Harris Scarfe department chain enters receivership in horror year for retailers

Department store chain Harris Scarfe has become the latest casualty of the flagging retail sector after being placed into receivership.

The $380 million chain has 66 stores across the country from Top Ryde in Sydney's northern suburbs, Westfield Chermside and Carindale in Brisbane, Canberra, Wagga Wagga down to Geelong in Victoria, Adelaide and Hobart.

Harris Scarfe has gone into receivership less than a month after a deal to sell the chain to Allegro Funds.Credit:AFR

Harris Scarfe employs more than 1800 staff and says the appointment of DRS partners Vaughan Strawbridge, Kathryn Evans and Tim Norman was made by an unnamed secured lender to the group.

While the stores will remain fully operational and staff will be paid by the receivers, a sale process of the business will now commence.

Harris Scarfe is a longstanding retail institution.

Harris Scarfe is a long-running chain that sells everything from bed linen to, kitchenware, homewares, electrical appliances, and apparel. It is aimed a more discount end of the market as opposed to the middle ring Myer and the upmarket David Jones demographic.

The main competitors are Kmart and BigW which have also had to reinvent the business in order to survive.

"Harris Scarfe is a longstanding retail institution. We will be making every effort to secure a future for the business and intend to commence an immediate sale of business process," Mr Strawbridge said.

The DRS partners confirmed gift cards and lay-by deposits will be honoured.

Horror year

Harris Scarfe's receivership is the latest in a string of retail failures this year as sluggish economic growth and the rise of online shopping takes its toll.

In January this year the high profile Ed Harris and sportswear group Skins hit the wall followed by make-up king Napolean Perdis, the footwear group Shoes of Prey, Melbourne-based institution Dimmeys is shutting its doors and the Co-Op Bookshop went into administration last month.

Bill Rooney, the chief executive of 6one5 Retail Consulting Group, a retail strategy consultancy & digital training business, said the retailers that don't adapt to the changing demographics of the shopping population will perish.

He said generational change will have a dramatic impact on all areas of retail and is contributing more than most retail executives & commentators realise to the disruption in the industry.

Mr Rooney's research shows that the biggest winners will be retailers selling to Gen Z where the Gen Z working population will expand by 84 per cent over six years or 14 per cent per annum. This is great for start-ups and retailers tapped into this generation.

The biggest losers are retailers selling to the 40 years and over market where the working population will decline by 20 per cent over 6 years or 3.33 per cent per annum from 2019 levels. That is 1.45 million less people to sell to over 40 years of age in 2019.

"No matter how good you are as a retailer, in 2019 the 40 years and older market is in serious decline and only a major change of strategy and direction will arrest the decline," Mr Rooney said.

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South China Sea tensions rise as Beijing refuses to back down on its territorial claims

The People’s Republic says that the entire waterway up to the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan belongs to them, a claim rejected by an international court of arbitration in 2016. However, Beijing has never recognised this court ruling, saying the court’s resolution runs counter to international law. On Tuesday China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Wu Haitao underlined Beijing’s potion during a speech at the UN General Assembly.

He said: “China’s territorial claims and claims to marine rights and interests in the South China Sea are in line with relevant international law and international practices.”

He added that the 2016 court ruling had negatively impacted the principles of international law and helped destabilise the region by undermining the authority of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He called on China’s neighbours to resolve differences through negotiations based on “the respect for historical facts and international law.”

The South China Sea is a major shipping route for global commerce, with 21 percent of global trade passing through its waters in 2016 alone.

China is a major exporting country and views ensuring access for its ships through the South China Sea as a major strategic security issue.

In addition the disputed waters are believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas.

Experts believe that the region has up to 11 billion barrels worth of oil under the South China Sea along with 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Beijing is keen to secure its fair share of these hydrocarbons to meet the demands of its ever growing industry.

JUST IN: China’s unveils new wonder weapon in dramatic challenge to west

Mr Wu Haitao’s calls for peaceful negotiations reflect similar comments made by the Chinese premier Li Keqiang, when he attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok in November.

In what was seen as a major breakthrough in de-escalating regional tensions, the Chinese premier claimed that Beijing was willing to work with Southeast Asian countries for long term peace and stability.

He said: “We are willing to work with ASEAN, under the consensus that has been reached, to sustain long term peace and stability in the South China Sea, according to the timetable set for three years.”

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been trying for years to thrash out an agreement with China over a code of conduct for the sea.


