(CSMonitor.com) – New York to pay Eric Garner’s family $5.9 million in ‘I can’t breathe’ settlement

In this Aug. 23, 2014, file photo, demonstrators march to protest the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner in the Staten Island borough of New York. Nearly a year has passed since Garner had the encounter with New York City police that led to his death. Since then, his family has become national advocates for police reform and the department is changing how it relates to the public it serves.John Minchillo/File/AP

Scott Stringer said the terms of settlement means that the city does not admit liability, but offers some measure of comfort to the family of the deceased father of six.
By Kevin Truong, Staff writer
A few days before the anniversary of the death of Eric Garner, New York City officials announced a $5.9 million settlement stemming from his controversial death during an arrest in Staten Island last summer.In his announcement of the payout, City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the terms of settlement means that the city does not admit liability, but offers some measure of comfort to the family of the deceased father of six.“I believe that we have reached an agreement that acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the City,” Mr. Stringer said in a statement.Recommended: Race equality in America: How far have we come?On July 17, 2014 – a beautiful summer day – Mr. Garner was approached by two police officers on suspicion of committing the misdemeanor of selling loose unlicensed cigarettes. The father of six protested and was taken to the ground in what the medical examiner ruled a chokehold by New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo last fall. A federal civil rights investigation is ongoing. Race equality in America: How far have we come? A New Age of Street Protests After being subdued on the ground, Garner became unresponsive. He was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead one hour later.The cell phone video of Garner’s arrest went viral, sparking protests in New York, and his name was added to the list in the chants in the Black Lives Matter movement. Demonstrators took to the streets again last fall after the grand jury decision.His last words – “I can’t breathe” – became a rally cry for the movement.The announcement took note of the impact that Garner’s death had on the national consciousness.“We are all familiar with the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our City and our nation,” Stringer said in the statement. “It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve.”Edward Mullins, the head of the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association lambasted the city for the settlement, saying a jury would have come to more fair terms based on “neither politics nor emotion.”“In my view, the city has chosen to abandon its fiscal responsibility to all of its citizens and genuflect to the select few who curry favor with the city government,” Sergeant Mullins told the New York Post. “Mr. Garner’s family should not be rewarded simply because he repeatedly chose to break the law and resist arrest.”A medical examiner ruled the death a homicide stemming from the chokehold, compression on Garner’s chest, and the 43-year-old’s existing health problems. Chokeholds which are described in the NYPD handbook as “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air” have been banned by the department since 1993.A series of bills to officially criminalize police use of the chokehold – inspired by Garner’s arrest – has been winding its way through City Council.  The NYPD, which has prohibited the use of chokeholds since 1993, announced plans last month to match the language in the police handbook with the language of the legislation, The New York Times reported.

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(CNN) – Amazon, Walmart reveal crazy deals ahead of big sales day – Jul. 14, 2015

One of Amazon deals

Amazon, Walmart reveal crazy deals ahead of big sales dayBy Ahiza Garcia   @ahiza_garciaSneak peek at Amazon ‘Prime Day’ dealsMy sale is better than yours.Just hours after Amazon teased some of its major deals ahead of the kickoff of its “Prime Day,” Walmart previewed some of its own deep discounts to CNNMoney.The 24-hour sale-a-thon is set to begin at 12:01am PT on Wednesday.Amazon’s special savings day on Wednesday is to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary and is being promoted as having “more deals than Black Friday.”After Amazon announced its plans last week, Walmart jumped in with a sales day of its own on the same day that will be filled with what it calls “atomic specials” and thousands of deals.Some of the Amazon discounts revealed Tuesday include a 40-inch TV for $115, savings of up to 70 percent on top kitchen brands, an Amazon Fire HD 7 tablet for $60 off (regularly retails for $139), over 50% off two Nikon COOLPIX cameras, and an iRobot Roomba Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robot for under $300, for a savings of at least $99 and possibly more depending on the model.Walmart’s specials included an Apple iPad Mini 2 for $265 (for a savings of $174), a Black and Decker Drill and 133 piece Home Project Kit for $50 (usually retails for $80), and a Toshiba 15.6″ Satellite laptop for $377 (customers save $253).One of Amazon’s dealsRelated: Amazon says new ‘Prime Day’ will bury all other salesThe Amazon sales are available only to its Prime members but Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) is currently offering the membership, normally $99 a year, for free as a 30-day trial.Shoppers will be privy to enticements such as “Lightning Deals” and “Deals of the Day” throughout Wednesday and will receive free and unlimited two-day shipping.Prime Day will also allow members the chance to win from $1,000 to $25,000 in Amazon gift cards and tickets and a trip to the season two premiere of Transparent, an Amazon original show.In addition to announcing its own sale, Walmart criticized Amazon for only opening the sale to Amazon Prime members. Amazon shot back, questioning the logic of retailers who make prices cheaper for online versus in-store shoppers.CNNMoney (New York) July 14, 2015: 12:51 PM ET

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(businessinsider.com) – Rapper 50 Cent files for bankruptcy

Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, has filed for bankruptcy.


