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The 8 Best Smartwatches (2020): Apple Watch, Samsung, Wear OS


Sometimes, you don’t want a digital screen on your wrist. If you much prefer the traditional stylings of analog watches (or maybe you just want to expand your smartwatch collection), I’d recommend the Misfit Command. It comes in 44- or 45-mm case sizes in a myriad of colors and straps, and in no way does it look like a smartwatch. It tracks the usual steps, calories, and distance. Oh, and if you wear it to bed, it will measure sleep duration. It’s quite rudimentary; because there’s no screen, you can only view your activity through the Android or iOS app.

The rest of the features require a bit of memorization. You can get alerts for smartphone notifications (I recommend selecting only a handful of apps, or else your wrist will be buzzing constantly), and you can set these apps to the hours on the dial. For example, I set 1 o’clock to Facebook Messenger, so whenever I got a message on the app, the hands would move to 1 and the watch would vibrate. Once I remembered which apps I set to which number, seeing the clock hands move has been enough to make me decide whether I want to pull my phone out.

You can also assign the two buttons on the watch a particular job, from showing you the time in another city to my favorite—controlling music playback on my phone. Best of all, the watch can survive in a pool, and it doesn’t require any charging! It uses a CR2430 lithium battery, which lasts a year. You can easily buy a spare battery online and replace it yourself.


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Asia shares observe Wall Road larger amid commerce optimism


Asian inventory markets have adopted Wall Road larger about optimism U.S.-Chinese language commerce relations are enhancing

Asian shares adopted Wall Road larger on Friday amid optimism U.S.-Chinese language commerce relations are enhancing.

Hong Kong’s benchmark rose 1.3% whereas Shanghai and Hong Kong additionally rose and Tokyo was unchanged.

Buyers welcomed President Donald Trump’s remark that an interim “Section 1” commerce deal was “getting executed.” Trump stated he and Chinese language President Xi Jinping would maintain a signing ceremony.

Markets have been inspired by optimistic feedback in regards to the settlement, although particulars have but to be launched.

Chinese language customs knowledge this week confirmed soybean imports rose in November in a attainable enhance to American farmers. Midwestern farm states had been battered by Beijing’s suspension of purchases of U.S. soybeans, the most important Chinese language import from the USA, in response to Trump’s tariff hikes in a struggle over China’s expertise ambitions and commerce surplus.

“Broadly threat sentiment is optimistic,” Mizuho Financial institution stated in a report.

Hong Kong’s Grasp Seng rose to 28,222.40 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8% to three,030.13. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was off Three factors at 23,921.97.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.3% to 2,204.03 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.3% to six,814.10.

Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore superior whereas New Zealand declined.

On Wall Road, the S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Common reached new highs Thursday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to three,239.91 and the Dow gained 0.4% to 28,621.39. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.8% to 9,022.39.

Buyers welcomed a report by Mastercard SpendingPulse that confirmed U.S. on-line Christmas purchasing rose 18.8% over a 12 months earlier.

Regardless of optimism a couple of U.S.-Chinese language commerce truce, merchants nonetheless are involved about greater unresolved disputes.

The approaching 12 months additionally has the added complication of the U.S. presidential election.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $61.81 per barrel in digital buying and selling on the New York Mercantile Change. The contract added 57 cents on Thursday to shut at $61.88. Brent crude, used to cost worldwide oils, superior 6 cents to $66.82 per barrel in London. It rose 60 cents the earlier session to $66.76.

CURRENCY: The greenback weakened to 109.47 yen from Thursday’s 109.57 yen. The euro gained to $1.1121 from $1.1100.

Nonetheless, as merchants flip their consideration to 2020, fears in regards to the outlook for the worldwide economic system stay, as do issues over unresolved commerce points between Washington and Beijing. Subsequent 12 months additionally has the added complication of the U.S. presidential election.


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Large American Dream mall to open however will buyers come?


Greater than twenty years in the past when a mega leisure and purchasing complicated was being conceived on an unlimited swath of swamp land in New Jersey, the iPhone did not exist, Amazon was solely promoting books on-line and malls had been the place you went for all of your purchasing wants.

Now, after infinite suits and begins and billions of {dollars} spent, American Dream is formally opening its doorways to the general public because the second largest mall within the nation, and third largest in North America. It’s going to showcase three million sq. ft of leasable house devoted to greater than a dozen leisure points of interest like a 16-story indoor ski slope, rollercoaster, waterpark and ultimately 450 retail, meals and specialty retailers.

The large query is: Who will come?

In immediately’s retail panorama, customers are glued to their iPhones and smartphones, the place they will do their purchasing with out ever leaving their sofa. Amazon has morphed into the largest on-line retailer on the earth. And total site visitors at malls, which had been on the rise within the late 1990s, has declined 10% since, in keeping with an estimate by Coresight Analysis.

