Twice Burned: Winklevoss Brothers Overshadowed by Zuckerberg Yet Again

Can a Libra and two Geminis get along? How about Facebook and the Winklevoss twins?

Back in the day, Mark Zuckerberg’s hunky Harvard classmates claimed the Facebook CEO stole their idea for the social network when he was just a nerdy undergrad. Now, Facebook’s grand plan for a new digital currency called Libra could bring the three men together again–though it remains to be seen whether there’ll be enough drama to warrant a sequel to The Social Network, the 2010 film based on the story of Facebook’s founding.

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have busied themselves since their Harvard days–they’re 37 now, while Zuckerberg is 35–investing heavily in Bitcoin, currently the best-known “cryptocurrency.” With Libra, though, Facebook is hoping to change that, and so once again Zuckerberg seems to be one-upping the “Winklevii” in their own backyard.

Perfect for a dramatic retelling, right? But how about a rom-com, or at least a bromance? The Winklevoss twins, it turns out, have also founded Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange based in New York City. The idea behind the exchange, started in 2014, was to create a secure ecosystem that is “free of hacking, fraud, and security breaches,” to move cryptocurrency out of Wild West days and into something that’s regulated, secure, and used by regular people.

Facebook’s Libra, meanwhile, hopes to be the first Bitcoin-like currency with mass appeal, thanks to its backing by familiar corporations like Uber, Visa, and Mastercard. Is there room for some cooperation? Or will the twins get burned again?

In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Cameron Winklevoss said he was not worried about Libra’s launch. “There’s so much pie to grow, I mean, at this point, we need to be frenemies,” he said.

Representatives for Facebook and Gemini did not immediately return messages for comment on Tuesday.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

–Does the SEC’s ICO lawsuit against Kik go too far?

–How cord-cutting is driving big changes across the media landscape

–Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Kupor demystifies the VC funding process

–To break up Facebook, here’s where the government might start

–Listen to our new audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily

Follow Fortune on Flipboard to stay up-to-date on the latest news and analysis.

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The 5 Best Banks for Small Business Owners in 2019

If you’ve started your own company — or you’re considering the move — you’ve likely marveled at the logistics required to pull it off.

How do taxes work now? What about health insurance?

And when you become a business owner, your banking needs change. Since vetting banks probably isn’t how you want to spend your time when you’re self-employed, we did the leg work for you and found the five best banks for small business owners.

Wait, How Did We Pick the 5 Best Banks for Small Businesses?

There are several angles you could take to determine the best bank offers, depending on the business needs of your company. To choose the best banks for small businesses, we focused on three banking services:

Small business checking and savings account options: We looked at balance requirements, fees and transaction and deposit limits.

Small business lending: There are three main ways you can borrow money for your business. We compared what banks offered across these three categories.

  • If you’re a qualified small business owner, you can take out SBA loans, which are backed by the Small Business Administration and, as a result, come with lower interest rates.
  • You can also secure a business term loan, which operates in the same way as a personal loan.
  • You can secure a business line of credit, which can provide you with flexibility if you’re not sure how much money you need.

Credit cards: While we don’t advocate spending just to get credit rewards, there’s no reason to leave perks for your existing expenses on the table. We looked at the annual fees, interest rates and perks each bank offers with their small business credit cards.

Your needs may be more complicated, but they likely include these basic merchant services. So here’s how the best small business banks stack up.

5 Best Banks for Small Businesses

None of these companies paid The Penny Hoarder to make the list. That said, we don’t know your business finances or your cash flow. The best bank for your small business is going to depend on your specific needs.

But here are our five favorites.

Wells Fargo: Best Overall Banking for Small Businesses

A Wells Fargo bank sign.

If your business can keep a reliable daily balance, Wells Fargo’s business accounts come cheap.

With over 5,500 brick-and-mortar locations and 13,000 ATMs across the country, the other appeal is convenience. Customer service is around the clock, and you can handle all your business banking needs in one location.

Checking and Savings

It will only cost you $ 25 to open a Simple Business Checking Account at Wells Fargo. The account comes with:

  • A $ 10 monthly service fee that’s waived if you maintain an average balance of $ 500 over the month.
  • 50 free transactions before you incur a transaction fee.
  • $ 3,000 in free cash deposits per month.

The Business Market Rate Savings Account also includes a $ 25 minimum opening deposit. The account comes with:

  • A $ 6 monthly fee that’s waived if your average balance is at least $ 500.
  • 20 free check deposits each month.
  • $ 5,000 worth of free cash deposits each month.

Small Business Lending

Wells Fargo also offers unsecured business loans for various business purposes.

  • Loan amounts range from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000.
  • Terms range from one year to five years.
  • Fixed interest rates starting at 8%.

If you need financing for a business vehicle or equipment, you can apply for an Equipment Express loan instead.

  • Loan amounts range from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000.
  • Terms are typically between two and six years.
  • Interest rates come in slightly lower — 6.75% for vehicle loans and 7.25% for equipment loans.

Businesses with annual sales over $ 2 million can be approved for secured loans for up to $ 500,000.

Credit Cards

Wells Fargo’s small business credit cards offer:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • A sign-up cash back bonus between $ 500 and $ 1,000, depending on the card you apply for.
  • The Wells Fargo Business Platinum card offers 0% interest for the first nine months; after that, APRs range from prime rate of 5.5% plus 7.99% to 17.99%, which translates to 13.49% to 23.49%.

Chase: Best Credit Card Offerings

a man and woman withdraw money from chase bank ATMs automatic teller machines.

As another “big four” bank, Chase Bank offers familiar perks: a reliable brand with enough resources to keep things convenient. Chase Bank has almost 5,000 branches and 16,000 ATMs across the country, and its customer service runs around the clock as well. But Chase’s credit card offerings are particularly worth noting.

Checking and Savings

The small business checking account, the Chase Total Business Checking, comes with:

  • A $ 15 monthly fee that’s waived with a minimum daily balance of $ 1,500.
  • 100 free transactions each month.
  • $ 5,000 of free cash deposits each month.

Chase’s Business Total Savings account charges $ 10 per month, which is waived if you maintain an average balance of $ 1,000.

Small Business Lending

Chase offers a variety of small business loans. Here are the details:

  • Loan amounts start at $ 10,000, with varying interest rates.
  • Terms range from 12 to 84 months.
  • Lines of credit up to $ 350,000 are also available through Chase’s SBA Express.

Credit Cards

You probably hear the name Chase and think of credit cards, so it’s no surprise that its offerings in this category are robust — in fact, they’re why Chase made the cut.

The Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash cards come with:

  • No annual fee.
  • A $ 500 cash back bonus if you spend $ 3,000 in your first three months.
  • A 12-month introductory period of 0% APR.
  • APRs ranging from 15.49% to 21.49% after the first 12 months. (The average business credit card APR is 15.37% as of June 2019, according to ValuePenguin.)

While the Ink Business Unlimited will give you 1.5% cash back on all purchases, the Ink Business Cash earns you 5% cash back on select categories.

If you’re willing to pay an annual fee of $ 95 for the Ink Business Preferred card, the perks go up from there.

Capital One: Best for Low Fees

You can likely guess that the “credit cards” category landed Capital One on the list, but the checking and savings account options are worth a nod as well. If your main priority is credit cards, Chase may beat Capital One out, but if you’re looking for comprehensive service (read: better savings and checking options), read on.

Checking and Savings

Both the Capital One Spark Business Checking and Spark Business Savings accounts* come with:

  • No monthly service charge.
  • Free deposits, withdrawals and transfers are free.
  • No minimum balance, and the Spark Business Savings account comes with a 12-month promotional APY.

*Update: Capital One has temporarily stopped accepting new Spark Business Checking and Spark Business Savings accounts.

Small Business Lending

Capital One offers equipment loans, business installment loans and lines of credit that start at $ 10,000. Loan term lengths vary, but they typically do not extend beyond five years.

Credit Cards

The Spark Cash Select offers:

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • A $ 200 cash bonus if you spend $ 3,000 in your first three months.
  • 0% APR for the first nine months; 15.24% to 23.24% APR after that.
  • No annual fee.

The Spark Cash card comes with:

  • 2% cash back.
  • 19.24% variable APR.
  • $ 95 annual fee.

Axos: Best High-Yield Savings Account

The checking and savings offerings fall short of Capital One’s and Wells Fargo’s, and there are no credit cards. But if you’ve been in business for a few years, are looking for more substantial lending and don’t have a considerable sum of transactions each month, it’s worth a look.

Your money will earn a high APY, but you’ll have to earn your fee waiver.

Checking and Savings

The Axos Basic Business Checking account requires a $ 1,000 minimum opening deposit and comes with:

  • No monthly maintenance fees.
  • 200 free payments and deposits each month; after that, you’ll pay 30 cents per transaction.

