Apples Tim Cook says companies like Facebook shouldnt create crypto – INSIDER

Tim Cook took a not-so-subtle shot at Facebook in an interview published Thursday.

Cook said Apple will not launch a cryptocurrency to compete with other tech giants who are doing the same.

There’s a limit to what private companies should attempt, according to Cook — and he believes creating a new currency crosses that line.

“I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries. I’m not comfortable with the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency,” he said in an interview with Les Echos.

Facebook announced in July that it will create a new cryptocurrency called Libra through a partnership with more than two dozen other companies. Libra is set to roll out by June 2020, but has already been met with scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates still reeling from the social network’s recent scandals. Some lawmakers have even called on Facebook to halt its work on the cryptocurrency altogether.

By contrast, Cook framed the creation of new cryptocurrencies as a step too far for massive tech companies.

“A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way,” he said.

In the past, Apple has appeared open to entering the cryptocurrency space. Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, told CNN in September that Apple was “watching cryptocurrency,” adding that “We think it has interesting long-term potential.”

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on Cook’s remarks. Business Insider has reached out to Apple as well for any additional comment.

US Response to Facebook’s Libra Is ‘Ridiculous,’ says Coinbase CEO – Cointelegraph

Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of major crypto exchange Coinbase, tweeted on Oct. 5 that he expects the United States government to react to China’s stablecoin project by reconsidering its “ridiculous” response to Facebook’s Libra digital currency.

The U.S. government wants to be left behind

In his tweet, Armstrong said he believes that “the way the U.S. government reacted it’s like they almost want to be left behind.” He also voiced overall concerns over the United States possibly becoming obsolete due to innovation obstruction in a subsequent tweet:

“The way for countries to remain relevant over the long term and continue to have high economic growth is to invest in science, technology, and innovation. If the government can help here, even better. But first it needs to do no harm.”

Special interest groups block innovation

Armstrong also explained that “innovation often looks counter-intuitive and disruptive,” but “the best first step is often just to stay out of the way.” He also noted that governments are often influenced by special interest groups which “will play on fears and try to block innovation here.”

As if echoing Armstrong’s sentiment, payment processor PayPal has recently left the Libra Association, reportedly due to concerns over potentially excessive regulatory scrutiny that could follow.

At the same time, China’s Central Bank has said — contradicting previous statements — that there is no specific launch date in mind for its digital currency. 

Still, as Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 27, Chinese Fintech Theme Index has risen over 50% in 2019, outperforming the broader market after the Chinese national digital currency was announced.

The GM strike is really about the switch to electric cars – MarketWatch

From the outside looking in, the talks between the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) striking members and the management of General Motors look like normal disagreements over pay. In reality, they’re really about the future of cars in the U.S.

UAW members’ anxieties and uncertainties are actually shared by GM

GM, -0.20%

 and most other automakers, which know that it’s no longer a question of when internal combustion engine cars will be replaced by electric vehicles, but how quickly the changeover will take place.

The shift to electric means a fundamental transformation of what workers will do and how many are needed to do it.

Electric cars have far fewer parts, which means far fewer people are needed to put them together. When one analyst took apart a Chevrolet Bolt and Volkswagen Golf, he found that the Golf had 125 more moving parts than its electric counterpart. What’s more, the electric vehicles’ parts are often easier to put in place using automated machines. The UAW’s own estimates that the move to electrification may cost 35,000 members to lose their jobs may not be the most scientific study ever done, but it’s also probably not far off.

Fewer workers needed

GM has attempted to appease the UAW with specific promises, including the construction of an electric battery plant in one of the Ohio cities hit hardest by recent factory closings. But even this tactic has only confirmed the UAW’s worst fears: The battery plant won’t need as many workers, and GM would prefer to pay them less than what other workers make at plants that require more complicated assembly.

None of this is anyone’s fault. GM is trying to respond to a global trend that it needs to follow in order to stay relevant. The UAW is trying to protect its members. But it’s crucial that the parties work together, because they collectively represent a part of the American automotive industry that’s falling behind its global competition.

Take the year 2023, for example. The UAW and GM are negotiating a four-year contract that will expire then. Meanwhile, in Germany this week, the first hearings were held in a class-action lawsuit brought by 450,000 consumers in that country against its largest automaker, Volkswagen, over the diesel emissions scandal. Legal experts believe that the lawsuit, like the UAW’s contract, will also find its resolution in 2023.

Europeans embrace EVs

This matters because it’s one small example of the cultural differences between American automakers and the companies they’re competing against. In Germany, the people are pushing the automaker to move away from the traditional toward new technology. That push has no parallel here in the U.S.

Timeline projections differ, but many analysts and auto executives believe that EVs will become comparable or cheaper than internal combustion vehicles by the mid-2020s, and most agree that electric cars will begin to outsell conventional ones by 2030 or the mid-2030s. And most of that EV growth is happening in China and Europe, not in the United States.

Sales of EVs in China in 2018 were higher than the rest of the world combined, and the Chinese government has invested over $60 billion to shape an automotive industry fueled by electricity. In Europe, France and Germany recently announced a partnership to invest nearly $7 billion to develop EV batteries that solve the problem of limited range.

China and Europe are two different sides of the same coin. The Chinese auto market is so new that many of its consumers are about to purchase their first car, and its automakers have no legacy attachments to combustible engines. European automakers and consumers are in the opposite position, yet both, thanks in part to heavier regulations, have come to grips more quickly with the electric transition, invested more heavily in its future, and are therefore more prepared for change.

