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The latest news from Business Insider

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    13 going on 30 makeup beauty

    We all wish we had endless time to get ready in the morning, but the truth is, most of us don't. In a rush to get to work, we often don't have time to go through a complicated makeup routine. Thankfully, there's a couple of ways to cut your time in half.

    INSIDER searched the web to find the ultimate time-saving beauty hacks — here are our favorite ones.

    You can use your lipstick as a blush and eyeshadow.

    We usually think our lipsticks are reserved for, well, our lips. But, they actually have a creamy consistency that's great for adding a little rosiness to our cheeks and blend smoothly enough to become a great subtle (or not-so-subtle) color for your eyes. Her World suggested dabbing some lipstick wherever you want, and you're ready to go.

    You don't need to apply foundation all over your face.

    This hack from Beauty and blog suggested instead of slathering and blending forever, just use your foundation to cover trouble spots. Simply dot and blend some foundation onto areas you want to cover up instead of buying concealer. 

    Use a credit card to create a straight eyeliner wing.

    If you don't have a steady hand, then creating a sharp winged line is nearly impossible to accomplish. Now, you can take the trial and error out of creating pointed wings by simply grabbing a credit card (or any small business card) and use it as a straight edge, said Girly Virly. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    meghan markle hubb kitchen

    • Meghan Markle reveals her favorite childhood meal in the foreword for the new charity cookbook "Together: Our Community Cookbook."
    • She always looks forward to collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year's Eve. 
    • The meal is tied to a common American New Year's Eve tradition where each of the foods represents prosperity, wealth, health, and nourishment for the new year.

    As evidenced by her now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig, Meghan Markle has a well-documented interest in food that she's now putting to extraordinary use.

    For her first solo charity endeavor as a royal, The Duchess of Sussex has partnered with the Hubb Community Kitchen to publish a cookbook of recipes. The kitchen is comprised of women affected by the Grenfell Towel Fire in London, and Markle wrote the foreword for their new charity cookbook which aims to raise funding for the kitchen. 


    In the two-page foreword, Markle writes about her fascination with "the power of a meal," and even spotlights her favorite childhood meal in the process. 

    "One of my own favorite meals is collard greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread — a meal I would look forward to throughout my childhood," Markle writes.

    collard greens with bacon

    After a mouth-watering description of the delicious foods, Markle notes that it's also part of a long-standing tradition. 

    "This was always eaten on New Year's Day, a tradition steeped in ancestral history in which each component has a meaning: the black-eyed peas for prosperity, the greens for wealth, the cornbread for health and nourishment," she writes. "It wasn't a New Year's resolution; it was a wish. It wasn't simply a meal; it was a story." 

    Though Southern Living points out that the tradition is mostly rooted in the American southeast, it's since spread amongst the country to become a fairly standard American New Year's Eve tradition — even in Markle's hometown of Los Angeles. 

    It just goes to show that even with her new royal life in the UK, Markle still appreciates her roots.

    "Together: Our Community Cookbook" will be released on September 25.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried Meghan Markle's favorite facial that massages the inside of your mouth

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    Alvin Kamara

    Week 3 of the NFL season is here.

    After a brutal 1-4 start to our SuperContest campaign, we bounced back with a rock solid 3-2 on our best bets last weekend.

    While 3-2 doesn't get us all the way back to a winning record, it went a long way to bringing us back into the heart of the standings. Last week was a particularly brutal week for many SuperContest bettors, with the five most commonly picked teams in the contest going 0-5.

    It feels good to have fought our way out of the depths and into the pack, but the goal of the SuperContest isn't to out-pick 60% of the field. We're trying to out-pick everyone and win a million dollars.

    So we're back at it again this week.

    Below are our picks for Week 3 of the Westgate SuperContest, along with some of our other favorite bets on the slate.

    SuperContest Pick 1: Carolina Panthers (-3) over Cincinnati Bengals

    There's plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the Panthers in this spot. Most notably, the team has a Greg Olsen shaped hole in the offense, immediately upping the pressure on Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess, and other Carolina skill position players.

    But the Panthers usually find a way to win at home, having gone in 19-6 over the past three seasons at Bank of America Stadium. And while the Bengals have looked impressive so far this season, this feels like a letdown spot for them after dismantling the Ravens on national television last Thursday.

    With the NFC South so packed with contenders, the Panthers can't afford to slip up at home. They need it more, and I expect Cam Newton and company to figure it out.

    SuperContest Pick 2: New Orleans Saints (+3) over Atlanta Falcons

    New Orleans has failed to cover a spread this season, but this is a perfect spot to bet they find a way to bounce back. Atlanta is coming off a hard-fought win against the Panthers and back-to-back division games is always a tough stretch.

    The Saints need a win to keep pace with the NFC South. Drew Brees and the New Orleans' offense has been operating just fine and will be facing a Falcons defensive front that is missing a few key pieces. Trust that the Saints' defense can wake up from whatever spell they've been under and get enough stops to help New Orleans win in a shootout.

    SuperContest Pick 3: San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) over Kansas City Chiefs

    We got burned by the Chiefs last week after they took the Steelers to task in Pittsburgh, but we're running it back against them again, this time backing Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers.

    The Kansas City offense is one of the most intimidating forces in football right now, with Patrick Mahomes taking the world by storm and possibly the most talented collection of skill position players in the NFL between Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, and Travis Kelce. But Mahomes can't sustain the pace he's on — unless he plans on throwing for 80 touchdowns.

    The Chiefs' offensive explosion has also covered up for what has been a questionable-at-best defense so far. While Kansas City was able to hold on for the win in Pittsburgh, they did give up a 21-point first quarter lead before halftime. Jimmy Garoppolo will likely have his favorite target, Marquise Goodwin, back in the lineup on Sunday, and I think he keeps pace with the Chiefs.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    one tree hill pete wentz

    "One Tree Hill" ran for nine seasons and featured a number of celebrity cameos. 

    From bands including Fall Out Boy to a young Evan Peters, stars turned up on the series for small roles. 

    Here are 16 celebrities you might've forgotten were on the series. 

    Joe Manganiello played Owen Morello, a former addict and alcoholic who became sober and worked as a bartender at TRIC. He dated Brooke for a time and played Slamball with Nathan.