A report from Credit score Suisse printed two years in the past predicted that as much as 1 / 4 of the purchasing malls will shut by 2022 given the growing reputation of on-line purchasing and a rash of retailer closings. Since 2015, solely 9 malls have been constructed, a dramatic fall from their peak building in 1973 of 43, in keeping with CoStar Group, an actual property analysis agency.

Amid that new actuality, American Dream is trying to attract 40 million guests in its first yr, with leisure accounting for greater than half of its house. Sights embrace a bunny subject and an aviary. There may even be such facilities as a doggy day care and a luxurious wing, the place buyers can sip champagne and pattern caviar as they wait to have their designer purses wrapped. Two resorts with a complete of three,500 rooms are being deliberate subsequent to the complicated.

“You can also make it your yard playground when you stay in Manhattan and even when you’re in New Jersey,” mentioned Ken Downing, chief artistic officer for Triple 5 Group, the mall’s developer. “It is a staycation. So, it is somewhat little bit of competing with mindset and emotion, excess of a property and even Disneyland.”

In the course of the grand opening Friday, the odor of noticed mud and sound of electrical drills served as a reminder that the American Dream continues to be a piece in progress. Solely sure sections had been accessible to buyers and the mall will not be absolutely operational till subsequent spring.

On the ice-skating rink, spectators had been watching skilled skaters do routines. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and his spouse rode one of many curler coasters together with different state officers on the Nickelodeon amusement park.

“The attraction is that this,” mentioned Giovanni Scolaro, who lives in close by Elmwood Park, New Jersey, pointing to the curler coasters and different points of interest. “I’ve a 7-year-old little one and grandchildren. That is going to be a draw.”

Canada-based mall and leisure conglomerate Triple 5 in 2011 took over the large challenge initially dubbed Xanadu from two builders, whose plans included constructing the world’s largest Ferris wheel. The challenge broke floor in 2004 however it languished through the early years, with its multi-colored, checkerboard exterior — since eliminated — drawing derision, together with from then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who known as it “an offense to the eyes” and “the ugliest rattling constructing in New Jersey and perhaps America.”

The challenge was suspended in 2009 through the monetary disaster after a Lehmann Bros. affiliate did not fund its share of the development. Collectors seized the challenge in 2010, and Triple 5 got here on board a yr later, renaming it American Dream.

Triple 5 reimagined American Dream as a neighborhood hub for vacationers and locals, taking a web page from two different malls it had developed, West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada and Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota — the 2 largest malls in North America. Leisure was a giant promoting level for each, accounting for 20% of the West Edmonton Mall’s house and 30% of Mall of America’s. That compares with the 6% common for U.S. malls, in keeping with CoStar.

American Dream has its fair proportion of skeptics who surprise about its probabilities of success, particularly given its proximity to New York Metropolis lower than 10 miles away.

“This improvement will both sink or swim,” mentioned Jason Goldberg, chief commerce technique officer of Publicis Communications. “It should be robust to get quite a lot of consideration if you find yourself subsequent to a a lot greater amusement park — Manhattan.”

Goldberg believes the complicated might work if the amusement park entices sufficient households in New Jersey to get into their vehicles and drive on the market . However he is unsure about how shops will fare since lots of the tenants like Zara and Uniqlo will be discovered elsewhere. One other thorny scenario: The mall will abide by the blue legal guidelines, which means retail might be closed Sundays despite the fact that the eating places and theme parks might be open, says James Cassella, the East Rutherford, N.J. mayor.

Nonetheless, there’s purpose for hope. Whereas emptiness charges on common on the nation’s malls are at present at 4%, prime malls have been the trade’s vibrant spot, boasting robust site visitors and at present averaging a 2% emptiness charge, says CoStar. That is in contrast with the underside rung of malls, that are wrestling with a 7% common emptiness charge.

David Smiley, assistant director of city design at Columbia College, predicts American Dream “will do fairly nicely.”

“There’s quite a lot of uncertainty within the retail world,” Smiley mentioned. “However American Dream is uncommon. It isn’t a typical mall.”


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The rise and fall of an Eagle Scout’s lethal fentanyl empire


The picture that flashed onto the courtroom display screen confirmed a younger man lifeless on his bed room flooring, naked toes poking from the cuffs of his rolled-up denims. Lurking on a trash can on the fringe of the image was what prosecutors stated delivered this demise: an odd, U.S. Postal Service envelope.

It had arrived with 10 spherical, blue tablets inside, the markings of pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone stamped onto the floor. The younger man took out two, crushed and snorted them. However the tablets had been poison, prosecutors stated: counterfeits containing deadly grains of fentanyl, a potent artificial opioid that has written a lethal new chapter within the American opioid epidemic.

