Riff announces 19th annual four day event

ROME – The Rome International Film Festival’s 19th annual four day event will feature screenings, panels, workshops, and much more.


The Rome International Film Festival (RIFF) is excited to announce its 19th annual event which is set to occur in Rome, Ga. Nov. 10-13. The four day event will feature film screenings, educational panels, workshops, a Student Film Academy competition, after-parties and a VIP cocktail reception. 

The 2021 festival featured a screening of ‘40 Akerz & a Brew,’ a reality television series with award-winning, hip-hop group Nappy Roots which won for Best Episodic Short. The festival also featured celebrities: Billy Bob Thornton for a Q&A that discussed his film ‘Sling Blade,’ as well as Mario Van Peebles, Victoria Mary Clarke, Jasmine Guy, Verlon Thompson and more. This year’s festival is set to have several special guests, VIP events, networking opportunities, and fundraisers to be announced in the coming weeks.   

“We are incredibly excited to announce our 19th annual event and are honored by the involvement of the Georgia film community, our sponsors and the city of Rome.” said RIFF Executive/Co-Creative Director Seth Ingram. “We will be unveiling various fundraiser events and our full schedule for the festival in the coming weeks.” 

The 2022 Rome International Film Festival will have various sponsors including: City of Rome, Courtesy Ford, Courtyard by Marriott, Georgia Power, Hardy Realty, Kingston Downs, OTR Wheel Engineering, Manco Logistics Corp., PAM Studios, River City Bank, Suzuki Motor Sports, The Ball Corporation, Toles Temple and Wright Real Estate. Sponsorship opportunities are available until Oct. 1 and can be in the form of cash sponsorships, in-kind donations of products or services, or media and promotional assets. Learn more at https://www.riffga.com/sponsors

Tickets for individual screenings are set at $10, there is a student package for $25 that provides access to the entire festival. Further information for full access passes can be found at https://www.riffga.com/passes. To learn more about the 19th Annual Rome International Film Festival (RIFF), Nov. 10 – 13, please visit www.riffga.com

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects Platinum Partner executives’ appeal of fraud convictions

WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by two former Platinum Partners executives of their conviction on charges that they defrauded bondholders of one of the defunct hedge fund’s portfolio companies as they seek a new trial.

The justices turned away an appeal by Platinum co-founder Mark Nordlicht and co-chief investment officer David Levy of a lower court ruling that reversed the trial judge’s decision to overturn their convictions after jurors found them guilty.

Nordlicht and Levy were convicted in 2019 of securities fraud and conspiracy for cheating bondholders at the Platinum-controlled Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC to limit Platinum’s losses if Black Elk went bankrupt. They are scheduled to be sentenced in November.

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Prosecutors said the scheme involved diverting tens of millions of dollars from sales in 2014 of Black Elk oil fields after rigging a bondholder vote to ensure that Platinum and not bondholders would be paid first. Black Elk creditors filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against that company in August 2015.

In 2019, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan overturned the convictions.

The judge ordered a new trial for Nordlicht, saying it would be “manifest injustice” to uphold his conviction after Nordlicht went to “great lengths” during the vote to follow rules governing a Platinum affiliate. Cogan granted Levy acquittal or alternatively a new trial, saying prosecutors had not proven he had criminal intent.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2021 reversed the rulings, finding that jurors had seen sufficient evidence to convict the two men. Nordlicht and Levy have argued that the 2nd Circuit’s decision set too high a bar for courts to review verdicts.

Nordlicht and Levy petitioned the Supreme Court to undo the 2nd Circuit decision, arguing that it deepened a disagreement among U.S. appeals courts over whether a judge considering a request for a new trial may “reweigh” evidence heard by a jury.

Prosecutors said the appeal mischaracterized the 2nd Circuit ruling, which they said did not conflict with other courts.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Nominate a rural business for the Countryside Alliance Awards

Nominations are being invited for the Countryside Alliance Awards which support rural businesses, food and farming.

Nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, they celebrate people going the extra mile to ensure that Britain’s traditional skills, enterprises and rural communities flourish.

Oxfordshire County Councillor Liam Walker is calling on the community to nominate businesses.

He said: “We’re so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful countryside on every side of Oxfordshire and to have so many local businesses who work year-round within the rural economy.

“These awards are an excellent way to promote our village shops, country pubs and butchers who source their meat locally.

“We have so many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition, so I’d encourage everyone to get involved and nominate a business today.

“Let’s see if we can bring a British title home and tell a positive story about Oxfordshire’s rural community.”

READ ALSO: Jail for ‘not very good’ burglar who broke into St Edwards School

He cited a report in September published by Rural Services Network, which revealed rural communities have higher domestic and transport energy poverty, and lower wages, which pushes rural areas into a cost-of-living emergency.

“Therefore, it is vital that businesses and entrepreneurs from these areas are recognised as being nominated as businesses will receive regional and national recognition, strengthening the reputation of their brand,” he said.

The categories are the Local Food Award, Village shop/Post Office award, Rural Enterprise Award, Butcher Award, and the Rural Pub Award.

The applicants are judged on criteria including their passion and commitment, sense of community, championing local food and the energy and diversity of their business.

The winners will be announced on May 17, 2023.

