Channel: Business Insider

GOP senator says some Republicans are trying to 'silence' Liz Cheney: 'Cancel culture is cancel culture'

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Kim Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor (R-IA), Left, Terry Branstad, Governor (R-IA), Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jeff Kaufmann, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman, and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on stage at the 2nd annual Joni Ernst Roast and Ride event on August 27, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Sen. Jodi Ernst, an Iowa Republican, said some in her party "are trying to silence others."
  • Her comments came as House Republicans seek to purge Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership.
  • Cheney has angered some Republicans by recognizing the legitimacy of President Joe Biden's election.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Republican senator is speaking against "cancel culture" - not on the left, this time, but within her own party.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sen. Jodi Ernst accused some in the GOP of seeking to purge dissent, with party members on the verge of removing Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership in the position in the House.

Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and otherwise staunch conservative, has repeatedly condemned former President Donald Trump's incitement of a riot on January 6 and acknowledged the legitimacy of President Joe Biden's election. That has angered Republicans, a majority of whom believe false claims of voter fraud, according to a recent poll.

On Monday, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy announced his caucus would vote this week on whether to eject Cheney from her position as GOP conference chair.

Ernst, an Iowa Republican, said that sends a bad message about the party's openness to dissenting views. "Cancel culture is cancel culture, no matter how you look at it," she said. "And, unfortunately, I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party."

Still, Ernst clarified that while she agrees with Cheney when it comes to the last election's results, she remains loyal to the man who lost. "I support President Trump and his policies, so I have a slightly different view on that," she said.

"But I still think we shouldn't be trying to cancel voices," Ernst said.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Ransomware attacks hit 'under-resourced' city governments hardest, says cybersecurity expert whose kids' school was shut down by hackers for 4 days

Colonial Pipeline
Trucks line up at a Colonial Pipeline facility.
  • Friday's DarkSide attack took down a major oil pipeline that supplies the US East Coast.
  • A cybersecurity expert said such ransomware attacks tend to target municipal governments.
  • The expert's kids were out of school for four days last year after Baltimore's school system was hacked.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The hacking of a major US oil pipeline Friday is the latest in a string of cyberattacks under federal investigation.

The stories read like movie loglines: A reportedly Russia-backed group slowly burrowed its way into US digital infrastructure, gaining access to important government accounts. An unknown cyber-assailant tried to poison a Florida town's water supply. And now, a group of veteran cybercriminals took down an East Coast oil pipeline and held it ransom.

Ransomware attacks are common and are the cyberattack with the most potential to wreak havoc on everyday life, according to Ben Miller, an executive at the industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos Inc.

Miller had firsthand experience with a ransomeware attack in November, when hackers took over Baltimore's school system and forced it to shut down for four days.

"My kids didn't have any snow days this year because they had school from home," Miller told Insider. "They had ransomware days."

There are two major types of cyberattacks, according to Miller: attacks like the one on US information technology firm SolarWinds, which US intelligence agencies say Russia was behind, that seek some kind of geopolitical advantage. Then there is smaller-scale ransomware, where - normally private actors that may or may not work with tacit government permission - go after companies and other institutions and then extort them to ease up on the attack.

The DarkSide attack against the Colonial Pipeline was a ransomware attack. The hacking group shut down a major pipeline that runs from Texas to New York, demanding money in order to restore its service in what Miller said was an example of how cyberattacks are increasingly affecting the "real world."

Some of the most common targets of ransomware are municipal governments that are "under-resourced and under-managed" when it comes to cybersecurity, Miller said. Several other school systems in the US were hit by ransomware attacks in the past year. In April, the Justice Department announced a new task force to address ransomware attacks across the US.

Ransomware gangs also go after hospitals, as in the 2017 Wannacry hack that shut down parts of Britain's National Health Service.

The hackers typically want to cause as much pain as possible so that they can get paid quickly, Miller said, making critical infrastructure an appealing target.

"When they can have a direct impact on their business - like shutting down a pipeline or impact to some facility - it does ring a chord with the victims and how they respond to that," Miller said.

Miller said cyberattacks are so commonly directed at US companies because they're wealthy enough to pay off ransomware attackers. Ransomware hacking groups view themselves as businesses, he said, and target companies and institutions in countries where they're likely to make money: The United States, Britain, and Germany.

"The industry in the US would be more likely to pay an extortion of a couple of hundred thousand dollars or whatever," Miller said. "Not to say that they should, or do - but they're perceived that way, compared to firms in South America or Africa where that would literally, in many cases, put these firms out of business."

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Ethereum's ether pushes past $4,000 for the first time - and one crypto analyst who correctly predicted this level now expects it to hit $10,000


Ether recorded its biggest one-day gain in two years on Monday as the second-largest cryptocurrency smashed past $4,000 for the first time.

Ethereum's digital token rose 7% in the past 24 hours to trade at about $4,165 as of 5:20. a.m. ET, according to data from CoinMarketCap. This milestone was achieved after ether's value increased 16% increase in just five days.

This momentum is likely being driven by the asset manager VanEck filing to list an Ethereum exchange-traded fund. The firm has already applied to list a bitcoin ETF, for which the Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed its decision until July.

More investors are betting ether will be fueled by a rise in the use of decentralized-finance applications and nonfungible tokens.

"Decentralized finance's potential for replacing certain intermediaries with automated digital contracts continues to get more recognition from the traditional banking sector," Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer at Bitfinex, said. "The myriad possibilities of decentralized ledger technologies should be likened to a technological force of nature that will continue to disrupt finance and other businesses."

When ether was trading at about $1,200, the crypto analyst Megan Kaspar predicted it would hit $3,400. Kaspar, a cofounder of the digital-asset-investment company Magnetic, has now boosted her price target to between $8,000 and $10,000 by the end of 2021.

She told "Yahoo Finance Live" the Ethereum network upgrade to a less energy-intensive method than bitcoin's, called proof of work, could boost its value even further.

"The shift to proof of stake for block validation reduces carbon emissions by 99.9%, making Ethereum a green technology," Kaspar said. "So these two updates on the network alone could push Ethereum to a trillion-dollar market cap, which is where bitcoin is at today. That would make Ethereum around $8,000 to $10,000 a coin."

Her prediction matches that of Fundstrat Global Advisors' head of digital-assets research, David Grider. Grider said he expected ether to hit $10,500 by the end of the year based on market data.

Screenshot 2021 05 10 at 11.02.15

And the former Ark Invest analyst James Wang said ether could reach $40,000. The boom in DeFi applications is the major catalyst for him too, as he believes the $3 trillion global banking and auditing industry could be more efficient with software.

"So that's $3 trillion of existing revenues up for grabs," he said. "If Ethereum captures just 1% of that economic revenue, ether would be around $40,000."

Its rival currency bitcoin is up 1% in the past week. Insider spoke with 10 experts about which of the two they'd rather invest in and why.

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The Capitol police must start looking at itself as a 'protective force' for Congress after the Capitol riot, inspector general says

Capitol Police
Capitol police in riot gear guard as supporters of President Donald Trump try to open a door of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
  • The Inspector General for the Capitol Police said the department needs more resources.
  • Michael Bolton told lawmakers they needed a counterintelligence unit following the Capitol attack.
  • He said the force needs to start looking at themselves as a"protective agency" for Congress.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Capitol Police have to start looking at themselves as a "protective agency" that prioritizes intelligence after the January 6 Capitol attack, the agency's inspector general said.

Inspector General Michael Bolton told a House congressional committee on Monday that the agency must create a counterintelligence unit since it was not equipped to deal with the high amount of intelligence before the Capitol riot, NPR reported.

"A standalone entity with a defined mission dedicated to counter-surveillance activities in support of protecting the congressional community would improve the department's ability to identify and disrupt individuals or groups intent on engaging in illegal activity directed at the congressional community for its legislative process," Bolton told the committee.

Bolton said the presence of their forces around the Capitol on January 6 was depleted after officers had to respond to pipe bomb reports near the offices of the Democratic and Republican National Committees, The Washington Post reported.

"Invariably, when there's an incident, police officers swarm. When you're in protective mode, you have an area of responsibility," Bolton said, adding that a more efficient approach would have been having Capitol police make a perimeter around the Capitol and have other agencies like the FBI or DC police respond to the pipe bomb reports.

"If those pipe bombs were intended to be a diversion, it worked," Bolton said.

Lawmakers pressed Bolton on commands given and how police responded to the scene. Politico reported that Rep. Zoe Lofgren pressed Bolton on a report that Capitol police were aware that 200 Proud Boy extremists were gathering around the Capitol the morning of the attack, but police were sent to monitor three or four counter-protests instead.

"Why did the department decide to monitor the … counter demonstrators but apparently, according to this timeline, not to monitor the Proud Boys?" Lofgren asked Bolton. "What happened to these 200 Proud Boys over the course of the day?"

Bolton could not answer Lofgren's question but said "We have the same kind of concerns."

He said he would look into what happened and provide answers during his next briefing to Congress in June.

Several Proud Boys as well as members of groups like the Oath Keepers have been charged by federal prosecutors in connection with the Capitol riot.

A spokesperson for Capitol Police told Politico that they did get information about the Proud Boys presence from the Metropolitan Police Department.

"USCP pushed that information out to the intelligence distribution," the spokesperson said. "The department was on the lookout for any and all potential threats on January 6."

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Los Angeles County could reach herd immunity by end of July, health officials say

covid vaccine
A medical assistant administers a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a woman at a clinic in Los Angeles on March 25, 2021.
  • Los Angeles County could reach herd immunity by mid to late July, public health officials said.
  • At the current rate of vaccination, roughly 80% of adult and adolescent county residents could have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Though there isn't a specific percentage of the county population needed to reach herd immunity, officials have estimated it to be about 80%.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Public health officials predicted Monday that Los Angeles county could reach COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-to-late July.

Barbara Ferrer, the public health director of Los Angeles County, made the prediction during a press briefing on Monday, saying the county could hit herd immunity when roughly 80% of LA County residents ages 16 and older will have at least one shot.

At least 400,000 doses are being administered each week in LA County. At least 2 million more first doses must be administered before 80% of adults and adolescents in LA County will have at least one shot.

"At the rate we're going, we expect that we can reach this level somewhere in mid to late July, and that assumes that we continue to have at least 400,000 people vaccinated each week that will include both first doses that people need, as well as their second doses," Ferrer said during the briefing.

In a press release on Monday, county health officials also noted they do not have the exact vaccinated percentage of the county's population needed to achieve community immunity, but estimate it would be around 80%.

Late last year, top US infections disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci previously estimated that the US would need to inoculate between 75% to 85% of Americans to reach herd immunity, but in a White House briefing in late April, he shifted attention away from the figures of herd immunity to just getting people vaccinated.

"Rather than concentrating on an elusive number, let's get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can," Fauci said.

The announcement that LA County could reach herd immunity by the end of July comes after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents ages 12-15. An advisory committee will review clinical trial data of the vaccine in teenagers before affirming the FDA recommendation, which could come as early as later this week.

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A day in the life of Google's highest-ranking Southeast Asia executive, who lives in Singapore, has 40 hours of meetings a week, and used to live on a sailboat

google singapore stephanie davis
Stephanie Davis, who's from the US, moved to Singapore in 2017 in the role of Google's country director.
  • Stephanie Davis is Google's vice president for Southeast Asia, based in Singapore.
  • Since April, she's been back at the office two days a week and working from home for three.
  • Davis has about 40 hours of meetings a week, most of which are virtual.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.
Stephanie Davis is Google's vice president for Southeast Asia, making her the company's top-ranking executive for the region.
google singapore stephanie davis
Davis is from Georgia in the US and has lived in Singapore since 2017.

Davis, who's in her 40s, has worked for Google for 15 years. Originally from a small town in Georgia in the US, she spent stints working in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dublin, and New Zealand before moving to Singapore in 2017 as the company's country director.

Now, she's Google's highest-ranking Southeast Asia executive, overseeing teams at Google's Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore — where about 2,000 employees work — as well as teams in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Before the pandemic, Davis said she was typically traveling in the region for work eight to 10 days out of the month.
Stephanie Davis

Whenever possible she would tack on a personal day to a work trip, and her husband would join her for a mini-vacation.

"I think it's one of the beauties about this region," Davis told Insider. "You have the organization, the safety, and the beauty of Singapore, a professional place to be in terms of career. But then you step on a boat, step on a plane, and you can just be in some of the most adventurous, amazing spots in the world."

Now, like many office workers, Davis has been working from home for over a year. In April, however, Singapore's loosened restrictions allowed Davis to start going into the office two days a week and to work from home the other three.
singapore google executive
Davis' home workstation.

Davis, who lives in Singapore's Tanjong Pagar neighborhood with her husband, Jack, said she thought she had a sufficient home-office setup before the pandemic.

"But I soon realized my desk and my small chair may have worked for weekend work and a few hours at night, but it certainly wasn't cut out for working full days at home," she said. "So I've certainly had to adapt a more ergonomic setup."

Davis got a better chair, a desk that raises and lowers so she can alternate between sitting and standing, and a keyboard and monitor.

Google, which is known for providing lavish amenities to its employees like a free café and on-site massage therapists, is saving more than $1 billion a year while its staffers work from home, Bloomberg recently reported.

7 to 7:30 a.m: As often as her schedule allows, Davis starts her day with a yoga session.
singapore google executive stephanie davis

"I have found yoga to be so helpful to my well-being during this time that I sometimes manage to squeeze in two sessions a day, with a second one that's a nice wind-down before bed," Davis said.

One of her favorite channels is Boho Beautiful with Juliana Spicoluk, she said. The morning yoga is a new addition to Davis' routine since she started working from home.

"Singapore is an easy city to get around, so it's not that I have a really long commute," she said. "But that saving of time in the morning has allowed me to do yoga most mornings."

7:30 to 8 a.m: After yoga, it's time for Davis' morning coffee made with Malaysian-grown coffee beans from the local Tiong Bahru market and brewed by her "kind husband," she said.
google executive singapore stephanie davis

"No fancy coffee machines in our home — we lived on a boat for many years, and it's still a stovetop espresso maker for us," Davis said. "We love the simplicity and low waste."

With her coffee in hand, Davis starts getting ready for her day.

"Another pandemic-driven change: I get ready for WFH much faster than I get ready to work from the office," she said.

8 to 9 a.m: Davis typically spends the first hour of her workday clearing her inbox.
singapore google executive stephanie davis
Davis at her home workspace.

Davis said she got "hundreds" of emails a day and tried to "carve out time each day to read and respond to top priorities."

9 to 10 a.m: Davis' first meeting of the day is with the Southeast Asia search product and marketing team. It's one of about 40 hours of meetings in a typical week.
singapore google executive

They discuss how to make Google Search more useful for people in the region. 

"We know that people in Southeast Asia are increasingly using voice search to discover a wide range of information — from song lyrics to recipes to store hours, restaurants nearby and items to buy," Davis said. "The number of people across SEA who used their voice to interact with Google on their phone grew 49% compared to the previous year."

10 to 11 a.m: Her next virtual meeting of the day is with Southeast Asia's YouTube team.
singapore google executive

Google sees YouTube (which Google owns) as an "integral partner" to the growth of the internet economy in Southeast Asia, Davis said.

Five of YouTube's biggest markets globally, based on watch time, are in Asia: India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam, she said.

After the meeting ends at 11 a.m., Davis takes a 15-minute break to stretch and refill her water bottle.

11:15 a.m. to noon: Davis meets virtually with Farhan Qureshi, Google's country director for Pakistan and South Asian frontier markets.
singapore google executive
Qureshi and Davis.

Davis typically meets with her direct reports for 45 minutes every two weeks.

She and Qureshi discuss how Google can help startups and developers in Pakistan.

Noon to 12:30 p.m: Davis sits in on an in-person meeting at Google's office in Singapore, where the company's incident-response team is discussing its continuing efforts to make the offices safe for Googlers to return.
singapore google executive
A socially distanced meeting with the incident-response team in December.

The meeting is typically virtual, but some members of the team were able to meet in person at the end of last year.

12:45 to 1:45 p.m: Davis has lunch at a local café with a founder who has decided to start a new business to address the climate crisis.
singapore google executive
Davis had the Oriental Shrimp Salad at Singapore's Little Part 1 Cafe.

"I look forward to when we can once again host guests at our offices, but I'm also thankful for the many local cafés in Singapore, where we can easily meet up and have productive business discussions," Davis said.

