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The latest news from Business Insider
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    mattis tillerson

    • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis are reportedly working together to hold Trump back from his most dramatic policies.
    • The pair have reportedly moderated Trump's position on a handful of potentially explosive issues.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have served under Donald Trump for just under a year, and in that time had to adapt to, and sometimes rein in, a president elected to dramatically upset the status quo.

    Tillerson and Mattis "never go to a national security council meeting or to the president without being in agreement in advance themselves," said Sen. Bob Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, according to the Associated Press. "So they’re always on the same page."

    With a united voice, the former US Marine Corps General and Exxon executive have managed to steer Trump away from some of his most dramatic, controversial foreign policy positions and tweets.

    "This president’s different, and so everybody had to understand that this is going to be different," Tillerson told the AP, also saying foreign leaders had adjusted to Trump's style by now. "Now that we’re a year into it, I think most of them have become rather accustomed to it."

    Often, Trump declares policy positions via Twitter, which are then reportedly printed out and handed to Tillerson, where his staff then tries to make them into policy.

    But Trump has a flair for the dramatic, and Tillerson and Mattis often end up dealing with the fall out when Trump's vision clashes with reality. According to the Associated Press, Mattis and Tillerson's alliance have pushed for the following moderate positions:

    • Removing Iraq from Trump's travel ban, as many Iraqis help and work for the US military.
    • Remaining engaged in Afghanistan and even increasing troop levels despite Trump's promises to end spiralling conflicts overseas.
    • Keeping the US embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv, rather than Jerusalem.
    • Continuing diplomatic efforts on North Korea, after Trump directly undercut Tillerson by calling it a "waste of time."
    • Keeping the Iran nuclear deal despite Trump's repeated promises to rip it up.
    • Sticking with NATO despite Trump demanding more spending, and even back payments, from allies.

    Multiple other reports credit Tillerson and Mattis with holding back Trump from initiating a "bloody nose" strike on North Korea.

    SEE ALSO: Rex Tillerson said his staff prints out Trump's tweets and hands them to him to read

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's how easy it is for the US president to launch a nuclear weapon

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    YouTuber Akilah Hughes

    • YouTube has made it much harder for smaller YouTube creators to earn money from their videos through advertising.
    • New rules say channels need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watchtime over the last year to keep qualifying for YouTube's partner program, which lets creators monetise their videos.
    • Smaller creators have already expressed their frustration, but the impact could be much greater on black and minority creators who already have a harder time getting subscribers.
    • Black creators told Business Insider that losing partner program perks like growth tools would make it much harder to grow their channels.

    To an ethnic minority woman browsing through the "beauty & fashion" category on YouTube, one thing stands out: almost all of YouTube's recommended style vloggers are white.

    Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 17.22.17

    Black creators have often argued it's harder for them to gain exposure on YouTube, though the reasons are unclear. In a 2015 article for SplinterNews, YouTuber Akilah Hughes wrote that one of the most effective ways to grow her own channel was to collaborate with white YouTubers. Otherwise, she said, YouTube barely promotes black creators.

    Beauty and lifestyle YouTubers speaking to Business Insider said they feared YouTube's new rules, which make it harder for smaller creators to make money from ads, will unfairly penalise minority creators. The new rules now mean creators need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watchtime to qualify for monetisation. The changes come after YouTuber Logan Paul had to apologise after posting a video of a dead body from Japan's "suicide forest."

    Lania Theresa is a 25-year-old New York-based YouTuber who makes videos about how black women can manage and style their natural hair.

    She's been making videos in earnest for YouTube over the last year and, as a small creator with less than 1,000 subscribers, will lose access to YouTube's partner program from February due to the new requirements.

    Lania Theresa

    She told Business Insider: "There's already a hugely disproportionate effect on black YouTubers regardless of size. Period. Some of my very favourite successful black YouTubers have a hard time with reaching their audiences."

    It's even tougher as a new creator, she added, because YouTube will expose successful vloggers more frequently. 

    "It's also easy to get sucked into the same beauty gurus [...] and not be exposed to other YouTubers due to the algorithm," she said. "A lot of exposure comes from word-of-mouth and suggestions, in my opinion. But you have to be active in searching for varied content because YouTube doesn't do a good job in supporting those with less than (at minimum) 1,000 followers."

    Lania Theresa makes some money from her videos, she said, but that isn't the point. Losing partner program privileges also means losing tools that help you build your channel, such as the "end cards" that appear at the end of videos.

    "I make very little money from YouTube, next to nothing!" she said. "Let's be honest, a lot of small YouTubers don't make money directly from YouTube but with this change not only is the incentive or hope that your passion can turn into a profit taken away, our visibility is shot to hell and small YouTubers already received the short end of the algorithm stick prior to this change.

    "It's a Catch-22. I need to grow to receive basic tools that will ... help me grow. They're taking away small tools that aid in visibility such as end cards which help direct viewers to your other videos. It seems so small but it matters."

    Dami Olonisakin runs a YouTube channel, Simply Oloni, dedicated to relationship and sex advice. She won't be affected by YouTube's rule change, with more the 3,500 subscribers and averaging 10,000 views a month. While she doesn't earn much money from YouTube advertising, she has signed sponsorships with big brands off the back of her channel.

    Simply Oloni

    Olonisakin recently had 2,000 responses to a tweet calling on smaller YouTubers to publicise their channels. Almost all the respondents were black, with channels covering everything from beauty tutorials to vegan Afro-Caribbean food.


    Olonisakin told Business Insider: "It’s a very difficult one, because although black people are extremely talented, especially black women, we’re usually the last to reap the benefits. When it comes to gaining subscribers, it becomes an even more difficult task and this could be for different reasons, such as other ethnicities not feeling as they can relate to you.

    "[YouTube's] new rules will make it even more difficult, and I think that black creators struggle to get the same attention as white creators."

    Others share their sentiment.


    There aren't many high-earning black YouTube stars

    A Business Insider ranking of the most popular YouTube stars of 2017, based on data from SocialBlade, features just one black YouTuber, Olajide Olatunji. A Forbes list of the highest paid YouTube stars didn't feature any black creators. 

    That isn't to say there aren't any successful black creators.

    Popular fashion vloggers Jackie Aina and Patricia Bright each boast around 2 million subscribers on their channels.

    And actress and producer Issa Rae created the "Awkward Black Girl" YouTube series in 2011 and landed an HBO series as a result. Although even Rae's dedicated YouTube channel only has around 325,000 subscribers, compared to the tens of millions to popular channels like PewDiePie. 

    A spokesman for YouTube pointed to the firm's blog on the changes, specifically the section addressing how YouTubers can gain more subscribers. 

    The spokesman said: "We have many free resources in place such as our Creator Academy and YouTube Spaces to help those just starting out build a community around their channel so that they can ramp-up fast and monetize their videos."

