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Trumpworld shocked by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive January 6 testimony, calling it the 'most damning day' and 'insane'

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 6:37pm  |  Clusterstock
Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
  • Former Trump aides are stunned by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony about January 6. 
  • "Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. 
  • Many Trump insiders had previously brushed off the hearings. 

It took six hearings for the January 6 select committee to finally break through to embattled former President Donald Trump's inner circle.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified during a surprise hearing Tuesday that Trump was determined to go to the US Capitol with his armed supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the election results. 

Hutchinson's additional revelations about that day came crashing down on Trumpworld during the two-hour hearing. Among them were that Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad" on January 6, that Trump knew his supporters were armed when they flooded the Ellipse to attend his "Stop the Steal" rally, and that Trump said "Mike deserves it" when rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence." 

"Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. 

Hutchinson's first-hand descriptions of Trump's narcissistic tantrums while carnage was unfolding at the US Capitol was spellbinding, one former Trump 2016 campaign aide told Insider.

Hutchinson revealed that when Trump would become angry he would throw dishes and flip tablecloths in the White House dining room, including after Attorney General Bill Barr said there wasn't evidence of widespread election fraud sufficient to change the outcome of the 2020 election. 

"She's talking about how he's throwing ketchup all over the White House. Choking Secret Service. Trying, as president of the United States, to head over to a riot," the former campaign aide said. "You're really hearing how the sausage is made. And it's not pretty."  

Trump should rightfully be worried, the campaign aide suggested.  

"This is a full-frontal attack that he has no real way to respond to. Nor, frankly, can he," the person said. 

A lobbyist in touch with ex-Trump officials told Insider that "there was genuine shock among people who are otherwise not inclined to overreact" and that "something clearly broke through" even among people who had previously dismissed the hearings. 

"This is really difficult to dismiss because it's obviously coming from a source that was there and knows these things," the person added. "And so unless you're gonna go out for her credibility, I don't really know what there is to say."

Another particularly jarring recollection Hutchinson shared was that Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent and tried to grab the steering wheel of his SUV as he demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6, saying, "I'm the effing president!" 

"This is some insane shit," tweeted Alex Stroman, a former spokesman for Trump's inaugural committee. 

"Today's hearing brought a powerful fact back into focus: Donald Trump is the most dangerous man — ever — to have served as president of the United States," tweeted Miles Taylor, a former Trump administration official who now supports Democrats. 

"After this, there's only one thing I'll enjoy about Trump trying to run for president: watching him lose, again," Taylor tweeted later

House January 6 hearings are expected to put Donald Trump at the center of efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Trumpworld tries to undermine Hutchinson's credibility 

Trump's supporters and the former president himself publicly tried to undermine Hutchinson's testimony after the hearings. Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social, that he'd heard she was a "total phony" and "leaker." 

"I hardly know this person," he wrote, saying that he had declined her request to work on his post-presidential operation in Florida. 

"Another swamp social climber making up stories for her (not even) 15 minutes. Pathetic," Liz Harrington, a spokeswoman for Trump's post-presidential office, wrote on Truth Social. 

Brendan Buck, who was counselor to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, said that Republicans recognized Hutchinson, 25, as "somebody who can deliver the goods" even though Trump's allies tried to downplay her as a junior aide. Buck said Hutchinson was always at Meadow's side on Capitol Hill. 

"It doesn't matter how old she is," said Buck, now a partner at the communications firm Seven Letter. "She was in the middle of everything. She saw everything." 

Buck, who has watched most of the hearings, said that the committee delivered after it suddenly announced the previously unscheduled hearing on Monday. The hearing, he said, detailed what White House officials understood about their legal jeopardy, the threat of violence, and the president's actions "in a much more vivid way." 

"This is the first hearing where we got truly new information, stunning new things that hadn't already leaked out in some way or hadn't been reported somewhere else," he said. 

Still, he said, the committee must drive toward a conclusion, such as authoritatively determining that a crime was committed, for the hearings to have a political impact on Trump. 

"There needs to be a point to it beyond how shocking that is," he said. "If it leads to something bigger, perhaps an indictment, I think that would cast a pretty big cloud over his ability to run again."

The former campaign aide who spoke to Insider on condition of anonymity predicted that if the select committee convinces Attorney General Merrick Garland to indict Trump, he shouldn't expect the type of professional courtesy that former President Gerald Ford extended to his disgraced predecessor Richard Nixon.  

"He's in a bad place. Because If he gets indicted, the best he's going to be able to hope for, assuming he's found guilty, is for Biden to commute his sentence," the former campaign aide said.

Others in Trump's inner circle could be affected legally as well. During the hearing, Hutchinson testified that she wanted Meadows to "snap out of this" as a mob encroached on the Capitol. She also revealed that Meadows and Rudy Giuliani sought presidential pardons. 

Mick Mulvaney, who was one of Trump's chiefs of staff, predicted on Twitter that Meadows would get indicted if he didn't appear before the committee. 

"My guess is that ultimately he shows," he wrote. 

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Billionaire oligarch called 'Putin's favorite industrialist' says 'destroying Ukraine would be a colossal mistake'

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 6:20pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally, spoke to Russian reporters about the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.
  • Deripaska, who faces international sanctions, cast doubt on Russia's hope of "victory" over Ukraine.
  • "I think that destroying Ukraine would be a colossal mistake, including for us," he said.

Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire aluminum tycoon and close Vladimir Putin ally, spoke out against the war in Ukraine on Tuesday while speaking with local journalists, suggesting there would be no winner following Russia's invasion, Reuters reported.

Deripaska, described by some as Putin's favorite industrialist, also lamented the economic impact of the invasion and subsequent sanctions, which he said have rolled back progress made by international business partnerships. 

"I'm troubled by how quickly we abandoned everything that was achieved (economically) in the '90s, then we abandoned everything that we achieved in the 2000s, and now we are sitting and waiting for victory. Victory of what? Whose victory?" Reuters reported Deripaska said to a group of reporters in Moscow.

The Russian oligarch — who faces sanctions by the United States, Britain, and the European Union — has become more vocal about his opposition to the war since the early days of the invasion, but was careful not to speak poorly of the Russian leader.

Prominent critics of Putin were poisoned and killed under suspicious circumstances prior to the invasion.

"I think that destroying Ukraine would be a colossal mistake, including for us," Reuters reported Deripaska said.

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The most damning testimony heard yet linked Trump directly to January 6 violence: 'It ups his exposure'

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 6:06pm  |  Clusterstock
Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson
  • A young White House aide delivered a string of bombshells about the effort to overturn the election.
  • Cassidy Hutchinson recalled Trump appearing to welcome violence by supporters on January 6.
  • Hutchinson also recalled tense moments as Trump tried unsuccessfully to go to the Capitol.

His desire to march on the Capitol. His request to remove the magnetometers and allow armed supporters to attend the "Stop the Steal" rally. His lunch hurled against the wall, a young aide coming in with a towel to help clean up the ketchup.

The evidence is stacking up against Donald Trump.

An abruptly scheduled hearing of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol delivered bombshell after bombshell Tuesday, as a key aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided some of the most damning testimony to date of the congressional panel's half-dozen public hearings.

Previous hearings featured live and recorded testimony from top Trump administration officials who recountedthe former president's effort to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence, Justice Department appointees, and others to help overturn the 2020 election. But it was a 25-year-old former aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who drew from her access to Trump a window into the former president's mindset as he pressed baseless claims of election fraud and appeared to invite — and even delight in  — the violence of January 6.

Indeed, Hutchinson's recollections connected Trump to the Capitol attack and eroded the notion that the former president lacked awareness about the risk of violence on January 6, legal experts said. Her testimony, coming amid signs that the Justice Department's criminal investigation was closing in on senior members of Trump's orbit, offered some of the strongest evidence to date supporting the House committee's contention that the former president carried out an"illegal" scheme to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

"The prior hearings focused a lot on the machinations to try to overturn the election prior to January 6 — the fake electors and the pressure on the Justice Department and the Georgia officials. This was the most compelling evidence tying Trump directly to the violence on January 6,  encouraging it and wanting it to happen," said Randall Eliason, a George Washington University law professor and former top public corruption prosecutor.

"It ups his exposure," he added.

Trump's embrace of armed supporters converging on Washington, DC, could also provide fodder for separate civil lawsuits from House lawmakers and Capitol police officers who allege that he helped instigate the violence of January 6. Following Hutchinson's testimony Tuesday, Rep. Ruben Gallego said that "US Capitol Police officers were sent to be potentially slaughtered" on January 6.

