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Trump's controversial modeling agency is shutting down


Fashion Forward March 2017 held at the Dubai Design District on March 25, 2017Trump Models, the modeling agency that President Trump founded in 1999, is closing.

A Trump Organization spokesperson told the New York Post Friday evening: "On the heels of the recent sale of the Miss Universe Organization, the Trump Organization is choosing to exit the modeling industry."

"While we enjoyed many years of success, we are focused on our core businesses in the real estate and golf industries and the rapid expansion of our hospitality division."

The news of the closure comes soon after more lengthy reports that the agency had been struggling. Sources within the modeling industry had told Mother Jones that Trump Model employees were "scrambling to get out," and earlier this month, a former manager at the agency left to create his own.

Earlier this year, Business Insider interviewed two former Trump models. They spoke candidly about their experiences working with the agency, saying that they were told to lie about their professions to customs agents. One of the two models said she was left in debt to the agency.

The agency was founded by Trump in 1999, and according to his most recent financial disclosures, he owned an 85% stake in the company. 

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2 models who once worked for Trump's doomed agency share what it was like for them


A model presents a creation by Ukrainian designer Yuliya Polishchuk during Ukrainian Fashion Week in Kiev, Ukraine, October 12, 2016

  • US President Donald Trump founded a modeling agency in 1999.
  • In February, Business Insider interviewed two former Trump models who spoke about their experiences working with the agency. They talked about business practices that included lying about their professions to customs agents. One of the two models said she was left in debt to the agency.
  • Referring to the industry as a whole, one of the models told Business Insider: "There's quite a bit of exploitation of young girls going to America illegally and being overcharged for apartments and making very little money."
  • A statement released by the Trump Organization indicated that the agency would close soon. Many within the fashion industry had called for a boycott of Trump Models.

For fashion models around the world, making it to New York Fashion Week is a dream. That was the case for two young models from the Netherlands, whose Dutch agency coordinated with Trump Models to bring them to the US in the mid-2000s. They were 17 and 19 years old at the time and had never heard of Donald Trump.

One of the two models now says she's ashamed that her name was ever connected to his brand. Both women say the agency asked them to lie about their profession and to concoct stories to avoid alerting Customs and Border Protection agents to their intention to work in the US without authorization.

Their account of what it's like to work as a model in New York — including that they were not paid adequate wages and were housed in cramped, dorm-like apartments — could be said about much of the industry and do not apply only to foreign models. But President Trump has made an anti-immigration campaign an early hallmark of his presidency. He is focused on those who are working illegally in the US and foreign workers who could be displacing Americans. The women Business Insider spoke with fit both descriptions.

The two models spoke on condition of anonymity. One said she was trying to get a work visa, and the other did not want to use her name because she feared repercussions for speaking out. The details they gave matched those given by other models as reported by Mother Jones and CNN last August.

According to a statement that was released by the Trump Organization to the New York Post Friday evening, the company plans to "exit the modeling industry," though it did not provide a timeline for its closure. 

"While we enjoyed many years of success, we are focused on our core businesses in the real estate and golf industries and the rapid expansion of our hospitality division," a spokesperson told the Post. 

 Trump Models did not respond to Business Insider's requests for comment about the former models' allegations or the agency's closing. 

Trump's foray into the modeling business

In 1999, Trump decided to extend his business empire into the world of fashion, opening the New York-based agency that bears his name. Trump had previously been married to professional model Ivana Trump, and he was dating then-model Melania Knauss, whom he would marry, but this was his first step into the business side of the industry.

Today, Trump Models represents more than 100 women, which, along with its main line of talent, includes a "development" line, which focuses on new talent, and a "legacy" line, which represents more experienced models. Trump Models' website says that the agency "is the brainstorm and vision of owner, Donald Trump."

Last May, when the Federal Election Commission released Trump's 104-page personal financial disclosure, it was revealed that Trump had generated a nearly $2 million dollar profit from the modeling agency, and Mother Jones reported that Trump owned an 85% stake in the company at the time. Before the inauguration, Trump announced that his business holdings would be placed in the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust; however, recent reports show that Trump is still closely tied to the trust and it is listed under his Social Security number for federal tax purposes.

In addition to the usual runway shows, advertising campaigns, editorial spreads, and Fashion Week bookings, Trump Models is closely tied to Trump's other endeavors. The agency and its models have worked with Trump's reality-TV show, "The Apprentice," starring in episodes that included fashion-based challenges. Mother Jones reported that some of the agency's models were discovered through Miss Universe and Miss USA competitions, which Trump purchased in 1996 and has since sold.

