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The latest news from Business Insider

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.


    Outside of the US Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS have dominated the domestic logistics industry — and in particular, the last-mile of the delivery — for decades. On a quarterly earnings call in 2016, FedEx estimated that itself, UPS, and USPS executed a whopping 95% of all e-commerce orders.

    But rapidly rising volumes have put the pair of legacy shippers in a bind. E-commerce sales have risen over 50% and are projected to continue their ascent into the next decade. High volumes are already straining shippers' networks — UPS struggled to bring consumers their parcels on time due to higher-than-anticipated package volume, which upset some big-name retail partners, including Macy's, Walmart, and Amazon. As online sales surge further, package volumes will outstrip legacy shippers' capacities, creating space for new entrants. 

    Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to dethrone UPS and FedEx's duopoly. It's built up a strong logistics infrastructure, counting hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery trucks.

    Further, as the leading online retailer in the US, it has a wealth of data on consumers that it can use to craft a personalized delivery experience that's superior to UPS and FedEx's offerings. Amazon must act soon, however, as UPS and FedEx are hard at work fortifying their own networks to handle the expected surge in parcel volume.

    The longer the Seattle-based e-tailer delays the launch of a delivery service, the more it runs the risk that these legacy players will be able to defend their territory. 

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explains how the age of e-commerce is opening up cracks in UPS and FedEx's duopoly. We then outline how Amazon's logistics ambitions began as an effort to more quickly get parcels out the door and fulfill its famous 2-day shipping process and how it'll be a key building block for the company if it builds out a last-mile service. Lastly, we offer concrete steps that the firm must take to maximize the dent it makes in UPS and FedEx's duopoly.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • While UPS and FedEx have dominated the US last-mile delivery market for the last few decades, the surge in e-commerce is creating more volume than shipping companies can handle.
    • Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to put a dent in UPS and FedEx's duopoly due to its strategic position as the leading online retailer in the US.
    • Amazon can carry its trust amongst the public, a wealth of consumer data, and its ability to craft a more personalized delivery experience to the last-mile delivery space to ultimately dethrone UPS and FedEx.
    • The top priority for Amazon in taking on UPS and FedEx needs to be offering substantially lower shipping rates — one-third of US retailers say they'll switch to an Amazon shipping service if it's at least 20% cheaper than UPS and FedEx. 

    In full, the report:

    • Outlines Amazon's current shipping and logistics footprint and strengths that it would bring to the last-mile delivery space in the US.
    • Lays out concrete steps that Amazon must take if it wants to launch a standalone last-mile delivery service, including how it can offer a more memorable, higher-quality delivery experience than UPS and FedEx.
    • Illustrates how Amazon can minimize operating costs for a delivery service to ultimately undercut UPS and FedEx's shipping rates in the last-mile space.


    SEE ALSO: Amazon and Walmart are building out delivery capabilities

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    royals joking

    • Royals usually follow a strict protocol that dictates their behavior, from what they eat to how they sit.
    • But, as in 2018, they've been known to deviate from the rules.
    • Meghan Markle hugged a fan, for instance, despite royal protocol to keep some distance.

    Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. And when it comes to strict rules of royal protocol, even Queen Elizabeth herself has been known to brush them aside, calling them "rubbish."

    Here are 10 times that members of the royal family broke their own protocol this year.

    Royals aren't supposed to give autographs, but Markle signed a 10-year-old girl's notebook.

    Royals aren't supposed to sign autographs for security reasons: that way their signatures can't be forged. That didn't stop Markle from signing 10-year-old Caitlin Clark's autograph book with a heart and smiley face.

    Clark told HELLO! magazine that Markle misspelled her name and wrote "Hi Kaitlin," but that she didn't mind.

    "I don't really care," she said. "My heart is still racing. I've never got a royal autograph before. This is going to make everyone jealous."

    Royals usually stick to more formal greetings, but Markle is a hugger.

    Embracing royals is usually off-limits for both security reasons and out of respect for their positions. But Markle goes right in for hugs.

    At an event for International Women's Day, People reports that when 10-year-old Sophia Richards told Prince Harry she wants to be an actress, he brought her over to meet Markle, who hugged her.

    "Meghan told me that I can achieve whatever I want to achieve. And Meghan said she would like to see me on TV when I become an actress," Richards told People. "It was a dream come true. I will never forget this day."

    Princess Eugenie says she "got in trouble" after taking a picture in an off-limits part of Buckingham Palace.

    Members of the royal family don't have their own personal social media accounts. Instead, they share photos through Kensington Palace's official pages. The exception to that rule is Princess Eugenie, the queen's granddaughter and ninth in line for the throne, who has Instagram.

    During the Trooping the Colour parade in June, Eugenie snapped a photo of her father, Prince Andrew, standing in Buckingham Palace.

    "A wonderful and proud day celebrating Her Majesty's birthday and @hrhthedukeofyork for his first Trooping the Colour as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards. #troopingthecolour," she captioned the photo.

    She told British Vogue that she was later chastised by palace officials for breaking royal protocol by sharing the photo.

    It couldn't have gotten her in too much trouble because it's still up on her Instagram.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    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.

    rivet, $29.99+

    It's crazy to think that Christmas is just a week away. The reality is, though, that in seven days you're going to need to have all of your holiday gifts wrapped and ready to go.

    Haven't bought them yet? Luckily, it's no big deal because plenty of online retailers are offering fast (and in some cases free) two-day shipping to help you get all of your gifts in time. 

    Amazon is one of the retailers you can rely on to get you your gifts on time, especially if you're a Prime member. Yet, many people feel that finding a present in Amazon's sea of millions of products can result in gifts that feel lackluster and a little impersonal. I was in that camp as well, finding it admittedly difficult to find the hidden gems in my broad searches for "minimalist succulent planters" or "shaggy throw pillows".

    I recently discovered Amazon's gift finder, which helps you find curated selections of unique gifts, and I was impressed.

    You can search by category, interests, price, and more. If anything, this proved to me that you can in fact find gifts on Amazon that still feel thoughtful and personal. So, we curated a list of 21 personal gifts on Amazon, for everyone on your list. Keep scrolling to check out our picks below.

