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The latest news from Business Insider
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    Jeff Bezos

    Good morning! These are the 10 things in tech you need to know this Thursday.

    1. More than 100 million people pay for Amazon Prime, Amazon's fast shipping service that includes perks like movie, TV, and music streaming. CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the numbers in his annual shareholder letter.

    2. An author who went undercover at an Amazon warehouse and discovered workers peeing in bottles told Business Insider the atmosphere was like "prison." James Bloodworth said workers were penalised for taking sick days.

    3. Third-party trackers on websites can abuse the "Login with Facebook" tool to harvest user data, researchers have found. They can harvest data like user ID, email, name, and even gender.

    4. Facebook is working on its own chips, according to Bloomberg. The move would reduce its reliance on companies like Intel, and the company could use chips for hardware devices, AI, or the servers in its data centres. 

    5. Intel is ditching its smart glasses division. The New Devices Group only showed off its Vaunt smartglasses earlier this year, but Intel has now ceased development and will lay off around 200 people.

    6. Marissa Mayer is working on a new tech venture, and is currently working out of Google's old offices. She hasn't specified what she is up to, but said she has "some ideas in the consumer space."

    7. Facebook will change its terms of service in May and will start asking users if they want to continue sharing sensitive data like sexual orientation. That's thanks to a strict new European privacy regulation coming into force next month.

    8. Russia is threatening to ban Facebook if the company doesn't shift its Russian user database into the country. Russia's media regulator also wants the firm to explain why it has deleted Russian accounts, presumably referencing the deletion of troll accounts with ties to the Kremlin.

    9. BenevolentAI, a British startup that uses artificial intelligence to aid drug discovery, has raised $115 million at a $2 billion valuation. The funding comes from existing investors, including Neil Woodford's fund.

    10. An Iceland man arrested for carrying out a $2 million bitcoin heist has escaped from prison and possibly fled to Sweden on the same plane as the Icelandic prime minister. An international arrest warrant has been issued for Sindri Thor Stefansson.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Dropbox CEO talks about how he went from rejecting Steve Jobs to an $11 billion IPO

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    James Comey

    • President Donald Trump, like all US presidents, doesn't have the ability to destroy the country's relationship with Australia, former FBI Director James Comey said.
    • The relationship would be hard to "screw up" because presidents simply don't have "enough time."
    • Trump reportedly hung up on Australia's prime minister shortly after taking office describing the call as the "worst" he'd had, but the two leaders seem to have since built a rapport.

    US presidents, including Donald Trump, are simply too busy to mess up the US-Australia relationship, according to former FBI Director James Comey.

    In an interview with "7.30" on Australia's national broadcaster that aired Thursday night, Comey told host Leigh Sales that the alliance between the two countries is far greater than any one president and that the US should still be considered a reliable and trustworthy partner under Trump.

    "I know the extent and culture of the relationship between the two countries, I know it through the national security lens and law enforcement lens, and it'd be hard to screw up the relationship between the United States and Australia," said Comey.

    "No one president has enough time to screw it up, because it's so longstanding and so beneficial to both sides."

    The US and Australia have had diplomatic relations since 1940, and the two countries formed an official alliance after fighting together in World War II.

    Since then, Australian soldiers have fought alongside US troops in every major war while playing a crucial role in the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance. The US is Australia's most important ally and security partner as well as its largest investor.

    But relations between the two countries looked rocky at the beginning of Trump's term.

    In their first phone call after Trump took office, the US president reportedly hung up on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, called a refugee agreement between the two countries "the worst deal ever," and said that it was his "worst phone call by far."

    Months later, Turnbull flew to the US and had his first meeting with Trump cut to just 30 minutes, and the next month audio leaked of Turnbull mocking Trump.

    But relations have since improved significantly as the two countries have focused on larger issues in the Asia Pacific. Earlier this year Turnbull led the largest political and business delegation to ever visit the US and even invited Trump down under.

    SEE ALSO: What sacked FBI director James Comey was thinking during his first awkward embrace with Trump

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 3 reasons why North and South Korean reunification is unlikely

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    • Wine therapy is 

      a treatment to slim, illuminate, and revitalise the skin.

    • We went to spa Ella Di Rocco in London to try it.
    • It consists of a detox foot massage, a wine bath, and a stretching massage.
    • They use Sangiovese and Merlot wines from Tuscany.
    • A full treatment costs £245.


    Wine therapy is a beauty treatment where you take a bath in red wine. It's meant to slim, illuminate, and revitalise the skin.

    We went to spa Ella Di Rocco in London to try the treatment. Here they use Sangiovese and Merlot wines from Tuscany.

    "Red wine contains peptin and it’s a natural antioxidant," Ella Di Rocco Marketing Executive Sonia Milena Brilli told Business Insider.

    "It increases circulation. It has a restorative effect on blood vessels. You can see also the benefits on the skin because it gives you glowing skin."

    The treatment starts with a detox foot massage which has mint leaves, lemon, Himalayan salt with oils, and rose petals.

    You then get a body scrub made with fresh grapes, red wine leaves, grape seed oil, and cornflour.

    After a quick shower, it’s time to bath in the wine.

    The bath is filled with two bottles of Sangiovese red wine, an alcohol-free grape juice concentrate, grape seed extract, wine yeast, hot water, and volcanic extracts to lower the metals in the body.

    You also get a glass of Chianti red wine or tea.

    At the end, there’s a stretching massage to relax the muscles.

    The full treatment costs £245, or £90 without the massage. You can also customise it and add a wrap.

    Treatments last from 2 to 2.5 hours.

    Produced by Claudia Romeo. Filmed by David Ibekwe.

    SEE ALSO: We tried dermaplaning — a £150 treatment which scrapes dead skin off your face using a scalpel

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    arous brochure

    • Israel's secret service ran an entire beach resort in Sudan in the 1980s as a front for its operations, a BBC investigation has found.
    • The Mossad agents were actually in Arous, Sudan to help smuggle Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
    • They posed as diving instructors, hotel managers, and staff while carrying out the mission.
    • The ruse made the operation possible  — Sudan is an ally of Israel's regional rivals, and would not have let the operation go ahead had they known.

