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Newsweek Ranks MTI Among the Top 600 Greatest Workplaces
in America for Women 2023

World celebrated March 8 International Women's Day

Hillsboro, OR. (March 8, 2023) - MTI (Mobile Tech, Inc.), was featured in Newsweek's top 600 workplaces for women. The rankings are based on a sample of 37,000 female employee reviews of 224,000 American companies across all industry sectors. The study, conducted by Plant-A Insights Group, identified the top organizations that foster career growth, pay equity and diversity. The company received a 4-star rating for its commitment to diversity.

In the 112 years since the earliest version of International Women's Day, the issue of women's rights has become a galvanizing force in society - and a transformative one. Despite the undeniable progress that women have made in all facets of life, true equality remains an aspirational goal. This year's theme-#EmbraceEquity-is deeply important to women and their employers.

"MTI is committed to elevating women within the workplace, and to provide a culture where they can thrive," said Mary Jesse, CEO of MTI.

See the full ranking at https://www.newsweek.com/rankings/americas-greatest-workplaces-women-2023.

Robberies Hit Highest Level in 6 Years
Jewelry Stores Top Retail Sector - Chicago Top City - Tuesday Top Day

Yearly Comparison | 2016-2022
Up 18% From 2021 - Highest Total Since 2016

Click here to see the full report

Sponsored by


The U.S. Crime Surge
The Retail Impact

The Push to Repeal Prop 47 Continues in California
'There is a major hit to retail businesses because of Proposition 47'

Legislation introduced to revise Prop 47 to address rising crime in San Francisco, other California cities
With burglary and other theft crimes still on par with last year in San Francisco and many other California cities, lawmakers have scheduled a hearling later this week for new legislation to overturn Proposition 47, the California law that lessens criminal penalties.

The bill, AB 335, was introduced by newly elected District 22 Assemblymember Juan Alanis, R-Modesto, a longtime Stanislaus County Sheriff's sergeant.

"I think it is clear there is a major hit to retail businesses because of Proposition 47," Alanis said in an email response to the Northern California Record. "Retailers, big and small, are being heavily adversely impacted and a recent LA Times/CAL Berkley poll has shown us that public opinion has shifted on Proposition 47. Voters may not have fully understood what they were getting when they passed this into law and they want to see changes to it according to this poll."

Alanis described how personnel are affected when criminal penalties are not enforced.

AB 335, co-sponsored by Sen. Marie Alvarado-Gil, D-Jackson, has been assigned to the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday. Alanis is also part of a bipartisan effort for a Joint Legislative Audit Committee to study the effects of Prop 47.

"This is one of the main reasons I introduced a repeal," Alanis said. "To force real conversations about this issue. I believe that part has been accomplished. But conversations must lead to actual actions and results. I am hopeful we can find bipartisan ground to work on getting the answers to the many unanswered questions about Prop 47's impacts, both good and bad, and get real actual data to make Californians safer, have our laws enforced, and the make justice system more fair for all communities."

"In my short time in Sacramento I have found that our problem here is a failure to communicate," Alanis said. "If we are not talking respectfully with each other on the issues, we are not serving the people who ultimately send us here to work for them. Once my colleagues and I began having serious and honest conversations on Public Safety issues it was clear there are many things we can agree on.

"I am confident the result of my efforts on Prop 47 can lead to tangible results. I am not looking to see people locked away in prisons for petty theft. I am trying to figure out why current retail theft law is not being enforced as it stands today. I am trying to bring needed relief and accountability for retail businesses of all sizes and walks of life here in California."  norcalrecord.com

Two New ORC Bills Rolled Out in Oregon
Oregon Senate puts forward two bills aimed at combatting organized retail crime

Oregon lawmakers held a public hearing Wednesday for two bills aimed at curtailing organized retail crimes across the state.

Senate bills 318 and 340 were put forth this legislative session; one aims at providing more funding increased enforcement and better communication between Oregon's Department of Justice, local police departments, and retailers. The other changes Oregon's current criminal code, and if passed, would make it easier to prosecute criminal organizations involved in organized retail theft.

On Tuesday, the Washington County DA's Office announced its support for the two bills, with DA Kevin Barton stating, "I am keenly aware of the challenges our community faces from increased organized retail crime. These crimes impact all members of our community, including both large and small businesses and employees and customers alike. As the nature and scope of these crimes evolve, it is important that our laws also evolve to keep pace."

To read DA Barton's full statement click here.

This comes as authorities across the Portland metro area are working to crack down on retail thefts in recent months. In February, Tigard Police and other neighboring agencies conducted a 10-hour blitz, resulting in 14 arrests and the recovery of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

The Tigard Police Department provided the following statement regarding the Senate bills aimed at combating organized retail crime:

"This is a significant issue - not only in our city, but across the metro area - and our patrol officers and Commercial Crimes detectives work hard to deter day in and day out. As a department, we support any changes - legislative or otherwise - that make it less attractive for would-be criminals to engage in Organized Retail Crime."  kptv.com

Industry Leaders Gather for ICSC ORC Summit
ICSC Holds Summit on ORC to Address Industry-Wide Challenges

The event features sessions with industry leaders and policymakers to offer educational resources and foster collaborative support

NEW YORK, March 08, 2023-- Today, ICSC is holding its Organized Retail Crime Summit, marking the organization's first-ever event dedicated to addressing the impact of organized retail crime (ORC) on retailers and the Marketplaces Industry. The summit, held in partnership with the Loss Prevention Research Council which is located in the University of Florida INNOVATE Hub, will help attendees better understand the impact of ORC on their business and how they can work to mitigate it across the industry.

Unlike petty crime or independent shoplifting incidents, which account for a nominal percentage of inventory value, organized retail crime is defined as an act that involves a criminal enterprise employing a group of individuals (two or more) who steal substantial quantities of merchandise from a retailer(s).

"Organized retail crime poses a threat to not only our industry and business owners, but increasingly to the safety of employees and consumers, as well," said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. "The Organized Retail Crime Summit expands our efforts to put a stop to ORC by creating a space for discussion, education, and collaboration on meaningful solutions that protect retailers and Marketplaces."

Sessions at the summit will feature insights on the scope of the problems caused by ORC and retail violence, opportunities through research and collaborative information sharing, and legislation as a means to abate ORC.

