US Options – Hardouin Fri, 07 May 2021 13:51:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Buffalo Bills 7 rounds of 2021 mock draft: team adds Edge Rusher rising in draft tables Mon, 26 Apr 2021 11:04:31 +0000

Very little information is being leaked from One Bills Drive these days. GM Brandon Beane and his company are running a pretty tight ship, so it’s unclear exactly where the team will go from Thursday night in the 2021 NFL Draft.

the Buffalo Bills come out of a 13-3 season that saw them make it through to the AFC Championship game. With few glaring needs, Buffalo can go in a variety of directions in this year’s draft. While Bills don’t leak much information, this mock draft has been compiled using some of Beane’s quotes – and a quote from Sean McDermott – since the end of the 2020 Buffalo season.

With that in mind, here is my last fictitious draft before Thursday night.

1 (30): Joe Tryon, DE, Washington

Quote from Beane: “We’ll be thinking long term more than short term,” Beane said. “I think there are other guys that we have on the set, where we’re going: ‘This guy is a hell of a player, but he’s not going to start on day 1, but we’re going to be counting on him and maybe be that in a year he will leave. be the starter. We’re going to have a player who is in the last year of their contract, and he’s going to kind of support that player, learn from him, compete with him, but we don’t necessarily expect him to start.

If the Bills think long term at Pick 30, there’s no better position to approach than defense. Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are both over 30 and in the final year of their respective deals with the Bills. AJ Epenesa, last year’s second-round pick, will likely be heir to one of the starting jobs, but the squad don’t have a second option. Enter Joe Tryon.

Try, my second round pick in my previous simulation project, has been stealing drawing boards lately and is in the process of being seriously discussed as an end-of-first-round pick. Benjamin Allbright, an NFL insider from Denver, recently reported that Tryon will be leaving sooner than some think.

The defensive end recorded eight sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss in 2019 in his sophomore, but hasn’t had a chance to capitalize on that campaign after choosing to retire from the 2020 season. Tryon has shown that the year off did not affect his athleticism by posting an elite relative athletic score on his professional day.

At 6-foot-4 and 259 pounds, Tryon has a build similar to many defensive ends on the Buffalo roster. Tryon can fit into training as a rookie while taking on a starting role in 2021.

Other potential options: Jayson Oweh, Gregory Rousseau

2 (61): Quinn Meinerz, IOL, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Quote from Beane: (See Round 1)

In addition to thinking long term on board rusher, Beane thinks the same when it comes to his offensive line. The Bills enter 2021 with Cody Ford, Mitch Morse and Jon Feliciano as starters inside their offensive line. There’s also some depth there too with Forrest Lamp, Ike Boettger, Jamil Douglas and Jordan Devey, but Beane doesn’t think about depth with Meinerz. No, Meinerz is said to be Mitch Morse’s heir in the center.

Morse, 29, has suffered at least five documented concussions during his professional career. He missed most of training camp and preseason in his first season with the Bills and suffered a concussion last season against the Patriots. By now Morse has been able to come back but Buffalo has to start thinking about finding his replacement. His contract runs until 2022, but Buffalo can release Mitch Morse next spring for a dead cap of $ 3.75 million and $ 7.5 million in savings.

Meinerz, a small school prospect, warned the league at Reese’s Senior Bowl. He has the ability to play anywhere along the Buffalo interior and has a future at the center. As a rookie, Meinerz may become Buffalo’s best indoor lineman while also taking the center spot in 2022.

Another potential option: Josh Myers

3 (93): Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame

Quote from Beane: “We never really had that position,” Beane said. “By the end of the year I thought we had done a bit, Dawson started to have his pace. But that was never where the opposing defense was like, ‘man, we’ve got to keep their tight ends from going off.’ So we’re going to take a look at this group … we have guys here that we want to continue to develop and see what happens. Obviously, if there are ways to add competition, either in free will or in the project, we would as well. “

Brandon Beane has added Jacob Hollister to the team’s list in free agency. Starting in 2021, the team will include Hollister, Dawson Knox, Tommy Sweeney, Nate Becker and FB / TE Reggie Gilliam. It’s entirely possible that Beane would roll with the unit above, but there’s a lot to love about Aspen. The tight end is one of the best blockers in the draft class and it only scratches the surface of his pass-catching ability.

“I think for the next level, what I’m going to bring is a guy who’s a complete tight end – a guy who can do anything,” Aspen said. “My biggest strength is my versatility in all aspects of the game. No matter what other people say, they haven’t seen me do it all like this yet. They only saw a tiny part of it.

Buffalo’s happy offense will improve further if they can make Aspen the all-out threat he has the potential to be in the NFL.

Another potential option: Hunter Long

5 (161): Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn

Quote from McDermott: “You never want to lose your fastball, in terms of what we were able to do last season,” McDermott said. “We thought it was important, Brian [Daboll] and me, brandon [Beane] also, to make sure we don’t lose our fastball.

The Bills have Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah McKenzie as their top five recipients. The competition behind the quintet includes Isaiah Hodgins, Jake Kumerow, Tanner Gentry, Duke Williams and Brandon Powell, but that doesn’t mean the team have to sit idly by at the post.

In round 5, Buffalo adds Anthony Schwartz of Auburn. What does Schwartz add to Buffalo’s expansive reception hall? Blazing speed. The catcher was the 2018 Gatorade Men’s National Track and Field Athlete of the Year. On his pro day, Schwartz was recorded with a 4.26-40 yard scorecard. The wide receiver is raw and in need of development, but he can be an out-of-the-gate gadget player and possibly fight for the team’s slot role.

