5 travel hacks the airlines don’t want you to know about

(CNN)Frequent fliers know that in the competitive world of modern airlines, it takes a skilled player to spot the good deals among the gimmicks.

In this month’s episode of Business Traveller, we meet with bloggers and aviation insiders who’ve learned how to play the often risky game of travel hacking, uncovering the loopholes the airlines don’t want them to find.
    In this game, the rewards can be great — but the stakes are high.

    1. Hidden City Ticketing

    What is it? Say you want to fly from New York to Los Angeles, but a ticket from New York to San Diego via Los Angeles is much cheaper.
    The daring traveler books the San Diego ticket, but only completes the Los Angeles leg of the trip.
    The practice is called “hidden city ticketing” and while it’s not a new phenomenon, software engineer Aktarer Zaman has created a search engine called Skiplagged specifically to find opportunities for “hidden city” trips.
    It’s so unpopular with the aviation industry, in 2014 United Airlines sued Zaman — but the case was dropped.
    Zaman remains unfazed.
    “This is the inevitable,” he tells CNN. “Consumers are going to try to figure out the best way to do what they want.”
    The catch: On a practical level, you have to travel hand luggage only, as checked-in baggage will go all the way to the final destination.
    Much more seriously, skipping out portions of your itinerary violates fare rules on many airlines.
    Frequent flier privileges could be revoked and miles confiscated.

    2. Manufactured Spending

    What is it? Blogger Alex Bachuwa has developed a method of earning air miles without actually flying them.
    “I just apply for a lot of credit cards and I get a lot of points, and I use those points to go wherever I want to go.
    “The banks have promotions on new products all the time. They offer 50,000, 100,000, 150,000 points promotions.
    “They have a minimum amount you have to spend and once you spend that amount, the points go on your account and it’s time to start looking for flights.”
    But as those minimum spends are far higher than the average person’s daily expenses, Bachuwa racks in the points through “manufactured spending.”



      The science behind airfare pricing


    How does it work?
    First get a credit card with rewards. Then buy a gift card and use the gift card to purchase a money order. You deposit the money order into your bank account and then use it to pay off the credit card.
    The catch? “This is a frowned-upon business,” says Bachuwa. “It’s a way to spend without spending. Certain credit card companies now have in their terms and conditions, ‘Thou shalt not manufacture spend.'”
    Not to mention that it’s seriously risky: Slip up in your calculations and you could get caught in spiraling debts.
    Bachuwa remains confident in his lifestyle choice and reveals his secrets on his blog “The Points of Life.”
    “Have you seen the places I’ve been and how I’ve flown? Of course it’s worth it!’

    3. Frequent Travel University

    What is it? US-based Frequent Traveler University organizes regular seminars to teach would-be travel hackers the latest tips, tricks and methods that they say will help their students travel cheaper, better and more creatively.
    “We’re teaching people how to redeem those miles for trips that can cost $20,000 one way, how to utilize that elite status,” says FTU’s James Larounis, adding that they offer expert tips on airline alliances and Fifth Freedom routes — flights where an airline from one country has the right to operate between two other countries and which are often heavily discounted.
    Some of the classes are so secret and the information so prized that they wouldn’t let our cameras in to film.
    The catch: Banks and airlines get wise to the hackers’ tricks and then promptly shut them down.
    “That’s why we host so many courses a year, because of this changing information,” says Larounis. “We’ve got repeat customers, year after year, session after session.”

    4. Play your cards right

    What is it? Stefan Krasowski, who blogs at RapidTravelChai, had these four tips to give us on the art of credit card shuffling.
    1) “First, get as many cards as the banks will give you. Your credit scores will probably improve, if you manage them correctly.
    2) “Get a hotel credit card. Many of those credit cards give you elite status with that hotel. Then you can turn around, go to other hotel chains and say, ‘I have the status, will you match me?’
    3) “Get a credit card, usually a premium card, such as an Amex Platinum, a Citi Prestige, that has worldwide airport lounge access.
    4) “Scale all this with your family members. If you’re traveling with a spouse or family member, each get hotel cards and then you’ll get double the benefits.
    The catch: Mismanage your cards or drop behind on your payments and you’ll be left holding a losing hand.

    5. Bid in a live auction

    What is it? Open auctions for airline seats have been around for a while, but for a real fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience, at Seatboost the bidding for the last remaining first-class seats begins just 90 minutes before takeoff.
    It’s teamed up with Virgin America to auction off any free available premium seats on certain routes — but getting an airline to buy into the idea took some convincing.
    That’s because airlines don’t want customers to expect that they’ll win in the auction, because then the customers might be reluctant to buy those premium seats beforehand.
    “We are more positioned for a flier or guest who wants to give themselves a treat. If you’re used to flying first class, you’re not going to leave it to chance,” says Seatboost CEO Kevin Stamler.
    The catch: Bid too high and you might win the upgrade but pay over the odds for your seat.
    Bid too low and you miss out on your upgrade and remain stuck in economy.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/26/aviation/air-travel-hacks/index.html

    Presidential debate fact-check: a review of Trump’s and Clinton’s claims

    Alan Yuhas fact-checks the statements of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York

    Donald Trumps claims

    Trump: Our jobs are fleeing the country, theyre going to Mexico theyre going to many other countries Hundreds of hundreds of companies are doing this.

    Trump is primarily talking about the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the long-term decline in manufacturing around the US cant only be attributed to the trade deal. Economists still debate the effect of the deal on jobs, since US trade with Canada and Mexico is modest at best. In 2015, the Congressional Research Service wrote: Nafta did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters.

    Manufacturing is down 37% since its peak in 1979, but this change has a great deal to do with the general shift toward a service-based economy, which the US has had surpluses in in recent years. Its true that many manufacturing jobs have been outsourced, especially since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, but its also true that the US has added more than 800,000 factory jobs since 2010.

    Trump: My father gave me a small loan in 1975.

    Trump never struggled for money or started with anything modest. In 1978 his father gave him a loan totaling almost $1m about $3.7m today and acted as guarantor for the young Trumps early projects. A 1981 report by a New Jersey regulator also shows a $7.5m loan from the patriarch, and years later he bought $3.5m in gambling chips to help his son pay off the debts of a failing casino, which was found to have broken the law by accepting them. Trump also borrowed millions against his inheritance before his fathers death, a 2007 deposition shows.

    Trump has not proven that he is worth $10bn, though his tax returns, which he has refused to release, could provide a clearer picture of his worth. His financial filings suggest he has less than $250m in liquid assets, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Trump has a history of overstating his properties: he has, for instance, told the FEC that a New York golf club is worth $50m but also argued in court that it is worth only $1.4m.

    Trump claimed that his tax plan will be the largest cuts since Ronald Reagan and create jobs, while in his words Clintons would create a huge tax hike.

    Trumps tax plan would disproportionately help the wealthiest Americans, saving them millions of dollars and adding trillions to the national debt, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, a conservative thinktank. He would reduce the business tax rate to 15%, eliminate the estate tax (aka the death tax), which mostly affects wealthy inheritors, and would reduce revenue from taxes by about $5tn. According to the Foundation, the top 1% of earners would see a 10.2% increase to their incomes.

    Clintons tax plan does not change tax rates for the middle class, but does increase taxes by 4% on people who have an adjusted income of more than $5m, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Only about 0.5% of small businesses in the US reported a profit of more than $1m in 2011, according to the US treasury department. Clinton would increase tax revenue by $1.1tn by taxing the top 1% of earners, increasing the estate tax and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, and by implementing and a more complex tax code, according to the Tax Policy Center.

    Trump has not proven that he pays any federal income tax, and did not deny that he doesnt pay, saying simply that it would prove hes smart.

    Trump: African Americans and Hispanics are living in hell because its so dangerous. In Chicago theyve had thousands of shootings since 1 January Almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed since Barack Obama became president.

    Trump often cites Chicagos shooting crisis as evidence that the US is plagued by dangerous crime, but not even that city, which has the most homicides in the US, compares to a war zone as Trump says. In 2015, Chicago had 2,988 people who were victims of gun violence, according to the Chicago Tribune, and 488 homicides in all. The city has more than 500 homicides so far this year, per the paper, and more than 2,100 victims of gun violence.

    In Afghanistan a country Trump often compares the city to between January and June 2016, 1,601 civilians have been killed and 3,565 injured, according to the United Nations. The figures include 388 killed and 1,121 injured children. The UN reported 3,545 civilians killed and 7,457 injured in 2015. More than 80,000 people have been displaced by violence this year. The US and Afghan forces control only about 70% of the country, while the Taliban and militants control the other 30%, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told the Senate on Thursday.

    Trump on stop and frisk police tactics: Stop and frisk which worked very well in New York it It brought the crime rate way down.

    The controversial police tactic of stop and frisk, which became a hallmark of New York policing through the mayorships of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, has landed the city in federal court, where a judge ruled it unconstitutional. One research paper, unpublished through peer review, found modest drops in some crimes. A second paper, published through peer review, found problems in the first study and few significant effects of the tactic.

    A New York Civil Liberties Union report, on 12 years worth of police data, found young black and Hispanic men were targeted for stops at a vastly higher proportion than white men: more than half the people searched were black and about 30% were Hispanic. Among more than 5m stops during the Bloomberg administration, police found a gun less than 0.02% of the time, according to the report. NYPD records between 2004 and 2012 show similar figures: in 4.4m stops, weapons were seized from 1.0% of black people, 1.1% from Hispanic people and 1.4% of white people.

    New Yorks long-term decline in crime rates began before Giuliani took office in 1994, and its causes were and are diverse: data-driven policing with the Compstat system, the growth of the police force by 35% over the decade, incarceration increases by 24% and the 39% unemployment decline that matched with national economic growth. Not even the loudest supporters of stop and frisk, including Bloomberg whose last term Trump has called a disaster have argued the tactic alone reduced crime to its current lows.