Tesla as market leader

The United States has Tesla

TSLA, -0.69%,

far and away the market share leader in electric vehicles. But in nearly every other case, it lags far behind.

A resolution to the strike is probably imminent. That’s good news. Better news would be an increase in the amount of collaboration between the UAW and GM, and other American automakers and the workers they employ.

What looks like a fight for today is actually a fight for future American relevance. It would just make a lot more sense if the people that we need to compete globally were working together as a team, rather than fighting each other.

Daron Gifford leads Plante Moran’s automotive industry consulting services.

3 Important Things to Know Before Deciding Which State to Retire In – The Motley Fool

The state in which you retire could have a huge impact on your senior years, for better or for worse. For some seniors, the decision of where to retire boils down to things like proximity to family and climate.

But there are financial implications to consider on a state-by-state basis, as well. Here are three, in particular, to focus on as you evaluate your choices.

1. State income taxes can eat away at your nest-egg withdrawals

Just as you’re liable for state taxes on your income when you hold down a job, your earnings are taxed at the state level in retirement. And by “earnings,” we’re largely talking about IRA or 401(k) distributions.

Map of the United States.


There are seven states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming — that don’t have an income tax, so if you move to one of these, you can rest assured that the money you withdraw from your retirement savings plan will only be subject to federal taxes (unless you’re housing your savings in a Roth IRA or 401(k), in which case withdrawals are completely tax-free). On the other hand, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Minnesota, and New York have some of the highest state income tax rates in the country.

Your takeaway? See what tax rates look like for each state on your list, and use that information to help inform your decision.

2. Some states tax Social Security benefits

Chances are, Social Security will be a significant source of income for you during retirement. If it’s your only source of income, you might avoid federal taxes on your benefits, but if you have other income, whether from a retirement savings plan, pension, or part-time job, you’ll likely be taxed on those benefits at the federal level.

But that’s not all. There are 13 states that impose a tax on Social Security income, and if you retire in one of them, you could end up losing even more of those benefits. Those states are:

  1. Colorado
  2. Connecticut
  3. Kansas
  4. Minnesota
  5. Missouri
  6. Montana
  7. Nebraska
  8. New Mexico
  9. North Dakota
  10. Rhode Island
  11. Utah
  12. Vermont
  13. West Virginia

Most of the above states do offer an income-based exemption that lets you avoid taxes on benefits if you’re not a particularly high earner in retirement. But Minnesota, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia offer no exemption at all, so keep that in mind as you narrow down your choices.

3. Medicare plan options vary by state

It’s easy to think of Medicare as a national health program, but actually, the state you retire in could dictate the sort of coverage you get. While coverage under Parts A and B, which cover hospital and preventive care, respectively, are universal no matter where you live as a senior, Part D plan offerings can vary from state to state. Part D covers prescription drugs, and some states offer a larger variety of Part D plans — and more affordable plans — than others.

The same holds true if you’re planning to enroll in Medicare Advantage instead of original Medicare. The cost and availability of Advantage plans can vary by state, so be sure to do some research before settling on your future home.

There are plenty of non-financial reasons to retire in one state over another, but before you make that call, be sure to keep the above points in mind. The last thing you want is an added dose of money-related stress during your senior years.

Will ending curbside pickups for Uber, Lyft and taxis help LAXs traffic? – Los Angeles Times

Even in a city infamous for its traffic, the congestion at Los Angeles International Airport was growing dire.

Spurred by extensive construction, a surge in air travel and the arrival of Uber and Lyft, traffic volumes at the nation’s second-busiest airport rose by half over a decade, turning a drive through the 1.5-mile terminal area into a half-hour ordeal.

Without major changes, airport officials warned, traffic at LAX on an average summer day would soon resemble the bumper-to-bumper crawl on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

On Friday, city officials unveiled a plan aimed at reducing the congestion.

Starting at the end of October, travelers leaving LAX will be required to board a shuttle or walk to a waiting area east of Terminal 1 to hail an Uber, Lyft or taxi. Drop-off policies, and pickups for family and friends, will not change.

The plan will remain in place until the completion of an elevated airport train, scheduled for 2023. The people-mover will arrive every two minutes and will whisk passengers between the terminals, a car rental facility, a ground transportation hub and a Metro station.

The sleek train and a $14-billion overhaul of the aging airport are major parts of L.A.’s efforts to improve transportation in traffic-choked Southern California before the 2028 Summer Olympics. Where pickups will occur after the people-mover opens is still unclear.

The idea of transferring to a shuttle bus to catch a ride home has frustrated and dismayed many travelers, who say more schlepping will make LAX more stressful.

“It’ll be a lot less convenient, and it will probably take a lot longer to get home,” Kristi Nichols, 23, an engineer who travels frequently for work and to visit family, said at the airport Friday.

Starting next month, she said, she’ll try to get picked up by family or book a SuperShuttle instead.

Officials are asking travelers to give the new system a try. Frequent bus service and a well-organized pickup area may be more efficient than today’s crowded curbsides, they said, where riders can wait for a half-hour or more while Uber and Lyft drivers inch through traffic.

“You will no longer have to fight the traffic to get out of the central terminal area,” said Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director of operations at Los Angeles World Airports. “Once you’re in your car, you’re right on Sepulveda.”