Another potential option: Dazz Newsome

5 (174): Khyiris Tonga, DT, BYU

Quote from Beane: “Our running defense hasn’t always been the best,” Beane said after the 2020 season. “We lost a bit of beef on the inside…”

Brandon Beane was referring to the team losing Jordan Phillips in free agency and then Star Lotulelei withdrawing from the 2020 season. Lotulelei will return in 2021, but Buffalo still has to add extra beef. This is where Tonga comes in.

At 6-foot-4 and 322 pounds, Tonga provides Buffalo’s defensive line with beef behind Lotulelei. Tonga has been a great runner-up at BYU and can bring that to the Bills.

Another potential option: Tedarrell Slayton

6 (213): Darren Hall, BC, San Diego State

Quote from Beane: “(Dane Jackson) has got some height, a straight line (speed), but no need to stop-start or faster than fast, or something like that. He’s a young man who we think will be able to compete to start next year. We will obviously be competing for it. But he’s a guy we have high hopes for as a young player and who has shown us that it’s not too big for him.

Buffalo appears to be keen to give Jackson the opportunity to win the No.2 position against Tre’Davious White, which is why the team don’t address the cornerback position until late in the draft. At Darren Hall, Buffalo adds a explosive athlete which they met twice during the drafting process.

Lance Zierlein of thinks Hall may be best placed in a zone defense.

Another potential option: Deommodore Lenoir

7 (236): JaCoby Stevens, LB / S, LSU

Quote from Beane: “It’s a difficult point because there is a lot of mind that goes into this great nickel role.”

Brandon Beane certainly gave the impression that finding a big nickel in defense was not a high priority in the draft during his press conference with the media last week. That said, if a versatile prospect falls into their rounds late in the draft, Buffalo could still go that route.

Buffalo met JaCoby Stevens during the draft process and former LSU Tiger has the makings of a big nickel. He’s a bit undersized to be a linebacker (6-1 / 2, 212 pounds) and a bit too fat to be a safety at his current weight. At the end of the draft, the team only looks at one player they hope to develop.

Another potential option: Christian Uphoff


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Who offers short term auto insurance? – Councilor Forbes Mon, 26 Apr 2021 11:00:23 +0000

Editorial Note: Forbes may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but this does not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.

Car owners traditionally buy auto insurance policies with a term of six or 12 months. But in some cases, you might be looking for a short term policy.

Industry-backed Insurance Information Institute spokesperson Mark Friedlander says drivers typically buy short-term auto insurance policies that cover 30 days or less when they don’t need coverage only for a limited time.

Just like with traditional auto insurance, the price of short-term coverage varies depending on the options you choose and the type of policy you purchase, according to Friedlander. You can choose liability-only coverage, he says, or choose more extensive coverage that includes collision insurance and comprehensive insurance.

Why would you buy short term auto insurance?

Trusted Choice, a network of independent insurance agents, says car owners might purchase short-term auto insurance for reasons such as:

  • You are in the process of switching from one insurer’s long-term coverage to another and you have already abandoned your previous coverage.
  • You temporarily lend your car to a relative, friend, or other person who will be excluded from your regular auto insurance policy. Short-term coverage applies to your vehicle when it is driven by a relative, friend or other person.
  • You sell your car and must cover the vehicle when it is driven by potential buyers who will not be covered by your regular policy.

Before you decide to look for a short-term auto insurance policy, talk to your auto insurance agent to make sure your regular auto insurance policy won’t cover your situation.

Trusted Choice points out that if you had to file a claim on a short term auto insurance policy, it wouldn’t jeopardize any claims free discount you might have on a long term policy.

Friedlander notes that a typical short-term auto insurance policy lasts for 30 days, even if you only need the coverage for a day or a week. As with traditional policies, the pricing of short-term coverage depends on factors such as:

  • Vehicle type
  • Intended use of the vehicle
  • Your automobile insurance history
  • Vehicle model
  • Your credit-based insurance score (States that limit the use of credit in setting auto insurance rates are California, Hawaii, Michigan, and Massachusetts)

Who sells short term auto insurance?

Short term auto insurance is not widely available. While auto insurance companies typically do not post month-long insurance policies on their websites, Forbes Advisor found that these companies had made deposits with state insurance services to provide information. One month auto insurance policies:

  • American Hallmark Insurance Co. of Texas (1 month auto insurance policies available only as renewal policies)
  • Direct General Insurance Co.
  • First Acceptance Insurance Co.
  • National Unity Insurance Co.
  • Old American County Mutual Fire Insurance Co.
  • Young America Insurance Co.

Why Auto Insurance Companies Don’t Like Short-Term Policies

Friedlander says most state and regional insurance companies don’t offer short-term auto insurance policies. Why? For insurers, the risk of offering short-term coverage outweighs the benefits of selling that type of coverage, he says. That’s why insurers normally sell auto insurance policies with a term of six or 12 months, he says.