    SEE ALSO: 'This sucks hard': Smaller YouTubers feel screwed by the new monetisation rules

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The 9 best memes of 2017

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    two eye

    • Narcissistic personality disorder is one diagnosis, but there are three distinct types.
    • They vary depending on how individuals act and treat other people.
    • Some experts think identifying the type can make relationships with them possible, but others say it's best to stay well clear.

    To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, someone needs to express five of nine different traits. Most commonly, they are characterised as having a lack of empathy, a grandiose sense of themselves, and a need for admiration.

    Although many narcissists can follow similar patterns, such as love bombing their partners, gaslighting, and then finally discarding people they no longer have a use for, they can also behave in very different ways.

    Their actions largely depend on what type of narcissist they are. Many psychiatrists and therapists separate narcissists into three distinct types: Exhibitionist, closet, and toxic.

    According to therapist Elinor Greenberg, author of "Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration and Safety," different forms of narcissism can depend on someone's upbringing.

    Exhibitionist narcissists are just like the stereotype

    For example, exhibitionist — or grandiose — narcissists have the "look at me" mindset children often have. Most children don't conceive of their parents' problems, but then they grow up.

    "[Children] can't even conceive of their problems, so they don't have empathy that way," Greenberg said. "If you go through the stage with sufficient attention, then you grow out of it, and get satisfied and it's over."

    But some people, she said, grow up in homes where children are encouraged to be narcissistic. For example, being told your family name makes you special, and you deserve success because it's "in your blood."

    Shannon Thomas, a licensed clinical social worker and author of "Healing from Hidden Abuse," told Business Insider that the exhibitionist is the stereotypical idea of a narcissist.

    "They think they're amazing, they think themselves to be smarter, better looking, more powerful than other people, and they pretty much believe it," she said. "Even with their friends and peers, they believe themselves to be one step up."

    Exhibitionist narcissists don't tend to be insecure at all, Thomas said. When they aren't spending time bragging about themselves, exhibitionist narcissists are putting down everyone else. They will often be carelessly rude and cruel about people, and tend to ignore or not even notice how people react to it.

    Closet narcissists have different personas

    Greenberg said some narcissists may have grown up being actively discouraged by another narcissist in the family. They cannot compete with them, and will only give approval when they are being worshipped.

    This can cause the closet, or covert, narcissist — people who want to be special, but are conflicted about it. Like exhibitionists, closet narcissists are also incredibly entitled, but they are also much more insecure.

    "A closet narcissist doesn't say 'I am special,' they point to something else, a person, a religion, a book, a dress designer, and they are special, so they feel special by association," Greenberg said.

    "When someone feels special because they have a designer thing on and other people can tell, that's special by association. For closet narcissists, they usually have self-doubt, and they are looking for the person they can idealise."

    They also tend to behave in a much more passive-aggressive way. For instance, if they are with a romantic partner, they will set them up for frustrations all the time. They will say they will do something, only to not do it. They also get a kick out of how that makes other people react.

    "They do what they want to do when they want to do it," Thomas said. "And then they make themselves look like the victim."

    Constantly saying one thing and doing another can make their partners feel like they are going crazy. This is called gaslighting, where the victim starts to question reality. The closet narcissist might start blaming their partner for things they didn't do, but the partner ends up believing it because their sense of the world has become so warped.

    Whereas an exhibitionist narcissist is fairly similar most of the time, closet narcissists have different personas. They tend to act differently in public versus in private. This can be even more confusing for their victims, because they will see someone charismatic and kind in public, then someone abusive and cruel when they are alone.

    Toxic narcissists crave chaos and destruction

    Toxic, or malignant, narcissists take it a step further. Not only do they want the attention, they also want everyone else to feel inferior. They are sadistic and enjoy hurting other people, thriving off their fear.

    "The toxic narcissist is like the evil queen in Snow White," Greenberg said. "When the mirror says Snow White is prettier than her, she decides to kill Snow White and keep her heart in a box."

    Thomas calls it an extra layer of sadistic behaviour, because toxic narcissists find it entertaining to set people up and watch them fall.

    "It's bordering on that anti-social personality disorder coming out of narcissistic personality," she said. "Folks who are perfectly fine destroying careers of other people, basically fine with just imploding people emotionally, physically, and spiritually."

    Thomas added that there tends to be a lot of chaos around a toxic narcissist. This is because they enjoy it, and they thrive off the feeling they have created havoc for someone else.

    "Harmony is not their goal," she said. "We're worn out by it but they actually gain energy through it. That's why we see them spinning different issues, and different dramas with people. They always say 'I hate drama,' but they're in the centre of it every time."

    If you want to take the risk, it's up to you

    Ultimately, all types of narcissists lack object constancy, meaning when they are angry with you, they can't see that in the context of your relationship. If they are mad about something you did, all you will see is their hatred for you, and their wish to hurt you.

    This makes relationships with narcissists very draining, whether you're in a romantic relationship with them, are related to them, or work with them.

    According to Greenberg, it might be possible to maintain a relationship with a narcissist if you identify their type, and work out how they function. However, many relationship experts say the best thing is to stay away altogether. In the long run, it is your decision, but it's worth reading about what you're getting yourself into beforehand.

    SEE ALSO: The opposite of a narcissist is called an 'empath'— here are the signs you could be one

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What Tony Robbins is really like — behind the scenes at his private Fiji estate

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    • Dhruv Boruah collects plastic along London's canals.
    • He uses a bamboo bike attached to two floats, with a propeller powered by the rear wheel.
    • Dhruv used to be a management consultant. He now is giving back to the community.
    • We joined him for a ride from Paddington to Camden.


    Dhruv Boruah collects plastic along London's canals on a floating bike he built himself.

    Business Insider joined him for a ride from Paddington basin to Camden Market and spoke to him about why he does it.

    "It’s about raising awareness about plastic pollution and how much plastic has penetrated in our society and in our culture.," he said.

    "There’s plastic in the fish that we eat. There’s plastic in the soil, in tap water. We need to stop it now before it becomes too bad. I’m just trying to get people to refuse plastic if they can or reuse, recycle them."

    Dhruv used to be a management consultant. He is now involved in a variety of project to give back to the community.

    He uses a bamboo bike attached to two floats, with a propeller powered by the rear wheel. The bike takes 45 minutes to set up. 

    He collects as much as he can, but sometimes there’s too much and things have to be left.

    On his journey to Camden Market, he collected a lot of single plastic packets – from fish cans to bottles, styrofoam, and also a lot of glasses from the riverside cafes.

    Cycling on the river can be dangerous too. Dhruv often goes through dark tunnels and has to respect the traffic with other boats coming his way.

