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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Dover

    • Exclusive: Leading industry groups are set to make urgent public interventions about the risk of a no-deal Brexit if MPs vote down Theresa May's deal next week.
    • The Freight Transport Association is to demand a list of emergency "mini-deals" which the government must arrange with the EU before March 2019, covering truck permits, aviation and VAT.
    • Another high-profile group is also planning an urgent statement, telling Business Insider: "If the deal falls next week we are in completely different territory and our response will reflect that."
    • The Federation of Small Businesses calls on the prime minister to consider extending Article 50.
    • There is growing panic among business and industry figures about the looming spectre of a no-deal Brexit.

    LONDON — The UK's leading business and industry groups are set to make major public interventions on Brexit next week amid growing panic over the prospect of leaving the European Union without a deal.

    Several of the country's biggest groups are preparing urgent statements for the likely event of Theresa May's Brexit deal with Brussels being voted down by MPs in the House of Commons next Tuesday.

    Business and industry leaders are increasingly concerned about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, despite new moves by MPs of all parties to deter the prime minister from contemplating it.

    Business Insider has learnt that the Freight Transport Association — the group representing UK logistic companies like those that carry goods from Dover to Europe — has prepared a list of emergency "mini-deals" which it will publicly call on the UK government to arrange with Brussels in order to limit the disruption of a no-deal scenario.

    The FTA's highest-priority demands are permits for UK truck drivers to travel to the EU, measures to prevent planes being grounded, and the avoidance of changes to VAT rules which would be particularly costly for small businesses.

    "The government cannot sleep until we have these things by March 2019," James Hookham, the FTA's Deputy Chief Executive, told Business Insider.

    He added: "I'm not going to let the logistics industry take the fall for political indulgence. It'll be messy, expensive and not end well, and caused by people who suffer from ignorance or privilege. Or both."

    Another of the country's biggest industry groups also confirmed it is planning a public intervention, with an insider telling BI: "If the deal falls next week we are in completely different territory and our response will reflect that."

    It'll be messy, expensive and not end well, and caused by people who suffer from ignorance or privilege. Or both.

    Other groups and trade associations are weighing up how they'll respond to the prime minister's deal being rejected.

    A senior figure at another leading business group said that it was preparing for "the severity of the situation to increase significantly" next week. 

    The UK business community is preparing to "rise up with their pitchforks" next week if MPs vote to reject the Withdrawal Agreement next week, another source said.

    Craig Beaumont, Head of External Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, told BI that while the FSB had not yet prepared an official response, the government should consider delaying Brexit if May's deal falls on Tuesday. 

    "Whatever happens next, we want to avoid a chaotic no-deal on March 29 and secure the transition that we asked for and won from both sides.  We can only get that with a deal," he told BI.

    "So in that scenario, an extension of Article 50 should be considered so a deal can be found."

    Virendra Sharma — Labour MP and supporter of anti-Brexit group Best For Britain — told BI: "I'm happy to say that businesses small and large across the country believe the prime minister's deal is dead already that’s why it’s time for a second referendum with remain as an option.

    "The Tories used to be the party of business, now they are the party of national disaster."

    The government declined Business Insider's request for comment.

    Labour MP Yvette Cooper

    MPs across the House of Commons are mobilising to try and block the government from leaving the EU without a deal. On Tuesday night, MPs voted by 303-296 for an amendment tabled by Labour MP Yvette Cooper which will block the Treasury carrying out basic tasks like changing tax levels if it pursues a no-deal Brexit.

    It followed growing pressure from within May's Cabinet for her to rule out a no-deal.

    Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd told a meeting of May's Cabinet on Tuesday that history would take "a dim view" of the government if it allowed a no-deal Brexit to take place.

    Business Secretary Greg Clark also became the first senior figure in May's government to signal that he would resign if a no-deal Brexit were pursued.

    Clark told MPs on Tuesday that leaving without a deal "should not be contemplated."

    "It is essential that we should be able to continue to trade," Clark said. "It's why I've always been clear, representing very strongly the views of small business and large business, that no-deal should not be contemplated."

    The government has repeatedly reassured MPs, businesses and the general public that the UK will be prepared to leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement in March should the Article 50 clock run down.

    Last week, the Department for Transport assessed how quickly 89 lorries could reach the port of Dover from a make-shift holding park in Kent, as part of efforts to prevent huge queues of vehicles at the border.

    Despite the work taking place, there is increasing worry among business and industry that government departments are not equipped to address the myriad complications that would arise from leaving the EU without a deal.

    "With every new minister comes an 'oh my god' moment where they get their brief and realise what they are dealing with," the FTA's Hookham told BI.

    The mayor of Ostend, Belgium yesterday cast doubt over UK plans to create a ferry route between the east coast of England and Ostend, saying that it'll be "impossible" for the Belgian port to be ready in time for Brexit.

    The plan was already under the spotlight after it emerged that the company hired by the UK government to oversee the new route owned no ships and had never operated a ferry service before.

    SEE ALSO: Theresa May's officials discussed extending Article 50 to delay Brexit

    DON'T MISS: Inside the People's Vote campaign's final push to stop Brexit

    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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    trader

    • Employees at Goldman Sachs are worried that potential fines from the 1MDB scandal will eat into bonuses, a big part of trader compensation. 
    • "They'll find any excuse to cut comp," said one trader in equities. Employees learn about their annual pay numbers next week. 
    • But one analyst says the lower share price might actually help bonuses: "We’ll just get more shares in terms of compensation at the end of the year."

    Goldman Sachs traders are wringing their hands ahead of this year's bonus season, one of the most emotional times on Wall Street.

    The sudden prospect of billions of dollars in potential fines from the IMDB Malaysian sovereign wealth fund scandal has some traders worried that the bank has found a useful scapegoat to scrimp on bonuses. Employees will learn about their annual pay numbers next week. 

    "They'll find any excuse to cut comp," said one trader in equities. Another said the possibility of the 1MDB scandal eating into employee compensation was definitely a worry, though predominantly among the more "pessimistic" at the bank. The traders were based in Goldman's New York and London offices. 

    The 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, or 1MDB, is one of the biggest financial scandals in history and the subject of corruption and money-laundering investigations in at least six countries. Goldman earned roughly $600 million in fees for raising $6.5 billion for the fund. Malaysia has said $2.7 billion of the proceeds of three 1MDB bonds was misappropriated, and is seeking "well in excess" of that amount in fines. The US Department of Justice, among other authorities, is also investigating. 

    Regarding the 1MDB criminal charges, Goldman has said to Business Insider: "We believe these charges are misdirected, will vigorously defend them and look forward to the opportunity to present our case. The firm continues to cooperate with all authorities investigating these matters."

