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A potentially overlooked factor in Sweden's coronavirus strategy: more than half of households consist of just 1 person

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:28pm
A young family takes a walk in Poland.

Four generations of the Garg family live in a four-story building in Delhi, India. In May, Mukul Garg wrote in a blog post that his 57-year-old uncle had gotten the coronavirus, probably after exposure during a routine grocery run. From there, he told the BBC, 10 other family members caught it too, turning his home into a sick ward overnight.

Research shows, unsurprisingly, that household outbreaks like this fuel coronavirus transmission within communities.

"The role of households in overall societal transmission is quite significant," Yang Yang, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, told Business Insider.

It follows, then, that disparities in household sizes between countries could partially explain their differing outcomes.

Take Sweden, where more than half of households consist of just one person. Roughly one-third of Sweden's elderly population lives alone, compared to one-fifth of elderly residents in Greece or Spain. Sweden also has a lower proportion of multigenerational households than most other European countries, and one of the smallest average household sizes in Europe: about 2.2 people per home. 

Sweden drew attention and condemnation for its decision to keep primary schools, restaurants, bars, and gyms open throughout the pandemic. But its small households may give the virus fewer opportunities to spread there — which can slow transmission.

Indeed, experts say these demographic factors likely contributed to the stark decline in Sweden's coronavirus deaths since June.

A high attack rate among households Swedish director Ruben Ostlund at his home in Gothenburg on August 24, 2020.

Up to 40% of influenza transmission occurs within households, but researchers are still working to quantify the precise link between household size and the coronavirus' spread.

A February report from the World Health Organization suggested that up to 85% of China's coronavirus clusters were among families.

Christian Althaus, an epidemiologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, estimated that on average, half of coronavirus transmission may occur within households. 

Studies have indeed found that the coronavirus' secondary attack rate among households could be as high as 50%. Other research, however, suggests that attack rate could be closer to 20% within households (relative to 6% among the general public). 

But rates of household spread still depend on how much mingling happens outside the home, Yang said. People need to interact in public for community transmission to occur.

"Kids mix in school, probably bring [the virus] home, and then adults bring it to the workplace," he said.

Some countries have effectively limited contact between household members to contain their outbreaks, though. In China, for instance, people with coronavirus cases that didn't require hospitalization were treated at quarantine centers to keep them from infecting their families.

"In some countries, they were able to do this isolation or quarantine away from home," Yang said. "That certainly contributed a lot to the total control of the transmission."

Overcrowding raises the risk of transmission  The Peres Pezarkar family inside their house on September 18, 2020, in Mumbai, India.

The more often people interact inside a home, the higher the risk of household transmission. The Garg family, for instance, ate meals together and frequently played group games like hopscotch and freeze tag — so their chances of passing the virus to one another were probably high. 

For that reason, Yang's research indicates that household crowding — a measure of the number of people per room inside a home — could be a stronger driver of coronavirus transmission than the number of people inside a home.

Indeed, a Wall Street Journal analysis found in June that US counties with high rates of household crowding accounted for a disproportionate share of coronavirus cases.

In India, where the Garg family lives, the average household size is around five people, according to Census data — yet only 5% of Indian homes have five or more rooms. The nation currently has the world's second-largest coronavirus case total.

The pattern has been observed on a local level as well: A June analysis found that California neighborhoods with the worst coronavirus outbreaks had three times the rate of crowding in households compared to neighborhoods that were largely spared. In New York City, too, ZIP codes in which rental units had more than one occupant per room recorded higher rates of emergency-room visits for "influenza-like illnesses" in March, according to one analysis. (That description is how many COVID-19 cases were recorded at that time.) 

Swedish homes aren't as spacious as those in the US: The average home in Sweden contains 1.7 rooms per person compared around 2.4 rooms per person in the US. But Swedish homes are still roomier than those in Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, which rank among the top 10 nations with the largest coronavirus outbreaks. The average home in those countries has roughly one room per person.

Notably, one of the populations hit hardest in the Swedish outbreak has been Somali immigrants, many of whom live in crowded, multigenerational households. The other particularly vulnerable group has been nursing-home residents, who also spend their days in close contact under one roof.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon's Music Unlimited streaming service is now only $1 for 4 months as an early Prime Day deal

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:21pm

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 will be held on October 13 and 14. The two-day sales event will include discounts on a variety of products, and Amazon has already launched a few early promotions, including a special deal on Music Unlimited.

Right now, Prime members can get four months of Music Unlimited for just $1. The deal is only available for new Music Unlimited subscribers. Following the four month discount, members can continue to use Music Unlimited for the regular cost of $8 a month. 

Amazon boasts that it has 60 million songs on Music Unlimited, which is a huge upgrade over the two million songs that the company offers to all Prime members through its free Prime Music service. 60 million songs is the same claim that Apple makes for its $10 Apple Music streaming service, while Spotify is estimated to have over 50 million songs, according to Business of Apps

If you're not a Prime member, Music Unlimited currently costs $10 a month, which is the same price as Spotify's premium plan. For detailed thoughts on the service, you can read our full review of Amazon Music Unlimited here

 

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the stock's price is high but he thinks the company will be worth more in 5 years

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:11pm
Elon Musk speaks during the Satellite 2020 at the Washington Convention Center on March 9, 2020, in Washington, DC.
  • Elon Musk told The New York Times that Tesla's stock price is high, but he thinks the electric-vehicle company will be "worth more than this" in five years. 
  • "If you ask me, do I think if Tesla will be worth more than this in five years? I think the answer is yes," the Tesla CEO said in a Monday episode of the Times' Sway podcast.
  • Musk also addressed Tesla's stock pullback after last week's "battery day" failed to meet Wall Street's expectations. 
  • "My premise is never to try to convince people why they should invest in Tesla. Sell your stock, I don't care," he said.

Elon Musk said that Tesla's valuation is high but will be worth more in five years from now, on an episode of The New York Times' Sway podcast released on Monday. 

"I think some critical mass of the market has concluded that Tesla will win, I guess. I mean I've gone on record already saying I think the stock price is a bit high, and that was well before the current level," the Tesla CEO said. "But also if you ask me, do I think if Tesla will be worth more than this in five years? I think the answer is yes."

Tesla is trading 760% higher than it was 12 months ago. The stock is up roughly 400% year-to-date. It currently has a market capitalization of over $380.2 billion — larger than Ford, GM, and Fiat combined. 

Read more:'Classic signs of euphoric sentiment': Famed economist David Rosenberg warns that Snowflake-led IPO mania is inflating a market bubble that could soon pop

Shares of the electric-vehicle company have been sensitive to Musk's public comments. In May, his tweet that the stock was "too high" drove the share price down as much as 12%.

Musk also commented on what some traders saw as a less-than-exciting "battery day" last week. Shares fell as much as 9% last Wednesday when Tesla revealed its next-generation battery cell technology won't be as cost-efficient as some initially thought.

"The cells we're talking about— we have produced many of them. We have had cars driving with those cells since May. My premise is never to try to convince people why they should invest in Tesla. Sell your stock, I don't care," Musk said.

