Cleveland’s dividing lines over race issues come to light under Trump

The Ohio city is one of Americas most racially segregated and under Trump, many fear a conflict between the black community and mostly white police force

Its not easy being a black cop in Cleveland. During his 23 years in uniform, and now as a detective, Lynn Hampton has weaved a tricky path between the citys African American majority and its overwhelmingly white, sometimes trigger-happy police department. Some in the black community called him a sellout. A few white colleagues regard him as an infiltrator. But Hampton did not give up working to bridge the divide.

Then came Donald Trump.

Were trying to keep a lid on this thing here. Youve got people in this city saying the police department is racist, that we are neo-Nazis, said Hampton. Now with Trump coming on the scene, spewing out these bigotries, my community is quite frankly saying this dude is a racist. Then hes talking about bringing back law and order again, and we know what that meant in the past. Whats that saying to the black community? Were opening back up open season on African Americans. Thats what people are thinking.

Hampton, wearing a brown trilby and a gold detectives badge on a chain around his neck, added that it was bad enough that Trump used the election campaign to push for a return of discredited stop and frisk policies, and to accuse Black Lives Matter of being responsible for the killings of police officers.

Those reckless pronouncements did not go unnoticed in a city marred by two of the most notorious police shootings of recent times, including the killing of 12 year-old Tamir Rice. But then, Clevelands overwhelmingly white police union piled in by taking the unprecedented step of endorsing Trump for president.

Bad move. Horrible move, said Hampton, who is a member of the union. A slap in the face to the community which you serve. What message does that send to black people about the attitude of the police?

Now the 57-year-old detective finds himself caught between an increasingly alarmed African American community, and a department he fears will retreat to a mindset more akin to military occupation than policing.

What kind of society does he want to create? Where we headed? You cant continue to back people into a corner without anybody eventually getting tired and striking out. Are we going to have more violence against police officers? Is that what he wants? Thats the very thing that Im trying to avoid, he said.

Some of Hamptons black colleagues have had enough and are talking about quitting. Thats not for him: he says he will stay and fight.

Brian King keeping in shape, playing basketball in his backyard. Photograph: Paul Sobota for the Guardian

On the other side of Cleveland, Brian King, a retired sales engineer for a steel company, knows what kind of society he wants and what he expects of Trump.

We need him to clean up the inner cities. The crime and the drugs. Clean up some of the people in this country that are causing troubles. The illegal immigrants. The terrorists, he said.

King said he has plenty of doubts about Trump but they are not the same as Hamptons. I dont think Trumps a racist at all. I believe that if everyone hates him he must be doing something right, he said. Trump was my first choice because Ive read his stuff and I thought he was an asshole. Hes a shyster. Hes a crook. But I want him to be a crook for us. For the ordinary guy.

Cleveland voted solidly for Hillary Clinton, although her numbers were down on Barack Obamas victories. It has among the highest poverty rates in the country, with one in three of the population living below the poverty line, rising to 43% among African Americans.

Cleveland is also among the most racially segregated cities in the country, a divide reflected in its police department, where just one in four officers is black in a city where more than half the population is African American and little more than one third is white.

The force is under federal court oversight after a group of 13 police officers fired 137 shots into a car with two unarmed African Americans in 2012. Officer Michael Brelo was filmed leaping on to the front of the car and firing at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams through the windscreen after fellow officers stopped shooting. He was acquitted of manslaughter on the grounds that the pair was probably already dead by then. To his critics, it looked a lot like Brelo thought he was back fighting insurgents with the US army in Iraq.

A lot of white officers believe that once you run all bets are off. I can do anything to you, said Hampton. What criminal do you know just gets in the car? Its their job to run. Your job is to chase em. A lot of officers are too quick to use their weapons.

In 2014, a Cleveland police officer shot dead Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child carrying an airsoft gun. The city council paid $6m to the boys family but the officer was not charged. Justice department intervention forced the department to increase training on bias and use of force, and to place a greater emphasis on community policing.

Theres been some incremental changes but the results have yet to be seen, said Hampton. Theyre still at the ground floor working. This is an institution thats been compromised a long time ago.

Now the detective fears that what progress there has been will be set back under a president who has suggested the police are victims of a witch-hunt and appointed an attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who calls federal investigations of law enforcement a smear. A White House webpage, Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community, promises to end the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.

The facade of the Black Shield Police Association Club, Cleveland. Photograph: Paul Sobota for the Guardian

Cleveland has an African American mayor and black police chief, but Hampton said power within the force remains with the white-dominated hierarchy.

The police union, the Cleveland Police Patrolmens Association, overwhelmingly endorsed Trump but on a low turnout.

The move was engineered by the associations leader, Steve Loomis, who told Trump during the campaign that federal oversight of police departments is an expensive failure. He also denounced the false narrative of Black Lives Matters. Trump reassured Loomis that youre going to have a friend in the White House; Loomis said he believes the new president is going to be a very strong supporter of law and order.