    Manganiello has since been on "True Blood" and in the "Magic Mike" movies. He was also in "Rampage." He's been married to actress Sofia Vergara since 2015. 

    Pete Wentz didn't just appear with Fall Out Boy for a cameo, the bassist was on three episodes as himself and had a brief fling with Peyton.

    He still performs and releases music with Fall Out Boy. Wentz also founded DCD2 Records and has appeared on other TV shows including Nickelodeon's "School of Rock." He has one son with his ex-wife Ashlee Simpson and two kids with his girlfriend Meagan Camper. 

    Ashley Rickards played Sam Walker, Brooke's foster daughter during the show's sixth season.

    Rickards went on to star on "Awkward" and was recently on "The Flash." 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    baker mayfield week 3

    • All signs point to Baker Mayfield taking the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback job after he electrified in his debut and led the team to a win.
    • While Mayfield earned the job, it could leave the Browns in an awkward spot with Tyrod Taylor.
    • The Browns traded for Taylor, insisted he would be their starter, and even discussed giving him a contract extension.
    • Taylor might be miffed at losing his job after he was pulled for a concussion, then sitting behind a rookie before he hits free agency.

    Baker Mayfield made his NFL debut on Thursday and electrified.

    Mayfield took the field after Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game with a concussion. The stagnant Browns offense immediately kicked into high gear as Mayfield made a series of completions. He ended up finishing the game with 201 yards on 17-23 passing and a receiving 2-point conversion, all while setting up two running touchdowns from Carlos Hyde. The Browns beat the Jets, 21-17, getting their first win since the 2016 season.

    After the game, the question then became if Mayfield would be the Browns starter going forward. According to's Mary Kay Cabot, head coach Hue Jackson is giving the team the weekend off while he decides on a quarterback, but really, the decision has been made.

    "Browns coach Hue Jackson won't name Baker Mayfield his starter until Monday after he meets with Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor and tells them first." Cabot wrote.

    Likewise, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported: "The more people I talk to, the more I get this: How do you turn back to Tyrod Taylor after what Baker Mayfield did on the field? ... How in the world do you go away from the guy who led you back from being down double-digits, the first win in 600 days, at home, to ignite this whole thing he ignited?"

    But in handing Mayfield the job, the Browns also encounter a potentially awkward situation with Taylor.

    Taylor struggled mightily in Week 3, and things were trending toward Mayfield taking the field, even before Taylor left the game to be evaluated for a concussion.

    But if the Browns turn to Mayfield full-time, it's fair to wonder if Taylor got a fair shake. After all, the team traded for him in March, and throughout training camp, Jackson and GM John Dorsey insisted that Taylor would be the starter, with no immediate plans to turn to Mayfield.

    Taylor played well enough in camp that Dorsey openly said they might discuss contract extensions with Taylor down the line.

    "He's had an excellent camp so far," Dorsey told The Ringer's Kevin Clark."I want to see it unfold. There may come a point here where I call his representatives in October and say, 'Let's strike something up.'"

    The Browns drafted Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick after trading for Taylor, so it's not as if Taylor entered this season without knowing he could have competition for the starting job.

    However, Mayfield also took over on Thursday out of necessity. It's not as if Taylor was pulled due to his performance and then Mayfield took over. If Taylor gets replaced because of injury, there may be some sore feelings there. Additionally, Taylor may not like being benched for a rookie the year before he hits free agency — it could temper his market.

    There's also a question about what happens if Mayfield begins to struggle as the season goes on. For as electric as Mayfield was on Thursday (and he certainly looked prepared for the moment), it wouldn't be surprising to see teams begin to game-plan for and figure out some tendencies. If he struggles over several weeks and the Browns lose games, would they turn back to Taylor? And if so, how would that affect Mayfield's development? Is there a scenario where they bench a struggling Mayfield, go back to Taylor, then return to Mayfield to give him a second shot? There would be an obvious danger in shaking up the quarterback situation too much.

    Mayfield taking the starting job was the most likely outcome, given their investment in him with the No. 1 overall pick. But the speed at which he's taken the job could leave the Browns with an awkward situation on their hands.

    SEE ALSO: One potential breakout fantasy football player for all 16 games this week

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What it takes to be an NFL referee

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.


    For example, almost half of US households now have a Prime membership, diminishing Amazon's growth potential in the country. Meanwhile, in China, the world's largest e-commerce market, nearly half of the population is actively making online purchases, leaving little room for growth. 

    However, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America are worth keeping an eye on. E-commerce penetration rates in these areas hover between 2-6%, presenting a huge opportunity for future growth as online sales gain traction. Moreover, these regions are expected to grow at compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 31%, 32%, and 16%, respectively, through 2021.

    This report compiles several e-commerce snapshots, which together highlight the most notable emerging markets in various regions. Each provides an overview of the e-commerce industry in a particular country, discusses influential retailers, and provides insights into the opportunities and challenges for that specific domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.
    • India is the clear overall leader in e-commerce potential, but countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America are also worth keeping an eye on. Within Southeast Asia, Indonesia shows the most promise for retailers, as the government is loosening restrictions on foreign investments, and its massive population is gaining spending power and more access to internet. Meanwhile, Mexico is a retailer's best bet for expansion in Latin America, due to its stable economy and rising middle class, but Brazil may be gearing up to steal the top spot.
    • However, doing business in these regions can be difficult. In most of these emerging markets, infrastructure is underdeveloped and the population is largely unbanked, making digital payments a challenge.
    • If retailers can build a brand presence in these markets while online shopping is still in its nascent stages, they may become market leaders as e-commerce takes off in the regions. Moreover, these markets could provide new sources of growth for companies that would otherwise stagnate in more mature e-commerce markets.

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the e-commerce industry in India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
    • Highlights the leading country in each region, as well as key e-commerce players there. 
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each region faces.
    • Gives insight into how these emerging markets may shape the future of e-commerce.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Cody Wilson

    • Cody Wilson, known most prominently for touting his blueprints for 3D-printable guns, has been arrested by police Taiwan on a US arrest warrant charging him with sexually assaulting a minor.
    • Wilson, who lives in Austin, Texas, traveled to Taiwan and missed a scheduled flight home after law-enforcement officials charged him with paying a 16-year old girl he met online for sex.
    • Earlier this year, the US State Department dropped a complaint that previously blocked Wilson from publishing his gun blueprints online. 

