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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Screen Shot 2018 09 24 at 4.46.19 PM

    • Judge Brett Kavanaugh said he does not recall having any memorable interactions with Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor who accused him of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s.
    • "I may have met her," Kavanaugh said. "We did not travel in the same social circles."
    • Kavanaugh suggested he did attend parties in high school, when the legal drinking age at the time was 18 years old, but denied having seen the sexual misconduct described by his accusers.

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh said he does not recall having any memorable interactions with Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor who accused him of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s.

    "I may have met her," Kavanaugh said during an interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Monday night. "We did not travel in the same social circles."

    Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, added that Ford "was not a friend, not someone I knew," and that he "didn't remember being in any parties with her."

    Ford alleged Kavanaugh was "stumbling drunk" during a small party while the two were in high school when he sexually assaulted her. She claimed he pinned her to a bed, groped her over her clothes, and covered her mouth with his hand when she started to scream.

    Kavanaugh has categorically denied Ford's allegation, and those of others who accused him of sexual misconduct in the 1980s. Kavanaugh suggested he did attend parties in high school, when the legal drinking age at the time was 18 years old, but denied having seen or acted in a way described by his accusers.

    "Yes, there were parties and the drinking age was 18," Kavanaugh said. "And yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion. And people generally, in high school, I think all of us have probably done things. We look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit."

    "But that's not what we're talking about," Kavanaugh added. "We're talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I've never sexually assaulted anyone."

    Leland Ingham Keyser, a longtime friend of Ford, defended Kavanaugh's claim that he was not present at the party mentioned in the allegation. In a statement through her attorney, Keyser said she "has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford."

    Ford has passed a lie-detector test and possesses contemporaneous notes from her therapist that describe a "rape attempt" from an "elitist boys' school." 

    Kavanaugh faces more allegations ahead of his and Ford's scheduled hearing on Thursday. On Sunday, Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale University classmate, alleged that Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a party in the 1980s, according to The New Yorker.

    Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, said the wave of allegations against him have been "incredibly difficult" and "harder than we imagined." But the two of them expressed optimism and said they believed they were "on the right path."

    "I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process," Kavanaugh said. "I'm not going anywhere."

    SEE ALSO: Brett Kavanaugh writes letter calling new accusations 'grotesque and obvious character assassination,' says he 'will not be intimidated into withdrawing'

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    mike krieger kevin systrom instagram cofounders 2012

    • Instagram's two cofounders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, are leaving the company, they said in a statement on Monday night.
    • The duo currently serve as the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app's CEO and CTO respectively.
    • According to a report from Bloomberg, the departures come "after growing tensions with [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of the product.
    • It comes after months of chaos and scandals for Facebook.

    Instagram's cofounders are leaving the company.

    On Monday night, Kevin Systrom, CEO of the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app, announced that he and fellow cofounder Mike Krieger were departing the social media firm. His statement came after a report from The New York Times that the duo had quit, and Bloomberg subsequently reported that the move came "after growing tensions with [Facebook's] Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of the product."

    Krieger and Systrom together founded Instagram in 2010, and it was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012.

    The news comes following months of turmoil and scandals for Facebook, from Cambridge Analytica's misappropriation of tens of millions of Facebok users' data to sustained fallout from the spread of Russian propaganda during the 2016 election. Instagram has thus far been a bright spot in Facebook's portfolio, largely (though not entirely) untainted by controversies — but the cofounder team's departures raises questions about the direction and future of the wildly popular app. 

    Reached for comment by Business Insider, an Instagram spokesperson provided a link to a statement from Systrom in which he said they both plan "on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again." The NYT reported that the pair will leave in the "coming weeks," and will take some time off after their departure.

    Systrom is currently the CEO of Instagram, while Krieger serves as its CTO. It's not yet known who will fill their roles.

    In recent months, Facebook has integrated its executive bench more closely into Instagram. In May 2018, Facebook reshuffled its executive team, making Chris Cox — formerly the head of the core Facebook app — the company's chief product officer, responsible for Instagram and Facebook's other apps. And Adam Mosseri, formerly the VP of News Feed at Facebook, was made Instagram's new head of product. 

    The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, also reported that Systrom and Krieger had "clashed" with Facebook's leadership — specifically over "Instagram's autonomy"— and that when Mosseri was reassigned Facebook execs were expecting the pair to leave.

    Earlier this year, the cofounder of another Facebook-acquired app left the Silicon Valley tech giant. Jan Koum, cofounder of WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging app Facebook bought $19 billion, left Facebook in April 2018, reportedly due to tensions over efforts to weaken the app's security. And back in March 2018, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, another WhatsApp cofounder, Brian Acton, urged his followers to "delete Facebook."

    In a statement, Zuckerberg said: "Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents. I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it. I wish them all the best and I'm looking forward to seeing what they build next."

    Do you work at Instagram? Do you know more? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

    This story is developing...

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Chamath Palihapitiya

    • Chamath Palihapitiya, founder of Silicon Valley venture firm Social Capital, let go more than six members of his staff, including four partners, on Thursday. 
    • According to sources, the layoffs occurred shortly after a call with the firm's limited partners.
    • Despite a rift in the firm that resulted in the departures of many of the firm's founding members beginning last year, sources said that the layoffs took members of the firm by surprise. 

    On the same day that Chamath Palihapitiya , the founder of Silicon Valley venture firm Social Capital, published a post to Medium insisting that the firm was not in dire straits, he let multiple members of his staff go, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    Among the people who multiple sources confirmed were let go are partner Adam Nelson, partner Ashley Carroll, senior associate of growth Kiel Zsitvay, head of communications Kira McCroden, partner Kristin Baker Spohn, and partner Sandhya Venkatachalam.

    Still more members of the firm are said to be laid off, and Business Insider is reaching out to confirm the exact number of people who were let go. 

    A spokesperson for Social Capital declined to comment on the layoffs.

    According to people familiar with the matter, the layoffs took place as a part of what Palihapitiya described as his desire to turn Social Capital into a technology holding company in lieu of a traditional venture fund. Indeed, in an interview with The Information on ThursdayPalihapitiya noted that the new incarnation of Social Capital would have a smaller headcount of about 40 people, compared to 70 at its peak.

    Still, the layoffs took the firm's members by surprise, multiple sources told Business Insider. Palihapitiya abruptly gave several people their walking papers immediately after a conference call with the firm's limited partners advisory committee.

    "He told them that there was a team there, that everything was totally fine. And then, after that he let everybody go," one source told Business Insider. 

    The sequence of events is all the stranger in the context of an Axios report on Friday which quoted a source describing Palihapitiya as repeatedly dodging tough questions about the future of the firm and about who was managing the investors' money. 

    The firm has already experienced a talent exodus leading up to Thursday's change, with multiple departures over the course of the preceding year.

