Day: December 1, 2019

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UPDATE: RAVENS Win Thriller In Possible SUPER BOWL Preview…


BALTIMORE (AP) — Neither rain, wind nor the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense could prevent Lamar Jackson from guiding the Baltimore Ravens to their franchise-record eighth straight win.

Jackson weathered miserable conditions to run for 101 yards and Justin Tucker kicked a tiebreaking 49-yard field goal as time expired to give the Ravens a 20-17 victory Sunday in a possible Super Bowl preview.

The combination of driving rain, a stiff wind and San Francisco’s rugged defense was difficult for Jackson to handle. He completed only 14 of 23 passes for 105 yards and lost a fumble.

But the double-threat quarterback was solid when it counted.

Not only did he fuel the NFL’s top-ranked rushing attack, but he directed a clutch drive that lasted nearly 6½ minutes before Tucker ended it with a kick that tore through the raindrops and between the uprights.

Baltimore (10-2) improved to 16-3 with Jackson as a starter and 12-0 when he rushes for at least 70 yards. In addition, Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to have four 100-yard rushing games in a season.

Raheem Mostert ran for a career-high 146 yards and a touchdown for the 49ers (10-2), now tied with New Orleans for the best record in the NFC.

Jimmy Garoppolo went 15 of 21 for 165 yards for San Francisco.

Jackson lost a fumble for the first time this season when Marcell Harris yanked the wet ball from his grasp at the San Francisco 20 in the third quarter.

The 49ers subsequently got a game-tying 32-yard field goal from Robbie Gould, who missed the previous three games with a quad injury.

In the fourth quarter, both teams failed to convert a fourth-down try before the Ravens faced a fourth-and-1 from their 44 with 4:39 left. Jackson ran off right guard for 3 yards to extend the drive.

A 12-yard pass to tight end Mark Andrews gave Baltimore a first down at the San Francisco 39, and the Ravens soon summoned Tucker to end it.

Mostert ran for 89 yards before halftime — surpassing his previous career high in a game — but Gould missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt as time expired in a second quarter that ended with the Ravens ahead 17-14.

A 33-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Deebo Samuel concluded San Francisco’s first drive and made the 49ers the first team to score in the first quarter against Baltimore since the Bengals on Oct. 13.

It was also the first time the Ravens trailed since the second quarter of their game at Seattle on Oct. 20.

Baltimore tied it with a 20-yard pass from Jackson to Andrews after Garoppolo lost the ball while being sacked. It was the Ravens’ 48th touchdown of the season, breaking the franchise mark set by the 2009 team.

Jackson scored on a 1-yard run before the 49ers pulled even on Mostert’s 40-yard sprint to the end zone.

FAKED OUT

During Baltimore’s second touchdown drive, Jackson put a move on K’Waun Williams that caused the cornerback to stagger to his right and fall down as the quarterback blew past him during a 7-yard run.

INJURIES

49ers: S Jaquiski Tartt left in the third quarter with a rib injury. … DL D.J. Jones left in the third quarter with an ankle injury. … RB Matt Breida (ankle) was inactive, missing a third straight game.

Ravens: LB Patrick Onwuasor left with an ankle injury in the third quarter but returned.

UP NEXT

San Francisco faces New Orleans on the road, the 49ers’ third straight game against a first-place team.

Baltimore travels to Buffalo for a matchup with the Bills, who beat Dallas on Thanksgiving and have the inside track on an AFC wild-card berth with a 9-3 record.

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



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'Highly contagious' urine clears movie theater…



'Highly contagious' urine clears movie theater...

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Monkeys to be sterilized by AI after rampages as aggressive primates targeted…


Artificial intelligence will be used to wage war on monkeys as their rampages wreak havoc on humans.

The primates will be tracked and sterilised using a new AI solution in a desperate bid to control the population.

A group of researchers at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi, working with Microsoft AI for Earth, is using AI, machine learning and cloud computing to track the movements and identify monkeys in a war waged on the rampant monkey problem in the capital.

Attacks by aggressive monkeys in India have been reaching epidemic proportions.

In one case, a monkey stole a pile of money from a house, climbed a nearby tree and threw handfuls of cash to grateful citizens below.

Attacks by aggressive monkeys in India have been reaching epidemic proportions

But not all tales of primates behaving badly are quite so amusing.

People across India have been suffering with around 1,000 monkey-bite injuries every day.

The animals reportedly steal food and anything else they can get their hands on – a­nd they can cause devastating damage to property.

