Channel: Business Insider

A handwritten letter by Steve Jobs featuring his thoughts on Zen Buddhism will be put up for auction - and could sell for $300,000

Steve jobs apple
The letter, dated February 23, 1974, was written just a day before Jobs' 19th birthday.
  • A handwritten letter by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs will be auctioned on November 3, per Bonhams.
  • The British auction house said the note could sell for up to $300,000.
  • It features Jobs' thoughts on Zen Buddhism and his desire to travel to India.

A letter written by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs when he was 18 years old is to be put up for auction.

Britsh auction house Bonhams will sell the single-page letter on November 3. It is estimated that the letter will sell for up to $300,000, as CNBC and other outlets reported.

According to Bonhams, the letter was postmarked February 23, 1974, which was the day before Jobs' 19th birthday. He sent it to his childhood friend Tim Brown.

At the time, Jobs had dropped out of college and was living in a cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains after returning from a stint working on an apple farm, according to the auction house.

The note includes Jobs' thoughts on Zen Buddhism and his desire to travel to India to attend the Kumba Mela (also known as Kumbh Mela), a Hindu pilgrimage and religious festival.

As a teenager, Jobs was in search of the meaning of life, per Bonhams.

Jobs, who wrote in lower-case throughout the letter, began by responding to a previous note from Brown: "tim i have read your letter many times / i do not know what to say. many mornings have come and gone / people have came and went / i have loved and i have cried many times. / somehow, though, beneath it all it doesn't change - do you understand?"

After discussing subjects such as his travel ambitions, he wrote: "I will end by saying I do not even know where to begin." He then signed off with the word "Shanti," which means "peace" in Sanskrit.

Adam Stackhouse, director of Bonhams' history of science and technology business, said in a press release: "The letter gives a fascinating insight into the private life of a fiercely private man."

He added: "This is particularly special as no autograph letters from Jobs have appeared at auction before, and certainly no material as revealing and insightful as this."

The letter is part of the History of Science and Technology sale and will also include an Apple Macintosh prototype, along with a first-generation iPad prototype.

Recently, an Apple II manual signed by Jobs sold for nearly $800,000, CNN reported.

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Tesla hiked the price on two models by $5000, weeks after price increases on its most popular vehicles

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stepping out of a silver Tesla wearing a white shirt and black tie on a sunny day
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
  • Tesla increased the price of its Model X Long Range and Model S Long Range models by $5,000.
  • Tesla raised the price of two other models earlier this month because of supply-chain issues, CEO Elon Musk said.
  • Musk hopes to make Teslas more affordable by 2023 and has plans to reduce some cars to nearly half of their current price.

Tesla raised the price of two more of its cars because of ongoing supply-chain problems, making its electric vehicles some of the most expensive on the market.

Tesla's price increases come as chip shortages cut the speed that Tesla is able to produce cars and people face long wait times to get cars.

The car manufacturer has increased the price of its Model X Long Range and Model S Long Range by $5,000, according to Tesla's website. Tesla also raised the price of its Model 3 and Model Y by $2,000 earlier this month.

The Model X Long Range and Model S Long Range now sell for $104,990 and $94,990 respectively, according to prices on Tesla's website. The price hikes earlier this month mean that the cost of the Model Y Long Range and Model 3 Standard Range Plus are now $56,990 and $43,990. Tesla's least expensive car is the Model 3 Standard Range Plus at $41,990.

Tesla did not respond to Insider's request to comment on the recent price changes.

During Tesla's annual shareholder meeting this month, CEO Elon Musk said the supply-chain crisis has caused the price increases, Insider reported.

"We are seeing significant cost pressure in our supply chain," Musk said in the meeting. "So we've had to increase vehicle prices, at least temporarily, but we do hope to actually reduce the prices over time and make them more affordable."

Certain Tesla models like the Model 3 SR+ have a wait time of almost a year, according to Mint. Some customers who order a Tesla now will have to wait until September 2022 to get their car.

Last year, Musk promised Tesla would release a cheaper vehicle close to a $25,000 price point by 2023 - nearly half of the cost for the automaker's current cheapest vehicle. However, the company faced "super crazy shortages" and "insane difficulties" from the global computer chip shortage, as well as port delays and COVID-19 restrictions in China, Musk admitted in September. The delays make it unclear if Tesla will reach its goal to roll out a cheaper vehicle by 2023.

Tesla outpaced Wall Street expectations on Wednesday, reporting 57% year-over-year revenue growth to reach $13.8 billion in its third quarter, pushing shares to new highs on Friday and bringing Elon Musk's net worth $250 billion.

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Rep. Eric Swalwell got a chilling and threatening voicemail filled with slurs from a fan of Fox News' Tucker Carlson

Close up photos of Eric Swalwell and Tucker Carlson side by side
Left: Eric Swalwell; right: Tucker Carlson
  • Eric Swalwell revealed he received a disturbing voicemail from a Tucker Carlson fan.
  • The voicemail calls for the California Democrat to be chopped up and fed to dogs.
  • Swalwell has asked Carlson to avoid talking about him or his family on his show since at least July.

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California has posted an angry message he says he received on his voicemail box from a fan of Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

The caller left racist, homophobic, and sexist language on the voicemail, which was littered with slurs.

"Listen to this. It's the Tucker Carlson effect. Tucker attacks me. His fans respond with threats to kill my family," Swalwell said on Twitter last week. "And Tucker knows exactly what he's doing."

The disturbing voicemail calls for harm to Swalwell and his family.

"As for these foreign invaders you're letting into this country, I hope they chop you, your family up and feed them to their dogs," an unidentified male voice said on the message. "There's your free speech for today, asshole, from Trump Nation!"

"You people are a disgrace to God, our country, and our people. You are the enemies of the United States people, motherfucker. You atheist, Communist f****** are the threat to our democracy, our Constitution, and our way of life," the man said.

Swalwell addressed the threat on Friday in an interview on MSNBC. He said this threat was particularly scary because the caller "identified that he had just" watched Carlson's show on Fox News and called it immediately after.

"We had a lot of threats that come in as Tucker Carlson attacks me but this person identified he had just heard from Tucker Carlson," Swalwell said. "He was now calling my office and then of course dropped a number of racist, sexist, homophobic epithets in the call and then threatened to kill my entire family."

The California rep also said he "personally, eyeball to eyeball, asked Tucker Carlson not to lie about me on his show because of this effect."

He also said he sent Carlson a text asking him to avoid lying about him on the show. He said he would not come on his show because his viewers threaten him and his family.

"I think in a sick way he derives pleasure in knowing that his viewers will aim their threats at lawmakers and whoever he's attacking that day," Swalwell said.

Swalwell has been urging Carlson to stop talking about him and his family on the show since at least July. The California Democrat posted his text messages with the Fox host to Twitter in July, saying he would not be a guest.

"You falsely smeared by wife," he said, "and she's getting death threats. Hit me all you like. But to go after her. That's just wrong."

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Nancy Pelosi dodged question on whether she will run for Speaker again if Democrats keep the House in 2022

nancy pelosi
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2021.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi dodged a question on whether she would run for the position again if Democrats maintained control of the House in 2022.
  • Pelosi told CNN's Jake Tapper that she would discuss her plans "with her family first."
  • Pelosi was first elected Speaker in 2007, making history as the first woman to serve in the position.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dodged a question on Sunday over whether she would seek re-election as speaker if Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives after the 2022 midterms.

Pelosi has led Democrats in the House since she was first elected speaker in 2007, making history as the first woman to hold the position. CNN's Jake Tapper asked her Sunday morning if she would seek to continue to seek that position.

"You think I'm going to make an announcement right here and now?" Pelosi, a Democrat from California, responded.

"You're gonna run for re-election though, yes?" Tapper said.

"Why would I tell you that now?" Pelosi said while laughing.

"It's not just me, it's the American people. It's the world. This is an international show," Tapper said.

US elections in November 2022 will determine if Democrats maintain control of the House and whether Pelosi would be eligible to remain the speaker.

"Probably I would have that conversation with my family first if you don't mind," Pelosi said. The California Democrat was on CNN's State of the Union to discuss the reconciliation bill, the spending plan that is the cornerstone of President Joe Biden's agenda.

Pelosi was re-elected by members of the House to serve as House Speaker for the 117th Congress on January 3 this year. Pelosi first served as House Speaker from 2007 to 2011 but was ousted by then-Rep. John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, when Republicans took control of the House that year.

Former Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan served as speaker from 2015 to 2019 before Pelosi was re-elected House speaker when Democrats took back control of the chamber.

Earlier this month, former President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters not to vote in 2022 or 2024 unless the Republican party backed his disproven election fraud claims. Republicans like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia pushed back on Trump's comments, telling Republicans to "stop listening to grifters telling you not to vote."

Pelosi's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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Most Americans want major overhauls to the US economy, political system, and healthcare, survey finds

Now Hiring man with mask
A "now hiring" sign on Melrose Avenue amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 22 in Los Angeles,.
  • Most Americans in a Pew survey wanted big changes to US economic, political, and healthcare systems.
  • Despite widespread discontent, few Americans indicated they're confident such changes could happen.
  • Americans were generally more dissatisfied than residents of other advanced economies Pew surveyed.

As the postpandemic economy starts to take shape, most Americans appear to be hopeful it'll look quite different from its current state.

A majority of Americans surveyed in February indicated they wanted major changes or complete reforms to much of the way the US operates, according to a new Pew Research Center report, which included surveys of people in more than a dozen of the world's advanced economies. Eighty-five percent of surveyed American adults said they wanted an overhaul of the country's political systems, while 66% said they wanted major changes to the US economy. Just over three-fourths of respondents said there needed to be major reform to the country's healthcare systems.

The Americans surveyed were generally more dissatisfied with the government than residents of other advanced economies who were surveyed. Desires to change political systems were higher only in Spain and Italy, with 86% and 89% of respective residents wanting major overhauls.

Only the residents of South Korea, Greece, Spain, and Italy were more dissatisfied with their national economies than Americans. The US had the second-largest share of people calling for healthcare reform, surpassed only by Greece.


The findings also reveal a bleak outlook among Americans as the country pushes toward economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The US is outpacing many other countries' recoveries as rising rates of vaccinations have fueled reopening and strong consumer spending. US economic output has already fully recovered its pandemic-era slump, and officials say the country is expected to return to full employment next year.

Despite these improvements, the surveys found widespread discontent with the state of the nation. The survey period covers the time that virus cases remained elevated, the labor shortage curbed hiring, and inflation soared to decade highs. While recovery was underway, new obstacles were slowing it down.

And while most Americans said they wanted major changes throughout the country, few seemed optimistic those overhauls could happen - 85% of respondents said they wanted major political reform in the US, but only 28% expressed confidence the system could change.

Part of the pessimism comes from partisan conflict and a fraught political climate, the Pew survey indicates. Desires to overhaul some systems are starkly different between Democrats and Republicans. While 80% of Democrats said the economic system needed a complete overhaul, just half of Republicans said the same. And where 39% of Democrats wanted major changes to healthcare, roughly half as many Republicans agreed.

The partisan divide is no clearer than in the 50-50 split Senate. Democrats have struggled to pass much of President Joe Biden's legislative agenda as Republicans block efforts with the filibuster. Some of Biden's social-spending plans have been approved through the lengthy reconciliation process, which requires a 50-vote majority. Yet the complicated process can be used only so many times, and infighting between moderate and progressive Democrats also poises a challenge to Biden's spending ambitions.

Partisan divisions are partially why so many Americans are hungry for an overhaul, Pew said. Nine in 10 Americans see conflict between people of different political parties, intensifying "unhappiness with the state of democracy and a strong desire for political reform," according to Pew. Only 41% of US respondents said they were satisfied with how democracy was working.

Altogether, the survey paints a picture of a country experiencing mass discontent. Few Americans reported feeling happy with the country's political, economic, or healthcare systems. Yet most of those wanting major change aren't optimistic it can happen, and show little faith in the country's democratic processes.

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Obama mocked GOP New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli for attending a 'Stop the Steal' rally

Obama Murphy
Former President Barack Obama and Gov. Phil Murphy, right, host an early vote rally at Weequahic Park in Newark, N.J., on October 23, 2021.
  • Former President Obama mocked the New Jersey GOP gubernatorial nominee for attending a 'Stop the Steal' rally.
  • Obama poked at Jack Ciattarelli, who said he unknowingly attended a pro-Trump rally last November.
  • The former president came to Newark on Saturday to stump for Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

Former President Barack Obama on Saturday poked at New Jersey Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli for attending a rally to overturn the 2020 presidential election results last year and said that the former state lawmaker won't be "a champion of democracy."

Obama mocked Ciattarelli in Newark as he stumped for Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who is running for reelection to a second term in the Garden State. It was the former president's second campaign appearance of the day after his visit to Virginia to campaign for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who's seeking a second nonconsecutive term in office.

The former president made light of Ciattarelli's acknowledgment during a recent gubernatorial debate that he went to a November 2020 pro-Trump rally in Bedminster, New Jersey, which is also the home of the ex-Republican president's golf club.

"Apparently Phil's opponent says he didn't know it was a rally to overturn the results of the last election," Obama said at the weekend rally. "He didn't know it? Come on!"

"When you're standing in front of a sign that says 'Stop the Steal' and there's a guy in the crowd waving a Confederate flag, you know this isn't a neighborhood barbecue. You know it's not a League of Women Voters rally. Come on! Come on, man! That's not what New Jersey needs," he added.

During the debate, Ciattarelli contended that he attended the rally thinking it was focused on 2021, adding that he didn't observe any offensive signs while he was present at the event. He also stated that President Joe Biden is the duly elected commander in chief and distanced himself from former President Donald Trump's rhetoric challenging the 2020 election.

Obama used the event Saturday to boost Murphy and push back at GOP voting challenges, emphasizing the importance of getting out the vote next month, especially in an off-year election when turnout is often less robust than in midterm and presidential elections.

"Democracy is not supposed to work where if you lose, you just ignore it and pretend it didn't happen, and our democracy is what makes America great," Obama said during his speech.

Obama told the crowd to exercise their right to vote after mentioning the election reform bills that have been continuously blocked by Senate Republicans this year.

"Don't boo! Vote! Booing doesn't do anything ... Go out there and vote!" he said.

The former president asked the crowd to repudiate "politics of meanness."

"That's the path to ruin," he said. "The good news is, there's another path."

Murphy, highlighting the Democratic-leaning nature of the state, told the crowd that if like-minded supporters cast ballots, it will be a good election night.

"Our team shows up, we win," the governor said.

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Inflation will linger near decade highs until the second half of 2022, Janet Yellen says

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during an event at the US Department of the Treasury on September 15, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
  • US price growth will stay elevated until the middle of 2022, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.
  • Inflation remains stubbornly high as supply shortages and the global energy crunch slam the US.
  • Still, price growth will cool and inflation won't spiral out of control like some fear, Yellen said.

Americans hoping price surges would soon cool off will have to wait at least a few more months, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The US economic recovery has generally taken a turn for the better. Daily coronavirus case counts are falling, consumer spending has remained strong, and the unemployment rate continued to decline in September. Inflation, however, remains worryingly high.

Price growth picked up in September, with the Consumer Price Index rising 0.4%. That exceeded the average economist forecast and snapped a two-month streak of slower growth. Where experts thought inflation would ease up into 2022, it's staying stubbornly high.

