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Rangers’ Matt Rempe calls suspension for hit on Devil a learning experience

The four-game suspension levied against Matt Rempe by the NHL provided enough time for the purple and green bruising around both of his eyes to fade away. Marks from his five fights in 10 games are gone. The face of a 21-year-old kid remains. His time away from game action also gave Rempe some space to calm down from the pandemonium in which the 6-foot-8 ½ forward has been engulfed since making his NHL debut just over a month ago. “Just a learning experience,” Rempe said of his suspension for his high-elbowed hit on the Devils’ Jonas Siegenthaler. “Made a mistake, and just going to learn from it and grow. At 21, still got to learn lots of things. Watching games, you learn a lot. I can go watch a lot of the older guys and see what they’re doing. “Got lots of great reps in practice, got to work on my skill, got to work on a lot of things. It was great. Obviously, you never want to be suspended, but you learn things, and you get better and you grow.” Rempe showed remorse for his actions, which concussed Siegenthaler and sidelined him the next four games. It prompted George Parros, the head of the league’s department of player safety, to essentially throw the book at the first-time (technically, but not really) offender. The next step for Rempe is to continue learning how to toe the line. Play hard, but also clean. “More control of my body, just stuff like that,” he said of what he’s learned. “If a guy is pulling out of a hit, just got to be careful. It was an accident. I thought I was going to hit the wall. … Never want to see a guy get hurt or anything like that. I’m still going to play super-hard, play the same way. “I’m just going to make sure my hits are clean, like, keep everything compact, keep everything tight. It will be good. Just live and learn.” There’s obviously no question Rempe’s elbow came up and hit Siegenthaler, but the rookie said he did not realize he made contact with the Devils’ defenseman. Head coach Peter Laviolette said after the fact he also thought Rempe was bracing himself to hit the wall. Still, Rempe recognized that it does not excuse the fact that his elbow was not kept in tight. He called it a mistake and, again, apologized for how it all unfolded. There was uproar in the Devils’ locker room after that 3-1 Rangers win on March 11, led by forward Kurtis MacDermid. Understandably so, considering the fact that Siegenthaler was the second Devils player Rempe had knocked out of a game, after he ran through Nathan Bastian during the previous meeting Feb. 22. MacDermid openly challenged Rempe that night for his hit on Bastian, who has been out ever since with a lower-body injury. After Rempe declined, MacDermid went after him again after the Siegenthaler hit, but the refs kept the two apart. “I had my instructions,” Rempe said of refusing MacDermid. “I had my instructions before the game and stuff.” The Rangers signed Jaroslav Chmelar to a three-year, entry-level contract Wednesday, the team announced. Chmelar, the Blueshirts’ 144th-overall pick in the 2021 draft, is leaving Providence College in the middle of his sophomore season to join the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. The 20-year-old forward recorded 12 goals and 16 assists in 59 career games for the Friars. This season, Chmelar posted five goals and 10 assists in 26 games. It’s been an exciting few years for Chmelar, who helped Czechia win a silver medal in the 2023 World Junior Championship with three goals and two assists in seven games.

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Trump’s PACs Paid $6.5 Million in Legal Bills in February

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign continues to cover multimillion-dollar legal expenses, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. On the evening of March 20, key cogs in President Trump’s financial machine published their February monthly reports with the regulator. President Trump’s qualified leadership PAC Save America (his principal campaign committee), Donald J. Trump For President 2024 Inc., and the super PAC Make America Great Again Inc., collectively paid about $6.5 million to various firms for legal consulting in February, according to the committee’s FEC filings. Save America, which has shouldered most of the financial burden for the legal challenges thrown at President Trump so far in the 2024 cycle, paid about $5.6 million in February. Save America is a qualified leadership political action committee. That, according to the FEC, means it is “directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained or controlled by a candidate or an individual holding federal office, but is not an authorized committee of the candidate or officeholder and is not affiliated with an authorized committee of a candidate or officeholder.” The Epoch Times previously reported committees tied to President Trump spent more than $55 million on legal costs in 2023. President Trump often says the numerous court cases he’s facing are politically motivated. According to its February FEC filing, Save America raised about $5 million and spent about $7.3 million during the month. It entered March with about $4.1 million on hand. Just as in January, most of the money Save America raised came from MAGA Inc. FEC records indicate it sent $5 million to Save America on Feb. 1. The transaction was classified as a “refund of federal contribution.” The rest of the money Save America raised came from WinRed. It is a political action committee that transfers money from small-dollar donors to Republican Party candidates for federal office. WinRed is a hybrid PAC. According to the FEC, a hybrid PAC can solicit and accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, labor unions, and other political committees. It must maintain two bank accounts—one for independent spending on advertisements or voter drives and another for making direct contributions to federal candidates. MAGA Inc., for its part, raised about $12.8 million and spent about $7 million in February. The PAC closed the month with about $25.5 million on hand. MAGA Inc. is a super PAC. It can solicit from and make unlimited contributions to individuals, corporations, labor unions, and other political committees, according to the FEC. It’s unauthorized, meaning it can’t cooperate directly with the candidate.

