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Sensex plunges 335 pts; Infosys sinks 16 pc

(PTI) Snapping its six-session rising streak, equity benchmark BSE Sensex plunged 335 points on Tuesday, dragged by a massive plunge in Infosys’ shares following a complaint against the company’s chief executive.

The 30-share BSE Sensex ended 334.54 points, or 0.85 percent, lower at 38,963.84. It hit an intra-day low of 38,924.85 and a high of 39,426.47.

The broader NSE Nifty too tumbled 73.50 points, or 0.63 percent, to settle at 11,588.35.

IT major Infosys was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, plummeting 16.21 percent after an anonymous group claiming to be employees of the firm placed a whistleblower complaint to the company’s board, accusing CEO Salil Parekh and CFO Nilanjan Roy of indulging in unethical practices to boost short-term revenue and profits.

Other losers were Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel, HCL Tech and Bajaj Finance, shedding up to 3.51 percent.

Among the gainers were ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, HUL and HDFC, rising up to 3.06 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong Tokyo, and Seoul ended on a positive note after US President Donald Trump on Monday said progress in developing the text of a partial trade pact with China means he will likely be able to sign it next month.

Equites in Europe were trading on a mixed note in their respective early deals.

Meanwhile, the Indian rupee appreciated by 22 paise to 70.92 against the US dollar intra-day.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.36 percent to USD 59.17 per barrel.

U.S. senators want social media users to be able to take their data with them


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three U.S. lawmakers active in tech issues will introduce a bill requiring social networks like Facebook to allow users to pack up their data and go elsewhere, Warner’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

The senators, Republican Josh Hawley and Democrats Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal, are introducing the bill at a time when there is growing concern that Facebook, along with Alphabet’s Google, have become so powerful that smaller rivals are unable to lure away their users.

The bill would require communications platforms with more than 100 million monthly active members – Facebook has more than two billion – to allow its users to easily move, or port, their data to another network.

The idea, which is already part of European law, has the support of Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat who leads the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee.

Data portability has been promoted in the past as giving consumers the power to move their data, which could spur the growth of social media alternatives that offer features such as greater privacy or less advertising.

The companies would be required to maintain an interface to facilitate this interoperability. Or users would be allowed to choose another company to manage a user’s account settings, content, and online interactions.

Facebook has been hit by a number of privacy-related issues recently, including a glitch that exposed to its employees the passwords of millions of users which had been stored in readable format within its internal systems. The social media giant is also under strict data protections imposed by the company’s $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which was announced in July.

“By enabling portability, interoperability, and delegatability, this bill will help put consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to how and where they use social media,” said Sen. Warner, a former technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

But the Electronic Frontier Foundation has pointed out that on its own “data portability cannot magically improve competition; the ability to take your data to another service is not helpful if there are no viable competitors.”

Facebook said in September it “supports the principle of data portability” but did not outline specific future actions, and tech industry lobbyists at the Internet Association support the concept.

What Would Happen If You Traveled Faster than the Speed of Light?

When we were kids, we were amazed that Superman could travel faster than a speeding bullet. We could even picture him, chasing down a projectile fired from a weapon, his right arm outstretched, his cape rippling behind him. If he traveled at half the bullet’s speed, the rate at which the bullet moved away from him would halve. If he did indeed travel faster than the bullet, he would overtake it and lead the way. Go, Superman! In other words, Superman’s aerial antics obeyed Newton’s views of space and time: that the positions and motions of objects in space should all be measured relative to an absolute, non-moving frame of reference.

In the early 1900s, scientists held firm to the Newtonian view of the world. Then a German-born mathematician and physicist by the name of Albert Einstein came along and changed everything. In 1905, Einstein published his theory of special relativity, which put forth a startling idea: There is no preferred frame of reference. Everything, even time, is relative.

Two important principles underpinned his theory. The first stated that the same laws of physics apply equally in all constantly moving frames of reference. The second said that the speed of light — about 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second) — is constant and independent of the observer’s motion or the source of light. According to Einstein, if Superman were to chase a light beam at half the speed of light, the beam would continue to move away from him at exactly the same speed.

These concepts seem deceptively simple, but they have some mind-bending implications. One of the biggest is represented by Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc², where E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light. According to this equation, mass and energy are the same physical entity and can be changed into each other. Because of this equivalence, the energy an object has due to its motion will increase its mass. In other words, the faster an object moves, the greater its mass. This only becomes noticeable when an object moves really quickly. If it moves at 10 percent the speed of light, for example, its mass will only be 0.5 percent more than normal. But if it moves at 90 percent the speed of light, its mass will double.

As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass rises precipitously. If an object tries to travel 186,000 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second), its mass becomes infinite, and so does the energy required to move it. For this reason, no normal object can travel as fast or faster than the speed of light.

That answers our question, but let’s modify the question slightly.

Almost as Fast as the Speed of Light?