    As Business Insider previously reportedPalihapitiya's involvement in the firm has been inconsistent.

    Read more about Social Capital's meltdown:

    'Shame on the LPs': Insiders say the unraveling of Silicon Valley's hottest VC firm, Social Capital, could have been avoided

    We have new details about the VC firm being started by the Social Capital defectors — including its official name

    SEE ALSO: Chinese entrepreneurs have a completely different definition of winning than other startups, and Google's former China boss says that's a big problem for US tech companies

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Brett Kavanaugh

    • James Roche, a man who says he was Brett Kavanaugh's roommate when the two were in college at Yale, said he remembered Kavanaugh "frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk."
    • Roche said that he is inclined to believe the sexual misconduct allegations a second accuser, Debbie Ramirez, leveled against Kavanaugh.
    • Ramirez was another of Kavanaugh's classmates at Yale. Her alleged encounter with Kavanaugh, during which she said he exposed himself to her at a party, was published by The New Yorker on Sunday.
    • Roche described Kavanaugh as a "normally reserved" person, but a "notably heavy drinker, even by the standards at the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk."

    A man who says he was Judge Brett Kavanaugh's college roommate when the two were students at Yale said he remembered Kavanaugh as "frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk," in a statement released on Monday.

    James Roche said he is inclined to believe the sexual misconduct allegations made by Debbie Ramirez, a fellow classmate at Yale University, who claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party.

    Roche, who lived in a two-bedroom unit with Kavanaugh during their freshman year, described Ramirez as "being exceptionally honest, with a trusting manner," and said he believed Kavanaugh may have been "capable" of behaving in the alleged manner.

    Ramirez claimed that Kavanaugh exposed himself during a dorm party in his 1983-84 freshman year, according to a New Yorker report published on Sunday. Kavanaugh is alleged to have thrust his exposed penis in front of Ramirez's face as onlookers watched, investigative journalists Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer wrote.

    "I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated," Ramirez said to The New Yorker. "Brett was laughing."

    Roche claims that although he did not witness the alleged incident, he was inclined to agree with Ramirez based on his experience around Kavanaugh.

    "Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up," Roche said his statement Monday night. "Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described."

    Roche, who runs a software company in San Francisco, made similar comments to a local Bay Area news station on Monday.

    Roche, who said he was "close friends" with Ramirez and did not interact with Kavanaugh "beyond the first few days of freshman year," described Kavanaugh as a "normally reserved" person, but a "notably heavy drinker, even by the standards at the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk."

    "We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends," Roche said.

    Kavanaugh has emphatically denied Ramirez's claim, calling it a "smear, plain and simple." He also denies Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that he fondled her at a party when the two were in high school.

    Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party in the 1980s, said he was "stumbling drunk" when he sexually assaulted her.

    "Yes, there were parties and the drinking age was 18," Kavanaugh said during an interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Monday night. "And yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion. And people generally, in high school, I think all of us have probably done things. We look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit."

    "But that's not what we're talking about," Kavanaugh added. "We're talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I've never sexually assaulted anyone."

    Kavanaugh and Ford are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

    SEE ALSO: Christine Blasey Ford 'was not a friend': Brett Kavanaugh says he doesn't recall meeting his accuser, denies having seen sexual misconduct

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    Brett Kavanaugh

    • A woman who reportedly knew Judge Brett Kavanaugh in high school and publicly defended his character in a letter signed by 64 other women, learned her name was the subject of a vulgar inside joke between him and his friends.
    • Renate Schroeder Dolphin's first name appears 14 times across Kavanaugh's high school yearbook including on his own senior profile. The phrase, Renate Alumni" also appears under a photo of Kavanaugh and his football teammates.

    • Dolphin has not accused Kavanaugh of any misconduct, but she is a new voice among the two women who have leveled allegations against him in the past week: Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez.
    • Kavanaugh and Ford are expected to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

    Renate Schroeder Dolphin, a woman who attended a high school near Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s, is one of more than 60 women who signed a letter publicly defending Kavanaugh’s character after Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during their grade-school years.

    A New York Times report published on Monday revealed that Dolphin was the subject of a suggestive joke found in the Georgetown Prep yearbook.

    Dolphin has not accused Kavanaugh of any misconduct, but she is a new voice among the two women who have leveled allegations against him in the past week: Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez.

    Kavanaugh and his friends used Dolphin’s first name, Renate, as code to describe what two of Kavanaugh's classmates said was an inside joke that referenced their claims of sexual encounters with Dolphin.

    Kavanaugh commented on his high school years in a Fox News interview on Monday night: "People might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school — I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit,” he said.

    The word “Renate” can be found 14 times across Georgetown Prep’s 1983 yearbook in these profiles and in a caption under a group photo of Kavanaugh and his football teammates, who called themselves “Renate Alumni.”

    The letter Dolphin and 64 other women signed and sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee said Kavanaugh "has behaved honorably and treated with women with respect."

    Dolphin told the Times she was unaware that she was the subject of the inside jokes between Kavanaugh and his friends in the senior yearbook, and said she had only found out “a few days ago.”

    Four of the men who were in the picture with Kavanaugh captioned “Renate Alumni” played down the meaning, saying it was a reference to dates or attending school dances with Dolphin.

    "I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means,” Dolphin told the Times, adding: "I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment."

    Kavanaugh and Ford are set to testify about Ford's assault allegations in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

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    Ted Cruz

    • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his wife were accosted at a restaurant in Washington, DC, on Monday night after several protestors criticized his support of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
    • As Cruz and his wife Heidi began leaving the restaurant, hecklers chanted "we believe survivors," in reference to the allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
    • Cruz described Kavanaugh as "unquestionably qualified" for the Supreme Court earlier in September, but he admitted on Friday that the recent allegations were severe enough to warrant a closer look.
    • "The allegations she's raised are serious, and they deserve to be treated with respect," Cruz said during a debate with Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke on Friday, in reference to Christine Blasey Ford's claim.

    Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his wife were accosted at a restaurant in Washington, DC, on Monday night after several protesters criticized his support of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

    As Cruz and his wife, Heidi, began leaving the restaurant, hecklers referred to the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh and chanted "we believe survivors."

    "Beto is way hotter than you, dude," one of the hecklers said at one point, in reference to Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, his opponent in the midterm elections.

    "God bless you," Cruz said.

    "God bless you too," a heckler shouted back.

    Kavanaugh's nomination has become a contentious issue after at least two women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct that they said happened in the 1980s. Kavanaugh categorically denied the allegations and said he would testify to "defend my integrity."

    Cruz, like the majority of Republican lawmakers, has supported Kavanaugh's nomination. Although Cruz described Kavanaugh as "unquestionably qualified" during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier in September, he admitted that the allegations were severe enough to warrant a closer look.

    "The allegations ... are serious, and they deserve to be treated with respect," Cruz said during a debate with O'Rourke on Friday.