To Hampton that is code for the kind of racially biased, heavy-handed policing that has failed in the past. He suspects Trumps justice department will abandon Barack Obamas emphasis on civil rights, including scrutiny of police conduct. This week, Sessions pledged to pull back on federal investigations of police departments, saying it was making officers hesitant to do their jobs and reduced their effectiveness.

African American officers in Cleveland have their own organisation, the Black Shield Police Association, founded in 1946 to counter racial discrimination within the department. Hampton is its president.

The police has had a profound effect on the African American community like no other. Weve got a long history. The police were the slave catchers. I wanted to be an example in our community that not all police is a certain kind of way. Not walking around badge heavy, that Im the big bad police. That Im a human being and you can talk to me just like a regular person, he said. Some people look at black officers as sellouts. Its an interesting place to be between those two worlds but at the same time showing some compassion and understanding. I think African American officers in the urban area are best fit to do that because they come from that. Far too much in recent times, we have hired people that are void of that understanding.

They include veterans, such as Brelo, who continue to behave as if theyre in the military. Its a big problem because, I have to be truthful, theres question marks about that mentality coming back in our community. Too many people come on to this job with this mentality of us and them, carrying a big stick, he said.

Hampton said there are many good white officers committed to policing for the community, but he fears that the Trump administrations tone and policies will embolden the others. Look at all the crazy stuff thats going on, people feeling empowered, just because Trumps been elected. Threatening people. Were talking lawlessness just because a presidents been elected? You didnt have that kind of reaction with Obama. We werent going around threatening white folks because Obama became president, he said.

I think the reality is setting in where were at in this country right now. It was undercover. When they elected Trump, its going to bring that out.

Bulletin board at the Black Shield Police Association Club. Photograph: Paul Sobota for the Guardian

The fault lines have already been accentuated by the rise of Black Lives Matter. Hampton despairs of the view, heard inside the department and out, that the movement is anti-police or values black lives more than white. Theyre just trying to make a statement: dont be shooting people down like they dont matter, like theyre dogs. No ones saying white lives dont matter, he said.

Still, the detective sees the backlash against Black Lives Matter as part of a broader wave of anger that drove the Trump phenomenon. To Hampton, Trumps vision of the future looks an awful lot like a past he thought was behind the US.

Youve got people who are mad about immigration, people coming taking our jobs, and our borders and this stuff. He tapped into people thinking we need a person whos not a politician in there. Washington is corrupt. So is Wall Street. He tapped into the bigotry of people who want their country back, he said.

Black people say, back to what? You want to go back to slavery? Jim Crow? Youve got a section of the population who dont want to share the country. They want some folks to be back where they were when they had no authority, no power, no nothing. Back to being insignificant. They wanted the White House to return to being the white house.

A boarded-up home at the end of the street that Jamal Collins grew up on in East Cleveland. Photograph: Paul Sobota for the Guardian

King, the 69-year-old retired sales engineer for a steel company, is not ashamed to say he wants his country back and that he wants it to be great again. But he says hes talking about taking it back from politicians he accuses of exploiting division and pandering to special interests. He includes Black Lives Matters in that.

Weve had politicians for hundreds of years with their own agenda. They go to a black neighbourhood: I love the blacks. Im going to take care of them but they dont do anything. In a white neighbourhood: I love the whites. In a UAW (union) area: I love the UAW. Theyre all snakes and getting rich off us, he said.

But beyond the blunt declarations, he wants to see Trump distinguish between the truly dangerous and criminal and the rest.

The morons, the terrorists, are escalating. My sister lived in Abu Dhabi for 38 years so Im not against all Muslims, trust me. Her husbands family is Palestinian so Im not prejudiced. Its the militant Muslim terrorists Im against. We have to keep them out, he said.

King takes a similar view of illegal immigration. He said the very act of coming into the country illegally makes a person a criminal and subject to deportation. But then he gestures across the street. A person I know raised a family over there. I worked with her and we started talking about illegals and she said: Im an illegal. Shes been 30 some years over there. Its not her. Its the people who break laws I want taken care of, he said.

I hope Trump puts sane people in charge of this and says maybe they can stay on an individual basis. I have a niece whos married to an illegal. A Mexican. Im close to this situation. The children are suffering because theyre trying to stay in the United States. You cant just say were going to build a wall and throw them all out. But if theyre constantly in and out of jail, please. Thats a no-brainer. Get out.

But what King really wants is Trump to stand up against the rich and powerful on behalf of the little guy.

Like many of the new presidents supporters, King sees no contradiction in a billionaire businessman who lived in a gold tower claiming to be the voice of struggling workers. Neither is King disturbed by Trumps cabinet appointments such as the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, a multimillionaire former Goldman Sachs partner whose company aggressively foreclosed on homeowners who lost their jobs in the recession. I understand they were looking for their own wealth at one time. Im hoping hes going to demand more from them, he said.

King is big on Trumps plan to spend $1tn on infrastructure renewal. Thats not only a smart idea, its necessary. Our infrastructures falling apart, he said. King sees the plan as a reprise of President Franklin Roosevelts creation of millions of jobs through public works programmes during the 1930s economic depression.

