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- 11/20/18--04:30: _Facebook let a fami...
- 11/20/18--04:37: _19 Michelin-starred...
- 11/20/18--05:00: _Cult-favorite women...
- 11/20/18--05:14: _Mariah Carey says h...
- 11/20/18--05:24: _Venezuelans fightin...
- 11/20/18--05:39: _LuLaRoe is facing m...
- 11/20/18--05:43: _The owner of Victor...
- 11/20/18--05:46: _Apple and Google se...
- 11/20/18--05:51: _Dubai has a $20 bil...
- 11/20/18--05:59: _More than 60 malls ...
- 11/20/18--06:00: _Why NASA blasts hal...
- 11/20/18--06:02: _A former US ambassa...
- 11/20/18--06:03: _I've been writing a...
- 11/20/18--06:04: _The US and China ar...
- 11/20/18--06:06: _I visited the park ...
- 11/20/18--06:14: _Sylvester Stallone ...
- 11/20/18--06:15: _Capital One has ann...
- 11/20/18--06:16: _Victoria's Secret's...
- 11/20/18--06:17: _Goldman Sachs downg...
- 11/20/18--14:29: _LuLaRoe's CEO tearf...
- A South Sudanese family auctioned off their 16-year-old daughter to marry the highest bidder.
- Facebook told Business Insider that it removed the post and permanently disabled the account.
- But that took place six days after the girl had been given away.
- South Sudan's legal marriage age is 18, but more than half of the country's girls are married before then.
- Dagne Dover, one of our favorite places to shop for leather, neoprene, and canvas bags to carry for work and beyond, is offering 20% off all of its bags from November 20 through November 28, with the code "GRATITUDE".
- There are three collections to shop from: the canvas Signature Collection, the Leather Collection, and the neoprene 365 Collection.
- To potentially save more on Black Friday, you can visit Business Insider Coupons to find up-to-date promo codes for a range of online stores.
- 11/20/18--05:14: Mariah Carey says her son once vomited on Michelle Obama's dress
- Mariah Carey has revealed that one of her twins "spit up" on Michelle Obama at the White House in 2013.
- The singer was performing at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and the then first lady was holding one of her twins, two-year-old Moroccan.
- Michelle reportedly said she'd never be able to wear the dress again.
- Venezuelans mining for gold fragments in national park that inspired Disney's "Up'.
- Constantly rising currency inflation means small amounts of gold are being used to pay for everyday staples.
- A UN heritage site famous for green tourism is now home to multiple mines.
- LuLaRoe is a multilevel-marketing company that generated $2.3 billion in sales in 2017. It made its name producing limited quantities of brightly patterned clothing and selling it, sight unseen, to "consultants." These consultants turn around and sell the clothes direct to consumer, often to friends and family at house parties and over social media.
- Some consultants have made $80,000 a month, but over the past 18 months tens of thousands of sellers have left the company. That includes one-third of LuLaRoe's top performers, who have exited since July, according to data reviewed by Business Insider.
- Some who left say they've been waiting months for refund checks. "We are barely scraping by," said former LuLaRoe seller Merilisse Beyelia. She claims LuLaRoe owes her $7,000 and that she's struggling to afford diapers for her disabled children.
- LuLaRoe said in a filing that it laid off 127 people from one of its two distribution centers in June. And some sources claim the company is overdue on payments to suppliers.
- LuLaRoe founder DeAnne Stidham insists publicly in Instagram videos that everything is fine. She urges sellers to trust her and to buy more goods, according to several hours of recordings viewed by Business Insider as recently as late October.
- L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, beat on adjusted profits but slightly missed on sales.
- The company also slashed its annual dividend by half, in order to raise cash and reduce liabilities.
- Victoria's Secret CEO Jan Singer has resigned and Tory Burch's president John Mehas will replace Singer early 2019.
- Watch L Brands trade live.
- Adjusted earnings per share: $0.16 ($0.15 expected)
- Revenue: $2.775 billion ( $2.78 billion)
- 4Q earnings-per-share guidance: $1.9 to $2.1 ($1.99 expected)
- Full-year adjusted earnings-per-share guidance: $2.6 to $2.8 up from $2.45 to $2.7 ($2.66 expected)
- Annual dividend: $1.20 down from $2.40
- A 'scary' development is taking place at Victoria's Secret
- RBC: Victoria's Secret is trading at 'negative value'
- Victoria's Secret is broken and its Pink franchise is in the 'early innings' of a long decline
- The owner of Victoria's Secret is closing down Henri Bendel — but that solves just a small piece of a much bigger problem
- The Victoria's Secret fashion show illustrates 'how out of touch the brand still is'
- Global stock markets were selling off Tuesday as the tech slump that gripped US equities on Monday spread around the world.
- US stocks plummeted on Monday, with the tech-focused Nasdaq index losing more than 3%.
- Those falls have extended into Asia and Europe, where most major indexes were down 1% or more. China's benchmark share index dropped 2%.
- US futures markets ahead of the open pointed to a continued sell-off stateside.
- You can follow the latest price action at Markets Insider.
- Nasdaq futures down 2.1%; S&P 500 down 1.4%; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.4%%
- Shanghai Composite Index closed down 2.1%; Shenzhen Composite was 2.8% lower
- Benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 down 1.4%; Germany's DAX 1.5% lower; Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 down 0.6%
- Indexes in Spain, Italy, and France more than 1% lower
- Both major oil benchmarks, Brent and West Texas Intermediate, down more than 1%, with Brent trading at $65.58 a barrel and WTI at $56.27
- Dubai has the world's second-largest mall: a gargantuan complex with 1,200 stores, an aquarium, a virtual-reality theme park, an Olympic-size ice-skating rink, and hundreds of restaurants.
- The mall has seen over 80 million visitors annually over the past four years, making it the most visited mall in the world.
- After spending a day wandering through the mall's many amenities, I understood why it's a necessary and appealing place for Dubai's residents, but I still cannot understand why any tourist would visit.
- Mall owner CBL Properties is closing all of its locations for Thanksgiving, the company announced in October.
- It owns 66 malls around the country and operates 62.
- CBL joins stores like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom, and Costco taking a stand against Black Friday creep.
- Parkway Place in Huntsville, Alabama
- Park Plaza in Little Rock, Arkansas
- Imperial Valley Mall in El Centro, California
- Volusia Mall in Daytona Beach, Florida
- Arbor Place in Douglasville, Georgia
- CherryVale Mall in Rockford, Illinois
- Eastland Mall in Bloomington,Illinois
- Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth, Illinois
- St Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Illinois
- Honey Creek Mall in Terre Haute, Indiana
- Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas
- Fayette Mall in Lexington, Kentucky
- Jefferson Mall in Louisville, Kentucky
- Ambassador Town Center in Lafayette, Louisiana
- Fremaux Town Center in Slidell, Louisiana
- Harford Mall in Bel Air, Maryland
- Laurel Park Place in Livonia, Michigan
- Meridian Mall in Okemos, Michigan
- Burnsville Center in Burnsville, Minnesota
- Southaven Towne Center in Southaven, Mississippi
- Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters, Missouri
- Northpark Mall in Joplin, Missouri
- South County Center in St. Louis, Missouri
- West County Center in St. Louis, Missouri
- Alamance Crossing in Burlington, North Carolina
- Asheville Mall in Asheville, North Carolina
- Cary Towne Center in Cary, North Carolina
- Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, North Carolina
- Friendly Center in Greensboro, North Carolina
- Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- Mayfaire Town Center in Wilmington, North Carolina
- Triangle Town Center in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Dakota Square Mall in Minot, North Dakota
- Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck, North Dakota
- EastGate Mall in Cincinnati, Ohio
- Monroeville Mall in Monroeville, Pennsylvania
- Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
- Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg, Pennsylvania
- York Galleria in York, Pennsylvania
- Coastal Grand Mall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Northwoods Mall in North Charleston, South Carolina
- WestGate Mall in Spartanburg, South Carolina
- CoolSprings Galleria in Franklin, Tennessee
- Hamilton Place in Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Northgate Mall in Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Old Hickory Mall in Jackson, Tennessee
- Shoppes at Eagle Point in Cookeville, Tennessee
- Mall del Norte in Laredo, Texas
- Parkdale Mall in Beaumont, Texas
- Pearland Town Center in Pearland, Texas
- Post Oak Mall in College Station, Texas
- Richland Mall in Waco, Texas
- Sunrise Mall in Brownsville, Texas
- Layton Hills Mall in Layton, Utah
- Greenbrier Mall in Chesapeake, Virginia
- Southpark Mall in Colonial Heights, Virginia
- Valley View Mall in Roanoke, Virginia
- Brookfield Square in Brookfield, Wisconsin
- East Towne Mall in Madison, Wisconsin
- West Towne Mall in Madison, Wisconsin
- Frontier Mall in Cheyenne, Wyoming
- NASA blasted almost half a million gallons of water a hundred feet into the air.
