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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Donald Trump and James Comey

    • The FBI began investigating whether President Donald Trump was a witting or unwitting Russian agent after he fired FBI director James Comey in May 2017, The New York Times reported.
    • At the time, the bureau was already investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during the 2016 election, and Comey's firing prompted the special counsel Robert Mueller to open an obstruction-of-justice probe as part of the Russia investigation.
    • But The Times' report is the first indication that the FBI believed it was possible the president himself was a witting or unwitting Russian agent.

    After President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey in May 2017, the bureau became so concerned about his actions that it opened a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was intentionally or unintentionally working for the Russians, according to a bombshell New York Times report.

    At the time, the FBI was already conducting a separate investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 US election and, crucially, whether the Trump campaign secretly coordinated with Moscow to tilt the race in Trump's favor.

    Comey's firing prompted the special counsel Robert Mueller to open a new thread in the Russia investigation which examined whether Trump sought to obstruct justice when he ousted the FBI director. But The Times' report on Friday is the first indication that the FBI was concerned the president himself was a Russian asset and mounted a counterintelligence investigation with him as its target.

    FBI agents had already been suspicious of Trump's ties to Russia since his 2016 presidential campaign but, according to The Times' sources, there was some concerns within the agency about how to approach the situation given its sensitivity. His decision to fire Comey, however, prompted them to move forward with the investigation.

    Read more:Here are all the key developments you might have missed in Russia news this week

    Donald Trump NATO

    Trump's frustration with Comey has been well documented.

    The president began laying into the former FBI director after Comey publicly confirmed the existence of the FBI's Russia investigation in March 2017, two months before he was fired. Afterward, Trump repeatedly tweeted criticism of Comey and downplayed the significance of continued revelations of contacts between his campaign and Russians during the election.

    When Trump abruptly fired Comey, the White House initially said he had been dismissed because of his handling of the bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. The White House also put out a statement from Trump which said he fired Comey upon the advice of then Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

    But Trump later told NBC's Lester Holt during an interview that he had fired Comey, in part, because of "this Russia thing" and that he would have fired Comey regardless of what Sessions or Rosenstein had advised.

    It later surfaced that two days after firing Comey, Trump boasted to two top Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting that firing the "nut job" FBI director had taken "great pressure" off of him. He indicated that the pressure he faced stemmed from the Russia probe.

    A month after he was fired, Comey publicly testified that Trump had privately pressured him on multiple occasions to drop the Russia investigation and to "let go" of the bureau's inquiry into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who was forced to resign after it emerged that he discussed US sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador during the transition period.

    Trump has denied all of Comey's allegations, many of which have been supported by contemporaneous documentation from Comey and other senior Justice Department officials.

    Trump's other public statements, including encouraging Russia to hack Clinton's emails during the campaign, also attracted scrutiny from the FBI, The Times reported.

    It is unclear whether Mueller is still looking into the counterintelligence aspect of the investigation, according to The Times.

    Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who the newspaper said had no knowledge of the FBI inquiry, appeared to be unfazed: "The fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing," he told The Times.

    SEE ALSO: 'Somebody does need to challenge the president': Republican Jeff Flake calls for civility, says Trump 'owns' the government shutdown

    DON'T MISS: Here are all the key developments you might have missed in Russia news this week

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: MSNBC host Chris Hayes thinks President Trump's stance on China is 'not at all crazy'


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

    mobile banking features

    In recent years, we've seen a ballooning of activity in fintech — an expansive term applied to technology-driven disruptions in financial services. And 2018 has been no different, with fintechs' staggering influence on the market evidenced by record funding levels for the industry — by Q3 2018, overall funding was already up 82% from 2017’s total figure, according to CB Insights.

    Additionally, this year marked a watershed moment for the industry, with the once clear distinction between fintechs and financial services proper now blurred significantly. Virtually every incumbent financial institution (FI) is now looking inward and engaging in an innovation drive, spurred on by competition from fintechs. As such, incumbents are now actively investing in, acquiring, and collaborating with their fintech rivals.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence details recent developments in fintech funding and regulation that are defining the environment these startups operate in. We also examine the business model changes being employed among different categories of fintechs as they strive to embed themselves further in mainstream finance and prove sustainability. Finally, we consider which elements of the fintech industry are rapidly rubbing off on incumbent financial services providers, and what the future of fintech will look like.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Funding Circle, GreenSky, Transferwise, Ant Financial, Nubank, Cellulant, Oscar Health, Stripe, One97, UiPath, LianLian Pay, Wacai.com, Gusto, Toast, PingPong, Flywire, Deposit Solutions, Root, Robinhood, Atom, N26, Revolut, OneConnect, PolicyBazaar, WeCash, Zurich, OneDegree, Dinghy, Vouch Insurance, Laka, Cleo, Ernit, Monzo, Moneybox, Bud, Tandem, Starling, Varo Money, Square, ING, Chase, AmEx, Amazon, Monese, Betterment, Tiller Investments, West Hill Capital, Square, Ameritrade, JPMorgan, eToro, Lendy, OnDeck, Ripple, Quorom, Chain, Coinbase, Fidelity, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Bank of America, TransferGo, Klarna, Western Union, Veriff, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada, Facebook, ThreatMetrix, Relx, Entersekt, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Gemalto, Lloyd's of London, Kingdom Trust, Aviva, Symbility LINK, eTrade, Allianz, AXA, Broadridge, TD Bank, First Republic Bank, BBVA Compass, Capital One, Silicon Valley Bank, Credit Suisse, Ally, Goldman Sachs.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Fintech funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.
    • Some new regions, including South America and Africa, are emerging on the fintech scene.
    • We've seen considerable scaling in older corners of the fintech ecosystem, including among neobanks and alt lenders.
    • Some fintechs, including a number of insurtechs, have dipped into new markets to escape heightened competition.
    • Emergent areas like blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), as well as digital identity, are gaining traction.
    • Many incumbents are undertaking business transformations that aim to reimagine everything from products and services to front-end systems and back-end processes.

     In full, the report:

    • Details the funding and regulatory landscape in the US, Europe, and Asia.
    • Gives an overview into a number of fintech segments and how they've changed over the past year.
    • Discusses how incumbents are reacting to fintechs in order to stay relevant in the changing financial services sector.
    • Evaluates what the future of fintech will look like and what trends to look out for in the coming year.

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

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
    Learn More

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

     

    SEE ALSO: How the largest US financial institutions rank on offering the mobile banking features customers value most

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    mr glass david dunn kevin wendell crumb

    • Warning: There are spoilers ahead for "Unbreakable" and "Split."
    • INSIDER breaks down everything you need to know about the two movies as their sequel, "Glass," comes to theaters Friday, January 18. 
    • "Glass" takes place approximately 15 years after "Unbreakable" and a few months after "Split."
    • In addition to Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, two actors from "Unbreakable" who played David's son and Mr. Glass' mom are returning for the sequel.

    M. Night Shyamalan's next movie "Glass" is in theaters Friday, January 18, and it's been a long time coming. 

    While you may know it's a sequel to 2017's thriller "Split," starring James McAvoy as a man with multiple personalities, you may not have realized it's also a direct sequel to one of Shyamalan's first movies, "Unbreakable," distributed by Disney in 2000 under its Touchstone brand, which was created to release more mature movies.

    The new film picks up right where "Split" left off. While "Glass" will explain everything pretty neatly for you, you may still find yourself confused over a few things. If you don't have time to watch both before "Glass" is in theaters, INSIDER rounded up what you need to know about Shyamalan's two previous films.

    1. Bruce Willis' character, David Dunn, learns he has super strength after surviving a train crash

    david dunn unbreakable

    David is the sole survivor of a terrible train crash early in the movie. Not only does he survive the Eastrail 177 crash, but a doctor (played by "House of Card's" Michael Kelly) is astonished that he walked away without a scratch. 

    Throughout the movie, we learn that David has never really been sick or injured in his life and it leads to the discovery that he has super strength. The origin of his powers are never really explained, but we see him lift around 350 pounds. (A deleted scene from the film shows him lift around 500 pounds.)

    David also receives premonitions or feelings about danger just by touching others. 

    2. David's weakness is water.

    glass david dunn unbreakable

    In "Unbreakable," it's revealed he nearly drowned in a school pool while young. As a result, he spent a week in a hospital with pneumonia. Again, it's never clarified how exactly water effects him, but it's referred to as his kryptonite and appears to weaken him. 

    3. Elijah Price/Mr. Glass is the exact opposite of David. He has very brittle bones, which easily break.

    elijah price unbreakable

    Elijah tells David he was born with type I osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that makes his bones extremely fragile. In "Unbreakable," he says he has suffered over 50 breaks in his body. Regardless, Price is also a mastermind who is well-versed in comic-book lore. 

    We eventually learn he's responsible for the train crash and a number of other horrific accidents which have killed dozens. He set the accidents in motion, hoping to find someone who was his exact opposite.