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

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    DON'T MISS: 55 creative and unexpected gifts for her that are all under $50

    For the musician

    Audio-Technica Fully Automatic Stereo Turntable, $89

    Musicians and music lovers alike can agree that nothing sounds better than vinyl. If they have a record collection, they'll appreciate this turntable. If they don't have a record collection, start them off with a record or two and introduce them to the unique vinyl sound with this record player — they'll thank you. 

    For the 'green thumb'

    Back to the Roots Garden-in-a-Can Herb Garden, $33.74

    Give them the tools to keep up with their gardening habit all year long. Each garden-in-a-can is super easy to use — just add water and some sunshine — and will have them with fresh cilantro, basil, and mint garnishes in no time. 

    For the bookworm

    Alice in Wonderland Bookmark, $29

    Add some whimsy to their next read with this Alice in Wonderland bookmark. It's sure to catch their attention, and you can be sure they'll never lose their place again. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    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.

    ostrichpillow original

    The average person spends roughly a third of their life sleeping. Whether or not they're getting quality sleep is a different story.

    If you can't quite figure out gifts your friends and family will actually use while they're awake, giving them something that will improve their quality of sleep is a priceless alternative.

    From simple items like cozy flannel sheets, travel pillows, and soothing herbal teas to special items like cell-repairing sheets and sleepwear, sleep-tracking smart mattresses, and sleep sound machines, the possibilities are in great abundance.

    Whether you're shopping for a hard worker who could use some rest or someone who could be a professional napper, you'll find the sleep-aiding gift they've been dreaming of here. Most of these items are available for expedited shipping or will arrive within a few days.

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

    A pillow for sleeping on planes, trains, and anywhere else you can get a nap in

    Ostrich Pillow Original, available in two colors on Amazon, $84.99

    Though it looks pretty ridiculous, the Ostrich Pillow creates a personal space to make sleeping outside of your bed more comfortable. Whether sleeping on an airplane or under a desk during their lunch break, they'll be able to peacefully catch some Z's.

    Comfortable Bluetooth sleeping headphones

    AcousticSheep Wireless Bluetooth Sleep Headphones, available on Amazon, $99.95

    Sleeping with normal headphones can be uncomfortable, and they'll likely come out in the middle of the night anyway. The AcousticSheep Bluetooth Sleep Headphones feature a wide headband design so the wearer can comfortably fall asleep listening to music or white noise.


    A machine that plays soothing white noise and nature sounds

    Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine, available on Amazon, $82 (Originally $89.98) [You save $7.98]

    The Sound+Sleep sound machine has the ability to play 30 sounds from different types of environments. With options like fireplace, waterfall, white noise, meditation, brook, rainfall, train, city, meadow, and ocean, everyone can find a sound that'll put them to sleep.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    artificial intelligence social network eter9

    Many companies use the term artificial intelligence, or AI, as a way to generate excitement for their products and to present themselves as on the cutting edge of tech development.

    But what exactly is artificial intelligence? What does it involve? And how will it help the development of future generations?

    Find out the answers to these questions and more in AI 101, a brand new FREE report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, that describes how AI works and looks at its present and potential future applications.

    To get your copy of the FREE slide deck, simply click here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    meghan harry

    • Sixteen celebrity babies are on their way in 2019.
    • Links to announcements, Instagram posts of the soon-to-be-moms and dads.
    • One of the unborn babies already has 63k followers on Instagram.

    There were so many celebrity babies born in 2018, and 2019 promises even more famous births. 

    Here are all the celebrity babies that we can't wait to meet in 2019.

    Kensington Royal Palace announced the most anticipated birth of 2019 on the Kensington Palace Instagram

    Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will become parents in the spring of the new year. They've continued going on royal engagements since they shared the news and the public, as well as members of the royal family, have expressed their excitement. 

    Jessica Simpson and her husband announced a a third pregnancy on Instagram

    This little baby girl will make us a family of five. We couldn’t be happier to announce this precious blessing of life.

    A post shared by Jessica Simpson (@jessicasimpson) on Sep 18, 2018 at 7:16am PDT on

    The couple will be welcoming a little girl, making them a family of five. 

    Josh Peck of "Drake and Josh" fame will be a first-time dad in 2019

    Oh baby. Literally, there’s a baby in there. Love u @paigeobrienn 📸 @stormshoots

    A post shared by Josh Peck (@shuapeck) on Aug 23, 2018 at 11:28am PDT on

    His wife, Paige O'Brien, announced she was pregnant on Instagram on August 23.

    Carrie Underwood is pregnant with her second child, due in 2019

    She and husband Mike Fisher also have a son, 3-year-old Isaiah. Underwood announced that the baby was another boy during her hosting gig at the Country Music Association Awards earlier this year

    Comedian Amy Schumer and her chef husband, Chris Fischer announced that they will become parents in 2019

    Amy showed off herpregnancy for the first time via Instagram, sharing a photo of her sonogram while encouraging folks to vote in the caption. She's also made headlines for her honest social media posts about pregnancy, postingan Instagram video showing her with morning sickness before going onstage for a show.

    The controversial "The Bachelor" contestant Arie Luyendyk Jr. and fiancée Lauren Burnham announced they would be first-time parents in 2019

    Our greatest adventure begins June 2019!👶🏼 . . 📷: @griffithimaging

    A post shared by Lauren Burnham (@laureneburnham) on Nov 14, 2018 at 6:20am PST on

    The couple is also getting married in 2019 before the baby is born. Baby Luyendyk already has 64.6k followers.

    Another "The Bachelor" alum Bekah Martinez announced that she and her boyfriend, Grayston Leonard, will be parents in 2019

    She took toYouTube to share a six-minute video with the news. She recently shared a triumphant Instagram post celebrating completing her first term back at The University of California Irvine while seven months pregnant. 

    Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks on "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," took to social media to announce that he and wife Angela Unkrich are expecting their third child together in the spring of 2019

    Guess which bump is already kicking?? Baby Ribeiro due Spring 2019 #babyontheway @mrsangelaribeiro1

    A post shared by Alfonso Ribeiro (@therealalfonsoribeiro) on Nov 2, 2018 at 8:00am PDT on

    He posted a picture of Angela with their two children, Anders Reyn and Alfonso Lincoln, all sporting bumps.