2 to 4 p.m: After lunch, Davis has more virtual meetings, including one with Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org, to get an update on its recent projects.
stephanie davis google singapore

Google.org announced on April 26 that it was contributing $18 million to the COVID-19 crisis in India. The philanthropic arm also works with local organizations in Southeast Asia to support education for underprivileged children, Davis said.

Then she has a 30-minute call with a large e-commerce company in the region about how the two companies can work together to get more small businesses online.

At 3 p.m., Davis takes part in a regional Google town hall to celebrate diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

"Town halls like these are an integral part of Google's culture, and at this one, we hear personal stories from Googlers across the region," she said.

4:15 to 6 p.m: Davis is a few minutes late to the monthly meeting of the Singapore Computer Society, where she's an Executive Council member.
stephanie davis google singapore
Singapore Computer Society's president, Chong Yoke Sin, left, with Davis.

The Singapore Computer Society is an infocomm and digital-media society with 42,000 members — including industry professionals, students, and tech enthusiasts — that helps grow the tech industry in Singapore, she said.

The meeting is in person, with masks and social distancing, Davis said.

6:15 to 6:30 p.m: Just as she gets back home, Davis gets a video call from her brother in North Carolina so she can say good morning to her 1-1/2-year-old niece, Vivian Cora.
stephanie davis google singapore

"It's been more than a year since I last saw my family in the US," Davis said. "I come from a close-knit family, and it's been difficult to not see them, but I'm grateful that we're healthy and well connected via video calls."

6:30 to 8 p.m: Davis and her husband go for a hike at Singapore's Mount Faber, a 138-acre park with scenic views of the city. It's a hike they do several times a week, she said.
google executive singapore stephanie davis

"He and I catch up on our respective days, but then our earbuds go in, we listen to our favorite podcasts or books, and then share learnings with one another," Davis said.

Davis recently finished "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo and said she liked the author's "straightforward style in suggesting how we can have better conversations about race."

"A few stretches at the top and some reflection while the sun goes down is a great way to close the curtain on the day," Davis said.

8 to 9 p.m: For dinner, Davis and her husband have a kale Reuben sandwich. "Jack is the chef in our home - lucky me," she said.
stephanie davis google singapore
Jack's kale Reuben and tomato soup.

While they eat, they watch YouTube videos including the evening news, late-night replays, and some sailing videos like Ruby Rose.

9 to 11 p.m.: After dinner, Davis gets some more work done.
google executive singapore stephanie davis

"This is when I prepare for the next day — read materials for meetings, think through presentations, look at the revenue numbers, etc.," she said. "All with a nice candle burning nearby."

11 p.m. to midnight: Davis spends some time reading before bed.
stephanie davis google singapore

"So that I don't wake Jack, I have a little light that attaches to my book — or should I say one of a few books, as it's common for me to be reading several at once," Davis said. "I seem to read fiction when on a holiday, but otherwise I enjoy nonfiction."

One of Davis' favorite books is Jane Goodall's "Reason for Hope," which she says has influenced how she chooses to lead.

And finally, it's time to sleep.

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COVID-19 patients in India are developing deadly 'black fungus' infections that can lead to blindness

Black fungus
  • Hospitals in India have seen a rise in cases of mucormycosis, a life-threatening infection.
  • Experts have linked steroids that treat COVID-19 to the uptick since they dampen the immune system.
  • One doctor in Mumbai said 11 of his patients had required life-saving eye-removal surgery.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In the wake of India's second wave of COVID-19, hospitals are reporting an uptick in cases of mucormycosis, or "black fungus" - a serious but rare fungal infection.

Dr. Akshay Nair, an eye surgeon who works at three hospitals in Mumbai, told the BBC he saw at least 40 patients with the fungal infection in April alone.

That's a huge uptick from the average number: He said he had seen only 10 cases of mucormycosis in the prior two years.

Most patients had diabetes and developed symptoms two weeks after recovering from COVID-19. Eleven of the patients had to have surgery to remove an eye to stop the spread of the infection, which is lethal in half of cases.

Nair told the BBC that doctors thought steroids, a treatment that has proved an effective treatment for severe COVID-19, might play a role in fueling the infections. While steroids reduce inflammation and can prevent lung damage in those with COVID-19, they also suppress the body's immune system.

"Diabetes lowers the body's immune defenses, coronavirus exacerbates it, and then steroids which help fight Covid-19 act like fuel to the fire," Nair told the BBC.

There is no data counting mucormycosis cases across the world, and Indian officials have said there is no major outbreak, according to Reuters.

One expert, however, said the numbers appeared to be higher in India, which has a high rate of diabetes, than in other countries.

"There have been cases reported in several other countries - including the UK, US, France, Austria, Brazil, and Mexico, but the volume is much bigger in India," David Denning, a professor at Manchester University, told Reuters. "And one of the reasons is lots and lots of diabetes, and lots of poorly controlled diabetes."

Black-fungus symptoms

Indian government officials have told doctors to be on the lookout for symptoms of mucormycosis.

It is caused by coming into contact with fungal spores, which can be found in soil, plants, and manure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early symptoms include:

  • One-sided facial swelling
  • Headache
  • Nasal or sinus congestion
  • Fever

Symptoms can escalate to:

  • Blackening of the nose
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
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Caitlyn Jenner told CNN her 'entrepreneur' past qualifies her to be governor of California

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner explained her credentials in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, pointing to her "entrepreneurial" background.
  • Caitlyn Jenner defended her credentials in a CNN interview, pointing to her "entrepreneurial" past.
  • The reality star said she was prepared to manage the state of California as she knew how to run a business.
  • Jenner added that she met with "budget people" who gave her good advice - but did not name them.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Caitlyn Jenner, who is running for governor in California, defended her credentials in a one-on-one interview with CNN on Monday.

When asked what made her qualified to be the governor of a state like California - which, if it were a sovereign nation, would be the fifth-largest economy in the world - Jenner pointed to her past as an "entrepreneur."

"I have been in the entrepreneurial world. People think - you've been in show business, think of you as a reality star. Certainly, I've done that, but entertainment is a business, and you have to run that business," Jenner told CNN host Dana Bash in a televised interview on Monday night.

Jenner was responding to a question from Bash, who asked what training she had received that qualified her to be governor.

"But I've also done other things. We sold a billion dollars worth of exercise equipment on television. I've had aviation companies. I've just always been involved in being an entrepreneur and tried to inspire my children to do the same thing. And they've done very well in that department," Jenner said.

She was referring to the success of the Kardashian-Jenner brood. This includes her step-daughter, recently-minted billionaire Kim Kardashian West, and her daughter Kylie, who was dropped from the Forbes billionaires list but remains a multi-millionaire.

Jenner said her experience in the business industry helped her develop valuable leadership skills, and added that she had met with "budget people" who could give her advice.

"I'm going to surround myself with some really great people," Jenner said, declining to name anyone as she did not want to "expose anybody."

In the same interview, Jenner said as well that she was for "legal immigration" and that the growing swell of migrants at the border was one of the reasons why she decided to run for governor.

In April, Jenner threw her hat into the race for governor of California in its recall election, but it hasn't been a smooth ride. Early on, Jenner was lambasted after it was revealed that she had only infrequently voted in past elections.

She also elicited criticism during an appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox show after she complained at length that people - including the man who owned a plane in the airport hangar next to her own - were fleeing California because of the "homeless."

Jenner, who came out as a transgender woman in June 2015, drew disapproval when she told TMZ that trans girls should not play in girls' school sports teams.

"I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls' sports in school. It just isn't fair. And we have to protect girls' sports in our schools," Jenner said to TMZ on May 2.

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Digital-news outfit Vice Media is eyeing a $3 billion SPAC merger - half its worth 4 years ago, report says

nancy dubuc vice ceo
Vice Media CEO, Nancy Dubuc.

Vice Media, a youth-focused digital publisher, is in discussions to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company in a deal that could value it at $3 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

That would be a discount from Vice's $5.7 billion valuation four years ago when it secured a $450 million infusion from private-equity firm TPG Capital.

The media company could combine with former Morgan Stanley executive Jack Leeney's SPAC, 7GC & Co. Holdings, WSJ said, citing sources.

Vice's existing investors - TPG, Walt Disney, and A&E Networks - would own 75% of the digital media company upon completion of the deal. Leeney's SPAC, combined with other new investors, would own the remaining 25%.

There's no guarantee a deal could be reached at the moment, as there has been no definitive agreement as yet.

The SPAC boom that saw red-hot activity in 2020 has been losing steam given an increase in scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The regulator has been warning would-be SPAC dealmakers of the risks and complexities associated with mergers, as tainted projections are often used to pitch deals.

7GC plans to pitch Vice's multiple revenue streams to draw in investors, such as its Virtue ad agency, Vice Studios film and TV production arm, and women-focused brand Refinery29, WSJ said.

Under the proposed deal, CEO Nancy Dubuc would retain her position along with other executives. Founder Shane Smith would keep executive chairmanship.

Vice Media didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The American-Canadian company laid off a handful of staffers from its leadership team as part of a restructuring earlier this year. Employees were told those laid off would not be replaced by newcomers.

It is one among a growing list of media companies that have either gone public via a SPAC, or intend to do so, in the future. Insider identified 12 SPACs worth watching in media, telecommunications, and entertainment.

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Michigan is lifting its work-from-home mandate after reaching a 55% vaccination rate

gretchen whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
  • Michigan is ending its work-from-home rule after vaccinating 55% of people aged 16 and over.
  • Under that rule, companies are not allowed to let employees work onsite if they can do it from home.
  • That mandate is expected to lift on May 24.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Michigan is ending its work-from-home rule after reaching a 55% vaccination rate on Monday.

The 55% rate was considered a milestone by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Associated Press reported. Last month she said that when 55% of the state's population aged 16 or above was vaccination, in-person work would be allowed in all industries.

Under the current rule, companies are not allowed to let their employees work onsite if they can work from home, the AP reported.

The state now plans to lift that rule on May 24, said Sean Egan, the director of COVID-19 Workplace Safety for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, per the AP.

According to the AP, more than 4.4 million people aged 16 and older in the state have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

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10 things in tech you need to know today

GettyImages 813883140
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

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1. The hackers who attacked a major US pipeline say they're just in it for the money, not for political reasons. The FBI confirmed on Monday that the hacking group known as DarkSide was behind the attack. Read more about it here.

2. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Autopilot can't have been turned on in a fatal Tesla crash last month. The NTSB's initial findings support Elon Musk's assertions that Tesla's Autopilot features were switched off at the time of the crash. Read more about it here.

3. Amazon managers told Insider they "hire and fire" people purely to hit their annual turnover goal. Amazon managers have a goal called "unregretted attrition," or URA. Read Insider's exclusive report on it here.

4. Forty state attorneys sent a joint letter to Facebook opposing its plans to build an Instagram app for kids younger than 13. The lawmakers said children that young are"not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account." Read their full letter here.

5. A new report found seven Apple suppliers have used forced Uyghur labor in China. This isn't the first time Apple has been accused of benefiting from forced Uyghur labor, though the company has previously denied such claims. Read more about the report here.

6. Tesla bumped up the price of its most popular models by $500 for the sixth time this year. Buying a Model 3 now will cost you $2,500 more than it would have done in February. Learn more about Tesla's gradual price-hiking here.

7. Getting your hands on a PlayStation 5 is going to be difficult until 2022, according to Sony. Demand for the PlayStation 5 has made it hard for consumers to buy one, and CFO Hiroki Totoki told analysts that supply isn't likely to catch up this year. Here's why PlayStation 5 consoles have been in such short supply.

8. Jack Ma reportedly made a surprise visit to Ant Group's headquarters. This is one of the few public appearances Ma has made since he scrapped Ant Group's $35 billion IPO last year. Read about it here.

9. The head of recruitment at Uber founder Travis Kalanick's startup, CloudKitchens, resigned following a misconduct investigation. Sources told Insider the company was investigating him over a work trip to Mexico City in April. Read about it here.

10. Amazon and Walmart are facing off on a new battleground: healthcare. Both companies launched their healthcare-delivery businesses within weeks of each other in 2019 - now, Amazon Care has its first client and Walmart Health is buying a telehealth company. Read about why it's a sign of a troubled, evolving industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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US futures and global equities tumble as inflation fears return to haunt tech stocks

Inflation fears returned to haunt tech stocks.

US futures dropped on Tuesday, after a sharp sell-off in technology stocks the previous day, as worries over rising inflation returned to shake investors' faith in sky-high valuations.

Asian stocks dropped overnight and European equities fell in early trading. Oil prices slipped as traders weighed up an easing of disruptions in the US, while the dollar hovered at 5-month lows.

Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index dropped 1.22% on Tuesday, following a 2.63% plunge on Monday - its largest one day fall since mid-March. Fears over rising inflation have been hitting tech stocks in particular by denting the appeal of companies whose full earnings potential lies some way in the future.

S&P 500 futures were down 0.75% after the index fell 1.04% on Monday. Meanwhile, Dow Jones futures were off by 0.49% after the index slipped just 0.1% on Monday, having benefited from a rotation into stocks such as industrials and financials that stand to benefit when growth and inflation are higher.

Monday and Tuesday's jitters marked a sharp change from the narrative that built up among traders and investors on Friday, when a much worse than expected US jobs report quelled fears of inflation and helped stocks.

"All the talk was of ebbing inflation fears after Friday's mammoth nonfarm payrolls miss," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at trading platform Oanda, said. "Yet overnight, the inflation ghoul reappeared as US yields moved higher, and technology stocks were hammered."

Analysts said concern about price pressures had reemerged ahead of Wednesday's consumer price index inflation data. It is expected to show a sharp rise in year-on-year inflation to 3.6% from 2.6%, although much of the rise will be due to the fact that prices were subdued a year earlier when COVID-19 hit the economy.

Lee Hardman, currency analyst at Japanese bank MUFG, said part of the reason the narrative had shifted so quickly was because of fears that Friday's weak jobs report was a sign of labor shortages in the economy.

"It has already been suggested that the softer than expected payrolls for April could be due to labor supply constraints more than a lack of demand which would create a more inflationary outcome if it proves persistent."

But Hardman suggested fears the Fed might reduce support for the economy sooner than expected were overblown. "The Fed have already signaled clearly that they are going to look through the temporary increase in inflation pressure, and are unlikely to alter their dovish policy stance," he said.

US bond yields inched higher, with the yield on the key 10-year Treasury note rising 1.3 basis points to 1.615%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Asian stocks dropped overnight, following the tech rout on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 3.08%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.22%.

European stocks traded sharply lower on Tuesday morning, with the continent-wide Stoxx 600 index down 1.94%.

Britain's FTSE 100 index was 2.13% lower, held down in part by a strong pound, which hit its highest level since February following election victories for the ruling Conservative party. A stronger pound makes the overseas earnings of FTSE constituents worth less in relative terms.

The dollar index was roughly flat at 90.19 after a sharp fall in the wake of Friday's weak jobs report. The greenback is now close to where it started the year, having reversed strong gains made in February and January. Investors think rebounds in other major economies mean it has further to fall.

Oil prices slipped after the Colonial Pipeline - a major US fuel line that had been hit by hackers - partially reopened. Brent crude fell 0.7% to $67.84 a barrel, while WTI crude dropped 0.74% to $64.44 a barrel.

"Oil, gasoline and heating oil fell as fears of a prolonged outage of the Colonial pipeline eased," Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at trading platform Markets.com, said. "The company said it is working in phases to have the pipe working again by the end of the week. Weaker risk sentiment in the Asian session also sent crude futures lower."

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 Things in Politics: Biden cracks down on jobless benefits


Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond. Sign up here to receive this newsletter.

Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here's what we're talking about:

One thing to look out for today: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top federal health officials are set to testify before the Senate at 10 a.m. ET. (Yes, this almost guarantees another round of Republican Sen. Rand Paul teeing off on Fauci.)

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden at the White House on April 6.

1. MORE JOBS-REPORT FALLOUT: President Joe Biden said Americans receiving unemployment benefits must either take a job that is "suitable" or lose the support. He largely rejected Republicans' and business groups' arguments that too generous benefits had hurt job growth, but the move signals he is listening to GOP criticism on the issue. April's disappointing jobs report has only added more pressure.

Republican governors are going even further: Several states are moving to cut expanded unemployment insurance entirely. South Carolina, Montana, and Arkansas are ending their participation in federal assistance programs for the unemployed in late June. At least 276,000 workers could be affected.

People wait on line to file for unemployment in Fayetteville, Arkansas, April 6, 2020.
People in line to file for unemployment in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on April 6, 2020.

