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    Santa Claus

    • Americans vary in how they pronounce the words "merry,""marry," and "Mary."
    • A majority, 57%, of Americans pronounce all three words the same.
    • The divide highlights something fascinating about American English.

    You're probably going to hear the phrase "merry Christmas" a lot over the next few days.

    But depending on who you talk to, it might not sound the same every time.

    That's because how people pronounce the word "merry" is at the heart of one of the most interesting divides in American English. And diving into the data reveals a fascinating quirk about our language.

    How do you pronounce 'merry,' 'marry,' and 'Mary'?

    Think of how you pronounce "merry,""marry," and "Mary." 

    Do you pronounce all those words the same? Do you pronounce two of them the same, and one different? Or do they all sound different when you say them?

    If you chose option 1, you're in the majority — 57% of the country pronounces all three words the same. That's according to the Harvard Dialect Study, a legendary 2003 survey of more than 30,000 Americans by linguist Bert Vaux and data scientist Scott Golder.

    Related:'Soda,' 'pop,' or 'coke': More than 400,000 Americans weighed in, and a map of their answers is exactly what you'd expect

    If you're one of that 57%, odds are that all three words rhyme with "hairy" when you say them. It's a phenomenon known as "vowel merging," in which distinct vowel sounds in a dialect slowly converge into the same sound over time.

    Meanwhile, 17% of the country pronounces all three words differently. These are the people whose dialects have resisted vowel merging. If you're in that group, you most likely say "merry" with a "meh" sound at the beginning, rhyme Mary with "hairy," and pronounce "marry" with the same vowel sound in "trap."

    The final 26% of respondents pronounce two of the three words the same, in most cases "marry" and "Mary," with "merry" being the odd one out. You can see the whole results here.

    Interestingly, pronouncing all three words the same can reveal where you come from: It's mostly associated with the Northeast, especially Philadelphia, the New York City area, and Boston. 

    The explanation hinges on the letter R

    For New Yorkers and Bostonians, the reason for the distinction likely has to do with their famous tendency of dropping the R sound at the ends of syllables — "pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd" is an example.

    The presence of an R shapes the way we articulate the vowel before it, San Diego State University linguistics professor Aaron Dinkin told Business Insider. So speakers who treat their R's differently are going to wind up with two different pronunciations of the same word.

    Depending on where you're from, you might consider the R sound in "merry" to be at the end of the first syllable rather than the start of the second. But if your dialect shies away from placing R's at the end of syllables, you'll place the sound at the start of the second syllable, allowing for less influence on the vowel before it. The rules don't just apply to merry and marry, but any similarly-structured words too, like "very,""fairy," or "Harry."

    Over in Philadelphia, speakers have something entirely different going on: they tend to pronounce "merry" the same as "Murray," another example of how sounds in English are constantly shifting.

    "People learn the dialect features of the community they grow up in, for the most part, and every dialect is suitable for the communicative needs of the people that speak it," Dinkin told Business Insider.

    "But changes are always taking place as one generation learns the dialect ever-so-slightly differently than the previous generation did."

    SEE ALSO: 27 fascinating maps that show how Americans speak English differently across the US

    DON'T MISS: 9 common words you probably didn't know came from movies

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why 'moist' is one of the most hated words in the English language

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    Nissan Qashqai

    • The Nissan Qashqai is one of the most popular subcompact crossover SUVs in the world.
    • In Europe, it's Nissan's most popular model by a wide margin.
    • The Qashqai is sold in the US as the Rogue Sport.
    • Its rivals in the market include the Honda HR-V, Toyota CH-R, Mazda CX-3, and Hyundai Kona. 
    • In March, we drove a Rogue Sport in the US and found it to be a pleasant vehicle, but underpowered.
    • Over the summer, we drove a 2018 Qashqai diesel that really impressed us with its strong performance and driving dynamics.
    • In the UK, the Nissan Qashqai starts at £19,300 while the US Rogue Sports starts $22,110. 

    Qashqai. Nissan Qashqai.

    Pronounced Kash kai, the subcompact crossover SUV has long been both a sales and critical success in the UK and Europe. In October, Qashqai was not only Nissan's top-selling vehicle in Europe, but it also out-sold the brand's next three most popular models combined. 

    The Qashqai is named after the nomadic Qashqai people of Iran

    After years of waiting, Nissan finally brought the second generation Qashqai to the US in 2017 as the Rogue Sport.  And, it's certainly been a major help to Nissan's bottom line, helping the Rogue family of crossovers reach 215,000 units sold over the first half of 2018. That's up 10% over the same period last year.

    Read more: We drove a $30,000 Hyundai Kona SUV to see if it's ready to compete against Jeep, Honda, and Toyota. Here's the verdict.

    In March, I spent a few days behind the wheel of a new Rogue Sport on the roads around Nashville, Tennessee, not far from Nissan's North American headquarters. 

    Unfortunately, the Rogue Sport's 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine proved to be woefully underwhelming.  The little four-cylinder just didn't have to grunt to haul around the 3,400-pound crossover.

    Over the summer, Nissan let us borrow a diesel-powered 2018 Qashqai Pilot One Edition in the UK. The base Qashqai starts at £19,300 or $24,380 while our top-of-the-line test car carried an as-tested price of £34,170 or $43,163.