The near-term outlook isn't promising. The world's energy market remains a mess, and global supply chains are far from fully healed. The decade-high price growth will eventually slow down, but Americans will have to wait until the second half of 2022 to see a major change, Yellen told Cooper.

"I expect that to happen next year," Yellen said, referring to when inflation will slow. "On a 12-month basis, the inflation rate will remain high into next year because of what's already happened. But I expect improvement by the middle to end of next year."

Still, Americans need not worry that inflation is spiraling out of control, the Treasury Secretary added. While the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve expect higher inflation to be temporary, others like former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers have raised concerns that inflation will stay dangerously high. Summers raised inflation concerns earlier in the year, slamming Democrats' $1.9 trillion stimulus bill as the "least responsible" economic policy in 40 years. More recently, the economist told CNN the country is "more in danger than we have ever been" of losing control of inflation.

Yellen pushed back against Summers' inflation fears on Sunday, adding the supply bottlenecks that have intensified price growth will subside in due time.

"We are going through a period of inflation that's higher than Americans have seen in a long time, and it's something that's obviously a concern. But we haven't lost control," Yellen said.

Yellen countered fears of rampant inflation but reiterated her concerns around the looming debt-ceiling deadline. Lawmakers reached a deal earlier in October to raise the debt limit and avert a default. Yellen recently warned that the new limit would only cover the government bills through December 3, teeing up another partisan battle over raising the ceiling.

Lawmakers have made little progress toward a more long-term solution. Senate Republicans are adamant that Democrats will have to raise the ceiling on their own, but Democrats maintain Republicans must help the US avoid defaulting on its debt.

It's "inconceivable" that a solution may not be reached, Yellen said. The fallout from hitting the ceiling would be "utterly catastrophic," and the responsibility to avoid default is shared equally by Democrats and Republicans, she added.

"It's a housekeeping matter, doing what's necessary to pay our bills," Yellen said. "I have confidence it will get done, but I will leave it to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to Leader Schumer to figure out what the best way is forward on that."

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Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple's attempts to offer its users greater privacy protections, complaint alleges

Zuckerberg Pichai Cook 2
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
  • Facebook and Google worked together to circumvent Apple's privacy measures, 12 state attorneys general argued in an updated legal complaint from 2020.
  • Apple's privacy tools have made it harder for other tech companies to pinpoint users for their ad auction model.
  • Regulators and other tech companies have targeted each other in a larger antitrust battle over user privacy, ad technology, and market dominance.

Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple's attempts to offer its users great privacy protections, 12 state attorneys general alleged in an update to an antitrust lawsuit against the search engine.

"The companies have been working together to improve Facebook's ability to recognize users using browsers with blocked cookies, on Apple devices, and on Apple's Safari Browser," the amended complaint states. "Thereby circumventing one Big Tech company's efforts to compete by offering users better privacy."

The lawsuit was first filed by the attorneys general in December 2020, accusing Google of engaging in market collusion, and focused on claims that Facebook and Google had agreed to cooperate if their pact ever came under regulatory scrutiny.

The attorneys general also accused Facebook and Google of engaging in an illegal advertising deal, with the latter leveraging monopoly power over its adtech business by helping Facebook make better bids in ad auctions, which would make it easier for Facebook content to appear in more Google Ads.

"Facebook has long supported fair and transparent advertising auctions in which all bidders compete simultaneously, and the highest bidder wins," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Facebook's non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms, have helped to increase competition for ad placements."

According to a discussion between Facebook employees in 2019, the complaint says, the company was having trouble matching users on Apple's Safari browser. Google said Facebook's user match rates were the same as other ad auction parties, but Facebook employees noted that the search company was willing to use Javascript to help Facebook better recognize those users.

The attorneys general claimed Facebook essentially baited Google into the deal, but Google denies the lawsuit's claims.

Representatives for Google and Apple did not return Insider's requests for comment Sunday.

Apple in recent years has ramped up its user privacy efforts. In 2018, Apple installed privacy protection measures into its products, like Safari, which required websites to request tracking privileges from users and discard cookies if a site had not been visited in 30 days.

This summer, Apple rolled out its App Tracking Transparency tool, which prompts users to opt in or out of tracking on different applications - which largely impacted companies like Facebook. A Safari privacy report also detailed how websites track users.

The three companies have been at the center of several antitrust discussions, facing action from government regulators and each other. The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Facebook claiming the company had monopolized power in the social networking market, but the suit was dismissed by a federal judge in June. Facebook was also reportedly preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple in regards to its App Store rules, saying Apple was stifling third-party app developers.

Congress also introduced five tech regulation bills in June, specifically directed at the "Big Four" - Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon. The bills would equip regulators with more methods to check tech firms from holding too much market power.

(This story has been updated to reflect in the third paragraph that it was Facebook and Google who reportedly agreed to cooperate, not Apple).

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Kyrsten Sinema takes thousands in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical giants while stalling prescription drug pricing reforms

In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Senate Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., listens to witnesses during a hearing on 2020 census on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this July 16, 2019, file photo, Senate Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., listens to witnesses during a hearing on 2020 census on Capitol Hill in Washington.
  • Kyrsten Sinema's campaign has received $500,000+ in campaign donations from the pharma industry.
  • The $3.5 trillion spending bill would save the US "hundreds of billions" on health care spending.
  • The biotechnology company Amgen gave Sinema $25,500 and is one of her largest financial backers.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is said to be opposed to the current prescription drug pricing proposals in bills put forth by both the House and Senate, as well as an alternative from House centrists that would limit the drugs subject to Medicare negotiation, according to unnamed sources cited by Politico.

Sinema's stance has stalled the passage of the $3.5 trillion spending bill crafted by the Biden administration and fellow Democrats, even though it could jeopardize her own bipartisan infrastructure bill. Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington has previously said the majority of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which she chairs, would not vote for Sinema's infrastructure bill without first passing the spending package.

If passed, the $3.5 trillion spending bill would lower the cost of certain prescription drugs by instituting reforms and allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, which would save the federal government "hundreds of billions" on health care spending, according to a memo for Democratic senators.

Sinema is a "pharma favorite in Congress"

Since launching her political career, Sinema's campaign committee has received more than $500,000 in donations from the pharmaceutical and health product industries, according to OpenSecrets.

Kaiser Health News dubbed Sinema a "pharma favorite in Congress" after her campaign received $98,500 from PACs run by employees of drug companies and their trade groups during the 2019-20 election cycle.

One of her largest financial backers has been Amgen, a biotechnology company that manufactures prescription drugs for individuals with illnesses that have limited treatment options, such as cancer patients and chronically ill individuals.

Insider reached out to Sinema and her team but has not received a response.

Many prescription drugs made by Amgen have hefty price tags. Overall, the company made $24.24 billion in global product sales in 2020.

Amgen did not respond to inquiries about whether it lobbied Sinema on prescription drug pricing reforms or how the bill's passage would impact the company's bottom line. In 2021, Amgen has spent $4.72 million on lobbying Congressional representatives over 17 bills, the majority of which address issues related to prescription drug pricing, according to OpenSecrets.

A super PAC with pharmaceutical industry ties funded a recent Sinema ad

According to Google's Transparency Report, a September 9 political ad for Sinema was paid for by Center Forward, a super PAC dedicated to supporting the election of centrist Democrats, according to The Washington Post.

In its registration with the Washington, DC, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Center Forward lists Libby Greer and Cindy Brown from the lobbying firm Forbes Tate Partners as governors on its board. Greer and Brown are lobbyists for several pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer, Gilead Sciences, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Amgen, and Merck & Co, according to documents obtained by the Daily Poster and reviewed by Insider.

Greer and Brown did not respond to inquiries about the scope of their involvement in the Sinema political ads. Center Forward Executive Director Cori Kramer Smith said that day-to-day activities, programming, and messaging do not fall under the board's responsibilities.

Merck was the second-highest pharmaceutical industry contributor to Sinema's campaign, donating $20,500 to her campaign committee and leadership PAC between 2015 and 2020, according to Kaiser Health News' "Pharma Cash to Congress" tracker.

Eli Joseph, the husband of Sinema's chief of staff, Meg Joseph, worked as the executive director of federal policy and government relations for Merck & Co. from 2012-2015, according to his LinkedIn. Meg Joseph's LinkedIn also shows that she worked as a lobbyist from 2007-2008 at Clark & Weinstock, which lobbied on behalf of several pharmaceutical companies and major industry trade groups during her tenure, Salon reported.

Neither of the Josephs responded to inquiries about their previous work as lobbyists or connections to the pharmaceutical industry. Merck spokesperson John Cummins said Eli Joseph handled Senate affairs and was not involved in decisions surrounding House contributions.

In addition to Sinema, four House Democrats are also opposed to direct government negotiation of drug prices. Reps. Scott Peters, Kurt Schrader, Stephanie Murphy, and Kathleen Rice voted against advancing a drug-pricing provision on September 15, although it would be approved later in the day by the Ways and Means Committee, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Twitter suspends Rep. Jim Banks' account after he misgendered openly trans health official Rachel Levine

Dr. Rachel Levine
Dr. Rachel Levine
  • Rep. Jim Banks is suspended on Twitter after misgendering Dr. Rachel Levine.
  • Levine is the first openly trans person who holds a position that had to be confirmed by the Senate.
  • In response, Banks tweeted from his personal account that Twitter is punishing him for saying, "a statement of FACT."

Twitter on Saturday suspended Rep. Jim Banks' account after he misgendered Dr. Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Levine in March became the first openly trans person to hold a position that requires confirmation by the Senate. She recently received the honor of the four-star officer title, meaning she was sworn in earlier this week as an admiral. With this title, Levine becomes the first openly trans person to hold the distinction.

"This is a momentous occasion, and I am honored to take this role for the impact I can make and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes," Levine said during a swearing-in ceremony.

Banks, a Republican representative from Indiana, responded to Levine's four-star officer news on Twitter, saying that "the title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man."

Twitter, in response, suspended Banks from accessing his account. Banks' comment, Twitter said, violated its policy on hateful conduct, which bars any "targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals."

Twitter said it would restore his account once he deletes the tweet.

Banks, in response to the temporary suspension, said on his personal account that Twitter is retaliating against him for "posting a statement of FACT."

And throughout Sunday, he twice retweeted a blog post from a conservative outlet that also misgendered Levine.

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Father of cinematographer killed in 'Rust' prop-gun accident places blame not on Alec Baldwin, but on 'Rust' prop team

A picture of the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins who was killed Thursday on the set of the film "Rust."
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins who was killed Thursday on the set of the film "Rust."
  • Halyna Hutchins' father bears no resentment against Alec Baldwin for the actor's role in his daughter's death.
  • Hutchins was killed in an accident on-set Thursday after Baldwin fired a prop gun, which shot and killed Hutchins and injured another.
  • Hutchins' father instead directed blame toward the prop's team on the set of 'Rust,' as the industry reexamines prop and firearm protocols in productions.

Father of late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins says he doesn't blame actor Alec Baldwin, who fired a prop gun on-set that killed Hutchins, for his daughter's death.

Anatoly Androsovych, who is ex-military in Ukraine, instead blamed the film's prop team for handing Baldwin a dangerous loaded weapon, he said in an interview with The Sun.

"We still can't believe Halyna is dead and her mother is going out of her mind with grief. But I don't hold Alec Baldwin responsible - it is the responsibility of the props people who handle the guns," Androsovych told the outlet.

Hutchins, 42, was killed on the set of Baldwin's western film 'Rust' after the actor accidentally fired a prop gun that shot Hutchins and "Rust" director Joel Souza, killing the former and injuring the latter. Baldwin was handed a prop gun by the assistant director Dave Halls, which was believed to be empty, but contained a "single live round."

Androsovych, Hutchins' mother Olga, and Hutchins' sister Svetlana were first informed of the accident by Hutchins' husband, Matthew. The family is currently organizing their visas to come to the US and support Hutchins' husband and nine-year-old son, Andros.

Andros has been very badly affected," Androsovych added. "He is lost without his mother."

"How was this negligence allowed by such a team of professionals? This is just such an absolutely absurd coincidence." Hutchins' sister told The Sun, blasting the film's props team. "I don't know where the investigation will lead, but there are so many guesses. God only knows what happened, it's just so incredibly hard to live through it. The only thing we want right now is to be there with my mum next to Halyna's husband and their son to make sure he feels our support."

Several crew members on the set of 'Rust' expressed concerns about gun safety on the set almost a week before the fatal accident. A crew member sent a message to the set's unit production manager, reviewed by the LA Times, which said the set already experienced three accidental gun discharges. This included an instance where Baldwin's stunt double accidentally fired two rounds of what he thought was a "cold" gun.

Meanwhile, the camera crew also walked off the set hours before Hutchins' accident protesting poor working conditions, with Hutchins herself advocating for safer working conditions as well.

Matthew Hutchins previously told Insider there were "no words to communicate the situation."

Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) mourned the loss of Hutchins, who was seen as a "rising star" in the cinematography world. Filmmakers across the industry have also called for an end to using firearm blanks, which many have said are an "unnecessary risk."

(This story has been updated in the ninth paragraph to clarify it was the camera crew that walked off the set before Hutchins' fatal accident.)

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A man on house arrest in Italy reportedly begged to go to jail to get away from his wife: 'The jail is better'

Questura, italian police headquarters.
A man in Italy asked to be put in jail to get away from his wife.
  • A man on house arrest in Italy asked to be imprisoned so that he could get away from his wife, reports say.
  • The man, a 30-year-old Albanian citizen, was serving a house arrest sentence for drug crimes, The Straits Times reported.
  • Authorities said the man was "no longer able to cope with the forced cohabitation with his wife."

A man on house arrest in Italy asked to be imprisoned so that he could get away from his wife, according to reports.

"I can't stand it anymore," the man said, according to Italian newspaper Il Messagero. "The jail is better."

The man, a 30-year-old Albanian citizen living in the town of Guidonia Montecelio, was "no longer able to cope with the forced cohabitation with his wife," local authorities said, according to The Straits Times.

"Exasperated by the situation, he preferred to escape, spontaneously presenting himself to the Carabinieri to ask to serve his sentence behind bars," Italian authorities said. The General Command of the Carabinieri did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The man was serving a house arrest sentence for drug crimes, Captain Francesco Giacomo Ferrante of the Tivoli Carabinieri said, according to The Straits Times.

"He lived at home with his wife and family. It wasn't going well anymore," Ferrante said. "He said, 'Listen, my domestic life has become hell, I can't do it anymore, I want to go to jail.'"

The man was arrested and taken to prison after he violated his house arrest by asking to be jailed, Il Messagero reported.

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AOC blasts Democrats who don't unify behind the party's nominees as 'playing a dangerous game' in the face of a 'fascist threat'

AOC India Walton
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right, greets Buffalo Democratic mayoral nominee India Walton, left, during a rally in support of Walton in Buffalo, New York, on October 23, 2021.
  • Rep. Ocasio-Cortez stumped for Buffalo Democratic mayoral nominee India Walton at a Saturday rally.
  • In a speech, AOC reiterated the importance of supporting party nominees in their respective races.
  • "Let's talk about the stakes. This isn't a game," Ocasio-Cortez said of a "fascist" threat.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday criticized Democratic leaders who decline to endorse more liberal candidates within the party, calling out the holdouts for "playing a dangerous game with our democracy."