We covered the original question, but what if we tweaked it to say, “What if you traveled almost as fast as the speed of light?” In that case, you would experience some interesting effects. One famous result is something physicists call time dilation, which describes how time runs more slowly for objects moving very rapidly. If you flew on a rocket traveling at 90 percent of light-speed, the passage of time for you would be halved. Your watch would advance only 10 minutes, while more than 20 minutes would pass for an earthbound observer.

You would also experience some strange visual consequences. One such consequence is called aberration, and it refers to how your whole field of view would shrink down to a tiny, tunnel-shaped “window” out in front of your spacecraft. This happens because photons (those exceedingly tiny packets of light) — even photons behind you — appear to come in from the forward direction.

In addition, you would notice an extreme Doppler effect, which would cause light waves from stars in front of you to crowd together, making the objects appear blue. Light waves from stars behind you would spread apart and appear red. The faster you go, the more extreme this phenomenon becomes until all visible light from stars in front of the spacecraft and stars to the rear become completely shifted out of the known visible spectrum (the colors humans can see). When these stars move out of your perceptible wavelength, they simply appear to fade to black or vanish against the background.

Entrepreneurship – Stress = Success

Every now and then, our greatest fear becomes our mightiest mistake- Stress!

Business stress is a typical disease in the millennial generation. We have technologies that assist us with doing work quicker, however by one way or another, this catalyst plays in its reverse psychology- more work to do.

It’s important to know how to tell if you have a problem and even more important to know what to do about it.

The principal marker of an excess of worry at work is an outrageous disappointment with your activity. Of course, the vast majority aren’t really content with what they’re doing, however evident employment disappointment saturates different aspects of your life. In the event that you find you’re hopeless when you’re grinding away and just fear getting down to business instead of making the most of your downtime, you have to roll out certain improvements.

Worry at work can likewise cause physical side effects. These include:

  • Migraine
  • Contracting infectious ailments all the more regularly
  • Muscle throbs

Trouble resting, regardless of whether you can’t rest since you’re furious or agonizing over work, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to rest in view of a business related issue.

A blend of pressure and these additional physical issues can add to mental and anxiety effects too. On the off chance that you are overemphasized at work, you may discover you experience issues focusing and completing undertakings, or think that its increasingly hard to control your feelings. You may likewise wind up having customary resentment upheavals.

In the event that you have a few or the majority of these issues, there’s a decent possibility you must know. That is on the grounds that your work execution is presumably enduring, regardless of whether this is a direct result of the physical and mental reactions, or in light of the fact that you would prefer not to be there.

The issue is, worry at work can overwhelm your life. It can jeopardize your profession, your own life, and above all else your wellbeing. Numerous entrepreneurs have heard at this point pressure can build your odds of genuine ailments like coronary illness, however the auxiliary impacts can be similarly as harming also.

The problem is, stress at work can overtake your life. It can endanger not only your career, but also your personal life, and most of all your health. Many people have heard by now that stress can increase your chances of serious illnesses like heart disease, but the secondary effects can be just as damaging as well.

If you find your job is making you stressed out you need to take quick action. Not only will it make you feel better and improve your health, it will also help increase your performance at work. Here are a few ways to help ease your stress:

  • Address problems with your co-workers. This may mean working out differences or just establishing a privacy policy when your door is closed.
  • Address job-related problems with your boss. If your problems have to do with your job duties rather than the people in your office, ask your boss if you can have a one-on-one chat. You may find your boss will gladly make some changes in order to get your productivity back up.
  • Relax. Take small steps in your down time to reduce your stress level. This could include regular exercise, meditation, warm baths, aromatherapy, massage, or any other of a wide variety of methods.
  • Find a new job. If all else fails and you’re still stressed out, you might want to consider looking around for something else. While it may add stress for a while, it will pay off in the long run.
Being an entrepreneur or business owner can be overwhelming and exhausting. So how do some people seem to thrive and achieve their goals and dreams while others struggle? The answer is mindset.

Bye Bye, Bei Bei: National Zoo panda leaves for China next month

(Reuters) – Washington’s National Zoo will soon have an empty-nester exhibit on display when Bei Bei, the 4-year-old male offspring of the zoo’s giant panda couple, sets out for China next month to help breed more of his species in his parents’ homeland. 

“Bei Bei is part of our family,” Steve Monfort, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, said in a statement. “We’re sad he’s leaving, but excited for the contributions he will make to the global giant panda population.” 

The bear and his parents are a favorite among visitors, said a zoo spokeswoman. Fans have watched Bei Bei grow from a small cub to a 240-pound (109 kg) bear over the years.

“The giant pandas are iconic,” she said. “We consider them ‘America’s Pandas.’” 

The zoo has collaborated with Chinese scientists on a breeding program since it received its first pandas in 1972 following President Richard Nixon’s visit to China. As part of the program, pandas return to China at 4 years old so that they can breed when they reach sexual maturity at 5 years old. 

