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The latest news from Business Insider

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    andrew gillum

    • Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded the Florida governor's race and congratulated his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis.
    • Gillum initially conceded on election night, but retracted it after the vote margin narrowed.
    • After a recount, DeSantis still led the race by more than 30,000 votes.

    Democrat Andrew Gillum says he is ending his hard-fought race for Florida governor and has congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis.

    Gillum posted a live video on Facebook on Saturday afternoon in which he congratulated DeSantis. Gillum had conceded to DeSantis on election night, but retracted it after the margin between the two candidates narrowed. The race went to a legally required recount, but after an initial machine recount DeSantis still led Gillum by more than 30,000 votes.

    Gillum, who is Tallahassee's mayor, isn't saying what he plans to do next.

    "Stay tuned," he said in his brief remarks. Nonetheless, Gillum says he will remain politically active, adding "the fight for Florida continues."

    He also tweeted a thank-you to his supporters and said he intends to "keep fighting."

    Gillum's announcement came hours after President Donald Trump said on Twitter that Gillum will be a "strong Democrat warrior" and a "force to reckon with."

    There was no immediate response from DeSantis or his campaign.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Trump once won a lawsuit against the NFL — but the result was an embarrassment

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    air force b21 bomber

    • The Air Force expects to get the first of its new B-21 Raider bombers in the mid-2020s.
    • This week, the Air Force named the bases that would support testing and maintenance for the new bomber.
    • The service previously picked bases that would likely host the new bombers once the arrive.

    On Friday, the Air Force announced the first two bases that will host its new, highly advanced bomber for testing and maintenance.

    The service said in a releasethat Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma would coordinate maintenance and sustainment for the B-21 Raider and that Edwards Air Force Base in California had been picked to lead testing and evaluation of the next generation long-range strike bomber.

    Read also: The US Navy is pushing north, closer to Russia and into freezing conditions — and it plans on hanging around up there

    Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Hill Air Force Base in Utah will support Tinker with maintaining and, when necessary, overhauling and upgrading the new bomber, the Air Force said.

    Personnel at those bases will be equipped to rebuild the aircraft's parts, assemblies, or subassemblies as well as to test and reclaim equipment as necessary for depot activations. 

    The first B-21 is expected to be delivered in the mid-2020s.

    B-2 Spirit stealth bomber Tinker Air Force Base

    The release noted the "deep and accomplished history" of the Air Logistics Complex of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker and said officials believe the base has the knowledge and expertise to support the new bomber.

    "With a talented workforce and decades of experience in aircraft maintenance, Tinker AFB is the right place for this critical mission," Air Force Secretary Heather A. Wilson said.

    Edwards Air Force Base is also home to the Air Force Test Center, which leads the service's testing and evaluation efforts.

    "From flight testing the X-15 to the F-117, Edwards AFB in the Mohave Desert has been at the forefront of keeping our Air Force on the cutting edge," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said. "Now testing the B-21 Raider will begin another historic chapter in the base's history."

    Air Force Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer, head of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards, said earlier this year that the B-21 would be tested at the base. Few details about the B-21's development have been released, and previous reports suggested it could be tested at the Air Force's secretive Area 51 facility.

    B-1B Lancer bomber US Air Force Dyess Tinker base

    The B-21 acquisition cycle is currently in the engineering and manufacturing-development phase, the Air Force said. The Raider's design and development headquarters is at Northrop Grumman's facility in Melbourne, Florida.

    The Air Force expects to buy about 100 of the new bomber, with each cost over $600 million, according to Air Force Times.

    The Air Force said in May that once the new bombers begin arriving they will head to three bases in the US — Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, and Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

    Now read: These are the best and most dangerous parts of flying the US Army's transportation workhorse, according to a pilot who does it

    The service said those bases were "reasonable alternatives" for the new bomber, although it will likely not make a final basing decision until 2019.

    The B-21 is to replace the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers at those bases, but the Air Force doesn't plan to retire the existing bombers until there are enough B-21s to replace them.

    Using existing bomber bases would reduce operational impact, lower overhead, and minimize costs, the Air Force said in May. "Our current bomber bases are best suited for the B-21," Wilson said at the time.

    SEE ALSO: After some touch-ups, the Air Force's biggest plane is ready to soar for decades, but the service has other transport problems to solve

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: America's B-2 stealth bomber is unlike any military aircraft in the world

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    Trump Hands

    • President Donald Trump says he won't try to amend the Constitution to win a third term as president. 
    • Trump previously praised Chinese president Xi Jinping for abolishing term limits.
    • No American president besides FDR has won more than two terms.

    Democrats are dead set on defeating Trump in the 2020 elections, but Trump himself seems to already have considered his options for 2024.

    When asked in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace whether or not he "would try to amend the constitution so you could serve a third term," Trump flatly replied: "no."

    "I think the eight-year limit is a good thing, not a bad thing," he continued.

    In March, Trump was recorded at a fundraiser praising Chinese President Xi Jinping's abolishment of presidential term limits, saying "He's now president for life. President for life. No, he's great." Trump spoke admiringly of the move, commenting "And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday." The crowd laughed at Trump's remarks but it wasn't clear in the recording whether or not Trump was joking.

    Read more:Trump is already swimming in cash for his 2020 reelection campaign

    Trump and all presidents since 1947 have been limited to two terms by the 22nd Amendment. The Amendment was passed shortly after Franklin Delano Roosevelt served his fourth term as president. No other president has successfully won three terms.

    Despite Trump's assertion that he won't attempt a third term as president, he's already said he will run for a second in 2020, expressing confidence that he'll be able to beat a plethora of potential opponents — from Oprah to Joe Biden.

    SEE ALSO: As Trump targets trade, a Chinese factory says it's been hired to make flags for Trump's 2020 campaign

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Fox News' Harris Faulkner is the only black woman in cable news with a daily show: 'It's a tremendous amount of responsibility'

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    trump chris wallace fake news fox

    • "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace told President Donald Trump his claims about American news media made him a worldwide "beacon for repression."
    • In an interview aired Sunday, Trump railed against outlets he called "fake news," which was a term Wallace said was part of the rhetoric that is similar to authoritarian rulers.
    • Wallace also objected to Trump's attempt to classify outlets, saying Fox News stood with the president's usual targets CNN and The New York Times "in solidarity."

