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The latest news from Business Insider

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

    Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.

    APAC CAGR

    For example, almost half of US households now have a Prime membership, diminishing Amazon's growth potential in the country. Meanwhile, in China, the world's largest e-commerce market, nearly half of the population is actively making online purchases, leaving little room for growth. 

    However, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America are worth keeping an eye on. E-commerce penetration rates in these areas hover between 2-6%, presenting a huge opportunity for future growth as online sales gain traction. Moreover, these regions are expected to grow at compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 31%, 32%, and 16%, respectively, through 2021.

    This report compiles several e-commerce snapshots, which together highlight the most notable emerging markets in various regions. Each provides an overview of the e-commerce industry in a particular country, discusses influential retailers, and provides insights into the opportunities and challenges for that specific domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.
    • India is the clear overall leader in e-commerce potential, but countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America are also worth keeping an eye on. Within Southeast Asia, Indonesia shows the most promise for retailers, as the government is loosening restrictions on foreign investments, and its massive population is gaining spending power and more access to internet. Meanwhile, Mexico is a retailer's best bet for expansion in Latin America, due to its stable economy and rising middle class, but Brazil may be gearing up to steal the top spot.
    • However, doing business in these regions can be difficult. In most of these emerging markets, infrastructure is underdeveloped and the population is largely unbanked, making digital payments a challenge.
    • If retailers can build a brand presence in these markets while online shopping is still in its nascent stages, they may become market leaders as e-commerce takes off in the regions. Moreover, these markets could provide new sources of growth for companies that would otherwise stagnate in more mature e-commerce markets.

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the e-commerce industry in India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
    • Highlights the leading country in each region, as well as key e-commerce players there. 
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each region faces.
    • Gives insight into how these emerging markets may shape the future of e-commerce.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Amazon

    • Amazon customers are complaining about package delivery delays.
    • Many of the delays could be due to a tornado that ripped through an Amazon sortation center in Baltimore last week. The storm caused a 50-foot wall to collapse, killing two workers.
    • The company has also been clarifying that its two-day shipping promise ensures that customers will get their package two days from the time it's handed over to the carrier, not two days from the time of ordering.

    Amazon is facing a surge of customer complaints over delayed deliveries.

    "Why is @amazonprimenow all of a sudden taking 10 days?" Michelle Hennessy tweeted on Friday. "I pay for the subscription for guaranteed 2 days. This sucks..."

    Another person tweeted Friday: "Is it me or is @amazon Prime starting to slip in this whole 2 day delivery guarantee?"

    Amazon tweeted that the delays could be tied to severe weather that hit one of its sortation centers in Baltimore a week ago. A tornado in the area caused a 50-foot wall in the 4-year-old building to collapse, killing two workers.  

    "Severe weather caused damage to a sortation center on Friday evening," the company tweeted in response to several customer complaints. "Deliveries associated with this facility are experiencing delays. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to quickly resolve this issue!"

    The company has also been clarifying its two-day shipping promise in response to unhappy customers.

    Many customers believe Prime's two-day shipping promise means they will get their delivery in two days from the time of ordering.

    But the two-day window doesn't begin until the package is handed to the shipping carrier, Amazon says.

    This is a commonly misunderstood tenet of Amazon Prime's two-day shipping offer. 

    "Prime Two-Day Shipping refers to the transit time, in business days, once the item has shipped," the company tweeted Friday to several customers. 

     

    SEE ALSO: Amazon is launching a new delivery program and hiring thousands of drivers, with a warning against 'peeing in bottles'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Buffalo Wild Wings' Blazin' Wing Challenge requires a waiver before attempting


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    camp fire paradise home burned to ground nov 8 18


    The Camp Fire in northern California has spread so fast that five people were killed in their cars as flames overtook the vehicles. The blaze destroyed the entire town of Paradise, California, and has burned 70,000 acres in less than two days. As of Friday morning, it was just 5% contained.

    In the southern part of the state, meanwhile, areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties have been ordered to evacuate as flames from two fires threaten homes in Malibu, parts of Topanga, and Thousand Oaks (the same city where a gunman killed 12 people on Wednesday).

    malibu firefighter woolsey nov 9

    The blazes add to the immense tally of destruction in what was already a record-breaking year of fires in California. In July and August, the Mendocino Complex Fire burned nearly 460,000 acres, making it the state's biggest wildfire ever.

    According to an analysis from the nonprofit Climate Nexus, all of these large blazes are part of an unmistakable trend: 12 of the 15 biggest fires in California's history have occurred since the year 2000.

    california fires chart update november 9

    Between 1930 and 1999, there were only six fires that burned over 100,000 acres in California, according to Climate Nexus.

    The chart above ranks fires by acres burned, but when comparing the costs of wildfires, California's October 2017 fires rank at the top. Those blazes scorched grapevines across the state's wine country and triggered over $9 billion in losses.

    Larger blazes also mean an increase in fire-related expenditures. Climate Nexus calculated that in the 2017 fiscal year (which ended in October), California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spent a total of $505 million fighting fires. Twenty years ago, in 1997, the state spent only $47 million.

    Climate change is partially to blame for this trend — which means it will continue

    Because of rising temperatures and more drought, the average wildfire season now lasts at least 2 1/2 months longer than it did in the early 1970s. The amount of land that has burned in the western US since 1984 is double what would have been expected without the effects of climate change.

    Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown called the wildfires a "new normal" for California.

    "This could be something that happens every year or every few years," Brown said, per the Los Angeles Times.

    Carr Fire

    Indeed, California's 2018 Climate Change Assessment report estimates that the average area burned in wildfires will increase 77% by 2100 in a business-as-usual scenario (as in, if nothing is done to dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions).

    Although wildfires in the states used to be considered a seasonal risk — due to the state's rain-less summer and fall and strong Santa Anna winds — that is no longer the case.

    "Fire season is now year-round," Los Angeles County's official website says.

    SEE ALSO: An explosive wildfire is moving through a California city, and it's showing no signs of stopping — see photos from the scene

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A driver in Los Angeles filmed huge smoke rising from a growing brush fire


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    Image from iOS

    • On Friday, Facebook released a direct competitor to TikTok, called Lasso. 
    • Lasso is a social video app that caps posts to 15-seconds and lets creators add their favorite songs to play in the background. 
    • The features and design of Lasso are almost identical to TikTok. 
    • Facebook's new, standalone app is a direct target at the growing user base of TikTok, which in September was the most downloaded social app in the US. 

    Facebook has cloned another popular social app. And it's called Lasso. 

    The world's largest social network is essentially re-creating its own version of TikTok, the 15-second video app that's become increasingly popular in the US. In September, TikTok was the most downloaded social app in the US. 