ICSC and other organizations involved with the summit continue to actively support ongoing policy efforts, including S. 140, the "Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023," sponsored by Senator Charles "Chuck" Grassley (R-IA). Senator Grassley will be a featured speaker at the summit, discussing how this and other pieces of legislation - including the recently signed INFORM Act - are critical steps toward limiting organized crime.

More information on ICSC's efforts to combat ORC can be found here. finance.yahoo.com

Philadelphia's Gun Violence Epidemic Captured on Camera
There is no hiding from Philly's gun violence | Editorial

A recent shooting was captured by a security camera in horrifying detail. It should be required viewing to better understand the fear and trauma facing so many in Philly.

The only thing worse than the rampant violence is the ho-hum response from the Kenney administration. Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted about the passing of a retired Comcast Spectacor executive but had nothing to say on social media about the murders. Ditto Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

All of the mayoral candidates have said gun violence is their top issue. Yet, among the gaggle of hopefuls vying to replace Kenney, only Democrat Allan Domb and Republican David Oh noted the murders over the weekend.

At least 79 people have been killed in the city in a little over two months this year. Scores more have been shot. Last month, a Temple police officer was shot and killed in North Philadelphia.

Days later and just two blocks away, a 13-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy were shot as they walked home from school. Two days after that, seven more people - including five teens and a 2-year-old girl - were shot in Strawberry Mansion.

That shooting was captured by a security camera in horrifying detail. It should be required viewing to better understand the fear and trauma that too many residents endure in Philadelphia, especially in poorer and largely Black and brown neighborhoods where many, but not all, the shootings occur.

There should be no looking away from this video. This is what occurs in Philadelphia nearly every day. Often several times a day. Ignoring it is not an option. More must be done to reduce the gun violence. inquirer.com

SF Mayor Pushing to Significantly Increase Police Spending $100M+
Filling the new jobs might be a challenge

Breed doubles down on police spending, pressures supervisors
In a flurry of indignation, and for the second time in less than a year, Mayor London Breed is pushing to significantly increase The City's spending on law enforcement.

Breed took to the Tenderloin on Tuesday to champion a suite of proposals related to public safety. They include a proposed $27.6 million increase to the Police Department's existing budget to pay for police overtime, as well as a new $84 million, three-year labor agreement with the officers' union that would significantly increase pay and create new recruitment incentives for officers.

Breed warned residents of dire consequences if supervisors don't sign on. In doing so, she attempted to place the immediate future of public safety in San Francisco squarely at the feet of the Board of Supervisors.

If it rejects her plan, Breed cautioned, "you think it's challenging to get police officers in this community now? It will be virtually impossible."

"You think that our city is unsafe? It will be terrible for the City and County of San Francisco," Breed said. "Absolutely terrible."

Breed is campaigning for approval of a $23.6 million contract extension with Urban Alchemy, the nonprofit that deploys community ambassadors to clean and monitor the streets of the Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods. sfexaminer.com

Lowering Penalties While Crime is High??
D.C.'s Criminal Code Overhaul - Lowering Maximum Penalties
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to formally strike down a controversial overhaul of D.C's criminal code.

With Democratic support, the House already passed a Republican-led resolution to stop the measure from becoming law. Then last week, President Biden stunned even some in his own party when he said he would sign the resolution. The chair of D.C's city council, Phil Mendelson (D), on Monday tried to withdraw the bill before the Senate votes on it - a move he hoped would give the council time to rework the bill.

The Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 updates most of D.C's criminal code for the first time since 1901, changing how crimes are defined and lowering statutory maximum penalties for some violent crimes.

For most crimes, including robbery, burglary and carjacking, the new code would lower maximum penalties and replace the sentencing range with a new tiered system - which proponents of the bill say would allow for sentencing guidelines to more accurately fit the severity of the offense.

Lassoed by GOP on crime bill

Update: The Senate voted 81-14 Wednesday in favor of a GOP-led resolution to nullify a Washington, D.C., crime reform law that would have eased punishments for some violent crimes including carjacking. Thirty-three Democrats, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), joined every Republican senator to back the measure.

Faced with accusations that Democrats are soft on crime, Biden tacked to the right in favor of the GOP push to block D.C.'s law, and in the process enraged House Democrats who had already voted the other way. The controversy divided politically vulnerable Democrats, a plus for the new House GOP majority.

The Hill's Al Weaver notes that Republicans will return to crime and public safety to undercut Democratic candidates in 2024, especially in cities and suburban areas where voters of all stripes say they're fed up with lawbreakers, illegal drugs and a sense that the public is less safe.

What is the state of crime in D.C.?

The answer is complicated, and local officials would be the first to tell you they are not happy with crime in the city.

As of Tuesday, homicides were up 34 percent compared with the same time in 2022 - a year that breached the grim milestone of 200 homicides for only the second time in almost two decades - and car thefts have surged by 110 percent over that same period.

Popular businesses in residential neighborhoods like Adams Morgan have experienced repeated break-ins. Property crime is up 32 percent.

But police data also shows signs of progress. Robberies are down by 16 percent compared with the same time last year, and overall violent crime has fallen by 8 percent. Carjackings have remained about the same year-over-year, hovering about 2 percent lower than this time in 2022. washingtonpost.com

Boston, MA: 'It's sad here': Store owner fearful, frustrated after armed robbery

Senate to vote on resolution invalidating D.C. crime bill


COVID's Lasting Business Impact

States Push to Prevent Future Business Lockdowns & Mandates
Covid backlash hobbles public health and future pandemic response

Lawsuits and legislation have stripped public health officials of their powers in three years

When the next pandemic sweeps the United States, health officials in Ohio won't be able to shutter businesses or schools, even if they become epicenters of outbreaks. Nor will they be empowered to force Ohioans who have been exposed to go into quarantine. State officials in North Dakota are barred from directing people to wear masks to slow the spread. Not even the president can force federal agencies to issue vaccination or testing mandates to thwart its march.

Conservative and libertarian forces have defanged much of the nation's public health system through legislation and litigation as the world staggers into the fourth year of covid.

At least 30 states, nearly all led by Republican legislatures, have passed laws since 2020 that limit public health authority, according to a Washington Post analysis of laws collected by Kaiser Health News and the Associated Press as well as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University.

