Babbel is a fun and flexible platform offering 13 different language learning programs to English speakers. Right now get up to 50% off subscriptions for Fourth of July weekend.

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  • Babbel is a subscription-based app and website that offers affordable and flexible language learning classes in 13 different languages for native English speakers.
  • However, not all the language classes are designed the same, and some languages have better programs than others.
  • Today through July 6 you can save up to 50% on a subscription as part of Babbel's Fourth of July Sale.
  • Read more: The best cheap or free online resources to learn a new language

Many of us are spending more time at home right now due to the novel coronavirus and are looking for ways to stay entertained from baking bread and mixing up cocktails to taking up knitting and challenging puzzles. 

At the same time, the travel industry has been heavily impacted. While states and countries are slowly starting to reopen, many people are still wary when it comes to nonessential travel. If your overseas plans are on pause but you still want to prepare for post-pandemic travel, consider using this time to keep your mind sharp and learn a new skill, such as a new language. We recently wrote about the best cheap and free online resources to learn a new language, and Babbel was one of our top picks for its affordable language lessons and easy-to-use app. Courses are tailored to your native tongue and interests from food to travel, and Babbel builds on the grammar and vocabulary you already know, with programs created by experts and voiced by native speakers.

Even better, there's currently a Fourth of July sale available until July 6 and you can save up to 50% on a subscription. But before you dive into class and start saying "Hola" or "Bonjour," there are some key factors you'll want to know about and consider to decide if Babbel is the right language learning tool for your goals.

What is Babbel

Babbel is a language learning app that was developed in 2007 and among the first to pioneer online language learning. Babbel currently offers 13 languages English speakers can learn including:

  • Spanish 
  • French
  • German
  • Italian 
  • Portuguese (Brazilian) 
  • Polish 
  • Russian
  • Dutch
  • Turkish
  • Danish
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish
  • Indonesian

The app prides itself on turning to experts to create high-quality content and Babbel works with more than 150 linguists, language teachers, polyglots, editors, researchers, and instructional designers. It works on a subscription-based model and leads users through short daily lessons. You can customize your experience by choosing the level you're at, why you're interested in learning a new language, how many minutes you want to learn per day, and more factors.

However, it's extremely important to note that not every language course is the same, and some are far superior to others. Spanish, German, and French have the most robust and engaging programs, while other languages don't feel as comprehensive.

Where to access Babbel

While Babbel is primarily an app you can download and use on your Android and iPhone devices, you can also access lessons on your desktop computer. The app itself is free to download, though you will have to pay for the monthly subscription once you've created an account to access all the classes. You can also access all of Babbel's content offline through the app. 

To use Babbel on your computer, just visit and login or sign up in the top right corner. You don't have to download any additional software and all you need is a reliable internet connection. You can also switch between using the app and using a computer as long as you're logged into the same account.

How Babbel works

You can customize Babbel to fit your specific needs by choosing how many minutes per day you want to learn (ranging from five minutes to over an hour), as well as by the level you're at. However, the classes are really best for new learners or those who want to brush up on their skills. If you are already an intermediate or advanced speaker, this might not be the right app for you.

The classes use a mixture of techniques to teach vocabulary and sentence structure, including quizzes and matching games, repeating phrases, audio lessons, and review sessions. Babbel also smartly uses real native speakers for all recordings instead of awkward computer voices for more authentic pronunciations. Some lessons include speech recognition to test users' pronunciation, too.

Babbel helps jumpstart learning by diving into key phrases beginners would need right away. For example, in part one of the first lesson of the Spanish language class, you learn standard greetings, as well as phrases like "I'm learning Spanish," "I don't understand," and "can you repeat that?"

However, surprisingly, not all of 13 language classes follow the same format. Course one of lesson one in Spanish uses a great mix of games and audio conversations to teach the most necessary beginner phrases in an engaging way. But the exact same course and lesson in Portuguese, for example, focuses far more heavily on learning masculine over feminine use and relies more on fill in the blank learning that feels harder to grasp right off the bat.

Even stranger, the same lesson in Danish is extremely short and also asks odd questions that don't have much to do with learning actual phrases, like having users guess how many native Dutch speakers there are.

Many users have noted that they find Spanish, French, and German to be the best languages worth the money on Babbel. I suggest trying out the short first lesson of a language you're interested in learning (which you can do for free) before committing to purchasing a subscription.

How much does Babbel cost?

You can try Lesson One: Course One for any language for free. After that, it's a subscription model with pricing that varies based on how many months you sign up for at a time. The best deal is a one-year subscription that starts at $6.95 per month, while one month starts at $12.95. Babbel also offers a 20-day money-back guarantee, so if you aren't happy after trying it out for a couple of weeks, you can receive a full refund.

Each language requires its own subscription, so if you want to learn multiple languages you will have to pay for each one.

Does Babbel have any deals?

Yes! Babbel's Fourth of July sale is currently running until July 6, 2020. Here's what the current sale is offering:

  • Save up to 50% on a 12-month subscription
  • Save up to 30% on a 6-month subscription
  • Save up to 10% on a 3-month subscription

Sign up for up to 50% off a Babbel subscription here

The bottom line

For beginners and those looking to brush up on language skills, Babbel offers an affordable way to access engaging lessons in 13 different languages. The ability to choose how long daily sessions are and go at your own pace is ideal for flexibility. Additionally, the use of native speakers for all spoken content and the pronunciation checks for learners makes for a more authentic experience than some other online language learning programs.

However, not all the languages offered have the same thoughtful level of programming and instruction, despite all costing the same amount. This app is at its best for Spanish, German, and French learners. While the other languages offered still have decent instruction and learning opportunities, users may not find them as engaging or worth the price.