    Read more: A viral video app you've probably never heard of had more downloads in September than Facebook, YouTube, or Snapchat

    Facebook's Lasso functions almost exactly the same as TikTok. Videos are capped at 15 seconds, and users can add their favorite tunes to play in the background. Facebook told Business Insider that users will be able to choose from millions of songs in its licensed catalog. 

    New videos are seemingly endless — just swipe up for more content to be served your way. As The Atlantic's Tayor Lorenz pointed out on Twitter, it appears that Facebook seeded content on Lasso with videos that were already on TikTok. 

    Reports of Lasso's creation were leaked by TechCrunch two weeks ago. 

    “It’s basically TikTok/Musically,"a source told TechCrunch in the report. "It’s full-screen, built for teens, fun and funny and focused on creation.”

    The rollout of Lasso on Friday was quiet, with no official statement from the company on its website. When asked about the new release by Business Insider, a Facebook spokesperson said: "We're excited about the potential here, and we'll be gathering feedback from people and creators.”

    Though Facebook seems to be playing it cool with the Lasso release, the company knows what's at stake. TikTok's fun layout and interactions have attracted the attention of a young demographic and as of June, the company said it had 500 million users worldwide. 

    Facebook is no stranger to cloning an app to kick out an incumbent. 

    Instagram Stories notoriously copied the ephemeral nature of Snapchat, and by June of this year, it had twice as many users (400 million). Interestingly, Facebook had launched its original Snapchat killer a standalone app called Slingshot — in June of 2014. By December 2015, however, Slingshot was no longer available in the App Store. 

    With the release of Lasso, the short-form video space is heating up. Just yesterday, Vine founder, Dom Hofmann, announced that his new 6.5-second looping video platform, byte, will launch in spring 2019. 

    SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg joined a private Facebook group for Harvard memes and group members are loving it

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How to train the last days before a marathon


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

    Edge computing solutions are key tools that help companies grapple with rising data volumes across industries. These types of solutions are critical in allowing companies to gain more control over the data their IoT devices create and in reducing their reliance on (and the costs of) cloud computing.

    edge popularity

    These systems are becoming more sought-after — 40% of companies that provide IoT solutions reported that edge computing came up more in discussion with customers in 2017 than the year before, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey. But companies need to know whether they should look into edge computing solutions, and what in particular they can hope to gain from shifting data processing and analysis from the cloud to the edge.

    There are three particular types of problems that edge computing solutions are helping to combat across industries:

    • Security issues. Edge computing can limit the exposure of critical data by minimizing how often it’s transmitted. Further, they pre-process data, so there’s less data to secure overall.
    • Access issues. These systems help to provide live insights regardless of whether there’s a network connection available, greatly expanding where companies and organizations can use connected devices and the data they generate.
    • Transmission efficiency. Edge computing solutions process data where it’s created so less needs to be sent to the cloud, leading to lower cloud storage requirements and reduced transmission cost.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how edge computing is reducing companies' reliance on cloud computing in three key industries: healthcare, telecommunications, and the automotive space. We explore how these systems mitigate issues in each sector by helping to efficiently process growing troves of data, expanding the potential realms of IoT solutions a company can offer, and bringing enhanced computing capability to remote and mobile platforms.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • In healthcare, companies and organizations are using edge computing to improve telemedicine and remote monitoring capabilities.
    • For telecommunications companies, edge computing is helping to reduce network congestion and enabling a shift toward the IoT platform market.
    • And in the automotive space, edge computing systems are enabling companies to increase the capabilities of connected cars and trucks and approach autonomy.

    In full, the report:

    • Explores the key advantages edge computing solutions can provide.
    • Highlights the circumstances when companies should look into edge systems.
    • Identifies key vendors and partners in specific industries while showcasing case studies of successful edge computing programs.

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

      This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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      And more!
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    toys r us store shopping

    • Though Black Friday became one of the biggest and busiest shopping days of the year, it hasn't always been that way.
    • Before it exploded into the national, post-Thanksgiving event we know today, it was reportedly a quirky tradition unique to Philadelphians.
    • And now, the holiday is experiencing more changes.
    • Here's the evolution of Black Friday, from its 19th-century namesake to the dying shopping phenomenon it is today.

    Black Friday has long been associated with turkey dinner and bargain-priced holiday shopping.

    It's turned into one of the most profitable days for retailers, who raked in $8 billion from Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales in 2017.

    But it wasn't always that way.

    Here's how Black Friday has evolved over the last two centuries.

    SEE ALSO: Photos show what 'Black Friday' looks like around the world

    DON'T MISS: 11 insider facts most Black Friday workers know — and you probably don't

    The day after Thanksgiving has long marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season, starting with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924.

    Source: Business Insider



    The behemoth retailer used the event as a living and breathing advertisement ahead of the holiday season.

    Source: Business Insider



    It helped cement the Friday after Thanksgiving as the ultimate holiday shopping day.

    Source: INSIDER



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Woolsey fire november 2018

    Flames are racing along the southern California coastline as firefighters work to contain the fast-moving Woolsey Fire. The blaze has already scorched 35,000 acres on the outskirts of Los Angeles. There was no containment of the Woolsey Fire as of late Friday night.

    Authorities downgraded the Hill Fire to 4,500 acres burned in Ventura County. Firefighters had reached 15% containment of that blaze late Friday.

    They're just two of thousands of California wildfires recorded this year. Meanwhile, to the north, the Camp Fire has killed at least nine people and leveled the entire town of Paradise.

    Both of the LA-area fires started Thursday afternoon, and though no deaths have been reported, many people have had to leave behind their beloved pets and homes and flee. 

    Here's a glimpse at the devastation in southern California so far.

    SEE ALSO: 3 dangerous fires are burning across California, and 5 people died in their cars as they tried to escape

    The beach city of Malibu is home to about 13,000 people. On Friday, as flames from the Woolsey Fire raced towards the coast, the entire town was forced to evacuate.



    Shortly after noon on Friday, the City of Malibu said on its website that the "fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu. All residents must evacuate immediately."

    Source: Business Insider



    Stars including Alyssa Milano, Melissa Etheridge, director Guillermo del Toro, and the Kardashian sisters all had to leave their homes in the area.

    Milano said she packed up her "kids, dogs, computer," and Doc Marten boots and headed for shelter.

    Sources: @Alyssa_Milano, @RealGDT, Business Insider, @metheridge



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Whitaker 3

    • Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker reportedly counseled top DOJ officials on how to counter President Donald Trump's demands for investigations into his political adversaries, while at the same time advising the White House on how it could force the DOJ to investigate those same claims.
    • In conversations with Trump, Whitaker is said to have cast himself as a staunch loyalist and promised he would "extract as much as he could from the Justice Department on the president's behalf."
    • Whitaker is now in charge of the Russia investigation and the special counsel Robert Mueller, and Friday's news is just the latest in a series of revelations that throw Whitaker's independence from the White House into question.

