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The latest news from Life

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    Donald Trump

    • President Donald Trump said "it's a very scary time for young men in America" when discussing allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
    • "In this realm, you are truly guilty until proven innocent. That's one of the very, very bad things that's taking place right now," he said.
    • The FBI is currently conducing a supplemental background investigation into allegations that Kavanaugh assaulted two women in the early 1980s. 

    President Donald Trump pointed to allegations of sexual misconduct against embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as evidence men are now "guilty until proven innocent," adding "it's a very scary time for young men in America" during a Tuesday afternoon gathering with reporters. 

    "Well, I say it's a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something they may not be guilty of. This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time," Trump said. 

    "You can be perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something," he added. "But in this realm, you are truly guilty until proven innocent. That's one of the very, very bad things that's taking place right now."

    Last Thursday, both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on her allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a 1982 house party when both were high schoolers in suburban Maryland. 

    Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, accuses Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during their freshman year at Yale University in 1983. The FBI is currently conducting a supplemental background investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, which Senate Republicans hope will be completed by Friday.

    Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by 22 women over the years, with allegations ranging from harassment to rape. 

    "I have to say I really think that Judge Kavanaugh's going to be accepted and voted on and positively voted on," Trump predicted. "We're going to have to see what the FBI says."

    Watch Trump's remarks here: 

     

    SEE ALSO: Text messages between Brett Kavanaugh and his classmates seem to contradict his Senate testimony

    DON'T MISS: Harvard canceled a course Brett Kavanaugh was set to teach for the 2019 school year

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    john cornyn chuck schumer

    • President Donald Trump agreed to a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico on Sunday.
    • The new deal, named the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, must be approved by Congress before it can take effect.
    • Sen. John Cornyn, the second-highest-ranking Republican senator, told reporters on Tuesday that the deal's passage in Congress was not certain.
    • The USMCA isn't likely to make it to Congress before 2019, when Democrats could have a majority in one of the chambers.

    President Donald Trump's victory lap on the new trade agreement among the US, Canada, and Mexico may have been premature, per one top Republican senator's lay of the congressional land.

    Sen. John Cornyn, the second-highest-ranking Senate Republican, suggested to reporters Tuesday that the revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, agreed to Sunday night, might not have the votes to make it through Congress.

    "I know people are still going through the details, but it's not a foregone conclusion that it will get confirmation by the Senate," Cornyn said.

    The Texas Republican also said a congressional vote on the new deal, dubbed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, would definitely not happen until after the November midterm elections and would most likely slip into 2019.

    Read more:The US, Canada, and Mexico's new trade pact looks a lot like NAFTA. Here are the key differences between them.

    The comment is the first public acknowledgment by a GOP leader that the new trade deal may run into roadblocks.

    While the Trump administration is negotiating the NAFTA revision under the fast-track trade promotion authority, any final agreement is still subject to a majority vote in both chambers of Congress.

    Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto are expected to sign the agreement shortly before the latter leaves office on November 30. Given the trade promotion authority's notification requirements, that means Congress would not vote on the deal until 2019, when Democrats could be in control of at least one chamber.

    With a majority, Democrats would have much more leverage to scuttle the deal. Party leaders have already said that the new labor and environmental standards in the updated deal will receive close scrutiny.

    "The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high," Rep. Richard Neal, the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters on Monday.

    During a press conference on Monday, Trump acknowledged possible issues with Democrats on the trade deal.

    "I then will submit it for approval to Congress, where, in theory, there should be no trouble, but anything you submit to Congress is trouble, no matter what, " Trump said. "If it's the single greatest agreement ever signed, they'll say, 'Well, you know, Trump likes it, therefore we're not going to approve it, because that would be good for the Republicans, so therefore we can't approve it.'"

    But some Republican lawmakers have also expressed concerns about the details of the deal.

    "While the administration's proposal improves some elements of the existing NAFTA, such as strengthened IP rights, increased market access for US dairy processors, and a new chapter on digital trade, other provisions diminish NAFTA's economic benefits and create needless uncertainty," said Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

    Here's a quick rundown of the procedure the deal would have to go through:

    • Before December 1: The deal must be signed by the three leaders.
    • Within 60 days after the deal is signed: The Trump administration must notify Congress of necessary changes to US law that need to be made to enact the deal.
    • Within 150 days after the deal is signed: The US International Trade Commission must release a report on the economic impact of the deal.
    • At least 30 days before the deal is formally submitted as a bill to Congress: The text of the implementing legislation must be released.
    • The bill is considered by committees in the House and Senate and voted on: The implementing bill would start in the House and be passed in a matter of days or could take months, depending on Congress' wishes.

    SEE ALSO: An under-the-radar provision in the US-Mexico-Canada trade deal looks like a direct shot at China

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    dallas police

    • A big new feature for iPhones this year is Shortcuts, an app that lets you write scripts for the iPhone.
    • One widely shared shortcut is called Police, which records police interactions and texts a predetermined contact that you've been pulled over.
    • It also sends a video of the encounter to your contact.
    • The creator says the shortcut can be adapted for other situations.

    There's a big new feature for iPhone experts this year: It's an app called Shortcuts, and with a little bit of logic and know-how, you can stitch together several apps and create a script that can be activated by pressing a button or using Siri.

    Some early uses are predictable, like saving Instagram photos, sharing the song you're listening to, or creating a morning routine that activates your lights and plays a song.

    But Robert Petersen of Arizona has developed a more serious shortcut: It's called Police, and it monitors police interactions so you have a record of what happened.

    Once the shortcut is installed, you just have to say, "Hey Siri, I'm getting pulled over." Then the program pauses music you may be playing, turns down the brightness on the iPhone, and turns on "do not disturb" mode.

    It also sends a quick text to a predetermined contact to tell them you've been pulled over, and it starts recording using the iPhone's front-facing camera. Once you've stopped recording, it can text or email the video to a different predetermined contact and save it to Dropbox.

    "It seemed to me that if you're getting pulled over it couldn't hurt to have a recording of the incident," Petersen said in a direct message on Tuesday. "The police these days in many places have body cams, so this could be the civilian equivalent."

