“The current pharmacy model is not sustainable” Walgreens to close thousands of locations by 2027


Important Takeaways:

  • Walgreens Is Closing Thousands of Stores by 2027
  • Shoppers, it may be time to find a new pharmacy. Walgreens is closing up to a quarter of its 8,600 stores within the United States.
  • Walgreens CEO Tim Wentworth recently explained to the Wall Street Journal on June 27 that the closures would focus on locations that aren’t profitable, too close to each other or stores struggling with theft.
  • It also follows a declining trend of picking up prescriptions in person, with many people opting to fill their scripts online. “The current pharmacy model is not sustainable,” Wentworth told investors, according to CNN’s reporting. Stores like CVS (which plans to close pharmacies in select Targets) and Rite Aid have similarly experienced declining profits because of lower reimbursement rates for prescription drugs.
  • “Our customers have become increasingly selective and price sensitive in their purchases,” Wentworth told the Associated Press

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Thieves target food supply chain


Important Takeaways:

  • Food supply chain thefts rise in 2023, as price increases and inflation continue to have significant effect
  • Food continues to be the commodity most at risk of theft in the global supply chain and now accounts for a third of all hijacking incidents – up 29% on 2022. Amidst the ongoing impact of inflation globally, these data suggest thieves are increasingly targeting basic goods that have experienced significant price increases.
  • Theft of agricultural food products has also risen to 10% and now accounts for one in ten hijacking incidents.
  • Notable incidents from 2023 include one involving the theft of more than 52 tons of olive oil in Greece.

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If they steal it, stop carrying it. That’s what stores are doing to deter theft


Important Takeaways:

  • Dollar Tree taking ‘very defensive approach’ to shoplifting, CEO says
  • Other companies such as Walmart and Target have raised the alarm on shoplifting and organized retail crime in recent weeks.
  • The 2022 edition of the annual retail security survey from the National Retail Federation found that total losses from shrink increased roughly 4% in 2021, coming in at $94.5 billion. The survey, which came out in mid-September, linked the losses “primarily” to external theft like organized retail crime.
  • Dollar Tree CEO says stores will discontinue carrying items they can’t keep on shelves due to theft

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California to reinstate Zero Bail policy: Grab your popcorn and let’s all watch

Mathew 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

Important Takeaways:

  • 50 Cent suggests Los Angeles is doomed after city reinstates no-bail policy: ‘Watch how bad it gets’
  • Curtis James Jackson III, better known as 50 Cent, denounced Los Angeles’ recent decision to reinstate its zero-bail policy, noting the city will be adversely impacted.
  • The affluent musician and self-described “born-again Christian” shared a KTTV-TV report to Instagram Thursday, which detailed the immediate consequences of the May reinstatement of the zero-bail policy.
  • Los Angeles County Deputy DA John McKinney can be heard in the shared report noting that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will no longer “detain people for crimes such as theft, shoplifting, drug use, vandalism, battery, and a whole host of other non-serious, nonviolent crimes that affect the quality of life for people here in Los Angeles.”
  • Additionally, McKinney indicated many suspected criminals would be released without posting bail.
  • 50 Cent captioned the post, “LA is finished,” adding, “Watch how bad it gets out there.”
  • A study published earlier this year comparing California repeat offenders who posted bail with those kicked loose without posting bail indicated that those in the latter camp reoffended more often, reoffended sooner after release, and committed 200 times more violent crimes, reported Fox News Digital.
  • Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, whose office published the study, concluded that “zero bail is a completely failed policy. … It’s just going to make everything more dangerous.”

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USPS workers being robbed at the mail box as robberies have quadrupled over a decade

USPS Letter Carrier

Mathew 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘Outraged’ letter carriers demand action to stop robberies
  • Postal carriers have more worries than snow, rain or the gloom of night keeping them from their appointed rounds. They’re increasingly being robbed, often at gunpoint, from Maine to California.
  • Robberies of postal carriers have exploded, surging 78% to nearly 500 in 2022, according to data provided by U.S. Postal Inspection Service to The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • The robberies have more than quadrupled over a decade, the data show. Weapons were used in most of the 496 robberies, injuring 31 postal carriers, last year. One, Milwaukee letter carrier Aundre Cross, was shot to death, leading to three arrests.
  • Many of these criminals are becoming more sophisticated and organized. Some are targeting the special keys that carriers use to access collection boxes and to deliver mail in apartment buildings.
  • The Postal Service leadership is preparing to announce more measures to address the problem, USPS spokesperson Dave Partenheimer said.
  • Already, the service is working to enhance collection box key and lock technology; implement dual authentication to make keys less attractive targets for criminals; and “harden” blue collection boxes to prevent tampering, while continuing to work closely with other law enforcement agencies to bring the criminals to justice, Partenheimer said.
  • Theft of mail carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, and possession, concealment or disposal of property carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, Martel said. Assault carries a sentence of up to 10 years for a first offense, and up to 25 years for a subsequent offense, he said.
  • “We will continue to adapt to evolving security threats and implement expanded measures to safeguard our employees and preserve the security of the mail that our customers expect and deserve,” Partenheimer said.

