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The latest news from Life

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    Nicole Wegman Ring concierge

    • Nicole Wegman started Ring Concierge, a fine jewelry business specializing in bespoke engagement rings, in 2013 by posting and selling diamonds on Instagram.
    • The biggest misconception Wegman sees when people buy diamonds is understanding the four C's: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. She said most people want a colorless diamond without inclusions.
    • Wegman likes to suggest prioritizing carat weight in the budget over color and clarity.

    There's a lot to consider when buying an engagement ring. That's part of the reason Nicole Wegman started Ring Concierge on Instagram in 2013 — to create bespoke engagement rings for women, by women. 

    Now, Wegman and her NYC-based team of six sell hundreds of engagement rings a year. The fin-jewelry business specializes in custom engagement rings that start at $10,000 and can go into the six figures. For comparison, the average cost of an engagement ring in the US is $6,000, Wegman told Business Insider. 

    Wegman said the biggest decision behind each ring is, unsurprisingly, the diamond itself — but that people come in with certain misconceptions, too.

    "The biggest misconception is, people will come in and say, 'I did research online and I read about the four C's and I think I need to have a colorless diamond with barely any inclusion,'" Wegman said.

    Read more:Millennial attitudes are forcing a massive change in the diamond industry

    The four C's refer to a diamond's cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. Diamond clarity reflects a lack of blemishes or inclusions, which many stones naturally have. The GIA International Diamond Grading System assigns grades that range from flawless to obvious inclusions, which affects the stone's value.

    "In reality, I always suggest dropping lower in color and clarity and allocating a bit more of the budget toward carat weight," she continued.  

    Good vibes only 💎👁

    A post shared by #Diamonds #Jewelry (@ringconcierge) on Aug 19, 2018 at 6:15pm PDT on

    Part of the Ring Concierge experience is a one-on-one meeting with Wegman and her team, whether that is in person or remotely. Wegman sees clients that come in and request a specific grade of diamond with a set budget. But when they try on the diamond they think they want, she said they are often times underwhelmed.

    "They say 'this isn't as big as I thought it was going to be.' And I'm like, 'you know what, for the same price you can get a three-carat diamond if you're just a little more flexible with color and clarity,'" Wegman said. 

    Creating a ring that suits the client's tastes — and their lifestyle

    Once a diamond is chosen, Wegman works with clients to understand how the ring will be worn to create a setting that is fashionable, durable, and timeless — but also lifestyle-appropriate.

    "Let's say they want the thinnest possible ring covered in diamonds ... but they have three kids, they go to the gym every day, and they never take their ring off. That's probably not the best decision," Wegman said. "That's too delicate a ring for your lifestyle. So, we'll think of ways to get them that look they want, but cater towards the way they are going to be wearing it."

    Wegman added: "We like to get clients the most bang for their buck without sacrificing the look of the ring. So, we like to find ways to drop down on the paperwork a little bit, not have it impact the diamond visually, and then just get them a large carat weight — which, ultimately, the women want."

    SEE ALSO: Meet the Clear Cut, a couple who's selling thousands of dollars worth of diamonds through their Instagram DMs

    DON'T MISS: There are over a quadrillion tons of diamonds lurking 100 miles below the Earth's surface, according to scientists

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How to tell if a diamond is real or fake


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    trump xi jinping

    • At a dinner Saturday, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day delay of any new tariffs.
    • It marked the most substantial progress toward ending the US-China trade war.
    • The deal was cheered by US business groups and preceded a jump in stocks Monday.
    • But the two sides remain far apart on a final deal, and there are substantial differences between the Trump administration's and Beijing's outlooks.
    • According to analysts, it is unlikely that a broader deal is reached in 90 days, and the possibility for an escalation of the trade war remains.

    The US and China on Saturday took their most significant step yet toward ending their trade war, as US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a temporary economic cease-fire.

    • The deal reached at the G20 summit in Argentina includes a 90-day delay in the imposition of new tariffs.
    • The US also agreed to hold off on increasing the tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.
    • China agreed to purchase US agricultural and energy goods, and the two sides said they would work to resolve differences on key structural issues such as China's theft of US intellectual property.

    Trump touted the agreement with Xi on Twitter, calling it a good deal for American farmers and businesses.

    "My meeting in Argentina with President Xi of China was an extraordinary one," Trump tweeted. "Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward! Very good things will happen. We are dealing from great strength, but China likewise has much to gain if and when a deal is completed. Level the field!"

    A welcome reprieve

    While there are plenty of issues still left to resolve in the longer term, the delay in further tariff actions was applauded by US business groups and investors.

    "It is clear the administration has heard the voices of those negatively impacted by existing tariffs," Matthew Shay, the CEO of the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. "We hope this 90-day tariff pause will lead to a positive resolution that removes tariffs altogether and improves US-China trade relations."

    Other industry groups hit by the tariffs, ranging from tech to farming, also welcomed Trump's deal. But many urged the president to continue to try to reach a long-term agreement to end the trade war.

    The markets also gave the delay a thumbs-up, with stocks in both China and the US making solid gains on Monday.

    Opposing views of the same meeting

    But the meeting leaves many questions unanswered. Among those questions is what exactly was agreed to in Saturday's meeting.

    The statements from the Trump administration and Beijing following the dinner offer substantially different interpretations of what the two sides agreed to, which raises questions over how sustainable the cease-fire will be:

    • For example, the official statement from China does not mention the 90-day deadline, and Chinese state media's references to the deadline attribute the idea to the White House.
    • There were also differences on China's preferences of US goods and on the timeline for a trade-deficit reduction.
    • Beijing did not mention Trump's Sunday-night declaration that China agreed to lower tariffs on American-made cars.

    Two economists at Citi, Li-Gang Liu and Xiaowen Jin, said the US was more focused on long-term changes to China's economic policies, while Beijing's statement kept its eye focused on shorter-term fixes that would reduce the US-China trade disparity.

    "Comparing the official statements, we find that the US stresses more on China's structural reform issues on forced technology transfer, IP protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, while China continues to highlight its willingness to increase imports from the US to reduce the trade imbalance as well as open its markets wider for foreign participation," the economists said.

    A short-term fix

    Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the short-term deal was a "face-saving measure that allowed both sides to come away with wins for their domestic audiences."

    "The agreement between Presidents Trump and Xi at the G20 is a deferment of disaster rather than a fundamental rebuilding of the trading relationship between the US and China," Shepherdson said.

    Given the substantial number of issues still left to be resolved — from intellectual-property theft to Chinese support for state-controlled corporations — a 90-day window is far too short to reach a broad agreement, said Ed Mills, a policy analyst at Raymond James.

    "If we have not been able to reach an agreement in the last eight months that increases market access and lowers tariffs, it’s difficult to see a 90 day deadline significantly changing the Chinese position on key issues," Mills said.

    "Such differences are unsurprising after a brief dinner (with translation) where each side tends to see and hear what they want," added Chris Krueger, a strategist at Cowen Washington Research Group. "Still, all together, it is hard to imagine that a comprehensive agreement can be reached in 90 days that can be credible, monitored, and enforced."

    This could lead to another punt, similar to Trump's delays on imposing the steel and aluminum tariffs on allies, Krueger said. But even that may not be enough time to get a long-lasting deal together.

    Negotiations are set to kick off in mid-December, when Chinese officials come to the US to meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. But while the discussions are encouraging, there is a real chance the tariffs on the $200 billion worth of goods get a boost to 25% come March.

