• Entertainment
    Deadline

    Lark Voorhies Responds To Being Excluded From ‘Saved By The Bell’ Revival: “I Feel A Bit Slighted And Hurt”

    As NBCUniversal's new streaming service Peacock ramps up for the forthcoming revival of the classic teen series Saved by the Bell, there is one character that we won't be seeing the fashionable gossip queen Lisa Turtle played by Lark Voorhies. On Wednesday's episode of The Dr. Oz Show, the actress addressed how she felt about being […]

  • World
    The Daily Beast

    As Trump Gives Up on ‘Endless Wars,' Russia, China, and Iran Move In

    JERUSALEM–Two decades of expanding operations against what United States Special Operations Command called a “global insurgency of state and non-state actors” has led to fatigue at home and questions abroad about U.S. strategy. Trump, Afghanistan, and ‘The Tweet of Damocles’The latest Trump administration deal with the Taliban, challenges to the U.S. role in Syria and Iraq, and a potential reduction of forces in Africa point to a global trend in how the U.S. will deal with counter-insurgency in the future. What we’re looking at is a global drawdown in U.S. forces committed to counter-terrorist operations at the same time President Donald Trump is demanding other countries, including NATO allies, do more. The idea is for the U.S. to focus on using technology, such as drones, while local forces do the fighting on the ground.This long-term shift has long-term consequences that mean countries such as Iran, China and Russia, which the U.S. sees as adversaries, will have a larger footprint in places where the U.S. is reducing its role. Outsourcing counter-terrorism to these countries may not have been the plan, but it is likely one outcome.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a tour of Africa on Feb. 16 in Senegal where the Flintlock 2020 exercise is underway with neighboring Mauritania. Some 1,600 soldiers from 30 African states and western allies are participating in the annual drill from February 17-28. The U.S. says it is the year’s “premier special operations” exercise that strengthens security across a swath of countries through what’s called the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership. The concept, pushed in 2018 via an act of Congress, was to improve the capabilities of countries to fight terror.But the picture is bleaker than past U.S. statements have indicated. Funding to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to fight terror spread across Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria and a dozen states from Senegal to Somalia hasn’t reduced terror and has resulted in Washington’s decision to reconsider what comes next. The U.S. pulled forces out of Libya in 2019 and three Americans were killed in an attack on a base in Kenya by Somalia’s Al-Shabab in January.The Other Attack on Americans That Has U.S. Forces Unnerved: KenyaAlthough Pompeo says that “we’ll get it right” in terms of U.S. commitment to a swath of African states, reports indicate the U.S. is reducing the footprint on the ground. Washington has “downgraded” efforts against extremists, the New York Times reported in mid-February. France, which sent hundreds more troops to the Sahel region recently, has warned this is a bad idea. The overall numbers could mean cutting in half the U.S. presence of 5,000 troops in a dozen locations.Changes in Africa strategy are only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger policy shift. On the one hand the U.S. National Defense Strategy wants to move away from counter-insurgency to competing against large states like Iran, China and Russia. The Pentagon believes that “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” Since U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) expanded from 47,000 in 2007 to 80,000 today, it might be argued that the U.S. has reached peak strength in fighting terror and now can move on successfully. The problem is that from Afghanistan to the Philippines to Niger there has not been a major success.In Afghanistan, where the U.S. has been fighting the Taliban for almost 20 years, some sort of peace deal is in the works. President Donald Trump has sought to end such “endless wars,” and Democrats running to replace him also want to end this one. In Iraq and Syria the U.S. appears to be reducing its role as well. Trump twice announced a withdrawal from Syria only to relent and keep troops to protect “oil” while slowly walking away from America’s anti-ISIS partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces.Plans to use bases in neighboring Iraq to “watch Iran” have not panned out and the U.S. finds itself pressured to leave most of Iraq after tensions with Iran boiled over in January following U.S. decision to blow away near Baghdad airport Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.Meanwhile, rocket fire has targeted U.S. bases and forces near the U.S. embassy almost every week since October 2019.The long-term result in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and across Africa can be seen symbolically in what is already happening in the Philippines. For two decades Washington and Manila worked closely against extremist groups. Now Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement amid increasingly friendly relations with China.For a more isolationist-inclined American public that may not matter, but it does mean China and other countries will aid the Philippines in the fight against Islamist insurgents. That has implications across Asia and the Pacific. In Africa, Russian President Vladimir Putin has set his eyes on a larger role that includes priority access to vital mineral resources. He held a summit in October with African diplomats. Russia’s Wagner group and other contractors play an increasing role in Sudan, the Central African Republic, Libya and Mozambique.In each place where the U.S. seeks a smaller footprint there will be a competition to fill the vacuum.France will try to fill it in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso, the G5 countries it works with in the Sahel. But in many cases there won’t be NATO powers that share U.S. values doing the heavy lifting. Instead it will be Russia, Iran, China, Turkey, and even Saudi Arabia or India playing a bigger role. That means counter-insurgency that looks more like Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen, Russia’s in Syria and Chechnya, China’s in Xinjiang, Turkey’s in Afrin, or India’s in Kashmir. While that may fit the bill of a Trump administration that wants to spend less American treasure abroad and wants others to do more of the work, in the long term it means a fundamental change in the international role of the United States. It also means that in an attempt to shift resources to confronting major states, the U.S. will provide a vacuum for some of those states—China, Russia and Iran—to play a greater role in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. 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  • Business
    Bloomberg

