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The latest news from Life
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    • The government shutdown is ongoing, with no end in sight.
    • The State Department does not have funding during the shutdown.
    • But despite the lapse in funding, the State Department's passport functions are still operational.
    • Americans can still apply for and renew passports during the shutdown.
    • The timeframe for receiving a new passport will also remain the same.

    While the government shutdown is ongoing and the State Department does not currently have funding, Americans can still apply for and receive a passport during the closure.

    According to the State Department, passport services are available during the shutdown and all passport services at post offices, libraries, and other facilities will remain open. Passport renewals are also available in person or by mail.

    Additionally the timeframe for receiving a passport remains the same: 4 to 6 weeks for a routine request and 2 to 3 weeks for an expedited request.

    While the State Department's passport services remain unaffected by the shutdown, other aspects of the department were impacted by the lapse in funding.

    Read more:The government shutdown is in day 29 and has shattered the record for the longest shutdown in history»

    23% of the State Department's direct-hire overseas employees and 40% of the department's direct-hire employees in the US were placed on furlough due to the shutdown. But after the department's lawyers found additional sources of funding in the department's budget, many employees were ordered to come back to work.

    "Recognizing the increasing hardship to employees caused by the ongoing lapse in appropriations, the Department is taking steps to make additional funds available to pay employee salaries," Bill Todd, the department's deputy under secretary for management, said in a statement on Thursday. "By taking these steps, the Department expects to be able to resume most personnel operations and fund most salaries beginning with Pay Period 2."

    While the department was able to find funds for the next pay period, it is unclear whether there is enough money for any additional work beyond two more weeks.

    The State Department was one of a handful of agencies to order workers back to the job from furlough this week as the shutdown drags on. But most of the other agencies will be unable to pay the employees coming back to work until the shutdown is over.

    Read more:The government shutdown has gotten so bad that agencies are using legal loopholes to restart critical functions»

    As it stands, the government shutdown is in its 29th day— a record for the modern era — and shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

    SEE ALSO: The government shutdown is now the longest on record and the fight between Trump and Democrats is only getting uglier. Here's everything you missed.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    women's march 2019

    • Thousands of people marched in the third Women's March in Washington, DC, despite controversy surrounding the original founders of the movement.
    • Recently, co-chair Tamika Mallory recently came under fire for her relationship with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, and his anti-Semitic stance, causing a division among key organizers.
    • The Democratic National Convention also pulled its support for the march over Mallory's comments.
    • Several marchers told INSIDER they were aware of the issues surrounding the march but came for the cause, not the controversy.
    • "We are here for all of us," one marcher told INSIDER.

    A thick crowd waited in anticipation for the 2019 Women's March in Washington, DC, to begin on January 19.

    Marchers danced in place to music playing from several speakers throughout Freedom Plaza, and protest signs filled the sky.

    Unified chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go" echoed off buildings as the crowd began marching towards the US capitol building.

    Thousands of people marched in the city's third annual Women's March, despite controversy surrounding the original founders of the movement. Women's March co-chair Tamika Mallory recently came under fire for her relationship with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, and his anti-Semitic stance.

    Additionally, the Democratic National Convention pulled its support for the march over Mallory's comments. The issue caused a division among central organizers of the march and lead to two Women's marches nationwide.

    Despite the controversy, the march still had an air of unity. Here's how the day unfolded:



    SEE ALSO: Controversy, winter storms, and a new mission: here's everything you need to know about the 2019 Women's March

    DON'T MISS: The Women's March leadership has been accused of anti-Semitism, and many local chapters are disassociating from the national organization

    Several marchers told INSIDER they were aware of the issues surrounding the march but came for the cause, not the controversy.

    Many said they weren't aware that two marches were occurring and described a feeling of unity, rather than divisiveness.

    More than a dozen people told INSIDER why they chose to attend the Women's March on Saturday, and what issues were most important to them.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    petre island

    • A private island in New York is for sale for $12.9 million.
    • Called Petre Island or Petra Island, the property includes two homes designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
    • The island, which sits in Lake Mahopac in Carmel, is only about an hour's drive from New York City.
    • It includes a private helipad and boat dock.


    You can now buy a private island an hour from New York City for $12.9 million.

    Known as Petre Island or Petra Island, the property boasts two homes designed by iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright. One is a 1950s guest cottage and one is a sprawling, four-bedroom house that juts out over the lake.

    The home includes a private rooftop helipad and a boat dock.

    Margaret Harrington of Douglas Elliman holds the listing.

    Here's a look at the one-of-a-kind property.

    SEE ALSO: Muhammad Ali's former Los Angeles mansion is for sale for $17 million, and the opulent home has hosted guests from Sylvester Stallone to Barack Obama

    DON'T MISS: A Mega Millions lottery winner is selling his California mountain estate for $26 million — and the massive property comes with a buffalo ranch, steakhouse, and saloon

    A private island in New York is for sale for $12.9 million.

    Source: Douglas Elliman

    The island, called Petre Island, is located in Carmel, New York, a little over an hour's drive from New York City.

    Source: Google Maps

    Two houses designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright sit on the property.

    Source: Douglas Elliman

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    wealthy young guy

    • Wealth and freedom of choice go hand in hand: The more money you have, the more choices you have.
    • But once you've reached a comfortable level of wealth, your spending should align with your end goal, and there are only four options, according to a forthcoming guide from Merrill Lynch.
    • The guide asks people to decide what they want to do with their wealth: Do you want to spend your fortune, maintain the current level, preserve its buying power, or grow it as much as possible?

    Wealth is often equated with freedom: The more you have, the more choices you're able to make. 

    But even people with high net worths fret about their spending. 

    That's according to New York Times writer Paul Sullivan, who, in his latest column, said Merrill Lynch's private banking and investment group is developing a guide to help wealthy clients manage their cash flow.

    The guide, which Sullivan said will be released this spring, defines various spending priorities, including mortgage payments, charitable donations, and impulse buys. Understanding all the ways in which money is spent today is an essential step in planning for future wealth. 

    Most importantly, it asks people to decide what they want to happen to the wealth they've already built.

    "There are only four choices: Spend it down, keep it at the current level, preserve its buying power by having its value keep up with inflation, or spend or invest it to grow as much as possible," Sullivan wrote.

    Read more: An early retiree who quizzed 100 millionaires about their money found there's a 4-step process to building wealth

    "Deciding how to decide is really important," Valerie Galinskaya, director of the Center for Family Wealth Dynamics and Governance, told the Times.

    The guide is handy regardless of your net-worth level. If you're choosing the option to grow your net worth, whether you want to hit the $1 million mark or the $50 million mark, the same principles apply. Aiming for a more precise goal allows you to fix spending habits to make that happen. Even if you can technically afford something, the question becomes whether or not you should be buying it.

    As Sullivan wrote, "increasing wealth while spending heavily is difficult without additional sources of income. If a portfolio grows at 5% a year, for example, but inflation is 3% and taxes are 2%, there isn't a lot of room for spending if you want your net worth to grow." It's the people who recognize this simple fact — and adjust their spending accordingly — who become millionaires and billionaires.

    Chris Hogan, the author of "Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth — and How You Can Too," surveyed 10,000 American millionaires for seven months, and he found many of them live on less than they make and exercise discipline when it comes to budgeting, Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower reported.

    Read more:An author who surveyed over 10,000 millionaires found the qualities that make them successful hinge on a distinct behavior

    "Millionaires don't accidentally live on less than they make," Hogan wrote. "They do it on purpose, because they have a plan. They're deciding. Living without a budget, though, is the very definition of sliding into misfortune."

    It starts with identifying your values: Do you want to set your children up with a seven-figure nest egg? Do you want half of your fortune to go to charity? Do you want to stop working and spend retirement traveling the world?

    The answers to these questions will eventually lead one to choosing one of the four options.

    As Lee Miller, regional director of the New York office for Glenmede Trust, told the Times, "If there isn't a driver to do something else, you really don't need to make any changes. It's all about learning to make choices."