    "President Trump is now directly involved in the dealmaking process, increasing the sensitivity around the final outcome," Mills said. "We see it as somewhat to very likely given these dynamics that negotiations begin to fray and the threat of a tariff hike to 25% with an additional tariff package as further leverage reenter market considerations."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The Obamas are worth $40 million — here's how they make and spend their money


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    Bill Gates playing bridge

    • Having a hobby is important to recharge and relax away from work — even the world's most successful people have hobbies.
    • Hobbies can make you even more successful by helping you develop additional skills.
    • From Bill Gates' affinity for bridge and Richard Branson's preference for chess to Michelle Obama's love for running and Kate Middleton's taking up coloring, here are the habits of 21 highly successful people.

    The most successful people know there is more to life than simply eating, sleeping, and working.

    Everyone needs to enjoy some downtime every now and then, and making the most of your free time by taking up a hobby can even help make you more successful.

    Playing a musical instrument, for example, can stimulate your creativity, analytical skills, and fine motor skills. Reading can boost different types of intelligence and exercising can help with mental acuity.

    Warren Buffett plays the ukulele while other take up different creative hobbies, like George W. Bush's affinity for painting and Marissa Mayer's preference for baking. Others enjoy hobbies that require more thinking and strategy: Richard Branson plays chess, Bill Gates plays bridge, and Condoleeza Rice plays golf.

    For a little inspiration, here are the hobbies of 21 highly successful people:

    SEE ALSO: 15 high-paying side jobs that will put your hobbies to good use

    DON'T MISS Super-successful people like Warren Buffett and Marissa Mayer swear by their hobbies, so I spent a month trying to find one of my own

    Richard Branson plays chess

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    Branson is well-known for his adventurous side, and you've likely seen many a photo of the Virgin Group founder kitesurfing and hanging out on the high seas. But perhaps his favorite hobby is far more of a mental activity.

    "I think chess may just be the best game in the world," he writes on Virgin's blog. "It combines the greatest aspects of many different sports — tactics, planning, bravery, and risk-taking — plus you can have a cup of tea and often a stimulating conversation while you play!"

    Branson says he's likely played thousands of games in his lifetime, and he tells The Telegraph afternoons on Necker Island are always spent on the beach, oftentimes playing chess with his kids.



    Jack Dorsey hikes

    In 2011, when Dorsey was running Twitter and Square full-time for the first time, the cofounder told the audience at Techonomy 2011 that, to get it all done, he gave each day a theme. This allowed him to quickly recall and refocus on the day's task once distractions were out of the way.

    Dorsey said he would dedicate his Saturdays to hiking.



    Meryl Streep knits

    The award-winning actress says she loves to knit, and she's even said to have hand-knitted the shawl she wore in the movie "Doubt."

    Streep admits that she spends much of her time on set knitting and finds the hobby to be therapeutic: "For me it was a place to gather my thoughts and understand the contemplative (life) ... it's a sort of clearing out place."

    In fact, tons of celebrities, especially actors who have plenty of time to kill on set between takes, love to spend their free time knitting. The list includes Julia Roberts, Ryan Gosling, and Christina Hendricks.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Scotch Porter

    Holiday shopping for men — whether it be your dad, sibling, or significant other — can sometimes feel futile. His list is short, and so is your patience when it comes to gift hunting.

    Instead of buying him another tie or a pair of socks that he doesn't need, we recommend going with a quality grooming gift instead.

    Since every man does some form of grooming on a regular basis, these are gifts he'll get to appreciate year-round. Shaving kits, razors, body washes, facial cleansers, and colognes are just some of the many products guys use to stay looking, feeling, and smelling their best — and these are the best ones to gift this holiday season.

    Still shopping for more gifts? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.


    A high-end electric shaver

    Braun Series 7 Electric Shaver and Trimmer, $169.94 (Originally $289.99) [You save $120.05]

    The Braun Series 7 uses Sonic and AutoSense Technology to read their beard's thickness and adjust the power of the shaver's motor to deliver a close shave with just one stroke. By figuring out the optimal shave settings on its own, they'll never experience another bad shave again. In addition to being a highly effective and precise shaver, it's self-cleaning and lubricating.

    Check out my full review of the Braun Series 7 Shaver here.



    A durable Dopp kit from Patagonia

    Patagonia Black Hole Small Cube, $29, available in eight colors

    Although it can be used to store a number of small items, the Patagonia Black Hole Cube is the ideal size for a traveling Dopp Kit — and it's super durable. 



    An electric toothbrush

    Goby Brush Kit, $50, available at Goby

    Most people don't swap out their toothbrush as often as they should simply because they forget to do so. With the Goby Brush Kit, they'll never have to worry about using an old toothbrush. For just $50, the kit includes a state-of-the-art of the art oscillating toothbrush, a hygienic stand, USB charger and a monthly subscription for brush heads. 

    Read our full review of the Goby toothbrush here.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Knickerbocker Hotel

    • The Knickerbocker Hotel was built in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV in 1906, who died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. It sits on the corner of 42nd street and Broadway.
    • After closing its doors in 1921, the hotel reopened in 2015 and began hosting luxury New Year's Eve rooftop parties, just 150 feet from the ball drop in Times Square. 
    • You can enjoy the exclusive party with three experiences ranging from $4,335 to $125,000. 
    • Each package includes two tickets, a minimum two-night stay at the hotel, access to a buffet and top-shelf open bar, and live entertainment, among other perks.

    An estimated one million people crowd into sectioned-off quarters of Times Square every year to see the famous countdown and ball drop on New Year's Eve.

    But that's not the only way to enjoy the celebratory night in person. You can experience an exclusive party at The Knickerbocker Hotel's St. Cloud rooftop, just 150 feet from the ball drop — if you're willing to pay at least $4,335.

    The hotel sits on the corner of 42nd street and Broadway, giving guests the Times Square experience without the crowded streets. The site was built in 1906 by Jacob Astor IV, whose family line is also responsible for several other properties in New York City, including the St. Regis Hotel

    The Knickerbocker Hotel claims several historical moments happened within its walls, including the creation of the first-ever martini and the debut of the red velvet rope to help control dinner crowds.

    But one of its most luxurious creations is an exclusive rooftop experience to ring in the new year. Check out what up to $125,000 could buy you on New Year's Eve at the historic hotel. 

    SEE ALSO: 30 highly successful people share their New Year's resolutions for 2018

    DON'T MISS: The 27 best under-the-radar places to spend New Year's Eve, according to the world's leading travel experts

    You can enjoy New Year's Eve 150 feet away from the iconic ball drop atop The Knickerbocker Hotel with a choice of three experiences: Gold, Platinum, or VIP box seats.

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    Source: The Knickerbocker Hotel



    Each package includes two tickets, a minimum two-night stay at the hotel, access to the St. Cloud rooftop, hors d'oeuvres, buffet, top-shelf open bar, live entertainment, party favors (including hand warmers) and a champagne toast at midnight.

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    Source: The Knickerbocker Hotel



    Here's what it looked like last year...

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    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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     The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    cole haan zerogrand hiker boot

    • For all your comfortable and stylish shoe needs, look no further than Cole Haan
    • Its ZERØGRAND All-Terrain Waterproof Hiker Boot ($199.95-$270) for women is what I plan to wear when the worst of winter arrives. Check out the men's pairs here.
    • Rugged yet fashionable, it can handle all types of outdoor conditions and looks good doing so, all the while supporting your feet with its cushioned ZERØGRAND construction. 