    4. Kevin Wendell Crumb is a man with dissociative identity disorder and exhibits 24 different personalities.

    james mcavoy split

    Introduced in "Split," Crumb (James McAvoy) takes on multiple personalities after his father mysteriously leaves his life. The other personalities become a coping method to protect him from verbal and physical abuse of his mother.

    Collectively, the identities refer to themselves as The Horde. Kevin's 24th personality, the Beast, is revealed in "Split" and appears to have superhuman abilities. He climbs walls, becomes larger in size, and is able to bend bars. 

    We never see McAvoy perform as all 24 personalities, but we do get to see all two dozen names pop up on a computer screen in "Split."

    The main identities include Dennis, a man with OCD; Miss Patricia, a controlling matriarch; and Hedwig, who identifies as a nine-year-old boy. 

    5. Kevin kidnaps and kills a few girls in "Split." The only one who escapes will appear in "Glass."

    casey cooke split movie

    The main plot of "Split" revovles around Kevin's character capturing three teenagers and holding them hostage. Casey, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle, winds up being the only survivor of Crumb's kidnapping when the Beast gleans they have more in common by seeing scars all over her body.

    6. If you say Kevin's full name three times, he'll revert to his normal self. 

    split james mcavoy

    Kevin's therapist in "Split" made this discovery and we see it utilized effectively by Casey near the film's end. 

    7. If you haven't already guessed, trains are very important to the franchise.

    eastrail 177 unbreakable

    At the end of "Unbreakable," David learns Elijah is responsible for the Eastrail 177 train crash, connecting the two. As a result, Elijah is sent to an institution for the criminally insane.

    In 2017's "Split," we learn Kevin's father left on a train and never returned home. Late in the film, Kevin heads to a train terminal and leaves flowers on a platform before becoming the Beast. It's never made clear in "Unbreakable" or "Split" whether or not the two trains are connected, but fans have theorized they may, leading some to call the collection of three movies the Eastrail 177 trilogy.

    8. "Glass" takes place at least 15 years after "Unbreakable," but pretty soon after the end of "Split."

    bruce willis glass

    David Dunn tells a character in "Glass" he used to work as a security guard in a stadium 15 years ago.

    "Glass" picks up not long after the end of "Split" where Crumb is on the run from authorities after Casey is found. At the very end of "Split," David Dunn is shown watching a news report about Crumb, who's being referred to as The Horde. He decides to take on his vigilante persona at the start of "Glass" to track him down.

    9. Color is very important to the franchise.

    glass movie.JPG

    If you didn't pick up on it from the "Glass" trailers, colors are used to dictate characters. In "Unbreakable," purple is representative of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) and his mother while David Dunn's (Bruce Willis) green security guard poncho becomes a significant color for him. In "Split," a bright yellow handkerchief denotes the color viewers identify with Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy).

    All three colors are denoted in one of the first images released for "Glass," seen above.

    10. The boy who played David's son in "Unbreakable" reprises his role in "Glass."

    joseph dunn toy glass

    If the man who plays David's son, Joseph, in "Glass" looks familiar from the trailers, it's because it's the very same actor who played young Joseph in 2000's "Unbreakable." Spencer Treat Clark told Da Man magazine the possibility of a sequel was something he had heard about for a long time.

    "For almost two decades there has been chatter about a sequel to 'Unbreakable' but I never thought it would happen,"said Clark. "'Split' caught me completely off guard. I had no idea there was a crossover with 'Unbreakable' until my phone started blowing up with messages from friends who saw it on opening night."

    You may recognize Clark from roles on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,""Animal Kingdom," and Netflix's "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" over the years. 

    He won't be the only other returning character from "Unbreakable." Charlayne Woodard will also reprise her role as Elijah's mother. A photo released for the film shows her character interacting with both Joseph and Casey.

    glass movie joseph casey mrs price

    11. McAvoy's character from "Split" was originally written for "Unbreakable."

    split james mcavoy m night shyamalan

    You can appreciate the connection between the three movies when you know that Kevin Wendell Crumb was a character who appeared in the original script for "Unbreakable." M. Night Shyamalan told The Hollywood Reporter he removed Kevin from the film because it wasn't working and he had a big idea for the character.

    "Kevin Wendle Crumb was a part of the original, original script for 'Unbreakable.' I pulled him out because it just wasn't balancing right," Shyamalan told THR's Aaron Couch. "But a bunch of the scenes that are in this movie, I wrote 15 years ago. They were as is. Patricia opening the door. Hedwig's first scene. Those were all written already."

    "Glass" is in theaters Friday, January 18. You can read our review here.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the Costco food court and it totally blew us away


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    liam hemsworth

    Liam Hemsworth's breakout role happened in 2010 when he starred alongside future wife Miley Cyrus in the movie "The Last Song." Shortly after, he starred in the wildly popular dystopian franchise called "The Hunger Games" with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. And by the time the final movie hit theaters in 2015, Hemsworth had already become a household name in Hollywood. 

    Even though Hemsworth has shared details about himself (and his famous family) over the years, there are some facts that people might not be aware of.

    Here are nine things you probably didn't know about Hemsworth. 

    His pre-fame jobs included working at a bakery in Melbourne and at a bowling alley.

    "I lived on a tiny island and I must have done every job you can do on that island," he told Vanity Fair

    He also worked as a park ranger and would tell people where to sit at an event called the Penguin Parade.

     



    Hemsworth's brothers, Chris and Luke, used to call him "Diplodocus," which he says is a large slow-moving dinosaur.

    Hemsworth revealed the fun fact after explaining to Men's Fitness that he's a "complete goofball."

    He had another nickname, too. His uncles used to call him "Triple Six," a reference to the devil's number, because he was so mischievous. 

     

     



    When he was 10 years old, his favorite show was "Charmed" and he had a crush on Alyssa Milano.

    Milano starred as Phoebe Halliwell on the '90s supernatural show about three witches. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mahershala Ali Wayne Hays Amelia True Detective season three HBO Warrick Page 2

    • Warning: Minor spoilers ahead for "True Detective" season three.
    • HBO's "True Detective" anthology series is back and critics have mixed reviews. 
    • Many are rejoicing, because it's far better than the second season. 
    • But others think that's a low bar, and instead it's simply redundant of the first season.
    • "True Detective" returns to HBO on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

    After a lengthy hiatus following the notoriously messy second season, HBO's "True Detective" crime series is back for a third installment. This time starring Mahershala Ali, Steph Dorff, and Carmen Ejogo, the season is a standalone from the previous two. 

    Taking place in Arkansas, the story revolves around the disappearance of two young kids. Ali's character, Wayne Hays, takes center stage as a brilliant investigator with reconnaissance experiences thanks to his time served in the Vietnam War.

    The story is told across three different time frames (1980, 1990, and 2015) as the case is opened, re-opened, and then documented for a true crime series TV show. Let's see what critics are saying. 

    The new story has a lot in common with the first season — for good or bad

    "So let’s go ahead and address this right away: 'True Detective' creator Nic Pizzolatto has taken the right lessons from the successes of season one and failures of season two to pen a highly engaging whodunnit, one which borrows heavily from the show’s debut season to great effect."

    Collider's Allison Keene

    Mahershala Ali Wayne Hays Roland West True Detective season three HBO Warrick Page 3

    "'True Detective' season three — which made the first five episodes of the season available for review — is more than a return to Season one’s spooky, winding excellence. It tackles different issues to previous seasons and focuses more sharply on issues and realities that were left unexamined in its previous iterations."

    Mashable's Alexis Nedd

    "The first five episodes are stirring entertainment, steadying a very rocky boat and teasing an end that feels far more likely to exceed expectations than spoil a strong setup. 'True Detective' is good again, and that alone is worth celebrating."

    IndieWire's Ben Travers

    "If you score 'True Detective' season three on originality, it fails — for repeating both its own history and the already-dated cable genre of glum loners confronting the evils men do. But if you treat it as a do-over — if the series, like one of its haunted antiheroes, is retracing its steps to try to get things right — then it’s fine. Often quite good. Far more consistent."

    New York Times' James Poniewozik

    Mahershala Ali Wayne Hays 2015 True Detective season three HBO Warrick Page 4

    Some say the choice to mimic the first season leaves season three with the same problems "True Detective" had before

    "Is being better than the second season really an accurate use of the word 'better'? Is being 'worse' than the first season all that bad? Then I wondered what I would think if neither of the previous seasons had existed, and I realized—I probably wouldn’t be thinking about it at all."

    Slate's Willa Paskin

    "Season three is marginally better than season two, at the very least. But despite a tremendous lead performance from Mahershala Ali, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of season one, either. More than anything, it feels unnecessary, hitting the same self-consciously grim notes we’ve seen plenty of times before."

    TVLine's Dave Nemetz

    "Despite 'True Detective' season three’s attempts to recreate what worked with season one, the show still lacks what made that season so memorable: a clear vision. Pizzolatto’s writing was often good, and the performances – particularly McConaughey’s – were great. But the secret weapon of that first 'True Detective' was Cary Joji Fukunaga."