    1MDB has dominated the Goldman headlines in the last few months. In November, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment and guilty plea by the banker at the center of the scandal, ex-Goldman partner Tim Leissner. That alerted insiders to the scale of the potential problem and spooked investors. Goldman's price has declined 26% percent since then. 

    Read more: The bizarre story of 1MDB, the Goldman Sachs-backed Malaysian fund that turned into one of the biggest scandals in financial history

    While 1MDB has hurt morale, according to insiders, the slumping stock price hasn't, according to Gregg Lemkau, co-head of Goldman’s investment banking division. Lemkau told CNBC in a December interview that he didn’t think the share price was affecting employee satisfaction, and even tried to put a positive spin on it.

    Glass half full

    “If you want to look at it as a glass half full, we’ll just get more shares in terms of compensation at the end of the year,” he said. Goldman partners famously made more than $3 billion on options granted in the depths of the financial crisis that later paid out when the stock price soared.  

    Something similar could happen again, as long as comp dollars aren't shunted into the firm's legal reserves as insiders fear. Analysts have said Goldman may have to set aside $500 million to $1 billion or more for legal reserves in the next few quarters to prepare for the possibility of fines. 

    A representative for Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the bonuses.

    The bank does not disclose its total reserves. Through the first nine months, it set aside $328 million for litigation and regulatory proceedings, an increase of 83% from the prior year and still well short of its expected liability. Accounting rules require firms to set aside reserves for litigation only when it's got a clear line of sight to eventual fines or payments. 

    Trading revenue is surging

    Fines wouldn't be the only factor in determining bonuses, of course. Just how much Goldman employees might bring home also depends on the firm's performance — equities trading revenue rose 15% through the first nine months of 2018 compared to the prior year, while revenue from fixed-income trading surged 18%. The fourth quarter was a tough one on Wall Street amid an uptick in volatility. 

    The worst-case scenario would be the dreaded "doughnut," or zero bonus, though it's unlikely that Goldman execs would blame the entirety of such a meager payout on the Malaysia scandal. 

    The bank already earmarked $10.7 billion for paying compensation and benefits through the first nine months of 2018, a 10% increase over the prior year. Total revenue is up 16% during the same time period. 

    Goldman executives will begin communicating figures for year-end bonuses and the reasoning behind the figures to partners on January 16 — the same day it reports earnings — and a day later to non-partners.

    SEE ALSO: Wall Street bonus season is upon us — here's when the big banks will tell employees how much they'll be paid

    SEE ALSO: High-flying investment bankers, reclusive billionaires, and 'The Wolf of Wall Street': a guide to the major players in Malaysia's 1MDB scandal

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago today — here's what his life is like in prison


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    Tim Cook.JPG

    • Apple is cutting iPhone production by 10% between January and March, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
    • It is reportedly the second time in two months that Apple has trimmed production plans.
    • The revelation comes just a week after Apple shook global markets with its first earnings warning in nearly 17 years.

    Apple is cutting its production plan for new iPhones by about 10% between January and March, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Wednesday.

    The company late last month asked its suppliers to produce fewer of its new iPhones than planned in the first quarter of 2019, Nikkei said, citing sources with knowledge of the request.

    It said the planned production volume for new and old iPhones, including the XS Max, XS, and XR, will fall to between 40 million and 43 million units. This is down on the previous projection of 47 million to 48 million units.

    Read more: Tim Cook repeats one of Steve Jobs’ favorite sayings to defend Apple during its slump: 'It just works'

    It is the second time in two months that Apple has trimmed production plans, Nikkei said.

    The revelation comes just a week after Apple shook global markets with its first earnings warning in nearly 17 years, in which it said revenue would be more than 7% lower than it expected.

    Among a shopping list of reasons for the revised projection, Apple blamed weakness in the Chinese economy and US President Donald Trump's trade war.

    The warning led Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives to say it was "Apple's darkest day in the iPhone era." He added: "The magnitude of the top-line miss... with China demand the culprit was jaw-dropping in our opinion."

    Business Insider has contacted Apple for comment. The company did not respond to Nikkei's request for comment.

    SEE ALSO: Apple just warned its holiday quarter was a huge miss, and the stock is getting crushed

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    trump xi china us

    • Global stock market rally moves into fourth day amid reports of a positive end to trade talks between the US and China. Oil is rising for an 8th session. 
    • Talks concluded on Wednesday, 24 hours after their scheduled ending.
    • Trump is eager to strike a deal "soon" with China to calm market volatility, Bloomberg reported. 
    • European and Asian stocks rose Wednesday, while futures point to a positive open in the US.
    • Follow global markets live at Markets Insider.

    Global markets continue their resurgence on Wednesday after trade talks between the US and China look to have ended on a positive note, while Bloomberg reported that President Donald Trump is eager to calm markets so aims to "soon" strike a trade deal. 

    The news comes as three days of talks between Washington and Beijing wrapped up Wednesday morning, having initially been scheduled to finish Tuesday. No official word on any agreement between the sides has yet been announced, but signs are that a preliminary deal may have been agreed.

    "Based on what I know, the situation is quite positive,"Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the state run newspaper Global Times, said in a tweet just after 8.00 a.m. GMT (3.00 a.m. ET). "The two sides are still in consultation on the wording of the message, so the two versions can be coordinated."

    Meanwhile, inside the White House, Bloomberg said, some advisers are pressing for a speedy end to the trade war to help soothe recent volatility that has gripped markets. Trump tweeted on Tuesday night: "Talks with China are going very well!"

    Read more:The US and China are negotiating a trade war. But during the shutdown, Washington won't reveal how much impact it’s had.

    Ted McKinney, the US Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs spoke during negotiations on Wednesday, and told reporters, referring to the talks: "I think they went just fine."

    "It's been a good one for us," he added.

    Optimism about a deal on trade has helped extend the stock market's rally into a fourth day, with major share indexes in both Europe and Asia climbing, and futures pointing to another positive day in the US, following on from 1% gains for all three major indexes Tuesday.

    "Though not quite as giddy as on Tuesday – not yet, at least – building optimism for a trade deal between the US and China ensured another positive start on Wednesday morning," Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex said in a morning email.

    Here's the scoreboard:

    • In the first hour of trading in Europe, all major stock indexes were higher, with gains of as much as 1.1% for Germany's benchmark DAX Index.
    • Elsewhere on the continent, stocks rose between 0.7% and 0.9%, with the Euro Stoxx 50 higher by 0.9%.
    • European gains followed similar increases in Asia, where all Chinese indexes saw gains Wednesday. The Shanghai Composite, China's benchmark index, was up 0.7%, while the Shenzhen Composite was up 0.8%.
    • Japanese stocks also saw a strong day with the Nikkei 225 up 1.1% at the close.
    • In the US, futures markets pointed to another positive day, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all looking to open around 0.3% higher.
    • Oil is rising for an eigth session. Brent crude is up 2% to $58.91 per barrel.