    Before each cleanup, Dhruv does a risk assessment to make sure he’s safe.

    Of course, Dhruv’s vessels doesn’t go unnoticed. A lot of people in Camden Market took pictures of him on his bike and asked about his cause. He says this is a great conversation starter to raise awareness.

    Dhruv hopes to organise more cleanup projects in the future all over the UK.

    If you want to help Dhruv in this plastic pollution campaign, you can visit his websites and
    Produced and filmed by Claudia Romeo

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    woman with suitcase

    • Travelling hand-luggage-only saves time at the airport and money when booking.
    • A travel photographer who has visited 91 countries with just a carry-on says there are 8 things that make it possible.
    • Her tips include packing lightweight items of clothing that you can layer — and bringing snacks.

    Travelling hand-luggage-only is simply a superior way to travel.

    You don't have to worry about checking in hours before your flight, or hanging around when you land for the luggage carousel to spurt out your bags — and it usually saves you a little bit of money, too.

    Photographer Jill Paider has become somewhat of an expert on travelling with nothing but a cabin bag. Among the 102 countries she's visited, Paider took nothing but hand luggage to 91 of them.

    She knows so much about packing the perfect carry-on that's she's written a whole book about it.

    Paider spoke to the Evening Standard and revealed how she makes it possible to travel so light, so often.

    Here are her 8 tips for making the most of your carry-on's capacity:

    1. Wear your thickest layers on the journey.
    2. Bring a maximum of two pairs of shoes — both of which should be comfortable for prolonged periods.
    3. Focus on stylish outerwear and more simple underlayers.
    4. Invest in a travel-size beauty regimen.
    5. Launder your clothes at the hotel so you can re-wear them.
    6. Layer lightweight clothes for added warmth when needed.
    7. Give preference to low-density, light clothes that won't wrinkle.
    8. Don't forget your creature comforts (music, teas, chocolates, snacks, etc.)

    Clothing wise, Paider said that "Everything must be washable, wrinkle-free and ideally something that can be worn in more than one way.

    "I also find it helpful to focus on items that can be layered, so that I can change up my look easily," she added.

    And as far as the age-old question of whether to fold or roll your clothes?

    "Definitely roll," Paider said. "Choosing low density, low-weight items that won't wrinkle is also key, particularly if your carry-on is quite full."

    SEE ALSO: The most punctual airline in the world is one you’ve probably never heard of

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here are the best iPhone apps of 2017

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    For many people, earning a six figure salary is the ultimate goal of their career. But which industries give their staff best chance of reaching that goal and earning in excess of £100,000 ($139,000)?

    According to data from Emolument, staff working in financial services — banking, asset management and other jobs — are the most likely to do so, with 60% of staff surveyed by the salary benchmarking site taking home a six-figure salary.

    The number of financial services professionals earning over £100,000 is double that of the second most likely profession — the law. Other professions to feature highly include mining, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.

    "While the current picture puts financial services at top of the high paying list for experienced employees, trends are changing for those recently in the job market as technology giants work hard to close the pay gap with the financial sector," Alice Leguay, Emolument's cofounder and chief marketing officer said in a statement.

    "A battle for talent is playing out which will drastically impact earnings by sector over the coming 5 years, causing reshuffling at the top."

    Check out the professions where workers are most likely to earn £100,000 or more below.

    T11. Transportation

    Employees earning more than £100,000: 17%

    Experience needed: 15 years

    T11. Consumer goods

    Employees earning more than £100,000: 17%

    Experience needed: 15 years

    T9. Recruitment

    Employees earning more than £100,000: 19%

    Experience needed: 12 years

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    trump xi china

    • China's economy is showing a divergence. Exports are looking healthy but the domestic economy is faltering.
    • To stay afloat China needs global demand more than ever.
    • Don't tell that to Donald Trump, who is just itching to put up tariffs that would hit the country's exports.

    If there's anything you can take away from China's fourth quarter 2017 economic data, it is that the country needs the world more than ever.

    Nobody tell Donald Trump.

    Yes, GDP growth held up at 6.8% in Q4, but the perplexing story in the numbers is that China's domestic economy is slowing down under purposely tighter economic conditions.

    Societe Generale called this "an uneven picture of very strong external demand and weakening domestic demand," and noted that net exports' contribution to GDP increased by over 2017. At the same time, both domestic consumption and investment saw their contributions to GDP decline from 2016.

    Chinese officials are tightening credit in order to slowly ween its financial and corporate sectors off of debt financing. Now, this isn't to say policymakers have taken a hatchet to the system or anything, but what little they have done is starting to make an impact.

    This makes the economic health of the rest of the world incredibly important to China, because as its domestic economy slows it will depend on demand from the rest of the world to keep its economy going. It also means Trump's promises to control imports from China to the US could make things particularly painful  — if he follows through.

    As good as it gets

    "Although investment regained some strength in 4Q, domestic demand overall is unlikely to rebound much further from here given the relentless policy tightening, which will strain credit conditions further," wrote Societe Generale analyst Wei Yao in her note explaining China's economic divergence.

    All forms of credit slowed down in 2017. 

    The signs of strain are in the public and private sector. Some examples: In the public sector, the local government in Baotou, Inner Mongolia is allowing civil servants to lend money to the government using a special instrument with a guaranteed annualized return of as high as 12%, according to the FT.

    HNA, one of China's biggest conglomerates, is offering an instrument to its employees as well. According to the WSJ, that investment is promising returns of 9.5%.

    You can see why, in this environment, China's government is so focused on the One Belt One Road initiative — its ambitious infrastructure plan to build out land-based trade routes across Asia. The country needs outside money. It needs to use its oversupply of commodities like steel. It needs to put its companies to work, especially massive heavily indebted quasi-state enterprises.

    china credit slowdown chart


    Enter into this equation Donald Trump.

    In the coming weeks, his administration is expected to make a number of decisions meant to slow the flow of Chinese goods to the United States. These goods include aluminum, steel, washing machines, and solar panels.

    It's clear the two sides are circling each other. Last week, there were reports that Chinese authorities were considering slowing or stopping their purchase of US treasuries (an unlikely move that would largely backfire.) Earlier this month the Chinese government also targeted Delta and Marriott — Delta for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website and Marriott for listing Taiwan, Tibet, Macau and Hong Kong as separate countries on a customer questionnaire.

    Here in the US, the office of the US Trade Representative again put Alibaba's Taobao on a list of "notorious markets" for counterfeit products for the second year, angering Chinese officials.

    Now, there is debate as to whether the measures against these goods will hit their intended target (and not allies).

    What could certainly hit the country, though, is the Trump administration's investigation into the theft of American intellectual property in China. Currently, the Commerce Department is preparing a report on the issue (which is very real) which isn't due for a few months.

