Thursday, April 19, 2018

Volatility: High Yield Bonds Versus Equities


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By Peritus Asset Management Volatility has once again returned to financial markets over the last few months, most visibly with wild equity price movements that we saw in February and again in late March. While the high yield bond market certainly has not seen the extent of the volatility the equity markets saw, the rise […]

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An Oil Services ETF for Commodities Equities Exposure


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With commodities rising, some investors are revisiting the asset class. Another way to gain commodities exposure is via commodities-linked equities. In the oil patch, that can include oil services stocks and the related exchange traded funds, such as the iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: IEZ). IEZ has recently been surging, gaining more […]

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Prince thought he was taking Vicodin, not fentanyl; no charges filed in his death


The prosecutor in the Minnesota county where Prince died says he’s filing no criminal charges in the musician’s death.

The announcement Thursday from Carver County Attorney Mark Metz means the state’s investigation into how Prince got the fentanyl that killed him is closed. It came hours after documents revealed a doctor accused of illegally prescribing an opioid for Prince had agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation.

Metz said the evidence shows Prince thought he was taking Vicodin, not fentanyl. He said there’s no evidence any person associated with Prince knew he possessed any counterfeit pill containing fentanyl.

Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016.

Iran's defense minister visits Iraq to promote security ties


Iran’s defense minister has visited a joint intelligence center in the Iraqi capital operated by Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency says Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami met with Iraq’s interior minister and other officials, and praised their victory over the Islamic State group.

Gen. Saad al-Alak, head of Iraq’s military intelligence, who met with Hatami, called the four-nation alliance “a distinguished example for international relations, especially in the field of military and security cooperation.”

Iran has maintained close ties to the Iraqi government since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. It sponsors a number of state-sanctioned militias, which helped Iraqi forces in the fight against IS.

Iran, along with Russia, is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Philadelphia police commissioner apologizes to 2 men arrested at Starbucks


Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross apologized Thursday after he defended the police officers’ actions for arresting two black men at a Starbucks.

“I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law, and not that they didn’t do anything wrong,” Ross said in a news conference.

Ross had initially said the officers “did absolutely nothing wrong” in the incident.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

An Epic Rally for This Energy ETF


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Up about 7.50% over the past week, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEArca: XOP) is in the midst of a substantial rally and some technical analysts believe the widely followed energy exchange traded fund can continue climbing higher. Market observers and analysts argue that U.S. energy stocks are in a position […]

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YouTube star faces prison time after feeding homeless man Oreo with toothpaste as cruel prank


A Chinese YouTube star faces up to two years in prison after a cruel prank involving an Oreo cookie, toothpaste and a homeless man went wrong.

Kanguhua Ren, 20, who goes by ReSet on his YouTube channel, decided to pull off the prank in Barcelona, where he currently lives, SF Gate reported.  

Two Extra Fat Chocolate Sandwich Cookies With Frosting Isolated on White Background.

The YouTuber filled Oreo cookies with toothpaste as a cruel prank.  (iStock)

Kanguhua filmed himself squeezing toothpaste onto the cookies and putting them into their original packaging to make them appear like the original snack. He then set off to the streets where he handed out the joke cookies to bystanders as a way to entertain his more than one million followers on YouTube.

Kanguhua then went over to a homeless man, whom was identified as Gheorge L., 52, and gave him a cookie as well as $25.

As the homeless man was eating the cookie, Kanguhua was heard asking himself if he went too far, the Independent reported after obtaining the video.


“But look at the positive side; this will help him clean his teeth,” he said. “I think he hasn’t cleaned them since he became poor.”

Gheorge L. started vomiting after eating the cookie and has “never been treated so poorly while living on the street,” he told El Pais. He said he fled his homeland Romania to escape the dictatorship and was hospitalized in a mental health clinic.

The YouTuber makes about $2,475 from advertisers on his channel, El Pais reported.

