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The latest news from Business Insider

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    elon musk

    Hello! Here's what's happening on Friday.

    1. US President Donald Trump said missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is likely dead based on "intelligence coming from every side.Trump stopped short of accusing the Saudis of killing Khashoggi, but said there would be "very severe" consequences they did.

    2. Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to admit Jamal Khashoggi wa s murdered. Officials reportedly plan to scapegoat a two-star general and say he botched a plan to interrogate Khashoggi and accidentally killed him.

    3. UK Prime Minister Theresa May was told to resign after making "outrageous" offer to extend the Brexit transition periodConservative MPs have called on May to abandon her plans for a 12-month extension and make way for a new leader.

    4. The US is pulling out of an obscure 144-year-old treaty to take a shot at China in the trade warThe Universal Postal Union helps set international postage rates, and Chinese goods coming into the US are currently subject to lower postage rates.

    5. Tesla is finally making a lower-cost Model 3The company has long promised the Model 3 would be its vehicle for the masses, but it originally focused on building premium versions of the car while it struggled to ramp up factory production.

    6. A top US commander in Afghanistan survived a deadly insider attack that killed senior Afghan officials and wounded two AmericansThe incident follows two other fatal insider attacks this year. 

    7. More officials, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are pulling away from Saudi Arabia. Mnuchin pulled out of a major investor conference in Riyadh, while French President Emmanuel Macron suspended his official visits. Here's the full list

    8. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any country that threatens Russia with nuclear weapons will "drop dead.Putin said that aggressors who strike Russia will perish as sinners, while Russian "martyrs" will go to heaven.

    9. President Trump threatened to summon the military and wreck a Mexico trade deal amid a burgeoning migrant crisisTrump is concerned about a caravan of migrants that has grown to 4,000 people, and is currently trekking through Guatemala en route to the US.

    10. China's biggest retailer is coming to America with the help of Google. It will be the first time the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com can sell directly to US customers.

    And finally...

    At Business Insider, we believe in the power of digital to connect people in powerful waysOur IGNITION conference is the place to renew your enthusiasm about your work, your industry, and the world around you. Here are 10 reasons why you should attend.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why horseshoe crab blood is so expensive


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    Donald Trump hair

    • President Donald Trump quipped about his hair and the weather during a campaign rally in Missoula, Montana, on Thursday night.
    • Trump went on for several minutes about his hair, and enduring windy conditions in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence. He argued that making it through such an environment proves that his hair is real.
    • "And you walk around in those conditions, you can't fake it," Trump said. "You can't fake it. So that's one good thing."
    • More than 80 people are believed to have died as a result of both hurricanes, which hit the East Coast from the Carolinas to Florida over the last six weeks.

    President Donald Trump quipped about his hair and the weather during a campaign rally in Missoula, Montana, on Thursday night.

    Trump went on for several minutes about his hair, and enduring windy conditions in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence. He argued that making it through such an environment proves that his hair is real.

    "Well the one thing that has been really great about this whole endeavor is that they used to say 'he wears a hairpiece! He wears a hairpiece,'" Trump said to his audience, referring to skeptics he said doubted that his hair is real. "They don't say that anymore."

    Trump continued: "These people have seen me under every condition known to man. I haven't heard that one in over a year."

    The president went on to describe the conditions he endured as he surveyed the damage wrought by Hurricanes Florence and Michael. More than 80 people are believed to have died as a result of both storms, which hit the East Coast from the Carolinas to Florida over the six weeks.

    "When you're walking around and the wind is going crazy, and you're inspecting like I did the other day, the incredible Hurricane," Trump said. "This horrible hurricane Michael that devastated Florida and Georgia. And Alabama got hit hard. And then couple of weeks before ... I went to North Carolina, South Carolina, you look at what happened in a little piece of Virginia."

    "And you walk around in those conditions, you can't fake it," Trump said. "You can't fake it. So that's one good thing."

    "Nobody ever says that any more," Trump added. "That's one of the, might be one of the best things that's happened to me in a long time. Cause my whole life they said, 'is it? Or isn't it.'"

    Trump has mentioned his hair in numerous public speeches. At a Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland earlier this year, Trump jokingly said he would "try like hell to hide that bald spot."

    "It doesn't look bad," Trump joked as he tossed his hair. "We are hanging in there. Right? Together, we are hanging in."

    Long before he was president, skeptics have theorized that Trump's hair was a toupee. It's been the subject of numerous punchlines from late-night comedy hosts, particularly after video footage in February revealed what appeared to be a hairless patch on the back of his head.

    SEE ALSO: 'I don't think he has any money': Trump taunts Michael Avenatti after legal win and discounts his potential 2020 presidential bid

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory


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    Red Dead Redemption 2

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

    1. Facebook opened up its election "war room" to the press ahead of the US mid-term elections in NovemberFacebook has built a physical "war room" in its California headquarters to try and avoid repeating the mistakes of the 2016 US presidential election.
    2. eBay is going to war with Amazon over an alleged scheme to steal businesseBay is suing Amazon for allegedly infiltrating eBay's internal messaging system to poach high-value sellers.
    3. The fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi hangs over SoftBank as it looks to raise another $100 billion fundJapanese conglomerate and tech investor SoftBank is under scrutiny over its ties to Saudi Arabia, a major backer of its $100 billion Vision Fund.
    4. Uber is reportedly making a new service to provide short-term jobs in security, hospitality, and more. The new service could be a major expansion for the California tech company, and comes as the company gears up for an IPO.
    5. Amazon is opening a new office in Manchester as it makes a big bet on research and development in the UKThe new office, based in the Hanover Building, will accommodate at least 600 staff.
    6. Tesla is finally making a lower-cost Model 3Tesla is introducing a lower-priced version of its Model 3 sedan, with a base price of $45,000.
    7. YouTube announced a new partnership with Eventbrite to show tour listings on official music channels. This feature is currently only available in the US.
    8. The game developer behind "Grand Theft Auto" and "Red Dead Redemption" is embroiled in an ongoing controversy about working hours. Rockstar Games came under fire earlier this week after cofounder Dan Houser claimed employees were working 100-hour weeks to finish the company's upcoming game, "Red Dead Redemption 2."
    9. Careem, a ride-hailing company in acquisition talks with Uber, raised $200 million from Saudi backersThe deal was co-led by Kingdom Holding Company, the investment vehicle for Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and other existing backers.
    10. Apple sent out invitations for the new iPad eventApple will launch new products in Brooklyn, New York on October 30.

    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 »

    NOW WATCH: Apple might introduce three new iPhones this year — here’s what we know


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    apartment for rent san francisco

    Renting is getting less expensive for people living in the largest US metropolitan areas.

    In September, rents declined on an annual basis in more than half of the nation's 35 largest markets, the first time in six years, according to data from Zillow. Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington saw the biggest drops at 2.7% and 2.2% respectively. 

    "For renters, slower rent growth is welcome news and will put more spending money in their already stretched pockets," Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas said.

    He added: "Rents remain high by historic standards, but September's modest annual decline in rents should ease some of the pressure pushing higher-income renters to buy."

    Zillow's conclusion is based on its Zillow Rent Index, which tracks monthly median rent in particular geographical regions based on a consistent stock of inventory.

    The list below, based on the Zillow Rent Index, highlights the 11 cities in America where rents fell the fastest in September, ranking from the least to the most.

    San Antonio, Texas

    September rent change YoY: -1.1%

    September Zillow Rent Index: $1,330

    Source: Zillow



    Indianapolis, Indiana

    September rent change YoY: -1.2%

    September Zillow Rent Index: $1,195

    Source: Zillow



    St. Louis, Missouri

    September rent change YoY: -1.2%

    September Zillow Rent Index: $1,139

    Source: Zillow



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    china stocks

    Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Friday.

    1.Asian rebounded from declines on Friday as China's efforts to bolster investor confidence helped its share markets rally. Data showing China's economy growing at the slowest pace since 2009 capped broader gains. Chinese policy makers have stepped up their efforts to ease concerns about the ongoing sell-off in domestic stocks.

    2. US President Donald Trump said missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is likely dead based on "intelligence coming from every side." Trump said there would be "very severe" consequences if the Saudis killed him. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to admit Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. Officials reportedly plan to scapegoat a two-star general and say he botched a plan to interrogate Khashoggi and accidentally killed him. More officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are pulling away from Saudi Arabia. Here’s the full list.

    3. Insurer AIG said on Thursday it expects third-quarter pre-tax catastrophe losses, net of reinsurance, of between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion"These losses are largely associated with multiple events in Japan, including Typhoons Jebi and Trami, as well as Hurricane Florence and revisions to our loss estimates on the California mudslides," AIG said. The shares fell about 4% in extended trading.

    4. Banks on Thursday pushed back on how regulators are attempting to simplify rules prohibiting banks from trading on their own account, a development that is likely to delay efforts to wrap up the overhaul in the coming months. On May 30, U.S. regulators unveiled a plan to modify the so-called Volcker Rule introduced following the 2007-2009 financial crisis, aiming to make compliance easier for many firms and relieving small banks altogether.

    5. The US is pulling out of an obscure 144-year-old treaty to take a shot at China in the trade war. The Universal Postal Union helps set international postage rates, and Chinese goods coming into the US are currently subject to lower postage rates.

    6. A top US commander in Afghanistan survived a deadly insider attack that killed senior Afghan officials and wounded two Americans. The incident follows two other fatal insider attacks this year.

    7. Government debt levels are about to become a 'major focus' for global markets.Global markets are becoming increasingly vulnerable to rising levels of government debt, warns ANZ. The analysts said a troubling shift is underway in the fiscal policies of the US and Europe which may prove difficult to unwind. In short, government debt levels are back on the rise again.