    Voting for Kavanaugh's confirmation was delayed after he and Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist and professor who accused him of sexually assaulting her at a house party during high school, agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on Thursday.

    Other senior Trump's administration officials have been heckled at public restaurants. In June, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted at a Mexican restaurant in the nation's capital by protesters who criticized the administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy.

    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was denied service at a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, because of her work in the Trump administration.

    Sanders wrote about the owner of the Red Hen restaurant after the incident: "Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so."

    SEE ALSO: 'He became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk': Brett Kavanaugh's former roommate sides with accuser who claims he exposed himself at college party

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    kevin systrom mark zuckerberg

    • Instagram's cofounders announced their plans to leave Facebook on Monday after six years with the company.
    • A close look at the "farewell letter" reveals several breaches of etiquette that suggest this is not an amicable break up.

    The surprise departure of Instagram's cofounders on Monday evening caught everyone by surprise — including, it seems increasingly likely, Facebook itself.

    The farewell statement that Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom posted Monday on behalf of himself and cofounder Mike Krieger showed a complete disregard for all the usual niceties that go into these sort of things. And that's probably not an accident.

    While the average reader might not notice the hidden barbs, there are various clues in Systrom's goodbye note that hint at the real story behind their departure, which most likely will be revealed in the coming weeks.

    First, let's take a look at the statement:

    "Mike and I are grateful for the last eight years at Instagram and six years with the Facebook team. We’ve grown from 13 people to over a thousand with offices around the world, all while building products used and loved by a community of over one billion. We’re now ready for our next chapter.

    We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again. Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.

    We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion. We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next.

    Kevin Systrom, Co-Founder & CEO"

    Now, let's look at some of the red flags in the announcement that tell you all is not OK:

    1. Timing

    The fact that the two cofounders are leaving together is remarkable in itself. And the fact that the announcements of their departures were not staggered, with a customary six week buffer to provide an appearance of stability and transition, is even more incredible. The message is clear: this was not planned.

    2. Is it just me or is something missing?

    There are two names you didn't see in the announcement: Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. The traditional thank-you to the founder of the company may be a platitude, but it's an important one. Omitting it is the farewell note equivalent of not returning someone's handshake.

    3. Time to explore our creativity ... again

    The key word here is "again." The founders seemed intent on making it clear that indulging their creativity and curiosity — the lifeblood of tech innovators — was not something they could do inside of Facebook.

    4. "Building new things"

    Think of it as another tacit rule of Silicon Valley business. You leave companies to go spend more time with your family, to "recharge your batteries," or to collect vintage sports cars. But you don't, at least not in your farewell note, leave a company to prepare to build a new, and potentially competitive, product.

    5. Timing, part two

    This isn't mentioned in the goodbye note, but it's one more clue pointing to the abruptness of the decision: Systrom was scheduled for several high-profile speaking engagements in the coming weeks, including The Information subscriber summit on October 18 and the WSJD Live conference in Laguna, Calif. in November.

    "The optics are so clearly adversarial," said one person close to the company. "You don't go out like that."

    SEE ALSO: 6 members of Social Capital, including 4 partners, were let go right after Chamath Palihapitiya got off the phone with a committee representing his investors

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Alexei Navalny

    • Alexei Navalny, one of the most prominent faced of Russia's opposition movement, was released from jail Monday and immediately re-arrested and sentenced to another 20 days of detention.
    • Navalny has spent 120 days behind bars in Russia since 2017 in part because of his political activism that largely targets Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    One of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most outspoken critics, Alexei Navalny, thought Monday was going to be his last day in jail after serving out a 30-day sentence for organizing an unauthorized rally, ABC News reported.

    But as soon Navalny stepped out of jail in Moscow, he was greeted by Russian police officers who arrested him again. Later that same day, Navalny was sentenced to another 20 days of detention, his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter.

    Navalny was charged with causing harm to a person or property due to his "action or inaction" at a rally he called for on September 9. He was still in detention at the time of the rally, but Russian authorities said that the harm he caused — a police vehicle was damaged — was a direct result of his initial call for the rally, according to ABC News.

    Navalny, 42, who has become one of the most recognizable faces of Russia's anti-Putin opposition, has spent 120 days in detention since 2017 due to his activism.

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    instagram ceo kevin systrom

    Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Tuesday.

      1. The two founders of Instagram will quit Facebook, amid reports of tensions with CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, CEO and CTO of Instagram, said they want to explore their creativity again. 
      2. Snap has partnered with Amazon for a new feature called Visual Search, which will let users buy items through its app. Users can point the Snap camera at products, which will bring up more information and an option to buy via Amazon.
      3. The White House has distanced itself from a draft executive order which outlined a potential bombshell investigation into online bias at social media and tech firms. Officials have said the leaked draft is not official policy.
      4. Pandora has been acquired for $3.5 billion by Sirius XM. The deal would create the world's biggest audio entertainment company.
      5. Amazon held acquisition talks with food delivery firm Deliveroo — twice. According to The Telegraph, the most recent talks took place nine months ago.
      6. Facebook is being sued by an ex-content moderator who says she got PTSD from exposure to graphic and 'toxic' content on the job. The former employee, Selena Scola, is attempting to launch a class action case against Facebook
      7. Venture capital firm Social Capital is continuing its implosion, with founder Chamath Palihapitiya letting go of four partners after a call with his investment committee. Palihapitiya has publicly insisted the firm is not in dire straits.
      8. Privacy advocates and techies have criticised Google for changes to its browser Chrome that mean web users are automatically signed in when visiting any Google property. Critics said Google had not been upfront about the change.
      9. A significant new study from JP Morgan has found that few people make substantial money driving for Uber or from other gig economy jobs. On average, gig economy workers earned just $828 a month.
      10. Apple has closed its acquisition of music recognition app Shazam, and says the service will become ad-free. It remains unclear how Shazam might integrate into Apple's music streaming service.

    Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for "Business Insider" in your Alexa's flash briefing settings.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    mike krieger kevin systrom instagram cofounders 2012

    Good morning! Here is what you need to know on Tuesday.

    1. Asia stocks struggled as the latest round of US-China tariffs revived fears the trade dispute would knock global growth. Crude oil rose to near 4-year highs after Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out immediate production increases. A senior Chinese official said on Tuesday that the US is putting "a knife to China's neck", a day after both sides heaped fresh tariffs on each other's goods.

    2. The cofounders of Facebook's Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, have resigned and plan to leave the photo-sharing app company in coming weeks, the New York Times reported late on Monday, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.Systrom is chief executive officer and Krieger is the chief technical officer at Instagram. Here's 5 red flags in the Instagram founders' goodbye letter to Facebook that make it obvious there's bad blood.