    Trump said that the tactic was ruled unconstitutional because of a judge who was against policing, but his personal opinion about the judge does not mean she did not rule it unconstitutional.

    Trump: We have to take the guns away from the people that shouldnt have them These are bad people.

    This argument flies in the face of Trumps pro-gun rights stance for legal owners; he has repeatedly and falsely insisted that Clinton wants to take away guns from legal owners.

    Trump claimed that New Yorks crime rate is up since the end of stop and frisk. It remains near historic lows.

    Trump blames Sidney Blumenthal, a friend of the Clintons, and Patti Solis Doyle, a 2008 campaign manager, for creating the false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the US.

    There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with the false rumors that Barack Obama was not born in the US, nor did Clinton have anything to do with Trumps five years of questions about birth certificates, which he finally recanted last Friday.

    Trumps campaign has tried to blame several people who were, if at all, tangentially related to the Clinton campaign. There is no evidence that Solis Doyle had anything to do with the claim either. She told CNN that there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded the email and that the volunteer was dismissed, and that she called the Obama campaign to apologize.

    A former aide named Mark Penn wrote a 2007 memo that Obamas lack of American roots could hold him back. But he added: We are never going to say anything about his background. The Clinton campaign never acted on his advice, and he was dismissed in April 2008.

    Some Clinton supporters have been blamed over anonymous chain emails for questioning Obamas citizenship, but none of the rumormongers were linked to the campaign. Philip Berg, a former Pennsylvania official who supported Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2008 over Obamas birth certificate; the suit was thrown out because it was groundless. Blumenthal, an old friend of the Clintons who frequently sent them unsolicited advice, reportedly asked reporters to investigate Obamas birth, but he has denied this and denounced the conspiracy.

    As fellow fact-checkers at Politifact have noted, a Texas volunteer for Clinton named Linda Starr eventually joined Bergs failed lawsuit; there is nothing to suggest Starr had any influence in the campaign at any level. Campaign volunteers who forwarded emails falsely alleging Obama is Muslim resigned when they were found out.

    Trump did not answer the question about what convinced him that the president was born in the US, even though the birth certificate has been public for the five years that has Trump continued questioning Obamas birthplace.

    Trump: Clinton has been fighting Isis your entire adult life.

    The Islamic States first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president. The group took root in Syrias civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014. The terror group largely formed out of the remnants of Saddam Husseins government and the factions that formed al-Qaida in Iraq all of which happened in the last decade or so. The group also gained international notoriety only in 2014, when it invaded Iraq in significant forces and when Clinton was out of office.

    Trump: Whether [the DNC hack] was Russia, whether that was China, whether that was another country, we dont know.

    Several independent security firms, in addition to intelligence officials, have pointed to Russian-backed hackers as the culprits behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee. Trump is correct in an extremely technical sense: no one has provided 100% proof that Russia was behind the hack, and the Obama administration has proven loath to escalate a hacking war. But security experts have found technical fingerprints that seem to hint back toward Russia, just as they have found links back to Chinese hacks in unrelated cases.

    Trump: President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum for Isis.

    The claim that Obama and Clinton created the conditions for Isis ignores that Isiss first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president; that the group took root in Syrias civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014; and that Obama withdrew American forces in 2011 under the timeline agreed on by Bush and Baghdad.

    Trump has claimed that Nato must turn to a directly anti-terror campaign in the Middle East, and that his urging has already influenced the alliance.

    But Nato has had a Defense Against Terrorism program since June 2004, almost a full 12 years before Trump called the alliance obsolete. In July its member nations decided to increase efforts against Isis, specifically, in Syria and Iraq, as its leaders had discussed for months. Trump was not involved.

    Trump also claimed that his new Washington DC hotel came in before schedule and under budget.

    Not quite. Per the AP:

    A June 2013 press release posted on the Trump Organizations website announced that the redevelopment of the old post office was expected to start in 2014 with the hotel opening scheduled in 2016. A few months later, the Trump Organization announced the expected grand opening of the hotel would happen at the end of 2015. The Trump Organization said in a third statement in 2013 … completion was expected in late 2015.

    In 2014, the Trump Organization went back to announcing the hotel would open in mid-2016. In February, in the midst of Trumps presidential campaign, the organization shifted and announced the hotel was planned to open in September, almost two years ahead of schedule, which is unheard of for a project of this size and complexity, Ivanka Trump is quoted as saying.

    And during a March visit to the site, Donald Trump said: Were two years ahead of schedule. Were going to be opening in September.

    The hotel is now only partly open.

    Trump on the Iran nuclear deal: One of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. He said $400m in cash was part of that deal and Clinton was responsible.

    Clinton had nothing to do with the delivery of $400m to Iran as part of a settlement for a failed arms deal that Tehrans pre-revolutionary government had made with the US in the 1970s.

    The State Department under John Kerry has admitted, however, that it wanted to use that money as leverage to secure the sailors release, although its transfer had been mediated through an international court. The money was delivered as foreign currency because US law bars any transaction in US dollars and sanctions make bank transactions difficult.

    The US is not giving any of its own money to Iran as part of an international nuclear arms deal meant to prevent the construction of weapons. The deal gradually unfreezes assets that belong to Iran but were frozen under sanctions related to the nations nuclear program. Sanctions related to human rights, terrorism and other issues remain in place and still lock Iran out of billions.

    Trumps guess of how much Iran will benefit by unfrozen assets is far higher than most experts estimates, though not inconceivable. Treasury secretary Jack Lew has put the number at $56bn, and Iranian officials have said $32bn and $100bn. Independent economists have calculated that Iran will free up anything between $30bn to $100bn. Complicating the math are Irans debts: it will have to pay off tens of billions to countries such as China.

    There is no evidence that the brief capture in January of 10 American sailors had any effect on the nuclear deal, which had been finalized five months earlier, although the incident rattled fragile relations between Washington and Tehran. A few days after the sailors were released, UN inspectors confirmed that Iran had complied with the deal.

    What Iran does next remain an open question subject to inspection by UN officials and Clintons argument in favor of the deal hinges on a degree of good faith that Tehran will comply by the terms of the deal.

    Trump: I was just endorsed by ICE.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a government agency. It does not endorse political candidates. A group of former customs officials endorsed Trump just before the debate.

    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the debate stage on Monday night. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Hillary Clintons claims

    Clinton: Donald is one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis.

    Clinton is correct, and Trump unrepentant. In a video made in 2006 for his defunct and legally embattled Trump University, Trump said he hoped for a real estate bubble burst.

    I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy property and make a lot of money, he said.

    Thats called business by the way, Trump interrupted Clinton.

    Clinton: Donald says climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese.

    Trump: I did not, I do not say that.

    Trump did say that, in a 2012 tweet, right here:

    Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012

    The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

    Clinton claimed that African American men are more likely to be killed by guns than other demographics.

    She is broadly correct that African American men are disproportionately affected by gun violence, including by police. Shes also correct that crime rates are overall still down from where they were in the 1990s, but she omits the 10.8% single-year increase in murders in 2015. The recent spike in violent crime has been concentrated in a handful of cities, such as Chicago, Washington DC and Baltimore.

    Clinton: Trump has been praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin. Trump: Wrong.

    Trump has repeatedly called Russias president a strong leader and spoken approvingly praise by nearly any definition of this strength and Putins polling numbers. For instance, on 18 December 2015 he told MSNBC: Ive always felt fine about Putin. I think that hes a strong leader.

    He added: Hes running his country and at least hes a leader, unlike what we have in this country.

    Last September, he told Fox News: In terms of leadership [Putins] getting an A. In a 10 March debate, Trump tried to hedge on semantics. Strong doesnt mean good, he said. Putin is a strong leader, absolutely. He is a strong leader. Now I dont say that in a good way or a bad way. I say it as a fact.

    Clinton: Donald supported the invasion of Iraq. Trump: Wrong.

    This is a lie. In the months before the Iraq war began, the businessman made a tepid endorsement of invasion to radio host Howard Stern, who asked him whether he thought the US should attack Saddam Hussein.

    Yeah, I guess so, Trump answered.

    A few weeks later he told Fox News that George W Bush was doing a very good job. Several weeks after the invasion, Trump told the Washington Post: The wars a mess. In August 2004 he told Esquire: Two minutes after we leave, theres going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over.

    Even in an interview cited by the Trump campaign to explain his opposition, Trump expressed impatience with Bush for not invading sooner. Whatever happened to the days of the Douglas MacArthur? He would go and attack. He wouldnt talk.

    Trump also supported complete withdrawal from Iraq, even in the event of continued civil war or authoritarian violence there. You know how they get out? They get out. Thats how they get out. Declare victory and leave, he told CNN in 2007. This is a total catastrophe, and you might as well get out now because youre just wasting time, and lives.

    Like Clinton, Trump also supported military strikes in Libya, saying in a February 2011 video blog that the US should take immediate action against dictator Muammar Ghaddafi.

    We should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically. No one supported an occupation to build democracy there in the model of George W Bushs occupation of Iraq.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/26/debate-fact-check-trump-clinton-live-quotes-hofstra

    Naming and Shaming Palm-Oil Buyers to Stop Rainforest Burning

    Why a Thick Smoke Haze Is Blanketing Asia

    Singaporeans who choke on haze floating over from Indonesia can blame the world’s desire for palm oil. The edible oil is an important ingredient in the cookies, noodles and other packaged foods as well as soaps, shampoos, lipsticks and many other consumer goods. Farmers in Indonesia, the world’s biggest supplier of the commodity, often illegally burn the world’s oldest rainforest or use fire to clear old oil palms on existing plantations, and the smoke from the flames drifts across Singapore and Malaysia.

    Groups like Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists have taken to naming and shaming companies that they say aren’t doing enough to make suppliers stop the destruction of rainforests and peatlands. On Sept. 21, WWF released its 2016 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, looking at the policies of 137 companies worldwide. The good news, according to WWF, “at least half of the companies we looked at” have made “gratifying progress” toward using sustainable palm oil that meets criteria such as a ban on the destruction of primary forests.