In two hours of testimony, Hutchinson said Trump dismissed concerns that his supporters were armed with guns at a rally that immediately preceded the Capitol attack, telling the Secret Service earlier on January 6 to remove metal-detecting magnetometers from the fenced-off area where he delivered a fiery speech filled with claims about the election that his own officials told him were false.

"Take the effing mags away; they're not here to hurt me," Hutchinson quoted Trump as saying.

Later on January 6, Hutchinson recounted, Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of his Secret Service armored SUV in a failed effort to direct the heavily armored vehicle to the Capitol. And in the days leading up to January 6, as Trump expressed an eagerness to go to the Capitol on the day Congress was set to certify Joe Biden's electoral victory, the top White House lawyer warned of the legal ramifications of such a move.

"We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable," former White House counsel Pat Cipollone told Trump, according to Hutchinson.

And as the Capitol attack unfolded on January 6, Trump appeared unfazed by reports that his supporters were chanting "hang Mike Pence." Trump instead defended his supporters ransacking the Capitol and suggested that Pence "deserves it," Hutchinson testified.

At one point, when Cipollone implored Meadows to persuade Trump to try to stop the violence, Hutchinson testified that Meadows responded: "You heard it, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong."

Hutchinson also recalled seeing Trump's tweet, in which he said Pence did not have the "courage to do what needs to be done." Aides testified in a previous hearing that they had warned Trump and his legal advisers that it would be unlawful for the vice president to reject electoral votes certified by Congress.

"As a staffer that works to always represent the administration to the best of my ability and to showcase the good things he had done for the country, I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and it felt personal, I was really sad," Hutchinson said. "As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic, it was un-American."

Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone'Pretty good evidence'

Hutchinson's testimony came within a week of clear indications that the Justice Department has moved beyond the on-the-ground violence of January 6 to examine the actions of lawyers and other officials involved in Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

As that Justice Department inquiry unfolds, legal experts said Hutchinson's testimony Tuesday provided insight into Trump's state of mind — including his knowledge of potential criminality — that could support a future prosecution against him on charges of obstruction or conspiring to defraud the United States.

Other legal experts saw "smoking gun" evidence that could support a seditious conspiracy charge. And at the hearing's conclusion, the House panel presented evidence of witness tampering connected to the January 6 investigation.

"If you have your White House counsel saying, 'Do this and we're going to get charged with every crime imaginable,' that's pretty good evidence of your state of mind. You got legal advice that this would be criminal," Eliason told Insider.

The concerns about legal risk continued after January 6. In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, Hutchinson said, Meadows and Rudy Giuliani sought pardons from Trump. Neither received one.

It was a time, Hutchinson said, in which Trump grew so furious at the Secret Service and his own aides that he displayed a penchant for throwing meals at the wall. Weeks before January 6, Hutchinson recalled, she heard a loud noise down a White House hallway around the time the Associated Press reported remarks in which then-Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread election fraud.

"I first noticed there was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor," she said.

She grabbed a towel and began helping the valet with the cleanup.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Twitter permanently suspends scores of 'news' accounts under the company BNN founded by Gurbaksh Chahal, former tech CEO convicted of battery

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 6:01pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Scores of new accounts affiliated with Gurbaksh Chahal recently cropped up on Twitter.
  • The accounts are all related to a "news network" BNN, founded by Chahal.
  • Twitter has now decided to suspend all of the accounts under its spam policy.

Twitter said it is suspending scores of new accounts purporting to be part of a "news network" called BNN founded by Gurbaksh Chahal, a one-time internet entrepreneur who was accused twice of domestic violence and battery and spent time in jail.

The accounts related in some form to BNN number near 80, according to a search of Twitter by Insider. The most popular of the group is the handle @BNNBreaking. Started in 2015, the account appears to have gained followers during the height of the pandemic as one that posted daily coronavirus case numbers. It's since morphed into an account that posts about daily news events with no links to published stories or citations.

A lawyer and writer, Matthew Cortland, recently called attention to the proliferation of BNN accounts, the rest of which were started in May. All of the accounts are described in their bios as being "founded by" Chahal. The landing page for BNN Networks claims it is "the future of breaking news" and criticizes the media for being "influenced and sways away from the complete version of truth."

Now, Twitter has decided to "permanently suspend" all of the BNN accounts, a company spokesperson told Insider. The enforcement action is being taken under Twitter's policy on spam and platform manipulation.

While the enforcement action may take some time to complete, the spokesperson said, it is underway. And all of the accounts will be permanently suspended. The spokesperson did not comment on how all the accounts became verified.

Chahal did not directly respond to an email seeking comment. Instead, he posted to Twitter the email Insider sent seeking comment, accusing Insider of "engineering" the enforcement action by Twitter. 

Formerly a serial founder of tech companies, Chahal in 2013 was charged and convicted in San Francisco of domestic assault and battery against his then girlfriend and sentenced to three years probation. He claimed to be innocent but pleaded no contest. In 2016, his probation was revoked and he eventually spent six months in jail after a second incident of battery against another woman.

He has since gone on to found another company, Medriva, a supplier of COVID-19 tests, in addition to BNN.

Are you a Facebook, Twitter, or Snap employee with insight to share? Got a tip? Contact Kali Hays at or through secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267. Reach out using a non-work device. Twitter DM at @hayskali. Check out Insider's source guide for other suggestions on how to share information securely.

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Disney extends CEO Bob Chapek's contract for 3 years, putting to rest doubts after dustup with Florida Gov. DeSantis on 'Don't Say Gay' law

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 5:35pm  |  Clusterstock
  • The Disney board extended CEO Bob Chapek's contract for another three years on Tuesday.
  • Doubts had swirled throughout Hollywood regarding his longevity in the role.
  • Chapek recently faced backlash over his initial lack of response to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill.

Disney announced on Tuesday that its board of directors unanimously voted to extend CEO Bob Chapek's contract for another three years, before it was set to expire in February.

Chapek took over as CEO in early 2020 after Bob Iger stepped down — not long before it was forced to close down its theme parks and delay its movies amid the coronavirus pandemic. The board cited Chapek's leadership during the pandemic as a reason for its decision.

The move was expected. Chairperson Susan Arnold had recently defended Chapek in a statement after he unexpectedly fired the company's top TV exec, Peter Rice, a beloved figure in the entertainment industry. Arnold said that Chapek and his leadership team "had the support and confidence of the board."

But Tuesday's announcement puts to rest any lingering doubts some may have had after public controversies and media reports that raised speculation over Chapek's longevity in the role.

Notably, Chapek faced heavy criticism over his initial silence on Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, given the company's history of political donations in the state, including to sponsors of the bill. The law banned discussion of gender and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.

Chapek originally told employees that the company wouldn't be commenting on the legislation, letting its content speak for itself. After backlash from staffers, Chapek reversed course and apologized in a company memo, saying that Disney would pause political donations in Florida. It prompted Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, to sign a bill stripping Disney of its private-government status in the state.

The Florida controversy prompted some, including staffers of the Disney-owned animation studio Pixar, to speak out on Disney's lack of LGBTQ+ representation in its content.

In other words, it was one of the biggest public controversies for the company in recent memory. Insider's Claire Atkinson reported last month that speculation was swirling throughout Hollywood about who could replace Chapek, and that Iger, the former CEO, felt that Disney wasn't being managed well.

But, Chapek now has another three years, at least, to change the narrative and protect his legacy.

One of the company's top priorities, its streaming service Disney+, is doing well. It added nearly 8 million subscribers in its most recent quarter, according to its latest earnings report in May, and had 138 million subscribers worldwide. Disney has set a goal of at least 230 million subscribers by 2024.

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The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is almost here. Here's how to preview all the deals and get early access to shop them.

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 5:19pm  |  Clusterstock

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  • The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale opens to the public on July 15, but members can gain access early.
  • Learn how to shop ahead of time, get a $60 Bonus Note, and what brands will be on sale, below.
  • From Nike and UGG to Charlotte Tilbury, Hugo Boss, and La Mer, you'll find many top brands on sale.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is the brand's biggest sale of the year — and it's almost here. As the company's annual sitewide savings event, this is the time to find some of the best discounts and deals of the entire year — and that includes Black Friday. 

The sale officially begins on July 15, but there are plenty of things you can do to prepare beforehand, including saving the items you want to buy.

Starting June 29, everyone will be able to preview the items that will be discounted. As of right now, you can expect brands like Nike, Allsaints, UGG, La Mer, Hugo Boss, Zella, and more to be on sale. You can add items to your wishlist, making it quick and easy to find them and check out once the sale begins.

