Ayman's blog

A prisoner swap and the repayment of a 500 million debt could free Americans and a Briton jailed on charges of spying and sedition.

Goldman Sachs

  • Bitcoin is more like gold than the US dollar, Jeff Currie, Goldman Sachs` head of commodities research, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
  • Bitcoin doesn`t have the same amount of liquidity as gold though, which is the primary difference between the two.
  • Watch bitcoin`s price move in real time here.

Bitcoin is a commodity, just like gold, according to Goldman Sachs` Jeff Currie, global head of commodities research.

Currie laid out his simple thinking behind why he sees bitcoin as a commodity, instead of a security or a currency, in an interview with Bloomberg TV:

"It`s a commodity. A security, by definition, has a liability attached to it. Take a dollar bill, it has a liability to the US government. Commodities do not have liabilities. They are bearer assets, and when you think about it in that context, you look at bitcoin, it`s not that much different than gold. I don`t see why there`s all this hostility toward it."

Currie`s argument is that bitcoin doesn`t answer to anyone. The price is set by the market and isn`t backed by a central government, public company or private entity, just like gold.

Bitcoin is much more volatile than gold, however, and Currie explains that liquidity is the main cause of this. There is 8.3 trillion worth of gold above ground, while bitcoin has a market cap closer to 165 billion, making it much more volatile and much less liquid. 

"Central banks control an enormous amount of the supply of gold, which does not make it a complete substitute between bitcoin and gold," Currie said.

Curries comments came as bitcoin crossed, then fell back below, 10,000 a coin for the first time. Other, smaller cryptocurrencies like ether and litecoin also touched all-time highs on Wednesday.

Goldman Sachs CEO Llyod Blankfein has stated previously that he is "still thinking" about bitcoin and hasn`t come to any conclusions yet. The bank has said it is looking into how best to serve its clients interested in digital currencies, however.

Bitcoin`s meteoric rise has grabbed the attention of more traditional players on Wall Street. Business Insider reported on Wednesday that Nasdaq, the exchange operator, plans to begin offering bitcoin futures next year. CME and Cboe, two exchange giants, have also announced plans to offer bitcoin futures, which could help with volatility in the market.

Read more about bitcoin`s historic rise, and how it crossed 10,000 here.

bitcoin price chart

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin clears 10,000

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5G Subscription Penetration

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5G networks are projected to reach 1 billion subscribers by 2023, accounting for approximately 20% of the global population, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

5G’s ability to transmit data roughly 10 times faster than 4G, the current standard, will enable consumers to conduct more standard mobile activities and more easily use data-heavy ones, like smartphone-based VR streaming and artificial intelligence assistants.      

Here are the key takeaways on the evolving 5G market, according to Ericsson:

  • North America, Northeast Asia, and Western Europe will spearhead 5G uptake.By 2023, roughly 37% of all mobile subscriptions in North America will be 5G, with 4G LTE largely making up the rest. Meanwhile, 5G will account for 34% of mobile subscriptions in Northeast Asia by 2023. Western Europe trails behind, with 5G accounting for 16% of its mobile subscriptions over the same period. North America’s advantage in 5G adoption will likely be a result of operators already running trials of 5G networks and devices, which will speed up deployment and adoption of the technology.
  • Global Voice over LTE (VoLTE) subscriptions are expected to jump 746% by 2023.VoLTE subscriptions are projected to hit 5.5 billion in 2023, up from the 650 million in 2017. Growth in VoLTE subscriptions is significant as it will become the groundwork for enabling voice calls over 5G access. VoLTE allows users to make calls over an LTE connection, rather than traditional cell networks, thereby supporting stronger, more reliable communications. It also supports richer engagement between users, such as high-definition voice, video calling, rich content sharing within calls, and multi-device compatibility.

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon`s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Wednesday that matters were "positive" and if that continued, he would withdraw his resignation next week, a statement from his press office said.
OSLO (Reuters) - The anti-nuclear group which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize accused the United States, Britain and France on Wednesday of snubbing its disarmament work by planning to send only second-rank diplomats to the award ceremony next month.
WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) - Britain criticized U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he retweeted anti-Islam videos originally posted by a leader of a far-right British fringe party who was convicted earlier this month of abusing a Muslim woman.
BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union`s chief Brexit negotiator told German industry on Wednesday that it was his responsibility to help European companies weather the exit of Britain from the EU, and he warned Britain that its economy had much to lose.

Colonel Ahmed Konswa announced that he is running for the 2018 presidential elections making him the third candidate who announces his intentions.

