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The latest news from Business Insider
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    Reebok Headquarters

    • Reebok recently moved into a brand-new headquarters in Boston, where it is plotting a return to glory.
    • The brand is a subsidary of Adidas, but it hasn't yet seen the strong growth its parent company has.
    • Reebok has a plan to aggressively go after women consumers, a demographic that its competitors have struggled to reach. 

    BOSTON — Reebok's new Boston headquarters is across the street from a working dry dock, where boats come in for extensive repairs.

    In some ways, this new address — 25 Drydock Avenue, a 220,000-square-foot space in a former shipyard that's currently undergoing rapid redevelopment — is the perfect place to rehabilitate the storied brand. 

    "In a lot of ways, it's the symbolic shift for us," Reebok President Matt O'Toole said to Business Insider during a recent visit to the new campus. "Obviously, physically it's a change, but culturally [as well]."

    The company, a subsidary of Adidas since 2005, recently finished its move from lush green surroundings in Canton, a suburb of Boston, where its campus was surrounded by sports fields and landscaping. The environment was beautiful, but it had its downsides. 

    "We had this amazing campus, but we were cloistered in our own little gated community," O'Toole said. 

    Reebok Headquarters

    Contrast that with the new location, smack-dab in the middle of rapidly redeveloping South Boston. It's a decidedly more gritty locale.

    The new Boston location has views of Logan International Airport across Boston Harbor and the aforementioned drydock. Workers can get lunch from restaurants built out of repurposed shipping containers.

    "The biggest change is the gates are gone, and we're in the city," O'Toole said. "The inspiration is different."

    The company's 750 workers are encouraged to take mass transit to work, as the Silver Line bus stops right outside the entrance. There's also a shuttle for commuters coming from Boston's South Station. 

    Now, "we're city mice instead of country mice," John Lynch, head of US marketing, said.

    Entering the building, Reebok's attention to detail is immediately apparent

    On the ground floor, next to the elevator, is a large store featuring the full range of Reebok products. On the other side is a two-floor, CrossFit-certified gym where both employees and other members can work out. The gym includes a full-size boxing ring.

    The elevator is large, like a freight elevator. One side of the compartment shows documents and historical photographs from the company's 150-plus-year history, including its start in the United Kingdom. The other shows an athletic-looking woman hanging upside down from scaffolding, apparently in an urban location.

    More than anything, this seems to represent Reebok's vision for itself. In 2012, the company pivoted to create strictly fitness apparel, moving away completely from team sports. In 2012, it debuted a new logo: a red delta, meant to symbolize the trinity of physical, mental, and social development that Reebok says occurs with with a fitness-oriented lifestyle.

    "Everything is coming together at one time to create a big opportunity in the US market for us," O'Toole said.

    In some ways, this was Reebok getting back to its roots. The company that would become Reebok, J.W. Foster, was started in 1895, but the brand name has only been around since 1958. It hit its stride in the 1980s, when it came to America during the Jazzercise craze. At the time, Reebok was completely focused on fitness.  

    It later signed a deal to be the exclusive seller of authorized apparel with the NFL — a first in the sports world — and then agreed to a number of licensing deals across sports. 

    Reebok Headquarters

    "Reebok in the '80s was the brand that said, 'Hey, it's ok to work out, to sweat, have muscles,' when that was a new thing," O'Toole said. "Now our job is to make sure that affirmation and that encouragement is still there."

    Reebok dropped its sports-licensing apparel deals and shifted its NHL and NBA deals over to its parent brand, Adidas. It completely stopped producing team sports apparel and accessories to align with its new mission, forcing it to leave money on the table in some markets like Europe, where it had previously sold gear for sports like soccer.

    Reebok has been busy working to fill the gaps. It inked a few deals with fitness-minded outfits like UFC, Spartan Race, and Les Mills, and focused completely on building a fitness-centric lifestyle brand.

    The brand's partnerships with outfits like Crossfit are a lot deeper than a simple apparel licensing deal. Reebok also runs co-branded Crossfit gyms around the country, and it sponsors the annual Crossfit Games athletic competetion. It holds dialogues with Crossfit athletes, who can then tell the brand what they demand from their shoes and apparel.

    The new deals, while they might not seem like it at first, are geared primarily at the female consumer, a demographic that Reebok sees as a huge opportunity. 

    "The insight for our female consumer isn't that she wants to do it softer than the guys want to do it," O'Toole said. "Our goal isn't to out-Lululemon Lululemon. This isn't just to give her the softer side of fitness."

    Crossfit gym memberships tend to skew to the female side. Estimates pin the breakdown of Crossfit participants that are female at 60%.  Combat training is also the fastest growing sport among women, according to O'Toole.

    "Our driving initiative is women first. The industry has always started with, 'What's this 6'5" guy who can dunk a basketball going to need?' And we're saying 'OK, but that's not the way we're going to do it.' We're starting with her.'"

    Women's fitness apparel is an area where Reebok's biggest competitors have struggled. Both Under Armour and Nike have said publicly that they need to do more to capture the women's market.

    Women buy more apparel, more often then men, which presents an opportunity for Reebok. According to the company, its customer base is already near an even 50-50 gender breakdown, but it hopes to achieve that split fully by 2020.  

    Reebok is a brand in transition

    Reebok has been working hard behind the scenes for the last few years, but the fact that the brand has a smaller footprint in the United States compared to its larger parent company has meant customer perception has not yet appropriately shifted.

    While Adidas' sales and brand perception has surged in the US, with net sales up 33% in North America in fiscal year 2017, Reebok hasn't seen its star rise quite as quickly. It instead saw a 16% decline over the same period in North America. Adidas blamed the sales decline on store closures during the year in the US.

    Globally, however, Reebok sales were up 4% year-over-year in 2017, mostly due to a double-digit increase in its Classics brand of reinvented vintage-style footwear and apparel. Sales surged 23% in Western Europe, which is a similar size to North America, and 23% in Greater China, which is currently much smaller.

    Adidas, for its part, has stood by Reebok as it transitions.

