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The latest news from Business Insider

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    Theresa May Brexit deal

    • The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice says the UK can reverse Brexit without the consent of other member states.
    • The advice is part of a legal case which will decide whether the UK could revoke Article 50, the legal mechanism which kickstarted the Brexit process.
    • The Advocate General's advice is non-binding, and ECJ judges will make the final decision on the case in the coming weeks.

    LONDON — The law chief of the EU's highest court has advised that the UK should unilaterally be able to reverse Brexit in what could prove to be a landmark legal case.

    On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice's Advocate General Campos Sanchez-Bordona proposed that the ECJ should declare that Article 50 — the legal mechanism which kickstarted Brexit — allows the "unilateral revocation" of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU.

    He said that the possibility of revoking Article 50 would continue to exist until the Article 50 process has formally concluded, which is scheduled for March next year.

    The court case was referred to the ECJ by Edinburgh's Court of Session in September after a legal case was brought by a group of anti-Brexit Scottish politicians and lawyer Jo Maugham QC. The Advocate General's opinion is non-binding, and ECJ judges will hand down the final ruling separately. In previous cases, however, the final rulings have often though not always reflected the Advocate General's initial opinion.

    In a statement, Maugham said: "The decision is one that the UK can make unilaterally — without needing the consent of other member states. That puts the decision about our future back into the hands of our own elected representatives — where it belongs."

    'All just a bad dream'?

    The court case argues that Article 50, which triggered the UK's EU withdrawal process in March 2017, can be revoked without the agreement of the other 27 European member states.

    Handing May's government the unilateral power to reverse Article 50 would allow the UK to retain the perks of its current membership including the economic rebate that Margaret Thatcher negotiated in 1984 and the UK's opt-out from the Euro. These would potentially be lost were Britain forced to seek the approval of the rest of the EU to reverse Brexit.

    Gunther Oettinger, the EU's Budget Commissioner has previously stated that under those circumstances "the gradual exit from the rebate would still be kept."

    Jolyon Maugham told BI in October that having the power to unilaterally reverse Brexit "sweetens the option of remaining" for the UK government.

    "Plainly it is better for the country if we can unilaterally revoke the Article 50 notice," Maugham added. "In that circumstance, we know that we could treat Brexit as though it was all just a bad dream."

    Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has previously said that the EU27 would need to provide their consent to reverse the Brexit process. In that scenario, should the government seek in future to remain in the EU, it could lose the perks of membership it currently enjoys.

    SEE ALSO: 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This top economist has a radical plan to change the way Americans vote

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    • TripAdvisor has revealed the top 25 fine dining restaurants in the world for 2018.
    • The ranking was created by an algorithm which assessed both quality and quantity of reviews on the travel website.
    • The top restaurant this year is Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, France.

    The best fine dining restaurants in the world for 2018 have been revealed in a new ranking determined by travellers.

    This year's winner in the Travellers’ Choice Awards, run by TripAdvisor, has emerged as Au Crocodile in Strasbourg, France. 

    The ranking is based on the millions of reviews and opinions shared by TripAdvisor users. Restaurants were measured using an algorithm which took into account both the quantity and quality of reviews for restaurants around the world, gathered over a 12 month period.

    Scroll down to see the 25 best fine dining restaurants in the world in 2018, according to travellers, ranked in ascending order.

    25. Daniel, New York City, USA

    24. Europea, Montreal, Canada

    23. Tin Lung Heen, Hong Kong, China

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Michelle Obama

    • Michelle Obama said that one of her biggest fears as as First Lady was falling over in public and the clip becoming a meme.
    • "One of my primary goals for the eight years was to never become a meme," she said.
    • She said that her last thought before she walks on to a stage is "don't fall." 
    • She was particularly afraid of falling when she met the Queen.

    Michelle Obama said that one of her primary goals for her eight years as first lady was to avoid falling over and becoming a meme.

    Speaking in London on Monday, the former First Lady said that the possibility of falling over at a public appearance is always on her mind.

    "Of course your head is spinning because first of all I'm trying not to fall, which is a major thing that I think about in public," she said, according to MailOnline. "If you're thinking about my thoughts when I come out on stage it's 'don't' fall.'

    "One of my primary goals for the eight years was to never become a meme."

    Read More:Michelle Obama on Sheryl Sandberg's 'lean in' strategy: 'That s--- doesn't work all the time'

    Obama was speaking about fear of falling over when she met the Queen, when she famously broke royal protocol and touched the monarch.

    queen elizabeth michelle obama wide

    Obama said she had "all this protocol buzzing in my head" when she was due to be picked up by Her Majesty in person, and driven by her to Windsor Castle.

    Read More:The Queen thinks royal protocol is 'rubbish,' according to Michelle Obama

    "I was like 'don't trip down the stairs and don't touch anybody, whatever you do' and so the Queen says 'just get in, sit wherever.'

    "And she's telling you one thing and you're remembering protocol and she says 'Oh it's all rubbish, just get in'"

    "I touched her. After all those protocol lessons, I was human," Obama said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Fox News' Harris Faulkner is the only black woman in cable news with a daily show: 'It's a tremendous amount of responsibility'

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    Tim Cook ADL speech

    • Tim Cook has said people sowing "hate, division, or violence" have no place on Apple platforms. He specifically decried white supremacists.
    • Cook said Apple showed this year that it won't enable "violent conspiracy theorists," in an apparent reference to Alex Jones, who Apple permanently banned from its platforms earlier this year.
    • He appeared to take a dig at Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, saying now is not the time "to get tied up in knots" when dealing with hate speech.

    After being awarded the first "Courage Against Hate" award by the Anti-Defamation League, Tim Cook gave a speech saying tech needs to take a moral stand against white supremacy.

    In doing so, the Apple CEO appeared to take the latest in a long line of swipes against some of his rivals, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Apple took a strong stance against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in August, removing his podcasts from iTunes and its podcast app. This set off a chain reaction of big tech companies booting the Infowars host off their platforms.

    "At Apple, we believe technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge," Cook said on Monday night. "There is no time to get tied up in knots. That's why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, or violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home."

    Read more:Tim Cook says Apple banned Alex Jones because it curates content — not because of politics

    He added: "If we can't be clear on moral questions like these then we've got big problems. At Apple, we are not afraid to say that our values drive our curation decisions. Doing what's right — creating experiences free from violence and hate, experiences that empower creativity and new ideas — is what our customers want us to do."