    With all of these trade measures — and intellectual property especially — China's reaction will depend on how the Trump administration decides to handle its grievances.

    It all comes down to whether or not the Trump administration decides to work outside the World Trade Organization— as it has insisted it will continue to do with more and more impact — or if it decides to move within the bounds of international trade law. If it does not, China will have the right to retaliate, and it has said in no uncertain terms that it will do so.

    It will just have to do it at a terribly delicate time for its economy — a time when it needs Americans to buy what it makes more than ever.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what losing weight does to your body and brain

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    wall street skyline

    • Jonathan Goldstein is a partner at recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles, where he leads their US private-equity practice.
    • We asked Goldstein a variety of questions about the hiring climate in private equity, including what it takes to land a senior position.
    • "In this competitive environment, at a senior level, most PE firms are looking for investment professionals with the proven ability to identify and convert investment opportunities," Goldstein said.

    The private-equity industry is experiencing a swell unlike anything its history.

    Capital is pouring in at record levels, and demand for talent to manage and deploy that capital is at an all-time high. 

    From 2015 to 2017, the industry raised $648.4 billion, according to a new report from Pitchbook, the highest mark over any three-year period they've seen.

    In 2017, PE dealmakers deployed $538.2 billion across 4,053 deals, according to Pitchbook. 

    The industry boom has created a perfect storm for candidate hiring, according to Jonathan Goldstein, partner at recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles, where he leads the firm's private-equity practice in the Americas.

    Business Insider recently caught up with Goldstein to learn more about what firms are looking for when hiring senior talent, common mistakes he sees candidates make, and the best advice he'd give up-and-coming dealmakers.

    Here's what Goldstein had to say: 

    How has the private equity industry changed in the past decade?

    Goldstein: The past 10 years has seen a lot of change in the PE industry. Aside from the obvious growth, we have seen the introduction of new types of firms investing in this space as well as new strategies and structures. On the one hand, the increased professionalization is a good thing for any industry, but for private equity, growth will probably be accompanied with a gradual lowering of returns. Some of the trends that we have seen are the following: LPs migrating their business into the GP world; an increase in non-US-based firms looking to grow in the US, and finally, a dramatic increase in spin-out groups. In terms of hiring, we have seen many firms add three positions which historically were either non-existent or rarely seen: head of human capital, head of business development, and operating partner.

    How would you describe the current hiring environment?

    Goldstein: Hiring into PE firms is as robust as we have seen in the past ten years. All of this hiring is a result of the strong fundraising environment.

    jonathan goldstein heidrick & struggles

    What is the most coveted skill firms are looking for right now?

    Goldstein: Firms look for a lot of skills: investment judgment, track record, unimpeachable ethics, and cultural fit, among others. All of these are table stakes. In this competitive environment, at a senior level, most PE firms are looking for investment professionals with the proven ability to identify and convert investment opportunities.

    What are some recent trends you have seen with regard to talent?

    Goldstein: More than anything else, private equity professionals are looking to find themselves at a firm where they have the opportunity for personal and professional growth. If a firm has a strong track record, a niche in the market and a great culture, and offers the opportunity for advancement, we have seen candidates willing to take a step back in both title and compensation. After all, PE investment professionals are wired to be long-term investors and the most important investment they make is in themselves.  

    What advice would you give young Wall Streeters who aspire to senior private equity roles?

    Goldstein: The PE business is very much a mentorship business. Look for a firm that invests in its people and is committed to helping them succeed.

    What's the most common mistake you see candidates make when searching for new roles?

    Goldstein: Candidates that are too focused on short-term issues such as starting compensation or title can, at times, fail to see the bigger opportunity and miss out on an incredible opportunity.

    What's the most common mistake you see firms make when trying to land a strong candidate?

    Goldstein: I find that firms will stumble with candidates when they do not provide a unified message. Most of these firms are partnerships, some small, some large. If it appears that there is too much discord in the vision or strategy, candidates will hesitate to jump on board.

    SEE ALSO: A top private equity recruiter explains why there's a 'perfect storm' for hiring right now

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

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    Biotech pharma lab drug development

    • Money is flowing into biotech startups, with companies more and more frequently raising more than $100 million in early-stage funding rounds. 
    • We asked venture capitalists what all this capital means for the private biotech industry. 
    • Some were excited for the science, while concerned about the expectations that come along with this greater funding, while others are finding ways to look past the hype. 

    Over the past few years, biotech startups have been successful at raising large amounts of capital just as they're starting out. It's led to a lot of unicorns, with multi-billion-dollar valued companies having raised hundreds of millions in their series A or B rounds.

    But it begs the question: Is all this money flowing into biotech so early on a good thing?

    On a recent trip to San Francisco, Business Insider posed this question to venture capitalists. For the most part, there was a sense of excitement about the money itself flowing into the industry, mixed with concern that expectations might be set too high. 

    "I think we are in a situation, which for companies is seemingly positive, where we have a lot of capital being put to work and a lot of capital sources coming into the U," Carol Gallagher, a partner at New Enterprise Associates, told Business Insider.

    "I think history would tell us that at some point there can be too much capital and it's not really discerning, and so then what happens is companies get funded and maybe take longer, or don't actually have the right team or right science and get funded anyway, and there's a disappointment."

    A new inflection point

    One reason startups could be raising more money earlier in their existence, according to Gallagher, could be because it's taking longer to get to the point where investors are willing to fund the company even more. Instead of getting funding after, say, bringing a drug into animal trials, companies now need to get to the point where the treatment's tested in humans in order to get more funding needed to run those trials. 

    "The larger size of the series A is coming more from this realization that there just really isn't a value inflection that's very significant ahead of the actual clinical proof of concept," Gallagher said. That's because at an earlier stage where the treatment is being tested in animals, there's still a good chance that the treatment might not work in humans.

    "I think that one of the biggest challenges for our industry will be that we just aren't that good at being predictive," she said. 

    Jon Norris, managing director for Silicon Valley Bank's healthcare practice, told Business Insider that oftentimes while the round number might look quite large, the deals are tranched, meaning that the round may be for $75 million, but initially the company may get a fraction of that. As the company progresses through development, they may start to get more.  

    Betting on more multi-billion dollar biotechs 

    Alexis Borisy, a partner at Third Rock Ventures, said that the reason some companies are raising larger funding rounds early on may have more to do with what the company is trying to develop.

    "I think the question is more, 'What is the company trying to build? What is the fundamental innovation?' and 'What's the right amount of capital to assemble the right team, build the right culture, go deploy what you're doing in that field of science and medicine to the point where you are really going to be doing something?'" Borisy said. 

    The number of biotech startups he sees launch in any given year hasn't grown, he said. The same is true for the number of billion-dollar exits he's seen that would validate a large amount of funding so early on. For the amount of funding going in at an early stage to pan out, there would need to be more multi-billion-dollar companies resulting from it for it to benefit investors. 