    8. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any country that threatens Russia with nuclear weapons will "drop dead." Putin said that aggressors who strike Russia will perish as sinners, while Russian "martyrs" will go to heaven.

    9. President Trump threatened to summon the military and wreck a Mexico trade deal amid a burgeoning migrant crisis.Trump is concerned about a caravan of migrants that has grown to 4,000 people, and is currently trekking through Guatemala en route to the US.

    10. China’s biggest retailer is coming to America with the help of Google. It will be the first time the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com can sell directly to US customers.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    soyuz ms 10 rocket launch flight photographers expedition 57 crew nasa reuters 2018 10 11T091619Z_1854069770_RC17A46851B0_RTRMADP_3_SPACE STATION LAUNCH.JPG

    • With volatility back in the stock market, investors will be well-served to identify stocks that have the potential to outperform, while hedging their downside risk.
    • Analysts at Goldman Sachs looked into options contracts to glean which stocks traders are making the most bullish bets on.   

    If the past few days have demonstrated anything, it's that volatility is back in the stock market and could remain through the end of 2018.

    This makes it important for investors to gain exposure to stocks that could experience an end-of-year surge, coupled with strong hedges

    The options market is ideal for doing that, and analysts at Goldman Sachs have examined contracts expiring in January 2019 to glean what traders are making big bets on for the rest of this year.

    They compiled a list of stocks that are among the cheapest to hedge on the market, as measured by three-month skew — or the difference between the premium options traders are paying to protect against price declines over the next three months relative to bets on increases.

    "Very low levels of skew in options suggest investors are buying upside calls [options contracts betting on rallies] into year-end, or are less worried about downside risks," a team of analysts led by Katherine Fogertey said in a recent note to clients. 

    "As an example, options for Humana (Buy-rated) now reflect 3m normalized (put-call) skew is at its lowest level in a year. While shares are up 36% year to date, option investors appear to be positioning for the potential that recent outperformance can continue."

    The list below shows stocks that options investors are betting will see huge gains by the end of the year. It's ranked in descending order of their three-month-skew percentile. As Fogertey noted, low skew means traders are less worried about risks, which implies greater upside.

    SEE ALSO: Global investors haven't been this bearish on the economy since the financial crisis — and Bank of America says there's only one way to play it

    Navistar International

    Ticker:NAV

    Year-to-date total return: -13%

    3-month skew: 0.07

    Percentile: 6

    Source: Goldman Sachs



    14. Ford

    Ticker:F

    Year-to-date total return: -24%

    3-month skew: 0.06

    Percentile: 6

    Source: Goldman Sachs



    13. Ralph Lauren

    Ticker:RL

    Year-to-date total return: 25%

    3-month skew: 0.09

    Percentile: 6

    Source: Goldman Sachs



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Wall Street trader

    • Traders refuse to throw in the towel on the controversial short-volatility trade that's come under pressure multiple times this year.
    • Morgan Stanley lays out why the trade is so ill-advised, especially amid current conditions, and offers alternative solutions.

    Sometimes old habits die hard.

    That's definitely the case when it comes to one hot-button trade that still has legions of participants despite an ugly blowup earlier this year.

    We're referring, of course, to volatility short selling. After a market shock in early February caught traders off guard and forced them to cover positions, billions of dollars were erased from popular investment products. Some even dissolved entirely.

    That carnage, in turn, worsened widespread selling pressure as those investors covered shorts in droves. And all of a sudden, the market had a new black sheep.

    Those traders don't appear to have learned their lesson. As this chart shows, they've rebuilt a net short volatility position to rival the one seen before the February meltdown.

    In fact, they went as far as to add to it during last week's market mayhem. The most recent weekly period in the chart ended Thursday, the day the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, reached a multimonth high.

    10 17 18 vix net futures COTD

    Their hubris wound up costing them dearly last week, when the S&P 500 capped off a sharp six-day drop, pushing the VIX to 24.98, its highest since the mess eight months ago.

    That cost volatility short sellers roughly $420 million, one expert told Bloomberg. It wasn't as bad as the February incident, which saw the VIX exceed 37, but it was still a tough pill to swallow for volatility bears.

    Morgan Stanley is hardly a fan of the short-volatility trade. Strategists at the firm spoke out against it after last week's pan-market sell-off and accompanying volatility spike.

    The firm argued that it could take five to six months to "build up cushions" against a reversion to the mean whenever there's a surge in price swings. Because of that, an increasingly volatile market can quickly undo progress.

    Morgan Stanley is also cautiously watching the sudden rerating of so-called growth stocks — or companies seeing torrid earnings expansion. They say this is driving the ongoing uptick in volatility, which is hardly a fleeting trend, as traders increasingly pile into inexpensive value names instead.

    These investors should instead be throwing in the towel on their beloved trade and going long volatility, Morgan Stanley says. The firm offers some specifics.

    "Like in January, the equity market has been the most responsive to a sector rotation-driven drop," Andrew Sheets, Morgan Stanley's chief cross-asset strategist, wrote in a client note. "We have liked owning hedges on Russell 2000, which tends to underperform S&P 500 in drawdowns. Credit vols have also risen but are still below average levels, again suitable for a long vol bias."

    That being said, common sense and expert advice haven't stopped short-volatility enthusiasts yet, and probably won't in the future. It's likely that they used the recent VIX spike to replenish their short positions — an inverse buy-the-dip strategy of sorts.

    But their luck may soon run out, at least if a recent forecast from Bernstein comes true. Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, the firm's head of global and quantitative European equity strategy, thinks volatility will shift higher on a long-term basis.

    It seems like a sound thesis based on how the past couple of years have played out. During 2017, the VIX averaged a record low of 11.10, implying that it had nowhere to go but up. Sure, it's still below its long-term average of 19.33, but any reversion to the mean would translate to more volatile conditions.

    But if short-volatility traders have shown one quality over time, it's that they're a stubborn bunch. They're likely to go down swinging, no matter how dire the situation becomes.

    SEE ALSO: Here's why the recent chaos in markets is the new normal

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 3 surprising ways humans are still evolving


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    Adidas

    • Three years ago, Adidas shifted its entire global strategy to try and capture more of North America, the largest market for sportswear.
    • It has since seen explosive growth, with the company capturing more market share in the US from rivals and consistently announcing gains in the 30-40% range.
    • The man who led the charge, Adidas' former North American president, Mark King, stepped down earlier this year and was replaced by the second-in-command, Zion Armstrong.
    • In an interview with Business Insider, Armstrong and Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted discussed the company's North American strategy, its biggest opportunities, dealing with potentially tricky partners like Kanye West and Amazon, and the future of the sportswear business.

    Four years ago, things weren't looking so good for Adidas in the United States. It had fallen to the third spot in terms of sportswear sales, behind Under Armour and Nike.

    A year later, that started to change. 

    To get Adidas back on top, it re-oriented its business and put North America — the top global market for sportswear — first.

    It beefed up its Portland, Oregon, headquarters, hired new designers from some of its rivals, and embraced its identity as a global company. It also collaborated with cultural icons like Kanye West as well as athletes.

    The brand integrated itself into the fashion world, leading to popular retro looks like the Stan Smith, and it gained cultural cachet. It got its athleisure groove on with popular models like the running-inspired yet fashionable UltraBoost sneaker.

    In keeping with its core identity, it also grew its athletics partnerships with American universities.

    The turnaround looks to be working. Sales growth has been steady over the last three years, leading to year-over-year gains in the 30-40% range nearly every quarter. It's now No. 2 in North America. 

    After this staggering growth, Adidas' turnaround king and the head of its North American business, Mark King, decided to step down a year earlier than initially planned.

    Business Insider sat down with CEO Kasper Rorsted and Adidas' new head of North America, Zion Armstrong, to talk about how the company got to where it is — and where it's going next.

    The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

    A global strategy 

    Zion Armstrong

    Kasper Rorsted: We have a clear strategy and a clear set of tasks for 2020, and what we're trying to do in this country is, along with China and online, really put all our focus in these three markets. The reason is that North America is 40% of the global market. China is 10%. So that means two countries represent 50% and the fastest-growing channel globally is online. So that's where we're putting a lot of focus on.

    In North America, you've had three very, very good years over the last few years. We assume this year is also going to be a very good year. We're still in catch-up mode for the US. That's the only country of real relevance in the world where our market share is as low as it is here and that's simply due to the history of where we're coming from that it took a long time for us to really understand what the US is all about.

    I believe that in the last three to four years, we have done that increasingly well and that's why we've outgrown the market in the last three to four years and we'll also outgrow the market this year, which means market share gain.

    Overall, we are on a good journey. We still have a long way to go. We're investing a lot of resources in North America, whether it's in people, or it's in infrastructure, or it's buildings, or it's sports assets, and we will continue to do so also in the future. That's a bit setting the scene.

    Changing of the guard

    Business Insider: We have a little bit of a regime change in North America. Can you talk about what that means?

    Rorsted: A company should only change its direction because of business, not because of people. Zion and Mark had worked together since 2015. It was planned that Mark would retire in 2019, but he retired in 2018. It was very uneventful in that context because it was what we planned. It happened a year earlier than we originally anticipated, which made no difference. The US has done exceptionally well on the leadership of both Zion and Mark.

    I think it's much better for a company to make a generation change when things are going well than when things are not going well, because not going well means you have to have a knee-jerk reaction. Going well makes it — for a lot of people — more difficult because you gotta maintain the going well, but it's a better position to do it in.

    Zion Armstrong: I've worked in four continents now for Adidas. Having four years of working alongside Mark, it was a perfect succession in terms of really getting to understand the market, getting to understand the sport, everything with it. For us it was a very seamless succession plan.

