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- 09/29/18--11:43: _Photos show what it...
- 09/29/18--11:44: _A yacht designer di...
- 09/29/18--11:55: _An important witnes...
- 09/29/18--12:21: _The FBI has reporte...
- 09/29/18--12:25: _The US and Canada a...
- 09/29/18--19:26: _'We fell in love … ...
- 09/29/18--19:39: _Masseur files lawsu...
- 09/29/18--20:09: _Trump refutes repor...
- 09/30/18--07:05: _Internet users acce...
- 09/30/18--07:30: _The one thing a ren...
- 09/30/18--07:31: _Kellyanne Conway re...
- 09/30/18--08:00: _What happens if you...
- 09/30/18--08:36: _Prenups aren't just...
- 09/30/18--09:02: _In Brunei, a tiny n...
- 09/30/18--09:03: _Inside the marriage...
- 09/30/18--09:03: _A photographer spen...
- 09/30/18--09:04: _This $446 million m...
- 09/30/18--09:04: _I tried the 'health...
- 09/30/18--09:47: _'Night School' wins...
- 09/30/18--11:45: _The FBI's investiga...
- Hawaiian Airlines has just announced the longest regularly scheduled domestic flight route in US history.
- The flight between Boston and Honolulu is a 5,095-mile journey and will take at least 10 hours.
- The route will launch in April 2019 with five flights per week.
- A first class, round-trip ticket from Honolulu to Boston in April currently starts at about $4,300, while the cheapest economy ticket is $616.
- Yacht trends are changing.
- More and more, people who order custom-made yachts no longer want offices onboard.
- Increasingly, yacht travelers want to relax during their excursions.
- Leland Ingham Keyser said in a letter on Friday that she believes Christine Blasey Ford's claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.
- Ford says Keyser was one of several people who were at the gathering where the alleged assault occurred in the early 1980s.
- Keyser said she is unable to corroborate the account because she has no recollection of the incident in question but added that she is willing to cooperate fully with the FBI.
- The FBI has reportedly contacted Deborah Ramirez, one of three women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, as part of a background investigation into Kavanaugh ahead of his confirmation vote.
- The Washington Post reported that the bureau was following up on allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to the Senate this week that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s.
- Federal investigators have one week for the probe and are reportedly aiming to schedule interviews throughout the weekend.
- The Trump administration set a deadline of Sunday for Canada to agree to a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- To step up the pressure, President Donald Trump and US officials threatened to leave Canada behind and sign a bilateral deal with Mexico unless the Canadians agree to a deal by the deadline.
- The pressure appears to be working as reports indicate the two sides are closing in on a deal.
- But there are still several issues outstanding, including dairy tariffs and trade-dispute resolution.
- Canada's dairy protections: A particular sore spot for Trump, the US is demanding that Canada give American dairy farmers more access to its market. Canada wants to keep the protections in part due to the political influence of its country's farmers.
- Trade protection: Another major sticking point is Canada's desire to keep Chapter 19 of the NAFTA deal, which created an extrajudicial dispute resolution process that allows member countries to contest particular trade policies of other members. In fact, Trudeau suggested that Canada needs Chapter 19 to protect itself against Trump's volatile behavior.
- Auto tariffs: According to reports, Canada is also seeking assurances that Trump will not impose tariffs on imports of cars and auto parts from the country as the president has threatened.
- President Donald Trump lauded his recently improved relationship with North Korea's Kim Jong Un on Saturday during a West Virginia rally.
- Trump said he and Kim "fell in love" after Kim wrote him "beautiful letters."
- North Korea's foreign minister also spoke publicly on Saturday in New York City, expressing frustration to the United Nations General Assembly with the slow pace of negotiations with the US.
- Kevin Spacey is being sued for false imprisonment and sexual battery in a lawsuit filed earlier this week.
- The lawsuit stems from an alleged incident at his Malibu, California, home in 2016.
- Spacey is already being investigated by police in the US and UK over other alleged sexual assaults.
- President Donald Trump on Saturday refuted a NBC News report that said the White House was setting restrictions on the FBI's investigation into sexual-misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.
- "Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion," Trump tweeted.
- NBC News had reported Saturday that the FBI will not be permitted to investigate claims by Julie Swetnick, the third woman who has come forward.
- According to a ranking by global intelligence company SimilarWeb, porn sites are more popular in the US than a number of online shopping and social media sites.
- While it's unsurprising that porn sites are regularly accessed in the US, the traffic statistics show the world's four most popular adult websites made it into the country's 20 most accessed sites.
- Two of the world's most popular porn sites beat Wikipedia, Twitter, and Netflix to 6th and 7th place in SimilarWeb's ranking of the US' most frequently accessed websites.
- Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe says she's learned more about which of her behaviors contribute most to warming the planet by using a carbon footprint calculator.
- While she drives a plug-in car and uses energy-saving LED light bulbs in her home, she says that neither of those are the most important thing she's done to reduce her contribution to a warming Earth.
- Instead, she now insists that when she must travel for work, she books more than one event at a time.
- White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that she was a victim of sexual assault.
- Though she said she was "empathetic" to the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Conway condemned the "raw partisan politics" that she said are dominating the confirmation process.
- Kavanaugh is facing sexual misconduct allegations from three named accusers, all of which he categorically denied.
- 09/30/18--08:00: What happens if you stopped brushing your teeth
- Prenups are shedding their stigma and becoming increasingly popular among Americans, especially millennials.
- Prenups set expectations for a division of assets and finances in the event of divorce. They may not be romantic to bring up, but most couples will benefit from having one.
- Two main factors are driving an uptick in prenups: Americans are getting married later, accumulating more assets and debt before marriage, and many millennials are children of divorce, making them predisposed to protect their interests.
- Brunei is a tiny country in Southeast Asia that's home to one of the most interesting communities in the world — Kampung Ayer, or "Water Village."
- Nearly half of the capital city's population lives in Kampung Ayer, where thousands of houses stand on stilts, as do schools, mosques, restaurants, and police stations.
- The village stands in stark contrast to the rest of Brunei's capital city, which has glimmering architecture and pristine streets.
- Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, married Melinda French in 1994.
- They met at Microsoft when Melinda was brought on a product manager. She initially turned down Bill's request for a date at a company picnic.
- Today, they run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment of $40.3 billion.
- New York-based photographer Frédéric Lagrange has visited Mongolia 13 times over the last 17 years, traversing the country in every season to capture stunning photographs of the people and the landscape.
- In Mongolia, Lagrange has experienced extreme weather, had his life saved thanks to the Mongolian army, and seen the country evolve and develop tremendously.
