Monday, 16 January 2017

Gold - Closing Trade As of 17.01.2017 = $100 profit made.


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Stock Market Tutorial - The Only Video You'll Ever Need

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Muted reaction in Russia to Trump's talk of nuclear arms cut


Donald Trump

Suggestions by President-elect Donald Trump that sanctions against Russia could be lifted in exchange for a nuclear arms cut attracted a frosty reception in Moscow on Monday. In an interview with the Times of London published on Sunday, Trump indicated that he could end sanctions imposed on Russia in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal.

Russia isn't so anxious to get the sanctions lifted that it is prepared to "sacrifice something, especially in what concerns security," said Konstantin Kosachev, the Kremlin-connected chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament.


Kosachev also told the RIA Novosti news agency that Trump's comments to the Times should be treated with caution because it wasn't an official statement, since Trump hasn't assumed office yet. Washington, along with the European Union, has imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia and travel bans for individuals following Moscow's annexation of Crimea and interference in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The latest round of U.S. sanctions came at the end of December.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, sounded similarly cautious with reporters in Moscow later in the day. "Let's wait until he assumes office before we give assessment to any initiatives," Peskov said. He added that Russia never raises the issue of sanctions in talks with its foreign counterparts and doesn't intend to do so because it's not up to Moscow to scrap them.
Another influential Russian lawmaker, Alexei Pushkov, in a tweet late Sunday laughed off warnings of the CIA director about challenges that will follow lifting the sanctions. Speaking on Fox News, CIA Director John Brennan said on Sunday that in his opinion Trump doesn't have "a full understanding of Russian capabilities and the actions they are taking on the world."
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Gold rises toward 8-week high with focus on May, Trump


Gold prices rose toward an eight-week high on Monday, as investors await more detail on the U.K.'s Brexit plan and the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in the U.S. later this week.


Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange touched a session peak of $1,208.70 a troy ounce, a level not seen since November 23.

It was last at $1,202.65 by 9:25AM ET (14:25GMT), up almost $7.00, or 0.6%.

Trading is likely to be quiet because U.S. markets are closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Image result for goldWorries about the terms of Britain's departure from the European Union intensified following media reports that suggested Prime Minister Theresa May's government was prepared to make a "clean and hard" exit from the single currency region, ahead of her speech on Tuesday.

May has previously stated she will trigger Article 50, which starts the formal withdrawal process from the European Union, by the end of March, but so far has given few details about what deal she will be seeking.

Meanwhile, global financial markets will continue to focus on U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump as he takes the Oath of Office and offers his inaugural address on Friday.

Investors will welcome any detail he may give on his promises of tax reform, infrastructure spending and deregulation, as well as insight regarding policies on China and the domestic economy.

President-elect Trump has been credited with being a major catalyst behind the market's impressive rally since election day, although he has yet to outline his economic policies in detail.

Markets were disappointed last week after Trump failed to offer details on his promises to boost fiscal spending and cut taxes at a highly-anticipated news conference on Wednesday.

The precious metal has been well-supported in recent sessions amid uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve’s pace of interest rate hikes this year.

The Fed had indicated in December that at least three rate increases were in the offing for 2017, according to a forecast of interest rates from members of the central bank, known as the dot-plot.

However, traders remained unconvinced. Instead, markets are pricing in just two rate hikes during the course of this year, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

A delay in raising interest rates would be seen as positive for gold, a non-interest-bearing asset, and negative for the dollar.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery was up 8.7 cents, or 0.5%, at $16.85 a troy ounce during morning hours in New York.

Meanwhile, platinum tacked on 0.3% to $989.55, while palladium advanced 0.1% to $750.12 an ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures dipped 2.4 cents, or 0.9%, to $2.666 a pound.
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Gold - Opening Trade As of 17.01.2017


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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Hacker finds flaws that could let anyone steal $25 Billion from a Bank


banking-app-hack
 

Stealing Money from Anyone Else's Account


bank-hacking-news

If this wasn't enough, Prakash discovered that the app did not check to see if the given customer ID or Transaction Authorisation PIN (MTPIN) ‒ used for critical controls like transferring funds, creating a new fixed deposit ‒ actually belong to the sender's account.