    As Kasper said, it was one year earlier than what I expected and hoped for. But in terms of the day-to-day, it's been relatively smooth.

    BI: Was the company just in the right shape? Was it where you had gotten it to at that point, where it was time?

    Rorsted: No, I can tell very clearly, Mark had some personal things he needed to deal with and he lives in San Diego. The company is in Portland, and the customers are here, and Mark said, "I can't get business and my private life to work anymore." And I know him very well, I said, "Mark, you're too old for me to ask you, 'Will you please reconsider?'"

    We still have a very close relationship to Mark right now. He and I were speaking about a senior hire that we are contemplating in the company, and Mark is interviewing that candidate today, so he's part of the company still. But, of course, Zion is the boss and running the company.

    Adidas

    BI: You mentioned that you're playing catch-up. What will it look like when you've caught up?

    Rorsted: I don't know whether you ever come to a point where you say you caught up.

    Armstrong: I hate coming second.

    Rorsted: The point is that the market-share delta to the market leader in the US is ... as I've said before, it is the only country where that delta is so big. What we have done the last three years, what we are doing this year also, is we are consistently growing market share. We have to, over a long period of time, continue to grow market share in the US.

    That's how it's going to look, that we have continuous improvement. It's not like, you come to an end point and say, "Now you've done it." I think that's a continuous journey. What we say is for the company: overall we need to grow market share, we need to grow margin. That's a company target, and that's a target for the US also.

    BI: So when you look at trying to grow market share, what do you think the biggest opportunities are in the US?

    Armstrong: Where we are today in footwear is around 12%. Four years ago we were at four. We have had tremendous growth in footwear. The pleasing piece right now is the portfolio across categories and channels. Three years ago, we were highly dependent on lifestyle distribution. Today we've got growth in sporting goods and specialty, the commercial channel, of course, and our [direct-to-consumer] channels.

    [It's a] much more balanced business. Even with that tremendous growth, there's still significant market share opportunities across all those channels and all of the categories. On the apparel side, especially this year, we've started to see some real acceleration driven through sporting goods. We're still No. 3 in apparel, where in footwear we're a clear No. 2.

    But we're seeing phenomenal momentum, and our future orders continue to look very, very positive.

    It's not a sports-oriented fashion company — it's a fashion-oriented sports company

    BI: Is the apparel more fashion-oriented?

    Armstrong: Right now it has been driven by training and athletics and [it is] sport-inspired. Again, different channels, different distribution, making sure that we're clearly segmenting the products, that we're seeing fantastic success. At the same time, Originals apparel continues to be on fire. Apparel is very balanced today.

    As the brand gets stronger and stronger, then the kids come with it. We're really starting to see some nice growth in young creators as well. That's our internal word for kids apparel.

    BI: Kids love comfort and style just as much as adults?

    Armstrong: Well, they like looking up to who's wearing it, right? Being on the sporting field, off the sporting field, and what mom and dad are wearing, and how they see mom and dad wearing it. We're seeing some really nice growth in youth apparel as well.

    BI: Adidas has such a legacy of being athletic-inspired and athletic, period. Was it difficult going from being more fashion-oriented to selling more of the performance-based product?

    Armstrong: I think that's a very US view. Having worked in multiple markets and geographies, it's not the same case. But yes, in our situation, lifestyle got us going in 2015. Today our sport growth is far outpacing our lifestyle base. We've had phenomenal momentum, and the key part of "Creating The New" for us was authenticating ourselves in US sports.

    The investment we put in there — be it football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer — is really starting to pay dividends. Very happy with our sport progress.

    Adidas

    BI: So those are the biggest sports — baseball and hockey?

    Armstrong: Not in terms of revenues, but in terms of authenticating the brand in sport.

    We have 200 NFL players to date. And they're not normal players. You've got the Aaron Rodgers, you've got the Dak Prescotts, the DeAndre Hopkins, etc., so we're really getting the right players. In baseball, Aaron Judge here with the Yankees. JD Martinez in Boston, you've got Justin Turner with the Dodgers, you've got [Carlos] Correa. 

    Four years ago, we didn't have these players. Today we've got a stable across multiple categories that's authenticating the brand on the field. The kids that are playing the sports are looking up to those icons and we see great sell-through. We're much more balanced today versus where we were when we were dependent on lifestyle three or four years ago.

    Rorsted: But, I think, the important part, though, is the company. We're a sports company. We're not a fashion company. Two-thirds of our business comes from sport. The past origin and future direction is that the core of our company is being a sports company. That does not mean that we don't create great athleisure wear products.

    The moment that we come out and say we will be a "fashion company"— that will simply be problematic with who we are and what we want to be and what the culture of our company is all about. That's one element.

    The second element is that the public perception is sometimes different because if a Kanye West makes a statement, that statement creates more attention than when people go out and run on a Saturday in a pair of running shoes.

    The public will very often see the biggest authenticator speak. And they are very often related to fashion or pop. But actually, the core of the company is sport. That's where the core of the revenue is coming, that's where the R&D is going in. That's where the investments are going in.

    Of course, we want to continue to set and inspire the trend that is athleisure.

    BI: Right now, is the culture more receptive or interested in athletics and sports with the athleisure trend? Is it almost like the culture is coming to you, in a way?

    Rorsted: I wouldn't say so. I think that we were the first that grabbed the non-sports culture and brought it into sport. I think that we were very early on with Kanye West, we were early on with Stella McCartney, with Pharrell, and getting that balance between lifestyle and fashion and sport. I think we were the early adopters in that. The industry has changed in that direction.

    Today, you wear a pair of sneakers. You don't really know the sneakers. Are they running sneakers? Are they non-running sneakers? What are they, you know? It is an artificial separation. Of course, there's maybe five or 10% of our products that are fashion. But I will still say, two-thirds, even our Original products, you can use for running, for training, for whatever. They're used for personal use outside the training ground.

    Armstrong: I think that the consumer today, as well, has moved on from years ago when your kid was a soccer player or a football player. They associate themselves with that sport after the game. Today, they want higher performance produced on the field of play. When they come off the field of play, they want to express the individuality.

    That's where music/art culture and the sport culture comes in. That's where you're truly seeing on-field and off-field. That's where we're perfectly positioned to capture both. Some other brands don't have that opportunity. When you really look at some of our assets and think of DeAndre Hopkins down in Houston. One of the best wide receivers in the game, he's also in the front row of our Paris fashion show. 

    Connecting those assets, on-field and off-field, has been a key part of us really disrupting the industry as well.

    BI: Is that a hard balance to strike, between style and sport?

    Rorsted: No, but it has to be a deliberate decision. You've got to be clear on what you are and how you want to be. We're going to be the best sports company in the world. We never speak about, in our mission statement, anything else than that, so it's a deliberate decision. That also means there are certain categories that we don't go into.

    Adidas

    Even our fashion-related product has to have an origin in sport. As long as you are clear on that, you are a sports company. That's what you're trying to be, and that's what you continue to be, then I don't think it's a hard choice.

    We can't manufacture a high-heel shoe, as an example. It's a no-go. 

    But I think it's being authentic to who we are and what we want to be and that's the important part. If you lose your soul as a company, then you lose the employees. If I were to make a statement tomorrow that we've now done a strategy review and we're going to be half sport and half in fashion, a lot of people are going to say, "I don't want to work at this company. I want to be part of the sports generation."

    That sports company serves different purposes on-pitch and off-pitch.

    Armstrong: And an athlete wants to look great as well. Take this shoe, for example. The Ultra Boost is, without a doubt, the best running shoe in the world, performance-wise.

    At the same time, you can wear it with your khakis. I'm getting old. Or the gym. You're striking that beautiful balance. 

    BI: And yet there are people who buy that and definitely don't run at all.

    Armstrong: Absolutely.

    Rorsted: That's why we think that the borders are artificial. That doesn't mean that you can't be clear on what you want as a company.

    You look at the product and see, we spent a very, very large amount of money investing into sport assets, whether that's individuals or that's club or associations in universities. We wouldn't do that if we're not clear on who we were.

    The future of plastic

    BI: What trends do you see in the next five years? What do you see changing?

    Rorsted: I think what we're starting to see now is the impact of technology in the way the products are being designed, being manufactured, being brought to market, and being engaged to the consumer.

    90% of our communications today with consumers are digitally. It's not TV-related. And how you then, subsequently, transact with the consumer — that will change much more rapidly than in the past. So I think that is one very, very fundamental trend.

    Another trend that I think that a lot of companies underestimate is the impact of plastic. We do it through Parley [for the Oceans, a nonprofit environmental organization that Adidas partners with to turn ocean plastic into materials that can be used to manufacture clothes and footwear]. Plastic is one of the biggest problems for the environment worldwide. Every large CEO I speak to, he or she is trying to figure out, what do we do with plastic, how do we lose plastic? How do we start removing plastic?

    Adidas boostWe were one of the first companies that actually were able to integrate sustainability into the business model. That will have a much more profound impact because the consumer, in the medium term, will not tolerate the large companies operating the way they do when it comes to plastic. We are doing it from a product standpoint, whether it's footwear or apparel.

    Last year, we banned the use of plastic in our offices. We sent out an announcement: Please remove all plastic from your offices by the end of the year. We're not going to have any [discussion], just do it.

    95% did it. I truly believe that the fight against plastic ... to remove plastic and other materials to be replaced, will be much more profound. Because the world can't afford what's happening.

    BI: Are the [plastic-centric products] still discrete collections?

    Rorsted: No, what you're seeing now is you're seeing beyond footwear and that's why I said it's very deliberate. Now we've started using it in swimsuits. Now you have it in jerseys. You have outdoor jackets.