“I am Colonel Ahmed Konswa, an architect officer in the Egyptian armed forces would like to confirm that the story of justice and freedom is impossible to be ended on the Egyptian soil,” said Konswa in a video statement.

“I proudly declare that I have decided to unlock the current political deadlock by running for the anticipated Egyptian presidential election according to its terms and conditions as defined by the Egyptian constitution and relevant laws,” adds Konswa.

Earlier today, Egypt’s former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq told Reuters that he intends to run for president in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for April 2018.

Despite announcing plans to return to Egypt in the coming days, he declared that he is unable to leave the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as authorities have stopped him from leaving the country.

Shafiq is the second candidate to announce they are running for president. Rights Lawyer Khaled Ali said earlier this month that he also will to compete for the presidential post.

President al-Sisi has not yet announced his candidacy for next year’s  elections. However, he is widely expected to run for a second term.

bitcoin below 10k

Bitcoin fell below 10,000 for the first time on Wednesday, after crossing the milestone just a day earlier.

The cryptocurrency is now trading at 9,324.54 per coin, which is 20% below its peak of 11,413.03, according to data from Markets Insider.

Other currencies like Ethereum and litecoin also crossed major milestones in the past 24 hours. Ethereum traded above 500 for the first time, and litecoin above 100, but both have since fallen below those marks as well.

The currency has led some on Wall Street to call its rise a bubble, as it is up more than 858% this year, and was up more than 2,000 since the Thanksgiving holiday.

Watch bitcoin trade in real time on Markets Insider.

SEE ALSO: Nvidia is getting hit harder than the rest of the tech sector

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NOW WATCH: A senior investment officer at a 695 billion firm breaks down tax reform

FILE PHOTO: Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang attends an event during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Shares of Nvidia are down 5.30% to 199.71 on Wednesday, as the tech sector at large sells off.

The slide on Wednesday continues Nvidia`s fall from the previous day, which came after Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh called an end to the crypto boom for Nvidia and other graphics chip makers. Nvidia`s graphics cards are often used by cryptocurrency "miners" to try and speed up their systems, and the company has seen increased demand as cryptocurrencies skyrocket in value.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have hit several major milestones this week, including bitcoin`s crossing of 10,000 per coin for the first time ever on Tuesday.

Nvidia`s declines are more than double many of the larger tech companies that also saw a decline on Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index was down 1.57%, and the FANG stocks were all down around 3% as investors likely rolled their tech investments into other areas.

Nvidia is up 95.17% this year, despite the recent declines.

Read more about the end of the crypto boom for Nvidia and AMD.

nvidia stock price

SEE ALSO: MIZUHO: The crypto boom is over for AMD and Nvidia

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NOW WATCH: Tesla`s biggest problem is one nobody saw coming

GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. refugee agency on Wednesday welcomed a decision by Libya to open a transit center for unaccompanied children and other vulnerable refugees from among hundreds of thousands of migrants, and called on EU countries and others to accept them.
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed as lies accusations by Turkey`s main opposition party that his family has moved millions of dollars into foreign bank accounts to avoid taxes.

lehman brothers

  • Mass layoffs often take people by surprise.
  • But if you look out for the signs, you may see them coming.
  • From perks that start disappearing to extra tissue boxes in conference rooms, we`ve rounded up 29 signs your company could be about to conduct mass layoffs.

In my career as a journalist, I`ve lived through two rounds of mass layoffs.

While I didn`t see either of them coming, hindsight is always 20/20, and I now have a much better sense for when the tides are changing. I also appreciate how much even a little bit of notice can help in the transition.

To get a better understanding of the signs that layoffs are coming, I polled others who have been through them, scoured the news about high-profile mass layoffs, and crawled the depths of the internet.

If you notice a combination of these signs in your own company, it may be time to start looking for a new job.

SEE ALSO: 15 things you should do as soon as you get laid off

DON`T MISS: 38 things you should remove from your résumé before it ends up in the `no` pile

The most obvious sign: Executives confirm layoffs are coming

Executives including Twitter`s Jack DorseyESPN`s John Skipper, and Sears` Eddie Lampert have sent memos to employees detailing imminent layoffs.

On Wednesday, Skipper sent a memo to employees informing them of ESPN`s plan to terminate the employment of "approximately 150 people."

Executives hint at layoffs using other terms, like `restructuring`

HP, which has been going through layoffs since 2008, proves there are many indirect ways of saying "layoffs."

CEO Meg Whitman and other HP executives have used terms like "downsizing," "restructuring," "reorganizing," "incremental synergies," "offshoring," and "streamlining."

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich used the term "headcount reductions" in an email he sent to employees about rumored layoffs.

And IBM has referred to layoffs as "workforce rebalancing."