Uber and Lyft account for 27% of the 100,000 vehicles in the LAX terminal area on an average day, Wilschetz said. Taxis make up 4%. Shifting pickups to a parking lot will eliminate about 15% of the vehicles in the terminal, he said.

During the first half of 2019, LAX saw 10% more vehicle trips than in the same time period in 2016, the first full year that Uber and Lyft operated there. The number of Uber and Lyft trips soared 123% over that period, while taxi trips fell 39%, according to city data.

Meanwhile, ridership plummeted on high-occupancy buses and shuttles, data show. Trips on LAX’s FlyAway buses fell by two-thirds, as did rides on shared vans such as SuperShuttle and Prime Time. Courtesy shuttles to car rental facilities, parking lots and hotels saw a 20% decline.

Passengers hoping to go home in an Uber or Lyft should order a ride as they pick up their bags, then board a shuttle on the lower level of the airport, Wilschetz said. Travelers looking for a cab should proceed directly to the waiting area, where there will be a taxi queue.

Curbside lanes on the arrivals level will be converted to bus-only lanes to speed travel times. Bright green shuttles are supposed to arrive every three to five minutes, and will make a maximum of two stops before going to the pickup lot.

The pickup area, at the corner of World Way and Sky Way, is a parking lot converted into a plaza with umbrellas, trash cans, bathrooms and phone charging stations. The area will offer food trucks that will operate from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Many travelers will form their first impression of L.A. based on the waiting area, Wilschetz said, so “we want it to be a good one.”

City airport officials in August awarded a $65.5-million contract to set up and maintain the lot, operate the passenger shuttles, direct traffic and offer customer service for travelers who are lost or frustrated.

Uber has some concerns with the plan, a spokesman said, and company officials hope LAX will “listen to and incorporate” input on how to improve the system. Lyft said the company has been “working closely” with the airport to reduce congestion and shorten wait times.

Drivers for both companies currently wait near the airport, in an area that some drivers call “the pig pen,” until they are assigned a rider. Matching with a passenger and fighting through terminal traffic to reach the curb can take up to an hour, and drivers are not paid for that time.

“You should see Monday mornings,” said Lyft driver Jorge Ferran, 63. “It’s horrendous.”

If it works, the new system could help drivers pick up passengers more quickly, which would increase their earnings, said Harry Campbell, who publishes the Rideshare Guy website.

But that depends on whether passengers give the shuttles a try, he said. Already, he said, people are talking about being picked up by friends or family again, or trying buses that carry travelers from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

“There’s a psychological barrier to having to take a shuttle to an Uber,” Campbell said. “It’s just a hassle.”

Why customers love Tesla despite its many mistakes – Ars Technica

Why customers love Tesla despite its many mistakes

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images/Aurich Lawson

Journalist Ed Niedermeyer remembers the exact moment he became a Tesla skeptic: Memorial Day weekend 2015. That’s when Niedermeyer traveled to the Tesla Supercharger facility in Harris Ranch, California to see Tesla’s first (and, it turned out, only) battery-swap facility.

At a live demo two years earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had shown a Model S getting a replacement battery pack in 90 seconds—compared with four minutes to refuel a conventional car. Now that the technology was available to the public, Niedermeyer wanted to see it in action.

“I was down there three or four days,” Niedermeyer told Ars recently. “There was a ton of traffic and a ton of lines for the Superchargers.” Some people faced multi-hour waits. Tesla brought in spare Superchargers powered by diesel generators to speed things along. But the battery-swap facility stayed closed.

A few weeks later, Elon Musk announced that Tesla wouldn’t expand the service because it was “not very popular.” That explanation made no sense to Niedermeyer.

“There was definitely demand there,” Niedermeyer says. He talked to a number of Tesla owners who regularly traveled between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Some would have gladly paid a premium for the battery swap service if it had been available. But at least on that weekend, it wasn’t.

So what was going on? Niedermeyer believes Tesla was cynically gaming California’s system of Zero Emission Vehicle credits. In 2013, California started giving automakers extra credit for selling electric cars that could recharge in 15 minutes or less. Supercharging isn’t fast enough to qualify. Battery swapping is.

But crucially, automakers didn’t have to prove that customers were actually using fast charging capabilities. As long as a carmaker could demonstrate that vehicles were theoretically capable of rapid charging, they got extra credits—even if most customers never used the capability. Niedermeyer estimates that Tesla reaped tens of millions of dollars in extra credit revenue with this gimmick (Tesla didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on this).

“That’s when I decided it’s worth digging in,” Niedermeyer told me. “Companies don’t just do something like this once.”

Elon Musk’s “hype campaign”

In recent years, Niedermeyer has emerged as one of Tesla’s most insightful and dogged critics. And in August, Niedermeyer published Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors. Drawing on previous reporting and offering some fresh scoops, the book offers a skeptic’s perspective on the upstart electric carmaker.

BenBella Books

Niedermeyer identifies 2013—the year Musk demoed the Model S’s battery-swap capabilities—as a turning point.

That was the year the Model S started selling in significant volumes. Tesla earned its first quarterly profit and the stock soared to record levels. In response, Niedermeyer writes, Musk “embarked on a hype campaign that continually ratcheted up Tesla’s ambitions and set him apart from anyone else in the public sphere. His wild-eyed production targets, seemingly impossible technological promises, goofy sense of humor, and relentless pursuit of media coverage quickly turned into a runaway train.”