Kanguhua faces up to two years in prison and a $37,133 fine if he is convicted of “a crime against moral integrity,” El Pais reported.


The video has since been deleted and Kanguhua attempted to make amends with Gheorge L. while offering the man $371 to not say anything to authorities. Kanguhua, with a camera, tried to spend a night with the homeless man but a witness called authorities to report the incident.

Kanguhua is currently on bail awaiting his sentence. The YouTuber once filled Oreo cookies with cat feces and gave them out to children and elderly people, the Telegraph reported.

Revealed: Dream Democrat agenda includes reparations


A wealthy Democratic donor club plotting the future of the liberal movement hopes to be fighting for reparations by 2022, according to a document obtained by the Washington Free Beacon from the Democracy Alliance’s spring conference this week in Atlanta.

The desire was stated in the invitation for a Monday reception during the annual spring gathering, which was attended by top Democratic Party officials such as DNC chairman Tom Perez, former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, and Reps. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) and Mark Pocan (Wis.).

The reception, “Way to Win: 2022 Victory Party,” was presented as a look forward at what’s possible if Democrats can be effective in coming elections.

“It’s 2022 and we are celebrating policy victories across the nation: Medicare for All and Free College, and next on the agenda is Reparations,” the group projected, according to an invitation to the event.

“Take a ride in our time machine to hear from the true political geniuses who made this happen,” it says.

Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon. 

Police: Sandwich mistake led to thrown coffee, pepper spray


Police in Delaware say a woman assaulted convenience store workers with pepper spray and hot coffee over a botched sandwich order.

Dover police said in a statement that the incident occurred Wednesday at a Wawa.

Police said 34-year-old Tiffany Evans ordered a sandwich and then yelled at a male employee for making a mistake. A female employee said they would make another sandwich and told Evans to stop talking like that.

An argument ensued. Police said Evans threw hot coffee in the woman’s face, causing burns. It also struck the male employee and damaged about $200 worth of food.

Police said Evans pepper-sprayed the female employee when she walked out from behind the counter. Evans then fled but later turned herself in. She faces a variety of charges, including assault.

Judge refuses to suppress lottery scam suspect's statements


A Rhode Island woman accused of funneling lottery scam money between the U.S. and Jamaica through her airline job has lost her battle in federal court in North Dakota to have evidence suppressed.

Melinda Bulgin argued that her rights to have an attorney present and to not incriminate herself were violated during questioning by authorities in both countries in 2015.

But Judge Daniel Hovland said in an order Wednesday that it’s doubtful Bulgin was confused about her rights.

What’s believed to be the first large-scale Jamaican lottery scam tried in U.S. courts began with an investigation in North Dakota in 2011. Authorities say at least 90 Americans lost a total of more than $5.7 million.

Twenty-seven people were indicted. All but three have pleaded guilty or been convicted.

The Latest: Police chief apologizes to men from Starbucks


The Latest on two men arrested at Philadelphia Starbucks (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Philadelphia’s police commissioner is apologizing to two black men who were arrested at a Starbucks in the city.

Commissioner Richard Ross, who is black, apologized to the two men on Thursday after he previously staunchly defended police for their handling of the incident.

Ross says that he “failed miserably” in the messaging around the arrests. He says that the issue of race is not lost on him and he shouldn’t be the person making things worse.

He says the police department did not have a policy for dealing for similar situations, but does now. He says it will be released soon.



Two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks said they were just waiting for a business meeting — and a week later still wonder how that could escalate into a police encounter that left them fearing for their lives.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson tell The Associated Press in their first interview since video of their April 12 arrests went viral. The arrests, recorded on a white customer’s cellphone video, galvanized people around the country who saw the exchange as modern-day racism.

The men have met with the CEO of Starbucks and are pushing for meaningful change so what happened to them does not happen to anyone else.

Police this week released a recording of the call from the Starbucks employee that led to the arrest. In it, a woman is heard saying the men refused to “make a purchase or leave.”

Starbucks has promised to train employees about unconscious bias.