If you hear or see these terms bandied about, it`s time to brace yourself.

There`s talk of `pivoting`

In an adapt-or-die world and constantly evolving industry, pivoting is often a must. But it also means replacing one kind of work — and thereby worker — with another, which usually spells layoffs. "Pivoting" or "shifting focus" are simply other ways of saying "restructuring."

We recently saw this at media companies Mic, Vocativ, Vice, and MTV news, which are all placing heavy bets on video content and pivoting their efforts in that direction, and which all laid off written editorial staffers as a result.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

American Airlines

  • Thousands of American Airlines flights may not have pilots during the last two weeks of December. 
  • The shortage is occurring because of a glitch in the company`s scheduling system that allowed for too many pilots to take off at the same time. 
  • A spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association calls the incident a "crisis."

American Airlines is having its own nightmare before Christmas. 

More than 15,000 American flights between December 17-31 do not yet have pilots because the airline accidentally gave all of its pilots that time off, according to the Allied Pilots Association.

The issue stems from a glitch in the company`s scheduling system, the union said. 

“Basically there’s a crisis at American for manning the cockpits,” Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the union, told Reuters

Pilots were told about the scheduling problem on Friday, the union said. 

A spokesperson for the airline told Bloomberg that the carrier is offering up 150% of its regular hourly wage to pilots willing to pick up certain flights. 

“We are working through this to make sure we take care of our pilots and get our customers where they need to go over the holiday,” the American Airlines spokesman said. 

But the union has filed a grievance because it says that this actually violates its labor pact

American Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

This story is developing, check back for updates. 

SEE ALSO: This tiny design innovation has changed flying in economy class forever

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ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Europe and Africa have joint responsibility to make migration more humane and orderly so they can end horrifying abuses being committed against African migrants by people smugglers, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday.
CARACAS/HOUSTON (Reuters) - Venezuela has ordered the removal of Rafael Ramirez, once a powerful oil minister and head of state oil company PDVSA, from his post as representative to the United Nations in New York, four sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

Brothers Cameron (L) and Tyler Winklevoss talk to each other as they attend a New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) virtual currency hearing in the Manhattan borough of New York January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

  • Two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase and Gemini, both crashed on Wednesday morning.
  • Coinbase said it saw "all-time high traffic" which contributed to system outages.
  • Bitcoin soared over 11,000 on Wednesday, after hitting a record high of 10,000 on Tuesday. 


Two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the US crashed on Wednesday as bitcoin mayhem sent prices for the cryptocurrency surging above 11,000 a pop.

Users of the digital exchanges Coinbase and Gemini saw slowed performance on the websites, and in some cases still cannot log into their accounts. 

Coinbase, which has exchanged over 50 billion since its launch in 2012, posted about a "partial system outage" on Wednesday.

Dave Farmer, director of Business Operations at Coinbase, said that the company experienced "all-time high traffic" early Wednesday morning, which gave some users slower performance.

"Should be fully resolved in the next couple of hours," Farmer said in prepared remarks.

Gemini, the exchange started by Facebook`s notorious Winklevoss twins in 2015, showed many users a "504 Gateway Time-out" message, which means its servers were not responding to requests. The company posted on its status page that "systems are currently experiencing degraded performance."

As of 10:08 am pacific time, Gemini`s system was under maintenance.

Gemini exchange issues

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin has been on a wild ride since crossing 10,000

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AWS shot at Oracle 2017

  • Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy took shot at Oracle during his keynote for AWS big tech conference in AWS.
  • He showed a cartoon on stage that was a dig at Oracle and its famous founder Larry Ellison that got a big laugh.
  • There is a bigger message under the joke: AWS is serious about peeling customers away from Oracle and believes it has having some success.

Amazon Web Services kicked off its massive tech conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday and, as has become customary, AWS CEO Andy Jassy included a big dig at Oracle, specifically Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

The two companies have become fierce competitors as enterprises ditch their own data centers and move to cloud computing. AWS is by far the biggest cloud computing supplier and a couple of years ago, it opted to take Oracle head on by launching its own database.

Oracle`s database is where the company got its start and it is still its biggest and most important product. It`s a long-lasting and durable business for Oracle: customers use the databases to run critical parts of their operations and they don`t yank out a database or switch vendors easily. 

But that`s exactly what AWS is trying to get companies to do. It launched its own direct competitor to Oracle`s SQL database, Aurora, and says it`s nabbing customers, often away from Oracle, at a fast rate.

Oracle has responded by building its own cloud, seeking to to compete directly with Amazon on that level. Oracle`s overall cloud business will do well, because it`s an easy option for customers who want to move to the cloud but do not want to ditch Oracle`s database or its other software. 

