Ayman's blog

Residents of an Ebola hotspot in eastern Congo staged a mock presidential election on Sunday to show the authorities a decision to postpone the vote there due to health fears was unfounded.
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said President Donald Trump reassured him about his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and his commitment to defeating Islamic State during a White House meeting on Sunday.
CAIRO – 30 December 2018: Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi issued a decree on Sunday to establish a Supreme committee to counter sectarian strife.

The committee will be chaired by the presidential advisor for security affairs and will include representatives of the armed forces` operations authority, the military and general intelligence departments, the Administrative Control Authority and the national security agency.

The Coptic Orthodox Church spokesperson, Fr Boulos Halim, said that the Presidential decree is a significant step on the right track to withstand sectarianism and extremism in Egypt.

“The decree will encourage all the State’s institutions to fight terrorism and will create a positive reaction within the Egyptian street,” said Halim in a press statement.

Halim added that the committee would contribute in building the Egyptian awareness, regaining the Egyptian image that was acknowledged as an example of tolerance and peaceful coexistence since the dawn of history.

The committee will set a strategy to counter sectarian incidents when taking place, it will as well periodically report to the president its latest calls to tackle such incidents countrywide. The committee is allowed to summon whomever of the cabinet’s officials to its meetings.
Thousands of people demanded the resignation of Bosnian Serb Interior Minister Dragan Lukac on Sunday, accusing him and police officials of covering up the murder of a 21-year-old student.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Brazil`s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro told him that it was a matter of "when, not if" he moves his country`s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s ruling party was on course for a landslide victory on Monday after an election tainted by violence and widespread allegations of rigging, with the opposition demanding a fresh vote.
An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday imposed a two-year prison sentence against an activist who accused authorities in a video of not protecting women from sexual harassment, her husband said, days after she was freed over a separate case.
Citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo headed to the polls Sunday for a long-delayed presidential election originally scheduled to be held in 2016.
At least 15 people were killed in election-related clashes in Bangladesh on Sunday, local police officials told CNN.
CAIRO - 30 December 2018: Pope Tawadros II on Sunday held a mass to mark the inauguration of St. Anthony Cathedral at St. Boktor ben Romanos Coptic Orthodox Monastery in Khatatba, Menufiya governorate.

During the mass prayers, Pope Tawadros extended his greetings to the monastery members, wishing them all love and prosperity.

He also thanked Bishop Angelius Anthony, head of the monastery, for his great efforts in the reconstruction of the holy site and greeted him on his 68th anniversary of becoming monk.

The mass was attended by a galaxy of church bishops, priests, monks and worshippers.
CAIRO - 30 December 2018: A delegation of families of the Vietnamese victims of the bus explosion in Mariotia district in Giza on Friday arrived here Sunday morning.

The five-member delegation, who arrived at Cairo International Airport on board a Turkish Airlines flight no. 690 coming from Istanbul, were welcomed by the Vietnamese deputy ambassador.

They were received by representatives from the Foreign Ministry to handle their airport procedures and from the ministries of tourism and health.
Iraq`s prime minister said on Sunday that top security officials from Baghdad had met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, and hinted at a bigger Iraqi role fighting Islamic State militants as U.S. troops withdraw from Syria.

Susan Wojcicki

  • In 1998, Susan Wojcicki rented her Menlo Park, California, garage to Sergey Brin and Larry Page for 1,700 per month. 
  • The next year, she would join Google as its 16th employee.
  • Below is a glimpse at the life of Susan Wojcicki and her rise at Google, from an early employee to YouTube`s chief exec. 

Most landlords only hope their renters pay on time, keep a tidy space, and don`t disturb the neighbors. 

But for Susan Wojcicki, her renters ended up offering up a bit more: the chance to become employee No. 16 at a young search engine startup called Google. 

Of course, it`s taken more than this incredible circumstance for Wojcicki to rise the ranks at Google. From expanding the company`s ad business to convincing founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to purchase an up-and-coming video sharing service called YouTube, Wojcicki has played a vital role in Google becoming one of the world`s most valuable companies. 