    From running sneakers to dress shoes and dressy booties, we've confirmed time and again that Cole Haan is the master of mixing comfort and style. Now, I can confidently add hiker boots to this unofficial hall of fame.

    New York's endless winter last year taught this wide-eyed LA native that sturdy snow boots (and an ultra-warm jacket) are a necessity, not a friendly suggestion. With Cole Haan's ZERØGRAND All-Terrain Waterproof Hiker Boot in my possession, I actually feel adequately prepared — even, dare I say, excited — for all the whims of winter weather this year. 

    cole haan hiker boot

    Read more: Everlane's cashmere sweater is the backbone of my winter wardrobe — and it's only $100

    On the style front, they're sleek yet cozy, pairing a cool crocodile-embossed leather and gold hardware with soft wool detailing and ice skate-style lacing. Other varieties of this boot feature nubuck uppers, silver hardware, and herringbone or plaid wool. 

    What brings the fashionable boot to the next level, however, are features both visible and invisible to the naked eye. The exterior, save for the wool detailing, is waterproof, and the base of the shoe is wrapped in a stiff patent panel that invites you not to dip tentatively, but jump fully into puddles and snowbanks. Even though it's white, a shoe color I usually don't wear since it's hard to keep clean, it's really easy to wipe down once I get indoors. 

    The grooves of the outsole let you navigate concrete and cobblestone streets just as securely as dirt and rocky terrains. This rubber outsole also contains Cole Haan's signature Grand.ØS tech, a flexible and cushioned energy foam that supports foot movements and gives you an extra bounce in each step. Thanks to this thick, supportive, and textured foundation, I know I won't risk slipping and falling like I did during winter days past. 

    On the inside, there's a slightly padded sock lining that stays put throughout the day. You're better off wearing regular socks since this lining molds closely to your foot and keeps it warm, so if you like wearing thick socks in the winter, I would recommend sizing up. To help your foot slide in and in case you need to adjust the fit, there are convenient pull tabs at the heel of the boot. 

    cole haan hiker boot 2

    The versatile boot comes in three styles:

    The one I own is the Limited Edition version, so unfortunately not many sizes are available anymore. If you're interested in this pair, it's better to act quickly. But the other styles are also cute and have the same comfort and fit highlights that I mentioned above. 

    I've worn these boots during a few nasty storms now, and I can't wait to put them through their paces for the remainder of the season. Though they're pricey, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more stylish iteration of a classic hiker boot. 

    Shop the ZERØGRAND All-Terrain Waterproof Hiker Boot at Cole Haan:

    Women's: $199.95-$270

    Men's: $239.95-$300

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    aerial dubai india, Palm Jumeirah

    • Dubai has the world's largest artificial island, Palm Jumeirah, which is shaped like a palm tree and adds close to 50 miles to the city's coastline.
    • The island is packed with luxury hotels, beachfront villas, and apartment buildings. I stayed at one such hotel on a recent visit to Dubai.
    • While I had seen many aerial photos of the island prior to visiting, they don't do justice to just how impressive and absurd a development Palm Jumeirah is. 
    • The island is core to Dubai's strategy to become the top tourist destination in the world, but critics say construction has done severe environmental damage.

    Dubai is jam-packed with things that designed to be the biggest and most extravagant of the world  — the tallest building, the second-biggest mall, the most luxurious hotel, and so on.

    Perhaps no other project in the budding city more epitomizes this quest for absurd grandeur than the Palm Islands, an archipelago of artificial islands that extend off the Dubai coastline like the lair of a movie super-villain who just happens to really like the tropics.

    When reading about Dubai over the years, the Palm Islands were inevitably one of the first things I learned about. They are so ridiculous an endeavor, so stereotypically what one might expect people with limitless money to do, that it defies comprehension. But they are there, and they are real, as I discovered on a recent trip to Dubai.

    Due to an oversupply of hotels in Dubai right now, rooms at five-star hotels can be had for very cheap. So, on a recent trip, I booked a room for $180 at Dukes Dubai, a swanky beachfront hotel on Palm Jumeirah, the first completed palm island of three planned and the largest artificial island in the world. Construction began on the the other two, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira, over a decade ago but is now on hold.

    Read More:If you've ever wanted to visit Dubai, there's likely never been a better time than right now. Here's why.

    I'll be honest: I'm not usually impressed by things made big and extravagant for the sake of it. But, there's something impossible to deny about the hubris behind the Palm Jumeirah and, when you see it in person, it sticks with you, for better or for worse.

    Most of the images of I've seen of the island are taken aerially or from space, so as show off the incredible detail of the palm-like structure. Those views don't do justice to the scale of the enterprise.

    It hit me when I looked out of the window from my room at Dukes Dubai, which sits on the trunk of the island. Here's what it looked like:

    DSCF3019.JPG

    In person and up close, you can still see the palm tree-structure. It is jarring how unnatural it looks. The first time I saw it,  I did a double take. 

    Construction on the Palm Jumeirah began in 2001. It was constructed through a process of dredging up 3,257,212,970.389 cubic feet of sand from the Persian Gulf and then spraying it into place, adding nearly 50 miles to Dubai's coastline. GPS satellites were used to ensure the accuracy of the where the sand was sprayed to create the palm tree shape.

    It is undeniably a monumental feat of engineering and modern technology.

    Hotels line the trunk of the palm tree, while villas and homes sit on the sixteen fronds of the island. The first homes were handed over in 2006 and, at this point, the island is packed with hotels, apartment buildings, and construction. Nakheel, the government-owned developer behind the project, expects 120,000 residents and workers and 20,000 tourists on the island when it's all said and done.

    All of that comes at an environmental price. Despite Nakheel's attempts to mitigate environmental damage, some researchers believe the construction of the islands has had drastic changes on local marine flora and fauna, coastal erosion, and wave patterns. Greenpeace called the islands a “visual scar,” clouding the once clear Arabian gulf with silt and burying coral reefs. In 2006, the World Wildlife Fund declared that the U.A.E. 's ecological footprint was the “highest in the world.”

    DubaiPalmIslandIn 2009, the New York Times reported that NASA satellites had found that the Palm Jumeirah island was sinking at a rate of 0.20 inches per year, a claim that Nakheel denies is true. The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi found that under its most severe climate change scenario, nearly all of Dubai, including the Palm Islands, would be underwater due to rising sea levels.

    But all of that is in the future. For now, Dubai is focused on its aim to be the most popular tourist destination in the world by 2025.

    Already, it is the fourth-most visited city in the world, with a projected 16.7 million visitors this year, according to Mastercard's Global Destination Cities Index.

    The Palm Jumeirah is a big part of the strategy to get there. One look at the structure, which is loaded with beachfront hotels from major brands like Atlantis, St. Regis, Sofitel, Langham, W, and Waldorf-Astoria makes clear why.

    SEE ALSO: If you've ever wanted to visit Dubai, there's likely never been a better time than right now. Here's why.

    DON'T MISS: Dubai has more than 65 malls in a city of 3 million people, and it's not because they're obsessed with shopping

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These smart palm trees in Dubai can charge your phone and provide free Wi-Fi


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    woman laptop online banking

    • A recent study by Goldman Sachs found that 60% of survey participants didn't know the annual percentage yield (APY) on their savings accounts.
    • Here, author Gina Ciliberto describes how finding a savings account with a better interest rate can be just a quick search away.

    In an effort to teach me the importance of saving money, my mom started a savings account for me when I was six years old.