    The "tied up in knots" comment could be read as a message for the platforms that swiftly followed Apple in banning Jones.

    Facebook removed the conspiracy theorist, but this was after suspending him for 30 days in July. YouTube took similar action, again after a previous suspension. Twitter permanently suspended Jones in September, but again this was after an earlier temporary suspension.

    Although Apple did also dither over Jones. It permanently removed the Infowars app from the App Store for "objectionable content" in September, despite having stated it had no plans to do so in August.

    Cook continued: "The most sacred thing that each of is given is our judgement, our morality, our own innate desire to separate right from wrong. Choosing to set that responsibility aside at a moment of trial is a sin."

    He went on to say that Apple has always prohibited music with a history of white supremacy. "Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And as we showed this year, we won't give a platform to violent conspiracy theorists. Why? Because it’s the right things to do," he said.

    Cook has repeatedly called out rivals this year, without actually naming them. In particular, he has taken a swipe at the privacy standards of firms like Facebook following the catastrophic Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

    SEE ALSO: Apple CEO Tim Cook on privacy: 'we have to admit when the free market is not working'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A cybersecurity expert showed us how hackers can tap into an office phone and listen to everything you're saying

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    katy perry orlando bloom

    • Katy Perry offered a date with her boyfriend Orlando Bloom at a charity auction.
    • The event was raising money for those affected by the Woolsey fire.
    • One fan bid $20,000, but Perry outbid her at the last minute, offering $50,000.
    • The move has been largely criticised by fans.

    Katy Perry's relationship with Orlando Bloom has had its very public ups and downs, but the singer just made a grand gesture showing her feelings towards him.

    Perry auctioned off a date with her actor boyfriend at a charity event, only to swoop in at the last moment of bidding, beating the top fan's offer by $30,000.

    The pop star, 34, was performing at One Love Malibu, a fundraiser held in King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas, California for those affected by the Woolsey fire.

    See more:All of the celebrities who have evacuated or lost their homes as wildfires spread across California

    She offered a date with Bloom, 41, which would include a motorcycle ride and lunch.

    "You're holding him in a way that I am not excited about,"she said when encouraging fans to bid for the prize. "You're holding his pecs and his six-pack — and it's so glorious! You get to hold on to Orlando for about 45 minutes… and then, you get to stare into his brown eyes!"

    The bidding reached $20,000 thanks to one excited fan named Laura, but Perry wasn't having it.

    "Laura, I'm sorry. I'm buying it for $50,000," she said, before literally dropping the mic and walking off stage. 

    Read more: Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom are officially back together

    Perry's move has divided opinion — while some have praised her for donating so much money, others have accused her of being overly protective of Bloom and ruining an exciting experience for a fan.

    "What Katy Perry did wasn’t cool and her insecurity regarding her relationship with Orlando Bloom is showing," wrote one person on Twitter.

    "It really isn't cool, that was probably the fan's dream," agreed another. 

    One person described the move as "a whole new level of 'stay away from my man.'"

    However, others highlighted that Perry did at least contribute significantly to the fundraising effort.

    "Since it goes to charity I guess it's a win," one person wrote. 


    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Trump once won a lawsuit against the NFL — but the result was an embarrassment

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    Paris demo arch  V

    • France's Prime Minister will freeze a controversial diesel tax which sparked deadly riots in Paris, French media say.
    • It's a victory for the Yellow Vest movement who say the tax, which jacked up diesel prices by 16% in 2018, hits the poor hardest.
    • Protesters torched 100 cars in Paris on Saturday, defaced the Arc de Triomphe, and clashed with police.
    • The protests have left three people dead, in road accidents connected to protest activities like blockades.

    French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will reportedly freeze a controversial tax hike on Tuesday which sparked deadly riots across Paris, and protests nationwide. 

    Philippe will enforce a "moratorium" for several months, French media outlet Le Monde reported, potentially bringing a temporary calm to violence caused by the Yellow Vest movement across the country's capital.

    He met legislators at the National Assembly on Monday in Paris to outline his proposal, with the report saying he will announce the tax freeze publicly at midday local time.

    The concession gives way to the movement, known in French as "Des Gilets Jaunes," who orchestrated their third consecutive protest in Paris on Saturday.

    Édouard Philippe Prime Minister of France

    The group say that the tax is unfair to rural and poor people and that Macron's government is abandoning them. 

    More than 36,000 people protested on Saturday across France, with 5,000 of those in Paris, where a riot against police ended in 412 arrests, according to authorities.

    The cost of the rioting — the worst in Paris since 1968— could reportedly be in the hundreds of millions of euros.

    Read more:Who are the 'Yellow Vests' protesting across France and rioting in Paris, and what do they want from Macron?

    On Monday, Philippe scrambled to end the crisis by meeting with opposition party leaders in Paris, Reuters reported.

    France's president, Emmanuel Macron, reportedly called a meeting with Philippe after returning from the G20 summit. Reuters said he told Philippe to meet with the Yellow Vests on Tuesday to hear out their demands. 

    However, the group cancelled the Tuesday meeting, caused by hardline protesters within the movement sending death threats to their own members for even thinking of negotiating. 

    Paris Riots

    Macron has argued that the fuel tax will combat climate change, and as recently as Saturday said that he would not deviate from his policy goals, Reuters said. It is unclear how the decision to freeze the tax fits that narrative.

    Their decision wear wear yellow high-visibility vests is a direct reference to French traffic laws, which instructs everybody to carry a yellow vest in their vehicle, and has been in force since 2008.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Fox News' Harris Faulkner is the only black woman in cable news with a daily show: 'It's a tremendous amount of responsibility'

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    container cargo

    • Data from Swiss freight giant Kuehne + Nagel shows global trade grew 0.3% in November. In the same month last year, it grew 3.1%.
    • The The impact of President Donald Trump's trade war is clear to see: Every single region of the globe saw its foreign trade growth drop in November.
    • Kuehne + Nagel's data matches what Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, said earlier this month, when it published data showing a slowdown in global container trade growth.

    The negative impact of the ongoing trade battle between the US and China is plain to see in new data from Swiss freight giant Kuehne + Nagel.

    According to the data, published on Tuesday, global trade was up 0.3% in November compared to the previous month. It's a massive shift from November 2017, when world trade grew 3.1% month-over-month.

