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Ilhan Omar ekes out House primary win over Minneapolis centrist

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Ilhan Omar Ekes Out House Primary Win Over Minneapolis Centrist
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WASHINGTON — Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of the progressive Squad, eked out a closer-than-expected Democratic primary victory Tuesday against a centrist challenger who questioned the incumbent’s support for the “defund the police” movement.

The evening went far smoother for another progressive, Becca Balint, who won the Democratic House primary in Vermont — positioning her to become the first woman representing the state in Congress.

A key race was unfolding in western Wisconsin, where Democratic Rep. Ron Kind’s retirement after 26 years in office opens up a seat in a district that has been trending Republican. The GOP nominee vying to replace Kind is a former Navy SEAL who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, which preceded the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

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OMAR SURVIVES TOUGH CHALLENGE

Omar, who represents Minneapolis and is one of the left’s leading voices in Congress, has defended calls to redirect public safety funding more into community-based programs. She squared off with former City Councilmember Don Samuels, whose north Minneapolis base suffers from more violent crime than other parts of the city.

Samuels argued that Omar is divisive and helped defeat a ballot question last year that sought to replace the city police department with a new public safety unit. He and others also successfully sued the city to force it to meet minimum police staffing levels called for in Minneapolis’ charter.

Samuels said his narrow loss shows that Omar is beatable: “If this was the general election, no doubt that we would have won this race.” Omar countered, “Tonight’s victory is a testament to how much our district believes in the collective values we are fighting for.”

Barb Atkinson, a 53-year-old part-time event planner for a radio station who supported Samuels, called Omar “too far to the left.”

“Although I respect Ilhan Omar and what she’s done, I disagree with the defund the police. I really think that wording sends the wrong message,” Atkinson said. She added, “We need our leaders to work together to solve this issue.”

Omar, who is seeking her third term in the House, had crushed a similar primary challenge two years ago from a well-funded but lesser-known opponent.

“She’s had a lot of adversity already and pushback. I don’t think her work is done,” said Kathy Ward, a 62-year-old property caretaker for an apartment building in Minneapolis who voted for Omar. “We’ve got to give her a chance.”

Two other members of the Squad — Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri — won their Democratic primaries last week.

JIM HAGEDORN SEAT IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA

Voters in southern Minnesota, meanwhile, were deciding two races related to the same seat vacated by Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died earlier this year from cancer.

A special election for the remainder of Hagedorn’s term pitted Republican Brad Finstad, who served in the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Trump administration, against Democrat Jeff Ettinger, a former chief executive at Hormel Foods. Both won a May 24 special primary election for Hagedorn’s seat to serve until January.

Finstad and Ettinger will also face off in November for a full term in the district — it includes Rochester and Mankato — after each secured their party’s nomination Tuesday.

Finstad had little trouble dispatching state Rep. Jeremy Munson, who said he doesn’t think President Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate — despite federal and state election officials, courts and Trump’s own attorney general saying there was no credible evidence the 2020 presidential election was tainted.

REPLACING RON KIND

Republicans see a pickup opportunity in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, the seat being vacated by Democratic incumbent Kind.

The district covers a swath of counties along Wisconsin’s western border with Minnesota and includes La Crosse and Eau Claire. Republican Derrick Van Orden was unopposed in his primary Tuesday and has Trump’s endorsement.

Van Orden narrowly lost to Kind in the 2020 general election. He attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House but has said he never stepped foot on the grounds of the Capitol during the insurrection.

Four Democrats are competing to succeed Kind, including state Sen. Brad Pfaff, who previously worked for the retiring lawmaker and briefly served as state agriculture secretary. Pfaff has Kind’s endorsement.

The others are small-business owner Rebecca Cooke, retired CIA officer Deb McGrath and La Crosse City Council member Mark Neumann.

RARE VERMONT OPEN SENATE SEAT

Vermont is the last state in the country yet to add a female member to its congressional delegation. Balint, who immediately becomes the favorite in November’s general election, would also be the first openly gay member of Congress from Vermont.

She was endorsed by some of the nation’s top leaders on the left, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“Vermont has chosen a bold, progressive vision for the future, and I will be proud to represent us in Congress,” Balint said in a statement.

Balint is vying to fill the state’s lone House seat, which is being vacated by Rep. Peter Welch who is running for Senate and easily secured the Democratic nomination on Tuesday. Welch is trying to succeed Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Senate’s longest-serving member, who is retiring, creating Vermont’s first open Senate seat since 2006, when Sanders succeeded Jim Jeffords.