Here`s a glimpse at the life of Susan Wojcicki and her rise at Google, from employee No. 16 to YouTube`s chief exec: 

SEE ALSO: From Elon Musk to Satya Nadella: Here are the 29 top tech CEOs of 2018, according to employees

Susan Wojcicki (pronounced whoa-jit-ski) is 50 years old and a Silicon Valley native.

Source: Forbes

Wojcicki grew up on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, where her father, Stanley Wojcicki, was chair of the physics department.

Source: USA Today

Wojcicki`s mother, Esther Wojcicki, has taught journalism at Palo Alto High School for more than two decades, where she`s mentored notable students like Steve Jobs` daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and actor James Franco.

Source: Business Insider, SF Gate

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A police officer and civilian were killed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a dispute over alleged voting fraud in Sunday`s presidential and legislative elections, a witness and a politician from the area said.
A senior Republican senator said he would try to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump at a White House lunch on Sunday to reconsider his order for a total U.S. military pullout from Syria and leave some U.S. troops there.
Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani - the chief of Iran`s hardline judiciary who has been blacklisted by Washington - was named on Sunday as the new head of the powerful Expediency Council, state television reported.

aquaman 2 warner bros

  • "Aquaman" won the domestic box office for a second-straight weekend with 51.5 million.
  • The movie`s worldwide total of 748.8 million has surpassed the lifetime gross of "Justice League" and "Suicide Squad."
  • "Mary Poppins Returns" stays in second place with 28 million, and now has a domestic total of 98.9 million, which will best the domestic take of Disney`s "Christopher Robin" by New Year`s Day.

"Aquaman" continues to dominate the box office in its second week in US theaters. 

Warner Bros.`s latest release from its DC Comics Extended Universe is number one for a second-straight weekend with an estimated 51.5 million, which is a stronger week-two figure than some of the big comic book movie releases of the past. 

Its 51.5 million bests "Doctor Strange" (42.9 million), "Guardians of the Galaxy" (42.1 million), and "Justice League" (41 million).

Read more: 5 trends that could shake up the movie business in 2019

In fact, the worldwide total of 748.8 million for "Aquaman" as of this weekend is more than the lifetime gross of "Justice League" (657.9 million) and "Suicide Squad" (746.8 million). The success of "Aquaman" for Warner Bros. stands in stark contrast with "Justice League`s" deflating release for the DCEU last year. 

Now, the watch begins to see if James Wan`s underwater thrill ride can break the 1 billion worldwide box office milestone. With the movie going into January, which is always a soft time of year when it comes to new releases, Warner Bros. won`t have to worry about much competition. But having already opened in China (and dominating there) in early December, the movie can`t expect a boost from a late international release.

mary poppins returnsMeanwhile, Disney is in the unfamiliar position of being in the silver position during the holiday season. "Mary Poppins Returns" has been doing well, but has been stuck behind "Aquaman" since it opened before Christmas. 

This weekend it took in another second place finish with 28 million, its domestic total is now at 98.9 million. By New Year`s Day it will top the domestic total of the studio`s "Christopher Robin" release earlier this year of 99.2 million.

But don`t feel sorry for Disney. A big reason for the record-breaking box office business in 2018 is because of the 26% market share of Disney at the domestic ticket counter.

SEE ALSO: Director Jason Reitman made 2 of the year`s best movies. But you probably didn`t see them.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 6 airline industry secrets that will help you fly like a pro this holiday season

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Brazil`s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro told him that it was a matter of "when, not if" he moves his country`s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Israel protested to Jordan on Sunday after the spokeswoman for the government in Amman was photographed stepping on the Israeli flag during a meeting with trade unionists.


Just off the coast of Japan there is an island called Aoshima, which is also known as "Cat Island." The tiny fishing village is home to more than 140 cats, which roam around napping, playing, and snagging snacks from residents and tourists. They outnumber humans 8 to 1.

The cats were originally brought to the island to kill mice that hung around fishing boats. But as the human population dwindled from over 1,000 to 16, the cats stayed on and multiplied, as they continued to be fed by the remaining locals. 

The island has become a bit of a tourist destination, though the residents don`t seem to mind, as long as it remains peaceful. And people donate cat food from all over Japan.