    Read more: 'A bumpy ride ahead': Here's how Wall Street is reacting to Trump and Xi's trade-war deal

    The picture is a bit nuanced. For example, trade overall is up 6.4% from the same point last year, pushing Kuehne + Nagel's World Trade Indicator to 143.7, the highest level since records began. But it's still clear the US-China trade war is having an impact. Going forward, the data shows a consistent downward trend. The chart below illustrates this trajectory over the past 12 months:

    Screen Shot 2018 12 04 at 09.04.55

    Not only is overall global trade growth slowing, but in many areas, it is actively shrinking.

    "In ocean freight, measured by the live throughput of ports, the unit volume declined slightly in November," down 0.3% month over month, Kuehne + Nagel said in the release.

    On top of that, every single region of the globe saw its foreign trade growth drop in November.

    Screen Shot 2018 12 04 at 09.08.44

    Kuehne + Nagel's data matches what Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, said in November, when it published data showing a slowdown in global container trade growth.

    Global container trade continued to lose momentum in the third quarter. And so far this year, it has suffered "a much slower pace of growth," rising by 4.2% compared with the 5.8% recorded over the same period in 2017, Maersk said.

    Slowing global trade comes against a backdrop in which the US has introduced tariffs of 10% on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods entering the US, prompting Chinese policymakers to retaliate, albeit on a smaller scale.

    President Trump has also repeatedly threatened to place tariffs on all US imports from China, an amount totaling more than $500 billion annually.

    Relations have thawed a little in the last few days after Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, came to a tentative truce on trade at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, postponing an increase in tariffs and agreeing to a 90-day window for further discussions.

    The US agreed not to raise the 10% tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% on January 1, as originally scheduled, while in return China committed to buying a "very substantial amount" of agricultural, energy, and industrial goods from the US.

    The agreement, however, is seen by most commentators as merely a temporary fix, with many expecting a further escalation once the three month truce comes to an end.

    SEE ALSO: Trump could cost Europe $75 billion if he follows through with his threat to tax EU car imports

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The first woman in space almost didn't make it back to Earth and she had to keep it a secret for 30 years

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    MI6 Chief Alex Younger

    • The head of MI6 Alex Younger has warned that Chinese phone giant Huawei could pose a threat to British security. 
    • Younger said the UK will have to make a decision after allies, including the US, Australia, and New Zealand, barred Huawei from launching its 5G network.
    • Younger added that the arrival of 5G would make it harder for secret services to scrutinise Huawei's equipment.

    The head of MI6 Alex Younger warned of a growing security threat from Chinese phone company Huawei at a speech on Monday.

    In a rare speech at St Andrews University in Scotland, Younger said the UK will have to make "some decisions" about Huawei after allies, such as the US, Australia, and New Zealand, banned it from launching 5G networks.

    "We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken a very definite position," he said.

    The US has led the charge against Huawei, whose founder was an officer in the People's Liberation Army, and the company is effectively locked out of the American market. However, that hasn't prevented Huawei from becoming the second most popular phone manufacturer in the world, behind Samsung.

    Read more:The US is asking the world to say no to Chinese tech-giant Huawei

    Younger said the arrival of 5G would make it more difficult to monitor Huawei's technology, some of which the UK already has installed in its telecoms network, and which is tested by British secret services at GCHQ.

    He added that the Chinese government's approach to data protections means "they are able to use and manipulate data sets on a scale that we can only dream of."

    You can watch Alex Younger's speech here:

    SEE ALSO: US lawmakers urge Canada to snub China's Huawei in telecoms

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Amazon wants to open 3,000 cashier-less grocery stores — and they'll have a major advantage over their competitors

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    trump stock market trader

    • Morgan Stanley expects the US stock market to consolidate the secular bull run next year.
    • But the analysts say 16 companies are "facing challenges that are independent of cyclical trends" and could lose more than half their value in the next 12-18 months.
    • The firm has an "underweight" rating for all of the mentioned stocks, and says their risks are larger than rewards.

    Morgan Stanley has released the stocks its analysts think could lose more than half their value within the next 12 to 18 months.

    These companies are "facing challenges that are independent of cyclical trends," the bank's analysts said.

    They expect the US stock market to consolidate the secular bull run next year and for US economic growth to slow down, followed by a re-acceleration in 2020. While the macro outlook seems favorable, analysts identified some companies with secular challenges including market-share loss, rising competition, deteriorating end-markets, cost pressures, and others.

    To compile the list, Morgan Stanley's equity-research team started with the stocks its analysts rated as "underweight." The bank then focused on stocks with an "unfavorable risk-reward skew," looking for stocks where the cons outweighed the pros.

    Here are the 16 stocks Morgan Stanley says stand to lose the most from secular pressures in the next 12-18 months:

    16. Macy’s

    Ticker: M

    Sector: Retail

    Market Cap: $10 billion

    Downside to bear: 50.9%

    Year-to-date performance: +30%

    Source: Morgan Stanley

    15. Patterson Companies

    Ticker: PDCO

    Sector: Healthcare

    Market Cap: $2.4 billion

    Downside to bear: 52.5%

    Year-to-date performance: -33%

    Source: Morgan Stanley

    14. United Natural Foods

    Ticker: UNFI

    Sector: Retail

    Market Cap: $1.12 billion

    Downside to bear: 54.2%

    Year-to-date performance: -57%

    Source: Morgan Stanley

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    bullfight death

    • The longest bull run in US stock-market history is on its last legs, according to a team of technical analysts at Societe Generale.
    • The team says Elliott Wave Principles point to a stock-market top that is going to produce a "deep and prolonged correction."
    • Wall Street strategists are mostly bullish for 2019, with an average year-end price target of 3,052.

    The longest bull run in US stock-market history is on its last legs, according to one Wall Street bank. 

    "In our view, the bullish cycle that began in 2009 is ending," Societe Generale's technical team, led by Stéphanie Aymès, said in a note sent out to clients on Monday.

    "Precisely, the famous wave 5, i.e. the last wave of the cycle according to Elliott Wave Principles, has met its key objectives on the S&P500 and Nasdaq. The occurrence of bearish divergences on long-dated indicators and possibly the beginnings of bearish reversal patterns (Head and Shoulders) suggest that the US equity indices may be topping out and that a distribution phase is commencing."