The envelope was postmarked from the suburbs of Salt Lake Metropolis.

That is the place a clean-cut, 29-year-old faculty dropout and Eagle Scout named Aaron Shamo made himself a millionaire by constructing a fentanyl trafficking empire with not rather more than his laptop and the assistance of some mates.


This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Middle on Disaster Reporting.


For 3 weeks this summer time, these suburban millennials climbed onto the witness stand at his federal trial and provided an unprecedented window into how fentanyl purchased and bought on-line has remodeled the worldwide drug commerce. There was no testimony of underground tunnels or gangland murders or something {that a} wall on the southern border would possibly cease. Shamo referred to as himself a “white-collar drug vendor,” drew in co-workers from his time at eBay and peppered his messages to them with smiley-face emojis. His legal professional referred to as him a idiot; his major protection was that he is not sensible sufficient to be a kingpin.

How he and his mates managed to flood the nation with a half-million faux oxycodone tablets reveals the convenience with which fentanyl now strikes all over the world, threatening to increase the epidemic past America’s borders. It’s so potent, really easy to move, consultants say, large-scale traffickers not require subtle networks to ship it to any nook of the globe. All they want is a mailbox, web entry and other people with an urge for food for opioids. And consumption charges are rising from Asia to Europe to Latin America as pharmaceutical corporations promote painkillers overseas.

The case towards Shamo detailed how white powder as much as 100 occasions stronger than morphine was purchased on-line from a laboratory in China and arrived in Utah through worldwide mail; it was formed into perfect-looking replicas of oxycodone tablets within the press that thumped in Shamo’s basement and resold on the web’s black markets. Then it was routed again into the postal system in hundreds of packages addressed to properties throughout this nation awash with prescription painkiller dependancy.

When Shamo took the stand to attempt to spare himself a lifetime in jail, he started with a nervous chuckle. He careened from one matter to the subsequent in a monologue prosecutors would later describe as masterful manipulation to persuade the jury he thought his drug-dealing was serving to individuals. Clients wrote thanks notes as a result of their docs refused to prescribe extra painkillers, he stated. It felt like “a win-win state of affairs” — he acquired wealthy and his clients acquired medication.

One in every of them was a struggling 21-year-old named Ruslan Klyuev who died in his bed room in Daly Metropolis, California, the envelope from Utah at his toes. Shamo was charged in connection to that overdose alone, however when investigators scoured the listing of consumers they stated they counted dozens extra lifeless.


The query earlier than this jury is being debated all throughout America: Twenty years into the opioid epidemic, is there such a factor as justice for 400,000 misplaced lives?

The most important civil litigation in historical past is testing how the pharmaceutical trade ought to be held accountable for inundating the nation with billions of addictive ache tablets. Purdue Pharma, seen by many as the first villain for deceptively pushing the blockbuster drug OxyContin, reached a tentative $12 billion settlement this week with about half the states and roughly 2,000 native governments. Attorneys basic who did not signal on say the determine is way too low. A trial of different pharmaceutical corporations is scheduled for subsequent month, through which communities will contend that their mass advertising and marketing of prescription painkillers sparked an epidemic.

This disaster started within the 1990s and has since spiraled into waves, every worse than the one earlier than: Prescription opioids unfold dependancy, then a crackdown on prescribing paved the highway to heroin, which led to fentanyl — an artificial opioid made completely in a laboratory. Traffickers added it to heroin to spice up its efficiency and profitability. That transition occurred slowly at first, then with extraordinary ferocity.

By 2017, deaths from artificial opioids had elevated greater than 800 p.c, to 28,466, dragging the USA’ general life expectancy down for a 3rd consecutive 12 months for the primary time in a century. Fentanyl deaths have been reported overseas, in Canada, Sweden, Estonia, the UK. International locations with surging prescription opioid dependancy, like Australia, concern they’re on the brink.

“Fentanyl would be the bubonic plague,” stated Mike Vigil, former chief of worldwide operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, warning that any nation with a burgeoning prescription opioid drawback may quickly discover itself following American footsteps. “It is only a matter of time.”

Nobody can say precisely how or why fentanyl, first synthesized in 1959 as a strong painkiller, entered the trendy illicit drug market, stated Bryce Pardo, a researcher on the Rand Company. In 2013, individuals started overdosing on heroin laced with fentanyl in New England and Ohio, and it unfold from there. Shabbir Safdar, the Partnership for Secure Medicines’ government director, stated the primary recognized demise from a fentanyl-laced capsule was in San Francisco in October 2015.

It was a daunting improvement: The DEA estimates 3.four million Individuals misuse prescription painkillers, in comparison with 475,000 heroin customers — that means the pool doubtlessly uncovered is 10 occasions larger.