Breeding programs are key to efforts to reintroduce pandas into the wild. Thanks to reforestation to expand habitats in which the species can survive, pandas have been reclassified from “endangered” to “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Preservation of Nature. There are an estimated 1,800 giant pandas in the wild. 

Bei Bei is not the first in his family to travel abroad. His parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, arrived from the China in 2000, and his older siblings Tai Shan and Bao Bao both packed their bags for China when they came of age. 

Already, zookeepers are preparing Bei Bei for the big move, planned for Nov. 19. They will get him accustomed to his travel crate, first by training him to walk through it, then spending time inside with the door closed. During his flight to China, zookeepers plan on packing lots of his favorite snacks, like bamboo, pears, and cooked sweet potatoes. 

Fans of Bei Bei will have plenty of opportunities to say farewell. “Bye Bye, Bei Bei” events will run for a week next month, featuring activities from daily treat feedings to special Panda-cam coverage, which will stream Bei Bei 24/7 over the course of the week.

Sculptor transforms Rome’s dead trees into art

ROME (Reuters) – Andrea Gandini, a 22-year-old Roman sculptor, is making a growing name for himself by turning the Eternal City’s dead tree stumps into much-admired pieces of art

Gandini, who began his tree carvings around five years ago, chipped away at his 66th stump in the huge Villa Pamphili park on Friday. 

He has plenty of raw material to work with. Rome is known as one of the greenest cities in Europe, with its 313,000 trees filling its many parks and lining the streets in the city center. 

However, many were planted nearly a century ago and are now weak or dying. Seeing how they were neglected made Gandini want to act. 

“I had been sculpting wood since I was a kid, in my garage. Then I chose to carve a stump that was out on the street. That is how I chose to start carving stumps in Rome,” he said, as he worked on his latest creation. 

He said he liked to meet people while working and had no personal claim to the faces, animals and other artwork carved out the stumps. 

“It takes me about a week to finish one sculpture, then it becomes everyone’s. It’s a passion and a bit of a fixation,” he added, as passers-by stopped to admire his work and take photos with their phones. 

Gandini maps the stumps on his website, and the sculptures are becoming a tourist attraction. Tour guides even include his work in their packages. 

“Stumps are not very well considered but they have the right features that make them perfect for carving,” he said. “Rome has many stumps that are waiting to become pieces of art.” 

Despite the popularity of his work among locals and tourists, the Rome authorities have been less enthusiastic. 

Although there is no law that forbids people from carving dead tree stumps, police have threatened to ban him from historic areas using tough new rules drawn up in recent years to maintain decorum. 

Gandini says he loves nature and it hurts him to see the trees become a safety hazard. 

They often fall and smash cars during storms, and city hall says some 86,000 need to be specially maintained or chopped down. 

“If nothing changes in ten years there will be hardly any trees left,” Gandini said.

Hacking the hackers: Russian group hijacked Iranian spying operation, officials say

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russian hackers piggy-backed on an Iranian cyber-espionage operation to attack government and industry organisations in dozens of countries while masquerading as attackers from the Islamic Republic, British and U.S. officials said on Monday.

The Russian group, known as “Turla” and accused by Estonian and Czech authorities of operating on behalf of Russia’s FSB security service, has used Iranian tools and computer infrastructure to successfully hack in to organisations in at least 20 different countries over the last 18 months, British security officials said. 

The hacking campaign, the extent of which has not been previously revealed, was most active in the Middle East but also targeted organisations in Britain, they said. 

Paul Chichester, a senior official at Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency, said the operation shows state-backed hackers are working in a “very crowded space” and developing new attacks and methods to better cover their tracks. 

In a statement accompanying a joint advisory with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre said it wanted to raise industry awareness about the activity and make attacks more difficult for its adversaries.

“We want to send a clear message that even when cyber actors seek to mask their identity, our capabilities will ultimately identify them,” said Chichester, who serves as the NCSC’s director of operations. 

Officials in Russia and Iran did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent on Sunday. Moscow and Tehran have both repeatedly denied Western allegations over hacking. 


Western officials rank Russia and Iran as two of the most dangerous threats in cyberspace, alongside China and North Korea, with both governments accused of conducting hacking operations against countries around the world. 

Intelligence officials said there was no evidence of collusion between Turla and its Iranian victim, a hacking group known as “APT34” which cybersecurity researchers at firms including FireEye here (FEYE.O) say works for the Iranian government. 

Rather, the Russian hackers infiltrated the Iranian group’s infrastructure in order to “masquerade as an adversary which victims would expect to target them,” said GCHQ’s Chichester. 

Turla’s actions show the dangers of wrongly attributing cyberattacks, British officials said. They added they were unaware of any public incidents incorrectly blamed on Iran as a result of the Russian operation, though. 