    As a child, I remember filling out paper deposit slips, diligently writing each digit of what seemed like an impossibly long bank account number. When I visited a physical location, the teller thanked me for being a loyal Wells Fargo customer for one, then two, decades. My banking routine had a sentimental aspect to it.

    There was only one problem: The interest rate on my savings account was 0.01%. As I gained pennies on my money each year, I knew that maintaining the account wasn't practical. A quick Google search revealed a slew of savings accounts that offer over a 2.0% annual percentage yield (APY), sometimes as high as 2.25%.

    Of course, even a relatively high interest rate of 2% on a savings account won't beat inflation, and I realize the importance of investing money for the future outside of savings accounts. But, if you're putting money into a savings account, getting the best possible interest rate is a place to start.

    The importance of APY

    It turns out, I'm not alone in my lack of education around the importance of APY for savings accounts.

    In March 2018, Marcus by Goldman Sachs took to the streets of New York City to ask 1,053 randomly selected interviewees about their banking practices. They learned that nearly 60% of participants didn't know the APY on their savings account. Over 50% of participants had opened accounts without looking at any other options.

    As Dustin Cohn, head of brand and marketing communications at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, told Business Insider: "The national average APY is 0.35% on savings accounts, but even that is higher than what average consumers are getting."

    Gobankingrates.com lists the national average APY as even lower, a meager 0.08%. In fact, many people in the Goldman Sachs study had their money in accounts with a 0.1% APY, or lower, Cohn noted.

    Goldman Sachs calculated how much a general lack of awareness around savings account APY costs Americans each year, considering that people can get a 2% or higher APY, but only earn 0.35% on average. The result: Americans are missing out on $25 billion per year.

    Read more: 12 clever ways to save money every day, according to financial experts

    "Americans are not taking advantage of the chance to maximize their savings," Marcos Rosenberg, head of US deposits at Marcus, told Business Insider. "By not exploring better savings account options, they are essentially stuffing money under their mattresses instead of switching to a bank partner that helps them increase the value of their hard-earned money."

    Americans' lack of savings

    For Georgia Lee Hussey, a certified financial planner and founder and CEO of Modernist Financial, this lack of awareness is not surprising. She said that it's common for people to not consider the impact of their banking structures on their financial situation. The real culprit here, she said, is a general lack of maintenance in one's financial life.

    "It's best practice to evaluate where you're banking and what you're getting from your accounts every couple of years," Hussey said.

    Perhaps one reason Americans don't seem to research their savings accounts is that many don't put much money in savings accounts in the first place. Goldman's March 2018 study also revealed that 56.13% of Americans currently have less than $5,000 in a savings account. This month, Smart Asset reported that the average American under 35 years old has $1,580 in savings. Americans aged 35 to 44 have $5,000.

    Hussey is an advocate of having multiple savings accounts: one emergency fund with three-to-six-months (freelancers, independent contractors, and people who own a business should have at least six months) of cost of living expenses, and others with specific short-term savings goals like an upcoming vacation, new car, education, or wedding. Beyond an emergency fund and specific, goal-oriented savings, money should be invested, Hussey said.

    Read more: 13 people reveal how much money they've made from their side hustles

    Finding the right bank

    Hussey encourages clients to fully research where they're putting their money, and to become informed on everything from hidden fees to corporate values. She urges clients to consider credit unions or Benefit Corporation banks that often offer high APY and match customers' values.

    "The question is whether your bank is going to operate in your best interest," Hussey said. "Banks with Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) investments put some portion of their deposits toward helping the folks who are typically not served by the financial industry. I also encourage clients to research how many of their bank's loans go to local businesses. A big bank can say they do these things, but it's such a tiny percentage of their portfolio that it's not meaningful."

    Regardless of how much money you have in your savings account, there's no reason not to maximize your returns. Savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, and investments can all be opened online, many of them through mobile apps.

    As Cohn put it: "You can sit on your couch and have a better savings account in five minutes."

    He's right: finding higher interest rates doesn't have to be laborious. After a few minutes of Google searches, I found an account that was a better fit for me. Now, I'm a brand-new customer at a different bank, and my interest rate is, happily, over 2%.

    "People work hard for their money," Cohn added. "Their money should work hard for them."

    SEE ALSO: After retiring from tech in my 30s, I travel the world with my family on $65,000 a year — here's what we spend in a typical week

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    mandy ginsberg match group ceo ignition 2018

    • Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg was interviewed Monday at Business Insider's IGNITION 2018, where she discussed the changing scene of online dating and the tech industry's "bro culture."
    • Companies under Match Group include Tinder, Hinge, and Plenty of Fish, online dating platforms that Ginsberg said are helping the company transform dating.
    • Ginsberg has taken steps within her own company to ensure she's treating women equally to men in the male-dominated tech industry.

    Just a few days into Mandy Ginsberg's new role as CEO of Match Group, she already found herself embroiled in an ongoing bitter legal fight with Bumble that had the companies fighting for control of the online dating scene.

    It's been almost a year since Ginsberg took control of Match Group's collection of online dating platforms, but the lawsuits are ongoing. At Business Insider's IGNITION 2018 conference on Monday, Ginsberg said that the online dating industry is "fiercely competitive," but has been by Match Group-owned Tinder.

    "Tinder really was a category changer ... people in their 20s really never used dating apps until Tinder," Ginsberg said on stage. "We have to protect our innovations."

    Match Group sued Bumble back in July for infringing on its patented "swiping" motion that has become an essential and widespread feature of dating apps. The two companies are fierce rivals— Bumble's co-founders were former Tinder employees, and multiple lawsuits have been exchanged back and forth.

    Nevertheless, Match Group is the biggest player in the online dating sector, and is expected to bring in $1.7 billion this year thanks to its lineup of dating apps that include Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Match.com. Tinder on its own has an estimated 50 million users, which bests Bumble's 37 million customers.

    Tinder has grown to include more than 300 employees working on solely on the app, Ginsberg said Monday. Match Group as a whole has more than 1,000 employees, a large workforce in which Ginsberg has advocated gender equality and representation. Ginsberg shared on Monday that she recently ordered an audit of Match Group to ensure male and female employees were being paid equally for the same work.

    Read more: Match Group's CEO audited the company's payroll to make sure she was paying women equally and was surprised at the results

    "You have to think about how women are taken care of," Ginsberg said. "There's a lot of work we have to do as a company and as an industry to make sure people in underrepresented communities are being represented." 

    Although the auditors found her employees were paid equally across the gender binary, Ginsberg says the company "can still do better." With 40 percent female employees, Match Group's gender breakdown is significantly better than the norm across the tech workforce, but not yet in line with the general population's gender breakdown.

    While some company CEO's may shy away from making significant internal changes so quickly, Ginsberg says she's not afraid of Match Group becoming a "disrupter" in the industry. Changing the "bro culture" in tech, Ginsberg said, could "change the whole landscape."

    SEE ALSO: I spent a day in Crystal City, Virginia — and it's easy to see why Amazon picked it for its new HQ2 headquarters

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    Hinge Cover Photo

    • The dating app Hinge has a ton of data about its most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes living across the US.
    • The company chose 10 people from 10 major cities across the United States to make its list of 100 most eligible singles in 2018.

    It's almost the end of 2018 — but there's still time to meet that special someone.

    The dating app Hinge, which launched a new app in fall 2016 to help people find relationships, has a ton of data about its most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes living across the US. And earlier this year, Hinge published its list of the 100 most eligible singles in 2018 across the US.

    Hinge chose 10 people from 10 cities for this list: New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Hinge also included a public nomination from Hinge users as a bonus. Take a look.