South China Sea: Beijing’s ‘atrocious actions’ ignored by court [Update]
Beijing accused of laser attacks on Australian military aircrafts [Latest]
South China Sea: How Beijing’s military plan could fall apart [Analysis]

They have repeatedly accused China of using intimidation and aggressive tactics in its attempts to assert its hegemony and enforce its territorial claims.

These tactics have involved deploying warships, arming outposts and ramming fishing vessels, as well as trying to disrupt joint Vietnamese-Russian oil exploration operations.

The US has repeatedly criticised China for its aggression, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitting that America had not responded robustly enough to Chinese transgressions.

He said in reference to China’s disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines: “We hesitated and did far less than we should have.”

In a sign that the Trump administration has decided to take a much tougher line, the US Navy announced in October that it has drafted in the US Coast Guard (USCG) to help it constrain China’s aggressive expansionist ambitions.

This is the first time since the end of the Cold War that the USCG has been deployed in this capacity.

As part of its deployment the USCG carried out joint exercises with regional partners in October.

In a significant shift, the Pentagon has started to treat China’s paramilitary and coast guard vessels as arms of the People’s Liberation Army and Navy.

In effect this means applying military rules of engagement against Chinese coast guard and militia forces.

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AutoZone Stock Breaks Out After Solid Q1 Results

AutoZone, Inc. (AZO) shares rose nearly 7% during Tuesday's session after the company reported better-than-expected first quarter financial results. The stock has more than doubled since July 2017, and CEO William Rhodes believes that the company will see sales growth moving forward at a rate that is higher than historical levels.

Revenue rose 5.7% to $2.79 billion, beating consensus estimates by $20 million, and earnings per share came in at $14.30, beating consensus estimates by $0.53. Same-store sales rose 3.4% to surpass consensus expectations of a 2.6% gain, but gross profit margins were flat at 53.7% as operating expenses rose 60 basis points to 35.8% for the quarter.

Analysts reacted favorably to the first quarter earnings report. Nomura Instinet maintained its Buy rating and raised its price target to $1,345, saying that EBIT dollar growth should accelerate over the coming quarters. Wolfe Research also upgraded AutoZone stock from Underperform to Peer Perform following the better-than-expected financial results.

From a technical standpoint, AutoZone stock broke out from trendline resistance at around $1,190 to fresh 52 week highs. The relative strength index (RSI) moved to overbought levels with a reading of 74.78, but the moving average convergence divergence (MACD) experienced a bullish crossover. These indicators suggest that the stock could experience some near-term consolidation, but the intermediate-term trend remains higher.

Traders should watch for some consolidation above trendline support levels near $1,190 or R2 support at $1,217.35 over the coming sessions. If the stock breaks down from these levels, traders could see a move toward the 50-day moving average at $1,137.14 or the 200-day moving average at $1,085.14, although the robust fundamental and technical performance of the stock suggests that a move higher is more likely to occur.

The author holds no position in the stock(s) mentioned except through passively managed index funds.

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White House Says Trump Warned Russian Against Election Meddling

In this article

Donald Trump warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday against interference in U.S. elections, the White House said in a statement after an Oval Office meeting between the two men.

But Lavrov suggested in a news conference at the Russian Embassy in Washington that Trump delivered no such warning. Lavrov said he brought up elections during the meeting but only to protest a warning from Secretary of State Michael Pompeo earlier in the day.

The meeting came hours after House Democrats unveiled articles of impeachment alleging the president sought to coerce a foreign leader to help his bid for re-election, and it was the first encounter between Trump and Lavrov May 2017, when the U.S. president boasted to the Russian about firing then-FBI Director James Comey and reportedly shared classified information.

“Just had a very good meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and representatives of Russia. Discussed many items including Trade, Iran, North Korea, INF Treaty, Nuclear Arms Control, and Election Meddling,” Trump tweeted after the meeting as he traveled to a campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

The last time Trump met with a Russian — President Vladimir Putin, at the Group of 20 summit in Japan in June — he appeared to mock the idea of warning his counterpart against election interference.

“Don’t meddle in the election, president,” Trump then told Putin, pointing his finger at his Russian counterpart. “Don’t meddle in the election,” he repeated. Putin laughed after Trump’s admonition was translated, and Trump smiled.