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Explainer: What’s at stake in U.S.-China trade talks

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, second from left, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, third from left, and Chinese Vice Premier and lead trade negotiator Liu He, second from right, pose for a photo before the opening session of trade negotiations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are in Beijing this week as Chinese and American negotiators try to hammer out a trade deal to ease a trade war and avert an increase in U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled for March 2.

The governments of the world’s two largest economies have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle for months as Washington presses Beijing to address long-standing concerns over Chinese practices and policies around industrial subsidies, market access and intellectual property rights protections.

Here is a look at the key issues in the talks and their implications:


After years of steadily rising U.S. trade deficits with China and U.S. complaints that Beijing has systematically obtained American intellectual property and trade secrets through coercion and outright theft, the Trump administration last year demanded fundamental changes to China’s economic model to allow U.S. companies to compete on a more level playing field. These include an end to policies that Washington claims effectively force U.S. companies to transfer their technologies to Chinese partners and full protection for American intellectual property rights.


At the most basic level, a dominant position in future high-technology industries, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. China is determined to upgrade its industrial base in 10 strategic sectors by 2025, including aerospace, robotics, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and new-energy vehicles. U.S. officials say they do not have a problem with China moving up the technology ladder, but they do not want it to happen with stolen or unfairly obtained American know-how. They argue that China’s massive support for state-owned enterprises is leading to overproduction, making it hard for U.S. companies to compete on a market-driven basis.


Chinese officials generally view the U.S. actions as a broad effort to thwart the Asian country’s inevitable rise to a dominant position in the global economy. They deny that China requires or coerces technology transfers, saying that any such actions are commercial transactions between American and Chinese firms. At the same time, China is looking to make a deal with President Donald Trump to ease U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods and to directly reduce the trade imbalance between the world’s two largest economies through increased purchases of U.S. goods, including soybeans and energy. Beijing has also taken some steps to open up to more imports, including lowering tariffs on imported cars and allowing foreign companies in some sectors to own a majority of their operations in China.


Trump has imposed punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of imported goods from China so far – a 25 percent duty on $50 billion worth of machinery, semiconductors and other technology-related products, and 10 percent tariffs on a broader, $200 billion range of goods that includes many chemicals, building materials, furniture and some consumer electronics. Thus far, Trump has spared many consumer goods, including cellphones, computers, clothing and footwear from tariffs. But if no deal is reached by March 2, the United States is scheduled to raise tariffs on the $200 billion in goods from China to 25 percent from 10 percent. Trump said on Wednesday that a delay was possible.


Yes. China has imposed tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods, including soybeans, beef, pork, seafood, whiskey, ethanol and motor vehicles. Beijing also has imposed tariffs of 5 percent to 10 percent on another $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, including liquefied natural gas, chemicals, frozen vegetables and food ingredients. So far, Beijing has spared imports of U.S. commercial aircraft largely made by Boeing Co. Since Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to pursue the current round of talks, China has also suspended tariffs on U.S.-made autos and has resumed some purchases of U.S. soybeans.


China has pledged to make its industrial subsidy programs compliant with World Trade Organization rules and nondistortive to markets, but has offered no details on how it will achieve this, sources told Reuters. It’s unclear if that will be enough to satisfy U.S. negotiators, but that indicates China may be willing to address those American concerns.

The two sides seemed far apart on industrial subsidies and forced technology transfer when they met in late January, though they indicated some progress had been made around intellectual property rights issues.

A key U.S. demand is creating a mechanism for regular reviews of China’s progress on following through on any reform pledges that it makes, a plan that would maintain a perpetual threat of U.S. tariffs.

China has also offered to make purchases of over $1 trillion worth of goods over the next six years, including of agricultural and energy products as well as industrial goods.