There are some broader shifts at play too: Democratic economists have argued that companies should pay workers more if they want people to return more quickly. Some employers are doing just that, including Costco and Chipotle. Chipotle said on Monday that its pay increase would result in an average of $15 for new hourly workers.

The pandemic brought about larger trends as well: Some workers want to switch jobs or careers after having to deal with pandemic conditions for the past year, The Washington Post reports. Others are waiting to return until they are fully vaccinated or their child's school fully reopens.

2. Israeli-Palestinian clashes at their worst in years: Israeli airstrikes killed nine children and 11 others in Gaza on Monday, Palestinian officials said. The airstrikes came after Hamas fired seven rockets at Jerusalem - the first time the city had been targeted since 2014 - and more rockets at southern Israel, per The Washington Post.

  • The White House is under increasing pressure to do more: "Even if you ignore this issue, it will not ignore you," Ghaith Al-Omari, a former Palestinian negotiator, told Politico. Foreign-policy watchers say the Biden administration's efforts to focus elsewhere in the world are becoming unsustainable as violence spreads.

3. Feds OK vaccine for teens: The Food and Drug Administration expanded the authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, making it the first shot OK'd by the US for 12- to 15-year-olds. Canada is the only other country to have authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for younger teenagers. The US has seen the daily rate of people getting their first dose plummet since early April. Expanding eligibility to include the younger age group could give the immunization campaign a boost.

4. Former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin won Virginia's GOP gubernatorial nomination: Youngkin, a political newcomer, defeated his fellow businessman Pete Snyder in the sixth and final round of a ranked-choice tabulation that took most of the day, Politico reports. Youngkin loaned himself $5.5 million through the end of March. Democrats will pick their nominee in a primary next month. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe has the inside track. More on what will be one of the most closely watched elections this year.

5. The most powerful Republican woman in the Senate says Liz Cheney is being canceled: "Cancel culture is cancel culture, no matter how you look at it," Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, the only woman in the Senate GOP leadership, told reporters of Cheney's impending ouster. Ernst said she supported former President Donald Trump but added that "there are those that are trying to silence others in the party."

  • Cheney is almost certain to lose her post Wednesday: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told House Republicans to expect a vote removing Cheney from her role as the party's No. 3 later this week. McCarthy suggested Cheney had distracted the party by "relitigating the past." Despite those plans, McCarthy said Republicans "embrace free thought and debate."

6. Biden is spending a huge amount of time at church so far: The nation's second Catholic president has been in a pew at least 15 times since his January 20 inauguration. But the church is a source of both comfort and controversy for Biden, whose long-standing support for abortion rights is renewing criticism about whether he should be allowed to receive communion. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is expected to debate the issue at its meeting next month.

Dogs in the Biden Cabinet.
Meet the dogs in Joe Biden's Cabinet.

7. You know their hoomans. Meet the other Team Biden pooches: Champ and Major aren't the only good boys in Washington. Insider contacted all 23 members of Biden's Cabinet to find out more about their furry (or feathered, or scaled) friends. Biden's Cabinet members are the proud owners of at least 10 dogs, Insider found. No one fessed up to being a cat owner.

8. Global COVID-19 cases are falling, but inequality is apparent: Wealthier nations with access to ample vaccines are beginning to flip the script on the coronavirus pandemic, but India and some Southeast Asian countries without sufficient supplies are struggling with massive spikes, The New York Times reports. The World Health Organization's chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu, says the world is in danger as long as cases remain at "an unacceptably high plateau."

9. Protests and calls to postpone or cancel the Olympics intensify: A recent poll found 70% of people in Japan thought the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were originally scheduled for last year, should be either postponed yet again because of the pandemic or canceled entirely. The country continues to see spikes in new cases and less than 1% of its population has been vaccinated. Tokyo remains under a state of emergency.

10. J. Lo and Ben Affleck were spotted together in Montana, which is set to gain a new House seat: Just like Affleck's and Lopez's reported romance, the Big Sky state will also be the subject of close scrutiny by the media in the coming months. Montana is one of seven states that will gain one or more US House seats as a result of the 2020 census. Just as all politics are local, all celebrity reunions can be connected in some way to politics.

Today's trivia question: Dogs have had their days at the White House. But this president relied on the Secret Service to get his cat back after it went missing during a snowstorm. Who was it? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

China hit back at NASA's chief for saying it failed to meet 'responsible standards' in letting a rocket fall uncontrolled back to Earth

Long March-5B Y2 rocket
China's Long March 5B rocket takes off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, China.
  • NASA's head said China failed to "meet responsible standards" in letting its rocket fall to Earth.
  • Chinese officials refuted the statement and accused the media of double standards in its reporting.
  • Rocket debris fell into the Indian Ocean. China said it acted properly and no one was harmed.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

China hit back at NASA's chief and the US media for their reactions on the uncontrolled Chinese rocket that fell back to Earth last week.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized China on Sunday, saying countries that go to space need to "minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of reentries of space objects."

"It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris," he said.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday that China had been closely monitoring the debris and that it caused no damage to Earth.

She said: "The US and a few other countries have been hyping up the landing of the Chinese rocket debris over the past days."

She said that China had been sharing its data with other countries.

She also said that American media had a "double standard" on the issue of state debris.

"I would like to point out that some media and individuals in the US clearly hold double standard on this issue."

"You may recall that in March this year, when a piece of a SpaceX rocket crashed on a farm in the country, American media used such romantic descriptions as 'lighting up the night sky like a meteor, producing a spectacular light show.' But when it comes to China, the tune is completely different."

It was not clear where Hua's quote came from, but some news reports at the time did refer to the SpaceX rocket's descent as a surprise meteor shower.

"I noticed some jesting online in China, saying that US politicians may be forgetful, but the Internet has a long memory," Hua said.

"We stand ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries including the US, but we reject double standard on this issue."

The Long March 5B rocket took off from China on April 29, and a big chunk made an uncontrolled reentry to Earth. It wasn't clear where it was going to land, prompting concern from scientists.

China said last week that most of it would burn in the atmosphere and not cause any harm.

Most of that chunk did burn up as it reentered the atmosphere, and some debris landed in the Indian Ocean on Sunday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Insider finance: Wall Street's new dress code

trading floor

Good morning and welcome to Insider Finance. I'm Dan DeFrancesco, and here's what's on the agenda today:

If you're not yet a subscriber, you can sign up here to get your daily dose of the stories dominating banking, business, and big deals.

Like the newsletter? Hate the newsletter? Feel free to drop me a line at ddefrancesco@businessinsider.com or on Twitter @DanDeFrancesco.

This summer, Wall Street is getting comfortable and colorful - and everyone wants something stretchy to wear when they go back to the office

shopping bags work clothes

Bankers are stocking up on office attire that is comfortable like their remote work clothes. Wall Streeters are also seeking out color and patterns to show off their personality at work.

Get the scoop on the latest fashion trends among the finance crowd.

Blackstone just told US investment professionals to report back to the office on June 7, and the private-equity giant has spent $20 million on safety precautions like paying for cabs to work

Jonathan Gray
Jonathan Gray, Blackstone President and Chief Operating Officer, at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha conference July 18th in NYC.

Blackstone is planning a full return to the office on June 7, President Jon Gray said on an internal Monday morning call.

Click here learn more about Blackstone's return to the office.

$2.3 billion Electron Capital's renewable energy bets paid off last year. The firm is banking on Biden's green energy and infrastructure plans to give it another boost.

wind turbines

Utilities investor Electron Capital credits its big 2020 and 2021 start to renewable energy stocks. Here's how it found so much success in the space.

Odd lots:

UBS Dangles $40,000 Bonuses to Slow Junior Banker Defections (Bloomberg)

Bill and Melinda Gates timed their divorce announcement not to clash with Warren Buffett's annual shareholder meeting, NYT report says (Insider)

Symphony new CEO Brad Levy on how 100-hour weeks at Goldman set him apart (Financial News)

UBS Explores Offering Crypto Investments to Rich Clients (Bloomberg)

Goldman Laments 'Noise' of ESG Data Barrage Spurred by New Rules (Bloomberg)

Read the original article on Business Insider

Former Arizona AG who quit the GOP said the people running the recount there 'lost and they can't get over it'

maricopa county recount arizona
The ballot recount at Maricopa County, Arizona, on May 6, 2021.
  • A former GOP state attorney general slammed the Maricopa County, Arizona, election recount.
  • "They lost, and they can't get over it," Grant Woods, now a Democrat, told the AP.
  • The recount has been panned for its sloppy execution and fixation on conspiracy theories.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A former Arizona Republican attorney general said that the people running Maricopa County's much-criticized ballot recount "can't get over" losing the state in 2020.

Grant Woods, who switched to the Democratic Party while Donald Trump was president, lamented what he called a refusal to accept reality among the Republican figures pursuing the recount, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The recount was ordered by the GOP-led Arizona state legislature following widespread conspiracy theories around the result. There had already been a partial hand recount, verified by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, and two further audits, which all affirmed the original result.

"They lost, and they can't get over it," Woods told the AP on Monday. "And they don't want to get over it because they want to continue to sow doubt about the election."

He is not the only local politician to have distanced himself from the situation. Republican Sen Paul Boyer, who had voted for the recount to go ahead, said last week that "it makes us look like idiots," adding that it was "embarrassing to be a state senator at this point."

Arizona State Senator Katie Hobbs - a Democrat - eviscerated the process as shambolic and poorly organized last week in a letter to Ken Bennett, who is serving as the Arizona Senate's liaison with the auditors.

The loss of Maricopa County, Arizona's most populous, came as a shock to Republicans when it, along with the state itself, was lost to Democrats in the 2020 elections. Joe Biden carried the state overall with 49.4% of the vote.

Trump, whose influence over the party continues to loom large, is fixated on the recount and asks about it constantly, according to The Washington Post.

The Department of Justice has expressed concern that the process is lacking independence and qualified oversight.

The CEO of Cyber Ninjas, the obscure company hired to conduct the recount, has previously promoted false claims that the 2020 election was rigged.

"There's not even a perception of independence," Boyer told the AP on Monday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mark Zuckerberg named his goat 'Bitcoin' - and fans of the cryptocurrency are taking it as an endorsement

Mark Zuckerberg
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a picture of his goats, Bitcoin and Max, on Monday.
  • Crypto fans are taking this as an endorsement and are trying to figure out the meaning of it.
  • There has been speculation that Facebook owns bitcoin despite the platform working on its own cryptocurrency Diem.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a picture of his two pet goats on Facebook on Monday, introducing them to the world as 'Bitcoin' and 'Max'. Crypto fans instantly started trying to figure out the significance of the goats' names.

The crypto community overwhelmingly took Zuckerberg's name choice for his goat Bitcoin as an endorsement of the digital currency, but the theories haven't ended there.

Many social media users referred back to talk of Facebook buying bitcoin that surfaced ahead of the social media network's quarterly earnings call earlier this month. There was no mention of any bitcoin purchases at the time, but Facebook's annual shareholder meeting is coming up later in the month and some people now believe Zuckerberg will announce bitcoin investments then.

Others are taking Zuckerberg's post another step further. "Is Mark Zuckerberg telling us he is a bitcoin maximalist with the names of his goats?" Anthony Pompliano, a crypto investor and personality in the crypto-sphere, tweeted. Bitcoin maximalists believe no other crypto currency will be used, or needed, in the future and bitcoin will remain the most popular and widely used digital token.

This would contradict Facebook's efforts to develop its own stablecoin, Diem, which is set to be trialed later this year and will initially focus on user-to-user transactions. Diem will be pegged to the dollar and could be used to purchase goods and services.

It is expected that multiple coins, each tied to a fiat currency, as well as a coin tied to multiple national currencies will be launched eventually.

Diem is a rebranded version of Libra, Facebook's original crypto coin project that envisioned a single, global coin that was tied to a basket of fiat currencies and linked to Facebook's social media platform. Concerns about the impact of a global, social media network owned digital coin on the global monetary system led to the pivot to Diem.

This is partly why some crypto fans might see Zuckerberg's post as a threat, rather than an endorsement. The Facebook boss said in 2011 he would only eat meat from animals he killed himself and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told Rolling Stone in 2019 that Zuckerberg once served him goat that he'd killed personally.

Bitcoin, which swung from record-highs around $65,000 to as low as around $49,000 over the past month alone, dropped after Zuckerberg's post. It was last trading at around $55,727 on Tuesday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The hackers behind the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack said they didn't mean to cause problems and will 'introduce moderation' in future targets

Colonial Pipeline
Trucks at a Colonial Pipeline facility.
  • A cyberattack shut down the Colonial Pipeline on Friday.
  • The pipeline is responsible for 45% of the East Coast's fuel, and shortages are now feared.
  • The DarkSide ransomware group acknowledged the hack, adding it would change its approach to targets.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The group accused of carrying out the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack has said it never intended to cause disruption to society, and would approach targets differently in the future.

A ransomware group compromised the pipeline on Friday and demanded money in exchange for its release. The pipeline was shut down by its operators as a result.

The pipeline network, which runs from Texas to New York, is one of the country's largest, transporting about 45% of the East Coast's fuel, the operator said.

The FBI said on Monday that DarkSide ransomware was responsible for the hack.

DarkSide appeared to claim responsibility for the hack, saying in a Monday statement its goal was not to cause disruption and that it would approach targets differently in the future.

"Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society," the group said in a statement.

"From today, we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future."

As Insider's Natasha Dailey reported, the main pipeline carries more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil every day.

Colonial Pipeline said in a statement Monday that it hoped to restore services "by the end of the week."

However, as of early Tuesday morning, the pipeline remains shut. This means fuel could become more scarce, prices will rise, and refiners will slash production as they can't move it across the US, Reuters reported.

Joseph Blount, the pipeline's CEO, told State Department officials at a Monday meeting that fuel shortages were likely, Bloomberg reported.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House would be "monitoring" any supply shortages and ready to take action if needed.

According to cybersecurity watchers Bleeping Computer, DarkSide previously published a code of conduct in which it said it would not target schools, universities, hospitals, hospices, nonprofit bodies, and the government.

Some cybersecurity watchers told the BBC that DarkSide may be affiliated with the Russia state, but on Monday, President Joe Biden said there "is no evidence, based on our intelligence people, that Russia is involved."

Russia also denied the link to DarkSide, with the country's embassy in the US saying: "We categorically reject the baseless fabrications of individual journalists and reiterate that Russia does not conduct 'malicious' activity in the virtual space," according to Reuters.

DarkSide, meanwhile, has said it had no political affiliation.

"We do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for other our motives," they said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dogecoin surges after Elon Musk hints Tesla could accept the meme-coin as payment

elon musk dogecoin pumping stocks 4x3

Dogecoin spiked by as much as 20% on Tuesday after Elon Musk tweeted a poll asking if his followers want Tesla to accept the cryptocurrency as payment, hinting that this could be a payment method for the electric-vehicle maker.

The digital asset surged to 53 cents from a 24-hour low of 44 cents after his tweet got quick reactions. It fell to around 51 cents within the hour.

An overwhelming majority responded "Yes" to Musk's question, while about 20% showed disinclination. The poll received more than 500,000 votes within 20 minutes of him posting.

Screenshot 2021 05 11 at 09.58.03

Dogecoin had hit a record high on Friday, right before it tanked during Musk's SNL hosting appearance. His character, financial expert Lloyd Ostertag, was asked whether the cryptocurrency was a hustle, to which he responded: "Yeah, it's a hustle."

It regained briefly Monday on news that Musk's SpaceX will launch a dogecoin-funded moon mission in the first quarter of 2022.

Screenshot 2021 05 11 at 10.13.04

Musk's heavy dogecoin endorsements in 2020 have led to a surge in the token's price, propelling widespread retail investor adoption. A chart depicting its price increases corresponding to the billionaire's tweets is shown below:

Screenshot 2021 05 11 at 09.51.51

Musk's "fav cryptocurrency" is up more than 11,000% this year, while bitcoin is up 90%.

The self-proclaimed "Technoking" announced in March that Tesla would accept bitcoin as payment and it would not be converted to fiat currency.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

traders screens nyse
Trading specialists work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange the morning after it set another record high, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at 11,980, in New York, October 17, 2006.

Welcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Sign up here to get this email in your inbox every morning.

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1. US futures and global equities tumble. Inflation fears are hitting stocks, with the tech sector leading the sell-off.

2. Dogecoin surged 20% on Tuesday morning. Elon Musk had hinted that Tesla could accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment.