    SlashFilm's Chris Evangelista

    "Season three, which is set in the Ozarks in the ‘80s, ‘90s, and the recent past, doesn’t answer that nagging, fundamental question about the series — namely, what, exactly, is 'True Detective,' besides a collection of stories involving cops and murderers, encrusted with literary affectations? It also has that familiar post-millennium-TV problem of seeming as if it doesn’t have enough story to justify its running time."

    Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz

    Mahershala Ali Wayne Hays 1990 True Detective season three HBO Warrick Page 1

    The plot is too slow for others

    "Unfortunately, it’s no big surprise that things drag along in a very 'True Detective' sort of way, at least until the season is more than halfway finished (there are eight episodes in all, five of which were made available to critics). Even when the show is viewed with an open mind, the experience is a lot like coming home and discovering you forgot to set your slow cooker to actually cook the meal."

    Hank Stuever, Washington Post's Hank Stuever 

    Mahershali Ali delivers a fantastic performance 

    "He’s great — simultaneously charismatic and vulnerable, kind and self-destructive, in every era — and the Hays/Reardon relationship allows Pizzolatto to do some interesting and relatively nuanced work about growing up black in a place where you’re always looked at as something alien."

    Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall

    "At the very least, the new 'True Detective' season is a three-tiered showcase for Mahershala Ali, who stays consistently mesmerizing even if the mystery around him does not."

    The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg

    Fans of the first season should be prepared to dive in with both feet

    "The premiere episodes show a lot of promise plotwise, teasing out a season that gets to the uniquely spooky roots that hooked audiences in the first go-round. If the devil really has come to Arkansas, we’re happy to fall under his spell."

    Polygon's Lindsey Romain

    "True Detective" season three premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried the Costco food court and it totally blew us away


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    • The Internet of Things is fueling the data-based economy and bridging the divide between physical and digital worlds.
    • Consumers, companies, and governments will install more than 40 billion IoT devices worldwide through 2023.
    • The next five years will mark a pivotal transformation in how companies and jurisdictions operate, and how consumers live.

    Being successful in the digital age doesn’t just require knowing the latest buzzwords; it means identifying the transformational trends – and where they’re heading – before they ever heat up.

    IoT Forecast BookTake the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, which now receives not only daily tech news coverage with each new device launch, but also hefty investments from global organizations ushering in worldwide adoption. By 2023, consumers, companies, and governments will install more than 40 billion IoT devices globally. And it’s not just the ones you hear about all the time, like smart speakers and connected cars.

    To successfully navigate this changing landscape, individuals and organizations must understand the full extent and functionality of the “Things” included in this network, the key drivers of each market segment, and how it all relates to the work they do every day.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has forecasted the start of the IoT’s global proliferation in The IoT Forecast Book 2018— and the next five years will be transformational for consumers, enterprises, and governments.

    • Consumer IoT: In the US alone, the number of smart home devices is estimated to surpass 1 billion by 2023, with consumers dishing out about $725 per household — a total of over $90 billion in spending on IoT solutions.
    • Enterprise IoT: Comprising the most mature segment of the IoT, companies will continue pouring billions of dollars into connected devices and automation. By 2023, the total industrial robotic system installed base will approach 6 million worldwide, while annual spending on manufacturing IoT solutions will reach about $450 billion.
    • Government IoT: Governments globally are ushering in IoT devices to spur the development of smart cities, which would be equipped with innovations like connected cameras, smart street lights, and connected meters to provide a real-time view of traffic, utilities usage, crime, and environmental factors. Annual investment in this area is expected to reach nearly $900 billion by 2023.

    Want to Learn More?

    People, companies, and organizations all over the world are racing to adopt the latest IoT solutions and prevent growing pains amidst a technological transformation. The IoT Forecast Book 2018 from Business Insider Intelligence is a detailed three-part slide deck outlining the most important trends impacting consumer, enterprise, and government IoT — and the key drivers propelling each segment forward.

    Representing thousands of hours of exhaustive research, our multipart forecast books are considered must-reads by thousands of highly successful business professionals. These informative slide decks are packed with charts and statistics outlining the most influential trends on the leading edge of your industry. Keep them for reference or drop the most valuable data into your own presentations to share with your teams.

    Whether you’re newly interested in a topic or you already consider yourself a subject matter expert, The IoT Forecast Book 2018 can provide you with the actionable insights you need to make better decisions.

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    longest government shutdown 2x1

    • The government shutdown entered day 22 at midnight Eastern Time, setting the record for the longest shutdown of the modern budgeting era.
    • The shutdown surpassed the 21-day shutdown of 1995 and 1996 as the longest ever.
    • The shutdown does not appear to be close to ending as President Donald Trump and Democrats remain dug in to their positions on the president's request for $5 billion to build a US-Mexico border wall.
    • The shutdown has also left 800,000 federal workers with no paychecks.
    • Airport security, food inspections, mortgage services, national parks, and more are being affected by the shutdown.

    The partial shutdown of the federal government officially became the longest of the modern budgeting era on Saturday, as it entered day 22 with no end in sight.

    By making it into the fourth week, the shutdown surpassed the 21-day funding lapse in 1995 and 1996 as the longest since the modern budgeting system was implemented in 1974. Where the new bar will end up remains to be seen as President Donald Trump and Democrats appear to be nowhere close to resolving the standoff over money for the president's long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border, despite constant discussions and posturing.

    The shutdown has forced 800,000 federal workers and millions of federal contract employees to go without pay for three weeks, and disrupted government services across the country.

    Well, how did we get here?

    While the fight probably started as soon as Trump declared that he would build a wall along the US-Mexico border if elected in 2016, the shutdown officially started on December 22 — after Trump refused to support a bill that extended funding for some government agencies through February 8.

    The Senate had passed the clean funding bill just days before federal funding expired, and Trump was poised to sign off on the measure before pushback from conservative TV pundits, such as Ann Coulter, swayed the president. Trump suddenly declared that the clean funding bill was not agreeable, leading to a standoff with Democrats.

    The two sides barely talked over the holiday break, and talks in the new year have been acrimonious at best. In fact, Trump has even gone so far as to suggest that he could try and declare a national emergency in order to get funds for the wall, bypassing Congress altogether.

    trump pelosi

    The most recent round of negotiations ended when Trump stormed out of the Situation Room after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flatly refused to fund the president's wall, even if the government was reopened. According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Trump slammed the table on his way out, but the White House disputed the accusation.

    Trump's tweet after the encounter on Wednesday probably serves as a neat summation of the state of affairs.

    "Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time," Trump said. "I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

    Once in a lifetime

    The shutdown marks the 21st time since the budget process was overhauled in 1974 that the federal government has experienced a funding lapse.

    The previous shutdowns have averaged eight days, but the current shutdown will push that average up to at least 8 1/2 days. Shutdowns have also been getting longer recently. Excluding the nine-hour shutdown in February 2018 caused by Sen. Rand Paul, shutdowns since 1990 have averaged 11 days.

    The current government shutdown is also only the 10th shutdown to have workers on furlough, with the practice becoming much more common in recent years. Every shutdown since 1990, save the Rand Paul lapse, has forced workers to go on furlough.

    Additionally, Trump is the only president to place federal employees on furlough while one party controlled both chambers of Congress — which Republicans did during both the January 2018 shutdown and the current one.

    The current shutdown is also the only funding lapse during which a chamber of Congress changed party control. Democrats took over the House on January 3.

    Gov shutdowns 22 DAYS

    The latest shutdown also marks a total of three funding lapses during Trump's presidency, giving him the third most of any president, behind former President Jimmy Carter's five and former President Ronald Reagan's eight. Trump also ranks fourth in total shutdown days for modern presidents, behind Carter's 67 days and the 28-day mark shared by former President Bill Clinton and Reagan.

    And 2018 became just the second year of the modern era to have three funding lapses, tying 1977's record.

    Gov shutdowns by President 26 DAYS

    Letting the days go by

    As the shutdown drags on, the effects from the government closures are becoming more and more noticeable.

    The shutdown does not affect all agencies because Congress passed bills to fund some departments, such as the departments of Defense and Energy in September, but there are many departments that are closed, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Transportation, and the Housing and Urban Development.

    Some 420,000 workers at those agencies have been deemed "essential" and therefore are continuing to work without pay during the closure. The other 380,000 have been furloughed, or barred from coming into work and left without pay.

    The essential workers will immediately receive back pay when the shutdown ends, and Congress passed a bill on Friday that would give the furloughed workers back pay once the government reopens. Trump still needs to sign the bill.