    Victoria's Secret Angel Lily Aldridge revealed that she and her husband, Kings of Leon front-man Caleb Followill, are expecting their second child in 2019

    🤗🤗🤗 SURPRISE🤗🤗🤗

    A post shared by Lily Aldridge (@lilyaldridge) on Aug 19, 2018 at 12:22pm PDT on

    They've been married for seven years, and have a daughter named Dixie who is 6.

    Benedict Cumberbatch and wife Sophie Hunter are going to be parents for the third time

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter

    They have two sons, Hal and Kit.

    Richard Gere and his new wife Alejandra Silva, who got married in 2018, are expecting a baby in 2019

    ¡Soy muy feliz! ❤️ ... I’m so happy! #happygirl

    A post shared by Alejandra Gere (@alejandragere) on Dec 5, 2018 at 11:55am PST on

    This is their first child together, each has another with previous partners. Alejandra has posted a bump picture on Instagram, confirming the baby will be born in 2019.

    Irish UFC lightweight champ Conor McGregor will become a second-time dad with his girlfriend of a more than a decade, Dee Devlin

    Happy 30th birthday babe! Thank you for being you! Love you to bits from me, Conor jr and the bump ❤️

    A post shared by Dee Devlin (@deedevlin1) on Jul 14, 2018 at 11:24am PDT on

    Baby #2 will join Conor Jr.

    Robin Thicke and April Love Geary announced that their second baby is due on Thicke's birthday — March 10

    The couple also announced that they would be expecting a second baby girl.

    "Jersey Shore" star Deena Nicole Cortese is pregnant with her first child.

    The reality TV star and new husband Chris Buckner announced the news on Instagram. She is included on this list, though it's worth noting the baby could be born in late 2018. 

    Deena's fellow "Jersey Shore" meatball, Nicole (Snooki) Polizzi is also expecting— with her third baby

    What I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving ❤️ 🙏🏽 #family

    A post shared by Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (@snooki) on Nov 22, 2018 at 7:41am PST on

    Snooki announced on Thanksgiving that she was expecting a third baby with her husband Jionni LaValle. This announcement came after fans watched Snooki take a pregnancy test in a CVS and get a negative on "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation."

    Jason Aldean and his wife Brittany Kerr announced their second pregnancy in July

    Sup everybody....... guess who is gonna be a BIG brother! #thisdude #aldeanpartyof6

    A post shared by Jason Aldean (@jasonaldean) on Jul 10, 2018 at 8:06am PDT on

    Shortly after, Brittany shared a gender reveal video confirming that they are having a girl. Baby girl Aldean will be the little sister to Memphis, who is 7 months old.

    VisitINSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday

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    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.

    gifts for music lovers 5

    Most of us listen to music in some capacity and can say we like it.

    But there are the people who just listen casually to whatever happens to be on the radio, and then there are the people who spend hours carefully curating playlists, filling their calendars with concerts to attend, and even playing music themselves.

    This gift guide is for the latter group, who argue that they don't just like music, they love it. 

    To fuel their passion, you can gift something that elevates the listening experience, teaches them something new about music, or puts them right in front of their favorite singer. 

    Shop these 17 gifts for music lovers below. 

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

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    A diagram of famous guitars

    A Visual Compendium of Guitars 18"x 24" Print, $30, available at Pop Chart

    Can they identify all the guitars held by famous rockers in this eye-catching print? They'll find the musical companions of  Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty, Kurt Cobain, and Joan Jett, among many other iconic musicians. 

    A limited-edition Taylor Swift instant camera

    Fujifilm Taylor Swift Limited Edition Instax Film Camera with Square Instant Film Bundle, $199.95, available at Amazon

    This camera design is inspired by Taylor Swift's "Reputation" album and has the singer written all over it (literally — it features her autograph on both the back of the camera and the borders of the prints). The die-hard fan in your life can bring the portable camera to all their concerts to immortalize the experience. 

    A vinyl record membership

    3-month Gift Membership, $99, available at Vinyl Me, Please

    Vinyl record owners experience no greater joy than when they get to add to their collection and play a new record for the first time. Your recipient will choose from three different types of tracks each month and will also receive extra goodies in each package. The three-month membership includes one bonus record. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Life insurance is fundamentally hard to sell; it’s morbid to think about, promises no immediate rewards, and often requires a lengthy paper application with minimal guidance.
    • Despite the popularity of personalized products in other areas of finance and fintech, life insurance largely remains unchanged.
    • A small, but growing pocket of insurtech startups are shaking up the status quo by finding ways to digitize life insurance and increase its appeal.

    Life insurance is a fundamentally difficult product to sell; it requires people to think about their deaths without promising any immediate returns.

    Life Insurance Graphic

    And, despite tech innovations and the development of personalized services in other areas of finance, life insurance remains largely unchanged.

    Luckily, there is a small but growing pocket of insurtech startups looking to modernize it. These companies are finding ways to digitize life insurance to  appeal to consumers — and they’re giving incumbents the opportunity to revamp traditional offerings, either by partnering with them or using their technology.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has forecasted the shifting landscape of life insurance in the The Future of Life Insurance report. Here are the key problems insurtechs are tackling:

    • Lack of education: Forty percent of US consumers told the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) that they feel intimidated by the life insurance application process, often drastically overestimating its cost and facing uncertainty about how much or which type of coverage to buy.
    • Inconvenient application process: It can take weeks or months for coverage to take effect because of the sheer number of meetings and parties combing through paperwork in each round of the application process. The risk for the insurer often warrants reviews from the carrier, a team of underwriters, a broker, and even a medical examiner.
    • Low customer loyalty: Life insurance tends to be a “set it and forget it” type of purchase, with very few people revisiting it after buying. Insurers and consumers therefore have limited contact for most of the relationship — with the exception of an annual bill, of course.
    • Inefficient data management and processing: The aggregate data life insurers rely on is typically fed into algorithms that make broad assumptions about particular populations, and often incorporate outdated medical documentation — all of which can delay applications and result in unnecessary rejections.

    Want to learn more?

    The need for modernization in life insurance is clear: Overall sales are slowing and policy ownership is hitting record lows. And because it’s such a tightly-regulated space, innovation from incumbents has stagnated — but they’re not helpless. Consumer-focused and insurer-focused startups have emerged to offer new technologies and process improvements.