    You're going to see a complete proliferation in our use of Parley across all product lines. It has to be part of our business, and that's why when I say we're going to do five to six million pairs of shoes this year, we have jackets, we have shorts, we have jerseys.

    The more we can do, actually, the better it is for us and the better it is for society because we are integrating them in the business model. I think that's the challenge for a lot of companies. When they look upon it, they look upon it purely from a cost standpoint.

    We've been able to integrate so it becomes part of our business. Then, of course, it becomes much more powerful because it is not something you do on the side, it is what you do. 

    Armstrong: We take it to the next level as well. So at NYCFC we have an initiative to have 50 soccer pitches throughout the city. Some of those pitches, in the future, will be made out of Parley. We're really taking it beyond and making sure that we can educate consumers.

    The more we can do this, the more it can really impact us a lot faster. 

    We've removed plastic in all of our retail stores as well.

    BI: Where was it before? Bags and such?

    Armstrong: Yeah, so now it's a recycled brand bag when you come in.

    BI: This is very forward-looking, right? Do you think that everyone is going to have to do this eventually?

    Rorsted: Eventually, regulation will catch up. I think, unless large companies find a solution for the pollution they create, regulation will address it. There's no doubt in my opinion. The problem is getting out of control.

    We believe that it's better to address things or challenges proactively. Also from a business standpoint, it's been an extremely good relationship with [Parley]. That is something that resonates very much. If you tell a consumer there are 11 plastic bottles in my shoe, it's a very simple message that everybody can resonate with.

    It's better to not be regulated by regulating yourself.

    BI: Always better to regulate yourself?

    Rorsted: Clean your own backyard.

    Armstrong: I think it's reduce and then it's recycle. At the same time, we've recently announced that by 2024, we will have the complete removal of origin plastic in our creation engine.

    Automation and shoelaces — a conundrum with no solution yet

    BI: How does that go into automation? The automation stuff that we've been seeing early on was all plastic ... like, molded plastic. But you guys don't use [Parley] in your Speedfactories?

    Rorsted: No, but our Speedfactories are still very small-volume. So I think you need to go at these in two different dimensions. One was looking upon the use of materials for a product. Speedfactory is how do we actually manufacture a shoe.

    One doesn't preclude the other. Right now the Speedfactory shoe, so far, has not been a Parley shoe. We can bring our Parley shoe [to] the Speedfactory. The Speedfactory is a way of fully automating a product, irrespective of raw material. And Parley is a material, so you can bring the Parley into Speedfactory.

    We have two Speedfactories. One in Atlanta, Georgia, and one in Germany. Each of those can manufacture up to 500,000 pairs of shoes annually. Last year, we sold 400 million. So there's still a long way to go there.

    BI: Are you taking what you're learned from the Speedfactories and applying it to the rest of the supply chain?

    Rorsted: If you go through, there are about 120 to 130 processes in manufacturing a shoe. Then a lot of those processes have already been automated ... in Asia. We're now looking upon it and saying, are the elements, the process elements, of how we manufacture a shoe in a Speedfactory, can we also get that into a large manufacturing plant?

    There's one problem that nobody has sorted out yet from an automation standpoint. You know what that is?

    Adidas SPEEDFACTORY

    BI: I don't.

    Rorsted: The shoelace.

    BI: Oh, actually lacing the shoes?

    Rorsted: That is the single most manual part of the process, and there is no automation for it. If you want to be a billionaire ... you can figure that out.

    But it's just interesting. When you look upon it and say, "Here are all the things that we do from laser cutting, from material optimization." For complete automation, it then comes down to a very basic thing and that is just the lacing. 

    But it is how we actually take and continue to fine-tune the manufacturing. How do we make each process more optimized?

    For instance, when we do a shoe, if you take UltraBoost. We know how many stitches that go into a shoe, what's the cost per stitch, depending on the length of the stitch. It's down to that level of automation or sophistication today in the big manufacturing plants.

    Armstrong: Speedfactory has also enabled us to really capitalize on key sporting moments. One of the first thing we did when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. We were ready to go, whether the Vegas Knights won or the Capitals won.

    Within seconds of the Capitals winning, we went live on our Adidas app with a shoe, and we sold out instantaneously. Just two, three weeks ago at the US Open with Billie Jean King, again we did a shoe to commemorate her.

    So it really enables you to have that ability to react to something that is really meaningful at that point in time. 

    And scarcity, right? Because the Billie Jean King shoe sold out in seconds. Small, small [number of] pairs, but it does create a buzz, and it keeps you on the top of the market.

    We've got a few more things coming down the pipeline and especially something very special for Super Bowl 2019.

    Creating demand from scarcity

    BI: You guys have been so good at creating demand from scarcity. How do you manage that?

    Armstrong: A lot of it is making sure we're putting the right product into the right channel, and really being consumer-obsessed. And really making sure we have the appropriate volumes and then, more importantly, how we bring that to market. It's very easy to scale things much too quickly, and that's when you get into trouble.

    At the same time, we have a lot of data analytics. Four years ago there was a [small team]. Today there are multiple people that are looking at trend lines, looking at Google lines. Obviously we pre-release some products and we can see the reaction on social media. Is it good? Is it not so good? So it can flex up and down.

    Long-term is making sure you get that strong sell-through and then react quickly with a fast supply chain. So that's the key piece. Here in North America, we haven't always gotten it right, but primarily we've gotten it right, and I'm really proud that our inventory are also some of the cleanest we've ever had.

    Rorsted: Sometimes we think, you know, people think it's only because you're large and very well-known like Kanye or Pharrell. But to give you a very different example, which created enormous brand heat, there's a set of shoe designers in our Herzogenaurach [,Germany] headquarters with the idea of creating a shoe where the material that was used was from the seats of the Berlin subway system.

    So they went out and got ahold of the seats and created 500 pairs of shoes. [They] integrated a pre-paid annual subway card in the shoe. I don't think anybody signed it off. It was just somebody felt it was a good idea to do. We got approximately $25 million of brand value in that, where somebody had a cool idea where, if you'd asked, if you'd done the consensus, everybody would have said no, it's a stupid idea.

    The point, though, is having the freedom and having the courage to do something where you don't ask for it because if you ask, then the majority would say no and do something by creating enormous buzz.

    There was no sponsorship associated with it. It's just about having innovation and creativity. That goes back and creates scarcity or creates brand heat because somebody thinks completely out of the box.

    Fair to say is that of course not everything we do has that amount of impact, but in order to have the impact, we have to have the courage also to do things that don't work. You have to allow these things to fail, because if you only do the things that are certain, you will never get the buzz and the brand heat.

    Learning from failure

    BI: Have any good examples of failures?

    Rorsted: It was not all good this year, but I think that's part of doing business. The Prophere, when we launched that shoe, it was a shoe that was probably not shown the right way. It was probably not the right time. But I think that that's business. Business is about managing risk in an appropriate way.

    If somebody will say everything we do is correct and it is successful, that means that you're only mainstream. It took a while before the UltraBoost kicked off. It took a while before the Parley kicked off. It took a while before other shoes kicked off. And some of them don't kick off because that's just the consequence of trying to do something different.

    The first version of the Parley shoe was unsellable. You couldn't sell it. It was clunky. It was stiff. That you have to accept just as part of it. Because that's part of doing business. Had the the Berlin thing not worked, 500 pairs of shoes, from a cost standpoint, it doesn't matter. But you've got to allow that creativity to take place. That means also pushing and doing things where if you were to ask, I would say no.

    I'm not the consumer. If you create a governing structure in a company where your people are governing innovation, but the people governing innovation are not the consumer, then you're actually misleading the company. Very often if I get asked, I say I don't have an opinion, because my opinion would be misleading.

    We don't have dominance where I said here's how all the products have to look. That means sometimes we launch products that I don't like, but I'm not the consumer. Or Zion doesn't like. Or sometimes I like them, and they're very unsuccessful.

    BI: That sounds like it's not very top-down.

    Rorsted: No, but I think there are certain things that are very top-down. How we run our business. How the brand is being positioned. How we want to be strategically positioned. When it comes to a creation standpoint, I don't think it can be top-down. I think it has to be roots-driven, trends-driven, whether it's our creative arm here in Brooklyn or whether it's the shoemaker in Herzogenaurach that makes a subway shoe.

    If you kill that, then you kill the creation.

    Armstrong: I think we've had results in the last three to four years. We're proud of the progress. We still have a long way to go, but I think we've got a lot more right than we've got wrong. To answer your question specifically ... there's always some shoes that you have hopes for that fail to meet your expectations, but there's always shoes that come out when trends move quickly given the age of our brand.

    Trend-following or trend-setting?

    BI: It's clear you guys strive to follow trends closely. How hard is that?

    Armstrong: Following or set? I think it's a very important point. There are some times that, yes, you need to catch up. At the same time, we're the creative sports brand. This is something we're immensely proud of in the last few years — we picked our lane to be the creative sports brand. That means being the first and foremost out there. That has driven a lot of our success today.

    We'd rather be setting trends versus chasing.

    BI: Right. But trends are changing so fast now. 

    Armstrong: Yes.

    BI: Does that create an issue?

    Rorsted: You also have to realize that not all trends originate in the same place. That's the reason why we have our German headquarters. We have a very large setup in Portland and one in China to hopefully ensure that we cover most of the places in the world where relevant trends come up.

    But you will still sometimes miss a trend that you see coming and you just don't know. The clunky tennis shoe. Fila, the Disruptor. It just took a ride, and we went back and looked at one. We actually have the same shoe from the '90s and so we recreated that shoe.

    Being global, we don't look upon borders as inhibitors but as enablers. And then also we want to be humble and say that we need to get most trends right, but you're not going to get all of them right. Just live with the fact that you're not going to get all of them right.

    BI: This is coming back to what you said before — getting more of them right than more of them wrong.