- Lagrange has collected his nearly two decades worth of work into a limited-edition book to be published in November. He launched a Kickstarter this week as a pre-sale of the book.
- A $446 million mansion for sale in Hong Kong's exclusive Peak neighborhood would break the record for most expensive home sold in Hong Kong — and potentially all of Asia.
- The current known record is held by a home in the same neighborhood that sold for $360 million in January 2017.
- Hong Kong is now home to more super-wealthy people than any other city in the world, and housing prices continue to climb.
- It has been named the least affordable housing market in the world for eight years in a row.
- Lemonade is a California-based fast-casual chain.
- It's part of the "fast slow food" movement, which aims to serve up healthy fare quickly and relatively cheaply.
- During a recent trip to Los Angeles, I decided to try out Lemonade for myself.
- 09/30/18--09:47: 'Night School' wins a competitive weekend at the box office
- The Kevin Hart-Tiffany Haddish comedy "Night School" wins the weekend box office with $28 million.
- The Warner Bros. animated movie "Smallfoot" took in a respectable $23 million.
- The FBI's supplemental background check on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is far more constrained by Republicans and the White House than previously known.
- Legal experts suggested the restrictions are intended to handicap the investigation and shield Kavanaugh from legal exposure related to sexual-misconduct allegations and a potential perjury charge.
- "There isn't a finder of fact in the country that would hamstring investigators like this," said one DOJ veteran. "It would be comical if it wasn't so important."
"At 5,095 miles, Hawaiian's BOS-HNL route becomes the longest regularly scheduled domestic route in US history," the airline said in a press release.
The flight is expected to take about 10 hours from Hawaii to Boston and up to 11 hours 50 minutes when flying west. For comparison, a flight from Boston to London takes less than seven hours.
"There is nowhere on Earth like Hawai'i, and we are bringing our islands closer than ever to Boston with nonstop service," Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Peter Ingram said in the press release. "...We look forward to sharing our warm hospitality with our New England guests whose vacation starts the minute they check in and step onto our plane."
The route will start in April 2019 with five flights per week.
Here's what New Englanders can expect from the flight and its swanky first-class cabin.
The first nonstop flight will be on April 4, 2019, a spokesperson for the airline told Business Insider. The flight, which will take approximately 10 hours, will depart Honolulu at 1:45 p.m. every day except for Tuesday and Wednesday and arrive in Boston the next morning at 6 a.m.
Source: Hawaiian Airlines
Flights from Boston will depart every day but Wednesday and Thursday at 8:55 a.m. — except for Friday flights which will leave at 8 a.m. — and land in Hawaii the same day at 2:35 p.m. The Friday flight will arrive at 1:49 p.m.
Source: Hawaiian Airlines
Boston is Hawaiian Airlines' largest US market that previously had no nonstop service to Hawaii, according to the airline. Nearly 500 people fly between eastern New England and Hawaii on any given day.
Source: Hawaiian Airlines
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Yachters are sick of working.
At least, that's what a recent trend in superyacht design may signify. Andreas Iseli, head of Winch Design yacht exteriors, told CNN that those who order custom superyachts don't want offices on-board anymore.
"It used to be satellite domes and offices so they could keep working and now we get the request more and more 'I don't want to work on my boat, I'm off for two weeks,' so that's probably the ultimate luxury for these people," Iseli said to CNN.
A superyacht is like your typical, humdrum, run-of-the-mill yacht, except it's at least 78 feet long and may employ up to 50 people at a time to keep it running. There are at least 5,000 superyachts in the world, a number that the Warsash Maritime Academy says has been growing.
What kind of person buys a superyacht? Someone who can afford the price tag, which may total in the tens of millions before the yearly upkeep bill, and someone who wants to really get away from it all when they go on vacation.
"A superyacht isn't a toy, but it's the ultimate place to go and be away from it all," Iseli said. "We have clients who literally go two weeks a year on their yacht and switch off."
That demand for relaxation extends beyond just getting rid of the once-typical superyacht office. Arthur Brouwer, the CEO of Heesen Yachts, also told CNN that some clients request that they don't hear the boat, so they try to reduce the sounds and vibrations as much as possible.
In lieu of home offices, superyacht owners are adding a slew of interesting features to their pleasure crafts.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's superyacht, dubbed the Octopus, has a pool, a basketball court, 41 suites, and a recording studio. The Sultan of Oman owns a 509-foot-long yacht that can host more than 60 guests and a concert hall with room for a 50-piece orchestra.
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A friend of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford said she does not refute Ford's claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party, CNN reported.
Leland Ingham Keyser said through her lawyer, Howard Walsh, that she believes what Ford conveyed to the Senate Judiciary Committee but does not remember the incident in question.
She added that she will "cooperate fully" with the FBI’s investigation into Kavanaugh's background in light of Ford's allegations.
Ford testified to the committee on Thursday that at the gathering, she was pushed into a bedroom from behind and that an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her down on the bed, groped her over her clothes, and covered her mouth when she tried to yell for help. She also said Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge, was an eyewitness to the attack and was also drunk at the time.
Ford said Keyser was at the party when the assault happened but was downstairs and did not directly witness the incident.
"Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford's account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford's account," Walsh wrote in the letter to the committee that was seen by CNN. "However, the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question."
Walsh wrote that Keyser wanted to send the letter because she wanted to clarify her previous statement regarding the allegations Ford made.
Keyser's last statement about the matter said she "does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford."
President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he would direct the FBI to conduct a supplemental background check into Kavanaugh.
The move came after Senate Republicans, at the urging of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, requested an investigation into Ford's allegations. Lawmakers asked that the inquiry be limited in scope and completed in less than one week, after which they plan to hold a final confirmation vote on Kavanaugh.
Flake told The Atlantic that he plans to vote in favor of Kavanaugh's confirmation, "unless they turn up something — and they might."
Three other senators — Democrat Joe Manchin and Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — are still undecided.
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The FBI has contacted Deborah Ramirez, one of three women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, as part of a background investigation into Kavanaugh ahead of his confirmation vote.
The Washington Post, citing sources familiar with the investigation, reported that it was not clear if Ramirez had been interviewed yet. The report confirmed the agency was also following up on a sexual-assault allegation from California professor Christine Blasey Ford.
Ramirez's lawyer John Clune tweeted Saturday afternoon to confirm she would be cooperating with the investigation.