    "We are not going to sell Reebok because we are still very confident of the strategic position of the brand," Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told a meeting of investors in 2017. "We are convinced the measures we are taking are going to be successful."

    O'Toole seems to agree, arguing that the two brands are positioned differently enough in the market. 

    "We're one company with two brands and they have different roles to play," he said. "Adidas is focused on their mission to be the best sports brand. We are focused on our mission to be the best fitness brand. Will we both be making leggings and bra tops? Yes, but they're really kind of targeted at different consumers."

    A new attitude for a new office

    In the new office, Reebok employees don't have assigned desks. Instead, they have lockers for their things, and they can take any free desk in their assigned area. Even executives at the company are in the mix in this free-flowing structure, even as it cuts down on personal touches like the family photographs that are traditionally seen on desks.

    Another recent change: fewer employees from the parent brand. Since Adidas made Reebok its own separate brand in 2016, all Reebok employees now report to O'Toole, and the new headquarters is filled with Reebok employees almost exclusively.

    Reebok Headquarters

    The enormous windows looking out on the shipyard are new, to the tune of millions of dollars at the landlord's expense, and they provide plenty of westerly light as the sun sets over the harbor.

    The spaces are kept open with plenty of areas for employees to hang out in, which Reebok says has increased collaboration and informal meetings and made formal meetings more rare.

    Not every change was taken so well by employees, however. After Reebok decided to stop serving soda in the office for health-conscious reasons, employees questioned why it didn't also ban sugar and artificial sweeteners for the coffee served at the shop near the office's lunch room. 

    "I didn't have a good answer for that one," Dan Sarro, a Reebok communications team member, said.

    Reebok Headquarters

    SEE ALSO: Adidas just opened a futuristic new factory — and it will dramatically change how shoes are sold

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    NOW WATCH: We ate everything on Taco Bell's Dollar Cravings Menu — here's what we thought

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    ariana grande manchester

    Ariana Grande penned a gorgeous tribute to the victims of the Manchester bombing on Twitter this week -- and now she’s honoring the lives lost last year in a much more permanent way.

    The 24-year-old "No Tears Left to Cry" singer took to Instagram Thursday to share a brand-new tattoo of a tiny black bee behind her ear. The minimalist art is about the size of an actual bee, and the insect’s wings are shaped in a heart.

    forever ☁️

    A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on May 24, 2018 at 10:22am PDT on

    "Forever," Grande captioned the post with an accompanying cloud emoji.

    For those who aren’t acquainted with Manchester, the bee is a symbol of the city's hard-working legacy stemming from the Industrial Revolution. People across the city went out in droves to get worker bee tattoos last year following the devastating terrorist attack at Grande’s Manchester Arena concert that killed 22 people.

    It was reported shortly following the attack that some of Grande's backup dancers got bee tattoos in honor of the incident.

    Grande has made several charitable gestures since the bombing. She held a benefit concert, re-released her song "One Last Time" as a charity single, and released a live version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." 

    One year later, the Manchester attack still weighs heavy on the public’s (and of course Ariana’s) hearts.

    Grande’s latest "No Tears Left to Cry" music video closes on what appears to be a bee flitting out of the frame, which many fans think is an intentional and powerful symbol.

    "Thank you so much," one Manchester-based fan commented on Grande’s Instagram of the fresh ink. "It’s perfect."

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    NOW WATCH: A Nobel Prize-winning economist explains what Milton Friedman got wrong

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    US Military

    Defense stocks are rallying Thursday after President Donald Trump cancelled his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un

    "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time , to have this long planned meeting," Trump wrote in a statement. 

    Here's the scoreboard:

    SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF: +0.54%

    Raytheon: +1.34%

    General Dynamics: +1.36%

    Northrop Grumman: +1.27%

    Lockheed Martin: +0.27% 

    The cancellation, which dampens the emerging prospect of diffused high-stakes tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, sent investors clamoring for save-haven assets. Gold spiked 1% on the news.

    The Spider S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF is up 28.62% over the past year, far outpacing the S&P 500, which has gained 13.48%.

    Screen Shot 2018 05 24 at 3.28.51 PM




    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos on breaking up and regulating Amazon

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    Chipotle Burrito

    • Chipotle has added drive-thrus to five locations across the US. 
    • Unlike at most drive-thrus, customers need to order ahead, either online or through the chain's app. 
    • Chipotle is looking for new ways to drive sales, exploring new menu items and boosting delivery. 


    Chipotle has started adding drive-thrus to restaurants — but it is a little bit different from how other fast-food chains operate. 

    Five Chipotle locations in the US have added drive-thru windows, CNBC reported. Chipotle restaurants in Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Massachusetts are among those that have added drive-thrus.

    However, instead of ordering at the window, customers need to order ahead via the Chipotle app or an online form. 


    Yelp photos of the San Antonio, Texas location with the drive-thru show a screen that says, "Picking up an online or app order?"

    Customers are instructed to drive "straight ahead to burrito bliss." 

    "When I went there was no line for the drive-thru," one five-star review from February reads."I think word still needs to get out about it. It's a very unique concept, they have two kitchens/prepping areas."

    chipotle drive thru

    Chipotle is working to build out its off-premise business with more drive-thru, to-go, and delivery sales. 

    Most Chipotle locations have a "second line" dedicated to making burritos, bowls, and more for customers other than those who are ordering in the restaurants, such as for mobile orders and catering.

    "One of the first things I uncovered was the second make line," Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol told Business Insider earlier in May."I was just like, this is a huge ... capability that we have not been taking full advantage of."

    Investors have been eager for Niccol to bring some changes to the struggling chain amid rumors of new menu tests and a revamped queso recipe. 

    Niccol, previously the CEO of Taco Bell, stepped into the role of Chipotle's CEO in March. Taco Bell experienced a period of impressive growth under Niccol's leadership, as the CEO pushed for creative marketing and wild new menu items such as the Naked Chicken Chalupa.