This blunder in the mobile banking app could have allowed anyone with the app and an account in the bank to transfer money from someone else's account, reported by Motherboard.

    "I tested [the hack] with a bunch of accounts belonging to my family. Few of those accounts don't even have net banking or mobile banking activated," Prakash added. "And it all worked like a charm."

However, instead of taking advantage of these bugs, Prakash responsibly emailed the bank on November 13, 2015, and within few days, bank’s deputy general manager informed him that the security flaws had been fixed, without rewarding him with a bug bounty, that's unfair.

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Ukrainian Hacker Admits Stealing Corporate Press Releases for $30 Million Profit


Ukrainian Hacker Admits Stealing Corporate Press Releases for $30 Million Profit

A 28-year-old Ukrainian hacker has pleaded guilty in the United States to stealing unpublished news releases and using that non-public information in illegal trading to generate more than $30 Million (£20.8 Million) in illicit profits.

Vadym Iermolovych, 28, admitted Monday that he worked with two other Ukrainian hackers to hack into computer networks at PR Newswire, Marketwired and Business Wire, and steal 150,000 press releases to gain the advantage in the stock market.

The defendants then used nearly 800 of those stolen news releases to make trades before the publication of the information, exploiting a time gap ranging from hours to 3 days.

The trades would occur in "extremely short windows of time between when the hackers illegally accessed and shared the [news] releases and when the press releases were disseminated to the public by the Newswires, usually shortly after the close of the markets," said the Department of Justice in a press release.

Thirty-two people have been charged in connection with the global scheme to hack into services that distribute corporate news releases and then rapidly pass the stolen information to stock market traders in the US, resulting in more than $100 Million of profit.

The group hacked the computer networks of Marketwired LP, PR Newswire Association LLC, and Business Wire between February 2010 and August 2014 using phishing and SQL injection techniques, the Justice Department says.

The group traded the stolen information with the companies including Align Technology, Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, Home Depot, Panera Bread and Verisign.

Iermolovych was initially arrested in November 2014 on credit card fraud and computer hacking-related charges, the U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey said.

Iermolovych has pleaded guilty to up to three charges including conspiracy to commit computer hacking, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

The other accused Ukrainian hackers include Oleksandr Ieremenko and Ivan Turchynov.

Iermolovych will be sentenced on August 22 in Newark, New Jersey and could face up to 20 years in jail.
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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Google to Face a Record $3.4 Billion AntiTrust Fine in Europe



google-europe-antitrust









"Anyone can use Android with or without Google applications. Hardware manufacturers and carriers can decide how to use Android and consumers have the last word about which apps they want to use," Google spokesperson says.
The EU is also looking into the transparency of paid reviews and the conditions of use of services like Google Maps and Apple's iOS mobile operating system.



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My full name is Anthonia Shodunke, more or less known as 'Tonia’.




Please let’s know you?
My full name is Anthonia Shodunke, more or less known as 'Tonia’.

Can you talk about people or books you have read that have inspired you to embark on your own career?
I have indeed been immensely blessed and inspired musically by several Great people on my journey‎; some of which are Don Moen, Darlene Zschech,  Cece Winans, Yolanda Adams, Kim Burell and so many more.
One of such destiny moulding experiences is the encounter I had, reading the book, \\'Extravagant Worship\\' by Darlene Zschech as far back as April 2004.‎ The truth I came across in that book, started me on this journey. It birthed in me an unquenchable passion in addition to the zeal I already had for the work of the Master with a deep intention to see Him worshipped and extolled across the Globe.

Why did you choose this particular career?
Well, would I say I chose this career or the path chose me? lol‎. Many saw Jesus as the man who didn't like carpentry anymore and as such, ventured into teaching; little did they know that it was the assignment He had been separated unto, even before the World began. What they saw Him do was who He really was all along; so I would say... this is who I am. I am on a mission!