    Public pressure seems to be helping, with many companies announcing new policies or expanding on existing policies to clean up their supply chains of palm oil. To ensure their palm oil comes from sustainable sources, companies are making commitments to trace their supply back to the farm where growers harvest the fruit or the mill where producers extract the oil. “The industry is at a critical stage on the journey to sustainable palm oil,” WWF Palm Oil lead Adam Harrison said in a statement. “More major brands are now using only certified palm oil yet laggard companies continue to drag their feet.” 

    A palm oil plantation stands next to burnt land in this aerial photograph taken in South Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

    Johnson & Johnson. Greenpeace gave J&J a “Failing” grade in its 2016 scorecard published in March, saying the New Brunswick, NJ-based company should disclose a complete list of suppliers and sub-suppliers” but J&J was close to the top in WWF’s scorecard, winning a score of 8 out of a possible 9 – meaning the company is “well on the path” according to WWF. Among the sourcing criteria J&J adopted in 2014 is a ban on palm-oil suppliers that develop peatlands or burn land. The company “has moved business away from two suppliers for noncompliance with our standards,” Vice President for Media Relations Ernie W. Knewitz said in an e-mailed statement, “and we are continuing to take appropriate measures to verify conformance and to engage with other companies and NGOs to promote responsible palm oil production.”

    PepsiCo. Two environmental groups give good grades to PepsiCo: The maker of soft drinks and snack foods received a top score of 9 on WWF’s scorecard (which places the company among those “leading the way,” according to WWF) and 80.7 out of a 100 from the UCS.  But Greenpeace was more critical, saying the company “has no evidence that its palm oil is deforestation-free.” In September, PepsiCo announced it had traced approximately 72 percent of its palm oil to the mill, up from 65 percent in 2015. “We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made,” the company said, “but recognize that further work is needed.” In an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, PepsiCo said the Greenpeace scorecard “did not capture all of our ongoing work on sustainable palm oil.” PepsiCo has set a 2020 deadline to be able to trace palm oil back to the plantations where the trees grow and has joined the Palm Oil Working Group of the Consumer Goods Forum, an industry body of retailers and manufacturers.

    Dairy Queen. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns American Dairy Queen, the fast-food chain that specializes in soft-serve ice cream. WWF and Greenpeace didn’t include Dairy Queen in their scorecards but the UCS gave Dairy Queen a zero for “no commitment” to finding palm oil that doesn’t contribute to the destruction of rain forests. In a statement, the company said suppliers of its U.S. and Canadian locations will meet guidelines on sustainable palm oil by 2018. Suppliers will also need to show producers’ “growing and harvest practices do not contribute to deforestation and ensure critical and fragile environmental resources and habitats remain undisturbed.” 

    Domino’s. Like Dairy Queen, Domino’s also wasn’t on WWF and Greenpeace’s lists but got a zero score from the UCS. That grade is out of date, according to the company. Domino’s is “committed to sourcing palm oil that is produced without deforestation of High Conservation Value areas, High Carbon Stock forests or the destruction of peat land,” the company said in an e-mailed statement, saying Domino’s achieved 100 percent palm-oil traceability back to the mill in September 2015.

    Wendy’s. The fast-food chain, criticized two years in a row by the UCS for having “zero commitment” to sustainable palm oil, scored a mediocre 5 out of 9 (“started the journey”) on the WWF scorecard. Wendy’s uses palm oil in its North American restaurants for “a few non-core menu items” such as its breaded fish and breakfast biscuits, according to a statement on the company’s website. Wendy’s “is working to have a plan in place” to source sustainable palm oil for its North American restaurants by 2022, the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We’re committed to sourcing palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources.”

    Singapore’s Marina Bay district shrouded in smog on Sept. 24, 2015.
    Photographer: Nicky Loh/Singapore

    Yum! Brands. The UCS put the company among its worst offenders and the parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell got no grade from WWF, which said Yum was one of a small group of companies that didn’t respond to its request for information. “We recognize that not responding to the WWF Palm Oil Scorecard Survey results in a default score of zero,” Yum vice president for public affairs Laurie Schalow said in an e-mailed statement. “However, this score does not represent our commitments and progress.” Yum plans to stop using palm oil as cooking oil and source sustainable palm oil by the end of next year. 

    Target. The Minneapolis-based retailer did poorly on WWF’s scorecard, getting only a 2 out of 9 – meaning the company is “not yet in the starting blocks,” according to the WWF. Last year, UCS gave Target a zero, but since then “Target has set a commitment to traceable and sustainable palm oil,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. The big-box retailer set a 2018 deadline for sourcing sustainable palm oil for its own-brand foods as well as its personal-care and household-cleaning products. According to a statement on its website regarding its sourcing policy, Target said it “will work actively with its vendors, suppliers, and other stakeholders to implement our policy and to remove all unacceptable sources of palm oil, where required.” 

    Costco Wholesale. Another big-box retailer that flunked WWF’s test is Costco, which got a 2. UCS gave the company a zero. All of the company’s Kirkland Signature-brand suppliers of palm oil must implement policies that include a no-burn policy for clearing of land and a ban on new development of peatlands, Costco announced in September 2015,  and use only certified sustainable palm oil by 2021. The League of Conservation Voters responded with a letter-writing campaign to pressure Costco to move faster. The deadline of 2021 “is too far away and out-of-line with the deadlines announced by other retailers in the industry,” the League said. Costco “is committed to ensuring that the palm oil contained in our Kirkland Signature products is responsibly and sustainably sourced,” the company said in a policy statement published in September 2015.

    Clorox. Out of ten makers of soaps, cosmetics and other personal-care products graded by the UCS, only Burt’s Bees parent Clorox got a score of zero. Since then, the company (which wasn’t on WWF or Greenpeace’s scorecards) has updated its policy, saying all suppliers have until 2020 to adhere to requirements to protect rainforest and peatlands. Among the new criteria, Clorox will prohibit suppliers from using fire to prepare or clear land.  In July, Clorox joined the Forest Trust and is working with the NGO to trace the palm oil of a dozen major suppliers back to mills where they produce the oil. At that point, according to Clorox, “we can begin to understand regions where the palm is being grown and the risks in those regions.” 

    A worker sorts bunches of harvested oil palm fruit on a truck as haze surrounds the area in Riau Province, Indonesia.
    Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-09-25/naming-and-shaming-palm-oil-buyers-to-stop-rainforest-burning

    Wenner to Sell 49% of Rolling Stone to Singapores BandLab

    There comes a time when even Jann Wenner needs a little help from his friends.

    After a five-decade run full of interviews with pop stars and presidents, the founder of Rolling Stone is selling 49 percent of the iconic magazine to an Asian billionaires son. Its the first time Wenner has admitted an outside investor, a deal that encapsulates the plight of an industry fighting to stay relevant in an online age. Wenner Media LLC also owns Us Weekly and Mens Journal.

    Founded in 1967, Rolling Stone became a fixture of American pop culture, helping launch the careers of writers and creative artists over almost 50 years. But like many of its peers, the magazine has steadily lost advertising and readership to nimbler online alternatives. In 2014, Wenner tasked his son Gus with devising a digital strategy. Now Wenner, who started Rolling Stone from a San Francisco warehouse, plans to relinquish as much of his magazine as possible without ceding control.

    Its a big moment, Gus Wenner, the companys head of digital, said in a phone interview. There is a great opportunity to take that brand and apply it into new and different areas and markets.

    The new investor is Singapore-based BandLab Technologies, a budding digital music concern founded by the 28-year-old scion of one of Asias richest families. Kuok Meng Ru, the third son of Singapore-based agribusiness tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong, graduated from Cambridge University with a mathematics degree and launched BandLab last year as a social network for musicians and fans. The startup is funded by private investors, including Kuoks father and JamHub Corp., a maker of audio mixers.

    BandLab will have no involvement in the editorial side of the magazine. Rather, it will oversee a new Rolling Stone International subsidiary, which will develop live events, merchandising and hospitality. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. BandLab will not have a stake in Wenner Media.

    Kuok said the two sides have been in discussions for about 15 months. What has happened last 49 years has already shown that Rolling Stone is more than a brand to people, Kuok told Bloomberg News. It is now our shared responsibility to take it into the future.

    For a profile of the 28-year-old Kuok, click here.

    Rolling Stone currently reaches a global audience of 65 million people, according to the company. That includes 22 million domestic digital monthly users, almost 18 million social fans and followers, and nearly 12 million readers of the U.S. print publication. The average monthly unique visitors to its website rose almost 40 percent in the first half of this year from a year earlier. It publishes 12 international editions in countries including Australia, Indonesia and Japan.

    Our strategic partnership is focused on brand extensions into new areas we havent quite fully been in the past, such as merchandising, live events, hospitality they are areas we have dabbled in but never really seriously gone after, said Wenner. Meng and his team bring a great deal of understanding, infrastructure, know-how and act in that extraordinarily exciting market of Asia and beyond.

    Cutting-Edge Coverage

    The magazine made its mark in the 1970s and 80s with cutting-edge music and political coverage. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson wrote for Wenner for decades, including publishing first in its pages Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which later became a book and movie. Its stable of star writers included P.J. ORourke, Cameron Crowe and Lester Bangs. And it published in-depth exposes, including the 11,000-word, 1974 story of how heiress Patty Hearst went from kidnapping victim to radicalized guerrilla.

    Even past its prime it could break through to the mainstream. A 2010 profile of General Stanley McChrystal that included remarks critical of the Obama Administration led to the generals resignation. In 2013, the magazine put on its cover the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prompting outrage over what some saw as the glamorization of terrorism.

