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    new jersey legislature stephen sweeney senate

    • New Jersey Democratic lawmakers are attempting to make Republicans a permanent minority, by law.
    • The New York Times reported that a proposal making its way through the state's legislature — a Democratic stronghold —  would amend the New Jersey constitution to require district maps to reflect how major political parties perform in statewide elections. 
    • The proposal caused alarm not only among Republicans, Democratic leaders such as former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder, the head of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, have also criticized the measure. 
    • New Jersey voters would approve the proposal through a ballot measure. 

    Democrats have control over New Jersey's State Senate, House and governorship. They are looking into making this power permanent under a proposal that would ensure Republicans are the minority in the Garden State. 

    The New York Times reported that Stephen M. Sweeney, the New Jersey State Senate president, and fellow state legislator Nicholas P. Scutari, have proposed a bill that would allow voters to decide how redistricting should be done. The Democrats' proposal would amend the state's constitution by overhauling a redistricting committee and giving more power to legislative leaders, according to The Times. 

    If passed, the measure would establish a "fairness test" that would require district maps in the state to reflect how major political parties perform on statewide elections. This year, New Jersey elected Phil Murphy, a Democrat, as governor. The state's two senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, are Democrats. 

    The plan has been criticized as gerrymandering by both Republicans and Democrats. Eric Holder, former U.S. attorney general under President Barack Obama and head of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, told The Times that “the American people want redistricting reforms that help level the playing field so that elections are decided on who has the best ideas, not which party was in charge of drawing the lines.” 

    The New Jersey proposal, Holder said, "fails to live up to those standards." 

    Tom Kean Jr., the Republican leader in the State Senate, told The Times that the proposal "institutionally strips away the will of the voter." 

    But Sweeney and Scutari argue that the plan has nothing to do with gerrymandering. Scutari told The Times that, if this plan were put in the matrix and tried out in Texas, "you'd probably get significantly more legislative districts that favored Republicans." 

     “If we have a significant advantage in voters, then you’re going to have a significant difference in legislative districts," he said. 

    Read more:A state official accused an aide for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy of rape. Then, she said, officials ignored her claims.

    Since no Republican in the state's legislature supports the plan, The Times reported that Democratic leaders are looking into using a provision in the state's laws that allows an amendment passed with a simple majority in the state's legislature to be placed on a ballot. They have scheduled a vote on the plan for next Monday, the last day the legislature will meet this year. 

    As his party colleagues seem to push this measure through, Murphy, the state's Democratic governor, said he worries the plan would weaken his ability to influence the process. 

    “I have as much a concern about the process as I do even about the substance,” Murphy told The Times. “I don’t like the substance, but this is classic jam something through, and I got elected to stand up against that and I’m going to.”

    SEE ALSO: Trump reportedly close to picking Chris Christie in 'reality TV' hunt for new chief of staff

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'


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    Roma Netflix

    • Every week, we put together a list of seven great movies you can watch on Netflix over the weekend.
    • This week's list includes "Roma," the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix original film, and "The Princess Diaries," which leaves the streaming service in January.

    We're here to make your weekend binge-watching easy.

    Every week, we look through the movies available on Netflix and recommend seven movies you can watch over the weekend.

    Some of our selections recently came to Netflix and some have been available for awhile — you might have just missed them because of Netflix's algorithm.

    From Netflix's stunning original film "Roma" that's getting Oscar buzz to "The Princess Diaries,"which leaves the streaming service in January, these are some awesome movies on Netflix you can watch this weekend.

    Here are seven movies on Netflix you should check out (along with their scores from Rotten Tomatoes).

    Note: Not all of these films are available in countries outside the United States. Sincere apologies!

    "Roma" (2018) — A Netflix Original

    Netflix description: "Director Alfonso Cuarón delivers a vivid, emotional portrait of domestic life and social hierarchy set against Mexico's political turmoil of the 1970s."

    Critic score: 97%

    Audience score: 93%

    This semi-autobiographical film is Cuarón's most personal film to date, and one of his best. It's best to experience this movie in theaters, but you can watch it from you home now. 



    "The Pixar Story" (2007)

    Netflix description: "Go behind the scenes at Pixar Animation Studios with this Emmy-nominated documentary tracing the creation and history of the groundbreaking company."

    Critic score: 86%

    Audience score: 92%

    This thoughtful documentary tells the story behind the artist, animators, and storytellers behind the innovative and iconic stories of Pixar. You'll learn a lot but want more, since a lot has happened and developed since the doc came out. 

     

     



    "National Treasure" (2004)

    Netflix description:"Modern treasure hunters search for a chest of riches rumored to have been stashed away by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin."

    Critic score: 44%

    Audience score: 76%

    The plot and frankly the entire premise of this movie make no sense. But Nicholas Cage is at his best in movies that make no sense, so this is a fun adventure movie that you won't regret watching. Also noteworthy: Sean Bean is in this movie, and he doesn't die.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    IP gift guide banner

    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    Anki Cozmo Toy Robot

    • Technology-themed toys are a great way for kids to enjoy themselves while also honing skills that will be useful in the job market of their adult lives.
    • STEM toys encourage critical thinking, logic, problem solving, and are often good for hand-eye coordination and fine motor muscle development as well.
    • Here are 15 great toys for techie kids younger than 10 that will have them entertained, engaged, and even educated, all through play.

    The problem with many of the STEM-themed, techie kids' toys out there these days is that they require parental assistance.

