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- 01/03/19--14:03: _Trump is reportedly...
- 01/03/19--14:04: _A Parkland school s...
- 01/03/19--14:07: _New York City is us...
- 01/03/19--14:08: _Who's in and who's ...
- 01/03/19--14:45: _15 ways weddings wi...
- 01/03/19--14:45: _13 stylish ways to ...
- 01/03/19--14:50: _Mueller's office ma...
- 01/03/19--15:00: _Marijuana M&A is al...
- 01/03/19--15:01: _China just made his...
- 01/03/19--15:02: _More than half of t...
- 01/03/19--15:06: _This map shows exac...
- 01/03/19--15:13: _30 stars you totall...
- 01/03/19--15:26: _6 weight-loss tips ...
- 01/03/19--15:31: _Top 5 Healthcare St...
- 01/03/19--15:33: _The Raptors' year-l...
- 01/03/19--15:40: _Congress just got a...
- 01/03/19--15:58: _The legendary found...
- 01/03/19--16:01: _More than half of C...
- 01/03/19--16:05: _Trust is the main b...
- 01/03/19--16:21: _National-security e...
- Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb is reportedly being considered to be the next defense secretary.
- Webb served in the Reagan administration but switched parties and was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 2006.
- Webb also ran for president as a Democrat but withdrew from the race in late 2015.
- A Florida commission assembled to investigate last year's deadly Parkland shooting recommended that some teachers be armed to protect students.
- The commission submitted a 439-page report to Florida's governor on Wednesday, which all 15 members unanimously approved.
- The report assailed the local school district and sheriff's department for failing to establish effective active-shooter procedures, and failing to confront the shooter, Nikolas Cruz.
- It said teachers who volunteer, and are "properly selected, thoroughly screened and extensively trained to carry concealed firearms" should be able to do so in Florida schools.
- A New York City subway line that was scheduled to close completely for 15 months won't be shutting down after all, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
- Teams of engineers from Columbia and Cornell universities studied systems in London, Hong Kong, and Riyadh to find a cheaper — and quicker — solution that wouldn't strand 300,000 daily commuters.
- "Smart" fiber optic cables, lidar, and "racked" cabling will be used to mitigate further damage in the rehabilitated tunnel.
- New York Gov. Cuomo axes plan to shut down the L train, saves Brooklynites from commuting hell
- New York's governor just killed a plan to shut down one of the most crowded subway lines in NYC — and people are freaking out
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo killed a controversial plan that would have caused commuting hell for thousands of people — but it's terrible news for people moving to the area
People are slamming New York's governor for taking over 2 years to come up with a plan to avoid shutting down one of NYC's busiest subway lines
- 01/03/19--14:08: Who's in and who's out of House committee leadership positions
- Democratic control of the US House of Representatives means every House committee has a new chair.
- The new crop of committee chairs include more women and people of color.
- The new House leadership also includes several prominent foes of President Donald Trump, who now have the power to investigate the president and his administration.
- 01/03/19--14:45: 15 ways weddings will look different in 2019
- INSIDER recently talked to four wedding experts and planners to find out how wedding trends will change in 2019.
- Food stations are expected to get smaller, as more couples focus on reducing waste at their weddings.
- Many couples will gravitate toward minimalistic bridal dresses and bouquets.
- Cakes will make a big return to the spotlight, after years of being overshadowed by alternative desserts.
- And wedding decor will feature more personalized touches.
- 01/03/19--14:45: 13 stylish ways to dress up sweatpants
- Sweatpants that are fitted can make your look appear more polished.
- Adding jewelry or a nice coat can elevate your look.
- Sweatpants that are silk or velvet can add a fancy twist to your outfit.
- Prosecutors working for the special counsel Robert Mueller indicated Thursday that their case against several Russian entities accused of carrying out a social-media disinformation scheme to interfere in the 2016 election is tied to an ongoing "matter occurring before the grand jury."
- The revelation prompted fervent observers of the Russia probe to say that prosecutors may be referring to a separate and secret legal battle between Mueller and an unknown foreign company fighting a grand-jury subpoena.
- The subpoena case has been shrouded in mystery since last summer, and the Supreme Court is weighing whether to force the unidentified company to pay fines that were imposed on it by a lower court for refusing to comply with Mueller's subpoena.
- TILT Holdings, a publicly-traded marijuana company, said it is buying vaporizer company Jupiter Research for $210 million in cash and stock.
- The acquisition allows TILT to go after a new category — and one that represents "exponential growth" TILT executive Joel Milton said in an interview with Business Insider.
- TILT was created out of a four-way merger in May and went public on the Canadian Securities Exchange in December.
- For the first time in history, humans have landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon.
- The China National Space Administration sent its Chang'e 4 to the deepest, oldest place on the moon, the South Pole-Aitken basin.
- The mission will study how the moon formed as well as how plants and animals grow in the moon's low-gravity.
- The logistics industry suffers from a number of inefficiencies caused by outdated processes that blockchain could solve. Some of the issues plaguing the space include a lack of transparency caused by siloed, disparate systems, high costs as a result of slow, manual processes, and difficulties related to the amount of time it takes to create and close a contract.
- Firms that deploy blockchain-based solutions are likely to achieve a more streamlined experience through a reduced need for intermediaries, better planning capabilities as a result of improved visibility, and lower costs through the digitization of documentation.
- Major companies are allocating resources toward developing a viable blockchain-based platform. Although few solutions have actually been fully developed, companies including IBM and Maersk, as well as retail heavyweight Walmart and FedEx, are making considerable strides in bringing their blockchain solutions to market.
- However, use of the technology is still in its infancy within the logistics industry. Firms are still confused about the potential benefits of the technology — only 11% of respondents to an MHI Annual Industry survey believe they have a working knowledge of blockchain.
- Having industry-specific case studies will show firms that are exploring the technology how they can go from testing to full deployment. These high-profile companies, which are some of the biggest and most influential in the world, will also be able to help shape a global standard for the use of blockchain and aid in the development of new legislation.
- Sizes the potential market for blockchain in the management of the supply chain.
- Explains how blockchain technology can be used to improve the inefficiencies that have long plagued the logistics industry.
- Details how specific companies are testing blockchain technology to enhance parts of the supply chain, including freight shipments and last-mile delivery.
- Discusses the potential barriers that will challenge the adoption of blockchain in logistics and how these hurdles can be overcome.
- Pinpoints what will likely need to happen next for the mass adoption of blockchain to occur.
- For the first time in history, China landed a spacecraft on the moon's far side.
- The Chang'e-4 mission safely placed a rover and lander on the lunar surface Wednesday night (early Thursday morning in China).
- Specifically, the moon mission landed inside a crater that's located within a large, ancient collision site called the South Pole-Aitken Basin.
- A graphical map shows the exact spot where China landed its unprecedented mission.
- 01/03/19--15:13: 30 stars you totally forgot were on 'Cheers'
- "Cheers" is one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time, with 275 episodes and 11 seasons.
