Inside 2 TMZ Veterans’ Plan to Disrupt the Celebrity News Model

Dax Holt and Adam Glyn’s “Hollywood Raw” podcast has broken major stories by not playing the give-and-take game and simply just listening

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VCU Professor sells Charlie Brown-style trees for local school | Richmond Local News

Frank Pichel didn’t expect much when he started selling his odd-looking Christmas trees late last month.

He just wanted to raise money for Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in Richmond’s East End. The faith-based, tuition-free private school caught the eye of Pichel, who is a commercial animator and part-time professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, after he noticed a fundraiser for athletic equipment a couple of years back.

“It’s [going] so well that I think I’ll just make this a thing I’ll do every year and I imagine I’ll keep having them as the charity,” Pichel said.

The small frail-looking pine trees may remind others of the one found in the “Charlie Brown” Christmas movies.

Bigger than the tiny tree portrayed on the holiday special, the trees sold by Pichel stand as short as 5 feet and as tall as 8 feet.

Pichel spent a majority of his Thanksgiving day chopping 70 trees from his Nelson County plot of land, then hauled them to the city. Anna Julia Cooper gave Pichel the green light shortly thereafter and he began sales the following weekend, raking in $1,200 over the first two days.

Pichel’s 66-acre plot in Nelson has a massive surplus of Pinus Virginiana, a pine tree typically found in mountainous regions ranging from Alabama to New York.

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Austin police officer suspended for calling protester ’gay’ based on their clothing – News – Austin American-Statesman

An Austin police officer has been temporarily suspended following an internal affairs investigation into homophobic comments he reportedly made while describing a person at a Black Lives Matter protest in May.

While on duty to respond to a large number of protesters in front of Austin police headquarters on May 30, Officer Ryan Seweryn described one of the demonstrators as “that gay dude with the short shorts in the black shirt,” according to the disciplinary memo, signed by Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley on Nov. 25.

The protester who Seweryn described may have been pointing a laser pointer at a helicopter, the memo said, adding that Seweryn’s comments were recorded on his body-worn camera. The internal affairs investigation was spurred by a complaint made by a commander at the department on Nov. 13, according to the memo.

When asked to explain his comments during the investigation, Seweryn claimed that he was not describing the sexual orientation of the protester, but rather their style of clothing, according to the memo.

In the conclusion of the memo, Manley wrote that Seweryn did not take responsibility for his conduct and tried to justify his description of the protester.

“While he acknowledged that his conduct is inconsistent with APD training and expectations, he did not accept that there was anything wrong with the assumptions, description, and stereotype he made,” the memo stated.

Seweryn was suspended for ten days — from Nov. 26 to Dec. 5 — for violating the department’s rules related to impartial attitude and courtesy, the memo said. He will also have to go through additional training, according to the memo.

Seweryn served a separate ten-day suspension earlier this year for posting an old booking photo of a fellow Austin police officer, according to disciplinary documents.

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Egypt releases photographer, model detained after pyramid photo shoot – News

Egyptian authorities Tuesday released on bail a photographer and a model after they were detained following a photo shoot deemed inappropriate at the Pyramid of Djoser outside Cairo, a judicial source said.

Photographer Houssam Mohammed and Salma al-Shimi were arrested Monday and referred to the prosecution after the shoot at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 kilometers south of Cairo, in which Shimi appeared in ancient Egyptian costume.

Shimi, who boasts thousands of followers on Instagram, had posted photographs last week at the foot of the 4,700-year-old Step Pyramid of Djoser.

Rumours quickly spread that she had been detained for wearing outfits that betrayed Egypt’s ancient heritage and had broken the rules set by the antiquities ministry for photo shoots.

The judicial source said the pair were accused of “taking photos without authorization in the Saqqara archaeological site” and released on bail of 500 Egyptian pounds ($32) each pending the results of an investigation.

According to a statement on the tourism ministry’s Facebook page, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, had asked for the matter to be referred to the prosecutor, deeming the photos “inappropriate”.