    In the US, base Rogue Sport starts at $22,110 while our SL AWD test car cost $31,380. 

    Let's see if the diesel engine can make up for its gasoline-powered sibling's shortcomings:

    SEE ALSO: We drove a $42,000 Toyota Highlander and a $40,000 Volkswagen Atlas to see which was the better family SUV — here's the verdict

    FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

    In March, I spent time with a new Nissan Rogue Sport in Nashville, Tennessee.

    Overall, I really enjoyed the Rogue Sport.

    "It's got quite a lot going for it. It looks great, it's got plenty of room, it's comfortable, it's loaded with tech, and it all comes at a very reasonable price," I wrote in my review of the Rogue Sport.

    Unfortunately, its little 141 horsepower four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission proved to be an "anemic" duo that sapped the joy from the driving experience.

    "The Nissan Rogue Sport is grossly underpowered," I wrote. " The 141 horsepower, 2.0 liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine tries its hardest but lacks the grunt to keep up with the needs of this 3,400-pound crossover." 

    Sadly, the result is a crossover that's "loud, wheezy, and gets worse fuel economy than the big brother Rogue," I added. 

    Fast forward a couple months and I found myself four thousand miles away in England behind the wheel of a 2018 Nissan Qashqai.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    woman reading book

    • It was hard to keep up with all the great books published in 2018 — but a few stood out as insightful, entertaining, and helpful.
    • We've defined "business books" as reporting on businesses and the economy, as well as career and finance guides.
    • Highlights include "Bad Blood" by John Carreyrou, "Imagine it Forward" by Beth Comstock, and "Big Debt Crises" by Ray Dalio.

    If you've got some time off to finally catch up on your reading, or you're still looking for a last minute holiday present, now's a great time to look through the best business books of 2018.

    A bonus just for you: Click here to claim 30 days of access to Business Insider PRIME

    This year's highlights include a corporate tale of deception that seems too good to be true, an executive's memoir that's also a comprehensive career guide, and investing insights from two of the greatest to ever do it.

    Here are our favorites.

    SEE ALSO: I spent 2018 speaking with CEOs, billionaires, and a Nobel laureate, and there are 15 lessons I just can't seem to forget

    'Bad Blood' by John Carreyrou

    The medical device startup Theranos was once the world's hottest startup, its founder Elizabeth Holmes— deemed the "youngest self-made female billionaire"— a revolutionary. But after some digging into the company, it all unraveled.

    Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou has the definitive account of what happened at Theranos, and how it was revealed to have been built on lies, secrecy, and an oppressive culture.

    It's a story that sometimes sounds too wild to even be true, but Carreyou's narrative is an excellent piece of journalism.

    Find it here »

    'Imagine It Forward' by Beth Comstock with Tahl Raz

    "Imagine It Forward" is Beth Comstock's memoir of her near 30-year career as an executive at General Electric and NBC.

    It's full of juicy tidbits, like the time Comstock interviewed with Steve Jobs for a position at Apple and her meetings with Jack Welch. But the book also features practical advice for people at any level of an organization, like the idea that you can't expect a promotion to fall in your lap if you never expressed that you wanted it.

    The book inspires readers to be creative and innovative, constantly pushing boundaries, regardless of their level in the corporate hierarchy. Comstock writes that she used to hand out "permission slips" to managers, so they would feel free to take risks that could potentially benefit the organization. The idea is to stop making excuses about why you can't take on big challenges and start holding yourself accountable.

    Find it here »

    'Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises' by Ray Dalio

    Ray Dalio is the founder and co-CIO of the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. Last year, he offered his account of the firm's highly unusual culture and how it's an extension of his life philosophy with "Principles: Life and Work," but this year he released a book on the economy.

    "Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises" arrived on the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis, and shows how Dalio and his team learned from and navigated it.

    It's a dense book, not unlike an economics text book, but you've got Dalio as your guide throughout, keeping the material as clear as possible. It's essential reading if you want to truly understand what happened in the last crisis and what to expect from the inevitable next one.

    Find it here »

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    boxes warehouse

    • Retailers are in a "race to the bottom" when it comes to free returns, a retail expert told Business Insider. 
    • Customers are expecting free returns when they order online, but that's costly for retailers themselves.
    • As a result, many are consulting with third-party "reverse logistics" firms on how to keep free return costs.


    Free returns are becoming the norm for most retailers. But they're not at all free for the retailers themselves.

    Many are consulting with third-party "reverse logistics" companies on how to keep costs down and some even track which customers are "abusing" returns, said Pete Madden, a director in the retail practice at AlixPartners. XPO Logistics says "reverse logistics" is one of the fastest-growing areas in the industry. 

    "Retailers need to put some guardrails around free returns," Antony Karabus, CEO at HRC Retail Advisory, told Business Insider. "They're beginning to realize that free returns and free shipping is killing them."

    Three-quarters of Americans who returned a purchase online shipped it back to the retailer, rather than taking it to the store, according to a UPS study

    Shipping back returns costs retailers twice as much than the customer taking it back to the store themselves. According to AlixPartners, the returns process costs retailers $3 per package when customers return them to a store or up to $6 per return when shipped to a distribution center. It costs $8 per return when returned to a third-party processor.