The AI solution involves capturing facial recognition data of monkeys in Delhi, work which is currently happening manually, but which will soon be moved to robots.

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Currently, the researchers are working with a large dataset of around 4K images of 93 monkeys, which is being used to train the algorithm to recognise individual faces.

As the dataset expands, the team will use cloud computing to process the data.

The researchers are also developing a mobile application that will allow people in Delhi to capture photos of monkeys, tag their location and upload them directly to the project’s database.

People across India have been suffering with around 1,000 monkey-bite injuries every day

Once uploaded, the researchers and the city’s animal control officers will then be able to identify and locate monkeys that require sterilisation.

The AI creators explained that as towns and cities grow, they often expand into territories which were once the exclusive domain of wild animals.

“For some creatures, the result is displacement, which can lead to population collapse. However, for India’s monkeys, it has opened the door to a life of plenty,” they said.

A monkey drinks water from a container tap on the roadside in New Delhi

“Rather than spending their days foraging while keeping watch for predators, they now have an abundance of meal options – leftovers, discarded food and the contents of people’s homes and businesses.

“With easy access to all that nourishment and thus more time on their hands, it’s no surprise India’s urban monkey populations are on the rise.”

AI experts claim the tagging of geolocation data allows the team to monitor the movement of groups of monkeys across certain locations which can be useful in detecting population displacement and to reduce conflict between humans and monkeys.



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STORM MESS ON BIGGEST TRAVEL DAY


By Barbara Goldberg

Dec 1 (Reuters) – Holiday travelers can go home again but it will take far longer than expected with snow, ice and rain slowing the busiest U.S. travel day of the Thanksgiving weekend on Sunday, forecasters said.

As much as 6 inches (15 cm) of snow was expected to blanket the Greater Boston area on Sunday into Monday, with less predicted for New York, changing to rain in both cities, said meteorologist Brian Hurley of the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

Powerful winds were forecast for Chicago, along with snow showers, Hurley said.

“It’s certainly a messy travel day all around,” Hurley said.

Flights cancellations and delays were mounting throughout Sunday, most in airports in San Francisco, Newark, Boston and Chicago. By midday, more than 400 U.S. flights were canceled and more than 1,500 delayed, according to FlightAware.com.

Snow, ice and rain slickened roadways on what the American Automobile Association called the busiest travel day of the busiest U.S. holiday weekend, which this year put a record 55 million people in the air and on the roads, rails and waterways to make it to their Thanksgiving feast. The challenge now is to make it home.

“Right now the real travel concerns start in the Upper Midwest, areas affected by heavy snowfall, even some ice,” Hurley said.

Already, close to 2.5 feet (74 cm) of snow has piled up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and up to 1 foot (30 cm) was reported in Minnesota, with snow still falling and additional accumulations expected, he said. Michigan is already snow covered and was expecting another 8 inches, he said.

Drenching rains along the West Coast arrive on Sunday ahead of a second storm system forecast to remain along the California coast until Tuesday, dumping 4 feet or more of snow in the highest Sierra Mountains, he said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Chinese tech groups writing UN facial recognition standards…



Chinese tech groups writing UN facial recognition standards...

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UN chief says humanity's 'war against nature' must stop…


Madrid (AFP) – The devastating impact of global warming that threatens humanity is a pushback from Nature under assault, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Sunday ahead of a key climate conference.

“For many decades the human species has been at war with the planet, and now the planet is fighting back,” he said, decrying the “utterly inadequate” efforts of the world’s major economies to curb carbon pollution.

“We must stop our war against nature, and science tells us we can do it.”

Guterres flagged a UN report to be released in a few days confirming the last five years are the warmest on record, with 2019 likely to be the second hottest ever.

“Climate-related disasters are becoming more frequent, more deadly, more destructive,” he said on the eve of the 196-nation COP25 climate change talks in Madrid.

Every year, air pollution associated with climate change kills seven million people, he noted, adding that human health and food security are at risk.

The UN chief’s comments were clearly aimed at the handful of countries responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions, though he did not call them out by name.

President Donald Trump has set in motion the process that would see the United States withdraw from the Paris deal by the end of the year, and other major emitters — China, India, Russia and Brazil — have given scant indication that they will deepen their commitments.

Guterres singled out the European Union as playing a constructive role, saying the 28-nation bloc could help lead the way towards a net-zero global economy by 2050.

The Paris Agreement calls for capping global warming at under two degrees Celsius, and 1.5C if feasible.