Trump-Amazon feud unrelated to postal audit: Mnuchin


President Donald Trump’s frustration with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is not a consideration of a government task force created to investigate the finances and operations of the U.S. Postal Service, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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“It has nothing to do with that issue, let me be clear,” Mnuchin, who will head the new panel, told FOX Business’ Liz Claman during an interview on Thursday. “The Post Office is losing lots of money. The Post Office is not supposed to be cutting subsidized deals in the packaging business.”

The creation of the task force came 10 days after the president blasted the e-commerce giant on Twitter, criticizing what it pays the USPS to deliver its packages. American taxpayers, he said, pay “many billions of dollars” because of the unfair deal.

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Some have suggested Trump’s attacks are actually because of unfavorable coverage of him in The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos. The Post Office has been hemorrhaging money for years. In fiscal 2017, it reported revenue of $96.6 billion, down $1.8 billion from the previous year, largely driven by a decline in first-class mail. While mail volume decreased by roughly 5 billion pieces, or 3.6%, package volumes grew by 589 million pieces, or 11.4%, part of a multiyear trend. Amazon and USPS have a negotiated contract regarding shipping services, but it’s not publicly available. According to federal law, the Postal Service can’t strike bulk-rate deals that lose money.

“This is about postal reform,” Mnuchin said. “We need to have a Postal Service that does fit taxpayers, but we also need to be sure that taxpayers aren’t subsidizing giant losses at the expense of creating subsidies for e-commerce companies.”

The full interview airs at 3 p.m. ET Thursday during “Countdown to the Closing Bell.”

Judge blocks Ohio State from expelling female student accused of 'nonconsensual' group sex


In a rare Title IX ruling, a federal judge blocked Ohio State University from expelling a female student accused of two separate instances of sexual misconduct — fondling and kissing a drunk student and having nonconsensual group sex.

U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus, a Clinton appointee, ruled Tuesday that OSU violated “Jane Roe’s” constitutional right to cross-examine her accusers. The incidents occurred in 2016.

The public university in Columbus, Ohio is one of the first schools to be on the losing end of a due-process challenge by an accused female student, The College Fix reported.

OSU suspended Roe for two years as a result of the first incident of alleged sexual misconduct, and two months later, it changed the action to an expulsion for a second, independent charge.

In court documents, Roe said because she was unable to cross-examine witnesses during the disciplinary hearings, OSU violated her Sixth Amendment right to due process.

Sargus agreed with Roe and said cross-examination plays a “central role” as a “truth-seeking device in our justice system.”

In the first case, Roe was accused of sexually touching her accuser at the movies. Both had been heavily intoxicated, according to the report, and eyewitnesses claimed the alleged victim said she was “felt up by [Roe] while floating in and out of consciousness.” Roe testified she did not remember kissing or touching her.

OSU’s hearing officer found Roe’s statements “not plausible or credible” but said the alleged victim and other witnesses “presented a consistent and credible account…and together outweighed the contradictory information…”

Sargus rejected OSU’s claim that two absent witnesses were “duplicative” of in-person testimony by the accuser, who refused to answer questions at the hearing.

In the second incident, two new accusers alleged, after “drinks and dancing,” they went to Roe’s house and had “nonconsensual” group sex, but Roe said she “obtained consent from them for every sexual act she performed” after they took her clothes off and that none them were “substantially impaired.”

In statements made to the hearing officer, one of the accusers said she “agreed to intercourse” but was “too drunk to consent,” while the other was “forced” to perform oral sex on Roe while “severely intoxicated.”

Unlike Roe’s first proceeding, the accusers did not attend or testify at the hearing, but a witness who wasn’t present that night did. The result was the same – the officers found the accusers had credible statements, whereas Roe did not. According to the university’s Title IX office, Roe should’ve noticed the alleged victims’ impaired state and obtained “clear, knowing, and expressed consent before and during each sexual act.”