    "There's a lot of capital in this space, which is great I think for patients," Borisy said. "I think it's great returns for society. As far as, will all that money have great financial returns, the general math would suggest that it's probably not going to be true."

    Avoiding hype

    In some cases, certain startups have just been overhyped to their sky-high valuations.  In those instances, venture capitalists, including those in corporate venture arms, have to pass their own judgment.

    "Are we going to try to compete with those? Probably not, because we're not going to believe the valuations, we'll do our own calculations, because if we're going to overpay for the valuation then we know we will have to take a P&L hit," Tom Heyman, president of J&J's Development Corporation, the oldest life sciences corporate venture fund, told Business Insider. 

    That requires some restraint to wait on the sidelines.

    "There's a discipline that says we're not going to be a momentum players, we’re not going to follow the hype of celebrity," Gallagher said.

    SEE ALSO: The billion-dollar startups revolutionizing healthcare you should be watching in 2018

    DON'T MISS: A startup looking to reverse type 1 diabetes just raised $114 million

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    bii big four carrier revenue

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

    It hasn't been smooth sailing for telecoms in recent years. Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top (OTT) apps, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber — and they're losing.

    A fierce and ongoing price war among the Big Four carriers is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing. The consequent resurgence of unlimited data plans is straining carriers' networks, and revenues are suffering.

    Nevertheless, telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives. Consumers spend more than half of their digital time on smartphones, compared with a third on PCs. This shift has effectively placed telecoms at the front door of consumers' digital experience.

    In a new report from BI Intelligence, we examine where the wireless industry stands as a result of the price war and uptick in data demand from consumers. We also look at how technological advancements and the adoption of new product lines could incentivize the next wave of revenue growth for telecoms. Finally, we explore potential barriers to carriers' growth, and examine which of the Big Four carriers are poised to lead the pack.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top apps.
    • A fierce ongoing price war among the Big Four is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing.
    • Still, consumers' growing dependence on smartphones and data means telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives.
    • As digital continues to reshape the wireless industry, telecoms are preparing for the next wave of disruption, including connected cars, augmented reality, and 5G.
    • Despite a plethora of opportunities, several existing and emerging threats could impede telecoms' growth and expansion efforts.

    In full, the report:

    • Describes how the US wireless carrier is shaping up.
    • Explores the effect of the fierce pricing wars taking place, and the methods carriers are using to retain their subscribers.
    • Highlights the new technology carriers are using to drive growth and revenue. 
    • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit carriers' growth and examines who's best positioned to come out on top.

    To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now

    You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.

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    Alex Umansky Baron Funds

    • Alex Umansky, who manages five mutual-fund portfolios for Baron Funds, saw his $199 million Fifth Avenue Growth Fund smash benchmarks in 2017 with a 40.6% return.
    • The outperformance was largely due to the fund's heavy exposure to Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, and Alphabet, which make up more than one-third of the portfolio.
    • The selection of those stocks, and their outsize contribution to the fund, speak to Umansky's long-term investment strategy, which seeks so-called platform businesses.
    • Because of his long-term focus, Umansky spends his time researching companies and taking meetings, rather than intently watching markets or the newswire.
    • Umansky says he's not necessarily scared of a stock market correction, because he has such high conviction in his holdings and invests based on an indefinite time horizon.

    Alex Umansky may be one of the hottest portfolio managers on Wall Street right now, but you won't catch him scanning news headlines or closely monitoring the market.

    He's probably deep in the weeds, researching new ideas and combing through financial statements, annual reports, and corporate presentations. Or maybe he's traveling to meet with companies, seeking fresh ideas for the portfolios he oversees.

    It's not that the daily minutiae don't interest Umansky, who manages five stock portfolios for Baron Funds. It simply isn't relevant to his investment technique, which is heavily predicated on finding what he calls "platform businesses"— companies that have built successful brands and developed ecosystems around the products and services they provide.

    This approach, by its nature, deals with vastly longer time horizons than those of your average stock picker. In the end, Umansky is trying to select stocks he can hold indefinitely and with extreme confidence, a practice that doesn't normally involve watching developments in real time.

    The strategy certainly worked in 2017, which saw Umansky's $199 million Fifth Avenue Growth Fund return a whopping 40.6%, smashing even the red-hot Russell 1000 Growth index and ranking it in the top five of all large-cap mutual funds tracked by Kiplinger.

    But that short-term success isn't what truly matters to Umansky. He wants to win the marathon, not just the sprint. And he's so convinced that his portfolio is a long-term winner that he doesn't care whether he takes a temporary beating.

    Our time horizon is really forever.

    "Our time horizon is really forever," he told Business Insider in a recent interview. "As long as fundamentals remain intact, and we believe the company still has the opportunity to reinvest excess capital at higher rates of return, we'll stay the course and continue to invest. Do they get ahead of themselves sometimes? Sure. But it's not something we normally worry about."

    A top-heavy portfolio

    Don't let Umansky's willingness to absorb rough patches fool you. While he has certainly endured difficult periods since joining Baron, he has still handily beaten benchmarks. The Fifth Avenue Growth Fund is up 163% since Umansky joined in 2011, compared with 156% for the Russell 1000 Growth index and 141% for the S&P 500.

    page bezos zuckerberg

    A big part of that outperformance can be attributed to four well-known stocks, which he has owned since he first started at Baron: Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, and Alphabet.

    But simply holding these stocks isn't particularly novel — it's Umansky's heavy concentration in them that makes it unique. As of December 31, those four companies made up more than one-third of the Fifth Avenue Growth Fund.

    It's an all-in approach of sorts, and one that shows the degree to which Umansky flouts traditional notions of diversification. In his mind, his portfolio can contain a smaller-than-average number of stocks and still represent an adequately wide collection of investment ideas.

    Diversification is one of the archenemies of active management.

    "Diversification is one of the archenemies of active management," he said. "It's been massively value-dilutive over the last decade or so. Company-specific risk is really managed by understanding fundamentals, the business model, and valuation. We believe that our ability to collect unique businesses that sell into different geographies and industries is really what gives us the necessary diversification."

    Digitization as a driving force

    When speaking with Umansky about his investment approach, one word continually pops up: digitization.

    It's what he uses to rationalize his heavy weighting toward the four mega-cap juggernauts mentioned above, while also informing his forays into all sorts of industries. To that end, the Fifth Avenue Growth Fund also counts Mastercard, Visa, Illumina, and Intuitive Surgical among its biggest holdings.

    The digital footprint of everything is increasing very rapidly.