“Our main intent right here is to point out that there’s a lot of false flagging going on out there and we want to make sure our national security systems that we’re trying to defend are aware,” said Doug Cress, a division chief within the NSA’s newly formed Cybersecurity Directorate. 

The United States and its Western allies have also used foreign cyberattacks to facilitate their own spying operations, a practice referred to as “fourth party collection,” according to documents released by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and reporting here by German magazine Der Spiegel. 

GCHQ declined to comment on Western operations. 

“Collection efforts which leverage other infrastructure and the capability of peers, such as this, offer a low-cost, high-reward way to conduct operations while potentially confusing attribution,” explained FireEye director of intelligence analysis John Hultquist.

By gaining access to the Iranian infrastructure, Turla was able to use APT34’s “command and control” systems to deploy its own malicious code, GCHQ and the NSA said in a public advisory. 

“I would say they are extremely talented and effective. They’re someone we keep a close eye on because we’re worried about them damaging our national security systems,” Cress said about Turla. 

The Russian group was also able to access the networks of existing APT34 victims and even access the code needed to build its own “Iranian” hacking tools.

Drugstore drones: UPS will fly CVS prescriptions to customers

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – United Parcel Service Inc’s new Flight Forward drone unit will soon start home prescription delivery from CVS Health Corp..

The service, which will debut in one or two U.S. cities in the coming weeks, shows how the world’s biggest parcel delivery company is expanding the reach of its upstart drone delivery service beyond hospital campuses. 

UPS Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Scott Price said the Atlanta-based company, which owns 251 aircraft and charters nearly 300 more, said “Flight Forward will work with new customers in other industries to design additional solutions for a wide array of last-mile and urgent delivery challenges.”

UPS this month won the U.S. government’s first approval to operate a drone airline, taking a lead over rivals like Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Wing. 

Regulators are still hammering out rules for how the unmanned winged vehicles will operate in U.S. airspace and guidelines are expected in 2021. 

On Monday, Flight Forward and partner Matternet also announced a deal to deliver biological samples and other cargo on University of Utah Health hospital campuses. That program is similar to the program at WakeMed Hospital in North Carolina, Flight Forward’s first client. 

Flight Forward has also inked a hospital campus deal with healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, UPS said. 

In addition, the company said pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp will use Flight Forward drones to move pharmaceuticals, supplies and records select U.S. medical campuses it serves. 

UPS rival FedEx Corp last week delivered a residential package to a home in Christiansburg, Virginia, as part of a trial service with Alphabet’s Wing Aviation.

Nielsen says it can now measure Amazon Prime Video

Nielsen announced this morning it will now be able to measure the viewing taking place on Amazon Prime Video, through its Subscription Video on Demand Content Ratings solution. This product, first launched two years ago, was originally focused on measuring Netflix’s viewing numbers with promises to add support for measuring Prime Video in 2018.

Though delayed by a year, that Prime Video measurement is now available.

Through Nielsen’s service, clients will have access to the measurement data for their own content, as well as the total content life cycle for competitive media — whether it’s live, content-shifted viewing, steamed or available through video-on-demand, Nielsen says.

As with Netflix, however, Nielsen is able to measure only the Amazon Prime Video streams taking place in the U.S. via TVs. This includes through connected and smart devices — like streaming media players, for example.

That limitation has been a point of criticism from Netflix, which routinely dismisses Nielsen’s accuracy because it misses streams coming from mobile devices and PCs. But insiders now say Nielsen’s numbers are fairly close, according to a Variety report from earlier this year, which detailed how Nielsen’s numbers backed up Netflix’s claims about its hit movie “Bird Box.”

Plus, those missing mobile and PC streams may not be as important in terms of U.S. viewership as you may think. Although many U.S. consumers are cutting the cord with traditional linear TV, they still often watch their streamed shows on the TV’s big screen. Hulu, for example, said last year that as much as 78% of its viewing takes place on a TV, to give you an idea.

For networks and studios, Nielsen’s SVOD measurement numbers help provide insight into what otherwise can be a bit of a black box. Although Netflix argued during its Q3 earnings last week that it does now share some viewing data with producers, it can be hard for studios and networks to put those numbers in context.

“Nielsen’s measurement in the SVOD space is invaluable for our studio to understand how our programs perform on these platforms and the audiences they attract,” said James Petretti, SVP, U.S. Research and Analytics at Sony Pictures Television, in a statement. “It becomes even more exciting for us, because Nielsen has the ability to help us understand what these audiences are doing outside of those platforms as well — how and what they are watching on other on-demand and linear services,” he continued.

“We are also able to understand the impact of traditional linear advertising driving viewers to these SVOD programs so what Nielsen is providing is extraordinarily compelling,” said Petretti.

To kick off its news of new capabilities, Nielsen also offered a few examples of what sort of data its Prime Video measurements can deliver.