    Under Fire

    Last year, Rolling Stone came under fire for its editorial standards. The magazine published an article about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. The story turned out to be substantially false and prompted the magazine to request an independent investigation from the Columbia University journalism school. The article is now the subject of several lawsuits, including one from a college employee, though Kuok declined to say if his company would be liable for any potential damages.

    For Kuok, Rolling Stone marks the latest of his acquisitions of music assets and brands, underscoring his efforts to build a global music empire. BandLab, his flagship business, is a cloud-based online community that allows artists to create, collaborate and share their music. In 2012, Kuok acquired Swee Lee, a sleepy 70-year-old distributor of guitars in Singapore. Since then, he has turned the company into a modern enterprise, selling merchandise online and offering music lessons. Its now the biggest distributor of instruments and audio equipment in Southeast Asia.

    Other recent acquisitions include Composr, a European iOS and web music-making service, and MONO Creators Inc., the San Francisco-based design studio that creates high-end instrument cases, straps and accessories for musicians.

    We are focused on the consumer and the supply chain of music, and innovative business models around music that exist today, he said. We see a lot of synergies. At the end of the day, the end consumer is the same. BandLabs goal is to be a global music business.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-25/jann-wenner-to-sell-49-of-rolling-stone-to-singapore-s-bandlab

    28-Year-Old Scion Cut Rolling Stone Deal Over Love of Guitars

    The sale of a big chunk of Rolling Stone magazine began with a casual meeting between a scion of one of Asias richest families and the son of magazine impresario Jann Wenner, during a sweltering New York summer.

    A mutual friend had suggested Kuok Meng Ru, blues aficionado and son of palm oil tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong, meet Gus Wenner, the 26-year-old heir apparent to a business built around his fathers iconic pop magazine. They hit it off. Close in age, they discovered a shared love of the guitar and Bob Dylan. Each had played in bands as teenagers. And both were trying to launch digital businesses of their own, independent of their well-known fathers. 

    Inevitably, they began to talk shop. The 28-year-old founder of BandLab Technologies was several years into acquiring the pieces of a business he envisioned would someday provide all things music, from a social network for aspiring artists to the amps and instruments used on stage. His American counterpart was trying to craft a digital strategy for Wenner Media LLC, the company behind Us Weekly and Mens Journal now fighting to stay relevant and keep advertisers in an online age.

    It took 15 months of trans-Pacific flights and phone calls before Kuok clinched his prize: a 49 percent stake in the celebrated magazine, becoming the first outside investor in Rolling Stones 49-year history. Kuok will head Rolling Stone International, a company to be established in Singapore that the partners hope can use the brand to delve into concerts, merchandising and hospitality. The Wenners think Kuok can help them plumb from Asia the growth thats eluding them back home.

    It became much bigger than what we began with, Kuok told Bloomberg News. It was really more of a meeting of minds and visions and long-term partnership that made it possible.

    For a story on the Rolling Stone-BandLab deal, click here.

    The tie-up is likely to propel Rolling Stones brand in Asia, home to half of the worlds population — but where its name doesnt quite go as far. Itll be hoping to avoid the mis-steps of the past, such as a short-lived Hard Rock Cafe-style restaurant on Los Angeles Hollywood Boulevard. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    When Meng expressed interest in partnership, we began to really spend time together and talk about our visions and our interests, and just kind of hit it off, Gus Wenner said in a phone interview.  It became clear that this was really the partner we could do all those things with.

    Much depends on whether Kuok can help the magazine resonate with an audience weaned on Korean, Chinese and other local music scenes. The magazine marks by far the highest-profile score for Kuok, whos been acquiring businesses at a steady clip. The flagship BandLab is the online community that allows artists to create and share music. In 2012, Kuok acquired Swee Lee, a sleepy 70-year-old distributor of guitars in Singapore that now sells merchandise online and offers music lessons, and has become Southeast Asias biggest distributor of instruments and audio equipment.

    Other recent acquisitions include Composr, a European iOS and web music-making service, and MONO Creators Inc., the San Francisco-based design studio that creates high-end instrument cases, straps and accessories.

    We are focused on the consumer and the supply chain of music and innovative business models around music that exist today, Kuok said. We cant comment on how exactly the business will integrate, but we can say we see a lot of synergies. At the end of the day, the end consumer is the same. BandLabs goal is to be a global music business.

    Wenners new partner credits his billionaire father for igniting a life-long passion with music, even though they didnt spend that much time together when he was growing up. The third child of an agribusiness tycoon went off to a British boarding school at 10, graduating later from Cambridge University with a mathematics degree. His father was busy building Wilmar International Ltd. into the worlds largest palm-oil business, starting from scratch in 1991.

    But it was the elder Kuok who introduced his son to Eric Clapton. That led to an obsession with B.B. King and a love affair with the blues guitar. 

    Kuok remains part of a bigger dynasty that goes beyond palm oil. His father is nephew to Robert Kuok, one of the worlds richest men according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Worth $13.5 billion, the family patriarch controls businesses from sugar and fertilizers to hotels and logistics companies.

    Family money and a clutch of investors including JamHub Corp. helped get BandLab off the ground. But the younger Kuok now has to prove his mettle — and Rolling Stone is just the start. His mother constantly reminded him: “Much has been given, much will be expected.”

    Wenner says he has faith his new partner can set the magazine business on a new path. The tie-up will also test Wenners own leadership ability, though he wouldnt comment on a recent report that hell take the businesss helm from his father, 70, next year.

    There is a whole layer of excitement for me in that to have a partner in Meng — we are kind of the same age — and to have a kindred spirit, whos driven, and the focus and has a shared vision, its more than exciting, he said. It means a lot.

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-09-25/28-year-old-scion-cut-rolling-stone-deal-over-love-of-guitars

    One man’s journey home after four years in the world’s largest refugee camp

    Mohamed Omar Abdille boards a bus from the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya bound for Somalia on Aug. 11, 2016.
    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    DADAAB REFUGEE COMPLEX, Kenya Mohamed Omar Abdille remembers the night before he left his home in Merca, Somalia, in September 2012 to begin life as a refugee.

    He was 15. Family and friends gathered around the table for a final meal before his departure. His mother served his favorite supper of spaghetti, beef and milk. They joked and laughed about his journey ahead and spoke of the peace that prevailed at the Dadaab refugee complex, 325 miles away in Kenya, and about the opportunities that awaited Mohamed there. An uncle was already at one of the five camps at the complex, and Mohamed could live with him while he attended school. In Merca, Mohamed recalled this past summer, “there was little food or water, and the few schools had long been closed.”

    As the family and visitors ate, they could hear gunshots and explosions from the ongoing battles between clan factions across town. The Somali government’s war against al-Shabab, the terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida, also afflicted Merca. Mohamed’s siblings wished they could go with him; he assured them that once he had an education he would be back to teach them, too.

    Mohamed’s father, Omar, a shopkeeper and a farmer, would have liked to take the whole family to Dadaab, but he couldn’t afford the $50 per person it would cost to shuttle them there by private van from Merca. Failing that, he wanted Mohamed, as his eldest son, to go to school; the rest of the family would move to Barawe, 60 miles down Somalias coast, soon after Mohamed’s departure.

    After finishing the meal at 11 p.m., the family retired. Excited to start his new life, and kept awake by distant explosions, Mohamed, who shared a mat with his six-year-old brother, could hardly sleep.

    “Finally, I was going to learn English,” he said.

    Before dawn the next morning, his parents took him to the bus stop. His father gave him the $50 fare. His mother, handing him cakes she had baked for him to eat on the way, told him, “You will not be lonely your relatives are there. Your uncle will take you to school. Do not think of me so much.”

    After saying goodbye to his parents, Mohamed could not get a seat inside the white Nissan Homy van and had to sit on the roof. Four days of travel on dusty, bumpy roads brought the van to Dadaab.

    Officials from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) processed Mohamed’s registration, and he was able to find his uncle. Soon he would enroll in primary school at Hagadera refugee camp. In Somalia, he had attended an informal school, known as a duksi, where the students only learn the Koran. His 11 siblings have never received proper schooling.

    The Dadaab refugee complex grew to half a million residents but was built to house 90,000.

    Image: Tony Karumba / AFP / Getty Images

    Today, Mohamed is back in Somalia among the first refugees to be repatriated at the demand of Kenya’s government. The Dadaab refugee complex was established in 1992 when civil war engulfed Somalia following the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Drought and regional conflicts in the ensuing decades caused the complex to grow by 2011 to a peak population of 565,000 in camps built to accommodate 90,000. Dadaab now offers a haven for refugees from every country that neighbors Kenya Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda as well as Rwanda. According to UNHCR, Somalis make up 95 percent of the camps population. About 80 percent are women and children.

    In June, UNHCR agreed to a plan to resettle 150,000 Dadaab residents by the end of 2016.

    At Dadaab, refugees have found not only safety but also education, health care and business opportunities all in short supply in parts of the region, especially Somalia. The U.N. runs the camps, and humanitarian agencies assume various functions, operating schools, doling out food rations, managing water and sanitation, and offering programs in gender-based violence. About half of Dadaab’s 168,745 children between the ages of three and 18 attend school a much higher enrollment rate than Somalia’s according to Lennart Hernander, program representative for the Lutheran World Federation in Kenya and Djibouti, which runs schools at Hagadera camp, including the one Mohamed attended.

    But refugees in Kenya faced increased pressure after attacks by Islamist terrorists, angry over a joint operation of the Kenyan and Somali militaries against al-Shabab in 2011, began to strike civilian targets in the country in 2012. A Kenyan official told reporters in 2013 that one of the attackers on the Westgate shopping mall that September had passed through a refugee camp in Kenya’s northwest. A voluntary repatriation program was begun in December 2014. When al-Shabab killed 147 Kenyans at Garissa University College in 2015, Deputy President William Ruto announced that Dadaab would be closed within three months.