    Armstrong: Absolutely. Then, when you see something happening, the ability to scale quickly is paramount. To your point with that mobile phone and access to who's wearing what and access to purchasing it, that has completely changed the game. Four years ago, to get a hype shoe, you lined up outside of Kith or Packers or wherever it may be.

    That's no longer the case. You can reserve on apps, etc. That means we've got to bring unique stories consistently. It doesn't mean you have to change the model.

    Influencers aren't the only ones setting trends

    BI: Influencers seem to be setting trends. Is that a big part of your marketing, using influencers? Or is that trend petering out?

    Rorsted: It's a combination of all. First, you have to go back to the earlier part of our conversation. We're a sports brand. Part of the influencers is actually the people on the pitch. That's not the influencers you are speaking about, but Messi is a huge influencer when it comes to sport. He will be the influencer when it comes to football. But, of course, you will have more and more social media influencers.

    How do you work with those? How do you ensure that they understand what we're trying to do, how do we get them to push our story? Then, also, being at the part where the trend originates, so with Kanye, Pharrell, Stella McCartney. Also where the creators are.

    You've got to be an entire supply chain from creation to influencer to on-pitch authenticator.

    Armstrong: I think it comes back to the creator position that we set up for. There's not only creators in art and music, there's also creators on sport and field. We've got some phenomenal partners now that when they come off the pitch they're in the front row of the fashion show.

    It's getting that balance right. So I believe we have creators in this industry versus the old days where it's just a basketball player or whoever it may be. Now you've got basketball, football, baseball. Plus the lifestyle piece so we've actually grown the pie.

    BI: So it's a holistic kind of thing?

    Armstrong: Yeah. I mean, 10 years ago a lifestyle influencer wasn't impacting the sports market. 

    Today you've got 70% sports, 30% lifestyle. The lines have blurred. When you come off the football pitch, the guys want to look cool. So they've got the sport performance product on the pitch and when they're off the pitch, they want to express their individuality. For us, we're perfectly positioned to capture both.

    Politics and Kanye West

    BI: Are there any liabilities with working closely with people that have huge personalities, like Kanye?

    Rorsted: I think when you have a business model like ours, of course there are liabilities, but also opportunities that go hand in hand because if one of our biggest assets, whether it's a creator, or a sports star misbehaves, of course, eventually it could have a negative impact on the perception of the brand.

    We will then look upon it and say, "Who do we want to engage with?" Of course, we look upon what they bring to the table, and whether they represent certain views that are not aligned with our values. 

    At the same time, when you engage with people of very high creativity, they are different in the way they act, the way they behave. That's part of the equation, what they bring to the entire table. That they are so different. If you want the mainstream, you get the mainstream all the way.

    Kanye West and Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday.

    If you want the ultimate creativity, then you get that, and you have to live with the fact that sometimes some person will say something that maybe you don't subscribe to, but there might be others that do subscribe to it. I think the latter is important.

    We operate in 75 countries. If you start putting the glasses of appropriateness on, is it your appropriateness? Is it mine? Is it the one in China? Who is actually measuring the level of appropriateness that the company is being judged upon?

    That's why, when we look upon it, we basically have hardly any political view. We have a very strong view on sustainability. We have a very strong view on fair trade and labor. On violence and stuff like that. That we have a very clear view on. Frankly, we can't have a view on politics.

    Because if you're in 75 countries, by default you have 75 different governmental systems.

    BI: Because the US culture is so stratified and polarized, would you guys never do something that was an outright political statement?

    Rorsted: No, no we wouldn't. But ... we basically made a statement externally 18 months ago about immigration policy in the US. So we will do that, but we do that very seldom because frankly, it's not our role to sit and comment on every political element.

    I do make, on an ongoing basis, statements about what we think about. [For example, what] I think, personally, about Brexit, which is a political statement. Or education. Or diversity. So we make statements that are politically related. But we don't sit and make political judgments every single day because, frankly, that's not the business we're in. We're running a business. We will make statements to things that either have an impact on our company or the society we're in if we think it has a grave negative impact.

    BI: But younger consumers are looking for their brands to mean something.

    Rorsted: There's two things. They're looking on one side for brands to mean something. I'll give you a statement that I read over the weekend. One-quarter of the German population states ... that they almost all the time, or very often only, buy meat from "green cows."

    If you ask a consumer [in a] survey they will say that. The real stat is like 3%. If you do a market research study in the US and you call 1,000 people and say, "Is sustainability important for you, does it impact your shopping?" They will say yes. Then they go in the supermarket and they will do something different.

    So of course, consumers react. But there is something that reacts in the moment and emotionally, there is something that impacts their real behavior. We think that they actually react positively to us having creators that have very different points of view which are controversial.

    We think consumers react very positively when you do something that's good for society like Parley.

    Armstrong: Our internal culture is so important as well.

    This is not about hitting the quota. These are about bringing talents along that have been with the company for a long time, taking us to the next level.

    In terms of making sure that our internal population reflects our consumer, our talent-acquisition team is going into schools that are traditionally black schools and putting jobs on the table. Just recently we got a very cool initiative that we've gone out to these areas, to retail stores, to our distribution centers, providing people opportunities that they never would have thought they had, an opportunity to work at headquarters.

    We're going to do that time after time after time, to make sure when you walk into Portland or New York, our internal employees reflect the consumer. Inclusivity around Gen Z is super important so it's a big internal focus, let alone the political statements.

    BI: How are you targeting Gen Z and older groups, like millennials?

    Armstrong: I think pay equity is super important. We're very proud of what we've achieved internally over the last two years, that we've closed the gap to less than 2% pay equity, male, female. 

    We supported Sheryl Sandberg and "Lean In." [We were] one of the only companies in North America to promote that. 

    So there are multiple internal initiatives that we've been doing so that Gen Z really feels our environment is safe and inclusive. Every three months now we do what we call a people-pop survey. The question was: how do we get better?

    Just really making sure, to Kasper's point, that we also listen to our employees.

    Adidas' partnership with Amazon isn't always easy

    Amazon

    BI: Amazon is a big partner for you guys. What is the advantage you see in Amazon, and how does it relate to your overall e-commerce strategy?

    Rorsted: E-commerce strategy is all about us connecting directly to the consumer. That's the most important part. That's why we say Adidas.com is the most important store in the world. That's directly engaged with the consumer, either through our store or through the app we launched recently, which we rolled out in 25 countries worldwide.

    Then, of course, engage with our consumers through some of our online partners, Amazon being one of them. Amazon is a US-only relationship. We don't have a direct relationship in any other markets than the US, and we're looking at whether we should expand it or not. The most important part for us, in any relationship we have with a business partner, is how the brand is being positioned.

    We positioned the brand the right way so that it doesn't become a value-driven purchasing experience. Of course, that is a challenge to our relationship with Amazon, because Amazon is driven by two parameters, which are efficiency and price. It's important for us, long-term, to find the right balance between us and Amazon, so that the brand is positioned appropriately.

    The difference between Amazon and a normal sporting goods retailer [is] ... if we have an Ultra Boost shoe that we sell for $180 and a wholesaler sells it for $130 in Duluth, nobody cares. If that shoe is in Amazon's setup, they will then say, now the US price is $130.

    Then, basically, you just dropped brand value. We're working intensely with Amazon to ensure that we have a good partnership, which we have today, but that we don't jeopardize the brand based on the drives for the lowest cost.

    BI: What about data sharing? Does that factor into it at all?

    Rorsted: It does, but Amazon does less data sharing than some of our other partners, particularly some of the European partners and Chinese partners like Alibaba. [They have] a different business model. For us, getting access to the data is fundamental, not only in the context of being able to engage directly with the consumer from a commercial standpoint, but it's getting the appropriate feedback for the creation of the next generation of products.

    That is, I would say, probably the biggest difference between Amazon and some of our other online partners: their willingness to share data on a very, very detailed level. That, of course, we're working on. It's a battle we have with Amazon.

    BI: Does it scare you that they might launch their own UltraBoost knockoff with sales data from you?

    Rorsted: No, I think this is competition, and competition is about: we create the right products that are cool, that are innovative. We have the right materials, the right manufacturing. That competition is not the concern we have.

    It is a concern that we actually protect the brand that we have. Whether Amazon would want to come up with a shoe, I think eventually that will come or it is coming. That's not the concern of ours. [The concern] is that we don't tarnish the brand, and that we don't make price ... the most important parameter in how the product is being sold.

    The moment you do that, you don't have a brand anymore.

    SEE ALSO: Adidas CEO explains why he doesn't worry about Kanye West being bad for business

    DON'T MISS: It looks like Amazon could be about to launch a full online store in Brazil — but a tough retail climate might make it 'uncomfortable'

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    Ramzan Kadyrov

    • A Chechen warlord is unhappy with the UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov's behaviour at UFC 229.
    • Tukhugov was one of Khabib Nurmagomedov's teammates who was seen on video invading the UFC octagon and attacking Conor McGregor after the Irishman's stunning loss.
    • Tukhugov then bragged on Instagram that he "slapped" McGregor during the post-fight brawl.
    • But Kadyrov does not approve of the slap as it was seemingly not a sufficient attack.
    • If it were to happen again, Kadyrov advised Tukhugov to strike "like you were taught in the meadows of your village."

    Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic in Russia, is unhappy with Chechen athlete Zubaira Tukhugov.

    Tukhugov is the UFC fighter who was seen on video invading a UFC octagon and blindsiding Conor McGregor during an ugly brawl after UFC 229 on October 6.

    McGregor had just tapped to a fourth round submission against UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who refused to celebrate the victory and instead mounted the octagon fence and charged at McGregor's cageside friend Dillon Danis.