    SEE ALSO: Chipotle is banking on breakfast and drive-thrus to turn around the chain, according to billionaire investor Bill Ackman

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    NOW WATCH: We had millennials try Chick-fil-A for the first time

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    The fictional it all store.

    • Lean Cuisine is under fire for asking women to define what having it all means to them.
    • In a recent ad, Lean Cuisine asked women to pick what they would have in their lives if they had "it all."
    • The company called the concept of having it all an"ideal that was never real but won't seem to go away."
    • The campaign was seemingly intended to inspire women's empowerment.
    • Instead, it inspired angry responses on Twitter.

    In its most recent campaign, Lean Cuisine asked women to define what "having it all" means to them — but things didn't go as planned.

    The prompt was based on an ad in which Lean Cuisine attempted to test the theory that women encourage one other to challenge the concept of having it all, which the brand calls an "ideal that was never real but won't seem to go away."

    In the four-minute video, a group of women was taken to a mock store where they could select items that represented things they want or expect to accomplish in life. The milestones they could choose from included the field of work, salary ranges, number of children, and relationship status, among others. 

    When they were done shopping for hypotheticals, the items the women chose were then compared to a survey they had previously taken regarding life accomplishments.

    According to the findings of the video, the women apparently shattered the notion of "having it all" by encouraging each other to prioritize the things they genuinely wanted over the ones they felt conditioned to want.

    But when the brand asked its Twitter followers to share what having it all means to them using a sponsored hashtag #ItAll, the campaign spectacularly backfired.

    People have reclaimed the hashtag on Twitter and are using it to share why the video didn't resonate with them and what they feel is the hypocrisy of a diet food brand using the language of empowerment to sell frozen entrees. 

    A few people said this campaign exemplifies toxic diet culture.

    Others noted that eating a Lean Cuisine isn't exactly what they associate with the concept of having everything you could possibly want.

    Representatives for Lean Cuisine didn't immediately return INSIDER's request for comment.

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    NOW WATCH: A treatment in NYC sucks out all the impurities in your face and puts them in a jar

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    mark zuckerberg

    • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed at the 2018 Viva Technology conference in Paris, where he talked about privacy and his thoughts on artificial intelligence.
    • Zuckerberg expressed optimism about the possibilities of AI, saying that he agrees with a point that Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently made about negativity and how it hinders progress. 

    During an interview at the 2018 Viva Technology conference in Paris on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about his company's practices and his personal take on the future of AI. 

    "I think that AI is going to unlock a huge amount of positive things, whether that's helping to identify and cure diseases, to help cars drive more safely, to help keep our communities safe," he said. 

    His comments were in response to a question from the interviewer about his personal thoughts on Tesla CEO Elon Musk's skepticism towards AI. Musk has repeatedly warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence, recently calling it "far more dangerous than nukes"at SXSW last March

    To be clear, Musk has specified that his worries are pointed towards "general AI,"  and not the kind of "functional/narrow AI" you'd find in a car. 

    But Zuckerberg expressed a more overarching optimism in response to his views on AI.

    Where Zuckerberg and Musk's beliefs overlap, of course, is in the eventual benefit of self-driving cars, which use AI technology. Zuckerberg said they're going to help fix a very important humanitarian crisis, if we can get to a point when they're being made well. He added that  he agrees with one point in particular that Musk has been making recently in support of self-driving cars. 

    "We need to make sure that we don't get too negative on this stuff," he said referring to AI technology. "Because it's too easy for people to point to an individual failure of technology and try to use that as an argument to slow down progress."

    Zuckerberg said he himself has been trying to make this point for a while. He did follow his support for AI up with remarks about the seriousness of AI ethics and clarified that there are bound to be issues along the way, just as there are for any new technology. But he said AI skeptics aren't helping the cause; if anything, they're being counter-productive.

    "I do think that if you want to be out there, saying that we need to slow down progress on this, then... you need to own some of the responsibility [for] every day that goes by that we don't have cure for those diseases or safer self-driving cars. I don't know that that's necessarily doing the world a service."

    SEE ALSO: The self-driving Uber car that killed a pedestrian was not designed to automatically brake in an emergency: NTSB report

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Google's new AI can impersonate a human to schedule appointments and make reservations

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    Kristin Lemkau

    • JPMorgan Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau manages a whopping $5 billion marketing budget.
    • But she's wary of spending that on ad agencies, particularly agencies that buy media on behalf of brands.
    • In an interview with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget, she questioned the long-term sustainability of today's ad agency model, saying that it was challenged.
    • She also challenged the ad agency holding company structure, questioning whether it was as valuable for the client as it is for the shareholder.

    Brands are hiring their own data scientists and brand safety officers, bringing creative in-house and even building their own technology stacks.

    That's threatening the existence of ad agencies, JPMorgan Chase's chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau told Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget in a recent interview. And she doesn't know if they will survive.

    "Publishers have in-house agencies, brands have in-house agencies. What can they (agencies) do that will continue to provide value for the marketer in a meaningful way that we can't ourselves?" she asked. "Every publisher I've spoken to, and every CMO I've spoken to, says that they would prefer that more people get out of the middle."

    Specifically, Lemkau, who oversees a whopping $5 billion ad budget, questioned media-buying agencies, that procure the space for ads to run on the internet, TV and other mediums. JPMorgan Chase, among other brands including Verizon and Pernod Ricard, has brought its data and programmatic advertising in-house.

    "I do think creatively agencies will always have a role to play, because they will see different perspectives, they will see different brands," she said. "On the media buying side, I think they may struggle more."

    That's because brands that have been burned by the murkiness of digital media and issues of fraud, viewability and transparency, have stepped up and started to take matters into their own hands. They are trying hard to come up to speed and learn it all quickly, she said.

    "We are spending more time with Salesforce, Adobe and Pega and some tech vendors than we are traditional agencies, because this is what the future is going to be," she said. "Particularly if you are a company that has data and customers entrust you with data."

    JPMorgan Chase has also been beefing up its internal advertising technology team. The team has a chief technology officer, a product owner, a program manager, as well as different sets of teams leading different integration points, according to Lemkau. 