- Over those 11 years, many famous faces walked through the front door of "Cheers."
- Here are 30 of the most memorable celebrity guest stars and cameos.
- Finding the right motivation to lose weight often comes from others who have similar experiences.
- Losing weight requires lifestyle changes you can sustain.
- The initial weight loss is only part of the equation. You need to have a plan in order to maintain your loss.
- 01/03/19--15:31: Top 5 Healthcare Startups & Digital Health Tech Disruptors
- Tech startups are entering the market by applying the “Silicon Valley” approach. They're targeting shortcomings and legacy systems that are no longer efficient.
- AI is being applied across five areas of healthcare to improve clinical operation workflows, cut costs, and foster preventative medicine. These areas include administration, big data analysis, clinical decision support, remote patient monitoring, and care provision.
- Health tech startups, insurers, and drug makers are rapidly exploring new ways to apply digital therapeutics to the broader healthcare market that replace or complement the existing treatment of a disease.
- Health insurance startups are taking advantage of the consumerization of healthcare to threaten the status quo of legacy players.
- Genomics is becoming an increasingly common tool within the healthcare system as health organizations better understand how to extract the value from patients’ genetic data.
- Details the areas of the US health industry that show the greatest potential for disruption.
- Forecasts the industry adoption of bleeding edge technology and how it will transform how healthcare organizations operate.
- Unveils the top five startups in AI, digital therapeutics, health insurance, and genomics, and how they're positioned to solve big issues that key players in healthcare face.
- Explores what's next for the leading startups, providing a glimpse into the future of the healthcare space and demonstrating how we’ll get there.
- The Toronto Raptors' one-year gamble on Kawhi Leonard is going about as well as possible.
- But the Raptors' looking like potential contenders, Leonard's return to All-Star form, and the team's recruiting efforts, might not matter.
- According to a report, Leonard's choice in free agency this summer might come down to the Raptors or his hometown Los Angeles Clippers.
- According to the report, Leonard might not be able to pass up being close to home and playing in a warm climate, two things the Raptors have no say in, regardless of how well their recruitment goes this season.
- 10 newly elected scientists are representing Americans in the 116th Congress.
- Eight of the new-comers are Democrats and two are Republicans.
- Here's what these engineers, doctors, and other scientists want to do in 2019.
- 01/03/19--15:58: The legendary founder of Southwest Airlines has died (LUV)
- Southwest Airlines cofounder Herb Kelleher died on Thursday at the age of 87.
- Kelleher, along with business partner Rollin King, founded Southwest Airlines in 1967.
- He served as Southwest's president and CEO from 1978 to 2001.
- 59% of Conservative party members oppose Theresa May's Brexit deal with the European Union.
- Over half believe it fails to respect the 2016 referendum result and have thought about quitting the party over it.
- Nearly half of Conservative members believe May should resign if MPs vote down her deal as expected.
- Remain would comfortably win a new referendum, the research also suggests.
- Despite their growing popularity, nearly half of respondents still don't own a device — which presents a long runway for adoption. Our survey data reveals a number of key factors that impact whether or not someone owns one of these devices, including income, gender, and age.
- Smart speakers are establishing themselves as a key platform for e-commerce, media, and the smart home.
- The introduction of a screen to some smart speakers will expand the possibilities for companies developing for the device — but developers will need to resist the compulsion to use speakers to accomplish too much.
- Provides an overview of the key players and products in the smart speaker market.
- Highlights critical adoption rates broken out by key factors that define the segment.
- Identifies how consumers are using devices in important areas where companies in various industries are trying foster greater use of the voice interface.
- National-security experts are sounding the alarm after Russian authorities charged Paul Whelan, a former US Marine, with espionage Thursday after he was detained in Moscow last month.
- Intelligence veterans said there are several clues in Whelan's past that make it unlikely that he is a US intelligence officer.
- But Whelan's profile — his status as a veteran and his pro-Trump comments on social media — also fit that of someone the Russians would detain if they wanted to secure a bargaining chip in the case of Maria Butina, a Russian gun-rights activist and accused foreign agent who was arrested last year and pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
President Donald Trump is considering picking Jim Webb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia who was secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, for defense secretary, several sources told The New York Times.
Officials speaking anonymously to the Times said that representatives for Vice President Mike Pence and acting White House chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had contacted Webb and that his name had been circulating in the White House.
The news comes just days after Patrick Shanahan took over acting defense secretary in the wake of Jim Mattis' resignation. Picking Webb would forgo a number of hawkish Republican officials who have been floated as potential replacements for Mattis, including Sens. Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham.
Webb, 72, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1968. He served in Vietnam in a Marine rifle platoon and as a company commander.
He was wounded twice and received the Navy Cross, which ranks just below the Medal of Honor, for a 1969 engagement in which he sustained wounds while shielding a fellow soldier from a grenade during an assault on enemy bunkers.
Webb appeared to reference that engagement during a 2015 presidential debate, when he and other candidates were asked to name the enemy they were proudest to have made. "I'd have to say the enemy soldier that threw their grenade that wounded me," Webb replied. "But he's not around right now to talk to."
After his military service, Webb attended Georgetown Law School, graduating in 1975, and from 1977 to 1981 was a House Committee on Veterans Affairs staff member.
He was widely criticized for a 1979 article titled "Women Can't Fight," in which he said recent gains in sexual equality had been "good," but "no benefit to anyone can come from women serving in combat."
Webb later changed his views on subject and apologized for the article but has faced backlash for it.
He was appointed assistant secretary of defense by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and in 1987 was made secretary of the Navy. In that position he emphasized fleet modernization and pushed to open more jobs in the service to women. He resigned in 1988.
Webb later switched parties, and in 2006 he won a Senate seat as a Democrat from Virginia.
Webb expressed skepticism about US military campaigns abroad, including a 1990 opinion piece in which he criticized the US military build up in Saudi Arabia ahead of the first Gulf War.
In a 2004 opinion article, Webb analyzed the candidacies of both John Kerry and George W. Bush, criticizing both: Kerry for his Vietnam War protests and Bush for committing "arguably ... the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory" with the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Fifteen years later, Webb had a testy exchange with the younger Bush at a reception for freshmen members of Congress. Webb declined to have a picture taken with Bush, who later approached Webb and asked about the latter's son, who was a Marine serving in Iraq at the time. Webb reportedly said he was tempted to "slug" the president.
Webb was mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate alongside Barack Obama in 2008, but he said "under no circumstances" would he take the job.
Webb did join the 2016 race for the Democratic nomination for president, but he ended his candidacy in October 2015. A few months later, Webb said he would not vote for 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and added that he had not ruled out voting for Trump.
"This is nothing personal about Hillary Clinton, but the reason I think Donald Trump is getting so much support right now is not because of the racist, you know, et cetera, et cetera, it's because people are seeing him," Webb said at the time. "A certain group of people are seeing him as the only one who has the courage to step forward and say we've got to clean out the stables of the American governmental system right now."