What advice would you give to upcoming authors?
My advice to upcoming authors is that they go all out in the delivery of their talents. You never can tell who is reading and at what point.
Creativity is not a function of man possessing knowledge, it is rather, a function of knowledge possessing man and the spirit form of knowledge is what empowers a man. ‎
Every time you get the opportunity and inspiration to write, think outside the box, see yourself coming up with ideas that span through a life time, Impacting a whole generation and many more yet unborn. Isaiah 9:8 says;
\'The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.\'

What advice would you give to future musicians?
#Smiles. We all look up to God as our inspiration, I would say. I am still working towards perfection with everyday I am privileged to see; but to everyone out there, I would say, no matter what you do, stay glued to the Vine, because everything we desire and everything we aspire to become in life is found in Him. Please don\'t become known simply for the sake of being known, but endeavor to add something of value to the World. Enrich the World with the gift and abilities God has given you. Someday, at the end, the trophies will rust, the accolades will fade and all that will remain is the God you serve and the impact you made.

Questions that would resound are:
- What do you stand for?
- Can you be confident in the person you are becoming?
- Whose life is brighter because you were part of it?

So in all;
Stay connected to God just like you spend time with a friend. If you are disconnected from the gift-giver, you will miss out on the full power and purpose of your dream.
Believe in yourself. You are not the observations others have of you; you are the thoughts you have and the actions you take.‎

‎Endeavor not to sell your morals away, stay true to who you are, be patient and stay faithful while in the process of \'becoming\'. The things you learn and imbibe during this time paves the way for your rising and sustains you even when you have attained your dreams.

Acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your paths. Make Him known in everything you do for He deserves all the glory.‎

Psalm 37:4 says;

\'Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.\'‎

What advice would you give to kids today who look up to you as their inspiration?
I could go on and on about that, but simply put, I would say‎ my goal is to be God's mouthpiece and masterpiece; declaring His praise, faithfulness and glory as embedded in His word to the ends of the earth; bringing hope and life to all humanity. In line with that, I nurse a strong passion to see Africa excel, the Youths awaken to responsibility and her dear children nursed to greatness, for in her bossom lie riches, yet untapped.

What are your personal goals/ambitions?
#Smiles.... I will leave it at that for now.‎

 
 How did you overcome your challenges?
‎One of the challenges I would say, is getting started. Many pass on with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often, it is because they are always \'getting ready to live\'. Before they know it, time runs out. I’ve been there and I know the state. It took me 10yrs from 2004 to actually get out there and get started. I know about the \'Process\', and I know about \'An appointed time for everything\’, but learn to stop making excuses. Why you have not taken that first step does not matter. What matters is that you take that first step NOW!

I know finances can sometimes be a challenge, but by all means, don't put money first. Let passion precede and the provision will follow. I have always believed that where there is a vision, there is a provision. There is a grace I enjoy that gives me a seamless flow through it all; but above all, I have a supportive spouse and adorable kids who make it all so easy for me and for this I am forever grateful and indepted to God.
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How Did Hackers Who Stole $81 Million from Bangladesh Bank Go Undetected?

 

In Brief

Investigators from British defense contractor BAE Systems discovered that hackers who stole $81 million from the Bangladesh Central Bank actually hacked into software from SWIFT financial platform, a key part of the global financial system.
The hackers used a custom-made malware to hide evidence and go undetected by erasing records of illicit transfers with the help of compromised SWIFT system.

The Bangladesh Bank hackers, who managed to steal $81 Million from the bank last month in one of the largest bank heists in history, actually made their tracks clear after hacking into SWIFT, the heart of the global financial system.

SWIFT, stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, is a global messaging network used for most international money and security transfers.

More than 11,000 Global Banks on HIGH ALERT!

Nearly 11,000 Banks and other financial institutions around the World use SWIFT system to send securely and receive payment instructions through a standardized system of codes.
Recently, Bangladesh police investigators uncovered evidence revealing that the Bank was using second-hand $10 network switches without a Firewall to run its network, which offered hackers access to the bank’s entire infrastructure, including the SWIFT servers.

