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The latest news from Business Insider

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    ilitary vehicles carrying DF-26 ballistic missiles, drive past the Tiananmen Gate during a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing.

    • China has mobilized its long-range DF-26 ballistic missiles, according to Chinese media.
    • The nationalist Global Times warned that the "far-reaching, anti-ship ballistic missile" is operational, noting that the news comes just days after a US destroyer challenged China's excessive claims to the South China Sea.
    • The warning also comes a few weeks after a Chinese admiral suggested sinking two US carriers.

    Chinese media touted the mobilization of a "far-reaching, anti-ship ballistic missile" Thursday, specifically highlighting its ability to target ships in the South China Sea.

    China's DF-26 ballistic missile has reportedly been mobilized in northwestern China, according to the Global Times, citing state broadcaster China Central Television. The weapon, commonly described as a "carrier killer," is an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear warheads to targets on land and at sea.

    The report from the Global Times notes that the activation of the DF-26 comes just "after a US warship trespassed into China's territorial waters off the Xisha Islands (Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea on Monday," a reference to a legal freedom-of-navigation operation conducted by destroyer USS McCampbell.

    "We urge the United States to immediately cease this kind of provocation," the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response, accusing the US of having "gravely infringed upon China’s sovereignty."

    "We will be on high alert and will closely monitor the air and sea situation to strongly defend our sovereignty and security," the ministry spokesman added.

    Last September, a Chinese destroyer attempted to intercept a US warship during a freedom-of-navigation operation in the Spratly Islands, risking a collision. It was the Chinese navy's most aggressive response to US actions in the South China Sea to date.

    The DF-26 missiles mobilized in the northwest regions are far from the South China Sea, but Chinese military experts assert that it has the range to cover the contested waterway. "Even when launched from deeper inland areas of China, the DF-26 has a range far-reaching enough to cover the South China Sea," an anonymous expert told the Global Times. The missile is believed to have a range of about 3,400 miles.

    That expert added that missiles fired from the interior are harder to intercept because they can realistically only be intercepted in the terminal phase.

    Amid Chinese bravado, there remains skepticism about the DF-26 missile's ability to serve in an anti-ship role. The weapon was previously nicknamed the "Guam Killer" or the "Guam Express," as it offers China the ability to strike Andersen Air Force Base, a key US base in the Pacific, with force.

    The article in the Global Times reflects an aggressive tone that is becoming more common in Chinese discussions.

    Recently, a Chinese admiral suggested sinking two US aircraft carriers, which would end the lives of roughly 10,000 American sailors. "What the United States fears the most is taking casualties," China’s Rear Adm. Luo Yuan, the deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences said. "We’ll see how frightened America is."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Coast Guard's 8-week boot camp where recruits go through extreme physical tests and brutal 'smoke sessions'


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    Evan Spiegel

    • Snap CEO Evan Spiegel recently said that Instagram made users feel "terrible" because they had to "compete for popularity."
    • Spiegel has yet to provide any proof to back up this claim, and current research suggests he is wrong.
    • Snapchat does, however, seem to have a slightly better emotional impact on users than Instagram, according to multiple surveys.
    • Assessing the impact of social-media apps on emotional well-being is complicated by factors like "active" versus "passive" use, and timeframe.

    It’s no secret there’s bad blood between Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram.

    Snap insiders and fans — including Miranda Kerr, the Australian supermodel and entrepreneur who is married to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel — have repeatedly blasted Facebook and Instagram for copying Snapchat, especially its stories format.

    But beyond the copying complaints, which Instagram has not denied, there’s another form of criticism that has recently bubbled up: the contention that Instagram is bad for you, while Snapchat is not.

    Spiegel expressed this view on stage at The New York Times’ DealBook conference in early November: “What people are experiencing on Instagram is, they don’t feel good about themselves. It feels terrible, they have to compete for popularity.”

    The basic theory is easy to understand: Instagram has “likes” and public follower counts, whereas Snapchat does not, and if people are competing for likes on Instagram, they will end up feeling “terrible.”

    But the problem with that easy narrative is the evidence doesn’t back it up.

    After speaking with a professor in the field, consulting the current academic research, running a custom consumer survey, and corresponding with a Snap representative, I was still left without a single data set supporting Spiegel's claim that Instagram was "terrible" and Snapchat was not.

    The consensus picture that emerged was that, in many circumstances, both Snapchat and Instagram had a positive emotional influence on their users, with Snapchat having a slight edge.

    But Spiegel’s attack on Instagram’s emotional impact is hyperbolic and unsupported.

    Even research commissioned by Snap itself, published on Tuesday, found that 8 of the 9 “top attribute index scores” for how users felt when using Instagram were positive. Users of both Snapchat and Instagram felt “playful,” “attractive,” “creative,” “adventurous,” and “flirtatious” when they were using the apps. Instagram's top attribute was "inspired" and the lone mark against it was that users felt “self-conscious.”

    Snapchat got a perfect 9 out of 9 positive attributes (no surprise there), while Twitter and Facebook’s attributes skewed negative.

    Here is the full chart from Snapchat and Murphy Research:

    unnamed

    Yes, Snapchat seems to beat Instagram in this study. But if even research being paid for by your competitor — a competitor who is trashing you in the press — gives you 89% positive attributes, that’s pretty good.

    And it’s not the only evidence to suggest that Spiegel is wrong in his assessment of Snapchat and Instagram’s emotional effects.

    How does using Snapchat or Instagram impact you emotionally?

    When I heard Spiegel’s quote about Instagram in November, I thought it would be worthwhile to try and answer a simple question: How did Snapchat and Instagram affect users emotionally?

    To get a feel for this, I asked on-demand insights company AlphaHQ to run a survey on Instagram and Snapchat users. The question AlphaHQ asked was this: “Compared to how you typically feel before opening the app, how does using [Snapchat, Instagram] generally impact you emotionally?”

    Here’s a summary of the findings:

    Instagram (453 user responses)

    • Worse: 7.5%
    • Better: 22.3%
    • No different: 70.2%

    Snapchat (581 user responses)

    • Worse: 4.8%
    • Better: 27.9%
    • No different: 67.3%

    Snapchat comes out ahead, but there is nothing to suggest Instagram makes its users feel “terrible” — or somehow much, much worse than Snapchat.

    But this wasn’t an academic study and I took the results as a gut check rather than a definitive answer.

    Instagram dog

    'We can't really make any claims about Instagram versus Snapchat'

    I approached Snap and asked both for its take on the AlphaHQ findings and for any research that backed up Spiegel’s statements.

    Snap and Spiegel declined to give a formal statement or interview.

    But the company pointed me to two academic studies, one from the University of Michigan published in 2016 by Information, Communication, & Society (titled “Sharing the small moments: ephemeral social interaction on Snapchat”); and another from the University of Minnesota published in 2017 (titled “Share First, Save Later: Performance of Self through Snapchat Stories”).

    The Michigan study dealt directly with the issue of Snapchat and mood, and included some references to Instagram. In general, Snapchat came out on top relative to other communication technologies with respect to its impact on a user's mood.

    “Our quantitative data demonstrated that Snapchat interactions were perceived as more enjoyable – and associated with more positive mood – than other communication technologies (i.e., calling, texting, emailing, Facebook),” the researchers wrote.

    But in looking at the data, the difference between Instagram and Snapchat's impact on mood didn’t appear statistically significant. I spoke to the lead author on the study, Joseph Bayer, now an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, to confirm that.

    “We can't really make any claims about Instagram versus Snapchat,” Bayer said. He added that he wasn’t aware of any academic studies that showed Instagram having an overall negative emotional effect on users.

    The second study Snap pointed me to, from Minnesota, characterized Snapchat as a “low-risk” way of sharing, but didn’t compare the app with Instagram.

    The Minnesota study also contained a section that undercut one of Spiegel’s central premises: that Snapchat is set up so users won’t care about popularity.

    The study found that Snapchat users “still cared about the way their content was received by the audience.” One of the primary ways the participants assessed the worth of their Snapchat content was by seeing who looked at each post — “and this was information they actively sought out.” The study participants also used a “diverse set of strategies for deciding whether [Snapchat] content was successful enough to warrant saving.”

    In the absence of “likes,” Snapchat users created their own methods for seeing how popular or successful a piece of content was.

    Snapchat

    Passively looking at strangers probably makes you sad

    But surely there had been some studies that contended Instagram, or social media in general, was bad for you, I thought.

    I went back to Snap, but the company did not send me any more studies on the record.

    When I asked Bayer, he said there was one study in particular that was frequently cited as a nuanced look at Facebook and its negative emotional effect in some circumstances.

    That study, published in 2015 by the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that “passive” but not “active” Facebook usage “specifically undermines affective well-being and does so by enhancing envy.” So if you are passively scrolling through your Facebook feed, it can make you jealous of others.

    But the researchers also wrote that they “did not observe any relationship between active Facebook usage and well-being in the current studies.” (The study did not look at Instagram or Snapchat.)

    There have been similarly nuanced findings on how Instagram influences “well-being.”

    In a study published in 2015 by Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, researchers concluded that “Instagram use has negative associations with well-being for those who follow many strangers, but positive associations with well-being for those who follow few strangers.” (The study did not look at Snapchat.)

    Taken together, these two studies suggest that it’s not merely which social-media platform you use that determines the emotional effect it has on you, but also how you use it.