    That adds up quickly. On Dec. 19 alone, customers returned 1.5 million through the mail, UPS said. Between 10% to 30% of goods purchased online are returned, depending on the sector, according to an XPO study

    Read more: UPS said 1.5 million packages were returned in one day — and it reveals a troubling reality for retailers about the future of holiday shopping

    It started with Amazon, as it often does in the world of shipping.

    "Retailers were forced into it because Amazon has created the expectation of free returns," Karabus said. "Amazon set the bar very high that resulted in retailers feeling that they better follow suit in order to to avoid losing the customer."

    Now, following in the steps of free shipping, a store's return policy is crucial to win over customers. Optoro, a firm that helps retailers optimize their returns, has found that 79% of consumers check return policies before buying products.

    "There's a mentality fairly pervasive viewpoint in retail that you have to save the sale, whatever it takes to grow top line,"Madden said.

    To minimize the ultra-costly returns process, Madden said retailers are taking steps to reduce the returns in the first place. Clothing websites have made it easier to check sizes and fit. Brick-and-mortar stores might offer gift cards if you return in store. And, if it's not possible to offer in-store returns, Madden said retailers will consult with third-party reverse logistics firms to optimize the returns network.

    "A more extreme example," Madden said, is using third-party tracking to see which consumers are "abusing" the returns policies.

    Restoration Hardware and Lululemon are offering loyalty programs with a membership fee, Karabus said. That offsets "free" shipping and returns. 

    "Retailers have to provide something better and different in order to avoid a race to the bottom," Karabus said. "If retailers give everything away for free they're not going to make it."

    SEE ALSO: FedEx just slashed its 2019 forecast because of 'global economic uncertainty'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This Rolls-Royce feature might be the world's fanciest way to tailgate

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    MIL E 53

    • The best "off-map" restaurants in the world have been announced by the World Restaurant Awards.
    • The list highlights under-the-radar and off-the-beaten-track culinary gems across the globe.
    • From a shipping container fish shack in the UK to a dining experience in the Peruvian mountains, the restaurants may not be easy to find, but they're all worth a visit. 

    There are certain restaurants that seemingly everyone goes to. Sure, sometimes that's because they're brilliant, but other times, it's just because they've got a highly instagrammable flower wall.

    Social media and the internet mean it's hard to find a hidden gem nowadays, but there are under-the-radar restaurants to be found if you know where to look.

    To give you a helping hand, the World Restaurant Awards has unveiled its list of little-known restaurants across the globe that are worth visiting, from haute-cuisine to affordable.

    "The Off-Map award is for restaurants in a remote location that are off-the-beaten-track and worth the journey," a spokesperson for the awards told Business Insider.

    "They are not required to be a minimum or maximum number of miles away from a city, but the journey should be an uplifting and notable experience."

    Read more: The 50 best restaurants in the world in 2018

    The list is created by a gender-balanced judging panel of over 100 experts representing 36 different countries, including chefs, journalists, and industry influencers. Famous chefs such as Clare Smyth, David Chang, Yotam Ottolenghi, René Redzepi, Hélène Darroze, and Massimo Bottura were all part of the panel.

    The winners of all categories will be announced at the World Restaurant Awards ceremony in Paris on February 18 2019.

    Scroll down to see the top 28 "off-map" restaurants.

    SEE ALSO: The 50 best bars in the world in 2018

    1. Slippurinn, Westman Islands, Iceland

    This cosy, family-run restaurant serves local, sustainable, seasonal food on a site that was formerly a machine workshop serving the old shipyard. 

    2. Boca Valdivia, Ecuador

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    Situated right on the Ecuadorean coast, the restaurant focuses on sustainability and traditional culture.

    3. Wolfgat, South Africa

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    Another coastal spot, Wolfgat is a 20-seat fine-dining restaurant named after a nearby cave, which has huge archaeological and geological significance. It serves up foraged dune spinach and indigenous plants such as soutslaai.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Christmas lights are made from a simple string of miniature light bulbs with some wiring inside that connects everything together.
    • Taizhou Haoran Machinery sells machines that create LED holiday light strings — it's all in the manufacturing and how the lights are wired at the factory.
    • Watch the video above to learn how those massive strings of glowing festive decor are made.

    Alex Appolonia: Have you ever wondered how these bands of lights come together? It's a simple string of miniature light bulbs, with some wiring inside that connects everything together.

    Holiday light companies use various methods to make their string lights. Taizhou Haoran Machinery sells machines that create LED holiday light strings.

    Here's how it works.

    First, the wire is fed into the machine so it can be cut and shaped. Then, it is stripped at the tip and coated with flux, a cleaning agent that makes soldering and welding of metals a little easier.

    Next in line are the LED light bulbs. They're fed into the machine and tested for positive or negative charges. Then, the metal ends of the lights are cut and shaped. Like the string, the LED light bulbs are also dipped in flux. The bulbs are then finally soldered with the wire.

    The machine lines up all the stripped parts of the string with the individual light bulbs. The stripped ends of the string and the metal tips of the bulbs are soldered together. After the two parts are combined, each light is tested again for electric charge. Then the machine covers the metal piece in between the light bulb and the string with an insulator. The insulated lights are also wrapped with clear acrylic sleeves, to make them a little more durable. Lastly, the string is released and collected to go into the twisting machine.