We can confirm the FBI has reached out to interview Ms. Ramirez and she has agreed to cooperate with their investigation. Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we will have no further comment at this time.— John Clune (@CluneEsq) September 29, 2018
The Los Angeles Times reported late Friday that FBI agents began to zero in on potential witnesses immediately after President Donald Trump authorized the agency to conduct a supplemental background check on Kavanaugh, looking to schedule an interview "as early as tonight."
Ramirez, a former Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh's, alleged that he exposed himself to her at a dorm-room party during the 1983-4 school year. And Ford testified to the Senate earlier this week that when they were in high school, the 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her down, put his hand over her mouth, and groped her while his friend watched at a Bethesda, Maryland, party in the early '80s.
After Ford's testimony, Kavanaugh vehemently denied her account and said the process had become "a national disgrace" and "a circus."
Ford's previously anonymous account was first published in The Washington Post, a week before The New Yorker published an article detailing Ramirez's allegation.
Ramirez said she was reluctant to come forward because she was drinking at the time of the incident and there are gaps in her memory, though she said she could recall key details.
"I remember a penis being in front of my face," she told The New Yorker. "I knew that's not what I wanted, even in that state of mind."
Ramirez also recalled another student nearby yelling, "Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie's face."
After Ford and Ramirez came forward with their accounts, another woman named Julie Swetnick alleged in a sworn declaration that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge would "spike" punch with drugs or alcohol so that girls could be "gang raped" by a "train" of boys. Swetnick said she was one of the victims of such an attack, though she did not name Kavanaugh as her attacker.
Federal investigators were have been given one week to complete their investigation, and several other witnesses, like Judge and Ford's friend Leland Keyser, have indicated that they are willing to cooperate fully with law enforcement.
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The US and Canada are reportedly working furiously to reach a deal over revisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The intense negotiations come hours before the Trump administration's Sunday deadline for Canada to sign on to a new bilateral trade deal between the US and Mexico. Absent an agreement, the administration threatened the two countries will move forward without their northern neighbor.
This also represents a major turnaround from earlier in the week when Trump hurled insults at his Canadian counterparts during a press conference, prompting a strong reply from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
While officials from both sides told the Wall Street Journal that no deal is guaranteed, the two sides appear to be closing in on the the NAFTA rewrite.
Pressure to get a deal done
The US-imposed deadline was designed to secure a deal before Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto leaves office on December 1. The law under which the US is renegotiating NAFTA requires Trump to notify Congress 60 days before a signature, so Sunday appeared to be the last day to get Canada into the deal to ensure Nieto can sign the agreement.
The Trump administration is hoping to avoid the possible reopening of negotiations by Nieto's successor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which could add more political uncertainty.
Early signs that progress was being made came Friday when the release of the US-Mexico bilateral trade deal's official text was pushed back with little explanation. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters after announcing the delay that the US and Canada were attempting to reach an agreement in the short-term.
“At this moment there’s a very serious attempt to continue advancing in the process of finalizing the differences in bilateral issues between the U.S. and Canada,” Guajardo said.
Rumblings that progress was being made grew louder when Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs and the country's chief negotiator in the NAFTA talks, pushed back a planned speech at the United Nations on Saturday in order to continue talks.
Freeland, as well as other key Canadian officials, returned to the capital of Ottawa on Saturday to make progress on negotiations.
US threatened to move on without Canada
The growing possibility of a deal comes after Trump's team attempted to put pressure on Canada with threats to move forward with the bilateral US-Mexico deal.
Lighthizer was also pessimistic that a deal could get done this week during a talk with US lawmakers on Thursday given Canadian officials insistence that the country would not just accept any deal.
In addition to the strong public position, Canadian officials' position was also bolstered by the backing from key allies.
Mexico is not committed to moving forward with the US on an exclusively bilateral basis and incoming president López Obrador told reporters on Friday that his administration would push Trump to maintain the trilateral nature of NAFTA.
Also bolstering Canada's position are US lawmakers in both parties. Both Republicans and Democrats have stressed that a bilateral deal between the US and Mexico will likely not get the votes needed to ratify the agreement and Canada should stay in the deal.
A turnaround from Trump's attacks
The possible deal also comes as a surprise given earlier pessimism that an agreement could be reached before the deadline and the barbs traded between Trump and Trudeau earlier in the week.
When asked about the state of NAFTA negotiations with Canada, Trump told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that he rejected a request for a meeting from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"Because his tariffs are too high, he doesn’t seem to want to move and I’ve told him forget about it," Trump said when asked why he turned Trudeau down. "And frankly we’re thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada, that’s the mother load, that’s the big one. We’re very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada."
Trudeau's office told Business Insider that they made no request for a meeting.
Trump also took a shot at Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs and the country's chief negotiator in the NAFTA talks.
"We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada. We don't like their representative very much," Trump said.
Trudeau pushed back on Trump's comments about Freeland and the state of negotiations on Thursday.
"The Americans are finding that negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be," Trudeau told reporters. "A good and fair deal is still possible, but we won't sign a deal that is bad for Canadians."
Several outstanding issues
Even in the face of the Trump administration's pressure, Canada seemed to be sticking strong on a handful of thorny issues and its unclear where the two sides have come out on these problems.
According Canadian and US officials over the past few weeks, the biggest issues going into the talks were:
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President Donald Trump said during a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, on Saturday that he and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un "fell in love" in recent months, paving the way toward what Trump called a "great relationship."
At a rally meant to shore up support for GOP candidates in the midterm elections, Trump touted the de-escalation in tensions between the US in North Korea and noted that only recently were Trump and Kim trading insults and threatening one another.
"I was really being tough and so was he. And we were going back and forth, and then we fell in love. Okay? No really. He wrote me beautiful letters," Trump said. "They're great letters. We fell in love."
Trump was likely referring to the symbolic letters sent personally to Trump from Kim over the summer that were heavy on flattery. Trump added that the media was likely to criticize his glowing praise for Kim.
"Now they'll say, 'Donald Trump said they fell in love. How horrible is that? So unpresidential.' And I always tell you, it's so easy to be presidential," Trump said. "But instead of having 10,000 people outside trying to get into this packed arena, we'd have about 200 people standing there. It's so easy to be presidential."
In contrast to Trump's remarks, North Korea's foreign minister spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Saturday, expressing some frustration with the lack of progress in negotiations with the US.
According to the Associated Press, Ri Yong Ho criticized the Trump administration for ramping up pressure and sanctions on North Korea to dismantle its main nuclear arsenal, noting that the US hasn't given "any corresponding response."
"The perception that sanctions can bring us on our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant of us," Ri said. "Without any trust in the US, there will be no confidence in our national security … and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first."