Other ways to get short-term auto insurance

So what if you are unable to purchase a 30 day auto insurance policy? The alternatives include:

  • Automobile insurance for non-owners. If you don’t own a car but need coverage, non-owner auto insurance may be an option. This coverage can be a good choice if you frequently rent cars so that you don’t have to purchase liability insurance from a car rental company. Or it could fill the insurance void when you’re in between vehicles.
  • Cancellation of a standard auto insurance policy. You can purchase a standard auto insurance policy and cancel it once you no longer need the coverage. Keep in mind, however, that the insurer may charge a fee if you cancel the policy before it expires. Also, keep in mind that you may need to line up other coverage for your vehicle if you cancel an auto insurance policy.
New ‘predatory’ Illinois law caps payday lenders Mon, 26 Apr 2021 11:00:00 +0000

When Cobi was 23, he had a stable job, but that didn’t allow him to save money and leave his mother’s house on the West Side of Chicago.

He planned to supplement his income with additional employment. To do this, he had to buy a laptop and a camera, but he didn’t have the money for these purchases.

When money was tight at home, her mother received money from payday loan stores.

“She didn’t do them frequently, but I remember several times she did them,” Cobi said. “So you know I said, ‘OK… if she did… why not?’ “

We only use Cobi’s first name because he doesn’t want his current employer to know about his financial history.

Looking back, he said it wasn’t difficult for him to find a payday lender because there were so many in his neighborhood. And it was a quick process: the worker who helped him didn’t ask him a lot of questions.

Cobi asked for $ 200 and was offered $ 450. He took it knowing he would have to pay it back on his next paycheck.

But then her mother got sick and was in the hospital.

When payday rolled around, he was surprised at the $ 600 charge on his bank account. He had no money and his bank account was negative. His bank then charged him an overdraft fee.

He did not know what to do.

Cobi must have wondered, “Should I take care of my family or pay the bank back?”

Cobi said he didn’t have any money. The bank ended up closing its account for lack of payment.

Payday loans are meant to be small, short term loans. They are available for people who need quick cash and don’t have access to another option, such as a traditional bank or a credit union. But these loans are also known to carry high interest rates, up to 400% in some cases.

“I think the process went a little too fast to the point that I don’t remember their focus on the interest and how much it was going to be,” Cobi said.

Stories like Cobi’s prompted Illinois lawmakers to respond. The state is now one of 18 that caps interest rates and fees on payday loans after Illinois’ Predatory Loan Prevention Act was enacted by Gov. JB Pritzker last month.

Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins represents parts of the South Side of Chicago and the Southern Suburbs. She co-sponsored the measure and called these types of high interest loans “predatory”.

“The legislation will cap payday loans at 36%, installment payday loans at 36% and auto title loans at 36%,” Collins said. “Even what I’m feeling is a predator, but it’s the best we can do at this point.”

Collins says it’s no accident that these types of businesses are moving to communities of color.

“It’s really the result of redlining and segregation, because what happened is that segregation really created opportunities for economic exploitation,” Collins said. “We know these communities of color were targeted because they did not have access to a traditional bank loan.”

Not everyone agrees that capping lenders is the right decision.

Rickie Keys of Renewal Financial lobbied against this measure. He agreed that payday loans are predatory, but said fallout from the new law could unintentionally harm communities of color because there is nothing to replace them.

“The banks will not intervene to offer these services. Credit unions will not step in to provide these services. I believe the installment lenders will try to get out of this, but eventually I believe they will go away, ”Keys said. “The only options that will be available to consumers… will be bad options.”

Keys is concerned that demand for these types of loans will continue, but supply will dry up on the south and west side of town.

Andy Posner, founder and CEO of nonprofit lender Capital Good Fund, believes lenders like his and other community lenders want to provide services, but they haven’t been able to compete.

“All of these payday branches and others are in their community, they get flyers and advertisements,” Posner said. “So if you see the worst players pulling out of space, it’s a lot easier for good players to acquire customers profitably.”

Posner said the new law leveled the playing field and provided people with alternatives.

“It will be really good, especially in the midst of the pandemic, for families to access credit without getting into a cycle of debt,” Posner said. “So now people are going to look for alternatives, so it will be easier for us to find them because it won’t be just us who are looking for the customer.”

Cobi would have liked to have known other options, as taking out this loan affected every aspect of his life.

He is still rebuilding his finances five years later.

“I had to find an owner who was taking the money. I couldn’t live where I wanted to live. It seemed very small at the time but it set off a chain reaction. I’m fine now, but it just took me awhile to recover.

Araceli Gómez-Aldana is a host and journalist at WBEZ. Am here @ Araceli1010.

Reed Hastings exercised over US $ 600 million in Netflix stock options in 2020 – Digital TV Europe Mon, 26 Apr 2021 10:09:59 +0000

Reed hastings

Netflix co-CEO and founder Reed Hastings exercised US $ 612 million in stock options in 2020, a new filing has revealed.

The streaming leader had a stellar 2020 in which it surpassed 200 million subscribers globally, and the founder capitalized on that success with Netflix shares up more than 67% over the course of the year.

According to the compensation published by Netflix of senior executives document, Hastings purchased more than 1.33 million shares of the company in 2020 by exercising his stock options.

Ted sarandos

The document reveals that Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos earned US $ 43.2 million and US $ 39.3 million respectively during the year.

Hastings’ base salary was $ 650,000, with the vast majority of his income coming from an option grant valued at $ 42.4 million. Sarandos had a base salary of US $ 20 million and an option grant of US $ 18.3 million.

The co-CEOs could struggle to match that total in 2021, however. the first quarter of the year has already shown stagnation in subscriber growth, its share price fell 10% as a result.

Netflix had a record year in 2020, but added just 3.98 million new net paying subscribers in the first quarter, up from 8.5 million reported in the previous quarter and two million fewer than the company had forecast.