If that minimum opening deposit is a deterrent, you may consider the Business Interest Checking account instead. The account only requires a $ 100 minimum deposit and comes with:

  • 0.8% APY — considerably higher than most accounts.
  • A $ 10 monthly maintenance fee that’s waived if you maintain an average daily balance of $ 5,000.
  • 50 free payments and deposits each month; after that, you’ll pay 50 cents per transaction.

The Axos Business Savings account requires a $ 1,000 initial deposit. The account comes with:

  • 0.8% APY.
  • $ 5 monthly fee if your average daily balance is below $ 2,500.

Small Business Lending

Axos also offers lines of credit and commercial loans. Both require your business to have been in operation for at least two years.

  • Lines of credit and commercial loans start at $ 250,000.
  • Line of credit terms are one year.
  • Commercial loans offer three-, five- or six-year terms.

Credit Cards

Axos does not offer credit cards.

Navy Federal Credit Union: Best Credit Union

You’re a small business owner now. Maybe you don’t want to do business with a multibillion-dollar corporation. If that’s your speed, a credit union like Navy Federal might be right for you. These member-owned nonprofits can provide a comfort and familiarity that the big four can’t offer.

Full disclosure: The perks are not going to match the big four. Membership is also not available to everyone: Only veterans, active-duty military, employees of qualified government agencies and immediate family of Navy Federal members can apply.

Checking and Savings

Navy Federal’s Business Checking account comes with:

  • No monthly service fee.
  • Unlimited free electronic transactions for free.
  • 30 free non-electronic transactions; after that, you’ll be charged 25 cents per transaction.
  • If you’re willing to pay an $ 8 monthly service fee, the free non-electronic transaction limits goes to 50.

Navy Federal also offers money market accounts that begin paying dividends at $ 2,500.

Small Business Lending

Navy Federal offers the following small business lending options:

  • Secured and unsecured business loans starting at $ 25,000; term loans must be secured.
  • You can apply online for any loan up to $ 50,000.
  • Lines of credit starting at $ 10,000.

Credit Cards

Navy Federal offers credit cards from Visa and Mastercard. The details:

  • No fees.
  • Interest rates start at prime plus 5.9% — right now, that’s 11.4%, but it will fluctuate.
  • You’ll earn one rewards point for every dollar you spend.

Honorable Mention: Azlo

Azlo does not offer credit cards or lending, but its no-fee structure could be attractive for small businesses with a point of sale to manage. Unfortunately, it can’t offer free cash deposits because it doesn’t have brick-and-mortar locations.

Azlo’s free business checking account has no monthly fees, no monthly transaction limits and no minimum balance requirements.

It also allows you to send invoices directly from your account for easy bill pay, and you can integrate Square to sync up directly with your account as well.

It may not have all the bells and whistles of a big national bank, but it is FDIC insured and its online-only structure could mean convenient mobile banking for you.

How to Choose the Best Bank for Your Small Business

Two women meet with a banker.

Ultimately, there may be some other factors that determine the best business bank account for you and your… business.

Do you want to use the same bank for your personal account, for example? Are you willing to step outside of the free checking options to earn more perks? Are you holding out for a debit card you can put your dog’s face on?

No matter what’s on your checklist, the options listed here should give you an idea of where to look next. If Wells Fargo and Chase were catching your eye, for instance, it might be worth comparing offerings from other big banks like Bank of America and Citibank as well.

If you like the idea of Navy Federal, search for credit unions in your area to compare.

The right bank for your business and personal finances is out there. You’ve just got to hunt it down.

Jake Bateman is a writer and editor in Florida.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Budget You Can Actually Stick to

If you’re anything like me, you’re perpetually swinging between vowing to cut all unnecessary spending cold turkey and humming “Treat Yo’self” as you order your third UberEats meal in 12 hours.

Which one you’re doing depends on the day — and how long it’s been since your last paycheck.

The result: a pitiful savings account balance, scrimping to pay the minimum on your credit card and feeling like you’re still living paycheck to paycheck even though your income has come a long way since your first job out of college.

You know there is a way to solve this problem. You know that if you just create a budget — and by some miracle, stick to it — you could finally get the financial freedom everyone else seems to have already figured out.

You also know budgeting is a buzzkill.

But if you give it a genuine shot, we promise that we will, too. We’re in this together.

How to Budget in 4 Easy Steps

Creating a budget doesn’t have to be a grueling process. If you take some time to prepare and learn how to budget in a way that makes the most sense for your lifestyle, you can start on the road toward controlling your personal finances in no time.

We’ve laid out exactly what you need to do in four pretty simple steps.

Step 1: Know How Much You Make and Spend

Before you can make a budget that works, you need to know your numbers. We like to focus on a monthly budget, since most bills are due once a month.

Pro Tip

Exporting your statements to a spreadsheet or using highlighters on printed statements can help you see patterns in your income and spending habits.

Log in to your bank account online, and grab your last couple months’ worth of bank statements. While you’re at it, grab your credit card statements, too.

How to Figure Your Monthly Income

First, write down your monthly income.

This should be your take-home pay for the month. That’s the money you earn minus deductions for taxes, Medicare, Social Security, health insurance contributions and allocations to retirement accounts like your 401(k) or Roth IRA.

This is easy if you have a full-time, salaried job. If you are paid by commission, work hourly or have some other kind of irregular income (like freelancing), use an average of the last six months to get a rough idea.

Self-employed budgeters can benefit by taking a step back each quarter to examine their income. “If you’re paying quarterly taxes anyway, you have this natural stopping point to look,” says Lillian Karabaic, CEO of Oh My Dollar! “It’s a good way to check on the health of your business.”

But don’t just stop there. Add any extra money that comes in from your side hustles. Child support payments. Recurring bonuses or stipends. Financial aid payments. Include it all.

How to Figure Your Monthly Expenses

Your next step is the painful part: It’s time to log your monthly expenses.

Start with the recurring monthly stuff, which may include:

  1. Your rent or mortgage
  2. Car payment
  3. Car insurance
  4. Cell phone bill Internet, cable TV and other monthly subscriptions (think: Netflix and Spotify)
  5. Utilities
  6. Debt payments

Don’t forget to include non-monthly but recurring expenses, like the following:

  1. Vehicle registration fees
  2. Credit card fees
  3. HOA fees
  4. Professional association dues
  5. Annual subscription renewals

To incorporate these non-monthly but regular expenses into your monthly budget, add up the total cost for a year, then divide that number by 12 to find out how much they cost each month, according to Bridget Todd, COO of The Financial Gym.

“You might open a separate bank account for your annual expenses,” Todd said. “Then when the bills come, you don’t have to adjust your spending. It’s similar to saving for Christmas shopping” throughout the year.

From here, you’ll want to start adding up your discretionary expenses. Analyze your spending habits. How much are you spending on shopping, eating out and drinks with friends?

To get a full picture, you can put these things in categories. For example, movies, concerts and museum visits can all go under entertainment. Your gym membership, yoga membership and the drop-in rate on that one CrossFit class can all go under fitness.

Look at a few months of statements to get an average for this part, too. That will give you a more accurate picture of your finances.

Step 2: Set Your Financial Goals

If you’re going to succeed at this budgeting game, you need to have an idea of what you’re hoping to accomplish.

It can be a simple short-term savings goal like funding a vacation with your college besties. Or a long-term one, like learning to budget so your kid can go to college without student loan debt. And don’t forget about funding your retirement savings goal.

Set a goal, and make it a motivating one — your financial plan could be the only thing that stops you from swiping your debit card to buy yet another pair of shoes this weekend.

Next, get your priorities in order — literally. Write them down in order from most to least important to get an idea of where you want your money to go.

You might not get your priorities right the first time, and that’s ok. It’s challenging to choose one option over another, and if the first list doesn’t work well, you can always rework it. Work to find a balance between “fun” and “responsible” spending.

Pro Tip

If you see any areas where your spending is out of line with your goals, now’s the time to fix it by outlining a new budget that directs more of your income to your top priorities.

I take it a step further and mix my financial goals with my personal ones.

For example, I tend to overspend on restaurant meals. But budgeting less for eating out means I cook more healthy meals at home, so I save while staying on track to accomplish my weight loss goals, too. Then, I can use the money I save to build up my emergency fund or pay down debt a bit faster and continue toward my goal of becoming debt-free.

Step 3: Find Your Favorite Budgeting Method

Once you have a complete picture of your finances, it’s time to pick the budgeting method that works best for you. The one you choose will depend on how much time and energy you have to devote to it.

If you feel comfortable creating an old-fashioned budget worksheet in Excel, you can do that. We’ve got a few super simple ideas you can try if charts make your eyes glaze over.