    The idea of a hands-free mobile app for fraught interactions isn't new — since 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union and others have developed apps to record and livestream encounters with the police.

    While he didn't base the shortcut on existing apps, Petersen said he was inspired by projects by digital-rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    It's difficult to tell how many people have downloaded the shortcut, but it's the third-most-popular post of all time on the burgeoning subreddit dedicated to sharing shortcut recipes, and it's been widely covered in the Apple-enthusiast press. It's on version 1.4, and changes so far have focused on bug fixes and support for additional services, like iCloud Drive.

    Petersen said that most responses he'd received since posting the shortcut in September had been positive and that some people had told him they want to adapt it to different potentially dangerous situations.

    Some people "say they've had issues in the past with the police, and one woman planned on using the shortcut to help with a stalker issue she was having with an ex-boyfriend so that she could send her location to family quickly should anything occur," Petersen said.

    "That's one of the great things about Shortcuts: Anyone can edit a shortcut someone else has made to suit their specific needs," he continued.

    You don't need to be a programmer to create your own shortcut

    Siri PoliceYou can examine all the steps a shortcut takes and all the apps and services it uses — so you can be sure that the script isn't, say, uploading your data to a random server when you use a shortcut you didn't write. The entire recipe for the Police shortcut can be accessed in the Shortcuts app.

    Petersen said he didn't have a background in programming but knew enough to get around and had written scripts for macOS in the past. He added that he was an Apple fan and was surprised that the company had introduced this kind of feature for power users given its tendency to keep things simple and locked down.

    If you're interested in making your own shortcuts, Petersen has some advice.

    "The platform has a lot of potential, and if you read the Apple user guides and consult with others on forums, or just look at how other people's shortcuts work and 'reverse engineer' them to your own needs, you can learn a lot quickly," he said.

    You can download the Police shortcut here. Make sure you have the Shortcuts app installed.

    SEE ALSO: You can order a coffee directly from your lock screen with Apple's new 'Shortcuts' feature — here's how it will work

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Mandy 2 RLJE Films

    • Panos Cosmatos' latest movie "Mandy," starring Nicolas Cage, is achieving the impossible for most day-and-date movies, as audiences would rather see it in theaters than Video-On-Demand.
    • Thanks to fans demanding it be shown in more theaters, RLJ Entertainment, the distributor of "Mandy," has the movie booked in theaters until November.
    • Business Insider explores why "Mandy" could be the next "Rocky Horror Picture Show."

     

    With the fall movie season in full swing, much of the weekend box office discussion has focused on the impressive staying power of titles such as “The Nun,” “A Simple Favor,” and “The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” which audiences continue to flock to after their opening weekends.

    But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll come across a title currently playing that has the kind of hold on audiences that it has the makings of being a cult classic the likes we haven’t seen since “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

    Panos Cosmatos’ acid-laced revenge movie starring Nicolas Cage, “Mandy,” isn't just having a solid theatrical run, it’s defying the release strategy of most day-and-date movies before it.

    In the three weeks since opening, the movie has only played in 210 theaters, but to date it's grossed close to $840,000. And that doesn’t even count the money coming in through Video-On-Demand, which the movie’s distributor, RLJ Entertainment, boasts is in the millions.

    When a movie is released on a day-and-date platform, meaning its distributor releases the movie in theaters and streaming/Video-On-Demand simultaneously, the theatrical component of the release is often used almost as a unique brand of advertising for the VOD option.

    Because the major theater chains won't allow day-and-date movies to be played in their multiplexes (as they are not exclusively shown on the big screen), these titles instead play in limited release at independent chains and art houses, typically in major cities. So the reviews, feature stories, and any other attention from the theatrical release boost the movie's VOD exposure, as people who want to see the movie but don’t live near one of the theaters showing it can easily order it on their TVs. Cage, in particular, has capitalized on this recently, as many of his movies in the last few years have been straight-to-VOD or day-and-date.

    So RLJ Entertainment, which is known for releasing genre movies (“Brawl in Cell Block 99,” “Bone Tomahawk”) and has handled movies starring Cage in the past (“Rage,” “Dog Eat Dog,” “Pay the Ghost”), moved forward with the usual game plan for “Mandy.” They released it in 75 theaters its first week, and had Cosmatos, Cage, and co-star Linus Roache show up for live Q&As following some special Thursday-night screenings before its opening weekend, the hope being that exposure and the 94% Rotten Tomatoes score the movie has would bring in the audiences that a limited marketing budget a day-and-date movie can't.

    And boy did it work.

    Panos Cosmatos Nicolas Cage Linus Roache David Livingston GettyThough the movie earned a modest $225,723 its first weekend, there were sellout showings — from New York’s Alamo Drafthouse to Chicago’s Music Box to even an art house in El Paso, Texas. And then something unusual happened: Instead of people ordering the movie on VOD, they took to social media and demanded a wider release so that “Mandy” could open at a theater near them.

    The twitter handle @CheddarGoblin — named after the mac & cheese puking green goblin featured in a commercial that appears in the movie — suddenly became the destination for “Mandy” fans to get the latest updates on which theaters around the country were playing the movie.

    And the hunger for the movie only increased in the second weekend it was out, as the number of theaters showing “Mandy” dropped down to 71. The loss of four screens may not seem like a big deal, but it was for fans living in southern California, because “Mandy” didn’t show at a single theater in Los Angeles that weekend.

    This wasn’t because RLJ Entertainment had given up on the movie, it simply was going with its usual formula of decreasing its theatrical count in week 2 and letting VOD become a more attractive option to see the movie. The company had done its theater bookings long before the fan outcry, and that meant it couldn't add new screenings because the theaters already had a full slate of titles for the weekend. Last weekend, the movie played at three theaters in LA.

    Despite the loss of a major market, the movie saw a relatively minuscule 31% drop in ticket sales from its opening weekend — in fact, its $155,405 take was one of the largest for any indie movie that weekend.