To nominate go to: www.countryside-alliance.org/our-work/rural-awards/caawards


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Generation Z listens to arabesque music

Melike Çalkap – ISTANBUL

Generation Z listens to arabesque music

The number of people listening to arabesque music has increased in Türkiye in 2022 while generation Z are the main listeners of this genre, according to the data from Spotify, a digital music streaming platform.


The statistics regarding Türkiye’s listening habits in 2022, shared by Spotify, showed that the rate of listening to arabesque genre increased by 287 percent in January-August this year, compared to the same period of 2019.

Young people between the ages of 18-24 tend to “find and define themselves” in the lyrics of arabesque songs as they are not competent in self-knowledge, Seher Balcı Çelik, a professor from Ondokuz Mayıs University, said.

She also added that the pressure exerted by generation X, who are the parents of this generation, can influence the young people’s keenness on arabesque music, adding that youth suffer from their families’ oppression on their academic life.

Pointing out that the youth sustained their social and academic lives remotely for two years due to the pandemic, Çelik stated that this way of life may result in having difficulty in gaining friends.

“Meanwhile, they were alone with the artificial world in a virtual environment. For this reason, they may have turned to arabesque music that they find close, sincere or intimate,” she explained.


“Arabesque interprets their feelings and thoughts,” Çelik added.

While the most listened arabesque singer of all time is Müslüm Gürses, an icon of Turkish arabesque music, with the song “Nilüfer,” the other musicians in the top five in the list are Ebru Gündeş, Funda Arar, Bergen and Yıldız Tilbe.

Explaining the reason of their interest in this genre, students say, “Arabesque songs composed in the past make you feel the intimacy and sincerity of the communication between people in those years.”

They also state that cinema and TV productions of popular culture using arabesque songs affect the young generation’s interest.

Arabesque songs became prominent on some platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, used actively by young people, a law student pointed out.

“We started to pay more attention to the lyrics than the melody. If we look at the new alternative music genres, we see that the melody is in the foreground, but there are independent lyrics,” she said.

“We do not listen to this anymore. Being able to express what we experienced through the music is more valuable,” she added.


Another arabesque listener from the young generation also said “arabesque music has relaxing and mentally healing impacts on him.”

Arabesque music influenced by Middle Eastern melodies, especially Arab music culture, is a music genre created in Türkiye.

The teams of arabesque songs generally consist of agony, yearning, unrequited love and grief.

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White House’s open-access directive scrambles long-entrenched models

In August, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy released a memo directing all federal agencies to form plans to make all federally funded research publications and data publicly available without embargo by the end of 2025.

Most people who heard the news likely envisioned making a cup of coffee on Jan. 1, 2026, opening up JAMA’s or Nature’s website, and being able to read any article for free.

But that’s almost certainly not going to happen.


The OSTP memo specifies only that new embargo-free manuscripts must be publicly available “in agency-designated repositories” like PubMed Central, not on journal websites. Would-be readers are still going to have to trace new papers to the repository of the agency that funded the work in order to read them.

But key issues around the OSTP guidance remain unresolved. To what extent will journals shift their business models as a result? And what approach will they take to open access? Such issues, experts say, are weighty, with implications not only for scholarly publishing, one of the largest-margin industries in the world, but also for science itself.


Many people who don’t have an affiliation with a research institution — and thus don’t have institutional access to scholarly journal subscriptions — struggle with getting access to the latest paywalled research: nurses and doctors at health care facilities without research centers, people navigating their family members’ or their own diagnoses, or those who are simply curious about the research their tax dollars have funded.

Currently, federally funded research is made available through public repositories but is subject to a 12-month embargo.

“For people who were using these public access repositories — and there are a lot of people doing that already — that embargo meant that they were second-class citizens who were living in the world of 12 months ago, as far as science was concerned,” said Ana Enriquez, scholarly communications outreach librarian and interim head of the department of scholarly communications and copyright at the Pennsylvania State University Libraries.

The situation used to be even more restrictive. But over the past few decades, and increasingly over the last 15 or so years, readers and taxpayers have been gaining greater access to federally funded research. In 2007, a spending bill directed the National Institutes of Health to require all research publications funded by the agency to be publicly available at a maximum of 12 months after publication. Under a 2013 directive from the OSTP, the rest of the federal agencies with research budgets larger than $100 million followed suit in 2016.

While open-access advocates lauded these steps, these efforts didn’t fundamentally change the stability of the scholarly publishing enterprise. The new move by OSTP, experts agree, could have more far-reaching effects.

It’s also not without precedent.

In 2018, a group of largely European funders announced Plan S, an open-access initiative that stipulated that research funded through its supporting organizations would have to be published in an open-access journal or platform or be immediately available in an open-access repository without an embargo, among other stipulations. In addition to the European funding agencies, private funders including the Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed on.

The Plan S policies compelled many publishers to create new open-access journals. However, some publishers merely allowed Plan S authors to have exceptions to their normal rights licensing contracts, which both kept Plan S authors in compliance with their funders and maintained the status quo for the journal’s other authors.

This patchwork approach to funder compliance may have worked up to this point, but the U.S. expansion of public-access policies will undoubtedly affect more research. Whereas only 20% of the authors published in the journal Science were subject to Plan S policies from 2015-2022, for example, 44% of authors over the same time period were funded by U.S. agencies, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the journal.

