U.S. ranked the 114th most peaceful nation on earth says annual global ranking
Iceland is at the top of the heap
Land of the free, home of the brave - but America may not be the most peaceful spot on earth according to the 11th annual “Global Peace Index,” which bases judgement calls on a complex gauge of social, economic and political factors, including rates of homicide and terrorism activities.
The U.S. is now at No. 114, falling 11 places in the last year, the analysis says. Armenia and Rwanda are just in front of America on the list, El Salvador and China follow.
“Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark. There was also very little change at the bottom of the index. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen,” the report said.
Most U.S. allies are in the top-20 of the index, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Ireland and Germany. The United Kingdom is at No. 41, however.
“The U.S. deterioration is primarily driven by the growing intensity of internal conflict within the country, which was partly seen in the divisive 2016 Presidential election, as well as increases in the perceptions of criminality across American society,” the analysis said, also citing the impact of “rising homicide rates in several major American cities” and several terrorist attacks on American soil.
The index is produced by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, which figures that the impact of strife worldwide is $14.3 trillion. News is not all bad, though. In a nutshell, the index found hat 93 nations became “more peaceful” in the last year, 68 were “less peaceful.”
Find this complex, 140-page report here
Can You Drop This Off on Your Way Home? Walmart Tests Delivery by Store Employees
Walmart has a new idea for beating the high cost of shipping e-commerce packages – paying store employees to deliver them on their way home.
The program aims at using one of Walmart's biggest assets – more than a million U.S. store employees – to help close its big e-commerce sales gap with Amazon. Walmart has more than 4,700 stores, putting potential delivery nodes within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population.
In a test that launched a month ago in two stores in New Jersey and one in Northwest Arkansas, employees can opt in to deliver packages on their way home for extra pay. They use an app that offers opportunities to deliver up to 10 packages per commute.
In a news conference in Bentonville on Thursday, spokesman Ravi Jariwala said the program is entirely voluntary. He declined to specify the pay, but said finding the right compensation is part of the test. And he said the retailer will comply with all applicable state and federal labor laws, such as those covering overtime.
"It just makes sense," said Walmart E-Commerce chief Marc Lore in a blog post. "We already have trucks moving orders from fulfillment centers to to stores for pickup. Those same trucks could be used to bring ship-to-home orders to a store close to their final destination, where a participating employee can sign up to deliver them to the customer's house."
Walmart e-commerce is on a roll, with eye-popping 63% sales growth last quarter -- more than half of it organically from the legacy Walmart.com business rather than Jet.com acquired last September. Dropping the annual membership fee for free two-day delivery and offering discounts for picking up products in store have fueled that growth. But those things also add costs to an e-commerce business that has yet to make a profit.
Employees will wear their vests during the home commute/delivery trip and knock on doors of recipients, Jariwala said. If they're not home, employees will leave the package on the doorstep and take photos with their phones as proof of delivery.
Employees who volunteer for the program will get background and motor-vehicle safety checks. Walmart previously has considered having customers deliver e-commerce packages -- but having employees do the same thing adds an extra element of control.
Walmart also continues tests launched last year in Phoenix and Denver with Uber and Lyft to have their drivers deliver its packages to homes. But unlike "crowdsourced solutions" where drivers have to go out of their way to pick up and then deliver the packages, Lore noted that Walmart employees start from the shipping site and will be using routes that don't take them out of the way.
"I'm sure you can imagine how we can leverage these types of last-mile innovations in the future to deliver items offered in our stores to customers the same day," Lore said.
Evergreen evacuates campus due to ‘direct threat,’ will remain closed Friday
Officials at The Evergreen State College in Olympia evacuated the campus late Thursday morning because of a threat, and the campus will remain closed Friday.
“In response to a direct threat to campus safety, the college is closing immediately for the day,” college officials posted on Evergreen’s website. “All are asked to leave campus or return to residence halls for instructions.”
College spokesman Zach Powers told The Olympian that the closure was “out of an abundance of caution ... due to a violent threat against the college received by local law enforcement.”
Powers said the threat was called in late Thursday morning to the business line for Thurston 911 Communications, which dispatches emergency calls in Thurston County. Officials at that agency informed Evergreen Police Services about the threat, and they passed it on to college president George Bridges.
Powers posted to the college’s website at 5:25 p.m. on Thursday evening, to suspend Friday’s classes. His post says college officials were notified around 10:30 a.m. about an individual using an unknown phone number, who claimed to be armed and headed toward Evergreen’s campus.
Powers said students and staff were notified of the original closure on Thursday morning through an emergency alert system that many subscribe to, and intercom messages that were broadcast in buildings, and through social media posts.
“Evergreen police are being supported on site by members of local law enforcement,” Powers said. “There are other (law enforcement) agencies on site as people leave.”
