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U.S. economy shrinks again in the second quarter, reviving recession fears

The shrinking economy of the USA has grabbed the people’s attention mounting worries and fear about the economy’s stability and resilience.

The U.S. economy has contracted for a second straight quarter, at an annual rate of 0.9 percent, sparking worries that the nation may be entering a recession and adding to the political difficulties facing the Biden administration as it battles with decades-high inflation.

US gross domestic product shrank 0.9 percent in the second quarter, following a decline of 1.6 percent decline in the first quarter. Two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP is the classic definition of a recession

Although economists dispute the likelihood of a complete recession, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s fresh data, which was announced on Thursday, comes at a turbulent time for the economy. In the past, a recession was often identified by six consecutive months of contraction. A team of experts determines the official outcome, despite the fact that recessions are unusual when unemployment is close to record low levels.

The decline in the second quarter was due to changing consumer and corporate habits. As consumers switched their spending away from things and toward services like hotels and restaurants, retailers purchased fewer goods, including cars. The poor reading was also impacted by declining housing construction and government spending.

President Joe Biden recently denied the country is in a recession, and the White House has been pushing messaging that a recession has to be officially declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research

The disappointing GDP report highlights persistent issues with inflation, which has been around 40-year highs for several months, as well as declining home sales and difficulties for some corporate sectors, including tech and finance. Even the booming labor market is starting to show signs of weakness. Numerous experts have predicted a recession for the following year due to broader concerns about the Ukraine conflict, the future of the global economy, and aggressive interest rate hikes.

“Broadly, this shows an economy that is really slowing,” said Jason Furman, an economics professor at Harvard University who was a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama. “This data is much more worrisome than it was in the first quarter. I don’t think you can easily dismiss these numbers. It isn’t just volatile factors anymore. Meaningful, important parts of the economy are slowing.”

Quarterly GDP growth is seen over the past four years, showing the pandemic recession in early 2020 and the current contraction cycle
The consumer price index hit a four-decade high of 9.1 percent in June -- an astounding level of inflation for an economy that was apparently shrinkingThe Fed has raised interest rates rapidly in 2022, going from near zero to a target range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent, in a bid to tackle rising inflationThe Fed has raised interest rates rapidly in 2022, going from near zero to a target range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent, in a bid to tackle rising inflation -- but higher borrowing rates also put the brakes on economic growth

Senior authorities, notably Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, have strongly refuted claims that the economy is in a recession by pointing to a robust labor market as evidence that the recovery is still on pace. White House officials had maintained that even a second-quarter growth number that was negative shouldn’t be seen as an indication that a recession had begun prior to Thursday’s news.

“Coming off of last year’s historic economic growth … it’s no surprise that the economy is slowing down as the Federal Reserve acts to bring down inflation,” President Biden said in a statement Thursday. Later speaking to reporters on Thursday, Biden ticked off a litany of high points for the economy, including jobs creation, low unemployment and business investments, ending with: “That doesn’t sound like a recession to me.”

The economy has been adding jobs at a steady pace even as GDP shrinks, which some analysts point to in arguing that the economy is not in a recession

Republican politicians have claimed that the nation is in a recession and that the Biden administration’s stimulus spending is to blame for inflation and the overall economic downturn.

Several GOP lawmakers lashed out at the White House for trying to change the definition of recession to prove the U.S. is not in one now
'If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck... guess what?' Representative Neal Dunn tweeted along with an image of the definition of recession claiming it is 'identified by the fall in GDP in two successive quarters'

“You don’t need a fancy economics degree to have seen this coming,” Rep. Kevin Hern (Okla.) said in a statement Thursday. “Biden’s spending over the last 18 months is directly responsible for the economic situation we’re in today.”

President Biden released a statement on the figures, saying:

‘[W]e are on the right path and we will come through this transition stronger and more secure,’ the president wrote in his statement. ‘Our job market remains historically strong, with unemployment at 3.6% and more than 1 million jobs created in the second quarter alone. Consumer spending is continuing to grow.’