Companies can also run Oracle database on AWS, but earlier this year, Oracle changed its licensing in such a way that it essentially doubled the cost of running and Oracle database on AWS cloud. The idea was clear: Oracle wants to make it cheaper for its customers to run its software on its own cloud. But, the strategy might backfire. As you might imagine, Oracle`s customers were not happy about the price increase. AWS already has an enormous number of enterprise customers and such tactics just might encourage them to try moving to AWS database instead.

On Wednesday, during his keynote talk, Jassy said, "Oracle overnight doubled price of its software on AWS. Who does that to their customers? Someone who doesn’t care about the customer but views them as a means to their financial ends."

To be fair to Oracle, its database is the gold standard, just like AWS is the gold standard of the cloud. 

But AWS isn`t resting on its laurels. It announced a whole bunch of new database services on Wednesday, including an upcoming "serverless" version of its competitor to Oracle, which allows companies to use a database without having to think about the underlying hardware.

But the laughs of the morning definitely came at Larry Ellison`s expense with a cartoon that showed a guy that looks like Ellison in a police line-up, based on that license change.

An officer asks: "Do you recognize who scared you last night?" And an older lady answers, "The one with the Goatee."

AWS Dig at Larry Ellison

SEE ALSO: 50 startups that will boom in 2018, according to VCs

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The long-awaited first official trailer for Marvel`s "Avengers: Infinity War" is finally here. The Avengers will have to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to have any hope of taking down Thanos and his Black Order. The film is scheduled for release in May. Here are 10 things you might have missed:

1. Hulk returns to Earth, and it looks like he crashes through Doctor Strange`s house.

2. Vision has taken on a human form and he may be in a relationship with Scarlet Witch.

3. A lot of the action takes place in Black Panther`s Wakanda. Thanos may be after the country`s vibranium, the same material used to make Captain America`s shield. He could also be looking for an Infinity Stone in Wakanda.

4. This is the first time we`ve seen Spider-Man`s spider-sense.

5. Spider-Man has a new Stark-issued suit.

6. Proxima Midnight, a child of Thanos, is seen. She`s a member of his villainous Black Order

7. Captain America is back and charging into battle without his shield. He`s also wearing Wakandan armor on his forearms.

8. It looks like Black Panther is fighting a Chitauri, which means they weren`t fully defeated in "Avengers".

9. Thanos is trying to take Vision`s "Mind Stone". He already has the "Reality Stone," first seen in "Thor: The Dark World." He also has the "Space Stone," which may have been inside the Tesseract from "Avengers."

10. Thor winds up on the Guardians` ship, where Baby Groot has become a teenager!

"Avengers: Infinity War" will hit theaters May 2018.

Join the conversation about this story »

Eiffel Tower

After seven years in business, Instagram`s global community of 800 million users are still snapping and posting away.

On Wednesday, the company released their 2017 Year in Review, which takes a look at what content floated above the rest, including the most-liked posts, top hashtags, and most-used filters.

Below, take a look at the cities that Instagram users were visiting — and geotagging — the most this year.

SEE ALSO: 50 stunning moments captured by the award-winning Reuters photography team in 2017

10. Barcelona, Spain

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9. Istanbul, Turkey

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8. Jakarta, Indonesia

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See the rest of the story at Business Insider
BERLIN (Reuters) - Members of Germany`s Social Democrats (SPD) and Chancellor Angela Merkel`s conservatives argued on Wednesday about repatriating Syrian refugees accused of crimes, a potential foretaste of coalition negotiations on immigration.
TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - A TV host who seemed poised to win Sunday`s Honduran presidential election brought thousands of protesters onto the streets on Wednesday, as his early lead evaporated to under 25,000 votes after delays in the widely criticized vote count.
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - A former Bosnian Croat military commander swallowed what he said was poison in a U.N. war crimes courtroom on Wednesday and died shortly after losing an appeal against his 20-year prison term.
GENEVA (Reuters) - Syria`s opposition wants Russia and other states to put pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to engage in peace talks in Geneva to produce a political solution within six months, the chief of its delegation said at the start of negotiations on Wednesday.

Selena GomezSelena Gomez is the queen of Instagram for the second year in a row.

Instagram released its 2017 Year in Review on Wednesday, which highlights the most-liked posts, top hashtags, and most-used filters from the past year.

Gomez is the most-followed celebrity on Instagram for 2017, holding onto her title from last year and adding 24 million new followers in the process. 

Besides Gomez, several members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, as well as Dwayne Johnson and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, top the list. 