Other positions Webb has taken may burnish his appeal to Trump. In summer 2015, he said he was "skeptical" of the Iran nuclear deal signed by President Barack Obama, from which Trump has withdrawn.
During his presidential run, a staff member also said Webb was "his own national security adviser"— which may resonate with Trump, who has touted himself as more knowledgeable than his advisers.
On December 31, days before the Times reported that Webb was under consideration, the Washington Examiner, a conservative-leaning news outlet, published an opinion article titled "Trump's base would love to have Jim Webb as defense secretary."
A Florida panel investigating last year's deadly shooting at a Parkland high school unanimously approved a report that, among other proposals, recommended that some teachers be armed to protect students.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission submitted its 439-page report to Florida's governor on Wednesday. The panel had 15 appointees, including a number of law-enforcement professionals, health professionals, education experts, and parents of the shooting victims.
Much of the report assailed the Broward County Sheriff's Department, criticizing the deputies who failed to confront the shooter, Nikolas Cruz. It also criticized the school district for failing to pick up on warning signs that Cruz could turn violent, and failing to establish clear lockdown procedures.
"The Florida legislature should expand the Guardian Program to allow teachers who volunteer — in addition to those now authorized — who are properly selected, thoroughly screened and extensively trained to carry concealed firearms on campuses for self-protection, and the protection of other staff and students in response to an active assailant incident," the Parkland report said.
The Guardian Program is part of a $400 million school-safety law that Florida implemented last year, which allows schools to deploy specially trained, armed "guardians" at schools to respond to active shooters. The guardians are trained by local sheriff's departments, and undergo extensive background checks.
But the Parkland panel recommended that schools should "permit the most expansive use of the Guardian Program under existing law," expanding it beyond just designated guardians, so that regular school staff members and teachers can take part.
Arming teachers, a proposal that President Donald Trump vehemently backed last year, has been one of the more controversial ideas to spring from the country's epidemic of school shootings.
Though critics say arming teachers could burden them with responsibility beyond their job descriptions, and raise a whole new set of safety concerns, its supporters say teachers should have the right to protect themselves and their students.
The Florida Education Association, the state's teacher's union, has opposed arming teachers and urged lawmakers to "keep additional firearms from our schools unless they are in the hands of trained law enforcement personnel."
When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo toured a subway tunnel nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in December, he and an entourage of engineers from Columbia and Cornell Universities saw first-hand the tremendous damage that salt water can do to a century-old tunnel.
After the hurricane's 14-foot storm surge inundated the L train's tracks, it crippled a vital link between Brooklyn and Manhattan that carries more than 250,000 commuters every day. The only option, now more than six years later, seemed to be a complete closure of the tunnel for 15 months.
That's no longer the case, officials announced Thursday.
After carefully studying technologies in London, Hong Kong, and Riyadh, the team assembled by Gov. Cuomo — the de-facto leader of the state's Metropolitan Transportation Administration — recommended a ten-fold solution that would avoid a complete shutdown.
First, it's important to understand why the damage was so bad
New York's subway is old. Very old.
The Canarsie Line, which now carries the L train service from 14th street in Chelsea, under the East River to Williamsburg, through Bushwick and eventually to Canarsie, began service in 1924. It's only two tracks for its entire 10-mile length — a surprising anomaly, considering most of the system has multiple to accommodate express and local services.
Despite being the first service of New York's 27 lines to receive an upgrade to a modern signal system, known as Communications Based Train Control, or CBTC for short, much of the electronic equipment was installed inside a concrete "bench wall" in the tunnel.
When the tunnel flooded, it got inside the wall and corroded the communications and signaling equipment.
The MTA was able to restore service following the storm, but warned for years that a complete shutdown would be necessary to remove and replace the destroyed infrastructure. In 2017, after three years of public input and several possible options, officials decided a 15-month closure beginning in April 2019 was the best course of action.
A surprise announcement
With just months until the closure was scheduled to begin, a cryptic tweet from the non-profit Transit Center foundation began to make the rounds on Thursday morning.
RUMOR MILL this morning: Cuomo may announce L train shutdown is unnecessary later today— TransitCenter (@TransitCenter) January 3, 2019
And an hour later, a scheduled announcement appeared on the Governor's public schedule for 12:45 pm at his Midtown Manhattan office.
Assembled high above third avenue's bustling traffic was the team of experts assembled by Cuomo, including the deans of Columbia and Cornell's engineering schools alongside MTA acting chairman Fernando Ferrer and other agency officials.
Moments later, the governor would announce the cancellation of the closure that had seen Brooklyn rents plummet and businesses make contingency plans for the lost foot traffic and revenue.
The repaired tunnel will be the first of its kind in the US
Instead of replacing the cabling that's stuck inside the concrete benchwall, contractors will instead repair any damaged portions of the wall and convert it into a walkway for emergency situations and repairs going forward. For this, they'll use fiberglass patching that's been used on other infrastructure projects and is a bonafide method of construction, experts said at the press conference.
New electronic equipment will be sheathed in low-smoke, fire resistant cabling and "racked" or hung from the tunnel in a way that it avoids further damage and can be easily repaired if need be. A ground wire will be placed underneath the track bed, as is currently done on some outdoor and above-ground lines.
"This is a design that has not been used in the US before," Cuomo said. "It has been implemented in Europe, but has never been implemented in a tunnel restoration project. It uses many new innovations that are new, frankly, to the rail industry."
Some night and weekend closures of one tube will still be necessary, the MTA said in a press release, allowing for a limited service to continue at the same time as construction.
The "de-coupling" of the infrastructure has "never been done before," the governor added. Damaged cabling inside the benchwall will be abandoned and replaced with new electronics.
Fiber optic cables will also be installed along the entire 32,000 benchwall that can continuously monitor the tunnel for cracks or damage, before a catastrophe occurs. Lidar, a laser-like radar technology, can also be added onto trains for more thorough periodic inspections to the structure.
"This is really state of the art technology," Lance Collins, dean of Cornell's engineering school, said at the press conference. "This is an unusual application in that we're using it in rehabilitation, but its proven technology."
Other recommendations from the task force, all of which have been accepted by the MTA, include waterproof tunnel gates which can be closed in the event of high water to prevent flooding.
The technology could be rolled out to other infrastructure projects, too
The L train is far from the only piece of New York infrastructure experiencing a crisis.
The Gateway tunnel that connects New York and New Jersey via the Hudson River, which Gov. Cuomo also toured in December, is also badly in need of repair or a new tube for the critical Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains and commuter rail services. The Second Avenue Subway — a multi-decade boondoggle that only recently opened with three stops — could also use the technology, the MTA said.
"Human nature is to do what you have done that is tried and true," said Gov. Cuomo. "No designer wants to give you a plan that hasn't been done before, but you have to be willing to break the box."
