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Timeline of events in Afghanistan since Taliban takeover

Arefeh 40-year-old, an Afghan woman leaves an underground school, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 30, 2022. She attends this underground school with her daughter who is not allowed to go to public school. For most teenage girls in Afghanistan,

The Taliban’s capture of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021 brought the hardline movement back into power in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after they were toppled by the U.S. invasion following the 9/11 attacks. The year since has been disastrous for the country.

After the world cut off funding, Afghanistan’s already ramshackle economy collapsed almost overnight, sending nearly the entire population into poverty and leaving millions unable to feed themselves. No country has yet recognized Taliban rule. After initially signaling they would be more moderate than in their previous time in power, the Taliban turned to a hard line, crushing women’s rights, allowing little criticism and imposing greater control over the press.

Here is a timeline of significant events in connection to the Taliban takeover and subsequent rule.


Feb. 29, 2020 — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration signs an agreement with the Taliban committing to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. The Taliban promise to halt attacks on Americans. But they step up attacks on Afghan government forces, who begin to fall apart with American tactical support now reduced.

April 14, 2021 — President Joe Biden says the remaining 2,500-3,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by Sept. 11 to end America’s “forever war.”

May-August 2021 — Taliban gains on the ground accelerate. Districts across the country fall to the insurgents, sometimes with hardly a fight. By mid-August, they control nearly the entire country, including most major cities.

Aug. 15, 2021 — The Taliban march into Kabul as internationally backed President Ashraf Ghani flees the country.

Aug. 16, 2021 — Thousands of civilians crowd at Kabul’s international airport, hoping to get on flights as U.S. troops and officials organize evacuation flights. In chaotic scenes, a few are seen clinging to the sides of aircraft as they take off. At least two are known to have fallen to their deaths.

Aug. 18, 2021 — At the first Taliban press conference, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid promises no reprisals against former soldiers, saying that Taliban will allow women to to work and study “but within the framework of Islam.”

Aug. 26, 2021 — Islamic State group suicide bombers and gunmen kill at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops in an attack on the crowds trying to be evacuated at Kabul’s airport. Several days later, a U.S. drone strike kills 10 civilians, including at seven children; the Pentagon initially insists the strike targeted the perpetrators of the airport attack but later acknowledged it was a mistake.

August — The Taliban takeover sparks the freezing of Afghanistan’s $8 billion in assets held abroad, most in the U.S. Also halted are billions in development and other aid that paid most of the government’s budget.

Almost overnight, the already tenuous economy collapses. Many Afghans lose their salaries or jobs as prices spiral. Over the next months, millions will become unable to afford food; many medical facilities will shut down, unable to afford supplies or pay staff.

September — Schools reopen around Afghanistan. Girls up through the sixth grade are allowed to return to classes, as are women in some private universities. Above sixth grade, however, girls are not allowed back, with a few local exceptions.

Sept. 7, 2021 — The Taliban announce the formation of an interim government, made up entirely of Taliban figures and men, despite international pressure for greater diversity. The Taliban hint it could be widened later to include other factions, but it has remained largely the same since.

Sept. 12, 2021 — Aid flights resume into Kabul as the U.N. revs up what will become a massive aid effort to keep Afghans alive in an accelerating humanitarian disaster. In less than a month since the Taliban takeover, the number of families reporting insufficient food consumption leaps 13 percentage points to 93% of the population, according to U.N. figures. World Food Program chief David Beasley warns that 14 million face acute food insecurity, “marching to the brink of starvation, they don’t know where their next meal is.”

Oct. 25, 2021 — Within another month, all those figures have dramatically worsened. The number of people facing acute food insecurity nearly doubles to 22.8 million from 14 million, nearly 60% of the population, the WFP says. Of those, 8.7 million are at the highest emergency level, at risk of starvation. Half of all children under five years old — around 3.2 million — are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition.