    SEE ALSO: The 20 most eligible doctors and medical professionals in New York City, according to dating app Hinge



    10. Kenny Hearn

    Work: Developer at SNOWE

    Education: University of Tennessee

    City: New York City

    Interested in: Women

    Friends on Hinge: 34

    Here’s his Hinge profile



    9. Katie Severance

    Education: Boston College

    City: New York City

    Interested in: Men

    Friends on Hinge: 125

    Here’s her Hinge profile



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Aaron Samuels Blavity

    • Aaron Samuels is cofounder and chief operating officer of Blavity, the LA media upstart focused on Black millennials, and he is a man of many talents.
    • The Stanford business school grad oversees a team of 48 full-time employees, with a vision to perfect the storytelling art for a generation of people underserved by the current mass-media landscape.
    • Samuels' early years as an artist and poet helped shape that focus, and he believes that by owning your own narrative you can reshape the way you live in the world.
    • With the help of Samuels' cofounders, Blavity is emerging as a media juggernaut, a little more than four years after its founding.

    "When you tell your own story, it changes the way other people see you, and it changes the way you see yourself," Aaron Samuels, cofounder and chief operating officer of Blavity, a digital-news publication geared toward Black millennials told Business Insider.

    Blavity has been a hot topic in the media world since it closed a $6.5 million Series A round with Google Ventures in July, bringing its total venture investment so far to $8.5 million. That's an almost of unheard-of amount of money for an early-stage, Black-owned startup, much less a new digital publication — especially one with a young, Black, female CEO, Morgan DeBaun, Samuels' cofounder.

    But it is clearly doing something right. Blavity has only been in business for four years, and it already has seven million readers per month.

    And much of that success is anchored in Samuels' personal mission for the company.

    Come see Aaron Samuels speak at Business Insider's Ignition conference, December 3 & 4 in New York.

    He believes that by creating a company — and a community — that lets Black millennials "really control their own narratives" in ways that mainstream media doesn't understand, "we could change the way people see themselves."

    Aaron Samuels BlavityBlavity was founded in 2014, but you could trace its roots back to Samuels' teenage years, when he discovered the power of storytelling through poetry, and later, on the Washington University campus in St. Louis, Missouri, where Samuels and his friends — DeBaun, Jonathan Jackson, and Jeff Nelson — experienced firsthand the phenomenon that would eventually define Blavity's core ethos.

    Samuels calls it "Black gravity," a microcosm of Black people who would move toward each other in public spaces. At the campus in St. Louis, the lunch table was a central meeting place.

    "The Black community at Washington University was really tight. Although Washington University was primarily a white institution, Black folks stuck together, we looked out for each other," Samuels told Business Insider in an interview at Blavity's downtown Los Angeles headquarters.

    "That experience represented support; it represented love, and trust," Samuels said. "It was a way for us to flourish and thrive, and also represented all the different kinds of Black conversations that were happening simultaneously."

    They talked about everything from politics to engineering homework to where the party was going to be on the weekend.

    But for Samuels, who grew up in a mixed-race, mixed-faith household in Providence, Rhode Island, with a Jewish mother and a Black father — both of whom are clinical psychologists — finding common ground is a practiced art.

    His parents taught him to identify with all corners of his cultural identity and to embrace and share it with others. And that ultimately helped him navigate a world where he often found himself in the minority.

    "I could see that learning how to own and tell my story can change the way that others see me, and more importantly change the way that I see myself," Samuels said.

    "I wanted to imagine what happens if we do this on a community level, if everyone who I'm friends with is also owning their own stories and their own narrative," he said.

    Aaron Samuels Blavity

    Living at the office, literally

    His Washington University friends would eventually become his cofounders, but not right away. Immediately after they graduated, they went to work on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley.

    Samuels worked as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company in New York, DeBaun became a product manager at Intuit, Nelson was an early engineer at Palantir, and Jackson was a community manager at LinkedIn.

    Those roles taught them the necessary skills they would take to Blavity, but there was a downside.

    With social and political unrest brewing in places like Ferguson, Missouri, Samuels said he and his friends — who were, at the time, separated by distance and their careers — shared a less edifying experience than their happy college days.

    "This time, we didn't have that core Black gravity linking us together. The world was exploding. This is 2014; this is coming off the heels of the government execution of Troy Davis; this is after Trayvon Martin. And that was building up to 2014 when Mike Brown was killed," Samuels said.

    Ferguson protests"It was hard to be a Black person in primarily white spaces when so many things were happening," he said.

    On some days, Samuels recalled, he would walk into work, and it would feel like none of the political unrest he and other Black millennials saw as an existential threat was happening at all.

    So, he did what most Black millennials did at the time.

    "I was texting my friends and family, or I was going to social media to feel what needed to be felt, so that at least I knew I wasn't crazy to be like, sad, or upset, or angry, or frustrated."

    Samuels wasn't alone. That's when he, DeBaun, Jackson, and Nelson landed on an idea. They could take their combined experience in digital technology and business strategy, along with the creative people they knew who were sharing stories on social media, to replicate their college-years' feeling of Black gravity. And they could do that on a national level, he said.

    So, in July 2014, Blavity was born. Early on, it existed as a virtual company. The team worked via Slack, Asana, and Gmail. After a year and a half of bootstrapping, they opened their first office, inside a large live-work loft in LA's arts district — but the hustle continued.

    Samuels, DeBaun, and the team lived in that loft; they created separate micro-apartments inside — one for DeBaun and the other for Samuels — while the office occupied the rest of the space.

    "It doesn't get any closer than living, eating, and breathing your work," Samuels quipped.

    That early focus on elevating Black millennials in a digital media landscape where they were inadequately represented proved to be the right move.

    More than two years after Blavity's founding, an October 2016 Nielsen report illustrated just how effectively Black millennials, with their multibillion-dollar buying power and "undisputed cultural influence" was driving conversations online.

    Blavity team founders Aaron Samuels Morgan DeBaun Jonathan Jackson Jeff Nelson

    A game of endurance

    As if growing a startup with his best friends and living at the office with them weren't enough, Samuels was also attending Stanford business school and traveling.

    He calls his life a game of endurance.

    "It's a statement about the journeys that some entrepreneurs have to go through, that other entrepreneurs never have to go through," he said.

    Things changed after Blavity raised $1.86 million of seed-round funding in April 2017 from the Oakland, California-based New Media Ventures and LA-based Macro Ventures. The company has since gone on to raise $8.5 million total.

    Now the company has an office parked in a pristine high-rise in bustling downtown Los Angeles, where Samuels oversees 48 full-time employees, as well as a new office and staff in Atlanta.

    Samuels is excited about expansion but doesn't want to lose sight of the bigger mission: empowering a generation of leaders.

    Aaron Samuels Blavity AfroTech 2017"I’m really excited about the next phase for our company," Samuels said.

    "I'm also terrified. I think that it is difficult being a Black millennial in this country. That is something that has probably always been true for the entire history of this country. And I don’t think that it’s different now."

    Samuels recognizes the progress Black people have made in the world, but he warns against using that progress to justify that things still are not as they should be.

    He hopes that Blavity can lead the way in moving the cultural conversation forward. To Samuels, that conversation should include everyone, without neglecting Blavity's foundational principles.

    "I am hoping for more support from our current community to expand, to be welcoming, and to share in our collective excitement about the possibilities of what we can build together," he said.

    Find Aaron Samuels on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram @PoetryAaron.