Here are the most-followed accounts on Instagram this year:

SEE ALSO: Here are the 10 most-liked Instagram posts of 2017

10. Kendall Jenner

Jenner`s account, @kendalljenner, has more than 84.8 million followers.

9. Justin Bieber

Bieber`s account, @justinbieber, has more than 93.9 million followers.

8. Dwayne Johnson

Johnson`s account, @therock, has more than 96 million followers.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Jeep Wrangler

  • Fiat Chrysler Automobile is debuting its all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler at the LA Auto Show on Wednesday. 
  • The company says the vehicle features better aerodynamics and has better fuel efficiency. 
  • Some of the biggest design changes are inside the vehicle. 

The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler will make its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday. 

The new Jeep looks similar to the current model, but Fiat Chrysler Automotive claims its the most capable SUV it has ever made. The vehicle is designed it to have better aerodynamics, improved performance, and the company has given it some nice tech updates. 

Jeep Wrangler 2018

According to MotorAuthority, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler will first be available with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that ponies up 285 hp and 260 lb-ft with the option of an automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 270 hp and 295 lb-ft and has an 8-speed automatic transmission will be available in 2019 and will feature a new eTorque technology that helps improve fuel efficiency via automatic engine start-stop. 

Jeep Wrangler 2018

And for the first time ever, Jeep will also offer a diesel engine. The diesel version will have a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 EcoDiesel engine that exerts 260 hp and 443 lb-ft and has an 8-speed automatic transmission. Given its extra torque, this will likely be the most appealing option for those serious about off-roading and towing. 

Those who opt for the diesel model, though,  will also have to wait until 2019 and it will only be available as a four-door. 

Jeep Wrangler 2018

Jeep lovers will notice some of the biggest design changes inside the vehicle. The dashboard has been flattened out to make the vehicle feel more open and the vehicle maker has added push-button start. The vehicle also comes with a standard 7-inch or optional 8-inch touchscreen. 

The new JL generation model features an aluminum frame and while its body is slightly bigger, the new version actually weighs about 200 pounds less than the previous JK model. 

Jeep will begin rolling out the 2018 Wrangler in showrooms across the US early next year. The company is expected to share more details about the vehicle at a press conference on Wednesday at 3:50 pm ET, so check back for updates. 

SEE ALSO: 21 hot cars we can`t wait to see at the 2017 LA Auto Show

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NOW WATCH: The best concept cars of 2017

Efforts to reduce pollution have been the main focus of the battle against climate change. But other plans are being devised to help cool Earth.
Could life have evolved differently? A germ with “unnatural” DNA letters suggests the answer is yes.

David Lee

  • Former Warriors player David Lee, who retired from the NBA last week, may be joining VC firm Social Capital, according to Axios. 
  • Lee hinted that he had plans to join a Bay Area venture capitalist firm in an interview with NBC Sports last week. 

Former Warriors player David Lee may be following in the footsteps of other elite basketball players and joining the ranks of venture capitalists.

Lee, who retired from the NBA last week, hinted at his interest in working with a Bay Area technology firm in an interview with NBC Sports. Lee stated that he had received a call from a few close friends who run "an unbelievable venture capital firm...in the Bay."

Lee continued, "I decided to roll the dice and to try something new and I`m really excited about my decision."

Today, Axios reported that the firm Lee alluded to is Social Capital, whose portfolio includes brands like Bustle, Slack, Sprig, and Wealthfront. Given that Social Capital founder Chamath Palihapitiya is a minority owner of the Warriors, Lee`s choice of VC firms is not entirely surprising.

A representative from Social Capital declined to comment.

SEE ALSO: How Silicon Valley found its favorite team: the NBA champion Golden State Warriors

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NOW WATCH: Why Korean parents are having their kids get plastic surgery before college

2018 Mercedes CLS

  • The third-generation CLS sands off some of the previous gen`s sharp edges.
  • The fastback coupé design continues to show that a two-door design can translate to a sedan.
  • The interior in luxurious and high-tech, and the CLS comes with a new inline six-cylinder engine.

The Mercedes CLS has been an offbeat but compelling ride for 15 years. A fastback, four-door "coupé," that offers a sleek take on the sedan and has surfed an influential wave on the luxury market. The fastback shape has never been more popular, offering a suave shape.

The second-generation CLS had been around since 2011, so it was time for an update. Mercedes has delivered, pulling the cover off the gen-three car at the LA auto show on Wednesday.

It`s the same out sleek-and-sloping silhouette, but updated and dialed back.

2018 Mercedes CLS

"Mercedes-Benz is building more strongly than ever on the aura and unique character of this trendsetting model: the new model has pure CLS genes with its arching waistline, flat side window lines and low greenhouse," the carmaker said in a statement.