Feb. 11, 2022 — U.S. President Joe Biden issues an executive order holding half of the $7 billion in Afghan assets frozen into the United States for court cases involving victims of the 9/11 attacks. He orders the other $3.5 billion to be used for the benefit of Afghanistan; since then U.S. officials have been holding talks with the Taliban on how to use that money.

March 23, 2022 — On the day high schools are opening, the Taliban suddenly reverse a promise to allow girls above the sixth grade to attend schools. Girls who showed up for the first day of classes are told to go home. The reversal suggests hardliners among the Taliban leadership moved to prevent a return of older girls to school.

March 30, 2022 — The number of Afghans living below the poverty line is rapidly approaching 97% of the population, the head of the United Nations Development Programme Achim Steiner warns. In 2020, just under half of Afghanistan’s population lived in poverty.

May 7, 2022 — The Taliban Virtue and Vice Ministry issues orders that all women in public must wear all-encompassing robes and cover their face except for their eyes. It advises them to stay home unless they have important work outside the house.

May 9, 2022 — New U.N. report shows huge infusion of aid is just barely keeping numbers of hungry from growing further, with the number of people facing acute food insecurity at nearly 20 million. However, it warns that continued bad harvest and drought, inflation fueled in part by Ukraine conflict and lack of funding for U.N. aid threatens to increase the crisis.

June 22, 2022 — A powerful earthquake hits a remote region of eastern Afghanistan, killing more than 1,100 people. The Taliban struggle with rescue efforts, underscoring a lack of resources and a reliance on aid groups.

July 27, 2022 — Amnesty International issues a report saying Taliban policies are “suffocating” women at every level of their lives, pointing to the restrictions on schooling and work, increased child marriage and repression of women activists.

July 31, 2022 — The U.S. kills al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike on a safehouse in Kabul where he has been staying for months. U.S. officials accuse the Taliban of sheltering him in violation of the Doha Agreement.

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Why insurance for ‘black-swan’ events isn’t paying off in this bear market

Why insurance for 'black-swan' events isn't paying off in this bear market

The bear market on Wall Street is not a “black swan.” This is important is for semantic clarity, if nothing else. The term “black swan” has been thrown around with such abandon in recent months that it’s in danger of losing all meaning.

There’s a more important reason not call this bear market a black swan: it creates unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved with black-swan protection strategies. Those strategies hedge against certain rare events, but not everything bad that can happen in the stock market.

The black swan theory has a long history in philosophy and mathematics, but its use in the investment arena traces to the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a professor of risk engineering at New York University. Taleb wrote a book in 2007 entitled “Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” in which he defines a black swan as an extremely rare and sudden event that has very severe consequences.

A key aspect of black-swan events, Taleb argued, is that they are unpredictable. This unpredictability means that, in order to protect yourself, you must always hedge your portfolio against the worst. That hedge will detract from your return in most years, but pay off in a big way in the event of a black swan.

A good analogy is to fire insurance on your house. House fires are extremely rare, but you still buy insurance against the possibility and are more than willing to pay your insurance premium.

Black-swan insurance in the investment arena pursues two general approaches. The first is to be as conservative as possible with almost all of your portfolio and extremely aggressive with the small remainder. The second is to couple your normal equity portfolio with an aggressive hedge — such as with deep out-of-the-money puts.

Neither of these strategies has offered complete protection against the current bear market, as you can see in the chart below. The three strategies listed in the chart are:

  • Swan Hedged Equity U.S. Large Cap ETF
    which invests more than 90% of its portfolio in large-cap stocks and hedges with put options.

  • Amplify BlackSwan Growth &Treasury Core ETF
    which invests 90% in U.S. Treasurys and 10% in S&P long-dated call options.

  • S&P 500

    fund (96.67%) plus long-dated out-of-the money puts (3.33%). This specific strategy was derived by Michael Edesess, an adjunct professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, in an attempt to replicate the reported returns of a hedge fund (whose strategy is proprietary) with which Taleb is associated.