    Cody Wilson, known most prominently for touting his blueprints for 3D-printable guns, has been officially detained by police in Taiwan after authorities in Austin, Texas issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual assault charges.

    Wilson, 30, was charged with paying a 16-year old girl he allegedly met on an adult-dating website $500 to have sex with him in July, a crime which constitutes second-degree sexual assault of a minor and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. 

    But before police in Austin, Texas, could arrest him, they say he had already fled to Taiwan after a friend of the victim tipped him off that police planned on charging him several days prior. He also missed a scheduled flight back to the US to appear at a gun conference this weekend, according to HuffPost. 

    Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, had been in conflict with the US State Department for years over the legality of his blueprints for 3D-printable weapons, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world and are virtually untraceable.

    In June, the State Department dropped an Obama-era federal complaint against Defense Distributed, which previously prevented them from publishing the blueprints on the grounds that the blueprints posed a national security threat by violating laws on foreign exports of weapons technology. 

    President Donald Trump responded to the government settling with Wilson by stating, "I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!" 

    Trump's statement created some confusion, as his own State Department allowed Defense Distributed to proceed with publishing the blueprints. 

    While a federal judge stepped in at the last minute to try and prevent Wilson from publishing the blueprints, the ruling only blocked Wilson from putting them online for free, not selling them. Wilson's website now sells them for $10 a piece, and other vendors have selling their own versions, too.

    The genie of 3D-printed weapons has effectively been let out of the bottle, leaving regulators to navigate the complicated First Amendment and arms-control issues surrounding them.

    Taiwanese police reportedly tracked down Wilson at his hotel and took him into custody. While the United States has no formal extradition treaty with Taiwan, the two nations have reportedly cooperated on at least 70 intra-country legal matters that require extradition. 

    Authorities plan to cancel his passport to enable his deportation back to the US, Taiwan News reported. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

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    noel francisco

    • If President Donald Trump fires Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department's rules of succession dictate that Solicitor General Noel Francisco would assume the post.
    • Francisco's track record as a lawyer mirrors Trump's rhetoric against intelligence authorities, with cases that include rebukes of the FBI and a defense of executive authority.

    Speculation is swirling that President Donald Trump might replace Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after a New York Times report published on Friday alleged that the Justice Department head discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

    Trump has previously weighed firing Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election that has in part charged four Americans once affiliated with Trump's campaign or administration.

    Justice Department rules dictate that Solicitor General Noel Francisco, whose track record more closely aligns with Trump's ideas and grievances, would assume the post.

    Francisco served as White House counsel under George W. Bush and was a DOJ lawyer until 2005, when he joined Jones Day, where he worked with several future Trump appointees, including White House general counsel Don McGahn, who is expected to leave the Trump administration this fall, and took stances against various prosecutions of public officials.

    Trump infamously announced McGahn's pending departure on Twitter after a bombshell New York Times article in August reported McGahn had given over 30 hours of testimony in Mueller's probe. 

    Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller in the investigation of foreign involvement in the 2016 US election. Since the beginning of the investigation, Trump has decried the investigation as a "witch hunt" and violation of authority.

    In a 2016 op-ed, Francisco took aim at then-FBI Director James Comey, who he said had acted in political interests by watering down an investigation of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In a case earlier this year with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Francisco reasserted Trump's constitutional ability to hire and fire almost all federal authorities.

    "The Constitution gives the president what the framers saw as the traditional means of ensuring accountability: the power to oversee executive officers through removal," Francisco wrote. "The president is accordingly authorized under our constitutional system to remove all principal officers, as well as all 'inferior officers' he has appointed."

    If appointed to Rosenstein's post, Francisco would have the potential authority to fire Mueller, an authority that has been widely debated but not officially agreed to, concerning whether or not it applies to Trump.

    Amid calls from conservative media, Democratic leadership raised their voices to discourage Trump from firing Rosenstein. The deputy attorney general has disputed the Times story that also alleged he had discussed wearing a wire to record the president.

    Democrats have reportedly developed a plan to insulate the Russia investigation from any personnel changes, zeroing in on obstruction of justice and protecting the integrity of the investigation.

    Francisco's potential commitment to Trump's political causes became a central issue in his confirmation hearings last year, when the Judiciary Committee's top Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein questioned his expressed support for Trump's travel ban and urged him in a letter to "publicly commit to refuse any order or request — whether express or implied — to interfere in the Special Counsel’s investigation."

    After two decades in the top legal circles in Washington, Francisco is an established presence that lawmakers have recognized could be elevated at any time because of Trump's unpredictable behavior.

    Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told Business Insider last month he thought Francisco made for an ideal candidate to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    "I think the solicitor general has done a pretty extraordinary job and is someone who will clearly be in the mix, but that's for the president to decide," Bannon said.

    SEE ALSO: Rod Rosenstein reportedly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment and wearing a wire to record his conversations with Trump

    DON'T MISS: Rod Rosenstein reportedly thought he could convince John Kelly and Jeff Sessions to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    Edge computing solutions are key tools that help companies grapple with rising data volumes across industries. These types of solutions are critical in allowing companies to gain more control over the data their IoT devices create and in reducing their reliance on (and the costs of) cloud computing.

    edge popularity

    These systems are becoming more sought-after — 40% of companies that provide IoT solutions reported that edge computing came up more in discussion with customers in 2017 than the year before, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey. But companies need to know whether they should look into edge computing solutions, and what in particular they can hope to gain from shifting data processing and analysis from the cloud to the edge.

    There are three particular types of problems that edge computing solutions are helping to combat across industries:

    • Security issues. Edge computing can limit the exposure of critical data by minimizing how often it’s transmitted. Further, they pre-process data, so there’s less data to secure overall.
    • Access issues. These systems help to provide live insights regardless of whether there’s a network connection available, greatly expanding where companies and organizations can use connected devices and the data they generate.
    • Transmission efficiency. Edge computing solutions process data where it’s created so less needs to be sent to the cloud, leading to lower cloud storage requirements and reduced transmission cost.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how edge computing is reducing companies' reliance on cloud computing in three key industries: healthcare, telecommunications, and the automotive space. We explore how these systems mitigate issues in each sector by helping to efficiently process growing troves of data, expanding the potential realms of IoT solutions a company can offer, and bringing enhanced computing capability to remote and mobile platforms.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • In healthcare, companies and organizations are using edge computing to improve telemedicine and remote monitoring capabilities.
    • For telecommunications companies, edge computing is helping to reduce network congestion and enabling a shift toward the IoT platform market.
    • And in the automotive space, edge computing systems are enabling companies to increase the capabilities of connected cars and trucks and approach autonomy.

