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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer

    • President Donald Trump reportedly made an appeal to Nancy Pelosi's Catholic faith to gain her support for his proposal to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
    • Trump, who refused to reopen the government as it enters day 13 of a partial shutdown, reportedly described Pelosi as "a good Catholic" and encouraged her to support his agenda for a wall because Vatican City also has a wall.
    • The Vatican does have walls; however, the ninth-century-era structure was constructed to repel a barbarian horde according to reports published in 2016 from The New York Times and CNN.
    • The wall around the Vatican does not prevent people from visiting St. Peter's Square.

    President Donald Trump reportedly made an appeal to Nancy Pelosi's Catholic faith to convince Democrats to allocate funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border, according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.

    Trump, who refused to reopen the government as it enters day 13 of a partial government shutdown, described Pelosi as "a good Catholic" and encouraged her to fund his wall because the Vatican City also has a wall, an official familiar with a meeting between the president and Democrats told The Times.

    Pelosi's roots in Catholicism spans decades; she attended an all-girls Catholic high school and college. The presumptive House Speaker remains a devout Catholic but has distanced herself from some of the more conservative stances from the Vatican, including its opposition to abortion. Pelosi has also called for a "complete change" of how the Catholic Church operates after numerous sexual-misconduct reports emerged throughout the years.

    Trump appeared to reference his comments from a freewheeling Cabinet meeting, hours before his meeting with Democrats in the Situation Room on Wednesday, according to The Times. Speaking amongst his senior advisers, Trump pointed to the walls in Vatican City, the Catholic Church's city-state in Rome, and described them as an impenetrable force.

    "When they say 'the wall's immoral' — well then you gotta do something about the Vatican, 'cause the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all. The wall is immoral, look at all of the countries that have walls. And they work 100%. It's never going to change. A wall is a wall."

    The Vatican does have walls; however, the ninth-century-era structure was reportedly constructed to repel a barbarian horde,. The Vatican's wall does not prohibit people from visiting St. Peter's Square, unlike the planned border wall that seeks to prevent migrants from Latin America who are attempting to enter the US illegally.

    "The fortifications were built a very long time ago," Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large at America: The Jesuit Review, said in a CNN report in 2016. "This Pope didn't build them — and he certainly didn't build them to keep out poor migrants."

    The Trump administration has pushed for $5.6 billion in funding for the border wall, which Democrats and some Republicans have adamantly opposed. Pelosi plans to raise two bills on Thursday to reopen the government and pay the roughly 800,000 employees who are affected by the shutdown, in addition to the over $1 billion in funding for border security that does not include a wall.

    SEE ALSO: 'Somebody does need to challenge the president': Republican Jeff Flake calls for civility, says Trump 'owns' the government shutdown

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    • Real estate in Manhattan has been moving toward a buyers' market.
    • The median sales price of units sold in Manhattan fell 6% in the final three months of 2018.
    • The fourth quarter marked the first time in three years that the figure was below $1 million.

    In the latest sign that Manhattan is heading toward a softer real-estate market, the typical cost of housing sold fell below $1 million during the final stretch of 2018 for the first time in three years.

    The median sales price of units sold in the borough fell nearly 6% from the same period last year to $999,000 from October to December, according to a report from listing broker Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the lowest since 2015. Though the rate of decline is steadying, the number of total sales fell for a fifth straight quarter.

    With bidding wars occurring at the lowest rate within the market in six years, according to the report, Douglas Elliman's New York City office president Steven James said market dynamics had offered "an excellent opportunity for buyers."

    Co-ops performed better than condos, the report out Thursday said. Most inventory gains were seen in the studio and one-bedroom market, while home prices skewed the overall average higher through larger-sized sales.

    "All-in-all, this was a weaker market than a year ago, but there was nothing dramatic to change from prior quarters in 2018," added report author Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc. "It looks like 2019 market sales and prices might show us 'more of the same' as the federal tax law and higher rates play a crucial role in the housing marketplace."

    Real-estate activity in Manhattan has contrasted with trends across the country, where housing shortages are expected to persist in the months ahead. Compounded by falling residential-construction activity and rising interest rates, that could price some Americans out of the market.

    The new tax law could be one possible reason for the disconnect. Lower mortgage-interest deductions and new caps on state and local tax deductions have reduced incentives for Americans to own homes. This means the next buyer might adjust how much they are willing to pay, according to Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American.

    "This is particularly relevant in New York," Fleming said. "It's now more expensive than before to own a higher-priced home."

    Meanwhile, the rate at which national home costs are rising appears to be slowing. A CoreLogic report out Wednesday showed annual price gains slowed to 5.1% in November from 6.2% a year earlier.

    Now Read:

    The world's biggest stock bear explains why the battered market is still doomed to lose another 50%

    Industry insiders are predicting a battle between the biggest hedge-fund names for top quant talent

    SEE ALSO: The housing market is cooling off — and uncertainty isn't helping

    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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    change4 model

    • China has landed on the far side of the moon, in a giant step for humankind — and a decent stride towards China's desire to match the United States and Russia in space exploration.
    • The Chang'e 4 robotic probe made a soft landing on the South Pole Aitken basin on the Moon's far side, the first time any country has landed spacecraft on the dark side of the moon.
    • China Central Television said the craft landed at 10:26 a.m. on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

    China has landed on the far side of the moon, according to state media, in a giant step for humankind — and a step towards China's desire to match the United States and Russia in space exploration. The unmanned Chang’e 4 probe reportedly touched down on the moon at 10:26 a.m. on January 3, according to China Central Television.