Health officials and governors in more than half the country are now restricted from issuing mask mandates, ordering school closures and imposing other protective measures or must seek permission from their state legislatures before renewing emergency orders, the analysis showed. washingtonpost.com

The Post-Pandemic Retail Revamp
Tech companies are racing to make retail stores as measurable as websites

Retailers are turning to tech companies to revamp their brick-and-mortar strategies as the relevance of physical stores becomes more crucial post pandemic.

There are a few industry factors that are driving more retailers to pursue partnerships with retail tech vendors like Cooler Screens and Placer.ai. As the coronavirus pandemic has altered shopping behavior, retailers are finding that they want more data on how their customers are behaving in stores to make the physical retail experience more compelling and efficient. Second, these solutions - particularly in-store advertising displays like Cooler Screens - are helping companies grow their burgeoning retail media businesses.

There's a renewed interest in these types of services as more people have resumed in-store shopping as Covid cases have subsided. In-store visits to malls rose 40.3% in December last year compared to November, according to data from Placer.AI. modernretail.co

COVID disruptions at work lead to baby boom

Deaths rise in New Zealand due to COVID, demographic shifts

DOJ: United States Attorney Young Announces Implementation of New Voluntary Self-Disclosure Policy

Policy Sets National U.S. Attorney Office Standard for Circumstances Under Which Companies May Receive Credit for Voluntarily Self-Disclosing Criminal Conduct, and Benefits of Self-Disclosure

The policy, which is effective immediately, details the circumstances under which a company will be considered to have made a voluntary self-disclosure (VSD) of misconduct to a United States Attorney's Office (USAO), and provides transparency and predictability to companies and the defense bar concerning the concrete benefits and potential outcomes in cases where companies voluntarily self-disclose misconduct, fully cooperate and timely and appropriately remediate.

The goal of the policy is to standardize how VSDs are defined and credited by USAOs nationwide, and to incentivize companies to maintain effective compliance programs capable of identifying misconduct, to expeditiously and voluntarily disclose and remediate misconduct, and to cooperate fully with the government in corporate criminal investigations. justice.gov

United States Attorneys' Offices Voluntary Self-Disclosure Policy
The Office of the Deputy Attorney General has reviewed and approved this policy. The policy shall apply to all United States Attorney's Offices and is effective immediately.  justice.gov

FRT Becoming More & More Common Place For the Public
Here's how facial recognition is changing travel through Bay Area airports

The U.S. government now scans your face at airports, ports and other borders

All three of the Bay Area's airports are deploying new facial recognition technology, called 'Simplified Arrivals', to screen incoming international passengers and testing it in San Jose to track some departing passengers too. It's catching imposters and processing travelers more efficiently - but also raising privacy concerns.

"You get instant verification," said James Hutton of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on a recent morning as hordes of bleary-eyed travelers streamed through San Francisco International Airport's immigration control booths and paused for a snapshot.

"The camera does immediate identification," he said, "telling the customs officer that, 'This is the person that's in front of me.' "

Instead, in a major overhaul of its strategy of processing travelers, government officials have installed cameras next to customs officers at all 238 international airports, 13 seaports and every pedestrian and bus processing facility along the nation's northern and southern land borders. The new technology was introduced at Bay Area airports in 2020 and completed at all ports of entry nationwide last June.

TSA agents are testing similar devices for departing flights at some security check-in lines at San Jose International Airport and others - a "curb to gate" approach that uses the passenger's face as a boarding pass.

"Your face is matched to the document that's tied to your reservation," easing the process of boarding passengers, said Hutton. "If we can verify that the person who went through TSA screening is the same person at the gate, you would never have to take your passport out of your pocket."

It's a far cry from the instantaneous-everywhere facial recognition portrayed in many popular TV crime shows, but biometric technology, which uses an individual's unique physical traits to verify their identity, is increasingly used by private businesses and law enforcement.

Facial recognition is already a familiar part of smartphones, supplanting passwords. Most banks use "FaceID" to let customers securely log onto mobile banking apps. Target, Walmart and Lowe's are experimenting with facial recognition to combat shoplifting and fraud, identifying known thieves.

The pandemic accelerated the technology's adoption, offering a "touchless" way to process passengers. Officials don't have to scan a passport or clean a kiosk.

Americans can opt out, asking an agent to verify their identity the original way. There are exemptions for minors under age 14 and elders over age 80. mercurynews.com

Employee Surveillance Under Scrutiny by NLRB & CFPB
Feds partner to target employer surveillance

The federal agencies have grown increasingly interested in employers' use of technology over the past few years.

The National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau signed a memorandum of understanding March 7, establishing their intention to share information and "address practices of employer surveillance, monitoring, data collection and employer-driven debt," a press release from the NLRB explained.

"Employers' practices and use of artificial intelligence tools can chill workers from exercising their labor rights," NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in the release.

In September, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission focused on tech concerns during a listening session meant to help it develop a strategic enforcement plan. One speaker mentioned the power imbalance surveillance created for workers in industries like warehousing and retail, where workers were made to wear tracking devices and hit pre-established targets. The employees were sometimes fired for not meeting targets and avoided taking breaks or going to the bathroom, the speaker noted.

While the MOU did not specify which practices the agencies would work to target, Abruzzo released a memo in November that pointed to several issues in which the NLRB had taken an interest - and asked the board to develop a framework to address. Specifically, she noted that the use of surveillance such as photography and screen- and voice-recording devices can interfere with workers' ability to exercise their National Labor Relations Act rights.

"If the employer establishes that the practices at issue are narrowly tailored to address a legitimate business need - i.e., that its need cannot be met through means less damaging to employee rights - I will urge the Board to balance the respective interests of the employer and the employees to determine whether the Act permits the employer's practices."  hrdive.com

FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Michigan-Based Security Companies to Drop Noncompete Restrictions That They Imposed on Workers
Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission finalized consent orders settling charges that two affiliated Michigan-based security companies and their owners illegally imposed noncompete restrictions on low-wage security guards who worked for them.

