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Tears welled up in Gabriel Malavolta`s eyes on Saturday as he realized his dream of a new life in Peru was over, at least for now.
Ayman 1 minute ago
Ayman Admin
Greece`s central bank governor warned the country not to backtrack on commitments to its lenders after it exits the last of its three bailouts next week, saying markets would abandon it.
Ayman 1 minute ago
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Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra`s engagement went Instagram official, and the internet can`t handle it.

Jonas reportedly popped the question a month ago on Chopra`s 36th birthday. The couple didn`t make the official announcement until Saturday morning, however, after a traditional engagement ceremony in Mumbai. 

Jonas and Chopra both posted adorable photos from their Roka ceremony — one of the traditional Indian pre-wedding events — on Instagram. 

"Future Mrs. Jonas," Jonas posted. "My heart. My love." 

"The only way to do this ... with Family and God," Chopra said. "Thank you for all your wishes and blessings."  Read more...

More about Twitter, Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra, Culture, and Web Culture
Journalist 32 minutes ago
Ayman Admin
This week’s most thought-provoking papers from the Physics arXiv.
Ayman 33 minutes ago
Ayman Admin
JAKARTA - 18 August 2018: Egyptian Ambassador to Indonesia Amr Maawad asserted on Saturday Egypt’s keenness on fostering the ties with Indonesia at all levels.

This came during his participation in a celebration held at the Indonesian presidential palace on the occasion of the Indonesian Independence Day.

The official Facebook page of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the celebration`s photos, asserting the deep relations between the two countries.



The ambassador was invited to the celebration by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. A number of Indonesian officials and foreign diplomats also attended the celebration.

During the celebration, the ambassador conveyed the Egyptian government and people’s greeting to the Indonesian president on the occasion of Indonesia’s national day. He also wished Indonesia more prosperity and development.

Contributed by MENA
Ayman 33 minutes ago
Ayman Admin
Supporters of the far right and anti-fascists staged rival marches on Saturday in the city of Turku, the scene of Finland`s first militant Islamist attack a year ago.
Ayman one hour ago
Ayman Admin
At least one police officer was injured in Berlin on Saturday when around 500 activists shouting "Nazis out" clashed with an equal number of far-right activists marking the 31st anniversary of the prison suicide of Nazi convict Rudolf Hess.
Ayman one hour ago
Ayman Admin
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that everything must be done for Syrian refugees to return to their conflict-torn country.
Ayman one hour ago
Ayman Admin
CAIRO - 18 August 2018: The official Facebook page of the World Youth Forum (WYF) announced Saturday the opening of registration for the second edition, calling on youth from all over the world to participate.

The WYF will be held in Sharm El Sheikh from November 2-6, 2018, under the patronage of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, where approximately 3,000 young people, represented by 60 international delegations, will take part in the international forum, in an effort to explore key issues facing youth and determine their role in implementing global development goals and combating terrorism.

The registration is available on the official

website

.



According to the official website, the WYF was founded to send a message of peace, prosperity, harmony, and progress to the entire world. It engages youth from around the globe in an enriching set-up, allowing them to exchange views and recommend initiatives to decision-makers and influential figures. It is also a chance for youth to engage with top policymakers, network with promising individuals from the region and the world that are determined to make our world a better place for everyone.

The idea of the forum was originally proposed on 25 April 2017, when a group of young Egyptians presented an initiative at the National Youth Conference in Ismailia to engage in dialogue with youth around the world. The president responded to the initiative on 24 July 2017 at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina during the National Youth Conference in Alexandria, launching the First World Youth Forum, which was held in Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2017.

Sisi brings WYF Recommendations into force

CAIRO - 13 November 2017: Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-sisi held a meeting on Monday with the Head of Cabinet, the Governor of the Central Bank, and a number of ministers on the sidelines of the World Trade Forum set of recommendations.


Ayman one hour ago
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Dozens of people in the Southeast U.S. were treated to a special cosmic show in the wee hours of Friday morning.

An exceedingly bright fireball meteor streaked above that part of the country at about 1:19 a.m. ET on Friday, and it was caught in the act by NASA`s all sky cameras in Alabama. 

"Early results indicate the fireball, which was at least 40 times as bright as the Full Moon, was caused by a small asteroid 6 feet (2 meters) in diameter," NASA said in a Facebook post

It`s possible that some small pieces of the meteor made it to the ground — where they`re known as meteorites — but it`s unclear whether any small chunks made it all the way through the atmosphere, NASA added. Read more...

More about Space, Nasa, Science, Meteors, and Fireballs
Journalist one hour ago
Ayman Admin
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met outside Berlin on Saturday for talks ranging from the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, to Iran and a gas pipeline project that has drawn U.S. ire.
Ayman 2 hours ago
Ayman Admin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would discuss the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as Iran and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting on Saturday.
Ayman 2 hours ago
Ayman Admin
CAIRO - 18 August 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi sent a telegram to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres expressing his sincere condolences to the international community and the African continent over the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“Annan’s life was a rich journey full of fruitful efforts to serve the genuine purpose of the United Nations and the international multilateral action,” presidency spokesperson Bassam Radi stated Saturday, asserting that his legacy will always remain a model of serving the humanity and upholding peace values.

Annan

, of Ghanaian nationality, died at the age of 80 at a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday, according to British news agency.

Secretary-General of Arab League Ahmed Abul Gheit

has mourned his death in a press statement, where he expressed his sincere condolences to the family of Annan, Ghanaian government and people.

Abul Gheit also sent a cable of condolences to Annan`s wife and the Ghanaian government, expressing his appreciation for the great commitment shown by Annan in dealing with many international issues, especially those related to the developing nations and to finding solutions to major international crises and conflicts, during his tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Abul Gheit underscored that he met with Annan on several occasions during his tenure as a permanent representative of Egypt to the United Nations in New York.

Annan served two terms as U.N. Secretary-General in New York from 1997-2006 and retired to live in a Swiss village in the Geneva countryside. His 10-year-old foundation promotes good governance and transformation of African agriculture.

"In many ways, Kofi Annan was the United Nations. He rose through the ranks to lead the organization into the new millennium with matchless dignity and determination," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whom Annan had chosen to head the U.N. refugee agency, said in a statement.

As head of U.N. peacekeeping operations, Annan was criticized for the world body`s failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.

As U.N. boss he was linked to peace efforts to reunite the divided island of Cyprus, submitting a reunification blueprint which was rejected in a referendum by Greek Cypriots in 2004.
Ayman 2 hours ago
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This is One Good Thing, a weekly column where we tell you about one of the few nice things that happened this week.