    I can't tell you how many times my son has been working on a robot assembly project, using a science kit, or playing with a coding app and has needed my wife or me to help out with a particularly tricky step. Most of the time I'm more than happy to help out and to hang out even when he doesn't need a hand, but there are also plenty of occasions where there is adult stuff to be managed and I'd really like for him to just play independently.

    Granted, my son is five, so I don't actually expect him to have mastered blockchain coding, LEGO construction, or basic chemistry — not without some assistance, anyway.

    But whenever we do find a toy, art project, or other activity that he can thoroughly and independently enjoy, we make note of it. So you can trust that all of the techie toys on this list should are not only engaging and educational, but also should be suitable for kids under 10 to use with little or no help from mom or dad. Unless of course you want to join in; free time permitting, playing with tech toys is fun at any age, after all.

    Still shopping for more gifts? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.


    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    A programming kit that encourages imaginative inventing

    Makeblock Neuron Explorer Kit, $199.95, from Apple

    This kit is one of my son's all time favorite toys, and keep in mind he is only five. Kids a couple years older will love the building, programming, and play all the more because they will be able to do it all independently. From a piano that can play all sorts of sounds using a range finding sensor (keys break the beam it projects) to a working remote control robot (complete with a camera) to a truly unlimited number of original projects your kid devises himself, the opportunities for fun and for learning about engineering, robotics, circuitry, and programming are pretty much endless with a Makeblock Neuron Explorer Kit. Which is good, because it ain't cheap.



    A remote-controlled, all-terrain buildable vehicle

    GeoSmart Flip Bot, $59.99, from Amazon

    The GeoSmart Flip Bot is part building toy, part functional little vehicle. And playing with it involves zero screen time. Kids assemble the robotic rover using magnetic components, so there are no tools involved. The building is half the fun (and not too challenging, either), while the remote control driving of colorful bot is the rest of it. Rated as suitable for kids over the age of five, the GeoSmart Flip Bot will be fun and not too challenging for kids up to age 10.



    An iPad extension with games, drawing, and puzzles

    Osmo Genius Kit for iPad, $89.99, from Amazon

    The Osmo Genius Kit converts an iPad (which is required here, FYI) into a multi-game play system using both on screen graphics and physical objects together. From puzzles kids assemble by hand using prompts from the Osmo app to word and number games to an interactive drawing program that's fun but also helps a young artist improve her work, this kit goes well beyond the level of engagement you'll find with most app-integrated todays. It can also be programmed to be suitable for kids as young as five and as old as twelve.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    barbara george hw bush

    • 2018 witnessed the deaths of several internationally-renowned figures who, for the past century, shaped the world's political stage for good or bad.
    • Here are 10 of the most prominent politicians, civil rights leaders, dictators, and activists who passed away this year.

    SEE ALSO: From the Adamses to the Clintons: The most influential US political families in history, ranked

    SEE ALSO: Here are some of the best photos capturing the people and events of 2018's year in politics

    George H.W. Bush

    George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died at the age of 94 in Houston on November 30th.

    Bush, who went by “41” to avoid confusion with son and former president George W. Bush, was a devoted public servant who joined the US armed forces at 18, flying 58 missions during World War II.

    After being honorably discharged in 1945, the Yale graduate served as Texas congressman, CIA director, and vice president under Ronald Reagan before becoming president in 1989.

    As president, he oversaw the end of the Cold War and made foreign policy his priority, conducting military operations in the Persian Gulf and Panama. He lost his bid for reelection to Bill Clinton in 1993.

    He is survived by his five children, 17 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and two siblings. Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years, died on April 2018.



    John McCain

    John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona, died on August 25, 2018 at the age of 81 due to complications stemming from an aggressive form of brain cancer.

    An internationally-known Vietnam War hero, McCain was imprisoned and brutally tortured for six years by North Vietnamese forces who shot down his plane in 1967. After his release, McCain received two Purple Hearts and became a politician, winning an Arizona congressional seat in 1982.

    He went on to run for Senate, ultimately being reelected five times, most recently in 2016. Known as a “maverick” for his ability to compromise between parties, McCain was the 2008 Republican nominee for president. After losing to Barack Obama, he returned to the Senate and continued serving even after being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2016.

    A staunch critic of Donald Trump, McCain cast a remarkable vote against the repeal of Obamacare, his last signature political moment.



    Barbara Bush

    The former first lady and wife of George H.W. Bush died in her Houston home on April 17, 2018, at the age of 92.

    Barbara Bush first met the future president at the age of 16, marrying him four years later. Together they had six children, including former president George W. Bush. As George's political career blossomed, Barbara remained by his side, moving with him around the country and the world.

    As first lady, Barbara was known for her charitable work leading the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. After leaving the White House in 1993, she continued her philanthropic work and split her time between Texas and Maine.

    She supported the presidential campaigns of her sons George and Jeb in 2000 and 2016, respectively, and was widely respected for her dedication to her family.

    Her marriage to Bush Sr. was the longest in US presidential history and was famed for its ongoing dedication -- after 73 years of marriage, they still said "I love you" every night. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence Transportation & Logistics Briefing subscribers hours before it appeared on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here.

    German auto behemoth Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, plans to buy a whopping $23 billion worth of electric vehicle (EV) batteries through 2030, according to Automotive News.

    Automakers' 2018 EV Battery Investments

    The company didn't disclose what vendors it would buy these batteries from, though it has existing contracts with SK Innovation, LG and Contemporary Amperex Technology, a Chinese EV battery vendor.