Nordstrom cardholders can also shop early depending on their membership tier. Icon members can begin shopping on July 6, Ambassador members can begin shopping on July 7, and Influencer members can begin shopping on July 9. On July 15, the sale goes live to the public.

If you're not already a cardholder, you can sign up now and get a $60 Bonus Note to spend upon approval.

Below, we've rounded up all of the categories that will be on sale, followed by an FAQ section to answer all of your questions about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Where to shop by category:Frequently asked questionsWhen is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and when does it end? 

The Nordstrom Anniversary sale opens to the public on July 15, but cardholders can gain access as early as July 6. The sale ends on July 31 for everyone. 

Is everything on sale? 

While not every item is on sale, there are items in every category available at a discount during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. From women's and men's clothing to home and beauty, you'll find sales across all of Nordstrom's product categories. You can shop online, in-store, or even through curbside pick-up. 

What other Nordstrom sales should I know about? 

Nordstrom's Half Yearly and Black Friday Sales are two of the brand's other big shopping events. However, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale remains to be the biggest with the best discounts.

Should I sign up for a Nordstrom Credit Card?

If you're thinking about becoming a Nordstrom cardholder, it's recommended to sign up before the upcoming sale. That way, you'll gain early access to the sale and receive a $60 bonus note to shop.

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Ginni Thomas said Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas were 'highly offensive': book

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 5:13pm  |  Clusterstock
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sits with his wife and conservative activist Virginia Thomas while he waits to speak at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021.
  • Ginni Thomas in a new book said Anita Hill's claims against her husband were "highly offensive."
  • "I know the man," she told "Created Equal" co-editor Michael Pack. "I know the people in his life."
  • Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment when they worked together in the 1980s.

Ginni Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in a newly-released book called Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against her husband "highly offensive."

In the book, "Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words," co-edited by Michael Pack and Mark Paoletta, Ginni Thomas sat down for interviews with Pack in 2017 and 2018, in what became an expanded companion to the 2020 documentary of the same name.

During her conversation with Pack, Ginni Thomas spoke of her initial knowledge of Hill, an attorney who had worked with Clarence Thomas at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the early 1980s.

"Anita Hill worked with Clarence at the request of his friend Gil Hardy at the Education Department, and then she wanted to follow him to EEOC where he was going to be the chairman. She wanted to continue her career working with him. And Clarence allowed that to happen and honestly never assumed that there was any problem with Anita Hill and all the other people he was employing and helping," she said.

She continued: "He was an advocate against sexual harassment at EEOC. He was working on policies and disciplining employees that were crossing the line. So sexual harassment and Anita Hill was never something that he would have put together until the FBI was at our door saying that she was making accusations."

Ginni Thomas told Pack that it was "devastating" for her husband to hear of Hill's allegations, as he had considered her to be a friend. He has always maintained that he did not act inappropriately with Hill.

"Clarence was shocked that Anita Hill was the person that was making allegations because he had helped her," she said. "So it was stunning to him, devastating, that she would be the one coming out from the shadows to launch an attack against him in any way."

Ginni Thomas then said she was confident of husband's character and dismissed Hill's testimony as fiction.

"I know the man. I know the people in his life. I know what he's like with everyone in our world, and everyone in the workplace," she said.

"So to hear someone, one person, come from the dark recesses of her imagination and tell a tale about him that contradicts every other person's experience of my husband was highly offensive," she added.

Clarence Thomas was eventually confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate in a 52-48 vote.

Ginni Thomas in 2010 reached out to Hill and left the Brandeis University professor a voicemail asking her to apologize for speaking out against her husband.

"I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband," she said in the voicemail, according to The New York Times. "So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. O.K. Have a good day."

Hill told The Times that the message "was certainly inappropriate."

After Ginni Thomas confirmed that she had left the message, she said in statement through a publicist that "no offense was ever intended."

However, Hill stood by her testimony, telling The Times: "I appreciate that no offense was intended, but she can't ask for an apology without suggesting that I did something wrong, and that is offensive."

In recent years, and especially after the 2016 death of close friend and fellow Justice Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas has emerged as a pillar of the court's now-dominant conservative wing.

But the justice now faces calls to resign or recuse himself from cases related to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, due to his wife's documented conversations with Trump allies in support of efforts to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.

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Judges in Utah, Louisiana, and Texas have temporarily blocked state laws that would restrict or ban abortions

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 5:03pm  |  Clusterstock
People attend an abortion-rights protest at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.
  • Courts in three states have so far blocked state-level abortion bans after Roe was overturned. 
  • Judges in Louisiana and Utah temporarily blocked those states' "trigger laws" banning abortion.
  • Here's where abortion access currently stands and where judges have blocked bans. 

The Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday sent abortion back to each individual state to decide — and state judges are emerging as key players in the new abortion fight.

Before the Supreme Court decision, 13 states had enacted "trigger" laws designed to ban abortion as soon as Roe fell, others had passed abortion bans or restrictions in earlier years designed to challenge Roe, and still others had pre-Roe abortion bans on their books that courts are now tasked with ruling whether to uphold. 

Abortion rights litigants are now turning to state courts and arguing under state laws and constitutions to block those trigger laws and other restrictions, with judges in two states temporarily blocking trigger laws that went into effect on Friday. 

Here's where abortion access currently stands, and where courts have temporarily blocked abortion bans so far:

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A state judge in Louisiana has temporarily blocked the state's trigger law, which went into effect on Friday and bans nearly all abortions. Judge Robin Giarrusso said the law's language is "unconstitutionally vague," and set the next hearing over the law for July 8. Patients can receive care at least until then. 


Judge Andrew Stone temporarily blocked Utah's trigger law, which bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or threat to the patient's life. It too went into effect on Friday. 

"The immediate effects that will occur outweigh any policy issues of the state," Stone said in a Monday hearing blocking the law from being in effect for 14 days, granting a request from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. 


A judge temporarily blocked the enforcement of Texas' pre-Roe abortion ban on Monday, allowing providers to perform abortions up until six weeks of pregnancy — for now. 

The pre-Roe abortion ban is separate from Texas' six-week "heartbeat" abortion ban, which has been in effect since September 2021, and its trigger law banning nearly all abortions, which is set to go into effect later this summer. 

Abortion bans allowed to go into effect: 

On the other hand, federal judges have allowed previously-enjoined six-week abortion bans to take effect in four states states following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision on Friday. In Dobbs, the Supreme Court upheld Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban and struck down the protections for first-trimester abortion that were established in Roe and upheld in the 1992 case Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

Over the past decade, and especially after Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court in 2018, several Republican-controlled state legislatures passed six-week or total abortion bans that were quickly struck down for violating Roe's prohibitions against first-trimester abortion. 

But now without any federal protections for the procedure, judges have allowed a previously-blocked total abortion ban to take effect in Alabama and previously-enjoined six-week abortion bans in Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee to go into effect. 

Tennessee's six-week ban is separate from the state's trigger law banning nearly all abortions, which is set to take effect by July 24. 

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G7 leaders pursue price cap on Russian oil, double down on natural gas, and say major polluters can join 'climate clubs'

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 5:01pm  |  Clusterstock
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz before a meeting with other G7 leaders in Germany this week. The group sent mixed signals on climate action.
  • G7 leaders this week agreed to pursue a cap on Russian oil imports.
  • Germany, the US, and others said boosting natural-gas supplies wouldn't compromise climate goals.
  • Climate advocates blasted G7 leaders, saying they'd watered down plans to phase out fossil fuels.

Leaders of the seven richest large democracies on Tuesday sent mixed messages on climate action at the close of a summit in Germany, promising to both shore up natural-gas supplies and slash planet-warming pollution.

The G7 said it could phase out a dependency on Russian energy without compromising its climate goals, but advocacy groups are skeptical after world leaders endorsed investments in natural gas as a temporary solution.

Countries also agreed to pursue a cap on the price of Russian oil imports, which they hope will slow global inflation and undercut the energy revenue helping fund President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.

Here are the major takeaways.

A price cap on Russian oil imports

The European Union and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pushed for setting an artificially low price on Russian oil. The details haven't been worked out, but G7 leaders said in a final communique that it might involve prohibiting the shipment of Russian crude oil and petroleum unless it's "purchased at or below a price to be agreed in consultation with international partners." They instructed finance ministers to hash out how to implement and enforce a cap.