Coming to America, without a visa

One of the former Trump models told Business Insider that when she was 17 years old she was represented by a local modeling agency in the Netherlands and was looking for more work to build her portfolio. Her agency coordinated a work trip to New York where she would work with Trump Models. Along with two other models from the same agency, she planned to spend three weeks in the US. They did not have work visas, but they were chaperoned by someone who did.

Upon entering the country to work, without a visa she and the other model Business Insider spoke with were potentially violating immigration laws. Though they were still being paid by their Netherlands-based modeling agency, anyone working and receiving compensation for work done for any time in the US is required to have a work visa.

"I was 17 years old the first time I came [to New York] and one of the girls I was with was 14," one of the models said. "She was told to tell people she was 15 because they know that a lot of people would feel difficulty working with a 14-year-old."

Like many foreign models, her goal was to find a US-based modeling agency that would represent her and help her get a work visa so that she could legally come to the US for jobs. But finding an agency that does both is challenging.

She said their first trip to New York for Trump Models was positive overall. "The first experience was quite good," she said. "They arranged test shoots, got me one job, and a good editorial [shoot]. I was very happy."

The second model agreed: "They were professional like any other agency — everything seemed professional."

After the first model's visit, Trump Models still wasn't ready to help coordinate a work visa for her. The agency said she needed to work on her portfolio more and build her client list. Over the course of a year back home, she took jobs in Europe and Australia. The second trip to New York to work with Trump Models was initiated by the model herself, who was determined to build her portfolio and have the agency sponsor her work visa.

They gladly took her on, she said, but again didn't work out a visa before the trip.

According to accounts from both models, they were specifically instructed by Trump Model agents not to take their portfolio books with them on the plane, as doing so can be a red flag to customs agents. They said Trump Models gave them the address of a booker and told them to tell customs that they were visiting a friend at that address. Under no circumstances were they supposed to tell customs that they were models.

That — and the fact that she'd be going through customs without a chaperone or visa — made the first model freeze up, and she ultimately told customs that she was a model when asked about her occupation. It wasn't an issue, and she was let through.

"I was so nervous, I was sweaty, and I was red. I was so tense," she said.

airport customs line

On this second trip, she stayed at the "model apartments," where many would stay while in town on jobs.

"It's a box. It's tiny," she said. "There's a living room with an open kitchen ... a tiny bathroom, the bedrooms, and in each room there was two bunk beds."

Her plan was to stay for four weeks, but the bookers at Trump Models requested she stay another month once they saw that castings were going well. Homesick and ready to return to her boyfriend in the Netherlands, she stayed for only another two weeks.

Her third and final visit with Trump Models was for Fashion Week later that year. Arriving at a New York City airport right before Fashion Week can be risky for those coming into the city without a work visa. She and the agency strategically planned around this, she said. Her flights, coordinated by a booker at Trump Models, had her visit a friend a week previously "elsewhere in America" and then fly into New York for Fashion Week.

But Fashion Week "didn't go well," and between the cost of the flight and housing, she was in debt to the agency. Most important, her third visit confirmed what she had already thought: "I never believed that Trump Models believed in me, and their lack of effort getting me a visa is proof of that," she said.

Ultimately, her Netherlands-based agency broke off all ties with Trump Models, and she has since started working with another US-based agency that she says is working to get her a visa. The second model has left the fashion world altogether.

'American workers first'

Both models said their experiences with Trump Models are not that different from what they've seen at other agencies.

"It's regular fashion business s--- that you have to put up with. The experience I had with Trump Models ... wasn't different from experiences I've had with other places and other agencies," one said. "Agencies ... fabricate a very beautiful story, and tempt you with it — it works well when you’re younger."

According to the first model's account, the agencies pay for the flight up front, expecting the model to pay them back with jobs once she arrives. That, coupled with housing expenses, means that some models are just breaking even.

"They book you a job with quite a lot of money when you first arrive so you [can] pay back your flight and advance on the apartment," she said. "There's quite a bit of exploitation of young girls going to America illegally and being overcharged for apartments and making very little money."

In the past year, Trump Models has come under fire for the practices — in particular, the alleged visa violations — because of how the business contradicted candidate Trump's public statements on the issue.

One of his campaign pledges was to "establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first."


Backlash from other models

In August, Mother Jones cited three former Trump Models who said they had worked in the US without proper work visas. Former model Rachel Blais, who is now an advocate against unjust practices in the modeling industry, spoke out about her time at Trump Models, saying they are "the most crooked agency" she's ever worked for.

Model Maggie Rizer, who seems to have had a positive experience with her agent at Trump Models, publicly left the agency on the eve of election night.

She wrote in an Instagram post that "as a woman, a mother, an American and a human being, I cannot wake up Wednesday morning being the least bit related to the Trump brand; win or lose. I owe it to myself and to my children to proudly stand up for what I believe in and that is a world where Donald Trump has no voice for the future of our country."