    Kylie Jenner

    Instagram Stories now has twice as many daily users as Snapchat

    This insight could help explain why Instagram copying Snapchat’s stories feature is such a threat to Snap.

    Since Instagram introduced the feature in the summer of 2016, it has become stunningly popular. In June, Instagram Stories hit 400 million active users, over twice Snapchat’s daily active user base.

    Snapchat’s rise has often been attributed to its “ephemeral” nature, which encourages users to document the silly or mundane aspects of their lives. Maybe one secret of the popularity of “ephemerality” was that it encouraged users to be more active on the platform, and communicate with their actual friends — both of which the academic research suggests are positive for well-being when applied to social networks generally.

    Now that Instagram has bottled some of that secret sauce with its stories feature, it presents a threat to Snapchat. Instagram gives you two options: lasting and ephemeral. You can be “active” either way. No wonder that has helped the platform sustain its massive growth.

    Instagram stories update

    'They have to compete for popularity'

    In that context, it’s easy to understand why Spiegel wants to criticize Instagram in another way: by characterizing its usage as a relentless pursuit of popularity. (“It feels terrible, they have to compete for popularity.”)

    Spiegel outlined the general theory when talking about the differences between Snapchat and Facebook in June at the Code Conference:

    "I think fundamentally it’s important to understand that Snapchat is not just a bunch of features. It really has an underlying philosophy that runs directly counter to traditional social media. I think that’s why traditional social media feels threatened. Because, fundamentally, if people realize that competing with their friends for 'Likes' and attention is kind of unpleasant and really not that great."

    But it’s not that simple.

    The 2015 study that looked at Instagram and “well-being” found that “contrary to the hypotheses, more frequent Instagram use was not associated with social comparison.” Is Instagram really a popularity contest, then?

    And as the 2017 Minnesota study found, without a “like” button, Snapchat users have found other ways of judging the performance of their content.

    So maybe it’s not competing with your friends for popularity on social media that makes you sad, but rather passively following celebrities and envying their lives. And guess what, you can passively follow celebrities on Snapchat, too.

    DJ Khaled

    It depends on which questions you ask

    It’s worth noting that not all researchers have come away with a rosy view of social media, and I did find one survey that presented an alarming picture of the situation.

    A study from the UK published in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health looked at the effect of social-media apps on health and well-being, as defined by 14 survey questions. In sum, the RSPH found that only YouTube had a net positive effect, with Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram having a negative effect.

    Instagram was the worst, but Snapchat was the second worst, which meant the RSPH study wasn’t particularly useful in settling the Instagram versus Snapchat debate.

    In reading study after study, it became clear that there were no simple answers to how social media affects humans emotionally, especially as new platforms continue to emerge.

    The emotional effect of Facebook seems to be fleeting

    But whatever the emotional effect — positive or negative — that these platforms have, it could also be fleeting.

    Bayer pointed me to a study that he and his colleagues published in 2017 in New Media & Society (titled “Facebook in context(s): Measuring emotional responses across time and space”).

    The researchers found that users generally had positive emotional experiences up to 10 minutes after active posting on Facebook. But that positive effect dissipated when subjects were tested 30 minutes after posting, and “Facebook activities predicted no changes in aggregate mood over 2 weeks.”

    The short-lived nature of Facebook’s emotional impact, which could perhaps be true of other platforms as well, complicates the matter even further.

    Calling Instagram 'terrible' isn't going to help Snapchat

    The bottom line is that assessing the emotional impact of social-media platforms on their users is complicated and must take into account things like "active" versus "passive" usage, and timeframe.

    But one thing I can say for certain from my research is that only an extreme cherry-picking of data could lead to the conclusion that Instagram is “terrible” while Snapchat is a benevolent tool for creativity and self-expression.

    It's understandable to lash out at a competitor that is brazenly copying your innovations. But painting Instagram as a terrible experience for users isn't going to do much for Snap’s stock price if the users actually come away from Instagram feeling "inspired."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 science-backed ways to a happier and healthier 2019 that you can do the first week of the new year


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    bii digital health ecosystem graphic 2019 altThis is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence,  Business Insider's premium research service. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Until now, healthcare was the only remaining industry that had yet to feel the rapid impact of digitization endured by retail, banking, and media. But consumer adoption of digital tech, regulatory overhauls, and a shifting reimbursement model are forcing healthcare players' hands. US Employers Average Annual Premium Contributions Are Rising

    Digital health innovation offers market incumbents new opportunities to combat constricting margins, labor shortages, and rising costs.

    But it also poses a threat to slow movers, as new entrants lean on their digital prowess and lack of legacy infrastructure to cut costs and remain nimble. As such, incumbents are turning to acquisitions, partnerships, and new investments to strengthen their digital health services.

    The first Digital Health Ecosystem Report from Business Insider Intelligence explores the current healthcare ecosystem, industry trends that are driving digital transformation, and where the industry is headed. FORECAST: Penetration of Electronic Health Record Systems in the US

    We outline the role of each of the industry's major players — including payers, providers, and manufacturers — and how they're affected by healthcare's digital disruption. 

     

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Digital health is at the forefront of transformation in the healthcare industry — both as a driver of and an answer to the challenges industry players are grappling with.
    • All of the industry's major players — including payers, providers, and manufacturers — are affected by healthcare's digital disruption.
    • A confluence of forces induced healthcare's embrace of digital health, including changing consumer expectations, a new and disruptive reimbursement model, and rising healthcare costs
    • Tech-focused entrants are also breaking into healthcare, acting as catalysts for change and threatening legacy players' bottom lines.
    • Key digital health solutions like EHRs, digital therapeutics, telehealth, AI, wearables, and blockchain are the foundation of the industry's digital awakening.
    • Early evidence that digital health can address many of the industry's myriad challenges has fueled a vibrant US digital health funding market in 2018, with overall funding hitting $6.8 billion at the end of Q3. 

     In full, the report:

    • Details the US healthcare landscape by the role that payers, providers, manufacturers, and distributors play in the healthcare ecosystem.
    • Gives an overview of how digital health is enabling incumbents to overcome industry challenges.
    • Outlines how tech-focused healthcare entrants are pressuring incumbents and accelerating healthcare's digital transformation
    • Identifies promising digital health funding areas to illustrate what the future of digital health will look like.

    Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

    1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >>Purchase & Download Now
    2. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now

    The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of the Digital Health.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Aetna, Alphabet, Amazon, American Well, AmerisourceBergen, Anthem, Apple, Arizona Care Network, Arterys, Babylon Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Bay Labs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Blue Mesa Health, Bright Health, Cardinal Health, Cedars-Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, Clover Health, CVS, DePuy Synthes, Devoted Health, Dexcom, Doctor on Demand, Express Scripts, Fitbit, Fresenius Medical Care, GE Healthcare, Geisinger, Glooko, GSK, healthfinch, IBM, IDx, Johnson & Johnson, Mass General, McKesson, Medtronic, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA, Microsoft, NewYork-Presbyterian, Northwell Health, Novartis, Olive, Omada Health, Optum Rx, Oscar Health, Pear Therapeutics, Pfizer, Philips, PillPack, ResMed, Rite Aid, Roche, Samsung, Sanofi, Senseonics, Suki, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, T-Mobile, UnitedHealth Group, Verily, Viant, Walgreens, Walmart, Wellpepper, Zocdoc

     

     

    SEE ALSO: Patients are transforming from passive recipients of healthcare services to active participants in their own health

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Productivity

    • Productivity often begins in the mornings, with productive people tackling many of their tasks in the early hours.
    • Along with health benefits, being a morning person can help you capitalize productivity and achieve success.
    • Here are nine things people do before noon to increase productivity.

    We can’t all be morning people, but according to a recent study, you might extend your time on Earth if you could just wake up a few hours earlier each day.

    Researchers studied over 430,000 people, aged 38 to 73, for six and a half years to see how their "early bird" or "night owl" lifestyles affected their health and wellbeing. The results proved that health-wise, night owls may be at a disadvantage. They have an increased risk of developing a psychological disorder, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases.

    But getting an early start offers more than just health benefits — being a morning person may increase daily productivity and career growth.

    According to biologist Christoph Randler, individuals who perform best in the early hours may be more likely to achieve their career goals than those who don’t. His research, published in the Harvard Business Review, surveyed about 400 university students and found that morning people tend to be more proactive than those who are at their best in the evening. (The jury’s still out on whether being an early bird is innate or can be learned, however.)

    Here's what nine super-productive people do before noon to keep their momentum going all day.

    SEE ALSO: The 8 smartest things I did when I started my new job

    1. They divide their day in two

    The founder and creative director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir Peele, swears by splitting up his day to keep his creativity flowing.

    "I list a maximum of 10 tasks that I want to crush by noon. To stay interested in what I’m doing, I do the most important tasks at the top of each hour and then handle emails. After I finish two tasks, I do 20 push-ups," he told Business Insider.

    As for the second portion of his day (between noon and 5 p.m.), he takes a different tactic. "I focus all of my attention on meetings and just pure content creation — both of which are extremely time-consuming tasks," he said.



    2. They get in early

    Pediatrician Dr. Meghan Brooks, DO, balances motherhood and caring for her young patients day after day by getting ahead of the curve.

    “I always get in at least a half an hour before my patients are due. Being able to check their charts and call parents with test results or follow-ups is key,” she said. “And on other days I use that time to drink my coffee and make sure appointments and school forms are complete for my own girls.”