The consent orders against Prudential Security, Inc., Prudential Command Inc., and their owners, Greg Wier and Matthew Keywell, impose a number of requirements and restrictions, including a provision that prohibits them from enforcing, threatening to enforce, or imposing noncompetes against any employees. ftc.gov

The Evolution of the Terminal & The Convergence of Digital & Physical Channels
Instant Checkout Satisfies Consumer Demand for Digital-First, Omnichannel Commerce
Unattended checkout is gaining steam in brick-and-mortar settings and will gain speed, so to speak, with the aid of advanced technologies.

"Where we are, right now, is a natural acceleration that has come from the pandemic - toward a digital, mobile-first experience," Buy online pay in-store (BOPIS), of course, is here to stay.

In the months and years ahead, she said, we'll see an ever-evolving convergence between digital and physical channels at the point of checkout.

Foshee noted the convergence is sparking an "evolution of the terminal." The register is evolving away from existing as a machine affixed to a counter at the front of the store, near the door, where cards are swiped and tapped and we walk out with paper receipts. Increasingly, the terminal/register travels with us.

"Overall, there's an expectation for digital-first experiences," Foshee told PYMNTS.

A number of advanced technologies are helping usher in that aforementioned convergence. She said biometrics are becoming more widely accepted (and valued) by consumers as they transact and want more privacy around their data.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), she said, can help streamline and improve the customer experience as data moves with them across channels. pymnts.com

Facing likely subpoena, Starbucks chief Howard Schultz agrees to testify before Senate panel on labor practices/union organizing

Quarterly Results

BJ's Wholesale Club Q4 comp's up 8.7%, membership fees up 8.7%, digital up 22%, sales up 9.8%
BJ's Wholesale Club FY comp's up 13.4%, membership fees up 9.9%, net sales up 16%

Ulta Beauty Q4 comp's up 21.4%, net sales up 24.1%, FY comp's up up 37.9%, net sales up 40.3%

Dick's Sporting Goods Q4 comp's up 5.3%, Q4 net sales up 7.3%, FY comp's down 0.5%, FY net sales up 0.6%

Macy's Q4 comp's down 3.3% on owned basis and down 2.7% on owned-plus-licensed basis, digital up 9%, net sales down 4.6%
Macy's FY comp's up 0.3% on owned basis and up 0.6% on owned-plus-licensed basis, digital down 6%, net sales down 0.1%

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Retail and Hospitality ISAC to Host Sector-Focused Cybersecurity
Workshop in the E.U.

The two-day program takes place 20-21 April in Barcelona and is open to cybersecurity practitioners that work in the consumer-facing sector.

Vienna, VA (7 March 2023) -The Retail & Hospitality Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RH-ISAC) will host its first-ever workshop in the E.U. to help businesses throughout the retail, hospitality, consumer packaged goods, and travel industries collectively defend against cybercrime. The workshop will take place on 20-21 April at the Nestlé corporate headquarters in Barcelona, and it will provide an opportunity for cybersecurity professionals to collaborate and share best practices for protecting consumer-facing organizations against cyber threats.

The workshop agenda includes presentations about the E.U. cyber threat landscape, as well as specific threats facing consumer-facing organizations. Practitioners will also share work on developing cyber fusion centers, using machine learning to assist with threat detection. Interactive discussions about security operations and tradecraft, cloud security, and managing different stakeholder groups for digital transformation will round out the day. The two-day workshop also features a dinner program and other networking opportunities.

The Retail & Hospitality ISAC is a nonprofit organization that works to enhance cybersecurity in the consumer-facing sectors by providing threat intelligence and connecting information security teams across industries. The organization is committed to helping its members improve their cybersecurity posture and protect their customers and assets.

"We are thrilled to pull both members and non-members throughout the E.U. together for this workshop in Barcelona," said Suzie Squier, RH-ISAC president. "Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and it's important for cybersecurity professionals to collaborate and share best practices to stay ahead of these threats. This workshop provides an opportunity for practitioners to do just that, and we are excited to be bringing together experts from across the European Union."

The workshop is open to any cybersecurity practitioner from both member and non-member companies that works in the consumer-facing sector. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Visit rhis.ac/Barcelona to register.

The Latest Business Cybersecurity Concern
Employees Are Feeding Sensitive Biz Data to ChatGPT, Raising Security Fears

More than 4% of employees have put sensitive corporate data into the large language model, raising concerns that its popularity may result in massive leaks of proprietary information.

Employees are submitting sensitive business data and privacy-protected information to large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT, raising concerns that artificial intelligence (AI) services could be incorporating the data into their models, and that information could be retrieved at a later date if proper data security isn't in place for the service.

In a recent report, data security service Cyberhaven detected and blocked requests to input data into ChatGPT from 4.2% of the 1.6 million workers at its client companies because of the risk of leaking confidential information, client data, source code, or regulated information to the LLM.

In one case, an executive cut and pasted the firm's 2023 strategy document into ChatGPT and asked it to create a PowerPoint deck. In another case, a doctor input his patient's name and their medical condition and asked ChatGPT to craft a letter to the patient's insurance company.

And as more employees use ChatGPT and other AI-based services as productivity tools, the risk will grow, says Howard Ting, CEO of Cyberhaven.

"There was this big migration of data from on-prem to cloud, and the next big shift is going to be the migration of data into these generative apps," he says. "And how that plays out [remains to be seen] - I think, we're in pregame; we're not even in the first inning."

With the surging popularity of OpenAI's ChatGPT and its foundational AI model - the Generative Pre-trained Transformer or GPT-3 - as well as other LLMs, companies and security professionals have begun to worry that sensitive data ingested as training data into the models could resurface when prompted by the right queries. Some are taking action: JPMorgan restricted workers' use of ChatGPT, for example, and Amazon, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart have all issued warnings to employees to take care in using generative AI services. darkreading.com

'The RESTRICT Act' Could Lead to Outright Ban of TikTok
White House backs bipartisan bill that could be used to ban TikTok

The White House endorsed the RESTRICT Act, calling it "a systematic framework for addressing technology-based threats to the security and safety of Americans."

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a sweeping bill Tuesday that would allow the federal government to regulate and even ban foreign-produced technology, including TikTok.

AdvertisementThe bill, the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act, or RESTRICT Act, would give the secretary of commerce broad power to regulate tech produced by six countries that have adversarial relationships with the U.S.: China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.