    "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace pushed back against President Donald Trump's claims about American news media and said his extreme targeting of news outlets made him a "beacon for repression" around the world.

    In a lengthy interview that aired Sunday, Wallace told Trump that his oft-used characterization of mainstream media outlets as "fake news" is a dangerous departure from simply disagreeing with the coverage of his administration.

    "Leaders in authoritarian countries like Russia, China, Venezuela now repress the media using your words," Wallace said, specifically citing a February 2017 tweet in which Trump listed the New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, and CNN as "the enemy of the American people."

    "I can't talk for other people, I can only talk for me," Trump said.

    Wallace interjected, "But you're seen around the world as a beacon for repression."

    Trump then insisted he only disagreed with outlets that consistently cover his administration negatively, which signaled they were unfair.

    Read more:Trump administration accused of behaving like authoritarian regime after revoking CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s credentials and sharing suspicious video

    Wallace said the president doesn't "get to decide what's fair and what's not."

    "I can tell what's fair and what's not," Trump replied, adding that the media doesn't report when he does something "very good."

    "[President] Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time," Wallace said, "but he never said we were the enemy of the people."

    Trump acknowledged his criticism of the press involved saying "something differently than anyone has ever said it before." The president then tried again to distinguish the "fake news" from legitimate media when Wallace rejected a possible distinction.

    "We're all together," Wallace said. "When you call CNN and The New York Times [fake news], we are in solidarity, sir."

    Fox News recently offered a major rebuke against the Trump administration when it supported a lawsuit that CNN brought against the Trump administration last week over the decision to revoke CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass.

    jim acosta

    The dispute came after a combative exchange between Acosta and Trump at a press conference last week.

    A White House intern eventually attempted to grab the microphone from Acosta's hand, though he twisted away from her and held onto it.

    The Trump administration argued that the First Amendment didn't grant Acosta the right to enter the White House and that the administration has "broad discretion" to revoke press credentials.

    On Friday, a federal judge ordered for Acosta's credentials to be returned.

    Trump told Wallace the ruling was "not a big deal" but that his administration is now drafting a code of conduct for reporters to follow in onsite press conferences, as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced last week.

    "If he misbehaves, we'll throw him out or we'll stop the news conference," Trump said.

    Watch a clip of the 'Fox News Sunday' interview below:

    SEE ALSO: Trump says he didn't know Acting AG Whitaker was critical of Mueller before appointing him

    DON'T MISS: Trump tells 'Fox News Sunday' he is considering changes in '3 or 4 or 5' Cabinet positions

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Megyn Kelly in 2017: 'I regret a lot' of the controversial stuff I've said on live television

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    New York City micro apartment

    In New York, a city where the average apartment rent is $3,600 a month, many residents don't mind living in a tiny space to save extra cash. There's just one problem: Microapartments are technically illegal under the city's 1987 zoning laws, which require dwellings to have an area of at least 400 square feet.

    That leaves two options for people who want a small space: find an apartment built before 1987, or turn to one of the newer developments that have secured a special waiver from the city.

    Even as the city's regulations make microliving somewhat difficult, the trend has taken off in neighborhoods across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

    Despite their minimal square footage, these newer apartments offer innovative design features like hidden drawers and closets, along with luxury amenities like butler services and rentable ice-cream makers.

    But for the thousands of residents who live in older microapartments, the lifestyle can be somewhat dismal. Take a look.

    SEE ALSO: 32 crazy photos of micro-apartments from around the world

    READ MORE: Manhattan’s first micro-apartments just won a prestigious design award — here’s what it’s like to spend a night in one

    If space isn't an issue, microapartments can lend a more glamorous lifestyle at a lower price.

    This loft on the Upper West Side features multi-level platforms with a small bathroom hidden beneath the stairs.

    The loft is at the top of a six-story brownstone, with access to a rooftop garden.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Lamar Jackson

    • Lamar Jackson led the Ravens on an 11-play touchdown drive in his first drive as a starting quarterback.
    • The Ravens moved the length of the field without a passing play, with Jackson rushing for 46 yards.
    • Jackson still has plenty to prove, but the opening drive was evidence of how dangerous he could be with the right game plan.

    Lamar Jackson made his first start for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and it didn't take long for the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner to get going.

    With regular starter Joe Flacco out with a hip injury, Jackson's impact on the Ravens' game plan was immediately apparent, as Baltimore chose to start their opening drive with 11 straight rushing plays.

    Jackson was the star of the show, carrying the ball five times for 46 yards and picking up three huge third-down conversions to keep the drive alive. The Ravens used a few read-option looks, with Jackson reading the Bengals defense and reacting accordingly, as well as several designed runs for their rookie quarterback.

    No matter how it happened, it was clear that Jackson had the green-light to go whenever he saw an opening.

    After 10 consecutive rushing plays to open the drive, running back Alex Collins capped it off with a seven-yard scamper into the end zone.

    The Ravens' commitment to and success with the run was a complete U-turn from their fortunes in their last game.

    One drive, one game, or even one season is far too small a sample to make any grand judgments by, Jackson's opening drive success is promising for Ravens fans that hope he can be the future of the franchise.

    Entering the draft, some questioned if Jackson had the necessary skills to play quarterback in the NFL. So far, Jackson has been used as a gadget-play specialist, splitting Flacco out wide and showing Jackson as a pass-run threat to leave defenses guessing.

    While Jackson's opening drive didn't feature a pass, it showed that the big-play ability that made him one of the most electric players in college football hasn't left him.

    Further, if Jackson can continue to prove a dangerous rusher, the mere threat of him taking off should open up his passing game on its own. When teams over-commit to containing him, he can step up and sling one deep.

    Jackson's career is still unwritten, and he still has a way to go before convincing his most-skeptic critics that his arm is NFL-ready. But if he can keep moving the ball and the Ravens commit to a game plan that plays to his strengths, there's no reason he couldn't be seen as one of the best quarterbacks of the 2018 draft class a few years down the road.

    SEE ALSO: 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight

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    Shopper's Special NYC subway

    The New York City subway system is one of the most fascinating curiosities in a city full of mysteries. Miles of underground track shrouded in darkness, littered with abandoned stations and secret passageways — it's a common object of desire for the urban explorers among us.