The result is that journals that have traditionally relied on charging for access to new research will have to find new ways to make up lost revenue. After all, without an embargo, why should institutions continue to subscribe to a journal, especially as “many libraries — probably safe to say all libraries — are under extreme budget pressure,” according to Enriquez.

“I opened a special bottle when I read the [OSTP] press release,” said Robert-Jan Smits, president of Eindhoven University of Technology, who founded Plan S when he was working as the European Commission’s open-access envoy. “A bottle of good French wine!”

Smits pointed out that the taxpayer currently pays for research three times: when the researcher gets a research grant, when the publisher asks a different researcher to peer-review the work for free, and when institutional libraries pay for subscriptions for the journal. The OSTP’s economic analysis, published the same day as the memo, identifies two additional times the taxpayer pays: if the researcher is assessed a fee for publishing their research, and if taxpayers themselves want to access the research.

If the scholarly publishing tides really will turn upon this new guidance, the research world now has an opportunity to figure out whether the Jenga tower of research should simply be reconstructed with different groups of people at the top and bottom as financial winners and losers, or if it’s possible to build a more equitable structure.

Popular alternative models for making research free to access often revolve around preprints, the non-peer-reviewed manuscripts researchers can post to subject-specific repositories like bioRxiv, medRxiv, physics’ original arXiv, and others. Over the last 30 years, fields like physics and math have adopted preprints as part of their publishing workflow, which both rapidly disseminates their results and functions as a stop for community feedback on the way to traditional peer review.

When people ask about making peer-reviewed research free, Richard Sever, co-founder of the preprint servers medRxiv/bioRxiv, says he always asks, “What do you mean by ‘peer-reviewed’?”

“Five years ago, 10 years ago, [people] weren’t really thinking about that,” said Sever. “They basically went, ‘Well, peer review — the stuff that’s in journals.’ But we all know that that’s very varying. The quality of peer review in some places is not as good as peer review in others.”

Sudip Parikh, CEO of AAAS, said that he’s not “a stick in the mud” about what a research journal should be, but also that the question “if you could design the system from scratch, what would you do” is not a “terribly valuable” question because we can’t design the system from scratch.

“We have a $45 billion funding agency for biomedical research sciences, we have a $9 billion funding agency in the National Science Foundation, we have the $99 billion Horizon Europe … there is no starting from scratch,” Parikh said in an interview. “There is ‘what do we do that both evolves and revolutionizes the current system?’ What that requires is a thoughtful process about how do you maintain the things that we care about in this system that have worked? How do we change the things that haven’t worked? I think that’s the better question.”

In an editorial in early September, Parikh and other senior executives at the AAAS warned that one of the most cited open-access publishing models, in which authors pay a fee called an article processing charge that allows their research to be published without a paywall, would create inequities.

Parikh described this approach, often called the “gold” open-access model, as “just plain, outright bad for the enterprise” because it weaves structural inequity into the tapestry of the scientific enterprise.

“If you’re at the top of those heaps, this is easy,” said Parikh. “You can afford that APC [article processing charge]. And so you’re going around going, ‘Well, this is a great system. The system works and everybody can read it now. I’ve made it fair and equitable,’ except for the fact that you’ve suffocated early-career scientists that are where all the diversity of thought, experience, geography sits.”

For more selective journals that publish fewer papers, APCs can vary from $4,500 to publish one article in AAAS’s gold-OA journal Science Advances, to $11,390 to publish gold OA in a hybrid journal like Nature, which has a subscription fee but allows authors to choose to publish their articles open-access for an APC fee.

It’s easy to imagine the kinds of people who wouldn’t have easy access to $10,000 or more to publish their research: early career researchers, researchers from less-well-funded disciplines, researchers from lower-income countries. Carrie Webster, vice president of open access at Springer Nature, the publisher of the Nature family of journals, said there are waivers available for anyone who can demonstrate that they don’t have the funds to pay the APC, though she acknowledged that having to request a waiver in the first place isn’t a perfect solution.

Sever said that, even with waivers, functionally, different institutions and disciplines would functionally end up subsidizing others under the gold OA model. He cited the example of molecular biology, a discipline in which researchers are well-funded and “can easily find $10,000 to pay an APC in Nature.” But in math or sociology or literature, “do you then have a situation where you say, ‘Oh, well, all the molecular biology APCs cost a little bit more because we’re having to give so many waivers to all the people who work in mathematics’?”

In addition to contributing to inequity, Sever also pointed out that instead of incentivizing publishers to be selective about which papers they accept so they can keep costs low, an APC-driven publishing economy can incentivize “low-touch” open-access journals that process as many articles as possible since they are receiving a fee for each one.

Webster pushed back against the idea that “pay-to-play” vanity or so-called predatory publishing could gain popularity. “If you publish rubbish, the community will see it. You will be named and shamed and the papers could be discredited and withdrawn,” she said. “You could only do it for a very short period of time, because then everyone would know that this journal is not a credible place. It would get shut down or just get blacklisted, so it wouldn’t be possible.”

In an interview, Jedidah Isler, OSTP principal assistant director for science and society, emphasized that the agency’s guidance does not prescribe a publishing model. Rather than mandate open access publishing where papers are freely available from the publisher, the public access policy outlined in the memo and past federal guidance can be fulfilled through something that looks closer to what is known as the “green” OA model, wherein researchers are allowed to post the peer-reviewed, accepted manuscript to a repository for public access (a “post-print” or “author accepted manuscript”). In this model, the open repository version satisfies any public access requirements without levying any additional fees.

