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His siblings were killed by their adoptive mother. He was left in foster care to suffer a more common fate.

Untold in news accounts of the Hart family’s foster care tale was the story of a brother left behind, a biological older sibling who, instead of being adopted, spent eight years in the Texas foster care system enduring a far more common tragedy.

Eight-year-old Dontay Davis acted out violently when the state removed him and his siblings from their home in 2005. In the years that followed, he was set on a path that advocates call the foster care-to-prison pipeline: separated from his brothers and sister, heavily medicated, shuffled between foster homes and shelters, institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital and placed for years in a restrictive treatment center. By age 19, Dontay was in a Texas prison serving three years for robbery.

It’s a path that many foster children take, according to the Juvenile Law Center, particularly those like Dontay — black boys separated from their siblings and diagnosed with mental illnesses.

According to thousands of pages of Dontay’s child welfare records, which he obtained and shared with The Washington Post, the Harts chose not to adopt him because of his behavioral problems. But as he bounced through the child welfare system, Dontay said, he never gave up on reuniting with his siblings — Devonte, Jeremiah and Ciera — ages 4, 2 and 1 when he last saw them.

He didn’t learn of their deaths until he was released from prison in October 2018, more than six months after their fate had been widely reported in the news. He didn’t cry when he found out — he just went cold.

“That was the last little hope I had in my life, you know? I had that hope that I was gonna see my little brothers again; one day we gonna kick it,” he said. “I used to cry sometimes thinking what we could be doing, growing up.”

‘Behavior challenges’

Dontay’s mother, Sherry Hurd, struggled with long-term drug use and was in and out of the house where her children lived with her partner. Jeremiah was born with cocaine in his system in 2004. Hurd tested positive for cocaine again after Ciera was born in 2005.

In their first foster home, Dontay lashed out and threatened his younger brothers, according to his records. His foster mother reported that his eyes rolled back in his head when he was angry. After just seven days, he was separated from his siblings and soon was placed in a psychiatric hospital.

He spent three weeks in the facility, where he says he was “chemically restrained,” or sedated, multiple times with a shot that rendered him unconscious. Dontay then was moved to an emergency shelter before being placed in a therapeutic foster home for children with severe behavioral problems.

He briefly reunited with his siblings in 2006 when they were sent to live with their aunt Priscilla Celestine. Dontay felt happy again — but it didn’t last long.

After six months, a caseworker made a surprise visit to the home and found the children alone with their mother, from whose custody they had been removed. They were taken away on the spot.

Celestine appealed the decision, but Devonte, Jeremiah and Ciera were soon adopted by the Harts and were taken to Minnesota, thousands of miles away from home — and from Dontay.

Days after he was separated from his siblings for the last time, 10-year-old Dontay tried to commit suicide by strangling himself with a belt at a therapeutic foster home.

It is common for children experiencing family separation to act out, said Will Francis, the executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Labeling those children as having “behavior challenges” can set them on a path that is hard to escape, he said.

Dontay received several mental-health diagnoses, including bipolar disorder, ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. He was put on a revolving list of heavy psychotropic medications — Depakote, Risperidone, Clonidine, Trazodone, Cogentin, Tenex, Concerta, Adderall — many of them concurrently.

Michael Schneider, a retired Texas child-welfare judge, recalls children describing fleeting meetings with doctors and sometimes not knowing which medications they were taking. He and a fellow researcher at Columbia University have found many Texas foster children who were prescribed two or more medications simultaneously for the same disorder.

“You’re 9 years old and get a bipolar diagnosis by someone who has barely seen you, and then you’re 16 and it’s still on your record,” Schneider said. “Once they get diagnosed with something like this, it’ll stay on their record and show up on their permanency reports, and it’s assumed to be true.”

Media relations manager Patrick Crimmins said the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has been “extremely aggressive monitoring psychotropics,” with use dropping from 30 percent of children in the state’s care in 2005 to less than 15 percent in 2017, the most current data.

‘Watch out for your brothers’

In January 2007, Dontay was placed in a nonprofit residential treatment center for troubled children in Houston called Serenity Place, where he would stay for almost four years.

It was much more restrictive than a home placement, with staff members documenting details such as the number of clean socks in his drawer and whether he brushed his teeth.

Dontay took out his frustration on the other children. He got into fights, wandered the halls during class or left campus entirely. Like many children in foster care, he fell far behind in school, reading at a fourth-grade comprehension level in ninth grade.

“It wasn’t fun; it wasn’t life,” Dontay said.

He recalls seeing other children visiting with relatives and receiving Christmas gifts and wanting the same. He asked his caseworker about his siblings nearly every month. He pleaded for a visit with them. He requested to see photos and asked whether they could talk on the phone. He wanted to hear about what they were up to. He missed them.

The separation was hard in part because Dontay blamed himself for it. He recalls that when the children were put into state custody, his mother told him, “You’re the big brother; you have to watch out for your brothers.”

But when his caseworkers finally asked Jennifer and Sarah Hart whether Dontay could have contact with his siblings, they said no.

“They kept saying the foster parents didn’t want me to have no contact,” Dontay said. “I thought, ‘Is it because I’m bad?’ ”

More than half of U.S. foster children with siblings were separated from at least one of them, according to estimates.

There have been efforts to stem the separations. In Texas, 54 percent of sibling groups were placed together in 2008; a decade later, that rose to 65 percent, according to state data. Siblings who are placed together have better mental-health outcomes and school performance. A 2018 Penn State study found that Texas siblings placed together had fewer “non-progress” placement disruptions for reasons such as incompatibility with the caregiver.

In the fall of 2010, 14-year-old Dontay was sent to live with Debra Roberts, who has fostered dozens of high-risk children. He still acted out, but he gradually bonded with “Miss Debra” as she talked to him and helped him with his reading. Sometimes he cried about how much he missed his family, especially his siblings, Roberts said.

“I wouldn’t say his behavior was extreme,” she said. “You have to get behind it to see why he behaves that way every day. And for him, it was the hurt and the pain of not being with his siblings.”

The forgotten children

When Dontay was 16, Nathaniel Davis, his mother’s partner, obtained custody of him. Being reunited was a big relief for Dontay, but by then, he was already associating with people in gangs and getting into serious trouble. He was arrested in connection with robbery three years later. His son, Donyae, was born while he was incarcerated.

Dontay’s story is a common one for foster children in the United States, said Sandy Santana, the executive director of Children’s Rights, a nonprofit organization that has sued more than a dozen states for failures of their child welfare systems.

