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The biggest excuses narcissists spin to keep you hooked — and why this makes them dangerous


hands please

  • Narcissists are very skilled liars.
  • They're great at spinning a web of lies to keep you hooked.
  • They also explain away their abusive behaviour by manipulating their partner into thinking they can't help it.
  • Sometimes they also shift the blame onto the partner.
  • You can't trust a narcissist, so the best thing to do is to break free and never look back.

Breaking up with a narcissist can be very difficult. If they aren't finished with you yet, they will plead you to stay. If you are trauma bonded to them, then their begging and false promises may well work.

It takes a great deal of strength to walk away because narcissists are such highly-skilled liars. They've been lying their whole lives, both to themselves and to others. They have an inflated sense of ego, which is a cover-up for their low self-esteem, and based on nothing but delusion.

Narcissists know exactly what tales to spin to keep you around out of shame or pity. They're so convincing in their lies, they can make their victims feel like they are going crazy.

They're also very good at coming up with excuses for their bad behaviour.

According to doctor of psychology Perpetua Neo, who works with the victims of narcissistic abuse, somebody who constantly explains away their actions without taking any responsibility may be a narcissist.

"Some of them say things like: I cannot help it, I've been so damaged, I need to drink, snort coke, whatever," Neo told Business Insider. "That's why I do that stupid behaviour, so you have to understand and forgive me. This means you have to absolve two kinds of behaviour — one the drinking or the substance abuse, and two the emotional abuse towards you."

The whole point is to make you feel guilty for questioning their motives. For example, Neo says that if any of her clients brought up the fact their narcissistic partner was being unloving, cruel, or was doing something they didn't think was appropriate, they would be met by fierce defence.

One of their favourite lines is "I'm so much better now," because victims will often find narcissists claim to have had problems in the past, such as addictions or difficult ex-partners.

Narcissists all follow a similar pattern

"They might say, for instance 'I used to be a sex addict,'" Neo said. "Or 'I used to be a sex addict and now I'm so much better.' So whenever you see them slip, they will say they couldn't help it."

They might also bring up their past, and how much of a hard life they've had. You very rarely meet a narcissist who doesn't claim to have had a difficult upbringing.

"They say 'I'm only like that because of my past,' or 'because my mother hurt me,' or 'my father is the reason I am who I am,'" Neo said. "They're always one step ahead of you."

Narcissists are also furious if you don't appreciate the tiny things they have apparently done. They expect praise for simply being a decent human being, and are insulted if they aren't congratulated at every turn.

"They say, 'don't forget that one week where I drank less. You're so ungrateful. Didn't you see me try?'" Neo said. "The changes are very piecemeal and transient, but of course the narcissist is going to blow them all up, because he thinks everything he gives is a very big deal. They see it like currency"

Some narcissists will blame their behaviour on their friends, saying it's just the culture they live in. Others will blame their partner for the behaviour, calling them crazy, and manipulating them into acting differently.

In the early days of an abusive relationship, narcissists love bomb their victims with attention and affection, while they pretend to be the best person in the world. It's only once they are sure they have hooked their partner that their true self starts to shine through.

There's no limit to their lies

Sometimes, narcissists will play an extreme pity card by telling you they have a mental health condition, and you are a bad person for not excusing them as a result.

"They might say they have a substance abuse problem because they are depressed, or because they're anxious," Neo said. "My ex pulled out this whole borderline personality diagnosis on me. Borderline people are emotionally volatile because they can't regulate their emotions. So he would say he was borderline therefore he was paranoid, therefore he didn't like me talking to other people."

Particularly twisted narcissists have also pretended to be ill to get what they want. One of Neo's clients, for example, paid for her ex-husband to live in a huge house because he told her he had cancer.

Over time, narcissists become more sophisticated because they're constantly learning tricks about how to manipulate people. That's how they can get away with such exploitation.

Ultimately, the only thing you can do is get as far away from them as possible, Neo said. You should break away as soon as you know you are with someone who is incapable of empathy, and run far away.

The best revenge you can get is to live your life, learn from the experience, and grow as a result. Finding out you are stronger and happier without them drives narcissists mad.

"Even though he tried to destroy you, you've turned the tables and instead created an awesome life courtesy of the lessons from what he did to you. That will piss him off royally," Neo said.

SEE ALSO: People downplay abuse in relationships using this simple phrase — here's why it's so damaging

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NOW WATCH: Amazon has an oddly efficient way of storing stuff in its warehouses

The Russian billionaire owner of Arsenal reportedly paid for his niece to wed in a lavish Disney-style wedding — take a look inside


elmirattv  instagram

24-year-old Uzbekistan "influencer" Ganya Usmanova and tennis star Vazha Uzakov, 29, married over the weekend in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

The extremely opulent affair was reportedly paid for by Uzbek-born Russian business magnate Alisher Usmanov, who is worth over $15 billion (£11 billion) according to Forbes and owns a chunk of Arsenal Football Club.

The pinnacle of the lavish affair was a fairytale-themed reception held at the Uzekspocentre Exhibition Centre, which centred around a white Disney-like castle.

There was no expense spared, with a "Sex and the City" style bachelorette party, multiple dress changes, and traditional folk entertainment.

Scroll down to see the extent of the lavish celebrations that were shared on Instagram with the hashtag #VazhaGanya.

SEE ALSO: Meet the world's youngest queen, 27-year-old Jetsun Pema of Bhutan

Uzbekistan 'influencer' Ganya Usmanova, 24, and tennis star Vazha Uzakov, 29, married on November 30 2017 in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

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The extremely opulent affair was reportedly paid for by Uzbek-born Russian business magnate Alisher Usmanov who is worth over $15 billion (£11 billion) according to Forbes. He also owns a chunk of Arsenal Football Club.

Source: The Sun 

The couple opted for a Disney-like theme. The main reception, held at the Uzekspocentre Exhibition Centre, was centred around a white fairytale castle, against a night-like background with twinkling lights.

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The floor was decorated with diamond-effect designs, while ornate, chandelier-like decorations hung low from the ceilings and hundreds of flower arrangements adorned the tables. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The richest people in the world pay everyone from nannies to chefs to keep their household running smoothly — and it can cost millions of dollars a year


wealthy woman

Whether you run a company or a household, time is often your most valuable resource.

For those who can afford to, hiring help — from assistants to nannies to chauffeurs — can make life a lot easier.

Business Insider spoke with David Youdovin, the founder and CEO of Hire Society, a recruitment firm that helps high-net-worth individuals and families in New York City, the Hamptons, and Palm Beach, staff their homes and businesses.

"The vast majority of our clients are the .01% — they have multiple homes, domestic aircraft, and several members of domestic staff," said Youdovin, who worked as a butler and estate manager for a billionaire family before founding Hire Society in 2012.

"There's major altruism in putting good people to work with these families," Youdovin said. "These salaries can be life-changing, especially for people not originally from the United States."

Below, Youdovin provided us with a list of the most common positions wealthy families are looking to hire for, and how much they pay annually. Youdovin says the salaries range based on previous experience and references.

SEE ALSO: San Francisco rent is so expensive that a law firm bought a $3 million plane to fly its people in from Texas instead of having them live there

DON'T MISS: The 17 cities where the world's richest people want to live

Chief of staff

Salary range: $200,000 - $500,000

Management team

Estate manager

• Salary range: $150,000 - $300,000

Executive house manager

• Salary range: $100,000 - $150,000

Assistant house manager

• Salary range: $80,000 - $110,000

Office manager

• Salary range: $100,000 - $175,000


Salary range: $80,000 - $120,000

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Polar bears aren't actually white, and sometimes they can turn green


Polar bears aren't actually white. Their color is determined by the lighting and climate of their surroundings. Following is a transcript of the video.

Polar bears aren't actually white.Turns out, they can come in all sorts of colors: yellow, gray, orange, and even green. That's because polar bear fur is transparent and hollow.When light strikes the outer fur some of it is absorbed while the rest is scattered away.

The result? The fur can appear as different colors under different lighting. Normally, polar bears look white. That's because their fur is scattering sunlight, which is also white. But on a cloudy day, the bears can look slightly gray. At sunset, they can appear reddish-orange. But lighting is only half the story.

Polar bears in zoos have been known to turn green. Concrete floors in their pens scrape against the fur. The abrasions form tiny holes in their hairs, opening a gateway for algae that can live and breed inside. In the Arctic, temperatures are too cold for these algae. But wild polar bear fur can still change color to yellow, thanks to oils from their prey that stain the fur.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about polar bears? Underneath all that hair, polar bear skin is actually black. The black skin readily absorbs sunlight to keep the bear warm. Polar bears aren't just the ambassadors of the North Pole. They're masters at manipulating color to survive.

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Look out for these early warning signs that you're dating a narcissist


Dr. Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist and the author of "Rethinking Narcissism" reveals the common traits of narcissists when dating. Following is a transcript of the video.

Craig Malkin: Hi, I'm Dr. Craig Malkin. I'm a clinical psychologist, author, and lecturer for Harvard Medical School.

Some early warning signs that you're with a narcissist when you're dating someone that you really want to pay attention to all come down to one thing: All narcissists hate depending on others in mutually caring and emotional ways.

When they're feeling sad, scared, lonely — any of those vulnerable feelings, they go out of their way to avoid acknowledging it, recognizing it, being open about it. And that leads happily to some very clear predictable strategies that we can see when we're dating somebody early on.

One of the most common is something I call playing "emotional Hot Potato." When somebody is extremely narcissistic, instead of saying "I'm feeling unsure of myself." or "I don't really know what I'm doing." they say and do things to make you feel that way.

So, a classic example is — I had a client who was applying for graduate school. Her boyfriend had no clue what he was going to do with the rest of his life. He really hadn't had the faintest idea. But rather than talk to her about that, he would stand over her shoulders, and he would say "Are you sure you want to apply to that place? That seems a little bit out of your league." In this way he would sure up his own sense of certainty about what he knows about the world by undermining her feelings that she knew what she was doing. That is a classic example of playing emotional Hot Potato.

Another really common one that isn't so obvious is something I call "stealth control." This can be a lot of fun and can be very sneaky. You meet somebody. You meet a guy. You're dating him, and he keeps showing up at the last minute with concert tickets or sweeping you off your feet to go someplace — a restaurant that you've never been to before. All that's wonderful and fabulous. But every time you decide you want to go try some new place, or you make plans, he cancels at last minute, or it's too far, or he's too tired, or a million excuses. And before you realize it, everything that you're doing — as much fun as it is is really what he wants. That's stealth control.

As you can see it can be very subtle, but these are just a couple of the signs that can show up early on when somebody is extremely narcissistic before you see any of the way more dangerous signs that can happen later down the line.

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34 of the weirdest photos taken in 2017


Raphael and Mirjam (R) pose as first guests in the bedroom of the Null-Stern-Hotel (Zero-star-hotel) land art installation by Swiss artists Frank and Patrik Riklin on an alp mount Saentis near Gonten, Switzerland June 1, 2017. Guests can order overnight stays in the Null-Stern-hotelroom with no walls and roof located on some 1,200 metres (3,937 ft) altitude in the eastern Swiss Alps.

While Reuters' award-winning photographers are out capturing news events as they happen across the world, they also play witness to some pretty downright wacky stuff.

Here, we've pulled together the strangest, most humorous, and most confusing photos that the team captured this year.

Below, take a look at 2017's more lighthearted moments.

All captions are by Reuters.

SEE ALSO: 50 stunning moments captured by the award-winning Reuters photography team in 2017

A woman dives and pretends to ride a bike in Underwater Park in Pula, Croatia.

Brides-to-be participate in the "Running of the Brides" race in a park in Bangkok, Thailand.

Two people pose as guests in the bedroom of the Null-Stern-Hotel (Zero-star-hotel) art installation by Swiss artists Frank and Patrik Riklin on Saentis near Gonten, Switzerland. Guests can order overnight stays in the Null-Stern hotel room, located on some 3,937-foot altitude in the eastern Swiss Alps.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The best way to wrap a gift in under 2 minutes


This simple method for wrapping gifts doesn't take long to master, and your gift recipients will appreciate your beautiful wrapping. Following is the text of the video.

First, get your supplies. Measure the paper to see how much you need. Pull the loose end over the top of the box until it covers the top and sides and touches the table. Leave a little extra slack and cut the paper off the roll.

Now for the sides. The paper should go a little over halfway up the side. Make it even on both sides. Cut off the excess paper. Pull the longer sides up over the box and tape them.

Push the paper from the top into the corner with your thumb. Crease the paper diagonally. Repeat on the other side.

Push the bottom of the newly formed triangle in close to the box. Crease the diagonal along the table. Repeat on the other side.

For a cleaner edge, make a small fold first. Then fold up that final flap and tape it. Once again, repeat on the other side.

Then, the fun part... unwrapping!

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Chipotle is struggling as it searches for a new CEO, but it doesn't matter because its biggest rival is way better — here's why



  • The past few years haven't been too good for Chipotle, with E. coli scares, lackluster menu additions, and a weakened reputation.
  • But there's something better than Chipotle: Qdoba.
  • With a more interesting menu, better pricing, and an inimitable queso, Qdoba beats Chipotle across the board.


Chipotle isn't the shining star it used to be. 

It announced in November that its founder and CEO, Steve Ells, would be stepping down as the chain works to recover its reputation in the wake of its 2015 E.coli outbreak. Yet in spite of — or, perhaps in some cases, because of — its numerous failures, Chipotle lingers in the public consciousness and maintains its grip on the Tex-Mex fast-casual market. 

Merely two years after Chipotle was founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1993, another Tex-Mex chain, called Qdoba, sprung up in the same city.

While it has labored more or less in Chipotle's shadow, Qdoba is, without a doubt, superior in nearly every way. It has a more interesting menu, less fuss, and a sterling reputation — not to mention free guac. 

Having recently revisited Chipotle to see how the chain is doing, I decided to go back to my one true Tex-Mex chain love to compare. 

SEE ALSO: I ate Trump's absurd, 2,430-calorie McDonald's order — and it was even worse than I imagined

ALSO READ: Chipotle is facing a reckoning — and I saw why it may never again be the chain it once was

Qdoba is a national chain with over 700 locations — a far cry from Chipotle's 2200-plus restaurants, but nothing to sniff at. It's the same idea as Chipotle: fast-casual assembly line with burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, and the like. Qdoba also has taco salads, quesadillas, and soups, though — a key difference.

Source: Qdoba

I decided to get a simple chicken burrito to compare to my recent Chipotle burrito review. Nothing fancy, and almost exactly the same ingredients: chicken, cilantro rice, black beans, pico de gallo, salsa verde, guac, queso, cheese, and lettuce.