Clearly, all three approaches’ year-to-date losses are in the double-digits, with the Amplify BlackSwan ETF actually losing more than the S&P 500 itself.

These otherwise disappointing returns are not necessarily a criticism. If this year’s bear market is not a black swan event, then it doesn’t seem fair to criticize these offerings for failing to protect investors. For example, during the waterfall decline that accompanied the economic lockdowns at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is more appropriately classified as a black swan event, a portfolio that allocated 96.67% to the S&P 500 and 3.33% to deep out-of-the-money puts would have held its own or posted a small gain.

Hedging against more than black swans

Your comeback might be to suggest constructing portfolio hedges that insure against more than just black swan-like losses. But the cost of such hedges would be much greater than the insurance premium for protecting against a black swan. That cost could be so high, in fact, that you might decide it’s not worth it.

Consider fixed income annuities (FIAs), which allow you to participate in the stock market’s upside while guaranteeing that you never lose money. The “premium” you must pay for this insurance is that your participation rate — the share of the price-only gains that you earn — is often well-below 100%. Currently, for example, according to Adam Hyers of Hyers and Associates, a retirement-planning firm, an FIA benchmarked to the S&P 500 has a 30% participation rate — in effect setting its insurance premium to be 70% of the index’s gains in those years in which the stock market rises. 

Would you be willing to forfeit 70% of the S&P 500’s price-only gains in years the stock market rises, along with all dividend income, in order to avoid losses in those years in which the market falls? There’s no right or wrong answer. But you need to be aware of the magnitude of the insurance premium.

The chart above plots the calendar-year price-only returns of the S&P 500 since 1928. The red line shows what your return would have been since then — 3.7% annualized — if you were flat in years in which the index fell, and earned 30% of the index’s increase when it rose. That 3.7% annualized return is a lot less than the 10.0% annualized total return the stock market has produced over the past nine-plus decades.

I’m not suggesting that FIAs are never appropriate in certain circumstances. In an interview, Hyers told me that there are many different FIAs to choose, and some that are benchmarked to indexes other than the S&P 500 have higher participation rates than 30%. Indeed, he added in an email, “many of the [FIAs benchmarked to] proprietary indexes have… participation rates above 100%, so those are where larger gains are locked in.”

My point in discussing FIAs is instead to remind you that there is no free lunch. The more you want to insure against losses, the more upside potential you forfeit in the process. While it is possible to insure against a black swan event, such insurance won’t protect you from all losses.

Mark Hulbert is a regular contributor to MarketWatch. His Hulbert Ratings tracks invest/ment newsletters that pay a flat fee to be audited. He can be reached at

More: Don’t fear the bear. It gives you chances to pick winning stocks and beat the market.

Also read:  ‘The stock market is not going to zero’: How this individual investor with 70 years of experience is trading the bear market

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German police probe incident at Scholz party event

German police probe incident at Scholz party event

BERLIN — German police are investigating after several women reported feeling unwell following an event hosted by the parliamentary group of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party.

Berlin police said Saturday that the investigation was triggered by a 21-year-old woman, who felt dizzy and unwell several hours into Wednesday’s summer party for the Social Democrats and then was unable to remember the evening the following day. She went to a hospital for checks, and police ordered a blood test for an analysis of possible toxic substances.

The woman ate and drank at the event, but didn’t consume any alcohol, police said. By Saturday morning, another four cases in which people reported similar symptoms had emerged. German media reported that they apparently were victims of so-called “knockout drops,” which can be mixed into drinks or food. Police said they were awaiting test results.

Police opened an investigation of persons unknown on suspicion of bodily harm. Both they and the center-left Social Democrats said they weren’t aware of any offenses beyond that.

The Social Democrats’ co-leader, Lars Klingbeil, told Welt television he was “furious that something like this could happen at an event” organized by the party. He said the parliamentary group’s leadership is cooperating with authorities and he hopes “that the perpetrator or perpetrators can be caught and then brought to account.”