    "We realized probably 10 years ago that the world is transforming itself," Umansky said. "We see it everywhere. It was very obvious with e-commerce, and you can easily see it in advertising. We also see the digitization of banking and finance, and it's happening in healthcare. The digital footprint of everything is increasing very rapidly."

    Umansky specifically mentions Google/Alphabet and Facebook as the biggest beneficiaries of the shift toward digital advertising. He also likes the massive network of third-party suppliers that Amazon has assembled, which perfectly meets his criteria of buying stock in companies that operate as the focal point of a broader ecosystem.

    credit cards visa

    "These are all platform businesses," he said. "And look at Visa and Mastercard — they're de facto digital railroads."

    When asked whether the rise of digitization was the core tenet of his investment strategy, Umansky went silent for several moments, as if deep in thought.

    "I certainly can't say no," he finally replied. "Our process is looking for big ideas, many of which are plays on that."

    Dealing with downturns

    With Umansky's strategy laid out, one question remains: How does he keep his investor clients happy during times of turbulence?

    After all, while he has trained himself to stay the course and remove emotion from the equation, his clients might not be similarly disciplined. Absorbing short-term losses can be a tough pill to swallow for many.

    Umansky acknowledges that while 2017 was a blockbuster year, it hasn't always been smooth sailing on the client front. He mentions 2014, when Amazon became the largest position in the fund, only to lose 22% for the year as the S&P 500 climbed 11%. It was then, Umansky says, that client questions started pouring in.

    We would actually like to see a correction somewhere.

    A quick glance at Amazon's price chart since then should be evidence enough that everything turned out OK. But for a time, Umansky was feeling the heat. What's perhaps most telling, ultimately, is that he says he would make that Amazon investment again in a heartbeat.

    "Since then, the stock is up roughly 100%, so we're certainly not anticipating a return anywhere near that for the next three years," Umansky said. "But our conviction is significantly higher today than it was at significantly lower prices."

    Umansky is so sure of his methods that he's not even afraid of a stock market correction — or any sort of rotation that may cause his top holdings to take a temporary hit. In fact, he says he'd welcome such a market event, because it would give him the opportunity to buy more exposure at discounted prices.

    "We would actually like to see a correction somewhere, to see how we hold up and how we can take advantage," Umansky said. "Our process works, and we think it's much more consistent than trying to predict what interest rates are going to do, or whether the US dollar is going to be weak or strong. It's a far more difficult task to get right."

    SEE ALSO: One chart explains what's driving the stock market's record-breaking explosion

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    Norwegian record breaking aircraft

    • Norwegian just broke a record for fastest subsonic commercial transatlantic flight.
    • Its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner got from New York JFK to London Gatwick in five hours, 13 minutes.
    • The record came just a day after another pilot completed the same flight in five hours, 20 minutes.

    Norwegian — the low-cost airline that has made headlines for launching the world's longest low-cost flight— is making waves again.

    A Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner departing from New York JFK reached London Gatwick in five hours and 13 minutes on Monday — the fastest subsonic transatlantic flight recorded on a commercial aircraft, beating the previous record of five hours, 16 minutes.

    There were 284 passengers on board, who, after leaving New York at 11.44 a.m. EST, were probably pretty happy to arrive in London at 9.57 p.m. GMT — 53 minutes ahead of schedule. Strong tailwinds over the Atlantic Ocean pushed the aircraft to a top speed of 776 mph during the flight.

    Although impressive, the flight time is nowhere near rivalling transatlantic crossings made by Concorde when the supersonic aircraft was in service. The fastest Concorde flight from New York to London came on 7 February 1996, when it crossed the pond in just shy of 2 hours and 53 minutes, according to British Airways.

    The Norwegian captain, Harold van Dam (shown below), said: "We were actually in the air for just over five hours and if it had not been for forecasted turbulence at lower altitude, we could have flown even faster."

    Harold van Dam

    He added: "The 787 Dreamliner is a pleasure to fly and it’s a great feeling to know that we have set a new record in this aircraft."

    The airline uses that same aircraft on its two daily flights between London and New York. Just the day before, Gatwick-based captain Pascal Niewold also recorded his fastest ever transatlantic flight — New York to London in five hours and 20 minutes.

    Niewold said: "The passengers and crew were very pleasantly surprised that we were already landing in London. It was a very smooth flight with almost no turbulence and as a result of the jet stream we arrived 25 minutes early."


    SEE ALSO: Norwegian has launched the world's longest low-cost flight — and it'll get you to Singapore for less than £150

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    Sequoia Capital Michael Moritz

    • Influential investor Michael Moritz has argued that Silicon Valley firms will lose out to Chinese rivals because employees expect benefits like paternity leave and time off at weekends.
    • Moritz said Silicon Valley debates around paternity leave and political correctness were signs of a society becoming "unhinged" and fast-growing Chinese firms don't have these discussions.
    • Moritz approvingly noted that Chinese workers will turn up to a cold office wearing coats and scarves, will fly economy, and reuse tea bags.
    • He argued that while this way of doing business was probably not appealing to Westerners, Chinese expansion would make Silicon Valley look "antiquated."

    Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz has argued that Silicon Valley employees spend too much time pushing for benefits like time off and paternity leave, while their Chinese counterparts are forging ahead by working 12-hour days and working weekends. Moritz made the comments in an opinion piece for The Financial Times.

    Welsh-born Moritz is a highly influential venture capitalist, with early investments in Google, LinkedIn, and PayPal. He was also on the board of travel company Skyscanner when it sold to Chinese firm Ctrip in 2016 for £1.4 billion.

    In his opinion piece, Moritz praised the "furious" pace of work in China. Californian employees, he argued, expected too much — like having time off at the weekend.

    He wrote: "Here [in China], top managers show up for work at about 8am and frequently don’t leave until 10pm. Most of them will do this six days a week — and there are plenty of examples of people who do this for seven."

    Later in the piece, he added: "If a Chinese company schedules tasks for the weekend, nobody complains about missing a Little League game or skipping a basketball outing with friends."

    He drew unflattering comparisons with Californian tech firms, and complained that debates around paternity leave and political correctness were a distraction from work.

    Here's what he wrote, emphasis ours:

    "In California, the blogosphere has been full of chatter about the inequity of life. Some of this, especially for women, is true and for certain individuals their day of reckoning has been long overdue. But many of the soul-sapping discussions seem like unwarranted distractions. In recent months, there have been complaints about the political sensibilities of speakers invited to address a corporate audience; debates over the appropriate length of paternity leave or work-life balances; and grumbling about the need for a space for musical jam sessions. These seem like the concerns of a society that is becoming unhinged."

    Moritz does not give examples of "distractions" such as paternity leave and conference speakers being criticised for their views.