    In full, the report:

    • Explores the key advantages edge computing solutions can provide.
    • Highlights the circumstances when companies should look into edge systems.
    • Identifies key vendors and partners in specific industries while showcasing case studies of successful edge computing programs.

      Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

      This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    juan david ortiz 2x1

    • The woman who escaped a Border Patrol agent and accused serial killer has spoken to police and relatives about how she survived the ordeal.
    • Juan David Ortiz, a supervisory Border Patrol agent, was arrested in Texas on September 15 and quickly confessed to murdering four women and abducting a fifth, Erika Peña, since September 3.
    • Peña said she knew Ortiz and agreed to accompany him to his home on September 14, but he grew angry after she mentioned her murdered friend, whom Ortiz would later confess to killing.

    The woman allegedly abducted by Juan David Ortiz, a Border Patrol agent and accused serial killer, has detailed to police and relatives how she made her daring escape and put authorities on her captor's trail.

    Erika Peña, 26, told relatives that she knew Ortiz for roughly four months, and that she agreed to accompany him to his house in Laredo, Texas, on September 14 after he offered her $500 for sex, Peña's aunt, Marcela Rodriguez, told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

    Peña at first believed nothing was amiss — she even described Ortiz as "cheerful" and "talkative"— until she mentioned her friend, Melissa Ramirez, whose body was found September 4 and whom Ortiz would later confess to murdering.

    "Did you know Melissa was killed?" Peña reportedly asked Ortiz, who appeared to grow angry, Peña then began to feel sick, Rodriguez said.

    "She felt a rush run from her feet to her head," Rodriguez said of Peña. "She started to get sick. She told him, 'I need to go outside to vomit.'"

    'I don't want the community to see her as just a hero'

    melissa ramirez border patrol victimShe then convinced Ortiz to "go for a cruise" in his truck, according to Rodriguez. When they stopped at a gas station minutes later, Peña again mentioned Ramirez. Ortiz then withdrew his pistol and pointed it at her, a police affidavit obtained by CNN says.

    "Erika tried to leave the vehicle. David grabbed her shirt to prevent her from exiting the vehicle. Erika began to scream for help," the affidavit says.

    Peña then removed her shirt, fled the truck, and ran to a nearby state trooper who had been filling up his gas tank, all while Ortiz sped away.

    Ortiz, a supervisory Border Patrol agent, was arrested September 15 after a daylong manhunt. Police said they found a stockpile of weapons in Ortiz's home, and eventually tracked him down to the parking garage of a Laredo hotel, where he was arrested after a confrontation.

    "He was trying to commit suicide by cop," Chief Deputy Federico Garza of the Webb County Sheriff's Office said at a news conference on Monday. "He was going to try to use his phone to make it look like it was a weapon."

    Peña, meanwhile, remains deeply traumatized by the ordeal, and has had difficulty eating and being alone, according to Rodriguez, who set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Peña's medical and legal expenses.

    "I don't want the community to see her as just a hero," Rodriguez told the San Antonio Express News. "She is also a victim that thankfully was able to escape from the situation."

    Ortiz is being held in the Webb County jail in Laredo, Texas, on four counts of murder, one count of unlawful restraint, and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond has been set at $2.5 million, jail records show.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Everything we know about Samsung’s foldable phone

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    robert jackson SEC commissioner

    • Stock exchanges have been for-profit entities for more than a decade, and it's a situation critics say has created many conflicts of interest.
    • In a speech on Wednesday, SEC commissioner Robert J. Jackson, Jr. unloaded on the exchanges, highlighting four "puzzling practices" that he thinks are unfair to the average investor.
    • Jackson outlines four reforms he's taking steps to enact, with the ultimate goal of creating a fairer trading marketplace for everyday investors.

    Stock exchanges are just as interested in turning a profit as the investors who transact on their platforms. It's a reality that most traders have simply accepted and incorporated into their daily routine.

    But Robert J. Jackson, Jr. is trying to do something to challenge that status quo.

    Appointed by President Donald Trump earlier this year to fill a Democratic seat at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jackson is making it his express mission to highlight the conflicts that arise when exchanges are for-profit entities. And — perhaps more importantly — he's offering solutions.

    Jackson addressed these issues on Wednesday at an event co-sponsored by the George Mason University Law & Economics Center and the Healthy Markets Association, an investor-oriented nonprofit.

    Near the beginning of his speech, Jackson highlighted a not-so-distant past where exchanges were collectively owned nonprofits. He laments a shift that took place about a decade ago, which saw them transform into profit-hungry businesses.

    "Their profit motive gives exchanges every reason to structure stock markets in a way that maximizes their rents," said Jackson. "And every time exchanges raise prices, that money comes out of investors' pockets. American investors are paying for it, one microsecond a time."

    Jackson went on to list four "puzzling practices that look nothing like the competitive marketplaces investors deserve." They are as follows:

    1) The two-tiered system for stock-price information

    Jackson notes that there are two data feeds for stock information: the fast private feeds that exchanges sell, and the slower one that's available to the public.

    He finds that exchanges have underinvested in the public feed, simply because it's not helping to pad their bottom line like the private one.

    "It’s like letting Barnes & Noble run our public libraries," said Jackson. "Nobody should be surprised to find that our libraries don’t have enough books."

    2) Legal limits on liability when investors are harmed

    Jackson argues that the exchanges often try to posture themselves as regulators, rather than for-profit operators. And that, in turn, helps them wiggle out of legal liability.

    In his mind, enforcement agencies like the SEC are still too easy on the exchanges.

    "Treating for-profit exchanges with not-for-profit kid gloves has allowed stock exchanges to operate, in many respects, above the law," said Jackson. "Holding firms responsible for their actions is one way to make sure that corporations are careful when they expose people to risk."