With Democrats sweeping to power in the House, control of the chamber's 22 committees moves from Republican to Democratic hands.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House today, and the new crop of House leaders include several of President Donald Trump's prominent foes, who will now have the power to investigate and subpoena him and his administration.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, the likely next chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has long sparred with Trump and has already said he'll initiate probes into sexual assault and perjury allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Trump's ousting of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Rep. Maxine Waters, who will chair the House financial services committee, has also traded barbs with Trump, who has called her a "seriously low I.Q. person." She will likely work to reinstate consumer protection regulations eroded by the Trump administration.
And Rep. Adam Schiff, the incoming chair of the intelligence committee, has promised to open new investigations into alleged ties between the president and the Russian government.
Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, the new chair of the oversight committee, has said he'll launch inquiries into voter suppression and alleged fraud in the Trump administration.
The new crop of committee chairs will be significantly more diverse — in gender and race — than their GOP predecessors. While Republicans boasted just two women and no people of color, among their 22 House committee chairs Democrats will have five women committee chairs, three of whom are women of color, and four men of color.
From more inclusive menus to less formal receptions, weddings are changing in several major ways this year.
We recently talked to four wedding experts and planners to find out what wedding guests can expect in 2019.
Below, find out which trends are on their way out and which are making a comeback.
In 2019, menus will become more inclusive.
"It used to be that a lot of venues didn't have a vegetarian option listed on the menu," Jacobs said. "It was the silent option. It was the secret you whispered to the server."
She continued: "I think that's very old-fashioned and non-inclusive now."
As couples become increasingly considerate of guests with dietary restrictions, expect to see more interesting options like zucchini noodles or cauliflower steaks, Jacobs said.
Mobile desserts will take over for large decadent displays.
Extravagant dessert displays may sound amazing in theory, but they're not as great in practice, Jacobs said.
"[Dessert rooms] can pull people off the dance floor right when they're getting cooking," she explained.
According to Jacobs, more couples are serving desserts on carts or passable trays, so guests can keep the party going.
Signature cocktails will give way to signature bars.
"Mixology is increasingly available and desirable by couples," Jacobs said.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Sweatpants may have once been something to wear to bed or to lounge around the house in, but that's no longer the case and the runways and street style of celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Kylie Jenner are proof.
You can easily dress sweats up and make them a look a lot more stylish than you ever thought they could be, creating an outfit you can wear whether you're going out with friends or heading to the office.
Here are 13 stylish and easy ways to dress up sweatpants.
Choose sweatpants that are fitted rather than baggy.
If you're looking to dress up your look, the fit of your sweats can make a huge difference. Baggy sweats may be cozy, but they can be more difficult to dress up. On the other hand, fitted pairs, like leggings or joggers, will be easier to style. Pick a pair that fits well and feels comfortable.
Pair them with a trendy coat or blazer.
Instead of reaching for a sweatshirt when heading outside, wear your sweatpants with a blazer or coat that will immediately make them look more put together. Think a long belted trench, a leather jacket, or a more casual denim jacket. The coat will give the sweats a more dressed up feel than a sweatshirt might.
Take some time to style other parts of your look, like your hair.
When you're trying to dress up sweatpants, the rest of your look can make quite a difference. An outfit of sweats, sneakers, and a simple top may look more casual if your hair is in a messy bun or loose ponytail. But if your hair is more styled, it can make the rest of your outfit look more dressed up and intentional.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
In a new court filing Thursday, the special counsel Robert Mueller's team asked the US District Court in Washington, DC, to file a sealed response to lawyers representing an indicted Russian company because the government's response "discusses 'a matter occurring before the grand jury.'"
Fervent observers of Mueller's investigation into Russia's election interference were quick to say that the court filing could be tied to a separate and ongoing legal battle between Mueller and an unknown entity over a grand-jury subpoena.
Thursday's filing was related to Mueller's case against Concord Management and Consulting LLC and the Internet Research Agency (IRA), two of three Russian entities the special counsel indicted last year on charges of conspiring to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election via a social-media disinformation campaign.
Concord is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-allied Russian oligarch who was also indicted and is accused of using his companies to bankroll the IRA.
Concord asked to share millions of pages of evidence turned over by Mueller with Prigozhin, but the documents first have to be reviewed by a "firewall" counsel working for the US government because of Prigozhin's suspected ties to Russian intelligence.
Last month, Concord asked a federal judge to allow discovery regarding how the US government turned over confidential information to the firewall counsel. Prosecutors then asked to file their response under seal on Thursday, citing an ongoing grand-jury case.
Meanwhile, the grand-jury subpoena case, which has been shrouded in mystery since it was mounted in August, took an interesting turn last month when the DC appeals court issued a ruling revealing that the unnamed witness in the case isn't a person but a foreign corporation, described in documents only as being "owned by Country A."
The ruling indicates that the company has been fighting a subpoena from Mueller's office to hand over information to the grand jury, saying that doing so would violate the law in "Country A."
The document said the court rejected the company's rationale for not complying with the subpoena and ordered it to hand over the information. It also revealed that the corporation is being fined every day that it doesn't comply with the subpoena.
The unnamed company took its case to the Supreme Court after losing at the appeals court, and Chief Justice John Roberts allowed a temporary freeze on the mounting fines last month.
The company and the Justice Department made written arguments to the court last week, and the company submitted a reply under seal to the court on Wednesday. The full court is now gearing up to decide whether to compel the company to pay its fines or to keep the freeze in place.
It's 2019, and the marijuana M&A market is already heating up.
Cannabis technology company TILT Holdings on Thursday signed an agreement to acquire Jupiter Research, a vaporizer-maker, for $210 million in cash and stock.
"We never expected to acquire a hardware company," Joel Milton, TILT's senior vice president of software and services told Business Insider in an interview.
But when Milton and TILT's CEO, Alex Coleman, met with Jupiter's CEO, Mark Scatterday, "we were really impressed with what they were doing," said Milton.
That, coupled with the "exponential growth" vapes offer made Jupiter a nice fit within TILT's arsenal, said Milton.
Jupiter booked over $100 million in orders last year, up from under $25 million in 2017, according to a December note from Canaccord Genuity.
The deal is expected to close in the "near future," said Milton.
A 'B2B approach' to marijuana
TILT was created out of a four-way merger between marijuana software company Baker Technologies— where Milton served as CEO — with Briteside Holdings, Sea Hunter Therapeutics, and Santé Veritas Holdings in May 2018.
The combined entity went public via a reverse merger on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) last December and began to roll-up other marijuana companies shortly after.
"We're a little differentiated from some of our other peers in the market in that we take a much more B2B (business-to-business) approach in terms of how we look at the industry," Milton said.
Whereas other US-based marijuana companies, known as multi-state operators, are focused on acquisitions that expand their geographical retail presence, TILT is focused on supplying software and services — and now hardware — to marijuana dispensaries.
TILT acquired Blackbird, a marijuana distribution and software company in December.
"So rather than solely focused on opening retail stores, we're really focused on providing solutions to the whole industry," Milton said, adding that the Jupiter acquisition is an "unbelievable" way to expand TILT's reach into a new category.