    In May, Matthew Whitaker, then the chief of staff to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was reportedly counseling top DOJ officials on how to counter President Donald Trump's fervent demands to investigate the baseless claim that the FBI "infiltrated or surveilled" his 2016 presidential campaign.

    At the same time, Whitaker was advising the White House on how to force the DOJ to investigate those very same claims.

    That's according to a new report from Vox, which said Whitaker presented himself as a sympathetic ear when Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein agreed that giving in to Trump's demands would amount to improperly politicizing the DOJ and the FBI.

    On the other hand, Vox reported, Whitaker was in talks with the White House about how Trump could best pressure Sessions and Rosenstein to cave.

    One person close to Whitaker told Vox that he was merely trying to calm the rising tensions between Trump and the nation's top law-enforcement officials.

    But two other sources told the outlet that when talking to the president, Whitaker cast himself as a staunch loyalist and promised he would "extract as much as he could from the Justice Department on the president's behalf." Whitaker also had several private phone calls with either Trump or the White House chief of staff John Kelly during this time.

    This week, Trump ousted Sessions and announced that Whitaker would take over as acting attorney general until Trump nominates and the Senate confirms a permanent replacement.

    Read more:'Seriously? This guy?': Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general has FBI and DOJ officials in a 'daze'

    donald trump

    The West Wing's 'eyes and ears' in the DOJ

    In his new role, Whitaker is now in charge of the Russia investigation and the special counsel Robert Mueller. Vox's report is just the latest in a series of revelations that throw Whitaker's independence into question.

    Once described as the West Wing's "eyes and ears" in the DOJ, Whitaker made the rounds on right-wing media over the last two years claiming without evidence, that there was "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    While he was Sessions' chief of staff, Whitaker reportedly met with Trump in the Oval Office over a dozen times. And according to The Washington Post, whenever Trump complained about the ongoing Russia investigation Whitaker "often smiled knowingly and nodded in assent."

    He also said in a CNN op-ed last year that Mueller had overstepped his mandate by digging into the Trump Organization's finances.

    And late Thursday, audio footage resurfaced of Whitaker claiming the "left is trying to sow this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the US election, which has been proven false. They did not have any impact in the election."

    The US intelligence community concluded last year that Russia mounted an elaborate campaign to meddle in the 2016 election to elevate Trump to the presidency. The assessment did not reach a conclusion about whether Russia's meddling had an impact on the results.

    In another recording reported on by Mother Jones, Whitaker said the president cannot obstruct justice and can kill any investigation he wants.

    The Post reported that despite Whitaker's controversial remarks about Mueller and the Russia probe, the acting attorney general has no plans to recuse himself, even if DOJ ethics officials urge him to do so. Sources also told The Post that Whitaker would likely oppose a request from Mueller to subpoena the president if it came down to it.

    Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump said he does not know Whitaker.

    But in an interview with Fox & Friends last month, Trump called Whitaker "a great guy," adding, "I mean, I know Matt Whitaker."

    SEE ALSO: 'Seriously? This guy?': Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general has FBI and DOJ officials in a 'daze'

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    twilio ceo jeff lawson

    • Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson announced that his company will commit $1 million to support homelessness programs.
    • This comes after 60 percent voted "yes" to San Francisco's homelessness measure "Prop C" on Tuesday, but this measure, which would bring the city $300 million in funding for homelessness programs, is likely to face legal disputes that could keep the funding on reserve for years.
    • Twilio previously did not take a position on Prop C, but Lawson says Prop C should motivate San Francisco business leaders to take action on homelessness.

    After San Franciscans voted "yes" on the hotly debated homelessness measure called "Prop C," Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson announced that his company will commit $1 million to support homelessness programs.

    Leading up to the election, the cloud communications company did not take a position on Proposition C. However, other tech giants in the city were especially vocal -- notably Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff who advocated for Prop C, and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, who spoke out against it.

    "As we thought about it, there were so much attack, so much personal attacks," Lawson told Business Insider. "To me, the biggest positive outcome [of Prop C] is kicking action on homelessness to the top of the leaders of the city's mind. Obviously we see the problem but there wasn't a lot of action on it."

    Lawson announced Twilio's commitment Thursday night at an event where he was honored as one of San Francisco Business Times' Most Admired CEOs. Earlier in the week, Lawson watched Twilio's stock soar 35% after delivering blockbuster quarterly financial results

    On Tuesday night, Prop C won 60 percent among San Francisco voters. But the measure is likely to face legal challenges in the coming months, so Lawson says he wants to make help contribute to the cause right now. 

    "Let's get it done," Lawson said. "Our thinking is how can we start funding initiatives that get the process for Prop C started? If there's a challenge before funds can be deployed, why don't we start now?"

    "This issue tore apart our cities"

    Twilio didn't take a position on Prop C ahead of the election because it didn't "feel like our voice would add anything." But now that it's passed and with legal challenges likely to come, business leaders can work on tackling this problem now, Lawson says.

    Right now, there's a legal dispute in the city on a measure to raise taxes on commercial rents to pay for child care services and early education, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A coalition of commercial property owners sued the city in August, saying that a simple majority vote is not enough to pass this measure and it violates state law — instead, it should be a two-thirds majority, they said.

    This could also potentially affect Prop C, so the city won't spend the money until this legal dispute is resolved. The massive flow of cash from this measure — $300 million a year — for homelessness programs may sit on reserve for years.

    Read more: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on his Twitter beef with Jack Dorsey: You're either 'for the homeless' or 'you’re for yourself'

    Lawson hopes to get other business leaders on board.

    "After this election, we've come together to say we're going to address the homelessness crisis," Lawson told Business Insider. "As I was thinking about it, this issue tore apart our cities in a lot of ways. This was a difficult proposition. It's time to come together."

    Although the company hasn't decided exactly where the donation will go, Twilio.org, Twilio's social impact arm, is currently evaluating options and will provide updates in the following weeks.

    "We've seen several organizations in San Francisco fighting homelessness," Erin Reilly, VP of Social Impact at Twilio, told Business Insider. "We are looking at how we can support with technology, funding, and time and help folks who live in the city. Now is the time we're coming together to fight homelessness."

    Below is Lawson's Tweet about Twilio's commitment.

     

    SEE ALSO: $1.9 billion big data company Talend is acquiring a Philadelphia-based startup for $60 million to give it leverage in the cloud wars

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why you shouldn't be afraid to fly, according to a pilot with over 20 years of experience


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    US Navy Air Force Japan Keen Sword

    • The US and Japan were joined by Canadian forces for Keen Sword 19, which ended this week.
    • The exercise was the biggest and most sophisticated the US and Japan have carried out.
    • It comes amid growing tension with China in the seas and airspace of East Asia.

    US and Japanese forces this week wrapped up exercise Keen Sword 19, which the US 7th Fleet commander called the "largest and most complex" field exercise conducted by the two longtime allies.

