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When the league inevitably expands to 32 teams, here are the ten cities that I think should be considered for the two expansion franchises.

SEATTLE

It goes without saying, but one franchise should definitely end up in Seattle, as the Supersonics of course. It's been quite a letdown for the city that PBC moved the team to OKC after their acquisition of the team. The city is now updating the Climate Pledge Arena, formally known as the KeyArena, (one of the reasons for the team's relocation) with the arrival of the NHL team, the Seattle Kraken. The Sonic fans have been clear and vocal since the move that they could still support an NBA franchise without a doubt.  

KANSAS CITY

The state of Missouri surprisingly does not house an NBA franchise and hasn't since the departure of the Kansas City Kings in 1985. The city seems to support their professional sports franchises and has an arena downtown that could be suitable for the potential NBA team (with some renovating I'd presume - it seems nice but I am not familiar enough with the facility). It seems the market is significant enough to support an NBA franchise so it should be an option.  

CINCINNATI

The city has an MLB and NFL franchise, so it is not inconceivable that they could support an NBA franchise (being that they did up until 1972 with the Cincinnati Royals, before they moved to Kansas City). I'm not sure who the NBA fans in Cincinnati support, but I'm guessing the Cavs aren't popular enough to have strong support across the entire state of Ohio. Kentucky, just south of the city across the Ohio River, has a significant passion for basketball, so that could fortify the market/support for the potential team. A lot has changed since the early seventies but it is still a question whether or not they could fund a new arena in the city or they can just renovate the arena downtown (Heritage Bank Center).  

LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas is clearly a viable option for an additional professional franchise after the city has proven it can support the Golden Knights and, seemingly, the Raiders (who already have a broad fanbase). They have a viable arena to play in and can gain support with tie-ins with the casinos to help occupy the arena with visitors as they develop a local fan base. The NBA already has a presence there with summer league as well so I can see it happening.  

TAMPA BAY

I guess we will get a general idea of how much the city can support an NBA team with the Raptors playing in the city for the upcoming season (obviously without attendance given the circumstances). The Rays have their issues with attendance and the Bucs are perennial losers sans a few years in the late nineties-early 2000s (I've actually been a big Bucs fan since 1997, as I grew up in Los Angeles with out an NFL team at the time), so it is up for debate if they can support an NBA team, especially with Orlando being so close by. It is a significant market and the Lightning seems to garner a lot of support and have a nice arena downtown they could share with the potential NBA franchise (something they'll be doing this year), so it seems feasible.  

SAN DIEGO

This poor city, a city I love and plan on moving to one day, has lost two professional franchises to Los Angeles (and the Rockets to Houston). Both the Chargers and Clippers should still be in SD in my opinion, given their putrid reception in Los Angeles and the significance of the city of San Diego. The Clippers are still not accepted in Los Angeles after all these years and are only there because dumbass Donald Sterling forced the relocation in the 80s. The city has struggled to fund stadiums in the past but it would be great to see an arena downtown, a la Petco Park. Worst case, they renovate the Pechanga Arena (formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena) but realistically I'm not sure the city wants an NBA franchise, I have no clue.  

VANCOUVER

No reason to think they couldn't support an NBA franchise again. Basketball has grown tremendously in Canada since the days of the Vancouver Grizzlies and the country has produced several high-level players in recent years. The Raptors are the lone team north of the border, so no reason to think a second team isn't viable. Vancouver has Rogers Arena ready to go so there wouldn't be an issue with an arena for the potential team.  

PITTSBURGH

Look, Pittsburgh could barely support the Pipers back in the ABA days (albeit a long time ago), so I'm not sure how popular basketball is in the city. It is not a huge market but the city shows strong support for the Steelers and Penguins (and I'm sure the Pirates to some extent even with their decades-long struggles). I think Pittsburgh is a beautiful, underrated city, with PNC Park being my favorite MLB ballpark. The potential team could share the arena with the Penguins so there wouldn't be an issue having to fund a new arena. Also, I know the city loves the black/yellow color scheme for their franchises so that is one less thing to worry about.  

ST. LOUIS

As mentioned above with Kansas City, it is surprising the entire state of Missouri doesn't have at least one NBA team. St. Louis had the Hawks for 13 years, before they moved to Atlanta, and housed the fabled Spirits of St. Louis of the ABA, so no reason to think the city couldn't support an NBA franchise again. I highly doubt both cities mentioned would get both expansion franchises, so I'm not sure which city is the more viable option. The team could share the Enterprise Center with their NHL team, the Blues, so there wouldn't be an issue funding an arena.  

BALTIMORE

I know it is very close to DC, but if DC and Baltimore can both support an NFL and MLB team, why can't Baltimore support an NBA franchise again, being they had an NBA franchise (that moved to DC, coincidently) in the past. I know the city has had its struggles for some time, but it seems like a possible landing spot to consider. I am not familiar with the condition of the Royal Farms Arena, but the team would ostensibly have a suitable arena to play in.  
 
submitted by cavallom to nba [link] [comments]

Jan/3/2021 news: __ Top-10 anti corruption charges of 2020 __ POW & search __ Russian aid __ Refugees return __ Protecting the church __ Artsakh's international recognition __ Oil & gas news __ Chess & soccer events __ Guinness World Record __ Importing more Iranian products __ Syunik borders __

Your 7-minute Sunday report in 1743 words.

10 notable anti-corruption cases in 2020

10) SIS concluded the investigation of former president Serj Sargsyan's alleged embezzlement of ֏500 million in agricultural subsidies in 2013. Serj appeared in court as a defendant in February. The case continues.
9) ex-HHK MP and ex-Soccer Federation Chief Ruben Hayrapetyan (oligarch Nemets Rubo) was charged with large-scale embezzlement. In February, he was charged with embezzling $1.5 million-worth lands belonging to the Soccer Federation. (he was earlier implicated in the case about organizing the kidnapping, extortion, and torturing of a man who allegedly stole from his restaurant)
8) ex-Yerevan Mayor and Transport Minister HHK Gagik Beglaryan was charged with embezzling ֏230 million in state property. He was also interrogated as part of a ֏23 billion embezzlement in the North-South highway construction project. His brother is implicated in a ֏85 million embezzlement case.
7) ex-Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosyan (wanted) and ex Israel Ambassador Armen Smbatyan (paid a bail) are charged with using an offshore scheme to embezzle the state property.
6) Serj Sargsyan's brother Alexander was a defendant in the case of the 14 stolen paintings by Martiros Saryan. Pashinyan announced that Alexander's $30 million bank account was frozen. Alexander agreed to return the funds to state coffers. $26 million was recovered. $7.5 million was recovered as part of Martiros Saryan's painting case. Another $19 million was recovered -- or as he says, "donated" -- for the army modernization.
5) Powerful Churchman Archbishop Kchoyan (Bentley guy) was charged as part of an investigation of the forceful appropriation of another businessman's property by using an offshore firm, which was run by several individuals, including the churchman and allegedly the former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. More on that here.
4) Felony case was launched over the purchase of $42 million in weapons that turned out to be dysfunctional. Pashinyan mentioned this on several occasions, blaming the former regime for "wasting resources instead of developing the army." More recently, Pashinyan criticized General Movses "Mosi" Hakobyan, saying the waste took place under his administration.
3) Serj Sargsyan's chief bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan and his alleged accomplices had their felony tax-evasion charges dropped after compensating ֏3 billion ($6.3 million) to state coffers.
2) Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan (Povar Ishik) was charged by IRS in March after the "revelation of an unprecedented level of corruption in modern Armenian history". Minasyan is accused of illegal enrichment. The investigation continues. Minasyan is residing in Russia, which won't extradite him due to close connections.
Details on Mishik's case here, here, here, here (laptop recovered with 9000 files), here, here, here, here, maybe here, definitely here, here, here,
1) BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan was charged with organizing an election fraud during 2017 and financial crimes by his casino Shangri La. The investigation began in late 2019 after a construction firm, with ties to Tsarukyan, paid a bribe to a Yerevan official in an unrelated incident. Tsarukyan likely learned about the pending charges against him and launched a major opposition campaign against Pashinyan, to then frame his charges as "political persecution" for being critical to the government.
https://www.civilnet.am/news/2021/01/03/2020-ի-10-քրեական-գործերը/414983
https://www.evnreport.com/politics/the-political-rise-and-fall-of-tycoon-gagik-tsarukyan

protecting the church from Satanists

Former HHK MPs Shawarmazanov, Vahram Baghdasaryan, Masis Mayor, and their supporters gathered in front of Ejmiatsin cathedral to show support for the church leader Garegin B. The church was lately criticized for being politically-motivated; it has been accused of acting as the former regime's puppet for several years now.
The former MPs condemned the "attacks" and said, "no Satanists can divide our church because it has been our protector for thousands of years."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrnfWxGlguQ , https://youtu.be/Uli2kwKHtTs , https://youtu.be/FrnfWxGlguQ , https://youtu.be/Gy7PqICSYU4

Italian city Osio Sopra officially recognizes Artsakh Republic

grazie
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039469.html

Iranian & Chinese products to replace Turkish

Armenia will import 2250 types of products from Iran instead of Turkey, amid the 6-month ban on Turkish product imports. "This will be a good opportunity for Iranian producers. In the next step, [Armenia] will supply its required raw materials from Iran," said the chief of the Iranian trade agency.
The govt had earlier met Chinese representatives to discuss the replacement of other Turkish items with Chinese ones.
https://en.mehrnews.com/news/167965/Armenia-to-import-2-250-goods-from-Iran-instead-of-Turkey

border "demarcation" process continues in Syunik

The process to install Armenian and Azeri troops continues on the new borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Syunik province. The border was formerly Syunik (Armenia) - Qashatag (formerly Artsakh).
Syunik's Shurnukh and Vorotan were built on the immediate internationally-recognized border, and some of them were on the Azeri side. As a result, a dozen buildings will go under Azeri control. Shurnukh village mayor complained about losing several houses and Azeris being too close.
Syunik governor said border guards have been installed in areas surrounding Shurnukh. Russian and Armenian guards are placed in certain parts of this 21 km border.
https://factor.am/325886.html

POWs

European Court for Human Rights has approved a petition by Armenia to implement emergency measures to require Azerbaijan to share information about the conditions of 23 POWs.
"So far, such petitions were approved for 80 POWs, 18 of whom have already returned home," said Armenia's representative in Court.
Armenia's HR Ombudsman Tatoyan criticized Aliyev for calling Armenian POW soldiers "terrorists" and for keeping them arrested, which delays the swap process.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039433.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039480.html

New Years Eve memorial concert in Yerablur Pantheon:

https://youtu.be/eDiK0KZRkH4

casualties & search operations

1145 bodies have been found on battlefields since the ceasefire; 10 of them on Saturday. Several crews continue the search in Martuni, Martakert, and Jabrayil regions.
3330 bodies have been found since the beginning of the war. Some of them are yet to be identified. 436 were identified by DNA analysis, 871 are pending. The DNA process is slow so the govt decided to buy the second device.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039447.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039483.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039500.html

Azeri civilian wounded from a landmine explosion

... in the Fizuli region that went under Azeri control during the war. Azeri prosecutors launched an investigation. In turns out, some Azeri civilians visit these areas without allowing the sappers to clear the areas from landmines first. So far, 10 Azeris have died or received injuries from such explosions after the ceasefire.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039473.html

Russian sappers in Artsakh

... have cleared 400 hectares of lands, 151 km of roads, and 617 buildings from 16,000 explosives. Video of URAN vehicle helping sappers to clear land: https://youtu.be/uZOXWsE4Pvw
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039508.html

Russian peacekeepers to live in modular housing

They built the second rapid-deployment modular mini-town in Getavan, after finishing one in Stepanakert earlier. Another one will be built in Berdashen this month. The blocs will house 300 peacekeepers. They will have access to various convenience shops.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039452.html

Russian humanitarian aid in Artsakh

Russia sent 5,000 m2 glass for window replacement, 70 tons of metal parts, 34000 bedding items, to Martuni and Martakert cities. Earlier they sent 20 mobile electricity generators to help the areas that were cut off from the main electric grid.
Russian doctors have so far treated 1044 Artsakh residents with various complaints. There are medical teams that travel in rural areas to provide care, including mental health services. The doctors received New Year's gifts from the medical administrator Oleg Bagayev.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039453.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039463.html

more Artsakh refugees return their homes

220 did so on Friday. So far, 47000 residents crossed the Lachin road while returning to their homes.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039462.html

GazProm has extended the gas contract with Armenia

... with the same pricing until 1Q21. More negotiations will take place later.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039439.html

oil, gas, and... crypto mining??

