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Biden Wants to Expand Abortion Pill Sales to Kill Millions of Babies, Jeopardize Women’s Health

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Biden Wants to Expand Abortion Pill Sales to Kill Millions of Babies, Jeopardize Women’s Health

The Biden administration quietly signaled late Friday that it may end safety regulations on the dangerous abortion drug mifepristone, which has been linked to the deaths of millions of unborn babies and dozens of mothers.

The ultimate goal of this, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, is to “expand access to medication abortion.”

The announcement came in the form of a court filing in a case involving the ACLU, according to a press release from the organization. In the document, the Biden administration said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is conducting a review of the restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone to determine if they are still necessary. The ACLU and other pro-abortion groups claim they are not.

The FDA requires that mifepristone be provided in-person by a medical professional after an examination to protect women from significant safety risks. The drug, one of two taken together to abort unborn babies up to 10 weeks of pregnancy, has been linked to two dozen women’s deaths and thousands of serious complications.

In April, the Biden administration temporarily lifted the safety regulations for the duration of the pandemic, allowing abortion facilities to sell the drugs through the mail without ever seeing the woman in person. But the new review likely will lead to their permanent end.

“The FDA’s decision to review these senseless restrictions on mifepristone — though long overdue — is a critical move towards ensuring that patients can access this safe, effective medication without needless obstacles,” Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, responded in a statement.

Actually, it has been only about five years since the FDA reviewed them. And while President Barack Obama’s administration did loosen the safety regulations in 2016 after its assessment, it did not do away with them entirely.

But pro-abortion groups persist in claiming that the regulations are “outdated, medically unnecessary restrictions” with “no safety benefit.” The ACLU even argued that the safety regulations cause “serious harm” because they may prevent women from getting abortions.

“The evidence is crystal clear that these restrictions provide zero safety benefit while severely burdening patients’ ability to access care,” Kaye said. “It is long past time for the FDA to heed the calls of leading national medical organizations and remove these unjustified barriers.”

Again, it has only been five years, and the Obama administration, which was strongly pro-abortion, recognized a need for some safety regulations to remain in place.

Meanwhile, pro-life leaders warned that the Biden administration’s actions are putting women’s health and safety at risk.

The Biden administration is “abandoning its responsibility to protect women and girls from these dangerous drugs,” U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Dr. Ingrid Skop of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists responded over the weekend.

They continued:

Chemical abortion takes much longer, causes more pain and bleeding, and often results in emotional trauma from visualization of a woman’s deceased child, who often has easily identifiable organs such as eyes, ears, hands, and feet. Additionally, the risk of complications is 4 times greater with chemical abortion compared to surgical abortion, affecting as many as 1 out of 5 women. These complications can be serious or even fatal for women without immediate access to emergency medical care.

Chemical abortion first cuts off hormonal support, causing fetal death, and then induces uterine contractions to expel the dead baby. The abortion pill can fail to evacuate all the tissue, putting women at risk of infection and hemorrhage, often resulting in the need for surgery.

Skop also noted that the FDA no longer requires abortion providers to report complications from the abortion drug unless it results in the woman’s death, a change under the Obama administration.

“Abortion advocates publish biased studies that claim there is no risk to women, similar to the studies published by the tobacco industry denying an association between smoking and lung cancer,” Skop wrote.

The abortion drug currently is used for about 39 percent of all abortions in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute. With the safety regulations gone, that number likely will increase.

In the United States, mifepristone has been linked to at least 24 women’s deaths and 4,000 serious complications. Risks include excessive bleeding, severe abdominal pain, infection and hemorrhage.

A 2009 study “Immediate Complications After Medical Compared With Surgical Termination of Pregnancy,” in Obstetrics and Gynecology found a complication rate of approximately 20 percent for the abortion drugs compared to 5.6 percent for surgical abortions. Hemorrhages and incomplete abortions were among the most common complications.

Pro-lifers also are concerned about increased risks of coercion and abuse. In one recent case, a Wisconsin man was accused of buying abortion drugs online and slipping them into his pregnant girlfriend’s drink after she refused to have an abortion.

