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Watch: Biden Says "More Than Half The Women In My Administration Are Women"

Watch: Biden Says "More Than Half The Women In My Administration Are Women".....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

EU Leadership Holds Summit In Kiev Under Air Raid Sirens As Zelensky Urges Fast-Tracked Membership

EU Leadership Holds Summit In Kiev Under Air Raid Sirens As Zelensky Urges Fast-Tracked Membership A handful of top European Union officials gathered in Kiev with Ukraine's leadership on Friday under the sound of air raid sirens for a risky summit at a moment Ukraine is pushing to be fast-tracked for entry into the bloc. Though far from the front line fighting in the east and south, the capital has seen sporadic airstrikes over the past months, but none have been recorded thus far Friday while the summit is being held. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Rueters "There will be no let up in our resolve. We will also support you every step of the way on your journey to the EU," EU chairman Charles Michel wrote on Twitter Friday, with a photo of him in the capital's iconic central square. But Zelensky does has a specific timeline in mind, which he voiced Thursday after initial talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. "I believe that Ukraine deserves to start negotiations on EU membership this year," Zelensky told reporters. "Only together a strong Ukraine and a strong European Union can protect the life we value." EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell was also at the summit. After Ukraine's candidacy was approved by the EU last June, huge hurdles remain which will without doubt make the process slower that Kiev desires, given any country seeking membership must meet key conditions in areas like corruption, an independent judiciary, media, and rule of law issues. For this reason, European Commission President von der Leyen acknowledged "no rigid timelines" it is being guided by. "There are no rigid timelines, but there are goals that you [Ukraine] have to reach," she told Zelensky. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, via Twitter She did preview the EU's next sanctions package targeting Russia, which in part will focus on sanctioning makers of drone components the Russian military is using to target Ukraine's energy and civilian infrastructure. In reality, if Ukraine is let into the EU, it will take not months but years: "The EU will support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people against Russia's ongoing war of aggression for as long as it takes," the EU leaders were expected to say a joint statement, a draft of which was seen by Reuters in advance. EU officials have listed multiple membership requirements, from political and economic stability to adopting various EU laws. The process is likely to take years. "Some may want to speculate about the endgame but the simple truth is that we are not there yet," an EU official said. Still, von der Leyen, Charles Michel, and Borrell are vowing to support Ukraine "for as long as it takes". Yet Ukraine's leadership, accustomed of late to get almost anything it asks of the West (with the latest being Leopard and Abrams M1 battle tanks), is likely to continue to voice its impatience. Together, we are bringing light to Ukraine!⁰ Ukrainians can exchange their old bulbs at the post office for energy-efficient LED bulbs. The EU is gladly providing 35 million of them. Every kW of energy saved is precious to counter Russia's energy war. pic.twitter.com/dkKpSRH6yv — Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 3, 2023 Not helping things is Ukraine's notorious corruption. Recently, Zelensky has booted well over a dozen top officials from office in an effort to show his Western funders that the government is getting serious about rampant corruption, especially as tens of billions in foreign aid flows through Kiev coffers. Zelensky on Friday also announced that Ukraine needs "accelerated" arms supplies if its forces hope to recapture Donbas, and at a moment Russian troops are poised to encircle the strategic city of Bakhmut. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 14:01.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

New Student Loan Rule To Cost $361 Billion; Study Shows Debt Forgiveness Benefits The Wealthy

New Student Loan Rule To Cost $361 Billion; Study Shows Debt Forgiveness Benefits The Wealthy Authored by Andrew Moran via The Epoch Times, A new rule proposed by the Department of Education could cost up to $361 billion over the next decade, while a separate study says President Joe Biden’s landmark student loan forgiveness plan benefits the wealthy. The White House recently confirmed that more than 16 million people were approved for its student loan forgiveness program. Since October 2022, approximately 26 million people have applied for student debt relief. The borrowers will be approved for the aid if the initiative survives a legal challenge in the Supreme Court in February. The administration’s program would forgive up to $10,000 for borrowers with federal student loans and up to $20,000 for Pell grants recipients. Individuals earning less than $125,000 and families with incomes below $250,000 would be eligible. In total, 95 percent of all student loan borrowers would qualify for forgiveness. “More than 40 million Americans would qualify for one-time student debt relief,” the White House tweeted on Jan. 30. “Nearly 90% of the relief going to out-of-school borrowers would go to those earning less than $75,000 a year. This relief is currently on hold because of lawsuits brought by opponents of the plan.” This comes as the Department of Education proposed a rule to overhaul one of its income-driven repayment plans by cutting borrowers’ payments to a specific percentage of their discretionary income. The plan—known as REPAYE—would slash monthly costs for undergraduate borrowers by as much as half. It’s estimated that the average graduate from a four-year university could see savings of as much as $2,000 per year. But this could cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years, says a new study. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel North Portal in Baltimore on Jan. 30, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images) According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan organization at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, it’s projected that the concept could cost taxpayers between $333 billion and $361 billion. By comparison, the Education Department estimated that it would cost $137.9 billion. The gap is caused by the government planning for enrollment to remain “static,” but the Penn Wharton projections show that there would be an acceptance rate of as high as 75 percent of eligible loan volume. “Taking this factor into account, our estimates provide a range of potential budgetary cost for the government over the 10-year budget window starting in 2023,” the study authors said in a statement. “Higher costs emerge at higher take-up rates.” This would be in addition to the administration’s one-time cost of direct loan forgiveness that it projected would come with a price tag of $469 billion. Student Debt Relief is ‘Regressive’ A separate University of Virginia report learned that the federal government’s present student loan payment pause had benefited high-income individuals more than anyone else. The study revealed that the top half of earners garnered 70 percent of the benefit, and the top quintile, which accounted for 16 percent of student loan borrowers, enjoyed close to 30 percent. Put simply, the program, which has received nine extensions, is believed to be more regressive than Biden’s debt cancellation efforts. Previous studies have also concluded that the administration’s debt cancellation plan supports high-income households. “The benefits of the payment pause tie directly to the balances, monthly payments, and the interest rate on the loans. Each of these components contributes to the net regressive impact of the payment pause continuation,” the report stated. “Continuing to extend the student loan payment pause is expensive and regressive. It costs at least $5 billion per month and delivers the bulk of the benefits to upper-income families. In addition, these many extensions threaten the government’s future credibility to administer student loan programs or, indeed, any government lending initiative.” The paper recommends restarting student loan payments immediately, arguing that additional extensions might result in more pressure on the federal budget and the student loan system. In October 2020, the Brookings Institution, an economic research think tank, concluded that high-income households benefited the most from canceling student loan debt. The highest-income 40 percent of households owed nearly 60 percent of outstanding education debt and represented 75 percent of payments. Conversely, the lowest-income 40 percent of households maintained a fifth of the outstanding debt and accounted for 10 percent of the payments. “It should be no surprise that higher-income households owe more student debt than others,” the think tank wrote. “Students from higher-income households are more likely to go to college in the first place. And workers with a college or graduate degree earn substantially more in the labor market than those who never went to college.” Economists also aver that student loan debt relief is “net regressive,” according to a November 2020 Chicago Booth poll. Moreover, they believe that it would “exacerbate U.S. economic inequality,” adding that a preferable policy would be offering “targeted relief.” Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers posted a series of tweets in December 2021 that stated that student loan debt reduction is “regressive,” warning that it would also add to inflationary pressures. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 14:26.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Big Misses From Alphabet, Amazon, And Apple Confirm "The Web 2.0 Bubble Is Bursting"