Now, researchers from British defense contractor BAE Systems reported Monday that the Bangladesh Bank hackers used a piece of sophisticated, custom-made malware to manipulate logs and erase the history of the fraudulent transactions, which even prevent printers from printing the fraudulent transactions.

The malware also has the capability to intercept and destroy incoming messages confirming the money transfers. These malware capabilities prevented hackers to remain undetected.

"This malware appears to be just part of a wider attack toolkit and would have been used to cover the attackers' tracks as they sent forged payment instructions to make the transfers," security researcher Sergei Shevchenko wrote in a blog post.

When and How Did They Get Detected?

The hackers had attempted to steal $951 Million in total from Bangladesh central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York using fraudulent transactions, but a simple typo (spell error) by hackers halted the further transfers of the $850 Million funds.
The BAE researchers believe the malware used to target Alliance Access, a piece of software that allows banks to connect to the SWIFT network.

According to SWIFT's official website, Alliance Access has more than 2,000 installations worldwide. So even though the SWIFT financial system is used by around 11,000 banks and financial institutions, all of them are not affected by the notorious malware.

"By modifying the local instance of SWIFT Alliance Access software, the malware grants itself the ability to execute database transactions within the victim network," Shevchenko said.

SWIFT To Issue Emergency Security Update

Meanwhile, Brussels-based SWIFT confirmed to Reuters that the company was aware of the nasty malware used to target its client software and that it would roll out a security software update on Monday to fix the issue, along with a special warning to financial institutions.
SWIFT Spokeswoman Natasha Deteran said the software update was intended "to assist customers in enhancing their security and to spot inconsistencies in their local database records."
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Sunday, 31 January 2016

‘I’m gay and I’m a priest, period.’

The Rev. Fred Daley greets Grace Moran, 13, before the start of mass at All Saints Church in Syracuse, N.Y., on Dec. 5. Daley came out in 2004.