    SEE ALSO: 'How much more American blood must we shed?': Trump addresses the nation amid government shutdown over border-wall funding

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

    Fintech hubs — cities where startups, talent, and funding congregate — are proliferating globally in tandem with ongoing disruption in financial services. 

    These hubs are all vying to become established fintech centers in their own right, and want to contribute to the broader financial services ecosystem of the future. Their success depends on a variety of factors, including access to funding and talent, as well as the approach of relevant regulators.

    This report compiles various fintech snapshots, which together highlight the global spread of fintech, and show where governments and regulatory bodies are shaping the development of national fintech industries. Each provides an overview of the fintech industry in a particular country or state in Asia or Europe, and details what is contributing to, or hindering its further development. We also include notable fintechs in each geography, and discuss what the opportunities or challenges are for that particular domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Most countries in Europe have made some formal attempt to foster the development of domestic fintech industries, with Germany and Ireland seeing the best results so far. France, meanwhile, got off to a slow start, but that's starting to change. 
    • The Asian fintech scene took off later than in the US or Europe, but it's seen rapid growth lately, particularly in India, China, and Singapore.
    • The increasing importance of technology-enabled products and services within the financial services ecosystem means the global fintech industry isn't going anywhere. 
    • Fintech hubs will continue to proliferate, with leaders emerging in each region.
    • The future fintech landscape will be molded by regulatory bodies — national and international — as they seek to mitigate the risks, and leverage the opportunities, presented by fintech. 

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the fintech industry in six countries or states, and identifies individual fintech hubs.
    • Highlights successful fintechs in each region.
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each country or state faces. 
    • Gives insight into the future of the global fintech industry. 

    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
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
    Learn More

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    A Star is Born  2018

    • The 2019 BAFTA nominations have been revealed.
    • "The Favourite" leads the nominations, featuring in 12 categories.
    • The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Feburary 10.

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced the nominations for the EE British Academy Film Awards 2019 (BAFTAs).

    The awards, which take place on Sunday February 10 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, are the most prestigious in the UK film calendar and are considered a pre-cursor to the Oscars.

    "The Favourite" leads the list of nominations, being shortlisted in 12 categories.

    The announcement comes just days after the film's star, Olivia Colman, won a Golden Globe for her performance as Queen Anne.

    Read more: Melissa McCarthy smuggled 40 ham sandwiches into the Golden Globes to stop any stars from getting too hungry

    "The Favourite" is also the only film to be nominated both for Best Film and Best British Film.

    It's leagues ahead of the next most nominated films: "Bohemian Rhapsody,""First Man,""Roma," and "A Star Is Born" each have seven nominations. However, "Bohemian Rhapsody," which took home Best Motion Picture — Drama at the Golden Globes on Sunday, did not even receive a nomination for Best Film.

    Meanwhile "Vice" has six, "Blackkklansman" has five, and "Cold War" and "Green Book" have four nominations each.

    Here's the complete list of nominees:

    Best Film

    "Blackkklansman"

    "The Favourite"

    "Green Book"

    "Roma"

    "A Star is Born"



    Outstanding British Film

    "Beast"

    "Bohemian Rhapsody"

    "The Favourite"

    "McQueen"

    "Stan & Ollie"

    "You Were Never Really Here"

     



    Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer

    "Apostasy," Daniel Kokotajlo (Writer/Director)

    "Beast," Michael Pearce (Writer/Director), Lauren Dark (Producer)

    "A Cambodian Spring," Chris Kelly (Writer/Director/Producer)

    "Pili," Leanne Welham (Writer/Director), Sophie Harman (Producer)

    "Ray & Liz," Richard Billingham (Writer/Director), Jacqui Davies (Producer)



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Tim Cook

    • Tim Cook has dismissed as "bologna" speculation that Apple's iPhone XR is a flop.
    • In an interview with Jim Cramer, Cook said that since Apple started shipping the XR, it's been the most popular iPhone every day.
    • Apple has had a rocky start to 2019 after last week's shock earnings warning.

    Tim Cook has called "bologna" on speculation that the iPhone XR is tanking.

    In an interview on CNBC show "Mad Money," Jim Cramer asked for Cook's response to analysts and commentators, who viewed the iPhone XR as a "flop."

    "Bologna. I call bologna on that," Cook replied. "Since we began shipping the iPhone XR, it has been the most-popular iPhone every day, every single day, from when we started shipping until now," he added.

    But just hours after the interview, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that Apple is cutting iPhone production by 10% between January and March. This included the XR, which launched in October 2018.

    The reality is, it's going to hard to formally establish how the XR is performing, given Apple decided last year to stop reporting iPhone sales numbers. Instead, the market will need to rely on analyst estimates and guidance akin to Cook's comments to Cramer.

    Read more:Apple is reportedly cutting iPhone production by 10% over the next 3 months, further signalling the firm's woes

    Cook also said he'd seen this kind of criticism before about sales of new Apple products.

    "I've heard it in 2001. I've heard it in 2005 and '07 and '08 and '10 and '12 and '13. You can probably find the same quotes from the same people over and over again," the CEO said, adding that Apple's loyal customer base and "virtuous ecosystem" are "underappreciated."

    Apple has had a rocky start to 2019 after it announced last week that its Q1 revenue will be much lower than expected, prompting its stock to tumble. The XR was not mentioned once in the earnings warning.

    Cramer asked Cook whether he was surprised by the market's reaction to Apple revealing the shortfall. "I'm never surprised by the market, to be honest with you. Because I think the market is quite emotional in the short term," he responded.

    SEE ALSO: Tim Cook made over $15 million in 2018 — that's 283 times more than the median Apple employee earned

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I cut Google out of my life for 2 weeks, but the alternatives prove why Google is so much better


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    Lewis Hamilton flag

    • Lewis Hamilton has been taught how to wave a checkered flag by Will Smith.
    • Smith claimed he developed a specific technique where you flick the "hand first and the knee follows."
    • Hamilton and Smith have been inseparable behind-the-scenes at recent Formula 1 events.
    • Hollywood funnyman Smith even kidnapped Hamilton and tied him to a chair in a viral Twitter prank last year, because he wanted to race the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix himself.
    • Of course, Hamilton raced the grand prix — and won — but who was there to wave the checkered flag? Smith, of course.
    • Perhaps Smith developed his technique there and then.

    Will Smith has been teaching Lewis Hamilton the trick to waving the checkered flag, and it appears the five-time Formula 1 champion is a fast learner.

    The 2019 F1 world championship begins at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia, on March 17 and to prepare for the grueling season ahead, Hamilton has already been recorded on video learning a new skill.

    However, this is not a trick for his Mercedes race car but rather one he has seen first-hand as a regular race winner — and that is how to wave the checkered flag in the most efficient manner.