The White House endorsed the RESTRICT Act on Tuesday, calling it "a systematic framework for addressing technology-based threats to the security and safety of Americans."

While the bill doesn't cite TikTok by name, the senators who introduced it repeatedly touched on fears that TikTok, a social video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance that's wildly popular in the U.S. and around the world, gives Beijing a steady stream of information about its users.

"It is widely acknowledged that TikTok's a threat to our national security," Sen. John Thune, R-N.D., said at a news conference. Thune, a member of Republican leadership and a senior member of the Commerce Committee, is sponsoring the bill with Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner, D-Va.; the legislation has 10 co-sponsors, five from each party.

Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, said in an email that the Biden administration already has the power to oversee the app through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, and that a blanket ban would be counterproductive for U.S. interests. nbcnews.com

How will the government enforce the national cyber strategy?

Efforts to enact laws and regulations that impose greater responsibility on the technology sector aren't likely to come quick or easy.

The Biden administration's national cybersecurity strategy, a long-awaited policy vision released almost two years after an executive order called for more resilient infrastructure, lacks key details effecting change.

Turning the vision and stated objectives into reality requires more action and follow through, cybersecurity experts said. Laws and regulations that impose greater responsibility on the technology sector aren't likely to come quick or easy.

"The pillars described in the strategy are well and properly defined, but of little use without such legislative support," John Rostern, SVP and global lead of cloud and infrastructure services at security consultancy NCC Group North America, said via email.

"Drafting such legislation in a form that will be acceptable across the House and Senate will be challenging. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this will move forward quickly," Rostern said. cybersecuritydive.com

Three crucial moments when founding a cybersecurity startup

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U.S. Cannabis Legalization 2023 Update

2022 was an eventful year for cannabis activists, lawmakers, businesses, and consumers. 4 U.S. states legalized either medical or recreational cannabis, and most of them are from the Southeast region. As of January 2023, 38 states have a medical cannabis program, and 22 have legal recreational cannabis.

States that Legalized Cannabis

Here is a map that demonstrates the legal status of each U.S. state.

The U.S. West region contains the most states with fully legalized cannabis: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. The nation's Southeast region has the least states with fully legalized cannabis: Virginia and Maryland (excluding Washington D.C.).

States that Legalized Cannabis in 2022

3 states legalized recreational cannabis in 2022: Maryland, Missouri, and Rhode Island. Mississippi is the only state that legalized medical cannabis in 2022.

Which states will legalize cannabis soon?

Here are the states that are currently considering legalizing cannabis: Florida, Arkansas, Delaware, Texas (certain cities), South Carolina (medical), and Kentucky (medical).


The current trend of cannabis legalization opens the door to opportunities for cannabis businesses and anticipation for potential cannabis consumers and patients. The only states that may not legalize cannabis at any capacity shortly are Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho. Many U.S. states, especially in the South, have a high chance of legalizing cannabis either medical or recreational. For a good portion of them, the question is how soon will cannabis become legal rather than if. sapphirerisk.com

The Pandemic / Return-to-Work Impact on Cannabis Sales?
Legal cannabis sales heading south in latest reckoning for once-booming industry
Legal cannabis sales in states including California and Colorado have tumbled amid the uncertain economy and the end of the pandemic-fueled boom, adding to the industry's long list of problems after years of euphoric growth.

Taxable sales in California fell 8.3% last year to $5.3 billion, the state department that administers the collection of business taxes and fees said last week. Part of the decline was due to the elimination of a cultivation tax.

In Colorado, marijuana sales fell 20% to $1.8 billion over the same period, according to the state revenue department. Meanwhile, in Washington state, retail revenue for fiscal 2022 fell 8% to $1.4 billion.

The annual declines, the first ever for all three states, mark a huge turnaround from rapid growth in prior years. The initial optimism gave rise to a growing number of retail stores, a mini industry of suppliers of cannabis paraphernalia, and an army of wholesale cannabis producers.

During the pandemic, when many people worked from home and had limited entertainment options, cannabis sales ballooned. At the same time, state coffers filled with increased tax revenue from cannabis sales.

But that changed last year when the economy soured, causing some people to cut back on their spending. Additionally, many workers returned to the office, leaving less time for using recreational cannabis. fortune.com

Murrieta, CA: Trial Set for Trio Accused in Burglary/Murder at Anza Marijuana Grow
A March 21 trial date was confirmed Tuesday for three convicted felons accused in the fatal shooting of a 64-year-old man who interrupted a break-in at his Anza home, where he allegedly was cultivating cannabis for sale. Jody Lynn Came Miller, 47, of Rancho Cucamonga, James Max Robinson, 41, of San Bernardino, and Jesse Robert Thurbush, 41, of Victorville allegedly killed James Cidney Brown in 2019.

All three are charged with murder, attempted murder, burglary, attempted robbery and false imprisonment, with special circumstance allegations of killing in the course of a burglary and killing during the commission of a robbery. Miller is additionally charged with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. nbcpalmsprings.com

Oklahoma voters reject legalization of recreational marijuana, CNN projects

Americans now favor legal cannabis over legal tobacco






Pandemic is Over & The Tide's Changing

Online Retailers Facing Challenges & The Endless Void of the Internet
Shipping Costs - Customer Acquisition & Retention - Competition & Product Offerings

11 digitally native retailers at risk of bankruptcy
These companies were meant to be disruptors to the industry. But as macroeconomic pressures intensify and capital gets harder to find, they may be put to their biggest test.

The e-commerce darlings that were meant to save retail may soon find themselves in bankruptcy court.

Internet and direct marketing retailers had the highest median market signal one-year probability of default of any sector at 8.1%, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data and analysis from February. Other sectors included home furnishings retail; apparel, accessories and luxury goods; department stores; and consumer electronics.

Already this year Forma Brands - the parent company to beauty brands Morphe, Bad Habit, Jaclyn Cosmetics and Playa Beauty - filed for Chapter 11. Aside from bankruptcy, digitally native retailers have needed to close stores and lay off staff as a way to cut costs amid economic pressure.

And while retailers are facing challenges like massive supply chain disruption, and consumers are pulling back more on discretionary purchases amid inflation and other economic pressure, the problems many e-commerce companies are experiencing predate the pandemic.