While publications like Science and Nature have editorial and journalistic content that they could potentially count on to drive subscriptions in a green OA model, that’s not the case for the majority of journals. Because only the accepted version of the manuscript is allowed to go onto repositories under a green OA route, not the fully typeset publisher’s version, researchers’ desire for the traditional, fully published version of a manuscript may drive subscriptions for a time. The publisher’s version of a paper is also simply much easier to access, and the barrier to finding the freely available version might prevent people with institutional subscriptions from regularly going to the publicly accessible versions of papers.

But Enriquez, of the Penn State library, said that long term, the internet will be easier to search. Tools like Unpaywall and Open Access Button are already making it easier to find the legal open-access versions of articles. Journals won’t be able to rely on the fact that their paywalled version of a paper is easiest to access for long, especially when libraries are under tremendous pressure to reduce their budgets.

Besides the gold and green OA models, other approaches include “transformational” agreements, or “read and publish” agreements, whereby a library agrees to pay a sum to a publishers in exchange for rights to read their content and have their institution’s researchers publish open-access without an extra APC. But Enriquez said that transformational agreements are supposed to be transitional and eventually unnecessary as publishing shifts to fully open access, though that transition has been extremely slow.

Many sources said it’s too soon to tell what’s going to happen without the official guidance from U.S. research agencies. The issues that need to be addressed are myriad. Will the guidance be aligned across agencies, or perhaps consistent internationally with other open-access movements like Plan S? Since the memo also encompasses research data, how will “research data” be defined (the final, cleaned spreadsheets, or the raw data exported from the microscope)?

Though the OSTP memo is agnostic as to publishers’ business models, will Congress or funding agencies allot extra financial support for author APCs, larger publishing agreements, or for supporting repository infrastructure?

The NIH has a history of leading U.S. research policies and has noted in the past a commitment to “shift[ing] the culture of research” around open data. Along with reassurances that the the 22 federal agencies in the OSTP’s Subcommittee on Open Science are having conversations around what policies federal agencies should set, there are indications that the NIH and other agencies are trying to produce policies that are functional for science in the long term, not just ones that fulfill current requirements.

“The future of open science, the seamless integration of data and information flow is a transformative future that we’re trying to get to at the end of the day,” said Lyric Jorgenson, the acting associate director for science policy at the National Institutes of Health. “We want to make sure all these steps that we’re taking aren’t fulfilling a requirement as much as they are really taking actual steps towards this new future that we’re trying to envision together.”

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Sriti Jha enters dance reality show as wildcard contestant

Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 10 is back after five years on the Indian national television and the dance reality show is ranking higher on the TRP charts due to great performances from the contestants and the entertaining episodes judged by Karan Johar, Madhuri Dixit, and Nora Fatehi.

After the Kundali Bhagya actor Dheeraj Dhoopar quit Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 10 owing to health reasons, the Kumkum Bhagya actress Sriti Jha will enter the dance-based reality show as a wildcard contestant. Her promo was shared by Colors TV on their Instagram handle on Sunday, October 2 with the caption, “Wild card entry ke saath karne wali hai Sriti Jha apna Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa ka safar shuru!”.

In the promo video, Sriti Jha, who made her acting debut in Disney India’s musical teen drama Dhoom Machao Dhoom in 2007, can be seen in a beautiful saree dancing to the tune of Manike Mage Hithe remake, which has been featured in the upcoming comedy film Thank God.

Before the dancing reality show, Sriti was most recently seen in the stunt-based reality show Khatron Ke Khiladi 12 hosted by Rohit Shetty. The actress had been eliminated in the eighth week, but returned as a wildcard contestant there too in the tenth week but lost out to Faisal Shaikh in the elimination task and couldn’t continue her journey.

Faisal Shaikh, who ended up as the first runner-up of Khatron Ke Khiladi 12 losing out to choreographer Tushar Kalia in the finale task, is also participating in Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 10 from the first episode itself, along with another KKK12 contestant Rubina Dilaik, who had also won Bigg Boss 14.

READ | Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 10: Shilpa Shinde, Dheeraj Dhoopar, Rubina Dilaik – know WHOPPING fees charged by celebs

The Jamai Raja actress will join other popular contestants such as Amruta Khanvilkar, Nia Sharma, Niti Taylor, Paras Kalnawat, and Shilpa Shinde among others, in the dance reality show hosted by Maniesh Paul.

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a virtual meeting about mineral supply chains and clean energy manufacturing in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex February 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, President Biden spoke about the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

POLITICO Playbook: Why the White House isn’t sweating GOP probes

With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

THIS WEEK — Monday: Supreme Court opens its 2022-23 term. President JOE BIDEN heads to Puerto Rico to survey hurricane damage … Tuesday: MAGGIE HABERMAN’s “Confidence Man” is released. Yom Kippur starts at sundown. … Wednesday: Kansas gubernatorial debate between Gov. LAURA KELLY and AG DEREK SCHMIDT. … Thursday: Arizona Senate debate between BLAKE MASTERS and Sen. MARK KELLY. Friday: September jobs figures released. North Carolina Senate debate between Rep. TED BUDD and CHERI BEASLEY.