There are two sources of provide. Mexican cartels and packages shipped direct from China, the place it’s produced in an enormous and under-regulated chemical sector. A Senate investigation final 12 months discovered huge portions of fentanyl pouring in from China via the Postal Service. The report largely blamed dated expertise that left customs inspectors sifting via packages manually in search of “the proverbial needle in a haystack.” The Postal Service wrote in a press release to The Related Press that it’s working exhausting with its worldwide counterparts to shut these loopholes, and is bettering its expertise to intercept fentanyl shipments.

By the point a seized bundle heading from China to Utah led investigators to Shamo, he had already turned fentanyl into a minimum of 458,946 doubtlessly toxic tablets, the federal government stated. There are lots of extra like him, officers say, upstart traffickers urgent pure Chinese language-made fentanyl into tablets of their basements and kitchens with unsophisticated gear. In a single batch, one capsule might need no fentanyl and one other sufficient to kill an individual immediately. One agent at Shamo’s trial in contrast it to creating chocolate-chip cookies, provided that too many chips ended up in a “cookie,” whoever ate it dropped lifeless.

For traffickers, the revenue margins are irresistible: The DEA estimates a kilogram of fentanyl synthesized for a couple of thousand {dollars} may make a vendor greater than $1 million.

“Any moron can principally develop into a significant drug kingpin by dealing in fentanyl,” stated Vigil. “You possibly can have someone with an IQ minus 100 who turns into an in a single day multimillionaire.”


Aaron Shamo dreamed of entrepreneurial riches. He idolized Steve Jobs and Invoice Gates, and studied self-improvement books like “Assume and Develop Wealthy.”

He and a longtime good friend, Drew Crandall, labored at eBay after failed stints in faculty. However Crandall was fired and Shamo determined it was “unfair” that he nonetheless needed to work, so he give up. They needed simple cash.

Shamo grew up in Phoenix with three older sisters. As a young person, he began smoking pot and refusing to attend providers with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His mother and father despatched him to boarding college in Utah, the place he earned his Eagle Scout badge. He later met Crandall via their shared love of longboarding they usually moved in collectively. Crandall was awkward and shy; Shamo was charismatic, and prided himself on serving to his good friend discuss to women.

The pair concocted a plan to promote their Adderall, prescribed for consideration deficit dysfunction, on the darkish internet — a wild, unregulated layer of the web reached via a particular browser. There are underground marketplaces there that mimic Amazon or eBay, the place weapons and medicines and pirated software program are traded. Cash is exchanged anonymously via cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

They discovered what they wanted on the internet, looking with queries like “the best way to ship medication.” It was really easy. They expanded, ordering medication in bulk, breaking them down and promoting at a mark-up, all whereas barely having to go away the home.

They used the postal system like a drug mule, peddling the membership drug MDMA, magic mushrooms, date rape medication — they as soon as purchased a kilogram of cocaine from Peru. They recruited mates, providing them $100 to have parcels mailed to their properties, no questions requested.

However the revenue margins had been slim and their ambitions had been larger: They purchased a capsule press, ordered the sedative alprazolam on-line from India and watched YouTube movies to determine the best way to flip it into faux Xanax, an anti-anxiety treatment. Crandall, math minded, created the recipe. They blended it up by shaking it in mason jars.

Then Crandall fell in love.

His new girlfriend grew suspicious when he would sneak away to bundle medication. When she confronted him at a celebration, he tearfully confessed. She forgave him, if he promised to go away the enterprise. They purchased one-way tickets to New Zealand.

Then an area drug vendor made a suggestion to Shamo that will change the course of his life: There was a fortune to be made in producing faux oxycodone.

Shamo enlisted his gymnasium buddy, Jonathan Luke Paz, to assist him. Shamo ordered fentanyl on-line from China, arrange the capsule press within the basement and purchased dyes and stamps to match fashionable prescribed drugs. Then they handed them over to the native vendor, who examined them on his personal clients. The primary batches had been weak or speckled in colour, he advised them, or did not react like actual oxycodone when customers heated it on tinfoil to smoke it.

However they had been getting higher.

“Near being cash within the financial institution,” the vendor messaged Shamo. “You probably did it, bro.”

On the primary day of 2016, Shamo wrote out his objectives for the upcoming 12 months: He could be wealthy. All the ladies would need him.

“I’ll overachieve,” he wrote. “I’ll overcome.”

He went on-line together with his merchandise a month later. Some had been specified as fentanyl, however some weren’t, purporting as an alternative to include 30 milligrams of oxycodone. Shamo named this new retailer Pharma-Grasp.


As winter turned to summer time, gross sales skyrocketed. Pharma-Grasp began promoting hundreds of tablets per week, charging round $10 every.