But even after you’ve picked your favorite budgeting method, don’t be afraid to bend it a little to fit your financial situation.

Bare-Bones Budget

You don’t have to spend several hours each month working on a budget. The easiest way to budget is to grab a pen and paper and simply write down how much you make and how much you need to spend on the essentials — like housing, utilities, food and debt repayment. You save the rest.

Pro Tip

When you make a budget, keeping it on a sheet of paper somewhere visible to you will remind you to rein in your spending.

That’s it. You’re done.

Need a little more motivation than a blank sheet of paper? Here are five ideas for creating a bullet journal budget.

Zero-Based Budget

The zero-based budget takes the bare-bones budget one step further. The goal here is to get to zero at the end of each month. It helps you account for each dollar on the way.

Write down how much you make, and divide it to cover all your bills, savings and discretionary spending until you hit $ 0 at the end of the month.

Although this plan encourages you to get down to nothing, the idea isn’t to spend without regard; it’s to make sure every dollar goes exactly where you intend for it to go every month.

50/20/30 Budget

This takes all the guesswork out of deciding which expenses should stay in your budget and which ones need to go.

With the 50/20/30 plan, 50% of your money goes to essential expenses like housing, utilities and your car payment. From there, 20% will go to financial goals like savings and investments. The final 30% is yours to spend on the fun stuff like restaurants, movies and drinks with friends.

Cash Envelope Budget

The cash envelope system is good for those who have problems overspending on variable expenses like groceries or entertainment.

Review your monthly income and average expenses to determine how much you spend in each category.

Then take out your envelopes, label them by spending category and fill them up with their cash allocations. (You don’t need to use envelopes for fixed costs like rent or car insurance.)

When you’ve spent all the cash in an envelope, you can no longer spend in that category for the rest of the month.  

Step 4: Find the Best Budgeting Tools for You

Remember when I said you’re not alone in this quest to budget your money? Well, there are some tools that can help.

Automate Your Budget

Automating the budgeting process helps you focus on your priorities by sending the money where it needs to go before you have the chance to blow it on an impulse.

On the income side, that can mean setting up the automatic deposit for your paycheck to be divided between your checking and savings account.

Pro Tip

If you have a hard time remembering which bill is due when — or those dates just don’t jibe with your cash-flow situation — you can call a lender or company and ask them to adjust the date.

In the expenses column, you can set up autopay for recurring regular expenses like your car payment or mortgage, helping you avoid those dreaded late fees.

Budgeting Apps

While budgeting by hand works great, your smartphone can streamline it.

Mint: My favorite free app is Mint, which is available on iPhone and Android devices, and is also accessible at Mint.com. You connect your bank account and credit cards, then you set a dollar amount for how much you plan to spend in each category.

Mint will automatically analyze your spending and notify you when you get close to your budget limit or overspend. It’s pretty easy to use and can save you lots of time. The only downside is that the “You’ve exceeded your budget” emails can sometimes feel a little judgmental.

EveryDollar: If you’re a fan of the zero-based budget, EveryDollar is the free app for you. It’s also perfect for side hustlers whose income can fluctuate from month to month. As you manually track your spending with the app, use it to make sure every dollar you make is accounted for.

Prism: This isn’t technically a budgeting tool, but it’s still worth mentioning. Prism is a free app that puts all your bills in one place, so you always know exactly how much money you have and how much you owe.

You can connect everything from rent and car insurance to student loan payments and your Tidal music streaming account, and you can pay your bills right from the app.

You Need a Budget: This started out as an app and then became a book, too. It hinges on four rules:

  1. Give every dollar a job.
  2. Embrace your true expenses, not your ideal ones.
  3. Roll with the punches, and adjust your budget as you spend.
  4. “Age your money,” meaning hold onto it longer, and start to break the habits that leave you living paycheck to paycheck.

You Need a Budget is more hands-on than other apps. It’s also the only option that’s not free. After the 34-day free trial, you’ll pay $ 6.99 per month for the service.

Don’t Let Setbacks Discourage You

Lillian Karabaic, CEO of Oh My Dollar!, likes to remind her clients that the first month you set up your budget, you’ll forget about things.

“That’s OK. You’re just getting better information” each month as you remember expenses, she said. “The third month is the point at which, if you’re still doing it, you start to feel like you’re in charge of the budget.”

Key words there: If you’re still doing it.

You’re likely to fall off your budget in one of these two ways: You set restrictions for yourself but fail to meet them, or you forget to keep up with your budgeting method and give up. You only really need the parts of a budget method that serve you and your plans for the future.

And remember: making a budget isn’t a one-time event. Keep an eye on your plan as your goals and life change. Earning a raise, losing a job, getting married, having kids, starting a business — each of these life changes requires you to review and recalibrate your budget to stay on track to meet your goals and live your life.

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Senior writer Nicole Dow, former staff writer Lisa Rowan and freelancer Kevin Mack contributed to this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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The Fed is likely to drop ‘patient’ word next week, clearing way for July cut, economists say

The Fed is not likely to make a move on interest rates when it meets next week, but it should clear the way for a rate cut later in the summer.
Economy

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Trump leaves corporate America hanging

President Donald Trump’s on-again, off-again relationship with corporate America was on full display this week as he sparred publicly with the country’s most powerful business lobby over his rinse-and-repeat use of tariffs — and then welcomed top executives to the White House to plead with him in person.


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This Failed Trump Golf Course Is Now a Dilapidated New York State Park

When Donald Trump bought 436 acres in upstate New York two decades ago, he envisioned adding two new championship golf courses to his collection.He bought the wet, overgrown, tree-tangled parcels that sit miles off a state parkway beginning in 1998 for less than the current price of a two-bedroom condo in Trump Tower.

But local leaders nixed the golf-course plans and his subsequent efforts to sell it to a homebuilding company faltered. So he gave it away.

“This is my way of trying to give back,” he said at the time.

Like most deals involving Trump, there was more to it than goodwill. He was unloading what experts say was useless land, but not before working local officials to see if they could reappraise it at more than five times the assessed value, according to documents seen by Bloomberg and interviews with people involved — and using a grossly inflated figure on later presidential campaign documents to show, falsely, the depth of his philanthropy.

Despite the purchase price of $ 2.75 million, and a county assessment of $ 5.5 million at the time of the donation, Trump’s 2016 campaign said in a list of charitable donations published by The Washington Post that the land was worth $ 26.1 million.

IRS Audits

It’s impossible to tell if Trump did anything improper, since he has never released his tax returns. And there’s no law against inflating the value of property on campaign press releases. But the law does require taxpayers to accurately report the value of all charitable donations for deduction purposes and Trump could face a penalty or fine from the IRS if he exaggerated the value of the land on his tax returns. The IRS routinely audits all modern U.S presidents and vice presidents annually, including Trump.

The donation took shape around the same time that Trump was struggling, ultimately in vain, to turn around his three struggling casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In March 2006, one month before his gift was announced, his casino empire — Trump Entertainment Resorts — lost $ 22.1 million in its fourth quarter.

An hour’s drive north of Manhattan, Donald J. Trump State Park is what New York euphemistically calls a “passive park,” meaning it has no trails, picnic tables or other amenities. The state stopped maintaining it in 2010, and the land lies covered in brambles, mud and rocks. A bill pending before the state legislature would change the name of the park to honor the folk singer Pete Seeger instead of the current president.

County Rejects Golf Courses

Trump bought the first parcel, 282 acres known as Indian Hill that straddle Westchester and Putnam counties, from an estate sale for $ 1.75 million in 1998. He also bought 154 acres in Westchester County known as French Hill, also part of an estate sale, for $ 750,000. In 2000, he bought 58 acres of a nearby “surplus” stretch of the Taconic State Parkway from the New York State Department of Transportation for $ 250,000.

But by 2002, local authorities had rejected his plans for two 18-hole championship golf courses on Indian Hill and French Hill on the grounds that the courses would drain the area’s water supply as well as affect the water supply of New York City downstream.

So in 2003, Trump tried to sell U.S. Home Corp. an option to build houses on the tracts. But the giant home-builder got cold feet about the costs of environmental and engineering challenges, according to a person familiar with the deal. The option agreement was terminated in April 2005, according to a memorandum filed in Putnam County.

Aaron Curtiss, a spokesman for Lennar Corp., which bought U.S. Home Corp. in 2000, declined to comment on the company’s dealing with Trump.

Tim Miller, an environmental consultant who worked on the plans, said Trump made no improvements to the land, so the value likely stayed the same. “What he paid was its value, that’s what I would expect,” he said.

Miller added that he billed the Trump Organization a seven-figure sum for his work on the land as well as his work on Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Trump’s company paid him all but $ 140,000, and after fighting for several months to get the balance, Miller said he finally accepted Trump’s personal offer of a discounted membership at the Briarcliff Manor club in lieu of payment.