In February, Refinery29 reported that various groups of people in the fashion industry, including casting directors, makeup artists, and hair stylists, were calling for a full boycott of Trump Models.

Today, the first model who shared her story with Business Insider says she feels ashamed of her involvement with the agency.

"It's embarrassing to say out loud, to say that I've worked for Trump Models," she said.

"Now, looking back knowing that I worked for Donald Trump ... it's really insane, it's really awful. It's bizarre working for someone that you now realize how completely opposite his ethics are of mine," she said. "I despise that, and it's bizarre to know I've made money for him."

If you are a model who was once represented by Trump Models and would like to share your story, please contact Sarah Jacobs at sjacobs@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Trump's controversial modeling agency is shutting down

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NOW WATCH: How designers around the world Photoshopped this model when they were told to make her beautiful

Amazon is taking over Seattle — and residents are calling it 'Amageddon' (AMZN)


Amazon has played a major role in the story of Seattle's development since it moved its corporate offices to the South Lake Union neighborhood in 2010.

Amazon continues to grow like crazy. According to its fourth-quarter earnings report in February, Amazon added more than 110,000 employees in 2016, bringing the total global headcount to more than 340,000. The company currently has more than 30,000 employees in Seattle and is listing more than 10,000 open jobs in the metro area.

It's bursting at the seams of its office space and has unveiled big plans for new buildings in the Denny Triangle neighborhood of Seattle, just a few minutes' walk south from its current campus in South Lake Union. The plan calls for the creation of three giant, greenery-filled domes called Biospheres, as well as several new skyscrapers across four blocks in the neighborhood. The first of those towers, known as Doppler, opened in 2015.

By 2022, when construction is expected to be complete, Amazon could occupy about 12 million square feet of real estate in Seattle, which is more than 20% of the city's current total office inventory, according to GeekWire. That square footage would be spread out among more than 40 buildings in Seattle.

amazon seattle biosphere domeAmazon Sphere headquarters 1

With such a large footprint, Amazon has changed the once industrial area north of Seattle's downtown. In the process, it has become a symbol of how the tech boom has altered the city's cultural fabric and increased the cost of living along the way.

"Tech is not alone. Let's just say that tech was the catalyst, or the driver, of this change," Skylar Olsen, Zillow's senior managing economist, told Business Insider. "Amazon decided to move its campus here, and it really set that off."

According to the most recent analysis by Inrix, Seattle drivers spent an average of 55 hours stuck in traffic in 2016, placing it among the top 10 worst US cities for congestion. CityLab reported in 2015 that there was also a slight gender disparity in Seattle — about 1,068 single men for every 1,000 single women.

Some locals have given a name to this phenomenon of surging prices, terrible traffic, overcrowding, and culture clash: "Amageddon."

Jeff Reifman wrote in a 2014 op-ed in GeekWire:

"A lot about our Amazon-fueled future is just plain obvious: Seattle will be more male, even more white, wealthier and less diverse, unaffordable to those with lower incomes including the firestarters of culture, artists. The city's spacious skyline, which offered scenic views from many areas of town, will be forever transformed; anyone who lives here knows it already has been. Many parts of Seattle are unrecognizable from last year let alone a few years ago."

Amazon touts many of the investments it has made in its home city, including gifts for engineering programs at the University of Washington and the funding of a "district energy system" that uses recycled energy to heat office spaces. According to an Amazon representative, the company has given tens of millions of dollars to affordable-housing efforts and donated to more than 100 charities across Seattle.

Internal surveys have shown that 55% of Amazon employees use public transportation, walk, or bike to work, and only 15% of employees live within the same ZIP code as their office.

"As we grow in Seattle, we recognize the importance of investing in our hometown in ways that benefit our neighbors and our employees," a representative said in a statement to Business Insider. "From unique retail space on the ground floor of all our buildings, to public spaces nearby such as an outdoor dog park, playing fields, a shared use street that's designed to be great for pedestrians as well as cars, art installations, covered public walkways and other amenities — we've invested in a variety of ways."

aerial view of amazon seattle 2012

Seattle's tech boom has for some time fueled debates about the city's evolving culture. Hiring by Amazon and other tech companies like Zillow and Microsoft — as well as Silicon Valley tech giants like Google and Facebook, who have opened engineering outposts there — has led to an influx of high-income earners. With tech companies also come the high-wage-earning lawyers and venture capitalists who support them.

"In terms of who's the largest tech employer that has come in within this past housing cycle, Amazon is the strongest example," Olsen said. "But the part that made Seattle really attractive to Amazon in the first place was because Microsoft was here. We already had a lot of intellectual capital, with Microsoft and the universities here, which have added to making Seattle an epicenter of this growth."