Gray is a former staffer for Welch and has been backed by Leahy and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Balint’s win means the state’s congressional politics are poised to shift to the left and more closely adhere to Sanders’ progressive values. In November, she’ll face Liam Madden, a Marine Corps veteran from Bellows Falls who secured the Republican nomination.

___

Associated Press writers Doug Glass and Trisha Ahmed in Minneapolis, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wis., and Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vt., contributed to this report.

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Hurricane Ian nears Florida landfall with 155 mph winds

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Hurricane Ian Nears Florida Landfall With 155 Mph Winds
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By CURT ANDERSON

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., (AP) — Hurricane Ian rapidly intensified as it neared landfall along Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday morning, gaining top winds of 155 mph (250 kph), just shy of the most dangerous Category 5 status. Damaging winds and rain lashed the state, and the heavily populated Naples to Sarasota region was at “highest risk” of a devastating storm surge.

U.S. Air Force hurricane hunters confirmed Ian gained strength over warm Gulf of Mexico water after battering Cuba, bringing down the country’s electricity grid and leaving the entire island without power. Ian was centered about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Naples at 7 a.m., swirling toward the coast at 10 mph (17 kph).

“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said early Wednesday, stressing that people in Ian’s path along the coast should rush to the safest possible shelter and stay there.

“If you are in any of those counties it is no longer possible to safely evacuate. It’s time to hunker down and prepare for the storm,” DeSantis said. “Do what you need to do to stay safe. If you are where that storm is approaching, you’re already in hazardous conditions. It’s going to get a lot worse very quickly. So please hunker down.”

The massive storm appeared on track to slam ashore somewhere north of Fort Myers and some 125 miles (201 kilometers) south of Tampa, sparing the bay area from a rare direct hit from a hurricane. The Fort Myers area is popular with retirees and tourists drawn to pristine white sandy beaches and long barrier islands, which forecasters said could be completely inundated.

The hurricane center warned of catastrophic storm surges raising the water level as much as 12 feet (3.6 meters) to 16 feet (4.9 meters) above ground level for coastal areas straddling Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, which are between Naples and Sarasota.

More than 2.5 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders, but by law no one could be forced to flee. The governor said the state has 30,000 linemen, urban search and rescue teams and 7,000 National Guard troops from Florida and elsewhere ready to help once the weather clears.

“The assets we have are unprecedented in the state’s history and, unfortunately, they’ll need to be deployed,” DeSantis said.

Florida residents rushed ahead of the impact to board up their homes, stash precious belongings on upper floors and join long lines of cars away from the shore.

“You can’t do anything about natural disasters,” said Vinod Nair, who drove inland from the Tampa area Tuesday with his wife, son, dog and two kittens seeking a hotel in the tourist district of Orlando. “We live in a high risk zone, so we thought it best to evacuate.”

Winds exceeding tropical-storm strength of 39 mph (63 kph) reached Florida by 3 a.m. and the first hurricane-force winds were recorded by 6 a.m., well in advance of the eyewall moving inland, the Miami-based center said. Rainfall near the area of landfall could top 18 inches (46 centimeters).

Overnight, Hurricane Ian went through a natural cycle when it lost its old eye and formed a new eye. The timing of this is bad for the Florida coast because it means the storm got stronger and larger hours before it was set to make landfall, making it even more of a menace. Ian went from 120 mph (193 kph) to 155 mph (250 kph) in just three hours, the second round of rapid intensification in the storm’s life cycle.

“With the higher intensity you’re going to see more extensive wind damage. The larger wind field means that more people will experience those storm-force winds,” University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said. And “it will really increase the amount of storm surge.”

Ian’s forward movement slowed over the Gulf, enabling the hurricane to grow wider and stronger, and its predicted path shifted slightly southward. That would likely spare Tampa and St. Petersburg their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

Instead, the most damaging winds could hit a rapidly developing coastline where the population has jumped sevenfold since 1970, according to the U.S. Census, which shows Lee County has seen the eighth largest population growth among more than 180 Atlantic and Gulf coast counties in the past 50 years.

There were 250,000 people in the Fort Myers/Lee County mandatory evacuation zones, and authorities worried ahead of the storm that only 10% or so would leave.