The company says the Amazon Prime Video show “The Boys” averaged 4.1 million viewers per episode, with its premier averaging a little over 6 million. The largest share (39%) of viewers are aged 35 to 49, it also said. And within the first 10 days, the show had reached nearly 8 million viewers across its eight-episode season.

“This is a significant milestone for Nielsen, especially considering the upcoming high-profile streaming service launches,” said  Brian Fuhrer, SVP Product Leadership, Nielsen, in a statement. “We think the addition of Amazon Prime Video will allow rights owners an added ability to understand both the size, as well as the composition, of their streaming audiences relative to other platforms or programs. Beyond that, making this enhancement re-affirms our commitment to continuous improvement and to being the one media truth of an increasingly-fragmented video landscape,” he added.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and will update if one is provided.

The Largest Trash Collectors in the U.S. Have Stopped Shipping Waste to Poor Countries

America’s largest trash hauler, Waste Management, Inc, has announced that they are no longer exporting plastic waste outside of North America.

Due to China’s ban on imports of mixed plastic and mixed paper in 2017, and realizing that smaller countries do not have the capacity to handle such a vast volume of the stuff, Waste Management has inaugurated a new policy that no longer allows the shipping of discarded plastic to countries outside North America.

The company reports that it now sells 77% of its recyclables (paper and plastic) to domestic markets, and says, “No plastics collected on our residential routes… are sent outside of North America.”

The company further states that “where there is no market, we are disposing of this material responsibly.”

In an August 2019 press release, WM said, “The company is working to help establish responsible domestic markets for recycling and beneficial use of these materials.”

According to The Last Beach Cleanup—in a partnership with Greenpeace and the Plastic Pollution Coalition which tracks company policies— other major waste-hauling companies in the U.S. have also ended the practice of shipping plastic abroad. These include Casella Waste Systems, Republic Services, and Waste Connections—along with Advanced Disposal Services, the fourth largest in the U.S., which was bought by Waste Management.

Greenpeace responded to the announcement by saying the companies all made “the right call.”

People Across the Globe Feeling More Sad, Stressed and in Pain Than Ever

The world isn’t feeling so hot — emotionally, that is.

A new survey of people’s daily emotions found that, worldwide, reports of negative emotions — including sadness, worry and stress — have increased over the last decade, reaching a record high in 2019.

What’s more, reports of positive emotions dipped slightly in 2019 compared with the previous year, according to the survey, from Gallup, the analytics and advice company.

The survey also revealed that, based on reports of positive emotions, the “happiest” country in 2017 was Paraguay, marking the third year in a row that the South American country has claimed the top spot. The least happy country was Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Feeling worried and stressed

For the survey, researchers interviewed more than 154,000 people in 147 countries throughout 2019.

Participants were asked whether they had certain positive or negative emotions or experiences the day before. For example, for positive experiences, they were asked whether they felt well rested, were treated with respect, smiled or laughed a lot or enjoyed themselves the day before. For negative experiences, they were asked whether they felt worry, sadness, stress, anger or physical pain on the previous day.

Gallup then used these responses to create an “index score” of positive and negative experiences for each country and for the world overall. The score has a cap of 100.

The 2019 survey found that, overall, people all over the world had a negative-experience score of 30, which is the highest negative-experience score measured by Gallup since the company began conducting the survey in 2006. (For comparison, in 2016, the global negative-experience score was 28; and in 2006, it was 24.)

“Collectively, the world is more stressed, worried, sad and in pain today than we’ve ever seen it,” Mohamed Younis, Gallup’s managing editor, said in the report.

The increase was driven by an uptick in reports of worry, stress, sadness and physical pain.

At a country level, most countries with high negative-experience scores were grappling with war or other turmoil in 2017.Advertisement

The country with the highest negative-experience score, the Central African Republic (CAR), experienced renewed fighting between armed groups that forced thousands of people from their homes in 2017, Gallup said. CAR’s score of 61 is the highest such score Gallup has recorded in the last decade. Other countries with high negative-experience scores include Iraq, with a score of 59; South Sudan, with a score of 55; and Chad, with a score of 54.

The United States had a negative-experience score of 32, which is slightly higher than the global average. Among high-income countries that are members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), the U.S. had the fourth-highest negative-experience score, tied with two other countries (Chile and Turkey). About 49 percent of Americans said they had been feeling “stressed a lot” the previous day, which is higher than the global average of 37 percent.

Positive emotions

The global score for positive experiences in 2017 was 69 out of 100, which is down slightly from a score of 70 in 2016 and 71 in 2015. However, 2019’s positive-experience score “is not out of line for scores in the past decade,” Gallup said.

At a country level, Paraguay ranked first with a score 85, followed by Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala, which all tied with a score of 82. Gallup noted that Latin American countries tend to dominate the list of “happiest” countries, which may partly be due to “the cultural tendency in the region to focus on life’s positives,” Gallup said.