    Israeli secret service agents ran an entire fake luxury beach resort in Sudan as a front for its operations in the 1980s, according to a BBC investigation.

    A group of Mossad agents were tasked with smuggling thousands of Jewish refugees in Ethiopia, known as Beta Israelis, from Ethiopia to Israel in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    Because Ethiopia is landlocked, the only route out was via Sudan, a Muslim-majority nation which was hostile to Israel. From there, the refugees either had to be sailed across the Red Sea or airlifted to Israel.

    An unidentified senior agent involved in the mission told the BBC:

    "A couple of Mossad guys went down to Sudan looking for possible landing beaches. They just stumbled across this deserted village on the coast, in the middle of nowhere.

    "For us it was a godsend. If we could get hold of this place and do it up, we could say we're running a diving village, which would give us a reason for being in Sudan and furthermore for roaming around near the beach."

    ethiopia israel route

    Arous tourist village, located on the Sudan's east coast, consisted of 15 bungalows, a kitchen, and dining room that opened out to a beach and the Red Sea.

    The Sudanese International Tourist Corporation built the site in 1972 but never opened it because there no electricity, water supply, or a road nearby.

    arous resort satellite

    Posing as employees of a Swiss company, Mossad agents rented the site for $320,000 (£225,000) in the late 1970s. They secured deals for water and fuel, and smuggled air-conditioning units and water sports gear into Sudan to build the diving resort.

    An undated brochure of the resort boasted of "attractive, air-conditioned bungalows with fully-equipped bathrooms,""fine meals," and a variety of water sports gear available to rent.

    arous brochure

    Mossad agents posed as the resort's managers, and female agents were put in charge of day-to-day operations to make the hotel look less suspicious. They also hired 15 local staff — none of whom knew the true identities of their managers and colleagues.

    Hotel guests included Egyptian soldiers, British SAS troops, foreign diplomats, and Sudanese government officials — none of whom, too, knew of the true identity of their hosts.

    Gad Shimron, a Mossad agent who worked at the resort, told the BBC: "We introduced windsurfing to Sudan. The first board was brought in — I knew how to windsurf, so I taught the guests. Other Mossad agents posed as professional diving instructors."

    He added: "By comparison to the rest of Sudan, we offered Hilton-like standards, and it was such a beautiful place, it really looked like something out of the Arabian Nights. It was unbelievable."

    The diving storeroom, which was out of bounds, contained hidden radios that the agents used to keep in contact with their headquarters in Tel Aviv.

    beta israel ethiopia

    The Mossad agents would leave at night for their rescue operations from time to time, telling local staff that they'd be out of town for a few days.

    They would then drive to a refugee camp hundreds of miles away where Beta Israelis were waiting, and bring them back to a beach near Arous. They then transferred the refugees to Israeli SEAL teams, who took them to a waiting navy ship, and on to Israeli territory.

    After one of the operations almost got busted, Israel decided to send jets to covertly airlift the Ethiopians to Israel instead.

    ethiopia beta israel

    The agents abandoned the resort in 1985 after years of running it. The military junta in charge of country at the time started scouring the country for Israeli spies, and Mossad's head in Israel ordered the agents to leave.

    The Mossad agents evacuated the resort in a hurry, while guests were still staying at the hotel, an unidentified agent told the BBC.

    "They would have woken up and found themselves alone in the desert," they said. "The local staff were there, but no-one else — the diving instructor, the lady manager and so on, all the Caucasians had disappeared."

    The agents transferred at least 7,000 Ethiopians to Israel over the course of their operations at Arous.

    Travel writer Paul Clammer wrote in his 2005 guide to Sudan: "Arous Resort was closed when I visited... Though the colourful, relatively fresh paint gave them a cheerful look, the whole place was in disarray: Beach bungalows had toppled roofs, quads were rusty and jet skis left unattended, all suggesting the place was abandoned in a hurry."

    Arous' website, referenced in some travel guides, is now defunct. Business Insider tried calling two phone numbers linked to the resort on Thursday, but the lines were dead.

    Read the BBC's story here.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How all-you-can-eat restaurants don't go bankrupt

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    • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' annual letter to shareholders indicates that 100 million people pay for Prime globally.
    • It's the first time the company has revealed the number of Prime subscribers.
    • Shares of Amazon were up nearly 2% ahead of Thursday's opening bell.
    • Watch Amazon in real time here.

    Amazon was gaining ground Thursday morning, up 1.91%, after CEO Jeff Bezos released a letter to shareholders saying 100 million people paid for Prime globally. This is the first time Amazon has revealed the number of paid Prime subscribers.

    The big reveal from Bezos comes as Amazon finds itself in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly railed against the company.

    "Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon,"Trump tweeted earlier in April. "THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country...not a level playing field!"

    Last week, by executive order, Trump ordered the creation of a task force to look into the US Postal Service's struggles. And while the order didn't name Amazon, it asked the task force to look into "the expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS's role in competitive markets," among other things.

    Details of how much Amazon pays to the postal service are not publicly known.

    Bezos' letter to shareholders comes ahead of the company's first-quarter results, which are scheduled to be released next Thursday. Wall Street analysts are looking for the e-commerce giant to earn an adjusted $3.10 a share on revenue of $49.94 billion.

    Amazon shares were up 30.64% this year through Wednesday.


    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Wall Street's biggest bull explains why trade war fears are way overblown

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    JUUL In Hand Female Black Tank Small

    • Vaping, which involves inhaling heated vapor via a small portable device, is trending among teens.
    • One device in particular, the Juul, is catching the attention of high school staff and public health experts who call its high nicotine content "scary."
    • Nicotine is highly addictive and has a host of negative impacts on the developing brain — particularly in an area that's linked with decision making, emotions, and impulse control.