© Heather Ainsworth for The Washington Post The Rev. Fred Daley greets Grace Moran, 13, before the start of mass at All Saints Church in Syracuse, N.Y., on Dec. 5. Daley came out in 2004.
God, what are you calling me to do here, prayed the priest. Come out, or stay in the closet?
After 23 years in Chicago parishes, the question had pushed its way to the surface.
He considered the reasons he should do it. He thought about his parishioners. Many, he knew, were accepting of gay people, even of same-sex marriage, but others — less so. He had grown up in a large Catholic family; he understood what people’s faith meant to them. He didn’t want to harm his flock, or the Catholic Church.
He wondered if he could be penalized in his job. And, in truth, he considered his status. He knew many Catholics had what he might call a romanticized view of the priesthood: Priests are supposed to be pure, almost above the world of sexuality, selfishly willing to give up creating a family of their own to serve God. This would mean falling from that pedestal.
Then, he weighed these factors against the impact his coming out could have on the lives of young gay people in treatment for addiction or who are suicidal, on the parents and grandparents who feel they must choose between their gay child and their church. For some, knowing their priest is gay — and at peace with it — could be healing, he felt.
The Rev. Warren Hall, shown in 2014, joined the tiny number of out priests after he was removed as campus minister of Seton Hall University last May.© Frances Micklow/The Star-Ledger The Rev. Warren Hall, shown in 2014, joined the tiny number of out priests after he was removed as campus minister of Seton Hall University last May.
He thought of his complex feelings. He had no ax to grind, and he wasn’t an advocate.
He set the rules at the outset: He did not want to be identified in this article. But at the end of the first conversation, he said: I’m leaning towards using my real name.
At a time when the phrase “coming out” is starting to sound almost quaint, the Catholic priesthood may be one of the last remaining closets — and it’s a crowded one. People who study gay clergy believe gay men make up a significant percentage of the 40,000 ordained priests in the United States, including some who believe they may even be the majority. Meanwhile, the number who are out is minuscule.
The Catholic Church is in the throes of a historic period of debate about homosexuality. Between Pope Francis’s now-famous “Who am I to judge?” line and two high-profile, global meetings he called in the past year to open up discussion about sex and family, there has perhaps never been as much dialogue among Catholics about how far to extend the welcome mat to gay people.
Francis is expected in the next couple of months to release his conclusions from the meetings. Both sides claimed a measure of victory two weeks ago when he told a Vatican court that “there can be no confusion” between the family willed by God and any other type of union. To some, it was a sign that Francis will not give a doctrinal inch; others saw it as evidence that he might not put up a fight on civil unions.
Gay priests are invisible in this debate; the church does not research the topic. However, interviews with a dozen priests and former seminarians who are gay, and experts on gay priests, reveal a group of men mostly comfortable with their sexuality. Many express no urgency for the church to accept it. Some, however, say the priesthood remains sexually repressive; one said there is an “invisible wall” around the topic among priests.
They speak forcefully about the tough work they had to do to accept their sexuality and how important a part it is of who they are. But their acceptance of the closet often harks back to an earlier time.
This is in part, they say, because as priests they vowed to put service to God over all else.
The Rev. Warren Hall decided to join the tiny number of out priests after he was removed as campus minister of Seton Hall University last May. Officials noted he had supported a group on Facebook that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and racial justice.
But while Hall has since been outspoken about the need for more tolerant, open dialogue about human sexuality, he said he understands why gay priests don’t come out — or see gay rights as their cause.
“Priests want to be good priests, they want to do their job,” said Hall, who was reassigned to a Hoboken, N.J., parish. “More priests are rightfully more concerned about homelessness versus getting caught up in something about sex. We should be more concerned about those issues [like homelessness] that are impacting people.”
But some also fear the consequences of coming out in the Catholic Church, whose hierarchy frames a gay life as a diversion from God’s ideal. Parts of church teaching call being gay “objectively disordered.” Activism under such circumstances can seem out of the question.
The Chicago priest remembers wanting to speak from the pulpit when same-sex marriage became legal in California in 2008. But he talked himself out of it. “I thought: ‘Oh my gosh, if I talk about it, they’ll think I’m gay.’ ”
He is torn as he watches the spike in dioceses firing employees who marry someone of the same gender, but his instinct has been to defer to the church.
“I have a problem with Monday morning quarterbacking. There’s always stuff you don’t know about why people are fired,” he said. It grates on him, though. “But where do you draw the line? There are all kinds of folks not in line on morality stuff,” not just gay priests.
Priests who have come out — in some cases citing the need to confront anti-LGBT discrimination — say they have found scant support among other priests.
“Parishioners were very supportive. Religious women were very supportive. One group that was silent were my brother priests. Gay as well as straight,” said the Rev. Fred Daley, a Syracuse, N.Y., priest who came out in 2004 after he was angered by people blaming gay priests for the global clergy sex abuse crisis. “In a sense, it was like I sort of broke the rules of the clerical club.”
The mixture of fealty to God and the church and concern about harming parishioners or their standing in the priesthood has led some gay priests to gauge each situation before opening up.
A New York priest says he comes out only in rare private circumstances, when counseling someone struggling to accept their homosexuality. “I’ve been in multiple situations where someone will say: ‘I’m a piece of s---.’ I’ll say: ‘Do I look like a piece of s--- to you? God made me this way.’ ”
A Pennsylvania priest says he’s “quietly subversive,” speaking acceptingly of gay people but not to just anyone. Even the confessional is not a truly safe place for him to tell someone who is gay that it’s not a bad thing. “We have too much to lose. I’ve invested my life in this business.”
Priests’ views of the church’s handling of homosexuality are not uniform. Some blamed Catholicism for the decades it took them to accept themselves. Others credited their training and the help of other priests with their self-knowledge, saying homophobia in the non-church culture is the problem.
Even as the doctrine banning same-sex relationships has not changed, the church has varied its emphasis and message on the topic.
The most recent authoritative statement came in 2005, from Pope Benedict XVI, who, seeking to clarify doctrine after the sweeping changes under the Second Vatican Council, wrote that being gay is “objectively disordered.” The church, “while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture,’ ” Benedict said,
The message seemed clear, say many priests and several people who train seminarians. Many who had considered coming out of the closet decided to stay in.
Yet the intent behind Benedict’s words has been debated. Some say he never meant to bar gay men who are celibate. Others say he meant to keep out men who feel strongly defined by their sexuality, and perhaps would be challenged by celibacy.
Regardless, there is no question that in the past few years church leaders are emphasizing far more that Catholicism accepts people who are gay — it’s the sexual relationships or marriage that is the problem. Francis’s famous “Who am I to judge?” comment was said after a question about gay priests.
Last spring, a Jesuit — Francis’s community — wrote about being gay in a blog post believed to be the first time a Jesuit has come out with the explicit permission of his superiors. Damian Torres-Botello denied requests to be interviewed for this article.
In some communities, particularly the Jesuits, gay priests can be out — to a point, the priests interviewed said. Others say Benedict’s words created a lasting chill for gay men and that conditions are much harsher today.
“If there is a seminarian who is gay, my recommendation would be: Don’t tell anybody,” Hall said.
Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, a D.C. priest-psychologist who helps seminaries create materials about sexual health, said there is a hesitancy today to admit people who are gay and that the percentage of gay priests has dropped. All other priests interviewed disagreed.
“They’re more conservative, but no less gay,” said the Pennsylvania priest of the incoming, younger generation of clergy.
The Chicago priest doesn’t disregard the church’s teaching on sexuality, but he tries to emphasize the church’s teaching that sexuality is an expression of the divine and encourages people topray and discern their own place. His place, he says, is that of a man who didn’t understand he was gay when he entered the priesthood and now views his sexuality as a gift to his ministry.
“There’s a level of witnessing here that’s important for me to do. The Christian faith has a lot to say about the underdog, about the marginalized or the leper, the blind, the lame, the ostracized woman prostitute, widow, the little one,” he said.
“I’d like to be one of those priests, who, with great respect for the church’s teaching, can say: I’m a human being. I’m a son — one of six — I’m gay and I’m a priest, period.”
Prayer has led him to believe this article is part of that witness. He has decided he wants to be known: His name is Michael Shanahan.
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Friday, 29 January 2016