    The probe was launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket on December 8 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, and its sister relay satellite has been in orbit since May.

    China's National Space Administration (CNSA) announced that the Chang'e 4 probe entered a planned elliptical orbit some 9 miles from the surface on December 30 in preparation for a soft landing on the the South Pole–Aitken basin.

    moon china cops

    Six payloads

    According to the award-winning US space author and journalist Leonard David, upon landing, the robotic probe will survey the geography, geology, and atmosphere on the previously unexplored moonscape.

    Since the moon's revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, the same side always faces us down here on Earth. The side that does not face Earth is called the "dark side" not because it's pitch black, because it's lesser-known.

    The Chang'e 4 mission is to shed light on the dark side. This will include surveying terrain, mineral composition, and shallow lunar surface structure, along with other scientific observations, according to David.

    The Chang’e 4 mission totes six kinds of scientific payloads, David says: "On the lander, it carries the Landing Camera (LCAM), the Terrain Camera (TCAM), and the Low Frequency Spectrometer (LFS). There are three kinds of payloads on the rover, the Panoramic Camera (PCAM), the Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR), and the Visible and Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS)."

    China's space ambitions

    President Xi Jinping wants to make China a space powerhouse within the next decade. Conquering the moon's mysteries has been an early and critical first goal of China's ambitious space program.

    In 2013, China became the third country after the US and the former Soviet Union to “soft-land” on the moon.

    The US made its own incredible firsts this week. On New Year’s Day, NASA’s New Horizons probe flew past the most distant place ever explored by humankind – a frozen rock at the edge of the solar system.

    President Donald Trump has vowed to strengthen America’s supremacy in space, saying he wants to go back to the moon, and proposing a Space Force branch of the military.

    SEE ALSO: NASA just released the first close-up photos of the farthest object humanity has ever explored — and it looks like a giant red snowman

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    NOW WATCH: A Harvard psychologist reveals the secret to curbing your appetite

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    The App Marketplace

    In an increasingly digitized world, brick-and-mortar retailers are facing immense pressure to understand and accommodate their customers’ changing needs, including at the point of sale (POS). 

    More than two years after the EMV liability shift in October 2015, most large merchants globally have upgraded their payment systems. And beyond upgrading to meet new standards, many major retailers are adopting full-feature, “smart” devices — and supplementing them with valuable tools and services — to help them better engage customers and build loyalty.

    But POS solutions aren’t “one size fits all.” Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don't usually have the same capabilities as larger merchants, which often have the resources and funds to adopt robust solutions or develop them in-house. That's where app marketplaces come in: POS app marketplaces are platforms, typically deployed by POS providers, where developers can host third-party business apps that offer back-office services, like accounting and inventory, and customer-retention tools, like loyalty programs and coupons.

    SMBs' growing needs present a huge opportunity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers. The US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses. Until now, constraints such as time and budget have made it difficult for SMBs to implement value-added services that meet their unique needs. But app marketplaces enable providers to cater to SMBs with specialized solutions. 

    App marketplaces also alleviate some of the issues associated with the overcrowded payments space. Relatively new players that have effectively leveraged the rise of the digital economy, like mPOS firm Square, are increasingly encroaching on the payments industry, putting pricing pressure on payment hardware and service giants. This has diminished client loyalty as merchants seek out the most affordable solution, and it's resulted in lost revenue for providers. However, app marketplaces can be used as tools not only to build client loyalty, but also as a revenue booster — Verifone, for instance, charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence looks at the drivers of POS app marketplaces and the legacy and challenger firms that are supplying them. The report also highlights the strategies these providers are employing, and the ways that they can capitalize on the emergence of this new market. Finally, it looks to the future of POS app marketplaces, and how they may evolve moving forward.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • SMBs are a massive force in the US, which makes understanding their needs a necessity for POS terminal providers, software providers, and resellers — the US counts roughly 8 million SMBs, or 99.7% of all businesses.
    • The entrance of new challengers into the payment space has put pricing pressure on the entire industry, forcing all of the players in the industry to find new solutions to keep customers loyal while also gaining a new revenue source.
    • Major firms in the industry, like Verifone and Ingenico, have turned to value-added services, specifically app marketplaces, to not only build loyalty but also giving them a new revenue source — Verifone charges developers 30% of net revenue for each installed app and a distribution fee for each free app.
    • According to a recent survey by Intuit, 68% of SMBs stated that they use an average of four apps to run their businesses. As developers flock to the space to grab a piece of the pie, it's likely that increased competition will lead to robust, revenue-generating marketplaces.
    • And there are plenty of opportunities to build out app marketplace capabilities, such as in-person training, to further engage with users — 66% of app users would hire someone to train and educate them on which apps are right for their businesses. 

    In full, the report:

    • Identifies the factors that have changed how SMBs are choosing payment providers.  
    • Discusses why firms in the payments industry have started to introduce app marketplaces over the last four years.
    • Analyzes some of the most popular app marketplaces in the industry and identifies the strengths of each.
    • Breaks down the concerns merchants have relating to app marketplaces, and discusses how providers can solve these issues.
    • Explores what app marketplace providers will have to do going forward in order to avoid being outperformed in an industry that's becoming increasingly saturated. 

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    And more!
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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    tv usage decline

    As streaming becomes an increasingly mainstream behavior among consumers, the video industry has produced new combinations of streaming video programming services to prepare for the progressive overhaul in how media is distributed.