    "I talk to my chief technology officer probably more than anybody else who works for me," she said. "Most marketers today will say this is the thing they spend the most time on that they understand the least."

    Lemkau also questioned the ad agency holding company structure as it currently exists.

    "I think we're all looking and seeing what's the value of the holding company structure?" she said. "Is it as valuable for the client as it is for the shareholder? I don't know."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ally Financial CMO says that too much data hurts a brand — and is dangerous for the industry in the long-term

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    Rupert Murdoch

    • Comcast is trying to outbid Disney for Fox. But it's motivations are likely very different.
    • Disney's move is about taking on Netflix, while Comcast's is about amassing power — and hedging its bets —  in a media landscape that is set to be increasingly dominated by a handful of titans.
    • Besides power, Fox would bring Comcast more sports clout, more innovative ad opportunities, and an important international presence.

    Disney wants Fox to help it kill Netflix. But what does Comcast want with Fox exactly?

    Late last year, when Disney made its bold attempt to acquire a suite of 21st Century Fox assets, its motivation seemed crystal clear: it wanted to bolster its collection of IP for its upcoming direct to consumer streaming service (i.e. the would be Netflix killer). Add the X-Men and Avatar to Star Wars and Mickey, and you've really got something, the thinking goes.

    Less clear perhaps, is why exactly pay TV titan Comcast wants Fox, which includes assets ranging from a TV studio to the FX cable network. 

    Business Insider talked to a pair of media industry experts to attempt to shed light on this would-be deal.

    It's about Time Warner and being big

    Looming over every big media deal these days is the pending AT&T/Time Warner deal. If that merger is approved (and the companies' court battle with the Department of Justice is set to be resolved by June 12),  nearly everyone else in media will feel pressure to get bigger. So grabbing Fox ensures Comcast gets to play with the big kids.

    Plus, even in a world dominated by Netflix and Facebook and Amazon, people still need to pay someone for broadband.

    "Comcast could emerge with a soup to nuts portfolio," said Scott Rostan, a former analyst in Merrill Lynch's M&A department who's now CEO of financial education firm Training The Street. Besides owning a huge cable system, a slew of TV networks, production studios and a film division, Rostan wondered whether Comcast might even want to get into the wireless business next.

    Regardless, if future media offerings are dominated by a few giants, Comcast wants to be included. "At worst if gives them a seat at table, and at best it lets the dictate how things play out."

    It's about the world

    You may think of Fox in terms of "Deadpool" or the National Geographic cable network. But the company's secret strength is in international distribution, across Europe, Latin America and other regions, said Mary Ann Halford, a former Fox International EVP who's now senior advisor at strategy consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants.

    Halford noted that for Comcast, international business makes up about 9% of its revenue. "For their competitors it's a lot more."

    "Disney clearly has a strong brand internationally, and Fox does too. Comcast – they just don’t." For example, in her view, what Fox has built in Latin America versus NBC's smaller footprint, "It's night and day."

    It's about streaming

    Yes, Disney's motivation is more about amassing a library of shows, characters and movies that could envy Netflix's massive content output. But that doesn't mean Comcast couldn't do something similar with the Universal library and Fox's assets. "Universal is not as big on the content side as Disney but they could get bigger," said Rostan.

    The Mummy 3 Universal final

    It's about Sky

    Disney CEO Bob Iger has called Sky, the UK-based satellite TV service, a "crown jewel." But wait? Aren't people cutting the cord, even British people? Why does a legacy cable TV player like Comcast want another pay TV service, when all the consumer trends seem to be going in the opposite direction?

    Don't undervalue Sky, said Halford. The company, which Fox controls 39% of and Comcast is bidding for independently, has valuable exclusive sports rights in the UK. It also has innovated by offering a version of a skinny bundle and a direct-to-consumer streaming service, and has dabbled in e-commerce.

    It's about programmatic ads

    Sky is also ahead of the US when it comes to delivering targeted advertising to consumers, said Halford. The company's addressable TV ad platform, Sky Adsmart, is being rolled out beyond the UK to Germany, Ireland, Italy and Austria, reported The Drum. Comcast could theoretically borrow some best practices from Sky's ad tech team.

    It's about sports

    With all the other pieces involved, it's easy to forgot that as part of its proposed deal, Fox is set to sell 22 regional sports networks to Disney. Even as people cut the cord and binge on streams, these local cable stations are extremely valuable. These stations are how fans in New York watch Yankee games and fans in Los Angeles watch Lakers games. 

    Even if Comcast would have to sell off some of these networks, they could easily piece together the company's existing sports portfolio ("Sunday Night Football," US rights to the English Premiere League) to be a that much more powerful sports media and advertising player.

    stanton yankees

    It's about culture

    According to Halford, there's been some worry over how the corporate cultures at Disney and Fox would mesh. Uber TV creator Ryan Murphy even cited this as part of his reasoning for inking a massive Netflix deal.

    Meanwhile, Halford says that Comcast and Fox executives – particularly the folks at Sky – have talked for years and get each other. "They share a worldview," she said. Plus, there's the added benefit that the deal isn't seen as anti-competitive. "British regulators have already said its cool."

    It's about blocking Disney

    Media mergers and acquisitions are about big money, big power, and big egos. And Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is someone who doesn't like to be left out. 

    And beyond this immediate deal, there's the string of deals that could happen next that Comcast may want to steer toward.

    "M&A is a chess game," said Rostan. "Deals give you future optionality. By making this move now, you get more access to content, more subscribers, etc.  The future trends of media consumption are all uncertain, and uncertainty means risk. So future options gives you extra cards to play."

    On the flip side, there is a lot of risk for Comcast, Rostan said. "Bidding wars tend to be long, protracted and high profile. There is always a fear of overpaying due to the intense competition."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Ally Financial CMO says that too much data hurts a brand — and is dangerous for the industry in the long-term

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    Trump Kim Jong Un on TV composite

    Stocks closed lower Thursday as heightening tensions between the US and North Korea spooked markets. Gold spiked, and oil fell. The 10-year Treasury yield slipped below 3%.