    This year's exercise, in which Canadian forces also took part, featured air, maritime, and amphibious exercises involving dozens of US and Japanese ships and hundreds of aircraft.

    About one-fifth of Japan's Self-Defense Force — some 47,000 troops — worked with 10,000 US service members. Canada also sent two ships and personnel. In all, this year's Keen Sword included about 11,000 more troops than the last edition of the biennial exercise.

    This year's Keen Sword comes amid heightened tensions with China, whose forces have had several close encounters in recent weeks with the US Navy in the South China Sea, where China has made expansive territorial claims.

    US Navy Los Angeles-class submarine Japan Keen Sword

    Beijing and Tokyo are also involved in disputes in the East China Sea, where both navies have been more active.

    Japan has taken a number of steps to increase its military capacities in recent years.

    This spring, it activated an amphibious brigade, its first such unit since World War II, which is also taking part in its first Keen Sword. Other recent firsts for Japan's military include deploying armored vehicles abroad for the first time and its first exercises in Japan with Britain.

    Read also:The US military's top officer says Russia and China present different challenges — but they both can rival US power

    The amphibious brigade was set up with the defense of Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea in mind. China has also claimed those islands, which are uninhabited and called the Senkaku Islands by Japan and the Diaoyu Islands by China.

    During Keen Sword the JSDF amphibious unit conducted landing on beaches near the islands of Guam and Tinian, east of Japan, working with members of the US 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

    US Navy aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan E-2D Hawkeye Keen Sword

    Earlier this year, Japan criticized China for sailing a submarine close to the islands in the East China Sea, and in August Chinese warships conducted air-defense and anti-missile live-fire exercise in the East China Sea. Japan also recently did submarine exercises in the South China Sea for the first time.

    Submarine activity in the South and East China seas has increased in recent years, led by China's rapid addition of more advanced subs. Keen Sword 19 also included submarine and anti-submarine-warfare exercises.

    Submarine Group 7 command staff, based in Yokosuka, Japan, and the crew of a US Navy Los Angeles-class attack sub trained with their Japanese counterparts on land and at sea to practice detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging enemy targets, according to a Navy release.

    The Yokosuka-based USS Ronald Reagan, the Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, also took part in Keen Sword's anti-submarine-warfare drills.

    US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules paratrooper Japan Keen Sword

    During the first weekend of November, F-18 Super Hornets were taking off the Reagan about once every minute to practice sortieing and to support the ASW drills.

    "We go out there. We work with the Japanese and they tell us what the problem is, where to go and what to search for," Naval Air Crewman 3rd Class Ronald Pierpoint said in a Navy release. "It helps us grease our gears working with real submarines and, at the end of the day, we go over our training to get better and better."

    Now read:After some touch-ups, the Air Force's biggest plane is ready to soar for decades, but the service has other transport problems to solve

    Commander, Task Force 72, the Navy maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft within the 7th Fleet, was also present. CTF-72 carried out 13 flights with both P-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon — the latter of which is considered one of the most advanced maritime patrol aircraft in service — to support maritime drills during Keen Sword.

    “Creating a positive relationship with 7th Fleet [anti-submarine warfare] communities is extremely important," Lt. j.g. Conner Ferguson, the plans and exercises officer for one of the patrol squadrons taking part, said in a release.

    US Air Force Japan paratrooper Keen Sword C-130J Super Hercules

    Also over the weekend, two US Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft flew from their base near Tokyo to southern Japan with US Army paratroopers to pick up JSDF paratroopers for a practice jump.

    The exercise was to simulate inserting troops to an area without an airfield, one of the Air Force loadmasters involved told Stars and Stripes. The exercise was the first time that a US aircraft dropped JSDF soldiers over the Hiju-dai drop zone in Japan's Oita prefecture, on the northern coast of Japan's Kyushu Island.

    "We don’t always get the opportunity to drop Japanese forces,"said Capt. Jeff Larkin, the unit commander, calling the drill "another exciting moment for us because we can fly in an atypical environment."

    "They jumped safely and accurately," US Army Master Sgt. Nathan Greer, a US Army Alaska jump master overseeing the jump, said of the JSDF troops involved. "This is most important thing for jumpers, and they were professionals during the airborne operation."

    US Army paratrooper Japan Keen Sword

    US Air Force pilots based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa also participated, practicing command and control, aerial refueling, air defense, and escort operations.

    Working with Japanese fliers was not a new experience for those US pilots, but last-minute changes to the exercises they were conducting helped enhance the training effect, Lt. Col. Nichelle Somers, a KC-135 pilot instructor, told Air Force Magazine.

    The exercises forced pilots to plan and fly the same way they would if they were in Iraq or Afghanistan, Somers said.

    "These exercises are key because this is what keeps us ready to 'fight tonight,'" Somers added.

    SEE ALSO: The US military's top officer says Russia and China present different challenges — but they both can rival US power

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Japan is landing hopping robots on an asteroid


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    iphone x

    • On Friday, Apple announced that two of its products — the iPhone X and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) — have known hardware issues.
    • Apple said that some iPhone X screens do not respond or intermittently respond to touch.
    • For the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple said some devices might have an issue that causes data loss or drive failure.
    • Customers with eligible devices can have both issues fixed for free at an Apple retail store or with an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

    On Friday, Apple announced that two of its products — the iPhone X and the 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) — have known hardware issues. Bloomberg first reported on these issues after being posted on Apple's support pages on Friday.

    Apple said that on some iPhone X devices, display screens are experiencing touch issues. Those issues include:

    • The screen, or part of the screen, does not respond or responds intermittently to a user's touch.
    • The screen reacts even when a user hasn't touched it.

    The company said users with eligible iPhone X devices can have their display modules replaced for free at one of its retail stores or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

    According to the Bloomberg report, iPhone X users had been complaining about touch issues online for months. Also, interestingly, the iPhone X was on the market for less than one year after being discontinued in September following the release of the iPhone XS and iPhone XR.

    A similar touchscreen issue crept up in 2016 with the iPhone 6 Plus. To repair the problem back then, however, Apple charged it's customers $149.

    Read more:Apple just announced it will fix iPhones with Touch Disease for $149

    Apple also confirmed that its 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) sold between June 2017 and June 2018 might have an issue that causes data loss or drive failure.

    The company said affected laptops could be serviced at one of its retail locations or an Apple Authorized Service Provider for free as well. To know if your MacBook Pro needs to be serviced, you'll need to enter your device's serial number on Apple's support page.

    Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

    SEE ALSO: The 6 biggest differences you need to know about when switching from an older iPhone to the iPhone XS Max

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    Moderna President Dr. Stephen Hoge

    • Moderna Therapeutics, a buzzy startup with a $7 billion private valuation, filed paperwork on Friday to go public. 
    • According to a regulatory filing, Moderna President Dr. Stephen Hoge has a compensation package worth almost $24 million, rivaling the paychecks of some of big pharma's most high-profile CEOs. 