Trump has been optimistic about a deal, saying on Wednesday that the talks were going “very well”. But he indicated in his State of the Union address on Feb. 5 that big spending by China on American goods would not be enough for a deal. Any new trade deal with China “must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit and protect American jobs,” he said in the address.

The president’s advisers say he will not soften his demands that China make structural reforms on intellectual property and related issues. The United States rebuffed some initial offers by China last spring to increase purchases of U.S. goods, choosing instead to proceed with tariffs.


The two sides could report some progress toward a deal and may extend the March 2 deadline to keep negotiating, as often happened during talks last year to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. A stalemate on core structural issues would be viewed as a negative sign, and investors would brace for higher tariffs. Trade negotiations often go down to the wire, so a final outcome is not likely before the end of February, and any agreement will need the approval of Trump and Xi. The two presidents have no meeting planned before the March deadline.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Additional reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Four hospitalized, police eye more arrests after Portland clashes

Protesters of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer clash with protesters from anti-fascist groups during a demonstration in Portland, Oregon, U.S. June 30, 2018, in this still image taken from video from obtained from social media. MANDATORY CREDIT. Bryan Colombo/via REUTERS

By Miesha Miller

(Reuters) – Clashes between anti-fascist and right-wing militants in Portland, Oregon on Saturday sent four people to the hospital including a police officer and led to at least four arrests, authorities said.

Police seized knives, clubs and pepper spray after running battles between members of the right-wing Patriot Prayer group and counterprotesters who had initially faced off at a downtown park. Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson is running for the U.S. Senate.

“We seized numerous weapons early on, and interceded and separated people when necessary,” Portland Deputy Police Chief Bob Day said in a statement late on Saturday.

“However, once projectiles, such as fireworks, eggs, rocks, bottles and construction equipment were thrown and people were injured, we ordered people to disperse,” Day said.

Officers used rubber ball grenades, pepper spray and pepper balls to clear the crowds from streets around a downtown park, police said.

Four people were taken to local hospitals, one of whom suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, police said. One officer suffered what was described as a non-serious injury from being hit by a projectile.

Police said more arrests may follow on charges including disorderly conduct, assault, theft, robbery and reckless burning after detectives review video of Saturday’s confrontations.

The four people arrested on Saturday were taken into custody in connection with criminal investigations that began before Saturday’s protests, police said.

(Reporting by Miesha Miller in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Paul Simao)

Ex-U.S. NSA employee pleads guilty to taking classified documents

Ex-U.S. NSA employee pleads guilty to taking classified documents

By Dustin Volz and John Walcott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former U.S. National Security Agency employee pleaded guilty on Friday to illegally taking classified information outside the spy agency that an intelligence official said was later stolen from his home computer by Russian hackers.

Nghia Hoang Pho, who worked in the NSA’s elite hacking unit, retained U.S. government documents containing top-secret national defense information between 2010 and March 2015, the Justice Department said.

Pho, a 67-year-old U.S. citizen born in Vietnam, faces up to 10 years in prison. He is not being held by authorities as he awaits his sentencing, which is scheduled for April 6, 2018, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

A U.S. intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Pho was the same NSA employee who had been identified in media reports for using Kaspersky Lab antivirus software on his home computer. Some U.S. officials have said software from the Moscow-based company allowed Russian intelligence agencies to pilfer sensitive secrets from the United States through Pho’s computer.

The Department of Homeland Security in September ordered federal agencies to start removing Kaspersky software from their computers. U.S. officials have said the firm either has ties to Russian intelligence or is forced to share information held on its servers with Russian officials. Kaspersky has repeatedly denied the allegations but acknowledged its software in 2014 took NSA code for a hacking tool from a customer’s computer before its chief executive, Eugene Kaspersky, ordered the code destroyed.

The court documents do not appear to make mention of Russian intelligence agencies or Kaspersky Lab. The connection was first reported by the New York Times.

The intelligence official declined to comment on whether Pho knew the software he was using at home was vulnerable.

Pho is at least the third NSA employee or contractor to be charged within the past two years on counts of improperly taking classified information from the agency, breaches that have prompted criticism of the secretive NSA.

A federal grand jury indicted former NSA contractor Harold Martin in February on charges alleging he spent up to 20 years stealing up to 50 terabytes of highly sensitive government material from the U.S. intelligence community, which were hoarded at his home.

In June another NSA contractor, Reality Winner, 25, was charged with leaking classified material about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to a news outlet. She pleaded not guilty.

And in 2013, former contractor Edward Snowden pilfered secrets about NSA’s surveillance programs and shared them with journalists. He now lives in Moscow.