    In addition to the lost paychecks, there is a slew of other problems caused by the shutdown, including:

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Google walkout

    • Last April, Google's contract, vendor, and temporary workers — known as TVCs — were barred from all internal chat forums running on the company's Google Groups software, former TVCs told Business Insider. 
    • The company cited security concerns as the reason for locking TVCs out of the Google Groups forums — a former TVC told us. 
    • The decision had a "chilling effect" on the contractor community across Google, isolating them from their full-time counterparts and holding them back from being able to carry out "essential" work. 
    • "You can only do half of your job," another former TVC said. 
    • Equal access to information was one of the main demands from TVCs during walkouts in November.

    Google's efforts to boost security and clamp down on leaks is deepening a rift between full-time employees and the tens of thousands of contractors who toil alongside them every day, with some of the contractors complaining that they've been locked out of internal systems necessary for their jobs. 

    In April, Google's contract, vendor, and temporary workers — referred to within the company as TVCs — were barred from all internal chat forums running on Google Groups, three former TVC workers told Business Insider. 

    The company cited security concerns as the reason for locking TVCs out of the Google Groups forums, one TVC who worked at YouTube at the time told us. The decision, he said, had a "chilling effect" on the contractor community across Google. 

    "They may have contained confidential information," the former YouTube TVC said. "But there were also Groups such as food forums, Overwatch forums, Tesla forums — things that would generally bring the community together and things that would actually allow full-time employees and TVCs to collaborate and boost morale. So I think that actually in a way, whether it was intentional or not, [the ban] had a chilling effect on the TVCs.”

    Feelings of social isolation aside, some of the contract workers said the exclusion from Google Groups makes it impossible for them to perform their core job responsibilities. At a company such as Google, where many employees begin as TVCs and hope to impress their managers enough to get hired full time, the rule changes have become a growing cause of distress and unease. 

    One former Google TVC told us that he was blocked from Google Groups that were "essential" to his work and felt fortunate that his manager advocated for him to obtain the access he needed. That same manager also helped the TVC gain permission to book meeting rooms.  

    Another former Google TVC said she had a different experience with her manager and "wasn't able to get access to a lot of their systems." As a result, she said, "you can only do half of your job."

    A Google spokesperson confirmed with Business Insider that TVCs were limited in their access to Google Groups in an effort to reduce security vulnerabilities. The spokesperson also said TVCs are provided access to the resources needed to succeed in their assignments at Google.

    "We hire Google employees to work on jobs that are core to our business, and look to temps, vendors and contractors when we either don’t have the expertise or infrastructure ourselves, or when we need temporary help due to employee leaves or short-term projects," a Google spokesperson told Business Insider. "Temps, vendors, and contractors are an important part of our extended workforce, but they are employed by other companies, not Google." 

    'We were second-class citizens'

    Equal access to information was one of the main demands of TVCs during the November employee walkouts and the subsequent letter addressed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

    In the letter, TVCs wrote, in part: "We need transparency, accountability, and structural change to ensure equity for all Google workers ... We want access to town hall discussions; all communications about safety, discrimination, and sexual misconduct; and a reinstatement of our access to internal forums like Google Groups."

    Other demands included better pay, high-quality healthcare, and paid vacations. 

    Read more: Google denies claims that it didn’t alert contractors about the active shooter at YouTube — but at least one temp says it’s a ‘big fat lie’

    Google's practice of hiring temps and contractors in place of full-time employees has often been criticized as the company's way to cushion its bottom line at the expense of its workers. TVCs generally don't receive the many perks and benefits to which full-time workers are entitled, from paid vacations and sick days to bonuses. 

    The former TVCs we spoke with all confirmed feelings of discrimination at certain times while working for Google. From not being able to invite friends or family for lunch, to physically having to wear a red badge — which the company again maintains is for security reasons — there was an "overall feeling that we were second-class citizens," one TVC told us. 

    Another said having to wear the red badge and being a TVC "almost feels like a sense of shame." 

    Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal at +1 (209) 730-3387, email at nbastone@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @nickbastone.

    SEE ALSO: Alphabet's board of directors is being sued for allegations that it covered up claims of sexual harassment by top executives

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    Large FIs tech investments NEWThis is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    The way incumbent banks onboard and verify the identities of their customers online is inconvenient and insecure, resulting in lowered customer satisfaction and loyalty, and security breaches leading to compensation payouts and legal costs.

    It’s a lose-lose situation, as consumers become disgruntled and banks lose business. The problem stems from the very strict verification standards and high noncompliance fines that banks are subject to, which have led them to prioritize stringency over user experience in verification. At the same time, this approach doesn't gain banks much, since the verification methods they use to remain compliant can actually end up compromising customers' personal data.

    But banks can't afford to prioritize stringent verification at the cost of user experience anymore. Onboarding and verification standards are increasingly being set by more tech-savvy players within and outside their industry, like fintechs and e-retailers. If banks want to keep customers loyal, they have to start innovating in this area. The trick is to streamline verification for clients without compromising accuracy. If banks manage to do this, the result will be happier and more loyal customers; higher client retention and revenue; and less spending on redundant checks, compensation for breaches, and regulatory fines.

    The long-term opportunity such innovation presents is even bigger. Banks are already experts in vouching for people’s identities, and because they’re held to such tight verification standards, their testimonies are universally trusted. So, if banks figure out how to successfully digitize customer identification, this could help them not only boost revenue and cut costs, but secure a place for themselves in an emerging platform economy, where online identities will be key to carrying out transactions. 

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • The strict verification standards that banks are held to have led them to create onboarding and login processes that are painful for clients. Plus, the verification methods they use to remain compliant can actually end up putting customers' personal data at risk. This leaves banks with dented customer satisfaction, as well as security breaches and legal costs.
    • Several factors are now pushing banks to attempt to remedy the situation, including a tougher regulatory environment and increasing competition from agile startups and tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, where speedy onboarding and intuitive service is a given.
    • The trick is to streamline verification for clients without compromising accuracy, something several emerging technologies promise to deliver, including biometrics, optical character recognition (OCR) technology, cryptography, secure video links, and blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT). 
    • The long-term opportunity such innovation presents is even bigger. Banks are already experts in vouching for people’s identities, so if they were to figure out how to successfully digitize customer identification, this could help them secure a valued place, and relevance, in a modernizing economy.

    In full, the report:

    • Looks at why identity verification is so integral to banking, and why it's becoming a problem for banks.
    • Outlines the biggest drivers pushing banks to revamp their verification methods.
    • Gives an overview of the technologies, both new and established but repurposed, that are enabling banks to bring their verification methods into the digital age.
    • Discusses what next steps have to happen to bring about meaningful change in the identity verification space, and how banks can capitalize on their existing strengths to make such shifts happen.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    The proliferation of e-commerce has transformed free shipping and same-day delivery from perks to table stakes — and retailers are paying the price. With daily parcel volumes surging and customers increasingly unlikely to foot the bill, companies have been tasked with finding new ways to offer speedy shipments without eating costs.

    last mile share of delivery costs

    Among the most popular strategies is crowdsourced delivery, the Uber model helping online shops solve the most expensive part of shipping: the last mile problem. Like Uber and other ride hailing apps, a number of crowdsourced delivery solutions have been cropping up over the past few years to ease these pains by connecting customers directly with local couriers. And it’s not just startups either; Amazon, the world's undisputed e-commerce leader, is investing big in crowdsourcing deliveries.

    How much does Amazon spend on shipping?

    “Free shipping” comes at a high cost. According to Amazon’s 2017 annual report, the company spent $21.7 billion in shipping last year — a number that includes sortation, delivery center, and transportation costs. This is nearly double the $11.5 billion it spent on shipping in 2015. And as the expectation of free, same-day delivery becomes the standard for online consumers, even giants like Amazon need to seek alternative solutions.

    The crowdsourcing solution to the last mile problem

    The last mile of delivery is the most expensive and time-consuming part of fulfillment for retailers and their logistics partners, comprising 53% of the overall cost of shipment. Crowdsourcing takes the onus off of companies, instead connecting customers directly with local couriers to expedite deliveries and cut down on costs.

    The crowdsourcing model is already popular among meal and grocery delivery and, seeing the success of startups like Uber, Airbnb, and GrubHub, e-commerce retailers are now eyeing it to fulfill their online orders. As a result, general use crowdsourced delivery companies have emerged to meet this need.

    Here’s a look at how three companies - Amazon Flex, Hitch, and Deliv - are trying their hand in the shipping industry — and what’s coming up next.

    Amazon Flex - Deliver with Amazon

    Launched in 2015 and piloted in Seattle, Amazon Flex lets customers order and receive packages through its on-demand delivery service, Prime Now, which guarantees free one- and two-hour deliveries. For Prime customers with already high expectations for prompt delivery, not much changes; the service primarily markets itself as a side gig for couriers.

    Amazon Flex

    For the most part, the app is only open to people who have cars (except in select regions allowing commercial bicycles), so those who want to make deliveries on bike or foot might have to look elsewhere. The service is particularly attractive to rideshare drivers who may want to make extra money without having strangers or potentially disruptive passengers in their cars. Anyone 21 or older with a smartphone, car, and valid driver’s license can log into the app and schedule their availability to start making deliveries.