    These streaming bundles have emerged in response to the problems of media fragmentation, cord-cutting, and high consumer costs. Declining usage of traditional TV across every demographic, particularly among young viewers, has also demanded new solutions to the traditional distribution model that is pay-TV.

    Although streaming media bundles are still evolving, four distinct models have emerged:

    • Skinny bundles — Cheaper, streaming versions of the traditional pay-TV bundle, but with fewer channels.
    • SVOD aggregators — Facilitate a la carte sign-ups to third-party streaming services through a central user portal. The primary example so far is Amazon Channels, Amazon's SVOD partner program. 
    • SVOD integrations — SVOD services like Netflix that bring their offerings to a traditional operator's service.
    • Streaming service partnerships — Combine one or more streaming services under a single offering, at a lower cost than the total price separately.

    In the SVOD Bundling Report, Business Insider Intelligence examines the state of the US video ecosystem and how media companies are refining their distribution strategies to meet the changing needs of consumers. The report situates each of the four bundle model types within the overall SVOD market, and investigates the overarching advantages and challenges each faces. Finally, we predict how player dynamics might transform and adapt, outlining best practices for providers to succeed within the new TV landscape.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • SVOD bundles partake in a growing SVOD market in the US. Business Insider Intelligence estimates that the SVOD market totals $13.6 billion in 2018, primarily driven by uptake on services from SVOD giants Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. 
    • Streaming video accessed on over-the-top (OTT) platforms is going mainstream, while consumers — particularly younger viewers — are reducing usage on live, linear TV. Traditional TV usage among viewers ages 18-24 has dropped 48% since 2011, 35% among 25-34 year olds, and 18% in the 35-49 demographic. 
    • Skinny bundle services are growing in popularity, with 7.2 million subscribers in the US, but they suffer fundamental financial sustainability problems. 
    • Distributors with at-scale platforms and powerful back-end tech can capitalize on the growing consumer demand for content consolidation among consumers. Faced with a fragmented and expanding universe of content options, more than two-thirds of consumers say they would prefer to get all their services from a single source, per Hub Entertainment Research. 
    • Winners in the bundling shakeout will have prioritized internet-connected tech, an effective user experience, reasonable pricing, and content diversity. 

    In full, the report:

    • Identifies the four SVOD model types that have emerged as alternatives or supplements to traditional distribution.
    • Investigates the top advantages and challenges of each model type.
    • Outlines strategies that players across media and distribution companies can use to address business or market challenges.
    • Explores how the dynamics of each model type will evolve as services converge under new bundled offerings.


    Join the conversation about this story »

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    ariana grande

    • The Coachella lineup has been announced — and, at least for now, Kanye West is nowhere to be found.
    • The Indio, California music festival's headliners are Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande.
    • Per the usual, the annual festival will run during two weekends: April 12-14 and April 19-21.
    • Kanye West was initially rumored to headline the festival, however, according to a TMZ report, there was a disagreement over some logistical issues.

    The Coachella 2019 lineup has been announced — and Kanye West, at least for now, is nowhere to be found. The Indio, California, music festival's headliners are Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande.

    The lineup was announced via Twitter on Wednesday night.

    Other big names include Solange, Janelle Monáe, Weezer, Mac DeMarco, CHVRCHES, Blood Orange, Jaden Smith, and Pusha T.

    Per the usual, the festival will run during two weekends: April 12-14 and April 19-21. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 4 at 11 a.m. PT.


    It was initially rumored that West, who headlined the festival in 2011, would perform again. However, according to TMZ, West had a disagreement over some logistical issues. The rapper wanted a larger stage than the traditional 60 by 40-foot size, which Goldenvoice, the company that produces Coachella, said it could not accommodate.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The world's largest cruise ship just landed in Miami — here's what it's like on board

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    trump cabinet

    Hello! Here's everything you need to know on Thursday.

    1.  From Amazon to Intel, technology stocks took a hit.And it's likely because Apple announced that holiday quarter revenue was lower than expected.

    2.  The US President Donald Trump held a rambling Cabinet meeting.The meeting covered topics ranging from the government shutdown and the stock-market to Tom Cruise.

    3.  There's a long list of reasons why China's latest weak manufacturing data is so worrying. It suggests that not only are tariffs are having an impact, but the world's second largest economy appears to be decelerating faster than than anticipated.

    4McDonald's has a new secret menu item that looks straight out of Dunkin's playbook.These leaked internal documents show that the fast-food-breakfast battle is starting to sizzle.

    5.  The US Navy's carriers have a gaping hole in their defenses against a growing threat.And a growing school of thought says drones can fill that hole.

    6.  A "flash crash" has torn through Asian currency markets following bad Apple numbers.The Japanese yen jumped almost 8% against the Australian dollar to its strongest since 2009, and jumped 10% against the Turkish lira.

    7.  Six people have died and 16 were injured in a train crash in Denmark.The train was struck by falling debris from a passing freight train full of beer.

    8.  A top Nordstrom executive and heir to the department-store dynasty has died. Blake Nordstrom, a copresident of Nordstrom Inc. and great-grandson of the company's founder, died on Wednesday.

    9.  NASA just released the first close-up photos of the farthest object humanity has ever explored.And it is shaped a bit like a snowman.

    10. Incoming Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said he's already "had that experience" of running for president. But he told CNN he may not endorse Trump.

    And finally ...