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Actor Kevin Spacey is accused of sexually assaulting a male masseur at his house in Malibu, California, according to a lawsuit stemming from an alleged incident from 2016.
In a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court earlier this week by a John Doe masseuse, Spacey is being sued for unspecified damages over false imprisonment and sexual battery claims.
"Spacey assaulted and battered plaintiff by forcing plaintiff to touch his scrotum, testicles, and penis, grabbing plaintiff's shoulders and pulling him in for an apparent attempted forced kiss, and grabbing plaintiff’s genitalia," the lawsuit says.
Spacey is already being investigated by police in the US and UK over other alleged sexual assaults.
The lawsuit filed this week claimed Spacey's conduct was "extreme and outrageous" and that he "acted with reckless disregard for plaintiff's rights and feelings."
The masseuse claimed that because of the alleged incident, he still suffers from "severe mental anguish, emotional pain and distress, fear, humiliation, grief, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, anger, frustration, helplessness, nervousness, sadness, stress, mental and emotional distress, and anxiety."
He said he reported the incident to police, but the Los Angeles Police Department refused to confirm that it had been reported to The Guardian.
Spacey was first accused of sexual misconduct by actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed he was 14 when Spacey, then 26, made a sexual advance to him.
Spacey, now 59, said he did not remember the incident but apologized for "inappropriate drunken behavior."
The actor has since been fired by Netflix's "House of Cards" and removed from Ridley Scott's film, "All the Money in the World."
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President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed back on reports that the White House was setting a number of restrictions on the FBI investigation into sexual-misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee.
"NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people," Trump tweeted. "Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!"
NBC had reported that the FBI was barred from investigating claims by Julie Swetnick, the third woman who has come forward publicly with decades-old allegations against Kavanaugh. It also reported that the White House had provided a list of witnesses the FBI was allowed to interview.
The FBI has already begun investigating accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, The Washington Post reported Saturday. Ford testified against Kavanaugh in an emotional hearing on Thursday, and Ramirez has alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were students at Yale University.
Swetnick has alleged in a sworn declaration that Kavanaugh was present at a party in the early 1980s where she was gang raped. During his hearing to address the allegations on Thursday, Kavanaugh called Swetnick's claims a "farce."
Swetnick is represented by the attorney Michael Avenatti, who tweeted on Saturday that neither he nor his client had been contacted by the FBI, and that any restrictions on the investigation from the White House would "undermine the legitimacy" of the entire investigation.
"If true, this is outrageous," Avenatti tweeted. "Why are Trump and his cronies in the Senate trying to prevent the American people from learning the truth? Why do they insist on muzzling women with information submitted under penalty of perjury? Why Ramirez but not my client?"
President Donald Trump on Saturday told reporters that the FBI has "free rein" to do "whatever it is that they do" in the Kavanaugh investigation.
"Having them do a thorough investigation, I actually think it will be a blessing in disguise," Trump said. "It will be a good thing."
White House spokesman Raj Shah also told the Wall Street Journal that the "scope and duration has been set by the Senate," and the White House was "letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do."
The FBI investigation into Ford's and Ramirez's claims came after a dramatic showdown in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, in which Sen. Jeff Flake urged his Republican colleagues to allow a one-week FBI investigation into the Kavanaugh allegations.
Though Flake and the majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to move Kavanaugh's nomination to a full Senate vote, he struck a deal with Democrats to delay the vote for a week while an FBI investigation goes ahead.
It's unclear whether Flake had any White House restrictions in mind when he called for the investigation. Flake's office did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on Saturday.
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Based on a list of the US' top most visited websites, it seems people like looking at porn a lot more than they do social media, online shopping, or streaming the most popular TV shows.
SimilarWeb, an Israel-based global intelligence company, produces a yearly ranking of the top websites visited by people based in the US, based on web traffic.
While it's probably no surprise that a number of the most accessed sites were of an adult nature, two porn sites ranked even more popular than Twitter, eBay, and Netflix.
Among the country's top most-visited sites were Google, Facebook, and YouTube. However, the world's three most popular adult sites — pornhub.com, xnxx.com, and xvideos.com — also featured in the top 10.
The world's fourth most popular porn site, xhamster.com, brought the total number of adult sites in the US' top 20 to four.
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Recently, the news about our planet's health hasn't been great.
Studies have pointed out that we may be headed toward a "hothouse" Earth scenario — a catastrophic tipping point that could cause seas to rise another 200 feet, inundating many major cities. Scientists and engineers have now started proposing that we build giant Antarctic sea walls to keep melting glaciers from slamming into our shores.
But not everyone is wallowing in despair.
One climate scientist in Lubbock, Texas, is making her own set of changes at home to help keep the planet cool.
It started with a lightbulb
"The first thing I did, was I said 'Ok, let's just look at the light bulbs,'" climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe told Business Insider.
Hayhoe directs the climate center at Texas Tech, and she also consults for cities, water districts, and highway planners around the country about the best ways to prepare for life in a warmer world.
She says if every home in the US swapped one regular lightbulb out for an LED bulb, which uses about 75% less energy, that would reduce emissions as much as taking 800,000 cars off the road. "That's actually pretty significant," Hayhoe said.
Still, she had a hunch that changing lightbulbs wasn't the most significant thing she could do to reduce her carbon footprint.
No two people consume energy in the same way. While some may push more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when they're driving around in a car, others might leave a bigger CO2 "print" using throw-away plastic containers, eating lots of meat, or plugging in energy-hogging appliances. All of these require oil and gas, and contribute to climate change.
Hayhoe plugged her own energy habits into an online carbon footprint calculator, trying to determine which single act she could cut back on to help the Earth. As it turned out, it wasn't her lights, but her flights.
"For me as a climate scientist, the biggest part of my personal carbon footprint was travel," she said. "Because I travel to tell people about climate change. It's very ironic."
Hayhoe isn't the only one. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that aircraft account for about 12% of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions in the US.
A single round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco "emits about 0.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person," according to The New York Times. Take five of those flights, and you've generated the same amount of emissions that the average car spits out all year long.
Hayhoe cut back on her flights, but she hasn't stopped traveling altogether
Hayhoe says she's not ready to completely swear off air travel.
"Don't beat yourself up, because none of us can live carbon-free lifestyles yet. We just don't have the ability," she said.
But she has cut back. When she was recently a "visiting" scholar at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, she held coffee hours, taught classes, and hosted question and answer sessions, all without leaving her Texas home. She burned up just a fraction of the energy it would have taken her to fly to Canada, instead only guzzling enough electricity for computer plugs, cameras, and projectors.
