Jeffrey Epstein saga: Bill Clinton visited Africa multiple times with the billionaire investor and serial pedophile. The can may just be opening.....

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Former President Bill Clinton denied knowing anything about the “terrible crimes” allegedly committed by billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.
In a statement released Monday, Clinton said he took four trips with Epstein in 2002 and 2003: one to Europe, one to Asia and two to Africa.
All were in connection with the Clinton Foundation, his family’s charitable organization, he said, and the two were accompanied by foundation employees and the U.S. Secret Service.
Clinton also said he met Epstein at his Harlem office in 2002 and later went to the financier’s apartment with a staff member and security detail.
Clinton also said he has not spoken to Epstein in “well over a decade” and “has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein’s ranch in New Mexico or his residence in Florida.”
The complete statement appears below: 
"In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: one to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa, which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation."
However, Clinton’s statement is contradicted by the actual flight manifests, which show the former president may have taken as many as 26 flights on Epstein’s plane between 2001 and 2003, The Daily Beast noted.
Epstein has previously been tied to Clinton and President Trump. Flight logs from Epstein’s private jet published by Gawker in 2015 put Clinton on the plane more than a dozen times. 
Epstein is accused of paying dozens of girls as young as 14 to engage in sex acts with him in his homes in New York and Florida from 2002 and 2005.
Authorities allege he “conspired with others” to sexually abuse and exploit the girls, and paid his victims to recruit others, court documents say.
Although Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to prostitution charges and registered as a sex offender in Florida as part of a sweetheart plea deal with U.S. attorneys in Miami, he received very little jail time and was allowed work release.
In November, the Miami Herald published a three-part exposĂ© identifying 80 women who said they were abused by Epstein. The investigations also revealed the accused’s relationships with high-profile people, including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
The Miami Herald had reported that Clinton often flew in Epstein’s private plane and visited Little St. James Island but also said there was no evidence connecting the former president or Trump to Epstein’s crimes.

Source: The Hill. HuffPost


Amazon still on top in online battle with Walmart

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Digital pioneers often lose a lot of money in the process of building the infrastructure that will eventually (they hope) allow them to produce profits. That's how Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) operated for years -- and while it's in the black now, thanks in large part to its cloud business, it continues to invest for the long term while forsaking larger short-term profits.
For a few years, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) seemed to be willing to follow a similar model when it came to e-commerce and omnichannel sales. After the retail giant paid $3.3 billion for in 2016, it empowered Jet CEO Marc Lore to run its digital division, and integrate it into store operations.
That led to bold offerings such as free two-day shipping, in-store pickup kiosks for online orders, and curbside grocery pickup. Those innovations, however, did not come cheap, and with recent reports that forecast Walmart's e-commerce division will lose $1 billion this year on sales of between $21 billion and $22 billion, some within the company want changes.

What's happening at Walmart?

Traditional retailers like Walmart do not generally choose a strategy of losing money steadily in order to make a profit at some vague point down the line. Competing with Amazon, however, means doing that.
The brick-and-mortar giant still has much work to do in its effort to transform its stores so they can also serve as digital fulfillment centers capable of matching Amazon's new one-day shipping offer. Walmart has struggled to hit the mark on two-day shipping, and it only offers a few hundred thousand items for fast delivery, compared to the more than 100 million available via Amazon Prime.
Continuing to compete with the e-commerce leader means continuing to lose money, and Vox has reported that Lore is under increased scrutiny from CEO Doug McMillon and the company's board. Lore, meanwhile, has made it clear to Walmart's leadership that success on this front will require not just modifying the chain's stores into e-commerce hubs, but also adding more fulfillment centers.
Amazon currently has 110 U.S. fulfillment centers; Walmart has just 20, and its stores, while large, lack the inventory diversity to compete with Amazon's product selection. Both are solvable problems -- if the company is willing to invest.
"The problem is that building the online version of the Everything Store requires millions more products, and that means two things that Walmart's current infrastructure does not support: dozens more e-commerce warehouses and a lot more merchants and brands selling through," wrote Vox's Jason Del Rey.
Basically, Lore knows what must be done to achieve his goals, but has run up against a traditional retail mentality that abhors operating losses. This is probably not a battle he has any chance of winning, and based on a series of recent corporate moves that included integrating's employees more closely into Walmart's main digital operations (and some top executives leaving), the war may already be lost.

It takes resolve

Walmart can be an e-commerce success without going head to head with Amazon in every category. The chain has already rebuffed Lore's attempts to vastly expand its warehouse network, and has explored selling the unprofitable digital brands ModCloth and Bonobos, which Lore was instrumental in purchasing.
Walmart acquired those brands both to inject itself with more start-up experience and to give it products Amazon wouldn't have access to. If Walmart sells one or both, after it has already scaled back and dramatically cut its marketing budget, that would be a further repudiation of Lore's preferred strategy.
Walmart will continue to evolve its digital operations, but it's likely to scale back spending on that front, and instead invest in more traditional areas like cutting prices in stores. That's something U.S. stores CEO Greg Foran has pushed for because it's a tried-and-true tactic that has worked for the retailer.
Amazon lost money consistently for its first few years, and CEO Jeff Bezos made it clear that profit was not its short-term goal. But the online leader's long game paid off. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, it booked as much profit as it had earned in the 14.5 years that followed its May 1997 IPO.
That's not a game Walmart appears willing to play. The brick-and-mortar chain won't throw in the digital towel, but expect it to become significantly more selective about where it chooses to compete. That should mean greater short-term profits, but unfortunately, they'll come at the expense of longer-term opportunity.

Source: The Motley Fool. Report By Daniel B. Kline


The British Royal family’s disturbing connection to Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew (L) and Epstein - Jae Donnelly/News of the World
By Madeleine Aggeler

Wealthy financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arrested at an airport in New Jersey on Saturday for allegedly trafficking dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005. Epstein, who received a lenient and widely criticized plea deal for similar charges back in 2007, is extremely well-connected. 

His “little black book” included presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Courtney Love, and … 16 phone numbers for Britain’s Prince Andrew (Queen Elizabeth’s third child, and Prince Charles’s younger brother). Prince Andrew and Epstein have been friends for a while, and, according to court documents, Epstein allegedly forced a teenage girl to have sex with him on three separate occasions, including during what she described as an orgy with other underage girls. 

Buckingham Palace has vehemently denied the allegations, but as Epstein is back under the spotlight, we’re likely to hear more about the prince’s relationship to him. Here’s everything we know so far.

Prince Andrew and Epstein’s relationship goes way back

Though it is not clear exactly when the prince and Epstein’s relationship began (according to the Guardian, probably sometime in the early ’90s), it certainly predates the abuse charges against the financier, and the prince was reportedly happy to join his friend in making light of them.
After Epstein accepted his extremely lenient plea deal negotiated with then-prosecutor and current Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and served 13 of his 18-month sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution, he returned to his $50 million East 71st Street mansion, and “celebrated his release from a Florida jail with his close pal, Britain’s Prince Andrew,” the New York Post reported in 2011.
Epstein also joked to the Post at the time, “I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender.’ It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.”

Epstein once gave Andrew’s ex-wife a big loan

In March 2011, shortly after he feted Epstein’s return, Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, told the Daily Telegraph that Andrew had helped arrange for Epstein to pay over $18,000 to one of the duchess’s former assistants to whom she owed nearly $100,000 in unpaid wages and other bills. Andrew was serving as Britain’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment at the time, and this connection to Epstein, who had been convicted four years earlier of soliciting prostitution from a minor, drew heavy criticism in the press.
“I personally, on behalf of myself, deeply regret that Jeffrey Epstein became involved in any way with me,” Ferguson told the Telegraph at the time. “I abhor paedophilia and any sexual abuse of children and know that this was a gigantic error of judgment on my behalf.”
Andrew eventually stepped down from his role as trade representative in July 2011.

Epstein allegedly forced a teen girl to have sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions.

In a suit filed in 2015, Virginia Roberts Giuffre claimed that in 1999, when she was 15 years old, Epstein’s friend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, approached Giuffre at her summer job at Mar-a-Lago, and offered the teen professional training in massages. Giuffre says she was then brought to Epstein’s Palm Beach home, where she was repeatedly sexually abused by him, and that over the next few years, he “loaned her out to rich and influential men around the world,” as the Guardian reported in 2015.
Among these men, Prince Andrew, who Giuffre said she was forced to have sex with on three occasions while she was 17, once in London, at Maxwell’s home, once in New York, and once on Epstein’s private Caribbean island as part of an “orgy with numerous other under-aged girls.”
According to court filings submitted in 2015 as part of a long-running lawsuit challenging Epstein’s plea deal, Giuffre said Epstein ordered her at the time to “give the prince whatever he required” and report back to him with details of the abuse after. Per the filing, obtained by the Guardian:
“Epstein’s purposes in ‘lending’ Jane Doe (along with other young girls) to such powerful people were to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political, and financial gain,” the document alleged, “as well as to obtain potential blackmail information”.
Buckingham Palace strenuously denied the allegations after they were published in the Guardian, calling them “categorically untrue,” and denying “any form of sexual contact or relationship” between the prince and Giuffre.
Flight logs, however, appear to confirm that the prince was in the locations Giuffre claimed he was at the relevant times, the Telegraph reported in 2015.

Source: The Cut


CC™ Media Focus

Creating entertainment has been Walt Disney's niche since the 1920s; however, it now faces ever-increasing competition from rivals. In this piece, we take a look at Disney's journey thus far and who its main competitors are in the ever-evolving media landscape. 

Disney and Its Media Properties

The Walt Disney Company (DIS) has built a diverse empire since its beginning in the 1920s, creating a huge range of lucrative products in a number of marketplaces. As the largest mass media conglomerate in the world, Disney is best known for its film and TV productions and theme parks. Its television arm controls the ABC television network, with eight owned-and-operated broadcasting stations and over 230 affiliates, as well as a number of cable networks, including Freeform, Disney Channel and ESPN.

Walt Disney Pictures, Disney Animation and Pixar produce films for Walt Disney Studios, and Disney also owns Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm, which have become cash cows for them in the film and merchandise markets. It also has a presence in the travel industry, with the Disney Cruise line and theme parks, Walt Disney World and Disneyland, which have remained extremely popular for decades and now include foreign parks around the world.

  • Disney is a media and entertainment powerhouse, owning several brands and properties.
  • Because it has its hands in so many corners of the media industry, it also has many competitors.
  • Despite competition throughout the ages, Disney has been resilient, taking out the competition when necessary.
Disney's Competitors

Disney faces a number of competitors across its various markets, with Viacom (VIA), Time Warner (TWC), 21st Century Fox (FOX), Sony (SNE), CBS (CBS) and Comcast (CMCSA) being its main competitors. These companies compete with Disney's products mainly through TV, cable and other media markets such as DVD/Blue-ray, video games and the internet. The growth of multichannel video programming network distributors and cable networks has increased the competitive pressure for Disney. Contracts are renegotiated at certain points in these markets, and the rise of competition puts increased difficulty on Disney to renew the contracts with such favorable conditions as it has had in the past.

Disney also competes in the strong and lucrative sports market. It has done extremely well with sports channel ESPN, which provides 24% of its total revenues. This is due in part to the popularity of sports channels, but also to program bundling packages.

In the theme-park market, major rivals to Disney include Six Flags Entertainment (SIX), Cedar Fair (FUN), Universal Studios and Comcast. This competition has increased in recent times, particularly due to Universal's cashing in on the popularity of the Harry Potter books and movies. Universal Orlando has opened a Harry Potter-themed land in Orlando and Hollywood, which has boosted attendance numbers.

Entertainment Dominance

Disney's studio entertainment businesses continually manage to innovate, and profits often show this. Disney produces a range of consumer products with involvement in licensing, publishing and retail, and therefore competes with other vendors in these areas. However, according to Market Realist, Disney believes it is the largest worldwide licensor of character-based merchandise.

Recently, Disney and Fox made headlines when it was revealed that Disney had been negotiating with 21st Century Fox to acquire some of Fox's assets, particularly its film studio and the streaming service Hulu, in order to create a competitor to Netflix. On March 20, 2019, Disney officially acquired all the media assets of 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion, making Disney the largest media powerhouse on the planet.

According to its 4Q 2018 quarterly report, Disney showed a revenue increase of a whopping 50% year-over-year. Disney said the growth was driven by “exceptional performance” of “Black Panther,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Incredibles 2. While Disney's profits do fluctuate, in part due to seasonality and timing of releases, it remains a massive presence in several industries and one that most people identify with when they think of animated films and theme parks.