But current national pledges — if carried out — would see global temperatures rise by at least 3C, a recipe for human misery, according to scientists.

Despite growing public pressure, the 12-day negotiating session is likely to remain technical in nature, focused on finalising the “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement, which becomes operation at the end of next year.

Climate change is no longer a long-term problem, Guterres said.

“We are confronted now with a global climate crisis and the point of no return is no longer over the horizon — it is in sight and hurtling towards us.”



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Trillion-dollar deficits as far as eye can see, and hardly a voice of caution to be heard…


In the old days, a decade or so ago, Democrats would have assailed Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Intelligence Committee to review impeachment investigation report Monday Comedian Rosanne Barr to speak at Trumpettes’ Gala at Mar-A-Lago Israeli, Palestinian business leaders seek Trump boost for investment project MORE‘s failure on federal deficits; instead of eliminating it, as promised, the deficit has doubled to a trillion dollars as far as the eye can see.

Republicans would be in full fury over the spending schemes of Democratic presidential candidates; even the mainstream moderates propose huge increases for health care, education and the social safety net for the disadvantaged.

Yet deficits, as a political issue, are dead.

The political impact always was exaggerated, but out-of-control deficits were a staple of opposition rhetoric; there invariably was some budget-balancing blue ribbon group, the most famous, the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

For Democrats, the pressing urgency of unmet needs in health care, education, infrastructure and the social safety net far outweigh any rising debt. They favor tax hikes, mainly on the rich, to reverse the huge 2017 Republican tax cuts; but there’s less premium on the green eye shade test of paying for all spending initiatives.

Most Republicans strongly want to keep those tax cuts — the only significant achievement of three years of party rule — and have little interest in tackling politically popular entitlements. In the years the Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress and the White House they only focused on gutting the Affordable Health Care Act.

This has become the Trump Party, which overshadows the old Republican battle lines between budget balancers and tax cutters. This Republican executive is a tax cutter and budget buster.

As well as the politics, Democrats have a strong policy basis for their position. Early this year, the two most prominent Democratic economists — former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Jason FurmanJason FurmanBillionaires paid lower tax rate than working class for first time in US history: study Economy adds 130K jobs in August, falling below expectations Homelessness and the high cost of living MORE, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, both under President Obama — wrote an influential article citing structural declines in interest rates; this means that “policymakers should reconsider the traditional fiscal approach that has often wrong-headedly limited worthwhile investments in such areas as education, health care and infrastructure,” they said.

“Politicians and policymakers should focus on urgent social programs, not deficits,” they advised.

They don’t go as far as the Modern Monetary Theorists who basically argue the sky is the limit on debt unless inflation takes off. Instead, Summers and Furman claim a key is that the federal debt — as a percentage of the economy — stays at a relatively stable 3 percent go 4 percent, where it has been for the past five years.

The Republican deficits hawks, most recently former House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAdam Schiff’s star rises with impeachment hearings Is Joe Biden finished? Krystal Ball previews fifth Democratic debate MORE, have been rendered obsolete, as least as long it’s the Party of Trump.

Even back in the 1970s, however, some Republicans embraced what supply side propagandist Jude Wanniski called the “Two-Santa Theory” — namely, to counter Democrats support for popular spending programs, Republicans should favor huge tax cuts without concern for the deficit. (Ronald Reagan once joked he didn’t worry about the deficit as it was “big enough to take care of itself.”)

Moreover, the Republican cries about the evils of big deficits have been more rhetorical than real. Although the general perception of Democrats as more fiscally profligate is a canard.

Under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush the federal budget deficit doubled. The deficit was $255 billion when Bill Clinton came into office; at the end of his term there were four straight small surpluses. (This along with the surplus at the end of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency are the only ones in the last 60 years.)

The deficit also soared under President George W. Bush, especially at the end of his term, with the economic crisis.

Obama inherited a massive $1.4 trillion shortfall and in eight years cut it by 60 percent.

The shortfall has doubled under Trump.

As a percentage of the economy, however, it has only risen from 3 percent in the final Obama year to a bit more than 4 percent now.

Even Washington’s most stalwart, and consistent, fiscal hawk, Maya MacGuineas, President of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, acknowledges the budget deficit isn’t a top policy concern right now “as low interest rates buy us some time.”

However, she cautions the fiscal situation “is the worst it has been since just after World War II,” adding “No one knows when the tipping point is or what it looks like, but those are questions we shouldn’t want to find the answers to.”