Pho, of Ellicott City, Maryland, took both physical and digital documents that contained “highly classified information of the United States,” including information labeled as “top secret,” according to court records unsealed Friday. He was aware the documents contained sensitive information and kept them at his residence in Maryland, the records said.

Asked for comment, Pho’s attorney, Robert Bonsib, said, “Any conversations regarding this case will be made in the courtroom during the sentencing.” He declined to comment further.

Officials at the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The NSA, whose main mission is gathering and analyzing foreign communications for potential security threats, is based at Fort Meade, Maryland.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz and John Walcott, additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

Nepal bank latest victim in heists targeting SWIFT system

Nepal bank latest victim in heists targeting SWIFT system

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A bank in Nepal is the latest victim in a string of cyber heists targeting the global SWIFT bank messaging system, though most of the stolen funds have been recovered, two officials involved in the investigation confirmed on Tuesday.

Hackers last month made about $4.4 million in fraudulent transfers from Kathmandu-based NIC Asia Bank to countries including Britain, China, Japan, Singapore and the United States when the bank was closed for annual festival holidays, according to Nepal media reports.

All but $580,000 of the funds were recovered after Nepal asked other nations to block release of the stolen money, Chinta Mani Shivakoti, deputy governor of the Central Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), told Reuters.

Brussels-based SWIFT said last month that security controls instituted after last year’s $81 million theft from Bangladesh’s central bank helped thwart some recent hacking attempts, but it warned that cyber criminals continue to target SWIFT customers.

SWIFT or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication is a co-operative owned by its user banks. It declined to comment on the NIC Asia Bank hack, saying it does not discuss specific users.

Representatives with NIC Asia Bank, one of dozens of private banks in Nepal, were not available for comment.

The chief of Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau, Pushkar Karki, confirmed to Reuters that his agency was investigating the theft.

KPMG is also involved in the investigation, according to Nepali media reports. KPMG representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

The central bank intends to release guidelines on how to thwart such incidents after investigations are completed, according to Shivakoti.

“The incident showed there are some weaknesses with the IT department of the bank,” Shivakoti said.

SWIFT said in a statement on Tuesday that it offers assistance to banks when it learns of potential fraud cases, then shares relevant information with other clients on an anonymous basis.

“This preserves confidentiality, whilst assisting other SWIFT users to take appropriate measures to protect themselves,” it said.

“We have no indication that our network and core messaging services have been compromised,” SWIFT added.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma, additional reporting by Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore and Jim Finkle in Toronto; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Matthew Lewis)

Bangladeshi probe panel’s chief says SWIFT responsible for cyber theft

Bangladesh central bank

DHAKA (Reuters) – A Bangladesh government-appointed panel investigating the theft of $81 million from the country’s central bank has found that SWIFT, the international banking payments network, committed a number of mistakes in connecting up a local network, the panel head said on Sunday.

“We have shown that SWIFT made a number of errors that made it easy for the hackers,” Mohammed Farashuddin, a former governor of the Bangladeshi central bank, told reporters.

He said SWIFT, a cooperative owned by 3,000 financial institutions, could not escape responsibility as it had connected its network to the central bank’s new real time gross settlement (RTGS) system launched in October for domestic transactions.

“SWIFT is responsible for the heist of Bangladesh Bank as it approached the central bank for the installation of RTGS real time gross settlement,” Farashuddin said.

SWIFT has already rejected allegations made by Dhaka that it had been at fault, saying its financial messaging system remained secure and had not been breached by the hackers during the attack on Bangladesh Bank.

The hackers broke into the computer systems of the central bank in early February and issued instructions through the SWIFT network to transfer $951 million of its deposits held at the New York Federal Reserve Bank to accounts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Most of the transactions were blocked but four went through amounting to $81 million, prompting allegations by Bangladeshi officials that both the Fed and SWIFT had failed to detect the fraud.

Bangladeshi police and a bank official said earlier this month that the central bank became more vulnerable to hackers when technicians from SWIFT connected the new bank transaction system to SWIFT messaging three months before the cyber theft.

The local Daily Star newspaper quoted Farashuddin as saying that SWIFT failed to implement 13 security measures in the installation of the system.

Farashuddin is due to submit his final report to the government in the next few days.

A spokeswoman for SWIFT said she had no immediate comment to make.

In a letter to users dated May 3, SWIFT told its bank customers that they were responsible for securing computers used to send messages over its network.

(Reporting by Serajul Qaudir; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Greg Mahlich)