    The German automaker's investment is just the latest in a spate of recent EV battery investments by legacy automakers — BMW revealed it had a $1.16 billion EV battery contract with a Chinese supplier in June, and fellow German automaker Volkswagen plans to pour $23 billion into EVs and other new car technologies through 2023.

    Daimler's moves in the battery space illustrate several points of friction automakers must overcome to maximize the utility of their EVs.

    • Daimler plans to make its EV batteries less cobalt-heavy, a move other players should consider due to issues surrounding the element's use. The Mercedes-Benz EQC EV, which will be released next year, will have batteries that are about 60% nickel, 20% manganese and 20% cobalt. However, all forthcoming Mercedes EVs will have batteries that are only 80% nickel, 10% manganese, and only 10% cobalt. Cobalt is notoriously challenging, costly, and controversial to extract — 58% of the world's cobalt can be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a war-torn country with a history of human rights abuses. Given that the large majority of EV batteries still contain high levels of cobalt, if Daimler can successfully limit its reliance on cobalt for batteries, other automakers should at least consider following its lead.
    • Meanwhile, Daimler's move to build a half-dozen EV battery plants shows thatautomakers need to make as many highly efficient batteries as possible, either by themselves or via a partner. The Mercedes parent plans to open six new battery assembly plants around the globe, including three in Germany, and one each in China, Thailand, and the US. At the same time, battery efficiency is on the upswing: The average energy density of EV batteries, which improves an EV's range on a single charge, is improving between 5% and 7% a year. That means it's likely that electric cars will eventually achieve range parity with their fossil fuel-powered counterparts. But carmakers need to follow Daimler's lead and max out the production and assembly of these batteries to make millions of EVs.
    • Lastly, other automakers need to find a way to maximize access to charging stations, something Daimler has gone after through third-parties. The German carmaker doesn't want to build its own chargers. Instead, it's allowing retailers, commercial real estate landlords, employers, and other private companies to build chargers to integrate its cars with. Competing automakers have tried different approaches too: Tesla built up its own proprietary charger network, which includes over 10,000 in the US. Competing automakers, meanwhile, have made their EVs compatible with third-party charging networks like EVgo. Regardless of the strategy they take, all automakers must look to maximize their customers' access to EV chargers.

    The automakers that take similar steps the soonest will reap the most benefits from rising consumer interest in EVs. The EV market is still in the very early stages of development, but the consumer interest is there, and growing. One in five US consumers say they'd likely buy an EV as their next vehicle, up from only 15% last year, according to an AAA survey.

    The automakers that aggressively alleviate critical pain points — like Daimler has — will see the largest benefits, both in terms of revenue and market share, in the global EV space.

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

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    SEE ALSO: Automakers and startups are angling for a slice of the EV pie

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    This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "Payments Briefing" subscribers hours before appearing on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here.

    Merchant card acceptance grew by 13% globally in 2017 to reach 69.2 million card-accepting merchants, according to a report from RBR. The report highlights strong growth in less developed areas of the Asia Pacific region as well as in central and eastern Europe — and forecasts global merchant acceptance to grow at an average of 8% to reach 111.7 million by 2023.

    Global Merchant Card Acceptance

    The report identifies a number of factors contributing to the rise in global merchant acceptance:

    • Changes in interchange fee regulations could make it more affordable for merchants to accept card payments. Interchange fees, which merchants are charged to accept cards, have become a huge burden for merchants. These fees have led to disputes between merchants and card networks globally, and may have discouraged some merchants from accepting cards or made it harder for them to do so. Governments have intervened by mandating lower fees — and the European Union (EU) has been especially stringent on this, capping interchange fees in 2015, and has led several antitrust lawsuits and investigations to enforce it, which likely spurred more widespread card acceptance. Additionally, Brazil capped debit card interchange fees in March by around 40%.
    • Financial inclusion initiatives enable more card issuance among to consumers, which can encourage merchant card acceptance. Allowing consumer access to banking services and payment cards will likely impact consumer demand to pay with cards, which could necessitate merchant card acceptance. While factors like a lack of infrastructure or geographic conditions are still holding back many developing markets like Indonesia and the Philippines from widespread card acceptance, some firms are enabling them to make payments with existing infrastructure. Last year, Visa launchedmVisa, its QR code payment solution that enables consumers to use their phones to make payments and brought it to over ten countries including India, Nigeria, and Kenya. 
    • High tourist volume can serve as an impetus for merchants to accept card payments.The report highlights Japan as a “prime example” because of the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will drive tourist spending. Cards have surpassed cash as the preferred payment method in several developed markets globally, like Sweden and the UK — where nearly the entire population has a debit card — making card payments the norm for millions of consumers. As tourism and globalization increase, merchants will have to start accepting cards or they can lose out on major opportunities for volume. 

    SEE ALSO: Rewards-related offerings are the leading driver of consumers' credit card choices — but they can be pricey for issuers

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Amazon Popular Books 2018

    • Amazon editors picked their top books of 2018.
    • They range from memoirs to novels to young adult fiction, from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers.

    From memoirs to novels to young adult fiction, 2018 was full of riveting books that readers just couldn't put down. First-time authors and New York Times bestsellers alike published stories that made us laugh, think, and maybe even reach for a wad of tissues.

    Amazon's editors picked their 100 favorite books of the year. Here are the top 30.

    30. "Circe" by Madeline Miller

    Amazon's synopsis:In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child — not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power — the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

    With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, "Circe"is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.



    29. "You Think It, I'll Say It: Stories" by Curtis Sittenfeld

    Amazon's synopsis: A suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie. A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.

    Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her "astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers' heads" (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before. Throughout the ten stories in "You Think It, I’ll Say It," Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided.



    28. "I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer" by Michelle McNamara

    Amazon's synopsis: For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

    Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

    "I’ll Be Gone in the Dark"— the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle's dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    anxiety sad phone texting

    • Anxiety is the body's emotional and physiological response to environmental triggers.
    • Anxiety isn't always a bad thing, but in some cases, it could make day-to-day life more difficult. 
    • There are a lot of ways to deal with anxiety ranging from prescriptions to meditation. 

    Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways and it can impact people with varying levels of severity. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, in the United States alone, over 40 million adults live with an anxiety disorder. Even though it can be fairly common, there are still a lot of questions and misconceptions surrounding anxiety. 

    Here are the answers to 10 of the most common questions about anxiety. 

    What is anxiety?

    "Anxiety is the body's emotional and physiological response to triggers in the environment,"Lindsay E. Gerber, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist at The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center told INSIDER. Triggers can be verbal, visual, physical, auditory, or olfactory (smell). It's these triggers that cause anxious distress.

    These anxious thoughts, which are often referred to as negative automatic thoughts, incite emotional and physiological distress like a faulty alarm system. For example, Gerber said turbulence on an airplane (a physical trigger) can activate anxious thoughts such as "the plane is going to crash" or "we're all going to die." 

    "When experiencing anxiety, our brain sends a message to our body that we are in immense danger when in reality, we are physically safe," she said. As we know, turbulence is quite normal and does not indicate that there is something wrong with the plane. However, Gerber said our anxiety sends us into flight or fight mode and physically ramps up our body. 




    How do I know if I am experiencing anxiety?

    Gerber said some of the more common symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, palpitations, sweating, dizziness, headaches, upset stomach, shortness of breath, and difficulty concentrating.



    What happens in your body when you experience anxiety?

    Knowing what happens in your body is the key to understanding the symptoms you experience when dealing with anxiety. Dr. Amy Serin, a neuropsychologist at the Serin Center, told INSIDER that your brain operates in either stress mode or calm mode and can turn stress and anxiety on like a switch, whether you're aware of it or not.

    "When you're anxious, all functions that aren't needed for in-the-moment survival start to shut down, this is why anxious test takers can't remember answers during the exam and then they come flooding in once the test is over and they start to calm down," she explained. "Memory shuts down, higher order thinking, planning, organizing, and even digestion doesn't work when people are in a state of anxiety."

     



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    lebron james defense

    • LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers temporarily played defense with their hands behind their backs to protest foul calls vs. the Houston Rockets.
    • After the game, Lonzo Ball said "you can't touch them" while James said he was trying to keep his hands "out of the cookie jar."
    • The Rockets won the game as tempers flared, and it appears the two teams have a mini-rivalry brewing.

    LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers got frustrated with referees during a 126-111 loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday, so they resorted to desperate measures.

    With the Lakers upset over the refs calling fouls on them against the Rockets, James, Lonzo Ball, and some other teammates played with their hands behind their backs in the third quarter.

    "Just trying to defend without fouling," James said after the game. "That's a point of emphasis anytime you play Houston. They got guys that can sell calls really good — Chris [Paul] and James [Harden] — so you got to try to keep your hands out of the cookie jar."

    "You can't touch them," Ball said.


    The Rockets finished with more fouls than the Lakers, but the Rockets outshot the Lakers from the free throw line, 32-27.

    James Harden, who went for 50 points, got to the line 19 times. He's averaging 9.8 attempts per game.

    Following the brawl between Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram, and Chris Paul to open the season, it appears the Lakers and Rockets are a simmering rivalry to watch.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Drinking too much water could be surprisingly hazardous to your health


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    miss universe

    • Miss Universe is on its 67th year with a record-breaking 94 contestants. 
    • Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Philippines are projected front runners.
    • Miss Ecuador and Miss Albania are expected to shine as well. 
    • The show is airing on December 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX.

    This year a record-breaking 94 contestants from around the globe are competing for the title of Miss Universe. This is the 67th installment of the pageant which is being held in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Comedian Steve Harvey is returning as host along with model Ashley Graham, while tv personality Carson Kressley and runway coach Lu Sierra provide commentary. Singer and dancer Ne-Yo is expected to perform.

    Taking a look at this year's competitors, we've picked 20 of this year's front-runners based on social media popularity, their goals as Miss Universe, Miss Universe Predictions, and personal opinion.

    The following top contenders are expected to vie for the crown when the show is aired December 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX.

    Catriona Gray is Miss Philippines.

    The 24-year-old from Albay, Bicol earned a Master Certificate in Music Theory from the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, which explains her tendency to break into song. She made headlines for her rendition of "I can't make you love me."



    Kiara Ortega is Miss Puerto Rico.

    The 25-year-old is a native of Rincon who views the pageant as a way to spread the message of unity. When asked to describe herself, Ortega shared that she is helpful, spontaneous, and cheerful.
    Bodog released its odds and has Miss Puerto Rico running at 5/1 odds.



    Sthefany Gutierrez is Miss Venezuela.

    The 19-year-old from Barcelona counts her mother as a major influence in her life. Gutierrez credits her for her optimism, intelligence, and perseverance. The law student has drawn attention for her reported resemblance to Kim Kardashian. She also has amassed a large Instagram following.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    This is a preview of a detailed slide deck from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.Click here to learn more. Current subscribers can view the deck here.