While speaking at a rally in support of India Walton, the Democratic mayoral nominee in Buffalo who won an upset primary victory over longtime Mayor Byron Brown in June, the Bronx native said that a refusal to endorse party nominees is deeply problematic amid what she describes as a "fascist threat" in US politics.

"Here's the deal. There are many primaries where I have stood behind incredible community organizers, and you know what? That moment may not have been the time. That's ok. We get up and we move on," she said.

"But when a nominee wins, I do not try to undermine the entire political party. We don't try to do that. Do you know why? Because in the grander scheme of things, we are facing a very real fascist threat in this country. Let's talk about the stakes. This isn't a game," she added.

In her speech, Ocasio-Cortez reiterated a distaste for intraparty divisions.

"We rally behind our nominee," she said. "That is what we do, whether that candidate is you or the person you're going for, or the person you're not going for. Any Democrat right now that is trying to establish a precedent of not uniting behind the party's nominee is playing a dangerous game with our democracy."

She emphasized: "I want to send a very direct message to some of those folks. If you as a Democratic elected official try to go out and undermine your party's nominee, how can you ever turn around and ask people to support you when you're the party's nominee?"

Ocasio-Cortez traveled Upstate to stump for Walton, a self-described socialist who is still facing a challenge from Brown, who successfully launched a write-in campaign and could siphon off voters that she would naturally receive as the Democratic nominee of the diverse post-industrial city.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a native of the Buffalo area, has declined to endorse a candidate, citing the "unique" nature of two Democrats running in the same race.

"With respect to Buffalo, we have a unique situation there," she said during a COVID-19 briefing last week. "I'm going to be looking forward to truly working hard, rolling my sleeves up, with whoever … emerges as the victor. Buffalo's success is important to me personally."

While some of Walton's supporters have argued that party leaders like Hochul should endorse the nominees chosen by Democratic voters, she recently received a key endorsement.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Brooklyn native and one of the most powerful politicians in the country, on Thursday endorsed Walton, praising her activism and emphasizing unity within the party.

"Today, I endorse @indiawaltonbflo, the Democratic nominee for Mayor of Buffalo," he tweeted. "She's a community leader, nurse, & mother with a clear progressive vision for her hometown. Dems are at our best when we build a big tent & forge inclusive coalitions to fight for everyday people."

Last week, a range of political figures, including Ocasio-Cortez and Schumer, criticized a statement made by New York State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs to Spectrum News 1 where he said that the winner of the primary is not guaranteed a party endorsement, offering an example of the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke winning a primary.

"Jay Jacobs absolutely should resign over his disgusting comments comparing a Black single mother who won a historic election to David Duke," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Schumer released a statement saying, "The statement was totally unacceptable and the analogy used was outrageous and beyond absurd."

Jacobs later apologized for his remarks.

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The Tulsa race massacre is still hampering Black homeownership - and not just in Oklahoma

tulsa massacre 1921 black wall street
Freeman Culver stands in front of a mural listing the names of businesses destroyed during the Tulsa race massacre in Tulsa, Okla., Monday, June 15, 2020.
  • The Tulsa Race Massacre destroyed "Black Wall Street," and it's still hurting Black Americans a century later.
  • The attacks wiped out swaths of Black wealth and kept many from owning homes, researchers found.
  • Many effects spilled over due to racist news coverage, and those effects worsened over time, the team added.

The Tulsa Race Massacre destroyed one of the US's most prosperous Black neighborhoods a century ago. Its fallout is still felt by Black Americans across the country, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The Tulsa massacre in 1921 stands out as one of the most devastating incidents of racial violence in the history of the US. The attacks demolished the community then renowned as "Black Wall Street" and caused up to $47 million in estimated losses. White residents of Tulsa looted and burned the 35-acre district, thousands of Black Americans were held in internment camps, and it's estimated that some 300 people were killed.

Strides toward racial equity have been made in the century since the massacre, but the Tulsa attacks continue to weigh on America's Black population. For many Black Americans, the massacre served as "a warning about the potential destruction of wealth," researchers Alex Albright, Jeremy Cook, James Feigenbaum, Laura Kincaide, Jason Long, and Nathan Nunn said in the July paper. That dragged on homeownership and the tendency to invest in other assets. The same trends were seen in communities that matched Tulsa's high levels of racial segregation, the team added.

All told, the homeownership rate for Black household heads in Tulsa fell by 4.5% immediately after the Massacre. The rate of Black Americans living in a home owned by a family member dove by 6.3%, and the share of Black white-collar workers fell by 2.3%.

Newspaper coverage of the massacre also led to negative effects outside of Oklahoma. Much of the contemporary coverage was supportive of the attacks, with many blaming Black Americans and Tulsa's prosperity for the massacre. In areas exposed to such coverage, Black Americans were less likely to invest in homes and other appreciating assets that push households up the socioeconomic ladder, according to the study.

Tulsa Race Massacre 1921 black wall street
The aftermath of the Tulsa Race Massacre, during which mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 1921.

"At the time, the massacre was the largest single episode of property destruction experienced by a Black community," the researchers said. "It provided a warning of the danger of the accumulation of wealth through homeownership. In an instant, one's home and possessions could be destroyed."

Further research suggests some of the negative effects didn't fade, and instead got more intense over time.

The researchers found that, after extending the analysis to include 1980, 1990, and 2000, the direct effects of the massacre compounded, meaning they placed a bigger drag on Black homeownership in Tulsa and the surrounding area. The newspaper spillover effect also intensified, signaling neighborhoods exposed to positive coverage of the massacre saw lingering hits to Black homeownership and wealth.

However, the segregation effect - the one seen in neighborhoods with segregation like Tulsa - was "noticeably smaller in magnitude" and did not persist, according to the team. That diminished effect could be explained by individual counties' segregation trends, they added. As such, certain counties could still suffer from the segregation effect while others don't.

Even one century on, the Tulsa Race Massacre haunts Black Americans in Oklahoma and beyond. Whether in the form of direct wealth loss, racist newspaper coverage, or lingering segregation, the attacks did permanent harm to Black Americans' wealth-building, according to the study.

"The massacre may have put Black Tulsans and some Black communities on a different trajectory, at least in terms of homeownership," the team said.

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Facebook chose to keep Breitbart on News Tab and gave it special treatment - even after employees warned of its embellished and hyper-partisan coverage of events like the George Floyd protests

Mark Zuckerberg's headshot placed over a green background with Hawaiian leaves flowing through the top and bottom of the frame
  • Facebook decided to keep Breitbart news about the George Floyd protests on its News Tab feature, the WSJ reports.
  • Facebook did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about why it kept the hyper-partisan, Right-wing outlet in its News Tab.
  • 17 news organizations are prepped to drop new coverage about the company on Monday, which will be called the "Facebook Papers."

"Get Breitbart out of News Tab."

Facebook didn't heed this message, which an employee posted on the company's racial-justice chat board in June 2020 following video of a Black man, George Floyd, being killed by a police officer, according to internal documents from a whistleblower provided to the Wall Street Journal.

After Floyd's murder, massive Black Lives Matter protests swept the country with millions of people calling for attention to issues of racial justice and excessive force by police. But, the social media giant chose to keep problematic content about the protests from Right-wing outlet Breitbart - popular with former President Donald Trump's supporters - on its News Tab, despite objections for its employees, the Journal reports. The News Tab aggregates and promotes articles on its platform from various outlets, and is curated specifically by Facebook.

The anonymous Facebook employee posted screenshots of the Breitbart headlines, like "Minneapolis Mayhem: Riots in Masks," and "Massive Looting, Building in Flames, Bonfires!" in the message board reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The employee went on to write these were examples of a "concerted effort at Breitbart and similarly hyper-partisan sources (none of which belong in News Tab) to paint Black Americans and Black-led movements in a very negative way," according to documents seen by the Wall Street Journal.

The allegations against Facebook are the latest in the Wall Street Journal's "Facebook Files."

Earlier this month, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said that though CEO Mark Zuckerberg "never set out to make a hateful platform," the company has not adequately addressed hate on the platform and makes decisions in its own interests rather than that of the public.

Facebook has repeatedly pushed back against the accusations leveled in the Facebook Files that it turns a blind eye to hate and misinformation and has allowed illegal conduct, including drug deals, human trafficking and cartel activity, to go unchecked.

"To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true," Director of of Policy Communications Lena Pietsch previously told Insider.

The George Floyd message seen by the Wall Street Journal also revealed that a Facebook researcher said any steps to remove Breitbart content from the platform could face obstacles internally due to potential political blowback. A Facebook spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the company makes judgment calls based on the content published on Facebook, not Breitbart as a whole, and that this specific content met Facebook's requirements for rules against misinformation and hate speech.

A representative from Facebook has not yet responded to Insider's request for comment.

Another whistleblower also came forward earlier this week saying that Facebook's Public Policy team defended "whitelisting"Breitbart, to avoid a fight with Trump Republicans and Steve Bannon. Facebook has also repeatedly exempted the Trump's family and its allies from its misinformation rules to avoid being seen as biased against conservatives.

The company announced in March that it would stop promoting certain Facebook groups that peddle misinformation and hate to users' feeds - part of Facebook's decision in January to stop recommending civic and political groups to US users.

Besides this latest "Facebook Files" entry, the company is expected to face more knock back when on Monday, 17 news organizations, including the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, and Bloomberg are expected to drop their own Facebook-related coverage, the "Facebook Papers."

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NATO's flirtation with adding 2 more members runs the risk of starting a war the US can't afford to fight

Jens Stoltenberg and Lloyd Austin at NATO meeting
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a NATO Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels, October 21, 2021.
  • While in Europe this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made clear that Ukraine and Georgia may still join NATO.
  • Ukraine and Georgia have much in common with other NATO members - including a rivalry with their neighbor, Russia.
  • But offering them membership is a dangerous and counterproductive policy that doesn't serve US national interests.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is visiting Europe this week having said Ukraine and Georgia have an "open door to NATO" and that "no third country has a veto over NATO's membership decisions."

Because both countries have been on the receiving end of Russian aggression, it is natural to feel sympathy for Ukraine and Georgia - but offering them NATO membership is an extremely dangerous and counterproductive policy that does not serve the US national interest.

Rather than bolster the security of the American people, as one would expect US defense policy to do, expanding NATO increases the risk of the United States being drawn into a war with Russia. Moving forward in the process of offering NATO membership to Ukraine or Georgia risks igniting a major NATO-Russia conflict.

Should an attack follow Ukraine or Georgia's formal acceptance into the alliance, NATO's Article 5 would legally require the United States to militarily intervene. Such a scenario could quickly escalate to the nuclear level, making it imperative that the conceivably devastating consequences of NATO enlargement are honestly assessed.

Unfortunately, Austin's comments are just the latest example of US policy makers failing to accept the geopolitical reality of eastern Europe.

Russia Georgia War
Russian troops at a checkpoint in a village near the region of South Ossetia, roughly 62 miles from Tbilisi, Georgia, August 5, 2008

The 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit was a significant turning point for European security. There, it was formally announced that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually become members of the alliance.

In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters "We will do all we can to prevent Ukraine's and Georgia's accession into NATO and to avoid an inevitable serious exacerbation of our relations with both the alliance and our neighbors."

Other top officials went further, with one Russian general saying, "Russia will take unambiguous action toward ensuring its interests along its borders. These will not only be military steps, but also steps of a different character." In other words, Moscow made it clear that either country's entry into the alliance would cross a red line and Russia would be prepared to use all facets of power, including military intervention, to enforce that red line.

Russia made good on its promise. In 2008 it fought a five-day war with Georgia and established de facto control of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and provided military support to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow effectively created buffer zones in both countries that separate Russia's borders from Western-backed governments. It has also cunningly ensured that both conflicts remain frozen, using the threat of further escalation as a potential hedge to prevent NATO accession.

Ukraine army soldiers Donetsk
Ukrainian soldiers conduct a drill with tanks in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, April 24, 2021.

Americans need only look at our own history to understand why Russia has acted in this manner. The United States established the Monroe Doctrine in the early 1800s, claiming that any intervention by European powers in the western hemisphere would be viewed as an act hostile to the United States.

By the end of the 19th century, the United States had successfully driven out all other great powers and established itself as the regional hegemon of the New World. When the Soviet Union challenged the US position in 1962 by deploying military assets 90 miles off the coast of Florida, the world was brought to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

If the United States does not tolerate such behavior, why does the Biden administration believe that expanding NATO - and therefore the presence of US troops - on Russia's borders will be viewed by Moscow as benign?

Providing hope to Kyiv and Tbilisi that NATO will come to its defense also creates a moral hazard problem. Rather than making the difficult political accommodations necessary to end their respective conflicts, Ukrainian and Georgian leaders are incentivized to shift their security burden on the United States by taking a hardline stance against Moscow.

This escalates US-Russia tensions and is not particularly kind to average Ukrainians and Georgians, who would likely bear the brunt of any renewed conflict.

The reality is that Moscow views the prevention of Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO as a core strategic interest. As such, Russia will go to great lengths to achieve this objective. The Biden administration should conclude that it is not worth risking World War III over two countries with little geopolitical significance.

As the United States shifts its focus to the larger strategic threat of China, US policymakers would be wise to seek détente with Russia. Such an effort would start by taking Ukrainian and Georgian NATO membership off the table.

Sascha Glaeser is a research associate at Defense Priorities. He focuses on US grand strategy, international security, and transatlantic relations. He holds a master of international public affairs and a bachelor's in international studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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US Green Berets who've trained Taiwanese troops explain how they could fight China and why the US keeps their mission secret

Taiwan soldiers in tank parade
Taiwanese soldiers on an armored vehicle during the National Day Celebration in Taipei, October 10, 2021.
  • Amid increased Chinese pressure on Taiwan this month, it was reported that US troops have been Taiwanese forces.
  • US special-operations forces have for decades deployed overseas to train partners to better defend themselves.
  • The US hasn't had an official military presence in Taiwan since 1979, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been helping them.

In the first days of October, the Chinese military sent more than 150 aircraft, including bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, into Taiwan's air-defense identification zone, which isn't territorial airspace but is still seen as a provocative move.

Amid that Chinese aggression, reports emerged that US Army Special Forces soldiers and Marine Raiders have deployed to Taiwan and have been working with their Taiwanese counterparts since at least last year.

The US hasn't had an official military presence in Taiwan since 1979, when the US officially recognized Beijing, but that doesn't mean US commandos haven't been working with Taiwanese troops over the years, though that training has ebbed and flowed with US policy toward Taiwan.

Although training rotations are usually not disclosed, American commandos have deployed to the region before to conduct foreign internal defense - or the training of allied or partner conventional and special-operations forces, including Taiwan's.

The secret weapon of US special-operations

Taiwan soldier shore beach landing amphibious exercise
Taiwanese soldiers during a shore-defense operation as part of a military exercise, September 16, 2021.

When people think of special-operations units, they think of door-kickers who can perform the toughest operations under the most arduous conditions. Those units do that, but they have also mastered many other mission sets that are valuable in peacetime, competition, and during war.

Foreign internal defense is one of them, and the Army's Special Forces Regiment has unparalleled expertise.

Foreign internal defense is the bread and butter of Green Berets. During such overseas rotations, Green Beret teams work with and train their local counterparts, using their cultural knowledge and language capabilities to build rapport with their counterparts and ensure a smoother training experience.

By training foreign units, Green Berets form solid professional and personal relationships with the local unit and could capitalize on those relationships in the future.