    And who better to teach him this skill than his Hollywood buddy Will Smith? The man who famously tied the British athlete to a chair in a viral Twitter prank last year, just because he wanted to race the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix himself.

    Read more: Will Smith is escorted away from Lewis Hamilton's F1 car after 'taking it for a joyride' in a second prank video directed by Michael Bay

    Hamilton thanked the "Men In Black,""I Am Legend," and "Aladdin" actor in a tweet, alongside a video where Smith can be heard saying: "You think that you can just get anybody to wave the flag… you can't."

    Smith claims to have developed a "skillset" and that skillset is this: "Hand first, and the knee follows."

    Watch the "skillset" right here:

    This is not the first time Smith has waved a checkered flag for Hamilton.

    After all, the former "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star enjoyed a VIP experience during the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in November, 2018, and part of that experience included waving the race winner over the finish line.

    It just happened that his friend Hamilton was the one to win the race.

    Will Smith and Lewis Hamilton, flags

    Will Smith flags Lewis Hamilton

    Hamilton and his F1 constructor Mercedes will be preparing for the upcoming championship.

    Though Mercedes is yet to announce its 2019 car launch date, the new car is expected to be unveiled in the middle of February.

    Pre-season testing will then take place in two stages. The first test is scheduled for February 18 to 21 and the second test will take place between February 26 and March 1. Both tests take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Saturn is officially losing its rings — and they're disappearing much faster than scientists had anticipated


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    black mirror

    • "Black Mirror" can be dark and dystopian, so it's surprising when people are inspired to copy the ideas in real life.
    • But this is what the 24-year-old programmer and entrepreneur Julian Alexander did when he developed a dating app.
    • His app Juliet matches people together with an expiration date.
    • It's similar to the "Black Mirror" episode "Hang the DJ" where couples have a time limit to work out their compatibility.
    • Alexander said he was tired of the traditional dating apps, so decided to shake things up.

    In Season 4 of Charlie Brooker's "Black Mirror," there's an episode called "Hang the DJ" where people are matched together, but their relationship is given an expiration date. The newly coupled pair can either choose to look at what their expiration is, or continue on oblivious until their digital "Coach" tells them their time is up.

    It's hailed as one of the more wholesome episodes, with a relatively happy ending. One viewer liked it so much, he has seemingly created a dating app based on the matchmaking method.

    Julian Alexander, a 24 year old programmer and entrepreneur, posted an AMA on Reddit a few days ago.

    "For the past few months I've been building an AI matchmaker named Juliet to help you find your perfect match," he wrote in the post. "My friends and I were tired of all the dating apps currently on the market, endlessly swiping with little to no results. I decided to take matters into my own hands and shake things up."

    Read more: All 19 episodes of 'Black Mirror,' ranked from worst to best

    Alexander's app is named Juliet. The idea is it only matches you with one person at a time, and will learn about your interactions, likes, and dislikes. If it deems it necessary, your match will expire, and Juliet will find you someone you're more compatible with. According to Alexander, the AI takes physical aspects into account as well as personality.

    Speaking about his app to Forbes, Alexander said the urgency and unpredictability of the time element means people can be more focused on actually finding a match.

    "Like when you see someone you're interested in, you have to make a move or you'll lose your chance," he said. He added that he's a big fan of "Black Mirror," and finds the role of technology in modern day life extremely important.

    "That's why I wanted Juliet to merge technology and humanity," he said.

    Reddit users were quick to point out the similarities, asking "Did you get your idea from Black Mirror's episode Hang the DJ?"

    "This sounds like a person who loved Black Mirror for all the wrong reasons," another user wrote. "See you all in the cyber-dystopia."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: China made an artificial star that's 6 times as hot as the sun, and it could be the future of energy


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    Trader celebrates

    • Calls for an imminent recession flared at the end of 2018 amid troubling signs of slowing economic growth.
    • Jim Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group, explains why the US economy dodged a recession — at least for now.
    • He expects the stock market to rally sharply in 2019, and laid out five core strategies for investors who want to take advantage.

    As the stock market endured a turbulent final quarter of 2018, cries of an imminent economic recession grew louder.

    One of the main reasons stocks hit such a bumpy patch was because the economy had, by many metrics, heated up to an unsustainable degree. Readings of measures like core producer price inflation and wage inflation hit their highest levels of the current cycle.

    Such economic fervor was expected to prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates, lessening the appeal of equities versus their fixed-income peers. And investors didn't wait for the hikes to come. They sold stocks and asked questions later.

    But at least one Wall Street expert is ready to call off the dogs. That would be Jim Paulsen, the chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group, who recently argued that a "recession will be avoided in the foreseeable future."

    For one, he doesn't buy a flattening yield curve as a recession signal. Paulsen notes that while junk yield spreads have widened, they're still tight compared to the periods before previous recessions.

    Beyond that — and perhaps most importantly — Paulsen says private balance sheets are "remarkably healthy" for an economic recovery that's last for almost a decade. He cites US household net worth, which is now 60% above its previous all-time high, and falling household debt relative to disposable income.

    Read more:We interviewed Wall Street's 8 top-performing investors to get their best ideas for 2019

    And then there's the matter of consumer and business confidence. Paulsen says the last financial crisis left people so scarred that they only recently regained their old level of conviction.

    "Consequently, it is difficult to find 'extremes or excesses' today which would normally be more obvious in a recovery this old," he wrote in a recent client note. "Lending and borrowing have not been excessive, consumers have not overused their credit cards or over-stretched into mortgages, and they have not run through their savings."

    These developments have Paulsen looking ahead at a potential stock-market rally — and a sharp one at that. He's even gone to the extra length of declaring that the market has bottomed.

    One big reason for that is the arrival of investor panic. While it may seem counterintuitive to view this as a positive, a healthy dose of skepticism can benefit the market in the longer term, and keep traders from being blindsided by sudden selling.

    In terms of the Fed — which is always the elephant in the room when discussing the stock market in 2019 — Paulsen says it's been "almost ensured" the central bank will not raise rates further any time soon. He notes that overheating conditions have cooled off considerably, which has been coupled by a large decline in 10-year Treasury yields.

    So the path has been cleared for an stock-market rebound. Paulsen has made that much clear. As for how much he thinks the S&P 500 can rally, he says it will likely reach anywhere from 2,800 (a 9% increase) to 3,000 (17%).

    With all of that established, Paulsen has five distinct stock-trading strategies to help investors take advantage of a 2019 rally. They are as follows. All quotes attributable to Paulsen.

    1) Favor international markets over their US counterparts

    "Both international developed and emerging stock markets are a better relative value compared to the US stock market. Overseas stock markets are under-owned in most portfolios. While U.S. economic growth may be slowing, growth may already be accelerating again abroad. And finally, a weak US dollar would augment foreign investment returns."

