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In July, workers got another raise — but some benefited more than others

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:41pm  |  Clusterstock
A now hiring sign at McDonald's restaurant in Yorba Linda, CA, on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 offering pay from $15 an hour for new employees.
  • Average hourly earnings rose 15 cents from June to July, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • That means wages grew 5.2% year over year, same as the year-over-year growth in June.
  • Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao said "wage growth is still very hot" and "spread out to more industries."

Workers got a big raise in July — and they made even more in June than it originally seemed.

That's according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the country's employment situation, which found that average hourly earnings increased by 15 cents in July, after increasing by 14 cents in June.

"Wage growth is still very hot," Daniel Zhao, lead economist at Glassdoor, told Insider, with average earnings standing at $32.27 an hour in July. 

Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed Hiring Lab told Insider that "nominal wage growth is still quite strong," adding that "there's some thought that maybe it might decelerate a little bit, but we haven't seen that yet."

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Year-over-year average wage growth for private employees was 5.2% in both June and July. As seen in the chart, year-over-year wage growth has been strong in general in recent months.

"American workers haven't seen wage growth like this in well over a decade, maybe a couple decades," Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh told Insider. "So, at the end of the day, workers making more money is good for them."

But that doesn't mean workers are feeling their wallets growing, with inflationary pressures "not letting workers see those benefits right now," Walsh said. Inflation has run even hotter than wage growth this year, and after accounting for soaring prices, most workers have seen their purchasing power decline.

"We just need to continue to do everything we can to bring down those inflationary costs that people are experiencing," Walsh said. 

Wage growth varies by industry, where some saw year-over-year growth in July of over 5%, such as in construction and utilities.

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Leisure and hospitality, an industry that is still making its way back to pre-pandemic employment levels, saw wage growth of 8.7% year-over-year in July. Education and health services also saw strong year-over-year wage growth of 6.0%.

"We are seeing wage growth spread out to more industries, which raises more concern about inflation," Zhao said. As of June, inflation was at its highest point since November 1981 at 9.1%. 

But not all sectors are seeing the same pace of wage growth. Bunker wrote on Twitter — accompanying a chart that looks at just earnings of production workers using three-month annualized data — that "the slowdown in wage gains for lower-wage industries continues." Lower-wage industries would include those that make up leisure and hospitality, for instance.

"I think what we're seeing in aggregate is that lower-wage sectors are cooling," Bunker told Insider. "It's coming down from really, really, really elevated levels of wage growth at the end of last year."

Friday's jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a robust monthly gain in jobs and a downtick in the unemployment rate from 3.6% to 3.5%. The US added 528,000 nonfarm payrolls in July, surpassing the 250,000 gain that economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated.

Additionally, according to Zhao, the Fed may have liked to actually see wage growth drop as the central bank continues its battle against inflation instead of the rise that happened in July.

"I think, especially from the Fed's perspective, the Fed would love to see the opposite of what we got in today's report," Zhao said. "They would want to see rising labor force participation and falling wage growth. But instead of course we got flat wage growth and falling labor force participation."

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India's financial regulator raids director of Binance-owned crypto exchange and freezes funds over potential fraud and money-laundering

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:32pm  |  Clusterstock
  • India's Enforcement Directorate raided properties associated with a director of WazirX, a crypto exchange owned by Binance.
  • The exchange is accused of helping 16 fintech firms launder money through crypto transactions.
  • Authorities froze $8.16 million of the exchange's funds, according to Reuters

India's Enforcement Directorate (ED), the nation's financial regulator, raided properties associated with a director of Binance-owned crypto exchange WazirX, alleging the company assisted in fraud and money laundering. 

WazirX is India's largest crypto exchange and was acquired by Binance in 2019. Regulators have conducted a search of properties related to Sameer Mhatre, a director at WazirX, and have now frozen $8.16 million of the exchange's funds, according to Reuters

Scrutiny over WazirX comes amid a crackdown on India's fintech scene, with ongoing investigations in companies that use "predatory lending practices," the ED said in a statement on Friday. Currently, regulators have identified 16 Indian-based fintech firms they suspect of purchasing crypto assets to launder their money overseas.

When WazirX was asked about the activity, regulators said the crypto exchange was uncooperative.

"They are giving contradictory and ambiguous answers to evade oversight by Indian regulatory agencies," the ED said, noting that the exchange failed to give information on relevant transactions to regulators when asked on multiple occasions. 

The company also claimed that they didn't even record details of funds that flowed into the exchange until July 2020, regulators said, adding that the "non-cooperative stand" of Mhatre led them to search his related properties.

It's not the first time WazirX has been accused wrongdoing. Last year, the ED found that the exchange laundered 570 million rupees by converting them into cryptocurrencies on Binance, according to Reuters

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With Biden's agenda showing sudden signs of life, Democrats are able to dream again

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:30pm  |  Clusterstock
President Joe Biden, center, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol on January 6, 2022 in Washington, DC.
  • Just a few weeks ago, Democrats' agenda had pretty much withered away due to inaction.
  • But now legislative and ballot wins have put new winds in the sails of the flailing majority.
  • Even with the latest victories, Democrats face an uphill battle ahead of the midterms.

It was only weeks ago that it seemed Democrats were destined to leave most of their domestic priorities behind in the face of internal party splits and fierce GOP resistance.

Then came a deal that caught most of Congress flat-footed: a surprise, 725-page bill from key centrist Sen. Joe Manchin aimed at reining in prescription drug prices, extending financial assistance for Obamacare, and establishing over $300 billion in clean-energy tax credits amounting to the largest climate package in US history.

It marks a turning point for Democrats after multiple failures and puts some wind behind the party's back ahead of midterm elections.

"A lot of people have been critical of the president in the last year and a half — in particular the last eight months, talking about his administration," Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh told Insider. "If you take President Biden's first year and a half, will be two years within the year, and look what he's accomplished, he's accomplished as much as any, or if not more, than most administrations ever to hold that office."

However, even as Democrats are on the verge of approving their biggest domestic victory yet, the party still faces an uphill battle to keep control of Congress in the November midterms. With many young voters and progressive lawmakers disillusioned with Biden's pared-back bill and inaction, what Democrats do next may help to decide whether voters struggling with rising prices rethink the first two years of President Joe Biden's presidency.

Democrats had been losing — now they're notching victories

After the March 2021 passage of the American Rescue Plan, which sent out new stimulus checks (and continues to put direct deposits into some Americans' bank accounts), extended unemployment benefits, and turned the child tax credit into a more generous monthly check for parents, the Biden administration was riding high.

But the Build Back Better package was meant to be a follow up that never came. Since then, inflation has soared, Russia started a war in Ukraine, and the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, erasing the constitutional right to an abortion. It all seemed to spell bad news for Democrats, who saw their already-slim chances of midterm victory sinking.

In July, Biden saw his agenda blown up for the second time. Climate spending was out. Tax hikes were out. 

It seemed like yet another nail in the coffin for what began as an ambitious list of priorities that would rewrite America's social safety net. When it was promptly struck down, confidence in Congress, Democrats, and Biden himself dwindled. 

Then came the deal

It seemed like almost an uncharacteristically strategic maneuver by the traditionally reticent Democrats: Manchin, a West Virginia centrist who had already killed Democrats' proposed spending packages twice, had crafted the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

That deal came on the heels of a bipartisan package to revive America's physical infrastructure, and the also-bipartisan passage of CHIPS, a package meant to bulk up the US's semiconductor industry and stoke competition with China. The timing of Schumer and Manchin's deal — notably after those legislative victories — meant that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had lost his bargaining power.

Republicans turned then to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who had previously torpedoed Democrats' spending ambitions by pushing back on any tax hikes. As expected, she excised a tax targeting wealthy investors — but then signed on to the rest of the package.

It amounts to legislative whiplash, with Sinema suddenly holding the defibrillators for the once-dead Biden agenda. She might just shock it back to life — along with Democrats' still-slim chances of a midterm victory.

