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Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao says 100% of customer assets are fully backed one-to-one, and all withdrawals will be covered: 'We will not have an issue'

Thu, 12/15/2022 - 1:01pm
Changpeng Zhao is the chief executive officer of Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange.
  • Changpeng Zhao says users will have no issue withdrawing funds from the exchange. 
  • The Binance chief executive told CNBC on Thursday that his exchange backs customer assets one-to-one. 
  • CZ added that fractional reserve systems are "not OK."

Changpeng Zhao sought to ease crypto investors' worries about the exchange's liquidity on Thursday by emphasizing Binance's committement to honoring any customer withdrawals. 

The chief executive and founder of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange told CNBC's Squawk Box that all customer assets on the platform are backed one-to-one, either in hard or cold-storage wallets. 

"People can withdraw 100% of the assets they have on Binance . We will not have an issue at any given day," CZ said. He also slammed fractional reserves, adding that it's "not OK" for crypto businesses to operate with only a portion of user funds. 

"In crypto, there's no central bank printing money to bail out banks when there's a liquidity crunch," Zhao said. "Crypto businesses have to hold user assets one-to-one, and that's what we do - it's very simple."

The collapse of FTX and the ensuing criminal probe into founder Sam Bankman-Fried has added a new layer of skepticism to the crypto space and concerns over the safety of customer assets. Earlier this week, the CEO of Binance took to Twitter to shrug off concerns of heavy outflows from the exchange as "business as usual."




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Trump teases 'major announcement' that ended up being 'Donald Trump Digital Trading Card' NFTs

Thu, 12/15/2022 - 12:50pm
US President Donald Trump arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020.
  • Former President Donald Trump teased a major announcement on Wednesday on Truth Social.
  • On Thursday, he revealed it to be the sale of NFT digital trading cards with his image emblazoned on each one.
  • The NFTs aren't owned, managed, or controlled by Trump or the Trump Organization. It's unclear what cut Trump will get from the NFTs, if any.

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday teased a "MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT" on Truth Social, saying, "America needs a superhero."

The post was coupled with a photograph of Trump with chiseled abs, adorning a superhero costume. After declaring in November his intention to run for president again in 2024, it was unclear what more Trump would announce.

And on Thursday, the former president made the big reveal: a series of digital trading card NFTs, each selling for $99.

"This is Donald Trump, hopefully, your favorite president of all time. Better than Lincoln or Washington," Trump said in an infomercial-styled address, before detailing the project. 

—Makena Kelly (@kellymakena) December 15, 2022

According to the project's website, 45,000 cards will be created in the series, with 44,000 up for sale online. It's unclear what will happen with the other 10,000 cards. The NFTs also enter its purchaser into a series of sweepstakes where they'll have the chance to dine with Trump, play golf with him, and join a Mar-A-Lago group cocktail hour. 

The trading cards are licensed and owned by NFT INT LLC, not by Trump or the Trump Organization, and use his name, image, and likeness under a paid license, the footnotes of the NFT's website say. If the NFTs sell out, the creators will make about $4.5 million — it's unclear what Trump's cut of the sales will be, if any.

Trump's latest venture is a continuation of two major themes for his business interests.

One is that he will continue to hawk merchandise and be involved with his namesake company even as an active political candidate. Ethics experts have long raised questions about what it meant for a sitting president to be able to profit while in office. The most glaring example of this was the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where foreign governments spent lavishly.

The second is that Trump continues to license his name to outside ventures. Amid renewed success following his reality TV hit "The Apprentice," Trump licensed his name to be slapped on buildings around the world — even when some of the local partners were considered unscrupulous. Beyond buildings, Trump also emblazoned his name on steaks, vodka, and water.

Thursday's announcement comes on the heels of recent controversies. Trump was widely criticized for dining with Nick Fuentes, an avowed white nationalist, and Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who had made a series of antisemitic comments. Senior Republicans also chastised the former president for suggesting that parts of the Constitution be terminated due to election fraud, his claims of which have been widely debunked.

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SBF thinks one of his biggest mistakes at FTX was slashing his workday from 18 hours to 13 hours a day, his planned testimony shows

Thu, 12/15/2022 - 1:32am
Bankman-Fried was not present for Tuesday's hearing, but prepared a testimony for the House Financial Services Committee.
  • Disgraced FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said he used to work 18 hours a day, per his planned testimony.
  • He wrote that one of his biggest mistakes was cutting his workday down by 30%.
  • Bankman-Fried currently faces fraud charges from the SEC, and was arrested on Monday.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried thinks one of his biggest mistakes was cutting his workday from 18 hours to about 13 hours a day, he wrote in a draft of his planned testimony.

In his 7,000-word draft, Bankman-Fried wrote that he was "less grounded in operational details" in the months leading up to his exchange's downfall.

"I had prided myself on staying grounded: staying in the weeds, day to day, of the company," read a copy of this draft, which was first obtained by Forbes and Bloomberg.

"I also prided myself on having a strong work ethic; I began FTX routinely working 18 hour days. But for much of 2022, I believe that I was working about 30% less than I used to," he added. "And even when I was working, I was less focused and disciplined than I used to be."

Bankman-Fried wrote that he started spending more time this year talking with regulators, working on branding and new deals for FTX, and managing the exchange's workforce.

"That's time that wasn't spent focusing on the actual core product, including risk management," the draft read.

Bankman-Fried wasn't able to testify as scheduled before the House Services Financial Committee on Tuesday, because he was arrested the day before in the Bahamas.

Instead, newly appointed FTX CEO John Ray's testimony became the nucleus of Tuesday's hearing. Ray accused FTX of engaging in "plain old embezzlement" under Bankman-Fried and called the company's leadership "grossly inexperienced."

Bankman-Fried distanced himself from allegations of fraud in his draft, which was not read out in full at Tuesday's hearing.

In the planned testimony, he blamed himself for making a "number of significant mistakes" but said he didn't know about risky investments executed by FTX.

"I thought that I could hold FTX together despite the expansion. I was wrong," he wrote. "I bit off more than I could chew, and ended up failing to focus on risk management."

Bankman-Fried was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, and is accused by authorities of diverting "billions of dollars" of FTX's customer funds for "his own personal benefit and to help grow his crypto empire."

Bankman-Fried's spokesperson, Mark Botnick, told Insider he had no further comment on Bankman-Fried's testimony draft.

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Read the full memo the CEO of Binance sent to staffers after the exchange was hit by more than $1 billion of withdrawals in a day amid the FTX fiasco

Thu, 12/15/2022 - 1:16am
Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao.
  • Shortly after jittery investors withdrew over $1 billion from Binance on Tuesday, its CEO sent a memo to staffers.
  • Changpeng "CZ" Zhao seemed to try to assuage market fears amid the implosion of crypto peer FTX.
  • In the memo, CZ wrote Binance expects "the next several months to be bumpy." 