"If people coming to the island find the cats healing, then I think it`s a good thing," 65-year-old fisherman Hidenori Kamimoto told Reuters in 2015"I just hope that it`s done in a way that doesn`t become a burden on the people who live here."

This is what life on Cat Island is like: 

SEE ALSO: The 45 original shows and movies Netflix will release by the end of 2016

Aoshima is a 30-minute ferry ride from the coast, and only has a handful of residents now.

There are, however, over 140 cats, which outnumber humans by more than 8 to 1, according to AFP.

Tourists have also begun to come to the island to gawk at the cats.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Brazil`s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro told him that it was a matter of "when, not if" he moves his country`s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Venezuela`s government is willing to help investigate a plot to assassinate Colombian President Ivan Duque, in which three Venezuelan nationals arrested in Colombia may be suspects, foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said.

Mark Zuckerberg

  • Data breaches in 2018 compromised the personal information of millions of people around the world.
  • Some of the biggest victims in 2018 include T-Mobile, Quora, Google, and Orbitz. Facebook dealt with a slew of major breaches and incidents that affected more than 100 million users of the popular social network.
  • Here are 21 of the biggest data breaches that companies faced this year.

It seems like every week, a new company has to notify its customers that their data may have been compromised, and personal information may have been affected.

Data breaches can happen for a variety of reasons. Some companies are hacked. Data can be mishandled or sold to third parties. Holes in a website`s security system can leave information unprotected.

One of the latest victims was Marriott hotels, which recently revealed that hackers had accessed the information of an estimated 500 million customers.

Some of the biggest victims in 2018 include T-Mobile, Quora, Google, and Orbitz. Facebook dealt with a slew of major breaches and incidents that affected more than 100 million users of the popular social network.

Here are the biggest data breaches that were revealed this year, ranked by the number of users affected:

SEE ALSO: The 18 biggest tech scandals of 2018

21. British Airways — 380,000

What was affected: Card payments

When it happened: August 21, 2018 — September 5, 2018

How it happened: A "criminal" hack affecting bookings made on the airline`s website and app.

Source: Business Insider


20. Orbitz — 880,000

What was affected: Payment card information and personal data such as billing addresses, phone numbers, and emails.

When it happened: January 1, 2016 — December 22, 2017

How it happened: Hackers accessed travel bookings in the website`s system.

Source: Reuters

19. SingHealth — 1.5 million

What was affected: Names and addresses in the Singapore government`s health database, and some patients` history of dispensed medicines. Information on the prime minister of Singapore was specifically targeted.

When it happened: May 1, 2015 — July 4, 2018

How it happened: Hackers orchestrated a "deliberate, targeted, and well-planned" attack, according to a statement.

Source: BBC

See the rest of the story at Business Insider


  • Comparably, a website that rates companies across a number of different areas, released its 2018 Best Company Culture list.
  • Of the 50 businesses on that list, 29 were tech companies.
  • Below, we`ve compiled the list of 29 companies in tech with the best company culture below. 

Good company culture is one of the most important aspects of any job. 

Sure, beer in the fridge and holiday parties are nice. But having company culture runs deeper than the perks — no matter how over-the-top that holiday party may have been. 

On Monday, Comparably — a website that rates companies across a number of different areas — released its 2018 Best Company Culture list. Of the 50 businesses on that list, 29 were tech companies. 

Here are the 29 big companies in tech with the best company culture: 

SEE ALSO: The 18 biggest tech scandals of 2018

29. Akvelon

Headquarters: Bellevue, Washington

What it does: Business and technology consulting firm

What employees say: "Akvelon is one of the best companies that I have worked for. The overall approach and the focus on having a good work-life balance and proactive engagement with their employees make them an extremely good and efficient organization to work with." 

28. Indeed.com

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

What it does: Job search platform 

What employees say: "The office encourages collaboration and teamwork, to ensure everyone is sharing ideas and working together towards the same mission. I`ve always felt like I can speak up and my thoughts/ideas are heard and addressed."