Under the threat of US sanctions, a Norwegian agency will not certify the Russian Nordstream-2 pipeline, which intends to deliver 56 billion (?) cubic meters of gas from Russia to Germany annually. Trump administration has been pushing hard to sell American liquified gas to Europe.
https://sputniknews.com/europe/202101031081638832-norways-dnv-gl-intl-registrar-says-cannot-certify-nord-stream-2-due-to-us-sanctions/
Russia has another new gas pipeline called TurkStream. Its section located in Serbia began operating on Friday. It'll deliver Russian gas to Europe through Turkey. The US said it will impose sanctions in the event TurkStream expands with new pipes in the future.
https://www.azatutyun.am/a/31029599.html , https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/additional-line-to-turkish-stream-would-face-us-sanctions/
Azeri gas pipeline TAP began delivering gas to several cities in Italy. Azeri gas travels through Georgia, Turkey, and Greece. It's co-sponsored by BP.
https://www.azatutyun.am/a/31029406.html
Russian energy giant Gazpromneft built a cryptocurrency mining facility in one of its Siberian oil drilling sites. They will dig gas, burn it, turn into energy, then use it to mine the coins. Good luck competing with your NVIDIA RTX crap (that is if you have one, pleb).
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Russian-Energy-Giant-Mining-Bitcoin-With-Virtually-Free-Energy.html

employee of the month

Italian soccer club Roma's midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been declared the best Roman player of December after a voting.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039476.html

chess news

Levon Aronyan (two-times world cup winner) competed in Airthings Masters finale against Teymur Rajabov (current world cup winner). They played two rounds. Rajabov won the tournament.
Aronyan preserves his FIDE ranking. He is the 6th in the world. The leader is Magnus Carlsen.
https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/champions-chess-tour-airthings-masters-2020-prelims/8/1/2 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039458.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039477.html , https://factor.am/325895.html

world's smallest chess playing just for you

Ara Ghazaryan from Los Angeles built the world's smallest chess and made it into the Guinness World Records book. It's 8x8 millimeter.
"Ara Ghazaryan is an Armenian American artist who uses jewelry to express his art and formerly held this record title. The chess board itself is made from 18 k yellow and white gold with Armenian apricot wood and rests on a frame made of platinum, 18 k yellow gold, rubies, and diamonds. The figures measure in height from 1 mm for the pawns to 2.4 mm for the kings."
Photo: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/78603-smallest-handmade-chess-set
https://factor.am/325695.html

COVID stats

+1088 tested. +229 infected. +14 deaths. +451 healed. 12398 active.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039503.html

COVID hotline

Healthcare Ministry has a new "Coronavirus Hotline" number you can call if you've been diagnozed with COVID and need assistance.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039450.html

HimnaDram.org entertains hundreds of children

The All Armenia Fund has transported 600 Artsakh children and their parents, residing in various provinces of Armenia, to watch performances in Yerevan's Tumanyan Puppet theater. Santa, Dzyunanush, and the Elves surprised the children with gifts in the end. The Foundation will help thousands of children by the end of January.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039451.html

daily եռուզեռ in Stepanakert's main market

It's bustling again after a temporary pause during the war:
https://youtu.be/gKMSE9Xf2bs?t=5

donations for Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)
www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Armeniapedia's archive of my daily news threads:
http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" guilty.
Edit: corrected typos in church news.
submitted by ar_david_hh to armenia [link] [comments]

[FIGHT THREAD] Jermell Charlo vs Jeison Rosario, Jermall Charlo vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Luis Nery vs Aaron Alameda, Brandon Figueroa vs Damien Vazquez, Danny Roman vs Juan Carlos Payano, John Riel Casimero vs Duke Micah + live round-by-round coverage

Date: Saturday, September 26, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM PT, 7:00 PM ET, 12:00 AM BT
Location: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut
Television: Showtime PPV (US)
Stream: Showtime (US) Fite TV (Non-US)

Jermell Charlo vs Jeison Rosario

12 rounds

WBC world super welterweight title

IBF world super welterweight title

WBA super world super welterweight title

Charlo vs Rosario
33-1 (17 KOs) vs 20-1-1 (14 KOs)
30 age 25
153.8 lbs weight 153.4
5'11" height 5'11"
73" reach 70"
orthodox stance orthodox
Houston, TX 🇺🇸 hometown Santo Domingo, DR 🇩🇴
4-1 (3 KOs) last 5 5-0 (3 KOs)
-500 moneyline +350

Luis Nery vs Aaron Alameda

12 rounds

vacant WBC world super bantamweight title

Nery vs Alameda
30-0 (24 KOs) record 25-0 (13 KOs)
25 age 27
121.4 lbs weight 121.6 lbs
5'6" height 5'6"
66 1/2" reach 67"
southpaw stance southpaw
Tijuana, MX 🇲🇽 hometown Nogales, MX 🇲🇽
5-0 (5 KOs) last 5 5-0 (3 KOs)
-2500 moneyline +1000

Danny Roman vs Juan Carlos Payano

12 rounds

eliminator for WBC super bantamweight

Roman vs Payano
27-3-1 (10 KOs) record 21-3 (9 KOs)
30 age 36
121.2 lbs weight 121.6 lbs
5'5" height 5'5"
68" reach 64 1/2"
orthodox stance southpaw
Los Angeles, CA 🇺🇸 hometown La Vega, DR 🇩🇴
4-1 (1 KO) 3-2 (0 KOs)
-2000 moneyline +900

Jermall Charlo vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko

12 rounds

WBC world middleweight title

Charlo vs Derevyanchenko
30-0 (22 KOs) record 13-2 (10 KOs)
30 age 34
159.8 lbs weight 159.4 lbs
6'0" height 5'9"
73 1/2" reach 67 1/2
orthodox stance orthodox
Houston, TX 🇺🇸 hometown Brooklyn, NY 🇺🇦
5-0 (2 KOs) last 5 3-2 (2 KOs)
-225 moneyline +175

Brandon Figueroa vs Damien Vazquez

12 rounds

WBA world super bantamweight title

Figueroa vs Vazquez
20-0-1 (15 KOs) record 15-1-1 (8 KOs)
23 age 23
122 lbs weight 121.4 lbs
5'9" height 5'5"
72" reach
orthodox stance southpaw
Weslaco, TX 🇺🇸 hometown Thornton, CO 🇺🇸
4-0-1 (4 KOs) last 5 3-1-1 (2 KOs)
-5000 moneyline +1400

John Riel Casimero vs Duke Micah

12 rounds

WBO world bantamweight title

Casimero vs Micah
29-4 (20 KOs) record 24-0 (19 KOs)
31 age 29
117.8 lbs weight 117.2 lbs
5'4" height 5'7"
64" reach
orthodox stance
Ormoc City, PHI 🇵🇭 hometown Accra, GHA 🇬🇭
5-0 (5 KOs) last 5 5-0 (2 KOs)
-1200 moneyline +700

Live round-by-round coverage

Jermell Charlo vs Jeison Rosario

Round 1

Charlo starts with a body jab. Rosario looks to be the bigger of the two. Very wide back. Charlo hard right to the body. Rosario measuring with his jab. Rosario down from a left hook to the temple. Charlo missed a big looping right and Rosario tried to coutner big and he ate a shot. Rosario not bothered, he's back putting pressure on Charlo. Hard body shot from Rosario. Charlo looks a little wild with his power shots. He's definitely looking to make a statement. Charlo with a quick pair of hooks.

Charlo 10-8

Round 2

Rosario lands a good jab. Both guys trade jabs. Heavy leather from both of these guys even with the jabs. Charlo lands a hard jab. Good left to the body, left upstairs for Charlo. Rosario nice pair of body shots. Charlo with a pair of nice hooks upstairs. Rosario nice right hand. Charlo looks like he is feeling that one. Uppercut from Rosario. Rosario ramping up the pace.

Rosario 10-9, 19-18 Charlo

Round 3

Charlo jab to the body. Rosario jabs. Charlo slowing his workrate. Charlo tying up Rosario when he gets on the inside, not letting him work. Charlo scores with his jab. Rosario stalking, Charlo pops him with the jab. Rosario with a right and Charlo ties up. Charlo showing off some head movement. Rosario blocking very well.

Rosario 10-9, 28-28

Round 4

Charlo pumping the jab. Both guys miss big right hands. Rosario with a pair of body shots. Charlo doing a lot of waiting and not letting his hands go. Rosario's right blocked. Charlo jab but he eats one. Rosario short little right. Charlo with a looping left hook. Rosario trying to cut the ring off on Charlo. Big left from Charlo and Rosario lands a right. Jab from Charlo. Very close round. Charlo effective with his jab and defending from Rosario. Rosario pressured but wasn't able to land much that stood out.

Charlo 10-9 (swing), 38-37 Charlo

Round 5

Rosario nice jab and right sneaks in. Charlo left to the body. Charlo boxing off the back foot. He lands a very clean left hook. Jab scores for Rosario. 1-2 from Charlo. Rosario has to jump back. Rosario pops him with the jab. Another left hook counter from Charlo. Charlo eats a jab. Charlo starting to fall into a rhythm with his counter punching. Another close round.

Charlo 10-9 (swing), 48-46 Charlo

Round 6

Good counter left from Charlo. Rosario came out aggressive and Charlo turned and countered. Charlo double jab. Rosario good jab. Rosario with yet another low blow. Hard jab from Charlo. Jab from Rosario connects. Charlo circling the ring. Hard right from Charlo, Rosario may have hurt Charlo as Charlo held. Good body work from Rosario. Charlo straighrt right. These guys throwing big shots and missing. Big left from Charlo and down goes Rosario to a knee. Rosario looks hurt. He'll be saved by the bell. Bad timing as Rosario was having a great round.

Charlo 10-8, 58-54 Charlo

Round 7

Rosario comes out and continues to put the pressure. Rosario with a high guard. Charlo staying disciplined comes out and works his jab. They trade jabs. Rosario high guard walking forward. Again they trade jabs. Charlo looping right. Charlo jabs then goes to the body. Charlo jabs.

Charlo 10-9, 68-63 Charlo

Round 8

A jab to the chin and body and down goes Rosario. He's down and he can't make the count. Jermell Charlo with a brutal body shot knockout!

Official Ruling: Jermell Charlo by KO8

submitted by noirargent to Boxing [link] [comments]

I'll cut off my dick for the ability to use a regulated site. (Shit post FYI)

*Its been a few months.. and it's about that time that I make a shit post where I bitch about everything*

To all my fellow US players getting fucked in the ass per usual... WHAT THE FUCK DO I HAVE TO DO TO USE A HONEST POKER SITE!?

It's 2021 and it has been almost a decade since I have been able to use a worthy-poker-site such as Full Tilt, Stars, 888, Party Poker, and so on. I am starting to fall out of love with poker because I can't keep playing on these bullshit sites located in Panama and throughout the Caribbean. Here are a couple of my experiences from the past 8-ish months or so.

ACWPN/BCP:
- 2 to 4 months ago I received 2 PARTIAL refunds due to bots being at my table, in which one scenario was a final table. Didn't even get a full fucking refund. This also doesn't mention the other partial refunds I received earlier in 2020.
- As you all well know, ACR has had multiple scandals going back to 2012, like the the 2018-2019 PLO/NL cash game bots and several people colluding together to take advantage of the late reg glitch. Nagy can eat a fat dick.
- If you play at America's Cardroom in 2021 you're a fucking retard. (No offence)

Betonline/BOL:
- 6 months ago Betonline removed $1000 from my poker balance on my account and said that the money was transferred to my sportsbook balance at 4am PST and all of it was spent in the online casino. When I asked them to investigate they did nothing. So I asked their Fraud/IT Department to send me a list of all devices, MAC addresses, and IP addresses that signed into my account that day... They refused to cooperate... Customer service said it was against company policy to release that type of information, even though its MY OWN fucking account and personal information. ( I took a break from the site but eventually returned because US players have no options and I love MTTs.)
- 2 months ago I deposited $50 of ETH to their sports book to bet on an NFL game. Blockchain.com confirmed that BOL's Etheruem address received my money, and I even sent customer service proof of the transaction THREE TIMES. They still refuse to issue me my $50 deposit to this day, stating "our system says the deposit is still pending".
- 2 days ago I received a $5 refund from a Windfall Sit n Go because the 2 other two players at my table were bots :) :) :) I should just kill myself at this point. WHO THE FUCK HAS BOTS AT THE JACK POT SIT N GO.

Bovada/Ignition:
- Honestly, I haven't used them in like a year or two because they removed the chat box, make it a pain to utilize HUD software, and that fucking update they did to their software. That huge software update was so fucking horrible the sites damn near unplayable. I'm sure you guys remember the old canvas/layout that Bovada/Iggy use to utilize, it was way better.

Anyways, I just don't know what to do anymore. I NEVER had any of these issues back in the Full Tilt days. I don't even want to play half the time because I'm sick of all the bullshit. I am also in Los Angeles, CA so the lockdown bullshit makes live poker a huge pain in the ass. Some casinos are open, some are closed, some are outside, some make you wear mask and sit in between plastic dividers, some allow you to order drinks but not food. It's all fucking stupid. I really want to use my VPN but I don't want to build up a bankroll on a legit site like PartyPoker and then have my funds frozen. Maybe I should just hang myself instead. (joking, just being a dramatic pussy)

On a serious note, thank you for listening to me bitch and moan about my first world problems. I hope ya'll are happy, healthy and staying covid-free. Cheers to 2021, MAY THE POKER GODS BE IN YOUR FAVOR!
submitted by ArizonaJesus69 to poker [link] [comments]

What Happened to Mitrice Richardson?