Pure-play e-commerce retailers are twice as likely as retailers who have stores to report being unprofitable.

According to data from CreditRiskMonitor, 11 online retailers have an elevated risk of filing for bankruptcy in the next 12 months. Many of those retailers outlined above also carry a high or very high probability of default over the next 12 months.   retaildive.com

A Way for Small Businesses to Cash in On E-Commerce Boom?
Bridging the gap between local retail and online shopping with Harvester
Harvester launched in February and already has 70,000 stores on the site for shoppers across the U.S.

"All the stores that are currently listed on Harvester are ones that already have kind of an online presence with a website and they have their inventories up already," said Evans. "I found a way to find a bunch of local businesses across the U.S. that had websites with all their products and consolidate them all to one site so they can shop directly from that store on."

With Harvester, online shoppers can freely shop trending local businesses by entering their zip code. They can also search for an item they are looking for and use the filter to sort by distance, price or relevance.  douglascountynewspress.net

Move aside physical and online, multichannel is the future of retail

TikTok's China twin takes on Alibaba and Meituan in e-commerce







Clayton, MO: Man accused of stealing $71K in merchandise from Ulta Beauty, Dick's Sporting Goods stores
A Hillsdale, Missouri, man was charged Tuesday with stealing more than $71,000 in merchandise from multiple businesses in the region over a five-month span. Police and prosecutors allege he used juveniles to commit the crimes. The suspect is not yet in police custody. The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office charged Carlos Willis a felony count of stealing - $25,000 or more. "It is concerning, and as a result of that, we've created a retail task force, working with many of our community partners in the retail industry, because this has been an issue," Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said. The crimes occurred from late September 2022 to late February 2023, according to a probable cause statement obtained from the St. Louis County Police Department. Authorities claim Willis hit several Ulta Beauty stores and numerous Dick's Sporting Goods, from west to south county, racking up more than $50,000 in stolen goods in 16 separate thefts. The probable cause statement says Willis uses wigs to disguise himself, and that he and his juvenile cohorts have given false identities whenever questioned by authorities. On Dec. 6, 2022, Willis was arrested and interview by U.S. Secret Service agents and a St. Louis County detective for multiple thefts. Prosecutors claim Willis posted the stolen merchandise for sale on Facebook Marketplace less than 24 hours after the thefts.  fox2now.com

Las Vegas, NV: Police look for 2 suspects accused of stealing $25K from home improvement stores
Las Vegas police are looking for two suspects accused of stealing $25,000 worth of goods from different home improvement businesses over the past few months. According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan police, the thefts occurred at multiple sites between Dec. 21, 2022, and Feb. 17, 2023. 8newsnow.com

Greenville, SC: Man steals over $4,000 in designers sunglasses from Sunglass Hut
Thousands of dollars worth of sunglasses were stolen from a store in Greenville's Haywood Mall, and police are asking the public for help finding the man who did it. Lt. Ryan Flood, with the Greenville Police Department, said the man shoplifted about $4,000 worth of designer sunglasses from the Sunglass Hut at the mall address at about 7 p.m. on Feb. 13.  wyff4.com

Oneonta, NY 2 men accused of stealing from Oneonta Walmart
Two Rome men are facing charges after allegedly stealing from the Oneonta Walmart on State Highway 23 earlier this month. Walmart workers called New York State Police to report a larceny in progress just after 3 p.m. on March 3. State police say 38-year-old Joseph Murray had taken items from the store without paying and loaded them into a truck. While troopers were talking with Murray, they learned that another suspect, later identified as 33-year-old John Grass, was still inside the store stealing more items. Initially, Grass gave state police a fake name. When they learned his identity, they found out he had an active warrant from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office. Murray and Grass were both charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, which means the total of the items exceeded $1,000.  wktv.com

Minneapolis, MN: Update: Man sentenced for role in downtown phone theft ring
A St. Paul man charged with one count of racketeering will spend multiple years behind bars for his role in a phone theft ring that operated in downtown Minneapolis. Court records show 26-year-old Aaron Tracey Johnson entered a guilty plea last week to the charge and was sentenced Tuesday to serve 94 months (nearly eight years) in the St. Cloud prison. In addition, he will get 173 days of credit for time previously served. According to the court register, this sentence is being served concurrently with another, which stemmed from a case that charged Johnson with providing a false name to police. In addition to stealing phones, prosecutors say the 12 suspects also moved money from the victims' phones to people associated with the theft ring. The document also states the stolen phones were sold locally and outside of the United States. Overall, the thefts are said to have cost a total of more than $300,000. Johnson is the second person to be sentenced in the scheme. In December, Alfonze Stuckey was sentenced to just shy of five years in prison for his role. kstp.com

Waveland, MS: Biloxi couple accused of using son to try to steal $1500 of items from Walmart
A Biloxi couple is in jail, accused of shoplifting and then using their child to try to get the stolen items out of the store. Waveland Police arrested 35-year-old Khadja Alfred amd 47-year-old Larry Isaiah on Tuesday and charged both with shoplifting and directing a youth to commit a felony. According to Chief Mike Prendergast, Alfred and Isaiah loaded a cart with almost $1,500 worth of household goods like paper towels, toilet paper and shampoo at the Waveland Walmart. Then they had their 9-year-old son try to push the cart out of the store without paying for the items.  wxxv25.com

Eau Claire, WI: Couple implicated in string of thefts at EC Fleet Farm
Two area residents are responsible for a series of thefts at the Eau Claire Fleet Farm store, police say. Jeffrey C. Thomas, 40, 1232 Snelling St., was charged this week in Eau Claire County Court with a felony count of retail theft and three misdemeanor counts of retail theft. Margrette L. Cobb, 42, of Luck, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of retail theft and four felony counts of bail jumping. A warrant has been issued for Thomas' arrest. An Eau Claire police officer was sent to Fleet Farm on Dec. 20 for a retail theft case. Store officials said a man and woman had again stolen items from the store. Store officials were able to identify them as Cobb and Thomas, and they left in a Dodge Grand Caravan. Store officials said they were never able to stop the pair from stealing before but this is the first time they've been able to identify them.  leadertelegram.com