    Read the full New York Times column here »

    SEE ALSO: A researcher who studied over 600 millionaires found they do 3 things to forge a clear path to financial independence

    Join the conversation about this story »

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

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    school lunch

    • Schools are worried about the future of children's lunches if the government shutdown continues.
    • At least one school district is already planning to reduce children's lunches, removing bottled water and juice and reducing the fruit and vegetables given to children in a bid to "conserve food and funding."
    • Other school districts say they are concerned about the future, with no clear end to the shutdown in sight.
    • "It's so frustrating and saddening," the food director of a school district in Kansas said. "We just want to be able to feed kids."
    • The White House told INSIDER that it expected the shutdown to deduct 0.13 percentage points from quarterly economic growth for every week the government was closed.

    Schools are worried about their ability to provide school lunches during the record partial government shutdown, which on Monday entered its 31st day, and at least one school district is already planning to reduce children's lunches over fears of running out of food.

    "Starting the week of January 21, minimum level means: one main dish, bread, two vegetables, one fruit and milk," the Vance County school district, located in North Carolina north of Raleigh, said last week in a Facebook post.

    This was necessary to "conserve food and funding" because of the shutdown, the district said.

    NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2019 -- People attend a rally to protest against government shutdown outside a federal government building in New York, the United States, Jan. 15, 2019. Dozens of federal employees and their representatives as well as activists gathered here on Tuesday to protest against the ongoing partial government shutdown, which is now the longest government closure in U.S. history. (Xinhua/Wang Ying) (Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images)

    "No fresh produce will be included, except at elementary schools as part of the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program," it said, referring to the federally assisted program that gives free fresh fruit and vegetables to elementary schools. "This program will be decreased to two days each week."

    "No bottled drinks (water and juice) will be available after the current inventory in stock is used. No ice cream will be available," the school system added.

    "We hope that normal lunch menus can be resumed as soon as possible once the shutdown has ended."

    high school lunch

    Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tweeted on Friday that "child nutrition programs are funded quarterly and are fully funded through the end of March."

    But with President Donald Trump claiming that the shutdown could go on for "months or even years," school districts across the country say they are worried about feeding children into the future.

    Here's what they are saying:

    • The federal Child Nutrition program "may be in danger if the government shutdown continues," the Bethel School District in Washington state said.
    • New York's Newburgh Enlarged City school district is prioritizing making sure that children get fruit and vegetables and said it might avoid purchasing other equipment to achieve this.
    • Kansas' Prairie Hills school district does not know how it will feed children if the shutdown continues past March, its food service director said.
    • "I really don't know how we'll be able to continue feeding them without the meal reimbursements we get from the federal government, and I don't know many other school food programs that would be able to either," Brook Brubeck told Politico. "It's so frustrating and saddening. We just want to be able to feed kids."
    • Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said the city was making plans to keep school cafeterias open if the shutdown continued, saying food for children was "the number one thing we're going to try to address" during the shutdown.
    • Tennessee's Dyersburg City school district said it would "keep feeding kids" and they would not "see a difference" because it had enough funds in its budget to make it to the end of the year if necessary.
    • The Edenton-Chowan, Currituck County, and Camden school districts in North Carolina said they were not feeling any immediate impact from the shutdown and had not changed their menus for children, though Camden said it would watch the shutdown "closely."

    sonny perdue donald trump

    Nutrition programs funded by the Agriculture Department include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

    29.7 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program, and 22 million were signed up for free or reduced-price meals as of December, according to federal statistics cited by Politico.

    Schools are also telling parents that more and more children are qualifying for the programs as federal employees are furloughed and not receiving any paychecks.

    Read more: Trump offered Democrats a limited immigration 'compromise' to end the shutdown. Democrats say it's a 'hostage taking.'

    Donald Trump

    A White House official told INSIDER last week that the administration expected the shutdown to deduct 0.13 percentage points from quarterly economic growth for every week that the government was closed.

    This estimate for how much the shutdown is expected to damage the economy is more than double what the White House originally thought.

    The White House's original estimate did not take into account the knock-on effects of government contractors not getting paid and instead looked only at the lost productivity from workers directly employed by the federal government.

    US government shutdown protest air traffic controllers

    An ongoing impasse with Democrats, Secret Service agents struggle without pay, and national parks suffer: Other effects of the shutdown

    • Trump tore into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after congressional Democrats rejected his latest proposal, in which he offered a deal combining temporary protections for the young immigrants known as "Dreamers" and other immigration proposals in exchange for funding for his border wall.
    • Secret Service agents are struggling with no pay, and some say the financial worries could affect performance on the job.
    • National parks are suffering as they face piles of trash and damaged trees.
    • Cybersecurity experts say the shutdown is putting the US is at greater risk of attack. A Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency representative told Business Insider the agency had ceased some "critical" protection operations.
    • The White House says it canceled the US delegation's annual trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, "out of consideration" for the furloughed federal employees.
    • An INSIDER poll indicated that most Americans would rather use the $5 billion Trump is demanding for the wall on other things, like education or healthcare.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    ocasio sorkin

    • Writer Aaron Sorkin, who wrote "The West Wing" and "The Social Network", told CNN that, while he likes the new cohort of Democrats in Congress, they "need to stop acting like young people."
    • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman in Congress, dismissed his calls and insisted that her progressive policies are not "trends."
    • Sorkin also said that Democrats should act like "the non-stupid party" and "be smart" in politics.

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, slammed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's plea for new Democrats in Congress grow up.

    Sorkin, who wrote "The West Wing" and "The Social Network," told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Friday: "I really like the new crop of young people who were just elected to Congress. They now need to stop acting like young people, OK? It's time to do that."

    Sorkin added that Democrats should now be "the non-stupid party" and "be smart" with new legislation and campaigns in Congress.

    "I think there's a great opportunity here, now more than ever, for Dems to be the non-stupid party, to point out the difference," he said. "It's not just transgender bathrooms — that's a Republican talking point they're trying to distract you with.

    "We haven't forgotten the economic anxiety of the middle class, but we're going to be smart about this. We're not going to be mean about it," he added.

    Read more:Aaron Sorkin wrote a letter to his daughter the day after Donald Trump became president

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    Ocasio-Cortez dismissed Sorkin's calls on Sunday, tweeting: "News Flash: Medicare for All & equal rights aren't trends." Medicare for All is one of the key tenets of Ocasio-Cortez's platform.

    "When people complain about low turnout in some demos [demographics], it's not because communities are apathetic, it's they don't see you fighting for them."

    "If we don't show up for people, why should you feel entitled to their vote?"

    Read more:This is the platform that launched Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old democratic socialist, to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress

    Ocasio-Cortez lost out on a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month, which oversees many parts of US economic policy and would have been a high-profile arena for her to advocate her progressive policies.

    She, however, secured a place on the House Financial Services Committee, which has authority to oversee big banks and financial services in the US, and to shape new regulations.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    • 2018 was a year of extreme contrasts in fashion.
    • Experts say that in 2019, key trends such as sport and streetwear won't disappear — they'll evolve. 
    • Here's what women will be wearing this year. 

    2018 was a year of extreme contrasts in fashion. People dressed for functionality and, often, with a desire to shock. 

    Experts say we won't see many of these trends disappearing, but it's likely they'll evolve. 

    Here's what women will be wearing this year:

    SEE ALSO: These 10 fashion and beauty brands are poised to have a huge 2019

    Ugg Boots

    Last year, fashion brand Y/Projects partnered with Ugg to create a thigh-high version of the boot, bringing it back into the limelight once more. Since then, a string of celebrities including Rihanna and Sienna Miller were snapped wearing the classic style of Ugg boot.

    These shoes fit neatly into the ugly-fashion movement and into consumers' desire for comfort. New, more elegant designs mean that Ugg boots are becoming mainstream once more — fashion-search site Lyst has seen a whopping 350% increase in searches for uggs over the last 6 months.