    Hear more of Samuels' story, building a business as an artist and founder, and the future of Black digital media at IGNITION 2018.

    Register now »

    SEE ALSO: Announcing IGNITION 2018 speakers: Don't miss Mark Cuban, Sir Martin Sorrell, Danica Patrick, Troy Carter, and more!

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    NOW WATCH: Valedictorians rarely become rich and famous — here's why the average millionaire's college GPA is 2.9


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    vnyl membership

    Ideally, every gift you give would tick the boxes of thoughtful, unique, and custom-made. The recipient would feel that you had done your research, and that you had cared enough to spend the extra time required for something customized to ensure it would adequately represent them. It shows attention, care, and appreciation — most of what we're trying to communicate in our gift-giving, anyway.

    Below you'll find 20 personalized gifts that feel a bit more 'personal' than many others. You can pay homage to their interests (their dog, their college town, their sports team) at the same time you gift them something useful to enjoy. It's the best of both worlds, and a great gifting strategy. 

    Below are 20 personalized gifts that feel special and unique to give:

    Plan a trip for $25 per day that caters to their special interests

    Plan a personalized trip, available at Journy, from $25 per day

    Journy is an online concierge system that makes personalized travel itineraries — complete with booking hotels and making restaurant reservations — and takes your personal suggestions, preferences, and feedback into account. It takes an incredible amount of stress out of travel, and it allows you to enjoy the anticipation of a trip without missing out on adventures. Use it as the perfect way to surprise a loved one with a trip catered to things they love. Read more in-depth about the service here.



    A thoughtful map of their favorite place on earth

    Customized Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49

    Grafomap is a website that lets you design posters with maps of any place in the world. You can make one of their hometown, college town, or favorite travel destination — you're only limited by your imagination.



    A pillow that's a permanent reminder of their best friend

    Canvas Print Pillow, available at CanvasPop, from $30

    If they love their pet more than pretty much anything in the world, a pillow immortalizing them is a pretty thoughtful gift they're unlikely to already have. It's also bound to be good for some future entertainment. You can also get them a custom painting if that's more their style.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    amazon handmade gifts 21

    Unique gifts come in many forms: subscription boxes and services, products that give back, and something that comes from a brand they may not have heard of before. Handcrafted gifts carry a similar special weight to them, though coming up with one yourself isn't easy if you lack the creativity or hand-eye coordination required to make them. 

    Luckily, sites like Amazon Handmade or Etsy let you find thousands of talented artisans who can help you out, no matter what niche interest you're looking for.

    One downside of buying from these independent makers is that shipping and fulfillment processes can be inconsistent or slower than you'd like.

    That's why we really appreciate Amazon Handmade and its convenient shipping policies. More than 50,000 goods on Amazon Handmade are Prime-eligible, which means Prime members can enjoy reliable, free two-day shipping and avoid that terrible sinking feeling you get when you realize you've ordered your gifts too late.

    While we don't encourage procrastinating on your gift shopping, we'll at least grant you this safety net collection of 24 unique gifts that will arrive in two days. 

    A clever bookmark that will really catch their attention

    MyBookmark Wicked Witch Bookmark, $22.50, available at Amazon



    A cheese tray made from a melted-down wine bottle

    Mitchell Glassworks Cheese Tray, $28.95, available at Amazon

     



    A carefully crafted rattle and teething toy



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    larry kudlow trump

    • President Donald Trump's trade agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping was vague, and it led to confusion on Monday.
    • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters that a 90-day delay in the escalation would start on January 1, a month later than was initially assumed.
    • The White House scrambled to issue a correction, clarifying the 90-day delay actually started December 1.
    • The correction highlights the slapdash nature of the deal and the distance remaining between the two countries to resolve the trade war.

    The rushed, vague nature of President Donald Trump's trade agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping was on full display Monday, as the White House had to walk back a timing announcement by Trump's top economic adviser.

    As part of the deal reached by Trump and Xi during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Saturday, the US pledged to delay the increase of the tariff rate from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The rate was set to increase on January 1, a move that would have significantly escalated the ongoing trade war between the two countries. Instead that increase will be delayed 90 days.

    The countdown clock to the tariff increase was originally assumed to start on December 1, meaning new tariffs could be imposed starting on March 1. But Larry Kudlow, Trump's National Economic Council director and top economic adviser, threw that into question during a call with reporters on Monday.

    "Well, on the tariff raise, the President has said 90 days beginning January 1, which is when it was going to go — the 10 to 25 was going to go into effect," Kudlow said.

    This caught many people by surprise, evidently including the White House. News website Axios reported that officials inside the White House were taken aback by Kudlow's comment, leading to a correction by the White House just a few hours later. In an updated transcript of the call, the administration clarified that the 90-day delay would in fact start December 1.

    The switch on timing was just another in a string of slapdash efforts by the Trump administration to fill in the blanks on Trump and Xi's broad agreement.

    Read more:The US-China trade war might still rage on despite a breakthrough deal between Trump and Xi»

    The US and China kicked off the confusion when the two sides released very different statements about the meeting. Numerous items referenced in the US press release were omitted from the Chinese version and vice versa.

    Additionally, the statements came with few details, making it hard to determine each country's exact commitments. As an example, the Trump administration touted China's promise to buy American agricultural, energy, and industrial goods. However, China did not refer to the purchases, and the Trump administration offered no details on the size of the purchases or the timing of the deal.

    Adding to the confusion was Trump's sudden tweet on Sunday that said China "agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the US." Currently the rate on American-made cars coming into China is 40%.

    But it was unclear exactly what the timing on the auto-tariff reduction will be and the level to which the tariffs will drop.

    Kudlow said China will lower the rate to zero, below the 15% tariff rate for all other imported cars coming into the country. Lowering the rate for US cars would require China do the same for all other countries as well.

    SEE ALSO: The US-China trade war might still rage on despite a breakthrough deal between Trump and Xi

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    President Donald Trump at a rally in Washington, Michigan.

    • Democrats won upset gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin and Michigan last month, while Republicans managed to hold on to control of both chambers of the states' legislatures.
    • During the lame-duck session, Republican state lawmakers introduced legislation that would limit the power of the executive branch in both states. 
    • Democrats are outraged by the moves, calling them partisan power grabs. 

    Democrats won upset gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin and Michigan last month, while Republicans managed to hold on to control of both chambers of the states' legislatures. The GOP is now doing its best to strip power from the executive branches in both states before Democrats take office in January. 

    In Wisconsin, GOP leaders have introduced measures to limit Gov.-elect Tony Evers' control over the appointment of officials and the rule-making process, limit early voting, and move the 2020 presidential primary date in an apparent effort to help a Republican state Supreme Court candidate (which will cost the state $7 million), among other measures.

    Democrats are calling the moves anti-democratic.

    "The last election changed the state in a way that apparently the legislature has decided to not accept," Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, on Sunday. Days after his victory over Gov. Scott Walker (R), Evers called the GOP plans "desperate antics to cling to power and violate the checks and balances of Wisconsin government."

    The GOP is also pushing expansive legislation during the lame-duck session that would significantly undermine the power of Wisconsin's incoming Democratic attorney general. The proposal would allow lawmakers to hire a private attorney — at taxpayer expense — rather than relying on the attorney general to litigate certain cases; would give legislators final say in court settlements and how to spend that revenue; and would get rid of the solicitor general's office.

    The bill would also take control of state litigation — like Wisconsin's lawsuit challenging Obamacare — away from the governor and give it to lawmakers. 