Commack, NY: 2 Steal $4,150 Worth Of Clothes From Dick's Sporting Goods

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Shootings & Deaths

Coldspring, TX: Liquor store owner shoots, kills burglar inside store
Authorities in Texas say a liquor store owner shot and killed a burglar inside their store. The San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office said the owner of Frank's Liquor Store called them at about 5:20 a.m. on Wednesday stating that the business was being burglarized. Authorities said while they were en route they were told the person who had allegedly broken into the store had been shot by the owner. According to deputies, they found the alleged burglar lying on the floor of the business with a single gunshot wound when they arrived. The man, later identified as Jeffery Gunter, was transported to the hospital where he later died. Investigators said surveillance footage showed Gunter entering the closed business through a drive-thru window and placing cigarettes and bottles of liquor inside a bag.  13abc.com

Locust Grove, GA: Beloved Bookstore Owner found dead in creek, employee charged with murder
The beloved owner of a popular Atlanta-area bookstore was found dead in a creek - and one of her employees, a former boyfriend, has been accused of her kidnapping and murder. The body of Erica Atkins, a 42-year-old mother of two and the owner of Birdsong Books in Henry County, was discovered by a fisherman in Cedar Creek in Putnam County around 1:15 p.m. on Monday the Henry County Sheriff's Office told local outlet 11Alive. Atkins - who had been reported missing on Sunday - was found about an hour's drive from the bookstore. Police said they believe she was killed in Henry County and that her body was then dumped in nearby Putnam County. Her employee, Romero Johnson, 38, was arrested and charged with kidnapping and murdering Atkins, police said.  nypost.com

Orange County, FL: 1 person injured in shooting at Orlando gas station
Orange County deputies are investigating a shooting at a gas station Tuesday night that sent one person to the hospital. Deputies responded to the 7-Eleven/Mobil in the 2100 block Americana Blvd. just after 8 p.m. for reports of shots fired. They arrived to find a man with a gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital and is now listed as stable. The sheriff's office has only identified the victim as a man in is 20s. They haven't released any information on a possible suspect.  wftv.com

Robberies, Incidents & Thefts

2+ Years Ransacking & Stealing From 23 Bodegas & Restaurants in the Bronx
DOJ: 2 Defendants Arrested For Stealing $1M+ From ATMs Throughout The Bronx

"For nearly two years, these defendants allegedly targeted multiple small businesses in the Bronx - burglarizing, ransacking, and stealing more than $1 million.

From at least in or about March 2021 through in or about January 2023, BALLIRAM, ORTIZ, and another individual ("CC-1") engaged in a series of at least 23 burglaries of commercial establishments throughout the Bronx, in which they stole over $1 million from ATMs.

The burglaries followed a simple pattern: on each occasion, BALLIRAM, ORTIZ, and at least one other individual broke into Bronx small businesses - often bodegas or restaurants - in the middle of the night in order to steal all the cash from the ATM inside the store. In the course of stealing all the cash from the ATMs, BALLIRAM and ORTIZ also ransacked each store, stealing all the cash from the register, cigarettes, lottery tickets, alcohol, and digital video recording systems. BALLIRAM and ORTIZ stole tens of thousands of dollars in cash and valuables each time. justice.gov

Group of 20 people Rob Center City Store, Attack Worker Who Tried to Stop Them
A group of up to 20 people -- believed to be teens -- assaulted a worker while robbing a Center City Philadelphia store Tuesday night. The incident happened just before 6 p.m. at Gallery of Scents & the Gold Center along Chestnut Street, near 11th Street, Philadelphia police said. About 18 to 20 juveniles entered the store and jumped behind the counter where they took about $500 of tobacco products and other merchandise, police said. One of the young people punched a worker who tried to stop the robbery, investigators said. It wasn't clear if the worker suffered injuries. No arrests were made and police didn't describe any of the suspects or reveal any surveillance video of the thefts or attack. Center City Business owners are worried and on alert. nbcphiladelphia.com

Las Vegas, NV: Las Vegas food truck employees sent to hospital, attacked by men they refused to serve
A group of belligerent men went on the attack at a popular food truck in downtown Las Vegas after they were refused service. Five employees ended up in the hospital and the owner of the business is demanding justice. The Taqueria Casa del Sabor food truck is parked outside a tire business at Bonanza and Las Vegas Boulevard every night, sometimes there are lines of cars circling the parking lot waiting to get served. Sunday night, employees refused service to a group of belligerent men. Taqueria Casa del Sabor Owner Ivan Valenzuela. That's when all hell broke loose. "You had women getting hit... My guy here getting put in an ambulance. My guy right here see his face?" Valenzuela explained to FOX5 with employees at his side. Two employees were taken by ambulance to the hospital, three were taken by private car. "The cops they arrive, they hold two guys for like maybe 20 minutes, they let go most of the people. The only guy I believe was arrested because he was being aggressive with the cops," Valenzuela revealed. Street food vendors rallied just last week as the Nevada State Senate heard a bill that would extend protections to them. State Senator Fabian Donate, the sponsor of Senate Bill 92, comes from a family of food vendors and says it is an important part of the heritage is Hispanic community.  fox5vegas.com

Palm Springs, CA: Police search for suspect in attempted Armed Robbery at marijuana dispensary
Palm Springs police are searching for a woman who attempted an armed robbery at a marijuana dispensary on Wednesday. Dispatch received a report that shots were fired at a dispensary on the 2700 block of North Palm Canyon Drive around 9:30 a.m., the Palm Springs Police Department said. Witnesses reported that a woman wearing a black mask entered the store with a gun and fired at the ground by the feet of an approaching security guard, police said. She fled after the guard wrestled the gun from her desertsun.com

Amsterdam, NY: Two employees took $6K+ from town of Amsterdam AutoZone, face charges
Two employees of the town of Amsterdam AutoZone have been arrested, accused of taking more than $6,000 worth of merchandise form the store, Montgomery County Sheriff's officials said. Ziakeem M. James, 22, and Kevin E. Nieves, 25, both of Amsterdam, were each charged recently with third-degree grand larceny, a felony, and fifth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor, officials said. The two were arrested after an investigation that began when deputies took a report that more than $6,300 in merchandise had been taken from the store, officials said. The two were both employed at the store and Loss Prevention had discovered the two were completing fraudulent discounts on items, officials said.  recordernews.com

Australia: Wild koala wanders inside a c-store and jumps on worker's leg
The friendly koala bear spent almost 40 minutes inside the store in Adelaide Hills, South Australia before Koala Rescue Inc arrived to evacuate the animal.