"FID is one component of US efforts to help our partners prevent lawlessness, insurgency, and war in their own countries. The primary method we use to conduct FID is building the capacity of military and paramilitary partners," Lino Miani, a former Army Special Forces officer and president of the Combat Diver Foundation, told Insider.

Other units within US Special Operations Command, such as Marine Raiders, Navy SEALs, Air Commandos, and Navy Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen, also have some foreign internal defense capability.

Taiwan soldiers with grenade launchers
Taiwanese soldiers prepare grenade launchers, machine guns, and tanks for a drill simulating a Chinese invasion, in Tainan, Taiwan, September 16, 2021.

"We're very flexible and can use FID in many ways. For example, dive teams can quite literally stand up brand new units with combat divers, and the next teams that get to rotate in-country can continue that relationship," a former Green Beret told Insider.

Troops specializing in other infiltration methods can do the same thing. "Free-fall teams can train their guys in HALO [High Altitude Low Opening] and HAHO [High Altitude High Opening] ops, mobility teams can work with their vehicle guys, etc.," added the former Green Beret, who requested anonymity because of ongoing work with the US government.

In the Indo-Pacific area of operations, it's the 1st Special Forces Group - one of seven Green Beret groups - that is responsible for working with Taiwanese and other regional partners and allies. Green Berets assigned to the unit learn the cultural and linguistic nuances of the region to be more successful. Many also have ethnic ties to the region, giving them another way to relate to the forces they train.

"It is these partners that will make it increasingly difficult for China to subvert their governments and societies. This serves as both a complicating factor for Chinese designs and a deterrent. In many ways, FID places more capability in more forward locations, more durably, and for less money than USA would be able to do with our own troops," added Miani, who is also CEO of Navisio Global LLC, an international security and business consultancy.

Rotations like the one in Taiwan are sometimes not disclosed to avoid international incidents or diplomatic fallout.

"SOCOM has a presence in over 70 countries. Much of it is standard rotations in friendly countries with which we've had a solid relationship for decades," the former Special Forces operator said. "Other rotations are in countries where our presence would be better not advertised for many different reasons, like domestic opposition or fear of upsetting third countries that are the regional 'top dogs.'"

A war with China

Taiwan soldier launches Javelin
A soldier launches a Javelin missile during a military exercise in southern Taiwan, May 30, 2019.

In a war with China, the allied and partner commando units that US special-operations forces have helped stand up or train over the decades would be an advantage for the US military.

"China's strategic geography depends on three rivers and a coastline. This strategic core is constrained by the US 7th Fleet on one side and by ethnic minority regions of varying degrees of historic hostility on the other three," said Miani, who served in the 1st Special Forces Group.

"Any war between the USA and China will take place in this strategic periphery but will ultimately be waged to protect the core and guarantee the Chinese economy has access to the rest of the world," Miani told Insider.

These partners and allies are all united in their desire to avoid an oppressive China on their doorstep that could upend regional peace. But if it came to blows, they would be valuable allies and already prepared to deal with Chinese forces through their decades of training with US special operators.

Green Beret teams already in countries in the region will also have a head start if fighting breaks out and could slow down or distract Chinese forces, buying the US and its allies valuable time to deploy their forces.

"The SF Regiment can be America's most potent tool for drawing Chinese divisions away from that purpose," Miani said. "This will require FID in some regions to impede Chinese conquests and unconventional warfare in areas where China already holds sway."

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.

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North Korea may be making plans for a future without Kim Jong Un

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks with children during a celebration of the nation’s 73rd anniversary at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: "KCNA" which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency.
Kim Jong Un at a celebration of North Korea's 73rd anniversary, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, September 9, 2021.
  • Rumors have swirled around North Korean leader Kim Jong Un since he took power in 2011.
  • Long absences from public view have prompted speculation about his health and who would succeed him.
  • Political moves in North Korea suggests preparation for such a change, but experts said who comes next is unknowable.

Few world leaders are as closely watched and as shrouded in mystery as Kim Jong Un. Political and diplomatic intrigue has surrounded the dictator, believed to be in his late 30s, since he took power in 2011.

There have been frequent rumors that he is in poor health. His condition and daily whereabouts are so opaque that when he went unseen for several weeks in 2020 speculation about his death was rampant until he again appeared in public.

While Kim has proven the rumors wrong so far, developments in the past year suggest that behind closed doors, North Korea may be preparing for a day when Kim Jong Un is really gone.

Rule without rules

north korea kim dynasty
Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un.

There are currently no known rules for succession within the hierarchy of North Korea's ruling party, the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). As a result, analysts can only base predictions about who comes after Kim on previous transfers of power.

The lack of succession protocols is not necessarily by design. North Korea has only had three leaders in its 73-year history.

Its first leader, Kim Il Sung, designated his son, Kim Jong Il, as his successor in 1980, 14 years before his death in 1994. Kim Jong Il actively avoided designating a successor until just before his death, likely in part because he himself had undermined his father's regime in some respects after his own designation.

Kim Jong Il only designated Kim Jong Un as his successor when it became clear he likely wouldn't fully recover from a severe stroke he suffered in summer 2008. Even then, it took two years for the official announcement, and Kim Jong Un was only heir-apparent for a year before becoming leader himself.

Though young and inexperienced, Kim Jong Un has ruthlessly consolidated power.

In 2013 he executed his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, for "anti-party" and "counter-revolutionary acts." Jang had been appointed as something of a regent by Kim Jong Il, and one North Korean defector has said the influence Jang gained made him a target for the younger Kim.

In 2017, Kim Jong Un had his half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, assassinated in Kuala Lumpur. Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son of Kim Jong Il and had been a vocal critic of the regime.

No alternatives

Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un in North Korea
Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un tour an under-construction power plant in August 2001.

Kim Jong Un came to power at a considerably younger age than his father and grandfather when they assumed power and hasn't needed to designate a successor. He has also actively avoided appointing a number-two official.

"Kim Jong Un's typical procedure was to let someone look like he's becoming number two for a year or two and then purge him," Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, told Insider.

Purging sometimes means reeducation and a reduction in rank and status rather than execution.

"He's regularly done that because he doesn't want anybody to appear to be an alternative to him," Bennett said of Kim's purges. "He wants to be totally in control."

But several decisions made over the past year indicate that Kim Jong Un and WPK leaders may be preparing for someone to replace Kim.

The first are two articles from a series of rule changes that were instituted in January at the Eighth Party Congress.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a table with senior officials.
Kim with senior officials from the Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee and Provincial Party Committees, in an undated photo released on June 8, 2021.

Article 28 states that any one member of the five-man Presidium of the Politburo, the WPK's highest body, may preside over a meeting if given consent by the general secretary, who is Kim Jong Un. This essentially means Kim no longer has to oversee or even attend Presidium meetings.

The most striking change by far, though, is Article 26, which creates the new position of "first secretary." The title itself isn't new. Kim Jong Un used it before he adopted "chairman" in 2016 and then "general secretary" in 2021.

Now, however, "first secretary" refers to the first deputy of the general secretary, creating a position akin to vice president - a revolutionary change, as neither the WPK nor any ruling communist party has ever officially designated a second-in-command.

No one has been named as first secretary, however, and there is nothing that states the first secretary would automatically become the leader if the general secretary dies.

"The arrangement put in place here raises an interesting question," Bennett said. "Would the number two just obviously take over or would the senior Politburo members get together and make a selection?"

Doubts about the future

A collage of two images of Kim Jong Un in 2019 (left) and 2021 (right), both viewed from the front. He looks markedly slimmer in 2021.
Kim's apparent weight loss has led to speculation about his health.

Kim Jong Un's health continues to be a mystery. Kim not only disappeared from public view again for over a month this year, but he also lost a considerable amount of weight - as much as 44 pounds, according to intelligence sources.

The weight loss is so noticeable that a resident of Pyongyang described Kim as "emaciated" on state television. Kim looked even thinner at a parade last month.

"The truth is we don't know what's going on with his health," said Sue Mi Terry, an expert on North Korea and security in Northeast Asia. "What we do know is that Kim's health is going to be the most important wildcard event for North Korea and for North Korea's stability."

North Korea already faces food shortages, floods, and a struggling economy. The loss of Kim Jong Un amid those challenges could be destabilizing.

"It is a high-risk, high-impact scenario for North Korea, because he doesn't have a successor lined up who's been groomed like Kim Jong Il was for 20 years," said Terry, who is now director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy.

The biggest question, then, is who would succeed Kim Jong Un in the event of his death or long-term incapacitation?

Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong-un attends the women's ice hockey preliminary match between Korea and Switzerland during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Kim Yo Jong, sister of Kim Jong Un, at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, February 10, 2018.

There has been some speculation that, as Kim Jong Un's children are too young, someone from the Politburo or military could seize the initiative and take charge himself.

"Ultimately, this is something that is very unknowable," Terry said, noting that it is impossible to know if such a person even exists because "by the time we assess something or somebody, that means Kim Jong Un himself would know about it, and that guy would be gone."

"If somebody has that kind of intent, they would put their head down and act like they didn't," Terry said.

Precedent suggests Kim is unlikely to pick a successor, which could fuel rumors about his health and potentially undermine his hold on power.

But many see his sister, Kim Yo Jong, as the most likely candidate. She is a member of the Kim family and has the complete trust of Kim Jong Un. She could also be relied on to be regent for Kim's children.

Last month, Kim Yo Jong was promoted to the State Affairs Commission, the North Korean government's highest ruling body. She has also taken a central role in overseeing relations with South Korea.

"She is probably the single most important figure because [Kim] trusts her," Terry said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millions of second-hand or used nitrile gloves came into the US as scammers took advantage of demand during the pandemic: CNN

Close-up of a chemist putting on gloves in pharmacy.
Close-up of a chemist putting on gloves in pharmacy.
  • Scammers are washing and repackaging used medical gloves to sell to the US, CNN reported.
  • Tens of millions of counterfeit and already used nitrile gloves came to the US during the pandemic.
  • It's not clear if any ever actually made their way to be used in medical settings.

A months-long CNN investigation found tens of millions of counterfeit and already used nitrile gloves made their way into the US during the pandemic as scammers took advantage of high demand.

CNN reported that it's unclear if these gloves ended up being used in a medical setting or caused harm to providers and patients.

A US company warned the Food and Drug Administration and Customs and Border Protection that they received shipments of visibly soiled gloves from a company in Thailand in February and March of this year, CNN reported.

Tarek Kirschen, a Miami-based businessman, told the outlet he ordered $2 million worth of gloves from Paddy the Room, a Thai-based company.

"Some of them were dirty. Some of them had bloodstains. Some of them had markers on them with dates from two years ago... I couldn't believe my eyes," Kirschen told CNN.

Kirschen said he refunded clients that bought them, threw the gloves in a landfill, and informed the FDA. He said none of the gloves he ordered ended up in a medical setting.

CNN, however, found that US distributors received 200 million gloves from Paddy the Room, though it's unclear where they ended up.

The stream of second-hand gloves made its way into the country after the FDA temporarily eased the import requirement for personal protective equipment at the start of the pandemic.

The Regulatory Affairs Professional Society reported in March 2020, that the FDA reduced the amount of information needed for certain necessary PPE that was in high demand at the start of the pandemic so it could be shipped in faster.

The FDA told CNN that companies could only ship in gloves that don't create "undue risk" under the relaxed rules, but the outlet found that there were few physical checks made on gloves entering through the ports.

CNN reported that authorities in Thailand and the US have launched investigations into the faulty PPE. The FDA sent a message to its port staff in August to detain shipments from Paddy the Room, at least five months after they were informed about the contaminated gloves, the outlet reported.

This isn't the only incident of sub-par PPE and scams during the pandemic. In May 2020, hundreds of thousands of imported masks that were on their way to children's hospitals were seized because they failed to meet safety regulations for blocking out virus particles. In August 2020, the Justice Department also shut down an ISIS-affiliated website that was selling fake N95 masks and other PPE.

The FDA, DHS, and CBP did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen says she's supporting herself with crypto she purchased 'at the right time'

Frances Haugen
Whistleblower Frances Haugen in a "60 Minutes" interview on October 3 said that Facebook had not done enough to halt the spread of misinformation.
  • Frances Haugen told The New York Times she bought "crypto at the right time."
  • A non-profit owned by Pierre Omidyar donated $150,000 last year to a firm now representing Haugen.
  • But Haugen said she only uses funds from billionaire eBay founder's non-profit for travel.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said she's financially okay for the time being because she invested in crypto, The New York Times reported

"For the foreseeable future, I'm fine, because I did buy crypto at the right time," she told The Times.

Haugen also told The Times that she had moved to Puerto Rico to deal with an ongoing health issue and join her "crypto friends."

She did not specify which cryptocurrency she had purchased.

Last week a Politico report said Haugen was being funded by the billionaire founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar. Omidyar is a well-known critic of Big Tech.

But Haugen told The Times that she only accepted help from Omidyar's non-profit groups for travel and similar expenses, but is using her own funds otherwise.

Omidyar's foundation donated $150,000 last year to the non-profit that is now responsible for Haugen's legal representation.

Luminate, another of Omidyar's philanthropic organizations is also providing her press and government relations in Europe. Haugen's top PR representative in the US, Bill Burton, is also from the Center for Humane Technology, which is also funded by Omidyar.

"When Frances Haugen went public Luminate decided to step forward and directly support her efforts to promote a broad public debate about the issues that the disclosures raise," a Luminate spokesperson told Insider's Hannah Towey.

"We are the only organization from The Omidyar Group that is directly supporting the work of Frances Haugen and her team. Our support will help cover the travel, logistics, and communications costs of Frances' team. We encourage all those organizations who want to tackle these digital threats to democracy to join us in these efforts," he added.

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China's Evergrande says it has resumed construction work on nearly a dozen projects, just days after it managed to avoid a default

  • China's Evergrande said in a statement that it has resumed work on more than 10 projects in six cities in the country.
  • The statement came just days after the property giant avoided a default by paying a dollar bond interest.
  • Markets the world over have been roiled by Evergrande's debt woes as investors fear contagion.

China's Evergrande said on Sunday it had resumed work on more than ten real estate projects across six cities in the country. The news came just days after the real estate giant avoided default with a last-minute dollar bond interest payment.

The announcement on the property developer's WeChat social media account said it will "go all out" to deliver on its social responsibilities to homebuyers and comply with the government's requirements.

The notice also appeared to attempt to reassure homebuyers by showing photos of workers working on the properties.

Markets the world over have been roiled by Evergrande's debt woes as investors fear contagion across the world economy. The developer still faces more than $300 billion in liabilities and has another interest payment worth $45 million due this Friday.

Evergrande has also not said how many of its 1,300 real estate projects across China has been suspended, according to Reuters.

After Evergrande said in late September that it had resumed work on 46 real estate projects across China, TikTokers in the country visited construction sites themselves to investigate the claims.

Chinese authorities have stepped out to reassure that Evergrande's crisis will be contained.

China Evergrande shares in Hong Kong opened 6% higher on Monday.

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Paul Gosar assured Jan. 6 protest organizers they would get a 'blanket pardon' while they were planning rallies: report

Rep. Paul Gosar speaks at a news conference.
Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) speaks at a news conference on January 7, 2016.
  • Rep. Paul Gosar offered protest organizers a "blanket pardon" to motivate them to plan rallies on Jan. 6, reported Rolling Stone.
  • Gosar told the organizers he had spoken with former President Donald Trump about the pardons, which were never realized.
  • The GOP congressman has defended US Capitol rioters before, saying they were "peaceful protestors."