About 1,000 people attended the annual party on Wednesday, including the chancellor, party lawmakers and their employees.

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Norway terror alert raised after deadly mass shooting during Oslo Pride events

Norway terror alert raised after deadly mass shooting during Oslo Pride events

The Norwegian security service PST has raised its terror alert to the highest level after a mass shooting left two people dead and many wounded during Pride week in Oslo.

Acting PST chief Roger Berg called the shootings an “extreme Islamist terror act.” He said the gunman, who was arrested shortly after the shootings, had a “long history of violence and threats.”

Investigators said the suspect, identified as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, opened fire at three locations in downtown Oslo.

While the motive was unclear, organizers of Oslo Pride canceled a parade that was set for Saturday as the highlight of a weeklong festival. One of the shootings happened outside the London Pub, a bar popular with the city’s LGBTQ community, just hours before the parade was set to begin.

Police attorney Christian Hatlo said the suspect was being held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and terrorism, based on the number of people targeted at multiple locations.

“Our overall assessment is that there are grounds to believe that he wanted to cause grave fear in the population,” Hatlo said.

Hatlo said the suspect’s mental health was also being investigated.

“We need to go through his medical history, if he has any. It’s not something that we’re aware of now,” he said.

The shootings happened around 1 a.m. local time, sending panicked revelers fleeing into the streets or trying to hide from the gunman.

Olav Roenneberg, a journalist from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.

“I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting,” Roenneberg told NRK. “First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.”

Another witness, Marcus Nybakken, 46, said he was alerted to the incident by a commotion in the area.

“When I walked into Cesar’s bar there were a lot of people starting to run and there was a lot of screaming. I thought it was a fight out there, so I pulled out. But then I heard that it was a shooting and that there was someone shooting with a submachine gun,” Nybakken told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

Police inspector Tore Soldal said two of the shooting victims died and 10 people were being treated for serious injuries, but none of them was believed to be life-threatening.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a Facebook post that “the shooting outside London Pub in Oslo tonight was a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people.”

He said that while the motive was unclear, the shooting had caused fear and grief in the LGBTQ community.

“We all stand by you,” Gahr Stoere wrote.

King Harald V also offered condolences and said he and Norway’s royal family were “horrified by the night’s shooting tragedy.”

“We sympathize with all relatives and affected and send warm thoughts to all who are now scared, restless and in grief,” the Norwegian monarch said in a statement. “We must stand together to defend our values: freedom, diversity and respect for each other. We must continue to stand up for all people to feel safe.”

Christian Bredeli, who was at the bar, told Norwegian newspaper VG that he hid on the fourth floor with a group of about 10 people until he was told it was safe to come out.

“Many were fearing for their lives,” he said. “On our way out we saw several injured people, so we understood that something serious had happened.”

Norwegian broadcaster TV2 showed footage of people running down Oslo streets in panic as shots rang out in the background.

Investigators said the suspect was known to police, as well as to Norway’s security police, but not for any major violent crimes. His criminal record included a narcotics offense and a weapons offense for carrying a knife, Hatlo said.

Hatlo said police seized two weapons after the attack: a handgun and an automatic weapon, both of which he described as “not modern” without giving details.

He said the suspect had not made any statement to the police and was in contact with a defense lawyer.

Hatlo said it was too early to say whether the gunman specifically targeted members of the LGBTQ community.

“We have to look closer at that, we don’t know yet,” he said.

Still, police advised organizers of the Pride festival to cancel the parade Saturday.

“Oslo Pride therefore urges everyone who planned to participate or watch the parade to not show up. All events in connection with Oslo Prides are canceled,” organizers said on the official Facebook page of the event.

Inge Alexander Gjestvang, leader of FRI, the Norwegian organisation for sexual and gender diversity, said the shooting has shaken the Nordic country’s gay community.