- The Space Launch System (SLS) is designed for deeper space missions, able to explore far beyond Earth's orbit.
- Watch the video above to see how NASA is prepping to launch its most powerful and largest rocket in 2020.
- The best way to calculate a tip is simple: multiply the sales tax.
- After writing about math for five years, I'm surprised there's still so much variation in how people choose to do this everyday math.
- Most jurisdictions charge a sales tax, which can take a lot of the work out of estimating 15%, 20%, or 25% of a bill.
- 5% sales tax: Since the most common tipping brackets are multiples of 5%, this one is straightforward. Multiply your sales tax by 3 to get a 15% tip, by 4 to get a 20% tip, and by 5 to get a 25% tip.
- 6% sales tax: Multiply by 3 to get to 18% and adjust slightly up or down if you so desire, and by 4 to get to 24%.
- 7% sales tax: Doubling sales tax will get to 14%, and adjusting upward will put you at 15%. Multiplying by 3 gets to 21%, which can be rounded down for a 20% tip or bumped up to get to around 25%.
- 8% sales tax: Multiplying by 2 gives 16%, which is right around the 15% tip range, and multiplying by 3 goes to 24%, near the 25% range.
- 9% sales tax: Doubling the sales tax here gets to 18%, and multiplying by 3 gets to 27%.
- 10% sales tax: Multiplying a 10% tax by 2 gets us right to 20%. To estimate a 15% tip, take half of the sales tax and add it back to the original tax. For a 25% tip, take half the sales tax and add it to twice the tax.
- President Donald Trump is talking up the possibility of progress towards ending the trade war with China.
- But other parts of the administration are still going after China.
- Vice President Mike Pence took shots at China during a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit over the weekend.
- The Department of Commerce is also moving ahead with a rule that could limit the export of certain technologies to China.
- Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet at the G20 summit at the end of November.
- The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, a town about 10 miles inland on the Indonesian island of Bali, is a nature reserve housing hundreds of wild monkeys.
- The gorgeous forest and temple complex have been home to monkeys for hundreds of years, and the area is considered a holy place on the island.
- Considered one of the top tourist attractions in Bali, the forest is worth a visit. When I went, I came within feet of dozens of monkeys, while I saw monkeys actually land on top of other visitors.
- Sylvester Stallone wanted to show the ghost of Apollo Creed in one scene of "Creed II."
- But director Steven Caple Jr. didn't know how to pull it off in a way that would work with the tone of the movie.
- Caple also wondered, would actor Carl Weathers reprise the role as the way he looks today or would he have to be de-aged to look like he did in the "Rocky" movies?
- Instead, Caple tried to include the voice of Creed talking to his son at a dramatic point in the movie.
- Caple told Business Insider why he ended up scrapping the whole idea.
- Capital One recently announced a major improvement to two of its card products: the ability to transfer rewards miles to frequent flyer partners (starting in December).
- In addition, these two cards are offering huge sign-up bonuses, but only for a limited time — with no end date announced, they could decrease back to their normal amounts at any time.
- The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is offering 75,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. The normal bonus is 50,000 miles, making the current offer a 50% increase.
- The Capital One Spark Miles for Business card is offering up to 200,000 miles, broken into two pieces: 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months, and an additional 150,000 miles after spending $50,000 in the first six months.
- Both cards earn 2x miles per dollar spent, and the Venture earns 10x miles on hotels when you book and pay through Hotels.com/Venture. They both carry a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.
- While you can't transfer miles with this card, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business is also offering an improved limited time sign-up bonus. You can earn $500 after spending $5,000 in the first three months, and an additional $1,500 after spending $50,000 in the first six months.
- Read on to learn more about these incredible limited-time offers.
- Victoria's Secret's same-store sales dropped 6% at stores in the most recent quarter, with analysts saying the brand is completely out of touch. They were down 2% including the brand's online channels.
- The lingerie brand's "overt sexuality, its focus on airbrushed glamour, and its dark and moody stores are completely out of step with the mood of most modern consumers," Neil Saunders, the managing director for GlobalData Retail, said in a note on Tuesday.
- Comments about excluding "transsexual" models from the brand's annual show by a senior executive at Victoria Secret's parent company were cited as one example of how management's mindset has damaged the brand.
- Goldman Sachs issued an unusually bearish note on Apple stock.
- The analysts believe that Apple may have "miscalculated" when setting the price for the $750 iPhone XR.
- The note also warns that Apple may be losing its power to price its products higher than its competitors.
- Apple's share price has declined over 20% and has lost over $220 billion in market value from its October peak.
- 11/20/18--14:29: LuLaRoe's CEO tearfully addresses inventory problems in leaked audio
- LuLaRoe CEO Mark Stidham said Tuesday in an emotional internal video meeting that the company is working to address inventory problems.
- "I don’t have the product to serve you, and therefore I don’t have the product to serve your customers," Stidham told consultants, according to leaked audio from the meeting.
- Stidham made the remarks following a Business Insider investigation, which was published earlier Tuesday, into the company's mounting inventory problems and the exodus of top sellers.
- Stidham said top sellers are leaving LuLaRoe because he refused to give them preferential treatment over others in the business.
- Also read: LuLaRoe is facing mounting debt, layoffs, and an exodus of top sellers, and sources say the $2.3 billion legging empire could be imploding
A family in South Sudan used Facebook to auction off their 16-year-old daughter as a child bride and managed to complete the transaction before anybody could stop it.
The family in Eastern Lakes, a central region of South Sudan, put up a post selling off the girl on October 25, Reuters reported. She was married off on November 3, according to Plan International, a British girls' rights charity.
Facebook told Business Insider that it found the post on November 9 — more than two weeks after it was first posted — and permanently removed it.
The post featured a picture of the unnamed girl and noted that five men were participating in an auction for her. Some were high-ranking government officials, Plan International reported.
The winning bidder gave the girl's father 500 cows, three cars, and $10,000 in exchange for his daughter, Plan International said.
Neither the girl, nor her family, nor her husband's identities are publicly known.
Taban Abel, the information minister in Eastern Lakes, said the girl has gone into hiding in Juba, South Sudan's capital.
South Sudan's legal marriage age is 18, but more than 50% of girls in the country are wedded off before their 18th birthday, according to UNICEF.
George Otim, the South Sudan country director at Plan International, said in a statement: "This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets. That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world’s biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief."
A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement: "Any form of human trafficking — whether posts, pages, ads or groups is not allowed on Facebook. We removed the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to Facebook."
"We're always improving the methods we use to identify content that breaks our policies, including doubling our safety and security team to more than 30,000 and investing in technology," they added.
Facebook's Community Standards forbid users to post content or engage in human trafficking, which includes "recruiting, transporting, transferring, detaining, providing, harboring, or receiving a minor, or an adult against their will."
Eating the best food in the world doesn't have to be reserved for special occasions.
As it turns out, there are plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants around the world that are surprisingly affordable. Did you know that the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world, in Singapore, costs just $2.20?
For those who don't plan to travel that far, Business Insider teamed up with the discount website Vouchercloud to find out where the best deals are in New York City.
To produce the list, Vouchercloud looked at the price of a set lunch menu at every New York City restaurant included in this year's Michelin Guide, or if there was no prix fixe lunch, the cheapest individual lunch item. Business Insider also conducted some research of our own to add to the ranking.
As it turns out, there are 19 Michelin-starred restaurants where you can eat lunch for $50 or less — and eight where it'll cost $30 or less.
Here are the 19 cheapest Michelin-starred lunches in New York City, ranked from most to least expensive by the price of the cheapest à la carte lunch dish or prix fixe menu.