But before even tasting the burrito, I noted that Qdoba already has a huge advantage over Chipotle: the guac and queso are free add-ons. That's right, free. Chipotle's guac can cost over $2 as an add-on, and so does the queso. Tacking nearly $4 on to your burrito, just for some delicious cheese and cool, refreshing guacamole? That's heinous.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

What it's like inside the ultra-exclusive club that counts Roger Goodell, Anthony Scaramucci, and Wall Street billionaires as members


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CORE: Club isn't easy to get into.

The Manhattan club counts bigwigs from the city's major industries as members, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, billionaire fashion entrepreneur J. Christopher Burch, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

But don't mistake it for the stuffy Upper East Side clubs that have defined New York City's 1% for more than a century, founder Jennie Enterprise told Business Insider. CORE: Club seeks to be "the anticlub."

We recently spent the day at CORE to see what it's all about.

CORE: Club is located in midtown Manhattan, a short walk from Fifth Avenue, Grand Central, Rockefeller Center, and dozens of corporate HQs. A perfect location for the 1% who form the club's core membership.

The entrance is tucked into a building. When you walk in you're greeted by a rotating selection of contemporary art, curated by New York Times columnist Bee Shapiro and others. To join, you'll have to pony up a $50,000 initiation fee and approximately $17,000 in annual dues.

Next to the elevators are iPads listing the club's upcoming events — there are more than 350 per year — along with various membership perks offered by partners like Bulgari Hotels, yacht charter app YachtLife, and private aviation company Wheels Up.

The club also offers what Enterprise calls "experiential installations."

A recent excursion ferried members via Rolls Royce upstate to renowned chef Dan Barber's Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Members then took a tour of art collectors Raymond Learsy and Melva Bucksbaum's private art collection, which features works by Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, and Robert Mapplethorpe. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

From LeBron James to Jordy Nelson, the surprisingly frugal ways 5 athletes spend their multimillion-dollar paychecks


LeBron James Athletes Money

  • Athletes are notorious for wasting outrageous sums of money.
  • But some players — like LeBron James — are surprisingly stringent with their cash. 
  • One football player drives a 26-year-old car, while one baseball player lives in a 1978 van.


Athletes are known for wasting outrageous sums of money almost as much as they are for playing sports.

But a few famous greats don't spend like ballers. In fact, some athletes earn multimillion-dollar salaries but are actually careful with their incomes. 

Below, learn more about five athletes who are surprisingly frugal with their money.

SEE ALSO: 6 athletes who made a fortune outside of the world of sports

DON'T MISS: LeBron James' teammates call him 'the cheapest guy in the NBA' — but he just bought a $23 million mansion in Los Angeles

Jordy Nelson

The days where professional athletes need to bring in a second income during the off-season are over. But Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson does it anyway.

When he's not grabbing touchdowns at Lambeau Field, Nelson can be found on his family farm in Kansas. He herds cattle and spends 12 hours a day in the field helping his parents earn a living.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Nelson's father said his son flies into Milwaukee and drives to Green Bay because it is cheaper than direct flights. About his son's home, the elder Nelson said, "It's got junk equipment, trees that need trimming ... he's not going to hire somebody to do it."

Farmer first, the star makes around $9.7 million a year as a football player.

LeBron James

The king of basketball doesn't seem like an obvious person to be tight-fisted with his money, especially after he just bought a $23 million house.

But King James' former teammate and good friend Dwayne Wade claims he is "the cheapest guy in the NBA" because he hesitates to pay for mobile data or a premium music service.

While traveling from city to city, James admitted, he only uses WiFi. LeBron also listens to his music for free on Pandora. He doesn't seem to mind when an ad plays between songs while the team is prepping for game time.  

Alfred Morris

The wealthiest athletes usually zoom around town in Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Hard-hitting Dallas Cowboys running back Alfred Morris drives Bentley.

No, not a Bentley, the luxury car. Bentley is the name of his beloved 1991 Mazda 626, which he bought for $2. In 2013, he splurged to fix up the old sedan.

The former Washington Redskin is no longer at the top of the sport, but he still does well for himself, earning a $1.2 million annual base salary.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

7 fun, free things to do in New York City on New Year's Eve this year


New Years kiss

New York City should be on everyone's list of once-in-a-lifetime New Year's Eve destinations.

The city is home to the world-famous Times Square ball drop, where last year more than two million people gathered in the chilly air to watch live performances and count down to midnight. And it's free.

Below, we've rounded up seven more fun events in New York City that won't cost you a penny on New Year's Eve.

SEE ALSO: 16 of the most luxurious ski resorts to visit this winter

DON'T MISS: 19 of the best ski resorts to visit this winter that don't cost a fortune

Dance at the Midnight Run in Central Park

While there's a fee to participate in the 4-mile run, spectating is free at New York Road Runner's Midnight Run in Central Park. The party starts at 10 p.m. with a live DJ, followed by a parade and costume contest at 11 p.m. and the race and fireworks at midnight. 

Cruise the harbor on the Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry offers riders the best views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. At no cost to ride, you'll see fireworks going off in each of the boroughs as you cruise the harbor on New Year's Eve. Bring a coat and get there early.