    Among teens, a vape pen with twice the nicotine content of comparable devices has been surging in popularity. Called the Juul, the device even has its own verb: Juuling.

    Instagram and YouTube are full of videos of adolescents "Juuling," in class and in front of teachers. A string of high schools along the East Coast has acknowledged "Juuling" in bathroom stalls as a widespread problem, and dozens of teachers report confiscating Juul devices disguised as Sharpies and other classroom items.

    The recent vaping mania has sparked concern among medical professionals and public health advocates, who say it reminds them of the heyday of cigarettes, when smoking behind classrooms and in parking lots was in vogue. But the risks here are magnified, they say, because e-cigs can be used indoors without someone noticing. The devices also pack a more powerful nicotine punch than traditional cigarettes: the Juul contains roughly twice the concentration as cigarettes and other vape pens.

    "The Juul is a new trend I’m afraid,"Nicholas Chadi, a clinical pediatrics fellow at Boston Children's Hospital, said at the American Society of Addiction Medicine's annual conference last week. "We get calls from parents across Boston wondering what to do about this."

    On Wednesday, Senate democratic whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 10 other Senators sent two letters to Juul Labs, Inc., the makers of the device, saying that their products “are undermining our nation’s efforts to reduce tobacco use among youth."

    The devices put "an entire new generation of children at risk of nicotine addiction," one of the letters says.

    The developing teen brain is highly sensitive to substances

    marijuana vaporizer vaping vapeThe crux of the problem centers on what nicotine does to the teen brain — especially in an area called the prefrontal cortex, which plays a key role in emotional control, decision making, and impulse regulation.

    Like other drugs such as marijuana or alcohol, nicotine has a different impact on a developing brain than on the brain of an adult. The prefrontal cortex is often at increased risk in teens who use substances because it doesn't finish developing until around age 25.

    Brain imaging studies of adolescents suggest that those who begin smoking regularly at a young age have markedly reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex and perform less well on tasks related to memory and attention compared to people who don't smoke. Chadi said these brain changes are also linked with increased sensitivity to other drugs as well as greater impulsivity.

    He described some of the anecdotal effects of nicotine vaping that he's seen among teens in and around his hospital.

    "After only a few months of using nicotine [these teens] describe cravings, sometimes intense ones. Sometimes they also lose their hopes of being able to quit. And interestingly they show less severe symptoms of withdrawal than adults, but they start to show them earlier on. After only a few hundred cigarettes — or whatever the equivalent amount of vaping pods — some start showing irritability or shakiness when they stop."

    Nicotine is more addictive than alcohol

    woman vaping vape e-cig e-cigaretteNicotine is a highly addictive drug.

    A study published in the medical journal The Lancet ranked nicotine as more addictive than alcohol and barbiturates; Chadi said he believed it to be more addictive than cocaine as well. Smoking and vaping are tough to quit: some 85% of people who try to stop smoking on their own relapse. 

    In general, teens are far more vulnerable to addiction than adults, since their brains are more plastic and still maturing.

    This may be one of the reasons that young people who vape are more likely to move onto traditional cigarettes. A spate of research dating back to 2015, including a recent study published in the journal PLOS One in March, suggests that teens who use e-cigs are between two and seven times more likely to eventually smoke conventional cigarettes compared with young people who never try them.

    Chadi said young vapers may also be more likely to use other substances like alcohol and marijuana. That trend is supported by a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, which looked at the behaviors of more than 16,000 British adolescents. The researchers found that teens who used e-cigs were also more likely to use alcohol. Another study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence suggested that among Latino adolescents, those who vaped were also more likely to use marijuana.

    These studies don't show that smoking e-cigs leads to the use of other substances — only that the two things are linked. But Chadi said it's another potential factor to consider when talking to teens about vaping.

    Experts are calling out the Juul for its potency

    juul e-cigaretteOf all the e-cig devices out there, Chadi only called out one — the Juul — by name.

    Many other public health experts also see the Juul as uniquely and dangerously appealing to teens.

    Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University, contributed to the Surgeon General's 2016 report on young people and e-cigarettes, and afterwards designed an entire classroom workshop about tobacco prevention focusing on the Juul.

    She calls the Juul's abnormally high nicotine content "scary."

    Halpern-Felsher has presented the workshop, called "Why should I be worried about Juuls?" at several high schools to warn teens about the risky nicotine levels.

    "It is much higher than what we're seeing in conventional e-cigs," she told Business Insider in March. "It's a tremendous amount."

    'A lot of work to do'

    Juul maintains that it is opposed to anyone under 18 using their products, and says the current trend of youth using the device runs counter to the company's mission.

    Ashley Gould, Juul's chief administrative officer, previously told Business Insider that she found Juul's popularity among youth troubling.

    "Juul is a company that was started by smokers with an objective to switch smokers to non-combustible products," Gould said.

    She added that Juul has even initiated a number of advertising campaigns aimed at addressing and curbing underage use. (If you have questions or concerns for Juul related to underage vaping, you can email them at

    "We’ve obviously got a lot of work to do," Gould said. "We’re doing a lot in this area and we frankly want to do more."

    US regulators want Juul and other e-cig companies to do more, too. US Food and Drug commissioner Scott Gottlieb said at a conference last month that he was "deeply concerned" about teen use of e-cigarettes.

    "We see what's happening with Juul," he said.

    Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat representing New Jersey, also recently  called on the FDA in a letter to start reviewing the Juul and other e-cigs.

    Because of a current rule, however, many recent e-cig manufacturers are not required to apply to the FDA for review until the summer of 2022.

    "The availability of Juul and e-cigarettes to youth is extremely troubling," Pallone wrote.