Tuesday’s White House gathering, in which Pompeo also participated, was even more loaded with tension. Earlier in the day, House Democrats announced articles of impeachment that include a finding Trump damaged U.S. national security by withholding military aid to Ukraine, which is battling Russia-backed separatists, in hopes of forcing its government to undertake an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Immediately before the White House meeting, Pompeo and Lavrov sparred in front of reporters over U.S. findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

In a summary of their discussion, the White House said Trump also urged Russia to resolve its conflict with Ukraine. Trump expressed support for an arms control agreement that would include both Russia and China, and asked for Russian support in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ensuring that North Korea reduces its own stockpile.

Biden and other Democrats routinely criticize the U.S. president for showing deference to Vladimir Putin. They frequently reference a news conference in Helsinki in which Trump said he believed the Russian leader’s claims more than the findings of his own intelligence services.

Separately, the Justice Department inspector general released a report on Monday finding no political bias in the FBI investigation into allegations of Russian collusion, a conclusion that counters Trump’s contention that he and his campaign had been unfairly targeted. The report, however, cited significant missteps by the bureau as it sought a warrant to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser.

And just last week, Trump attended a NATO summit in London, where other leaders expressed concern about Russia — not just its annexation of Crimea but also its tightening grip on Syria after Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Revealing Intel Source

The 2017 meeting came just a day after Trump fired Comey over frustration with the probe into his campaign’s ties to Russia. It darkened the cloud of controversy related to Russia that still looms over Trump’s presidency, even after federal investigators found no evidence he was involved in Moscow’s efforts to influence the U.S. elections.

Lavrov arrived at the White House at about 2:20 p.m. in Washington and left about an hour later. The meeting was closed to reporters and none of the participants made any public remarks.

After their first meeting, the Russian state news agency Tass released pictures of Trump and Lavrov laughing in the Oval Office. White House officials then rushed members of the American media into the room, but the Russian delegation had already departed.

Only official U.S. government photographers were allowed into Tuesday’s meeting, according to a White House official who asked not to be identified because it was private.

The White House said after the 2017 meeting that it had been misled by Russian officials and believed the Tass photographer was there on behalf of the Kremlin.

In the following days, the Washington Post reported that Trump revealed highly classified information during the meeting and may have jeopardized a source considered crucial to the battle against Islamic State. Subsequent reports identified the source of that intelligence as Israel. Trump denied ever explicitly revealing the source to Russia, but concerns remained that he had given the Russian officials enough information to determine it for themselves.

“Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel,” Trump said during a 2017 trip to Jerusalem. “Never mentioned it during that conversation. They’re all saying I did, so you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel.”

Putin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Paris on Monday. That summit led to an agreement to exchange prisoners and the withdrawal of some troops, but no permanent resolution to the ongoing conflict in the disputed Donbas region. More than 13,000 people have died in the conflict over the 500-kilometer (310-mile) contact line over the past four years.

North Korea, Venezuela

Trump is also eager to enlist Russia to help pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program amid worrying signs that his efforts may be failing.

Kim Yong Chol, Chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, called Trump a “heedless and erratic old man” in a statement to the state-run Korean Central News Agency earlier this week. On Sunday, Trump warned that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risked voiding “his special relationship with the President of the United States” amid reports that North Korea had conducted a key test at a missile site.

“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” Trump tweeted.

Trump has also said he wants to broker a replacement deal for the New START treaty, which limits the production of nuclear weapons and expires in February 2021. Trump said last week he’s eager to expand the deal to include other nations like China, and want to see “a cessation on nuclear and nuclear creation.”

“It’s — in my opinion — the biggest problem the world has today,” Trump said.

The White House didn’t say whether Trump raised concerns over Russia’s backing of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. Vice President Mike Pence led a meeting last week with other White House officials to re-examine the administration’s push to empower Juan Guaido, the National Assembly leader and Maduro opponent who declared himself interim president of Venezuela with American backing earlier this year.

But Guaido has failed to push out Maduro, and Trump is losing confidence that the opposition leader will ever topple the regime. The administration officials have instead discussed a possible partnership with Russia to ease the leader out of power.

— With assistance by Jordan Fabian, and Nick Wadhams

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Ben Carson: Throwing money at homelessness won't solve the crisis

Ben Carson on homelessness: Compassion isn’t leaving people on the streets

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson joins FOX Business to discuss America’s homelessness crisis.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said on Tuesday there's a way to compassionately yet effectively fight homelessness in America.