Curtis Jackson, better known as rapper 50 Cent, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.
“In court papers filed in the US Bankruptcy Court in Hartford, Conn., Mr. Jackson reported assets and debts each in the range of $10 million to $50 million,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

The filing comes just three days after the “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” rapper was ordered to pay $5 million to his rival Rick Ross’ ex-girlfriend, Lastonia Leviston, who sued him for posting a sex tape online to millions of viewers in an attempt to embarrass Ross.

The Hollywood Reporter points out that “The chapter 11 filing allows him to reorganize his business interests, as opposed to a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, which would mean liquidation of his assets.”

The rapper’s attorney further explained to THR:

“The filing allows Mr. Jackson to reorganize his financial affairs, as he addresses various professional liabilities and takes steps to position the future of his various business interests. Mr. Jackson’s business interests will continue unaffected in the ordinary course during the pendency of the chapter 11 case. This filing for personal bankruptcy protection permits Mr. Jackson to continue his involvement with various business interests and continue his work as an entertainer, while he pursues an orderly reorganization of his financial affairs.”

50 Cent was previously one of the world’s wealthiest rappers, largely thanks to his minority stake in Vitamin Water. In 2007, the Coca-Cola Company acquired Vitamin Water from Glacéau for $4.1 billion.

50 cent vitamin waterVitamin Water50 Cent reportedly earned “between $60 million and $100 million” after the Vitamin Water sale in 2007.

According to The Washington Post at the time, “50 Cent was thought to have walked away with a figure somewhere between $60 million and $100 million, putting his net worth at nearly a half billion dollars.”

While the rapper no longer has an equity stake in the company, he continued to act as a spokesman for Vitamin Water.

Additionally, the rapper’s studio albums alone have sold more than 21 million units, and he has starred in a long list of film and TV projects, including Starz’s new hit “Power.”

In May, Forbes estimated 50 Cent’s net worth at $155 million, ranking him No. 4 on the list of the wealthiest hip-hop artists.

The bankruptcy claim comes just days after The New York Times published a glowing profile of the rapper, praising his “exceptional business instincts.”

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(CNN.com) – NASA’s New Horizons probe makes history at Pluto

NASA says its New Horizons spacecraft completed a historic flyby of Pluto, making its closest pass at 7:49 a.m. ET. Tuesday.

Pluto’s mysterious heart seen in this NASA Photo (CNN)

(CNN)NASA says its New Horizons spacecraft completed a historic flyby of Pluto on Tuesday, making its closest pass over the small, icy world at 7:49 a.m. ET.

The unmanned, piano-sized spacecraft was expected to be traveling nearly 31,000 miles per hour when it passed about 7,750 miles over Pluto.

It’s the first mission to Pluto and its five moons.

Because the spacecraft will be busy gathering data during the flyby, it won’t phone home to update its status until around 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

“That’s going to be a very highly anticipated event,” Alan Stern, the mission’s principal investigator said at a briefing Monday.

The wait will be a tense one.

“There’s that small element of danger, so I think we’re all going to breathe the final sigh of relief at 9 p.m., and that’s when we can really call it a successful flyby,” Stern said.

Quiz: Test your knowledge of Pluto
When will you see photos from the flyby? It takes four hours for the probe to get a signal back to Earth, and then NASA has to process the data. Mission managers expect the images from the close encounter to be released online and on NASA TV at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Scientists on Monday said New Horizons already has settled one debate about Pluto — it’s size. Information gathered by the probe indicates Pluto is 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) in diameter. That’s somewhat bigger than earlier estimates, and it means Pluto is larger than all other known solar system objects beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Probe is carrying ashes of man who discovered Pluto
The probe already has beamed back several crisp photos of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.

“Pluto and Charon are both mind-blowing,” Stern told CNN on Saturday. “I think that the biggest surprise is the complexity we’re seeing in both objects.”