    3) The structure of stock exchanges and the price of connectivity

    Jackson notes that 12 of the 13 US stock exchanges are owned by just three companies. He argues that this consolidation is done with one ultimate goal in mind: to have greater control over pricing.

    "One reason our exchanges do this is so they can charge investors to connect to each exchange," he said. "That, of course, raises the concern that exchanges will charge investors too much to connect, secure in the knowledge that our rules, not market dynamics or the quality of their product, help them keep prices high."

    4) Payments exchanges make to brokers

    Jackson says the rules that have been established to ensure the best execution of trades are actually vulnerable to conflicts of interest that harm investors in the end.

    "When a broker places an order on behalf of a customer, we expect the broker to send the order to the exchange that is likely to get the best price for their customers," said Jackson. "But to nobody’s surprise, research shows that brokers very often send their orders to the exchange that gives the broker the biggest rebate."

    Mike Williams, executive director of the Equity Markets Association, issued the following statement as a response to Jackson's speech:

    "US exchanges are the most heavily regulated, transparent and trusted participants in our national equity trading infrastructure, and today provide more valuable, efficient and resilient trading and data services, at the lowest relative cost to investors, than at any time in history."

    Jackson's proposed reforms

    The arguments outlined above may seem daunting, but Jackson has some ideas of how to right the ship. He notes that he has some support from within the SEC, which should aid him in his quest to reform the exchanges. His proposed reforms include:

    1) A pilot study to test the effects of rebates

    In the spring, the SEC unanimously approved a pilot study to assess how rebates impact market conditions. Jackson notes that the initiative, against which exchanges have "fought mightily," will provide valuable insight around how markets behave without rebates.

    "I think the time has come for the SEC and investors to know the facts about rebates and other incentives," he said.

    2) Enhanced transparency

    Jackson proposes exchanges start disclosing revenue figures in more straightforward fashion. He says that raising investor awareness on the subject will be a crucial step.

    It "would go a long way in giving investors a clearer view regarding the costs they pay to invest in America’s public companies," he said.

    3) Roundtable discussions with other high-ranking officials

    Jackson says he's planning to work closely with Brett Redfearn, who's served as the SEC's Director of the Division of Trading and Markets since October 2017. He says these types of roundtable discussions will help keep the actions of exchanges in check.

    "It is time for the Commission to have a market-wide conversation about how exchanges make their rules and prices," he said.

    4) A review of exchange immunity and limits on liability

    This is an extension of puzzling practice no. 2, listed above. Jackson thinks it's unfair that exchanges are essentially able to write their own rules, then be exempt from legal liability.

    "The exchanges cannot have it both ways — both claiming that business considerations limit the degree to which they can regulate public companies while making broad claims to regulatory immunity," said Jackson.

    SEE ALSO: The inside story of how an old-school Scottish firm became an early investor in many of Silicon Valley's most prized unicorns, and made a killing in the process

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    Michael Corbat

    • Citigroup has undergone a slew of changes over the past five months, including the departures of senior executives and restructurings within their business lines. 
    • In aggregate, these are some of the most seismic changes to take place at Citi since Michael Corbat took the reins as CEO in 2012. 
    • The changes come amid investor frustration over the pace of Citi's progress, as well as the arrival of activist ValueAct Capital. 
    • But the bank has downplayed the significance of the changes, or their connection to pressure from investors.

    Don Callahan, Mike Murray, Jud Linville, Bill Mills, Jim Cowles, and John Gerspach.

    All of these senior and long-tenured executives are out at Citigroup or have announced their retirements in the last five months. 

    Their departures have been accompanied by significant reorganizations of Citi's operations, including an overhaul of its underperforming North American consumer retail bank and what many consider a long-overdue merger of the firm's investment bank with its capital markets origination unit.

    Citi is undergoing some of its most seismic changes since Michael Corbat took the reins as CEO in 2012. 

    Yet publicly, Citigroup's has downplayed the significance. At a financial conference last week in New York, Gerspach, who will retire as CFO next year, gave an update to the bank's business, saying their priorities "have not changed." The ambitions of improved efficiency and returns the bank laid out in its investor day in July 2017 remain priorities, he said.

    "Clearly, there have been developments since we were on stage last year," Gerspach acknowledged. But he wasn't referring to the company's structural and managerial shifts, rather, he cited the corporate tax overhaul and having "the benefit today from being one year into the execution of our strategic plan."

    As to the managerial changes? When asked directly about them, Gerspach said the departures were all planned out for some time and that the bank "thought it best to put them all out in a relatively compressed timeframe" rather than dribble them out piecemeal. 

    In a statement sent to Business Insider following the publication of this story, a spokesman for Citigroup said:

    “At Investor Day last year, we laid out a detailed plan to improve Citi’s return on and return of capital. At that time we also introduced several financial targets we expect to achieve by 2020, and have since updated and increased our RoTCE target. We have been successfully executing that plan and remain on track to achieve our targets.”

    Despite Citi's public posture, the restructuring and senior exits, combined with the announcement of a new chairman when Mike O'Neil becomes ineligible for reelection at the end of the year, represent a major shift at America's fourth-largest bank by assets. 

    "These are the most significant management changes to have taken place at Citigroup in six years. This is not to be understated," Mike Mayo, a senior bank analyst with Wells Fargo, told Business Insider. "Having said that, Citigroup has so far telegraphed this as business as usual."

    There's no sign that Citi has had a gun to its head on any of these moves, even given the fact that activist fund ValueAct Capital revealed in May that it had amassed a $1.2 billion stake in the bank. The fund has a reputation for taking a longer view than other high-profile activists, and Citi has said that ValueAct is interested in boosting returns to shareholders rather than shaking up management.

    A representative from ValueAct did not respond to requests for comment.

    Moreover, most of the senior executives leaving the bank have worked there for decades and are over 60 years old; Gerspach is the longest-tenured big-bank CFO on Wall Street. 

    But Citi's overhaul over the past five months hasn't happened in a vacuum, either. 

    Large investors have grown frustrated with the bank's stubborn stock price, which has lagged behind peers, analysts said. 