    SEE ALSO: A vape pen with twice the nicotine of comparable devices is taking over high schools — and adults are frightened

    DON'T MISS: Scientists are beginning to learn how vaping impacts your health — and the results are troubling

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Animated map of Mars reveals where humans should build the first Martian cities

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    oil worker

    • Super-light crude is becoming more common in the US.
    • Domestic refiners are having trouble processing it with efficiency.
    • But some think the mismatch could end up benefitting certain US refiners big-time.

    Super-light crude is flooding the US oil market, and there's little demand to meet it.  

    All of the industry's growth in the US over the last year was thanks to crude with a gravity above 40 on the American Petroleum Institute's scale, which measures the weight of a petroleum liquid compared to water, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.

    That's a problem for domestic shale explorers. Most refineries in the US are designed for heavier crude grades, around 32 API. And refiners are running out of room to process super-light shale without seeing losses. 

    "Domestic refiners cannot take much more of this and are close to hitting the 'shale wall,'" the analysts said.

    Options to export what US refiners don't want are limited. Demand for superlight crude outside of the US is modest — Morgan Stanley estimates 15 billion barrels per day. Even in Asia, where analysts say the outlook for oil demand is the strongest, lighter US shale has to fight for market share.

    Meanwhile, global prices of heavier oils are climbing. And the analysts predict that US oil explorers will soon need to lower prices of super-light crude in order to compete for market share.

    But there could be an upside for some. While processing super-light crude is currently inefficient for refineries, that could change with discounts. Specifically, lower prices could benefit a handful of US refineries "disproportionately," according to Morgan Stanley. 

    "US refiners will essentially be 'paid-to-wait' for the price of light- and super-light crude to become discounted enough to the point where it becomes an economic option to run the crude even if it means suboptimal operations," they said. 

    Morgan Stanley said Delek US, a refining company based in Tennessee, would be most likely to benefit. Its facilities are set up in a way that would allow them to run discounted light oil without giving up operational efficiencies. 

    Next on their list were refining companies HollyFrontier and Andeavor who have light oil facilities in Texas, a center of industry growth. 

    Screen Shot 2018 04 18 at 11.49.12 AM


    SEE ALSO: Oil cracks $68 for the first time in 3 years

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Wall Street's biggest bull explains why trade war fears are way overblown

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    A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey

    • Opioid prescriptions are continuing to drop in the US, falling about 12% between 2016 and 2017.
    • That's according to new data from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which tracks medication use and spending in the US. 
    • The use of medication assisted therapy to treat addiction has almost doubled during the same period.

    Prescriptions of opioids are starting to fall across the country.

    Opioid prescriptions were down about 12% between 2016 and 2017, according to new data from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which tracks medication use and spending in the US.

    Opioid prescriptions peaked in 2011, when 240 billion milligrams of morphine equivalents (a measure that helps in comparing opioids like oxycodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl, which have different potencies) were prescribed. Now, that number is down to 171 billion. In particular, higher-dose prescriptions that were above 90 morphine milligram equivalents dropped, down 16% in the last year.

    At the same time prescriptions of opioids are falling, the use of medication-assisted treatment, in which prescription medication is used alongside psychological therapy to help those living with addiction, has almost doubled during the same time period. About 44,000 people a month were getting on MAT in the beginning of 2016, compared to 82,000 a month at the end of 2017. 

    "Clearly there's greater use of these therapies in treating those with opioid addiction," Murray Aitken, the executive director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science told Business Insider.

    This is the first time the company's report has highlighted data about opioid painkillers, and it's in response to the national attention the crisis has received. President Donald Trump last year declared the opioid epidemic a public-health emergency, escalating the amount of attention and funding that can go toward addressing the issue. 

    Between 1999 and 2016, more than 200,000 people in the US died from overdoses related to prescription opioids. It's something hospitals and health plans are trying to confront through cutting back on prescriptions.

    In March, Cigna said it had cut its opioid use by 25% since 2016. In 2016, Cigna committed to lowering opioid use among its customers by 25% over three years. The health insurer had previously said it will no longer cover OxyContin, the branded version of the painkiller oxycodone. Cigna still covers generic oxycodone alternatives to OxyContin.

    Last August, Intermountain Health, a health plan and a hospital that operates in Utah and southern Idaho said it plans to cut the number of opioid pills it prescribes by 5 million.

    SEE ALSO: 'We're treated like drug addicts': As America fights opioid addiction, the healthcare system is failing people who live with chronic pain

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How one CEO went from rejecting an offer from Steve Jobs to an $11 billion IPO

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    donald trump

    • President Donald Trump sending CIA director Mike Pompeo to North Korea to conduct diplomacy while Pompeo awaits Senate confirmation looks to have put Democrats in a tough spot.
    • Trump's dismissal of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a packed schedule of upcoming high-stakes diplomatic affairs has made the confirmation of a new top US diplomat more urgent.
    • Now Democrats in the Senate must pick between sticking to their values and leaving the US without a Secretary of State as the Trump administration heads into negotiations with Kim Jong Un, China, and Iran.

    President Donald Trump sending CIA director Mike Pompeo to North Korea to conduct diplomacy while Pompeo awaits Senate confirmation looks to have put Democrats in a tough spot.

    By dismissing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just months before a high-stakes meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, Trump has upped the pressure on Senate Democrats to confirm a nominee for a top diplomat who they genuinely seem not to like.

    Pompeo failed to get the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's approval for the post, but he could now be headed to a vote on the Senate floor. All 49 Democrats will have to heavily weigh the benefit of denying a nominee they disagree with against leaving the US without its top diplomat.

    Democrats in the Foreign Relations Committee grilled Pompeo on his apparent allegiance to Trump, past comments on Muslims, and stances LGBT rights, ultimately denying him the recommendation.

    But while the Senate argues about whether or not Pompeo is fit for the job, the CIA director seems to have already started preparing for the position with a secret visit to North Korea in April.

    "If some of my colleagues are concerned that Pompeo is holding high level talks w/ NK because that's a role of a Secretary of State, they should act quickly and confirm him. I have full confidence in his ability to lead these talks to denuclearize the Kim regime," Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado tweeted.