The mission completes what NASA calls the reconnaissance of the classical solar system, and it makes the United States the first nation to send a space probe to every planet from Mercury to Pluto. The probe traveled more than 3 billion miles to reach Pluto.

12 things to know about Pluto

Why go to Pluto?
New Horizon’s core science mission is to map the surfaces of Pluto and Charon. It also will study their atmosphere.

The spacecraft was launched on January 19, 2006, before the big debate started over Pluto’s status as a planet. In August of that year, the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet.
But Stern disagrees with the IAU’s decision.

“We’re just learning that a lot of planets are small planets, and we didn’t know that before,” Stern said earlier. “Fact is, in planetary science, objects such as Pluto and the other dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt are considered planets and called planets in everyday discourse in scientific meetings.”

New Horizons has seven instruments on board to help scientists better understand how Pluto and its moons fit in with the rest of the planets in our solar system.

The planets closest to our sun — Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars — are rocky. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are gas giants. But Pluto is different: Even though it is out beyond the gas giants, it has a solid, icy surface.

Beyond Pluto
New Horizons looks like a gold foil-covered grand piano. It’s is 27 inches (0.7 meters) tall, 83 inches (2.1 meters) long and 108 inches (2.7 meters) wide. It weighed 1,054 pounds (478 kilograms) at launch.

The probe won’t orbit Pluto and it won’t land. Instead, it will keep flying, heading deeper into the Kuiper Belt, a region that scientists think is filled with hundreds of small, icy objects.

“The universe has a lot more variety than we thought about, and that’s wonderful,” Stern said. “The most exciting discoveries will likely be the ones we don’t anticipate.”

Stern said mission managers will decide later this year where to point New Horizons for the next part of its journey.

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(politico) – Americans are living longer.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shakes hands with a senior citizen after speaking at a meeting at Oak Point senior community in Columbia City, Ind., Thursday, May 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shakes hands with a senior citizen after speaking at a meeting at Oak Point senior community in Columbia City, Ind., Thursday, May 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A ‘catastrophist’ says longevity poses huge risks we aren’t dealing with.

By Michael Grunwald

Human beings are living longer than ever, which can be a wonderful thing. As the T-shirts say, life is good. But human longevity has big consequences for society, which is one reason President Obama is hosting today’s White House Conference on Aging. It’s great that we can get new hips when our old ones wear out, but someone has to pay for them. It’s great that Baby Boomers will enjoy longer retirements, but will their retirement savings last as long as they will?

Most of us think of longevity as a gift, a blessing, a sign of social progress. Gordon Woo thinks of it as a catastrophe.

Dr. Woo, a Cambridge-trained mathematician and MIT-trained theoretical physicist who now works for the London-based consultancy RMS, spends his days thinking about catastrophic risks. Woo is one of the world’s best-respected “catastrophists,” and RMS—short for Risk Management Solutions—helps insurers and reinsurers calculate the likelihood of disastrous earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, terrorist attacks, financial crises, and other hazards. Lately, Woo has been thinking a lot about the risks posed by climate change, which could have a huge impact on the catastrophes of the future, altering sea levels, weather patterns, migration patterns, and much more. But Woo’s other major preoccupation these days is the risks posed by people living longer.

Unlike some futurists, Woo does not believe the aging of the population is going to plateau any time soon—not in an era when you’ll be able to replace more of your spare parts and take the drugs that work best for your personal genome. And that could have huge implications in the coming decades, as civilizations struggle to meet the medical and financial needs of their elders.

In the United States, for example, Social Security is now in pretty solid shape, and Medicare’s troubled finances have improved significantly in the last few years, as health care costs have stopped soaring. But the picture could look very different over the next quarter-century, as the portion of Americans over the age of 65 rises from 12 percent to 20 percent. In 1960, there were five American workers for every retiree, but now there are just under three, so Social Security no longer generates surpluses. By 2040, there will be about two workers per retiree, a demographic cliff that could drain the system in a hurry—or force some dramatic changes. And the days when most Americans spent their entire career with the same company and then enjoyed a private pension during retirement are long gone.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie and other Republican candidates for president have called for reining in government entitlements; Jeb Bush has suggested the retirement age may have to be raised to 70. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats have talked about making Social Security benefits more generous, to ensure they can provide a high quality of life throughout an extended retirement; in her economic policy speech this morning, Hillary Clinton talked about “defending and enhancing Social Security.”

Woo talked to POLITICO’s Michael Grunwald about what he’s learned about old age—not only its consequences, but what kinds of people are most likely to achieve it, what kinds of medical advances are and aren’t likely to prolong it, and what it will mean for our public and private finances when living into our 90s is the norm rather than the exception.