"I was talking about climate change," she said. "This was the way we could do a zero carbon talk."
Hayhoe says since she adopted her new rule, just one university (Princeton) has turned down her request to video conference instead of traveling for an in-person talk.
"I can't fly all the way to Jersey to give a single, 45-minute seminar," she said.
Instead, when she does travel, she insists on collecting a critical mass of at least three, four, or five invitations at a time. She tries to consolidate her travel schedule enough so that each talk, averaged out, has the emissions equivalent of an hourlong drive.
Her record-breaker trip to date was to North Carolina last year, where she did 25 talks in 4 days.
"That was a bit much" she said. "But it was fantastic, because I was able to model what I was doing."
Hayhoe would love to fly in algae-fuel powered plane
Hayhoe says there is one surefire way she could be coaxed back into her old, jet-setting ways.
"I would love to have an algae-fuel powered plane," she said. "That technology exists. It's just that it isn't cheap enough yet."
While there are not yet any special algae-subsidies that offset the high cost of producing the novel (and nearly carbon-neutral) jet fuel, the same is not the case for the well-established coal, oil, and gas industries. They aren't taxed much for all the dangerous pollution they produce.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated in 2015 that energy subsidies prop up the fossil fuel industry to the tune of about $166,000 per second. There's no way one person's action is going to balance a global economy that makes fossil-burning fuel cheaper than alternatives. Like forgoing a plastic straw, this is simply a first step.
"We have to forgive ourselves for what we can't do, but we have to make sensible choices to reduce what we can," Hayhoe said.
If you want learn more about Hayhoe's work, check out this recent 5-minute documentary on her, created as part of a Let Science Speak series:
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" she was a victim of sexual assault.
"I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape," Conway said. "I’m a victim of sexual assault."
"I want those women who were sexually assaulted and confronting Jeff Flake, God bless them, but go blame the perpetrator," Conway said, referring to the Arizona senator who was cornered in a Senate elevator by two women who shared their own stories as victims of sexual abuse. "That's who's responsible for sexual assault, the people who commit them."
Host Jake Tapper interjected and said, "Can I just say, first of all, this is the first time I've ever heard you talk about something personal like that, and I'm really sorry that you went through that."
Conway replied: "I've just had it. I've just had it with it all being the same."
When Tapper pointed out that President Donald Trump has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, Conway rejected the comparison.
"Don't conflate that with this and certainly don't conflate it with what happened to me," Conway said. "Let's not bring Trump into everything that happens in this universe. That's mistake number one."
She also continued her defense of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, condemning the "raw partisan politics" that have surrounded the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him.
At the center of the firestorm is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a northern California professor who testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school.
Ford alleges that at a high school gathering in 1982, she was pushed into a bedroom from behind and that an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her down on the bed, groped her over her clothes, and covered her mouth when she tried to yell for help. She added that Kavanaugh's friend, Mark Judge, was an eyewitness to the attack and was also drunk at the time.
Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, also made allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh shortly after Ford's story was published. Kavanaugh denied the claims and defended himself before the committee on Thursday in testimony that was often emotional, combative, and angry.
Despite her defense of Kavanaugh, Conway said on Sunday that she supported Ford's testimony.
"I found her compelling and I'm glad she had her voice here and I think they could both be right," Conway said. "Something terrible could have happened the summer they were both 15 and Judge Kavanaugh was not involved. That's why you have sworn testimony, corroborating evidence, if you can find it."
Following Ford's testimony, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake called for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, which Republican lawmakers then requested.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that the GOP drafted a list of four witnesses for the FBI to interview as part of the investigation. The report added that the FBI will probe aspects of sexual misconduct allegations made by all three women who have come forward against Kavanaugh, but that it does not plan to directly question Swetnick about her claims.
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Nearly half of Americans don’t brush their teeth enough. This opens the door for a bacteria invasion, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Even worse, you might increase your risk for issues like kidney disease and dementia. The following is a transcript of the video.
Meet Streptococcus mutans. He’s a bacterium and…a bit of a slob. But this isn’t just any mess. It’s what’s on your teeth! You see, “Strep” and all his roommates live inside your mouth, feeding off the sugar and protein in your food. When they’re done they excrete a slimy substance all over your pearly whites.
The end result is a bacteria-ridden pigsty, called biofilm. Now a little biofilm isn’t going to hurt you. It’s only when you stop brushing it away that things can get ugly. And not only for your teeth. It just so happens that “Strep” and his friends are a downright threat to your life.
Nearly half of Americans don’t brush their teeth enough. And when food builds up in those nooks and crannies, you’re inviting a host of bacteria to the party — including your gum line. The perfect place for bacteria to camp out in even greater numbers! Which irritate and inflame your gums, causing tenderness and bleeding.
But that’s just the start! Soon enough, that infection will trigger your immune system. Which sends fighter cells to battle the bacteria. This creates a hostile environment for the bacteria, which is what you want. But it can also damage the cells in nearby tissue and bone.
6 months to years later, that tissue and bone will eventually die. At this point, you don’t have gingivitis anymore. You have something much worse: periodontal disease. No more tissue and bone means no structural support. So, your gums separate from your teeth forming pockets that quickly become extra space for “Strep” and his friends. Which further infects your gums, causing your teeth to fall out.
Now, you may think this could never happen to you but about 10% of Americans between ages 50-64 have lost not just one or two, but ALL of their teeth! And to make matters worse, “Strep” and his buddies may enter your bloodstream, where they’ll wreak havoc on your organs, too.
For example, in one study, people with periodontal disease were 4.5 times more likely to have chronic kidney disease than people with healthy gums. And another study found that people in a retirement community who didn’t brush their teeth daily, had up to a 65% greater risk of dementia. Last but not least, there’s the increased risk of developing certain cancers:
To be fair, these risks can also be the result of poor hygiene in general, but the message remains clear: Brush. Your. Teeth. It’s worth the extra 4 minutes a day.
It's time to talk about the "P word": Prenup.
Short for prenuptial agreement, a prenup is a legally binding contract two people sign before marrying that covers financial issues and the future of assets in the event of a divorce, Kelly Frawley, partner in the Matrimonial and Family Law Department at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, told Business Insider.
Because of its delicate nature, prenup has long been a dirty word among couples.
Just consider this New York Times opinion article from 2013: "If you're thinking about a prenup, or — worse yet — your intended is pushing a prenup on you, you might as well go ahead and just cancel the wedding," writes W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project. "There's an easier way to keep your assets and income separate: it's called cohabitation."