    3. Amazon made two preliminary approaches for British online food delivery company Deliveroo, the latest one about nine months ago, the Telegraph reported on Monday.The approaches were exploratory and have not progressed, the newspaper report said, citing an investor familiar with the matter. The first round took place two years ago.

    4. Sears CEO Eddie Lampert has proposed rescue deals to help the department store chain avoid bankruptcy as debt matures next month and it faces a cash crunch, according to a regulatory filing released on Monday. Billionaire Lampert, who also runs hedge fund ESL Investments, said the 125-year-old department store chain should take steps to reduce its debt load to $1.2 billion from $5.6 billion.

    5. Walmart and its unit Sam's Club said on Monday leafy greens suppliers will be asked to implement real-time, farm-to-store tracking using blockchain technology by next September, as the retailer tackles food-safety incidents.Walmart is among several other retailers such as Nestle trying to tap blockchain, a shared record of data kept by a network of computers to track food supply chain and improve safety. Last year, Nestle, Unilever, Tyson Foods and other large food and retail companies joined IBM's blockchain technology project.

    6. The US Air Force awarded Boeing a $376 million contract to build four helicopters in the first leg of a $2.38 billion deal to replace the fleet of 46-year-old fleet of UH-1N Huey helicopters.The Air Force said it will eventually order 84 helicopters to be delivered from 2020 through 2032.

    7.Standard Chartered said on Tuesday it will stop financing new coal-fired powered stations, joining the growing ranks of lenders and financiers ending support for the dirtiest fossil fuel amid rising concerns about climate change. StanChart said in a statement on its website that "save where there is an existing commitment, it will cease providing financing for new coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world."

    8. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Tuesday the central bank has entered a phase where it must consider not just the merits but the side-effects of its massive stimulus program in a "balanced manner." Wages and prices are turning up but achievement of the BOJ's 2% target is taking more time than expected, Kuroda said.

    9. Britain's opposition Labour Party will keep open the option of a second Brexit referendum with a question wide enough to include the option of remaining in the European Union, the party's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said on Tuesday.When asked about the idea of a possible rerun of the 2016 EU referendum, Starmer said the exact question could not been decided until the outcome of Brexit talks was known, but that it would be wide enough to include the option of remaining in the bloc.

    10. Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte suffered the biggest ratings slump of his presidency in the third quarter, an independent pollster said on Tuesday, amid signs of public unease about rising inflation and the cost of staple food grain rice.Duterte's approval rating, a measure of his performance, dropped 13 points to 75% in a survey of 1,800 voting-age Filipinos conducted by Pulse Asia this month.

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    Sir Keir Starmer

    • Labour is officially planning to vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal.
    • The party will vote against the deal if it doesn't meet Labour's six Brexit tests "no ifs, no buts," Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer will say on Tuesday.
    • Theresa May's Chequers plan is a long way off from meeting Labour's six tests.
    • The prime minister is at risk of a disastrous parliamentary defeat. 

     

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND — Labour is formally planning to vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal, the party's Brexit spokesperson Sir Keir Starmer will say on Tuesday, with an almighty parliamentary battle looming.

    Starmer will tell Labour party conference it is "increasingly likely" that whatever deal May brings back from Brussels will not meet Labour's six Brexit tests, and Labour MPs will be instructed to vote against it.

    Labour's six tests demand that the UK government's Brexit deal must deliver "the exact same benefits" of the EU's single market and customs union, as suggested by former Brexit Secretary David Davis in 2017.

    "I know that people want clarity on where we stand on the deal now," Starmer is set to say.

    "Because some have said Labour could vote for any deal the Tories reach. Some have said we may abstain. Some have said we may support a vague deal – a "blind Brexit"– that gives no detail about the terms of our future relationship."

    "So, let me be very clear —right here, right now: If Theresa May brings back a deal that fails our tests – and that looks increasingly likely — Labour will vote against it. No ifs, no buts."

    Significantly, Starmer will also warn May that Labour will not vote for a deal which is vague on the UK's future relationship with the EU — also known as a "blind" Brexit — amid suggestions that Labour would accept that.

    "And if the Prime Minister thinks we’ll wave through a vague deal asking us to jump blindfolded into the unknown she can think again. You can’t meet Labour’s tests by failing to provide answers. We will vote down a blind Brexit," he'll say.

    Theresa May

    Starmer's announcement will confirm May's fears that a disastrous parliamentary defeat on her Brexit deal is a real possibility, with Conservative MPs from the pro-Brexit and pro-EU wings of the party set to vote down the deal.

    There is also a feeling that defeat on such a defining issue would force May to consider her leadership, amid speculation that those around her are secretly preparing for another snap general election.

    The Conservatives accused Labour of "playing political games" and "trying to frustrate" the 2016 referendum result.

    "Labour seem determined to take us all back to square one by rejecting a deal out of hand then trying to delay Brexit and re-run the referendum," Brexit minister Robin Walker MP said.

    Labour's conference in Liverpool has been dominated by the issue of Brexit.

    On Monday, Starmer confirmed that staying in the EU could be an option in any second Brexit referendum.

    This followed Labour figures agreeing on a motion which said that the party would consider supporting another referendum if there is no Brexit deal and no "immediate" general election takes place.

    A YouGov poll published over the weekend found that 86% of Labour members want the party to back another referendum. However, support for another referendum is not as strong among Labour MPs.

    Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman told Business Insider that another referendum is not what the party "should be aiming for" and said she was not "wild" about the idea.

    SEE ALSO: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'farcical' cop-out after refusing to back second Brexit referendum

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    Marc Benioff

    • In the wake of a newly-announced partnership between Apple and Salesforce, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff seems to have had a change of heart about Apple's CEO Tim Cook.
    • He publicly thanked Cook for his work on "gender equality"— after previously condemning him for not doing enough on that exact same issue. 
    • Benioff also seemed to acknowledge Salesforce's own recent missteps regarding its contract to serve US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).


    In the wake of a new partnership between Apple and Salesforce, Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff seems to have had a change of heart about Apple's CEO Tim Cook.

    On stage at during Benioff's keynote at Salesforce's enormous Dreamforce tech conference taking place this week in San Francisco, Benioff said:

    "Thank you to Apple for becoming a strategic partner. Thank you, Tim Cook. Thank you for fighting for gender equality. Thank you for fighting for equality and love in our industry. You are somebody in our industry we all can follow."

    It's not exactly clear what he's referring to when it comes to crediting Cook with fighting for gender equality. Earlier this year, Apple released a gender pay gap analysis for its workers in the UK, where such disclosures are now required by law. Apple's report showed that the company pays women equally to their male counterparts. The report also shows that Apple's workforce is about 30% women, which is about average for the tech industry.

    As for fighting for "equality and love," Benioff is likely talking about how Cook publicly came out as gay back in 2014. However, in 2016, when Salesforce was fighting with several states to defeat bills that appeared to legalize discrimination against gay and transgender people on the basis of religion, Benioff was less impressed. Back then, Benioff criticised Cook for not supporting the efforts to defeat such bills, particularly one in Georgia.