Albert R. Hunt is the former executive editor of Bloomberg News. He previously served as reporter, bureau chief and Washington editor for the Wall Street Journal. For almost a quarter-century he wrote a column on politics for The Wall Street Journal, then the International New York Times and Bloomberg View. Follow him on Twitter @alhuntdc.



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Trump faces two deadlines as Congress ramps up impeachment focus…


(Adds television interviews with House Judiciary Committee members)

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump faced two deadlines in Congress this week as Democrats prepared to shift the focus of their impeachment inquiry from fact-finding to the consideration of possible charges of misconduct over his dealings with Ukraine.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, tasked with considering charges known as articles of impeachment, has given Trump until 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT) on Sunday to say whether he or his legal counsel will participate in a Wednesday impeachment hearing.

This first-in-a-series of expected Judiciary proceedings will hear testimony on the impeachment process established under the U.S. Constitution from a panel of legal experts that has yet to be named.

Hearings before the committee, which has responsibility for crafting any formal charges against Trump, are a major step toward possible charges. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will make the final decision, has not yet said whether the Republican president should be impeached. But in a letter to supporters last week, she called for him to be held accountable for his actions.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, calling the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt.” The White House has not yet indicated whether it will take part in the committee proceedings.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler also set a 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT) Friday deadline for Trump to say whether he will mount a defense at further proceedings expected next week to examine evidence against him.

Three investigating panels, led by the House Intelligence Committee, are due to release a formal report this week when lawmakers return on Tuesday from a Thanksgiving recess. The report will outline evidence gathered by the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees.

Congressional investigators have been looking into whether Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations of former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, who is running to unseat him in the 2020 presidential election, and a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Representative Doug Collins, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that the White House will mount a defense during upcoming impeachment proceedings and suggested calling Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, as a witness.

In a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week,” another Judiciary Committee Republican, Representative Tom McClintock, suggested the possibility that Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani should testify.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a member of House Democratic leadership and the Judiciary Committee, told Fox News, “We all may want to hear from John Bolton. We all would like to hear from Mick Mulvaney.”

In September, Trump fired Bolton from his job as national security adviser, citing policy disagreements.

The president and his Republican allies in Congress say the inquiry has been rushed and unfair to Trump by not allowing the White House to have legal counsel present or call witnesses during weeks of closed-door testimony and open hearings before the House Intelligence Committee.

However, Republican lawmakers were able to question witnesses during the closed hearings and called three witnesses during public hearings that wrapped up last week.

“The president may well look at this, or his counsel may well look at this, and say: Why would we want to get in here and legitimize this process, when it was made illegitimate at the beginning by shutting us out?” said Republican Representative Tom Cole.

The House Judiciary Committee could vote on whether to recommend articles of impeachment within the next two weeks, setting the stage of a possible impeachment vote by the full House before Christmas, according to Democratic aides.

If the House impeaches Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate would hold a trial to determine whether he should be removed from office.

House Judiciary Democrat Zoe Lofgren, interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, urged Republicans and her fellow Democrats to keep an open mind as they weigh possible impeachment charges against Trump.

“If we’ve got it wrong – it doesn’t look like we do – I would welcome an opportunity to reach a different conclusion about the president’s misconduct. We have to at least allow for that possibility,” Lofgren said.

(Reporting by David Morgan, Richard Cowan and Andrea Shalal; editing by Ross Colvin, Marguerita Choy and Nick Zieminski)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Legal clouds gather over Rudy…


When the former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani emerged as one of Donald Trump’s most bareknuckle defenders during the Russia investigation, attacking his former colleagues in the justice department, people asked: “What happened to Rudy?”

Now, as federal prosecutors tighten a net of criminal investigations around Giuliani, the question has become: “What is going to happen to Rudy?”

The poignancy of Giuliani’s downfall from national hero and presidential candidate to the subject of multiple federal criminal investigations has been often remarked in the past year.

The net tightened again last week when it emerged a grand jury had issued a broad subpoena for documents relating to Giuliani’s international consulting business as part of an investigation of alleged crimes including money laundering, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, making false statements, obstruction of justice, and violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

“We who admired him for so long expected much more from Rudy Giuliani and his legacy,” Ken Frydman, a former Giuliani press secretary, wrote in a New York Times opinion piece last month. “‘America’s Mayor,’ as Rudy was called after September 11, is today President Trump’s bumbling personal lawyer and henchman, his apologist and defender of the indefensible.”