    "They really need to generate some true organic top-line growth for people to pay a bigger multiple," said Glenn Schorr, a senior analyst at Evercore ISI. "Don't get me wrong, it’s nothing but great that returns are improving. But now people also want to see growth." 

    Citi shares produced a total return of 3% over the past 12 months, while the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index  — a benchmark for the US banking sector — has returned 15.3%. Year-to-date, Citi's total return is -2.7%, compared with 2.1% for the KBW index. 

    "In no uncertain terms, shareholders feel that Citi can do more. And that's not a close call," Mayo said.

    Return on equity has also trailed other big-bank peers: Citi posted 6.8% ROE for 2017, compared with 7.5% at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 9.8% at JPMorgan Chase, and 9.6% and Wells Fargo. Citi trailed each in 2016, too. 

    In Citi's consumer retail bank, where analysts have pegged much of the bank's problems, efficiency has lagged competitors and revenue growth for branded cards and Mexico retail operations has been stubborn. 

    Following the announcement of the consumer bank reorganization in August, and the departures of Cowles, Gerspach, and Mills in early September, Mayo released an analysis that concluded the bank's efficiency and pre-tax margin rate poorly against competitors, once benchmarked to adjust for business mix and competitors' segment averages.

    Moreover, the September 5 report says Citi has failed to acknowledge and properly address these problem spots:

    "We believe there’s disconnect between Citi’s subpar optimization and Citi’s view. This includes statements that its restructuring is done, that it has industry leading efficiency, and that Consumer’s efficiency is good (based on the 2018 proxy). We disagree and, for similar reasons, believe that shareholders may welcome the new activist investor (ValueAct)."

    Citi Mike Mayo pre-tax margin

    Others have a more buoyant view of the bank. Josh Sandbulte, co-president of investment firm Greenhaven Associates, said Citi's stock is "very unusually cheap" and has a favorable view of Corbat's performance.

    "What we can see externally is he's leading the organization well," said Sandbulte, whose firm holds a 0.5% stake in Citi worth nearly $900 million. He called the management changes "normal course" and said over time a change would be expected. 

    Even Mayo, despite his criticism, believes in the company's potential and maintains a buy rating on Citi's stock, saying in an interview with Bloomberg this week that amid the changes at the top, the company's shares could double over the next four years.

    "We think Citi needs a greater sense of urgency, so a fresh set of eyes in various management positions could help," he told BI.

    Mayo stopped short of saying that management changes are a result of ValueAct's presence or investor discontent, something he says is "impossible to know with certainty."

    A person familiar with the Citi's strategy, but who wasn't authorized to speak publicly, downplayed the notion that investor sentiment impacted the managerial decisions, telling Business Insider each of the changes "have individual rationale attached to them." 

    "Great if investors view them positively, but that doesn’t mean that's why we made them," the person said. 

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    NOW WATCH: Ray Dalio says the economy looks like 1937 and a downturn is coming in about two years

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    Mark Schwartz, David Ludwig, Dan Dees Goldman Sachs

    • Goldman Sachs has named technology banker Dan Dees to co-head its investment banking group.
    • The promotion of Dees was widely expected as incoming CEO David Solomon starts to insert his own people at the top of the Wall Street bank. 
    • Dees will serve alongside Gregg Lemkau and Marc Nachmann.

    Goldman Sachs is promoting a star technology banker to co-head its investment banking division as incoming CEO David Solomon continues to put his inner circle in key leadership positions.

    Dan Dees will be based in San Francisco and serve alongside Gregg Lemkau in New York and Marc Nachmann in London to run one of the bank's most lucrative groups, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The move comes shortly after former banking co-head John Waldron was named to the president role, amid a bigger shakeup at Goldman's helm that also saw chief financial officer Marty Chavez moved to a new role co-heading the bank's trading division. 

    Dees is also being elevated at a time when Goldman's investment bankers are rising at the firm relative to traders who dominated the top ranks under outgoing CEO Lloyd Blankfein. But since the aftermath of the financial crisis, revenue derived from providing clients with advice on mergers and capital raising have proven to be more stable than trading.

    A spokesman for Goldman declined to comment. Bloomberg News reported the move earlier Wednesday. 

    Dees, 48, joined Goldman in 1992 and became partner in 2004. During his career he spent time in Hong Kong and Tokyo as head of the region's financing group, and later investment banking in Asia. He returned to the US in early 2014 and was named global head of technology, media and telecom banking.

    Under Dees, Goldman's TMT group has tussled with Morgan Stanley as Silicon Valley's go-to adviser. Dees is close to companies such as Tesla, Snapchat, Microsoft, and Square, and he helped lead Alibaba's 2014 IPO which was then the world's largest public offering.

    In June, Pete Lyon was promoted to share his responsibilities, which some interpreted as a sign that Dees would soon be in line for a promotion. Lyon will now run the group on his own. 

    See also:

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    NOW WATCH: Beware one huge mistake investors often make when the economy is at a crossroads, says Charles Schwab’s investment chief

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    brian roberts

    • Comcast beat Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox in the auction battle for Sky with an offer of around $39 billion. 
    • Comcast's final offer was significantly higher than its bid going into the auction of 14.75 pounds, and compares with Sky's closing share price of 15.85 pounds on Friday.

    LONDON (Reuters) - Comcast beat Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox in the battle for Sky after offering around 30 billion pounds ($39 billion) for the British broadcaster in a rare auction to decide the fate of the pay-television group.

    U.S. cable giant Comcast bid 17.28 pounds a share for control of London-listed Sky, versus an offer of 15.67 pounds a share offer by Fox, the Takeover Panel said in a statement shortly after final bids were made on Saturday.

    The two media titans faced off in a rare one-day auction that took three separate sealed rounds of bids to produce a victor. Comcast's winning offer brings to a close a months-long battle to win the Sky, and the 23 million pay-tv subscribers in seven countries that make up its business.

    Comcast's final offer was significantly higher than its bid going into the auction of 14.75 pounds, and compares with Sky's closing share price of 15.85 pounds on Friday.

    It is a blow to 87-year-old media mogul Murdoch and the U.S. media and entertainment group that he controls, which already holds 39 percent of Sky and had been trying to take full ownership of the business since December 2016.

    It is also a setback for U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney, which agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy the bulk of Fox's film and TV assets, including the Sky stake, in June and would have taken ownership of the British broadcaster following a successful Fox takeover.