    Few took the threat seriously; forcibly repatriating refugees to a country where their lives would be in danger is a violation of both Kenyan and international law, and Nairobis human rights commission opposed the idea. But as peace returned to segments of Somalia, Kenya’s claims that security, high costs and lack of support from the international community were weighing on the developing nation began to resonate. The population of Dadaab was falling down 40 percent, by some estimates, between 2011 and 2016 but not fast enough for officials in Nairobi. In May 2016, the government renewed calls to close Dadaab.

    “At great cost, our troops have liberated large swaths of Somalia from the hold of al-Shabab, yet we are still presented with a picture of a country to which none of its refugee diaspora can resettle, while U.N. workers traverse much of that liberated country with relative safety,” wrote Kenyas principal secretary for the interior, Karanja Kibicho, in a statement in May.

    In June, UNHCR agreed to a plan to resettle 150,000 residents by the end of 2016.

    From the start of the voluntary repatriation program through August, Somali refugees totaling 29,371 had been repatriated from Dadaab, according to Duke Mwancha, a UNHCR spokesperson in Nairobi. Convoys of up to 11 buses carrying 70 people each leave as frequently as four times a week.

    Dadaab refugees play soccer with an improvised ball.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    When he was not attending school, Mohamed learned how to use a computer at the youth center at his camp. He enjoyed playing soccer with schoolmates and visiting friends elsewhere in the complex. After school, he would help out at his uncle’s shop, where he sold foodstuffs such as sugar and flour. The camp offered opportunities for children to learn and grow, but finding a job, winning a scholarship or getting resettled in a new country depended on luck.

    “All children have an opportunity to go to school, but not everyone who finishes school can get work or be resettled.”

    “All children have an opportunity to go to school, but not everyone who finishes school can get work or be resettled,” Mohamed said.

    When Mohamed first heard over the radio in May that the government of Kenya planned to repatriate all Somali refugees, his first thought was that it would never happen. (Many observers shared his belief.) Many in the camps, especially those who had been there for years or were born there, dreaded the idea of being forced to go to Somalia. But the June announcement to resettle 150,000 residents seemed a more realistic goal. Though not unhappy at Dadaab, he felt that it was only a matter of time before he was sent back. He imagined he could continue his education in Somalia despite the precarious situation.

    The U.N.’s facilitating the return of refugees meant he wouldn’t have to ask his father to pay for his transportation. His uncle had been resettled in the U.S. in December 2015, moving to Utah with his immediate family, so Mohamed was losing his ties to Dadaab. He had made something of his time at the camp, having obtained a Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, and was ready to move on.

    His father agreed that Mohamed should continue his studies back home. Though the boy planned to live in Mogadishu, Omar told his son of schools that had opened in Barawe, and that the small city was seeing a degree of reconstruction.

    A UNHCR official makes announcements to refugees waiting to begin the process of repatriation from the Dadaab refugee complex.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    Early one morning toward the end of June, Mohamed set off to the UNHCR field office, a few hundred yards outside the Hagadera camp he had called home for nearly four years. He walked among the many mud-walled, tarpaulin-roofed structures of the camp, past the crowded market, to the warren of humanitarian organization offices.

    Around 700 refugees were already outside a gate manned by private security guards. A queue snaked out along the razor-wired perimeter fence toward the market. Many were there to register for voluntary repatriation, taking advantage of the offer of free transport and assistance with resettlement once in Somalia.

    “Why should they keep us here and beat us, yet it is our homes we want to go to?”

    Others had completed registration and were back for the mandatory health screening. Mohamed explained himself to the guards and was allowed in. After hours of waiting in line, his registration was completed quickly. A week later he completed his health screening.

    On the morning of July 18, Mohamed was called with other refugees to move into the transit camp UNHCR had set up at Hagadera in preparation for transfer to Mogadishu. They were informed they would be flown out in a week. Mohamed was thrilled at the prospect of boarding an airplane for the first time.

    But on the morning of the scheduled flight, al-Shabab struck U.N. and African Union buildings near Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport with twin suicide car bombs, killing 13 people and injuring five others. Repatriation flights and bus trips to Somalia were suspended indefinitely. What should have been a short stint at the transit center would become weeks, and patience among the refugees ran thin. At times, crowds would push and surge forward to the gate and be whipped with long canes wielded by guards in white shirts, blue trousers and black boots. Mohamed said he saw a woman, whom he estimated to be about 70 years old, beaten by the private guards contracted by UNHCR for skipping the queue.

    “We just want to go home. Why should they keep us here and beat us, yet it is our homes we want to go to?” said a woman who witnessed a beating in late July.

    A private security guard contracted by UNHCR used a tree branch as a whip to keep refugees from crowding the entrance to a hall where officials processed repatriation documents.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    Food rations in the transit camp were irregular and inadequate, Mohamed said. Men would often forgo their rations so women and children could be fed.

    “Sometimes just white rice is brought in, and sometimes we get only tea in the morning and nothing else until the next day,” Mohamed said.

    Many evenings he would walk to Kambioos, a refugee camp three miles away, in the evening for supper with a friend who would share with him. (Ishmael Mohamed, UNHCR repatriation officer at Hagadera, said refugees at the transit center had access to two hot meals every day provided by a local contractor.)

    Mohamed Gaab Hassan, 40, a father of three from Kismayo, Somalia, was at the transit center with his family at the same time as Mohamed. He and his wife and children left home for Dadaab in 2011 after all his 150 goats and 10 of his 20 camels died because of drought. He left the remaining camels with his mother and brother and crossed the border for Dadaab, where he was pleased to find that his children could attend school.

    Mohamed Gaab Hassan, a father of three from Kismayo, Somalia, waits at a transit center with his wife and one of his children.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    When the repatriation effort was announced, Hassan decided to go home to his aging mother. After he was told he and his family would be sent to Somalia, officials informed him their papers had to be reviewed because his daughter had decided to stay. The 14-year-old married a fellow refugee in January and said she and her husband wanted to stay longer at Dadaab. Hassan and the rest of the family couldn’t be released until the necessary paperwork was processed to show that his family was now less one.

    “I do not have any issues with my daughter choosing to remain behind with her husband, but I wish they could clear this up quickly so that my family and I can go home,” he said through a translator.

    His camels now decreased to five, he was eager to go back and help his mother.

    People gather on the Dadaab airstrip outside the buses that will take repatriating refugees to Somalia.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    Two weeks after the al-Shabab attack, trips to Somalia picked up again but not to Mogadishu. Mohamed had to wait for the flights to resume. A few days later, it was decided that the refugees who were to be flown to Mogadishu should choose other towns, where they could be taken by bus.

    “We are focusing on the peaceful areas and regions where we have a UNHCR presence,” said Ishmael Mohamed, of the UNHCR.

    Mohamed Omar Abdille chose Kismayo, a coastal town 325 miles southwest of Mogadishu, where an aunt lived. From there he could catch a private bus to the capital. After another false start, he was among 700 refugees set to leave on Aug. 11.

    Kenyan officials were at the Dadaab airstrip early that morning to prepare documentation for the refugees. Half a mile outside the camp complex, on the outskirts of the town of Dadaab, the airstrip is a wire-fenced runway without a single building. UNHCR and government officials processed papers while seated on plastic chairs inside tents.

    A U.N. official, left, hands money to refugees being repatriated to Somalia.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    At 8:30 a.m., hundreds of refugees waited to be cleared. Government and UNHCR officials issued repatriation forms, convoy tickets and cash $200 per individual to help with getting settled. The sick or people with disabilities received $230.

    Both Mohamed and Hassan were among the last to be cleared, around 2 p.m. Mohamed beamed as he received his money and a parcel containing his repatriation documents.

    Mohamed, left, and an unidentified friend show their repatriation papers.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    Half an hour later, the convoy left the airstrip. Two police vehicles led the way, followed by 11 buses, with other police vehicles bringing up the rear. After two hours of traveling, the convoy arrived at Dhobley, a border town. That was as far as the Kenyan buses and police escort could go; despite Mohamed’s understanding that he would be taken to Kismayo, everyone was told to debark at the border.

    The refugees crossed into Somalia, where they were now on their own. Privately operated Nissan vans awaited to take them to points inside Somalia. Mohamed paid $20 for transport to Kismayo, where he arrived two days later. He went straight to his aunts house, near the main market.

    “There are no gunshots. There is no war. You can walk around town even at midnight.”

    He planned to stay a few days and report to the UNHCR office before continuing on his journey to Mogadishu, where he hoped to find a good high school.

    “The UNHCR has promised to pay fees for us to continue our education here in Somalia,” he said by phone. At the office, he was given an additional $200. He decided to send $100 to his mother using a mobile money transfer service.

    A lot had changed in Kismayo since the last time Mohamed was there. He saw buildings under construction and schools and hospitals and other public buildings being rebuilt.

    “It is peaceful here, just like it is in Dadaab,” he said. “There are no gunshots. There is no war. You can walk around town even at midnight.”

    Mohamed spent four days with his aunt. A week after leaving Dadaab, he boarded an airplane for the first time and flew to Mogadishu. He stayed with a cousin who runs a mobile phone shop on the outskirts of the city. Unlike in Kismayo, Mohamed was stopped by intelligence officers and police, who asked for identification and checked anything he was carrying with him.

    “It is because they are always on the lookout for al-Shabab, but apart from that I find Mogadishu to be peaceful,” he said.

    Mohamed stows his luggage before the long trip.

    Image: Anthony Langat / TakePart

    Mohamed’s father feels differently about conditions in Mogadishu, and asked his son to abandon his plans of finding a school there to attend.

    “On my second day here, my father called me and told me to look for a school in Barawe instead,” Mohamed said. “He said that as his firstborn son, he wants me to be near him to help him out with the business when I am not in school.”

    Mohamed felt he had no choice but to head home, as his father had asked him. He found a bus to Barawe and arrived at his mother’s house just in time for supper. (His father now lives nearby with his second wife.) Rice and beef were served, and it was all happiness as he ate with his family and related for them how life was in Kenya. His siblings were particularly interested in the experience of air travel.