“It was either accept it or go to court,” Miller said.

The Trump Organization didn’t respond to emails and phone calls seeking comments about any aspect of the park deal.

Maximizing Value

Once Trump decided to donate the lands, his aides worked hard to maximize their value. Apparently, Trump wanted a bigger write-off than what the county said the land was worth.

Henry DeCotis, then the assistant state attorney general, said Trump fixer Michael Cohen called him in 2005 to inquire about donating lands to the state. DeCotis said the official fair market value of $ 5.5 million “might be in the ballpark.”

A spokeswoman for Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis declined to comment, and declined to arrange an interview with Cohen, who is serving time in Otisville prison in New York for lying to Congress about Trump’s business and campaign dealings.

By early 2006, Hal Goldman, who until 2011 was a Trump Organization vice president for development, said that he was in talks with the New York state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation about donating the land — and branding it Trump.

‘Opinion’ Sought

The person familiar with the donation said he received a call from a Trump Organization employee — whose name he couldn’t remember — asking for a “zoning opinion” that would justify a $ 27.5 million value for the land. The person said he told the Trump Organization that that figure could not be justified.

Trump’s donation nevertheless was finalized and in April 2006, Republican Governor George Pataki held a ceremony at the park to announce the gift and naming, with Trump saying in an official statement issued by the governor’s office that “this is my way of trying to give back” and that he hoped the lands “will turn into one of the most beautiful parks anywhere in the world.”

The Internal Revenue Service requires filers claiming a charitable deduction worth more than $ 5,000 to attach to their returns a “qualified appraisal” of the contribution.

Goldman said he was “unaware” of Trump having conducted any independent appraisal of the parcels of land.

“Let me put it this way,” Goldman said. “Would you go out and get an appraisal, or would you declare what you wanted it to be worth” and then have someone justify it. “I think that’s your answer,” he said.

Michael Grace, a former town attorney for Yorktown, New York, where some of the land sits, said the tracts might not have been worth even the $ 2.75 million Trump paid for it.

“There’s a reason they remained undeveloped,” Grace said, noting the land’s hills, mud and rocks.

In 2016, the Trump campaign released to The Associated Press and the Post a 93-page list of his charitable contributions, listing “Land Donated to NY Office of Parks – Yorktown, N.Y. – 436 acres” at “$ 26,100,000.00.”

Appraisal Process

The only way to know if Trump actually claimed a deduction of $ 26.1 million would be if congressional committees get his federal tax returns they have subpoenaed from the Treasury Department.

Bernadette Castro, the former Parks commissioner who oversaw the donation and attended the ceremony, said through a spokesman, John Rice, that she “does not recall the exact appraisal process.” Castro appeared on Trump’s television show “The Apprentice” in 2005 and was “fired” by the future president.

Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the state Parks department, said the donation “happened a long time ago” and declined to state whether the agency had done its own appraisal. Former Putnam County clerk Dennis Sant referred Bloomberg to the documents involved in the sale and subsequent donation. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley declined repeated requests for comment.

Fred Koelsch, the director of realty investments at Camarda Realty Investments, said that if Trump took a $ 26.1 million deduction for the donation, “that’s an awfully large number.” Koelsch, who did some work for the Trump Organization while at his former law firm, Shamberg Marwell Hollis Andreycak & Laidlaw PC, explained that because both Trump and U.S. Home had failed to develop the lands, they had neither increased in value nor held much extra value on top of their purchase price. “This is back-of-the-napkin math, but the deduction should have been low.”

Still, Koelsch said it’s very difficult to put value on undeveloped land. As such, said, “we have the seller tell us what they think it’s worth.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Democrats hold out on USMCA as Trump walks back Mexico tariffs

–The story behind the Baby Trump balloon

–FCC takes major steps toward limiting robocalls and scammers

Michael Bloomberg pledges $ 500 million to combat climate change

–Listen to our new audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily

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Freon phase-out: Is your air conditioning system going to be obsolete soon?

Is my air conditioning system going to be obsolete soon?

Aside from knowing how much the energy bill is, relatively few people concern themselves with what flows through the coils of their unit’s compressor and cooling department.

But in the coming months, AC units may become top of mind for many Americans. That’s because Freon, the cooling agent traditionally used in most air conditioners, is going away.

Freon phase-out: What you need to know

A U.S. government ban of Freon, also known as R-22, is set to take effect on January 1, 2020.

The ban has been preceded by a Freon phase-out, which is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to rid the United States of all ozone-depleting substances. In essence, Freon is harmful to the environment.

Because the Freon phase-out has been going on over the past decade, the price of R-22 has gone up considerably (you’ve probably felt it in your wallet).

Whether you need to buy a new unit, retrofit your old unit or replace some component parts to comply with the EPA ban largely depends on a few things.

But first, you may want to know whether your AC (or your refrigerator) runs uses Freon or not.

How to know what kind of refrigerant your unit uses

On an air conditioner, you should be able to find what type of refrigerant it uses at the following places:

  • Owner’s manual
  • Manufacturers website (know your model number)
  • Call your local hardware store and tell them your unit info and they should be able to tell you

On your fridge, you can look for a refrigerant label in the following places:

  • Manufacturer’s data plate
  • On a sticker atop or near the condenser
  • Outside the unit, sometimes on or near the condenser

Another way to find out…

If you know the year your system was manufactured, that could help you find out what type of refrigerant your unit uses. Typically, if it was manufactured before 1996, your unit is Freon.

The environmentally friendly R-410A came on the U.S. residential market in 1996. From that time on until 2010, both R-22 and R-410A units were sold.

If you bought your AC unit or refrigerator after 2010 — which is when the EPA told manufacturers to stop making Freon-friendly units — it likely runs on R-410A.

Freon phase-out: Best R-22 alternatives

Here’s the thing: Consumers aren’t required to stop using their ACs and refrigerators due to the ban on Freon, but it will be obsolete at some point.

When it’s time to purchase a new unit, you’ll be looking for the best R-22 alternatives. Here’s what you need to know:

  • R-410A has become the dominant choice for most AC manufacturer, but R-454B, used by Carrier, is also an emerging alternative.
  • For refrigerators, R-404A is the top choice, along with R-507, according to the EPA.

Ready to shop for your new fridge? Here is the best time and place to buy a new appliance.

The post Freon phase-out: Is your air conditioning system going to be obsolete soon? appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Patriotic Millionaire Morris Pearl: Raising the minimum wage would be ‘good for my bottom line’

Sunday, June 16 marks the longest period in American history without an increase to the federal minimum wage. As a wealthy American and an investor, I'm all in on raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, writes Morris Pearl.
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Trump erases line between political events and official business

To one crowd, Vice President Joe Biden was a “low-IQ individual.”


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Dish Network boss eyes creating 4th mobile carrier

Talks to create a No. 4 US wireless carrier are quickly picking up steam — and Charlie Ergen is poised to run the prospective telecom colossus. The maverick telecom tycoon who controls Dish Network has lined up roughly $ 10 billion in financing to create a new telecom giant that would legitimately rival AT&T, Verizon and…
Business | New York Post

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DOJ releases legal opinion supporting Treasury refusal to turn over Trump tax returns

The Justice Department is expected to make public Friday its legal opinion supporting the Treasury secretary’s refusal to hand over President Donald Trump’s tax returns, according to a source familiar with the opinion.


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US business inventories rebound; sales fall

U.S. business inventories rebounded in April as sales fell, but inventory accumulation is still expected to be a drag on economic growth in the second quarter.
Economy

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An AEI scholar breaks down the military history between Iran and the US

The Trump administration is accusing Iran for the attacks on the shipping tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The attacks are the latest in a series in the region that the U.S. blames on Iran, despite the Iranian government's denials. Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute resident scholar, joins 'Squawk Box' to discuss.
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Trump won’t fire Conway despite federal agency recommendation

President Donald Trump said Friday that he would not fire his adviser Kellyanne Conway, despite the US Office of Special Counsel’s recommendation that she be removed from federal service for several violations of the Hatch Act.


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With ‘MIB: International,’ Lexus Is Cast as a Blockbuster Car for a Second Straight Summer

When moviegoers first saw King T’Challa in action as Black Panther it was a real showstopper: The Marvel comic book character clings to the top of a sleek new Lexus LC sports coupe as he surfs through the busy streets of Busan, South Korea, in a high-speed chase that ultimately destroys his remote-controlled ride.

The scene’s a crowdpleaser, to be sure–and it successfully sells Lexus’ image as a maker of high-performance luxury sports cars to a younger audience. Starting this weekend, with a prominent role in Sony’s sci-fi franchise Men in Black: International, the Japanese automotive company hopes to add another hit to its credits, giving it supporting roles in summer blockbusters for two years running.