‘My economic plan is focused on bringing inflation down, without giving up all the economic gains we have made. Congress has a historic chance to do that by passing the CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act without delay.’

The United States unexpectedly saw its economy slow down by 1.6 percent annually in the first three months of the year. This unexpected slowdown was largely caused by an imbalance in trade, with the country importing far more than it was exporting, and a decline in inventory purchases by companies that were still flush with holiday leftovers.

Representative Doug LaMalfa lashed out at President Biden for his ‘first instinct’ being to ‘deny problems exist.’

‘[S]ee: inflation, gas prices, Afghanistan, Hunter, etc.,’ the lawmaker tweeted.

McCarthy shared a poster Thursday that he says shows Biden blamed everything other than his policies for the downturning economy, including COVID, Putin and supply chain issues

‘We are facing a recession and no amount of changing definitions alters what the American people see,’ LaMalfa continued. ‘Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away, it makes them worse.’

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy said via tweet that Democrats have turned the ‘American Rescue Plan’ into the ‘American Recession Plan.’

‘The Biden administration does not have a real plan,’ he insisted.

Yellen refuted GOP allegations that the economy is in a recession on Thursday, claiming that consumption was showing signals of ongoing growth and represented a welcome change from growth that was happening too quickly.

Unexpected GDP contraction in US prompts recession fears

“Overall, with a slowdown in private demand, this report indicates an economy transitioning to more steady, sustainable growth,” Yellen said, adding that recessions are typically defined by economists to include “substantial job losses and mass layoffs,” business closures, a decline in private-sector activities, and a “broad-based” weakening of the economy.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

15-Year-Old Boy Catches “Incredibly Rare” All-White Catfish In US

When he grabbed an all-white catfish while fishing in Tennessee at the age of 15, this boy had the catch of a lifetime. As initially reported by Field and Stream, Edwards Tarumianz caught a huge fish on the morning of June 28. However, he and the rest of the team were more taken by the catfish’s magnificent color than by its enormous size.

The blue catfish was entirely white, with vibrant pink and purple coloring on its fins and face, which may have been caused by albinism or leucism.

Edwards Tarumianz reeled in a giant fish on the morning of June 28, but he and the rest of the crew were more impressed by the catfish's stunning hue rather than its monstrous size

Albinism is a disorder that affects many animals, including humans, and causes the skin and hair to lack color.

Leucism, a hereditary disorder, causes the animal to lose pigment, making it appear pale or with discolored spots.

The charter’s captain, Captain Richard Simms, shared pictures of Tarumianz and his catch on Facebook along with a statement.: ‘You may catfish for the rest of your life and never catch, or even see, another fish like that.

The blue catfish was completely white with bright pink and purples coloring around its fins and face, which could be a result of either albinism or leucism

‘I’ve been catfishing seriously for 30 years—guiding for 17 of those—and that’s the first albino to ever come in my boat.’

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRAresearchers, )’s however, told Field and Stream that they are unable to identify the genetic disorder that Tarumianz’s fish has.

Pink nails, skin, scales, and eyes are characteristics of pure albino animals.

Although such sightings are rare in the animal kingdom, people are still able to come across them. In 2020, volunteers checking sea turtle nests on a South Carolina beach came upon a rare sight: a white sea turtle hatchling crawling across the sand

The pink color is caused by blood vessels that are visible through the skin.

Leucism can cause animals to exhibit coloring patterns that are largely typical but lighter.

‘Regardless, we all agree that it is a great and rare catch,’ a TWRA spokesperson told Field and Stream.

Even though these sightings are uncommon in the animal kingdom, they do occasionally occur.

A hatchling white sea turtle was spotted moving on the sand in 2020 by volunteers inspecting sea turtle nests on a South Carolina beach.

The Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol discovered a lone white young sea turtle that made its way to a public beach, according to a Facebook post from the town of Kiawah Island.

Instead of the more common sea turtle colors of grey or green, or reddish-brown if this is a loggerhead turtle, photos depict a little turtle that is a creamy white color.

According to officials, the hatchling may have been born with leucism, a genetic disorder that results in a loss of color.