3. Vice Media is eyeing a $3 billion SPAC. The company was worth almost double that four years ago.

4. Mark Zuckerberg named his goat 'Bitcoin'. Fans started hatching theories about the meaning of this immediately.

5. Retail stock trading declined sharply in March. JPMorgan said despite stimulus checks retail trading fell to 18%.

6. Bitcoin ETF issuer Ninepoint Partners will aim to fully offset its carbon footprint. The impact of cryptocurrency mining on the environment has been a hot topic in the crypto-sphere.

7. Earnings expected. Electronic Arts, Palantir Technologies, E.ON and Nissan are ones to watch out for.

8. On the data docket. Federal Reserve President Williams and Governor Brainard are due to make remarks, as is Bank of England Governor Bailey.

9. We spoke to Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham, who called the dot-com bubble and the 2008 financial crisis. He told us how 4 indicators have lined up for what could be 'the biggest loss of perceived value from assets that we have ever seen.'

10. Bank of America is looking both for companies best-placed to address the global chip shortage. The firm says to buy these 7 semiconductor stocks that are well-positioned to either benefit, or profit in spite of it.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Republicans like Ted Cruz and Stephen Miller are cheering on Andrew Yang after he posted a pro-Israel tweet amid violent clashes with Palestinians

Andrew Yang
The Democratic mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.
  • Israel and Hamas exchanged fire amid new clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police.
  • The Democrat Andrew Yang weighed in on the issue, tweeting his support for Israel on Monday night.
  • Yang's comments got support from Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz, Meghan McCain, and Stephen Miller.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Andrew Yang tweeted in support of Israel amid the country's latest unrest with Palestinians on Monday, provoking anger from fellow liberals and support from top Republicans.

Yang, a Democrat who is running to be mayor of New York City, tweeted late Monday that he was "standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks" and condemned "Hamas terrorists," referring to the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.

"The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere," Yang tweeted.

Many found Yang's pro-Israel statement distasteful, including the comedian David Cross, who tweeted "nope" in response.

The US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning also tweeted: "Yikes."

Bishop Talbert Swan, president of the Springfield, Massachusetts, chapter of the NAACP, said: "The systemic oppression, institutional discrimination, and violent persecution of Palestinians are crimes against humanity. It is wicked, evil, and inhumane."

The hashtag #YangSupportsGenocide also trended overnight.

But Yang's tweet also earned him praise from Republicans, who traditionally support a strong relationship between the US and Israel.

"Bravo to Yang for opposing the rabidly pro-Hamas & anti-Israel attacks from fellow Dems Omar & Tlaib," Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted in response to Yang's tweet, referring to the progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who have both voiced support for Palestinians amid the renewed violence.

Stephen Miller, who worked as a senior advisor to former President Donald Trump, tweeted that Yang was "exactly right," while Meghan McCain retweeted Yang's tweet with the hashtag "#YANGGANG."

The latest clashes between the Israelis and the Palestinians date back to the start of Ramadan last month, when Israel moved to block some Palestinian gatherings.

In the ensuing weeks, there have been regular fights between the Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and around Jerusalem's Old City.

Fire billow from Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, Gaza.
Fire from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Tuesday.

The violence escalated to cross-border fire exchanges on Monday, with Hamas firing more than 200 rockets into Israel, and Israel conducting airstrikes on Gaza in response.

According to the Associated Press, 24 Palestinians - including nine children - have been killed in the Gaza airstrikes since sundown Monday, and six Israeli civilians were injured when one of the Hamas rockets hit an apartment building across the border.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tesla has scrapped plans to expand its Shanghai Model 3 factory, and will slow production in China because of US-Beijing tensions, according to a report

Tesla Shanghai
Elon Musk walks with former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong in 2019
  • Tesla has stopped a planned expansion of its Shanghai plant, sources told Reuters.
  • Tesla will slow production in China because of tensions between the China and US, they said.
  • The expanded Shanghai plant would have allowed Tesla to produce 200,000 extra vehicles, they said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Tesla no longer intends to buy land to increase capacity at its Shanghai factory, Reuters reported.

Tesla also plans a general slowdown in China-based production despite soaring revenues in the country, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The electric-car maker was expected to bid on a plot of land next to its Shanghai factory, but did not make a bid, the sources said. The plot was about about half the size of its current 80-hectare facility, they said.

Tesla has never publicly said it wanted to buy the plot of land. The company told Reuters its Shanghai plant was "developing as planned."

Local media reports showed construction next to Tesla's Shanghai plant last month.

The facility makes 450,000 Model 3 and Model Y cars every year, and with the extra space Tesla could have made an extra 200,000 vehicles, the sources said.

Tesla sells its China-made Model 3 cars in Europe, and had considered exporting to more markets including the US, sources said.

The company has now decided to slow down its China output due, in part, to an extra 25% tariff on China-made vehicles imported into the US introduced by former President Donald Trump in 2018, sources told Reuters.

The company made $3 billion in revenue in China in its first quarter, or 30% of its total revenue, but faces a potential regulatory clampdown from state authorities.

Chinese regulators met with Tesla representatives in February after a series of customer complaints about the safety of its vehicles. Since October, the automaker has recalled nearly 85,000 vehicles in China for suspension failures and problems with their touchscreen.

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4 coronavirus variants can make people sicker or spread faster, including the variant first found in India. Here's why experts are so concerned about mutant strains.

people wearing masks coronavirus US
People wearing masks in Del Mar, California.
  • There are four coronavirus variants that experts around the world are particularly worried about.
  • These variants were first identified in South Africa, the UK, Brazil, and India respectively.
  • Others coronavirus variants have concerning features, but it's not yet clear they're more dangerous.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Several coronavirus variants have evolved mutations that mean they spread more easily, make people sicker, escape immune responses, evade tests, or render treatments ineffective.

These are called "variants of concern" by the World Health Organization, and there are four that have spread to the US, including the variant first found in India.

There are various other variants that may have troubling features, which experts are looking into. These are called "variants under investigation."

They differ from the original virus strain in a number of key ways.

Variants of concern

B.1.1.7, first found in the UK

coronavirus hospital UK
A nurse works on a patient in the ICU in London hospital, UK on January 7, 2020.

B.1.1.7 was first detected in two people in south-east England. It was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 14.

It has been identified in 123 countries worldwide, including the US, where there are more than 20,000 reported cases, according to the CDC. It became the most common variant in the US on April 7. Tennessee has the highest proportion of B.1.1.7 cases of any state, accounting for 73% of sequenced cases.

B.1.1.7 is between 30% to 50% better at spreading from person to person than other coronavirus variants, according to UK scientists.

B.1.1.7 could be more deadly, but we don't know for sure

B.1.1.7 could be more deadly. The UK government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) reported a model on January 21 that showed someone infected with B.1.1.7 is 30% to 40% more likely to die than someone with a different variant.

Community-based studies in England, Scotland and Denmark showed that infection with B.1.1.7 in the community causes a higher risk of severe disease requiring hospital treatment and death.

But there is a lot of uncertainty around the numbers. Two studies published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases and the Lancet Public Health on April 13 indicated that B.1.1.7 was more infectious, but didn't cause worse illness in hospitalized patients.

COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca all appear to protect against B.1.1.7.

B.1.351, first identified in South Africa

COVID-19, South Africa
Health worker Vuyiseka Mathambo takes a nasal swab from a patient to test for COVID-19 at a Masiphumelele community centre in Cape Town, South Africa on July 23, 2020.

B.1.351 was first detected in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, in samples dating back to the beginning of October 2020. It was reported to the WHO on December 18.

It has been found in 84 countries, including the US, where there are 453 cases reported across 36 states and jurisdictions according to the CDC

B.1.351 is thought to be 50% more contagious than the original strain, according to South African health officials.

It's not thought to be more deadly. But there is evidence from South Africa that when hospitals came under pressure because of the variant's spread, the risk of death increased.

B.1.351 may evade the body's immune response

The variant may evade the body's immune response, data suggests. Antibodies work best when they attach snugly to the virus and stop it from entering our cells. The B.1.351 variant has mutations called E484K and K417N at the site where antibodies latch on. In early lab tests, antibodies produced by Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines couldn't attach as well to B.1.351, compared to the original coronavirus.

In a real-world Qatari study reported on May 6, Pfizer's vaccine was 75% effective at preventing infection of varying severity caused by the variant first found in South Africa, called B.1.351, after two doses.

And another real-world study from Israel published on April 10 suggested that Pfizer's vaccine provided less protection against B.1.351 than the original coronavirus. But it was focused on those who have already tested positive for the virus, not total infection rates, so we can't draw firm conclusions.

Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine was 64% effective at preventing COVID-19 in trials in South Africa, where 95% infections are caused by B.1.351, and 72% effective in the US, where B.1.351 accounts for less than 1% of sequenced coronavirus tests.

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine didn't prevent mild to moderate disease caused by B.1.351 in a trial, and we don't yet know if AstraZeneca's shot still protects against severe illness caused by the variant.

It is unlikely that vaccines will become completely useless against the variant. Existing vaccines could be updated and tailored to a new variant within weeks or months, or you may require a booster shot.

P.1, first identified in Brazil, which is twice as contagious

brazil coronavirus
A COVID-19 patient is rushed into a hospital in Brasilia, Brazil on January 11, 2021.

The variant found in Brazil was first detected in four people in Japan, who had traveled from Brazil on January 2. It was identified by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases on January 6, and reported to the WHO that weekend.

It has been found in 45 countries worldwide, including the US, where there have been 497 cases in 31 states, according to the CDC

P.1 is twice as contagious as the original coronavirus - it was initially detected in Amazonas, north-west Brazil, on December 4, and by January 21, 91% of people with COVID-19 in the region were infected with P.1, according to the WHO.

P.1 has similar E484K and K417T mutations as B.1.351, which means it can evade antibody responses.

This could be the reason P.1 reinfects people who have already caught coronavirus - a study published April 14 showed that previous coronavirus infection only offered between 54% and 79% of the protection for P.1 than for other virus strains.

P.1's mutations could also mean that vaccines work less well.

COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca work against P.1. Moderna's hasn't been tested. Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine was 68% effective in trials in Brazil, where the variant is the most common strain, compared with its 72% efficacy in the US, where P.1 at the time accounted for 0.1% of sequenced coronavirus tests.

B.1.617, first identified in India

india coronavirus
Mumbai Police personnel are tested for the coronavirus on October 15, 2020.

The variant first found in India, B.1.617, is in fact three distinct viruses. Collectively, they have spread to more than 17 countries, according to the WHO. All three have been detected in the US, according to GISAID.

The WHO and UK have designated it a "variant of concern" because it's more infectious than the original virus.

B.1.617 remains a "variant of interest," according to the CDC.

Its mutations include:

  • L52R: May make the virus more infectious or it may avoid the antibody response.
  • P6814: May make it more infectious.
  • E848Q: May help the virus avoid the antibody response.

No studies to date have found that any of the variants first found in India are deadlier than earlier versions of the virus, or that it can evade vaccines.

Variants under investigation

B.1.427/B.1.429, first identified in California

pfizer covid 19 vaccine distribution
Medical assistant April Massaro gives a first dose of Pfizer BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to nurse Alice Fallago at Desert Valley Hospital on Thursday, December 17, 2020 in Victorville, California.

The variant first found in California consists of two slightly different mutated forms of the virus, called B.1.427 and B.1.429. It is also called CAL.20C, using another naming system. It was first found in California in July and has now been detected across the US and elsewhere, including in Australia, Denmark, Mexico, and Taiwan, according to the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID).

B.1.427/B1.429 are estimated to be about 20% more infectious than the original coronavirus. This is likely because of a mutation called L452R mutation, which in early lab studies was shown to help the virus infect cells.

COVID-19 vaccines haven't yet been tested against this variant specifically. But early lab experiments showed that antibodies produced by previous COVID-19 infections worked only half as well against the variant as they did with the original coronavirus strain.

The CDC considers B.1.426/B1.429 a "variant of concern", which means the CDC experts consider that there's enough evidence that its mutations change its behavior. It remains a "variant under investigation" according to the WHO.

Read more: COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: AstraZeneca's shot proves safe and effective, and is headed to the FDA

B.1.526/ B.1.525, first identified in New York

covid scientist lab coronavirus testing samples
Scientists work in a lab testing COVID-19 samples at New York City's health department, April 23, 2020.

These two variants were detected in New York in late 2020. They are "variants of interest" because they have mutations that could evade antibody responses. B.1.525 accounts for less than 0.5% of sequenced coronavirus tests in the US, according to the CDC.

B.1.526, first identified in New York

These two variants were detected in New York in late 2020. They are "variants of interest" because they have mutations that may evade antibody responses. B.1.526 accounts for under 9% of sequenced coronavirus tests in the US, according to the CDC.

P.2, first identified in Brazil

P.2 was first detected in Brazil in April 2020. It's a "variant of interest" because it has the E484K mutation that may mean it evades antibody responses. Less than 0.2% of sequenced coronavirus tests in the US are P.2, according to the CDC.

P.3, first identified in the Philippines

P.3 was first detected in the Philippines in February. P.3 has the E484K mutation that may mean it evades the immune response. P.3 hasn't yet been detected in the US.

B.1.525, first found in UK and Nigeria

B.1.525 was first found in the UK and Nigeria in December 2020. It has the E484K mutation that may mean it evades the antibody response. Less than 0.5% of sequenced coronavirus tests in the US, according to the CDC.

B.1.617, first found in France

B.1.617 was first found in France in January. It hasn't been detected in any other countries. It may have mutations that mean it can evade tests.

Human behavior can help stop them spreading

AOC Elbow bump Houston Food Bank February 20201.JPG
Ocasio-Cortez elbow bumps a volunteer at the Houston Food Bank.

The WHO has said that everyone should double down on precautions that stop the spread of variants, such as social distancing, hand-washing, mask wearing, and avoiding crowds.

"Human behavior has a very large effect on transmission - probably much larger than any biological differences in SARS-CoV-2 variants," Paul Bieniasz, a virologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, told Insider.

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Top Stories this AM: Bodies on the banks of the Ganges; Cheney's unlikely ally; a tiger on the lam in Houston


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:

That's all for now. See you tomorrow.

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Top economist Mohamed El-Erian warns of a jobless recovery - and recommends investors ride the liquidity wave

Mohamed El-Erian
Mohamed El-Erian.
  • Mohamed El-Erian warned the US economy could rebound without a jobs recovery.
  • The Allianz economist suggested workers might lack the skills employers want.
  • El-Erian predicted an "everything rally" and advised investors not to cash out.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Leading economist Mohamed El-Erian raised the prospect of a jobless recovery and advised investors to hold their nerve in a CNBC interview this week.

Pointing to the disappointing US employment data last week, Allianz's chief economic adviser questioned whether workers have the necessary skills to fill the jobs available. Employers may have embraced new technologies such as AI, robotics, and automation faster than the labor market, he added.

"That's the biggest fear we have because what we don't want is a jobless recovery," El-Erian said. "There's a massive question mark as to how many will actually be able to get jobs again, or be willing to get jobs again."

He cited improved unemployment benefits, insufficient childcare, and school closures as other potential drivers of the weak jobs data. If people are earning more by staying home instead of working, and if parents can't leave their kids at daycare or at school, they might not be filling the jobs available.

El-Erian also recommended investors resist the urge to cash out as inflation fears and signs of market excess mount. "You will get the everything rally," he predicted, arguing that monetary and fiscal stimulus will continue pumping liquidity into markets and boosting asset prices in the weeks to come.

"Leon Cooperman captured it really well: "Even if you're worried about the world, you want to be a fully invested bear,'" he added, referring to the billionaire investor's current stance on markets.

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Police issue an arrest warrant for a YouTuber who got into SpaceX's Texas launch site and filmed the Starship rocket

Elon Musk Starship
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk next to a Starship rocket prototype.
  • Police have issued an arrest warrant for a YouTuber who got into a SpaceX facility in South Texas in March.
  • Caesar L. Galaviz filmed himself walking around the SpaceX launch site, and got close to the Starship SN11 rocket.
  • The sheriff of Cameron County said an arrest warrant has been issued for Galaviz.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Police are looking for a YouTube creator who entered SpaceX's launch site in South Texas and filmed close-up videos of SpaceX's SN11 Starship rocket.

In late March, Caesar L. Galaviz got into the Boca Chica base of Elon Musk's aerospace company without any security stopping him. He filmed himself wandering around the launch site and walking underneath the 16-story-tall prototype Starship. He then uploaded the video to his YouTube channel, which is called Loco VlogS.