    Here's the scoreboard:

    Dow Jones Industrial Average: 24,817.33 −69.48 (-0.28%)

    S&P 500: 2,726.65 -6.64 (-0.24%) 

    AUD/USD: 0.7577 0.0013 (+0.17%) 

    ASX 200 SPI futures: 6,010.0 -12.5 (-0.21%)

    1.  Trump canceled a planned summit between the US and North Korea. Trump cited "open hostility" in a recent Pyongyang statement as he scrapped the high-stakes meeting. Defense stocks rallied following the news. 
    2. The Justice Department reportedly opened a criminal investigation into market manipulation of cryptocurrency pricesBloomberg reported the Justice Department is working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the probe.
    3. The US imposed sanctions on nine individuals and companies accused of setting up companies to procure aircraft parts to Iran. Among those sanctioned are Iran-based Blue Airways and Turkey-based Otik Aviation, the Treasury Department said
    4. The residential real-estate market slowed down last month. Existing home sales shed 2.5% in April to 5.46 million, the National Association of Realtors said. 
    5. Trump is considering slapping hefty taxes on imported cars and trucks. The US's closest allies could hurt the most from US auto tariffs.
    6. Deutsche Bank is axing 7,000 investment banking jobsThe broad restructuring will reduce global head count to 90,000. 

    Here is the upcoming economic calendar:

    • The UK releases GDP numbers.
    • The US reports core durable goods. 
    • Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell speaks.

    SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN SACHS: Stock traders should consider a bold strategy designed to help them fight back against market turbulence

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I ate nothing but 'healthy' fast food for a week — here’s what happened

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    Ginni Rometty

    • IBM is holding a contest to see who can create the best solution for natural disaster relief. 
    • The winning team will get $200,000, support from IBM to make the prototype a reality, and introduction to venture capitalists.


    IBM is asking developers to build a solution to disaster relief — and the company is providing an incentive to do it.

    The company on Thursday at the VivaTech Conference in Paris announced Call for Code, a global initiative that calls on developers to create technology that can be used for natural disaster preparedness and relief. 

    The main component of the initiative is a contest, where the creators of a prototype — like an app that predicts when and where the disaster will be most severe — will win $200,000, support from IBM to make the prototype a reality, and introduction to venture capitalists.

    IBM, which is working with the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross, is pledging $30 million over five years to the program. The money will go toward developer tools, technologies, free code and training with experts. Developers can already access IBM resources about data and AI, blockchain, cloud and IoT technologies.

    "At IBM, we harness the power of technologies like AI, blockchain, IoT and cloud to address some of the biggest opportunities and challenges in business," Bob Lord, IBM chief digital officer, said in a statement. "Now, with Call for Code, we are calling on all developers to join us and use these same leading edge technologies to help people, their communities and society."

    IBM is an acknowledged leader in the use of blockchain for financial and enterprise reasons, and its Watson AI services are popular in certain areas like health care. So making these technologies available, along with the $30 million pledge, encourages coders to gain experience with IBM's tech, while also serving a cause.

    SEE ALSO: The 6 best apps for keeping your private messages safe from hackers, spies, and trolls

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    Brett Favre

    • Brett Favre struggled with an addiction to Vicodin during his playing days, even taking as many as 14 pills at once.
    • He went to rehab twice for Vicodin addiction. 
    • He went to rehab again a third time for drinking and was able to get sober after that. 

    In his last MMQB column for Sports Illustrated, veteran NFL reporter Peter King was able to get some candid comments from Brett Favre about his battles with addiction to his NFL career, including multiple stints in a drug rehabilitation facility. 

    "It is really amazing, as I think back, how well I played [in 1995]," Favre told King. "That was an MVP year for me. But that year, when I woke up in the morning, my first thought was, ‘I gotta get more pills.’ I took 14 Vicodin, yes, one time. I was getting an hour or two of sleep many nights. Maybe 30 minutes of quality sleep. I was the MVP on a pain-pill buzz."

    Favre went on to reveal that he had already done a 28-day stint in rehab once before, at a facility in Rayville, Louisiana, at the behest of his then-fiancee (and now wife) Deanna and his agent Bus Cook. That treatment program proved effective, at least for a time. 

    "When I got out, I was able to control myself for a while. I wouldn’t take anything for a day or two, and I wouldn’t drink. But I was a binge drinker. When I drank, I drank to excess. So when I went in the second time, to the place in Kansas, I remember vividly fighting them in there," Favre said, referring to a trip to rehab he took after the end of the 1995 season. 

    "They said drinking was the gateway drug for me, and they were right, absolutely right, but I wouldn’t admit it. I will never forget one of the nurses. I had it all figured out. I fought with this nurse all the time. I would not admit the drinking problem. At the end she said to me, ‘You’ll be back.’"

    And he was back, in 1998, he admitted to King. 

    "Guess who was waiting there when I walked in — that same nurse. This time it was strictly for drinking. I didn’t go back to the pills. I admitted my problem, I was in there 28 days, and it worked.

    "When I got out, the toughest thing was the first three months, because I had to change my thought process," Favre said, but fortunately it appears that he was able to get sober and stay sober ever since. 

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    Fortnite (mobile)

    • Despite being absurdly popular, "Fortnite" is a tremendously difficult game to master.
    • Due to the nature of how the game works, there's little opportunity to practice without risk of death.
    • In an upcoming update, the game is getting a new mode that offers players a much better opportunity to practice the game in relative safety.

    Tired of getting wiped out in "Fortnite" before you've even had a chance to try that shiny new weapon or build your dream fortress? 

    So are tens of millions of other people, and there's no great way to remedy that in the current game — no practice mode, or test range, or unlimited building area. Such a mode could offer new players and veterans alike a chance to hone their skills before putting them to the test in live games of Battle Royale mode.

    It sounds like the folks behind "Fortnite," Epic Games, agree. A new mode is coming in the game's next patch (4.3) that finally offers a chance to spend some time practicing.