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Australia and U.K. sign defense and security treaty to meet ‘contemporary challenges’

“Australia’s relationship with the UK is dynamic and enduring,” Marles said in a written statement Thursday. “From the UK’s leadership of support for Ukraine and efforts to address the Houthi threat, to increasing contributions in the Pacific and the Indo-Pacific, we continue to work closely together to support a global rules-based order.” “As the world becomes more complex and uncertain, we must modernize our most important partnerships,” the statement said. Refreshing the bilateral defense treaty was a commitment made at the AUKMIN conference held last year in the U.K. Shapps said the treaty formalizes how the two country’s will consult on issues that affect each other’s sovereignty and regional security. “I think one of the most important elements is it describes a mechanism by which we consult when either of our countries are under threat and we have those discussions more formalized than it is at the moment,” Shapps said at a joint press conference with Marles at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday. “We do already cooperate very significantly on defense matters, it should be said. So we’ll always be looking to deepen that cooperation between our countries.” The treaty includes provisions to make it easier for the respective forces to operate together in each other’s countries, such as the joint training of Ukrainian troops in the U.K. Other areas within the agreement included continued cooperation on capability development, including through the AUKUS alliance, as well as closer collaboration on undersea warfare, intelligence and military exercises.

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1 S. Korean dead, 1 missing after chemical tanker capsizes off western Japan – The Korea Herald

A South Korean chemical tanker has capsized off Japan’s west coast, leaving one South Korean dead and another missing, officials said. Eight of the 11 crew members on board the Keoyoung Sun vessel died after it capsized in waters near an island off the city of Shimonoseki in the Yamaguchi Prefecture on Wednesday, Seoul’s foreign ministry and Japanese news outlets said, citing Japan’s coast guard officials. The crew members included two South Koreans, including the captain, as well as eight Indonesians and one Chinese. The vessel made a distress call to the Japanese Coast Guard at around 7 a.m., reporting it was tilting before capsizing at around 8 a.m. Nine members were initially rescued and transported to a hospital, but eight of them died, including one South Korean. The crew member confirmed alive is from Indonesia and reportedly in stable condition. The coast guard is still conducting rescue operations to search for the two missing, including one South Korean. The tanker, carrying 980 tons of acrylic acid, apparently departed from the Japanese port of Himeji on Monday and was en route to South Korea’s southeastern port of Ulsan but was anchoring near Mutsure Island due to high waves and strong winds. No leak of chemicals has been detected. South Korea’s foreign ministry on Wednesday said it has set up a task force to check for progress in the search and rescue operations in the area. (Yonhap)

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Global fertility rate to keep plummeting, major study warns

“IMPLICATIONS ARE IMMENSE” “We are facing staggering social change through the 21st century,” he said in a statement. IHME researcher Natalia Bhattacharjee said the “implications are immense”. “These future trends in fertility rates and live births will completely reconfigure the global economy and the international balance of power and will necessitate reorganising societies,” she said. “Once nearly every country’s population is shrinking, reliance on open immigration will become necessary to sustain economic growth.” However, World Health Organization (WHO) experts urged caution for the projections. They pointed out several limitations of the models, particularly a lack of data from many developing nations. Communication about the figures “should not be sensationalised, but nuanced, balancing between gloom and optimism,” the WHO experts wrote in The Lancet. They also pointed out that there can be benefits of having a smaller population, such as for the environment and food security. But there are disadvantages for labour supply, social security and “nationalistic geopolitics”. Teresa Castro Martin, a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council not involved in the study, also emphasised that these are just projections. She pointed out that the Lancet study predicts the global fertility rate will fall below replacement levels around 2030, “whereas the United Nations predicts this to occur around 2050”. The study was an update of the IHME’s Global Burden of Disease study. The organisation, set up at the University of Washington by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has become a global reference for health statistics.