But betting on a movie’s success is a game that most veteran studio executives have a hard time playing, let alone luxury automotive brands. And no matter how much money is sunk into a project, there are no guarantees at the box office.

For instance, Black Panther could have been a big miss for the Japanese luxury automaker. The titular main character, who rules a fictional technologically advanced African nation, was relatively unknown to most audiences prior to the movie’s release. Lexus executives weren’t allowed to read the script before signing on to support the film, giving the company no guarantee of how its brand would appear on screen. The production also wanted six coupes to use for filming, which forced Lexus to provide custom-built prototypes that can cost upwards of $ 1 million each, since the actual car was not being produced.

For Lexus, whose corporate parent Toyota isn’t known for risk taking, the gamble paid off. Black Panther blew away expectations to become 2018’s highest-grossing movie in the U.S., earning more than $ 700 million domestically, and nearly $ 1.4 billion worldwide. And the film didn’t just appeal to comic book fans, it also over-indexed with African-Americans, given that Black Panther was the first big-budget Marvel Studio’s movie to feature a black actor as the lead.

“Lexus has always been committed to celebrating the rich diversity of our customers, but Black Panther catapulted it to a new level,” says Lisa Materazzo, Lexus’ vice president of marketing.

Betting on blockbusters

With Men in Black: International, Lexus is taking less of a risk. Sony has put considerable resources into breathing new life into its $ 2 billion franchise, which now stars Chris Hemsworth (Marvel’s hammer-wielding Thor) and Tessa Thompson, who proved a winning duo together in Thor: Ragnarok.

In the new MIB film, Lexus’ aggressive RC F sports coupe races through London, helping agents escape threatening aliens, before transforming into a jet. Lexus’ RX Hybrid and LX SUVs are also featured in scenes with alien encounters.

In both MIB and Panther, Lexus is portrayed as a future-forward designer of high-tech vehicles, a positioning that promotes the company’s newest slogan “Experience Amazing.” “The beauty of film integrations is that none of the traditional rules apply,” Materazzo says. “It’s an opportunity to partner with filmmakers to imagine all of the possibilities.”

This isn’t necessarily new ground for Lexus, which has introduced other high-tech products like a hoverboard and sports yacht concept over the past several years to expand the brand’s appeal to affluent buyers in the sought-after 45- to 55-year-old market.

Lexus is looking to use films as a way to launch new emotionally engaging campaigns around the release of its new sports cars and luxury sedans and SUVs. It especially sees movies as a way to tap into conversations around cultural events.

But forcing your brand into the story doesn’t come cheap. In addition to providing expensive prototypes to filmmakers for Panther, Lexus produced a comic book and custom videos. It also bought a 30-second Super Bowl spot for the tie-in and LC 500 launch that cost the company more than $ 5 million.

But when Marvel’s movies have made a combined $ 21 billion worldwide to date (including the most recent Avengers installment), you take the risk.

A strategy as old as Bond, James Bond

If Lexus seems like it’s siding up to well-dressed secret agents, there’s a reason: The brand is focused on pushing the performance of its cars, technological innovation and style–while having some fun. That kind of limits just who gets to drive its hero cars.

“We consider how our product aligns with the character who drives it,” Materazzo says, and “how the integration might enable us to illuminate a core brand truth within the story.”

The automaker wasn’t specifically looking to get into the superhero business, though Black Panther was expected to be groundbreaking in bringing the character to the big screen, with Chadwick Boseman as the first black actor to headline a big-budget superhero film (which also featured a largely African-American cast).

So putting Black Panther in a LS 500 luxury sedan and LC 500 sport coupe in the film and marketing materials was akin to pairing James Bond with Aston Martin.

But moviegoers haven’t always embraced the films Lexus has supported with product placement. In 2017, the same year “Experience Amazing” launched, Lexus developed the designs for a futuristic jet for Luc Besson’s pricey sci-fi fantasy Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which didn’t take off, earning just $ 226 million worldwide.

On the other hand, when the films do work, they clearly have helped improve Lexus’ brand image, and boost its sales. Lexus’s “Long Live the King” Super Bowl spot helped boost searches for its LS sedan by 2,500%, according to auto site Kelley Blue Book shortly after the ad launched. And online searches for Lexus rose 15% the week after Panther‘s debut, while the LC 500 was up 10% on its own, according to Autotrader.

Lexus recorded its best global sales year in 2018, moving 698,330 vehicles off dealership lots, an increase of 4.5%–a tough figure for anyone to reach, in what’s becoming a crowded luxury auto market.

“Auto companies partnering on movies is more about exposure than sales,” says Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader. This is true especially of summer blockbusters that attract millions of moviegoers, she adds, noting that Nissan’s affiliation with the Star Wars films enabled it to have a themed auto show exhibit, “which surely drew lots of kids with their parents in tow to an exhibit they might otherwise have skipped.”

In addition to the Black Panther franchise–which Lexus isn’t expected to give up, though a sequel isn’t expected until 2021–the automaker will likely appear in future Marvel movies. Marvel Studios’ marketing mavens prefer long-term relationships with brands. For instance, Audi has been the vehicle of choice for Iron Man since 2008. Other Avengers films have also featured Acura.

But Lexus also has eyes on other franchises, as evidenced by its high-visibility role in MIB. The automaker says doesn’t have a “strict rule” for how many films it wants to rally around per year, “one high profile partnership per year (feels) about right,” Materazzo says. “We are actively considering several possibilities.”

Whether MIB tanks or soars, Lexus’ diversification is a smart strategy for Hollywood tentpole brand integrations. Because even without all of Black Panther‘s success, if the movie proved one thing it’s that you can’t stay in Wakanda forever.

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Google policy head retools team for global lobbying push

Alphabet Inc’s Google is trying to plug a surge of public scrutiny around the world by overhauling how its policy office operates, with increased emphasis on having policy staffers and top company executives alike building relationships with governments, people familiar with the matter said this week.


Reuters: Business News

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UPDATE 1-Huawei says it is readying possible Hongmeng software roll-out

An executive of China’s
Huawei, which has been banned from working with U.S. tech firms,
said on Thursday that the telecoms giant is in the process of
potentially launching its “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) to
replace the U.S. Android OS.


Reuters: Company News

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Sarah Sanders leaving White House post, Trump says

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month, capping a tumultuous tenure as the President’s chief spokeswoman in which she largely redefined the position.


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How to deal with an uncooperative landlord

How to deal with an uncooperative landlord

It’s played out many times for people all over the place: You’ve found the perfect apartment or home to rent. The area is nice and the commute is decent. Things start off smoothly enough — but then something breaks.

You inform the landlord and look forward to prompt action, but it doesn’t happen. Soon the pleasantries you once exchanged with the landlord become a lot less friendly. Before long, they stop responding.

In a situation like this — and many of us have been there — what’s a tenant to do? What recourse does a renter have when the landlord refuses or delays repairing or replacing something that needs fixing?

In this article, we’ll cover how to handle an unresponsive landlord, as well as steps to take to protect yourself in a dispute.

How to deal with an unresponsive landlord

This exact scenario happened to Team Clark member Sarah recently. Sarah’s air conditioning unit broke just as  temperatures hit the mid-90s in Atlanta .

“We first noticed the AC was out on March 19. We emailed the property manager that day but got no response,” Sarah says. “On April 12, I submitted a maintenance request through the online portal our rental company has.”

Sarah says it was “three weeks or so of calling them, emailing them and entering emergency maintenance requests,” and still no response from the landlord.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t getting any cooler outside!
That’s when she reached out to Clark Howard’s Consumer Action Center (CAC), which gives free advice and offers solutions to people in jams.

4 steps you need to take to protect yourself if you have problems with your rental

Lori Silverman, CAC director, suggested that Sarah take the following steps:
1. Read your rental agreement
The easiest way to get some leverage in a landlord-tenant dispute is to prove that any lapse caused by the owner is a violation of the rental agreement.
“I always tell people to read their contract to see whether the lapse has broken their rental agreement,” Lori says.

2. Read the Landlord Tenant Handbook for your particular state (here is Georgia’s — you can Google your particular state’s).

Each state has specific laws governing landlord-tenant relations and how they should go. Reading the Landlord Tenant Handbook for your particular state will show you what’s allowed where you live and what options you have.
Some states permit you to withhold rent when certain conditions aren’t met. Some allow you to break the lease. “What you can do depends on your rights under the Landlord Tenant Handbook,” Lori says.
Get familiar with the Landlord Tenant Handbook for your particular state.