"Many people are still hesitant to ask for [a prenup] — fearing blowback from one's partner or family members, embarrassing financial revelations, disclosures to an attorney, even unresolved relationship issues," Leanna Johannes, senior wealth strategist at PNC Wealth Management, told Business Insider.
But prenups might slowly be shedding their stigma.
The number of millennials requesting prenuptial agreements has jumped, according to Johannes, citing the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. More than half of lawyers surveyed saw an increase in prenups among millennials, and 62% saw a rise in prenups overall from 2013 to 2016.
As Frawley puts it: "There has been an uptick in prenuptial agreements with younger individuals who do not have family wealth to protect and individuals who are embarking on their first marriage."
Americans are marrying later in life and millennials, specifically, fear divorce
A main driver behind this uptick is a delay in marriage. Since 2005, the median age at which men and women married has jumped from 27 to 29.9 and 25.5 to 28.1 respectively, according to the US Census. Millennials are also dating longer before heading to the alter — the average couple waits 4.9 years to marry, Business Insider previously reported, citing a Bridebook study.
And the longer millennials wait to marry, the more time they have to accumulate assets that need protection.
"Millennials have been on their own, accumulated some wealth, either from a 401(k) or a stock program provided by their employer or some real estate, and they want to make sure that the property remains theirs if there are problems down the road," Johannes said. "Millennials are creating wealth through their own business startups, intellectual property (apps, software, etc.), and they want to make sure those pursuits will not lose ground in a divorce."
This may be especially true for female millennials, who have evolved into more independent roles than that of their mothers.
"The role of women in relationships and family structures is shifting," Theresa Viera, family law attorney at Sodoma Law, told Business Insider. "With women attaining college degrees at higher rates, accessing higher wages than ever before, and single women purchasing homes more often than single men, we may be seeing the effect of female millennials who want to protect their financial interests when entering into marriage."
But it's not just assets millennials are bringing to a marriage, Johannes said — they're also saddled with outstanding student loan debt, which prenups can cover. Without a prenup, you may be left responsible for half of your spouse's outstanding debt after a divorce.
Taking that into consideration when signing a prenup may not be a bad idea, considering that more than 10% of divorced borrowers blame their divorce on student loan debt, according to a report by Student Loan Hero.
The notion of divorce also hovers in the back of many millennials' minds — one-third are children of divorce, which Viera says "informs their desire to do everything possible to create a successful marriage."
Johannes added that as children of divorce, millennials may be coached by their own parents or predisposed to protect their interests.
"There is an understanding of marriage as a legal status," she said. "Marriage is a legal act with legal consequences should the marriage end in divorce. Millennials have a better understanding of those consequences, and are taking the appropriate steps to create a mutually beneficial prenuptial agreement."
Not your parents' prenup
Prenups have evolved beyond a legal document utilized by the rich and famous or those marrying multiple times. Back then, spouses wanted to protect any family money or business interests they brought with them into a marriage, Viera said.
"In comparison, the current trend is shifting for prenups in any and all relationships involving dreamers and world changers," she said. "Creating a start-up company or spurring a new trend to change the world, while making money doing so, is a growing trend of the millennial mindset."
A prenup protects against the potential for divorce that threatens that dream, she said.
In a nutshell, a prenup manages expectations of what will happen in a divorce and post-divorce, Frawley said.
"Without a prenup, the laws of the state determine what will happen to your future should you and your spouse split," Viera said. "The largest advantage of a prenup is that the couple, not the court, decides what happens in the event of a divorce."
By allowing couples to determine what makes sense for them, a prenup makes those state laws inapplicable, according to Johannes. One of the primary purposes for a prenup, she says, is to determine financial payments for property settlement and alimony.
"For example, if neither you nor your future spouse wants to pay alimony, you can waive alimony under the prenup," she said. "Conversely, the prenup can set alimony in advance if you know that one spouse wants to be a stay-at-home parent and raise children, giving up an independent income."
Johannes added: "If you own a business, a prenup can ensure that your ownership is protected, but spell out a sum of money to be given to your spouse in lieu of any ownership stake. Interests in any gifts or inheritances received can also be waived in return for other assets — or without promise of other assets, for that matter."
This, said Johannes, will hopefully make for a less contentious split while forcing couples to think ahead to a leading stressor in marriages: finances. By focusing on your financial relationship, a prenup can help you avoid future arguments over finances by forcing you to fully disclose all financial information — like income, debt, assets, and inheritances — up front, she said. Plus, it can help couples learn communication and compromise.
Viera adds that prenups are created during "a time of love and teamwork" to figure out what's best for the couple — which is better, and less costly, than figuring everything out during a highly contested divorce.
But Frawley points out: "Prenuptial agreements can be difficult because you are addressing the 'unknown' and it is being negotiated during what should be a happy time of wedding planning."
But a prenup doesn't mean you'll avoid litigation if you divorce
Yet, despite a promise for protection and numerous advantages, a prenup doesn't mean that couples will avoid total litigation in the event of a divorce.
While prenups can minimize unresolved issues, couples will still need to exchange financial information, a process known as discovery, Frawley said. Child support can be another issue and determined at the time of divorce since child support isn't an enforceable term in a prenup.
And while a prenup identifies what assets will be separate property or marital property, disputes can arise over whether an asset is separate property or has been mixed with marital property, Frawley said.
Should you get a prenup?
So, should you add a prenup to your wedding checklist? It depends what you want to protect.
Frawley said that if you decide to move forward with a prenup, you should start the process as early as possible.
"In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, you and your future spouse will each need to be represented by separate (independent) legal counsel," Johannes said. "I've drafted several prenups and I can say that the process goes smoothest when couples communicate openly with each other about the issues being raised, the terms of the agreement, and the reasoning behind them."
You'll also need to fully disclose all assets and liabilities, including business interests. Future interest, such as an expected inheritance and interests in trusts, don't need to be disclosed in most states, Johannes said.
"In today's culture, getting a prenuptial agreement can often be a wise move," she said. "Talking to an experienced attorney can help smooth the decision process to reach a prenuptial agreement agreeable to both parties."
When approaching your future spouse about it, you should consider their feelings and be straightforward about why you want the agreement, Frawley advised.
And, whatever you do, don't present a prenup right before the wedding.
"Doing so would make signing the agreement appear to be a 'condition' of the marriage, and most folks would feel pressured to sign it so the marriage can move forward, regardless of the content," Johannes said. "Last minute and/or pressured signings are more easily overthrown if and when it comes time to enforce the agreement."