Sargus rejected Ohio State’s claims for a refusal to give Roe her right to cross-examine, adding if the school wants to discipline her, they need to start a new proceeding that includes her constitutional due process but are not obligated to let Roe back on campus.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Philadelphia's police commissioner apologizes to 2 men arrested at Starbucks, says he 'failed miserably' in messaging


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Police: 4 dead, 3 wounded in domestic shooting


A police chief says a man killed his girlfriend and turned his gun on her five children before killing himself.

Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper says Maurice Laron Garner attacked the family Wednesday night after arguing with his girlfriend at the hospital where she worked.

Hooper said 32-year-old Erica Nichelle Smith of Asheville was killed, as were her 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter. A 10-year-old boy who was grazed by a bullet called 911. An 8-year-old and 12-year-old also had non-life threatening injuries.

The chief said Garner’s body was found in a car nearby with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hooper said it doesn’t appear that Garner was the father of any of the children.

Police: Utah parents planned murder-suicide that killed kids


Police documents say a couple who recently moved from Switzerland to Utah planned a murder-suicide that left their family of four dead, buying sleeping pills and researching shootings.

The report says 43-year-old Jessica Griffith believed she suffered from terminal health problems and discussed in text messages with her husband a “good time to leave” so they would be together and have “love for eternity.”

The family of four was found dead in November 2017, months after moving from Switzerland to Mapleton, Utah.

Mapleton police chief John Jackson said Thursday an autopsy found she was healthy.

Police say 45-year-old Timothy Griffith shot his sedated wife, her 16-year-old daughter and the couple’s 5-year-old son before killing himself.

They met and married in Switzerland.

Jessica Griffith and her daughter were Swiss.

Kim Jong Un's cheerleading wife rises in ranks to achieve first lady title


Once a member of North Korea’s “army of beauties” cheerleading squad and a former pop singer, Kim Jong Un’s wife will be called the “revered first lady” for the first time since marrying the despot nearly a decade ago.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, his wife Ri Sol Ju and Song Tao, head of the International Department of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, applaud with ballet dancers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang April 17, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1F8E3538B0

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, his wife Ri Sol Ju and Song Tao, head of the International Department of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.  (KCNA via Reuters)

Ri Sol Ju’s new title was revealed earlier this week when she attended a performance by the National Ballet of China in Pyongyang’s Mandusae Art Theater. The state-run Korean Central News Agency referred to Ri as the “revered first lady” after her first solo public appearance at an event, Chosun Ilbo reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and his wife Ri Sol-Ju attend the opening ceremony of the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground on Rungna Islet along the Taedong River in Pyongyang in this July 25, 2012 photograph released by the North's KCNA to Reuters on July 26, 2012.The Rungna People's Pleasure Ground has attractions such as a dolphinarium, a wading pool, a fun fair and a mini golf course, according to KCNA. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS - GM1E87Q0YGI01

Ri Sol Ju is rarely pictured without her husband Kim Jong Un.  (Reuters)

The wives of North Korean despots are usually referred to as “comrade.” The only other time North Korean state media used the title “revered first lady” was for Kim Jong-ae, the wife of late-leader and North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, according to the report.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju, and Chinese President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan pose for a photo in Beijing, China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. - RC1C51817800

Ri Jol Su also traveled to China in late March to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  (KCNA via Reuters)

A researcher said Kim’s new title for his wife is a way to make the despot and his wife a more traditional “first couple” so Kim appears like “the leader of a normal nation.”

“Ri Sol-ju is playing a suitable role in repackaging Kim Jong-un as the leader of a normal nation. This sets her up to play the role of first lady in summits with South Korea and the U.S.,” the researcher told Chosun Ilbo.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) and wife Ri Sol Ju (L) enjoy a joint performance given by the State Merited Chorus and the Moranbong Band celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on October 19, 2015. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. - GF10000250640

Ri Sol Ju was a pop singer and member of North Korea’s cheerleading squad before becoming Kim’s wife.  (Reuters)

Ri has remained mostly in the background, always appearing by Kim’s sides until this week. She traveled to Beijing, China in late March with Kim to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and sometimes appeared in propaganda photos during “field visits” at North Korean factories.