    Our international correspondent Harrison Jacobs rang in the New Year at an all-night rave in the Moroccan desert. These epic images show how it left the festivities in Times Square in the dust.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Harvard scientists think this interstellar object might be an alien spacecraft

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    • The Internet of Things is fueling the data-based economy and bridging the divide between physical and digital worlds.
    • Consumers, companies, and governments will install more than 40 billion IoT devices worldwide through 2023.
    • The next five years will mark a pivotal transformation in how companies and jurisdictions operate, and how consumers live.

    Being successful in the digital age doesn’t just require knowing the latest buzzwords; it means identifying the transformational trends – and where they’re heading – before they ever heat up.

    IoT Forecast BookTake the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, which now receives not only daily tech news coverage with each new device launch, but also hefty investments from global organizations ushering in worldwide adoption. By 2023, consumers, companies, and governments will install more than 40 billion IoT devices globally. And it’s not just the ones you hear about all the time, like smart speakers and connected cars.

    To successfully navigate this changing landscape, individuals and organizations must understand the full extent and functionality of the “Things” included in this network, the key drivers of each market segment, and how it all relates to the work they do every day.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has forecasted the start of the IoT’s global proliferation in The IoT Forecast Book 2018— and the next five years will be transformational for consumers, enterprises, and governments.

    • Consumer IoT: In the US alone, the number of smart home devices is estimated to surpass 1 billion by 2023, with consumers dishing out about $725 per household — a total of over $90 billion in spending on IoT solutions.
    • Enterprise IoT: Comprising the most mature segment of the IoT, companies will continue pouring billions of dollars into connected devices and automation. By 2023, the total industrial robotic system installed base will approach 6 million worldwide, while annual spending on manufacturing IoT solutions will reach about $450 billion.
    • Government IoT: Governments globally are ushering in IoT devices to spur the development of smart cities, which would be equipped with innovations like connected cameras, smart street lights, and connected meters to provide a real-time view of traffic, utilities usage, crime, and environmental factors. Annual investment in this area is expected to reach nearly $900 billion by 2023.

    Want to Learn More?

    People, companies, and organizations all over the world are racing to adopt the latest IoT solutions and prevent growing pains amidst a technological transformation. The IoT Forecast Book 2018 from Business Insider Intelligence is a detailed three-part slide deck outlining the most important trends impacting consumer, enterprise, and government IoT — and the key drivers propelling each segment forward.

    Representing thousands of hours of exhaustive research, our multipart forecast books are considered must-reads by thousands of highly successful business professionals. These informative slide decks are packed with charts and statistics outlining the most influential trends on the leading edge of your industry. Keep them for reference or drop the most valuable data into your own presentations to share with your teams.

    Whether you’re newly interested in a topic or you already consider yourself a subject matter expert, The IoT Forecast Book 2018 can provide you with the actionable insights you need to make better decisions.


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    Ajit Pai mug

    Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

    1. Apple's made a shock announcement that it was lowering its revenue guidance for its first fiscal quarter, ending December. The company had previously told investors to expect revenue between $89 billion and $93 billion, but revised that estimate down to $84 billion.
    2. Apple CEO Tim Cook placed a significant portion of the blame for its slowdown on China's economic slowdown, which Cook said was caused in part by President Donald Trump's trade war."We believe the economic environment in China has been further impacted by rising trade tensions with the United States," Cook wrote.
    3. Apple's surprise announcement on Wednesday sent shockwaves across the business and investing world. Amazon, Intel, Alphabet, and others all took hits in after-hours stock trading.
    4. The CEO of China's dominant internet search company gave employees an alarming new year message, telling them: "Winter is coming." Baidu CEO Robin Li Yanhong stated that economic restructuring is "as cold and real as winter to every company," in reference to China's slowing economic growth.
    5. Facebook pledged to improve the quality of news on the platform, but viral sites still get the most engagement. According to Facebook-owned CrowdTangle, the list of top 10 media outlets by interactions is dominated by Unilad, Ladbible, 9Gag, and Viral Thread — outlets that trade in viral and sensational stories.
    6. Netflix has stopped allowing users of Apple devices to join or rejoin the streaming service via iTunes, curbing a potential $256 million revenue stream. The change allows Netflix to avoid paying Apple's levies on new in-app subscriptions. 
    7. Tesla tanked as much as 9.34%, to $301.49 a share on Monday, after the company missed on vehicle deliveries and cut prices for three of its models. Tesla missed on annual deliveries for the Model 3, Model S, and Model X, and announced a $2,000 price reduction for all the three vehicles in the US starting Wednesday.
    8. Silicon Valley venture capital firm August Capital has reportedly imploded despite recently celebrating its first close for a $250 million fund. According to Axios, LPs wobbled thanks to August's under-performing sixth fund and changes to the partnership.
    9. Netflix confirmed that it's hired former Activision Blizzard exec Spencer Neumann as its finance chief. He will replace David Wells, who has served as Netflix's CFO since 2010.
    10. FCC chairman Ajit Pai thanked Congress on Wednesday for killing off net neutrality rules."I'm pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the US House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation," Pai said.

    Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for "Business Insider" in your Alexa's flash briefing settings.

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

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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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    Kingdom Hearts 3

    • 2019 looks like another huge year for video game fans.
    • Between "Kingdom Hearts 3" in January and "Anthem" in February, the first few months of 2019 are packed with major game launches.
    • The first quarter has become a kind of junior holiday season, where major game publishers launch major games that missed the holiday window.

    The break is over, and we're heading full speed into a new year that's jam-packed with major video games.

    In January alone, two massive games are scheduled to arrive: "Kingdom Hearts 3" and "Resident Evil 2." The former is a highly-anticipated sequel starring a massive list of Disney all-stars, and the latter is a highly-anticipated remake of a beloved gaming classic.