    And it comes out like this, bright and sparkling with colorful lights. Now, here's the thing.

    The machine makes string lights in a series circuit. In a series circuit, the current passes from the power source to the first light, then the next, then the next, and so on, until it returns to the power source and completes the circuit. In this setup, if one bulb burns out in the strand, the current won't flow through the entire circuit, which means the entire string of Christmas lights will go out. Some of these could be replaced with a working bulb, but not all.

    The other type of circuit light strands use is a parallel circuit. In this setup, each bulb is on its own circuit to the power source. The current is divided into paths, and since there is a separate path for each light, the rest of the bulbs will stay lit even if one goes out.

    No matter what kind of lights the machine makes, they're finally ready to be hung up on a Christmas tree.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Daniel Schwartz 5564

    • As the CEO of Restaurant Brands International, Daniel Schwartz oversees Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes.
    • Schwartz started as CFO at Burger King in his late 20s before becoming CEO at 32.
    • He said that he considers his two greatest skills to be the ability to spot talent, particularly at a young age, and to move people into roles where they can flourish.

    When Daniel Schwartz became the chief financial officer of Burger King, he had previously managed only one person.

    Schwartz started his career at the investment firm 3G Capital, which acquired Burger King in 2010. 3G's founders embraced young talent, to his benefit, and managing partner Alex Behring made him CFO when he was only 29. He performed well and got the CEO job a few years later. Schwartz's performance worked well enough that it led to the formation of Restaurant Brands International, which now contains BK, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes.

    In an episode of Business Insider's podcast"This Is Success," Schwartz said that the biggest challenge of his career was making the transition from his financial role at 3G into a high-stakes management role, but that he used the firm's partners as his mentors. He said the advice was "all about managing the people and not the business, and making sure you focus on a few things. Stay focused, don't spread yourself too thin, but ultimately make sure you have the best, best people on your team."

    He said that this is manifested in two skills he's honed: spotting talent, and putting people in the right roles.

    A bonus just for you: Click here to claim 30 days of access to Business Insider PRIME

    The day of the interview, Schwartz had recently visited Cornell, where he was personally meeting with students at a job fair. He takes a hands-on approach to recruiting, and his experience has taught him not to overlook someone because they are young. Schwartz said that being smart isn't enough, and that he looks for hires who are self-motivated to work hard, open-minded, and humble. "I think if you're working really hard, harder than all your peers, you'll eventually be in a position to do something big at some point," he said.

    He wants Restaurant Brands International to work as a meritocracy, and he wants to not only reward initiative with increased responsibilities, but ensure that his managers place employees in roles that allow them to best utilize their skills, and move them into a new job if the role doesn't take.

    "By doing that, I think that's what's enabled the company to move at the pace that it's moved," Schwartz said.

    Subscribe to "This Is Success" on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen. And listen to the full Daniel Schwartz episode below.

    SEE ALSO: I spent 2018 speaking with CEOs, billionaires, and a Nobel laureate, and there are 15 lessons I just can't seem to forget

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried Burger King in Japan — where you can order hot dogs and beer

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    Luka buzzer

    • Luka Doncic has been a revelation for the Dallas Mavericks through the first quarter of his rookie season.
    • On Sunday, Doncic made his most impressive play yet, draining a buzzer-beater on a miracle shot to force overtime against the Trail Blazers.
    • While the Mavericks would lose in overtime 121-118, Doncic shot was yet another promising sign for Mavericks fans hoping he represents a bright future for the franchise.

    Luka Doncic has taken the NBA by storm since joining the league as the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

    Just 19 years old, Doncic has brought an irresistible spark to the Mavericks, quickly making them one of the most exciting teams to watch, if only to see what feat he might pull off next.

    Read more: Luka Doncic, the 19-year-old Slovenian wunderkind who surprisingly fell in the draft, is already blowing away the NBA

    On Sunday, Doncic provided his most unbelievable highlight yet.

    Trailing the Trail Blazers by three with just 0.6 seconds, the Mavericks were in need of a miracle in Portland.

    Luka provided one.

    Sprinting to the corner to receive the inbound pass, Doncic took the ball in and put up a rainbow of a shot in one motion, getting the ball out of his hands just before the buzzer sounded. After lofting so high in the air it escaped the cameraman's frame for what felt like an eternity, Doncic's shot fell back to Earth, and right through the basket.

    The Mavericks were heading to overtime.

    Unfortunately for Dallas, that's where the magic would run out, with the Trail Blazers controlling the action through most of the extra period and eventually taking home the win 121-118.

    But even though the Mavericks' efforts fell short, knowing that Doncic is capable of hitting shots like that in the final seconds of a game must be a comfort to those hoping he's the future of their franchise.

    It turns out, the kid that won an MVP award in the Euroleague as a teenager is cutting it just fine in the NBA. Who would have guessed it?

    SEE ALSO: 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The true story behind the name 'Black Friday' is much darker than you may have thought

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    retired woman

    • US News & World Report released its 2019 ranking of the best places to retire in America, and housing affordability was one of the primary determinants. 
    • We filtered US News' ranking to narrow down the list to the cities where a typical home costs less than $250,000.
    • Lancaster, Pennsylvania, came out on top and four other cities in the state appear in the top 20.