    One of the highest valued private companies in biotech is finally going public. 

    Moderna Therapeutics, a company developing treatments based on messenger RNA, has racked up a private valuation of $7 billion. On Friday, it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public and raise $500 million. 

    Read more: A biotech unicorn valued at more than $7 billion just took a big step towards going public

    Among the disclosures in Moderna's S-1 filing was the compensation for some of the company's top executives. 

    Noticeably, Moderna's president, Dr. Stephen Hoge, had a compensation package worth almost $24 million in 2017, according to the filing. That included a salary of $542,308, a $4,400,000 bonus, and $19,000,000 in stock options. 

    In comparison, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel made $6.8 million in 2017, while Moderna CFO Dr. Lorence Kim made $9.3 million. 

    Hoge, 42, joined Moderna in 2013 and became president in 2015. Hoge got his MD at the University of California, San Francisco and worked at McKinsey & Co. from 2005 to 2012. 

    Hoge's compensation package rivals the paychecks of CEOs like Pfizer's Ian Read, who made $27.9 million in 2017 and Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer, who made $26.5 million that year. 

    Zach Tracer contributed reporting. 

    See also: 

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    Tucker Carlson

    • Fox News reportedly made the "conscious decision" to refrain from tweeting following an activist group's protest that erupted at the home of Fox News opinion host, Tucker Carlson.
    • The news organization, which has over 18 million Twitter followers, had gone silent for more than 24 hours as of Friday.
    • Fox News sources reportedly told a Tribune Media employee the company is engaging in a silent protest due to Twitter's response to users who were posting Carlson's home address on the social media platform.
    • Facebook, which Fox News continues to publish stories from, is said to have responded promptly after being alerted.
    • It is not unclear when Fox News will begin tweeting again.

    Fox News reportedly made the "conscious decision" to refrain from tweeting following a protest that erupted on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's doorstep on Wednesday night.

    Around a dozen protesters aligned with the self-described anti-fascist group "Smash Racism DC" showed up at Carlson's home in Washington, DC, nearly two hours before the opinion-show host's 8 p.m. program on Fox News. While some of the demonstrators chanted slogans on the street in front of Carlson's home, at least one showed up at his doorstep.

    Carlson, who was at work at the time, claimed that his wife was home when a protester allegedly threw "himself against the front door and actually cracked the front door," according to The Washington Post. Police reportedly confirmed that members of the group also spray-painted an anarchy symbol on the driveway, and left signs on vehicles.

    A source at Fox News explained that the protests at Carlson's home, which Carlson described as "a threat," was the reason the company has refrained from tweeting for more than 24 hours as of Friday, according to a Mediaite report.

    twitter phone

    Another Fox News source cited by a Tribune Media content manager Scott Gustin reportedly said the decision not to tweet came from "the highest level" of the company.

    The hiatus is said to be a protest of Twitter's response to complaints that users were posting Carlson's home address online.

    Twitter's technical support function is believed to have advised the news organization to submit a ticket request and did not delete tweets containing Carlson's address, Gustin said.

    Facebook, which Fox News continues to publish stories from, reportedly responded promptly after being alerted.

    It is unclear when Fox News will begin tweeting again, but Gustin's source reportedly explained that the company will continue its self-imposed exile until Twitter apologizes and removes the offending tweets.

    Twitter and other social media companies have been criticized for not acting more decisively in regulating user content. Critics have alleged that unregulated content from fringe political groups and users promotes fake news, hate speech, or other harmful messages.

    Fox News representatives declined to comment to Business Insider on the matter. Twitter did not respond to numerous requests for comment as of Friday night.

    Read more: Twitter dropped the hammer on Alex Jones and permanently kicked him off its service

    Videos of the demonstration at Carlson's home were uploaded on the group's Twitter account but were later deleted.

    "Racist scumbag, leave town," the protesters chanted in the video.

    "We want you to know, we know where you sleep at night," a protestors said on a loudspeaker. "Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!"

    Journalists and media personalities from other networks have widely condemned the protest.

    fox news

    "Fighting Tucker Carlson's ideas is an American right," comedian Stephen Colbert tweeted on Thursday. "Targeting his home and terrorizing his family is an act of monstrous cowardice. Obviously don't do this, but also, take no pleasure in it happening. Feeding monsters just makes more monsters."

    Fox News' CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace reportedly issued a joint statement denouncing the protest.

    "The incident that took place at Tucker's home last night was reprehensible," the two executives said. "The violent threats and intimidation tactics toward him and his family are completely unacceptable. We as a nation have become far too intolerant of different points of view."

    "Recent events across our country clearly highlight the need for a more civil, respectful, and inclusive national conversation," they added. "Those of us in the media and in politics bear a special obligation to all Americans, to find common ground."

    The same group confronted Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and his wife at a DC restaurant in October, amid the fallout from Justice Brett Kavanaugh's contentious confirmation hearings.

    Carlson did not appear for his nightly program on Friday. Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade stood in for him instead.

    "For every masked lunatic in front of my house, there have been a hundred people, some of whom I don't agree with politically, calling or sending texts of support and kindness," Carlson said to Kilmeade during a phone interview.

    "And it's just a reminder of what a really nice country it is."

    SEE ALSO: 'Beto is way hotter than you, dude': Ted Cruz and his wife leave restaurant after being heckled

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    Woolsey Fire

    • California is dealing with several dangerous wildfires. The Woolsey and Hill fires are burning on the outskirts of LA, and the Camp Fire in northern California destroyed an entire town in less than a day.
    • The flames are being fueled by dry, hot conditions as well as strong winds.
    • People in San Francisco, more than 170 miles from the Camp Fire, woke up to a hazy sky and extremely poor air quality.
    • Another small brush fire started Friday morning near the Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park, and quickly scorched three acres.
    • California wildfires are becoming so frequent and pervasive that officials there say there's almost no need for the term "wildfire season" anymore.

    Three dangerous wildfires are raging in California.

    The Camp Fire, in northern California, started Thursday morning and quickly charred the entire town of Paradise, which is home to 27,000. The flames grew so fast — a pace of 80 football fields per minute— that four people were burned to death in their cars, the Butte County sheriff Korey Honea told the Associated Press. One deceased person was found near a vehicle.

    According to the sheriff, the department has received 35 missing persons reports. So far, at least nine people have died as a result of the Camp Fire. In addition to those found in or near a vehicle, one person was found inside a home.

    As of 6:00 p.m. PT, fire officials said the blaze had burned 90,000 acres in just over 24 hours, and was 5% contained.

    More than 6,700 structures were destroyed. It is now considered the most destructive wildfire in California history in terms of the number of structures destroyed.