    “No one in my family has ever boarded a plane, and they are really excited about it,” he said.

    On his second day at home, Mohamed started looking for a high school to enroll in. He wasn’t happy about the schools in Barawe as compared with what he had become accustomed to in Dadaab.

    “I will still speak to my parents to see if they can allow me to go and find a school in Mogadishu,” he said.

    “I have seen how hard it is for an ordinary citizen to access services, and I want to change that.”

    Hernander, of the Lutheran World Federation, is concerned that the repatriation will have an effect on the school-going children’s education.

    “Children who move from a country to another will inevitably be affected by a change in the school system,” he said. “Moving from a well-established system with decades of development behind it like Kenya to a new system being under continuous development and most likely with far less resources, less experienced and less trained teachers, and maybe less capacity to enroll children at all, is likely to have negative impact to the childrens education.”

    He believes development of a national education system in Somalia is essential to Somalias capacity to absorb returnees.

    Despite his difficulties finding a suitable school, Mohamed is happy to be home. He hopes peace will return to the rest of the country, and that services such as education will be improved. His wish is to attend university after high school.

    Then, he said, “I want to work for the government. I want to be able to assist my fellow citizens get access to government services. I have seen how hard it is for an ordinary citizen to access services, and I want to change that,” he said.

    Two weeks after Mohamed left Dadaab, authorities in the region where he now lives, Jubaland, suspended the reception of more returnees, citing lack of capacity. There have been no road convoys to the border since early September, though flights to Mogadishu now depart twice a week. Mwancha, of the UNHCR, expressed confidence that Jubaland’s new policy would be temporary, and that convoys would resume once more humanitarian assistance was in place. (Already, 4.7 million people require food aid in Somalia, with the number to rise if a two-year drought continues, according to the U.N.)

    Until then, he said, the 1,000 people ready to be taken to Dhobley on the day the suspension was announced will be waiting at the transit centers at Dadaab.

    This article originally published at TakePart here

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/09/25/dadaab-refugee-camp-closing/

    Arnold Palmer, One Of The Greatest Golfers Of All Time, Dies At 87

    Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers ever to pick up a club and the object of a massive fan base that called itself Arnies Army as he recorded seven major victories, died Sunday at 87 in Pittsburgh, according to the United States Golf Association.

    Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, told the Associated Press that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems. Johnson said Palmer was admitted to the hospital Thursday for some cardiovascular work and weakened over the last few days.

    Born in Latrobe, Pa., Palmers endearing personality and skill on the links earned him the nickname The King, during a career whose beginning coincided with the birth of television sports. Along the way, he became one of the wealthiest celebrity endorsers, a philanthropist, golf course designer and pilot.

    Palmers long string of victories on the PGA tour began in 1955, and he became one of the sports most recognizable personalities, along with Jack Nicklaus. Palmers charismatic personality also made him a sought after pitchman, for several products, perhaps most famously Quaker State motor oil.

    “Arnold Palmer was the everyday man’s hero,” Nicklaus said. “From the modest upbringing, Arnold embodied the hard-working strength of America.”

    Palmers importance to subsequent generations of golfers was evident Sunday, as tributes poured in via social media.

    Such sad news to hear about passing of #arnoldpalmer, tweeted superstar Ernie Els. Great memories of him. His legacy in the game & charity will live forever.

    John Daly tweeted: The Legends of all Legends in the game of golf! RIP my friend, always loved u and always will! God Bless my Friend!

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacted to the news of Palmer’s death, calling it “really sad news” in a tweet. 

    “Really sad news: The great Arnold Palmer, the “King,” has died. There was no-one like him – a true champion! He will be truly missed,” he tweeted. 

    Palmer won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and in 1974 was one of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

    Palmer learned to play from his father, Milfred “Deacon” Palmer, who the club pro and greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club. It was ten that he developed his trademark pigeon-toed putting stance.

    He earned a scholarship to Wake Forest, but left to join the U.S. Coast Guard in the late 1940s. He returned to school three years later, and won the 1954 U.S. Amateur championship. 

    Palmer turned pro a year later, winning the1955 Canadian Open the first of a string of championships. Three years later, he won the Masters Tournament, cementing his place among the sports greats.

    Palmer won 62 titles on the PGA Tour, with the final one coming in the 1973 Bob Hope Desert Classic. Among his wins were four at the Masters, two at the British Open and one at the U.S. Open. He finished second in the U.S. Open four times, was runner-up three times in the PGA Championship.

    Palmers best years were in the early 1960s, but he remained an immensely popular figure for the rest of his life. In 2000, Golf Digest raked him the sixth greatest player of all time. Although his biggest purse, $50,000, came when he won the Westchester Classic in 1971, Palmers popularity allowed him to earn as much as $30 million per year in endorsements and business deals as recently as a few years ago.

    During his heyday and well beyond, Palmer was a friend and sometimes golf partner with Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and both Bushes.

    Palmer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

    Palmers friendly and folksy manner made him a favorite of the press, and his quips and quotes were as legendary as his short game.

    “I have a tip that will take five strokes off anyone’s golf game. It’s called an eraser, Palmer once said.

    From former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, an avid golfer, said Palmer “struck his way into history and our hearts”

    “Arnold Palmer was a model of integrity, passion, and commitment,” he said late Sunday.

    When Boehner was Speaker, he presided over a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda bestowing Palmer with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012. 

    Boehner said at the time that Palmer “democratized golf, made us think that we too could go out and play. Made us think that we could really do anything, really. All we had to do was to go out and try.” 

    Boehner nearly broke down. 

    “Arnold, you’ve struck our hearts and our minds, and today your government, your fellow citizens are going to strike a gold medal for you,” he said at the point.

    Palmer said he was “particularly proud of anything the House and Senate could agree on.”

    Palmer’s first wife, Winnie, died in 1999. They had two daughters, and grandson Sam Saunders plays on the PGA Tour. Palmer married Kathleen (Kit) Gawthrop in 2005.

    Palmer was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, which was caught early. He returned to golf a few months later, winking at fans as he waded through the gallery, always a smile and a signature for them.

    “I’m not interested in being a hero,” Palmer said, implying that too much was made about his return from cancer. “I just want to play some golf.”

    Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Christopher Snyder, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2016/09/25/arnold-palmer-one-greatest-golfers-all-time-dies-at-87.html

    John McDonnell: Intervention key to post-Brexit prosperity – BBC News

    Image copyright PA

    A future Labour government would intervene in the economy to bring about a “manufacturing renaissance”, shadow chancellor John McDonnell is to say.

    Digital advances are encouraging firms to return to the UK but the Conservatives are “too blinkered by their ideology” to take advantage, he will tell the party’s conference.

    Labour, he will say, will not stand by and let industries like steel flounder.

    He will also promise to “work with” wealth creators and entrepreneurs.

    It comes as shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry is to promise to replace any regional funding shortfalls in the UK caused by Britain’s departure from the European Union.

    ‘New deal’

    In his keynote speech in Liverpool, Mr McDonnell – a close ally of leader Jeremy Corbyn on the left of the party – will commit Labour to supporting major industrial employers and firms in emerging sectors, such as clean energy.

    Arguing that the tide has turned around the world against unfettered globalisation, he will claim advocates of the free market will be unable to fully exploit the opportunities presented by the UK’s exit from the EU.

    “We need a new deal across our whole economy,” he will say. “Because whatever we do in Britain, the old rules of the global economy are being rewritten for us.

    “The winds of globalisation are blowing in a different direction. They are blowing against the belief in the free market, and in favour of intervention.”

    The future of manufacturing, he will say, lies in collaboration – underpinned by high-skilled labour and high levels of investment – rather than “dog-eat-dog competition”.

    Citing the government’s response to the steel crisis, its cuts to solar and wind subsidies and its approach to R&D funding, he will claim only Labour can unlock the true potential of the British economy.

    “Be certain the next Labour government will be an interventionist government,” he will argue. “We will not stand by like this one has and see our key industries flounder and our future prosperity put at risk.

    “When we return to government we will implement a comprehensive industrial strategy. After Brexit, we want to see a renaissance in British manufacturing.”

    ‘Entrepreneurial state’

    The Labour leadership has alarmed some business leaders by calling for selective nationalisation – including the return of the railways to public ownership – and for business taxes to rise to fund investment and skills training.

    But Mr McDonnell – whose has previously called for “socialism with an iPad” – will reject claims that the party is anti-enterprise and its approach marks a return to the state planning of the 1970s.

    “Our government will create an entrepreneurial state that works with the wealth creators, the workers and the entrepreneurs to create the products and the markets that will secure our long-term prosperity,” he will say.

    Allies of Mr Corbyn are pressing him to use his increased authority following his re-election to set out bold policies on the economy and the public services – cementing the party’s anti-cuts agenda.

    Speaking at a rally on Sunday evening, shadow health secretary Diane Abbott said anti-austerity was once seen as a “left-wing preoccupation” but was now Labour’s official position and Mr Corbyn’s re-election was a “turning point” for progressive politics across Europe.

    Also speaking at the conference, former leader Ed Miliband said the confusion unleashed by the Brexit vote was an opportunity for Labour but only if it spoke for both those who voted to leave as well as remain.

    Amid calls for the party to unite behind Mr Corbyn following his re-election on Saturday, MPs critical of his leadership said they wanted reassurances that there would be no constituency deselections and at least partial elections to the shadow cabinet.

    Ben Bradshaw told activists “we all want unity as long as it’s not the unity of the graveyard”.

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37468209

    Hillary Clinton on taxes: CNN’s Reality Check vets the claims

    Washington (CNN)During her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has made many claims about economic issues. CNN’s Reality Check Team put her statements and assertions to the test.