Designer Gorden Wagener called the new CLS a "logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom," adding that sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced."

Fans of the CLS are getting an update on the familiar as far as the exterior goes. But there`s some new action in the engine bay.

2018 Mercedes CLS

Mercedes has developed a new inline six-cylinder motor for the CLS that features a type of mild hybrid system. (The currently on-sale second-gen car is available in the US only with a big V8 motor in CLS 550 trim.) Initially, the rear-wheel-drive CLS 450 and all-wheel-drive 450 4Matic are all we`ll be seeing.

Merc described the new engine as a "systematically electrified in-line six-cylinder with EQ Boost ... and a 48 volt onboard electrical system powers." That serves up 362 horsepower with a bump of 21 ponies that can add some extra pop in the 0-60 mph dash. In other situations, the EQ Boost enables the gas engine to cruise more efficiently.

2018 Mercedes CLS

Inside, the new CLS is as lush as you`d expect from a vehicle that should start at over 70,000 (Mercedes didn`t announce pricing for the revamped car, but the current gen has a base sticker of about 72,000). Of particular appeal is an all-digital instrument-infotainment setup with screens that can be tweaked according to driver preferences. 

2018 Mercedes CLS

For the 2018 model year, the CLS will also come with a feature Mercedes is calling "Energizing Comfort" that was introduced in late 2017 — in a nutshell, it allows for six settings that focus on overall wellness and include aromatherapy, cabin lighting, and seat heating and massaging.

The range of driver assist features is consistent with what Mercedes now has on offer, and an available semi-self-driving system (which we recently tried on a E-Class vehicle) combines automatic steering, lane-keeping, adaptive cruise control, and lane-changing.

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NOW WATCH: After testing more than 70 cars, this Porsche is our 2017 car of the year

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Dozens of mortar bombs landed on the last major rebel stronghold near the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday, a war monitor and a witness said on Wednesday, despite a 48 hour truce proposed by Russia to coincide with the start of peace talks in Geneva.
SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea said it successfully tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile yet on Wednesday, putting the U.S. mainland within range and increasing pressure on U.S. President Donald Trump to deal with the nuclear-armed nation.

Bill Gates TED Photo_RyanLashTED

Big ideas can come in small packages.

Take TED talks, the beloved lectures on technology, entertainment, and design. Some of the most insightful talks take up less than 10 minutes of the viewer`s time.

They`re perfect for when you want to expand your horizons and still get to that thing you`ve been meaning to do.

Here are some talks to turn to if you want to get smarter in a hurry.

SEE ALSO: These 6 TED Talks have completely changed how I make decisions

"How to speak so that people want to listen" by Julian Treasure

Business consultant Julian Treasure remarks on the downsides of gossip, negativity, and excuses, and highlights the values of speaking honestly and nonjudgmentally.

Treasure also outlines six tools to consider when speaking, including pitch, volume, and timbre. The talk reminds people that anyone can marshal the power of words, so long as they do it intentionally.

Duration: 9:58

"Get ready for hybrid thinking" by Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil, a futurist and inventor, argues that in two decades, human thought will be a mixture of biological and nonbiological processes.

According to Kurzweil, the brain would operate the same as it does today, but if you needed some extra juice you`d be able to connect to the cloud for external neural connections — all thanks to nanobots that would live in your brain and connect to that cloud.

Duration: 9:52

"I listen to color" by Neil Harbisson

In 2003, Neil Harbisson, an artist who was born colorblind, had an antenna implanted in the base of his skull. A sensor on the end of the antenna picks up incoming light and translates it into sound waves.

This puts Harbisson in the unique category of people known as cyborgs — part human, part technology. His talk offers a strange glimpse into his futuristic life.

Duration: 9:35

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

presidio terrace street san francisco 6912

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng said all they wanted was their "American dream."

In 2015, the couple dropped nearly 100,000 on the purchase of Presidio Terrace — a private cul-de-sac in San Francisco lined by 35 mega-mansions. The city put the parcel up for sale in an online auction after residents failed to pay taxes on the street for more than a decade.

On November 28, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors heard from residents and voted to reverse the sale. Lam and Cheng will be reimbursed for their speculative investment.

For at least 17 years, the city`s Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector mailed tax forms to the address of a now deceased bookkeeper, who once worked for the homeowners` association. The 14 annual property tax went unpaid by the people who live on Presidio Terrace. Lam and Cheng paid just above 90,000 for the street, the sidewalks, and well-manicured shrubbery. 

In August, we visited the ultraexclusive Presidio Terrace to see the street for ourselves.