    If Comcast's winning offer is approved, it will own the 61% of Sky. Disney will need to decide whether it will sell it's 39% stake to Comcast, or if it will remain a minority partner.

    Sky is an attractive asset to both Comcast and Disney as they work to expand their international footprints. The British pay-TV business serves 23 million customers, mostly direct-broadcast-satellite subscribers, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.

    It has a strong content portfolio, with exclusive rights through 2020 to run HBO shows like "Game of Thrones" and "Westworld" across Europe and with the majority of Premier League TV rights and exclusive rights to the German Bundesliga.

    ($1 = 0.7648 pounds)

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    NOW WATCH: 3 surprising ways humans are still evolving

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    Brett Kavanaugh

    • Christine Blasey Ford has accepted the Senate Judiciary Committee's request to testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
    • Ford alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.
    • In a letter to the committee's counsel, Ford's lawyers wrote that the committee's proposal was "fundamentally inconsistent" with its promise of a fair and impartial investigation.
    • They also said they were "disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process," but that they hope to reach agreement on the details of Ford's testimony.

    Lawyers representing Christine Blasey Ford say she has accepted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s request to testify about her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, The Washington Post reported.

    In a letter to the committee's counsel, Ford's lawyers wrote, "Although many aspects of the proposal you provided via email ... are fundamentally inconsistent with the Committee's promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations, and we are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process, we are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details."

    They then asked if they could set up a call with the committee counsel to negotiate over other specifics of Ford's testimony.

    The decision comes after days of back and forth between Ford and Republicans on the committee over the date and terms of her testimony.

    Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denies it. Ford's attorneys have also asked that the FBI investigate, but President Donald Trump has resisted the request. He said the FBI is not interested in investigating Ford’s allegations, even though the FBI routinely conducts background checks on presidential nominees.

    Committee chairman Chuck Grassley proposed a Wednesday hearing, during which Ford can speak to senators on the committee and Kavanaugh can formally respond. The lawmakers initially floated a Monday hearing, but Ford's attorneys pushed back.

    In a letter to the committee cited by CNN on Friday night, Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, scolded the committee for taking what she called a "cavalier" attitude toward "a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee."

    Grassley granted Ford’s legal team’s request for more time to decide, and then fumed about it in a series of tweets late Friday night. He initially gave Ford's attorneys until Friday at 10 p.m. ET to respond to a request to have Ford testify to lawmakers. Ford's attorney said, "our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make decision."

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    Goldman Sachs Paul Russo

    Goldman Sachs' equities chief Paul Russo is leaving the bank, according to a source familiar with the matter, as incoming CEO David Solomon looks to put his own leadership team at the top of the Wall Street firm. 

    Russo, who has worked at Goldman his entire career, exits as the firm's equities division has lagged peers and the bank has given up market share to rival firms like Morgan Stanley.

    During the second quarter, most big banks showed strong results in equities but Goldman posted a flat performance relative to the prior year. The business represents one of the biggest challenges facing Solomon.

    Once Russo departs, Goldman is likely to elevate trading executives including Brian Levine, Jeff Nedelman and Phil Berlinski to help manage the stock trading team alongside Russo's counterpart Michael Daffey, the source said. 

    A Goldman spokesman declined to comment on Russo's departure. 

    The equities business broadly is under pressure as structural changes over the last few years like the rise of electronic trading have shaved off around around $15 billion from the equities fee pool, according to a report from Morgan Stanley and management consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

    Electronic trading has dramatically boosted trading volumes, while making the cost of trading much cheaper.

    The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Russo's departure. 

    See also:

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    GC Addie  Lerner

    • Addie Lerner, a principal at General Catalyst, spent this past spring talking to 30 founders, advisers, and investors about the $350 billion elder-care market.
    • She says the conversations gave her perspective on what's still missing, and how entrepreneurs and investors can address it.
    • In particular, she's interested in finding companies that tackle financial-planning solutions for the cost of long-term elderly care, as well as those directing content and programming toward elderly people.

    Addie Lerner's interest in finding new companies that care for an aging population is personal.

    Lerner's grandmother, Mimi, is 91 years old, and over the years Lerner has watched as Mimi's quality of life has diminished, leaving her with poor vision and needing to use a wheelchair or armchair. Meanwhile, Lerner saw her mom and aunt spend their time and resources making sure Mimi's taken care of and financially supported.

    Caring for elderly people, even those who are healthy, can be expensive, and home-healthcare visits aren't covered by Medicare and Medicaid, the government-run plans that oversee healthcare for seniors.

    "That really got me thinking: How come no companies — let alone technology companies — are solving the pain points that all of these different stakeholders face in the industry?" said Lerner, a principal at the venture firm General Catalyst.

    So this past spring, she went around talking to 30 founders, operators, advisers, and investors to get a better sense of the $350 billion elder-care market. From those conversations, Lerner said, she realized there were three challenges to starting a company that caters to seniors:

    • To start, a lot of elder care requires human interaction, like helping with daily chores or preparing food. That's a hard process to automate, Lerner said.
    • Introducing new technology to an older population can also be difficult, though that might start to change as tech-savvy baby boomers age.
    • The folks who need the care or are paying for it aren't necessarily on social media, so marketing as, say, a mattress startup would might not be the most successful approach. And existing companies like elder-care facilities and home-health agencies often don't have excess cash to spend on new products, Lerner found.

    So far, General Catalyst hasn't made a direct investment in an elder-care company. Coming out of those conversations, Lerner noted some of the opportunities tech companies could have in the market.

    In particular, she said she'd like to see companies tackle financial-planning solutions to make it easier to pay for long-term care. While people are living longer, healthcare costs are also on the rise, meaning that "people need to start planning for those expenses a lot sooner and save a lot more money for it," Lerner said.

    She said there was also an opportunity in content and programming to engage seniors, both those who recently retired and those closer to her grandma's age.

    "She has really no content or programming geared toward her," Lerner said of her grandma, adding that ideally there'd be programs designed to prevent her from feeling isolated and keep her mind sharper.