MG: You have the coolest title ever: “catastrophist.” And you’ve written that the coming longevity catastrophe has a lot in common with the coming climate change catastrophe.

GW: Longevity has two important facts in common with climate change. They are both going to develop gradually over time. And because the attention span of human beings tends to be fairly limited, they are both issues that generally get put on the back burner.

MG: Can you explain why longevity is bad?

GW: At RMS, we’re focusing on the pension retirement sector, and it’s really underfunded in terms of its provision for increasing lifespan in the decades ahead. One reason is that when it comes to making provisions for longevity instead of ecological or geological catastrophes, regulators tend to be fairly light of touch. There’s good reason for this. If a corporation seems to have a black hole in its pension fund, it may not be a good policy to force the corporation to pump more money into the fund while it’s going through hard times, because that very act could draw the corporation into insolvency. That’s why regulators, even if they spot the problem with the pension fund, are often reluctant to force measures to remedy the situation. Often the thinking is, times will get better, corporations will get out of trouble, hopefully everything will be rosy in the future. But that will not be the case.

MG: How much longer are people living? Is this trend going to accelerate going forward?

GW: There is one view within the actuarial community that it might be leveling out—medical discovery is plateauing, it’s getting harder to discover new drugs, there are diminishing returns, that kind of thing. But that perspective doesn’t allow for the expansion of research into whole new territories such as regenerative medicine and anti-aging.

MG: But that’s not going to make people nervous. That’s going to make them excited, right?

GW: They don’t really see what the implications are.

MG: When you’re talking about regenerative medicine, you mean people picking up spare parts as they get older. My mom just got an excellent new hip.

GW: The basic paradigm is automobiles. You can have an automobile which was built 50, 60, 70 years ago, and if you keep repairing or replacing broken or used parts, that automobile can keep going for a very long time. Right now, if you have some disease or failed organ or system, you might have to resort to some kind of a transplant, say a liver transplant or heart transplant. But in the future there should be the possibility of replacing these organs or actually re-growing these organs. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief engineer, is advocating a whole new world of 3-D printing, where you can print out an organ in the same way you can print out a sheet of paper. That’s a future where you can maintain an individual for a very long time. Of course, the brain is something else but the rest of the body in principle could be replaced. Just as if you have an emotional attachment to your car, even if the gearbox breaks or you need new tires or a new transmission, you can pretty much can keep that car on the road in perpetuity.

MG: In the last century, how much has longevity increased? What do your models say going forward?

GW: A century ago, the modal age of death, the most common age of dying, was in the 70s. Now it’s reached the mid-80s. People who are dying before 86 or so are essentially dying prematurely.

MG: When will it be 90?

GW: Quite likely in the next few decades. I think people take it for granted now that retirees should be living into their 80s but not necessarily their 90s. That’s the normal expectation. But that will change, and that’s precisely the source of the longevity catastrophe—because retirees who are retiring in their sixties may not have the finances to keep going into their nineties.

MG: In the United States, at least so far, Social Security has held up and you don’t hear stories about elderly people subsisting on dog food or whatever the horror stories were of previous generations.

GW: Well, it’s all about standard of living. People want to enjoy their days in retirement. Public pensions don’t always provide enough for retirees to enjoy a high-quality life. If I could make a point, recently in America there’s been a change of legislation to encourage the market for deferred annuities, essentially longevity insurance. This kind of product would help an awful lot to remedy the problems we’re talking about. An individual can take out this insurance and the insurer pays up if he reaches an advanced age, say 85 or 90. If he doesn’t make it to that age then the insurance is not needed.

MG: It’s like anti-life insurance.

GW: It’s really catastrophe insurance, essentially. If you count living to 90 as being some kind of catastrophe for your finances, then you need this kind of catastrophe insurance.

MG: As people live longer, do they need less health care? Or when you have more old people is that just going to put more of a strain on our Medicare system?

GW: The aim of medical research is to increase not just lifespan but health span, the years of healthy living. The aim is essentially to compress the ages of illness into as few years as possible. If the modal age of death increases from 85 to 90 that wouldn’t be so great if people were just in bed for five more years. The way it would be advantageous is if people could have five more years of healthy living and the actual time period spent in poor health was kept to whatever it is today, possibly shrunk.

MG: You’ve written about how as important as it is to grow new arms and hearts and livers, that actually being able to talk to somebody might be just as important.