"When you look at the data within the states [where marijuana is legal], vaporizers are growing rapidly," Milton said. "When you have that growth within a market over time plus new markets, you get exponential growth. And quite frankly we have really, really high expectations for what the vaporizer market's going to look like."
Vape companies, whether used for marijuana or otherwise, have been prime acquisition targets in recent weeks. Altria, the tobacco-maker behind Marlboro, sank $12.8 billion into a 35% stake of Juul, a popular e-cigarette maker in December.
Marijuana is legal in Canada and for adult use in 10 states, and medical use in 33. In December, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said legalizing the adult use of marijuana is one of his top legislative priorities for next year.
For the first time in history, a space mission has touched down on the far side of the moon. China's Chang'e-4 probe landed in the the oldest and deepest basin on the moon's surface. Making the mission a milestone for both China and space exploration as a whole.
This isn't the first time China has landed on the moon. In 2013, Chang'e-3 successfully touched down on Mare Imbrium, a huge lava plane on the moon's surface. But until now, China has never explored the moon's mysterious dark side. No one has.
That's actually why it's called the "dark side". It's not hidden from the sun. It's hidden from our view. That's because the Earth and moon are in what's called synchronous rotation. Which means every time the moon rotates once on its axis, it also completes one orbit around the Earth.
As a result, we see the same face of the moon every night. In fact, we only got our first glimpse of the far side in 1959 when the Soviet Union's Luna 3 took pictures as it flew by. And while we've had numerous landings on the near side of the moon no one's attempted to touch down on the far side before. And for good reason.
It's impossible to communicate with anything over there. Any signal would get blocked by the rest of the moon. But China's team had a solution. They launched a relay satellite with a clear view of both Chang'e-4 and the Earth. And so far, the plan's working. Here are the very first images taken by Chang'e-4. The first in history ever taken from the surface on the dark side of the moon. What's more, you're looking at the oldest, largest, and deepest basin the moon has.
Chang'e-4 landed in Von Karman a flat landscape that sits inside: South Pole–Aitken basin. The basin is around 2500 km across — that's about the distance from New York to Dallas! And it's a whopping 8 km deep — for comparison, the deepest natural point on Earth, the Challenger Deep, is nearly 11 km deep. Next, the lander will release a rover that will explore the surrounding area. One of its tasks is to study the composition of rocks and dirt in the basin. Since scientists believe this is the oldest basin on the moon learning what it's made of might help us understand how Earth's only moon formed and evolved.
But that's only one goal of the mission. Besides cameras and spectrometers, Chang'e-4 also brought along potatoes and silkworm eggs. Researchers hope to test how well plants can grow and eggs can hatch in the moon's low gravity. It's the mini-first greenhouse to ever land on another world in our solar system and might help prepare us for space colonies in the future.
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. Current subscribers can read the report here.
Blockchain is seemingly being explored by innovation teams in every corner of every industry. This includes the logistics industry, which, despite continuing on an impressive upward trajectory — the market is expected to reach $15.5 trillion by 2023, up from $8.1 trillion in 2015 — is filled with inefficiencies that the distributed ledger technology (DLT) is potentially well suited to fix.
As a result, the DLT has become one of the most attractive investment opportunities for companies in the logistics space; in fact, the market for blockchain technology in supply chain management is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% from $41 million in 2017 to $667 million in 2024, according to Zion Market Research.
This is leading some of the largest firms in the logistics industry to explore blockchain and its potential use cases. For example, in 2017, a group of technology, transportation, and supply chain executives formed the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) to create a forum for the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry. BiTA now has over 450 members, including global heavyweights UPS, FedEx, SAP, Google, Cisco, and Daimler.
However, there are still major hurdles to overcome before the technology can become commonplace. Many companies, especially small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), are still unaware of what blockchain is, how it works, or what the benefits of the technology are.
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence explores how blockchain can provide value to the global logistics industry. We break down some of the inefficiencies in the logistics industry that are leading firms to explore blockchain and explain how the technology can be used to solve these issues. Additionally, we examine some specific use cases along the supply chain and identify some of the hurdles to adoption. And finally, we take a look at what needs to occur in the logistics industry for blockchain to be deployed widely.
The companies mentioned in this report are: BiTA, FedEx, IBM, Maersk, Modum, SAP, Volt Technology, and Walmart.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
For the first time in history, China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon— the part we never see from Earth.
The Chinese moon mission is called Chang'e-4, and it set down a robotic lander and rover at 2:26 a.m. UTC on Thursday (Wednesday night in the US), according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
"Chang'e" is the name of a mythical lunar goddess, and the numeral "4" signifies the fourth robotic mission in China's ambitious quest to explore the moon. No other nation — the US and Russia included — has ever touched the far side of the moon.
The CNSA shared photos of the landing through state media, and the latest picture (above) shows the Yutu-2 or "Jade Rabbit" rover rolling off the landing spacecraft and onto the moon's unexplored far side.
The agency has been less forthcoming about other details of its mission, but lunar researchers have been analyzing data to help confirm there was a landing and also track the rover's precise location.
Noah Petro, a planetary geologist, told Business Insider that he used images distributed by China on social media to pinpoint the landing site.
"Looks like Change-4 landed near 45.47084 South, 177.60563 East," Petro, who is a project scientist on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, tweeted on Thursday.
Where the Chang'e-4 mission touched down on the moon
As the graphic below shows, those coordinates place Chang'e-4 within two impact sites that are very important to geologists and planetary scientists. The larger of the two is the South Pole-Aitken Basin. Within that expansive site, Chang'e-4 landed inside Von Kármán Crater.
The South Pole-Aitken Basin is a 1,550-mile-wide scar left by a horrendous collision that occurred about 3.9 billion years ago. This smash-up likely busted all the way through the moon's crust, leading part of the moon's deeper-down geologic layers to spill out onto the surface.
"It's possible this basin is so deep that it contains material from the moon's inner mantle," Tamela Maciel, an astrophysicist and communications manager at the National Space Center in England, tweeted after the mission's launch on December 7. "By landing on the far side for the first time, the Chang'e-4 lander and rover will help us understand so much more about the moon's formation and history."
The Von Kármán Crater within the basin stretches about 111 miles in diameter and should provide good access to the area's scientific wonders.
China built its solar-powered moon rover to last about three months and its lander to function for about a year. But once they stop phoning home — through a relay satellite called Queqiao, which makes the mission possible — China won't stop exploring the region.
The nation is intent on launching crewed missions to the moon in the early 2030s. If that happens as planned, it could be the first time people set foot on the lunar surface since NASA's Apollo program ended in 1972.
A crewed landing would give China the upper hand in exploring the moon and space around it. The stakes are high; the lunar poles are rich in water ice and other resources that could support permanent moon bases, make rocket fuel, and power deep-space exploration.
"Von Kármán crater would be a worthy target for future crewed landings," Mark Robinson, a planetary geologist and leader of the LRO mission, said in a blog post about the landing site.