    3. They take 'me' time

    By taking some time for herself each morning, New York-based senior editor and new mom Rachel Bowie boosts her mood and overall productivity.

    “It’s so easy to get stressed about my lengthy to-do list when I’m handling diaper changes and my four-month-old’s schedule. So, every morning in the shower I count from one to 180 (three minutes total) and use that time to just be present,” she said. “As silly as it sounds, spending that time appreciating the solitude of my bathroom and a rejuvenating shower instead of letting my brain race through my day has a calming effect that keeps me more centered.”



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

    • A photo of a woman's feet in a bathtub went viral earlier this week after Reddit users claimed they belonged to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
    • The rumor was quickly debunked, but The Daily Caller published a headline that was not clear the photo was actually of another woman.
    • Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at the conservative outlet on Thursday morning, calling its publication "completely disgusting behavior."

    Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked the conservative news site The Daily Caller on Wednesday for publishing what she called "a fake nude photo of me" under a misleading headline.

    The photo went viral this week after people circulated it on Reddit, claiming it showed Ocasio-Cortez. It shows a pair of feet in a bathtub, but a blurred reflection of a nude female torso is also visible.

    Motherboard on Monday reported that the photo was actually of the political activist Sydney Leathers, who told the outlet the picture shows her body and "is a few years old."

    The Daily Caller on Monday reported Motherboard's story under the headline "Here's The Photo Some People Described As A Nude Selfie of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."

    Though it is accurate to say "some people described" the photo as showing Ocasio-Cortez, the headline did not acknowledge that those people had already been found to be wrong.

    Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at the outlet on Wednesday night, slamming The Daily Caller's publication as "completely disgusting behavior."

    She tweeted: "For those out of the loop, Republicans began to circulate a fake nude photo of me. The @DailyCaller reposted it (!) and refused to indicate it was fake in the title as well."

    "Completely disgusting behavior from Conservative outlets," she added. "No wonder they defended Kavanaugh so fiercely."

    The Daily Caller has since changed its headline to "Anthony Weiner Mistress Stands Up for AOC After Evil Internet Trolls Spread Fake Nude Photo," referring to Leathers, who was linked to the disgraced New York congressman Anthony Weiner's sexting scandals uncovered in 2016. AOC are Ocasio-Cortez's initials.

    The outlet also added a correction at the bottom of the article, which said: "An earlier version of the headline for this story made an inaccurate implication. The story has since been updated for accuracy."

    A cached version of the article with the original headline can be found here.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    The Daily Caller responded to Ocasio-Cortez's tweet shortly afterwards, tweeting: "As soon as editors noticed the twitter headline, we rapidly had it deleted and fixed."

    "We regret the error, as the intent was to inform our audience that a fake image was circulating online," the outlet added.

    Ocasio-Cortez slammed The Daily Caller's response as "not an apology," adding: "You've been posting hysteric, misrepresentative articles about me nonstop - many within 24h."

    The Daily Caller's editor-in-chef, Geoffrey Ingersoll, also told Business Insider in an email: "I had the headline corrected and updated early in the day, as soon as I noticed it. Obviously an eager editor made a misjudgment as to the framing."

    Ingersoll added that the story "is about how Ocasio-Cortez's enemies ... who [reporter] Betsy [Rothstein] describes as both horrible and evil — conjured this fake nude and spread it online."

    Ocasio-Cortez had her first day as the congressional representative of New York's 14th district on January 3. She told INSIDER's Eliza Relman in a recent interview that she writes all her own tweets but deletes many drafted in anger before publishing them.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    grindr

    • Daniel Jenkins, 19, and Michael Atkinson, 24, were charged with conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping and carjacking, an unsealed indictment revealed on Wednesday. 
    • The men are accused of using fake Grindr profiles to lure gay men to their apartment to beat and rob them, the indictment said. 
    • The Texas state attorney's office said the men used Grindr to "lure at least nine men, ages 19 to 57, to an apartment complex, where they were assaulted, taunted, and robbed."

    Two men in Texas have been charged with hate crimes after being accused of using the app Grinder to lure at least nine men into their apartment and beat and rob them, an unsealed indictment revealed on Wednesday.

    Daniel Jenkins, 19, and Michael Atkinson, 24, were named in the 15-count indictment, US Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas told The Huffington Post.

    The incidents occurred in an apartment complex east of Dallas in the first two weeks of December 2017, the indictment said.

    The two men, from Dallas, were charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping and carjacking, a statement from the state attorney’s office said. They were also charged with brandishing a firearm, aiding and abetting kidnapping, the Star-Telegram reported.

    Read more:A 21-year-old man has been charged with raping an 11-year-old girl he met on Tinder

    The state attorney's office said the men "allegedly used fake profiles targeting gay men on Grindr, a GTBQ dating app, to lure at least nine men, ages 19 to 57, to an apartment complex, where they were assaulted, taunted, and robbed."

    At least five of the victims were physically assaulted, one of sexually assaulted with an object, and one was smeared with feces, the state attorney's office said.

    During the assaults, the victims were held at gunpoint inside an apartment where they were subjected to gay slurs and robbed of their wallets, money, keys, cars, driver’s licenses, cell phones, and credit cards, the indictment said, according to Dallas News.

    "Criminals are using apps like Grindr to single out victims based on their sexual orientation. My office is committed to rooting out these despicable crimes motivated by hate," Cox told Dallas News.

    Jenkins and Atkinson were arrested in August 2018. They remain in custody.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This tiny building in Wilmington, Delaware is home to 300,000 businesses


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    trump putin

    • Thursday marks two years since the so-called Steele dossier, an explosive collection of memos alleging collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, was published.
    • The document was compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele.
    • Many of the dossier's claims remain uncorroborated, but several allegations have held up.

    Thursday marks two years since the so-called Steele dossier, an explosive collection of memos alleging collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia, was published by BuzzFeed News for public consumption.

    The largely unverified document, compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele, consists of 16 separate reports that total 35 pages.

    The FBI and the Senate Intelligence Committee are both known to be using the dossier as a "roadmap" in their respective investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 US election. The FBI also used the document to support, in part, its application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who has drawn scrutiny over his Russia ties.

    Trump dismissed the memos as a "pile of garbage," and he and his Republican allies frequently accuse the FBI of fabricating the information to oust Trump from office.

    Two years later, many of the dossier's claim remain uncorroborated. But several allegations have proven, at least in part, to have held up over time.

    SEE ALSO: Manafort's lawyers made a formatting error in a new court filing and accidentally revealed a slew of bombshells about his alleged lies to Mueller

    DON'T MISS: The Supreme Court handed Mueller a victory in his mysterious grand-jury subpoena fight

    WikiLeaks, Roger Stone, and the 2016 DNC hack

    The dossier said the "Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to the WikiLeaks platform."

    "The reason for using WikiLeaks was 'plausible deniability' and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team," the dossier said.

    It added: "Over the period March-September 2016 a company called [redacted] and its affiliates had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct 'altering operations' against the Democratic Party leadership. Entities linked to one [redacted] were involved and he and another hacking expert, both recruited under duress by the FSB, [redacted] were significant players in this operation."



    What's been corroborated and what hasn't

    • The special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers last July on hacking and conspiracy charges related to the 2016 DNC hack and the subsequent dissemination of stolen emails via the Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0, the Russia-linked website DCLeaks, and the radical pro-transparency platform WikiLeaks.
    • The charging document alleged that beginning in March 2016, the conspirators "used a variety of means to hack the email accounts" of people working on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
    • In April, the defendants hacked into the computer networks of the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), according to the allegations.

    Once they breached the network, the indictment said, the hackers "covertly monitored the computers of dozens of DCCC and DNC employees, implanting hundreds of files containing malicious computer code ... and stole emails and other documents from the DCCC and DNC."

    In June, the Russians allegedly "staged and released" tens of thousands of hacked documents using Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.

    The indictment said the hackers also used Guccifer 2.0 to pass stolen emails along to WikiLeaks.

    • The charging document did not directly implicate any Americans. But it said that in August 2016, Guccifer 2.0 opened a channel of communication with "a person who was in regular contact with senior members" of the Trump campaign.
    • The longtime GOP strategist and informal Trump adviser Roger Stone is known to have communicated with Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks during the election. He has also publicly stated that he believes he is the unnamed American referred to in Mueller's indictment.

    Additional emails between Stone and the far-right conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, which are in Mueller's possession, shed light on the two men's murky ties to WikiLeaks. Three days after the first document dump, the two men discussed how to get "the pending [WikiLeaks] emails," and Corsi also later touched base with Stone to tell him about an upcoming dump.

    "Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi reportedly wrote to Stone on August 8, according to NBC News. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct ... Impact planned to be very damaging."

    "Time to let more than [Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC," Corsi reportedly added, referring to Clinton. "That appears to be the game hackers are now about."

    A little over two weeks later, on August 21, Stone tweeted that Podesta would "soon" be targeted.

    On October 7, WikiLeaks published a damaging batch of emails belonging to Podesta.

    Trump heaped praise on WikiLeaks on the campaign trail. His son, Donald Trump Jr., is also known to have been in contact with WikiLeaks via Twitter during the election, according to The Atlantic.

    While media reports indicate that Trump, Stone, Trump Jr., and other members of the Trump campaign were interested in the WikiLeaks dumps, there is no evidence corroborating Steele's claim that the hacking operation was carried out "with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team."