Big Misses From Alphabet, Amazon, And Apple Confirm "The Web 2.0 Bubble Is Bursting" By Dhaval Joshi of BCA Research The Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, with far-reaching consequences. But to understand the consequences, let’s begin with a brief history of the web: how it evolved from the original Web 1.0 to the current Web 2.0, and how it will evolve to the coming Web 3.0. The Web 1.0 Bubble Burst In 2000, The Web 2.0 Bubble Is Bursting Now If you are over the age of 30, you will remember the original Web 1.0 of the 1990s. Web 1.0 was dull. It was like having a massive encyclopaedia at your fingertips – with static, non-interactive, read-only content, whose ownership remained with its creators: typically, the traditional media, and publishing companies. Nevertheless, facilitated by the telecom and tech giants of the time, Web 1.0 expanded the reach of traditional media content to a massive global audience. Thereby was born the Web 1.0 boom, otherwise known as the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) or ‘dot com’ boom. But as in all booms, hopes for a new paradigm of super-growth were shattered, and the Web 1.0 bubble burst in 2000. Then, around 2005, came Web 2.0. The great leap forwards was user-generated content combined with interaction, which became real-time with the introduction of iPhones. First came blogs, then forums, and finally the explosion of social networks such as Facebook and YouTube. However, Web 2.0 also became the web of big data and advertising. Most of the content – whether blogs, videos, or photos – is user-created, but the effective ownership lies with a handful of ‘Web 2.0 oligopolies’ that control or own the networks: Facebook (now Meta), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google (now Alphabet), collectively called the ‘FAANG’ stocks. The Web 2.0 oligopolies realised that web users produced vast quantities of data about their lifestyles and consumption habits, which the companies could sell to advertisers and marketers. And on that growth model was born the Web 2.0 profit boom, otherwise known as the ‘FAANG’ boom of the 2010s. To visualise this, compare the performance of the US stock market excluding tech, Amazon and Netflix with the European stock market excluding tech, and the difference through the past decade melts away. Proving that the US market’s spectacular outperformance is almost entirely due to the Web 2.0 boom. But now, the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, because the scandals of privacy protection and content ownership have put paid to the 2010s growth model. Just as in 2000 for the Web 1.0 companies, hopes for a new paradigm of growth for the Web 2.0 oligopolies have been shattered. All of which brings us to Web 3.0. This is still a work in progress, but after the scandals of Web 2.0, we know the key requirements for Web 3.0 – to protect everyone’s data as well as to reward users for content creation and network participation. This means decentralisation, with no third party imposing the rules. Hence, Web 3.0 will almost certainly be blockchain based and incorporate its technology, such as blockchain tokens and smart contracts.  The Web 3.0 boom might be imminent, or it may be some years away. But just as the Web 1.0 bubble burst several years before the Web 2.0 boom was born, the bursting of the Web 2.0 bubble is not premised on the birth of the Web 3.0 boom. To repeat, the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting because the scandals of privacy protection and disenfranchising content creators have shattered the growth model of the Web 2.0 oligopolies. And the bursting of this bubble has long-term consequences, which we will now discuss. Consequence 1: The Duration Of The US Stock Market Has Shortened The first consequence is a technical point but nonetheless of huge importance. The US stock market’s duration has shortened. The duration of an investment is simply the time to the average cashflow that the investment generates. As the growth model of the dominant FAANG stocks has shattered, their expected cashflow profile has been pulled forwards, shortening the duration of the stock market. This is important because the duration of any investment determines its sensitivity to a change in bond yields. The shorter the duration, the smaller is its price change for a given move in the bond yield. The US tech sector’s duration has shortened. On the way up through 2018-21, the valuation tracked the 35-year bond price. But on the way down through 2022, it has not tracked the 35-year bond price. The good news of shortened duration is that, through 2022, the US stock market’s valuation fell far less than it would have done with longer duration. But the bad news is that the US stock market’s valuation will rise less when bond yields plunge. Consequence 2: Healthcare Will Outperform Technology In the decades preceding 2010, profits in the US tech sector trended higher broadly in line with those in its fellow ‘growth sector’ US healthcare. But after 2010, US tech profits pulled away from healthcare. As already explained, this profit acceleration was almost entirely attributable to the Web 2.0 boom. But now that the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, the profit trends of US tech and healthcare are likely to re-converge, which means that the profits of US healthcare will outperform those of tech. Yet US healthcare is still trading at a 20 percent valuation discount to US tech. The combination of superior profit growth and a cheaper valuation means that healthcare is likely to outperform tech massively as the Web 2.0 bubble fully bursts. Our preferred expression of this in the past year has been to overweight US biotech versus tech. This structural position is already up 30 percent, but there is a lot further to go. Stick with it. Consequence 3: Europe Will Outperform The US Finally, to repeat, European versus US stock market underperformance through the 2010s is almost entirely attributable to the Web 2.0 boom. If we exclude tech, Amazon and Netflix from the US stock market and compare with the European stock market ex tech, Europe’s underperformance melts away. In this regard, the Web 2.0 boom, whose benefit was focused in the US FAANG stocks, was different to the Web 1.0 boom, which had no geographical bias, at least between the US and Europe. The Web 1.0 boom boosted the European market as much as the US market. Hence, until the 2010s there was no structural downtrend in European versus US stock market performance. But now that the Web 2.0 bubble is bursting, Europe’s 2010s disadvantage versus the US will become its 2020s advantage. A European renaissance is about to begin, at least relative to the US. Hence, today we are opening a new position on a structural (over 2 year) time horizon: Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 15:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon Might Be Headed To East Coast

Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon Might Be Headed To East Coast.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