    “With a day-and-date release, it’s really hard theatrically to break out, it’s nearly impossible,” Mark Ward, chief acquisitions officer at RLJ Entertainment, told Business Insider. “So it’s beyond our wildest dreams that the film is performing strong everywhere, on all platforms." (Currently, “Mandy” is in the top 10 movies to rent on iTunes in “independent,” “horror,” and “thriller” categories.)

    Ward promises that, if there’s demand, the movie will continue its theater run, so it seems the “Mandy” craze isn’t going to end anytime soon.

    “RLJ’s theatrical booker is getting all these calls from theaters saying, ‘We want the movie but we have contractual obligations with other films, can we have it in October or November?’” said Lisa Whalen, CEO of SpectreVision, the production company founded by Elijah Wood that's behind “Mandy” (along with XYZ Films and Umedia). “So it’s just going to keep coming out.”

    Mandy Sundance Institute“As filmmakers, we have to catch up to the reality that many cinema goers are now experiencing films in their homes,” Daniel Noah, director of development at SpectreVision added. “And that's one of things that's so thrilling for us, that people are saying 'No, this demands to be seen in the theaters, we are not going to watch it at home.'”

    Ward believes we could be seeing the start of “Mandy” becoming what “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is now: a movie that continues to be played in theaters for its fans over decades. But for the here and now, he believes “Mandy” has changed how day-and-date movies are perceived. 

    “I feel ‘Mandy’ is the new benchmark in terms of this type of release,” Ward said.

    SEE ALSO: MoviePass emailed former subscribers to tell them they'll be enrolled in a new plan unless they opt out, and experts are calling it "unfair and abusive"

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A top movie actor reveals how he learns different accents


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    iceland blue lagoon shutterstock_522339559

    • The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is one of the country's most popular destinations.
    • Nearly 1.2 million people came to swim in its milky blue waters in 2017, a Blue Lagoon representative told Business Insider.
    • But these disappointing photos show that the Blue Lagoon is not always as idyllic and photogenic as it seems.

     

    The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is one of the country's most famous and visited attractions, seeing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

    But for all its fame and for all the idyllic Instagram photos, the manmade pool can be overcrowded, unphotogenic, and underwhelming. One person on TripAdvisor called it "a dirty, lukewarm, crowded disappointment."

    It's also not cheap. A swim in the milky blue waters will cost you a minimum of $64, which includes a silica mud mask, towel, and a drink. You can upgrade to a premium package for $91, which includes a second mask, use of slippers and a bathrobe, a table reservation at the lagoon's Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if eating at the restaurant. You can also shell out $268 for four-hour exclusive entry to the spa in addition to the pool.

    These disappointing photos show that the hot springs experience isn't always as picture-perfect as it seems.

    SEE ALSO: 12 surprising differences between Icelandic and American culture

    The Blue Lagoon is known for its milky blue water, rock formations, and skin-nourishing clay that visitors apply as face masks.

    Source: Blue Lagoon



    It's one of the most-visited attractions in Iceland, with nearly 1.2 million visitors in 2017.

    Source: Blue Lagoon



    But what most Instagram photos don't show are the industrial-looking buildings that surround the pool.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    President Donald Trump

    • President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed — falsely — that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was the highest-ranked member of both his undergraduate class and law school class at Yale. 
    • Kavanaugh did not graduate at the top of his undergraduate class — he finished cum laude — somewhere among the second quarter of the class.
    • And Yale Law School does not rank or give conventional grades to its students. 

    President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's "sterling" academic record in defending his pick from attacks on his integrity and character throughout his confirmation process, which has been derailed by sexual misconduct allegations.

    There's little doubt that Kavanaugh, who's served on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals for 12 years, is a top legal thinker or, as Trump put it, "one of the most accomplished legal minds of our time." But the president repeatedly claimed — falsely — that Kavanaugh was the highest-ranked member of both his undergraduate class and law school class at Yale. 

    "I think he was number one in his class at Yale. He was number one in his law school at Yale," Trump said at a White House press conference on Monday.

    Kavanaugh did not graduate at the top of his undergraduate class — he finished cum laude — somewhere among the second quarter of the class and below those who graduated magna cum laude and summa cum laude, which NPR's Nina Totenberg reported make up the top 22% of the class. 

    And Yale Law School does not rank students or grade them conventionally, so it's unclear how well Kavanaugh performed as a graduate student. 

    But Kavanaugh does say he was at the top of his high-school class at Georgetown Preparatory School, an elite all-boys private school in the suburbs of Washington, and has repeatedly asserted that he was accepted to Yale Law School, which he noted is "number one" in the country, because he worked exceptionally hard in college. 

    During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, the judge repeatedly referenced his academic prowess in high school when answering questions about allegations that he drank to excess and sexually abused teenage girls. 

    "I was at the top of my class academically, busted my butt in school. Captain of the varsity basketball team," he said during his combative and emotional four hour testimony. "Got in Yale College. When I got into Yale College, got into Yale Law School. Worked my tail off."

    At another point in his testimony he said that he got into law school without "connections." While Kavanaugh has no known family members who attended Yale Law, his grandfather, Everett Edward Kavanaugh, graduated from Yale College — a connection that made him a legacy student during his undergraduate years. 

    SEE ALSO: 'It's not fair': Trump launches into extended defense of Kavanaugh but says he wants FBI to do a 'comprehensive' investigation amid confusion

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    fred trump don king donald trump

    • An explosive New York Times investigation revealed the complex financial transactions that allowed Fred Trump to transfer wealth to his children, including President Donald Trump.
    • According to the Times, the Trumps at times engaged in "outright fraud" by marking down the value of properties to avoid larger tax bills.
    • The The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance told Business Insider in an email that the state is reviewing the allegations and "is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation."

    New York State officials are reviewing allegations of fraud against President Donald Trump and his father Fred made in a bombshell New York Times investigation.

    The New York Times report alleges that the Trumps undervalued assets in an attempt to circumnavigate large state and gift tax bills as part of the wealth transfer from Fred to his children, including Donald.

    The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance told Business Insider that the state is looking into the allegations.

    "The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation," a spokesperson said in an email.

    The Internal Revenue Service, which collects federal taxes, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    For example, The New York Times detailed an instance in which the Trump family claimed on a tax return that the Park Briar development in the Queens borough of New York City was worth just $2.9 million while executing the will of Donald's brother Fred Jr. But, just 18 days before the Times said, the Trump family valued the same development at $17.1 million.

    By lowering the value in the development, the Trumps could then avoid a larger tax bill from the IRS, The Times said.

    The report also detailed Fred Trump's complex series of trusts and shell companies that allowed the Trump children — in particular Donald — to inherit millions of dollars with minimal tax liabilities.

    SEE ALSO: New York Times report says Trump engaged in 'outright fraud' to avoid taxes as he inherited father's wealth — worth more than $400 million in today's dollars

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    Julie Swetnick

    • Two witnesses have submitted sworn statements regarding Julie Swetnick's allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge drugged and gang-raped women on multiple occasions in the 1980s. 
    • Dennis Ketterer, a former Emmy-winning meteorologist in DC, said he did not find Swetnick's allegations against Kavanaugh credible based on his experiences with her in the early 1990s. 
    • Swetnick's attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted another sworn declaration from a witness, whose name was redacted in the documents, backing up Swetnick's allegations against Kavanaugh and Judge. 

    Two witnesses have submitted sworn statements regarding Julie Swetnick's allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge as the FBI supplemental background investigation into Kavanaugh is reported to be drawing to a close. 

    Dennis Ketterer, a former weeknight meteorologist for Channel 7 in Washington DC, submitted a 4-page statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee stating he had an extramarital affair with Swetnick in the early 1990s, and did not find her allegations against Kavanaugh and Judge to be credible based on his experience with her. 

    "Julie told me that she...tried sex with multiple guys in high school and still liked it from time-to-time," he said. "Julie never said anything about being sexually assaulted, gang raped, or having sex against her will. She never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh in any capacity."

    Ketterer, who won an Emmy award for his reporting in 1995, said while he was watching Kavanaugh's testimony on Thursday and "saw Mrs. Kavanaugh looking so sad, I felt she needed to know in this instance, her husband was being mischaracterized...based on my direct experience with Julie, I do not believe her allegations." 

    Swetnick claimed in a previous sworn declaration that she witnessed Kavanaugh and Judge drugging and gang-raping girls at parties in the early 1980s when they were high schoolers at Georgetown Preparatory Academy. Both Kavanaugh and Judge have denied her allegations under penalty of perjury.

    "The letter from Dennis Ketterer is garbage - the GOP is desperate," Swetnick's attorney Michael Avenatti tweeted in response to Ketterer's letter. "The allegations he makes are false and without any basis. We demand that the FBI interview my client & him, and that anyone found to have submitted false info be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Avenatti said.

    Also on Tuesday, Avenatti tweeted out a separate sworn declaration from another witness, whose name was redacted in the documents as posted, claiming to have personally witnessed the events Swetnick describes over the course of 20 house parties in the DC area between 1980 and 1982. 

    "Brett and Mark would drink excessively and be overly aggressive and verbally abusive toward girls. This included inappropriate contact with girls of a sexual nature," the person wrote, adding they "witnessed firsthand Kavanaugh, with others,...spike the punch at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol."

    The person added that they were aware of others who could confirm their account of Kavanaugh's conduct at those parties, and said they were "aware of other inappropriate conduct," but said they "do not feel comfortable stating it at this time," offering to share their additional information with the FBI.

    Judge's attorney Barbara Van Gelden told the Judiciary Committee on Friday that her client intended to fully cooperate with any FBI probe into Swetnick's allegations. She confirmed he was interviewed on Tuesday, but did not comment on whether agents asked him about Swetnick's allegations. 

    This week, some Democratic lawmakers and aides told Business Insider they saw Swetnick's allegations and Avenatti sparring with his detractors on Twitter as a "distraction" from what they see as more credible allegations leveled against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. 

    "Do I think he's in it for the showbiz part? I hope not," Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said of Avenatti. "It's too serious of a situation," he said.

    Avenatti, who also represents porn star Stormy Daniels, is rumoured to be eyeing a run for president as a Democrat in 2020. 

    SEE ALSO: Some Democrats see Michael Avenatti's entry into the Brett Kavanaugh scandal as a 'distraction'

    SEE ALSO: Mark Judge has agreed to cooperate with any law enforcement investigation into Avenatti client Julie Swetnick's allegations

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    fema test emergency text

    Don't be alarmed when your phone buzzes incessantly with an emergency alert from the president Wednesday afternoon — it's only a test.

    But unlike the emergency alerts and AMBER alerts that you can toggle off on your smartphone, you won't be able to switch off the notification for this "presidential alert," which is designed to be used "in the event of a national emergency," the Federal Emergency Management Agency says.

    The special Presidential Alert will be pretty similar to any emergency alert you've gotten before. Your phone will vibrate and emit a loud abrasive tone that's likely to freak you out if you're not anticipating it. A message will also appear on your screen that says, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

    That means you might want to prepare yourself now for the flurry of incessant buzzing and loud alarming sounds that will take over your office Wednesday. Anyone with a wireless cell phone will receive a test emergency message Wednesday anytime between 2:18 p.m. Eastern and the half-hour window that follows. 

    This will be the first time ever the government is testing the national emergency alert system. The test was originally scheduled for Sept. 20, but was postponed so FEMA could focus on responding to Hurricane Florence.

    FEMA first created the alert system to adhere to a law passed in 2016 under former President Barack Obama, which gives the president the ability to send out nationwide alerts addressing public safety issues.