    Shipments can originate at an Amazon location, store, or restaurant. Drivers use their smartphone camera and GPS to scan packages and get turn-by-turn directions to their destinations. As long as they deliver the package within the allotted time frame, couriers make $18-25 an hour — all through a cashless transfer to their digital wallet on the app.

    Learn more about Amazon Flex.

    Hitch - Crowdsourced Delivery

    Hitch

    Founded in 2014, Tampa-based startup Hitch gives consumers, “the choice to be Shippers, Travelers, or both.” The platform touts “turning your commute into cash” by pairing up shippers (the people placing the orders) with travelers (the local couriers) who are already heading in the direction of the delivery.

    Users create profiles on the app to join the socially vetted community, where they can then rate one another and verify their accounts by adding bank account information. Shippers put out requests to have packages delivered, and Travelers can input travel information to see if there are any available deliveries along their route.

    The app uses GPS to find the quickest route and provide tracking, as well as camera functionality to show proof of delivery. All payments are exchanged through Hitch’s third-party payment processing partner, Stripe.

    Learn more about Hitch.

    Deliv - Same-Day Delivery

    Deliv is a general use last mile solution offering same-day service to over 4,000 omnichannel businesses in 35 cities across the country. Some of its biggest partners include Macy’s, Best Buy, Walmart, and IBM.

    Deliv Fresh

    Rather than just fulfilling ad hoc deliveries for consumers, Deliv seeks to be a long-term business partner solving companies’ last mile problem — evidenced by its breakdown into Deliv Small Business, Deliv Enterprise, and Deliv Fresh for groceries. It offers SLAs, performance metrics, and integrations into business’ online checkout processes.

    And the company is growing. In February, 2018, it launched Deliv Rx to extend these same-day services to patients, doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, labs, and clinics. Deliveries can include things like prescriptions, x-rays, medical equipment, documents, and even pet medicine.

    Learn more about Deliv.

    Growth & Future of Crowdsource Shipping

    Want to learn more? The Crowdsourced Delivery Report from Business Insider Intelligence examines the rise of the crowdsourcing model in the last mile delivery space.

    In this report, we detail the top use cases for crowdsourced deliveries, as well as the benefits and challenges of using this model for delivering online orders. We also provide insights into how to optimize crowdsourced deliveries for e-commerce and, lastly, we explain the long-term potential of startups appearing in the crowdsourced delivery space as automation plays a bigger role.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Retailers are looking for ways to deliver goods faster to consumers' doorsteps to stave off Amazon's threat and meet customer expectations.
    • To accomplish that, retailers and delivery providers are zeroing in on the "last mile" of fulfillment, the most expensive and time-consuming part of the delivery process, which is when a package reaches the customer's address.
    • Startups like Postmates, Instacart, and others are looking to disrupt the last mile delivery space by leveraging the "Uber model," and connecting businesses to non-professional couriers who can deliver goods instantly.
    • Crowdsourcing can drastically speed up deliveries in urban areas, where there is a high density of deliveries and potential couriers to be matched.
    • However, as delivery volumes increase, crowdsourced delivery startups will need to further optimize their deliveries to improve cost efficiencies.
    • Many of the deliveries these startups perform today will likely be automated in the future, raising the possibility that these startups may eventually look to incorporate new technologies like delivery drones or self-driving delivery vehicles.

    In full, the report:

    • Details the factors driving investment and growth in crowdsourced delivery startups.
    • Examines the benefits and drawbacks of using crowdsourcing to deliver online orders.
    • Explains how crowdsourced delivery startups can improve their cost efficiencies to tackle greater delivery volumes.
    • Explores the role that crowdsourcing will play in the future of delivery once automated delivery options, like drones and robots, arrive.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    Mobility Market

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

    Automakers are on the verge of a prolonged period of rapid change to the way they do business, thanks to the combined disruptive forces of growing on-demand mobility services and self-driving cars, which will start to come to market in the next couple of years.

    By the end of 2019, Google spinoff Waymo, Uber, and GM all plan to have fleets of autonomous cars deployed in various US cities to provide on-demand rides for passengers. By eliminating the cost of the driver, these rides are expected to be far cheaper than typical Uber or Lyft rides, and even cheaper than owning a car for personal transportation.

    Many industry experts are predicting that such cheap on-demand autonomous rides service will result in a long-term decline in car ownership rates — PwC predicts that the total number of cars on the road in the US and EU will drop from 556 million last year to 416 million in 2030.

    This decline in car ownership represents an enormous threat to automakers’ traditional business models, forcing them to find alternative revenue sources. Many of these automakers, including GM, Ford, and Daimler, have plans to launch their own on-demand ride-hailing services with fleets of self-driving cars they will manufacture, potentially giving them a new stream of recurring revenue. This could set them up to take a sizeable share of a market that is expected to be worth trillions by 2030.

    However, competing in the on-demand mobility market will pit legacy automakers against ride-hailing services from startups and tech giants that have far greater experience in acquiring and engaging consumers through digital channels. To succeed in what will likely be a hyper-competitive market for urban ride-hailing, automakers will have to foster new skill sets in their organizations, and transform from companies that primarily produce vehicles to ones that also manage vehicle fleets and customer relationships.

    That will entail competing with startups and tech giants for software development and data science talent, as well as reforming innovation processes to keep pace with digital trendsetters. Automakers will also need to create unique mobile app and in-car experiences to lure customers. Finally, these automakers will face many overall barriers in the market, including convincing consumers that self-driving cars are safe, and dealing with a complex and evolving regulatory landscape.

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, delves into the future of the on-demand mobility space, focusing on how automakers will use fleets of self-driving vehicles to break into an emerging industry that's been dominated thus far by startups like Uber and Lyft. We examine how the advent of autonomous vehicles will reshape urban transportation, and the impact it will have on traditional automakers. We then detail how automakers can leverage their core strengths to create new revenue sources with autonomous mobility services, and explore the key areas they'll need to gain new skills and capabilities in to compete with mobility startups and tech giants that are also eyeing this opportunity. 

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • The low cost of autonomous taxis will eventually lead car ownership rates among urban consumers to decline sharply, putting automakers’ traditional business models at risk.
    • Many automakers plan to launch their own autonomous ride-hailing services with the self-driving cars they're developing to replace losses from declining car sales, putting them in direct competition with mobility startups and tech giants looking to launch similar services.
    • Additionally, automakers plan to maximize utilization of their autonomous on-demand vehicles by performing last-mile deliveries, which will force them to compete with a variety of players in the parcel logistics industry.
    • Regulatory pressures could also push automakers to consider alternative mobility services besides on-demand taxis, such as autonomous on-demand shuttle or bus services.
    • Providing these types of services will force automakers to make drastic changes to their organizations to acquire new talent and skills, and not all automakers will succeed at that.

    In full, the report:

    • Forecasts the growth of autonomous on-demand ride-hailing services in the US.
    • Examines the cost benefits of such services for consumers, and how they will reshape consumers’ transportation habits.
    • Details the different avenues for automakers to monetize the growth of autonomous ride-hailing.
    • Provides an overview of the various challenges that all players in the self-driving car space will need to overcome to monetize their investments in these new technologies in the coming years.
    • Explains the key factors that will be critical for automakers to succeed in this emerging market.
    • Offers examples of how automakers can differentiate their apps and services from competitors’.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    Hoi An Vietnam

    • Post Office Travel Money's annual Holiday Money report has been released.
    • The report's Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer compares the price of eight tourist staple items across 42 resorts and cities worldwide.
    • We've rounded up the 19 cheapest places to take a holiday in 2019, according to the ranking.

    With half of January still to get through, chances are the thought of booking a trip to sunnier climes is looking pretty good right now — but purse strings may still be tight after the holiday season, too.

    Luckily, Post Office Travel Money's annual Holiday Money report has just been released — and it reveals the destinations around the world where you'll get the best bang for your buck in 2019.

    Based on data from national and regional tourist boards and specialist tour operators, the report's annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer compares the costs of eight tourist staple items — a meal for two, a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer, a Coca-Cola, a glass of wine, a bottle of water, suncream, and insect repellant — across 42 resorts and cities worldwide.

    The ranking then calculates a total cost for each destination to figure out which is the cheapest for a holiday.

    We've rounded up the 19 most wallet-friendly destinations on the list.

    From Tokyo to Turkey, scroll down to see where you should jet off to this year.