Ri Sol Ju in 2013, a year after the world found out she was Kim’s wife.  (Reuters)

Ri was reportedly a singer and part of the regime’s cheerleading squad before secretly marrying Kim sometime between 2009 and 2010. She was only identified as the despot’s wife in 2012 and the couple is believed to have three children — though none of them have been pictured in public.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Milennials 'scared of touching raw meat,' so supermarket rolls out touch-free chicken


If handling raw meat in the kitchen gives you — or your favorite milennial — the heebie-jeebies, a new touch-free product may be the answer to your prayers.

On April 15, major British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s announced that they will roll out touch-free packaging on their store brand raw chicken in a few weeks so anxious cooks can avoid contact with the moist meat, The Sunday Times reports.

Sainsbury’s was inspired to roll out the new offeirng after a focus group found that 37 percent of millennials reported that they “preferred not to handle raw meat” while they cooked their meals, according to the Telegraph.

sainsbury's reuters

A Sainsbury’s worker stacks a meat shelf in a store in Redhill, Britain, March 27, 2018.  (Reuters)


“Customers, particularly younger ones, are quite scared of touching raw meat,” Katherine Hall, Sainsbury’s product development manager for meat, fish and poultry, told the Times. “These bags allow people, especially those who are time-poor, to just “rip and tip” the meat straight into the frying pan without touching it.”

Hall further divulged that she suspects Sainsbury’s young customers dislike handling the raw meat due to a “lack of education” on food safety or penchant for dining out, noting that they’d “prefer someone else” cook their meat for them. 


While this may be a savvy marketing tactic on Sainsbury’s part, one expert on the opposite side of the aisle is wary about the larger implications for such a product.

“We find it disconcerting that shoppers are so removed from their food that they have these concerns. But we are aware it is a growing trend — and a lot of the data suggests there are concerns about handling raw meat,” Ruth Mason, chief food chain adviser at the National Farmers’ Union, told the Times.

Unsurprisingly, the Twitterverse both championed and condemned the notion of the straight-to-pan product. 

“So they are adding MORE plastic packaging when other retailers are trying to reduce? Crazy @sainsburys ! If you can’t bear to touch raw meat you shouldn’t be eating it,” one critic said.

“Wrong move @sainsburys 1. You are introducing more plastic when others are leading the way trying to reduce it. 2. What about the other 67 percent who have no problem with it?! Just use tongs or a fork!! #banplastic #reducereuse #boycott,” another detractor agreed.


Others, however, voiced their support.

“I’m 48 and no way am I touching raw meat. When seasoning etc will turn it round in the pot stirring all the seasonings in same with oil or anything. Tipping chicken out of packaging,” one wrote. 

For better or worse, the touch-free packaged chicken from Sainsbury’s will hit shelves on May 3.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak

Michael Phelps says his depression almost led him to suicide after 2012 Olympics


Michael Phelps opened up about his battle with depression and said he thought about killing himself after the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, told CBS News his depression took over his life despite his success as a professional swimmer.

“There was one point, I didn’t want to be alive,” Phelps told the network. “You know, as Olympians, you set four years to build up to this moment. And then, after it’s over, you’re kind of lost in a way.”

Phelps said the uncertainty after the Olympic Games takes a toll on athletes.  

“And a lot of us do suffer from depression,” he added.

2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Victory Ceremony - Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay Victory Ceremony - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 13/08/2016. Michael Phelps (USA) of USA poses with his gold medal. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. Picture Supplied by Action Images - MT1ACI14543616

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian, said he has battled depression for years.  (Reuters)

Phelps recalled an incident after the 2012 Summer Olympics in London when he checked how many pills of Ambien, a drug to treat sleep disorders, he had. The Olympian said it’s unclear what could have happened if he had more than one pill left.