It worked before with FDR. Trump knows how to get things done. I want to see what he can do. What have we got to lose?

Shirley Pasholk in the United Steelworkers Local 979 Union Hall. Photograph: Paul Sobota for the Guardian

Quite a lot, according to Shirley Pasholk. She responds to a question as to whether her 40 years working in a steel mill have been dangerous by holding up her right hand. Half a finger is missing.

It got it caught between a crane hook and a block of wood when I was picking up a coil that was too small for a crane to handle, she said. Things have become a lot safer over the years. When I started you had two or three fatalities a year. Everyone expected that they would have at least one serious injury. Now people here do not expect that. The union had a lot to do with that.

Pasholk has been a union activist for most of her years as a steelworker, including leading the local branch of the Women of Steel Committee. Without unions, she said, everything would be different. Pay, benefits, working conditions, even the environment, the community around the steel mill.

Pasholk, like Hampton, fears that the president will take the country back to a darker era of fewer rights (she liked Bernie Sanders). Everything the mans done says that he will not help ordinary people. He owns casinos where he has tried to break unions. Hes recommended that places like this should move to the south and after weve been hungry for a while wed work for lower wages, she said.

His appointments to the cabinet include people who have openly worked against public education, openly come out to privatise Medicare and social security. Its everything the union movement has been against and everything that has allowed us to live a decent life.

Most immediately, Pasholk is worried about the future of Obamacare. She was one of the few women at the mill when she was hired in 1976. She spent years on what was known as the pickle line, running coils of steel through acid. In 2001, the mill went bankrupt. Laid-off workers had to find their own health insurance and Pasholk said many were turned down because of conditions such as high blood pressure or faced with punitive premiums. The Affordable Care Act ended such practices.

The ACA doesnt go nearly far enough but the limited amount that it did do provides some real help for a large number of people, she said. Theres all kinds of things that even for people that have decent insurance are a positive step although what we really need is a national single payer plan like every civilised country in the world.

The mill was bought out, reopened and is now owned by ArcelorMittal Steel, the worlds largest steel company. It has full order books but faces an uncertain future given the volatility of the industry and the pressure from cheap Chinese imports. Pasholk said Trump is right that China does not compete fairly on steel but she doubts he will do very much about it once he comes under pressure from interests such as the construction industry.

Instead, she expects Trump to concentrate his fire on the unions. Republicans in Congress are pushing for a national right to work law likely to weaken unions and hold down wages. Pasholk said the impact has consequences beyond pay, particularly if the Trump administration retreats from enforcing safety and environmental regulations.

I can easily see the companies trying to get away with all sorts of things on health and safety, and the environmental front. We dont just work in these communities, we live in them too, she said.

Pasholk recognises that union members may have delivered Trump to the White House. Clintons share of the ballot among union households in Ohio dropped sharply on previous elections as Trumps focus on jobs and trade resonated with voters who, polls showed, believe international trade takes away US jobs and disbelieved Clintons claims of an economic recovery.

Its a reaction to the feeling that we were left behind by this so-called recovery where Wall Street recovers and the normal people are still having trouble making ends meet. We hear that everything is great and this is as good as its going to get. Its a widespread feeling of insecurity, that peoples kids are not going have it as good as their parents did. Its the young people leaving school with this overwhelming debt.

Pasholk also blames the Clinton campaign, saying it got the tone wrong in Cleveland. These days she administers adult education classes on behalf of the union and company. More than 100 workers and retirees signed up to a recent gun handling class. When Clinton was here for her rally on Labor Day weekend, I saw they prominently seated these people with these anti-gun shirts. I thought: Dont you realise the Republicans are going to working people and saying youre gonna take away their guns? Dont you realise that is the kiss of death to have those people in prominent places at a rally in an area like Cleveland? she said.

Jamal Collins at the end the street he grew up on in East Cleveland, with his 10-year-old son. Photograph: Paul Sobota for the Guardian

Jamal Collins doesnt give much thought to the president at all except to wonder if his election has had a clarifying effect.

Im kinda glad it happened. It really is an eye-opener on whats really going on. The real truth about America. The real truth that theres still a lot of racism. People voted for this sort of stuff, he said.

Collins grew up in East Cleveland, an overwhelmingly black and separate municipality with such a small tax base it is dependent on neighbouring Cleveland to fill the gap in its emergency services and much else besides. More than a few people in both places want to merge the two cities, but councillors in East Cleveland are against voting to dissolve their own authority and jobs.

Collinss father worked for General Electric and his mother was a bus driver. He went to a high school across the road from blocks of now abandoned and plundered apartments. Unlike most of his friends, Collins landed a place at university and a job as a graphic designer with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Then he tired of corporate life and returned home. Today he teaches graphic design to young people mostly black and Latino at local schools and the Boys and Girls club of East Cleveland. But his real purpose is to tell them how the world is.

My whole mission is to come back in and give them a different way of thinking, he said.