    The Future of Life Insurance report from Business Insider Intelligence looks at the two main strategies life insurtechs are adopting to drive change in this market, for the benefit of both buyers and sellers. In full, the report discusses best practices incumbents and startups should adopt to steer clear of the risks attached to applying emerging technologies to such a tightly regulated product.

    Insurtech startups will soon set new industry standards and consumer expectations around this complex product. That, in turn will serve as a catalyst for innovation among legacy players.

    Companies included in this report: Ladder, Haven Life, Getsurance, Tomorrow, Fabric, Atidot, AllLife, Royal London, Polly,, Legal & General, Vitality, Discovery, John Hancock, Dai-ichi Life.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Larry Ellison

    • At its earnings call on Monday, Oracle cofounder, chief technology officer, and executive chairman Larry Ellison said there's "no way" anyone would move from an Oracle database to an Amazon database.
    • Amazon is trying to move off of Oracle databases, making some key progress this year when it switched off its largest Oracle data warehouse.
    • Still, for a company so focused on moving off of Oracle's database, it's taking a long time, Ellison said. 

    After Oracle reported its earnings Monday, Oracle founder Larry Ellison said on a call with analysts that he has no doubt that Oracle will stay dominant in the database market — and that Amazon Web Services, its foremost rival, is just "making all the noise."

    "There's no way anyone would move from an Oracle database to an Amazon database," Ellison said during the earnings call. "It's too expensive."

    Amazon itself is having trouble doing this, Ellison said. CNBC previously reported that Amazon has plans to completely move off Oracle's databases by 2020.

    Earlier this year, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy tweeted that Amazon's consumer business will have 88% of its work on Oracle databases moved to Amazon's. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels also said in November that his best day at Amazon this year was when the retailer switched off its largest Oracle data warehouse and moved over to its own.

    To that, Ellison said, nice try.

    "[Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos gave the command, 'I want to get off the Oracle database,'" Ellison said. "They've been working on this for a few years. It's taken Amazon, who's dedicated to doing that several years, and they're not there yet."

    What's more, Ellison said, Amazon makes it a habit to take free, open-source databases it didn't create itself and just sell the software on its cloud.

    Amazon's popular Aurora database is based on MySQL, an open-source database that anyone can download and use themselves. Indeed, some startups have taken issue with Amazon's habit of taking open-source software and packaging it as a paid service, and gone on the offensive.

    Read more:Oracle’s revenue didn’t drop like Wall Street thought it would, and the stock jumps a little

    Bashing each other in public is something of a recent tradition between Amazon and Oracle. In October, Ellison said onstage that Oracle's database is "infinitely" better than Amazon's at Oracle's annual conference and that the retailer is "about 10, 20 years behind in database technology."

    Oracle reported an EPS of $0.80 on revenues of $9.56 billion, beating Wall Street estimates.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Yael Stone

    • One of the stars of Netflix's hit ensemble series, "Orange is the New Black," has made new and explosive allegations on Australia's national broadcaster against the award-winning film and theater actor Geoffrey Rush.

    • During a two year run of the stage play Diary of a Madman from 2010, Yael Stone alleges that Rush exposed himself, dancing naked in her dressing room, peppered her with sexually suggestive text messages, and attempted to spy on her in the shower.

    • The star of "The King's Speech" has spent much of 2018 in court and is seeking damages for defamation from the newspaper that published recent allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the Sydney theatre scene.
    • Stone told the ABC she is speaking publicly to help bring about change in the entertainment industry.

    "Orange is the New Black" star Yael Stone has followed up with allegations first told to The New York Times on Sunday with an explosive 45-minute interview on Australia's national broadcaster detailing the alleged instances of inappropriate behavior by her former mentor Geoffrey Rush.

    By airing allegations of sexual misconduct with the ABC and through The Times on Sunday night, the Australian-born actor is confronting both the power at the top of Australian theater as well as the country's upside-down libel laws.

    Stone has alleged through both the Times and now the ABC that Rush "danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, used a mirror to watch her while she showered, and sent her occasionally erotic text messages while the two shared the stage 7 years earlier performing at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre in “The Diary of a Madman.” 

    In the ABC interview, Stone recounted instances of inappropriate conduct, including when she was showering after a show, and caught Rush attempting to watch her from the shower adjacent.

    "I looked up and saw a small shaving mirror being held over the top of the cubicle, to be used in a way to look down at my naked body," she told the ABC.

    "I believe it was made in the spirit of a joke. The fact is it made me incredibly uncomfortable. I think I dealt with it by words to the effect of, 'bugger off, Geoffrey'."

    Stone told the ABC she has come forward is speaking publicly to help compel change.

    But that is easier said than done in Australia, where Rush, alongside the other Academy Award-winning Australian actor Cate Blanchett, completes a powerful double act that dominates the Australian theatre industry.

     A young Australian stage actor who had informally made a complaint late last year with the Sydney Theatre Co. over Rush's alleged “inappropriate behaviour,” has found this out to her own detriment, being called as the star witness in a defamation case derived from her own complaint to the theatre that employed both her and Rush.

    The actor was later named as Eryn Jean Norvill, 34, who played Rush’s daughter Cordelia in the 2017 Sydney Theatre production of King Lear.

    That entire unfortunate process — Rush is happily now awaiting the court's decision on just how many his millions in damages may be — could easily be seen as a black eye for the transparency needed to ensure movements like #MeToo survive the various bureaucratic setbacks and booby traps hidden inside legal and social systems worldwide.

    Stone's allegations span 2010 and 2011 and since then the actor said she has spent many "long, dark nights of the soul" deciding what to do.

    Not just for her career, or the careers of those who face similar burdens. The reality for Stone and others like her is that she still faces an Australian legal system where the burden of proof in defamation is on the publisher to prove that the allegations against the plaintiff are true, not the reverse as it is almost everywhere else.

    Rushing for a change of atmosphere

    Rush kiss

    Rush, has himself spent much of 2018 in court, suing a national newspaper for defamation following allegations of sexual harassment put forward by another young female stage actor.

    The Daily Telegraph published several front-page stories at the end of last year, wherein Rush was lampooned for behaviors similar to those allegations made by Stone on Sunday.