Research has linked changes in caregivers to child delinquency, even for children not in foster care, said Dustin Pardini, director of the Pittsburgh Youth Study. The longitudinal study of more than 1,000 boys from Pittsburgh found that those who experienced two or more changes in their primary caregiver before age 10 were significantly more likely to engage in serious violence during adolescence — including homicide, robbery and aggravated assault — than those who did not experience multiple caregiver changes.

Dontay changed placements seven times before he was 10 and 11 times total.

“Hundreds and hundreds of kids I’ve met in my work fit these types of experiences,” Santana said. “All of that compounds their trauma, and when that trauma goes untreated, the very behavior that’s symptomatic of the trauma they’ve experienced gets criminalized.”

Children’s Rights filed a class-action lawsuit against Texas in 2011 for its treatment of children who were in the state’s care long-term, asserting that children were routinely moved around, overmedicated, and physically and sexually abused by caregivers and other foster children.

In 2015, a federal judge ruled that Texas had violated those children’s rights. The judge said children were “more damaged than when they entered” state care. She ordered sweeping reforms, including a reduction of caseworkers’ caseloads.

“In Texas, the judge called these kids ‘the forgotten children, the kids that even God has forgotten,’ ” Santana said. “There’s no real sustained public awareness about these systems — how broken they are, and what they do to kids.”

Last year, Congress passed the Family First Prevention Services Act to limit the use of group care settings, set new standards for residential treatment centers to receive federal funding, and make more money available for prevention services to keep children with their biological families. None of Texas’s residential treatment centers meet the new standards yet. The state has applied for an extension until 2021.

Crimmins of the DFPS said the agency has long been targeting sibling separations and the use of psychotropic drugs for improvement and that, in addition to Child Protective Services, many private providers — including placement agencies, emergency shelters and residential treatment centers — share the burden of ensuring that children are safe.

“The plight of the children and young people in the Texas foster care system is scrutinized constantly, and rigorously, not only by the thousands of child welfare professionals who have dedicated their lives to this work, but also by the Texas Legislature and Governor [Greg] Abbott,” Crimmins said.

But Francis, who was a CPS caseworker before his role at the National Association of Social Workers, said the system is designed to focus primarily on situational permanency — the child’s immediate needs, such as food and shelter — and less on relational permanency, which provides a child with lasting bonds to others the child can trust, a focus that fails those like Dontay, who are in care for extended periods.

“This system did not prepare him for life after care. They thought, ‘How do we house him while we have him, meet his most basic needs for food and shelter?’ And no one thought about how he would be as a 19-year-old,” Francis said.

On a hot day in July 2018, Nathaniel, with Dontay’s girlfriend and son in tow, visited the East Texas prison where Dontay had been for more than two years. The family had been grieving for his siblings since they found out about their deaths but decided not to tell Dontay until he was out of prison. They were worried about how he would react, and they didn’t want to jeopardize his chances of coming home in a few months.

The sun-parched prison grounds were surrounded by barbed-wire fencing. The mostly black and brown prisoners, clad in white, shuffled in a line to the visitor’s area.

Dontay got to spend about two hours with his family, whom he hadn’t seen for months. Between catching up with family news and playing with his toddler son, Dontay told them something he had repeated a lot over the years — a mantra of sorts to get him through some of the hardest moments: When he got out of prison, he told them, he was going to find Devonte, Jeremiah and Ciera.

Source: National
Continue reading His siblings were killed by their adoptive mother. He was left in foster care to suffer a more common fate.

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Hundreds of German banks make Apple Pay service available for first time

It’s been a year since the launch of Apple Pay in Germany, and significantly more consumers are now able to use the mobile payment service than ever before. 

READ ALSO: Apple Pay finally launches in cash-loving Germany

On Tuesday, 371 out of a a total of 379 Germans savings banks made the service available for a total of 50 million customers.

Commerzbank, Norisbank, and LBBW (Landesbank Baden-Württemberg) are among the banks now offering the use of the service to their clients.

Integration of popular girocard system still in the works 

As is typical for German banks, only credit cards and debit cards issued by the banks themselves can be integrated into the service.

A system which uses the very popular girocard, previously known as the EC card, is still in the works. This interbank network and debit card service connects virtually all German ATMs and banks. 

The logo of the popular girocard brand, formerly know as EC-Karte. Photo: DPA.

Jennifer Bailey, the head of Apple Pay, said that the service will be integrated into the girocard system in the coming year. 

Extra security 

Apple Pay allows customers to pay using the iPhone or Apple Watch as if they were using a contactless card. The payment method also applies for internet purchases. 

Users are able to unlock and approve the transactions through face identification or fingerprint scanning technology. Bailey emphasized that this technology ensures that the fraud rate is virtually zero with Apple Pay. 

Contactless payment at the cash register relies on the NFC chip technology. NFC stands for “near-field communication,” and works by allowing various devices equipped with the technology to exchange data. Apple’s Jennifer Bailey gives a presentation about Apple Pay in Cupertino, CA earlier this year. Photo: DPA. 


It is especially secure due to the fact that communication between devices is only possible within about 10 centimeters. 

The banks can only access the NFC via use of Apple Pay, due to Apple’s possession of the special high-security chip within their devices called the “Secure Element.”

German regulation challenges Apple’s dominance 

Germany passed a law in late November that requires platform operators such as Apple to provide financial services, such as banks who use their technology, full access to the infrastructure, such as the NFC, which makes the system work in exchange for a small fee. 

The law ensures that Apple’s rivals in the mobile payment market would still have access to the technology that makes it work. 

The regulation is just one part of recent actions in Germany to regulate US technology companies and their market dominance. 

Commerzbank was one of the banks to adopt the Apple Pay service recently. Photo: DPA.

Apple criticized the law but feels confident overall about accommodating it from a legal perspective. The company emphasized that it already provides access to the NFC chip infrastructure to financial service providers, thus meeting the requirements of the law. 

“When a card is added to the Apple Wallet, banks can decide whether to use it to trigger secure payments from their own apps via NFC. No new law is necessary for that,” the statement said. 

Banks ‘voting with their actions’ 

“Banks are voting with their actions by working with us on Apple Pay,” Bailey said of the bill, in regards to the latest additions and the development of a girocard solution. Apple’s system is still the safest way to pay with the iPhone. 

“The only way to the NFC chip today is via Apple Pay,” Bailey said, expressing concern that any other system would jeopardize user data and security. 