    Rising smartphone penetration, regulations pushing users away from cash, and globalization demanding faster and new ways to transact are leading to a swell in noncash payments, which Business Insider Intelligence expects to grow to 841 billion transactions by 2023.

    The Future of Payments 2018

    This shift has created a greenfield opportunity in the space. Legacy providers are working to leverage their scale as they update their infrastructure and adapt their business models. But at the same time, upstarts are using their strengths in user experience to try to disintermediate or beat out those at the forefront of the space — a dichotomy that’s creating crowding and competition.

    Digitization and crowding in the payments space will force companies that want to emerge atop the ecosystem to undergo four critical digital transformations: diversification, consolidation and collaboration, data protection, and automation. Those that do this effectively, and use these shifts as a means of achieving scale without eroding the user experience, will be in the best position to use ongoing digitization in their payments space to their advantage.

    In The Future Of Payments 2018, Business Insider Intelligence takes a look at some of the biggest problems digitization and crowding are causing for payments firms, outlines the key transformations players can make going forward to resolve them, and explores areas where firms have already begun to use these transformations to their advantage.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    taylor swift

    • Many celebrities have tried their hand at recreating holiday classics.
    • A few major stars have seen huge commercial success during the holiday season, including Mariah Carey's 1994 hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You."
    • Some celebrities you might be surprised to learn have holiday songs include Zooey Deschanel, Kanye West, and RuPaul.

    Each year, popular artists release new season tunes, maybe with the hope of seeing the commercial success Mariah Carey did with "All I Want For Christmas Is You." According to Entertainment.ie, Carey's 1994 hit has reportedly earned her over $50,000,000 in royalties. 

    Here are 16 artists you probably didn't know released holiday singles, covers, and albums. 

    Zooey Deschanel released "A Very She & Him Christmas."

    Audiences first heard "New Girl" star Zooey Deschanel's vocal abilities opposite Will Ferrell in "Elf." Deschanel,  who played Josie, Buddy's coworker-turned-girlfriend,  showed her range on "Baby It's Cold Outside." The classic carol also appears on her 2011 Christmas album, "A Very She & Him Christmas."

    "A Very She & Him Christmas" is the third album from She & Him (the duo Deschanel is a part of) and it features 12 holiday tracks. The album peaked at No.12 on the Billboard charts and sold close to 400,000 copies as of 2014.  



    Kacey Musgraves has an album entitled "A Very Kacey Christmas."

    Rising country star Kacey Musgraves has won two Grammy awards to date, but really made her mark in 2018 with the release of "Golden Hour.""Golden Hour" is her fourth studio album and is currently nominated for four Grammy awards.

    Longtime fans of Musgraves are familiar with her past work, including her 2016 Christmas album, "A Very Kacey Christmas." The album consists of eight traditional Christmas carols, alongside four originals. "A Very Kacey Christmas" also features Willie Nelson and Leon Bridges.



    The Jonas Brothers wished for love for the holidays in "Girl of My Dreams."

    "Girl of My Dreams" is The Jonas Brothers' Christmas song that was released on the 2004 "Disney Channel Holiday" album. The song is all about wanting the girl of your dreams for Christmas. 

    Some of the lyrics include: "You can take these presents, underneath my tree / You can take this awesome scarf my grandma made for me / You can take these boxes, tied up with string / 'Cause all I want for Christmas is the girl of my dreams."

    The brothers recorded multiple studio albums before releasing their final album together in 2013.



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    doctor patient

    • FastMed and NextCare, two of the biggest urgent care companies in the US, said on Thursday that they're meraging. 
    • Urgent-care centers have become an increasingly popular way to get healthcare in the US. Big players — from health plans to hospital systems to private-equity investors — all want in on urgent care, which grew by 25% between 2014 and 2017.
    • The growth is coming at a time when the way Americans access healthcare is changing.

    Two of the biggest urgent care chains in the US — FastMed and NextCare — are combining forces. 

    Together, they'll have 251 urgent care clinics in 10 states, according to a statement. That would make the company one of the largest urgent-care chains in the US, rivaling industry leader MedExpress, which is owned by UnitedHealth Group.

    Urgent care is catching on as Americans increasingly seek convenient ways to get healthcare. According to the Urgent Care Association, the industry's trade group, there were 8,154 urgent care centers in the US in 2017, up 25% from 2014. Urgent care visits have climbed rapidly, too.

    Urgent-care centers don't require appointments, and can treat everything from a sore throat to a deep cut or minor fracture. The centers are usually staffed by doctors trained in emergency medicine and provide far more types of care than a retail clinic inside a pharmacy.

    "They're definitely popping up everywhere," Dr. Lisa Bielamowicz, the president of Gist Healthcare, which consults with health systems, told Business Insider. "There's a huge amount of competition for the convenient-care space."

    Terms of the transaction, in which FastMed is acquiring NextCare, weren't disclosed, though the companies said they expect the deal to be completed within 60 days. Private equity firms Abry Partners and BlueMountain Capital Management are FastMed's lead investors.

    Read more: The doctor who founded CityMD and sold it for $600 million explains how a new kind of medical clinic is changing how Americans get healthcare

    There have been other big-ticket deals for urgent care clinics in the past few years. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    A container of Johnson's baby powder made by Johnson & Johnson.

    • Johnson & Johnson sank 8% on Friday after Reuters reported the company knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos.
    • Reuters reviewed documents from at least 1971 to the early 2000s that they say showed powders sometimes tested positively for small traces of asbestos.
    • Watch Johnson & Johnson trade live.