    Ugg was also named one of the most popular brands bought on Amazon's Prime Wardrobe service during the most recent holiday season. 

    Fleece jackets

    Practical fashion was en vogue in 2018 thanks to millennials' desire to shop brands that sell clothes that last longer and seem to have a purpose. Because of this, outdoorsy brands such as Patagonia and North Face saw a surge in interest.

    These days, you're as likely to spot a Patagonia fleece on the back of an explorer clambering their way up the side of a mountain face as you are to see it on a hipster sipping coffee in Brooklyn.

    Fashion brands such as Zara, Madewell, Outdoor Voices, and Urban Outfitters are creating their own trendy versions of the fleece jacket. According to Lyst, searches for fleeces have increased since November. 

    Read more: Millennials have a new shopping habit that could spell trouble for Forever 21 and H&M

    Faux-fur coats

    There's a deeper meaning behind consumers' love of faux fur, beyond simply staying warm.

    Consumers being more mindful with their purchases are giving rise to the faux-fur trend. These customers not only want to eat meat and dairy alternatives but choose clothes that are leather- and fur-free and use non-animal-derived ingredients in their beauty and personal care products, Euromonitor wrote in its recent 2019 Consumer Trends report.

    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 may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

    Southwest Airlines, companion pass deal

    • When you open a new personal Southwest credit card, you can earn the best-ever sign-up bonus offered for the cards: 30,000 points and an unlimited Companion Pass, which is valid for travel through 2019.
    • The Companion Pass lets you book a free ticket for a companion whenever you travel — all you'll have to pay is taxes and fees (which are typically as low as $5.60 each way).
    • The offer applies to all three of Southwest's personal cards, but it ends in a few short weeks on February 11.
    • Our pick for the best Southwest card to open is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card; however, read on to see which is best for you. 

    Southwest and Chase announced Thursday that, for a limited time, people who apply for any of their co-branded credit cards will be able to earn Southwest's coveted Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus.

    The new sign-up bonus is effectively the best deal ever offered on any of Southwest's credit cards. In addition to the Companion Pass, which will be valid through 2019, new cardholders can also earn 30,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points. 

    To earn the sign-up bonus, new cardholders must spend $4,000 on the card within the first three months of opening it. The bonus is available only until February 11.

    The surprise promotion — coming just one day after a previous limited-time offer ended — represents what can arguably be described as the best-ever sign-up bonus offered by Southwest and Chase.

    The Southwest Companion pass is often seen as the "holy grail" of travel for points-and-miles aficionados and self-described "travel hackers." When you earn the Companion Pass, you can select a designated friend or family member to travel with you for free, as long as the pass is valid.

    Normally to earn the Companion Pass, one has to earn 110,000 qualifying points with Southwest within a calendar year. The pass will then be valid for the remainder of that calendar year, as well as the entirety of the following one.

    Typically, you may be able to earn some of those qualifying points by opening a credit card and earning the normal sign-up bonus, but as Chase has added restrictions on who is eligible — for instance, you can't just open two consumer cards at once, earn the bonuses, and use those points to qualify — it's become harder to earn unless you're a very frequent business traveler.

    The ability to earn the Companion Pass purely as a sign-up bonus makes it significantly easier to acquire. Should new applicants hit the minimum spend requirement quickly, signing up for one credit card can equal 11 months of buy-one-get-one flights. Coupled with competitive fares on Southwest, the pass can be used for everything from longer vacations to easy, affordable weekends away. While taxes and fees are still charged on Companion tickets, these start at $5.60 for domestic flights, and rarely exceed $20 to $25.

    In order to receive the bonus, you can't currently hold a personal Southwest credit card, and you can't have earned a sign-up bonus from a Southwest card in the past 24 months. If you currently hold a card, but earned the bonus from it longer than 24 months ago (or never earned the bonus), you may be able to close that, wait a week or so, and apply for a new card.

    Southwest and Chase offer three personal credit cards. The Southwest Priority Card is the best option for most people because, even though it has the highest annual fee of the three cards at $149, it offers annual credits and anniversary bonus points that are together worth at least $150, meaning the card pays for itself.

    However, if you're dead set against an annual fee in the three-digit range, the other cards are compelling options — especially with the Companion Pass as a sign-up bonus.

    Read on to learn more about the three personal Southwest cards.

    Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

    When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus credit card

    The Rapid Rewards Plus is the base level of the three Southwest cards. However, just because it's a bit less featured than its bigger siblings doesn't mean it's a bad option.

    The card earns 2 times points per dollar spent on Southwest purchases, and one point per dollar on everything else. You'll also get 3,000 bonus points each year on your card-membership anniversary.

    That's essentially the gist of this card — there's not too much to it. There are, however, a couple of things worth noting.

    It has a $69 annual fee that isn't waived the first year. Of course, the sign-up bonus — the Companion Pass for 2019 and 30,000 points — goes a long way toward making up for that, while the anniversary points help each year after.

    All in all, while the Plus card has the lowest annual fee, it doesn't offer a ton of value after the first year. If you want to earn Southwest points on your credit card, but absolutely want to pay the lowest possible annual fee, then this card is probably the best option. However, if you're ok with paying a higher annual fee, knowing that you'll get more value from the card than you'll pay for that fee, you're better off considering one of the other two.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Plus card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card

    The Premier card is similar to the Plus, with a few enhancements.

    The sign-up bonus is the same, but it offers 6,000 anniversary points each year instead of 3,000.

    It also offers the ability to earn tier-qualifying points, which count toward the elite "A-list" status. You'll earn 1,500 tier points each time you spend $10,000 within a calendar year, up to $100,000 (or 15,000 tier points) per year.

    Otherwise, the biggest appeal of the Premier over the Plus is that it doesn't have foreign-transaction fees — if you use your Plus abroad, you'll be charged an extra 3% on every purchase.

    The Premier's annual fee is $99, compared with the $69 fee on the Plus, but the extra anniversary points should generally cover that increase.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Premier card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority credit card

    Generally, though, the Priority is the best option if you're a Southwest flyer.

    That's because, even though it has the highest fee at $149, it offers at least $150 in value each year, effectively cancelling out the fee.

    The Priority offers 7,500 bonus anniversary points each year, as well as an annual $75 Southwest travel credit, which can be applied to purchases like flights. Assuming that Southwest points are worth $0.01 each — although you can usually get more value than that — that means that you're getting $150 of value each year just from these two benefits, which cancels out the annual fee.

    The card also has a few other benefits, including up to four Upgraded Boarding certificates each year, meaning you can board earlier and choose your seat. You'll also get 20% back on in-flight purchases, and the same ability to earn tier-qualifying points as the Premier card.

    Ultimately, as long as you're willing to front the money for the annual fee, the Priority card pays for itself.

    However, if you're absolutely set against the higher fee, the Plus and the Priority can be good options as well.

    Click here to learn more about the Southwest Priority card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and perks of 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 6 airline industry secrets that will help you fly like a pro

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    empower banking 2

    • The personal-finance startup Empower is part of new wave of online banks giving customers better banking features. With lower overhead costs, they can offer attractive cash-back rewards, higher savings interest rates, and no-fee transactions. 
    • Its debit card, accepted like a Visa card and compatible with Apple Pay, gets 1% cash back on the first $1,000 spent each month. 
    • Its savings-account interest rate is 2.00%. Compare that with the national-average interest rate, which ranges from 0.1% to 0.2%, with some traditional banks offering rates as low as 0.01%. 
    • These features work with Empower's artificial-intelligence-powered assistant to help members earn more money with their bank and make smarter financial decisions. 

    Mention thousand-people wait lists, and I would assume you're talking about the latest product launch from a millennial startup darling like Everlane. Personal-finance startups, however, can be equally skilled at generating buzz. 