    2) Buy weak US dollar beneficiaries

    "Materials, energy, and industrials sectors should be bolstered by dollar weakness. It would not only raise commodity prices but also improve the competitiveness of US industrial activities."

    3) Buy financials

    "Last year, financials were pounded by Fed tightening, a flatter yield curve, wider credit spreads, and rising recession anxieties. If the recovery slows, but persists, all of these negative influences should pause, if not reverse."

    4) Buy small-cap stocks, which should outperform this year

    "They significantly underperformed the S&P 500 in 2018 and should have greater upside leverage to a period of renewed optimism."

    5) Re-establish an overweight in tech, but focus on small caps

    "The FAANGs remain too popular and widely owned as most investors still hope for a sharp recovery once the stock market improves. Small-cap tech stocks have been matching the performance of their larger brethren, many without facing the thorny and unresolved issues which currently challenge the FAANGs."

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

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    Business Insider is hiring a paid fellow to write about tech from its London office. The fellowship starts in February and will run for six months. The successful candidate will work full-time (40 hours a week).

    As a fellow, you can expect to be covering the world's biggest companies (think Apple, Google, and Facebook), the hottest startups, and the latest gadgets.

    We are looking for someone:

    • With excellent writing skills, who can work quickly and independently
    • Who knows how to create and package stories in an exciting way with an original angle and eye for attention-grabbing images
    • Who has a sound knowledge of the tech industry
    • Who is hungry to go above and beyond to find agenda-setting scoops
    • Who is ready to write a mix of articles, including short posts, photo-based stories, and reported features

    As a fellow at Business Insider, there is no getting coffee, filing, or making copies.

    Apply here with a CV and cover letter telling us why you should be a tech fellow at Business Insider, if this sounds like your dream job.

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    Stacks of cash and the World Series of Poker championship bracelet are placed on a table after Germany's Pius Heinz and the Czech Republic's Martin Staszko emerged as finalists during the WSOP main event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas November 8, 2011.

    • Cash was the best-performing asset last year, outperforming stocks, bonds, and commodities.
    • After a brutal year for investors across those asset classes, some strategists have suggested cash is an increasingly attractive investment.
    • So what exactly does "going to cash" mean? Here's what investors should know.

    Cash was the best-performing asset of 2018. It reigned supreme among other investments like stocks, bonds, and commodities. Put another way, cash was the only major asset that posted positive returns last year, with a 1.9% rise, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

    "A perfect storm hit equities in 4Q18 — high oil prices, a strong dollar and a shift upwards in the U.S. yield curve — which altered perceptions towards risk assets and encouraged investors into cash," Sean Darby, global head of equity strategy at Jefferies, told clients in a report last week.

    In other words, investments of all stripes were hit as a confluence of macroeconomic factors — at a late stage in the decade-old economic cycle — swelled and wreaked havoc on the market.

    Now, strategists across Wall Street say cash is a more compelling investment as the global economy slows, US-China trade tensions persist, and as questions swirl around the Federal Reserve's interest-rate hiking path. Even banks doing their part to entice investors — Goldman Sachs is now offering online savings customers 2.25% on their accounts, compared to some of their competitors' near-zero rates.

    But what exactly does "going to cash" mean? Surely it must involve more than just shoving your money under a mattress.

    Typically, going to cash means removing money once invested in assets like stocks or bonds which are, theoretically, meant to grow your cash at a more attractive rate than if it were to simply sit in a savings account.

    "Cash," on its own, simply means an asset in a portfolio that isn't invested at the moment. That could also mean cash takes the form of cash-equivalent assets, like money-market funds. It should be noted that while cash-equivalent securities are typically considered safe places to park cash, investors can still lose money. Here's a breakdown of some of those assets — traditionally defined as low-risk, low-return, but highly liquid vehicles — and what they all mean. 

    • Money-market funds: These securities are like checking accounts that pay investors higher interest rates on their deposits. A money-market fund that Vanguard offers individual investors, for example, is $1 per share and is among the firm's most conservative investment options. Money-market funds saw massive inflows between October (roughly around the time when the stock market began its sell-off) through the end of last week, with investors pouring nearly $250 billion into them over that time, according to Deutsche Bank data. 
    • US Treasury bills: These are US Treasury-issued debt securities lent in denominations of $1,000 to $5 million. They do not pay out interest like a Treasury bond, but the investor earns the yield — the difference between the price of purchase and the value at the time of redemption — on the bill when the asset reaches maturity. Macroeconomic factors like inflation, monetary policy, and investor demand impact T-bill prices, similarly to other debt obligations. 
    • Commercial paper: This is a short-term, unsecured, corporation-issued debt instrument typically viewed as a liquid space, though one that's changed dramatically since the global financial crisis. Investors buy in for returns slightly higher than Treasury bills, while taking on, theoretically, relatively little credit risk. Maturities on commercial paper range up to 270 days, but average about 30 days, according to the Federal Reserve. The assets are typically lent in denominations of $100,000. They are widely viewed as having played a key role in the crisis of 2007 to 2009 as mortgage defaults rose.
    • Short-term government bonds: Government bonds with short-dated maturities are debt obligations backed by a country's government and denominated in its currency. An example in the US would be a 2-year Treasury note. These assets are typically considered stable investments and "safe havens," but are subject to volatility from factors like auctions and changes in monetary policy and economic conditions. Deutsche Bank told clients last week that government bond funds — mostly short-term — saw a record $23 billion inflow in December alone.

    Now read:

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    artificial intelligence social network eter9

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

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

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

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

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    New York Stock Exchange Trader

    • Hedge funds are experts in shorting stocks, or bets that a stock will fall.
    • To help traders have a better idea of the potential investing landmines, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has issued a list of stocks that markets are betting against the most.
    • Most of the highly shorted stocks are from the discretionary and technology sectors.

    Wall Street expects stock-market volatility to spike further in 2019.

    And in a highly volatile market, it's even more important to steer clear of potential investing landmines.

    To help traders have a better idea of the potential pitfalls to avoid, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has issued a list of stocks that markets are betting against the most. Most of the highly shorted stocks are from the discretionary and technology sectors.

    Here are the 12 stocks that markets believe will fall, in ascending order of their short interest as a percentage of float.

    TripAdvisor

    Ticker: TRIP

    Sector: Communication Services 

    Short interest as a % of float: 13%

    Performance in the past 12 months: +64%

     

    Source: Bank of America



    Campbell Soup

    Ticker:CPB

    Sector: Staples

    Short interest as a % of float: 13%

    Performance in the past 12 months: -30%

     

    Source: Bank of America



    Albemarle

    Ticker: ALB

    Sector: Materials 

    Short interest as a % of float: 13%

    Performance in the past 12 months: -44%

     

    Source: Bank of America



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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

    45228731_10156146965992852_4420358844731883520_o

    • When American Express launched its new American Express® Gold Card in October, it also introduced a special, limited-edition rose gold version of the card. 
    • The new design — the regular version of the new Gold Card is a metallic gold — comes in addition to competitive rewards on restaurants and supermarkets in the US, airfare, and more.
    • You can request the rose gold card if you're a new applicant, or currently hold AmEx's previous version of the card, the Premier Rewards Gold. 
    • However, the rose gold version is only available until January 9.
    • New cardholders can also get a unique, limited-time welcome bonus if they apply before the same date.
    • Here's what you need to know about the AmEx Gold Card.