    19. Penang, Malaysia — $107.89

    Cup of filter coffee at a café/bar: $3.47

    Bottle of local beer at a café/bar: $6.83

    Bottle/can of Coca-Cola/Pepsi at a café/bar: $1.77

    Glass of wine (175ml) at a café/bar: $7.60

    1.5l bottle of mineral water at a supermarket: $0.76

    Suncream at a supermarket: $14.87

    Insect repellent at a supermarket: $3.01

    Three-course evening meal for two (including bottle of house wine): $69.58



    18. Budapest, Hungary — $103.36

    Cup of filter coffee at a café/bar: $2.84

    Bottle of local beer at a café/bar: $2.84

    Bottle/can of Coca-Cola/Pepsi at a café/bar: $2.45

    Glass of wine (175ml) at a café/bar: $5.21

    1.5l bottle of mineral water at a supermarket: $0.56

    Suncream at a supermarket: $7.55

    Insect repellent at a supermarket: $6.80

    Three-course evening meal for two (including bottle of house wine): $75.11



    17. Phuket, Thailand — $103.11

    Cup of filter coffee at a café/bar: $1.94

    Bottle of local beer at a café/bar: $2.42

    Bottle/can of Coca-Cola/Pepsi at a café/bar: $1.14

    Glass of wine (175ml) at a café/bar: $5.82

    1.5l bottle of mineral water at a supermarket: $0.65

    Suncream at a supermarket: $5.98

    Insect repellent at a supermarket: $3.24

    Three-course evening meal for two (including bottle of house wine): $81.92



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jeremy Corbyn Michel Barnier

    • Sources within the People's Vote campaign say they are well short of the number of MPs they need to force a second Brexit referendum.
    • Their estimates suggest they have just 175 out of 650 MPs willing to back a second vote.
    • They are pinning their hopes on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to get behind another poll.
    • People's Vote insiders say it is "game over" unless Corbyn shifts soon.

    LONDON — Sources within the campaign for another Brexit referendum have told Business Insider that they must get Jeremy Corbyn on board within the next few weeks or it is "game over" for the prospect of forcing a second vote.

    Sources within the People's Vote campaign said they estimate there are currently just 175 out of the House of Commons' 650 MPs who are willing to support another referendum.

    This includes 116 Labour MPs, some of whom are shadow Cabinet ministers. But crucially, not the Labour leader.

    "We need to move Jeremy Corbyn or it's game over," one of the People's Vote leading figures told Business Insider.

    Although the Labour Party is officially still committed to leaving open the prospect of a second referendum, so far Corbyn has been reluctant to actively support one.

    The Labour leader travelled to Yorkshire on Thursday to set out Labour's position on Brexit. However, despite the best hopes of pro-Europeans in his party, there was little sign of him shifting Labour's position on the issue.

    Instead Corbyn simply repeated the party's policy of forcing a snap general election, winning it, and then going ahead with Brexit on terms negotiated by a newly-elected Labour government.

    With polling suggesting the vast majority of Labour's members are against Brexit and behind a new referendum, Corbyn's reluctance is incredibly frustrating for Labour voices within the People's Vote campaign.

    Tom Baldwin, who previously worked for Ed Miliband and now heads up the People's Vote communication operation, told a campaign rally in London on Friday that the party had received thousands of letters calling for Labour to commit to stopping Brexit.

    The Brexit dividend has been for the Royal Mail with all the post going to Corbyn.

    Baldwin claimed that Labour's National Policy Forum has received over 13,000 emails and letters urging Corbyn to oppose Brexit. People's Vote campaigners say this is more than the party ever received on the Iraq war.

    A Labour source told BI that the comparison with Iraq was "spurious," but the issue is undoubtedly sparking huge disagreements in the party. A Labour delegate involved in putting together the party's conference motion on Brexit told the same rally: "The Brexit dividend has been for the Royal Mail with all the post going to Corbyn."

    However, despite growing pressure, Corbyn — guided by internal polling indicating little appetite for another referendum in its target constituencies — is showing no signs of declaring support for another public vote.

    READ MORE: Inside the People's Vote campaign's final push to stop Brexit

    Figures in the People's Vote campaign say that while some shadow ministers privately support reversing Brexit, the Shadow Cabinet is tightly-controlled by Corbyn's office, which contains Eurosceptics and has generally been unwilling to talk to anti-Brexit groups. 

    "We tried Lansman (Jon, founder of Momentum), nothing. McDonnell (John, Shadow Chancellor), nothing. Abbott (Diane, Shadow Home Secretary), nothing," a senior anti-Brexit campaigner told BI this week.

    "There are people around Corbyn who think Brexit will be good for workers. They genuinely believe that."

    Fears that Corbyn will back May's deal

    Jeremy Corbyn John McDonnell

    There is another reason why there is a growing sense of urgency among People's Vote campaigners. Not only is time running out for a new vote, but it could be a matter of time before May produces a deal that Corbyn can support.

    One school of thought among anti-Brexit campaigners and Labour MPs is that Corbyn will ultimately tell his MPs to back May's deal if a permanent customs union is added.

    They may be right. As one senior aide to Corbyn admitted to BI last month: "I could see a scenario where May comes back with a slightly softer deal and we say 'well that is the best we can do. That nearly meets our objectives' and then we will try to renegotiate in office."

    Corbyn's office deny any plans to back May's deal however, with one senior source telling BI last week that suggestions to the contrary "have no basis in fact."

    Despite this, May holds out hope that Labour backbenchers will move in her favour and this week held talks with those MPs who the government believes are the most likely to be persuaded to back her deal. The prime minister tried to woo them with guarantees on workers' and environmental rights, while Channel 4 reported on Thursday that a permanent customs union also came up in conversation. 

    BI has also learned that at least one government whip suggested the idea of a permanent customs union — a key plank of Labour Brexit policy — being added to the political declaration on the future UK-EU relationship as a means of winning opposition votes for the deal.

    Intriguingly, one Labour MP told BI that a government whip had asked them whether "[the push for a customs union] would be better to come from the government or parliament," suggesting that government had an eye on customs union amendments for legislation like the Trade Bill.

    Norway calling

    Norway

    Corbyn isn't the only hurdle, however. Based on the People's Vote campaign's current estimates, there are still around 140 Labour MPs who don't support another referendum, with many already signed up to rival plans.

    A People's Vote insider admitted that the "Norway Plus" soft Brexit option — chastised in People's Vote material — has "huge surge potential" in that many tens of MPs could come out for it as the March 29 cliff-edge approaches. 

    Under this model, the UK would effectively remain in the single market and form a new customs union with the EU. Owen Jones, Guardian columnist and influential voice on the left-wing of the Labour Party, reluctantly supported the Norway plus option on Thursday, describing it as the Labour Party's "least worst option."

    [Brexit is like] half a horse. You can either have the head or the arse. But ultimately it's going to bleed to death.

    One of its proponents, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, told BI "it's attracting support from the right across the Labour movement, because it is becoming increasingly clear that it’s the only way to re-unite our deeply divided country."

    He added: "Common Market 2.0 delivers on Labour’s call for a customs union and a strong single market deal, enables safeguards on the free movement of labour, and Norway has almost the highest level of state aid in Europe."

    Other Labour MPs, who campaigned passionately for Remain in 2016, say that they'd rather focus on making the best of Brexit by pressuring the prime minister into an improved deal than re-open the wounds of two years ago.

    Some Labour MPs believe that Labour should focus instead on domestic issues like rough sleeping and social care, and then wait for voters to see damaging impact of Brexit, before campaigning to rejoin.

    One backbencher told BI that Brexit is like "half a horse." They added: "You can either have the head or the arse. But ultimately it's going to bleed to death."

    With the Commons almost certain to vote down May's deal next week, and MPs set to debate alternatives in the days that follow, campaigners for a second referendum realise that it could be now or never for their dreams of forcing a second vote.

    And without Corbyn's support soon, that dream could very quickly slip away.

    SEE ALSO: Has the UK parliament really taken back control of Brexit from Theresa May?

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Chris Grayling

    • UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling warned that blocking Britain's departure from the EU could "open the door" to extremism and far-right movements in Britain.
    • His comments come as Anna Soubry, a Remainer Tory MP, was verbally abused and accused of "being a Nazi" by pro-Brexit protesters earlier this week.
    • MPs are set to hold a "meaningful vote" on May's Brexit deal with the EU on January 15, which the government is likely to lose.

    UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling warned that blocking Brexit would "open the door" to extremist and far-right movements in the country.

    Grayling, who is a close ally of Prime Minister Theresa May, told the Daily Mail on Friday that if MPs blocked Britain's departure from the EU, "we would see a different tone in our politics. A less tolerant society, a more nationalistic nation."

    "'It will open the door to extremist populist political forces in this country of the kind we see in other countries in Europe," he said.

    "If MPs who represent seats that voted 70 per cent to leave say 'sorry guys, we're still going to have freedom of movement,' they will turn against the political mainstream," he added.

    Read more:Second Brexit referendum campaign fear it's 'game over' unless Corbyn backs a People's Vote

    Theresa May

    Grayling's comments come after pro-Brexit protesters accused Conservative Remainer MP Anna Soubry of "being a Nazi" outside Parliament earlier this week.

    Soubry has since called for the protester to be prosecuted by police.

    One man who shouted the abuse told the BBC that his group would continue unless Britain left the EU on March 29, when Article 50 expires. Another was found to have argued last year that he wanted to "ban Islam from the west."