    Facebook — which is not a Sequoia portfolio firm — has been forefront of the paternity leave discussion in Silicon Valley. CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed in August he would take two months of paternity leave after the birth of his second child, an unusual move in a country where there is no guaranteed paid leave for new mothers.

    mark zuckerberg with daughter max

    There also are not many public examples of corporate speakers being forced off a schedule due to their views.

    It's possible Moritz had Y Combinator president Sam Altman in mind. Altman was widely criticised in December for a controversial blog post in which he too drew unflattering comparisons between China and California, specifically around the discussion of uncomfortable ideas.

    Altman wrote: "Earlier this year, I noticed something in China that really surprised me. I realized I felt more comfortable discussing controversial ideas in Beijing than in San Francisco. I didn’t feel completely comfortable—this was China, after all—just more comfortable than at home." Later in the post, Altman argued that a physics genius should be permitted to say "disparaging things about gay people" if it led to new ideas.

    Curiously, Moritz doesn't acknowledge that he is comparing a highly developed country with an emerging economy, nor does he acknowledge that long hours can encourage greater inefficiencies due to tired and demotivated workers.

    It's not the first time Moritz has been bullish about China. In a 2015 interview with Business Insider, he said Europe tended to "underestimate" China, citing Tencent, Alibaba, and Huawei.

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    Amanda Staveley

    • Powerful Middle Eastern financier Amanda Staveley has countered Mike Ashley's claim that her efforts to take over Newcastle United were a waste of time.
    • Staveley has made a hat-trick of bids for the Premier League club but Ashley has rejected every single one.
    • Staveley has said this week that her latest offer still stands and that she would make massive investment to improve Newcastle.
    • She remains hopeful a deal can be done.


    Billionaire football club owner Mike Ashley started a war of words with powerful Middle Eastern financier Amanda Staveley when he stated that Staveley was a time waster. Now, Staveley wants to put the record straight.

    Ashley, owner of Premier League team Newcastle United, put the club up for sale over three months ago.

    Staveley's firm PCP Capital Partners made three official bids for Newcastle but quotes that are "reflective of Ashley's views" indicated that Staveley's efforts "proved to be exhausting, frustrating, and a complete waste of time,"according to Reuters.

    Staveley made an opening offer of £300 million on November 2. This included £200 million that was payable on completion with two further annual installments of £50 million dependent on Premier League survival and HMRC compliance.

    Since then a non-disclosure agreement has been in place. However, Staveley broke that agreement in The Times in order to publicise her account of the difficulties that have arisen since dealing with Ashley.

    Newcastle United and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley

    "I’m very concerned, very surprised, and I’m disappointed about what’s been said this week," Staveley said. "The suggestion that we were either wasting time or not serious is absurd. It’s hurtful. Hugely hurtful."

    Ashley, who bought Newcastle for £134 million in 2007, rejected Staveley's opening offer of £300 million so an improved bid of £350 million was made on November 10. This offer included £150 million payable on completion and three annual installments of £50 million from 2020 to 2022. A further £50 million would be paid if the team qualified for the lucrative UEFA Champions League competition during that time, but there would be penalty clauses should the team suffer relegation from the Premier League and/or HMRC fines.

    Again, Ashley rejected this bid so Staveley returned to the negotiating table with a third restructured offer of £250 million up front. Take it or leave it.

    Ashley left it.

    "I’m very much still interested in buying Newcastle and our bid remains on the table," Staveley said of the £250 million offer this week.

    As Staveley's net worth is £110 million ($150 million) it is clear she cannot fund the purchase herself, even though she is including "a lot" of her own capital.

    To help finance the purchase she has help from billionaire property tycoons the Reuben family, as well as global investors and "sovereign wealth funds."

    St James Park

    Staveley's last offer fell considerably short of Ashley's £350 million valuation. However, it included an up-front figure, would see current manager Rafael Benitez retain his role at the club, and would also see a significant investment made in playing assets and in fixed assets.

    "Rafa is doing an incredible job," Staveley said. "We want Rafa to be part of this project."

    She would pay Ashley £250 million, then invest £200 million over two transfer markets, and make significant improvements in the club's training facilities for a total outlay in excess of £450 million.

    It is this, perhaps, that has attracted Newcastle's fanbase to her cause.

    "That passion of the fans is vitally important when you’re looking at a club, because you know that you’re a custodian," she said.

    Staveley has only officially met Ashley once and found him to be "engaging and interesting."

    She remains hopeful that she can engage Ashley once more.

    When asked if a deal can be struck, she said: "I don't know… I hope so."

    SEE ALSO: For sale: Premier League club Newcastle United

    DON'T MISS: This powerful Middle Eastern financier reportedly wants to buy Premier League team Newcastle United

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    boris bridge

    • Boris Johnson floats the idea of building a huge bridge across the English Channel.
    • But Theresa May says there are no plans to do so.
    • Experts dismiss the idea as unworkable.
    • Johnson's project is the latest in a long line of troubled infrastructure ideas.

    LONDON — Theresa May has slapped down Boris Johnson's calls for a 20 mile-long bridge across the English channel, with her spokesman saying the prime minister has no plans to build one.

    The foreign secretary last night floated the prospect of building a new link to the continent following a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron.

    The idea was immediately savaged by leading architects and shipping experts as impractical.

    "Building a huge concrete structure in the middle of the world’s busiest shipping lane might come with some challenges," the UK Chamber of Shipping tweeted.

    "It’s [one of the] world's busiest shipping lanes. Is that not enough? It would be easier, and less expensive to just move France closer," Alan Dunlop, an architect and professor at the University of Liverpool, told the Times.

    Asked by Business Insider whether the government would consider the idea, a spokesman for the prime minister said that "I've not seen any plans on that,"

    He later added that there were "no specific plans" in place to build the bridge.

    Downing Street said they would instead be appointing a new panel of experts to look at possible infrastructure projects.

    A spokesman told BI: "What was agreed yesterday and the foreign secretary tweeted about as well is a panel of experts will look at major projects together including infrastructure and we want to work very closely with our french colleagues at building a shared prosperous future."

    Johnson has previously floated large infrastructure projects that subsequently failed to materialise. A plan to build an multi-billion pound airport in the Thames Estuary was dismissed by the government as unfeasible and too expensive.

    Johnson's plans to build the so-called "garden bridge" in London, were dropped by his successor as London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, over concerns about its viability, leaving Londoners with a nearly £50 million bill.

    Asked whether the PM has confidence in the foreign secretary's record of delivering infrastructure projects, they replied that: "Boris Johnson is foreign secretary and doing an excellent job."

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    pope on plane  crop

    • Pope Francis married two flight attendants on a papal flight from Santiago to Iquique, Chile on January 18.
    • Carlo Ciuffardi Elorriga and Paula Podest Ruiz had a civil marriage already.
    • But they missed the religious service because of an earthquake in 2010.
    • A video of the shell-shocked and excited couple emerged of them telling journalists how the story unfolded.