Read also: Egypt upgrades visitor experience at Giza pyramids site

“All those found guilty of harming archaeological sites and Egyptian civilization will be punished,” Waziri was quoted as saying in the statement.

The matter has sparked controversy on social media, with some users expressing disbelief and outrage.

“Is there really a ban on taking photographs in archaeological zones, even pictures that are not indecent but completely normal?” one user asked.

In recent months, Egyptian courts have handed down jail sentences against a dozen social media influencers for sharing content judges deemed offensive.

In December 2018, images of a naked couple embracing at the top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops prompted a media outcry.

The authorities arrested a camel owner and a young female guide for helping the couple to gain access to the site.

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From Hijabs to Cosplay, Indonesian Finds Calling in Cat Fashion Makeovers | World News

BOGOR, Indonesia (Reuters) – It may not be haute couture, but former Indonesian school teacher turned tailor Fredi Lugina Priadi has found a lucrative market for his cat fashions, creating unique costumes and cosplay outfits for cats.

After quitting his job as a teacher, he tried his hand at a number of businesses, including running a motorbike repair shop, before stumbling upon cat fashions, an idea from one of his cat-loving cousins.

The 39-year-old now supplies outfits to picky pet owners looking to dress their felines in everything from superhero outfits for figures like Thor and Superman to cosplay characters, nurse uniforms and even traditional Islamic wear.

“At first, my cousins who love cats gave me the idea to make these costumes and I thought it was weird,” said Fredi.

“But it turned out to be funny to see them with costumes,” he said, speaking from his rustic workshop with a sewing machine in Bogor just south of the capital Jakarta .

    Since setting up his online business three years ago, he now generates up to 3 million rupiah ($210) a month if he sells at least four pieces a day. Each outfit is priced at between $6 to $10. 

    Customer Risma Sandra Irawan has bought at least 30 outfits for her cat Sogan and puts in orders for special occasions like the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr or at Christmas.

    “Its for fun only…it can relieve our stress,” said Risma, who created an account on social media platform TikTok showing off Sogan’s outfits that has more than 50,000 followers.

While many find it cute, Fredi has received some negative comments on social media from those who consider it cruel to dress up a cat and he advises buyers not to make their pet wear an outfit for too long.

Indeed, in the wake of a boom in social media postings of pets dressed up, often in increasingly bizarre poses or outfits, some animal welfare groups have issued guidelines to make owners more aware of any signs that it may be causing their pet distress.

(Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Ford Mustang Mach-E Matches Tesla Model Y for 0-to-60 mph | News

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition

Manufacturer image

Solidifying earlier claims that the Mustang Mach-E could hit 60 mph in the mid-3-second range, Ford announced today that its new all-electric SUV would blow past the mark in a targeted 3.5 seconds. That’s for the GT Performance Edition, which makes 480 horsepower and 634 pounds-feet of torque.

Related: Ford Mustang Mach-E Leans Into Muscle-Car Moniker With More Power, Speed

To slow all that down, the GT Performance Edition gets 19-inch front brakes (yes, brakes, not wheels) with red Brembo calipers. It also has 20-inch wheels, Pirelli P245/45R20 summer tires and MagneRide adaptive shock absorbers. Sold as a package beyond the Mustang Mach-E’s GT trim level, the Performance Edition can be added to an existing GT reservation upon ordering in the spring. Both the GT and GT Performance Edition go on sale late in the summer of 2021, Ford says, with advance orders available now.

Sans Performance Edition, the GT makes 480 hp and 600 pounds-feet of torque; Ford targets 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph. That’s still considerably quicker than other editions of the Mach-E, which hit 60 mph in a Ford-estimated 4.8 to 6.1 seconds, depending what you get.

The GT Performance Edition gets a targeted EPA-estimated range of 235 miles, though probably not if your trip involves many of those 3.5-second runs. As of this writing, the EPA has yet to publish range estimates for any variant of the Mach-E, but Ford announced Nov. 23 that it had completed certification with the agency for range estimates from 210 to 300 miles, depending on the variant. (The Mach-E comes in standard- and extended-range versions with rear- or all-wheel drive.)