The city's office market is certainly feeling the crunch. According to the commercial real-estate firm CBRE, downtown Seattle had an office vacancy rate of 9.8% in the first quarter of 2017, down from 10.6% in 2015. It was 20.1% in 2009.

Rents have also increased with the demand, reaching an average in downtown Seattle of $42.08 per square foot, compared with $39.79 in 2015 and $31.38 in 2009. Rising rents could pose a challenge to young startups searching for office space.

The influx of high-income earners also inevitably means higher rents.

"It's not just population growth, but higher-paying jobs that are driving that growth," Olsen said. "Rent is growing the fastest in the Seattle metropolitan area compared to any other metro area in the US — 7.2% growth year over year is very strong. Anything over 3% raises your eyebrows."

As Amazon and other tech companies have accelerated hiring in Seattle, residential real-estate developers have also upped their pace. A record number of new apartments have come online in the last year to accommodate the growing population. While some of those have been luxury apartments in high-rise buildings, there has also been an increasing number of moderately sized homes and garden-style apartments.

At the same time, home values have gone up, increasing 11.2% in the last year, according to Zillow. That's compared with a 6.9% increase nationally.

seattle home

All these factors have some speculating that Seattle could become the next San Francisco.

"We still feel the crunch of rental affordability for sure, but San Francisco is in a world of its own," Olsen said, alluding to the Bay Area's limited housing stock and sky-high rents. "Seattle has a lot of those issues, and it has all of the potential to continue growing and be a cultural epicenter, but we're just not there yet."

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The hardest college to get into in every state


CalTech, California Institute of Technology, College

With an acceptance rate of just 8.8% and typical SAT scores between 1500 and 1600, the California Institute of Technology is America's hardest college to get into, according to a list from academic review site Niche.com.

The rankings are based on acceptance rates and SAT and ACT scores reported to the US Department of Education. College acceptance rates received a weighted average of 60% in the ranking computation, and SAT/ACT scores received a weighted average of 40%. 

Business Insider used Niche's state filter to find out which college is the hardest to get into in each of America's 50 states and the District of Columbia. Niche reports that a few states (Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming) are missing from the ranking because they don't have data for enough colleges.

Scroll through to find out the most selective college in each state, along with their acceptance rate and SAT score, listed for the lower end of accepted students (25th percentile) and higher end (75th percentile). Note that Mississippi Valley State University and Union College reported ACT scores rather than SAT.

SEE ALSO: The 50 smartest colleges in America

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Alabama: University of Alabama

Acceptance rate: 51.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 990-1250

Arizona: Arizona Christian University

Acceptance rate: 56.7%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 840-1090

Arkansas: University of Arkansas

Acceptance rate: 62%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1010-1230

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I got my dog’s DNA tested and what I learned shocked me


izzie 2

The board of a luxury New York City apartment complex raised concerns about "dog racism" in 2015, when it started requiring residents to test their dogs' DNA before granting the animals permission to reside in the building.

The board reasoned that certain dog breeds are aggressive by nature. (The complex has a list of banned breeds, which includes Pomeranians, according to DNAinfo.)

Dog DNA tests claim they can tell you about your pet's behavior, estimate how big a puppy will get, and indicate whether it will play nice with children or other pets.

Having experimented with testing my own DNA, I decided to find out more about my pup. In honor of National Pet Day, here's how it went:

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This is Izzie. When I adopted her over a decade ago, I was told she was a mixed-breed golden retriever.

She was only a year old at the time, so no one knew how big she'd get (most goldens reach their full size, about 60 lbs., around age 2) or how she'd behave. Our veterinarian told us she was likely a (smallish) golden retriever mutt.

But Izzie stayed roughly the same size, and we stayed curious about her heritage. Now 15 years old, she's friendly and loyal.

Most people get dog DNA tests so they can find out what kind of behavioral traits to expect — golden retrievers tend to be loyal and good with kids, for example, while dalmatians are super active and generally make good guard dogs.

Source: American Kennel Club

When I got the chance to test her DNA, I seized it. There were several options, but I picked the Wisdom Panel DNA test developed by MARS Veterinary, the world's largest pet healthcare provider.

At $79.99, the kit isn't cheap.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A look inside L'Oréal's New York office, where employees of the $103 billion company can relax on a roof terrace and test products before they're on the market



When L'Oréal decided to move its US headquarters, the $102.9 billion company knew that it wanted its new offices to exude a "startup" vibe. The brand had outgrown the Midtown offices it had inhabited for 60 years, and Hudson Yards, the mega-development on Manhattan's West Side, seemed like the ideal place for a fresh start.

"L'Oréal is a 108-year-old company with the spirit of a startup. We have never stopped reinventing and transforming ourselves, and to us, Hudson Yards represents the reinvention of Manhattan," Frédéric Rozé, president and CEO of L'Oréal USA, said in a press release.

Aside from the 360-degree view of the city, the new location has some major perks, including an in-house nail salon, a consumer beauty lab, a cafeteria that takes up an entire floor, and an outdoor terrace that employees are welcome to work on when the weather permits.

Ahead, take a tour of the company's chic new space.

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The new L'Oréal office takes up 10 floors and 418,000 square feet at 10 Hudson Yards.

Here, product development, marketing strategy, and merchandising is done for L'Oréal brands like Maybelline, Essie, Urban Decay, Lancome, and SkinCeuticals.

The new office catered to a trending wish among much of today's workforce: more informal meeting spaces.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The wife of the Alabama governor who just resigned orchestrated his downfall after she caught him cheating


robert bentley

When a former Alabama governor started sending suggestive texts to a member of his staff, he probably didn't expect them to sync onto the state-issued iPad he had given his wife.

On Monday, Robert Bentley, 74, resigned from his role as Alabama's governor after an ethics report concluded he used state resources to conceal an affair with his adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

But the scandal truly began in 2013, when Bentley's wife Dianne became suspicious of the budding relationship.

In March 2014, Dianne Bentley placed a recorder inside her purse and discovered that her husband called Mason and declared his love for her — a minute after his wife left the room.

Bentley's efforts to dispose of the recordings led to many of the misuse of funds accusations he would later plead guilty to.

On the night of his re-election in the 2014 gubernatorial race, Bentley was allegedly convinced that his opponent had a copy of the recording and told Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier to travel to Greenville to retrieve it.

His wife's chief of staff Heather Hannah also claimed that Bentley told her she would "never work in the state of Alabama again" if she told anyone about the affair, the 130-page ethics report outlines.

After repeatedly finding her husband's inappropriate text messages, Dianne Bentley filed for divorce from her husband of 50 years in 2015.

Some of the text messages Bentley sent Mason include:

  • "You look beautiful and feel so soft."
  • "Bless our hearts. And other parts."
  • "I love you, Rebekah 😍😍 "

bentley investigation

After Bentley discovered that his wife was reading his text messages, he started using "burner phones" to communicate with Mason.

He fired Collier by the time the administration began investigating his misuse of state funds in 2016. Rebekah Mason alabama governor scandalA day after he was let go, Collier finally confirmed the existence of the affair to the press.

The governor's wife then released pages and pages of phone conversations and text messages to the ethics committee to help the investigation.

Bentley denied doing anything illegal or improper up until his resignation on Monday.

"I have decided that it is time for me to step down as Alabama's governor," Bentley said at a press conference Monday evening. "The time has come for me to look for new ways to serve the people of our great state."

State lawmakers were in the middle of deciding whether to impeach him when Bentley agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanors, repay the misused funds, and never hold public office again.

SEE ALSO: Facing impeachment, Alabama governor Robert Bentley resigns over sex scandal

DON'T MISS: Here was the evidence against Bentley

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Skype's billionaire cofounder has backed a luxury shower startup that recycles your dirty water


Niklas Zennström skype atomico

Niklas Zennström, the cofounder and former CEO of Skype, has backed water-saving startup Orbital Systems in a £15 million funding round.

Founded in 2012, the company claims to that its showers, which cost up to £5,295, save considerable amounts of water compared to conventional showers. It released a new £2,299 shower on Wednesday called the OAS, which uses 90% less water than a traditional, it claims.

Investors have now backed the company with a total of £25 million.

Orbital System's showers save water by using the same batch of water over and over again. They're used in gyms, army barracks, and luxury hotels around the world. But don't worry, the water is purified by a built in purifier before it gets reused.

"There’s little point in wasting 150 liters of water during a single shower when, instead, you can use just five," said Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, founder and CEO of Orbital Systems, in a statement.

"We developed some great technology for the NASA projects, but what the past two years have shown us is that the technology works just as well here as it does in space. For our next growth phase we'll focus on getting Orbital showers into every home that wants to save on both water, energy, and money."Shower of the Future

Zennström has taken a seat on the board, which also includes former Tesla executive Peter Carlson. Other investors include Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of Swedish fashion giant H&M.

Zennström told Business Insider in an interview earlier this year that he expects sustainability startups to become the next $10 billion and $100 billion companies of the world.

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This is what a British passport could look like after Brexit


The British blue passport was introduced in 1921 and stayed so until 1988, when it was replaced by the burgundy one – 15 years after the UK joined the European Union in 1973.

Most of the words on the old passport are translated into French, from the page header to the holder's personal details.

After Brexit, British passports will be redesigned – the Home Office says at a cost of almost £500m – and some are calling for the blue passport to make a comeback.

Produced by Claudia Romeo. Filmed by David Ibekwe.

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The 28 most expensive homes for sale in the US right now


great neck gatsby

It's no secret that real estate isn't cheap anywhere these days, but these palatial homes give expensive a whole new definition. 

With listing prices well over what most people make in a lifetime, the most expensive homes currently on the US market feature perks like full spas, enormous movie theaters, custom marble staircases, design details fit for royalty, and enough bedrooms and bathrooms to get lost in. 

With the help of real-estate-listing site Trulia, we've put together a list that reveals some of the most exquisite mega-mansions, penthouses, condos, and compounds around the country. 

With all that these residences offer, there's no need to ever leave the house. And when you've paid this much, why would you want to?

SEE ALSO: San Francisco's new most expensive home is this $40 million spec house on Billionaire's Row

28. This four-acre estate is set on a beachfront lot in Naples, Florida.

Price: $65 million

Its island colonial-style main house has five bedrooms and six bathrooms. A seven-car collector's garage is among the home's more interesting amenities.

27. This nine-bedroom, nine-bathroom home is located on a beautiful lot in Holmby Hills, one of Los Angeles' most desirable neighborhoods.

Price: $66.65 million

Designed by Moss and Associates, it's got a tennis court, pool, and more than an acre of landscaped grounds.

26. Set behind a set of private gates and a paved driveway, this estate in Bradbury, California, has 30,000 square feet of space and a host of amenities.

Price: $68 million

The long list of features includes a tennis court, private putting green, several 10-foot waterfalls, koi pond, grotto, culinary center, home gym, and wine cellar. It has 14 bedrooms and more than nine acres of land.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This machine crushes bottles and creates usable sand

Da Vinci's iconic depiction of Easter's beginnings has a violent history it barely survived


Last Supper Leonardo da Vinci

On Sunday, millions of people around the world will celebrate Easter.

Easter is the celebration of Jesus' resurrection, and one of the most famous images from that story is Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper." It's an iconic Renaissance masterpiece that's been praised, studied, and copied for over 500 years.

Against all odds, the painting still lingers on the wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

Da Vinci began the work in 1495 or 1496 and completed it around 1498. It depicts a famous scene from Holy Thursday, in which Jesus and his Apostles sharing a final meal before his death and resurrection. During the dinner, Jesus revealed that one of his disciples would betray him and hand him over to the authorities for execution (spoiler alert: It was Judas, who da Vinci depicts as spilling salt on the table, as part of some Renaissance pun).

Historian and author Ross King spoke with Business Insider about the mural. King said that his own lifelong fascination with da Vinci— who, as a painter, sculptor, inventor, and scientist, was really the ultimate Renaissance man — prompted him to write the book "Leonardo and the Last Supper."

"I was intrigued by him as a character — an artist, a scientist, a mountain climber, a rock collector, an all-around genius," he said.

Here's the story of "The Last Supper," which survived wars, prisoners, and its artist's identity crisis:

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"The Last Supper" was hugely popular in its own time.

While today da Vinci is remembered for the breadth of his artwork, writings, and inventions, "The Last Supper" was the painting that truly cemented his reputation during his own time. King said that the image immediately became famous all over Europe.

"It was the most copied painting of the next century — not only in paint, but also in marble, wax and terracotta," King said. "Everyone wanted a version of it. Leonardo had finally created the 'work of fame' about which he dreamed."

The painting's drama is heightened by its composition and details.

The painting captures the Apostles' reaction to Jesus' famous declaration: "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."

"Leonardo does justice to the episode like no one else," King said. "He grouped his 13 figures together on the same plane — a very difficult task — in such a way that each is individuated by gestures and expressions but none detracts from the overall effect."

Each figure is unique and memorable, down to the smallest details.

"Never before had an artist created such drama in a painting, with such lifelike figures and minute detail," he said. "Regarding detail, the right hand of Christ is a tour de force. Two joints of the little finger and the ball of his third fingers are seen through the transparency of a wine glass. It's an absolutely dazzling display of skill."

It's a miracle the painting has survived.

So, why is this 15th century mural still so celebrated today?

"One reason it's so famous is because its survival is something of a miracle," King said. "It's the art world's most famous endangered species. A century ago it was almost given up for lost. After its most recent restoration — something of a miracle in itself — we can appreciate its beauty. Because it is still, despite the losses, an amazingly beautiful painting."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

11 things that are harder to get into than Harvard


Students pass in front of Harvard's Widener Library on October 10, 2003 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Harvard is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, school accepted just 5.2% of roughly 40,000 applications for its class of 2021. As Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said in 2014, "We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians."

The school seeks out students who not only have high grades, but also have outstanding achievements under their belts — from overcoming homelessness to starting their own nonprofits. The students who manage to catch the attention of admissions officers overcome exceptional odds, but they should probably maintain some perspective.