    NATO and Russia's intervention in Ukraine

    The dossier said that in return for Russia's help in dumping hacked emails damaging to the Clinton campaign, the "TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defence commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject."

    The "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership was managed on the Trump side by the Republican candidate's campaign manager, Paul Manafort," the dossier added.



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    eddie lampert

    • Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert on Wednesday boosted his takeover bid to $5 billion, up from $4.4 billion.
    • Lampert's new proposal will be assessed against competing parties' bids at an auction scheduled for Monday.
    • Lampert's offer is the only one that would avoid a liquidation. 

    Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert has sweetened his bid for the company's assets in a final attempt to avoid a liquidation. 

    Lampert, through an affiliate of his hedge fund, ESL Investments, on Wednesday submitted a $5 billion takeover bid, which was revised from an earlier bid worth $4.4 billion that Sears had rejected.

    Lampert's new bid, which would assume additional Sears liabilities worth roughly $663 million, will be assessed against competing parties' bids at an auction scheduled for Monday.

    The winning bid must get approval from the US bankruptcy court at a hearing on January 31. 

    Read more:Sears is getting one last chance to save itself from oblivion

    Lampert's offer is the only bid that would avoid a liquidation. It would keep more than 400 stores open and save roughly 50,000 jobs, according to ESL. 

    "We believe our proposal will provide substantially more value to stakeholders than any other option, in particular a liquidation, and is the best path forward for Sears, its associates and the many communities across the United States touched by Sears and Kmart stores," a spokesman for ESL Investments said. "We look forward to having our proposal evaluated by the debtors at Monday's auction."

    If Lampert's bid is rejected, the company's assets will likely be sold off in parts and going-out-of-business sales at its stores would begin within weeks.

    SEE ALSO: Inside Sears' death spiral: How an iconic American brand has been driven to the edge of bankruptcy

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the Costco food court and it totally blew us away


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

    5b478d977b67141e008b48b5 1334 1001

    The average US consumer holds about three nonretail credit cards with a balance over $6,000, according to Experian. As confidence rises, spending is hitting prerecession levels. For banks, that should be a good thing, since credit cards are profitable. But the push to attract a particularly interested and engaged customer base through sign-up bonuses and lucrative rewards offerings has led banks into a rat race, with surging expenses and rising delinquencies that are hurting returns.

    To make credit cards as valuable as they could be, and to bring returns back up, issuers need to direct their efforts not just toward becoming one of consumers’ three cards, but also toward becoming their favorite card. Rewards are more important than ever — three of the top four primary card determinants cited by respondents to a Business Insider Intelligence survey were rewards-related — so abandoning them isn’t effective.

    Instead, issuers need to be more resourceful with their rewards offerings, focusing on areas that encourage habit formation, promote high-volume spending, and help to offset some of the rewards costs while building engagement and loyalty.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence sizes the US consumer credit card market, explains why return on assets (ROA) is on the decline, highlights the importance of rewards in attracting customers, and lays out three next-generation rewards strategies that are popular among certain demographics, which issuers can implement to return their card business to profitability. To drive this analysis, we conducted a survey centered on users’ card preferences to over 700 US members of our proprietary panel in May 2018.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report: 

    • Competition driven by consumer card appetite in the US is hurting issuer returns. Consumer confidence and regulatory policy that favors credit cards should be a boon to issuers. But the competition has surged expenses to unattainable levels and increased delinquencies, which are causing returns to trend down.
    • Consumers still value rewards above all when it comes to cards. Two-thirds of respondents to our survey cited rewards-related offerings as the leading driver of primary card status, but they can be pricey for issuers.
    • Using resources strategically and offering rewards types that encourage high-volume spending and drive engagement through habit formation, like flexible offerings, rewards for e-commerce, and local bonuses, could be the path to success in the future.

    In full, the report:

    • Identifies the factors that are causing high credit appetite to hurt issuer returns.
    • Explains the value of top-of-wallet status, and evaluates the factors that drive it based on proprietary consumer data.
    • Defines three popular next-generation rewards options that issuers can use to drive up spending and engagement without breaking the bank.
    • Issues recommendations about how to offer these rewards and what demographic groups could be most receptive to them.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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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.

    best air purifier

    • Fresh, clean air. You need it, but the environment doesn’t always provide it.
    • If you’ve suffered long enough with sinus problems, allergies, or headaches due to pollutants in the air, it’s time for an air purifier. Our top pick is the Coway Mighty Air Purifier.

    You can go up to three weeks without eating. You’ll survive three to four days, on average, without fluids. But it only takes six minutes without air to damage your delicate brain, and survival beyond that is unlikely. The air you breathe is the most pressing life necessity, so why not take as many breaths as possible of pure, clean air?

    To accomplish that, you’ll likely need an air purifier. Far too many of us live in areas with polluted outdoor air, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside our homes can be even dirtier.

    Common pollutants inside your home can include molds and fungi spores, bacteria and viruses, pollen, cigarette smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs emitted from carpeting, paint, and other construction materials), dust and pet dander, and fumes from air fresheners and other cleaning supplies.

    Air purifiers remove some or most of those pollutants from your indoor air. They work by drawing room air in and through a filter or combination of filters, then blowing out fresh, clean air.

    A good air purifier removes allergens, dust, gases, and other pollutants from the room air, leaving behind clean air for your lung’s benefit. There are a lot of air purifiers on the market, though, and that’s why we did the hard work for you. We’ve done our research, and gathered up the eight air purifiers we think do the best job of cleaning your air.

    Here are the best air purifiers you can buy:

    Updated on 01/10/2019 by Lulu Chang: Added the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool air purifier and heater. Updated prices and removed out of stock items.

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks. 

    SEE ALSO: The best humidifiers you can buy

    The best air purifier overall

    Why you'll love it: Highly effective against indoor air pollution and reasonably attractive to boot, the Coway Mighty Air Purifier knows when your air is in serious need of cleaning.

    The Coway Mighty Air Purifier doesn’t fool around. It has four levels of filtration: a pre-filter that captures the largest particles, an activated carbon filter that grabs onto smoke, gases, odors, and other air pollutants, a HEPA filter that catches up to 99.97% of tiny particles, and an ionizing function to increase the air purifier’s ability to freshen the air.

    Its ionizing function is approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which means it’s certified to release less than 0.050 parts per million of ozone, making it safe for use even if you have respiratory sensitivities.  It's best for rooms up to 350 square feet.

    But that’s not the best part. The air purifier has particle sensor technology to check your room air’s quality. The device will automatically kick into high gear when excessive indoor pollution is detected, and once 30 minutes pass with air in the acceptable level, it will shut off the fan to conserve energy.

    The Wirecutter named it the best air purifier, praising not only its superior performance but also its reasonable price both at initial purchase and over the years as filters need replacement.

    Pros: Four types of filtration for superior performance, air quality sensor technology, three speed settings, filter replacement indicator, timer

    Cons: None to speak of

    Buy the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier on Amazon for $199.99 to $229.99



    The best air purifier for allergies

    Why you'll love it: With the smarts to analyze your air before it gets to work, the Dyson Pure Cool will make your allergies disappear. 

    If allergy season has you living your worst life, then fear not: Dyson's Pure Cool Air Purifier is here to save the day. It’s capable of actually calculating the amount of pollutants in your home, and then automatically adjusting itself to filter them out. Because let’s be honest — you literally can’t do that yourself.

    While other air purifiers try to capture most allergens and pollutants, the Dyson Pure Cool ups the ante by removing up to 99.97% of the stuff that’s making you sneeze and your eyes water. As a result, you’ll likely notice considerably fewer symptoms after letting this purifier do its job for awhile — I certainly did, and so did my colleague Mara Leighton.

    Thanks to the 350-degree oscillation of the Pure Cool, purified air won’t be relegated to a single corner of your room. Rather, you’ll get practically comprehensive filtration, which likely contributes to its 99.97% cleansing rate. For easier control, the purifier connects to both the Dyson Link app as well as Amazon Alexa, so you can tell the machine what to do either with the tap of an app or with the sound of your voice.

    When it’s time for you to go to sleep, the night-time mode ensures that the purifier is quieter, and its LCD screen is dimmed.

    Not only is the Pure Cool particularly effective, but it’s also extremely well-designed. This is certainly one air purifier that you won’t be inclined to hide from your guests. — Lulu Chang

    Pros: Automatically adjusts to the level of pollutants in your home, great design, 10 fan speeds for variable volume

    Cons: At $450, it’s quite expensive

    Buy the Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier on Amazon for $347 to $450



    The best air purifier for pet owners

    Why you'll love it: Your love for the furry members of your family is greater than the pain that the resulting allergies bring you, but you don’t have to suffer anymore with the Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True.

    If you feel as though you have to choose between Fido and fresh air, put that internal battle to rest once and for all with an external purification system. The Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology is one of the most powerful and effective air purifiers on the market, especially when it comes to households with four-legged friends.

    The five-stage filtration system includes a pre-filter, HEPA filter, CleanCel anti-bacterial filter, and an Advanced Odor Control filter, along with PlasmaWave. That technology targets pollutants at their molecular level, thereby eliminating viruses, bacteria, odors, and gases in the air

    The Winix is particularly effective at pet odors and dander because it boasts not one, but two different stages when it comes to carbon filtration. That helps you get rid of pet hair, dander, as well as smells. Plus, this air filter boasts smart sensors, which means it’s always taking tabs on the air around it, automatically adjusting fan speeds to ensure that your environment is always fresh.