    To the south, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, two smaller fires also started Thursday and are now creating havoc for drivers and forcing homeowners to flee. The Woolsey and Hill Fires are burning through parts of Ventura and LA counties. The flames have threatened the homes of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and shut down stretches of the 101 freeway.

    Inside the city limits of LA, another smaller fire broke out Friday morning in Griffith Park near the zoo. Firefighters there are scrambling to reach the area by helicopter, since it's not accessible by truck.

    Southern California fire officials say the flames have burned at least 150 homes. They say that number is likely to increase.

    Already this year, 7,578 fires have burned across California, fueled by hot, dry conditions and aggressive winds.

    Camp Fire claims at least 9 lives

    The Camp Fire started about 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. So far, more than 6,700 structures have burned and thousands more are threatened.

    According to the Butte County sheriff's office, five of the people whose deaths have been confirmed were found near Edgewood Lane in Paradise, California, in or near "vehicles that were overcome by the Camp Fire." The sheriff's office was not yet able to identify those victims because of their burn injuries. Other residents ran from the fire, the Sacramento Bee reported.

    camp fire burns down paradise, CA nov 8 18

    California Acting Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County because of the Camp Fire Thursday, and sent a letter to President Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asking for federal assistance.

    Smoke from that fire is blanketing wide swaths of Northern California in a gray haze. On Friday morning, people in San Francisco woke up to the smell of smoke and poor air quality, and some donned masks to protect their lungs.

    Federal air monitors have suggested that older adults, children, teens, and people with heart and lung conditions should limit their time outside because of the high number of dangerously small pollutants in the air. The air in San Francisco right now is as bad as Beijing, CBS reported.

    san francisco smoke butte camp fire california 2018

    The Hill and Woolsey Fires are growing in Ventura and LA counties

    Late Friday night, fire officials downgraded the Hill Fire to 4,500 acres burned in Ventura County, and mandatory evacuation orders are in place for people at the Point Mugu Naval Base and California State University Channel Islands, among other areas. The blaze was 15% contained as of 8:12 p.m. local time on Friday.

    The Woolsey Fire (the one that forced Kim and Kourtney Kardashian out of their homes) has charred 35,000 acres, the AP reported Friday evening, and the LA County Fire Department said the blaze was still 0% contained as of 5:45 p.m. PT on Friday. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in areas including Malibu, Topanga, and Thousand Oaks (the same city where a mass shooter killed 12 people on Wednesday), the LA Times reported.

    woolsey fire nov 9

    "Imminent threat! Malibu lakes residents must leave area immediately," the LA County fire department wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

    Shortly after noon on Friday, the City of Malibu said on its website that the "fire is now burning out of control and heading into populated areas of Malibu. All residents must evacuate immediately."LA County Sheriff's Deputies were knocking on doors there, telling everyone in the star-studded beach town to get out.

    You can view the full evacuation orders on the Ventura County Emergency Information site and the LA County Woolsey Fire site.

    malibu woolsey fire nov 9 18

    So far, there are no reported injuries or deaths from either of the Southern California fires. But as a result of the blazes, 250,000 people in Ventura and LA counties had been evacuated as of Friday night, the Times said.

    By Friday evening, about 75% of the Ventura County city of Thousand Oaks had been abandoned, fire officials said according to the Associated Press.

    Firefighters are racing to keep flames from charring people's homes, but as the LA Fire Department's Eric Scott pointed out on Twitter, some houses are better protected than others, since green vegetation can help keep flames back.

    On Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the two fires broke out, acting Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

    Read More: A California wildfire just demolished an entire town and forced the Kardashians to evacuate. Here’s why wildfire season is getting longer and stronger.

    woolsey fire la ventura counties nov 9 18

    The fires have forced the 101 freeway to shut down in a couple different areas. In Ventura County, a nine-mile southbound stretch from Wendy Drive to Lewis Road where the Hill Fire raged, was closed. In LA County, a section of the freeway from the Mulholland Drive/Valley Circle Boulevard exit to Reyes Adobe Road was closed to traffic both ways after flames from the Woolsey Fire jumped across the highway.

    Many of the Ventura County public schools closed on Friday, as well as Pepperdine University, Moorpark Community College, California State University Channel Islands, and Cal Lutheran University.

    woolsey fire boats in malibu nov 9

    Wildfire "season," in California used to run from late summer through the fall, since autumn's Santa Ana winds help blow flames around. But as the planet heats up, unseasonably high temperatures and drought conditions are becoming more common. So fire officials in the state are succumbing to the idea that fires may not be limited to any specific season anymore.

    This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

    SEE ALSO: A California wildfire just demolished an entire town and forced the Kardashians to evacuate. Here’s why wildfire season is getting longer and stronger.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Mobility Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

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

    In full, the report:

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

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

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    meng hongwei interpol.JPG

    • Meng Hongwei, the Chinese president of Interpol, disappeared after traveling to China in late September.
    • China acknowledged on October 7 that it had detained Meng and was investigating him over bribery allegations. Interpol said it received his resignation that same day.
    • Beijing has gone silent since then.
    • Interpol said organization rules forbade an investigation into Meng's disappearance.
    • Meng's wife, Grace, said her husband's disappearance was "political persecution" and that she wasn't sure he was alive.

    It's been more than a month since Beijing confirmed that the vanished Interpol president had been detained in China, and we're no closer to knowing what happened.

    Meng Hongwei disappeared after traveling to China on September 29. Beijing broke its silence over the matter a week later, on October 7, saying that it had detained him and was investigating him over bribery allegations.

    That same day Interpol said it received Meng's resignation— without specifying the source — and accepted it "with immediate effect."

    Jürgen Stock, Interpol's secretary-general, told reporters on Thursday that "there was no reason for me to (suspect) that anything was forced or wrong" about the resignation.

    meng hongwei interpol

    Details of China's allegations against Meng remain unclear. His detention appears to be part of a wider "anti-corruption drive" led by President Xi Jinping since his ascendancy to the Chinese leadership.

    Activists at Human Rights Watch believe Meng is kept under a form of secret detention called liuzhi (留置), where the person is held incommunicado without access to lawyers or relatives for up to six months.

    Sophie Richardson, the organization's China director, told Business Insider that "we assume but cannot confirm" that.

    meng hongwei wife grace meng

    The wife's fight

    Meng's wife, Grace, repeatedly denied China's corruption charges and claimed that her husband's disappearance was "political persecution."

    She told the BBC last month: "I'm not sure he's alive. They are cruel. They are dirty," she added, referring to China's tactics to silence people.

    Read more: The Interpol chief who vanished in China is feared dead after even his wife hasn't heard from him in weeks

    Grace Meng added that she received a threatening phone call shortly after Meng's disappearance, in which a man speaking in Chinese warned her not to speak out.