Some Pacific Islanders Hit Hardest By COVID-19 Cannot Get Federal Help For Burials Mon, 26 Apr 2021 10:01:28 +0000

Last October, Kalihi resident Steve Palsis buried his 28-year-old wife.

She caught COVID-19 in late September and died within days. The suddenness of his death was compounded by his own illness and the high cost of his funeral: approximately $ 13,000.

A new federal program aims to help people who have lost their loved ones to the coronavirus recover the cost of their burials. But Palsis, who has lived and worked in Hawaii for decades, is not eligible.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency this month rolled out a new COVID-19 funeral assistance program open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals – such as those born in American Samoa – and skilled immigrants.

Democrats in Congress have touted the program as helping low-income communities of color that have been disproportionately killed by the pandemic. However, many Pacific Islanders like Palsis live and work legally in the United States. are not eligible for compensation even though they were among the most affected by the coronavirus.

Those excluded are citizens of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau who are subject to treaties with the United States known as pacts of free association. The agreements allowed citizens of those countries to remain in the United States indefinitely in exchange for U.S. military strategic control over a large part of the western Pacific.

Senator Mazie Hirono said she was working to ensure migrants from three Micronesian countries can access COVID-19 funeral funds. Anthony Quintano / Civil Beat

Pandemic-inspired border closures have left some Pacific migrants who want to bury loved ones at home while waiting for their island countries to reopen. But even those who choose to bury their loved ones in Hawaii have struggled to bear the high costs.

The FEMA program started accepting applications on April 12 families who can prove that their loved one died of COVID-19 in a US state or territory. The deceased person does not have to have any particular legal status.

Families can receive up to $ 9,000 per funeral or $ 35,500 if they have paid for multiple funerals. So far there is a high demand – nearly a million people reportedly called the program within the first 90 minutes.

US Senator Mazie Hirono said she has heard from many Micronesian community leaders concerned about the problem and is working on a solution.

“My office is working to understand if FEMA has some flexibility in interpreting applicable law in order to make COFA citizens eligible for funeral benefits,” she said in an emailed statement.

“If we determine that a change in the law is needed, I will work on the legislation to make the changes necessary to ensure that COFA citizens are eligible for this benefit and other critical social safety net programs. “

High costs

In Hawaii, people in those countries are among those who have suffered the brunt of the pandemic, with data showing that Pacific Islanders – excluding native Hawaiians – have reported the highest rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths compared to other ethnic groups.

A recent state report found that non-Hawaiian Pacific Islanders were 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the average Hawaii resident and 38 times more likely to die than white Hawaii residents.

Palsis, 53, moved to Hawaii in 1989 from Kosrae, Micronesia to attend business school and learn flooring, plumbing and other skills. He and his 28-year-old wife, a registered nurse, raised their family in Aiea before moving to Kalihi.

But when the pandemic struck, Palsis said he lost his job at a flooring company. He said his wife Brocula, 65, was already unemployed before the pandemic because she suffered from diabetes and was too sick to work.

Steve Palsis says his wife Brocula died of COVID-19 last year. Here they are represented together. He described her as smart and supportive and can’t believe she’s gone. Courtesy of Steve Palsis

Brocula died on October 1, days after contracting COVID-19.

“It was very sudden,” Palsis said in a telephone interview. “It’s hard to talk about it.”

Palsis also caught COVID-19 but survived. He paid for his wife’s funeral with the help of family, friends and church. But it was still a huge cost, totaling about $ 13,000. Since then, Palsis has struggled to pay his rent while working part-time.

He had hoped that FEMA’s funeral program would help him pay off his rent and avoid eviction.

But he learned he was being left out and started looking for other rent subsidy options and cheaper, smaller housing.

Hawaii isn’t the only state where Pacific Islanders have been hit hard by COVID-19. The community has reported high rates in several states, including Oregon and parts of Washington and Iowa.

In Arkansas, where many Marshalles work in chicken factories, the CDC at one point during the pandemic found that residents of Marshalles were 65 times more likely to die than white Arkansas residents.

Melisa Laelan, who heads the nonprofit Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, has spent the past year helping families care for sick loved ones, avoid deportation, and bury family members who have died from COVID -19. She is disappointed with the limits of the funeral fundraising program.

“It’s just another systemic injustice,” she said.

A recurrent issue

Part of what’s frustrating for Laelan is that the exclusion from the federal program comes just four months after Congress reinstated Medicaid for the community.

“It looks like you solve one problem and another pops up,” she says. “It looks like this revolving door in progress and now I’m starting to think there will never be an end to the fight.”

The 1996 Welfare Reform Act removed Compact migrants’ eligibility for many federal welfare programs. In fact, they are treated as temporary residents under the law, even though their legal status allows them to stay in the United States indefinitely.

Some get green cards and become U.S. citizens, but many live here for decades and die here without doing so, in part because there is no Compact Migrant Lane to obtain permanent residence.

Although access to Medicaid has recently been restored, the community is still not eligible for other programs such as Social Security Supplementary Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the Social Security Program. supplemental nutritional assistance, also known as food stamps, according to a 2019 report from a Hawaii advisory group. to the United States Civil Rights Commission which recommended reinstating migrants’ eligibility for several programs.

In 2018, following Super Typhoon Yutu over Saipan, migrants who lost their homes in the disaster were not eligible for FEMA disaster assistance.