    As much as millennials love spending money on clothing and beauty brands that do business differently, they're also looking for new and different ways to manage that money, which is why, in late 2018, the personal-finance app Empower had more than 20,000 people put themselves on the wait list for its new mobile-banking product

    The first product from Empower, cofounded by a former Sequoia Capital partner and backed in part by Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital, is a free personal-financial adviser that connects all your financial accounts, tracks your money, and helps you discover hidden savings. 

    The next step for the nearly 500,000-user-strong company was to take the traditional banking industry head-on. Empower CEO Warren Hogarth told Business Insider:

    Our users were so frustrated with their existing banks and wanted something more seamless, more personal, and more rewarding. For the industry, it changes the game. Consumers can now get paid to bank and have complete control of their finances from their pocket.

    empower banking

    Empower banking consists of a debit card and savings account, both insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Members get 1% cash back on the first $1,000 charged to the debit card, which can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, and they have access to a network of 25,000 free ATMs, plus one out-of-network ATM reimbursement per month. The card can also be added to Apple Pay and used anywhere Apple Pay is accepted.

    Rewards and a generous savings interest rate are key to hooking members. The cash-back reward is boosted to 2% when users refer their friends to Empower. The savings account has a 2.00% APY, which gets a boost to 4.00% with a friend referral. One user said he made more in interest in one month with Empower than he did in one year with Wells Fargo (with its 0.01% APY), capping off his review with: "Online banking is the future, people!" 

    Empower also gets rid of some of the most inconvenient features of traditional banking: fees and minimum balances. The usual list of add-on conditions, including monthly, overdraft, insufficient fund, and international transaction fees, are notably missing from its model. 

    All the while, the company's artificial-intelligence-powered assistant is there to analyze your financial decisions and help you make better ones. It takes note of your spending behavior and patterns, sends instant notifications of debit-card transactions, and is available 24/7 via chat message. 

    If you're one of the many who feel held back by their banking accounts, Empower is a competitive option to consider. It's easy to set up and, with its friendly user interface, enjoyable to use. 

    To get started with this new mobile bank, download the Apple or Android app from Empower's website here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Baros Maldives

    • A luxurious retreat in the Maldives has once again been named the world's most romantic resort.
    • Baros Maldives includes 77 ultra-luxurious villas, each with its own open-air bathroom and rain shower.  Many villas also have their own private pools.
    • The resort has been dubbed the "World's Most Romantic Resort" by World Travel Awards for four years in a row, and six times total.


    Baros Maldives, an ultra-luxe retreat in the Indian Ocean, has been named the world's most romantic resort for the sixth time.

    The resort has garnered the title, awarded by World Travel Awards, for the past four years in a row, and it's not hard to see why. 

    Read more: A resort in the middle of the jungle has the world's 'most stunning views.' Here's a look inside the 44 private villas and at its famous swimming pool

    Guests at the resort can choose from 77 ultra-luxurious villas, each of which comes with a private deck, beach sun loungers, an in-villa bar, deluxe bathrobes and slippers, yoga mats, a pillow menu, an outdoor rain shower, Wi-Fi, and a TV with a surround-sound system. Many have their own private pools.

    There are multiple fine dining options to indulge in, as well as adventurous boat and sea excursions, a luxurious spa, and traditional Maldivian vow renewal ceremonies.

    The Maldives is home to many award-winning resorts: Reethi Faru Resort, for example, was recently named one o the world's 14 best boutique hotels, and Kudadoo, a solar-powered, adults-only resort, has been named the world's best new luxury resort in 2019.

    Here's a look at the sumptuous and romantic tropical resort. 

    SEE ALSO: The top 14 boutique hotels in the world that should be on every luxury traveler's list

    DON'T MISS: Inside the world's largest underwater restaurant, which has a 36-foot window that looks right out into the seabed so guests can watch marine life swim by as they eat

    Baros Maldives, a luxury retreat on an island in the Indian Ocean, has won "World's Most Romantic Resort" for the fourth time in a row, and the sixth time overall. It has garnered the honor from World Travel Awards almost every year since 2012, with the exception of 2014.

    Source: World Travel Awards, Baros Maldives

    Baros opened more than 44 years ago, making it one of the first resorts to open in the Maldives.

    Source: Baros Maldives

    To get there, guests take a 25-minute speedboat ride from the Maldives' international airport.

    Source: Baros Maldives

    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.

    kettlebell kitchen review 3

    • No one ever said healthy eating was easy, but meal planning and delivery service Kettlebell Kitchen could be the closest thing to it. 
    • Since meal planning is confusing and time-intensive, Kettlebell Kitchen takes care of it for you, taking your fitness goals, dietary restrictions, and delivery frequency preferences into account. 
    • Each delicious meal is made with fresh, healthy ingredients and will run you $10 to $12. The meals can be delivered to your door or picked up at a participating gym in your area. 

    We've all heard that abs are made in the kitchen and that the best way to supplement your fitness goals through food is meal planning. Sounds simple enough, but if you've ever tried it yourself, you know it's not: you spend a lot of time comparing contradictory nutrition tips, devising recipes you pray you won't get bored of, and cooking meals in bulk. 

    Looking to eat well without the hassle of traditional meal planning, brothers and Army vets Joe and Andrew Lopez-Gallego teamed up with chef Greg Grossman (a young culinary talent who was once invited to cook at three Michelin-starred Alinea at the tender age of 13) to start healthy meal delivery service Kettlebell Kitchen in 2013. 

    Tell Kettlebell Kitchen about your exercise habits, dietary preferences, and fitness goals, and it'll create a custom meal plan of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for you and deliver them to your home or a participating gym near you.

    They don't contain any artificial ingredients or sweeteners, gluten, soy, dairy, or inflammatory oils, and they do contain fresh vegetables, grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, gluten-free grains, dairy-free milk, and limited amounts of sugar. 

    kettlebell kitchen review 2

    The number and diversity of dishes offered ensures you'll actually look forward to eating your next meal instead of forcing it down out of necessity. I tried a few of the dishes, including its Popcorn Chicken meal and Lemon Cookie. They were easy to transport, were ready in minutes in the microwave, and tasted delicious. The idea that healthy foods don't taste good is clearly stuck in a less creative past, as I experienced previously with another service called Veestro, and now with Kettlebell Kitchen

    There are new specials offered every week, and they'll differ based on your location. Specialized options include keto meals (e.g. Spicy Chicken & Pork Meatballs with Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash Noodles), vegetarian meals (e.g. Bamboo Rice Bibimbap), and "KBK Core" meals (e.g. Wild Salmon Cakes, Grass-Fed Steak, and Yucca). Your chosen plan will include these meals in various combinations, but you can also shop them a la carte. 

    Depending on the meal delivery frequency you choose, the cost comes out to $10 to $12 a meal, and the meals are delivered twice a week. 

    kettlebell kitchen review 4

    Kettlebell Kitchen currently offers 10 different meal plans. Some, like Whole30 and Pure Paleo, are ingredients-guided, while others, like Endure (for endurance-based sports like biking and swimming) and Build (to help you gain lean muscle mass) support specific types of physical activity and training. Once you choose a plan type and fill out your profile of body statistics, exercise habits, and dietary restrictions, the service takes seconds to make your plan. If you count calories, have a specific calorie target, or track macros, it will also take those preferences into account when designing your meal plan. 

    On the dashboard, you'll still have the freedom to switch out meals and when you want to eat certain meals, so you're not completely tied to whatever Kettlebell Kitchen designs. However, if you're the type to keep things simple or you're just starting out on your fitness and health journey, you can trust that its nutritionists know what they're doing.

    A small shipping fee applies if you want to receive deliveries at your home or office, but there's also the option to pick them up at one of the company's many nationwide gym partners. Since you're likely to be working out at or near that gym anyway, it's a cheaper and convenient way to pick up your fuel for the week. 