    For its part, Apple has adopted protecting consumer privacy as its keystone social issue. It's a self-serving issue to tackle, given that Apple's latest and greatest smartphones use facial scanning technology, leaving the company to reassure customers that the technology isn't creepy. 

    Now that Apple is a partner to Salesforce, Benioff seems a lot happier with Cook's efforts in matters of gender equality and equal pay — two of Benioff's own pet causes. 

    Interestingly, during the same speech, Benioff also seemed to give a nod to the big controversy that banged up  Salesforce's own image on social issues in recent days: the fact that it supplies services to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The CBP, and companies that do business with it, have come under sharp criticism in the wake of President Donald Trump's zero tolerance policy on immigration, and the controversial policy of family separations.

    More than 650 Salesforce employees signed a letter calling the family separation policy “inhumane,” and asked the company to reconsidering its contract with the agency. However, Salesforce insisted that its products were not being used in that effort, and did not end the contract. Benioff did publicly condemn the family separation policy, and said he donated to efforts to help legal efforts to reunite affected families. He also wrote a letter to the White House condemning the situation.

    RAICES, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrant rights, publicly refused a donation from Salesforce because of this contract.

    On stage on Tuesday, Benioff seemed to recognize the PR hit his company has taken over the situation, subtly addressing by saying that when it comes to social issues, "We’re not perfect. We’re not always going to get it right. Sometimes you have to take a big two-by-four and hit me over the head."

    Amid the CBP firestorm, and the storm of controversy otherwise sweeping Silicon Valley over app addiction, the spread of misinformation, and the potentially disruptive effects of artificial intelligence, Benioff also pointed out that the company is currently looking to hire a chief ethical officer who will ensure the "humane" use of its technology.

    SEE ALSO: The CEO of $4 billion McAfee explains how to know when to cut your losses on a project and change course

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    Mark Zuckerberg

    • Instagram cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced on Monday they are leaving the company.
    • Their departure poses big risks for the service they created and for Facebook, its corporate parent.
    • Their resignations come as Facebook has becoming increasingly reliant on the revenue and user growth Instagram provides.
    • It also follows a series of scandals at Facebook that have exposed the shortcomings of Mark Zuckerberg as a leader and CEO. 

    It's usually not huge news when the founders of a startup leave after their company is acquired.

    But the departure of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger from Instagram is a big deal — and not just because it was so unexpected. Their resignations are a huge blow to parent company Facebook.

    Their move puts the future of Instagram up in the air even as it has become increasingly important to Facebook's overall business. And their departure — which follows that of other other top executives — comes as it's become increasingly clear that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could use more, not fewer, strong voices to check his impulses and guide the company.

    Perhaps not so coincidentally, the early indications are that Systrom and Krieger are leaving Instagram precisely over a difference of opinion with Zuckerberg about the future of Instagram.

    Up until recently, Systrom was largely able to run Instagram on his own, according to multiple reports. Although Instagram tapped into Facebook's engineering resources and infrastructure, its founders were largely able to stick to their own vision when running the service, and to shrug off product suggestions from their corporate parent.

    But Facebook had recently begun to alter the nature of its relationship with the photo-sharing service. Zuckerberg has been personally taking a more active interest in Instagram's direction of late, according to the Wall Street Journal. A management shakeup earlier this year appeared to decrease Systrom's power over the service and access to the CEO, the Journal reported. Meanwhile, Facebook has dramatically cut back on promoting Instagram inside its main social networking app, according to the Journal.

    Systrom and Krieger were upset about the loss of the site's autonomy and their ability to steer its direction, according to multiple reports.

    Instagram was doing great under Systrom and Krieger's leadership

    At least from the outside, the two have done a terrific job with the service. In the six years since Facebook acquired Instagram, it's grown from 30 million to a billion active users. When it became part of Facebook, Instagram was basically generating no revenue. This year, it's expected to pull in $8 billion advertising sales, according to eMarketer.

    Kevin SystromAs it's grown, Instagram has become an increasingly key part of Facebook's overall business. This year, the photo service's revenue will account for an estimated 17% of its corporate parent's ad sales, up from 9% last year.

    Instagram's fast sales and user growth have come as the revenue growth from Facebook's core app has started to slow. They also come as the number of Facebook users in developed countries has started to stagnate and the amount of time those users spend on the service has started to fall.

    Indeed, Instagram has started to look like Facebook's bright hope for the future. Young consumers increasingly signing up for and spending time with it instead of with Facebook's main social network. And while the reputation of Facebook's main service has been sullied by a succession of scandals, including the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Instagram has largely maintained its positive image.

    But Facebook is risking that success with Systrom and Krieger leaving. Consumers bought into their vision, which was a site that was distinct from Facebook. If Facebook muddies that vision by remaking the service so it's more like, or more integrated into the company's core social network, users may go elsewhere.

    It's clear that Zuckerberg needs outside voices on his team

    But that's not the only danger Facebook faces from the departure of the Instagram founders. Perhaps the bigger risk is to the company's management and leadership.

    Thanks to a stock structure that gives him outsized voting power in any corporate matter, Zuckerberg appears to rule Facebook unchecked by the company's board. That makes the role of the top managers around him even more important, giving them a key role in helping shape and influence the company's direction.

    It's clear that Zuckerberg could use some help. The company has been stumbling through a series of crises for much of the last two years, from the Russian-linked propaganda campaign during the 2016 election to the persecuting of Myanmar's Rohingya people to the massive compromise of customer data to Cambridge Analytica. To a large degree, those problems have been of the company's own making, stemming from a culture that promoted growth above just about all else, no matter whether it was privacy or social harm.

    Jan KoumBut at a time when Zuckerberg could use some voices in the upper levels of management who might offer a different vision for how to grow and run a social network, he's been losing just the kinds of executives who could provide that kind of insight.

    Jan Koum and Brian Acton, the cofounders of WhatsApp, who promoted privacy within the chat app and criticized Facebook's efforts to commercialize it, left within the past year. Alex Stamos, Facebook's security chief who warned that the US is unprepared from a security standpoint for this year's election, left last month. And now Systrom and Krieger are gone.

    The remaining cadre around Zuckerberg is mostly comprised of managers who have been at the company and working on its core social network for years, many since its early days. They're precisely not the sort of people who might be able to offer Zuckerberg an outside perspective that's not heavily steeped in how the company has always done things.

    If Instagram falters in the wake of Systrom and Krieger's departure, that will be a bad thing for its users, for Facebook, and for Facebook's shareholders. But if their resignation helps lead to a CEO and company that are even more insulated from outside perspectives and contrary visions, that will be bad for the rest of us too, given how much power the company has and how much social harm it can and has caused.