Jacksonville, FL: Teen arrested for possession of firearm at Orange Park Mall

Long Beach, CA: Despite increased police presence, string of burglaries continue to plague Long Beach business owner

Kansas City, MO: KC Man Sentenced to 45 Years for Conspiracy to Commit (9) Armed Robberies of C-Stores, Gas Stations, Boost Mobile and a Hotel

Greenbelt, MD: Two Men Facing Federal Indictment in Maryland for an Arson Conspiracy Targeting Convenience Stores

Minneapolis, MN: Man arrested, charged in Uptown Target burglary pleads guilty

Calgary, AB, Canada: Police charge man with robbery of five local businesses



• Books - La Grande, OR - Burglary
C-Store - Billings, MT - Armed Robbery
C-Store - Hialeah, FL - Robbery
C-Store - Gloucester, VA - Burglary
C-Store - Fontana, CA - Armed Robbery
Clothing - Commack, NY - Robbery
Eyewear - Greenville, SC - Robbery
Gas Station - Altoona, PA - Robbery
Grocery - Springfield, MO - Burglary
Hardware - Las Vegas, NV - Robbery
Hardware - Eau Claire, WI - Robbery
• Jewelry - Albuquerque, NM - Armed Robbery
• Jewelry - Hazelton PA - Burglary
• Jewelry - Virginia Beach, VA - Robbery
• Jewelry - Saugus, MA - Robbery
• Jewelry - Danbury, CT - Robbery
• Jewelry - Amherst, NY - Burglary
Liquor - Coldspring, TX - Burglary/ Susp killed
Marijuana - Palm Springs, CA - Armed Robbery
Pet - Long Beach, CA - Burglary
Restaurant - Indianapolis, IN - Armed Robbery
Restaurant - Indianapolis, IN - Armed Robbery
Restaurant - Long Beach, CA - Burglary
Tobacco - Philadelphia, PA - Robbery
Walgreens - Gainesville, FL - Armed Robbery
Walmart - Oneonta, NY - Robbery
Walmart - Waveland, MS - Robbery
Walmart - Tigard, OR - Burglary


Daily Totals:
• 19 robberies
• 9 burglaries
• 1 shooting
• 1 killed

Click to enlarge map



None to report.

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Featured Job Spotlights


An Industry Obligation - Staffing 'Best in Class' Teams

Every one has a role to play in building an industry.
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Help your colleagues - your industry - Build 'Best in Class' teams.

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Quality - Diversity - Industry Obligation


Retail Partnership Manager
Denver, CO - posted February 22
The Retail Partnerships Manager will play a key role within Auror's North American team; taking ownership of some of our key customers. The role is a great fit for someone who seeks variety and is great at relationship building. You will be seen as a thought leader and trusted advisor for both our customers and the industry alike...

Regional Distribution Asset Protection Specialist
Landover, MD - posted February 24
This role is responsible for leading asset protection initiatives and investigating matters pertaining to inventory shrink, policy violations, unauthorized access, fraud, and theft within assigned distribution center(s) - Landover MD, Severn MD, Bluefield VA, Norfolk VA, Lumberton NC...

Corporate Risk Manager
Charlotte or Raleigh, NC - posted February 14
Summary of Role and Responsibilities: Proactive approach to preventing losses/injuries whether they are to our employees, third parties or customers valuables. They include cash in transit, auto losses or injuries; Report all incidents, claims and losses which may expose the company to financial losses whether they are covered by insurance or not...

Director of Asset Protection & Safety
Mount Horeb, WI - posted January 27
The Director of Asset Protection and Safety is responsible for developing strategies, supporting initiatives, and creating a vibrant culture relating to all aspects of asset protection and safety throughout the organization. As the expert strategist and leader of asset protection and safety, this role applies broad knowledge and seasoned experience to address risks...

Loss Prevention Analyst
Ashburn, VA - posted February 21
This position pays $67,725 - $75,000 per year:
The LP Analyst protects the company's assets from internal theft by using investigative resources (i.e., exception-based reporting (EBR), micros reporting, inventory reporting, CCTV, etc.). The primary responsibility of the LP Analyst is to identify potential loss prevention issues such as employee theft in SSP America's operation across North America...

Manager of Asset Protection (Corporate and DC)
North Kingstown, RI - posted February 17
The Manager of Asset Protection - Corporate and Distribution Center ("DC") role at Ocean State Job Lot ("OSJL" and "Company") will have overall responsibility for the ongoing safety and security of all operations throughout the corporate office and supply chain...

Business Continuity Planning Manager
Jacksonville, FL - posted January 26
Responsible for developing, implementing and managing the company's Business Continuity (BCP) and Life Safety Programs to include but not limited to emergency response, disaster recovery and site preparedness plans for critical business functions across the organization. In addition, the position will develop and lead testing requirements to ensure these programs are effective and can be executed in the event of a disaster/crisis...

Region Asset Protection Manager-St Augustine and Daytona Beach Market
Jacksonville, FL - posted January 18
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups' response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...


Region Asset Protection Manager: Fresco y Mas Banner
Hialeah, FL - posted January 18
Responsible for managing asset protection programs designed to minimize shrink, associate and customer liability accidents, bad check and cash loss, and safety incidents for stores within assigned region. This position will develop the framework for the groups' response to critical incidents, investigative needs, safety concerns and regulatory agency visits...

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"Something just told me it was the wrong thing to do -- it didn't feel right -- I didn't have a good feeling about it." The subconscious is a very strong silent partner we all have and oftentimes it speaks to us in these phrases. The problem becomes when we over-think things and muffle the most powerful partner we have -- our own minds. Or we allow our closest confidant, our closest friend, or even at times our mentor to change or alter our true feelings. Coming to the right decision with any big issue is difficult and certainly we need the input of our trusted inner circle, and our spouse, but at the end of the day you're the one living with the consequence of your decision and you alone are responsible for it. When the bird on your shoulder is talking, make sure you listen because most mistakes are made when that voice has been muffled.

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