BREAKING OVERNIGHT — “The British government has dropped plans to cut income tax for top earners, part of a package of unfunded cuts that sparked turmoil on financial markets and sent the pound to record lows. … ‘We get it, and we have listened,’ [Chancellor KWASI KWARTENG] said in a statement.” More from AP

BOLSONARO SURVIVES — Brazil’s closely watched presidential election heads to an Oct. 30 runoff after leftist former president LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA could muster no better than 48.1% against right-wing incumbent JAIR BOLSONARO, who earned 43.5%. “The tightness of the result came as a surprise, since pre-election polls had given da Silva a commanding lead,” the AP reports, quoting a Sao Paulo political science professor: “It is too soon to go too deep, but this election shows Bolsonaro’s victory in 2018 was not a hiccup.”

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK — Republicans are openly musing about their plans to aggressively investigate Biden’s administration, his family and everything else in between should they manage to win a congressional majority next month. Yet aides and allies of the president aren’t sweating it completely, Eugene, Jonathan Lemire and Jordain Carney write this morning.

To be clear, no one in the Biden orbit is itching for subpoenas. Congressional probes eat up White House staff time and resources, and they can push presidential priorities out of lots of news cycles.

But there is a growing confidence both in and outside the White House that the Republicans who are readying a smorgasbord of investigations will end up overreaching and that the probes will ultimately boomerang to Democrats’ political benefit.

One White House ally put it like this: “It might make the base feel good, and it’s going to give MATT GAETZ [(R-Fla.)] and MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE [(R-Ga.)] something awesome to say on their livestream[s], but it’s not going to be what convinces suburban women in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.”

Key GOP chairs-in-waiting have been prepping for months already. They are coordinating with party leaders, including House Minority Leader KEVIN McCARTHY, about how it will all work.

High on the Republican punch list:

1. A microscopic look into the business dealings of HUNTER BIDEN;

2. Multi-prong investigations into Biden’s border policy, which could morph into an impeachment of DHS Secretary ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS;

3. A probe of the coronavirus’ origins, with a focus on ANTHONY FAUCI’s role in approving controversial research programs;

4. A multi-committee dive into the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; and

5. A sweeping dig into the Justice Department and FBI, led by potential House Judiciary Chair JIM JORDAN (R-Ohio).

“We’ve got a lot of opportunities. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Rep. JAMES COMER (R-Ky.), who is in line to lead the House Oversight Committee.

The White House has been readying for a potential GOP inquisition since 2020. But the efforts have accelerated since veteran D.C. lawyer DICK SAUBER joined the administration in May as special counsel focusing on oversight, with IAN SAMS managing comms. Sauber’s team is likely to grow once a clearer picture of the political landscape emerges after the midterms.

The frontline for any Democratic effort to discredit the GOP investigations, however, will be on Capitol Hill, and several prominent House Democrats are expected to take on starring roles, including Reps. JAMIE RASKIN (D-Md.), GERRY CONNOLLY (D-Va.), ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-N.Y.) and HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-N.Y.).

Democrats are ready to deploy one potent defense against the Hunter Biden attacks: DONALD TRUMP’s decisions to place his closest family members in prominent administration positions.

“[Republicans] spent four years defending Donald Trump making his daughter and son-in-law senior White House officials as they did hundreds of millions of dollars in international business,” one senior Democrat said.

THE PLAYBOOK BOOK CLUB Q&A — The long-awaited 600-plus-page opus from Maggie Haberman, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” ($32), comes out on Tuesday.

No reporter has lived rent-free in Trump’s head longer than Haberman. The New York Times reporter (and former POLITICO) told Eugene the main question she wanted to answer was, “Who is this person?” She added: “I wanted to write a book explaining why it was impossible to understand who he is without knowing where he comes from and how much that informed him. … This is the first book that grapples with the pre-presidency and the presidency and into the post-presidency and tries to show the continuity throughout.”

The book, she said, attempts to avoid palace intrigue: “I tried to keep the lens on him throughout, because what often happened covering him, in my experience, was that he would sort of disappear behind his aides. Their fights with each other would end up dominating, and I really tried to avoid getting into that.”

Haberman bets Trump runs in 2024: “The second he says he’s not, he’s irrelevant. Everyone I speak to around him says that they believe he’s going to run. And, not all of them, but many of them say his heart isn’t quite in it. Now, those two things are not mutually exclusive. You can run and have your heart not be in it. However, we have seen with other people who run when their heart isn’t in it, voters actually can tell you it has an impact on how you run.”

But she has no idea how it all ends: “This is an unprecedented situation,” she said, noting the slew of federal and state investigations he faces, his continued refusal to acknowledge his 2020 loss, and his continued grip on the GOP. “I just don’t know what any of this looks like. It is enormously destabilizing, what we’re talking about.”

The one question she didn’t ask Trump: “I wish I had asked him if he had ever considered a White House taping system. I don’t know how he would have answered it. I don’t even know that it would have been a real answer. But whatever he said would have been interesting.”

Good Monday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

STORM CHASER — Twice this week, Biden will survey hurricane-ravaged areas. Today, he’s headed to Puerto Rico, where more than 100,000 people are still without power after Hurricane Fiona swept through the island territory last month.

A White House official says Biden says “will announce more than $60 million in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to shore up levees, strengthen flood walls, and create a new flood warning system to help Puerto Rico become better prepared for future storms.”