The electric-vehicle company rose as much as 5% during Monday trading hours. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Watch Mercedes-Benz's 'Avatar'-inspired concept car drive without a steering wheel in a new testing video

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:09pm
Mercedes-Benz released driving footage of the otherworldly Vision AVTR concept car on Saturday.
  • Mercedes-Benz released driving footage of its futuristic "Vision AVTR" concept car on Saturday. 
  • Mercedes got its inspiration for the car from the film "Avatar" and aimed to develop a "completely new interaction between human, machine and nature." 
  • The car has no steering wheel and can "crab walk" diagonally.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Back in January, before the pandemic canceled auto shows and forced new-car reveals to go virtual, Mercedes-Benz showed off a bizarre, futuristic concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now, there's some footage of the car actually driving. 

The concept is called the Vision AVTR, and Mercedes debuted the otherworldly car in partnership with the "Avatar" films. The idea behind the vehicle, Mercedes said, was to create a "completely new interaction between human, machine and nature." 

Instead of a steering wheel, the concept sports a "multifunctional control element" on the center tunnel that drivers operate with one hand. "By placing the hand on the control unit, the interior comes to life and the vehicle recognizes the driver by [their] heartbeat and breathing," Mercedes said. 

Mercedes aimed to give the Vision AVTR a more organic design than vehicles on the road today, and included 33 "bionic flaps" on the car's rear that look like reptile scales. 

Although a vehicle allowing "human and machine to merge," as Mercedes describes it, is probably a long way away, the Vision AVTR has some interesting powertrain elements that could possibly make their way into production vehicles. For instance, the concept boasts four-wheel steering that allows it to drive diagonally in a "crab walk" — something that'll also be available on the new GMC Hummer EV

See the Vision AVTR in action below:

 

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Workers say major retailers suppress news of workplace COVID-19 cases, and the agency meant to help workers and customers is powerless to protect them

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 3:50pm
A REI employee delivers a curbside order to a customer.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has upended life for many retail workers, who risk catching or spreading the virus as frontline workers.
  • Compounding those fears are "gag orders" from employers, which require employees to stay silent.
  • While anxieties over the coronavirus remain top of mind for frontline workers, retail employees feel they have little recourse when workplaces stifle discussion of COVID-19 cases.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency meant to protect workers from unsafe work conditions, is powerless to take action against these "gag" rules because they are often completely legal.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Caleb Lawson had 24 hours to make a decision: come back to work at REI and put his partner's health at risk or quit.

This was in June, when his REI store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was allowing shoppers back inside for the first time since the coronavirus caused mass retail closures across the country. Lawson said he was concerned about the lack of updated protocols and the prioritization of sales over safety.

"I didn't see the strength of management in making sure employees were safe," Lawson told Business Insider in an interview. "The entire conversation was completely based around welcoming customers back and getting the store back off the ground." 

Within that 24-hour window, Lawson resigned.

About a month later, employees at the Grand Rapids REI found out that a colleague had tested positive for COVID-19. The news did not come from management.

On July 6, one of Lawson's former coworkers alerted the retail staff through a group chat that he had tested positive for COVID-19 on July 2, according The New York Times. The employee said he had been asked by REI managers not to tell his coworkers about the positive test, according to messages reviewed by The Times. The store was closed on July 3 for an investigation into "potential" COVID-19 exposure, but managers determined on that day there was no exposure. The store reopened on July 5, and managers didn't tell workers about the positive test until July 9.

"It took a week for management to actually acknowledge that there had been a positive case, and it only happened because so many of us were pushing and asking about it and calling HR," Lawson said.

A spokesperson for REI told Business Insider in an email, "The positive case at our Grand Rapids store occurred before the co-op's protocol update."

Lawson said he worried that the silencing tactics could create unsafe conditions for those still working at the store. So the former REI employee filed a complaint with MIOSHA, Michigan's branch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"An employee tested positive for COVID-19, and the rest of the team was not notified and the store remained open.  The employer claimed there was 'no exposure,'" Lawson wrote in his complaint. "Additionally, the employer instructed the positive employee to not tell any coworkers or post anything on social media about their positive test. This put the team and the local community at serious risk for the spread of the coronavirus."

Through OSHA, workers like Lawson are able to file anonymous complaints about working conditions that could be unsafe. OSHA then conducts investigations into complaints. The agency was established under the umbrella of the US Department of Labor in 1970 to protect workers and set national standards for working conditions. 

"OSHA is committed to protecting America's workers during the pandemic and has been working around the clock to that end," an OSHA spokesperson told Business Insider. "As of September 22, OSHA inspections alone have helped ensure more than 615,000 workers are protected from COVID-19."

OSHA later clarified that 615,000 "represents the number of workers who were covered during each inspection conducted since Feb. 1, 2020, and thus removed from hazards."

But in Lawson's case, MIOSHA told REI it would be completing the investigation "off-site." The agency asked REI to "self-audit" to complete the investigation.

Lawson's experience reporting a pandemic-related workplace safety issue highlights a feeling among retail workers that they are on their own when it comes to fighting "gag" orders and staying safe during the pandemic.

Workplace gag rules, which cropped up as retailers began reopening this summer, prohibit or discourage workers from speaking with one another about positive COVID-19 diagnoses. Employers often cite healthcare-privacy laws in their rationale, giving employees little recourse. This murky legal and safety landscape has created a complicated workplace environment for retail employees working during the pandemic.

Retail workers feel more unsafe than ever during the pandemic and can't rely on OSHA for protection

Complaints like Lawson's are widespread in the retail workplace during COVID-19. Employees at McDonald's, Target, and Amazon have reported that their companies told them to stay mum regarding positive COVID-19 cases, according to Bloomberg.

Walmart employees worked with the labor activist group United for Respect to create their own COVID-19 tracker and found that 22 workers have died from COVID-19 so far. Despite those numbers, workers at some stores have alleged that they have been "coached" by management to never discuss positive cases, a representative for the group said. 

At a Georgia CVS, after a pharmacy employee contracted COVID-19, the CVS district leader instructed employees not to tell patients that their medications had been filled by someone who tested positive for the virus, according to a leaked email shared with Business Insider.

Labor unions have slammed OSHA for its response to COVID-19. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations — the largest union in the US — sued OSHA over its failure to issue emergency workplace-safety rules.

A court dismissed the suit in June, according to Safety and Health magazine. An OSHA spokesperson told Business Insider that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit "unanimously ruled that OSHA had reasonably determined that an emergency temporary standard is not necessary at this time."

On September 14, The New York Times editorial board said that such emergency rules could have prevented "many needless deaths in warehouses, grocery stores, and meatpacking plants."

"OSHA has preexisting requirements and standards that not only remain in place and enforceable, but also apply to protecting workers from the coronavirus," an OSHA spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. "These include conducting hazard assessments, ensuring sanitation and cleanliness, providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and requiring training and education, as well as the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)."

The US Department of Labor's headquarters in Washington, DC.

OSHA's website says that it "prohibits employers" from firing employees for "raising workplace safety and health concerns related to COVID-19."

But OSHA "does not require employers to notify other employees if one of their coworkers gets COVID-19." Instead, it recommends that employers take "appropriate steps" to protect workers from outbreaks. In the event of a "confirmed case," the administration's website advises measures like sanitizing work environments, notifying employees, and establishing screening tests for workers. But these measures are largely in the hands of the businesses to implement. 

"To the extent that employers become aware that a person with COVID-19 has been in the workplace, employers can consider how best to identify workers who have been exposed, how to notify them of such exposure, and what leave and other workplace policies can be used to facilitate appropriate self-isolation and monitoring," an OSHA spokesperson told Business Insider. "Employers should work with their state/local/tribal/territorial health department on issues related to contact tracing and notification."

Both shoppers and employees have little legal recourse in terms of coronavirus-related negligence cases, Remington Gregg, a lawyer for the consumer-rights group Public Citizen, said.

A plaintiff in a coronavirus-related negligence case would have to do more than just prove that a business "failed to take reasonable precautions." Gregg said a negligence case would hinge on the plaintiff — whether they be a consumer or a worker — proving that this "failure to take reasonable action directly led to your injury."

"That's really tricky," Gregg said. "If you're at a Target, you're probably also going to other places too. Then the question is, where else did you go? And the business has a really good defense to say you did not meet the burden of proving causation."

Some retailers are going above and beyond to throw a wrench in such negligence cases. The Sacramento Bee reported that local businesses have begun private investigations to prove sick employees contracted the virus outside work in response to a California law classifying COVID-19 as a workers' compensation injury. California law puts the burden of proving that a frontline worker didn't contract COVID-19 on the job on employers, allowing affected employees more access to workers' compensation.

Caleb Lawson's store in Michigan closed on July 3 after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. Retail stores might feel safe to shoppers, but experts are 'much more worried' about employees

Retailers have updated their stores with customers in mind during the pandemic, including mask mandates, one-way aisles, social distancing, and plexiglass dividers. These precautions allow shoppers to feel safer about entering an indoor space, where the virus spreads most easily, for a shorter amount of time. But employees are dealing with prolonged hours inside a store, which makes them more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.

"I'm much more worried about employees than I am about customers," Jeffrey Siegel, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto, told Business Insider.

Siegel said certain areas of retail stores put employees at higher risk. For example, shared employee bathrooms have "routes of transmission that might come from toilet flushing," he said. He also pointed to "break rooms, lunchrooms and types of environments where you can get episodic crowding."

While the shopping floor of a retail store might be revamped to focus on social distancing for customers, a break room where employees spend their breaks might not be. These conditions mean employees are assuming a certain amount of risk whenever they work.

"Every time you are in an environment where social distancing is difficult, then there's a risk of infection," Alvin Tran, a health-administration and policy professor at the University of New Haven, told Business Insider. "So if you are working in a retail store where there are a lot of customers, and it's very difficult for you as an employee to stay a certain distance from other people, then there is a risk."

This also makes contact tracing more complicated in the event that an employee tests positive for COVID-19.

In many cases, contact tracing is handled by local governments or agencies that are conducting the testing and rely on the memory of the patient, including where they've been and with whom they've interacted. A COVID-19-positive employee might have spent time in a break room alone and then left and reported no interaction. But the employee who entered the break room after them is still at risk for inhaling aerosols that contain the virus.

Additionally, agency contact tracing might take longer than a retailer feels comfortable with, so some retailers have stepped in to create their own contact-tracing protocols as well. The gag orders often stem from these contact-tracing efforts, as retailers say they want to keep employee health information private.

At the Grand Rapids REI, the store conducted its own contact tracing, but the findings highlighted how complicated the process can be. The company originally concluded that the employee did not have close contact with other employees, though days later, the company revised that conclusion and notified five employees of potential exposure. Later the company informed all employees of the potential exposure.

Tran said that as a matter of protocol, gag orders around COVID-19 cases are not inherently an issue because employers are right to establish protocols around contact tracing. But he also said employers should not be silencing employees to avoid causing concerns in the workplace.

"At this point, I would ask the retailer to be very clear as to why this gag order is being implemented," Tran said.

In the case of REI, the co-op identified "a need to clarify a portion of our contact tracing guidelines'' in its four-page response letter to MIOSHA's self-assessment request. (The response letter was provided to Business Insider by REI.)

MIOSHA replied with a letter saying the company's "response has been determined to be satisfactory. This complaint is considered closed."

REI told Business Insider the company updated its employee-notification procedures in mid-July.

"Under the updated policy, we communicate with all employees at a location, even if they are not directly exposed," it said. "We still can't share the names of employees diagnosed with COVID-19, but the employees themselves can share if they choose. To ensure employees understand our contact tracing process, a summary visual of our contact tracing action plan is next to our health screening station in all stores."

For Lawson, REI's updated pandemic protocols came too late. After quitting, he diverted his career path to seek out remote work that wouldn't put his partner's health at risk.

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A flight attendant was jailed in the UK for dealing drugs after she lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 3:46pm
"One of the terrible consequences of her offending is she will never work as a flight attendant again," Alexandra Dobre's lawyer said.
  • A former flight attendant in the UK was sentenced to prison for dealing drugs, the Stoke Sentinel reported.
  • The flight attendant, who was laid off during the coronavirus pandemic, was short on cash when a romantic partner recruited her to act as a courier.
  • Police found 81 baggies of cocaine at her home.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A former flight attendant in the United Kingdom was sentenced to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges that she dealt cocaine.

Alexandra Dobre moved to the UK from Romania three years ago to work as a flight attendant, the Stoke Sentinel reported. She was based at London's Luton airport, but it was not clear which airline she worked for. Budget carrier easyJet is headquartered at Luton, but several other budget and leisure carriers fly out of the airport.

Dobre was laid off from her airline due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mirror reported. She relocated to Stoke-on-Trent, where she met a man on a dating app. Short on cash, she agreed to act as a courier for the man, dropping off packages containing cocaine.

She was stopped by police on August 7, the Sentinel reported, and her home was searched. Police found 81 baggies of cocaine in a bedside table, in addition to six sealed bags. The 19.4 grams were worth as much as £2,610, or about $3,350.

"She lost her job in spring this year and lost her accommodation as a result of that. She was at a loose end over what to do next," Dobre's lawyer said, according to the Sentinel. "She was plainly acting under direction. One of the terrible consequences of her offending is she will never work as a flight attendant again. It's something she loved."

"She is not by nature criminally-minded. She's from a good family in Romania," Cliff added. "She knows her family will be absolutely mortified that she has found herself involved in something of this nature."

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12 best places to buy fake plants online to liven up your space with no maintenance

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 3:45pm

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

It's possible to have green decor flair without an ounce of high maintenance care. If you, like me, frequently buy plants to liven up your space with the best of intentions, only to have them die a few months later, perhaps it's time to embrace the faux plant trend.

Over the years I've invested in beautiful fresh orchids, low-maintenance snake plants and succulents, and even ambitiously tried out ferns and monstera plants. Despite my efforts at giving them proper sunlight, water, and tender care, they have all died. Some lasted a few months while others managed to thrive for a couple of years, but in the end, they all bit the dust. Let's face it — some of just do not have the green thumb. 

Fake plants used to mean shiny plastic and obviously fake leaves that would never pass for the real deal even from across the room, let alone up close. But these days, verdant dupes have gotten much better and many big retailers like Target, Wayfair, Pottery Barn, The Sill, and more sell a wide variety of artificial plants and flowers. Now it's easier than ever to create an indoor jungle oasis without the hassle of upkeep. 

From fiddle leaf fig trees to succulents, and arrowheads, try these artificial plants and say goodbye to ever needing to wonder if you remembered to water again.   

Here are the best places to buy fake plants online:

Updated 9/28: We added more product recommendations to this guide and added in Terrain as another great place to buy fake plants.

Amazon

Amazon has a hefty range of choices for just about anything you're looking for, and that includes fake plants and flowers. As an added bonus you can easily sort by material, size, where you want to put the plants, and more categories.

However, with so many options available from different brands, it can be easy to get plastic-y looking plants that won't fool anyone into thinking they are real. Just be sure to read reviews carefully and go with thoroughly vetted options because let's face it, when fake plants are bad they are bad.

Price: Starts at $0.01

Worth a look:

The Sill

If you're a live plant enthusiast, the Sill is likely already on your radar for their wide selection of living greenery that can be shipped right to your door. However, they're also an option for faux plants.

While The Sill doesn't have the biggest selection, and is a pricier option, their fakes draw praise for looking especially natural and for the lovely pots that come with the plants in a range of neutral color choices.

Price: Starts at $55

Worth a look:

Wayfair

Best known as an online retailer for reasonably priced furniture, Wayfair also dabbles in home decor needs. The brand has a large collection of artificial plants, flowers, trees, and even wreaths and hedges. 

While some are noticeably plastic-looking pieces best used for crafts, there are several options that serve as solid dupes for indoor greenery.   

Price: Starts at $14.99

Worth a look:

West Elm

Much like Pottery Barn, West Elm (which happens to be owned by the same parent company) sells pricey, but high-quality artificial plants and flowers.  Their collection of botanical decor allows you to bring a touch of nature into your space without any need for trying to find the right soil or fertilizer. 

Many of the plants come with beautifully designed pots and planters that give these decorative plants a truly upscale feel. 

Price: Starts at $10

Worth a look:

Home Depot

Sure, Home Depot may be the place you turn to help you grow a real garden for its tools, fertilizer, or even materials to build your own planters. But it can also be the place you go to get a lush indoor oasis without any of that work. 

Home Depot's artificial plants and flowers include options ranging from fake hedges and single flowers to potted trees and decorative hanging baskets. 

Price: Starts at $7.49

Worth a look:

Target

Target pairs the lush vibes of fake palm fronds and tropical plants with tasteful, neutral planters for a classic look. They feature plenty of options from potted artificial hyacinth and individual wisteria stems to large-scale banana plants and bamboo trees that are both realistic and long-lasting. 

Get creative with your stem arrangement and mix varieties, or pick out your own vases and planters to match your tastes.

Price: Starts at $5

Worth a look:

Pottery Barn

Furniture and home good store Pottery Barn is another excellent place to shop for faux foliage. While the plants and flowers aren't as cheap as some other options, these handcrafted beauties are some of the most real looking imposters available, and many include planters or vases that would look at home at a special event, like a wedding. Just be prepared to spend some money, particularly if you're opting for larger-size plants and trees. 

Pottery Barn also carries less standard artificial options, like cacti, foxglove, and even potted citrus trees. 

Price: Starts at $14.50

Worth a look:

Terrain

True to its name, Terrain has a variety of greenery, stems, and bouquets so you can deck out your space with all the faux you want. There are even floral arrangements broken down into specific items so you can purchase them all together and recreate them at home, and wire wreath bases do you can create centerpieces for special occasions. 

Price: Starts at $8

Worth a look:

Nearly Natural

As the name implies, Nearly Natural specializes in fake plants that look as natural as possible. Some Nearly Natural branded products can be found at other retailers like Home Depot and Amazon. But for a much larger selection of their plants, flowers, trees, and arrangements, you can buy directly from them. Their artificial faux-liage is crafted from silk for a realistic final product.  

Price: Starts at $36.99

Worth a look:

Artiplanto

While you won't find any flowers here, Artiplanto has gorgeous options for artificial potted plants and hanging plants. Even interior designers have been known to turn to them thanks to the chic look of these green decor options. Their elegant woven basket planters are an especially nice touch to liven up the aesthetic of any room, and baskets and planters are sold separately from the plants themselves. 

Price: Starts at $18

Worth a look:

Afloral

At Afloral, you'll find everything from silk plants to outdoor plants and fig trees, as well as wedding garlands and succulents. They also sell silk flowers, artificial leaves, and live plants, too. Buy just the plants, or opt for plants and flowers that come with decorative planters — these would especially make for lovely arrangements for weddings or special occasions. 

Price: Starts at $4

Worth a look:

IKEA

The DIY Swedish furniture giant sells more than just tables and dressers in pieces. Add a touch of nature to your home with the retailer's lifelike artificial flowers and plants. Ikea offers some of the most affordable options out there, with many that include pots and planters still coming in under $10.

Price: Starts at $1.99

Worth a look:

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A London mansion designed to look like 2 glowing glass cubes is asking $64 million. Look inside the modernist home that has 3 underground levels and a car stacker.

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 3:44pm
The home is tucked away in an alleyway in Mayfair, one of London's most affluent neighborhoods.
  • A glass-walled London mansion has hit the market for £50 million, or about $64 million, Beckie Strum reports for Mansion Global.
  • The home also being offered as two separate adjoining homes for £25 million — or about $32 million — each. 
  • The 13,583-square-foot mansion includes two rooftop terraces, a four-vehicle car-stacking system, and a 27-foot underground swimming pool.
  • It has seven levels — and three of them are underground. 
  • At night, the house's frosted glass walls give the impression that it glows.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A modernist mansion in London has hit the market for £50 million, or about $64 million, Beckie Strum reported for Mansion Global.

It's the most expensive new-build home ever built in the city's Mayfair district, Beauchamp Estates, the brokerage that holds the listing alongside Central Estates, told Business Insider.

The newly built home is mere steps from bustling Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus, yet it maintains peace and privacy thanks to its secluded location in an alleyway called the Down Street Mews, according to the listing

The $64 million glass-walled mansion sprawls across 13,583 square feet and has a whopping seven levels — and three of those are underground. The home has eight bedrooms, two rooftop terraces, a four-vehicle car-stacker, and a 27-foot underground swimming pool. With the lights on at night, the frosted glass walls give the home the appearance that it glows, the listing notes.

Take a look inside the London home.

An eight-bedroom mansion in London has hit the market for £50 million, or about $64 million.

As a single home, it's the most expensive new-build home ever built in the city's Mayfair district, according to Beauchamp Estates, which is listing the property along with Central Estates.

Mayfair is an upscale neighborhood that borders Hyde Park. Mayfair, London.

It's steps from bustling Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus.

But the home maintains its privacy thanks to its secluded location in Down Street Mews.

A mews — the British term for what was once a row of carriage houses and stables — is today a sought-after residential area known for the privacy and quiet it offers.

The London mansion spans 13,583 square feet that's spread across seven levels.

Four floors are aboveground and the other three are underground.

The architect, Richard McCarthy, designed the home to resemble two glass boxes separated by a courtyard. With the lights on at night, the frosted glass walls give the impression that the house glows.

The home was inspired by La Maison de Verre in Paris, as well as Japanese architectural screens. 

The home's unique floor plan means that the living areas and kitchen sit on the top floor of the home.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

Attached to the kitchen is a "winter garden" seating area that sits directly underneath a skylight.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

The kitchen flows into the dining area.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

The level below is occupied by two family rooms ...

Source: Beauchamp Estates

... a study ...

Source: Beauchamp Estates

... and one of the bedrooms.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

The master suite sits on the first floor above ground level.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

Its white marble en-suite bathroom features a luxurious soaking tub ...

Source: Beauchamp Estates

... and a walk-in rain shower.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

A smaller bedroom sits on the same level as the master suite.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

Three more bedrooms occupy the ground floor.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

A courtyard with a living foliage wall separates the two glass cubes of the home.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

Then it's down to the subterranean levels. A passenger lift goes to all seven floors.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

Just below ground level is the lower ground floor, where you'll find two separate fitness areas.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

There's also a game room.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

Below that is the first basement level, which is home to the nearly 27-foot swimming pool and spa area.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

The spa includes multiple steam and sauna rooms, a hammam, and an ice shower.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

The home descends even deeper into the ground with a second basement level, which has a home cinema.

Source: Beauchamp Estates

It may sit in the center of London, but the home has no shortage of parking. It comes with a German-built four-vehicle car stacking system.

The car stacker can be accessed via a remote fob and includes a 360-degree CCTV camera and sensors for added security.

Gary Mesnick, director of Central Estates, which shares the listing with Beauchamp Estates, told Mansion Global that the coronavirus pandemic has made detached homes in London even more coveted.

"In the £20 million-plus ultra-prime marketplace, we have found that COVID-19 has been a 'game changer," Mesnick said, adding that buyers are "now choosing houses where they can completely control access and their living environment, in preference to apartment buildings where there are the issues of shared access, visitors they don't know and staff meeting lots of people."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Workhorse surges 16% after President Trump views Lordstown's EV pickup Endurance at the White House

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 3:37pm
The Endurance.
  • Workhorse surged 16% on Monday after it was reported that President Trump viewed the Lordstown Motors 2021 Endurance pick-up truck on the South Lawn at the White House.
  • Workhorse owns a 10% equity stake in Lordstown Motors, which is targeting a 2021 launch of its electric pick-up truck.
  • DiamondPeak Holdings also jumped 12% on the news, as the SPAC has previously announced that it will merge with Lordstown Motors, bringing the company public once again after Workhorse spun it off in 2019.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump's viewing of the 2021 Endurance electric pick-up truck produced by Lordstown Motors spurred a 16% jump in shares of Workhorse.

Workhorse owns a 10% equity stake in Lordstown, which was spun off as its own independent company from Workhorse in 2019.

Eamon Javers of CNBC tweeted on Monday, "Now pool reporters have been brought out to the South Lawn, where they send this report: 'The president was already on the South Lawn when we arrived. He is looking at a Lordstown Motors 2021 endurance truck." The White House subsequently published remarks and video of the company's visit. 

Read More:  UBS: Buy these 23 stocks across major themes that are poised to outperform amid uncertainty and conflicting signals in the market 

Lordstown is targeting a 2021 launch of the Endurance pick-up truck, and is planning to go public with a SPAC later this year. 

Shares of DiamondPeak Holdings also jumped on the news, by as much as 15% in Monday trading. The company said it would acquire Ohio-based Lordstown in August.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Police say they confiscated 10 guns from former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale's home after his wife said he hits her, showed them bruises

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 3:34pm
Brad Parscale, speaking at a rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Police confiscated 10 guns from former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale's home, according to a police report obtained by Business Insider.
  • The police arrived at Parscale's Florida residence responding to a 911 call from his wife, who was found bruised and stated he threatened to attempt suicide, the report said.
  • "When I asked how she received the bruising, Candace Parscale [sic] stated Brad Parscale hits her," one responding officer wrote in the report.
  • Parscale was involuntarily hospitalized on Sunday following the incident.
  • He was ousted as Trump's 2020 reelection campaign manager in July.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Police officers have confiscated 10 guns from former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale's Florida home, following a 911 call by his wife, Candice, who stated he pulled out a firearm and threatened to harm himself on Sunday afternoon, according to a police report obtained by Business Insider on Monday. 

Fort Lauderdale police arrived at the couple's $2.4 million residence in the upscale Seven Isles neighborhood where he dismissed multiple officers' orders to leave his home, per the police report.

Brad eventually complied and a police officer's body cam footage shows a SWAT officer tackling the former Trump aide, who is 6-foot-8, with what the police report described as a "double leg take down." Brad was found shirtless with a beer in his hand, slurring his speech and appeared to be intoxicated, according to the report.

He was taken into custody at the Broward Health Medical Center under the Baker Act, which authorizes involuntary hospitalization of those considered a threat to themselves or others for psychiatric evaluation.

Candice told officers that her husband had post-traumatic stress disorder and in recent weeks had turned violent, showing them bruises on her arms and face, which she said she got days earlier during a previous altercation, according to the report.

"While speaking with Candace Parscale [sic] I noticed several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead," one responding officer wrote in the report. "When I asked how she received the bruising, Candace Parscale stated Brad Parscale hits her."

Another officer noted that Candice had "several bruises on both of her arms as well as scratches and bruising on her face."

Brad was demoted as Trump's 2020 reelection manager in July after a handful of controversies, including inflating rallygoer numbers ahead of a campaign event in Tulsa, Okla., that had low attendance. He has since stayed on the team as an adviser.

"Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we all love him," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, said in a statement to Business Insider. "We are ready to support him and his family in any way possible."

Murtaugh also blamed Democrats and "disgruntled RINOs" for the incident.

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 things in tech you need to know today

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 2:53am
Amazon workers protesting the company's policies during the coronavirus pandemic on May 1 in Hawthorne, California.

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Monday. Sign up here to get this email in your inbox every morning.

  1. TikTok's US ban was temporarily blocked by a US judge in a blow to the Trump administration. The specifics of the order remained sealed by the judge and will be reviewed on Monday to determine if they will be made public.
  2. An anonymous Facebook executive said conservatives' success on the platform is due to having content that is "always more engaging," according to a Politico report. Politico reported that the executive, who identifies as a "center-left progressive" said the right's focus on "nation, protection, the other, anger, fear" has always been an effective tactic, pointing to the 1930s.
  3. Google parent Alphabet settled a shareholder lawsuit that accused the company of mishandling sexual harassment claims. The settlement eliminates forced arbitration for employees, and limits the use of non-disclosure agreements, and the firm has also agreed to spend $310 million on corporate diversity programs over the next decade.
  4. Amazon-backed food delivery firm Deliveroo is holding early discussions about an IPO, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to Business Insider. Deliveroo was last officially valued at $2 billion, and saw a boom in business during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers choose to order food to their homes.
  5. Amazon faces growing union pressure in Europe, as labor activist warehouse workers swapped tactics over the weekend on forcing change at the retail giant. The meeting comes after French unions successfully forced Amazon to suspend its operations in France this summer.
  6. Apple temporarily scrapped its controversial 30% App Store fee for Facebook's new online events feature. Apple is letting Facebook temporarily process payments for its online events feature, meaning event hosts won't be subject to Apple's fee.
  7. Facebook is launching its "oversight board" in October, a pseudo-independent group that can review — and overrule — the company's decisions on difficult content moderation cases. Julie Owono, an inaugural board member, told Business Insider she hopes the board can help resolve "significant questions" about Facebook's policies and help it focus on areas of the world it has neglected.
  8. TikTok executives was grilled by lawmakers in the UK and Australia over its Chinese roots, partly thanks to President Trump's campaign against the app. TikTok's security chief, Roland Cloutier, told Australian senators that the app does not share code with its domestic Chinese sister app, Douyin.
  9. Elon Musk voiced his discontent on Twitter that OpenAI — the AI research firm he helped found — is exclusively licensing its famous natural-language software GPT-3 to Microsoft. "This does seem like the opposite of open. OpenAI is essentially captured by Microsoft," Musk tweeted.
  10. Amazon's new flying home drone has prompted horrified responses about the potential for increased Big Tech surveillance. UK-based privacy advocacy group Big Brother Watch described the drone as "arguably Amazon's most chilling surveillance product yet."

Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for "Business Insider" in your Alexa's flash briefing settings.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon Prime Day will be two days this year, on October 13 and October 14

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 1:02am
A fleet of Amazon Prime delivery vans were seen driving along I-90 outside Chicago on March 21, 2020.
  • Amazon will hold its Prime Day on October 13 and October 14 this year.
  • The online retail giant's Prime Day traditionally occurs in mid-July.
  • This year, Prime Day was pushed back thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

Amazon is splitting Prime Day between October 13 and 14 this year.

The online retail giant announced its new dates for Prime Day a few months after the coronavirus pandemic postponed the online retailer's traditional summer sales event.

Amazon Prime Day is normally held around July 15. But in July, leaked emails from Amazon employees revealed that the date would be delayed because of the pandemic. Initially, the company planned to give October 5 as a "placeholder" date for the postponed sales event. 

"In the midst of an unprecedented year, we're committed to making this the most successful Prime Day ever for our small businesses and [are] excited for Prime members worldwide to discover new ways to support local entrepreneurs and save big on everything they need and love," Amazon's CEO of Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke, said in a statement. "This year's Prime Day is the perfect opportunity for Prime members to get their holiday shopping done early from the comfort of their homes." 

The delayed Prime Day date is just the latest example of retailers getting creative to combat the effects of the pandemic. A growing number of retailers, including Target and Nordstrom, have said that they will shift the timing of their holiday promotions to as early as Halloween to avoid the usual rush in November and December. Retail industry insiders are also currently attempting to establish a new "10.10" holiday on October 10 to encourage online shopping.

Prime Day's late date in autumn may finally sound the death knell for Black Friday. The shopping day has been waning in importance for years due to the rise of Prime Day and Cyber Monday. With Amazon's signature sales event occuring so late in autumn and retailers stretching out holiday sales to attract consumers, the significance of the day after Thanksgiving is likely to take a hit in 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump has lost more than $315 million on his golf courses over the last 20 years, bombshell report finds

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 12:31am
  • President Donald Trump has lost $315.6 million since 2000 from the 15 golf courses he owns in the US, Scotland, and Ireland, The New York Times found in a bombshell report published Sunday. 
  • Trump bought his National Doral golf resort in Miami for $150 million in 2012 and, over the next six years, lost $162.3 million on the property, according to Trump's tax documents obtained by The Times. 
  • The president's three European golf courses have reported a total of $63.6 million in losses. 
  • The losses that Trump has experienced at his golf courses aren't an anomaly — The Times investigation found the president has lost millions of dollars at nearly all of his major businesses. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump has lost $315.6 million since 2000 from the 15 golf courses he owns in the US, Scotland, and Ireland, The New York Times reported Sunday in an in-depth investigation into Trump's tax returns. 

Trump's largest golf resort, Trump National Doral in Miami, has an $125 million mortgage due in three years. Trump bought Doral for $150 million in 2012 and, over the next six years, lost $162.3 million on the property, according to Trump's tax documents obtained by The Times. 

The president's three European golf courses have reported a total of $63.6 million in losses. 

But Trump has also seen revenue at his golf courses and other properties jump since he launched his presidential bid in 2015. This has raised a host of questions about conflicts of interest between the president's businesses and his role as commander-in-chief. 

Following a membership spike beginning in 2015 at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, the president took $26 million out of the resort between 2015 and 2018 — almost three times what he took in the previous two years. This came as Trump doubled membership initiation fees at the resort — which he nicknamed the "winter White House" — when he took office in January 2017. 

Last year, Trump floated holding the 2020 Group of 7 Summit at his Doral golf resort. He backtracked after members of his own party pushed back on the move, raising legal concerns about the president leveraging his office for profit.

The New York attorney general is currently investigating whether Trump illegally inflated the value of the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles in order to boost his tax deductions. 

The Times noted that the general and administrative business expenses Trump claimed for his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, was five times higher in 2017 than it was in 2016. No reason was given for the dramatic spike in expenses, which Trump used to reduce his taxable income. 

The losses that Trump has experienced at his golf courses aren't an anomaly — The Times investigation found the president has lost millions of dollars at nearly all of his major businesses. 

The Times' bombshell report includes a slew of previously unreported information about the president's finances and taxes. Among these revelations are that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and another $750 in 2017.

The real estate mogul got a $72.9 million tax refund from the federal government in 2010 after claiming massive losses, but this refund is now the subject of an elongated IRS audit. If Trump's claimed losses are deemed illegitimate, he could owe the IRS more than $100 million, The Times reported.

On top of that, Trump is personally responsible for more than $300 million in loans due in the next four years.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale hospitalized after threatening to harm himself, Fort Lauderdale police say

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 10:07pm
Brad Parscale, campaign manager for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks before a rally at the target center on October 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Ex-Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale was hospitalized Sunday after threatening suicide, Fort Lauderdale police said.
  • Parscale's wife called the police shortly before 4 p.m. local time.
  • Parscale, who was the only person inside the home at the time, "had access to multiple firearms inside the residence and was threatening to harm himself," according to the statement from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
  • According to the statement, officers made contact with him, "developed a rapport, and safely negotiated for him to exit the home."
  • Parscale was taken to the Broward Health Medical Center for a Baker Act, a Florida law aimed "to provide emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people who are impaired because of their mental illness," according to the University of Florida Health website.
  • Parscale was removed as Trump's campaign manager in July and was replaced by then-deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien. He remained on the campaign as a senior advisor.
  • Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement to Business Insider that the members of the campaign are "ready to support him and his family in any way possible."
  • Sign up here for our free live event Tuesday to get the inside track on the race for the White House with Business Insider's DC Bureau.

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale was taken to the hospital after attempting suicide on Sunday, Fort Lauderdale police said.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said in a statement to Business Insider that officers responded to Parscale's home shortly before 4 pm local time after his wife called the police.

Parscale, who was the only person inside the home at the time, "had access to multiple firearms inside the residence and was threatening to harm himself," according to the statement.

"Officers made contact with the male, developed a rapport, and safely negotiated for him to exit the home," the department said in the statement. "The male was detained without injury and transported to Broward Health Medical Center for a Baker Act."

The Baker Act, otherwise known as the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, is a Florida law aimed "to provide emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people who are impaired because of their mental illness," according to the University of Florida Health website.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, a Democrat, told the Sun Sentinel that he received a text message notifying him that there was a SWAT team at Parscale's home.

"Politics aside, this fellow obviously suffers from emotional distress," Trantalis told the Sun Sentinel. " ... I'm glad he didn't do any harm to himself or others I commend our SWAT team for being able to negotiate a peaceful ending to this."

Parscale was ousted from his position as Trump's reelection campaign manager in July and was replaced by then-deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien. He remained on the campaign as a senior advisor.

"Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we all love him," Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement to Business Insider. "We are ready to support him and his family in any way possible."'

Murtaugh also blamed Democrats and "disgruntled RINOs" for the incident. 

This story is breaking. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

TikTok download ban temporarily blocked by US judge in a blow to the Trump administration

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 8:41pm
  • A federal judge on Sunday ruled in favor of TikTok, blocking the Trump administration's temporary download ban set to take place tonight at 11:59 p.m.
  • TikTok has been a target of the Trump administration since July, and last month, the president signed a pair of executive orders against the app and its Chinese owner, ByteDance, leading to the download ban.
  • The president said last week that a deal between ByteDance and US-based Oracle and Walmart had his "blessing," but the deal has been muddled due to conflicting statements from the involved companies.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A federal judge on Sunday ruled against the Trump administration in granting TikTok an injunction against a temporary download ban that was set to take place tonight at 11:59 p.m. 

The specifics of the order remained sealed by the judge and will be reviewed on Monday to determine if they will be made public.

"We're pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban," TikTok said in a statement following the ruling. "We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees.

"At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the President gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement," the company added.

On Wednesday, TikTok filed for the preliminary injunction against the Justice Department order, which would ban downloads of the TikTok app in the US beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. As Business Insider's Paige Leskin previously reported, lawyers for TikTok filed the request as part of TikTok's lawsuit against the US government, which challenges the legality of the president's proposed ban.

In the complaint, lawyers for the company argued Trump's order is unconstitutional, citing violations to their First Amendment and due process rights. The ban had been set to go into place last week, although the Department of Commerce previously announced the ban had been extended due to "recent positive developments" concerning the app's sale.

During the Sunday morning dial-in hearing, lawyers for TikTok argued the download ban was "arbitrary and capricious" and should be halted until a final ruling until was made in the company's entire lawsuit against the Trump administration, as The Verge reported Sunday.

The deal, announced last week, would involve US companies Oracle and Walmart and has been muddled in confusion since with conflicting statements over who will ultimately have control over the app. Both China and the US have hinted they could block the deal.

While Trump initially said he gave the deal his "blessing," he said in a Monday interview on Fox News that he would not support the deal unless Oracle and Walmart had "total control" over the social media platform, as Business Insider previously reported. Oracle's deal was announced mere hours after a bid from Microsoft, an early frontrunner to acquire TikTok, was rejected by ByteDance.

The download wouldn't have prevented existing users from using the app, but it would've prohibited new downloads of TikTok on the Apple App Store and Google Play store. TikTok would also have been prevented from releasing updates to the app. The app would be banned entirely from the US beginning on November 12, the Commerce Department previously announced. 

A group of three TikTok creators filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration's ban, but a judge in Pennsylvania denied their request this weekend for a temporary injunction, arguing the download ban won't cause "immediate, irreparable harm" since the creators would still be able to post to the app's existing userbase, The Verge reported.

The ruling in favor of TikTok's injunction request delivers a blow to Trump's months-long plans to ban the app in the US. In July, Trump first suggested he might ban the app, citing concerns about its Chinese ownership. TikTok has repeatedly denied that it shares US user data with the Chinese government, despite baseless claims from Trump's administration. In August, the president signed two executive orders targeting TikTok, leading to the Commerce Department's September 18 announcement about the download ban.

Still, criticism of TikTok has been bipartisan. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has likewise called for a US company to assume ownership of the video-based social platform.

In December 2019, the US military banned the app from government-owned devices. In July, the campaign of Democratic nominee Joe Biden asked its staff to delete the application from their phones

The judge's Sunday ruling impacts TikTok and does not appear to affect the Commerce Department's download ban on WeChat, the messaging app used by millions in the US. A federal judge in California on September 20 issued a preliminary injunction against the download ban on WeChat, which the Commerce Department said it planned to challenge.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sports-betting companies are ramping up deals with the return of live sporting events

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 8:26pm

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for September 28. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at ljohnson@businessinsider.com.

Today's news: Sports betting gets steam from return of live sports, Apple temporarily cuts fees for Facebook, and the marketing leaders behind Oracle's cloud push.

A recent wave of sports media and betting tie-ups shows what the sectors hope to gain from one another — and their reservations about getting too closeRead the full story here. Apple is temporarily scrapping its controversial 30% App Store fee for Facebook's new online events featureRead the full story here. Oracle Chief Marketing Officer Ariel Kelman Meet the 5 marketing stars leading Oracle's push for a higher profile in the cloud against rivals Amazon, Microsoft, and GoogleRead the full story here.More stories we're reading:

Thanks for reading and see you on tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at ljohnson@businessinsider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

— Lauren

Read the original article on Business Insider

The most shocking revelations from The New York Times report about Trump's tax returns

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 7:50pm
President Donald Trump at an event in Doral, Fla.

In a blockbuster report on President Donald Trump's taxes released by The New York Times on Sunday, a number of financial figures stood out as especially damning, from a controversial $72.9 million income tax refund to a stream of funding from foreign sources.

Here are the most shocking facts revealed in Trump's tax records, as reported by The Times:

  • Trump only paid $750 in taxes in both 2016 and 2017.
  • In 11 of the 18 years that were examined by The Times, Trump failed to pay any income taxes to the federal government.
  • In his first year as president, Trump or his companies paid more taxes to India ($145,400), Panama ($15,598) or the Philippines ($156,824) than to the US.
  • Since 2000, he has lost over $315 million at the golf courses that he owns and promotes. Last October, Trump tried to steer the Group of 7 summit to Trump National Doral, his course near Miami, before dropping the idea.
  • From 2016 through 2018, Trump showed losses of $55.5 million at the Trump International Hotel Washington, DC. Even before he was inaugurated, there were ethical concerns were about foreign dignitaries staying at the hotel, along with events that the federal government could possibly be funding.
  • Trump's campaign and presidency has been fantastic for business at The Mar-a-Lago club, the Trump-owned resort in Palm Beach, Florida. From 2015 to 2018, there was a surge in membership, with the president able to get $26 million, or nearly triple his usual amount, out of the historic property over the same time period.
  • In 2010, Trump received a $72.9 million tax refund that is being audited by the IRS. He received the sum after claiming heavy losses, but if loses his appeal with the IRS, he will have to pay over $100 million to the federal government.
  • Trump made millions of dollars as the star of NBC's "The Apprentice," but revenue streams from that highly successful franchise and other licensing agreements are waning. Within the next few years, he will have to cover $300 million in loans.
  • Even with his shaky finances, Trump has still lived an opulent lifestyle, declaring tax deductions on personal expenses, including a litany of residences and expensive airplanes. He also wrote off  more than $70,000 for payments to style his hair during "The Apprentice." 
  • Trump has earned millions from foreign licensing deals. From 2017 to 2019, he received $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey.
  • He made a total of $73 million from foreign countries during his first two years as president.

The Times has promised additional articles from Trump's tax returns in the coming days and weeks.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump spent more than $70,000 to style his hair when he was on 'The Apprentice' and wrote it off as a business expense: NYT

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 7:34pm
Donald Trump, then-host of the NBC television reality series "The Apprentice", on March 10, 2006.
  • President Donald Trump spent more than $70,000 to style his hair when he was on "The Apprentice," and he wrote off the costs as a business expense, The New York Times reported Sunday.
  • The Times obtained Trump's tax returns, compiling a much-anticipated report that details how the president has avoided paying taxes for much of the last two decades.
  • According to the bombshell report, Trump paid more than $70,000 on haircuts and styling when he hosted his reality show, "The Apprentice."
  • Additionally, nine Trump entities paid nearly $100,000 to Ivanka Trump's hair and makeup artist, according to The Times report.
  • Both expenses were written off as business costs, which contributed to the reduction of Trump's tax bill.
  • The Times report, which includes "detailed information from his two years in office," revealed that Trump has avoided paying federal income taxes for 10 of the last 15 years, and he paid just $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017.
  • The tax-return data also showed that Trump's businesses reported major losses, and he avoided paying income taxes "largely because he reported losing much more money than he made," the report said.
  • Trump's business entities reported losses of at least $315.6 million from his golf courses and $55.5 million lost in his hotel in Washington DC, according to the data.
  • At a press conference on Sunday, Trump denied The Times report. "It's totally fake news. Made up, fake," he told reporters at the White House.
  • The president also fielded questions about how much he paid in taxes, saying, "It's under audit, they've been under audit for a long time."
  • Read the full report by The Times here.
  • Sign up here for our free live event Tuesday to get the inside track on the race for the White House with Business Insider's DC Bureau.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Brain-eating amoeba kills a 6-year-old boy in Texas, prompting officials to test the water supply to 8 cities

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 7:13pm
Naegleria fowleri, or a brain-eating amoeba, is a microorganism found in fresh water that causes a brain infection.
  • Brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri killed Josiah McIntyre, 6, of Lake Jackson, Texas, on Sept. 8.
  • His case prompted officials to issue a "Do Not Use Water Advisory" for eight cities while the water supply was tested. This advisory has been lifted, but residents are asked to boil water and exercise caution.
  • Josiah McIntyre's mother, Maria Castillo, described being "angry and upset and sad and heartbroken." But, she said, "the fact that we know how he got it, how he contracted it, gives us peace of mind."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The death of a 6-year-old boy alerted Texas officials to the presence of a brain-eating amoeba in their water supply.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has issued a water advisory to residents of eight cities that are served by the Brazosport Water Authority, according to CNN. People were warned not to ingest any water because it contained a deadly microscopic organism called Naegleria fowleri.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this amoeba can be traced to soil and warm freshwater, which includes rivers, hot springs, and lakes, as well as insufficiently chlorinated swimming pools and heated tap water.

Contaminated water typically enters a body via the nose, per the CDC. Naegleria fowleri then travels to the brain, triggering a fatal infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

CNN reported that this incident began on Sept. 8 when authorities in Lake Jackson, Texas, were informed of Josiah McIntyre's hospitalization and death.

Tests revealed that the brain-eating amoeba was in a water hose at the boy's house as well as at a splash pad at the civic center in Lake Jackson, which issued a disaster declaration.

"He was an active little boy. He was a really good big brother. He just loved and cared about a lot of people," his mother, Maria Castillo said, according to KTRK-TV, a local ABC station.

Local authorities joined the CDC, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to test the water supply.

Three out of 11 samples tested positive for Naegleria fowleri on Sept. 25, per CNN. The "Do Not Use Water" Advisory has been lifted for all Brazosport Water Authority users, but Lake Jackson residents are asked to boil water before consuming it, TCEQ announced on Twitter alongside other precautionary measures. 

Josiah's mother, Maria Castillo, said at a benefit for him over the weekend that he was an active little boy. "He was a really good big brother. He just loved and cared about a lot of people," she said.

Naegleria fowleri infections are infrequent but mostly fatal, the CDC said. The agency recorded 145 cases between 1962 and 2018, and only four of those people survived.

Castillo said she took solace in knowing what led to her child's death, according to KTRK-TV.

"I'm angry and upset and sad and heartbroken," she said. "It really means a lot to me because we want to know as a family for peace of mind. I know it doesn't bring him back. The fact that we know how he got it, how he contracted it, gives us peace of mind."

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Trump denies New York Times report detailing his tax returns and financial problems: 'It's totally fake news'

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 6:50pm
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House in Washington, DC, on Sept. 27, 2020.
  • President Donald Trump fielded questions from reporters on Sunday following an article by The New York Times that delved into his tax returns and detailed his financial woes.
  • "It's totally fake news. Made up, fake," Trump said.
  • Asked by reporters to be transparent about how much he paid in taxes, the president replied: "It's under audit, they've been under audit for a long time."
  • The Times reported that Trump shelled out only $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017, but spent $70,000 on hair styling during "The Apprentice."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Sunday evening dismissed a damning report by The New York Times on his tax returns as "fake news."

"It's totally fake news. Made up, fake," Trump said. "Actually, I paid tax."

The bombshell article revealed that the president paid only $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017. For 10 of the last 15 years, he paid no federal income taxes at all, according to the report.

The Times also discovered that Trump claimed to have spent a whopping $70,000 to have his hair styled for "The Apprentice," and benefited from a massive tax refund of $72.9 million in 2010 that is the subject of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. At least $100 million is on the line in the ongoing audit, the article said.

The president has reported losses exceeding $315 million at his golf courses since 2000 and another $55.5 million at his Washington, DC hotel since its opening in 2016, per the Times.

Trump, however, accused the IRS of mistreating him during his Sunday press conference. 

"The IRS does not treat me well, they treat me like the Tea Party, like they treated the Tea Party," he said. "You have people in the IRS that treat me very, very badly."

When pressed by reporters for a ballpark number of how much tax he has paid, Trump said that he can't share that information yet.

"You'll see that as soon as my tax returns – it's under audit, they've been under audit for a long time," he said.

"And when they're not, I would be proud to show you," he added. "But that's just fake news."

As the Times notes, the president's repeated claim that he can't release his tax returns while they're under audit has been denied by the Charles Rettig, the current IRS commissioner. Trump nominated Rettig for the position in 2018.

Trump's attorney Alan Garten issued a statement on Sunday night, describing the Times report as "riddled with gross inaccuracies," according to John Roberts, the chief White House correspondent for Fox News.

Garten questioned the "timing of this story," which was published two days ahead of the first presidential debate, calling it "just part of Times' ongoing smear campaign in the run up to the election."

 

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