3. Send a certified letter to the landlord

The reasons to send a certified letter are two-fold:

A. You put the landlord on written notice. The letter should state, “This is what I’m going to do if it’s not repaired in X amount of days.” See below for a full sample letter.
B. “If you end up having to go to small claims court, you’ve got it in writing,” Lori says. “You’ve got them on notice and you’ve got documentation so you can proceed, or if they try to come after you.”
4. Submit a complaint to the Better Business Bureau.
Many people use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to select reputable businesses to deal with, but one of the better applications is to use it to file complaints against unyielding companies.

How to write a complaint to your landlord: Sample letter

Need help getting action from your landlord? Here’s a sample letter you can use as a guide. Don’t forget to send it via certified mail!
Your Name ____________
Address ________________
Date ___________________
Landlord name _________
Address _________________

Dear ___________________

My name is ______________ and I am your tenant at the following address _______________.

I am writing you this letter because I have a complaint at the property. Here is the specific problem:

_______________________________________________________________________________________.

As a courtesy, I have also documented the following issues:

_______________________________________________________________________________________

This problem has severely impacted my [health / enjoyment / safety / comfort] at this property for _____ days and made it uninhabitable.

The lease agreement specifically addresses this issue. The contract expressly says:

___________________________________________________________________________________________.

I am requesting that you give this matter immediate attention and tell me how you plan to address this problem.

I would appreciate prompt followup either by phone or email: 

Here is my contact information: __________________________________________________.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,

_______________________

If you have more questions about tenant rights, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center — a FREE help line open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. ET and Friday from 10 a.m –4 p.m. ET with volunteers available to answer YOUR concerns! Call Team Clark @ 404-892-8227.

Here are some more articles you may like from Clark.com:

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Trump says he would accept dirt on political rivals

President Donald Trump says he would listen if a foreign government approached him with damaging information about a political rival — and wouldn’t necessarily report the contact to the FBI.


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US consumer prices barely rise; underlying inflation muted

The U.S. Consumer Price Index was expected to edge up 0.1% in May, after rising 0.3% a month earlier.
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Chief Justice John Roberts is about to show his cards

With a deadline for nearly 30 cases looming and weighty issues of religion, gerrymandering and the 2020 census pending, Chief Justice John Roberts took his black leather chair at the bench this week and said three decisions were ready to be announced.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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How to Avoid Winding Up As Pets for A.I. Robots

A warning: Paul “Pablos” Holman’s vision of the future may alternately inspire or frighten.

Speaking at Fortune’s CEO Initiative conference on Tuesday, the futurist and inventor gave a condensed history of humankind that highlighted what he described as the essentially positive influences of technology. In the millions of years since hominids first arrived, we have been making tools and “inventing solutions to the hard technical problems that kept people from thriving,” he said.

“Some people think it’s government policy or religion or charity or some election, but in fact it’s new technology that’s the force multiplier that gives us the ability to solve these problems at scale,” Holman asserted, optimistically. “It’s the exponent in your equation.”

But technology, for all its promise of salvation, has a potentially dark side too, especially the acceleration of advances in artificial intelligence. “Something really important is about to happen, which is that a robot is coming to take your job,” Holman warned the audience of executives gathered in Manhattan.

“Robots probably should come take over every menial, dangerous, repetitive, boring job they can and do it better than a human,” Holman continued. “But that leaves you with the big question: Then what are the humans good for?”

Of course, Holman knows a thing or two about new technologies. He invented an early pocket-sized personal computer. He advised MakerBot, the startup that popularized of 3D printers for consumers. He even helped Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person, start Blue Origin, the Amazon founder’s private aerospace company.

More recently, since 2007, Holman has been working with Nathan Mhryvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft, at Intellectual Ventures, a firm that critics have called a notorious patent troll that makes money from suing others for patent violations. But Holman described the company in glowing terms as a sort of Edisonian research laboratory. Some of its inventions have included, according to Holman, a portable refrigerator for preserving medicines and vaccines in transport, an automatic microscope for testing blood samples, and a malarial mosquito-exterminating laser light show. (That’s to say nothing of the hurricane-suppressing machine.)

Holman’s view of the future puts the onus on people today to strive for more, for lack of a better term, humanity. “Right now we are terrible role models for robots,” Holman said, noting that the supposedly luckiest humans–the lottery winners, as he called them–are failing to ascend past the basest layer on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

“If all goes south and we become pets for robots or grey goo, you don’t get to blame the technology, you blame humans for not choosing what to do with it,” Holman admonished the crowd.

“These are human values problems,” Holman continued. “It’s up to us to decide what future we want to create. It’s up to us to use these tools to become better ancestors.”

In other words, we must apply ourselves and reach ever higher for self-fulfillment, or accept life confined by the machines of our creation, binge-watching Netflix into oblivion.

 

Fortune

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Conquer the business world with these five courses — all under $20

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Business school: A surprisingly contentious topic worthy of any protracted Twitter tirade. Depending upon who you ask, it’s (A) a two-year networking party with a six-figure price tag, (B) only worth pursuing if you get into a top-5 school, or (D) totally not worth it.

Not to say that B-school doesn’t provide any value, but just know there are worthy alternatives if you’re not into shelling out $ 200K or two years of your life for some business know-how. Exhibit A: the five courses we’ve handpicked below, featuring instruction by award-winning business professor Chris Haroun.

If you’re serious about getting a venture off the ground — or even just getting your foot into the business world — check them out. They’re all on sale for a limited time only: Read more…

More about Business, Online Learning, Mashable Shopping, Tech, and Work Life


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‘Central Park 5’ prosecutor says Netflix series defames her with false information

A prosecutor of the men
known as the “Central Park Five” said a new Netflix Inc
series about their rape conviction and exoneration defames her
with false information about how the case unfolded and her role
in it.


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We asked red-district Democrats where they stand on impeachment. Here’s what they said.

There’s a reason House Democrats haven’t started impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump yet: almost none of their most vulnerable members support the move.


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Wall Street rally loses steam as industrials drag

Wall Street’s main indexes gave up gains to trade slightly lower on Tuesday, as declines in industrial companies dampened early optimism over easing trade tensions and the prospect of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.


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Justice Department strikes deal with House Democrats over Mueller report evidence, Nadler says

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday he has struck a deal with the Justice Department to begin providing Congress with some documents from the Mueller Report related to obstruction of justice.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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US wind energy industry is booming, but tariffs pose a threat

Tariffs on Chinese imports, as well as the threat of new duties on Mexican imports, will stifle job growth, according to the industry group.
Economy

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Hong Kong leader vows to go ahead with contentious China extradition law despite mass protest

Hong Kong's top official doubled down on a plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland after hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding it be scrapped and she resign in the biggest protest to shake the city in years.
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City Council to investigate Grubhub’s restaurant-killing fees

The New York City Council has scheduled an oversight hearing into the stiff fees charged by Grubhub and other food-delivery apps — setting the stage for a possible government crackdown on the sites’ operations throughout the city, The Post has learned.
Business | New York Post

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Biden leads in Iowa, but Buttigieg and Warren show strength


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Knock lets you ‘trade in’ your home: Here are 6 things to know

Knock home page

A cottage industry of new services has developed around buying and selling homes. Now, you can even “trade in” your home. At least that’s the premise of Knock, a real estate startup that wants to make trading in homes as easy as it is for cars.

Knock, which launched in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016, promises to save customers the hassle of making repairs, listing their home and opening it up for multiple showings.

What is a Knock Home Trade-In and how does it work?

A Knock Home Trade-in works like this: The service buys your home from you in cash, which they say gets you the best price, and any “repair concessions” that may be needed.

You then work with a Knock Local Licensed Expert to get you pre-approved for a new home before making offers. This expert also represents you in the sale of your old home.

Here are 6 things to know about Knock

If you’re thinking about using Knock, or have used it in the past, here are some things to know so that you can get the most out of the service:

1. What markets does Knock operate in?

As of June 2019, Knock operates in five U.S. cities: In addition to Atlanta, there’s Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

The listed cities generally don’t include adjacent suburbs but Knock does have plans to expand in the future.

2. Knock is also a home listing site

Like Zillow, Trulia and other sites, Knock also operates as a home-listing service. On Knock Deals, you can see the homes that Knock has listed in selected cities.

You can find home photos, neighborhood information as well as a map that shows other Knock homes and their listing price.

3. How much does Knock buy your home for?

Knock will typically buy your home at a 3% to 5% discount, according to the website. To sell your home, Knock charges a 6% commission, which is the typical rate for an agent.

The good thing is that you can move into your new house before your old one is listed.

4. How exactly does Knock sell your home?

You may be wondering how Knock can sell your home. Knock uses an array of online marketing strategies to sell your dwelling, including MLS, Zillow, Trulia, Google, Facebook, and old-fashioned yard-signs, among other ways.

5. What costs are the homeowner’s responsibility?

You’ll be responsible for paying for a home inspection before Knock purchases a house for you. Typically, you can pay for that — which should cost around $ 500 — at closing.