    Enter the New York Times, where Stone and the publishers live in a world where the legal burden is on the person who claims to have been defamed: He or she must prove that the allegations are false.

    And in the states, people who sue must prove that the publisher acted with reckless disregard of the truth, even if the statements prove false.

    In Australia, it’s the opposite: The burden is on the publisher to prove that the allegations against the plaintiff are true. Where it might get freshly murky of course is that The New York Times is read in Australia and publishes to Australian readers via its website, so while libel litigation in this case might be unlikely, it would be informative to media-law buffs.

    The 67-year-old Rush might be hard to picture, but he is a multiple Golden Globe winning actor (1997, 2005) and plays Captain Barbosa opposite Johnny Depp in "The Pirates of the Caribbean" series.

    In Australia he is a legend. Australian of the Year in 2012, a year after Stone alleges the harassment took place.

    In a statement to The Times, Rush roundly rejected the allegations.

    "From the outset I must make it clear that the allegations of inappropriate behaviour made by Yael Stone are
    incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context," he wrote.

    "However, clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work."

    Rush's full statement is available here.

    At the timer, Stone admitted that she didn't complain to director Neil Armfield or confront Rush, as a 25-year-old finding her way into a career that she sought desperately to protect.

    Even hinting at what was happening, might sidetrack the production, she said.

    "Are they going to cancel the show? Are they going to refund all those tickets? Are they going to boot him and keep me? No-one is there to see me! What happens to the New York season?'," Stone told the ABC.

    As Rush's court case played out favorably in the media spotlight last year, Stone told The Times that she "swore" to stay in the shadows.

    "I would never come forward. My intention was to keep it private."

    But after Rush failed to reply to an empathetic email Stone wrote on December 11, last year, under the subject, “Challenging times,” the penny dropped.

    Stone told the ABC that she has weighed the pros and cons of coming forward, but decided that in the end what happened is "in the public interest."

    "Whenever women, particularly, speak about issues like this, their career generally suffers. I've factored that into my calculations and if that happens I think it's worth it."

    Rush has told the ABC that the allegations of inappropriate behaviour are incorrect, but sincerely regretted if his "spirited enthusiasm" had caused any distress.

    SEE ALSO: Michael Bloomberg suggests doubts about #MeToo movement and allegations against Charlie Rose

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    Growth Regtech Firms

    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    Regtech solutions seemed to offer the solution to financial institutions' (FIs) compliance woes when they first came to prominence around 24 months ago, gaining support from regulators and investors alike. 

    However, many of the companies offering these solutions haven't scaled as might have been expected from the initial hype, and have failed to follow the trajectory of firms in other segments of fintech.

    This unexpected inertia in the regtech industry is likely to resolve over the next 12-18 months as other factors come into play that shift FIs' approach to regtech solutions, and as the companies offering them evolve. External factors driving this change include regulatory support of regtech solutions, and consultancies offering more help to FIs wanting to sift through solutions. Startups offering regtech solutions will also play a part by partnering with each other, forming industry organizations, and taking advantage of new opportunities.

    This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, provides a brief overview of the current global financial regulatory compliance landscape, and the regtech industry's position within it. It then details the major drivers that will shift the dial on FIs' adoption of regtech over the next 12-18 months, as well as those that will propel startups offering regtech solutions to new heights. Finally, it outlines what impact these drivers will have, and gives insight into what the global regtech industry will look like by 2020.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Regulatory compliance is still a significant issue faced by global FIs. In 2018 alone, EU regulations MiFID II and PSD2 have come into effect, bringing with them huge handbooks and gigantic reporting requirements. 
    • Regtech startups boast solutions that can ease FIs' compliance burden — but they are struggling to scale. 
    • Some changes expected to drive greater adoption of these solutions in the next 12 to 18 months are: the ongoing evolution of startups' business models, increasing numbers of partnerships, regulators' promotion of regtech, changing attitudes to the segment among FIs, and consultancies helping to facilitate adoption.
    • FIs will actively be using solutions from regtech startups by 2020, and startups will be collaborating in an organized fashion with each other and with FIs. Global regulators will have adopted regtech themselves, while continuing to act as advocates for the industry.

    In full, the report:

    • Reviews the major changes expected to hit the regtech segment in the next 12 to 18 months.
    • Examines the drivers behind these changes, and how the proliferation of regtech will improve compliance for FIs.
    • Provides our view on what the future of the regtech industry looks like through 2020.


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    Michael Flynn

    • During his fateful interview with FBI agents at the White House in January 2017, then-National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was given numerous opportunities to describe his prior conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to new FBI interview notes released Monday.
    • Flynn pleaded guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.
    • The FBI's official interview notes — known as 302s – were filed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in federal court in Washington DC, where Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

    During his fateful interview with FBI agents at the White House in January 2017, then-National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was given numerous opportunities to describe his prior conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, according to new FBI interview notes released Monday.

    In each instance, Flynn denied that he had spoken to Kislyak about Russian sanctions or a pending UN resolution on Israel.

    Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

    The FBI interview notes — known as 302s – were filed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in federal court in Washington DC, where Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday. The judge in the case ordered the filing of the redacted documents because he deemed them relevant to sentencing.

    In in a memo released last week prior to sentencing on Tuesday, Flynn's attorneys claimed that agents never told him that lying to the FBI was a crime, the Associated Press reported.

    "A sitting National Security (Adviser), former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents," prosecutors fired back.

    "He does not need to be warned it is a crime to lie to federal agents to know the importance of telling them the truth."

    SEE ALSO: Mueller says the FBI is not to blame for Michael Flynn's false statements

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


    Based on our team's collective experience, gifting someone a book — especially a long, adventurous, exhilarating series — has an effect that can span years and, sometimes, even lifetimes. They provide hours of enjoyment and imagination, and they help create opportunities for kids to both spend time alone and connect with friends over shared interests.

    Below are twelve of the best series you can gift a young adult, from timeless classics to exciting newcomers that have inspired upcoming or already released major motion pictures and series, providing aspects of fandom they can enjoy post-reading. 

    Captions provided by Amazon and edited for length.

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

    "Inheritance Cycle" by Christopher Paolini

    "Inheritance Cycle" 4-Book Boxed Set, $41.74

    "Inheritance Cycle" is the unforgettable, worldwide best-selling saga of one boy, one dragon, and a world of adventure. When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it's the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he and his dragon, Saphira, are thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands...