27. Adobe

Headquarters: San Jose, California

What it does: Software development company best known for its design and photo-editing solutions

What employees say: "Everybody generally works together and is united." 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Belgium will appeal against a judge`s order forcing it to repatriate two Belgian women convicted of being Islamic State militants and their six children from Syria, the migration minister said on Sunday.
The United Nations welcomed on Sunday any redeployment of Yemen`s Houthi forces away from the port city of Hodeidah, but said this should be independently verified to ensure it is in line with the Stockholm ceasefire agreement.
Long queues, broken-down machines and torrential rain in the capital disrupted voting in Democratic Republic of Congo`s long-anticipated presidential poll on Sunday, as the opposition alleged widespread irregularities.

Satya Nadella

  • Under new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has tried to reform its corporate culture as it tries to get the whole company rowing in the same direction. 
  • To that end, Microsoft in 2016 started working on the "Alternative Interview Framework," a new way of conducting developer interviews to reduce bias and do a better job of testing candidates for the skills they`d actually need on the job.
  • The team tested the interview process on themselves first, and improved it as they went along.
  • After rolling out the process to actual candidates, the team received positive feedback — we spoke to one Microsoft employee who says she chose to work there because the new process made her feel so good about the job.

Under the five-year reign of CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has made major strides in reforming its once-cutthroat corporate culture — an effort that`s even seeped into how it interviews software developers.

John Montgomery, partner director of program management at Microsoft, tells Business Insider that the core of cultural change is about making sure that teams are working with each other, all over the company, solving real problems for real customers. And so, Microsoft began rethinking its interview process to match that goal. 

Traditionally, interviews at Microsoft and elsewhere can be highly technical — like, "reverse a linked list" — and include math games, like asking candidates to figure out how many ping pong balls would fill a 747. Both these types of questions really have little to do with what employees would actually do day-to-day at work — but even Google decided to discontinue its infamous brainteasers, because they didn`t actually test for anything worthwhile

To that end, starting in early 2016, Microsoft`s developer division began rolling out the "Alternative Interview Framework," which Montgomery detailed in a Medium blog post. It`s designed to better match an applicant`s skills to what the job really requires, says Montgomery, who spearheaded the effort as it spread through Microsoft`s developer division.

"We wanted it to be more like what people are expected to do at work," Montgomery told Business Insider.  "People are expected to collaborate. You can ask questions. We wanted it to be more like what you`re expected to do at work."

The `Alternative Interview Framework`

Under the new process, Microsoft shares the interview questions in advance so that candidates can prepare. During the interview itself, a candidate might run through a real scenario or problem the team is trying to solve.

"When you walk a candidate through that process, every candidate brings something to each of those phases and each of those interviews," Montgomery said. "Some candidates are great at a particular phase but not so great at others. It still makes them great hires. From that perspective of inclusion, it enables us to ask a broader array of questions."

What`s more, rather than doing things one-on-one, a candidate talks to two interviewers at once usually a senior employee and a junior employee. This gives the team two opinions on the candidate to consider, and it can actually make the candidate feel more comfortable as they get double the perspective on the team they`re trying to join.

Furthermore, the team uses blind feedback, meaning that all interviewers withhold their opinions on the candidate until the process is complete, at which time they all pool their opinions and come to a final decision. This can help reduce bias: It means that a second- or third-round interviewer won`t come into a meeting with the candidate with any preconceived notions from the first or second. 

Redesigning the interview process

The team first tested the process on its own members over the summer of 2016, says Montgomery, interviewing each other to see if worked in practice as well as it does on paper. 

"We haven`t had that much fun in a long time," Montgomery said. "We also tested interview processes on people who are more senior. It`s a lot of fun when you`re effectively interviewing someone from your own team. We kept on learning and iterating to make it better."

In so doing, says Montgomery, the team tried to apply the principles of product development to refining the new interview process. As they went, the team constantly reassess what was working and what wasn`t, iterating on the process on the fly. 

In the last half of 2016, the team finally started running its first candidates through this brand new interview process, which has gradually expanded to more of the company since. 

There`s still more Montgomery would like to improve on. Right now, the interview process is long, requiring candidates to take out an entire day. He thinks it would be useful to figure out if there ways to either shorten the process entirely, or at least spread it out over multiple days and gives candidates more time to reflect and think.

Also, he`d like to improve on making the scenarios more realistic and approachable for people who don`t have a background in professional software development, but may still be qualified candidates.