On Tuesday, jittery investors withdrew more than $1 billion from Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange. Hours later, the company's CEO, Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, sent a memo to staffers where he seemed to try to assuage market fears in the aftermath of the implosion of crypto peer FTX.

"Binance will survive any crypto winter," CZ wrote in the memo.

Tuesday's withdrawals marked the biggest single-day withdrawal the exchange had seen since June, per blockchain research group Nansen.

Insider's Phil Rosen reported on Wednesday that Binance has seen about $3.66 billion in net outflows in the seven days preceding December 13, also citing data compiled by Nansen.

Publicly, CZ appeared to shrug off concerns about customers withdrawing funds, tweeting on Tuesday: "We saw some withdrawals today (net $1.14b ish). We have seen this before. Some days we have net withdrawals; some days we have net deposits. Business as usual for us."


Home flipper profits are slumping at their fastest pace since the 2009 recession and the prognosis isn't any better for 2023

Thu, 12/15/2022 - 12:01am
  • Last quarter saw the fastest drop in home flipping profits since the Great Recession.
  • Flips on more expensive properties pulled overall returns down for the industry.
  • Warm and sunny places like Honolulu saw the lowest returns and cities like Buffalo saw the highest.

It's the worst time to make money as a home flipper since the Great Recession. 

While people were flipping homes last quarter at the third fastest rate of the past decade, profits from the typical flip plunged by $14,000 — or 18.4% — to $62,000 from the previous period, according to real estate data provider Attom. It was the sector's fastest quarterly rate of decline since the US was falling into recession in early 2009, and signals trouble for the coming year, Attom said in a report on Thursday.

Though the gross profit was not even at a three-year low, margins crumbled to 25% last quarter, the lowest since 2009 and less than half the 53.1% seen at the top of the market in 2016, the data show.

The sliding fortunes for home flippers may be the fault of the house flipping business model itself: sell as quickly as possible, even if that means not making as much as anticipated, or even taking a loss, Rick Sharga, head of market intelligence at Attom, told Insider.

"If you're a flipper, time is your enemy," Sharga said. Though flippers are facing a rapidly deteriorating housing market, "you don't want to buy a property and then have to wait to sell it because that time costs you money —  financing, taxes, insurance, maintenance," he said.

What's more, no one is sure what tomorrow will bring, Sharga continued. The market could keep moving against flippers and force even bigger setbacks, he said.

It was that sentiment that led Houston flipper John Ziomek to sell a project in July for $50,000 less than he anticipated, at a price he said represented no margin, as Insider reported in October. Ziomek was happy to take the profits he made in previous flips over the past decade, and move to the sidelines.

It's harder to profit on high end properties

Not all flippers are suffering, though.

Anecdotally, it appears that higher-priced properties are dragging the overall numbers lower, according to Sharga. Homes that sell for $750,000 to $1.5 million in some of the most expensive areas of the country are seeing the biggest slump in demand, so flippers of those properties are feeling the pain, he said. 

"The high end market has basically vaporized, there's nothing there, " Sharga said, repeating the words of a flipper he knows. "He was, as he put it, 'writing checks' to get a couple properties off of his books." 

Lower-tier home flips are just as robust as they were a year ago, Sharga said. Those flippers have healthy profit margins even if the overall dollar amounts aren't as high as with luxury homes, he said. 

Some of 2021's hottest places to move are seeing the biggest dropoff

As is the case with most of the national real estate market — every local market is different. In this case, places that boasted all the qualities of popular pandemic moving spots were among the worst places to flip a home last quarter, the data show.

Home flippers in warm and sunny places like Honolulu and Jackson, Mississippi, didn't even make a 1% profit or lost money on their renovation projects, according to the data. Meanwhile, flippers in cities with harsh winters like Pittsburgh — where the typical flipper made a 116.9% profit — and Buffalo, New York, had the largest returns. 

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The Senate has again voted to ban TikTok from all government devices over national security concerns

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 10:19pm
The Senate on Wednesday voted to ban TikTok from government devices.
  • The Senate on Wednesday voted to ban TikTok from all government devices for a second time.
  • Lawmakers fear the social-media app can be used to spy on American users.
  • TikTok said these concerns largely stem from misinformation and "unfounded falsehoods."

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that bans federal employees from downloading or using TikTok on government devices, citing national security concerns about the Chinese-owned social media app.

The bill still has to pass in the House and be signed by President Joe Biden before it becomes law.

The "No TikTok on Government Devices Act," sponsored by GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, would "prohibit certain individuals from downloading or using TikTok on any device issued by the United States or a government corporation."

TikTok, run by Chinese company Bytedance, has for years been under scrutiny from lawmakers concerned that it may share information about US users with the Chinese government. The Senate also passed the same ban in 2020, but the measure did not move forward in the House.

In a statement to Insider on Wednesday, TikTok called Hawley's bill "a proposal which does nothing to advance U.S. national security interests."

"We hope that rather than continuing down that road, he will urge the Administration to move forward on an agreement that would actually address his concerns," TikTok said.

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After banning the college student who tracked Elon Musk's jet, Twitter also banned sharing links to his jet tracker accounts on other social media platforms

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 9:56pm
Elon Musk and the Gulfstream G550 jet.
  • The college student who tracked Elon Musk's jet on Twitter had over 30 of his accounts banned on Wednesday.
  • Twitter also blocked anyone from sharing links to Sweeney's accounts on other platforms.
  • Musk said in November he would allow the account to remain due to his "commitment to free speech."

Twitter on Wednesday banned an account that previously tracked Elon Musk's private jet — but it also went a step further, banning anyone from sharing a link to similar accounts on other social media sites.

The @ElonJet Twitter account, run by college student Jack Sweeney, was suspended from the platform, despite Musk saying in November he would not ban the account due to his "commitment to free speech." Sweeney told Insider at the time he was "pleased" that Musk would allow his account to remain.

"I kind of figured that was his stance because if it wasn't people would be after him for saying one thing and then coming and banning my account," Sweeney, who called himself a fan of Musk, said in November.

But on Wednesday the account — as well as more than 30 others that Sweeney used to track the private jets of celebrities — was suspended. Shortly after, Twitter announced an update to its "Private Information policy" that would "prohibit sharing someone else's live location in most cases."

"When someone shares an individual's live location on Twitter, there is an increased risk of physical harm. Moving forward, we'll remove Tweets that share this information, and accounts dedicated to sharing someone else's live location will be suspended," the company said in a tweet.

In addition to blocking the Twitter account that tracked Musk's jet, the platform has also banned sharing links to Sweeney's @elonmusksjet Instagram account and his "Elon Musk's Jet" Facebook page. When trying to tweet a link to the Instagram account as of Wednesday evening, Twitter returned an error message with the note: "We can't complete this request because the link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful."

Twitter has blocked sharing links to Instagram and Facebook pages that track his private jet.

In the updated policy, Twitter also stated that sharing links to sites that track real-time location would also be blocked, writing that prohibited live location information included "information shared on Twitter directly or links to 3rd-party URL(s) of travel routes, actual physical location, or other identifying information that would reveal a person's location, regardless if this information is publicly available."

Sweeney told Insider's Grace Kay on Wednesday that his personal Twitter account was suspended hours after his jet tracking accounts, which compiled and published publicly available data.

"I really didn't think he'd suspend my personal account," Sweeney said. "I didn't think he'd do anything because of all the media attention he'd get."

Sweeney, who previously said his account had been "shadow-banned," also said he planned to continue tracking Musk's jet on other platforms. 

"I mean, fuck this guy," he said. "This is ridiculous. My personal account doesn't even track the planes. I'm going full-blast."

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US Air Force vet who was freed from Russian-controlled territory in a prisoner swap with Ukraine described being shocked and beaten by his captors

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 9:33pm
U.S. citizen Suedi Murekezi holds a Ukrainian national flag after a prisoners-of-war (POWs) swap, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in an unknown location, Ukraine, in this handout picture released December 14, 2022.
  • An American vet is headed home after spending months in Russian captivity and occupied territory.
  • Suedi Murekezi was among dozens of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners included in the exchange.
  • Murekezi, who lived in Ukraine since 2018, told ABC the Russians accused him of being in the CIA.

A US citizen was among the dozens of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners freed in an organized swap on Wednesday, Ukrainian officials said.  

Suedi Murekezi, an American Air Force veteran and native of Rwanda, spent months in Russian-controlled territory after being detained in June. Prior to his arrest, Murekezi had been living in Ukraine since 2018, working in the technology sector in the southern Kherson region, his family told The Washington Post this week.

Murekezi's brother, Sele Murekezi, told The Post that his sibling immigrated to the US when he was a teenager and served in the Air Force for eight years before moving to Ukraine and settling in the Kherson area.

He chose not to leave the country when Russia invaded in February, the outlet reported, and Kherson was the first major city to fall to Russian forces less than a week after the war began. Ukrainian forces have since recaptured the region.

Murekezi, who is not believed to have been part of the fighting, told ABC News on Wednesday that the Russians accused him of being a member of the CIA and taking part in pro-Ukrainian demonstrations. He said the Russians kept him in a basement for weeks in the southern Kherson region, which he described as a "torture chamber." 

He told the outlet that he was then moved closer to the Russian border where he was held in prison in the Donetsk People's Republic for three months. Russian separatists have controlled the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known as the Donbas, for eight years. 

There, Murekezi met other Russian prisoners from the West, including two Americans who volunteered to fight on behalf of Ukraine. The two men, Alex Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh, were released in a September prisoner swap and described horrendous conditions during their time in captivity.

Murekezi, who was not included in the September swap, told ABC that he was shocked and beaten by his captors. He was later released by the Russians, but did not have access to his US passport, which left him essentially stranded in the separatist-controlled regions, he told the outlet, saying he felt "trapped.

Russian President Vladimir Putin officially annexed four Ukrainian regions via a sham referendum in September including Donetsk and Luhansk.

While detained with his fellow American prisoners, Murekezi said the Russians gave them minimal food and water. He told ABC that he was most looking forward to a peanut butter sandwich upon his return home.

Murekezi's brother told the Post he believes his brother will return to the United States after his ordeal. He previously lived in Minnesota. 

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine's presidential office, said in a Wednesday tweet that 64 Ukrainian soldiers were also included in the prisoner exchange, as well as the bodies of four soldiers killed in action. 

—Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) December 14, 2022


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Sam Bankman-Fried's relatives called the Bahamas prison he's being held at to ask if he can get vegan meals, per Bloomberg

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 9:08pm
Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX CEO, at a digital assets hearing in 2021.
  • Sam Bankman-Fried is being held at a prison in Nassau that is known for its harsh conditions.
  • His relatives called the prison to see if he could receive vegan food, a source told Bloomberg.
  • Bankman-Fried's lawyer previously cited his vegan diet as a reason he should be released on bail.

Sam Bankman-Fried is being held at a prison in the Bahamas that is notorious for harsh conditions, but according to Bloomberg, his family is still hoping his dietary preferences can be met.

The founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX is set to remain at the Fox Hill correctional center in Nassau until February after a judge on Tuesday denied him bail and ordered that he remain in custody while awaiting extradition to the US. Bankman-Fried was arrested by authorities in the Bahamas after US officials charged him with multiple counts, including fraud and money laundering.

Sources told Bloomberg Bankman-Fried has his own room in a maximum security area of Fox Hill, and that he's unable to have visitors due to COVID-19 protocol. One source told the outlet relatives of Bankman-Fried called the prison on Tuesday to ask if he could receive vegan meals.

Reports on Fox Hill have described the prison as overcrowded and understaffed. Inmates at the prison have said they had to remove human waste with buckets and lived among infestations of rats and maggots, according to a 2021 human rights report compiled by the State Department. Inmates have also said they had long waits in between receiving meals.

Lawyers for Bankman-Fried tried to use his vegan diet as a reason he should be released while awaiting extradition, CoinDesk reported Tuesday. They asked the court to consider releasing him on a $250,000 bail so he could maintain his vegan diet and stick to his medications, including Adderall and Zyrtec.

It was unclear which of Bankman-Fried's relatives may have called the prison about supplying him with vegan food, but the former CEO's parents, who are Stanford law professors, were in attendance at his hearing in the Bahamas on Tuesday. According to CoinDesk, his mother laughed during the hearing when he was called a "fugitive."

His other notable family members include his brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried and his aunt, Linda Fried, who is the dean of the public-health school at Columbia University.

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WeWork's market cap is now smaller than its much more straight-laced rival as the market adjusts to reality

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 6:40pm
Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann.
  • WeWork cash flow is dwindling, and it plans to shutter more sites as it struggles to bounce back.
  • Its market capitalization now stands lower than Regus, another flexible office space provider.
  • This is a sign the market is rewarding careful management over rapid growth.

WeWork had once touted itself as the future of real estate.

Now WeWork faces cash crunch as it struggles with dwindling users and expensive long-term leases, watching as its market cap plunged from $2.3B at the start of December to $1.35 billion at the end of trading on Wednesday.

WeWork's problems stand in sharp contrast to another company that offered flexible workspaces for decades before WeWork entered the market: Regus.

The company now has a market cap of $2 billion at the end of trading on Wednesday, after being forced to wince through articles like "How did WeWork beat Regus?" in 2019.

Under Adam Neumann, WeWork expanded rapidly before investors eventually grew concerned over the growth strategy. After Neumann's ouster, WeWork struggled to right-size its ambitions to reality. 

The company had negative cash flow of $4.3 billion from July to September this year, per The Wall Street Journal. WeWork was able to borrow from its biggest investor Softbank to keep afloat, though it has burned through more than $10 billion from the bank to date. WeWork said it would end the year with $300 million cash, less than one-third of what it held at the end of 2021. 

Regus, owned by IWG Group, faced many of the same headwinds as WeWork. Yet its parent company has still outperformed WeWork since WeWork began publicly trading.

To be clear, Regus is facing its own struggles. Like almost all office space operators, Regus has been crushed by the pandemic, with a net loss of $254 million on $2.7 billion in revenue in 2021. But compare that to WeWork, which lost $4.4 billion on $2.7 billion in revenue in 2021, pulling of the dubious feat of having operating expenses nearly double its revenue. 

Regus was always more professional and utilitarian take on co-working spaces, while WeWork banked on a more casual approach to a workspace to attract customers. With Regus, you got a coffee maker. With WeWork, you got kombucha on tap.

In a sign IWG and Regus got something right, Reuters reported IWG bought several former WeWork locations in London and New York in 2021 as part of a spate of new co-working spaces the company opened to meet flexible office demands. 

Meanwhile, WeWork plans to shutter some of its sites to control its spending and faces the real possibility of defaulting on its debt.

Regus has a long climb in front of it in a world where the future of the office is murky. But right now, its focus on fundamentals and not chasing growth at all costs means the market values it more than WeWork.

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US pilots are testing the aging A-10 Warthog for a new kind of mission against more advanced enemies

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 6:07pm
B-1Bs and A-10s over the Philippine Sea on November 9.
  • Since arriving in the 1970s, the A-10 has earned a reputation as a tank-killing ground-attack plane.
  • In recent exercises, the A-10 tried out a new role: deploying decoys to distract enemy air defenses.
  • The change comes as the US military is shifting its focus and forces to operations in the Pacific.

The A-10 Warthog has made its reputation as a tank-killer, but now the Air Force is testing 50-year-old plane for another mission: launching decoys to protect other aircraft.

During exercises in the Pacific in early November, A-10s were equipped with the ADM-160 Miniature Air Launched Decoy.

Described as a sort of cruise missile, the 8-foot-long MALD weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of 500 miles. It is equipped with a Signature Augmentation System that mimics the radar signature and flight profiles of specific US aircraft. (The MALD-J variant has a jammer.)

The idea is to launch salvoes of MALDs ahead of a US airstrike to confuse the enemy about how many aircraft are coming and from where.

During Green Flag-West from November 2 to 9, a DATM-160 — a training version of the MALD — was loaded onto an A-10 on an island off the coast of Naval Air Station North Island in California.

A US Air Force crew chief prepares to launch an A-10 for Green Flag-West in California on November 9.

"The A-10 can carry up to 16 MALDs, the same quantity as the B-52, and 12 more than the F-16," according to an Air Force news release.

But interestingly, the MALD isn't being envisioned as a means to protect the A-10. Rather, the Warthog would use its decoys to support other aircraft, such as fifth-generation F-35s and F-22s or bombers.

During another exercise over the Philippine Sea on November 9, A-10 pilots simulated using MALDs in "an integrated strike mission simulation" with B1-B bombers.

"Having a combat-proven platform like the A-10 provide support through their MALD decoys increases the probability that our aircraft and weapons successfully strike their targets," Maj. Daniel Winningham, 37th Bomb Squadron B-1B instructor pilot, said in a release.

Maj. Taylor Raasch, an instructor with the Air Force 66th Weapons Squadron, which participated in Green Flag-West, said that the way the A-10 can "help support the fifth-generation fight in support of a pacing threat is provide the unique capability to carry a multitude of weapons and work in austere environments."

'How are we going to find the boats?'An A-10 carrying a DATM-160 on California's San Clemente Island on November 7.

While the MALD may be a useful way to protect US aircraft and drive enemy air-defense networks crazy, choosing the A-10 to haul decoys is curious.

The Warthog was designed in the 1970s as a ground-attack aircraft to smash Soviet armored columns invading Europe. That meant it needed a powerful 30-mm cannon and anti-tank missiles, as well as armor plating and a rugged design to survive thick Soviet air defenses — and even with that armament, Air Force planners expected heavy losses.

While the A-10 has respectable range — about 700 miles, which can be extended by aerial refueling — a longer-range decoy-laden aircraft, such as a cargo plane or a drone, might be more useful, especially across the vast Pacific.

Instead, the venerable A-10, which first flew in 1972, seems to be in search of a mission.

US airmen load an ADM-160 MALD on an A-10 at a base in Wisconsin on March 1.

For years, the Air Force has sought to scrap the Warthog, believing the aging plane might not survive against modern Russian and Chinese air defenses. And for years, the Warthog has kept flying, buoyed in part by a popular image as an aerial tough guy that can dish out punishment and take it, too. (Congress finally relented this month, allowing the Air Force to begin retiring A-10s in the coming year.)

As the US military pivots its focus to the Pacific, some argue that the A-10 would be useful in a war against China, especially if it were armed with long-range missiles.

The mission in support of the B-1B "was a fantastic way to demonstrate how the A-10 is capable of shifting from a close-air-support team mindset to a strike team. We are building on our old principles to transform into the A-10 community the joint force needs," Capt. Coleen Berryhill, an A-10 pilot, said in a release.

November's Green Flag-West exercise also marked a shift. Since 1981, the Air Force has used the exercise to train to provide air support to Army units. This time, the A-10s trained to support the US Navy, including as a ship-killer.

US Air Force Capt. Coleen Berryhill flies near a formation of B1-Bs and A-10s over the Philippine Sea on November 9.

While the Warthog's cannon and missiles could pulverize most warships, maritime strike would be a new mission — and one that would be vital in a conflict with China.

"A concern we had in the planning phase of Green Flag was 'how are we going to find the boats?'" said Capt. Joseph Cole, assistant director of operations for the Air Force's 549th Combat Training Squadron. "We know we can kill them, but how can we find them and target them?"

The exercise also saw the A-10 operate from an "austere" island off the California coast, reflecting the Air Force's growing focus on using rugged or improvised airfields in the Pacific. But this also raises questions about supplying the A-10 with fuel, munitions, and especially maintenance in forward areas.

The A-10 was designed a half-century ago for an armor-focused conflict. Ironically, that sort of warfare is now taking place in Ukraine, but US officials have declined to send manned aircraft to Ukraine, and some Ukrainians have cast doubt on the Warthog's utility.

The US military's focus on the Pacific will only increase, but whether the A-10 has a role there remains to be seen.

Michael Peck is a defense writer whose work has appeared in Forbes, Defense News, Foreign Policy magazine, and other publications. He holds a master's in political science. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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DC United owner Jason Levien accused by MLS team's former top lawyer of dodging millions in taxes

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 5:58pm
Jason Levien
  • Jason Levien is CEO of DC United and owns part of Swansea City and the Brisbane Bullets.
  • DC United's former general counsel made a whistleblower complaint against him in New York.
  • The state declined to intervene. Levien denied wrongdoing and said he filed New York taxes.

Jason Levien, a co-owner of Washington DC's $700 million Major League Soccer team and an investor in professional sports teams in the UK and Australia, has been accused by his company's former top lawyer of cheating on his taxes.

Levien lied to New York officials by claiming to live in Florida for years to avoid $2.5 million to $5.2 million in city and state taxes, according to a recently unsealed complaint obtained by Insider. The lawsuit was brought by Christopher Deubert, who until last year was the top lawyer for Levien's DC United soccer club.

The case, brought under New York's False Claims Act, was filed last year under seal. It was recently unsealed after the state attorney general declined to intervene in the case. A whistleblower can keep pursuing a case even if the state passes on it, however, and is entitled to a share of whatever is recovered.

"Levien, born and bred in Manhattan, has maintained his principal residence in Manhattan for nearly all his life, until recently moving to Washington, DC full-time," the complaint says. It says he made "an estimated $2 million to $4 million" a year.

The complaint also indicates that Deubert has filed a similar whistleblower case in Washington, DC. If a complaint was filed there, it didn't show up in a public database, and a spokesman for the DC Attorney General's office declined to comment.

In a statement shared with Insider, Jon Bouker, a lawyer for Levien, said his client paid all the taxes he owed and filed taxes in New York, contrary to Deubert's claims. He said the law firm ArentFoxSchiff hired PwC to review Levien's tax returns and "concluded that Mr. Levien does not owe taxes in New York, or in any jurisdiction, returns have been filed on Mr. Levien's behalf for tax overpayments, and Mr. Levien has properly filed tax returns in New York during years at issue.

"Whether [Deubert's] accusations were an honest mistake or something more malicious is something we will refrain from commenting on until we have further information," Bouker said. "Regardless, it is unfortunate." 

A person close to Levien told Insider that Levien is currently a DC resident for tax purposes and that he has properly paid taxes in the several states he has lived in for the past two decades. 

Deubert alleges that there is "considerable evidence," including public records and media interviews, that shows Levien has never lived in Florida, and claims that Levien and his accountant told Deubert that "Levien uses his parents' residence," a Boca Raton condo, "for tax purposes."

Levien, a former NBA agent who got into management roles in the late 2000s, has been growing his sports portfolio over the past decade. In 2016, he bought into Swansea City, a Welsh club which was relegated from the Premier League in 2018 and currently plays in the second-tier Championship.

In 2021, the BBC reported he was the team's majority owner and claimed to have invested "tens of millions" into the team even as it has hemorrhaged cash during the pandemic.

He also hasn't left basketball behind. In 2019, he and former NBA shooting guard Kevin Martin led a consortium that bought a 75% stake of the Brisbane Bullets, part of Australia's National Basketball League.

When he bought into DC United in 2012, Forbes reported that the team was valued at $50 million. That value has soared: Sportico reported in September that DC United is worth $700 million, making it the sixth most valuable MLS team.

Levien and Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir jointly owned 60% of the team when they first bought a stake, according to Forbes. Thohir was bought out in 2018.

Levien also has investments outside of sports. His company Neksepo Ventures listed holdings including Masterclass and Immortals Gaming Club, an esports venture. And a 2019 story in the Washington Business Journal about him selling a condo he used as a guest house for clients and friends for $2.85 million said he has other properties in the District.

Deubert declined to comment, as did his lawyer, Adam Pollock.

December 14, 2022: This story has been updated to include comments from Levien's lawyer and a person close to Levien. 

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Former adversary John Boehner praises 'incredibly effective' outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi in tearful Capitol Hill tribute

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 5:51pm
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is kissed as she hands over the gavel to incoming Speaker John Boehner during a swearing-in ceremony in the House of Representatives as the 114th Congress convenes on January 6, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • Former Speaker John Boehner had nothing but kind words for Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.
  • The Ohio Republican praised his one-time foil at her official portrait unveiling on Capitol Hill. 
  • "No other speaker of the House ... has wielded the gavel with such authority," Boehner said. 

Famously sentimental former GOP Speaker John Boehner couldn't stop from tearing up as he lavished praise on outgoing Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday evening at the US Capitol. 

"The younger generation today has a saying, 'Game recognizes game.' And the fact of the matter is no other speaker of the House in the modern era, Republican or Democrat, has wielded the gavel with such authority or with such consistent results," the Ohio Republican told attendees at the unveiling of Pelosi's official portrait

The waterworks started earlier, though, as Boehner recounted how his daughters had asked him to "tell the speaker how much we admire her." 

Pelosi announced last month that she was stepping down from her House leadership post, clearing the way for a new generation of Democrats to take over after nearly two decades of her calling the shots. 

Boehner rose through the ranks of House Republican leadership at roughly the same time as Pelosi, career trajectories that would pit them against each other as the White House flip-flopped from the George W. Bush Administration to the Barack Obama years.

That meant fighting about everything from foreign wars to the polarizing Affordable Care Act. 

"But we were never disagreeable to each other," Boehner said, citing a professional relationship that the two apparently kept above the partisan fray. 

In some ways, Boehner said he's still paying for his affection for the California Democrat. He noted that he still gets grief from Republicans for planting a kiss on Pelosi when he took that gavel back from her over a decade ago. 

She handled the career change like a champ then, Boehner said, and he seemed to believe she'll be fine with whatever comes next too. 

"You're one tough cookie," Boehner said, which made the crowd burst into applause. 

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Diablo IV impresses with its dark atmosphere and expanded world — here's how to preorder to get early access to the new RPG

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 5:47pm

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Diablo IV is coming in June 2023.
  • Diablo IV will be released on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation platforms on June 6, 2023.
  • Multiple editions are available for preorder with bonuses like early access to the game.
  • The game feels like a fresh starting point for new and veteran players, with an emphasis on horror.

Diablo IV, the next entry in Activision Blizzard's classic role-playing franchise, is set to arrive on June 6, 2023. Blizzard confirmed the game's release date with an announcement at The Game Awards 2022, along with a new trailer.

For those unfamiliar, Diablo is an action RPG franchise with an isometric camera and an emphasis on dungeon-crawling. While the game isn't an MMORPG like Blizzard's World of Warcraft, you can encounter other players online in the open world and gamers can team up to play together in small groups.

Check out the Diablo 4 trailer

Diablo IV will be the first game in the franchise to launch on computers and consoles at the same time and allow cross-platform play. Diablo III was on PC for more than a year before console versions were released and players remained separated by platform throughout the game's lifespan.

Diablo IV is set to be one of the largest game launches in years for Blizzard. The previous game in the series managed to amass more than 65 million players over its 10-year lifespan. Activision Blizzard is one of America's largest video game publishers and is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft.

Below, we've gathered everything you need to know about Diablo IV's upcoming release, including preorder details and a breakdown of what you get with each edition. We've also included some impressions based on an early build of the game we got to play at a media event. 

Diablo 4 release date and price

Diablo IV will launch on June 6, 2023 for Windows PCs, PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One. The standard edition costs $70 on each platform.

While players can transfer their game progress between consoles, like PlayStation and Xbox, they must purchase the game on each platform they wish to play on. Purchases for Xbox and PlayStation systems includes dual entitlement for both older and current generation consoles.

Diablo 4 preorder bonuses, early access, and special editions

Players who preorder any version of Diablo IV digitally via, the Microsoft Store, or the PlayStation Store will get first access to an open beta before the game's release, and earn in-game rewards for World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and Diablo Immortal.

In addition to the standard edition of the game, PC, PlayStation, and Xbox customers can also opt for a Deluxe or Ultimate Edition.  

The $90 Deluxe Edition offers up to four days of early access prior to the game's launch, a seasonal battle pass, and special in-game mount and armor. The $100 Ultimate Edition includes the same rewards as the Deluxe Edition, plus 20 free tier skips for the battle pass, a cosmetic, and an additional emote.

Beyond the game itself, Blizzard is also selling a limited edition collector's box for $96.66 that includes special items like an electric candle of creation, a cloth map, a mouse pad, two art prints, a pin, and an art book. Keep in mind, however, this package does not include a copy of the actual game. This will only be available from the Blizzard Gear Store, starting December 15.

Diablo 4 story details

Diablo IV is set decades after Diablo III but establishes a new story set in the world of Sanctuary. It focuses on the return of the demon Lilith, one of Sanctuary's creators, and her conflict against Inarius, a rogue angel who helped her create Sanctuary to escape the war between Heaven and Hell.

The developers of Diablo IV have said one of their primary goals was to return to the franchise's roots of darkness and horror. As a result, the game has a greater emphasis on cinematic storytelling and building a haunting environment.

Diablo 4 multiplayer and cloud-save features

Diablo IV will feature online multiplayer as well as offline cooperative play for players on Xbox and PlayStation. Diablo IV can connect between platforms, so players on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox should have no issues playing together.

You can encounter dozens of other players while exploring the game online, or team up with a group of friends to progress through story missions and dungeons. Cooperative play is typically designed for up to four players, but major events can allow up to eight players to team up. 

A account is required for online play, but will also provide cloud saves, so you can transfer your progress between different platforms.

Diablo 4 first-look impressions

We got to try the first few hours of Diablo IV during a hands-on media event. We have some light experience playing Diablo II and III, so the gameplay immediately felt familiar on PC, letting us guide our character through the overworld of Sanctuary while fighting enemies and exploring early-game dungeons, all with a few clicks of the mouse.

Players can choose between one of five classes: druid, rogue, sorceress, barbarian, and necromancer (though necromancer and druid were unavailable in the hands-on test). While there is a core campaign with clear-cut missions, players are also encouraged to adventure to unknown areas for rare rewards and side quests. As players progress, the content shifts from pre-planned story set-pieces to more challenging, procedurally-generated content

Beyond the obvious improvements to graphics, we immediately noticed some key changes in presentation compared to the series' previous games. There are more cutscenes to help immerse players in the world as soon as the game starts, and the entire atmosphere feels significantly darker and more threatening than the setting of Diablo III.

While we didn't get to try much multiplayer, we were thoroughly impressed with our short time spent exploring Sanctuary and becoming familiar with the game's larger overworld. So far, Diablo IV feels like a great starting point for players who are new to the franchise, and veteran players should also feel right at home.

Diablo games are designed to continue challenging players for hundreds of hours after the story is completed, and Diablo IV should be no different with Blizzard promising years worth of support and updates. With cross-platform play, Diablo IV is assured to have a vibrant online community; that along with the revamped story campaign should make the game well worth buying at launch.

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Mesmerizing new NASA image shows the lava on one of Jupiter's moons that helps form the massive planet's auroras

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 5:36pm
NASA's Juno mission captured an infrared view of Io in July.
  • NASA's Juno spacecraft snapped an infrared image of Jupiter's moon Io.
  • Io is our solar system's most volcanically-active body, and its surface is peppered with lava lakes.
  • Juno should fly by the Jovian moon again on December 15, in the first of nine flybys.

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured an infrared image of Jupiter's moon Io from 50,000 miles away.

In the image, taken on July 5 and released on Wednesday, you can see the shapes of lava flows and lava lakes as bright red spots.

"You can see volcanic hotspots. We've been able to monitor over the course of the primary mission — over 30 orbits — how this changes and evolves," Scott Bolton, principal investigator for NASA's Juno spacecraft, said in a press event at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting on Wednesday.

Io is home to hundreds of volcanoes, NASA has found. Surprisingly, scientists found more volcanic spots in the polar region than in the planet's equatorial region, Bolton said.

The space probe Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016. After studying the gas giant, Juno flew by Jupiter's moon Ganymede in 2021 and by Europa earlier this year.

The spacecraft is scheduled to explore Io, which NASA says is the "the most volcanic place in the solar system," again on December 15. It's the first of nine flybys Juno has planned over the next year and a half.

Scientists hope to gather more data on the moon's volcanoes and its magnetism — which play a "tug of war" to form Jupiter's auroras — as they fly by.

"As we watch the volcanoes change and get active and less active, they're driving Jupiter's gigantic monster magnetosphere," Bolton said on Wednesday.

Auroras are colorful displays of light that are not unique to Earth. Jupiter has the brightest auroras in the solar system, according to NASA.

On both Earth and Jupiter, auroras occur when charged particles, such as protons or electrons, interact with the magnetic field — known as the magnetosphere — that surrounds a planet. Jupiter's magnetic field is about 20,000 times stronger than Earth's.

The data and insights Juno gleans could help inform future missions to study Jupiter's moons, like NASA's Clipper mission, which will investigate whether Europa could support life.

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Photos show squalid conditions at the Bahamas prison where Sam Bankman-Fried will spend his holidays

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 5:33pm
Fox Hill is known to be overcrowded and have unsanitary conditions, per human rights reports.
  • A judge in the Bahamas ordered Sam Bankman-Fried remanded to custody during a Monday hearing.
  • The former FTX CEO will spend the next two months at Fox Hill, the Bahamas' only prison.
  • Photos from the facility show overcrowding and squalid conditions. 

Sam Bankman-Fried is set to spend his holidays incarcerated in the Bahamas' only prison after a magistrate judge ordered him remanded to custody on Tuesday following his arrest on US fraud charges.

The Fox Hill correctional center, located in Nassau, is known for its harsh conditions and overcrowding, according to human rights reports. Bankman-Fried, 30, has already joined hundreds of other detainees at the prison after a judge this week said he posed a "great" flight risk. 

The Bahamas has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the world, with 409 per 100,000 people detained in the country, according to the World Prison Brief, an online database housed by the Institute For Crime & Justice Policy Research, Birkbeck College, University of London.

Conditions at the facility suffer due to the sheer number of prisoners incarcerated there.

A 2021 human rights report on The Bahamas by the US State Department found that infestations of rats, maggots, and insects were common at Fox Hill.

A combination of overcrowding and understaffing at the facility has led some inmates to only be allowed outside for 30 minutes a week, Romona Farquharson, a local attorney, told The Wall Street Journal. Space constraints have also resulted in some inmates who are awaiting trial to be housed in the center's maximum security block, Farquharson said.

Reuters reported Tuesday that Bankman-Fried will initially be held in the Fox Hill medical department. 

A 2021 human rights report on the Bahamas by the US State Department offered further insight into the squalid conditions at the center. Inmates at the facility said they had to remove human waste by bucket and were prone to bed sores after being forced to lie on the hard ground for long periods of time.

Inmates at the facility said they had to remove human waste by bucket, according to a 2021 human rights report on the Bahamas by the US State Department.

Photos taken from a Reuters video of the facility show a tiny cell with six mattresses and one toilet. 

The Fox Hill correctional center, located in Nassau, is known for its harsh conditions and overcrowding, according to human rights reports.

The State Department report also cited infestations of rats, maggots, and insects. A correctional officer in the Reuters video confirmed that rodent infestations have been a problem at the facility. 

As many as six inmates can share one tiny cell with just one toilet.

Inmates have also said they were subjected to poor nutrition while at Fox Hill, sometimes facing long delays in between meals. Reports from Bankman-Fried's Tuesday hearing said the disgraced FTX founder and his legal team tried to use his vegan diet as a reason to be released from custody. 

Inmates at Fox Hill also cited a lack of access to proper medical care and psychological care, according to the 2021 State Department report. 

Authorities in the Bahamas detained Bankman-Fried on Monday, acting on a request from US officials. A federal criminal indictment unveiled on Tuesday charged Bankman-Fried with multiple counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations, related to the collapse of one of the largest crypto exchanges earlier this year.

Bankman-Fried resigned from his role at FTX last month after the exchange filed for bankruptcy following a liquidity disaster. Regulators and prosecutors have alleged that he duped investors and defrauded customers while at the helm of the company. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Russia is losing in Ukraine and 'will continue to fail in all its war aims,' the UK's armed forces chief says

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 5:31pm
A Ukrainian soldier deployed on the Kherson front to support to the Ukrainian army in Kherson Oblast on November 05, 2022.
  • The head of the UK's armed forces said on Wednesday that Russia is losing in Ukraine. 
  • Admiral Sir Tony Radakin also said the war will only get worse for Russia.
  • "Russia faces a critical shortage of artillery munitions," Radakin said. 

The head of the UK's armed forces says Russia is losing in Ukraine, offering a blunt assessment of the state of the war as Moscow's unprovoked invasion creeps toward its 10-month mark. 

"Russia is losing" and the "free world is winning," Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the United Kingdom's chief of defense staff, said Wednesday during a speech at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London.

Radakin ripped into Russia over the invasion, which he decried as tragic, dangerous, illegal, and unjustified. But Radakin underscored that Moscow is failing in the war, adding that "it will only get worse for Russia."

Russia is estimated to have suffered roughly 100,000 casualties in the war so far, an astonishing number in less than a year of fighting. On top of manpower issues, which Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to address via a partial military mobilization that did not go well, Russian forces are also running low on proper equipment and ammunition.

"Let me tell Putin tonight what his own generals and ministers are probably too afraid to say: that Russia faces a critical shortage of artillery munitions," Radakin said, explaining that this means "their ability to conduct successful offensive ground operations is rapidly diminishing."

Putin planned for a quick war, but "Russian guns have now been firing for almost 300 days" and "the cupboard is bare," Radakin went on to say, echoing US officials who have pointed out that Russia is running through its munitions faster than it can replenish them.

Russia has lost much of the territory that it managed to occupy in the early days of the invasion. A Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in recent months has seen Russia's military lose ground, including in territories that Putin illegally annexed in September. In November, Russian forces retreated from Kherson — the first major Ukrainian city that Russia captured.

"Russia has failed – and will continue to fail – in all its war aims. Russia is diminished on the world stage," Radakin said. The war saw Russia increasingly isolated, condemned in the UN, and booted from the UN Human Rights Council. Russia has also been widely accused of war crimes.

The top UK admiral credited Ukraine's "ingenuity, courage and determination of Ukraine" for Russia's failures in the conflict, as well as the coalition that's formed to support Kyiv and punish Moscow over the war. 

Russia's war in Ukraine pushed a number of countries to abandon longstanding stances of neutrality. Finland and Sweden, who have historically been militarily non-aligned, moved to join NATO as a result of the invasion. Germany provided weapons to Ukraine, breaking from a historic policy of not sending arms to conflict zones. 

"Despite Putin's best efforts to divide, he has unintentionally assembled an extraordinary coalition of democracies against him. It's as if he has illuminated what our beliefs really mean and entail. The importance of aggression being defeated. The need to abide by international rules, " Radakin said, adding that Russia was "ill prepared" for the economic response to the invasion. Western countries have slapped crippling economic sanctions on Russia, and in November, Russia's economy entered a recession.

"Morally, conceptually and physically, Putin's forces are running low," Radakin said, urging the Russian leader to act now and withdraw his forces to save Russian and Ukrainian lives. Russia, however, recently rejected a call from Ukrainian leadership to withdraw its forces, signaling that fighting will continue.

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How to use Notes, the new Instagram feature that lets you leave short text messages for your mutuals

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 5:12pm
Instagram Notes are like temporary away messages.
  • Instagram just added a new feature called "Notes," which lets you leave short text messages for your friends to see.
  • Your Instagram Notes will appear above your direct messages and last for a day, just like Stories.
  • When you tap and reply to someone's Note, it'll open a DM conversation with them.

Instagram is primarily a platform for sharing photos and videos. But there are also a few ways to post text messages — and with the launch of the new Notes feature, you've now got one more way to write out your thoughts.

Notes are short messages (up to 60 characters) that last for 24 hours, and stay pinned to the top of your mutuals' direct messaging menus. When you tap on and reply to someone's Note, it'll immediately open a DM conversation with that user.

Think of Notes as a cross between Instagram Stories and old AIM Away Messages. Here's how to post one.

How to post an Instagram Note

Notes are written and kept in your DM menu, the same page you use to send private messages to people.

1. Open Instagram and tap the Messenger logo in the top-right corner of your feed to open your direct messaging page.

2. You'll see a series of bubbles at the top of the direct messages page, each one representing a mutual of yours that's posted a Note. Tap the bubble that contains your profile picture.

Tap your Notes bubble.

3. Type out your Note and choose who gets to see it: Your mutuals (the users that you follow, and follow you back), or your Close Friends list.

4. When you're ready to post, tap Share in the top-right.

Each Note can be up to 60 characters long.

This will post your Note, letting all your mutuals or Close Friends see it for up to 24 hours.

You can post another Note — or delete the one you've already posted — by tapping the bubble with your picture again. Any new Note will replace the old one.

Quick tip: Instagram officially released Notes on December 13, but the feature hasn't rolled out to all users yet. If your Instagram app doesn't match up with these steps, make sure to update the app, and if it doesn't appear then, check back for the feature on another day.

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Gen Z employees are using new slang in the workplace and it's confusing their colleagues. Here's a breakdown of the jargon.

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 4:55pm
A screenshot from a TikTok by @wethepvblic.
  • Gen Z employees are learning what they should and shouldn't say at work amid a generational language barrier.
  • Words like "ick" and "slay" have found their way into office lingo for younger employees, reports say.
  • A human resources professional told Insider Gen Z should be mindful when bringing new sayings to the workplace. 

Chronically online Gen Zers are bringing the slang they've learned through social media to the office, which could make it tricky for other generations who are trying to work with — and understand — them.

Employees who are part of Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012 — are introducing coworkers to a variety of new phrases in the workplace. These days, the jargon circulates through TikTok and is starting to appear in more mainstream office settings, The Washington Post reported.

Zachary Timms, a 25-year-old project engineer, told Insider he's in a unique position as an elder Gen Zer. Although he's familiar with the new slang, he said he's less comfortable than his younger peers are using it.

"I don't think it's appropriate to use slang in the office. In a conservative field like engineering, I know that my older coworkers are less likely to get it, so I avoid using slang," Timms said.

Kevon Martin, assistant human resources manager for Hyatt Regency Houston, told Insider there's a time and a place for slang.

"Older colleagues can benefit from being more adaptable and relatable to their younger coworkers, so they know how to appeal to a younger consumer base," Martin told Insider. "However, Gen Z must also recognize you can't come to work and use whatever slang words you'd use with each other because it's not the same environment."

While some of these phrases originated from Black and LGBTQ+ creators, they are wide-ranging in their origins and references. Below is a list of phrases a Gen Z colleague might use and what they (usually) mean.


The term "ick" has long been used to describe something gross or unpleasant, but it has taken on a new meaning thanks to a current trend on TikTok. At first, "give me the ick" was used by Gen Zers to refer to traits or habits that turned them off from a person they're dating, but now many are sharing "icks" in all aspects of life.

In December, a group of Atlanta-based nurses were ridiculed publicly for sharing their "icks" about patients in a TikTok video. The caption read "Icks, Labor & Delivery (Edition)," and the video featured multiple nurses sharing things they didn't like about patients.

The employees appear to have since lost their jobs, based on an apology posted to Facebook by Emory Healthcare which referred to them as "former employees."

Stories like the former staffers of Emory Hospital may give young people pause when considering more casual behavior around the office. But Martin told Insider it can work if executed appropriately — and not disparagingly — in an environment of open communication between colleagues of multiple generations. 


Simply put, naur just means no or know. It functions as a more dramatic way of saying "no" or "know," and sounds like "no" with an Australian accent. 

@wethepvblic Who knew gen z internet lingo will be needed at the office one day?

Russian security teams are scrambling to hunt down Ukrainian spies as locals in captured towns direct fire and gather critical intel

Wed, 12/14/2022 - 4:50pm
Remains of a destroyed Russian tank in the outskirts of Myroliubivka, a liberated village in Kherson province.
  • Behind enemy lines, Ukrainian civilians are helping their country target Russian positions.
  • In Kherson, local activists used Telegram to send photos and coordinates for Russian troops.
  • "Our guys and girls are everywhere," a Ukrainian official told The Wall Street Journal.

In Crimea, a Ukrainian car repairman went out drinking with Russian officers and then later shared the details of their conversations and the location of invading troops with his own country's military. In occupied Kherson, a man who performed at weddings before the war said he had pivoted to planting explosives under Russian soldiers' vehicles. And outside the city's airport, a tech worker snapped photos of the enemy's vehicles, collecting intelligence that was then promptly used to blow them up.

These stories were shared Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, which reported that regular Ukrainians, using simple tools like smartphones and the messaging app Telegram, have proven very useful to their country's intelligence gathering processes. Ukrainian forces can act on the intel in under 15 minutes, putting fire on Russian positions.

"These people see Russian tanks moving, they see where troops go for dinner, where they party, where they do their laundry, and they share that information with us," a Ukrainian security official told the news outlet. "Without them our army would have no way of knowing."

Russian forces have felt the effects, and these everyday spies are becoming a priority for Russia. Its security and intelligence agents having raided the homes of suspected informants and imprisoned several on charges of espionage. The Journal said that few have been released, as civilians are rarely exchanged in Ukraine and Russia's prisoner swaps.

Russia has also tried to infiltrate the Telegram channels being used against them.

In one case detailed by the Journal, a man who was arrested by Russia's FSB tried days later to rejoin his online comrades,  who by that time were requiring each member of their group to post a daily video to prove their identity and that they were not under duress. His face swollen and his hand shaking as he held a cigarette, the man claimed the background, which resembled a detention facility, was his grandmother's home. He did not pass the test.

In a recent interview with the War on the Rocks podcast, Brig. Gen. Viktor Khorenko, the head of Ukraine's Special Operations Forces, credited local partisans with helping beat back Russia's invading force, saying that they have given Ukrainian forces an advantage over the invading Russian troops.

"We know the terrain. We know the people. Our people actually helped us a lot," Khorenko said during the interview.

When putting together teams to send to various places, "we try to find people and to integrate those people into those autonomous groups who know the local population and actually maybe were originally from those places, who have some relatives there, who have communication, who can be acting like a pathfinder," he explained. "That was really a big advantage."

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