    The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
    Reality Check: Clinton on Trump’s estate tax plan
      August 11, 2016
      By Kate Grise & Tami Luhby
      In her economic policy speech, Hillary Clinton painted Donald Trump’s tax plans as a gift to him and his wealthy friends.
      She made note that he would be a big beneficiary of his plan to eliminate the estate tax.
      “If you believe that he’s as wealthy as he says, that alone would save the Trump family $4 billion. But it would do nothing for 99.8% of Americans,” she said in Warren, Michigan Thursday.
      Very few people who die are subject to estate taxes. Americans who pass away in 2016 can bequeath $5.45 million to heirs free of the federal estate tax. Married couples can give $10.9 million tax free. Anything over that is subject to tax. The top rate is 40%.
      Donald Trump says that he is worth $10 billion. We’ll go with his numbers, though it is worth pointing out that other estimates put Trump’s net worth around $4.5 billion. Trump falls into the top tax bracket and would owe 40% on his assets above the $5.45 million lifetime exemption, which leaves his estate with a $3.997 billion tax liability.
      However, there are many loopholes and deductions that Trump’s team of lawyers could help him navigate. The Tax Policy Center estimated in 2013 that for all taxable estates worth more than $20 million, they are paying an average 18.8% rate. For Trump’s family, this would bring their tax liability down to about $1.8 billion.
      As for the rest of America: Of the 2.6 million Americans who died in 2015, only about 5,000 estates paid the federal estate tax, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. That’s only 0.2% of the Americans who died last year.
      So it’s TRUE that 99.8% of Americans would not benefit from the elimination of the estate tax. It is also TRUE that Trump’s family could owe just less than $4 billion in estate taxes if the family does not use any loopholes or exemptions.
      Reality Check: Clinton on Trump Loophole
      August 11, 2016
      By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney
      In contrasting her economic vision with Donald Trump’s on Thursday, Hillary Clinton slammed what she termed the “Trump Loophole.”
      “It would allow him to pay less than half the current tax rate on income from many of his companies. He’d pay a lower rate than millions of middle class families,” Clinton said during her speech in Warren, Michigan.
      Here’s what she is referring to: Under his tax reform proposal, Trump would slash the income tax rate on all business income to 15%. That includes business entities such as limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability corporations (LLCs) and S Corps.
      They’re known as pass-throughs entities, because the entity itself isn’t subject to income tax. Instead, its profits are passed along to its shareholders and partners, who then report them on their individual tax returns.
      Today, those profits are taxed at a top rate of 39.6%. Under Trump’s proposal, they would be taxed at just 15%.
      Trump’s financial disclosure documents — which list all of his assets and businesses interests — are chock-full of LLCs and LPs.
      Therefore, we rate Clinton’s claim as TRUE.
      Reality Check: Clinton on undocumented workers paying Social Security
      August 11, 2016
      By Kate Grise, CNN
      During a speech on the economy, Hillary Clinton laid out parts of her immigration reform plan and said that moving toward reform would help all Americans and the economy.
      “We already have millions of people working in the economy and paying $12 billion a year to Social Security even though they are undocumented,” she said.
      The Clinton camp told Politifact that she was referring to a 2013 actuarial note from the Social Security Administration.
      According to the report, the $12 billion figure included contributions from both undocumented workers and their employers into Social Security.
      The Office of the Chief Actuary estimates that there were 3.1 million undocumented immigrants who worked and paid Social Security taxes in 2010. It estimated that a worker earned about $34,000 a year and that both employee and employer paid a 6.2% tax rate, which resulted in a $13 billion contribution to Social Security. These workers may have had a work permit and overstayed their visa, used fake birth certificates to get a Social Security number or used a Social Security number that did not actually belong to them.
      The report said that some of those workers could have drawn benefits totaling an estimated $1 billion, which leaves us with $12 billion in the Social Security fund.
      The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, estimates that the total paid into the Social Security trust by undocumented workers is closer to $7 billion but does not include contributions from the employer.
      Both of these figures are, of course, rough estimates. Each report had to narrow down the population of non-permanent residents or citizens to come up with the number of undocumented workers who were actually paying into Social Security.
      We rate Clinton’s claim as MOSTLY TRUE because at the end of the day, these figures are estimates based on the best numbers we have to go off of, but they are not exact figures. Also, the figure is from 2010 and is likely to have changed in the last six years.
      Reality Check: On Social Security Cap, Clinton claims she and Sanders agree
      April 14, 2016
      By Kate Grise, CNN
      During one of their many sparring matches during the debate, Clinton tried to convince her opponent that they had more in common than not on the issue of Social Security. Regarding raising the payroll income cap, Clinton said that she and Sanders actually share the same view.
      “I have supported it. We are in vigorous agreement here, senator,” Clinton said.
      Sanders didn’t appear convinced about his opponent’s commitment to protect the Social Security trust fund by asking wealthier Americans to pay more.
      “If I hear you correctly, Madam Secretary, you are now coming out finally in favor of lifting the cap on taxable income and extending and expanding social security,” Sanders said. “If that is the case, welcome on board. I’m glad you’re here.”
      During her campaign, Clinton has been warming to the idea of raising the cap on income that can be taxed for Social Security.
      Under current law, workers do not pay Social Security taxes on anything they earn above $118,500.
      According to Clinton’s website, she aims to defend Social Security and “understands that there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap, and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.”
      Clinton, in campaign appearances, has also said she is committed to extending the life of the Social Security trust fund. She has pointed to taxing incomes at higher levels and applying Social Security taxes to passive income as ways of doing so, but, unlike Senator Sanders, she has stopped short of proposing any specific plans to ensure the longevity of Social Security.
      And these comments are a shift from her position in 2008 on lifting the cap. During her first run for the White House, Clinton spoke out against the idea. “I’m certainly against one of Senator Obama’s ideas, which is to lift the cap on the payroll tax,” Clinton said during a Democratic primary debate in 2008.
      We rate her claim as TRUE, but given her lack of specific proposals, it’s understandable Sanders is skeptical of his opponent’s long-standing commitment on the issue.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/25/politics/hillary-clinton-economy-taxes-fact-check/index.html

      Hillary Clinton on big money: CNN’s Reality Check vets the claims

      Washington (CNN)During her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has made many claims about economic issues. CNN’s Reality Check Team put her statements and assertions to the test.