    The Winix is strong enough to handle spaces up to 280 square feet, so it works well for moderately-sized rooms or small apartments. More than 800 happy customers on Amazon have given this air cleaner a 4.4 out of 5-star rating, and we heartily agree with that assessment.

    If you're on a budget and the $212 Winix is out of your range, the Hamilton Beach TrueAir Pet Filter Air Purifier is a good option. It has a permanent pre-filter that grabs onto pet hair and large particles, a permanent HEPA filter, and not one, but two carbon zeolite filters that eliminate even the stinkiest pet odors. This is a great choice for your bedroom, the area holding the cat's litter box, or by your dog’s bed.

    The permanent HEPA filter removes up to 99% of small particles, including pollen, dust, pet dander, and most bacteria. Just vacuum it periodically — no need to buy expensive filter replacements. The device has three speeds, is very quiet, and can run standing upright or lying on its side. The Hamilton Beach air purifier is best for rooms up to 140 square feet. — Lulu Chang

    Pros: Effective with pet dander and odor, handles 280 square feet of space, five-stage filtration

    Cons: Pricey

    Buy the Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology on Amazon for $210.99 (originally $349.99)

    Buy the Hamilton Beach TrueAir Pet Filter Air Purifier on Amazon for $50.59



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    Ashley Keister

    • Ashley Keister attempted to break into the West Wyoming police station with a cigarette butt holder, ABC-affiliated WNEP reports.
    •  Police say that Keister wanted to see a police officer she had been harassing since he arrested her.
    • Keister had previously sent the officer, who has not been identified, over 20 text messages a day and called 911 in an attempt to speak to him, the West Wyoming Police Chief told WNEP.
    • Following Monday's incident, she was charged with aggravated assaulted on a police officer, burglary, and vandalism, and is currently being held in county prison on $50,000 bail.

    A woman is being held in county prison after attempting to break into the West Wyoming police station in West Wyoming, Pennsylvania, in order to track down a police officer she had been allegedly harassing for a number of months, ABC-affiliated WNEP reports.

    Police say that early Monday morning, 27-year-old Ashley Keister used a cigarette butt holder to smash the police department's window in an attempt to see a police officer, who has not been identified, according to WNEP.

    Keister's break-in attempt only got her access to a government building adjacent to the police department, West Wyoming Police Chief Kurt Nocera told WNEP. Once inside, she began to look through file cabinets and attempted to kick down a door to enter the police department, but to no avail,  he said.

    Read more: A teacher was reportedly fired after a video showed her dragging a boy with autism down the hall

    The Associated Press reported that Keister had been harassing the police officer since he arrested her last year.

    Nocera told WNEP that since May 2018, Keister had sent the officer sexually suggestive messages online, and according to the Associated Press, she would call 911 in hopes of speaking to the officer.

    "I made her sign a piece of paper saying that she wouldn't contact a specific officer like she's been, sending him upwards of 20 plus messages a day," Nocera told WNEP.

    Police also told WNEP that she resisted arrest on Monday.

    She was charged with aggravated assaulted on a police officer, burglary, and vandalism, and is currently being held in county prison on $50,000 bail, per WNEP.

    "We definitely have to beef up security," Nocera said. "Look around at all our municipal buildings, fire, EMS, and police to make sure that people like this can't break in and get to first responders."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch a 23-year-old try a makeup tutorial from the 1960s


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    Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO 2015

    • Toyota and its Lexus luxury brand have issued a recall for 1.7 million cars worldwide, 1.3 million of which were sold in the US.
    • The recall is due to faulty Takata-made airbag inflators that have been linked to 23 deaths and 290 injuries worldwide.
    • The Takata airbags could explode, spraying metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks.
    • Affected Toyota models, from the 2010 through 2016 model years, include the 4Runner SUV, Sienna minivan, and Corolla sedan.
    • Affected Lexus models, from the 2010 through 2017 model years, include the ES and IS passenger cars as well as the GX SUV. 

    Toyota Motor Corp said Wednesday it is recalling another 1.7 million vehicles worldwide for potentially faulty Takata airbag inflators as part of a multi-year industry recall campaign announced in 2016.

    Automakers are adding about 10 million vehicle inflators in the United States to what was already the largest-ever recall campaign in history. Last week, Ford Motor Co said it was recalling 953,000 vehicles worldwide for Takata inflators. Previously, 37 million US vehicles with 50 million inflators were recalled and 16.7 million inflators remain to be replaced.

    Toyota's new recall relates to vehicles from the 2010 through 2017 model years and includes 1.3 million vehicles in the United States.

    The affected Toyota branded vehicles include:

    • 2010-2013 model year Corolla, 
    • 2010-2013 Matrix,
    • 2010-2016 4Runner, and
    • 2011-2014 Sienna.

    There are also a handful of affected models from Toyota's luxury brand Lexus:

    • 2010-2013 IS 250,
    • 2010-2015 IS 250C,
    • 2010-2013 IS 350,
    • 2010-2015 IS 350C,
    • 2010-2014 IS-F,
    • 2010-2017 GX 460, and
    • 2010-2012 ES 350. 

    Finally, the 2010-2015 XB from Toyota's defunct Scion division is also affected by the recall. 

    Click here for more information on the recall and to see if your vehicle is affected. 

    At least 23 deaths worldwide have been linked to the rupturing of faulty Takata airbag inflators, including 15 in the United States.

    Lexus IS 350 2012More than 290 injuries worldwide have been linked to Takata inflators that could explode, spraying metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks. In total, 19 automakers are recalling more than 100 million potentially faulty inflators worldwide.

    To date, 21 deaths have been reported in Honda Motor Co vehicles and two in Ford vehicles. Both automakers have urged some drivers of older vehicles not to drive them until the inflators are replaced.

    Read more: Here are the 15 cars people love to keep for a long time — and they're all from Toyota, Honda, and Subaru.

    The defect led Takata to file for bankruptcy protection in June 2017. In April, auto components maker Key Safety Systems completed a $1.6 billion deal to acquire Takata. The merged company, known as Joyson Safety Systems, is a subsidiary of Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp.

    Automakers in the United States repaired more than 7.2 million defective Takata airbag inflators in 2018 as companies ramped up efforts to track down parts in need of replacement, according to a report released last month.

    SEE ALSO: We drove a $31,000 Honda Accord and a $39,000 Toyota Camry to see which one is the better family car. Here's the verdict.

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    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, arrive for the Axel Springer award ceremony on April 24, 2018 in Berlin. Bezos will be receiving the award later.

    • Amazon could soon have a large new individual shareholder in the form of MacKenzie Bezos as a result of her impending divorce from the company's CEO.
    • On Thursday, TMZ reported that the couple did not have a prenup, citing "sources with direct knowledge" of the situation.
    • Jeff Bezos owns 16% of the e-commerce giant, and MacKenzie will reportedly be entitled to up to half of those shares, which would giver her, with Jeff, one of the two largest stakes in the company.
    • Although the Bezoses are worth $137 billion on paper, nearly all of their assets are in the form of Amazon stock.
    • They live in, and will likely file for divorce in, Washington, which is a community-property state, which potentially gives her a claim on a sizeable portion of their wealth.
    • Because of the numerous variables in play, it's unclear exactly how much Amazon stock she'll end up with.

    Jeff Bezos may soon have someone familiar looking over his shoulder when it comes to running Amazon and having substantial say about it — his soon-to-be ex-wife.

    Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced Wednesday they plan to divorce after more than 25 years of marriage. Because nearly all of their $137 billion net worth is in the form of his stock in Amazon, it's highly likely that she will end up with a substantial stake in the company as part of any separation agreement.

    On Thursday, TMZ reported that the couple did not have a prenup, citing "sources with direct knowledge" of the situation. If that's the case, there's a good chance that she could end up having the biggest stake in the company other than Bezos'.

    "One would think so," said Ira Garr, a family law attorney in New York who represented Rupert Murdoch and Ivana Trump in their respective divorce cases. "I can't see anywhere else the settlement could come from."

    Read this: Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos may split his $137 billion fortune in half when they divorce — here's what typically happens when billionaires break up

    Bezos owns about 79 million shares of Amazon's stock, which are worth about $130 billion. The shares give him a 16% stake in the company, making him its largest shareholder by far. The second largest is Vanguard, which had about 6% of Amazon shares as of last February.

    Should Bezos have to give half of his shares to MacKenzie — a not-unthinkable outcome, especially if they didn't have a prenup— her 39 million or so shares would give her an 8% stake in the company and vault her over Vanguard. Although she could opt for cash instead — which would force Bezos to sell off tens of millions of shares  — or immediately turn around and sell the shares herself, it's likely she'll choose to hold on to her shares instead, legal experts said.

    If she chose to sell — or forced Bezos to — "the stock would go way down," Garr said.

    MacKenzie will likely benefit from Washington state law

    The reasons why MacKenzie could end up with such a huge stake in Amazon have a lot do with where the Bezos' divorce proceedings are likely to occur.

    Although the Bezoses have dwellings in different areas of the country, it's likely they'll file for divorce in Washington state, legal experts said. They have a home in the Seattle area where Amazon has its headquarters and have lived out most of their marriage there, said Deirdre Bowen, an associate professor of law at Seattle University's law school. 

    Amazon holiday"Washington seems to be the most logical place" for the divorce proceedings, Bowen said.