Ai Fiori, Manhattan — $49
Cuisine: The restaurant says it "showcases the modern interpretations of French and Italian Riviera cuisine."
Courses: Set menu of two courses, or three for $68.
Time: Monday through Friday, noon to 2:30 p.m.
Gotham Bar and Grill, Manhattan — $48
Cuisine: Gotham Bar and Grill aims to be "reminiscent of the energy, feel and beauty of a Parisian brasserie."
Courses: Set menu of three courses.
Time: Monday through Friday, noon to 2:15 p.m.
Gramercy Tavern, Manhattan — $48
Cuisine: Contemporary American cuisine.
Courses: Set menu of three courses.
Time: Every day, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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.
Here at Insider Picks, we can't recommend the company Dagne Dover enough if you're looking for sophisticated, high-quality bags.
These bags aren't just arm candy though — from office-appropriate gym bags to premium laptop bags, they're designed to be highly functional and tailored to the needs of a modern working woman.
From November 20 through November 28 at Dagne Dover, you can get 20% off the bags that have never failed us. This deal applies online and at its holiday pop-up at 419 Broome St. in New York.
That means no tote, clutch, wallet, or backpack is left out. This Black Friday sale is the best time of the year to gift yourself or a fellow girl boss one of Dagne Dover's timeless looks from its Signature Collection or a new, seasonal style.
See our top picks for what you should buy below, or shop all of Dagne Dover's bags here.
Looking for more deals? We've rounded up the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on the internet.
DON'T MISS: All of our holiday gift guides, in one place
Weston Laptop Bag
Weston Laptop Bag, $108-$124 (originally $135-$155) [You save $27-$31]
This bag protects your important tech from water and other elements, and it's very comfortable to carry. With a laptop sleeve, a trolley sleeve, interior Airmesh and zipper pockets, and an exterior pocket, it's the only bag you need to carry on your out-of-office days. Find our review of the Weston Laptop Bag here.
Dakota Backpack, $140 (originally $175) [You save $35]
Backpacks typically conjure up associations with school kids and traveling, but this neoprene backpack is sophisticated enough to bring to work. Find our review of the Dakota Backpack here.
The Allyn Tote, $276 (originally $345) [You save $69]
One of the company's best sellers is the large work bag that Insider Picks editor Ellen Hoffman carries every day. It's not cheap, but this sale at least brings the price to under $300. Find our review of the Allyn Tote here.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Mariah Carey has revealed that her son vomited on Michelle Obama's dress at a White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2013.
Moroccan (or "Rocky"), one of the singer's twins who was two at the time, "spit up" on the First Lady, who reportedly then told the young boy she'd never be able to wear the dress again.
Carey was, perhaps unsurprisingly, left feeling "humiliated" by the incident, which she explained to Andy Cohen on his TV show "Watch What Happens Live."
"Rocky spit up on Michelle Obama's dress, and it was one of the most humiliating things that ever happened to me," Carey revealed.
"She was like, 'Thanks to you, I'll never be able to wear this dress again, Rocky. So thank you.'"
Carey shares custody of the now seven-year-old twins, Moroccan and Monroe, with her ex-husband Nick Cannon.
Carey also shared another embarrassing incident with Cohen: the time she accidentally stole Meryl Streep's seat at the Golden Globes after coming back from the toilet.
"That was so mortifying," Carey told Cohen. "When I sat in her seat, I was like, 'I didn't do that. Please say I didn't do that!'"
"But she was like, 'You can sit in it anytime!'" Carey said. "She was very festive. She was cool about it."
Venezuela's economic crisis has forced citizens living in a renowned national park into a drastic step — illegally mining for gold.
The country's indigenous Pemon people, native to the region containing Venezuela's famous Angel Falls, have now left ecologically driven lives as tour guides in Canaima National Park to mine for fragments of gold.
Gold has now replaced the bolivar as the national currency within the UNESCO-listed area, whose 500 million year old pillars of erosion inspired Disney's "Up", with Venezuelans digging football field sized mines to search for the precious metal, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Mining is illegal in Canaima National Park, an area the size of Belgium, but Venezuela's dire economic conditions are pushing its population to extremes which could cause devastation to the heritage site in the view of environmentalists.
Gold has become a key part of President Nicolas Maduro's plans to buoy the country's economy as oil production falters. Although American involvement in gold mining is banned under US sanctions, Venezuela has been shipping its gold to Turkey for refining in order to escape escalating prohibitions.
The cost to the local community has also been high. Traditionally many Venezuelans living in the park took English lessons in order to become tourist guides but many have now quit to take up mining, often under cover of darkness to avoid the military patrols in the area.
Amid deepening poverty and an exodus of millions of Venezuelans the country's population have taken drastic measures to survive, potentially at the expense of its local ecosystem.
News of the illegal mining comes as inflation in the country looks set to hit 1.3 million percent this year, according to the IMF, making staples such as rice and beans unaffordable for much of the population.
LuLaRoe catapulted from near obscurity into a $2.3 billion company in just four years off the backs of tens of thousands of people who sold its stretchy pants, shirts, and dresses mainly through Facebook.
Amid the success, LuLaRoe founder DeAnne Stidham flaunted her wealth on Instagram. She posted photos and videos of herself on cruises in the Caribbean, flying in private jets, posing next to her husband's expensive cars, and riding horses during visits to her $7 million ranch in Wyoming.
Behind the scenes, Stidham took LuLaRoe's most successful sellers — called "consultants"— on shopping trips to Versace and Gucci stores. She told them to "buy nice cars, buy big houses, and show people what it can be like if we're successful," according to one recent LuLaRoe consultant who attended the shopping trips.
Sources told Business Insider that they understood her social-media posts and advice to LuLaRoe's top leaders as conveying an implicit promise to the company's army of consultants: Invest enough in LuLaRoe, and DeAnne’s lifestyle could be yours, too.
For some consultants, the money came. A few earned upwards of $80,000 a month.
"It’s actually been pretty awesome," said Jamie Harrington, a high-ranking LuLaRoe consultant with the title of "mentor.""We've sold a lot of clothes. We've done everything we've set out to do."
Thousands of others reached deep, sometimes into debt, in hopes of achieving the same rewards. These people directly fund the company. They include stay-at-home moms, single women, and people with limited mobility who were attracted to the idea of running a business out of their homes.
Now, the company is facing mounting problems, and there are thousands of consultants suffering.
Beth Mason, of Colliers, West Virginia, has an entire spare bedroom in her home filled with LuLaRoe clothing she can't sell.
When her sister unexpectedly died, in July, Mason decided to exit the LuLaRoe business and return the clothes to get some of her money back. For over a month, Mason said, the LuLaRoe site that processes inventory returns was down, preventing her from returning the clothes, before becoming operative again last week. She believes LuLaRoe owes her $4,500.
If other consultants' experience is any indication, Mason might have to wait months to get a refund after she returns the clothes.
Hundreds of LuLaRoe sellers have said they've been waiting months, some more than a year, for refund checks after exiting the business. Now, speculation is swirling among these sellers that the cause of the refund delays is simply that LuLaRoe does not have the money to pay back the tens of thousands of people who have recently left the business, according to discussions among current and former consultants in private online forums with several thousand members.
A Business Insider investigation involving interviews with more than two-dozen current and former consultants in the past two months has revealed evidence that suggests LuLaRoe's business is in peril.
The privately held company releases little information about its operations, but a top LuLaRoe leader told us that she knew of two teams of sellers that had shrunk by roughly two thirds from their peak. She estimated that LuLaRoe now has fewer than 25,000 consultants, down from the more than 77,000 it had in February 2017.
Among those fleeing are many of LuLaRoe's highest-performing consultants, which include its top 100 sellers and several dozen mentors who managed teams of thousands of women. About one-third of these top performers — some of whom were earning upwards of $80,000 monthly at the peak of their business — have exited LuLaRoe since July, according to data we reviewed.
Meanwhile, LuLaRoe said in a filing with the state of California that it had laid off 127 people from one of its two distribution centers in June. Sources claim the company is overdue on payments to suppliers. And, according to an Experian report, the company has several bills past due, including a $1,700 manufacturing payment that's more than 91 days late.