For example, in 2013, Musk claimed that solar panels and batteries would allow SuperCharger stations to continue operating even if the electric grid went down. “Even if there’s a zombie apocalypse, you’ll still be able to travel throughout the country using the Tesla supercharging system,” Musk quipped.

Yet three years later, in 2016, Musk tweeted that while Tesla had “some” solar panels “installed already,” that “full rollout” of solar panels depended on a forthcoming upgrade to SuperCharger technology. According to Niedermeyer, “only a half-dozen or so” of the first 800 supercharger stations had “solar panels of any kind” by June 2017. Tesla didn’t respond to my email asking how many SuperCharger stations have solar panels today, but there still seems to be a lot of stations without them.

In October 2016, Musk announced that all new Tesla vehicles would have hardware necessary for full self-driving, and he predicted that it would take about two years to release the necessary software. Yet three years later, Tesla is still struggling to master self-driving in parking lots. Musk continues to claim that full self-driving is less than two years away, but that’s still hard to believe.

“A lot of those things do come to pass”

Hamish McKenzie, author of the 2018 book Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil, argues we shouldn’t overlook Tesla’s accomplishments.

“What’s kind of amazing is even though he’s missing all the deadlines, a lot of those things do come to pass,”  McKenzie tells Ars. Tesla has missed self-imposed deadlines for shipping each of its new car models. But the vehicles did eventually ship and customers have generally been happy with them.

Dutton / Penguin Group

It’s not surprising that McKenzie would have a more positive take on Tesla than Niedermeyer. In January 2014, he left a job as a journalist for Pando to become Tesla’s lead writer, and he worked there for a little over a year. He wrote Insane Mode after leaving Tesla; today he is co-founder of the technology startup Substack.

McKenzie acknowledges that Musk has repeatedly made unrealistic predictions about how quickly technologies could be developed. “I don’t have insight into whether or not it’s a deliberate strategy,” he told me. “I think he believes the things he says when he says them.”

On some level, making unrealistic promises is an inherent part of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need to convince a bunch of people—customers, employees, investors, and others—to take risks on a new and untested company. That inherently means predicting success even though failure is a likely outcome.

That’s especially true when someone is starting a car company. The most likely outcome for a car startup is bankruptcy, as a number of Tesla’s electric car rivals have demonstrated in recent years.

“It’s crazy that Tesla exists as a car company,” McKenzie told me. And, he said, it’s even more crazy that Tesla succeeded as an electric car company—something most people dismissed as wildly impractical when Tesla was founded in 2003.

One way to interpret Musk’s behavior over the last 15 years—making unrealistic promises, delaying payments to suppliers, taking deposits long before products and features are ready to ship—is that he’s just doing what it takes to get a new car company off the ground. Getting Tesla to where it is today has required raising billions of dollars from investors, and the company skated at the edge of bankruptcy several times over the last 15 years. If Musk had been less shameless about using hype and boundary-pushing gimmicks to get investors and customers in the door, Tesla could easily have plunged into the abyss.

Epstein accuser holds Victoria’s Secret billionaire responsible, as he keeps his distance – The Washington Post

This Sept. 19, 2014, photo shows Les Wexner, chairman and CEO of Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands, touring the exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. (Jay Laprete/AP)

The first time the artist Maria Farmer says she heard the name of fashion billionaire Leslie Wexner, she recalled, was when her employer, financier Jeffrey Epstein, told her, “Les loves me. He’ll let me do anything.”

Farmer, then 26, had just been invited to create two large-scale paintings for the upcoming film “As Good As It Gets,” starring Jack Nicholson. Epstein offered Farmer an unexpected location to do the work in the summer of 1996: an expansive country home in New Albany, Ohio, located amid 336 acres of land owned by Wexner and guarded in part by sheriff’s deputies employed by the longtime chief executive of Victoria’s Secret and The Limited.

It was there, Farmer said in an affidavit she submitted as part of an Epstein-related lawsuit, that she was molested by Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

In a series of interviews with The Washington Post, Farmer, 50, spoke publicly for the first time about Wexner and his wife, Abigail. She never met Leslie and says she spoke to Abigail only by phone while at the New Albany home. But she says she holds him “responsible for what happened to me” because the alleged assault happened at the hands of one of his closest advisers on property Farmer says was monitored by Abigail and the Wexner security team. She says that she was held against her will at the property by Wexner’s security staff after her alleged assault, until her father came to pick her up.

[The layers of Jeffrey Epstein’s connections]

Farmer’s mother, father, sister and a friend all said in separate interviews that they heard similar accounts in 1996 from her.

While Farmer’s allegations against Epstein have been widely documented, her experience in New Albany and the questions it raises about the Wexner family’s relationship with Epstein have been little explored. Wexner was the only known clients of Epstein, who, authorities said, killed himself in a New York City jail this summer. The allegations have roiled Wexner’s image and business, and the board of his company, L Brands, has hired an outside law firm to conduct a review of the relationship.

Wexner has said he was unaware of Epstein’s alleged crimes and cut ties with him as soon as he found out about them. A Wexner family statement said neither the 82-year-old Leslie nor Abigail knew who Farmer was before she made her allegations. The Wexners declined to be interviewed.

“Mr. and Mrs. Wexner have condemned Jeffrey Epstein’s abhorrent behavior in the strongest possible terms and severed all ties with him in 2007,” Thomas Davies, a spokesman for the Wexners, wrote in a statement. “We don’t know what Epstein told Ms. Farmer about the Wexners. And while we don’t know with whom Ms. Farmer may have spoken, who may have claimed to be Mrs. Wexner, it was not Mrs. Wexner. Before the recent news coverage of Ms. Farmer, Mr. and Mrs. Wexner had no knowledge of her, never met her, never spoke with her, and never spoke with Mr. Epstein or anyone else about her.”

Maxwell could not be located for comment. Her lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Farmer’s interaction with Epstein dates back to the mid-1990s, when Epstein was active in the New York art scene and employed Farmer to answer the door at his Upper East Side townhouse. He presented the New Albany home as an alternative to her small walk-up apartment in Greenwich Village.

For two months in the summer of 1996, Farmer stayed in a country house that Wexner had deeded to Epstein four years earlier, according to property records. She had an Ohio driver’s license, reviewed by the Washington Post, listing the address of the nearby Wexner mansion. Farmer says that she doesn’t recall who drove her to get the license, but that she obtained a license to pick up Epstein and Maxwell from the airport the several times they visited that summer. The two homes sit in a town that Wexner had essentially built himself.

She says she was discouraged by Wexner’s security staff from going outside without getting permission from Abigail Wexner, whom she says she spoke to by phone multiple times that summer. (She says she never met Abigail Wexner in person.) Farmer was a runner, but had to jog inside Epstein’s 10,600 square-foot house.

“Where I stayed that summer, in that house and working in that garage, all of it was within view of the Wexner house,” Farmer said in the interview.

Annie Farmer, left, and Maria Farmer in the summer of 1996. (Maria Farmer)

The house, although owned by Epstein at the time, was “effectively the guesthouse” for the main Wexner estate, and it was guarded only by Wexner personnel, according to a security officer involved with Wexner family security at the time, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to discuss clients publicly. The two homes are a half-mile apart. The grounds were monitored closely by guard dogs and their armed minders, this officer said. It was surrounded by Wexner’s land, according to property records.

“Anybody that was going to be coming on property had to be announced and allowed in by the Wexners,” added the officer. “Nobody had carte blanche to go in and off the property.”

Davies, the Wexners’ spokesman, argued that the Epstein residence was just one of hundreds of homes within a community developed by Wexner.

“The Epstein house was not on land owned by the Wexners, and was nearly one half mile away from the Wexner home,” he said. “The entrance to the Epstein residence was not through the Wexner gate.”

Farmer says that the other entrance to the Epstein house, down a long driveway, was locked and gated and she was not able to use it during her time there.

Epstein has been accused by dozens of women of sexual predation in his other residences in Manhattan, the Virgin Islands and Palm Beach, Fla.

[Autopsy finds broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck, deepening questions around his death ]

An arrest photo of Jeffrey Epstein from 2006. (Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office/AP)

Earlier this year, when evidence emerged of Epstein’s alleged misconduct, Wexner issued a statement accusing Epstein of having “misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family.” It was the first time he had made such accusations public. Epstein was never charged with any crime related to the alleged theft.

Epstein had enjoyed extraordinary access to Wexner, then well on his way to becoming the wealthiest man in Ohio, atop an empire that included The Limited, Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch.

In the mid-1990s, Wexner so trusted Epstein that he arranged for homes for him in Ohio and New York, according to public records. He granted Epstein power of attorney, enabling him to sign checks, hire people and buy real estate on his behalf, court records show. He hired Epstein as president of his real estate development company and named him a trustee of his charitable foundation.

Wexner remains atop his $5 billion company, an employer of about 88,000 people worldwide and a man in high esteem as a prominent philanthropist and business leader in Ohio.

The family name is near-ubiquitous in the Columbus, Ohio, environs, displayed on Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars the couple have donated. Abigail Wexner additionally founded an anti-domestic-violence organization, the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence.

Wexner briefly addressed his relationship with Epstein — though not by name — when speaking with investors recently. Wexner, who has said he cut ties with Epstein more than a decade ago, said that “everyone has to feel enormous regret for the advantage that was taken of so many young women” and cast his break with Epstein in universal terms.

“At some point in your life we are all betrayed by friends. If we haven’t, we are really fortunate to have led a perfectly sheltered life,” Wexner said. “But at the end of the day, people that have secret lives, have secret lives. And they’re secret because they’re so good at hiding those secrets.”

Designing a dream town

In the late 1980s, a series of anonymous companies began acquiring large plots of farmland 20 miles northeast of Columbus. One by one the large plots were enclosed by miles of white post-and-beam fences, all of it surrounding the tiny village of New Albany, population 400.

When one of Les Wexner’s partners disclosed that Wexner was behind the purchases, Columbus residents nicknamed the area Wexley. Wexner explained on the website for the New Albany Corp., the company he created to develop the property, that it had “started with a simple idea — I wanted to build a house in the country.”

Wexner enlisted top development professionals in the planning and flew them to Brittany in France, the Cotswolds in England and the James River plantations to design his dream town.

The New Albany Country Club in New Albany, Ohio. (Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg News)

“He’s got this boyish energy and excitement for things and at the same time he’s got this world-class mind,” said landscape architect John Kirk, one of the project’s designers.

Wexner announced plans for thousands of Georgian-style homes, pressing local officials for the needed approvals. Nearly all the buildings on the land Wexner plotted — starting with the country club designed in the manner of an 18th-century Virginia plantation — have been built according to the original vision.

During the same time period, Wexner developed a relationship with Epstein. “I first met Mr. Epstein in the mid-1980s, through friends who vouched for and recommended him as a knowledgeable financial professional,” Wexner wrote in a letter in August to his family foundation.

[Billionaire alleges that Epstein misappropriated ‘vast sums … from me and my family’ ]

“Mr. Epstein represented that he had various well-known and respected individuals both as his financial clients and in his inner circle,” Wexner wrote. “Based on positive reports from several friends, and on my initial dealings with him, I believed I could trust him.”

Under watch of armed guards

In May 1996, Farmer and a friend set out for New Albany in a Penske truck full of her art supplies.

When she arrived at Wexner’s white-painted gatehouse, she says she was greeted by a man who identified himself as a former Special Forces officer and Wexner’s “right-hand man.”

She says she still remembers the path to the guesthouse: through the gatehouse, to the right and past the stables where Abigail Wexner, a lawyer Wexner had married three years earlier, now kept her horses.

“[Abigail] called me when I first got there. She wanted to welcome me,” Farmer recalled.

Over the course of the next two months, Farmer painted in the garage of the home, and said she was discouraged by Wexner’s security staff from going outside without getting permission from Abigail Wexner. Owing to the size of the estate, and the limitations on her movements, Farmer says she never met Abigail Wexner in person.

Farmer said she was told by security staff there were armed guards watching the house.

“Whenever I wanted to exit the guesthouse, I’d have to call the main house and get Abigail on the phone to ask her permission to go outside,” Farmer recalled.

The security officer said he remembered meeting Farmer but said he did not recall any incidents involving her that summer. The Wexner property was patrolled by dogs and armed security, he confirmed, adding that it is “very feasible” that someone like Farmer would have been told to get permission before going outside, “for her protection, absolutely.”

Members of Farmer’s family recall her recounting the close watch she was under. One day Farmer says she went outside to sun herself in the backyard and the Wexners’ security guards came over to ask her to go back in the house. Farmer’s mother, Janice Farmer, said in an interview that she spoke to her daughter during that summer and at the time found it “very odd” when Maria told her she had to get Abigail Wexner’s permission to leave the house. Annie Farmer, Maria’s sister, confirmed in an interview that Maria told her that she had needed Abigail Wexner’s permission to leave the house.

About a month into her stay, Farmer says, she obtained an Ohio driver’s license, registered to Wexner’s address, so that she could pick up Epstein and Maxwell at the airport, not far from New Albany.

Davies, the Wexner spokesman, declined to comment on how Farmer may have obtained a driver’s license with the Wexners’ address without the couple knowing.

‘You’re not going anywhere’

Farmer said she had a friendly dynamic with Epstein and Maxwell that summer. Epstein had arranged for a trip for then-16-year-old Annie Farmer to Asia and was promising her help with college admissions.

In her affidavit, Maria Farmer described what she says happened to her during the last of several visits that Epstein and Maxwell made to see her that summer: “They asked me to come into a bedroom with them and then proceeded to sexually assault me against my will.”

After the alleged assault, Farmer said she immediately locked herself in her room and called several people in New York, looking for assistance.

She eventually called her father, who agreed to come to Ohio. Frank Farmer confirmed to The Washington Post that he received a distressed call from his daughter and drove to pick her up.

Maria Farmer remembered calling 911, being put on hold, and then being hung up on. She also called the Franklin County sheriff’s office, she said.

She didn’t know Wexner had contracted with the sheriff’s office to help protect his property. She recalled the person on the other end of the phone telling her, “We work for Wexner,” and that an officer was at the gate.

In the affidavit, she says she “pleaded with” the security staff but was held against her wishes for 12 hours while waiting for her father to arrive. In the interview, she elaborated.

The morning of the day after the alleged assault, she said, Farmer spoke with Maxwell and Epstein. She told them she wanted to leave and hung up. Soon after, a Wexner security guard appeared at the house. “He said, ‘You aren’t leaving,’ ” Farmer recalled, “ ‘You’re not going anywhere.’ ”

Later that morning, the security guard came over again, rang the doorbell, and asked her to go outside, she recalled. He took her by the arm and said she should come with him.

“I fought him,” Farmer said, so much so that she had a bruise on her arm from the incident. Eventually, the altercation ended and Farmer says she walked to the security gate, where her father was waiting.

The security officer who declined to be named but was familiar with the guards at the property said he didn’t believe something like this could have happened. “I don’t even remember what happened, and I can tell you, if that had happened, I would have remembered it,” he said.

Her father told The Post that after he arrived at the estate, there was an issue at the security gate. He did not recall other details, but he remembered that he was able to eventually retrieve her and take her to his home in Kentucky.

A spokesman for the Franklin County sheriff’s office said that its officers were contracted to work as part of Wexner’s 24-hour security detail at that time, but say they have no record of Farmer’s 1996 call.

“The person who made that affidavit never contacted us,” said Marc Gofstein, the public information officer at the Franklin County sheriff’s office. “If we had a record and she contacted us then we’d go right into it looking at it. Doesn’t matter who it is or who they are filing a complaint against, we open it up.”

According to the records retention policy of the Franklin County sheriff’s office, the department does not retain records of the type of call Farmer says she made for more than two years.

Farmer’s mother and sister confirmed to The Post that Maria Farmer shared details of her experience with them not long after she left New Albany. She ran into a friend, artist Stuart Pivar, soon after her return to New York and told him that Epstein had done “awful things” to her that were “too terrible to repeat,” Pivar said in an interview with The Post.

‘Nobody listened’ to reports

Shortly after she left the New Albany property, Farmer learned from her younger sister that she also had been touched inappropriately by Epstein and Maxwell earlier that year, according to her affidavit. Annie Farmer had visited Epstein’s New Mexico property in April 1996.

In an interview with The Post, Annie described having to give Epstein a foot massage at Maxwell’s direction and also receiving, while topless, a massage from Maxwell, with the sense that Epstein may have been watching.

Annie said she didn’t tell anyone about it at the time because she thought of Epstein as Maria’s boss and didn’t want to disrupt her employment.

When she returned to New York from Ohio, Maria Farmer says she filed a police report about her alleged assault, the contents of which were reviewed and later reported on by the New York Times. She said officers at that precinct encouraged her to speak to the FBI, which she says she did. No one appeared to act on her reports, she says, until the FBI knocked on her door in 2006 to interview her about Epstein. The FBI declined to comment.

She alleged in her affidavit and to The Post that Maxwell and Epstein warned her after she returned to New York to keep quiet about the incident, and that those threats were key to her eventual departure from the city. She says she has no plans to sue Wexner.

Farmer’s allegations were publicly revealed as part of a lawsuit filed by another alleged Epstein victim. Farmer submitted her affidavit in April in support of a defamation suit by Virginia Giuffre against Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz, who has served as Epstein’s lawyer. Giuffre filed an initial suit in 2015 implicating Dershowitz in a sex ring operated by Epstein.

Dershowitz has denied the allegations and accused Giuffre of perjury. Dershowitz alleged that Giuffre’s allegations against him were made as part of an effort by Guiffre to secure a payment or settlement from Wexner.

David Boies, Giuffre’s lawyer, said in an interview that no one involved in the Giuffre case ever attempted to extort money from Wexner, nor was any payment ever made. Both Giuffre and Farmer are represented by Boies.

Bill George, the former chief executive of Medtronic who says he is a friend of Wexner’s, said he believes Wexner was hoodwinked by Epstein and that he’s done nothing wrong.

He called Wexner an “extremely ethical person.”

“I feel very confident that Les had no idea what this guy was doing in regard to young women,” George said.

[Victoria’s Secret owner retains law firm to review company’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein ]

Yet analysts have begun questioning whether Wexner can survive at the helm of the company he created. Wexner’s retail empire has fallen on hard times recently, with its stock losing more than 80 percent of its value in the past four years, dropping from nearly $100 a share to under $19.

“The Jeffrey Epstein thing should be a huge red flag,” said Sucharita Kodali, a senior analyst at Forrester. “It is an extremely disturbing situation that should raise the question of a CEO’s judgment.”

Tammy Roberts, an L Brands spokeswoman, declined to comment, beyond a July statement that said: “While Mr. Epstein served as Mr. Wexner’s personal money manager for a period that ended nearly 12 years ago, we do not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company.”

Alice Crites and Kathy Gray contributed to this report.

Remember Tide pods? Now we have Scotch pods – CNN

“No ice. No stirrer. No glass. We’re redefining how whisky can be enjoyed … #noglassrequired,” The Glenlivet tweeted as part of its “Capsule Collection” roll-out, timed with London’s Cocktail Week.

People have been enjoying Scotch whisky for hundreds of years, usually in a glass and often on the rocks, of course.

Now, The Glenlivet, one of the world’s top producers, offers this twist:

“A first of its kind for a spirit brand, the edible capsules are 23ml in size, fully biodegradable and provide the perfect flavour-explosion experience,” read the Scottish brand’s promotional materials. “Enjoying them is simple, the capsules are popped in the mouth for an instant burst of flavour, and the capsule is simply swallowed.”

Judging from Twitter posts, some whisky-lovers, aren’t so thrilled.

“Ummm, whisky cocktails are for sipping & savouring, not exploding in your mouth all in one go,” wrote Susie Mac.

“Jello shots. You reinvented jello shots,” tweeted Jodran Weissmann.

“Just put it in an IV bag. Let’s get to the inevitable conclusion,” writer Roxane Gay added.

The limited-production pods are being served as an amuse-bouche during London’s celebration of cocktail innovations, which run through October 13.

That limited availability ought to keep most people from confusing them with laundry detergent.

TweetPush PRO Review – Get Twitter Traffic On Complete Autopilot

What is TweetPush PRO?

TweetPush PRO is a Twitter marketing tool that will help you in getting more traffic and audience on your Twitter handles that too on complete 100% autopilot. Even if you don’t know anything about Twitter marketing, don’t worry TweetPush PRO will take care of everything. So, you don’t have to spend all your time and day posting on Twitter.

Who is TweetPush PRO for?

If you are struggling to get traffic and audiences on your local business, then TweetPush PRO is the tool you need. It uses the best Twitter marketing techniques to get you in front of the audience who are ready and have the potential to buy what you are selling.

Some of the people who can benefit from TweetPush PRO are –

  • e-Commerce Marketers
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4 things I love about TweetPush PRO:

1) Twitter has the biggest concentration of actual real buyers across all social networks. TweetPush PRO takes this into consideration and brings you right in front of the audience that is ready and has the capability to buy what you are selling.

2) With TweetPush PRO you can schedule your tweets and even repeat tweets at fixed intervals. So, just set the intervals and relax.

3) TweetPush PRO not only gets you the required traffic, but also lets you reply in bulk to those who have tweeted using your keywords. This gets you hot traffic with buyers who are looking for products in your niche.

4) With TweetPush PRO you can create campaigns and connect your RSS feeds & YouTube channel to Twitter.

What will I get inside TweetPush PRO?

TweetPush PRO lets you get Twitter traffic on complete autopilot . Here is a detailed look at exactly what TweetPush PRO will do for you:

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Any drawback to TweetPush pro?

Do you want to keep on losing traffic on Twitter? Or just keep on searching and grabbing the people who will bring you sales? Well if that is the case then you may be at the receiving end. Cyril’s this product is definitely gonna get you to the fore on Twitter and this is not a short term thing at all. Once you start using TweetPush PRO so long as you keep at it you will get the required traffic on 100% autopilot. Now if you are repelled by being popular then maybe you should reconsider TweetPush PRO! Other than that just go for it without even batting your eyelid.

Final thoughts on TweetPush PRO:

The fact of the matter is that it is not possible to get the right set of targeted traffic every time you try to sell something. Sooner or later you will lose motivation or just get plain tired of all the hard work. Cyril has factored in every possible element of Twitter marketing with TweetPush PRO. If you have put in a lot of efforts in setting your business, then you must go ahead and buy TweetPush PRO. After all why waste your time and efforts in order to get the results, as TweetPush PRO will improve your analytics immediately. It will automate everything for you.

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ClickBank University 2.0 Review

ClickBank University 2.0 is a real program that teaches you an opportunity to earn. No, it won’t make you rich with just a few clicks just like what others are claiming only to deceive you because they do not show realistic results. With ClickBank you are assured of the credibility of their program, after all, their reputation is on the line. You are learning from the source and that’s a great thing.

People are finding more ways to earn, eager and determined to come closer to living the good life. And the internet has the power to make you as close as possible to your goals. It is a platform to find real wealth which you can use to upgrade your life.

One best and effective way to earn is affiliate marketing. Basically, with affiliate marketing you are working for commissions promoting other people’s products. You know what is great with this online business? You can pretty much do it whenever and wherever, and since the internet never sleeps, you can still expect to earn while you sleep.

There are no special qualifications to be an affiliate, no prior experience needed, you are not even required to be a technical genius, the secret is that you are interested and willing to learn because there are courses and trainings that can guide you step by step to succeed in this business. And you can learn how by enrolling in ClickBank University 2.0.

ClickBank is the most trusted online retailer of digital products. It is by far the best Affiliate Marketing Platform to sell and promote digital marketing products on the internet. And they have launched ClickBank University Version 2.0, it is a newly improved and fully upgraded course with useful tools to help vendors create their own digital products, market it on ClickBank and make money. ClickBank University 2.0 also guides, teaches and trains affiliates every step of the way to their first commission.


  • The course has an incredible content! ClickBank tirelessly worked to turn ClickBank University 2.0 into one of the BEST training programs on the internet. Everything is provided: step-by-step videos, interviews with experts, incredible tools and fantastic support! All of these to make your way to success easier and faster.
  • It’s a premier marketing course that has already taught thousands of internet entrepreneurs in finding success in the digital age.
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  • You will be learning from experts who have made it big in the business therefore you can expect high quality training.
  • There is a support system, a community of like-minded individuals who, like you are learning and wanting to succeed in this internet business.
  • The ClickBank University training program has an ironclad 30-day Money Back Guarantee which makes your investment risk-free.
  • A percentage of the customers’ investment on ClickBank University Training Program will go to Pencils of Promise to educate more children. You are not only giving yourself the best investment to learn but is also supporting a good cause.


  • It takes a while to get established. Becoming a successful affiliate marketer does not happen easily and quickly. Although everything is made achievable today because of the various useful tools to assist you, you still need to have patience, persistence and the right mindset to succeed. But others have done it and so can you.
  • This course is done online and there is no physical product.

Review Video:

ClickBank University 2.0 is ClickBank’s own offer to customers to help them find success in their platform both as vendors and affiliates. This product has been upgraded to provide the necessary tools and training to teach you how to succeed.

Below are valuable points that make ClickBank University 2.0 great!

Should You Enroll in the Course?

Follow in the footsteps of the people who are now successful online marketers. They started just like you, clueless about affiliate marketing but are very enthusiastic to find and try a way to escape the traditional way of earning which is being on a job that majority of the people complain about each day.

ClickBank University 2.0 is a real program that teaches you an opportunity to earn. No, it won’t make you rich with just a few clicks just like what others are claiming only to deceive you because they do not show realistic results. With ClickBank you are assured of the credibility of their program, after all, their reputation is on the line. You are learning from the source and that’s a great thing.

This is for you and for anybody who wish to live their lives according to their own terms. For everybody who wants freedom to use their valuable time to whatever they please, for those who want more priceless time with their love ones and for those who just want to earn decent money with the hopes of having it as a primary source of income, ClickBank University 2.0 can help you!

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