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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Nikola Jokic

    • The Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 121-100, on Thursday night.
    • Nikola Jokic was once again the star for the Nuggets, posting his 21st career triple-double.
    • One pass from Jokic was a full-court stunner to Jamal Murray that put him in the conversation for assist of the year.

    The Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers, 121-100, on Thursday night to remain atop the Western Conference.

    Nikola Jokic was once again the centerpiece of the Nuggets' victory as he picked up his 21st career triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. But while Jokic's numbers looked good on paper, one highlight had to be seen to be believed.

    Jokic unleashed a full-court pass to Jamal Murray that is a contender for assist of the year.

    The pass is even more impressive when seen from below the basket, with Jokic's speed and smooth motion on full display.

    After the game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone sounded as blown away by the pass as many fans at home. "He could play for NFL teams the way he passes the ball," he said.

    While an NFL career might be a ways off, Jokic's recent run has the Nuggets standing atop a Western Conference stacked with quality teams — if he can keep it going, an MVP award might not be far off.

    SEE ALSO: RANKED: Zion Williamson's top 10 dunks of the season

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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

    US Patients Are Foregoing Traditional Hospital Services for Urgent and Retail Care Clinics

    The consumerization of healthcare — a fundamental shift in patients’ preferences, behaviors, and demands around healthcare services — is threatening hospitals' bottom lines. For the first time, patients are transforming from passive recipients of healthcare services to active participants in their own health. They're flocking to online review sites to choose which doctor to see, skipping hospital visits in favor of a health clinic in their local CVS, and aren't afraid to ditch providers that don't offer them an engaging experience.

    The superior customer service expectations of millennials, declines in hospital profitability, and threats from startup providers and retail pharmacies intensify the need for providers to revamp the patient experience. Providers' current engagement capabilities are weak, and deficiencies around scheduling, appointment wait times, and billing are dragging on patient satisfaction, driving patients elsewhere and draining provider revenue.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence explores the trends that are driving providers to revamp their care services. We then outline how patients' expectations for transparency, convenience, and access are transforming the way they interact with providers across each stage of care. Finally, we detail strategies health systems and hospitals can implement to create a consumer-centric patient experience that fosters satisfaction, loyalty, and patient volume. 

    The companies mentioned in this report are: 98point6, BayCare, Cleveland Clinic, CVS, Integris, Kaiser Permanente, Luma Health, New York-Presbyterian, One Medical, Publix, Target, Walgreens, Walmart, Yelp, and Zocdoc.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • The consumerization of healthcare is redefining how consumers engage with providers across each stage of care. 
    • But the vast majority of healthcare providers haven’t sufficiently altered their services to align with current patient expectations. Only 8% of US hospitals and health systems demonstrate strong consumer-centric performance, per a 2018 Kaufman Hall survey.
    • Failure to react to patient preferences hurts provider organizations’ bottom lines. US hospital profit margins are already thinning, and an emerging reimbursement model that ties a portion of providers' compensation to patient satisfaction means providers can't afford to preserve the status quo. 
    • Alternative players with consumer-focused healthcare services threaten to poach patients from traditional health systems. Tech-focused primary care startups, like One Medical and 98point6, and retail outlets, like Target, Walmart, and CVS, offer patients on-demand access to healthcare providers via mobile apps and convenient locations to receive healthcare services, drawing them away from incumbent health systems.
    • In order to retain patients — and keep them from straying to alternative care services — providers must transform their services with an emphasis on transparency, access, and ongoing engagement outside of the clinic. 
    • Healthcare providers that tailor their services to the new healthcare consumer will be well positioned to see growth. Alternatively, businesses that don’t implement these changes could find themselves falling behind the rest of the industry or closing their doors for good.

    In full, the report:

    • Details how patient behavior, preferences, and expectations have changed.
    • Outlines the demographic and industry trends that should add a sense of urgency for providers to revamp the patient experience.
    • Summarizes how the patient experience providers currently offer isn't conducive to loyalty and is likely driving patients to nonhospital services.
    • Explains strategies health systems and hospitals can implement to create a consumer-centric patient experience that fosters satisfaction, loyalty, and patient volume. 
    • Offers examples of provider organizations that have successfully adopted new strategies to encourage patient-doctor communication, improve satisfaction, and drive scheduling capacity.

     

    SEE ALSO: Top 5 Healthcare Startups & Digital Health Tech Disruptors in 2018

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    The Thief

    • Condé Nast Traveller recently released its 2019 Gold List ranking of the best hotels in the world.
    • Of the 78 best hotels selected by the editors, 27 hotels are located in Europe.
    • Italy swept the rankings with eight hotels, followed by France with four hotels.
    • London was the most represented city with three hotels between the Kensington and Covent Garden areas alone.

    This year, Condé Nast Traveller featured 78 hotels on their 2019 Gold List, including 27 European hotels.

    The best hotels in Europe range from a farmhouse in the English countryside to an oceanfront resort with private pools on the Greek islands.

    Italy accounts for the biggest chunk of top-ranking hotels, tallying eight hotels across the country. The majority of these hotels are on the water, whether lakeside in the Monte Baldo mountains, canal-side in Venice, or seaside along the Amalfi Coast.

    Read more: Luxury hotels around the world have private rooms that are so elite they're not even listed online — and some are available only via email booking

    The hotels are scattered across Europe and represent a large range of prices, from $250 per night for a hotel in Mallorca up to $2,600 per night at an exclusive spot in Iceland. Many of these luxury hotels have been Gold List and Readers’ Choice winners in the past, such as Sweden's Ett Hem and Italy's Le Sirenuse.

    Keep reading to learn more about the best hotels in Europe. We noted prices for rooms booked one month in advance or the first available date.

    SEE ALSO: The 13 best hotels in America that every traveler needs to visit in 2019

    The Kensington, London, UK

    Rates starting at: $270/night



    Claridge's, London, UK

    Rates starting at$1,340/night



    Covent Garden Hotel, London, UK

    Rates starting at: $440/night



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Miami International Airport TSA

    • Miami International Airport is shutting down one of its terminals for parts of this weekend because of a shortage of available screeners at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints.
    • Concourse G is scheduled to shut down after 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The terminal and its 15 gates will reopen each morning.
    • Concourse G, which serves several airlines including United, will have its flights relocated to either Concourse F or Concourse H.
    • TSA screeners have been working unpaid during the government shutdown, leading many to call out or even quit.