GW: That’s entirely right. If you take two individuals who are in good physical shape when they retire, the person who has greater resilience in terms of cognitive, psychological and social functioning is almost certainly going to be living longer. The classic example of someone who is very highly resilient is Jeanne Calment, who to this day holds the world record for being the longest-lived individual. She was French. She died at the age of 122. Most people once they get past 100 don’t function that well cognitively, but Jeanne Calment at 120 was cracking jokes that would have been great for someone 100 years younger. These resilience factors of cognitive functioning, stress-free life, having a sense of positivity about the future, they’re so important, and then also having a good social network, friends and family and so on. Loneliness is well known to be a killer. It’s really unlikely that someone who’s alone is going to live to be 100.

MG: Could you talk a little about some of the public policy implications of all these things? It seems like we should be thinking about pensions, how to get people to sign living wills, how to get old people into social networks.

GW: I do think the U.S. has been farsighted by encouraging this market in longevity insurance. Not everyone will live to 90 or 100, but people should be able to make provision for this contingency. Otherwise, the burden of helping to look after the very elderly falls on the state. And it’s been said that Social Security is essentially like a Ponzi scheme. The government doesn’t have any money to finance future liabilities; they just rely on money that’s coming in through the door at that time. That’s what happens in a Ponzi scheme. You’re just hoping you have enough new people coming in, so you can use the money you rake in to pay your liabilities. Of course, the problem is that with changing demographics, with the population aging and fewer children being born, you have a situation where soon the money coming in for Social Security may not cover the payments going out. So that’s a headache for future governments, just like climate change. But that might be 20 years out, and politicians are only elected for four or five years, so it’s not really front of mind.

MG: What about private pensions? It used to be you could finish high school, go work for General Motors for 40 years, and then you got your pension. Most jobs don’t have pensions now.

GW: That’s right. And the General Motors pension fund was in huge trouble a few years ago. There’s a whole new generation of people who are no longer getting silver-plated pensions, so the pensions are all based on contributions…. And there’s a whole new era coming where pensioners are not going to be as well off as they are now. If you travel to resort areas, you’ll see a lot of tourists who are benefitting from the generous pensions which they were given in the past few decades, pretty much the lucky pensioners to retire when pensions were fairly generous. They’re pretty much the winners of the pension race.

MG: They have a lot of political power, and they tend to be aggressive about protecting their interests. Generally, their interest is not so much the future.

GW: That’s a very interesting point, because I think in a few decades the gray vote is going to become more important than ever. There will be fewer younger voters, and it seems like the policies which focus on retirees will become more important. And older people are more likely to vote than younger people, so you have a situation where retirees will have a lot of fiscal power.

MG: Huh. You hear a lot that Republican voters—who tend to be older, whiter, more rural, and so forth—there’s this sense that they’re dying off and being replaced by a multi-racial, more cosmopolitan, younger generation. But they’re not dying as quickly as they used to, I guess.

GW: We just had a general election in Britain. Younger people tend to be the most outspoken, but it’s like the silent great majority of older voters kind of put the prime minister back in power…Everyone likes to talk about current problems, short-term problems. But in 40 years, longevity is going to create some real stresses. Even in the Western world, people will struggle to get by on what they’ve saved.

MG: Presumably a lot of this depends on behavior. Like in the U.S., are we going to get our obesity problem under control, are we going to eat better, are we going to get more exercise.

GW: Actually, no, obesity is really a problem for people in younger to middle age. People who weigh 300 pounds when they’re teenagers, they’re not going to make it to retirement. The problem with longevity is a problem of how long a retiree can live. If your constitution is such that you reach the age of 60 even though you’re overweight, then that’s not really a problem for you. So obesity may change the life expectancy for the whole U.S. population, but that’s not the longevity problem we’re talking about.

MG: Most people don’t think of it as a problem. But most people aren’t catastrophists. What happens if somebody in a lab cures cancer tomorrow?

GW: Well, cancer doesn’t make that much difference, either; if an aging person doesn’t die of cancer, they’ll die of heart disease. The real issue is that the aging process can be arrested. The biggest cause of death is not cancer or heart disease. The biggest cause of death is aging. If you can slow down the process of aging, you’re slowing down all causes of death. This is new territory for mankind. There’s an interesting book called “Positively Ninety.” It’s interviews with nonagenarians who are all very lively. My favorite is the cover lady, who actually plays competitive Scrabble at the age of 90. She’s very sharp. Very positive attitude towards life. Very good network of friends and family. If you read these interviews with positive nonagenarians, you’ll get a glimpse into the future, because a high proportion of people will be just like that. The 90s will be like the 80s today. And it will become commonplace to reach 100. In fact, for a baby born today, the expectation is already that they will live to 100.


Michael Grunwald | mgrunwald@politico.com

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(defensenews.com) – 23 Dead In Russian Military Barracks Collapse

MOSCOW — Twenty-three Russian soldiers were crushed to death after their military barracks collapsed in Siberia, the latest disaster to hit a country known for shoddy construction work and lax safety standards.

An entire section of military barracks, including parts of the roof and walls, collapsed on Sunday evening just outside the Siberian city of Omsk as paratroopers were resting, the defence ministry said.

“As a result of the collapse, more than 40 servicemen were injured,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Monday.

“Twenty three conscripts died, the others were hospitalized with various injuries.”

Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said 19 servicemen had been hospitalized.

The barracks — built in 1975 and renovated in 2013 — belong to the 242nd training center that prepares junior officers and armored infantry vehicle drivers, among others.

President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the incident, which occurred in the village of Svetly just outside Omsk, some 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) east of Moscow, a Kremlin spokesman said.

“The president expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the accident at the Omsk training center,” the Kremlin said.

Putin was regularly being briefed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who has been tasked with providing all necessary assistance to the victims, the Kremlin added.

In footage shown on Russian television, soldiers formed a human chain to pass bricks and other debris from one to another as they cleared the mountain of rubble from the collapse.

“Half of the heap has been cleared now,” acting commander of Russian paratroopers Nikolai Ignatov said in televised remarks.

Nearly 350 rescue workers and search dogs have been dispatched to the scene, along with military prosecutors.

“Rescue works lasted through the night,” a spokeswoman for the governor of the Omsk region told AFP. “The governor was there all night.”

‘Paratroopers’ Mass Grave’

The first 10 injured men have been airlifted to top hospitals in Moscow, the defence ministry said.

“Another specially equipped plane of the Defence Ministry with seven servicemen of the Airborne Forces’ training center will fly out to Moscow in the coming hours,” the ministry said.

About 50 relatives of the injured or dead soldiers have already arrived in Omsk.

Authorities tied the collapse of the barracks to negligence on the part of construction workers.

The Investigative Committee, which reports directly to Putin, opened a probe into negligence, violation of safety rules and abuse of power, adding that those found guilty would face up to 10 years in prison.

Markin, the committee’s spokesman, said investigators were probing several explanations for the tragedy, including possible violations during renovations in 2013.

Building collapses and other infrastructure accidents are fairly frequent in Russia, especially outside Moscow and Saint Petersburg, where the enforcement of safety regulations is lax and corruption rampant.

On Saturday a section of a residential building collapsed in the Urals city of Perm, killing two.

The latest tragedy represents a major blow to Putin who has made reviving the army after years of post-Soviet neglect a cornerstone of his policies.

The barracks has become the “paratroopers’ mass grave,” broadsheet daily Kommersant said.
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(in auto news) – Ford, GM and FCA start bargaining with the United Automobile Workers


Three big U.S. automakers will start bargaining today with the United Auto Workers union for new contracts that would establish how much the post-recession profits the industry shares with workers has increased and also to find what the union costs are for more jobs in the U.S.

After a number of bargaining debates in 2007 and 2011, UAW leaders stated that they will insist on raises for the 139,000 workers at plants run by Ford Motor Corporation, General Motors Corporation and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The union representatives and the CEOs of the three Detroit automakers will meet this Monday to publicly agree on those.

Dennis Williams, the union’s president, explained that he wanted to narrow the gap between veteran workers who are earning around $28 per hour and workers who started working in 2011, who win $16-$19 for an hour.

Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research, said that labor represents a declining share of a car’s cost, adding that the three carmakers’ costs for UAW members decreased from 11.5% in 2007 to 5.7% in 2014. However, executives at the Detroit Three said that they could add more UAW jobs depending on compensating increases in wages or benefits that will lead to productivity gain. A central issue will be the health care costs, with automakers having to pay a “Cadillac tax” of 40% on rich UAW medical plans starting in 2018.

Ford is expecting to boost its productivity by 6 to 7% in all of its factories, with John Fleming, head of the brand’s manufacturing stating that every dollar not taken out is a dollar that a competitor would spend on making their vehicles more competitive. Ford shook the union last week when it announced it had planned to move production of its small Focus and C-Max hybrid models out of a plant in suburban Detroit by 2018.

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