    The Elliott Wave Principles identify up-and-down trends in the market, using the assumption that human behavior moves markets in identifiable cycles, especially as traders act like a herd. What goes up eventually comes down. A complete cycle has eight waves — the first five (numbered one through five) are the impulsive waves, while the last three (labeled A, B, and C) are the corrective waves.

    The S&P 500 has seen nearly 10 years of gains after bottoming out in March 2009. Along the way it has experienced six corrections— or declines of at least 10%, and a few more close calls — but what is about to transpire has the looks of something bigger.   

    According to Soc Gen, the recent halting of bullish momentum just shy of the initial target for the fifth and final wave of the cycle (just shy of 3,000) resembles what happened just before the sharp sell-offs in the first quarters of 2016 and 2018. The selling that ensued erased 25%-30% of the previous up move, and that is likely what will happen here. When support breaks down, expect a "deep and prolonged correction," the bank said, without giving a specific target. 

    S&P 500

    Soc Gen's call goes against the grain of what most of the other Wall Street banks are saying. Strategists surveyed by Bloomberg are expecting the S&P 500 to close out next year at 3,052 — about 9% above where it ended on Monday. That's not to say that everyone is on board with the idea of a higher stock market in 2019. 

    Read more: 'It ends next year': What Wall Street's biggest firms are forecasting for the stock market in 2019, and where they say you should put your money

    Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Wilson, who has been warning of a "rolling bear market" all year, believes the majority of the declines have already occurred, with the market having fallen as much as 11.47% from its September peak. 

    "The Rolling Bear market is now better understood by the consensus; and more importantly, it is better priced, with forward P/Es falling 18% from peak to trough," he wrote in a recent note. "In short, while 90% of the price damage has been done by this bear, we've likely only served 50% of the time."

    Wilson says that there is more than a 50% chance of a modest earnings recession in 2019 but that the market should look past that as the Fed pauses its rate-hike cycle in the middle of next year. He has a 2019 year-end S&P 500 target of 2,750 — just below its current level. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Trump once won a lawsuit against the NFL — but the result was an embarrassment

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    ray dalio

    • Ray Dalio, the founder and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates — the world's largest hedge fund — spoke with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget at Business Insider's Ignition conference on Monday.
    • Dalio outlined why the next financial crisis will be different from the last, and placed great emphasis on a successful trade war resolution.
    • The comments come two months after a separate interview in which Dalio walked Blodget through the next recessionary scenario that will rock the global economy.

    When Ray Dalio talks about the future of the global financial landscape, everyone should listen.

    That's because Dalio — founder and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates — has proven prescient in the past. This was never truer than when he repeatedly sounded the alarm on the credit collapse that tanked markets a decade ago — a proclamation that many investors ignored at their own peril.

    But those same market participants should soon have a chance to redeem themselves, at least if Dalio's latest warnings are valid.

    In a discussion with CEO Henry Blodget at Business Insider's IGNITION conference in New York on Monday, Dalio was asked if a reckoning is near.

    The hedge fund legend was initially cagey in his response, electing to lay out what he sees as ongoing debt cycles of differing lengths. He argued that both are getting old in age, but wasn't ready to jump to a worst-case conclusion.

    "We're in about the seventh inning of the short-term debt cycle," Dalio told Blodget in front of conference attendees. "They’re tightening monetary policy. Asset prices are fully priced. And we’re in the later stages of a long-term debt cycle, because the capacity of the ability of central banks to ease monetary policy is limited."

    Dalio also noted that the global landscape is in the middle of a so-called geopolitical cycle that's seeing the emerging nation of China challenge the unquestioned supremacy of the US. He said these developments are why Chinese relations have been so instrumental in driving markets lately.

    When pressed by Blodget on the matter of an imminent collapse, Dalio was reluctant to compare the current situation to the one preceding the last financial crisis. He instead saw a much more gradual situation playing out — one that should still be viewed with caution.

    "The nature of this dynamic is more of a squeeze," said Dalio. "This doesn't look like 2008. In 2007, we would look at the financial statements of entities and see that they weren't able to pay debt, and that we were headed for a big debt crisis. Now it's not the same."

    Dalio did note, however, that mounting leverage will come back to bite markets eventually. He warned that massive debt loads could pose major issues down the line. 

    "It looks more like it'll be a big squeeze, because there's a certain amount of indebtedness," he said. "We also have a great deal of obligations, like pension and healthcare. Both companies and the government are borrowing a lot of money — particularly the government."

    Also of great concern to Dalio is the ongoing trade conflict between the US and China. He's fearful that a further escalation of the situation could unleash negative side effects upon the market.

    Ultimately, the path forward will be determined by how realistically investors are willing to look at these mounting headwinds. Not every negative factor is created equally, and Dalio said it's important for market participants to do their homework on what could actually have an impact — starting with the trade war.

    "A lot depends on how we deal with each other," he said. "And a lot of that depends on us looking at what's true and how the machine works."

    SEE ALSO: Investors are staring at the bleakest future since the Great Depression — here's why one market bear thinks a crash could wipe 60% from stocks

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A sleep expert explains what happens to your body and brain if you don't get enough sleep

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    Ada Hegerberg reacts to getting asked to twerk at the Ballon d'Or.JPG

    • Footballer Ada Hegerberg was asked if she could twerk when she picked up world soccer's greatest individual prize.
    • She said no, and was laughed off stage by presenter Martin Solveig, who asked the question.
    • The incident provoked outrage across the soccer industry.
    • But Hegerberg says she does not consider the incident to be "sexual harassment."
    • She said she was simply happy to make history by becoming the first woman to win the prize.

    The sports world may be furious about Monday night's events, but Norwegian footballer Ada Hegerberg says she doesn't think being asked to twerk after receiving her Ballon d'Or trophy was "sexual harassment."

    Hegerberg became the inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or winner at a glitzy awards ceremony on Monday.

    Shortly after receiving her trophy, she was asked if she could twerk by presenter DJ Martin Solveig. When she said "no," he laughed her off stage.

    The incident left 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé visibly gobsmacked and provoked outrage across the soccer industry.

    Sports Illustrated journalist Grant Wahl said Martin Solveig's twerk question was "absolute trash."

    The United States women's national team midfielder Lindsey Horan was also critical of Solveig, and tweeted: "This is an absolute joke. Unbelievable. She just won the first ever Ballon d'Or for women."