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If you like comparing specs, Ford’s numbers are closely competitive to the Mach-E’s likeliest competitor, the Tesla Model Y. Tesla’s newest SUV nabs EPA-estimated ranges of 291 to 316 miles and Tesla-estimated 0-60 mph acceleration of 3.5 to 4.8 seconds, variant depending; a forthcoming standard-range model targets around 230 miles of range and a 5.9-second sprint to 60 mph.

Deliveries begin this month for lower trims of the Mustang Mach-E, which starts at $43,995 including destination but before any tax incentives. The GT starts just over $60,000; pricing for the GT Performance Edition wasn’t immediately available.

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Philip Green’s Arcadia UK Fashion Group Falls Into Administration | Investing News

LONDON (Reuters) – British tycoon Philip Green’s Arcadia fashion group has collapsed into administration, putting over 13,000 jobs at risk and becoming the country’s biggest corporate casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

Deloitte said late on Monday it had been appointed Arcadia’s administrator and would seek buyers for the group’s brands: Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Burton and Outfit.

The group trades from 444 leased sites in the United Kingdom and 22 overseas.

Deloitte said Arcadia’s stores would continue to trade, its online platforms would remain operational and supplies to concession partners would continue.

It said no redundancies were being immediately announced.

“We will be rapidly seeking expressions of interest and expect to identify one or more buyers to ensure the future success of the businesses,” said Matt Smith, Deloitte’s joint administrator.

Green, who was pictured over the weekend in Monaco where his 100 million pound ($133.26 million) super yacht Lionheart is docked, acquired Arcadia for 850 million pounds in 2002.

He had no immediate comment but his CEO laid the blame for Arcadia’s demise firmly on the pandemic.

“In the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe,” said Ian Grabiner.

While COVID-19 lockdowns pushed Arcadia over the edge, it has struggled in recent years, underinvesting and failing to keep pace with competitors in an increasingly online retail sector.

Its brands were squeezed between the likes of Inditex’s Zara, H&M, and Primark and online-only players ASOS and Boohoo.

A restructuring deal was approved by creditors last year, cutting rents and closing stores, but proved only a temporary respite.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group said on Monday it was interested in participating in any Arcadia sale process.

Topshop, once the go-to destination for teenagers and fashion lovers, is regarded by analysts as Arcadia’s most attractive asset.

Media reports have also identified Marks & Spencer, Next and Boohoo, as well as private equity players, as potential bidders for individual brands. All three companies declined to comment.

Arcadia’s collapse could have a knock-on impact on the future of department store chain Debenhams, which is already in administration and employs 12,000.

Arcadia is one of Debenhams’ biggest concession holders.

Shares in JD Sports Fashion, which has been linked with a takeover of Debenhams, closed up 5.9%, indicating it was losing interest. Shares in Frasers closed down 5.7%.

Arcadia’s workforce also faces uncertainty over a deficit in the company’s pension fund, estimated by analysts at about 350 million pounds.

As part of last year’s restructuring Arcadia agreed to provide 210 million pounds of security over property assets to the pension schemes, while Tina Green, Philip’s wife and the ultimate owner of Arcadia, agreed to contribute 100 million pounds to the schemes over three years.

“This is awful news for thousands of Arcadia employees just before Christmas,” said opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.

“Philip Green should do the right thing and fill the Arcadia pension deficit.”

If he does not

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Cyber Monday Set to Be Biggest Online Shopping Day in U.S. History | Top News

(Reuters) – Cyber Monday is on track to bring in a record of as much as $12.7 billion in online sales, according to latest industry estimates, surpassing Black Friday’s digital numbers as U.S. retailers reached the last leg of an extended holiday selling season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shoppers have seen nearly two months of offers from retailers looking to recover sales lost due to mall and store closures, while Amazon.com pushed back its annual summer promotional event to October, creating a longer than ever season.

Estimates from Adobe Analytics, however, showed this year’s conclusion to Thanksgiving weekend promotions would still be the largest online sales day in history, with spending between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion. 