Many things in life — for instance, landing a job at some Walmart locations — are even harder to achieve than getting into that prestigious university.

SEE ALSO: Ivy League admission letters just went out — here are the acceptance rates for the class of 2021

A job at this hedge fund

Landing a job on Wall Street is notoriously hard.

But gaining employment at hedge fund giant Citadel seems to be nearly impossible.

Founder and CEO Ken Griffin — who's also a Harvard alum — noted on CNBC in 2015 that the hedge fund planned to interview 10,000 candidates to fill 300 job openings.

That's equates to a mere 3% acceptance rate. 

The top 50 posts on a friend's Newsfeed

When Facebook compiles your Newsfeed, it chooses from roughly 1,500 different posts.

The company uses an algorithm based on the popularity and relevance of posts, along with other factors, to decide what goes where.

As a result, there's a 3.3% chance a certain post finds its way into the top 50 stories on someone's Newsfeed.

If you want to boost your chances, posts with photos do far better than links or text-based posts.



A job at some Walmart locations

Met with both merriment and protest, Walmart came to Washington, D.C., at the end of 2013. 

The store received more than 23,000 applications but hired just 600 associates, NBC Washington reported. That's a 2.6% acceptance rate — almost twice as selective as Harvard.

While many Harvard graduates can expect a six-figure income, Walmart employees pocket an average of $11.83 an hour or nearly $25,000 annually, according to the company.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Politicians have been dining at this secretive Washington, DC restaurant since the '90s — take a look inside


Cafe Milano Yelp

Cafe Milano has been a favorite haunt for politicians and other high-profile Washington, DC locals since it opened in 1992, on the same day President Bill Clinton was elected. The Italian restaurant, located less than six miles away from Capitol Hill, is known as a secure meeting place for after-work discussions, as well as some "wheeling and dealing," as owner Franco Nuschese recently told The New York Times.

While each administration has had their favorite after-hours spots, Cafe Milano has proved to be a consistent safe space for politicians. More recently, members from the Trump administration have been spotted there.

Ahead, take a look at the dishes, atmosphere, and who's been seen inside.

SEE ALSO: Here are 15 of the most notable members of Mar-a-Lago, Trump's 'Winter White House' that costs $200,000 to join

Cafe Milano is located in Georgetown and is a hot spot for politicians from both major parties, as well as journalists.

It's been open since 1992, when President Bill Clinton was elected into office. The former president still regularly pays visits to the restaurant.

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The restaurant's menu varies from pasta dishes in the $25 range up to a sole dish that's priced at $65.

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Removing 1 ingredient seems to be linked with fewer heart attacks, but many foods still have it



A new study suggests that New York bans on artery-clogging trans fats in restaurant foods led to fewer heart attacks and strokes in several counties.

The study hints at the potential for widespread health benefits from a nationwide ban. The Food and Drug Administration in 2015 gave the food industry until next year to eliminate artificial trans fats from products sold in the US.

New York City in 2007 enacted a restaurant ban on the fats and several counties in the state did the same.

Before-and-after data published in a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes in those areas declined 6% compared with counties without bans. The study says that translates to 43 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 100,000 people. Still, the study merely shows a link between the two things and doesn't definitively conclude that one caused the other.

Given that the FDA's statement says that "there is no safe level of consumption of artificial trans fat," many companies still have quite a bit of work to do.

Here's a list of all the food products we could track down that still contain trans fats, based on one compiled by the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

  • Jiffy Pop butter popcorn: 3 grams trans fat per serving (2 tbsp unpopped popcorn)
  • Bisquick complete buttermilk biscuits: 2 grams trans fat per serving (1/3 cup mix)
  • Duncan Hines whipped chocolate frosting: 2 grams trans fat per serving (3 tbsp)
  • Duncan Hines creamy home-Style strawberry cream frosting: 1.5 grams trans fat per serving (2 tbsp)
  • Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen onion rings: 3.5 grams trans fat per serving (18 count)
  • Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen cajun fries: 3.5 grams trans fat per serving (large fries)
  • Blue Bonnet stick margarine: 1.5 grams trans fat per serving (1 tbsp)
  • Giant guaranteed value buttery spread sticks: 1.5 grams trans fat per serving (1 tbsp)
  • Fleischmann's original stick margarine: 1.5 grams per serving (1 tbsp)
  • Turkey Hill party cake ice cream: 1 gram trans fat per 1/2 cup serving
  • Sara Lee classic New York style cheesecake: 4 grams trans fat per serving (1/6 cheesecake)
  • Sara Lee original cream classic cheesecake: 3 grams trans fat per serving (1/4 cheesecake)
  • Betty Crocker Bisquick complete mix cheese garlic biscuits: 2 grams trans fat per serving (1/3 cup mix)
  • Betty Crocker petal pink decorating cupcake icing: 1.5 grams trans fat per serving (2 tbsp)
  • Cake Mate Coffee House icing creamy coffee: 1.5 grams trans fat per serving (2 tbsp)
  • Odom's Tennessee Pride sausage & buttermilk biscuits, snack size: 2 grams trans fat per serving (2 sandwiches)
  • Odom's Tennessee Pride chicken & buttermilk biscuits, snack size: 2 grams trans fat per serving (2 sandwiches)

SEE ALSO: I tried a meal subscription box and discovered a simple hack you can use to eat healthier and save money

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Manhattan's Financial District has suddenly become one of the hottest dining scenes in New York City — here's where you should eat



New York's Financial District used to be a ghost town when the sun went down — a no-man's land for anything more interesting than a Starbucks to keep the investment bankers going through the night.

But times have changed, and Manhattan's downtown financial hub has experienced some exciting additions to its dining scene.

Thanks to a series of hotel openings and mega-construction projects, specifically, the new World Trade Center complex, there has been more opportunity for restaurant openings. As a result, some of the world's most celebrated chefs have headed down south to put their mark on the area. 

From traditional French brasseries to Michelin-starred restaurants overlooking the Hudson River, here are our picks for the best new places to dine in FiDi right now. 

SEE ALSO: A day in the life of a private banker at HSBC

Blue Ribbon Federal Grill

84 William Street

The Bromberg Brothers – the owners and brains behind the Blue Ribbon restaurants – opened their latest venture last month. Within spitting distance of the Federal Reserve, this chic new restaurant serves up a mix of simple meat and seafood dishes. Their classic burger, served on an English muffin, comes with waffle chips and costs $18.

Le District

Brookfield Place, 225 Liberty Street

Beneath the Time Inc. and BNY Mellon offices, and just across the way from Goldman Sachs HQ, Le District is fast becoming a popular spot for investment bankers and media executives to wine and dine. Besides having a gourmet take-out market and a wine bar – where you can pick your cut of steak directly from its very own butcher and have it cooked right in front of you – it also two restaurants, one of which, L'Appart, has a Michelin-star.

Dead Rabbit

30 Water Street

Wall Street's favorite Irish pub isn't only known for its killer cocktails; it also has an exciting food menu. Expect a mix of substantial-sized bar snacks such as baby lamb chops ($8 each), and heartier traditional English dishes such as shepherd's pie ($19) and fish and chips ($20). It also won the prestigious title of "best bar in the world" last October.

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10 books Justin Trudeau thinks everyone should read


justin trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proves that even world leaders have time to read.

In a recent post on Quora, Trudeau answered the question "What are your five favorite books?"

"I am a massive reader, have been all my life," he wrote. "I read anything, and everything, in huge quantities. These days most of what I read are scholarly policy works and briefing papers, so listing my favourite fiction is really tough."

But he gave it a shot. Below are some of Trudeau's favorite picks.

SEE ALSO: 10 books President Obama thinks everyone should read

'Ready Player One,' by Ernest Cline

Amazon synopsis:

"At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed."



'La Part de L'Autre,' by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

This book has not yet been translated from the original French to English.

English synopsis from Librarything.com:

"The archetypal story of following the life that was and the life that could have been gets a news twist in this exploration of what Hitler's life could have been if a slightly different turn had been taken at a critical juncture."


'Gardens of Democracy,' by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

Amazon synopsis:

"Timely, inspiring, and highly charged, The Gardens of Democracy is a much-needed call to action for citizens to embrace their roles in a democratic society. Liu and Hanauer's ideas are simple but revolutionary: true 'self-interest' is incomplete without tending to the shared best interests of the national community."



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These maps show where you're most likely to run into American wildlife that could kill you


In June 2016, a 2-year-old boy was playing near the water at a Disney World resort when an alligator attacked and killed him. A black bear attacked a woman running the marathon in New Mexico a few days later. In Colorado, a mom fought off a mountain lion to save her 5-year-old son, who was attacked in their backyard.

Even when the headlines about wildlife don't involve attacks — a bear is spotted swimming in a backyard pool, for example, or a great white shark is tagged off the coast of Cape Cod — we are still vividly reminded that America is not only our home, but also the home to some dangerous, wild predators. And sometimes these creatures are closer than we think.

But how dangerous are these animals really? How afraid of them should we be? Well, it turns out, we shouldn't be too afraid since the animals we fear most might not actually be the most deadly. For example, dogs, deer, and cows kill more Americans every year than bears, sharks, or alligators.

So from sharks to scorpions, here is a look at five creatures that most normal Americans fear, where they live, and just how dangerous they really are.

Dragan Radovanovic and Simone M. Scully contributed to this story.

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4 lottery winners who lost it all

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