    Horan then congratulated Hegerberg, and added: "You do not want this bs."

    Footage of the incident was posted on Twitter:

    Hegerberg herself has since said that Solveig approached her after the ceremony to apologise, adding that she was happy to make history by becoming the first ever women's Ballon d'Or champion — the first woman to be recognised by France Football as the best on the planet.

    "He came to me afterwards and was really sad that it went that way," she said, according to the soccer website "I didn't really consider it a sexual harassment or anything in the moment."

    Hegerberg then said she was "just happy" to have won the Ballon d'Or "to be honest."

    Hegerberg also posted this photograph to her social media followers on Twitter:

    Hegerberg plays as a striker for Olympique Lyonnais and scored an astonishing 42 goals in 25 games in all competitions for the French team in the 2017-2018 season.

    Her exploits in the attack helped the Lyon team win the Division 1 championship and the UEFA Women's Champions League.

    Hegerberg and Lyon are next in action in a Division 1 match against Soyaux-Charente on Saturday, December 8.

    SEE ALSO: Presenter asked first female Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg to twerk after she received soccer's highest honor

    DON'T MISS: RANKED: The 27 most dominant soccer players in the world right now

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight

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    Vladimir Putin

    • The head of MI6 said Russia broke one of the prime rules of espionage by trying to assassinate double agent Sergei Skripal after he moved to Britain as part of a spy swap.
    • Alex Younger said that the UK trusted the pardon Russia gave to Skripal, but that after the attack on him — which the UK blames on Russia's GRU — all bets are off.
    • Spy swaps date back at least to the Cold War, and rely on two nations trusting each other.
    • Younger warned Russia not to underestimate the UK and said that the two nations are now in a "perpetual state of confrontation."

    The head of MI6 says Russia broke one of the prime rules of espionage and won’t be trusted again after it tried to assassinate a former Russian agent despite giving him away in a spy swap.

    Alex Younger said British spies had to revise their assumptions about Moscow after Skripal was attacked with a deadly nerve agent, in an operation which Britain has pinned on Russia's GRU spy agency.

    Younger is the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, more commonly known as MI6, and gave a speech to students at St Andrew's University in Scotland, which was reported by the Financial Times.

    In the speech, Younger said the UK had partly trusted Russian President Vladimir Putin when Russia pardoned Skripal in 2010 in return for its own agents.

    Younger said that he and his agents assumed that Moscow's spy swap "had meaning" and would be honored, but that they revised their opinion in light of the Skripal attack.

    He said, according to the Financial Times: "Mr Skripal came to the UK in an American-brokered exchange, having been pardoned by the president of Russia and, to the extent we assumed that had meaning, that is not an assumption that we will make again."

    Skripal was part of an ambitious spy swap deal with the US in 2010 when four Russian agents who had betrayed their country were released by the Kremlin in exchange for 10 Russian spies in the US.

    The UK accuses Russia of being behind the attack on Skripal in March 2018, a charge the Kremlin denies.

    Novichok, the nerve agent used in the poisoning, has been traced to Russia, and the two men accused by the UK of attempting to assassinate Skripal have been identified by Investigative journalism site Bellingcat as GRU officers.

    Read More: The UK government is accusing Russia of waging a secret cyberwar across the globe

    Spy swaps

    Spy swaps are an understanding between the West and Russia that dates back to the of the Cold War.

    Jonathan Eyal, international director at think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told Business Insider in March that the safety of the spies is typically put at the forefront of the exchange.

    "Spying agencies try to maintain a gentleman's agreement that these people are beyond retribution," he said.

    The goal is typically to have them go smoothly so more spy swaps can be done in the future.

    Read More:Putin trashes poisoned ex-spy Skripal: 'He's simply a scumbag'

    Professor Anthony Glees, the director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, told Business Insider that the Russians take spy swaps "very seriously" because of the concern that "no one will ever do a swap with them again" if they break faith.

    He said that if Russia had really wanted to kill Skripal, it could have executed him in prison.

    So Russia would need believe it had a good reason to attempt to assassinate Skripal on UK soil.

    "The idea that they would do it for fun or anything less serious is to be discounted,"Eyal said. 

    A state of confrontation

    Speaking on Monday, Younger said that Russia was in a "perpetual state of confrontation" with the UK, and warned the Kremlin not to underestimate the UK's determination to fight attempts to interfere with its way of life.

    "The conclusion [Russia] have arrived at is they should apply their capabilities across the whole spectrum to . . . our institutions and our partnerships," Younger said.

    "Our intention is for the Russian state to conclude that whatever benefits it thinks it is accruing from this activity, they are not worth the risk."

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  • 12/05/18--00:48: What is the Norway model?
  • Theresa May

    LONDON — As Theresa May prepares for her Brexit deal to be defeated in the House of Commons, the suggestion that the prime minister should instead seek a "plan B" of replicating Norway's relationship with the EU is gaining traction.

    Under the plan pushed by MPs like Conservative Nick Boles and Labour's Stephen Kinnock — which is reportedly backed by several leading Cabinet remainers — the UK would copy Norway's relationship with the EU after Brexit, either temporarily until new free trade agreement with the EU is ready, or on a permanent basis. 

    There is a growing belief that something like the Norway model would win a majority of MPs over and break the impasse in Parliament. Here's what the Norway model would actually mean in practice. 

    What is the Norway model?

    The Norway model includes two key European organisations: The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and European Economic Area (EEA). Norway, along with Lichtenstein and Iceland, is a member of both.

    EFTA is made up of the aforementioned three countries, plus Switzerland. They trade between themselves while the group as a whole has free trade deals with numerous non-EU countries, Canada, Mexico and others.

    The EEA, on the other hand, is a collaboration of all EU member states plus three EFTA states: Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland. All EEA members — including the EFTA countries — enjoy full access to the European single market.

    EEA membership is only available to either EU or EFTA member states. So, under a Norway-style Brexit, Britain would leave the EU, join EFTA, and then become the 31st full member of the EEA.

    Michel Barnier

    What are the pros of the Norway-style Brexit?

    Being in EFTA-EEA would allow the UK to retain full access to the single market. This would mean reduced barriers to UK-EU trade and continued single market treatment for services, which account for around 80% of the UK economy.