You had Sam, the owner of the bar and recovering alcoholic, and Diane, his love interest and a pretentious waitress. And when she left, you had the neurotic bar manager, Rebecca, take her place. There was Coach and Woody, both very dim but well-meaning bartenders, and Carla, the tough waitress who never held back her true feelings. And to round out the cast, there was Cliff, a trivia-spouting postman, Norm, who complained about his wife but loved her dearly, and Frasier, a therapist.
Besides your core cast, there were many people who walked through Cheers only once or twice, never to be heard from again. And some of those people were extremely famous, like Emma Thompson, Lisa Kudrow, and Dick Cavett.
Keep scrolling to see 30 celebs you totally forgot appeared on "Cheers."
Thirteen years before starring in "Nanny McPhee," Emma Thompson appeared in a season 10 episode as the children's entertainer Nanny Gee.
Thompson's character was Frasier's heretofore unmentioned first wife — which was revealed when he went to one of Nanny Gee's children's shows with his current wife, Lillith, and their son Frederick. It became quite clear that Nanny Gee (real name Nanette) wasn't fully over her ex-husband.
Frasier and Lillith's off-and-on relationship ran through eight seasons of "Cheers," and nine seasons of Frasier's spin-off, "Frasier," so it was always delightful to learn something about their lives before they wandered into Cheers, including never-before-mentioned first wives.
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek appeared as himself when one of the bar's most "knowledgeable" patrons appeared on the game show.
Cliff, a postal worker, and his best friend, Norm, an oft-unemployed accountant, strolled into the bar every day, and hijinks ensued. While Norm was the more practical, street-smart one, Cliff was known for spouting off (mostly wrong) trivia and facts about any subject.
However, in a season eight episode, Cliff was able to show off his trivia expertise on an episode of "Jeopardy!" He almost won but answered the Final Jeopardy question incorrectly after wagering all his winnings, making him verbally attack the "Jeopardy!" host.
Trebek later stopped by Cheers and made amends with Cliff.
Marcia Cross played Rebecca's sister in season seven.
After Diane left the show, Rebecca, played by Kirstie Alley, was brought in to replace her in season six. As time went on and viewers became fond of Rebecca, more was revealed about her back story, including that she had a sister, Susan.
Susan proved to be the exact opposite of Rebecca, and the two sisters didn't get along because Susan used to steal all of Rebecca's boyfriends when they were younger.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Making a lifestyle change to get healthy and/or lose weight is a journey unique to each of us. While you're on your way, hearing about other people's transformations can be inspirational and encouraging.
So, if you're in need of a little motivation, check out these weight loss tips from people who have been there and done that.
Matt Schiffman: Sticking to a ketogenic diet helped him lose over 100 pounds.
Matt Schiffman, VP of Brand Management atRSP Nutrition, lost, and kept off, over 100 pounds after he decided to take charge of his health through small daily improvements.
One improvement he implemented immediately was a shift in his diet. "For me, a ketogenic diet worked well because I love fatty cuts of meat and savory foods," he told INSIDER.
But you can't force it. That's why his advice is to find a diet that works for you and allows you to eat the types of foods you love. "There is no one single right diet, but there is a diet that is right for you," Schiffman said.
Mike DeMaria: Intermittent fasting helped this firefighter lose 23 pounds.
Intermittent fasting is at the center of professional firefighter Mike DeMaria's weight loss. He recently lost 23 pounds by sticking to a strict eating schedule through intermittent fasting (IF).
Eating only between the hours of noon and 8:00 pm, he said e watched the weight melt off of him. As he began to lose weight, he also felt more energized and started to work out more frequently in the gym switching between running, Stairmaster, weights, and other exercises.
One tip from DeMaria: avoid doing the same workout every day. "Some days I run five to seven miles outside, while others I may run two to three miles on the treadmill," he told INSIDER. He also alternates between the Stairmaster, quick plyo workouts with burpees, push-ups, etc., and lifting weights.
April Storie: An exercise app helped her lose 26 pounds.
As an Army veteran, April Storie told INSIDER that physical fitness has always been a part of her life. But in December 2016, her dad died, and the grief was unexpected, immense, and exhaustive, which led to poor food choices and lack of physical activity.
In November 2017, she said she discovered an app called Aaptiv and purchased a one-year subscription. "As I began to move more, I started making healthier eating options," said Storie. "I eliminated all inflammatory causing foods and stopped all supplements and pain medications with the goal of allowing my body's systems to heal and restore themselves," she explained.
Storie used the meditation section of the Aaptiv app morning, noon, and night to help eliminate stress, and the yoga and walking programs for gentle yet effective movement while her body healed. Aten 10 months, Storie is down 26 pounds and has her sights set on returning to 5k running races.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The healthcare industry is facing disruption due to accelerating technological innovation and growing demand for improved delivery of healthcare and lower costs. Tech startups are leading the way by seizing opportunities in the areas of the industry that are most vulnerable to disruption, including genomics, pharmaceuticals, administration, clinical operations, and insurance.
Venture funds and businesses are taking notice of these startups' potential. In the US, digital health funding reached $1.6 billion in Q1 2018, according to Rock Health — the largest first quarter on record, surpassing the $1.4 billion in venture funding seen in Q1 2016. These high-potential startups provide a glimpse into the future of the healthcare space and demonstrate how we’ll get there.
In this report, a compilation of various notes, Business Insider Intelligence will look at the top startups disrupting US healthcare in four key areas: artificial intelligence (AI), digital therapeutics, health insurance, and genomics. Startups in this report were selected based on the funding they've received over the past year, notable investors, the products they offer, and leadership in their functional area.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
The Toronto Raptors' recruitment of Kawhi Leonard has gone about as well as possible nearly halfway through the 2018-19 season.
The Raptors have a league-best 28 wins and are just half a game behind the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the East. They're deep, malleable, and top-10 offensive and defensive unit.
Leonard has slid into the Raptors' system seamlessly. He has regained his All-NBA form, averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game while providing his usual stellar defense. He's given the Raptors the type of game-closer they lacked in previous years and is a borderline MVP candidate.
The East (because of LeBron James' departure) and maybe the NBA (because of the Warriors' malaise) look winnable, and the Raptors are an early championship contender.
As ESPN's Tim Bontemps laid out, the team's recruiting efforts have been solid. Their medical staff seems to have won over Leonard as he's returned from missing nearly an entire season with tendinopathy in his left quad. Toronto itself is a big, diverse city, and Leonard seems to be embracing it.
In return, Leonard, according to Bontemps, has been friendly, engaged, and receptive with his teammates and the organization.
The Raptors' gamble on Leonard seems to be paying off. And yet there's a chance none of it matters.
According to Bontemps and other reports, the Los Angeles Clippers are said to be one of the front-runners to land Leonard in free agency. He is from Southern California, the Clippers have a deep roster, cap space, and the benefits on not being James' team. Leonard's desire to land in Los Angeles was well-known when he was still with the Spurs.