"We want to design an interview process centered around the interviewee," Montgomery said. "It`s a manifestation of Microsoft culture and being more inclusive in identifying talent that a normal interview process might not identify."

More empathy

Montgomery believes this new framework is more inclusive: By relying more on finding solutions to real problems, and less on esoteric or in-depth technical knowledge, it`s easier for people who didn`t come from traditional tech industry backgrounds to shine. Microsoft also works to make sure the interviewers reflect the company`s diverse workforce.

Montgomery points out that he himself took an unusual path to Microsoft. He majored in Russian literature, and then worked at trade press magazines and startups before joining Microsoft in 1998.

"I am introverted and I like to have time to reflect," Montgomery said. "It turns out that that`s true for a lot of people. Everyone needs time to think. It has helped hugely for us to find people who are a little more thoughtful but good at what they do."

Carol Smith, a senior program manager at Microsoft for the Open Source Programs Office, was one of the first candidates hired through the Alternative Interview Framework, and she says that interview process was the reason why she chose to work at Microsoft.

"The scenario-based interviewing process gave me an excellent sense of what my job at Microsoft and working with my coworkers would be like, much more so than any other interview process I’ve ever gone through," Smith said. "It was the most difficult interview process I’ve ever gone through, and it was also the best."

You can read Montgomery`s full blog post here.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why Harvard scientists think this interstellar object might be an alien spacecraft


  • Amazon had a killer 2018 in nearly all respects, but its retail performance defied expectations.
  • The company is projected to close the year netting half of all online shopping done in the US with staggering sales growth online.
  • No other retailer came close, which is why we`re naming it the most impressive retailer of 2018.

For retail in 2018, there was really only one word that was on everybody`s lips: Amazon.

Just a mere mention of the online shopping giant sends other companies into a flurry of speculation — whether Amazon competes directly or not.

It`s easy to see why: Amazon is seeing incredible growth for a company of its size, making it one of the biggest retailers in the US and the world both online and off.

In the US, Amazon will close out the year nabbing nearly half of all online sales, according to analysis by Emarketer, up from a 43.5% in 2017. Amazon will generate 258.22 billion in online retail sales in the US by the end of the year, a staggering increase of almost 30% from the year prior.

Read more: Amazon reveals the top-selling items of the season as it announces record-breaking holiday sales

But impressive sales aren`t the only thing that Amazon got right in 2018.

Amazon Web Services and Amazon Advertising are both also experiencing phenomenal growth, and its Alexa-enabled products remain the most popular smart devices. It`s moving increasingly offline with Amazon Go stores, and its new 4-Star concept.

As a company, it was able to perform to this impressive standard despite a growing set of detractors, both from elected representatives and the public. Despite a glitchy Prime Day that made customers upset. Despite HQ2 backlash. Despite competitors like Walmart nipping at its heels. Despite a trade war waged between China and President Trump and shipping costs becoming incrementally more expensive.

Despite it all, Amazon will head into 2019 more confident than ever that nothing will hold it back. Now that is impressive.

SEE ALSO: Making returns on Amazon isn`t usually free, but it can be if you follow a simple rule

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn`t buy on Black Friday

Afghanistan`s presidential election will be postponed by three months to July 20 to give authorities more time to organize the ballot, election authorities announced on Sunday, following mounting speculation of a delay.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s ruling party took a big lead over the opposition in a national election on Sunday, early results and trends showed, in a poll that was marred by allegations of vote rigging and violence that killed 17 people.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the new leader of Germany`s Christian Democrats, heads into 2019 more popular than Chancellor Angela Merkel, who supported her rise to the top of their party, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.

elon musk

  • Tesla had a tumultuous 2018, full of both major accomplishments and challenges that threatened the automaker`s existence.
  • Elon Musk, Tesla`s mercurial CEO, attracted attention for his erratic behavior, which led to lawsuits from investors and investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
  • Tesla heads into 2019 with cause for optimism and concern as it seeks to maintain stability in its finances and vehicle production, while preparing to build a new factory and expand its product lineup. 


Tesla had a tumultuous 2018, full of both major accomplishments and challenges that threatened the automaker`s existence. A grueling production ramp for the Model 3 sedan led to production records during the second and third quarters, debt and cash flow concerns preceded a surprise profit, and a glowing safety rating for the Model 3 was tempered by quality and delivery issues.