The company also lost its head of design and production, Patrick Winget, in September, and it's facing mounting complaints about out-of-stock problems and quality issues with its clothing. The exodus of sellers and the volume of inventory returns are creating unprecedented internal tension, insiders said.
"They always advertise that they are a billion-dollar company," a recent high-ranking consultant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, told Business Insider. "Well, that billion dollars in goods they've sold, people don't want it. They are trying to return it all right now."
In an email involving four LuLaRoe executives, LuLaRoe's executive director of marketing and media declined a request to discuss this story verbally and asked to correspond via email, instead. The executives did not respond to four follow-up emails. Stidham and her husband, Mark, who is also LuLaRoe's CEO, also did not respond to emails from Business Insider. The company's chief marketing officer was unreachable by phone, as his voice mailbox was full.
LuLaRoe became a $2.3 billion business in less than 5 years, promising 'full-time income for part-time work'
LuLaRoe began with Deanne Stidham and her sisters sewing maxi skirts around her kitchen table for her daughter's friends. Stidham and her husband, Mark, turned the hobby into a business in 2013. They produced limited quantities of brightly patterned clothing and sold it at wholesale prices, sight-unseen, to sellers, called consultants, who turned around and sold it to friends and family.
The company's comfortable, stretchy clothing and recruitment promise of "full-time income" for "part-time work" appealed particularly to three main contingencies of women: stay-at-home moms, single women, and people with both mental and physical disabilities, many of whom had limited mobility, recent and former consultants told Business Insider.
Initially, most sales were conducted at pop-up parties in people's homes. Then sellers realized how many more people they could reach on Facebook, and they started selling the clothing online.
Suddenly, there was a lot of money to be made selling LuLaRoe. Some successful sellers and team leaders started advertising on social media that they were earning five-figure bonus checks on a monthly basis selling LuLaRoe, and interest in the company skyrocketed.
In late 2016, LuLaRoe was onboarding thousands of new consultants — mostly women — every month, according to data obtained by Business Insider. To start their businesses, these women invested upwards of $5,000 in inventory.
As LuLaRoe's top leaders, called mentors, aggressively recruited new sellers, they encouraged them to buy as much inventory as possible, former consultants said. Those leaders were incentivized to do this because for years their bonus checks were based in part on how much their teams bought wholesale from LuLaRoe. (This bonus structure was later changed. A standard created by case law in the 1970s, known as the Koscot standard, considers whether a multilevel-marketing company bases compensation on inventory purchased versus items sold as part of its analysis of whether it has an unlawful compensation structure.)
If sellers didn't have the money to buy more inventory, LuLaRoe leaders in some cases encouraged them to take out loans and credit cards for their LuLaRoe businesses, current and former consultants said.
"Mentors encouraged people to take out second mortgages; mentors encouraged people to cash out their 401(k)s or take loans out on their 401(k)s; mentors encouraged women to sell their breast milk, and then buy everything on low-interest credit cards," RJ Franks, a former consultant, said.
Several women said they followed leaders' instructions to rapidly expand their inventories, and they poured money into buying hundreds of LuLaRoe leggings, dresses, and T-shirts. This helped fuel remarkable growth for LuLaRoe.
"They really drove retailers to buy, buy, buy, buy, buy as much as you can," Merilisse Beyelia, a stay-at-home mother to two disabled children, said. "They said you can take out a personal loan, and you can put it on credit cards. So I did that."
In 2017, just four years after it was founded, the company said it generated $2.3 billion in sales.
Then came LuLaRoe's first major public stumble.
LuLaRoe stumbled when customers complained about pants that 'rip like wet toilet paper'
A 2017 Business Insider report revealed widespread quality complaints about its clothing, including claims that its pants develop holes quickly and "rip like wet toilet paper." After that report LuLaRoe launched a refund program for customers that was intended to make it easier for customers to get refunds, credits, or exchanges for purchases.
Suddenly, the company was stuck with damaged inventory it couldn't sell, sources said. About the same time a growing number of consultants started complaining that they couldn't even sell the undamaged clothing that LuLaRoe was sending them because the patterns were undesirable and customers were losing interest.
"I kept getting horrible stuff from the warehouse … and the quality started tanking," said Emily Wright, a stay-at-home-mom and military wife who decided in October to close her LuLaRoe business after sinking more than $11,000 of her family's savings into it. "It's hard to sell something to someone when you know it could fall apart after one washing."
Several consultants claimed they received items with issues, such as uneven hems, one armhole higher than the other, ripped-open seams, and visible mold on the clothing.
"It made my entire room smell — it was disgusting," said one former consultant, who asked to be identified only by her initials, K.W. "I was trying to Febreze the clothes before selling them."
Savanah Quirion, another former consultant, said she wanted to quit selling LuLaRoe for months but felt pressured by her "sponsor"— another consultant who trained her — to press on.
"I could never get ahold of anything that was going to sell," Quirion said. "I was getting these awful ugly prints that were impossible to unload. All throughout this, all I kept hearing from the company was buy more stuff ... just buy more stuff ... you'll have more luck and be fine."
Following the advice of her sponsor, she tried to take out a loan to fund more clothing, but the bank denied her. She ended up getting a loan from a friend.
Ultimately, thousands of consultants began fleeing the business. As they sent their unsold inventory back to LuLaRoe for a refund, the company's cache of unsold inventory and debt in the form of unpaid refunds ballooned.
In late 2017, LuLaRoe changed its 100% buyback policy. The policy said the company would provide sellers leaving the business with a 100% refund for all their unsold inventory. Some sellers who spoke with Business Insider cited this guarantee as a key reason why they took a chance on joining LuLaRoe.
LuLaRoe's new buyback policy, the company said, would apply only to inventory purchased within the previous 12 months, and LuLaRoe would refund just 90% of the wholesale value of those goods.
Many consultants were furious about the change, according to Derryl Trujillo, who spent more than a year working in LuLaRoe's corporate offices. The company's service department was "bombarded" with calls from women planning to go out of business as well as those who had already jumped ship and were waiting on refunds, he said.
Trujillo said he spent many hours in the company's service department taking calls from women pleading for money they were owed by LuLaRoe. The company's top brass wouldn't give him any answers as to why the refunds were delayed for months on end, he added.
"There was one call in particular — after string of 20 in a row — that made me sick to my stomach," Trujillo said. A woman on the line was begging for the refund because she needed to make a mortgage payment.
"I logged out of the system, ran to fourth-floor bathroom, and locked myself in a stall for 15 minutes," he said. "I resolved never to come back there again."
Around this time, lawsuits started piling up against LuLaRoe, attacking its business practices and accusing the company of copyright infringement for the patterns displayed on its clothing. Two copyright suits have been settled; three others remain open. One suit, which accused LuLaRoe of being a pyramid scheme, is in arbitration.
Consultants started struggling to sell LuLaRoe clothing, which led to an emergency meeting and a call about 'horrific' clothing
LuLaRoe's top performers were summoned to Phoenix for an emergency meeting in the summer of 2016. They had 48 hours to get there.
At the meeting, LuLaRoe's founders, DeAnne and Mark Stidham, said they were seeing signs of a slowdown in profitability among new consultants.
"They told us that they are watching the classes of people that sign up every month, and people were becoming profitable less quickly," said one person who attended the meeting. The Stidhams asked for input on what was going on, and wanted to brainstorm ways to improve profitability.
Almost exactly two years later, in August 2018, the profitability problems had infiltrated even top sellers, and the issue had reached a boiling point.
Mark Stidham had a call with the company's highest-performing sellers, and it turned contentious.
Stidham told sellers to "charity out" prints that wouldn't sell — in other words, they should give them away free or at a discount. Three sellers described Stidham as "yelling" on the call.
"So we pay full price to you but have to donate and discount?" one seller asked in a live online chat with others on the call, according to a transcript of the discussion reviewed by Business Insider.
Some sellers called the clothing prints "horrific" and "ugly" and said business was in "decline" and "getting worse and worse."
"Our teams are leaving," one person said. "They can't keep taking hit after hit."
Another added: "We are being blunt because we are truly concerned. We care, our lives our built on this company. And we are scared. Truly worried and these answers are a slap in the face."
Over the next several months, several of the people on the call quit the business.