These Were The Best And Worst Performing Assets To Start The Year

These Were The Best And Worst Performing Assets To Start The Year Markets got the year off to a stellar start in January, with a positive performance for 34 of the 38 non-currency assets tracked by Deutsche Bank thematic research group. In fact, in terms of the breadth of gains, that’s the strongest start to a year since 2019, with advances across equities, sovereign bonds and credit. The main exception to this pattern has been among energy commodities, but lower oil and gas prices have themselves been good news to consumers who’ve been squeezed by higher energy prices last year. Elsewhere, As DB's Henry Allen writes, Chinese assets have continued to perform strongly amidst the economy’s reopening, which has also supported a strong rally amongst industrial metals. Nevertheless, it hasn’t been all good news, with investors remaining nervous about a US recession, as well as the prospect of more persistent inflation. Below we share some more details from the latest DB January performance review Month in Review - The high-level macro overview 2023 got off to a positive start in January, with investor risk appetite supported by several good news stories. The most important was the decline in energy prices, particularly in Europe, where natural gas futures continued their decline from late December with a further -24.8% decline in January. That took them down to their lowest levels since September 2021, and means that the outlook for the European economy is much brighter than expected only a few weeks ago, prompting numerous economists to positively revise their forecasts and remove a Euro Area recession from their 2023 projections. This brightening picture has also been reflected in sentiment indicators, with the European Commission’s numbers for Euro Area consumer confidence at an 11-month high in January. The other positive story for markets in January was the continued reopening of China’s economy. Easing restrictions have made investors more optimistic on China’s economic performance, with the Shanghai Composite up +5.4% in total return terms. And more broadly, industrial metals prices have performed very strongly, with copper (+10.9%) advancing for a third consecutive month, raising concerns that China’s reopening could be inflationary for the global economy. The brighter macro outlook meant that various assets put in a very strong performance over January. For instance, the S&P 500 (+6.3%) had its best start to a year since 2019, and Europe’s STOXX 600 (+6.8%) had its best start since 2015. Meanwhile for US Treasuries (+2.8%), it’s been their second-best monthly performance since March 2020, back when the Fed slashed rates to zero as the Covid pandemic began. Tech stocks saw a particularly strong performance following an awful 2022, with the FANG+ index of 10 megacap tech stocks up by +18.7%, marking its best month since August 2020. However, a more negative story over the month has been continued fears about a US recession. These were present from the start of the month, when the ISM readings showed that December was the first month since May 2020 that both the services and manufacturing components were in contractionary territory. Then both the retail sales and industrial production data for December came in beneath expectations. And lastly, the Conference Board’s Leading Index showed a year-on-year decline of -6.0%, which historically has been consistent with either recessions or the recovery from recessions. Other leading indicators such as the yield curve remained deeply inverted too, with the 2s10s closing in inversion territory for a 7th consecutive month. A final theme over the month was growing speculation that central banks might be nearing an end to their current cycle of rate hikes. That was turbocharged by the weak ISM services index for December at the start of the month, and then the US CPI release for December cemented expectations that the Fed would downshift to a 25bps move at their February meeting. Similar themes were evident elsewhere, with the Bank of Canada formally announcing a pause in their rate hikes for the time being. That said, nervousness about stronger-than-expected inflation was still evident, and the end of the month saw a modest sell-off on the penultimate day amidst fears that the central bank meetings in February could see a continuation of their hawkish stance. Which assets saw the biggest gains in January? Equities: January was a positive month for all the major equity indices, including gains for the S&P 500 (+6.3%), the STOXX 600 (+6.8%), the Nikkei (+4.x%) and the Shanghai Composite (+5.4%). Certain sectors like tech did particularly well, with the NASDAQ up +10.7%. European banks also outperformed, with the STOXX 600 Banks index up +14.1% in its strongest January since data begins in 1987. Sovereign Bonds: After an awful 2022 performance, sovereign bonds have had a very strong start to the year, with gains for US Treasuries (+2.8%), Euro Sovereigns (+2.4%) and UK gilts (+2.8%). For US Treasuries, it marks their second-strongest monthly performance since the height of the pandemic in March 2020. Credit: All the credit indices we follow were in positive territory over January, although as with sovereign bonds, EUR credit underperformed USD and GBP credit. The biggest gain was for USD fin sub (+4.4%), where the gain was more than double that for EUR fin sen (+2.1%). Metals: China’s reopening was a big support for industrial metals in January, with copper up +10.9% in its third consecutive monthly advance. In the meantime, gold advanced a further +5.7%, which brings its gains over the last 3 months to +18.0%, and marks its strongest advance over 3 calendar months since August 2011. EM Assets: Emerging markets put in a strong month over January, with the MSCI EM equity index up +7.9% for its strongest start to a year since 2019. Other EM assets also outperformed, with EM bonds up +3.9%, and EM FX up +2.5%. Cryptocurrencies: Having struggled in 2022, crypto assets have had a much better start in 2023. Bitcoin was up +38.8% over the month to $22,951, which is its strongest monthly performance since October 2021. The gains were widespread elsewhere, with Ethereum (+31.5%) and Litecoin (+32.9%) seeing significant advances as well. Which assets saw the biggest losses in January? Energy Commodities: Natural gas prices have declined significantly since the start of the year, with European futures (-24.8%) and US futures (-40.0%) seeing big falls over January. Oil prices have also lost ground, with Brent Crude (-1.7%) and WTI (-1.7%) both down slightly. US Dollar: The dollar index (-1.4%) fell for a 4th consecutive month for the first time since 2020. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 15:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Watch: Democrats Oppose Amendment To Recite Pledge Of Allegiance; Label Republicans "Insurrectionists"

Watch: Democrats Oppose Amendment To Recite Pledge Of Allegiance; Label Republicans "Insurrectionists".....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Nasdaq Soars To Best Start Since 1975 After Jay & Jobs Outperform

Nasdaq Soars To Best Start Since 1975 After Jay & Jobs Outperform.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