    When American Express reintroduced its Gold Card this fall, the card got a fantastic set of improvements to its rewards earning scheme and suite of benefits.

    As part of the overhaul, AmEx unveiled a new chic, gold-colored metal version of the card, similar to the Platinum Card's design. AmEx also introduced a limited-edition rose gold variation of the card — it was so popular that AmEx encountered shipping delays.

    Current and new users are able request either the regular or the rose gold card. However, the latter option goes away on January 9.

    That means that this is the last chance to get the rose gold version of the card.

    Also going away January 9: a unique limited-time bonus for new members. If you don't have the Gold Card and open one by then, AmEx will "pick up the tip" when you dine out. During the first three months, new card members will get 20% back on US restaurant charges — in the form of a statement credit — up to $100 total.

    Learn more:Amex is issuing a limited-edition rose gold version of its brand-new Gold Card — here's how to request one in 5 minutes

    That's in addition to the standard welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Some people may be targeted for a higher bonus.

    The new Gold Card earns 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US restaurants, as well as on the first $25,000 spent each calendar year at US supermarkets (and 1x point after that). It also earns 3x points on flights booked directly through the airline, and 1x point on everything else.

    That makes it among the most competitive cards for restaurants and supermarkets in the US — since it's possible to get more than 1¢ of value for each Membership Rewards point, the value is more than 4% back.

    Learn more: AmEx Platinum cardholders can potentially get the $200 airline fee credit twice in their first year — here's how

    The Gold Card features several other benefits, too. Cardholders can get up to $120 in dining credits a year — split into $10 chunks each month — when they use their cards to order food through Grubhub or Seamless, or at The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. That's in addition to a $100 airline fee credit each calendar year.

    The card's annual fee is $250, but between the annual credits and the rewards, it should be easy to earn enough value to more than make up for that.

    Click here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: The AmEx Platinum is available to active duty servicemembers at no annual fee — but even with the fee, the credit card is a great value

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    cops outside hacienda healthcare

    • A 29-year-old woman in Phoenix, Arizona, who had been in a vegetative state for more than 14 years suddenly gave birth to a boy last month.
    • Police on Tuesday served a search warrant to obtain DNA samples from all employees at the woman's care facility.
    • They are investigating a potential sexual assault. All indicators so far point to the birth being the result of rape or sexual assault.
    • The woman's family said they are outraged, but that the baby boy would be "well cared for."

    Police served a search warrant to obtain DNA samples from all male employees at a care facility in Phoenix, Arizona, after a female patient who had been in a vegetative state for more than 14 years suddenly gave birth last month, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

    The warrant is part of a sexual assault inquiry after a 29-year-old Native American woman at Hacienda HealthCare gave birth to a boy on December 29.

    Hacienda HealthCare told the AP in a statement: "We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix Police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation."

    Read more: Police are investigating a sexual assault after a woman who has been in a vegetative state for over a decade gave birth

    hacienda healthcare

    The woman, who has not been named, was admitted to the facility after a near-drowning. She is a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe, whose reservation is 134 miles east of Phoenix, the AP said.

    All indicators so far point to the birth being the result of rape or sexual assault.

    A woman, claiming to be a former caregiver at Hacienda HealthCare, said on Monday that the staff at the facility are pretty much the only human contact the patient has, as her family only visits once every few months.

    It's not clear whether staff members at the facility knew the patient was pregnant at all. Previous reports said that staff did not know that the patient was pregnant until she went into labor.

    former hacienda healthcare caregiver

    The woman's family is outraged at the "neglect of their daughter," their lawyer said in a Tuesday statement to the AP.

    John Micheaels, the lawyer, added: "The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for."

    Terry Rambler, the chairman of the woman's San Carlos Apache tribe, also said he was "deeply shocked and horrified" by the story.

    "When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers," Rambler said. "Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her. It is my hope that justice will be served."

    Investigators are trying to determine whether the woman suffered multiple sexual assaults, "including assaults on different parts of the body," according to ABC 15. It's unclear what evidence there is for this reported line of inquiry.

    Hacienda Healthcare CEO Bill Timmons resigned on Monday. His resignation was "was accepted unanimously by the Hacienda Board of Directors,"the center's spokesman David Leibowitz told local news site Arizona Family in a statement.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Trump defense bill

    • President Donald Trump instructed the White House budget office to look into using the Department of Defense's budget to build his desired border wall, Axios reported.
    • Specifically, the office is said to be looking into using Pentagon funds without going through Congress.
    • The news comes 19 days into a partial government shutdown as a result of a disagreement between Trump and Congressional Democrats on funding the $5 billion wall.

    The White House is considering using the Pentagon budget to fund President Donald Trump's proposed $5 billion border wall between US and Mexico, according to Axios.

    The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been looking into ways to secure funding for the wall without going through Congress, the news site reported, citing a source close to OMB Deputy Director Russ Vought.

     

    Trump border wall prototypes

    Specifically, the OMB — under Trump's command — is looking into whether he can use Department of Defense money to fund the wall without requiring Congress' permission, Axios said.

    It is "one of a couple of possibilities being seriously contemplated," the news site added.

    Read more:Trump’s $5 billion border wall plan could wreak environmental havoc, causing rivers to flood and animals to become 'zombie species'

    Donald Trump

    The the news comes 19 days into a partial federal government shutdown, which began on December 22 when Trump reached a stalemate with Congressional Democrats while trying to secure $5 billion of funding for his proposed wall along the US-Mexico border.

    Trump addressed the nation during prime time TV Tuesday night, characterizing the state of the US-Mexico border as a "crisis" that only Congress can solve by building a physical wall.

    Read more: 'How much more American blood must we shed?': Trump addresses the nation amid government shutdown over border-wall funding

    The president has routinely blamed Congressional Democrats for refusing to fund the wall, which was the central pledge of his 2016 presidential campaign.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    • The ability to conduct banking activities via a sleek mobile app is no longer enough to satisfy consumers — it's table stakes.
    • Banks need to focus on deploying robust personal finance management (PFM) features that pull consumers in.
    • There are three common approaches banks can take to effectively implement these tools.

    It’s no longer enough for banks to offer customers a sleek mobile banking app; in fact, they expect it.