What really happened to Mitrice Richardson the night she disappeared?
In the early morning hours of September 17th, 2009, a beautiful young woman named Mitrice Richardson was released into the night from police custody without a phone, or any way to get home. Her body was found almost a year later. The mysterious circumstances surrounding her death remain unsolved.
On the evening of September 16, 2009, The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from the Malibu/Lost Hills Station received a call from the affluent, upscale restaurant of Geoffrey’s, with the employees of the establishment claiming a woman was acting erratically, bizarre, and was refusing to pay her bill.
Beginning otherwise as a typical Southern Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon, 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson graduate of Cal State Fullerton, who normally had dinner with her great grandmother on Wednesdays, decides to switch course. Feeling compelled to embrace the cool breeze of the ocean on her skin, she heads to Malibu and begins her 40-mile trek along the Pacific Coast highway.
As Mitrice ventures into the outskirts of Malibu, just as the sun begins to set, she is captivated by the luminescent beams of lights beating off the golden sign of Geoffrey’s and makes the decision to pull into the restaurant, a pivotal decision that would change the lives of many as they knew it.
Mitrice pulls into the parking lot of Geoffrey’s and is greeted by the Valet. He quickly lets her know it is valet parking only and rushes off to park another guest’s vehicle. When he returns he finds Mitrice no longer in her vehicle, but in his vehicle rummaging through his CDs and speaking in broken sentences. Startled and frazzled the Valet asks what Mitrice is doing in his vehicle and she responds “I’m here to avenge Michael Jackson's death”. The Valet removes Mitrice from his vehicle and ushers her in the direction of the restaurant.
The unusual behavior of Mitrice doesn’t end there. Mitrice orders a $65 steak and cocktail and notices a lively bunch enjoying their meal a few tables over, with a smile never leaving her face, she asks to join them. The group is intrigued by Mitrice’s abnormal behavior but welcomes her to their table. Mitrice goes on to talk about how she is from Mars, her mother was mother earth, and the ocean was calling her. Once the group settles their bill and exits the restaurant, Mitrice attempts to follow but is stopped by the manager as she has did not pay for her bill. Not appearing hostile or angry, the manager asks if there is anyone they can call to pay the bill for her after she claimed she didn't have any money.
At approximately 9:30 pm, 91-year-old Mildred Harris, Mitrice’s great-grandmother, receives a phone call from Geoffrey’s. She attempts to give her credit card information over the phone to settle the bill, but they could not accept it without a signature. With no way to pay her bill, the employees of Geoffrey’s contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department about Mitrice.
60 miles away in Eastern Los Angeles, Mitrice’s mother, Latice, is made aware of the unusual situation occurring at that very moment. She calls Geoffrey’s directly and finds out Mitrice has just been taken into custody by the officers. They go on to tell her about the behavior Mitrice had displayed, and that Mitrice’s vehicle was about to towed to a location very close to the restaurant, but far from the Lost Hills Station where the police had taken Mitrice. Feeling helpless, and unsure what to do, Latice calls the Lost Hills station and confirms with the deputy a woman is en route to the station from Geoffrey’s. Unable to pick up her daughter from the station, Latice is worried about Mitrice’s well-being and doesn’t want her released in the middle of the night without a phone or vehicle. The Deputy assures Latice that she will be contacted once Mitrice arrives at the station, but that call never came.
As soon as Latice wakes up the following morning she calls the Lost Hills station hoping to figure out how to get Mitrice home. She is told that Mitrice was released 5 hours earlier at about 12:30 am. They claimed they had no reason to hold her because she had no criminal record and was not exhibiting signs of mental incapacitation, despite her unusual behavior. Mitrice was released into the dark gloomy night without any form of communication, transportation, or assistance from officers. According to Steven Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, officers said, “You can stay here if you wish. You can stay in a cell, but you can stay here, but she declined that offer”.
Panic begins to set in as Latice becomes aware Mitrice has not spoken to anyone since being released from the station, and she realized the moment she had feared the most was here. Immediately sensing something was not right, Latice calls back the Sheriff’s Office and asks how long she would have to wait to file a missing person’s report. The Deputy, seeing Mitrice was released just hours ago, encourages her to wait 24 hours before reporting her missing. With nothing left to do but wait, Latice questions how Mitrice could have possibly been released without a mental evaluation?
At about 6:30 AM that Thursday morning, The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department receives a call from a Monte Nido community resident, located about 7 miles from the station. The resident, a former news anchor, reported a young, strange woman was in his backyard. When asked if she was okay, she responded that she was just “resting.” Once he called the police, she was gone. It was later confirmed that young woman was Mitrice Richardson by cadaver dogs that were able to catch her scent in his backyard.
But how did Mitrice get 7 miles away without her vehicle?
Monte Nido is a vast landscape of mountains and terrain, a location that would be difficult to navigate for a non-local, especially in the dark hours of the night. According to Mitrice’s family members, Mitrice was known to be afraid of the dark.
On September 18th, Mitrice’s family members gather together to discuss Mitrice's bizarre behavior in the days leading up to her disappearance. They begin to see the warning signs that something with Mitrice was not right. Mitrice had been sending erratic text messages, that did not make sense, almost gibberish. The day before she disappeared she visited her aunt’s house and left business cards from her go-go dancing job scattered everywhere. The strangest occurrence being an unusual note left on Latices husband windshield with “black women scorned” written across it, a smiley face, and had been signed off with a kiss.
In the days before Mitrice disappeared, she was posting unusual things on Facebook, and Myspace. Posting at all hours of the night, investigators were unable to understand when she slept. A psychologist that works with the LAPD assessed Mitrice was exhibiting signs of a mental health condition, possibly bipolar disorder.
During the subsequent investigation, the family of Mitrice is made aware they found money and her wallet inside her car, with officers somehow overlooking it the night she was arrested.
Days pass with unanswered questions, repeated attempts to get Mitrice’s police report are overlooked. Mitrice’s family attempts to access police footage of Mitrice at the station that night, but their request is denied. LAPD cited “they need to follow proper protocol in order to release information to the family,” and they had no footage to even give to Mitrice’s family.
Feeling like their pleas to police were going unanswered. The family of Mitrice hired civil rights lawyer, Leo J. Terrell, who assembles a press conference gathered in front of the Lost Hills Station on Thursday, September 24th, 2009, demanding action of the Police Department. Terrell said at the press conference “If Mitrices name was Spears or Lohan, they would have never let her walkout by herself. They would have escorted her home.”
Months later, as the New year quickly rang in, tensions between Mitrice’s Family and the Los Angeles Police Department continue to grow, a meeting is called between the Sheriff and Captain of Lost Hills. Things quickly take a turn when it comes to light the Police Department did indeed have footage of Mitrice the night she was arrested. They claimed they misunderstood, thinking Mitrice’s family was asking for footage of Mitrice outside the station not a video of Mitrice in the station.
On January 9th, 2010 the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department organized one of the largest searches in the history of LAPD. An 18 square mile search in Malibu Canyon with over 300 trained volunteers participating in air and ground searches. Mitrice was still not found.
Just 3 weeks later, and almost 300 miles away in Las Vegas, Mitrice’s Father, Michael Richardson, alerts authorities that he believes he saw his daughter Mitrice in an area known for prostitution on the Las Vegas Strip. Michael called out to Mitrice but lost her in the crowd. Latice firmly believes that wasn’t her daughter and believes she never made it out of Malibu Canyon.
On June 26th, 2010, Latice and her lawyer file 6 lawsuits against the LA County Sheriff’s Department for negligence and wrongful death. Around the same time, there is another sighting of Mitrice, by a high school friend. At around 3 AM, in a Las Vegas casino, he claimed to have seen Mitrice. He called out to her, but the woman appeared nervous and ran off.
On August 9th, 2010 Malibu State Park Rangers are hiking along the area of Dark Canyon, a vastly remote area, just a few miles from where Mitrice was last seen, searching for any illegal marijuana growing in the area. This area is said to be a very difficult place to stumble upon and very hard to get through. Upon their quest, they discover the mummified naked remains of an African American curly haired woman. Ignoring the proper protocol, the woman was airlifted out of Dark Canyon. The woman was later confirmed to be Mitrice Richardson. A ranch known for producing pornography was adjacent to where Mitrice was found, but no connection has been determined.
Multiple residents in the area reported to have heard screams in the area several nights after Mitrice disappeared, but despite this, Mitrice’s death was deemed not to be a homicide, and no foul play occurred. The cause of death was ruled to be undetermined.
What happened to this beautiful, intellectual, talented woman? Why would police let her go in the middle of the night with no phone or vehicle? Why was she acting so strangely? How did Mitrice end up dead in that creek bed? Too many unanswered questions have consumed the Richardson Family. We need to find out what exactly happened to Mitrice Richardson.
More info:
https://www.murdersandcoffee.com/post/what-happened-to-mitrice-richardson
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-17/mitrice-richardson-reward-malibu
https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/sheriff-updates-mitrice-richardson-disappearance-decade-late1965858/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Mitrice_Richardson
What do y’all think happened to Mitrice? Do you think she succumbed to the elements? Or something sinister occurred to her that night? Share your thoughts!
I also wanna add her clothes were found scattered around her body. It would be unusual for her to undress and try to maneuver through that creek bed.
submitted by jordancottle to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

Amazing Race Route Concept #2

Warning: massive amount of text ahead. I created a mostly functional race route around the world (all loactions like buildings, businesses, landmarks, etc. are REAL locations and could theoretically actually work in the race). I tried to have a good variety in locations and types of challenges, but it's really hard! I find it a lot harder to complain about challenge design after making this. Even though this could technically happen there are probably some safety concerns in going to South Africa and Lesotho and it's probably not possible for the American Amazing Race to film in Cuba, but I decided to do it anyway. If you have any questions or feedback please let me know!

RACE #2
Leg 1 (USA - Japan)
Leg 2 (Japan - South Korea)
Leg 3 (South Korea - India)
Leg 4 (India - Oman)
Leg 5 (Oman)
Leg 6 (Oman - South Africa)
Leg 7 (South Africa - Lesotho)
Leg 8 (Lesotho - Greece)
Leg 9 (Greece)
Leg 10 (Greece - North Macedonia)
Leg 11 (North Macedonia - Cuba)
Leg 12 (Cuba - USA)

LEG 1
USA - Japan
Start at Cloud Gate, Chicago, Illinois
Run to clue at Millenium Monument
Clue #1
Make your way to the Gunma region of Japan, and travel to Sarugakyu Onsen. However, to get your tickets to Japan, you must make your way on foot through the busy streets of Chicago to Navy Pier, where flights will be given out according to the order of your arrival. Flights go to Tokyo, and you must make your own travel arrangements from there.
Flight 1 (5 teams): Chicago - Los Angeles - Tokyo, arrives 8:00 AM
Flight 2 (4 teams): Chicago - Tokyo, arrives 9:30 AM
Flight 3 (2 teams): Chicago - San Francisco - Tokyo, arrives 9:45 AM
Clue #2
Both team members must go into the hot springs and search it for the partly submerged cluebox to get your next clue.
Clue #3
Travel to Sarugakyo Bungy for your next clue.
Clue #4
Roadblock: Who’s ready to take a jump?
Bungy jump at the largest bungy jump in all of Japan at 62 meters, or over 200 feet! Once you’ve taken your leap of faith, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #5
Travel to Uenokunirokunomiya Haruna Shrine, Takasaki, for your next clue.
Clue #6
Create one string of paper cranes in Senbazuru. Senbazuru is the crafting of 1000 paper cranes for good luck. Following the demonstration, learn how to craft paper cranes. Once you have created forty of them and strung them together, deliver them to a Shinto priest at Akiba Shrine. He will give you your next clue.
Clue #7
Travel by train to Akihabara, Tokyo, and go to the top of the Tokyo Skytree to receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Roadblock: Who can ‘go’ kart? The teammate who did the first roadblock cannot do this one.
Travel to Akihabari Street Kart 1 and dress up in one of the many ridiculous costumes the company has to offer. Then, join a fifteen minute go-karting tour around the streets of this bustling region and look for three enormous signs in race colors with three different Japanese characters on them. If you can spot and write all three characters down correctly during the rush of Tokyo, you’ll receive your next clue. If you can’t get it right, you’ll have to join the next available tour.
Clue #9
Travel to Horin Park on foot to find the first pit stop! The last team to check in here may be eliminated.
Pit Stop, Leg 1
trip to Canada
last: eliminated

LEG 2
Japan - South Korea
Clue #1
Fly to Busan, South Korea! Upon arrival, make your way to Beomeo-sa for your next clue.
Fast Forward, Leg 2
Go to Songdo Beach and swim out into the ocean, locating the five whale statues in the water. At each statue, pick up marked letter tiles. Once you have all seven (two statues have two tiles), you can go back to the beach and unscramble the letters that spell out the name of a traditional South Korean delicacy that the other contestants eat at their first challenge. If you get the right word, you’ll be given a clue that takes you straight to the end of the leg.
Clue #2
Master the art of Korean meditation. If you can master all of the moves correctly, then your instructor will give over your next clue.
Clue #3
Head to Taejongdae for your next clue.
Clue #4
Roadblock: Who’s desperate to eat?
Take the marked path over one mile uphill to the marked food stand, and finish one serving of Soondae, a traditional South Korean delicacy that is made of pig intestines and pork blood. Once you have finished the food, you can run down to your partner and get your next clue.
Clue #5
Take the Songdo Marine Cable Car from Songnim Park to Amnam Park to receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Detour: Fish Identity or Fish Delivery
Fish Identity: Go to Jagalchi Fish Market and search for the marked stall. Once there, sort an enormous box of fish and organize them. Once the stall owner approves, put them up for stock in the stall to receive your next clue.
Fish Delivery: Go to Jacky’s Seafood and take three orders and three addresses that need to be delivered. Once you have delivered all the fish to all the correct addresses throughout the Gamcheon Culture Village, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Make your way to the pit-stop at Haedong Yonggungsa. The last team to arrive may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 2
-first: trip to Belize
-last: non-elimination

LEG 3
South Korea - India
Clue #1
Fly to Hyderabad, India, and go to the Charminar for your first clue.
Clue #2
Travel to Ramoji Film City Main Entrance to receive your next clue.
Speed Bump, Leg 3
Make your way to Saha’s Adventure Park and zorb down a steep hill. Once you’ve made it, you can continue racing.
Clue #3
Detour: Birdy Woods or Bollywood
Birdy Woods: Dressing up in clumsy bird costumes, search through Asia’s largest aviary for a cutout of the bird your partner is dressing up as. Once you’ve found the two cutouts, head to the Bonsai Garden. If you match the right bird, you’ll receive your next clue.
Bollywood: Head to Ramoji Movie Magic. Dressing up in traditional Indian outfits, memorize a short dance to the tune of some Bollywood music and perform it to the live audience and judges. If you meet their standards, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #4
Head to Nehru Zoological Park where your next clue will be waiting.
Clue #5
Take an amazing elephant ride! With both teammates on the elephant’s back guide it through a short course. If you can reach the end in under two minutes, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Make your way to Bidar Fort by public transport for your next clue.
Clue #7
Roadblock: Who’s itching to get etching?
One team member must help in the process of the creation of bidriware. First, you must chisel one section in the piece of bidriware very precisely. Any error and you must restart. If given the clear, then you must then make their way inside Bidar Fort and collect a total of three baskets of soil for the artisans to use later in the process. Finally, you must use some of the soil you collected and coat a piece of bidriware in it. If every part of the challenge was done to the satisfaction of the artisans, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Make your way to the Bahmani Tombs and the pit-stop! The last team to arrive will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 3
-first: trip to Japan
-last: eliminated