LuLaRoe's founder has been accused of 'flaunting her wealth in the faces of the people in the bread line'
As the company's top performers flee in droves, LuLaRoe founder DeAnne Stidham has insisted publicly at meetings with consultants and in Instagram live videos that everything is fine. She urges sellers to trust her and to buy more goods, according to several hours of recordings viewed by Business Insider.
"Don't hang on to your money," she said in a video in August that encouraged people to buy more inventory and promised "exciting" things to come.
Stidham has made vague promises about new products in the pipeline in response to sellers' concerns about inventory shortages.
"There's some new things coming," she said in late October. "We just saw a great big thing. Everybody's so excited."
In the same video, she chalked up the speculation surrounding LuLaRoe's business to the work of "trolls."
"We all get hit by the trolls and you know what, we're going to stop it," she said.
One person close to Stidham accused her of being out of touch.
"Deanne is Marie Antoinette telling people to eat cake. Right now she is on a cruise, flaunting her wealth in the faces of the people in the bread line," the person said, referring to a recent video that Stidham had posted from the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.
A lawsuit filed against the company last year, which is in arbitration, alleged that, with LuLaRoe's riches, DeAnne and her husband, Mark, have "lavished themselves with millions of dollars in luxuries such as expensive international vacations and exotic supercars."
Attorneys representing the Stidhams denied the allegations, writing, "LLR's success is built on tremendous demand by the consumers who buy its products."
Mark Stidham owns a collection of expensive cars, including a rare Koenigsegg Agera RS, which, in 2017, set a record to become the world's fastest car. It is estimated to cost more than $2 million, according to the suit. Stidham has displayed his cars at company events, according to former consultants.
"Mark would line up his luxury cars on the premises where they were having conferences, for people to see and gawk at," said a former consultant who asked to be identified only by her initials, E.M.
The couple also frequently travels in a private Gulfstream G550 jet and owns a sprawling 250-acre ranch near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, estimated to be worth more than $7 million.
High-ranking LuLaRoe leaders were encouraged to show off their wealth on social media with the hashtag #becauseoflularoe. The strategy worked, according to several consultants.
"All the little fish would follow the big sellers like they were celebrities," E.M. said. These top sellers showed off their "lavish lifestyles" involving frequent vacations, personal assistants, and new homes, primarily on Facebook and Instagram, she said.
Quirion said she felt convinced by this display.
"We listened to the consultants who were so successful, that they were going on vacations with their kids every other month," she said. "They just kept saying to us if your don’t like your inventory, buy more to change it up and you can sell that."
Now consultants are worried they may never get their refunds
Meanwhile, former consultants like Mason say they are growing increasingly worried that they may never see their refunds.
"I'm terrified there's a possibility that they could [go] bankrupt and I don't get my money," Mason said.
According to sources, dozens of consultants are giving up on seeking refunds from LuLaRoe and trying to sell their goods to consignment shops and liquidators at steep discounts.
"We lost our life savings," said former consultant Amy Lyrio-Takis. "I am in the hospital with a broken hip and had to have my children buy the medical equipment needed for my discharge."
Another consultant, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Saskia, said she's $20,000 in debt after quitting selling LuLaRoe.
"My mistake was I listened to everybody," she said. "They kept telling you if you buy more you sell more."
At least 70 people associated with LuLaRoe have filed for personal bankruptcy in the past two years, according to court filings. Jill Domme is one of them. In April 2017 she bought a brand-new Toyota RAV4 with the money she was making selling LuLaRoe. LuLaRoe leaders encouraged her to post pictures of it on Facebook and use it as a recruitment tool, she said.
Months later sales dried up. Domme's RAV4 was repossessed in April.
She's now working full time and has picked up a second part-time job on nights and weekends to pay for her bankruptcy attorney.
Beyelia, the stay-at-home mother to two disabled children, said LuLaRoe has owed her a check worth more than $7,000 since December 2017, when she returned her unsold inventory to the company.
Her husband called LuLaRoe in August to beg for the check ahead of their 16-year-old son's latest surgery related to the rare genetic disorder Angelman syndrome, which afflicts both of their children. The company refused to tell him when it would release their check, the couple said.
"We are barely scraping by," Beyelia said of her family's financial situation. "After their surgeries, they are in diapers full time because they are immobile, and we can barely buy diapers for them because it's so expensive to buy adult diapers."
She told Business Insider she needs to buy things for her children that insurance doesn't cover, such as a seat attachment that helps her 13-year-old daughter lower herself onto the toilet and a bench for their shower.
"We shouldn't have to be worrying about buying those things when there is this check for $7,000 that's out there," she said. "We need this money."
Áine Cain contributed reporting.
Are you an insider with a story about LuLaRoe? Contact me at email@example.com.
L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, plunged by as much as 9% before Tuesday's opening bell after the company slightly missed on third-quarter revenues and slashed its annual dividend payout.
Here are the key numbers compared to Wall Street's estimates, according to Bloomberg data.
According to the retailer, it adjusted earnings by excluding $101.2 million pre-tax charges related to the closure of the Henri Bendel business and the impairment of certain Victoria’s Secret store assets. And, the approximately $325 million in cash made available from the dividend reduction will be utilized primarily to reduce liabilities.
The company also announced that Jan Singer, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, has resigned, and Tory Burch's President John Mehas will replace Singer early 2019.
"During the quarter, we made some tough decisions that enable us to increase our focus on our core businesses and highest growth opportunities," Leslie Wexner, CEO of L Brands, said in a press release.
"These actions, including the closure of the Henri Bendel business and the pursuit of alternatives for La Senza, will strengthen our company in the long-term. Looking ahead, we remain focused on executing our strategy, sticking to the fundamentals of our business, staying close to our customers and leveraging the strength of our brands to deliver on our commitments for our customers, associates and stakeholders."
Wexner continued: "I am confident that, under John’s leadership, Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, the world’s leading lingerie brand, will continue to be a powerhouse and will deliver products and experiences that resonate with women around the globe.”
L Brands was down 45% this year through Monday.
Read more stories on Victoria's Secret:
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Global stock markets were selling off Tuesday, with major tech firms looking set to continue the slide that triggered a major fall in global equities on Monday.
Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google — the so-called FAANG stocks— were also set to open more than 2% lower later on Tuesday, adding to the drops seen Monday that saw the Nasdaq close down more than 3% lower. Netflix is currently pointing to a further 5% slide, while Apple could drop as much as 3.2%.
Monday's sell-off on Wall Street appears to have been largely triggered by a report from The Wall Street Journal that Apple had slashed production orders in recent weeks for all three of the new iPhones it unveiled in September.
Wall Street is also worried about global growth and trade tensions amid a quiet week for economic data.
Wall Street's Monday sell-off spread into Asia overnight, with benchmark indexes in Japan and China falling substantially. China's most watched index, the Shanghai Composite, fell 2.1%, while Japan's Nikkei was 1.1% lower at the close.
"Monday's sharp sell-off in US technology shares is a reflection of investor concerns over global demand following the recent emerging market currency crises and trade disputes," Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst at Forex.com, said in an email Tuesday morning.
"So, as things stand, the outlook for global equity indices appears bleak and we could easily witness further falls," he added.
That suggestion looks likely to be correct, with futures pointing to another day in the red for US stocks. As of 1.45 a.m. GMT (8.45 a.m. ET), futures for all three US indexes were at least 1.4% lower, with the Nasdaq pointing to another 2% drop at the open.
Here's the scoreboard:
Lower production by Apple tends to suggest falling demand for its products, which in turn acts as a bellwether for general sentiment surrounding the tech sector. Shares of the world’s biggest technology company are down more than 10% this month as a result.
Dubai doesn't do anything small.
The desert city has the world's tallest building, palm tree-shaped artificial islands that fan out along the coast, the world's largest indoor theme park, and, soon, the world's first rotating skyscraper.
And of course, who could forget the malls?
Dubai has about 65 malls in a city of just over 3 million people, with 10 more on the way. For some, the malls are the most iconic part of Dubai. And no mall is more iconic than The Dubai Mall.
To call it a mall is an understatement. Aside from more than 1,200 stores, the mall has its own neighborhoods — like a high-fashion district akin to Fifth Avenue, and "The Village," an open-air "street"— as well as hundreds of restaurants, movie theaters, a luxury hotel, an Olympic-size ice-skating rink, a virtual-reality theme park, and an aquarium.