Bontemps reported that people in the NBA believe Leonard's choice will come down to the Raptors and the Clippers, and there's a chance the Clippers win for the simplest of seasons.
"There are two things that Toronto, no matter how hard it tries, can't provide Leonard: being at home and year-round warm weather.
"If it comes down to those two teams, the chance for Leonard to come home and to stay away from snow could be the Clippers' strongest argument."
It is Leonard's right, of course, to choose what makes him happiest. He could love Toronto, but ultimately decide to move to Los Angeles, to be closer to his family, and to enjoy a better climate.
"But it's just cold. You know, I came from California, and I moved to San Antonio, and there's no snow in either city," Leonard told ESPN of Toronto. "It's my first experience having Christmas with snow on the ground and just seeing snow throughout the year for the first time."
From a basketball perspective, the Clippers and Raptors might not be so different. Both situations, without Leonard, might be about equal. Both teams have talented young players, proven veterans, and future flexibility.
Could winning a championship this season potentially be so enticing that Leonard simply can't leave? Maybe.
But Leonard won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs. When star players win that elusive championship early on, they seem to feel more comfortable doing what makes them happiest, regardless of the championship potential. So, for Leonard, it might come down off-the-court items, things the Raptors can't control.
The Raptors' gamble might be worthwhile, regardless of whether Leonard stays or leaves. They couldn't go on with their previous core, and a shot at a championship with Leonard could make the cost of acquiring him worthwhile, even if it's a one-year rental.
Their recruiting efforts, including the on-court product, might not simply be enough and there's very little they could do about it.
The 116th Congress was sworn in on Thursday, with 10 new scientists in the ranks.
Many of the incoming science experts on the Hill hold medical degrees, have worked in healthcare, or have an intimate understanding of topics like nuclear energy or climate change. It's a major boost in the science credentials of the US governing body, which still has only one PhD scientist and one PhD mathematician among the 535 members.
While there are no additional PhDs on this list of new-comers, the doctors, engineers, and energy wonks who joined Congress bring knowledge of science, technology, and healthcare.
"Scientists are essentially problem-solvers," Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action, a nonprofit political action committee dedicated to recruiting, training, and funding scientists and healthcare workers who want to run for political office, previously told Business Insider.
She said the new science-minded politicians will change the political conversation in Washington and "bring a much more nuanced and productive conversation to the healthcare debate," while at the same time taking on environmental issues, cybersecurity, and election integrity.
"Who better to be tackling these issues than scientists?" she said.
Here's the list of new science whizzes representing Americans on the Hill:
Computer programmer Jacky Rosen is one of Nevada's two Democratic female senators. The former Congresswoman from the state's 3rd District helped her suburban Las Vegas synagogue install a new solar array. Rosen says that cut the congregation's energy bill by 70%.
Source: Business Insider
Industrial engineer Chrissy Houlahan, an air force veteran, represents Pennsylvania's 6th District. Houlahan, who used to teach high school chemistry, said she'll focus on making healthcare more affordable.
Ocean engineer Joe Cunningham, who squeaked out a victory in South Carolina's coastal 1st District, wants to protect the coastline from offshore drilling.
The 36-year-old told The Post and Courier that he's "pumped" to get to work in DC and end the government shutdown.
"People in the 1st Congressional District have sent me up here to extinguish those flames of partisan hatred and political divide as opposed to pouring kerosene on it," he said.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Southwest Airlines cofounder Herb Kelleher died on Thursday at the age of 87. The Dallas-based airline confirmed Kelleher's death to Business Insider via email.
In a statement, Southwest Airlines said:
"We are deeply saddened to share that Southwest Airlines Founder and Chairman Emeritus Herbert D. Kelleher passed away today at the age of 87.
"Herb was a pioneer, a maverick, and an innovator. His vision revolutionized commercial aviation and democratized the skies. Herb's passion, zest for life, and insatiable investment in relationships made lasting and immeasurable impressions on all who knew him and will forever be the bedrock and esprit de corps of Southwest Airlines.
"The entire Southwest Family extends our deepest sympathies to Herb's wife, Joan, and his entire family."
Kelleher, along with business partner Rollin King, founded Southwest Airlines in 1967. The low-cost airline commenced service in 1971 with three Boeing 737s serving Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Read more: These are the 9 best airlines in America.
Kelleher served as Southwest's president and CEO from 1978 to 2001. The charismatic former lawyer served as the airline's chairman until 2008.
In the years since its founding, Southwest Airlines has developed into the world's largest low-cost airline with a fleet of more than 700 Boeing 737 jets, operating 4,000 flights a day.
Southwest is also renowned for its industry-leading customer service and friendly demeanor. The airline is also one of the most profitable airlines in the world with 46 consecutive years of profitability. It's one of the only major airlines in the US to have never filed for bankruptcy.
Kelleher is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the New York University School of Law.
SEE ALSO: The 21 safest airlines in the world
LONDON — Conservative party members overwhelmingly want MPs to vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal, with more than half saying they have even considered ripping up their membership over it, according to a new poll.
A survey of 1,215 Tory party members published on Friday found that 59% of Conservative party members oppose the Withdrawal Agreement May has negotiated with the European Union, while just 38% support it.
Among all Conservative party members, more than half (56%) said they had considered quitting the party over May's deal, according to YouGov polling for leading academics at the ESRC-funded Party Members Project.
The findings will spook figures in Downing Street who had hoped that Conservative MPs would return from their constituencies over Christmas having been urged by party members to get behind May and her deal.
The prime minister was forced to postpone a parliamentary vote on her deal after more than 100 of her MPs announced that they planned to oppose it.
However, today's poll finds members are, if anything, even more critical of May's deal and her premiership than her MPs.
According to the poll, over half of Tory party members (53%) believe that May's deal fails to respect the 2016 referendum result, with just 15% of members saying that May had negotiated a good deal with Brussels.
This figure is even higher among members who voted for Brexit, with 67% of them believing May's deal does not respect the 2016 vote.
Almost half (48%) said May, who has pledged to stand down before the next general election in 2022, was doing badly as prime minister, compared to 51% who said she was doing well.
Those around May had hoped that the party would row behind her following the failed coup attempt against her led by Brexiteer Conservative MPs before Christmas.
However, today's poll finds that 44% of Tory members say she should resign if MPs reject her deal later this month as expected.
The Tory party membership is particularly supportive of leaving the EU without a deal, despite the myriad warnings from ministers about the disruption it would cause across multiple aspects of life in the UK, including food and medicine.
A whopping 76% of Tory members said that warnings about a no deal Brexit are "exaggerated or invented, and in reality leaving without a deal would not cause serious disruption." Just 18% said the warnings were realistic.
The research also found that a majority of Conservative party members would back no-deal in a future referendum. For example, in a hypothetical choice between Remain and no-deal, 76% backed the latter.
The polling finds that the party's membership is well out of step with the general public.