On Wednesday, he’ll head to Florida after Hurricane Ian, where he’s likely to meet with Florida Gov. (and possible 2024 rival) RON DeSANTIS.

Rural voters were the locomotive that powered the Trump train, and their ongoing abandonment of the Democratic Party has been a major factor in America’s recent political realignment. But there are signs that the GOP’s new electoral bedrock might be eroding, at least slightly.

Our colleagues Holly Otterbein and Jessica Piper report that turnout numbers from this summer’s special elections suggest that rural voters may be growing less enthused vis-a-vis those residing in urban and suburban counties. The June Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion appears to be a pivot point.

By the numbers: “In four congressional special elections that have been held since June to fill vacant House seats — in Nebraska, Minnesota and New York — the portion of registered voters who cast ballots averaged 27 percent in suburban and urban counties, compared to 22 percent in rural counties, according to the analysis. Ahead of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe, those three groups had turnout numbers similar to each other.”

Jessica tells Playbook that strategists have a grab bag of theories for the shift. Among Democrats, “Some said it was the anti-abortion movement going to sleep after Roe v. Wade was struck down, while others said it was pro-abortion rights voters who typically support Republicans being turned off and not coming to the polls.”

Holly adds that some Republicans are blaming the party’s messaging for any slippage in the special elections. “Trump’s frequent focus on immigration was something that motivated his base,” she said. “They believe the party can pivot to reverse its fortunes for the midterms.”


TAPPING INTO TRUMP COUNTRY —AP’s Lisa Mascaro reports from Monongahela, Pa., an historic town where the House GOP recently rolled out its midterm agenda, Trump-Pence signs still hang around and DOUG MASTRIANO is considered a “folk hero.” “The enthusiasm for Donald Trump’s unique brand of nationalist populism has cut into traditional Democratic strongholds like Monongahela, about 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, where brick storefronts and a Slovak fellowship hall dot Main Street and church bells mark the hours of the day,” she writes. “Republicans are counting on political nostalgia for the Trump era as they battle Democrats this fall in Pennsylvania in races for governor, the U.S. Senate and control of Congress.”

GOING TO THE DARK SIDE — As Election Day creeps ever closer, “many Democrats have largely settled on a campaign message, and it’s not one that simply emphasizes their accomplishments,” WaPo’s Yasmeen Abutaleb reports. “Instead, it amounts to a stark warning: If Republicans take power, they will establish a dystopia that cripples democracy and eviscerates abortion rights and other freedoms.”

WHAT REPUBLICANS DON’T WANT TO DISCUSS — After years of deploying the Affordable Care Act as a weapon against Democrats, Republicans seem to be moving on from the issue, NBC’s Sahil Kapur writes. “None of the Republican Senate nominees running in eight key battleground states have called for unwinding the ACA on their campaign websites, according to an NBC News review. The candidates scarcely mention the 2010 law or health insurance policy in general. And in interviews on Capitol Hill, key GOP lawmakers said the desire for repeal has faded.”

PREPARING FOR THE WORST — “Election officials brace for confrontational poll watchers,” by AP’s Hannah Schoenbaum and Nicholas Riccardi


DEMS’ DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDE — Nevada Democrats are starting to worry that their nightmare scenario may come true: “At the doors, on the phones and on the streets, Latinos are threatening to stay home. And that is despite the presence of the first-ever Latina elected to the U.S. Senate, CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, at the top of the ballot,” NBC’s Natasha Korecki reports from Las Vegas. “In one of the most competitive battleground states in the country, one where Joe Biden won by a little more than 33,000 votes — no group could hold more sway over how the state swings than Latinos, who make up one in five midterm voters in Nevada, according to estimates from both parties.”


PUSHING THEIR CHIPS IN — House Democrats across the country are going all in on abortion, staking their majority on the hunch that their messaging will land in nearly every race in every state. “Democratic candidates, their party’s campaign arm and allied super PACs have spent nearly $18 million to air more than 100 abortion-centered broadcast TV ads in some four dozen battleground seats as of the end of September, according to a POLITICO analysis of data from AdImpact,” Ally Mutnick and Sarah Ferris report. “That sum is already three times more than what Democrats spent on abortion ads during the entire 2018 general election.”

TAKE ME HOME, HAMPTON ROADS — “Virginia’s 2nd district: Candidates spar over abortion, rising costs in one of the nation’s most competitive House races,” by CNN’s Dana Bash and Abbie Sharpe


UP FOR DEBATE — Nevada Democratic Gov. STEVE SISOLAK and Republican challenger JOE LOMBARDO squared off in the first general election debate in the state — and likely the only one, the Nevada Independent’s Jacob Solis and Tabitha Mueller write. “The pair sparred on a range of issues, debating the governor’s performance on COVID response, the economy and education, while Sisolak pressed Lombardo over his record as sheriff, a recent increase in crime and his position on abortion.”


California: Republican RICK CARUSO is gaining on Democratic Rep. KAREN BASS in the Los Angeles mayoral race, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll: Among registered voters, Bass leads Caruso, 34% to 31% — though Bass’ lead jumps to 46% to 31% among likely voters. More from the L.A. Times



THEY’RE BACK — The Supreme Court returns to the bench today, a return that is marked mostly by tension and is perhaps unlike any other in the history of the institution. “The normally relaxed season for heading to vacation homes and teaching abroad was marked by the most intense security footing ever for the justices, along with uncommonly public internecine strife among the court’s members,” Josh Gerstein writes. “The stresses of the past year remain evident and won’t be erased simply by the justices throwing themselves back into their work or by welcoming their newest colleague, Justice KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, as they did last week.”