    And, occasionally, New York City acknowledges the delightful mystery surrounding its 24-hour transportation system. The annual "Holiday Nostalgia" train line, seen above, is a perfect example of this.

    The train line, consisting of eight vintage New York subway cars from several different eras, runs for a few weekends each year — from the Sunday after Thanksgiving to the end of the year, only on Sundays. It costs the same $2.75 as any subway ride.

    So what'd we do? We got on the train and took a ride, of course! This is what it's like.

    SEE ALSO: New York City subway cars are cleaned by hand — and it takes one person 3 and a half hours to do it

    I got on at the Second Avenue stop in Manhattan — when I snapped these photos in 2016, the train ran between the Second Avenue stop in Manhattan and the Queens Plaza stop in Queens.

    In 2018, the holiday train is running on the F line starting at the 2nd Av station, and via the A/C/D line from the 125th St station. It makes a handful of stops at major stations along the way — like Columbus Circle and Herald Square — "as an ode to the holiday shopping season,"

    As you can see from 2016's schedule, the train ran throughout the day starting at 10 a.m. and concluding at about 5 p.m. It's similar in 2018, but there are a few changes.

    The schedule is slightly different for 2018. According to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the train "will depart from 2nd Avenue on the F line in Lower Manhattan and run along 6th Avenue in Manhattan to 47th-50th/Rockefeller Center before heading up the Central Park West line, where the train will stop at 59th St – Columbus Circle before making its way up to 125th St on the A/C/D lines in Harlem."

    Even though we arrived at 12:30, there were already a bunch of people waiting — some were clearly tourists; others were clearly New Yorkers.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    35 big tech predictions for 2018Technology is increasingly disrupting every part of our daily lives.

    Smart speakers and voice assistants let us interact with our homes and with retailers in new and seamless ways.

    Smartphones are taking over as the dominant shopping device.

    Viewers continue to move away from traditional TV toward digital platforms.

    And the list is growing.

    Nearly every industry has been disrupted by digital technologies over the past 10 years. And in 2018, we expect to see more transformative developments affect our businesses, careers, and lives.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has put together a list of 35 Big Tech Predictions for 2018 across Apps and Platforms, Digital Media, Payments, Internet of Things, E-Commerce, Fintech, and Transportation & Logistics. Some of these major predictions include:

    • Cryptocurrencies will become more widely accepted
    • Google and Apple will challenge Amazon in the smart speaker space
    • The resurgence of the VR market
    • The real self-driving car race will begin
    • Drone regulations will relax
    • Alibaba’s international expansion
    • Gen Z will become a major focal point for media companies and advertisers
    • Payment security will become paramount
    • Smart home devices will take off

    This comprehensive list of 35 predictions can be yours for free today. As an added bonus, you will gain immediate access to our exclusive free newsletter, Business Insider Intelligence Daily.

    To get your copy of this FREE report, simply click here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Rick Scott Florida

    • Florida Gov. Rick Scott defeated Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson Sunday in a contentious race for the state's Senate seat.
    • Scott led Nelson by more than 10,000 votes Sunday after the recount's noon deadline, according to the Associated Press.
    • Over the course of the campaign, Scott baselessly claimed rampant voter fraud and reportedly spent more than $60 million to defeat Nelson, who served three terms after first being elected to the US Senate in 2000.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott defeated Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson Sunday in a contentious race for a Senate seat.

    The Associated Press reported after the recount that Scott led the incumbent Nelson by more than 10,000 votes.

    In a statement after Nelson called him to concede, Scott said he thanked the three-term senator for his years of service and called for unity across Florida.

    "Now the campaign truly is behind us," Scott said. "That's where we need to leave it."

    Hours earlier, Scott warned Nelson in a statement to concede, saying he could either "be remembered as the statesman who graciously conceded after 42-years of public service ... or be remembered as the sore loser who refused to face the people he served."

    Nelson said in a statement later that afternoon that he didn't "feel defeated" and implored voters and citizens to "never give up this fight" for progress in protections for issues including healthcare, the environment, and civil rights.

    "We may have been heavily outspent in this campaign, but we were never outworked," Nelson said, referring to the $60 million Scott spent on the race. "We have to move beyond a politics that aims not just to defeat but to destroy; where truth is treated as disposable, where falsehoods abound, and the free press is assaulted as the 'enemy of the people.'"

    Nelson continued: "There's been a gathering darkness in our politics in recent years. My hope today can be found in the words of John F. Kennedy, who said civility can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future."

    Bill Nelson

    The victory comes over a week after Election Day, when Scott was expected to defeat Nelson but only led by 0.15 percentage points, triggering a hand recount.

    In the recount, election officials and volunteers had to examine ballots from which tabulation machines couldn't determine which candidate got the vote.

    Read more: 3 reasons Florida's elections are a perennial chaotic nightmare

    Scott's win is the second hard-fought Republican victory in the state within a day after Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded in the race for Florida governor to Republican Ron DeSantis on Saturday night.

    The Senate race drew national attention as Scott made headlines throughout the campaign with repeated claims that Nelson was trying to garner votes from fraudulent ballots and those cast by noncitizens.

    "He is trying to commit fraud to win this election," Scott told Fox News without offering further evidence. "Bill Nelson's a sore loser. He's been in politics way too long."

    No state department, including the election division Scott heads, has found any no evidence of voter fraud. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it has not launched any investigation into election fraud. And a judge slapped down Republicans' fraud claims, telling politicians to "ramp down the rhetoric".

    With Scott's seat secured, Republicans have an even more comfortable majority of the US Senate.

    SEE ALSO: Democrat Andrew Gillum officially ends bid for Florida governor, congratulates Republican Ron DeSantis

    DON'T MISS: Nancy Pelosi's bid for House Speaker is in a lot more trouble than she's letting on

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Lindsey Graham once warned there would be 'holy hell to pay' if Trump fired Jeff Sessions

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    Alex Smith

    • Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury in the third quarter of the Redskins game against the Texans.
    • The injury immediately brought up memories of Joe Thiesman's infamous career-ending leg injury.
    • Smith was carted off the field with backup quarterback Colt McCoy taking over in his absence.