Viera said engaged couples should always have the prenup conversation. "Talking about prenups may not seem easy, but if you are not ready to have difficult conversations before the wedding day, can you trust that the two of you can handle the inevitable challenges that marriage will bring?"
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The tiny nation of Brunei is incredibly wealthy. Its oil-based economy has propelled the Southeast Asian country to a higher GDP per capita than the United States, Japan, and Switzerland.
That wealth is on full display in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, where opulent buildings and majestic mosques line the pristine streets.
But that extravagance isn't reality for many of the residents of Bandar Seri Begawan. Nearly half of the city's entire population lives just outside the capital's downtown in a "floating village" on the Brunei River, where thousands of houses stand on tall stilts and residents drive water taxis to get around.
Besides housing 13,000 people, Kampung Ayer, or "water village," also has mosques, schools, restaurants, police stations, and a fire department — all on stilts.
Here's what it looks inside Kampung Ayer, one of the most interesting villages in the world.
Brunei is a tiny country on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.
Source: CIA World Factbook
Thanks to its oil and gas reserves, it's one of the richest countries in the world, with a GDP of $77,000 per capita.
Source: International Monetary Fund
Its wealth is on full display in its capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, where glittering mosques and extravagant architecture appear around every corner.
Source: Business Insider
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Melinda French was less than impressed when her boss asked her out on a date.
It was 1987, and the recent Duke graduate had just joined Microsoft as a product manager. CEO Bill Gates approached her at a company picnic and asked if she'd be interested in grabbing dinner in two weeks. She responded, "That's not spontaneous enough for me," Fortune reported in 2015.
Here's a look at their marriage.
At the picnic, Melinda gave Bill her number and told him to call her closer to the day he had in mind.
Source: Business Insider
Instead, he called her up later that night with a wry question: "Is this spontaneous enough for you?" Turns out, it was.
Source: Business Insider
Melinda and Bill dated for seven years before they wed. Melinda told Fortune her mom didn't think that seeing the CEO was a good idea in the beginning.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
New York-based photographer Frédéric Lagrange first heard about Mongolia as a child.
His grandfather would tell him stories about World War II, when served in the French army and was a prisoner of war in Germany. In 1944, a detachment of Mongolian soldiers under Soviet command freed Lagrange's grandfather, who described the terror the German soldiers showed when they saw the soldiers. Ever since, Lagrange has been fascinated with the country and was resolved to visit it.
He got his first chance in August 2001, taking an entire month off his job as a photographer's assistant to visit the remote country. He was immediately taken with the landscape and the people, but, most of all, he told Business Insider, he was taken with "the incredible, overwhelming stillness of the place."
In the 17 years since, he has visited Mongolia 13 times, traversing the entirety of the country in winter, summer, fall, and spring.
"There is a stillness and a quietness that I found quite captivating at the time," Lagrange said. "It's a very meditative state. You feel the presence and the moments way stronger than back in the US or anywhere else."
A limited-edition book of Lagrange's 17-year exploration of Mongolia will be published by Italian publisher Damiani in November. Lagrange launched a Kickstarter this week as a pre-sale of the book, which you can check out here »
Mongolia is more than twice the size of Texas, but only has a population of 2.76 million people compared to Texas's 26 million. Thirty percent of Mongolia's population is nomadic or semi-nomadic.
Lagrange first visited Mongolia in the summer of 2001.
His first impression, he told Business Insider, was of the "incredible, overwhelming stillness of the place."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A mansion for sale in Hong Kong's exclusive and wealthy Peak neighborhood could break the record for the most expensive home sold in the territory — and possibly in all of Asia.
The $446 million home, which was built in 1991, went on the market in April 2018 and was available for lease before that, Joyce Lee, a representative for Christie's International Real Estate, told Business Insider.
Christie's International Real Estate named Hong Kong the prime luxury market in the world for the second year in a row in its 2017 "Luxury Index" that evaluated growth and demand of premium real estate.
Hong Kong claimed the world's first and second most expensive home sales of 2017, according to the South China Morning Post, breaking several property records in the process, as Business Insider's Rosie Perper reported. An estate on The Peak was sold for $360 million to billionaire technology manufacturer Yeung Kin-man in January 2017, the South China Morning Post reported.
In November 2017, the most expensive apartments in Asia sold for a combined $149 million. And the city-state continues to break records in the luxury housing market in 2018.
In March 2018, a buyer paid $178.4 million, or $19,400 per square foot, for a mansion in Hong Kong's super-exclusive and wealthy Peak neighborhood, making it the most expensive residential sale in all of Asia, according to Bloomberg.
But this $446 million home could break even those staggering records. Here's a look inside the mansion and the exclusive, super-wealthy neighborhood where it sits.
The four-bedroom mansion sits on 7,725 square feet on Middle Gap Road, one of the most prestigious gated communities in Hong Kong, according to the real estate listing. The home is surrounded by dense woods.
The colonial-style home was built in 1991 and includes an outdoor swimming pool.
Views of the hilly, greenery-filled neighborhood surround the pool area.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Lemonade is trying to sweeten California's fast-casual dining scene.
The menu? "Seasonal Southern California comfort food." What that seems to mean is a lot of lean proteins, leafy salads, and entreés like poke made from seasonal produce. Oh, and fresh-pressed lemonade, of course.
The first store opened in 2008, and it has expanded slowly across Southern California and into Northern California as well. The expansion has been fueled by investments like a $22 million infusion from Butterfly in 2016 and an undisclosed amount from KKR in 2014. It now has 28 locations up and down the state.
Lemonade's food is served cafeteria-style, à la carte and complete with trays. Only some of the cooking is done on-site. Some items are finished in-store after being supplied by a central kitchen.
It's been a hit with Californians, so on a recent trip to Los Angeles, I decided I needed to try it myself. Here's what it was like:
I visited one of Lemonade's newest stores, located on Abbot-Kinney in the heart of Venice. It's one of Lemonade's "next-generation" stores, and it opened in 2017.
As I first step foot in the store, I am immediately overwhelmed. It's lunchtime on a Saturday, and the restaurant is filled with hungry Angelenos. The decor feels very California chic.
A quick look at the menu makes me no less anxious. I have no idea what to order, and there isn't anyone I can ask before i get up to the counter.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
It was a close race for the top spot at the domestic box office this weekend, as Universal's "Night School" finished the weekend below industry projections and Warner Bros' "Smallfoot" kept a steady pace.
But when the smoke cleared, "Night School" was the winner, raking in an estimated $28 million.
The latest comedy from the director of "Girls Trip," Malcolm D. Lee, the equalizer for "Night School" was that it has Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart as its stars, two of the most popular actors working today.