There are wins on the ballot, too

At the same time, voters are pushing back against GOP priorities at the ballot box. In Kansas, voters were presented with a referendum that would've gotten rid of the right to abortion in the state. 

The red state not only overwhelmingly voted no, but voter turnout surged — a potentially bad sign for Republicans who were banking on disappointed voters not to turn out for Democrats, as Insider's Grace Panetta reports.

The voters who did show up to shoot down that referendum weren't necessarily Democrats. Of the 19 counties that voted down the referendum, 14 voted for Trump in 2020

Democrats are taking it as a positive sign, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying it shows "winds blowing" in the direction of Democrats. Meanwhile, political consultants are scrambling to figure out what, exactly, this could mean going forward.

If Schumer is right — especially as the Biden agenda sees a remarkable turnaround — it might mean winds blowing just a bit more towards the flailing Democrats.

But the odds still aren't in Democrats' favor

When Manchin went back to revive Democrats' spending package, he had the looming midterms in mind.

Right now, Democrats' razor-thin majority in the Senate makes Manchin and Sinema's votes extra consequential. But the possibility of a continued Democratic Congress is still slipping away rapidly in the upcoming midterm elections.

The Inflation Reduction Act is, as the name suggests, aimed at reducing inflation. But that doesn't mean it will bring down prices immediately. Sky-high inflation is a bad sign for Democrats, since consumers have less disposable income — which Goldman Sachs analysts have said is the "strongest predictor of midterm election results." 

Polling also looks bleak for the Democrats, with Republicans still favored to win the House

The new package also moves away from progressive priorities like affordable child care, paid leave, and a higher minimum wage, showing that Biden still needs to acquiesce to the more conservative parts of his party if he wants to pass anything for the time being. That could be a roadblock for the young voters who turned out in spades in 2020 — and won the whole thing for Biden — but find themselves disillusioned with how much Democrats' priorities have been pared back. 

And, of course, this all still hinges on the big if: Democrats passing the package. The countdown clock is looming with a final passage expected in days.

"Now, obviously, the election season's coming up," Walsh said. Republicans are going to pick on inflation being high, he said.

He concluded: "What they can't ignore is that American workers are making more money. More American workers are back to work. And we have industries, quite honestly, that were lost under Republican administrations that are going to come back under President Biden's administration."

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Mystery wreckage in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines is probably fallen Chinese rocket parts, space-debris experts say

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:12pm  |  Clusterstock
Debris suspected to be from a Chinese rocket booster in Sepupok, Malaysia.

Mysterious large pieces of wreckage were discovered across Southeast Asia over the weekend, and evidence is growing that they came from a Chinese rocket booster that fell to Earth uncontrolled.

The booster of China's 25-ton Long March 5B rocket pushed a new segment of the country's space station into orbit in late July. Then, instead of pushing itself into the Pacific Ocean — a standard practice called controlled reentry — the booster entered Earth's orbit and slowly lost altitude over the course of a week, ensuring that it would fall randomly in an unpredictable location.

On Saturday, the booster succumbed to gravity and fell to Earth, breaking apart in the atmosphere. Soon photos of scattered objects that appear to be parts of the rocket emerged from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines — along the path of the booster's uncontrolled fall.

Two people in hazmat suits test for radioactivity on an object believed to be part of the Long March 5B rocket booster, in Sarawak, Malaysia.

Only China can officially confirm that those pieces belong to its rocket booster, but orbital-debris experts say they have no doubt that the mystery objects are chunks of Long March 5B.

"They sure look like rocket parts to me," Ted Muelhaupt, a consultant for the Aerospace Corporation's Chief Engineer's Office, told Insider, adding, "I've got no reason to dispute that it's pieces of this rocket."

There's a roughly 10% chance that debris will hit one or more people within a decade, according to a study published in the journal Nature in July.

Even if they don't strike anybody, pieces of spacecraft that have fallen through the atmosphere are dangerous to approach because rocket fuel can linger on them.

Photos suggest the booster disintegrated piece by piece as it fellA mysterious metal object discovered in Balaikarangan, Indonesia, in a screenshot from local news reports, on July 31, 2022.

In the village of Pengadang, near Balaikarangan, on the Indonesian side of the island of Borneo, locals discovered a large rounded object resembling the Chinese rocket's core stage. The image above comes from Borneo News Network footage.

"There's a picture of the big piece at the end of the fuel tank sitting on a field that's very convincing. It's the right diameter. It looks like a piece that sort of survived reentry — and is right on the path of the reentry," Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and avid tracker of objects in Earth's orbit, told Insider.

A map shows the Long March 5B booster's descent path (orange line) passing over Balaikarangan, where mysterious debris was discovered.

Muelhaupt agreed that object looks like the dome of a fuel tank.

Two smaller pieces of debris were discovered in the small towns of Batu Niah and Sepupok in Sarawak, on the Malaysian side of Borneo, according to the Borneo News Network and The Star, a Malaysian news outlet.

A map shows the Long March 5B booster's descent path (orange line) passing over Batu Niah, where more mysterious debris was discovered.

Photos show "a little piece of metal dug in the ground, which may well be a bit of the rocket, but it's just too hard to tell," McDowell said.

The rocket's launch dropped debris, tooThe Long March 5B rocket, rolling to the launchpad in July, has the same flag and space-agency symbol that photos of debris in the Philippines, circulated on the social media platform Weibo, claim to show.

Images circulated on China's social media platform Weibo claimed to show pieces of the rocket's fairing, which falls away during launch, in the Philippines' Mindoro Strait. The photos, which Insider has not independently verified, show people pulling panels from the water marked with the same Chinese flag and blue space-agency symbol that are on the rocket fairing.

On Wednesday, the Philippine Space Agency released a statement saying the torn metal sheet found by fisherman off the coast of Mamburao was part of the rocket's fairing. The agency also said that parts of the falling booster may have dropped off the coast, in the Sulu Sea.

McDowell and Muelhaupt also said they believe these images show parts of the rocket fairing, dropped during launch.

Fire department workers examine debris suspected to be from a Chinese booster rocket in Sepupok, Malaysia.

Then, when the rocket's booster fell from space, its descent path carried it right over the Mindoro Strait.

"This means we've been hit twice by debris from this launch: at the beginning, and at the end of the rocket's flight," Jay Batongbacal, a professor at the University of the Philippines Institute for the Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea, told Philippine news outlet the Inquirer. "This shows that the risk is higher for us, because we are under the flight path of most Chinese rocket launches," he said.

However, no government agency has reported debris from the uncontrolled fall in the Philippines.

This is the third time China has launched a Long March 5B rocket and allowed its body to fall to Earth uncontrolled. In May 2021, pieces of another Long March 5B landed in the Indian Ocean. And in May of 2020, another launch ended in an uncontrolled fall that dumped debris near two villages in Ivory Coast, leading to reports of property damage.

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John Fetterman returning to the Pennsylvania campaign trail with first rally since stroke in May

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:11pm  |  Clusterstock
John Fetterman speaks with supporters as he arrives for a meet and greet campaign stop at the Interstate Drafthouse in Philadelphia on Sunday, April 3, 2016.
  • Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running for Senate, is holding an Aug. 12 rally in Erie.
  • Fetterman suffered a stroke just before winning the Democratic primary in May.
  • Fetterman is running against Republican Mehmet Oz to replace retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is holding his first rally since suffering a stroke more than two month ago, his campaign announced Friday.

The Democratic nominee for Senate, Fetterman has been sidelined since May as he recovers, limiting himself to a single interview and an appearance before campaign volunteers. The Pennsylvania race is one of the Democrats' best chances to pick up a Senate seat, with recent polls indicating that Fetterman is the current favorite to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

The rally, scheduled for Aug. 12, will take place in Erie.