    SEE ALSO: Facebook’s stock dropped by $120 billion this week, but critics are dead wrong for calling it ‘doomed’

    SEE ALSO: Facebook's reorganization is little more than chair-shuffling — and a missed opportunity for Mark Zuckerberg and company

    SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg is acting like a man who can’t be fired — and the unique way his stock is structured could be why

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


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    barack obama sweating getty

    • Honeywell had a big server outage, and its smart, internet-connected thermostats were not working as intended. 
    • Customers were unable to control their heating via the Honeywell app as promised.
    • However, Honeywell says that affected thermostats are still working to control heating and cooling — they're just under manual control, like a normal thermostat. It's the smart features that are on the fritz.
    • A spokesperson said the issue lasted for only a few hours on Tuesday, but customers say there have been problems for weeks.

    The internet-enabled thermostats made by $122 billion appliance giant Honeywell has been having server issues, leaving some customers unable to control their temperature via an app as advertised — and they're furious about it.

    Customers flocked to Twitter to complain about technical issues that plagued Honeywell Home, the 112-year-old company's recent line of internet-connected devices. They said a major outage started several days ago, and problems have been ongoing for weeks. Those same customers have also complained about what they say is a lack of communication from Honeywell.

    In a statement, Honeywell disputes those complaints, and says that the problems were only for a short period on Tuesday.

    "Earlier today, a small number of customers using Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort app experienced delays, which have been resolved. Their thermostats performed as designed locally, however the temperature could not be set remotely," said Honeywell spokesperson Bruce Eric Anderson in a prepared statement. 

    As Anderson says, the thermostats were still controllable if owners have physical access, but the ability to control the temperature remotely via app — the main selling point of these devices — had been offline. This can cause issues for people managing multiple properties, like landlords, or those customers with mobility issues. 

    The outage highlights one of the persistent problems with the so-called "internet of things:" The usefulness of products are often dependent on the reliability of internet services they have no control over — and when they crash, there's nothing people can do.

    Despite Honeywell's assurances, one customer told Business Insider they first encountered issues four days ago, and had run into issues earlier in the month before that. There are also multiple Honeywell customers complaining on social media about technical problems before Tuesday.

    Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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    Trans bay closure

    • Just weeks after it opened, the $2.2 billion San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center was abruptly closed on Tuesday.
    • A fissure was discovered in one of the building's steel beams.
    • According to a statement from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the beam was located in the ceiling of the third-level Bus Deck the closure is "out of an abundance of caution" as officials investigate.

    Just weeks after it opened, the $2.2 billion San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center was abruptly closed on Tuesday. A major crack was discovered in one of the building's steel support beams.

    According to a statement from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the beam was located in the ceiling of the third-level Bus Deck, and the decision to close was made "out of an abundance of caution," as engineers inspect other beams and work to repair the problem.

    The Bus Deck is above the ground level. The structure's two other levels are below-ground floors that were designed for rail lines but aren't yet in use.

    The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the beam is among many that support the rooftop garden.

    SEE ALSO: San Francisco's new $2.2 billion transit center, the 'Grand Central Station of the West,' is officially open to the public — take a look around

    Sitting on top of the transit center is a 5.4-acre park space that includes foliage, and numerous seating areas.



    Firemen were on the scene and an officer of the San Francisco Police Department told Business Insider the building was being evacuated. Police were not allowing anyone near the four-block-long structure.



    At least two of the city's major traffic arteries were closed, including Fremont and Beal streets between Mission and Howard.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    dunkin 2727

    • Dunkin' Donuts' decision to strike "Donuts" from its name has sparked backlash among some fans of the chain. 
    • However, executives said that the chain saw "overwhelmingly positive" reactions to the new name in a test of roughly 50 stores.
    • "Consumers will come in and they'll tell the crew or the franchisee that it just really looks right, it just feels like the brand I know and love," Tony Weisman, Dunkin' Donuts' US CMO, said in a call with reporters on Tuesday.

    Dunkin' Donuts is striking the "Donuts" from its name. 

    On Tuesday, the chain announced plans to officially change its name to simply "Dunkin'" in January. 

    For a certain segment of customers, such a change is worrisome and nearly blasphemous. 

    "Why would anyone want to distance themselves from donuts?" one person commented on Dunkin' Donuts' Facebook post announcing the change. 

    However, executives said in a call with media on Tuesday that there is little reason for the chain to fear backlash. 

    "We've tested this extensively with consumers in some of our core markets where we've been along for a very long time, as well as some of our newer markets, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive," said Tony Weisman, Dunkin' Donuts' US CMO. 

    Dunkin' started testing the shortened name in new and remodeled "next-generation" stores earlier this year. According to Weisman, the test has been a success, helping convince Dunkin' Donuts to make the change at all stores. 

    Dunkin Donuts Next Generation Concept Store

    "Consumers will come in and they'll tell the crew or the franchisee that it just really looks right, it just feels like the brand I know and love," Weisman said. "And so, I think we've had very little in the way of backlash in those new stores. And I think it's just going to feel very, very familiar to people."

    According to executives, next-generation stores have continued to see significant doughnut sales, thanks in part to the clear, customer-facing doughnut cases in new and remodeled next-generation stores. 

    "In our next-gen stores, we're selling more donuts than we have before," CEO David Hoffmann said. 

    Further, Weisman and Hoffmann both said that the chain has long been referred to as simply "Dunkin'" in casual conversation, especially following the launch of the "America runs on Dunkin'" marketing campaign 10 years ago. 

    "Our guests have been affectionately referring to our brand as Dunkin' for almost 70 years now," Hoffmann said. 

    "This isn't a change for the sake of change," Hoffmann continued. "For two years, we have been focused on evolving Dunkin' into the premier beverage-led, on-the go-brand and have been implementing what we call our blueprint for growth." 

    Along with the new name, Dunkin' Donuts is revamping its store design. Next-generation stores are optimized for on-the-go customers, and they feature more cold drinks like nitro-infused cold brew and digital ordering kiosks.

    SEE ALSO: We visited Dunkin' Donuts' 'store of the future' in NYC — here's what it was like

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    Donald Trump Ivan Duque Colombia UN General Assembly

    • US-led military action to address the situation in Venezuela has been floated several times by US officials.
    • At the UN General Assembly, President Donald Trump was asked about what threat Venezuela poses.
    • In his response, Trump joked about an August attack on Venezuela's president, when two exploding drones sent assembled troops scattering.

    Since President Donald Trump first mentioned potential US military action in response to ongoing crises in Venezuela, the idea of US-led intervention has been raised by policymakers in the US and around the region.

    The subject returned to the fore in recent weeks, as several officials, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, stressed that no option should be ruled out.

    During a meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump found an opportunity to make light of the tension.