    Learn more and get started with Kettlebell Kitchen's healthy meal plans here

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    harry reid shutdown

    • The government shutdown is now in its 31st day, far surpassing the record for the longest of the modern era.
    • This is the 21st time the federal government has had a funding lapse since the modern budgeting process began.
    • Most of those times, the shutdown has been short and not involved employees being sent home, but that has changed in recent years.

    President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders have yet to come to an agreement to reopen the government, pushing the government shutdown into a historic 31st day.

    No previous shutdown had lasted past a 21st day, with the 1995-1996 shutdown as the previous standard-bearer. But the current, drawn-out shutdown fight has eclipsed the record and shows no signs of ending.

    The trouble started just before Christmas when Trump's sudden reversal on a bipartisan funding extension forced a sizeable portion — but not all — of the government into a partial shutdown. While House Democrats have offered clean measures to reopen the government, Trump and Senate Republicans have refused to move forward with any bill that does not include wall money.

    Read more:Here's what the government shutdown means for federal agencies and employees»

    This is 21st time since the modern budget process began with the Budget Act of 1974 that the federal government has entered a shutdown or had a funding lapse.

    On average, the 20 previous shutdowns lasted eight days, though they have been longer in recent decades. The six shutdowns since 1990 have lasted nine days on average. And removing the short, nine-hour funding lapse caused by Sen. Rand Paul in February, recent shutdowns have averaged 11 days.

    Most of these shutdowns weren't severe, with 11 of the 20 lasting five days or fewer, and seven lasting three days or fewer.

    By making it past the 25th day on Tuesday, Trump also surpassed Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton for second-most days with a funding lapse during one presidency. Trump has 31 for the current shutdown, three for the January 2018 shutdown, and — despite the short nature — one for a February 2018 lapse, bringing the total to 35 days during which the government did not have funding. Reagan and Clinton were tied for second with 28.

    Gov shutdowns by president   35 days

    Read more: Trump's strategy for the government shutdown is a mess and most Americans aren't on board»

    The current shutdown also bears some major differences from the past because federal employees aren't working. Around 380,000 federal employees are now on furlough, meaning they do not report to work or get paid. In 11 previous shutdowns, employees were not placed on furlough.

    Sending employees home has become more frequent in recent shutdowns, with furloughs occurring during five of the last six funding lapses.

    Another newer wrinkle is the fact that this is just the second shutdown during which employees were placed on furlough while one party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, which was the case when the shutdown began. The other instance was the three-day shutdown in January 2018.

    Additionally, with the changeover to the 116th Congress, which has a Democrat-controlled House, this is the first shutdown in which control of a chamber of Congress changed parties during the funding lapse.

    The current shutdown also means the president has set some historic firsts as well.

    Trump is the only president to furlough employees while his party controlled both chambers of Congress, the only one to achieve that dubious feat multiple times, and is second in total shutdowns for a president whose party controls chambers of Congress. Jimmy Carter presided over five shutdowns while Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, none of which resulted in furloughs.

    The latest shutdown also moved Trump into third place with three total funding lapses during his presidency, behind Carter's five and Ronald Reagan's eight.

    2018 also became just the second year of the modern era to have three funding lapses, tying 1977's record.

    Here's a breakdown of all the previous shutdowns:

    Gov shutdown   31 days

    SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    Trump Jamie Dimon

    • The US government shutdown is now the longest in the country's history and has shown no signs of abating.
    • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has suggested that US economic growth could go to zero, and one analyst said it could even go negative.
    • The US-China trade war and a looming conflict about the debt ceiling are creating a perfect storm.

    We're 31 days into the record-breaking US government shutdown, and while most economists agree it will weigh on US economic growth, the chorus of warnings about doomsday scenarios is getting louder.

    Government shutdowns have typically lasted a few days or a couple of weeks, but the fight between President Donald Trump and Democrats appears set to continue for much longer. According to economists, the negative effects of the shutdown will only grow as the ripple effects from the 800,000 federal employees and millions of government contractors going without pay spread through the economy.

    Adding to the gloom is the negative effect of the US-China trade war, falling stock prices, growing worries about a slowdown in international growth, and a looming conflict about the debt ceiling.

    Given all of the worries facing the US economy, warnings about the shutdown are only amplifying:

    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated its concern about the economic cost of the shutdown. It "definitely becomes a significant shock if it lasts for months rather than weeks," Ethan Harris, the head of global economics research, told the Financial Times. "There is a sensitivity in the markets to signs of dysfunction in Washington."
    • Standard & Poor's said the cost of the shutdown could soon equal Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
    • The White House even increased its internal estimate of the hit to gross domestic product. A White House official confirmed to Business Insider that the Trump administration's model estimated that the shutdown would shave off 0.13 percentage points from GDP for every week of the shutdown — higher than the 0.08 percentage points originally assumed.
    • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said that the shutdown was a serious problem for the US economy and cited research that found US GDP growth could go to zero if the shutdown continued.
    • Pantheon Macroeconomics' Ian Shepherdson was even more bearish, warning that if the shutdown were to last through March, the US's first-quarter GDP growth could be negative.
    • BAML's figures actually suggest that for each week the government is shut down, US GDP growth is cut by 0.05 percentage points. This is half the economic impact of the 2013 shutdown because this one affects only part of the government. But the economists warned that the pain could get exponentially worse as the fight continues.
    • Another major concern is the possibility that the shutdown will affect the US's credit rating. During the 2013 shutdown fight over the debt ceiling, the US was downgraded to AA+ by S&P, a historic first for the country. While Fitch maintained the US's AAA rating in 2013, James McCormack, the agency's global head of sovereign ratings, warned that a downgrade was possible in 2019.
    • Credit Suisse economists estimated that the shutdown would come to an end relatively soon and shave off 0.6 points to 0.8 points from first quarter GDP. But if the closure were to go for longer than another week or two the economic impact could be seriously damaging. "If the shutdown persists though, a substantially larger drag is possible," the Credit Suisse economists wrote. "An outright contraction in the first quarter, and downgrades to the entire 2019 outlook are not out of the question."

    "The longer this shutdown drags on, the more collateral damage the economy will suffer," analysts at S&P said last week.

    There are a variety of reasons for the shutdown slowdown. For instance, figures from 2013 suggest that federal workers spent 10% to 15% less while they went unpaid, reducing consumer spending.

    The shutdown also exacerbates worried about potentially more economically damaging fights in Congress, the most pressing of which is the need to raise the debt ceiling in the coming months.

    As it stands, the debt ceiling, or the statutory limit on the amount of debt the federal government can hold, kicks back in on March 1. While the US Treasury can maintain funding through special measures, the ceiling will still need to be lifted by Congress sometime over the summer.

    Some analysts have said the historic dysfunction over the shutdown sets a nasty precedent for a debt-ceiling fight. Without an increase in the ceiling, the US could default on some of its debt, an unprecedented move that would send shockwaves through the global economy.

    "Normally, the debt ceiling ends up being lifted, but with deadlock in Congress" there's added risk, said Neil MacKinnon, a global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

    SEE ALSO: Even the White House knows the government shutdown is causing serious economic problems for the US

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Barbara Corcoran on Donald Trump: 'He is the best salesman I've ever met in my life'

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    nancy pelosi donald trump

    • The government shutdown is now in day 31, setting the record for the longest shutdown in the modern era.
    • There appears to be no end in sight as President Donald Trump and Democrats dig in on their border wall stances.
    • As the shutdown drags on, more federal workers and agencies become affected.
    • Here's your rundown on how the government ended up in a shutdown and where we go from here.

    President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats seem to be dug in over the government shutdown, and after 31 days without a funding bill, there's no end in sight.

    At the heart of the dispute is Trump's demand for just over $5 billion toward a long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border. Democrats insist they will allocate no money toward a wall.

    Prior to the start of the shutdown in December, Trump agreed to a short-term funding extension with no money for a wall. But after pushback from conservative pundits, the president suddenly reversed his position and forced the federal government into a shutdown.

    As of Saturday the shutdown is also now the longest of the modern era, breaking the record set by the the 1995-1996 shutdown.