“We are seeing strong growth as consumers continue to move shopping from offline to online this year,” Adobe Digital Insights director Taylor Schreiner said.

“New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store.”

Traditionally, Cyber Monday starts with people, fresh off their long weekend, scouring for discounts online at work and driving another big day of promotions.

The popularity of event shopping days has faded with the emergence of online shopping and cheap deals throughout the year from retailers including Amazon and Walmart Inc, but the health crisis this year has also played with shopping patterns.

Walmart, Target Corp, Best Buy all moved their promotions up to remain competitive with Amazon, while doubling down on investments in fulfilling online orders.

The tent pole shopping event of Black Friday, which pulled in record online sales of about $9 billion, according to Adobe, saw shoppers turning up in smaller numbers at stores as they utilized the early deals and avoided stepping out into large crowds.

Consumers sought out deals for gifts and necessities including the latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles, Lego sets, the Roku Stick+ and Apple Watches.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Shinjini Ganguli)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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How can I stay safe while shopping? 25 common virus questions answered | National News

Oxford scientists expect COVID-19 vaccine data by Christmas

FILE – In this Thursday, April 23, 2020 file screen grab taken from video issued by Britain’s Oxford University, showing a person being injected as part of the first human trials in the UK to test a potential coronavirus vaccine, untaken by Oxford University in England. A key researcher at the University of Oxford says scientists expect to report results from the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas. Dr. Andrew Pollard, an expert in pediatric infection and immunity at Oxford, said Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 that research was slowed by low infection rates over the summer but the Phase III trials are now accumulating the data needed to report results.




What does COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness mean? It refers to the likelihood that a coronavirus shot will work in people.

Two vaccine makers have said that preliminary results from their late-stage studies suggest their experimental vaccines are strongly protective. Moderna this week said its vaccine appears nearly 95% effective. This comes on the heels of Pfizer’s announcement that its shot appeared similarly effective.

Those numbers raised hopes around the world that vaccines could help put an end to the pandemic sometime next year if they continue to show that they prevent disease and are safe.

Effectiveness numbers will change as the vaccine studies continue since the early calculations were based on fewer than 100 COVID-19 cases in each study. But early results provide strong signals that the vaccine could prevent a majority of disease when large groups of people are vaccinated.

U.S. health officials said a coronavirus vaccine would need to be at least 50% effective before they would consider approving it for use. There was concern that coronavirus vaccines might be only as effective as flu vaccines, which have ranged from 20% to 60% effective in recent years.

The broad, early effectiveness figures don’t tell the whole story. Scientists also need to understand how well the vaccine protects people in different age groups and demographic categories.

For both vaccines, the interim results were based on people who had COVID-19 symptoms that prompted a virus test. That means we don’t know yet whether someone who’s vaccinated might still get infected — even if they show no symptoms — and spread the virus.

Also unknown is whether the shots will give lasting protection, or whether boosters will be required.

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Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Great credit cards for holiday shopping | Business News



kiplinger-spending-20201127

Consider using a rewards credit card for holiday shopping.




As you dive into holiday shopping, get some extra oomph from your spending by using a rewards credit card that provides additional cash back or points at the retailers — or retailer websites — you visit most.

The Discover It card, for example, provides 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com in the fourth quarter of 2020 (1% on all other spending). Quarterly categories for 2021 haven’t been announced, but bonus categories in 2020 included grocery stores, gas stations, wholesale clubs and restaurants.

For rewards on a broader variety of online purchases, consider the Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa.

You choose one of six categories that earn 3% cash back, including online shopping, gas, dining, travel, drugstores, and home improvement and furnishings — and each calendar month you can change the category.

The card also offers 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. After you spend $2,500 combined in the 2% and 3% categories each quarter, you get 1% back on purchases in both categories. All other spending earns 1% back.

The branded card of a retailer you are loyal to might have strong rewards.

The Amazon Rewards Visa offers 3% cash back on Amazon purchases (5% if you’re a Prime member), and the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard provides 5% back at Walmart.com and 2% at Walmart stores (5% in-store the first 12 months if you use Walmart’s mobile payment app).

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