    While taking questions alongside Duque, Trump was asked how dangerous the Maduro government was to national security and what, if anything, he would do to address that threat.

    Venezuela Caracas Maduro assassination attempt crowd drone attack

    "Well, it's dangerous for their security. It's dangerous for their people's security," Trump said, according to footage recorded by Venezuelan journalist Lohena Reveron. "It's a regime that frankly could be toppled very quickly by the military, if the military decides to do that."

    "And you saw how the military spread as soon as they heard a bomb go off way above their head," Trump added in apparent reference to an August attack on Maduro by bomb-laden drones. The drones detonated overhead while Maduro was giving a speech to commemorate the country's national guard.

    "That military was running for cover. That's not good," Trump said. "I don't think the Marines would've run," Trump said, referring to US service members.

    Trump then turned to John Kelly, the White House chief of staff and a retired Marine general: "What do you think, Gen. Kelly? Do the marines run when they hear a bomb go off?"

    "They don't know how to run," Kelly replied, drawing chuckles from the room.

    "You know what they do? They run toward the bomb, right? That's even better," Trump said, eliciting more laughter.

    Trump made the unexpected declaration that he would not "rule out a military option" in Venezuela in August 2017.

    In the months since, his administration has kept pressure on Venezuelan officials through targeted sanctions, and Trump himself has reportedly broached the subject of intervention several times with US and foreign officials.

    In August, Rubio said he believed there was a "very strong" argument that "Venezuela and the Maduro regime have become a threat to the region and to the United States."

    Venezuela soldiers

    His comments were followed this month by Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro saying that "with respect to a military intervention" to oust Maduro, he didn't "think any option should be ruled out."

    Almagro cited the Rwandan genocide as an example of a failure to act.

    The idea of US intervention has been dismissed throughout the region. After Almagro's comments, most of the members of the Lima Group, a 14-country bloc formed in 2017 to address the situation in Venezuela, said it rejected military action and reiterated a commitment to a "peaceful and negotiated" solution.

    Despite Trump's numerous references to military action, the nominee to lead US Southern Command, which oversees South America, said on Tuesday that no planning was underway for any kind of military option.

    "We are not doing anything other than normal prudent planning that a combatant command would do to prepare for a range of contingencies," Navy Vice Adm. Craig Faller said when asked during his Senate confirmation hearing if Trump or other US officials had suggested preparing military options.

    Venezuela Colombia Cucuta migrants refugees

    Experts have said a multilateral intervention would likely be blocked by Russia and China, both Venezuelan allies, and that countries in the region are unlikely to want to contribute to an inter-regional force. Action by the US alone or with a few partners, even if limited in scope, could set off a prolonged period of low-level conflict, given political instability and rampant criminality present in Venezuela.

    Stabilizing and developing the country would almost certainly be a long and expensive process.

    Fernando Cutz, who was acting senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs on the National Security Council until earlier this year, said Monday that while he was in that job, the administration never discussed a military option, except for last-resort scenarios that would warrant a response, such as an attack on the US embassy or, he said, a "massacre."

    But, he said, the administration was willing to listen to parties in Venezuela, such as military leaders, who wanted to talk. (Reports surfaced earlier this year that US officials met with Venezuelans who wanted support for a coup, but the US declined to offer it.)

    Cutz also noted the Lima Group's statement specifically, saying the region needed to discuss what it is willing to do to resolve the crisis.

    "I think we need to have solutions, not just more 'no's,'" Cutz said during an event at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. "And I think we need to sit down and actually think about a multilateral military option before we just knee-jerk say 'no.'"

    SEE ALSO: Officials keep talking about intervening in Venezuela, and it's drawing an ominous comparison

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    NOW WATCH: RBC commodity chief: The oil market has a lot riding on Venezuela


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    brett kavanaugh

    • Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee hired an Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor to ask questions on their behalf at a scheduled hearing during which Christine Blasey Ford will speak publicly about her sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.
    • Rachel Mitchell, a Maricopa County attorney, will lead a round of questioning at the hearing on Thursday.
    • Committee chairman Chuck Grassley initially did not reveal Mitchell's identity Tuesday night, but he changed course after some sharp rebukes from Ford's attorneys and others.
    • There were also lingering questions about whether Deborah Ramirez, Kavanaugh's second accuser, would testify. Ramirez's attorney said Republican members of the Judiciary Committee were no-shows for a scheduled phone call about that on Tuesday.

    Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee hired an Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor to ask questions on their behalf at a scheduled hearing during which Christine Blasey Ford will speak about her sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, multiple news outlets reported on Tuesday night.

    Rachel Mitchell, a Maricopa County attorney, will lead a round of questioning at the Thursday hearing.

    Committee chairman Chuck Grassley initially did not reveal Mitchell's identity, but he changed course after some sharp rebukes from Ford's attorneys and others.

    Ford has accused Kavanaugh of holding her down, fondling her over her clothes, and covering her mouth so she couldn't scream when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

    The hearing set for Thursday is happening as Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee clamor to get Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court. A vote on that is scheduled for Friday.

    Additionally, there were lingering questions about whether Deborah Ramirez, Kavanaugh's second accuser, would testify. Ramirez says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while they were students at Yale, a claim Kavanaugh also denies.

    Ramirez's attorney, John Clune, said that Republican members of the Judiciary Committee were no-shows for a scheduled phone call on Tuesday. Clune told MSNBC, "They won't talk to us."

    "The demand that they keep making to us is, 'Give us every piece of information that you have now and then we can talk about scheduling a phone call,'" Clune said.

    In an interview with CNN, Clune said a phone call was finally scheduled for Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET, but only the Democrats showed up. Clune is among those asking that the FBI open a new investigation into the sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh.

    The wrangling has exasperated some Republicans who are eager to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and notch another victory for President Donald Trump ahead of the November midterm elections.

    Trump last week indicated he was open to Ford sharing her story with the lawmakers, but has since turned away from that idea. This week, Trump has also sought to discredit Ramirez. He's now accusing Democrats of using the women as part of what he called a "con game" to destroy Kavanaugh.

    SEE ALSO: 'I'm confident we're going to win': Republicans are now bullish about confirming Brett Kavanaugh very soon

    DON'T MISS: Senators will vote on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation one day after Christine Blasey Ford testifies about her sexual assault claim against him

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    sundar pichai google android chrome

    • Google recently decided to log Chrome users in automatically, a move that some researchers said risked users privacy.
    • The search company was heavily criticized after a security researcher discovered the change and the fact that Google hadn't notified users about the switch. 
    • On Tuesday, Google provided more ways that Chrome users can protect their privacy, including the ability to turn off the auto-login feature.

    Google on Tuesday seemed to go out of its way to squash a controversy over recent changes to the popular Chrome browser. 