In a statement on Friday, Fetterman echoed what he said in 2020 about the presidential election: "Whoever wins Erie, wins Pennsylvania." The county, which borders the great lake of the same name, was won by former President Donald Trump in 2016 and President Joe Biden in 2020.

"Erie County is Pennsylvania's most important bellwether county," Fetterman said. "I am honored and proud to be returning to the campaign trail here."

The news comes two days after the campaign of Fetterman's rival, Republican nominee Mehmet Oz, registered a website that attacks the Democrat as a "basement bum," highlighting the fact that he "hasn't attended a public campaign event since May 12th."

Speaking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last month, Fetterman said he's "feeling really good" since the stroke, while acknowledging some lingering difficulty with processing speech. His campaign has said he is expected to fully recover.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Russia is likely risking the safety and security of a nuclear power plant they appear to be using as a shield in Ukraine, UK intel says

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:08pm  |  Clusterstock
Russian military convoy stands on the road toward the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, Sunday, May 1, 2022.
  • Russian forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant seem to be using the facility as a shield.
  • UK intelligence said their actions have put the plant's safety and security in jeopardy. 
  • Ukraine has been reluctant to strike the plant, fearing it could cause a major accident or disaster.

Reckless activity by Russian forces occupying southern Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has put the facility's security and safety in question, UK intelligence suggested on Friday.

"Following five months of occupation, Russia's intentions regarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remain unclear," the UK's defense ministry wrote in an intelligence update. "However, the actions they have undertaken at the facility have likely undermined the security and safety of the plant's normal operations."

UK intelligence suggested that Russian forces are using artillery units in areas adjacent to the plant to attack Ukrainian positions on the other side of the Dnipro River, also called the Dnieper.

President Vladimir Putin's troops have likely used the plant's general area to rest, UK intelligence assessed, while using "the protected status of the nuclear power plant to reduce the risk to their equipment and personnel from overnight Ukrainian attacks."

Russian forces captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — the largest in Europe — in early March, just days after the unprovoked war in Ukraine began. Intense fighting around the plant led to "grave" concerns from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which warned of the increasing potential for a major accident.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is shown in Enerhodar as seen from Nikopol in April 27, 2022.

Experts previously told Insider that the risk for a major disaster at the plant is low, but throwing active conflict into the mix raises the potential for an accident. 

Despite making some limited attempts to gain control over the plant, Ukrainian forces have so far been reluctant to strike the occupying Russian troops because they fear an attack might jeopardize the safety of the nuclear reactors.

"How can we respond?" Ukraine's Col. Serhiy Shatalov asked rhetorically of The New York Times this week. "This is a nuclear site." Commenting on Russian moves to use a nuclear power plant as an artillery position, he said, "don't search for fairness in war, especially if you fight the Russians."

Earlier this week, IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant "is becoming more perilous by the day."

"While this war rages on, inaction is unconscionable," he said. "If an accident occurs at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, we will not have a natural disaster to blame. We will have only ourselves to answer to."

"The people of Zaporizhzhia and people far from Zaporizhzhia are relying on all of us to prevent war from causing a nuclear tragedy that would compound the catastrophe already befalling Ukraine and causing hunger and insecurity beyond its borders," he continued. 

Ukraine and Russia traded blame on Friday for shelling that hit and damaged one of the plant's high-voltage power lines, according to multiple reports, though the plant continues to operate as normal.  

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Walmart is creating mini stores on wheels for a travel company that rents out tiny cabins in remote places— see inside the General Store

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:06pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Walmart partnered with growing hospitality company Getaway to open micro Walmart stores on wheels.
  • The General Store by Walmart will sell items vacationers may have forgotten to pack.
  • The stores will open at five Getaway locations by the end of this year.
Walmart is now downsizing.But to peruse its inventory, you'll have to drive into nature and two hours away from major cities like Los Angeles and New York.The world's largest retailer has partnered with Getaway — a rapidly growing chain of tiny cabin rentals — to open mini Walmart stores on wheels near some of Getaway's locations across the US, the retail giant announced in late July.

Source: Getaway

To pay homage to the partnership, the new "General Store by Walmart" concept will adopt a matte black exterior synonymous with Getaway's Instagrammable cabins.But inside, there will be no television sets or furniture for sale.Instead, think of the Walmart on wheels as a convenience store designed to sell items travelers' may have neglected to pack.Forgot a snack? The General Store by Walmart will have the perfect selection to quell your cravings.Did you remember your food but forget your cast iron skillet to cook campfire meals? The mini Walmart on wheels also has you covered.Inside, the store will also carry hiking equipment, coolers, toiletries, and even cameras.The Walmart on wheels will launch this fall at Getaway Outposts in popular destinations like Big Bear, California, the western Catskills in New York, and the Ozarks in Missouri.The retail giant isn't known for its ventures into the travel industry, but according to Brock Manheim, an associate director at Walmart US, working in the hospitality space allows the brand to associate itself with "meaningful experiences" like vacationing in a Getaway cabin.And there's no better time to partner with Getaway, which exclusively operates in remote locations under a two-hour drive from major cities.A Getaway cabin.Hospitality companies that give city dwellers a place to vacation off-grid and in nature have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years, and Getaway is no exception.

Source: Insider, Yahoo Finance

The company has been seeing "almost unlimited demand," John Staff, its founder and CEO, told Yahoo Finance in early July, with occupancy rates reaching 93% in 2021.

Source: Yahoo Finance, Getaway

And on the heels of this success, Getaway now has plans to launch nine new "Outposts" across the US by the end of 2022, growing its portfolio to over 28 locations and 1,000 cabins.

Source: Getaway

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Amazon's $1.7 billion purchase of the company behind the Roomba shows it's leaning into home robots after its first experiment, Astro, was met with mixed reviews

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 1:05pm  |  Clusterstock
The Roomba, made by iRobot, has been on the market since 2002.
  • Amazon will buy Roomba-maker iRobot for $61 per share, or about $1.7 billion. 
  • Roomba saw a pandemic-era boom, but revenue has dropped 30% since last year.
  • The deal signals Amazon's commitment to robotics following the launch of its home robot last year.

Amazon is making a big bet on robots with its latest acquisition. 

The e-commerce giant announced Friday that it's buying iRobot — the company behind Roomba — in an all-cash deal valued at roughly $1.7 billion. It's Amazon's fourth-largest deal following its $4 billion acquisition of healthcare provider One Medical last month. 

The acquisition marks a major coup for iRobot: Shares of the company closed around $50 on Thursday and Amazon will pay $61 per share, a 22% markup. 

Roomba got a pandemic boost as more people spending time at home equated to a rise in robotic vacuum sales. But supply-chain challenges and a drop in orders in recent months have taken a toll on iRobot's bottom line: In its second quarter earnings, posted Friday, the company reported a 30% decline in revenue compared to 2021. 

In an effort to cut costs, iRobot said Friday it will lay off 140 employees, or about 10% of its workforce.

While Amazon may be getting a deal on iRobot, it's gaining a popular home device and a wealth of in-home data collected over two decades. It's a signal that Amazon is committed to robotics, despite mixed reviews for its own home robot, Astro. 

Amazon has big plans for its little robotAmazon unveiled Astro, an autonomous home robot, in September 2021.

When Amazon unveiled Astro in September 2021, it was billed as a home security companion that could autonomously navigate your house.

But even Amazon insiders were divided over the $1,450 robot's viability: Some employees told Insider at the time that Astro could eventually have the same mainstream success as the Amazon Echo, while others predicted it would fail spectacularly. 

Early reviews of Astro — which is still available by invitation-only — highlighted the robot's ability to learn its way around your space and keep an eye on your home, but noted that the robot mostly just got underfoot and wasn't worth the steep price tag.

The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern noted, perhaps prophetically, that Astro would be more helpful if it could also vacuum while it scoots around the house. 

Indeed, even before Astro was unveiled, Amazon had big plans for its little robot. One employee told Insider last September that the long-term goal for Astro is to make it "the ultimate personal assistant" that could carry things and complete household chores, like vacuuming.

The ambitious goals for Astro may stem, in part, from the high stakes attached: Astro was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' passion project, and he was closely involved in the development of the robot before he stepped down as CEO.

(In fact, Bezos' own kids seemingly predicted the marriage of Amazon and iRobot back in 2018, when they built their own home robot by taping together an Echo and Roomba.)

A post shared by Jeff Bezos (@jeffbezos)

By buying iRobot, Amazon is gaining more than just another device to add to its robotics portfolio. Roomba has been on the market since 2002, which means that not only has iRobot had a 20-year head-start on home mapping and navigation, it also has two decades worth of customer data that could be highly valuable to Amazon's smart home objectives. (An Amazon spokesperson told Insider that protecting customer data is "incredibly important" to the company.)

Now that the Roomba is under the Amazon umbrella, some of those ambitions could take shape.

Ken Washington, who leads the Astro team as Amazon's vice president of consumer robotics, told GeekWire in an interview last month that the company is at the "beginning of the journey" when it comes to home robotics.

"Astro is our first consumer home robot," he said. "It's not going to be our last."

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HBO Max is merging with Discovery Plus in 2023 — here's a breakdown of what the service offers now and what you can expect

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:52pm  |  Clusterstock

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  • HBO Max costs $15/month without ads or $10/month with ads.
  • The service offers everything on HBO's cable channel, plus exclusive shows and additional films.
  • HBO Max will be combined with Discovery Plus in summer 2023, but it's not clear if pricing will change.

HBO Max is a streaming service that combines HBO's library of original series with a huge catalog of blockbuster movies and TV shows provided by Warner Bros. Discovery. 

The service costs $15 a month for ad-free streaming, or $10 a month for ad-supported streaming. Most people who already have HBO through cable automatically get access to HBO Max without having to pay extra.

In summer 2023, HBO Max will merge with Discovery Plus to form a new streaming service designed to offer the best of both platforms. It's not yet clear how much the new service will cost or how current subscribers will be transitioned to the combined app. 

In its current form, HBO Max remains one of our favorite streaming services. Its large selection of hit movies and prestige series makes it a strong competitor in the increasingly crowded streaming market. Below, we've detailed all the basics to help you decide if HBO Max is right for your needs, including pricing, content selection, and what the Discovery Plus merger could mean for members.

How can I sign up for HBO Max?Zendaya as Chani in "Dune."

You can sign up for HBO Max through HBOMax.com. You can also subscribe directly through select partner services, including AT&T, DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, Spectrum, Hulu, and YouTube TV.

If you pay for HBO with your cable package, you likely already have access to HBO Max as part of your subscription. You can view a full list of qualifying HBO Max providers here.

How much is HBO Max?

HBO Max costs $15 a month for ad-free streaming or $10 a month for ad-supported streaming. Subscribers can save 16% by signing up for an annual subscription to either plan. An annual ad-free plan is $150 a year, and an annual ad-supported plan is $100 a year.

HBO Max's ad-supported plan includes nearly everything you can watch with the more expensive ad-free plan. That said, the cheaper plan lacks the option to download content to view offline, and streaming is limited to HD quality rather than 4K. 

As mentioned above, most people who already subscribe to HBO are eligible to receive ad-free HBO Max at no extra cost.

Does HBO Max offer a free trial?

Though HBO Max initially offered a free trial through its site, that promotion is no longer available. HBO Max also used to offer a trial if you signed up as an add-on to Hulu, but this option is no longer provided.

Where can I watch HBO Max?

HBO Max can be streamed via its official website and the HBO Max app. You can find the app on Apple, Android, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and LG and Samsung smart TVs.

Those who sign up for HBO Max directly though a partnered service, like Hulu, will be able to access regular HBO content through the partner service's app. To watch HBO Max exclusives, however, you need to use the separate HBO Max app.

Is HBO Max merging with Discovery Plus?

Warner Bros. Discovery has announced plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery Plus into one streaming service. The company confirmed the news during its Q2 earnings call on August 4. The new platform doesn't have a name yet, but it's set to launch in summer 2023.

The combined HBO Max and Discovery Plus service is expected to offer ad-supported and ad-free plans, but pricing has not been announced. It's also not clear how existing HBO Max or Discovery Plus subscribers will be transitioned to the new platform.

Discovery Plus currently costs $5/month with ads or $7/month without ads. The service offers shows from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, and HGTV, along with several new original series.

During its Q2 earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery also outlined how HBO Max and Discovery Plus complement each other by appealing to different demographics. One combined, the new service has the potential to attract a wider range of subscribers by offering all of HBO Max's scripted content and all of Discovery Plus' unscripted titles. 

What movies and shows are on HBO Max?"Our Flag Means Death."

HBO Max features all of HBO's original shows, from "Game of Thrones" and "The Sopranos" to "Succession" and "Euphoria." The library also includes the cable channel's rotating lineup of movies. On top of all that, HBO Max offers additional titles from Warner Bros. Discovery's catalog, as well as brand-new originals.

Throughout 2022, Warner Bros. is bringing all of its new theatrical releases to HBO Max after they play on the big screen. New films like "Elvis" are expected to appear on HBO Max after 45 days in theaters. 

HBO Max also features new original series, including popular shows like "The Flight Attendant," "Peacemaker," and "Our Flag Means Death." Check out our full roundup of the best shows on HBO Max for more recommendations.

Beyond original programs, the catalog offers a wide range of TV series from DC, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes. The HBO Max movie catalog also incorporates critically acclaimed films from the Criterion Collection and Studio Ghibli, alongside hundreds of blockbuster Warner Bros. movies. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple reportedly warned suppliers not to use 'made in Taiwan' labels on products to avoid angering China following Nancy Pelosi's visit

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:48pm  |  Clusterstock
Xi Jinping and Tim Cook
  • Apple warned suppliers not to identify Taiwan as an independent country on Friday, Nikkei reported.
  • The announcement came after some Apple components were held for review by Chinese authorities.
  • Earlier this week, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi garnered China's ire for visiting Taiwan.

Apple told suppliers on Friday to avoid labeling products from Taiwan as "made in Taiwan," according to a report from Nikkei.

The tech company told its suppliers that products or parts made in Taiwan must be identified as made either in "Taiwan, China" or "Chinese Taipei" to avoid indicating that the island is independent of China, the Japanese business news outlet said.

According to Nikkei, Apple made the decision in order to avoid possible supply chain disruptions from Chinese scrutiny over the labels, especially as the company prepares to receive components from Taiwan that will be used for new products slated to launch later this year.

Some iPhone components were held for review on Thursday to see whether the shipments were labeled to China's satisfaction, Nikkei reported. 

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment ahead of publication.

Apple's warning comes only a few days after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Taiwan in a visit that prompted a strong reaction from China. The nation has claimed Taiwan as its own for decades, even though China has never controlled the self-governed democratic country.

Pelosi's actions were seen by Beijing as a "major political provocation" and a challenge to China sovereignty, Hua Chunying, China's assistant minister of foreign affairs, said on Twitter. Chinese President Xi Jinping warned ahead of the visit that the Biden administration would get "burned." Beijing also launched a series of military drills around Taiwan in response.

Pelosi has been outspoken in her support of Taiwan's independence.

"We want Taiwan to always have freedom with security and we're not backing away from that," Pelosi said at a press event on Wednesday. 

Apple is particularly reliant on China and Taiwan to provide components for its products. Last year, over a quarter of the company's suppliers were located in China. Much of the company's product is assembled in China, a process that Apple CEO Tim Cook has helped pioneer.

Last year, The Information reported that Cook struck a five-year $275 billion deal with the Chinese government in 2016 in order to ease a regulatory crackdown on its business in Asia. 

Do you work at Apple or have an Apple-related tip? Reach out to the reporter from a non-work email at gkay@insider.com

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to fix an overheating MacBook in 8 ways

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:42pm  |  Clusterstock
Your Mac can overheat if you have too many programs running.
  • To fix a hot MacBook, you can unblock its vents, clean its internals, or avoid working in direct sunlight.
  • You can also try closing browser tabs, minimize multitasking, or checking if the fans are working.
  • Use the Activity Monitor to see apps that are hogging system resources and close them.

Like any laptop, your MacBook is susceptible to overheating. A hot MacBook is not just uncomfortable to work with, but it can reduce your battery's lifespan and possibly even damage other internal components.

Luckily, you can do a few things to cool it down and continue to enjoy using your MacBook.

Why does my Mac get so hot?

There are many things that could be causing your MacBook to overheat. One of the most common reasons is something could be blocking the vents, or that you've placed it near another device that generates heat. 

There could even be a lot of dust build-up causing internal components to heat – dust is a notorious heat trapper.

Quick tip: If you notice your MacBook is running slower than normal, it could also be because it's overheating. There are a couple ways you can troubleshoot a slow Mac and get it running smoothly again.

Another common reason for an overheating MacBook is that the processor is doing too much work. For instance, it could be that you have too many windows, apps, or tabs open (for example, in Google Chrome), or that you're multitasking a lot. 

If your macOS is also outdated, the old software can also put unnecessary strain on the processor, causing it to overheat. It could also be that the Mac's internal cooling fan is malfunctioning.

How to prevent your MacBook from getting too hot

Whatever the reason your MacBook is running hot, there are eight ways that you can troubleshoot it and cool it down.

Don't block the vents

Let's start with the single biggest factor for controlling heat: Don't block the vents. 

It's really easy to accidentally block the vents if you set the MacBook directly in your lap or work in bed, with the laptop sitting on a soft, form-fitting surface. 

If you are blocking the vents, you've trapped hot air inside and stopped circulation, which is the MacBook's primary tool for shedding heat. 

The remedy: Prop the MacBook up on a book, laptop stand, or some other flat surface that provides a clear path for air to pass through the vents.

Clean your MacBook's internals

If there's a downside to the fact that MacBooks tend to live a very long time, it's that there's plenty of time for yours to get caked with dust, which impedes airflow and makes it run hot. 

If your MacBook is more than a couple years old, open it up occasionally and clean out the dust. You'll need a simple Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the bottom panel and gently blow out any built-up dust.

Don't work in direct sunlight

Your MacBook has an ideal range of operating temperatures — Apple recommends a range between 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit

If you work in direct sunlight or in a space that's very hot, it can cause your MacBook to overheat.

Don't open too many browser tabs

This might be surprising — after all, how harmful could it be to have a bunch of tabs open in your web browser? 

It turns out that no matter which browser you use, opening a lot of tabs is a resource-intensive activity. No matter what kind of MacBook you have, try to limit yourself to fewer than a dozen tabs at any given time. 

And if your system is starting to run hot, close any non-essential tabs to take the load off the CPU.

Minimize your multitasking

Similar to managing tabs in your browser, avoid running too many programs at once — especially extremely resource-intensive programs. 

Many users find Adobe Photoshop and iTunes to be a particularly bad combination, for example. If you're using Photoshop (or another graphically intensive app), perhaps use your phone for music.

Check the Activity Monitor for misbehaving apps

Some apps put a significant load on the CPU. Whether that happens ordinarily or the app is misbehaving, the fact remains that it can cause your CPU to run hot, and you can check this in the Activity Monitor. 

1. Open Finder on your Mac.

2. Click Applications.

Click "Applications" in the Finder window.

3. Click Utilities.

4. Click Activity Monitor.

5. Select the CPU tab to see which apps are using a high percentage of the CPU's available resources.

Check the "CPU" tab for apps that are hogging the CPU's resources.

6.  If you see something monopolizing the CPU, and you don't need to use it, close that program.

Quick tip: To close an app from the Activity Monitor, select the app you want to close in the Process Name tab and then click the Stop button – it looks like an X inside an octagon – at the top.

Make sure your fans are working properly

It's possible (however unlikely) that your MacBook's fans have failed. You can find out by running Apple's diagnostic tool built into your Mac.

How to start Apple diagnostics on a MacBook with an Apple silicon (M1) processor:

1. Turn off your MacBook and be sure it's plugged into an outlet.

2. Press and hold the Power button — your MacBook will start up — and release it when you see the startup options screen.

Press and hold the Power button until the startup options screen appears.

3. Hold Command + D and follow the instructions to complete the test.

Perform tests using the diagnostic tools.

Quick tip: You can find a key to all the error codes on Apple's support page.

4. The test results won't be in plain English, but look for any error codes that begin with "PPF" – these refer to fan issues.

5. If you do see a PPF error code, you'll need to get the MacBook serviced. 

How to start Apple diagnostics on a MacBook with an Intel processor:

1. Turn off your MacBook and be sure it's plugged into an outlet.

2. Turn on the laptop and immediately press and hold the D key. Release the key when you see the diagnostic screen appear and follow the directions to complete the test.

2. The test results won't be in plain English, but look for any error codes that begin with "PPF" – these refer to fan issues. You can find a key to all the error codes on Apple's support page.  

4. If you do see a PPF error code, you'll need to get the MacBook serviced.

Keep your MacBook up to date

Finally, this is good advice for any problems or concerns you have with your MacBook: make sure it is up to date with all software and firmware updates installed

You can make sure you are up to date by opening your MacBook's System Preferences and then clicking "Software Update."

Read the original article on Business Insider

5 ways to fix Google Chrome when it's running slow

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:41pm  |  Clusterstock
There are five ways you could troubleshoot Google Chrome if it's running slow.
  • To fix Google Chrome when it's running slow, try clearing its cache or wiping the browser history.
  • You can also try deleting unnecessary extensions or adding extensions that improve performance.
  • If your Chrome browser is outdated, updating it can also help improve performance.

Whether you're using it for work, gaming, or streaming, there's nothing quite as irritating as when a web browser is running slow.

So, imagine the annoyance for Google Chrome users when the browser coveted for its speediness responds frustratingly slow.

Fortunately, there's often an easy fix.

What should you do if Chrome is running slow?

Here are five of the most reliable ways to grease a rusty Chrome browser on your PC or Mac computer.

Clear your cache

Periodically clearing your cache, or temporarily stored internet data, from your Google Chrome browser ensures that it functions efficiently, as an overloaded cache can considerably slog down browsing speeds.

And fortunately, clearing your cache is a quick and easy process that takes seconds to do.

1. Open Chrome on your computer.

2. Click the three vertical dots in the top right corner.

3. Place your mouse pointer on the More tools option in the dropdown menu to reveal more options.

4. Click Clear browsing data in the menu that appears on the left.

5. Tick the checkbox for Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files in the pop-up – if they aren't already checked.

Quick tip: You can click the Time Range dropdown and select the time period you wish to clear the cache, such as Last hour or Last 7 days, if you don't want to clear all of it.

6. Click Clear data.

Wipe your browser historyClick "Clear browsing data."

Similarly, keeping your history clean can help you maintain a solid speed in Chrome.

1. Open Chrome on your PC or Mac.

2. Enter "chrome://history" in the search bar and hit the Enter key on PC or the Return key on Mac.

Quick tip: You can also enter "chrome://history" in the address bar at the top.

3. Click Clear browsing data in the menu on the left.

4. In pop-up, make sure Browsing history is checked. 

5. Click the blue Clear data button.

Delete unneeded extensionsClick the "Remove" button on the unnecessary extension.

From Adblock to Honey, extensions can certainly enhance the browsing experience. However, too many extensions can have the opposite effect and slow down your browser.

Disable extensions when you don't need them, and as Marie Kondo would say, delete the ones that no longer spark joy.

1. Open Chrome on your PC or Mac.

2. Copy and paste "chrome://extensions" into the search bar and hit the Enter key on PC or the Return key on Mac to see and manage your extensions.

Quick tip: You can also enter "chrome://extension" in the address bar at the top.

3. Click Remove on the extension you want to delete. 

Quick tip: You can disable an extension instead of deleting it by clicking the toggle in its bottom right corner so that it turns white.

4. Click the Remove button in the pop-up that appears.

Add download speed extensions

Although some extensions can slow Chrome down, others are specifically aimed at improving your browser's speed.

For example, the OneTab extension converts all of your open tabs into a list, saving space and keeping your computer from running slowly when you have many tabs open. You can simply reopen tabs individually, or all at once, in the list.

For those who have tabs constantly accumulating, extensions can be crucial. These extensions can pause tabs without closing them, freeing up Chrome's bandwidth.

Update ChromeClick the three vertical dots in the top right corner.

One of the best things you can do is to keep Chrome up-to-date.

Chrome will automatically download and install updates for you, but only when it isn't open.

However, you can also update it manually.

1. Open Chrome on your computer.

2. Click the three vertical dots in the top right corner.

3. Look at the top of the dropdown menu, and if you see the Update Google Chrome option, click it.

4. After the update is downloaded and installed, close Chrome and open it again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

9 tips to get verified on TikTok and grow your account

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:39pm  |  Clusterstock
The blue verification check mark is sought after by many TikTok creators who want official recognition.
  • It's difficult to get verified on TikTok since users can't submit a request like they can on other platforms.
  • TikTok chooses who to verify — and it's usually only celebrities, influencers, or brands.
  • When being considered for verification, engagement and authenticity are key factors. 

That blue verification tick next to your name on social media accounts can often feel like a symbol of royalty. 

Something about being verified on social media lends itself to prestige and importance, mostly because verification can play a crucial role in public accountability and attributes an account to being trustworthy.

TikTok has its own verification badge, but unlike other social media platforms, it's not all that easy to come by. Here's what you need to know about getting verified on TikTok. 

Who can be verified on TikTok?

Unlike Twitter and Instagram, which offer an application for verification to those working in certain fields or with a certain level of public recognition, TikTok does not allow users to request to be verified. 

The main requirement for gaining verification is a large following — which celebrities, public personalities, media companies, and well-known brands will typically have.

Ellie Goulding is a famous music artist who has received verification on TikTok.How to get verified on TikTok

To get verified on TikTok, you should be an active user who posts regularly and receives substantial engagement from followers, including likes and comments. 

You should consider these tips to help you get TikTok verification:

  • Gain a large following by consistently posting high-quality, engaging content. 
  • Maintain a steady, daily increase of followers.
  • Consistently go viral.
  • Hop on trends and challenges immediately. 
  • Get media coverage if possible. 
  • Use popular and trending hashtags. 
  • Engage with other users in comments of other verified TikTokers' content. 
  • Follow other users you admire (and hopefully get a follow back!).
  • Apply for verification on other social media platforms and link out to your TikTok account.

Quick tip: You'll also need to ensure you follow the rules on TikTok and don't violate any of the company's guidelines. 

Unfortunately, even if you do meet these requirements, it's not possible to let TikTok know of your wish to receive verification. There is no known set amount of followers that guarantees verification, either. 

The best you can do is follow these guidelines and continue making great, entertaining content — and most importantly, have fun with it.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to see your iPhone call history to view details or delete calls

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:38pm  |  Clusterstock

It's easy to check your call history, view details, and delete calls in the Phone app.
  • To see your call history on iPhone, open the Phone app and check the “Recents” tab.
  • You can also view additional details of a phone call by tapping the info icon next to a phone number.
  • While in the “Recents” tab, you can also delete a single call from the log or all of them at once.

Like most cell phones, your iPhone provides the option to allow its users to keep tabs on their phone call history.

This can be helpful if you forget to save a phone number and you need to check the call history so you can locate the number and add it to your contacts.

You can also check the time and date of the call if you don't quite remember when you called someone — and delete one, more, or all of your calls to hide history or clear space.

Here's how to do it.

How to check call history on your iPhone

1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.

2. Tap on the Recents tab in the bottom menu – it will take you to your recent phone call history.

3. Scroll through your phone calls to review your call history.

How to view call details on your iPhone

1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.

2. Tap the Recents tabs in the bottom menu.

3. Tap the info icon – the lowercase "i" button inside a circle – to the right of an individual call to see more details.

Tap the info icon next to an individual call.

Quick tip: To find out how long the call was on your iPhone, look in the box under the phone number or contact name. 

If you want to save the phone number in your contacts, viewing the individual call through the info icon will provide you with the option to create a new contact, add it to an existing contact, send them a message, block them, and more.

How to delete an individual call on your iPhone

1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.

2. Tap Recents in the bottom menu.

3. Tap Edit in the top right corner of the screen.

Tap "Edit" in the top right corner.

4. Press the red button located on the left side of each phone number in your Recents screen.

Tap the red button next to a phone call.

5. The contact or phone will slide to the left, revealing the Delete button. Tap it.

How to delete all your recent iPhone calls 

1. Open the Phone app on your iPhone.

2. Tap the Recents tab in the bottom menu.

Quick tip: Make sure you've selected the All tab at the top of the screen.

3. Tap Edit in the top right corner of the screen. 

Tap "Edit" in the top right corner.

4. Tap Clear in the top left corner of the screen.

Tap "Clear."

5. Tap Clear All Recents to delete the entire list of recent outgoing and incoming calls will be erased.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The stock market is still searching for a bottom with the Fed 'far from finished' in driving down inflation

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:35pm  |  Clusterstock
Americans have plenty of savings and should keep spending, JPMorgan Asset Management has said.
  • US stocks will likely keep looking for a bottom in the bear market after July's massive job gains, LPL Financial said Friday. 
  • The strong jobs report keeps the Fed on course in fighting inflation with more interest rate hikes. 
  • The US economy added 528,000 jobs in July, well beyond expectations of 250,000 jobs. 

July's blowout US jobs report indicates the Federal Reserve has further to run in raising interest rates to cool inflation, leaving the stock market vulnerable to more losses, LPL Financial said Friday. 

"That the market has enjoyed a strong move off of the June lows has offered hope that the bear market has bottomed, but with the Fed having to continue its fight towards price stability, the bottoming process most likely is not finished," Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL, which has about $1.1 trillion in brokerage and advisory assets. 

Stocks soared in July, in part on the view that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had signaled the central bank had set its sights on pausing rate hikes as the economy slows down. The S&P 500 in July jumped 9.1% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 12.3%, their best monthly gains since November 2020. The economy entered a technical recession in the second quarter. 

Stocks fell during Friday's session after the Labor Department said the US economy added 528,000 nonfarm payrolls in July, far outstripping the 250,000 consensus estimate from Bloomberg. Wage growth — a closely watched gauge of inflation – also climbed. Average hourly earnings climbed by 0.5%, higher than the 0.3% estimate. Wages have increased by 5.2% over the past 12 months

The jobs report indicates the Fed will need to do more to curtail inflation, said Krosby. "With the strength of the labor market, spending power remains intact, and retail sales, while slowing, could pick up steam with gasoline prices continuing to ease, and food prices showing signs of leveling off." 

The Fed has ratcheted up the range of its key borrowing rate from 0% to as high as 2.75% in four interest rate increases this year. Inflation soared to 9.1% in June and the next reading of consumer prices is due August 10. 

"Despite the market's less hawkish interpretation of Fed Chairman Powell's comments at the July Fed meeting press conference, the seemingly orchestrated parade of Fed speakers this week suggests that the Fed's job is still far from finished," said Krosby. 

While the June low in stocks provided an attractive trading bottom, "the market needs to wait for 'the' bottom,' she said. "It's the Bear versus the Fed, and it's never smart to fight the Fed."

Read the original article on Business Insider

A solar-powered Tesla pool just opened at a charging station in Germany so drivers can relax while their cars recharge

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:35pm  |  Clusterstock
The Tesla pool at the Supercharger station in Hilden, Germany.
  • A Supercharger station in Germany just opened a pool for drivers to swim in while their car charges.
  • The pool is run with solar power, and is meant to hold four people at a time.
  • People have to show their Tesla app and that they're charging their Tesla to get entry to the pool.

Tesla owners in Germany now have a place to cool off instead of sitting in their car while it charges.

On August 1, a Tesla pool opened at the Ladepark Kreuz Hilden electric vehicle charging station in Hilden, Germany.

The pool was Tesla's idea, according to the station's owner, Roland Schüren.

"We all are working together, the three partners with Fastned, Tesla, and Seed & Greet, on the beautiness of the site, on the user convenience," Schüren told David Reich, the host of the Tesla Welt Podcast.

According to Schüren, Tesla said it would provide the ground for the pool, the water, and the energy to run it. Reich also said people from Tesla are taking care of security, safety, and even towels, by partnering with a local dry cleaner.

 

The pool, which looks like a large black shipping container, only allows four people inside at one time. However, drivers won't have much time to spend in the pool, considering their car will charge in a few minutes.

A large Tesla logo is printed on the outside of the pool, and black beach balls inside the pool are also printed with the Tesla logo.

"The site is even nicer, it's better, and that's fun to make the business run like this," Schüren said.

To get access to the pool, drivers have to show their Tesla app and that they're charging their Tesla at the Supercharger station.

"I think this is an awesome idea from Tesla," Reich said. "The legacy automakers, they are just finding out that they need a proper, fast charging network, and now this is not enough anymore. If you want to get customers, you also need a super pool."

Reich said the pool is only available at the Hilden station, and is a first test from Tesla.

 

The charging station in Hilden, which opened in 2020, has 40 charging modules, and is one of the largest chargers in Germany, according to David. The station was opened in a partnership between Tesla, Seed & Greet, and Dutch electric vehicle charging station company Fastned. The station has a solar roof, and the Fastned chargers are powered by sun and wind energy.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Live updates: The blockbuster July jobs report throws cold water on the recession debate

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:20pm  |  Clusterstock
People walk past a &quotnow hiring&quot sign posted outside of a restaurant in Arlington, Virginia on June 3, 2022.In July, workers got another raise — but some benefited more than others

Average hourly earnings rose 15 cents from June to July, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means wages grew 5.2% year over year, same as the year-over-year growth in June.

Glassdoor economist Daniel Zhao said "wage growth is still very hot" and "spread out to more industries."


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The US has now regained all the jobs it lost in the pandemic

The US has recouped all of the jobs it lost during the coronavirus recession. The rebound took 29 months, nearly three times faster than the recovery from the Great Recession. Unemployment also sits at the same 3.5% rate the US boasted in early 2020.


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Why stocks could be doomed to fall another 13% after the red-hot jobs report

The stock market is poised to hit new lows later this year following July's hot job report, Bank of America said in a Friday note. The firm says that's because inflation is likely to linger and the Fed will be forced to continue tightening financial conditions.

"Still think end-game SPX is [below] 3,600," BofA said, which represents 13% downside potential.

US stocks fall after strong July employment report puts pressure on Fed to keep the pace of rate hikes

Strong US employment gains will keep pressure on the Fed to continue with its interest rate hikes. Major US indexes saw moderate declines as investors digested the data.

Also putting pressure on stocks was the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act, which seems to now have full support of all 50 Senate Democrats needed to pass the reconciliation bill.


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The US added 528,000 jobs in July, showing a booming labor market despite recession fears

The US added 528,000 jobs in July, exceeding the median estimate of 250,000 new payrolls. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, landing below the 3.6% forecast.

The report shows job creation rebounding despite rising interest rates and slower growth.


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Wall Street is making big bets that the Fed will cut interest rates next year and boost stocks. But they could be in for a rude awakening.

Wall Street and the Fed are at an impasse, and the solution will almost surely hurt investors.

Stocks recently surged on hopes that the central bank will start cutting rates in 2023. But Fed officials have clarified that the hiking cycle is far from over.


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Inflation hurts, but we're in real trouble when people can't get a job

Joblessness, not inflation, is the biggest threat to the economy, some experts say. 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has frequently pointed to the labor market's strength as a sign that the economy can shoulder the burden of higher rates, but the central bank is walking a tightrope in its fight against inflation. The odds of a recession are rising among many Wall Street analysts. 


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Workers aren't acting like we're in a recession. More than 4 million quit their jobs in June.

Americans still aren't staying in their jobs, even as fears of a recession settle over the economy. 

In June, 4.2 million people quit their jobs, according to new data out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At the same time, hiring wasn't slowing down: 6.4 million Americans were hired in June, and the layoff rate stayed low at 0.9%. That means that, even as some do see layoffs and hiring slowdowns, workers for the most part aren't worried about walking away from their jobs.


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It's the beginning of the end of the labor shortage

Job openings tumbled to 10.7 million from 11.3 million in June, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data published Tuesday morning.That's below median estimates of 11 million. 

The data hints that the labor shortage may be waning, as the number of unemployed Americans per job opening climbed to 0.6 in June from 0.5.


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The US could be heading for a recession. That's great news for stocks.

The economy is shrinking, and Americans increasingly fear a recession is either on the horizon or already here. Yet the stock market is positively thriving.

The S&P 500 was up over 9% in July, staging its biggest one-month rally since 2020. Investors are trying to regain its footing after a brutal first half of the year, but economists stress that the market is not the economy and warn that data still shows an uncomfortably high likelihood of a recession.


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Read the original article on Business Insider

I fled Ukraine but felt shame for leaving. Therapists taught me feeling guilt doesn't mean you're guilty.

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:08pm  |  Clusterstock
  • I'm a Ukrainian refugee who fled to Switzerland to escape the war. 
  • Like millions of others, I feel guilty for leaving my country while so many people continue to suffer.
  • It's called "survivor's guilt," and I spoke with experts about how to manage it. 

It was a day full of sunshine, blooming aroma and romantic vibes all around. As I rode a bicycle between lovely houses somewhere in Switzerland and enjoyed the fresh air, I briefly forgot why I was here. My heart filled with something close to happiness. 

But out of nowhere I heard this judgmental voice in my head, reminding me what I left behind when I fled my home in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. The voice usually arises at midnight and brings me a portion of embarrassment and guilt. 

"How dare you feel happy while kids and civilians in your homeland are killed by Russian weapons and shellings?" it asked. I'd escaped. They hadn't.

I didn't have an answer for that voice, but my innocent bike ride immediately turned into an unjustified crime. 

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way; there are millions of others just like me

Some of us are ashamed to post pictures and look beautiful, while the others blame themselves for smiling and being alive. 

But why?

In Ukraine, this war is happening not only on the frontline; it's also raging inside us. Instead of enemy bullets and rocket missiles — or in addition to them — we have complicated feelings of remorse and survivor's guilt.

Survivor's guilt isn't new 

War and displacement often trigger such a reaction. Holocaust survivors felt it; when they escaped the Nazis' terror regime, they tended to question themselves about what they did, avoided doing, should have done differently.

I fled from the war on one of the very first days, so I didn't experience the trauma and terror people have since, That made me wonder: Why am I among the guilt's targets? 

I asked experts to find out.

Illia Poludonnyi, Ukrainian psychotherapist and cofounder of treatfield.com, concludes based on his own observations that the guilt Ukrainians face today is closely related to the question of identity.

"Guilt comes to those who feel oneness with the bigger group they belong to," he told me. "In this case, we are talking about the whole nation, which is going through difficulties. On the one hand, when Ukrainians flee abroad, they don't forget the context of their previous life, so they can not easily switch and start enjoying coffee with other Europeans.  

"But on the other hand, when they find themselves in a new environment, they naturally want to interact with it. And that's how they get a conflict between identity that constantly reminds them about the pain of their nation, and the people around who jauntily eat their morning croissants."

Swiss ACT therapist Jan Martz — who along with his family kindly let me and two more Ukrainian refugees to stay in his accommodations — says that guilt is often about things you haven't done that you think you could do. The action of leaving a dangerous place, while people you love or feel connected to are still there, may feel wrong. But Martz said the fact it feels wrong doesn't mean it is wrong.

Feeling guilt doesn't mean you are guilty

Of course, I understand that it's not my fault that Russia invaded my nation — and that I was too scared to not flee to my parents' place in Poland, and that the air sirens still don't allow Ukrainians to live without fear, so I chose to go to University of Zurich instead of returning to Kyiv. But even with all of those things, I still can't find a proper excuse for my actions. 

"So how can I escape this feeling?" I asked Martz after my guilt-filled  bike ride.

"When you are in danger, fleeing is the right thing to do," he said, "But running from the feeling you get afterwards doesn't make sense. Just accept it and be with it. The thing you can do which is not the same as escaping guilt is practicing to not blame yourself. This story which led to you sitting here now is a long story with many aspects and chapters most of which you haven't chosen. So it would be nice to stop blaming yourself, accept that the feeling of guilt probably won't go right after that and do the next thing you find brave, interesting or helpful for your country."

Poludonnyi also thinks running away from guilt isn't an option.

Sometimes guilt can have useful functions

"As long as this war continues and as long as we feel Ukrainian or experience our identity, we will feel guilty for something we have or haven't done," Poludonnyi said. "This helps to form the impact of an effective rear. Efficiency, which is often associated with stabilization, always wins. You can't help but feel guilty because of the strong ties you have with the group that is currently experiencing terrors. But being safe, you can afford to sleep, eat, stabilize, and start supporting the war efforts that Ukraine needs for the victory."

Martz agreed that feeling of guilt can motivate us to do something good according to our moral compass.

"But you don't have to feel guilty to help Ukraine," he said. "It is great to act not just because of a difficult feeling you want to overcome, but because of the bright vision of the future you have."

Martz finished our conversation with a beautiful quote I will never forget: "Guilt is something toward the past, but it's always better to look forward."

These words made me get back on my bicycle — not only to enjoy the ride, but to gather my thoughts on how to remind this world about my nation's pain and bravery.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hollywood workers: Tell us what you earn and how you budget as Insider reports on workplace culture in the entertainment industry

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:00pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Insider is assembling salary diaries that reveal the challenges Hollywood workers face in making ends meet.
  • Income inequality and workplace fairness are concerns in entertainment, and we want to hear from you.
  • Respondents will be kept anonymous, due to the sensitive nature of the topic.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The entertainment industry has a reputation for glitz and glamour, but the star-studded movies that make it to the big screen are built on the backs of thousands of crew members, support staffers, pre- and post-production workers who toil away — often for a fraction of the paycheck of the A-listers headlining a project. 

And for every TV showrunner or movie star, there are legions of actors and writers and directors who grind for years in the hopes of getting their big break. 

Movements like #PayUpHollywood and #IALivingWage have shone a light on the community of assistants and IATSE members, respectively, who often live paycheck to paycheck in expensive cities like Los Angeles and New York. And as Insider has reported, the COVID-19 pandemic left many workers wondering if they are a "lost generation" of future showrunners and execs whose careers may remain stalled indefinitely. 

The pandemic has additionally compounded the usual work stresses for young Gen Z and millennial staffers in Hollywood, prompting some to reevaluate the way they view work in relation to their mental health.

Meanwhile, life as a studio exec is increasingly volatile, amid M&A that has brought together massive companies such as WarnerMedia and Discovery (now named Warner Bros. Discovery), Viacom and CBS (now Paramount Global), and Disney and Fox, leading to waves of corporate layoffs. Netflix, which can pay VP-level execs as much as $2.5 million and director-level execs as much as $1.5 million a year, has been one of the most generous employers in the industry. But an uncertain streaming market this year has meant that even those in the upper echelons are not always on solid ground.

In examining workplace issues and income inequality in Hollywood, Insider's Los Angeles bureau wants to hear from you, whether you're a writer, producer, actor, director, assistant, agent, composer, gaffer, makeup artist, studio exec, or an assistant or apprentice to any of the above.

We're putting together salary diaries that reveal the challenges Hollywood dreamers and strivers face in making ends meet, including the money hacks and occasional perks that help along the way. For a look at what an Insider salary diary highlights, check out our DC bureau's coverage of congressional staffer pay on Capitol Hill

What we're looking for: A salary diary that breaks down your income and monthly expenses, in addition to your thoughts on pay satisfaction and your career trajectory in the entertainment industry so far. 

Email us at elow@insider.com with the subject line "Hollywood Salary Diary" if you're interested in participating. We'll contact you from there to send you a template so you can start tracking your salary and budget. We'd like to learn more about how much you pay for rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, professional clothes, student loans, work events, and more. 

Due to the sensitivity of the matter, Insider will not disclose your name, employer, or other identifying information in our coverage. We will ask for documentation of certain items during the fact-checking process, but will never publish or disclose those documents without your explicit permission.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The dollar's dominance is not part of a currency war and its strengthening is critical to lowering global inflation, Bank of America says

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:00pm  |  Clusterstock
Dollar vs. Yuan
  • The dollar's massive gains against other currencies this year isn't part of a "currency war," Bank of America said.
  • "The US is the epicenter of the global inflation problem," the bank said.
  • Dollar dominance does have consequences though, and it's already lowered the global growth outlook.

The dollar has risen sharply in 2022, but its strength shouldn't be looked at in the context of global currency wars, and the rise of the greenback is an important part of the global inflation fight, Bank of America analysts said this week. 

The US Dollar Index, which pegs the dollar against a basket of foreign currencies, surged 11% from the beginning of the year, as the Federal Reserve in March began hiking rates for the first time since 2018.

The rate hikes are an attempt by the central bank to tame skyrocketing inflation, but the impact on other countries ability to pay for US goods means that the world is in the midst of a "reverse currency war", the bank said. The situation is the opposite of what many countries have accused each other of in manipulating their currencies to be cheaper in order to draw money to their economies. The US dollar and the Japanese yen in particular have been targets for these criticisms since the early 2010s, the BofA analysts note. 

"We have always believed that 'currency war' greatly oversimplifies not only the intent of monetary policy, but also the mechanism by which one country's monetary policy impacts its trading partners," Bank of America global economist Ethan Harris said in a note on Friday.

Global central banks' inflation struggles this year has meant that the world may be involved in a "joint exercise" in controlling money supply through rate hikes. It also means that central banks are now actually competing to have the strongest currency, shifting inflation pressures around the world. 

But Bank of America believes the dollar's rise is necessary to rein in inflation. As the center of the global inflation problem, the dollar's strength will therefore also be key to tackling the problem on a global scale, the analysts said. 

"In many ways, the US is the epicenter of the global inflation problem ... Getting the US consumer and labor markets back into equilibrium is central to lowering global inflation."

They added that the Federal Reserve has been more aggressive in its rate hikes than other central banks because the US was "late" in addressing runaway inflation, which economists began flagging as a problem in 2021.

Harris admitted though that dollar dominance still had consequences on the foreign exchange market. In particular, it can hurt small and open economies, as those are more likely to have their currency depreciate relative to the dollar, making it harder for them to maintain their purchasing power in the global economy. And it can especially hurt commodity importers, as commodities are often priced in US Dollars.

That has already led to some harm, Harris noted, and the appreciation of the dollar has led to lower global growth estimates.

But results of the US's inflation fight could soon show results. Though the International Monetary Fund issued an ominous outlook for the global economy, inflation expectations in the US bond market are beginning to ease and stocks rebounded during the month of July as investors anticipate inflation has peaked and the Fed may not have to hike rates as aggressively to rein in prices. 

Read the original article on Business Insider


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