The U.S. had a positive-experience score of 78, which is above the global average. That score places the United States fourth among OECD members, tied with Finland.

About 82 percent of Americans said they had “smiled or laughed a lot” the day before and 92 percent said they were treated with respect.

“Regardless of where a country may fall on the Positive or Negative Experience Indexes … all leaders need to be monitoring the emotional temperature of the people they lead,” Younis said. “Leaders cannot effectively lead their societies, seek better opportunities for their citizens and ensure that future generations will live better lives than previous ones without closely tracking how citizens evaluate their lives and understanding the local realities they face.”

New blow to Johnson’s Brexit plan after vote on deal blocked

LONDON (AP) — Britain faced another week of grinding political gridlock after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was denied a chance Monday to hold a vote by lawmakers on his Brexit divorce bill.

With just 10 days before Britain’s scheduled departure date, Johnson’s government had sought a “straight up-and-down vote” on the agreement he struck last week with the 27 other EU nations laying out the terms of Britain’s exit.

But the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, refused to allow it because lawmakers voted to delay approving the Brexit deal on Saturday, and parliamentary rules bar the same measure from being considered a second time during a session of Parliament unless something has changed.

Bercow’s ruling plunged the tortuous Brexit process back into grimly familiar territory. The government must now try to implement its Plan B — attempt to pass a Brexit-implementing bill through Britain’s fractious Parliament before the country’s scheduled Oct. 31 departure date.

Bercow — whose rulings in favor of backbench lawmakers have stymied government plans more than once before — said the motion proposed by the government was “in substance the same” as the one Parliament dealt with on Saturday. He said it would be “repetitive and disorderly” to allow a new vote Monday.

On Saturday — Parliament’s first weekend sitting since the 1982 Falklands War — lawmakers voted to make support for the Brexit deal conditional on passing the legislation to implement it.

Johnson’s Conservative government will now try to do that. The government published the 115-page bill late Monday, will hold the first vote on it Tuesday and hopes to have it become law by Oct. 31.

But it’s unclear whether Johnson has either the time or the numbers to make that happen.

Passing a bill usually takes weeks, but the government wants to get this one done in 10 days. Johnson needs a majority in Parliament to pass it, but his Conservatives hold just 288 of the 650 House of Common seats.

The process also gives lawmakers another chance to scrutinize — and possibly change — the legislation.

Opposition lawmakers plan to seek amendments that could substantially alter the bill, for example by adding a requirement that the Brexit deal be put to voters in a new referendum. The government says such an amendment would wreck its legislation and it will withdraw the bill if it succeeds.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay urged lawmakers to back the bill and — more than three years after British voters narrowly voted to leave the EU — “enable us to move onto the people’s priorities like health, education and crime.”

“This is the chance to leave the EU with a deal on Oct. 31,” he said. “If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill.”

With the Brexit deadline looming and British politicians still squabbling over the country’s departure terms, Johnson has been forced to ask the EU for a three-month delay to Britain’s departure date.

He did that, grudgingly, to comply with a law passed by Parliament ordering the government to postpone Brexit rather than risk the economic damage that could come from a no-deal exit. But Johnson accompanied the unsigned letter to the EU late Saturday with a second note saying that he personally opposed delaying Brexit.

Pro-EU activists, who took the government to court in Scotland to ensure that it complied with the law, said the second letter might amount to an attempt to frustrate the legislation. Scotland’s highest court said Monday it would keep the case open, retaining the power to censure Johnson’s government until its obligations under the law have been complied with “in full.”

The claimants’ lawyer, Elaine Motion, said the ruling meant “the sword of Damocles remains hanging” over the government.

The bloc said the fact Johnson had not signed the letter was irrelevant.

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Monday that European Council President Donald Tusk had acknowledged receiving the Brexit extension request and was now talking with the EU’s other 27 leaders about it.

Those 27 EU leaders are weary of the long-running Brexit saga but also want to avoid a no-deal British exit, which would damage economies on both sides of the Channel.

Germany’s economy minister suggested it could be a few days before the EU decided to respond to the Brexit delay request.

“We will have somewhat more clarity in the coming days, and we will then exercise our responsibility and quickly make a decision,” Germany’s Peter Altmaier said.

He told Deutschlandfunk radio that he wouldn’t have a problem with an extension by “a few days or a few weeks” if that rules out a no-deal Brexit.

But French President Emmanuel Macron, who had a phone call with Johnson over the weekend, called for a quick clarification of the U.K.’s position. In a statement, he said a delay “would not be in any party’s interest.”

France’s junior minister for European affairs, Amelie de Montchalin, told French news broadcaster BFM TV there would have to be some reason for the delay, such as a parliamentary election in Britain or a new British referendum on Brexit.