6. What types of homes does Knock buy & sell?

Knock specializes in homes that have a clear title and are owner-occupied. They like homes that are worth at least $ 150,000 or combined valuation of $ 350,000-plus for your old and new home.

Knock does not deal with homes that are in age-restricted communities, distressed sales or those with foundation/structural problems.

Conclusion

Knock is one of many services that aim to make home buying and selling easier. Before you go this route, read some reviews about the process as well as feedback on Knock agents.

No matter what service you use, money expert Clark Howard says would-be home buyers usually make crucial mistakes early in the process — but you can be the exception. Here are 10 things to know before buying a home.

Here are more Clark.com articles you might enjoy

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Google just launched the second version of Google Glass Enterprise Edition

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Google Glass may have never become a fixture in regular people’s daily lives like Google may have hoped, but the wearable device keeps on trucking.

The tech giant launched a new version of Glass on Monday. As its name suggests, the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 builds upon the business-focused direction Google went in with the device in 2017. Glass EE 2 brings a new CPU and a host of other enhancements along with it.

First and foremost, the new glasses come packed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 chip. Google said the new tech powering Glass would enable more efficient power use, better performance and better machine learning capabilities. Read more…

More about Business, Google, Enterprise, Wearable Tech, and Google Glass


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The Wine Country Tasting Room Is Dead. But Long Live Wine Country

Forget standing at a tasting bar. A trip to California’s wine country today means comedy shows, art museums, cabanas at pool parties, and interactive dinners–all with a glass in hand.

“People are no longer willing to just come into a tasting room, pay their tasting fees, try five wines, and move on,” explains Jim Morris, vice president of estate management and guest relations at Charles Krug Winery in Napa Valley. “The tasting room experience has become much more than that.”

In the past five years, Napa Valley and Sonoma County wineries have seen a shift in consumer behavior: Guests would rather have an experience at a winery or two per day rather than sip lineups of wines at five to eight properties. To capture that visitor’s attention takes more than great wine; it’s about creating a lasting experience that will hopefully build brand loyalty and lead to wine sales. With more than 1,000 wineries in the area, that’s a challenge that has them offering everything from unique culinary pairings to full-scale dance parties–and everything in between.

The Napa Valley Film Festival at Charles Krug Winery, Saint Helena, Calif. Marc Fiorito

The Perfect Pair

As wine and food go hand in hand, wineries are enhancing their culinary offerings. From on-site restaurants to picnic areas, wineries are enticing guests to stay a bit longer for a bite. Others are incorporating food into every tasting. At the Spanish-owned Artesa Estate Vineyards and Winery in Napa Valley, every flight of wine comes with pintxos, small snacks typically eaten at bars in Northern Spain. Spicy jumbo prawns complement the minerality of Artesia’s Albarino, and chorizo and potato pintxos stand up to the weight of the 2014 limited-edition Cabernet Sauvignon. The food helps make wines more approachable, especially when they are lesser known varieties or Napa’s tannin-heavy red wines.

At the nearby Culinary Institute of America’s Copia restaurant, wine pairing dinners are more than a glass with each dish. An interactive 3D-mapping technology projects sights and sounds as guests dine on each course, engaging all of a guest’s senses throughout the two-hour meal. It’s not a fun gimmick; it’s highly educational.

The Restaurant at CIA Copia Bob McClenahan

Similarly, visitors to Hess Collection can try their hand at Napa Valley winemaking. During a seminar, guests can blend barrel samples to create their own custom wines, which they can later compare to the brand’s signature red blend, Lion Tamer. After, guests can explore the Mount Veeder vineyards via ATV or wander among owner Donald Hess’s personal collection of contemporary art housed on the property. In all cases, guests won’t go more than a few minutes without a sip of the Hess Collection estate wines.

Comedy Cellar

Culinary components are part of the experiences offered at Charles Krug Winery, but so are a host of other events.The team converts the tasting room into a “comedy cafe” for monthly stand-up nights, which bring in local and well-known comedians. In the summertime, the Sunset Cinema series invites locals and tourists to watch film screenings on the manicured lawn. During both, a bar showcases Charles Krug wines, and wood-fired pizzas from its Cucina restaurant are on tap.

Soon, Morris and his team will launch SIP, the Series of Interesting People, with TED Talks-style lectures on topics from Hall of Fame baseball to survivor stories. He’s also working on a new live music concept. “In my opinion, the tasting bar is on its way out,” explains Morris. “People want to sit and be comfortable. They want to enjoy the outdoors, the vineyards, the property. The more they explore, the stronger the connection to the place.”

Comedy night at Charles Krug Winery in Saint Helena, Calif.

That’s a sentiment shared by the team at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, Calif., which has a restaurant and tasting bar as well as an performing arts pavilion, a movie theater, lawn games, and a swimming pool. Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, the director behind cult-worthy films including The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, the winery’s cinematic memorabilia is a draw. But so are the infamous pool parties, complete with bottles of its Sofia sparkling wine and cabanas befitting Saint-Tropez. Scoring a reservation here is like jockeying for one in Las Vegas, and the Coppola parties have possibly more thrills. Past parties have included a silent disco and a 1980s-themed arcade.

“There’s more competition for a visitor’s attention than ever before,” says Janiene Ullrich, executive vice president for the direct-to-consumer business at The Family Coppola estate. She notes that in addition to wineries, wine country also offers guests urban tasting rooms, breweries, and distilleries, which all spar for the consumer’s attention. “Experiences featuring food, music, swimming, and dancing create livelier backdrops to interact with a brand,” Ullrich says. “That gives the brand greater awareness by being connected to a fond memory.”

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

While cabanas and discos draw in crowds of twenty- and thirtysomethings, family-friendly activities are on the rise in wine country too. Ullrich notes the winery’s numerous children-focused activities, including the Petite Picasso art event and a Halloween carnival. At Inglenook in Napa, the kiddos can sail wooden boats in the property’s fountain as parents partake in a tasting, and Honig Vineyards invites children along on its property tour, which includes a stop by its beehives.

“These experiences create a tailored and less intimidating environment for someone to explore new wines,” Ullrich says. “It gives guests a reason to come back. Done right, the experience will drive the guest to spread the word about the wine brand.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

–Move over ros?, hard seltzer is the new drink of summer

–Japan’s sake makers look to wine to define craft brews by region

–To combat food waste, these Brooklyn businesses teamed up to brew bagel beer

Canned wines are on the rise and perfect for this summer. Here are the ones you should try

–Listen to our new audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily

Follow Fortune on Flipboard to stay up-to-date on the latest news and analysis.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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CNN Iowa Poll: Biden leads a tighter top tier in first caucus state

Joe Biden leads as the top choice of likely participants in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic caucuses, but his advantage there is smaller than the one he has held in recent national polling, even as just five candidates out of a field of 23 crack 5% support.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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G20 finance chiefs to say trade row has ‘intensified’ but delete call for resolution

Group of 20 finance leaders said on Sunday that trade and geopolitical tensions have “intensified” but failed to express a pressing need to resolve them, in a final draft communique that said global growth is likely to pick up.


Reuters: Business News

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Pelosi on Trump-Mexico agreement: ‘Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed how President Donald Trump handled his latest trade and immigration talks with Mexico, repeating her claim that the President throws “temper tantrums.”


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Jobs creation slows dramatically with payrolls up just 75,000 in May, much worse than expected

Along with the big miss on the main number, wage gains were also lower than expected. The March and April jobs figures were revised down as well.
Economy

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Trump drops his Mexico tariff threat after reaching immigration enforcement deal

The Trump administration will likely submit legal notification on Friday of its intention to implement tariffs on Mexico on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said.


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Ex-SeaWorld trainer blasts park over whale captivity

A former SeaWorld trainer blasted the theme park over the dangers of whale captivity — and claims the attraction often downplayed the creatures’ acts of aggression. Former orca trainer, John Hargrove, said he quit the park after realizing the harmful impacts of captivity on the whales’ behavior and health, according to the CBS show “Whistleblower.”…
Business | New York Post

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MoneyGram’s loan faces performance, money laundering concerns

NEW YORK, June 7 (LPC) – Money transfer company MoneyGram
International Inc is struggling to finalize a US$ 663m loan as
its financial performance wilts under fierce competition
following a US$ 125m US government fine last November for poor
money-laundering controls, sources said.


Reuters: Company News

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Google Tells Trump Administration Its Proposed Huawei Ban Could Compromise Security

Google has warned the Trump administration that it risks compromising U.S. national security if it goes ahead with export restrictions on Huawei, and has asked to be exempted from any ban, the Financial Times reported, citing three people briefed on the conversations.