Collins described East Cleveland as always in decline. He watched shops on the high street close, jobs disappear and people flee the area. It was around Reaganomics. The Reagan era came and it was less opportunities and less jobs for people and so people had to do what they had to do and that was sell drugs. That made some people rich and that made some people poor but it made things worse here, he said. Crack cocaine. When that came it changed everything.

As presidents came and went two Bushes, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Collins saw little reverse in the decline. Some could make things worse, but he noticed that it didnt matter which administration was in charge, the situation didnt get better. I think that people were very optimistic about Obama. They were looking for change with Obama. Even with that, the job situation didnt stop. The decline didnt stop. The crime didnt stop. Look at the murder rate in Cleveland. Sky high. Kids getting killed. It really didnt make a difference, he said.

Trumps election confirmed his belief that no matter who is in the White House, the system works for those who have knowledge or money or both. As the young people he teaches dont have money, they need knowledge. Not just an education but an understanding of how to make the system work for them. Even something as simple as how to get a mortgage in order to escape exploitative landlords.

There is a divide. Upper class people have access. The whole Trump administration is about the haves and the have nots. If you have money, you have a healthier life. You have access to a better health system. You have better security, he said. I tell them, people cant just wait for things to happen. Cant wait for Trump to see what hes going to do. Youve got to do it for yourself.

In East Cleveland, that wait is often a trap for people caught in low-paid work, if they can find jobs. Collins said he tries to open doors to ideas from how to set up a business to using social media to showcase themselves. As long as black people dont have their own business and companies, its going to be an issue. Were just taking our money and giving it to somebody else. I give them skills, he said. I tell them if you have a computer, if you have an internet connection, you can have a company. The upper-class people use computers to create. The lower-class people are just consumers of the technology. What Im trying to get them to do is create.

Collins said his own escape came from visiting a friend attending university. It changed my life I never heard anyone say you can do this and you can do that and there are these possibilities, he said. One of these kids could be the next engineer, the next politician, fireman, cop. How can we forget about them and not empower them with another way of thinking?

Hampton would like to see more of Clevelands young African Americans become cops, not only as a bridge between the police and the community but to change a department still riddled with discrimination. He gives the example of black officers held back from promotion because of minor offences in their youth.

Shot somebody with a BB gun when he was in seventh grade, that kind of thing. Now hes 30 years old and theyre still holding that stuff against him. But there have been white officers whove gotten into some things, domestics, trouble with the police, and still got on the force. We in this country and this system still got a long way to go, he said.

Still, he said hes not going to quit. Its very difficult. You have to go within yourself and do what you can within your power to do the right thing, he said. We cant abandon ship. If you abandon ship, what you got then?

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London loses out in business rates revamp – BBC News

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The revaluation of business rates next month will see London paying an extra 800m a year to support services in other parts of England, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.

Under the changes, London councils will see their incomes rise as business rates there jump, while northern councils will lose out as rates fall.

As a result, London councils will have to pay more to “top up” other councils.

The IFS said this reflected a “greater reliance” on the capital.

Neil Amin-Smith, one of the report’s authors, said: “Revaluation will mean rates bills will go up, and revenues become more concentrated in London. This is part of a more general trend of greater reliance on the capital for revenues.”

Revenue neutral

Business rates are in effect the commercial version of council tax, and are paid on the rental value of the space that businesses occupy. The amount depends on the size of the property and what it’s used for.

The next business rates revaluation comes into effect on 1 April – the first for seven years.

Although many businesses are expecting small falls in business rates in April, about a third are expecting very sharp rises, with a fifth, mainly in the South East, expecting a rise of more than 40% immediately.

The government says three quarters of businesses’ rates will either go down or stay the same.

The changes are designed to be “revenue neutral” across England as a whole. However, rates in London are due to go up by about 11% above inflation over the next five years, while rates in northern England will fall by 10%.

Business rates revenues are redistributed among councils to compensate those that lose out.

London councils are not the only ones that will “top up” local authorities in other regions.

Image copyright AFP

However, the changes mean that those in the capital will contribute an extra 400m a year to councils with less income from business rates.

In addition, all councils pay half their revenue from business rates to central government.

As a result of the changes, London councils will be paying an extra 400m into this central pot.


The changes to business rates is part of a wider trend for London to shoulder a bigger proportion of the UK’s tax take.

In the 2004-5 tax year London’s taxes – including income tax, corporation tax and stamp duty – accounted for 25% of Britain’s overall tax revenue. By 2014-15 that had increased to 30%.

However, one of the report’s authors said it depended on your point of view as to whether this was a good or a bad thing.

“As London’s economy pulls further ahead, more of its revenues need to be redistributed to stop the rest of the country falling behind,” said David Phillips, IFS associate director.

In the longer term, though, London stands to gain from increase in business rates, because the rules mean it will be allowed to retain the higher rates it gets from any new developments in the capital.

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Budget: Don’t be fooled if it turns out to be dull – BBC News

Consider Wednesday’s Budget as part of a box set – the latest episode in a financial drama that began with the banking crisis.

Like all good series, there are episodes which allow the scriptwriters to set up the story for a more dramatic encounter later on.