Fired Wal-Mart worker wins $31 million in discrimination case



A jury has awarded more than $31 million in damages to a former Wal-Mart pharmacist in New Hampshire who claimed she was wrongly fired after reporting safety concerns about co-workers dispensing prescriptions.

Maureen McPadden was a 13-year employee who reported her concerns to management while working in Wal-Mart's Seabrook, N.H., pharmacy. She was fired in 2012 after losing her pharmacy key.
The jury awarded most of the money Thursday based on gender discrimination claims.
Wal-Mart denied that it engaged in any form of wrongful conduct.
A spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark., company said Friday that the facts do not support the verdict and that it plans to ask the trial judge to review it. He says McPadden had been disciplined before and the lost key led to her dismissal.
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Walker presidential campaign owes $1.2M in debt

Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker waves a U.S. one dollar bill as he formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on July 13, 2015.

© REUTERS/Darren Hauck Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker waves a U.S. one dollar bill as he formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in…

During his three-month presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) racked up over $1.2 million in debt and ended with little over $150,000 cash-on-hand.

His campaign’s year-end report on Friday showed that his arrears had ballooned by over a million dollars from the third to fourth quarters of 2015.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.
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Thursday, 28 January 2016

With no Trump onstage, GOP debate focuses on Cruz, policy, other issues

Mike Huckabee speaks as Rick Santorum, left, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore listen during a Republican presidential primary debate, Jan. 28, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Republican presidential candidate, Ben Carson, speaks during a Bloomberg Politics interview in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on, Jan. 27.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY),  handles a AR-15 style rifle as he meets with customers during a campaign stop at a gun show at Bektash Shrine Center, Jan. 23, in Concord.

RAND PAUL
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY), handles a AR-15 style rifle as he meets with customers during a campaign stop at a gun show at Bektash Shrine Center, Jan. 23, in Concord.