    SEE ALSO: A startup that’s raised $115 million once wanted to disrupt the multi-billion home care industry — now it’s working with it

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    JLabs SoHo

    Johnson & Johnson Innovation's Manhattan outpost of its startup incubator, JLabs, is the new kid on the NYC-health-tech block. 

    First opened in June, JLabs host startups looking for a space to grow their businesses — whether that be developing drugs, coming up with new medical devices, or applying new technology to the world of healthcare. In addition to NYC, there are JLabs in San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, Houston, Boston and Belgium as well as another planned in Shanghai. 

    The incubators provide J&J, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, with a front-row view of what's happening at the startup level. Though J&J doesn't take an immediate stake in the companies, it does end up investing in some in the long-run. The relationship works like this: J&J will provide all the infrastructure, operation management, network, and programming, and the startups just have to bring new and innovative ideas.

    It's part of J&J's plan of looking to the future and adapting to become more nimble as it evolves for the new generation of consumers

    "We're the leading healthcare company," Kate Merton, head of the NYC and Boston JLabs, told Business Insider. "In the future we want to be the leading digital healthcare company."

    Take a look inside JLabs' NYC digs, which with its coffee-shop vibes looked unlike any startup space we've ever seen. 

    SEE ALSO: Mount Sinai teamed up with the designers who created projects for Nike and Beyonce to build a futuristic, new clinic — and it's reimagining how healthcare is delivered

    DON'T MISS: Inside Flatiron Health's swanky, new NYC headquarters, where the cold brew coffee flows and the conference rooms give off a serious living room vibe

    The 30,000-square foot facility is located on the 3rd floor of the New York Genome Center in New York's trendy SoHo neighborhood.

    Right when you come in, you see the investor hub, where incubator companies can meet with potential investors as well as mentors. This front of the house layout is the same in many other JLabs across the country, which are designed by architecture and design firm Gensler.

    On the wall next to the reception desk is a presentation of all the companies housed at JLabs. There are 25 presently. The companies living at JLabs have a wide-ranging set of interests and ideas – from Curie Co's biologic enzymes intended to replace abrasive chemicals in our cosmetics and drugstore products, to Nanowear's high tech undergarment equipped with sensors that can monitor heart conditions.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    24 Hour Fitness

    • Costco members can buy a two-year, all-club, 24 Hour Fitness membership package for $399.99.
    • According to Reader's Digest, the same membership purchased directly through the gym chain would cost more than $800 if paid over a two-year period.
    • Costco's membership perks help the warehouse chain to attract and retain members. 

    Costco is known for its membership perks, many of which extend beyond the four walls of the store, like cheap gas, vacation deals, and insurance policy discounts.

    It turns out, a cheap gym membership is another. 

    Costco members can buy a two-year, all-club, 24 Hour Fitness membership package for $399.99, according to Reader's DigestThe same membership purchased directly through the gym chain would cost over $800 if paid over a two-year period. 24 Hour Fitness has more than 400 locations in 13 states. 

    The membership works in much the same way as the other products Costco sells in-store: members buy in bulk to get the savings. By paying the lump sum for two years, you save 50%.

    A Costco spokesperson did not immediately return Business Insider's request for more details on the deal. 

    These membership perks are one way that Costco attracts and retains members. Cheap gas and travel deals are used in a similar way. 

    The store offers two types of gas that are exclusive to its members or anyone with a Costco gift card: premium, top-tier gas and standard gas from its signature label, Kirkland. Diesel is also available at some locations. According to a survey done by Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) in March 2017, Costco beat out major gas chains, as well as warehouse-club rivals such as Walmart-owned Sam's Club and BJ's, to rank as the cheapest place to buy gas in the US.

    As gas is a recurring purchase, it's also an effective way to drive foot traffic to stores.

    Its travel service has also become one of its biggest assets. During a quarterly earnings call in March, Costco CFO Richard Galanti said that the travel business is a big growth area for the company because there are few administrative costs associated with it, keeping margins high.

    While it might not sound like the most glamorous way to book a trip, Costco members can't get enough of it

    SEE ALSO: People are obsessed with booking their vacations through Costco — and now there are even more benefits

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    Fitbit Charge 3

    • Fitbit has a plan to help it stay relevant as it faces more competition from companies like Apple and Garmin. 
    • It's launching Fitbit Care, a health platform that combines coaching, virtual care, wearable devices, and self-tracking to help employers' and health plans' employees and members get healthier. 
    • For now, the program is just for consumers whose employers, health plans, or health systems opt into it.

    Fitbit is making a move to become more than just a fitness device at a time when wearable competition is fierce. 

    The company on Wednesday announced the launch of Fitbit Care, a health platform that combines coaching, virtual care, wearable devices, and self-tracking.

    Best known for its simple fitness band aimed at getting people moving, Fitbit is developing new products as its stock price has taken a tumble amid competition from companies like Apple. 

    After Apple debuted its new watch, which includes features like new heart-rate tracking and fall detection, shares of Fitbit fell earlier in September as much as 6%. 

    Here's how Fitbit Care works: The platform encompasses Fitbit's wearable band, which tracks sleep habits, activity, heart rate, and female health. Then, through a new Fitbit Plus app used on a smartphone users can get health coaching sessions and virtual care to help them reach a particular health goal, such as lowering blood pressure. 

    For now, the program is just for people whose employers, health plans, or health systems opt into it and pay Fitbit on a per member per month basis. That means individual people can't sign up to use the program on their own, at least for now. 

    "With healthcare costs and rates of chronic disease increasing, there is a clear need for innovative tools and services to help people make the lifestyle and behavior changes necessary to reverse this trend,” Adam Pellegrini, the general manager of Fitbit Health Solutions, said in a news release. 

    For many Americans, their employers are the ones picking up the tab for their healthcare. More than half of the non-elderly population is covered by an employer-sponsored healthcare plan, and almost 80% of large companies are self-insured.

    As healthcare costs go up, employers are the ones feeling the pressure. Some are starting to get fed up and looking for new ideas. Platforms like Fitbit Cares are one of those ideas. In addition to employers, Fitbit said that about 5 million Humana members — those in its employer group segment — will have access to Fitbit Cares coaching.

    See also: 

    SEE ALSO: Fitbit just introduced a $150 fitness tracker that's waterproof and gets 7 days of battery life

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    NOW WATCH: How whales became the largest animals ever

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