    That's important, because it would mean that Washington state law would govern the dissolution of the Bezoses' marriage. 

    Washington is a community-property state; generally, assets acquired during a marriage are considered to be jointly held by the two parties. In the case of a divorce, those community assets have to be divvied up between the two spouses.

    Community property law works a little bit differently in Washington than in other parts of the country. Unlike states such as California, Washington doesn't require community assets to be divided evenly between the two parties, legal experts note. But in the Bezoses' case, where the two have been married for a long time and the founding of Amazon took place after they got married, it's likely that's where a court would end up, said James Spencer, an adjunct professor at Seattle University's School of Law and an attorney with Brothers & Henderson.

    "Considering the totality of the circumstances (as are publicly known), I think it more likely than not that a court would divide the stock roughly in half," Spencer said.

    Bezos and Mackenzie will likely settle out of court

    Legal experts such as Spencer, though, don't expect the Bezoses' case to end up being decided by a judge. Instead, they expect the two to reach a settlement out of court, whether through negotiations among themselves or between their lawyers or through arbitration proceedings. So, Washington's community-property law may not have a direct effect on the divorce's outcome.

    But it's likely that MacKenzie will use it — and the assumption that she should get half of the couples' community assets — as a starting point for negotiations, Bowen said.

    "She can go in and tell her attorney ... to work with the assumption that it's going to be 50-50," she said.

    To be sure, MacKenzie could end up with a far smaller stake in Amazon than half of Bezos' current holdings. If they signed a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, for example, such a contract could severely limit her claims on Bezos' shares in the company.

    Amazon representatives did not respond to an email inquiry about whether the Bezoses had such an agreement, but TMZ reported on Thursday that the couple had not.

    Bezos and MacKenzie could fight over what she's entitled to

    Another complicating factor is how negotiators for the two parties — and potentially an arbiter or judge — classify Bezos' stock holdings. Although assets acquired in marriage or the amount by which they appreciate are generally considered community property, courts can make a distinction between passive and active appreciation of assets, Bowen said.

    Bezos could potentially argue that the massive increase in the value of his Amazon stock was due largely to his personal active management of the company and had nothing to do with MacKenzie. Should he take that stance and have it affirmed by a judge or arbiter, MacKenzie could end up with a much smaller stake in Amazon than she might otherwise.

    He could argue his Amazon stake "should remain mine," Bowen said.

    The outcome of the case also will hinge in large part on the mental and emotional state Bezos and MacKenzie are in going into it. In their joint statement announcing the divorce, the two portrayed their parting as amicable. But late Wednesday, reports in the New York Post and the National Enquirer charged that Bezos has been having an affair with former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, which could indicate their separation wasn't all that friendly.

    If there's rancor involved, it could have a major effect on what each party will demand and settle for, Bowen said.

    new shepard reusable rocket launch 2016 blue origin"The wild card here is I don't know the psychology each party has going into this divorce," Bowen said.

    MacKenzie could end up demanding a large cash payout, she said.

    "I don't think she's an unreasonable person, so I don't see that happening," Bowen said. But, she added, MacKenzie could say in the proceedings something like, "'Why would I want Amazon stock when you're controlling it? I want you removed from my life.'"

    And there's another potential wrinkle. Amazon's board and Bezos himself may be uncomfortable and unwilling to hand over that much of the company's stock to MacKenzie, particularly if the two are at odds. The board or Bezos may push to limit her ownership, either by having Bezos sell shares and give her her stake in cash or by giving her other assets, such as his ownership of the Washington Post or rocket company Blue Origin, instead.

    "With someone who is as closely associated to his brand as Jeff Bezos, it may be that he will refuse a settlement that gives his ex-wife that much Amazon corporate power," said Terry Price, a family law professor at the University of Washington's School of Law.

    SEE ALSO: Amazon Web Services could be worth $600 billion by itself. Here's why Wall Street analysts think a spinoff won't happen any time soon.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 science-backed ways to a happier and healthier 2019 that you can do the first week of the new year


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    Green Book

    • "Green Book" has emerged as an Oscar frontrunner after multiple Golden Globes wins and notable nominations throughout this awards season.
    • But controversy has surrounded the movie.
    • One of the writers, Nick Vallelonga, deleted his Twitter account this week after a controversial 2015 reply to Donald Trump resurfaced.
    • Director Peter Farrelly apologized this week for flashing his genitals in front of colleagues in 1998.
    • Relatives of Don Shirley, who Mahershala Ali plays in the movie, have raised concerns that "Green Book" misrepresents the real-life musician.

    Universal's "Green Book" has emerged as an Oscar frontrunner in recent weeks thanks to major wins at the Golden Globes on Sunday, and notable nominations throughout the awards season.

    But as it's entered the spotlight, controversy has followed it.

    "Green Book" tells the true story of Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), an Italian-American bouncer at clubs in New York City who takes a job driving African-American musician Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) during a tour through the Deep South in the 1960s. It's directed by Peter Farrelly, who's known for slapstick comedies like "Dumb and Dumber," and written by Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie, and Tony's son, Nick Vallelonga.

    The movie won three Golden Globes, including best comedy or musical, best supporting actor (Ali), and best screenplay. It's racked up Producers Guild, Writers Guild, and Directors Guild of America Award nominations this month, positioning it as a formidable player in the Oscar race.

    READ MORE: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' has been a runaway hit outside the US, which helps explain its big Golden Globes upset

    The recognition has come with backlash, though.

    Nick Vallelonga deleted his Twitter account this week after a 2015 tweet resurfaced, in which Vallelonga replied to a claim by Donald Trump that "thousands of people" were cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey after the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.

    "100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news," Vallelonga tweeted.

    The claim was debunked by multiple outlets including The Washington Post, which wrote in 2015, "an extensive examination of news clips from that period turns up nothing," and "neither can we find any examples of Trump previously talking about this." 

    Farrelly also came under fire this week after The Cut resurfaced 1998 reports that Farrelly flashed his genitals in front of colleagues. Farrelly quickly apologized for his past behavior.

    "I was an idiot," Farrelly told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. "I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I'm embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I'm deeply sorry."

    Green Book Universal

    Additionally, the contents of the movie itself have sparked criticism from a number of Shirley's family members, who claim the movie misrepresents him. Both Vallelonga and Shirley died in 2013.

    "They decided to make Don Shirley estranged from his black family, though that was not true," Shirley's great niece, Yvonne Shirley, told The Hollywood Reporter. "They decided to make him absurdly disconnected from black community and culture, though that was not true. They decided to depict him as having spent his formative years in Europe, though he spent them in the Deep South where he was born and raised. They decided to create a story of a white man's redemption and self-realization using an extraordinary black life and a history of black oppression in this country as their backdrop."

    READ MORE: Fox fired 'Bohemian Rhapsody' director Bryan Singer, but he still thanked the Golden Globes for the movie's big win

    Farrelly and Vallelonga have pushed back against the Shirley family's concerns. In an October email provided to THR, Farrelly wrote to one of Shirley's relatives, "At no time in the film do we state that Dr. Shirley was never close to his family; we just show that during that two-month period in his life, they weren't particularly close, which makes sense."

    Vallelonga told THR that he interviewed both his father and Shirley in the 1980s for research. He claimed that Shirley requested that the script only focus on his and Vallelonga's relationship, that he not interview anyone else, and that the movie not be released during his lifetime.

    "Green Book" has not been a wild success at the box office, but has at least surpassed its production budget since debuting last month. It's grossed $37 million and was made for $23 million, according to Box Office Mojo. The biggest question will be whether the Oscars can give it a boost in the midst of multiple controversies. 

    This year's Oscar nominations are announced on January 22.

    SEE ALSO: Netflix's 'The Kominsky Method' got a big boost in popularity after its Golden Globes wins

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    American Airlines DFW

    • Air-traffic controllers, along with many other federal employees in the US, have been working unpaid during the government shutdown, which began on December 22.
    • On Thursday, several air-traffic controllers who missed their first paycheck posted photos of their $0 pay stubs on Twitter.
    • Aviation-industry workers, along with some political leaders, are rallying in Washington, DC, on Thursday to demand an end to the shutdown.

    As the US government shutdown continues into its third week, federal employees who have been working unpaid are missing their first paychecks.

    On Thursday, many air-traffic controllers around the US received pay stubs showing $0 in income. Some have even posted photos of them on Twitter.

    It should be noted that the employees working unpaid are due to receive back pay once the government reopens. Those who were furloughed, or temporarily laid off, might not be so lucky and may not get paid.

    Read more: United, Alaska, and Spirit flight attendants are warning Trump, Pelosi, and McConnell that the government shutdown is doing real damage to the airline industry

    The National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, a union that represents roughly 20,000 controllers around the US, said the shutdown was creating additional strain on people who already carry a heavy burden.

    "Even though air traffic controllers and traffic management coordinators remain on the job, dedicated to the safety of every flight, they don't know when they'll receive their next paycheck and that adds more stress to an already stressful profession,"NATCA said last week in a letter to congressional leaders.

    According to the union, there are fewer fully trained controllers now than at any point in the past 30 years.

    The Air Line Pilots Association International, as well as two major unions representing flight attendants, have also sent letters to President Donald Trump and congressional leadership, echoing NATCA's concerns.

    "Flight Attendants across the industry ask you to end the shutdown now," the flight-attendants' unions said in their letter. "This is a matter of safety, security, and economic concern."