    Trump has an upcoming meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in the summer, ongoing trade disputes with China, a troubled relationship that has teetered on the brink of conflict with Russia, and a deadline to "fix" the Iran deal by May 12.

    With 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats in the Senate, and Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky coming out against Pompeo to head the State Department, Trump needs to sway a few Democrats and keep the other Republicans in line to get his pick.

    Already, the Democrats have shown a small sign of fracturing under the pressure, as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia met with Pompeo on Tuesday and said it went well.

    But it was Trump who dismissed Tillerson with a stack of diplomatic tasks still urgently needing attendance.

    If Republicans use the pressing need for US diplomatic leadership as a case to compel Democrats to vote against their interests, then they'll in part be using a crisis of Trump's own making.

    SEE ALSO: News of CIA director Mike Pompeo's secret trip to meet Kim Jong Un in North Korea comes on the same day multiple lawmakers indicated they won't approve his bid to become secretary of state

    DON'T MISS: Trump confirms CIA head Pompeo went to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un, says it went 'very smoothly'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A neuroscientist explains why reality may just be a hallucination

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    trump shinzo abe

    • President Donald Trump unexpectedly spoke of his "great respect" for North Korea at a press conference.
    • They were warm words from a man who has frequently threatened war with North Korea over its nuclear ambitions.
    • Trump has frequently and harshly criticized North Korea for its nuclear ambitions and ballistic missile tests, but often mixed in some light praise. 

    President Donald Trump seemed to reassure his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, on Wednesday at a joint press conference on North Korea — but he also had some oddly kind words for Kim Jong Un.

    In speeches where Abe and Trump stressed their resolve to peacefully solve the North Korean crisis, Trump again seemed to praise Kim the dictator.

    "We have great respect for many aspects of what they’re doing," Trump said of North Korea. "But we have to get it together, we have to end nuclear weapons, ideally in all parts of the world."

    Trump has frequently and harshly criticized North Korea for its nuclear ambitions and ballistic missile tests, but often mixed in some light praise. 

    Trump previously said he'd be "honored" to talk to Kim, an honor he now looks likely to achieve.

    He's also expressed admiration for Kim's leadership of North Korea, despite the fact that the regime runs labor camps that have been likened to Auschwitz in Nazi-controlled Europe.

    "Not many 27-year-old men could go in and take over a regime... Say what you want, but that's not easy — especially at that age," said Trump to ABC News before his inauguration in January 2016.

    "How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died – take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden ... he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss," said Trump. "You gotta give him credit."

    But Trump has also called Kim a madman, irrational, imbalanced, a sick puppy, and even bestowed him his own nickname of "little rocket man."

    "Trump has a pragmatic approach to the foreign-policy issues that he sees as most important," Yun Sun, a North Korea expert at the Stimson Center previously told Business Insider

    It appears now that Trump's priority is denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and he doesn't seem afraid to sympathize with Kim if it helps getting that job done. 

    SEE ALSO: Trump confirms CIA head Pompeo went to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un, says it went 'very smoothly'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These 3D printed homes can be constructed for $4,000 — and they might change the approach to underdeveloped housing

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    Iceland Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir gives a statement at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

    • Sindri Thor Stefansson was arrested in February by investigating the theft of $2 million worth of bitcoin-mining computers.
    • Stefansson escaped from open prison and has reportedly flown to Sweden on a fake or stolen passport.
    • Stefansson may have flow on the same plane as Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, according to reports.

    LONDON — A suspect at the centre of an investigation into a bitcoin-related heist in Iceland has reportedly escaped jail and fled to Sweden on a plane.

    Icelandic news provider Visir reports that Sindri Thor Stefansson escaped from an open prison where he was being held on Saturday. The prison was not guarded by a fence and prisoners are trusted to remain within the facility.

    Stefansson was later identified in CCTV footage at an Icelandic airport and is believed to have flown to Arlanda airport in Stockholm, Sweden's capital, using either forged or stolen documents. An international arrest warrant has been issued for Stefansson.

    The BBC reports that Stefansson may have fled the country on the same plane that was carrying Iceland's prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Jakobsdóttir was travelling to Stockholm for a meeting of Nordic leaders and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Stefansson had been in police custody since February 2, Visir reports. He is one of 11 people who have been arrested in connection with the theft of 600 computers across data centres in Iceland between December and January. The computers are specially designed to mine bitcoin and are worth a reported 200 million Icelandic Krona ($2 million, £1.4 million).

    Crypto mining is the process by which new bitcoins are created and involves solving complex cryptographic problems. The computing power required to crack these problems has grown exponentially since the creation of bitcoin in 2009 and it now takes huge banks of servers to crack codes. Online mining "pools" have sprung up that allow people to plug their computer capacity into digital networks and earn a share of the collective rewards.

    Iceland has become a European hotspot for bitcoin mining because its cold climate naturally lowers the cost of cooling the computing equipment. (You can see what an Icelandic bitcoin mine looks like in this Business Insider photo essay.)

    A single bitcoin is worth $8,000 and the potential rewards of mining them have tempted many people around the world to break the law or bend the rules.

    The CEO of cybersecurity company Darktrace told a conference last week that her company had seen 1,000 cases in the US of people stealing computer power from their employers to mine bitcoin in just the last 6 months.

    SEE ALSO: A junior banker in Italy hijacked servers from his company to mine bitcoin — and thousands of others are doing similar things

    DON'T MISS: Iceland may use more electricity mining bitcoin than powering homes this year

    NEXT UP: The electricity used to mine bitcoin this year is bigger than the annual usage of 159 countries

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    NOW WATCH: Wall Street is divided over whether stocks can storm back from their latest meltdown

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    High Five

    • National High Five Day is Thursday, April 19.
    • The first-ever high five appears to have happened in 1977, during a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.
    • After a home run, Dodgers outfielder Dusty Baker high-fived his teammate, Glenn Burke.
    • Burke was openly gay among his teammates, and after he was traded to the Oakland Athletics and became an icon in the gay community, the high five became a defiant symbol of gay pride in the Castro district of San Francisco.