    Read more:Here's a history of all the previous shutdowns in the modern era»

    The shutdown only affects part of the federal government, as seven of the 12 bills that fund the government were passed in September. But a large number of departments are shuttered, including agriculture, commerce, justice, homeland security, the interior, state, transportation, and housing and urban development.

    The problems caused by the shutdown are wide-ranging, from waste piling up in national parks to uncertainty for 800,000 federal workers about when their next paycheck will come. And as the shutdown drags on, the problems caused by the shutdown are expected to keep getting worse.

    Read more:Here's what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown»

    With all that in mind, here's a rundown of just how we got here:

    The pre-shutdown fight

    • December 6: Congress passes a short-term funding bill to delay the shutdown until after the date of President George H.W. Bush's funeral.
    • December 11: Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer meet with President Donald Trump to discuss the funding deadline. Trump demands $5 billion in border-wall funding, Democrats counter with an offer of $1.6 billion in general border-security funding. Trump rejects the idea and offers to take the blame for the shutdown. The president says he would be "proud" to shut down the government.
    • December 19: The Senate passes a clean short-term funding bill, called a continuing resolution (CR), that does not include border-wall funding but will keep the government open until February 8. Trump supported the bill at the time, Senate GOP leaders said.
    • December 20: Trump flip-flops on the clean CR after listening to attacks from conservative TV pundits and the hardline House Freedom Caucus, and he announces that he will not sign a bill with no wall funding. House Republicans then pass a CR that includes $5.7 billion in wall funds.

    Shutdown kicks in and the Christmas break

    • December 21: Trump demands the Senate vote for the House version of the CR and tells Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to get rid of the legislative filibuster in order to pass the vote with only GOP lawmakers, but the idea is a nonstarter. The Senate votes down the House version of the bill, and the government moves closer to a shutdown at the midnight deadline.
    • December 22: McConnell announces in the afternoon that lawmakers have not reached a deal, and adjourns the Senate until December 27. Senior Trump administration officials also suggested to reporters that the White House would not back down on the wall, indicating that only Senate Democrats could end the shutdown by caving on the funding.
    • January 1: After a relatively quiet Christmas break, Trump suggests Nancy Pelosi should make a deal. "Border Security and the Wall "thing" and Shutdown is not where Nancy Pelosi wanted to start her tenure as Speaker! Let's make a deal?" Trump tweets.

    Democrats take control and the shutdown gets real

    • January 2: Congressional leaders from both parties meet with Trump at the White House, it is the first face-to-face meeting in three weeks. The president enlists Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to make the case for the border wall. Following the meeting, Democratic leaders reiterate that no money will be allocated for the wall.
    • January 3: Democrats take over control of the House and Pelosi is elected Speaker. Later in the night, the new Democratic majority passes two bills which would both fund the government that do not include funding for the border wall. The bills even earned a handful of GOP votes. Despite the bills being nearly identical to the measures passed by the Senate before the holiday break, Republican Senate leaders reject the idea of taking up the bills.
    • January 4: Congressional leaders meet with Trump at the White House, where the president told Democrats that the shutdown could last for "months or even years" if no border wall money was allocated. Democrats suggested that Trump allow the government to reopen and then fight over the wall.

    Shutdown nears history

    • January 5: Representatives from the White House meet with representatives from Schumer and Pelosi's offices, according to reports the talks go poorly. Trump also floats the idea of declaring a national emergency to secure the funds for the wall.
    • January 6: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that talks between the Trump administration and Democrats were difficult. "I think this is going to drag on a lot longer," Mulvaney said.
    • January 8:Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office, giving a speech that is carried by all the major networks in primetime. The president largely sticks to previous talking points regarding the situation at the border and does not declare a national emergency. Schumer and Pelosi offer a rebuttal, also sticking to previous talking points.
    • January 9: A White House meeting between congressional leaders and Trump ends abruptly. Schumer claims that Trump "sort of slammed the table" and left the room when Pelosi again rejected border wall funding. Republican leaders dismiss the idea that Trump slammed the table and tell reporters Trump even "passed out candy" to the participants. 
    • January 10:Trump travels to McAllen, Texas to tour the border and meet with local officials. The president once again ignites speculation that he will declare a national emergency to get money for the wall. Pelosi says Trump doesn't really want a wall, just a fight over it because "he loves the distraction that this is from his other problems."
    • January 11: The shutdown ties the record for the longest shutdown of the modern era.
    • January 12: The shutdown sets the record for longest of the modern era as Trump lashes out at Democrats via Twitter. "Democrats should come back to Washington and work to end the Shutdown, while at the same time ending the horrible humanitarian crisis at our Southern Border," the president tweets. "I am in the White House waiting for you!"

    Digging in and State of the Union fight

    • January 15: House Democrats continue to offer bills to reopen the government that are guaranteed to fail in the Senate as moderate members of both sides try and find a path to an agreement. Despite the smattering of talks among rank-and-file members, Trump and Democrat leaders keep their distance.
    • January 16: Pelosi sends a letter to Trump suggesting the president postpone the State of the Union address, scheduled for January 29, until after the shutdown is over or submit the speech in writing due to security concerns. The Department of Homeland Security responds with a statement saying that the department can provide the needed security.
    • January 17: In response to Pelosi's State of the Union letter, Trump sends a letter to the Speaker pulling security funds and military plane access for a previously secret congressional delegation trip to Brussels and Afghanistan. Democrats blast the move.
    • January 19: Trump makes a "major announcement" about the shutdown and border situations. Trump offers Democrats a limited extension of protections for people living in the US under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program in exchange for $5.7 billion towards a wall. Democrats reject the offer, pointing out that the concessions on Trump's end are extremely limited and accuse the president of merely trying the move as a political ploy.

    SEE ALSO: From airport lines to food inspections, here are all the ways the government shutdown is impacting the lives of average Americans

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'

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    MLK quote slideshow 2x1

    Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was just 39 years old when he was assassinated 50 years ago, on April 4, 1968, but the values he stood for — acceptance, equality, non-violent protest — have echoed throughout the five decades since.

    His speeches were bold, triumphant, and touched with King's tireless need to revise. As the perfectionist spoke, millions listened.

    In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are some of the most inspiring words the activist spoke during his short life.

    DON'T MISS: 21 of Michelle Obama's most inspiring quotes on work, success, and relationships

    SEE ALSO: 13 of Maya Angelou's greatest quotes on life, success, and change

    On education:

    "The function of eduction is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character  – that is the goal of true education."

    On standing up for what's right:

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

    On community:

    "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interralated structure of reality."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    private jet


    When you think of a sabbatical, you might think of a university professor taking a year off to study Italian literature in the Tuscan countryside.

    But the world's super-rich are changing the definition of sabbatical, taking months-long, multimillion-dollar trips to recharge and reconnect with family. These vacations range from extreme adventures and educational excursions to luxurious getaways.

    "We've had a significant spike in clients, largely between the ages of 35 and 50, looking to take extended sabbaticals," Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Travel, whose clients include New York financiers and Hollywood moguls, told Condé Nast Traveler.

    "The common denominator is a Type-A overachiever, either between jobs or having recently sold off their company— or just at a meltdown point of complete work and personal life imbalance," Ezon told the magazine. "It's their chance to really disconnect so they can reconnect to themselves, their loved ones, and the world around them."

    south africa

    Some of these lavish trips entail extreme adventures such as diving with sharks in South Africa and skiing in brutally cold conditions in the South Pole, while others are meant for recharging and taking time to reconnect with family. 

    Read more: The 13 best hotels in America that every traveler needs to visit in 2019

    Nick Newbury, co-founder of London-based agency Original Travel, told Condé Nast Traveler that they arranged an extended world tour for a 40-year-old tech CEO who, fresh off selling his multimillion-dollar business, visited 66 countries over two years via private jet. The trip included learning to hunt with a bow and arrow with the San people in the Kalahari Desert and filming a documentary in South Africa — and it cost "well into the seven figures."