There were other systemic challenges as well. After Congress left the community out of the REAL ID Act, it took more than a decade to resolve the issue and allow them full access to federally approved driver’s licenses. Last year, Hawaii excluded the legal status of migrants from applying for unemployment insurance, even though people who work are eligible for it.

Laelan and other community advocates were excited about the funeral assistance program, but now see it as just one more program they pay into as taxpayers, but do not have access to.

“We are the most affected by the death of COVID and now we are excluded from this program,” said Laelan. “It really doesn’t make sense (that) the people who need it most, we are eliminating them.”

Bruins need a lot more from their third row Mon, 26 Apr 2021 09:42:40 +0000

But the truth is, the Bruins aren’t ready to give up on Coyle. Or DeBrusk. Or even Ritchie (and neither should they considering the fact that he’s the only one to have anything somewhat close to constant production in 2021).

If only because they may not be able to really move forward on such a path. The Bruins can make in-game changes if needed, of course, but in some ways it’s kind of like destroying a second line to address one. The ripple effect is noticeable, especially when you move someone like Lazar out of their spot on the fourth row. It also seems almost fair to suggest that the Black and Gold’s second line is bordering on untouchable at the moment. Building their chemistry for the long haul seems infinitely more important than a quick change in the game.

So, no, the Bruins aren’t exactly full of bodies ready to step into that line-saving third-line role.

“Well, I don’t know if we have a bunch of guys who have scored at this level on the cab team,” Cassidy admitted. “I mean, there have definitely been guys a bit here and there. We hope they can do that.”

Right now, the Bruins’ taxi team options up front include Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman and Greg McKegg. All four seem more suited for fourth row roles, and raising a fourth row player to third row hasn’t really worked out this season, for whatever reason. Frédéric, who missed out on time with a non-COVID illness, has some experience skating with Coyle this season, but he’s left the Boston roster with one goal and no assists in his last 15 games. He has not yet reappeared.

Center Jack Studnicka is currently skating in Providence and has two points in his last three AHL games, but it’s starting to feel like he’s not going into the mix for the Big B’s in 2021 unless he is. either as a replacement for Bergeron or Krejci. . (It’s also worth noting that Studnicka hasn’t been in an NHL game for almost a month now, and has played under nine and a half minutes in three of his last four appearances, he is. so far from a slam-dunk option. for black and gold.)

It just seems that these struggling bodies are still considered the optimal bodies of B.

“The demand and the responsibility lie [the third liners] a little, “Cassidy admitted.” The guys who scored in this league [have] to start finding ways here. I mean we kind of settled on our top six here and we can move a piece here or there, but I think most nights they did a really good job creating an offense.

“But you need that side stuff. We’ve gotten a bit more of our D lately, but some of these last six have to at least have games where they’re close and [Sunday] I didn’t think that was the case with them. This is precisely what we will have to rely on them. And yes, we can get a guy in and out to motivate him. But we know that at the end of the day the guys who have come here just have to look within themselves to see how they can help us create a little more. ”

A little more … or even not at all.

Video game giant EA is steering gamers towards loot box option in popular soccer game, insider says Mon, 26 Apr 2021 08:00:00 +0000

A gaming insider says that an internal company document proves video game giant Electronic Arts is trying to lead gamers into a type of game that encourages them to spend more money and has been criticized for possible links with the game.

The 54-page document that was leaked is from the company’s sports division in Burnaby, BC, where a team is working on the highly profitable EA. FIFA soccer. This is a presentation, with many slides with bullets, on FIFA 21 and has been shared internally.

It deals with a game mode that allows players to purchase in-game “loot boxes” to improve the game or increase their chances of winning, for example by adding a better player to their team.

He says the mode that allows loot box purchases, called FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), is the “cornerstone” of the game.

“We are doing all we can to get the players there,” a point near the top of the document said.

Another page of the presentation refers to “content teasers” that “will generate excitement and lead players to FUT from other modes” under a bullet titled “All roads lead to FUT”.

But players never know what they’ll get when they buy a loot box. Critics say the randomness – coupled with the bells and whistles that go off when a box opens in the game – makes them addictive and akin to the game.

“The characteristics of a loot box are similar to those of a slot machine,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the US National Council on Problem Gambling. “Nothing is more appealing – and in some people, addictive – to the brain than an intermittent and variable reward.”

Indeed, electronic bulletin boards and forums are inundated with people who admit they are trying to break free from the loot box addiction and experts like Whyte say they are hearing more and more about problem gamblers spending savings and even going into debt for experience opening a loot box.

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All over the world, countries are wondering whether loot boxes constitute games of chance and should be banned, as Belgium did in 2018. Several ongoing prosecutions – including a proposal Vancouver class action lawsuit – alleges that EA is in breach of gambling laws.

‘We really can’t do anything about it’

It was this backdrop that, according to the insider, forced him to disclose the document. He says he and others he knows who work on video games don’t feel comfortable with projects that include loot boxes. CBC News has agreed not to identify him because he says he fears professional repercussions.

“There’s really nothing we can do about it because at the end of the day, [the] the company is trying to make money and keep investors happy. “

EA unveils its FIFA 16 game ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles on June 15, 2015. (Kevork Djansezian / Reuters)

An EA spokesperson declined an interview request and did not comment on the document, which he noted was “marked as privileged and confidential” except to say that it is “seen without context” and that interpretations of what he says “are misinformed.” When asked to clarify, he did not respond.

“All EA games can be played without spending on in-game items, and the majority of gamers don’t spend,” Charlie Fortescue said in a statement.