    Plus, when they’re done with these four, there’s a new book from Paolini being released December 31, 2018 after a seven-year gap.

    "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling

    "Harry Potter" Paperback Box Set, $52.16

    The "Harry Potter" series has been hailed as “one for the ages” by Stephen King and “a spellbinding saga" by USA Today. The New York Times called “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” the “fastest selling book in history.” This is the ultimate Harry Potter collection for Harry Potter fans of all ages, books one through seven. You can also get them in hardcover for $72.27.

    "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

    "The Hunger Games" Trilogy, $26.44

    The extraordinary, groundbreaking New York Times best sellers “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire”, along with the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, “Mockingjay,” are available in a beautiful boxset edition. The collectible also comes with new foil covers, more than 50 pages of bonus material, and the most extensive interview Suzanne Collins has given since the publication of “The Hunger Games”.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and self-driving technology are helping the transportation and logistics industry finally transform by cutting costs, optimizing delivery routes, and automating mundane tasks.
    • Startups will be the lynchpin of this transformation because they specifically target areas of need  with cutting-edge solutions.
    • Business Insider Intelligence examined the top 5 startups within five key areas: digital freight services, warehouse robotics, AI for supply chain management, last-mile delivery robotics, and self-driving car software.

    Transportation and logistics industries have operated largely the same way for decades. But the surge in e-commerce in the last several years, combined with consumers’ appetite for same-day delivery, has brought us to a tipping point.

    Total Logistics Costs

    Delivery companies are doing all they can to get orders to customers’ doors as quickly as possible, which has facilitated wholesale changes in how they operate.

    Cutting-edge digital solutions (including digital freight services, warehouse robotics, AI for supply chain management, delivery robotics, and autonomous driving software) are forcing traditional delivery companies to either evolve or see their core businesses erode.

    Transportation & Logistics Startups to Watch, a new report from Business Insider Intelligence, monitors the biggest change agents in the industry to offer unique insight into the development of the transportation and logistics space at large, and shows how traditional companies are adapting to their new environment.

    Want to Learn More?

    Business Insider Intelligence's Startups to Watch reports give a high-level overview of the funding trends for startups in a particular coverage area, as well as a list of key startups (by function, what they do, key news, and statistics). Businesses need to understand new competitive threats, technologies, and acquisition opportunities in order to thrive. These reports provide that contextual information in an easy-to-digest manner.

    In full, the Transportation & Logistics Startups to Watch report dives into the top 25 companies - five startups across five key disruption areas - that are easing shipping burdens, improving order fulfillment efficiency, optimizing delivery, and automating processes.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Smart speakers in shoppingConsumers are finally starting to adopt smart home devices, with nearly 60% owning at least one device. This presents an opportunity for e-commerce companies to enter the smart home and encourage purchasing through the devices.

    The smart speaker has become the face of the smart home in many ways, attracting the lion’s share of attention as companies look for ways to take advantage of the growing platform. But there’s a problem: Consumers aren’t using the smart speaker to actually buy products very often.

    Instead, one of the clearest opportunities outside of the smart speaker is home goods and grocery replenishment through large appliances. Smart devices in the home — especially appliances — can take advantage of built-in sensors to either tell consumers when they need to buy more of a product, or make that purchase autonomously. This will create an opportunity for appliance manufacturers, e-commerce vendors, and product suppliers to ink supply agreements to meet consumers' needs.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines several areas of opportunity for e-commerce companies to leverage smart home technologies to provide new and better services to their customers. First, we explore how smart appliances, including connected dishwashers and laundry machines, are building on one-click purchasing systems to enable automated replenishment. We then discuss the smart fridge and detail how apps, cameras, and voice assistants are enabling takeout and grocery delivery through these appliances. Finally, we examine the role of the voice interface beyond smart speakers as it relates to purchasing products in the home, and how omnipresent voice will be used to organize and interact with automated services.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Blue Apron, Costo, GE, Google, Instacart, Keurig, KitchenAid, LG, Ocado, P&G, Plated, Reynolds, Samsung, Target, Walmart, Whirlpool.

     Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Companies have a clear opportunity to leverage sensors, cameras, and connectivity in a variety of home appliances to revolutionize the way consumers buy home goods.
    • Smart appliance manufacturers, e-tailers, and CPG companies will be able to collaborate and partner to develop new methods of resupplying consumers' homes.
    • The smart fridge will transform into the hub of the kitchen and become the autonomous organizing device that oversees grocery purchasing and food delivery.

    In full, the report:

    • Provides an overview of the key players and types of products in the smart appliance space.
    • Highlights the models that companies can adopt to take advantage of the developing sector.
    • Identifies the key services that will boost automated e-commerce engagement in the home.


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    President Donald Trump and Mick Mulvaney

    • Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump's new acting chief of staff, once believed there could be more undiscovered audio tapes and video footage of unflattering comments made by Trump.
    • "My guess is worse stuff is going to come out in the last 30 days," Mulvaney said in an interview in October 2016, days after the release of the bombshell "Hollywood Access" tape. "They've got more video tapes. Everything the guy's ever said is on a video tape or an audio tape. There's going to be some atrocious things that are going to come out."
    • Mulvaney said, despite his concerns, he believed supporting Trump was for the greater good of the GOP. But he was apparently baffled by the state of politics during the 2016 election, likening it to an alternate universe.

    Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump's new acting chief of staff, once believed there could be more undiscovered audio tapes and video footage of unflattering comments made by Trump, according to an interview he gave in October 2016.

    Mulvaney, a former Republican representative of South Carolina, reiterated his previous endorsement for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a former Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election, adding that he "was never a Donald Trump guy," according to an interview he gave with the South Carolina-based "Jonathan and Kelly Show."

    "When I signed up with Donald Trump, I signed up with Donald Trump for one primary reason — which is that he was running against Hillary Clinton," Mulvaney said in the interview, which was reported by CNN on Monday. "And that is still who he's running against."

    Read more:Trump reportedly grew frustrated no one wanted to be his chief of staff before settling on Mick Mulvaney

    Mulvaney also discussed the bombshell "Hollywood Access" audio recording in which Trump was heard saying lewd comments about women in 2005. Days before Mulvaney gave the interview, the tape's existence was first made public by The Washington Post and was widely believed to be a focal point in a contentious presidential election.

