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'The Americans' ended with one of the greatest series finales ever, and it marks the end of TV's Golden Age


The Americans philip

  • "The Americans" ended its six-season run Wednesday night in an excellent series finale.
  • While it was loved by critics, the show mostly flew under the radar.
  • In the years it was on the air, TV has changed a lot, favoring fantasy, sci-fi, and other world-building shows over character-driven dramas that dominated television's Golden Age.
  • The end of "The Americans," one of the best shows of all time, marks the end of its era.

FX's "The Americans" ended its six-season run with an excellent final season, and a gut-wrenching series finale. The end of the show, which made its debut in 2013, also marks the end of an era of television: the Golden Age of prestige, character-driven dramas that started with “The Sopranos.”

When "The Americans" premiered, ”Mad Men” was still on the air. “Breaking Bad”  another violent show about a criminal balancing his secret life while attempting to keep a family afloat  was months away from airing its final season. But as “The Americans” got further into its run, shows like it didn’t keep coming. Instead, plot-driven sci-fi and fantasy shows with expanded universes like “Game of Thrones” (which was about to air its third season when "The Americans" premiered in 2013), “Stranger Things,” and “Westworld” began to dominate the TV landscape.

“The Americans” is on par with shows like "The Sopranos," "The Wire," “Mad Men,” and “Breaking Bad" — and is the best show to end its era of character-focused dramas. Like AMC tech drama "Halt and Catch Fire," which ended its four-season run in 2017, "The Americans" was loved by critics but never generated much buzz elsewhere. AMC still has a great character drama in “Better Call Saul,” but even that show fits more into the newer slew of TV.

Paige The Americans

The best thing about "The Americans" is its ability to exist in a gray area: Despite the fact that I am an American, and most people watching this show are American, there’s no clear good guy or bad guy. You quietly root for everyone, or no one, despite their allegiance, methods, or how many people they've killed and how. 

At its heart, "The Americans" isn’t a spy thriller. It’s a family drama. While Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) are KGB spies, their neighbor Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) is an FBI agent, and it has some of the best action sequences ever depicted on TV, its highlights were always simple emotional moments and conflicts. The drama and action were made more complex by the true identity of its characters, and those who were ignorant of them (or not).

In season two, Paige Jennings (Holly Taylor), the then 14-year-old daughter of Philip and Elizabeth (who is, at this point in the series, oblivious to her parents’ real identities, but suspicious) starts going to church. She donates $600  all of her money  to a fund for refugees. Her parents are infuriated. In the haunting scene in the Jennings kitchen, Philip (whose allegiance to the Soviet Union wavers throughout the series) tears up Paige’s Bible, and screams, “You respect Jesus, but not us?” Paige has no idea why her parents have such a negative to reaction to her new interest (it's not like she was drinking, doing drugs, and having sex), and the many layers packed into Philip and Elizabeth's hostility for it made this one of the best stories in the series. And it ultimately leads to Paige figuring out her parents' secret. 

The Americans

The series finale stays true to the core of the story and its characters in an unexpected, stinging twist fans never could’ve imagined. A lot of fans were expecting major deaths. Would Stan, the FBI agent who figured out that Philip and Elizabeth are KGB spies (something he was suspicious of in the pilot), kill his friends or turn them in to the FBI? Would Philip and Elizabeth kill Stan in order to save themselves, and their family?


After an intense, quiet scene that’s more than eleven minutes of dialogue in a parking garage, Stan lets Philip, Elizabeth, and Paige get away.

“You were my only friend,” Philip says. “My whole sh---y life. For all these years, my life was the joke. Not yours.” Later, Stan lies to the FBI about seeing them.

After Stan lets the Jennings go, they enjoy their last American meal at McDonald’s before heading to Canada in disguises, without their fourth family member: Henry. Henry doesn’t know about his parents’ true identity, and he’s been away at boarding school for years. He also hasn’t had that much to do on the show besides love hockey and video games. After some discussion and pushback from Paige, Philip and Elizabeth decide that they’ll leave Henry in the US, leaving Stan to take care of him.

The Americans

Before the Jennings leave their son for good, Paige insists that they call Henry on a payphone to talk to him one last time. It's a huge risk, since the FBI is already looking for them. Even though Henry was underdeveloped — and oftentimes a joke among fans for his ignorance — this emotional moment reveals so much about each member of the Jennings family, and is a perfect cap on the story this show was always telling. While Philip and Elizabeth talk to him briefly, Paige backs out at the last minute. Henry, who assumes they're calling him because they've been drinking, ends the call abruptly because he's in the middle of a ping-pong tournament. 

On a conference call with journalists discussing the finale, Keri Russell said this was the last major scene they shot, which made it even more emotional than it was on the page. "I did not see the Henry aspect coming at all and that was just devastating to me," she said. 

As U2’s “With or Without You” plays (one of the show's many strengths was surprising choices for music from its era), Philip and Elizabeth see Paige on the platform through the train windows: she’s not going to Russia with them. The series ends with Philip and Elizabeth, who make it to Moscow. They got a better life in the United States than they would’ve had in Russia, but they lost everything they built for decades.

“They’ll remember us,” Philip says, overlooking Moscow. “They’re not kids anymore. We raised them.”

Elizabeth nods. “Yes.”

the americans fx

There will probably be countless spy thrillers and complex family dramas like “The Americans” again. But not really. Because no show can do this better. In its final season and especially in its series finale, “The Americans” proves once again that it is one of the best television series ever made with careful, detailed writing; thoughtfully fleshed-out female characters; and mind-blowing performances (especially from Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Noah Emmerich). It’s just a shame that it flew so far under the radar that it never gained as much popularity as "The Sopranos” and “Breaking Bad," the predecessor that made it possible. 

If you want to watch "The Americans" from the beginning, it's available to stream on Amazon Prime. 

SEE ALSO: What an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker learned by embedding herself with The New York Times as it covered the first year of Trump's presidency

Join the conversation about this story »

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Nominate someone for Business Insider's Food 100: The coolest people in food and drink in North America and Europe


Food 100 nomination 4x3

Business Insider is looking for the 100 coolest people in food and drink in North America and Europe — and nominations are still open.

The Business Insider Food 100 will rank the most innovative, trend-setting, impactful, and influential people in the fantastic worlds of food and drink.

It will include, but is not limited to, the likes of...

  • Chefs
  • Bartenders and mixologists
  • Sommeliers
  • CEOs and teams behind new product launches
  • Bloggers
  • Nutritionists and dietitians
  • Anyone doing something "cool" within the wider world of food and drink

Do you know someone with a quirky job or role who has had an impact on the industry in the past year? Did they invent a product, a drink, or a dish that has become famous? Did they open a restaurant or bar that's the first of its kind?

If so, we want to hear from you — and you can fill out a nomination form here.

Deadline: Friday June 1 at 11.59 p.m.

Please email uksales@businessinsider.com for sponsorship opportunities.

SEE ALSO: The 25 best restaurants in the world, according to millionaire private jet owners

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Dorothy's $6 million ruby slippers from 'The Wizard of Oz' are the most expensive piece of pop culture ever — but 12 more collectibles came close


Dorothy Ruby slippers

  • Dorothy's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" are on sale for $6 million — the highest-ever price for pop culture memorabilia.
  • The Cowardly Lion's costume from "The Wizard of Oz" is already one of the most expensive film costumes ever sold.
  • Two Marilyn Monroe dresses are among the most expensive pieces of memorabilia ever sold.

Dorothy's ruby slippers from"The Wizard of Oz" are looking for a new home.

Actress Judy Garland wore the shoes in the 1939 film and they're now on sale by Moments In Time for $6 million. The slippers had previously been on exhibit at Disney World for over a decade. Several other pairs of the slippers exist, including a pair that was stolen in 2005 and never found. 

The authentication document for the $6 million pair says the shoes are "rimmed in 46 rhinestones, surrounding 42 bugle beads and the three larger (rectangular) jewels centered in a line."

While no movie prop or costume has ever sold publicly for more than $6 million, there have been several pieces of memorabilia that were auctioned off for seven figures. 

Take a look at these 12 pieces of memorabilia from movies, TV, and sports which each sold for at least $3 million.

SEE ALSO: 13 outrageous items sold by auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's

DON'T MISS: WATCH: Art agents frantically bid on a rare $450 million painting

Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball: $3 million

In the summer of 1998, baseball fans across the country watched Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire try to break Roger Maris' single-season home-run record. Eventually, both players broke Maris' record of 61 home runs, which had stood since 1961.

Sosa ended the year with 66 home runs and McGwire hit an even 70. Even though it wasn't the home run that broke the record, comic book millionaire Todd McFarlane purchased McGwire's 70th home run ball for $3 million. He also owns McGwire's 67th, 68th, and 69th, and Sosa's 66th home run balls.

The Cowardly Lion's costume: $3.1 million

The ruby slippers are not the only sought-after costume from "The Wizard of Oz." Dorothy's dress from the movie sold for over $1.5 million, but another character's wear has sold for more.

Actor Bert Lahr donned this costume made of actual lion skin and fur for the 1939 film. He sung "If I Were King of the Forrest" and found his courage in this costume.

Bonhams auctioned off this piece of movie history in 2014 for $3 million.

Honus Wagner T206: $3.1 million

The most famous baseball card of all time is also the most expensive. There is an entire book dedicated to the card and it has arguably overshadowed Wagner's Hall of Fame playing career. 

Only 57 of the cards are known to exist and few are in good condition considering they were printed between 1909 and 1911. At one time, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky owned one of the mint condition copies.

The record price for a trading card was by one of these T206 in 2016 for $3.12 million.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A ‘breakthrough’ depression drug inspired by ketamine is attracting more attention from big pharma (AGN)


man silhouette alone sunrise sunset

  • After 35 years of mediocre depression drugs, pharmaceutical companies are jazzed about several new drugs inspired by the club drug ketamine.
  • Allergan, the multinational pharmaceutical giant known for Botox and birth control, recently dove into research on an injectable depression drug called Rapastinel.
  • Most recently, the company announced it was working on oral pill version of that drug.

After nearly four decades of dispensing the same mediocre medications to patients with depression, pharmaceutical companies are jazzed about several new drug candidates inspired by the club drug ketamine.

Allergan, the multinational pharmaceutical giant known for Botox and birth control, recently dove deep into research on an injectable depression drug called Rapastinel, which works on the same brain pathway as ketamine.

The company plans to file for approval with the Food and Drug Administration within two years. Last week, Allergan also announced plans to go after an oral pill formulation of Rapastinel that would be easier to take and more widely used.

The development "points to the general air of excitement in this area," C. David Nicholson, Allergan's chief of research and development, told Business Insider.

Allergan isn't the only pharmaceutical company that is hot on the trail of new depression drugs inspired by ketamine. Johnson & Johnson is pursuing esketamine, the chemical mirror image of the drug, in a nasal spray formula.

After publishing positive clinical trial results earlier this month, the company told Business Insider it planned to file for FDA approval of the drug this year. VistaGen, a small San Francisco-based drug company, is studying a drug similar to Allergan's Rapastinel called AV-101.

All of those efforts hint that a new blockbuster depression drug could be just around the corner — all thanks to a club drug once known chiefly as "Special K."

A reawakening for new depression drugs inspired by ketamine

prescription-pills-medicine-in-handScientists recently called ketamine, a drug most people know either as a surgical anesthetic or a party drug, "the most important discovery in half a century." The drug landed on researchers' radar after swiftly lancing depressive symptoms in people — including suicidal patients — with some of the hardest-to-treat forms of the disease.

But ketamine is difficult to give patients (it's generally administered via an IV drip over roughly 45 minutes) and does have some negative side effects (many people describe a dissociative, quasi-psychedelic sensation of floating outside of their body, for example). Ketamine is also expensive, and most insurance providers don't cover it.

Drug companies are looking for candidates that mirror ketamine's positive qualities while minimizing its negative side effects. Injectable drug candidate Rapastinel could be Allergan's answer to this quandary.

"Now that ketamine has shown improvements in depression, it has reawoken interest in this area. And Rapastinel appears to combine the best of all worlds in terms of efficacy and safety," Nicholson said. "I believe it will be a breakthrough and will be used extensively."

But despite showing hugely positive results in clinical trials so far, Rapastinel still faces one road block: it's a shot, and people don't like shots.

So while Rapastinel moves through the drug approval process, Allergan is also eyeing an oral pill formula which would hopefully either mimic or at least complement Rapastinel's effects. If successful in clinical trials, the pill could also be used "more widely" than Rapastinel, Nicholson said.

'As soon as there's a breakthrough all those other companies that dropped out will want back in'

For now, Allergan's new oral pill depression drug candidate is known only as AGN-241751. Like Rapastinel, AGN-241751 was initially developed by a company called Aptinyx. In 2015, as part of a $560 million deal with the company, Allergan nabbed the rights to develop and commercialize both drugs.

The deal sheds light on Allergan's renewed strategic focus on new neuroscience drugs, Nicholson said. In the past, the drugmaker has worked on medications designed to treat migraines, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's; depression is the latest arm of that research focus.

Nicholson also believes that the interest he's seeing in ketamine-inspired drugs could be the breakthrough needed to stir-up renewed interest among drugmakers in the neuroscience field, which declined somewhat after several promising Alzheimer's drug candidates failed to turn into treatments.

"We see a great future in neuroscience research and development. These things tend to go through cycles. There’s a breakthrough, and Rapastinel hopefully will be one of those breakthroughs. And as soon as there’s a breakthrough all those other companies that dropped out will want back in."

SEE ALSO: A depression drug that researchers have called 'the most important discovery in half a century' just got a big lift

DON'T MISS: Pharma giants are looking to ketamine for clues to the next blockbuster depression drug — and science says they're onto something big

Join the conversation about this story »

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We visited Dollar Tree and Dollar General to see which was a better store — and the winner was clear (DG, DLTR)


Dollar Tree

  • Dollar Tree and Dollar General reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Thursday. 
  • The two chains are the largest dollar stores in the US and are neck-and-neck in terms of store count and annual sales.
  • But there are some big differences in the shopping experiences you'll have at these stores. We decided to put them to the test.

Bargain-hunting has been the flavor of the past decade.

Since the recession, cost-conscious consumers have flocked to off-price, thrift, and dollar stores in search of good deals. As a result, these stores have seen a surge in sales.

From 2010 to 2015, US dollar-store sales grew to $45.3 billion from $30.4 billion, and hundreds of stores have opened. The credit-rating agency Moody's said in a report on Dollar Tree that it was expecting 8% growth for the dollar-store segment in 2018. That's about double the growth of 3.5% to 4.5% it expects for US retail in general during the same time.

Dollar General and Dollar Tree are the two largest dollar stores in the US. On Thursday, both chains reported weaker-than-expected first quarter earnings. Same-store sales rose 4.0% at Dollar Tree store and decreased 1.1% at Family Dollar, a rival chain that it acquired in 2015 for $8.8 billion. Meanwhile, Dollar General's same-store sales grew 2.1%.

Based on numbers alone, the two chains are almost identical.

Dollar Tree – and its newly acquired Family Dollar chain – have slightly more locations than Dollar General, but both have about 14,000 to 15,000. In terms of sales, Dollar Tree is a close second, generating $22 billion in sales in 2017 compared with $23.5 billion at Dollar General.

But there is a massive difference in the shopping experience at these no-frills stores. First and foremost, Dollar Tree sells only products that are $1 or under, whereas Dollar General, which once did the same, is now more like a discount retailer.

We visited both to see how they compared:

SEE ALSO: The UK's favorite chocolate tastes completely different in the US — and we put it to a taste test to prove it

We visited Dollar General and Dollar Tree stores that were a 15-minute walk from each other in Brooklyn, New York.

Our first stop was at Dollar General. The chain has 14,321 stores in the US, most of which are located in rural areas. In February, it announced plans to open 900 more locations in 2018.

Dollar General was initially rolled out to areas that were not already served by a Walmart. As these stores are generally in rural markets, they cost less to operate.

Walmart launched a series of mini express stores in 2014 with the aim of winning back the midweek shopper from Dollar General. The strategy was not successful, and Walmart ended up closing these stores and selling 41 of the locations to Dollar General.

Source: Dollar General and Business Insider

On first impression, the store looked great. It was modern and bright.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Kim has been my war angel': The unlikely story of how Kim Kardashian West is trying to get Trump to free a 63-year-old grandmother from prison


Alice Johnson wide

  • Kim Kardashian West visited the White House on Wednesday to ask President Donald Trump to grant clemency to Alice Marie Johnson.
  • Johnson, 63, is serving a life sentence without parole for nonviolent drug offenses. Kardashian West took an interest in her case late last year.
  • Johnson told Business Insider that her 63rd birthday was Wednesday, and that she hoped Trump would grant her clemency — "the biggest present I've ever received in my life."
  • She also said she has been "walking around in a daze" in recent weeks, praying that Trump will make an announcement soon.

After weeks of negotiations with senior White House officials, Kim Kardashian West visited President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Wednesday with a simple request: Free a 63-year-old grandmother from prison.

The visit came after the reality TV star and mogul brought her plea to Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, in April. Their hope is that Trump will grant clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, possibly by commuting her sentence.

Johnson is serving a life sentence without parole for first-time, nonviolent drug offenses she committed in the early 1990s. Her case has for years received nationwide media attention, and it happened to capture the interest of Kardashian West in October.

Johnson told Business Insider on Wednesday that it was her birthday — and she was hoping Trump would grant her the ultimate gift.

"Today is my birthday and if my clemency was granted today that would be the biggest present I've ever received in my life," she said in an email from the Aliceville correctional facility in Alabama. "All boots are on the ground in prayer!"

Johnson told Business Insider previously that she had been "walking around in a daze" ever since she first got word that Kardashian West was speaking with Kushner about her case. She said she remains "very optimistic" she will be granted clemency.

"I don't even know myself what emotions I will really feel when this happens," she said. "My faith in God is still very strong. I have already experienced the miraculous when Kim Kardashian West saw my story and came to my rescue by hiring attorneys to help me gain my freedom."

Johnson said she and her family had already endured the devastation of being denied clemency by President Barack Obama three times in a yearslong cycle of raised hopes followed by crushing blows.

"My family has been broken beyond what anyone can imagine," she said. "A commutation would mean wholeness for me and my family again."

For years, Johnson believed Obama was her last hope of leaving prison alive.

Now, she's hoping Trump will do what Obama wouldn't.

'Kim has been my war angel'

kim kardashian white house

Johnson said it took a miracle for her case to grab the attention of the Trump administration — and that miracle came in the form of Kardashian West.

"She has embraced my cause and taken to heart my plight," Johnson said. "Kim has been my war angel, and I'll never forget what she is doing for me."

Though Johnson never seemed to spark enough interest from the Obama administration, she has long been featured in news stories about overzealous drug sentencing.

In the waning days of Obama's signature clemency initiative, a parade of legal experts, lawmakers, prison staff members, and advocates of criminal-justice reform touted Johnson as the perfect candidate for clemency.

She has been described not only as an extreme example of the type of harsh mandatory-minimum sentencing that emerged in the 1980s and '90s, but as the embodiment of a reformed and repentant prisoner with the skills and support to live a productive life.

"We often say that people were given clemency, but the truth is that they earned it — and that's very much true of Alice," Mark Osler, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas who has closely followed Johnson's case, told Business Insider. "She obviously saw herself as a work in progress while she was in prison and sought to be a positive influence on other people, which is the most we can hope for for anyone in or out of prison."

Johnson is an ordained minister, a playwright, a mentor, a counselor, a tutor, and a companion for inmates who are suicidal, and she didn't commit a single disciplinary infraction in two decades in prison, staff members at Aliceville who have supported her clemency said in letters in 2016.

"She's just one of those people that there's something remarkable about her; it's unforgettable," said Amy Povah, who has worked on Johnson's case since 2014 for CAN-DO (Clemency for All Nonviolent Drug Offenders), a nonprofit that advocates clemency and assists prisoners with their petitions. "She's like this ray of sunshine."

Povah herself received a commutation, from President Bill Clinton in 2000, and upon learning of Johnson's case, she immediately placed her at the top of the foundation's list of 25 women who most deserve clemency.

"She has expressed incredible remorse, that this was the worst thing she ever did," Povah said of Johnson. "And we shouldn't be defined by the worst decision that we made."

Povah added: "She has 21 years of evidence that she deserves a second chance and she deserves mercy. Enough is enough."

Trump has given no indication that he's actively considering Johnson's case, and the White House did not respond to requests for comment. But Trump tweeted about his meeting with Kardashian West on Wednesday, sharing a photo that showed them behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

"Great meeting with @KimKardashian today, talked about prison reform and sentencing," Trump tweeted.

How a viral video put Johnson in position to be free

Donald Trump Kim Kardashian

Johnson's case finally gained momentum in October when her story went viral.

A four-minute video published by Mic featured an interview with Johnson via Skype video call, a privilege rarely granted to federal prisoners.

Unlike with previous news coverage, more than 7 million people viewed Johnson's story on Facebook and Twitter this time.

And it caught Kardashian West's eye.

"This is so unfair," Kardashian West tweeted on October 25.

Weeks later, she asked Shawn Holley, a criminal defense lawyer, to work on Johnson's case and that of another woman serving a life sentence, Cyntoia Brown.

Holley told Business Insider last month she often speaks with Kardashian West up to several times a day to discuss their strategy for Johnson's case, and the celebrity has been intricately involved throughout the process.

"Alice's case appeals to Kim (and most people who hear about it) because her sentence was so disproportionate to her crime," Holley said. "Alice was a first-time offender, convicted of a non-violent crime and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She had served 21 years at the time we first learned about her case."

But it wasn't until mid-April that Kardashian West achieved major momentum in Johnson's case. When her husband, Kanye West, reemerged on Twitter and sparked a massive uproar, it did more than enrage some fans and delight conservatives — it grabbed the attention of Trump.

"You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him," West tweeted, to which Trump replied, "Thank you Kanye, very cool!"

Though it's unclear what role West's resurfacing had in Johnson's case, the controversy may have presented Kardashian West with the opportune moment to push it.

Johnson's supporters, including Povah and Osler, have speculated that her case may have appealed to Kushner, who has advocated criminal-justice reform despite the tough-on-crime, lock-'em-up rhetoric from much of the Trump administration.

Kushner published an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal in April, urging Congress to make it easier for released inmates to integrate back into society.

"President Trump promised to fight for the forgotten men and women of this country — and that includes those in prison," he wrote.

Kardashian West later tweeted her gratitude for Trump's willingness to meet with her.

"It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense," she said. "We are optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she —and so many like her—will get a second chance at life."

'I had to pick myself back up'

kim kardashian instagram story

Johnson's life began to unravel around 1990.

Within the span of a few years, Johnson had faced not only a gambling addiction and the loss of her job while she struggled to raise five children, but a divorce, a bankruptcy, a home foreclosure, and the death of her youngest son in a motorcycle accident.

She turned to a drug-dealing and money-laundering operation. It was the worst decision she ever made, she said.

Johnson said her role in the conspiracy was as a telephone mule, an intermediary passing along messages by phone so that the people who were selling and distributing the cocaine weren't contacting one another directly. She said she never touched or sold the drugs.

When authorities dismantled the operation and brought drug-conspiracy charges against its participants, prosecutors labeled Johnson one of the leaders, though Johnson viewed herself as a relatively low-ranking member of the scheme.

"Conspiracy meant that I became responsible for the acts of everyone involved in my case and paid the lion's share of the debt to society … a life sentence," she said.

Johnson says that while she is deeply sorry for the crimes she committed, she believes her sentence was fundamentally unjust.

The next blow to Johnson came early last year, two weeks before Obama left office. She had been certain that Obama's 2014 Clemency Initiative — which prioritized people convicted of nonviolent offenses who demonstrated exemplary conduct in prison — would view her as the perfect candidate for a commutation.

But she was denied clemency on January 6, 2017, and never told why. According to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, presidents rarely explain their denials, and documents related to presidential decision-making are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Several former Obama administration officials who led the clemency program — including Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general, Neil Eggleston, the former White House counsel, and Robert Zauzmer, the former pardon attorney — did not respond to Business Insider's questions about why Johnson was denied.

"It's hard to find closure for the death of a dream when you don't have answers for the cause of death," Johnson said. "I did grieve, but knew that giving up was not an option, so I had to pick myself back up and get back in the ring and fight for my life."

SEE ALSO: Trump's pardon of Scooter Libby sends a 'troubling signal' to the Mueller investigation

DON'T MISS: Trump grants clemency to an Iowa meatpacking exec convicted in a fraud case

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why the death penalty and longer prison sentences don't really deter crime

The best dog breeds for apartment living


Nearly 100 million Americans have a canine companion at home. Most people think the size of your home should determine the size of your ideal dog. You want a dog who’s not a big barker, is sociable with new humans and other dogs, and is comfortable with loud noises and crowded streets. The following is a transcript of the video.

Nearly 100 million Americans have a canine companion at home. And it’s no wonder. Owning a dog has been shown tolower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the risk of asthma and allergies in kids, and lower stress levels.

Now, you might think the size of your home should determine the size of your ideal dog. But that’s not always true.

Turns out, tiny dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier tend to have a big set of pipes with an even bigger attitude.

"A lot of small dogs are actually really good alert dogs, good little watch dogs. And they're gonna bark when they hear people walking down the hall or talking in the lobby passageways.” -Gina DiNardo, American Kennel Club Executive Secretary

Not a great attribute if your neighbors live a few feet away. So, what should you look for in an apartment-friendly pooch?

"Dogs sleep about 16, 17 hours a day and as long as you can provide a dog with the right amount of mental simulation and exercise, even a big dog can be happy in a small place." -Gina DiNardo, American Kennel Club Executive Secretary

For starters, you want a dog who’s not a big barker, is sociable with new humans and other dogs, and is comfortable with loud noises and crowded streets. Mixed breeds can make an amazing apartment pet. But if you’re looking for pure breds, here are the blue-ribbon winners for apartment living, according to the American Kennel Club.

First up is the … Greyhound?! That’s right! They may be the world’s fastest canine, but these guys often spend 16-18 hours sleeping. Just make sure, in addition to regular exercise, they have the chance to sprint a 2-3 times a week.

Next is the Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka— or Bolonka for short. You may have never heard of it but these guys were actually bred to be the ultimate apartment pet. They don’t need hours of daily exercise — in fact, the American Kennel Club suggests a long walk a few times a week in addition to their daily routine. They’re also excellent at learning new tricks. But they do like to alert their owners of goings-on in the neighborhood. So it’s best to teach them proper barking manners early on.

Now, if you had your heart set on a Yorkie, you might want to try a Biewer instead. They were bred from Yorkshire Terriers but are more mellow and easy-going. They enjoy the outdoors but will also play catch inside, and are easy to teach new tricks.

Next up is an especially popular breed among city dwellers, the French BulldogDespite its name, this breed actually came from England. A short daily walk is typically sufficient to keep them in shape. They also enjoy canine sports like obedience and agility. But the flat-faced breed often has difficulty breathing. So make sure your frenchie doesn't overexert itself in hot weather.

Last but not least is the Cavalier King Charles SpanielThat flashy title isn’t a coincidence. These guys were the breed of choice for 17th Century British nobility. They’re known for their smarts, are easy to train, and readily adapt to new people and environments.

Now it’s important to note that breed doesn’t guarantee anything.

“Each individual dog, even within a specific breed, is gonna have its own temperament and personality. And so a good owner spends time with their dog and figures out what makes their dog most happy.”-Gina DiNardo, American Kennel Club Executive Secretary

And if you’re looking for more than just a walk around the block, places like the American Kennel Club offer local activities.

“One’s called Scent Work, it’s an event that tests your dog’s natural ability to use it’s nose….We have a whole series of events and competitions that train your dog to find scents that are hidden in different areas.” -Gina DiNardo, American Kennel Club Executive Secretary

 “It’s fun to do things with your dog, and by spending more time with your dog, your bond increases.” -Gina DiNardo, American Kennel Club Executive Secretary

Here are some other apartment-friendly dog breeds that the AKC recommends.

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China is so desperate to prevent divorces that it's making couples take an exam before they can break up


couple china

  • Some cities in China are making couples take a "marriage and family exam" before they are allowed to break up.
  • It includes questions about each others' favourite food, parents' birthdays, and perspectives on familial responsibility.
  • If couples score more than 60% in the exam, they could be denied a divorce.
  • Take a look at all the questions they're being asked.

China is so desperate to cut down on their divorce rates that they're making couples take an exam before they are allowed to break up.

Some divorce registration offices across China have been asking couples to take a "marriage and family exam" (婚姻家庭考试卷) before they are granted a divorce.

This has been happening in places including Xi'an city, Donghai county, and Yibin county, according to various local reports since late 2017.

The two-page-long test includes 15 questions in three sections: Fill-in-the-blanks, short answers, and an essay. Each spouse fills out a test on the other.

Here are the questions:

Section 1: Fill in the blanks (4 points per answer, totalling 40)

1. When is your wedding anniversary?

2. When is your spouse's birthday?

3. When is your child's birthday?

4. What's your spouse's favourite food?

5. What is your child's favourite snack?

6. When was the last time you communicated?

7. When are you mother- and father-in-law's birthdays?

8. How many times have you been on holiday together?

9. How long have you been going out?

10. How are the household chores divided?

Section 2: Short answers (10 points per answer, totalling 40 points)

1. What are your best memories as a couple or most fortunate thing to have happened to you as a couple?

2. What's the biggest difference or point of contention between the couple right now?

3. What responsibilities have you fulfilled to your family, and what do you think have you done well or not well?

4. What responsibilities has your spouse fulfilled to the family, and what do you think they have done well or not well?

Section 3: Essay (20 points)

Explain what you think about your marriage and family, why you want to divorce, and your plans for the future.

The entire questionnaire is graded out of 100. If the couple scores more than 60, it means there is "room for recovery" in the marriage, while scores under 60 suggest that the relationship is on the rocks.

Here's an example of a (marked) exam paper in Yibin, taken in September 2017, in which the wife scored 80 points and the husband 86, according to the Xinhua news agency. They were not allowed to divorce because they scored so highly.

It's not clear what happens if one spouse scores above 60, the de facto pass mark, and the other doesn't.

It's also unclear whether there is any mechanism to prevent cheating — or deliberately underperforming to make divorce easier.

The questionnaire is meant to help "reduce the divorce rate and prevent impulsive divorces," Liu Chunling, the director of the Donghai county marriage registration office, told the state-operated Yangtse Evening Post.

"Only the harmony of millions of family units can achieve the harmony of an entire society," Liu said.

The official added: "Husbands and wives should answer the questions on the exam, and calm down. With the guidance of each question, let them reminisce about their relationship, and remember their responsibilities in marriage and family."

china married couple

China's divorce rate has been rising, with causes attributed to the the growing empowerment of working women as well as the rise of social media and dating apps, which citizens have said were facilitating extramarital affairs.

Nearly two million couples registered for divorce in the first six months of 2017, an increase of more than 10% compared to the same period the year before, the South China Morning Post reported.

Earlier this month, Weibo rolled out a new function for citizens of Guangdong province, whereby couples can make appointments with their local divorce registration office with the click of a button.

SEE ALSO: People in China can now file for divorce on the WeChat instant messaging app

Join the conversation about this story »

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

32 beloved snacks you'll never be able to eat again


Planters Cheez Balls

These food and drink items used to grace the pantry shelves of many American households. But their glory days have passed, and now they have been discontinued. 

An old Reddit thread explored the items that people are most nostalgic for, so we decided to do our own research on some of Americans' most beloved lost brands. 

Some soda varieties just didn't click with consumers. There are also many lost fast food and snack items. 

Here's what we found:

SEE ALSO: These photos reveal what it's like to shop at Walmart in Japan

Altoids' Tangerine Sours were discontinued in 2010 because demand was low and sales were falling.

Source: Bustle

Butterfinger BB's were mini peanut butter and chocolate candy balls. They were discontinued in 2006.

Source: The Daily Meal

Black Pepper Jack Doritos were released about a decade ago and discontinued around 2008.

Source: MSN

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

14 surprising celebrities Donald Trump has been friends with over the years


alec baldwin and trump

As a billionaire reality TV star and real estate mogul in New York, a lot of people have tried to get into Donald Trump's inner circle over the years.

From politics to business and to Hollywood, it's not surprising that Trump has had friends in almost every line of work.

On Thursday, the president announced that he is considering a pardon for his friend Martha Stewart. Stewart was convicted for conspiracy, obstruction, and making false statements to investigators in 2004.

Along with Stewart, here are 14 people you may not have known Trump befriended:

SEE ALSO: 17 celebrities who became politicians

DON'T MISS: Meet 'Stormy Daniels', the porn star Trump's lawyer paid to keep quiet about an alleged sexual affair — who's finally telling her side of the story

Trump took a liking to Mike Tyson when he starting hosting some of the boxer's biggest matches at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. When Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992, Trump defended the boxer, calling the verdict "a travesty."

Source: CNN

Shortly after the 2016 election, Trump met with rapper Kanye West at Trump Tower in New York. "We've been friends for a long time," Trump said, adding that the two discussed "life" during their meeting. The two also shared the love on Twitter in April.

Source: BusinessInsider

Journalist Barbara Walters has been friends with Trump on and off for years. After having a bit of a falling out in 2007 after she defended Rosie O'Donnell's criticisms of Trump, Walters "rekindled" their friendship two years later, saying "I've missed you."

Source: The Today Show

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Protesters in San Francisco dumped a huge pile of scooters in the street and blocked 11 tech buses — and then things got tense


google scooter protest housing san francisco silicon valley 6

  • Anti-tech demonstrators in San Francisco blocked tech buses with piles of e-scooters.
  • Protesters told Business Insider that they were protesting tech companies using city streets to "experiment" and city official's increasing use of sweeps to force homeless people off the streets.
  • In total, an full intersection, 11 buses, and several cars were blocked for about two hours.

Anti-tech protesters in San Francisco blocked shuttles carrying Google employees with piles of e-scooters on Thursday, in demonstrations against what activists see as the tech industry and lawmakers' failure to address the city's income inequality and sizable homeless population.

"What you're seeing here is that scooters have more rights than people," protester Chirag Bhakta told Business Insider. "Our priorities shouldn't be people first, scooters second. We're tried of being seen as an experimental playground for the tech industry."

spin electric scooter san franciscoThe deluge of dockless, electric scooters that have cropped up in San Francisco and other cities in recent months have drawn criticism from city officials, who were given little-to-no warning about their presence, as well as from city activists who say the scooters are a prime example of tech companies entering public spaces without getting input from residents or permission of regulators beforehand.

These scooter rental services — spearheaded by three venture-backed companies: Bird, LimeBikes, and Spin — work by allowing users to reserve a nearby scooter via a smartphone app, ride around on it for a small fee, and, at the end of the journey, leave the scooter anywhere to be claimed by the next rider.

Within weeks of their arrival in San Francisco, the city swiftly voted to regulate them. Under the new rules, only five companies with 500 scooters each will be allowed to operate in the city, and companies have to show they are making an effort to educate users on how to ride them.

To activists though, the quick action from lawmakers reflects the misplaced priorities of city officials. The fact that a solution for scooters on sidewalks was so quickly implemented — and that scooters will be allowed on sidewalks — is a slap in the face to the city's homeless population that is being subjected to what protesters say are inhumane sweeps forcing them off the streets.

"I just want people to understand why their work day is being disrupted and why we're here" Bhakta said. "We understand that it's an inconvenience, but it's not a personal attack. An inconvenience for you is an outcry from the people. I just want them to show some solidarity and empathy."

See what the protest looked like below:

SEE ALSO: Electric scooter startup Bird reportedly raises $150 million, making it the first $1 billion scooter startup

At about 8:45 am, protesters carried scooters to an intersection in San Francisco's Mission District with the intention of blocking shuttles carrying Google employees.

Activists piled scooters in front of buses and unfurled signs that read "Techsploitation is toxic."

To make their point that Big Tech is "toxic," protesters dressed in white hazmat suits and masks.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Nearly 50% of teens in the US say they're now online 'almost constantly,' according to new research (GOOG, AAPL)


Teens using smartphone

  • A new study from Pew Research Center found that one out of two teens reports being online "almost constantly." 
  • The study found that another 44% say they go online multiple times each day. 
  • The time teens spend online has gone up significantly since Pew's 2014-2015 study. Back then, only 24% of teens reported being online constantly.

Nearly half of US teens report being online on a near constant basis, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. 

The report, titled "Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018," surveyed teens and their parents about their internet and social media usage.

The survey found that teens are spending more time online than ever before. In fact, 45% of the teens surveyed said they use the internet "almost constantly." Another 44% said they go online several times every day. 

But it wasn't an even split along gender lines. Pew found that half of teenage girls fall into the group of constant internet users, while 39% of teenage boys said they fell into that group. Hispanic teens also reported higher levels of internet usage, with 54% saying they use the internet on a near-constant basis. 

Blame it on the phone

smartphoneThe time teens spend online has gone up significantly since Pew's 2014-2015 study. Back then, only 24% of teens reported being online constantly, which means teen internet usage has nearly doubled in the last 3-4 years. Pew estimates that the drastic increase is related to the increased access to smartphones. 

Pew's findings come at a time when the tech world has started taking measures to scale back so-called "smartphone addiction." 

During May's Google I/O event — the search giant's annual developer conference Google unveiled a "Digital Wellbeing" initiative that it claims is aimed at curbing the phenomenon. The initiative is aimed at helping users track how much time they're spending online, and offers tools to help people avoid distractions and look at their phones less frequently. 

According to a report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple is working on a similar project called "Digital Health." The feature will include tools to help people monitor how much time they're spending on their device, and how frequently they're using certain apps. 

SEE ALSO: Apple just made a convenient change to iMessage — but there's a key reason you may not want to switch it on

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos: Blue Origin is 'the most important work that I'm doing'

The 7 artists you need to see at Governor's Ball music festival this weekend


gov ball, Governors Ball 2012, Randall's Island, NYC, New York City, Festivals, Music, Live Performance, BI, DNG

Governor's Ball returns to New York City's Randall's Island Park this weekend for its eighth annual music festival.

Headlined this year by Jack White, Travis Scott, and Eminem, the festival's lineup also features a handful of acclaimed indie acts and an altogether impressive showing for hip-hop artists, including a last-minute addition of rapper Pusha-T.

For those attending, we've highlighted a selection of the best performers to help streamline your festival experience.

Here are the 7 artists you need to see at Governor's Ball music festival this weekend:

SEE ALSO: The 50 best-selling albums of all time

Jack White

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Day: Friday

Set time: 9:15-11 pm

Stage: Gov Ball NYC Stage

Jack White is the headlining act on Friday. His latest album, "Boarding House Reach," is a bizarre, protean mix of funk-rock influences that should make for a raucous and compelling live set. If you're in the mood for more of a chill set to close out your night, consider seeing English producer-singer James Blake instead. Blake is performing in the same time-slot as White on the Honda Stage.


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Day: Saturday

Set time: 3:45-4:45 pm

Stage: American Eagle Stage 

R&B singer Kelela's debut full-length album, "Take Me Apart," was one of the best-reviewed LPs of 2017. Her versatile singing compliments her great ear for idiosyncratic, electronic production from indie artists like Arca and Kwes. 

Cut Copy

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Day: Saturday

Set time: 4:45-5:45 pm

Stage: Gov Ball NYC Stage

The Australian indie-rock trio Cut Copy makes striking guitar-led music backed by panoramic synths and accessible melodies — all of which translates well in a festival setting. The singles from its most recent album, 2017's "Haiku from Zero," are all stellar, "Airborne" (see above) in particular. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Vogue Arabia has been called out for its cover on 'trailblazing' Saudi women after the country just arrested a dozen women's rights activists


Vogue Arabia Large

  • Vogue Arabia's June 2018 cover story on "trailblazing" Saudi women has been called out for being "tone deaf." 
  • The magazine cover features a Saudi princess behind the wheel of a car, a nod to the country's plans to lift its ban on women driving this month, despite her family's role in enforcing the ban.
  • The edition was also ill-timed with nearly a dozen activists who campaigned for women's driving rights arrested last week. 

Vogue Arabia's spread on "trailblazing" Saudi women has been called out for being "tone deaf" following the arrests of nearly a dozen women's rights activists.

The cover of the June 2018 edition features Princess Hayfa Bint Abdullah Al Saud, the daughter of late King Abdullah, sitting in a Mercedes to celebrate the lifting of a ban on women driving on June 24.

Critics have slammed the magazine for its decision to put Princess Hayfa, whose family has ruled the Kingdom for centuries and has overseen the ban's enforcement, on the cover. The edition was also ill-timed with dozen women's rights activists connected to the Women to Drive movement arrested last week. 

Vogue's promotional material made no mention of this fact.

But Manal al-Sharif, a key figure in the Women to Drive movement who was profiled in the issue, praised the magazine for celebrating Saudi women, while highlighting those who were arrested in the crackdown.


SEE ALSO: Saudi Arabia arrested 10 activists who campaigned for women's rights to drive just weeks before it plans to lift the ban on driving

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This $530 Android phone is half the price of an iPhone X and just as good

RANKED: The 28 poorest countries in the world — where people live on less than $1,000 per year


A cityscape of Dakar is seen from the top of African Renaissance hill, Senegal December 19, 2016.

African and Middle Eastern countries ravaged by war and famine remain the poorest in the world, according to data published by the International Monetary Fund.

Twice a year the IMF releases a huge dump of data about the economic power of the world's nations, with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita a key statistic.

The IMF ranks the world's countries according to purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita.

The PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries to compare living standards among the different nations.

Most of the countries populating the top of this ranking are under authoritarian regimes where corruption is rampant. This a big deterrent to foreign investors, even if some of those countries have huge amounts of natural resources. 

We've included all the countries with a GDP per capita is below $1,000 per year.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: The 29 richest countries in the world

28. Sudan — GDP per capita: $992

27. Benin — $966

26. Chad — $919

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The World Cancer Research Fund has launched an online 5-minute test to show whether or not you're 'cancer attractive'


Woman wine

  • The World Cancer Research Fund with Arthur London and director Rankin have created a Cancer Health Check to see how "cancer attractive" you are.
  • It's a five minute test that asks questions about your diet, alcohol consumption, and lifestyle.
  • The list of things that cause cancer always seems to be growing, but there are certain things you can do to reduce your risk.

The list of products, foods, and materials that cause cancer seems to always be growing longer. Our lifestyle and dietary habits can directly affect the risk of cancer, but it isn't something that's always on our minds.

The World Cancer Research Fund wants to bring it to the forefront, and has teamed up with Arthur London and photographer and director Rankin to create a series of films to advertise a new Cancer Health Check. It's a five-minute test to make people aware of the links between diet and cancer, which is based on questions about diet, alcohol intake, and exercise habits.

In the video, models are eating and drinking in an extreme way, and the message is that no matter how good something looks or tastes, it could be really bad for your long term health.

"Our idea needed to challenge the entrenched belief that cancer 'gets you' not that you can 'cause it,'" said Nick Whillis, a partner at Arthur London. "We are so proud of the work and thrilled that Rankin chose to photograph this for us. He not only understood the creative idea but truly believed in the messaging behind it — if you do not follow the recommendations, you could be flirting with the disease."

Jane Heath, the director of communications & marketing at WCRF UK added that one in six deaths worldwide are caused by cancer, but the public are tired of hearing contradictory health messages — so there's a risk they are no longer listening.

"Our cancer prevention recommendations, when followed together, provide the most reliable blueprint available to reduce people's risk of developing cancer," she said. "We are committed to giving people the most up-to-date, scientific and authoritative information about the links between diet, weight, physical activity and cancer, which is why we hope this campaign highlights our aim that no one should die from a preventable cancer."

Here are a list of 9 lifestyle habits WCRF UK says can reduce the risk of cancer:

  • Be a healthy weight— Keep your weight within the healthy range and avoid weight gain in adult life.
  • Be physically active— Be physically active as part of everyday life by walking more and sitting less.
  • Eat a diet rich in wholegrains, vegetables, fruit and beans— Make wholegrains, vegetables, fruit, and pulses (legumes) such as beans and lentils a major part of your daily diet.
  • Limit consumption of 'fast foods' and other processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars— Limiting these foods helps control calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit consumption of red and processed meat— Eat no more than moderate amounts of red meat, such as beef, pork and lamb. Try to eat little, if any, processed meat.
  • Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks— Drink mostly water and unsweetened drinks.
  • Limit alcohol consumption— For cancer prevention, it's best not to drink alcohol at all, or at least limit it.
  • Do not use supplements for cancer prevention— Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone (except in some situations, like in preparation for pregnancy or when diet is inadequate for some reason.)
  • Mothers should breastfeed their babies where possible— Breastfeeding may make breast cells more resistant to mutations that can cause cancer.

You can take the test here to see how "cancer attractive" you are.

SEE ALSO: Your diet could affect when you hit the menopause, according to a major new study — and eating oily fish and legumes could delay it by years

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Octopuses are officially the weirdest animals on Earth

The house owned by Cameron Diaz in 'The Holiday' is on sale for $12 million — take a look inside


cameron diaz the holiday

The house owned be Cameron Diaz' character in "The Holiday" could now be yours — if you have $11.8 million to spare, that is.

The seven-bedroom, six-bathroom "landmark two-storey masterpiece" on 1883 Orlando Road in San Marino, California served as the exterior of the California mansion — as well as the backyard scenes — in the 2006 comedy/romance film starring Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law.

It's on sale through realtors Brent Change and Linda Change of Compass, who provided photos of the property to Business Insider.

Scroll down to take a look inside.

SEE ALSO: Thailand's famous beach from 'The Beach' is closing after damage by too many tourists

The gated two-story mansion was designed by architect Wallace Neff as his own personal residence. It was built in 1928 for $40,000. He described it as a "California interpretation of the Italian Lombard vernacular."

It's located in San Marino, right across from the Huntington Library.

The entry is pretty grand, with an even more impressive staircase.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

What it's like to fly on Tigerair, the cheapest airline in the world


tiger wide

  • Tigerair Australia was recently named the cheapest airline in the world in Rome2rio's 2018 Global Flight Price Ranking.
  • The report estimated that the domestic carrier's flights cost $0.06 per km (US dollars) on average.
  • We took at what it's like to fly on Tigerair.

Low-cost carrier Tigerair Australia was recently named the cheapest airline in the world in Rome2rio's 2018 Global Flight Price Ranking.

The report analysed economy fares on international and domestic airlines displayed on the search engine over a two-month period to paint a picture of global pricing (in US$ per km). It produced a ranking of the 50 cheapest carriers overall, as well lists of the cheapest domestic and international carriers.

With flights costing $0.06 per km (US dollars) on average, Tigerair Australia was crowned the cheapest airline in the world overall.

The internal airline was once voted Australia's "worst airline," according to Rome2rio, who says the airline has "turned its fortunes around" since it was bought by Virgin Australia Group in 2014.

The airline told us they've just introduced a new "Tigerbites" food-market inspired menu that features veggie and gluten-free snacks, as well as bitesize chicken and chips, hot mac and cheese bake, and espresso martinis.

Scroll down to see what it's like to fly on Tigerair Australia.

SEE ALSO: The 19 coolest under-the-radar places for a European summer holiday

Tigerair Australia was recently named the cheapest airline in the world in a report by travel search company Rome2rio, with flights costing on average $0.06 per km (US).

Source: Rome2Rio 

Business Insider looked at what it's like to fly with the low-cost domestic airline that serves 13 destinations in the country.

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Source: Tigerair

Tigerair was once branded Australia's 'worst airline' but since it was bought by Virgin Australia Group in 2014, Rome2rio says the airline seems to have 'turned its fortunes around.'

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Rome2rio said said in its report: "Following years of bad press (it was voted Australia’s worst airline three years in a row), it was bought by Virgin in 2014 who seem to have turned its fortunes around. It’s not often we say this, but sometimes cheapest can be best!"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

2 forms of exercise are the best way to stave off the effects of aging. Here's how to incorporate them into your life.


older man elderly man jogging nature running exercise thinking outdoors

If you're searching for an all-natural way to lift your mood, preserve muscle tone, and protect your brain against the decline that comes with aging, look no further than the closest mirror.

One of the most powerful means of reaping these benefits is exercise — and in many cases, you already have everything you need to get it: a body.

As we age, two forms of exercise are the most important to focus on: aerobic exercise, or cardio, which gets your heart pumping and sweat flowing, and strength training, which helps keep aging muscles from dwindling over time.

And most of the time, they don't require any fancy equipment or expensive classes.

Read on to find out how to incorporate both forms of fitness into your life.

SEE ALSO: 14 ways one type of exercise is the closest thing to a miracle drug we have

Activities like walking, yoga, and tai chi have recently been tied to brain benefits like faster processing speed and better attention span.

If you've recently considered beefing up your regular workout routine, you may have found yourself asking exactly how much exercise you should be doing to get results.

Previous research has hinted that the magic starts to happen with 45-minute workouts. But there's a growing body of evidence that the time you spend on a single workout matters less than the total time you spend at the gym over long periods. That means whether your latest workout was five or 50 minutes is less important than whether you manage to hit the track or pool regularly, or at least several times a week.

A new review of nearly 100 well-designed studies published in May in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice found that older folks who clocked in roughly 52 hours over six months doing things like walking, biking, or yoga — which breaks down to roughly 40 minutes of exercise three times a week — showed significant cognitive benefits over people who did less exercise or none at all.

Those benefits included better processing speed and superior performance on tests designed to measure things like time management and ability to pay attention.

"This is evidence that you can actually turn back the clock of aging in your brain by adopting a regular exercise regimen," Joyce Gomes-Osman, a rehabilitation scientist at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine who led the study, told MedPage Today.

Aerobic exercises like jogging may help reverse some heart damage from normal aging.

Many of us become less active as we age. Over time, this can lead to the stiffening of some muscles in the heart.

One of those at-risk muscles is in the left chamber of the heart, a section that plays a key role in supplying the body with freshly oxygenated blood.

A recent study split 53 adults into two groups. One did two years of supervised exercise four or five days a week, while the other did yoga and balance exercises.

At the end of the study, published in January in the journal Circulation, the higher-intensity exercisers had seen significant improvements in heart performance, suggesting that some stiffening in the heart can be prevented or even reversed with regular cardio.

"Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past 5 years, this 'dose' of exercise has become my prescription for life," Benjamin Levine, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern who wrote the study, said in a statement.

Strength-training moves like tai chi are best for preserving muscles from age-related decline.

Strength or resistance training can take many forms, but it typically involves a series of movements geared toward building or preserving muscle.

Tai chi, the Chinese martial art that combines a series of flowing movements, is one form of strength training. The exercise is performed slowly and gently, with a high degree of focus and attention paid to breathing deeply.

Since practitioners go at their own pace, tai chi is accessible for a wide variety of people, regardless of age or fitness level.

Tai chi "is particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older," I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a recent health report called "Starting to Exercise."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 19 coolest places for a European holiday in 2018, according to travel experts



Globetrotters are always looking for inspired travel recommendations from those in the know in order to experience new destinations in the most authentic way possible — and those passed by word-of-mouth are always best. 

As summer kicks off, Business Insider asked friends, colleagues, and some of the world's travel experts for their favourite — and overlooked — European destinations that can be seen in a long weekend. 

From the mystical Arabic influence of Granada to the dilapidated charm of Porto, and the gothic churches of Transylvania, here's a selection of their top recommendations, along with some local tips. 

SEE ALSO: 25 under-the-radar places in Latin America to visit in your lifetime, according to the world’s top travel experts

Pretend you're in a Bond film at the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro.

Montenegro provides a less obvious alternative to neighbouring Croatia, and it's not hard to see the draw of the stunning setting of the Bay of Kotor, with its glistening Adriatic sea and mountainous backdrop. The bay is also home to the preserved medieval old city of Kotor which just so happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site.

One TripAdvisor user from the UK called it "Europe's best kept secret." 

"Despite seeing many images of this place before my visit, nothing really prepared me for just how stunningly beautiful this bay is," the review stated. "The waterside setting (obviously) with its mountainous backdrop was for me a cross between the Norwegian fjords and those lovely Alpine lakes."

Admire the azulejos (painted tiles) and dilapidated charm of Porto, Portugal.

Emma McWhinney, the UK head of editorial at Secret Escapes, recommends a long weekend in Porto, a coastal city on Portugal's northern coast that's steadily growing in popularity as an alternative — possibly even a cheaper one — to Lisbon. 

"Often overshadowed by bustling Lisbon, Porto, with its coastal thrills, postcard-perfect architecture, and eclectic culinary scene, is a must-visit cluster of colour and charm," she said.

Wander through Porto's hilly streets and admire the crumbling buildings and ramshackle colourful houses decorated with azulejos (painted tiles), and you'll soon see why its dilapidated charm is drawing in tourists.

Porto's proximity to some pretty stretches of beach adds to its appeal.


Soak up the Andalusian sunshine, snack on the famous free tapas, and lose yourself in a colourful maze of market stalls in Granada, Spain.

Granada, located in Spain's southern Andalusian region, is a city rich in history and culture —and its Arab influence gives it a mystical edge.

Aside from the tapas — it's one of the few places in Spain where a free tapa is religiously served with every drink — there's the majestic Alhambra Palace, abundant Arab baths that make a perfect first stop to unwind into your weekend, and the intriguing whitewashed gypsy caves of Sacromonte, where some of the city's best flamenco haunts lie. 

Sakshi, a New York-based editor who recently visited the city, told Business Insider: "We enjoyed one free tapa with each drink. So we bar hopped as is recommended, we didn't ever get a second round at the same place.

"A tip for tourists is saying 'que tapa' after letting the bartender know the intention is a drink — either a cana (a small beer) or copa (little glass of wine). Bar Bodegas Castañeda came highly recommended and is somewhat of an institution. We started our bar hop there," she added. 


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