SEE ALSO: Go inside the hottest neighborhood in San Francisco, where home prices have risen 75% in the last 5 years

Welcome to one the most exclusive streets in San Francisco.

Presidio Terrace is a block-long, oval street (and private development) that has been run by homeowners who live there since at least 1905, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

It has attracted some of the wealthiest and most powerful politicians in California over the years, thanks to enhanced security and its isolated location at the top of the peninsula.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
JUBA (Reuters) - A tribal militia killed at least 43 people in South Sudan`s Jonglei state, local officials said on Wednesday, extending a spate of tit-for-tat revenge killings.
THE HAGUE (Reuters) - A Bosnian Croat wartime commander died after swallowing what he said was poison in a U.N. war crimes courtroom on Wednesday after losing an appeal against a 20-year prison sentence, Croatian state TV said.

Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak during his 30-year rule.

According to reports obtained by the BBC, citing the newly-revealed British documents, former president Hosni Mubarak allowed the resettlement of Palestinians in the 1980s in Egypt in response to requests from the United States (US); Mubarak denied these claims in a statement.

Mubarak said in his statement, issued on Wednesday, that he rejected the resettlement of Palestinians, particularly those coming from Lebanon to Egypt. The statement adds that he refused all the initiatives and proposals that pertain to this suggestion.

According to the British documents as reported by the BBC, Mubarak stated that he would agree to a demand by the United States (US) to resettle the Palestinians in Egypt, in return for, and as a part of, a “framework to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict”.

The British documents further revealed that this information was disclosed during a meeting between Mubarak and the then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, where he discussed the suggestion following a previous meeting with the then-U.S president Ronald Reagan in February 1983.

Mubarak’s two visits to the U.S and the UK came a few months after the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon, according to the BBC.

In his statement, Mubarak said, “During the Israeli aggression against Beirut, the events were headed to inflame in the Middle East, and that was months following Egypt’s regaining of Sinai on April 1982.”

“In light of the events and Israeli forces success to reach Beirut, then-Egyptian ambassador to Israel was recalled and [Mubarak] worked to save the besieged Palestinians in Lebanon,” adds the statement.

One of the significant besieged Palestinians was Palestine’s former president Yasser Arafat. Mubarak met with Arafat after the latter had been saved and while headed to Yemen. Mubarak assured him that Egypt is standing side by side with Palestine to acquire its legit rights.

Mubarak stressed that the information mentioned in the British documents are not true, and the Palestinians in Lebanon at the time were not resettled in Egypt. He further emphasized that he rejected a suggestion from Israel in 2010 to resettle Palestinians in Sinai.

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Joining NATO would improve Finland`s security but is unlikely to happen any time soon because of a lack of wider support, Finance Minister Petteri Orpo said on Wednesday.
GENEVA (Reuters) - Syria`s opposition wants Russia and other states to put real pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to engage in peace talks in Geneva to produce a political solution within six months, the the opposition delegation chief said on Wednesday.

Tim Cook Mac

  • Apple released a fix for an embarrassing Mac bug on Wednesday.
  • The bug would let anyone log into an up-to-date Mac with the username "root" and a blank password.
  • The patch is available to download now and Apple said that the fix will be automatically installed on up-to-date Mac computers starting on Wednesday. 
  • Apple said in a statement: "We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused."

Apple released a software update on Wednesday fixing a nasty bug in up-to-date versions of MacOS which could give an attacker complete access to an entire system`s settings and data. 

The bug was blindingly simple: All someone had to do was put their username as "root" and leave the password blank on the right login screen on a Mac laptop or desktop running High Sierra, the most recent version of MacOS. 

Apple apologized in a statement and said that the update will be "automatically installed" on all systems running the latest version of High Sierra starting on Wednesday, and is currently available for download from the Mac App Store. 

"We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better," the Apple representative said in a statement. 

People with Macs can update their operating system to fix the bug through the Mac App Store. 

Security Update 2017-001 is now available for High Sierra, addressing the root login problem. https://t.co/I6B6V3waBX

— Ivan Krstić (@radian) November 29, 2017

"An attacker may be able to bypass administrator authentication without supplying the administrator’s password," the Apple security page reads. 

"A logic error existed in the validation of credentials. This was addressed with improved credential validation," it continued, confirming that only computers with MacOS High Sierra, the most recent software, was affected. 

Here`s the full statement from Apple, provided to Business Insider by a representative: 

"Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS.

When our security engineers became aware of the issue Tuesday afternoon, we immediately began working on an update that closes the security hole. This morning, as of 8 a.m., the update is available for download, and starting later today it will be automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra.