“It’s tough for the queer movement to experience this,” he was quoted by TV2 as saying. “We encourage everyone to stand together, take care of each other. We’ll be back later, proud, visible but right now it’s not the time for that.”

Norway has a relatively low crime rate but has experienced violent attacks by right-wing extremists, including one of the worst mass shootings in Europe in 2011, when a gunman killed 69 people on the island of Utoya after setting off a bomb in Oslo that left eight dead.

In 2019, another right-wing extremist killed his stepsister and then opened fire in a mosque but was overpowered before anyone there was injured.

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Charting the Non-Linear Events in Life

Charting the Non-Linear Events in Life

Mathematician Eugenia Cheng explores the uses of math beyond the classroom. Read more columns here.

Many of us have experienced grief recently, having lost loved ones to the pandemic or suffered other tragedies. It is often said that grief isn’t linear; it doesn’t plod in a predictable straight line, but takes terrible twists and turns, rearing up without warning.

I can think of few things as unmathematical as grief, yet we use this oddly mathematical term “linear” to discuss it. Linear algebra is essentially the math of things that move in straight lines. It is a very stringent requirement. Like grief, most things are not linear. But there are other types of behavior we can look for in mathematical functions and real life.

If a function keeps going in generally the same direction, though not in a straight line, it’s called monotonic. Exponentials and logarithms are monotonic but not linear. Some people argue that rates of taxation should be monotonic with income, so that someone who earns more doesn’t pay a lower effective tax rate; however, this is often not the case in practice. People who want to lose or gain weight often get frustrated that body weight is not monotonic across time, but fluctuates up and down with things like fluid retention. Sometimes a monotonic function can be derived, despite fluctuations, by taking averages across chunks of time, say a week, or a month.

Charts are not just about drawing pretty pictures, but finding ways to understand key features about a function quickly.

The behavior of functions is much easier to recognize visually than in a formula, so we draw graphs to help us. Turning a function into a graph is an amazing process of translating something abstract and invisible into something that allows us to invoke our visual intuition. When we draw a function out on a graph we can immediately see other features beyond linearity and monotonicity, such as whether or not it has gaps or sharp corners. If it has no gaps it is called continuous, and if it has no corners it is called smooth.

Calculus provides techniques for figuring what the graph is going to look like beyond plotting points, because even if you plot millions of points you might miss some feature in between those points. The idea is to understand how abstract features give rise to the visual features (corners, gaps and so on): It’s not just about drawing pretty pictures, but finding ways to understand key features about a function quickly.

We might also do the reverse and take some data, plot the graph, and then try and fit a function to it. We can then use the function to predict what will happen in the future. This is what is done with data in the pandemic: Case numbers provide data that can be plotted in a graph, and then a function can be found that approximates those numbers. As the function can be applied to points in time beyond the data we have now, this gives us a way of estimating what will happen in the future. It’s not an exact science, because many non-linear functions that start off with the same shape behave differently later.

Reverse-engineering a function to fit some experimental data can also give us insight into causality. The structure of the function may indicate to us some basic principles at work, such as the laws of physics. Tracking the motion of planets enabled mathematicians to fit their path to an ellipse shape, with the motion dependent on a planet’s position relative to the sun at any moment. This is just a mathematical formula, but hints at the sun’s physical role in influencing the movement of the planets.

Saying grief isn’t linear is a severe understatement, as it’s not even monotonic, continuous, or smooth. Math gives us ways to carefully distinguish between different scenarios and sequences to delineate any situation. This doesn’t make grief go away, but it can be cathartic to have ways to depict its unpredictable trajectory.

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Apple Event 2022: New Low-End iPhone Expected to Have 5G Service

Apple Event 2022: New Low-End iPhone Expected to Have 5G Service

Apple Inc.