Additionally, the turtles’ coloring resembles that of the catfish that Tarumianz caught.

Although leucism may resemble albinism, it does not cause organisms to have red or pink eyes.

The first of its kind to be discovered in Colombia, an albino jaguar cub was saved there in December.

An albino jaguar cub was rescued in Colombia last December, which is the first of its kind to be found in the country. Officials spotted the female cub in the Aburra Valley metropolitan area and transferred it to a nearby conservation park for medical treatment

The female cub was found by authorities in the Aburra Valley metropolitan region, and they took it to a neighboring conservation park so that it could receive medical care.

Due to its inability to create the pigment that gives its skin, eyes, and hair its colors, the cub appears entirely white with red eyes. The creatures are often grey or reddish-brown in color.

The little cub is now residing at the park since its white fur inhibits its capacity to thrive in the wild. Since these animals lack melanin, it is challenging for them to blend in.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Woman Pardoned 27 Years After Being Sentenced to Life as a Teen for Killing Man Who Trafficked Her

Sara Kruzan, a victim of underage sex trafficking who spent nearly two decades in jail after she killed her abuser and has subsequently evolved into a national spokesperson for prison reform, was recently granted clemency by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Gov. Gavin Newsom

In September 1995, Kruzan was found guilty of killing George Gilbert Howard when he was attempting to sexually assault her. She received a life sentence without the chance of parole. She was first involved with Howard as a teen who trafficked her for years.

At age 16, Kruzan was put on trial as an adult.

In 2010, the sentence was reduced by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to 25 years to life in prison. Three years later, Kruzan was given a new sentence for second-degree murder: five years to life with a four-year firearm enhancement, for a total of 19 years in prison. Then, after serving 18 years in prison, she was freed.

Sara Kruzan was officially pardoned by governor Newsom. Credit: Sara Kruzan

But today, California Governor Gavin Newsom has fully pardoned the activist.

The pardon reads: “When Ms. Kruzan was 16 years old, she fatally shot the man who had abused her and trafficked her for sex.

“Ms. Kruzan has submitted to this office a formal application for executive clemency in the form of a gubernatorial pardon.

“She has provided evidence that she is living an upright life and has demonstrated her fitness for restoration of civic rights and responsibilities.

“Ms. Kruzan committed a crime that took the life of the victim. Since then, Ms. Kruzan has transformed her life and dedicated herself to community service.

At 16, Sara Kruzan Was Sentenced to Life Without Parole. Now She's Ready to  Take Back Her Story | Vogue

“This act of clemency for Ms. Kruzan does not minimize or· forgive her conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work she has done since to transform herself.

“By the laws of this state it is proper that I, as Governor of the State of California, give testimony that, by completion of her sentence and good conduct in the community, Ms. Kruzan merits this pardon. “

Kruzan was one of 17 pardons, 15 commutations, and one medical reprieve that governor Newsom confirmed this week.

It is hoped that the decision will give some of those identified chances that they otherwise would not have had because of their convictions, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Governor Newsom pardoned 17 people this week. Credit: Alamy

It read: “The California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant executive clemency in the form of a pardon, commutation, or reprieve.

“The Governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation, increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry, correct unjust results in the legal system, and address the health needs of incarcerated people with high medical risks.

“These clemency grants recognize the applicants’ subsequent efforts in self-development or the existence of a medical exigency. They do not forgive or minimize the harm caused.

“A pardon may remove counterproductive barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities, and prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction, such as deportation and permanent family separation.

“A pardon does not expunge or erase a conviction.”

Steve Kirkendoll, who was sentenced to three concurrent terms of five years to life for robbery in 1977/78, as well as Henry Pachnowski, 82, who was born to Polish parents who were detained in Nazi labor camps during World War II, were also granted clemency.

Source: unilad.co

Fourth of July ‘canceled’ by Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and more amid Roe v. Wade

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner, and others urged that the Fourth of July be “cancelled” this year in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.

The A-list celebrities joined the reality stars in using social media on Monday to discuss the disconnect between Independence Day and the diminished autonomy women now have over their bodies in the wake of the divisive decision.