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"Somehow we've gotten off base and started thinking that compassion is just to leave people out there and let them do whatever they want to do," Carson told FOX Business' Liz MacDonald.


California Gov. Gavin Newson (D) is asking the Trump administration for federal housing vouchers, but Carson said that shouldn't be the only method.

“One thing that we know that doesn’t work is just throwing money at it because the more money you throw at it, the higher the prices go.”

"The regulations continue to grow, and you'll never catch up," Carson said on "The Evening Edit." "You're just chasing your tail."

Carson compared diagnosing the cause of the homelessness crisis to practicing medicine.


"You look at the person who has a fever," Carson said. "You don't just treat the fever. You say 'What is causing the fever?' and you go to that. And this is what we've got to do with the housing crisis, or we'll never catch up."

A homeless man moves his belongings from a street behind Los Angeles City Hall as crews prepare to clean the area. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Carson said the Trump administration wants to have federal-, state- and local-level government cooperation when it comes to tackling the homelessness crisis, calling that "the ideal type of situation."


"We have to talk about both an acute phase and a chronic phase," Carson said. "We recognize that you have a whole host of different kinds of reasons for people to be homeless. You have those who are drug-addicted. You have those who have mental problems. You have those who fall on hard times because of a job or family illness, divorce. And so, obviously, one solution does not fit all of them."

A homeless man sleeps in front of recycling bins and garbage on a street corner in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)


Carson said the homelessness crisis in America is causing a health hazard on the streets when people leave things like human waste and medical supplies lying around.

“These are the kinds of things that set up a situation where you can have a major epidemic, so we need to fix it.”

"And that means taking people off the street and putting them in a location that is safe, but also a location in which we can provide some of the wraparound services because [it's] not just a matter of getting them off the street," Carson said. "It's a matter of figuring out why you're on the street in the first place."

Hanes launches 10th national sock drive to help the homeless. (AP Photo)


Carson said he's happy with the work the Trump administration has done so far with local politicians.


"We have to look at the data," Carson said. "We have to look at the evidence and do things based on that."

An estimated 130,000 people are homeless in California, which is more than any other state in America.


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Trump May Be ‘So Much Worse’ Than Nixon But Republicans Don’t Seem To Care

BEDFORD, N.H. — Richard Nixon used tens of thousands of his campaign dollars to finance a burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in order to cheat in his 1972 presidential reelection.

Forty-seven years later, Donald Trump, according to witness testimony in congressional hearings, used hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to coerce a foreign government in order to cheat in his 2020 reelection.

Yet while Nixon wound up resigning after his fellow Republicans in the Senate told him they would vote to remove him from office, Trump today appears likely to survive a Senate trial, even as the House prepares to debate two articles of impeachment later this week.

“Americans are guided in many ways by their leadership,” said Al Cardenas, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. “There was significant bipartisan agreement that President Nixon had breached the threshold regarding abuse of power and thus was impeachable. Either today’s values have evolved, partisanship has hit a new high or the caliber of our GOP representation has diminished. Take your pick.”

Reflecting — or perhaps driving — that difference across the decades: 31% of Republicans wound up abandoning Nixon and saying he should be removed from office, while only 7% of Republicans today believe that about Trump.

At Trump’s rally in Minneapolis in October, construction contractor Jason Munson said he had no interest in any facts that did not come from Trump personally, and that Trump’s election was divine intervention. “It was the hand of God,” he said.

At the Iowa Republican Party’s annual fundraising dinner in Des Moines last month, oral historian Kristine Bartley said Democrats should defeat Trump in the election next year rather than impeaching him, regardless of what he did with Ukraine. “Unless the president is running around with a gun shooting people, just let it go,” she said.

And at a “Countdown to Victory Reception and Christmas Party” for New Hampshire Republicans at a restaurant in Bedford last week, Plymouth town selectman John Randlett said all politicians try to cheat and that it was pretty much impossible to know what really happened, even with Nixon. “Are you ever going to find out the true facts? No,” he said, adding that he was sticking with Trump. “As he says, it’s a witch hunt.”

Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said there is not much in common between American politics today versus five decades ago. “It has little to do with the perceived seriousness of the crime, though I would argue that the break-in and cover-up was far more egregious than the current charges,” Newhouse said, adding: “1974 was a different, less partisan time. Today’s polarization is unprecedented.”