More Recession Signs: Money Supply Growth Went Negative Again In December

More Recession Signs: Money Supply Growth Went Negative Again In December Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, Money supply growth fell again in December, falling even further into negative territory after turning negative in November for the first time in twenty-eight years. December's drop continues a steep downward trend from the unprecedented highs experienced during much of the past two years. During the thirteen months between April 2020 and April 2021, money supply growth in the United States often climbed above 35 percent year over year, well above even the "high" levels experienced from 2009 to 2013.  Since then, the money supply growth has slowed quickly, and since November, we've been seeing the money supply contract for the first time since the 1990s. The last time the year-over-year (YOY) change in the money supply slipped into negative territory was in November 1994. At that time, negative growth continued for fifteen months, finally turning positive again in January 1996.  During December 2022, YOY growth in the money supply was at –2.4 percent. That's down from November's rate of –0.55 percent and down from December 2021's rate of 6.44 percent.  The money supply metric used here—the "true," or Rothbard-Salerno, money supply measure (TMS)—is the metric developed by Murray Rothbard and Joseph Salerno, and is designed to provide a better measure of money supply fluctuations than M2.1 The Mises Institute now offers regular updates on this metric and its growth. This measure of the money supply differs from M2 in that it includes Treasury deposits at the Fed (and excludes short-time deposits and retail money funds). In recent months, M2 growth rates have followed a similar course to TMS growth rates. In December 2022, the M2 growth rate was –1.3 percent. That's down from November's growth rate of –0.01 percent. December's rate was also well down from December 2021's rate of 12.5 percent.  Money supply growth can often be a helpful measure of economic activity and an indicator of coming recessions. During periods of economic boom, money supply tends to grow quickly as commercial banks make more loans. Recessions, on the other hand, tend to be preceded by slowing rates of money supply growth. However, money supply growth tends to begin growing again before the onset of recession.  Negative money supply growth is not in itself an especially meaningful metric. But the drop into negative territory we've seen in recent months does help illustrate just how far and how rapidly money supply growth has fallen in recent months. That is generally a red flag for economic growth and employment. Money supply growth also appears to be connected to yield-curve inversion—itself a recession indicator. For example, the 3s/10s yield spread often heads toward zero as money supply growth moves in the same direction. This was especially clear from 1999 through 2000, from 2004 to 2006, and during 2018 and 2019, and beginning in 2022. This is not surprising because trends in money supply growth have long appeared to be connected to the shape of the yield curve. As Bob Murphy notes in his book Understanding Money Mechanics, a sustained decline in TMS growth often reflects spikes in short-term yields, which can fuel a flattening or inverting yield curve.  It's not especially a mystery why short-term interest rates are headed up fast, and why the money supply is decelerating. Since January 2022, the Fed has raised the target federal funds rate from 0.25 percent up to 4.75 percent.  This means fewer injections of Fed money into the market through open market operations. Moreover, although it has done very little to sizably reduce the size of its portfolio, the Fed has nonetheless stopped adding to its portfolio through quantitative easing and allowed a small amount (about 5 percent of $8.9 trillion) to roll off.  It should be emphasized that it is not necessary for money supply growth to turn negative in order to trigger recession, defaults, and other economic disruptions. With recent decades marked by the Greenspan put, financial repression, and other forms of easy money, the Federal Reserve has inflated a number of bubbles and zombie enterprises that now rely on nearly constant infusions of new money to stay afloat. For many of these bubble industries, all that is necessary for a crisis is a slowing in money supply growth, brought on by rising interest rates or a confidence crisis.  Numerous indicators now point toward recession along with the falling money supply and the inverted yield curve. The Leading Economic Index is in recession territory. Real wages have fallen for twenty-one months. Home builder confidence fell every month of 2022. The Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index has been negative since September. Home price growth has been cut in half. The fact that the money supply is actually shrinking serves as just one more indicator that the so-called soft landing promised by the Federal Reserve is unlikely to ever be a reality.  Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 16:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT6 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

George Santos" attack on Colombian Botox is "completely false," Medical Tourism Association CEO says

"It is sad to see such an attack on Colombia," the association's CEO tells Insider after a recording of Santos disparaging the country's Botox surfaced. New York Congressman-Elect George Santos speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) annual leadership meeting.David Becker for the Washington Post/via Getty Images A leaked audio recording of George Santos revealed him disparaging Colombian Botox treatments as "diluted." The Medical Tourism Association CEO rejects that premise, calling it "completely false." "Colombia has some amazing high quality healthcare," Jonathan Edelheit told Insider.  A leaked audio recording of Rep. George Santos revealed he has strong opinions on where to get Botox that are apparently deeply offensive to the medical tourism industry."Stop going to Colombia for your diluted Botox," the New York Republican told his former office volunteer, Derek Myers, according to the recording obtained by Talking Points Memo.The comment riled the CEO of the Medical Tourism Association, who called it yet another "absurd" statement from the embattled Santos."That comment is completely false," Jonathan Edelheit told Insider.  "Colombia has some amazing high quality healthcare. If you go to the right physicians, clinics or hospitals you are not going to be receiving diluted Botox." Myers, in a text with Insider, concurred."It is not diluted, and the place I go to is world renowned," Myers said of his Colombian Botox treatments. "In fact, they show you everything from opening the bottle, to the labels. It is more superb, and the best treatment I've ever received in any medical setting. Medical tourism is a big deal."Santos, at the center of scandals about lies on his resume and investigations of his finances, was recorded in his Capitol Hill office by Myers, who was ultimately asked to leave, according to the TPM story. During their conversation, the topic of Botox came up when Myers said he received cheaper treatments in Colombia.Santos responded, "I spend a lot more than that on Botox, but I trust the people." Santos' staff did not respond to a request for comment.Edelheit said he helped launch Colombia's medical tourism initiative 10 years ago, they have "amazing" doctors and hospitals, and they've worked hard on building their brand."I was upset and sad to see that someone could just, you know, try to take a swipe at them to distract from other issues, you know, and to attack a whole country's national healthcare system," he said.Bad doctors or attorneys can be found around the world and patients need to choose wisely, he said, flagging a a story about the sale of fake Botox at a clinic in Miami."You could receive diluted botox here in the US or receive Botox that isn't even real, or by a doctor here who actually isn't a doctor," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

A Tesla driver says his steering wheel fell off his brand new Model Y only five days after getting the car

"I was driving a normal speed in the left lane when all the sudden I had this loose wheel in my hand," Prerak Patel told Insider. Police at the scene after the steering wheel fell of a brand new Tesla.Courtesy of Prerak Patel Prerak Patel said his Tesla steering wheel fell of while he was driving down a New Jersey highway. The driver said he'd received the Model Y just five days prior to the incident.  Patel said he was told a bolt was missing from the steering wheel connection. Just five days after it was delivered, the steering wheel fell of a brand new Tesla Model Y. Prerak Patel, the car's owner, was driving down a highway near Woodbridge Mall in New Jersey with his wife and kids when the incident occurred."I was driving a normal speed in the left lane when all of the sudden I had this loose wheel in my hand," Patel told Insider. "By the grace of God, there was nobody behind me. I took my foot off the pedal, and I was able to pull all the way over to a divider." Patel said it took 10 to 20 minutes for the police to arrive at the scene and that the car was later towed to a nearby Tesla service center.Pictures of the steering wheel appear to show the wheel entirely detached from the steering column, only hanging on by exposed wires. Patel posted several photos from the incident on Twitter.—Prerak & Neha Patel (@preneh24) January 30, 2023Patel has yet to pick up his car from the service center, but he said he was told by a service representative that a bolt was missing from the steering column.He'd always wanted to buy a Tesla, he said, and saw an opportunity when the company lowered its prices for its Model Y and Model 3 on January 13. He ordered the car the same day the price cuts were announced.Now, he's not sure he wants to drive the car again, feeling that he'd be putting his family at risk."If they give me that same car back, I won't feel comfortable driving it, " Patel said. "I've asked for a refund. I've asked for a new car."Patel said he's been trying to negotiate the issue with Tesla's customer service department, but in the meantime, he's been tweeting through the issue, posting his exchanges with Tesla service representatives on Twitter and garnering  over 2 million views.—Prerak & Neha Patel (@preneh24) January 30, 2023 "My main purpose for tweeting is for them to improve quality control so no other family has to go through this," Patel said, adding that he want the company to take accountability publicly.A spokesperson for Tesla did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.It's not the first time that a Tesla owner has complained of issues with the car's steering wheels. In 2020, Tesla driver Jason Tuatara posted photos of a Model 3 steering wheel that had fallen off. At the time, the New York Post reported that a Tesla representative had told the driver the car was missing a bolt that connected the wheel to the body of the car. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Tesla stock rallies as US boosts EV tax credit and China sales jump amid price cuts

