• Mike V.

Weekend Reading


A Win for Parents, Michigan's new cyberbullying law about to take effect


A new law takes effect in Michigan this week that takes aim at cyberbullying, including hefty fines and jail time for violators convicted of online harassment. Per the new law, it is illegal to cyberbully another person and someone found guilty of the misdemeanor could face a maximum of 93 days in jail, a max fine of $500 or both. But if a violator has a prior conviction, they could face up to a year in jail, and/or a max $1,000 fine. Someone who violates the new law and displays "a continued pattern of harassing or intimidating behavior" that causes serious injury to the victim could face a felony that carries a maximum 5-year sentence and/or a $5,000 fine.


Under the new law, cyberbullying involves:


Posting a message or statement in a public media forum about any other person that is intended to put someone in fear of bodily harm or death and expresses an intent to commit violence against the person.


Posting a message or statement with the intent to communicate a threat with the knowledge that it will be viewed as a threat.


A pattern of harassing or intimidating behavior.


A public media forum is defined in the law as "the internet or any other medium designed or intended to be used to convey information to other individuals, regardless of whether a membership or password is required to view the information."


"Cyberbullying is a form of harassment that takes place through an electronic device, particularly over social media. For example, on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram Facebook or over text," he said. "It can be anything from sending rumors on social media or posting embarrassing photos intending to humiliate the person. It's often anonymous. Cyberbullies are more difficult to control, and the online distribution creates a wider audience and the attacks are always 24/7, therefore the victim cannot get away from the attack." Schuster said cyberbullying can have a number of negative effects, and explained that victims are more likely to skip/drop out of school, exhibit failing grades, begin to use alcohol or other substances, and show poor self-esteem.


Schuster named some warning signs that someone may be experiencing cyberbullying.


Avoiding certain social activities and social situations


High anxiety about attending school or riding a school bus


Dropping grades, or changes in school performance


Changes in moods — frequent sadness, irritability or depression that's different from normal teenage behaviors


Obsessive checking of texts or social media sites that are separate from normal

Withdrawing from family and friends


Schuster said parents might be able to help their children by teaching self-respect and modeling positive relationships, empathy and impulse control.


Schuster also suggested the following parenting actions to prevent cyberbullying.


Have discussions about responsible behavior and practice online safety


Teach your child to block or delete disrespectful friends from social media


Tell them that they should not be adding people that they do not know as friends


Speak frankly about the dangers of online behavior and online bullying


Set limits on daily computer and cellphone usage


Place computers and cellphones in common areas — prohibit cellphone/tablet use in private areas, like bedrooms and bathrooms


Check cellphones, get their passwords and see what they're doing


Remind your children that you are always available to listen to them if they are having any issues


"Please do not hesitate to use your parental prerogative and monitor their social media sites," he said.


"And most importantly, if you believe that they are having issues or being bullied online and showing signs and symptoms of being bullied, please do not hesitate to get professional help."


Schuster also encouraged parents to do their own research, citing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-run website.


Reuters: Great Wall, Ford hitch up to burgeoning Chinese demand for pickup trucks


Either for leisure or just because they like them, expanding the market beyond traditional demand for farm, construction and maintenance work. While calling his pickup “a big toy”, the 35-year-old notes some of his friends also have one. “There are more and more people like us,” Liu said. Pickup demand - both work-related and the newer interest from mainstream consumers - has climbed on the back of an easing in government restrictions and last year China became the world’s second-biggest pickup truck market. Signs this year that rules may be relaxed further are prompting industry executives and analysts to talk of a potential doubling or even greater jump in demand. That in turn is spurring Great Wall Motor Co, China’s largest pickup manufacturer, and Ford Motor Co, the maker of the most popular U.S. pickup series, to bolster product lines.


European Auto Rule Change


All new cars in the EU to have speed limiters and breathalyzers by 2022. The European Union has agreed to built-in speed limiters and breathalyzers that won't allow driving if the driver is intoxicated.


Reuters: Amazon, Volkswagen agree strategic partnership for 'industry cloud'


Volkswagen and Amazon.com Inc have agreed on a strategic partnership to create a kind of “industry cloud”. It cited unnamed sources at Volkswagen as saying Amazon would play a key role in helping the carmaker improve the productivity of its factories.


Two Whistleblowers Awarded $50 Million Against JPMorgan


The SEC today announced awards totaling $50 million to "two whistleblowers whose high-quality information assisted the agency in bringing a successful enforcement action." The whistleblowers provided information that helped the agency win a $267 million settlement with JPMorgan failed to inform clients of conflicts of interest when selling house products for high commissions. “Blowing the whistle is rarely easy, and it certainly hasn’t been for my client, but this historic SEC whistleblower award and related enforcement action reaffirms that doing the right thing pays,” said Mr. Thomas, himself pocketing several million of the SEC award.


Twilight Zone: World of Negative Debt Expands to One-Fifth of Global Market


Financial repression is alive and well after a decade of monetary stimulus. Investors shopping for investment-grade debt around the world are being greeted with below-zero yields in almost one-fifth of the market. That’s the highest proportion in 16 months. In the wake of an unexpectedly ultra-dovish shift by the Federal Reserve and weak European data, many investors are reassessing the outlook for growth. That’s sparking demand for safe-haven assets, a dynamic that itself is compounding market fears. The bond rally sent outstanding negative-yielding debt past $10 trillion on Friday and is hovering at the highest level since September 2017. The total now accounts for more than 19% of the market value.

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