College spokeswoman Sandra Kaiser said Olympia police officers and Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies were assisting in the investigation, which was being led by the nine-person Evergreen police department.
During a news conference at 1 p.m. Thursday at the nearby McLane Fire Department, Kaiser said she didn’t know many details about the nature of the threat.
“It was evaluated to be serious enough that law enforcement thought it was prudent to recommend that we close campus temporarily,” she said.
The evacuation came after weeks of unrest on campus. Hundreds of students protested last week, citing institutional racism and bias on the campus by some of the college’s employees.
When asked whether there was any reason to believe that Thursday’s threat was connected to recent events on campus, Kaiser said: “There’s nothing that I know of that connects these things directly. But, of course, we live in troubled times and you’ve got to take public safety as a priority for everybody.”
Evergreen faculty member Ulrike Krotscheck said she was co-teaching a seminar for the course “Digging up Diseases” when her cellphone and many students’ phones began buzzing with texts about the emergency closure. After that, the announcement came over the loudspeaker. Krotscheck described the evacuation was “really calm and orderly.”
She said she was glad officials made the call to close campus.
New GOP TV ad features Kathy Griffin
She Should Get Spanked...(But she might like it)
They pulled her apology about "Anti-Trump" Photo
A Republican Super PAC has found a new way to target Democratic candidates: Kathy Griffin.
A new ad uses the controversial comedian to criticize Democrat Jon Ossoff, saying her recent controversial actions are part of a pattern of behavior from “liberal extremists” who now support the House candidate running in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
Griffin drew widespread condemnation this week when she was pictured holding a fake severed head made to look like President Donald Trump. The head was covered in fake blood.
“Now a celebrity Jon Ossoff supporter is making jokes about beheading the president of the United States,” a narrator intones in the ad. “It’s not funny.”
Video of Griffin holding the head appears in the ad, alongside images of liberal filmmaker Michael Moore and black-hooded protestors smashing windows.
A spokeswoman for the group running the ad, Congressional Leadership Fund, said it is not yet on air in the Atlanta suburban district. But the group, which is spending $6.5 million on the closely watched special election, could decide to use it in the weeks before the June 20 election, said Ruth Guerra.
An official with the Ossoff campaign, in a statement, called the ad a “disgrace.”
“Jon Ossoff believes what Kathy Griffin did was despicable and for Karen Handel’s Super PAC to say otherwise is a disgrace,” said Ossoff spokeswoman Sacha Haworth. “Karen Handel should immediately demand this ad be pulled before any more children have to see these disturbing images on TV.”
The use of Griffin is an unusual tack in race that has otherwise been about Ossoff’s and Republican Karen Handel’s backgrounds, national security and health care. But in a race that has been saturated in spending by the candidates and outside groups, trying a new approach (if the ad does run on TV) might be an attempt to break through with voters who have grown weary of all the TV ads on the race.
Ossoff faces Handel in a race that has drawn national attention as an early test of Trump’s popularity in a district he narrowly won during last year’s election. Ossoff is seen as a slight favorite, although both sides say the contest could still go either way.
Griffin has apologized for the picture, but the controversy has nonetheless cost her endorsements and a job co-hosting CNN’s coverage of New Year’s Eve.
Exclusive: California to discuss linking carbon market with China
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown said on Thursday he will discuss merging carbon trading markets in his state and China when he travels to Asia later this week, a sign of the governor's ambition to influence global climate change policy.
Brown discussed his plans in a telephone interview after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, a global agreement to fight climate change. The move fulfilled a major Trump campaign pledge, but drew condemnation from U.S. allies and business leaders.
Brown, who vigorously opposes the United States' withdrawal from the pact, lambasted Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris accord as "insane."
He has been working with states and provinces around the world to set voluntary agreements to address global warming. The governor heads to China on Friday for meetings focused on climate change.
California has the largest carbon trading system in the United States and has frequently hosted officials from China, which has launched seven pilot regional trading schemes.
China also plans to roll out a nationwide market later this year, but the launch faces possible delays amid unreliable data and other regulatory problems, according to a government researcher.
California's system, which is known as "cap and trade," is already linked to Canada's Quebec market.
"I think that is a heavy lift to include Chinese provinces, but we are definitely taking that possibility very seriously," Brown said.
"We want to make sure it has full integrity and know exactly what's going on. And we can’t say that today," he said. "Maybe we don’t put it right in the same cap-and-trade regime, maybe some parallel regime," he added. "I am going to discuss that with the highest officials in China this week."
Brown will be meeting regional and national officials over the course of a week-long trip to China and will host a clean energy forum.
Trump has also sought to engage China, hosting President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in April. Critics say that the U.S. exit from the Paris accord sets up China to take on a higher-profile global role.