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I tried keeping a notebook to organize my thoughts and ideas just like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Sheryl Sandberg do. One of them uses a method that was easily the best.

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 13:50
  • Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Sheryl Sandberg have been known to carry notebooks around with them.
  • They jot down ideas as they think of them and make daily to-do lists to tear out once completed.
  • I tried their different note-taking styles and had varying degrees of success with each method.

Every year, a lot of people make a New Year's resolution to get more organized. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there for this purpose, and I recently decided to put one to the test.

Business figures like Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, and Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg swear by a surprisingly low-tech hack to keep their thoughts and ideas organized: They all carry around notebooks.

Gates and Branson scribble down ideas as they come to them throughout the day, so they don't forget them. Sandberg notes down what she needs to do for the day and tears out pages once everything on them is complete. I tested out their different note-taking methods for a week and found one worked best by a long shot.

During this experiment, I tried taking my notes on paper, as Gates, Branson, and Sandberg do, but I also tried jotting things down on my laptop on some days.

I started with Gates' and Branson's approach.

I usually only write down ideas with the most potential and mentally file away the others. This meant that, this week, I sometimes needed to consciously remind myself to write down every idea that came to mind, no matter how small.

When I did, I found some smaller ideas were actually pretty promising once I gave them more thought and research, and I was thankful I'd written them down, or else I might have forgotten them.

The downside to this method for me was that, given my personal tendencies, taking notes on paper sometimes created extra work. For example, I like to keep all of my article ideas in a spreadsheet on my laptop, so they're all in one place. This meant I was jotting down ideas on paper, only to have to type them into a file later.

Next, I tried Sandberg's note-taking method — I thought this was the most constructive use of physical note-taking for two reasons.

First, there's some satisfaction in ripping out a page once everything on it is finished. It gave me a sense of achievement for that day and some motivation for the next.

Second, these were notes I only needed for one day. There was no need to transfer them to my laptop, as I had to do while following Gates' and Branson's method since those notes were for longer-term matters.

At the end of the week, I found taking notes on my laptop was preferable to writing them on paper. This was partly because of my personal habits and preferences, since I prefer to consolidate my work essentials on my laptop when possible. I see how people who don't share this tendency might prefer physical note-taking, but it just wasn't as useful for me.

My current work circumstances were also a factor. Since I'm working remotely, I'm near my laptop more often than I'd otherwise be, so it isn't difficult to just write notes there since it's on hand anyway. Under more normal circumstances, I'd be out more, so keeping a notepad might be more useful, since it'd be more likely an idea would strike while I'm away from my laptop.

Going forward, I'll keep writing out tasks and to-do lists on paper since Sandberg's technique reigned supreme for me.

For ideas, I'll stick with digital note-taking, but following Gates' and Branson's method reinforced to me the significance of writing down ideas as soon as they spring up, even if they seem inconsequential.

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 ways Omicron is screwing up the economy this month

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 13:15
Bread aisle shelves at a Target are seen nearly empty as the U.S. continues to experience supply chain disruptions in Washington, U.S.
  • January is only half over. It's been, and will continue to be, a wild month.
  • The Omicron variant is fueling the biggest infection wave yet and hampering the economic recovery.
  • From flight cancellations to historic inflation, here's what's making January a really weird month.

January's been a wild month, and it's only half over. 

The spread of Omicron infections across the world is causing millions of Americans to isolate again like it's 2020. Workers are staying home sick, and others are continuing to avoid the workforce for fear of the virus. Meanwhile consumers are paying the highest prices in almost 40 years.

It's a situation unlike any we've seen before, and it's about to get wilder. 

The worst inflation since 1982 may ease, confusing Americans' budgets once again

After living with historic inflation for the better part of a whole year, Americans have demanded bigger raises and businesses have struggled to keep goods in stock. Yet that normal is on its way out, and inflation is now likely to start cooling.

The latest data show inflation was still hot during the last days of 2021. Prices surged 7% year-over-year in December, according to a Wednesday report, reflecting the strongest inflation since 1982.

However, there's reason to believe price growth will start to slow in January. For one, Wall Street banks' forecasts show inflation peaking in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Biden administration and the Federal Reserve have said they expect inflation to fall from elevated levels by the middle of this year. Even everyday Americans' inflation expectations softened in December after skyrocketing through most of the pandemic.

The data also shows month-over-month inflation cooling further. Prices rose 0.5% last month, decelerating from November's 0.8% pace and marking the smallest one-month gain since September.

Much of the improvement will come from the solving of the global supply-chain mess. Bottlenecks are "easing in all the right places" as global suppliers ramp up production, JPMorgan economists Joshua Lupton and Bruce Kasman said in a Tuesday note.

As supply rebounds to better match demand, it's likely inflation will ease faster.

Businesses have empty shelves and not enough workers

As Omicron peaks, service may be slower at understaffed stores this month. Or, if companies have resumed pre-pandemic practices, employees at your local restaurant or grocery store might be working with COVID. 

Many companies started rolling back pandemic-era sick leave policies as vaccines have become available throughout the US. Omicron, however, evades vaccine protection more than previous variants.

This leaves more people sick, without enough paid leave.  

A Harvard study in 2020 found that nearly 1.5 million grocery workers across 24 grocery chains, including Walmart, Kroger, and Target, lacked access to paid sick leave. Low-income workers are especially affected. Only one third of workers whose wages are at the bottom 10% get any paid sick leave at all, compared with 95% of workers with wages in the top 10%, according to a national compensation survey of employee benefits conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in March. 

Omicron has also been wreaking havoc on the supply chain, which was already why grocery stores have been struggling to keep food on the shelves. And with the labor shortage still going strong, there are fewer hands to do work on farms, for manufacturers, and for distributors. Even food inspectors have been calling in sick, Bloomberg reported last week. 

Flights and public transportation will be harder to catch

Airlines have been hit hard, with hundreds of flights being canceled every day. United Airlines decreased its number of flights after 3,000 workers, about 4% of United's workforce, tested positive for COVID. JetBlue Airways also reduced its schedule this week, by about 1,280 flights — roughly 10% of its schedule — because of crew members getting sick. 

Local forms of transit are slowing down for the same reason. Cities like Portland, Oregon, Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., are decreasing their mass transit services as their employees get sick with COVID. The New York Times reported that in New York City, more than a fifth of subway operators and conductors were absent from work. In Florida, school bus drivers are unable to drive students to school. 

And, the mail is delayed throughout the country

Although the United States Postal Service (USPS) largely got people their deliveries on time for the holiday season, the Omicron variant has been spreading amongst its employees. Roughly 6,500 postal workers were quarantined due to COVID-19 as of Christmas Eve, a number that grew to 8,000, the Associated Press reported. The USPS declined to comment on the existence of positive employee COVID-19 cases. 

Cities and states across the country have been reporting mail delays in response, such as Minnesota, The StarTribune reporting that garbage haulers have been out sick too. In Washington state, winter weather conditions compounded with a surge in cases among postal workers to cause delays. In Maine, some people haven't gotten mail delivered in weeks, which the USPS attributed to the spread of COVID-19.

"This is an incredibly tough moment. The omicron variant has taken off like wildfire," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference last week, commenting on firefighter and ambulance delays. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump ally Darren Beattie forced out of federal post by White House after Insider report

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 13:14
Right-wing activist Darren Beattie in an appearance on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight in September, 2020
  • Right-wing activist Darren Beattie was told to resign from a US commission. 
  • Insider had found he was continuing to serve on the panel, while pushing Jan. 6 conspiracy theories. 
  • Beattie's appointment to the panel by Donald Trump had generated outrage. 

The Biden administration has forced the resignation of right-wing activist and conspiracy theorist Darren Beattie from the commission that oversees US Holocaust memorials abroad. 

Gautam Raghavan, deputy director of the White House Office of presidential personnel, had told Beattie in a letter that he must resign from his role on the US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad by the end of business Friday or be fired, The Washington Post reported. 