Sheriff Eric Garza of Cameron County tweeted on Monday that police had issued an arrest warrant for Galaviz "for intentionally going onto the SpaceX property without their consent."

Garza said Galaviz's last known location was Conroe, Texas.

Galaviz recorded videos with the Starship prototype days before it burst into flames when landing during a test flight. The rocket was on stilts, so Galaviz couldn't touch it.

This was the fourth Starship rocket to explode - but SpaceX's most recent Starship test, on May 5, was successful.

Galaviz later deleted the video, which got five likes and 100 dislikes, but another YouTube account reuploaded the recording on March 31.

Galaviz posted an apology video on April 1, saying his actions were "wrong" and "illegal."

"In my eyes, in that time of moment, I didn't really think about that," he said.

Galaviz told Insider in April that he entered the premises because he thought it would make a good video for his YouTube subscribers. "I hope that the SpaceX community can forgive me for my actions," he said.

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US officials believe Russia may be behind the suspected directed-energy attacks that are getting government employees sick around the world, report says

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • The US has been probing suspected directed-energy attacks on government employees, Politico reported.
  • Sources told Politico that investigators were looking into Russia's GRU as a potential suspect.
  • Victims reportedly have the same symptoms that US officials in Cuba and China experienced in 2016.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

US officials believe that Russia may be behind the suspected directed-energy attacks on US government employees around the world, Politico's Lara Seligman and Andrew Desiderio reported.

Three current and former officials told Politico that US officials suspect the GRU, Russia's foreign intelligence agency. The report added, however, that the investigators do not have a smoking gun tying the suspected attacks to Russia.

A congressional official who was briefed on the issue told Politico that US officials had told lawmakers that the investigation into the suspected attacks was expanding, and that it was focused on whether the GRU was involved.

CIA Director William Burns is also receiving daily briefings on the investigation, Politico reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The suspected attacks have affected US personnel at embassies around the world, Politico reported.

Politico previously reported that officials were investigating a suspected attack on federal government personnel in Miami last year, as well two suspected attacks on National Security Council officials: One who was walking near the White House, and another in Virginia.

The victims have the symptoms of what has been dubbed the "Havana syndrome" - a mysterious set of unexplained symptoms that suddenly struck US officials in Cuba and China in 2016, Politico reported.

US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba started hearing strange sounds and reporting symptoms like nerve damage and headaches. Doctors said they were caused by mild traumatic brain injuries.

US officials in China and Russia have reported similar symptoms. Studies have pointed to microwave radiation as the main suspect.

A spokesperson for Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told Politico that the US intelligence community has "no definitive information about the cause of these incidents" and has not concluded whether a foreign entity was responsible.

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The Pentagon may axe its $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing contract with Microsoft because of endless litigation from Amazon, a report says

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella next to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • The Pentagon may pull its $10 billion cloud-computing JEDI defense contract with Microsoft, the WSJ reported.
  • The contract has been swamped with litigation from Amazon since Microsoft was awarded it in 2019.
  • The contract was to store and manage sensitive military and defense data.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Officials at the Pentagon are reportedly considering ending the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract it has with Microsoft in light of endless litigation from Amazon, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In October 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded Microsoft its JEDI contract, valued at up to $10 billion, to store and manage sensitive military and defense data.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud arm of Amazon which sought the contract for itself, has challenged the decision ever since, alleging political intervention from former President Donald Trump.

"We are going to have to assess where we are in regards to the ongoing litigation and determine what the best path forward is for the department," deputy Pentagon press secretary Jamal Brown told the Associated Press on Monday.

A Pentagon report to Congress on January 28 said another AWS win in court could delay the implementation of the JEDI program for even longer, per the Journal.

Read more: Someone pretending to be a Microsoft employee filed a fake complaint about the $10 billion JEDI cloud deal Amazon claims it deserves

"The prospect of such a lengthy litigation process might bring the future of the JEDI Cloud procurement into question," the report said.

AWS first filed a protest against Microsoft's victory in the battle for the contract in November 2019. The company alleged that President Donald Trump improperly influenced the Pentagon to stop the contract being awarded to Amazon because of his feud with its CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.

Trump had previously accused Bezos of letting the Post publish what he considered to be unfavorable coverage of his administration.

Last month, the Pentagon tried to dismiss Amazon's challenge of the contract award, but it failed.

JEDI contract should involve more companies

Lawmakers and government-contracting experts told the Journal that the JEDI contract should be pulled because having a single company, such as Microsoft, controlling the program was an insufficient and outdated model.

They told the Journal the DoD should include multiple companies in the contract, which would reduce the chance of legal battles from excluded companies.

Microsoft said in a statement to the Journal: "We agree with the US [government] that prolonged litigation is harmful and has delayed getting this technology to our military service members who need it.

"We stand ready to support the Defense Department to deliver on JEDI and other mission critical DoD projects."

Amazon did not comment for the Journal's report.

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Restaurants are betting on to-go alcohol as business picks back up, but experts say competing with liquor stores won't be easy

Aperol spritz to go
  • More than 30 states allowed alcohol takeout and delivery during the pandemic.
  • Off-premise alcohol sales were a lifeline for restaurants, and many want to keep it around.
  • Experts say restaurants have to differentiate offerings from liquor stores.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Takeout and delivery alcohol sales have been a lifeline for restaurants during the past year, and the industry is hoping they'll be allowed to continue - but experts told Insider that competing with liquor stores while still turning a profit is easier said than done.

As the pandemic for restaurants to close dining rooms and limit capacity, more than 30 states allowed bars and restaurants to sell alcohol to go in an effort to stay afloat. Exact numbers for alcohol sales in the industry aren't available, but restaurants typically aim to make 30% of revenue from alcohol sales.

The National Restaurant Association, which has more than 40,000 members including McDonald's and Darden Restaurants, says that off-premise alcohol sales have helped restaurants stay in business.

"For restaurants, the road to recovery is going to be a long one," Mike Whatley, vice president of state and local affairs, said. "Expanded off-premise alcohol regulations are one of several policies restaurant operators will need going forward."

Read more: A battle is brewing over the industry push to make booze-to-go permanent in the US. Public-health groups fear they're losing the fight.

Many large chains embraced the new rules and capitalized on alcohol sales to make up for the pandemic slump. Applebees, known for promoting $1 cocktail deals pre-pandemic, sells nearly a dozen different to-go cocktails now at some locations. Though the company declined to share sales data with Insider, it will continue to sell to-go alcohol "as long as it's something our guests want and is profitable for our franchisees," Patrick Kirk, vice president of beverage innovation, told Insider.

While the majority of states allowed to-go alcohol under some circumstances over the past year, laws vary by locales, and Applebees franchisees were able to offer different drinks depending on their circumstances. Bulk beverage containers and cocktail kits were two of the most popular options at Applebees and other restaurants across the country.

Applebees to go cocktails

Alcohol sales were up across the board last, and not just at restaurants. Overall sales, not including restaurant sales, were up nearly 25% in 2020, according to NPR. Delivery apps like Drizly and Saucey also benefitted from the loosened restrictions.

Even restaurants that didn't previously sell alcohol are getting in on it. Buffet chain Golden Corral was hit especially hard by restaurant closures and is now working with Icee and Coca-Cola to sell frozen drinks like a Jack and Coke Icee to help attract younger customers.

Though alcohol sales helped restaurants survive over the past year, they might not be a tenable way forward.

They're still a small piece of most restaurants' businesses, analyst Mark Kalinowski told Insider. And there are some clear challenges: it tends to be cheaper for customers to just go to a liquor store, he said. "It's a competitive business and highly fragmented even with restaurant closures."

To stay competitive, restaurants will need to show that they're valuable as one-stop shops for food and alcohol. They will have to focus on signature cocktail mixes or already mixed beverages to provide something that liquor stores don't.

So far, Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Georgia all have laws in the works that would extend the pandemic-era rules.

"Laws that made sense pre-pandemic don't necessarily make sense now," Kalinowski said.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Victoria's Secret is no longer up for sale. Instead, owner L Brands will spin off the lingerie giant into a separate company.

Victoria Secret
Victoria's Secret has updated its image.
  • L Brands is spinning off its Victoria's Secret brand rather than selling it.
  • The move will split L Brands into two separate companies, L Brands confirmed in a statement.
  • L Brands had been looking for a buyer for Victoria's Secret after a deal fell through last year.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Victoria's Secret is not up for sale anymore, The New York Times first reported.

Victoria's Secret owner L Brands will instead spin off the lingerie brand, The Times reported. L Brands confirmed the news in a statement Tuesday morning.

This will split L Brands into two separate companies. The deal is expected to close in August, sources told The Times.

Read more: The rise and fall of Victoria's Secret, America's biggest lingerie retailer

L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, has been on the hunt for a new buyer for Victoria's Secret since a deal with private equity firm Sycamore Partners fell through in 2020.

Sycamore pulled out of the deal after filing a lawsuit that accused L Brands of violating an agreement between the two companies by closing Victoria's Secret stores during the pandemic, cutting back on new inventory, and not paying rent for April.

L Brands later said the decision to split was mutual.

Since then, Victoria's Secret has made a comeback under new leadership, and as a result, L Brands was seeking a higher valuation for the company than it had before. L Brands CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer previously told Bloomberg that analysts had valued the business at as much as $5 billion.

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Trump will lead the Republicans and his critics will be 'erased,' says Lindsey Graham

lindsey graham donald trump
Sen. Lindsey Graham has warned former President Donald Trump that attacking his rivals won't help secure future election victories.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was "impossible" for the Republican Party to progress without Donald Trump being its leader.
  • He said those within the party who criticized him would "wind up getting erased."
  • GOP lawmakers are battling over Trump's future role within the party.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was "impossible" for the Republican Party to progress without Donald Trump being its leader and said those within the party who criticized him would "wind up getting erased."

"The most popular Republican in America is not Lindsey Graham, it's not Liz Cheney, it's Donald Trump," Graham told Fox News on Monday.

"People on our side of the aisle believe that Trump policies worked, they're disappointed that he lost. And to try and erase Donald Trump from the Republican Party is insane. And the people who try to erase him are going to wind up getting erased."

"It's impossible for this party to move forward without President Trump being its leader because the people who are conservative have chosen him as their leader," Graham told Fox News on Monday.

"He was the most consequential president for national security since Ronald Reagan ... The people have chosen him, not the pundits," he said.

Graham's comments come as GOP lawmakers continue to argue over the extent to which Trump should continue to play a formative role within the party. Some senior Republican figures including Sen. Graham have suggested that Trump and his politics are integral to the party.

He last week suggested the party "can't grow" without the support of the former president.

Others including Rep. Liz Cheney, have led criticism of the former president since he was accused of inciting the Capitol riot on January 6.

Trump, who has suggested he would like to run again as the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has sought to maintain a tight grip as the party's de facto leader.

He continues to endorse candidates who pledge loyalty to him and advance his favored policies, and repeatedly attacks his Republican critics, including Cheney.

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Some Mike Lindell fans reportedly stood in line for 7 hours to watch his rally at the Corn Palace - but when the event started, the venue was half-empty

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.
  • Mike Lindell held a rally in South Dakota Monday to speak about his voter-fraud website Frank.
  • The Dickinson Press reported that guests stood in line for hours - but the venue was only half-full.
  • Ben Carson and Eric Metaxas spoke at the event, while Joe Piscopo performed a music set.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Supporters of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell stood in line for hours to attend his rally in South Dakota on Monday - but the Corn Palace venue was only half-full for the event.

Lindell held the rally to launch "Frank," the website he billed as a social-media site, but is so far a one-way platform for him to spread baseless allegations of voter fraud.

Photos shared on Twitter show lines snaking around the Corn Palace in Mitchell. The Dickinson Press reported that some people stood in line for up to seven hours for the free event, which let people in on a first-come, first-served basis.

Some guests said they came from neighboring states, including Minnesota and Nebraska, while others came from as far away as Texas, the publication reported.

Corn Palace Director Doug Greenway told Insider's Kevin Shalvey that he had fielded calls from dozens of people interested in attending the event.

The venue fits about 3,000 people, and photos on Twitter suggest that it was around half full for the event.

Lindell, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has repeatedly pushed disproven voter-fraud conspiracy theories about the presidential election, leading to voting-machine company Dominion suing him for $1.3 billion.

Some attendees at Monday's event brought along Trump merchandise, including hats and flags. Salon.com's Zachary Petrizzo reported that a group of far-right Proud Boy members attended, citing a source at the event.

The event featured talks from Ben Carson, Trump's secretary of housing and urban development, who joined on video call, and conservative podcaster Eric Metaxas. Comedian Joe Piscopo of "Saturday Night Live" fame performed a music set, which included the national anthem.

This was followed by a 90-minute speech from Lindell, who spread voter-fraud theories, including claims that Trump got 80 million votes in the 2020 presidential election, per Newsweek. The Federal Election Commission says that Trump got just over 72 million votes.

Read more: The MyPillow guy says God helped him beat a crack addiction to build a multimillion-dollar empire. Now his religious devotion to Trump threatens to bring it all crashing down.

Attendees received a free copy of both Lindell's autobiography and his self-made film "Absolute Proof," which alleges fraud in the 2020 election.

Mitchell has a population of around 15,000, but Lindell said he chose the location partially because of the South Dakota GOP governor's resistance to COVID-19 lockdown measures.

His Corn Palace rally was sandwiched between a Dakota Wesleyan University graduation ceremony and an event by the American Corn Hole Association.

Frank failed to fully launch

Lindell announced plans to launch his own social-media site in March after Twitter banned him and billed the site as a "YouTube-Twitter combination."

But it was hit by multiple delays, technical problems, and what Lindell claimed was "the biggest attack ever" before Frank ultimately launched as a one-way channel in April.

The site features videos and articles, many written by Lindell himself, that largely focus on voter-fraud conspiracy theories. Some also spread misinformation about the coronavirus, with one article calling vaccines "a deadly depopulation bioweapon."

Lindell regularly livestreams from the site, hosting other right-wing personalities.

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A NASA probe successfully collected 2 oz. of space rock from a distant asteroid and is blasting its way back to Earth

OSIRIS REx collection
An artist rendering of OSIRIS-REx collecting samples from the surface of an asteroid.
  • A NASA spacecraft carrying samples from an asteroid began a journey back to Earth on Monday.
  • OSIRIS-REx is carrying a 2 oz. sample from the surface of an asteroid called Bennu.
  • It is the largest sample collected since the Apollo moon missions. It's due to arrive in 2023.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A spacecraft carrying around 2 ounces of dust from the surface of an asteroid is on its way back to Earth.

The spacecraft, called OSIRIS-REx, launched its thrusters for 7 minutes on Monday to leave the asteroid Bennu, NASA said in a statement on Monday.

The probe had collected 60 grams, or about 2 ounces, of carbon-rich space dust, NASA said.

This is the largest sample collected since the manned Apollo missions to the Moon, the BBC reported.

A video from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, shows what the next steps are for the spacecraft:

If all goes to plan, the spacecraft should circle the sun twice before it comes close to Earth.

OSIRIS-REx return to Earth from Bennu
OSIRIS-REx should circle the Sun twice before approaching Earth, NASA said.

Once it is within 6,000 miles of Earth, a capsule carrying the samples should be released.

NASA expects the sample will land in the desert in Utah on September 24, 2023.

OSIRIS-REx was launched almost five years ago. It is the first mission NASA has sent to collect samples from an asteroid, CNN reported.

Its main purpose was to confirm whether measurements made from Earth were accurate, NASA said in a statement.

Information such as this could be a stepping stone for future space missions going into deeper space.

OSIRIS-REx first got close to Bennu in 2018. Before collecting the samples, it circled the asteroid, collecting information and planning where to land.

The 20 ft. long, 8 ft. wide probe is also carrying tools, such as spectrometers and a camera, which took measurements of the asteroid's surface.

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An image of the asteroid Bennu was snapped by OSIRIS-REx from a 15 miles away on December 2, 2018.

These measurements have already confirmed predictions from NASA that the asteroid's carbon-rich soil contained oxygen and hydrogen molecules.

This suggests that Bennu might have interacted with water at some point.

The scientists were surprised to see, when the probe got closer, that the asteroid's surface was not smooth, as they had predicted, but instead was littered with boulders.

This made the descent to the asteroid more tricky.

It finally touched down on Bennu on Oct 20, 2020. The collection arm shot out nitrogen, which disturbed the asteroid's surface to bring the sample into the collection chamber, Insider's Morgan McFall-Johnsen reported.

A schematic shows how the collection arm shot nitrogen into the asteroid's surface to collect soil samples.