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that a dramatically changed media landscape is a major cause of the difference. In 1974, all three broadcast television networks carried the impeachment hearings live — meaning that there was literally nothing else on TV during those hours. Today, not only do hardcore Republicans have news outlets that cater to their preferences, but there are hundreds of other cable channels and an internet that provide politics-free content for those who prefer that.

Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived White House communications director in 2017 who has now become a Trump critic, has a two-word answer for what’s different: “Fox News.”

According to witness testimony as well as the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Trump demanded that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden as well as support a conspiracy theory which falsely claims that Russian intelligence agencies did not help Trump win the 2016 election, but rather it was Ukrainian officials who framed Russia by using fake evidence. He made $391 million in military aid contingent on Ukraine publicly announcing the probes but then backed down after the White House learned that the whistleblower’s complaint on the matter was about to reach Congress.

But pro-Trump media have largely been echoing Trump’s claims that he did nothing wrong in demanding investigations, or that if it was wrong, it was nevertheless not impeachable.

Joe Walsh, the former Republican congressman running against Trump for the 2020 nomination, said he has had trouble getting coverage from pro-Trump news outlets because of his unsparing criticisms of the president. “It is a far worse abuse of power,” he said of Trump’s attempt to coerce Ukraine. “But Trump has something Nixon didn’t have: Fox News. Conservative media. That’s the difference.”

GOP base voters are, indeed, getting a “diet of commentary” that supports Trump’s contention that he did nothing wrong, said Rory Cooper, a Republican consultant and onetime top aide to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. But he added that equally important is the extinction of moderate Republicans. “Centrist or New England Republicans that turned on Nixon don’t exist in today’s Congress. The longer this remains viewed as a partisan exercise, the longer the numbers will remain stagnant, which is to say it’s unlikely for them to move much more absent a significant development.”

Another key difference between 1974 and now is how the scandals played out. Nixon spent well over a year denying that he had any knowledge of the break-in or cover-up as his approval numbers slowly deteriorated. Then, after the Supreme Court ordered the release of audio tapes that proved Nixon had been lying, his support collapsed to the point that senior Republican senators told him that he would be removed from office following an impeachment trial.

In Trump’s case, within weeks of House Democrats revealing that a whistleblower had filed a complaint about his dealings with Ukraine, Trump himself ordered the release of the July 25 call memo, which showed him asking for “a favor” of investigations in response to the Ukrainian president’s mention of military aid. Days later, Trump told reporters that Volodymyr Zelensky should “start a major investigation into the Bidens,” and moments later added that China should investigate them, too.

The effect of getting such damning evidence out in the open right at the outset may have been to make every subsequent piece of corroborating proof that came out seem small in comparison, and the hearings themselves anti-climactic.

“My gut tells me that the smoking gun tape in this has already come out,” said Steve Duprey, a Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire who was also attending the Bedford Christmas Party. “The average American who’s shoveling snow in New Hampshire is not paying attention to this.”

One former senior RNC member said Trump’s impeachment is not getting as much support as Nixon’s because voters understood they would get someone liable to say and do irresponsible things when they voted for him — similar to the way Americans did not support Republicans’ impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

“People knew that Clinton was a sex fiend, and voted for him anyway,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “From the point of view of Trump voters, they knew when they voted for him that he was pretty outrageous and disruptive. Rude, crude and unattractive.”

Not everyone, of course, downplays Trump’s actions.

“What the president did was so much worse than even what Richard Nixon did,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CBS last month.

Indeed, Pelosi’s Sept. 24 announcement that the House would move forward with an impeachment inquiry — after months of warning her newly won majority against impeachment — saw dozens of skeptical House Democrats switch to supporting impeachment as well as a shift in public opinion generally. While Americans had previously opposed impeaching Trump by an 11-point margin, that has swung to a 4-point margin in support.

That movement, though, has since stalled, and may have even moved slightly in the opposite direction as Republicans argue that with the election coming up in 11 months, impeachment is not appropriate.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that conducted the initial impeachment hearings, nevertheless said that Democrats have no choice but to impeach Trump, because failing to impeach him would encourage him to continue trying to improperly use his position to help his re-election campaign.

“The argument, ‘Why don’t you just wait,’ amounts to this,” Schiff said. “’Why don’t you just let him cheat in one more election? Why not let him cheat just one more time? Why not let him have foreign help just one more time?’”

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See shocked reactions live on Fox after Smith drops bombshell

New York (CNN Business)Britt McHenry, a host on Fox News’ streaming service, Fox Nation, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit on Tuesday against the network and one of its on-air personalities, George “Tyrus” Murdoch.