    And that's before we start talking about risky new blockbusters like "Anthem," from the folks behind "Mass Effect," and the first-ever "Mario Kart" game for smartphones! 

    Here's what to expect from the world of video games across the next three months:

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

    1. "Resident Evil 2" (remastered)

    The long-awaited remake of fan-favorite horror classic "Resident Evil 2" is nearly ready — it's set to arrive early in 2019, just like so many other great games currently in development.

    "Resident Evil 2" introduced the world to Leon S. Kennedy (seen above) — the main character in "Resident Evil 4." Kennedy and Claire Redfield find themselves in the middle of a surprise zombie outbreak in the fictional town of Raccoon City. It's an action-packed introduction to many of the major themes of the "Resident Evil" franchise, and it's getting gorgeously remade for modern consoles.

    Release Date: January 25, 2019

    Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

    2. "Kingdom Hearts 3"

    Woody, Buzz, Rex and the rest of the "Toy Story" gang are moving from film to video games with "Kingdom Hearts 3," an upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 action-adventure game.

    The game is the long-anticipated third entry in the "Kingdom Hearts" series — the last major entry, "Kingdom Hearts 2," launched all the way back in 2005 on the PlayStation 2. In "Kingdom Hearts," various Disney characters and their worlds are mashed up with characters that would be right at home in a "Final Fantasy" game.

    Alongside the cast of "Toy Story" (and their Earth-like setting), "Kingdom Hearts 3" also stars Goofy and Donald Duck. You may have noticed a third character here — that's "Sora," the main character of "Kingdom Hearts 3" and the one you'll play as.

    Release Date: January 29, 2019

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

    3. "Far Cry New Dawn"

    A new "Far Cry" game? Didn't one of those come out, like, in 2018?

    Yep! That game was "Far Cry 5," and it came out back in late March on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The open-world first-person shooter was set in America for the first time ever, and featured a new antagonist: a maniacal cult leader with nuclear ambitions.

    "Far Cry New Dawn" is a sequel to that game, set in a post-apocalypse Montana 17 years after the events of "Far Cry 5." The trailer alludes to a period of extreme weather following a nuclear detonation, eventually leading to a new world — a world where people shoot saw blades from crossbows, apparently.

    Release Date: February 15, 2019

    Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    oil drilling

    • Apple's surprise sales warning is being driven by forces that could end up hurting the oil market.
    • China is the world's largest oil importer, and a continued manufacturing slowdown could have a damaging ripple effect.

    Apple's big reveal yesterday that China's economic slowdown will dampen revenues shows one reason why oil prices face headwinds despite OPEC's move to dial back production.

    Why it matters: The tech giant's warning points to economic clouds that could also affect other sectors — including oil, which is already under pressure from rising U.S. supplies.

    • "The slowdown in China and turmoil in stock and currency markets appears to be making investors nervous, including in oil markets," Reuters notes.

    Where it stands: China is the world's largest oil importer, and this report comes on the heels of data showing a slowdown in manufacturing.

    But, but, but: Prices are rising this morning after declining in the pre-dawn hours. WTI crude is trading at around $47.33 and Brent moved up to $56 as we sent this newsletter.

    The big question: One thing to watch is whether the OPEC efforts can overcome worries about the global economy.

    • “We really do need a sustained effort from some of the OPEC producers to take supply out of the market in order for prices to recover,” Jefferies analyst Jason Gammel tells Bloomberg. “Now we’re starting to see that."

    Threat level: Another factor that could influence oil markets are signs that President Trump is picking up where he left off last year — pressuring OPEC to keep prices low, even though Saudi Arabia and other petro-states want higher returns.

    • During yesterday's cabinet meeting, Trump claimed credit for the steep decline in prices since early October.
    • “I called up certain people and I said, let that damn oil and gasoline, you let it flow — the oil,” Trump said (h/t to Vox’s Aaron Rupar and Bloomberg’s Javier Blas for flagging).
    • Side note: Trump is still inaccurately conflating Brent and WTI prices, noting prices went from over $80 a few months ago to the mid-$40s now, but the former is Brent and the latter is WTI.

    Be smart: A note from the Rapidan Energy Group flags Trump’s penchant for verbal and Twitter remarks toward OPEC as something to watch in oil markets, alongside the possibility that he could back “NOPEC” legislation to go after the cartel using U.S. antitrust laws. The note states:

    Trump’s shift in policy and rhetoric, from preventing oil price spikes to pursuing low pump prices (which he views as an extra ‘tax cut’), constitutes an important and related development that will induce OPEC+ producers to accept lower prices than they would otherwise prefer — closer to $60 average Brent than $70 or higher.

    What's next: The Energy Information Administration will release its latest data on domestic oil stockpiles late this morning.

    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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    new york times

    • Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, reportedly wrote in her new book that The Times' coverage under editor Dean Baquet has turned “unmistakably anti-Trump.”
    • Fox News' Howard Kurtz, who got an advance copy of the book, wrote that Abramson said in her book that The Times "has a financial incentive to bash the president and that the imbalance is helping to erode its credibility."
    • Abramson told POLITICO that Kurtz took her words out of context, saying "his article is an attempt to Foxify my book, which is full of praise for The Times and The Washington Post and their coverage of Trump." 

    Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times, has a new book on the newspaper business coming out and, according to an advance review by Fox News, it casts a harsh eye on her former paper's coverage of the Trump Administration. 