THE VIEW FROM KYIV — “Zelensky hails advances as open recriminations intensify in Russian media,” by WaPo’s Missy Ryan, Robyn Dixon and Serhiy Morgunov

TURNING TIDE — “As Russian Troops Flee Lyman, Ukrainians Rejoice—and Help Themselves to Russian Supplies,” by WSJ’s Yaroslav Trofimov

ON THE GROUND — “Ukrainian Troops Hunt Demoralized Russian Stragglers in Seized City,” by NYT’s Andrew Kramer, Michael Schwirtz and Norimitsu Onishi


YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH SOCIAL — Trump’s effort to take his social media startup public is sputtering as it faces a key deadline today. “The hedge funds, trading firms and other major backers are questioning whether the financial riches that first attracted them to the transaction are still strong enough to hold their interest in a deal fraught with troubles, according to four investors who asked not to be named,” Declan Harty reports. “Negotiations have been ongoing as some investors seek bigger potential profits in exchange for following through on commitments to put hundreds of millions of dollars into the venture, which planned a public stock exchange listing through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.”

TOP-ED — The WSJ Editorial Board writes: “Trump’s ‘Death Wish’ Rhetoric”: “The ‘death wish’ rhetoric is ugly even by Mr. Trump’s standards and deserves to be condemned. Mr. Trump’s apologists claim he merely meant Mr. McConnell has a political death wish, but that isn’t what he wrote. It’s all too easy to imagine some fanatic taking Mr. Trump seriously and literally, and attempting to kill Mr. McConnell.”


ENGINE TROUBLE — Biden’s push to update the use of electric-powered vehicles among the federal fleet is slow on the start, AP’s Hope Yen, Matthew Daly and David Sharp report. “The White House frequently describes the 2027 timeline as on track. But the General Services Administration, the agency that purchases two-thirds of the 656,000-vehicle federal fleet, says there are no guarantees. Then there is the U.S. Postal Service, which owns the remaining one-third of the federal fleet. After initially balking and facing lawsuits, the agency now says that half of its initial purchase of 50,000 next-generation vehicles will be powered by electricity.”


HEADS UP — “OPEC Plus Considering Major Production Cut to Prop Up Oil Prices,” by NYT’s Stanley Reed

“Allies aim for risky Russian oil price cap as winter nears,” by AP’s Fatima Hussein


THE VIEW FROM WALL STREET — “After Punishing Year for Stocks, Investors Aren’t Betting on Post-Midterm Rally,” by WSJ’s Hannah Miao


JUST POSTED — “They Legitimized the Myth of a Stolen Election — and Reaped the Rewards,” by NYT’s Steve Eder, David D. Kirkpatrick and Mike McIntire


HURRICANE IAN LATEST — “Historic search-and-rescue operation underway as Ian’s death toll reaches 87,” by NBC’s Mithil Aggarwal and Julianne McShane

“Ian is long gone but water keeps rising in central Florida,” by AP’s Mike Schneider

“‘I Did All I Could’: As Floodwaters Rose, She Fought to Save Her Disabled Brothers,” by NYT’s Corina Knoll

THE MIGRANT FLIGHTS — NYT’s Edgar Sandoval, Miriam Jordan, Patricia Mazzei and J. David Goodman track down the details on “Perla,” the woman who helped corral Venezuelan migrants onto the planes headed for Martha’s Vineyard. PERLA HUERTA, “a former combat medic and counterintelligence agent, was discharged last month after two decades in the U.S. Army that included several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military records,” they report.

“‘We were tricked in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico — and then in the United States,’ said CARLOS GUANAGUANAY, 25, who was approached by the woman called Perla while strolling the aisles of a supermarket near a shelter where he had been staying in San Antonio.”

Plus, this scene: Upon arrival in Martha’s Vineyard, “several migrants said in interviews, they were taken in vans that had been waiting for them and deposited near a community center, where they were told to knock on the door. The woman who answered had no idea who they were and did not speak Spanish.

“‘When they opened up their phones and put on Google Maps to see where they were and found out that they were surrounded entirely by water — that was terrifying,’ said State Representative DYLAN FERNANDES of Massachusetts, a Democrat, who met some of the migrants. Some tried, in vain, to find a bridge.”

THE CLASSROOM CRISIS — “An American education,” by WaPo’s Eli Saslow: “Amid a historic U.S. teacher shortage, a ‘Most Outstanding Teacher’ from the Philippines tries to help save a struggling school in rural Arizona.”

Madison Cawthorn’s campaign merch made its way to a North Carolina Goodwill.

Ron Klain is now the longest-serving first chief of staff for a Democratic president.

Harry Stylesgave a shoutout to Beto O’Rourke at his show in Austin, where O’Rourke was in attendance.

IN MEMORIAM — “Judge Laurence Silberman Shaped Second Amendment Jurisprudence,” by WSJ’s Jess Bravin, James Hagerty and Jan Wolfe: “Laurence Silberman, an influential conservative during a long career as an appeals court judge and federal government official, died Sunday at his home in Washington, D.C., 10 days before his 87th birthday. Judge Silberman died of natural causes, his son, Robert Silberman, said. … One of the country’s most influential jurists, Judge Silberman shaped Second Amendment jurisprudence and advocated for a philosophy of ‘judicial restraint,’ an approach that emphasizes the limited role of the judiciary in the U.S. constitutional system.”