That will be the case with Philip Hammond – ironically nicknamed “Box Office Phil” – as he writes his Spring Budget, experts say. They predict this Budget will be relatively low key, particularly because there will be another one in the autumn.

And – to stretch the metaphor even further – we have been told a lot about the plot already. A string of tax and benefit changes that will come into effect this April have been announced in previous Budgets and Autumn Statements.

So, here is the story so far.

This will be the last ever Spring Budget, with the main event moving to the autumn from then on.

The leading man in the Treasury has changed. Philip Hammond is delivering his first Budget as chancellor, following eight delivered by his predecessor George Osborne.

Image copyright Getty Images

There’s plenty of speculation that Wednesday’s Budget could be pretty low key. Don’t be fooled, though. Your finances are set to change anyway.

Some of the policies that affect UK residents’ personal finances were announced in previous speeches by Mr Osborne, but will only take effect this April. Others were outlined by Mr Hammond in November’s Autumn Statement and will also come into force in the spring.

A number will lead to a notable change in the finances of those of working age – particularly a shift in the income tax threshold and the benefit freeze – while others target particular groups of people such as landlords.

Image copyright PA

The amount people can earn before they are subject to income tax, known as the personal allowance, is currently set at 11,000 and it has already been announced that it will go up to 11,500 in April.

The Conservatives have promised to raise this to 12,500 by 2020-21 and increase with inflation after that.

The threshold for the higher 40% income tax rate will rise from 43,000 to 45,000 in April. However, in Scotland the higher rate will be paid on income above 43,510 a year – owing to the devolved tax powers the Scottish government now holds.

Other changes that had been announced by George Osborne, but which take effect in April, include:

  • Many working-age benefits remaining unchanged for a second year, as part of a four-year freeze. These include Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, some types of Housing Benefit, and Child Benefit. However, state pensions, Maternity Pay and disability benefits are excluded
  • The launch of a new Lifetime Individual Savings Account (LISA) for those aged between 18 and 40. They can save up to 4,000 a year, and the government will add a 25% bonus if the money is used to buy a home or as a pension from the age of 60
  • The start of a gradual process allowing people to pass on property to their descendants free from some inheritance tax
  • Any family which has a third or subsequent child born after April will not qualify for Child Tax Credit, which can be more than 2,000 per child. This will also apply to families claiming Universal Credit for the first time after April
  • The family element of child tax credits, worth 545 per year, will be abolished. So families in which the eldest child is born on or after 6 April will not receive this payment.
  • Many buy-to-let landlords will see the amount of tax relief that they can claim on mortgage interest payments cut over the course of four years from April. They will only be able to claim at the lower rate of tax, not the higher

Wage rises

Pay rates for millions of workers have already been cemented.

The National Living Wage will rise from 7.20 to 7.50 in April, for those aged 25 and over. Public sector pay has already been set at a 1% annual rise each year until 2019-20.

Salary sacrifice allow some employees to give up some of their salary in exchange for goods and services. Some items bought under the scheme such as computers, gym membership, and health screening will be subject to tax from April – in effect, salary sacrifice will be cancelled on these items.

Image copyright PA

That was announced in Mr Hammond’s Autumn Statement, as was mixed news for drivers.

Fuel duty will be frozen for a seventh year, but the cost of vehicle insurance may rise owing to an increase in the Insurance Premium Tax from 10% to 12% in June.

New Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) bands are to be introduced for cars registered from April – zero, standard and premium.

Some relief for savers?

In May, probate fees will change, costing significantly more for large estates.

Finally, we may hear from the chancellor on a start date and precise interest rate for the new government-backed savings bond.

In November, the chancellor said that the new savings product offering a “market-leading” rate of about 2.2% would go on sale through National Savings and Investments in the spring.

The bond will be open to those aged 16 and over, subject to a minimum investment limit of 100 and a maximum investment limit of 3,000. Savers must put in their money for three years.

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Snap shares continue to rise after IPO but analysts remain wary

Shares in Snapchat company opened Thursday at $24 and rose to $27 by Friday, but analysts predict struggles similar to those of Twitter, Groupon and Fitbit

Shares in Snap Inc, the picture messaging app that went public yesterday with a valuation of $29bn this week, continued to soar on Friday as some analysts warned against hot air fuelling the dramatic rise.

Snap priced its initial public offering at $17 a share, and opened up for trading Thursday at $24. In trading since, the stock has continued to be buoyed by investor excitement, rising above $27 per share by Friday at noon.

The stock rose substantially after the media firm NBCUniversal disclosed a $500m stake taken at the initial public offering (IPO).

The initial success of the offering raises the likelihood that the tech sector could soon present further public offerings, but analysts remain wary.

In a note to clients, the Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry compared Snap to Fitbit, Groupon and Twitter all companies that have struggled to maintain valuations since going public.

Let all the hot air go out, let the private investors cash out, lets see how the Industry evolves in 1.5 years, Chowdhry wrote, according to the Wall Street Journal.

His warning was repeated by other tech sector analysts concerned that Snap will follow a pattern of hot, then cooling, tech IPOs.