    "Abramson, the veteran journalist who led the newspaper from 2011 to 2014, says the Times has a financial incentive to bash the president and that the imbalance is helping to erode its credibility,"wrote Fox media critic Howard Kurtz about Abramson's book. 

    But Abramson, who was fired by the newspaper in 2014, told POLITICO that Kurtz took her words out of context. 

    “His article is an attempt to Foxify my book,which is full of praise for The Times and The Washington Post and their coverage of Trump,” she said. 

    Abramson's new book, "Merchants of Truth," focuses on how newspapers like The Times and the Washington Post, and online news sources like BuzzFeed and Vice, struggle “to keep honest news alive” in the digital era, according to POLITICO. Kurtz reported that parts of Abramson's book criticize the way her successor, Dean Baquet, has manned The Times newsroom in the Trump era. 

    “Though Baquet said publicly he didn’t want The Times to be the opposition party, his news pages were unmistakably anti-Trump,” Abramson wrote, per Kurtz. In her book, Abramson also touches on the newspaper's coverage of Hillary Clinton, saying The Times' handling of Clinton's emails was overblown. They “were not Watergate,” she reportedly wrote.

    “Some headlines contained raw opinion, as did some of the stories that were labeled as news analysis,” she wrote. 

    Kurtz also quoted a section of Abramson's book in which she reportedly wrote that The Times' younger, "more 'woke' staff thought that urgent times called for urgent measures; the dangers of Trump’s presidency obviated the old standards." 

    Read more:Facebook hits back at The New York Times, pointing out the 'inaccuracies' in its blockbuster report on leadership missteps

    Abramson told POLITICO that Kurtz took the book "totally out of context" and that she was referring mostly to "loaded headlines, analysis pieces that are full of opinion, and the sheer number of critical pieces about Trump running simultaneously in the pages of the news report as being unmistakably anti-Trump."

    "I think that Trump deserves the tough coverage and he makes it impossible to live by [former executive editor] Abe Rosenthal's old rule about keeping the paper straight," she told POLITICO. 

    Other parts of Abramson's book praise The Times' coverage, both POLITICO and Fox reported. According to Kurtz, Abramson said Baquet’s decision to run the headline "Trump Gives Up a Lie But Refuses to Repent" after Trump ended his birtherism attacks on Barack Obama was "brave and right." 

    A Times spokesperson told POLITICO that the paper's"job is to seek the truth and hold power to account, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office." 

    "That is what we have done during the Trump administration, just as we did in the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations," the spokesperson said. "We take pride in our long history of journalistic independence and commitment to covering the news without fear or favor."

    SEE ALSO: The New York Times destroyed Trump's origin story — and the White House didn't deny it

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    Ilhan Omar

    SEE ALSO: 13 records the 2018 midterm elections smashed

    Jahana Hayes, a former high-school teacher, is the first black woman elected to represent Connecticut in the House of Representatives.

    Hayes, the 2016 national teacher of the year, won Connecticut's 5th District with a projected 56% of the vote, beating the Republican Manny Santos, with 44% of the vote.

    Hayes will succeed Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who didn't run for reelection.

    Hayes grew up in a housing project, and her mother struggled with drug addiction, The Associated Press reported. Hayes got pregnant at 17 and considered dropping out of school but then enrolled in community college and went on to earn a bachelor's degree and, later, advanced degrees. She campaigned on strengthening the public-education system.

    Jared Polis of Colorado is the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a US state.

    Polis, a Democratic representative, is projected to win the Colorado gubernatorial race against the Republican Walker Stapleton.

    "I think it really gives Colorado an opportunity to stick a thumb in the eye of Mike Pence, whose view of America is not as inclusive as where America is today,"Polis said of his candidacy in a speech earlier this year.

    Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar will be Texas' first Latina women in Congress.

    Escobar, an El Paso County judge, won Texas' 16th District with 68% of the vote.

    Garcia, a Democratic state senator, beat the GOP candidate Phillip Aronoff in the 29th District, which covers Houston, with 75% of the vote.

    About 40% of Texans are Hispanic or Latino, but voters had never elected a Latina woman to either chamber of Congress until now.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Organizing expert, Marie Kondo, has a new Netflix series called "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo," in which she helps people clean and organize their homes. 
    • She showed Business Insider the best way to neatly fold shirts and socks — and it's probably much different than how you're used to folding your laundry. 
    • Watch the video above to learn Kondo's methods that once earned her a spot on Time's "Top 100 Influential People" list. 

    It turns out that you are probably folding your T-shirts and socks all wrong. Marie Kondo, an organization celebrity in Japan, shows us the folding methods that earned her a spot on Time's 2015 "Top 100 Influential People" list. 

    You can learn more about her tidying methods from her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing."

    Produced by Justin Gmoser and Megan Willett. Additional camera by Jason Gaines. Special thanks to Caroline Moss, Julie Zeveloff, Sam Rega, Graham Flanagan and Molly Mulshine

    EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published on January 11, 2016.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Ayanna Pressley delivers her victory speech after winning a Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts.

    • The new members of Congress took their oaths of office today.
    • There are significant disparities in the racial and gender diversity of the new members. 
    • All of the new Republicans are white, and just one is female. Among new Democrats, 64% are female, 37% identify as people of color, and 24% identify as women of color. 

    The 116th Congress was sworn in to office today — and there are stark differences in the diversity of the new members in the House of Representatives across party lines.

    Out of the 44 new Republican House members, 98% are white and heterosexual, and just two new Republicans, Carol Miller of West Virginia, and Debbie Lesko of Arizona, are female. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, a Republican with Cuban heritage, is the only non-white GOP freshman.