Despite coming in under its projected $30 million opening, Universal can't frown with a $28 million start for "Night School." Most studio comedies would beg for that kind of box office coin its opening weekend.
WB's family friendly "Smallfoot" — featuring the voices of Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, LeBron James, and Danny DeVito — came out at the right time as there hasn't been an attractive kids title in theaters for a while.
Holdovers "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" and "A Simple Favor" continue to make good bank. "Clock in Its Walls" had an impressive $12.5 million second weekend, just a 53% drop after winning the box office last week, and "Simple Favor" has been impressive since its September 14 opening, taking in $6 million this weekend and a domestic total of over $43 million.
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A steady trickle of revelations over the weekend indicates that the FBI's supplemental background check into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is much more limited than previously known.
The original parameters, Republican lawmakers said, were that the inquiry should be constrained to "current credible" allegations against Kavanaugh and that it should be completed within one week.
But NBC News and The New York Times reported on Saturday that in addition to those limitations, Republicans and the White House gave the FBI a list of just four witnesses to interview.
Investigators have also reportedly not been permitted to scour certain records that could be critical to ascertaining the credibility of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
The FBI will probe aspects of sexual misconduct allegations made by all three women who have come forward against Kavanaugh, but it does not reportedly plan to directly question the third, Julie Swetnick, about her claims.
The White House counsel Don McGahn, who is in charge of guiding Kavanaugh's confirmation process, is also directing the FBI on the scope of its background check.
"That seems like a clear conflict of interest," said Carl Tobias, the Williams Chair in Law at the University of Richmond and an expert on federal judicial selection.
Norm Eisen, who served as the Special Counsel for Ethics and Government Reform under President Barack Obama, said he helped vet "hundreds" of presidential nominees when he worked at the White House.
"Every one got an FBI background check," he added. "We never told the FBI which witnesses they could and could not interview. It's not just [Democrats] who want an investigation--so do Flake, Collins & Murkowski. But it must be a real one."
He was referring to GOP Sens. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski, all of whom have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh's nomination in light of the allegations against him. All three backed a one-week delay in the final vote in order for the FBI to investigate the claims.
But the way the investigation is currently being conducted, said Susan Hennessey, the managing editor of the national-security blog Lawfare, is a "sham."
President Donald Trump disputed some of the reporting on Saturday night, tweeting that he wants the FBI "to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion."
'The FBI will do what the committee didn't'
The four witnesses the FBI has been permitted to question so far are Deborah Ramirez, Mark Judge, Leland Keyser, and PJ Smyth.
Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a dorm-room party at Yale during the 1983-1984 school year.
And Ford said Judge, Keyser, and Smyth were present at a high school gathering in 1982 during which she alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Ford said she was pushed into a bedroom from behind and that an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her down on the bed, groped her over her clothes, and covered her mouth when she tried to yell for help. She said she was able to escape before things escalated.
Ford added that Judge, Kavanaugh's longtime friend, was an eyewitness to the attack and was also intoxicated at the time. Keyser and Smyth say they do not recall such a gathering. Judge denies the incident occurred, and his and Keyser's lawyers said this week that their clients are ready to fully cooperate with the FBI.
"The FBI will do what the committee didn't and work to corroborate aspects of what Dr. Ford said," said Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor in Chicago.
One of the first things the FBI will do, Cramer said, is talk to Judge, who was the only other eyewitness to the alleged assault.
Experts said that while the night of the alleged attack is etched in Ford's memory, for other witnesses, it may have been like any other night, which could be why Judge and others who Ford says were there say they don't recall the gathering.
But Ford testified to the committee that six to eight weeks after the assault, she ran into Judge at the Potomac Safeway, a local supermarket where he worked, and that Judge was uncomfortable and "looked a little bit ill" when he saw her. She added, during her testimony this week, that she believed she could be "much more helpful" in providing details about her alleged assault if she knew the exact date or time period that Judge worked at the supermarket.
NBC News reported that the FBI has not been authorized to pull Judge's employment records.
"That is crazy," Cramer said of the constraint. "If he worked at the store where Ford says she saw him, it would corroborate one part of her testimony. Albeit, that is not a critical element, but it adds to the mix. The flip side is also true: if Mark Judge never worked at the store, then it calls into question one part of Ford's story."
Ford's allegation is at the center of the FBI's background check, but Cramer said it's critical for investigators to talk to witnesses in addition to the four people currently on the list, because it would help them establish a fact pattern about Kavanaugh's behavior in high school and college.
"Drinking habits are something that are regularly explored as part of routine background checks (along with drugs)," said the former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa. "It probably came up in one of his earliest checks, but without indications that it resulted in harm to others would not have been pursued. Now that has changed."
For instance, if the FBI spoke to multiple witnesses who said they frequently saw Kavanaugh drink heavily or black out, it could undercut a key part of his defense against the allegations. Specifically, Kavanaugh says he is certain he did not assault anyone, and does not ever recall doing so, because he never drank so much that he could have forgotten his actions.
But his high school yearbook appears to contain multiple references to partying and drinking that seem to contradict some of Kavanaugh's statements that were made under oath.
He said during his testimony that the term "Devil's Triangle," which shows up on his yearbook page and is slang for sex between two men and one woman, was a reference to a drinking game. Kavanaugh added that another comment in his yearbook that reads, "Judge — have you boofed yet?" referred to flatulence.
Kavanaugh also faced questions about two other yearbook entries, one that read "Georgetown vs. Louisville — Who Won That Game Anyway?" and another tha read "Orioles vs. Red Sox — Who Won Anyway?"
In both cases, Kavanaugh told Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, he didn't know which team won each game not because he was drunk, but because he was having too much fun with his friends.
"By explicitly denying under oath that he ever drank to excess, which goes to his veracity and credibility with regard to Dr. Ford, he himself has made it a central issue," Rangappa said. "Had he been transparent about it, that would likely not be the case."
Many of Kavanaugh's former classmates have since come forward to the media and said what Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee does not square with what they witnessed when they knew him in college.
None of those people are on the list of witnesses the FBI has been permitted to question.
Rangappa suggested this was a deliberate move on the part of Senate Republicans and the White House.
"This is why the [White House] doesn't want the FBI to inquire about [Kavanaugh's] drinking at Yale," she said. "[Because] there are classmates ready to directly contradict him, which would open him up to perjuring himself to the Senate (and therefore a disqualifier separate and apart from the Ford allegation)."
"There isn't a finder of fact in the country that would hamstring investigators like this," he said. "It would be comical if it wasn't so important."
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