    Johnson & Johnson shares sank 8% Friday after Reuters reported the pharmaceutical giant knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos.

    Reuters reviewed documents, deposition, and trial testimony from at least 1971 to the early 2000s that they say showed powders and raw talc sometimes tested positively for small traces of asbestos.

    Furthermore, "company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public," Reuters reporter Lisa Girion wrote.

    Johnson & Johnson's outside litigation counsel, Peter Bicks, told Reuters its findings were false and dismissed tests cited in the report as "outlier" results.

    This is not the first time the company, which also manufactures medical devices, has come under fire for issues related to its baby powder.

    In July, a St. Louis jury awarded $4.69 billion to 22 women who said its talcum baby powder gave them ovarian cancer. At the time it was the sixth-largest product-defect award in US history.

    Johnson & Johnson was down a little over 2% this year.

    Johnson & Johnson shares.

    Now read:

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    now hiring axios

    • To fill a whopping 7.1 million job openings in the tightest labor market in a half-century, employers are loosening their requirements and raising traditional benefits to lure workers.
    • Ten percent of small businesses this past quarter have offered — for the first time — to repay a part of student loans, relax drug policies or hire ex-cons, according to the latest CNBC and SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.

    The job search just got a little bit sweeter. 10% of small businesses this past quarter have offered — for the first time — to repay a part of student loans, relax drug policies or hire ex-cons, according to the latest CNBC and SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. Reeling from the 3.7% unemployment rate, businesses large and small have also raised wages and benefits.

    The big picture: To fill a whopping 7.1 million job openings in the tightest labor market in a half-century, employers are loosening their requirements and raising traditional benefits to lure workers.

    Impact: "Workers are the bigger winners as the labor market tightens," Indeed's Chief Economist Jed Kolko tells Axios.

    By the numbers:

    • 12% of small businesses offered student loan repayment as a new benefit in the last quarter.
    • 14% relaxed their drug policies.
    • 12% considered candidates with a criminal record for the first time.

    These numbers show small businesses are increasingly tracking with cultural shifts affecting current job seekers: an increasingly indebted workforce, a growing number of states legalizing Marijuana use, and an unemployment rate among ex-felons that's more than 7 times higher than the national average.

    Why it matters:

    • These survey results place small businesses ahead of the curve on student loan repayment. While 12% of small businesses experimented with offering this benefit this quarter, only about 4% of companies overall offer student loan repayment benefits, per the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2018 Employee Benefits Report.
    • Labor force participation rates have dropped in areas where opioid prescription rates are high over the last 15 years, Axios’ Caitlin Owens reports, and as Americans take advantage of legalized Marijuana in several states, employers may have a vested interest in overlooking prior or current drug use to broaden their pool of candidates.
    • Unemployment for former felons was 27% earlier this year, per The Prison Policy Initiative’s estimates (there are no federal figures for former felons' unemployment), yet most human resource managers report they would consider hiring those who have been incarcerated (only about 14% of human resource managers say they won’t consider it), per a report by the Society of Human Resources Management.

    Yes, but: While firms are debuting these new practices, there has also been a shift in bargaining power toward employers. Weaker unions, outsized firms and more noncompetes "make it harder for workers to look for and get outside offers," Kolko tells Axios.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 'Shark Tank' star Robert Herjavec says only Americans think there are no opportunities in America


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    SNAP IPO 19

    • The New York Stock Exchange reportedly used stand ins when it attempted to lure Snap's initial public offering, the New York Post reported Friday.
    • Executives at the Big Board ordered dozens of employees to head down to the trading floor to make it look busier than it really was in order to impress Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, the report said.
    • Watch Snap trade live.

    The New York Stock Exchange used a trick two years ago when it attempted to lure Snap's initial public offering, a report says.

    On November 18, 2016, executives at the Big Board ordered dozens of staffers to head down to the trading floor to make it look busier than it really was in order to impress Snap CEO Evan Spiegel as he weighed whether to list the social-media company there, the New York Post reported on Friday, citing sources.

    According to the Post's sources, Spiegel remarked during a tour of the exchange that the trading floor looked empty. In response, Thomas Farley, then president of the exchange, ordered officials to fill it up.

    An employee caught the event on video, showing a slew of NYSE employees on the trading floor — standing around chatting, rather than shouting, shoving, and barking into phones. But it's not clear whether Spiegel actually saw the event before leaving the building.

    Spiegel "never toured NYSE nor set foot on trading floor prior to IPO,” Farley told The Post.

    "The New York Stock Exchange is one of the most transparent workplaces in the world, with news outlets broadcasting live from our trading floor all day long," an NYSE spokesperson told Business Insider on Friday.

    "All NYSE employees are welcome to visit our trading floor, and do so regularly to celebrate momentous events that happen every day of the week, including our Opening and Closing Bells, large IPOs, visits by world leaders and other distinguished guests who often convene at our iconic 11 Wall Street building."   

    With the development of over-the-counter trading and network brokers, stock-exchange trading floors are less crowded than in the last century.

    Snap went public in March 2017, raising $3 billion through its IPO. 

    It's stock has gotten whacked this year, plunging more than 70% since February after Kylie Jenner's infamous tweet blasting the Snapchat app's redesign. Selling has since wiped out more than $17 billion of market value.

    The company's Snapchat app has lost popularity since its redesign, and sustained pressure from Facebook and Instagram has contributed to a declining users base. The company said in its second-quarter earnings release, on August 7, that it had suffered its first decline in sequential daily active users. That trend continued in its most recent quarter, when the company said that its number of daily active users fell by 1%, and that it expected further declines in the fourth quarter.