    Turns out, Pennsylvania is a fabulous — and affordable — place to retire.

    That's according to US News & World Report's 2019 ranking of the best places to retire in America. To determine its overall ranking, US News evaluated the 100 largest US metros on six metrics: housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, job market, and healthcare quality. You can read the detailed methodology here.

    We filtered the US News list to find the cities where retirees can buy a home for under $250,000 and find a rental under $1,600 a month — that's slightly below the national median asking price for a home and the national median rent, according to Zillow's latest estimates.

    Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Fort Myers, Florida, took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, on the best places to retire ranking. They also appear in the top two spots when filtered by housing costs, but the list diverges from there. A total of five cities in Pennsylvania appear in the top 20.  

    Read more: What a $250,000 home looks like in the biggest city in every state

    The housing affordability category was weighted 19.7%, second only to happiness, which was weighted 22.5%; these percentages were determined by a survey of Americans who were asked what the most important considerations are when moving.

    To determine housing affordability, US News gathered US Census Bureau data on average annual costs for homeowners (mortgage, utilities, and taxes) and average annual costs for renters (rent and utilities). 

    Keep reading to find out the best places to live affordably in retirement.

    SEE ALSO: Rich retirees are paying over $1 million to move into luxury communities that operate like 'five-star resorts' with award-winning chefs, wine cellars, and VIP treatment

    DON'T MISS: Home values have more than doubled in the US since 1970 — here's how much they've increased in every state

    19. Charlotte, North Carolina

    Median home price: $200,942

    Median monthly rent: $893

    Overall rank: 34

    18. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Median home price: $200,858

    Median monthly rent: $1,040

    Overall rank: 31

    17. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

    Median home price: $156,833

    Median monthly rent: $873

    Overall rank: 29

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Tesla China Beijing

    • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker will reimburse customers if delivery delays cause them to miss out on tax breaks.
    • On Sunday, the electric-car maker said it was lowering the price of certain Model 3 sedans in China by up to 7.6%, according to a report. 
    • It was the third time in the last two months that Tesla cut prices in China  
    • Tesla's stock was down more than 2.6% early Monday
    • Watch Tesla trade live.

    Tesla shares were sliding Monday morning, down 2.61% at $312, after CEO Elon Musk said the company would reimburse customers if production delays caused them to miss out on tax breaks and after the company lowered prices in China for the third time in the last two months.

    In a tweet on Saturday, Musk said, "If Tesla committed delivery & customer made good faith efforts to receive before year end, Tesla will cover the tax credit difference." Earlier this year, the company said any orders made by October 15 would be delivered by the end of the year and eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. The tax credit drops to $3,750 next year.

    On Sunday, the electric-car maker said on its Chinese website on Sunday that it had dropped the price of certain Model 3 sedans by as much as 7.6%, Reuters reports. The starting price for Tesla's mass-market vehicle in China is now 499,000 Chinese yuan ($72,000). 

    In November, Tesla announced price cuts for its Model S and Model X vehicles in China by between 12% and 26% as a way to offset the impact of tariffs enacted in the US-China trade war. And earlier this month, the automaker cut prices on those models again after the Chinese government temporarily removed the additional 25% tariff that was levied against US autos as part of the trade spat.  

    Tesla's stock has been on a roller-coaster ride in 2018. Shares rallied to more than $387 a share in early August after CEO Elon Musk tweeted he was considering taking the company private at $420 a share. They fell to less than $250 by the middle of October, shortly after Musk settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission following allegations that he made "false and misleading statements." As part of the settlement, Musk neither admitted to nor denied the allegations, agreed to pay a $20 million fine, and stepped aside as Tesla's chairman for at least three years.

    Tesla was up 0.78% this year through Friday.


    Join the conversation about this story »

    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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    Fashion Nova

    • Google released its Year in Search report for 2018.
    • Fashion Nova was the most searched-for fashion brand this year, beating out more established brands like Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Givenchy. 
    • These were the other most searched-for fashion brands, according to Google's Year in Search. 

    2018 was all about luxury fashion.

    On Wednesday, Google released its 2018 Year in Search report, and Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Gucci all ranked highly on the list.

    Well-established luxury brands have been successful at staying relevant and reaching younger shoppers by partnering with more accessible streetwear brands and taking advantage of the "star factor" that they have. Young people often see celebrities like Lil Pump and Harry Styles wearing designer brands like Gucci and want to emulate them.

    But the top spot on Google's list went to Fashion Nova, a brand that has quickly shot to fame thanks to endorsements on Instagram from influencers and celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Cardi B.

    In 2017, Fashion Nova was ranked in fourth place on Google's list, beating out Chanel and Dior. In October, the brand ranked as the No. 6 preferred website for young people in Piper Jaffray's semi-annual survey of teen spending habits.

    These were the most searched-for fashion brands in 2018, according to Google's Year in Search:

    SEE ALSO: We shopped at American Eagle and Abercrombie to see which was a better store — and the winner was clear

    10. Moschino

    9. Dior

    8. Fashionphile

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    language other than english state map

    • Americans speak a plethora of different languages.
    • Recently released Census data shows the share of households in each state that speak a language other than English at home.
    • Coastal and southwestern states like California and Texas had many such households, while many central and southern states had a lower share of households speaking a non-English language at home.