Translated by Kate Brady. 

Source: The Local
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What happens next


WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – are charges of wrongdoing that lay out specific assertions of how the president violated the U.S. Constitution and the oath of his office.

Each of the articles will be voted on separately by the Judiciary Committee with deliberations starting Wednesday at 7 p.m. and a vote expected on Thursday. The panel has 24 Democrats and 17 Republicans.

Those articles the committee approves will go to the full House for a vote, probably with a simple majority in the Democratic-controlled body on each article.

Those that pass will be sent on to the Senate, which must hold a trial. If two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 senators, vote to convict, Trump would be removed from office and Vice President Mike Pence would become commander in chief.

Pathway of the impeachment process:How it works, where we are

How to stay updated on USA TODAY’s impeachment coverage

The articles are drawn from the work of the House Intelligence Committee, which released a 300-page report on the investigation last week.

Here is each article explained:

Abuse of Power

The allegation of abuse of power stems from Trump’s decision to withhold roughly $400 million of congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine until the country announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival.

A meeting with Trump at the White House that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted was also dangled as a condition for the announcement of an investigation.

In a July 25 phone call, Trump urged Zelensky to investigate Biden, and his son, Hunter, who worked for the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings. The “favor,” as Trump described it, was made despite a lack of evidence that Biden or his son had engaged in corrupt activities, according to the House Intelligence report.

Democrats allege the pressure Trump exerted on a foreign ally amounted to an unconstitutional use of his office for political and personal gain by trying to wound a top opponent in a way that would help Trump win re-election in 2020.

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, said the president sought “to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest.”

Trump and his GOP allies have dismissed the allegation, saying the aid was released and Ukraine never made an announcement to investigate the Bidens. In addition, they point to Zelensky’s statements that he never felt pressure to act in exchange for the aid.

Trump said Zelensky’s denial is proof that he “has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls.”

Obstruction of Congress

The allegations of obstruction are based on Trump’s lack of cooperation with the House inquiry, including defying subpoenas for documents and testimony.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in an Oct. 8 letter to Pelosi and other House leaders that the inquiry is being conducted in a manner that “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.”

But Democrats say the decision to withhold documents and prevent witnesses from testifying as part of the Ukraine probe violates the fundamental check-and-balance system between the branches of government the country’s founders said was vital to the republic’s survival.

The White House prevented a number of mid-level and top staffers from testifying, in part because the process wouldn’t allow the president to call or cross-examine witnesses. Trump tweeted last month he wanted people to testify but was “fighting for future presidents and the Office of the President” by not letting them appear before Congress.

Despite the directive not to appear, several administration officials did testify under subpoena.

The Intelligence report said Trump intimidated witnesses who appeared before the Intelligence Committee as part of the inquiry by questioning their patriotism and subjecting them to mockery.

Contributing: Bart Jansen

Source: GANNETT Syndication Service
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Best of 2019


Corrections and clarifications:  An earlier version of this story misstated the number of episodes in Ken Burns’  PBS documentary “Country Music.” It is an eight-part series.  

After 2019, TV will never be the same. 

This year, TV got bigger than we ever could have imagined back when there were only three channels. Over 500 scripted series premiered new episodes, two major new streaming services (Apple TV+ and Disney+) debuted, “Star Wars” and Meryl Streep came to TV and “Game of Thrones” ended with massive ratings but disappointed fans. And yet we still are mostly talking about where we’ll be able to easily access reruns of “Friends.” 

But there were some really fantastic TV series we hope some of you managed to watch between all the Twitter reactions and marathons of Disney animated movies. And spoiler alert: “Thrones” and its terrible ending didn’t make the cut. 

You still have plenty of time before New Year’s Day to catch up on USA TODAY’s top 25 series of 2019.

Joe (Penn Badgley) stalks a new woman (Victoria Pedretti) in

25. ‘You’ (Netflix)

The soapy thriller starring Penn Badgley was a pleasant surprise in its original home on Lifetime, and became a sensation once it moved to Netflix, which will stream its second season Dec. 26. The second outing with self-aggrandizing stalker (and murderer) Joe is just as addictive as the first, if a little repetitive. But of all the current series that traffic in bad men doing bad things, “You” remains one of the few that asks interesting questions about its bad guy.

24. ‘Evil’ (CBS) 

Akin to “The X-Files” for religion – in which a psychologist, a priest-in-training and a tech expert investigate claims of miracles and demonic possessions – “Evil” is a hard sell on paper, but a surprisingly coherent and gripping series. Created by Robert and Michelle King (“The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight”), it is thought-provoking as an investigation of organized, institutional religion and as a source of thrilling horror stories about exorcisms and evildoers.

23. ‘Living With Yourself’ (Netflix) 

Paul Rudd is one of Hollywood’s most charming (and ageless) actors, and he does welcome double duty in this dark comedy about a man who ends up with a clone that is significantly better at living his life. Full of existential angst and pratfalls, the series neatly balances comedy and drama. It’s also a great showcase for Irish actress Aisling Bea, who turns in a breakout performance that isn’t overshadowed by Rudd’s star power.

22. ‘Country Music’ (PBS)

Ken Burns rarely disappoints. The legendary filmmaker turned his lens on the history of a uniquely American music genre for this eight-part documentary that traced its roots and rise. It may have also changed some minds about what country music really is and who it is for.

Sadie Sink, Noah Schnapp, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, and Caleb McLaughlin in  Stranger Things 3 .

21. ‘Stranger Things’ (Netflix) 

After a disappointing and derivative second season, the ’80s-set supernatural series – Netflix’s most popular – returned with new episodes that took more risks and repeated fewer plot points. With the Soviets as new villains, new horror inspirations for the monsters and new relationships to explore – particularly the friendship between Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Max (Sadie Sink) – the series crafted a third season that was almost as captivating as its breakout first.

20. ‘Veronica Mars’ (Hulu) 

In our current nostalgia-obsessed TV era, there are plenty of truly terrible reboots, remakes and revivals (“Fuller House”), but sometimes bringing back the original cast and creators years or even decades later results in good TV. The most successful attempt in recent years is “Veronica Mars,” the cult neo-noir series canceled by CW in 2003, revived in 2014 for a movie and brought back yet again for eight episodes by Hulu. Kristen Bell and creator Rob Thomas found a mystery worth Veronica’s talents, and room for the beloved-but-damaged detective to grow. Its shocker ending divided fans, but nothing about the new “Mars” felt cheap, forced or dated, and that’s a true achievement.

19. ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ (HBO) 

If you missed this small but mighty new sketch comedy series in August, it’s worth catching up on all six episodes of the hilarious first season. Created by Robin Thede and produced by Issa Rae (“Insecure”), the series’ talented black women comedians excel in sketches that are unique to their experiences and universal in their humor.

Mj Rodriguez as Blanca, Billy Porter as Pray Tell on

18. ‘Pose’ (FX)

FX’s groundbreaking LGBTQ drama became bigger and more intimate in its excellent second season, homing in on its best characters while making its stories more ambitious, tragic and complex. The season was more focused and compelling than its promising first year, with especially strong performances from Emmy-winning Billy Porter as Pray Tell, Mj Rodriguez as Blanca and Indya Moore as Angel. 

17. ‘Stumptown’ (ABC)

There is nothing particularly revolutionary about this procedural drama starring Cobie Smulders, but it stands out among the new network offerings this year because of the thoughtful and fresh way the writers make age-old detective stories. Smulders shines as Dex Parios, a deeply caring if not always smooth private investigator, and her performance elevates “Stumptown” beyond just-another-network-cop-show.

16. ‘The Good Fight’ (CBS All Access)

Despite getting a little more fantastical every year, CBS All Access’ “Good Wife” spinoff is still the drama that best captures the current sociopolitical era. Its third season, with the addition of Michael Sheen as a Roy Cohn-inspired lawyer, was a little wacky without getting too weird, with smart scripts and great performances, most notably from Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald.

15. ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ (Netflix) 

This prequel to Jim Henson’s 1982 film manages to go above and beyond the beloved original. On aesthetics alone, the series is a huge achievement, but it also tells a fantasy story as lofty and politically complex as “Game of Thrones.” That “Crystal” manages to make fully-realized characters and plots through mesmerizing puppetry rounds out a superb epic.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II on

14. ‘The Crown’ (Netflix)

God save the Queen, whoever happens to be playing her. Netflix’s British royals drama proved it can go deep into the reign of Queen Elizabeth II by successfully swapping its original cast for an older set of actors, including Oscar winner Olivia Colman in the lead role (previously played by Emmy winner Claire Foy). The third season has a few bumps, and struggles to make Elizabeth the center of her own story, but the addition of a young Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and his romantic escapades makes up for Colman’s brief screen time.

13. ‘Superstore’ (NBC)

Like a cheap bottle of wine at Target, “Superstore” just gets better with age. NBC’s workplace comedy is smarter and funnier every season, and 2019 episodes represent the show at its peak. “Superstore” kept its stories and character dynamics fresh this year by promoting Amy (America Ferrera) to manager of the Cloud 9 big box store, changing her socioeconomic status in an instant and drastically altering her relationship with her co-workers, including boyfriend Jonah (Ben Feldman).

Kayvan Novak as Nandor and Harvey Guillen as Guillermo on

12. ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ (FX) 

Based on the cult 2014 film from Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”) and Taika Waititi (who directed “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Jojo Rabbit”), “Shadows” is the funniest show this year, an outright bacchanalia of vampiric failures, energy draining and nerdy virgins. The comedy moves its focus from hapless vampires in New Zealand to an even more inept clan in Staten Island, New York, with lofty goals such as taking over the world via city council meetings. 

11. ‘The Good Place’ (NBC) 

The philosophical afterlife comedy hasn’t been quite as brilliant in its fourth and final season, but even at 85% strength, “Good Place” is still smarter and funnier than most shows on TV. Nailing an ending to a series that asks questions as big as this one does (what does it take to be a good person?) is always tricky, and most crucially the series is staying true to its delightful characters.

10. ‘Shrill’ (Hulu) 

At last, “Saturday Night Live” standout Aidy Bryant has a starring role worthy of her talents in Hulu’s “Shrill.” The actress finds a quieter side of her comedy in this Portland, Oregon-set series based on writer and fat-acceptance activist Lindy West’s memoir. It marks the best portrayal of life as a plus-size woman on TV, neither patronizing nor unrealistic, and tells stories beyond its protagonist’s weight on a scale. With just six hilarious episodes, it’s one of the few TV series that would have excelled if it had expanded.

Merritt Wever, left, and Toni Collette play detectives who initially butt heads but learn to work together in Netflix miniseries

9. ‘Unbelievable’ (Netflix) 

True-crime stories can be many things: seedy, enthralling, vindicating, angering or satisfying. Based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica article, “Unbelievable” is both infuriating and triumphant, highlighting the deep flaws in our criminal justice system while also celebrating the work of two genuinely heroic policewomen. With a stellar cast, “Unbelievable” tells the story of a rape victim (Kaitlyn Dever) who isn’t believed by police, and the two detectives (Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) who bring her attacker to justice years later – after he raped several more women.

8. ‘Undone’ (Amazon) 

As deeply emotional and affecting as it is unsettling, Amazon’s animated series gets under your skin, in a good way. The series’ rotoscoping technique, in which animation is drawn over live footage, provides an eerie edge as it tells a magic-realist story of a stagnant 20-something woman (Rosa Salazar) who can travel in time and communicate with her dead father. But for every psychedelic trip Alma takes, she also takes a more grounded one as she tries to repair damaged relationships and plot her next course. 

7. ‘Dead to Me’ (Netflix) 

Christina Applegate gives her best performance in Netflix’s black comedy about a widow who unknowingly befriends the woman (the great Linda Cardellini) who killed her husband. Twisty but not gimmicky, “Dead” is addictive. The series has an abundance of acting talent, including James Marsden, who finally gets a role that takes the sheen off his perfect smile. 

6. ‘Watchmen’ (HBO)

Although it started off a bit unsurely, HBO’s very loose adaptation of the graphic novel has blossomed into one of creator Damon Lindelof’s best series, and from the man behind “Lost” and “The Leftovers,” that’s some achievement. The series has a superb cast – including Regina King, Jean Smart, Jeremy Irons and Tim Blake Nelson – that elevates smart scripts that get better as the season progresses. Lindelof and his writers find surprising ways to bring the superhero story from the 1980s into today’s culture, helping “Watchmen” upend the comic book formula once again.

Asante Blackk in

5. ‘When They See Us’ (Netflix) 

Ava DuVernay’s striking miniseries gives voice to the so-called Central Park Five, a group of five black and Latino youths wrongly convicted of assault in one of the biggest trials of the 1980s. With an extremely talented group of young actors as the falsely accused adolescents – Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Emmy-winner Jharrel Jerome and Marquis Rodriguez – the series brings the story to the screen as a brutal, unrelenting tragedy.