    Reuters reported last week that Meng had retained two law firms in London and Paris to track down her husband. Business Insider contacted the two firms for comment on Meng's next steps.

    Below is the last text Grace Meng received from her husband on September 25. It says in Chinese: "Wait for my call," followed by a knife emoji — a possible warning that he was in danger.

    meng hongwei grace knife screenshot

    Interpol says it can't investigate, but is "strongly encouraging" China to speak out

    The international police organization, where Meng was elected president in 2016, has not provided much clarity either.

    It has not released a public statement since October 7, when it acknowledged Meng's resignation and has not responded to Business Insider's request for comment.

    Stock, Interpol's secretary-general, said on Thursday that the organization's rules forbade him from investigating Meng's disappearance.

    "We are not an investigative body," he said, according to the Associated Press. He added that "we are strongly encouraging China" to provide details of Meng's whereabouts.

    guo wengui gerard collomb jurgen stock princes charles

    Richardson of Human Rights Watch told Business Insider: "If President Xi was even remotely serious about the rule of law, Meng would be guaranteed fair trial rights, but that is highly unlikely to happen given the profound politicization of China's legal system."

    Rights groups protested Meng's election to the Interpol presidency at the time, citing his previous work at China's ministry of public security in Xinjiang and Tibet. The two regions are home to the country's Uighur and Tibetan ethnic minorities, who Beijing has attempted to muzzle.

    During Meng's tenure, China submitted multiple "red notices"— Interpol arrest warrants — for dissidents around the world.

    Read more: Barging into your home, threatening your family, or making you disappear: Here's what China does to people who speak out against them

    Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the 86th INTERPOL General Assembly at Beijing National Convention Center on September 26, 2017 in Beijing, China.  REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool

    Roderic Wye, an associate fellow at Chatham House and former first secretary in the British Embassy in Beijing, told Business Insider last month that public disappearances were not unusual in China, especially in politics.

    "It is often a sign that someone has got into trouble if they fail to appear in public doing their normal duties for a period of time," he said.

    Earlier this year Chinese authorities publicly disappeared prominent Chinese actress Fan Bingbing for three months after she was accused of evading taxes.

    Read more: The humbling of Fan Bingbing is a warning shot from China to anyone who thinks they can defy them

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    theresa may nhs

    • Exclusive: The Brexit department said there could be medicine shortages in a no deal Brexit in an "alarming" meeting with pharmaceutical and medical industry representatives last month.
    • In the meeting, DExEU civil servants said some medicines might not be available to patients if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal in March.
    • The meeting took place two weeks before health organisations sent a letter to Theresa May's government expressing concern that the risk of medicine shortages in a no deal Brexit is "red."
    • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has asked private companies to help stockpile medicines.

    LONDON — Theresa May's government refused to rule out medicine shortages under a no deal Brexit during a confidential meeting with shocked medical industry representatives last month, Business Insider can reveal.

    Around two dozen representatives from the medical and pharmaceutical industry were told by civil servants from the Department for Exiting the European Union, that ministers could not guarantee that all medicines currently provided by the NHS will be available to patients in the event of there being no Brexit deal.

    "They aren't guaranteeing against medicine shortages in a no deal — it's pretty alarming stuff," an industry figure who attended the meeting on the week of October 15 told BI.

    "The government rep stuck to the line that if all stakeholders do what is required, then they believe that patients will be protected. But they weren't able to guarantee that every treatment on the NHS will be protected."

    There is a growing concern among pharmaceutical firms and charities that the UK government is underprepared for the prospect of leaving the European Union with no deal in March 2019.

    Last week, a group of health organisations — including the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry and Brexit Health Alliance — wrote to the government expressing concern that preparations for maintaining drug supplies in a no deal Brexit were so behind that the risk level ought to be "red," the most severe, Politico revealed.

    The letter said the health groups "do not believe that the current medicine supply plans will suffice" and that the UK "will have widespread shortages" in a no deal Brexit "if we do not respond urgently."

    The government has advised pharmaceutical companies to stockpile six week's worth of medicines as part of no-deal planning. However, industry figures are concerned about medicines which require special conditions like cool temperatures, and medicines with shorter shelf-lives that cannot be stockpiled and may have to be flown in.

    Martin Sawer, Executive Director at Healthcare Distribution Association, told MPs last month that it would take "more than a year" to build large cold chain (temperature-controlled) warehouses, while Brexit is five months away.

    Pharmaceutical companies are working with the government to scope airline capacity for getting these drugs to the UK in the event of a no-deal, but are worried about being in competition with other industries, like food.

    A government spokesperson told BI: "The Government is confident of reaching a deal with the EU that benefits patients and the NHS. However, as a responsible Government we are also preparing for a range of potential outcomes in the unlikely event of a no deal. 

    "As part of our contingency planning, we continue to work closely with pharmaceutical companies and storage providers to ensure the continued supply of critical drug and medicine supplies."

    'The honest answer is we don't know'

    prescription-pills-medicine-in-handJane Summerfield — who leads the UK's life sciences commercial regulatory practice — told BI this week that the government was "still working out" how much capacity was needed to stockpile medicines, and how to do it.

    "They're far enough down that process to know that additional capacity is needed, and actions are ongoing to identify warehousing on both sides of the channel, but there isn't much information coming out to actually answer that question. The honest answer is we don't know," Summerfield said.

    She explained that while some medicines can be stockpiled for six weeks as the government has recommended, other "very complex" medicines cannot, and could be in short supply if there is no Brexit deal in five months time.

    "If it is a medicine like gene therapy, you can't just stockpile, that's not how the product works. If it's cold chain (temperature-controlled) storage, you don't necessarily have the right capacity and conditions to do that.

    "Some have a very short shelf life. So warehousing works for some clients but others are finding it really difficult."

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock told ITV's Robert Peston this week that the government was building extra "refrigeration capacity" for stockpiling medicines which require cool temperatures to prepare for no deal.

    Hancock also revealed last month that he has invited private companies to provide additional storage. "We have issued today an invitation to tender for additional storage capacity,"the minister told MPs

    Another issue facing pharmaceutical companies is the costly and time-consuming customs checks that would emerge on the UK-EU border if there is no Brexit deal next year.

    Aline Doussin, a trade lawyer advising firms on Brexit planning, told BI that "at this stage, there are no solutions to the customs issues" facing pharmaceutical companies in a no deal scenario.

    "That [customs] is the question that even us as trade lawyers cannot answer," Doussin said.

    "We have told clients to get a certified trusted trade scheme that puts them in the priority queue to get their products moving faster across customs borders. But that's the only mitigating point from a UK perspective."

    Doussin added that HMRC "can hire customs officials and do as much as it can to make sure goods enter the UK easily" but ultimately EU member states are obliged to implement EU law at their borders.

    "If you talk to the French, for instance, they say 'Brexit for us, it's not our issue. Why should we issue so meant customs officials when we are trying to decrease public service cost?" she said.