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, argued that Fox News retaliated against McHenry after she accused Murdoch, her former Fox Nation co-host and a network contributor, of sexual harassment. It further contended that the probes conducted by outside law firms on behalf of the network were “sham investigations.”
“The last thing I wanted to do was file this lawsuit,” McHenry said in a statement provided by attorney Lisa Bloom’s law firm, which represents her. “But I had to stand up for what’s right for myself and for women.”

    In separate statements, Fox News defended its actions and Murdoch denied the allegations.
    McHenry’s lawsuit, which seeks monetary damages, alleged that Murdoch displayed “volatile and unpredictable behavior” at work and started sending her sexually suggestive text messages in October 2018.

    “I love pony tails and braids you look amazing and it’s a real turn on not that you care but I love it,” one of the text messages said, according to the lawsuit.
    “The picture looks so good I would knock up the picture …. crazy sexy love your legs,” said another, according to the lawsuit.
    McHenry alleged in the lawsuit that Murdoch also sexually harassed her in person. The lawsuit said McHenry “never crossed the line or sent Mr. Murdoch any sexual messages.”
    The lawsuit contended Fox News retaliated against McHenry after she reported Murdoch’s conduct. McHenry not only reported Murdoch’s conduct to Fox News, but in October she filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights.
    Following her complaints, the lawsuit said that McHenry, who continues to host the Fox Nation show “UN-PC,” has “received far fewer professional opportunities” from the network, including rarely being invited to appear on-air and not receiving much marketing for her show.
    McHenry attacked the credibility of the two outside investigations. She alleged that photographs obtained during one of the probes “purported to be from” her to Murdoch “with her cleavage and nearly bare breast shown.” But, McHenry stated in her lawsuit, the photos were “fraudulent” and “doctored.”
    “A simple Google Image search shows that the first image was taken from a website and the woman depicted was not Ms. McHenry,” the lawsuit said.
    Fox News says matter 'resolved' after Britt McHenry brought harassment claim against co-host Tyrus
    McHenry’s lawsuit said she “immediately offered to have a forensic expert examine her phone to provide she did not send those messages, provided Mr. Murdoch do the same.” But, according to the lawsuit, Murdoch “has refused to submit to a forensic examination of his phone.”
    Fox News has previously pointed to the two outside investigations and said it followed the recommendations it received. The network ultimately separated the two, giving Murdoch his own Fox Nation show and McHenry a new co-host. Murdoch has continued to appear on Fox News.
    In a Tuesday statement, a Fox News spokesperson said McHenry’s lawsuit “recycles the same allegations filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights in October, to which we filed a response on Friday.”
    “As we have previously stated, Ms. McHenry’s allegations have been fully investigated and we are confident our actions will be deemed entirely appropriate in litigation,” the spokesperson said. “We expect all of her claims to be dismissed.”

      Murdoch’s lawyer, Tom Clare, said in a statement that his client “denies the allegations in the lawsuit and will be defending it vigorously.”
      “He looks forward to having a public forum in the court system to clear his name from the smear campaign that had been waged against him in the media,” Clare said. “Tyrus will be pursuing defamation counterclaims.”
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      SpaceX to update Starlink satellites over astronomer ire

      Is Elon Musk’s Mars mission realistic? A theoretical physicist says yes, if they pay the bills

      ‘The Future of Humanity’ author and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku gives his thoughts on Elon Musk’s mission to colonize Mars and asks ‘Why not become a two-planet species?’

      Elon Musk’s company SpaceX is going to test a new Starlink satellite with a specialized anti-reflective coating that won’t interfere with the night sky. This revised spacecraft will be one out of a batch of 60, according to a report from Space News.

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      SpaceX’s President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell confirmed the update in a press call on Friday.


      “We want to make sure we do the right thing to make sure little kids can look through their telescope. Astronomy is one of the few things that gets little kids excited about space,” she said.

      The ambitious space company has already deployed 120 satellites that are dedicated to delivering high-speed internet. However, the satellites’ shiny surface had unforeseen consequences. By its first launch in May, astronomers and space enthusiasts noted that the brightness exuded from the manmade constellation interrupted views of the planets and stars.


      With SpaceX receiving the green light to launch up 12,000 Starlink spacecrafts in Earth’s low orbit by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, and the company’s pending paperwork for 30,000 additional vessels with the International Telecommunication Union – experts are concerned with how SpaceX will impact astronomy in the next few years.