    Thursday is National High Five Day, celebrating one of the most ubiquitous hand gestures in the world.

    But while plenty of people have high-fived before, few know the high five's surprising history.

    There are various origin stories to the gesture, but the most widely accepted one pins the high five to a 1977 baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.

    It was the last game of the season, and Dodgers outfielder Dusty Baker had just hit a home run — his 30th of the season. The accomplishment made the Dodgers the first team in Major League history to have four players hit 30 homers.

    Baker's rookie teammate Glenn Burke was waiting for him on deck, and as Baker crossed home plate, Burke triumphantly lifted his hands in the air.

    "The way the legend goes … Glenn put his arm high in the air, and Dusty didn't know what to do, so he slapped it," Dodgers historian Mark Langill said in the ESPN documentary "The High Five."

    Although slapping hands as a type of handshake dates back to at least the 1920s, there was something different about the way Burke and Baker did it that instantly caught the public's attention.

    "It was such a moment. It was the energy of it, and it was just this explosion of emotion," Dodgers reporter Lyle Spencer told ESPN. "It was something just unique."

    Jon Mooallem, a journalist who has documented the high five's history, relayed Burke's thoughts about the historic moment.

    "The way he used to tell the story of that first high five with Dusty Baker, wasn't necessarily that he had innovated something, so much as that he was so overwhelmed with joy and pride of what Dusty had just done, that the high five came out of him, that Dusty had brought it out of him," he told ESPN.

    From there, the Dodgers quickly adopted the high five as a symbol of team pride, and performed it regularly over the next few seasons, to the delight of the media and fans of the team.

    high five

    Burke's tenure with the Dodgers was short-lived, however, and his demise is mired in controversy. Burke was openly gay among his teammates. In 1978, despite being an up-and-coming contributor to the team, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics. Some of Burke's teammates maintain to this day he was traded because of his sexuality.

    In the Bay Area, Burke became an icon in the gay community, and he brought his famous high five with him. In San Francisco's Castro district, the high five became "a defiant symbol of gay pride," as Mooallem wrote for ESPN in 2011.

    Burke received little playing time in Oakland, and fell out of the major leagues after five seasons. He died from complications from AIDS in 1995, at the age of 42.

    Forty years after he helped invent the high five, his gesture remains a universal symbol of celebration.

    SEE ALSO: A video filmed in 1911 shows everyday life in New York City 100 years ago — see how it compares to Manhattan today

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    Southwest Flight 1380

    • Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after suffering an engine failure and cabin depressurization.
    • One of the Boeing 737's windows blew out, nearly sucking a passenger out of the cabin.
    • Airplane windows are rather durable and are made up of multiple layers.

    On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an uncontained engine failure damaged the plane's fuselage and one of the Boeing 737's windows blew out. The resulting decompression managed to nearly suck Jennifer Riordan out of the window before being pulled back in by her fellow passengers.

    Unfortunately, Riordan, 43, died from her injuries.

    This leads us to ask the question: What is an airplane window made of and what kind of forces can it take?

    Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board believe the failure occurred when a titanium alloy fan blade snapped mid-flight. The damage to the window and fuselage may have been the result of shrapnel caused by the disintegrating engine cowling forced out by a rogue fan blade spinning near the speed of sound. 

    The NTSB does not yet know what exactly blew out the window, but whatever debris that managed to puncture the window did so with incredible force. 

    The window on modern airliners is actually made up of multiple layers, usually three, of acrylic with a plastic inner cover. The three layers are gapped and vented. This is to allow for pressure equalization and to prevent the windows from fogging. The material used to make the windows is rather durable and, following federal regulations, won't splinter when damaged. 

    Since the windows are essentially made from plexiglass, they aren't bulletproof. However, they rarely fail. And even if they do, modern airliners such as the Boeing 737 used to operate Flight 1380 can survive and land after most depressurization events. 

    Read More about the Southwest Incident:

    SEE ALSO: One person is dead after a major engine failure led a Southwest plane to make a terrifying emergency landing in Philadelphia

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    Belfast plane crash map

    A light aircraft has crashed near Belfast International Airport.

    Two people have died, news outlets including the Daily Mail and the Mirror reported.

    The crash took place around Thursday lunchtime at Loanends, a village two to three miles from the airport, Belfast Airport said in a tweet.

    The BBC reported that the plane was on its way to the airport. Belfast Airport, however, said it wasn't operating into or out of the airport.

    Police and emergency services are at the scene. Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch also dispatched a team to the scene, a spokesman told Business Insider.

    More follows.

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    michael cohen

    • There's an odd, unspoken assumption among President Donald Trump's allies when they discuss his legal troubles.
    • The latest example comes from public concern that Michael Cohen will "flip" and cooperate with federal investigators.

    The headline in Politico is "Trump allies worry Cohen will flip."

    And the story supports the headline. It's full of quotes from advisers to Trump — some anonymous, but several on the record — discussing two possibilities: that Michael Cohen will remain "loyal" to Trump, or that the threat of criminal prosecution will cause Cohen to "flip" and cooperate with federal prosecutors against Trump.

    "They’re going to threaten him with a long prison term and try to turn him into a canary that sings," said Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz.

    But what if Cohen doesn't know the words?

    That feels like the third possibility that we should be discussing: That Cohen has nothing of value to tell federal prosecutors about Trump, because they never engaged in criminal wrongdoing together.

    Of course, that's not my working theory of the case. But isn't that a possibility the president's advocates and defenders should want to pretend is plausible?

    Yet they don't. And it reflects a weird, unspoken assumption in discussing the president's legal troubles, going back at least to the president's declaration that his personal business interests outside of Russia are a "red line" that the special counsel Robert Mueller must not cross.