4. ‘Back to Life’ (Showtime) 

This British tragicomedy, starring and created by Daisy Haggard (“Episodes”), focuses on Miri, a woman who returns to her small seaside village after spending 18 years in prison for a crime that’s explained as the series progresses. Although Miri has left iron bars and jumpsuits behind, her small town is a prison of its own, where she is hated by all but her parents, her new boss and her kindly neighbor. Touching on themes of forgiveness and deception, the series is breathtaking in its emotional scope, despite the small story it tells over just six episodes.

3. ‘Chernobyl’ (HBO) 

The brilliance of this historical miniseries, which chronicles the 1986 nuclear disaster at a power plant in Soviet Ukraine, creeps up on you as you watch its five episodes. Despite portraying so much death and despair, “Chernobyl” is never crass or exploitative, but rather it simply, anger-inducingly explains the failures and hubris that led to the disaster, and the people who tried to mitigate its consequences.

2. ‘Leaving Neverland’ (HBO)

Among 2019’s many true crime documentaries that made viewers question established media narratives and powerful people, this one – about two men who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse when they were children – stood out. Wade Robson and James Safechuck were given a platform to tell their harrowing stories, and director Dan Reed is unflinching as he captures the pain and suffering of the men and their families. Tough to watch, it’s also an eye-opening look at the lasting effects of abuse, and the way the media handles allegations against powerful men.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag in Amazon's

1. ‘Fleabag’ (Amazon) 

Could there be any other choice for No. 1? Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dark comedy ran away with the 2019 Emmy Awards for good reason. Few series have ever been as emotionally affecting and brilliantly written as “Fleabag” in its second season. The story of a self-hating and self-destructive woman (Waller-Bridge) falling in love with a Catholic priest (Andrew Scott) was both a shocking sequel to the first and an exquisitely perfect ending to Fleabag’s tale. We’ll miss her dearly. 

Source: GANNETT Syndication Service
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Integromat,, and Workato– Zoho Mail integrates with more iPaaS platforms

You can’t afford to waste time dealing with disjointed business tools. Repetitive manual tasks for transferring data between apps can eat up a lot of time and may cause errors. The best business ecosystem is the one where your different apps are tightly integrated and work together out of the box. That’s exactly what Zoho One aims to do, with our integrated suite of apps to manage all areas of your business.

However, you may still prefer to work with independent apps and may have difficulty passing data between them, or automating workflows intelligently. Our in-house app Zoho Flow helps you tie these apps together and bridge the gap. We also rolled out our integration with Zapier and for the same. We’ve since added some new Zoho Mail integrations that let you choose your preferred iPaaS platform—Integromat,, and Workato.

Connect apps and turn manual tasks into automated workflows

IPaaS platforms like Integromat,, and Workato help lighten your manual workload without having to worry about code, by following the trigger-action model. You can connect one or more apps with Zoho Mail, and define triggers in each app for performing actions in another.

You can use pre-built templates and customize them to your needs, or build your own and publish them. You can either keep it simple or create complex flows by using logic conditions to take automated actions, and avoid duplicate data.

Here are a few examples to help you get the idea:

Prompt notification emails and automated subscriptions with Integromat scenarios

When your customers or potential leads subscribe to your newsletters through support mail replies, you can convert them directly into subscribers in Mailchimp. Integromat’s pre-built integration does the job for you by watching emails that appear in a specified folder.

If you use Google Forms for your internal responses or client requests, you can get emails with details instantly, every time a form is filled and submitted, by connecting Google Forms with Zoho Mail.

Create new leads and accept subscription changes with blends

Every lead is a potential customer waiting to be converted. Don’t lose any by making manual entries. Convert contact information from emails into leads in Marketo by creating a data blend between the two.

While reaching as many leads as possible is important, it is also important to accept people’s choice to opt out. Blend Zoho Mail and Adroll to watch mail content and detect unsubscribers.

Use Workato recipes to post messages and get email updates based on keywords

Some emails demand immediate attention. Even more so if it is from your big client and has words like “immediately” and “ASAP”. Connect Zoho Mail with Slack using Workato to push messages to your work channel every time you receive an email from an important contact with particular content.

Your Feedly can be your go-to place for articles, news, and videos. But some items may interest you more than others. So, cook up a Workato recipe to receive email updates whenever an article with a specific tag appears.

These apps open up literally hundreds of opportunities for you to automate and manage your workflows. Make everyday business tasks quicker and easier. Try them out now, and tell us what you think!

Get the complete Zoho advantage: you can now use Zoho Mail along with the broad suite of products that Zoho offers by signing up for Zoho Workplace or Zoho One.

Source: Zoho Blog
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Deep Dive: Top stock picks for 2020: The best of the biggest

(This is the first in a three-part series listing highly rated stocks that sell-side analysts expect to rise the most over the next 12 months. This article covers large-cap stocks. Part 2 covers mid-cap stocks and part 3 covers small-caps.)

What a difference a year makes.

At this time in 2018, investors were in the midst of a crumbling stock market on fears of an impending recession.

Fast-forward to Dec. 9, 2019, and the S&P 500 Index

SPX, +0.29%

 was up 27.5% for this year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.11%

 was up 22.5%. The estimated GDP growth rate for the third quarter was 2.1%, and the November employment figures were full of very good news.

With hourly wages continuing to rise at a faster rate than the economy is growing, and unemployment at its lowest rate (3.5%) in 50 years, Goldman Sachs recommended investors focus on companies with low labor costs relative to revenue.

Analysts’ favorite stocks among the S&P 500

Here are the 20 S&P 500 stocks covered by at least five sell-side analysts with 75% or more “buy” or equivalent ratings that have the highest 12-month upside potential implied by consensus price targets:

Company Ticker Share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Closing price – Dec. 9 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Total return – 2019 through Dec. 9
TechnipFMC PLC

FTI, +1.31%

78% 19% 3% $18.85 $28.73 52% -1%
Diamondback Energy Inc.

FANG, +0.44%

97% 3% 0% $83.78 $124.00 48% -9%
Marathon Petroleum Corp.

MPC, -2.66%

89% 11% 0% $58.43 $80.65 38% 3%
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

ALXN, -1.53%

83% 17% 0% $112.48 $151.10 34% 16%
Pioneer Natural Resources Co.