    On Sunday, Matthew Green, a security researcher and professor at Johns Hopkins, revealed that Google had quietly started automatically logging in Chrome users. Anytime someone signed on to one of Google's properties, such as Gmail or Google Drive, they would be automatically be logged into their Chrome accounts as well. 

    Green said that he and many others had chosen not to sign in as a added layer of protection from accidentally sharing their browser histories with Google.

    Before the recent change, users had to take two steps in order to turn their browser data over to Google. They needed to sign in, and then agree to sync their info. If users were automatically signed in by Google, one of those steps disappeared.

    Green also accused Google of making the new sync-consent page more confusing. He said this would make it much easier for users to mistakenly turn over their info. Green predicted that the change would result in a hit to Google's reputation. 

    'We want to be clearer about your sign-in state'

    But managers at Chrome on Tuesday acknowledged the complaints. In response, the company said a forthcoming Chrome update, due next month, will add the option of turning off the links between Chrome's login with the login for Google's other properties.

    Google will also update the user interface to make it more obvious whether a user is sharing data with the company. In a statement,  Zach Koch, Chrome product manager, said, "We want to be clearer about your sign-in state and whether or not you're syncing data to our Google account." 

    Finally, Koch said that the company will change the way it manages authorization cookies. 

    "In the current version of Chrome," Koch said, "we keep the Google auth cookies to allow you to stay signed in after the cookies are cleared. We will change this behavior so all cookies are deleted, and you will be signed out."

    Google says the reason it changed the login procedures was to "simplify the way Chrome handles sign-in."

    Green expressed skepticism about Google's reasoning. The search giant has yet to explain why it made the change without notifying users in the first place.  

    SEE ALSO: Google quietly started logging people into Chrome without their consent, and a security expert says it's terrible for privacy

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    David Jones

    • With the current ad agency model taking fire from all sides, former Havas chief David Jones believes that his brand-tech company You & Mr Jones offers a more viable alternative for marketers of the future.
    • The ad veteran envisions a whole new ad ecosystem, with five or 10 companies forming a brand new category at the intersection of brand-building and technology.
    • Jones believes that recent events like former WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell launching a new fangled ad company only prove his hypothesis.

    With the current ad agency model under attack from various fronts, it's hard to predict what exactly the industry will look like once the dust settles. There's no shortage of 'agencies are dead' proclamations or would-be saviors promising revolutionary new business models.

    Former Havas chief David Jones believes that his "brand tech" company You & Mr Jones has figured out what marketers of the future need in a data and tech dominated world — and that he's got a huge head start on the competition.

    The company was formed in 2015, raising $350 million to leverage technology to help build brands. Since then, it has acquired five technology companies, invested in 21 and launched two start-ups — all in a bid to bring marketers and technology closer together.

    Right. So what is a brand tech company exactly?

    You & Mr Jones is seeking to offer a new take on the full-service ad agency model — via which marketers got everything they need (producing ads, buying ad space, overall strategy) from a single firm. 

    In this case, You & Mr Jones essentially plays middleman between brands and technology companies — companies that specialize in things modern brands increasingly need content creation, brand strategy, chatbots, artificial intelligence and data and analytics among others (things that traditional ad agencies haven't been focused on).

    The idea is to make brands self-sufficient and cutting edge, connecting marketers with startups at an early stage and helping them with their content and tech strategies at a time when a lot of them are moving toward moving many of those functions in-house — without actually making their ads for them.

    "We didn't set out to compete within the advertising industry, we set out to disrupt marketing using technology," he said. "And if we get it right, there will be a new sector or a new industry."

    There's now doubt the ad industry is going through seismic shifts

    Three years afterJones set out on his new journey, the industry has only been rocked by more massive change. Some of the biggest brands are publicly criticizing traditional agency models, holding company stocks are getting clobbered and marketers are increasingly looking to cut out middlemen across he board.

    What's more, new players are entering the field, promising that they can helping brands navigate the current landscape on the back of digital content and data analytics.

    Former WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell's latest venture s4 Capital is the latest example, promising to make marketing  better, faster and cheaper with better application of tech. Jones sees Sorrell's move as a validation of his earlier theory.

    "For me, the biggest proof of this working was when you had the guy who created the biggest holding company in the world saying that he was launching a new digital version of that because they don't have a future," Jones told Business Insider. "Imitation, after all, is the best form of flattery."

    As a result, the momentum has only been accelerating for You & Mr Jones, with the company seeing 60% organic growth last month, according to Jones. 

    The industry's existential crisis is working in is favor, Jones believes.

    "You probably can't find a major global client today who would tell you that they're happy with what they've got and it's all sorted," said Jones.

    "You've got all the holding companies tanking, and you've got the biggest clients in the world publicly saying we don't want that model anymore."

    You & Mr Jones is like a mini venture capital firm for brands and technology

    While the traditional holding companies are great at brand-building and advertising, they are often less skilled when it comes to building tech products, says Jones. On the other hand, giant tech platforms are less verse in brand building. That's where You & Mr Jones fits in, according to Jones.

    "The core advantage of You & Mr Jones is that we combine, in one group, both expertise in technology and expertise in branding," he said. 

    To ensure tech expertise, You & Mr Jones has invested in AI, blockchain and AR across companies including Niantic, Pinterest, Automat, Jivox and Pixlee among others.

    It has 11 partners with years of agency experience in the center, who meet with as many as 20 new companies at the intersection of brand-building and technology a week.

    "This gives us and our clients unique insight into where technology and marketing technology is headed, way beyond the narrow realm of just 'communications," he said. 

    Take Niantic, the company behind the AR game Pokémon GO, which Jones believes is the perfect proof- point of brand-tech. In Japan, McDonald's was embedded in the game for just a few days, and sales sales went up 27% for the month.

    "This is exactly what brand-tech is," said Jones. "It is the ability to drive growth for a brand using technology in completely different ways."

    "Experience has been a focal point of brands and CMOs looking to drive growth beyond conventional advertising and marketing," said Forrester analyst Jay Pattissal. "So firms like You & Mr Jones have an opportunity to drive direct relationships with brands, in the same way Google, Adobe and Amazon do."

    The company wants to create a whole new industry

    Jones believes the ad agency business is on the precipice of a complete reinvention with five or 10 companies emerging to form a new category of marketing technology holding companies. In fact, he believes that recent events prove his hypothesis.

    "There will be companies like S4 within that, and there'll be companies like Stagwell within that and I'm sure new ones who come along," he said. "I maybe didn't envisage that Martin Sorrell will be launching one of those competitors, but we have always believed that this is what clients want and need."

    But Jones maintains that You & Mr Jones has an edge, because it operates without the constraints of a fund and also works directly with brands apart from its investments. He wants marketers to think like startups, not giant incumbents.

    "Airbnb didn't get up and say 'we want to compete with hotels,' they used technology to do something new, and Lyft and Uber didn't say 'we're going to screw the yellow taxis.'"

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