    Here's how Epic describes it in a blog post:

    "Battle and build to your heart's content with an extended period of time to roam around the map as well as increased resource generation. All treasure chests and ammo crates will be spawned, try droppin’ in different spots and scope out the loot. Friendly fire is on so you can scrimmage with your squad (up to 4 friends per match), but fear not you’ll respawn immediately."

    Of course, given the loose nature of this mode, Challenge progression and stats won't be tracked.

    Epic likens the Playground mode to Creative Mode in "Minecraft," which offers unlimited resources and turns off survival systems — it essentially offers a risk-free version of the game's building mechanics. 

    Similarly, in the new Playground mode for "Fortnite," it sounds like gathering resources and building will be much easier. Finally, a chance to master the art of rapid tower construction!

    There's no release window given for the next "Fortnite" patch, but a safe bet would put it somewhere around mid-June when the video game industry holds the annual E3 convention in Los Angeles.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    donald trump

    • A new Commerce Department investigation into foreign car imports is supposed to set up a win-lose scenario for the US in NAFTA negotiations.
    • The problem is that's not how trade deals work.
    • Canada and Mexico have already threatened to walk away from negotiations if Trump overplays his hand. This auto tariff could trigger that.

    Awesome, now we're going to play trade war chicken with cars.

    This week the Trump administration announced that it will initiate an investigation into whether or not imported cars pose a threat to national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. 

    If this report is anything like other reports written by the Commerce Department, helmed by billionaire Wilbur Ross, it will be loaded with experts saying that auto imports do in fact pose a threat, siding with President Trump's conviction that there's been an "abuse" of the law, according to trade experts. 

    This is bad for all sorts of reasons, not least because our top five sources for car imports are key US allies — Mexico: 24% Canada: 22% EU: 22% Japan: 21% S Korea: 8%. We get just 2% of the rest of our foreign cars from other countries. The US imported $192 billion worth of passenger vehicles last year.

    Analysts are saying that Trump is doing this in order to force Canada and Mexico's hands in NAFTA negotiations.

    "So his logic is that by increasing the auto tariff to 25% - under the national security law – I can bully them into accepting my bad NAFTA deal," Chad Bown, a trade economist with the Peterson Institute for Economics, told Business Insider via email. "But the weakness of this approach arises with him failing to realize that trade agreements are not one off deals. NAFTA has to make sense for Canada and Mexico economically one year from now. If it doesn’t, then they will want to pull out." 

    And then no one wins. Not Canada, not Mexico, not Trump, and certainly not the American consumer.

    Forcing the hand or overplaying the hand

    What Trump wants to force Canada and Mexico to do is tighten the "rules of origin" for what qualifies as a North American car. That is to say, ensure that more of the parts and labor that go into making a car have to be from the US for it to qualify as "American." Right now, if an imported car doesn't have enough American parts, there's a 2.5% tariff on it.

    So, if NAFTA negotiations fall through now, Canada and Mexico would just pay that 2.5% tariff. Not great, but not the end of the world.

    Trump wants to hike that tariff to 25%, though, in order to incentivize them to come to the table to talk rules of origin. 

    "Suppose NAFTA got agreed to while there was a 25% tariff on cars from other places. If you're a car company in Mexico or Canada you REALLY want to adhere to whatever rules the deal contains. So it gives the US negotiators more leverage while trying to tighten the rule,"tweeted Economist trade editor Soumaya Keynes (she and Bown host a really useful trade podcast together if you're into that sort of thing.)

    "The BIG QUESTION," she continued, "if this becomes an explicit part of the NAFTA negotiations, is whether the Canadians/Mexicans feel that this is in effect a gun to their heads and so pull out of talks. They've said they will walk away if Trump triggers a NAFTA withdrawal. Is this so different?"

    Mexico NAFTA Protest

    A NAFTA withdrawal would leave Canada and Mexico with 25% auto tariffs (if they're even enacted), which is not great. Otherwise, the rest of their dealings with the US would revert to World Trade Organization rules. Chaotic, but not the end of the world.

    And if you're Canada and Mexico maybe you're betting that these tariffs are so onerous they'll never be enacted. If they are the US would have to face the consequences of higher costs. American consumers would definitely feel that, and based on how Trump folded with China, it's clear he doesn't have a high tolerance for pain.

    The pain wouldn't just come from Mexico and Canada either.

    "The other [trade war] front that likely opens up here is with Europe," Bown pointed out.

    So, to review: Mexico and Canada can come to the table and talk rules of origin. But bending to Trump's will on that could end up potentially raising manufacturing costs, killing jobs, and messing up well-oiled supply chains. In Mexico, NAFTA negotiations have become a matter of pride during a national election in which the leading presidential candidate has talked about suspending talks. So there are political consequences too.

    In this scenario, the US would win, and Canada and Mexico would lose.

    OR: Canada and Mexico could walk away from the deal entirely causing pain on all sides. Meanwhile the US will have opened itself up to retaliation from the EU and possibly Japan. Mexico and Canada have a lot to lose if they walk away from negotiations because of a 25% tariff, but the US has even more.

    Everyone would lose.

    "Trade agreements need to be voluntary, self-sustaining agreements that are win-win," Bown told Business Insider. "And President Trump wants a NAFTA that he thinks will be win-lose."

    That's not how these things work.

    SEE ALSO: The ugly truth about America's economy in just four words

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    Trump Sly Stallone

    • On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion.
    • Johnson had been convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act in a case that would later be held up as an example of the racism that persisted in the country.
    • Trump tweeted in April that actor Sylvester Stallone had called him to tell him the story of Johnson, and invited Stallone and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis to the signing.

    President Trump had some interesting company at the White House today, hosting actor Sylvester Stallone and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis for the posthumous pardon of Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion.

    Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act, charged with the crime of transporting a white woman across state lines "for immoral purposes." Johnson was sentenced to a year in prison and fled the country, but returned to the States in 1920 and served his sentence.

    "He was treated very rough, very tough," Trump noted on Thursday as he signed the pardon.

