly played a role in that last week. Another executive at the group was quoted saying, “OK, millennials. But we’re the people that actually have the money.”

That, too, went viral under — what else? — the hashtag #OkBoomer.

Later, AARP responded to the meme it inspired, saying social media took the statement out of context. The group said it meant to say: Don’t overlook or dismiss boomers. Don’t let stereotypes like that divide us.

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

#OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-94256769_custom-869ec059a892fa3ca9868864a42b1a0422716ece-s1100-c15 #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

The phrase “OK, boomer” has gone global. It has become young generations’ retort to ideas they consider outdated or off base. Neil Webb/Getty Images/Ikon Images hide caption

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Neil Webb/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Westlake Legal Group  #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

The phrase “OK, boomer” has gone global. It has become young generations’ retort to ideas they consider outdated or off base.

Neil Webb/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Sophie Vershbow has seen her share of “OK, boomer” memes in recent weeks. The phrase that’s suddenly everywhere is meant to convey a fundamental disconnect between younger generations and baby boomers who cling to outdated, off-base ideas.

To Vershbow, a 30-year-old social media manager, the sentiment behind the memes is this: “I think it’s a dismissive, ‘OK, whatever you say.’ “

Case in point: 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker Chloe Swarbrick recently hurled the “OK, boomer” phrase at older colleagues heckling her during her speech in support of a climate change bill.

The cross-generational insults have ratcheted up in recent weeks, also inspiring a backlash, including from those comparing “OK, boomer” to racial slurs. Last week, AARP, the group most identified with boomers, weighed in. That did not go well.

These warring posts — and the social commentary around them — suggest a yawning gap between the old and young. They speak to different attitudes about social and political change, and they raise questions about how deep those differences go.

Vershbow, who works at a book publisher in New York, says she likes working with boomers but says there can be issues. “These younger generations keep feeling very misunderstood,” she says.

Westlake Legal Group sophie-vershbow-6836b72e30f441acafa0841400c903518553d37c-s800-c15 #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

Sophie Vershbow, a social media manager, says discussing age at work, even where it’s professionally relevant, can be tricky. Courtesy of Peter Cunningham hide caption

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Courtesy of Peter Cunningham

Westlake Legal Group  #OkBoomer Vs. #OkMillennial: Workplace Nightmare, Or Just A Meme?

Sophie Vershbow, a social media manager, says discussing age at work, even where it’s professionally relevant, can be tricky.

Courtesy of Peter Cunningham

That’s not surprising. Outside of family, the workplace is where generations interact the most. People are living — and therefore working — longer than ever. Now, for the first time in history, the workforce spans five generations, from the Silent Generation, in their 70s and 80s, to Generation Z, just entering their 20s.

Work is also where many social issues play out, presenting the potential for generational debate over everything from gender-neutral bathrooms to the #MeToo movement.

But Vershbow says discussing age at work, even where it’s professionally relevant, can be tricky. For example, she says she once noted during a meeting how her age cohort shops differently. “I was literally called ageist,” she says.

She felt silenced, aware that she is not the one in a position of power. That still lies with her elders.

“I think these are really sensitive issues that are superdifficult to discuss in the workplace, even when they’re vital to the work you’re doing,” Vershbow says.

Kashti Khan, who is 22 and sells advertising for the Houston Chronicle, says she has a lot in common with the baby boomers she works with directly. But outside that circle, that’s not always true.

“You look good today,” an older man might tell her. “And I’m like, that’s such a weird thing to say,” Khan says.

She also thinks, “OK, boomer,” to herself when colleagues don’t understand the concept of a fluid gender identity. “They’ll say something like, ‘You know, there are only two genders.’ And I mean, I understand that that’s how they were raised, but that kind of stuff just doesn’t fly now.”

Older workers need to figure out how to overcome these differences and pass the baton to the up-and-coming new leaders, says Meagan Johnson, a consultant for companies on generational differences.

“Unless the older generation really lets their ego down and allows the younger generation to come on board and challenge the way they do things, there’s gonna be this disconnect,” she says.

Of course, generational griping and stereotyping are nothing new. Remember when Gen Xers were called “slackers”? So not everyone agrees that “OK, boomer” speaks to deep, underlying tensions.

“I have to tell you, I was a little surprised by it, because we have a lot of research that shows how much workers actually like to work together no matter the generation,” says Susan Weinstock, a boomer herself and a vice president at AARP.

So it might be that “OK, boomer” is just another example of how social media sows a sense of discord — the way it has in politics.

In fact, AARP unwittingly played a role in that last week. Another executive at the group was quoted saying, “OK, millennials. But we’re the people that actually have the money.”

That, too, went viral under — what else? — the hashtag #OkBoomer.

Later, AARP responded to the meme it inspired, saying social media took the statement out of context. The group said it meant to say: Don’t overlook or dismiss boomers. Don’t let stereotypes like that divide us.