Following $38 billion final divorce settlement, Jeff Bezos will retain 12 percent stake in Amazon worth $114.8 billion and remains the world's richest person

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos finalized their divorce Friday to the tune of a $38-billion settlement, Bloomberg News reported. Under the agreement, MacKenzie Bezos, 49, will receive approximately 19.7 million shares, giving her a four percent stake in the company valued at $38.3 billion and landing her at 22nd on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the news service said.
A judge in Washington state's King County finalized the divorce. Jeff Bezos, 55, will retain a 12 percent stake and remain the world's richest man.
MacKenzie Bezos, a novelist, has said she would give all of her stake in The Washington Post and the space exploration firm Blue Origin to her husband as well as voting control of her remaining Amazon stock.
She has also promised to donate half her fortune to charity, joining the ranks of the world's ultra-wealthy philanthropists as a signatory of the Giving Pledge.
The personal life of Jeff Bezos was thrust into the spotlight with the announcement in January that he and his wife were divorcing after 25 years of marriage and the revelation by the National Enquirer that he had been having an affair with a former news anchor, Lauren Sanchez. 
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos married in 1993 and have four children. Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in their Seattle garage in 1994 and turned it into a colossus that dominates online retail. 


Walmart said to lose over $1B and may sell off money-losing online units

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Walmart (WMT) is expected to lose at least $1 billion this year in its e-commerce division and may sell off money-losing units as the retail giant struggles to compete with Amazon (AMZN), according to a new report published on Wednesday.
Vox’s Recode cited multiple sources claiming Walmart’s efforts to challenge Amazon are falling short, leading to internal strains and a push to curb losses in its e-commerce division. The unit is projecting losses of over $1 billion on revenues between $21-22 billion, Vox reported.
According to the publication, Walmart is frustrated with Jet— an online shopping site it purchased for $3.3 billion back in 2016. The mounting losses have put CEO Marc Lore on the hot-seat with the company’s leadership, the report said.
Walmart’s board of directors and CEO, Doug McMillon, want Lore and his online business to cut losses, Vox reported. They are also reportedly upset by the credit Lore’s division has received in the media and on Wall Street about Walmart’s huge online grocery shopping growth.
Besides improving internal tensions, Walmart will look to sell at least one of its three fashion brands that was bought under Lore: Bonobos for $310 million, Eloquii for $100 million and ModCloth for less than $50 million. All three businesses are unprofitable, Vox’s report said.
Walmart declined to comment on the story to Yahoo Finance.
The company, which is a retail powerhouse in its own right, has seen its stock rally to new 52-week highs near $112. That move came on the heels of strong quarter in which online sales skyrocketed 43%.
Although Walmart is bolstering its online shopping offerings, it’s been in a long battle to ward off the disruptive effect of Amazon, to little avail.
Lore is reportedly in favor of adding more fulfillment warehouses to aid in the delivery process. Walmart has no more than 20 warehouses currently while Amazon has 110.

Source: Yahoo Finance


Netflix officially orders 'Sandman' TV series from Neil Gaiman in deal with Warner Brothers

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Netflix is ready to show you fear in a handful of dust. On Monday the streaming platform announced that it has officially given a series order to The Sandman, an adaptation of the iconic 1990s comic series by Neil Gaiman and a host of the genre’s best artists.
This is not the first time a Sandman adaptation has been floated, of course. Long-time fans surely remember back in 2013 when Joseph Gordon-Levitt was attached to star in a film version from New Line. That project fizzled out a few years later, and it felt like The Sandman might never make it to the screen. But this Netflix version already boasts a few key differences from past attempts. First of all, it’s a TV series (10 episodes total) rather than a movie, which might be a better fit for the comic’s characteristically disparate storytelling. Although Morpheus, the king of dreams, is the protagonists of The Sandman, there are dozens of other colorful characters who share the spotlight; some of the best issues of the comic series barely feature Morpheus at all.
Then there’s the direct involvement of Gaiman himself. Fresh off his experience as show runner of Amazon Prime’s Good Omens (an adaptation of his novel with Terry Pratchett), Gaiman will be both a writer and executive producer on Netflix’s The Sandman. He will share those titles with The Dark Knight screenwriter David S. Goyer, who was also attached to the Gordon-Levitt film. Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg will be the official show runner. Luckily for fans, Heinberg is intimately familiar both with comics (he co-created Marvel’s Young Avengers with artist Jim Cheung in 2005) and with TV (he was a writer on Grey’s AnatomyThe O.C.Gilmore Girls, and more).
Gaiman, Goyer, and Heinberg will co-write the first episode of the series.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the brilliant team that is Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg to finally bring Neil’s iconic comic book series, The Sandman, to life onscreen,” said Channing Dungey, VP of original programming at Netflix, said in a statement. “From its rich characters and story-lines to its intricately built-out worlds, we’re excited to create an epic original series that dives deep into this multi-layered universe beloved by fans around the world.”
Get ready to dream a little dream, Netflix viewers. Soon you’ll be able to better understand the references to The Sandman in other Netflix shows like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Source: Entertainment Weekly