    Alex Smith went down in the third quarter of the Washington Redskins game against the Houston Texans on Sunday with a gruesome leg injury.

    Trailing 17-7 but driving towards the red zone, Smith dropped back on third-and-9 and was immediately pursued by the Texans pass rush. Running backward, Smith went down in a heap when caught by J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson.

    WARNING: Some may find the video below disturbing

    Smith would have to be carted off the field after the play.

    The hit immediate brought to mind another moment in Redskins history — Joe Thiesman's brutal broken leg during "Monday Night Football" back in 1985, after taking a hit from Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, which forced Thiesman into retirement.

    Thiesman himself saw the similarity.

    While we don't yet know about Smith's future in football, it's unlikely he'll be suiting up again any time soon for Washington.

    In Smith's absence, backup quarterback Colt McCoy entered the game for the Redskins. He threw a touchdown on his first pass attempt to cut the Texans lead to 17-14.

    SEE ALSO: Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to a touchdown on his first drive as a starter without a single pass, and it's an early sign oh how his unique skills translate to the NFL

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight

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    private jet


    An executive at an NYC luxury concierge service says they once fulfilled a last-minute request to fly In-N-Out burgers from the West Coast to NYC in a private jet.

    "It was just their food traveling," Skie Ocasio, vice president of operations at Luxury Attaché, told Business Insider. "This was a couple of years ago, but it was a request that our team was like, 'How are we going do to this?' and 'Shouldn't we just fly them commercially?'"

    But after looking at the options, the team at Luxury Attaché came to the conclusion that flying the burgers on a private jet was, in fact, the best thing to do — and they pulled it off. 

    Wealthy New Yorkers are certainly willing to pay up to make their lives easier, as evidenced by those who pay  "dog nannies" up to $130 to take their dogs on hikes that include door-to-door service and groups tailored to each dog's personality. And some rich Manhattanites pay up to $800 a day for a baby nurse to teach their newborns to sleep through the night. 

    Ocasio says the company doesn't specialize in such extreme requests as the In-N-Out private jet delivery, however.

    "While a lot of our competitors our there are talking about 24/7 concierge, accessing the inaccessible, giving you everything you want, you know, 'the answer's always yes,' I found that Luxury Attaché really set themselves up with offering what we could deliver," he said.

    Read more:A luxury travel company says these are the 10 most extravagant requests it's had from its super-rich customers

    Luxury Attaché is a business-to-business concierge service provider that operates in luxury residential buildings and commercial spaces primarily in New York City, but also in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale. They operate Monday through Friday during normal business hours.

    "We're not working around the clock. We're not guaranteeing that at 2 o'clock in the morning, if you call us, we're going to answer the phone and get you into a club," Ocasio said.

    Instead, he says the company succeeds by managing expectations and developing authentic relationships with their business contacts so they can offer exclusive, vetted recommendations to their clients.

    "We're getting people into restaurants because we know the owners," he said. "We know the people who we can reach out to during business hours to get the access. And I pride myself in the service because it is attainable, it is reachable, and it is something that we can deliver on."

    SEE ALSO: Outrageous photos show what flying on private jets is really like, from private bedrooms with plush bedding to exquisitely crafted meals served with Champagne

    DON'T MISS: The widest room in this New York City townhouse measures 10 feet across — and it's selling for $5 million

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The author of 'Boy Erased' reveals what gay conversion therapy is really like — and how he survived it

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    Tim Cook

    Apple now allows you to download all the data it keeps about you, your purchases, and how you interact with Apple services.

    It started providing an easy way for European users to request this data earlier this year because of GDPR, a European privacy regulation, but now the website is available to Americans, too.

    So last week, I requested what Apple knows about me after 10 years of heavily using Apple products. After five days, Apple sent me an email with download links to nearly 17 GB of data including my entire iCloud drive. On the website, you can also ask Apple to correct what it knows about you and delete your account. 

    Apple has aggressively positioned itself as the tech giant that's most aligned with users on security and privacy, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has even gone so far to say that privacy is a human right. So Apple's user data interface needs to be stellar to match up with its rhetoric.

    Here's what it was like: 

    SEE ALSO: Apple is distancing itself again from Google and Facebook with a new privacy website

    Turns out, it's easy to access Apple's new user data portal. Start at Then, you'll be asked for your Apple ID and password.

    Once you're in, you have a few options, including downloading your data, correcting your data, and deactivating or deleting your account.

    Today, we're requesting a copy of our data. So click on the button that says "request a copy of your data."

    Apple will tell you all the different kinds of data that it has on you, along with the formats they come in. It will ask what's the largest file size you can handle. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    IP gift guide banner

    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Uncommon Goods, $40

    Shopping for coworkers can become a never-ending parade of mild pine-scented candles, Hallmark cards, and candy that is destined for retirement in a desk drawer for most of January. It’s easier to buy thoughtful, impactful gifts for your closest loved ones, and it gets harder once you add in the subtleties and professionalism of the workplace.

    However, there are hordes of fantastic gifts out there for coworkers. And they don't have to be expensive — in fact, they probably shouldn't be. The ideal colleague present is thoughtful, unique, and lands somewhere in the casual middle ground between re-gifting paperclips from the supply closet and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean. 

    Below, you’ll find 30 of the best coworker gifts for under $50. 

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    A three-month subscription of freshly roasted whole bean, single-origin coffees from a cool startup

    Driftaway Coffee Subscription, Three Months, available on Driftaway Coffee, from $39

    If they're practically tethered to the coffee pot, they'll probably love the fun and thoughtful gift of a three-month subscription to this cool Brooklyn startup's beans. Driftaway sends freshly roasted, whole bean, single-origin coffees from around the world to their doorstep.

    An Atlas Obscura calendar full of daily photos and tidbits about the world's strangest and coolest places or festivals

    Atlas Obscura Color Page-A-Day Desk 2019 Calendar, available on Amazon, $15.99

    Add some fun to their day-to-day routine with the Atlas Obscura calendar. There are hundreds of photos that celebrate the world's strangest and coolest places, festivals, and foods. Travelers and life-long learners are particularly good candidates for this one. 