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

Fractured Into Factions? What The Founders Feared About Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-145890547_wide-d97508a2216cde4123958ac68e4d1a16d194508b-s1100-c15 Fractured Into Factions? What The Founders Feared About Impeachment

Illustration of four of the United States Founding Fathers: John Adams, Robert Morris, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. Stock Montage/Getty Images hide caption

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Stock Montage/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Fractured Into Factions? What The Founders Feared About Impeachment

Illustration of four of the United States Founding Fathers: John Adams, Robert Morris, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.

Stock Montage/Getty Images

As the Founding Fathers were drafting the U.S. Constitution, they were explicitly trying to avoid a repeat of the situation they had just fought a war to free themselves from — a ruler with unchecked power.

While they wrote a bare minimum about impeachment in the country’s essential governing document, other writings from the time provide rich insights about their intentions.

In Federalist No. 69, Alexander Hamilton described impeachment essentially as a release valve from another “crisis of a national revolution.” He and other founders grappled with how best to execute such a check, and eventually they settled on the system we have today.

Even more than 230 years ago, they were eerily prescient in fearing how the impeachment process could play out: beset by partisanship and broken down by factions. Every impeachment proceeding so far — from Andrew Johnson to Bill Clinton and now President Trump — was split along those lines.

Why was impeachment so important to the Founders?

To understand the Founders’ rationale for impeachment first requires an examination of their feelings about the presidency. Hamilton (yes, that one) actually wanted a more robust chief executive, but he did realize there needed to be some check on their power. That’s why he would argue in The Federalist Papers for why impeachment should be included in the Constitution.

According to preeminent Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow, Hamilton was trying to protect the country from someone with demagogic tendencies. “From the outset, Hamilton feared an unholy trinity of traits in a future president — ambition, avarice and vanity,” Chernow wrote last month in the Washington Post.

He points to one of Hamilton’s writings in 1792 where the Treasury secretary warns about someone who might exhibit those inclinations, and Chernow argues it sounds a lot like the current occupant of the Oval Office:

“When a man unprincipled in private life[,] desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper . . . despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.'”

Setting the standards for impeachment

The first two impeachable offenses laid out in the Constitution are very specific. Treason is betraying the United States. Bribery is being swayed to do something or to act a certain way because you are being given a thing of value or asking someone else to.

The latter is one that Democrats in the House now appear to be finessing an argument for.

“Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told NPR last week. “It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you’re offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation’s interest.”

The more ambiguous term of “high crimes and misdemeanors” appears to give lawmakers more leeway — or ammunition. But as Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn told member station WGBH in a discussion about the Founders and impeachment last month, a “high crime” isn’t some kind of really, really bad crime. It means a crime against the country.

The Founders, Koehn said, had an “imputed faith… in the seriousness of purpose and commitment that the people that came after them in Congress would have” when it came to weighing impeachment. And that includes an understanding that even though something “might not be a prosecutable offense in a court of law, it can be discerned as something that is against the American nation.” The intent of that wording was to provide a standard for both legislators and the public, as opposed to “whatever the political wind decides.”

Searching for an impartial arbiter

As the National Constitution Center details, differing proposals at the Constitutional Convention dealt with impeachment in different ways — the Virginia Plan wanted impeachment to be handled by the federal judiciary, while the New Jersey Plan only had a removal process if a majority of state governors petitioned for it.

It was Hamilton’s compromise, modeled after the British system of removing public officials, which was largely adopted. That led to the lower chamber acting as a grand jury in deciding an indictment and then the upper chamber acting as the trial jury.

There was some push to have the Supreme Court be the final arbiter in deciding an impeachment conviction. Hamilton stridently pushed back at that idea, arguing that only senators could be independent enough to thoroughly judge a president, instead of justices that may have been appointed by that same president under accusation.

“Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent?” Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 65. “What other body would be likely to feel confidence enough in its own situation, to preserve, unawed and uninfluenced, the necessary impartiality between an individual accused, and the representatives of the people, his accusers.”

But what if the Senate turned partisan?

That’s exactly what has happened in every impeachment that went to a Senate trial, and is very much happening now ahead of a potential impeachment.

While the Democratic-controlled House only requires a simple majority to impeach, the Senate requires a two-third majority to convict, or 67 votes. Republicans hold a 53-47 edge, and only a few GOP senators show any sign of being willing to crossover and vote to convict Trump, like Utah Sen. Mitt Romney or Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Others, like Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, have said that while he thinks it’s improper for an American president to court foreign assistance for a political campaign, it’s not impeachable and ultimately voters should decide Trump’s fate in the 2020 election.

There were reasons the Founders at first hoped that senators might be more independent-minded. It wasn’t until the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913 that senators were directly elected by the people.

Now, in a hyper-partisan environment, re-election could often be the motivating factor, with little incentive to cross sides. In today’s Republican Party, going against Trump can mean signing your political death sentence.

Hamilton outlined those fears about how partisan the process would become in Federalist No. 65. Because impeachable violations are by definition political, as they’re “done immediately to the society itself,” Hamilton wrote that the charges:

“….will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused.