Forget for a moment our current government drama, and savor this lovely palette cleanser in the form of Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye holding a wombat. 

The QE food expert shared a delightful Boomerang of the pair enjoying a beautiful moment together. In the clip, the wombat chills on the avocado chef`s lap, and Antoni looks like he`s about to melt.

Wooly wombat ❤️.

A post shared by Antoni Porowski (@antoni) on

It`s unclear when and where exactly the video was taken. Could it be from the Fab Five`s trip to Australia a few months ago to give the residents of Yass a makeover? Possibly! And if so, really Antoni? Why would you wait so long to post this? Read more...

More about Wombat, Queer Eye, Antoni Porowski, One Good Thing, and Culture
Journalist 2 hours ago
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Crafty zookeepers are keeping a set of newborn panda twins alive by switching them out every day. 

Although twins aren`t uncommon, when pandas have multiple babies they tend to devote all of their attention to only one of their cubs, leaving the other to starve. 

But these zookeepers have managed to get new panda moms to care for both babies by rotating them out, tricking the pandas into believing they only have one cub to care for.

A BBC Earth video — narrated by the one and only David Attenborough — shows the keepers` technique.  Read more...

More about Science, Viral Videos, Pandas, Culture, and Climate Environment
Journalist 2 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Top executives of Italian toll-road operator Autostrade per l`Italia, which managed a bridge that collapsed in the port city of Genoa this week, voiced profound sadness for the victims on Saturday and said it would set up a fund for their families.
Ayman 2 hours ago
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Russian President Vladimir Putin danced arm-in-arm with Austria`s Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at her wedding on Saturday, after receiving an invitation that opposition critics said undermined the West`s stance against Moscow.
Ayman 2 hours ago
Journalist Vip
 Medieval exorcism of a woman.

Marthe Brossier was a celebrity in France in the 1590s. She was a woman possessed by demons and her family took “the act” on tour. They went from town-to-town showing off the Satanic entity that resided within their child’s soul, all before a packed crowd.

Journalist 2 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Nigeria`s President Muhammadu Buhari will return from leave on Saturday, a presidential aide said, easing concerns over the leader`s health in the run-up to elections in early 2019.
Ayman 3 hours ago
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Southern separatists opened fire on a military academy graduation ceremony in Yemen`s port city of Aden on Saturday, killing a cadet and wounding at least two others, witnesses said.
Ayman 3 hours ago
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For Ariana Grande, the song "get well soon" off her new album sweetener is a deeply personal one, inspired in part by the 2017 Manchester terrorist attack at one of her concerts that left 22 people dead. 

In a Friday interview with Ebro Darden on Apple Music`s Beats 1 radio, Grande spoke through tears about the song and her experiences following the attack.

But early in the interview, Grande notes that the song isn`t just about Manchester. 

"It`s also about personal demons and anxiety, and more intimate tragedies, as well," she said. "Mental health is so important. People don`t pay enough mind to it... People don`t pay attention to what`s happening inside... That`s why I felt like it was important. I just wanted to give people a hug, musically." Read more...

More about Entertainment, Music, Culture, Ariana Grande, and Culture
Journalist 3 hours ago
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It’s Summer Lovin’ Week here at Mashable, which means things are getting steamy. In honor of the release of Crazy Rich Asians, we’re celebrating onscreen love and romance, looking at everything from our favorite fictional couples to how Hollywood’s love stories are evolving. Think of it as our love letter to, well, love.

Entertainment fans love love, but this Romance Week we wanted to take a moment to appreciate the TV couples that didn`t make it. Where would any of our romantic journeys be without a little (okay, a lot) of failure?

More about Entertainment, Television, Movies, Netflix, and Relationships
Journalist 3 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Italian toll-road operator Autostrade per l`Italia, which managed a bridge that collapsed in Genoa this week, has set aside about 500 million euros (572 million) worth of investment for the port city to help it recover from the disaster.
Ayman 3 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Muslims often slaughter sheep at the annual Eid al-Adha "feast of the sacrifice" which falls next week, but some Egyptians are thinking bigger.
Ayman 3 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Italian toll-road operator Autostrade per l`Italia, which managed a bridge that collapsed in Genoa this week, pledged on Saturday to rebuild the viaduct.
Ayman 4 hours ago
Ayman Admin
An Iranian lawmaker said on Saturday that President Hassan Rouhani would appear before parliament on Aug. 28 to answer questions on his government`s handling of Iran`s economic struggles, but an aide to Rouhani denied a date had been set.
Ayman 4 hours ago
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Harrowing new footage released by California`s firefighting agency Cal Fire reveals the massive fire tornado that led to the death of a firefighter on July 26.

The fire tornado was part of the Carr Fire that`s engulfed 223,610 acres of land in Northern California so far. A report from Cal Fire breaks down the details surrounding the fiery phenomenon.

Per the report, the tornado "was a large rotating fire plume that was roughly 1,000 feet in diameter at its base" and managed to reach a height of 40,000 feet. 

More about Climate, Science, California, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change
Journalist 4 hours ago
Ayman Admin
CAIRO – 18 August 2018: Prime Minster Mustafa Madbouli received Saturday a report from Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghaffar on the role of university hospitals in cutting short the waiting list of the patients who need surgeries.

The report stated that the university hospitals had performed 3714 surgeries in different specialties from July 6 to August 15, 2018.

Working hours were extended for all the medics at Ain Shams, Cairo, Mansoura, Zagazig, and Assuit university hospitals to include weekends in order to treat additional cases, it elaborated.

Madbouli said the country made the health and education services a top priority in its working plan, highlighting the coordination between the government and other bodies concerned in these sectors to put an end to the waiting lists of patients who need surgeries according to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi`s directives.
Ayman 4 hours ago
Ayman Admin
CAIRO – 18 August 2018: Egyptian authorities announced that Rafah border crossing between Egypt’s Arish and Palestine’s Gaza will be opened Sunday for one day in both directions, and will be closed again on Monday.

After it had been open for several weeks, the border was closed on Friday and Saturday. However, it will re-open on Sunday, according to a statement from the Egyptian government on Friday.

The Palestinian Embassy in Cairo announced on Friday in a statement that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the distribution of food and drinks to Palestinians stranded at the crossing on Friday, until the opening of the crossing on Sunday.

On Aug. 4, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered the opening of the Rafah border in order to ease the travelling procedure for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip seeking a Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca.

For performing Hajj, Palestinian pilgrims have to cross Sinai’s Rafah border prior to their destination to Saudi Arabia’s Mecca via the Cairo International Airport.