On June 6, a comparatively small order got here in: 10 tablets, to be shipped to an house home in Daly Metropolis, a working-class suburb of San Francisco.

Like each order, it was despatched in an encrypted e mail to 2 former eBay co-workers in command of distribution. Alexandrya Tonge and Katherine Bustin counted out the tablets of their suburban condominium, packaged the shipments and dropped them within the mail.

The envelope arrived on the doorstep at Three p.m. on June 11.

Below completely different circumstances, Shamo might need been mates with the 21-year-old man who lived there. Ruslan Klyuev, a Russian immigrant, was additionally an aspiring tech entrepreneur at the hours of darkness internet. He had a child face: rosy cheeks and curly hair. Klyuev cherished to cook dinner and would make extravagant meals for the home.

However his relationship ended, his internet design enterprise sputtered and he grew to become estranged from his household, stated Barry, a roommate who spoke on the situation that his final identify not be printed. His feelings toggled between sorrow and elation, and he struggled with substance abuse.

After ingesting vodka, Klyuev crushed two of the tablets with a battery and snorted the powder with a rolled-up sticky notice, based on testimony. He began drifting out and in of sleep. He could not arise.

He was discovered lifeless the subsequent day, with fentanyl, alcohol and a substance related to cocaine in his system.

His was the one demise with which Shamo could be charged. His protection legal professional, Greg Skordas, argued that neither his demise nor any others might be undoubtedly linked with Shamo’s operation.

However in paperwork, prosecutors related Shamo to a veritable slaughter:

A 24-year-old man in Seattle overdosed three weeks after he purchased tablets from Pharma-Grasp in March 2016.

Later that spring, 40 tablets had been shipped to a 21-year-old in Washington, D.C. He died in his dorm room 11 days later.

In Utah, a 29-year-old software program analyst named Devin Meldrum had been looking since he was a young person for a treatment for cluster complications that felt like knives stabbing his cranium, stated his father, Rod.

Medical doctors had prescribed opioids however restricted the dosage, so he purchased a backup provide from Pharma-Grasp. On Aug. 13, 2016, he ran out of tablets days earlier than his refill. As he acquired prepared for mattress, he texted his fiance and took a capsule from his reserve for the primary time, his father stated.

He was lifeless earlier than she arrived to say goodnight, blue on his rest room flooring.

His father is not certain Shamo even now understands the magnitude of what occurred: “Does he even comprehend what number of households have had their hearts torn out?”


On-line, Pharma-Grasp was getting rave evaluations.

“These will make u a millionaire in below a 12 months, assure,” wrote one shopper who referred to as himself “Reliable Cash.”

He was a vendor in Portland named Jared Gillespie. He purchased 80,000 tablets from Pharma-Grasp, based on paperwork filed towards Gillespie in Oregon. He knew he was shopping for fentanyl tablets, the Oregon prosecutors alleged, however the individuals shopping for from him had no option to know that. They’re unknown and uncounted.

Shamo provided steep reductions for bulk consumers. Tonge, one in all his distributors, testified that she started to query Shamo’s declare that he was serving to sufferers who could not get treatment: Why would one individual want 5,000 tablets?

Her vacuum cleaner would develop into a essential piece of proof. Its mud bin was crammed with tablets. The operation had grown so frantic, pumping out tens of hundreds of tablets a month, that once they spilled onto the ground, they weren’t price saving.

Tonge and her accomplice complained that the orders had been coming too shortly, so Shamo employed a “runner” named Sean Gygi to choose up the packages and drop them within the mail, dozens of them a day.

Drug manufacturing grew to become routine: Shamo as soon as wrote himself a to-do listing, and included a reminder to “make blues,” the road identify for oxycodone, together with getting a haircut, washing his sheets, cleansing the kitchen. And Shamo deliberate to increase. He purchased one other press so massive brokers would later want a tow truck to pull it out of his storage.

The cash was pouring in, and out.

Shamo employed a private assistant; she did his procuring, had his automotive detailed. He stuffed a duffel bag with $429,000 money and requested his mother and father to carry it. He bragged to mates about VIP bottle service at golf equipment and playing in Las Vegas. He shopped for actual property in Puerto Rico; took pictures sipping champagne on a cruise ship; purchased designer denims, an 88-inch tv, a ship and a BMW.

Crandall and his girlfriend posted pictures on Instagram of journeys to Laos, Thailand, Singapore, kayaking and partying. However he was operating out of cash and agreed to develop into a distant customer support consultant. The listing of individuals accepting packages from China ballooned to greater than a dozen. Everybody was making simple cash and getting textual content messages from Shamo dotted with “lol” and “superior!”

Shamo penned one other notice: “I’m Shamo. I’m superior. My mates love me. I created an empire.”

However at the same time as he cheered himself on, there have been indicators of hazard.