Gil Gonzalez wasn’t taking any chances. He boarded the windows of his Tampa home with plywood and laid down sandbags to guard against any flooding. He and his wife packed their car with bottled water, flashlights, battery packs for their cellphones and a camp stove before evacuating.

“All the prized possessions, we’ve put them upstairs in a friend’s house,” Gonzalez said.

Airports in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Key West closed, as did Disney World theme parks and Sea World in Orlando ahead of the storm.

A couple from England on vacation in Tampa found themselves faced with riding out the storm at a shelter. Glyn and Christine Williams of London were told to leave their hotel near the beach when evacuations were ordered. Because the airport shut down, they could get no flight home.

“Unfortunately, all the hotels are full or closed, so it looks as though we’re going to be in one of the shelters,” Christine Williams said.

Her husband insisted all would be fine. “You know, you got to go with the flow,” Glyn Williams said. “So we’re quite happy doing what we’re doing.”

The precise location of landfall was still uncertain, but with Ian’s tropical storm-force winds extending 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center, flash floods were possible across the whole state. Parts of Florida’s east coast faced a storm surge threat as well, and isolated tornadoes were spinning off the storm well ahead of landfall. One tornado damaged small planes and a hangar at the North Perry Airport, west of Hollywood along the Atlantic coast.

Florida Power and Light warned those in Ian’s path to brace for days without electricity. As a precaution, hundreds of residents were being evacuated from several nursing homes in the Tampa area, where hospitals also were moving some patients.

Parts of Georgia and South Carolina also could see flooding rains and some coastal surge into Saturday. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp preemptively declared an emergency, ordering 500 National Guard troops onto standby to respond as needed.

Before turning toward Florida, Ian struck Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province with sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph) and causing destruction in the island nation’s world-famous tobacco belt. No deaths were reported.

Local government station TelePinar reported heavy damage at the main hospital in Pinar del Rio city, tweeting photos of collapsed ceilings, widely flung debris and toppled trees. Some people left the stricken area on foot, carrying their children, while buses tried to evacuated others through waterlogged streets. Others opted to stay at their damaged houses.

“It was horrible,” said Yusimi Palacios, a resident of Pinar del Rio inside her damaged house. “But here we are alive, and I only ask the Cuban revolution to help me with the roof and the mattress.”

___

Associated Press contributors include Christina Mesquita in Havana, Cuba; Cody Jackson in Tampa, Florida; Freida Frisaro in Miami; Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida; Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida; Seth Borenstein in Washington and Bobby Caina Calvan in New York.

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Man killed in Douglas drive-by shooting – NBC Chicago

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Man Killed In Douglas Drive-By Shooting – Nbc Chicago
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A man was fatally shot while driving in Douglas on Tuesday evening, police said.

The 30-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, was driving east around 10:15 p.m. on the 200 block of East 31st Street when someone in a white sedan fired the shots, Chicago police say .

The man was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

There is no one in custody and Area One detectives are investigating.

Police did not give further details.

NBC Chicago

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Other voices: Alex Jones again demonstrates the depths of his depravity

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Other Voices: Alex Jones Again Demonstrates The Depths Of His Depravity
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Poisonous gasbag Alex Jones has already lost the defamation suit brought by families of children and educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary; the only purpose of a Connecticut trial is to determine the damages he’ll pay for defaming them by saying the murder of 20 first graders and six educators was staged.

On the stand last Thursday, questioned by an attorney for the families, Jones demonstrated his contempt for the entire exercise: “You’re unbelievable,” he spat: “You switch on emotions on and off when you want. It’s just ambulance-chasing.”

“Why don’t you show them respect?” replied the lawyer. “You have families in this courtroom that lost children, sisters, wives, moms.”

Retorted Jones: “Is this a struggle session? Are we in China? I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times and I’m done saying I’m sorry. I didn’t progenerate this. I wasn’t the first person to say it. American gun owners didn’t like being blamed for this as the left did, so we rejected it mentally and said it must not be true, but I legitimately thought it might have been staged. And I stand by that and I don’t apologize for it.”

The reptile whose words smeared murdered kids and their loved ones as crisis actors remains incapable of remorse. Meanwhile, his website Infowars continues mocking the proceedings. Soak the snake.