LEG 4
India - Oman
Clue #1
Fly to Muscat, Oman! Once you have arrived, make your way to Al Alam Palace, where you will find marked cars waiting outside. Your clue will be waiting on the car.
Clue #2
Drive all the way to the Nizwa Souq in Nizwa, Oman, where you will find nine different tags, each releasing teams at different times the next morning, when you will be given your next clue.
Tag 1: departure at 7:00 AM
Tag 2: departure at 7:05 AM
Tag 3: departure at 7:10 AM
Tag 4: departure at 7:15 AM
Tag 5: departure at 7:20 AM
Tag 6: departure at 7:25 AM
Tags 7-9: departure at 7:30 AM
Clue #3
Detour: Selling Goats or Weighing Dates
Selling Goats: Navigate through the souq to the weekly goat market. You must select a seller and help them sell their goats. First, thoroughly clean five goats so they are ready for selling. Then, parade five goats around the “walking circle,” where potential buyers will inspect which goats to buy. You must finally buy a goat yourself, haggling for a price under 100 riyals, or 260 US dollars. Once you can purchase a goat, you will receive your next clue. Keep the goat for the next challenge.
Weighing Dates: Find the marked stall in the souq that is selling dates. Your goal is to weigh out 200 grams of Ajwa Dates, 175 grams of Barhi Dates, and 125 grams of Hayani Dates. To do this, you must travel across the market to a scale at a different date stall. If you can get the perfect amount of dates, you will receive your next clue. Keep the dates for the next challenge.
Clue #4
Travel on foot to the Contemporary Mosque with either your goat or dates and trade them with the man waiting out front for your next clue.
Clue #5
Make your way back to the souq, and head to Omani Craftsman's House where you will find your next clue.
Clue #6
Roadblock: Who can work and weave?
The teammate participating in this roadblock must help create a small basketwork bowl. After watching the example, you must use the provided materials to finish off the bowl. If it meets the requirement of the shop owner, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Make your way to the pit-stop for this leg of the race, Nizwa Fort! The last team to arrive may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 4
-first: continue racing
-last: continue racing

LEG 5
Oman
Clue #1
Drive yourself to Bimmah Sinkhole in Muscat, Oman! You will receive your next clue after having a cup of delicious locally-made coffee. Caution! Double U-Turn ahead!
Clue #2
Detour: Script Write or Shipwright
Script Write: Drive to Bait al Zubair and go into the Manuscript Room. Using a provided paper and translation guide, figure out what the marked manuscript says in English. If anything is wrong when submitting it, though, you must start completely over.
Shipwright: Drive to Oman Maritime Boatyard and find the marked boat. Oman Maritime has been reviving the craft of making the traditional wooden boats of Oman’s past, and you must help with the process. First, you must hand-sand a small section of the marked vessel. Then, you and your partner must work together to stitch coconut palm fiber through twenty holes, or eighty total stitches. Once you’re done, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #3
Make your way to Mutrah Souk for your next clue and the U-Turn board!
Clue #4
Search through the enormous market for one of three marked stalls. One you’ve found a stall, search through their wares for a trinket with a red/yellow flag on the bottom. Give the correct trinket to the shop owner, and they will hand you your next clue.
Clue #5
Drive yourself to Qurum Beach, where you will receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Roadblock: Who will pass the shells?
For this challenge, one team member must watch the demonstration of two fishermen playing a traditional Omani game, Al Hawalees. You must first create a “board” in the sand and collect the required amount of shells to play. You must then challenge a local fisherman. If you can win while following all of the rules correctly, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Make your way to the pit-stop at Wadi Bani Khalid. The last team to check in will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 5
-first: trip to Tanzania
-last: eliminated

LEG 6
Oman - South Africa
Clue #1
Fly out of Oman to Durban, South Africa, on one of two flights.
Flight 1 (2 teams): Muscat - Durban, arrives 7:30 AM
Flight 2 (6 teams): Muscat - Dar es Salaam - Durban, arrives 8:00 AM
Upon touching down, make your way to Moses Mabhida Stadium, where you will find your next clue.
Clue #2
Roadblock: Who will swing for the skies?
One team member must strap in and complete the Big Rush Big Swing, the largest swing in the world! Dive 263 feet down. Once you have finished the swing, you will receive a section and seat number. You will search the stands for your next clue.
Clue #3
Make your way to Umhlanga Lighthouse for your next clue.
Clue #4
Shake it up! In this challenge, you must create Lighthouse Bar’s famous “Umhlanga Schling.” Use the provided recipe to create fifteen drinks to perfection, and you will receive your next clue.
Clue #5
Head to Addington Beach and dig underneath one of the large sandcastles for your next clue.
Clue #6
Detour: Tree or Sea
Tree: For this detour, go to Durban Botanical Gardens. Use a provided golf cart to make your way to the famous Wood’s Cycad, a tree dating back to the age of dinosaurs. It has been cared for here since 1848. Once there, use one of the provided pieces to put together a large 3d puzzle of the tree. Once it has been approved, you will be handed your clue, and you can drive back to the front of the gardens and continue racing.
Sea: Go to uShaka Marine World and help out with some chores! First, help the kitchen staff and prepare 5 pounds of specially made vegetables for some of the aquarium’s fish. Second, travel around the park and take water samples from each of the specified exhibits. Finally, record blood test results taken during routine health check-ups. If you’ve completed all of the steps correctly, you will receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Head to the pit-stop at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World! The last team to check in may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 6
-first: 5k each
-last: eliminated

LEG 7
South Africa - Lesotho
Clue #1
Drive yourself through Qacha’s Nek and into Lesotho! Once in Lesotho, drive yourself to Maletsunyane Falls where you’ll find your next clue.
Fast Forward, Leg 7
By completing this fast forward, you will skip an overnight rest point and will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Head to Sehlabathebe National Park. Once there, using the provided map and compass, ride by horseback to the nomadic tribal people’s current village. At the village, help cook pap-pap, a type of porridge common in Lesotho. The first team to complete the challenge will be able to head directly to the pit-stop.
Clue #2
Drive yourself to Seshoeshoe Decor and Fashion Designers in Maseru for your next clue.
Clue #3
Who can cut up a pattern?
One teammate will choose one of the complicated tribal Lesotho designs, and must find five pieces of fabric that match it perfectly. But be careful, the designs have miniscule differences between them. Once you’ve found all of your fabric, cut them at the directed places to receive your next clue.
Clue #4
Make your way to the Subeng River Dinosaur Footprints, where you will find seven tags, each releasing you at a time in the morning when you will receive your next clue.
Tags 1-2: departure at 7:00 AM
Tag 3: departure at 7:20 AM
Tag 4: departure at 7:40 AM
Tags 5-7: departure at 8:00 AM
Clue #5
Detour: Cave or Maze
Cave: For this challenge, go to Liphofung Cave. You must memorize all of the rock paintings in a specified section (15 paintings), and then run approximately a quarter-mile away and select the correct paper cutouts and put them in the right order as they were shown in the cave. When you have everything selected and ordered correctly, you’ll receive your next clue.
Maze: Make your way to the second largest dam in Africa, Katse Dam. Enter the first marked gallery and record the air temperature and the humidity. Use those observations to crack a complicated code, and enter the parallel gallery it directs you into. Be careful, it might be hard to find! If you enter the correct gallery, you will find a boat key, which you must give to the boatmaster. He will then give you a small ride around the reservoir and you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive yourself to Sani Stone Lodge for your next clue.
Clue #7
Help a local Basotho Shephard and their dogs move their sheep to a new grazing location. Don’t let the sheep get away! Once they’ve all been successfully moved, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Make your way on foot to the pit-stop at Sani Top Chalet! The last team to check in may be eliminated!
Pit-Stop, Leg 7
-first: trip to Egypt
-last: non-elimination

LEG 8
Lesotho - Greece
Clue #1
Via Maseru International Airport, make your way to Athens, Greece, known to be the home of the first democracy! From there, make your way to the Theatre of Dionysus on The Acropolis, where you will take part in a U-Turn vote. The two teams with the most votes will be sentenced to an automatic U-Turn when they arrive at the detour. After the vote, teams will be given their next clue.
Clue #2
Fly to Chania, Greece on the island of Crete! Upon touching down, use the provided cars to make your way to the Agora and search for the marked stall.
Speed Bump, Leg 8
Together, team members must eat through a total of twelve Greek figs. Once all of the fruits have been stomached, that team can continue racing.
Clue #3
Detour: Traverse or Immerse
Traverse: Make your way to the Maritime Museum of Crete, and find the small yacht model outside the museum. Your goal is to remember as much as you can without writing it down, then make a half mile walk through the streets of Crete to the yacht harbor, where you must find a marked yacht and rearrange the items until it is just like it was in the model. Once the actual yacht matches the model, you’ll receive your next clue.
Immerse: Travel to Minoan’s World 3D Museum, and get treated to a five minute long “9D movie” on Cretan History which engages all of your senses. If you can answer all five questions correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. However, only two teams can participate in the show at once.
Clue #4
Drive to the Palace of Knossos for your next clue.
Clue #5
Use the provided map to navigate through the ruins, collecting puzzle pieces at each of the marked rooms. Once you have all ten bundles of pieces, head outside and recreate the large painting using the pieces you collected. Once it has been finished, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive to Cretan Olive Oil Farm for your next clue.
Clue #7
Roadblock: Who is feeling oily?
In this challenge, one teammate will help in the process of creating olive oil. First, set up special tree-shaking equipment and a net, used to efficiently get olives out of the tree without bruising them. You will then sort the olives between bruised and fair. Finally, crush both bruised and fair olives with a traditional granite olive press. Once they have been successfully grinded into a paste, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Find the pit-stop along the coast of the small village of Loutro back on the west side of Crete. You will soon discover, however, that the village is completely blocked off from the mainland by mountains, so you will have to find alternate transportation. Hurry, because the last team to arrive will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 8
-first: trip to Austria
-last: eliminated

LEG 9
Greece
Clue #1
Fly back to the mainland in Thessaloniki! When you’ve arrived, search Aristotelous Square for your next clue.
Clue #2
Detour: Serve or Observe
Serve: For this detour head on foot to Bougatsa Giannis, a renowned restaurant in the Ladadika area. You must take the orders of twelve total people and retrieve the correct dishes for them from the kitchen. Each person also has a dessert, which must be retrieved from nearby pastry shop Trigona Elinidi. You may take notes, but if you mess up someone’s order, you must start it over again.
Observe: Go by taxi to the Thessaloniki Science Centre Technology Museum and make your way to the main planetarium. The night sky will be projected above, and will be moving around you at one hour of regular movement per second. Using the provided key, identify five Greek constellations first identified by Claudius Ptolemy- Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Centaurus, and Perseus. Be careful, it might be dizzying! Once you’ve found all of the constellations, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue.
Clue #3
Find the Arch of Galerius for your next clue.
Clue #4 Use one of the marked cars to drive yourself for the rest of the leg. Go to the Thessaloniki Concert Hall for your next clue.
Clue #5
Roadblock: Who can blow a note and hold a tune?
Macedonian brass bands are extremely popular in the Macedonia region of Greece, so for this roadblock, learn how to play the trumpet, a popular instrument played in these bands. If you can play a few notes of the folk song with the band, you’ll get your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive to Dalamara Winery. Once there, follow the guide to the directed area, where you must load two empty kegs onto a horse drawn cart. Direct the horse approximately half a mile through the vineyard and return back to the kegs. You will continue to load and deliver a total of eight kegs to receive your next clue.
Clue #7
Drive to Ski Center Voras and take the lift to the top where Kajmakcalan, a chapel right on the border between Greece and North Macedonia is situated. The last team to arrive at this pit-stop may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 9
-first: trip to Colombia
-last: eliminated

LEG 10
Greece - North Macedonia
Clue #1
Drive yourself across the border into North Macedonia to Popova Kula Winery! Once there, pull a tag that departs you at a certain time the next morning.
Tag 1: departure at 8:00 AM
Tag 2: departure at 8:10 AM
Tag 3: departure at 8:20 AM
Tags 4-5: departure at 8:30 AM
Clue #2
Roadblock: Who is a master chef?
The teammate doing this roadblock will use the provided recipe to cook the national dish of North Macedonia, Tavche Gravche, a special type of baked beans. If it is cooked to perfection, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #3
Drive yourself to the Millenium Cross in Skopje for your next clue.
Clue #4
Detour: Art Block or Charity Walk
Art Block: Drive to the Art Bridge, which is home to 29 statues of important Macedonian artists and musicians. Wandering on and around the bridge are 29 people dressed up as those artists and musicians. You must match nine total people to their statues. A maximum of three teams can complete this challenge.
Charity Walk: Drive to the Mother Teresa Memorial House and load a trolley cart with a marked group of items that will almost completely fill the trolley. On foot, travel to the SOS Children’s Village National Office where you are to deliver the items. If you do not choose this option, your items will still be donated after the leg.
Clue #5
Drive to the city of Struga, where the North Macedonian national anthem was created. Make your way to the Saint Archangel Michael Cave Church for your next clue.
Clue #6
Teammates must work together to memorize four total stanzas of the Macedonian national anthem- in Macedonian. If you can perform it with the orchestra without forgetting the lyrics, you’ll receive your clue to the next pit-stop.
Clue #7
Drive to the Monastery of St. Naum and the pit-stop! The last team to check in may be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 10
-first: trip to Indonesia
-last: eliminated