    Mick Mulvaney

    "My guess is worse stuff is going to come out in the last 30 days," Mulvaney said. "They've got more video tapes. Everything the guy's ever said is on a video tape or an audio tape. There's going to be some atrocious things that are going to come out."

    Mulvaney said, despite his concerns, he believed supporting Trump was for the greater good of the GOP. But he was apparently baffled by the state of politics during the 2016 election, likening it to an alternate universe.

    "Should either of these people be a role model for my 16-year-old triplets? No," Mulvaney said, referring to Trump and Clinton. "In an ordinary universe with [sic] both of these people's past activities disqualify them from service for office? Yes."

    "But that's not the world we live in today," Mulvaney added. "The world we live in today is either him or her. And for me, that's still an easy choice."

    Read more: Trump's newest chief of staff called him a 'terrible human being' days before he won the presidency

    Mulvaney's interview comes after another unearthed audio recording that once placed him at odds with Trump. Days before the presidential election, Mulvaney described Trump as a "terrible human being" and one "of the most flawed human beings running for president in the history of the country," during a debate with a Democratic opponent running for his House seat.

    Last week, Mulvaney was selected to replace chief of staff John Kelly and serve as acting chief of staff.

    "I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" Trump tweeted on Friday.

    Mulvaney tweeted his thanks to Trump, following the announcement.

    "This is a tremendous honor," Mulvaney said on Twitter. "I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It's going to be a great 2019!"

    Mulvaney took on numerous roles in the Trump administration and is widely seen as a fiscal conservative willing to cut federal spending. Mulvaney will not resign as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, "but will spend all of his time devoted" to his new role as acting chief of staff, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

    SEE ALSO: Trump reportedly grew frustrated no one wanted to be his chief of staff before settling on Mick Mulvaney

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    Professor Jordan Peterson

    • Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor who frequently rails against political correctness on YouTube, says that he's planning to launch an alternative to crowdfunding platform Patreon before Christmas.
    • The announcement comes as Patreon has been losing users and patrons following the banning of a high-profile YouTuber belonging to the "Intellectual Dark Web."
    • Peterson and those in his circle have seen subscriber losses between 10% and 20%.

    Jordan Peterson, a Canadian professor who has built a reputation for fighting against "political correctness" and "cultural Marxism," and conservative comedian and pundit Dave Rubin announced Monday that they would launch an alternative to crowdfunding website Patreon following the removal of several high profile conservative users of the service.

    In a discussion posted to YouTube Monday afternoon, Peterson said that he and his collaborators would launch a Patreon alternative "hopefully before Christmas."

    "I’ve been working on a system to allow authors and other people who engage publicly on intellectual issues to interact more effectively with their readers and viewers and listeners," said Peterson. "What we’re going to try and do as fast as we possibly can is to set this system up on a subscriber model that’s analogous to Patreon. It will have a bunch of additional features, which I don’t want to talk about right now, and I don’t want to overpromise because the system is new."

    Peterson and Rubin were reacting to a series of bans that have taken place on Patreon

    sam harris

    Last week, Vice News reported that Patreon had barred fringe conservative Milo Yiannopoulos after he attempted to use the platform to fund a "magnificent 2019 comeback" tour. Patreon said the decision was based on Yiannopoulos' association with the Proud Boys, which it classifies as a hate group. 

    A day later, Patreon barred Carl Benjamin, a YouTuber known as Sargon of Akkad who grew to prominence through his videos attacking feminism and identity politics. Patreon says Benjamin used "racial and homophobic slurs to degrade another individual." He has since accused Patreon of political bias on his YouTube channel, which has more than 867,000 subscribers.

    Read more: Sam Harris deleted his Patreon account, accusing the crowdfunding membership platform of 'political bias' 

    Following Benjamin's ban, Peterson posted to Patreon to express his displeasure, making an initial announcement that he was considering the creation of an alternative: "Dave Rubin and I (and others) have been discussing the establishment of a Patreon-like enterprise that will not be susceptible to arbitrary censorship, and we are making progress, but these things cannot be rushed without the possibility of excess error. But I am seriously displeased about the removal of Sargon (and many other people) and will definitely do something about it."

    On Sunday evening, author and podcaster Sam Harris, who occupies the same constellation of controversial thinkers as Peterson and Rubin — described as the "Intellectual Dark Web"— became one of the largest figures to rebel against the platform. Harris announced on Twitter that he was leaving Patreon as a result of the platforms "political bias."

    "Although I don’t share the politics of the banned members, I consider it no longer tenable to expose any part of my podcast funding to the whims of Patreon’s 'Trust and Safety' committee," wrote Harris.

    Harris' publicist says he has no intention as of yet to join the new platform, referring to a section of Harris' statements where he solicits subscriptions directly through his website. 

    Patreon brings in significant revenue for some

    For the figures in Peterson's realm, who are well-known for pushing against what they see as a culture of encroaching political correctness, Patreon has been a lucrative revenue stream. 

    According to Graphtreon, a site that tracks Patreon statistics, Harris had nearly 9,000 paying patrons at the end of November when he had the fourth-largest podcast account and the 11th-largest account overall. The site estimated that Harris made $23,000 to $65,000 from Patreon per episode.

    Peterson had 8,568 patrons at the end of November, with sixth-largest video account and the fourteenth-largest account overall. It's estimated that Peterson made $15,000 to $67,000 from Patreon per month. 

    Peterson and Rubin both say that they have lost followers after users begin to protest the removal of Benjamin among others, and the data supports that. Since November 30, Peterson has lost 12.4% of his subscribers according to Graphtreon. Rubin has lost 21.8%. 

    sargon of akkad AKA Carl Benjamin

    In emails to users, Patreon noted user backlash to the removal of Benjamin. 

    "I understand that some of your patrons have left due to the decision of Patreon to remove Sargon of Akkad's creator page from our site," the Patreon representative said in the email, adding, "We want to provide you with the tools to make your Patreon experience a successful one and keep you feeling supported whenever you may need."

    For people losing over 10% of their subscribers that support is seemingly not enough.