“I think it’s something that nobody’s really talked about in the past because we’re supposed to be this big, macho, strong person that has no weaknesses,” Phelps said. “You know, we’re supposed to be perfect. And for me, I carried it along for so long and never really talked about it… part of that was probably just a fear of rejection.”

Phelps said his mindset going into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro shifted after he sought help. He began seeing therapists and continues with sessions today.

Phelps previously spoke about his battle with depression to Us Weekly and said he’s speaking out about the “darkest part” of his life to let others know that “it is OK to not be OK.”

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Navy, Marine leaders: No problem with transgender troops


The top military leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps tell senators that so far, they’ve seen no discipline, morale or unit readiness problems with transgender troops now serving openly.

Gen. Robert Neller is Marine Corps commandant. Neller says that some of his commanders have said there are no problems at all. He says others say they’re spending “a lot of time” with transgender individuals as they work through medical requirements involving the transition from birth gender to preferred gender.

The Pentagon in 2016 lifted the ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military. President Donald Trump has pushed for a ban, but that directive is being challenged in numerous court cases.

Worried About Everything: Bonds, Stocks, Gold


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A recently retired reader friend is worried about, inflation, deflation, bonds, stocks, banks, and gold. My friend is better off than most. He has a small retirement nest egg but he is fearful of a 2007-2009 kind of drawdown. That’s a reasonable fear to say the least. He’s 60-40 or so in stocks and bonds, […]

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Hitting ‘the Number’ in Retirement


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I’m going to hit the number this year — the one that people often associate with retirement. To be clear, I am not retiring this year, but when retirement is closer than it used to be, there are a few more numbers that command your attention. There’s your portfolio balance: the investments, savings, and IRA/401(k) balances that you’ve been […]

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Markets Right Now: Tech drop pull stock US indexes lower


The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):

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11:45 a.m.

U.S. stocks are moving lower in midday trading, weighed down by losses in technology and consumer products companies.

Apple lost 2.3 percent Thursday and tobacco maker Philip Morris International plunged 16.8 percent after reporting weak results.

Banks bucked the downward trend and rose along with bond yields. Bank of New York Mellon climbed 5.2 percent.

Energy stocks also rose as a rally in oil prices continued, bringing crude to the highest level in more than three years. Philips 66 rose 1.4 percent.

The S&P 500 index fell 18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,689.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 90 points, or 0.4 percent, to 24,657. The Nasdaq fell 58 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,236.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.93 percent.


9:35 a.m.

Stocks are edging lower in early trading on Wall Street, putting the market on track for its first loss this week.

Technology companies and makers of consumer products posted some of the biggest losses in early trading Thursday.

Apple sank 1.7 percent and Philip Morris International sank 12.8 percent after reporting weak results.

Energy companies bucked the downward trend and rose along with the price of crude oil, which is at a three-year high. Noble Energy rose 1 percent.

The S&P 500 index fell 9 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,698.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,698. The Nasdaq composite fell 28 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,267.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.93 percent.

Prince doctor agrees to pay $30K for illegal prescription


A Minnesota doctor accused of illegally prescribing an opioid painkiller for Prince a week before the musician died from a fentanyl overdose has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation, according to documents made public Thursday.

The settlement between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg comes as state prosecutors prepared to announce Thursday morning whether they’ll file any criminal charges stemming from their two-year investigation into Prince’s death.

Schulenberg is not currently a target of any criminal investigation, federal prosecutors said in a letter to his attorney. His attorney, Amy Conners, released a statement Thursday saying “there have been no allegations made by the Government that Dr. Schulenberg had any role in Prince’s death.”

Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. State and federal authorities have been investigating the source of the fentanyl for nearly two years, and no one has been criminally charged.

But federal prosecutors and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alleged Schulenberg, a family physician who saw Prince twice before he died, violated the Controlled Substances Act when he wrote a prescription in the name of someone else on April 14, 2016.