Loot boxes are not illegal in Canada or the United States, and many game and app companies offer similar incentives – allowing players to spend money on options and add-ons that improve the game. game and are profitable for business.

And EA makes a lot of money from loot boxes.

Based on annual reports, the California-based multinational corporation earned US $ 1.49 billion in 2020 from loot boxes from its sports titles alone, nearly triple the $ 587 million generated in 2015, according to Niko Partners, a company specializing in the analysis of the video game market.

Loot boxes, also known as “card packs,” can be purchased with real money or “coins” earned in the game. But the insider says there is pressure to spit out cash. real.

“You can play… without spending a dollar,” he says. “But you will learn that it takes a long time to earn coins and you will quickly be frustrated.”

EA says all of its games can be played without spending on in-game items, but Ultimate Team modes are some of the most popular. (CBC)

Loot box modes are optional

He provided another slightly shorter internal EA document that refers to the currency earned in the game as “grinding currency”.

“Grinding” in video games is slang for doing the same monotonous task over and over to the point that it’s no longer fun, ”the insider said. [EA games] are designed to be boring, to be a grind, and to encourage people of all ages to spend money on decks of cards. ”

He says the company has always emphasized that Ultimate Team mode is optional and players don’t have to use real money for loot boxes. He is therefore shocked to see the industry giant admit that he is doing everything he can to guide players in this mode.

“For years… they’ve been able to act with a layer of plausible deniability,” the insider said. “Yet in their internal documents they say, ‘This is our goal. We want people to be pushed into card pack mode. “”

Fortescue said the mode is still popular with gamers.

EA, headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., Earned US $ 1.49 billion in 2020 from loot boxes from its sports titles alone, according to Niko Partners, a company specializing in analyzing the gaming market. video. (Paul Sakuma / The Canadian Press)

“Modes like Ultimate Team, which is part of our FIFA games for over a decade, have been some of the world’s most popular gaming experiences, ”said EA spokesperson.

Tens of millions of gamers, he said, “from all parts of the world love the experience.”

Asked why EA refers to virtual currency as “mill currency,” Fortescue said only, ““ Grind currency ”is not a term we generally use.

Fortescue said the Belgian decision is unique and that gambling regulators in several jurisdictions have found that loot boxes do not constitute gambling if they are confined in the game and cannot be cashed out.

“We ensure that all activity related to EA games is designed to stay in the game, and we actively monitor and take action against anyone who attempts to violate these rules.”

Player describes the loot box ‘rush’

Jonathan Peniket, 22, says he knows the loot box raffle all too well. He is a self-proclaimed former loot box addict living in York, England.

“I started using packs of cards as a way to deal with a time when I felt so miserable in my life as a whole when so many difficult things were going on,” he said. “I could basically buy a little happiness.”

He spent over $ 5,000 – money his family had given him for his future – before getting help.

Peniket says he, too, finds the EA leaks disturbing.

FIFA Players have thought this has been their strategy for a long time, but it is still shocking to see a document from EA saying it in writing, ”he said. They’re pushing everyone to the casino, basically. ”

WATCH | The player talks about the allure of card packs:

Former loot box addict Jonathan Peniket shares how much he spent on FIFA matches. 3:49

EA has publicly denied that any facet of its video games constitutes gambling. EA prefers to describe loot boxes as using “surprise mechanics” – saying they’re similar to the fun of opening a Kinder Surprise egg.

Fortescue said all EA games can be played without spending on in-game items and the majority of players don’t spend.

“We take great care and responsibility to ensure that our games and experiences are suitable for their audience, and that any in-games purchase is completely optional,” he said.

He also said that EA does not encourage young gamers to spend on games.

“We are also actively encouraging parents to use the Family Controls available on major game consoles, which allow parents or guardians to manage the type of content their children are allowed to access, whether or not their children can spend on games. , how much they can. spend and how long they can play, “said Fortescue.

The larger internal document states that targeted in-game messaging “will direct players to [FIFA Ultimate Team] other modes. “

The insider says this caught his attention in part because players who have already paid around $ 80 for the game will receive messages encouraging them to switch to a mode in which they could potentially shell out more money.

He says pushing players to the mode that offers loot boxes goes against EA’s claim that players can choose which mode to play.

“I don’t know why anyone would ever put this in print form in the company,” he said. “It’s getting harder and harder to defend what is clearly an unregulated game.”

More data, transparency needed: researcher

David Zendle, a gaming researcher and professor of computer science at the University of York at the UK, says some jurisdictions have declared loot boxes not to be games of chance because their gambling laws do not. not been updated for decades.

Zendle is one of the world’s leading loot box researchers. He has conducted several studies involving thousands of participants who play video games.

“Every time we look for him, we find the same relationship,” he said. “People who spend a lot on loot boxes tend to have high levels of gambling problems.”

WATCH | Researcher frustrated by lack of data:

Researcher David Zendle explains why he’s frustrated with big game companies. 1:14

What the research doesn’t tell him if problem gamers are attracted to loot boxes or if loot boxes create problem gamers. Zendle says to understand this, he and other researchers need the video game giants to be more transparent about the data they collect.

“Who are they [the top players]? Zendle asked. How much are they spending? These are fundamental questions that we cannot answer because the industry does not share this data. “

As governments, regulators, and the courts figure out how to handle loot boxes, the insider says he doesn’t think they need to be eliminated altogether.

“I think you just need to stamp out the monetization of it, allow players to earn coins in the game, and then let them spend those coins on decks of cards,” he said.