    An American executive based in Mexico told the Guardian he was about to embark on a seven-month sabbatical with his wife and two children, which will include a road trip from the southern tip of Chile back to Mexico.

    This trend is becoming so prevalent that Original Travel is opening a new division of the firm to cater specifically to ultra-wealthy clients, the Guardian reported. Another co-founder of the company, Tom Barber, told the Guardian they had arranged 80 sabbatical trips over the past six years, all of which lasted at least a month. And bookings spiked in 2018.

    These wealthy clients are "looking for an escape," Barber said, and some want that escape to be educational as well.

    "Often they want to get some sense of a back-to-basics lifestyle and learn the skills of our ancestors, like how to hunt and cook their own food," Barber told the Guardian. "For others, it's 'braggability.' They want to use their money to open doors that normal people can't and to tell their friends all about it. If you’re in the 0.01%, you are going to be a competitive type of person."

    Predictably, the costs for these trips can add up — especially if clients have a family they're bringing along.

    But "these are very, very wealthy people and they can afford it," Ezon told Condé Nast Traveler. "It could be a couple of million dollars to take your family around the world with a teacher in tow."

    Some CEOs might not need to pay for their own sabbaticals. As Business Insider previously reported, some companies pay their high-level executives to go on luxurious "executive getaways" that can cost up to $25,000 to de-stress.

    SEE ALSO: The top 14 boutique hotels in the world that should be on every luxury traveler's list

    DON'T MISS: A day in the life of a Deutsche Bank managing director, who wakes up at 5:00 a.m., spends 10 days of the month traveling, and works out twice a day even while on business trips

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Your Christmas tree could be a big fire hazard — take these steps to stay safe

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    • Singapore reigns as the world's most expensive city for the fifth year in a row, based on a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
    • Seoul also kept its No. 6 ranking for the second consecutive year.
    • Asia remains the continent with the most expensive cities, closely followed by Europe
    • Since last year, European capitals Paris and Copenhagen have both moved up in ranking.

    Asian and European cities led the list of most expensive cities around the globe in 2018.

    That's according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's annual Worldwide Cost of Living report, which highlights the top 10 most expensive cities around the globe. The report uses more than 400 prices across 160 different products and services — including food, drink, clothing, and home rents — to calculate rankings.

    Singapore has consistently held its No. 1 ranking since 2014, when it surpassed Tokyo, which had previously occupied the top spot nearly every year since 1992.

    Read more: The same city has been ranked the most expensive city in the world for 5 years running, and it's partially because of the cost of buying a car

    Several cities, including Tel Aviv and Seoul, have made massive leaps in the list over the last five years.

    The report notes that while Asia accounts for many of the world's most expensive cities, it is also home to many of the cheapest cities as well, including Bangalore and New Delhi. Cities such as these tend to remain cheaper when experiencing political or economic disruption.

    In past reports, American cities have appeared in the top 10, but New York City and Los Angeles currently top out at No. 13 and No. 14 respectively. According to the report, this is due, in part, to a weakening dollar when compared to other currencies.

    Below, you'll find the 10 most expensive cities ranked from least to most expensive, along with their comparison ranking from last year.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much a bottle of wine costs in each of the world's 10 most expensive cities

    Sydney, Australia

    2018 city ranking by cost of living: 10

    2017 city ranking by cost of living: 14

    Tel Aviv, Israel

    2018 city ranking by cost of living: 9

    2017 city ranking by cost of living: 11

    Copenhagen, Denmark

    2018 city ranking by cost of living: 8

    2017 city ranking by cost of living: 9

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    salmon asparagus vegetables fish healthy meal dinner plate

    • The keto diet is a popular weight-loss strategy, but many people don't know that the high-fat plan has been around since at least the late 1800s.
    • A Victorian-era funeral director named William Banting said he lost over 50 pounds in the 1860s on a diet remarkably similar to the eating plan we now know as keto.
    • Banting said that after eliminating starches and sugars from his diet, he felt more comfortable and happier than he had in decades. So he wrote a booklet describing his daily meal plan, hoping others might follow his lead.
    • But even Banting acknowledged that a keto diet probably isn't right for everyone.

    In the late 1800s, William Banting, a wealthy Londoner, knew that many people were battling the same "insidious creeping enemy" as he was: fat.

    Banting, a former funeral director, wanted to help. And finally, after three decades of failed attempts at losing weight, he'd found a promising way to shed pounds: a regimen remarkably similar to today's trendy keto diet.

    The keto diet is designed to force the body into a state of ketosis, in which it burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. Carbs are our default energy source, but when you don't consume any, the body goes into a fat-burning state to stay alive.

    Banting didn't know his new diet was a ketogenic routine, but that was the effect — he strictly limited how much bread, sugar, beer, and potatoes he ate, subsisting instead on small quantities of meat, fish, vegetables, and, of course, the occasional "large cup of tea."

    Banting's weight-loss success led him to believe that neither the public nor the medical community properly understood obesity. He knew that a non-expert like himself couldn't get his own case study published in a top medical journal, but he wanted to call attention to his method. So Banting wrote a free booklet in 1863 called "Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public," in which he described what he'd been eating and how the diet made him feel.

    The novel strategy "might almost be termed miraculous," Banting wrote, "had it not been accomplished by the most simple common-sense means."

    Banting changed his eating completely but didn't starve himself

    For most of his life, Banting had followed a fairly traditional British diet heavy on bread, sugar, beer, milk, butter, and potatoes. Then, in his sixth decade of life, Banting said, he "found the right man" in Dr. William Harvey, who "prescribed a certain diet" that didn't include many of those foods. They were all too starchy and sweet, Harvey cautioned.

    "At the first blush it seemed to me that I had little left to live upon," Banting wrote. But he soon found the diet to be "luxurious and liberal." In total, he said, the regimen helped him lose 52 pounds.

    Here's the sample daily menu Banting offered his readers:

    banting diet keto diet

    The Victorian-era regimen Harvey suggested started with a morning tablespoon of cordial mixed into a glass of water, something Banting called the "balm of life." He endorsed the occasional nightcap as well — a glass of gin, whiskey, sherry or brandy.

    The diet wasn't perfectly keto. While a shot of alcohol or a glass of red wine is generally considered a fine once-in-a-while habit for people on keto diets, drinking too much can throw them out of their fat-burning state, especially if cocktails have mixers or juices. A bit of toast could also push them out of ketosis and back into carb-burning mode.

    Banting also nixed butter, a fat source that modern-day keto dieters adore. What's more, his plan may have relied more on red meat and protein than is healthy.

    Read more: A cancer researcher who's been on the keto diet for 6 years explains how he does it

    Still, the no-sugar principle of Banting's diet was the same as today's keto technique, which is used therapeutically to treat epileptic seizures and holds some promise for managing Type 2 diabetes. Some cancer researchers and doctors treating people who are obese also suggest it.

    A high-fat-diet pioneer

    Harvey's advice was hundreds of years ahead of its time, as other nutrition experts have only recently embraced sugar as a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. The idea that a low-carb, high-fat diet might benefit certain people was largely brushed aside by the medical community until ketogenic diets began being used clinically in the 1920s.

    Banting was so dedicated to his cause, however, that he made the first two printings of his "Letter on Corpulence" free to readers. By the time the third printing rolled around a few months later, Banting said he could no longer cover the costs, so he sold that edition at cost, asking his readers for the six pence it cost to print the slim volume.

    Banting's book became a bestseller— over 63,000 copies were sold in the UK alone in the 1860s.

    He hoped, he said, "to confer a benefit on my fellow creatures ... the same comfort and happiness I now feel."

    Today, some people who follow a low-carb diet are still said to be "banting." Tim Noakes, the acclaimed South African exercise scientist and low-carb guru — and a self-proclaimed "banting proponent" — has even developed a foundation that aims to educate people "about the dangers of excessive sugar and carbohydrate consumption."