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Eight-story apartment building planned in Cherry Creek

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Eight-story apartment building planned in Cherry Creek

An apartment building topping out at eight stories has been proposed for a site in Cherry Creek that’s currently home to two- and three-story structures.

Dallas-based Stillwater Capital Investments submitted a concept plan to the city last week, proposing the project on 0.72 acres across multiple parcels: 219, 231, 239 and 255 N. Detroit St.

Stillwater Development Partner Thomas Hoy told BusinessDen the company would develop the project with Florida-based Wexford Real Estate Investors, formerly part of Wexford Capital.

The parcels are zoned for between five and eight stories, and the proposed project would max that zoning. The building would top out at eight stories on its southern end, adjacent to the eight-story Financial House office building completed by Denver-based BMC Investments in 2019. It would step down to seven and then five stories going north.

The proposed building would have 85 apartments, according to the plans. There would also be about 10,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and 162 parking spaces.

Eric Heinz, BusinessDen

The proposed apartment building would replace multiple structures in the 200 block of North Detroit Street.

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State of the Streaming Wars in 2021: It’s Netflix vs HBO Max vs Everyone Else

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State of the Streaming Wars in 2021: It’s Netflix vs HBO Max vs Everyone Else
How many streaming services will consumers sign up for and which are the most dispensable? Chesnot/Getty Images

The streaming industry is more robust and diverse than ever with an avalanche of premium SVOD platforms all available for audience enjoyment right this very moment. Among the biggest players jockeying for your hard-earned attention and dollars, content-hungry viewers have to choose from (deep breath): Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+, Apple TV+, Peacock, and Discovery+. The deep roster of TV and film providers is a win for audiences as competition breeds quality and innovation. But homebodies will never have it as good as they do now.

The streaming wars are still in its infancy and at a certain point, winners and losers will begin to emerge. Consolidation and forced opt-outs will narrow the field of competitors and audience choice will be reduced a a result. So let’s get a jump start on eyeing what the future of the streaming landscape could look like. Whip Media recently surveyed nearly 4,000 U.S. viewers about their perception of their SVOD services. While surveys are far from concrete conclusions, they do help to reflect the consumer mood of the moment.

Streaming Wars
Which services have you canceled since May 2020? Whip Media

Survey respondents subscribe to an average of 4.7 services and plan to add only one more. This fits in line with a recent J.D. Power survey referenced in the L.A. Times that found that the average American now subscribes to four-to-five streamers, up from three at the start of the pandemic. 70% of respondents feel that there are too many subscription services on the market and (most of them 85% say) it’s getting too expensive. The average American household reportedly spends $55 on SVOD platforms per month. Around 32% canceled an SVOD service in the past year as a cost-cutting measure.

However, churn is spread out over all of the SVODs. According to a December 2020 report from transactional data firm Antenna, Netflix led the streaming industry with a churn rate—or the number of customers who cancel their subscriptions in a given time period—of just 2.4%. At the time, Disney+ came in at 8.0%. Given the monetary investments and the rapid rise of FAST (free, ad-supported streaming TV), it’s no surprise that the majority (60%) of consumers prefer to pay for an ad-free service. 

Netflix vs Amazon Apple Hulu Disney
If you could only keep one, which one? Whip Media

When asked if they could only keep one streaming service, 41% of consumers said Netflix would be their choice if they could only keep one; followed by Hulu (21%), HBO Max (13%), Disney+ (9%), and Amazon (6%). Netflix has reached a level of ubiquitous access as reflected by their industry-leading churn rate. While some consumers subscribe to a streaming service only for the duration of a particular show before cancelling, Netflix remains a must-have platform across the board.

But how do the major players stack up against one another in terms of user satisfaction?

Netflix HBo Max Disney+
SVOD service satisfaction WhipMedia

When ranked on SVOD satisfaction, HBO Max jumps to the top spot. The WarnerMedia service got off to a bumpy start after launching in May 2020, but the same-day release strategy for Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 film slate has driven rapid growth. HBO Max is on pace to conclude 2021 with more than 11 million new subscribers in the year.

About 92% of respondents find library content, or pre-existing series and films, very important or important when deciding which services to sign up for. In today’s arms race for content, having library content is key to satisfying SVOD customers. Roughly 78% of respondents felt original content was very important/important. We’ve previously compared the original and licensed libraries of the main players. 

Of the major services, AppleTV+ is in the most precarious position as the streaming service consumers are least satisfied with and least likely to keep. However, Apple is deliberately slow playing its marketing for Apple TV+ as detailed in a recent PARQOR newsletter form industry analyst Andrew Rosen. With a growing library of quality originals, an impressive creative batting average, and an endless pool of money to draw from, Apple can afford to be patient. Rather than Netflix’s one-stop-shop approach, Apple TV+ is attempting to become the streaming equivalent of HBO. 

State of the Streaming Wars in 2021: It’s Netflix vs HBO Max vs Everyone Else

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North Korea says it tested rail-launched ballistic missiles

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North Korea says it tested rail-launched ballistic missiles

By KIM TONG-HYUNG and HYUNG-JIN KIM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Thursday it successfully launched ballistic missiles from a train for the first time and was continuing to bolster its defenses, after the two Koreas test-fired missiles hours apart in dueling displays of military might.

Wednesday’s launches underscored a return of the tensions between the rivals amid a prolonged stalemate in U.S.-led talks aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said the missiles were launched during a drill of a “railway-borne missile regiment” that transported the weapons system along rail tracks in the country’s mountainous central region and accurately struck a sea target 800 kilometers (500 miles) away.

State media showed what appeared to be two different missiles streaking up from rail-car launchers engulfed in orange flames along tracks surrounded by dense forest.

A rail-based ballistic system reflects North Korea’s efforts to diversify its launch options, which now includes various vehicles and ground launch pads and may eventually include submarines. Firing a missile from a train could add mobility, but some experts say North Korea’s simple rail networks running through its relatively small territory would be quickly destroyed by enemies during a crisis.

“Our military assesses that North Korea is continuously developing various mobile launch equipment,” said Col. Kim Jun-rak, a spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said the South Korean and U.S. militaries were continuing to examine the North’s launches.

The South Korean and Japanese militaries said earlier that North Korea’s two short-range ballistic missiles landed inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone but outside its territorial waters. The last time a North Korean missile landed inside that zone was in October 2019.

Pak Jong Chon, a senior North Korean official who has been seen as influential in the country’s missile development, said Wednesday’s tests were successfully conducted in line with the “strategic and tactical design and intention” of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed at a party congress in January to bolster his nuclear deterrent in the face of U.S.-led sanctions and pressure and issued a long wish list of sophisticated weaponry, including longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-powered submarines, spy satellites and tactical nuclear arms.

In another weapons display over the weekend, the North said it tested new cruise missiles, which it intends to make nuclear-capable, that can strike targets 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) away, a distance putting all of Japan and U.S. military installations there within reach.

Hours after the latest North Korean launches, South Korea reported its first test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. As President Moon Jae-in and other top officials watched, the missile flew from a submarine and hit a designated target, Moon’s office said.

Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of the North Korean leader, threatened a “complete destruction” of bilateral relations over Moon’s comments while he observed the test, when he said the South’s growing conventional missile capacities would be a “sure deterrence” against North Korean provocation.

South Korea, which doesn’t have nuclear weapons and instead is protected by the U.S.’s, has been accelerating efforts to build up its conventional arms, including developing more powerful missiles. Observers say Moon’s government, which has been actively pursuing reconciliation with North Korea, may have wanted to appear tougher in response to criticism that it’s too soft on the North.

Kim Yo Jong took offense to Moon describing North Korean weapons demonstrations as a provocation and said warned of dire consequences in inter-Korean relations if he continues on with what she described as slander of North Korea.

Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the North Korean photos indicated the rail-fired missiles were a solid-fuel, short-range weapon the North first tested from truck launchers in 2019. The missiles, likely modeled on Russia’s Iskander missiles, are designed to fly at relatively low altitudes where the air is dense enough to allow for maneuverability in flight, making interception by missile defense systems more difficult.

While the North is trying to broaden its launch systems, the analyst Kim questioned whether rail-mobile missiles would meaningfully improve the country’s military capabilities when the North’s simple rail networks would be easy targets during crisis.

Experts say North Korea is building up its weapons systems to apply pressure on the United States in the hopes of winning relief from economic sanctions aimed at forcing the North to abandon its nuclear arsenal. U.S.-led talks on the issue have been stalled for more than two years.

Kim Jong Un’s government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s overtures for dialogue, demanding that Washington abandon what it calls “hostile” policies first — a reference to the sanctions.

The United States said it had no hostile intent and called for North Korea to return to talks. “What we seek to do is to reduce the threat to the United States, to our allies in the region, … and we think we can do that through diplomacy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.

While testing various short-range weapons recently, North Korea has maintained its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests, a sign it may not want to scuttle chances for diplomacy entirely.

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Gophers football vs. Colorado: Keys to game, how to watch and who has edge

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Gophers football vs. Colorado: Keys to game, how to watch and who has edge

MINNESOTA at COLORADO

When: Noon CT, Saturday
Where: Folsom Field, Boulder, Colo.
TV: PAC-12N
Radio: KFAN
Weather: 81 degrees, 5 mph southeast wind

Records: Both teams are 1-1, with losses to top 10 teams. Minnesota lost to No. 9 Ohio State before beating Miami (Ohio) 31-26. Colorado beat FCS-level Northern Colorado and then were beat 10-7 by No. 7 Texas A&M on late touchdown in Denver.

History: The Gophers are 0-3 against the Buffaloes, with a back-to-back series in 1991-92. As part of this home-and-home, Colorado will travel to Minnesota next September.

Key matchup: Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis threat to run vs. Gophers front seven. Lewis, a backup after JT Shrout was injured, has averaged 7.1 yards on 17 carries this season, meaning Minnesota will have to be disciplined to keep him contained. The U struggled with a similar QB last season in Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa.

Who has the edge?

Gophers offense vs. Colorado defense: Trey Potts and Mo Ibrahim have combined for 74 out of the 85 carries from U running backs through two games. With starter Ibrahim (foot) lost of the season in Buckeyes loss, Potts had 34 carries for 178 yards and two touchdowns against Miami. His health appears vital as backups Cam Wiley and Bryce Williams haven’t earned more playing time. Buffaloes LB Nate Landman draw praise from OC Mike Sanford Jr. for his instincts; Landman has team highs of 14 tackles and three pass-breakups. Coach P.J. Fleck didn’t like the “mental toughness” from his receivers in the Miami game and they stopped passing in the second half. QB Tanner Morgan had only six third-quarter attempts and all fell incomplete. Morgan didn’t throw once in the fourth. WR Chris Autman-Bell (ankle) could return Saturday to be a veteran and go-to presence for the passing game. Buffs CB Christian Gonzalez is a future, long-time NFL player, Sanford said. The Gophers are No. 1 in red-zone offense, with six touchdowns on six drives. Colorado is fifth in nation, allowing 8.5 points per game. EDGE: Gophers

Gophers defense vs. Colorado offense: Similar to Minnesota, the Buffaloes want to run the ball. RB Jarek Broussard, the 2020 Pac-12 offensive player of the year, is averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season. RB Alex Fontenot has been a nice complement for the 30th-ranked rushing team in the nation. Minnesota gave up 7.7 yards per carry vs. Buckeyes, but only 3.5 vs. RedHawks. LB Mariano Sori-Marin leads team with 16 tackles. While mobile QB Lewis has 120 yards rushing, he has only 191 passing yards across two games. No receiver has more than 37 yards. La’Vontae Shenault, the younger brother of Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault, has been suspended for violated team rules. La’Vontae caught two passes in opener. U safety Tyler Nubin has progressed in his second season as a starter and had a game-changing interception against Miami. Fellow safety Jordan Howden sat out the Miami game with a thigh injury, but like a week ago, he has been practicing. The Gophers don’t have a sack through two games, while 117 program nationwide have managed at least one. EDGE: Gophers

Special teams: Kicker Matthew Trickett made his first career 50-yard field goal against Miami, and it was the U’s first since 2018. Freshman KR Mar’Keise Irving’s 41-yard return jumpstarted the U in the fourth quarter. Buffs PR Dimitri Stanley is a threat, averaging 20 yards per return. Cole Becker has missed both FG this season. EDGE: Gophers 

Prediction: The Gophers are one of the most-experienced teams in the country, so going on the road and coming back with a win as a 3-point underdog should be one of the perks. Minnesota finds a way. Gophers, 24-21

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SUNY Schenectady receives $1M to develop mobile classrooms

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SUNY Schenectady receives $1M to develop mobile classrooms

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — SUNY Schenectady will create two mobile classrooms through a $1 million grant. The mobile classrooms will deliver workforce development courses through “SUNY Schenectady 2U.”

The program will focus on retraining adults who need updated skills to improve employment prospects, and increasing high school students’ employability and understanding of opportunities in advanced manufacturing and healthcare fields.

“Through SUNY Schenectady 2U, we are building bridges for students and employees to enhance their skills and opening up many more possibilities for them in their careers,” said president of SUNY Schenectady Dr. Steady Moono.

The college will offer training courses and cover a variety of disciplines including: technical skills, business management, manufacturing, medical administrative assistant, behavioral health and community health workers. Sessions are delivered in four hour increments which reduce the time workers are away from their job.

Both mobile classrooms will be self-powered, climate-controlled, and have workstations with Wi-Fi that can accommodate up to 12 students in each session.

Employers will contract with the college for the course and provide space to set up the mobile classroom.
Programming will prioritize those from underserved backgrounds, veterans, disabled, at-risk youth, unemployed/underemployed and those who are traditionally underrepresented.

The college anticipates it will take about a year to design and acquire the mobile classrooms, work with partners and employers to book the mobile classrooms and then offer training.

The grant was received through the SUNY 2020 Workforce Development Initiative Consolidated Funding program.

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Rowdy crowds concern homeless camp near St. Louis Concert series

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Rowdy crowds concern homeless camp near St. Louis Concert series

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Big crowds are expected over the next six weeks for the “The Lot on The Landing” concerts. The series of performances starts today. Crews from Jamo Presents are in the final stages of setting up at Laclede’s Landing.

People staying at a homeless camp downtown are concerned. There were rumors about evictions, but we’ve learned that that is not happening. Still, they’re worried about a concert venue moving in, and crowds being rowdy.

In a statement, Jamo Presents says “We have zero intention of displacing or evicting the unhoused,” and “We selected the site before the tent encampment arrived, and we adjusted our site plan as the situation developed to ensure that the pavilion area remains untouched.”

Some of the homeless have had talks with the city about finding a solution and maybe finding other accommodations but nothing has been settled on. The city says they don’t have enough money to temporarily house them in hotels, but say federal funding is coming soon for a more permanent solution

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Downtown theater reopening under new ownership with broader vision

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Downtown theater reopening under new ownership with broader vision

Five years ago, Connor Hall and Paul Twarowski first stepped into Denver’s improv scene with performances at the Bovine Metropolis Theater.

Now, the funny duo is getting ready to revive the theater at 1527 Champa St., which has been closed since the pandemic, as The Jester’s Palace.

“People are hungry for somewhere to go; people are hungry for a good place to perform; people want this to exist, and I think we are the people who can make it happen,” Hall said. “Everybody’s like ‘Thank God, I thought that place was going to turn into another dispensary.’”

The Jester’s Palace, which they hope to open this fall, will host a wide range of live entertainment throughout its 6,250 square feet, from magic acts to dance performances, improv shows to video game tournaments.

“The problem that theaters run into a lot of the time is that they niche themselves into a corner as an improv theater or a stand-up or music venue,” Twarowski said. “It’s very hard to convince someone to see improv shows seven nights a week. We want to create a space where all different types of shows can be going on at once and different audiences can cross paths. You know, maybe people who come out for the magic show never knew that they liked opera until they went upstairs and saw a performance.”

Lily O’Neill, BusinessDen

The Bovine Metropolis Theater closed last year after 20 years of improv performances and classes.

The Bovine Metropolis Theater originally opened in 2000 and hosted improv performances and classes for 20 years. But the pandemic shuttered its doors, and the landlord began looking for new owners to bring the laughter back to the theater.

Twarowski began performing at the venue with his rap improv troupe, known as Rap Scallions, in 2015 and Hall began shortly after in 2016 with his group called The Jester’s Court, hence the new name of the theater.

The two met at a local improv show that same year and, after Twarowski impressed Hall with a freestyle rap, there was no looking back. Over the years, they produced shows at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, now known as Rise Comedy, and got to know Denver’s live entertainment scene.

“We had kind of taken a step back from comedy before the pandemic, and there was no way to get back into when it hit,” Twarowski said. “I figured there would probably be a lot of retail space for cheap afterward, so I approached Connor at the beginning of the year about finding a spot.”

Hall and Twarowski brought on three friends to bring their vision to life: Mitchel Myers, a local real estate agent and magician; Alec Story, who has worked with a number of local film production studios; and Wes Buthmann, a local stand-up comedian who has also helped open several dispensaries around town.

1631801515 449 Downtown theater reopening under new ownership with broader vision

Lily O’Neill, BusinessDen

Paul Twarowski and Connor Hall hope to open The Jester’s Palace this fall after a quick renovation of the building.

The team signed a lease for the Champa Street building in July, and each member has contributed to funding the project.

They’re also trying to raise some outside cash. On Aug. 10, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000 toward renovations, including refinishing the wood floors, redoing the lights, painting the walls and updating the lobby area with a bar. As of Tuesday, they had raised $4,214 from 35 backers with 24 days to go.

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US will share nuclear submarine technology with Australia in new defense partnership

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US will share nuclear submarine technology with Australia in new defense partnership

Chris Megerian

WASHINGTON — The United States will arm Australia with nuclear submarine technology as part of a new defense partnership announced Wednesday, one of many steps President Joe Biden is taking to strengthen alliances as a bulwark against China.

The agreement includes the United Kingdom, and it will also involve closer cooperation on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. The centerpiece, however, is the decision to make Australia one of a handful of nations to field submarines powered by nuclear reactors.

“Our nations will update and enhance our shared ability to take on the threats of the 21st century, just as we did in the 20th century — together,” Biden said from the White House, where he was flanked by video screens featuring Prime Ministers Scott Morrison of Australia and Boris Johnson of Britain.

Morrison described it as a “next generation partnership, built on a strong foundation of proven trust” that will help advance “the cause of peace and freedom.”

The agreement — known as AUKUS, an acronym of the three countries’ names — does not give Australia nuclear weapons. But the technology will enable the country’s submarines to travel farther and more quietly, increasing their capabilities in a region where tensions with China are on the rise.

Naval disputes are already common in the South China Sea, which Beijing has claimed as part of its territorial waters, and Taiwan has raised alarms about aggression by China, which considers the island a renegade province.

Adding to the combustible mix, North Korea and South Korea conducted ballistic missile tests this week as diplomatic talks involving the two countries remained stalled.

A senior administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss the announcement before its unveiling, stressed that “this partnership is not aimed or about any one country.” However, it comes against the unmistakable backdrop of Biden’s sweeping efforts to confront China’s expanding economic and military ambitions.

“The future of each of our nations — and indeed, the world — depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead,” Biden said.

In addition to AUKUS, the president has emphasized regional collaborations such as the Quad, which consists of the U.S., Australia, India and Japan. Biden plans to host a summit with those countries’ leaders at the White House next week.

China has bristled at American partnerships that could serve as a counterweight to its influence.

“Forming closed and exclusive ‘cliques’ targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and deviates from the expectation of regional countries,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said this week. “It thus wins no support and is doomed to fail.”

Australia has six aging submarines with diesel engines, and it was under contract to buy a dozen new ones from France. Now Australia plans to scrap that project, which was beset by cost overruns, in favor of working with the U.S. and Britain to develop a nuclear fleet.

Morrison said the submarines would be built in Adelaide, on his country’s southern coast.

France expressed dismay that Australia was ditching its contract and that it was left out of the agreement with the U.S. and U.K.

“The American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France … shows a lack of coherence that France can only note and regret,” said a joint statement by the French ministers of foreign affairs and the armed forces.

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, expressed surprise that the U.S. was sharing such sensitive technology and that Australia would pursue such expensive military hardware.

“For a country with a relatively small defense budget like Australia,” he said, “the important question isn’t what the submarine can do but what you’re giving up in terms of opportunity cost.”

Jennifer Moroney, an expert on security cooperation who ran the Rand Corp.’s first office in Australia, said China’s expanding reach in the region has prompted new military investments there.

“Australia needs to build up its defensive capabilities,” she said. “Submarines are just a piece of that.”

It’s unclear how many submarines will be built and how quickly Australia could begin operating them. Their development will take years, and it will be a challenging undertaking. Even though Australia is a leading producer of uranium, it has never operated nuclear power plants.

The three allies plan to spend the next 18 months examining how their collaboration on the submarine project will work.

The only other time the U.S. has shared nuclear submarine capabilities with another country is when it assisted the U.K. with its own fleet in 1958.

The senior administration official described the technology as “extremely sensitive” and said the White House viewed the agreement with Australia “as a one-off” exception.

Australia would be the first country without nuclear weapons to have nuclear-powered submarines, a decision that some analysts said raised arms proliferation concerns. Other nations may try to follow in its footsteps by enriching uranium for naval reactors, creating more avenues to develop material needed for nuclear bombs without the safeguards provided by regular inspections.

“In the cost benefit analysis, the risks to the nonproliferation regime are very large,” said James Acton, the co-director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I would find it hard to believe that the benefits to Australia and the U.S. and anyone else outweigh the risks.”

___

©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Gophers soccer off to a hot start, and Big Ten play opens with Badgers

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Gophers soccer off to a hot start, and Big Ten play opens with Badgers

Last spring, the Gophers women’s soccer team went through a coaching change and had two all-Big Ten players transfer out. Yet this fall, Minnesota has produced one of the best starts in program history.

Under new coach Erin Chastain, the Gophers are undefeated (4-0-3) for the first time as a program since 2008 and have amassed 690-minute shutout streak across seven games. They are one of three programs nationwide (with Wake Forest and Tennessee) to not allow a goal this season.

“There were a lot of challenges,” Chastain said. “I’m really proud that this group has embraced the change. They show up every day and compete really hard. They are really bought into this journey with this team. I think from a mentality perspective, I’ve been really impressed with the group.”

The Gophers open Big Ten play against Wisconsin (5-1-2) at 6 p.m. Saturday at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Falcon Heights. Minnesota hasn’t beaten the rival Badgers since 2013.

Chastain, a Gophers player in the 1990s, said she wore her “Beat Wisconsin” button to practice on Tuesday. Chastain puts Wisconsin near the top tier of teams in the conference.

“Penn State, Rutgers and Michigan look like the top three right now, with Wisconsin and Ohio State right there,” Chastian said. “Those five for me are having the best starts, and from a veteran and experienced team standpoint have the most fifth-year players.”

The preseason coaches poll picked Penn State to win the conference, with the Gophers coming in 10th out the 14-team Big Ten.

The Gophers’ season-opening, 1-0 win over Baylor and a 0-0 draw with Mississippi State, both at home, are the highest-quality results of the season, Chastain said.

Goalkeeper Megan Plaschko has made 21 saves this season, with Chastain crediting the team defense in front of her — not just the back-four.