    Among the 66 new Democrats, however, 34 of them (52%) are female, and 22 (34%) identify as people of color.

    Thirteen (24%) are women of color. They also include four openly LGBTQ+ members: Katie Hill of California, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Angie Craig of Minnesota, and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire. 

    While a record number of women — 114 to be exact — have been elected to serve in the 116th Congress, most of the gains in female representation have been in the Democratic Party, which gained a net 40 seats in the House and unseated several Republican women in the process. 

    A record number of women of color, 40, who are mostly Democrats, will also serve in the upcoming term. This year, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan made history as the first Muslim women elected to Congress, while Sharice Davids of Kansas and Deb Haaland of New Mexico are the first Native American women.

    Read more:7 photos that perfectly capture the history-making wave of women who won on Election Day

    Meanwhile in Utah, Mia Love, the GOP's only African-American congresswoman, lost to Democrat Ben McAdams. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    • KAYAK figured out which top worldwide destinations have the biggest airfare price drops each month for 2019.
    • Flights to Thera, on Santorini in Greece, see a whopping 45% drop in price in May.
    • Airfare to Reykjavik, Iceland, is 23% cheaper in August.

    Travel can get expensive, especially when you're visiting popular destinations during peak season.

    But if you time it right, you can visit those same hotspots for a fraction of the price.

    KAYAK just released its new 2019 Travel Hacker Guide, in which they figured out which top worldwide destinations see the biggest airfare price drops each month in 2019 by analyzing over 1.5 billion annual travel searches.

    From Greece to Iceland to Charleston, South Carolina, these 12 locations are surprisingly affordable when you catch them at the right time.

    Keep scrolling to find out when and where you'll save the most in the new year. 

    JANUARY: Osaka, Japan

    Drop in price: 35%

    Median airfare: $652

    January is the cheapest month to fly to Osaka, Japan, a sleek metropolis that blends ancient history with modern, urban attractions. Be sure to venture to the Umeda district if you're a night owl, as it's known for its vibrant nightlife.

    FEBRUARY: Ontario, Canada

    Drop in price: 21%

    Median airfare: $259

    You'll want to head up to Ontario, Canada, this February to make the most of winter before it ends. Toronto, Ontario's capital city, is a can't miss, and the stunning Toronto Light Festival lasts from the end of January through March. Stop by to see the city's historic Distillery District completely decked out in lights, as well as various art installations. 


    MARCH: Melbourne, Australia

    Drop in price: 16%

    Median airfare: $1,004

    Make the most of the city's unbeatable weather by taking a stroll through Art in the Vines at Hanging Rock Winery, and ogle at the outdoor artwork of 25 renowned local, national and international sculptors.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Kamilah Campbell

    • High school senior Kamilah Campbell increased her SAT score from a 900 to 1230 when she took it a second time. 
    • The 18-year-old from Miami, Florida, said she did not cheat, and that she improved her score through studying, tutors, and a free online SAT prep program. 
    • But the Educational Testing Services, which oversees college entrance exam testing, has deemed her score invalid and is reviewing discrepancies on her answer key.
    • Educational Testing Services doesn't cancel scores solely because of a point increase, and said other factors were at play.

    A high school senior in Florida claims she is being treated unfairly after her 330-point SAT improvement was deemed invalid by the testing company.

    Kamilah Campbell, 18, told CBS News that she increased her SAT score from 900 to 1230 through months of studying, tutors, and a free online SAT prep program.

    But now the Educational Testing Services, which oversees college entrance exam testing, says her score is invalid and under review because of discrepancies on her answer key.

    "We are writing to you because based on a preliminary review, there appears to be substantial evidence that your scores ... are invalid," the organization said in a letter to Campbell after she re-took the test in October, according to CNN. "Our preliminary concerns are based on substantial agreement between your answers on one or more scored sections of the test and those of other test takers. The anomalies noted above raise concerns about the validity of your scores."

    Educational Testing Services told CBS News that it doesn't invalidate scores solely because of a point increase. Other factors that the organization would not disclose also play a role.

    Campbell, who attends Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School in Miami and has a 3.1 grade point average, said she did not cheat on the test, and that her score was flagged because it was so much better than her first.

    Read more:There's a smart way to save for college, and it looks like American families are finally catching on

    She received a combined 1230 from the reading, writing and language, math and essay sections when she re-took the exam. A perfect score on the SAT is a 1600.

    "Because it improved for over 300 points, so they're saying I improved basically too much and that's skeptical for them," Campbell told CBS News. "They are not looking at it as if, 'Maybe she focused and dedicated herself to passing this test.'"

    Campbell said that because her score is under review, she missed the deadline to apply to her first choice college, Florida State University, and can’t apply for SAT score-based scholarships.

    According to Prep Scholar, the average SAT score for admitted FSU students is 1260 on the 1600 SAT scale.

    Campbell's family attorney, Benjamin Crump, is considering suing Educational Testing Services over the legitimacy of the teen's scores.

    The superintendent of the Miami-Dade school district, where Campbell attends high school, has asked for an investigation into the teen's scores to be quick.

    "Although this is a test administered by a private entity, and not M-DCPS, we feel a moral obligation to intervene," Daisy Gonzalez-Diego told CNN, calling the situation "disturbing."

    The College Board released a study last year that said studying for 20 hours on a free Official SAT Practice course through the non-profit educational organization Khan Academy can improve a score by an average of 115 points. 

    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.