Onboard cameras showed how it sucked up dust from the asteroid's surface to store it in a container.

Read the original article on Business Insider

One of London's most iconic luxury department stores, Selfridges, is hosting in-store mini weddings for $9,000

GettyImages 1217149221
A couple cuts their wedding cake.
  • London's iconic department store, Selfridges, is hosting mini wedding ceremonies in its store.
  • Each ceremony costs more than $9,000, and can include a private DJ set and film screenings.
  • Couples can choose from three different packages that vary in extravagance.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Couples now can wed in one of London's most iconic luxury department stores.

Selfridges, founded more than 100 years ago, announced Tuesday that it had got a wedding license to host ceremonies in its Oxford Street store.

Couples can choose from three different packages, varying in extravagance, which start at $9,000 for a ceremony with four guests hosted in its wedding suite on the fourth floor of the London store.

Alongside the ceremony, this package includes hair and makeup, a three-course breakfast hamper, and a film screening of the couple's choice in a private cinema room.

Read more: How Kleinfeld bridal shop is prepping for the busiest wedding season ever, full of eager brides and 'Gatsby'-era dresses

A spokesperson for Selfridges would not confirm to Insider how much the other, more expensive packages cost. These packages cater for up to 20 guests and can include a 4-hour DJ set or a private dining room in the store. The spokesperson said each package would be tailored to the couple and would therefore vary in price.

All of the weddings will take place in its wedding suite, allowing for only one wedding at a time. The spokesperson told Insider that couples can choose to get married any day of the week.

After months of lockdown leading to postponed events and cancellations, many couples are eager to tie the knot.

The company has been trialing ways to bring shoppers back to its stores and keep brick-and-mortar retail relevant. Last month, it also partnered with spinning studio SoulCycle to offer a class outside its store.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ever Given insurers say Egypt's $600 million claim is still too much, as authorities continue to impound the ship

ever given suez canal
The Ever Given on March 27 2021, when it was still stuck in the Suez Canal.
  • The Ever Given's insurers rejected a new, lower damages claim from Egypt.
  • Egypt was seeking $916 million for the blockage of the Suez Canal, then dropped it to $600 million.
  • Egypt is impounding the ship while the legal battle is underway.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The insurer of the Ever Given has said that Egypt's reduced $600 million compensation demand is still too high.

The Ever Given ran aground in Egypt's Suez Canal in March, blocking the crucial waterway for six days.

A few days after the ship was freed, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) impounded the ship and its cargo and lodged a compensation claim of $916 million.

The massive container ship had spent 44 days idle as of Tuesday. It is impounded in the Great Bitter Lake, a body of water roughly 30 miles from where it first got stuck.

ever given great bitter lake suez egypt
The Ever Given anchored in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake on March 30, 2021.

Egypt said its initial $916 million claim covered "loss of reputation," a $300 million salvage bonus, and other costs it incurred.

But the UK Club, an insurance entity which represents the ship's Japanese owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha, said that claim was overblown.

That view was also reflected by industry insiders, Lloyd's List reported at the time.

On Friday, SCA head Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie told local media that Egypt had reduced its compensation claim to $600 million.

The UK Club responded Monday saying in a statement: "The Ever Given's owners still have not been provided with evidence that would support a claim of this size, which remains exceptionally large."

It also said that the SCA's claim filed in court didn't show a reduced amount of money.

"The Ever Given's interests continue to negotiate in good faith with the SCA," the insurer said.

osama rabie suez canal authority
Lt. Gen. Osama Rabie, chair of the Suez Canal Authority, on April 6, 2021.

The insurer said in a release last week that it had previously made a "carefully considered and generous offer," that the SCA had rejected. It did not specify the amount.

Unnamed SCA sources told Reuters that an Egyptian economic court is due to meet to consider the SCA's claim on May 22. The canal is a major source of income for the country, as well as a source of national pride.

In the meantime, most of the vessel's crew are still on board. Several have been allowed to leave, but the SCA said that a minimum crew is necessary to keep the ship safe while it is impounded.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Children ages 12 to 15 could start getting Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as soon as Thursday, FDA official says

Coronavirus vaccine
A pharmacist preparing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
  • US children as young as 12 could get COVID-19 vaccines as soon as Thursday, an FDA official said.
  • The FDA authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for 12- to 15-year-olds on Monday.
  • The CDC is expected to rule on the shot Wednesday, meaning vaccinations could start Thursday.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Children ages 12 to 15 could be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine as early as Thursday, a US Food and Drug Administration official said.

The FDA on Monday expanded the emergency authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 shot to include 12- to 15-year-olds, after first authorizing it for people ages 16 and older in late 2020.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now needs to sign off of the expansion before the younger age groups can get the vaccine.

The CDC is meeting to discuss this Wednesday.

Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told reporters on Monday that if the CDC approves, the vaccine could be given to those children Thursday.

"They could be as soon as Thursday," he said, according to NBC News.

NBC News noted that the expansion would depend on state rules and regulations.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How a daring mission behind enemy lines turned into a disaster for the US's secretive Vietnam-era special operators

Air Force UH-1P Huey helicopter Cambodia
Two US Air Force Bell UH-1P helicopters from the 20th Special Operations Squadron fly into Cambodia, around 1970
  • In May 1967, US special operators and Vietnamese troops went behind enemy lines to take out North Vietnam's top general.
  • The mission led by the secretive MACV-SOG quickly went wrong, and US forces spent days fighting just to keep them alive.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Fifty-four years ago, a group of American and indigenous commandos fought for their very lives in a small, far away valley in one of the boldest special-operations missions of the Vietnam War.

Codenamed Oscar-8, the target was the forward headquarters of the North Vietnamese Army's 559th Transportation Group and its commander, Gen. Vo Bam, located alongside the Ho Chi Minh trail complex, which ran from North Vietnam to South Vietnam and passed through Laos and Cambodia.

US commanders had intelligence that Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, North Vietnam's top general, was visiting the area. A plan was quickly hatched to kill or capture Giap. US commanders gave the mission to a highly secretive special-operations unit.

The secret warriors of a secret war

Vietnam War SOG special operations
A Studies and Observations Group (SOG) team reconnoiters the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.

Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was a highly classified unit that conducted covert operations across the fence in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and North Vietnam.

Successive US administrations claimed American troops didn't operate outside of South Vietnam, so SOG was a tightly kept secret.

It was a standard operating procedure for any commandos who went across the border never to carry anything that could identify them as US service members. Their weapons didn't have serial numbers, and their uniforms didn't have names or ranks.

SOG was composed primarily of Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Reconnaissance Marines, and Air Commandos. They advised and led local forces, from South Vietnamese SEALs to Montagnard tribesmen who had lived there for hundreds of years.

During the Vietnam War, about 3.2 million service members deployed to Southeast Asia in combat or support roles. Of them, 20,000 were Green Berets, and out of those, only 2,000 served in SOG, with only 400 to 600 running recon and direct-action missions across the fence.

Although only the best served in SOG, luck and constant vigilance were necessary to survive. Many seasoned operators died because their luck ran out or because they became complacent.

A bold mission

CH-46 helicopter Khe Sahn
A CH-46 helicopter prepares to pick up a load of supplies at Khe Sanh in South Vietnam, February 22, 1968.

Oscar-8 was a bowl-shaped area in Laos, only about 11 miles from the US Marine base at Khe Sahn in northern South Vietnam. The area was about 600 yards long and 2 miles wide and surrounded by thick jungle.

The mission was given to a "Hatchet Force," a company-size element that specialized in large-scale raids and ambushes. It was composed of a few Special Forces operators and several dozen local Nung mercenary troops, totaling about 100 commandos.

Several B-52 Stratofortress bombers would work the target before the SOG commandos landed.

The Hatchet Force's mission was to sweep the target area after the B-52 bombers had flattened it, do a battle damage assessment, kill any survivors and destroy any equipment, and capture or kill Giap. The plan was to insert at 7 a.m., one hour after the B-52 run, and be out by 3 p.m.

To support them, SOG headquarters put on standby several Air Force, Marine, and even Navy fixed- and rotary-wing squadrons.

All in all, there were three CH-46 Sea Knights helicopters to ferry in the Hatchet Force, four UH-1 Huey gunships for close air support, two A-1E Skyraider aircraft for close air support, four F-4C Phantom fighter jets for close air support, two H-34 choppers for combat search and rescue, and two forward observer aircraft to coordinate tactical air support.

Disaster at Oscar-8

Oscar 8
A UH-1 Huey gunship flown by the Green Hornets in support of SOG missions.

As the sun began rising, nine B-52 bombers dropped 945 unguided high-explosive bombs, more than 236 tons of munitions, on the North Vietnamese headquarters and the adjoining positions.

Minutes after the B-52s finishing refurbishing the area, a forward air controller flying overhead spotted North Vietnamese troops coming out of the jungle and putting out the fires.

The enemy numbers continued to swell, and it quickly became clear to the seasoned SOG operators who were coordinating the fight from above that the North Vietnamese had largely managed to escape the onslaught from above.

Sgt. Maj. Billy Waugh, a legendary Special Forces operator and later a CIA paramilitary officer, radioed headquarters and advised aborting the inbound Hatchet Force, which was due to touch down 15 minutes after the last B-52 bomber had bombed the target. He was too late.

The first two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters full of men were shot down, as were two UH-1 Huey gunships that were providing close air support. An H-34 chopper attempting a rescue was also shot down.

The SOG force was immediately pinned down and had to take shelter in the bomb craters that pockmarked the area. Only the Hatchet Force's firepower saved them from being overrun by the vastly numerically superior enemy.

Meanwhile, a pair of F-4 Phantom jets came in low to cover the survivors, but they also took heavy anti-aircraft fire, and one fighter was shot down, the pilot going down with his plane.

A pair of A-1E Skyraiders then came in to provide close air support, but they too received overwhelming anti-aircraft fire, and one of them crashed.

Oscar 8
A Green Hornet gunner firing on a target with an M134 mini-gun.

There were about 45 SOG commandos taking cover inside two craters under heavy fire from the enemy on the ground. The American team leader requested napalm and cluster bombs to be dropped within 100 feet of their perimeter.

Meanwhile, another Hatchet Force was quickly assembled to act as a quick reaction force, while aircraft bound for North Vietnam on unrelated were redirected over Oscar-8 to keep the battered SOG commandos alive.

The North Vietnamese continued to fend off or shoot down any aircraft that tried to exfiltrate the SOG commandos, which prevented the quick-reaction force from inserting. But two days of concentrated air attacks against the NVA allowed the Hatchet Force to stay alive, and the commandos were eventually able to exfiltrate.

Twenty-three men from SOG and its supporting air units and about 50 of the indigenous fighters were wounded or killed, went missing, or were captured during the operation.

In addition, two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, one UH-1 gunship, one H-34 transport chopper, one F-4 Phantom jet, and one A-1E Skyraider were shot down.

During the fight, one seriously wounded American, Sgt. First Class Charles Wilklow, was captured by the North Vietnamese, who used him as bait for a rescue force for four days. Wilklow not only managed to survive his wounds but also escaped, getting picked up by a combat search and rescue chopper five days after the battle began.

Oscar-8 was a disaster for SOG. The Hatchet Force failed to achieve any of the mission's goals, and if it weren't for the sheer will and grit of the commandos and the aircrews, it would have been a lot worse.

Indeed, the operation highlights the dangers SOG operators faced on every mission. With the odds always against them, it's miraculous that their successes outweighed their failures.

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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The pandemic spurred a migration away from New York City. But as vaccines rise and restrictions lift, people are returning in droves.

new york city reopening
Pedestrians cross 6th Avenue in New York City in April 2021.
  • People are moving to New York City at higher rates than in 2019, data from Unacast shows.
  • Manhattan and the Bronx are seeing the biggest spikes.
  • Realtors say this is reflected in the real estate market, too, both in sales and rentals.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

There may have been a migration out of New York City during the pandemic, but with vaccinations on the rise and the economy continuing to reopen, residents are returning in droves - more, even, than pre-pandemic levels.

According to location-data firm Unacast, migration to New York is growing twice as fast than in 2019. In January and February 2021, Unacast found that the city grew by 1,900 people - during the same period in 2019, the city shrunk by 7,100 residents.

New York and Bronx counties grew the most this year, adding 21,000 and 2,100 residents, respectively, during January and February.

Kings, Queens, and Richmond counties - which encompass Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island - all showed a shrinking population, though Kings County is experiencing a growing average income, according to Unacast.

Not quite an exodus

Moving Truck
People began moving to lower cost-of-living states during the coronavirus pandemic.

The trend toward people returning to the city began in the third quarter of 2020, Unacast found, following months of New Yorkers departing for other parts of the country.

According to data compiled by Stephan D. Whitaker, an analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, urban neighborhoods saw an average of 276,000 people per month leave the region from March to September 2020, 10,000 more than during the same periods in 2017 through 2019.

In New York City, specifically, Whitaker estimates that the average number of people leaving the city beginning in May 2020 was more than twice as high as the previous three years - Unacast pegged the number of people who left New York in 2020 at 111,000.

Whitaker noted that while "out-migration" from places like New York was certainly high, "in-migration" declined at a higher rate during the pandemic.

"Out-migration did increase in many urban neighborhoods, but the magnitudes probably would not fit most definitions of an exodus," he wrote. "What is certain is that hundreds of thousands of people who would have moved into an urban neighborhood in a typical year were unwilling or unable to do so in 2020. These people may be harder to identify, label, and interview, but they may be best positioned to tell the real story."

'The market has to go back to a New York market'

West Village
The West Village in Manhattan.

The migration back into New York in 2021 is already showing up in real estate sales.

In the first quarter of 2021, real estate firm Corcoran Group reported 3,700 signed contracts, an increase of 58% annually, which it described in its quarterly market report as "the strongest start to any year for signed contracts since 2007, even beating out 2013 by 6%."

Sales in areas like downtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side were up 7% and 15%, respectively, in the first quarter, Corcoran said.

Across the East River in Brooklyn, Corcoran saw the highest number of sales of any quarter since 2007 during the first three months of the year, with over 1,400 buyers signing contracts.

It's not just homebuyers who are putting down roots in New York - renters who left the city are returning too. Jared Goodloe, a realtor with Compass in Brooklyn, told Insider that he's hearing from renters who expect their offices to reopen in August or September and are ready to move back to the city.

They're hoping to take advantage of the glut of inventory that's accumulated during the pandemic - but there could be a hidden downside, Goodloe warned.

"They're moving into these apartments with a lot of concessions in Manhattan, but then not to realize that next year when they go and resign the lease, the rent's going to go back up," he said.

Goodloe said he's seeing that issue arise in Brooklyn as well. He recently had a client who moved into an apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn at a $300 discount, but the property manager for the unit assured him that the rent will shoot back up again next year if she chooses to re-sign her lease.

"Right now, [developers] are like, 'Let's give these people a break. Let's get people back into the city. Let's make the city more attractive again,'" he said. "But some point, I guess the market has to go back to a New York market."

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McDonald's is partnering with the White House to promote the COVID-19 vaccine on McCafé coffee cups

McDonald's coffee cups
  • McDonald's is partnering with the White House to promote a COVID-19 vaccine campaign.
  • From July, McDonald's McCafé cups will be branded with President Biden's "We Can Do This" vaccine slogan.
  • The idea is to educate customers about the vaccine and to encourage vaccine uptake.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

McDonald's coffee cups are about to get a new look.

The fast-food giant is partnering with the White House to promote the "We Can Do This" vaccine campaign, an initiative set up by the Biden administration to educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine, and to encourage people to get a shot.

From July, McDonald's McCafé cups will be branded with this slogan, along with details of where customers can get more information about the vaccine.

"We all want to protect ourselves and our loved ones and be together with our communities again," Genna Gent, McDonald's vice president for global public policy and government relations, said in a statement Tuesday.

"McDonald's is excited to be doing our part for the people we serve, providing them with simple information that can help keep them safe."

McDonald's wide reach should help the government's campaign reach more people. The chain has nearly 14,000 locations across the US.

Vaccine uptake is a major issue for the US government. While millions of Americans have been fully vaccinated, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found many people were not getting the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Insider's Yelena Dzhanova wrote that there could be many reasons for this, including fear of side effects from the second jab, or feeling that one jab would provide enough protection.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Healthcare is Amazon and Walmart's latest battleground



Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I'm Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer, back at the helm of this daily newsletter. Today in healthcare news:

If you're new to this newsletter, sign up here. Comments, tips? Email me at lramsey@insider.com or tweet @lydiaramsey125. Let's get to it...