Euphoria could cause a short-term disconnect between fundamentals and valuation, warned the Susquehanna Financial analyst Shyam Patil in a note to investors.

Patil said that while there was still room for near-term upside, we struggle to see SNAP as a long-term investment.

On Thursday, the Instinet analyst Anthony DiClemente urged investors to reduce their holdings of Snap, warning that the company is already seeing a slowdown in the growth of daily average users and average revenue per users.

But in a letter to employees, the NBCUniversal CEO, Steve Burke, said the company had invested in Snap as part of an aggressive strategy to capitalize on increasing digital content consumption.

It is rare to have the opportunity to invest at this stage in a company as visionary and dynamic as Snap, Burke said.

He said NBC had invested over $1.5bn in digital businesses in the last 18 months, adding that Snaps CEO, Evan Spiegel, and his team had done an outstanding job building Snap into an extremely innovative and relevant company.

Meanwhile, beneficiaries of Snaps IPO include a private Catholic high school in Californias Silicon Valley that made $24m. St Francis High Schools president, Simon Chiu, said the school would use the funds for financial aid, professional development, teacher training and funding of school programs.

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Oscars fiasco accountants ‘wanted to appear in ceremony’

PricewaterhouseCoopers denies its accountants, believed to be responsible for handing out wrong best picture envelope, wanted to perform a sketch on stage

PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant Brian Cullinan, named as the person responsible for handing Warren Beatty the wrong envelope at Oscars ceremony, was distracted by tweeting backstage before the best picture award announcement and even wanted to make an on-stage appearance himself, it has been claimed.

According to Variety, Cullinan had pitched an idea to the shows producers involving him and fellow PwC accountant Martha Ruiz interacting with host Jimmy Kimmel. Variety say the idea was shot down.

However, the accountancy firm says that Cullinan did not want to perform a sketch, but was looking for a way to counteract a joke made at their expense at the 2016 ceremony, in which host Chris Rock brought three children on stage.

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What are online dating sites doing to keep us safe? – BBC News

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Do you know who you’re really flirting with online?

It’s a Friday night and I’m about to meet a hot date I hooked up with on a dating app.

But how do I know he’s really who he says he is?

After all, online dating fraud is on the rise and it seems easy for people to adopt false identities, stealing photos from other websites and concocting plausible back stories.

Luckily, my date seemed legit, but if I’d been concerned I could have used a service like Circle 6.

You can let six of your closest friends know where you are at all times, and with just one tap you can contact them should you feel in danger while out on a date.

Online dating is a big and growing business – dating apps are worth $2.5bn (2bn) in the US alone, according to Marketdata Enterprises.

Image copyright TrueView
Image caption TrueView members have to build up a trust verification score

New stats from campaign Get Safe Online reveal that seven reports of dating fraud are received by the UK’s Action Fraud every day – an increase of 32% over two years.

So what are these companies doing to keep their members safe?

A few of the smaller apps are using technology such as Jumio, a digital identification service, to filter out scammers. Dating app TrueView, for example, uses it and has adopted a trust score verification system.

“We didn’t want to create just another dating app, there are tonnes of those,” says co-founder Matt Verity.

“We wanted to create one where people felt confident about who they’re talking to. The more social media accounts you link to it, the more your trust score goes up,” says Mr Verity.

Image copyright TrueView
Image caption TrueView founders (l-r) Damian Mitchell, Andrew Ibbotson and Matt Verity

But social media accounts can be bogus, too, and set up in a matter of minutes, so as well as using Jumio to delve into these accounts, they adopt another layer of identification.

“An added level of this trust score is getting users to scan in driving licences and passports – allowing you to verify who you say you are,” says Mr Verity.

“The more your trust score goes up, the more trustworthy you’ll look on the site.”

Users can then choose to filter out anyone who doesn’t have the same level of trust verification as themselves. But, he insists, anyone with a very low level trust score for a long period would be looked into further.

Yoti may be useful to check out the credentials of someone you’re interested in dating.

The app gives anyone the ability to check the name, photo and age of people they meet online.

Once you’ve made contact with someone you can simply send them a text via the app, asking them to verify themselves using a selfie, mobile number and ID, such as a passport.

Image copyright Nora Lee Notzon
Image caption VieLoco boss Nora Lee Notzon says live video is a good way to spot fakers

A handful of other small dating sites and apps – Mai Tai for example – use similar verification systems. But VieLoco believes video is also a useful tool.

“Live video chat is the best way to discover if someone doesn’t look like their photos or behaves how you might expect them to, which may be a sign that you should proceed with caution,” says co-founder Nora Lee Notzon.

But what are the bigger dating companies doing to ensure our safety?

Many issue guidelines, such as never to give out personal information and to watch out for odd language in messages or personal profiles, for example.

Many insist they apply security measures, but won’t reveal what systems they use.

A spokesman for told the BBC: “We have a dedicated team who monitor security on the site, through both up-to-date technology and human checks.

“But, like many companies, we do not disclose details of our security and fraud prevention tools as this provides valuable information to those with criminal intentions.”