    Amazon Echo dot 2018

    • The third-generation Echo Dot is still on sale at its holiday price of $29.99, which is $20 cheaper than the original price of $49.99.
    • If you missed the deal the first time, don't wait — it won't last much longer.
    • The Dot makes it easy to stream music, control smart-home accessories, and get quick answers to questions thanks to Amazon's Alexa and free third-party skills.
    • At this sale price, the Echo Dot is definitely the best way to make your home smarter for less.

    It's officially 2019, and if you're anything like me, your "new year new me" strategy involves investing in tech that will make your life easier without costing a month's rent. 

    Enter the third-generation Echo Dot, which is currently $20 off.

    The mini smart-home hub is still available for its holiday season price of $29.99 (originally $49.99), and thanks to automatic weekly updates, it continues to get better and more useful over time. What makes the Echo Dot such an easy recommendation — especially at this price — is its versatility.

    Here are just three examples of how the Dot can make your life easier:

    • Listening to music: You can use the Dot to stream music from popular services, including Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, and Spotify. You can play music directly on the Dot itself, or connect it to an external speaker with a cable or via Bluetooth.
    • Managing a smart home: The Dot is the smart-home perfect hub. It's small and cheap enough to have in every room, and it works with tons of smart-home accessories. We have a few recommendations if you need help getting started.
    • Getting quick answers without your phone: If you've ever struggled with questions like "what's 83 degrees Farenheit in Celsius" or "how many cups are in a quart," the Echo Dot will be your new best friend. Once you get used to asking Alexa these questions instead of your phone, you'll be spoiled for life.

    While those three examples stick out, there are dozens of other ways to make the Echo Dot work for you, especially if you check out Amazon's library of free third-party skills. These skills let you use the Dot to manage your grocery list, catch up on the latest news, and even play a round of "Jeopardy."

    The Echo Dot may still be cheap now, but you shouldn't count on it staying discounted for very long. If you regret skipping this this deal during the holidays, consider this your second chance.

    Echo Dot, $29.99 (originally $49.99) [You save $20]

    SEE ALSO: The best smart speaker you can buy: Amazon Echo vs. Google Home vs. Sonos One

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    march for science washington dc

    The faces of Capitol Hill are changing.

    Despite a government shutdown, the 116th Congress is now underway in Washington. A record number of women are in the ranks — 127, according to Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. They include the first Muslim women, the first Somali-American, and the first Native American women.

    There are more scientists too.

    Last November, 10 new science-credentialed candidates were elected: one senator and nine members of the House. 

    The scientifically-inclined members of the 115th Congress included one physicist, one microbiologist, and one chemist, as well as eight engineers and one mathematician. The medical professions were slightly better represented, with three nurses and 15 doctors, as well as at least three veterinarians.

    These new lawmakers will bolster those science ranks. The Democratic candidates who won all ran successful campaigns with the support of a nonprofit political action committee called 314 Action, which started in 2016 and is dedicated to recruiting, training, and funding scientists and healthcare workers who want to run for political office. (A Republican engineer turned businessman won a race in Oklahoma, and a Republican doctor won a race in Pennsylvania, though neither received support from the PAC.)

    "Scientists are essentially problem-solvers," Shaughnessy Naughton, the president of 314 Action, told Business Insider before the election results came in.

    Since Congress often wrestles with complex issues like climate change, cybersecurity, and how to provide fairer, cheaper healthcare, Naughton said she thought the US should put more scientists into the decision-making body.

    "Who better to be tackling these issues than scientists?" she said.

    Here's what to know about the new scientists on the Hill.

    SEE ALSO: There are 21 scientists running for Congress — here's what these engineers, physicians, and computer programmers want to do in DC

    Jacky Rosen, a computer programmer who positioned herself as a moderate Democrat, beat her Republican opponent, Dean Heller, in the US Senate race in Nevada.

    Rosen, who two years ago was elected to represent Nevada's 3rd District in the House, touted her role in the construction of a large solar array in a Las Vegas suburb that she said lowered her synagogue's energy bill by 70%.

    During the campaign, she criticized Heller for his deciding vote on a law letting internet service providers sell consumer data without their permission. Despite initially opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Heller also changed his stance on the healthcare law and supported a Republican replacement plan.

    Nevada's turnout was enormous, with twice as many early voters as there were in the 2014 midterm elections.

    Chrissy Houlahan, an industrial engineer, Democrat, and Air Force veteran, won the House seat in Pennsylvania's 6th District.

    Houlahan, who said she would focus on making healthcare more affordable, defeated her Republican challenger, Greg McCauley, a tax lawyer who has owned 20 Wendy's franchises, after Rep. Ryan Costello decided not to seek reelection.

    Houlahan is one of several women who will represent states that currently have no women in the House. She will be the 6th District's first Democratic representative since 2003.

    In South Carolina's 1st District, which has been red since 1981, Joe Cunningham, an ocean scientist, defeated the Republican hopeful Katie Arrington.

    Cunningham, who is also a lawyer, sparred with Arrington throughout the campaign over the future of offshore drilling. His expertise in this area won over the Republican mayors of the coastal cities of Folly Beach and Isle of Palms.

    Arrington, who has served in South Carolina's House of Representatives, does not oppose offshore drilling. She emphasized national issues such as immigration and President Donald Trump's proposed wall along the US-Mexico border, while Cunningham focused on local issues.

    Cunningham won the race by 4,036 votes, a margin of 1.4 percentage points. An outcome with a margin of 1 percentage point or less would have triggered an automatic recount.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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