US may now keep some troops in Syria to guard oil fields

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. may leave some forces in Syria to secure oil fields and make sure they don’t fall into the hands of a resurgent Islamic State, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday, even though President Donald Trump has insisted he is pulling troops out of the country and getting out of “endless wars.” 

The Pentagon chief said the plan was still in the discussion phase and had not yet been presented to Trump, who has repeatedly said the Islamic State has been defeated.

Esper emphasized that the proposal to leave a small number of troops in eastern Syria was intended to give the president “maneuver room” and wasn’t final.

“There has been a discussion about possibly doing it,” Esper told a press conference in Afghanistan before heading to Saudi Arabia. “There has been no decision with regard to numbers or anything like that.”

Still, the fact that such a plan was under consideration was another sign the administration was still trying to sort out its overall strategy amid fierce criticism from the president’s Republican allies of his abrupt decision to pull U.S. forces back — essentially clearing the way for Turkey’s military incursion into the border region to push back the American-allied Kurdish forces.

A White House official said GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham raised the issue of keeping U.S. forces in eastern Syria to protect the oil fields and that Trump supported the idea. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions.

Trump said Monday at the White House that he still wants to get all U.S. troops out of Syria, but “we need to secure the oil” in one part of the country while Israel and Jordan asked him to keep some forces in another part.

“Other than that, there’s no reason for it, in our opinion,” he said.

Esper said the main goal of leaving some troops around the oil fields would be to make sure the Islamic State doesn’t gain control of the revenue they generate.

The defense secretary said American troops around Kobani are withdrawing and that the U.S. is maintaining combat air patrol over U.S. forces in Syria as the withdrawal goes on. He said the U.S. is using overhead surveillance to try to monitor the recently negotiated cease-fire “as best we can.”

While Trump has insisted he’s bringing home Americans from “endless wars” in the Mideast, Esper said all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the American military will continue operations against the Islamic State group.

Esper told reporters over the weekend that the fight in Syria against IS, once spearheaded by American allied Syrian Kurds who have been cast aside by Trump, will be undertaken by U.S. forces, possibly from neighboring Iraq.

But he said in a tweet Monday that the U.S. would only “temporarily reposition” troops from Syria “in the region” until they could return home.

Esper did not rule out the idea that U.S. forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. But he told reporters traveling with him that those details will be worked out over time.

Trump nonetheless tweeted: “USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!”

The Republican president declared this past week that Washington had no stake in defending the Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as America’s partners fighting in Syria against IS extremists. Turkey conducted a weeklong offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish fighters before a military pause.

“We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting Monday.

Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, asked about the fact that the troops were not coming home as the president claimed they would, said, “Well, they will eventually.” He told “Fox News Sunday” that “the quickest way to get them out of danger was to get them into Iraq.”

Trump ordered the bulk of the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear in a phone call that his forces were about to invade Syria to push back Kurdish forces that Turkey considers terrorists.

The pullout largely abandons America’s Kurdish allies who have fought IS alongside U.S. troops for several years. Between 200 and 300 U.S. troops will remain at the southern Syrian outpost of Al-Tanf.

The U.S. has more than 5,000 American forces in Iraq, under an agreement between the two countries. The U.S. pulled its troops out of Iraq in 2011 when combat operations there ended, but they went back in after IS began to take over large swaths of the country in 2014. The number of American forces in Iraq has remained small due to political sensitivities in the country, after years of what some Iraqis consider U.S. occupation during the war that began in 2003.

Esper said he will talk with other allies at a NATO meeting in the coming week to discuss the way ahead for the counter-IS mission.

Asked if U.S. special operations forces will conduct unilateral military operations into Syria to go after IS, Esper said that is an option that will be discussed with allies over time.

On Sunday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American lawmakers on a visit to Jordan to discuss “the deepening crisis” in Syria.

Jordan’s state news agency said that King Abdullah II, in a meeting with the Americans, stressed the importance of safeguarding Syria’s territorial integrity and guarantees for the “safe and voluntary” return of refugees.

Online ordering boom gives rise to virtual restaurants

NEW YORK (AP) — Frato’s Pizza looks like a typical family restaurant, with its black-and-white checkered floor and red chairs. But in the kitchen, the cooks are whipping up dishes for four other restaurants at the same time. Successful restaurant promotion ideas are listed below.

There is, of course, the gourmet pizza that patrons have come to expect from Frato’s when they walk through the door. But there are also spicy chicken gyros for Halal Kitchen, barbecue chicken tenders for Tenderlicious, salmon grilled cheese for Cheesy Deliciousness, and Butterfinger milkshakes for Heavenly Shakes — all of which can only be ordered through online sites Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Owner Michael Kudrna launched the four spinoffs earlier this year in a matter of weeks as he races to keep his Chicago-area business ahead of a growing trend: restaurants conceived only for delivery or take-out.

Thousands of restaurants are experimenting with these virtual spinoffs tucked inside their own kitchens. Others are opening “ghost kitchens,” where all food is prepared to-go.