    A funny mug that acknowledges the bond forged by people who have to fix the same defunct printer every week together

    The This is Fine Mug, available on Etsy, $12.99

    A "This is Fine" mug is the perfect gift for the only other people on earth who can truly relate to the particularities of your job: a defunct printer, last night's too-fun team happy hour, and the occasional avalanche of meetings and high-priority emails. Here's a $13 nod to the fond shared stressors. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Costco customer

    • Costco membership can go to some people's heads, according to workers.
    • Business Insider reached out to 49 Costco employees to find out what they wish they could tell shoppers but can't.
    • Common requests were to control your kids, hang up your phone, and help unload the cart.

    Costco membership comes with some obvious perks — namely, access to the retail chain and its food court.

    But according to dozens of Costco workers who spoke with Business Insider, being a member doesn't entitle you to do whatever you want.

    While Costco made Glassdoor's list of best places to work in 2017, employees still had several complaints about shoppers' rude and inconvenient behavior.

    Business Insider spoke to 49 Costco employees about the things they want to tell members but can't. Some of their responses focused on obvious problems, like members being mean and inconsiderate. But some of the tips were more instructive.

    Here's what they had to say.

    SEE ALSO: 8 Costco food court menu items employees swear by

    DON'T MISS: Costco employees share the 7 best parts of working at the retail chain with a cult-like following

    SEE ALSO: Costco employees pick the 11 most surprising items the wholesale retailer sells

    Have your membership card ready at the door

    "Concentrate on handing me your membership card instead of telling me a story," a Costco employee in Minnesota told Business Insider. "I can listen to your story as I do whatever you need me to do, but I can't do that until I have your membership card."

    Don't trash the warehouse

    A Costco employee from Arizona told Business Insider that they wanted to tell members to stop leaving "sample cups all over the floor.""Don't be rude," the employee said. "Clean after yourself."

    Put back items you've picked up

    "Please put back that item that you just threw there," a Costco worker from California told Business Insider. "It doesn't belong there."

    Eight other Costco employees also told Business Insider that they judged members who left products strewn about the store.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Costco pumpkin pie

    • Costco is set to sell millions of pumpkin pies this year, if previous years are any indication.
    • The company sold 5.3 million pies in 2015, according to Costco Connection, the monthly magazine for Costco members. 
    • Those pies required 3.4 million pumpkins to make.

    It's pumpkin pie season at Costco.

    And, if sales figures from past years are any indication, that means Costco members are about to carve into millions of pumpkin pies. 

    According to a 2016 edition of Costco Connection, the warehouse chain sold a staggering 5.3 million pumpkin pies in 2015. Keep in mind that Costco only offers up the pies from September through December.

    A total of 1.75 million of those pumpkin pies were purchased in the three days running up to Thanksgiving.

    Costco Connection reported that making those 5.3 million pies required 1.1 million gallon cans of pureed pumpkins. That's approximately 3.4 million pumpkins. The company shares its sales projections with pumpkin farmers in the spring, so that growers can calculate how many fields they need to plant.

    Costco declined to comment on how many pies it has sold in the years since 2015 or how many pies it anticipates selling this year.

    The recipe also calls for an undisclosed, pre-mixed blend of dry ingredients and spices, whole eggs, and water. The pumpkin pie doesn't include preservatives. All of the pies are 3.8 pounds, according to the Costco Connection.

    The Costco Connection report credited the pie's recipe to Sue McConnaha, the warehouse chain's VP of bakery operations. As of the time of that article, the recipe hadn't changed since the pie first hit shelves in 1987, although the pies have grown from a 10-inch diameter to a 12-inch diameter.

    And Costco's pumpkin pie has proved to be a perennial favorite among some members. This year, fans of the holiday staple have taken to social media to praise the pie.


    SEE ALSO: From entire lawn sets to used toilets, these are the most ridiculous returns employees from Costco, Walmart, and Target say they've ever gotten

    DON'T MISS: Costco employees share 31 things they'd love to tell shoppers but can't

    SEE ALSO: Costco employees share their 13 best food-court secrets and hacks

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These pumpkin ice cream sandwiches are over the top

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    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    • Incoming House Democratic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lent her name to an effort by the group Justice Democrats to primary moderate Democrats in 2020.
    • The group wants Democrats to stop taking corporate PAC money, or face a progressive challenger in 2020.
    • Ocasio-Cortez has already pushed back against moderate Democrats in Washington, attending a sit-in at Rep. Nancy Pelosi's office during her first day of orientation.

    Incoming House freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to challenging the old guard of the Democratic party, defeating the 12-term chair of the Democratic House Caucus in a stunning upset in the 2018 primaries. 

    Now, Ocasio-Cortez appears poised to lead the charge in an effort to replicate her own success in an push to elect more progressive Democrats in already blue districts.  

    On a Facebook Live conference call held Saturday by the progressive group Justice Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez asked hundreds of viewers to consider launching their own campaigns, no matter who they'd be facing. "This is about bringing justice to our system," said Ocasio-Cortez. "All Americans know that money in politics is a huge problem but unfortunately, the way that we fix it is demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves," she continued. For Ocasio-Cortez, the issue seemed to be beyond politics, saying "that’s really what we need to do to save this country."

    The call marked the launch of Justice Democrats' #OurTime campaign. The group, which initially recruited Ocasio-Cortez to run, has so far focused on supporting candidates that reject money from corporate PACs and represent progressive stances. Now, according to their website, Justice Democrats are looking to replicate the success of Ocasio-Cortez across the county by electing "a new generation of diverse working-class Democrats who have a bold vision to transform our economy and democracy."

    Read more:Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is using Instagram stories to bring you behind the curtain of the Washington, DC establishment

    "We are unafraid of taking on out-of-touch incumbents in primary challenges because we don’t need to just elect more Democrats, we need to elect better Democrats," reads the group's website.

    On the call, executive director Saikat Chakrabarti put the campaign's mission bluntly: "We have to primary people because it’s one of the only ways we’ll get working class people, poor people, people who have great big ideas into the party."

    As inspiration, Ocasio-Cortez shouted out other Justice Democrats-backed success stories to illustrate that progressive challenges in primaries were possible: "When you think about the true vanguard of the progressive movement it is dynamic women like Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar and they ran in blue districts."