"By working together to limit the price of Russian oil, we will further strengthen the existing sanctions imposed by the G7 and our partners to make sure that Putin will not be able to profit from the higher global energy costs that have resulted from his invasion," Yellen said in a statement Tuesday.

For now, a price cap wouldn't cover natural-gas imports from Russia.

An opening for new natural-gas investments

Europe relies heavily on natural gas from Russia, but Putin has cut supplies to countries including Germany, Italy, Poland, and Bulgaria — sending prices soaring.

G7 leaders said that investing in liquefied natural gas, or LNG, was "appropriate as a temporary response" to the energy crisis but warned against locking in fossil-fuel use because that would make global climate goals unachievable. The group encouraged making gas infrastructure ready for low-carbon and renewable hydrogen.

The statement raised alarm among climate advocates, who criticized the G7 as watering down promises to accelerate the clean-energy transition and sending conflicting messages. New fossil-fuel development isn't compatible with keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — the goal of the Paris climate accord — and hydrogen technology is still nascent.

"Hydrogen — if it is to be useful for climate goals — will be produced from renewables in a variety of places and not necessarily in the same place as current gas production," Luca Bergamaschi, a cofounder and executive director of ECCO, an Italian climate-change think tank, tweeted on Sunday.

Critics also said the G7 statement backslid on a commitment in May by the group's energy and climate ministers to halt financing by year's end for fossil-fuel projects that are not paired with carbon-capture technology. That pledge around so-called unabated fossil-fuel projects for the first time included Japan, a top financier of foreign fossil fuels.

Oil Change International and a coalition of civil-society groups said the communique on Tuesday risked jeopardizing the opportunity to shift at least $33 billion a year in fossil-fuel funding from the G7 governments to clean energy.

Gillian Nelson, a deputy director of policy at the We Mean Business Coalition, said that while the G7 did promise to "fully or partially" decarbonize its power sectors by 2035, it fell short of discussing how that could be achieved.

Countries that are major polluters and emerging economies can join 'climate clubs'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a press conference that he wanted climate protection to be an advantage in international trade. He got the G7 to support setting up so-called climate clubs by the end of the year that major polluters and emerging economies could join. The goal is to create global markets for green industrial products, such as through carbon pricing or other climate-mitigation strategies, as well as to help finance poorer countries' energy transitions.

John Kirton, the director of the G7 and G20 Research Group managed by the University of Toronto, said there would likely be a focus on carbon border adjustments that slap tariffs or impose quotas on imports from countries without a price on emissions or aggressive climate action.

Carbon border tariffs are taking shape in Europe, but the US and Japan, which don't have a price on carbon, have been resistant to such a policy.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump rattles off a dozen livid social media posts in 2 hours as ex-aide gives explosive testimony to Jan. 6 panel: 'A Total Phony!!!'

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 5:00pm  |  Clusterstock
Former President Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump raged on his social media platform as Tuesday's January 6 hearing progressed. 
  • Trump's posts were a return to form for the now-former president.
  • His response was in reaction to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony.

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday unleashed a dozen social media posts in the wake of the testimony of a former top White House aide before the January 6 committee, calling the staffer a "total phony," "third rate social climber' and suggesting she was a "whacko" because of her handwriting.

"There is no cross examination of this so-called witness. This is a Kangaroo Court!" Trump wrote on his social media platform.

In another post, he said that her "body language is that of a total bull…. artist. Fantasy Land!"

Trump's response mirrors how he would use Twitter during his presidency, particularly after he was publicly criticized or news came out of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Trump was kicked off of Twitter and Facebook in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot, leading him and his allies to create their own platform.

As Fox News' Bret Baier noted, Hutchinson made her claims under oath while Trump was just ranting online. It is a crime to lie to Congress, as former Trump attorney Michael Cohen found out.

Trump has a well-documented, decades-long proclivity for stretching the truth or just outright lying. One of his most debunked claims as president was that he passed legislation to improve veterans' health care when it was easily verifiable that President Barack Obama signed the bill into law. Trump made this claim more than 156 times, as The Washington Post meticulously documented.

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide for then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, told lawmakers that Trump, in a fit of desperation, tried to commandeer the presidential limousine in an effort to travel to the Capitol on January 6 while Congress certified his election loss.

Trump denied that he tried to hijack his own limo ("Fake story") and on a different occasion threw his food against the wall after becoming enraged by statements made by Attorney General Bill Barr ("also false"). The former president used all caps to emphasize that he "NEVER SAID" that then-Vice President Mike Pence deserved to be hung for not trying to overturn the election.

—CSPAN (@cspan) June 28, 2022


In another vintage Trump move, the former president tried to repeatedly claim that he "hardly" knew Hutchinson, despite the fact that she worked just steps from the Oval Office and was a top aide to the White House chief of staff, a post that is considered to be among the most powerful in the entire federal government.

"I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and "leaker") ...," Trump wrote.

Posting so frequently at one point, Trump misspelled the last name of Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House January 6 Committee. 

"Chaney conveniently left out the snippet in my speech to, "GO PEACEFULLY & PATRIOTICALLY.
 Trump wrote. "Isn't she disgraceful???" (Trump was noting that when he told rally attendees to march to the Capitol on January 6, he added that they should do so "peacefully and patriotically.")

Hutchinson's testimony undermined these claims by making the jaw-dropping allegation that Trump wanted the metal detectors, or mags, set up around the site of his speech on the Ellipse to be taken down since the crowd wasn't big enough.

"Something to the effect of take the f-ing mags away," Hutchinson testified that Trump said on January 6. Hutchison added that Trump was informed that some people attempting to enter the rally were armed and that the Secret Service had confiscated weapons as a result. The president didn't care, she said.

"When we were in the offstage tent, I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, 'I don't effing care that they have weapons," Hutchinson testified. "They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in. Take the effing mags away."

Perhaps it is fitting that on a day Trump seemed to return to his old form once again disputed claims about crowd size would come into focus. But this time it was not a White House press secretary bellowing out from behind a lectern. 

On Tuesday, it was just a former president fuming on the social media platform created especially for him.

"Never complained about the crowd, it was massive," Trump claimed of the January 6 rally crowd. "I didn't want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech. Who would ever want that? Not me!"

The social media platform is called Truth. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

A former Trump White House chief of staff says the latest January 6 hearing provided 'stunning' new evidence of potential criminality

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:57pm  |  Clusterstock
Then-President Donald Trump and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney listen to comments during a luncheon with representatives of the United Nations Security Council, in the Cabinet Room at the White House on December 5, 2019.
  • Mick Mulvaney served as the acting White House Chief of Staff from 2019 to 2020.
  • He resigned from a position as US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland after the January 6 insurrection.
  • Mulvaney said testimony from a former White House aide posed a "serious problem" for Trump.

A former White House aide's testimony that Donald Trump knew some protesters were armed before they marched to the US Capitol — and that his own top advisors asked for pardons after the January 6 riot — combined to make Tuesday's congressional hearing on the insurrection a "very, very bad day" for the former president, according to a onetime Trump loyalist.

"A stunning 2 hours," Mick Mulvaney posted on Twitter following the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, who succeeded Mulvaney as Trump's White House chief of staff.

Mulvaney listed four reasons why the hearing by the congressional committee investigating January 6 was so damning, citing the sworn testimony of Hutchinson: that "Trump knew the protesters had guns"; that he grabbed the wheel of his presidential vehicle when told that Secret Service would not take him to the US Capitol; that there appeared to be "a line" connecting the Trump White House to the far-right Proud Boys; and that his own aides — including Meadows and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — sought pardons in the aftermath of the attack.

The very act of encouraging protesters to "fight" for Trump at the US Capitol and inciting a riot was itself sufficient to have White House staffers "charged with every crime imaginable," according to the former president's lawyers, as recounted by Hutchinson.

But most damning, Mulvaney said, was the evidence presented by the committee's vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, suggesting possible witness tampering on the part of those close to the former president.

At the close of the hearing, Cheney shared messages — recalling mafia-style intimidation — that she said were sent to those called to testify before the January 6 committee.

"[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow," one message stated. "He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition."

Per Mulvaney, while other claims were more "sensational," the "real bomb that was dropped was the implied charge of witness tampering." If "hard evidence" exists, he added, "that is a serious problem for the former president."

Mulvaney was still working for the White House when the insurrection unfolded, continuing to serve as the US special envoy for Northern Ireland weeks after Trump had refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

In a now-infamous piece for The Wall Street Journal, published days after the 2020 election, Mulvaney assured the public that Trump would — should he be found the loser — "participate in the peaceful transfer of power."

"I have every expectation that Mr. Trump will be, act and speak like a great president should — win or lose," he added.

Mulvaney ultimately resigned on January 7.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Companies are offering to cover workers' travel costs for abortions. But doing that could be difficult — and hard on workers.

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:53pm  |  Clusterstock
Some states might seek to stymie employers that offer travel benefits for out-of-state abortions.
  • Some companies will cover travel so workers can seek abortions in states where they're allowed.
  • HIPAA, the privacy law, would offer little protection to those who circumvented anti-abortion laws.
  • The need to disclose intentions around abortion-related travel could put added strain on workers.

Even before the Supreme Court threw out constitutional protections for the right to an abortion, some large companies had lined up to say they would give employees time off and cover travel costs to facilitate the procedures.

But making good on those pledges could bring challenges for employers and for workers.

Companies' efforts to sort through the legal morass resulting from the decision to jettison Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years is an urgent matter in about a dozen states, where legislatures have passed so-called trigger laws that banned abortion automatically when Roe fell. In eight states, abortion is already illegal; in another 10 it's on track to become illegal or face heavy restrictions. 

Some large employers, including Starbucks, Citi, Amazon, and CVS, have said they would reimburse employees' travel costs and allow time off for workers in trigger-ban states to seek abortions elsewhere. 

But it remains unclear how states might seek to limit pregnant people traveling to other states to get abortions or how states might make it difficult for employers to offer travel-for-care benefits. A group of lawmakers in Texas, for example, has proposed banning companies that offer to pay for their workers' abortion care. And even if travel is possible, experts say the potential need for some people seeking abortions to disclose their intentions to an employer could create added emotional strain. 

McKensie Mack, a consultant and the CEO of MMG Earth, which focuses on racial- and social-justice issues, said some companies offering travel benefits could face legal fights. "Legislation from state to state will differ," Mack said.

Insider spoke with experts about what a post-Roe America could look like. They offered insights on how employers should administer abortion benefits to maintain worker privacy, and how leaders could support employees seeking an abortion amid a fractious political environment.

What a post-Roe America means for workers

With the high court's reversal of Roe v. Wade, some conservative-leaning states could direct legal action toward people seeking abortions out of state, though it's not certain whether such measures would be feasible. And states such as New York and California are taking steps to protect in-state abortion providers from liabilities that other states might seek to impose. 

Texas and Oklahoma allow private citizens to sue people who provide abortions or who help a patient obtain one. Lawmakers in Idaho and Missouri have weighed similar legislation. Experts predict the tactic could gain traction now that Roe has been overturned. This could complicate matters for employers pledging to cover interstate travel for employees to obtain the procedure.

Political leaders could look to undercut abortion access in other ways, too. Fourteen Texas Republican lawmakers said they'd seek to ban companies that helped employees get abortions outside the state. This could create complications for companies like Goldman Sachs, which has agreed to cover travel expenses for abortion-seeking staff, and has plans to expand in Texas

Some states with rules in place that prohibit abortion could seek to limit medical abortions, which rely on pills to end a pregnancy. In some cases, a patient meets with a prescriber via telemedicine and, if a medical abortion is feasible, the prescription arrives in the mail. Some who are pregnant might even try to order pills from abroad

Companies that pay for employees to cross state lines for an abortion might not be the only ones penalized. Employers that offer abortion care in their health plans would be forced to retract those benefits in states that ban the procedure, said Thelma Duffey, the chair of the Department of Counseling at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

This complex patchwork of laws might inform women's employment choices and force families to make difficult decisions about where to live and work, Duffey said.

"In a post-Roe workforce, women will have to consider in which states they want to live and what companies or organizations they want to work for. Some businesses may even choose to relocate to other states," Duffey said. 

For employees unable to obtain a desired abortion, their well-being and work performance could suffer.

"Research has demonstrated that people who are denied abortions are likely to experience greater symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress," said Taunya Marie Tinsley, a leadership coach who serves as the chair of the American Counseling Association’s Antiracism Commission. "An abortion ban may also result in lower life satisfaction and self-esteem."

Administering abortion benefits with 'dignity and autonomy'

For companies pledging to cover travel expenses for employees living in places such as Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas, it's uncertain how companies might administer these benefits, and how employees might access them.

Duffey said employers must be intentional to provide benefits in a way that maintains the "dignity and autonomy" of those who need it. "Employees should be entitled to complete privacy regarding all healthcare — including abortion," Duffey said.

But the federal health privacy law known as HIPAA would offer little protection to patients who circumvented state anti-abortion laws. Nevertheless, Mack said, this reality shouldn't lower the bar of confidentiality for employers. "Employers should offer expansive travel benefits for all medical procedures without the requirement of disclosure as to the specific procedure being conducted," Mack said. 

Many employer plans already cover workers' travel expenses for other out-of-state healthcare procedures that aren't locally available. Mack said that ideally abortion-related travel would be tucked into existing policies. 

"Employers should offer expansive travel benefits for all medical procedures without the requirement of disclosure as to the specific procedure being conducted," Mack said.

Supporting employee well-being in a complex environment 

Even before the Roe decision, some employees faced obstacles for obtaining reproductive health and well-being services. For example, only 10% of new mothers have designated breaks to support breastfeeding. And 17% have support for breastfeeding from supervisors or coworkers, a 2020 study found. 

Mack maintained that not requiring employees to disclose the care they're seeking is the best way to protect the well-being of an employee seeking an abortion — as another obstacle could emerge for women who have to come forward and talk to managers about the healthcare they're seeking.  

"It helps to model an approach to benefits at work that do not require surveillance of staff and employees. It also helps to completely bypass stigma relating to abortion in the event that an HR rep might deny a request for travel based on their own anti-abortion stance," Mack said.

Tinsley suggested that employers take several steps to protect the emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of employees in a post-Roe workplace:

  • Provide training for leaders, managers, and staff within the organization on mental health, the effect of an abortion ban on mental health, and the effect on different people, families, and groups.
  • Work with local professional counselors or state and national counseling organizations. 
  • Conduct info sessions on confidentiality, HIPAA, protected health information, and legal issues on employer-covered group health plans, including abortion.
  • Provide employee-assistance programs that include education, counseling, and legal support.

A post-Roe world will result in complex and even dangerous reverberations for employees bearing unwanted pregnancies, Mack said, adding, "It's time for leaders in workplaces across the United States to fight just as hard for their staff as their staff has worked for them."

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Capitol Police officer injured on January 6 said 'our own president set us up' amid damning testimony by an ex-White House aide

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:43pm  |  Clusterstock
US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell wipes his eye as he watches a video being displayed during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
  • A Capitol Police officer said on Tuesday that "our own president set us up" on January 6, 2021.
  • "He wanted to lead the mob and wanted to lead the crowd himself ... he wanted to be a tyrant," Sgt. Aquilino Gonell told HuffPost.
  • Gonell attended the sixth public hearing of the House January 6 committee on Tuesday. 

A US Capitol Police officer injured during the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol told reporters on Tuesday "our own president set us up" during the sixth public hearing of the House commitee investigating the Capitol riot.

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, an Army veteran who was in the room during Tuesday's hearing, testified before Congress last year about the injuries he suffered while defending the Capitol. Gonell underwent surgery and was moved to desk duty as a result of the injuries he sustained to his foot and shoulder while being physically attacked by rioters during the Capitol siege.

"I just feel betrayed," Gonell told HuffPost's Igor Bobic on Tuesday. "The president should be doing everything possible to help us and he didn't do it. He wanted to lead the mob and wanted to lead the crowd himself ... he wanted to be a tyrant." 

He later told Insider that he still remembers how him and his fellow officers tried to stop pro-Trump supporters from forcing their way inside of the US Capitol building on January 6. Gonell said the latest hearing has shown that Trump was actively "working against" the police officers that day.

"Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't know, he still didn't do anything to help us," he told Insider.

His remarks come after Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified before the House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection.

She later testified that President Donald Trump was "furious" that people with weapons were prohibited from passing through metal detectors outside of his rally on January 6 because it kept the crowd size small.

Hutchinson said the former president ordered his aides to remove the metal detectors, also known as "mags," and said that he wasn't concerned that his supporters brought weapons, including assault rifles, to the rally, insisting they be allowed to march to the Capitol.

Hutchinson said, "I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the president say something to the effect of, 'I don't f-ing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the f-ing mags away. Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here.'"

Read the original article on Business Insider

Eleven Madison Park owner responds to investigation and says the restaurant has been forced to raise workers' pay — but not to its originally proposed 'living wage'

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:37pm  |  Clusterstock
Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into Eleven Madison Park at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday.
  • Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into Eleven Madison Park on Monday. 
  • He said they scrapped plans to pay workers $20/hr because they "didn't feel comfortable" raising menu prices.
  • He added that the restaurant has recently raised wages to between $17 and $18 an hour. 

Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into acclaimed restaurant Eleven Madison Park at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday, addressing a leaked op-ed draft that revealed management was fully aware it was underpaying its staff. 

The restaurant hired a journalist to ghostwrite the piece, which it hoped to publish in The New York Times, sources told Insider's Kate Taylor, who reviewed the op-ed draft as part of a series looking into the Michelin-star restaurant's chaotic shift to veganism

The op-ed draft read: "It is absurd and unjust that people working in the kitchens and dining rooms of some of the finest restaurants in the world can barely afford their own food and rent. We are going to ensure that everybody working at Eleven Madison Park will receive a living wage of at least twenty dollars per hour."

Eleven Madison Park continued to say in the draft that it would offset higher labor costs by raising the price of its tasting menu to $425, up from $335. Charging $335 was only possible, the op-ed draft said, because most kitchen workers were paid $15 an hour. However, the plans to increase worker pay were dropped after The New York Times wrote a scathing review of the restaurant's new vegan menu. 

After Humm was questioned by MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff about the report on stage, he said the op-ed draft was written as an "exercise" to test out the restaurant's proposed increase in staff wages and menu prices. 

"This is not just a creative endeavor. It's also running a business in a very tough environment. And that is our livelihood," he said. "We didn't feel comfortable charging $480 for the meal to do this price increase, so we decided that we would move up there slower." 

"We wanted to pay people, I believe, $20," Humm continued. "Today we're paying $17, $18."

While the pay bump, according to Humm, is an improvement from the restaurant's original $15 an hour wage, it still falls short of the $20 an hour proposed in the unpublished op-ed. However, Eleven Madison Park did reverse its long-standing no tipping rule in February, which allows staff to accept gratuity. 

"You cannot get people to do the work that is required at Eleven Madison Park if you don't have a great culture, and if you don't treat them well," Humm told Soboroff on Monday. 

Current and former Eleven Madison Park employees previously told Insider that many quit the restaurant over the past year because long hours, low pay, and food waste. Former employees described juggling roles and working more than 80 hours a week. A representative for Eleven Madison Park dismissed these complaints, saying that the staffers Insider spoke with were "agenda-driven" and that their critiques of the restaurant were "flat-out erroneous."

Read Insider's original investigation into the past year at Eleven Madison Park.Read the original article on Business Insider

Bizarre Custom Cars That Actually Exist

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:30pm  |  Clusterstock
  • We take a look at several bizarre custom-built vehicles that take transportation to a new level.
  • A Turkish company named Letvision turned a BMW 3 Series into a real-life Transformer.
  • Our most extreme car transformation is a Bugatti Chiron made out of 90% Lego pieces.

Following is a transcript of the video.

A.T Bianco: This is our first car of the day, and I kind of want one of these: a Teslonda. It's like if you gave a V-8 engine to Fred Flintstone and told him to power his Flintmobile. So, this one is from creator Jim Belosic, and he managed to get it to go 0 to 60 in just 2.48 seconds. And that's quicker than the Bugatti Veyron and the Lamborghini Huracán, which are both clocked in at 2.5 seconds.

Dan Gessner: For anyone wondering how he pulled it off with just one Tesla motor, it's all about weight. The Teslonda, it looks like, comes in at around 2,400 pounds. That's about half as much as any Model S you'll find.

A.T: This car also has a 1990s-video-game-style dashboard displaying the best 0-to-60 times as high scores, which is just the best feature ever, I think. Dan, are you ready for my favorite car?

Dan: I'm ready.

A.T: I just took out a loan for this one yesterday, and it's the one and only Barbie car with a dirt-bike engine. I'd just love to see the loan application that says "Malibu Barbie dream car" on it. How fast do you think this thing can go?

Dan: I'm guessing 40 to 45 at best.

A.T: It can actually drive up to 70 miles per hour. And these two friends that we see in the video here, Edwin and Ethan, they made this, and their reasoning was, "It just had to be done." And I couldn't agree more. It's truly a beautiful work of art. The Barbie car is made out of a used go-kart to make room for its rubber tires. They had to make a wide-body kit out of $5 paint buckets from Walmart.

Dan: I'll skip all the obvious jokes. I just love that they moved the engine from the rear of this car to the front.

A.T: Our next extreme car was named world's longest car by Guinness World Records, and interestingly enough, it's a limo from Dezerland Auto Park in Florida. Now, Dan, imagine this. Imagine driving a limo with 26 wheels, room for 75 people, a putting green for golf, a pool, and to top it all off, a helicopter pad. What are your thoughts on this?

Dan: First of all, I have no idea what street you could actually turn this thing on without at least scratching a hubcap, let alone causing a major accident. Also, 75 people in a car?

A.T: It seems like it could get real stuffy in there. I'd be chilling back by the pool or the Jacuzzi or whatever it's called. It looks pretty cool. So, this car was originally built by Jay Ohrberg and was the world's longest vehicle in the 1980s. Michael Manning found the original vehicle rotting behind a warehouse in New Jersey back in 2019. He later partnered with Michael Dezer, and they restored this vehicle after buying it at an auction. And now, after two years of restoration, this car is back to full health.

Dan: I have to congratulate Michael for such a job well done rebuilding it. However, the Cadillac fan in me can't help but see about a dozen Eldorados just massacred to build a limo you can't really drive anywhere. I can appreciate the helipad, though.

A.T: The next one is pretty funny. Let's start by both watching a video of this car in action.

Dan: I really just watched a BMW transform into an Autobot.

A.T: Yeah, I know, right? I was expecting Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox to come on screen and, yeah. This is a real-life Transformer here. It was made by a Turkish company called Letvision, and it took eight months to complete. It's named Letrons, and it was built successfully using a real BMW, which I find super interesting.

Dan: I mean, just tell me it's not drivable.

A.T: So, at the time of this video, the car wasn't drivable in traffic yet and functioned using a remote control. But the company did say that it might be possible to drive it if it had an electric engine.

Weighing in at 6,100 pounds with a 400-horsepower engine, made from nothing but semitruck parts and a motorcycle handle, we have the Semi Trike. Dan, would you drive this thing on an interstate?

Dan: I would definitely take it for a spin down the highway. I just don't know if I have room for it in my garage. That hood alone is, what, 11, 12 feet long?

A.T: The original semitruck hood made it into a canopy over the driver, as you can see there, you know, just in case you get a little rain, cloudy with a chance of meatballs, something like that, you got the nice hood overhead.

Our most extreme car is last but definitely not least. And it's the Bugatti Chiron made out of Legos, built by Lego Technic power function and pneumatic systems. The team over at Lego spent more than 13,000 hours making this. That means they spent around two years building this thing together.

Dan: Yeah, I think the most time I ever spent on a Lego set when I was younger was two hours.

A.T: They didn't even have any directions, which is crazy. They used over 1 million Legos to build the frame, and 90% of the car is built with Lego elements. And they even replicated the curved surfaces that are found featured on the original Chiron. So, Dan, as the car enthusiast here, how accurate do you think it looks in comparison to the actual Chiron?

Dan: I actually have been a fan of this since Lego revealed it several years ago. Its design details are extremely accurate, and I'm already a sucker for model cars. However, model car isn't even accurate, since you can actually drive it. It's got a full-sized engine inside made entirely out of Legos. Now, it may only make 5.3 horsepower for a top speed of about 18 miles per hour, but who needs a 1,500-horsepower hypercar when you can say you've been behind the wheel of a real-life Lego car?

A.T: And that was "A Gearhead's Dozen." We'll see you next time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

PepsiCo's world-class ESG agenda is centered on supporting people, communities, and the entire packaged goods industry

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:29pm  |  Clusterstock

"Our governance starts at the top of PepsiCo," Anna Palazij, PepsiCo's vice president of ESG reporting and strategic investments, said.
  • For years, PepsiCo has been a leader in the ESG space.
  • The company has aggressive sustainability goals over the next decade.
  • Here's how the company is planning to bolster sustainability internally, and throughout the industry.
  • This article is part of the "Financing a Sustainable Future" series exploring how companies take steps toward funding and setting their own sustainable goals.

PepsiCo — the parent company of iconic brands like Pepsi, Lay's, Gatorade, and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats — has been committed to environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, initiatives for several years. In 2021, the consumer packaged goods company expanded that commitment with the debut of PepsiCo Positive, a strategic sustainability and governance plan focusing on three pillars: agriculture, value chain, and choices. 

"It's a strategic end-to-end transformation with sustainability and human capital at the center," Anna Palazij, PepsiCo's vice president of ESG reporting and strategic investments, told Insider. "What we're trying to do is transform the way we source our products in a more sustainable way, how we manufacture our products, and how we bring them to consumers." 

PepsiCo has been a leader in the ESG space. The company recently ranked second on the 2022 list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens by 3BL Media, and it's made the list every year since 2009. Palazij said PepsiCo Positive aims to drive growth internally and throughout the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. 

Expanding its ESG commitment comes as investors, suppliers, stakeholders, and customers are asking for more commitments on sustainability. The CPG industry is also feeling strained through droughts and hotter temperatures. Governance is crucial to all of this because it ensures companies are setting goals, tracking performance, and reporting to stakeholders to ensure accountability.  

"We knew that now was the time to act, and we felt a responsibility and an opportunity," Palazij said. 

PepsiCo has been a leader in the ESG space.

PepsiCo Positive is a standalone ESG program to help the company grow and become more resilient for the future. It's embedded into the company's overall financial framework, Palazij said. PepsiCo issued a $1 billion green bond in 2019 to produce a more sustainable food system by focusing on better packaging, decarbonization of operations and supply chain, and water sustainability. At the end of 2020, PepsiCo had distributed $858 million of the bond, which had helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use and improve energy efficiency. 

Here's a look at how PepsiCo is transforming its business operations to produce products more sustainably. 

Sustainability and governance are interconnected

Governance is intertwined with PepsiCo's ESG goal-setting and progress reporting.

PepsiCo aligns its sustainability efforts with the Science-Based Targets initiative, which ensures it's meeting ambitious goals that follow the latest climate science. For example, the company plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 — meaning the greenhouse gas emissions produced are balanced with emission reductions — and be net water positive by 2030, in which the company will replenish more water than it uses. In 2020, PepsiCo achieved 100% renewable electricity in its US operations, which is the company's largest market, and plans to expand that to 15 countries by the end of 2021. 

Progress on sustainability is reviewed by the Executive Council, which comprises members of the executive leadership team. "Our governance starts at the top of PepsiCo," Palazij said, adding that executive compensation is tied to sustainability performance and progress. 

PepsiCo regularly shares progress on ESG initiatives with stakeholders, including investors and consumers. The company provides updates on its website, where it lists details for more than 50 ESG topics, including environmental impact, people, product and nutrition, and ethics and governance.

"We continue to look at what's needed to be transparent and tell our story, but in an authentic and transparent way, and we align our reporting to that," Palazij said.

Supporting people and communities is central to the value chain commitment 

Creating a safe and equitable environment for employees, the communities it reaches, and everyone involved in its supply chain is a key part of PepsiCo's initiatives. 

"People are such an important part of PepsiCo and sustainability as a whole, and ultimately our PepsiCo Positive agenda looks at how we drive better outcomes for people and the planet," Palazij said. And that spans the full value chain from the farmers who grow the crops to the consumers who enjoy them. 

Anna Palazij is PepsiCo's vice president of ESG reporting and strategic investments.

PepsiCo plans to expand regenerative farming across 7 million acres and so far has rolled out regenerative farming on 345,000 acres. The company, Palazij said, is committed to improving the livelihood of the 250,000 people in its agriculture supply chain through partnerships with the National Black Growers Council and the US Agency for International Development. PepsiCo plans to sustainably source 100% of ingredients, like oats and potatoes — a goal it's already achieved in some countries. The company also hopes to provide safe water access to 100 million people by 2030, and Palazij said the company now delivers water to 68 million people globally. 

Building diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces across the company is part of its commitment to people. In 2020, PepsiCo launched the Racial Equity Journey with plans to invest $570 million in the next five years to support Black and Hispanic businesses and communities. PepsiCo also pledged $100 million through 2025 to support opportunities for women in the workforce. 

Driving ESG innovation to improve the packaged goods industry 

PepsiCo's recognition for its ESG initiatives helps validate the value of the company's work and shows that it's resonating with stakeholders and others in the industry, Palazij said.  

The company seeks to drive innovation in sustainability through its PepsiCo Labs program, which works with venture capital to identify new technology to help accelerate its sustainability agenda. PepsiCo champions innovation from competitors, which ultimately improves the CPG sector as a whole. 

"Consumers consume our products more than a billion times a day, so we have a unique opportunity from a size and scale standpoint to transform," Palazij said. "We think that is both an obligation and an opportunity to change the way business is done. It goes beyond the competition with others because we want everyone engaged in this collaboration." 

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Ex-White House aide said she wanted Mark Meadows to 'snap out of it' and pay attention to the Capitol riot as it was unfolding

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:27pm  |  Clusterstock
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.
  • An ex-aide to Meadows said she wanted him to "snap out it" and pay attention to the Capitol riot.
  • Cassidy Hutchinson said she asked Meadows if he could see what was transpiring on his TV on January 6.
  • She testified before the January 6 committee that she was "frustrated" by his reaction.

A former top aide to ex-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday said she wanted him to "snap out it" and pay attention to the chaos unfolding at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

During her testimony before the January 6 committee, Cassidy Hutchinson said she sought to engage with Meadows on what was going on at the seat of the national government, as rioters upset about the certification of now-President Joe Biden's electoral victory breached the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing to secure spaces within the complex.

"I remember him being alone in his office for most of the afternoon. Around 2:00, 2:05, we were watching the TV and I could see that the rioters were getting closer and closer to the Capitol," she said.

Hutchinson continued: "Mark still hadn't popped out of his office or said anything about, and that's when I went into his office and saw that he was sitting on his couch, on his cell phone."

When she asked Meadows if he'd seen the television, his response was, "Yeah," per Hutchinson's testimony.

She responded: "The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked with the president?"

Meadows reportedly replied: "No, he wants to be alone right now."

She then spoke of her exasperation at his lack of urgency while the Capitol was being ransacked.

"I start to get frustrated because I sort of felt like I was looking at a bad car accident about to happen where you can't stop it but you want to be able to do something," she said. "I remember thinking in that moment, 'Mark needs to snap out of this and I don't know how to snap him out of this but he needs to care.'"

She proceeded to ask Meadows to reach out to Rep. Jim Jordan, one of the former president's most loyal political allies, who had spoken on the House floor about the 2020 election shortly before rioters broke into the Capitol. Meadows told her he would call the Ohio congressman, Hutchinson testified, adding that she was later asked to be on the lookout for any calls for Jordan.

About a minute later, then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone appeared and pressed Meadows to act on the events at the Capitol.

"I remember Pat saying to [Meadows], something to the effect of, 'The rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark, we need to go down and see the president now,'" Hutchinson said.

"And Mark looked up at and said, 'He doesn't want to do anything, Pat,'" she added.

Cipollone, per Hutchinson's testimony, told Meadows something to the effect that "something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood's going to be on your effing hands."

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Rep. Ruben Gallego said a White House aide's testimony shows police were 'sent to be potentially slaughtered' by Trump

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:23pm  |  Clusterstock
Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
  • Rep. Ruben Gallego says police were 'sent to be slaughtered' on Jan. 6 by Trump.
  • An ex-aide testified that Trump knew there were not enough police at the US capitol. 
  • Gallego said the testimony of the former WH aide has shown Trump's involvement in the Jan 6 insurrection.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego said that 'US Capitol Police officers were sent to be potentially slaughtered' on January 6 after a former White House staffer testified that former President Donald Trump knew that protesters were armed and that there was not enough security at the US Capitol building. 

"If it wasn't because of this brave 25-year-old woman, we wouldn't even know what was happening," the Arizona lawmaker told reporters at the hearing on Thursday, referring to Cassidy Hutchinson. "This is a very sad moment in our country right now."

Gallego, a former US Marine who instructed fellow lawmakers in how to don gas masks during the Capitol attack, was one of several witnesses to the attack in the Cannon Caucus room who expressed shock at the aide's sworn account of that day.

His remarks came after Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified that Trump and his White House advisers were informed that protesters on the National Mall were armed and heading to the US Capitol building on Jan. 6 where lawmakers were formalizing the victory of Trump's political opponent.

In gripping testimony before the House Jan. 6 select committee, Hutchinson testified that Meadows and Trump seemed indifferent about the armed and angry crowd and that Trump was "furious" that the crowd area for his speech wasn't filled with people, which he attributed to metal detectors that would deter people carrying weapons.

At one point, she recalled Trump saying, "I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in; they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in."

During that same period, she also recalled the White House staffers being informed that there was not enough security on Capitol Hill to handle the hundreds of protesters making their way into the building. 

US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell.US Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell told Insider that he felt betrayed after hearing Hutchinson recount how Trump and his staffers knew that the Capitol Police were outnumbered and how Trump wanted to march with his supporters.

"Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't know, he still didn't do anything to help us," he told Insider. "We wanted to lead the crowd according to the evidence put out today."

Gonell was one of the many officers injured during the January 6 insurrection while attempting to stop the pro-Trump supporters from forcing their way into the US Capitol. An Army veteran who served in Iraq, Gonnell testified in 2021 before the same committee thinking, as he struggled to breath from the crowd's press: "This is how I'm going to die."

More than 140 law enforcement officers were injured during the insurrection.

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Mega-cap tech stocks drag Nasdaq down 3% as bear market rally fizzles out

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 4:05pm  |  Clusterstock
A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 5, 2020.
  • The Nasdaq 100 fell 3% on Tuesday as mega-cap tech stocks resumed their months-long sell-off.
  • Tuesday's decline makes it more likely that the recent 6% gain in the S&P 500 was nothing but a bear market rally.
  • Stocks were initially higher on Tuesday after China eased its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

US stocks resumed their months-long sell-off on Tuesday, with mega-cap tech stocks dragging the Nasdaq 100 down 3%.

The decline makes it more likely that the 6% gain in the S&P 500 over the past week was nothing more than a bear market rally, drawing in hopeful bulls searching for a bottom only to reveal further downside ahead. The decline came on a day when interest rates were rather stable and investors continued to guess if an economic recession is imminent.

New York Fed President John Williams was the latest figure to weigh in on the potential for a recession, telling CNBC that a US recession is not his base case, and that the country could avoid a period of declining economic growth even in the face of higher interest rates.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Tuesday:

Meanwhile, Ark Invest's Cathie Wood told CNBC on Tuesday that she believes the US is currently in a recession, implying that second-quarter GDP growth will be negative after first-quarter US GDP growth experienced a contraction of more than 1%.

Potentially fueling an economic rebound could be the full reopening of China after months of COVID-19 lockdowns hampered supply chains around the globe.

China said it would cut in half the isolation time required by new arrivals to its country, in a sign that the government is getting serious about driving a rebound in the growth of its economy. Additionally, Shanghai and Beijing both reported no new infections, an encouraging sign that supply chain bottlenecks should continue to ease.

"The COVID crisis appears to be rapidly retreating in China, with no major cities in widespread lockdown and a rapid drop in cases being reported," Susannah Streeter, a market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

Robinhood stock fell on Tuesday after Sam Bankman-Fried said FTX is not in active talks to acquire the brokerage firm. Robinhood surged as much as 22% on Monday following a Bloomberg report of a potential merger between the two companies. 

Warren Buffett continues to view Occidental Petroleum as an attractive investment, with SEC filings showing that Berkshire Hathaway added another $44 million to its more than $9 billion stake in the oil and gas producer.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose as much as much as 1.89% to $111.64 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, jumped as much as 2.37% to $117.82. 

Bitcoin fell 2.43% to $20,214. Ether prices fell 2.35% to $1,152.

Gold fell as much as 0.23% to $1,820.60 per ounce. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell two basis points to 3.20%.

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I flew out of what was once considered the worst airport in the world. Except for a few hiccups, it was a smooth experience.

Tue, 06/28/2022 - 2:57am  |  Clusterstock
Flying with Philippine Airlines via business class from Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
  • For years, Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport was ranked the world's worst airport.
  • Local officials said "significant improvements" were made under the Duterte administration.
  • I flew business class from the airport and was surprised by its quality lounge and delicious food.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main airport of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

NAIA was named after Benigno Aquino Jr., a politician who was killed on the tarmac in August 1983. It had previously been known as Manila International Airport. NAIA served over 48 million people in 2019, with some 42 passenger airlines operating at the airport, an airport representative told Insider.

For years, NAIA ranked consistently among the worst airports in the world. It was named the world's worst airport from 2011 to 2013 by widely cited travel website Guide to Sleeping in Airports, which wrote that NAIA is "large and frustrating," and advised travelers to "expect to wait in numerous long lines as you make your way to your flight."

In early 2016, the airport had a 40% on-time performance OTP, according to a report by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

NAIA has since worked to clean up its image. It's undergone a series of upgrades and renovations, and in September 2019, it recorded an 83% OTP from national carriers.

"Despite challenges, setbacks, and criticisms, it is undeniable that the country's main gateway – the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) – has come a long way from where it was before," the MIAA said in a May 2022 statement seen by Insider. The authority added that it aims to give passengers a "safe, reliable, convenient, and comfortable travel."

Even so, NAIA currently has a 3/10 rating on UK-based airline- and airport-customer review site Skytrax from over 360 reviews. Skytrax describes the airport as "congested" with "excessive" immigration and security queues.

"The floors in the transit waiting area looked like they hadn't been mopped or cleaned in days,"a South Korean passenger wrote on Skytrax in March 2020. "By far the worst airport in Asia I have been to," she added.

I've been flying in and out of NAIA since I was a child, and I remember how chaotic my experiences at the airport were in the mid and late 2000s.Terminal 2 at NAIA.

Curious to experience it now, as an adult, I recently booked a business class flight from Manila to Singapore via the country's national carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL).

I spent around 1,600 Singapore dollars (around $1,152) for a return ticket. In comparison, a return economy ticket cost around S$650 ($470). The flight from Manila to Singapore takes around three-and-a-half hours.

It took about 40 minutes to drive to NAIA's Terminal 2 from Makati, the country's financial and economic center. There was minimal traffic and the initial security checks were a breeze. 

Terminal 2 is exclusive to PAL international and domestic flights.

It didn't take long before I encountered the first problem: I tried to check in via the business class counter, but there was nobody there.The business class counter at Philippine Airlines.

There were several economy class counters. Snaking queues led up to them.

There was only one counter allocated for business class. It had a red carpet laid out in front of it, but there was no one manning the counter. When I asked another staff member for help, he told me to check in via economy.

I waited for staff to show up at the counter for 15 minutes, and when nobody did, I joined the long line at economy.The economy counters at Philippine Airlines.

The economy counter was fully staffed and the line was surprisingly speedy. 

The staff members were efficient: After checking my passport, travel details, and vaccination certificates, I was told to make my way through immigration. 

But the security ended up stopping me as I was missing a departure card. I had to double back and request one from the ticketing counter.

After filling out the form, I made my way through immigration and security, which took less than 10 minutes. I spotted the Mabuhay Lounge, PAL's business class lounge, at the corner of the terminal.The Mabuhay Lounge.

The lounge was spacious and had simple furnishings. There were fewer than five people at the lounge, which meant that service was prompt and attentive. 

I took a seat near the bar, where I perused the menu. Unlike other lounges that serve food buffet-style, Mabuhay Lounge offers unlimited a la carte orders. It had Asian, Western, and Filipino fare.

The food was made to order, and it was delicious.Food at the Mabuhay Lounge.

I had the fish sisig, which is a sizzling hot plate dish, a chicken kebab, and toast. The sisig was one of the best I've ever had — it tasted better than many of the Filipino restaurants I've dined at. I topped off my order with Japanese potstickers and a muffin, which were also delicious. 

The bar had a dedicated staff member who was mixing drinks on demand. The lounge's margarita and long island iced tea were on par with drinks from some of my favorite bars. 

My flight ended up being delayed by 40 minutes. I didn't even mind, because the lounge was so comfortable.

When I made my way to the gate, I found a chaotic scene and long lines of people behind the counters.The gates at NAIA Terminal 2.

I took a seat outside the airport's dedicated vape room. In around 20 minutes, boarding began and, as always, business class passengers were the first to be called. The experience was efficient and hassle-free.

The airport might have a ways to go before it can fully shed its negative reputation, but it's come a long way since it was crowned the worst airport in the world.Business class in Philippine Airlines.

While my flight was delayed, I found the airport's immigration and security queues efficient. The business class lounge had decent amenities and great service. The lounge was quiet, and it felt like the perfect place to relax in the midst of a busy airport.

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