    While that was going on, all hell broke loose inside the octagon itself as Tukhugov, together with other members of Nurmagomedov's team, seemingly attacked McGregor.

    Tukhugov, who was threatened with the sack by the UFC boss Dana White over his alleged involvement, bragged on Instagram that he "slapped" McGregor.

    But this has not gone down well with Kadyrov, a politician described by the western media as a warlord and by a Russian politician as Vladimir Putin's "guard dog."

    For Kadyrov, Tukhugov's attack was insufficient and not representative of "Chechen custom."

    According to RT, Kadyrov said: "Zubaira, you know who you are and where you’re from! I remember you from when a spritely young boy from the Tukhugov family regularly fought in the fields near Tsentaroy."

    RT claims Kadyrov said he "saw the slap" he gave McGregor and that Tutkhugov's behaviour during the UFC 229 melee was not "according to the custom" of Chechnya. If it were to happen again, Kadryov said he should strike "like you were taught in the meadows of your village."

    Tukhugov responded on Instagram. He said he is proud to be a "villager," and that he was grateful for Kadyrov's "attention and advice."

    SEE ALSO: 'S--- happens' — Khabib Nurmagomedov's manager reacts to the chaotic violence that followed his fighter's win over Conor McGregor

    DON'T MISS: 'Vladimir Putin is very proud of me' — Khabib Nurmagomedov talks to the press after the wild brawl that followed his submission win over Conor McGregor

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    Call of Duty, Blackout, call of duty black ops 4

    • Video game sales should be robust this holiday season, UBS analyst Eric Sheridan predicts in a new report.
    • More consumers say they plan to buy this year's versions of top game franchises than previous iterations, according to the report.
    • Significant portions of consumers plan to spend on extras, such as premium version of the games, UBS said.

    This holiday season is shaping up to be a merry one for video-game makers, particularly for industry giants Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.

    Sales of this year's versions of top games look set to exceed last year's, UBS financial analyst Eric Sheridan, who covers the game industry, said in a new report. And significant numbers of gamers polled by the financial firm say they're intent on spending extra money for premium editions of particularly titles or on downloadable content, Sheridan said.

    The "data points to a strong holiday season for video games," he said.

    Part of what's driving Sheridan's bullishness is the large portions of consumers who say they've either purchased or plan to buy some of the top titles this holiday season. A whopping 40% of gamers surveyed said they're at least "somewhat likely to buy""Call of Duty: Black Ops 4," the latest title in Activision's long-running franchise. Some 37% plan to buy Ubisoft's "Assassins Creed: Odyssey," and 36% "Red Dead Redemption 2" from Take-Two Interactive's Rockstar Studios.

    Sheridan's report was based on UBS's surveys of more than 5,000 consumers in five key markets — the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and China. Those surveyed all ranged in age from 18 to 44; play games on consoles, dedicated handheld gaming devices, or PCs; and have played at least one game in the last six months.

    Intent to buy major games during 2018 holiday season, from UBS survey

    In many cases, more gamers are saying they plan to buy this year's installment of particular game franchises than previous ones. Just 23% of gamers said last year they planned to buy "Call of Duty: WWII"— 17 percentage points less than this year's version. Some 34% of gamers said they plan to buy EA's "FIFA 19;" last year, just 22% said last year that they planned to buy "FIFA 18." And 23% say they'll pick up a copy of the company's "Madden 19," while just 13% said a year ago they planned to buy "Madden 18."

    Chart showing gamer intent to buy top Electronic Arts and Activision titles, based on UBS data.

    Gamers say they'll spend more for downloadable content

    What's also spurring Sheridan's optimism is consumer's willingness to spend extra on games.

    On average, more than half of the gamers who said they've already bought or planned to buy at least one of 15 top games this year planned to purchase downloadable content for the game. Downloadable content can range from inexpensive virtual items like new clothes for a character to more expensive things such as expansion packs.

    With some games, the vast majority of their players intend to buy such extras. Some 76% who said they play or plan to play "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" said they've already purchased or plan to buy downloadable content for it.

    UBS chart showing intent to buy downloadable content (DLC) for particular games during holiday 2018.

    Meanwhile, on average more than a third of consumers who said they planned to buy one of those 15 games said they expected to pay extra for a premium version of that title. For example, some 39% of gamers who plan to get "NHL 19," say they'll spend up for one of the more expensive versions of the title. 

    UBS chart on portion of consumers who plan to buy the premium editions of games during holiday 2018.

    It could be a big year for "Call of Duty"

    Taking into account such data, Sheridan forecast that several of this year's top games will see stronger sales than previous installments. 

    Activision should sell about 24 million copies of "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4," compared to about 20 to 21 million copies it sold of last year's "Call of Duty: WWII," he said. Sales of the company's "World of Warcraft: The Battle for Azeroth" should hit 10 million copies; Activision sold about 8 million copies of 2016's "World of Warcraft: Legion," he said.

    Activision game sales holiday 2018, UBS chart

    EA should similar similar gains with its biggest titles, Sheridan said. Sales of its "FIFA 19" are likely to hit 22 million copies, up from around 20 million for "FIFA 18," he said.

    Electronic Arts 2018 holiday game sales chart from UBS

    As part of his report, Sheridan reiterated his "buy" rating and price targets on Activision and EA. His price target for Activision is $88 a share; for EA, it's $166 a share.

    Activision closed regular trading Thursday down $6.49, or 8.3%, to $71.81. EA was off $2.99, or 2.8%, to $105.80.

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    • Theresa May is running out of options to secure her survival and the passage of a Brexit deal.
    • Conservative MPs are threatening to torpedo her plans.
    • The only viable option left open to her is to change course and accept the softest of Brexits, with Britain effectively staying in the EU Single Market and Customs Union.
    • Doing so would trigger fury from Conservative MPs but would open the door to securing support from opposition parties.
    • May has just months to secure a deal or risk a catastrophic exit from the European Union.

    LONDON — The last few weeks of the Brexit process must have felt like the closing stages of a particularly brutal chess game for Theresa May.

    At every turn, the options open to her have been gradually whittled away until all of the available moves are obviously bad ones that will either lose her crucial lieutenants or rapidly force her into an early checkmate.

    As a result, she now enters what the Times today calls"the most perilous week of her premiership," with Conservative MPs poised to move against her.

    And yet as she leaves Brussels late on Friday there remains just one option left which promises, if not victory, then at least short-term survival for the prime minister.

    That option is a soft Brexit.

    At first, this may sound like a ludicrous proposition. A soft Brexit, in which Britain stays closely aligned to the EU single market and the customs union, would trigger outright fury from a large chunk of the Conservative parliamentary party, not to mention the grassroots across the country who are even more pro-Brexit than their parliamentary representatives. It would also likely trigger a challenge against her with the necessary 48 Tory MPs submitting letters to party authorities calling for a new leadership vote.

    And yet were such a challenge to take place it is easy to see how May could defeat it. While the loudest Conservative MPs are currently threatening insurrection, there is a silent majority who would be willing to bend in order to avoid a catastrophic no-deal scenario. As one moderate Conservative MP told Business Insider: "A no deal scenario is an absolute nightmare and one which the vast majority of the Conservative party, including myself, look at with horror. The only thing I can 100% say I won't vote for is no-deal."

    With Brexit just months away and the prospect of a no-deal increasingly frightening British businesses, the case for her to stay on at least until after Brexit day would be a very easy one for her to make.

    A soft Brexit would also largely solve the Northern Ireland dilemma, which currently threatens to wreck the entire Brexit process, and risks triggering the break up of the United Kingdom.

    Avoiding checkmate

    Theresa May Jeremy CorbynJust as importantly, it is the only available option left which has a potential majority in parliament. With Labour committed to maintaining a customs union with the EU, while maintaining the "exact same benefits" of the single market, a soft Brexit is the only option that has even the possibility of securing their support. Even if dozens of Conservative MPs and the DUP were to vote against May, the deal could still potentially pass thanks to the support of hundreds of Labour MPs.

    The Labour leadership may still find a reason to vote against such a deal, especially given their main aim in this entire process is to force an early general election in which they expect to emerge as the winners. But there would at least be a chance of a majority in the UK parliament. Under May's current Brexit plans there simply isn't.

    Of course May could do all of this and still be forced out. Staying in a customs union would prevent Britain from signing new trade deals, destroying a major Brexit promise and rendering Trade Secretary Liam Fox useless, while staying closely aligned to the single market would mean accepting some form of freedom of movement to continue after Brexit. Both risk potentially deadly outrage in her own party and the country which she may be unable to survive.

    But a decisive shift towards a soft Brexit would at least leave a path open to survival for May.

    Right now there are only bad options left for the prime minister. But while her current course points to certain checkmate, the soft Brexit option would at least allow the game to continue for a few more moves.

    This reality will ultimately prove itself when MPs come to vote on her deal early next year, whether May yet realises it or not. The prime minister would be wise to wake up to that reality now rather than have it forced upon her later.

    DON'T MISS: Theresa May told to resign after making 'outrageous' offer to extend the Brexit transition period

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    Theresa May

    • Theresa May leaves Brussels with no significant progress in Brexit talks.
    • The UK prime minister is under pressure to break key Brexit promises in order to get a deal.
    • Conservative MPs on all sides of the party are losing patience with her leadership.
    • One MP, Johnny Mercer, described his party as a "shitshow" and said he wouldn't vote for it if he wasn't an MP.

     

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Theresa May returns to Westminster on Friday facing one of the most dangerous weeks of her premiership, with Conservative MPs from all sides of the party losing patience in her handling of Brexit.

    The prime minister leaves the European Council Summit in Brussels with little to show other than a controversial suggestion that 12 months could be added to the proposed 21-month transition period to deliver an orderly exit.