Despite talk in the US of a "retail apocalypse" shutting down America's malls, no such danger appears to be in sight for Dubai. Emaar Malls, The Dubai Mall's developer, said recently that the property had seen over 80 million visitors annually for the past four years, making it the most visited mall in the world.
Dubai is climbing in the ranks of the most visited cities in the world — it's currently fourth, with a projected 16.7 million visitors this year, according to Mastercard's Global Destination Cities Index. And as US News & World Report named The Dubai Mall the No. 1 attraction in the city, that ranking is likely to climb.
All of which is to say: As a first-timer to Dubai, I had to visit. Here's what it was like.
At over 13 million square feet in total size and over 5.9 million square feet in internal floor area, the Dubai Mall is immense. This is what it looks like from the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, which is part of the complex.
Though it's currently winter in Dubai, temperatures are still in the high 80s with a punishing sun overhead. The Dubai Mall seemed like an easy way to get out of the heat, which is, I suspect, why so many residents visit.
But for those looking to find anything resembling Middle Eastern or Emirati culture, look elsewhere. There's a Texas Roadhouse ...
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
CBL Properties is taking a stand against Black Friday creep.
For the third year in a row, the company, which operates 62 malls across the country, will close all of its locations for the entirety of Thanksgiving Day, according to a press release it issued in October.
"The support that we've received over the last two years from our customers and retailers has been overwhelming," Stephen Lebovitz, CEO of CBL Properties, said in a statement. "It is based on this feedback that we made the decision to close yet again this year."
Retailers that have an exterior entrance in malls will be allowed to open early, however, even if the mall itself is closed until 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
The move is in response to "Black Friday creep," which sees retailers opening earlier and earlier every year on Thanksgiving to capture crowds for "doorbuster" sales. Some retailers, like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom, and Costco, have announced that they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Here's the full list of CBL malls that will be closed:
The following is a transcript of the video
Alex Appolonia: This is almost half a million gallons of water being blasted a hundred feet into the air.
The most impressive part? It was all done in just 60 seconds.
NASA created the massive fountain as part of a test for its Space Launch System, scheduled to launch for the first time in 2020.
It will be the largest, most powerful rocket NASA has ever built. Standing upright, the SLS will reach 322 feet in height, 17 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, and weigh almost 6 million pounds.
Its first planned mission? A 25-day trip around the moon.
When it lifts off, its engines will generate 8.4 million pounds of force and sound waves so powerful that they could easily destroy the rocket from the ground up.
That's where NASA's Ignition Overpressure and Sound Suppression System comes in. NASA projects the water onto and over the launchpad during ignition and liftoff. This not only protects the ground from the rocket's engines it also prevents the sound waves from bouncing off the ground and back up which could cause catastrophic damage to the engines. The system also prevents the giant flames generated by the engines from catching anything on fire.
During an actual launch, some of the water will evaporate due to the extreme heat, while the rest exits through nozzles. This test is just one of many more that NASA will conduct over the coming months in preparation for the rocket's first launch.
The SLS is designed for deeper space missions able to explore far beyond Earth's orbit. It can carry astronauts in an Orion capsule, or ferry other cargo, like exploratory robots, to distant worlds like Jupiter and Mars. Pretty impressive, huh?
This latest test, performed in the beginning of October, was to evaluate any needed upgrades, like corrosion control, renovating the water storage tank, and checking the conditions of the pipes and valves. Now, it will be in tip-top shape for when the SLS is ready to make its debut flight in 2020.
Business Insider sat down with John Maisto, the former US ambassador to Venezuela, to talk about what could be ahead for the crisis-ridden country. Maisto also served as ambassador to Nicaragua and the Organization of American States, and was the senior director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: You were US ambassador to Venezuela when Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, became president in 1999. Having seen the Bolivarian revolution firsthand, how does the economic and political backdrop then compare to now?
A: The sadness of Venezuela today is that the problems when Chavez came to power are the same problems there today. Corruption; the bureaucracy is unbelievable; and the poverty continues and it’s gotten worse.
I remember Chavez telling me, oh you’re going to see a first-class cabinet. The oil people at first were fine — they were professional — but then that gradually got politicized. But the price of oil kept going up, and the money kept coming in. And the regime kept using oil money for political purposes to make sure they got the support of people. How did they do that? Subsidize everything. Give away everything.
Q: Last year, President Donald Trump said the US has a “military option” in Venezuela. Senator Marco Rubio has also seemed to suggest going that route. What do you think of calls for armed intervention in Venezuela?
A: All you have to do is ask Colin Powell-type questions, like, oh really? And then what? How do you do this? What do you do? What comes afterward?
People say, oh we used to intervene militarily in Latin America — why don’t we just do that in Venezuela? Well, just how? We’re going to send an 82nd Airborne into Caracas? Is that what you’re going to do? And what happens when those who support Chavez come out? Are we going to have the Americans killing them? You’ve gotta think this stuff through.
Q: What about an internal military coup? Especially with reports of growing dissent within Venezuela’s armed forces. In September, for example, the New York Times reported the Trump administration met with Venezuelan military officers to discuss plans to overthrow Maduro.
A: Sure, there could be a military coup. At the same time, that’s one of those things that could happen tonight or not at all. There are some in the United States who said, oh, a military coup, that’s absolutely terrible. Well. Countries do what they have to do to solve their problems and who the hell are we to be telling them what to do or what not to do? The Venezuelan constitution has something that permits Venezuelans to do whatever they have to do to rid themselves of a government that is violating the constitution and human rights.
Q: The State and Treasury departments have rolled out multiple rounds of sanctions in attempt to pressure the Venezuelan government, which is accused of undermining democracy and engaging in corruption and human rights violations. What other options does Washington have here?
A: I also think we should use the public revelations part. You reveal information about some [officials] but not about others. The ones you haven’t revealed information on say, why haven’t they gotten me? The ones you have revealed information on say, why didn’t you mention him? So, they begin to look and each other and say what’s going on?
We have to not stop working diplomatically. But at the same time, and you may find this contradictory, telling the people in power that we’re willing to sit down and talk to you. You can’t just pull one out and say that’s the magic thread. That’s not how the world works. In my view, the United States should maintain the pressure but also let them know that we’re willing to talk. We don’t have to say what we’re willing to talk about — just say we’re willing to talk.
Q: What about internally? What do you think has to happen within Venezuela?
A: The first thing that has to happen is the Venezuelan opposition has to get itself together and unite for the purpose of presenting something that shows they are capable of leading the reconstitution of democracy in Venezuela post-Maduro regime. And they’re divided. They united four years ago for legislative elections and they won. But they haven’t been united since then. There are different leaders who want to do different things.
It has to show Venezuelans — many of them don’t believe them — and foreigners who are interested in this coming out the right way. That’s Latin Americans, ourselves, Europeans. The idea that there is some coherence in terms of the opposition to Maduro.
Q: What could a post-Maduro Venezuela look like?
A: As long as he was in power, [Chavez’s] support system was okay. The moment he left power, his support system disappeared. That’s the way it is with authoritarians. There are not going to be many Venezuelans who if Maduro leaves are going to want to the next day go out and want to give their lives for him. No, they’re going to adjust to the new reality. But at the time, they’re going to be impressed with the argument that the regime makes — that Chavez always made and that Maduro makes. And that is, if those white guys with money get into power, supported by the US government, you’re going to be screwed.
Q: The US has so far fallen short of directly targeting Venezuela’s oil industry, but there have been reports that could change. This is controversial because oil makes up nearly all of the country’s export earnings and PDVSA is already operating at multidecade lows. Do you think the Trump administration would target the energy market?
A: There are some who argue that the whole country has to feel more pain in order for there to be a solution. And others say absolutely not — people are suffering enough and you’re really going to make them suffer bad. So, all of these are questions. But nothing could happen too. You can have a continuation. If we were having this conversation one year ago, or two years ago, or three years ago, it would have been roughly the same.
Q: Some argue that Venezuela’s crisis cannot be stemmed without concessions from Cuba, accused of propping up the Maduro regime. Other than with sanctions, how might the US pressure Havana?