    Miami International Airport is shutting down one of its terminals for parts of this weekend because of a shortage of available screeners at security checkpoints.

    "As a precautionary measure due to uncertainties created by the lapse in federal government funding, some passengers at Miami International Airport may experience changes to their security checkpoint and departure gate this weekend," the airport announced on its website.

    This includes the planned shutdown of Concourse G after 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The terminal and its 15 gates will reopen each morning.

    Concourse G, which serves several airlines including United, will have its flights relocated to either Concourse F or Concourse H.

    "We do not expect any operational impact as we have arranged to fully utilize alternate gates for flights originally scheduled out of Terminal G," a United Airlines representative said in a statement to Business Insider.

    Miami International Airport was not immediately available for comment.

    An airport spokesman, Greg Chin, however, told the Miami Herald on Thursday that federal screeners were calling in sick at "double the normal rate for Miami" and that managers of the Transportation Security Administration, which runs the checkpoint security, weren't sure whether they'd be able to operate all of the airport's checkpoints at normal hours.

    Read more: TSA employees working unpaid because of the government shutdown are quitting — and this could create a 'massive security risk' for travelers.

    "In an effort to optimize resources without degrading screening and security effectiveness, where it is feasible, TSA is working with key stakeholders and industry partners, and may explore efforts to consolidate officers and operations," a TSA representative told Business Insider in a statement.

    The person added that the TSA experienced a 5.1% unscheduled call-out rate on Thursday, up from 3.3% on the same day in 2018.

    The TSA workers' union president, Hydrick Thomas, has said workers are calling out at higher rates because of financial hardship.

    "TSA employees aren't calling out intentionally,"Thomas told Business Insider last week. "They are calling out because they don't have the funds to make it work."

    TSA screeners are among the federal employees who have been working unpaid since the US government shutdown began on December 22. Even though the workers are eligible to receive back pay once the shutdown is over, many live paycheck to paycheck and are suffering financially.

    Read more: Air-traffic controllers working unpaid during the government shutdown are posting their $0 pay stubs on Twitter

    "Every day I'm getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck,"Thomas said in a post on the union's website. "Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown.

    "The loss of officers, while we're already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don't have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires."

    Unions, aviation trade groups, and politicians from both sides of the aisle held a rally in Washington, DC, on Thursday urging political leaders to bring the shutdown to an end.

    SEE ALSO: The 21 safest airlines in the world

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

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Airports are dealing with massive lines during the government shutdown as TSA employees are working without pay


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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.

    the best resistance bands

    • Resistance bands are simple pieces of elastic that create constant tension to stimulate muscle growth and increase the value of your workout.
    • Of all the resistance bands out there, TheraBand makes the best ones because they're effective, easy to use, and affordable.

    If you find it hard to find the motivation to hit the gym, you may want to invest in a home gym solution. Because let's be honest — being forced to actually leave your house to work out can sometimes be a tall order.

    Luckily, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars outfitting your home with all the latest exercise equipment and weight loss watchamacallits. Really, all you need is your body and a couple resistance bands to make a real difference in your body.

    I was first introduced to resistance bands in 2014, when I became the most recent convert to the burgeoning barre trend. Although I've since traded the ballet-based workout for other workouts, I've remained a fan of resistance bands, because these simple pieces of elastic create constant tension, they effectively stimulate muscle growth. And to make things even better, they don't add strain onto your joints in the same way, say, a set of dumbbells might. Better yet, resistance bands are super lightweight and portable, so you can take your workout anywhere you go.

    When picking a great set of resistance bands, you'll want to ask yourself a few questions. First and foremost, what type of workout are you most interested in pursuing? A pilates-based workout will require something different from a HIIT workout, though both can be equally effective in upping your fitness levels.

    Next, think about what parts of your body you're most interested in working. While some resistance bands are best suited for your lower body, others are great for pullup training, while others still can be used for full-body workouts.

    Then, consider the level of resistance you're looking for. If you're already quite advanced in your fitness journey, you may be fine with a some seriously tight bands. But if you're just getting started on your resolution, you may be better off with some more elastic bands.

    Finally, like any purchase, you'll want to keep the price point of your resistance bands in mind. Granted, few of these sets will set you back more than $40 or so, but if you're also looking to slim down your spending habits in the new year, this could be an important point to consider.

    No matter which of our favorite resistance bands you choose, we're confident you'll get a great workout in.

    Here are the best resistance bands you can buy:

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

    The best resistance bands overall

    Why you'll love them: Whether you're a beginner or an experienced athlete, TheraBand resistance bands can provide you with a killer workout and are thin and lightweight enough to take anywhere.

    My first experience with resistance bands was with TheraBands, and I've never looked back. Incredibly thin and lightweight, while somehow maintaining their strength and durability, these non-latex bands do an excellent job helping you develop muscle strength.

    I've used them around my thighs during squats, and between my arms while working my triceps, but the possibilities (and potential muscle groups) are virtually endless.

    Compared to other bands, the TheraBands offer slightly lighter resistance, starting at 2.4 pounds and ranging up to 21.3 pounds. As such, I like these bands for a wide range of exercises. Whether you're making your barre workout just a bit harder or using them for some quick HIIT moves, the TheraBands will do the trick. That said, if you're looking for serious resistance, you may need something a bit heftier.

    I've also been impressed by just how durable these bands really are. While they look as though they might snap at any given moment, I've had mine for years without issue. My old gym also kept these around, and despite their constant usage by hundreds of clients, the TheraBands withstood the test of time. If they do break, their lack of any metal or plastic parts will help keep you safe.

    Thanks to the latex-free construction of these bands, folks with allergies or sensitivities won't have to worry. While other bands may have handles or thick, cord-like composition, these supremely portable bands are easily compacted, making them a breeze to throw in your gym bag or your suitcase.

    Pros: Latex-free, lightweight, extremely versatile in function, inexpensive

    Cons: If you're looking for more resistance, this may not be quite enough for you

    Buy the TheraBand resistance set on Amazon for $13.16



    The best resistance bands for a total-body workout

    Why you'll love them: If you're looking for a comprehensive workout with your new favorite accessories, the Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Bands may be the way to go.

    For a full workout in a bag, turn to the Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Band set. I love this set because it not only comes with five bands of varying resistance — from three to 19 pounds — but also includes two handles, two ankle straps, one door anchor, a carrying bag, and an instructional book.