    SEE ALSO: 'Siri, I'm getting pulled over': A new shortcut for iPhones can automatically record the police

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    NOW WATCH: Apple's entire iPhone XS event in 8 minutes


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    chrystia freeland

    • President Donald Trump slammed Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Foreign Minister and the country's top trade negotiator, during a fundraising dinner on Thursday.
    • Trump said that Freeland "hates America" according to a report from The Washington Post.
    • The comments came the day after Trump publicly said that the US negotiators "don't like their representative very much."
    • The US and Canada were still able to agree on an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trilateral trade deal among the US, Canada, and Mexico, on Sunday.

    President Donald Trump slammed Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Foreign Minister and the country's top trade negotiator, during an exclusive dinner just days before the US and Canada reached a new trade agreement.

    According to a report from The Washington Post, Trump told a group of Republican donors that Freeland "hates America" during an exclusive dinner on September 27 in Washington, DC.

    Three days later Freeland struck a deal with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now called the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

    Trump had been critical of Freeland the day before at a post-United Nations press conference, taking a shot at Canada's top negotiator during a long diatribe about the NAFTA talks.

    "We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada," Trump said. "We don't like their representative very much."

    According to multiple reports following the release of the USMCA, Trump wasn't the only American that Freeland rubbed the long way. Lighthizer's relationship with Freeland became strained over the course of the relationship as neither side seemed to want to budge over key trade issues.

    Despite Trump's attacks and the acrimony between the top trade negotiators, the two sides were able to reach a trade deal on Sunday. While the deal must still be ratified by the three member's legislatures and the USMCA is not the total rewrite of NAFTA that Trump promised, the revised deal would make some tweaks to a variety of trade rules among the US, Canada, and Mexico.

    Freeland is a former journalist who was banned from Russia due to her critiques of President Vladimir Putin's regime and has not been shy with her critiques of Trump and the administration's policies in the past.

    Recently, the foreign minister started a fight with Saudi Arabia by criticizing the country's treatment of activists.

    That disagreement led Saudi Arabia to expel the Canadian ambassador from the country and freeze all talks.

    SEE ALSO: A top Republican senator just made it clear that Trump's new trade deal with Mexico and Canada could still fall apart

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    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    natasha ednan laperouse family

    • Pret A Manger will start labeling all ingredients and allergens on its products from next month onwards.
    • The decision comes after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from an allergic reaction to sesame after eating the chain's baguette sandwich which didn't list sesame as an ingredient.
    • A coroner in the UK said Pret A Manger's food labeling was "inadequate."
    • Pret A Manger now wants to make it as difficult as possible for people with allergies to not see the warning signs, Business Insider understands.
    • Prime Minister Theresa May also said she would look into UK food-labeling regulations as well as "the responsibility of individual companies" in light of the death.

    Pret A Manger is completely changing the way it labels its food allergens after a 15-year-old died after eating a sandwich that didn't label her allergens.

    Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died in 2016 after eating the chain's baguette sandwich with artichoke, olive, and tapenade.

    The baguette contained sesame seeds — to which the teen was allergic — but it was not specifically labeled on the sandwich's packaging, an inquest in the UK heard last week.

    She bought the sandwich at London Heathrow Airport before flying to Nice, France, and collapsed about 20 minutes into the flight, went into cardiac arrest, and died of an anaphylactic shock within hours.

    The coroner, Dr Sean Cummings, said that Pret A Manger's allergy labeling was "inadequate."

    Pret A Manger announced on Wednesday that it would label all its ingredients, including allergens, on all its products in the UK. The announcement follows the conclusion of Ednan-Laperouse's inquest, Pret A Manger said in a statement sent to Business Insider.

    Pret A Manger

    Business Insider understands that the chain plans to roll out full ingredient labeling on product packaging worldwide, starting with the UK. The chains will be rolled out in British shops from November onward, Pret A Manger said in its Wednesday statement.

    Over the next few weeks, it also plans to place allergen warning stickers on all individual freshly made products, display allergen warning signs in shops, and list a full ingredient information, including allergens, online and in shops, the company said.

    The company's goal is to make make it as difficult as possible for people with allergies to not see the warning signs, Business Insider understands.

    At the time of Ednan-Laperouse's death, Pret A Manger had a guide detailing allergens in its foods posted in its shops and on its website, but not on product-shelf tickets, Business Insider also understands. The chain had signs on fridges and at registers advising customers to speak to a manager to see the allergen guide.

    UK food-labeling regulations do not require restaurants that make and package food onsite, like Pret A Manger, to label allergen information on each individual product, the BBC reported.

    Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday said she would "look at" rehauling food-labeling regulations in the UK in light of Ednan-Laperouse's death.

    She told the BBC: "This was an absolutely tragic case and our thoughts are with [Natasha's] family and friends over what happened.

    "We have obviously to look at this issue, we have to look at the responsibility of individual companies as well.

    natasha ednan laperouse flight

    The inquest also heard that Pret A Manger was warned at least six times that its baguettes could cause allergic reactions in the year before Ednan-Laperouse's death.

    Ednan-Laperouse's father, Nadim, said his daughter foamed at the mouth and said she couldn't breathe. Those symptoms persisted after he administered two EpiPen shots to his daughter and a doctor administered CPR to her  throughout the flight, he said.

    Ednan-Laperouse's mother, Tanya, also described listening to her daughter's final moments over the phone.

    Clive Schlee, the chief executive of Pret A Manger, said in a statement:

    "I want to say again how deeply sorry we are for the loss of Natasha. I said we would learn from this tragedy and ensure meaningful changes happen.

    "I hope these measures set us on course to drive change in the industry so people with allergies are as protected and informed as possible. Nothing is more important to Pret right now."

    SEE ALSO: Natasha Ednan-Laperouse's mother describes hearing her child's last moments over the phone

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    fan bingbing

    • Chinese actress Fan Bingbing broke her silence after disappearing for three months after being accused of tax evasion.
    • She issued a groveling apology on social media on Wednesday admitting to signing secret contracts to avoid taxes.
    • She said: "Without the Party and country's good policies, without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing."
    • Chinese tax authorities say Fan evaded taxes by splitting her earnings into two contracts, and fined her $129 million.

    Fan Bingbing, the Chinese actress who has been missing for three months, has broken her silence with a groveling apology to the Chinese government, which has reportedly fined her $129 million in overdue taxes and fines.