“Megan has come up huge in the Mississippi State game,” Chastain said. “She came up really big against Baylor. She had to make some good plays.”

Chastain “loves” the shutout streak stat. “You want to be stingy,” she said. “And you want teams to feel like they are really going to have a great attacking moment to score a goal on you.”

Besides Plaschko, Chastain mentioned Makenzie Langdok, Megan Gray, Delaney Stekr and Sophia Bowman as the team’s top performers thus far. They have helped the U move on from the departures of Katie Duong (Stanford) and Athena Keuhn (LSU).

For how great they have been defensively, the Gophers have scored only eight goals in seven games — and only one after halftime. Four of those goals came in a 4-0 drubbing of Wyoming on Sept. 5.

Minnesota, however, has been threatening, out-shooting opponents 133-65 and leading in corner kicks 60-19.

The attack and goal-scoring “is the area we are targeting,” Chastain said. “It’s where need to find a way to be more dynamic and more dangerous. We will continue to train it, continue to watch film, continue to just have a higher level of focus in those moments when we are in the attacking third.”

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Rikers Island: Hochul ‘disturbed,’ Mayor drafts emergency plan, corrections union critical

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Rikers Island: Hochul ‘disturbed,’ Mayor drafts emergency plan, corrections union critical

NEW YORK (PIX11) — Amid ongoing overcrowding, violence, and staffing issues at Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan Tuesday aimed at fixing the issues. Gov. Kathy Hochul said that even though it’s city-run, the problems at the much-maligned facility could rise to the level of state intervention.

De Blasio, who has only months left in office, said the new plan deals with what many are calling a humanitarian crisis. The mayor said the plan would use emergency orders to make “very intense changes in the situation.” Meanwhile, the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) says they were never consulted about the plan for the “sinking ship” facility.

Rikers has been plagued for years by issues, including high-profile assaults and suicides. These prompted de Blasio at one point to push a plan to closing plan that opened several smaller jails in each borough.

“It’s very volatile,” Hochul said. “I’m very disturbed by what’s going on there. I understand it’s a city operation, but we also want to make sure that we leave no stone unturned to find out what we can do to help this situation.

As part of the new plan, “We’re going to be bringing in additional help from a crucial sister agency—the NYPD—to help with certain discreet functions that will take pressure off the Department of Corrections,” de Blasio said. “We need to do some things very, very differently.”

Components of the Emergency Rikers Relief Plan include:

  • Emergency contracting
  • Shift court staffing
  • Accountability for AWOL DOC staff
  • Expand Medical Evaluation capacity
  • Speed up intake to reduce crowding

Under the plan, correction officers who fail to show up to work without explanation will be issued a 30-day suspension without pay, according to the mayor. De Blasio has also called for the Less is More bill to be passed. “We want to make sure the system is working,” he said.

The announcement about the plan came after lawmakers toured the Queens facility, observing conditions to be “inhumane” and “torturous.” Yet, according to COBA, the union representing corrections officers, the plan does not fully address understaffing problems.

COBA president Benny Boscio Jr. says the union was not part of the mayor’s plan and was only notified about it after the announcement. He called the plan a “knee-jerk reaction,” saying it wouldn’t work because of training differences between forces, so it would actually delay the court system.

Boscio also said that there are only a few hundred officers in the courts. In the plan, the NYPD would replace correction officers in court, letting those officers support staffing issues at Rikers Island. He said the plan ultimately doesn’t offer much help to Rikers.

“It’s a sinking ship,” Boscio said, adding that there have been about 1,300 resignations since January 2019. He said that many officers work 25-hour shifts, leading to exhaustion, and that many do not get paid for working that overtime.

Boscio criticized the part of the plan that issues a 30-day suspension for officers who call out of work without a doctor’s note or don’t show up. “Officers are fed up,” he said, arguing that it would just force more officers to work more shifts.

“We’re suffering, we need help,” Boscio said. He clarified the union is “all for reform, but it can’t be one-sided.”

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