PXD, +1.21%

90% 10% 0% $133.19 $178.01 34% 2%
EOG Resources Inc.

EOG, -0.19%

86% 14% 0% $74.51 $98.97 33% -14%
Concho Resources Inc.

CXO, +1.54%

79% 18% 3% $76.58 $100.74 32% -25%
Noble Energy Inc.

NBL, +1.10%

83% 17% 0% $21.81 $28.45 30% 19%
Baker Hughes Co. Class A

BKR, +1.52%

86% 14% 0% $22.25 $28.82 30% 7%
L3Harris Technologies Inc.

LHX, +0.74%

95% 5% 0% $193.62 $246.61 27% 46%
DuPont de Nemours Inc.

DD, +0.52%

77% 23% 0% $63.84 $80.68 26% -14%
NRG Energy Inc.

NRG, +1.43%

80% 10% 10% $38.56 $48.22 25% -2% Inc.

AMZN, +0.55%

96% 4% 0% $1,749.51 $2,178.08 24% 16%
PayPal Holdings Inc.

PYPL, +1.82%

81% 17% 2% $103.78 $127.67 23% 23%
Lincoln National Corp.

LNC, -0.29%

79% 21% 0% $57.92 $70.79 22% 16% Inc.

CRM, -0.01%

93% 7% 0% $157.48 $190.31 21% 15%
Quanta Services Inc.

PWR, +0.68%

86% 14% 0% $40.49 $48.79 20% 35%
Williams Companies Inc.

WMB, +1.09%

79% 21% 0% $22.90 $27.59 20% 8%
T-Mobile US Inc.

TMUS, -0.53%

75% 25% 0% $75.87 $91.38 20% 19%
IQVIA Holdings Inc.

IQV, -1.58%

85% 10% 5% $146.40 $176.06 20% 26%
Source: FactSet

You can click on the tickers for more about each company.

Only five of these stocks are down this year. However, 18 have underperformed the S&P 500 this year. Mark Hulbert looked at the Dow stocks and found that the worst stocks in a given year tend to rebound the following year.

The energy sector has been the weakest among the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 this year, returning only 7%. But analysts are sticking with their favorites and expect a better 2020.

The Dow 30

Here are the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sorted by percentage of “buy” or equivalent ratings among analysts polled by FactSet:

Company Ticker Share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Closing price – Dec. 9 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Total return – 2019 through Dec. 9
Visa Inc. Class A

V, -0.21%

92% 5% 3% $182.92 $205.18 12% 40%
Microsoft Corp.

MSFT, +0.38%

88% 12% 0% $151.36 $161.72 7% 51%
UnitedHealth Group Inc.

UNH, +0.33%

85% 15% 0% $277.54 $299.56 8% 13%
Merck & Co. Inc.

MRK, -0.15%

81% 19% 0% $88.72 $97.50 10% 18%
Walt Disney Co.

DIS, +1.00%

76% 20% 4% $146.21 $157.64 8% 34%
United Technologies Corp.

UTX, +1.31%

75% 25% 0% $146.22 $162.94 11% 40%
Nike Inc. Class B

NKE, +0.18%

73% 24% 3% $96.63 $104.66 8% 32%
McDonald’s Corp.

MCD, -0.12%

73% 27% 0% $194.68 $224.17 15% 12%
Chevron Corp.

CVX, -1.43%

72% 28% 0% $117.30 $136.09 16% 12%
Walmart Inc.

WMT, -0.13%

67% 30% 3% $119.36 $130.24 9% 31%
Coca-Cola Co.

KO, +0.33%

59% 41% 0% $54.07 $58.90 9% 18%
Johnson & Johnson

JNJ, +0.70%

58% 42% 0% $140.50 $150.47 7% 12%
Home Depot Inc.

HD, -1.80%

58% 39% 3% $216.53 $241.00 11% 29%
Cisco Systems Inc.

CSCO, +0.41%

57% 43% 0% $43.90 $52.43 19% 4%
Apple Inc.

AAPL, +0.85%

57% 29% 14% $266.92 $261.63 -2% 72%
Boeing Co.

BA, +0.63%

48% 52% 0% $351.21 $393.57 12% 11%
American Express Co.

AXP, -0.23%

46% 50% 4% $120.46 $133.04 10% 28%
Procter & Gamble Co.

PG, +0.29%

45% 46% 9% $124.87 $128.79 3% 40%
Caterpillar Inc.

CAT, +0.83%

44% 44% 12% $142.83 $143.64 1% 16%
Pfizer Inc.

PFE, -0.70%

42% 58% 0% $38.32 $41.89 9% -9%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

GS, -0.27%

40% 52% 8% $221.81 $237.68 7% 36%
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPM, -0.25%

40% 48% 12% $134.41 $125.00 -7% 42%
Intel Corp.

INTC, +0.85%

38% 41% 21% $56.53 $57.72 2% 23%
Dow Inc.

DOW, +0.04%

36% 59% 5% $53.27 $55.95 5% N/A
Verizon Communications Inc.

VZ, -0.23%

30% 70% 0% $61.01 $62.18 2% 13%
International Business Machines Corp.

IBM, -0.10%

29% 62% 9% $133.92 $149.17 11% 23%
Exxon Mobil Corp.

XOM, -0.16%

20% 76% 4% $69.66 $78.64 13% 7%
Travelers Companies Inc.

TRV, -0.66%

18% 65% 17% $135.45 $141.06 4% 16%
3M Co.

MMM, +0.64%

5% 79% 16% $169.83 $173.38 2% -8%
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

WBA, -0.68%

4% 78% 18% $58.71 $57.21 -3% -11%
Source: FactSet

Don’t miss: These are the 20 best-performing stocks of the past decade, and some of them will surprise you

Create an email alert for Philip van Doorn’s Deep Dive columns here.

Source: – Top Stories
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Deep Dive: Top stock picks for 2020: Making money with midsize firms

(This is the second in a three-part series listing highly rated stocks that sell-side analysts expect to rise the most over the next 12 months. Part 1 covers large-cap stocks and Part 3 covers small-caps.)

This has been an excellent year for U.S. stocks across the board. That said, investors who wish to be truly diversified need to look beyond the large-cap companies that dominate financial headlines.

The S&P 400 Mid Cap Index

MID, +0.16%

has returned 23% this year, with dividends reinvested, through Dec. 9. That trails the 27.5% of the large-cap S&P 500

SPX, +0.29%

but is ahead of the 20% return for the S&P Small Cap 600 Index

SML, -0.02%.