    US Demand for All Mobile Banking Features

    And with emerging fintechs continuously creeping in on incumbents’ marketshare, legacy banks must work to provide additional tools that will keep users engaged in-app — and prevent their eyes from wandering to startup solutions.

    The best opportunity banks have to do this is by introducing personal finance management (PFM) features to their existing offerings. These features empower customers to take more control over their financial lives by tracking spending, managing investments, and maintaining greater visibility into their overall financial health.

    Fintech startups have already refined many of these technologies and, in turn, pressured traditional banks to achieve feature parity or lose customers. Personal Finance Management, a new research report Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has outlined the best ways for banks to catch up to the competition.

    Here are three approaches banks can take to implementing PFM tools:

    • Partnering with a PFM-focused fintech: This can save the partnering banks critical time by bypassing building features themselves — enabling a quicker go-to-market strategy. However, banks must be prepared to forego the ability to implement more customized  services.
    • Working with a PFM technology supplier: B2B suppliers like Meniga and Personetics, on the other hand, can help banks overhaul their existing mobile apps with specially designed features. They provide the enabling infrastructure banks need to successfully offer PFM features to their customers.
    • Acquiring a PFM startup: Although often more expensive, this option grants banks the ability to acquire valuable talent, as well as complete control over their integrations.

    Want to learn more?

    This is just a preview of Personal Finance Management, a new report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. The full report breaks down the different approaches banks can take to offer their customers better PFM features as competition from fintechs increases.

    In full, the report provides insights into the benefits and challenges of each approach, how the industry may change in the future, and which PFM features will soon become table stakes for consumers.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    green cannabis lawyers 2x1

    With the rapid spread of marijuana legalization in the US, lawyers are discovering that the tangled web of regulations guiding the rapidly growing industry is a boon for business.

    After last year's midterm elections, some form of cannabis is now legal in 33 states, and many in the industry say it's only a matter of time before legalization sweeps the nation.

    Big money — and big law — has followed. The opportunity could be huge: some Wall Street analysts say marijuana could become an $80 billion market in the US alone in the next decade, with the global market hitting close to $200 billion. 

    There are several key reasons lawyers are attracted to the marijuana industry. For one, as cannabis companies grow, merge, and start getting the attention of Fortune 500 corporations as acquisition targets, they need more sophisticated advice on financing, tax planning, corporate structure, and M&A.

    Publicly traded cannabis companies were on a dealmaking tear in 2019, scooping up competitors and signing multibillion-dollar tie-ups with pharmaceutical, alcohol, and tobacco corporations. It's a trend heating up in 2019.

    Read more: Big law firms are building out specialized pot practices to chase down a red-hot market for weed deals

    In addition, many marijuana companies still directly flout US federal law, despite being publicly traded and posting multibillion-dollar valuations.

    That's an opportunity to a select group of lawyers who have cut a trailblazing path into the industry. Once reluctant, some of the biggest law firms, like Duane Morris, Baker Botts and Dentons, are building out specialized cannabis practice groups as the industry continues to grow in profitability and complexity.

    And even some of the most world's most prestigious law firms, like Sullivan and Cromwell, have gotten in on the marijuana mergers-and-acquisitions action.

    Business Insider has pulled together a list of the top lawyers who've worked on the largest deals in the past year in the growing marijuana industry.

    Here's the list:

    SEE ALSO: The top 12 venture-capital firms making deals in the booming cannabis industry that's set to skyrocket to $75 billion

    Patricia Olasker, Brian Kujavsky: Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg

    Firm: Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg

    Location: Toronto and Montreal

    Davies, one of the largest Canadian law firms, first got involved in the cannabis industry at the request of an important client in October 2017.

    That client was Bank of America, which had provided financing for the beer maker Constellation Brands' initial purchase of a stake in Canopy Growth, a publicly traded marijuana cultivator.

    "We were really led by our clients into this space," said Patricia Olasker, a capital-markets partner in Davies' Toronto office. "We had to get smart about the opportunity very quickly."

    Since that first deal, Davies has ramped up its M&A work in the sector, particularly after Canada legalized marijuana federally last year.

    "There were a lot of internal discussions as to how comfortable we were advising companies in the space, and how to get comfortable," said Brian Kujavsky, a partner in Davies' Montreal office.

    The firm then provided regulatory advice to Canopy on Constellation's subsequent $4 billion investment into the marijuana cultivator last summer.

    Davies also represented investment bank Lazard's Canadian arm on the deal that saw Altria, the tobacco maker behind Marlboro, sink $1.8 billion into a 45% stake in marijuana cultivator Cronos Group in December.

    The firm now advises marijuana cultivators, like Canopy and Cronos Group, at the "senior end" of the market, Olasker said.

    "When a major client like Altria wants to enter the space, you're going to say, 'Yes, we're here to help you,'" Olasker said.

    Looking forward, Olasker said consolidation will slow in the cannabis industry, but she expects to see a lot of deals on the radar. Expect to see tie-ups with consumer packaged goods, tobacco, and pharmaceutical companies either through joint ventures or strategic acquisitions, she said.

    And since the passing of the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp in the US in December, Canadian marijuana companies are looking southward.

    "The holy grail for Canadian [marijuana cultivators] is how to get exposure to the US market and not be offside stock-exchange requirements and anti-money-laundering regulations," Olasker said.



    Jonathan S. Robbins: Akerman LLP

    Firm: Akerman LLP

    Location: Fort Lauderdale

    Jonathan Robbins first got exposure to the cannabis industry in 2014 after a real-estate client called him up to ask questions about leasing space to a medical-marijuana company.

    After that call Robbins saw the writing on the wall. "I approached the CEO of the firm the following day and told him we'll be kicking ourselves if we miss this opportunity," he said.

    That was at the outset of Florida's medical-marijuana program, which has now blossomed into a big business, with many US marijuana retailers vying for a piece of the market.

    Robbins is now the chair of Akerman's Cannabis Practice Group, which he says is one of the first cannabis practices at a national US law firm.

    Many of the firm's clients, either private-equity funds, family offices, or high-net-worth individuals, provide a lot of the financing for the cannabis industry as traditional financial institutions like big banks remain wary of working with marijuana businesses, Robbins said.

    In the past year, Robbins has helped Green Growth Brands, an Ohio marijuana retailer, acquire valuable grow facilities in Nevada and helped Surterra Wellness, a marijuana company backed by the Wrigley family, make strategic acquisitions in the Sunshine State.

    "Just as you're starting to see more sophisticated law firms dip their toes in the water, we're seeing the same thing with more established, sophisticated businesspeople," Robbins added.

    He said that the size and complexity of the deals he's worked on have dramatically increased as well.

    "We're routinely working on $100 million deals, $200 million deals, public offerings, and complex cross-border transactions," he said.



    Christopher Barry, Mike Weiner, Kevin Sam: Dorsey and Whitney

    Firm: Dorsey and Whitney

    Location: Seattle, Toronto, and Denver

    Dorsey and Whitney's first involvement in the cannabis industry came through a serendipitous phone call to partner Christopher Barry.