    Why must an investigation into the president's family business be prevented? Because everyone assumes there were crimes there.

    There is a very live and sincere dispute over the question of whether Trump or his associates committed any crimes related to Russia or the election. The president calls that stuff a "hoax" and his defenders agree. But the rest of it is more of an "Eh, what can you do?" situation. 

    It's weird.

    SEE ALSO: The lesson of James Comey: Don't nominate presidential candidates who are investigation magnets

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    Jeff Bezos

    • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was a smart and enterprising kid, as Brad Stone writes in his 2013 book "The Everything Store."
    • In sixth grade, he practiced statistical analysis by designing a survey so students could rate the teachers.
    • Smart kids are more likely to hold leadership positions as adults, according to research. But it's still possible for kids who struggle academically to become successful.

    Before Jeff Bezos was Jeff Bezos, he was "Tim."

    As Brad Stone wrote in his 2013 bestseller, "The Everything Store," that was Bezos' pseudonym in the book "Turning on Bright Minds," which explored a gifted-education program in Texas where Bezos was a student.

    Bezos' teachers told the book's author, Julie Ray, that he was "not particularly gifted in leadership." Yet Bezos demonstrated his precociousness in other ways, like when he designed a survey to rate the sixth-grade teachers at his school, in order to practice statistical analysis for math class.

    Ray wrote that the survey was, according to Bezos, designed to evaluate instructors on "how they teach, not as a popularity contest." When Ray visited the school, Bezos had distributed the survey to classmates and was now graphing the teachers' relative performance.

    Stone pulls out other telling tidbits from Ray's book. Bezos was competitive — he was trying to keep up with a classmate who claimed she read 12 books a week — and enterprising — he was creating a more affordable version of a contraption he'd seen in a store that created an illusion of an endless tunnel.

    Yep. Sounds like the Bezos we know.

    Smart kids are more likely to become leaders as adults

    The fact that Bezos was such a remarkable kid also fits with current research on the predictors of success in adulthood.

    One small study, conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University, found that 320 students who had scored above the 1-in-10,000 level on the SAT before age 13 held more prestigious jobs at more prestigious companies by age 38 than the rest of the population on average.

    Another study, from researchers at Stirling University in the UK and University College Dublin, looked at a sample of 17,000 people and found that 10- and 11-year-old kids who demonstrated high cognitive ability were more likely to hold leadership positions as adults. (So much for Bezos' teachers' insistence that he didn't have leadership potential.)

    Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft, was similarly talented as a pre-teen. The Wall Street Journal reported that he read the entire World Book Encyclopedia series at a young age. By age 11, Gates' father told The Journal, Gates began asking his parents about topics like international affairs and business.

    The moral of the story isn't that if you weren't such an impressive kid, you'll never achieve Bezos- or Gates-style success. You might! There are plenty of successful people who struggled academically or otherwise as children. Likewise, just because you're a smart kid or teenager doesn't necessarily mean you'll go onto become a CEO.

    Still, it's worth noting this pattern.

    It's also important to remember that Bezos was enrolled in a gifted and talented program when Ray met him. If teachers hadn't recognized his potential and he'd stayed with his "average" peers, he might never have blossomed into one of the most powerful people in the world.

    SEE ALSO: Early Amazon interviews were so tough, one comment could disqualify a job candidate immediately

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    • LEGO make around 36,000 pieces every minute.
    • The design of the LEGO brick hasn't changed for more than 50 years.
    • The factories machines never taking a break, creating LEGO 24/7, 


    LEGO is one of the worlds most recognisable products, but how is it made?

    Since production of the LEGO block in 1949, the design hasn't changed and is available in 53 colours. 

    The blocks are made of a plastic granulate, which is melted and pressed in a moulding machine which creates the LEGO shape. 

    Automatic guided vehicles then collect and deliver the bricks to the warehouse, where they are sorted, weighed and then packed for delivery. 

    Watch the video to see how it is done.

    Produced by David Ibekwe. Special Thanks to LEGO 

    SEE ALSO: Meet Britain's only certified Lego builder who sells some of his creations for tens of thousands of pounds

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    san francisco homeless concrn app 48

    San Francisco is dealing with the harsh reality of a homelessness crisis that's gone from bad to worse. In 2017, more than one in 100 homeless Americans lived on the city's streets.

    Tired of feeling helpless, Jacob Savage and Neil Shah created an app called Concrn that lets people send an alert whenever they see a person experiencing a mental health crisis, homelessness, or an issue with substance abuse. The app's dispatcher sends a civilian response team trained in empathy to help get that person back on their feet and connect them with relevant support services.

    We recently shadowed a Concrn responder on their shift. Here's what it was like.

    SEE ALSO: San Francisco's homeless are getting six-figure jobs in a gritty neighborhood that's been overrun by tech companies

    On any day in San Francisco, you may see a person raving incoherently, shooting up drugs, or tumbling into the streets. You might inch past to avoid them or offer your pocket change.

    If a bystander takes action, they might call the police, assuming these trained keepers of the law know how to best handle trauma in the streets. But that's not always the case.

    Over a recent nine-year period, 58% of the city's police shootings involved mentally ill people.

    Created in 2014, Concrn is a "mobile alternative to 911," according to the app's founders.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    starbucks arrests

    • The two black men arrested in a PhiladelphiaStarbucks last week — Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson — broke their silence on Thursday. 
    • Nelson and Robinson said they were shocked when police arrived to arrest them minutes after they arrived at Starbucks for a business meeting.
    • "This is something that has been going on for years, but everyone is blind to it," Nelson said in an interview with Good Morning America.


    The two black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks last week have broken their silence.

    On Thursday, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson spoke to the media for the first time since the incident in an interview with Good Morning America. 

    Nelson and Robinson broke down the timeline of the day that they were arrested in a Starbucks location, an incident that went viral after a bystander posted a video online. According to the men, the store manager called 911 mere minutes after they arrived at the store for a business meeting.