So we just have to trust them?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police have warned about the dangers of using anonymous dating apps

“Bigger organisations will use a variety of datasets as part of their counter-fraud solutions,” says Andrew McClelland, chief executive of the Online Dating Association (ODA).

“They are able to automate much of this using feeds from data sources such as DVLA [the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency].”

While the ODA does provide a code of practice on how dating websites should be run and how they should keep members safe, he admits that it does “require members to carry out checks, but doesn’t prescribe how these checks are done”.

“They definitely have systems in place. However, if revealed, they can easily be mirrored by competitors,” says Tom Bourlet, a former digital marketing consultant at a dating website.

“Most use photo-recognition software. If the image is a duplicate from another website, it is instantly deleted. We also built an algorithm to read the content for duplication or syndication.”

Some experts believe dating sites could be doing more to analyse the language people use.

Image copyright iStock
Image caption Searching for love online can leave us vulnerable to fraudsters

Last year Tom van Laer and a group of researchers at London’s City University compared tens of thousands of emails pre-identified as lies with those known to be truthful. The algorithm analysed their word use, structure and context for linguistic differences.

“Liars cannot generate deceptive emails from actual memory so they avoid spontaneity to evade detection,” says Mr van Laer.

Algorithms can pick up on these traits, he says.

A recent investigation by Wired magazine revealed just how cavalier some of these dating sites services can be with our personal data.

And with many dating companies not being transparent about what systems they use to protect us, are we in danger of losing faith in them?

A recent YouGov survey revealed that only half of UK consumers are confident that the personal details on someone’s dating profile are true.

But that doesn’t seem to be stopping hundreds of millions of people around the world from using online dating sites and apps. And many have found love through them.

But until there is a bulletproof way of weeding out the fraudsters, the advice must be: proceed with caution.

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Here’s What Hawaiian Airlines Is Doing To Help Fight Climate Change

Hawaiian Airlines isthe first U.S. airline to join an innovative new research project in the fight against climate change.

On Monday, the airline announced it had outfitted one of its planes with a special monitor that will collect air samples and measure greenhouse gases during flight.

Data from the new monitor will be sent to scientists at about 200 universities around the world, who will use it to improve weather forecasts and climate models as they look to better understand air quality and climate change.

Hawaiian Airlines move is part of a worldwide research initiativeto outfit commercial planes with tools that collect atmospheric data. Other airlines like Lufthansa and Air France are already collecting data with their planes abroad.Scientists say the data from Hawaiians plane will be especially helpful because of its many routes across the Pacific Ocean.

As a travel option in itself, flying is far from sustainable. Airlines, plane manufacturers and scientists are constantly looking for ways to lessen its impact on the environment.You can do your part by making smart choices about when and with which airline you fly.

Happy travels!

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Undocumented immigrant doesn’t blame ICE for taking him in

(CNN)He is undocumented and agrees with President Donald Trump on some of his hard-line immigration policies.

“I don’t consider it his policy. I consider it more like the law,” said Juan Carlos Hernandez-Pacheco, of West Frankfort, Illinois.
Hernandez was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement last month. He spent 20 days in ICE custody and said some of his cellmates, who are also undocumented, see the President favorably.
    “Donald Trump was the first to be known for promise and delivery,” Hernandez remembered his cellmates saying. “They wish that the Mexican President and every other president in the world would do the same.”
    Hernandez said he agrees with the President’s policies toward border security, terrorism, energy and with his Supreme Curt nominee.
    Hernandez is a husband and father of three children, ages 2 to 8, who are US citizens. He said he was at home when an immigration agent was walking outside his fence on February 9. The agent recognized him, he said, from a January 2015 encounter, when ICE went to his home looking for someone who no longer lived there.
    “He knew me from a few years ago,” Hernandez said. The agent knew he was undocumented “because I told him a couple years ago.”
    Unlike the previous encounter, this time the agent decided to take him into custody. ICE has pointed to his two DUI convictions from nearly 10 years ago as the reason.
    Hernandez, who came to the United States from Mexico almost 20 years ago, said he doesn’t feel profiled.
    Most of the people he interacted with, he said, didn’t know he was undocumented. It’s not something he advertised. Especially in Franklin County, a deep conservative part of Illinois. More than 70% of votes cast here went to Donald Trump.
    But as Hernandez found out, the scores of people he interacted with at the restaurant and at volunteer, business and charity events in town valued him for being a contributing member of the community, regardless of his legal status.
    When the town found out he was detained by immigration authorities, many were devastated about what it could mean for his wife, Elizabeth, and their children.
    “This is a very emotional deal for us because of our friendship,” said his longtime pal Tim Grigsby.
    While Hernandez was still detained, Grigsby launched a local campaign asking the community to write letters of support for his friend to persuade an immigration judge to give clemency to Hernandez.
    Hernandez learned about the effort from inside a detention center in Missouri, when he talked to his wife by phone.
    “If you knew my friends, that’s something you should expect,” Hernandez said with a smile.
    His cellmates got wind of the overwhelming support for Hernandez, and they started rallying around him inside the detention center.
    “My cellmates, roommates started saying, ‘Go ahead,’ ” Hernandez said, referring to how the other detainees waved him on to make more phone calls to his friends and supporters.