    Read more: Outgoing GOP state legislatures are cramming through conservative laws before they lose power

    "This is an attempt to undermine the election we had less than a month ago by fundamentally changing the way our state government operates," Josh Kaul, the incoming attorney general, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday, adding that the measure is sure to end up in court if it's passed, although he didn't say who would bring the case. (At least one progressive legal group has already promised to challenge the law if it's passed). 

    And in Michigan, GOP lawmakers are rewriting laws that would have raised the minimum wage and mandated paid sick leave, and they are introducing measures to dilute the power of the three Democrats — all of them women — elected to statewide office. Democrats are particularly concerned about GOP measures to move oversight of campaign finance laws away from the secretary of state, and to allow state lawmakers authority over state legal matters traditionally left to the attorney general.

    Republicans say they're pushing the measures in order to create more balance in government.

    "Maybe we made some mistakes giving too much power to Gov. Walker and I'd be open to looking at that to see if there are areas we should change that," Assembly Speaker Robin Vostold reporters shortly after the midterm elections. 

    But Democrats are calling the moves clear partisan power grabs and say the GOP never would have pushed for them had their candidates won last month. 

    Former Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the actions in a Sunday tweet, calling them bad for democracy, and comparing them to Republican efforts to strip power from North Carolina's Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in 2016. 

     

    SEE ALSO: Outgoing GOP state legislatures are cramming through conservative laws before they lose power

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    NOW WATCH: Megyn Kelly in 2017: 'I regret a lot' of the controversial stuff I've said on live television


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    nieto trump trudeau

    • President Donald Trump said he would terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the coming days.
    • The move appears to be a ploy to force Congress to pass Trump's update to the NAFTA agreement, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
    • Both Democrats and Republicans have raised concerns with the USMCA.
    • But such a move would face legal challenges, and the likelihood of a NAFTA withdrawal is low.

    Facing the possibility of an arduous and difficult approval process for a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, President Donald Trump hinted he would attempt to force Congress' hand. 

    Trump on Saturday threatened to begin the formal process to pull the US out of the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a move that would be designed to give Congress little option but to approve the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

    "I'll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time. We get rid of NAFTA. It's been a disaster for the United States. It's caused us tremendous amounts of unemployment and loss and company loss and everything else," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. "That’ll be terminated. And so Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well."

    Trump formally signed the USMCA alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the G20 summit on Friday. In the wake of ceremonial signing, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed some misgivings about the USMCA.

    "I think President Trump's goal here was to light a fire under Congress," Larry Kudlow, Trump's chief economic adviser, told reporters on Monday.

    Congressional pushback

    Under the Trade Promotion Authority that Trump is using to advance the USMCA, only a majority of each chamber needs to vote for the deal for it to become law. But Democrats, especially those in the incoming House majority, have the chance to influence the deal through so-called implementation legislation that changes US law to abide by the trade deal's rules.

    Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said that the implementation legislation must include language that ensures some aspects of the agreement are stringently enforced.

    "Whatever they're calling it now, it has some kind of gobbledygook name. The trade agreement formerly known as Prince — no, I mean, formerly known as NAFTA , is a work in progress," Pelosi said at a press conference on Friday. "We are admiring of the Trade Representative and the attempts he has made to make sure that we are aware of what is in it. But what isn't in it yet is enough enforcement reassurances regarding provisions that relate to workers and to the environment."

    Read more:Trump just sealed the landmark trade deal with Mexico and Canada, but there's still a long road toward victory»

    Some Republicans have also raised concerns with the deal. In particular, a group of nearly 40 conservative members in the House pointed to language that would extend workplace protections to transgender workers, saying the USMCA is "no place for the adoption of social policy."

    Negotiators added a footnote to the USMCA prior that attempted to address the concerns, saying that current US law would satisfy the requirement. But some GOP members still balked at the language. Rep. Andy Harris, one of the Republicans who signed onto the letter, told Business Insider that his concerns remain.

    "Regardless of the footnote, I still have grave concerns about the inclusion of this language in the USMCA, as well as the precedent that the inclusion of this language in any trade agreement represent," Harris said in a statement.

    Given the possibility of Democratic defections, Trump needs almost every Republican vote for the deal to pass.

    A risky game of chicken

    Trump has decided to invoke a tricky tactic that could blow up in his face, analysts said.

    The leader of any NAFTA nation can invoke Article 2205 of the deal, which would start a six-month clock before the US could formally pull out of the deal. In the event that the US did pull out of NAFTA, tariff rates between the US and the other two members would revert to pre-NAFTA levels. The move would also likely have major economic repercussions and rattle global markets.

    "The basic idea/strategy: Do not give recalcitrant Democrats the choice between the status quo and USMCA," Chris Krueger, a strategist at Cowen Washington Research Group, wrote Monday. "It is USMCA or bedlam at the borders with a six-month NAFTA version of a hard Brexit."

    There are also legal questions about whether Trump can remove the US from NAFTA unilaterally. 

    "The President has the authority to terminate NAFTA, but it is unclear whether Congressional approval is needed, and regardless, would likely be fought in the courts," wrote Sacha Tihanyi and Brittany Baumann, strategists from TD Securities.

    Democrats have repeatedly insisted that any attempt to remove the US from NAFTA would require congressional approval. A report from the Congressional Research Service also appeared to back up that assertion.

    Tihanyi and Baumann suggested that the advanced stage of the ratification process and possible negatives of failing to ratify the USMCA likely neuter Trump's threat.

    "Termination risks are less meaningful at this stage," the pair said. "The agreement is signed, and the big changes in USMCA, particularly rules of origin and wage clauses, have bipartisan support. Furthermore, political incentive is low for lawmakers (Democrat or Republican) to terminate trade agreements."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This top economist has a radical plan to change the way Americans vote


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    Robert Mueller

    • The special counsel Robert Mueller's office has reportedly told defense lawyers it is "tying up loose ends" in the Russia investigation, signaling that the ongoing probe is coming to a close.
    • This week, prosecutors are also scheduled to file several new documents in court about some of the most important players in the investigation: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
    • All three men have pleaded guilty and have been cooperating with prosecutors.
    • The upcoming court filings will contain intriguing new details about the nature of their cooperation and where the Russia investigation is ultimately headed.

    The special counsel Robert Mueller's office has told defense lawyers in recent weeks that it is "tying up loose ends" in the ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether members of President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow, Yahoo News reported.

    The news is not entirely unexpected. Last month, CNN reported that the special counsel had begun drafting his final report in the Russia investigation.

    And this week, prosecutors are set to file several court documents that could reveal major new details about three key players in the Russia investigation: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

    All three men have pleaded guilty and have been cooperating with prosecutors.

    Flynn has been working with Mueller's team since last December, after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

    In August, Cohen pleaded guilty as part of a separate Manhattan US attorney's office investigation, and he has since given over 70 hours of voluntary interviews to the special counsel. He also pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation to one count of lying to Congress last week and his lawyers say he expects to cooperate further.

    Manafort, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction in September and struck a plea deal with prosecutors to answer any and all questions they had about the Russia investigation and any other federal criminal inquiries.

    Paul Manafort

    But prosecutors revealed last month that Manafort had breached his plea deal by allegedly lying to investigators and committing additional crimes since agreeing to cooperate.

    Prosecutors were also reportedly furious when they learned that Manafort's team was briefing Trump's lawyers on everything he was being asked about after he agreed to cooperate.

    DOJ veterans told INSIDER that they had never heard of a cooperator maintaining contact with the potential target of an investigation after striking a deal with prosecutors, and that such communications could tank a cooperation agreement.