    They added: "We are in awe of the transportation security officers, air traffic controllers, and other workers deemed as essential employees for their patriotism in coming to work without the certainty of a paycheck or any resolution to this shutdown."

    Read more: Delta, United, and JetBlue pilots are warning that flying will become more dangerous as the government shutdown continues

    Aviation-industry workers, along with some political leaders, are rallying in Washington, DC, on Thursday to demand an end to the government shutdown, which began on December 22.

    SEE ALSO: Air-traffic controllers: The government shutdown could spur more flight delays, making travel a nightmare

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    harry reid shutdown

    • The government shutdown is now in its 20th day.
    • This is the 21st time the federal government has had a funding lapse since the modern budgeting process began.
    • Most of those times, the shutdown has been short and not involved employees being sent home, but that has changed in recent years.

    President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders have yet to come to an agreement to reopen the government despite talks continuous talks and as the shutdown moves through day 20, there appears to be no end in sight.

    The trouble started just before Christmas when Trump's sudden reversal on a bipartisan funding extension forced a sizeable portion — but not all — of the government into a partial shutdown.

    Read more:Here's what the government shutdown means for federal agencies and employees»

    This is 21st time since the modern budget process began with the Budget Act of 1974 that the federal government has entered a shutdown or had a funding lapse.

    On average, the 20 previous shutdowns lasted eight days, though they have been longer in recent decades. The six shutdowns since 1990 have lasted nine days on average. And removing the short, nine-hour funding lapse caused by Sen. Rand Paul in February, recent shutdowns have averaged 11 days. The longest shutdown in history, lasting 21 days, came in 1995-1996.

    Most of these shutdowns weren't severe, with 11 of the 20 lasting five days or fewer, and seven lasting three days or fewer. By making it to the third week, the current 20-day shutdown has now become rhe second-longest of the modern era, passing Jimmy Carter's 19-day shutdown in 1978.

    Read more:The effects of the shutdown are only going to get exponentially worse as the fight drags on»

    The current shutdown also bears some major differences from the past because federal employees aren't working. Around 380,000 federal employees are now on furlough, meaning they do not report to work or get paid. In 11 of the previous shutdowns, employees were not placed on furlough.

    Sending employees home has become more frequent in recent shutdowns, with furloughs occurring during five of the last six funding lapses (the only exception being the short Rand Paul lapse).

    Another newer wrinkle is the fact that this is just the second shutdown during which employees were placed on furlough while one party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, which was the case for the beginning of the shutdown. The other instance was the three-day shutdown in January 2018.

    Additionally, with the changeover to the 116th Congress, which has a Democrat-controlled House, this is the first shutdown in which control of a chamber of Congress changed parties during the funding lapse.

    The current shutdown also means the president has set some historic firsts as well.

    Trump is the only president to furlough employees while his party controlled both chambers of Congress, the only one to achieve that dubious feat multiple times, and is second in total shutdowns for a president whose party controls chambers of Congress. Jimmy Carter presided over five shutdowns while Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, none of which resulted in furloughs.

    The latest shutdown also moved Trump into third place with three total funding lapses during his presidency, behind Carter's five and Ronald Reagan's eight. Trump also ranks fourth in totals shutdown days for modern presidents behind Carter's 67 days and the 28 day mark shared by Clinton and Reagan. 

    2018 also became just the second year of the modern era to have three funding lapses, tying 1977's record.

    Here's a breakdown of all the previous shutdowns:

    Government Shutdowns

    SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

    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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    Apple China

    • Apple last week slashed its revenue guidance for the holiday quarter and blamed slumping sales on a slowdown in China.
    • As shares faced selling pressure following the announcement, down as much as 10%, millennials traders on Robinhood were piling into the stock.
    • Since peaking at $233.47 on October 3, Apple has lost 35% of its value. During the same time period, the number of Robinhood investors holding Apple shares increased by 30%.
    • Watch Apple trade live.

    Apple last week sounded the alarm on a holiday sales slowdown, but investors on Robinhood, a no-fee trading app popular among millennials, brushed off the company's warnings and instead snapped up shares.

    Last Wednesday, the tech giant said its revenue for the holiday quarter would be more than 7% below what it had expectedand blamed slumping sales on a slowdown in China. Seven days later, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that Apple late last month asked its suppliers to cut production on new iPhones by 10% for the January-March quarter.

    Apple shares were hit hard over the past week, down as much as 10%, but that didn't scare millennials away from the stock. According to weekly data tacked by Markets Insider, Apple is now held by 235,900 Robinhood traders, up 15,095 from a week ago. The smartphone titan has consistently been the favorite stock or Robinhood users, outranking all the others in each of the past nine weeks. 

    And millennial's affection for Apple has strengthened as shares have weakened.

    On November 1, the company posted underwhelming iPhone sales and said revenue for its holiday quarter would be on the low end of analyst expectations. During that week, a net 14,013 Robinhood users added Apple to their portfolio, allowing it to reclaim its crown as the most-popular stock on the app.

    In mid-November, a handful of iPhone suppliers, including the main Face ID technology provider Lumentum and iPhone radio-frequency chip supplier Qorvo, cut their outlooks, citing a drop in demand from one of their biggest customers. At the time, Apple became the first stock to pass 200,000 owners on Robinhood, with a net 2,845 users buying the stock that week. 

    Since peaking at $233.47 on October 3, Apple has lost 35% of its value. During the same time period, the number of Robinhood investors holding shares increased by 30%, or 55,000.

    Apple was down 12% in the past twelve months.

    Now read:

     

    Apple

    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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    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.

    best tights

    • Tights are a wardrobe staple for many women, and they come in all kinds of colors and styles.
    • We've tested dozens of tights to find the best ones you can buy, and Spanx's Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights are our top pick for great durability, comfort, and style.

    If there's a staple in a woman's wardrobe, it's a good pair of tights. Whether they're sheer, opaque, fishnet, or bright pink, these pieces of spandex are a blessing and a curse that, alas, we just can't live without.

    While we don't have to abide by the royal British dress code of wearing tights under every dress, skirt, and pair of shorts we own, there are still plenty of occasions in which a great pair of pantyhose can save the day. And when it comes to choosing some of the best tights on the market, you'll want to keep a few things in mind.

    First and foremost, a good pair of tights will be durable. Sure, they're delicate items, but that doesn't mean that you should only expect them to last through one wear. My favorite pair of tights have seen me through several years and several jobs, and that's just the way they ought to be.

    Second, you'll want to keep coverage in mind. Tights can be sheer, opaque, or patterned, and different settings will call for different sets. It's probably best to keep a wide range of tights on hand so that you're never caught unprepared.

    Another potential consideration may come in the amount of control your tights can exercise over your figure. With the right pair of Spanx, for example, you can prevent that much-dreaded muffin top situation, and always look your chicest.

    And finally, you'll want to consider the weather in which you'll be wearing your tights. If you tend to spend most of the year in tropical climates, you probably don't need a good pair of thick, heat-tech tights. If, on the other hand, you often find yourself traipsing through the snow in heels and a skirt, you'll want a warm pair on hand.

    Regardless of which pair you choose from among our favorite tights, you won't go wrong.

    Here are the best tights for women you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best tights overall

    Why you'll love them: For tights that will never rip, pill, or leave you hanging, the Spanx Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights are the best way to go.

    There's a reason Spanx has become synonymous with tights. When it comes to hosiery that is flattering and functional, I always turn to Spanx for a never-fail solution. The Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights are perfect for cooler days when you need a bit of extra warmth in and around your lower body.

    Capable of sculpting your figure to its most flattering potential, these Spanx are still surprisingly breathable and comfortable. Several women here on the Insider Picks team swear by Spanx.

    The fabric is strong — you can run them through the wash seemingly endless times without worrying about rips or pills — and extremely black. That said, they're not so dark that you can't see your legs at all. Rather, this pair toes the line between sheer and opaque in the best way possible.

    The real game-changer with these tights comes in the form of its built-in mid-thigh shaper, which helps your butt and thighs look firm and perky. Plus, with the premium power leg, these tights feel, as the name suggests, luxe, and allow for great recovery after a long night out. If you slip on a pair of these tights under a form-fitting dress or skirt, you'll truly look like your best self.

    Spanx are quite form-fitting, so going one size up may not be the worst idea in the world. Plus, at just $28 a pop, you can buy plenty a pair without having to worry about breaking the bank.

    Pros: Flattering and sculpting, won't pill or rip, great opacity, reasonable price point

    Cons: You may have to size up

    Buy Spanx Luxe Leg Mid-Thigh Shaping Tights at Spanx for $28 and at Nordstrom



    The best opaque tights

    Why you'll love them: If you judge your tights by their color, then DKNY's Opaque Control Top Tights are the way to go.

    What sets DKNY's Opaque Control Top Tights apart from the competition is the Lycra Living Lights technology, which means that your tights will be the color they're meant to be. And when it comes to black tights, I find that to be absolutely essential.

    DKNY's opaque tights are some of the best out there, and they have the unique ability to seem particularly black without being especially shiny — all in all, this makes your legs seems longer, more shapely, and just generally more like you want them to look.

    But color aside, the best thing about DKNY's tights is their comfort level. While these, like Spanx, are meant to shape and sculpt your middle to help you slip into that slinky dress, I've found that they're far more breathable and far less constricting than the competition. So even though you may look like you're wearing a corset, you won't feel like it.

    I've also found that DKNY's tights are able to stand up to several wears and several washes — even months after I made my purchase, I was able to don the same pair without worrying about rips or tears or rends. They're supremely comfortable and available in three staple colors — black, navy, and white — because yes, you do need white tights in the winter.

    Guides editor Malarie Gokey wears these tights multiple times a week during the fall and winter months, and she loves them.

    While they're slightly pricier than your most basic pair of hose, they're still extremely affordable at just $16 a pair.

    Pros: Great opacity, extremely comfortable, affordable, available in three classic colors

    Cons: Some customers have complained about the lack of a gusset

    Buy DKNY Opaque Control Top Tights at Nordstrom for $16



    The best nude tights

    Why you'll love them: Heist recognizes that there are many different definitions of nude, and the brand has tights for all of them.

    Heist may be a relative newcomer to the tights scene, but that hasn't stopped it from becoming a fast favorite. Heist is hugely popular here at Business Insider, thanks to its incredibly soft material, its comfortable fit, and its high-quality craftsmanship.

    One of my favorite aspects about Heist is the degree of personalization it offers wearers — not only can you choose between a high and a low waistband — which is so necessary and so rare in a pair of tights — but you can also choose among several different shades of nude. Because your nude is not everyone else's nude.

    These tights are available in an impressive seven shades, all of which both look and feel barely there. Thanks to its double-covered yarn construction, each pair is incredibly soft and durable, and also warm enough to withstand the weather.

    Heist has also rethought the overall design of a pair of tights. Not only is its waistband available in both high and low-rise options, but it's also designed to avoid rolling, twisting, and otherwise digging into your skin.

    I also love that there's no gusset to speak of — there aren't any seams where there shouldn't be, which makes for a more comfortable, longer-lasting wear.

    Heist tights also do a remarkably good job of staying up throughout the day thanks to the 5,000 spirals per inch on its yarn. And when they do stay up, they help smooth the appearance of your midsection without doing any serious sculpting.

    So if you're looking for a pair of tights that no one — including you — will know you're wearing, look to Heist.

    Pros: Soft, durable construction, no gusset, low or high waistband, several different shades of nude

    Cons: When taking shipping into consideration, these tights can set you back more than $50

    Buy Heist Nude tights for $32



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    PaymentsEcosystem_Teaser

    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    The digitization of daily life is making phones and connected devices the preferred payment tools for consumers — preferences that are causing digital payment volume to blossom worldwide.

    As noncash payment volume accelerates, the power dynamics of the payments industry are shifting further in favor of digital and omnichannel providers, attracting a wide swath of providers to the space and forcing firms to diversify, collaborate, or consolidate in order to capitalize on a growing revenue opportunity.

    More and more, consumers want fast and simple payments — that's opening up opportunities for providers. Rising e- and m-commerce, surges in mobile P2P, and increasing willingness among customers in developed countries to try new transaction channels, like mobile in-store payments, voice and chatbot payments, or connected device payments are all increasing transaction touchpoints for providers.

    This growing access is helping payments become seamless, in turn allowing firms to boost adoption, build and strengthen relationships, offer more services, and increase usage.

    But payment ubiquity and invisibility also comes with challenges. Gains in volume come with increases in per-transaction fee payouts, which is pushing consumer and merchant clients alike to seek out inexpensive solutions — a shift that limits revenue that providers use to fund critical programs and squeezes margins.

    Regulatory changes and geopolitical tensions are forcing players to reevaluate their approach to scale. And fraudsters are more aggressively exploiting vulnerabilities, making data breaches feel almost inevitable and pushing providers to improve their defenses and crisis response capabilities alike.

    In the latest annual edition of The Payments Ecosystem Report, Business Insider Intelligence unpacks the current digital payments ecosystem, and explores how changes will impact the industry in both the short- and long-term. The report begins by tracing the path of an in-store card payment from processing to settlement to clarify the role of key stakeholders and assess how the landscape has shifted.

    It also uses forecasts, case studies, and product developments from the past year to explain how digital transformation is impacting major industry segments and evaluate the pace of change. Finally, it highlights five trends that should shape payments in the year ahead, looking at how regulatory shifts, emerging technologies, and competition could impact the payments ecosystem.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Behind the scenes, payment processes and stakeholders remain similar. But providers are forced to make payments as frictionless as possible as online shopping surges: E-commerce is poised to exceed $1 trillion — nearly a fifth of total US retail — by 2023.
    • The channels and front-end methods that consumers use to make payments are evolving. Mobile in-store payments are huge in developing markets, but approaching an inflection point in developed regions where adoption has been laggy. And the ubiquity of mobile P2P services like Venmo and Square Cash will propel digital P2P to $574 billion by 2023.
    • The competitive landscape will shift as companies pursue joint ventures to grow abroad in response to geopolitical tensions, or consolidate to achieve rapid scale amid digitization.
    • Fees, bans, steering, or regulation could impact the way consumers pay, pushing them toward emerging methods that bypass card rails, and limit key revenue sources that providers use to fund rewards and marketing initiatives.
    • Tokenization will continue to mainstream as a key way providers are preventing and responding to the omnipresent data breach threat.

    The companies mentioned in the report are: CCEL, Adyen, Affirm, Afterpay, Amazon, American Express, Ant Financial, Apple, AribaPay, Authorize.Net, Bank of America, Barclays, Beem It, Billtrust, Braintree, Capital One, Cardtronics, Chase Paymentech, Citi, Discover, First Data, Flywire, Fraedom, Gemalto, GM, Google, Green Dot, Huifu, Hyundai, Ingenico, Jaguar, JPMorgan Chase, Klarna, Kroger, LianLian, Lydia, Macy’s, Mastercard, MICROS, MoneyGram, Monzo, NCR, Netflix, P97, PayPal, Paytm, Poynt, QuickBooks, Sainsbury’s, Samsung, Santander, Shell, Square, Starbucks, Stripe, Synchrony Financial, Target, TransferWise, TSYS, UnionPay, Venmo, Verifone, Visa, Vocalink, Walmart, WeChat/Tencent, Weebly, Wells Fargo, Western Union, Worldpay, WorldRemit, Xevo, Zelle, Zesty, and ZipRecruiter, among others

    In full, the report:

    • Explains the factors contributing to a swell in global noncash payments
    • Examines shifts in the roles of major industry stakeholders, including issuers, card networks, acquirer-processors, POS terminal vendors, and gateways
    • Presents forecasts and highlights major trends and industry events driving digital payments growth
    • Identifies five trends that will shape the payments ecosystem in the year ahead

    SEE ALSO: These are the four transformations payments providers must undergo to survive digitization

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    trump california

    • President Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted that "raking" and better forest management can prevent more forest fires like those that devastated California in 2018.
    • But the government shutdown is preventing the Forest Service and other agencies from doing that.
    • Employees say that preventative activities such as prescribed burns and debris clean-ups have been stopped during the shutdown.

    President Donald Trump's government shutdown looks as if it's getting in the way of his solution to the California wildfires.

    Trump has long suggested that better forest management and "raking" are the primary solutions to the rash of devastating wildfires in California and the rest of the country. But according to federal employees working on land management, the ongoing shutdown is crippling the very activities Trump wants.

    During a visit to California in November, Trump suggested that raking the floors of forests could have prevented the devastating fires that ravaged the state in 2018.

    "I was with the president of Finland and he said, 'We're a forest nation,'" Trump said during a visit to the town of Paradise. "He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem."

    Trump has often cited the need for increased "forest management" in California to combat the worsening forest fires. In fact, Trump once again harped on the issue in a tweet Wednesday.

    "Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen," Trump said. "Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"

    While experts say that Trump's view of the issue is a bit simplistic — ignoring factors like climate change — the forest Service and other agencies do clean up "fuel"on forest floors that can act as kindling for wildfires.

    Read more:The effects of the shutdown are only going to get exponentially worse as the fight drags on»

    But the government shutdown has cut off funds for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the National Forest Service and the Department of the Interior. That means the employees that would be "raking" the debris on the forest floor, or conducting other forest management services like prescribed burns, are unable to do so.

    While the departments can respond to fires, employees have said that preventative activities have ceased.

    One National Forest Service wildland firefighter told the Washington Post that all work on clearing excess brush to help mitigate forest fires has ceased.

    "We’re not allowed,” the firefighter told the Post.

    In addition, the Forest Service is unable to hire or train new recruits during the shutdown — a critical function that helps get firefighters ready for the more active months.

    "This is the second year in a row we’ve had a shutdown right in the middle of the training season," Jim Whittington, a former US Bureau of Land Management employee, told McClatchy. "The last thing we want is for fires to break out, and not have the kind of crews we need to to field."

    The issues aren't just in California: Prescribed burns in the Pisgah National Forest— which covers a half a million acres in North Carolina — have not been carried out during the shutdown.

    According to the USDA's shutdown plan, just two-thirds of Forest Service employees are still on the job during the shutdown, while the rest — around 11,000 employees — are on furlough. Those employees remaining on the job are also doing so with no pay, but will receive back pay when the government reopens.

    While state agencies are still active, the shutdown is still cutting into critical time for forest managers and could lead to worse wildfire conditions.

    But as it stands, those agencies may not have a chance to resume activities anytime soon. The government shutdown is now in day 20, the second-longest of the modern budgeting era, and neither Trump nor Democrats sound ready to back down.

    SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

    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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