    Snap shares were down 76% since going public.

    Read the New York Post story here. 

    Now read:

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    amazon hq2 lic

    • New York City's 253-page HQ2 proposal to Amazon— posted online this week — reveals how much data the e-commerce giant requested from states and cities as it searched for the site of its second headquarters.
    • Amazon asked about everything from the cost of a Starbucks coffee to education systems to nearby weekend destinations in a 29-page request for information earlier this year. 
    • This trove of data Amazon collected during its HQ2 hunt could be valuable for the company in the future. 

    As cities and states battled to win Amazon's second headquarters, they provided the e-commerce giant with an overwhelming amount of data.

    On Friday, it became clear just how much information Amazon wanted. On Monday, New York City posted its 253-page HQ2 proposal online. The city quickly took down the extensive proposal, but The New York Times downloaded the document before its removal and published it in full on Friday. 

    Read more:New York finally revealed the HQ2 rendering that helped it win Amazon over to Long Island City

    "After Amazon announced its shortlist in January, it gave cities a 29-page request for information that required far more precision and was more about practicalities than flash," the Times reports. 

    Amazon's questions, as seen in the proposal, are truly far-reaching. And, New York City willingly provided the information. 

    "Specify the cost of a basket of goods in your community," reads one section. "The basket is from Whole Foods: gallon of 2% milk, loaf of whole wheat bread, and an avocado. Also, the cost of Starbucks tall coffee, movie ticket, monthly gym membership (individual) at a YMCA (if U.S.), dry cleaning of a shirt, and a gallon of gas." 

    New York City dutifully answered the questions — an avocado costs $1.25 whether purchased in Midtown West or in Long Island City, though you can get a slightly better deal on movie tickets at AMC in Manhattan than UA Kaufman in Queens ($16.29 versus $16.40). 

    Here are just some of the things Amazon asked about: 

    • Demographics of the city, including professional breakdown, race, and education levels. 
    • "Big ideas" that could lead to partnerships between Amazon and education centers. The State University of New York suggested an "Amazon Scholars Program" to enroll Amazon employees in SUNY programs of their choice.  
    • Detailed information on education systems, from pre-kindergarten through colleges. New York City provided data such as average SAT scores, third graders' performance levels on mathematics testing, and how close colleges are to proposed HQ2 sites. 
    • "Quality of life" measures including health and fitness opportunities, hate crimes, weekend travel destinations, and the cost of living. The proposal highlights SoulCycle, notes that hate crimes are on the decline, and suggests that Amazon employees can visit Dia: Beacon or Fire Island on the weekend. 
    • Community challenges. New York City's biggest challenges — according to the proposal — are inequality, transportation, and sustainability. 
    • Extensive real estate and zoning information on potential sites for HQ2. Amazon asked for details down to utility providers, parking options, and nearby restaurants. 
    • Tax policies and government organizations. That includes how taxes will impact employees, with New York City estimating that New York city and state taxes will deduct $9,060 from an Amazon worker earning $100,000 annually. 

    The depth of the data requested by Amazon is especially interesting because the company likely collected similarly extensive information on all of its 20 HQ2 finalists. This trove of data could be valuable for the company moving forward. 

    "Amazon has a godlike view of what's happening in digital commerce, and now cities have helped give it an inside look at what's happening in terms of land use and development across the US," Stacy Mitchell, a director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a think tank based in Washington, DC, told Business Insider's Hayley Peterson in November.

    "Amazon will put that data to prodigious use in the coming years to expand its empire," she continued. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    woman resume job application

    • When looking for a new job, you'll have to give significant time and effort to many facets of the search.
    • Here, author Myelle Lansat details the six most productive things she did when looking for a new position

     

    A lot of behind the scenes work goes into landing a job interview, and it takes more than tweaking a resume or cover letter to stand out in an applicant pool.

    It's not easy to look for a new job opportunity, especially as a recent college graduate. To help guide my search, I reflected on the work I did in school and in past internships to motivate my job search.

    I recently graduated with a B.S. in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and I previously wrote for the Your Money section at Business Insider.

    Here are the six smartest things I did when looking for new job opportunities.

    SEE ALSO: I've been successfully self-employed for a year — here are 9 things I wish I'd known before starting

    1. Reach out to existing networks

    When I sat down to think about my existing network, I started with my alumni association. I studied at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University and immediately reached out to students in my field. I also reached out to the career center and checked out our alumni jobs portal. This not only opened up several doors, it also made me realize how strong an alumni network really is. Don't be afraid to use it.

    I also tapped on previous internship colleagues and people I've met professionally — just to catch up and chat about the job market today. I wanted to have a full view of what was going on in my field and how the hiring cycle works at this time of year, which in my case was the holiday season and new year.



    2. Check job sites daily

    I've found that job listings mostly come in waves and it's best to apply to a job within a week of its posting.  A majority of companies have a careers portal on their webpage under their main menu or at the bottom of the site. But when I want to search a job by field, I typically start with LinkedIn and specialize my search under the "jobs" tab by category and location.

    There are also a slew of targeted job sites, Facebook groups, and Twitter feeds for certain fields that may have opportunities not listed on larger sites, like LinkedIn.