Read more: I tried Tesla`s Navigate on Autopilot feature to see if it lives up to the hype — here`s the verdict

Elon Musk, Tesla`s mercurial CEO, attracted attention for his erratic behavior, which led to lawsuits from investors and investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). While Musk`s ambition and candor on social media have endeared him to his fans, seemingly impulsive decisions this year showed the downside of his unconventional approach to being a CEO.

Tesla heads into 2019 with cause for optimism and concern as it seeks to maintain stability in its finances and vehicle production, while also preparing to build a new factory and expand its product lineup. 

These are the highlights of Tesla`s eventful year.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

SEE ALSO: These were the 13 biggest car stories of 2018

Elon Musk sends a Tesla Roadster to Mars

SpaceX, Musk`s rocket company, launched in February its largest rocket, Falcon Heavy, into space with a 2008 Tesla Roadster as its payload.

The launch was designed to show that the company could transport cargo for future clients and eventually carry people and supplies to colonize Mars.

"Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring," Musk wrote in an Instagram post in December 2017. "Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel."

Amazon account hacked to mine cryptocurrency

In February, Tesla`s Amazon Web Services account was hacked to mine cryptocurrency. The hack, which was brought to Tesla`s attention by the cybersecurity startup RedLock, also reportedly exposed some of Tesla`s proprietary data related to mapping, telemetry, and vehicle servicing.

According to Fortune, Tesla paid RedLock over 3,000 as part of its bug bounty program, which rewards people who find vulnerabilities in the company`s products or services that could be exploited by hackers.

"The impact seems to be limited to internally-used engineering test cars only, and our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way," a Tesla representative told Business Insider.

A Model S recall

In March, Tesla issued the largest recall in its history. The recall involved power-steering systems in 123,000 Model S sedans. Tesla said five bolts responsible for holding the power-steering motor in place could corrode, break, or come loose, which could result in the loss of power steering.

But the company also said the problem was rare and most likely to happen in colder areas that use a specific kind of salt to lessen the amount of ice and snow on the road. According to Tesla, the problem was only relevant to Model S vehicles built before April 2016 and had affected just 0.02% of Model S vehicles at the time the recall was announced.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Dara Khosrowshahi

  • Uber is prepping for a 2019 IPO — at a rumored 120 billion valuation.
  • Its last funding round valued the company at 68 billion. But in 2010, 32 different investors bought a chunk of the company for much less.
  • Uber`s seed round valued that company at just 3.86 million.
  • These are seven of Uber`s most surprising seed investors.

If Uber goes public as planned in 2019, nine years and billions of dollars worth of investments will be returned to investors smart enough — or lucky enough — to have made a bet on the company`s success.

But some of those investors are luckier than others.

Investors in its most recent round, a 1.25 billion Series G1 led by SoftBank, bought their shares at a 68.33 billion valuation. But it was just nine years ago that Uber raised a 1.57 million seed funding round, which valued the company at 3.86 million. 

That means investors who bought a chunk of Uber in 2010 will see much larger returns now that the company is valued by bankers at a rumored 120 billion. 

There were 32 investors in Uber`s seed funding round, which was led by First Round Capital, with participation from venture capital firms Founder Collective, Lowercase Capital, and Kapor Capital.

But that total also included dozens of individuals who made the history-altering decision to participate in Uber`s earliest raise, according to data compiled from PitchBook.

These are seven people you never knew had a stake in Uber`s planned 2019 IPO:

SEE ALSO: Uber, Lyft, China, and more — top tech investment bankers share their biggest hopes and fears for IPOs in 2019

DON`T MISS: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi insists that leaders say they have `the D` in meetings — and bewildered employees aren`t sure if he gets the other meaning

1. Lady Gaga`s former manager

Troy Carter had a busy career managing A-list musical talent like Lady Gaga and John Legend before joining Spotify as its global head of creator services.

He left Spotify in September to focus on his talent management and production company, Atom Factory.

But if all goes as planned, he may never have to work another day of his life.


2. The CEO of Amazon

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, is already a multi-billionaire who invested early in startups like Google, Domo, Airbnb, and (yours truly) Business Insider.