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Nearly every country’s population will be shrinking by 2100, study warns

Fertility rates in nearly every country will be too low to sustain their populations by the end of this century, a major study has warned. By 2100, populations in 198 of 204 countries will be shrinking, with most births taking place in poor countries, the study published in the Lancet showed on Monday. Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to account for one in every two children born in 2100, with only Somalia, Tonga, Niger, Chad, Samoa and Tajikistan able to sustain their populations, according to the study carried out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “The implications are immense. These future trends in fertility rates and live births will completely reconfigure the global economy and the international balance of power and will necessitate reorganising societies,” said Natalia V Bhattacharjee, co-lead author and lead research scientist at the IHME. “Global recognition of the challenges around migration and global aid networks are going to be all the more critical when there is fierce competition for migrants to sustain economic growth and as sub-Saharan Africa’s baby boom continues apace.” The demographic shift will lead to a “baby boom” and “baby bust” divide, the study’s authors said, where wealthier countries struggle to maintain economic growth and poorer countries grapple with the challenge of how to support their growing populations. “A large challenge for countries in sub-Saharan Africa with the highest fertility is to manage risks associated with burgeoning population growth or risk potential humanitarian catastrophe,” said Austin E Schumacher, co-lead author and acting assistant professor at IHME. “The huge shift in numbers of births underscores the need to prioritise this region in efforts to lessen the effects of climate change, improve healthcare infrastructure, and continue to reduce child mortality rates, alongside actions to eliminate extreme poverty and ensure that women’s reproductive rights, family planning and education for girls are top priorities for every government.” The study based its findings on surveys, census data, and other sources of information collected between 1950 and 2021 as part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study, a decades-long collaboration involving more than 8,000 scientists from more than 150 countries.

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Florida-Based Rescue Group Evacuates Americans From Haiti

With hundreds of Americans stranded in Haiti calling for help, a Florida-based rescue team led by military veterans is answering the call. “Project DYNAMO operates in ‘The Grey Space’ where the U.S. government is not. This means, when the government is unable or unwilling to provide assistance, DYNAMO responds & deploys,” the website says. Mr. Stern confirmed to The Epoch Times that Project Dynamo had conducted a rescue mission in Haiti on March 18. “It was our biggest one so far,” he said. “It was by air, land, and sea,” he explained, saying it was “a multidimensional operation” through which several Americans were rescued. “We aren’t disclosing how many because things are ongoing and very dangerous, and the bad guys are really smart,” he said. While much of the current rescue effort and media attention are focused on the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince, Mr. Stern said people are trapped across the country. “There are people all over Haiti,” he noted. “So, when you talk about rescues, it’s not always about the ‘where it’s violent’ part. It’s about the ‘who’s in trouble’ part, and sometimes those are not always the same.” Mr. Stern said there are lots of resources in Port-au-Prince, but there were no resources for the people they recently rescued, who were in another part of the country. However, the government warned that the “overland trip” from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien is dangerous, and that it “cannot provide overland travel from other parts of Haiti.” Therefore, the embassy advised that those who want to go to the Cap-Haitien airport only do so if they can get there safely. “We continue to work on options for departures out of Port-au-Prince and will let you know about them as soon as we are able to safely and securely arrange them,” the security alert advised further. However, it also informed stranded Americans who want the government’s assistance in evacuating that they “must sign a promissory note agreeing to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of the flight.” During a March 19 press briefing, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel was asked about the success of a recent rescue effort conducted by U.S. Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.), who has conducted two rescue trips to Haiti and evacuated 23 Americans. “I’m wondering if that is something that was coordinated with the State Department, if it’s an action that you support,” a reporter asked Mr. Patel. While the administration is “relieved when any American citizen is able to make its way to safety,” Mr. Patel said, “operations like these that are sort of done deviating from formal State Department operations, they can be high-risk. We’re talking about a country that’s been a Level 4 Do Not Travel country since 2020,” he added. “And so, we want to make sure that we are not—that actions that are taken are not further inciting additional risk or putting individuals into harm’s way.” He also noted that an operation conducted by the State Department over the weekend “was able to facilitate the safe departure of over 30 U.S. citizens.” “There’s not a lack of ability,” he suggested. “America has the biggest Air Force in the world. We can see golf balls from outer space. One American aircraft carrier has more firepower than most countries have in totality. So, it’s not a lack of capability problem. It’s a choice. Whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, it’s a policy decision.” As for the U.S. State Department making Americans promise to reimburse the government for their rescue, Mr. Stern said he thinks it’s “a little strange.” He said Project Dynamo has conducted 610 missions in the past two-and-a-half years and rescued nearly 7,000 people, and that none have been expected to pay. Every time a new rescue mission is necessary, he said the scenario is always the same. “The embassy evacuates and leaves behind a bunch of Americans and they say, ‘Yeah, you should have left’ or ‘You could have left.’ It’s the talking point they’re using now, that they should have left a month ago,” he said. “But that whole concept is a little strange to me. Who cares if you were or weren’t told to leave? The point is, you’re an American citizen and you’re in trouble. We think that means you should get help.” Mr. Stern told The Epoch Times that he served in both the Army and the Navy. “The bulk of my career was spent in the intelligence and special operations communities,” he said. “I worked in about 70 countries all over the world and I’m used to doing weird things in weird places without a lot of support, which is why Project Dynamo is so successful.” He said the organization’s ability to conduct rescue missions is directly correlated to funding.

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BOJ chief vows to support economy with monetary stimulus

TOKYO : Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda said on Thursday the central bank will continue to support the economy by maintaining accommodative monetary conditions for the time being. “Japan’s medium- and long-term inflation expectations are still in the process of accelerating towards 2 per cent,” Ueda told parliament. The BOJ ended eight years of negative interest rates and other remnants of its unorthodox policy on Tuesday, making a historic shift away from decades of massive monetary stimulus that was aimed at reviving the economy and quashing deflation. In his first appearance in parliament since the decision, Ueda was grilled by a lawmaker on whether the move was made too hastily and could derail Japan’s fragile economic recovery. “We could have waited until inflation is completely at 2 per cent for a long period of time. But if we did so, it’s unclear whether inflation would have stayed at 2 per cent. We might have seen a sharp increase in upside price risks,” Ueda replied. “If such risks were to materialise, we could have been forced to raise interest rates sharply. This was partly behind our decision” to end negative rates this week, he added. While cost-push pressures on inflation from past rises in raw material prices were easing, service-related prices continued to increase gradually, Ueda said. The recent outcome of annual wage negotiations between big firms and unions, as well as hearings the BOJ conducted on companies, confirmed that Japan was seeing a positive cycle of rising wages and inflation, he said.

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Man charged with murder after stabbing over cigarettes

Camera IconA man is dead and another charged with murder after a fight in a Cairns home. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP Man charged with murder after stabbing over cigarettes Keira JenkinsAAPMarch 21, 2024 9:46AM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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Chinese Fast Fashion Giant’s Dominance Blighted by Slavery Allegations

Giant Chinese e-commerce retailers like Temu and Shein have joined Aliexpress in invading the wallets of Australian and New Zealand shoppers seduced by low prices and quick delivery. One retailer, Temu, is run by Chinese-owned PDD Holdings, which operates the Pinduoduo brand, and reportedly generated $2.44 trillion yuan (AU$506 billion) in gross merchandise during the height of the pandemic in 2021. Research company Roy Morgan reported over 1.26 million Australian shoppers visited Temu each month from July to December 2023, amounting to annual sales of $1.34 billion. While Shein has amassed over 800,000 shoppers each month for items such as clothing and accessories. Despite sourcing from China, Temu maintains offices in the United States and, over the past 12 months, has expanded into Western countries, offering apparent bargain basement deals on everything from clothing to electronics utilising a direct manufacturer-to-consumer model. Antipodean online shoppers have been bombarded by pop-up ads on Google searches, YouTube, and other social media. The ads often invoke the idea that the customer is winning something via a casino-like spinning wheel, promising huge discounts on signing up. Temu has also strengthened its presence by sponsoring locally-based sports, including being a principal sponsor of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which, along with being New Zealand’s most-watched sport, registered 1.33 billion viewing hours globally. By saturating the market, Temu plans to change customer behaviour, forcing them away from traditional (often locally-based) retailers, to buying from factories pumping out cheap, often generic versions of everyday items. Product reviews vary, with some shoppers maintaining they receive good-functioning commodities, while others bemoan the use of cheap parts and poorly constructed items. The U.S. House Select Committee on the Chinese Community Party produced a report in September 2023 that warned Temu’s compliance with fair trade and manufacturing principles may be a charade. The report detailed that suppliers must sign and adhere to a code of conduct with PDD Holdings/Temu that prevents worker exploitation; however, a loophole allows Temu to keep potentially nefarious suppliers at arm’s length. However, Temu does not have any system to ensure compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), set up to eliminate forced labour among China’s minority Muslim population. The UFLPA has the goal of ensuring American entities are not funding forced labour in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This all but guarantees that shipments from Temu, containing products made with forced labour, are entering the United States regularly, said the report. Responding to a post-report inquiry from the BBC in late 2023, Temu said it prohibits forced, penal, or child labour and that “anyone doing business with it must comply with all regulatory standards and compliance requirements.” However, to some, Temu is blurring the ethical line around consumerism. The Epoch Times spoke with two recent Temu customers in New Zealand. Janene, a mother of two from Auckland, said she relies on Temu when buying items for her children “because it’s cheap and arrives quickly. The postage is almost non-existent if order enough items.” When pressed on whether the allegations of slavery affected her buying choices, she said: “I guess I never really think about it, you know, out of sight, out of mind.” Nadine, a student, said she occasionally buys electronic devices like dental hygiene equipment and LED lights for her flat from Temu. Her opinion on buying from suppliers who may mistreat their workers was, “If that can be proven then it would probably change from where it bought things from in future. Money isn’t everything, and if I can buy something online with a clear conscious. I would do that.”

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