But first: on Monday evening, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.

It's the first to be authorized for that age group, expanding its use beyond people 16 and up here in the US.

Kids in that age group could get the shot as soon as Thursday, the FDA said.

walmart amazon healthcare initiatives 4x3@144x

Amazon and Walmart are facing off on a new battleground: healthcare

Get the full analysis>>

highest paid drug CEOs 4x3
From left to right: Albert Bourla, Helen Sabzevari, and Giovanni Caforio

Here are the 17 highest-paid drug industry CEOs, including 2 execs who brought in $100 million-plus paydays in 2020

Here are the 17 CEOs who made the most>>

Amazon Pharmacy

Morgan Stanley lays out how Amazon could reshape the way companies provide healthcare

Find out more>>

More stories we're reading:

- Lydia

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Drivers face $3 gas prices after the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, and some gas stations have run out completely

Colonial Pipeline
Trucks line up at a Colonial Pipeline facility.
  • The American Automobile Association said fuel prices could soar after the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.
  • Some gas stations reported running out, and the shortages could hit the aviation industry, too.
  • Average national retail prices for gas rose to $3.05 a gallon last week, according to the EIA.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Gas prices in the US have hit $3 a gallon at gas stations - and experts warn that they could rise further as the US' largest fuel pipeline remains offline following a cyberattack.

Colonial, the largest US refined fuel pipeline operator, reported a cyberattack involving ransomware Saturday that took some systems offline and forced it to temporarily halt operations. The FBI said Monday that DarkSide was behind the attack.

The 5,500 miles of pipeline carry nearly half the fuel consumed by the East Coast.

Some gas stations are now running low on supplies, but the American Automobile Association (AAA) urged drivers against panic buying, advising them to reduce their fuel consumption instead.

The Energy Information Administration said Monday that the average national retail prices rose to $3.05 a gallon last week, the highest since November 2014.

Read more: JPMorgan lays out how to invest in the biggest stock-market beneficiaries of Biden's newly released tax and infrastructure-spending plans - and shares the potential losers to avoid

The AAA forecasted further price hikes following the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.

AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said in a statement that the impacts of the cyberattack would vary regionally. She said that Mississippi, Tennessee, and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are "most likely" to suffer from fuel shortages and price increases, which she said could be between $0.03 and $0.07.

The AAA said that other areas of the country "will see little impact."

Prices at the pump have been rising steadily as the US economy reopens after crashing dramatically last spring, hitting lows of around $1.80 in late April 2020.

Some motorists have been stocking up on fuel amid reports of shortages. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-supply monitoring site GasBuddy, said that this "will make the problem much much more acute and likely double or triple the length of any supply event, if it comes to that."

GasBuddy data late Monday night showed that nearly 7% of gas stations in Virginia had run out of gas.

The fuel shortage is also affecting the aviation industry.

Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, told CNN Business that many major East Coast airports only keep enough jet fuel to last between three and five days. Some, such as Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport, get their fuel directly from the Colonial Pipeline, he added.

American Airlines, meanwhile, added additional stops to two long-haul flights from North Carolina so that the planes could refuel.

Colonial said late Sunday its four mainlines remained offline, but that some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points were operational again. It added Monday that it hoped to restore most operations by the end of the week.

The AAA said other pipelines, alongside the Department of Transportation's temporary hours-of-service exemption for tanker trucks transporting fuels, "will be able to ease the strain, but not resolve the issues caused by the pipeline interruption."

The association added that there could still be delays even after the pipeline is running again, because it takes between 15 and 18 days for fuel to flow from Texas to New York.

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Merriam-Webster plans to auction the NFT of its definition of NFT

A Merriam-Webster dictionary sits atop their citation files for the 2014 word of the year, "culture," at the dictionary publisher's offices in Springfield, Mass. on Dec. 9, 2014.

Merriam-Webster announced that it is planning to auction the NFT of its definition of NFT.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have surged in popularity this year, prompting the publisher's iconic dictionary to officially add the definition Tuesday.

NFTs are digital representations of artwork, sports cards, or other collectibles tied to a blockchain, typically on ethereum.

Merriam-Webster defines NFTs as:

abbreviation or noun
:NON-FUNGIBLE TOKEN: a unique digital identifier that cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided, that is recorded in a blockchain, and that is used to certify authenticity and ownership (as of a specific digital asset and specific rights relating to it)

When people buy NFTs, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain, not the artworks themselves. But the fact that the information on a blockchain is next to impossible to alter makes NFTs appealing, especially to artists and collectors.

"By auctioning the NFT of our definition of 'NFT,' we're offering people a fun way to own a little bit of Merriam-Webster's thought and meaning," Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's editor-at-large, said in a statement.

This auction will be available on OpenSea, the world's largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs, from May 11 to May 14.

The highest bidder will win the NFT, and will also receive a link to their OpenSea profile from the NFT definition page on Merriam-Webster.com.

Proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization Teach For All.

"This project is about establishing NFTs as a medium with lasting value through the permanence of a record in the country's most-trusted dictionary," said Nate Chastain, Head of Product at OpenSea, said in a statement.

The rapid rise of NFTs has caused some to believe the space is in a bubble. Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio told CoinDeskTV in May that he thinks the market for NFTs has become saturated.

Still, evidence shows the craze may be cooling for now. The average price of NFTs has fallen from its highest point in February, and between February and the end of March, prices plunged 70%.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The NHS is launching a 'vaccine passport' on its app for international travel

COVID 19 vaccine
  • The UK's National Health Service is adding a "vaccine passport" to its app.
  • The new service will be used to clear travelers for international trips.
  • The app's new feature will launch on Monday, May 17.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The UK's National Health Service app will be available on Monday to use as a COVID-19 "vaccine passport" for people who want to travel internationally, but only for those who have had both doses of the shot, the government told The Times and The BBC.

Downing Street said the NHS app would be ready on Monday, when the UK's ban on international travel is lifted.

People who don't use smartphones will be able to get paper documents that confirm their vaccine status through calling 119, the government said.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will still have to follow testing regulations and COVID-19 rules for the countries they're traveling to if they want to travel internationally, the government said on its website.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Air Force maintainers got an F-22 flying again a year after it collapsed on the runway

Air Force F-22 mishap crash accident
Air Combat Command security officials investigate an F-22 aircraft mishap at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, January 16, 2020.
  • In April, an F-22 Raptor took off for the first time in more than a year after its landing gear collapsed on the flight line.
  • Virginia Air National Guardsmen oversaw most of the rebuild, which included a new landing gear, flight control surface for the right wing, and a new wing tip.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

More than a year after its landing gear collapsed on the flight line at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, an F-22 Raptor took to the skies for the first time last month thanks to Virginia Air National Guard maintainers.

Airmen from the 192nd Maintenance Group were able to get the fifth-generation jet, tail number 85, up and running for its first flight back April 9, according to a news release.

On January 16, 2020, the base announced that there had been an incident involving an F-22 following a routine training flight. Though the pilot was taken to the Langley Air Force Base Hospital for evaluation, there were no injuries.

According to the recent release, the Raptor skidded across the runway on landing. Maintenance airmen reported hearing an "unnerving sound as it came to a screeching stop on its right wing that day," it states.

Air Force F-22
Virginia Air National Guard airmen assigned to the 192nd Maintenance Group prepare to launch F-22 Raptor tail #85 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, April 9, 2021.

"As soon as it touched down and collapsed, I was in shock," Master Sgt. Christopher Plath, flight chief in the 192nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said in the release. "We kind of just stood there staring at it, praying the canopy is going to open up and the pilot is going to get out."

Active-duty maintainers from the 1st Fighter Wing began the repair mission, until they were called for a deployment, the release states.

The jet was then turned over to Plath and members of the 192nd in December 2020 to oversee the rebuild, which included a new landing gear, flight control surface for the right wing and a new wing tip.

Plath and his team ordered parts and assembled experts to get the F-22 operational again.

The Guardsmen consulted with engineers from Lockheed Martin, the jet's maker; listened for rattling or any type of drag on the brakes while it taxied on the runway; and brought it to the base's "Hush House," a specialized soundproof facility where fighter engines can operate at full throttle indoors to "induce any possible points of failure," the release states.

Air Force F-22
Virginia Air National Guard airmen assigned to the 192nd Maintenance Group prepare to launch F-22 Raptor tail #85 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, April 9, 2021.

The team included Staff Sgt. Drevonte Swain and Senior Airman Ethan Martin, who were in charge of repairing the low-observable outer stealth coating; Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Carpenter and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Potter, who inspected and ensured the main weapons-bay door was operational; Staff Sgt. Lauren Hayes, who checked over the aircraft's integrated systems; and Tech. Sgt. Eric Talman and Staff Sgt. James Sheaves Jr., who, along with Plath, were in charge of the overall maintenance and repairs as crew chiefs, the Air Force said.

Maj. Daniel "Honcho" Thompson, an F-22 pilot from the 149th Fighter Squadron, flew the aircraft and was able to land it safely.

Officials did not disclose why it took more than 15 months to complete the F-22's repairs.

Air Force F-22
Virginia Air National Guard airmen assigned to the 192nd Maintenance Group prepare to launch F-22 Raptor tail #85 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, April 9, 2021.

In one case, an F-22 was shelved in 2012 when it needed costly upgrades; Air Force officials made the decision to put it in storage before returning it to service in 2018.

Delaying maintenance for years underscores the unwieldy cost of US 5th-generation fighters, even as the military may be considering a successor to the F-22 and even the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, two of the most advanced jet fighters in the American inventory. The unit cost for the F-22 was around $150 million in 2009, but some estimates put the per-plane cost at closer to $250 million in current dollars.

It's not the only time there has been an issue with the F-22's landing gear. Earlier this year, a jet from the 325th Fighter Wing, assigned to Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base, experienced an "in-flight emergency," landing at nearby Eglin Air Force Base, where it ended up nose down on its belly.

The cause of that mishap is under investigation.

- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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25 smart home gifts for anyone looking to upgrade their life


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Best Smart Home Gifts 4x3

Smart home gifts are a great choice if you're looking for a useful tech gift idea for a friend, loved one, or relative. You can gift a more basic device to introduce them to the concept of a smart home, or a more advanced gadget for taking their home automation setup to the next level.

If you're looking to give a smart home gift but aren't sure where to start, peruse this list to find the perfect purchase. You'll find familiar names like Nest and Amazon as well as lesser-known devices, including a smart padlock, an automated pet feeder, or a smart sous vide cooker.

An automated pet feeder for your four-legged friends
Litter Robot Automatic Pet Feeder

Litter Robot Feeder Robot, $249, available at Litter Robot

Our furry friends benefit from smart devices too, and the Litter Robot Feeder Robot is one of our favorite ways to feed our pets. This automatic pet feeder is WiFi-enabled so you can easily change, schedule, and track feedings on your phone via an app. It's easy to set up, holds a lot of food, doesn't jam, and offers a 24-hour battery backup in case of a power outage – making this a great gift for both you and your pets.

A smart garden for indoor growing
Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 Indoor Herb Garden

Smart Garden 3, $99.95, available at Click and Grow

Do you know someone who loves fresh herbs but doesn't have the time to grow them on their own? If so, the Smart Garden 3 might be the perfect gift. This indoor garden borrows the design from pod-based coffee makers by offering three places for soil pods. Three basil plant-pods are included in the kit, but you can purchase additional pods for cilantro, peppermint,  strawberries, mini tomatoes, and many other herbs and flowers. Just place the pods in their spot, add water, and turn on the device – the Smart Garden takes care of the light, as well as the automatic watering. We found the Smart Garden 3 to be a welcome kitchen addition.  A companion app is available for even more growing tips.

A smart electric toothbrush to make brushing easier
Oral-B iO Series 8

The Oral B iO Series 9 rechargeable electric toothbrush, $249.99, available at Oral B

Brushing your teeth can feel like a chore, but Oral B does its best to make the experience feel high-tech and enjoyable. The iO Series 9 is the the newest and most advanced toothbrush in Oral B's lineup and it features seven smart modes for brushing, an interactive color display for real-time coaching, a 3-D teeth-tracking map that maps the surface of each tooth, and companion app that uses Bluetooth to help you track your brushing habits. It comes in three colors – Black Onyx, Rose Quartz, and White Alabaster –  along  with a magnetic charging stand, a travel case, and three replacement brush heads. It is pricey, at $249, but we found it to be a comfortable, fun, and high-tech brushing experience.

An affordable, effective smart camera
Wyze Cam, $25.42

Wyze Cam, $25.95, available at Amazon

Don't let the low price fool you: This tiny security camera is one of the best that money can buy. It shoots 1080p video, which you can access from your phone, and will send an alert if it spots an intruder. 

A smart power strip
Monoprice Wireless Smart Power Strip, $25.49

Wireless Smart Power Strip, $24.99, available at Monoprice

This power strip consists of four outlets and two USB ports which you can individually turn on and off, and automate using Alexa and Google Assistant. It can turn anything that's plugged into it into a smart device. 

A smart, switch-pressing robot
SwitchBot, $29

SwitchBot, $29, available at SwitchBot

Some devices can't just be automated with a smart plug because you need to push a button to turn them on. Enter the SwitchBot, an adorable button-pushing robot. Using Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, you can tell it to turn on your light switch, or press the "on" button on your fan, coffeemaker, air conditioner, or anything else.

A smart plug to automate almost anything

WeMo Mini, $29.99

A smart plug makes a great stocking stuffer, and the WeMo Mini is one of the best you can buy. It has a compact design, and you can automate it with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit. 

An Amazon Echo that doubles as a clock
echo dot with clock

Echo Dot with Clock, $59.99, available at Amazon

Amazon's newest Echo Dot is a neat little smart speaker and alarm clock hybrid that won't take up much space on a nightstand or coffee table. It sounds great for such a small device, and you can ask Amazon's smart voice-activated assistant Alexa to interact with a variety of smart devices in a home, like turn off lights, adjust the temperature on your smart thermostats, and set burglar alarms. 

A Tile for often misplaced items
tile pro 2020

Tile Pro, $30, available at Amazon

This is the "Pro" version of Tiles, which are Bluetooth trackers that can be attached to things like phones, luggage, bags, electronics. The major difference between the pro version is longer range and a louder ring. As for pet-tracking, Tile doesn't suggest you do that with the Pro. Rather, the standard Tile Mate is more suitable for pets. 

The Tile Pro has a 400-foot wireless Bluetooth range, and even if it's out of Bluetooth range, you can use Tile's crowd-finding network that draws from other people's Tile devices, which can pinpoint where the lost item is via the Tile mobile app. It's resistant to water so it can take a splash and some rain, and it has a replaceable battery with a one-year battery life. 

A mini smart speaker from Google
Nest Mini, $35

Google Nest Mini, $49.99, available at Best Buy

Google's Nest Mini is the mini version of Google's Nest smart speaker lineup, and its low price and compact footprint means it's a great place to start if you want to see whether your friend or relative are ready to use and like smart home devices. Likewise, it can be a good addition for someone who's already embraced smart devices — it can be placed in a room that doesn't already have a smart speaker for little cost. Just make sure that person is using the Google ecosystem. 

With the Nest Mini, you can ask a wide range of questions, as well as tell Google Assistant to do certain things, like turn off smart lights, turn on the burglar alarm, or play music or a podcast. There's so much these smart speakers can do.

A 4K-ready streaming dongle
roku premier 4k

Roku Premier 4K, $34.99, available at Best Buy

You can't really go wrong with any of the 4K media streamers, but if we had to pick one entry-level model, it would be the Roku Premier. That's because, unlike Fire TV, Chromecast, and Apple TV devices, it's not affiliated with any streaming company in particular. 

The Roku Premier offers easy access to popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and so on. The only downside is that Roku products are currently missing HBO Max. But, if you want to gift someone an affordable 4K streaming device, the Roku Premier is still one of the cheapest and most reliable 4K streamers you can get. 

A smart padlock with a fingerprint scanner
Tapplock Lite, $59

Tapplock Lite, $49, available at Amazon

For anyone who needs to place valuables in a locker, a smart padlock is a great present. You can unlock this one with just your fingerprint —no key or combination necessary.

A smart home hub from Google with a display
Nest Hub, $79

Google Nest Hub, $99.99, available at Best Buy

This device is one of our favorite smart displays, and one of the cheaper ones you can buy. You can use its 7-inch screen to watch YouTube videos, follow along with recipes and other tutorials, or read song lyrics. You can also use it to control all of your Google Assistant-compatible smart devices. The new second generation Google Nest Hub also offers sleep tracking by using Motion Sense to detect movement and breathing — all without a camera. It can even help you get to sleep by playing soothing sounds at bedtime.