"Better than a Pulitzer," wrote Beattie in a tweet, with a picture of the letter requesting his resignation. 

—Darren J. Beattie

Boeing's new $442.2 million flagship plane is drawing interest from across the aviation industry. But delays are preventing it from realizing its potential.

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 13:10
The Boeing 777X at Dubai Airshow 2021.
  • The Boeing 777X is primed to be a popular seller in the private jet and cargo realms in addition to commercial airlines. 
  • Cargo carriers are looking to grow their fleets amid a boom in demand while a 777X private jet can be sold to governments and heads of state.
  • Delays in the aircraft's certification mean that cargo airlines and private jet buyers will be waiting years for their planes. 

Boeing's new flagship aircraft has the potential to be a jack of all trades. But right now, it's a master of none. 

The Boeing 777X is on track to be certified in late 2023 and there's growing demand for the world's largest twin-engine passenger jet to fly more than just airline passengers. Boeing's commercial derivatives program is tasked with developing alternative uses for the manufacturer's commercial aircraft, and the largest contender outside of the airline realm may be in air cargo. 

Cargo carriers are already aware of Boeing's strengths in developing freighter aircraft as nearly every one of the manufacturer's commercial aircraft has a freighter variant. And a Boeing 777X Freighter would be the natural next step for cargo carriers flying the Boeing 777 Freighter.

An Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-200 Freighter.

Airbus, however, has secured momentum in the cargo realm by launching the A350 Freighter at the Dubai Airshow in November. Global airlines including Air France and Singapore Airlines have already placed orders and made commitments for the aircraft, which may fly as early as 2025.

"[Airbus] in particular, in my view, have done incredible work … in terms of coming up with an incredibly unique aircraft," Nabil Sultan, Emirates SkyCargo's divisional senior vice president, told Insider.

But Emirates faces the same problem as its counterparts in that there's a desire to expand their fleets now amid a booming period for the air cargo industry. Tiding Emirates over until the Boeing 777X Freighter and Airbus A350F are certified and ready for deliveries is a purchase of two current-generation Boeing 777 Freighters and conversion plans for four Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft to be turned into cargo planes by Israel Aerospace Industries.

Boeing's backlog with certifying its commercial aircraft like the 777X, 737 Max 7, and 737 Max 10 is preventing the manufacturer from launching the 777X Freighter, according to Mike Fleming, Boeing's senior vice president in charge of commercial customer support and commercial derivative programs.

Qatar Airways plans to grow its cargo fleet and may be among the first to place an order for the 777X Freighter once the program finally does launch. Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways, told Reuters that Boeing has offered the 777X Freighter for his cargo division. 

The Boeing 777X at Dubai Airshow 2021.

Boeing is already a natural choice to refresh the Qatar Airways Cargo fleet considering that the majority of its aircraft are Boeing 777 Freighters. But a dispute with Airbus over the paint quality on the A350 XWB aircraft delivered to Qatar Airways may make Boeing an even more likely partner. 

A lesser-known division of Boeing is also preparing to launch the 777X as a private jet. Boeing Business Jets caters to the top tier of travelers even beyond ultra-high-net-worth individuals and is expecting customers for the 777X airliner-turned-private-jet to be the likes of national governments, royal families, and heads of state. 

"That will be really the flagship for [Boeing Business Jets and] hopefully in the next couple of years, we'll get our first sale," JD Detwiler, president of Boeing Business Jets, said of the 777X in Dubai. "That aircraft has the ability to link any two cities on the planet, it has an effective range approaching 12,000 nautical miles."

Onboard a Boeing Business Jet 737 at Dubai Airshow 2021.

And its $442.2 million price tag is just the tipping point as interior completions can cost millions and take more than two years to finish.

"You're probably looking at five years if you sign a contract for a 777X right now because it takes longer to build it and then it takes much longer to do the interior," Detwiler told Insider, noting that only a handful of firms are licensed by Boeing to complete aircraft interiors. 

But before any 777X Freighter or Boeing Business Jet is delivered, passengers airlines will have to get their overdue deliveries first. 

As of now, Boeing is still undergoing flight testing and certification trials to ensure that its new flagship will meet the revised delivery timeline of late 2023. The only passengers that get to fly on the aircraft are a team of flight test engineers and pilots that are putting the aircraft through its paces. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

How many Instagram followers you need to start getting paid

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 13:10
Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe has 16,000 followers and makes some of her income through affiliate links.
  • A couple thousand followers on Instagram qualifies some users as "influencers."
  • But at what point — and with how many followers — can an influencer start making money?
  • Insider has talked with dozens of influencers about when they started making money, how, and how much.

With a few thousand followers on Instagram these days, it's easy to ask yourself: When can I start making money doing this?

The good news is, there's no strict minimum. 

Three influencers Insider interviewed — all with under 3,000 Instagram followers — said they got paid by brands to post to their small audiences.

For instance, Kayla Compton became a brand ambassador for jewelry company PuraVida with less than 2,000 followers, she told Insider last year. She said her starting sponsored-content package at the time was $250, and that she also got paid by sharing affiliate links or codes with her followers and earning a small commission.

And now, it's easier than ever to share affiliate links on Instagram stories since the company rolled out access to link stickers to all accounts in October

Instagram is also directly paying some influencers through incentive programs like "Bonuses" for Reels, which requires at least 1,000 views on Reels (rather than a follower minimum). On the other hand, other Instagram monetization features like "Badges," Instagram's tipping tool for IG Live, require that creators have at least 10,000 followers. Many of these programs also are limited to certain countries, have an age minimum of 18, and require accounts to be registered as business or creator accounts on the app. 

While the doors have opened for many more creators on Instagram to start making a living, often they don't start making full-time incomes immediately (although a fair number of micro influencers with under 100,000 followers work full-time as influencers). 

Today, influencers no longer need hundreds of thousands of followers to start earning cash.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. "Nano" and "micro" influencers (typically accounts with fewer than 100,000 followers) are being hired by many brands across industries. These smaller influencers have demonstrated the power of niche and engaged communities on Instagram, where fake followers and disproportional engagement have flooded the platform. Influencers can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars from these deals. 
  2. Meta-owned Instagram is opening its multi-billion-dollar wallet and paying some influencers, which it announced last year with a flashy $1 billion investment into content creators through 2022.
  3. Affiliate links are easier to share now than ever. Some affiliate programs do have their own requirements, however, such as LTK or ShopStyle. Instagram also is testing its own affiliate marketing program, which is available to a select number of creators at the moment. Influencers can get paid a commission on sales driven directly through Instagram. Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, who's already enrolled, has just 16,000 followers and earned more than $500 in one month

Check out: Leaked commission rates from September 2021 reveal how much brands in Instagram's affiliate marketing test like Sephora were paying influencers

So, how much money are these influencers making on Instagram?

Insider interviewed about 20 Instagrammers about how much money they make, with follower counts between 2,000 and just over 100,000.

Here's a full breakdown of our coverage:

From brand deals:From Meta Platforms, including Instagram:From affiliate links:Read the original article on Business Insider

Unknown objects at the heart of the Milky Way are beaming radio signals, then mysteriously disappearing

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 13:02
The radio telescope at the Parkes Observatory at sunset near the town of Parkes, Australia, July 15, 2019.
  • Mysterious radio waves emanating from the center of the galaxy have astronomers stumped.
  • Four objects have briefly emitted radio signals that don't resemble any known type of star.
  • Scientists think each of the four signals could come from a new type of object unknown to astronomy.

Ziteng Wang found a needle in an astronomical haystack.

Wang, a physics PhD student at the University of Sydney, was combing through data from Australia's ASKAP radio telescope in late 2020. His research team had detected 2 million objects with the telescope and was classifying each one.

The computer identified most of the stars, and the stage of life or death they were in. It picked out telltale signs of a pulsar (a rapidly rotating dead star), for example, or a supernova explosion. But one object in the center of our galaxy stumped the computer and the researchers.

An artist's impression of the mysterious radio signal coming from the center of the Milky Way.