    Other platforms have attempted to free themselves of censorship

    The idea of a new platform free of censorship, even when it comes to hate groups, appears to be novel in the crowdfunding space, but in other arenas, the idea has been iterated on with mixed results.

    Perhaps the most recent example is the social media website Gab, which was created following a purge of fringe Twitter users in 2016. The site, which champions "free speech" as its primary value, quickly became "extremist-friendly," as The New York Times described it in October. The site has notably played host to neo-Nazi and White Nationalist users, including Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers.  

    Other similar spaces, such as 4Chan, have yielded similar results

    In the video announcement, Peterson didn't address the possibility of extremism on a censorship-free platform. Peterson did not reply to Business Insider's request for comment.

    Work for Patreon and have a tip? Email Benjamin Goggin at

    SEE ALSO: Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes says he's been banned from YouTube over 'dos and don'ts of public urination' video

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    global fintech funding

    Digital disruption is affecting every aspect of the fintech industry.

    Over the past five years, fintech has established itself as a fundamental part of the global financial services ecosystem.

    Fintech startups have raised, and continue to raise, billions of dollars annually, pushing incumbent financial institutions to get in on the action. Legacy players have begun using fintech to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving financial services landscape.

    So what's next?

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores recent innovations in the fintech space as well as what might be coming in the future in our brand new exclusive slide deck, The Future of Fintech: How Fintech Is Taking Over The World and What Comes Next.

    To get your copy of this free slide deck, click here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    storm clouds over nyc

    • Economists expect growth to slow in the US over the next couple of years.
    • The yield curve partially inverted this month, an occurrence seen as a potential recession predictor.  
    • Meanwhile, banks have started to pull back on risky lending, Reuters reports.

    With fears about the next economic downturn looming, banks are taking a step back from risky lending.

    Reuters first reported that Capital One Financial Corp is among banks restricting how much they lend, holding back on initial loans and credit-line increases. Regional banks also appear to be erring on the side of caution, particularly with second mortgages, commercial real-estate loans, and credit cards.

    According to a survey out this month from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, nearly half of applicants with low credit scores were rejected in the four months ending in October. The credit rejection rate was 21.2% that month, well above its reading of 15.7% at the same time a year earlier.

    And banks shut down the highest number of existing accounts since the beginning of the survey in 2013, with most of the closures among subprime customers.

    "Rates have risen over the past year so I'm not surprised to see banks pulling back from riskier loans; that's what they're supposed to do," said Ian Sheperdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "Higher interest rates mean higher default rates, other things equal."

    As trade tensions linger, stimulus fades, and monetary policy tightens, economists widely expect growth to slow next year.

    The yield curve partially inverted earlier this month, with the shorter-dated 3-year Treasury yield topping its 5-year counterpart. That marked the first time it had happened in 11 years, and it awakened fears of an imminent slowdown.

    If the Federal Reserve increases its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point this week, as is widely expected, that narrowing would likely continue.

    Bank stocks have tumbled in recent months, with the S&P 500 financials index briefly falling more than a fifth from its January peak. For financial institutions borrowing at a low short-term rate and lending at higher long-term rates, a flattening yield curve can also threaten profitability.

    More than half of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal forecast a recession could start in 2020. Still, just one in 10 respondents expect a recession next year.

    John Stoltzfus, chief investment officer at Oppenheimer Research, said fundamentals this year have shown enough strength to weather some slowing domestically and abroad.

    "Yet recession predictions continue to litter the economic landscape even as fundamentals don’t appear to show deterioration or signs that a recession is imminent," he said.

    Check out the Reuters story here.

    Now Read:

    A fund that's crushing 99% of its peers this year reveals why it's betting big on legal cannabis — and the single stock driving its outperformance

    We just got the most alarming sign yet that investors are bracing for a stock market crash

    SEE ALSO: 2019 is shaping up to be a 'horrible year' for the market — here's a $64 billion investor's game plan to avoid big losses

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    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape

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    james comey

    • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused former FBI director James Comey of "tremendous corruption" in a blistering statement released Monday.
    • Sanders' comments follows Comey's roughly six-hour, closed-door interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight committee, which took place earlier in the day.
    • Comey criticized Republican lawmakers for not standing up to President Donald Trump's treatment of the FBI.

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused former FBI director James Comey of "tremendous corruption" in a blistering statement after he criticized Republican lawmakers for not standing up to President Donald Trump's treatment of the FBI.

    "Republicans should stand up to Comey and his tremendous corruption - from the fake Hillary Clinton investigation, to lying and leaking, to FISA abuse, and a list too long to name," Sanders said in a tweet on Monday night. "The President did the country a service by firing him and exposing him for the shameless fraud he is."

    Sanders' comments follow Comey's roughly six-hour, closed-door interview with the House Judiciary and Oversight committee on Monday — the second such hearing Comey is publicly known to have attended this month.

    Comey, who was asked questions about the FBI's investigations into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Hillary Clinton's emails, appeared to be distraught by Trump's repeated attacks on the department Comey once led until his abrupt firing in May 2017.

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders

    "Somebody has to stand up and speak for the FBI," Comey said to reporters after his testimony. "People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they're not telling it. Their silence is shameful."

    "The FBI's reputation has taken a big hit because the President of the United States has lied about it constantly," he added.

    Trump has repeatedly questioned the FBI's investigation into Clinton's emails and through his attorneys, encouraged the agency to investigate Comey's handing of the probe.

    Clinton was investigated for mishandling classified information through her private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. The FBI concluded twice that it would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton.

    A Justice Department investigation on Comey's handling of Clinton's email found that the former director had violated norms and damaged the department's reputation after announcing he would reopen the probe, days before the 2016 presidential election. But the inspector general also concluded his role in the investigation was not influenced by political bias.

    Comey's appearance before Congress has touched a nerve among Republicans. Some members of the party have continued to express frustration about the Russia probe and have raised doubts about Comey's motivations.

    Democrats have accused Republicans of staging a last-ditch effort to score political points before Democrats retake the House in 2019.

    "I find it frustrating to be here answering questions about things that are far less important than the values this country is built upon," Comey said after the hearing.

    SEE ALSO: 'I'm ashamed of Republicans': James Comey goes in on the GOP during CNN town hall

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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