    Anna Soubry Jacob Rees Mogg

    MPs are set to hold a "meaningful vote" on May's Brexit deal with the EU on January 15, which the government is likely to lose.

    Labour and Rebel Tory MPs joined forces to back a key amendment to the Brexit process on Thursday, which meas the government will have to return with a fresh strategy for Brexit if the House of Commons rejects her deal.

    Read more:A Brexit-backing hedge fund titan now says Britain won't actually leave the EU, and is betting big on the pound

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    scarlett johansson dark choc

    • Personal trainers who have worked with the likes of Scarlett Johansson recommend eating dark chocolate before a workout.
    • Brothers Ryan and Eric Johnson say there are many benefits to the routine, including boosting your energy and creating a positive feedback loop.
    • Ideally, they say you should eat a third of a bar of high quality dark chocolate 15 minutes before a workout.

    Chocolate and fitness are two things that most people don't assume go hand-in-hand.

    However, for two personal trainers, chocolate is the key to a good workout.

    Ryan and Eric Johnson are the brothers behind Homage Fitness, a new line of gyms in private residences across Miami, New York, and D.C. designed to combine top level fitness with hospitality.

    The brothers, who are certified strength and conditioning coaches, have over a decade of experience in the fitness industry.

    They also happen to be Scarlett Johansson's personal trainers and have worked with her and other actors on films such as "Captain America: Winter Soldier,""Ghost in The Shell," and "Avengers: Infinity War — Part 1."

    The most surprising part of their workout routines? The duo always eat dark chocolate as a pre-workout snack — and they encourage their clients to do the same.

    Eric and Ryan Johnson_2

    "We're always searching for a good pre-workout supplement but most of the things you can buy in stores are full of sugar and caffeine," Eric told INSIDER.

    "We already drink way too much coffee and most of our clients do too, so we wanted to find something which was more naturally organic and that would give you the same benefits."

    The benefits of chocolate in moderation are well documented.

    The brothers say that good quality dark chocolate (ideally at least 70% cacao) has been proven to release endorphins that make us feel good. 

    What's more, a recent study found that people who eat chocolate three times a month had a reduced risk of heart failure of 13%, compared to those who ate none. Similarly, as an anti-inflammatory food, chocolate is linked to living longer.

    Eric Johnson

    "Dark chocolate releases dopamine and has a lot of benefits such as vasodilation which is basically that pump that people are after when they're trying to build muscle," Eric continues.

    "It also benefits your brain function because it stimulates your brain cells to release that dopamine. And it also releases serotonin which is going to calm the nervous system down."

    Science aside, the fitness gurus encourage people to get into the habit of eating dark chocolate before a workout for psychological reasons too.

    "It creates this positive feedback loop with your brain — now that you're getting this piece of chocolate before your workout you're creating a positive association with your training session and you're getting more excited to get to the gym... you have something to look forward to," Ryan says.

    Read more: A personal trainer explains why you shouldn't let yourself get too hungry if you're trying to lose fat

    They add that dark chocolate is also simply a great source of essential energy.

    "If you just go into your session on an empty stomach, you probably won’t last or you might feel a bit sick," Ryan continues.

    "But at the same time, if you have too much food, you often feel a bit bogged down, heavy, and lethargic. So we found that the little piece of dark chocolate doesn’t have much weight to it but it's very nutrient-dense so it really provides the body with a lot of energy whilst still making you feel light in the stomach, allowing you to jump around and move."

    Ryan and Eric don't mean you should only have one tiny square, either — in fact, they recommend having around two to three pieces, about a third of a standard size chocolate bar, or 30-50g.

    If you're attempting to lose weight and thus are aiming to be in a calorie deficit, it's worth noting that you'll need to factor this extra snack into your daily goals: 50g of dark chocolate typically contains around 300 calories.

    "While the benefits of this nutrient dense snack (such as the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties alone) outweigh the extra calories, one should certainly account for them," Eric says.

    "Depending on your current fitness goals, personal stats (height, weight, body fat percentage, waist measurement), and activity levels, you should factor in the amount you consume to ensure that meet your energy intake requirements."

    Ryan Johnson

    You need to be eating good quality chocolate, too.

    "Don't get the crappy stuff," Eric and Ryan say. "We want high quality stuff so you can reap the benefits of the antioxidants that are going to be in there as well." 

    Ideally, the brothers advise having your chocolate 10 to 15 minutes before your workout — their preferred approach is to pop a couple of squares in on the way to the gym and just let it melt in their mouths.

    Occasionally, however, they haven't been able to get their chocolate fix in advance, which mean there's only one option left.

    "Sometimes we eat our chocolate when warming up in the gym," Ryan and Eric say. "People look at us like we're mad!"

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

    US consumers have been “cord-cutting” — or canceling their pay-TV subscriptions in favor of internet-delivered alternatives — since 2010.

    cord cutting accelerates in the us

    The number of pay-TV subscribers dropped a record 3.4% year-over-year (YoY) in 2017, and the rate of decline is expected to accelerate further in the coming years. As a result, traditional media companies will continue to see their most important revenue stream erode. To compete in the shifting media landscape, traditional media companies' business strategies must satisfy two goals: extract as much revenue from pay-TV as possible before the opportunity to do so fizzles out, and taper reliance on pay-TV-related revenue along the way.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence will look at how big media companies are refining their strategies to meet the aforementioned goals and mitigate the impacts of cord-cutting that are detrimental to their business. We also discuss current consumer behavior trends that are simultaneously driving the growth of streaming platforms (like Netflix) and decline of linear TV, as well as actionable insights on how companies can respond.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • As consumers flee linear TV, they're spending more time on digital video services with ad-free and ad-lite viewing experiences. 
    • Media companies are responding by becoming less reliant on pay-TV revenue by launching their own streaming services. 
    • Traditional networks are also increasingly seeking M&A opportunities to gain the resources, talent, and technologies necessary to compete with streaming giants.
    • More media companies are beginning to experiment with airing fewer commercials per hour to enhance the linear TV viewership experience. 

     In full, the report:

    • Explains the decline in US pay-TV subscribers in recent years, and how significantly this decline has diminished the viewership and ad revenue of top TV networks. 
    • Outlines the top factors that consumers look for when deciding to subscribe to a streaming service. 
    • Details the top recent M&A deals between media companies, and describes how they've positioned those involved to better compete against streaming giants like Netflix.
    • Provides direction on how to best approach cutting ad loads on linear TV, and explains why experimenting with airing fewer commercials could be beneficial for viewership.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
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    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

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    day of the dead hat

    • Libor, linked to about $350 trillion worth of financial products, will be replaced by an alternate pricing benchmark for everything from mortgages to credit cards. 
    • Replacing Libor will be lengthy and problematic, and is one of the key themes to look out for in 2019 as financial services and asset managers start transferring to new systems. 
    • Thousands of existing contracts will need to be renegotiated causing a huge operational and financial burden that will consume legal teams for months. 

    Libor, the rate that banks agree on when lending to each other, was problematic from the beginning. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be widely rigged, and some of the biggest and most notorious banks had gotten tangled up in the Libor rigging scandal. Some criminal charges were brought against low-level traders, and huge fines were levied against some of the banks.

    Another big thing that came out of the scandal was the realization that Libor, crucial to the credit-based economy and to hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives, had to go. It is due to die by the end of 2021.

    "This is a material change in one of the most important numbers in finance," said Sandie O'Connor, chief regulatory affairs officer at JPMorgan Chase in New York.

    Short for the London Interbank Offered Rate, Libor underpins everything from credit card loans to mortgages to the more arcane derivatives and syndicated loan contracts. Millions of financial products use the benchmark. 

    Upending Libor has become key in 2019, meaning that this is the year to start worrying about the thousands of contracts that need to be renegotiated as the financial world shifts to new systems. 

    "Operationally, the amount of work needed to make changes is tremendous," said Kevin McPartland, head of market structure at Greenwich Associates. 

    The new benchmarks 

    Enter new alternate benchmarks SOFR (the secured overnight financing rate) will be introduced in the US and will be secured against US Treasuries. Europeans will be served by Sonia/Eonia (Sterling/Euro overnight index average) instead.

    Where Libor relied on a system of individual banks submitting their figures for lending costs each day — making it ripe for manipulation— SOFR will be calculated using real transactional data. Banks paid $9 billion in fines following the rigging scandal, with new rates introduced to reduce human error, and even outright fraud. 

    Referring to SOFR, JPMorgan's O'Connor said: "We need to leverage financial infrastructure to get people trading on this benchmark, because just having a rate does not make a market."

    It's complicated

    There's another catch for replacing a 35-year old system. Libor and SOFR represent different levels of risk, so swapping out one system for the other will be a lengthy, and potentially costly, process for some contracts. 

    Similarly, SOFR needs significant trading volume in order to build up enough data to determine value for one month, three month, and six month rates.