    SEE ALSO: Theresa May fails to block court case that could allow the UK to reverse Brexit

    DON'T MISS: Former UK civil service chief backs a People's Vote to stop Brexit 'catastrophe'

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    avocado

    • Catching an avocado in its fleeting window of ripeness is notoriously difficult.
    • Whether an avo will even soften at all depends on whether it was picked from the tree at the right point.
    • There are ways to ensure the avocado you choose will ultimately ripen into a perfect one, though.
    • You can also speed up the ripening process.

    As delicious as they are, avocados are notoriously temperamental fruits.

    It's no secret that catching your avo in its small window of ripeness is extremely difficult — and there's nothing worse than find one that's too hard, or mushy and brown.

    Then there are the avocados which seem never to soften at all, and you reluctantly end up eating the hard yet watery green flesh atop your toast.

    Many people believe they have ways to hack the system — popping your avocado in the fridge to stop it ripening too soon, or placing in the oven on a low heat to speed up the softening process, for example — but how much can we really do? Does finding a perfect avocado really come down to pure luck?

    As it turns out, there are certain things to look out for in the supermarket to ensure the avocado you take home will ripen perfectly.

    First, however, it's useful to know the science behind how avocados ripen.

    How avocados ripen

    Avocados don't actually ripen while on the tree — it's not until they're picked that the flesh will start to soften. However, it's important that the millennial staple is picked at just the right moment.

    "The fruit does not ripen while attached to the tree, even when physiologically mature, because of an inhibitor in the fruit stem," Kantha Shelke, a food and nutrition scientist and member of the Institute of Food Technologists, explained to HuffPost.

    "It appears to be nature's way of protecting the fruit from damage from high temperatures. Even exposing the fruits on the tree to ethylene [the hormone released by fruits and vegetables as they ripen] gas will not ripen it."

    Read more: There's a restaurant in Brooklyn that serves all avocados — we tried it

    It's only once an avocado has been picked that it will start to soften, but it needs to stay on the tree long enough to ensure it has the right balance of oil and dry matter, which means it's imperative that the fleshy fruit isn't taken from the tree too early.

    If an avocado is picked too soon, it will never soften, will remain hard and watery, and your brunch will be ruined. 

    How to pick a perfect avocado

    There are a number of tricks you can use to ensure you choose a winning avocado, according to HuffPost:

    1. Give the fruit a gentle shake — if the seed rattles, the avocado should ripen quickly.
    2. Avoid avocados with loose skin.
    3. Steer clear of fruits that appear to be going bad at the stem end.
    4. Look for a classic pear shape.
    5. Avoid fruits that are softer in patches, as these are likely bruises.
    6. Don't worry about blemishes or marks on the skin, though.
    7. Give it a gentle squeeze — if it slightly yields to pressure, it's like to be ripe. If it's very firm, it's not ready, and if it feels very soft, it's overripe.

    Once you've selected your avocado and taken it home you'll know it's ready to eat when you remove the stem cap and underneath is green (if it's brown, it's overripe. Sorry).

    How to speed up the ripening process

    If you bought your avocado on Wednesday but by Friday it's still on the firm side, fear not: there is a way you can ripen up your avo for the weekend, according to HuffPost.

    All you need to do is place the avocado in a brown paper bag or sealed container alongside other fruits which produce ethylene, such as apples and bananas.

    Don't bother heating the avocado in the hope of it ripening, though. It apparently won't work.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This London restaurant only serves avocado dishes — here are some of the best


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    Tiny Home Jackson Hole Homeaway

    • Tiny houses are becoming increasingly popular around the world; their novelty makes for a unique vacation stay.
    • We teamed up with HomeAway to find some of the coolest tiny-home rentals around the world.
    • From a circus car in Germany to a cabin in Wyoming, one of these tiny homes could be your next getaway.

    Looking for something a little more novel than a traditional hotel or the tried-and-true Airbnb for your next vacation? Consider a tiny home.

    Living miniature, defined as residing in a space less than 600 square feet, has turned into a worldwide movement. The global tiny homes market is expected to increase by 7% over the next four years. 

    But you don't need to live in a tiny home to see what all the fuss is about. 

    We teamed up with HomeAway to find some of the coolest tiny home rentals on HomeAway and VRBO around the world, from a charming circus car in Germany to a luxury cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and ranked them by cost per night.

    Which one will be home to your future getaway?

    SEE ALSO: Here's what living in a tiny house is really like, according to people who traded their homes for minimalism

    DON'T MISS: See inside the 15 most expensive penthouses for sale in America

    Somerset, California — $72 per night



    An eco-friendly, off-the-grid tiny home that runs completely on solar power, this award-winning tiny home has a private deck and prime proximity to 50 vineyards.

    See the listing »



    Homer, Alaska — $76 per night



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mercedes Benz AMG GT S

    • A car insurance premium is the rate an owner pays to activate an insurance policy, which protects them against accidents, damages, stolen vehicles, and other incidents. 
    • The car insurance website Insure.com compared car insurance rates of more than 3,600 vehicle models across all 50 states to find out which cars are the most expensive and least expensive ones to insure.
    • The most expensive cars to insure are Mercedes-Benz models. Mercedes-Benz cars took up the top three spots in the "most expensive" list, and they ended up being included in just under half of the 20 spots.

    Car insurance premiums are important pieces of data for any prospective purchaser. A car insurance premium is the rate an owner pays to activate an insurance policy that protects them against accidents, damages, stolen vehicles, and other incidents. 

    The car insurance website Insure.com compared car insurance rates of more than 3,600 vehicle models across all 50 states to find out which cars are the most expensive and least expensive ones to insure. The study included using quotes from six different insurance companies and averaging these premium numbers to get a comprehensive score set. 

    Read more:Tesla is outselling many of its luxury rivals, but it still lags behind Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus

    The most expensive cars to insure are Mercedes-Benz models. Mercedes-Benz cars took up the top three spots in the "most expensive" list, and they ended up being included in just under half of the 20 spots.

    The main contributor to their high insurance rate is the fact that these are high-end luxury cars that carry a bunch of trendy features that are often difficult to repair following an accident. 

    Aside from being luxurious, another feature that can make a car model expensive to insure is if it lacks a roof. Four convertibles made the list.

    "Convertibles are usually more expensive than a hardtop version and they are also more prone to theft and vandalism (it’s pretty easy to cut a soft top), which leads to more claims and higher premiums," Mark Valet at Insure.com writes

    Take a look at the 20 most expensive cars to insure, below:  

    SEE ALSO: The 11 new cars people most regularly ditch after just one year of ownership

    FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

    20. BMW 750l: $3,222 average premium



    19. Jaguar F-Type SVR: $3,2229 average premium



    18. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: $3,299 average premium



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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