    Years after Johnson's conviction, his case was held up as an example of the racism and injustice that still affected African-Americans. Bills requesting a pardon for Johnson had been brought up through the past two presidential administrations, but neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama chose to sign one.

    Trump tweeted in April that he was considering a full pardon for Johnson after Stallone called him to tell him about the late boxer's story.

    ''It's my honor to do it," Trump said of the pardon. "It's about time."

    SEE ALSO: Trump takes a victory lap after NFL owners cave with new national-anthem rules

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    harvey weinstein

    • Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities on Friday, according to The New York Daily News.
    • It's related to a probe by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and the NYPD into allegations of  sexual assault against Weinstein.
    • Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing in the Evans allegation and numerous others that have been reported.

    Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities on Friday in relation to a probe by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and the NYPD into allegations of sexual assault against him, according to The New York Daily News.

    The disgraced Hollywood producer will face a sexual assault charge related to at least one accuser, Lucia Evans, according to the Daily News. Evans has alleged that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him, and though the allegation is from 2004, the statue of limitations does not apply here, The Daily News reported.

    Evans was one of the women in an October New Yorker profile on Weinstein who accused him of sexual assault. A bombshell New York Times story that same month detailed three decades of sexual harassment allegations by women in Hollywood against the producer. These two news stories, and dozens of follow-ups, led Weinstein to leave the business and left his company, The Weinstein Company, in shambles.

    Evans told The New Yorker that in 2004, when she was an aspiring actress and college student, she met Weinstein at the offices of Miramax during the day (the company he ran before The Weinstein Company), and that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him despite her protests.

    Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing in the Evans allegation and numerous others that have been reported.

    Weinstein's attorney Benjamin Brafman declined to comment to Business Insider about Weinstein's possible surrender to authorities.

    SEE ALSO: 8 women accuse Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment

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    • 24-year-old Sam Skinner decided to take the #StyleChallenge last year and just recently completed her collection of designs.
    • The #StyleChallenge asks artists to draw multiple self-portraits in the style of various cartoons.
    • Skinner found inspiration in cartoons like "Scooby-Doo,""Garfield," and "The Simpsons."

    Instagrammers have no doubt heard of the #StyleChallenge, a hashtag created by 17-year-old artist Autumn Massaquoi that encourages other creatives to draw multiple self-portraits, each in the style of a different cartoon character.

    The challenge has been circulating on social media since 2016, but self-taught artist Sam Skinner just recently completed her own collection of #StyleChallenge sketches — and the results are incredible.


    "I decided to do the challenge because I wanted to learn how to design images graphically and how these professional cartoon stylists do what they do," Skinner told INSIDER. "Where do the shadows go? How do some clothes lay on different body types? Do smooth lines or hard edges look better?

    "Even though I made some of them almost identical to their originals, I really only did this for the practice so I can start my designing own characters for a webcomic a friend of mine and I would like to do — not because I wanted this to blow up like it did."

    Skinner ended up designing a total of 50 characters after narrowing down an initial list of close to 100 options. Her assortment of drawings were inspired by cartoons like "Justice League,""Kim Possible,""Scooby-Doo,""Garfield,""Bob’s Burgers,""The Simpsons," and more.

    She told INSIDER her favorite design was in the style of Tim Burton, which gave her "a lot of chances to learn how to use shadows and different line styles."


    different cartoon style challenge drawing sam skinner 49 5b05241f046ef__700


    Skinner’s illustrations drew the attention of multiple media outlets, something she didn’t expect after sharing her #StyleChallenge results on Twitter.

    "It’s definitely a different experience than I’ve ever had on social media," Skinner told INSIDER. "I’m choosing not to read the comments yet, because I am super self-conscious about posting things on the internet ... there are a lot of mistakes in it, and some of the characters are more original than others. Plus, there’s the fact that I didn’t go back and change any that I did in the beginning before I started getting better at doing them, so there are a few in there which are not quite as good as the later ones."


    different cartoon style challenge drawing sam skinner 41 5b05240bd5a4b__700


    Overall, though, Skinner is proud of how her first attempt at digital art turned out.

    "This is one of the first things I've done that I've been proud enough about to show off to my people," Skinner said in a separate interview with Bored Panda. "Since this whole project took around a year for me to complete, with a brief hiatus for school, I definitely would say my skills got better the more I worked on it."


    different cartoon style challenge drawing sam skinner 11 5b0523cd3a98f__700

    We can’t wait to see what Skinner comes up next!

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    Brushing Hair

    When it comes to having healthy hair, one of the main things to consider are the products that you are using. From shampoos to hair masks, everyone’s hair requires a need not identical to the next.

    Although different textures and regimens will determine what those needs are, Dave Simnick, CEO and co-founder of Soapbox, told INSIDER that while there are many signs that your hair products aren’t doing their job, the first step to achieving the hair your desire is to take a look at your daily activities.

    "Healthy hair starts with a healthy you," Simnick told INSIDER. "Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating healthy and exercising enough? Is your body producing the amount of oil and protein to help grow strong strands? Always think of these things. Likewise, you need a clarifying shampoo that helps gently clean and get your hair back to where it started as well as a moisturizing and nourishing conditioner that helps seal in that healthy strand against the day's forces (sun, wind, pollution, etc.)."

    If you’ve been noticing some negative changes with your strands and need a little help identifying the problem, the seven signs can help you see where the problem lies.

    You have extreme breakage.

    According to Simnick, if your hair is breaking off more than usual, this is a true tell-tale sign that you should consider changing your product regimen.

    "Great hair care products start with great ingredients. Truly exceptional formulations have a balance between moisturizing agents and proteins," he told INSIDER. "If you go too heavy on a protein, that will cause breakage. Put in too many moisturizing agents, that’ll cause breakage, too. Getting the balance just right though, will produce silky, moisturized, healthy hair. The Soapbox Argan Oil line found at Delta Hotels by Marriott has a precise blend of proteins (Argan Oil) and moisturizing agents (tons of rich shea butter)."

    Unattended breakage can stunt hair growth and reverse the hard work you put in to achieve healthy hair.

    Your hair is dry.