    Fan disappeared from the public eye in early July shortly after she was accused of tax evasion. Cui Yongyuan, a TV host with Chinese state media, suggested as long ago as May that she signed secret contracts for an upcoming movie to avoid paying higher taxes.

    Tax authorities in Jiangsu province on Sunday found that Fan earned 30 million yuan ($4.4 million/£3.4 million) for a film, but split her earnings into two contracts — one public one for 10 million, and a secret one for 20 million — to avoid paying higher taxes, the state-run Xinhua News agency reported on Wednesday.

    In a statement posted on Chinese social network Weibo the same day, Fan admitted wrongdoing, said she was "deeply ashamed" of avoiding tax, and praised the Chinese authorities.

    fan bingbing

    As well as the contentious split contracts, Xinhua said that Fan and companies she represented also evaded 248 million yuan ($34 million/£28 million) in taxes, but gave no further details regarding the companies or this figure.

    The actress and her companies have been fined a total of 884 million yuan ($129 million/£99 million), the BBC and Reuters reported, citing Xinhua. Of that sum she was personally fined 479 million yuan ($70 million/£54 million), according to the Financial Times. It's not clear who exactly owes the rest of the sum.

    Authorities also ordered that Fan repay the money within a prescribed time limit, Xinhua said, without saying how long that would be.

    If Fan doesn't pay it back in time, tax authorities will transfer her case to public security officials for "handling," the news agency reported, without specifying what that would entail.

    Xi Jinping

    Shortly after the Xinhua story was published, Fan broke her silence on microblogging site Weibo with a confirmation with the financial accusations against her as well as an apology to "society, my friends, the public, and the country's tax authority."

    The actress said: "For a while, due to my not understanding the relationship between benefits of the country, society, and individual, I and others took advantage of a 'split contract' to avoid tax problems, and I am deeply ashamed."

    She also said that she "totally accepts" the tax authorities' penalty, adding: "Without the Party and country's good policies, without the love of the people, there would be no Fan Bingbing."

    Fan's case is not unique. China is grappling with tax evasion cases both within and beyond its entertainment industry, and experts say that Fan's temporary disappearance shows Beijing's eagerness to end those infractions.

    Zhu Chuanlu, a tax lawyer at Beijing's Zhonglun W&D law firm, told the Financial Times "the punishment would also have a deterrent effect to other sectors. [Wealthy] individuals will continue to be the target of national tax audits, I believe that similar cases will continue to erupt."

    Rod Wye, a former official in the British Embassy in Beijing, also told The Sun last month: "For someone like her to be 'publicly disappeared' sends out a message that no matter how high you rise the Party can cut you down again... You can't tell who will be singled out next. 

    "They want to send out a message to the entertainment industry that they need to be aware of the new morality, which is core socialist values."

    fan bingbing de beers

    Fan, 37, is one of China's most prominent actress. She has starred in movies both in and out of China, including "X-Men: Days of Future Past," and in ad campaigns for brands like De Beers.

    But Fan's Wednesday apology may have come too late to save her tarnished reputation. Earlier this year academics at Beijing Normal University ranked Fan the lowest in a "social responsibility assessment" of Chinese film and television stars.

    Many companies she advertised for, including De Beers and Australian vitamin brand Swisse, have also suspended her image from their campaigns, according to the Associated Press.

    SEE ALSO: A director close to vanished Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has been mysteriously edited out of a movie

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    Ephesus

    A historic district of the web that's been frozen in time for more than 20 years is slated for extinction.

    On Monday, Yahoo Japan announced that the last remaining sites of the once-popular GeoCities would be shutting down in March 2019.

    GeoCities — which was founded in 1994 and acquired by Yahoo for nearly $4 billion in 1999 — was once the third-most visited site on the internet.  Essentially a web hosting service that made it easy for anyone to build their own websites, GeoCities became a thriving digital metropolis of rudimentary HTML pages devoted to personal hobbies, quirks and pastimes. 

    Its Web 1.0 design lost its luster over the years, however, and in the US, the service was shut down in 2009.

    But GeoCities somehow lived on in Japan. Like a lost kingdom isolated from progress or contact with the modern world, the last remaining realm of Geocities in Japan offers visitors an amazing trip back in time; an online world before Facebook, YouTube or even Wikipedia existed. 

    There's still time to visit this lost digital city before the bulldozers raze it to the ground. Here’s a look at some of our favorite, quirky sites that will soon no longer be with us. For millennials, consider this a history lesson.

    SEE ALSO: We tested the claims that the iPhone XS selfie camera makes faces look too smooth — check out the results for yourself

    The GeoCities sites are organized by neighborhoods, like Motor City for auto buffs and Silicon Valley for techies.

    The centralized directory harkens back to the dial-up online services of yore, such as CompuServe, Prodigy, and America Online.



    Old Stories of Japan is a one-stop-shop for Japanese folklore.

    The site has amassed more than two million views over the years (we'll miss those web counters) and contains stories like "The man who broke wind" and "Child eating cave."



    Japanese travel tips abound on this site. Headed to Hokkaido, Tohoku or Chugoku? Don’t leave without consulting here first.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    bernie sanders

    • Sen. Bernie Sanders recently introduced the Stop Bezos Act, a bill targeting major corporations like Amazon whose workers receive government aid.
    • Amazon on Tuesday announced plans to increase the minimum wage for its workers to $15 an hour.
    • Amazon's shift means the Stop Bezos Act did what it was designed to do, even if it never becomes law.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders' bill meant to go after Amazon and other large companies remains stuck in congressional limbo.

    The bill has not been brought up in any committee or received any hearing. But Amazon's announcement Tuesday that the company would increase its minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour means Sanders has already won.

    Sanders' bill, and the accompanying House version introduced by Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, would impose an additional tax on companies that have workers who use public assistance like food stamps. The goal is to force employers to pay employees enough to keep them from needing public programs.