AAPL -0.38%

is bringing 5G cellular connectivity to cheaper iPhones, a move some on Wall Street say will continue to fuel record sales this year as concerns linger over demand for the more-expensive versions.

The Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is slated to reveal the third-generation iPhone SE on Tuesday during a virtual event on the company’s website, starting at 1 p.m. ET. Apple is also expected to unveil an updated iPad Air with a faster processor as well as 5G, and new computers with faster chips, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The iPhone SE was an early pandemic darling for Apple. Sales of the device approached 25 million, or 12% of the company’s estimated global smartphone shipments, in 2020, according to researcher IDC. Apple doesn’t break out results by iPhone model.

The low-end model, which starts at $399 and comes with the smallest display size of 4.7 inches, fared less well in the past year with the arrival of Apple’s flagship products. Those include the iPhone 12 lineup, which introduced ultrafast 5G to the company’s smartphone offerings for the first time and was given a boost with price breaks from carriers eager to get customers onto the new cellular networks.

Sales of the high-end devices helped propel iPhone sales to a record $192 billion in fiscal 2021 and contributed to the year’s record profit of almost $100 billion. At the same time, shipments of the iPhone SE that lacked 5G fell an estimated 40% in 2021 compared with 2020, according to IDC.

“Obviously, some of the phones that Apple has launched have been really expensive, for the mostly mid- to high-end consumer, so now you get an affordable phone with 5G,”

Samik Chatterjee,

an analyst for

J.P. Morgan,

said in an interview.

Mr. Chatterjee raised his earnings estimates for the fiscal year because of expectations for the iPhone lineup, including his faith in the potential of the SE model to appeal to price-conscious buyers looking for 5G. He is forecasting that the SE version could tally 30 million units sold in the first year and help boost overall iPhone shipments to a record of 250 million.

“That’s what will give investors confidence that Apple can continue to grow iPhone revenues,” he said.

Starting in February, U.S. cellular carriers will begin to shut down 3G. WSJ’s Joanna Stern got an old iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 working on the old network, in order to remember all it did to shape the smartphone revolution. Photo illustration: Preston Jessee for The Wall Street Journal

The iPhone 12—and the iterative iPhone 13 versions introduced last fall—helped fuel renewed interest among Chinese consumers. The iPhone’s strength was aided by the collapse of Huawei Technologies Co.’s smartphone business amid sanctions by the U.S. government. The sanctions stripped Huawei of the ability to use

Alphabet Inc.’s

GOOG 0.23%

Android operating system. In the final three months of last year, the iPhone retook the top spot as the bestselling smartphone in China. Mr. Chatterjee said the SE model could benefit from the China dynamics and the country’s interest in 5G phones.

Other analysts seem to be warming to Apple’s potential this year as well. As recently as late last year, the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted flat iPhone sales for the current fiscal year, which ends in September, amid worries that the appeal of the iPhone might have peaked during the year after the big upgrade with 5G technology.

In recent weeks, optimism about the company’s outlook has been growing, aided by stronger-than-expected results for the final three months of last year. Analysts now expect iPhone revenue to rise 5% this fiscal year—after soaring 39% in fiscal 2021.

When the first SE model made its debut in 2016, some analysts said the device could help Apple in markets outside of the U.S. where the iPhone—which can cost more than $1,500—is priced out of reach. Instead, the top three markets for the cheaper device last year were the U.S., Japan and Western Europe, according to IDC.

‘Some of the phones that Apple has launched have been really expensive, for the mostly mid- to high-end consumer, so now you get an affordable phone with 5G.’

— Samik Chatterjee, J.P. Morgan analyst

In China, the SE made up less than 10% of shipments, according to Chiew Le Xuan, an analyst at research firm Canalys. He said the phone struggled against budget-oriented Android rivals and expressed skepticism that the new version would do well in China.

“The iPhone SE third generation may seem like a hit in China due to Apple’s increasing market share and 5G penetration,” he said in an email. “However, according to Canalys data, Chinese consumers are inclined towards phones with a larger display.”