Republican presidential candidates (R-L) Ben Carson and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie participate in the Fox News - Google GOP Debate January 28, 2016 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

BEN CARSON SPEAKS ON A POINT
Republican presidential candidates (R-L) Ben Carson and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie participate in the Fox News - Google GOP Debate January 28, 2016 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

John Kasich argues a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Jan. 28, in Des Moines, Iowa.

JOHN KASICH ARGUES A POINT
John Kasich argues a point during a Republican presidential primary debate, Jan. 28, in Des Moines, Iowa.

DES MOINES — The first Republican debate without Donald Trump unfolded differently than the others. It was quieter, more cordial – and far more predictable, as the politicians onstage often retreated into talking points and rehashed bits of stump speeches — without a bombastic billionaire onstage to throw them off their game.
The night’s most interesting moments largely revolved around Sen. Ted Cruz, who played the front-runner’s role as Trump boycotted the debate because of a running feud with Fox News Channel, which hosted the event. Rival Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) said that Cruz’s campaign was built on a “lie,” because Cruz (Tex.) was not honest about his position changes on the subject of immigration. Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) said Cruz had an “authenticity problem.”
And Cruz was pressed about an issue where he has been criticized by the popular and long-serving Republican governor of corn-growing Iowa: Cruz’s call to phase out the federal mandate to use ethanol in fuels.
“I don’t believe that Washington should be picking winners and losers. And I believe that there should be no mandates and no subsidies whatsoever” for any kind of fuel, Cruz said. His call for the elimination of the ethanol mandate, which boosts purchase of corn, brought an attack by Iowa’s long-serving governor, Terry Branstad.

Cruz sought to reframe his opposition to the ethanol standard as part of a broader roll-back of government regulations, which would eventually boost the corn-ethanol industry along with everyone else. He mentioned an even more obscure issue – at least, obscure outside of Iowa – which was the “ethanol blend wall.” That is a limit on the percentage of ethanol that can be blended into fuel, set by the government and supported by oil companies. The logic of the “wall” is that a greater amount of ethanol may harm auto parts. “I will tear down the EPA’s blend wall, which will enable ethanol to expand its market share.”
Trump himself sought to overshadow the entire event, holding a rival event across town meant to honor veterans. He also dominated the news during the debate, after Fox News charged that Trump had asked for a $5 million donation to his charities in return for his appearance at the debate.
Late Thursday evening, Trump responded with a statement that didn’t specifically deny he’d asked Fox News for what the network called a “quid pro quo.”
“The event tonight, which raised more than $6 million dollars, and in many respects turned out to be bigger than the debate, was for the Veterans. If FOX wanted to join in that effort and make a contribution Mr. Trump would have welcomed that,” the statement said, in part. It concluded by saying that “Mr. Trump won tonight as well,” even without showing up.
It was unclear whether Trump’s boycott will actually pay off: That may have to wait until Monday, when Iowans finally go to the caucuses.

But his absence showed the rest of the GOP field what their race might have been like, without this bombastic and unexpected outsider. For one thing, there was a lot more of what politicians call “pivoting” – taking a dangerous, difficult question, and responding with a safe, poll-tested answer. Asked about their own issues, candidates turned quickly to subjects they all agreed on: the Islamic State must be defeated. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted.
“One of her very first acts as president may be to pardon herself,” Rubio said.
“The days of the Clintons in public housing are over,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Those got good laughs, but they did little to differentiate those candidates in a crowded field of candidates, all chasing Trump.
One of the most memorable statements of the night came from retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who had been a largely quiet presence onstage. Carson was asked for a closing statement. He responded by reciting the preamble to the Constitution, one of the most beautiful and succinct explanations of what America is about.
“Folks, it’s not too late,” Carson said after that. “Enough said.”
Republican presidential hopefuls from left Rand Paul , Chris Christie , Ben Carson , Ted Cruz , Marco Rubio , Jeb Bush and John Kasich on stage during the Republican debate at the Iowa Events Center.  Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via USA TODAY NETWORKRepublican presidential hopefuls from left Rand Paul , Chris Christie , Ben Carson , Ted Cruz , Marco Rubio , Jeb Bush and John Kasich on stage during the Republican debate at the Iowa Events Center. Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via USA
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