    Americans come from all around the world, and many bring the languages of their ancestral countries with them.

    The US Census Bureau recently released statistics from the 2017 American Community Survey, an annual program that asks millions of Americans each year about several social, economic, and demographic attributes. The Bureau publishes figures for each of the 50 states and Washington DC.

    Read moreAll 50 states and Washington DC, ranked from least to most average

    One of the questions on the survey asks respondents what language they speak at home. The Bureau then publishes estimates of how many households speak a language other than English at home.

    Coastal states and states in the southwest had the highest shares of households that speak a language other than English. About 35% of of Texas households spoke a language other than English at home, while nearly half of California's households did.

    West Virginia had the lowest share of households speaking a language other than English at home, at just 2.4%, followed by Mississippi's 3.7% share.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: History of the Christmas tree: Evergreens were sacred to ancient Egyptians. Then people started decorating them.

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    target  1890

    • In the wake of Toys R Us' liquidation, shoppers will need to turn elsewhere for their holiday toy shopping. 
    • To win over Toys R Us shoppers, stores like Walmart and Target have ramped up their toy categories for the holidays this year. 
    • Dollar stores, Party City, and even Best Buy are adding more toys to their selection this holiday season.

    In the wake of Toys R Us' bankruptcy and liquidation, shoppers will need to turn elsewhere for their holiday toy shopping this year. 

    Toys R Us filed a motion to liquidate its US business in March, initiating the closing or selling of all 735 of its US stores. They had all closed for good by the end of June.

    To win over Toys R Us shoppers, stores like Walmart and Target have ramped up their toy categories, with Walmart announcing it would be expanding its toy selection by 40% online and making more room for toys in stores, and Target laying out plans to add 250,000 square feet of floor space spread throughout 500 stores.

    Amazon is also working to win over toy customers, and it created a paper copy of its toy list to be mailed to customers and distributed in Whole Foods stores and other physical Amazon outlets.

    Dollar stores, Party City, and even Best Buy are making a bigger push into toys this holiday season. Here are all of the best places to shop for toys: 

    SEE ALSO: Sears will not be printing its iconic holiday Wish Book one year after bringing it back from the dead. Take a look at the catalogs through the years.


    Walmart announced in September that it would be expanding its assortment of toys before the holiday season. The store selection would include "more toys than we've ever carried before," Walmart's VP of toys, Anne Marie Kehoe, said at a press conference announcing the plans. 

    Walmart will be expanding its toy selection by 40% online, and 30% of the toys it's stocking in stores will be brand-new. Walmart will also make room for more toys in stores, and in some locations, it will even be adding more aisles to stock them

    Walmart said it will have 1,000 toys exclusive to the retailer, 300 of which are brand-new.


    Target announced a new initiative to increase both the space it allots to selling toys in stores and the assortment of toys it carries.

    In a press release, the retailer touts that it will have "2,500 new and exclusive toys" with 250,000 additional square feet of floor space spread throughout 500 stores. These stores will also be getting a remodel with more space for items like outdoor play sets and ride-on toys. About 100 of those stores will have a new layout for the toy section with larger displays. 

    Online, a new "Toy Hub" seeks to help shoppers explore the expanded selection.


    Amazon created a paper copy of its toy list to be mailed to customers and distributed in Whole Foods stores and other physical Amazon outlets ahead of the holiday season. 

    A recent consumer survey by Stifel Financial found that shoppers said they prefer to buy toys on Amazon. 


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    dark tree 2

    • The federal government entered a partial shutdown Friday after the House and Senate adjourned without reaching a spending deal.
    • National parks around the US will be closed to the public throughout the duration of the shutdown — including the National Christmas Tree, located in Washington, D.C.
    • The Tree, a Capitol staple since 1913, has gone dark. It will remain dark throughout the shutdown.
    • Further exacerbating the situation, the tree was damaged Friday when a man in attempted to climb it, The Hill reported. The repairs are expected to be "complicated."
    • "During the federal government shutdown, the White House Visitor Center and National Christmas Tree site will be closed. Restroom facilities will be closed. In case of emergency, call 911," a note on the National Parks Service's website says.
    • A senior administration official told Business Insider that the following federal agencies and locations will remain active and open: Transportation Security Administration, Department of Justice, US Postal Service, Smithsonian Institution, National Weather Service, and The Statue of Liberty.

    darktree 1

    National Christmas Tree government shutdown

    SEE ALSO: Most Americans would not be OK with a government shutdown over the border wall

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    LOL Surprise dolls

    • LOL Surprise dolls have become the hottest toy this holiday season, earning a spot on multiple best-seller lists.
    • "LOL is the biggest thing that we have ever done," says Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, the company that makes the dolls. 
    • Much of the draw is due to the mystery — kids don't know which doll they're going to get until they unbox it. 
    • This has led to a proliferation of YouTube videos showing the dolls being unboxed.

    The hottest toy this holiday? There's only one word shoppers need to know: LOL.

    LOL Surprise, a brand of dolls with a somewhat bizarre name, has risen to the top of the pile to become the hottest-selling toy of the season. 