One buyer reported an overdose demise. Shamo scanned obituaries, then declared it was a faux, Crandall stated. Then a message stated tablets had been making individuals sick.

Crandall forwarded it to Shamo with a dismissive query: Ought to he inform them to “suck it up?” Or ship extra tablets to pacify them?


They did not realize it, however a suspicious customs agent on the Los Angeles Worldwide Airport had flagged a field from Shanghai, China, pulled it off the belt and seemed inside. The agent discovered 98.7 grams of fentanyl powder — sufficient to make virtually 100,000 tablets. The field was destined for Utah.

Brokers seemed for extra packages making their method from China to Utah, and finally one arrived, stated an agent with Homeland Safety Investigations who spoke on situation of anonymity to guard ongoing investigations. On Nov. 8, 2016, postal inspectors seized a field en route from a port metropolis in China recognized to regulation enforcement as a fentanyl-trafficking hub. It was addressed to Gygi, Shamo’s “runner,” so brokers arrived at his home with a search warrant.

Gygi stated he thought the a whole bunch of envelopes he’d put within the mail contained the social gathering medication he generally took himself. Informed it was fentanyl, the agent recalled, Gygi drooped.

He agreed to put on a wire whereas he picked up the packages, like he did on daily basis. However as an alternative of dropping them within the mail, he delivered them to police.

This single day’s cargo contained 34,828 fentanyl tablets destined for properties in 26 states.

4 days later, on Nov. 22, 2016, brokers stood on Shamo’s stoop, shouted via a bullhorn, then broke the door down with a battering ram. They had been wearing neon-orange hazmat fits with clear bowls round their faces that made them appear to be astronauts.

Shamo got here up the steps in a T-shirt and shorts, a masks and gloves in his pocket. A capsule press downstairs was operating, in a room with powder caked on the partitions and the furnishings.

Others had been raiding the stash at Bustin and Tonge’s condominium. Veteran vice officers would say that they had by no means seen so many tablets, even in worldwide operations. In complete, they packed up over 74,000 fentanyl tablets awaiting distribution.

In Shamo’s sock drawer, brokers discovered stack after stack of money. There was extra money in a protected within the closet. Brokers totaled up greater than $1.2 million, not together with the cash he had tied up in Bitcoin or luggage he’d stashed together with his household. Investigators finally caught up with Paz, whom Shamo paid round a greenback per capsule, and he surrendered $800,000 extra.

Crandall was in Laos, nonetheless touring together with his girlfriend, when he heard the information. He saved his drug-related knowledge on a flash drive, threw it down a storm drain and despatched an e mail to the darkish internet market: “This account has been compromised.” After a couple of months, he figured he was within the clear. He and his girlfriend deliberate their wedding ceremony and invited friends to satisfy them in Hawaii for the massive day: Might 12, 2017. They purchased rings, and a gown.

Brokers had been ready once they stepped onto American soil in Honolulu.


When Crandall sat on the witness stand, he was slump-shouldered and shackled, clumsily making an attempt to maneuver his handcuffs to drag a tissue out of the field to wipe his eyes. Within the two years since his arrest, he has been imprisoned in a county jail and watched his fellow inmates endure the brutal fallout of an opioid epidemic. They stole from their mother and father, cycled out and in of jail and shivered, sweated, sobbed via withdrawal.

He’d helped feed this, he realized. For cash.

He and Shamo’s different ex-partners and packagers pleaded responsible, agreed to testify towards their good friend and hoped for mercy.

The story they advised satisfied the jury to convict Shamo of 12 counts, together with persevering with prison enterprise, the so-called “kingpin cost” that’s sometimes reserved for drug lords like El Chapo and carries a compulsory life sentence. The jury deadlocked, although, on the 13th depend: the demise of Klyuev.

The bust was one of many largest operations within the nation in 2016. However the fentanyl commerce has solely grown extra subtle since. By comparability, Shamo now seems “small-time,” stated Safdar, with the Partnership for Secure Medicines. Probably the most infamous Mexican drug cartels have transitioned to fentanyl, at the same time as homegrown upstarts like Shamo’s proliferate.

Seizure knowledge within the United Nations World Drug Report reveals trafficking shortly increasing worldwide. In 2013, 4 nations reported fentanyl seizures. By 2016: 12 nations. In 2017, 16 nations reported seizing fentanyl.

There is no such thing as a cause to imagine it is not going to unfold additional. In Africa and the Center East, the artificial opioid tramadol is extensively abused, a lot of it illicitly manufactured in Asia. If that market transitions to fentanyl it might be catastrophic, stated Scott Stewart, a former agent with the State Division. In Australia, prescription opioid consumption has quadrupled. Marianne Jauncey, medical director of a Sydney harm-reduction middle, cannot consider any cause fentanyl will not quickly arrive — all they will do is put together for the day that it does.