    Elon Musk Calls Bill Gates Underwhelming After Billionaire Buys a Porsche

    (Bloomberg) -- Bill Gates paid Tesla Inc. a compliment for coaxing the car industry to go electric. If he was expecting kind words in return from Elon Musk, he apparently shouldn’t have spoken about challenges that still lie ahead -- or about his new Porsche.Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Corp., spoke with a YouTube influencer last week about the challenges of reducing emissions to slow climate change. He called the passenger-car industry “one of the most hopeful” sectors taking action in this regard.“And certainly Tesla, if you had to name one company that’s helped drive that, it’s them,” Gates told YouTuber Marques Brownlee.Then Gates discussed recently buying a Porsche Taycan. While he called the electric sports car “very, very cool,” he acknowledged its premium price -- the initial Turbo S models start at $185,000 -- and said consumers still have to overcome anxieties about EVs offering limited range and taking longer to recharge. Gasoline-powered cars travel longer between quick refuels at stations that outnumber charging points.WANT MORE? Upgrade the luxury in your life with the Pursuits Weekly newsletter. The best in high-end autos, food, real estate, fashion, culture, and lifestyle delivered every Wednesday. When a Tesla enthusiast posted about being disappointed in Gates’s decision to buy a Taycan instead of a Tesla and his comments about range anxiety, Musk replied: “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh.”Musk, 48, is of course no stranger to tweeting dismissively about fellow billionaires. The Tesla chief executive officer questioned Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s understanding of artificial intelligence risks in 2017. Last year, he called Jeff Bezos a copycat after the Amazon.com Inc. CEO embarked on an internet-satellite project that could rival one that Musk’s closely held company SpaceX is pursuing.The Tesla CEO’s commentary on Porsche’s Taycan has been mixed. After chiding the sports car brand for using internal combustion engine nomenclature for the high-end version of its debut electric vehicle, he tweeted in September that it “does seem like a good car.”(Updates with Musk’s tweets on Taycan in last paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Craig Trudell in New York at ctrudell1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Will DaviesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Business
    The Fiscal Times

    Medicare for All Would Save $450 Billion and 68,000 Lives: Study

    Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All plan would save the country about $450 billion a year on total health care spending while preventing nearly 70,000 deaths, according to a study published over the weekend in The Lancet.In the analysis, a team of epidemiologists led by Alison P. Galvani of the Yale School of Public Health applied the provisions of Sanders’ plan to real-world spending in the U.S. in 2017. They concluded that Medicare for All would have cost just over $3 trillion that year, or $458 billion less than the actual total. The analysis found that per capita costs would decline, resulting in lower costs overall, even with millions more people covered. And providing universal coverage would save 68,531 lives per year, the researchers.Here are some key details and assumptions from the study:A new analysis: Previous estimates of the cost of Medicare for All have reached significantly different conclusions, ranging from a roughly 16% increase over current national health-care spending levels to a 27% decrease. This latest study relies on a new analytical tool to measure the impact of different provisions within Medicare for All as applied to real-world data (you can review and adjust the parameters of the analysis in the Single-Payer Healthcare Interactive Financing Tool). Big savings with a single-payer system: The researchers found that the proposed system would reduce total health-care expenditures by about 13% based on 2017 spending levels. Savings would come from a variety of sources. Here are some of the major savings the researchers found with Medicare for All, based on the 2017 total health care expenditure of nearly $3.5 trillion: * Reducing pharmaceutical prices via negotiation: $219 billion * Improving fraud detection: $191 billion * Reducing reimbursement rates for hospitals, physician, and clinical services: $188 billion * Reducing overhead: $102 billion * Eliminating uncompensated hospitalization fees: $78 billion in savings.Revenues: The Sanders proposal would impose new taxes while reducing the overall cost burden on both businesses and households. The revenues look like this, according to the analysis: * Payroll tax: A 10% tax on employers would raise $436 billion. By comparison, employers currently pay $536 billion on insurance premiums, the equivalent of a 12.3% tax rate. * Household income tax: At the individual level, households would pay a 5% income tax above the standard deduction, yielding $375 billion per year. By comparison, households currently pay about $738 billion on premiums and service fees. * Wealth tax: A new tax on net worth over $21 million would produce about $109 billion a year. The bottom line: There are some methodological questions about the analysis, and the politics of transitioning to a single-payer system remain as complicated as ever. You might hear Sanders talk up this study during a debate or on the campaign trail, but it will likely do little to change minds in the debate.Like what you're reading? Sign up for our free newsletter.