    It was a top seller at multiple stores over the shopping holiday, including at Target and Amazon. It was also an online best seller for the entire five-day Thanksgiving weekend, including Cyber Monday and Black Friday, according to Adobe Analytics.

    LOL Surprise dolls were a top seller last year, but they were nowhere near as dominant then as they are this year. 

    Read more:These will be the most popular toys this holiday season, according to the data

    "LOL isthebiggestthing that wehaveeverdone," Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, which makes the dolls, told Business Insider in an interview in November. "It's thecuteness, it's the mystery, all the attention to detail that we put in the product ... the combination of all of this has made this a major phenomenon."

    MGA has sold more than $4 billion of the dolls worldwide so far, up dramatically from the total of $600 million it had sold as of last year, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. LOL Surprise now accounts for seven of the top 10 toys in the United States, according to NPD, and it was the top toy in October.

    LOL Surprise

    LOL Surprise stands for Little Outrageous Little Surprise — words that would also describe the toy's meteoric rise.

    The appeal of the toy is in its surprise factor, since nobody knows what's inside each capsule until they buy and open it. The packs come with the collectible dolls as well as accessories or new clothes for them.

    That mystery factor has led to a huge proliferation of unboxing videos, fueled by the fact that each box contains a multitude of surprises to unwrap. Larian described LOL Surprise as "the ultimate unboxing toy" in an interview with the Inquirer.

    "This started with adults buying iPhones and unboxing it and putting a video on YouTube and then the kids followed," Larian said to Business Insider.

    Hundreds of videos on YouTube show customers — from professional and amateur toy reviewers as well as everyone else — unboxing the toys. Some videos have garnered more than a million views.

    Larian attributes LOL's success to the attention to detail MGA has given its product, which drives kids' urge to unbox and discover.

    "Youcannotputgarbageinabox. People think that you can put anything in the closed box and kids will buy it," he said.

    "Kids are very smart. They're looking for uniqueness, they're looking for detail, they're looking for cuteness."

    SEE ALSO: Amazon's emphasis on 'the Turkey 5' reveals Black Friday and Cyber Monday as we know them are dying

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    henry blodget ignition 2017

    The media landscape is almost shifting more quickly than consumers can keep up.

    But certain trends have emerged that will carry the media industry into the future.

    For the past eight years, IGNITION, Business Insider’s flagship conference, has collected the best minds in media and technology to share what they see as the future. Through unscripted interviews, cutting-edge demos, and insights from industry pioneers, attendees learn what key trends to be aware of and what they need to do to stay ahead.

    Henry Blodget opened the latest sold-out IGNITION conference with a presentation entitled 14 Things You’ll Want to Know About The Future of Media. And he should know...Blodget is co-founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Business Insider, one of the most-read business and tech news sites in the world with more than 80 million visitors a month worldwide.

    The presentation was put together with the help of the team at BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • We're nearing "peak media" in the U.S.
    • This phenomenon will spread to the rest of the world as four billion more people come online
    • Digital ad spending is still growing
    • Video is not the be-all, end-all of media
    • And much more

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

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    Assassin's Creed Odysessy

    It's been a great year for video games.

    With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One approaching the end of their life cycles, developers have delivered some of the best games of the console generation during 2018. The Nintendo Switch has also continued to expand its library of games in its second year, with some unique titles making ideal use of the portable console's strengths.

    Open-world adventure games continue to dominate the mainstream market, but an increasingly diverse audience has brought fresh demand for games with engaging narratives and innovation for classic genres. Coupled with ever-improving technology and developing platforms like virtual reality, 2018 had no shortage of memorable releases.

    Without further ado, here are the 20 can't-miss games released during 2018:

    SEE ALSO: The 29 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019

    SEE ALSO: The 3 biggest games on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch this holiday season

    "Monster Hunter World" (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

    "Monster Hunter" may not be a household name like "Super Mario" or "Tomb Raider," but the action role-playing series is one of the most popular video game franchises in Japan and has garnered a healthy fanbase around the world.

    Though the series has typically been developed for handheld gaming systems, "Monster Hunter World" is the first "Monster Hunter" game in nearly 10 years made for home consoles. The result is a remarkably beautiful adventure that asks players to stand in awe of nature, even as they attempt to tame massive dragons and wild creatures.

    "Marvel's Spider-Man" (PlayStation 4)

    "Marvel's Spider-Man" is one the year's most popular games, and rightfully so. The PlayStation 4 exclusive takes cues from open-world action games like "Batman Arkham Knight" and "Shadow of Mordor" but introduces a new version of Spider-Man alongside a nearly picture-perfect rendering of Manhattan.

    With a compelling original story that blends action and humor, "Marvel's Spider-Man" is a love letter to the character's legions of fans worldwide.