We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again."

A very bad bug 

Apple WWDC 2017 MacOS High SierraOne reason why Apple scrambled to fix the issue in about 24 hours is because the bug really does expose users to basically anything. 

In Unix-based systems, like MacOS, "root" is the most privileged user, who has the power to change anything on the operating system. 

"Once someone is logged into your Mac as root, they can do whatever they want, including accessing your files, installing spyware, you name it. So, in other words, if you were to leave your Mac unattended for 30 seconds, someone could backdoor it and have a very powerful way in later," Mac security expert Thomas Reed wrote at Malware Bytes

The ultimate cause of the bug became clearer on Wednesday as Patrick Wardle, Synack`s director of research, published a long, technical look at the vulnerability

Essentially, Wardle found, is that the bug was a password setting issue for any disabled user, not just "root." 

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NOW WATCH: 15 things you didn`t know your iPhone headphones could do

Sad Apple CEO TIm Cook

Tech is not having a good day. Shares of many of the major tech companies were trading down more than 2% ahead of noon ET on Wednesday. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 was down 1.52% at 6,326.95, off the all-time high set on Tuesday.

It appears money is rotating out of the names that have seen sizable moves as of late. Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Nvidia are all down more than 2%. 

A notable outperformer is Snap, which released its biggest redesign ever for its Snapchat app on Wednesday morning. 

Here`s a roundup of some of the biggest names in tech and how they are moving on Wednesday.

nasdaq 100

SEE ALSO: Snap sees an early boost after unveiling its biggest redesign ever — but quickly turns red

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NOW WATCH: Billionaire Alibaba CEO Jack Ma is the star of an ultra-popular kung fu film

Following is a transcript of the video.

Android phones often have similar or better cameras than iPhonesBut on Snapchat, it’s not even close. 

Snapchats from Androids are much worse than from iPhones. That’s because it’s way easier to develop an app for iPhone. Developers only have to consider a few Apple devices. But for Android, there are hundreds of different phones — all with different screen sizes, running different versions of Android software.

Snapchat found a way around developing too many different versions of their Android app.

Instead of taking an actual photo with your actual camera, the app just takes a screengrab of your camera view. This way, one image capture method works on most Android phones, even if the picture is worse for it.

There are a few Android devices, like the Google Pixel 2, that actually use the camera on Snapchat. But next time you see a bad photo from your friend on Android, you know why...it`s probably just a screengrab.

On a Q3 earnings call, Snapchat suggested they would be making some improvements to their Android app. CEO Evan Spiegel said, "Given the sheer volume of different Android handsets used to access Snapchat, we have had to establish new processes to ensure that our quality efforts can be maintained. This will be an ongoing investment."

Join the conversation about this story »

Evan Spiegel

  • Snap CEO Evan Spiegel put out a 60-second video explaining Snapchat`s new redesign.
  • This redesign is the biggest in Snapchat`s history.
  • "One of the complaints we`ve heard about social media is that photos and videos from your friends are mixed in with content from publishers and creators and influencers," Spiegel said. "But your friends aren`t content — they`re relationships."
  • Watch the video below.


SEE ALSO: This is the biggest redesign in Snapchat`s history

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A running coach explains the 2 most important activities runners should do to avoid knee pain

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey`s military said on Wednesday that more than 80 militants were killed in an air strike on Monday in northern Iraq, where Turkish jets have frequently targeted PKK fighters.
UMM AL HAWAYA, Qatar (Reuters) - Deep in the Qatari desert, a herd of cows stands in a vast shed, cooled by fans and jets of mist - each animal a key player in a plan to defy a trade boycott and make the kingdom self-sufficient in milk by next year.

adena friedman

  • Nasdaq, the exchange operator based in New York, is preparing to launch a bitcoin futures contracts. 
  • Bitcoin, the red-hot cryptocurrency, soared over 11,000 on Wednesday. 
  • Bitcoin futures would allow investors to bet on the future price of bitcoin.


Nasdaq is hopping on the bitcoin bandwagon. 

The exchange operator is set to launch a bitcoin futures product next year, a person familiar with the matter told Business Insider. 

Two Chicago-based exchanges, CME and Cboe, have announced their own bitcoin futures products. Such products would likely dampen bitcoin`s spine-tingling volatility and help the coin further push into the mainstream. 

Bitcoin has been on a tear since the US Thanksgiving holiday, blowing past 10,000 on Monday and then 11,000 on Tuesday. 

It is up more than 900% year-to-date. 

The story is breaking. Check back for updates.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The CIO of a crypto hedge fund explains the value in cryptocurrency — and why the market will explode over the next 2 years

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