“Don’t let anyone open their wallet on this thing.”

]]> Dodgers fall to Padres in extra innings, lose playoffs Mon, 26 Apr 2021 06:33:45 +0000

LOS ANGELES – On Oscar night, it was hard to find a better drama than the Dodgers-Padres clash on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

In the seventh battle between two of the Majors’ most talented teams, the Dodgers struck early. The Padres, however, fought back in the final innings. In the end, the Dodgers’ bullpen was unable to close the door in a savage 8-7 loss to the Padres in 11 innings.

It was the first time since August 10, 2011, against the Phillies, that the Dodgers have lost a game in which they led by six points or more. It’s a series of 228 consecutive games. It was also LA’s first series loss this season.

“Every game has been a battle,” said Chris Taylor, a Dodgers utility. “I really felt it in this game. Constant back and forth, up and down. For us, I felt like a lot of missed opportunities. We were not able to close the door to them when we needed to.

The first six games between the Dodgers and the Padres were all decided in the final two innings of the game. The seventh meeting was no different, even though it looked like the Dodgers were in total control of the series finale. Taylor homered in a five-run sixth inning that gave Los Angeles a 7-1 lead and had a separate streak with just nine strikeouts.

But with Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen and Scott Alexander all unavailable for Sunday’s game, the Dodgers were unable to hold back the Padres, who scored six runs in the last three innings to send the game into extra innings. .

“They outdid us,” said Roberts. “All the games are close. But seven games, they surpassed us. But this is baseball, so we have to regroup and prepare for the Reds.

Let’s take a look at the Dodgers’ thinking process regarding their use of the paddock.

Seventh round
Goal: 7-1, Dodgers
Odds of Winning, Per Baseball Fan: 99 percent

It was an ideal situation to use David Price in the seventh inning of a six-point game. Price hadn’t pitched since April 19 against the Mariners and could have given the Dodgers several innings. The Padres were able to take advantage of a few defensive errors in the infield, scoring two points on Price to make it a 7-3 game.

Price threw just 17 shots from the frame, but didn’t come back for a second inning. After the game, Roberts said the reason Price didn’t pitch multiple innings was because the southpaw was suffering from hamstring strain and he wasn’t sure how bad it was yet.

“The hope was for him to do a few innings right there,” said Roberts.

With Price out, the Dodgers’ options were limited heading into the eighth inning. They always felt they had enough options with Victor González, Brusdar Graterol, Nelson and Garrett Cleavinger still available.

Eighth round
Goal: 7-3, Dodgers
Probability of winning: 97 percent

Of his options, Roberts went with Graterol against the top of the Padres roster. In the first three weeks of the season, the Dodgers leaned on Corey Knebel in these situations, but he’s been out for several months with latent tension. Treinen, which is also an option at this location, was down for the night.

For the second consecutive outing to start his season, Graterol was unable to do the job. He started the round with a lead against Fernando Tatis Jr. After stealing Trent Grisham, Graterol gave up a single with a strikeout to Manny Machado who ended his night.

The Dodgers turned to southpaw González with left-handed bats Eric Hosmer and Jake Cronenworth. González also didn’t get the job done, ditching a simple RBI to Hosmer and marching Cronenworth. The Dodgers left-hander was able to bounce back by forcing Jorge Mateo to step up and punching Jurickson Profar.

But Graterol’s inability to pass the round affected the Dodgers’ plan. González could have come back for the ninth inning in a perfect world, but he threw 15 shots in the eighth, just three off his season high.

“Brusdar just hasn’t made any shots tonight,” said Roberts.

Ninth round
Goal: 7-5, Dodgers
Probability of winning: 92.9 percent

With Graterol and Gonzalez out of the game, the Dodgers had to make a decision between Nelson and Cleavinger. Nelson had not attempted to quit and Cleavinger was just called in to replace Dennis Santana, who participated in the COVID-related IL on Saturday.

Roberts called Nelson. The Padres responded with two runs in the ninth to tie the game and ultimately win the game on a Hosmer sack fly in the 11th inning. The Dodgers’ pickup enclosure has been one of the best in the National League to start the season. The execution failed on Sunday.

“We just didn’t play well in baseball,” said Roberts. “We just didn’t play clean baseball. We abandoned the late races. … We didn’t pitch well at the end of the game.

Pain and loss persist a decade after tornadoes hit 6 states – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio Mon, 26 Apr 2021 05:20:00 +0000

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – (AP) – For Tom Sanders, it is the void left by the death of a cousin and the man’s wife, killed when a tornado mowed down in a placid valley in Alabama. For Markedia Wells, it’s the stolen innocence of his sons, who still get nervous every time it starts to rain. Darryl Colburn laments a lost way of life in his hometown, which was all but leveled in seconds.

Tornado waves hit the eastern United States for four days in the spring of 2011, killing more than 320 people in six states, including about 250 who died in Alabama on April 27 of the same year. A decade has passed, but time has not been able to erase the pain or replace the losses inflicted by the terrifying storms.

Houses and businesses were rebuilt and new trees grew; the empty seats around the tables were filled as babies were born and a new generation grew into adulthood. Yet there is still a sense of absence, a lingering sense of grief, in communities where so much has been lost so quickly.

“I don’t know if it’s an unforgettable day, but it’s a day you can’t forget,” said Colburn, the mayor of the small town of Hackleburg, where 18 died in an EF-5 twister with winds estimated at 210 mph (338 km / h). The same tornado struck nearby Phil Campbell, where a granite monument in the center of town honors 27 people killed.