    Sanders' bill, called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act or, using an acronym, the Stop Bezos Act, took direct aim at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the target of the senator's months-long crusade against poor working conditions in the retail giant's fulfillment centers.

    While both Sanders and Khanna made a ruckus about introducing the legislation, neither bill was necessarily meant to become law. Instead, they were designed to draw attention to Amazon and pressure the company to raise worker pay.

    The issue spawned debate among columnists, think tanks, economists, and political operatives, raising the profile of Sanders' fight for better working conditions at Amazon.

    Message bills aren't uncommon. Since 2005, only 2% to 4% of bills introduced in Congress in any given year have become law. Since 1974, the 100th Congress — which ran from 1987 through 1988 — holds the high-water mark for introduced bills that eventually became law, at 7%.

    Most of those nonstarter bills produce no results. For instance, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama has introduced a bill in each of the past 20 years that would pull the US out of the United Nations and any affiliated group.

    Even higher-profile message bills produce few meaningful results. The slew of Obamacare-repeal bills passed by the GOP-held Congress while President Barack Obama was in office sent a strong message. But when it came time to actually repeal and replace the healthcare law under President Donald Trump, Republicans balked.

    In contrast, Amazon indirectly cited the Sanders bill and resulting public-relations push as reasons for Tuesday's announcement. Bezos even responded to Sanders on Twitter after the senator praised the company's move.

    "Thank you @SenSanders," Bezos said. "We're excited about this, and also hope others will join in."

    SEE ALSO: A top Republican senator just made it clear that Trump's new trade deal with Mexico and Canada could still fall apart

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    fan bingbing

    • Chinese authorities detained actress Fan Bingbing in a luxury "holiday resort" while they investigated tax evasion allegations against her, the South China Morning Post reported.
    • Fan disappeared from the public eye for three months.
    • She spoke for the first time since July on Wednesday after she was fined $129 million for signing secret contracts to avoid tax.

    Chinese actress Fan Bingbing was held under a luxurious house arrest while authorities investigated her tax evasion case earlier this year, the South China Morning Post reported.

    Fan was accused of signing secret movie contracts to avoid paying higher taxes in May. She disappeared from the public eye from early July to early October, with fans being left in the dark as Beijing forbade its state media to report on her.

    Tax authorities since found that Fan split her earnings into two contracts — one public and one secret — to avoid paying taxes, the state-run Xinhua News agency reported on Wednesday. The state also ordered her to pay 884 million yuan ($129 million/£99 million), the BBC and Reuters reported, citing Xinhua.

    The actress spoke for the first time since July on Wednesday with a social media post admitting to the tax evasion and apologizing to her fans and the Chinese government.

    While her whereabouts remain unknown, the South China Morning Post has reported that Fan had secretly detained until two weeks ago, when she was allowed to return to Beijing, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the case.

    nanjing skyline

    Fan had been kept in a "holiday resort" in a suburb in the coastal province of Jiangsu, whose authorities were investigating her case, the Hong Kong newspaper said.

    The South China Morning Post's sources referred to the detention as "residential surveillance at a designated location."

    Fan is no longer in detention, but she could still be summoned for further questioning, the paper said.

    Authorities have ordered that Fan repay the money within a prescribed time limit, Xinhua reported, without disclosing how long that would be.

    Fan could escape criminal charges if she repaid the money in time, Xinhua said. But if she doesn't, tax authorities will transfer her case to public security officials for "handling," the news agency said, without specifying what that would entail.

    She was the highest-earning celebrity in China last year, having raked in 300 million yuan, according to Forbes.

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    Trump

    • Two Republican senators have condemned President Donald Trump's mocking of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.
    • Trump taunted Ford during a rally on Tuesday night and suggested her story and memory aren't credible as the crowd cheered him on.
    • Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican who forced an FBI investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against the judge, called Trump's comments "kind of appalling," and Sen. Susan Collins said they were "just plain wrong."

    Two Republican senators have condemned President Donald Trump's mocking of Christine Blasey Ford, whose allegation that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers has stalled the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation process.

    Sen. Susan Collins of Maine called the president's comments at a rally on Tuesday night in Mississippi "just plain wrong." And Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who forced an FBI investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against the judge, said in an interview on the "Today" show that mocking "something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right."

    "I wish he hadn't had done it," Flake added. "I just say it's kind of appalling."

    During the rally, Trump derisively imitated Ford, delivering a series of questions and answers mocking the California professor's Senate testimony last week as the crowd laughed and cheered.

    "Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer," Trump said. "How did you get home? I don't remember. How'd you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember ... But I only had one beer — that's the only thing I remember."

    Flake and Collins have said they won't make a final decision on Kavanaugh's confirmation until the FBI completes its investigation into the allegations. One other Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, have also not announced whether they'll vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

    On Tuesday evening, one of Ford's attorneys, Michael Bromwich, called the president's comments "a vicious, vile and soulless attack."

    "Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well?" he tweeted. "She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice."

    Trump on Friday described Ford as a "credible witness" and a "very fine woman."

    "I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman," Trump said.

    SEE ALSO: Trump keeps repeating a false claim about Kavanaugh's academic past at Yale

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    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 02: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) talks to reporters with Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) (L) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) following the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol October 02, 2018 in Washington, DC. Senate GOP leaders agreed last week with the Judiciary Committee to allow the FBI to conduct a one-week investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate votes on his confirmation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    • The number of protesters in the US Capitol building has skyrocketed in recent weeks during the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
    • Some Republican senators have been given increased security details, as others have been accosted in elevators and hallways of the Capitol.
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to hold a vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation by the end of the week, whether or not the protests continue.

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excoriated protesters in the US Capitol building, which have been increasing in numbers throughout the fight over confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

    During a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, McConnell addressed the surge of protesters in the public congressional office buildings and elsewhere in Washington.

    "I'm not suggesting we're the victims here, Mr. President," McConnell said to the presiding senator in the chamber. "But I want to make it clear to these people who are chasing my members around the hall here, or harassing them at the airports, or going to their homes, we will not be intimidated by these people."

    "There is no chance in the world they're going to scare us out of doing our duty," he added. "I don't care how many members they chase, how many people they harass here in the halls, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: we will not be intimidated by these people."

    The sheer number of protesters in the Capitol has skyrocketed during Kavanaugh's tumultuous confirmation process.

    In accosting lawmakers, the protesters have prompted heightened security. A number of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, have been assigned police escorts as they move throughout the Capitol.

    One of the most notable incidents with protesters during the Kavanaugh confirmation was on Friday, when two individuals blocked the elevator doors from closing to shout at Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, one of the deciding Republicans on the nomination.

    Flake ultimately struck a deal with Democrats on the committee to prompt a weeklong supplemental FBI investigation on accusations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, setting a vote for the end of this week.

    And McConnell made clear in his Wednesday morning speech that a vote would come at the end of this week, whether the protests continue or not.

    SEE ALSO: Some Democrats see Michael Avenatti's entry into the Brett Kavanaugh scandal as a 'distraction'

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    MoviePass

    • Ted Farnsworth, the CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns MoviePass, said on Tuesday that the company has raised $65 million in new funding.
    • He also said that that MoviePass has controlled its spending since changing to the three-movies-per-month plan.

     

    MoviePass isn't going anywhere — at least according to Ted Farnsworth, the CEO of Helios & Matheson Analytics (HMNY), which owns MoviePass.

    Farnsworth said just that on Tuesday while speaking at the entertainment media conference TheGrill in Los Angeles.  

    According to The Wrap, which puts on the event, Farnsworth insisted that the company is not going bankrupt and stated that it raised $65 million in new funding last month. 

    Business Insider contacted HMNY to get more specifics on the funding, but the company declined to comment. 

    Farnsworth said MoviePass has controlled its spending since August, when it switched to a three-movie-per-month plan for $9.95. 

    “People are going to less than one movie a month,” Farnsworth said at the event. "So technically subscription alone right now is doing just fine, now it’s tacking on all the other things on top of it.”

    Farnsworth is referring to the acquisition side of the company, like its recent co-acquisition of Neon titles "Monsters and Men" and "Border" through MoviePass films.

    However, the threat of HMNY being delisted from the NASDAQ is still looming over the company, as its stock is currently at $0.01. If it continues to trade below $1 by mid-December, the process of delisting will begin. 

    On October 18, HMNY will hold a special meeting with stockholders to approve an amendment for a one-time reverse stock split of up to 1-for-500 shares. 

    SEE ALSO: 8 movies coming to Netflix in October that are worth watching

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    Laurene Powell Jobs

    • Laurene Powell Jobs is the wife of the Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
    • She has become a powerful investor and has a net worth of $21.3 billion, according to Forbes.
    • Some of her projects include helming environmental committees and acquiring a majority stake in an influential US magazine.

    Laurene Powell Jobs has become an influential and formidable presence in the investing world.

    And she ranks among the richest women in the world, with a net worth of $21.3 billion, according to Forbes.

    Upon her husband's death in 2011, Powell Jobs inherited his fortune — primarily shares of Apple and Disney.

    Here's a look at the life of the businesswoman and philanthropist:

    SEE ALSO: Former Apple CEO John Sculley explains why Steve Jobs was an amazing recruiter

    DON'T MISS: Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos' mentor used a simple test to figure out who is a true leader

    READ MORE: Former Apple CEO John Sculley explains why Steve Jobs was an amazing recruiter

    Laurene Powell Jobs was born in West Milford, New Jersey, in 1963.

    Source: Vogue



    Her father, a pilot, died in a plane collision when she was 3 years old, and her mother later remarried.

    Source: Vogue



    Powell Jobs double-majored in political science and economics at the University of Pennsylvania, later heading west to Stanford University for an MBA.

    Source: New York Times, Stanford



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    Christine Blasey Ford

    • Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is questioning Christine Blasey Ford's truthfulness regarding allegations Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. 
    • An ex-boyfriend of Ford, whose identity remains anonymous, provided a written statement that seemingly contradicts claims she made while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. 
    • Grassley sent a letter to Ford's lawyers demanding they provide key materials.
    • Ford's legal team says she stands by her testimony. 

    Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley questioned California professor Christine Blasey Ford's truthfulness after an ex-boyfriend provided a written declaration that in part contradicts claims she made before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, according to a Fox News report

    The statement, which redacts the ex-boyfriend's name, claims Ford once helped a friend, Monica McLean, prepare for a polygraph examination.

    During her testimony last Thursday, Ford said she "never" had "any discussions with anyone ... on how to take a polygraph" or "given any tips or advice to anyone who was looking to take a polygraph test."

    The ex-boyfriend in his statement also claimed Ford never mentioned Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who Ford claims sexually assaulted her at a high school party when they were teenagers. Additionally, Ford's ex-boyfriend said she never claimed to be a victim of sexual misconduct. 

    The statement also says Ford never mentioned a fear of flying and claims she had no problem living in a small apartment at one point in Washington, DC.

    During her testimony in the capital, Ford said she'd originally hoped to be questioned in California given her anxiety surrounding air travel, but also acknowledged she's often traveled via plane for work and pleasure. She also claimed the alleged assault involving Kavanaugh led her to fear confined spaces. 

    As a result of the ex-boyfriend's statement, Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Ford's legal team demanding it turn over materials that would corroborate her allegations, including therapist notes from 2012 during a session in which Ford discussed the alleged assault. 

    "Your continued withholding of material evidence despite multiple requests is unacceptable as the Senate exercises its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent for a judicial nomination," Grassley wrote in the letter, which was sent Tuesday evening. 

    A member of Ford's legal team told Business Insider on Wednesday morning that she "stands by her testimony."

    Her legal team also provided a statement from McLean, who rejected the claim that Ford once helped her prepare for a polygraph.

    "I have NEVER had Christine Blasey Ford, or anybody else, prepare me, or provide any other type of assistance whatsoever in connection with any polygraph exam I have taken at anytime," McLean said. 

    Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh's nomination this week. The FBI is continuing its background investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

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