    "Dragon Ball FighterZ" (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC)

    There have been plenty of Dragon Ball Z fighting games over the years, but the series has never looked better than it does with Arc System Works' custom cell-shaded graphics. Underneath the anime aesthetics, the game is still a masterfully crafted fighter, featuring team-based gameplay inspired by "Marvel vs Capcom" and implementing mechanics from other Arc Sys games like "Guilty Gear" and "BlazBlue."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

    A year ago, Business Insider Intelligence drew up a list of our top five fintech predictions for 2018. As we enter 2019, we’re revisiting them to see how they stood the test of time. Here is what we got right about 2018:

    Number of ICOs Globally Raising $25 Million or More

    • Open banking will cause major disruption, particularly in Europe. We predicted that the implementation of data-sharing requirements, namely the EU’s PSD2 and the UK’s Open Banking regulations, would spark a compliance frenzy for banks. That's certainly been the case — banks in Europe have spent the last year working to develop open application programming interfaces (APIs) to comply with the new regulation, and many are still struggling to cope. In fact, 54% of financial institutions (FIs) say they don't have enough information to ensure compliance with open banking regulation, even now, according to according to a Fiserv-sponsored survey. That said, open banking has also brought some successes — UK banking giant Barclays launched an account aggregation feature powered by open banking, while Nordea expanded its Open Banking initiative to Sweden. Additionally, startups like UK-based personal finance management (PFM) chatbot Plum have integrated with multiple banks. In the year ahead, we expect more firms find their footing when it comes to open banking, with an eye toward how they can turn the movement into an opportunity. Meanwhile, other geographies, including the US and Canada, may start to enter the arena.
    • Global regulators will put a damper on the initial coin offering (ICO) boom. ICOs definitely saw a downturn in 2018, especially in the second half of the year. In Q3, companies raised just $1.8 billion via ICOs, compared with $8.4 billion in Q2, according to ICORating. Moreover, in Q3, 57% of ICO projects announced that they weren’t able to raise over $100,000. However, while regulators were busy issuing warning notices to investors and upping their efforts to police the sector — the SEC ceased the operation of over a dozen ICOs in the year ended September 30 — very few took a firm stance on the funding method. As such, while some of this downturn can be attributed to regulatory initiatives, it's likely also tied to cryptocurrencies’ sudden drop in value January, from which they've struggled to recover.

    Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

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    SEE ALSO: These were the biggest developments in the global fintech ecosystem over the last 12 months

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    migrant crisis year news

    • Major news moments in 2018 included victories for the #MeToo movement, President Donald Trump's scandals, and deaths of past presidents and musical legends. 
    • Through exhaustive news coverage of the year's biggest moments, thousands of pictures capture tragedy and triumph in sports, entertainment, and on the international stage. 

    Major news moments in 2018 included victories for the #MeToo movement, President Donald Trump's scandals, and confrontations in sports, entertainment, and on the world stage. 

    Here are iconic photos that capture some of the year's biggest stories.

    January 20: Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe marched, chanted and protested for women's empowerment. Demonstrations also focused on President Donald Trump's views on immigration, abortion, LGBT rights, and women's rights on the anniversary of his inauguration.

    Read our coverage: 

    January 30: Trump delivered his first State of the Union address in which he touted new beginnings for the economy and supposed US victories in the wars against extremists abroad.

    Read our coverage: 

    February 14: 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoo in Parkland, Florida when student Nikolas Cruz opened fire. The attack inspired a national gun-control conversation headed by student leaders who survived the shooting.

    Read our coverage: 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • The percentage of people who believe the decision to leave the European Union was "wrong" now has an 8-10 percentage point lead over those who still want Brexit.
    • The likelihood of the UK staging a second Brexit referendum to break the deadlock has never been greater, according to poll data from YouGov and analysis from Pantheon and Barclays.

    There are only about 100 days to go before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and the closer we get to the March 29 deadline the more the public dislike the idea of Brexit.

    The chart above, prepared by Pantheon Macroeconomics analyst Samuel Tombs, is a collation of monthly averages of YouGov's running opinion poll which asks people whether they believe the decision to leave the EU was, in hindsight, right or wrong. There is now an average eight-point margin favouring "Wrong."

    That chart somewhat understates how sharply pro-Remain the country has become in recent months. This version of the same YouGov data, from Barclays analyst Moyeen Islam, shows a 10-point lead for "wrong" in the most recent polls.


    "Public opinion on Brexit seems to have moved decisively negative," Islam told her clients in a recent research note obtained by Business Insider.

    The public is increasingly warming to the idea of a second referendum:


    The anti-Leave drift is rewriting the probabilities of the potential fate of Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed exit deal with the EU. Tombs puts the current odds like this:

    • Parliament votes in favour of the current deal on the table: 15%
    • MPs vote against current deal, commit to soft-Brexit EEA relationship: 35%
    • MPs vote against current deal, force a general election, Corbyn wins, soft Brexit: 10%
    • MPs vote for a second referendum, Remain wins and Brexit is stopped: 30%
    • MPs vote against current deal and goes into no-deal cliff-edge Brexit: 10%

    Tombs believes some sort of Norway-style soft Brexit is the likely outcome. "Opposition MPs won’t support the PM until they have tried to trigger an election or a second referendum; they have a fighting chance of securing the latter. But once those attempts have failed, we think enough of them will support a soft Brexit in late Q1 in order to avert a no-deal outcome and superficially to honour the referendum," he told clients in a recent note.

    One thing that hasn't changed is the split in the Conservative-Labour vote. The two parties are still closely matched:


    SEE ALSO: How the People's Vote campaign is preparing for the crucial weeks ahead in the mission to stop Brexit

    Join the conversation about this story »

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