Blackstone’s Schwarzman becomes latest Trump ally to throw in the towel, acknowledge Biden’s win


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Slowly but surely, some of Donald Trump’s closest allies in the business world are accepting what Trump himself has yet to acknowledge—that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will be the next president of the United States.

On Monday, Blackstone Group chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman, one of the President’s staunchest and most prominent allies on Wall Street, publicly stated as much—telling Axios that the outcome of the election “is very certain today, and the country should move on.”

“I supported President Trump and the strong economic path he built,” Schwarzman said in a statement to the publication. “Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy.”

Schwarzman acknowledged comments he made three days after the election, during a meeting of two dozen Fortune 500 CEOs, in which he defended Trump’s reluctance to concede the race. While many of the CEOs reportedly discussed taking collective action if Trump refused to leave the White House, Schwarzman defended the President’s right to legally challenge the outcome.

“I’m a fan of good process,” Schwartzman told Axios, adding that he was “trying to be a voice of reason and express why it’s in the national interest to have all Americans believe the election is being resolved correctly.”

The Blackstone head’s willingness to embrace President-elect Biden as the future commander-in-chief is notable because of his close relationship with Trump. Schwarman parlayed his status as one of Wall Street’s biggest political donors to become a close confidant of the President, particularly on matters relating to trade and U.S.-China policy.

But as the President’s legal challenges to the election’s outcome continue to falter and his administration continues to stonewall the tradition process of handing over the reigns, more business leaders and industry groups have taken Schwarzman’s stance of accepting Biden’s victory and urging an orderly transition of power.

Last week saw Tom Donahue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—one of the nation’s most powerful business lobbying groups, and traditionally an advocate for Republican presidential administrations—urge Trump to “not delay the transition a moment longer.” Likewise, the leadership of the National Association of Manufacturers also called on the federal government to begin the transition process last week, while JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon appealed for a “peaceful transition” to “a new president,” and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon took the somewhat unusual step of congratulating Biden on his company’s third-quarter earnings call.

So far, those calls have yet to be echoed by most establishment Republicans, the overwhelming majority of whom have refused to publicly challenge the President’s efforts to challenge the election, baselessly cast doubt on its integrity, and stifle the transition process. Their willingness to accommodate Trump appears rooted in an aversion to alienating the Republican base, among whom Trump remains hugely popular.

But even that wall of obedience among mainstream Republicans appears to be cracking. Former New Jersey governor and Trump ally Chris Christie labeled the President’s legal strategy “a national embarrassment” over the weekend, while Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) congratulated Biden on his victory and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) called on Trump to respect “the sanctity of our electoral process.”

Renowned journalist Carl Bernstein also reported the names of 21 Republican senators who have privately “expressed extreme contempt for Trump and his fitness to be president”—raising the possibility that more lawmakers will break from the President’s ranks in the days and weeks to come.

More politics coverage from Fortune:

  • Betting markets called the presidential election more accurately than polls
  • Biden beat Trump but now faces the final boss: Mitch McConnell
  • For pollsters, it’s back to the drawing board after yet another miss in the 2020 election
  • What my day on conservative social network Parler was like
  • Biden’s corporate tax plan depends on Georgia’s Senate results





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Cruise industry throws in the towel on 2020, looks to 2021 – Long Island Business News


The cruise industry has jettisoned hopes of restarting operations this year.

Days after both Carnival and Norwegian extended a halt on cruises through the end of the year, the group that represents cruise lines with 95% of global ocean-going capacity said Tuesday that its members have agreed to extend the suspension of U.S. sailing operations for the rest of 2020.

The announcement comes just days after the U.S. government effectively lifted its no-sail order despite a global spike in coronavirus infections.

Cruise Lines International Association — which includes cruise giants Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean — said that its members have voluntarily opted to maintain the current suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. through the end of the year.

Members “will use the remainder of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety” with the guidance of public health experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the association said.