“4th of July has been canceled due to a shortage of Independence. Sincerely, Women,” a post from @bitton, which was shared on both of their Instagram Stories, read.

The star of “Succession,” J. Smith-Cameron, was one of many celebrities who also used the pink-and-black text graphic.

On Twitter, Katy Perry used a line from her famous song “Firework” to make a strong message on women’s rights.

“‘Baby you’re a firework’ is a 10 but women in the US have fewer rights than an actual sparkler smh,” she wrote.

Actress Jessica Chastain also took to Twitter to share a picture of herself holding up her two middle fingers.

“Happy ‘Independence’ Day from me and my reproductive rights,” she sarcastically captioned the post.

Zooey Deschanel stunned in a tee, which red, “Pro Roe 1973.”

“For when you want to wish America a happy birthday, but also want her to do better,” she captioned the snap.

Meanwhile, Padma Lakshmi said there was “not much to celebrate this 4th.”

“Let’s just hope everyone can keep safe and peaceful today and that soon our nation veers away from this precipice,” she wrote on Instagram.

“No matter what, we’ll keep fighting for the day where all humans have the same rights, at least of their own person and body, have privacy to make their own choices and to love whom they love and live in peace.”

Activist Jameela Jamil also weighed in, offering some strong words on her various social media platforms.

“Independence Day, unless you have a uterus. Then go f–k yourself and we don’t care if you f–king die or if we derail your entire future and mental health-day I guess? Cool..”

Model Brooklyn Decker also took to Instagram, arguing that this country “doesn’t work for everyone or keep everyone safe.”

“Today I carry both an abundance of gratitude and swelling of anger. I know I share that with so many of you,” she wrote. “May we sustain our fury to propel this complicated country forward and not further backward.”

Since the historic abortion law was repealed last month, numerous stars, like Meadow Walker, Halsey, and Lily Allen, have shared their abortion experiences in support of a woman’s right to choose.

A number of US states have “trigger laws,” some of which have already taken effect, that forbid abortion up to 30 days after Roe v. Wade is overturned. Even Vasectomy requests have spiked in the US after the roe v wade ban according to reports

A 10-year-old rape victim was reportedly denied an abortion in Ohio this week, prompting celebrities like Sophia Bush and Alyson Stoner to speak out.

They re-shared a post, which read, “‘She’s 10’ is trending because a 10-year-old girl in Ohio had to travel to Indiana for an abortion since she was 3 days past the 6-week ban in her state. But yeah, who else is psyched for ‘Independence Day’ this year?”

Sharing the post to her Instagram Stories, Stoner added, “Anyone else finds it hard to tap into the ‘holiday’ spirit when this is the reality in front of us?”

Source: dailymail.co.uk

A U.S. FCC commissioner urges Apple, and Google to ban TikTok from app stores

A Republican FCC commissioner has encouraged Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL.O) Google to remove Chinese-owned TikTok from their respective app stores.

In a letter to the CEOs dated June 24 and sent on FCC letterhead, Brendan Carr, the FCC commissioner, said that TikTok, a video-sharing app, had amassed enormous amounts of private information on American users that ByteDance employees in Beijing could access. TikTok’s Chinese parent is ByteDance.

Brendan Carr, commissioner of the FCC, posted on Twitter urging the tech giants to remove the video sharing platform ¿from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices'

Carr tweeted details of the letter on Tuesday.

“TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” Carr said on Twitter. “It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show is being accessed in Beijing.”

Carr demanded that the businesses either take TikTok off of their app stores by July 8 or provide an explanation for their decision not to do so.

Carr included a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook, expressing why TikTok needs to be removed, citing a report from last week that ¿shed fresh light on the serious national security threats posed by TikTok
The letter continues with ¿some concerning¿ evidence to why the China-owned app should be removed
Carr also notes that several US military branches have banned TikTok on government issued devices and has urged personal to remove the app from their personal smartphones
Carr is giving the tech giants until July 8 to remove TikTok or explain why they chose not comply

Given that the FCC lacks a clear legal authority over the content of app stores, Carr’s request is uncommon. The FCC has the power to award firms with certain communications licenses, which it typically does in order to oversee the national security sector.