    3. Connect with people on LinkedIn

    Once I thoroughly searched LinkedIn and picked out job opportunities that I qualified for, I researched current employees and look for any potential connections. I kept an eye out for anyone who went to Syracuse, lived in my hometown or worked at the same companies I did. I drafted a short introduction and asked to take them out for coffee and chat about their career path.

    In my experience, this opens the door to an in-person conversation and a chance to hear about a company and gauge if it's a good match for me. I've found that people are more inclined to help and vouch for you after making a personal connection or having a shared experience. Plus, knowing a current employee at a company you're applying to can give you a leg up in the applicant pool.



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    facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

    • Facebook quietly killed off Building 8, its secretive skunkworks unit, after the launch of its Portal video-chat device.
    • Its hardware team now lives under a new Portal organization, and its more experimental projects have been moved to Facebook Reality Labs, Business Insider has learned.
    • Facebook Reality Labs is working on far-out tech like brain-computer interfaces and ways to "hear" through your skin.
    • Building 8 was launched back in 2016 as part of Facebook's attempts to break into consumer hardware.

    Facebook has killed off its Building 8 skunkworks lab following a significant reshuffle of its experimental projects and hardware units.

    The super-secretive organization was inspired by DARPA, and billed itself as a unit dedicated to building "new, category-defining consumer hardware products." In its buzzy heyday, it worked on far-out projects like brain-scanning tech and skin sensors. It was a moonshot factory, in other words, in the same vein as Google's X.

    But things have now changed. Some of its most experimental projects have been shunted over to a new division, the Facebook Reality Labs, and its hardware segment has been rebranded as Portal following the launch of Facebook's home video-chat device.

    The Building 8 brand, meanwhile, has quietly been killed off completely, a spokesperson told Business Insider.

    Building 8 was first announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg back in 2016. He billed it as a bold bet on hardware for Facebook, which has never managed to parlay its success in the software space into physical consumer goods like Apple and Google. It was led by Regina Dugan, a former DARPA director and Google exec, who then left Facebook after 18 months at the start of 2018.

    "I’m excited to announce that we've started a new group at Facebook called Building 8 focused on building new hardware products to advance our mission of connecting the world,"Zuckerberg wrote in a post when it launched.

    "We'll be investing hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars into this effort over the next few years. I'm excited to see breakthroughs on our 10 year roadmap in augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity and other important areas."

    In October 2018, those ambitions finally came to fruition with the launch of Portal— a touchscreen home video-chat device that lets users them call their friends and consume media using Facebook's software.

    With the launch, Building 8's executives and hardware-focused teams transferred to a newly formed Portal team — and Building 8 was shuttered, a previously unreported development.

    Rafa Carmago, who was made the head of Building 8 when Dugan left, was appointed VP of Portal when it officially launched. Head of product Ital Vonshak, director of marketing Nick Fell, and head of device software Viresh Rustagi also all made the shift.

    Goodbye Building 8, Hello Portal

    Some employees do still advertise themselves on LinkedIn as working for Building 8, and there are still some open job advertisements for positions at Building 8 — but this is because they haven't been updated yet, a spokesperson said.

    Other signs of the unit's newness abound. Building 8's official Careers page on Facebook's website has been killed — but Portal's jobs page uses all its old photos.

    building 8 facebook

    Any other, unannounced hardware projects being developed by Facebook now live under the Portal organization — excluding virtual or augmented reality efforts that would be part of Oculus, the company's AR/VR unit.

    With Building 8's dissolution, its more experimental efforts have been spun out into another new group: Facebook Reality Labs (FRL). 

    FRL was formed in May 2018, prior to the launch of Portal, though at the time it was just viewed as a just rebranded Oculus Labs (Facebook's earlier AR/VR research efforts). It now holds tentpole Building 8 projects like the Brain Computer Interface team, which attempts to build computers that can meld with human minds. It's being led by Michael Abrash, a games industry veteran and legendary programmer.

    The haptics team, which is working on tech to help people "hear" through their skin, has also been transferred, according to its members' LinkedIn profiles, and healthcare projects that were once part of Building 8 have also been moved out. 

    Some of Facebook's other experimental research, like its work on biologically-inspired "soft robotics," is also part of Facebook Reality Labs.

    Facebook says it is still working on many of the same projects, albeit with a different structure. In an email, Facebook spokesperson Lisa Auslen said: "Building 8 was the early name of the team building consumer hardware at Facebook. Building 8 is part of Facebook's AR/VR organization. Now that we're shipping, it's the Portal team. And Rafa Camargo is still leading the team; that has not changed."

    "We also unified research looking at longer terms projects under one team, which became Facebook Reality Labs, which is also part of our AR/VR organization. This includes research projects like the Brain Computer Interface." She said that the restructuring did not entail any layoffs.

    Zuckerberg's vision may still be in place — but the reshuffle means it's taking place in a very different way.


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


     

    SEE ALSO: Facebook veterans are changing the world of blockchain and crypto startups: Here are 15 ex-Facebook employees who went crypto

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    "Why Are We All So Stupid?" explores the cognitive biases that lead us to make irrational decisions. This episode focuses the anchoring effect, which is our tendency to rely too much on the first piece of information. Knowing about the anchoring effect may help you better negotiate a pay raise.

    Watch other episodes of "Why Are We All So Stupid?":

    Overconfidence Bias: Asking Couples About Their Relationships

    Pricing Effect: Why A Higher Price Tag Makes Wine Taste Better

    Availability Bias: Discussing Who's Most Likely To Cheat On Their Spouse

    Endowment Effect: Trying To Buy People's Lottery Tickets

    Join the conversation about this story »


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