      Shotwell admitted that the SpaceX team hadn’t anticipated the problem when the Starlink satellites were first designed.

      In her own words, “No one thought of this. We didn’t think of it. The astronomy community didn’t think of it.”


      Image 1 of 2

      The Falcon 9 launched from Kennedy Space Center in November 2019 and delivered 60 SpaceX Starlink satellites into orbit. (SpaceX)

      Although SpaceX did not intend for this to happen, the team is looking to remedy the issue, which is how the anti-reflective coating test came into play. The coating will be applied to the bottom of the single test satellite.

      “We’re [doing] trial and error to figure out the best way to get this done,” Shotwell explained while also noting that SpaceX can’t predict whether the experiment will be a success.


      The 60 satellites that are set to launch in late December is the third batch SpaceX will be working with. The company is planning to launch batches of 60 satellites every two to three weeks over the next year to significantly grow the Starlink constellation by mid-2020.

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      U.S. Cattle Ranchers Blast New Nafta as Other Farmers Cheer

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      Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. 

      The American agriculture industry generally applauded a move to finalize the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free-trade agreement, with one notable exception.

      In a statement Tuesday, cattle producer group R-CALF USA blasted the deal, saying the failure to restore country of origin labeling, or COOL, on beef allows imported supplies to continue undercutting U.S. ranchers.

      The group said COOL rules for beef and pork that were repealed in 2016 would have allowed U.S. ranchers to “compete against the duty-free, cheaper and undifferentiated cattle and beef flowing into our country and depressing our markets.”

      Opposition to the deal was relatively limited as U.S. farmers should largely gain from tariff-free access to the neighboring countries. One big beneficiary would be beleaguered U.S. dairy farmers, who would get new access to Canada’s market

      Crop handler and processor Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said USMCA will provide “meaningful benefits for agriculture and food industries in all three countries.”

      Meanwhile, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which represents cattle farmers and feeders, said: “There is no higher policy priority for America’s beef producers than maintaining our duty-free access to Canada and Mexico.”

      — With assistance by Isis Almeida, Dominic Carey, and Mike Dorning

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      Russia war games: Black Sea Fleet fires terrifying cruise missiles in warning to ‘enemies’

      The crew of two Su-24M attack aircraft from the Black Sea Fleet’s naval aviation and air defence force simulated the enemy in the drills. These frigates are aimed at destroying the enemy surface ships and vessels, submarines and ground installations. They are armed with missiles which are able to strike targets from a distance of 2,600 km.

      The US defence officials have expressed concern about Kalibr’s long reach in the past.

      The fleet’s press office said: “In accordance with the combat training plan, the crew of the Black Sea Fleet frigate Admiral Essen is holding a series of shipborne drills with missile and artillery firings in the Black Sea.

      “At the first stage of the drills involving a naval battle, the sailors conducted artillery fire against a sea target and practiced the algorithm of actions to strike a notional enemy’s surface ship by the Kalibr missile system with electronic launches.

      “The ship has deployed to the sea as part of the mandatory course of the crew’s training, which stipulates accomplishing assigned missions by a sole ship upon its deployment to the sea.”

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      The frigate has performed tasks as part of Russia’s group of warships in the Mediterranean Sea from August 2018.

      The Admiral Essen, which carries eight vertically-launched Kalibr cruise missiles, is one of Russia’s most modern warships.

      The Russian ship left Sevastopol, a major Black Sea port located on the Crimean Peninsula, on March 13 and returned on June 30.

      The frigate was deployed most of the time in the Mediterranean Sea.

      Naval commanders also used the ship to attack ISIS targets during the Russian operation in Syria last year.

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      Kremlin officials said the warship successfully struck ISIS command and control centres as well as ammunition depots on several occasions.

      The Admiral Essen measures 124.8 meters in length and displaces 3,620 tons.

      Last summer, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia will continue to strengthen its forces around the Black Sea in order to “neutralize the security threat in the Black Sea region from NATO.”

      A recent report revealed that new Russian warships would be fitted to carry hypersonic missiles.

      Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Russian Navy would increase the number of warships capable of carrying Tsirkon hypersonic missiles.

      In November, it emerged that Putin was getting ready for “state versus state war” after two Russian attack submarines were revealed to have carried out “duelling” exercises in waters north of Scotland.

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