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George Floyd live updates: Activists clash in Europe; Trump addresses West Point; weekend protests continue around US

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President Donald Trump stressed unity, service and sacrifice at a West Point graduation ceremony Saturday amid growing tension between him and some of his top military and defense officials and as more demonstrations demanding racial justice are planned around the nation.

Trump’s commencement address came just days after chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, said in a public statement he should not have accompanied the president during a controversial photo-op at the historic St. John’s Church after peaceful protesters had been forcibly cleared from the area. 

More protesters took to the streets across the United States and the world Saturday in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed as a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for the Daily Briefing.

A closer look at some recent developments:

  • People in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone on Friday expressed frustration that conservative media were painting them as armed anarchists. The area has a festival-like energy where people are peacefully gathering and discussing how to better the world. 
  • State and local lawmakers have begun addressing issues of policing. In Louisville, Kentucky, no-knock search warrants have been banned by the city council. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a package of police reforms into law on Friday. Meanwhile in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz and the House Democratic majority are backing a slate of proposed reforms — but key Republican lawmakers say they’ll block most of the ambitious changes.

Trump salutes West Point grads amid tension with top military brass, and a nation beset with racial tension

President Donald Trump saluted the service and sacrifice of West Point’s graduating class on Saturday, encouraging them to stand strong for the cause of freedom and equality at a time of discord and division.

In remarks that emphasized unity, Trump told the 1,100 graduating cadets that what has historically made the U.S. unique is “the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment.”

“When times are turbulent, when the road is rough, what matters most is that which is permanent, timeless, enduring and eternal,” he said.

Trump’s address – his first at West Point – comes as his own relations with the military has grown strained and racial tensions and domestic unrest have roiled the nation.

Minority cadets, in a confidential survey obtained by USA TODAY, say they face blatant and subtle discrimination at the nation’s elite training ground for Army officers. The posting of racist videos in April by one their classmates prompted the survey.

The graduation ceremony itself was unconventional, a reflection of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Cadets wearing white face masks marched onto an expansive parade field and watched the ceremony from folding chairs spaced six feet apart. No handshakes were allowed. Parents, relatives and friends weren’t allowed to attend. 

– Michael Collins and Peter D. Cramer

U.S. Embassy in Seoul raises Black Lives Matter banner in solidarity with peaceful protests

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul hoisted a Black Lives Matter banner in front of its building Saturday in what it said was a show of solidarity with fellow Americans “grieving and peacefully protesting to demand positive change.”

On its Twitter feed, the embassy posted a photo of the banner, hanging near the U.S. flag, with an accompanying text in Korean and English.

“Our #BlackLivesMatter banner shows our support for the fight against racial injustice and police brutality as we strive to be a more inclusive & just society,” the embassy said.

– Doug Stanglin

Far-right activists turn out in London, Paris as counter to Black Lives Matter

Paris police fired tear gas Saturday and blocked demonstrators from marching through the city to protest police brutality and racial injustice. 

Earlier, the largely Black crowd shouted at a group of white extreme-right activists who had climbed a building and unfurled a huge banner denouncing “anti-white racism.” Others tried to tear it down.

A police official told The Associated Press the decision was made to stop the march because of a nationwide ban on gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In London, a group of right-wing activists gathered around the statue of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Cenotaph war memorial, which were both boarded up Friday to protect them from vandalism.

A Black Lives Matter group there had  called off a demonstration, saying the presence of the counter-protesters would make it unsafe. Some anti-racism demonstrators gathered in smaller numbers at Hyde Park.

Hundreds of protesters turned out despite strict police restrictions and warnings to stay home to contain the coronavirus.

– The Associated Press

Judge orders two-week halt to police use of tear gas, ‘violent’ tactics on peaceful protesters in Seattle

A federal judge has ordered Seattle police to temporarily stop using tear gas, pepper spray and flash-bang devices to break up largely peaceful protests, a victory for groups who say authorities have overreacted to recent demonstrations over police brutality and racial injustice.

The liberal city with a lengthy history of massive, frequent protests has taken hits from all sides – from demonstrators, some city officials, the president and now a judge – over its response to recent protests.

Those on the right say the mayor and police chief aren’t being tough enough on protesters who have taken over part of a neighborhood near downtown Seattle, while those on the left say police tactics have been far too harsh. 

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones ruling, siding with a Black Lives Matter group that sued the city, halts the use of violent police tactics for two weeks, though demonstrations this week have been calm.

The judge said weapons like tear gas and pepper spray fail to target “any single agitator or criminal” and they are especially problematic during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best have apologized to peaceful protesters who were subjected to chemical weapons. But Best has said some demonstrators violently targeted police, throwing objects and ignoring orders to disperse. 

Kentucky to remove statue of Jefferson Davis from state Capitol

A state commission voted Friday to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis from where it has stood in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort for 84 years.

The state Historic Properties Advisory Commission called the special meeting Friday at the request of Gov. Andy Beshear, who said last week the statue of the Confederate president is an offensive symbol of slavery that should be moved to another location.

By late afternoon, workers had erected a rig that will be used to lift the 5-ton statue off its base. The crew of about 15 workers took a group photo in front of the soon-to-be gone statue and knocked off for the day just after 6 p.m. Work is scheduled to resume Saturday morning. 

Beshear had said it is “long past due” to remove the statue, as many African Americans visiting their Capitol see it “as a symbol that they don’t matter, a symbol of the enslavement of their ancestors and a symbol of the continued systematic racism that we see in so many parts of our society.”

Davis was placed in the Rotunda in 1936 at the urging of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which commissioned the 12-foot marble statue.

– Joe Sonka, Louisville Courier Journal

Cuomo signs package of police reforms into law

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into a law Friday a package of police reforms in New York that gives the public access to police disciplinary records and bans police chokeholds.

The measures also include giving the state attorney general’s office the power in law to investigate when a person dies in police custody or in an encounter with police. It also makes it illegal for an individual to make a 911 report solely on race.

Cuomo was joined at the signing by the state legislative leaders, civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton and the mothers of men killed by police in New York City.

The measures make New York the first state in the nation to enact broad policing reforms in the wake of Floyd’s death.

Cuomo also signed an executive order that will require every municipality and police force in the state to “develop a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs.” If the departments do not implement the changes by April 1, they will lose state funding, the Democratic governor said.

“He has raised the bar with how we deal with policing with this executive order,” Sharpton said of the move. “He has gone even beyond my expectations.”

– Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau

More on protests, George Floyd:

Sheriff to ‘de-deputize’ officers linked to threatening online posts after protest

Cook County, Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart was moving to temporarily strip as many as seven deputies of their police powers after the county’s public defender complained that deputies had apparently posted insulting and threatening comments online following a march in support of Black Lives Matter, his spokesman said Friday. 

Spokesman Matt Walberg said the investigation to identify the deputies and then move to “de-deputize” those linked to the posts comes a day after Dart’s office launched an internal probe in response to a letter from Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli. 

Campanelli informed Dart, whose office runs the jail, that the posts had appeared online after about 200 people, including many public defenders, participated in a demonstration Monday at the county jail in Chicago.

Campanelli cited a post that reads: “Bring in the fire hoses and horses this is not a protest.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

Source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/627274514/0/usatoday-newstopstories~George-Floyd-live-updates-Activists-clash-in-Europe-Trump-addresses-West-Point-weekend-protests-continue-around-US/

Publications

Security and Sustainability Forum-With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider. 10/22/2020

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Steering Societies Beyond GDP to the SDGs

With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider

October 22, 2020

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.

GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.

Register

Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”

October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

[email protected]

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/63564-2/

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Crunchbase

Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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