As Shamo was convicted, a single darkish internet market nonetheless had 32,000 listings for medication, hundreds of them claiming to be oxycodone. There was no option to inform whether or not they originated in a pharmacy or someone’s basement.

One vendor even borrowed a model of Shamo’s identify. Pharmamaster peddles oxys on-line, bought in bulk at a reduction. It has, it boasts, an “limitless” provide.

“Pharma-grade A++,” the listings promise. “24-hour delivery!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Middle on Disaster Reporting.


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Meet the Museum of Natural History’s newest guest: a T. rex


Positioned in mid-kill, the Tyrannosaurus rex towers over the prone body of its prey, a similarly huge triceratops.

Even in simulation millions of years later, it’s a moment of unmistakable savage violence and an embodiment of the meaning of the word dinosaur: Greek for terrible lizard.

The massive skeleton is the culmination of a decadeslong quest by the National Museum of Natural History to acquire a rare and coveted T. rex skeleton. Until now, the museum, part of the Smithsonian network, got by with a replica skeleton, but Kirk Johnson, the museum’s director, says that was never satisfactory.

“It’s been kind of deeply embarrassing to be the national museum and NOT have a T. rex,” he said.

The T. rex tableau is now the centerpiece of the museum’s newest exhibition, the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils — Deep Time , which opens to the public on Saturday. For Johnson, it’s almost impossible to overstate the power and appeal of these extinct giants.

“Kids love dinosaurs in an almost pathological way,” he said, standing in the shadow of the extinct apex predator.

The museum just missed out on acquiring a T. rex back in 1997, when a nearly complete skeleton went up for auction. Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History finally won a massive bidding war for a staggering $7.6 million.

Over the years, the Field Museum has turned the dinosaur, named Sue after the explorer who discovered her in South Dakota, into a local icon and a cottage industry. Curators there have essentially built the skeleton her own wing, with a dedicated Sue-themed gift shop, her own Twitter handle and a multimedia presentation of her life story.

Johnson’s staff is clearly looking to build a similar phenomenon here. Even though the exhibit won’t open for several more days, an exclusively dinosaur-themed gift shop is already open for business.

After losing out on the Sue sweepstakes, the Natural History Museum got by for years with a replica named Stan. But a new opportunity arose in the form of a skeleton on display at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. This skeleton was smaller and slightly less complete than Sue, and the museum there had chosen to display it with the bones arranged as they had been found in the ground.

The bones were owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, which owned the Montana land on which they were discovered, and in 2014, the Smithsonian negotiated a 50-year lease. After being shipped cross-country in a specially outfitted truck, the bones were shipped again to Canada, where a team of specialists assembled the bones and attached metal frames and holders throughout.

Now the fully assembled skeleton of the T. rex — which, when alive, was 38 feet long (12 meters) and at least 8,000 pounds (3,600 kilograms) — stands at the heart of the new exhibition hall, which contains dozens of other skeletons ranging from a gigantic mastodon to prehistoric mammals the size of house cats. The exhibition seeks to tell the evolutionary story of the planet and its wildlife through mass multiple extinction events and the steady march of evolution. About 10 feet (3 meters) from the T. rex tableau, a metal statue of Charles Darwin sits on a bench, looking thoughtful with a bird on his shoulder.

In modern times, movies like the “Jurassic Park” franchise have helped instill dinosaur mania in a new generation of young fans. But the movies also recast the T. rex as a sort of massive meathead — dangerous but also a bit dim and with tiny ridiculous-looking arms. Meanwhile, the smaller velociraptors were presented as the true menace: sleek, intelligent and vicious pack hunters. But the T. rex still holds sway in the public imagination as the ultimate predator.

Johnson said scientists are still learning new details even now about the lives and physiologies of dinosaurs. Researchers recently concluded that the Tyrannosaurus rex actually had a second set of ribs called gastralia underneath, giving it a bulkier barrel-chested appearance.

Johnson described the predator’s physique as “more like a boxer than a basketball player.”


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Tesla gears up for fully self-driving cars amid skepticism


Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears poised to transform the companys electric cars into driverless vehicles in a risky bid to realize a bold vision that he has been floating for years.

The technology required to make that quantum leap is scheduled to be shown off to Tesla investors Monday at the companys Palo Alto, California, headquarters.

Musk, known for his swagger as well as his smarts, is so certain that Tesla will win the race toward full autonomy that he indicated earlier this month that his companys cars should be able to navigate congested highways and city streets without a human behind the wheel by no later than next year.

I could be wrong, but it appears to be the case that Tesla is vastly ahead of everyone, Musk told Lex Fridman, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research scientist specializing in autonomous vehicles.