— The New York Daily News

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Ian just shy of a Category 5 hurricane as it nears Florida

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Ian Just Shy Of A Category 5 Hurricane As It Nears Florida
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By CURT ANDERSON

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., (AP) — Hurricane Ian rapidly intensified off Florida’s southwest coast Wednesday morning, gaining top winds of 155 mph (250 kph), just shy of the most dangerous Category 5 status. Damaging winds and rain lashed the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast, with the Naples to Sarasota region at “highest risk” of a devastating storm surge.

U.S. Air Force hurricane hunters confirmed Ian gained strength over warm Gulf of Mexico water after battering Cuba, bringing down the country’s electricity grid and leaving the entire island without power. Ian was centered about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Naples at 7 a.m., swirling toward the coast at 10 mph (17 kph).

“This is going to be a nasty nasty day, two days,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said early Wednesday. “This is going to be a rough stretch.”

The massive storm appeared on track to slam into the Florida’s southwestern Gulf coast somewhere north of Fort Myers and some 125 miles (201 kilometers) south of Tampa, sparing the bay area from a rare direct hit from a hurricane. The Fort Myers area is popular with retirees and tourists drawn to pristine white sandy beaches and long barrier islands, which forecasters said could be completely inundated.

The hurricane center warned of catastrophic storm surges raising the water level as much as 12 feet (3.6 meters) to 16 feet (4.9 meters) above ground level for coastal areas straddling Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, which are between Naples and Sarasota.

More than 2.5 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders, but by law no one could be forced to flee. Florida residents rushed ahead of the impact to board up their homes, stash precious belongings on upper floors and join long lines of cars away from the shore.

“You can’t do anything about natural disasters,” said Vinod Nair, who drove inland from the Tampa area Tuesday with his wife, son, dog and two kittens seeking a hotel in the tourist district of Orlando. “We live in a high risk zone, so we thought it best to evacuate.”

Winds exceeding tropical-storm strength of 39 mph (63 kph) reached Florida by 3 a.m. and the first hurricane-force winds were recorded by 6 a.m., well in advance of the eyewall moving inland, the Miami-based center said. Rainfall near the area of landfall could top 18 inches (46 centimeters).

Overnight, Hurricane Ian went through a natural cycle when it lost its old eye and formed a new eye. The timing of this is bad for the Florida coast because it means the storm got stronger and larger hours before it was set to make landfall, making it even more of a menace. Ian went from 120 mph (193 kph) to 155 mph (250 kph) in just three hours, the second round of rapid intensification in the storm’s life cycle.

“With the higher intensity you’re going to see more extensive wind damage. The larger wind field means that more people will experience those storm-force winds,” University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said. And “it will really increase the amount of storm surge.”

Ian’s forward movement slowed over the Gulf, enabling the hurricane to grow wider and stronger, and its predicted path shifted slightly southward. That would likely spare Tampa and St. Petersburg their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

Instead, the most damaging winds could hit a rapidly developing coastline where the population has jumped sevenfold since 1970, according to the U.S. Census, which shows Lee County has seen the eighth largest population growth among more than 180 Atlantic and Gulf coast counties in the past 50 years.

There were 250,000 people in the Fort Myers/Lee County mandatory evacuation zones, and authorities worried ahead of the storm that only 10% or so would leave.

Gil Gonzalez wasn’t taking any chances. He boarded the windows of his Tampa home with plywood and laid down sandbags to guard against any flooding. He and his wife packed their car with bottled water, flashlights, battery packs for their cellphones and a camp stove before evacuating.

“All the prized possessions, we’ve put them upstairs in a friend’s house,” Gonzalez said.

Airports in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Key West closed, as did Disney World theme parks and Sea World in Orlando ahead of the storm.

A couple from England on vacation in Tampa found themselves faced with riding out the storm at a shelter. Glyn and Christine Williams of London were told to leave their hotel near the beach when evacuations were ordered. Because the airport shut down, they could get no flight home.

“Unfortunately, all the hotels are full or closed, so it looks as though we’re going to be in one of the shelters,” Christine Williams said.

Her husband insisted all would be fine. “You know, you got to go with the flow,” Glyn Williams said. “So we’re quite happy doing what we’re doing.”

The precise location of landfall was still uncertain, but with Ian’s tropical storm-force winds extending 175 miles (280 kilometers) from its center, flash floods were possible across the whole state. Parts of Florida’s east coast faced a storm surge threat as well, and isolated tornadoes were spinning off the storm well ahead of landfall. One tornado damaged small planes and a hangar at the North Perry Airport, west of Hollywood along the Atlantic coast.