    "It just didn't hit me what was going on, that it was real, until I'm being double locked with my hands behind my back," Robinson told GMA. 

    Footage of the arrest went viral, sparking outrage and prompting other people of color to share similar stories of exclusion at the coffee giant. Starbucks' CEO Kevin Johnson publicly apologized to Robinson and Nelson and has announced plans for the chain to close all locations for an afternoon in May for racial-bias education. 

    Nelson and Robinson said that they hope that the incident serves as a "stepping stone" to prevent similar situations from happening in the future. 

    "Take this opportunity as a stepping stone to really stand up and show your greatness," Nelson said. "You are not judged by the color of your skin, as your ancestors were."

    Nelson continued: "This is something that has been going on for years, but everyone is blind to it." 

    Read more about Starbucks' arrests:

    SEE ALSO: Starbucks is doing something it has only done once before — and last time it cost the company $6 million

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    Amateur_William Gray Netflix final

    Director Ryan Koo got himself the golden ticket when his directorial debut “Amateur” was bought by Netflix in the script stage to be one of its original movies. But the journey the movie took to get to the streaming giant’s millions of viewers was a challenging one.

    It’s a struggle to make every movie, but Koo can make the argument that he took on obstacles that most first-time filmmakers don’t.

    In “Amateur” (currently available on Netflix) we get a look inside what young basketball phenoms go through to get the attention of a big-time Division I NCAA school. Main character 14-year-old Terron Forte is a star on his school basketball team, but to get to the next level his family enrolls him in a shady prep-school. In doing so, we see firsthand the corruption behind youth athletics where the kids no longer play for the coach, or to get into college, or even the NBA — they play for the brands.

    To capture that authentic feel, Koo cast 15-year-old actor Michael Rainey Jr. in the role of Terron. And as he explained to Business Insider, what came with that decision were a lot of restrictions that, if navigated incorrectly, could have crippled the entire movie.

    SEE ALSO: The director of HBO's Andre the Giant documentary explains how he debunked some major myths and got Vince McMahon to cry

    The frustrations behind finding a lead actor

    Koo said a big reason why it took years for “Amateur” to get made was because of his insistence on having a real teen for the lead role.

    Not only would that mean that there would be production restrictions laid on him because he was working with a minor (more on that below), but he would have to find a kid who wasn’t just skilled at basketball, but had top acting skill to carry a feature film.

    “In basketball films you are working with an actor who probably had to learn how to play the sport for the role rather than come from a starting point of being a great basketball player themselves,” Koo said. “So I always assumed I was going to need to cast a basketball player who had never acted before.”

    The problem Koo found in his research is a skilled high school basketball player could potentially play in college. If he were to pay that person for being in the movie that person would lose his eligibility to play basketball in college, according to the rules by the NCAA which does not allow its student athletes to be paid.

    “You're talking about a weeks-long movie shoot as a full time job, which you can't pay your lead actor,” Koo said. “So we were on the phone with the NCAA a few times about this to try to figure out what we could and couldn't do and who we could cast.”

    Eventually Koo got extremely lucky and found an actor who had been a talented basketball player for years.

    Michael Rainey Jr. had been a working actor since 8 years old, starring along side Common in the 2012 movie “Luv” and the son of Sophia Burset in “Orange is the New Black.” But Koo learned that he had also played basketball as well, even running point on an AAU team.

    Rainey got the part and Koo teamed him with a basketball trainer to hone the moves he would show off in the movie.

    But things didn’t get easier for Koo going into production.

    The crew’s worst nightmare: Shooting a movie in “splits”

    It’s a term that gives movie crews the chills — splits. That’s when a production’s shooting day is split up between a daytime block and a night block. The “Amateur” production had to do this because it was shooting a movie with a minor, so he could only work 8-and-a-half hours per day with production required to stop at 12:30 am. And because high-school basketball games are played in the evening, there would be a lot of evening scenes.

    “That gives you very little flexibility to swap things,” Koo said. “You have to make the first half of your day because you're racing daylight, and we had a hard out every night at 12:30.”

    So most days would start with the production getting set up at noon on its Denver set, Rainey would show up on set at 3 p.m. and they would immediately begin shooting. They would break for lunch at 8 p.m., wait until it got dark, and then shoot the evening scenes until Rainey had to wrap at 12:30.

    And because Koo and his production were racing the clock daily, the “Amateur” production never had a company move (meaning packing everything up and moving to another location). That's a rarity for any movie.

    “We had no time,” Koo said. “So what we ended up doing was finding locations that we could use for many locations. In the movie it looks like Terron goes from this less well-off public school to a much nicer, posh private school. There's one school I used for at least four schools. In the gym we did painting and made it into different colors to make it look like they played in different gyms.”

    A 15 year old’s remarkable poise during the drama to get the movie’s final shot

    “Amateur” ends with a powerful scene where Terron breaks down and cries after thinking back on the experience he’s just gone through and what the future may bring.

    For the scene, Koo wanted Rainey to show real emotion and not have him do it with fake tears. Rainey was up for it, and everyone was set up to start the scene once he gave the sign to Koo that he was ready. Koo said all was going according to plan and he thought the scene was perfect when he said “cut.” However, there was one problem.

    “Our cameras didn’t work,” he said.

    They tried another take, and again, the cameras didn’t work. Though Koo said both he and Rainey were upset about what was happening, the director commends his young lead actor’s composure.

    “We got it on the third take,” Koo said.

    Looking back Koo can’t believe they pulled it off with all the restrictions against them. But he admits he would absolutely work with a teen as the lead in his movie again.

    “There is no substitute for the very real, very unique, emotions of youth,” he said. “I think that's why audiences respond to coming-of-age stories — we are aware, especially later in life, of how fleeting those moments were. We'll never be the same age again and we'll never get those feelings back. When I look at Michael in the film I feel privileged to have captured, and preserved, those emotions on-screen.”

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider