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Hostage’s brother tells US lawmakers Netanyahu blind to urgency of reaching deal

GOP chair of House Foreign Affairs Committee says he'll raise issue with premier after relatives of captives testify, urging members to pressure Netanyahu for agreement

The post Hostage’s brother tells US lawmakers Netanyahu blind to urgency of reaching deal appeared first on The Times of Israel.

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FTC Orders 8 Companies To Provide Information On ‘Surveillance Pricing’ Practices

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered information from eight companies that the agency says offer products and services that use personal data to set prices based on a shopper’s individual characteristics. In a Tuesday announcement, the FTC said it was seeking to better understand the “opaque market” of “surveillance pricing” practices using consumer data — including credit information, location and browsing history — to charge different customers different prices for the same goods. To do this, the agency noted, third-party intermediaries claim to use advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence and other technology. “Firms that harvest Americans’ personal data can put people’s privacy at risk. Now firms could be exploiting this vast trove of personal information to charge people higher prices,” FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in a prepared statement. Khan added that the FTC’s inquiry “will shed light on this shadowy ecosystem of pricing middlemen.” The FTC said it sent orders to Mastercard, Revionics, Bloomreach, JPMorgan Chase, Task Software, PROS, Accenture and McKinsey & Co. The agency says its “study” will aim to understand how surveillance pricing works and investigate potential impacts on privacy and consumer protection. The orders requested information on the “types of surveillance pricing” that each company has produced, developed or licensed — as well as details on data collection methods, which customers were offered such products or services and other potential impacts, such as different prices paid, the FTC said. In a statement sent to The Associated Press Tuesday, Revionics said that it “does not develop software that recommends pricing targeted to specific individuals” — or use individual consumer data “in any manner.” The software company said its AI price optimization software considers several “market-level factors” to recommend optimal prices, such as historical sales data. Revionics added that its data is often sourced from retail partners — reiterating that it “does not, in any way, conduct operations related to the surveillance of consumers.” Mastercard did not comment when reached by the AP Tuesday afternoon, but confirmed that it received the FTC’s request and would cooperate in the process. The remaining companies did not immediately release additional statements. (AP)
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In first, male Oct. 7 survivor recounts rape at hands of Hamas terrorists

Lawmakers announce plans to boycott Netanyahu speech to Congress; PM blasts 'defamation campaign' against freed hostage Argamani; Musk says Starlink being used in Gaza hospital

The post In first, male Oct. 7 survivor recounts rape at hands of Hamas terrorists appeared first on The Times of Israel.

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Steve Bannon’s Trial in Border Wall Fundraising Case Set for December, After His Ongoing Prison Term

While Steve Bannon serves a four-month federal prison term, the conservative strategist now has a December date for a different trial in New York, where he’s charged with scheming to con donors who gave money to build a border wall with Mexico. With Bannon excused from court because of his incarceration, a judge Tuesday scheduled jury selection to start Dec. 9 in the “We Build the Wall” case. The trial had been expected as soon as September. It was postponed because Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, is in a federal penitentiary in Connecticut after being convicted of defying a congressional subpoena related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. With his release expected in late October, Judge April Newbauer said she wanted to allow enough time afterward for Bannon to meet with his lawyers and review the case, trial exhibits and things she described as “difficult to go over during counsel visits in prison.” After the jury is seated and opening statements are given, testimony is expected to take about a week. Bannon’s lawyers, John Carman and Joshua Kirshner, declined to comment after court. Prosecutors say Bannon helped funnel over $100,000 to a co-founder of the nonprofit WeBuildTheWall Inc. who was getting a secret salary, though Bannon and others had promised donors that every dollar would be used to help construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “All the money you give goes to building the wall,” Bannon said at a June 2019 fundraiser, according to the indictment. It doesn’t accuse him of pocketing any of the money himself, but rather of facilitating the clandestine payouts. Bannon, 70, has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and conspiracy charges. He has called them “nonsense.” Yet the accusations have dogged him from one court to another. He initially faced federal charges, until that prosecution was cut short when Trump pardoned Bannon in the last hours of his presidential term. But presidential pardons apply only to federal charges, not state ones. And Bannon found himself facing state charges when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg took up the “We Build the Wall” matter. Three other men didn’t get pardoned and are serving federal prison time in the case. Two pleaded guilty; a third was convicted at trial. Meanwhile, a federal jury in Washington convicted Bannon in 2022 of contempt of Congress, finding that he refused to answer questions under oath or provide documents to the House investigation into the Capitol insurrection. Bannon’s attorneys argued that he didn’t refuse to cooperate but that there had been uncertainty about the dates for him to do so. An appeals court panel upheld his conviction, and the Supreme Court rejected his last-minute bid to delay his prison term while his appeal plays out further. He turned himself in July 1 to start serving his time, calling himself a “political prisoner” and slamming Attorney General Merrick Garland. (AP)
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The Case of the Tired Shliach Tzibbur for Mincha 17th of Tammuz

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman The Shliach Tzibbur had fasted all day and was davening from the Artscroll Siddur Siddur Yitzchok Yair HaShalaim (page 102). After Kedushah, the Chazan naturally went on to the Aneinu on the left side rather than going back a few paragraphs earlier to “Atta Chonein” – he said “Aneinu.” The Tzibbur corrected him to go back to Attah Chonein – which he did do.  But now what should he do about re-reciting it?  Does he skip it – since he said it already?  Also, if one left it out it does not cause the Shmoneh Esreh to be repeated! Or, on the other hand, does he recite it again because it needs to be said in its ideal place? Bothe the Shlah (Dinei Tefillah #23) and the Nesivus( Derech HaChaim Hilchos Tefillah Siman 55) say that he does recite it again the second time. There seem to be 2 reasons for this- 1]  because that is the order that Chazal enacted it in.  and 2] that it be right after a request for redemption and right before heal us in terms of the most effective type of wording. There are two lessons here.  To highlight within our minds the respect we must all have for Chazal and their takanos and to realize that when Chazal made wordings – they matter. The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com and still needs tefilos. As I have a blood clot in the heart as a result of the Widow-maker heart attack which could cause another heart attack or a stroke rachmana litzlan. Yair Nissan ben Sara
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