LEG 11
North Macedonia - Cuba
Clue #1
Make your way back to Skopje, then fly to Havana, Cuba, on two predetermined flights. Once there, go by taxi to Taller Calle 8, a car repair shop, where you will receive your next clue.
Flight 1 (2 teams): Skopje - Paris - Havana, arrives 6:30 AM
Flight 2 (2 teams): Skopje - London - Miami - Havana, arrives 7:10 AM
Clue #2
Roadblock: Who can fix it up?
The teammate doing this roadblock must follow the example to repair one of the classic Cuban cars. If it makes it past inspection, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #3
For the remainder of the leg, you’ll have to drive the car you just fixed. Head to Fusterlandia, where you’ll find your next clue.
Clue #4
Find where the attached image is in person throughout the folk neighborhood of Fusterlandia. If you can find where the image actually is and show the judge, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #5
Sell the Box or Find the Band
Sell the Box: Drive to Santa Maria del Mar Beach and sell the provided boxes of boxed rum, the “juice box for bug kids.” While never selling any box for under 25 Cuban Pesos, make 375 Cuban Pesos (around fifteen US dollars). Once you’ve made your sales, you’ll receive your next clue.
Find the Band: For this detour, drive to the Cuban Art Factory and observe the large, marked piece of sheet music in the first room. Going from room to room in the factory, try to find the band who is playing the music that was in the first room. You must make your guesses ten minutes apart, so be confident in your answers! Once you have chosen the right band, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue.
Clue #6
Drive to Vinales Valley Tobacco Field and search the marked area for your next clue.
Clue #7
Perfectly roll ten Cuban cigars, five per contestant. Watch the example closely, as any small mistake in rolling the tobacco leaf will cause the cigar to fail. Once all of the cigars have been perfectly rolled, you’ll receive your next clue.
Clue #8
Take a long drive to the eastern side of Cuba and the pit-stop at Ignacio Agramonte Park in Camaguey! The last team to check into the pit-stop will be eliminated.
Pit-Stop, Leg 11
-first: trip to Botswana
-last: eliminated

LEG 12
Cuba - USA
Clue #1
For the first part of this leg, you’ll be staying in Cuba! Drive yourself using the car you used in the last leg down Neptuno street in Havana, where you will find a guarapo stall with a flag.
Clue #2
Using the hand-press to crush sugarcane, make forty glasses of guarapo. Once all of the glasses have been successfully made, you’ll be handed your next clue.
Clue #3
Drive to the Tropicana Night Club for your next clue.
Clue #4
Roadblock: Who can make it and shake it?
For this challenge, one team member must follow the instructions of the costume designer to create a costume for one of the showgirls. If the costume is made correctly and given a pass, teams will be given their next clue.
Clue #5
Teams must drive to Aeropuerto de La Habana Ciudad Libertad, where you will embark on a charter flight to Key West, Florida, back in the United States. Once in Key West, teams must go to the southernmost point in the continental United States for their next clue.
Clue #6
Make your way to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where you’ll find your next clue.
Clue #7
Roadblock: Who is a reader, a writer, and a decipherer?
Ernest Hemingway, known for books like The Old Man and the Sea, had a notoriously bad handwriting, with little regards to punctuation or accuracy. One team member must copy one of Hemingway’s notes perfectly, letter for letter, on the provided typewriter. If it was typed perfectly, you will be handed a decoder key which you can use to find the hidden message, which will reveal the location of your final challenge.
Answer: Smathers Beach
Clue #8
Now that you’ve made it to Smathers Beach, you’ll partake in a final challenge. Out in between the marked buoys are bundles of letter tiles. You must dive down to retrieve them and bring them back up to shore. Figure out what you’re supposed to spell out with them, and once you think you have the answer, hang the tiles in order on your clothesline. If you have the correct answer, you’ll be given the final clue.
Answer: United States, Japan, South Korea, India, Oman, South Africa, Lesotho, Greece, North Macedonia, Cuba, United States (teams must figure out that they have to spell out all of the countries they visited in order on the race)
Clue #9
Congratulations! Make your way to the final pit-stop at Fort Zachary Cruise Pier! Go, go, go, the first team to reach the pit-stop will win 1 MILLION dollars!
Pit-Stop, Leg 12
10 countries
4 continents
over 27,000 miles
first: 1 million dollars
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Part 2 of the Bird