    Awaiting a court date

    Hernandez is elated to be back in his beloved small Illinois town. He posted $3,000 bail and is waiting for an immigration court date. His attorney said it could take years, given the backlog in immigration court.
    But one more thing is weighing heavy on his shoulders. He can’t work, which is standard for an undocumented immigrant awaiting a court date.
    “It is going to be difficult … not be able to work, not be able to provide for the family,” he said, adding that his wife, a US citizen, has a job.
    While he cannot keep his job, now that he is out of the shadows, he plans to keep one promise to his oldest son.
    “I told him that I was here to stay. I’m going nowhere,” Hernandez said.
    Hernandez said he has been trying to attain legal status for 10 years and wants to become a US citizen.
    “I’ve been trying and trying but the system is broke. It didn’t allow me to go forward. Other than to do an application (for permanent resident status). And just wait,” he said.

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    Will Dubai get the first Michelin Guide in the Middle East?

    (CNN)Could Dubai be the first place in the Middle East to get a Michelin guide?

    That’s the rumor going around — and it was started by none other than Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guide.
    At the last Global Restaurant Investment Forum he told attendees it was “only a matter of time” before an army of anonymous food inspectors would descend on the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, reports Time Out Dubai.
      Ellis coyly told CNN: “Michelin is always evaluating exciting new destinations for the Guide.”
      But while Dubai has recently seen an influx of famous international chefs, such as Hein Beck, Jason Atherton and Gordon Ramsay, and has a thriving street food scene, does it really deserve one of the world’s most prestigious culinary rating systems?

      CNN put that question to three Dubai-based food critics, and asked what restaurants they thought should feature in a Dubai Michelin Guide.

      How has Dubai’s dining scene evolved recently?

      Samantha Wood: It’s slowly moving away from a reliance on celebrity chef imports and international restaurant chains, with the opening of locally developed independent concepts — but we still need more of the latter and less of the former.
      Shaika Al Ali: Dubai has seen an increase in homegrown businesses, emerging in a very organic way. People are embracing the concept of being loyal to a certain food experience or business — supporting it and encouraging it to grow.
      Angela Boshoff Hundal: The city is expanding at a crazy rate, launching new developments all the time. Residents here are genuinely excited about food, and most are willing to try new things. You can find cuisines from around the globe, from Peruvian to Ethiopian, Cuban and even one of the only government-approved North Korean restaurants — Okryugwan, in Deira, one of the older parts of the city.

      What’s the big food trend in Dubai right now?

      SW: We’ve seen many big-name restaurants and small cafes close down. The market is challenging and saturated, so I expect we’ll see many more shut shop over the next few years.
      SAA: Lots of simple, well made, rustic restaurants. A big focus on speciality coffee, as well as restaurants that have a better connection with farmers and suppliers.
      ABH: Food trucks have come to the forefront of the dining scene over the past two to three years, taking up residence in parks, festivals and even a dedicated food truck park, Last Exit, which has seen mixed reviews. More recently, I’ve noticed a lot of “authentic and traditional” restaurants representing real food from the home countries — for example, from Ethiopia and Peru.

      Samantha Wood’s Dubai Michelin Guide picks

      Any misconceptions about the food scene?

      SW: There is a perception that dining in Dubai is restricted to glitzy hotels — whilst there are indeed plenty of restaurants within hotels, there are also just as many outside. Some of these are in free zone establishments and can therefore serve alcohol, and some are independent non-licensed cafes, as well as small roadside joints serving ethnic eats.
      SAA: That it is mainstream. To be completely honest, some things are. But if you look closely and choose well, you’ll find a beautiful community that enjoys good food, good coffee, and good ingredients.
      ABH: People often assume everything is very expensive, when you can actually find incredible deals across the city, in both five-star eateries and in smaller, more humble establishments in the older parts of Dubai. The most delicious Punjabi food can be found in Karama at restaurants like Pind Da Dhaba and Sind Punjab. I would not call these restaurants expensive, and the quality of the food is wonderful.

      Does Dubai deserve a Michelin guide?

      SW: As much as I would love to see a Michelin Guide in Dubai, which is an excellent marketing platform, I don’t think Dubai has enough critical mass of restaurants that would make the Michelin cut.
      We need to see more … high-end licensed restaurants serving modern interpretations of cuisine from the Arab world to really demonstrate a mature dining scene worthy of a Michelin Guide.
      SAA: In every country, there is a food scene that is worth discovering. I think (a Michelin Guide and Dubai) would be a perfect pair, considering how the food scene in Dubai is becoming more diverse. There are so many different food experiences now.
      AH: It’s about time Dubai had a Michelin guide. The range of food here is incredible — people could eat a different country’s cuisine every night, if they wished. And the restaurants aren’t all fine dining or gourmet.
      These interviews have been edited for brevity.

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