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Chasten Buttigieg is joining KNP Communications as a senior consultant.

MEDIA MOVE — Lauren Peller is now a digital journalist covering Congress for ABC. She previously was a broadcast associate for CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

WHITE HOUSE ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Alex DeMots is now deputy to White House staff secretary and senior adviser Neera Tanden. He was most recently general counsel at the Center for American Progress.

TRANSITIONS — Angelena Bradfield is now head of policy and government relations at the Financial Technology Association. She most recently was SVP for AML/BSA, sanctions and privacy at the Bank Policy Institute. … Mariel Jorgensen is now senior LA for Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). She previously was legislative director for Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). … Craig Wheeler is now comms director for Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio). He previously was comms director for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.). … Kevin McColaugh is now director of government affairs at 6K Inc. He previously was deputy chief of staff for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

OUT AND ABOUT — The Black Women’s Congressional Alliance honored Black women communicators, chaired by Keenan Austin Reed, at the Eaton Hotel on Sunday night, where Eva McKend, Erica Loewe, Earnestine Dawson, Bernadine Stallings, Kirsten Allen and Rykia Dorsey Craig were honored. SPOTTED: Amanda Finney, Hope Goins, Joyce Kazadi, Raven Reeder, Patrice Stanley, Erica Johnson-Creamer, Philip Wallace, Faith Leach, Vince Evans, Wendy Hamilton, Erin Wilson, Nick Johnson and Chasseny Lewis. Pic

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Jessica Henrichs, deputy comms director for the House Ways and Means Committee, and William Henrichs, a vendor relationship manager at Stand Together, recently welcomed Scott David Henrichs. Pic Another pic

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) … Rev. Al Sharpton … Tusk Strategies’ Cristóbal Alex … Rolling Stone’s Asawin Suebsaeng … AP’s Darlene Superville and Verena Dobnik … CNN’s Maegan Vazquez … The Daily Beast’s Ursula Perano … Targeted Victory’s Logan Dobson … Backstory Strategies’ J. ToscanoJonathan Lamy of Live Nation … Pam Gilbert … Dewey Square Group’s Katie WhelanSally Painter of Blue Star Strategies … Joshua Chaffee … Insider’s Kimberly LeonardTim Gowa … former Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) … former Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), Dave Obey (D-Wis.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Charlie Melançon (D-La.) … Eric Reller Mark HamrickEric WolffMichael Medved … former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley Sarah Feinberg Bradley TuskRuben Gonzales of the White House

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected] or text us at 202-556-3307. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike DeBonis, deputy editor Zack Stanton and producers Setota Hailemariam and Bethany Irvine.

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UAE witnesses surge in British business setups

The UAE, with a 23% increase in British setups year on year, is witnessing a surge in market entry of new British business, according to GCC-based corporate services provider CBD Corporate Services.


The most recent economic forecast from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) predicts that the economy will plunge into recession before the end of 2022, with inflation spiking to a staggering 14%. This sharp downturn will be driven by a combination of factors including weakening consumer demand and currency, rise in costs and slowing growth in global trade.


With the UAE’s stability, low taxes, and booming economy, British investors are increasingly looking to the UAE to incorporate their business to hedge their risk.


Business-friendly environment

Wayne Merrick, Managing Director of CBD Corporate Services commented that British investors are attracted to the UAE’s business-friendly environment and its pro-business policies.


“The UAE government has been making several progressive and strategic changes in this past year. This includes the introduction long term visa categories, full foreign ownership, changes to the legislation and openness to foreign investment.


As a result, investors are moving their business to the UAE in an effort to recession-proof their business expansion.”


Expanding to UAE

Tom Smith, Managing Director of British-based digital services agency Complete Online and CBD client credits his UAE business expansion on the state of the British economy as well as the opportunity in his respective sector in Dubai.


“We chose to expand to the UAE after seeing a gap in the market for a British, full-service marketing agency that offers the complete package. After already partnering with other agencies over in Dubai to deliver projects, we thought it was the right time to get everything setup properly over here.


“Given the current economy in the UK, it has only become more apparent that we need to diversify the markets in which we are working in,” explained Smith.


CBD also noted an increase in interest in the financial zone of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).


“We’re seeing a number of ADGM incorporations that are focused on ringfencing assets, protecting wealth and legacy continuation, given the ease of setting up, stringent compliance policies and the fact that it is a common law jurisdiction,” Merrick commented.– TradeArabia News Service


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OneRepublic to headline the Amplified music festival in Abu Dhabi

While the festival will kick off with the Grammy-nominated OneRepublic, whose new single ‘I Ain’t Worried,’ featured in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, the next two days will also attract popular rock bands.

On November 12, Ministry of Sound Disco will take over with the live renditions of ‘Music Sounds Better With You, ‘One More Time, and ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’.

The ultimate night will see alternative pop group CAS bring down the house.

CAS skyrocketed to fame through word-of-mouth, racking up millions of views on YouTube. The debut single, ‘Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby,’ has more than 70 million streams and is featured in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Tickets costing Dh149 and more will be available on Livenation.me starting noon today.

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