Giuliani has denied wrongdoing and scoffed at the notion he is in any legal jeopardy – particularly from federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York, an office he once led as a star US attorney during Ronald Reagan’s first term. There Giuliani built a reputation for taking on mob bosses and aggressively prosecuting the kind of criminal activity he now stands accused of.

“Me ending up in jail?” Giuliani told the celebrity gossip site TMZ at a Washington airport on Monday. “Fifty years of being a lawyer, 50 years of ethical, dedicated practice of the law, probably have prosecuted more criminals of a high level than any US attorney in history. I think I follow the law very carefully. I think the people pursuing me are desperate, sad, angry, disappointing liars. They’re hurting their country. And I’m ashamed of them.”

But in no version of events does Giuliani appear not to be in big trouble.

The immediate source of his current problems is the work he did in Ukraine over the last two years for himself and on behalf of Trump, who instructed the Ukrainian president to speak to Giuliani in a 25 July phone call.

Giuliani wanted the Ukrainians to announce an investigation of Joe Biden, Trump’s chief political rival, according to US officials who testified in the impeachment hearings. In pursuit of his errand, Giuliani contacted current and former Ukrainian prosecutors, multiple Ukrainian presidential administrations and multiple Ukrainian oligarchs, according to testimony.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani offered the oligarchs help with their problems with the US justice department in exchange for help with his project to harm Biden, a charge Giuliani has denied.

Lev Parnas, left, and Igor Fruman sit either side of lawyer Todd Blanche during their arraignment in New York City on 23 October 23.



Rudy Giuliani’s business associates Lev Parnas, left, and Igor Fruman sit either side of lawyer during their arraignment in New York City on 23 October. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Two Soviet Union-born American associates of Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested last month on campaign finance charges, and Parnas is cooperating with investigators. Alongside the prosecutors in New York, the US justice department in Washington is also investigating Giuliani’s conduct, as is the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Congress is also after Giuliani, who came in for sharp public criticism in the impeachment hearings earlier this month, when Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch described a smear campaign Giuliani had mounted against her, allegedly because as an anti-corruption advocate she stood in the way of Trump’s Ukraine scheme.

“I do not understand Mr Giuliani’s motives for attacking me,” Yovanovitch testified. “What I can say is that Mr Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

As the pressure on him has intensified, Giuliani’s antics in his own defense have grown increasingly animated. He warned last week that he had collected information that would put his political enemies on their heels.

“I’m also going to bring out a pay-for-play scheme in the Obama administration that will be devastating to the Democrat party,” Giuliani told Fox News.

He even threatened to start an impeachment podcast.

Giuliani on Trump: ‘We are friends for twenty-nine29 years and nothing will interfere with that.’



Giuliani on Trump: ‘We are friends for twenty-nine29 years and nothing will interfere with that.’ Photograph: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

But what matters most for Giuliani right now is his long friendship with Trump, his most powerful protector, which goes back to the late 1980s, when Trump served as co-chair of Giuliani’s first fundraiser for his 1989 mayoral campaign, according to Wayne Barrett, who has written books about both men.

In a telephone interview with the Guardian, in response to a question about whether he was nervous that Trump might “throw him under a bus” in the impeachment crisis, Giuliani said: “I’m not, but I do have very, very good insurance, so if he does, all my hospital bills will be paid.”

Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, who was also on the call, then interjected: “He’s joking.”

“We are friends for 29 years and nothing will interfere with that,” Giuliani told TMZ of Trump. “The president knows that everything I did, I did to help him. And he knows it. I did it honorably. I did it legally. I did it in a way that it will embarrass the people who are pursuing me and have nowhere near the integrity and honor that I have.”

Trump has tweeted that Giuliani “may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer”.

In an interview with disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last Tuesday, however, Trump distanced himself from Giuliani.

Analysts watching Giuliani’s case expect that an indictment could be handed down at any moment, raising the prospect of America’s Mayor in handcuffs.

“If Rudy’s story ends the way it feels like it’s going to end,” wrote Evan Mandery, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and veteran of New York City political campaigns, “it’s not plausible for anyone who knows or has studied him to say they never saw it coming.”



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Retailers Revamp Staffing as Fewer Shoppers Visit Stores…


On Black Friday morning at a Target store in Brooklyn, stacks of televisions, microwaves and toys awaited the rush of shoppers looking for holiday deals.

Hours after the store opened, it was calm. The piles stood tall.

More frantic were the Target workers pushing carts through aisles to collect products ordered online by shoppers for home…



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