Both concepts have emerged to capitalize on the rising popularity of ordering in instead of dining out. The trend also speaks to the growing power of third-party delivery companies, which have transformed the way many people find restaurants and raised expectations for speed and convenience.

The $26.8 billion online ordering market is the fastest-growing source of restaurant sales in the United States, according to David Portalatin, a food industry adviser for the NPD group. Digital orders, while still accounting for just 5% of all restaurant orders, are growing some 20% each year. Restaurant visits, meanwhile, remain mostly flat.

Kudrna says the virtual restaurants are a way to gain enough incremental revenue to offset the fees he pays to the third-party apps, which now drive one-third of his sales. Restaurants pay commission fees as high as 30% per order.

“The beauty is I can create concepts and if they don’t work, I can move on to try another one,” Kudrna said. “I will have lost weeks of work, but not large sums of money.”

Chick-Fil-A, The Halal Guys and Dog Haus are among top brands that have opened ghost kitchens through Kitchen United, a start-up that builds kitchen commissaries for restaurants looking to enter new markets through delivery or take-out only.

Kitchen United, backed by $50 million in funding from Google Ventures and other investors, has two locations in Pasadena, California, and Chicago. It has ambitious expansion plans to open 40 more kitchens in cities across the U.S. through 2020, said CEO Jim Collins.

DoorDash staked a claim to the trend last week. The delivery company partnered with four restaurant chains — including The Halal Guys — to open a bright red shared kitchen in Redwood City, California, offering delivery or pick-up in 13 suburban Bay Area markets.

The idea is for DoorDash Kitchens to be a one-stop shop for restaurants looking to grow their business, said Fuad Hannon, head of new business verticals at DoorDash, although there are no immediate plans to expand.

“We are really at the early innings of this industry,” Hannon said. “It’s highly speculative at this point to understand where this will all go but what we know is that people love to get their favorite restaurants delivered.”

There have already been some notable failures. Maple, the delivery-only restaurant backed by celebrity chef David Chang, closed in New York in 2017 after two years. Pilotworks, a venture capital-backed start-up that offered commercial kitchen space and distribution services for small food businesses, abruptly closed its Brooklyn commissary in 2018, leaving nearly 200 vendors in the lurch with no warning.

“I had to call all of these businesses and tell them I didn’t have a kitchen. It was awful,” said Liz Santiso, owner of Brooklyn Biscuit Company, who is starting over after losing her wholesale business that had delivered to Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca.

Both Kitchen United and DoorDash are staking their shared-kitchen models on helping successful restaurants grow, rather than serving as incubators for start-ups.

Grubhub and Uber Eats say their virtual restaurant programs help small businesses compete in this landscape. Both actively reach out to restaurants with suggestions for online spinoffs based on data gleaned from customer searches — extending their influence from how people get their food to what should go on the menu.

Uber Eats has helped launch 4,000 such virtual restaurants worldwide, about half of them in the U.S. and Canada, according to Kristen Adamowski, head of Uber’s virtual restaurants program.

One restaurant owner, Rick Scott, said Uber saved his Brooklyn business. Scott first opened a cafe serving coffee, pastries and ice cream in Crown Heights, a lower-income neighborhood. But it was the only sit-in restaurant for blocks around and “the neighborhood just wasn’t ready for it,” Scott said.

Sales were slumping when he reached out Uber, which told him there was latent demand for specialty burgers in the surrounding area. Scott launched Gerizim Burger Factory on Uber Eats with a Caribbean-inspired menu of jerk and calypso burgers.

Almost immediately, he said, sales jumped about 75%. A year later, he has two employees, rebranded his physical restaurant and launched a second Burger Factory in the borough of Queens.

“It was a 90-degree turnaround,” Scott said. “It changed our whole business.”

But Kudrna has found he can’t always rely on third-party suggestions. Heavenly Sweets, a desert concept suggested by Grubhub, has mostly flopped. The chefs at a training program he runs then came up with Cheesy Deliciousness and Halal Kitchen, which have so far taken off.

Grubhub spokeswoman Katie Norris said sales representatives suggest virtual spinoff ideas when they see untapped demand for a cuisine in a market, but it’s up to the restaurant to decide whether it makes sense for them.

Virtual restaurants have the obvious benefit of testing new concepts without taking on expensive leases or hiring more staff, said Rick Carmac, dean of restaurant management at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

But he said small restaurants should weigh risks before embarking on an online spinoff at the behest of third-party platforms, which offer no training for kitchen staff to adjust to new menus. Restaurants should consider whether their delivery packaging is right for new dishes, or whether they want to increase their reliance on outside delivery drivers.

“None of those things are minute, and none of those things easy, which is kind of what you might be led to believe,” said Carmac, who has consulted for Uber Eats and said he expressed his reservations about the company’s approach. “They give you the data, and then they leave.”

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