    Key to the popularity of this set is its patented anti-snap safety design, which involves a Snap Guard inner safety cord to prevent any unfortunate mishaps. While some similar offerings have a nasty habit of snapping, sending metal or plastic pieces into your wall or, worse yet, your face, this set is designed to avoid these situations.

    While each individual band doesn't have huge amounts of resistance, the stackable design of this set allows you to add or subtract resistance as needed for various muscle groups, all the way up to 96 pounds.

    The set also comes with an exercise book that contains exercises designed to target biceps, triceps, chest, upper/lower back, abs/core, and legs. If you're a beginner in the world of fitness, using this guidebook can be an excellent starting point. Alternatively, if you're well-versed in your workouts, you can modify these suggestions to create a customized workout that is as safe as it is tough.

    Pros: Wide range of resistance, comes with exercise book and accessories, effectively a "mini gym" in a bag, extremely safe

    Cons: Pricier than others

    Buy the Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Band set on Amazon for $17.94 to $30



    The best resistance bands to travel with

    Why you'll love them: The Professional Mini Exercise Bands are small yet mighty, making them ideal for taking on the road.

    This resistance band set from Perform Better is intended to help with physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises, but can also be put to work on a wide range of other uses. I love that these mini bands are, as the name suggests, small and portable, which makes them super convenient to take to hotel gyms or other temporary workout locations.

    Happy customers have noted that the four bands included in this set really do offer varying levels of intensity for your workout. One Amazon reviewer wrote, "Many brands claim to be "extra-heavy" or "extra-strength" resistance but are not actually enough resistance for some of us who work out often and have built up a lot of muscle." The Perform Better set, however, seems to deliver.

    Moreover, thanks to these bands' relatively small size, they're especially effective for more petite users. All four of the bands are 9 inches by 2 inches and can be used around the ankles, the legs, thighs, and wrists.

    Pros: Offers a great workout due to small size, lightweight, portable

    Cons: Because these bands are smaller, your workout starts immediately, which may be a bit intense for some

    Buy the Perform Better Mini Resistance Band set on Amazon for  $17.95



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    fast and furious

    • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson thinks this generation is too easily offended.
    • "So many good people fought for freedom and equality — but this generation are looking for a reason to be offended," Johnson told the Daily Star.

    Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has some words for young people.

    The actor said that "this generation" seeks out reasons to be offended in an interview with Daily Star published Friday.

    "I don't have to agree with what somebody thinks, who they vote for, what they voted for, what they think, but I will back their right to say or believe it," he said. "That's democracy. So many good people fought for freedom and equality — but this generation are looking for a reason to be offended."

    "We thankfully now live in a world that has progressed over the last 30 or 40 years," he elaborated. "People can be who they want, be with who they want, and live how they want. That can only be a good thing — but generation snowflake or, whatever you want to call them, are actually putting us backwards."

    READ MORE: 'Green Book' writer apologizes for anti-Muslim tweet as the Oscar frontrunner continues to be rocked by controversy

    Johnson, one of the biggest movie stars in the world and Forbes' second-highest-paid actor of 2018, has been the subject of political conversation in the past. There had even been speculation he'd run for president in 2020, chatter he shot down last year.

    But he didn't rule out politics in the future.

    "Unfortunately I don't see it happening in 2020," Johnson said at the New York premiere of his movie "Skyscraper" in July. "It's a position that requires years of hard work and experience to learn the skills. There's a lot of ground to cover, and due to my schedule, it's not possible in 2020. I have so much respect for the position. It's something that I seriously considered. What I need is time to go out and learn."

    Johnson is a registered independent, according to Variety.

    Johnson's upcoming movies this year include "Fighting With My Family" and the "Fast and Furious" spin-off, "Hobbs and Shaw."

    SEE ALSO: 'Aquaman' is expected to cross $1 billion at the global box office — here were the 4 movies to hit that milestone in 2018

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How actors fake fight in movies


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    bill gates

    • Bill Gates, the world's second-richest person, has an estimated net worth of $94.8 billion, according to Forbes.
    • While he indulges in a few luxuries, they make up only a fraction of his fortune.
    • He mainly spends his billions on charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and plans to give away most of his fortune.

    Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, is the world's second-richest person, sitting on an estimated net worth of about $95 billion, according to Forbes.

    It's hard to imagine what to do with that amount of money, but Gates knows how to make the most of it. While he has some indulgences — like a Washington estate worth $125 million, a private airplane, and a luxury-car collection — they make up only a fraction of his massive fortune.

    He and wife, Melinda, previously said it's unfair they're so rich. Instead of spending billions on themselves, they often donate it to charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They've also pledged to give away most of their fortune through the Giving Pledge, which they launched in 2010.

    See how Gates spends his billions.

    SEE ALSO: We did the math to calculate exactly how much money billionaires and celebrities like Jeff Bezos and Kylie Jenner make an hour

    DON'T MISS: Beyoncé is worth $355 million — see how she spends it on lavish mansions, yachting vacations, and a private jet for Jay-Z

    Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of about $95 billion, making him the world's second-richest person.

    Source: Forbes



    If he spent $1 million a day, it would take him more than 245 years to spend his fortune. Here's how he spends his money.

    Source:Business Insider



    Gates has invested in a variety of stocks and assets and launched a $1 billion investment fund, Breakthrough Energy, with 20 others.

    Source: Forbes



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Rudy Giuliani

    • President Donald Trump's lead defense lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, doubled down Friday on his earlier claim that the White House should get to review and edit the special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference before it's released to Congress or the public.
    • Giuliani first made the claim in a September interview with INSIDER, arguing that the information in the report is all protected by executive privilege and thus needs a sign-off from the White House before the public can see it.
    • On Friday, Giuliani told The Hill, "As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you — so we can correct it if they’re wrong. They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong."

    Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's lead defense lawyer, is doubling down on his contention that the White House should get to review and edit the special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference before it's released to Congress or the public.

    Giuliani first made the argument in an interview with INSIDER in September. As prosecutors put together the report, Trump's current and former lawyers said the information contained in it is protected by executive privilege.

    For that reason, they said the White House needs to sign off on the report's final version in the event that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein — who is overseeing Mueller — chooses to release it to Congress or the public.

    Giuliani told INSIDER that Trump's team would waive executive privilege if "we had an adequate opportunity to review the report before it was released to the public; if we felt that — even if we disagreed with its findings — it was fair; and if we had the chance to release a rebuttal report simultaneously that addresses all of Mueller's allegations."