    Most research suggests this would be the least damaging form of Brexit. The government's own impact assessment found the Norway option would be the least damaging option in terms of economic harm.

    And although Britain would retain full single market access, it wouldn't be forced to sign up to some of the EU's more contentious policies. It wouldn't be required to join the EU's Common Fisheries Policy, for example, which is strongly opposed by Brexiteers, particularly Conservative MPs in Scotland. It would also be exempt from the Common Agricultural Policy. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) would also have no jurisdiction over Britain.

    What about the cons?

    Although the UK would finally be free of the ECJ, it would have to answer to the EFTA court, which for most Brexiteers would merely represent another set of unaccountable, interfering foreign judges.

    Then there's the issue of Britain's influence as an EFTA/EEA country. Under the Norway model, Britain would have full access to the single market but have much less say in shaping its rules than it does now as an EU member. Norway does not formally participate in Brussels decision-making but has incorporated around 75% of EU law into its national legislation

    Nick Boles

    What about immigration?

    The elephant in the room here is immigration. The public's desire to control immigration was arguably the biggest driving force for Brexit, and the UK government has vowed to end the free movement of EU citizens. 

    EEA members are required to accept the four freedoms, including the free movement of people. Clearly, this would be politically dangerous for any government. There is one way around that. It's unrealistic — but theoretically possible.

    Article 112 of the EEA Agreement allows non-EU member states to opt out of the four freedoms if they are facing serious economic, societal or environmental strain. For example, Lichtenstein used Article 112 to impose controls on the free movement of people, due to concerns over whether a landlocked country of such modest size and resources could cope with big influxes of people. Obviously, Britain is very different from Lichtenstein, and would likely have a much tougher time arguing for an immigration opt-out. 

    Brexit protest

    What would it mean for the Irish border?

    Perhaps the strongest case for a Norway-style Brexit is that it would go some way to resolving the Irish border dilemma. By remaining fully aligned with EU market rules, Britain would avoid a plethora of non-tariff barriers which would otherwise emerge on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. 

    However, a Norway-style relationship wouldn't provide the whole solution for avoiding physical infrastructure on the island of Ireland. In order to also eliminate tariff barriers, Britain would need to be in either the current or a new customs union with the EU after Brexit. Norway is not in a customs union with the EU. 

    Michel Barnier Leo Varadkar

    So how likely is a Norway-style Brexit?

    Earlier this year, the Brexit committee led by Labour's Hilary Benn published a report calling for May to use the Norway option has her official backup if she fails to meet key negotiating goals in Brexit talks with the EU. 

    The idea has gathered momentum in recent weeks as MPs look for alternatives to May's Brexit deal which is almost certain to be be voted down by MPs. The EU has always said the Norway option is available to the UK. 

    However, there are some practical problems. 

    Firstly, although EFTA/EEA countries are generally open to the idea of Britain becoming a permanent member of the club, whether they'd accept temporary membership is a different question.

    Prime Minister Solberg appeared to kill hopes of temporary UK membership in November.

    "We would welcome any good cooperation with Britain. But to enter into an organisation which you’re leaving is a little bit difficult for the rest of us," she said.

    Erna Solberg

    Even if Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein did grant a temporary stay, it could take up to twelve months for Britain to complete the joining process, while exit day is just months away at the time of writing.

    On top of that is the issue of customs. For a Norway-style model to solve the Irish border problem, it would need to come with a customs union add-on. However, EFTA countries have together signed trade deals with other countries which include customs arrangements. The UK would need to sign up to those, making a customs arrangement with the EU very difficult if not impossible.

    Then we have the question of Westminster politics. Would pro-Brexit MPs accept swathes EU rules including the free movement? At the moment is looks unlikely, but with British politics in such a volatile environment, anything could happen.

    SEE ALSO: MEPs kicked out of the Conservative Party by Theresa May told us why they're fighting her 'horrendous' Brexit plan

    DON'T MISS: The EU believes Theresa May's 'unstable' government could collapse before Brexit

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    Guadalajara Mexico crime scene homicide murder

    • An unidentified person threw two grenades at a US consulate in western Mexico on November 30.
    • The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.
    • The nature and timing of the crime hint at the complexity of Mexico's criminal landscape.

    Hours before the inauguration of Mexico's new president in Mexico City, two grenades were thrown at the US consulate in Guadalajara, the country's second-biggest city and home to one of the largest US expatriate communities in the world.

    A little before 11 p.m. local time on November 30, an unidentified person was caught on film throwing two grenades into the consulate compound in central Guadalajara, which is also the capital of Jalisco state in western Mexico.

    The consulate was closed at the time, and no one was killed or injured, but the blast left a 16-inch hole in an exterior wall, and grenade fragments found at the scene.

    A view shows the facade of the U.S Consulate General in Guadalajara, Mexico, January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

    The US consulate said the following day that the damage was minimal and that US and Mexican authorities were investigating and "strengthening the security posture" around the consulate. Jalisco state prosecutors also said that federal authorities had taken over the investigation.

    The consulate's operations were limited on Monday, but it resumed normal business on Tuesday.

    Also on Tuesday, the FBI said it was seeking help from the public to identify the person or people involved, offering up to $20,000 for information leading to those responsible.

    "All information can remain anonymous and confidentiality is guaranteed," a notice on the consulate's website said.

    Mixed messages

    The attack came shortly before Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was sworn in as Mexico's president, and it illustrates the challenging criminal dynamics he confronts.

    Mexico president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador inauguration

    Attacks on US facilities and personnel in Mexico have been rare, and when they have happened, the response has been forceful.

    Pressure from Washington after the 1985 kidnapping and killing of of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena led to the breakup of the powerful Guadalajara cartel, and the US response to the 2011 killing of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata helped crippled the Zetas cartel, which was linked to the incident.

    While it's possible the attack Friday could be unrelated to organized crime, the timing and nature of the attack suggest it could be related to political and criminal dynamics in the country 

    Guadalajara is the home turf of the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which has grown rapidly over the past decade to become one of Mexico's largest and most violent criminal groups.

    Its rise was boosted by the 2015 shoot-down of a Mexican army helicopter in western Jalisco, killing six soldiers, which came during an operation to capture New Generation leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, or "El Mencho," who is among the US Drug Enforcement Administration's most wanted fugitives.