GOP congressman Paul Gosar encouraged pro-Trump rally organizers to plan protests in Washington DC on January 6 by telling them they would get a "blanket pardon" for another, unrelated investigation, according to two of the protest's planners.

Gosar had repeatedly assured them of the pardons, to the point where they believed it was a "done deal," they told Rolling Stone in an exclusive released Sunday. Both organizers have been speaking with the congressional committee investigating the US Capitol riots, per Rolling Stone, and were kept anonymous. It is unclear what the original unrelated investigation mentioned by the pair was.

In the interview, one organizer said they were given the impression that Gosar spoke to former President Donald Trump about the pardons and that they had been mentioned by name.

"They were working on submitting the paperwork and getting members of the House Freedom Caucus to sign on as a show of support," the organizer told Rolling Stone.

The two anonymous sources said Gosar told them: "I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you've been doing," according to the outlet.

To their dismay, the offer was never fulfilled, but they added that the pardons alone were not the sole impetus for their plans on January 6.

"I would have done it either way with or without the pardon," the organizer told Rolling Stone.

"I do truly believe in this country, but to use something like that and put that out on the table when someone is so desperate, it's really not good business," the organizer continued.

They told Rolling Stone that they were unsettled by how the pro-Trump rallies on January 6 eventually turned into the violent attack on the US Capitol, prompting them to cooperate with investigations.

Meanwhile, Gosar, the representative for Arizona, has said that he "never instigated violence," and that the idea that he involved in the Capitol riots was "devoid of reality."

But he has also been outspoken in his defense of US Capitol rioters, calling them "peaceful protestors" who were being harassed by the Justice Department. One of Trump's most ardent supporters, Gosar also said that Ashli Babbitt, a protestor who was shot by Capitol Police on January 6 and later died from her wounds, was "executed."

Gosar's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to give police officers a $5,000 bonus to move to Florida, where they can escape vaccine mandates

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at LifeScience Logistics.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a vocal opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
  • DeSantis on Sunday reiterated to Fox News that he wants to pay police officers who move to Florida a $5,000 bonus.
  • "If you're not being treated well, we'll treat you better here," DeSantis said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wants to pass legislation that would give police officers who relocate to his state $5,000.

In an interview with Fox News's Maria Bartiromo, DeSantis said that he wants to recruit police officers who are not "being treated well" over vaccine mandates in other states.

He said he'll hopefully sign a bill in the next legislative session. The bill would offer a $5,000 bonus to out-of-state law enforcement.

"If you're not being treated well, we'll treat you better here. You can fill important needs for us, and we'll compensate you as a result," DeSantis said.

DeSantis first made the pitch to give out bonuses to recruit law enforcement in August.

"As so many cities and states choose to disrespect, degrade and defund the honorable work of law enforcement, we want Florida to continue valuing our men and women of law enforcement today, tomorrow, and for generations to come," DeSantis said in a news release.

DeSantis told Bartiromo he was pursuing out-of-state officers because "we do have needs in our police and our sheriffs' departments."

However, there does not appear to be a shortage of police officers in the state.

In May, The Orlando Sentinel reported that Central Florida police agencies were at "steady levels." WJXT also reported that month that several counties in North East Florida weren't facing any difficulties recruiting people or already had adequate staff. Some counties told the outlet they were having difficulty recruiting due to salaries. Starting salaries in several counties are under $40,000 a year.

The governor again reiterated his opposition to vaccine mandates and President Joe Biden's push for them.

"In addition to taking away people's personal choices, it will wreak havoc in the economy because even if a small percentage of these folks end up losing their jobs or voluntarily walking away, you're going to have huge disruptions in medical, in logistics, in law enforcement," DeSantis said.

He added that Florida will have a special legislative session to ensure no one "should lose their job based off these injections."

Earlier this month, DeSantis said he planned to wage a lawsuit against the federal government over vaccine mandates.

In September, Biden announced a mandate that would require employers with over 100 workers to require COVID-19 vaccines or conduct weekly testing.

DeSantis said Biden's mandate was a violation of Florida law.

Earlier this month, DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health fined one county $3,570,000 for violating the state's ban on vaccine passports.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Fauci disputes NIH-funded research at Wuhan Institute involved gain of function as Rand Paul calls for his firing

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • Rand Paul claimed Anthony Fauci lied to Congress about US-funded gain of function research in Wuhan.
  • Fauci told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he did not lie to Congress about the research.
  • NIH Director Francis Collins said the Wuhan experiments did not involve gain of function.

During an interview Sunday with "Axios on HBO," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called for President Joe Biden to fire his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who he claims has lied to Congress about US-funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology involving gain of function experiments.

Paul also claimed during the interview that Lawrence Tabak, principal deputy director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in a letter to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., last Thursday that "viruses did gain in function" during experiments with bat coronaviruses.

NIH defines gain-of-function research as studies with the potential to enhance the pathogenicity or transmissibility of potential pandemic pathogens (PPPs). The research plan reviewed by NIH for the Wuhan experiments did not fit the definition of research involving PPPs because the bat coronaviruses had not been shown to infect humans, according to Tabak's letter.

The letter acknowledged that mice infected with one kind of bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with a different variant. However, Tabak's letter made never mentioned "gain of function."

In response, Fauci told George Stephanopoulos during a Sunday edition of ABC's "This Week" that he "respectfully disagrees" with Paul and did not lie to Congress. Fauci also said it was "molecularly impossible" for the bat coronaviruses being studied in Wuhan to develop into SARS-CoV-2, which Tarak corroborated in his letter.

"And yet when people talk about gain of function, they make that implication which I think is unconscionable to do, to say, well, maybe that research led to SARS-CoV-2," Fauci told Stephanopoulos. "So, things are getting conflated, George, that should not be conflated."

The Washington Post reported last week that NIH Director Francis Collins said the Wuhan experiments did not involve gain of function research.

Paul previously made similar claims about gain of function research during a COVID pandemic hearing in July.

At the time, Fauci responded to Paul by saying: "Senator Paul, you do not know what you're talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you're talking about,"

Read the original article on Business Insider

Chinese electric-vehicle maker Xpeng plans to mass produce flying cars by 2024 and says they'll cost less than $157,000

Xpeng Voyager X2 electric flying car
An Xpeng Voyager X2 electric flying car.
  • Chinese electric vehicle-maker Xpeng is planning to mass produce a flying car by 2024.
  • The flying car is being developed by Xpeng affiliate, HT Aero.
  • The company is aiming to price the X2 under 1 million Chinese yuan ($157,000.)

Chinese electric-vehicle startup Xpeng introduced a flying car over the weekend, which the company says it plans to mass produce by 2024.

The Xpeng X2 vehicle is being developed by affiliate HT Aero, a flying car startup, which raised over $500 million in its latest funding round last week.

The low-altitude flying car has a steering wheel for driving on roads as well as a single lever for flight modes, according to TechCrunch.

According to a Xpeng website post, the X2 features rotors that can be folded away when the car is operating on roads and expanded when the vehicle is flying. It can seat two people. Xpeng is touting the flying car for use in urban settings, like going from the airport to the office. The vehicle has a maximum flight time of 35 minutes.

The Nasdaq-listed electric-vehicle maker plans to sell the car at a price point below 1 million Chinese yuan ($157,000), according to Techcrunch, citing CEO He Xiaopeng.

Also known as electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, such air taxis are not commercially available yet, but a study released in July by credit broker Pentagon Motor Group estimated the first flying cars would cost more than £535,831 ($738,000).

Flying cars have captured the attention of vehicle makers and investors, with giants like General Motors, Toyota, and Hyundai among those in the race. But even as more companies turn their attention to flying cars, challenges remain, including battery technology and safety standards, Insider's Eric Adams reported in January.

Xpeng, which is one of Tesla's closest rivals in China, released an electric sedan earlier this year that undercut Tesla's pricing by more than a third. The Chinese company has been recording record growth in China this year: It said it delivered more than 30,00 vehicles in the first half of 2021, a year-over-year increase of 459%.

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Jan. 6 protest organizers say they met with GOP representatives such as Paul Gosar, Madison Cawthorn, and Lauren Boebert ahead of Capitol insurrection: report

Insurrectionists in the Capitol
Supporters of Donald Trump broke past Capitol Police into Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop the electoral vote certification.
  • Two Jan. 6 protest organizers told Rolling Stone that they met with more than "a dozen" GOP representatives.
  • They say they met with several members of Congress including Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, and Madison Cawthorn.
  • It's unclear what exactly they discussed when meeting the representatives, but three of those named have previously been credited for helping plan a Jan. 6 rally.

Two pro-Trump rally organizers who planned election protests across the US, including demonstrations in Washington DC on January 6, said they regularly met with GOP representatives or their top staff in the weeks leading up to the event of the Capitol attack.

In an exclusive interview published by Rolling Stone on Sunday, the organizers said they allegedly spoke to "a dozen" representatives or their teams, naming Rep. Paul Gosar and Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama.

"We would talk to Boebert's team, Cawthorn's team, Gosar's team like back to back to back to back," said one of the organizers.

"I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically," the same organizer also said. The names of both sources have been kept secret because they are cooperating with the House select committee's probe into the Capitol insurrection, per Rolling Stone.

They said they were willing to share information on the protests because they were upset that their demonstrations had turned into a siege on the US Capitol.

It's unclear what was discussed with each representative, but the organizers gave Rolling Stone an example with Gosar, saying he offered them the possibility of receiving a "blanket pardon" to motivate them to plan the rallies.

Three of these representatives - Biggs, Brooks, and Gosar - were previously credited by "Stop the Steal" movement organizer Ali Alexander for helping plan a rally on that day, which Brooks and Biggs denied.

In response to the anonymous organizers' claims, a spokesperson for Greene told Rolling Stone that the representative "had nothing to do with planning of any protest." Instead, Greene was preparing to dispute current President Joe Biden's election victory on the House floor, wrote the spokesperson in an email.

"She objected just like Democrats who have objected to Republican presidential victories over the years," he wrote, per Rolling Stone.

The offices of Greene, Gosar, Biggs, Brooks, Boebert, Cawthorn, and Gohmert did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Japanese government is still trying to phase out floppy disks a decade after Sony stopped making them

Floppy disks
Floppy disks.
  • The Japanese government is just starting to phase out the floppy disks, the Nikkei reported.
  • Sony, the last major floppy-disk maker, stopped production of the storage media a decade ago.
  • The Japanese government has been struggling to digitize and modernize its systems for decades.

Floppy disks have been out of production for about a decade, but the Japanese government just started to phase them out, the Nikkei reported over the weekend.

Local officials in Tokyo had clung on to the floppy, as it was ultra-reliable.

The disks "almost never broke and lost data," Yoichi Ono, who is in charge of managing public funds for Meguro ward, told the Nikkei.

Sony, a major floppy-disk producer, stopped making the product in 2011. But since they are reusable, there are still plenty of floppy disks to go around, Nikkei reported.

But now, Tokyo city officials have finally decided floppy disks have to go, due to the fees charged at some places. At the Meguro ward, Mizuho Bank said it would start charging 50,000 Japanese yen ($440) a month for the use of physical storage media, such as floppy disks, Nikkei reported.

Various subdivisions in the city of Tokyo have already started moving the data from floppy disks to other storage formats online, the Japanese newspaper added.

However, it could take years to complete the transition. For Chiyoda ward - where many of Japan's government offices are located - the entire digital transition plan is targeting a completion date of 2026, Nikkei reported.

Despite the country's ultra-modern image, the Japanese government has been struggling to go digital, with civil servants voicing strong opposition against a recent attempt to ditch fax machines. Similarly, attempts to do away with the use of personal seals to authorize documents have also been met with resistance.

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Elon Musk said Tesla was rolling back its newest 'full self-driving' beta after less than 24 hours because of problems with the tech

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a white shirt and tie exits the backseat of a white Tesla
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
  • Tesla's newest "full self-driving" update was withdrawn on Sunday after just one day.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the update was "seeing some issues."
  • Musk tweeted early Monday morning that the beta was being re-released.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Sunday that the company had rolled back its newest beta test for its "full self-driving" (FSD) software, less than 24 hours after it became available to drivers.

Tesla released its 10.3 FSD update to drivers on Saturday night and Sunday morning, per The Verge, but on Sunday afternoon Musk tweeted the company was "seeing some issues" and would roll back to version 10.2.

Musk didn't specify what "issues" had cropped up, but on Saturday he tweeted to say Tesla's internal quality assurance had found problems with some left turns at traffic lights.

Musk tweeted early on Monday morning to say the beta was being re-released with an update, saying "10.3.1 rolling out now."

Tesla's FSD software does not make its cars fully autonomous - instead it gives a suite of driver-assistance features including Autopilot and the ability to "summon" the vehicle. On its website, Tesla says full self-driving is "intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment."

Musk said Sunday that the point of a public beta was to discover problems.

"Please note, this is to be expected with beta software. It is impossible to test all hardware configs [sic] in all conditions with internal QA [quality assurance], hence public beta," he tweeted.

Musk also responded to a now-deleted tweet from a user reporting a bug that meant the car's Autopilot feature wouldn't activate. The user said the car's Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) - which allows Teslas to match their speed to the cars around them - also wasn't working. "We're working on this issue right now," Musk tweeted.

Tesla has encountered bugs and problems with full self-driving updates before. In August Musk said the company's 9.2 version was "actually not great." Recently Tesla has only rolled its beta tests out to users with high safety scores, a metric used by Tesla cars that monitors hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following, and more.

Tesla has come under scrutiny over the safety of its full self-driving and Autopilot features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began an investigation into the company in August following 11 reports of Teslas crashing into parked emergency vehicles while on Autopilot. A twelfth incident was added to the investigation in September.

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10 things in tech you need to know today


Mark Zuckerberg cutouts protest

Good morning and welcome to 10 Things in Tech. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. ​​Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android.

Let's get started.

1. A third Facebook whistleblower has emerged. The anonymous former employee told The Washington Post that Facebook exempted right-wing outlet Breitbart from certain rules because it didn't want to "start a fight with Steve Bannon."

  • The new whistleblower also filed a complaint with the SEC, claiming Facebook enabled criminal activity, such as drug trades, within Groups. After raising the issues with the company, the whistleblower was reportedly told to "focus on the good."
  • Facebook's streak of bad press isn't over just yet. In an internal post obtained by Axios, Facebook's VP warned staff that worse coverage could be on the way: "We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I'm afraid."
  • Frances Haugen led a "meticulous" media rollout of her trove of Facebook documents. The New York Times outlined how the whistleblower offered to share more inside details from the tech company with 17 media outlets after a "boutique rollout" with the Wall Street Journal.

2. Elizabeth Holmes trial Week Seven recap: A juror was sent home for playing Sudoku, a former staffer testified he was told to change numbers to make test results seem normal, and there were plans for a $1 billion IPO. Here's what else you might have missed last week.

3. Ex-employees are slamming Apple with lawsuits. Two former high-level employees have filed separate lawsuits accusing Apple of age and gender discrimination amid an unprecedented wave of worker activism within the company. We have the details on the lawsuits here.

4. A handwritten letter by Steve Jobs will go up for auction - and could sell for $300,000. The note, which will be auctioned on Nov. 3, features Jobs' thoughts on Zen Buddhism and his desire to travel to India. More on the letter, written by a teenage Jobs in search of "the meaning of life."