    But as of now, he said, the White House "reserves its privilege." He added that Trump's legal team had a commitment to that effect from Mueller. Asked whether Mueller also agreed to allow Trump's team to review a draft of the report before it is released, Giuliani said he wasn't sure if the two sides had reached a consensus on that.

    Read more:Giuliani lays out 3 conditions Mueller has to meet for the White House to waive executive privilege in the Russia probe

    Giuliani doubled down on his argument in an interview with The Hill on Friday.

    "As a matter of fairness, they should show it to you — so we can correct it if they’re wrong," Giuliani told the outlet. "They’re not God, after all. They could be wrong."

    Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago, told INSIDER earlier that while the White House could theoretically claim that certain information in a report from Mueller is protected by executive privilege, a court would most likely strike that argument down.

    "What the White House would essentially be saying then is that a prosecutor can obtain information from the president or the White House, but they can't do anything with it," Mariotti said. "That's a very weak argument."

    Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the Justice Department, said there were three main reasons why broadly asserting executive privilege would be "a hard argument to make legally, and a foolish one to make politically."

    trump oval office border speech

    In the political realm, he said that if the White House tries to "start redacting the report before it even gets to Congress, which could weigh impeachment proceedings, that's not going to fly."

    Legally, he said that based on his interpretation, the independent counsel is not part of the executive branch even though he is supervised by the DOJ.

    "He's a separate entity," Cramer said of Mueller. "The point of an independent counsel is to have an independent voice determine what happened. So, asserting privilege over material he's gathered seems to defeat the point of having an independent reviewer in the first place."

    Trump may have also been his own foil when it comes information related to some of the most pivotal events in the obstruction inquiry — for instance, the firing of then FBI director James Comey.

    Cramer said Trump "eviscerated" any possible privilege assertion when he tweeted about Comey after ousting him.

    "It's like attorney-client privilege," Cramer said. "You don't have attorney-client privilege once you bring a third person into the room. And Trump didn't bring a third person in, he brought the entire American public into the room when he tweeted about why he fired Comey and talked about it to Lester Holt."

    The bottom line, he said, is that for the White House to assert executive privilege over information in Mueller's report, "it would have to be something that Trump didn't tweet or talk about. And I don't think there's much left in that universe."

    SEE ALSO: Here are all the key developments you might have missed in Russia news this week

    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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    san francisco

    • Billion-dollar deals from the drug giants Eli Lilly & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb could set the tone for a year full of healthcare acquisitions, analysts and investors say.
    • Factors like biotech companies' slumping stocks and last year's tax cuts could drive the trend, compared with last year's competitive nature and high premiums.
    • These are the drugmakers to watch and what they've said so far about M&A.

    Headline deals by the drug giants Eli Lilly & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb could be just the beginning of mergers-and-acquisitions activity in healthcare this year.

    Deal fever has been building among investors and analysts, many of whom gathered at this week's J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, a major industry event held in San Francisco each year.

    January's banner $74 billion BMS-Celgene merger and $8 billion Lilly-Loxo deal could set a tone for the year, they say, especially in biopharma. That's something of a reversal from expectations that dealmaking would slow this year after hitting a record in 2018.

    "Anytime you start the year with a bellwether biotech company like Celgene being acquired, it gets everyone excited for deal activity," Mike Gaito, JPMorgan global co-head of healthcare investment banking, said. 

    "We're extremely busy coming into the new year," he said. There's "a lot going on in the M&A world and financing world."

    There could be more big pharma deals in 2019

    Big companies also hinted in recent days that hopes for more deals were justified.

    "I think the fact that you haven't seen a large deal coming out of Merck recently is not a reflection of the fact that we're not looking at those," Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said during the JPMorgan conference.

    "We are active," he said, adding, "I think with the valuations coming down, it creates more possibilities."

    Deal activity could be higher than in 2018 because of a confluence of factors, according to a sector sales commentary from Stifel. Those include the underperformance of many small- to mid-cap biotech companies, last year's tax cuts, and a desire to pull ahead of any possible 2020 political changes.

    Subscribe to Business Insider's weekly healthcare newsletter Dispensed for all the biggest news from the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

    'First and foremost, we're focused on M&A'

    Steve Elms' venture-capital firm has benefited from this year's dealmaking. His company, Aisling Capital, made about $470 million when Lilly agreed to acquire Loxo this week. And he told Business Insider he expected to see more deals.

    "With the market selling off from the highs, yes I do believe 2019 is going to be an M&A year," Elms said.

    Read more:Here's why Bristol-Myers Squibb's record-breaking $74 billion biotech deal is facing investor backlash

    Drugmakers with large cash holdings have been clear targets for questions about M&A. They include Amgen and Gilead, which "both have well over $30B in cash," the Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Alethia Young pointed out.

    Amgen "may be much more active in M&A this year," Young predicted.

    Robin Washington, the chief financial officer of the biotech giant Gilead, said at the conference that when it came to spending the company's cash pile, "first and foremost, we're focused on M&A."

    Wall Street is watching Biogen and J&J too

    Another company Wall Street has its eye on is Biogen. Some of the company's most promising experimental drugs are intended for Alzheimer's disease — an area with high unmet need, where drug development is notoriously high-risk, prompting calls for more diversification.

    The biopharmaceutical company has typically bought earlier-stage companies, translating to relatively smaller price tags, including paying $27.5 million upfront when acquiring two drugs, one in phase 1a and one preclinical, from AliveGen in July, and its $75 million upfront acquisition of a phase 2b ready drug from Pfizer in April.

    See more:A $63 billion biotech is returning to the scene of its worst failure in search of new treatments for a deadly muscle disorder

    But the company raised eyebrows with recent comments about having $13 billion in financing capacity — prompting "several" questions about M&A during a recent hourlong meeting at the JPMorgan conference, the Mizuho analyst Salim Syed observed.

    By Syed's math, Biogen's purchasing power is $17 billion to $18 billion. Even so, the analyst said he didn't expect a large deal in the immediate future.

    Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, seemed to signal its interest in smaller deals during a JPMorgan presentation. CEO Alex Gorsky described the company's best deals as "the tuck-ins, the bolt-ons."

    "Bigger is always more complicated," he said. "It's always more challenging, just more disruption. We're willing to take a look as we did with Actelion, and we think that that's been an important addition to us. But it does raise the bar in terms of your thought process and the capabilities that you need to bear."

    Deals don't always work out, and some companies are cautious

    Of course, M&A is also notoriously difficult to predict, Aisling Capital's Elms pointed out.