According to a TikTok spokesperson, the company’s engineers based abroad, including in China, may be given access to U.S. user data “as-needed” and under “tight safeguards.”

Apple did not immediately react to a request for comment, while Google declined to address Carr’s letter.

tiktok us ban: US FCC chief asks Apple, Google to remove TikTok from app  stores - The Economic Times

Due to the acquisition of personal data from US citizens, TikTok has come under regulatory scrutiny in the US. Because of concerns that U.S. user data would be sent to China’s communist government, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which evaluates deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security threats, ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in 2020.

Requests for comment from a representative of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which heads CFIUS, were not immediately returned.

Apple and Google should ban TikTok, FCC commissioner says

“What we’re seeing here from Commissioner Carr is a suggestion that at least some parts of the U.S. government don’t think that this is enough,” Richard Sofield, a national security partner at law firm Vinson & Elkins LLP, said about TikTok’s partnership with Oracle.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Rudy Giuliani slapped by angry supermarket worker over Roe v. Wade abortion ruling

A ShopRite employee in Long Island smacked Rudy Giuliani on Sunday after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Giuliani described the sequence of events that led to him dialing 911, the attacker being charged with second-degree assault on a person over the age of 65, and his arrest.

The historic Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned by the US Supreme Court on Friday (June 24), which means that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.

Rudy Giuliani says the supermarket employee accused of slapping him should  be prosecuted

The 1973 Roe decision, which made it a constitutional right for a woman to obtain an abortion before a fetus’ viability outside the womb, which is normally approximately 24 weeks, was overturned by the justices on a 5-4 vote.

After the contentious decision, The New York Post received a video of a scene that the 78-year-old former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, claimed caused him “tremendous pain” in his back.

Giuliani got into a fight with a ShopRite employee on Sunday as the latter was conducting a campaign for Giuliani’s son, who is running for governor of New York in the Republican primary.

The former advisor to ex-POTUS Donald Trump said in a statement to The Post that he had just emerged from the store’s restroom and was speaking to a crowd of supporters when he felt a hand touch his back.

“All of a sudden, I feel this, ‘Bam!’ on my back,” Giuliani told the outlet. “I don’t know if they helped me not fall down, but I just about fell down, but I didn’t.”

“I feel this tremendous pain in my back, and I’m thinking, what the — I didn’t even know what it was,” he said. “All of a sudden, I hear this guy say, ‘You’re a f***ing scumbag,’ then he moves away so nobody can grab him.”

Charges downgraded against supermarket employee accused of slapping Rudy  Giuliani

Giuliani continued: “And he says, ‘You, you’re one of the people that’s gonna kill women. You’re gonna kill women,’” Giuliani said of the man, who now faces assault charges. “‘You and your f***ing friend are gonna kill women.’”

He added: “Then he starts yelling out all kinds of, just curses, and every once in a while, he puts in that woman thing.”

“‘You guys think you’re saving babies, but you’re gonna kill women,’” the employee continued to say, according to Giuliani.

Video of Rudy Giuliani Slapped Inside Grocery Store Viewed 2M Times

Daniel Gill, the suspect, was detained and charged with second-degree assault on a victim over the age of 65. According to sources, he had never been arrested before.

Many individuals have criticized how the event was handled after the man was arrested, claiming that the alleged slap was actually just a tap on the back.

One person wrote: “It’s ‘hitting’ in the same way that drops of rain can hit you and you could arrest a cloud I guess.”

Another said: “Here’s the video. I’ve been slapped on the back by someone saying ‘Hello’ with more force than this. Yes, physical contact is wrong, but let’s call this what it is. The police will have to decide.”

A third one demanded: “FREE THAT MAN.”

Many celebrities and singers are taking sides with the people. After the US Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade on Friday, Lizzo pledged to donate $500,000 to organizations that defend abortion rights.

Source: vt.co