      The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
      Reality Check: Clinton and the auto bailout vote
        March 9, 2016
        By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
        Clinton and Sanders once again sparred over their records concerning the auto industry bailout in late 2008 and early 2009.
        Clinton accused Sanders of voting against it, which he denied.
        Here’s what actually happened:
        The bailouts of the auto industry and Wall Street were closely linked.
        Both Sanders and Clinton supported a standalone auto rescue bill that came before the Senate in December 2008. That legislation failed, so Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama tapped into the Wall Street bailout fund, known as TARP, to save the carmakers.
        Sanders voted against TARP twice, first when it initially came before Congress in October 2008, and again when Republicans sought to stop the distribution of TARP funds in January 2009. By that time, it was already determined that some of the money would go to the auto bailout.
        Verdict: It’s complicated. Sanders supported the standalone auto rescue fund, but opposed the Wall Street bailout, even when it was also going to help the automakers.
        Reality Check: Clinton on calling out Wall Street on mortgages
        March 9, 2016
        By Sonam Vashi, CNN
        Clinton said, “I went to Wall Street before the Great Recession and basically called them out, said that their behavior was putting our economy at risk, called for a moratorium on foreclosures.”
        In March 2007, during preparation for the 2008 election, Clinton did call out problems in the subprime mortgage market that would later culminate in the next year. “The subprime problems are now creating massive issues on Wall Street,” she said in 2007.
        “It’s a serious problem affecting our housing market and millions of hard working families. So what are some of the things we need to do? We need to expand the role of the (Federal Housing Administration) to issue more mortgages at better rates to these homeowners. We need to give consumers more counseling and information, prevent families from being trapped in high interest loans with pre-payment penalties and in some cases, allow more breathing room from foreclosure.”
        Later in 2007, just as the Great Recession hit, Clinton called for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, as well as a five-year freeze on the interest rates of adjustable rate mortgages.
        Based on that information, it seems Clinton was a relatively early critic of Wall Street lending practices.
        Verdict: TRUE.
        Reality Check: Clinton says Obama took the most money from Wall Street but made the toughest regulations
        February 23, 2016
        By Sonam Vashi, CNN
        Clinton said, “President Obama took an enormous amount of money, more than anybody ever had from Wall Street in 2008 when he was successful in his election, and then he turned around and pushed through the toughest regulations that we’ve seen since the Great Depression.”
        During the 2008 election cycle, the Obama campaign raked in $747.8 million, including $43.7 million from the finance, insurance and real estate sector.
        That’s more than the $31 million John McCain received from those industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which compiles Federal Election Commission data.
        Obama’s amount is also slightly more than what George W. Bush took in from those industries in 2004, but Obama’s $43.7 million would later be eclipsed by the $61 million raised by Mitt Romney in 2012, according to CRP (Clinton, for comparison, has raised about $21.7 million from the sector).
        Additionally, the CRP found that individuals or PACs representing Goldman Sachs were the second highest contributors to Obama’s 2008 campaign.
        As campaign contributions have grown over time, 2008 represented the most amount of money that the finance, insurance and real estate sector had given in the past 20 years.
        Therefore, in raw numbers not adjusted for inflation, Clinton’s claim that the Obama campaign received the most money from Wall Street in 2008 is TRUE.
        Obama touted the 2010 Wall Street regulations as being the toughest financial reforms since the Great Depression. Many think tanks, including the Council on Foreign Relations and Bankrate, agreed. The Dodd-Frank regulations aimed to stop bailouts, enforce consumer protection and created a council that would warn the country before companies could provoke financial crises. We’re also rating that claim TRUE.
        Reality Check: Clinton on CEO pay
        February 23, 2016
        By Kate Grise, CNN
        Clinton touted her record of consistently attacking Wall Street, despite receiving nearly $2 million in speaking fees from various banks and Wall Street groups over recent years.
        “I went to Wall Street before the Great Recession. I called them out. I said what they were doing in the mortgage market was going to cause serious problems. I called for reining in CEO pay. I called for ending the loophole that lets hedge fund managers get a lower tax rate. I have been on record for a really long time,” she said.
        At the beginning of the financial crisis, Clinton was running for president, and she did speak out about the issues the mortgage market may cause as early as March 2007.
        “The subprime problems are now creating massive issues on Wall Street,” Clinton said during a speech on subprime lending. “It’s a serious problem affecting our housing market and millions of hard-working families.”
        During the same March 2007 speech, Clinton called for expanding the role of Federal Housing Administration to insure more mortgages at better rates, providing consumers with more information and counseling, and allowing more breathing room for foreclosure.
        As a senator from New York, Clinton did sponsor a bill in 2007 that aimed to implement these reforms, but it did not pass.
        Clinton also released a plan to increase financial regulation and address the housing and credit crises in March 2008, just before the worst of the financial crisis hit in the fall of 2008.
        Looking back on the crisis in October, Clinton wrote, “Before the crisis hit, as a senator from New York, I was alarmed by this gathering storm, and called for addressing the risks of derivatives, cracking down on abusive subprime mortgages and improving financial oversight.” She went on to lay out similar reforms to prevent the next crash in an op-ed written for Bloomberg View.
        Clinton has put the issue of CEO pay at the forefront of her campaign this time around, speaking on the issue during her speech kicking off her 2016 presidential run, saying that American families are still struggling “when the average CEO makes about 300 times what the average worker makes.”
        During a January 2008 interview with The New York Times, Clinton called executive-pay packages “offensive” and “wrong.”
        On the loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay lower taxes than most, Clinton has also been consistent. While campaigning for president in 2007, Clinton spoke out against the carried interest tax break that allows these managers to have their income taxed at the lower capital gains rate.
        “It offends our values as a nation when an investment manager making $50 million can pay a lower tax rate on her earned income than a teacher making $50,000 pays on her income,” she said during a campaign speech back then.
        Clinton has consistently repeated this claim, saying that the carried interest tax loophole is a “glaring inequity.” During this presidential campaign cycle, she has pledged to close the loophole.
        We rate Clinton’s claim as TRUE because she does indeed have a consistent position on these three issues.
        Reality Check: Clinton says “vast majority” of donors giving small contributions
        February 11, 2016
        By Tom LoBianco, CNN
        Hillary Clinton defended herself on questions of her fundraising, saying, “I’m very proud of the fact that we have more than 750,000 donors and the vast majority of them are giving small contributions.”
        Without being able to check the number of small individual contributions through the Federal Election Commission, the Clinton campaign has to be taken at its word regarding the number of individual donations.
        But the FEC does track the total dollar amounts. The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations, reports that roughly $19 million of the $109 million Clinton raised through individual contributions last year were small donations (less than $200 each). But large individual contributions accounted for roughly $90 million.
        By comparison Bernie Sanders raised $54 million in small donations and roughly $19 million in individual large donations to make up the $73 million he raised in individual contributions last year.
        Yes, Hillary Clinton raised quite a bit of money from small donors, but Bernie Sanders raised much, much more from small donors.
        Verdict: TRUE, BUT MISLEADING
        Reality Check: Clinton on the auto bailout
        February 3, 2016
        By: Kate Grise and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN
        Clinton sung the praises of President Barack Obama’s bailout of the auto industry, saying, “All of us paid for it. They paid back the Treasury. We didn’t lose any money and we saved a lot of jobs.”
        When the Treasury Department closed the books on the $45.9 billion bailout, taxpayers had lost $10.6 billion.
        General Motors did repay everything it was obligated to pay back, but because the administration chose to buy GM stock rather than give it a loan during the bailout, taxpayers got the short end of the stick. GM stock was never profitable enough to recoup all of the investment.
        Taxpayers also lost about $1.3 billion on the bailout of Chrysler Group.
        Those losses, however, may have been a bargain in the long run. If the two automakers had gone out of business, it would have cut taxes collected from automakers, their suppliers and dealers. Unemployment benefits would have needed to be paid to 1.5 million workers out of a job and they would have been paying less in personal taxes. Overall, the Center for Automotive Research estimates that all of those losses could have cost the federal government up to about $50 billion to $60 billion in the first year and another $34 billion to $54 billion in the second year.
        The Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan think tank, also estimates that the bailout saved 1.5 million U.S. jobs by keeping GM, Chrysler and the companies that depended on them in business.
        We rate Clinton’s claim that taxpayers didn’t lose any money as FALSE because the Treasury did not recoup its full investment in either automaker, but her claim that the bailout saved “a lot” of jobs as TRUE.
        Reality Check: Clinton on Johnson Controls ‘inversion’
        February 3, 2016
        By Chip Grabow, CNN
        Many voters feel former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represents the interests of corporate America, moderator Anderson Cooper told the Democratic candidate on Wednesday. Clinton denied the characterization, citing that many Wall Street interests were funding other candidates in an effort to defeat her.
        She called it a “strange argument” since she made various efforts as senator of New York to crack down on Wall Street, from calling them out she said on changes to CEO pay to mortgage issues and calling for a consumer financial protection bureau.
        She went further, saying: “I’m not just going after Wall Street, though. I think that’s too narrow a target. I think we need to go after a company like Johnson Controls that is trying to avoid paying taxes after all of us bailed it out by pretending to sell itself in a so-called inversion in Europe. It’s a perversion. It should be stopped.”
        She was referring to a Milwaukee-based auto parts maker. That company benefited from the 2008 bailout of the automotive industry by the federal government. But Clinton also was referring to a more recent event, Johnson Controls’ agreement last week to merge with Ireland-based manufacturer, Tyco Controls. The sale to an overseas company allows Johnson to reduce its U.S. tax obligation by $150 million, according to the New York Times. That corporate maneuver is known as a tax inversion.
        Our verdict on Clinton’s characterization of Johnson Controls’ avoiding having to pay taxes in the U.S. is TRUE.
        Reality Check: Clinton on former secretaries of state delivering paid speeches
        February 3, 2016
        By Kevin Liptak, CNN
        Clinton, a former secretary of state, defended herself against claims of cashing in on her government job by suggesting her predecessors followed the same practice.
        “I made speeches to lots of groups,” Clinton said. “Every secretary of state that I know has done that.”
        Clinton is right that former top diplomats are all charging premium rates for imparting their wisdom upon paying audiences. Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright are all listed as speakers-for-hire on the website of Washington Speakers Bureau, an agency that helps organizations book top speaking talent.
        What differs between those former secretaries of state and Clinton is the paychecks they’re able to pull in.


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          Hillary Clinton shrugs off Goldman Sachs speaking fees

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        Rice, who served as top diplomat in President George W. Bush’s second term, earned a $150,000 payday for a speech at the University of Minnesota in 2014, the Minnesota Daily reported at the time.
        Her predecessor, Powell, earns similar amounts for his appearances, raking in between $100,000 to $200,000 per speech, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
        Albright, President Bill Clinton’s envoy in his second term, earns in the five-figure range, according to booking sources who spoke to The New York Times in July.
        Meanwhile, Clinton’s financial disclosure forms show she earned more than $300,000 for her top-paid speeches. The oft-cited figure of $675,000 for remarks to Goldman Sachs was payment for three speeches delivered in different states.
        Clinton’s claim that she isn’t alone in earning money on the speaking circuit holds up, but, as one of the country’s most famous women, she earns substantially more per speech than her predecessors at the State Department.
        Verdict: TRUE, but given the amounts, MISLEADING.
        Reality Check: Clinton on campaign contributions
        December 19, 2015
        By Kate Grise, CNN
        Clinton claimed that a review of OpenSecrets.org would show that 3% of her donations have come from people in the finance and investment world and that more of her donations have come from students and teachers than those associated with Wall Street.
        The website Opensecrets.org includes the most up-to-date filings by each candidate’s campaign and associated groups, according to the site.
        According to the site, Clinton’s campaign committee, Hillary for America, has raised more than $77 million. Donations from those in the education industry totaled $1.9 million. Those associated with the securities and investment industry and finance industries gave the campaign committee more than $2.9 million. While the Wall Street crowd gave more than those in the education industry, Clinton is only slightly off saying 3%, since Wall Street donations actually make up 3.76% of donations her campaign committee has raised.
        But the campaign committee is not the whole story when it comes to giving in support of Clinton’s campaign. There are super PACs and hybrid PACs also working to support Clinton.
        According to OpenSecrets.org, donors associated with securities and investments have given more than $5.5 million to Clinton’s campaign committee and associated super PACs and hybrid PACs working on her behalf. Another $1 million was given by those associated with miscellaneous finance industries.
        Those PACs and Clinton’s campaign committee have raised almost $100 million for Clinton’s efforts, so those associated with the “finance and investment world” donated 5% of Clinton’s total contributions. Almost all those contributions from the education industry went to the campaign committee, about 2% of total giving.
        There are some potential problems with the Opensecrets.org data that Clinton cited:
        According to Opensecrets.org, only about 60% of the total contributions were coded to include the donors’ occupations and make it possible to determine which industry they are associated with. According to federal campaign finance regulations, only donations of more than $200 must include the donor’s occupation, but that information is self-reported.
        OpenSecrets.org does not publicly report the number of donations by industry, only the giving totals.
        Donors from the securities and investment industry, as Opensecrets.org categorizes them, work largely for hedge funds, private investment firms, stockbrokers and bond dealers. Donors from the education industry cited by Opensecrets.org included individuals associated with universities and schools.
        Based on total giving amounts, Clinton’s statement that more students and teachers give to her than people in finance is FALSE. Likewise, based on total giving, her claim that those in finance and investment gave only 3% is also FALSE.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/25/politics/hillary-clinton-economy-big-money-fact-check/index.html