    Pope Francis married two airline employees in an impromptu midair wedding during a flight from Santiago to Iquique, Chile.

    Carlo Ciuffardi Elorriga and Paula Podest Ruiz, who work for the airline Latam, were doing a shift as cabin crew when the unplanned ceremony took place.

    It began when Francis found out that they had been married in a civil ceremony in 2010, but could not go through with their religious ceremony because a 2010 earthquake had damaged the site of their planned ceremony in Santiago.

    In a video Elorriga and Ruiz pose for photos, and the surprised groom begins to excitedly tell journalists the story of how it happened.

    flight attendant

    "The pope married us, the pope married us," he said. "He took my hands and said if you want to marry I can marry you."

    "We told him that we are husband and wife. That we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing. All of a sudden he asked us if we were married by the church too.

    "We couldn't get married by the church because the day we were supposed to get married (in the religious ceremony) it was the earthquake of 2010. It was a Saturday."

    "He liked us and he asked do you want me to marry you?"

    Don Ignacio Cueto, chairman of Latam airlines, stood in as the couple's witness.

    happy couple

    "We had a short and small ceremony," Elorriga told journalists with his wife Ruiz by his side. "He took our hands and he asked if there was love in our marriage and if we want to keep on being together all lifelong. I am getting emotional as I say it. It is not easy. We said yes."

    The couple said that they met at work years ago, when Ruiz was his boss.

    "I am still his boss," she said.

    The smiling, shell-shocked couple then kissed for the cameras.

    Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed that the pope had married the couple in a religious ceremony.

    "Something totally extraordinary happened today which was that the hostesses and the stewards going to get their photos taken and one said 'we are a couple, we met on a plane eight years ago.'

    "That's all they said, and I said, oh that's interesting. And as they walked back said that the Pope married them in a religious ceremony.

    He added that it was something that has "never happened on a papal plane before."

    "They were super happy. The first time the Pope heard about it was this morning too, it's not like it was part of the plan."

    And they’ve even got a hand-written official document to prove it.

    SEE ALSO: A flight attendant says 'nobody cares' if you actually turn off your phone on a plane — and reveals the disgusting reason you should never drink coffee in the air

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    tech adoption likely buyersThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Smart speakers — Amazon's Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user's voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user's home, among other things. 

    The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon's recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple's HomePod. 

    In a new Smart Speaker report, BI Intelligence analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, we evaluate each device's potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. And we draw some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Amazon's new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show. The Echo Look, though, seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest.
    • Apple’s HomePod looks likely to find a place in the smart speaker market but won’t dominate its space like the iPhone or iPad did.
    • The smart speaker market will evolve rapidly in the next few years, with more devices featuring screens, a variety of more focused products emerging, and eventually, the voice assistant moving beyond the smart speaker.

    In full, the report:

    • Showcases exclusive survey data on initial consumer reactions to the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod.
    • Highlights the aims and strategies of major players in the smart speaker market.
    • Provides analysis on the direction this nascent market will take and the opportunity for companies considering a move into the space.

    Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

    1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now
    2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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    North Korea Soldier Panmunjom DMZ

    • South Korea's Ministry of Unification says talks with North Korea will become a regular thing.
    • Seoul will also push North Korea to talk to the US about denuclearization.

    South Korea's Ministry of Unification has unveiled plans to make the recent talks with North Korea a regular thing, and it will look to eventually involve the US.

    "We will regularize the high-level talks and discuss pending issues between the South and the North in a comprehensive manner," a unification ministry document seen by NK News said.

    Though the original pre-Olympic talks focused mainly on inter-Korean relations and preparations for the games, the ministry said it will try to push North Korea to the "negotiating table for denuclearization based on the South-North dialogue and international cooperation."

    Denuclearization, the sticking point that has kept the US and South Korea from seriously negotiating with Pyongyang, was brought up in the original talks, but North Korea expressed disdain at the mention.

    Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea has written the possession of nuclear weapons into its constitution. The US maintains that the Korean Peninsula must become nuke-free, and has refused to negotiate on that point.

    "We will concentrate our diplomatic capability on inducing the North and the US enter dialogue process together and endeavor to make a virtuous circle between North-South dialogue and talks between the North and the US,” South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told NK News.

    SEE ALSO: China needs the world more than ever right now. Don't tell Donald Trump.

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    • London has just opened a new light-themed art festival.
    • It's called Lumiere London.
    • Entry is completely free. 
    • It takes place from the 18th to the 21st of January.


    London's dark winter nights will shine a little brighter starting Thursday (January 18), as a nighttime art exhibition featuring a range of publicly displayed works that use light as a medium gets underway.

    Lumiere London features over 50 works by British and overseas artists, located in public spaces, buildings and on the streets. The artists who have created works include Tracey Emin, Alaa Minawi, Julian Opie and Miguel Chevalier.

    The works themselves comprise range of installations, including a giant desk lamp in King's Cross, a triangular tunnel of light on the South Bank and one of London's iconic telephone boxes turned into an illuminated fish tank in Seven Dials.

    Lumiere London runs Jan. 18-21, and is free to view.

    Produced by Jasper Pickering

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    womens march unity became a resounding theme during the events speeches

    • A large number of women could run for state governor jobs in 2018.
    • There are strong indications that women candidates are being boosted by the #MeToo movement.
    • A new wave of Democrats, potentially led by women, looks increasingly capable of taking winning the legislature from Republicans in 2018.

    The millions of magenta-hat-wearing women who took to the streets for the Women's Marches in the aftermath of President Donald Trump's election and the defeat of the first female major US candidate look poised to take back state and national offices.

    While known female politicians have made their voices heard throughout the "me too" movement, TIME's Charlotte Alter reports that a potentially record-doubling number of women, 79, are considering running for governor in 2018.

    The same report details that women candidates for the House of Representatives have shot up a 350%.

    Since 2016, 900 women have contacted Emily's List, which trains pro-choice Democratic candidates, and 26,000 women have reached out about starting campaigns.

    The swell in female interest in running for office follows a string of Democratic wins, most notably in Alabama, where black female voters turned out in large numbers to give the state its first Democratic senator in years and shut out Roy Moore, the GOP candidate who stood accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

    Though not all women vote for Democrats, the movement seems to have taken root in progressive circles.

    Borrowing from the pink hats worn at the Women's Marches, Alter muses that the grassroots movement of women demanding representation could be called the "pink wave."

    While Trump continues to campaign for Republican candidates for the House, it seems increasingly likely that Democrats, possibly led by women, could retake the legislature in 2018.

    SEE ALSO: Here are the dramatic tweets and policies Tillerson and Mattis reportedly had to hold Trump back from

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