A: It’s very difficult to prevent Cuban intelligence operatives from flying from Havana to Caracas. What the United States can and should do, in my view, is to not only monitor that sort of operation but also to divulge it so people can see the role of the Cubans. With regard to the pressures in the international financial area, with regard to targeting individuals in the regime and exposing their international criminal activities.
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One of the perennial challenges to eating at a restaurant or ordering delivery is figuring out how much to tip.
Fortunately, in most cities and states, there's already an entry on your receipt that makes estimating a tip much easier: sales tax.
According to the Tax Foundation, 46 states have a state sales tax, local sales taxes, or both, and combined state and local taxes usually range between 5% and 10%. If you live in such a jurisdiction, you can use the already calculated sales tax to come up with a good estimate for what you should pay for a tip.
I live in New York City, where sales tax is 8.875%. That's about 9%.
So when I settle the bill at a restaurant, I either multiply by 2 to leave a bit below 18%, or, if I'm leaving a larger tip (which I usually do, because service work is unforgiving) I multiply by 3 to leave between 26% and 27%.
This is all very easy for me because I know my local tax rate, and it was very much worth the 60 seconds it took to find out. You can find your own through this calculator, or get a decent idea of what sales tax rates look like in your state at the Tax Foundation's website.
Exact sales tax rates vary widely across different states, counties, and cities. But since most jurisdictions with a sales tax have rates that fall in that 5% to 10% range, simply multiplying sales tax by 3 will get you a respectable 15% to 30% tip.
If you can stomach a little extra math, here are some examples of how sales tax can help you estimate a roughly 15%, 20%, or 25% tip, based on the approximate tax rate in your state and city. It's all basic multiplication, so there shouldn't be any surprises:
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Trump has discussed the possibility of a deal during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month, and communications between Chinese and American officials seem to point to a possible détente.
But recent posture from Vice President Mike Pence and others in the administration have cast doubt that the drive for reconciliation will produce results.
Pence takes a hard line in Asia
The most public repudiation of China from the administration came during Pence's speech at the close of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea.
The vice president seemed to implicitly take shots at the Chinese economic model, reflecting continued differences between the two countries.
"We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt. We don’t coerce or compromise your independence. The United States deals openly, fairly. We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way road," Pence said in an apparent reference to China's Bet and Road initiative.
Pence also met with Xi during the APEC summit and told reporters afterward that China must agree to reforms for the US to agree to any deal lowering tariffs.
"We've put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods and we could more than double that number, but we hope for better," Pence said. "The United States though will not change course until China changes its ways
The Trump administration originally announced tariffs on Chinese products in March in response to China's alleged theft of US intellectual property and uncompetitive practices for US companies operating in China. This lead to a furious, but ultimately fruitless, round of negotiations before the first set of tariffs were imposed in July.
In total, the US has applied tariffs to $250 billion worth of Chinese goods coming into the US, while the Chinese have hit $110 billion worth of US goods with duties.
The divisions between the US and China were again on display when the 21 APEC member countries were unable to agree on an official communique from the meeting. While the statement is largely ceremonial, it highlights the acrimonious relationship between the two largest APEC economies.
According to reports, China wanted to include language in the official remarks that rejected protectionism and unilateralism — echoing Beijing's accusations about the US. On the other hand, the US wanted to include language that critiqued China's trade practices.
Back home, the Trump administration's fight with China is also taking another step foward
On Monday, the Department of Commerce began taking public comment on new rules that would give the administration the ability to restrict exports of certain critical technologies on the basis of national security — which could allow the US to stop exports of some technology to China.
Under the recently-passed Export Control Reform Act, the Trump administration can limit the export of "emerging and foundational technologies" to adversarial countries.
Under previous administrations, export controls were typically limited to technology with direct military capabilities. More general rules restricting exports that could theoretically have military applications would be a significant broadening of those restrictions.
Given this new power, the Trump administration wants to prevent exports related to 14 high-tech sectors, such as biotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
The new rule is also part of a broader campaign by various parts of the Trump administration to use non-tariff measures to put pressure on Chinese economic interests. For instance, the Department of Justice has increased the number of Chinese firms being charge with economic espionage and created a task force to combat illegal Chinese economic practices.
While most of the world's famous temples are known for their architecture — like the Taj Mahal in India or Angkor Wat in Cambodia — there's one temple that may be best known for its inhabitants. And I'm not talking about monks.
At the center of Ubud, a town about 10 miles inland on the Indonesian island of Bali, lies the Sacred Monkey Forest, a nature reserve and temple complex that houses about 600 wild long-tailed macaques, a type of monkey. Ubud has been known as a spiritual and mystical center to Balinese for centuries — Ubud means "medicine."
The Monkey Forest is one of the holiest places in the area.
But ever since Bali, and Ubud, became a magnet for honeymooners, New Agey seekers, and backpackers, the forest has become one of the island's top tourist sites. In the confines of the forest, visitors can observe monkeys in close quarters going about their monkey business: mating, fighting, grooming, eating, and, occasionally, interacting with humans.
On a visit to Bali this past spring, I decided to stop by the monkey forest for a visit. It was unlike anywhere I'd been before.
The Sacred Monkey Forest is located in the center of Ubud. In fact, a main street that runs through the town is known as Monkey Forest Street.
Getting a ticket is easy enough. It costs 50,000 Indonesian rupiah, or $3.40. It's best to go in the morning before it gets too crowded.
Source: Monkey Forest Ubud
There are a lot of guidelines you'll want to follow to have a good time. The big one to remember: Don't carry anything you wouldn't want to lose. Monkeys are mischievous creatures.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Warning: Minor "Creed II" spoilers ahead.
"Creed II" does an excellent job of paying homage to the original "Rocky" movies, but there's one aspect of the franchise both Sylvester Stallone and "Creed II" director Steven Caple Jr. wanted in the movie, but sadly could not pull off in a way that satisfied them.
When Caple signed on to direct the movie a year ago, Stallone, who along with playing Rocky Balboa in the movie is also a co-screenwriter on it, told Caple about an idea to get Apollo Creed in the movie.
"Sly had a ghost version at one point," Caple told Business Insider.
The idea Stallone had was that while Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is recovering in the hospital from his first fight with Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), for a brief moment while in and out of consciousness he would see his father, Apollo, standing in the corner of the room.
"In regards to tone, it wasn't on my level of where I was going with the film," Caple said. "Sly had it in just as an idea we could use, but I thought it might throw people off. And then I was thinking what does Apollo wear? Is it [actor] Carl Weathers today or from back in 'Rocky IV'?"
So Caple came up with another idea: Why not have Apollo's voice come up at an important moment in the movie?
Caple felt at a key point in the final fight, while Creed is trying to get up off the canvas, he would hear his father's voice say, "Get up, son."
"I felt that was going to be the moment," Caple said. He was going to have Weathers come in to deliver the dramatic line. But when he edited the scene and included the line (which at that point was recorded by someone else as temporary dialogue) it didn't work.
"It just felt like it came out of nowhere," Caple said. "At that point it's his own family that's making him get up, not his father anymore."
During "Creed II," Adonis and his now fiancée Bianca (Tessa Thompson) have a baby.
As a fan of the franchise, Caple was disappointed he couldn't get Weathers in the movie. He admitted that he even wondered if there was a clever way to get Mr. T (who was in "Rocky III") in "Creed II." But when it was time to lock picture, the best way to celebrate the myth of Apollo Creed was through pictures and old "Rocky IV" footage.
But you can't say Caple didn't try.
"Creed II" opens in theaters on Wednesday.
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Capital One recently announced a major improvement to two of its most popular cards — the Capital One Venture and the Spark Miles for Business. Starting next month, cardholders will have the option of transferring their cards' miles to a number of airline frequent flyer partners, bringing Capital One miles in line with the top credit cards reward programs, like Chase's Ultimate Rewards and AmEx's Membership Rewards.
The change has made the Capital One Venture— which was already a solid card — an even more useful rewards card for everyday spending. It earns 2x miles on everything (and 10x miles on hotels when you book and pay through Hotels.com/Venture), which, combined with the ability to transfer miles, makes it quite competitive for its class. The Spark Miles works similarly, except that it's meant for small business owners.
While this is a great indefinite improvement for the cards, there's another feature that won't be around for long.