A remote for all of your smart devices
Logitech Harmony 665, $69.99

Harmony 665, $79.99, available at Best Buy

A universal remote can be a god-send for a smart-home owner who wants an easy way to control all their different devices. The Harmony 665 can control a number of tech products, including lights, plugs, smart locks, and even cable boxes, all in one easy place.

The new Google Nest Audio smart speaker
google nest audio

Google Nest Audio, $99.99, available at Best Buy

A Google Assistant speaker like the new Google Nest Audio can introduce your friend or relatives to the world of smart-homes and smart devices. Since it's larger than the cheaper Nest Mini, this model is better suited for people who want higher quality sound performance. You can read the full review of the Google Nest Audio here.

An Amazon smart display
echo show 8

Echo Show 8, $109.99, available at Amazon

Amazon makes a number of different Echo Show smart displays, from the miniature Echo Show 5 to the full-sized Echo Show 10 with a rotating display. For gifting, the $109.99 Echo Show 8 is the best combination of price and quality. It sports most of the features of the larger Echo Show, including a bright 8-inch screen, a webcam, and Amazon Alexa built-in. You can use the touchscreen to watch videos, browse the internet, and control your smart-home devices, and can also use the camera to video chat.

A smart precision cooker for sous vide
Anova Precision Cooker Nano, $79

Anova Nano Precision Cooker, $99, available at Amazon

Any chef, even one who's not too tech-savvy, will appreciate the gift of a smart sous vide. Just place your ingredients in a sealed container, drop the container into hot water with the Anova, and the device will do the rest — it's an easy way to fit cooking into a busy schedule.

A smart lighting starter kit with dimmer switches
Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit, $99.95

Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit, $119.95, available at The Home Depot

These are smart dimmer switches you can automate, or control remotely with Lutron's app or smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. They're the kind of smart device that work perfectly with smart assistants.

The prospect of swapping out your light switches for smart dimmers might be intimidating, but this starter kit has everything your friend or relative will need, and Lutron's smartphone app will guide them step-by-step through the process.

A smart lighting bulb kit
philips hue starter kit

Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance LED Starter Kit, $189.99, available at Best Buy

Gift this to a friend who wants to equip a full apartment or house with smart lights. This kit includes three bulbs that can change from white to a range of colors, which you can control with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, and a Philips Hue Bridge that connects them to your router. You can automate the bulbs with timers and schedules, and create gorgeous lighting effects. With the Philips Hue Sync feature, they can even sync up with the audio of your music, movies, or games. The kit also comes with a smart dimmer switch for the bulbs. 

A straight-up Amazon smart speaker
Amazon Echo New

Amazon Echo 4th-Gen, $99.99, available at Amazon

Amazon's Echo Dots are a cool gift, but if you're shopping at a higher price point, the Echo 4th-Gen is a bigger smart speaker with a much deeper sound. It comes in three different colors, so you can purchase the one that best fits your friend's or relative's decor. 

Built into the Echo 4th-Gen is Amazon's smart voice assistant, Alexa, which can answer a variety of basic questions like weather, facts, and sports scores. Alexa on the Echo can also control smart home devices, lights, thermostats, and alarms with your voice.

A smart face mask for all occasions
Foreo UFO Smart Face Mask, $139.50

Foreo UFO Smart Face Mask, $199, available at Foreo

Any beauty or skincare enthusiast will appreciate this smart face mask. Foreo makes a number of face masks for different occasions; there's one for nighttime, one for the morning, one customized for relaxation, and many more. Place one on the device and select the type in the Foreo app. The UFO will guide you through a customized application process that's super relaxing and feels great.

The absolute best-sounding Alexa speaker
Sonos One, $169

Sonos One, $199.99, available at Best Buy

The Sonos One is one of the best-sounding Alexa speakers you can buy for anyone who wants truly premium audio. It's also a great gift for anyone who already has other Sonos speakers, as it will integrate with them for a multi-room audio experience.

A colorful smart light strip
Philips Hue Lightstrip, $179.97

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Light strip, $79.97, available at Amazon

This gift will help a friend or relative add a splash of color and light to their house. You can place it under stairs, behind a TV, or under a desk, and it creates a very cool, almost futuristic effect. (If your recipient is confused, tell them to look at pictures online for ideas of where to put it.)

A smart doorbell with video recording
rind doorbell 3

Ring Video Doorbell 3, $179.99, available at Amazon

Video doorbells might sound weird to give as a gift, but this one makes a perfect present because there's nothing intimidating about the setup process. It's battery-powered and rechargeable, so your friend doesn't need to fiddle with any wires, and they can stick it onto their door in about five minutes. It's also possible to hook it up to your doorbell's existing wiring, too. 

You can monitor the ring's 1080p video feed from your smartphone, and it can send an alert when someone approaches the door. All it needs is a home's WiFi connection. 

A smart vacuum with smartphone support
Shark Ion R85, $199.99

Shark Ion R85, $379.99, available at Amazon

Many people think of robot vacuums as a luxury purchase, but this is one of the best ones you can buy. The R85 can suck up pet hair, crumbs, dust, and anything else it might find on your floor, and is easy to set up and control with the connected smartphone app. 

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NFL star Tom Brady has hinted that he owns bitcoin and crypto fans are very excited

Tom Brady

Star NFL quarterback Tom Brady has hinted that he has become a crypto investor, switching his Twitter profile picture to one that features the laser eyes popular among bitcoin fans.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers player was tweeted by Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of digital asset firm Blockworks, saying: "Rumour has it @TomBrady is loading up on Bitcoin. Retweet if you think the GOAT [greatest of all time] should turn on laser eyes."

Brady replied: "Hmmmm should I change it??" He then took the plunge and switched pictures on Monday.

The football star, who has won seven Super Bowls, did not say whether he has in fact bought bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies.

But bitcoin fans certainly understood the profile-picture swap to be a sign Brady is backing crypto. The laser eyes profile picture meme is commonly understood to mean someone has their sights firmly set on $100,000 bitcoin price. It stood at around $56,000 on Tuesday.

Michael Saylor, chief executive of MicroStrategy, a technology firm that has invested more than $2 billion in bitcoin, tweeted: "#Bitcoin now has a star quarterback. Welcome to the team @TomBrady."

The changing of Twitter profile pictures might not usually be of interest to financial market participants. But cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have in part boomed because of endorsements from big names and famous companies, such as Elon Musk's Tesla and Square, the payments company founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

An endorsement from one of the most famous and admired sports people in the US - who has 1.9 million Twitter followers as well - could be very helpful for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Brady has already shown interest in the crypto world, with plans to launch a company for non-fungible token collectibles called Autograph.

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3 reasons why writing a book can help position you as a thought leader in your industry

young man writing in notebook
Writing a quality business book will open many new doors as an entrepreneur.
  • Writing a book can help solidify you as an authority figure in your industry.
  • It gives you an outlet to share your knowledge and expertise with a wider audience.
  • People trust an expert who writes a book as they're always looking for a credible source of information.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

For many entrepreneurs, few things are better than becoming a "thought leader" in their niche. Obviously, you need a solid base of industry knowledge and a proven capacity to generate successful results for your own business if you want others to value your opinions.

But you should also write a book. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to establish your personal brand and grow your following, it could ultimately be the most powerful tool in your arsenal.

A book is an outlet for sharing (and growing) your knowledge

Your experiences in life - including that outside of work - have provided you with unique insights that no one else has. It's one thing to share these insights in one-on-one conversations. With a book, you can significantly expand your reach, getting your thoughts into the hands of people you've never even interacted with.

However, there's more to writing a book than putting pen to the page. To create an authoritative book that establishes you as a true expert in your field, you'll have to do a fair amount of research. As you learn from case studies and statistics, you'll develop new insights that expand your current base of knowledge.

As consultant and author Anne Janzer writes on her blog, "Personally, I don't know what I really think about a topic until I start writing about it. I discover new connections and angles while doing the hard work of writing and think of how to communicate with others. When approached in this way (and with a growth mindset), the act of writing deepens your perspective on the topic."

As great as it is that a book gives you an outlet to share your knowledge, it is even more valuable in your journey to becoming a thought leader because it helps you think more deeply and critically.

Writing a book provides authority

In an increasingly skeptical world, writing a book helps you become a trusted figure that others in your industry will turn to with greater frequency. People are constantly looking for someone who can be a reliable source of information, and your writing helps establish your credibility.

People implicitly recognize that writing a book requires a lot of time, research and personal knowledge. Because of this, becoming published lends an instant dose of credibility to your personal brand. There's a reason we have the cliche that someone "wrote the book" on a given subject.

Data from Convince and Convert shows that while 53% of people view successful entrepreneurs as "very/extremely credible," that number jumps to 63% for academic experts. As an author, you gain some of that academic credibility that bolsters the authority you already earned through entrepreneurship.

A book provides more publicity opportunities

Industry thought leaders don't just publish content on their own channels. They make appearances on podcasts, write guest articles on industry blogs, speak at conventions and utilize other appearances to share their insights and further grow their brand.

These opportunities don't happen by accident. Quite often, they require active outreach on your part to build up a platform. With a published book under your belt, you have established credibility that makes you a more attractive guest. If your book gains enough traction, you will eventually have podcasts and blogs actively reaching out to you to get your insights.

This creates a winning cycle for you and your book. With more publicity opportunities, you gain valuable exposure to new audiences, many of whom will likely want to learn more from you. They'll buy your book, further cementing their opinion of you as a thought leader. Better still, they'll likely begin to share your content through word of mouth.

All of this ultimately has a snowballing effect. Each publicity opportunity stemming from your book will result in more sales and more publicity opportunities in the future. As these appearances continue to scale, your name will spread far and wide as a legitimate thought leader in your niche.

Writing a book requires a lot of time and effort, but the results are well worth it. When you write a book that draws from your unique knowledge and experiences to deliver real value to your readers, you can dramatically boost how others perceive you. A quality business book will open new doors that allow you to become a true leader in your niche - so get started today.

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Virgin Galactic plummets 21% after 1st-quarter earnings reveal uncertain flight schedule

chamath palihapitiya richard branson virgin galactic ipo
Virgin Galactic co-founder Sir Richard Branson, CEO George Whitesides, and Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya pose together outside of the New York Stock Exchange ahead of Virgin Galactic trading on October 28, 2019.
  • Virgin Galactic plummeted as much as 21% on Tuesday after its first-quarter earnings revealed an uncertain test flight schedule.
  • The space tourism company generated zero revenues and has just over $600 million in cash.
  • Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson is planning to be on board an upcoming test flight.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Shares of Virgin Galactic plummeted as much as 21% on Tuesday after the pre-revenue space tourism company failed to provide a schedule for its upcoming test flights in its first-quarter earnings report.

The company's founder Richard Branson plans to be onboard an upcoming test flight, but a maintenance issue with its Eve mothership has led to uncertainty as to when the next test flight will happen.

"We will report back to the market next week with an update on schedule implications to our next flight," Virgin Galactic president of space missions and safety Mike Moses said during the earnings conference call.

Time is ticking for the company as investors seek results amid a stock market environment in which high-flying growth stocks are being heavily sold. Virgin Galactic currently has $617 million in cash, and said it has about 600 customer reservations to fly into space.

Shares of Virgin Galactic are down 77% from its February high of about $62. Since then, insider sales have ramped up, with both Branson and its chairman, Chamath Palihapitiya, selling a bulk of their positions in the company.

Virgin Galactic, which forecast launching customers into space in 2020 when it completed its SPAC IPO debut in 2019, now expects to launch paying customers into space in 2022.

Virgin Galactic shares are down 38% year-to-date.

virgn stock chart.JPG
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Legendary investor Bill Gurley rejected Robinhood's pitch because it made him feel 'emotionally bad' and he thought the app mislead users

Bill Gurley
Legendary tech investor Bill Gurley
  • Bill Gurley did not invest in Robinhood because it made him feel "emotionally bad."
  • Gurley told The New Yorker he thought the commission-free trading app was "misleading to people."
  • Gurley has called to ban payment for order flow, a model Robinhood relies on to make money.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Venture capitalist Bill Gurley reportedly did not invest in Robinhood because it made him feel "emotionally bad."

Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark who has invested in Uber, Zillow, and Stitch Fix, told The New Yorker's Sheelah Kolhatkar he did not invest in Robinhood because of oppositions to the app's business model. Robinhood gets money by using a third party to carry out individual buy or sell orders, called a "payment for order flow."

"It made me feel bad. Emotionally bad. Because I think it is misleading to people." Gurley told The New Yorker. "My issue with Robinhood is, I think their mission and what they say they stand for is not actually true."

Robinhood is a commission-free trading app popular among first-time investors. The firm's website said it's aim is to "democratize finance for all."

Read more: SCOOP: Boston fintech Capchase is in talks for new funding at about a $150 million valuation

But the app has high profile critics like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, and some markets experts recently told Insider the app "gamifies" trading through flashy animation and incentivizes risky betting.

Gurley called for the US Securities and Exchange Commission to ban payment for order flow models during the height of GameStop's short squeeze. In early 2021, many retail investors, including those in the Reddit group WallStreetBets, pushed the price of GameStop up. Some said it was to burn hedge funds that bet against the stock.

Gurley, in the past, has said the payment for order flow practice "smells bad" and is already outlawed in the UK and Canada.

"If the SEC/government wants to "fix the plumbing" the number one thing they should do is ban Payment for Order Flow," Gurley tweeted in January.

Gurley gained fame through backing Uber in 2011 with $10 million, which brought Benchmark $8 billion. Gurley did not participate in Benchmark's latest fund, but will remain at the VC firm that he joined in 1999, Insider's Bani Sapra reported.

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Renewable energy sources grew at their fastest rate since 1999 last year when COVID-19 struck, the IEA says

Wind farm denmark
A working ship stands on stilts between wind turbines erected in the Baltic Sea between the islands of Rügen and Bornholm (Denmark). In the foreground is the "Arkona" wind farm about 35 kilometers northeast of Rügen with a capacity of 385 megawatts. In the background the offshore wind turbines of the Baltic Sea wind farm "Wikinger" of the energy supplier Iberdrola.
  • Renewable energy capacity increased by 45% in 2020 the International Energy Agency said.
  • The IEA predicts that renewable energy sources will cover 90% of global power expansion in the next two years.
  • Demand for renewable energy increased during the pandemic, whilst use of other energy sources declined.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Renewable energy sources increased by 45% in 2020, accelerating at their fastest rate since 1999, as demand for clean power grew during the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Energy Agency said in a report on Tuesday. Wind energy led the expansion, as global capacity increased by 90%. Solar energy capacity grew by 23%.

The IEA links this increase in renewable energy capabilities to global policy decisions and deadlines that countries had set themselves in terms of expanding their renewables sectors. China, the US and Vietnam are credited with leading the renewables push after momentum slowed when the pandemic first hit.

"Overall, IEA quarterly deployment estimates indicate that the slowdown in renewable capacity additions was limited to Q1 2020 only, mainly in China, while construction activity continued strongly in the rest of the world despite continuous movement restrictions and supply chain delays," the agency said in the report.

Energy markets were hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw travel come to a halt, as lockdown restrictions forced people to stay at home. Oil prices fell and turned negative for the first time in early 2020, as demand for the fuel vanished. Crude has since recovered, as investors anticipate economies reopening.

The decline in fossil fuel use also affected biofuel demand, the IEA said. Production fell by 8% in 2020, but still exceeded expectations - 150 billion liters of biofuel were needed in 2020 vs the 144 billion the IEA had predicted. The agency expects demand to rebound in 2021 and grow by a further 7% in 2022.

Looking ahead, the IEA predicts renewable energy sources will be responsible for 90% of global power expansion in 2021 and 2022. The agency expects solar and hydrogen power to play key roles, while the growth of wind power is set to slow down after its surge in 2020.

"The acceleration of hydropower additions through 2022 is driven by the commissioning of mega-scale projects in China. Meanwhile, expansion in other renewables, led by bioenergy, remains stable and represents 3% of total new renewable capacity additions," the IEA said.

China had already been the driving force of renewable energy expansion in 2020, accounting for half of the new capacity installations and is expected to keep this leadership position, the IEA said.

Despite President Joe Biden's recent infrastructure plans, Europe is set to replace the US as the second-largest renewable market in 2021 thanks to national policies on climate change and deadlines that are looming. Biden's infrastructure spending may not take effect until later this decade, the IEA said.

Read the original article on Business Insider