In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.”

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

Airbnb CEO says guests once complained because a ‘haunted’ listing was a little too haunted

This lodging should be called Scare-bnb.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has opened up about the weirdest complaint a user has ever made, and it involves a debatably friendly ghost named Stanley.

“One day a customer calls us and says they want a full refund,” Chesky said last week at New York Times DealBook conference. “We say, ‘Why do you want a full refund?’ They said, ‘Because the house is haunted and there’s a ghost in the house.’”

SHIPPING CONTAINER INTENDED AS AIRBNB RENTAL DEEMED ‘AN ABOMINATION’ BY TOWN COUNCIL

Chesky’s team needed to verify the claim and rang the host, assuming they would deny that their property was haunted and, lacking any supernatural photographic evidence, it would be case-closed.

“Well, unfortunately, the host confirms the ghost, says that it’s a friendly ghost named Stanley, and that the ghost Stanley is in the listing description,” Chesky says. “We read the listing — Stanley is mentioned.”

Westlake Legal Group haunted-house Airbnb CEO says guests once complained because a 'haunted' listing was a little too haunted New York Post Hannah Frishberg fox-news/travel/general/home-rentals fnc/travel fnc d9cc52a7-7771-5179-abd1-481802f785ad article

Stanley (not pictured) was reported to haunt an Airbnb rental. But much to the guests’ disappointment, he was not the “friendly” ghost that was advertised in the listing. (iStock)

When Airbnb pointed this out to the spooked guest, they clarified that their issue was not with Stanley’s presence, but that he was not friendly.

“‘Yes, we knew about Stanley, that’s why we booked it,’” Chesky says the guest retorted. “‘But Stanley has been harassing us all night.’”

Chesky was at a loss.

“How do you adjudicate that?” he asked. “There is no playbook for this stuff.”

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Stanley, the ghost of questionable amicability, tops Chesky’s list of strange Air-boo-nb issues, but he says the company gets millions of customer calls daily, and many are bizarre.

Once, Chesky booked a woman’s home that had a parrot in the listing. “I thought that was really cool until I got to the listing and I realized it was a studio apartment, that she would be in the space with me, with the parrot, and that she slept on the couch, I slept in the bed, and the parrot joined me in the bed,” he says.

While it hadn’t been what he was looking for, he accepted his fate.

“It wasn’t really wanted, but, you know, I didn’t fight it,” he says.

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Here are some other haunted Airbnb listings where ghosts are ready for your judgment.

  • Of The Haunted House in Ontario, Canada, Airbnb writes, “Guests swear they have seen the apparition of a man in a suit standing in front of a mirror and a figure of an angry woman wearing a dark blouse and skirt.” The 1885 Victorian home goes for $94/night.
  • The Cisco Post Office closed in the 1990s but has been renovated into a tiny guest house without running water. It offers an “authentic ghost town experience” and boasts a fire pit, A/C, wi-fi and scenic views for $60/night. The bitty Pace Bros. Shack also still stands in the ghost town and can be yours for $65/night.
  • In Oberlin, Ohio, guests at the $145/night Inspiration House have commented that they can hear someone slowly pacing the upper level in heavy work boots and scratching on the hardwood. The host herself is a psychic and occult researcher.
  • A Confederate soldier is suspected of haunting the Gettysburg Historic Lookout House in Aspers, Pa. Guests have reported seeing a man in a uniform, arms crossed, standing in a corner — but add that he and the other spirits that haunt the house are friendly. A private room in the home goes for $128/night.
  • In northern Germany’s Rensow Manor Retreat, the home’s foundation is 1,200 years old and guests believe the ghosts of Slavic gods continue to haunt the space, which costs $110/night.
  • Upstate New York’s Enslin Mansion ($99/night) is haunted from its basement to its attic, according to its host. The lively spirits are tricksters — be sure to keep your keys close, as they reportedly love to hide them.
  • In the early 1900s, a woman named Rosalia Fihn died of typhoid fever at Manor Master Chamber in Saint Paul, Minn. Her spirit reportedly never left the grounds. ($76/night).
  • Wake Forest, N.C.’s, Stroud House is rented by its original owner’s great-grandson. Among other haunted happenings, a music box reportedly turns itself on and plays nursery songs, and dime-sized orbs sometimes float in the dining room. Guests continue to shell out $60 nightly for the space, despite the spook factor.

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This article originally appeared in the New York Post.

Westlake Legal Group haunted-house Airbnb CEO says guests once complained because a 'haunted' listing was a little too haunted New York Post Hannah Frishberg fox-news/travel/general/home-rentals fnc/travel fnc d9cc52a7-7771-5179-abd1-481802f785ad article   Westlake Legal Group haunted-house Airbnb CEO says guests once complained because a 'haunted' listing was a little too haunted New York Post Hannah Frishberg fox-news/travel/general/home-rentals fnc/travel fnc d9cc52a7-7771-5179-abd1-481802f785ad article

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