    On the other end of the line was a representative from a multibillion-dollar Asian investment fund looking for advice on investing in marijuana after the fund's regular counsel turned it down.

    Since then Barry has found his expertise in cross-border transactions — he's the head of Dorsey's Canada Practice Group — which has dovetailed perfectly with the cannabis industry.

    Barry has helped US marijuana retailers, like MedMen and Green Thumb Industries, go public in Canada via a reverse merger on the Canadian Securities Index. Barry helped Canopy Growth, a publicly traded marijuana cultivator, cross-list on the NYSE in May.

    For Barry, who was instrumental in building out Dorsey's cannabis practice alongside Mike Weiner and Kevin Sam, being at the forefront of the new industry is what keeps him going.

    "This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys," Barry said. "Look, I'm 71 years old. I've been practicing for over 40 years. If I weren't having so much fun with this I'd be retired."



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    wim hof the iceman dutch extreme athlete

    • Wim Hof is an extreme athlete from the Netherlands who holds dozens of world records for activities like swimming in ice water and running barefoot in the snow.
    • The self-described "Iceman" promotes a fitness regimen that includes cold water plunges and a special breathing procedure.
    • The scientific evidence behind his cold-exposure technique is still limited, but a few studies suggest it works.

    The "Iceman" was 17 when he first dove, unclothed, into the bone-chilling waters of Amsterdam's Beatrixpark Canal. It just felt right.

    "I felt this attraction to the cold water," Wim Hof, who has become something of a fitness guru, told Rolling Stone in 2017. "After I went in, I felt this understanding, an inside connection. It gave me a rush. My mind was free of gibberish."

    The plunge laid the groundwork for a series of world records that Hof has set, including the farthest swim under ice and the fastest barefoot half-marathon on ice/snow. Hence the Dutch athlete's nickname: Iceman. 

    Hof proselytizes what he calls the "Wim Hof Method," a three-pronged combination of breathing, cold exposure, and meditation. The 59-year-old has followers around the world, and even offers a free mini-course online in six languages.

    "Over time, we as humans have developed a different attitude towards nature and we've forgotten about our inner power," Hof explains on his site. "This is the ability of our body to adapt to extreme temperature and survive within our natural environment." 

    The idea, as journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney explains it in his book "What Doesn't Kill Us," is that along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, our bodies might need environmental stress to reach the highest level of fitness.

    There is some research to support this— getting out into the cold may increase our beneficial brown fat stores, which help keep us warm and convert stored-up energy (ahem, pudge) into heat. But the scientific jury is still out.

    The Iceman's method

    The first thing to master, Hof says, is his breathing technique. 

    "You will understand 'high on your own supply' when you do this," he says in a video demonstration. 

    The technique takes a bit of practice. Hof recommends trying it laying down. It involves first completing a series of about 30 active, deep breaths in, followed by passive breaths out. The idea is to take in more and more oxygen with every breath, breathing in deeper and deeper. After this, Hof asks practitioners to exhale for "as long as you can, without force." Finally, people take a last deep breath in and hold it for about 10 seconds. The goal is to perform four rounds of this cycle.

    It's somewhat like the ancient yogic Pranayama breathing techniques. Hof says the practice's calming, therapeutic effects function like a miracle cure for everything from inflammation to anxiety.

    After his first wife died by suicide, Hof doubled-down on his three-pronged technique, crediting it with helping ease symptoms of depression and physical pain.

    wim hof iceman world record ice bath.JPG

    Aside from the breathing, Hof also swears by frequent cold showers and ice baths. Ice can reduce inflammation and swelling, but Hof also suggests that cold exposure can rev up the metabolism, improve sleep, sharpen focus, and improve the immune system (these claims are debated among scientists). Finally, Hof touts some focus and meditation techniques.   

    "We believe you can train your brain to increase willpower and self-control," he says on his site.

    The science behind Hof's technique 

    Hof's fervor for cold stress makes sense intuitively: when we’re forced into colder conditions, our bodies have to work harder to stay at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

    There are some time-tested benefits to cold exposure: stepping out of our 72-degree "cocoon" from time to time can boost the body's metabolism. 

    One study of hundreds of Finnish workers in the 1980s found that lumberjacks, painters, farmers, and other men who worked outside in northern Finland — where the average winter temperatures are always below freezing— carried more protective brown fat around their necks and hearts than indoor workers. And a small study of seven men who worked in 14-degree-Fahrenheit cold found that they expended more energy and burned more fat than they did when exercising at room temperature.

    In his book, Carney describes how he adopted Hof's technique of cold baths and breathing. Scientists at the University of Colorado in Boulder then studied him, and observed that Carney's body switched into a boosted fat-burning mode, a feat equivalent to including an extra hour of cardio exercise per day. 

    Read More: I tried the new fat-burning workout where you're immersed in cold temperatures, and it was surprisingly tough

    Still, modern-day humans don't carry around as much brown fat as our ancestors who lived without any climate control. What's more, studies show that there's essentially no difference between the brown fat stores of people living near the poles and those in the tropics around the equator. Even in a study of Hof's own family, researchers found that the Iceman has the same amount of brown fat as his identical twin brother, who does not tend to venture out into Arctic conditions in his skivvies.

    So it's tough to know how much our brown fat stores can budge, or whether cold exposure affects how much brown fat we have. 

    wim hof iceman breathing technique

    Exposure to extremes can be unsafe

    Some researchers who've studied Hof suggest he may harbor a"stress-induced analgesic response" that relieves pain. His increased cold tolerance could also be a byproduct of the breathing and mental-training exercises he uses, which are similar to Tummo meditation techniques popular with Tibetan Buddhist monks.

    Meditation is certainly an effective way to tamp down stress and inflammation-linked proteins in the body, and there's even some evidence that it may play a role in decreasing feelings of anxiety and depression, while improving focus. One study compared 12 people following Hof's method to 12 control subjects, and found that Wim Hof followers may benefit from a "pro-inflammatory" immune response, possibly as a result of hyperventilation they undergo during breathing exercises. 

    But as far as environmental exposure is concerned, it's important to remember that when people stay in cold conditions for too long, their core temperature drops, leading them to become delirious and unconscious, suffer tissue damage, and even die.

    wim hof training ice water

    At least a few men have died in cold waters practicing Hof's techniques. People can develop hypothermia more quickly in frigid water, since heat is pulled away 25 times faster from us in water than in the air.

    One of the first signs of hypothermia is shivering and shuddering. Interestingly, lab tests showed that Hof doesn't shiver as quickly as most people do, and neither does his twin.

    SEE ALSO: I tried the new fat-burning workout where you're immersed in cold temperatures, and it was surprisingly tough

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