In a new nationwide Brexit referendum with two options — stay in the EU and leave without a deal — today's poll finds that 45% would vote to stay in the EU while 35% would vote to leave without a deal.
Remain would also come on top in a vote on three choices, the research found, with 42% of people backing Remain, 25% supporting a no deal. Worryingly for May, just 13% of all voters backed the third option of supporting her deal.
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. Current subscribers can read the report here.
Smart speakers comprise one of the fastest-growing device segments in the consumer technology market today. Ownership levels have nearly doubled from early 2017 to summer 2018.
With this rapid growth, there are a few pivotal questions that both companies looking to develop and sell smart speakers as well as those looking to sell products, deliver media, and offer access to services like banking over these devices need answers to in order to craft successful strategies. In particular, they need to know who is and isn’t buying smart speakers, and what consumers who own smart speakers are actually doing with them.
To offer these stakeholders insight, Business Insider Intelligence asked more than 500 US consumers about their knowledge of smart speakers, the devices they do or don’t own and what led them to their purchase decisions, as well as the tasks they’re using their smart speakers for.
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence will look at the state of the smart speaker market and outline how each of the major device providers approaches the space. We will then focus on the key factors that affect whether or not someone owns one of these devices. Next, we will use our survey data to outline the reasons why people don’t own devices in order to offer guidance for who to target and how. Finally, we will discuss what consumers are actually doing with their smart speakers — specifically looking at how the devices are used and perceived in e-commerce, digital media, and banking — which can help companies determine how well they’re publicizing their smart speaker services and capabilities.
The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Google, Apple, Samsung, Facebook, Sonos, LG, Anker, Spotify, Pandora, Grubhub, Netflix, Hulu, Instagram, Snap.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
The tense relationship between the US and Russia has become even more strained after Russia formally charged a US citizen and former Marine with espionage on Thursday.
Paul Whelan, a 48-year-old corporate security director, was detained on December 31 and Russia's Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, said Whelan was apprehended while on a "spy mission" but has not provided other details.
National-security experts said there were several red flags in Whelan's arrest and that details from his past make it increasingly likely that Russia arrested him because it is angling for a prisoner swap with the US for the accused Russian spy Maria Butina.
The Russian state-news agency Rosbalt said Whelan, who flew to Moscow earlier in December to attend a friend's wedding, was arrested at his room in the Metropol Hotel five minutes after he allegedly accepted a flash drive with a list of all the employees working at a classified intelligence agency.
But a former CIA covert officer, who requested anonymity to candidly discuss the matter, told INSIDER that Russian law-enforcement officials are notorious for planting evidence on detainees before arresting them.
Meanwhile, Whelan's Russian lawyer said in an unusual comment to The New York Times that he would be okay with a prisoner swap in which Russia would turn Whelan back over to the US in exchange for Butina, who pleaded guilty last month to engaging in a conspiracy against the US.
"I myself hope that we can rescue and bring home one Russian soul," Whelan's lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told The Times.
The Daily Beast reported later Thursday that Zherebenkov is a former Soviet government investigator who has never tried a case involving a foreigner charged with espionage. He reportedly refused to discuss whether the FSB was involved in appointing him to represent Whelan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any connection between Butina and the Russian government or intelligence services. But Russia has a history of arresting foreigners and swapping them in exchange for its citizens held elsewhere.
Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia and a vocal Putin critic, said Whelan's arrest seemed "strange."
"A retired marine attending a wedding in Moscow allegedly conducted 'an act of espionage'?" McFaul tweeted. "Russian officials owe the Whelan family and the U.S. government an explanation. [President Donald Trump] should call Putin today."
Bill Browder, a longtime Putin foe who spearheaded the passage of the 2012 Magnitsky Act, tweeted that Whelan's arrest "looks increasingly like a hostage situation."
Whelan doesn't fit the profile of an undercover spy, intel veterans say
Intelligence veterans said several details in Whelan's past make it highly unlikely he was working as an undercover spy in Russia.
By detaining Whelan and charging him with espionage, the Russians "are implicitly making the claim that he is a US intelligence officer under what's known as 'Non-Official Cover,'" Edward Price, the former senior director of the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, told INSIDER. "In other words," the Russian government believes "he's an operative who doesn't purport to work for the US government."
Price said there are two traits in Whelan's past that led him to doubt Russia's claims.
The first is Whelan's status as a retired Marine.
"That's important because the concept of 'non-official cover' is predicated on the idea that NOCs have no known ties to the US government," Price said. "That's what allows them to do their job effectively and, if all goes according to the plan, without detection."
"But Paul Whelan served his country in uniform for some 15 years and in a fairly prominent way," Price added. "That is about as far from the traditional NOC profile as one could get."
The second trait revolves around the circumstances of Whelan's departure from the Marine Corps. He was discharged in 2008 for bad conduct after being court-martialed on charges of larceny.
"Even if we were to set aside our skepticism on the first count, this fact makes any US government affiliation all the more dubious," Price said.
John Sipher, a former CIA clandestine services officer, echoed that view, telling NPR that he can "say for certain" that "this is not how the US commits espionage overseas."
"We would never put a US citizen, without diplomatic immunity, in harm's way this way, especially looking after low-level things like this," Sipher said.
The beginnings of a prisoner swap?
Whelan's detention came about two weeks after Butina's guilty plea.
Putin previously said he hadn't heard of Butina until her arrest and that she had no ties to the Kremlin or Russian spy agencies. But on December 20, Putin said the charges against Butina had been fabricated and that she was forced to plead guilty to avoid a long prison sentence.
He added, "I don't understand what she could have pleaded guilty to because she was not there to fulfill any government tasks."
But Kimberly Marten, a Russia expert and political science professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, told Vox Putin's apparent displeasure over Butina's arrest could indicate that Whelan's subsequent arrest could be a form of retaliation.
"Russia has a history of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions, and so forth, when there's any kind of a spy case," Marten said. But she said "we don't really know enough yet to say for sure."
Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the CIA and the National Security Agency, largely agreed.
"My instinct is that it is tit-for-tat," he told INSIDER. "Much like what China is doing to Canada. Neither of these countries has much dedication to the rule of law."
Whelan reportedly used VKontakte, a Russian social-media platform similar to Facebook, for the last 13 years, and Russian officials have alluded to his use of the website to bolster their claims that he is an undercover spy.
One Russian law-enforcement source told Rosbalt that Whelan spent years cultivating his Russian social-media presence to recruit Russians handpicked by American intelligence who had access to classified data.
Price said Whelan's profile also fits that of someone the Russians would detain if they wanted to secure a bargaining chip in the Butina case.
"They surely know that Trump would like nothing more than to boast about securing the release of a veteran," Price said. And "I have no doubt they came across his pro-Trump statements on his social-media page, something they have to know would reach Trump's desk, too."
"But this individual's profile is befitting of someone whom the Russian would deem worthy of Trump making a deal," Price said. "And the deal in this case may be a swap for Butina."