Egypt Air is offering 12 flights from Cairo International Airport to Jeddah to transport 3,321 Palestinian pilgrims.

The Hajj, a five-day ritual retracing the journey of Prophet Mohammad 14 centuries ago, is among the religious duties able-bodied Muslims are required to take part in at least once in a lifetime.
Ayman 4 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Hisham Mostafa briefly forgot the war in Syria and his financial worries as he looked upon Islam`s holiest sites for the first time, standing among hundreds of thousands of white-clad Muslims gathered in Mecca ahead of the haj pilgrimage.
Ayman 4 hours ago
Ayman Admin
An Iranian court has sentenced the founder of a spiritual movement to five years in jail, his lawyer told ILNA news agency on Saturday, after he was accused of corrupting Muslims.
Ayman 4 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Iran said on Saturday it would resist the pressures of U.S. sanctions by relying on its natural and human resources, as Washington pushes allies to cut economic ties with Tehran.
Ayman 5 hours ago
Ayman Admin
Tributes have been paid from across the world to former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan, who died in hospital in Bern, Switzerland, in the early hours of Saturday aged 80.
Ayman 5 hours ago
Ayman Admin
KOCHI, India - 18 August 2018: India deployed thousands of soldiers and dozens of helicopters to rescue people marooned by the worst floods in a century in the southern state of Kerala, where the death toll of 186 people as of Saturday could rise fast as rains continue.

The weather office warned of more heavy "red" category rains on Saturday as tens of thousands of people were still stuck on the rooftops of houses and community centres. Rescue workers have yet to reach many flooded areas, some too narrow for boats to navigate.

a

People trapped without food, water and electricity worried about being left without help as their phone batteries were dying. An adviser to the state`s chief minister put the initial loss estimate at 4 billion.

"There are seven families in this apartment now. We`re safe compared to many others, but we`re cut off," said James Joseph Moolakkaat, owner of an agricultural business who lives in a 10-story building across the southwestern state`s Periyar river.

"This is my second phone and to save power I have been turning data on and off intermittently. If this goes out, I will have some charge left in my laptop and then it will be incommunicado."

a

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was taken by helicopter over inundated farmland and villages, promised more helicopters, boats and other equipment needed to expand the rescue operation in the still unfolding emergency.

He said the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard were assisting disaster relief agencies in the rescue, and a total of 38 helicopters had been pressed into service along with a number of aircraft and ships to ferry resources.

"More helicopters, boats and other equipment are being sought and Modi promised to provide all of these as fast as possible," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told journalists. "The air marshal in charge of the air operations said more helicopters are on the way."

According to a lawmaker in Pathanamthitta district, some 10,000 people were stranded and in grave danger unless they were rescued urgently.

A Reuters witness in Aluva town, nearly 250 km (155 miles)from state capital Thiruvananthapuram, said army helicopters airlifted up to 14 marooned residents, including children and elderly people from an apartment.

FOOD SHORTAGES

With hundreds of thousands of people converging in halls and auditoriums of schools, temples, churches, and mosques with little or no toilet facilities, people from less affected areas moved in to help those badly in need.

But some people in the relief camps were finding it difficult to access food and water. Videos on social media showed groups of people breaking open shops to take food.

a

Chief Minister Vijayan has estimated that more than two million people have been forced to move into relief camps since the monsoon season brought torrential rains three months ago. He put the death toll from floods and landslides since the start of the rainy season at 324.

One of his advisers, Prabha Varma, told Reuters 186 people had died since Aug. 8, when the waters began to rise. She said the floods had destroyed 26,000 homes and damaged crops across as much as 40,000 hectares, with estimated losses of 277 billion rupees.

Modi declared initial assistance of 5 billion rupees (71 million) and promised more later. He also assured that the federal government would send desperately needed grains, as storage in the state had been flooded and stocks destroyed.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, where many Keralites work, said he had formed a committee to extend emergency assistance to the flood victims of the state, whose people he said "have always been and are still part of our success story". (1 = 70.09 rupees)

a
Ayman 5 hours ago
Ayman Admin
CAIRO - 18 August 2018: Security forces in Cairo arrested on Saturday a 20-year-old man on drug trafficking charges.

The drug dealer was caught in Shubra district with 4 kilograms of voodoo drug and firearms in his possession.

All the required legal measures were taken against the man.
Ayman 5 hours ago
Ayman Admin

lord of the rings

Over the past decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has built an expansive set of films while raising the critical and commercial expectations for ongoing movie series.

But extensive film franchises have been around for awhile, and several older series, like the film adaptations from J.R.R. Tolkien`s Middle-earth books, have received more positive critical acclaim on average than Marvel`s. And some are only getting better as time goes on, like "Mission: Impossible," which reached its critical zenith with "Fallout."

Stretching from the first James Bond film, 1962`s "Dr. No;" to the latest MCU and "Star Wars" entries; this list we compiled from Metacritic data ranks prominent film franchises by their average critical reception (derived from the critical scores for each movie in a franchise).

Note: Metacritic only included franchises that had more than four films with scores on its site, and it excluded horror films and animated series.

Here are the 27 greatest movie franchises of all time, according to critics:

SEE ALSO: The 100 best science fiction movies of all time, according to critics

27. "Die Hard" — 58.4%

"Die Hard" (1988) — 70%
"Die Hard 2: Die Harder" (1990) — 67%
"Die Hard: With a Vengeance" (1995) — 58%
"Live Free or Die Hard" (2007)  — 69%
"A Good Day to Die Hard" (2013) — 28%



26. "Alien" — 59.5%

"Alien" (1979) — 83%
"Aliens" (1986) — 84%
"Alien 3" (1992) — 59%
"Alien Resurrection" (1997) — 63%
"Alien vs. Predator" (2004) — 29%
"Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem" (2007) — 29%
"Prometheus" (2012) — 64%
"Alien: Covenant" (2017) — 65%



25. "Jack Ryan" — 59.6%

"The Hunt for Red October" (1990) — 58%
"Patriot Games" (1992) — 64%
"Clear and Present Danger" (1994) — 74%
"The Sum of All Fears" (2002) — 45%
"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" (2014) — 57%



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Ayman 5 hours ago
Ayman Admin

Spotify

With nearly 200 million monthly users — of which a staggering 83 million are paid subscribers — Spotify is one of the most popular music services in the world. 

It`s easy to understand why Spotify is so big. As a longtime paid subscriber, I have universally positive things to say about the streaming service. It has a huge music library, it`s easy to use, and it works with every device I operate daily — a Pixel 2 smartphone, a MacBook Air, and Sonos speakers. It even integrates into my PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

But there`s one function of Spotify that truly sold me on the service: The ability to upload music into my library on one device, and for that music to become available on most devices I own.

Spotify (Jay Z, 4:44)

It`s a little known convenience of Spotify that made the service far more useful to me — here`s how it works:

SEE ALSO: We compared Spotify and Apple Music subscriptions — and the winner is clear

1. Uploading music to Spotify.

The process of uploading music to Spotify is super simple. First, click on this little drop-down menu, right next to your username (seen above).

Then select Settings, and scroll down to the area that says "Local Files":

Spotify

From here, you can select "Add a Source," which allows you to select whichever folders on your computer contain audio files. I`ve selected iTunes, Downloads, Music, and Local Music, which can then be toggled on and off depending on what I want to show up in my Spotify library.



2. Add local music to playlists, like you would any other music.

Once you`ve added various directories to Spotify on the desktop, it`s simply a measure of creating playlists so that you`re able to save those playlists for offline listening.

Highlight whatever tracks you want, right-click while hovering over those tracks, and select the "Add to Playlist" option — like so:

Spotify (arrows)

You can add them to an existing playlist, or you can create a new one.

Either way, get whatever tracks you want into a playlist (or several separate ones — you do you), and grab your phone/tablet/whatever device you want to save those tracks on.



3. Navigate to your playlists section, find and select the playlist you just made, and click the "Downloaded Songs" toggle.

At this point, all you`ve got left to do is grab your favorite mobile device and download the playlist for offline listening. 

As you can see above, I`ve jumped to a smartphone where I`m logged in to the same paid Spotify account that I use on my computer. I`m connected to the same WiFi network as that computer, and ... well, that`s pretty much it. 

I toggled the "Downloaded Songs" option, and that`s that — the playlist is now on my Pixel 2, ready whenever I want to hear it.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Ayman 5 hours ago
Ayman Admin

Symphony CEO David Gurle, left, and Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg, right.

  • Major Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have invested almost 300 million in Symphony, a startup building encrypted, cloud-based communication tools. Google is also an investor.
  • The banks want to build a platform they can all communicate on to help them cut down on expensive Bloomberg terminals.
  • Almost four years into the project, Symphony has over 300,000 users.
  • But there are questions around usage, partnerships, and whether it`s really having an effect on Bloomberg.
  • This story, based on conversations with 35 sources, looks at how Wall Street`s audacious bet has gone so far and the challenges the startup still faces.


"Thank you David Gurle," French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted in June. "Your trust and your enthusiasm show, once again, that France is back."

Macron, one of the most powerful men in European politics, was praising Gurle’s decision to set up a new French research and development center for his company Symphony, a secure messaging platform.

For those who know Gurle, the French president’s praise will not have been a surprise. The son of two former diplomats and a veteran Silicon Valley executive for almost two decades, Gurle is known as the consummate salesman who could "charm the birds from the trees," according to a former employee.

This charm has come in handy. Banks, asset managers, and even Google have invested almost 300 million into Symphony, a secure, cloud-based chat platform conceived as a hub for any and all financial work. Banks hope Symphony can engineer a new, super-secure communication superhighway that help them cut down on Bloomberg terminals, the crucial but expensive trading and data tool that has dominated finance for decades.

It’s easy to see why banks want competition. A single Bloomberg terminal costs 24,000 a year and the company controls around a third of the 28 billion global information market for financial markets data, analysis and news, according to estimates from Burton-Taylor International Consulting, a TP ICAP company. Around two-thirds of its estimated 9 billion in annual revenues comes from its terminals. Founder Mike Bloomberg is one of the richest men in the world.

Almost four years into the Symphony project, Gurle and his team have made some headway. The Symphony platform now offers apps, bots, and integrations from the likes of Dow Jones, Factset, Eikon by Thomson Reuters, and S&P Global Markets Intelligence. It’s grown to have hundreds of thousands of users across Wall Street who send millions of messages each week and has been privately valued at over 1 billion.

But behind the numbers, the picture is more complicated. The majority of Symphony customers use it to communicate internally which offers efficiency savings but doesn`t tend to generate revenue. That`s compared to the more valuable cross-industry communication that takes place on Bloomberg, in which traders strike multi-million dollar deals with big hedge funds and asset managers. 

The rump of customers are also drawn from the firms that have invested in the project and have a vested interest in its success. Many are compelled by management to use the platform and privately express reluctance.

And there are rumblings that some partners are unhappy. The data feeds they provide through Symphony have not rolled over into paid-for subscriptions at the rate they hoped for. It highlights the difficult task Gurle faces in keeping not just Symphony’s 28 investors happy, but also its broad galaxy of partners and customers.

Symphony’s investors and leadership insist the company is simply at the beginning of a long mission to transform the way Wall Street communicates and point to growing messaging numbers.

Still, plenty of companies have tried to disrupt Bloomberg in the past. Almost all have failed. The big question is: can David Gurle make Symphony the exception?

This story is based on conversations with over 35 people, spanning current and former Symphony employees, board members, investors, customers, analysts, and partners. It charts the growing pains of a hotly backed startup that has rubbed up against a Goliath and lays out the challenges it still faces.

`It was born out of anger`

Five years ago, Wall Street banks were privately furious after discovering that Bloomberg reporters could see limited information about what terminal users were doing.

Bloomberg quickly closed this loophole but the incident spurred a coalition of banks, led by Goldman Sachs, to push forward on a long-held ambition to try and build an industry-owned challenger to Bloomberg’s ubiquitous 24,000-a-year terminals.

"It was born, I think, out of anger," Douglas B. Taylor, a managing director at Burton-Taylor International, said of Symphony. Burton-Taylor International is a consultancy that monitors the information industry, following companies like Bloomberg, Dow Jones, and Reuters.

The snooping incident came as Goldman Sachs was already working on its own internal project, dubbed "Babel", that aimed to create a platform unifying the dozens of communication tools the bank used internally.

Goldman began looking at a spin-out of Babel in 2014. When the news leaked, Goldman received a flurry of inbound calls from other banks keen to get involved, according to a source close to the deal.

symphony quote 1

In the end, a consortium of 14 banks and financial firms bought Perzo, a Silicon Valley encrypted messaging startup. Much of Goldman’s Babel project was transferred into the startup. The firms in on the deal included Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and BlackRock. Collectively, the 14 firms invested 66 million.

Perzo was the brainchild of former Thomson Reuters executive and entrepreneur David Gurle. He was a key draw in the deal. A graduate of an elite Parisian engineering school, Gurle ran Microsoft’s real-time communications business for three years, helping to build the communication tool Lync while there in the early 2000s. He went on to stints at Reuters and Skype, where he worked on Skype for Business.

"He is a visionary in the sense that he really has something in his mind that he’s been thinking about for years," a former long-time Symphony employee said.

Symphony signed early data deals with financial data giants Dow Jones and McGraw Hill Financial, the owner of ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. It officially launched in September 2015, with press parties on the rooftop of a New York City Midtown hotel and London’s plush Lanesborough Hotel.

A month later, more big-name investors backed the project. Symphony raised 100 million from Google, Natixis, Societe Generale, and UBS, among others. One former staffer and a source close to the board said there were "loose" chats with Google about a potential sale at the time.

Gurle touted over 100,000 users a year after launch and was ranked 97 on Vanity Fair’s 2016 "New Establishment" list for his efforts to help banks "rely a little less on the ubiquitous (and costly) tool known simply as the Terminal."

`I don’t think he will be loved by everybody`

As with any startup, there were early teething problems. Customers reported a clunky user experience and issues with the platform quitting unexpectedly.

"Sometimes it would go out for a day, half a day," a former Goldman Sachs employee recalled. By contrast, "I can remember two times during my time at GS that Bloomberg went down in three years," he said.

"I would be lying if I said in the first instance [the feedback] was all positive — it wasn’t," a Symphony investor told BI. "It was positive in the sense that, yes, it is getting rolled out and the product has support from multiple levels within the company but the people using the product a couple of years ago didn’t like it that much and to be honest we didn’t like it that much."

David Gurle_headshot_2018 (1)

Gurle devoted all his energy to fixing these problems. A former staffer said: "He works extremely hard and he expects the same kind of performance from people around him."

Gurle acknowledged in a memo to staff in 2017 that he drove many people "crazy" with his "relentless push for improvement and adaptation to our ever-changing ecosystem."

One Symphony employee had a different take, saying that some in the company lived in fear of Gurle`s demanding nature.

The employee also complained that Gurle surrounded himself with "yes men," a criticism echoed by several other former employees. Two separately used the term "untouchable" to describe the group of people close to Gurle.

"I don’t think he will be loved by everybody," said one investor. "I think he’s someone who’s very harsh and when something doesn’t work to his liking then he will let people know. But then so did [Spotify founder] Daniel Ek, so did [Apple founder] Steve Jobs."

Symphony vs. Bloomberg

Early on, Symphony brushed up against regulators. New York`s Department of Financial Services forced rule changes around data storage before it even launched and the EU took an interest in Symphony, scrutinizing its data capture and retention policies. It later emerged that Bloomberg had been lobbying EU officials to get them to take a harder line on the platform.

symphony quote 2

Those close to Symphony have downplayed the company’s antagonistic relationship with Bloomberg.

One of Symphony’s original investors said: "Maybe Bloomberg touches 5% of [our] workforce. What we were dealing with is a much bigger opportunity, which was to have everyone — the front office, the back office, our clients — on the same platform."

Gurle denied Symphony was a Bloomberg rival in a 2015 interview with Business Insider, saying: "If there`s anything we`re going to disrupt it`s going to be the different messaging tools across enterprises." In a memo to staff in 2017, Gurle said that the company’s real rivals are the likes of Slack, Skype for Business, and Microsoft`s Teams.

But the lobbying efforts show Bloomberg saw the startup as a threat. The financial data giant also launched a messaging service in October 2017 that was pitched at back office staff, allowing them to communicate with front office staff who had terminals over the same platform. Analysts BI spoke to said saw it as a clear response to Symphony. Bloomberg’s new chat-only service costs just 10 a month — 10 cheaper than Symphony. Bloomberg declined to comment for this story.

Many banks also view Symphony through the lens of Bloomberg. Several have cost-saving targets associated with using Symphony to cut down on Bloomberg terminals, according to a former relationship manager who worked at Symphony. One US bank aimed to initially save around 4 million by shifting over 100 people off Bloomberg terminals in the first year, the source said, with the figure rising in subsequent years. Another European bank had a similar target.

`Doesn’t have quite enough critical mass`

Today, Symphony has around 325 enterprise clients and close to 350,000 ultimate users. Customers pay 20 per month per seat. Symphony told Business Insider it had 35 million of recurring annual revenues at the end of 2017 and that rate is growing by 50% each year.

A lot of the adoption has come from the banks and asset managers that invested in the product. Support came not just in the form of cash but also pushes to get employees to use the system. Staff at BlackRock and Credit Suisse told BI that Symphony automatically boots up when they log on to their computers, while others at Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs said senior managers at these banks have emailed teams to encourage them to use the platform.

But Symphony has a problem: not enough people are using it for doing deals.

The real value of Bloomberg’s chat function is it allows traders to pitch deals to buy-side clients. It’s this revenue generating feature of Bloomberg that convinces banks to begrudgingly fork over the tens of millions they spend on the terminals each year.

Traders work at Bloomberg terminals on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, May 13, 2013. Bloomberg LP customers, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury, are examining whether there could have been leaks of confidential information, even as the media company restricted its reporters` access to client data and created a position to oversee compliance in a bid to assuage privacy concerns. Bloomberg has more than 315,000 terminal subscribers globally, with each Bloomberg terminal costing more than 20,000 a year.

Although Symphony says over 200,000 users are able to communicate across organizations, conversations with multiple customers and users suggest usage of this feature is far from mainstream. Multiple sources across the industry gave the example of posting company newsletters or even lunch menus on Symphony, using it as a kind of modern intranet.

Why aren’t companies using Symphony to do business with each other? Users told Business Insider that not enough buy-side clients are on the platform to create a so-called "network effect." Simply put, the salespeople are there but the customers aren’t.

A Goldman banker told Business Insider that Symphony "doesn’t have quite enough critical mass with our clients for everyone to be on it."

To be sure, there are buy-side firms on the platform. BlackRock and AB, who together have almost 7 trillion in assets under management, are both major supporters on the platform. But the majority of usage is still internal.

A source close to Symphony`s board said that they need about 10 large asset managers fully on board to "get over the hump." Another stressed that long internal authorization process at finance firms means progress made with the buy-side is slow to filter through — even if a firm has signed on to Symphony, it could take staff as long as a year to get fully authorized to talk to people at external firms.

The tide may be turning somewhat. Deutsche Bank`s asset management arm, for example, has asked many of the brokers it deals with to only communicate with staff over Symphony. The platform allows the buy-side some degree of control compared to the information overload the usually face from the sell-side.

A spokesperson for Symphony said: "The number of customers who use Symphony to communicate externally grew 50% in the first half of 2018 alone. 70% of our largest clients’ top 150 trading partners are on Symphony (globally, based on communication frequency)."

`We`re old dogs and it is hard to learn new tricks`

Still, Symphony faces hurdles when it comes to convincing traders at banks to adopt the platform.

Taylor-Burton International’s Taylor summarized the typical trader mindset: "If you tell me you want to change something, even if you can show me where it’s going to be better, I’m probably going to be resistant to it because I know I can win doing what I’m going today and all it takes is for me to make one mistake because I didn’t know what button to press or I misread something and it would cost me."

Several traders at major banks BI spoke to said they have limited desktop space, and it`s difficult for them to justify adding another platform such as Symphony.

symphony quote 3

A trader at Credit Suisse said: "At some point, they`ll compel us to use it. But we`re old dogs, and it is hard to learn new tricks. Symphony is solving a problem I don’t have."

"No one’s giving up their Thomson Reuters Eikon messenger service, they’re not giving up their Slack, they’re not giving up their Bloomberg terminals — they’re adding," William Jan, an analyst at Outsell who wrote a recent note on Symphony, told BI.

A source close to the company insisted that Symphony has helped banks to realize cost savings by removing Bloomberg terminals. But the former relationship manager BI spoke with said at least some were frustrated that the savings they had forecast have not yet been fully realized. After a slight dip in terminal sales in 2016, Bloomberg sales rose by 0.6% in 2017 according to Burton-Taylor International.

Jan warned in his note that partners may also be growing unhappy with the platform. Data partners offer "lite" services through Symphony in the hopes that customers end up subscribing to get richer feeds. This has not happened in the volume partners wanted, according to Jan.

"The conversion rates that they’re seeing is pretty dismal," he said. The risk that some may quit the platform led Jan to give Symphony a negative outlook rating in his note.

A Symphony spokesperson said: "As our community has grown and business has matured, we`ve seen new patterns emerge and initial assumptions challenged. That`s one of the primary benefits of open APIs — we`ve been learning alongside our partners. It is still "early days" for open collaboration platforms and we are all learning together."

`Bots are one of our key differentiators`

Today, Symphony`s main focus is on driving "engagement": getting people to collaborate on the platform.

At the end of last year, an average of just over 3 million messages were being sent over the platform per week, according to a source close to the board. Symphony told Business Insider that it is now "trending toward 9 million messages sent by Symphony users per week."

Symphony

Part of the bump has been driven by "bots": automated programs that can navigate the platform, doing everything from notifying people about trade fails, to serving up the latest bits of research, helping with room bookings, or even client on-boarding.

There are currently around 500 bots on the platform and around 10% of all messages sent on the platform are already generated by bots, according to Symphony.

"Bots are one of our key differentiators from the legacy tools used in financial services," a spokesperson for Symphony said. "We hear our customers say that Symphony is now positioned well beyond a chat application, to become a full workflow collaboration platform."

Growing outside of financial services

While the bulk of the business focuses on engagement, Gurle has his eye on growth markets. He relocated to Singapore last year as part of efforts to win new business in Asia and now lives full-time in Hong Kong. Symphony signed 25 new clients in the year Gurle spent in Singapore, the company told BI, and user numbers in the region doubled.

Gurle has also talked extensively about Symphony`s potential beyond finance. He said in a memo to staff last year that the company`s emphasis on security and compliance means it can dominate in highly regulated industries such as medicine and law.

FBI Director Christopher Wray addresses a briefing on election security in the White House press briefing room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 2, 2018.

Critics say this expansion is necessitated by Symphony`s billion dollar valuation. Symphony was reportedly valued at over 1 billion in a private funding round last year, a valuation that analysts BI spoke to said was ambitious and would require further growth to justify.

Symphony has identified governments as a potentially lucrative new market to tap into and talks are ongoing with the EU, according to a source. Another source said the company is also in talks with security services around the world. FBI director Christopher Wray highlighted Symphony as a "responsible" use on encryption in a speech in March.

Symphony said it "invested in a team of go-to-market professionals that are focused on growing Symphony’s footprint outside of financial services," at the start of this year. The company said it has customers across professional services, legal, insurance, government, and aviation. The bulk are still in financial services.

`Most companies that confront Bloomberg end up dead`

Symphony is not the first to try and challenge the dominance of Bloomberg as the connecting tissue of Wall Street. Taylor, in fact, worked on a project in 1989 while at Reuters to try and build a Bloomberg killer.

Most companies that go up against Bloomberg have failed to dent its market share. Spencer Mindlin, an industry analyst at Aite Group, pointed to Communicator, an instant messaging platform that made in-roads into financial services in the early 2000s.

JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and UBS all signed on to use the platform in 2002.

But Communicator didn`t gain much traction and was sold to Markit in 2006 for an undisclosed sum. Markit acquired the business mainly for other products it had developed by then — notably a swaps trading feature and bond research portal — and ended up shutting down the instant messaging platform.

"The history is that most companies that confront Bloomberg with a new product end up dead on the side of the road," Taylor said.

Bloomberg LP is worth an estimated 54 billion according to Forbes and, as the aggressive pricing of its new chat-only offerings demonstrates, it is willing to use that financial firepower to crush opposition. Meanwhile, Slack is said to be currently raising 400 million. Skype and Lync can both rely on the financial might of Microsoft.

Symphony’s backers and executives stress that the company is just at the beginning of what is likely a very long journey. Disrupting any industry is generally a tough task but Silicon Valley has shown time and time again that it is possible.

Investors stressed that if anyone can crack this Gordian knot, it is Gurle. One told BI: "It’s clear that management action here has done a lot to turn all the metrics in the right direction and now they look very healthy to us."

If Symphony is successful, it must become a high-security, high-speed network connecting some of the most important corporations and institutions around the world.

"Think of us as a highway infrastructure," Gurle told Business Insider. "We’re building a new set of roads every quarter and as new roads come and connect these other players, this highway system becomes more and more valuable."

The ultimate goal talked about internally is to exit through a multi-billion dollar IPO, the badge of honour for any successful tech company. Insiders say the company is still a way off being in shape for such a transaction, though, given the question marks around front office adoption and cross-company collaboration.

Internally, Symphony like to look on a business horizon of 2030, aiming to be well established in security-conscious industries such as government, healthcare, and finance by then. Cleary, there’s more work to do and challenges to overcome. A staffer who left earlier this year said of Symphony: "They’re going through a very pubescent phase — they’re growing up."

Additional reporting by Frank Chaparro, Dakin Campbell, and Olivia Oran.

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NOW WATCH: Chase Cards CEO on the coveted Sapphire Reserve card and working with Jamie Dimon

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CAIRO - 18 August 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified Saturday law No. 175/2018 on combating IT crimes.

The law stipulates that the providers of communications and IT services should be committed to preserving and storing IT system record for 180 consecutive days.

It also states that the service provider should offer to the users or any governmental body concerned the data and information related to its name and address besides the data license to determine the party which it will be submitted to its supervision.

The law stipulates punishing those who commit crimes of violating the safety of networks and IT systems besides using without right communications and IT services.

It criminalizes illegal logging on a website, private account or IT system which are banned to enter in addition to hacking e-mails, websites, private accounts and the governmental IT systems.

The law was published in the official gazette.
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CAIRO - 18 August 2018: Secretary-General of Arab League Ahmed Abul Gheit has mourned the death of Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan.

In press statements, Spokesman for Secretary-General of Arab League Mahmoud Afifi said Abul Gheit expressed his sincere condolences to the family of Annan, Ghanaian government and people.

Afifi underlined that Abul Gheit sent a cable of condolences to Annan`s wife and the Ghanaian government, expressing his appreciation for the great commitment shown by Annan in dealing with many international issues, especially those related to the developing nations and to finding solutions to major international crises and conflicts, during his tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Abul Gheit underscored that he met with Annan on several occasions during his tenure as a permanent representative of Egypt to the United Nations in New York, Afifi added.
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Iran`s vice president said on Saturday the Islamic Republic would resist pressures from U.S. sanctions by relying on its oil and other natural resources.
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Incumbent Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and his political rival, former president Marc Ravalomanana, will vie for the post at an election scheduled for November, part of a move aimed at defusing a political crisis on the Indian Ocean island.
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When the internet created the Slender Man, it did not realize it had made manifest the fears of a whole generation adrift in the digital age.

Faceless, amorphous, and boundless, the tall black-suited figure sprang from the crowdsourced anxieties of our online hivemind. Countless internet urban legends existed before and after him. But Slender rose above all, his empty face an uncanny reflection of the virtual void we summoned him from.

Recently Hollywood tried to capitalize on his internet phenomenon with a movie that received a resounding "meh." Unsurprisingly, movie execs fail to grasp exactly what makes the legend of a nefarious man in a business suit so terrifying to millennials. Read more...

More about Watercooler, Entertainment, Digital Age, Slender Man, and Beware The Slenderman
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 28: Google senior vice president of product Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address during the 2015 Google I/O conference on May 28, 2015 in San Francisco, California. The annual Google I/O conference runs through May 29. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • An Associated Press investigation recently discovered that Google still collects its users` location data even if they have their Location History turned off.
  • After the report was published, Google quietly updated its help page to describe how location settings work.
  • Previously, the page said "with Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."
  • Now, the page says, "This setting does not affect other location services on your device," adding that "some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps."
  • The quiet changing of false information is a major violation of users` trust.
  • Google needs to do better.

Google this week acknowledged that it quietly tracks its users` locations, even if those people turn off their Location History — a clarification that came in the wake of an Associated Press investigation.

It`s a major violation of users` trust.

And yet, nothing is going to happen as a result of this episode. 

It`s happened before

Google has a history of bending the rules:

  • In 2010, Google`s Street View cars were caught eavesdropping on people`s Wi-Fi connections.
  • In 2011, Google agreed to forfeit 500 million after a criminal investigation by the Justice Department found that Google illegally allowed advertisements from online Canadian pharmacies to sell their products in the US.
  • In 2012, Google circumvented the no-cookies policy on Apple`s Safari web browser and paid a 22.5 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission as a result.

Ultimately, Google came out of all of these incidents just fine. It paid some money here and there, and sat in a few courtrooms, but nothing really happened to the company`s bottom line. People continued using Google`s services.

Other companies have done it too

Remember Cambridge Analytica?

Five months ago in March, a 28-year-old named Christopher Wylie blew the whistle on his employer, the data-analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, at which he served as a director of research. 

It was later revealed that Cambridge Analytica had collected the data of over 87 million Facebook users in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. 

One month later, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was summoned in front of Congress to answer questions related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal over a two-day span.

mark zuckerberg congress facebook awkwardMany users felt like their trust was violated. A hashtag movement called "#DeleteFacebook" was born. 

And yet, nothing has really changed at Facebook since that scandal, which similarly involved the improper collection of user data, and the violation of users` trust.

Facebook seems to be doing just fine. During its Q2 earnings report in late July, Facebook reported over 13 billion in revenue — a 42% jump year-over-year — and an 11% increase in both daily and monthly active users.

In short, Facebook is not going anywhere. And neither is Google.

Too big — and too good — to fail

Just like Facebook has no equal among the hundreds of other social networks out there, the same goes for Google and competing search engines.

According to StatCounter, Google has a whopping 90% share of the global search engine market.

The next biggest search engine in the world is Microsoft`s Bing, which has a paltry 3% market share.

In other words, a cataclysmic event would have to occur for people to switch search engines. Or, another search engine would have to come along and completely unseat Google.

But that`s probably not going to happen.

GoogleFor almost 20 years now, Google dominated the search engine game. Its other services have become similarly prevalent: Gmail, and Google Docs, have all become integral parts of people`s personal and work lives. Of course, there are similar mail and productivity services out there, but using Google is far more convenient, since most people use more than one Google product, and having all of your applications talk to each other and share information is mighty convenient.

This isn`t meant to cry foul: Google is one of the top software makers in the world, but it has earned that status by constantly improving and iterating on its products, and even itself, over the past two decades. But one does wonder what event, if any, could possibly make people quit a service as big and convenient and powerful as Google once and for all.

The fact is: That probably won`t happen. People likely won`t quit Google`s services, unless there`s some major degradation of quality. But Google, as a leader in Silicon Valley, should strive to do better for its customers. Intentional or not, misleading customers about location data is a bad thing. Google failed its customers: It let users think they had more control when they did, and they only corrected their language about location data after a third-party investigation. But there was no public acknowledgement of an error, and no mea culpa.

Google owes its users a true apology. Quietly updating an online help page isn`t good enough.

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NOW WATCH: Everything wrong with the iPhone

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Tim Cook

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk is in the middle of a go-private saga around the carmaker.
  • Various ways to fund a potential deal have been debated, but nothing solid has yet emerged.
  • Yet again, Apple and its pile of cash and trillion-dollar market cap could ride to the rescue.

The circus maximus of  Tesla`s go-private plan has been with us for about two weeks. I`ve already pointed out that we shouldn`t be surprised that Elon Musk doesn`t want to be the CEO of a public company anymore, but to be honest this thing has gotten pretty nuts.

The deal itself — or non-deal, or theoretical deal, take your pick — is the nuttiest aspect. Musk wants to convert all Tesla`s major shareholders from public to private status and raise enough money to buy out anybody who can`t or doesn`t want to come along for the ride.

This has reduced the price tag from a staggering 80 billion (Tesla`s market cap at a 420 per share exit valuation plus debt) to a far more modest but still chewy 15 billion-20 billion, based on my own back-of-the-envelope math. Musk has said that he`s talking to investors, and that he infamously has talked to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

As we move into a fortnight of continued speculation, Teslaology, and drippy-drabby information leaks around everything from SEC probes to how many lawyers and bankers will ultimately make enough on this deal to buy extra homes, it might be worth it to again consider what I`ll call the "Mighty Eagle" scenario.

Apple is Tesla`s Mighty Eagle

angry birds

You might recall the Mighty Eagle from the Angry Birds craze a few years back. For months, my kids did little besides play Angry Birds whenever possible. Soon enough, they discovered the Mighty Eagle, the super bird that had the power to obliterate all pigs and their fortifications in a breathtaking, screeching swoop.

Tesla`s Mighty Eagle is Apple. I`ve really done a 180 on this one. Initially, I thought Apple buying Tesla — a sort of Silicon Valley high-fantasy M&A mashup from the 2014-2015 period — was a bad idea. But then Apple began to demonstrate that it was floundering with its own car project. Tesla also started to look delusional about its own growth prospects, after a new pay package for Musk was approved that would see the carmaker`s market cap rising to 650 billion.

I`m somewhat more optimistic that Tesla will actually make good on some of its supporters` more extreme predictions for the company`s eventual market impact (the "Tesla as the iPhone of cars" argument), but the last time I wrote about Apple buying Tesla, I maintained that such a deal would save Tesla from its own hubris. 

Let`s now amend that to Apple saving Tesla and Musk from one of the weirdest take-private schemes in financial history.

The incredibly complicated deal vs. the incredible simple deal

elon musk

It would just be so, so straightforward. Apple could easily pay 420 per share for Tesla, in an all-cash, stock-and-cash, or all-stock deal. Apple could also play the role of take-private buyout funder, but that path seems far less elegant, although it would help Musk to avoid serving a single master, assuming he remained CEO.

Apple has about 250 billion in cash on hand and market cap of, yes, a cool trillion. Some Tesla investors might complain that if they, for example, swapped their Tesla shares for Apple shares, they`d be surrendering Tesla`s potentially huge future growth. But Tesla has already delivered a 1,000% return to early stockholders, so I think another massive growth cycle is unlikely.

Then there`s the Apple Car — "Project Titan," as it`s known internally. As Business Insider`s Kif Leswing reported last week, there`s chatter about an Apple Car launch in 2023. 

But that isn`t going to happen. That`s about four years to develop an actual vehicle, and while Apple can move mountains, it would take an established automaker more time than that to create a new car from scratch. 

Also, why would Apple bother? Nobody ever talks about this anymore, but it acquired a nice business for 3 billion when it bought Beats in 2014, accelerating Apple`s wireless efforts, infusing new technology, and pickup up the premier headphones company for people under 40 (older folks might prefer Bose). 

Tesla offers a lot of businesses for the price

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Supercharger station are seen in Taipei, Taiwan August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

I wouldn`t call Tesla cheap, not by a long shot. But the cost of creating a car company, as Tesla has demonstrated, is monumentally expensive. An Apple takeover of Tesla would give Cupertino an automaker whose core business amounts to 100,000-per-year in luxury electric-vehicle sales, with 200,000 a distinct possibility by 2018 or early 2019.

CEO Tim Cook would also be getting Tesla`s commercial infrastructure — Tesla`s stores — plus an extensive Supercharger network, a battery factory in Nevada, and as a bonus, a solar-and-energy-storage business, position Apple immediately as a player in the power industry.

And Apple would be buying, right away, 4 billion per quarter in revenue, with 5 billion in Tesla`s sights. Tesla`s top line is already staged to accelerate rapidly, and while it`s far, far less than Apple`s typical quarterly take — over 60 billion in Q2 2018 — ascending revenue, at Tesla`s impressive rate, would be excellent compensation for a hefty overall acquisition price.

Please, please forget about the Apple Car

Apple Car 2

And we might as well face the most critical motivator, given Apple`s fairly pathetic effort to do something in the car space: Tesla already makes the Apple Car — the brand overlap is obvious. I have no actual data on this, but I feel safe in assuming that nearly 100% of Tesla owners are also Apple customers, using multiple devices and services. 

Is this going happen? Probably not. But Musk has obviously revealed that Tesla is sort of for sale, and he`s named his price. The chance to buy an entire car company doesn`t come along very often, but I can point to two deals from the past ten years that have worked out well: Fiat`s takeover of Chrysler during the financial crisis; and the purchase of Volvo by China`s Geely.

Apple has never undertaken a massive acquisition. It isn`t in the company`s DNA. But transportation — electric cars, self-driving cars, ride-hailing — looks like a major 21st-century business. Waymo could be worth 175 billion, and General Motors created an 11.5-billion autonomous mobility service with its Cruise division in just two years. Buying Tesla would put Apple immediately at the white-hot center of our transportation future.

It would also save Elon Musk from, well ... Elon Musk.

FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

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NOW WATCH: What`s going on with Elon Musk

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A day after two major ratings agencies downgraded Turkey closer to junk status amid a currency crisis, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he would challenge those playing "games" on the economy.
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China supports the Turkish government`s efforts to safeguard security and economic stability and believes that it will overcome its "temporary difficulties", China`s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Turkey`s foreign minister on Saturday.
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Science fiction: What happens when fake news is everywhere?
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CAIRO - 18 August 2018: Egyptian authorities announced the opening of the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for one day only, to be closed again on Monday.

Egyptian authorities also announced on Friday that Rafah border crossing between Egypt’s Arish and Palestine’s Gaza will be closed from both directions for five days running, starting Monday.

The decision to close it came on the occasion of Eid al-Adha celebrations due to start on Tuesday.
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India deployed thousands of soldiers and dozens of helicopters to rescue people marooned by the worst floods in a century in the southern state of Kerala, where the death toll of 186 people as of Saturday could rise fast as rains continue.
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