Florida Power and Light warned those in Ian’s path to brace for days without electricity. As a precaution, hundreds of residents were being evacuated from several nursing homes in the Tampa area, where hospitals also were moving some patients.

Parts of Georgia and South Carolina also could see flooding rains and some coastal surge into Saturday. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp preemptively declared an emergency, ordering 500 National Guard troops onto standby to respond as needed.

Before turning toward Florida, Ian struck Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province with sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph) and causing destruction in the island nation’s world-famous tobacco belt. No deaths were reported.

Local government station TelePinar reported heavy damage at the main hospital in Pinar del Rio city, tweeting photos of collapsed ceilings, widely flung debris and toppled trees. Some people left the stricken area on foot, carrying their children, while buses tried to evacuated others through waterlogged streets. Others opted to stay at their damaged houses.

“It was horrible,” said Yusimi Palacios, a resident of Pinar del Rio inside her damaged house. “But here we are alive, and I only ask the Cuban revolution to help me with the roof and the mattress.”

___

Associated Press contributors include Christina Mesquita in Havana, Cuba; Cody Jackson in Tampa, Florida; Freida Frisaro in Miami; Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida; Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida; Seth Borenstein in Washington and Bobby Caina Calvan in New York.

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Other voices: Reforming the Electoral Count Act should not be controversial

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Other Voices: Reforming The Electoral Count Act Should Not Be Controversial
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The U.S. House of Representatives this month passed a bill to reform how Congress certifies electors after a presidential election. That bill (or a similar but slightly weaker Senate one) needs to pass the Senate now.

After the November general election, Congress’ focus will turn to the 2024 presidential race. Good luck getting any meaningful election reforms passed then.

Ostensibly, the Presidential Election Reform Act is a response to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and its aftermath. When Congress reconvened, 147 Republican representatives and senators voted against certifying that President Joe Biden had won. There also were desperate machinations to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence to throw out the election result.

Jan. 6 is only the impetus of the hour, though. The need for reform has been clear for decades. It just took a near-complete collapse of the process and democratic-norms to prompt action.

The problem goes back to the 1887 law known as the Electoral Count Act. Historians, lawyers and Constitutional law scholars for decades have argued that it was so poorly written, vague and ambiguous that it was only a matter of time until some lawmakers tried to abuse it.

Indeed, Republicans in 2021 weren’t the first to object to certifying presidential electors, though they took it further than anyone before. Some Democrats objected to certifying electors in 2001, 2005 and 2017 when Republicans won the White House. The difference was that those were just protests after a candidate had already conceded, not an outright attempt to overturn a fair election.

The House bill would clean up the Electoral Count Act. It would raise the bar for members of Congress to object to certification and would make it explicit that the vice president’s role is strictly ceremonial. It also would establish clear rules for who in the states certifies electors.

None of this should be controversial. Establishing well-defined ground rules for elections and the transfer of presidential power benefits everyone. Yet only nine Republicans in the House joined Democrats in passing the bill. Most of the nine also had voted to impeach Trump after Jan. 6 and won’t return to Congress after this year’s election.

The Senate should act without delay, though whether it can overcome a Republican filibuster is uncertain. If it cannot, senators should vote on a similar Senate bill that does have bipartisan support. That one doesn’t go quite as far, but something is better than nothing. The alternative is heading into 2024 with the same broken law that led to a riot and members of Congress trading their honor for fealty to a losing presidential candidate.

— The Seattle Times

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Insurance regulator asks general insurers to offer long-term policies

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Insurance Regulator Asks General Insurers To Offer Long-Term Policies
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The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked general insurers to offer long-term policies, particularly with three different segments forming the majority of the business. These three segments are automobile insurance, health insurance and property insurance.

A working committee of 21 members was formed for this purpose. This working committee is made up of representatives from the general insurance industry, the regulatory side and the banking side.

The committee basically expected to give its recommendations and suggestions to the insurance regulator in terms of structure, operation of long-term products in these three segments as well as pricing and accounting mechanism.

This decision will help policyholders stay with one insurance company over the long term. The possible industry indication is that there could be 10-year auto insurance policies, health insurance policies, and property insurance policies.

This committee is supposed to give recommendations to the regulator. Once this is collected by the regulatory body, final regulations will be developed regarding the appearance of these products.

To learn more, watch the attached video

cnbctv18-forexlive

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