Listen to live music at the New Year's Eve Concert for Peace

A New York staple since 1984, the Concert for Peace takes place at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine every New Year's Eve. General admission seats are free and open to the public. This year's show features Cathedral Artist in Residence Judy Collins, and runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 11 most expensive homes for sale in America's most expensive zip code


most expensive home atherton california

  • The most expensive zip code in America is 94027, or Atherton, California, according to Forbes.
  • The median price for a home there is $9,686,164.
  • We put together a list of the most expensive homes currently for sale there.


If you're looking for luxurious homes, the most expensive zip code in America is a good place to start.

Atherton, California — or 94027 — has been crowned that title in 2017, according to Forbes' annual ranking.

The median price for a home in that area is $9,686,164, and homes spend about 190 days on the market. 

With the help of the team at Yardi, we put together a list of the 11 most expensive homes currently for sale in Atherton.

SEE ALSO: Meet the world's 50 richest billionaires of 2017

11. 65 Selby Lane — $10,800,000

10. 102 Encinal Avenue — $12,900,000

9. 333 Atherton Avenue— $12,980,000

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A day in the life of an executive at Facebook, the best place to work in America


Facebook Julie Zhuo Day in the Life

  • Business Insider interviewed Facebook's vice president of product design, Julie Zhuo, about how she spends her days at the tech company.
  • She broke down her daily routine from her early-morning workout to spending time with her family in the evening.
  • Zhuo also discussed the strategies she uses to get her work done and live a balanced life.

For Facebook's vice president of product design, Julie Zhuo, intentionality is key.

That's reflected in her daily routine at Facebook, which Glassdoor just named the most desirable place to work in America.

Zhuo has worked at Facebook for over 11 years, having joined a team of only about 100 employees. She's worked on products like Facebook's News Feed, the "like" button, and user profiles. Now she oversees the design of many of Facebook's core user experiences — and a team of more than 250 employees.

"Facebook is a very mission-oriented place," she told Business Insider. "Most of the people that work here really care about building community and making tools that help bring people closer together. That's a huge part of why I've been here for so long and I think many of the people I work with are here."

Zhuo recently chronicled her daily schedule, habits, and strategies for Business Insider — here's what a day in the life of one Facebook exec looks like:

SEE ALSO: A Google exec who's only in the office from 9 to 5:30 shares the routine that keeps him from becoming a workaholic

DON'T MISS: 7 reasons Facebook is the best place to work in America and no other company can compare

On weekdays, Zhuo wakes up around 7 a.m. To kick off her day, she works out on an elliptical for about 10 minutes, then showers. The Facebook exec often runs while listening to a TED Talk, an audiobook, or music. "I like the idea of starting the day having accomplished something, even if it's very small," she said. Zhuo says she also starts thinking about her schedule and daily tasks first thing in the morning.

Zhuo's husband, Mike Sego, Facebook's engineering director, prepares breakfast for the family — that's usually eggs and coffee for Sego and Zhuo, and milk and snacks for their two young children. They get the kids dressed, and their nanny picks them up at 8:30 a.m.

Zhuo and Sego are at the office by 9 a.m., and she tries to take some time to plan for her meetings. "I try to be very intentional about my time," she said. "It's easy to get into the habit of reacting to what's happening during the day."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Boats full of dead people from North Korea keep showing up in Japan — here's why


japan ghost ship

  • Dozens of ships containing dead bodies have washed up in Japan recently.
  • All the evidence indicates that the "ghost ships" are coming from North Korea.
  • It isn't a new phenomenon, but is happening more and more often.
  • One expert told BI it could be because of food scarcity in North Korea.

Dozens of dead bodies have mysteriously washed up on Japan's shores over the past few weeks — and all the evidence points to North Korea.

At least 40 corpses from around 15 boats have washed up along Japan's west coast since November, according to figures from Japanese authorities and calculated by Business Insider.

The most recent discovery was made on Thursday, when authorities found two skeletons near an upturned boat near the western city of Oga, according to the Washington Post.

While Japanese authorities haven't been able to definitively identify the origins of these "ghost ships" — vessels discovered with no living crew — multiple factors suggest that they are from North Korea.

One of the boats, found on the island of Sado around November 26 contained what appeared to be North Korean cigarette packets and jackets with Korean writing on them.

Two bodies recovered from another boat in Yamagata prefecture on Tuesday were also wearing pins showing the face of Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of Kim Jong Un, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo and the Associated Press.

Most of the discoveries have been gruesome: Japanese authorities reportedly found skulls and decaying corpses in multiple cases.

Not a new phenomenon

japan ghost ship appearance skitch

North Korean vessels have been showing up in Japan for years.

Eighty such ships drifted ashore in Japan in 2013, 65 in 2014, 45 in 2015, and 66 in 2016, said Satoru Miyamoto, a political science and economics professor at Japan's Seigakuin University, citing Japan Coast Guard statistics.

But the trend appears to have worsened this year: at least 76 vessels have showed up on Japanese shores since the beginning of 2017, 28 of which in November alone, The New York Times reported.

These appearances most frequently occur toward the end of the year, when bad weather proves most dangerous to seafarers using old boats and equipment, the Times said.

So why is this happening?

Life in North Korea is "grim and desperate"

North Korea

The rising number of ghost ships in Japan indicates the dire food insecurity facing North Korea, some experts say.

Professor Jeffrey Kingston, the director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Japan, told Business Insider: "The ghost ships are a barometer for the state of living conditions in North Korea — grim and desperate.

"They signal both desperation and the limits of 'juche,'" he added, using the word for an ideology developed by Kim Il Sung, which justifies state policies despite famine and economic difficulties within the country.

To make matters worse, North Korea suffered a severe drought earlier this year, which dramatically damaged the country's food production and will likely result in further food shortages, the United Nations said in July.

While the exact extent of crop damage remains unclear, the UN said the areas accounting for two-thirds of North Korea's main cereal production had been severely affected.

Earlier this year, a North Korean soldier who was shot while defecting to the south was found with a large number of parasites in his stomach — suggestive of a widespread health crisis gripping the country, The Washington Post reported.

Seo Yu Suk, a research manager at the North Korean Studies Institution in Seoul, also told Reuters: "North Korea pushes so hard for its people to gather more fish so that they can make up their food shortages."

Professor Kingston added: "These rickety vessels are unsuitable for the rough seas of the Sea of Japan in autumn, and one imagines that far more are capsizing that we will never know about."

... Or are they a sign of a booming North Korean economy?

kim jong un seafood

Not all agree with the above assessment, however.

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein, an editor at North Korean Economy Watch, told BI: "It's unclear to what degree it's directly related to food shortages per se.

"If fishers are ordered out for longer periods of time, with bigger demands on the catch they bring back — and with less gasoline with them than they need, due to the sanctions and shortages — that is certainly a connection of sorts.

"It is also possible that to make the same level of revenue through selling seafood domestically — which seems to be the best option given that they cannot export their products to China through formal ways due to current sanctions on seafood imports from North Korea — they would simply need to make bigger catches."

The UN Security Council, of which China is a member, unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korean seafood and other commodities this August in response to two missile tests Pyongyang conducted the month before.

It's unclear this point how much sanctions have affected the North Korean food situation or economy, however.

Katzeff Silberstein said: "Though the economy overall is under pressure from sanctions, food prices have not gone up to the degree that some may have expected, which suggests that there isn't any acute scarcity as of now.

"On the other hand, there have been anecdotal reports of food scarcity increasing, particularly in the northeastern parts of the country, near the border to China, where agriculture is not at all as widely spread as in the southern regions."

kim jong un squid

Miyamoto, the Seigakuin University professor, even said the rise in North Korean fishing vessels in Japan is indicative of a booming North Korean economy — because seafood is a luxury item.

He told BI: "Many North Korean vessels are in the Sea of Japan because North Korea has promoted fishery policy since 2013.

"They are fishermen [trying] to earn money. Now North Korean economics, which adopted free market partly, have grown, and generated a wealthy class. A wealthy class demands not caloric food, but healthy food. So seafood, which are healthy, is popular in North Korea. [...]

"It is evidence not that the North Korean economy is deteriorating, but that the North Korean economy is growing... Hungry people demand not seafood which are low-calorie, but cereal and meat which are high-calorie."

He also told CNN the "ghost ship" phenomenon increased "after Kim Jong Un decided to expand the fisheries industry as a way of increasing revenue for the military. They are using old boats manned by the military, by people who have no knowledge about fishing.

"It will continue."

Japan's response

Japan Trump Abducted Families

The increased appearance of the vessels have reignited fears among some Japanese citizens who remain haunted by the spate of kidnappings that occurred along Japan's west coast in the 1970s and 1980s.

When eight (living) men, claiming to be North Korean fishermen, turned up at the coastal city of Yurihonjo two weeks ago, local newspaper Akita Sakigake Shimpo ran the headline: "Are they North Korean spies?" (They are not, local police told The New York Times.)

Pyongyang's nuclear development programme and recent missile tests have also increased Japanese suspicion toward North Korea.

Kingston, of Temple University, said: "Given recent missile and hydrogen bomb tests, public anxieties and anger towards North Korea has increased, so sympathy for the ghost ship crews has been limited."

SEE ALSO: North Korea's poverty is so dire that farmers reportedly steal each other's feces to fertilize crops

READ MORE: Stark photos show what street food is like in North Korea

DON'T MISS: Why UN sanctions on North Korea aren't working, according to experts

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NOW WATCH: What life is like on the $11 billion US military base right next to the North Korean border

Inside the lavish private members' club where 2-year-old Princess Charlotte is reportedly taking tennis lessons


princess charlotte kate middleton ap Star Max IPx

  • Princess Charlotte is reportedly a keen tennis player.
  • The two-year-old royal has been taking tennis lessons at The Hurlingham Club in south-west London.
  • Other members of the exclusive club are reportedly unhappy, as the young royal and her parents are not members of the club.

Princess Charlotte has started taking tennis lessons — and is a complete natural, according to the Sun.

The two-year-old royal — who has yet to start nursery — reportedly started taking tennis lessons at the prestigious and exclusive Hurlingham Club in Fulham, London earlier this year.