Senior officials at the U.S.-based tech giant have warned it wouldn’t be able to update its Android operating system on Huawei’s smartphones, prompting the Chinese company to develop its own version of the software, the FT says. A Huawei-modified version of Android, Google argued, could then be more vulnerable to hacking risks.

The Trump Administration blacklisted the Chinese technology giant in a policy move that will prevent it from buying semiconductors, software and other components from American suppliers. The U.S. government has warned that Huawei presents a security risk because the equipment it supplies to telecom carriers around the world could be compromised to aid espionage and surveillance by Beijing.

The Commerce Department decision to restrict Huawei and 67 affiliates from purchasing American supplies jeopardizes the company’s networking and smartphone operations. Under the order, U.S. suppliers are able to appeal for special approval to continue selling to Huawei.

This week, Chairman Liang Hua told a small group of American reporters visiting Huawei’s China operations that Google is working with the Commerce Department to find a solution. He said it would benefit consumers if Google and U.S. government can work out a solution.

“In the short term there is some impact on our business,” he said. ‘In the long term, we will have to develop our own operating system and ecosystem.”

He said that Huawei has not negotiated directly with the U.S. government and is waiting to see how the Google talks evolve. Huawei has said that if it has to develop an alternative operating system it could do so “very quickly.”

Such a scenario presents several risks for Google. If Huawei develops its own version of Android, the search giant won’t control it so can’t manage security upgrades or reap the consumer data that makes its services useful and fuels advertising revenue.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

–Why Alibaba’s Hong Kong IPO may signal a Chinese retreat from Wall Street

–Italy is threatening to repeat the Greek debt crisis–but with higher stakes

–China is creating a “Greater Bay Area” to rival Silicon Valley

–The Indian elections were influenced by immigrants in the U.S.

–Listen to our new audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily

Keep up with the world’s most powerful women with Fortune‘s Broadsheet newsletter.

Fortune

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Trump escalates Pelosi duel as he ends UK trip

President Donald Trump’s whirl of encounters with British royals and American wartime valor will be just pleasant memories Friday when he arrives home to face seething crises he escalated while abroad.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Three states join AG group probing planned merger of Sprint and T-Mobile

The attorneys general of Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania have joined a group of states probing T-Mobile’s plan to buy rival Sprint for $ 26 billion, which is believed to be nearing the end of a regulatory review.


Reuters: Business News

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Can freezing your credit hurt your credit score?

Credit freeze

Anyone who follows money expert Clark Howard knows that his number one suggestion for keeping your finances safe from criminals is to freeze your credit.

A credit freeze, which is also sometimes called a security freeze, is a way of locking down your credit reports, which makes it nearly impossible for criminals to open new accounts in your name. This is because most creditors need to look at those reports in order to make the decision whether to extend you credit or not.

We here at Team Clark know that thousands of you have already frozen your credit or are considering it, in part because of all of the questions we get from people related to credit freezes. Chief among those questions is: “Can freezing my credit hurt my credit score?”

Does freezing your credit hurt your credit score?

Freezing your credit has no direct impact on your credit score. It certainly will not lower it. Indirectly, freezing your credit can actually help improve your credit score (or at least keep it from dropping) because it prevents unwanted credit lines from being opened in your name.

A credit freeze also does not “freeze” your credit score where it is. It will continue to rise and fall depending on how responsible you are with your credit.

What a credit freeze won’t do

There are some other important things that freezing your credit won’t have any affect on, according to the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Freezing your credit won’t prevent you from getting your free annual credit report
  • It won’t prevent you from opening new accounts yourself, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or getting insurance. However, to do any of these things you’ll need to temporarily lift the freeze and place it again when you’re finished accessing your credit. This is all free to do.
  • Freezing a credit won’t stop criminals from accessing your existing accounts, so you’ll need to continue to keep a close eye on your statements for fraudulent activity.
  • It won’t automatically stop you from getting pre-screened credit offers. If you’d like to opt out of those, see our guide here.

Final thought

When it comes to freezing your credit, there really isn’t any downside — and it certainly won’t impact your credit score.

Even lifting the freeze when you need to access your credit and freezing it again takes mere minutes — which is certainly worth it for the peace of mind you’ll having knowing that you’re protected from criminals who could ruin your financial life.

More stories you might enjoy from Clark.com:

The post Can freezing your credit hurt your credit score? appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Staggering homeless count stuns LA officials

The stunning increase in homelessness announced in Los Angeles this week — up 16% over last year citywide — was an almost incomprehensible conundrum given the nation’s booming economy and the hundreds of millions of dollars that city, county and state officials have directed toward the problem.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Trump’s North American trade deal must do more to protect US jobs, House Democrat says

Trump's North American trade pact includes sweetheart deals for the oil, gas and pharmaceutical industries that create huge problems for consumers. But it also perpetuates the original NAFTA's core problem: shifting U.S. production to Mexico.
Commentary

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The economy is slowing, but not as bad as Wednesday’s private payrolls report suggests

Economists say while the soft ADP number is an anomaly, they do think the job market is weakening and will worsen if Trump moves forward with tariffs.
Economy

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US intel shows Saudi Arabia escalated its missile program with help from China

The US government has obtained intelligence that Saudi Arabia has significantly escalated its ballistic missile program with the help of China, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, a development that threatens decades of US efforts to limit missile proliferation in the Middle East.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Germany planning to access voice assistant data to tackle crime

German authorities are working on
guidelines to allow them to access data held by voice assistants
like Amazon’s Alexa or smart fridges to help them fight
crime, a spokesman for the interior ministry said on Wednesday.


Reuters: Company News

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Bank of New York Mellon quietly canned five from bond team

Bank of New York Mellon left this banker at the altar. The New York bank quietly cut five members of its bond sales team last month amid a broader slump in trading — including one 14-year veteran who was just days from his Bahamas wedding, The Post has learned. The institution bid adieu to Daniel…
Business | New York Post

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Trump embraces time abroad as trouble brews at home

President Donald Trump’s sojourn to Britain is, so far at least, a smooth and only marginally controversial success, at least by the turbulent standards of his foreign trips. But his strategy of constant confrontation has created a clutch of showdowns that threaten to erupt upon his return at the end of the week.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Hackers Can Now Bypass Two-Factor Authentication With a New Kind of Phishing Scam

Two-factor authentication, the added security step that requires people enter a code sent to their phone or email, has traditionally worked to keep usernames and passwords safe from phishing attacks.

However, security experts have demonstrated an automated phishing attack that can cut through that added layer of security–also called 2FA–potentially tricking unsuspecting users into sharing their private credentials.

The attack was first demonstrated at the Hack in the Box Security Conference in Amsterdam last month. A video of the presentation was posted on YouTube on June 2, bringing renewed attention to how hackers are getting better at penetrating extra layers of security, despite people using stronger tools, like 2FA.

The hack employs two tools, called Muraena and NecroBrowser, which work in tandem to automate the attacks. The two tools work together like the perfect crime duo. Think of Muraena as the clever bank robber, and NecroBrowser as the getaway driver.

Muraena intercepts traffic between the user and the target website, acting as a proxy between the victim and a legitimate website. Once Muraena has the victim on a phony site that looks like a real login page, users will be asked to enter their login credentials, and 2FA code, as usual. Once the Muraena authenticates the session’s cookie, it is then passed along to NecroBrowser, which can create windows to keep track of the private accounts of tens of thousands of victims.

A demonstration of the attack was also released on GitHub, an open source coding site, to provide developers an opportunity to see how it works.

Amit Sethi, senior principal consultant at Synopsys, who was not affiliated with the presentation, says that while attacks against 2FA have been demonstrated in the past, these tools “make one of these attacks easier to execute for lower-skilled attackers.”

Despite this hack, 2FA is still considered a best security practice–far better than the alternative of simply relying on a username and strong password, according to security experts.

“Of course this does not mean that people should not worry,” says Sethi. “We now need to be even more diligent about detecting phishing attempts.”

The researchers, and Sethi, both say that universal second factor is a strong solution, when available. A U2F key is a secondary, physical device that can be plugged into a computer port as an additional way of verifying a person’s identity after they enter their username or password.

If that’s not an option, Sethi also says being vigilant can help thwart potential 2FA phishing attacks. That includes not clicking on links in suspicious emails, checking the a web address in the browser before entering credentials, and avoiding entering sensitive information when using public Wi-Fi.

“If you suspect that your credentials for a website have been compromised, act quickly to change your password, and report the event to the website,” says Sethi.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Amazon’s interest in buying Boost is confounding the mobile industry

–Apple may have just swiped 130 million console gamers

Huawei prepares for life without Google and Microsoft

–Inside Google’s civil war: an empowered tech workforce rebels

–Listen to our new audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily

Catch up with Data Sheet, Fortune‘s daily digest on the business of tech.

Fortune

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!