The Treasury Department broadened its definition of SUV, allowing more models from Tesla and other carmakers to qualify for EV tax credits. Elon Musk in front of a TeslaGetty Shares of Tesla climbed Friday on news of an expanded EV tax credit and a spike in China sales.  The Treasury Department broadened its definition of SUV, allowing more models from Tesla and other carmakers to qualify for EV tax credits. Meanwhile, Tesla's sales in China jumped last month amid recent price cuts.  Tesla stock climbed on Friday on news of a wider US tax credit for electric vehicles and a sales spike in China. Shares jumped as much as 5.7% to an intraday high of $199, continuing a rally that has seen Tesla surge 60% so far this year.Under the Inflation Reduction Act, SUVs can cost up to $80,000 to qualify for EV tax credits. But cars, sedans and wagons must cost less than $55,000.Previously, EVs like the Tesla's Model Y, GM's Cadillac Lyriq, Ford's Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen's ID.4 didn't qualify for EV credits because they fell short of the Treasury Department's weight requirement under its definition of an SUV.But on Friday, Treasury broadened its definition of SUV, allowing more models from Tesla and other carmakers to qualify for EV tax credits that can reach up to $7,500 per car.Tesla CEO Elon Musk had criticized the Treasury's prior standards, which allowed some cars that were not fully electric to qualify while some fully electric cars did not.Meanwhile, Tesla sold 55,796 vehicles in China in January, according to data published Friday by the China Passenger Car Association.That's up 18% from December and 10% from a year ago. The spike comes as Tesla slashed that price of cars in China last month by 6% to 13.5% on certain models. Tesla sales also remained strong despite the lunar new year holiday slowing consumer activity.After slowing production in December, the company plans to boost output at its Shanghai plant in the next two months as the price cuts spur more demand, sources told Reuters.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Meet the typical Amazon customer, a college-educated married woman in the Southeast earning $80,000

The typical Amazon customer buys just one or two items per transaction, and they make 83 purchases per year for an annual expense of $2,969. FILE PHOTO: Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in Manhattan. Eight out of 10 US shoppers are Amazon customers, Numerator data show.Reuters Amazon has 1,285 facilities in the US and employs more than 1.5 million people around the world. Eight in 10 US shoppers are Amazon customers, and they place an average of 74 orders per year. Amazon's average customer is a white woman in the Southeast who earns more than $80,000 per year. Amazon sells stuff online. Maybe you've heard of it.The ecommerce giant is the second-largest retailer in the world, making net product sales of $242.9 billion in 2022.Amazon, founded in Seattle in 1994, has an estimated 1,285 distribution centers, fulfillment centers and other facilities in the US, with another 1,088 in other countries around the world, according to MWPVL , a supply chain consulting firm. The retailer has an employee headcount of 1.5 million around the world, and 1 out of 153 American workers works for Amazon.Meanwhile, eight out of 10 US shoppers are Amazon customers, according to data from the analytics firm Numerator prepared for Insider.Numerator found that Amazon's typical shopper is a college-educated, white married woman, and split across two age brackets: 35 to 44 and 55 to 64. She typically lives in the Southeast, does not have children, and earns more than $80,000 per year.Amazon has the third-highest customer loyalty after Walmart and Target among the major brands surveyed, with nearly 89% of its 2021 shoppers returning in 2022.At the same time, the ecommerce giant added far fewer new customers than it lost by a ratio of nearly five lapsed customers for each new one last year.The typical customer orders just one or two items per transaction, but she makes a comparatively high number of transactions per year, with 83 orders at an annual cost of $2,969, Numerator found.About 9% of her spending takes place at Amazon — slightly less than what she spends at Walmart, the world's largest retailer. Amazon customers are also highly likely to compare prices on Amazon, even when shopping elsewhere.Their favorite product categories on Amazon are cell phone accessories, cases, and chargers, as well as medical supplies and small kitchen appliances. They tend to buy Amazon's in-house labels, and their favorite name brands are Disney, Hanes, Kraft, and Apple.Read more of our typical shopper profiles:Walmart: A 59-year-old white suburban woman earning $80,000 a yearCostco: A 39-year-old Asian American woman earning more than $125,000 a yearTarget: A millennial suburban mom with a household income of $80,000Whole Foods: A highly educated West Coast millennial woman earning $80,000Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

I drove the new Nissan Z. It"s a beautiful, $50,000 retro-modern sports car with a few pesky flaws.

