Thank you, Kelly, and thank you all for joining our call to discuss ARMOUR's first quarter 2021 results. This morning, I'm joined as usual by ARMOUR's Co-Chief Executive Officers, Scott Ulm and Jeff Zimmer; and by our Chief Information Officer, Mark Gruber.
- The Independent
Melinda Gates is ‘haunted’ by Microsoft founder’s association with sex offender, sources say
European countries distanced themselves on Friday from a proposal backed by U.S. President Joe Biden to waive patent rights on coronavirus vaccines, arguing that key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic was making and sharing vaccines more quickly. French President Emmanuel Macron said the question of sharing patents was not the issue of the day, and called out Britain and the United States for blocking the export of vaccines and their ingredients to the wider world. Leaders of the 27-nation bloc were due to discuss the suggestion to share vaccine intellectual property at a two-day summit that opened in the Portuguese city of Porto on Friday, but they were divided on its usefulness.
- The Independent
Donald Trump’s election fraud ‘big lie’ winning over GOP but could cost midterms, pollster Frank Luntz warns
Republican insider predicts ex-president will win party nomination ahead of candidates like Tucker Carlson but lose in 2024
- The Telegraph
The name of George Lansbury will ring a bell with only the keenest students of politics, but it could one day be replaced with Sir Keir Starmer in the official history of the Labour Party. It was Lansbury who, in 1935, became the last Labour leader to step down without fighting a general election, a fate that could yet befall Sir Keir if he cannot turn around his party’s fortunes - and fast. While talk of an imminent leadership challenge currently belongs on the fringes of the Labour Party, the possibility that he could be replaced before the next general election is a matter of open discussion on the Opposition benches. “He’s got about a year to demonstrate that he can turn things around,” said one Labour MP, “otherwise the party will increasingly start to look for someone who can inspire the public in a way that so far he has failed to do.” Sir Keir promised to “carry the can” for the result of the Hartlepool by-election, and he has few excuses after approving a candidate championed by his own team.
- The Independent
Liz Cheney secretly organised move to help stop Trump using military to overturn election, report claims
Former advisor to Dick Cheney says ‘Liz is living reproach to all these cowards’
- Charlotte Observer
156 golfers teed off Thursday at Charlotte’s PGA event, competing for a first prize of nearly $1.5 million.
- The Independent
‘Republican voters and donors are sick and tired and fed up with weak Republicans that never accomplish what they claim they’re going to do,’ Georgia Republican says
- The Independent
Proposal would make companies liable for accidentally killing birds
- The Independent
Since 2016, nearly 50 Americans are believed to have been sickened by an unknown ‘directed energy’ weapon
- The Independent
Capitol riot suspect's lawyer blames 'Fox-itis' for his client's actions: 'He believed what was being fed to him'
Anthony Antonio had come to believe Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread electoral fraud, his attorney says
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Beto O’Rourke wants Fort Worth voters to turnout in support of Deborah Peoples for mayor.
- Miami Herald
Over the last decade, members of Congress have been unable to request federal funds for specific projects in their districts after Republicans banned the practice at the height of the Tea Party wave to curb what conservatives called wasteful spending.
- The New York Times
Untrained citizens are trying to find traces of bamboo on last year’s ballots, seemingly trying to prove a conspiracy theory that the election was tainted by fake votes from Asia. Thousands of ballots are left unattended and unsecured. People with open partisan bias, including a man who was photographed on the Capitol steps during the Jan. 6 riot, are doing the recounting. All of these issues with the Republican-backed re-examination of the November election results from Arizona’s most populous county were laid out this week by Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state, in a scathing six-page letter. Hobbs called the process “a significant departure from standard best practices.” Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “Though conspiracy theorists are undoubtedly cheering on these types of inspections — and perhaps providing financial support because of their use — they do little other than further marginalize the professionalism and intent of this ‘audit,’” she wrote to Ken Bennett, a former Republican secretary of state and the liaison between Republicans in the state Senate and the company conducting it. The effort has no official standing and will not change the state’s vote, whatever it finds. But it has become so troubled that the Department of Justice also expressed concerns this week in a letter saying that it might violate federal laws. “We have a concern that Maricopa County election records, which are required by federal law to be retained and preserved, are no longer under the ultimate control of elections officials, are not being adequately safeguarded by contractors, and are at risk of damage or loss,” wrote Pamela Karlan, the principal deputy assistant attorney general with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The scene playing out in Arizona is perhaps the most off-the-rails episode in the Republican Party’s escalating effort to support former President Donald Trump’s lie that he won the election. Four months after Congress certified the results of the presidential election, local officials around the country are continuing to provide oxygen for Trump’s obsession that he beat Joe Biden last fall. In Arizona, the review is proving to be every bit as problematic as skeptics had imagined. Last month, the Arizona Republic editorial board called for the state’s GOP Senate majority to stop “abusing its authority.” “Republicans in the Arizona Legislature have set aside dollars, hired consultants, procured the hardware and software to conduct what they call ‘an audit’ of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County,” the editorial said. “What they don’t have is the moral authority to make it credible.” Republican state senators ordered a review of the election in Maricopa County, whose 2.1 million ballots accounted for two-thirds of the entire vote statewide, in December, after some supporters of Trump refused to accept his 10,457-vote loss in Arizona. Democrats had flipped the county, giving Biden more than enough votes to ensure his victory statewide. The senators later assigned oversight of the effort to a Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, whose chief executive had publicly embraced conspiracy theories claiming that voting machines had been rigged to deliver the state to Biden. Since then, supporters of Trump’s stolen-election story line have been given broad access to the site of the review, while election experts, the press and independent observers have struggled to gain access, sometimes resorting to going to court. In one much-noted instance, Anthony Kern, a former state representative who was photographed on the Capitol steps on the day of the insurrection — and who was on the Maricopa ballot both as a legislative candidate and as a presidential elector — was hired to help recount ballots. Among other concerns, Hobbs’ letter contended that stacks of ballots were not properly protected and that there was no apparent procedure for preventing the commingling of tallied and untallied ballots. The security violations spotted by observers, the letter stated, included ballots left unattended on tables and ballots counted using scrap paper instead of official tally sheets. Counters receive “on the fly” training. Ballots from separate stacks are mixed together. Software problems cause ballot images to get lost. The letter also noted that some aspects of the process “appear better suited for chasing conspiracy theories than as a part of a professional audit.” For instance, some ballots are receiving microscope and ultraviolet-light examinations, apparently to address unfounded claims that fraudulent ballots contained watermarks that were visible under UV light — or that thousands of fraudulent ballots were flown in from Southeast Asia using paper with bamboo fibers. John Brakey, an official helping supervise the effort, said high-powered microscopes were being used to search for evidence of fake ballots, according to a video interview with the CBS News affiliate in Phoenix. “There’s accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown in, to Arizona, and it was stuffed into the box,” he said in the interview. “And it came from the southeast part of the world, Asia, OK. And what they’re doing is to find out if there’s bamboo in the paper.” “I don’t believe any of that,” he added. “I’m just saying it’s part of the mystery that we want to un-gaslight people about.” Republicans in the Senate signed a contract agreeing to pay $150,000 for the vote review, a figure that many said then would not cover its cost. A variety of outside groups later started fundraisers to offset extra expenses, including the right-wing One America News cable channel and an Arizona state representative, Mark Finchem, who argues the election was stolen. How much in outside donations has been collected — and who the donors are — is unclear. The letter from the secretary of state also said that equipment and software being used to display images of ballots had not been tested by a federal laboratory or certified by the federal Election Assistance Commission, as state law requires. That left open the possibility, the letter said, that the systems could have been preloaded with false images of ballots or that the software had been designed to manipulate ballot images — concerns similar to those that believers in a stolen election had themselves raised. Hobbs also said the procedures for checking the accuracy of the effort included no “reliable process for ensuring consistency and resolving discrepancies” among the three separate counts of ballots. It also appeared that the task of entering recount results into an electronic spreadsheet was performed by a single person rather than a team of people from both political parties, the letter stated. Bennett, the liaison between Republicans in the state Senate and the company conducting the vote review, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Hobbs concluded her letter to him by saying, “you know that our elections are governed by a complex framework of laws and procedures designed to ensure accuracy, security, and transparency. You also must therefore know that the procedures governing this audit ensure none of those things. “I’m not sure what compelled you to oversee this audit, but I’d like to assume you took this role with the best of intentions. It is those intentions I appeal to now: either do it right, or don’t do it at all.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
The airline group says there is a "high level" of pent-up demand from passengers.
- Miami Herald
If all goes well, middle infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. and catcher Jorge Alfaro could return to the Miami Marlins’ active roster by next weekend. Star pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, meanwhile, is at least another month away.
- Reuters Videos
As the Dow hits another record high, Crossmark Global Investments' Veronica Fernandez tells Reuters' Fred Katayama about the tailwinds that she sees driving stocks higher. She also makes the case for buying Mastercard and Visa.
Natural gas suppliers, pipeline companies and banks that trade commodities have emerged as the biggest market winners from February's U.S. winter blast that roiled gas and power markets, according to more than two dozen interviews and quarterly earnings reports. The deep freeze caught Texas's utilities off-guard, killed more than 100 people and left 4.5 million without power. Demand for heat pushed wholesale power costs to 400 times the usual amount and propelled natural gas prices to record highs, forcing utilities and consumers to pay exorbitant bills.
- Associated Press
Several world leaders Thursday praised the U.S. call to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries by removing patent protections on the shots. Activists and humanitarian institutions cheered after the U.S. reversed course Wednesday and called for a waiver of intellectual property protections on the vaccine. The decision ultimately is up to the 164-member World Trade Organization, and if just one country votes against a waiver, the proposal will fail.
- Business Insider
This included personal, work, and home phone numbers, and allegedly did not include any information about whether DOJ leadership approved the subpoena.
Bill and Melinda Gates are the latest couple to get a 'gray divorce.' Here's why more married people part ways after 50.
Factors like longer lifespans and a fixation on child-rearing have led to a rise in later-in-life divorce, therapist Barry J. Jacobs told Insider.