    Last year, for example, a few acquisitions were announced early in the year "and then it was kind of quiet," he said. "Pharma companies continue to need pipelines. But you also just saw AbbVie write off their Stemcentrx acquisition — that must have been painful."

    Read more: AbbVie just admitted that a cancer drug it acquired in 2016 is a $4 billion flop

    Big drugmakers, health insurers, and care providers agreed to a record high of about $421 billion in transactions in 2018, Business Insider previously reported.

    Notable biopharma deals included Sanofi's $11.6 billion bid for Bioverativ, Celgene's $9 billion acquisition of Juno, and Roche's $1.9 billion acquisition of Flatiron Health.

    But, by contrast, companies were also "paying high premiums ... as competition drives prices higher," according to an Informa Pharma Intelligence report from 2018, raising concerns about too-high valuations.

    Read more:

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    timothee chalamet law and order

    • Timothée Chalamet appeared on Friday's episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
    • DeGeneres played a video from Chalamet's first role ever, which was on a season 15 episode of "Law & Order" that aired in 2009.
    • The actor said that the drama series is "the mothership" and a lot of up-and-coming actors get their start on "Law & Order." 

     

    Long before becoming an award-winning actor, Timothée Chalamet's first acting role was on "Law & Order."

    The 29-year-old star appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Friday and was shown a clip from 2009 when he was about 13 years old, in which he played Eric Foley during season 19 of the drama series.

    "That's really funny you guys pulled that. That was my first acting job ever," Chalamet told DeGeneres after seeing the video.

    He played a young child named Eric Foley, the son of two neurologists conducting drug trials for pain management at Hudson University. In the clip, his character was seen telling the maid, Grazinya, that he and his friend were going to his room to play video games. Eric asked her not to tell his parents, but Grazinya said that she couldn't lie to her employer. Instead, she offered to give them milk and cookies. 

    Read more:30 celebrities you forgot played the bad guys on 'Law & Order: SVU'

    "'Law & Order' is the mothership," Chalamet said, and pointed out that the crime drama and its many spinoffs, gave a lot of new actors their start in the industry

    Watch the video below.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.   

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    Ja Morant

    • Murray State sophomore Ja Morant — who leads his team with 23.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game this season — threw down one of the most ridiculous dunks of the year against UT Martin Thursday night.
    • The 6-foot-3 guard cleared his defender with an epic leap and slammed it home with one hand.
    • Morant is widely expected to be a top-10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, with ESPN slotting him in at No. 4 in its latest mock draft.
    • Check out the viral video below:

    Ja Morant is widely expected to be a top-10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and he showed everyone why Thursday night.

    The Murray State sophomore — who leads the team with 23.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game this season — absolutely annihilated his defender with an early contender for most ridiculous dunk of 2019.

    Morant fully cleared his defender with an epic leap before finishing with a one-handed slam.

    The Racers came away with a 98-77 win, but it was the 6-foot-3 guard's unbelievable finish that drove the internet into an absolute frenzy.

    Check out the dunk in all of its glory:

    Here's another angle:

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    newborn baby parent

    • Americans aren't having enough babies to replace the population, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
    • The country's total fertility rate is 16% below what's required to keep the population stable.
    • Experts have cited several reasons for the decline in births, including women delaying childbearing and better sex education resulting in fewer teen pregnancies.
    • US birth rates have been below "replacement level" for decades, fueling fears that the country is headed for a "demographic time bomb."

    A new government report found that the US birth rate fell once again in 2017, and that Americans still aren't having enough babies to replace the current population.

    The report, published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), focused on a measure called total fertility rate. That's the number of expected births a group of 1,000 women would have during their lifetimes, according to current age-specific birth rates.

    In order to sustain a population, a country needs a total fertility rate of 2,100 births per 1,000 women, the report said. 

    But in 2017, the US rate was 1,765.5 per 1,000, or 16% below what's required to replace the population over time. (There were some wide swings between states, however: South Dakota had the country's highest total fertility rate at 2,227.5, and the District of Columbia had the country's lowest at 1,421.0)

    Though birth rates in the US have been declining steadily for years, the 2017 overall rate represents both a seven-year low and the steepest decline in recent history, NBC News reported. In 2016, the US total fertility rate was 1,820.5, and in 2015, it was 1,843.5.

    Experts suspect there are several forces behind the trend

    Pregnant Women Yoga

    In its report, the CDC did not say why the total fertility rate had declined, but health experts have offered some explanations for the trend. 

    In an interview with NBC News, Dr. John Rowe, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said shifts in women's societal role is one factor. 

    "In general women are getting married later in life,” he told NBC News. "They are leaving the home and launching their families later." 

    Rowe added that the growth of sex education has resulted in fewer teen pregnancies. 

    "We’ve been seeing, year after year, a precipitous drop in the number of births to teenage girls," he told NBC News. "That's good news."

    Other experts have cited economic factors, like the 2008 recession and high education costs, as factors that may prompt Americans to delay childbearing. And in 2018 survey conducted by The New York Times, adults who want kids said they sometimes end up having few, or zero, kids due to the high cost of childcare. 

    Birth rates have long been below "replacement level," fueling fears of a "demographic time bomb."

    pregnant woman with stroller toddler

    Since the 1970s, birth rates in the US have been below "replacement level," or the rate at which new births keep the population steady.

    This trend has sparked worries that the US may be headed for what's known as a "demographic time bomb," in which an aging population isn't replaced by enough young workers. 

    Read more: 10 countries at risk of becoming demographic time bombs

    "An aging population will mean higher costs for the government, a shortage of pension and social security-type funds, a shortage of people to care for the very aged, slow economic growth, and a shortage of young workers,"Harvard University sociologist Mary Brinton told Business Insider in 2017

    The US is not the only nation facing such worries. Other countries including Spain, Bulgaria, and Latvia, may also be a risk of becoming demographic time bombs. South Korea, which has one of the world's lowest fertility rates, offers cash subsidies to entice families to have kids. Japan's birth rate has long been low, too, though it has inched upwards recently

    But one expert told NBC News the downward trend may change.

    "I think it may stabilize once women who have been postponing pregnancy have the births they are planning to have," Donna Strobino, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

     As TIME's Jamie Ducharme and Fortune's Lucas Laursen both noted, the total fertility rate is based on current birth rates by age, so if women start having babies later and later in life, then the total fertility rate may underestimate future childbearing. And many US women are having babies later: In 2017, US birth rates increased only in women aged 40 to 49

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

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    white house

    • The 2020 presidential election is more than a year away, but many hopefuls are already announcing their candidacies. 
    • While many potential Democratic candidates have yet to announce their intentions, some have already launched presidential campaigns, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Maryland Representative John Delaney. 
    • Here's a list of the major party 2020 presidential candidates. 

    SEE ALSO: An early look at the 2020 presidential contenders

    President Donald Trump

    President Donald Trump is seeking reelection in 2020. He announced his intentions to do so just days into his first term, on January 20, 2017. 



    Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

    On a video posted to her website on December 31, 2018, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she was launching an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2020. In the video, Warren — who has long been expected to run – described her vision of defending the middle class, which she said was "under attack."



    Former Maryland Representative John Delaney

    Former Maryland Representative John Delaney was the first major Democrat to declare a presidential bid.

    Delaney, who was a US representative from 2013 to 2019, announced his decision to run on July 28, 2017.

    In a Washington Post op-ed announcing his candidacy, Delaney said "The current administration is making us less prosperous and less secure. I’m running because I have an original approach to governing and an economic policy that can put us on a different course." 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    demar derozan gregg popovich

    • The San Antonio Spurs have been the best team over the last month, with the best record, best offense, third-best defense, and best point differential.
    • The Spurs offense runs counter to many of the trends in the NBA — they attempt the fewest three-pointers, the most midrange shots, play slowly and are led by two three-point averse stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.
    • After a rocky start, the Spurs have finally clicked on both ends, and while they may not play in a modern style, they are efficient and smart.

    The San Antonio Spurs will never die.

    Coming into the season, following the trades of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, the free-agent departure of Tony Parker, the retirement of Manu Ginobili, and the season-ending ACL injury to Dejounte Murray, many predicted the Spurs' 21-year playoff run to end.

    Even with one All-Star in LaMarcus Aldridge and an incoming one in DeMar DeRozan, many wondered if the Spurs had the talent and depth to make it in the deep, competitive Western Conference.

    They've proved everyone wrong again. The Spurs are 25-18, sixth in the Western Conference. They're the hottest team in the NBA over the last month, with a 13-4 record since December 6. In that span, they also own the league's best offense, the third-best defense, and the best net rating (points by which they outscore opponents per 100 possessions).

    spursMore incredibly, the Spurs don't look like any of the most modern NBA outfits. Math rules in today's NBA. Teams emphasize three-pointers, shots at the rim, and free throws. Teams are playing faster than ever before. Defenses are geared toward making their opponents take the least-efficient shots possible.

    The Spurs don't resemble any of that. 

    At a time when teams are eschewing shots from the midrange, the Spurs are taking nearly three more attempts per game than the second-place team (the Golden State Warriors, interestingly).

    For the season, the Spurs are 26th in shots attempted per game from less than five feet (at or near the rim), though they take advantage when they're there, making 63% of their attempts, seventh in the league.

    No team takes fewer three-point attempts per game. The three-pointers they do attempt are not the easiest ones — they average a combined 5.2 attempts per game from the corners. The five teams ahead of the Spurs in the Western Conference all average more per game. The Spurs do shoot efficiently, however, hitting 40.5% of their three-point attempts, the best percentage in the league.

    Thursday night's 154-147, double-overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder was a prime example of the Spurs' antiquated, yet effective offense. They were blazing hot from three, hitting 16-of-19 attempts from downtown. That's a scorching 84%, but 19 attempts in a double-overtime game is a minuscule number by today's standards. Every team in the league shoots 24 or more threes per game.

    They were led by LaMarcus Aldridge, who posted a career-high 56 points without attempting a single three-pointer, the first player to score 50 or more without a three since Shaquille O'Neal.

    Aldridge's shot chart looked like something straight out of '90s basketball.

    shotchart

    Aldridge's co-pilot is DeRozan, who leads the NBA in midrange shot attempts per game and is down to 17.5% from three this season. Perhaps no superstar tandem in the NBA is as three-point averse as Aldridge and DeRozan.

    lamarcus aldridge demar derozanAnd that's fine by Popovich. Popovich has made his disdain for three-pointers known, several times arguing that if there's a three-point shot, there should be a four-point shot, five-point shot, and so on. The Spurs take some threes because it's necessary, and they've ensured that they make those shots.

    Despite a league-leading offense, the Spurs credit their defense for the recent turnaround. The Spurs were one of the worst defensive units early in the season, but the team has since jelled on that end of the floor.

    Contrary to their shot selection, the Spurs are pretty good at defending good shots and forcing bad ones. In the last month, they're 8th in opponent field goal percentage from less than five feet, seventh in midrange attempts allowed and sixth in percentage, and third in opponent three-point percentage. The Spurs also don't turn the ball over and rarely foul opponents, two effective methods for winning games.

    But some things defy numbers. It seems as if they've gained chemistry on the defensive end. As is typical for a Popovich team, they're disciplined, conservative, and communicative, attached by the metaphorical "string" that so many teams wish to achieve.


    Popovich explained to ESPN's Michael C. Wright in December that with so many new faces and departing players, he knew it would take time for the team to figure things out.

    "I just thought that they deserved a lot of patience with the group two-thirds new," Popovich said. "I can't expect them to catch on to everything right away and understand each other. So I knew that patience is like the first step in showing confidence in somebody or in a group. So if you expect everything quickly, that's just not gonna work. It's gonna hurt their confidence."

    Read more: The key to the Knicks' rebuild could be a 20-year-old French guard that the NBA can't seem to figure out

    The Spurs are on pace to win 47 games, the same number as last season, which broke an 18-year streak of winning 50 or more games. But thanks to their recent climb, even if the Spurs cool off and play .500 ball the rest of the season, they're likely to make the playoffs.

    In a season when expectations were low, when it looked like Popovich and company were devising a plan that ran counter to the best teams in the league, the Spurs are once again defying the odds.

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    GM CEO Mary Barra.JPG


    General Motors was rallying Friday, up more than 9%, after the company gave strong 2019 guidance and said it would use its Cadillac brand to take on Tesla.

    Friday's gains have GM shares trading near $37.50, and at their best level since the beginning of December. A close above $38.45 would be the highest since late July. 

    After four years of record or near record US sales of about 17 million vehicles, GM said Friday it expects 2019's numbers to be in that range, and that it sees the Chinese market holding up with about 27 million sales. It estimates full-year earnings of between $6.50 and $7 per share — ahead of the $6 Wall Street consensus. The rest of the auto industry is entering a defensive position for the year. Alongside its bullish guidance, GM said it would use its Cadillac brand to compete with Tesla in the electric-vehcle market. 

    In November, the automaker announced a restructruing plan which includedshutting down seven plants globally in 2019, including three assembly plants in North America, two US transmission plants, and two additional, unnamed assembly plants outside the US. GM also said it would slash its salaried employee headcount by 15%, including a 25% cut in its white-collar staff.

    "We look for essentially 100% of any savings to be reinvested in remaining products,"Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said at the time. "We see these steps as necessary to ensuring the long-term sustainability and independence of GM as a leader in Auto 2.0 and a significant employer of US labor."

    General Motors

     

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    the rock

    • The Rock said "generation snowflake" is too easily offended.
    • He said there had been a significant progression in the last 30 or 40 years as people can be who they want or what they want.
    • But "generation snowflake" is offended because of something that has been said, and this puts "us backwards."

    Dwayne Johnson said "generation snowflake" looks for a reason to be offended and is offended too easily, which puts "us backwards."

    The 46-year-old became a household name because of his charismatic persona as a WWE wrestler. Johnson, performing as The Rock, would call people a "jabroni," threaten to put them on their "candy a--," and would not hesitate to "layeth the smackdown" on his enemies.

    Since his WWE days, he has become a leading man in action movies having starred in "The Mummy Returns," two of the "Fast and the Furious" films, and "San Andreas."

    Speaking to the Daily Star, The Rock is now looking to layeth a verbal smackdown on "generation snowflake."

    He said: "I don’t have to agree with what somebody thinks, who they vote for, what they voted for, what they think, but I will back their right to say or believe it. That’s democracy.

    "So many good people fought for freedom and equality but this generation are looking for a reason to be offended. If you are not agreeing with them then they are offended, and that is not what so many great men and women fought for.”

    "We thankfully now live in a world that has progressed over the last 30 or 40 years. People can be who they want, be with who they want, and live how they want. That can only be a good thing … but generation snowflake or, whatever you want to call them, are actually putting us backwards."

    The Rock has three movies coming out in 2019 including a "Fast and the Furious" spin-off called "Hobbs and Shaw."

    Read more:All of the DC Comics movies in the works after 'Aquaman,' including a 'Suicide Squad' sequel from James Gunn

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    Pills 2 (2)

    Hello, 

    It's been a long, exciting albeit tiring week for the healthcare team as we made our way around San Francisco's Union Square during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Hills were climbed, cricket tacos consumed, and healthcare discussed at length. 

    Many, many stories ahead from those conversations. But to start, here's what kept us busy when we weren't bustling from meeting to meeting. 

    New to our weekly newsletter? You can sign up here.

    For starters, the week kicked off with Eli Lilly making an $8 billion bid for Loxo Oncology. That has Wall Street increasingly optimistic that there's more M&A to come in healthcare.

    And Emma Court spoke to an investor who made $470 million on the deal. 

    A top investor who just made $470 million on buzzy biotech Loxo's $8 billion takeover told us where he might place his next bets

    • Eli Lilly & Co.'s about $8 billion acquisition of biotech Loxo Oncology could mean a $470 million payday for venture-capital firm Aisling Capital.
    • Aisling Capital was a founding investor in Loxo and most recently held a 6.6% stake.
    • Aisling Capital managing partner Steve Elms told Business Insider about the other biotechs and scientific areas the firm is intrigued by.

    Emma also broke down what's going on with Bluebird Bio's plan to pay for one-time gene therapy treatments in the way you might pay for a washing machine — that is, in installments over 5 years. Bluebird laid out its plan at the conference on Tuesday. 

    A biotech is proposing a plan to pay for its pricey rare-disease treatment the same way you'd buy a TV or dishwasher. Here's the inside story.

    • Biotech company Bluebird Bio proposed a five-year installment plan for its pricey gene therapy at a major healthcare conference on Tuesday.
    • The company hasn't put out a price tag for the experimental product, which hasn't yet been approved, but capped it at $2.1 million a treatment.
    • Bluebird CEO Nick Leschly told Business Insider the inside story of how the plan came about and what challenges it could face.

    Erin Brodwin covered one of the biggest stock movers of the conference, Sage Therapeutics, which revealed on Monday positive clinical trial results for its new depression drug. 

    A drug that works differently from all existing depression drugs just got a big boost

    • On Monday, a new drug for depression got a big lift from positive clinical trial results. Stocks surged on the news.
    • The drug is made by Sage Therapeutics, a Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company that focuses on brain disorders.
    • Nearly all existing antidepressants, from Celexa to Zoloft, work on the brain's serotonin network. But the drugs fail for as many as 1 in 3 people and take 4-6 weeks to have an effect.
    • Sage's new drug targets a different brain system than these antidepressants. As a result, it appears to work faster and last longer.

    Zach Tracer and I were closely tracking CVS Health's presentation at the conference — its first since its deal with Aetna went through. Now with the insurance business in tow, CVS CEO Larry Merlo laid out how it's going to shake up how we access healthcare. 

    CVS Health CEO

    CVS Health just revealed a key piece of its plan to change how Americans get healthcare

    • CVS Health and Aetna have officially combined to create an entirely new kind of healthcare company.
    • In a presentation Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, CVS CEO Larry Merlo laid out the first steps the combined company is taking to change healthcare.
    • CVS is opening a test store in Houston with more healthcare services, and also plans to test programs to treat chronic diseases and keep patients out of the hospital.

    Early in the week, Erin and I sat down with Verily chief medical officer Jessica Mega, who explained to us the common thread unifying all that the life sciences arm of Alphabet is working on. 

    We talked to the top scientist at Alphabet's life-sciences company about the common thread uniting all its seemingly random health projects — and how she plans to spend $1 billion

    • Verily, the enigmatic life-sciences company formerly known as Google Life Sciences, recently raised $1 billion and appears to have its hands in a wide range of health initiatives.
    • The company is building advanced contact lenses; releasing hordes of bacteria-infected (and thus sterile) mosquitoes in Fresno, California; and building a watch that helps researchers gather data for clinical studies.
    • Verily's chief medical officer told Business Insider there's one thread that unites all of its projects: information.

    We covered a wide range of topics, so stay tuned for more from that interview as well. 

    And to end the week, Zach summed up the biggest losers coming out of the conference. Amid a mainly positive week, bad news brought down the stock price of a number of biotech companies, including Rubius Therapeutics and Sangamo Therapeutics. 

    Looking to digest more of what went down this week at the conference? You can find all our coverage from within and around the walls of the Westin St. Francis here. 

    With that, I'm going to go recover from the red-eye flight I somehow thought was a good idea. Please feel free to send recovery tips, conference observations, or reminders of what we might have missed while running up and down San Francisco to the team at healthcare@businessinsider.com. And as always, you can find me at lramsey@businessinsider.com.

    - Lydia 

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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

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    starship test hopper stainless steel spacesuit real vs illustration boca chica brownsville texas launch site elon musk twitter january 2019

    • Elon Musk has shared an illustration and a photograph of a SpaceX steel rocket ship with a mirror-like finish.
    • This week, SpaceX finished building the vehicle, which Musk called the "test hopper." 
    • The test hopper is a squat version of a full-scale Starship: a spaceship that's being designed to send people to Mars.
    • Musk said the test hopper could launch in Texas in four to eight weeks, or nearly a year ahead of schedule.

    Last week, Elon Musk shared an eye-catching rendering of a stainless-steel rocket ship. Then last night, he debuted an almost identical image— a real one this time — complete with a person in a spacesuit for scale.

    The initial futuristic image was an illustration created by SpaceX, Musk's rocket company. However, the company has worked feverishly to build the real-life prototype of the vehicle in southern Texas.

    "Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site,"Musk tweeted on Thursday. "This is an actual picture, not a rendering."

    Musk and Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, most often call the ship the "test hopper" because it's not designed to launch into orbit around Earth. Instead, the somewhat crude and windowless ship will rocket on "hops" that go no more than about 16,400 feet in the air, according to Federal Communications Commission documents.

    It's a critical experimental vehicle whose successes (or failures) will inform how SpaceX works toward a full-scale, orbit-ready prototype of Starship: a roughly 18-story spaceship designed to one day ferry up to 100 people and 150 tons of cargo to Mars.

    Musk revealed on Thursday night that SpaceX plans to build a taller, orbit-capable version "around June" of this year. He said that rocketship would have "thicker skins (won't wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section."

    elon musk starship test hopper stainless steel illustration rendering twitter january 2019 insider 4x3

    A full-scale Starship is scheduled to launch people for the first time in 2023, and Musk previously said that "operational Starships would [obviously] have windows, etc."

    The first fully crewed mission is being bankrolled for an undisclosed sum by the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who plans to pick eight artists as crew members for a flight around the moon.

    Musk has said he hopes to launch the first crews to Mars in the mid-2020s, perhaps as early as 2024, to arrive at the red planet in 2025.

    The evolution of Musk and SpaceX's 'Tintin' test ship

    During most of 2018, Musk and Shotwell said repeatedly that the test hopper wouldn't make its first flight until late 2019.

    But when asked January 5 on Twitter about the test hopper's first flight, Musk said Saturday that SpaceX was "aiming for 4 weeks, which probably means 8 weeks, due to unforeseen issues."

    Either way, that's a major jump in the launch schedule — one that coincides with a recent influx of half a billion dollars.

    Read more: Elon Musk said SpaceX is on track to launch people to Mars within 6 years — here's the full timeline of his plans to colonize the red planet

    Musk announced in late December that SpaceX was indeed building the test hopper at its lesser-known launch site in Boca Chica, at the southernmost tip of Texas.

    He also released a photo of the test hopper coming together:

    elon musk starship test hopper construction twitter december 2018 DvKmsU1V4AE9Xqr

    Musk's confirmation and picture came after a flurry of photos appeared in the forums of NASASpaceFlight.com, where some dedicated followers of SpaceX congregate to chat about the rocket company's latest activities and share information.

    The photos, taken by locals in Boca Chica, appeared to show the mythical test hopper being constructed nearly a year ahead of schedule. Musk later said the main parts were being made in Los Angeles and shipped to the semi-remote site for assembly.

    Read more: Where SpaceX's most important locations are and what they do

    The latest batch of local images shows workers and cranes assembling sections of the test hopper in plain sight of an access road.

    The vehicle doesn't have a seamless finish but it's not supposed to look perfect. In fact, there is a decent chance that it may fail or explode, as is common during early test launches and has happened to many early SpaceX creations.

    Musk has described Starship as a "Tintin" rocket, referring to the famous 20th-century Belgian comics series (which features a two-part space-exploration story).

    "I love the 'Tintin' rocket design, so I kind of wanted to bias it towards that," he said during a press conference in September. "If in doubt, go with 'Tintin.'"

    From carbon fiber to stainless steel that looks like 'liquid silver'

    big falcon rocket bfr spaceship bfs booster bfb earth moon orbit spacex 30934146588_47ce17419b_o

    The choice of polished stainless steel is a major shift from what Musk called his "final iteration" of the rocket's design.

    In September, Musk revealed design updates for his two-part Mars launch system, called the Big Falcon Rocket. The Starship that Musk unveiled then was set to be about 30 feet wide and 180 feet tall, and sit atop a roughly 219-foot-tall rocket booster that Musk now calls Super Heavy. Both parts were supposed to be made primarily of carbon-fiber composites, which can be much lighter yet many times as strong as steel alloys.

    Experts in materials science and aerospace interviewed by Business Insider expressed some reservations about the choice of carbon fiber for the spaceship, given the punishing environment of space and the difficulty in repairing carbon-fiber parts on Earth, let alone in space or on another planet.

    Super Heavy may yet be built mostly out of carbon fiber, since it won't reach orbit and will instead land back on or near its launchpad for reuse. But it appears Musk and his engineering team are now committed to using a stainless-steel alloy to make Starship.

    Musk said SpaceX's newly developed Raptor engines, which will power the vehicle, would be made of an in-house "superalloy" called SX500. He has also suggested that the final steel body of Starship will "look like liquid silver" and act as its own heat sink — most likely without protective thermal tiles, as NASA's space shuttle used — during the blazing-hot reentry into Earth's or Mars' atmosphere.

    "I will do a full technical presentation of Starship after the test vehicle we're building in Texas flies, so hopefully March/April,"Musk tweeted on December 22.

    This story has been updated. It was originally published on January 8, 2018.

    SEE ALSO: An extraordinary year of rocket launches, meteor showers, and space exploration is here. This is a 2019 calendar of space events you can't miss.

    DON'T MISS: 'This is more than just a landing': Why China's mission on the far side of the moon should be a wake-up call for the world

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic plan on taking you to space


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