On Friday, federal health officials issued new rules that will enable large cruise ships to start sailing again in U.S. waters, though not immediately. Among the CDC’s requirements is that ship owners must test all passengers and crew at the start and end of all voyages, which are limited to seven days.

In mid-March, the CDC ordered cruise ships to stop sailing to U.S. ports after several outbreaks convinced officials that the vessels were potential cauldrons of infection. After being renewed several times the most recent order expired in October, with the new guidelines effectively bringing the no-sail order to an end.

The cruise industry has been essentially closed for business since mid-March, when it became clear that the deadly and contagious virus had already been sweeping through the U.S. unabated for weeks. The cruise association estimates that the suspension of cruises snuffed out more than $25 billion in economic activity, and 164,000 American jobs.

Shares in the major cruise line companies started to decline in February as the virus spread, and hit bottom in mid-March when the U.S. economy effectively shut down. Companies have suffered billions in losses this year, wiping out more than 70% of their value.

The CDC’s guidelines from last week say that in order to resume carrying passengers, the companies have to demonstrate they have procedures for testing, quarantining and isolating passengers and crew. They will have to build test labs on all ships, and make their own arrangements to isolate or quarantine passengers on shore if needed. Before being allowed to sail, they will have to conduct mock voyages with volunteers playing passengers who get sick, the CDC said.

The new guidelines come as coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. and around the world with colder weather arriving and more people clustering together indoors.





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Strictly’s Max George brings the heat as he unveils ripped abs in nothing but a towel


Strictly Come Dancing recruit Max George has paraded his stuff in a string of jaw-dropping bathroom selfies.

Snapping himself in the mirror and wearing nothing but a low-riding towel, Max showed the world his enviable ripped abs, muscular chest and arm ink.

The star, who’s paired with Aussie pro Dianne Buswell on the show, rocked some rugged stubble and cast a moody glance at the camera.

He held up two fingers to the camera, signalling the second week of rehearsals after Saturday’s first live show.

In another he threw up a peace sign and stuck his tongue out as he showed off his fun side.



Max sent temperatures soaring and fans into a spin

Max wrote: “Ready for week 2 of rehearsals. However, this tan ain’t ready to wash off yet! Any tips?”

And fans couldn’t stop looking, many of them taking to the comments with gushing remarks.

“Handsome what a body,” one fawned, “good luck u was amazing on sat.”

“Total babe!!” another wrote.

A third chimed in: “Omg hot hot hot hot good luck for Saturday xxxx.”

A fourth just shared a string of heart emojis, while a fifth branded The Wanted star “gorgeous.”



Max oozed confidence in the sexy snaps



Max and Dianne proved fan favourites during the first of the live shows

And his Strictly co-star and GMB host Ranvir Singh offered: “Max I’m only looking closely because you’re asking for help.. and I like being helpful.”

As if his abs weren’t enough to make fans swoon, it’s emerged that Max is a real gent behind the Strictly scenes as well.

Fellow contestant and Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo told on her show that the hunk made a very sweet gesture to his female co-stars after last week’s show.

“A really lovely thing happened this week. I wanna big up lovely Max George,” she told.



Max made a lovely gesture to his female co-stars



Clara gushed over the ‘really lovely’ gesture

“He was so sweet… he went and got a bouquet of flowers for every single girl in the competition. Which I think is just really lovely.”

She went on: “We all came back to our dressing rooms to find big, beautiful bouquets from Max. Which for me gets 10s across the board.”

Max and Dianne trailed just behind Clara and her pro partner Aljaz on Saturday’s leaderboard, earning 17 and 18 points respectively.



They’ll be looking to do even better come Saturday

Topping the chart was singer HRVY and Janette Manrara, followed closely by Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez.

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Anton du Beke sit at the bottom, just one point below Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer.

*Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday at 7:10pm on BBC One.