    Conservative MPs reacted furiously to this on Thursday. Nick Boles, who up until now has been relatively supportive of May, said the news had pushed Tories "close to despair." Pro-Brexit MPs made fresh calls for May to be ousted.

    The fury continued into Friday, with The Times predicting"the most perilous week of her [May's] premiership."

    Former Brexit Secretary David Davis is reportedly angling for a leadership challenge backed by angry pro-Brexit MPs like Nadine Dorries, who openly called for Davis to replace May on Thursday.

    In an extraordinary interview with The House magazine, pro-Remain MP Tory Johnny Mercer described the government as a "s***how" and said he wouldn't vote Conservative or at all if he wasn't an MP. 

    May will today be encouraged by reports that French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel want the EU to be "more flexible" and create a Brexit that deal could be palatable for Brexiteers in London.

    However, even if Brussels commits to May's preferred UK-wide customs union backstop in the Brexit deal, there will almost certainly be a backstop keeping Northern Ireland in the single market and customs union.

    The UK and EU believe they can reach a deal which includes the Northern Ireland-only backstop but is acceptable for the Democratic Unionist Party. This is just one of many huge risks May will have to take in the coming weeks.

    In a press conference on Thursday, the prime minister also appeared to kill Brexiteer hope that the backstop would be time-limited, refusing to deny reports that she privately told Ireland there'd be no fixed end date.

    The time-limit issue is a big deal for Brexiteers. They believe failure to include one in the final Withdrawal Agreement risks trapping Britain in a long-term if not permanent customs union with the EU.

    Business Insider reported last week that three ministers — Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt and Esther McVey — are all poised to quit if May doesn't deliver a fix end date for the backstop.

    In Brussels, the expectation is if there is a deal, it won't be ready to be signed off until the European Council's December summit, leaving parliaments there and in Westminster just weeks to scrutinise and vote on it.

    SEE ALSO: Trump tells May to abandon 'unjustified' food standards for Brexit trade deal

    DON'T MISS: Theresa May told to resign after making 'outrageous' offer to extend the Brexit transition period

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    • Amazon announced it's opening a new office in Manchester, UK.
    • The new office, based in the Hanover Building, will accommodate at least 600 staff.
    • Amazon is also expanding its research and development teams in Cambridge and Edinburgh.

    Amazon has that it's opening up a new office in Manchester, and investing in 1,000 additional research and development jobs in the UK.

    Amazon's new Manchester office will open in 2019 and will be based in the Hanover Building in the city's Northern Quarter. It will be big enough to eventually house 600 staff.

    UK manager Doug Gurr said: "Manchester was at the heart of the industrial revolution and has a fantastic history of innovation."

    Hanover Building Manchester

    "Our new office will be home to over 600 staff, many of whom will be focused on developing exciting new products and services used by Amazon customers around the world

    "The city offers an incredibly talented workforce and a budding tech scene with some of the most exciting, fast-growing tech companies in the UK situated here."

    Extra staff will also be added in Edinburgh and Cambridge, where specialists work on machine-learning, drones, and the AI assistant Alexa.

    Amazon said it has invested more than £9.3 billion ($12.2 billion) in the UK since 2010 and is on course to have 27,500 staff on its books by the end of the year.

    Liam Fox, the British secretary of state for International Trade, said: "Amazon’s decision to create hundreds of highly-skilled jobs in Manchester, Edinburgh and Cambridge is an enormous vote of confidence in the UK and a signal to the world that the UK is very much open for business."

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    • The spread between yields on Italian and German bonds climbed to its highest level in almost five years on Friday.
    • Gap between German 10-year and Italian 10-year now stands at almost 3.4 percentage points.
    • Widening of spread comes as Rome and Brussels clash over Italy's proposed budget, which proposes breaking EU spending rules.

    The spread between yields on Italian and German bonds climbed to its highest level in almost five years on Friday as a row between Rome and Brussels over the country's budget threatens to boil over.

    European Union authorities on Thursday rejected budget proposals put forward by Italy earlier in the week, accusing the eurozone's third largest economy of an "unprecedented" break of EU rules around spending and deficit limits.

    Citing Italy's plans to increase spending and its deficit, and allow its government debt to remain elevated, the European Commission said the country is trying to undertake "a particularly serious" breach of the rules.

    "Those three factors would seem to point to a particularly serious non-compliance with the budgetary policy obligations laid down in the Stability and Growth Pact," said a letter to Italian finance minister Giovanni Tria, which surfaced late Thursday.

    "Moreover, with Italy's government debt standing at around 130% of GDP, our preliminary assessment also indicates that Italy's plans would not ensure compliance with the debt criterion benchmark," it continued.

    The rebuke has heightened tensions between the two parties, with a confrontation looking more and more likely. That potential outcome has spooked investors, pushing the spread between Italian and German 10-year bonds to its highest since 2013, at the tail end of the eurozone debt crisis.

    On Friday morning that spread stood at 3.4 percentage points, an increase of close to 50% from levels seen in late September.

    The chart below illustrates the extent of the recent increase in the spread:

    German Italy bond spread

    Germany's government debt is widely seen as being one of the safest investment vehicles on the planet, thanks to the country's staunch commitment to running a budget surplus. Italy, on the other hand, looks less and less stable, pushing bond yields higher.

    For context, the budget proposes increasing both Italy's overall government debt and its deficit in the short run, pushing the deficit as high as 2.4% of GDP over the coming years. This means Italy will fall foul of a previously mandated maximum deficit level of 0.8% of GDP.

    Italy was asked to amend its budget by eurozone authorities before submitting it, and was told that the proposals represent "significant deviation" from its mandate. It refused to do so, with the Italian parliament voting to approve the proposals on Monday evening.

    Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Northern League, one of the two coalition partners in the Italian government, has made clear that the government plans to go ahead with the implementation of its budget proposals, regardless of any opposition from Brussels.

    "If Brussels says I cannot do it, I do not care, I will do it anyway," Salvini said last week, referring to the budget's implementation.

    Italy has until Monday to respond to the Commission's findings.

    SEE ALSO: An inside look at Winton, the $27 billion British hedge fund that's decked out with fossils, statues of Paddington Bear, and a chart-filled room that's basically paradise for finance nerds

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    • There were many speedy celebrity engagements over the summer.
    • But rushing into a serious relationship doesn't always work out.
    • Research has shown couples who know each other for at least two years before getting engaged have the happiest marriages.
    • Sometimes, a quick whirlwind romance can work, as some people are just lucky.
    • Here are some of the reasons slowing things down can be beneficial in the long run.

    Love lasts, infatuation is fleeting — that's what we're told. But hearing this idiom doesn't make your feelings any less intense when you're head over heels for someone.

    At the beginning of a relationship, your hormones are going wild. Oxytocin and serotonin are flying around your body making you feel giddy, happy, and excitable, and every second thought you have is about when you can see that one special person again. So it's not all that surprising that some people ride the love wave and want to rush to the ultimate commitment as soon as possible. 

    Hollywood was rife with a string of speedy celebrity engagements over the summer. Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin, Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson, and Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra were just some of the couples who decided they wanted to get hitched after just a few weeks together.

    But for Grande and Davidson, their whirlwind romance wasn't to be, and they reportedly called the wedding off this month. Russell Brand and Katy Perry, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, and Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are other couples who throughout history seemingly fell in love very quickly, only for their infatuation to fizzle out.

    According to Melissa Hobley, the CMO of dating site OkCupid, speedy engagements and whirlwind romances may not work out because couples simply don't know each other well enough. Research has shown how people who have dated for at least two years before getting engaged have happier marriages, so there may not be any substitute for getting to know someone properly.

    However, she added that "putting a ring on it quickly" doesn't necessarily mean you'll be unhappy.

    "Studies have found that people who dated for a short time (less than 6 months) before getting engaged have a very wide range of martial happiness: some were very happy but others were very unhappy."

    There's such a thing as waiting too long, too. Like in the film "The Five-Year Engagement," research has shown that the longer couples were engaged, the worse their marital satisfaction.

    "So, rushing into engagement is not a great idea, but once engaged, couples should get their wedding planning started," Hobley said.

    It's definitely a case-by-case basis. Sometimes people are lucky and truly do meet someone who's perfect for them, and hurrying to tie the knot isn't a mistake at all. But other times, people may realise soon after the initial buzz of "love at first sight" wears off that they are just too different.

    They may also be a victim of circumstance, like with Davidson and Grande, who reportedly thought it wasn't the right time for their relationship to take off. As the saying goes: "If you have chemistry, you only need one other thing. Timing. But timing's a b---h."

    Slow and steady(ish) is the winning combination

    For those who get carried away at the start, things can accelerate quickly. But slower dating is a better way to get to know someone, according to the work of Sara Konrath, a social psychologist and consultant for OkCupid.

    "Just like the slow food movement is a reaction to cheap and unhealthy fast food, the slow dating movement is a reaction to quick and meaningless hookups that can be made easy by dating apps," she said. "It’s based on a desire for people to slow things down, get to know one another without so much pressure, and focus on high quality connection and closeness."

    It can be difficult to take outside advice when you're wrapped up in the heat of love. But going all in too quickly may make the breakup all the more painful if it does eventually happen, because you've invested so much.

    Here are four reasons slowing things down can help build a long-lasting, healthy relationship.

    1. Research has shown that about a third of couples enter into sexual relationships within a month of dating, and this is associated with lower relationship quality later on compared to those who wait longer before before having sex. They simply have more time to build emotional intimacy, and work out if they really are compatible.

      "The rapid entry into sexual relationships, however, may cut short this process," she said. "Setting the stage for 'sliding' rather than 'deciding' to enter into cohabiting unions, and even leading to unhealthy or dissatisfying marriages."
    2. Waiting longer helps you avoid getting attached to someone without really knowing them — meaning you could bond to someone who is completely wrong for you.