    Mexico helicopter crash Jalisco CJNG RPG

    Two weeks before the grenades were thrown at the consulate, the cartel purportedly posted a video online in which it threatened to attack the consulate.

    In the recording, a bandaged man says he was ordered to attack the consulate and capture Central American men, women, and children for ransom with which to pay Mexican officials to ignore other criminal activity, according to The Dallas Morning News, which could not independently verify the footage.

    That attack, the man reportedly said, was to be a message to the US to leave "Mencho alone."

    The November 30 attack comes a few weeks into the trial of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in New York City. Guzman is the longtime leader of the Sinaloa cartel, one of Mexico's most powerful criminal groups and a main rival of the New Generation.

    In the past, the arrest or death of criminal leaders has triggered more violence, as others fight to fill the void.

    migrant caravan

    Criminal groups may also be hurting because of Central American migrant caravans crossing Mexico that don't need protection from criminal groups or help from those groups' human-smuggling networks.

    Losing that business ahead of the holiday season have put a strain on cartel leaders, security experts told The Dallas Morning News.

    Mexico's political transition — from the center-right government of Enrique Peña Nieto and his establishment Institutional Revolutionary Party to leftist Lopez Obrador and his new National Regeneration Movement party — may also be stirring turmoil in the underworld.

    In the past, such changes have led to more violence, as criminals and corrupt officials adjust to a new political environment — an attack designed to avoid death or injury may be a signal to those assuming power, 12 years into Mexico's bloody war on drugs.

    Jalisco CJNG cartel Mexico

    The New Generation in recent months has also been challenged in Guadalajara. A new group, called Nueva Plaza, is believed to be led by a one-time confidant of Oseguera, and some have said other rivals, namely the Sinaloa cartel, could be backing the new group.

    In the past, criminal groups have committed high-profile acts, like dumping bodies in public, on rivals' turf to draw authorities' attention there.

    "Remember that the [New Generation] grew exponentially and became what it is now since the beginning of the Peña Nieto government,"Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a political science professor at George Mason University and expert on security in Mexico, told The Morning News. "But they should not be attracting attention, and with this attack you're calling for a response from two governments. Why?"

    SEE ALSO: Pablo Escobar was gunned down 25 years ago — here are 3 theories about who took the Medellin kingpin's life

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    • Asian markets tumble after Trump signals reignited trade-war tensions, following a bloodbath in US stocks markets.
    • Trader sentiment has dragged as fears about global growth and the US economy resurfaced. 

    European equities took a hit Wednesday, following Asian stocks lower as economy and US-China trade-war jitters gripped financial markets. 

    In the US, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 each tumbled more than 3.2% amid growing doubts that a trade deal could be thrashed out between the US and China. A wonky indicator called the "yield curve" also flattened, signaled a weaker outlook for economic growth and fears about a recession.

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to place "major tariffs" on Chinese goods entering the US, demolishing an uplift in market sentiment after last week's G20 summit in Argentina.

    Read more:The bond market just flashed a major 'red flag' — and it could be signaling a US recession

    The Shanghai Composite index closed down 0.6% Wednesday. European shares followed, with the Euro Stoxx 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC all down 1%. Fears remain that a US-China trade deal will not be struck in the 90-day negotiating window agreed by the two sides.

    Some analysts suggested that Monday's gains were overdone, given Trump's previously barbed comments. 

    A minor relief rally in US index futures may be masking continued market uncertainty amid the longest bull market since the depths of the financial crisis.

    "There is a strong chance now that the buy the dip mentality has flipped into a sell the rally approach," said Neil Wilson, chief markets analyst for 

    Oil investor sentiment tracked that of equities. Brent crude is down 1.6% as of 8.45 a.m in London (3.45 a.m EST) as renewed uncertainty about the substance of potential supply freezes or cuts from Saudi Arabia lingered on markets ahead of OPEC's summit in Vienna on Thursday. 

    SEE ALSO: The bond market just flashed a major 'red flag' — and it could be signaling a US recession

    NOW READ: The 'big squeeze': Ray Dalio, founder of the world's largest hedge fund, breaks down how the next financial meltdown will look different from the last

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    quarterly global fintech fundingThis 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. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Fintech hubs — cities where startups, talent, and funding congregate — are proliferating globally in tandem with ongoing disruption in financial services. 

    These hubs are all vying to become established fintech centers in their own right, and want to contribute to the broader financial services ecosystem of the future. Their success depends on a variety of factors, including access to funding and talent, as well as the approach of relevant regulators.

    This report compiles various fintech snapshots, which together highlight the global spread of fintech, and show where governments and regulatory bodies are shaping the development of national fintech industries. Each provides an overview of the fintech industry in a particular country or state in Asia or Europe, and details what is contributing to, or hindering its further development. We also include notable fintechs in each geography, and discuss what the opportunities or challenges are for that particular domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Most countries in Europe have made some formal attempt to foster the development of domestic fintech industries, with Germany and Ireland seeing the best results so far. France, meanwhile, got off to a slow start, but that's starting to change. 
    • The Asian fintech scene took off later than in the US or Europe, but it's seen rapid growth lately, particularly in India, China, and Singapore.
    • The increasing importance of technology-enabled products and services within the financial services ecosystem means the global fintech industry isn't going anywhere. 
    • Fintech hubs will continue to proliferate, with leaders emerging in each region.
    • The future fintech landscape will be molded by regulatory bodies — national and international — as they seek to mitigate the risks, and leverage the opportunities, presented by fintech. 

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the fintech industry in six countries or states, and identifies individual fintech hubs.
    • Highlights successful fintechs in each region.
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each country or state faces. 
    • Gives insight into the future of the global fintech industry. 

    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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    George HW Bush Google tribue

    • Google changed its famous multicolor logo to a solemn gray on Wednesday to mark the day of George H.W. Bush's funeral.
    • Clicking on the grey Google banner links to search results for George H.W. Bush, the 41st US president, who died on Friday.
    • Wednesday has been declared a national day of mourning by President Donald Trump.
    • Bush's funeral at the US Capitol starts at 11 a.m. (ET).

    Google muted the bright colors of its logo on Wednesday, to honor George H.W. Bush on the day of his funeral.

    The Google logo is normally a mix of blue, red, yellow, and green, but its US search homepage was given a monochrome color scheme on Wednesday morning

    The search engine often changes its logo to highlight specific anniversaries, like the signing of the Declaration of Independence,  or notable days like Thanksgiving. 

    Clicking on the grey logo links to search results for Bush's name. google bush

    Read more:The most powerful images from the nation's remembrance of President George H.W. Bush

    Bush's funeral will start at 11 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday, attended by world leaders and royalty. His son, George W Bush, the 43rd president, will give a eulogy.

    Bush’s casket was taken to Washington, DC, on Monday afternoon where it lay in state at the US Capitol from 5 p.m. on Monday to 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

    Before that his remains were taken to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston and then to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

    He was 94 when he died on Friday. After the funeral in Washington, DC, he will be buried at his presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

    In a press release on Saturday, President Trump said: "I do further appoint December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning throughout the United States."

    Business Insider has contacted Google for comment. 

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    Tim Cook

    • Apple is missing out on minor relief rally in US futures, while other "FAANG" stocks are rising in premarket trading.
    • Apple and its suppliers underperformed the broader plunge in markets in the US and Asia. Some suppliers have slashed their targets, citing weaker conditions. 
    • The iPhone maker closed down 4.4% Tuesday, hurt in part by an HSBC downgrade that cited "market saturation."

    Apple's stock woes look set to continue after the iPhone maker's suppliers tumbled on fears about "market saturation" and future demand.

    The Cupertino, California-based company's shares were down slightly in premarket after falling 4.4% on Tuesday — underperforming a particularly brutal 3.8% drop in the Nasdaq — and is also down in premarket New York trading. Apple is missing out on a minor relief rally amongst other so-called FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) stocks. 

    Apple stock was hurt in part on Tuesday by a downgrade by HSBC, after it cited an overwhelming dependence on a single product.

    "What has made the success of Apple, a concentrated portfolio of highly desirable (and pricey) products, is now facing the reality of market saturation," said HSBC. 

    In Asia, shares of its suppliers fell: 

    • Pegatron, in Taiwan, fell 1.7%
    • Chinese acoustics technology supplier AAC Technologies lost 3.7%
    • Taiwan's Flexium Interconnect was down 3.9%
    • Taiwan's Largan Precision declined 3.7%

    In the US, Lumentum Holdings, an optical products manufacturer, fell 5.5% after it cut its outlook last month.

    Cirrus Logic closed down 1.9% down — having fallen as much as 5.8% days after it cut its December revenue outlook due to recent weakness in the smartphone market. Apple accountsfor about 82% of Cirrus' sales. 

    Read More: We're in the darkest hour of Apple's 'white-knuckle period,' and some investors are loving it

    Similarly, Qorvo, a North Carolina semiconductor company, dropped 5.3% on concerns about Apple, which recently lost its status as the world's most valuable business. 

    Another Apple supplier, Broadcom, which reports earnings on Thursday, fell 4.1%. The company, which designs semiconductors, is believed to make around $10 on each iPhone sold, according to JPMorgan, cited by CNBC. 

    Other manufacturers, such as Austria's AMS, which develops facial recognition software, cut its revenue forecast last month as iPhone sales diminished. 

    SEE ALSO: Apple slides amid mounting fears of a smartphone slowdown

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    matthew hedges

    • A British student who was convicted of spying by the United Arab Emirates said he was forced to sign a false confession and was psychologically tortured.
    • Matthew Hedges, a PhD student, was accused by the UAE of being an agent of Britain's MI6. He ws pardoned after intense diplomatic pressure from London.
    • Hedges and the UK government have denied that he is a spy. Hedges say he falsely admitted being a spy under extreme duress.
    • He said he the interrogation process included being given a dangerous cocktail of anti-anxiety drugs and forced to go through withdrawal.

    A British student who was sentenced by the UAE to life in prison for allegedly being a spy says he was drugged in prison, forced to sign a false confession, and was bribed to betray his country.

    Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old PhD student in Middle Eastern studies at Durham University, was pardoned by the UAE in November after being detained at Dubai Airport in May.

    Both Hedges and the UK government deny that Hedges has worked as a spy or for MI6. And in an interview with British newspaper The Times after his return to the UK, Hedges said that he only gave the confession that his interrogators demanded after he was repeatedly threatened.

    "After all that pressure, I said, ‘OK, fine, whatever, yeah sure," he said.

    He said he then felt more afraid: "I was so scared and on edge, because I’d started the lie."

    Hedges said that the interrogation, where UAE agents repeatedly accused him of working for MI6 and demanded to know more about his PhD thesis, left him having "panic attacks for two or three days in a row."

    Read More:The wife of a man imprisoned in the UAE says he wasn't even allowed to look at her as he was sentenced to life in a 5-minute hearing

    He said that his interrogators offered him a bargain if he agreed to become a double agent and steal documents from the UK's Foreign Office.

    "I started having a panic attack, I was like 'How am I supposed to get this information?'"

    He said that they threatened: "We will take you to an overseas military base where you’ll be kept in a prison and you’ll be beaten and tortured and you’ll never see the daylight again."

    Matthew Hedges

    Hedges also said that he was put on a cocktail of Xanax, Valium, and benzodiazepine after his wife, Daniela Tejada, told the UAE authorities that he had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

    But doctors say that that is an alarming situation, according to The Times. He was forced to go cold turkey during a stay in a hospital and appeared in court in his withdrawn state. Hedges said that one doctor told him "he was surprised that I was still able to talk."

    He said that he chose to sleep in darkness for up to 23 hours a day after suffering migraines from the fluorescent lights, that he slept on the floor for weeks, and that made himself vomit three times a day to relieve stress.

    Hedges said that he was approached by 10 Emirati officials in Dubai airport in May after having coffee with his mother. He says the officials took out a blindfold and handcuffs.

    He said he was detained in an interrogation room in a state security office in the Al Muroor police station, where interrogation sessions could last up to 15 hours and sometimes involved him being made to stand in ankle cuffs.

    "I was never physically tortured, but it was psychological, and it felt like torture," Hedges said.

    Read More: The UAE pardoned a British student sentenced to life in prison after showing a purported confession video where he says he works for MI6

    Emirati officials showed clips at a news conference in which Hedges reportedly appears to confess to being a captain in MI6 and discuss his research related to the British spy agency. Journalists were not allowed to record or publish the videos.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Megyn Kelly in 2017: 'I regret a lot' of the controversial stuff I've said on live television

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