5. A Harvard freshman's social-networking app sparked a debate about facial recognition. The app, called "The FaceTag," lets users sign up, scan the face of another user, and exchange contact information - but it's sparked a debate online, with some people are saying the app is unethical, and that he shouldn't have made it at all.

6. Facebook and Google worked together to circumvent Apple's privacy measures. Twelve state attorneys general allege that Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple's attempts to offer its users great privacy protections, according to an updated antitrust lawsuit against the search engine. What we know so far.

7. Twitter's algorithm shows bias toward right-wing politicians, internal researchers find. Research published last week found Twitter's algorithm amplifies right-wing political content more readily than similar left-wing content for users in the US. A look at what else the company's researchers discovered.

8. Tesla just raised the prices of two models. Weeks after increasing prices on its most popular vehicles, Tesla has hiked the price on two more models - the Model X Long Range and Model S Long Range - by $5,000. Why Tesla's prices are going up.

9. We obtained YouTube's leaked org charts. The company's org charts outline the people who report to CEO Susan Wojcicki and her top three execs, revealing dozens of the most powerful people within YouTube's walls. These are the 49 most important people running YouTube.

10. Black founders and execs are investing in each other to create their own networks and wealth. Angel investing is on the rise among Black founders and execs who've found success in tech - and they're looking to back other up-and-coming founders who've often struggled to gain backing from VCs. Five angel investors share how they're building their investing networks.

Compiled by Jordan Erb. Tips/comments? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @JordanParkerErb.

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10 Things in Politics: January 6 survivors struggle to move on


Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.

Here's what we're talking about:

With Phil Rosen.

cutouts of staffers, lawmakers, journalists, and others who lived through the January 6 Capitol attack superimposed above an image of the Capitol being stormed against a red background

1. THE BIG STORY: A Metropolitan Police Department officer's gear still burns when the officer puts it on. A staffer can't stomach watching videos of the insurrection. In ways large and small, the legacy of January 6 remains on the minds of those who experienced the Capitol riot firsthand.

Here are some of their most haunting quotes from Insider's massive oral history:

  • "Tear gas is all over everything that we own to this day": An unnamed MPD officer told Insider the fire department "came by, and they literally just hosed down all of our gear." Still, the remnants of pepper spray and tear gas continue to plague some officers each time they put on the same riot gear they wore while retaking the Capitol.
  • Lawmakers described being "demoralized" by both the insurrection and the way their colleagues responded: Here's Rep. Peter Meijer, a Republican from Michigan.


  • Many remain angry with how this could have even happened: "I can't do deep dives into this. I can't look at the videos. I can't read anything else about it, because it would just throw me into a rage," Jay Rupert, the deputy director of the House Periodical Press Gallery, told my colleagues. Rupert says he remembers beginning the day thinking: "I work in the safest building in DC. Next to the Pentagon."

One quote stands out from the rest: Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, described how some lawmakers didn't see the full extent of the riot until months later. Johnson has repeatedly downplayed what transpired and is actively blocking the confirmation of President Joe Biden's pick to oversee the hundreds of prosecutions stemming from the violence.


  • Many Republicans just want to move on: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice summed up these feelings just last week. The reality is that nearly every week brings more news about what unfolded in the weeks and days leading up to the riot. Just last night, Rolling Stone reported that Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona discussed a "blanket pardon" with January 6 protest organizers before the riot for an unrelated investigation. The Washington Post reported over the weekend about a "command center" allies of then-President Donald Trump set up at a hotel just a block away from the White House where they brainstormed how to overturn the election up to and even on January 6.

Read more from Insider's detailed oral history of the January 6 insurrection.

2. Pelosi says votes on Democrats' massive agenda will happen soon: House Speaker Nancy told CNN that Democrats were nearing consensus on how to proceed with Biden's massive social-spending plan and when to hold a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure overhaul. Biden himself spent Sunday meeting with one of the holdouts, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who joined him and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in Delaware. Pelosi said October 31 was the key day to watch.

3. A coup appears to be unfolding in Sudan: "Sudan's interim prime minister and a number of senior government officials were arrested Monday, the information ministry said, describing the actions as a military coup," the Associated Press reports. A military takeover would be a major setback for a nation that has tried to move beyond the legacy of its longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir.

4. Facebook whistleblower claims Breitbart was exempted from certain rules: The anonymous former employee told The Post that Facebook's public-policy team - helmed by the company's vice president of global public policy, Joel Kaplan - defended "whitelisting" the right-wing news outlet Breitbart, run at the time by the former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon. Kaplan was said to have defended the move by asking an employee, "Do you want to start a fight with Steve Bannon?" Facebook has strongly denied The Post's reporting. Here's what else the latest Facebook whistleblower is saying.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during an event at the US Department of the Treasury on September 15, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

5. Janet Yellen says inflation will remain high through next year: The Treasury secretary said the decade-high price growth would eventually slow down but Americans would have to wait until the second half of 2022 to see a major change. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has repeatedly argued the White House is understating the problem and is fueling further inflation. More on why inflation remains stubbornly high.

6. Nearly 2 million migrants were recorded illegally crossing the US border in the past year: The New York Times reports that 1.7 million migrants were found trying to enter the US illegally through Mexico in the past year, the most illegal crossings recorded since at least 1960, when the government first began keeping records. It was nearly four times the previous year's number. More on the virtually unprecedented situation unfolding at the border.

Set of the movie "Rust"
The Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Saturday.

7. Head armorer of "Rust" was accused of being a "bit careless" with guns: A source who worked with the armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on a different film told The Daily Beast that Gutierrez-Reed, the head armorer on Alec Baldwin's film "Rust," was a "bit careless" with guns. Two sources from that other film, "The Old Way," said the armorer once gave a weapon to a child actor without thoroughly checking it. Gutierrez-Reed's role has come under intense scrutiny since Baldwin killed a 42-year-old cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, with a prop gun. Some "Rust" crew members have also told other media outlets of previous gun-related incidents on the set. Here's what else we have learned.

8. Booster shots may change the definition of "fully vaccinated": Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters the agency was considering whether the definition might change. Currently, being fully vaccinated in the US means a person has either both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More on the news.

9. Most Americans in survey want major overhauls to the US economy: A majority of Americans in a new Pew Research Center survey indicated they wanted major changes to much of how the US operates. Eighty-five percent of surveyed adults said they wanted an overhaul of the country's political systems, while 66% said they wanted major changes to the US economy. Read the rest of the poll's takeaways.

10. Remembering James Michael Tyler, "Friends"' Gunther: Tyler, best known for his role as Gunther on the hit American sitcom, died Sunday from prostate cancer at age 59. Born in Mississippi, Tyler lived in South Carolina and Georgia before moving to California, where he was hired as a production assistant in Hollywood and ultimately landed his role on "Friends." More on the legacy of "the seventh friend."

Today's trivia question: Who was the first sitting US cabinet secretary to be convicted of a felony? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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Denver Airport held a job fair to plug its huge labor shortage. An exec said he'd hoped 5,000 people would come - but only 100 showed up.

A waitress is taking a customer’s order at a table. There are other customers and another server in the background.
Concessions International wanted to hire at least 38 workers, but only two people applied, ABC7 reported.
  • A Denver Airport job fair on Saturday attracted just 100 attendees, an exec told ABC7 Denver.
  • He said organizers had hoped 5,000 people would come to fill both entry-level and management roles.
  • A concessions company needed to fill 38 jobs - but only two people applied.

Only about 100 people turned up to a job fair aimed at plugging Denver International Airport's huge labor shortage.

Denver Concessionaires Association (DCA) President Dennis Deslongchamp told ABC7 Denver that organizers had hoped for around 5,000 people at the fair on Saturday, which he called a "very lofty goal."

Organizers wanted to fill around 1,000 jobs at the airports, he said.

But only around 100 people came to the four-hour fair, Deslongchamp told ABC7.

Derik Mortenson, director of operations at Concessions International, told the station: "We were expecting the masses to come knocking on our door."

The company has eight concessions at the airport including branches of Chick-fil-A and Wetzel's Pretzels. Mortenson said that the company had needed to hire at least 38 workers, but that only two people applied.

The US is suffering from a labor shortage that's hitting industries ranging from education and healthcare to trucking and restaurants. Record numbers of Americans have been quitting their jobs in search of better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

The DCA and airport leadership organized the job fair at the airport's United Club, with representatives from close to 170 concessions, including stores and restaurants, in attendance, ABC7 reported.

Jobs ranged from entry-level positions to top executive management roles, Deslongchamp said.

Free flu and COVID-19 jabs were available at the fair, too.

Elisa Lalama, the HR director for Skyport Hospitality, which runs concessions at the airport including Shake Shack, Snooze A.M. Eatery, and Dunkin', told the station that the company was looking to hire more than 150 workers to plug its labor shortage.

"We are at such a staffing deficit that we'd be grateful for just five," Lalama said.

Deslongchamp said he didn't consider the event a failure, and that he hoped to run it annually in future.

The airport's hiring woes aren't just limited to its concessions.

The Denver Post reported that the airport's labor shortage could be a contributor to the huge lines for airport security as travel rebounds. The airport also hasn't been able to fully reopen its shuttle bus that ferries travelers to the airport because of a shortage of drivers at its shuttle-bus contract, The Burlington Record reported.

Last month, 350 janitors at Denver International Airport voted to strike for better pay and workloads.

"We are sick of being understaffed, overworked, underpaid, and undervalued for our work," a janitor who had worked at the airport for 16 years told his branch of the Service Employees International Union.

Are you a business struggling to hire, or a worker who recently quit your job over pay, benefits, or working conditions? Email this reporter at gdean@insider.com.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last
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PayPal says it isn't buying Pinterest, causing shares in the digital pinboard site to dive

A headshot of Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann on the stock exchange floor in front of a sign with the pinterest logo
Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann.
  • PayPal said that it isn't currently pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest.
  • Media reports had said PayPal was in talks to buy Pinterest for as much as $45 billion.
  • PayPal shares rose 6.2% in premarket trading Monday, while those of Pinterest fell about 10%.

PayPal isn't currently pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest, the payments company said late on Sunday, responding to media reports that it was in talks to buy the digital pinboard site for as much as $45 billion.

"In response to market rumors regarding a potential acquisition of Pinterest by PayPal, PayPal stated that it is not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest at this time," the company said in a statement.

Bloomberg News first reported on the companies' talks last Wednesday. The news was later confirmed by Reuters. A source at that time told Reuters that PayPal had offered $70 per share, mostly in stock, for Pinterest.

However, sources had cautioned Reuters that no deal was certain and that the terms could change.

At the reported price the Pinterest deal would have been the biggest acquisition of a social-media company, far surpassing Microsoft $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016.

It would have also allowed PayPal to capture more e-commerce growth, as more shoppers increasingly buy items they see on social media, often following influencers on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and even Pinterest.

PayPal did not provide additional details in its statement saying that it wasn't currently pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest. Both companies also did not respond to requests for comment.

PayPal shares rose 6.2% to $255.20 in premarket trading on Monday, while those of Pinterest fell about 10% to $52.50.

Paypal, among the big pandemic winners, has done a few takeover deals this year, including its $2.7 billion acquisition of Japanese buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firm Paidy.

It also acquired Happy Returns, a company which helps online shoppers return unwanted merchandise, for an undisclosed sum in May to bolster its e-commerce offerings and build on its $4 billion acquisition of online coupon finder Honey Science in 2019.

Pinterest is at a crossroads after co-founder Evan Sharp announced earlier this month he would step down as chief creative officer to join LoveFrom, a firm led by Jony Ive, the designer of many Apple products.

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MBS talked about using a 'poison ring' to kill the Saudi king in 2014 so his father could take the throne, exiled spy says

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - APRIL 28 (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â MANDATORY CREDIT - "SAUDI ROYAL COUNCIL / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman gives an interview to the official TV channel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Saudi Royal Council/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • Mohammed bin Salman said in 2014 he could kill the then-king with a poison ring from Russia, a former spy said.
  • Saad al-Jabri, a former Saudi spy chief who fled the country in 2017, made the claim about MBS.
  • Al-Jabri told "60 Minutes" that MBS bragged he could do it so his father could take the throne.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - also known as MBS - talked in 2014 about using a "poison ring" to kill the country's then-king so that his father could take the crown, a former Saudi spy chief said.

Saad al-Jabri, a former Saudi intelligence chief who fled the country in 2017, told CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview aired Sunday about a meeting that he said took place in 2014 between MBS and the then-head of Saudi intelligence, Mohammed bin Nayef.

(MBS was a Saudi minister at the time; he became crown prince of Saudi Arabia in 2017 after ousting Mohammed bin Nayef from the role.)

Al-Jabri said that, in the meeting, MBS bragged that he could kill King Abdullah in order to leave his father Salman the throne.

"I want to assassinate King Abdullah. I get a poison ring from Russia," MBS had said, according to al-Jabri.

Al-Jabri said that Saudi intelligence was not sure if MBS was telling the truth or not, but said "we took it seriously." Al-Jabri also said the meeting was recorded, and that he knows where two copies of the tape are.

King Abdullah died in 2015, aged 91. He had been suffering from a lung infection, and there were no reports suggesting he was poisoned.

Crown Prince Salman, Abdullah's half-brother and MBS's father, was then named the new king.

Al-Jabri has accused MBS of plotting to kill him in Canada, where he is now based, and called MBS a "psychopath" and a "killer."

He sued MBS in a Washington, DC, court last August, alleging the prince sent a hit squad to kill him in Toronto in October 2018.

Read the original article on Business Insider

US stock futures tread water as investors wait for Big Tech earnings, while oil rises to multiyear highs

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
  • US stocks were muted Monday, as investors got ready for Facebook to kickstart a week of Big Tech earnings.
  • Inflation pressures come back into focus after Fed chief Powell and Treasury head Yellen say it will last well into 2022.
  • Brent crude rose to top $86 a barrel, hitting its highest level since October 2018, as supply concerns built.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US stocks were roughly flat as investors waited for earnings from the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Apple, while Brent crude futures climbed to their highest levels since 2018 on concerns supply is likely to stay tight.

Futures on the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 were about flat. Nasdaq futures rose 0.2% as of 6:45 a.m. ET, suggesting a muted open later.

Investors are bracing for third-quarter earnings from Facebook, which on Monday kicks off quarterly reports from the megacap techs. Microsoft and Alphabet results are due Tuesday, with Apple and Amazon updates on Thursday.

Last week, Snap shares plunged after the messaging app maker warned that Apple's changes to iPhone privacy settings would hit its digital advertising business. Investors will watch for whether other ad-reliant techs sound the same alarm.

Also on deck are quarterly reports from Visa, General Electric and other big names, with a total of 165 companies in the S&P 500 due to report this week, according to Deutsche Bank.

But persistent concerns over growth and inflation have turned talk back to the Federal Reserve's plans to taper - seen as very likely to be announced next week. That is weighing on markets, analysts said.

"Inflation will remain heavily in focus for markets over the week ahead, with recent days having seen investor expectations of future inflation rise to fresh multiyear highs," Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said in a note.

On Friday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank should begin the process of reducing economic support by cutting back on its monthly asset purchases, but that it wasn't yet time for a rate hike.

Powell noted that "supply constraints and elevated inflation are likely to last longer than previously expected and well into next year, and the same is true for pressure on wages."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that inflation will remain elevated until the middle of 2022.