    Banting managed to shed 50 pounds in his mid-60s

    Banting's pamphlet described a torturous cycle of failed weight-loss attempts that may still sound familiar to many people. Even though Banting had led a fairly active life, he said, exercise hadn't decreased the size of his waistline.

    He recounted how once, on the advice of a surgeon friend, he'd started rowing a few hours every morning to lose weight. He said that plan didn't help because it only made him hungrier.

    He also tried Turkish baths when those became popular, but he dropped only 6 pounds that way.

    "I could not stoop to tie my shoe," he wrote.

    Banting described how he'd felt pained by the "remarks and sneers, frequently painful in society" that he'd endured as a fat man. These difficulties led him to sometimes avoid crowded places, he added.

    He offered his new diet as a solution.

    "I am now nearly 66 years of age, about 5 feet 5 inches in stature, and, in August last (1862), weighed 202 lbs.," Banting wrote in the first edition of the pamphlet. "I now weigh 167 lbs., showing a diminution of something like 1 lb. per week."

    William Banting

    In the second edition, Banting announced that his weight loss had continued: He was down 46 pounds and was 12.25 inches skinnier around his waist. When the third edition was published in 1864, Banting proclaimed he weighed 150 pounds.

    He also suggested that the diet improved his hearing, sight, and fitness level. "I have not felt so well as now for the last twenty years," he wrote.

    But despite his success, Banting discouraged anyone from trying the diet without "full consultation with a physician." That jibes with modern advice that no single diet strategy is right for everyone. (The keto diet is especially risky for people with kidney or liver issues and those who've had gout. Pregnant people shouldn't try it either.)

    Banting died in 1878, 14 years after the third edition of his booklet was published. He remained a keto evangelist (though he didn't yet have that term), believing that the diet was, "in a certain sense, a medicine."

    As he wrote in the closing lines of his book: "I feel quite convinced [the diet] sweetens life, if it does not prolong it."

    SEE ALSO: A Harvard doctor says it's harder than ever to lose weight right now, but there are 5 ways to do it well

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    apple grand central store

    • Richard Dean Desain, a 32-year-old from Los Angeles, was arrested on July 9, 2018, after he allegedly tried to pick up a package of crystal methamphetamine that had arrived at Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store in New York City.
    • According to NYC special narcotics prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, Desain was connected to “multiple large-scale shipments of methamphetamine to New York City and the surrounding area.”
    • After a nine-month investigation, a new indictment handed down Monday from the Manhattan Supreme Court said Desain “allegedly conspired to supply methamphetamine to New York City-based drug distribution networks from August of 2017 to July 9, 2018.”
    • Desain has been charged with conspiracy in the second and fourth charges, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second and third degrees.

    Every day, thousands of people go to Apple's retail stores to pick up hot tech gadgets and other flashy products. 

    But Apple's store in New York's Grand Central Station received a visitor seeking to pick up a different kind of merchandise this summer: More than a pound of meth, according to law enforcement officials. 

    According to a press release issued by New York City's Special Narcotics Prosecutor on Monday, Richard Dean Desain, a 32-year-old from Los Angeles, was arrested at the Apple story in July when he allegedly arrived to pick up the shipment. According to the prosecutor, Desain had arranged for multiple shipments of meth “worth tens of thousands of dollars” to be distributed around the New York City area, though it's not entirely clear if one of the packages arrived at the Apple store by design or by accident.

    At his arraignment on Monday, Desain pleaded not guilty; he is currently being held on $100,000 bail.

    On July 7, 2018, an Apple employee at the Grand Central Terminal retail store opened a package addressed to “R De Sain” that, according to special narcotics prosecutor “ultimately proved to contain 559 grams (more than a pound) of methamphetamine.” According to Brennan’s office, someone had tried to reroute this package to a nearby Duane Reade pharmacy, but was unsuccessful.

    The Apple store employee who discovered the package immediately reported it to the NYPD, and two days later, on July 8, Desain was arrested when he walked into the Grand Central Apple store while attempting to retrieve it. Brennan’s office says police recovered “an additional quantity of methamphetamine weighing more than 100 grams from his person" during the arrest.

    Apple Meth

    A new indictment was handed down Monday from the Manhattan Supreme Court — the culmination of a nine-month investigation — alleged that Desain had been arranging the shipments of crystal meth around New York City and the surrounding area, including New Jersey, using package delivery services. The shipping labels said the packages were from “Dean Desain” of “Dean’s List.”

    Authorities say they had wiretapped at least one of Desain's phones, and intercepted text messages where Desain had sent information about pricing and “standard sizes.”

    The indictment filed Monday charges Desain with conspiracy in the second and fourth charges, criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second and third degrees. 

    SEE ALSO: The best new technology we saw at CES 2019

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    Elderly with robot

    • The number of Americans over the age of 60 will double by 2060 — from 46 million today to 98 million — according to a 2016 report.
    • Scientists said people are living much longer than ever before, too. Some tech companies have been tackling aging and conditions like dementia that often affect the elderly.
    • It's a nice change from the past, when tech products were aimed primarily at younger users and left many older users confused. 

    Our elders may be wise in years but they're not always very tech savvy, as anyone who's had to provide tech support to an uncle or grandparent can attest. 

    But tech products are starting to become more senior-friendly. New innovations, like voice recognition, touch screens and sensors, are making the power of digital technology more accessible to older people. The market for tech products aimed at people aged 60 and over is set to swell by $20 billion in the next two years. 

    The best tech products for elders need to serve a real purpose in the lives of their users, many of whom may suffer from Alzheimer's or other forms of cognitive impairment — there's no room for superfluous gizmos or useless apps. 

    This is where apps like Papa and products like Jiobit come in. They answer simple questions like "Where did Grandma wander off to?" and "Who can take Dad to the doctor?" When it comes to tech products for seniors, use will overshadow flash every time. 

    Check out some the best new, as well as tried-and-true, tech products and services for older adults: 

    SEE ALSO: Microsoft President Brad Smith says these are the 10 biggest challenges facing tech in 2019

    ElliQ, a robot companion

    After winning the Best of Innovation award for the Smart Home category at last year’s CES, Intuition Robotics, an Israeli startup and provider of digital companion technologies, announced this past week that its social robot for older adults, ElliQ, is now available for pre-order starting at $1,499. 

    ElliQ, "the sidekick for happier aging" as the company calls it, is radiant and bright, like a table light, with a moving cylindrical robot head that can make animatronic movements and field vocal requests. 

    It's a combination of a touch screen and a voice-enabled home assistant geared to make it easier for seniors to make video calls, set reminders for medication and arrange doctors appointments. You can even play bridge with it. 

    The product has successfully been tested with beta users aged 62-97 and will ship some time in the summer of 2019. 

    Noomi, a wristband combining artificial intelligence and sensors

    Noomi, a Swedish startup, released its smart wristband a few years back with the goal to better care for the elderly. The wristband itself is filled with hardware sensors and artificial intelligence to monitor all kinds of behavior from sleeping and eating habits to detecting whether a trip or fall happened. Any sort of change, whether minor or major, is relayed to a caregiver.

    The wristband's battery life is quite significant, too: up to 12 months. All of the data it collects is stored on its cloud platform and can be shared with a medical professional in real-time, 24 hours a day. 

    Jiobit, a real-time location tracker

    This small, clip-able device that tracks real-time location was originally designed for children, but can be helpful for seniors with dementia who are prone to wandering off, according to AARP.

    Prices start at $99.99 for the device and $8.99 a month with a 2-year commitment. The lightweight gadget, designed so it isn't easily taken off, also has a "geo-fence" alert, which notifies a caregiver if the person goes outside of a "trusted zone." Another plus: it lasts up to one week on a single charge. 

    The device is used all over the world (and in all 50 states), according to a Jiobit spokesperson, and its encryption and security technologies have even gotten the thumbs-up by law enforcement professionals. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider