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A Vancouver bakery owner said she caught a thief breaking in on video — he swept the floor, took some selfies, and left with 6 cupcakes

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 1:50pm
Shortly after breaking the glass door and taking a brief rest, the suspected thief grabbed a mop to sweep up the glass.
  • A man broke into Vancouver's Sweet Something bakery in the early hours of Friday, and the security footage made for a viral video.
  • The bakery owner told Insider her "heart sank" until she saw the "hilarious" footage of the thief attempting to sweep up broken glass with a mop.
  • A police report has been filed, and the bakery is making desserts inspired by the suspect to help pay for the broken door.

A Canadian business owner woke up Friday to learn her bakery had been broken into, and the security footage of the crime is inciting more laughter than fear.

Emma Irvine, owner of Sweet Something in Vancouver, shared a story time video to TikTok that showed a man breaking into her bakery in the early hours of Friday morning. As seen in the video, the suspect shatters the glass door, but seems to realize the mess he made and attempts to sweep it up before continuing his pastry heist.

After hanging in the store for over an hour, Irvine's narration said, he left with a half dozen chocolate cupcakes. The clip has been viewed over one million times since it was uploaded on Saturday.

"Initially, my heart sank," Irvine told Insider. "It's hard as a small business — especially coming out of COVID — to survive right now, and one more expense doesn't make it easier."

@itsemmaokayy Man breaks into bakery to steal 6 cupcakes and tries to clean up after himself #vancouver #bakery #breakandenter #crime #vpd #fyp #fypシ #criminaloffensivesideeye ♬ original sound - Emma

"My mindset quickly changed. It was hilarious – I was in stitches watching (the footage)," Irvine said.

The security footage gave Irvine a new perspective on the break-in, which she said normally would have left her distraught but ultimately she "can't be too mad at this guy."

The culprit even left behind a couple of selfies on the store's iPhone sporting orange glasses. Now, they are an inspiration for cookies and cupcakes at Sweet Something.

Sugar cookies iced to look like orange sunglasses will top the six replacement cupcakes Irvine says he stole.

Something Sweet filed a police report, but the laughs continued as Irvine said the officers were equally amused to see the thief try to clean up his break-in. Although he rested, used the bathroom, and even had a drink of water, his attempt to "play around" with the cash drawers proved unsuccessful.

Ultimately, he left with only six chocolate champagne cupcakes, and provided the bakery with the opportunity to produce a viral video.

"I thought no one was going to see it (other than) my friends," Irvine said. "I didn't think that we'd be getting the traction that we've gotten. The media on the business is far more than I could've ever dreamed."

Irvine said the proceeds of the suspect-themed sunglasses desserts will help Sweet Something pay for the damaged door.

"Small businesses can't afford to not carry on after something like this, so we're making the best out of it," Irvine said.

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Dianne Feinstein once became confused after seeing Vice President Kamala Harris preside over the Senate, report says

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 1:47pm
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, left, and then-Sen. Kamala Harris of California converse as they arrive in the Capitol for a vote on September 7, 2017.
  • Sen. Feinstein was confused by VP Harris presiding over the Senate last year, per a New York Times report.
  • "What is she doing here?" Feinstein said, according to an unnamed individual who was present at the time.
  • Some lawmakers have called into question the veteran Democratic lawmaker's fitness for office.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was confused by Vice President Kamala Harris presiding over the upper chamber last year, with the veteran lawmaker questioning why her onetime Senate colleague was in the room, according to The New York Times.

The report comes as Feinstein — who has had several health challenges this year and who has been questioned about her fitness for remaining in office through the end of her term in January 2025 — has sought to reassert herself in Washington.

Feinstein, a former San Francisco mayor who has served in the Senate since 1992, has for decades been one of the most respected voices on Capitol Hill, especially as it relates to national security and intelligence matters.

But according to the Times report, Feinstein appeared unaware as to why Harris, who during the previous two-year congressional term broke numerous ties in her capacity as president of the Senate, was taking up her constitutional role.

"What is she doing here?" Feinstein, 89, asked of Harris, according to an unnamed individual who was present at the time.

During the first two years of President Joe Biden's first term in office, the Senate was split 50-50, which required the president to win the support of every Democratic member to pass his most ambitious priorities. So Harris — who also served alongside Feinstein as a California senator from 2017 to 2021 — was a frequent presence in the well of the chamber as she was the deciding vote for many key bills and nominations.

In 2022, four lawmakers and three former Feinstein staffers told the San Francisco Chronicle that the senator's memory was "rapidly deteriorating," with them remarking that the senator was no longer able to fully represent her nearly 40 million constituents without considerable assistance from aides.

This year, Feinstein endured complications from shingles, which kept her away from the Senate from February until May and stymied some of Biden's judicial nominations in a Judiciary Committee with a one-vote Democratic majority. Upon her return, a New York Times report then disclosed that she also suffered from Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, a neurological disorder that in the senator's case was brought on by her bout with shingles.

Rep. Ro Khanna, a fellow Bay Area lawmaker, in April called on Feinstein to resign from office, and reiterated his position this month.

"I'm hopeful that people who are close to her can talk to her and just say, 'Look, end your service with dignity. Step aside, let the governor appoint someone,'" he said during a recent MSNBC interview.

Feinstein's staffers have sought to safeguard the senator from photographers and journalists since arriving back on Capitol Hill, according to The Los Angeles Times, as she seeks to reacclimate herself to her work.

Insider reached out to Feinstein's office for comment.

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Russian state media calling for unpaid 6th day of work to fund Ukraine invasion, Western intel says

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 1:45pm
A Russian propagandist said citizens should work two extra hours after their regular shifts, according to intelligence from the Ministry of Defense.
  • Russian state media and businesses are petitioning for a 6-day work week to fund war in Ukraine.
  • The extra work day would likely come without additional pay, according to UK intelligence.
  • Multiple 4-day work week trials in the UK and Spain have reported positive results for employees.

Russian state media and some Kremlin-linked businesses are proposing a six-day work week in order to fund Russia's war in Ukraine — without additional pay.

According to an intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence, the state-backed media and business groups "have petitioned the Economic Ministry to authorize a six-day week for workers in the face of the economic demands of the war, apparently without additional pay." 

The intel didn't say which groups were proposing the change or whether or not it would be approved. 

The ministry also cited Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of state media broadcaster RT and a prominent Russian propagandist, who said last week that citizens should clock into munition production factories for two hours each day after their regular jobs. 

The additional work day is marking a shift towards "mandating citizens to actively make sacrifices in support of the war effort." The ministry suggested that this reflects a "Soviet-style sense of societal compulsion" and also creates a broader tone around the war as a communal Russian effort that all citizens are involved in. 

Other countries, such as the UK and Spain, have recently experimented with 4-day work weeks and found positive results for workers. Employees reported that while the extra day off was an adjustment, it improved their mental health, eased stress levels, and made returning to work easier. 

This move comes as Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin warn of a potential revolution as Russian elite families refuse to send their children to die in Ukraine.

Last week, Prigozhin went on a profane rant hitting Russian President Vladimir Putin for how the "fat, carefree" lives of Russia's wealthy could spark a "revolution" similar to the Russian Revolution of 1917, leading working-class citizens to storm the elite's "villas" with "pitchforks."

"The children of the elite smear themselves with creams and show off on the internet, while ordinary people's children come home in zinc [coffins], torn to pieces," he said. "I recommend that the elite of the Russian Federation gathers up, bitch, its youth and send them to war."

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A 'one-in-ten-million' rare white bison calf was just born in Wyoming

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 1:39pm
White Bison
  • A rare "one-in-ten-billion" albino white bison was born in a Wyoming state park on Tuesday.
  • White bison are considered sacred to some Native Americans, according to the Native American College Fund.
  • Bear River Park Superintendent Tyfani Sager said that the calf is small but doing well, Cowboy State Daily reported.

A bison named Wyoming Hope gave birth to a rare, "one-in-ten-million" albino white bison on Tuesday in a Wyoming state park.

The buffalo was born at Bear River State Park around 6:30 p.m., according to Cowboy State Daily, a statewide non-profit news organization in Wyoming. The baby weighs around 30 pounds, according to the outlet.

Park Superintendent Tyfani Sager told the outlet the bison is small, but doing well.

Sager said the park has not determined the sex of the bison yet, and that tourist traffic has been up at the park since its birth on Tuesday.

"We're not sure if it's a bull calf or a heifer calf," Sager said, according to Cowboy State Daily. "They're real furry and it's hard to tell right off the bat."

According to the American Indian College Fund, albino white bison are considered sacred among some Native American communities and are extremely rare. 

White bison are considered sacred to the Lakota Sioux, who were starving during one summer because there was no game near them, according to the organization. Native legends say that two young men in the tribe went looking for food in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where they met a woman dressed in white who said, "return to your people and tell them I am coming," the organization said in a release.

According to the legend, the woman rolled on the ground four times before turning into a white bison herself. Bison were then plentiful for the Lakota Sioux, the legend says.

The slaughter of a white bison and its mother on a Lakota ranch in 2012 was considered an outrage by others in the community, according to the Native American College Fund.

Wyoming state parks did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on Sunday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Trump spokeswoman mocked Pete Buttigieg's military service in a Memorial Day weekend spat with Ron DeSantis

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 1:21pm
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
  • The presidential campaign between Trump and DeSantis has been heated. 
  • On Saturday, a Trump spokeswoman took jabs at DeSantis for his political ambitions. 
  • She also dragged Pete Buttigieg into the crosshairs while using a photo of his military service. 

A spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump appeared to mock Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg's military service during a spat against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

On Saturday, Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington tweeted a clip of her criticizing DeSantis' political ambitions. 

"Ron 'Dee-Santis' has run for 4 different offices in the past 7 years. That's not someone who's in it for the country, it's someone who's in it for himself," Harrington said in a tweet

—Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) May 27, 2023

In response, the Twitter account DeSantis War Room replied with images of the DeSantis' time in service. DeSantis was deployed to Iraq in 2007, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The reply may have been a jab at Trump, who avoided the military draft during the Vietnam War.

—DeSantis War Room

South Carolina tried to ban abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy — but every woman in the state Senate voted against it

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 1:08pm
Republican state Sens. Penry Gustafson and Katrina Shealy.
  • A South Carolina judge temporarily halted a law banning most abortions after six weeks.
  • The legislation was passed in the state Senate with the support of 27 men. 
  • Five female lawmakers, named the "Sister Senators," previously filibustered a similar abortion ban.

South Carolina's governor signed a bill into law that would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. One day later, a judge temporarily halted it.

The "Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act" was passed in the state's Senate with the support of 27 men, per The Daily Beast

After fierce debate over the ban, the "Sister Senators, five female state senators – – including three Republicans – blocking the state from passing a near-total ban on abortions, all voted against it.

The law, signed on Thursday, bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of "rape or incest during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, medical emergencies, or fatal fetal anomalies."

But the state has temporarily reverted to its previous law, which bans abortions after 22 weeks, per the BBC.

There have been months of heated debates in the South Carolina Senate on the issue, and the five women lawmakers had already filibustered an attempt in April to a near-total ban on abortion in the state.

Even though the law is halted for now, Sen. Sandy Senn — one of the Republican lawmakers who voted against the bill — told Insider in an email that the past two weeks had been "rough and tough."

"We will regroup and try and fix this mess," Senn said. 

Another lawmaker, Sen. Penry Gustafson, changed her mind about her stance on the six-week ban — which she voted for in February — a version of the bill that also failed to pass. 

"Funny thing, when you learn and gather facts over time, sometimes your perspective evolves," Gustafson recently told The Daily Beast.

While she does support some restrictions on abortion, "I've heard from too many women that six weeks is not long enough," Gustafson said. 

Katrina Shealy, another Republican state senator, tried to introduce an amendment to the latest legislation that said abortion care should instead be banned after 12 weeks. 

"Men are 100 percent responsible for pregnancies," she said while introducing the amendment, per the Daily Beast. "Men are fertile 100 percent of the time. So it is time for men in this chamber — and the ones across that hall and all across the state of South Carolina — to take some ejaculation responsibility."

Despite protests from the women, the amendment was voted down. 

The newly proposed law comes after a slew of abortion bans across the US followed the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year. Earlier this year, South Carolina proposed the death penalty for women who get abortions, Insider previously reported.

Vicki Ringer, the director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in South Carolina, called the signing of the bill "unconscionable" on Twitter

Earlier in the week, she wrote, "Twenty-seven Republican men (all of them) voted today to ban abortion in SC. I'm gutted. Because women will die. Full stop."

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Pool rental app Swimply is getting heat from angry neighbors reporting 'raucous' parties: 'It is a tremendous nuisance'

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 12:57pm
Swimply was founded in 2018, and has provided people with an aquatic escape for the past five years
  • Founded in 2018, Swimply allows homeowners to rent out their private pool to strangers.
  • Maryland residents have issued complaints about noisy "raucous" guests renting their neighbors' pools.
  • Local governments, including the state of Wisconsin, are seeking to regulate the practice of renting out backyard pools for extra cash.

A rental platform for private pools is helping homeowners earn extra cash from their backyard pools — but some unhappy neighbors are saying it's a source of disruption.

Founded in 2018, Swimply allows users to list private pools out to strangers, who can rent them at hourly rates to host pool parties or simply enjoy a cool swim on a hot day. Although some may think the deal sounds sweet, residents have started complaining about their neighborhood being "disturbed" by renters, the Washington Post reported.

Residents of Maryland's Montgomery County, located just outside Washington, DC, are currently debating the entry of outsiders into their suburban streets, per the Post.

"We are aware of the complaints and are working closely with the Montgomery County City Council," a Swimply spokesperson told Insider. "We are working with hosts and the County to ensure a good outcome for all."

Constance Kiggins of Chevy Chase, Maryland wrote to the Montgomery County Council about her experience with neighbors who use the Swimply app.

"(I am) writing to share my personal experience, in the hope that it will make you aware of what life would be like for those of us unfortunate to have neighbors with pools that rent them," Kiggins wrote.

Kiggins continued: "I have nothing against these individuals fortunate enough to be able to pay $60 and up an hour to use a private pool, but this activity has greatly compromised our neighborhood. It is a tremendous nuisance"

According to the statement, Kiggins' neighbors began renting their pool out to strangers on Swimply in 2020, and residents "down the block and behind them can hear the raucous." Kiggins also asserts that it's also unsafe for paying guests who don't always abide by safety guidelines.

"We're recognizing this is happening already, so we should create guardrails, rules of the road, and due process if there are bad actors," Council member Will Jawando said, per the Washington Post.

Jawando introduced a bill that would require homeowners to register private pools with the county if they plan to rent them out, which would require paying additional taxes and a $150 fee for a license to operate.

The issues facing Swimply in many ways mirror those of vacation rental platform Airbnb, which has long received criticism for guests using stays as party venues and inciting noise complaints from neighbors. In 2020, the platform permanently banned parties and strongly enforces the rule around holidays by encouraging neighbors to report hosts who violate the rule

"We operate in a similar fashion to other experiential sharing services like Airbnb," a Swimply spokesperson told Insider in a statement. "Swimply homeowners open their spaces to users as private guests and have full say as to who can use their pool and how — pools listed on Swimply aren't public pools."

Maryland suburbanites aren't the only ones taking issue with pool rentals. Communities across the US — including in San José, California, several towns in New Jersey, and the state of Wisconsin — are also seeking better regulation of pool rental platforms, the Washington Post reported.

Officials across the US have been working to either outright ban the rentals or create rules that would require listed pools to meet the same standards as public pools.

Swimply rentals list for an average of $45-$75, which could increase for a particularly luxurious pool, as previously reported by Insider. The platform currently has a site page for hosts' neighbors to report them over disturbances and violations.

"If you believe a host is in violation of these rules, speaking to them directly often resolves the issue quickest (as we are all still human), a statement on the site read. "As a next step, we ask that you please report this host to our Community Care team."

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New survey finds the lives of Chinese Americans are heavily impacted by racism and puts renewed focus on Asian hate crimes

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 12:35pm
Lucy Lee, of Marietta, Ga., holds an American flag while rallying outside of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta during a unity "Stop Asian Hate" rally Saturday afternoon, March 20, 2021.
  • A study by Columbia University spoke to 6,500 Chinese Americans.
  • The study found that nearly 1 in 10 said they had been physically assaulted or intimidated in the last year
  • The latest FBI data shows that anti-Asian hate rose +167% between 2020 and 2021. 

A new study indicates that the lives of many Chinese Americans are being negatively impacted by racial hate and discrimination.

The first and largest project of its kind, the "State of Chinese Americans" survey of 6,500 people by Columbia University's School of Social Work and Comittee 100 found that nearly 75% of Chinese Americans have faced racial discrimination in the last year and 55% worry about their safety relating to hate crimes or harassment. 

In addition, the research found that 1 in 5 had been called a racial slur or harassed in the past year, and nearly 1 in 10 have been physically intimidated or assaulted. 

According to data from the Department of Commerce, 5.4 million Chinese Americans live in the US.

The latest FBI data shows that anti-Asian hate rose +167% between 2020 and 2021. 

The COVID-19 pandemic fuelled this surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans, with a study from the Anti-Defamation League finding that the pandemic corresponded with a rise in hate speech and harassment on social networks aimed at Asian Americans. 

Although it's difficult to link this hatred to one cause, the study said some of that rise could be attributed to former President Trump's comments about COVID-19, which he called it the"Chinese virus," the "Kung Flu."

Earlier this year, Asian American communities in California were hit with two back-to-back mass shootings. 

The suspects in both shootings were later revealed to be Asian men, diminishing fears that the attacks were hate crimes, but advocates say the violence adds to the dread that Asian Americans have experienced the past several years.

When May Lee asked her University of Southern California students about their initial reaction to the shootings, she told Insider the first thought on everyone's mind was the fear that a hate crime occurred.

"It is a collective fear that all of us have gone through and continue to go through," Lee said. "And even though this shooting was not your typical racially charged hate crime, it still was an act of violence. And so that's going to trigger any kind of fear and anxiety."

On May 2022, the Department of Justice released a new report to raise awareness of hate crimes during the pandemic, citing a "surge of hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities." 








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Scammers are conning Trump supporters out of thousands with 'Trump Bucks' they claim can be exchanged for real cash

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 12:10pm
Many of former President Donald Trump's most passionate supporters are being scammed out of thousands of dollars via "Trump Bucks."
  • Trump supporters are reportedly being scammed out of thousands of dollars on items like "Trump Bucks".
  • Some of the supporters were convinced by fake videos of Trump and Elon Musk promoting the products.
  • A new report from NBC News shows some people thought buying the memorabilia would make them rich.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump are reportedly being scammed out of thousands of dollars through the sale of commemorative "Trump Bucks" that fraudsters say can be exchanged for real cash.

Several companies are allegedly using advertising tactics including creating AI-generated videos of Trump and other figures like Elon Musk to claim the worthless "Trump Bucks" will make them rich, according to a new report from NBC News.

Some of the people who bought the Trump memorabilia have attempted to exchange it for real US dollars at banks, and told NBC News that bank employees are reporting it as a growing issue. Several companies have been identified for marketing and selling the false currency, NBC News reported, including a number of businesses seemingly based in Colorado with names like Patriots Dynasty, Patriots Future, and USA Patriots.

"President Trump wants you to finally open your eyes and believe in his power for a better tomorrow!" reads a banner message on one of the sites advertising a "TRB Black Card," which sells as a single card for $90 or packs of up to 10 cards for $500.

Many of the people who bought the card or other Trump-branded items told NBC News that messages that appeared to imply Trump himself was endorsing the products were a significant motivator for them to buy in.

The card promises buyers will be able to "live the American Dream, live the life you were promised and get the things you always wanted without thinking twice!"

A TikTok cited by NBC News features either an AI-generated or real person doing an impression of Trump in a fake appearance on Fox News promoting the products. Another video posted to Twitter features a fake audio clip of Musk playing over a video of the billionaire speaking at an event, claiming he has spent "one million" on the memorabilia and is going to "cash out" his Trump items to become "the richest person on the planet again." 

One ad for the "Trump Bucks" — featuring a seemingly AI-generated voice identified as "John" — states "most people believe that the presidential election interfered with the course of history" and identifies Trump as "the great leader."

The ad also says the bills are "not legal tender," but seconds later says the TRB membership card will actually allow them to use the bills as tender and deposit them in banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase, or use them at popular retailers like Costco, Walmart, and Home Depot.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Walmart and Home Depot all told NBC News they don't accept "Trump Bucks," and a Bank of America spokesperson said the company has heard from employees about several people trying to exchange the worthless bills for significantly larger amounts of cash than they spent to buy them.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I flew from Dubai to London in economy class on an Emirates A380. The service was exceptional, but the colossal plane felt outdated.

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 11:47am
An Emirates Airbus A380.
  • I took a seven-and-a-half-hour flight from Dubai to London on an Emirates A380.
  • The food was surprisingly good and the Emirates service was exceptional as usual.
  • But the interior of the A380 felt old and weathered. Take a look.

I recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia, where I was lucky enough to travel across both Vietnam and Cambodia.

On my return journey, I flew from Vietnam's chaotic but enchanting capital City, Hanoi, to Dubai, before taking a connecting flight back to London.

Still harboring a childhood fascination with aviation, I was thrilled to see an Emirates A380 dominating the gate where we were due to board.

As I shifted from vacation mode back into work mode, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review the "superjumbo."

The colossal Airbus A380 is one of the world's most iconic aircraft.An Emirates Airbus A380. Image taken from a different flight.It was as imposing as ever as we arrived at the gate to await our flight from Dubai back to London.I traveled in Emirates' economy class, which I have been fortunate enough to have experienced a few times before — and I was hopeful of the same high standards. And with the flights costing around £510, or $630, each way, I was especially keen to get some return on investment.An Emirates Airbus A380. Image taken from a different flight.At 6'3, flying can be an uncomfortable experience, but I found the Emirates A380 to offer plenty of legroom, and I was more than comfortable throughout the flight.I nevertheless followed my usual tactic of bagging the aisle seat. I highly recommend this to anyone who struggles with leg cramps on long flights — or passengers who wants easy access to the toilets (or more drinks).The service onboard the flight was exceptional, as I have come to expect from Emirates. The staff was extremely attentive, friendly, and professional.Image taken from a different flight.I was particularly impressed with the food Emirates offered to economy-class passengers. For breakfast, I had a delicious raspberry pastry, strawberry yogurt, a muffin, and a coffee. There was also an option of an egg and cheese sandwich.For lunch, we had the choice of either chicken curry with rice or a beef stroganoff-like dish with potatoes and vegetables. I chose the latter, with a mixed salad, potato salad, cheese, crackers, a Nature Valley bar, and a lime sponge dessert. It was surprisingly tasty, especially compared with airplane food I'd had before.I was slightly let down by the interior of the aircraft, however. It appeared faded, and something about the dull grey color felt somewhat worn. It seemed like it needed a refurb.Emirates is sending 67 of its A380s to be refitted, and some refurbished planes started flying on routes to the US in early May.

Source: Insider

The aircraft had some extra touches that made a big difference on a long-haul flight, including complimentary eau de toilette and hand and body lotion from The White Company.The airline provided each passenger with a set of headphones and a blanket. The blanket was handy as my travel companion was liberal with the air conditioning. There were also things like eye masks, toothbrushes, and toothpaste available on request.The headphones weren't the sturdiest, but they worked perfectly and seemed to drown out most background noise while a film was playing.One other disappointment was the touch screen. It was extremely laggy and inaccurate — when choosing a film, the touch screen would often pick a completely different one or exit the current screen altogether.Due to this, I often reverted to using the remote control to navigate my way through the choice of entertainment. This worked, but it was awkward if I had food and drinks on the foldout table.There was a solid film selection, which made the long journey far more manageable. It had recent releases like "Elvis" and classics like "The Bridge on the River Kwai." I opted for an eclectic mix of Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and the action thriller "The Bourne Identity."But despite a few minor quibbles, I was once again a happy customer as I stepped back onto the tarmac at London's Gatwick Airport.Emirates Airbus A380. Image taken from a different flight.Read the original article on Business Insider

Egypt unearths tombs and workshops where humans and sacred animals were mummified in the age of the pharaohs

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 11:36am
Canopic jars, which were made to contain organs that were removed from the body in the process of mummification, are seen at the site of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, 24 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, May 27, 2023.
  • Archaeologists found ancient mummification workshops and tombs in the Saqqara necropolis.
  • The workshops were used to embalm humans and sacred animals to prepare them for the afterlife.
  • The tombs of two priests dating back to the 24th and 14th centuries BC were also found.

Archaeologists in Egypt have found ancient mummification workshops and tombs in the ancient Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, the government said.

The head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, said that the workshops, where humans and sacred animals were mummified, date back to the 30th Pharaonic dynasty about 2,400 years ago, Al Jazeera reported.

Researchers found stony beds where bodies were laid down for mummification, as well as clay pots used to hold organs and other ritual vessels, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.

The purpose of mummification was to keep the body intact so it could be transported to a spiritual afterlife.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, displays a recently unearthed ancient wooden sarcophagus in Saqqara, Egypt on Saturday, May 27, 2023.

The excavations also uncovered the tombs of two priests dating back to the 24th and 14th centuries BC.

The walls of the first tomb, which belonged to Ne Hesut Ba from the Old Kingdom's fifth dynasty, were adorned with depictions of hunting and other daily activities, according to Reuters.

The second tomb, belonging to Men Kheber from the late kingdom's 18th dynasty, was decorated with scenes showing the deceased in different positions, officials said, per Reuters.

A colored painting showing offering sacrifices at a recently uncovered tomb that was said to belong to a top official of the fifth Dynasty named Ne Hesut Ba on Saturday, May 27, 2023.

Saqqara Necropolis, south of Egypt's capital, Cairo, is a vast ancient burial ground located at the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis and contains numerous pyramids and tombs.

The discovery was made following a year-long excavation near the sanctuary of the goddess Bastet, Reuters said.

The new discoveries were unveiled by Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a high-profile press conference on Saturday.

In recent years archaeological discoveries like this have been heavily promoted by Egypt's government in order to attract tourism following the 2011 uprising and an ongoing economic crisis, AP and Reuters noted.

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Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut say fighting regular Russian troops will be 'not as hard' as fighting Wagner troops because they're inexperienced

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 11:16am
Ukrainian officials including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have asserted that Kyiv's forces are still active in Bakhmut and could stage a semi-encirclement on the flanks of the city.
  • Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut say fighting regular Russian troops will be easier than Wagner forces.
  • Troops told The Washington Post that Wagner Group's "unorthodox strategies" were hard to deal with.
  • Fighting in Bakhmut has mostly stalled, with most Ukrainian forces settled in the city's outskirts.

Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut are hopeful that Wagner Group forces will be replaced by regular Russian troops, saying the latter are easier to fight because of youth and inexperience. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, one drone operator identified as Chuck said Wagner troops use "unorthodox strategies" that make them difficult to predict, while regular Russian forces didn't have the same qualities. 

"Fighting with regular Russian forces is not as hard as fighting with Wagner," he told the Post.

Ukrainian troops are bracing for a changing Russian presence in Bakhmut, as the Wagner Group's leader Yevgeny Prigozhin announced last week that his soldiers would withdraw after Russia claimed full control of the city.

By June 1, Prigozhin said, Wagner mercenaries would be fully replaced by regular Russian battalions. 

"We hand over positions to the military: ammunition, positions — everything, including ration packs," Prigozhin said in a video, according to a translation from The Kyiv Independent

A Ukranian commander in Bakhmut known as Chichen told The Washington Post he's looking forward to that switch. 

"It's interesting because the Wagner guys were sitting back in their little bunkers not coming out," he said, the Post reported. "Whereas the Russians, they're young, they're fresh, they're new, and they basically just walk out. Then we give them hell."

Russia claimed victory over Bakhmut — which has seen some of the war's deadliest fighting — earlier this month. While it may be a meaningless victory, the intense combat has left Russian forces exhausted ahead of Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive. 

Ukrainian troops told The Washington Post that most of their forces are located on the city's outskirts, and there's a potential plan for "semi-encirclement" of Bakhmut and even retake the city after the Wagner withdrawal.

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President Joe Biden tells baby 'I'm bored with me, too' as crying drowns his speech out

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 11:09am
President Joe Biden holds a jersey given by the University of Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team during a celebration for their 2022-2023 NCAA Championship season at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2023.
  • As a baby cried during White House remarks, Biden joked, "I'm bored with me, too."
  • The White House was hosting the men's and women's NCAA championship-winning teams on Friday.
  • Twitter users contrasted the clip of Biden with a similar moment from Trump's 2016 campaign.

As sounds of a baby crying drowned out President Joe Biden's remarks, the president quipped that he was also bored with his speech. 

During a speech welcoming the men's basketball team from the University of Connecticut on Friday, which recently won the NCAA Championship, Biden drew chuckles after his self-effacing comment. 

While talking about a discussion he had with the university president, President Biden interrupted himself saying, "That's okay. Look, she's allowed to do anything you want," as the sound of cries became very audible in the background. 

"Kids rule in my house, okay? What's the matter?" he asked.

—Acyn (@Acyn) May 26, 2023


As the crying continued, he said, "I don't blame you. I'm bored with me, too," to loud laughter from the crowd.

A member of the audience told the president the child was two years old, which Biden responded was a "good age," before returning to his speech with the Huskies basketball team behind him.

The White House hosted the University of Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team and the NCAA-champion Louisiana State University Tigers women's team during separate events. 

A clip of the president's joke was viewed millions of times on Twitter, and some users quickly compared it to a similar interaction former President Donald Trump had during a 2016 campaign speech.

Chris D. Jackson, a Tennessee election commissioner, tweeted that the video was an "instant comparison" and posted a video of Trump wryly saying, "Get that baby out of here." 

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Biden and McCarthy reach tentative debt ceiling deal, avoiding national default

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 10:59am
US President Joe Biden shakes hands as he presents a copy of his speech to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., before he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, on February 7, 2023 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
  • The White House and Speaker Kevin McCarthy have reached an agreement in their debt ceiling talks.
  • The tentative agreement would help steer the country away from a catastrophic default on its debts.
  • The deal was reached after weeks of contentious negotiations in a divided Congress.

The White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have reached an agreement in principle on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, a breakthrough that helps move the country away from a historic national default.

McCarthy on Saturday said that he anticipated the bill text would be publicly available on Sunday, with a vote anticipated on Wednesday. But the road for passage of legislation before June 5 remains a challenge, as the California Republican must now sell the agreement to a GOP conference filled with conservatives who for years have railed against profligate government spending. And Biden must bring Democrats onboard in a Senate controlled by his party.

"We still have a lot of work to do. But I believe this is an agreement in principle that's worthy of the American people," McCarthy said in a statement confirming the tentative agreement on Saturday evening.

"It has historic reductions in spending, consequential reforms that will lift people out of poverty into the workforce, reign in government overreach," he continued. "There are no new taxes, no new government programs. There's a lot more within the bill."

In a statement, Biden said that the agreement is "good news for the American people" and "an important step forward that reduces spending while protecting critical programs for working people and growing the economy for everyone."
"The agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want. That's the responsibility of governing. And, this agreement ... prevents what could have been a catastrophic default and would have led to an economic recession, retirement accounts devastated, and millions of jobs lost," he added.

The president then asked that both chambers of Congress swiftly pass the agreement.

The deal was reached after weeks of contentious partisan negotiations, the consequence of a House narrowly controlled by Republicans and a Senate with a slender Democratic edge. The GOP, spearheaded by McCarthy, has insisted that a debt ceiling raise should be tied to advancing their party's priorities through spending cuts, while Democratic lawmakers overwhelmingly pushed for a clean debt limit increase.

Republican proposals in the debt ceiling negotiations included blocking student-loan forgiveness, bolstering work requirements for welfare programs, and rescinding unspent pandemic funding, Insider previously reported.

Biden vowed to veto such a proposal if it reached his desk.

The exact details of the deal remain unclear. However, two sources confirmed to Reuters that negotiators agreed that discretionary spending would be capped at 2023 levels for two years — in exchange for a similar period of debt ceiling increases.

The agreement would help move the country away from a potential default. Defaulting on the national debt could trigger an economic recession and send the US dollar's value plummeting.

Since its introduction in 1917, the debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times to avoid such outcomes.

This story has been updated.

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Video may show an octopus waking up from a nightmare, scientists believe

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 10:41am
An octopus in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • A video shows an octopus appearing to wake up from sleep in distress.
  • The behaviour looked similar to waking up from a nightmare, scientists said.
  • The findings raise questions about the possibility of dream-like experiences in the creatures. 

Scientists observed unusual behavior in an octopus that they said looked similar to it waking up from a nightmare.

The cephalopod, named Costello, was filmed 24 hours a day in a laboratory at The Rockefeller University in New York over the course of a month.

On four occasions, the animal awoke "abruptly," before engaging "in antipredator and predatory behaviors," changing color, and flailing his arms around erratically, researchers said in a paper published last week on the website bioRxiv.

In two of the instances the octopus shot black ink into the water — a common tactic used to escape from predators — despite there being no predator present.

The behavior suggested that it was in temporary distress, which scientists said could suggest he was responding to a bad dream.


"It was really bizarre, because it looked like he was in pain; it looked like he might have been suffering, for a moment," Eric Angel Ramos, one of the researchers, told Live Science. 

"And then he just got up like nothing had happened, and he resumed his day as normal."

When Costello came to the laboratory from the wild, he appeared to have suffered severe injuries, including losing the majority of two of his arms, which researchers said was likely due to a previous attack. They noted a study that found such cases in animals "can result in long-term behavioral and neural hypersensitivity," suggesting Costello may have been responding to memories of the attack.

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed and only observed one octopus, but the findings have raised questions about the possible dream-like experiences of these intelligent creatures. 

One of the study's co-authors noted that it would be difficult to study an octopus' brain activity and determine whether they actually dream.

"Where do you put electrodes on an animal that has no shape?" study co-author Marcelo Magnasco, told the New Scientist.

Scientists published a study in 2021 about octopuses' sleep and found evidence of a human-like sleep cycle. Researchers found that the animal's skin color fluctuated in a similar fashion to the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep in humans — which is when dreams occur.

Another scientist who was not involved in observing Costello said the strange behavior could have another explanation, however.

Robyn Crook, an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University, told Live Science that the octopus' behavior could have been due to senescence, which is when an octopus' body starts to break down before death.

Costello died shortly after these episodes, according to Live Science.

Crook said that the Costello's movements in the video appeared to be due to a lack of motor control, possibly pointing to senescence.

"I don't exclude that senescence could be one of the drivers of this," Ramos told Live Science.  

The study's authors noted that the results couldn't be considered conclusive until replicated. As the episodes in question were fleeting, the scientists recommended that future researchers also observe octopuses for 24 hours a day using cameras.  

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Horrific World War II bunker where Japanese scientists experimented on prisoners with biological weapons, found by archaeologists, report says

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 10:32am
Photo taken on Aug. 13, 2022 shows a roll of a Japanese chemical warfare unit revealed by the Exhibition Hall of Evidences of Crime Committed by Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army in Harbin, capital city of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
  • Archaeologists found a bunker used by WWII Japanese scientists to conduct human experiments, says a report.
  • They say the site could provide new evidence about war crimes committed by the notorious Unit 731.
  • The Japanese scientists captured by the US were granted immunity in exchange for their research findings.

Chinese archaeologists have discovered an underground "horror bunker" used by Japanese scientists to conduct brutal experiments on humans before and during World War II, the South China Morning Post reported.

The facility near the city of Anda, China, is believed to have been used by Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army, which conducted brutal experiments on humans between 1935 and 1945.

Japanese scientists exposed prisoners to pathogens and dissected them to learn about the effects on the human body. The findings were used by Japan's Imperial Army to spread typhoid, cholera, and plague across China, the outlet said.

The notorious unit experimented on and killed thousands of people, including men, women, and children.

The ruins of building of a Japanese germ warfare centre located in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang province, April 24, 2005. At least 3,000 people, including Chinese civilians, Russians, Mongolians and Koreans, were killed in tests of biological weapons and other experiments by Unit 731 between 1939 and 1945, Chinese state media say.

The research published in the journal Northern Cultural Relics in May could provide new evidence about war crimes.

"It also highlights the ongoing legacy of Unit 731's atrocities and their impact on global efforts to prevent biological warfare," the Heilongjiang Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology researchers said.

Archaeologists discovered the underground facility consisting of several interconnected tunnels and chambers after starting an investigation in 2019 using geophysical prospecting, drilling, and excavation techniques.

The researchers are yet to enter the bunkers, but the survey has revealed details about the underground structures, South China Morning Post reported.

A U-shaped cluster of bunkers was discovered five feet below the surface, as well as a circular room that archaeologists believe was used to observe and dissect human subjects after they were infected with pathogens or chemical agents.

Researchers said that their knowledge of the underground facility is still preliminary, and more work will need to be done to learn how the structures relate to each other.

Most of the surface-level buildings at the Anda site were destroyed in 1945 to erase evidence of the experiments, but the underground structures remain, archaeologists said.

Facilities were built below the ground to maintain secrecy, and these included barracks, bathhouses, and dining areas, according to the report.

Some Unit 731 researchers were arrested by Soviet forces and tried at the December 1949 Khabarovsk war crime trials, while those captured by the United States were granted immunity in exchange for their research findings.

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Ukraine's 'Iron General' is facing off against his 4th Russian war commander. Here's why the others lost their jobs.

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 10:30am
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi waits before a meeting with American officials in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 19, 2021.
  • Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces, has led the military since 2021.
  • He is currently squaring off against Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov.
  • Gerasimov is Moscow's fourth commander since Russia invaded. Here's what happened to the other three.

Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine can be measured in time, 15 months for a war it thought it could win in days; in casualties, hundreds of thousands since the war began; or in the invading army's limited territorial gains as the bodies pile up.

It can also be measured in the number of times Russia has changed commanders as Moscow looks for someone who can win this fight. The Kremlin is on it's fourth commander since the February 2022 invasion. Ukraine, on the other hand, has only had one: Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces.

Zaluzhnyi, also known as Ukraine's "Iron General," has led Kyiv's military since July 2021, when he was appointed to the role by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Zaluzhnyi made it his mission to further reform Ukraine's armed forces to operate as Western militaries do, backing away from older Soviet-era practices. 

Zaluzhnyi has studied closely his current opponent, Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov, who was tapped to lead Moscow's campaign in January after previously serving as the longtime chief of the general staff of the country's armed forces.

"I learned from Gerasimov. I read everything he ever wrote," Zaluzhnyi previously told Time Magazine in an interview last year. "He is the smartest of men, and my expectations of him were enormous."

The Russian general, however, does not appear to be living up to those expectations. Gerasimov oversaw a relatively lackluster Russian winter offensive, during which his forces failed to seize a significant amount of territory and suffered tens of thousands of casualties in the process.

The two men are squaring off as Ukraine gears up for a highly anticipated counteroffensive aimed at liberating occupied areas in the country's eastern and southern regions. Aside from trying to prevent Ukraine from conducting successful advances, Gerasimov will also attempt to do something that none of his predecessors have been able to do since the war started — keep his job for more than five months. 

Here's what happened to Russia's previous three war commanders, according to a recent analysis by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank that has closely tracked developments in Ukraine.

Alexander Dvornikov

When Russia first launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late-February 2022, it relied on district commanders rather than overall commander of the war effort. What followed was several weeks of poorly coordinated operations, Russian missteps, and failures that ultimately led to Moscow's forces withdrawing from the Kyiv region and repositioning themselves to focus on Ukraine's eastern Donbas region. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin's "reluctance to appoint an overall theater commander for his invasion of Ukraine has had cascading effects on the Russian military including fueling intense factionalization, disorganizing command structures, and feeding unattainable expectations," ISW said. 

In this photo taken on March 17, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, poses with Col. Gen. Alexander Dvornikov during an awarding ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia.

In early April, after these initial failures in a war that Russia thought it could and was expected to win in days, Putin appointed Army Gen. Alexander Dvornikov to be Moscow's first overall theater commander and reportedly instructed him to seize the Donbas region by the beginning of May and establish one uniform command for Moscow's operations in Ukraine. Dvornikov also served as the southern military district commander. 

Gennady Zhidko

Dvornikov's leadership ended after nearly two months following failures to secure either goal. He was replaced by Army Gen. Gennady Zhidko, who also served as the eastern military district commander. 

"The dual roles given Zhidko and Dvornikov were likely a result of Putin's continued reluctance to make any single general too prominent," ISW said. 

Just as Dvornikov's appointment is a bit of a mystery, the reasons Putin appointed Zhidko are unclear, but it's possible the relationship these men had with Gerasimov, who was still chief of the general staff at the time, played a role. Like Dvornikov, Zhidko was instructed to formalize command structures. 

Zhidko's tenure lasted through the summer, when Russia enjoyed some successful offensive operations in eastern Ukraine before they were derailed. Russian territorial gains were short-lived as Ukraine launched a lightning-fast counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region in September, which saw Kyiv's forces liberate a chunk of occupied territory.

Ukrainian offensive operations were also carried out in the southern city of Kherson, which was later liberated to deprive Russia of an early war win.

Putin booted Zhidko from both of his roles in early October, ending a command that lasted a little over four months. 

"The failure of two generals who were establishment MoD figures and Gerasimov affiliates likely solidified Putin's decision to appoint a commander not affiliated with Gerasimov to the position of overall theater commander after the Kharkiv debacle," ISW wrote. 

Sergey Surovikin

In early October, Putin appointed Army Gen. Sergey Surovikin, nicknamed "General Armageddon," to be the overall theater commander. The move was likely aimed at appeasing Russia's pro-war ultranationalist community, according to ISW. This community often criticizes Russian failures in Ukraine but is fervently behind the war.

"Putin likely viewed Surovikin as the last untarnished high-ranking commander in Ukraine he could appoint to overall theater command," the think tank said. Surovikin's time in charge was shorter than Zhidko's but longer than Dvornikov's — lasting about three months.

There were several significant aspects of the conflict that occurred during his tenure as the top commander. These included the start of a widespread campaign of missile and drone attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure, Russia's retreat from Kherson city, and the expanding influence of the Wagner Group paramilitary organization and its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Commander of Russia's Aerospace Forces Sergei Surovikin, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the Armed Forces' General Staff Sergei Rudskoi attend a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, November 3, 2021.

Toward the end of 2022, Gerasimov had begun lobbying for his camp of leaders to secure more influence over the war in Ukraine by attempting to discredit Wagner's operations. As 2023 rolled around, and Russian forces continued to suffer heavy losses in eastern Ukraine, Putin seemingly gave in to Gerasimov's campaigning. 

Russia's defense ministry announced in mid-January that Surovikin would be replaced by Gerasimov and demoted to deputy commander of Russia's military in Ukraine. 

"The highly attritional capture of Soledar in January likely prompted Putin to acquiesce to Gerasimov's campaigning and appoint Gerasimov as the overall theater commander for the winter-spring offensive operation," ISW said. The capture of Soledar at high cost came as part of the brutal battle for Bakhmut, which Russia recently claimed to have taken, also at tremendous costs in terms of manpower and resources.

Western arms, including main battle tanks and armored vehicles, are currently flowing into Ukraine amid preparations for another Ukrainian counteroffensive push. For months, the Russians have been digging in and preparing a defense-in-depth strategy aimed at blunting the expected offensive. Though Putin's decision-making process is murky, there's a possibility the outcome of the coming fight could weigh heavily on Gerasimov's future as commander.

It's like White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby mockingly said in February, Putin changes "generals the way I change socks."

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Russia's economy is at China's mercy. Here's why that won't be changing anytime soon.

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 10:09am
  • Russia's economy is becoming dependent on China and it could soon be a vassal state of Beijing, experts say.
  • The two nations have ramped up trade and deepened ties as sanctions isolate Russia from the West.
  • Their partnership benefits China enormously and probably isn't ending soon, economists told Insider.

Russia's economy has been battered by Western sanctions since its invasion of Ukraine last year – and that's putting it increasingly at the mercy of one of its biggest partners: China. 

Observers have pointed to Moscow's growing dependence on Beijing for months, with their two economies becoming more intertwined in trade and finance as Russia becomes further isolated. But it isn't an equal partnership, and Russia may be on its way to becoming a vassal state of China.

That assessment comes from French President Emmanuel Macron, and even sources close to the Kremlin have said that Russia is destined to become a Chinese resource colony. While Russian officials dispute that characterization, experts say it has merit. 

"To me, Russia is not [a vassal] yet with China, but it's clearly headed there," Jay Zagorsky, a markets professor at Boston University told Insider, pointing to Russia's growing reliance on China as a trade partner. Russia has predicted trade volume with China will notch a new record of $200 billion this year, and other statistics show that Russia will export around 26% of its goods to China, Zagorsky said. That's double the amount before the Ukraine war, when Russia exported only 13% of its goods.

Zagorsky predicts that Russia would be considered a vassal state once imports and exports to and from China reach 50% – making it so reliant on Chinese trade that its foreign interests would be dominated by those of China.

"If China cuts them off, they're like, the west has already cut us off. [They're] basically at the mercy of China. And when you're at the mercy of somebody, they have control over you," he said.

Richard Connolly, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and an expert on the Russian economy, disagreed with the term "vassal state." Russia's growing trade partnership with China is more of a natural product of sanctions rather than a deliberate decision, Connolly said, and Russia has grown more reliant on other countries for trade as well, like India. 

And though Russia has become a resource hub for China, it doesn't necessarily make Russia a client state. 

"Although there's an economic asymmetry, that doesn't necessarily translate into political vassal," he said, pointing to Russia's extensive trade with Europe prior to the Ukrainian invasion. "Was Russia a vassal state to Europe over the last 30 years? I would argue yes, and it had a very similar economic relationship to Russia as China does today."

Tit-for-tat partnership

The relationship has benefited both sides, but especially China, which has ramped up its purchases of Russian goods at steep discounts, particularly crude, natural gas, coal, and precious metals. Meanwhile, it's sending huge amounts of manufactured goods to Russia, which has the dual benefit of boosting China's GDP and adding high-value jobs to its economy, Zagorsky said.

Russia, meanwhile has been using the partnership to stay afloat as it deals with sanctions and tries to keep funding its war in Ukraine. The difficulties it is facing make it only more likely that Russia will deepen its dependence on China, Zagorsky said.

For instance, China's purchasing power GDP, which weights GDP to the cost of living, is currently around $24.8 trillion, or six times of that of Russia's. Zagorsky estimates that China's purchasing power GDP could increase to around eight times that of Russia's in the coming years.

"There comes a point when China just becomes so much more economically dominant that the choice of becoming a vassal state really is in many ways predetermined," he added.

Though political relationships can change rapidly, neither Zagorsky nor Connolly see a reason for Russia to end its relationship with China. Both countries have reasons to distance themselves economically from the west, and so far, their alliance has paid off.

"There's no reason to think that it won't last a long time," Connolly said. "At the moment, they both provide things the other needs." 

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Sam's Club history: How Walmart grew its small-business supply store to a 600-warehouse behemoth locked in a battle with Costco

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 10:05am
Sam's Club was founded in 1983.
  • Sam's Club opened its first discount warehouse in Midwest City, Oklahoma, in 1983.
  • The name is an homage to Sam Walton, the famous businessman and founder of Walmart.
  • Today, Sam's Club touts nearly 600 discount warehouses nationwide and 47 million members.
Sam's Club, a Walmart-owned members-only chain, has more than 47 million members across about 600 US discount warehouses nationwide and recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.Sam's Club membership card.

Source: Sam's Club

The Sam's Club name is an homage to Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, who wanted to provide small businesses and other customers a space to buy items in bulk for a discount.

Source: Sam's Club

"Mr. Sam wanted to leverage his resources to help other entrepreneurs like himself access the products and services they needed to make their small businesses succeed," Sam's Club's website states.An image of founder Sam Walton on display at a newly opened Sam's Club in China.

Source: Sam's Club

Walton decided to call it a "club" because he wanted to compete against the then-leader in low-priced, members-only retail warehouse stores, Price Club.

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

Price Club dated back to 1976. In 1993, it would merge with Costco, which had opened its first warehouse in 1983.Interior of a Price Club warehouse.

Source: The New York Times, Costco

The first Sam's Club also opened in 1983, in Midwest City, Oklahoma.In 1987, Sam's Club made its first acquisition by purchasing Louisiana-based SuperSaver Wholesale Warehouse Club, which added more than 20 stores across 13 states to Sam's Club.

Source: Associated Press

And in 1993, Sam's Club acquired Pace Membership Warehouse from Kmart, converting many of the more than 90 locations into Sam's Club stores.Shopping carts in a corral in the parking lot of a Sam's Club store in Concord, N.H., Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.

Source: Los Angeles Times

In 2006, the company changed its logo, using it in stores and advertisements until 2019.

Source: Sam's Club

And in 2019, the company changed to what is now its current logo.

Source: Sam's Club

The business is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, along with its sister company Walmart.

Source: Sam's Club

Kathryn McLay is the current CEO of Sam's Club, assuming the role in 2019. "We still see ourselves as the 'experiment' Sam Walton launched back in 1983, always looking to evolve and improve," she said in a recent LinkedIn post.

Source: Sam's Club, LinkedIn


A membership for Sam's Club currently costs $50 annually, which is cheaper than its chief rival, Costco's, $60 annual membership.

Source: Sam's Club

The company had to hike up membership fees from $45 to $50 in the summer of 2022, its first price hike since 2013, due to inflationary pressures, it said.

Source: Insider

In addition to national brands, Sam's Club also offers its own private label for food, called "Member's Mark."

Source: Sam's Club

The warehouse sells a plethora of items on top of food, from household cleaning ingredients to kitchen appliances.

Source: Sam's Club

For its 40th anniversary in April, Sam's Club offered new membership prices as low as $10 and savings for members.

Source: PRNewswire

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Rep. Lauren Boebert is divorcing her husband of nearly 20 years. Here's a timeline of their relationship.

Sun, 05/28/2023 - 10:05am
Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado with her husband and four sons.
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and her husband, Jayson Boebert, got married in 2005.
  • In March, Boebert announced the oldest of their four sons, Tyler, 18, was going to be a dad.
  • In May, Lauren Boebert filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences."

In May, Rep. Lauren Boebert announced that, "with a heavy weight on my heart," she had filed for divorce from her husband, Jayson Boebert, citing "irreconcilable differences."

The split comes two decades after the couple first met while she was working at McDonald's at the age of 16, and he was 22.

Boebert, a two-term Colorado Republican, and Jayson married in 2005 and have four sons together. In March, she announced that their oldest son was expecting a child with his girlfriend, making Boebert a "36-year-old grandmother."

Here's a timeline of the Boeberts' 20-year relationship.

Circa 2003: Lauren Roberts and Jayson Boebert met at Burger King when she was 16 and he was 22.Lauren Boebert, her husband, Jayson Boebert, and their four sons.

Lauren Boebert, who briefly worked at Burger King before returning to McDonald's, met Jayson when he stopped by for lunch with coworkers from the oil rig where he worked.

"From that moment, Jayson Boebert and I have been together," she wrote of their first encounter in her 2022 memoir, "My American Life." "He just took my breath away. I fell in love with Jayson immediately, and I knew, without doubt, that he was the man I was meant to be with — for better or for worse — forever."

She also wrote that they did not break any Colorado laws while they were dating and that her mother approved of their relationship. The age of consent in Colorado is 17.

January 2004: Jayson Boebert was arrested and charged with public indecency and lewd exposure after exposing his penis at a bowling alley.Lauren Boebert in June 2021.

In 2004, Jayson Boebert was arrested and charged with public indecency and lewd exposure after he exposed his penis to two women at the Fireside Lanes bowling alley in Rifle, Colorado. He pleaded guilty and served four days in jail and two years' probation.

In her memoir, Lauren Boebert says her husband didn't expose himself and simply "acted like he was going to unzip his pants" after having too much to drink. She adds that police were called after he threw a basket of fries at the owner of the bowling alley.

"He knew the truth — and the truth was, he didn't do what he was accused of," she writes. "But the entire experience opened Jayson's eyes to the reality that he needed the alcohol and anger management classes that came with the plea deal."

Representatives for Lauren Boebert did not respond to requests for comment.

March 2005: She gave birth to their oldest son, Tyler, when she was 18.Boebert with her husband and four sons.

Lauren Boebert, who began working at McDonald's when she was 15, dropped out of high school in 2004 when she became pregnant.

"I was a brand-new mom, and I had to make hard decisions on successfully raising my child, or getting to high school biology class. And I chose to take care of my child," she told The Durango Herald while campaigning in 2020.

The Boeberts now have four sons: Tyler, now 18, Brody, Kaydon, and Roman. According to her website, her youngest son is 10.

June 2005: Lauren and Jayson Boebert got married.Lauren Boebert and her husband, Jayson Boebert, in November.

In "My American Life," Lauren Boebert writes that she and Jayson had originally wanted to get married four months after they met, when she was still 16. They even drove to A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas but found out when they got there that they couldn't wed until she turned 17.

May 2013: The Boeberts opened Shooters Grill, a gun-themed restaurant where waitstaff carried firearms as they served patrons.Lauren Boebert poses for a portrait at Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24, 2018.

Menu items at Shooters Grill included an "M16 burrito" and a "bump stock corned beef hash," Insider's Madison Hall reported.

The Boeberts also owned another restaurant, Smokehouse 1776, which attracted controversy in 2017 when The Daily Beast reported dozens of people at a local Colorado rodeo came down with symptoms of food poisoning after consuming the restaurant's pork sliders.

A spokesperson from Lauren Boebert's campaign told The Daily Beast at the time that Smokehouse 1776 "did not receive a fine or have any other type of disciplinary action" after a county health-office inspection. The restaurant is no longer in business.

Shooters Grill closed last year after the restaurant's landlord did not renew its lease. Boebert, a staunch gun-rights activist, told the Post Independent at the time that she and her husband were hoping to revive the Shooters brand through a different venture.

November 2020: Lauren Boebert was elected to the House of Representatives.Boebert speaks at a campaign rally in 2020.

Boebert defeated her Democratic challenger Diane Mitsch Bush, becoming the first woman to represent Colorado's 3rd Congressional District. 

That same year, she marked her 15th wedding anniversary in a post on Twitter.

"Happy anniversary to the most selfless man I know!" she wrote. "Thank you, Jayson, for standing with me in every season. I've learned by allowing our strengths to cover one another's weaknesses, we are steadfast and immovable. I love that I get to live life having you by my side!"

December 2021: The Boeberts' teenage son called 911 to report that his dad was "throwing" him around the house. Jayson Boebert said "nothing physical" happened.Lauren Boebert at the Capitol in December 2021.

In the December 11 emergency call obtained by Insider's Haven Orecchio-Egresitz, the Boeberts' son was sobbing, gasping for air, and had trouble speaking while saying his dad was "throwing me around."

The teen also told the 911 dispatcher that his mother had been living in a farmhouse at an attached property because the family was having "problems."

Less than five minutes later, the teen called back and said that his dad "didn't really get physical with me." Then Lauren Boebert took the phone, telling the dispatcher that her son "doesn't need help" but agreed to let officers come talk to him and her husband.

Jayson Boebert told Insider that he had gotten into an argument with the teen but that "nothing physical" happened.

In a police log from the incident, an officer said Jayson Boebert said he got into a verbal argument with his son and told him to go to the farmhouse to be with his mother.

The teen "said he wasn't sure why he said that his dad hurt him, but he was upset," the log said. 

The officer said there were no physical marks on the teen, both Jayson Boebert and Lauren Boebert were cooperative, and no crime was committed.

"The safety and well-being of my family are the most important things in the world to me," Lauren Boebert told Insider on Thursday. "We've had some tough times and heartache. I've taken action to ensure there are better days ahead for all of us."

August 2022: Lauren Boebert's neighbors in Colorado called 911 after Jayson Boebert was accused of running over their mailbox during a dispute.Lauren Boebert, left, and her husband, Jayson Boebert, in November.

On the evening of August 4, a neighbor called 911 after asking one of Boebert's sons to stop speeding down the street in a dune buggy, The Denver Post reported.

"He's going like 50 miles an hour, and this is a residential lane — there's kids," a neighbor told 911 dispatchers, according to calls obtained by the news outlet. "We tried to stop him, and he'd just freaking cuss at us and just left."

A second neighbor called 911 alleging that Jayson Boebert had struck the neighbor's mailbox with his truck. The neighbor added that Jayson Boebert claimed "that someone took a swing at his kid, and nobody did."

"I'm sure he's loaded to the hilt. Do you know who his wife is? Lauren Boebert. She's loaded. They all have guns," a neighbor said in a 911 call obtained by The Denver Post. "He just got chest to chest, face-to-face, looking to fight."

When Sheriff Lou Vallario arrived on the scene, he said all the parties "agreed to work it out as neighbors," The Denver Post said, adding: "No charges. No further action," according to the Post. 

Representatives for Lauren Boebert did not respond to requests for comment.

November 2022: Lauren Boebert narrowly won reelection to Congress. Jayson Boebert joined his wife at the voting booth on Election Day.Boebert watches her husband hand his ballot to an election staff member on Election Day.

They were also joined by their son Roman.

A recount confirmed that Lauren Boebert won with 50.06% of the vote, while her Democratic challenger Adam Frisch received 49.89%, CNN reported.

March 2023: Lauren Boebert announced that their then-17-year-old son, Tyler, was expecting a baby with his girlfriend, which would make her a "36-year-old grandmother."Lauren Boebert speaks at CPAC in 2023.

In an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Committee's women's breakfast, Boebert said that she and her husband were "so excited to welcome this new life," a baby boy due in April.

"Now, any of you who have young children who are giving life, there are some questions that pop up. There's some fear that arises," she said. "Now my son, when I approached him and told him, 'Tyler, I'm going to be a 36-year-old grandmother,' he said, 'Well, didn't you make Granny a 36-year-old granny?' 'I said, 'Yes, I did.' He said, 'Well then, it's hereditary.'"

May 2023: Lauren Boebert confirmed that she filed for divorce from her husband, citing "irreconcilable differences."Lauren Boebert attends a news conference in March 2023.

The congresswoman is suing for parental-decision making power and child support for the couple's four sons, Insider's Brent D. Griffiths reported.

"It is with a heavy weight on my heart that I have filed for divorce from my husband. I am grateful for our years of marriage together and for our beautiful children, all of whom deserve privacy and love as we work through this process," Lauren Boebert said in a statement to The Colorado Sun. "I've always been faithful in my marriage, and I believe strongly in marriage, which makes this announcement that much more difficult."

The statement continued: "This is truly about irreconcilable differences. I do not intend to discuss this matter any further in public out of respect for our children, and will continue to work hard to represent the people of Colorado's 3rd Congressional District." 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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