Both cards are offering limited-time sign-up bonuses. While Capital One has not shared an end date, it's safe to assume that these won't be around for long.
The personal Capital One Venture is offering 75,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. The normal offer is 50,000 miles, so this is a 50% increase. After hitting the spend requirement, you'll have 85,000 miles (or more, if you earn at the Hotels.com bonus rate), which transfers to about 63,750 airline miles (Capital One transfers to airlines at a 2:1.5 ratio). You can also use the bonus simply for $750 worth of travel purchases (or $850 when you factor in the spending), although you can potentially get a better offer by transferring miles to an airline partner. This is one of the best offers we've seen on this card in years.
The Spark Miles for Business, meanwhile, has an incredible bonus — as long as you have a business that typically has high expenses. Also for a limited time, you can get up to 200,000 miles. The bonus is broken into two chunks: 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, and an additional 150,000 miles when your business spends $50,000 in the first six months.
The Spark Cash for Business is offering a similar limited-time bonus, although you'll get cash back rather than miles, so you can't transfer them to airline partners. For a limited time, you'll get $500 after spending $5,000 in the first three months, and an additional $1,500 after spending $50,000 in the first six months.
Remember, it isn't worth spending more than you would otherwise spend to earn the bonus, and it definitely isn't worth carrying debt in order to earn rewards. However, with the holiday season coming up, and people budgeting for holiday spending anyway, this could be a great time to open the Venture. And if you have a business that spends a lot of money — for instance, fronting expenses that are billed to clients, or purchasing supplies — the bonus requirements for the Spark Miles could be easy to hit.
As always, keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.
When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.
Click here to learn more about the Capital One Venture Rewards from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.
Click here to learn more about the Capital One Spark Miles from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.
Click here to learn more about the Capital One Spark Cash from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.
Victoria's Secret's downward spiral is getting worse as the brand falls hopelessly out of touch, analysts say.
On Monday, parent company L Brands reported that same-store sales dropped 6% at Victoria's Secret stores in the most recent quarter. L Brands also announced that John Mehas, who is currently president of Tory Burch, will be taking up the position and replacing former CEO Jan Singer, who was at the company for two years.
According to Neil Saunders, the managing director for GlobalData Retail, the reasons for the retailer's struggles are "very clear." Today, Victoria's Secret simply is not connecting with customers as it once did.
"Indeed, we would go so far to say that its overt sexuality, its focus on airbrushed glamour, and its dark and moody stores are completely out of step with the mood of most modern consumers," Saunders wrote in a note on Tuesday morning.
Saunders blames management's "embedded attitudes" for the out-of-touch decisions, which he argues have been hurting the brand for a while.
For example, Ed Razek, L Brand's chief marketing officer, has been slammed for saying in a recent Vogue interview that the company did not plan to hire plus-size or transgender models. Razek said Victoria's Secret would not hire "transsexuals" for the brand's annual fashion show because "the show is a fantasy."
"Not only are such remarks bad for the brand's image, but it also earned a sharp public rebuke from the CEO of more incisive rival ThirdLove which has been stealing share from Victoria's Secret for some time," Saunders wrote.
Heidi Zak, the CEO and founder of ThirdLove, took out a full-page ad in the The New York Times slamming Victoria's Secret over the weekend.
"Your show may be a 'fantasy' but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country," she wrote. "It's time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide."
Saunders argues that while a new CEO may bring fresh ideas, John Mehas will have to "blow away the entrenched attitudes that have prevailed for too long."
L Brands shares are down 8.47% as of 8:31 a.m. ET Tuesday morning.
Goldman Sachs cut its target price for Apple for the second time this month as the stock has taken a beating since it reported earnings on November 1.
Apple's share price has declined over 20% and has lost over $220 billion in market value from its October peak.
In the bearish note, Rod Hall and his analyst team say that it seems like Apple "miscalculated on the price/feature balance for the [iPhone] XR" and that Apple's less-expensive premium phone may have missed the mark.
"In addition to weakness in demand for Apple’s products in China and other emerging markets it also looks like the balance of price and features in the iPhone XR may not have been well-received by users outside of the US," the analysts write.
"Historically, a disproportionately large chunk of December quarter demand tends to come in the two-week period beginning a week before Christmas day so it is possible that things change though we do not believe this is likely," the analysts continued, also adding that Chinese demand weakness and a strong dollar may have been additional challenges for the company to deal with.
But the analysts do not see many positive signs for Apple in the note, which comes a week after Goldman Sachs first sounded the alarm on Apple, and wrote that "end demand for new iPhone models is deteriorating."
Now, Goldman warns that Apple could be losing its shine — and its power to price its smartphones higher than the competition.
"Apple’s success with iPhone X demand this summer and then a relatively healthy start to the XS cycle this fall suggested to us that pricing power was still intact. However, the laboratory of the market now points to Apple being at the limit of their price premium for the iPhone. In our experience with mobile phones, when pricing power is lost, consumer technology companies tend to either lose margins or market share or both."
They also add that investors may be overvaluing Apple's famous ecosystem, which keeps users buying new Apple products when their old ones wear out, because of a United States-focus.
"We do not believe the rest of the world is as committed to Apple’s product ecosystem, so switching costs outside the US tend to be lower," the analysts wrote.
Tuesday's note is the latest evidence that analysts are now worried iPhone unit sales are going to start shrinking in the short-term, which is believed to be the reason why Apple decided to stop reporting unit sales, which analysts relied on as a key metric. Apple said it preferred to focus on its transition to a services company, with regular recurring revenue.
The analysts believe that Apple's December quarter revenue will fall on the lower end of its guidance, and cut its price target to $182. Earlier this month, the same analysts cut their Apple target price from $222 to $209.
LuLaRoe CEO Mark Stidham tearfully addressed inventory problems and slammed "sensationalist journalists" on Tuesday in an internal video meeting in the wake of a Business Insider investigation into the multi-level marketing company, according to leaked audio from the meeting.
On the call, Stidham's voice faltered with apparent emotion as he told the story of a LuLaRoe seller, whose name he did not know, who he said was helping families affected by the recent wildfires in California.
"As our community does good, I will promise you, we will continue to be attacked by those who don’t understand, who don’t get it," he said. "There is a lot of excitement and curiosity around LuLaRoe. What is this thing? How did it become? And unfortunately, there are sensationalist journalists that are taking that name and leveraging it so they can get some clicks through on ridiculous, ridiculous things. I want you to know guys, they are going to do that and it doesn’t matter to us. It’s irrelevant. They are irrelevant."
Stidham said that he's been getting a lot of emails from frustrated sellers over the past several weeks.
"I’ve read many, many of them and they are heartfelt; and they are people who are concerned about their business; people who are concerned about whether or not we are paying attention; whether we care for them," he said. "And I want to reassure you that we absolutely do."
Sellers, also called consultants, buy clothing from LuLaRoe at wholesale prices and then turn around and sell it at a markup to customers. Some have been complaining about inventory shortages and quality problems, as Business Insider's investigation revealed.
"I empathize 100% with your frustrations that you don’t have the product to serve your customers," Stidham said. "I don’t have the product to serve you, and therefore I don’t have the product to serve your customers. I understand that."
LuLaRoe representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At one point during the call, Stidham offered an explanation for the company's loss of top sellers. About one-third of LuLaRoe's top sellers have exited the company since July, according to data reviewed by Business Insider.
"Have you noticed that a whole bunch of top retailers have left lately? You want to know why? Because I refused to give them preferential treatment," he said. "They came to us and said, 'We’re your biggest sellers you need to give us first choice. You need to let us come into the warehouse and pick our own orders. You need to let us get the things we need so that we can continue to grow our business.' And I challenged them on that thinking."
Towards the end of the call, Stidham said that he recently traveled to China to secure more sources for production.
"I had a vision that we would find these old Chinese guys smoking cigarettes in a backroom somewhere with a factory," he said. "The people that we met are young entrepreneurs that are excited about the opportunity that is coming to them because of what you sell."
Shortly after that, he paused and it sounded like he had started to cry.
"We are making a difference in the world, don’t lose sight of that," he said, his voice faltering. "We have over two million garments coming in the next three weeks and the pipeline is filling and we will continue to have things coming. We love you. We appreciate you."