Positive Evergrande news helped drive some gains in Asia. The Chinese property developer said Monday that work has resumed on more than 10 real-estate projects in China. But China's warning that its latest COVID-19 outbreak is likely to spread prompted fears of new restrictions.

The Shanghai Composite rose about 0.8%. Meanwhile, Tokyo's Nikkei fell 0.7%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was broadly flat.

Europe's biggest lender HSBC crushed third-quarter estimates with pretax quarterly profit of $5.4 billion, compared with a $3.78 billion target.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.5%, the Euro Stoxx 600 was about flat, and Frankfurt's DAX added 0.2%.

Oil prices are likely seeing some support from comments from Saudi Arabia's minister of energy, who said OPEC+ will continue taking a cautious approach in raising output, according to ING analysts.

In a Bloomberg interview Saturday, the minister warned against taking rising prices for granted because the pandemic could still hit oil demand.

"No further increase in supply beyond the planned level can be expected from OPEC+ in the near future, in other words," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said in a note.

Brent crude crossed $86 per barrel to reach its highest level since October 2018. West Texas Intermediate rose 1.07% to its highest level in seven years at $84.75 per barrel.

Read More: John Rogers became a legend by building a portfolio of cheap and overlooked stocks that's returned 4,550% over 35 years. He told us how the COVID crash cemented his approach, and the market trends he's watching for future gains.

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Xi and Putin are snubbing the COP26 climate summit, even though China and Russia produce some 32% of global CO2 emissions

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 28, 2021.
Vladimir Putin talks to Xi Jinping vua video link in June 2021.
  • The leaders of China and Russia said they won't be at this week's COP26 climate-change summit.
  • Their absence may make it harder for others to secure big commitments to reducing emissions.
  • China emits around 28% of the world's CO2 emissions, while Russia emits around 5%.

China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin are set to snub this week's COP26 summit on climate change in Glasgow.

Their absence is especially significant given their nations' contributions to global emissions, with China producing an estimated 28% and Russia 5% of global CO2 output.

The Kremlin confirmed last week that Putin would not travel to Scotland for the summit, while China is said to be planning to send its special envoy on climate change instead.

The Times newspaper reported last week that Johnson had been told that Xi would not attend in person.

Other world leaders at the summit may find it harder to strike a historic agreement on climate change without Xi and Putin around.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the summit, is seeking support from other world leaders to commit to a radical plan tackling climate change.

Xi has not left China since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported, choosing instead to attend summits by video-link.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin would "unfortunately" not fly to Glasgow but said that climate change was "one of our foreign policy's most important priorities," AFP reported.

China emits nearly 28% of the world's global carbon dioxide emissions, according to Our World in Data, more than any other country. The figure grew rapidly as the country's expanding economy industrialized.

Russia emits around 5% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, according to Our World in Data - the fourth highest in the world behind China, the US, and India.

US President Joe Biden and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi are planning to attend the summit, as well as at least a dozen other national leaders.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 things before the opening bell

Oil pumps at sunset, industrial oil pumps equipment.

Welcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android.

Let's get into it.

1. US stocks are muted as investors wait for Facebook to kick off earnings from the FAANG gang this week. Warnings from Powell and Yellen have revived inflation niggles, while oil is on the rise again. Check out the lastest on the markets here.

2. One China regulator suggested Big-Tech crackdowns could come to an end soon. Beijing's scrutiny of fintech firms may wrap up this year, per Bloomberg. Lifting these regulations could have widespread repercussions for giants like Alibaba and Didi Global.

3. We spoke to John Rogers, the renowned stock-picker known for finding cheap and overlooked gems. He told us how the COVID crash cemented his approach, and shared the market trends he's watching for future gains.

4. Earnings on deck: Facebook, HSBC Holdings, and LG Chem, all reporting.

5. We could see an ethereum-based ETF as soon as this year. But other altcoin funds will have to wait, said the US CEO of crypto-trading firm GSR. He explained why ethereum bulls betting on wider adoption may not have to wait much longer.

6. Hedge fund Saba Capital missed most of a 357% surge after it dumped shares in the SPAC set to merge with Trump's media company. Citing conflicting "values," the firm sold its more-than-2 million share stake. Read full details here.

7. Soaring oil prices usually help stocks. But this time is different, said BofA. The bank noted that companies aren't reinvesting the extra proceeds like they have in the past, putting a damper on earnings growth. The firm's US stock-strategy head explains.

8. Robinhood's crypto wallet waitlist has more than 1 million people, said CEO Vlad Tenev. The trading platform announced last month that it's testing the new feature, which would allow users to manage their crypto holdings on the app.

9. JP Thieriot, CEO of the crypto brokerage Uphold, sees bitcoin going to $85k in the coming weeks. He broke down his forecast, which is predicated on stocks continuing to rise. Thieriot also shared 5 altcoins he thinks have "enormous" potential ahead due to their underlying technology.

10. Evergrande staved off crisis for now, but default is still a possibility. 6 experts shared how to prepare for the potential collapse of the Chinese real-estate titan. They also laid out 2 trades nervous investors can make now.

Compiled by Phil Rosen. Feedback? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn.

Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Top Stories this AM: Evergrande says it's building again; a coup in Sudan; a flying car not far off


Good morning and welcome to your weekday morning roundup of the top stories you need to know.

For more daily and weekly briefings, sign up for our newsletters here.

What's going on today:

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A labour shortage at veterinary surgeries is so bad that one company hired a nurse without looking at their resume, a recruiter says

Dog at vets
Demand for vets' services is soaring.
  • Veterinary surgeries are turning to desperate measures to recruit staff amid a labor shortage.
  • One took on a nurse without looking at their resume, a recruiter said.
  • Long-running retention problems have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and a surge in pet ownership.

A veterinary surgery was so desperate for staff that it booked a nurse without looking at the person's resume, according to a recruiter - a move indicative of a huge labor shortage in the sector.

"I've been recruiting in the industry for 12 years now and it's never been tougher," Justin Powlesland, director of JHP recruitment, which specializes in recruitment for the veterinary industry in the US and UK, told Insider.

Veterinary medicine has long faced retention challenges as a result of intense hours and the emotional toll of the work. COVID-19 has increased the strain, with an increase in pet ownership during lockdowns adding to demand for veterinary services.

Powlesland said that, as a result, he has never had more vacancies on his website, with an average of 10 new postings a day in September.

"The minute we've got a vet with good experience, people are just saying, 'yeah, get them in for an interview today if you can,'" he said.

One surgery was so desperate to fill a temporary nurse's position that it asked to take an applicant without seeing their resume or asking for a rundown of their experience, Powlesland said.

"We had a client that we'd left a message for to say that we had a nurse available in their area," he said. "They phoned straight back and said yes please can we book them."

Businesses across the US in various sectors have also resorted to dramatically slashing their opening hours or cutting back on their services - both because they can't find enough staff to operate as usual and because labor is getting more expensive.

Lawrence Bresslaw, co-director of NSV, the vet recruiter that supplies small animal surgeries in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia said that he had seen one firm offer "golden handshakes" - a signing-on bonus - in order to attract workers.

"We're finding now that when we have vendors looking for work, it isn't a matter of finding the work, it's a matter of the practice having to showcase themselves," Bresslaw said.

Burnout and low pay

Bresslaw said that the challenges were pretty much the same in all the countries where he operates. High levels of burnout, emotional strain, and inadequate pay led people out of the industry.

Only 48% of vets in the UK said that they would enter the profession if they could choose their career again, according to a report from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which is responsible for registering vets. The average annual turnover rate for veterinarians in the US was 15%, rising to 25% for technicians in 2020, according to an analysis by the American Animal Hospital Association.

In the UK the situation has been aggravated by Brexit, which has led to a decrease in the number of available workers.

In the short term, making life easier for vets and nurses to come and work in the UK could ease some of the supply challenges, Powlesland said. But more needs to be done to improve the work life balance and pay for those in the sector to make sure more stay, he said.

Improving the pipeline of graduates is another solution and should be helped by the opening of a number of new veterinary colleges in the UK, said Anthony Chadwick, a former vet who is now CEO of The Webinar Vet, which provides online training to the industry.

However, those vets will still need to be trained. "Anything you do today will take 5 years to have an effect," he said.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last
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Trump's chief of staff was warned that a Jan. 6 rally could turn violent but did nothing about it, report says. Then the Capitol riot happened.

mark meadows
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
  • Mark Meadows was told that a Jan. 6 protest could turn violent, Rolling Stone reported.
  • Two pro-Trump rally organizers told the outlet Meadows was "aware" of what was going on.
  • Meadows was subpoenaed by the House select committee last month.

Pro-Trump rally organizers who helped plan the "Save America" protest on January 6 said they told then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that it had the potential to turn violent but he did nothing about it, Rolling Stone reported.

The two unnamed sources, who were involved in organizing the main pro-Trump rally at the Ellipse, a park near the White House, told Rolling Stone that Meadows played a major role in their conversations.

The rally, which included a speech by then-President Donald Trump, was one of many that preceded the attack on the US Capitol.

"Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on," one of the rally organizers told Rolling Stone. "He's also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers."

Both organizers also said that prior to the rally they were in talks with Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, one of the main groups promoting efforts to dispute Trump's 2020 election loss.

They said Alexander initially agreed the main rally should not be held at the Capitol and that the Ellipse would be the main location. But when he went against their plans, both sources said they immediately notified Meadows.

"Despite making a deal … they plowed forward with their own thing at the Capitol on Jan. 6 anyway," one of the organizers said of Alexander, per Rolling Stone. "We ended up escalating that to everybody we could, including Meadows."

Both organizers told Rolling Stone they have been in communication with the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack, saying they were cooperating because they were unsettled by how the rally eventually turned violent.

They also listed multiple members of Congress who were involved in the planning of the rally, including Reps. Lauren Boebert, Madison Cawthorne, and Paul Gosar.

Official paperwork in January also showed that former Trump campaign staffers helped secure the permit for the "Save America" rally and were listed as official event organizers.

Meadows is also one of four Trump advisors who were subpoenaed by the House select committee to provide documents and testimony about their activities on January 6.

He is said to be taking the inquiry seriously, most recently hiring the top Republican lawyer George Terwilliger to represent him, according to Politico.

Read the original article on Business Insider

FaZe Clan will go public in a SPAC merger valuing the gaming organization at around $1 billion

Faze Clan
FaZe Clan at a "Call of Duty League Finals" esports event in Miami.
  • FaZe Clan will go public in a SPAC merger that values the gaming organization at about $1 billion.
  • The group will tie-up with B.Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp., with plans to list in 2022.
  • FaZe Clan centers around competitive esports teams that play titles like "Fortnite Battle" and "Call of Duty."

FaZe Clan will go public in a deal with a special purpose acquisition company, valuing the Los Angeles-based gaming group at roughly $1 billion.

FaZe Clan will reach the equity market in the first quarter of 2022 through a deal with B.Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp., the New York-based SPAC said Monday in a statement.

The combined company is expected to have an implied equity valuation of about $1 billion, which includes nearly $275 million in cash on the entity's balance sheet. The stock will be listed on the Nasdaq.

FaZe Clan was established in 2010 and centers around competitive esports teams that play titles like "Fortnite Battle," "Call of Duty," and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," or "PUBG: Battlegrounds."

More than 350 million people follow the group across its social platforms and through its string of content creators and personalities.

Recent partners include DC Comics, McDonald's, and Doritos, which are brands trying to reach the organization's audience of 13- to 34-year-olds, said B.Riley Principal.

"FaZe Clan, sitting at the forefront of the creator economy, with deep roots in gaming and youth culture, is poised to become the leading digital content platform created for and by Gen Z and millennials," said the SPAC.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk reveals he doesn't hold shiba inu - only bitcoin, ether, and dogecoin

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.

Elon Musk revealed on Sunday that he doesn't hold the meme token shiba inu, but he is invested in bitcoin, dogecoin, and ether.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO's tweets about his real-life Shiba Inu puppy have been a catalyst driving the dogecoin-inspired token higher, to become one of the world's top 20 cryptocurrencies.

But asked by a fan of shiba inu how much he owns of the token, Musk responded with a definitive "None."


In a follow-up tweet, he said he has bought bitcoin, dogecoin, and ether - "that's it."

"As I've said before, don't bet the farm on crypto! True value is building products & providing services to your fellow human beings, not money in any form," Musk said.

Shiba Inu, launched in August 2020 by someone going by the name "Ryoshi," reached an all-time high of $0.00004450 on October 24. At last check Monday, the dogecoin spin-off was trading 1.7% lower at $0.00003895, possibly because of Musk's weekend comments.

The coin took just 14 months to acquire a value of $15 billion, making it the 13th biggest cryptocurrency coin by market value as of Monday.

Shiba inu aims to be an ethereum-based replacement to dogecoin. Its supply is intentionally designed to be abundant, rather than capped as with bitcoin's scarcity, according to Nirmal Ranga, chief revenue officer at crypto exchange ZebPay.

"The surge in volumes that the token has been witnessing can be attributed to the FOMO that typically arises - as interest peaks, and traders rush to take part in the rally as a means to book profits," Ranga said.

Altcoins such as dogecoin and shiba inu have attracted traders as their wide price swings can deliver sizeable rewards, unlike top cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Musk's comments have been a big influence on crypto prices this year, though less so now than before. But his tweets of photos of his Shiba Inu Floki - the latest with the caption "Floki Frunkpuppy" - have boosted the token and led to the creation of namesake Floki coins.

While Musk hasn't spoken directly about shiba inu, he has been a vocal supporter of dogecoin. In a separate tweet on Sunday, Musk gave a reason for his backing.

"Lots of people I talked to on the production lines at Tesla or building rockets at SpaceX own Doge. They aren't financial experts or Silicon Valley technologists. That's why I decided to support Doge - it felt like the people's crypto."

Read More: A crypto strategist breaks down why bitcoin futures ETFs will have negative yields and explains the market conditions that would make them positive. He also makes the case for buying bitcoin directly.

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Billionaire investor David Tepper warns against going all in on stocks, slams bonds, and hints crypto may be a bubble in a new interview. Here are the 8 best quotes.

David Tepper
David Tepper.
  • David Tepper sees limited value in stocks and bonds in the current market.
  • The Appaloosa Management boss is concerned about inflation, interest rates, and stimulus.
  • Tepper views crypto as a store of value like gold, but suggested it may be in a bubble.

David Tepper questioned the appeal of stocks and bonds, compared cryptocurrencies to gold, and laid out his economic concerns in a recent CNBC interview.

The billionaire investor and Appaloosa Management chief also warned against buying high-yield bonds, advised investors to hold stocks for the long term, and hinted the ongoing crypto boom may be a bubble.

Here are Tepper's 8 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. "I don't think there are any great asset classes right now. I don't love stocks, I don't love bonds, I don't love junk bonds. Nothing looks that great."

2. "You stay invested in the stock market to a certain extent. You don't have your highest concentration that you'd ever have, but you continue some investment. I don't think we're in the sort of market where you have to worry and say, 'I'm gonna get out no matter what, and I wanna go short the market.'" - Tepper's advice to investors.

3. "If you do have higher interest rates, you can't love the stock market as a trade necessarily. On the other hand, if bonds stay in the 1.6% range, the stock market will probably go up in the short term. It seems so stupid to invest in bonds at 1.6%." - referring to the 10-year US Treasury note.