A source close to the family told the Sun: "She might not be three until May but [parents, William and Kate] were convinced she'd love it and so far she has. She seems a bit of a natural."

With her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, being a tennis fan and current patron of the London Tennis Association — the governing body of tennis in Great Britain — it should come as no surprise that the princess took to the sport easily.

Charlotte's paternal grandmother, the Queen, has also previously spoken in public about her love of the sport and was also the patron of the LTA before Kate took over.

But some members of the club, which prides itself on its traditions, reportedly aren't too happy that the princess has been allowed to use the facilities.

hurlingham club flickr herry lawford

The club's rules state that the sports facilities are only open to members and those directly invited by members to join them. Since Charlotte's parents aren't members, some of the club's other guests are reportedly kicking up a fuss.

"Unfortunately some patrons feel Charlotte shouldn't be allowed to play there," a source told the Sun.

hurlingham club croquet flickr herry lawfordBut it isn't a simple as William and Kate applying for membership — the waiting list for even being considered is long and closed for the time being, anyway.

"Club rules are usually very rigid and they don't see why exceptions should be made, even if they happen to be royal," the source added.

Kensington Palace declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.

Members or not, it's easy to see why the exclusive Hurlingham Club has attracted the royals.

The club's estate boasts perfectly lavish dining rooms, manicured grounds, wandering peacocks, and a clubhouse with plenty of sports facilities including croquet, bowls, cricket, outdoor swimming, and tennis.

hurlingham club inside flickr herry lawford

The stunning club identifies itself as "a green oasis of tradition and international renown," according to its website.

conservatory flickr herry lawford

"Recognised throughout the world as one of Britain's greatest private members' clubs, it retains its quintessentially English traditions and heritage," the club's website added — making it the perfect backdrop for royal P.E. lessons.

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These chainmail socks replace your shoes and are a more 'natural' way to run, hike and climb

  • These German-made chainmail socks are incredibly durable.
  • Unlike trainers, the Gost Barefoots make your feet move in a more natural way. 
  • You can run in them, climb in them and they can even go through water.
  •         The Paleos Classic line starts at around £266.


These chainmail socks let you run almost anywhere according to their makers. 

They're designed to simulate barefoot-running and they can protect the wearer's feet on rough surfaces. 

They're rustproof and can last a lifetime according to Gost Barefoots. 

Produced by Jasper Pickering

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Here's how to tell if you're guilty of 'sidebarring' your friends or partner


on a date texting

  • 71% of us are guilty of texting someone when we're supposed to be spending time with someone else.
  • It's called "sidebarring" and it's really annoying.
  • However good you think you are at multitasking, you're unlikely to get away with this one.

Many of us are glued to our phones. Whether we're expecting an important message or simply wanting to see the reactions to a great meme we just sent to the group chat, our phones make us feel more connected to the people we don't get to see all the time.

But that's not always a good thing. Sometimes we prioritise these electronic connections over what's happening in real life. In fact, if you're always messaging someone else when you're having dinner with a friend, at an event, or on a date (shame on you), there's a word for that. It's called "sidebarring."

It basically means that you're texting someone while you're supposed to be doing something else. And according to a Facebook study, 71% of us are guilty of it.

For those of you who think you're good at multitasking and can do this unnoticed, you're wrong.

According to one study from 2015, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, focusing on a visual task like texting or typing on a computer can make us deaf to normal volume sounds around us. It's called "inattentional deafness," which helps explain why when someone looks up from their lap, they had no idea what you just said to them.

Although we all might try to multitask, certain areas of our brains might only be able to concentrate on one thing at a time.

Science aside, it's also pretty obvious when you're in a dark environment, and your face is illuminated by the glow of the phone screen.

Facebook tried to put a positive spin on the findings, saying that most people say messaging makes them feel closer to friends. But anyone who has been the victim of their friend or date trying to inconspicuously text in front of them will tell you it's annoying as hell.

If you think you're being sidebarred, try screaming your question at the person who should be focusing on you. The 2015 study found that loud sounds can break the barrier, so it will bring them back to the present. It will also make your feelings about the situation clear.

Or you could just choose to spend time with someone who gives you their undivided attention. Your call.

SEE ALSO: Constantly texting your friends, family, or partner could be psychologically damaging — here's why

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This 18-year-old is raffling off his uncle's £130,000 Porsche Panamera Turbo for £35 a ticket



  • Faizan Mehdi is holding a raffle to auction off his uncle's Porsche Panamera Turbo and tickets cost £35 each.
  • His uncle bought the car, which is less than three years old, for £130,000.
  • Mehdi plans to draw the winner during an Instagram Live on New Year’s Eve.

18-year-old Faizan Mehdi is raffling off his uncle's Porsche Panamera Turbo just in time for the festive season — and tickets cost just £35 each.

Mehdi told Business Insider that his Uncle Hassan — his mum's brother — has owned the car for under three years, and bought it for £130,000.

It's been on the market for five months and hasn't sold, so Mehdi came up with an alternative way of earning some cash from it, inspired by a Chelsea estate agent who did the same with his Porsche Cayman in April.

The pair agreed to raffle the car online and are aiming to sell 3,000 tickets at £35 each, splitting the profits between them. That's £105,000, or £52,500 each if split equally, assuming they sell all the tickets.

To enter the raffle you need to buy a ticket and answer three trivia questions correctly. Entrants must be 18 and over and UK-based.

Mehdi plans to draw the winning ticket on his Instagram live on New Year’s Eve, and will deliver the car to the winner himself, "because it's the season of gift giving I think the timing is very suitable," he said.

It's easy to see why it's worth the effort for Mehdi...

🇵🇰 #Homeland

A post shared by Faizan Mehdi (@frizz_14) on Apr 18, 2017 at 1:56pm PDT on

...who clearly like fast cars, according to his Instagram.

If the full 3,000 tickets are not sold in time for New Year's Eve, the pair will hold off on selecting a winner until they reach their target. If ticket sales are much lower than their goal — if, for example, just 1,000 are sold — two winners will be chosen to receive 20% of the profits made from the raffle each, while the uncle and son duo will still make some cash for their efforts.

"The main target is to give away the car," Mehdi told Business Insider. "It’s in the circumstance where tickets sales are too low by Christmas that we would choose to do the cash option."

This is Hassan's 64 plate black Porsche Panamera Turbo. Similar models are available starting from about £115,000, according to the Porsche website.


Mehdi said that the registration plate is blurred because there is a personal, private plate currently on the car.


The MOT — or test to make sure the car is safe for the road — is due in January 2018, according to the listing, and the car has 20,000 miles on it.


It has 542bhp (horsepower) and is less than three years old.


And, if you're lucky, it could be yours for just £35.

Steering Wheel

SEE ALSO: The Russian billionaire owner of Arsenal reportedly paid for his niece to wed in a lavish Disney-style wedding — take a look inside

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A former flight attendant reveals the secret codes cabin crew use to point out attractive passengers


flight attendant

  • A former flight attendant revealed some of his in-flight tricks.
  • He told a radio show he had a code for attractive customers, as well as phrases for when he didn't like somebody.
  • Another — pretty gross — trick lets him avoid unwanted attention on-board.

A former flight attendant has revealed the secret codes cabin crew use to point out their most attractive passengers, as well as how to tell if they don't like you.

Speaking on Australian radio show Kyle & Jackie O, James, who was a flight attendant for seven years, said that the crew will typically pick out the best-looking passengers on a flight.

"Obviously when we are in the cabin and we are doing the drinks we can't just be like 'Oh doll check him out. You have to be subtle about it."

"Because everyone knows their seat numbers, so we’re on the cart and he’ll be like, 'I’m thinking of doing seven days in America… being 'seat 7A'.

"And I’ll be like, 'yeah, I could do seven days in America!'"

"Or like, six days in Denmark..."

They also have ways of dealing with their least favourite customers. "If a flight attendant ever says to you 'I’ll be right back,' we don't like you... and then you just 'forget,'" James told the presenters.

And James even has a knack — albeit pretty gross — for avoiding passengers when he's got better things to be doing, like having lunch.

"I used to have a trick every time I went from one end of the plane to the other to eat my lunch someone would always ask me something. And I'm just like I just want to eat my lunch!

"So I used to have a trick I'd put a can of coke in a sick bag put a rubber glove on and then walk through the cabin so it looks like I'm holding vomit — no one asked me for a thing."

SEE ALSO: A trichologist or 'hair doctor' says the rise in veganism is causing hair loss — this is her advice on how to prevent it

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NOW WATCH: The easiest way to trick an airline into charging you less for your flight

The easiest way to get rid of bad breath — according to a dentist


Bad breath is sometimes very disconcerting, not to mention that it can be gross. Dr. Ada Cooper explains everything you need to know about alleviating bad breath. Following is a transcript of the video. 

Dr. Ada Cooper: Don't think that living a life of mouthwash four times a day is always going to cure your bad breath. If food remains on your teeth because you don't brush and you don't floss, that food just sits in your mouth and is degraded by bacteria and you can just imagine the odor that gives off. Be sure that when you brush, you brush your teeth at night.

Again, many people don't realize that food just sits in your mouth overnight, in the morning your breath will be far stronger than you could ever imagine. And brush your tongue too. Bacteria accumulates in the back surface of your tongue and can also cause strong odor. Also be sure to drink a lot of water. When your mouth becomes more dry, you have less saliva and when you have less saliva food and bacteria tends to sit in your mouth for a much longer period of time. But also remember that there are other things beyond just being thirsty that can make your mouth dry.

For example, coffee alcohol smoking which is never a good idea and even some medications can cause dry mouth. If you find that your breath is strong no matter what you do. If you find that you're constantly having to use mouthwash which really often times just camouflages bad odor you may have something else going on than poor hygiene. So in the instance, it's really important to see your dentist because other things that can't be cured by just brushing, flossing, and watching what you eat might be going on.

This video was first published on December 17, 2016.

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