Here are a few longer-term performance comparisons for the three indexes, underlining the importance of diversification.

Over the past five years, the S&P 500 has been the best performer among the three:


Going back 10 years, the small-caps take the prize:

But if we go back 15 years — including the boom-and-bust cycle leading through the 2008 financial crisis — the mid-cap index is the best performer of the three:

If you are a typical index-fund investor, you might have a lot of your retirement nest egg in a low-cost S&P 500 Index fund, such as the Vanguard 500 Index fund

VFIAX, -0.11%

 or the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust

SPY, +0.26%.

But the large-cap index may not be as diversified as you think. The largest five companies in the S&P 500 — Apple

AAPL, +0.85%,


MSFT, +0.38%,


GOOG, +0.03%

GOOGL, +0.10%,


AMZN, +0.55%

 and Facebook

FB, +0.69%

 — make up 18% of the S&P 500’s market capitalization, while the largest 10 make up 26%.

So you can be more diversified by expanding your index horizons. The Vanguard S&P Mid-Cap 400 ETF

IVOO, +0.21%

 is one way of doing so.

Analysts’ favorite stocks among the S&P 400

Here are the 20 S&P 400 Mid Cap stocks covered by at least five sell-side analysts with 75% or more “buy” or equivalent ratings that have the highest 12-month upside potential implied by consensus price targets:

Company Ticker Share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Closing price – Dec. 9 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Total return – 2019 through Dec. 9
Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc.

LGND, -2.01%

100% 0% 0% $105.79 $196.20 85% -22%
InterDigital Inc.

IDCC, +0.26%

100% 0% 0% $53.13 $92.60 74% -18%
Etsy Inc.

ETSY, +1.28%

88% 6% 6% $41.16 $66.07 61% -13%
Matador Resources Co.

MTDR, +0.23%

75% 25% 0% $14.93 $22.15 48% -4%
SLM Corp.

SLM, +1.17%

92% 8% 0% $8.67 $12.33 42% 6%
WPX Energy Inc.

WPX, +0.00%

91% 9% 0% $10.59 $15.01 42% -7%
Ciena Corp.

CIEN, +2.05%

76% 19% 5% $34.61 $48.95 41% 2%
II-VI Inc.

IIVI, +3.41%

75% 25% 0% $29.50 $40.50 37% -9%
Aaron’s Inc.

AAN, -0.07%

90% 10% 0% $58.65 $79.50 36% 40%
Dycom Industries Inc.

DY, -0.17%

78% 22% 0% $46.38 $60.50 30% -14%
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Class A

WWE, +1.95%

87% 13% 0% $62.69 $80.50 28% -16%
Adtalem Global Education Inc.

ATGE, +0.10%

80% 20% 0% $33.46 $42.80 28% -29%
MasTec Inc.

MTZ, -1.23%

85% 15% 0% $62.02 $77.08 24% 53%
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc.

OLLI, +14.98%

77% 23% 0% $60.23 $73.38 22% -9%
Boyd Gaming Corp.

BYD, +0.75%

93% 7% 0% $29.00 $35.00 21% 41%
LiveRamp Holdings Inc.

RAMP, +0.12%

80% 10% 10% $49.36 $59.56 21% 28%
Sterling Bancorp

STL, -0.59%

91% 9% 0% $20.51 $24.73 21% 26%
Penumbra Inc.

PEN, -1.15%

100% 0% 0% $161.13 $193.40 20% 32%
SolarEdge Technologies Inc.

SEDG, +2.49%

75% 25% 0% $82.84 $98.67 19% 136%
Catalent Inc.

CTLT, -1.71%

100% 0% 0% $52.06 $61.88 19% 67%
Source: FactSet

You can click on the tickers for more information about each company.

It is interesting to see that half of these stocks are down this year, while 12 have underperformed the S&P 400 Mid Cap Index. Mark Hulbert explained that the worst stocks in a given year tend to rebound the following year.

Don’t miss: These are the 20 best-performing stocks of the past decade, and some of them will surprise you

Create an email alert for Philip van Doorn’s Deep Dive columns here.

Source: – Top Stories
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hidden common ground

USA TODAY – Open-minded, thoughtful, respectful, solutions-oriented.

Category Topics


How divided are we in America?

More than 9 of 10 Americans surveyed, according to a new USA TODAY/Public Agenda Poll, said it’s important for the United States to reduce divisiveness.


Shared principles

Four in 10 Republicans and nearly half of Democrats, according to the USA TODAY/Public Agenda Poll, said they would be “tempted” to vote for the opposing party’s nominee if he or she had the best shot at unifying the country. Would you?



Let’s identify and settle on solutions to Americans’ partisan divide.



Source: GANNETT Syndication Service
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The college football bowl campaign puts a cap on the 2019 season. A total of 40 postseason games in the Football Bowl Subdivision are set to take place in December and January.

The action kicks off with the Bahamas Bowl and Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20. One day later, there are six games scheduled across the country.

The College Football Playoff semifinals will be held on Dec. 28 at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona and the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

The national championship game will wrap up the bowl season extravaganza on Jan. 13 in New Orleans.

A rundown of all the games:

Dec. 20 — Bahamas Bowl: Charlotte vs. Buffalo, ESPN, 2 p.m.

Dec. 20 — Frisco Bowl: Kent State vs. Utah State, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 21 — New Mexico Bowl: Central Michigan vs. San Diego State, ESPN, 2 p.m.

Dec. 21 — Cure Bowl: Liberty vs. Georgia Southern, CBSSN, 2:30 p.m.

Dec. 21 — Boca Raton Bowl: Florida Atlantic vs. SMU, ABC, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 21 — Camellia Bowl: Florida International vs. Arkansas State, ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 21 — Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Washington, ABC, 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 21 — New Orleans Bowl: Alabama-Birmingham vs. Appalachian State, ESPN, 9 p.m.

Dec. 23 — Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs. Central Florida, ESPN, 2:30 p.m.

Dec. 24 — Hawaii Bowl: BYU vs. Hawaii, ESPN, 8 p.m.

Dec. 26 — Independence Bowl: Miami (Fla.) vs. Louisiana Tech, ESPN, 4 p.m.

Dec. 26 — Quick Lane Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. Pittsburgh, ESPN, 8 p.m.