4. "You have to pay taxes on gains. So if I like stocks for the long term, I don't necessarily want to sell them. That doesn't mean I haven't taken down my exposure. It doesn't mean I don't have Nasdaq futures that I'm short in some way. My exposure's not high right now, but I still am exposed to stocks. People should be exposed to stocks for the long run."

5. "I don't love the market in the intermediate term. I'm in Vegas, and I don't really love Vegas." - Tepper flagged the uncertainty around inflation, interest rates, stimulus, the job market, and supply chain issues.

6. "It can stay there for a couple years, and you can get excess returns. But if you look at the chart, at some point you're gonna get your derrière handed to you. You can pick up nickels in front of that steamroller for the next year or two. - commenting on the outlook for high-yield bonds.

7. "Crypto is gold to me, it's a store of value to me. I do have a relatively small amount. I'm not really an investor in crypto, I wish I was this year. The chart looks a bit like a tulip to me, but maybe I'm looking at it wrong." - referring to the famous tulip bubble in the Netherlands in the 1630s.

8. "It's just a question of what should be the price. The cost of mining it is a lot lower than the current price. If the Fed delays raising rates, sure it can go up." - discussing bitcoin's price.

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The Facebook Papers: dozens of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents just dropped

facebook mark zuckerberg
The pressure is rising for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • 17 news organizations reviewed Facebook documents leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen.
  • The outlets published a flurry of reports Monday based on those documents, known as the Facebook Papers.
  • The topics range from Facebook's fading popularity with teens to failures in addressing hate speech.

A consortium of 17 US news organizations on Monday said they had reviewed leaked internal documents obtained by whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Their reports spanned a wide range of issues at the company, including its fading popularity with teens, its ability to counter hate speech, and its treatment of politicians.

Some of the internal documents reviewed by the news organizations were previously reported on by The Wall Street Journal.

Here are some of the stories that dropped on Monday revealing new information about Facebook:

  • Bloomberg and The Verge reported on internal company documents appearing to show that Facebook has been losing traction with teen users and desperately trying to recapture the market.
  • The Financial Times reported that Facebook employees urged management not to make moderation exceptions for politicians and celebrities.
  • The New York Times reported on internal documents appearing to show how the company grappled with whether to keep or get rid of the "like" and "share" buttons.
  • The Washington Post cited three sources who said Mark Zuckerberg personally signed off on censorship demands from the Vietnamese government.
  • Politico reported on Facebook documents appearing to show the company's research on its market dominance.
  • The Associated Press reported on Facebook documents appearing to show how its lack of language-specific moderation stops it from properly addressing moderation issues, including terrorism and hate speech.
  • NBC reported on internal employee debates and apparent disillusionment over whether the company has done enough to counter hate speech and misinformation.
  • The Atlantic cited the documents that show Facebook employees were concerned about the company's harm to democracy and its role in the January 6 Capitol riots, but leadership failed to act.
  • The Atlantic reported on Facebook documents that show the company gave fewer moderation resources to markets outside of the US, which has resulted in more hate speech, drug cartel activity, ethnic cleansing. and sex trafficking.
  • Wired similarly reported on Facebook's understanding and moderating content in Arabic's many dialects, which both human and automated systems struggle to interpret.
  • CNN reported on documents showing Facebook was unprepared for both the Stop the Steal movement and the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
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The supply chain crisis could last into 2023 unless governments boost spending in ports, railways, and warehouses, a shipping exec warns

Shipping containers piled high
The global supply chain has been running at peak demand for the past 12 months.
  • The supply chain crisis could last another year if governments don't step in, a shipping exec says.
  • The warning came from Jeremy Nixon, CEO of one of the world's largest freight companies, Ocean Network Express.
  • Governments should "switch people out of some parts of the economy" to help, he told the FT.

The CEO of one of the world's largest shipping companies is calling for governments to step in and take action to fix the global supply chain crisis and prevent delays and shortages from rolling on beyond the end of next year.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Jeremy Nixon, CEO of freight company Ocean Network Express, said that local governments need to increase spending on critical parts of the supply chain - including ports, railways, warehouses, and roads - to increase capacity and cope with ongoing demand. Ocean Network Express has a fleet of 220 ships and transports more than 6% of the world's containerized freight, according to the FT.

The global supply chain network is on its knees. After a fall in shipping demand during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, a surge at the end of that year led to delays, port traffic jams, and blockages across the world. Now, containers are jammed up in ports due to rising demand and a continuing shortage of dockworkers and truckers.

"There needs to be some government support here to maybe switch people out of some parts of the economy where demand is not so strong to more critical parts of the economy where the demand is very strong and important for global supply chains," Nixon told the FT.

The White House stepped in earlier this month, announcing plans to shift clogged up Southern California ports to a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week schedule and allow more time to work through the backlog. Experts were skeptical about how much of an impact this would have if warehouses and truck drivers were not following the same routine.

"It's great that they've chosen to do something, but we're talking about a less than 1% to 2% change here," Brian Whitlock, a supply chain analyst at Gartner, told Insider's Grace Kay. "The work that they're talking about here is going to be immaterial. It probably won't even be visible."

Nixon told the FT that he hadn't seen any immediate impact from the US government's announcement. He also said that we can expect more disruption next year at US West Coast ports as contract negotiations are scheduled to take place between dockworkers and terminal operators, which has historically led to delays and backups.

Some retailers and manufacturers reportedly already have plans in motion to reroute cargo from those areas around that time to avoid these delays.

"If we get a bad jam up in July, August, and September of 2022 in North America that could well last late into 2022 and early 2023," Nixon said.

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A missing United Airlines executive was found dead in a forest preserve near Chicago

United Airlines Boeing 737
The remains of a missing United Airlines executive were found at a forest preserve.
  • Jacob Cefolia was found dead at a forest preserve near Chicago on Friday.
  • The United Airlines SVP of worldwide sales had been missing since August 2020.
  • The DuPage County coroner said the cause and manner of death were still under investigation.

The body of Jacob Cefolia, a United Airlines executive who had been missing since August 2020, was found at a forest preserve near Chicago on Friday.

The DuPage County coroner said in a statement that his office had responded to a report of a deceased person in the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, a 2,500-acre expanse of hills, forest, and trails about 20 miles from the center of Chicago.

Dental records and an examination of the body "positively identified him as Jacob Cefolia, 50/yo from Elmhurst," the coroner said.

The coroner added that an autopsy was performed on Saturday but that the cause and manner of death were still under investigation.

A United spokesperson told Insider last year that Cefolia had last been seen on August 6, prompting an extensive search. ABC7 Chicago reported at the time that his vehicle had been found at the preserve, where he was known to run a 9- to 10-mile route.

Cefolia had been with the airline since 2007, progressing through various roles before becoming senior vice president of worldwide sales in August 2018.

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Hertz is ordering 100,000 Teslas in the largest electric-vehicle purchase ever

Tesla Model 3.
The Tesla Model 3.
  • Hertz is buying 100,000 Tesla vehicles, the car-rental firm announced Monday.
  • It's potentially the largest ever single purchase of electric vehicles, Bloomberg estimates.
  • Tesla shares surged in early trading following the announcement.

Hertz has placed an order for 100,000 for Teslas, Bloomberg News first reported Monday. Hertz later confirmed the news in a press release.

It is the largest ever single purchase of electric vehicles ever, Bloomberg News said.

The cars will be delivered over the next 14 months, with Tesla Model 3 sedans set to be available for rental in the US and Europe. Hertz also said it will invest in charging infrastructure to support the fleet.

"Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we've only just begun to see rising global demand and interest," Hertz's interim CEO, Mark Fields, said in a press release. "The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet and provide the best rental and recharging experience for leisure and business customers around the world."

Tom Brady will star in an upcoming commercial touting the new cars, Hertz said.

Tesla stock rose 4.3% in pre-market trading following the announcement.

Monday's announcement comes on the heels of Hertz's bankruptcy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has since emerged with new funding and newfound investor interest as a so-called meme stock.

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The FDA is set to review Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for kids 5- to 11-years old



Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I'm healthcare editor Leah Rosenbaum, and today in healthcare news:

If you're new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips? Email me at lrosenbaum@insider.com or tweet @leah_rosenbaum. Let's get to it...

A boy receives the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Tegucigalpa, on September 25, 2021, during a vaccination programme for teens aged 12 to 15
A boy receives the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Tegucigalpa, on September 25, 2021.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 91% effective in 5- to 11-year-olds, new study results find

See the full story>>

A headshot of Dan Mendelson
Dan Mendelson, Morgan Health's CEO.
The head of JPMorgan's new health bet reveals the 3 decisions that persuaded him to come aboard even after the bank's previous venture flopped

Check it out>>

A customer buys onions at the "Central de Abasto" wholesale market in Mexico City on January 14, 2019. - Some 500,000 people and 62,000 vehicles a day visit the Central de Abasto market on the east side of Mexico City to buy and sell avocados, tomatoes and about 15,000 other products.
A customer buys onions at the "Central de Abasto" wholesale market in Mexico City on January 14, 2019.
Salmonella linked to onions has infected more than 650 people in 37 states, CDC says

Read more now>>

More stories we're reading:


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Tesla nears $1 trillion valuation after hitting record high on news Hertz will order 100,000 cars from the EV maker

Tesla's at Hertz airport location
  • Tesla soared as much as 5% to record highs on Monday after Hertz said it ordered 100,000 Model 3 vehicles.
  • Hertz will operate the largest EV rental fleet in the world when it receives the vehicles in 2022.
  • The vehicle purchase by Hertz will reportedly cost $4.2 billion, suggesting Tesla offered little discounts.

Shares of Tesla jumped as much as 5% to new all-time-highs on Monday after Hertz said it acquired 100,000 Model 3 vehicles from the company.

That means by the end of 2022, a Tesla Model 3 will be an option for car-renters at Hertz locations across the country and in select cities in Europe.

Hertz's purchase is reportedly worth $4.2 billion for Tesla, suggesting few discounts were offered to Hertz in the deal. Rental vehicle companies are usually able to secure a sizable discount from automakers when purchasing such a large fleet of new vehicles.

Those usual discounts were likely off the table for Hertz given that Tesla is struggling to keep up with demand for its vehicles due to production shortfalls hampered by supply chain disruptions and semiconductor shortages.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said Tesla getting an order of this magnitude "highlights the broader EV adoption underway in our opinion as part of this oncoming green tidal wave now hitting the US," according to a Monday note.

Hertz is now set to operate the world's largest EV rental fleet just months after it emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy. The rental company said it hired NFL quarterback Tom Brady to headline a campaign highlighting the rollout of its Tesla-powered electric fleet, which will represent 20% of its overall vehicle fleet.

"The new Hertz is going to lead the way as a mobility company, starting with the largest EV rental fleet in North America and a commitment to grow our EV fleet," Hertz interim CEO Mark Fields said.

The move from Hertz adds to the momentum building for Tesla stock in recent weeks. The stock benefited from record profits and revenue revealed in its third-quarter earnings report last week and is now within reach of a $1 trillion valuation. Tesla's market valuation stood at about $956 billion in early Monday trades.

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Polymarket platform for placing crypto bets on COVID, Bennifer 2.0, and Trump's return is under investigation by the CFTC, report says

Donald Trump.
  • The CFTC is investigating whether Polymarket allows improper trading of swaps or binary options, Bloomberg reported.
  • The regulator, which is investigating Binance for insider trading, is scrutinizing the crypto industry closely.
  • Polymarket gathers prediction data by letting people bet crypto on beliefs such as whether Trump will be re-elected.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Polymarket, one of the biggest cryptocurrency prediction venues, is being scrutinized by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission over whether it is allowing users to make improper trades, Bloomberg reported Saturday.

The US-based platform lets people place crypto bets on what will happen next in topics in the news and social media, such as whether former president Donald Trump will return to the White House. That trading activity is then turned into prediction data.

The CFTC, the US derivatives markets regulator, is probing whether Polymarket let users improperly trade swaps or binary options, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Its officials are also looking to see whether the platform should be registered with the CFTC.

Swaps are derivative contracts to exchange money for a set period of time, while binary options let investors trade on price fluctuations.

Polymarket and the CFTC did not respond to requests for comment.

On the Polymarket platform right now, people can place bids on whether Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck will get engaged again by Thanksgiving - so far, most have said no. Wagers have been placed on whether Nicki Minaj will get the COVID-19 vaccine by November 29 (most said no). When a prediction proves to be true, the person betting gets a return.

Polymarket is not the only crypto-related company to come under the CFTC's lens, as the regulator has been investigating crypto exchange Binance for insider trading since late September. Its officials are looking into whether Binance profited from trading on customer orders before they were executed.

Other US regulators have trained their sights on crypto. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Treasury Department are looking at how they can tax and regulate crypto trading better, to prevent fraud and "malign actors" from transferring funds across borders.

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I'm pregnant and got the COVID booster shot despite facing criticism from fellow moms - here's how I made my decision

Brittany Bates
Brittany Bates is a pregnant mom of two who received the Pfizer booster shot.
  • Brittany Bates, 30, is a stay-at-home mom in Kansas who got both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, plus a booster, while pregnant.
  • She got her third shot last week and is due to give birth this week.
  • This is why she got the shot and what her side effects were, as told to freelance writer Sarah Prager.

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Brittany Bates, a stay-at-home mom from Kansas, about getting the Pfizer vaccine and booster shot. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I'm due to deliver my baby this week, and while I'm grateful I was able to get all three Pfizer vaccine shots during this pregnancy, I didn't always feel that way.

When the pandemic hit, my family of four took it seriously. I take immunosuppressants for Crohn's disease so I'm at high risk for severe illness or worse if I were to catch COVID. I was already mostly staying home with our kids, who are now 6 and 4 years old, but I quit my job working weekends as a server in March 2020 to be safer.

When the vaccine became available in early 2021, I was a bit hesitant about getting it in early pregnancy

I was in my first trimester and while I knew I would want to be vaccinated eventually, I was nervous about how new it was and what the effects might be on my baby, especially in early development.

Read more: The CDC is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated, saying it has 'never been more urgent'

There was a lot of disinformation floating around and it was hard to dig through it all. I had every member of my care team at KU Medical Center dumb it down for me and had conversation after conversation about my questions. The more I talked with them, the more I was able to understand clearly without the noise of what was confusing me online.

My decision became clear and at nine weeks pregnant on March 27, 2021 I got my first shot at the same KU Medical Center where I was receiving all of my other prenatal care, which made me feel more comfortable.

I got my second shot at the same location towards the end of my first trimester and with both shots my only side effect was a sore arm

My confidence in the vaccine only increased over the months as my own education grew. I'm lucky that all of my close family members got vaccinated right away as well and even my extended family got vaccinated even if they had some initial hesitation. But in mom circles in my Kansas town, feelings weren't so united. I've drifted from many of them because we're keeping a safe distance with COVID, but I found out when I got my third shot just how susceptible to conspiracy theories they are.

Read more: Epidemiologists debunk the 14 biggest coronavirus myths

Getting the Pfizer booster when I became eligible was an easy decision because now I know so much more about the vaccine than I did seven months ago. When I posted on my social media about getting it on October 11, I got a barrage of messages from moms saying they couldn't believe I was getting the shot while pregnant. Thankfully, I know with confidence I'm doing what's right for me and my family.

As I head into delivering my first baby girl, I know I did the right thing by her to make an educated decision based on talking to doctors, not heeding online comments.

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