In the U.S., the SE has been a gateway to the Apple brand for owners of less-expensive Android phones. Last year, 26% of SE buyers previously had an Android phone, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners’ surveys of consumers. “IPhone SE has become a sort of entry-level iPhone, mostly because of its price point,” said

Michael Levin,

Consumer Intelligence Research co-founder.

Apple again might benefit from carriers eager to push its latest phones on customers, according to

Cliff Maldonado,

principal analyst for BayStreet Research, which tracks marketing efforts by the wireless-service providers.

The carriers are eager to move customers from 4G to the new faster networks because it is cheaper for them to deliver the same amount of data. Mr. Maldonado forecasts that carriers will reach about 95% of 5G subscribers in mid-2024. 5G has been aimed at improving connections for games and videos.

“The carriers will be happy to push the SE3 over the previous SE2 at roughly the same $400 price point because the SE3 will allow the carrier to support the phone less expensively on 5G than 4G LTE,” he said.

Write to Tim Higgins at

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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No known threats targeting Super Bowl events in Los Angeles area this weekend, authorities say

No known threats targeting Super Bowl events in Los Angeles area this weekend, authorities say

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There are no known security threats to the Super Bowl, authorities said Tuesday as they outlined the coordinated law-enforcement effort to keep the game at SoFi Stadium and the Los Angeles region safe.

Fans attending the game can expect an enormous police presence at the stadium, which will have a tightly monitored security perimeter. Meanwhile patrol officers, tactical teams, K-9 units and paramedics will be been deployed across Los Angeles County in the run-up to the NFL championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at least 500 members of his department are devoted to safety for the big game, including agents focused on ferreting out cyberthreats and preventing human trafficking.

“We have no information of a specific, credible threat against the Super Bowl,” said Mayorkas. “What this is all about is planning and preparation to prevent any incident from occurring.”

Mayorkas’s department, however, warned that a truck convoy on the order of those clogging central Ottawa, Ontario, and disrupting U.S.-Canadian commerce at a bridge near Detroit could emerge and create problems near the Super Bowl site.

Don’t miss: Homeland Security Department voices concern about Super Bowl and State of the Union disruptions by Canada-style truck convoy

Air Force fighter jets will enforce a temporary flight-restricted zone on Sunday in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI and other agencies. NORAD earlier in the week scheduled a defense exercise for the airspace over the Inglewood area.

The city police department in Inglewood, where the stadium is located, is the lead local law-enforcement effort. It will coordinate with the Los Angeles Police Department and the sheriff’s department. About 400 deputies were dedicated to the Super Bowl, including extra patrols for the county’s transit system, said Jack Ewell, chief of the sheriff’s Special Operations Division.

Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said his officers will focus on preventing fights between fans, after a San Francisco 49ers fan suffered a brain injury during an altercation outside SoFi during the NFC championship game last month. “The parking lots will be extensively covered,” Fronterotta said.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said there has been no disorderly behavior at pre–Super Bowl activities at the downtown L.A. Convention Center. The LAPD has canceled some scheduled time off to ensure the department has enough staff for all the week’s events, including a possible victory parade for the Rams, Moore said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the media on Wednesday on the SoFi Stadium campus in Inglewood, Calif.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Only small, clear bags will be allowed inside the stadium on game day, though fans are encouraged to bring as little as possible with them.

“If you want to breeze through security, less is more. The less you bring, the faster you go through security,” said Cathy Lanier, the NFL’s chief security officer.

Security measures extend to the skies, too. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD, planned a defense exercise on Tuesday for the airspace over greater Inglewood. On Sunday, U.S. Air Force fighter jets will enforce the temporary flight-restricted zone in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI and other agencies.

The FAA warned that drone operators who fly unmanned aircraft into the restricted area could face large fines and potential criminal prosecution.

MarketWatch contributed.