The 2023 Nissan Z is the start of a new era for the beloved "Z" sports car. We drove a $54,000 one with a stunning blue interior and exterior. The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis King The 2023 Nissan Z is the start of a new era for Nissan's famous "Z" sports car. The Z starts at $39,990, and we drove a $53,655 model with a blue exterior and interior for a week.  Our car had flaws, but it was impossible not to like.  The 2023 Nissan Z has a lot to live up to. It's the start of a new generation of "Z" sports cars, which — whether they become pristine restomods or cheap drift cars — are a staple of car and tuner culture. To usher the Z into the modern era means reimagining that deep, decades-long heritage without completely losing it.The good news is, Nissan did just that. The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis KingThe Z has always been special. Its lineage began with the Datsun 240Z in the 1960s and '70s — a timeless two-door with conical headlights and side mirrors mounted halfway down the hood. As the years and new Z models went by, the numbers in their names got bigger: Nissan subsequently introduced the 260Z, 280Z, 280ZX, 300ZX, 350Z, and 370Z, the oldest of which are now high-priced collectibles.The new Nissan Z with the original Datsun 240Z.NissanWhen the newest Z debuted in 2021, it did so with no numbers. It was simply the "Z," bringing with it a 400-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 engine and the choice of a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission.Its styling is evolutionary, combining iconic features of past Z cars — rooflines, logo placements, taillights, wheels, and the like — with sleek, retro-modern styling inside and out. It isn't just new and exclusive; it shares a bond with Z cars of years past, drawing everyone's eyes on the road.The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis KingThe Z's arrival was a big deal — not just because of its heritage, but also because its outgoing generation, the 370Z, debuted in 2008. New cars, like any technology, aren't supposed to be teenagers.  For 2023, the Z starts at $39,990. It comes in three trims: Nissan Z Sport ($39,990): This is the basic version of the car, with 18-inch wheels, cloth seats, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, an eight-inch touchscreen, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and driver-assistance features like pedestrian detection and blind-spot warning.Nissan Z Performance ($49,990): This trim adds 19-inch wheels, leather and synthetic-suede seats, launch control, an upgraded Bose audio system, a nine-inch touchscreen, heated and power-adjustable front seats, and noise cancellation. Nissan Z Proto Spec ($52,990): The Proto Spec is a special trim with highlighter-yellow accents, 19-inch bronze wheels, and yellow brake calipers. Nissan is limiting the Proto Spec to 240 units in the US. My loaner car was a Z Performance with a nine-speed automatic. With added two-tone paint ($1,295), fancy floor mats ($400), other optional appearance features, and fees, it came to $53,655.What the Z does right: aesthetics and spaceTo step into the Z is to step into a shrine of itself, with the car's iconic letter slashed into everything: the steering wheel, floor mats, trunk, door sills, and more. Even the driver's digital instrument cluster erupts into a supernova of white light with a Z at the center, like a modern ad for "The Mask of Zorro." The 2023 Nissan Z.NissanMy loaner Z was stunning. Its "Seiran Blue" paint and sloping black roof cloaked an equally beautiful interior, with bright blue seats and black accents flowing through the cabin. Three gauges showing turbo speed, battery voltage, and boost sank into the top of the black dashboard, facing the driver's seat as their red needles bobbled.The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis KingThe Z's grille and taillights are made up of rounded rectangles, making the car one cohesive piece. Its color options from the factory — including my car's blue interior and a highlighter-yellow paint option — won't mean anything to most people, but they'll mean everything to the audience they're for. The 2023 Nissan Z's flush door handles.NissanThe whole car feels intentional. The door handles are flush to the Z instead of jutting out from it — an aerodynamic and aesthetic advantage most people will recognize from Teslas. But unlike Tesla's flush handles, which froze over for years because there wasn't anything to grab onto, the Z has hand-sized crevices you can use to pull the handles open. It's all the utility of a normal handle with all the style of a flush one.The 2023 Nissan Z.NissanBut the Z isn't just pretty — it's usable, especially for a two-door sports car. Its shiny infotainment touchscreen is easy to work, and multiple people I showed the car to agreed on how crisp the display was.—Alanis King (@alanisnking) January 4, 2023Plus, the Z makes storage easy. Each of its two seats has a sunken shelf behind it for your purse, water bottle, and other items, and the car has a hatchback in place of a traditional trunk. In a hatchback, a huge back panel (including the rear window) lifts up, creating tons of vertical and horizontal space. The Z's hatch was big enough for me to sit and roll around in during photoshoots.How the Z drivesDriving the Z left me curious and a little confused. It felt like it didn't perfectly fit in any mental category I've established for sports cars, and I think a lot of that traces back to its $53,000 price. The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis KingMy Z produced a deep but polite rumble that made itself known as a sports car without disturbing the neighbors. The steering was responsive but not heavy, and the shifts were slower than I would've liked. The turbo lag was harsh but didn't last long, and 400 horses was enough power to have a little fun.But the Z's ride quality was in limbo. It wasn't soft and insulated from the road like a more luxurious car, nor did it have the visceral connection to it like a fancy sports car. The road noise was just a loud hum that got louder on the highway.—Alanis King (@alanisnking) January 5, 2023I took the Z out to my local "good roads" — you know, the curvy ones without a lot of traffic — and enjoyed it but wasn't blown away. It felt more like I was tossing the car into turns than gliding through them, and I wasn't glued into the seat when I did. I leaned in, through, and out of each corner, with my butt always diagonal to my shoulders. What the Z lacks: refined interior detailsMuch like the driving experience, the Z's other flaws trace back to its price. The black interior panels changed from soft to hard material in certain spots, and like hair extensions in the wrong shade, you could tell they weren't the same. The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis KingThese material changes are a normal thing in cars; softer materials look pretty, while harder ones help with cleanup and wear in more vulnerable, high-use areas. But it would have looked so much better if the soft and hard panels had something in between them — a slice of color, for example — to make their inconsistencies less obvious.The 2023 Nissan Z (left) and 2013 370Z (right). If you look just in front of the cupholder, you'll see the seat-heater switches.NissanThe interior had yellow lighting on the ceiling and in the visor mirrors instead of modern white LEDs, and the bottom two corners of the infotainment screen in my Z glowed like backlight bleed on an old television. That conveys age, whether it's by design or not.Many of the physical controls in the car were also thick and plasticky, and the switches that turned on the heated seats looked just like the ones in the 370Z from 10 years ago. Again, aging!The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis KingAll of this would have been fine at a lower cost. Even as the average price of a new car nears $50,000, I look at all the affordable sports cars out there — the Subaru BRZ, Mazda Miata, Ford Mustang, and others, whether they're direct competitors to the Z or not — and recognize that the Z is a big investment. Our impressions: a great car, with sacrifices The new Z isn't perfect, but it's not supposed to be. The beauty of a Z isn't that it's flawless from the factory; it's what the car can become, through modifications, drift builds, or just getting used to its quirks.The 2023 Nissan Z.Alanis KingI think the Z is the right car for a lot of people. It's stunning, it has heritage, and it captivates both car enthusiasts and regular people.In spite of the Z's flaws, it's impossible not to like. All the best cars are. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

New AI tool lets you replace pictures of your ex with images of red flags and snakes

Picsart, a photo and video editing company, debuted the tool as a way to help the broken-hearted purge their social media feeds of former flames. A new AI tool lets you swap out images of your ex with red flags and snakes.Picsart Picsart debuted a new AI tool that allows user to replace photos of their ex.  The tool can swap images of former flames with anything, including snakes, red flags, and baguettes.  The tool is the latest artificial intelligence use case as the technology continues to explode.  Broken-hearted and trying to purge pictures of your ex from your social media pages? A new tool puts a cathartic spin on dissolving their digital footprint. Picsart, a photo and video editing company, debuted a new artificial intelligence-powered feature that allows users to replace images of former flames with everything from red flags to snakes. Called "AI Replace My Ex," the tool lets users swap images "with virtually anything" and "in just a few seconds with no design skills required," per Picsart."We've all been there: you have a photo where you look super cute, but it's tainted by the presence of someone no longer in your life," Picsart wrote in a blog announcing the tool Monday. "You'd rather not see or think about them, but don't necessarily want to delete the hundreds (or even thousands) of photos you have together."The tool marks yet another use-case of AI as the technology continues to explode in popularity. It also joins efforts to support jilted lovers ahead of Valentine's Day, including the San Antonio Zoo's annual Cry Me a Cockroach fundraiser, in which you can name a roach, rodent, or plant after an ex or a bad boss. To make the swap, Picsart users can upload a photo, select the ex in question, hit "AI Replace," and then describe a replacement image. In addition to a classic red flag, the blog post shares several examples of ideas for swaps, including a snake ...Picsart... a baguette ...Picsart... and a dog. PicsartUsers can create a limited number of free images before they're required to pay a fee, Picsart said in the blog. While the feature is currently available only on Apple iOS products, it's expected to come to Android soon. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Lingerie brand condemns "non-consensual boob-grabbing" after "creepy" ad referencing Ryan Reynolds receives backlash