The storms that started in east Texas escalated by the time the line reached the Mississippi, where a twist was so intense it swept across 0.61 feet of land. More than 60 tornadoes then struck Alabama, including one captured on video as it decimated the town of Tuscaloosa, and the storms continued as far north as New York State.

Another major tornado outbreak had killed more than three dozen people across the South about two weeks earlier, and a source of pain escalated further two weeks later, when an EF-5 tore Joplin apart, in Missouri. About 160 people died there.

The government funded the construction of hundreds of safe residential rooms and community storm shelters in the aftermath of the epidemic, still one of the deadliest in U.S. history, and meteorologists have improved forecasting systems. A study suggested better ways to communicate weather threats through live TV, including the constant presence of on-screen maps so viewers can understand where dangerous storms are.

But better preparedness for future disasters has done little to ease the pain of those still reliving the horror of past storms and the loss of loved ones.

In the Shoal Creek Valley of eastern Alabama, where 12 people have died, families still face unforgettable images and stories like that of Albert Sanders, 44, who died in the arms of his father, Buford Sanders, after being thrown by a twister in a field.

“He basically held her in his arms and then finally Albert told him he felt like he was about to die and (said): ‘I just want you to know that I am about to die. love it, daddy, ”said Albert’s cousin, Tom Sanders. “And then he died right after that.”

Tom Sanders’ house was badly damaged. Another relative, Jim Wilson, dug the graves of Albert and his wife, Angie Sanders, days later. A shiny black gravestone marks the spot in the cemetery of a country church. The couple’s three daughters, teenagers at the time, were injured but survived, Wilson said.

Markedia Wells, 39, and her two young sons survived a monster tornado that left a path of destruction through the heart of Tuscaloosa, but their home was warped from its foundations. She remembers shielding the boys’ eyes from the sight of a dead neighbor being swept away from the rubble of a house by volunteers who used a door as a stretcher.

Recently married, Wells lives with her husband and sons, now 14 and 16, in one of dozens of houses built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers in the same neighborhood. But dozens of empty lots and barren concrete slabs mark where homes once stood, and the boys are still worried about the weather, she said.

“I’ll be the first to admit the emotional loss in all of this,” she said. “We are always very nervous when it rains. When the meteorologist talks about bad weather or talks about a tornado that could happen, everything comes back flooding.

Located about 153 kilometers northwest of Birmingham, the town of Hackleburg has lost almost all of its 30 or so businesses, two schools, 180 houses, several churches, a doctor’s office, a pharmacy and most of the municipal buildings. because of the twister, Colburn said. , the mayor. He can still point to the underground shelter where he survived the storm with 11 others.

“We went out and wondered if we were the only ones who survived,” said Colburn, whose wife lost an uncle in the tornado.

Less than 60% of the town’s homes have been rebuilt, and the bare foundations are all that are left of the old brick storefronts that made up downtown Hackleburg. The city’s roughly 1,500 residents continue to struggle with a lack of housing and retail options, he said.

Schools have been rebuilt with a new town hall and a textile warehouse that has been leveled, and churches that have been destroyed have new buildings. But the old school buildings that graduates used to visit on their way home are long gone. The same goes for the shrines where generations have been baptized, married and praised, as well as almost any familiar sight that has made this place his home.

“The landscape of the city has been changed forever,” said Colburn.

The story is much the same about 113 kilometers from Cordoba, where four died. The entire city center was badly damaged by tornadoes, and the little that was left caught fire a few weeks later. Now 20-year-old Austin Thomas is skateboarding on the bare concrete foundation of a place he barely remembers from his childhood.

“A tornado ruined everything,” he said.

New method for reporting spam and phishing emails Mon, 26 Apr 2021 05:07:35 +0000

University of Arkansas

When you receive a suspicious or unwanted message, use the Report Message button.

Over the weekend, IT departments pushed a new Report phishing and spam email button to all Outlook and Outlook Web users. Reporting these emails helps the university protect your data and teaches Microsoft filters to detect spam and suspicious emails before they reach your inbox.

“Spammers and phishing attempts are constantly evolving,” said Stephen Tycer, chief information officer. “If you receive spam mail in your inbox, you can use the Report Message Add-in to send the message to IT to help us improve our spam filters.”

When you receive a suspicious or unwanted message, click the Report Message button (or if you are using Outlook on the web, select from the drop-down menu).

To access the button, open an email and click the ellipsis (three dots) on the right and select Report Message from the list. You may need to close and reopen Outlook to see the button. The following options are available:

  • Waste: The message is spam that advertises unwanted products. It will be sent to your spam folder and the sender will be added to the blocked senders list.

  • Phishing: The message is an attempt to trick you into clicking a suspicious link or disclosing login information or other personal data. It will be moved to your Deleted Items folder and reported to the university’s IT security team. Learn more about how to detect phishing.

  • Not unwanted: The message is from a trusted source and has been filtered into your spam folder by mistake. It will be moved from junk mail to your inbox and the sender will be added to the list of approved senders.

If you find an email in your junk mail folder that is not spam, use the report message add-in to mark it as a legitimate email, move the message to your inbox, and report the bogus. positive to help IT departments improve spam filters.

The button is included with Outlook on the web, Outlook for iOS and Android, and compatible versions of the Outlook desktop email client. It never sends data to Microsoft unless instructed to do so by the user.

Contact IT support at or 479-575-HELP for any questions or concerns.