    Already, even before being sworn in, Ocasio-Cortez and her class have begun to push back on the Democratic establishment in Washington.

    On the first day of orientation for freshman House members, Ocasio-Cortez attended a sit-in in Rep. Nancy Pelosi's office to demand the formation of a select committee to draft legislation that would create a "Green New Deal"— a policy found in Justice Democrats' platform. Pelosi is facing a contentious bid to regain her speaker seat, and Ocasio-Cortez's support, as a leader among the new progressive Democrats, could help put talk of a progressive challenge to bed.

    But Ocasio-Cortez isn't closed off to the possibility that centrist Democrats can get the job done. When asked about Nancy Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez said, "This is not about supporting or not supporting an individual. It’s about making sure that we can get as progressive and aggressive of legislation as a party on climate change as quickly as possible."


    SEE ALSO: How the 'wave of women' entering Congress could turn the #MeToo movement into concrete action

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This top economist has a radical plan to change the way Americans vote

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    House minority leader Nancy Pelosi

    • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she is confident that she's the best choice to be the next speaker of the House — and that a movement against her within her own party is motivated by sexism. 
    • But the opposition to her — largely coming from centrist Democrats — have taken offense to that charge and may put up Rep. Marcia Fudge, a former leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, to challenge Pelosi. 
    • With no strong alternative for speaker in the left wing of the party, progressive groups have begun to fall in line behind Pelosi — and they're also charging her opponents with sexism.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she is confident that she's the best choice to be the next speaker of the House — and that a movement against her within her own party is motivated by sexism. 

    Pelosi has long said that she remained in Democratic leadership after Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss because without her men would have dominated the highest levels of American politics. 

    "You cannot have the four leaders of Congress [and] the president of the United States, these five people, and not have the voice of women," Pelosi said during a Sunday interview on CBS. "Especially since women were the majority of the voters, the workers in campaigns, and now part of this glorious victory."

    Pelosi's defenders have suggested that her demonization by the right is deeply infused with sexism. 

    "Don't like Pelosi, but can't quite articulate why? Felt the same way about Hillary Clinton? Time for some deep self-reflection about gender bias and leadership," Jennifer Victor, a political science professor at George Mason University, wrote in a tweet that went viral last week.

    The minority leader and her allies argue that the former speaker's fundraising prowess, significant legislative accomplishments, recent electoral victories, and a lack of any strong progressive alternative should be enough to vault her to the speakership. Pelosi says she's "100 percent" confident she'll be re-elected speaker in the new Congress, citing "overwhelming support" in her caucus. Others in the party are pushing for a new voice.

    Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, right, accompanied by Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, second from left, and Seth Moulton, D-Mass., left, speaks to members of the media following the House Democratic Caucus elections on Capitol Hill on Nov. 30, 2016.

    'Plenty of really competent females'

    Pelosi and her allies have characterized the intra-party opposition to her speakership as a conservative, male-dominated movement out of touch with the bulk of the Democratic party. They've used the hashtag #FiveWhiteGuys — the same label Pelosi gave to a bipartisan immigration working group earlier this year — to refer to Reps. Seth Moulton and Tim Ryan, both centrist Democrats, who have led the movement against her.

    Moulton has made clear that he's not running for speaker, but has only floated one possible alternative so far: Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who said on Saturday that she's been "overwhelmed" by the encouragement she's received from colleagues and will announce whether she'll run after Thanksgiving. 

    Fudge framed her potential candidacy as a move away from the Democratic party status quo and as a way to better represent the diversity of the caucus.

    "If we run on change, then we need change," Fudge told CNN on Saturday, adding that she and Pelosi discussed those "within the caucus who are feeling left out and left behind" during a Friday meeting. 

    Fudge, Moulton, and Ryan have also held that the next speaker should be a woman. 

    "There's plenty of really competent females that we can replace her with," Ryan told reporters last week, referring to Pelosi's replacement. 

    Fudge was one of three women in a group of 17 incumbent and incoming House members who signed a letter last week promising not to vote for Pelosi on the House floor. As of Friday, at least 20 lawmakers have said they would oppose Pelosi, including a total of six women. 

    Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer

    Women who oppose Pelosi's bid for speaker take issue with the suggestion that the movement against her is sexist or anti-feminist.

    Elissa Slotkin, an incoming Michigan representative from a formerly red district, framed her opposition to Pelosi as a push for "a new generation of leadership" and added that "kitchen table issues are more important than gender" to her constituents.

    "I never want to be disrespectful to anyone who has served, especially a woman who has broken glass ceilings," the 42-year-old former CIA officer said last week. "But we need to hear what people are telling us on the ground," she continued. "They want a new generation that thinks differently and works harder and takes the caucus in a new direction."

    New York Rep. Kathleen Rice, who's also advocating for a "new generation" of Democratic leaders, told reporters in recent days that female members "should not be made to feel that they are 'anti-women' if they don't want to vote for Nancy Pelosi."

    Rice escalated this argument on Friday, tweeting, "I find it fascinating that the very people who are characterizing our call for new leadership as a sexist campaign are also ignoring the women leading the charge. Are @RepMarciaFudge and I white men?"

    Jennifer Victor, the George Mason professor, said she's not convinced the centrist Democratic movement against Pelosi can fairly be characterized as sexist.

    "The evidence that it's five white guys is consistent with the sexism narrative, but it's not the only way to read that evidence," she said in an interview with INSIDER. 

    Progressives groups and insurgents line up behind Pelosi 

    With no viable alternative for speaker on the left, progressive groups have begun to fall in line behind Pelosi — and they're also using gender as a defense of her and an attack on her opponents.

    "Anyone who thinks that Pelosi should be replaced by a moderate white guy is fundamentally misreading the moment," Joe Dinkin, spokesman for the Working Families Party, told INSIDER. "Women voters, and especially women of color, powered the progressive wave, and we need more women in leadership roles — not less." 

    Late last week, Indivisible — the progressive advocacy group behind many insurgent Democratic candidates this year — called Pelosi "a strong and progressive leader" and argued the party shouldn't let a small group of white, moderate men sabotage her."

    The Brady Campaign, a gun control advocacy organization, endorsed Pelosi on Friday afternoon, and, indicated their support on Thursday night shortly after Pelosi promised to put members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — which will make up two-fifths of the Democratic caucus — in leadership positions and prioritize progressive legislation. 

    Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

    Incoming progressive members of the House — many of whom sharply criticized Pelosi on the campaign trail and ran against the Democratic establishment — have also moved away from outright opposition to Pelosi. 

    On her first day of congressional orientation in Washington, New York Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist, joined hundreds of young protesters outside Pelosi's office to push for a "Green New Deal." While the tactic was an aggressive and unconventional one for a member of Congress, Pelosi praised the activists as "inspiring"— and Ocasio-Cortez commended her in return for agreeing to call for a select committee to address climate change, one of the group's requests. 

    Ocasio-Cortez, who ran her insurgent campaign as a referendum on the Democratic establishment, said last week that she's open to supporting Pelosi. 

    Other progressive insurgents have similarly changed their tune. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who said in August that she would "probably not" vote for Pelosi because Democratic leadership isn't listening to the grassroots of the party, said this week of Pelosi "She’s willing to listen."

    For Tlaib, listening appears to be enough: "that's what I ask for right now at this point."

    SEE ALSO: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is using Instagram stories to bring you behind the curtain of the Washington, DC establishment

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Megyn Kelly in 2017: 'I regret a lot' of the controversial stuff I've said on live television

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    Sheryl Sandberg

    • Over the weekend, Alex Stamos, Facebook's former security chief, wrote his own account of a run-in with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, published by the Washington Post.
    • In it, he confirms a story of how, when and why she yelled at him after he told Facebook's board that the Russians had used the social network to meddle in the 2016 election.
    • He also has some blistering criticism for how Facebook — and everyone else — handled Russian interference.

    "Yup, Sheryl Sandberg yelled at me," Alex Stamos wrote in an editorial for the Washington Post on Saturday.

    Stamos is Facebook's former security chief at the center of a blistering New York Times exposé published last week on how Facebook's leadership dealt with Russian election interference on its platform.

    The story reported that senior leadership tried to downplay and deflect the mounting crises, and revealed details that Facebook hired an opposition research firm to attack its critics, with some of those attacks having anti-Semitic overtones.

    Sandberg and Zuckerberg have been playing defense ever since. In a Facebook post, Sandberg again admitted that she and CEO Mark Zuckerberg were "too slow" in dealing with Russian election propaganda on Facebook but she wrote, "to suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or we wanted to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations, is simply untrue."

    So on Saturday, one of the men in the middle of it all, Stamos, went public with his own side of the story.

    Read more: Facebook employees react to the latest scandals: 'Why does our company suck at having a moral compass'

    He confirmed that he and his team began digging into Russian activity on Facebook without the direct consent of Sandberg or Zuckerberg.

    He confirmed that during that initial investigation, Stamos grew alarmed. "Combing through billions of accounts, my colleagues and I had discovered a web of fake personae that we could confidently tie to Russia," he wrote in the editorial. 

    Alex StamosWhen he reported his findings to Zuckerberg and Sandberg, they asked him to brief the board. But that meeting with the board was not consoling. He told "the difficult truth," he described, warning that Russian abuse of Facebook was widespread and that they didn't even know how bad it was.

    Board members proceeded to grill Sandberg and Zuck and when the meeting was over, a furious Sandberg accused Stamos of throwing her and Zuck under the bus, the NYTimes reported.

    Stamos basically confirmed that, too, by writing that "Sheryl — as reported in this past week’s New York Times investigation — felt blindsided." He said that after yelling at him, she later apologized.

    But Stamos went on to accuse Facebook of not coming clean about how bad Russian interference was on their social media site, even after they sent a report to special counsel Robert Mueller about it. Mueller is currently investigating Russian election interference.

    After the election "Facebook stuck to a public-communications strategy of minimization and denial," Stamos wrote.

    After holding Facebook's feet to the fire, Stamos then went on to wag his finger at everyone else: US intelligence, lawmakers, major US outlets, too. All them played their parts and rewarding the Russians for their hacking Democrats's emails and churning out propaganda.

    Stamos also has a stark warning that the 2020 presidential election is already looking like its going to get ugly. It's likely that the Russians are rubbing their hands together and plotting.

    If Facebook has really learned its lesson or not, he doesn't say. But he calls for everyone from our nation's spies to our lawmakers to the media to lawmakers to change their behavior and be wary.

    Come hear famed Professor Scott Galloway discuss the Internet landscape at Business Insider's Ignition conference, December 3 & 4 in New York. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A cybersecurity expert showed us how hackers can tap into an office phone and listen to everything you're saying

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    university of oxford

    • Thirty-two American students have been offered the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in the fall of 2019.
    • This year's group includes 21 women, which is the most ever in a single Rhodes class; almost half of the 32 winners are immigrants or first-generation Americans.
    • Find out more about these students below.

    Thirty-two ambitious American students have been offered the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and will be heading to study at Oxford University in the fall of 2019.

    The scholarship – famously won by Bill Clinton, Cory Booker, and Rachel Maddow — pays for two to three years of post-graduate study at Oxford University in England.

    This year's winners were selected from a pool of 880 applicants, whom their colleges and universities nominated for their academic excellence, ambition, and promise of leadership.

    "We seek outstanding young men and women of intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service," Elliot F. Gerson, American secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said in a statement on Saturday.

    This year's group includes 21 women, which is the most ever in a single Rhodes class; almost half of the 32 winners are immigrants or first-generation Americans. Duke, Princeton, and Yale universities each had three Rhodes scholars.

    Find out more about the winners below.

    Eren Orbey, computer science and English language/literature senior at Yale University

    Orbey has won many Yale literature prizes for writing in both English and French and is a regular contributor to the New Yorker.

    He is currently writing a book that draws on his tragic experience as a young boy witnessing his father's murder in Ankara, Turkey.

    Orbey plans to do a master's degree in global and imperial history and in world literatures in English.

    Sarah Tress, mechanical engineering senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Tress has been focused on developing solutions to improve lives across the developing world. She created Loop, and inflatable wheelchair seat cushion, that aims to prevent wheelchair users from developing sores.

    At Oxford, Sarah will pursue the master of philosophy in development studies.