    Mueller's team is slated to submit a brief to the court on Friday about its claim that Manafort violated his plea agreement. The special counsel's office told Yahoo News that the Manafort memo "will be public," although some parts of it may be redacted or submitted under seal to protect the investigation.

    But for the most part, prosecutors will spell out in detail the matters the former Trump campaign chairman misled them about, and their public disclosures could shed new light on where the Russia investigation stands.

    The national-security experts at Lawfare wrote, moreover, that the public may also learn more "in the context of that briefing about the relationship Manafort appears to have maintained, through counsel, with the White House after his plea and cooperation agreement."

    Michael Cohen

    Cohen's lawyers, meanwhile, submitted a sentencing memo on his behalf last week that contained a slew of bombshells about Trump and his interactions with Cohen last year and before the 2016 election.

    Among other things, his lawyers said that when Cohen was breaking campaign finance laws at Trump's direction before the election, Cohen was also keeping Trump "contemporaneously informed" of his actions.

    They also said Cohen was "in close and regular contact" with Trump's lawyers and White House staffers while he was drafting false testimony to give to Congress last year about his involvement in the Trump Organization's effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the election.

    Cohen's sentencing is scheduled for December 12, and prosecutors are set to submit their own sentencing memo in his case on Friday. Lawfare said it will be important to "see how they characterize Cohen's cooperation and to what extent they also urge leniency and on what points — if any — they dispute the picture of Cohen's cooperation that Cohen's lawyers have painted."

    Flynn's sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 18, and prosecutors are slated to submit a sentencing memo for him on Tuesday.

    It's unclear how much of it will be redacted, but because the nature of his cooperation has been shrouded in mystery since last year, it's likely that any new details that come out of the filing will help inform the public about where the Russia investigation is headed.

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    • TripAdvisor has revealed the top 25 fine dining restaurants in the world for 2018.
    • The ranking was created by an algorithm which assessed both quality and quantity of reviews on the travel website.
    • The top restaurant this year is Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, France.

    The best fine dining restaurants in the world for 2018 have been revealed in a new ranking determined by travellers.

    This year's winner in the Travellers’ Choice Awards, run by TripAdvisor, has emerged as Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, France. 

    The ranking is based on the millions of reviews and opinions shared by TripAdvisor users. Restaurants were measured using an algorithm which took into account both the quantity and quality of reviews for restaurants around the world, gathered over a 12 month period.

    Scroll down to see the 25 best fine dining restaurants in the world in 2018, according to travellers, ranked in ascending order.

    25. Daniel, New York City, USA



    24. Europea, Montreal, Canada



    23. Tin Lung Heen, Hong Kong, China



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

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    In theory, Secret Santa is a great idea. In practice, it can be a little underwhelming. You could end up with that cozy scarf your best friend knew you wanted — or, you could end up with lackluster socks from your neighbor that will definitely end up in your re-gift pile.

    Whether you're responsible for getting a gift for someone you know really well or someone you barely do, get them a gift they won't relegate to the storage closet. If you're spending money, make it count with something they'll actually want. 

    Don't worry, we already did the grunge work and found 50 gifts that your secret Santa recipient will love. We've got everything from the more generically-appealing, like a pretty candle for your sweet coworker, to the more personal, like a portable cheese melter for your cheese-obsessed friend. Plus, they're all $25 or less, so scroll with abandon.

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    A scratch-off bucket list to spur their next adventure

    100 Things To Do Scratch Off Poster, $15, available at Uncommon Goods

    This bucket list suggests 100 unique activities from little things like "take a cooking class" to big ones like "see the Northern Lights." They can scratch each box off after they complete it to reveal a colorful image. It's a cool poster to have hanging and a definite conversation starter.

     



    A set of cool coasters that's worthy of Instagram

    Stone Coasters Agate Look, $20 (set of 4), available at Etsy

    Let’s be real — nobody wants water stains and rings on their nice tables, but admittedly, telling guests to put down coasters first isn’t the coolest move. These agate-style coasters are practical, but also add a nice aesthetic, so you’ll actually want to leave them out to be used.



    A plant they can grow themselves

    Grow Your Own Aloe Kit, $12, available at Urban Outfitters

    Anyone with a green thumb will love the chance to grow, nourish, and care for their own plant. Not only do they look cute, but studies say having plants makes you happier too.

    Note: Currently sold out



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

    • The MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Tuesday predicted that the US was about to experience "two of the most remarkable, consequential years in the Republic's history."
    • During a discussion at Business Insider's IGNITION conference, the liberal political commentator argued that entering and living in the US without documentation was less dangerous than driving over the speed limit; that President Donald Trump's positions on international trade were rooted in a "sincerely felt and long-held" worldview; and that Sen. Kamala Harris of California could be the next president.

    The MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Tuesday predicted that the US would experience "two of the most remarkable, consequential years in the Republic's history" in the second half of President Donald Trump's first term.

    During a wide-ranging discussion at Business Insider's annual IGNITION conference, the liberal host of the nightly prime-time program "All In With Chris Hayes" made a host of arguments — also asserting that entering and living in the US without documentation was less dangerous than driving over the speed limit; that Trump's positions on international trade were rooted in a "sincerely felt and long-held" worldview; and that Sen. Kamala Harris of California was underestimated as a presidential contender.

    Hayes told Insider Inc. CEO Henry Blodget that it was reasonable for some Americans to believe that millions of people shouldn't live in the country without documentation but that much of this sentiment "often emanates from a true lack of familiarity of the way the system works."

    The cable-news host said that if there was one area of agreement he had with Trump, it's that "a posture of trade hawkishness against China is not at all crazy and not at all unjustified." Hayes argued that the president's positions on trade and support for tariffs were "sincerely felt and long held" and rooted in what Hayes described as a "deeply mercantilist" worldview that "everything is zero sum."

    But Hayes also said he didn't trust the president to navigate complicated diplomacy with the world's second-largest economy, the mishandling of which could lead to a cold war with China.

    Read more: 'This is a disgrace': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams her future colleagues in Congress for employing unpaid interns and failing to pay staffers a 'living wage'

    On 2020: Kamala Harris is 'underpriced'

    Many political pundits are asking whether the Democratic 2020 presidential nominee should be a centrist or a leftist. Hayes said that this was the wrong question in the Trump era and that "candidate quality" and "building broad and inclusive messages" were more important to most American voters than the candidate's political ideology.

    "I do think there's a conventional wisdom that being too far to the left is a kind of dispositive attribute for a candidate, and I think ideological dispositive blockers are off the table," he said. "There is no position, in an ideological fashion, that a candidate can take that would render them unelectable."

    Hayes wouldn't predict who the 2020 nominee would be, but he said a bid by Harris — California's former attorney general who said this week that she would decide whether to run in the next month — had been underestimated.

    "If you asked me to place a $100 bet based on the field and the candidate, I think Kamala Harris is underpriced," he said.

    Hayes also argued that conservatives were often hypocritical regarding political correctness — and that public discourse should be polite but not suffocating.

    "No one thinks about 'don't criticize George H.W. Bush because he just died' as an example of political correctness, but of course it is. It's exactly the same sort of thing," Hayes said, pointing to the criticism he received for evaluating the former president's legacy shortly after his death on Friday.

    You can watch Chris Hayes talk with Henry Blodget at IGNITION here:

    SEE ALSO: Republicans are stripping power from incoming Democrats in Wisconsin and Michigan

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