A big exit on his early Uber investment will make him that much richer.

3. The CEO of Airbnb

Airbnb cofounder and CEO — and early Uber investor — Brian Chesky is prepping for his own IPO in 2019. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Old catapult in Les Baux-de-Provence, France

Archaeologists in Scotland have made the rare discovery of a stone ball that was used like a cannonball during a medieval siege. The find is helping experts to better understand Scotland’s Wars of Independence (1296-1316).

Emmanuel Macron`s former security aide, who was sacked this summer after his violent conduct fueled a political scandal, acknowledged on Sunday he was still traveling on a diplomatic passport, in an affair that has rattled the French presidency.
The city of Manbij has switched control more than most places in Syria`s civil war.
Last year Ifeanyi Ugokwe was arrested and locked up for weeks. His crime: he tried to take his own life.

Amazon Echo family dot plus show

  • Smart home devices saw record sales during the 2018 holiday season, with Amazon`s Alexa-enabled devices leading the charge.
  • Alexa is Amazon`s virtual assistant, capable of controlling an array of smart devices and executing unique tasks called "skills." 
  • Since Alexa launched in November 2014, developers have created more than 70,000 skills for Alexa. Skills can range from games and trivia to meditation routines.

It`s been a big year for smart home technology, as more people adopt smart speakers, appliances, and other connected devices for everyday use. Amazon said the 2018 holiday season delivered record sales for smart home devices, and their own Alexa-enabled Echo smart speakers were among the most popular items. 

Amazon`s Alexa is one of the few virtual assistants capable of managing a wide range of smart home devices, and after four years of development, users can now ask Alexa to perform more than 70,000 programmed tasks, which Amazon refers to as skills.

Alexa skills are basically apps you can control with your voice, and they help customers enhance and personalize their experience. Skills can help users learn something new, enjoying a new game, or be more productive at home.

As 2018 draws to a close, Amazon announced the top Alexa skills used in the U.S. during the last year. The list is comprised of the most popular, engaging, and innovative skills and spans across several categories, including games,  wellness, daily habits, family-oriented, and more.

You can check out the list of the top skills below and find them on Amazon`s Skills of the Year page. You can also ask Alexa, "What are the skills of the year?"

SEE ALSO: Amazon`s Alexa suffered outages on Christmas Day as people around the world started using their new Echos

SEE ALSO: Amazon won Christmas again this year

Beat the Intro (Musicplode Media Ltd.)

Beat the Intro is a straight-forward music game. The goal? Simply guess the song title and artist as fast as possible.

Heads Up! (The Ellen DeGeneres Show)

Pick a category and Alexa will provide up to three fun facts and clues to help you guess the word — you`ll have 90 seconds to see how many you can get right.

National Geographic Geo Quiz (National Geographic Society)

Inspired by the legendary magazine, the National Geographic Geo Quiz puts your geography knowledge to the test.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Long queues, broken-down machines and torrential rain in the capital disrupted voting in Democratic Republic of Congo`s long-anticipated presidential poll on Sunday, as election officials scrambled to deploy missing voters` rolls.
A top official at a Indian state-run university urged his students to "murder" fellow students if confronted instead of complaining to him, amid a wave of violence being reported from across the state where the school is based.
Lebanon`s finance minister has said the heavily indebted country is in a state of economic crisis and warned it faces becoming a financial crisis, as politicians struggle to form a new government, state media reported.
The United Arab Emirates` General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said it is evaluating the possibility of national carriers resuming flights to the Syrian capital of Damascus.
Voting in Democratic Republic of Congo`s long-anticipated presidential election got off to a rocky start on Sunday due to torrential rain in the capital, long delays at some polling stations and broken-down machines.
Bangladesh`s Election Commission is investigating allegations of vote rigging coming from across the country on Sunday, a spokesman told Reuters, as polling for a general election marred by violence drew to a close.
Bangladesh`s Election Commission is investigating allegations of vote rigging coming from across the country, a spokesman told Reuters minutes before polling for a general election was to close.
Russia will in 2019 deploy the S-350 Vityaz new generation short-to-mid range surface-to-air defence missile complex, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday, in a long-planned move to replace its ageing S-300 system.
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