The object emitted powerful radio waves throughout 2020 — six signals over nine months. Its irregular pattern and polarized radio emissions didn't look like anything the researchers had seen before.

Even stranger, they couldn't find the object in X-ray, visible, or infrared light. They lost the radio signal, too, despite listening for months with two different radio telescopes.

It reappeared suddenly, about a year after they first detected it, but within a day, it was gone again.

"Unfortunately, we don't quite know what behaves like that," Tara Murphy, a professor at the University of Sydney who led Wang's research team, told Insider.

It was becoming clear that this was no ordinary dead star, like the other 2 million objects in their survey.

"That's when we started getting excited," Murphy said.

The team sent their data to other radio astronomers, asking for theories. Bit by bit, they confirmed that no one had ever detected anything like it before.

The researchers' conclusion: The discovery could belong to an obscure category of mysterious signals coming from the core of the Milky Way, known as "galactic center radio transients" (GCRTs). Before Wang's discovery, only three such objects had ever been identified.

The name GCRT is a "position holder," Murphy said, "while we actually try and figure out what they are."

The central region of the Milky Way galaxy, as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2009.

Murphy is "100% confident" that the signals aren't coming from aliens, because technological signals would cover a much narrower range of frequencies, like humans' broadcast radios do.

GCRTs have been a mystery for decades now. Nobody knows what type of star would make those unique signals, and each GCRT is different, leading researchers to believe the four signals are not coming from the same type of object.

Any new discovery "adds to the full body of knowledge that either cements what we already know, or adds to it, or really could lead to revolutionary new understandings," Scott Hyman, who led the research efforts that discovered the three prior GCRTs, told Insider. "Whether these objects fall into those categories, we don't know. We don't know enough about them."

A decade of searching only turned up 3 GCRTsThe Very Large Array radio telescopes on the Plains of San Agustin, New Mexico.

Telescopes first began observing the center of the Milky Way in low radio frequencies in the 1990s. But it wasn't until the early 2000s, when Hyman's research team was studying data archives from such a low-frequency radio telescope, that they discovered a strange signal briefly beaming from the galactic center.

The signal got stronger and then faded away over the course of a few months. Unlike other transient radio signals, there was no sign of it in X-ray observations.

Hyman and his colleagues had discovered the first GCRT. Within three years, the team found another, which they nicknamed "the burper" for the radio bursts it sent out every 77 hours before disappearing.

These were extremely "bright" signals, meaning they emitted powerful radio waves. Hyman figured they'd find many more GCRTs if they kept searching, including "dimmer," or weaker ones.

"We thought we were at the tip of an iceberg," said Hyman, who is retired but formerly worked as a physics professor and researcher at Sweet Briar College. "We expected that, given the first one was so easy to find, that we would find more. But I think we were just lucky."

In about 10 years of searching, they only found one more GCRT. It, too, was hidden in archival data. They studied the skies anew with the Very Large Array radio telescopes, but none of their signals turned up again.

Wang and Murphy may have finally found another GCRT, but their discovery didn't shed much light on what these mysterious objects might be.

Astronomers only have 'unsatisfying' theories until they discover more GCRTsAn illustration of a pulsar, which sends out rotating beams of X-rays.

Researchers have theories about the GCRTs, but "none of them are very satisfying," Murphy said.

The GCRTs could be neutron stars or pulsars orbiting each other in sets of two or three, so that the radio signal from one star is eclipsed at irregular intervals by the others. They could be pulsars dying — running out of energy — and emitting irregular radio gasps.

Hyman still thinks there are other, undiscovered GCRTs, some of them obscured by the thick dust that pervades the center of the Milky Way.

An infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows hundreds of thousands of stars crowded into the dusty core of the Milky Way.

New observatories are monitoring the galactic center better than Hyman could in the 2000s. Whenever the US Naval Research Laboratory releases new observations of the galaxy's center, he scans them for signs of GCRTs. Murphy's team plans to continue listening to the galactic center with ASKAP, simultaneously looking for signs of their mystery objects in X-ray, visible, or infrared light.

The Square Kilometer Array, currently under construction in Australia and South Africa, would be far more capable of finding GCRTs than any prior radio observatory, Hyman said. It's set for completion in 2028.

"I'm really hopeful that we can re-detect these three objects, figure out what they are," Hyman said. "They could be lurking in a very dim, quiescent state. They could be just very faint right now, and yet still detectable with a very sensitive instrument."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham sees an epic market bubble and expects a historic crash. Here are his 12 most dire warnings.

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 13:00
Jeremy Grantham.
  • Jeremy Grantham has diagnosed an epic market bubble and expects a devastating crash.
  • The GMO cofounder has called out dangerous speculation on meme stocks and cryptocurrencies.
  • Here are Grantham's 12 best quotes about bubbles and crashes since the pandemic began.

Jeremy Grantham has repeatedly warned investors they're caught in a historic bubble and careening towards a devastating crash.

The GMO cofounder and market historian is best known for calling the last three market bubbles. He has highlighted several signs of impending doom, including investor euphoria, excessive valuations, and rampant speculation on risky assets such as meme stocks and cryptocurrencies.

Here are Grantham's 12 best quotes since the pandemic began, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. "My confidence is rising quite rapidly that this is, in fact, becoming the fourth 'real McCoy' bubble of my investment career." (June 2020)

2. "The market can go up on bad news and go up on good news — those are characteristics of a bubble. There's nothing much you can throw at it when it gets going." (November 2020)

3. "I've never had any illusions about my ability to time the bubble breaking. I have a very low definition of success; it's that sooner or later the market will be lower than the point at which I suggested you should get out." (November 2020)

4. "Make no mistake — for the majority of investors today, this could very well be the most important event of your investing lives. Here we are again, waiting for the last dance and, eventually, for the music to stop." (January 2021

5. "When you have reached this level of obvious super-enthusiasm, the bubble has always, without exception, broken in the next few months, not a few years." (January 2021

6. "I sympathize completely with these people out there enjoying this bubble, but they've always ended very badly, and I have no doubt this one will too." (February 2021)

7. "We will have to live, potentially, with the biggest loss of perceived value from assets that we have ever seen." (May 2021)

8. "People are having fun, and they'll lose everything in the end. And I'm sorry for them because I'm sure they can't afford to lose everything." (May 2021)

9. "Bubbles are unbelievably easy to see; it's knowing when the bust will come that is trickier. You see it when the markets are on the front pages instead of the financial pages, when the news is full of stories of people getting cheated, when new coins are being created every month." (July, 2021)

10. "This bubble is the real thing, and everyone can see it. It's as obvious as the nose on your face." (July 2021)

11. "You knew last year this bubble was going to be the real McCoy, but you didn't know if it was going to break the next Wednesday, or a year later. One by one, we've checked off every condition that a glorious bubble needs in terms of crazy behavior. This has been crazier by a substantial margin than 1929 and 2000." (September 2021)

12. "There's a bigger buy-in this time to the idea that prices never decline, and that all you have do is buy, than there has ever been. When the decline comes, it will perhaps be bigger and better than anything previously in US history." (November 2021)

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dramatic footage of tsunami hitting the Pacific island of Tonga after a giant underwater volcano erupted

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:53
This picture taken on December 21, 2021 shows white gaseous clouds rising from the Hunga Ha'apai eruption seen from the Patangata coastline near Tongan capital Nuku'alofa. - A huge dust cloud spewed out when a volcano erupted in Tonga this week could result in showers of acid rain across the Pacific kingdom, emergency authorities have warned.
  • An underwater volcanic eruption has led to tsunami warnings being issued to the people of Tonga. 
  • Tonga's capital, Nukuʻalofa, lies 40 miles north of the volcano.
  • Residents are being encouraged to move to higher ground.

The Pacific nation of Tonga has issued a tsunami warning after a massive undersea volcanic eruption.

It caused large waves to crash into the island, and islanders living by the coast fled for their lives.

Footage on social media shows people scrambling to get away from the waves and reach higher ground. 

—Jese Tuisinu (@JTuisinu) January 15, 2022—Journalist Siraj Noorani (@sirajnoorani) January 15, 2022


One Tongan resident, Mere Taufa, spoke to the New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz and said the eruption hit as her family was preparing for dinner.

"My first instinct was to take cover under the table. I grabbed my little sister and screamed at my parents and others in the house to do the same".

Taufa said that, suddenly, water started filling her home.

"You could just hear screams everywhere, people screaming for safety, for everyone to get to higher ground," she said.

Satellite images showed the violent undersea eruption, with data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center saying waves of 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) had been detected, AP reports. 

No casualties or injuries have yet been reported. 


—US StormWatch (@US_Stormwatch) January 15, 2022


Authorities in the nearby island nations of Fiji and Samoa also issued warnings, telling people to avoid the shoreline due to strong currents and dangerous waves.

—Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau (@sakakimoana) January 15, 2022


—Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau (@sakakimoana) January 15, 2022


In New Zealand, which is 1,250 miles away from Tonga, the National Management Agency has warned of "strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore" as a result of the eruption." 

Officials warned of a danger to "swimmers, surfers, people fishing, small boats" and people near the ocean should move inland. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cracker Barrel was ordered to pay $9.4 million to a man who was served toxic chemicals, but it is unlikely he will receive the full amount under Tennessee law

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:39
The incident occurred at a Tennessee location.
  • Cracker Barrel was ordered to pay $9.4 million to a man who was accidentally served toxic chemicals. 
  • The settlement was reached years after the man first alleged that he had suffered severe injuries.
  • But due to Tennessee laws, he will likely not receive the full amount, per a local news outlet

Cracker Barrel was ordered to pay $9.4 million to a Tennessee man who sued the restaurant chain after he was served a chemical cleaning agent instead of water. 

Despite the settlement, the claimant, William Cronnon, may not receive the total amount due to laws related to damages in the state.

The legal case had been ongoing for many years after the incident, which occurred in April 2014 at a branch in Marion County.

A settlement was finally reached this month, according to Bailey and Greer, the law firm that represented Cronnon.

He had been eating lunch at the Cracker Barrel branch when a waitress refilled his glass with what she thought was water. After taking a sip, he felt a "burning sensation in his mouth and esophagus," the lawsuit stated

It was later discovered that the contents Cronnon were served were in fact a mixture of water and Eco-San, a chemical solution Cracker Barrel uses to clean its kitchen area. 

Cronnon suffered "severe permanent injuries," including "regular cramping, bloating diarrhea, and reflux pain after meals," his lawyer stated in a press release. He also "lost wages and future earning capacity," according to the lawsuit. 

In response to the verdict, Cracker Barrel said in a statement to Insider: "While we have great respect for the legal process, we are obviously disappointed by and strongly disagree with the jury's award in this case, which involved an unfortunate and isolated incident that occurred at one of our stores eight years ago." 

It added: "Although we are considering our options with respect to this verdict, we are glad this matter is behind us so we can better focus on caring for our guests and employees around the country." 

Cronnon's lawyer, Thomas Greer, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

On January 6, Cronnon reached an agreement with the restaurant for the $9.4 million settlement. According to local news station WTVC News Channel 9, however, it is likely he will not receive the full amount due to a statutory cap that Tennessee asserts on noneconomic damages.

Under Tennessee law, only up to $750,000 in noneconomic damages can be recovered. 

"This is an unfair law," Attorney Thomas Greer told the station. "He will not receive anything close to what he is entitled to."

Cronnon could not be reached by Insider for comment. 

Other retailers, including Walmart and a Florida-based nail salon, have also recently been ordered to make large payouts to injured customers. In December, the grocery giant was ordered to pay $10 million to a woman who said she stepped on a rusty nail while shopping and lost part of her leg. 

In the same month, Tammy's Nails 2 in Tampa paid $1.75 million to a woman whose leg was amputated after a pedicure led to a severe infection. 





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Woman describes 'cruise from hell' after operator cancels sailings for 'COVID-19 related circumstances' and holds passengers at sea for days

Sat, 01/15/2022 - 11:48
A Norwegian cruise ship. The company blamed the sailing cancelations on issues related to COVID-19.
  • A cruise passenger who was stuck aboard Norwegian Gem for days recounted her experience. 
  • Aimee Focaraccio told USA Today that she experienced a "cruise from hell." 
  • She said she felt extremely unsettled after the operator canceled sailings and held guests at sea.

A woman has recounted her recent experience on a Norwegian Gem cruise ship after being stuck on board for days, due to COVID-19-related issues. 

Speaking to USA Today, Aimee Focaraccio said she was due to celebrate her birthday on the 10-day cruise departing from New York. But her celebrations were cut short on Friday when Norwegian canceled sailings mid-trip. 

Focaraccio described the "extremely unsettling" feelings that came over her when cruise officials announced they would not be returning to New York early but instead be spending four more days at sea. 

Norwegian canceled the cruise due to "COVID-19 related circumstances" but Focaraccio was not aware of any announcements made about cases on the ship. 

She told the outlet that the trip was "turning into a nightmare" because there would only be "one nice day to enjoy the outdoors and after that we will be stuck inside."

"This was kinda the cruise from hell," Focaraccio said. 

And even though passengers aboard the Norwegian Gem were given a full refund, plus additional cruise credit, Focaraccio said the "uncertainty was frustrating" after being stuck at sea with no plans for an early return. 

Norwegian did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.  In a statement to USA Today, the operator said there were no updates on the ship's estimated return. 

Passengers on other trips have recently shared how disruption caused by COVID-19 have impacted them. Some quarantined guests told The Washington Post they'd endured rotten food, hours without water, and loneliness.

People travelling on Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 cruise ship said they felt "like lepers" while being forced to isolate in their rooms. 

And one passenger, who was booked to perform on an unspecified cruise ship, recently described the "panic and anxiety" she felt while isolating in her windowless cabin for six days. 


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Kevin McCarthy says he's considering barring lawmakers from trading stocks if Republicans retake Congress in 2022

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 13:50
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in August 2021.
  • House Minority Leader McCarthy said he is considering changing how US lawmakers can hold or trade stocks.
  • He told Punchbowl News that he could even seek a ban if Republicans win the House in November.
  • The report comes as Insider's Conflicted Congress project revealed that 52 lawmakers infringed on the STOCK Act.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he is considering limiting or barring lawmakers from holding or trading stocks and equities if Republicans win a House majority in November.

McCarthy told Punchbowl News that he was considering the changes, but had not yet come to any conclusions on what kind of limits or bans would be put in place.

Punchbowl News reported that new rules could only let lawmakers hold professionally-managed mutual funds or stocks in the kinds of companies that are not relevant to the committee work that they do.

The report comes as Insider's Conflicted Congress project revealed that 52 congressional lawmakers and 182 senior congressional staffers had infringed on the STOCK Act, an Obama-era law crafted to clamp down on insider trading and defend against conflicts of interest.

McCarthy's statements present a huge contrast to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who last month publicly defended the practice after Insider's Bryan Metzger asked if she would support a stock-trading ban for members at a press conference.

"We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that," the veteran California Democrat said at the time.

When Pelosi was asked about Conflicted Congress — Insider's five-month investigation into lawmakers' financial conflicts of interest — she indicated that she had not yet reviewed the body of work.

Democrats including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have endorsed stock-trading bans.

Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat from Georgia, is also preparing to introduce legislation that would ban members of Congress and their spouses from trading the individual stocks of corporations, many of which spend significant amounts of money lobbying the federal government and vie for lucrative government contracts.

A proposed bill that would end trades among members — the Ban Conflicted Trading Act — was introduced in the Senate last year by four lawmakers, including Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Georgia's other freshman senator, Raphael Warnock. A House version is backed by Ocasio-Cortez and Cloud, along with additional members from both parties.

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Warren Buffett's champion stock picker is dead at 85. The billionaire ranked Louis Simpson among the best investors ever.

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 13:42
Warren Buffett.
  • Warren Buffett's stock-picking deputy, Louis Simpson, died aged 85 on Saturday.
  • Simpson, who managed Geico's investments, beat the S&P 500 index in 18 out of 25 years.
  • He returned an average of 20.3% a year between 1980 and 2004, crushing the benchmark's 13.5% gain.

Warren Buffett's champion stock picker, Louis Simpson, died aged 85 on Saturday.

Simpson managed the investment portfolio of insurance giant Geico, a subsidiary of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, between 1979 and 2009. He returned an average of 20.3% a year between 1980 and 2004, trouncing the S&P 500's 13.5% average annual return over the same period. Moreover, he beat the benchmark in 18 of those 25 years.

Buffett never disclosed Simpson's later results "because his performance made mine look bad," he quipped in his 2010 shareholder letter. "Who needs that?"

The Berkshire chief praised Simpson's abilities in numerous investor letters and during several Berkshire meetings. Buffett even suggested the Geico executive would take charge of Berkshire's portfolio if he and his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, met a sudden demise.

Here are Buffett's eight best comments about Simpson, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. "In Lou Simpson, Geico has the best investment manager in the property-casualty business." (1982)

2. "Lou has the rare combination of temperamental and intellectual characteristics that produce outstanding long-term investment performance. Operating with below-average risk, he has generated returns that have been by far the best in the insurance industry." (1984)

3. "It's a little embarrassing for me, the fellow responsible for investments at Berkshire, to chronicle
Lou's performance at Geico. These are not only terrific figures but, fully as important, they have been achieved in the right way. Lou has consistently invested in undervalued common stocks that, individually, were unlikely to present him with a permanent loss and that, collectively, were close to risk-free." (1986)

4. "Lou takes the same conservative, concentrated approach to investments that we do at Berkshire, and it is an enormous plus for us to have him on board. His presence on the scene assures us that Berkshire would have an extraordinary professional immediately available to handle its investments if something were to happen to Charlie and me." (1995)

5. "There are very few people that I will let run money for the businesses that we have control over — that's one in a thousand or something. But we're delighted, in the case of Lou." (1996)

6. "Lou is a cinch to be inducted into the investment Hall of Fame." (2004)

7. "Lou is a top-notch investor with an outstanding long-term record of managing Geico's equity portfolio. If I were to die soon, he would fill in magnificently." (2006)

8. "Lou has never been one to advertise his talents. But I will: Simply put, Lou is one of the investment greats. We will miss him." (2010)

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Boris Johnson's spokesman refuses to comment 25 times on claims that Downing Street held a lockdown-breaking 'bring your own booze' party

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 13:39
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a coronavirus briefing at Downing Street on January 4, 2022
  • Boris Johnson's spokesman refused to answer 25 questions about an alleged Downing Street party during lockdown.
  • Prime minister's senior aide invited over 100 people to a lockdown-breaking party in May 2020, a leaked email said.
  • He said the government would not comment on the matter due to an ongoing inquiry about the alleged parties.

Boris Johnson's spokesperson refused to comment 25 times on reports that his senior aide invited more than 100 people to a "bring your own booze" during the national COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020.

The UK prime minister is under intense pressure after a leaked email published by ITV News on Monday showed that Martin Reynolds, his Principal Private Secretary, invited government staff to a party in the Downing Street garden on May 2020.

His email said: "Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!" 

Johnson and his wife Carrie are among those who attended the party, ITV News reported.

During a daily briefing on Tuesday the prime minister's official spokesperson refused to comment in response to dozens of questions on the claims.

He said the government would wait until an independent report is published by Sue Gray, the civil servant investigating multiple claims of rulebreaking parties held in Downing Street and in other government buildings.

Asked why the prime minister had deferred the matter to Sue Gray rather than commenting on reports, the spokesperson said: "Whilst this investigation is ongoing, I can't comment on the reports and claims including those we've seen today. It wouldn't be appropriate to do so."

He later added: "Given the claims and speculation that has been reported on, what's right is that the independent inquiry is allowed to carry out its work, and we're not seen to prejudge that in any way."

This morning Edward Argar, a health minister, told Sky News it would be "making a leap" to assume that Johnson had any knowledge of or involvement with the party. 

On the same day that the party is said to have taken place, the Metropolitan Police published a tweet reminding people that lockdown rules meant that people were not allowed to mix in large groups.

—Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) May 20, 2020



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We went aboard Boeing's largest twin-engine cargo plane and saw how it's tackling the shipping crisis from the air

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 13:23
Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.
  • Air cargo has seen a surge in popularity thanks to a crisis in ocean shipping. 
  • Emirates SkyCargo is one of the airlines using a fleet of dedicated freighters to get goods to market. 
  • The Boeing 777 Freighter can carry nearly 236,000 pounds of cargo between continents. 
The crisis in ocean shipping is seeing companies look to the skies for a faster way to get their goods to market, even if it means paying more.Touring the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

We chartered a boat with a logistics expert to look at port congestion up close and saw how American greed is leading to shortages and empty shelves

Cargo planes are quite literally flying over port congestion with cargo carriers and passenger airlines alike cashing in on the new shipping trends.Israel Aerospace Industries' Boeing 777-300ER "Big Twin" cargo plane.

Cargo planes and air carriers won big at the Dubai Airshow thanks to the shipping crisis and pandemic

The Boeing 777 Freighter is one of the aircraft on the front lines of the airfreight industry as one of the newest and largest cargo planes in the skies.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Boeing has sold more than 300 777 Freighters and many of the airlines flying the passenger version of the aircraft have also ordered it for their cargo divisions, including Middle Eastern mega carrier Emirates.An Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-200 Freighter.Emirates operates a fleet of 10 Boeing 777 Freighters under its SkyCargo division alongside its sprawling fleet. Each aircraft can carry 107,000 kilograms, or around 235,894 pounds, of cargo.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.

Source: Emirates

We went on board an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777 Freighter in Dubai to see how one of the world's most popular passenger jets has a successful second life as a cargo plane. Here's what it was like.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Away from the glitzy passenger terminals of Dubai International Airport sits cargo village, home to Emirates SkyCargo. Cargo from around the world passes through Dubai every day on a mix of cargo planes and in the belly of passenger aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.

We went inside Emirates SkyCargo's massive Dubai facility and saw how air cargo is keeping the global supply chain running amid the shipping crisis

This Boeing 777 Freighter arrived in Dubai from Hong Kong, one important cargo destination in what Emirates calls the "world's factory." From Hong Kong, cargo can be in any one of Emirates destinations in a day, depending on flight schedules, just as a passenger can.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.As soon as the aircraft pulled into its stand, a team of ground handlers descended on the plane just as they would if this was an Emirates passenger flight. Airstairs were brought to the front of the plane to allow the crew to deplane while cargo loaders focused on the rest of the aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Around 80% of goods that arrive in Dubai on Emirates planes will continue to further destinations while the rest will stay in the city.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.The Boeing 777 Freighter has one giant door on its upper deck and three doors on its lower deck: two for large cargo pallets and one for smaller boxes.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Weight and balance concerns dictate the loading and unloading of the aircraft. Freight handlers focus first on offloading the rear of the aircraft and cargo loaders start by unloading the upper and lower cargo holds simultaneously.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.It takes around 30 seconds for cargo to be lowered from the upper deck to the tarmac, where it’s then pushed onto a dolly as part of a “dolly train.”Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.The upper deck of the Boeing 777 Freighter can store 6,800 kilograms of freight per pallet. Each aircraft requires around 10 ground handlers to service, with heavy machinery doing most of the heavy lifting.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Loose boxes, almost like luggage coming off a passenger aircraft, still need to be manually offloaded and stacked by handlers, however.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.The front half of the aircraft is offloaded last to keep the plane balanced throughout the process.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Lower deck pallets are smaller than those found on the upper deck and can only hold a maximum of 5,000 kilograms per pallet.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Climbing on board the aircraft, there are no flight attendants greeting passengers at the door; rather, no flight attendants at all. These dedicated freighter aircraft are designed to fly solely with pilots onboard.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Instead of the 266 seats that would normally fill an Emirates aircraft of this size, only nine fill the small compartment between the cockpit and the cargo hold.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.The seats are also far from what is found on Emirates' passenger aircraft but do come with some amenities including power outlets and access to a galley full of beverages. Pilots also have access to a crew rest area with bunk beds for long-haul flights.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.

Emirates is giving 52 of its Airbus A380s a brand-new look including upgrades in every cabin and premium economy seating — see inside

A loadmaster or a person accompanying a piece of cargo may join the flight but only if circumstances require.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.With no flight attendants onboard, it's up to pilots to craft and heat their own meals using the onboard galley.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Emirates caters the aircraft with crew meals, just as it would any other flight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.When departing from Dubai, Emirates Flight Catering is tasked with ensuring that flights are well-stocked before each departure.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Separating the cockpit and passenger compartment from the cargo hold is a rigid barrier that protects the cockpit should cargo unexpectedly shift during flight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Two openings allow pilots to access the cargo hold should the need arise.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.It's nothing but empty space in the cargo hold from the rigid barrier all the way down to the tail. The glitzy first class suites for which Emirates is known are nowhere to be found in this aircraft cabin.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.As many as 27 pallets measuring 96 inches wide by 125 inches tall can be stored in the upper deck cargo hold in a 1-1 configuration.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.And with no passengers onboard, there is no need for windows in the aircraft. Rather, two small porthole-like windows let pilots check on the engines.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.All cargo on the upper deck is loaded through the read cargo door, measuring 142 inches wide by 120 inches tall.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.The size of the door allows Emirates to carry unique cargo on the upper deck including luxury cars and even racehorses.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Each pallet can be stacked as high as three meters and boxes are stacked to match the curvature of the aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Back in Emirates’ cargo warehouse, workers use frames based on the curvature of the aircraft to ensure that pallets will fit inside the aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Freight is also covered in waterproof tarps, as well as netting, to keep it protected while in transit.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Cargo bound for the lower deck of aircraft is stacked in a rectangular shape or put into containers that are then loaded onto the aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Once inside the aircraft, tracks are opened so that the pallets can be moved throughout the aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Small wheels on the ground make it so that ground handlers can easily and efficiently move pallets to their assigned locations on the aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Pallets, just like passengers, have assigned seating spots on the aircraft so handlers know exactly where to place each one.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Each section of the aircraft is labeled along the cabin wall, almost like a row and seat number for pallets.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Local control panels can be found along the cabin walls that move pallets within a given section.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Cameras throughout the interior and exterior of the aircraft allow pilots to keep an eye on the cargo as it's being loaded and offloaded, as well as while it's in flight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.And once a pallet is at its assigned section, ground handlers lock them into place so they don't shift during flight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.The cabin floor is also reinforced which allows the upper deck of the aircraft to carry heavier freight loads than traditional passenger aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Sometimes, even packages can miss their flights. Emirates SkyCargo uses the metric "flown as booked" to gauge the on-time performance of its packages.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Much like in the passenger realm, Emirates will work to ensure that packages make it onto the aircraft on which they are booked. If a package misses its flight, staff will have to identify why and ensure that alternate arrangements are made.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Freight will also never take precedence over passengers when passenger aircraft are being used. If cargo is holding up an on-time departure, it's likely that the cargo will have to take the next flight; though, there is some leeway with dedicated freighters.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Some of the most important cargo over the past year has been the COVID-19 vaccine. Emirates SkyCargo was among the first airlines to transport the vaccine, and still handles shipments today.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.

Inside the COVID-19 vaccine airlift: How cargo carriers plan to distribute the world's soon-to-be most valuable drugs to market

Cold storage containers help keep the vaccines cool in the Dubai heat so that they don't spoil.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Emirates even expanded its "skypharma" facilities to include cold storage sections with temperatures ranging between two degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.The Boeing 777 is a favorite among cargo carriers thanks to its range and efficiency compared to older model aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.

Amazon and cargo airlines are scouring the Arizona desert for old and cheap passenger jets to fly packages

Emirates routinely flies long-haul flights between cargo hubs like Zaragoza, Spain and Mexico City, Mexico; Dubai and London; and Singapore and Sydney.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.More Boeing 777 Freighters are on their way to Emirates Sky Cargo thanks to a recent order for two aircraft at the Dubai Airshow in November.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Emirates has also committed to converting four of its Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into cargo planes in a deal with Israel Aerospace Industries.An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER.

Emirates will soon fly the world's largest twin-engine cargo plane in a landmark deal with an Israeli company

Known as the "Big Twin," the 777-300ER will be the largest twin-engine cargo plane in the skies once certified in 2023.Israel Aerospace Industries' Boeing 777-300ER "Big Twin" cargo plane.

The e-commerce boom fueled by Amazon has led to the creation of the world's largest twin-engine cargo plane — meet 'Big Twin'

It's a billion-dollar bet that Emirates is making that the air cargo boom will last at least through the decade. And more carriers, recognizing the value in air cargo, are starting to do the same.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.

The air cargo boom has airlines from UPS to Air France spending billions on Boeing and Airbus freighter aircraft — and new jets can't come soon enough

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Billionaire Ray Dalio says the US could learn from China's equality drive, and says it's the riskier place to invest

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 13:19
Ray Dalio founded the Bridgewater hedge fund.
  • Ray Dalio has praised China's "common prosperity" equality drive, saying the US could learn from it.
  • The billionaire investor said the US is the riskier place to invest, as a debate on the issue rages on Wall Street.
  • Last week, DoubleLine boss Jeff Gundlach said China is "uninvestible" given ongoing regulatory uncertainty.

Legendary investor Ray Dalio has praised China's "common prosperity" policy, and said the US economy would benefit from a similar focus on equality.

Dalio, the founder of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, also said the US is a riskier place to invest than China, because its competitive advantages are in decline.

The subject of China is highly divisive on Wall Street, where leading financial figures are debating whether it makes sense to put money into the second-largest economy in the world.

"Common prosperity is a good thing," Dalio told the UBS Greater China Conference on Monday, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. "It's another way of saying 'prosperity for most people.'"

Critics are wrong to see the drive, championed by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping, as a return to the Communism of former leader Mao Zedong, he added.

"First you get rich. Then you make a point of distributing those opportunities in a more equal way," Dalio said. "The US, through its own system, needs more common prosperity."

The catch-all term "common prosperity" covers a broad range of policies that aim to reduce inequality in the Asian economic powerhouse.

The drive has particularly focused on cracking down on the power of big private companies, such as e-commerce giant Alibaba and ride-hailing app Didi. Beijing's policies prompted investors to sell Chinese assets in 2021, when the country's CSI 300 index fell more than 5%.

Read more: Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs and UBS are split on China's economic and regulatory future. Here's what they're forecasting and how they recommend you invest.

Dalio — who is also co-CIO at Bridgewater, the world's biggest hedge fund — has long been a forceful defender of China, where his company has large economic interests.

Others on Wall Street are not convinced. DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said last week that China is "uninvestible" because of regulatory uncertainty. And legendary investor George Soros last year harshly criticized leading asset manager BlackRock's push into China as a "tragic mistake."

But Dalio told the UBS conference that the US is a riskier place to invest than China, Bloomberg reported, basing his view on criteria such as assets versus liabilities, and internal order.

"What we see by most of those is that the US is encountering more of those risky elements. Also, other things like education levels, competitive advantages and so on are on decline," he said.

Dalio's full-throated defense of China's policies landed him in controversy at the end of 2021, after he compared the government to a "strict parent" when asked about forced disappearances in the country.

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I flew out of a general aviation airport to see how the rich travel. I didn't miss the hassle, lines, and frustration of commercial flying.

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 13:15
Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.
  • I flew out of a general aviation airport and now dread going back to commercial flying.
  • I enjoyed the perks typically reserved for the ultra-rich, like no security, gates, or crowded terminals.
  • The facility that handles general aviation flights was comfortable, with free snacks and a VIP lounge.
Private aviation has historically been a luxury reserved for the ultra-wealthy, with customers dropping tens of thousands of dollars to travel on a business jet.Private jet.Deep-pocketed travelers have long appreciated the convenience of general aviation airports that are typically small with little to no security, though the COVID-19 pandemic added another level of health safety that private aviation could provide.Private jet.There are about 5,000 general aviation airports in the US, which most private jets use. One of the better-known ones in my state is Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Bridgeport, Connecticut.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.

Source: DOT

The small airport is home to a few fix-based operators (FBOs), which are organizations that offer aeronautical services, flight instruction, aircraft rentals, and more.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.

Source: Skybrary

Services comprise things like fueling, maintenance, hangaring, tie-downs, and parking for general aviation, including private charters.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.

Source: Skybrary

FBOs can handle everything from larger Gulfstream G550 and Cessna Citation III jets to smaller Piper Navajos, though some have limits on the size of aircraft.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.At Sikorsky, the two main FBOs are Atlantic Aviation…Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.

Source: Air Nav

And Three Wing Aviation.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.

Source: Air Nav

My boyfriend, who is a former flight instructor based at Sikorsky, flew in and out of the airport for several years. One perk of the job is access to aircraft that he can fly for fun.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.Late last year, I got to tag along on one of his adventures and experience first-hand what it's like to fly out of a general aviation airport, and now I dread going back to commercial flying.Flying with my pilot boyfriend.My journey started around 2 pm at Sikorsky airport, which is about a 20-minute drive from my apartment. It was a perfect day for flying, with few clouds and calm winds, which was a nice change after a week of fog and rain.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.The airport is easy to access, with the entrance right off a service road that connects the main street to a small community behind the airport next to the Long Island Sound.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.Because the airport is small and does not have regularly scheduled passenger service, there was no traffic or lines to get in, and I was able to simply drive right up to the FBO and park. In fact, parking at Sikorsky airport is free for customers, and the lots are huge with plenty of space.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.The FBO we flew out of has the parking lot right outside of its facility, so I only walked about 30 steps from my car to the front door. I did not have to fight any foot traffic or face major crowds that are common at commercial airports.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.The FBO itself was extremely nice and cozy, with a medium-sized lobby featuring comfortable armchairs...Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut....and a TV and table.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.The FBO's bathroom was private and clean, which was a pleasant upgrade from the stalls at major airports.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.Meanwhile, there were also complimentary drinks and snacks available for passengers, which included water, Coke products, sparkling water, chips, and pretzels.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.There was also a Keurig coffee machine stocked with plenty of K-cups and cream and a hot water machine for tea. I helped myself to a Dunkin' medium roast while I waited for my boyfriend to arrive.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.Once he got to the airport, he started to preflight the plane while I waited in the "VIP lounge," which featured large reclining leather chairs, a couch, and a TV.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.The room was down the hall from the lobby and was much quieter and provided enhanced privacy and comfort that is absent from commercial airports unless you have access to a club or lounge.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.I also spent some time exploring the facility, which has two hangars onsite, one housing several aircraft, like helicopters and private jets, and the second for maintenance.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.I also talked to the line crew workers, whose office is next to the VIP lounge and overlooks the ramp. The employees spend their day directing, parking, fueling, and cleaning planes.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.Once my boyfriend was ready to fly, I headed directly to the ramp and boarded the small Piper Warrior aircraft. The easy access to the plane was extremely convenient as I did not have to wait in line at a gate or show a boarding pass.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.Moreover, I did not have to go through any sort of security, which was the best part of the trip. From the moment I parked to the second I stepped out onto the ramp, I did not have to take off my shoes, get a full-body scan, or have my purse searched.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.For the most part, passengers will go through little, if any, security screening at general aviation airports because there is less of a security threat. This allows travelers to bring full-size bottles of liquids and other restricted items not allowed through TSA at commercial airports.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.

Source: USA Today

Security is so minimal at these airports that many customers have the option to pull their car straight up to the aircraft instead of walking from the parking lot, meaning they can be off the ground within minutes of arriving at the airport.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.

Source: USA Today

While I did not have the luxury of driving up to the plane, my boyfriend and I were ready for takeoff within about 20 minutes of my arrival. After completing preflight checks, we taxied out to one of Sikorsky's two runways and took off for New Jersey.Flying with my pilot boyfriend.We flew in a small four-seater Piper plane, which is not the luxurious business jets that the ultra-wealthy charter, but I was still happy to experience the joys of general aviation.Flying with my pilot boyfriend.My boyfriend navigated over the Hudson River toward Lincoln Park Airport in New Jersey, where we stopped for lunch. The flight took about half an hour and provided beautiful views of the landscape and scenery.Flying with my pilot boyfriend.We spent about an hour at the restaurant in New Jersey, which was at the airport, where we helped ourselves to calamari and burgers. I felt quite fancy taking a plane to lunch, which is a unique perk of dating a pilot.Flying with my pilot boyfriend.After lunch, we made our way down the Hudson River and flew along the New York City skyline, getting up close and personal with the giant skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty.Flying with my pilot boyfriend.Eventually, we headed back to Sikorsky where we landed and taxied back to the FBO. The line crew workers escorted us back into the facility, and I was at my car within two minutes.Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.As someone who flies regularly on commercial planes, it was a treat to fly out of a general aviation airport and see how the rich travel. The experience made it clear why many people are ditching commercial flying for private, and I'm sure for those that can afford it, the convenience is worth the hefty price.Flying with my pilot boyfriend.Read the original article on Business Insider

Get ready to spend more on milk, eggs, cheese, and meat as Omicron wreaks havoc on supply chains, experts warn

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 13:03
Omicron is making some staple foods more expensive.
  • The fast-spreading Omicron variant is keeping Americans from work and disrupting supply chains.
  • This is causing slowdowns in food production that are expected to lead to price hikes at grocery stores. 
  • The cost of eggs, meat, and dairy products is already rising, industry insiders say.

Grocery prices in the US are expected to rise as Omicron tears through the country, keeping Americans from work and wreaking havoc on supply chains.

The already-constrained labor market is under additional pressure as the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus infects workers in manufacturing, processing, distribution, and retail.

Because of this, grocery businesses are already starting to report food shortages and price hikes from suppliers.

One expert said that shoppers should be preparing for 2020-style food shortages. Indeed, Dave Marcotte, longtime retail and supply chain expert from Kantar Consulting, told Insider: "It's much worse than 2020. The variables that are causing this are not new but the newest round of COVID has hit logistics hard." 

John Catsimatidis, CEO of supermarket chain Gristedes, told Fox & Friends First that he's seeing prices rise for staples including eggs, poultry, and beef, especially in the Northeast. 

"Omicron is taking its toll at different levels of the supply chain, whether it's the warehouses, whether it's the selectors, the drivers, the loaders — and as they call in sick, there are interruptions in the system," Catsimatidis said, adding that he expects these disruptions to last at least six weeks.

Catsimatidis continued: "Let's say they [suppliers] normally sell 10 million pounds of chicken. They figured if they raise the price 10 or 20 cents, some people will buy less chicken and the people that really want to buy the chicken — it will be there for them to buy."

Bloomberg recently reported that US beef prices were at their highest levels since November. While meat producers have managed to avoid 2020-style shutdowns, the rising number of infected workers is slowing production at factories.

It's a similar story in the dairy industry, insiders say – and consumers could end up seeing price increases on key foods such as milk and cheese.

Dairy producers "are struggling to run with the surge of coronavirus cases, squeezing already constrained labor," Matt Gould, editor of The Dairy Market Analyst, said in a note to clients, reported by Bloomberg.

Dairy prices are also being impacted by a broad decline in US production caused by farmers shrinking herds because of rising business costs.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A 10-year-old girl already owns 2 companies, and could retire at 15 as a multimillionaire

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 12:59
Pixie already has another business.
  • Pixie Curtis may become the youngest person in the world to retire.
  • She's the creator of Pixie's Fidgets, a toy company, and Pixie's Bows, a hair accessory company.
  • Pixie’s Fidgets made over $140,000 in its first month, according to news.com.au.

Despite still being in elementary school, an Australian girl is on her way to retiring as a millionaire at the tender age of 15.

10-year-old Pixie Curtis set up a toy company that's already making huge profits.

With the help of her mother, Roxy Jacenko, Pixie founded the toy company Pixie's Fidgets. It launched last year, and the toys sold out in the first 48 hours.

Pixie already has another business, Pixie's bows, a hair accessory company that her mother set up when she was a baby.

These companies are now a part of Pixie's Pix, which also sells other children's games and accessories.

"She can retire at 15 if she wants to."

"Our family joke has been I'll be working till I'm 100 and Pixie will have retired at 15 – I certainly know who's smarter," Jacenko said to news.com.au.

Jacenko is the owner of several successful businesses, including Sweaty Betty PR. 

Pixie's story has gained her a large following on social media, amassing more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. 

Despite her success, her mother doesn't want Pixie to feel that she has to work for the company.

"I have said it from day one, the moment Pixie doesn't want to be front-facing or be involved with Pixie's Pix and Pixie's Bows then we will reassess. But for now, she is happy, learning so much," she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Boris Johnson's handling of lockdown-breaking parties is 'beyond a shitshow', furious Tory MPs say

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 12:57
Boris Johnson.
  • Tory MPs are furious at Johnson as evidence emerged of another illicit party in Downing Street.
  • They told Insider the situation was "awful," "beyond a shitshow," and "very, very bad."
  • Some said an ongoing official probe of parties during lockdown could end Johnson's time as PM.

Boris Johnson's handling of evidence of a further lockdown-breaking party in Downing Street is a "a total mess" and "beyond a shitshow", Conservative MPs told Insider on Tuesday.

The prime minister was under pressure to explain his involvement in a garden party organised last year by a close aide. The invitation was sent to more than 100 people, at a time when such gatherings were illegal.

Martin Reynolds, Johnson's Principal Private Secretary, emailed staff in May 2020 about "some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening," urging them to "bring your own booze".

The email was published Monday night by ITV News. Around 40 people attended the gathering, including Johnson and his wife Carrie, ITV said.

Furious Conservative MPs, granted anonymity to speak frankly, told Insider of their dismay at the news.

It followed a series of earlier allegations of illicit parties and wider political corruption, which prompted the Conservatives to lose their polling lead to Keir Starmer's Labour party.

One said: "It's indefensible. I don't get why he is hiding behind the Gray inquiry to say whether he was there or not, other than hoping it drags on and people stop caring."

The MP was referring to the investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray into the parties.

"It's beyond a shitshow though … our table in Strangers [Parliament's bar] last night were pretty much banging our heads against the wall."

A former minister called the situation "very, very bad", adding: "Sue Gray needs to show the backbone we all know she has — her whole reputation is screwed if she fudges it." 

Asked if Johnson's future will depend on her report, the senior MP replied: "Yes — it's a hell of a thing to take a PM down. She has the balls."

Another MP, who has a job in Johnson's government, said: "It's a total mess and if ends up being true could make things very, very difficult for the prime minister. 

"There's a growing amount of disillusionment with the PM, and particularly those around him." 

Reynolds, the Johnson aide, is himself under pressure. Some sources told Insider that his resignation is the only thing that can save the prime minister. Another warned that if he goes "there is no one in the firing line to protect the PM".

Dan Rosenfield, Johnson's chief of staff, is also at risk amid deteriorating relations between Downing Street and the wider Conservative Party.

One source suggested that the situation was not yet fatal for Johnson, and that he may still win a leadership contest if challenged.

"If there was a vote tomorrow I think he would survive — between payroll [MPs with government roles] and those who still feel a sense of loyalty. Not saying it wouldn't be close, but I think he'd survive with colleagues thinking he can turn it around."

"It still feels like we are waiting for the killer blow," said another.

Another ex-minister told Insider: "I am torn between thinking it's pretty much entirely priced in and the tipping point in the catastrophe."

"I very much doubt the PM definitely broke the law by being in his own garden — the smoking gun would have to say 'the PM invites you'… but this is all an entirely awful technical defence that smells repugnant." 

On Tuesday morning Edward Argar, a health minister put forward by the government for interviews, said it would be "a leap" to suggest that Johnson had any involvement with the party, and stressed the need for Gray's inquiry to take place without being "pre-judged".

Labour secured an urgent question about the allegations in Parliament later on Tuesday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 things before the opening bell

Tue, 01/11/2022 - 12:36
Stocks have risen sharply over the last year, helping the Dow Jones finally break the 36,000 barrier.

Welcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go – click here for iOS and here for Android.

Let's jump in. 

1. The themes that powered stocks last year are being upended in 2022. Thanks to the Fed's hawkish pivot, investors are selling off their high-risk growth assets and pouring into value stocks set to benefit from the new policy regime. As Fed officials focus on fighting inflation, the tactics traders used to juice their portfolios last year aren't going to cut it anymore. 

The major indexes have seen slices of last year's massive gains erased so far in 2022. Riskier investments like crypto and high-flying tech stocks have slumped as investors shed more speculative picks and rotate into so-called value stocks. 

According to Morgan Stanley, the S&P 500 usually sees diminished returns in times of Fed tightening and decelerating economic and corporate earnings growth. Fundstrat's Tom Lee, however, is still optimistic. He says historical data suggests the stock market will do just fine in 2022, despite a slump in the first week of trading.

Here are some additional stats as 2022 gets underway: 

  • Alphabet, Microsoft, and Apple, which surged by 65%, 52%, and 35% respectively in 2021, are all trading down to start 2022.
  • Year-to-date, the S&P 500 is down 4% and the Nasdaq 100 is down 7%.
  • As of Monday, the 10-Year US Treasury yield was around 1.77%.

2. Stocks are shrugging off the inflation blues ahead of Fed chief Jerome Powell's Senate hearing. CPI data due Wednesday is in focus as the S&P 500 tentatively sets up to break its losing streak. Check out what's happening on the markets.

3. The top 20 best-selling cryptocurrencies revealed: Retail investors ditched first-generation tokens in 2021 and piled into metaverse and meme coins. See the ranking here.

4. Earnings on deck: Albertsons Companies, Kewpie Corp, and Izumi Co, all reporting.

5. Cathie Wood isn't buying the recent surge in Ford and GM stock. The car companies' electric vehicle plans haven't impressed the famed stock picker — she called their rallies "ridiculous."

6. Top strategist David Rosenberg warned of a massive market bubble. A painful correction could be coming as the Fed tightens monetary policy, said Rosenberg. He thinks the bubble could pop this year.

7. The Associated Press is launching an NFT marketplace. With a focus on photography, the news organization is partnering with technology firm Xooa to mint and release their own digital tokens. Here are the full details.

8. Bitcoin dipped below $40,000 in Monday trading as the crypto slump deepens. A hawkish Fed continues to spur a sell-off for crypto and riskier assets. Bitcoin alone saw outflows totaling $107 million last week. 

9. The anti-ARKK ETF has soared nearly 40% since inception. Its CIO explained why he launched the fund to track the inverse performance of Cathie Wood's flagship fund — and he shared three ways traders use the strategy in their portfolios.

10. The town of El Zonte operates the world's first full crypto economy. The founders of "Bitcoin Beach" gave Insider a behind-the-scenes look at the initiative. Plus, they shared their thoughts on the future of global crypto dominance.

Event invite: Join Insider's multi-session editorial conference "Leading Into the Future of Work," presented by Adobe, for a discussion on the monumental changes happening in the workplace and how smart leaders are navigating this period of flux. Register here.

Compiled by Phil Rosen. Feedback? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn.

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