    Though you may feel that your products are keeping your tresses in tact, Chrissy Woods, licensed cosmetologist and owner of The Studio 1216, told INSIDER that your products — no matter how long you’ve used them — can cause huge damage.

    "If you are noticing that your hair is dry or brittle it could be due to the products that you are using," she said. "These products can be too harsh for your hair type. Dry or brittle hair leads to breakage and overall damage. Try switching to a product that promotes moisture."

    Be sure to consider your texture of hair when looking for a moisture-rich product.

    Your hair has become stiff.

    Just as your products can make your hair dry or brittle, Woods said that it can also make your hair look stiff.

    "If your hair is stiff, won't hold a curl, and the ends look frayed, this too could be a sign of product damage," she told INSIDER. "This would more so indicate chemical damage or over-processing of the hair. Depending on how severe the damage is, deep conditioning your hair with moisturizing conditioners, clipping away your ends, and minimal use of heat will help to correct this."

    In order to know that your hair products are damaging, you have to take note of the changes your hair is going through.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    obama smile

    • Republicans repealed Obamacare's individual mandate in their tax reform law, which President Donald Trump said was effectively a repeal of Obamacare.
    • A new Congressional Budget Office report shows that fewer people will leave the Obamacare market due to the mandate repeal than previously thought.
    • Part of the reason, the CBO said, was because people value health coverage more than before Obamacare was passed.

    Even after sustaining a major blow from Republicans, Americans may not ditch Obamacare as quickly as previously thought.

    The new GOP tax reform law contained a provision that virtually eliminated Obamacare's individual mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase health coverage or face a penalty. After Congress passed the tax law, Trump claimed that getting rid of the mandate amounted to a "repeal" of the landmark healthcare law.

    Trump's language was a bit strong — the mandate is only one element of Obamacare — but the Congressional Budget Office estimated in November that 13 million more Americans would end up uninsured by 2027 than under the current baseline. 

    Six months later, a CBO update found that the mandate repeal would only cause about 5 million more people to go uninsured in that timeframe. There are several reasons for the adjustment, including insurance market changes and methodology tweaks.

    While those changes were more technical in nature, the CBO also mentioned an interesting shift that helped cause the drop: people like having health insurance.

    "The mandate has been in place for an additional year (five years in total), and people’s expectations about whether one should have coverage are more established and, in CBO’s current judgment, less sensitive to repealing the legal mandate," the report said.

    Put another way, Obamacare prompted millions of American to get health coverage for the first time — and a good portion don't want to give up what they've bought.

    Recent polling also appears to confirm that many Americans plan to stick with their coverage despite the mandate repeal.

    The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank, found in a March poll that 90% of people currently enrolled in a plan purchased on the Obamacare marketplace planned to keep their coverage even when the penalty disappears in 2019. Just 7% of people who had these plans told Kaiser they planned to drop the coverage.

    The Kaiser also poll found that most people didn't consider the mandate to be a big reason for their insurance purchase. Just 34% of those surveyed said the law's requirement to buy coverage was a "major reason" they decided to sign up.

    This could, of course, change over time based on factors like the cost of coverage.

    In the report, the CBO also estimated that premiums on the Obamacare individual insurance market would increase by 15% in 2019 and 7% each year afterward through 2027.

    SEE ALSO: The GOP just dealt another blow in their steady unraveling of Obama's legacy

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    trump south korean moon

    • The White House dodged questions on Thursday as to whether it notified South Korea and Japan ahead of time about President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a highly anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 
    • "I think South Koreans were well informed by the president about the growing skepticism" surrounding the meeting, the official said. 
    • His answers were vague and seemed to contradict reports that South Korea was completely blindsided by the announcement. 

    The White House dodged questions on Thursday as to whether it notified South Korea and Japan ahead of time about President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a highly anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

    A senior White House official told reporters that Trump had made it known to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he was "skeptical" of what could come of the talks as Moon visited Washington earlier this week.

    "I think South Koreans were well informed by the president about the growing skepticism" surrounding the meeting, the official said. 

    The official further claimed that White House officials were in contact with South Korean and Japanese officials Thursday morning. But his answers were vague and seemed to contradict reports that South Korea was completely blindsided by the announcement. 

    After the White House publicized the letter Trump sent to Kim cancelling the meeting, it was reported that Moon called an emergency meeting to discuss the development. Moreover, shortly after the announcement, Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said, "We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means."

    This suggests the White House did not communicate with Seoul in a particular or deliberate manner about Trump's plans to scrap the summit. 

    Furthermore, earlier this morning Trump claimed he'd spoken to South Korea and Japan, but this contradicts the official's assertion that communications with these countries occurred "just below" the presidential level.

    Meanwhile, the senior White House official defended Trump's decision and said it was due to a "trail of broken promises" from North Korea that Trump decided to scrap the meeting.

    This included the fact that North Korea recently objected to a joint military exercise between the US and South Korea despite pledging to tolerate such drills back in March.

    The White House official also claimed that North Korea did not show up for planned meetings in Singapore to go over the details of the summit.

    "The North Koreans didn't tell us anything, they simply stood us up," he said.

    North Korea also broke a promise to allow international experts to witness the destruction of its nuclear test site, the White House official said, and only allowed journalists to observe the process. This makes it difficult to verify whether the site is indeed no longer useable or could quickly be made operational again. 

    Additionally, the official said North Korea has ignored communications from Washington.

    "The US has over the past week made numerous attempts to communicate with the North Koreans but they have not responded," he said.

    Finally, North Korea's threat of a "nuclear showdown" and insults toward Vice President Mike Pence were the last straw for the White House, the official added. 

    Trump suggested the summit could still occur in Singapore on June 12 or a later date if North Korea changes its attitude. When questioned about this by reporters on Thursday afternoon and what would need to occur for the summit to be salvaged, the senior White House official said the Trump administration would "need to see the opposite of what we've seen over the past couple of days" from North Korea. 

    SEE ALSO: Experts say Trump’s decision to pull out of Kim Jong Un summit was right, but North Korea may still benefit

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