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Tsitsipas opens up on his relationship with his towel


September 1, 2020

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Open is very different this year because of health protocols and for world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas, the difficulty in getting regular access to his towel is proving quite a challenge.

The Greek stormed into the second round with a three-set victory over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Monday and spent his entire post-match news conference discussing his relationship with the humble towel.

“It has huge importance, the towel. I use it very often. It gives me time to think, gives me time to refresh myself and think about my tactics,” he said.

“I have sort of a history with the towel. I used to have a towel when I was three, four years old and I would always carry it around. It was like my toy, basically. The towel resembles something special in my life.

“And also it’s not very comfortable playing all sweaty and having sweat drip from your face and get to your eyes.”

Health protocols put in place at Flushing Meadows this year forbid ballkids from handing players their towels between points, as they usually would at most elite tour events.

At the Western & Southern Open last week, which observed the same protocols, umpires delayed starting the 25-second countdown clock before a point to allow players to get back to their seats and have a quick wipe up.

That was not continued at Flushing Meadows, which led to world number one Novak Djokovic having a testy exchange with the umpire in his first-round victory over Damir Dzumhur.

“I was not aware of it. No one really brought it to my attention,” the Serbian, who last week announced he would be part of a new players’ association, said in response to the rule tweak.

“That’s something that really upset me. That’s something that I found just not acceptable, not fair. But I guess I have to deal with it.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)





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Does the 5-minute Japanese towel method actually burn belly fat?


A doctor developed a simple weight loss hack over a decade ago, which simply uses a towel to burn belly fat. So we asked an expert if it actually works…

We’d try everything to lose belly fat these days.

From hopping on the celery juice trend, to attempting intermittent fasting or the keto diet, there’s nothing we haven’t tried. And yet, that stubborn belly fat won’t seem to budge.

But one less common method many of us haven’t tried yet, is the Japanese towel method.

Over 10 years ago, a Japanese physician named Toshiki Fukutsudzi developed a unique method to get the body in shape. The method claims to help get rid of belly fat, improve posture and strengthen back pain, simply by using a towel.

The reason Fukutsudzi says it works is because he discovered that that an extra layer of fat around the belly is actually a result of misplacement of your pelvic. By correctly exercising this area and the pelvis placement, your waistline is reduced.

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How to do the Japanese towel exercise:

1. Take a medium-sized towel and roll it into a cylinder, no less than 38 cm long and approximately 10 cm wide. Wrap it with some sort of string or band so it stays put.

2. Sit yourself down on a flat, hard surface. A yoga mat on the floor will work best. Put the towel behind you.

3. Gently lie down on your back holding the towel so that it is placed at the parallel to your navel, against the small of your back.

4. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be touching each other.

5. Stretch your arms above your head, palms down, with your pinkies touching. Make sure your toes and pinkies are facing each other.

6. Now hold this position for at least 5 minutes.

7. Afterwards, stand up slowly as your bones and joints may have slightly moved during the exercise.

According to Fukutsudzi, you’ll notice results within a month if performed daily.

Does the Japanese towel method actually work?

But as magical as the method sounds, is this just another weight loss hack we should be sceptical about? And how much truth is behind this technique?

According to personal trainer and yoga instructor Kirsten Scott, it’s a little bit more complicated than just losing belly fat.

“All our organs and limbs, including the intestine and stomach, connect to the brain via the vertebral column,” she explains to body+soul. “It is true that misalignment of the bones, reflected in bad posture, can mean that nerve pathways are constricted.

“The part of the spine between the ribs and the small of your back is where the intestine nerves are connected, so if you slouch or push your pelvis too far back, it may result in digestion issues, such as constipation, bloating, gas and acid reflux.”

So… “while constipation and bloating make your belly appear bigger, it is not fat; it’s just the waste that is not being eliminated.”

Basically, some of the weight you may lose as a result of practising the method every day might just be a result of your food baby disappearing.





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