But experts say theyre skeptical whether Teslas technology has advanced anywhere close to the point where its cars will be capable of being driven solely by a robot, without a human in position to take control if something goes awry.

Its all hype, said Steven E. Shladover, a retired research engineer at the University of California, Berkeley who has been involved in efforts to create autonomous driving for 45 years. The technology does not exist to do what he is claiming. He doesnt have it and neither does anybody else.

More than 60 companies in the U.S. alone are developing autonomous vehicles. Some of them are aiming to have their fully autonomous cars begin carrying passengers in small geographic areas as early as this year. Many experts dont believe theyll be in widespread use for a decade or more.

Musks description of Teslas controls as Full Self-Driving has alarmed some observers who think it will give owners a false sense of security and create potentially lethal situations in conditions that the autonomous cars cant handle. They also say theyre waiting for Musk to define self-driving and show just under what conditions and places the vehicles can travel without human intervention, including specific data showing that they would be safer than human drivers and whether the systems safety has been reviewed by outside groups or government agencies.

Meanwhile, Musk continues to use both his and Teslas to pump up a new computer now in production for full self-driving vehicles. Once the self-driving software is ready, those with new computers will get an update via the internet, Musk has said. Currently the self-driving computer costs 5,000, but the price rises to 7,000 if its installed after delivery.

The more than 400,000 Tesla vehicles equipped for full autonomy will rely on eight cameras that cover 360 degrees, front-facing radar and short-range ultrasonic sensors.

Thats different from the self-driving systems being built by nearly every other company in industry, including Google spinoff Waymo, General Motors Cruise Automation, and Ford-affiliated Argo A. They all use cameras and radar covering 360 degrees, and also have light beam sensors called Lidar to the mix as a third redundant sensor, as well as detailed three-dimensional mapping.

Vehicles that dont have Lidar, that dont have advanced radar, that havent captured a 3-D map are not self-driving vehicles, Ken Washington, Fords chief technical officer, said during a recent interview with Recode. They are great consumer vehicles with really good driver-assist technology.

Even Lidar doesnt guarantee 100 percent safety. Waymo last year backed off of a pledge to run a robotaxi service in Phoenix without human backup drivers for safety reasons. And an Uber autonomous test vehicle with Lidar as well as a human backup driver a pedestrian last year in Tempe, Arizona, the first known death involving self-driving technology.

Amnon Shashua, CEO of Israeli autonomous vehicle computing company Mobileye, says cars with 360-degree cameras and front facing radar could drive autonomously, but they would not be as safe as human drivers. Careful humans can drive 10 million hours without a mistake leading to a fatal crash, but cars without full redundant sensors cannot, he said.

Phil Koopman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, said Musk needs to show his cars can handle all situations if he wants to claim they can drive themselves. For instance, he wonders if Tesla has a plan for a big truck splashing gallons of grimy water onto a car in a snowstorm, obstructing the cameras.

The rabbit hole goes pretty deep if you want to make that (full self-driving) argument, he said.

Tesla already has been offering a system called Autopilot that can control cars on a limited basis with constant monitoring by a human driver. On its website, it says its Autopilot system steers your car in its lane and accelerates and brakes automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians in its lane. But questions already have been raised about Autopilots reliability after its involvement in three fatal crashes.

In one, neither the driver nor a Tesla Model S operating on the companys Autopilot driver-assist system spotted a tractor-trailer crossing in front of it on a Florida, highway in 2016. The car drove under the trailer shearing off the roof and killing the driver.

In a 2017 , the National Transportation Safety Board wrote that driver inattention and design limitations of Autopilot played major roles in the fatality, and it found that the Model S cameras and radar werent capable of detecting a vehicle turning into its path. Rather, the systems are designed to detect vehicles they are following to prevent rear-end collisions.

The agency also is still investigating the two other lethal crashes, one last month in Delray Beach, Florida, eerily similar to the 2016 Florida crash, and another involving a Tesla SUV that was operating on Autopilot when it hit a highway lane-dividing barrier in Silicon Valley.

Tesla maintains that its current systems are only for assistance, and that drivers must pay attention and be ready to intervene.

With Full Self-Driving Capability, Tesla touts that you get automatic driving from the highway on ramp to the off ramp including interchanges and changing lanes automatically to overtake slower cars. Later this year, the cars will be able to recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs and drive automatically on city streets, the website says.

Those feats are something that Tesla will likely have to prove to regulators in California — its largest U.S. market so far — before its fully autonomous cars are allowed on the roads there. But most other states dont have the same requirements as California. And experts say theres no federal law requiring preapproval for fully autonomous driving, as long as a vehicle meets federal safety standards, which Teslas do.

Unfortunately, it may be necessary for several people to die before regulators step in, Shladover said.

Krisher reported from Detroit.


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