    Nicolette C. D’Angelo, classics senior at Princeton University

    D’Angelo is the editor-in-chief of The Nassau Literary Review, Princeton's undergraduate literary magazine. She also teaches Latin to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Princeton Young Achievers.

    At Oxford, she will do a master of studies in Classics.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    US Coast Guard Cutter James cocaine brick drug bust seizure

    • US authorities continue to seize immense amounts of drugs coming to the US from South America.
    • Consistent demand and established routes make the US an appealing market for traffickers.
    • But in the US, relationships between wholesale distributors and retail-level sellers are murky.

    FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida — Mexican transnational criminal organizations, often called cartels, have spent decades developing connections and routes to move cocaine from South America, across the Pacific and Caribbean, through Mexico, and finally into the US.

    But once those drugs are in the US, the traffickers who've shepherded them north take a different, more hands-off role.

    While cartels rely on the voracious US drug market, the personnel who handle their wares on US soil have a different role from the ones working in Latin America, according to Ariana Fajardo Orshan, the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, speaking aboard the US Coast Guard cutter James in Ft. Lauderdale.

    'It's called transnational for a reason'

    US Coast Guard James drug offload cocaine drugs bricks

    "Cartels aren't here in the United States. There are people who work for the cartels within the United States," Fajardo Orshan said Thursday, standing in front of nearly 38,000 pounds of cocaine seized in the eastern Pacific Ocean by the US Coast Guard.

    "The truth here [is] there aren't people working who are part of the cartel," Fajardo Orshan added in Spanish. "They are people who help the cartels."

    Read also: The Coast Guard's 'push-out-the-border strategy' is fighting drugs in the Pacific — and it just brought home $500 million in cocaine

    Cartel operations in the US are usually overseen by Mexican nationals or US citizens of Mexican origin, the US Drug Enforcement Administration said in its 2017 National Drug Threat Estimate.

    Links between transnational criminal organizations, or TCOs, and the US market are murky, and their operations in the US are generally considered to be opaque by design.

    "US-based Mexican TCOs are composed of various compartmentalized cells assigned with specific functions such as distribution, transportation, consolidation of drug proceeds, and money laundering," the DEA said in its 2017 NDTA.

    US Coast Guard James drug offload cocaine drugs bricks

    Cartel operations in the US are typically divided into a supply chain, according to the DEA, with operators at one link in the chain unaware of other parts of the operation.

    "In most cases, individuals hired to transport drug shipments within the United States are independent, third-party contractors who may be working for multiple Mexican TCOs," the report says.

    In many cases, those third-party distributors are US-based street gangs. Unlike Mexican cartels, those gangs have the local knowledge and the manpower to manage street-level distribution.

    Go further: Mexican troops are in the street to fight drugs, and the country's defense chief says legalization may be 'a way out'

    "US-based Mexican TCO members generally coordinate the transportation and distribution of bulk wholesale quantities of illicit drugs to US markets while retail-level distribution is mainly handled by smaller local groups and street gangs not directly affiliated with Mexican TCOs," the 2017 DEA report notes.

    "In some scenarios, Mexican TCOs collaborate with local criminal groups and gangs across the United States to distribute and transport drugs at the retail level."

    US Coast Guard Cutter James cocaine brick drug bust seizure

    Gangs with connections to Latin America — like MS-13, which was founded in Southern California but is now based in Central America — often partner with cartels to distribute drugs in the US.

    But other US gangs, like the Bloods and the Crips, and even white-supremacist groups like the Aryan Brotherhood, have also established links to Mexican cartels.

    Now read: 'El Chapo' Guzman is on trial in New York for leading the world's largest drug trafficking organization, but his attorneys say he's a 'scapegoat' who 'controlled nothing'

    "These are intricate networks of distribution that include Americans on this side of the border that are part of their network," Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, said in mid-2017.

    "It's called transnational for a reason, and that is these are intricate networks and organizations that operation across borders, using nationals from multiple countries, including distributors at the state and local level that are Americans," Rubio added.

    us cocaine seizure

    The DEA has published analyses of which TCOs control distribution in US cities, often finding multiple cartels present in larger areas. But shifting ties between groups and tenuous links across borders complicate such assessments.

    "What is an operative?" David Shirk, a professor at the University of San Diego, said in an early-2017 interview.

    "Are we talking about, like, your man in Durango, Colorado, who's sort of reporting directly back to 'Chapo' Guzman, or are we talking about basically the fact that there's someone who has a connection in that small town that is able to move drugs or obtain drugs from a Mexican supplier?" added Shirk, director of the USD's Justice in Mexico program.

    'We've got to stay ahead'

    The lucrative nature of the drug trade, with prices buoyed by the risks inherent in smuggling, ensure there are always people willing to get involved.

    US Coast Guard cutter James cocaine drug seizure offload

    In Colombia, the world's biggest producer of cocaine, a kilo of the drug, which is about 2.2 pounds, can fetch prices in the low five figures — usually about $2,000. Once it reaches Central America or Mexico, the value of that kilo increases considerably, typically to between $10,000 and $20,000.

    In the US, the wholesale value of that kilo rises again, up to $25,000 or more. Once broken down and diluted with sometimes dangerous additives for retail sale, a kilo can end up being sold for a total in the low six figures.

    "So you have the cartels that are manufacturing the cocaine sending their cocaine to the United States, because they're getting a bigger bang for their dollar," Fajardo Orshan said. "That's how it comes up here and that's how we intercept it."

    Read more: The Coast Guard is catching more drug-running subs, but most 'very stealthy' narco subs are probably going undetected

    In other markets, like Australia or Europe, prices can be much higher, but established smuggling routes from South America and consistent demand in the US appeal to traffickers, Coast Guard commandant Adm. Karl Shultz said Thursday.

    "It's the distribution. It's the time-space-distance. That's what we're dealing with out here," Shultz said, speaking in front of the cocaine seized in the Pacific Ocean by the cutter James and other Coast Guard ships.

    "We're dealing with proven pathways that have existed for a long time [and] sophisticated smuggling organizations," Schultz added. "It's an adversary that's always changing their tactics, and we've got to stay ahead of that."

    SEE ALSO: Here's how Mexican cartels actually operate in the United States

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what $1 billion worth of cocaine looks like

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