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Member since: Fri Jul 1, 2016, 03:42 PM
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Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada says she's one of the lucky women who escaped

(CNN)The Saudi teenager who fled her family and was granted asylum in Canada said Tuesday that she was fortunate to have escaped. But many other young women in Saudi Arabia like her are not able to get away and take control of their lives, Rahaf Mohammed, 18, said at a press conference Tuesday.

"I am one of the lucky ones. I know there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape, or who could not do anything to change their reality," she said. "I was not treated respectfully by my family, and I was not allowed to be myself and who I want to be," she added. "As you know, in Saudi Arabia, this is the case for all Saudi women except for those fortunate enough to have understanding parents. They can't be independent, and they need approval from their male guardian. Any woman who thinks of escaping or escaped will be at risk of persecution."

Mohammed is one of a number of Saudi women who have fled the country and its laws restricting women's rights. Saudi Arabia's guardianship laws govern many aspects of women's lives, and they may not marry, divorce, get a job, have elective surgery or travel without permission of their male guardians. On Tuesday, Mohammed spoke about her ordeal in Arabic, and a staffer from COSTI Immigrant Services delivered the English translation. She said she wanted to carve her own path in life.

"I want to be independent, travel, make my own decisions on education, a career, or who and when I should marry. I had no say in any of this. Today, I can proudly say that I am capable of making all of those decisions," she said.


California PG&E bankruptcy looms, CEO to exit as fire costs dwarf cash

PG&E Corp. said it will file for bankruptcy in California after the cost of wildfires left it with potential liabilities of $30 billion or more, gutting its share price and prompting the departure of its chief executive officer. The San Francisco-based company said it intends to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code on or about Jan. 29 after giving the required 15-day notice to employees, according to a filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday. On Sunday, the company started searching for a new leader after Geisha Williams, 57, resigned as chief executive officer. General counsel John Simon will take the helm in the meantime. The departure of Williams, who took over as CEO in March 2017, follows a catastrophic three months for PG&E.

The company has seen two-thirds of its market value wiped out since the deadliest wildfire in California's history, called the Camp Fire, began in November. Its debt has been downgraded to junk, and state regulators have called for a management shakeup. Investigators are probing whether the power giant's equipment ignited that fire, along with blazes in 2017 that devastated Northern California's wine country. More than 100 people died in the fires. The costs "could exceed $30 billion," according to the company's filing.

That would dwarf the $1.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand as of Friday. The board concluded a Chapter 11 reorganization "is ultimately the only viable option to restore PG&E's financial stability," according to the filing. Shares of PG&E fell 47 percent to $9.28 at 12:38 p.m. in New York, the most intraday since January 2001. The company's most active bonds fell more than 4 percent to 84.25 cents on the dollar. The bonds are the most actively traded this morning across all ratings, according to Trace.

The company's deepening financial crisis has forced California regulators and policy makers to consider a bailout package. The utility said bankruptcy was the best way forward for employees and those who are claiming losses from wildfires that may have been caused by its power lines. California's new governor, Gavin Newsom, said in a statement Monday that his administration has been in constant contact wiPG&E, labor unions and regulators. "Everyone's immediate focus is, rightfully, on ensuring Californians have continuous, reliable and safe electric and gas service," he said.


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie to divorce after 25 years of marriage

Source: USA Today

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos says that he and his wife MacKenzie are divorcing after 25 years of marriage. "We want to make people aware of a development in our lives," the couple said in a post on Bezos' Twitter account Wednesday. "As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends."

The carefully worded announcement suggests a cordial divorce and one that is unlikely to disrupt or affect Amazon, currently the world's most valuable company, at $810 billion just ahead of Microsoft ($789 billion), according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. It's unclear whether the couple had a prenuptial agreement. But that is unlikely, says Stuart Slotnick, chairman of the matrimonial department of law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in New York City.

"People get prenuptial agreements when they have assets to protect," Slotnick said. "In this case, they had no real assets vis vis Amazon because when they got married Amazon did not exist."

That doesn't mean the separating couple have not come to an arrangement, he says. In fact, the statement issued by them both "devoid of emotion," Slotnick said, likely suggests "they might already have an agreement (and) be done essentially." Whatever the agreement, it's unlikely to disrupt Amazon's operations, as that would be counterproductive to an amicable separation, he said. "There would be no reason that the company would be affected by this divorce," Slotnick said.

Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2019/01/09/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-wife-mackenzie-divorce-after-25-years/2523544002/

The impact homelessness and the opioid crisis are having on San Francisco streets

San Francisco (CNN)Outside the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in downtown San Francisco, a woman urinates on the sidewalk and smokes a crack pipe. Inside her purse are about a dozen used heroin needles. She shoots heroin up to 10 times per day, she says.
About 50 yards away, a man injects another woman in the neck with a needle. She puts her thumb in her mouth and blows on it to make her vein more visible. Her right arm is caked with dried blood.

This San Francisco neighborhood is home to the headquarters of Uber, Twitter and Salesforce. But stroll around here, and you're also likely to find used drug paraphernalia, trash, and human excrement on the sidewalks, and people lying in various states of consciousness. Public drug usage and homelessness are not new problems for the city of San Francisco. But residents say the situation has gotten worse in recent years. As of October, 7,500 complaints about discarded needles have been made this year, compared with 6,363 last year. In 2015, the number was less than 3,000.


Adam Mesnick, a restaurateur who lives and works in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, started posting daily photos and videos of people using drugs in public, urinating near his restaurant, or lying passed out on the sidewalk.
Over the past five or six years, Mesnick says, visible homelessness and drug use on the streets have seemed to spread from areas of San Francisco where they were once concentrated, like the Tenderloin.

"It's like third world squalor," Mesnick said. "I'm a small business (owner) trying to exist, and basically surrounded by decay that continues to get worse and worse and worse." Others fear that the situation will impact tourism. "If we can't find a solution to this problem," said Joe D'Alessandro, CEO of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, "it will tarnish the city's brand."


With no bathrooms open, Yosemite visitors have created a health hazard by pooping on roads

Source: sfgate

Yosemite has closed several popular areas due to a rather disgusting public-health reason: There's human feces and urine on the roads.

Visitors to Yosemite National Park have taken to depositing their waste on the side of the park's busy roads, as the park's restrooms and visitor centers remain closed due to the partial federal government shutdown.

The park itself has remained open since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, but without trash collection and a private place on-site to pass waste, roads have become blocked in more ways than one, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"With restrooms closed, some visitors are opting to deposit their waste in natural areas adjacent to high traffic areas, which creates a health hazard for other visitors," National Parks Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said in an email to the Times.

Read more: https://www.sfgate.com/outdoors/article/yosemite-bathrooms-open-gov-shutdown-park-closed-13500390.php
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