The settlement, dated Monday, does not name Prince or make any references to the Prince investigation — but search warrants previously released say Schulenberg told authorities he prescribed oxycodone to Prince on April 14 and put it under the name of Prince’s bodyguard and close friend, Kirk Johnson, “for Prince’s privacy.” Schulenberg’s attorney disputed that, saying Schulenberg did not prescribe opiates to any patient with the intent that they go to Prince.

“After he learned of Prince’s addiction, he immediately worked to refer Prince to a treatment facility and to transfer care to a chemical dependency specialist,” Conners said.

She said Schulenberg decided to settle to avoid the expense, delay, and unknown outcome of litigation, and that “he made no admission of facts nor liability and denies any such liability.”

Oxycodone, the generic name for the active ingredient in OxyContin, was not listed as a cause of Prince’s death. But it is part of a family of painkillers driving the nation’s overdose and addiction epidemic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to prescription opioids, including oxycodone, in 2014.

A laboratory report obtained by The Associated Press notes that one of the pills found in a prescription bottle in Paisley Park that bore Johnson’s name tested positive for oxycodone.

“Doctors are trusted medical professionals and, in the midst of our opioid crisis, they must be part of the solution,” U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker said in a statement Thursday. “As licensed professionals, doctors are held to a high level of accountability in their prescribing practices, especially when it comes to highly addictive painkillers. … We are committed to using every available tool to stem the tide of opioid abuse.”

Under the settlement, Schulenberg has 30 days to pay $30,000 to the U.S. government. He also agreed to stricter requirements for logging and reporting his prescriptions of controlled substances for two years. Among them, he must keep detailed logs of all controlled substances he prescribes, allow the DEA to inspect the logs and other records without prior notice, and allow the DEA access to his prescribing history on demand.

It’s illegal for a doctor to write a prescription for someone under another person’s name. Anyone convicted of doing so could lose their DEA registration — meaning they could no longer prescribe controlled substances — and could face discipline from their state medical board.

The settlement says the DEA won’t revoke Schulenberg’s registration, unless he does not comply. It’s unclear whether the state medical board will take action. His license is currently active and he has no disciplinary action against him.

A confidential toxicology report obtained by The Associated Press in March showed high concentrations of fentanyl in the singer’s blood, liver and stomach. The concentration of fentanyl in Prince’s blood alone was 67.8 micrograms per liter, which outside experts called “exceedingly high.”

Prince did not have a prescription for fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after he died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. Authorities found numerous pills in various containers stashed around Prince’s home, including some counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl.

While many who knew Prince over the years said he had a reputation for clean living, some said he also struggled with pain after years of performing at an intense level. Documents unsealed last year paint a picture of a man struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids and withdrawal, and they also show there were efforts to get him help.

Associates at Paisley Park told investigators that Prince was recently “going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescription medication,” according to an affidavit.

Just six days before he died, Prince passed out on a plane, and an emergency stop was made in Moline, Illinois. The musician had to be revived with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The day before his death, Paisley Park staffers contacted California addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld as they were trying to get Prince help. Kornfeld sent his son, Andrew, to Minnesota that night, and the younger Kornfeld was among those who found Prince’s body. Andrew Kornfeld was carrying buprenorphine, a medication that can be used to help treat opioid addiction.

US experts back marijuana-based drug for childhood seizures


A panel of government health advisers is recommending approval of a medicine made from the marijuana plant to treat childhood epilepsy, moving the medication closer to the U.S. market.

The Food and Drug Administration experts voted unanimously Thursday in favor of the experimental medication from GW Pharmaceuticals. The company’s medicine is made from a chemical found in the cannabis plant — one that does not get users high.

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Experts said the drug reduced seizures in children with two rare forms of severe epilepsy.

If the FDA follows the group’s recommendation, the syrup-based medicine would become the first drug derived from cannabis to win federal approval in the U.S. The FDA is expected to make its decision by late June.