The controversial ad describes a hypothetical scenario involving A-lister Ryan Reynolds "gently holding up your breasts and whispering in your ear." Harper Wilde's since-deleted Instagram post was quickly re-uploaded to Twitter as social media users questioned the content.Harper Wilde/Instagram Alex Livesey/Danehouse/Getty Images Lingerie brand Harper Wilde is getting slammed for a recent ad mentioning Ryan Reynolds. The brand apologized the day after the ad's debut, providing critics with more context. According to a company statement, the ad came from a real review left by customer. Los Angeles-based lingerie brand Harper Wilde apologized on Monday after some social media users slammed the company for a particularly questionable ad featuring Ryan Reynolds. Last Friday, the company shared a sponsored post on Instagram that compared the support of its bras to the "Deadpool" star hypothetically holding one's breasts. Twitter users wasted little time reposting screenshots of the since-deleted post and sharing critiques of the marketing strategy."This bra is like if Ryan Reynolds was gently holding up your breasts and whispering in your ear that you are doing a good job ... honestly," the now-deleted post read, according to reports.—Kira Puru (@kirapuru) January 30, 2023"@VancityReynolds can you confirm that a bra company took the necessary measures to ensure we receive the Blake experience," one user wrote to Reynolds, referencing his wife Blake Lively, according to the New York Post.While some users poked fun at the advertisement, others weren't so amused by Harper Wilde suggesting sexual contact with a stranger.Harper Wilde did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, though the women-led brand took to its official Twitter account last weekend to provide context for the ad, claiming it does "not condone creepy non-consensual boob-grabbing of any kind."—Harper Wilde (@harperwilde) January 29, 2023The company provided a more in-depth statement on the issue in a Monday post on Reddit, stating the comment about the A-list actor was made by a customer leaving a review about that the company used as part of a larger campaign. "Hi! For context, this is actually a review by a real customer originally meant to run with a series of other reviews — we thought it was cheeky enough to run as an ad, but the attribution was cut off at the bottom by the ad interface (original ad series attached)," the statement on Reddit read.The company provided a full view of the ad and others like it for additional context.In addition to its statement online, Harper Wilde provided examples of other review ads it planned to run as part of the campaign with correct attributions.Harper Wilde/Reddit"The core of our brand is ultimately about designing bras by boob-havers for boob-havers while divesting from the male gaze. While we clearly have customers who are straight women, this single review doesn't represent our entire brand," the company wrote in its Reddit statement.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Homebuyers, rejoice! You can afford to bid on a more expensive home now that mortgage rates have fallen below 6%

Declining mortgage rates could bring more buyers back to the market at a time when many home sellers are dropping their prices. Home prices have dropped, even in some of the most popular areas.Justin Sullivan/ Staff/ Getty Images The US housing market is warming back up because of declining mortgage rates. The average for 30-year mortgage rates have just dipped below 6% for the first time in months. One economist says there are still headwinds that the market needs to navigate. It's beginning to look like it's going to be a very busy spring season in the real estate world. Mortgage rates dipped below 6% on February 2, according to Mortgage Daily News, marking their lowest reading since September 2022. The declining mortgage rates have helped to bring buyers back to the market and bolster purchasing power.On top of the additional foot traffic, homebuyers can also afford to purchase more expensive homes now that mortgages are getting cheaper. A recent report from Redfin found that people with a monthly budget of $2,500 can now afford to buy a $400,000 home. That's about $35,000 more than they could have spent in November when interest rates were hovering near 7%, the report said. Altogether, Redfin's economics research lead Chen Zhao said in the report that these factors could inspire "homebuyers and sellers to gradually return to the market by springtime." At least 28 million people say they plan to buy a home in 2023, according to NerdWallet's latest homebuyer survey. People like Justin Moore, 50, who lives in Florida with his wife, told Insider that the declining mortgage rates have motivated him to put in more offers on homes after taking a break from house hunting between December and January since he's tired of renting and "living in someone else's house." The market seems to be adjusting to some of this movement as Redfin's Homebuyer Demand Index — which measures the frequency of home tour requests and other home buying activity — is up 19% since its October low. Meanwhile, newly listed homes are getting more attention from buyers and 37% of these homes are accepting offers within the first two weeks, the brokerage said. Inventory levels are also starting to tick up in many markets across the country at a time when home sellers are starting to drop their prices. "There has been a massive market shift," Alexandra Shupe, a real estate agent in Brevard County, Florida, told Insider about her market. "We went from sellers controlling everything, to now being more of a neutral, and even almost a buyer's market." For example, Redfin found that new listings were up 23% for the four weekends ending on January 29 when compared to the same period in 2022. At the same time, an average of 5.6% of homes listed dropped their price to attract a buyer, up from 2.2% the year before. The amount of new listings has also increased the market's total months of supply, which measures how long it would take all of the available inventory to sell out. The US market currently has about 4.6 months of supply compared to 2.2 months of supply at this time last year. However, Zhao cautioned that there are still economic headwinds that could derail any potential momentum that homebuyers are building. One issue the market is still grappling with is the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes, Zhao said. The central bank raised interest rates by a quarter of a point on February 1, which was a much less aggressive rate hike than previously expected. But, chairman Jerome Powell said that "ongoing rate hikes" were necessary to tame inflation, the New York Times reported.Zhao said the ongoing rate hikes will "likely prevent the steep mortgage-rate decline that some optimistic buyers have been waiting for."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

The economy is still at risk of a "sudden stop" despite January"s massive job growth, Larry Summers says