Dec. 27 — Military Bowl: North Carolina vs. Temple, ESPN, noon    

Dec. 27 — Pinstripe Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Michigan State, ESPN, 3:20 p.m.

Dec. 27 — Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M, ESPN, 6:45 p.m.

Dec. 27 — Holiday Bowl: Iowa vs. Southern California, FS1, 8 p.m.

Dec. 27 — Cheez-It Bowl: Air Force vs. Washington State, ESPN, 10:15 p.m.

Dec. 28 — Camping World Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Iowa State, ABC, noon

Dec. 28 — Cotton Bowl: Penn State vs. Memphis, ESPN, noon

Dec. 28 — Peach Bowl: LSU vs. Oklahoma, ESPN, 4 p.m.

Dec. 28 — Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson, ESPN, 8 p.m. 

Dec. 30 — First Responder Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Western Kentucky, ESPN, 12:30 p.m.

Dec. 30 — Redbox Bowl: Illinois vs. California, Fox, 4 p.m.

Dec. 30 — Music City Bowl: Louisville vs. Mississippi State, ESPN, 4 p.m.

Dec. 30 — Orange Bowl: Virginia vs. Florida, ESPN, 8 p.m.

Dec. 31 — Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky, ESPN, noon    

Dec. 31 — Sun Bowl: Florida State vs. Arizona State, CBS, 2 p.m.

Dec. 31 — Liberty Bowl: Kansas State vs. Navy, ESPN, 3:45 p.m.

Dec. 31 — Arizona Bowl: Wyoming vs. Georgia State, CBSSN, 4:30 p.m.    

Dec. 31 — Alamo Bowl: Utah vs. Texas, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 1 — Citrus Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan, ABC, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 — Outback Bowl: Minnesota vs. Auburn, ESPN, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 — Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oregon, ESPN, 5 p.m.

Jan. 1 — Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs. Georgia, ESPN, 8:45 p.m.

Jan. 2 — Birmingham Bowl: Boston College vs. Cincinnati, ESPN, 3 p.m.

Jan. 2 — Gator Bowl: Indiana vs. Tennessee, ESPN, 7 p.m.

Jan. 3 — Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio vs. Nevada, ESPN, 3:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 — Armed Forces Bowl: Southern Mississippi vs. Tulane, ESPN, 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 6 — Mobile Bowl: Miami (Ohio) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 13 — College Football Playoff title game: Semifinal winners, ESPN, 8 p.m.

Source: GANNETT Syndication Service
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Time’s Person of the Year is its youngest ever: Greta Thunberg, the teen climate activist

“She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement,” Time Editor in Chief Edward Felsenthal said on NBC’s “Today” show.

Thunberg represents a broader phenomenon of young people pushing for change, Felsenthal said, pointing to the Parkland, Fla., high school students who became a leading voice on gun control as well as another finalist for 2019 Person of the Year, the Hong Kong protesters who have spent months in the streets urging democratic reform.

This time, she did not reject the accolade, but shared credit with “climate activists everywhere.”

Felsenthal wrote that Time’s choice of Thunberg “says as much about the moment as it does about her,” describing the Person of the Year tradition as springing from a historical lens that emphasizes people at the top of major organizations and “at home in the corridors of power.”

“But in this moment when so many traditional institutions seem to be failing us, amid staggering inequality and social upheaval and political paralysis, we are seeing new kinds of influence take hold,” he said.

He marveled on “Today” at Thunberg’s rapid rise from little-known “solo protester” to beacon of change in the past year. She spent last summer sitting alone outside the Swedish parliament with a handmade sign declaring her “school strike for climate.”

That isolated action grew into a movement as Thunberg inspired students around the world to leave their classes in massive demonstrations. And she electrified young and old with her viral words for leaders at this year’s U.N. summit.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” she said. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. ”

Time’s pick drew praise from others who say the threat of climate change demands immediate, serious action. “Brilliant decision,” tweeted activist and former vice president Al Gore.

“Greta embodies the moral authority of the youth activist movement demanding that we act immediately to solve the climate crisis,” Gore said. “She is an inspiration to me and to people across the world.”

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton also lauded the choice, noting Thunberg’s words that “change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, included the teenager in their new book highlighting “gutsy women.”

Not everybody celebrated the pick, though.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., criticized Time on Twitter, saying the magazine passed over “the Hong Kong Protesters fighting for their lives and freedoms to push a teen being used as a marketing gimmick.”

Thunberg has been successful in pushing climate change up the global agenda, Felsenthal said Wednesday. “She’s taken this issue from backstage to center,” he said.

This year, there were no runners-up for Person of the Year selected from the four other finalists. Instead, Time highlighted people as influential in their fields.

Entertainer of the year went to singer and cultural force Lizzo. An athletic honor went to the U.S. women’s soccer team, with Felsenthal highlighting star Megan Rapinoe, who is known for activism as well as her prowess on the field. Disney chief executive Bob Iger was recognized as the businessperson of the year with nods to his company’s box office success and work launching streaming service Disney Plus. And a “Guardians of the Year” title recognized the “public servants” who have played a role in impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Time has chosen a Person of the Year since 1927, though the distinction originally was called Man of the Year.

Last year, Time’s Person of the Year was “the Guardians” of the truth, four individuals and one group — all journalists — who helped expose “the manipulation and the abuse of truth” around the world. Among them: Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist who was killed inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.

“The Guardians” also included the staff of the Capital Gazette, whose Maryland newsroom was attacked by a gunman; Maria Ressa, chief executive of the Rappler news website who has been made a legal target for the outlet’s coverage of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte; and journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed in Myanmar for nearly a year for their work exposing the mass killings of Rohingya Muslims.

In 2017, Time recognized “the Silence Breakers,” the women (and some men) who came forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault and helped force a nationwide reckoning. Among them were Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, the actresses whose stunning accusations against movie executive Harvey Weinstein helped lead to his downfall; and activist Tarana Burke, creator of the #MeToo movement, along with the Hollywood star who amplified it on social media, Alyssa Milano.

The 2018 selection of “the Guardians” marked the second year in a row Time named a group of people, rather than one person, for the honor.

Trump has had an on-again, off-again love affair with Time, often angling for the honors it hands out and criticizing the magazine as irrelevant when he feels snubbed. The president told a reporter last year he could not imagine anyone but himself being named 2018 Person of the Year. Ultimately, the magazine selected the journalists.

Alex Horton, Amy B Wang, Lindsey Bever, Abby Ohlheiser and Eli Rosenberg contributed to this report.


Source: National
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