      "Sexual behaviors lead to the release of oxytocin and other bonding hormones, which can make people feel closeness even when it is not a good idea," said Hobley. "Slowing it down allows people to make decisions with their heart and their head."
    3. Emotional intimacy and trust take time, she added, so allowing them to slowly build rather than forcing it means you'll have a more solid foundation to fall back on when the tough times come.
    4. Emotionally unhealthy people, like those with unhealthy attachment styles, are more likely to rush into a relationship. This could be because they've been hurt in the past, they've been through trauma, or even if they are feeling vulnerable after the breakdown of a recent relationship.

      "Happier and secure people feel comfortable taking things slow and enjoying the process," Hobley said.

      So if you feel you're rushing into something because you're scared of being alone, or you don't feel complete without someone by your side, it might be worth working out why that is before you let someone in. Otherwise you may end up getting even more hurt because you haven't truly healed from your past.

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    • Bill Gates has published a tribute to his Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen in The Wall Street Journal.
    • He reflects on meeting Allen in high school and starting Microsoft together.
    • "Paul deserved more time in life," Gates wrote.

    Following the death this week of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen at the age of 65, Bill Gates has written a moving tribute to business partner and friend in The Wall Street Journal.

    Gates said he met Allen when he was in 7th grade and it changed his life forever. He reflects on sneaking off with Allen to tinker with computers. "It sounds geeky, and it was, but it was also a formative experience, and I’m not sure I would have had the courage to do it without Paul," said Gates.

    He also remembers the moment that Allen came to him in 1974 and Microsoft was born.

    "One day he came and got me, insisting that I rush over to a nearby newsstand with him. When we arrived, he showed me the cover of the January issue of Popular Electronics. It featured a new computer called the Altair 8800, which ran on a powerful new chip. Paul looked at me and said: 'This is happening without us!' That moment marked the end of my college career and the beginning of our new company, Microsoft."

    He remembers fondly Allen's ability to explain complex ideas in simple terms, his musical talent, and his generosity.

    "His generosity was as wide-ranging as his interests. In our hometown of Seattle, Paul helped fund homeless shelters, brain research, and arts education.

    "He also built the amazing Museum of Pop Culture, which houses some of his huge collection of music, science fiction, and movie memorabilia," writes Gates, who is himself a famous philanthropist.

    He concluded: "Paul deserved more time in life. He would have made the most of it. I will miss him tremendously."

    You can read Bill Gates' full tribute on The Wall Street Journal.

    SEE ALSO: Bill Gates says there are 5 'grand challenges' to stopping an apocalyptic future of floods, hurricanes, and drought

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    • Stephen Hawking, who died earlier this year, wrote a collection of essays that were released on Tuesday. 
    • The book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, includes a chapter on the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. 
    • Hawking wrote that superhuman intelligence could manipulate financial markets, human leaders, and more without our control.
    • People should invest more in researching the potential effects of artificial intelligence in order to prevent losing control of machines, Hawking said.

    Machines with superhuman intelligence have the potential to subdue humans with weapons that "we cannot even understand," Stephen Hawking wrote in a posthumous collection of essays released Tuesday.

    The book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, comes seven months after the world-famous scientist's death. It features commentary on a variety of topics, including black holes and time travel, though some of the most dire predictions relate to artificial intelligence.

    If computers keep doubling in both speed and memory capacity every 1.5 years, Hawking wrote, they will likely become more intelligent than people in the next 100 years. Such an intelligence "explosion" would require us to make sure that computers do not begin harming people, he said.

    "It's tempting to dismiss the notion of highly intelligence machines as mere science fiction, but this would be a mistake, and potentially our worst mistake ever," Hawking wrote. 

    Hawking noted that integrating artificial intelligence with neuroscience, statistics, and other fields has yielded many successful inventions — including speech recognition, autonomous vehicles, and machine translation. One day, even diseases and poverty could be eradicated with the help of artificial intelligence, he said.

    While technology could benefit humans a great deal, Hawking wrote, researchers need to focus on making sure we avoid the risks that come with it. In the near future, artificial intelligence could increase economic equality and prosperity through job automation. But one day, the same systems could take over our financial markets, manipulate our leaders, and control our weapons, Hawking said.

    "Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history," he wrote. "Unfortunately, it might also be our last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks."

    Researchers have not focused enough on artificial intelligence-related issues, Hawking said, though some technology leaders are stepping in to change that. Hawking cited Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak as examples of people who share his concerns, adding that awareness of potential risks is growing in the tech community. 

    People should not turn away from exploring artificial intelligence, Hawking wrote. Human intelligence, after all, is the product of natural selection in which generations of people adapted to new circumstances, he said.

    "We must not fear change," Hawking wrote. "We need to make it work to our advantage."

    When humans invented fire, people struggled with controlling it until they created the fire extinguisher, Hawking wrote. This time around, we cannot afford to make mistakes and respond to them later, he said.

    "With more powerful technologies such as nuclear weapons, synthetic biology and strong artificial intelligence, we should instead plan ahead and aim to get things right the first," Hawking wrote. "It may be the only chance we will get."

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Hawking warned of future 'superhumans' threatening the end of humanity

    SEE ALSO: Stephen Hawking's warning that genetically altered superhumans could wipe out the rest of us doesn't mention a likely characteristic of the future elite

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    Kensington Palace announced on Monday that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first child in the spring of 2019. The news comes five months after their grand royal wedding in May.

    Markle's sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, has served up some iconic looks during her pregnancies with her three children, and now it's Markle's turn to serve as the ultimate maternity style inspiration.

    According to People, the duchess was 12 weeks along when the palace made the announcement, which means that, without knowing it, we've likely been seeing Markle experiment with her maternity style since July.

    Here are the best outfits she's worn during her pregnancy so far.

    In July, Markle wore a $2,190 denim dress by Carolina Herrera to a charity polo match.

    The duchess paired her dress with Aquazurra pumps and a woven clutch by J. Crew for a casual-chic look.



    In August, Markle wore a tuxedo-style suit-dress while attending a charity gala performance of "Hamilton."

    The tuxedo-style minidress is a $595 design by Canadian brand Judith & Charles that created a look similar to the popular "no pants" trend.



    In early September, the duchess rocked an all-black pantsuit while attending the WellChild Awards.

    She paired the Altuzarra blazer and pants with a matching black blouse by Deitas.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Halloween

    Common language aside, there are numerous differences between the US and the UK. When it comes to Halloween, Americans and Brits each have their own way of doing things.

    Keep scrolling to learn 10 ways in which people celebrate Halloween in the US and the UK, from the costumes they wear to the kinds of candy they eat.

    In Scotland and the Isle of Man, Halloween's Celtic roots are honored through Samhain celebrations.

    While Americans don't usually emphasize Halloween's Celtic roots, the holiday's ancient, Pagan forebear ― Samhain ― is still celebrated in Scotland and on the Isle of Man, one of the British Channel Islands, as well as Northern Ireland and Ireland. 

    Meaning "summer's end," Samhain (which takes place from October 31 to November 1) marks the end of the harvest season and symbolizes the divide between the world of the living and the world of the dead.

    Samhain celebrations feature rituals such as bonfires and dancing.

     



    Another fall holiday is actually a bigger deal than Halloween in the UK.

    Guy Fawkes Day (also known as Guy Fawkes Night and Bonfire Night) has historically been more significant than Halloween in the UK.

    Celebrated with parades, bonfires, and fireworks on November 5 ― you might be familiar with the rhyme "Remember, remember the fifth of November"― Guy Fawkes Day commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot. The scheme, orchestrated by Roman Catholics in 1605, was an attempt to blow up Parliament in response to King James I's refusal to expand the religious freedom of Catholics.

    The commercialized, American version of Halloween, however, is also taking off.

    "I have a distinct sense that Halloween is overtaking or has overtaken Guy Fawkes Night," James Sharpe of the University of York told Smithsonian Magazine in 2014.



    In the US, costumes aren't always "scary."

    Brits tend to wear more traditional Halloween costumes, dressing up as ghosts, zombies, and other fearsome creatures.

    "In the US, when kids go trick-or-treating, it seems any costume goes, even costumes that aren't necessarily 'Halloween-y' (including princesses, Spider-Man and so on),"wrote a Quora user with dual US/UK citizenship. "In the UK, we stick to the more traditional horror-inspired ghost/vampire/zombie/Frankenstein/ghoul costumes."

    According to a 2017 survey from the Halloween Industry Association, witch costumes were the most popular choice for adults in the US, while action/superhero costumes topped the kids' category. In fact, Americans spent a total of $3.4 billion on costumes last year.



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    oreos oreo cookies

    You don't have to be vegan to eat vegan food. In fact, some of your favorite store-bought snacks are accidentally vegan, and you probably didn't even know it.

    Aside from pre-made salads, vegan-identified foods, and pre-chopped fruit, below are just a few of the many foods you have probably eaten that are accidentally vegan.

    Lay's Barbecue Potato Chips are vegan.

    Smothered in salt and a host of other seasonings, Lay's BBQ chips are 100% vegan approved. It's a little ironic when you consider the fact that BBQ sauce is typically meant to top a host of red meats and chicken, but this is an accidentally vegan snack.



    Apple Cinnamon Cheerios are a delicious vegan breakfast.

    Non-strict vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy Apple Cinnamon Cheerios throughout the day. These Cheerios do include white sugar but are technically vegan as they contain no animal products whatsoever.



    Vegan candy is real.

    AirHeads, Dots, Dum Dums, and Sour Patch Kids are just a few of the many vegan candies you have definitely consumed at some point in your life. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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