"It's as difficult as an economy to read as I can remember," former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said to Bloomberg. Larry SummersHyungwon Kang/ReutersLarry Summers warned that there could be a "sudden stop" in the economy this year.Summers made the comments after a strong January jobs report sent the unemployment rate to 3.4%."It's as difficult as an economy to read as I can remember," Summers told Bloomberg.The US economy could see a "sudden stop" and even fall off a cliff later this year, according to former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.That view stands in stark contrast to the strong January jobs report that was released on Friday, which showed job gains of 517,000, more than double the average economist estimate of 188,000.The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, its lowest level in 54 years."It's as difficult an economy to read as I can remember," Summers told Bloomberg on Friday. The big question, according to Summers, is whether the income generated by employees is going to be spent and help lift up the economy, or are companies about to conclude that they have too many employees and need to enact widespread layoffs.Layoffs have already hit the tech sector hard over the past few months, though they have been typically been a single digit percentage of a company's overall workforce. If the layoffs accelerate to other sectors of the economy, Summers expects the economy to see a "fairly sudden stop."Another question on top of Summers' mind is whether wage inflation continues to slow, or does it reaccelerate? Such a tight labor market would suggest that wage inflation could see a pick-up from here, especially after the January jobs report. And given that wage inflation is integral to overall inflation, it will help inform the Federal Reserve as to whether they need to continue with their interest rate hikes."The question now is whether that inflation is going to continue to decline rapidly," Summers told Bloomberg. If inflation sees a rebound, it would make a soft-landing in the economy much more harder to achieve.All of this means that the Fed doesn't have an easy job ahead of it, according to Summers.Policymakers are "recognizing that it's going to be very hard, and they're going to have to try to interpret the data month by month, and that there are a lot of surprises," Summers said. The Fed is now expected to hike interest rates by 25 basis points at both its March and April FOMC meetings, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT8 hr. 56 min. ago Related News

Amazon is closing certain Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go stores, suggesting that grocery hasn"t been as fruitful as it hoped

Amazon was primed to be a major disruptor in the grocery industry but store closings and delayed openings indicate that it hasn't gone as planned. Inside an Amazon Fresh store.Reuters/HENRY NICHOLLS Amazon said Thursday that it will close certain Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go stores. It also said it would cut jobs across this area of the business. Critics say the focus on tech rather than retail experience in stores is putting off shoppers. Amazon said Thursday that it plans to close a number of Amazon Fresh grocery and Amazon Go convenience stores and pause new openings. The announcement, which was made during its fourth-quarter earnings call, came just weeks after the e-commerce giant said it will cut 18,000 jobs in certain areas of the business.Amazon confirmed earlier this week that these cuts would impact jobs across its grocery arm, including employees that work on the tech and design of these stores. The two announcements cast doubt over the success and future of Amazon's grocery business, which was primed to be a major industry disruptor.Insider reached out to Amazon for more comment but did not immediately hear back. 'An expensive hobby'Amazon has tried to make inroads into food and grocery for many years. Initially, via its online delivery service Amazon Fresh, then through its acquisition of Whole Foods, and more recently with the launch of its Amazon Fresh supermarkets and Amazon Go cashier-less stores.But experts have dubbed this arm of the business as "an expensive hobby" that has yet to come good. In a call with analysts on Thursday, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company was experimenting with these stores to find a format that is differentiated from competitors and resonates with shoppers. "We're not going to expand the physical Fresh doors until we have that equation with differentiation and economic value that we like, but we're optimistic that we're going to find that in 2023," he said. He continued: "When we do find that equation, we will expand it more expansively. But I think that we have a very significant opportunity in the grocery segment."Too much tech, and not enough vibe Retail consultant Richard Hyman said that part of the problem is that Amazon is entering a highly competitive industry, and going up against food retailers that have had decades to master a complicated trade. "Being big on its own is nowhere near enough to be good," he told Insider. "Amazon is not a retailer, it's a tech company, and their absolute core competence is in tech."So while Amazon has paved the way in the art of e-commerce, physical retail is an entirely different experience, he said. This is a less transactional shopping experience, where customers that come into stores need to be seduced into buying products. The shopping environment, assortment, and price need to be on point, he said. Other critics say that Amazon has made the mistake of focusing too much on the tech in stores rather than the retail experience itself. Amazon Go's unique selling point is that you can pick up a product and walk straight out without having to line up, but critics say that's not enough. Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail told Insider that these stores are solving a problem that doesn't exist."Consumers are not going to shop somewhere just because it has walk-out technology or a fancy cart that scans items as you add them. They need something else to entice them," he said. But the issue is that Amazon doesn't know what this enticing factor is, he said.Saunders also feels that Amazon expanded without really considering the competitive landscape. He used the UK as an example where many of the big grocery chains already have smaller stores in urban areas, which is exactly what Amazon was trying to do. "The bottom line is that Amazon doesn't really have its act together in grocery," he said."It's sort of stumbling around in the dark to see what might work, and it has been doing that for a very long time."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT12 hr. 12 min. ago Related News

CEO of Stability AI, an OpenAI rival, reportedly told employees they were "all going to die in 2023" as competition heats up

Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque reportedly warned staff that 2023 would be a year of hard work as the company competes with OpenAI, Meta, and Google. Stability AI founder Emad Mostaque, whose company is working to compete against the likes of ChatGPT maker Open AI.Courtesy of Stability AI Stability AI's CEO Emad Mostaque reportedly told employees they're "all going to die in 2023." The competition in AI is heating up with companies like OpenAI, Google, and Meta in the mix. Mostaque's Stability AI is behind the popular text-to-image generator Stable Diffusion. Stability AI's CEO warned employees about the competition heating up in the artificial intelligence industry. His message to staff: "You're all going to die in 2023."A new Forbes report details how Emad Mostaque — who founded Stability AI, a company that creates open-source AI tools, in 2020 — is preparing to go up against fellow startup OpenAI, as well as behemoths like Google and Meta, in 2023 as tech companies race to release commercialized AI products.In August, Stability AI released Stable Diffusion, an open-source AI text-to-image generator, to the public. According to Forbes, Stable Diffusion is used by 10 million people each day — more than the number who use OpenAI's DALL-E 2, which was released to the public in July."Stable Diffusion threw a bomb into the mix by making things dramatically more accessible," Pat Grady, an investor at venture capital firm Sequoia, told Forbes. "It really lit a fire under OpenAI and got them to become much more commercially focused." Stable Diffusion uses diffusion, a generative AI technique that teaches an AI model to destroy and then reconstruct an image.After the art generator took off, Stability AI raised a seed round of as much as $100 million at a $1 billion valuation.But it's not all smooth-sailing for the startup: Stability AI is currently facing two lawsuits, one from Getty Images and another from a group of artists, over copyright issues and "unlawful competition." Stability isn't the only company grinding to compete in the AI race.In December, Google issued a "code red" to employees amid the rising popularity of OpenAI's ChatGPT, which may threaten its search engine.Employees at the company were asked to pivot to developing AI prototypes and products that can generate art, The New York Times reported.Meanwhile, Meta is investing more in AI to improve its advertising efforts. Meta's modeling and machine learning tools are helping the social media company find audiences for ads and also showing advertisers how many people are reacting to ads on the platform.Read the full Forbes report here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: NYT12 hr. 12 min. ago Related News