    From a documentation and interest rate perspective, things get more complicated still. In June, The Bank of England pointed out that in the previous 12 months the stock of Libor-linked sterling derivatives stretching beyond 2021 had grown.

    Significant runway is needed

    Market structure experts cite the need to amend existing contracts to include "fallback" clauses which which specify what happens when Libor disappears.

    This is comparatively easy for loans, but for derivatives, swaps, and options, amending existing contracts could potentially lead to legal battles. 

    That's why 2019 is a crucial year.

    "Loan documents, systems and practices will need to evolve to accommodate SOFR,” said Meredith Coffey, executive vice president of the Loan Syndications and Trading Association. "Significant runway is needed to restructure, given the magnitude of the issue and the thousands of deals that will need to be converted."

    London is behind

    Some companies haven't got their act together quite yet. A survey conducted by JCRA, an independent financial risk management consultancy, and Travers Smith, a London law firm, has found that a large majority of firms with exposure to Libor are yet to start making preparations for its discontinuation. 

    Beyond that, prospectuses and technology will need to be changed and new futures contracts will need to be drawn up. CME has launched SOFR futures, ICE did the same last October, LCH (The London Stock Exchange's clearing unit) cleared its first SOFR swap contract last July and CME followed a few months later.

    SEE ALSO: Once big banks crack the code of how to win millennials, star fintech unicorns will be crushed

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

    bii big tech in healthcare ALL Four

    The healthcare industry is undergoing a profound transformation. Costs are skyrocketing, consumer demand for more accessible care is growing rapidly, and healthcare companies are unable to keep up. 

    Health organizations are increasingly turning to tech companies to facilitate this transformation in care delivery and lower health expenditures. The potential for tech-led digital health initiatives to help healthcare providers and insurers deliver safer, more efficient, and cost-effective care is significant. For healthcare organizations of all types, the collection, analyses, and application of patient data can minimize avoidable service use, improve health outcomes, and promote patient independence, which can assuage swelling costs.

    For their part, the "Big Four" tech companies — Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft — see an opportunity to tap into the lucrative health market. These same players are accelerating their efforts to reshape healthcare by developing and collaborating on new tools for consumers, medical professionals, and insurers.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence explores the key strengths and offerings the Big Four will bring to the healthcare industry, as well as their approaches into the market. We'll then explore how these services and solutions are creating opportunities for health systems and insurers. Finally, the report will outline the barriers that are inhibiting the adoption and usage of the Big Four tech companies’ offerings and how these barriers can be circumvented.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Tech companies’ expertise in data management and analysis, along with their significant compute power, can help support healthcare payers, health systems, and consumers by providing a broader overview of how health is accessed and delivered.
    • Each of the Big Four tech companies — vying for a piece of the lucrative healthcare market — is leaning on their specific field of expertise to develop tools and solutions for consumers, providers, and payers.
      • Alphabet is focused on leveraging its dominance in data storage and analytics to become the leader in population health.
      • Amazon is leaning on its experience as a distribution platform for medical supplies, and developing its AI-assistant Alexa as an in-home health concierge.
      • Apple is actively turning its consumer products into patient health hubs.
      • Microsoft is focusing on cloud storage and analytics to tap into precision medicine.
    • Health organizations can further tap into the opportunity presented by tech’s entry into healthcare by collaborating with tech giants to realize cost savings and bolster their top lines. But understanding how each tech giant is approaching healthcare is crucial.

     In full, the report:

    • Pinpoints the key themes and industry-wide shifts that are driving the transformation of healthcare in the US.
    • Defines the main healthcare businesses and strategies of the Big Four tech companies.
    • Highlights the biggest potential impacts of each of the Big Four’s healthcare strategies for health systems and insurers.
    • Discusses the potential barriers that will challenge the adoption of the Big Four tech companies’ initiatives and how these hurdles can be overcome.

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

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
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    And more!
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    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

     

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    Binky Chadha

    • Investors had few places to find shelter from the storms that wrecked the stock and bond markets in 2018. 
    • Binky Chadha, Deutsche Bank's chief global strategist, has highlighted a strategy that gained 10% last year — one that he expects to outperform again this year. 

    2018 was a tough year for many investors. 

    US stocks suffered their first annual decline since the financial crisis and the safety net of bonds failed investors. In contrast, those with the savvy to load up on cash and its equivalent instruments boasted decent returns. 

    But moving to cash wasn't the only way to make money last year. Binky Chadha, the chief global strategist at Deutsche Bank, is spotlighting one such strategy that earned a plump 10% return while the broader stock market wallowed. In 2017, it gained 12%.

    It's part of a four-part approach that the firm formulated for each stage of The business cycle: early cycle, mid cycle, late cycle (where we are now), and end cycle. Every stage consists of handpicked long-short baskets of stocks. 

    The graphic below shows that the strategies have historically worked as advertised. On an annualized basis since 1982, the long-short baskets have posted the strongest returns during the corresponding phases of the cycle. In other words, the late-cycle basket has been best-performing in the latter phase of the cycle, and so on. 

    Screen Shot 2019 01 11 at 1.03.06 PM

    "In our base case that the cycle still has legs, we see the late-cycle basket continuing to outperform," Chadha said in a recent note to clients.

    Read more: We interviewed Wall Street's 8 top-performing investors to get their secrets for success — and their best ideas for 2019

    Chadha specifically defines 'late-cycle' as the era in which economic growth is still robust, but the labor market has tightened and the official unemployment rate is below its natural rate. Recent trends in the job market affirm his late-cycle characterization, as does the simple fact that the economic expansion will become the longest in history this year. 

    And yet, Chadha doesn't see the next downturn as imminent. Sure, the length of the cycle and the degree of slack in the labor market both flash a late-cycle signal. But in his view, other indicators like wage growth, loan delinquencies, and capital spending indicate that this expansion has more room to run.   

    This implies that for now, investors are stuck on recession watch, balancing the risk of exiting the market too quickly with the pain of holding on for too long into the bear market.

    This waiting game is one that Deutsche's late-cycle strategy is positioned to profit from. According to Chadha, the strategy focuses on high-quality companies and bets on stocks with high free-cash flow, low net debt, and low debt growth while shorting those with high net debt and debt growth. 

    In the long basket of stocks, Deutsche's buy-rated picks include Expedia, Nordstrom, Advance Auto Parts, and Ralph Lauren

    Chadha's advise to focus on quality stocks rhymes with the recommendations offered by his counterparts at other firms. 

    Savita Subramanian, the head of US equity and quant strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a client note that quality companies with stable earnings outperformed in 2018. Buying such stocks is a strategy that should continue to work in 2019, she said. 

    Similarly, David Kostin, the chief US equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, advised clients to increase portfolio defensiveness by buying quality companies with strong balance sheets. He said these companies are positioned to outperform even in periods of economic uncertainty. 

    By all indications, Wall Street is in such a period, with US economic and profit growth expected to slow this year and talks of a 2019 or 2020 recession getting louder.

    SEE ALSO: A Wall Street strategist says the next recession will be a lot like the 2001 collapse — here's why that might not be such a bad thing

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    NOW WATCH: The equity chief at $6.3 trillion BlackRock weighs in on the trade war, a possible recession, and offers her best investing advice for a tricky 2019 landscape


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    bird box challenge utah car crash

    • People around the US have been taking part in the "Bird Box" challenge, where they cover their eyes while moving around.
    • The challenge was inspired by the Netflix series "Bird Box," where characters cover their eyes to shield from a mysterious force.
    • A teenager in Layton, Utah, pulled her beanie over her eyes as part of the challenge and crashed her car.
    • Nobody was injured, but the driver may face a reckless driving charge.

    A 17-year-old in Layton, Utah, crashed her car while blindfolding herself while driving as part of the viral "Bird Box" challenge earlier this week, local police said.

    The challenge involves people blindfolding their eyes while moving around. It was inspired by the Netflix series "Bird Box," in which people cover their eyes to shield themselves from a mysterious force.

    The unnamed teenager pulled her beanie over her eyes and lost control of the vehicle while driving along the Layton Parkway in a pickup truck around 4:50 p.m. on Monday, Layton Police Lieutenant Travis Lyman told local news channel KUTV.

    The car skidded to an opposite lane, hit another vehicle, and crashed into a light pole and sound wall, Lyman added.

    She had been driving alongside a 16-year-old passenger, KUTV reported. There were no injuries, but police may charge her with reckless driving.

    Layton Police tweeted images of both cars, which showed heavy dents along the side of the cars. "Bird Box Challenge while driving...predictable result," the force wrote.

    Police around the country, and Netflix itself, have warned people against the "Bird Box" challenge.

    bird box

    Netflix tweeted earlier this month: "Can't believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE."

    "We don't know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes," it said.

    Colorado Police also said in a video: "Inevitably, somebody's going to do the monumentally stupid thing that is driving while blindfolded. We shouldn't have to say this, but we're gonna: Don't drive blindfolded."

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