6.
Five years earlier, from the bottom bunk of a holding cell in the Clatsop County courthouse, a younger Jessica made a cackling confession of sorts to the gray-haired guard everyone called Birch. She wore bleached yellow hair at the time, and it was longer. Her name—the name she was going by—wasn’t Jessica, then, either, and she spoke with a fake Texas accent as part of the persona she had been portraying for the last several months in Astoria.
“Tell me, how do you do it?”
“Do what Birch?” She said without looking up and slowly rolling the small cigarette in her crossed-legged lap and her back against the wall.
“How is it you have them chase you like that? Why are they crazy for you?”
“Oh, you mean that out there?” She laughs.
The proceedings of her trial had been put on recess, for a young girl had given sworn testimony from the stand that the bleach haired girl on trial—who went by Audrey Burns—was the same girl with whom she had a relationship and that Audrey Burns was not her real name at all and that she had, in fact, disclosed plans to manipulate the middle aged wife of the late, local banker, Mr. Schilling, through her romantic affair with the older woman, so that she could obtain titles for a small collection of antique automobiles and several acres of coveted land in Thurston County, Washington. The defendant’s plan, so the girl said, had been to leave the older woman by fall of the following year, once everything was in order, and then, she would run away with the witness.
The trial had already been shrouded in scandal. Affairs with wives of successful business men was gossip enough to keep anyone interested in the small town of Astoria and all the more so when that affair, from what it seemed, involved another woman rather than a man. It had attracted many spectators and generated headlines which sold local newspapers faster than they could be printed, so that the courtroom was full when the still pretty, middle-aged Miss Schilling heard the testimony concerning her former lover’s trickery and intentions to leave her for the younger girl.
Miss Schilling had gasped audibly and stood up and rushed towards the bench but was held back by the crowd. The bailiffs stood in her way, besides, and after a moment she fainted, flopped out onto the floor like a sweaty, wet rag of nerves and hurt for all the simple farm folk to see. It was then that the judge’s gavel clapped loudly into the courtroom, calling for order and threatening contempt, and then, he called a recess while this new information could be processed, while it was determined what to do now that the defendant’s supposed identity might not be her identity at all.
The guard continued with his questions to the girl on the bunk. “You know what I mean. That out there, yeah! Where I’m from, girls don’t like girls, at least not as I know.”
“There’s a lot to it, Birch. First of all, some girls do like girls, obviously. You see me don’t you? Secondly, you have to remember that I’ve got a leg up, because I am a woman. Then, most women, maybe 99% of them operate like clocks and horses.”
“Clocks and horses?”
“Yeah. Clocks and horses. You got a match? Light my cigarette,” she asks and stands up to walk over to the guard on the other side of the bars.
“Sure. They say they gonna make smoking in jails illegal one of these days, ban cigarettes in facilities like this one all across the nation,” he says striking a match, cupping one hand and holding out the flame for her to light the smoke.
“I’ll believe it when I see it, Birch… thanks.” Now, she moves back to the bunk, clearing her throat and continuing her dissertation. “They’re like clocks, man. They all need one thing, and once you figure out how to wind ’em up, just like a clock, they start ticking. They can’t help it, and they don’t know why, just like a clock can’t help it. It doesn’t know why it ticks. It just ticks.”
“What’s that?”
“What’s what? What winds ’em up?”
“Yeah.”
“Desire, Birch, desire. They all need, have to be desired. Now, that doesn’t mean just because you desire a woman, she’ll desire you back. No, sir. Not at all!”
“Hmm…”
“Yeah, Birch, like a horse.”
“Like a horse?”
“You ever try to walk up to a horse?”
“Yeah.”
“What happens?”
“They step back, move away from you.”
“Right. And what happens when you turn your back to them and walk away, huh? I’ll tell you what happens, they follow you, try to stick their heads in your business and get your attention. Try real hard. Of course, that’s all a gross oversimplification of the realities at work, there, Birch, but it’s a crude illustration for a crude man. Something even you can understand.”
“Crude? I’m not a crude man. You’re the one in here talking about women like they’re inanimate objects and animals.”
“You’re not? Hmm… well, then what’re you asking about all this stuff for, huh? And, besides, if you only listened to what I’m saying, Birch, you’d understand it’s not that, not exactly. What I’m talking about are mechanics and attraction. You’re a man, though. You wouldn’t get it, and that’s why I do. That’s why I get them.” She rolls her head back and laughs pressing her shoulder blades into the wall behind her bunk.
“All of them?”
“Nah. You can’t bat 1.000, but you can bat .300, and that’s pretty good, Birch. Almost one out of the three and stop wasting your time with the rest.”
The light skinned guard scratches his mustache and stares at the girl on her bunk through the bars and shakes his head. It is nothing he’s ever heard before. And he stares at her more intently, now, pondering her mechanics, what makes her tick, what makes her think like that. Is she human?
“And what about you, girl?”
“What about me?”
“Don’t you need anything?”
“I never thought about it. Funny, huh?”
“What about love? Don’t you want love?”
“Love? Love…” she asks staring at the ground and coldly replying, now, “I don’t know what love is Birch, and I don’t think I’m capable of it. That’s ok, though. That’s how I want it.”
7.
This morning the women brush their teeth in the bathroom. Both stare into the mirror and smile at each other through it, and for a moment, Jessica looks at herself, recalls who and how she was before and during the trial, how she’d ruthlessly manipulated the vulnerabilities of Miss Schilling and meant to rob her of the things her husband had left her. It is hard to imagine that she was that way, and the words she’d said to Birch from the bunk come back to her,
“I don’t know what love is Birch, and I don’t think I’m capable of it.”
She knows that all that has changed and is embarrassed for having ever said it, and now, she spits into the sink and looks at Eleonore who presses a finger into the white line of shrunken scar tissue in Jessica’s chin and mumbles through the foamy toothpaste in her mouth,
“That’s cute.” And Jessica remembers the fight in prison when she got it. It was less than 18 months ago.
Jessica lets the last snow on the ground crunch beneath her shoes as she watches Eleonore feed the animals and do this or that. It is a sunny day. Back inside, they sit on the couch or roll around in bed with fingers twirling hair and wet breath whispers of love against sweaty foreheads or the soft skin of Eleonore’s ear pressed into Jessica’s bony, bare shoulders. There are moments when they wonder what they’ll do, how this will all end.
They forget where they are. They forget about everything. In that time, there is only the other, so that their days and nights become mixed, and as the first blue light of the day comes through the window one morning, both girls startle in bed to stare wide-eyed at each other. Something is stirring in the living room, a mad black being come to execute judgement upon them and their lives of sin. Their hearts drop in their chests, and for a moment, there is a desperate, futile squirming in their bodies trying to get up and run but unable, paralyzed by fear.
Now, the doorknob to the bedroom is turning and the large silhouette of the man Eleonore has betrayed, the man whose life Jessica has destroyed, appears in the doorway. It is a moment of terror for the girls. A speechless choking comes from the man’s throat as he stands over the bed and pulls the covers back to find the two soft white bodies clutching themselves, shielding their bodies from his view. He walks out of the room and returns almost immediately with the splitting maul, raising above his head and putting a hole in the mattress where Jessica lay only seconds before.
He chases the skinny, shrieking naked body around the house with the weapon and catches her in the bony part of her wrist. The cold metal nicks her collar bone and leaves another gash on the side of her head and ear. It is total chaos as the two women flail. Eleonore is pleading with the man and chasing from behind as she tries to stop him, until he smashes her in the head and face with her crystal glass candy tray. She is left a mound of soft white flab moaning and staggered on the cold terrazzo. And Jessica bounces off the couches and slides across the table and crawls on the floor and runs this way and that as the man continues to swing the maul, until she is finally outside, naked and bleeding in the snow.
Steam rises from her sweaty chest in the cold. The sun is just up, now, above the hill. It is too much for her, as her body gives out on her she lies on her back looking up at the man who is raising the heavy wooden handled weapon above his head. She thinks that she never expected this, didn’t expect to die in this way, but here it is. The moment of her death had arrived. And before the maul comes down to end her life, a mortal clang rings out, and the man falls. Eleonore’s cast iron skillet—all 20 pounds of it—has bruised his brain and left a flat indentation in his skull.
The girls shake, pale and bleeding in places, and they get dressed and pull the motionless body into the house. It is quiet for an hour or so as they recover, wiping blood from their faces. Jessica pinches her ear to stop the bleeding. Now, Eleonore is pacing and wringing her hands and repeating over and over,
“Jessica, what do we do? Huh, Jessica? What Jessica?”
And now the other girl screams,
“My name is not Jessica!” The accent from her childhood, the one from Maine, can be heard. “My name’s not Jessica. It’s Christina. Look, Eleonore, there’s a lot for us to talk about. There’s a lot you need to know, but for now, we’ve got to figure this out. Okay?” To which Eleonore nods her head. “Now, the way I see it, they’ll give us both the chair for this. You most of all, so we’ve got to be each other’s everything from here on out. Okay? I’ve got 700 dollars hidden in the lining of my bag and some IDs that’ll work for me. We can get rid of the truck somewhere. We’ll make it.”
Eleonore stares looking dreadfully down at her husband on the floor. A think pink fluid has leaked from his nose, and his chest heaves as he gargles and struggles to breathe. Foamy spittle forms at his mouth. his face is darker, purple in the nose and cheeks. Other parts of his face are turning green.
“What about him?” she asks.
“He’ll die, soon, from the looks of it. The case will be attempted murder, even if he doesn’t, Eleonore. You hear me? We leave him. Before we leave, we have to get your blood on the floor and out to the driveway. No one knows I’m here, right? Right, Eleonore?”
“I don’t think so,” she says with folded arms. “No.”
“Okay. I’ll get the keys. And one last thing, Eleonore. Do you have any money or jewelry here?”
The fatter, shorter woman walks into the kitchen and opens the freezer and pulls out what looks like packages of frozen meat wrapped in white butcher paper and spreads them out on the floor, until she grabs one and stands up and says,
“This is it. Should be about 14,000. Our life’s savings.”
They sit in the house for hours after that, waiting for night and listening to the labored breath of the man dying on the floor. Eleonore cries at different times. Jessica frowns in the corner, occasionally trying to comfort her lover with words and brief shoulder rubs, but other than that, there is nothing to say, just worried looks shared between them. Finally, it is midnight. The girls step out into the cold darkness. They start the truck and leave that house behind them, forever.
8.
The thing which had been shared early in the girls three months together at the house, the thing about Virgos being a reserved and shy woman, waiting for something, open to change and new ways of way life proved to be truer about Eleonore than they could have been for anyone else, Virgo or not. It was a slow journey across the country to Cleveland. The two sat in the cab of the old truck. And Eleonore learned all about the girl she’d only recently learned to love and had called Jessica.
Her name, as she said before, was Christina. The last name was Sullivan, and she spoke quietly to round, pink faced woman in the passenger seat as she drove, spoke about her early life as the only child of an impoverished and married couple on a cursed bog of a property in rural Maine. Her father drowned in drink, and her mother spent nights out with other men, known for her harlotry and the shame her life brought on her family and their Irish ancestors. By the time the young girl turned 12, her mother had moved into an old house and gotten the same strange, androgenous haircut as the other bug-eyed men and women living in the house. They called themselves the Howardites after their leader, the lanky and long faced theologian, Dr. Howard. By 14, the girl’s mother and her new clan moved out west, never to be seen or heard from again by the quiet fishermen and farm folk of the small town.
As her old man lay dying in drink around the house and the adolescent girl starved, the young Christina Sullivan left her home with what could be contained in a small piece of luggage. There were things which made the transition into a life of homelessness at such a young age easier than perhaps it should have been. The difficulty of her life up to then was one. The other was the transient family of grifters who took her in and taught her everything she needed to thrive from a life of dishonesty and tricks. Only catch to it all was the constant need to move from city to city or town to town and change name after name, so that the things they did couldn’t be traced. It was the constant pressure from the traditional clan to marry their second son which pushed her away. She couldn’t do it. They didn’t understand.
By 16, she was once again on her own, only now living from woman to woman for as long as her personalities and selfishness would allow or moving on when she thought the authorities might be sniffing her trail. Like her father, though, she learned to love the bottle. With the liquor came a tendency to abuse her partners. She hurled hurtful words at the women, and two of her younger lovers, one the daughter of a police chief in Wisconsin and the other an immigrant heiress studying to become a doctor in Ohio, had felt the backs of the young Christina Sullivan’s knuckles across their faces. It was shameful for the lost girl when she did things like that, and upon seeing the bruises on her lovers’ faces, she disappeared to a new town with a new name, new accent and a new story about where and how she grew up.
Three and a half years in a state prison had always been a matter of time for her doing the things she was doing. It all just happened to happen in Oregon. She got out, though, and continued living just as before. A significant contact had been made with a man named Jimmy “the Joker” Madsen, who was the brother of Christina’s girlfriend in prison, and the two of them, Christina and the Joker, had spent a month in Slidell, Louisiana basement refashioning the lettering on identification cards and relaminating them or reworking the numbers on cashier’s checks. They’d spent the months before that blowing their loot from the last big score they’d hit. It was a new girl for each at a new five-star restaurant every night and a new penthouse suite afterwards, every night. That’s the way it went for the fraudsters, but somewhere north of Salt Lake City, on the night that Eleonore found her, the Joker had gotten tired of his female cohort’s antics. The drink made her difficult. And apparently, something ugly had been said, and instead of beating her as he would have any of his previous, male partners, he pulled out of the car and left her in the rest stop bathroom outside of Pocatello.
Eleonore watches her lips move in the dark, recounting the events of her life and the way she’d ended up at that quiet farmhouse in southern Idaho in the first place, as they drive through Wyoming and move down into Colorado and across the top of Kansas eventually getting into Ohio. The story is fascinating, more interesting than anything Eleonore has ever known, and as they move farther and farther away from the house where she lived all those years with the man now presumably dead, hopefully dead, the life is something she wants. It is her partner’s life, and so it is her life, too, for this was the way that her life had gone.
“Well, what are we going to do, Jess…” She laughs, “I almost called you Jessica.”
“It’s Christina. If you can’t remember, just call me Bird or Birdy.”
“Bird?”
“Yeah. It’s my nickname.”
“Oh… is that why you have the tattoo?”
“Well… yeah, I guess it is.”
“Okay, Birdy, what are we going to do?”
“I should still have some connections here. We can get rid of the truck cleanly and make a few bucks, besides. Then, I’ve got some people. People we need to make this work. We’ll get what we need and move on over to somewhere else, careful to scrub our tracks. How long you think it’ll be before anyone finds him?”
“Who?”
“What do you mean who? The man, your husband.”
“Well, he’s not my husband, not anymore,” she laughs.
“Are you really laughing?”
“I don’t know. It’s not funny. That’s not why I’m laughing. It’s because I’m nervous, because I feel bad.”
“Well, how long do you think before someone realizes?”
“Months. He won’t be missed until work needs him again, but even then, it might take a lot longer. No one goes out to the house. We don’t see family but once a year, if that.”
“Okay. Good. We have some time, then. We’ll make a pretty penny for ourselves before anyone notices, and by then, we won’t be us.”
“We won’t be us?”
“No. If we’re not us, then we’re not responsible for any murder or stealing this truck or any of the rest of it. Right?”
“Hmm… yes. True!”
“It is true.”
The two exiled women survive through the dishonest means which are available to them. One month they are in Dade County laundering money for drug dealers with casino chips, and the next, they are in Los Angeles creating and selling fake passports. After that they spend several months lying low in quiet Marfa, Texas or somewhere like it.
Eleonore learns to go by new names, learns to be from different places. It is, for that first year, one long honeymoon of romance and crime and the excitement of knowing that it could all crumble at any moment, and if it should, their lives will end behind bars or in the electric chair. Sometimes, they purchase vehicles which they sell just across the border in Nuevo Laredo or Monterrey, and while passing through the bottom corner of Utah, they stop to eat at a diner. The lovers buy a newspaper and see in the back a small picture of Eleonore in black and white, though she looks much younger and skinnier in it. Attached is an article recounting the heartless murder of her husband and how his wife, the Mormon woman pictured, might still be alive, somewhere.
The money they make in their criminal ventures is more than they know what to do with, so after they’ve collected a substantial sum, they stop to live in some quiet place to spend it. They pretend to be sisters or travelling artists. They call it downtime, and during such times, their first fights start. Alcohol shows itself to be a problem. And a black leather baby’s shoe sits on the ledge in the window of whatever domicile they inhabit. Every day the taller of the two fills it with new rice. This is her superstition, a sort of idol or charm that wards off the bad spirits which bring things like attention from the police or trouble from anyone, and it does the job, or at least, it seems to, but it doesn’t make their relationship work.
Eleonore endures the drunken meanness of her long-legged lover, the one she calls Bird, when the drink flows and the money rolls in places like Miami or New York City or New Orleans, and the things she says make Eleonore close-lipped, make Eleonore fold her arms and scowl. Affection between the two dries up, and sometimes, they go a week or more without even talking, so that Eleonore has watched her lover drunkenly bring home prostitutes just to hurt her, just to stick it in Eleonore’s face. And when it gets close to a breaking point, just when it cannot be endured for one more night, apologies are made. They always sound the same, and the peace never lasts more than a few months.
The beginning of their third autumn together, they retire to a small, drafty studio in San Francisco. They’d spent the last part of July and most of August printing cashier’s checks and cashing them in different stores in the suburbs and metropolitan areas around Seattle. Eleonore, at this time, was having trouble healing from a spider bite on her leg and had been to the hospital on several occasions, and because of their visits, questions had been asked, so that both women began to fear an end to their run. It was on the afternoon that they found cops waiting in the parking lot of their hotel when they decided to leave for San Francisco. And by September second, that baby’s shoe—made of black leather—was full of rice and sitting on the window sill of a third-floor apartment with a dirty wooden floor on Market Street.
In that room, Eleonore can barely stand to look at her lover, anymore. They do not kiss. They do not hold hands. There has been too much hurt, even as she has sobered up for the last several months and has taken care of the spider bite, and finally, the one called Birdy is gone for a day and comes home late the next afternoon, stumbling and cursing and pushing the sickly Eleonore around the room. She breaks her finger on Eleonore’s face. Eleonore expected to come at some point. And there it was. In the tumult, the shoe full of rice plummets to the wet concrete below and has spilled its contents all over the pavement.
The next morning is colder and wetter than it should be. And it is grey. Birdy gets dressed and asks Eleonore if she would like to take a walk, to get the leg moving and herself out of the musky room for an hour. By ten o’clock, they are being rained on and take shelter on the underground subway platform by Mission and 24th. It is here that the taller, short haired of the two begins to cry.
She says,
“Eleonore, I love you. I know that I haven’t shown you that. You deserve more from me, but I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I can give it to you.”
“Don’t…” Eleonore reaches out to touch her hand.
But as she does, the D train is entering the station, and with that, Eleonore’s lover, the girl from Maine, falls backwards onto the track. The sound makes Eleonore hold her fingers in her ears, and she stands for a moment looking down at the bottom of the train, and the alarm bells are going off for the body on the tracks, so she runs.
After that, she collects their remaining money and IDs and takes a bus to Portland and over to Las Vegas and over to Cincinnati. She wanders the Midwest and up and down the eastern seaboard as the money dwindles, a shadow of herself. That extra weight comes off of her body more quickly than she’d ever have imagined. Her heart is broken. Food doesn’t taste good, anymore, and everything reminds her of Jessica—or Christina, if that was her real name—her long legged and only true love, Birdy.
Somewhere outside of Austin, Texas she shaves her hair, so that she is bald, and pays 89 dollars for the sign of the Virgo to be tattooed into her forehead, half as an act of mourning and remembrance of her lost love and half as a means to keep anyone from ever being able to identify her. There are 9,000 dollars left in her possession when she hitches a ride out of Albuquerque with a man named David Brown towing an empty horse trailer. He calls himself D and tells her he knows of a few acres of land that already has a dwelling on it in the desert outside of Taos.
“You can buy an acre for 2,000 from my friend Junior Valdez. Would you want it?”
“Yeah. I think I do.”
“What’s your name anyway?”
And Eleonore thinks of the name on the only ID card she has left, the first one they’d made for her after they ran from Pocatello three years ago.
“My name?” she asks.
“Yeah.”
“My name is Mary,” she whispers and then says louder. “Yeah. You can call me Mary.”
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What Happened to Mitrice Richardson?

What really happened to Mitrice Richardson the night she disappeared?
In the early morning hours of September 17th, 2009, a beautiful young woman named Mitrice Richardson was released into the night from police custody without a phone, or any way to get home. Her body was found almost a year later. The mysterious circumstances surrounding her death remain unsolved.
On the evening of September 16, 2009, The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from the Malibu/Lost Hills Station received a call from the affluent, upscale restaurant of Geoffrey’s, with the employees of the establishment claiming a woman was acting erratically, bizarre, and was refusing to pay her bill.
Beginning otherwise as a typical Southern Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon, 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson graduate of Cal State Fullerton, who normally had dinner with her great grandmother on Wednesdays, decides to switch course. Feeling compelled to embrace the cool breeze of the ocean on her skin, she heads to Malibu and begins her 40-mile trek along the Pacific Coast highway.
As Mitrice ventures into the outskirts of Malibu, just as the sun begins to set, she is captivated by the luminescent beams of lights beating off the golden sign of Geoffrey’s and makes the decision to pull into the restaurant, a pivotal decision that would change the lives of many as they knew it.
Mitrice pulls into the parking lot of Geoffrey’s and is greeted by the Valet. He quickly lets her know it is valet parking only and rushes off to park another guest’s vehicle. When he returns he finds Mitrice no longer in her vehicle, but in his vehicle rummaging through his CDs and speaking in broken sentences. Startled and frazzled the Valet asks what Mitrice is doing in his vehicle and she responds “I’m here to avenge Michael Jackson's death”. The Valet removes Mitrice from his vehicle and ushers her in the direction of the restaurant.
The unusual behavior of Mitrice doesn’t end there. Mitrice orders a $65 steak and cocktail and notices a lively bunch enjoying their meal a few tables over, with a smile never leaving her face, she asks to join them. The group is intrigued by Mitrice’s abnormal behavior but welcomes her to their table. Mitrice goes on to talk about how she is from Mars, her mother was mother earth, and the ocean was calling her. Once the group settles their bill and exits the restaurant, Mitrice attempts to follow but is stopped by the manager as she has did not pay for her bill. Not appearing hostile or angry, the manager asks if there is anyone they can call to pay the bill for her after she claimed she didn't have any money.
At approximately 9:30 pm, 91-year-old Mildred Harris, Mitrice’s great-grandmother, receives a phone call from Geoffrey’s. She attempts to give her credit card information over the phone to settle the bill, but they could not accept it without a signature. With no way to pay her bill, the employees of Geoffrey’s contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department about Mitrice.
60 miles away in Eastern Los Angeles, Mitrice’s mother, Latice, is made aware of the unusual situation occurring at that very moment. She calls Geoffrey’s directly and finds out Mitrice has just been taken into custody by the officers. They go on to tell her about the behavior Mitrice had displayed, and that Mitrice’s vehicle was about to towed to a location very close to the restaurant, but far from the Lost Hills Station where the police had taken Mitrice. Feeling helpless, and unsure what to do, Latice calls the Lost Hills station and confirms with the deputy a woman is en route to the station from Geoffrey’s. Unable to pick up her daughter from the station, Latice is worried about Mitrice’s well-being and doesn’t want her released in the middle of the night without a phone or vehicle. The Deputy assures Latice that she will be contacted once Mitrice arrives at the station, but that call never came.
As soon as Latice wakes up the following morning she calls the Lost Hills station hoping to figure out how to get Mitrice home. She is told that Mitrice was released 5 hours earlier at about 12:30 am. They claimed they had no reason to hold her because she had no criminal record and was not exhibiting signs of mental incapacitation, despite her unusual behavior. Mitrice was released into the dark gloomy night without any form of communication, transportation, or assistance from officers. According to Steven Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, officers said, “You can stay here if you wish. You can stay in a cell, but you can stay here, but she declined that offer”.
Panic begins to set in as Latice becomes aware Mitrice has not spoken to anyone since being released from the station, and she realized the moment she had feared the most was here. Immediately sensing something was not right, Latice calls back the Sheriff’s Office and asks how long she would have to wait to file a missing person’s report. The Deputy, seeing Mitrice was released just hours ago, encourages her to wait 24 hours before reporting her missing. With nothing left to do but wait, Latice questions how Mitrice could have possibly been released without a mental evaluation?
At about 6:30 AM that Thursday morning, The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department receives a call from a Monte Nido community resident, located about 7 miles from the station. The resident, a former news anchor, reported a young, strange woman was in his backyard. When asked if she was okay, she responded that she was just “resting.” Once he called the police, she was gone. It was later confirmed that young woman was Mitrice Richardson by cadaver dogs that were able to catch her scent in his backyard.
But how did Mitrice get 7 miles away without her vehicle?
Monte Nido is a vast landscape of mountains and terrain, a location that would be difficult to navigate for a non-local, especially in the dark hours of the night. According to Mitrice’s family members, Mitrice was known to be afraid of the dark.
On September 18th, Mitrice’s family members gather together to discuss Mitrice's bizarre behavior in the days leading up to her disappearance. They begin to see the warning signs that something with Mitrice was not right. Mitrice had been sending erratic text messages, that did not make sense, almost gibberish. The day before she disappeared she visited her aunt’s house and left business cards from her go-go dancing job scattered everywhere. The strangest occurrence being an unusual note left on Latices husband windshield with “black women scorned” written across it, a smiley face, and had been signed off with a kiss.
In the days before Mitrice disappeared, she was posting unusual things on Facebook, and Myspace. Posting at all hours of the night, investigators were unable to understand when she slept. A psychologist that works with the LAPD assessed Mitrice was exhibiting signs of a mental health condition, possibly bipolar disorder.
During the subsequent investigation, the family of Mitrice is made aware they found money and her wallet inside her car, with officers somehow overlooking it the night she was arrested.
Days pass with unanswered questions, repeated attempts to get Mitrice’s police report are overlooked. Mitrice’s family attempts to access police footage of Mitrice at the station that night, but their request is denied. LAPD cited “they need to follow proper protocol in order to release information to the family,” and they had no footage to even give to Mitrice’s family.
Feeling like their pleas to police were going unanswered. The family of Mitrice hired civil rights lawyer, Leo J. Terrell, who assembles a press conference gathered in front of the Lost Hills Station on Thursday, September 24th, 2009, demanding action of the Police Department. Terrell said at the press conference “If Mitrices name was Spears or Lohan, they would have never let her walkout by herself. They would have escorted her home.”
Months later, as the New year quickly rang in, tensions between Mitrice’s Family and the Los Angeles Police Department continue to grow, a meeting is called between the Sheriff and Captain of Lost Hills. Things quickly take a turn when it comes to light the Police Department did indeed have footage of Mitrice the night she was arrested. They claimed they misunderstood, thinking Mitrice’s family was asking for footage of Mitrice outside the station not a video of Mitrice in the station.
On January 9th, 2010 the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department organized one of the largest searches in the history of LAPD. An 18 square mile search in Malibu Canyon with over 300 trained volunteers participating in air and ground searches. Mitrice was still not found.
Just 3 weeks later, and almost 300 miles away in Las Vegas, Mitrice’s Father, Michael Richardson, alerts authorities that he believes he saw his daughter Mitrice in an area known for prostitution on the Las Vegas Strip. Michael called out to Mitrice but lost her in the crowd. Latice firmly believes that wasn’t her daughter and believes she never made it out of Malibu Canyon.
On June 26th, 2010, Latice and her lawyer file 6 lawsuits against the LA County Sheriff’s Department for negligence and wrongful death. Around the same time, there is another sighting of Mitrice, by a high school friend. At around 3 AM, in a Las Vegas casino, he claimed to have seen Mitrice. He called out to her, but the woman appeared nervous and ran off.
On August 9th, 2010 Malibu State Park Rangers are hiking along the area of Dark Canyon, a vastly remote area, just a few miles from where Mitrice was last seen, searching for any illegal marijuana growing in the area. This area is said to be a very difficult place to stumble upon and very hard to get through. Upon their quest, they discover the mummified naked remains of an African American curly haired woman. Ignoring the proper protocol, the woman was airlifted out of Dark Canyon. The woman was later confirmed to be Mitrice Richardson. A ranch known for producing pornography was adjacent to where Mitrice was found, but no connection has been determined.
Multiple residents in the area reported to have heard screams in the area several nights after Mitrice disappeared, but despite this, Mitrice’s death was deemed not to be a homicide, and no foul play occurred. The cause of death was ruled to be undetermined.
What happened to this beautiful, intellectual, talented woman? Why would police let her go in the middle of the night with no phone or vehicle? Why was she acting so strangely? How did Mitrice end up dead in that creek bed? Too many unanswered questions have consumed the Richardson Family. We need to find out what exactly happened to Mitrice Richardson.
More info:
https://www.murdersandcoffee.com/post/what-happened-to-mitrice-richardson
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-17/mitrice-richardson-reward-malibu
https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/sheriff-updates-mitrice-richardson-disappearance-decade-late1965858/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Mitrice_Richardson
What do y’all think happened to Mitrice? Do you think she succumbed to the elements? Or something sinister occurred to her that night? Share your thoughts!
I also wanna add her clothes were found scattered around her body. It would be unusual for her to undress and try to maneuver through that creek bed.
submitted by jordancottle to TrueCrime [link] [comments]

Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?

The best laid PLANs of mice and men often go awry.

Welcome back to another effortpost by me generally on the developing arms race in East Asia, this time covering the People's Liberation Army Navy, hereafter referred to as the "PLAN", and its massive growth... and... mostly, well, its massive growth. What that means is mostly covered in other posts about how other countries are responding to it. The why is a bit difficult because, well, China is not well known for open debate, or open anything, really, which will turn up repeatedly.

  1. What you [might] need to know about South Korea's ludicrous arms buildup
  2. We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches.... uh, what do we do after that again?: The Perilous Defensive Position of Taiwan
  3. "You've hit another cargo ship? The Problems with the US Navy: Not all of them begin with "Seven" and end with "th Fleet"."
  4. Will China's PLAN survive contact with the enemy?
  5. Biden's New START and modern nuclear war
  6. First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
  7. Boned: Problems in the US Air [and space!] Force
  8. --Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
  9. --Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
  10. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
  11. --Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
  12. Conclusion?

Glossary:
PLA = People's Liberation Army = the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, or China
PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy = the naval forces of the PLA
PLANAF = People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force = the air force of the navy of the PLA
Ashm = Anti-ship missile, cruise missile unless specifically described as otherwise--there's only one anti-ship ballistic missile in existence and its efficacy and whether or not it functions is questionable
CIWS = close-in weapons system, like the Phalanx gun or Goalkeeper
VLS = vertical launch system for missiles
AEGIS = Aegis Combat System if described specifically in that context, a US naval warfare system, but we'll usually be talking about "Chinese AEGIS", which is a nomiker used by the Chinese media in particular comparing the Type 346 radar to the AN-SPY family, with which it shares numerous technical characteristics--but how comparable the "Chinese AEGIS" system is to what the US uses is a complete unknown.
SAM = Surface-to-air missile, in this case usually a S-300 derivative
First Island Chain = The islands, stretching from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, which keep China inside its littoral seas much as the GIUK [Greenland-Iceland-UK] gap has kept various continental powers out of the Atlantic.


Some PLAN equipment you might see described--the nomenclature is confusing and a relic of the cultural revolution, and as a result China now has more Types than the British.
Type 003 = China's new conventionally powered supercarriers, currently under construction
Type 002 = China's first truly "operational" carrier
Type 001 = China's first carrier, built on a Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine ostensibly to make a floating casino
Type 055 = Guided-missile cruiser, though generally called a destroyer it's probably more descriptively labeled a cruiser
Type 052D = Guided-missile destroyer using "Chinese AEGIS"
Type 052/051B/052B/052C = the gradual progression of evolving Chinese naval tech, largely built as practice/demo ships like the Type 001. Some of the earlier ones are steam-powered but by the Type 052C you have something almost as advanced as the Type 052D, albeit with turbine problems
Type 054A = the standard modern frigate of the PLAN
Type 053[anything] = old PLAN frigates
Type 096 = China's newest SSBN class, under construction
Type 094 = China's first functional SSBN class, very noisy
Type 092 = China's first "SSBN", believed to have never left port with an actual nuke on board
Type 095 = China's newest SSN class, under construction
Type 093 = China's current SSN class, noisy
Type 091 = China's first SSN class, dumb dumb dumb and is at a 1950s tech level
Type 039[A] = China's new SSK class
Kilo = China's older SSK class, imported from Russia
Sovremenny = China's first capable anti-air destroyers, imported from Russia


1. The Last Time A Rising Navy Challenged A Dominant Foe

The last time we've seen something like this was in the late 19th century. After the First World War shipbuilding was restricted by the landmark Washington Naval Treaty, one of the first great arms control treaties, and during the Cold War the Soviet Union never really had any hopes of surpassing American naval power. China, however, seems intent on replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power, or at least building a force that can stop the US Navy, even combined with the forces of Japan and other regional allies.

The nations in question, of course, in the last naval arms race, were the United Kingdom and a newly-unified Germany. Germany never reached the level of the UK, but seriously threatened it. Previously the UK had maintained a policy of having more ships than the next two largest fleets combined, but this was no longer possible, and the UK legitimately was fearful for its naval supremacy. It didn't last too long in the end--under a decade--and a resumption was foiled by first a world war and then the Washington Naval Treaty. The impact of the arms race, though, was massive. It set Germany and the UK at odds with each other, it resulted in a general buildup of warships pretty much everywhere [South America was, believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders there], established Germany for a time as the world's second naval power, having eclipsed both France and Russia and turning a small coastal defense navy into something that was able to defeat the Royal Navy itself, though never comprehensively enough to change the course of the first world war.

China dwells in a much different situation than Germany did at the turn of the last century, so we can only extend the analogy so far--substituting in Japan for the UK, India for Russia, and so on is possible but not, in my view, educational. However, we can see many of the same elements playing in here. China seems intent on replacing the US as a dominant power, or at least as regional hegemon--the ancient tributary system seems to lie fairly heavily on Chinese minds--and in order to do that, it must be able to have some degree of power projection and the capability to deny the US Navy access to areas within the first island chain. It remains to be seen, however, how successful that quest will be. Much as with the dreadnought battleships, I wouldn't be surprised if we never actually do find out if most of the shiny naval toys people have built actually work. But their mere existence shows the mutual hostility developing in the region and demonstrates the size of the Chinese threat.

Another lesson learned here is that China, like Germany, may not develop a naval force capable of defeating the US comprehensively, but only partially, and that one of the powers--in this case, China--might be pressured to strike first before the US Navy can close the gap. That ~2030 gap I talked about in my last post is, I think, an especially vulnerable point, because China may look at a degraded, but rejuvenating US Navy, then at their own capable forces, and decide to strike then in Taiwan and the South China Sea, only to back down when the US Navy again eclipses them. Whether or not that will happen, we will see--but I find it a very dangerous and perhaps likely possibility.

2. What the PLAN looked like 20 years ago

The PLAN has undergone an absolutely stunning evolution in the past two decades. In the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis the US could intimidate China with a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups and China could do pretty much nothing about it. Now the US is afraid of sending anything more than a destroyer through the strait.

Twenty years ago, the PLAN was a bit of a joke. Even Taiwan figured it could hold the seas against the PLAN. It consisted of a few tens of outdated coastal-defense frigates, some Soviet-era diesel-electric subs, and a large number of unsophisticated missile craft. The pride of the Chinese fleet were a handful of destroyers assembled using cobbled-together Western technology--copied French missiles, American gas turbines, the lot. According to American accounts at the time, the instructions for the equipment hadn't even been translated. The most advanced ship in the fleet used steampower. There were nuclear submarines, but of 1950s quality. Of particular note was the fact that the Chinese fleet had no area air defense capabilities--their premier surface-to-air-missile was an unlicensed knockoff of the French Crotale, and couldn't shoot anything outside of visual range, at high altitudes, or really doing anything more sophisticated than trying to kill their ships with low-altitude dumb bombing runs.

In the past twenty years, however, the PLAN has, much like the German Navy towards the end of the 19th century, gone from an afterthought to the world's second most powerful force. It began, as modern China's military capabilities almost all began, with the looting of the former Soviet Union for naval technology. While Soviet naval tech was generally lacking, it was much better than anything else China could get its hands on after the arms embargo placed on it in the 1990s by the US and Europe in response to Tienanmen and the end of the Cold War. China bought Soviet diesel submarines, Soviet air-defense destroyers, and Soviet aircraft carriers, which it promptly left lying around [and turned one of them into a theme park]. This was combined with copies of various pieces of Western, mostly European, technology for everything from sonars to surface-to-air missiles. China then began developing its first modern indigenous surface combatants, the Type 052C, but there were still problems. The engines were Ukrainian and had reliability trouble, the gun jammed, there was no VLS.

It is really in the last ten years that things have begun to move extremely quickly, and even only in the latter portion of the decade. In 2012 the Type 001 Liaoning entered service, and although it remains more of a training ship than an operational vessel, and is held back by a poor carrier aircraft, the mere fact that China "built" a carrier was a surprise to many. In 2014 the first Type 052D destroyer came online. It had learned the lessons from the Type 052C, and in just the last six years at least ten have entered service, with a class size of about 23 expected. This rapid expansion is what has frightened competing navies the most--in a little over a decade, the PLAN is constructing more destroyers than the British, French, and Australian navies have in service combined. It is also building the Type 055, which has generally been called a "destroyer" despite being more aptly described as a cruiser in line with the Ticonderoga-class. China has also built 30 modern frigates in the past decade, which has also swelled its numbers, along with numerous smaller corvettes, submarines, and so on.

This is why the PLAN has become such an object of concern. While it cannot challenge the US Navy yet, at least outside its littoral zones, the decline of the USN and rapid expansion of the PLAN means that it is a serious threat. And the speed at which it has developed has made many fearful. As recently as 2010, the idea of China operating an aircraft carrier or modern destroyers seemed distant, possibly preposterous. Now China speaks openly of having a six-carrier fleet in the 2030s, although, as with many of China's plans to operate full US-replicated tech and doctrine, these may have somewhat caved to realism. China is mighty, but it has already done the easy part--the last part is much harder, in economics and in military matters. Building the software, the institutional knowledge, the hardware to compete with the US Navy will prove difficult.

3. What the PLAN looks like now--submarines

Submarines are one of the PLAN's weak spots, particularly nuclear submarines. China is, however, making some fairly rapid advances in this area.

Their nuclear submarine program has been considered a bit of a joke for some time. In the late 1950s when all the cool kids great powers were getting nuclear submarines, China decided [or at least Mao did] that China needed nuclear submarines too. About 16 years later, the product of this effort finally emerged as the Type 091 submarine. Based on 1950s technology, with poor radiation shielding and basically nothing done in the name of noise reduction, and not even a teardrop hull, the Type 091 was probably more of a threat to the sailors who were on it than anyone else, except maybe the two Tench-class submarines that Taiwan operates, which use 1940s technology and are the world's longest-serving submarines, though they're mostly used for training nowadays. Even then, my money would be on the Tench despite the upgrades the PLAN has made to the Type 091. There's only so much you can do to put lipstick on a pig.

China also produced an SSBN, the Type 092, which was probably the only submarine more useless than the Type 091. About the only useful thing it did for the PLAN was that it served as a test platform for SLBM launches. Reports suggest that the Type 092 is the noisiest SSBN ever made, and is thought to have only ever undertaken a single patrol. It stayed at port for so long that it was thought to have sunk in an accident. And the experience turned the PLAN off from building SSBNs for over twenty years, until the Type 094 came online in 2007.

More recent submarines are growing in capability, though. The Type 094 is not the noisiest SSBN ever made, and may not even be the noisiest in current service--that honor going to the Delta III operated by the Russian Navy, which uses 1970s technology, and, which, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, is about as noisy as the Type 094. The Type 093 is also moderately capable--it actually functions and can fire anti-ship missiles. However, the Type 093 is still considered only comparable to the Soviet Victor III class, again using 1970s technology. Future submarines have not yet been seen, but expectations are that China will make another step forward to late 1980s or early 1990s tech levels, producing something on par with the Los Angeles or Akula for the first time.

China also operates a fairly capable fleet of coastal diesel-electric submarines. While some are quite old--the Type 035--most are pretty average for the global submarine force, a mix of Kilos and domestic AIP designs. The large number of boats in operation and their anti-ship missile capability means that these should be considered a real threat, at least in the littoral waters near to China, but they aren't decisive by any means, especially since China is facing off against such threats as Japan's Soryu class, probably the most advanced diesel-electric sub in existence.

In conclusion, the PLAN is still pretty weak on the submarine front--weaker here than on anything but its carrier force, but its capabilities are advancing rapidly and should not be underestimated.

4. What the PLAN looks like now--surface combatants

The surface fleet is definitely the most impressive and capable portion of the PLAN, no questions about it. China once had a fleet consisting mostly of coastal frigates and missile boats. As recently as 2000, its fleet had no real area-air-defense destroyers, and no SAMs that could operate outside visual range. Now, though, the PLAN operates tens of advanced guided-missile destroyers, advanced frigates, and still retains a large number of small, stealthy missile boats.

The major focus of Chinese warships appears to be on anti-air, with anti-surface being a somewhat secondary concern for all but the smallest vessels. This makes sense when you realize that the primary focus is, at least for the moment, on using land-based aircraft to strike against hostile fleet formations using long-range anti-ship missiles, in a very Soviet sort of way--"Backfire raids" using long-range land-based aircraft with anti-ship missiles were one of the US Navy's major concerns during the Cold War, and the very reason for the F-14's existence along with the AIM-54 Phoenix it carried. However, China has been developing anti-surface capabilities as well using ashms and land-attack cruise missiles [generally the same thing, actually]. Since China has finally developed a VLS system that allows it to use the same launcher for multiple missiles, its most recent ships have become more versatile in that role.

How effective these ships are at that task is, however, a relatively open question. Their radars at least seem to quite sophisticated, using flat-panel AESA, and have been dubbed "Chinese AEGIS" by the highly reliable Chinese domestic media. The basic platform their surface-to-air missiles are based on also seems to be fairly capable--the HQ-9 is an S-300 derivative, a respectable SAM system though, again, how capable it is against opponents in an active electronic warfare environment is questionable, and it has basically no capabilities against stealth aircraft like the F-35 as far as anyone knows. The efficacy of their CIWS, again, is open to question. Really this is true of everything about the modern PLAN, and PLA in general. The PLA is secretive, has not exported most of its hardware, and has developed largely independently of foreign militaries, though it is definitely influenced by them. Now that the PLAN has moved away from simply copying foreign hardware and patching it together, its capabilities are much harder to discern.

However, they should be taken as a very real threat, and not written off. My guess would be that their warships are about as capable as most of their non-American counterparts, save those equipped with AEGIS, but that's all my guess is---a guess.

5. What the PLAN looks like now--carriers

The PLAN currently has two carriers in service, and two more known to be under construction, and most suspect that it will build several more. However, at the moment, the PLAN's carrier force is largely a paper tiger, designed around training. The first carrier, the Type 001, basically was a "how do you build a carrier" kit bought from Russia, possibly by accident--the "fully functional" Minsk ended up as a theme park, believe it or not. The hull was purchased from Ukraine and then completed in China years later. It is also believed that the PLAN may have learned some things about aircraft carriers from the HMAS Melbourne, which was sold to a Chinese firm for scrapping--rumor has it the PLAN had no clue this had happened and then had a field day looking at all the stuff that hadn't been taken out. This was back in the old days when nobody could imagine that China would have an aircraft carrier. The Type 002, however, is built from scratch, but isn't particularly capable especially as it's a ski-jump carrier, leaving the Type 003 the first carrier which will prove actually useful.

The main thing holding China's carrier fleet back, though, is a lack of a suitable aircraft. Originally China was considering purchasing Su-33s from Russia, hardly a good carrier-based aircraft but functional, but after Russia discovered that China had been mucking about building a Su-27 derivative without asking the deal fell through [China tells a different story, saying that Russia demanded exorbitant amounts to reopen production which it was unwilling to pay for a nearly obsolete aircraft]. As a result China operates the J-15 as its naval fighter, with... less than stellar results. It's extremely heavy, and, if it takes off from the carrier, has minimal range if carrying anything at all--it can't take more than two short range air to air missiles into the sky to fight enemy aircraft. However, the J-15 isn't really intended for combat service--it's intended to teach China how to run carriers, and it seems to work well enough for that task, aside from the multiple fatal crashes. There is, however, thought to be a new carrier fighter in the pipeline--most say the J-31/FC-31, which has reduced RCS and a number of carrier-unique features, is being pitched as a carrier-based aircraft and will serve as China's carrier fighter in the future. China also lacks any fixed wing carrier-based airborne early warning, which could prove troublesome--a lack of AEW means that its view is limited by the horizon--and has no resupply aircraft like the C-2 Greyhound. As a result, for the moment at least, China lacks an effective carrier force, but it is likely to continue developing rapidly in the next decade and become a fairly substantial threat. Remember that as recently as 2010, a Chinese aircraft carrier seemed preposterous to many people, and now they have two.

6. Some attention to land-based aircraft

Land-based aircraft as a naval weapon are not generally used by the US, which has never had a reason to develop them as a doctrinal focus. Sure, you could potentially envision them as being used, and there even were situations where they were utilized, but it just wasn't generally a priority or how things were done. For China, though, taking influence from the Soviets, and lying on littoral seas with hostile powers in the First Island Chain, land-based aircraft and missiles are a key part of doctrine. Although this is often viewed as a new thing, called A2/AD [anti access/area denial], it's really the result of a long historical evolution of naval power, probably most refined by the Soviet Union. As a result, land-based naval aviation plays an important role, firing anti-ship missiles at standoff distances at enemy vessels, and shore-based launchers of anti-ship missiles are also an important weapon. The combination of these systems means that venturing within China's littoral seas is a dangerous proposition during war, and some waters, like those of the Taiwan Strait, are effectively considered closed at this point in the event of hostilities breaking out. For this reason air superiority is also important in this sort of naval warfare, as if either side gains air superiority it can pummel its opponents with air-launched anti-ship missiles. China's capabilities in this area are sophisticated and should not be underestimated, but they are unlikely to go through a rapid period of growth like the PLAN's fleet.

And a brief note dedicated entirely to the DF-21D "Carrier killer" that the PLA likes to show off. It's a pretty impressive capability, on paper, using a ballistic missile to hit a carrier. The CEP [circular error probable] means that it could even happen, presuming that an aircraft carrier was good enough to sit in one place, not moving, long enough to be detected by China. Aircraft carriers look big, but the seas are huge, and they're surprisingly hard to find. They also move quite fast, in excess of of 35mph/55kph, and thus by the time the ballistic missile has launched it might well be out of range given the fact that ballistic missiles are not particularly known for their maneuverability in terminal stages, at least not in the realm of miles. The DF-21D is not a particular threat to the modern aircraft carrier. It could potentially be one if it evolves into a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, but that's a whole additional can of worms, that I might address a different day.

7. The PLAN's plans for the future--what will it look like in 2030?

Unfortunately the PLAN is not exactly the most open of navies, as I've repeatedly mentioned. There are no public debates over acquisitions programs, no big fleet shape plans, relatively little detail.

However, a few things are fairly sure bets or publicly announced.

China has repeatedly announced plans to build a six-carrier force, including the Type 001 and Type 002, but also a pair of Type 003 [already under construction] conventionally powered supercarriers and a pair of Type 004 nuclear powered supercarriers. However, it seems that the Type 004 is currently on hold. Why, exactly, is unclear, but it seems to be technical difficulties, which are not particularly surprising given that China's experience with nuclear maritime propulsion seem to be rather limited and have had poor results in their submarine fleet. The costs were also expected to be too high--China does not have an unlimited quantity of money, despite what it may flaunt, and nuclear carriers are expensive to develop especially given that China has not built a nuclear-powered surface ship before.

A new carrier-based fighter is almost certainly in the cards because the J-15 is pretty much useless. The FC-31 seems by far the most likely candidate but it could be another aircraft we haven't seen yet. The addition of this aircraft will greatly improve the PLAN's capabilities.

China also has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships/LHDs under construction, and I would expect this class to be much more prolific. These ships are much more affordable than the full carriers, and focus on areas in which China is particularly concerned--amphibious assaults, say, on islands in the South China Sea or on Taiwan, and anti-submarine warfare, which is of particular importance given that submarines cannot be easily halted with land-based anti-ship missiles and air-launched cruise missiles provided for in their area denial doctrine--submarines are one of the few things that can slip through that net.

The surface combatant fleet is likely to continue growing, but I am not sure if it will swell much beyond the ~23 Type 052D ships planned and the 8 Type 055s. We're likely to see the retirement of the classes preceding the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054 frigate, and they may be offloaded to Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Pakistan--there is substantial precedent here, and it seems that China is interested in expanding the naval capabilities of its partners around India.

The submarine fleet is likely to see rapid expansion if the PLAN is satisfied with the Type 095 and Type 096 classes, and we're likely to see more diesel-electric subs built as well. Submarines are generally quite good at fighting submarines and conducting area-denial missions, and the large and capable subsurface forces of Japan, Korea, and the United States means that this has to be an area the PLAN invests more in--and the fact that several Southeast Asian nations are also looking at acquiring submarines makes the issue more pressing.

8. Conclusion

China has in the past decade gone from a third-rate navy to perhaps the greatest threat the US Navy has faced since the Second World War. This has significant geopolitical implications, and has resulted in neighbors scrambling to overhaul their naval forces. The growth of the PLAN means that the US can no longer easily defend Taiwan or the South China Sea, or any of China's littoral waters. This, more than anything else, is what has everyone scrambling in the US talking about "great-power competition" because denying access to the US Navy and working on power projection, an inherently naval thing, is essentially a clear sign that China is looking to directly compete with the United States. Underestimate the PLAN at your own peril.

I hope to have more detail and citations in future posts, but unfortunately the PLAN is very secretive [yes, I've said that fifty times already] and this is a pretty big topic to discuss without going into details about all sorts of naval tidbits. Thanks for reading the fourth post in what I hope will be a fairly substantial series, probably around ~12 posts.

9. Citations

James Holmes, "The Danger Zone In Naval Arms Races"
USNI, Report to Congress on Chinese Naval Modernization
Hans Kristensen, China's Noisy Nuclear Submarines
Eric Wertheim, China's Type 052D Destroyer is a potent adversary
Robert Farley, Let's Talk About The Chinese Navy's Type 055 Destroyer
Ryan Pickrell, Chinese fighter jet holding China back as it builds carrier fleet
Look, much more here is based on loose speculation, more unreliable sources, and stuff I've picked up over the years, because public info is limited. So take everything I say with a grain of salt, but understand that it's the best information I know of.
submitted by AmericanNewt8 to neoliberal [link] [comments]

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