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Meet Mary Trump, the president's niece who is a life coach, apparent Hillary Clinton fan, and has written a scathing tell-all about her uncle

  • President Donald Trump's niece, Mary L. Trump, has written a tell-all book about her uncle. It's scheduled to publish on July 28.
  • Publisher Simon & Schuster said the book will be a "revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him." 
  • Mary Trump is known to have been on bad terms with her uncle Donald for at least 20 years, when they were involved in a public legal battle against each other. She has largely stayed out of the limelight since.
  • According to state records she is a registered Democrat, and an unverified Twitter account bearing her name includes tweets supportive of Hillary Clinton.
  • Members of the Trump family are trying to block the release of her book, but a New York judge recently granted Simon & Schuster permission to release it. However, there is still a temporary injunction on Mary Trump herself.
  • Here's everything we know about the president's niece, the latest updates about her book, and what she reportedly says in it.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Mary Trump has written a book titled: "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man." It is set to publish on July 28.

Source: Simon & Schuster

She is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., the president's older brother and once-heir apparent to the Trump family's real-estate business. Her mother is Linda Clapp, a flight attendant whom "Freddy" met while training to be a pilot.

Fred Trump Jr. and Clapp married in 1962, and had two children: Fred Trump III and Mary.

Both Mary and her brother were named after their paternal grandparents, Fred Trump Sr. and his Scottish immigrant wife, Mary Anne MacLeod Trump. 

The couple's marriage was short-lived. They divorced in 1970 after eight years of marriage, as Freddy's alcoholism got more and more out of control.

Source: The Washington Post

Freddy died at the age of 42 in 1981 due to complications from alcoholism. He was considered a black sheep of the family for not taking an interest in the family's real-estate business.

Source: The Washington Post

When Fred Trump Sr. died in 1999, Mary Trump and her brother contested his will, which left them a substantially smaller inheritance than the other Trump grandchildren.

The issue at stake was how Fred Sr.'s wealth was dispersed.

Most of his fortune was split between his four surviving children. But Mary and Fred III believed they deserved what would have been their father's share of the inheritance.

Source: New York Daily News

Donald Trump responded by cutting them off the family's medical insurance plan. It was a tough blow for Fred III, who had just welcomed a baby with serious health issues.

Source: New York Daily News


Mary Trump bashed the decision to cut the medical benefits in an interview with the New York Daily News in December 2000, saying her "aunt and uncles should be ashamed of themselves."

Mary Trump was referring to Donald Trump, Robert Trump, and Maryanne Trump Barry, who had been named executors of their father's estate.

Source: New York Daily News

In court documents, Maryanne Trump Barry called Mary and Fred III "absentee grandchildren" who only saw their grandparents on holidays. But in her book, Mary Trump said she "much of her childhood" at her grandparents' house in Queens.

Source: New York Daily News, Simon & Schuster 

Mary and Fred III's inheritance was settled privately in 2000, and Trump told The Washington Post last year that "it worked out well, and we all get along."

In an interview with Axios, published June 21, the president also said he had Mary's brother over to the White House recently.

Source: Washington Post, Business Insider

Sources told The Daily Beast that Mary Trump signed a nondisclosure agreement when that case was settled. Robert Trump, the president's younger brother, is now using the NDA in a lawsuit to stop the book's publication.

Source: The Daily Beast, Business Insider, Business Insider

Mary Trump has a master's in English literature from Columbia and a master's and PhD in psychology from Adelphi University. Her publisher says she's "taught graduate courses in trauma, psychopathology, and developmental psychology."

Source: "Diagnosis: Schizophrenia," Simon & Schuster 

A LinkedIn profile which appeared to belong to Mary said she worked as a life coach. It has now been taken down.

New York State Board of Elections records show that Mary Trump is a registered Democrat, and an unverified Twitter account bearing her name includes tweets supportive of Hillary Clinton.

The Twitter account was active on the night Trump was elected to president. One tweet said it was "one of the worst nights of my life," and another said "the American experiment has failed."

Mary Trump currently lives in New York with her daughter, according to Simon & Schuster. Her book will be a "revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him," the publisher said.

Source: Simon & Schuster

In the book, Mary Trump will reportedly out herself as the primary source for a 2018 New York Times exposé on the president's finances, and blame her uncle and grandfather for failing to help her father in his time of need.

The Times' report found that the president was not a self-made man, as he had continuously claimed, but used more than $400 million of his father's fortune to prop up his own businesses when they were struggling, through shady tax schemes. 

According to The Daily Beast, Mary Trump will say in the book that she provided The Times with tax documents and confidential family documents. The Times has declined to respond to her claim.

Among the details to be revealed in the book is also how the president mocked his father when he started to succumb to Alzheimer's in the 1990s.

Source: Simon & Schuster, Business Insider

The president broke his silence on the book in an interview with Axios, published June 21. He said that his niece isn't allowed to publish the book because she signed a "very powerful" NDA when she and her brother settled their lawsuit.

Source: Axios, Business Insider

On June 26, the president's younger brother, Robert Trump, filed a lawsuit trying to prevent the publishing of Mary Trump's book, saying it violated the NDA she signed back in 2001.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal 

In response to the lawsuit, a judge in Dutchess County, New York, signed off on a temporary restraining order against Mary Trump and her publisher, barring them from publishing the book.

Robert Trump is being represented by celebrity attorney Charles Harder, pictured above in 2018.

Source: Business Insider

But an appeals-court judge quickly overturned part of the restraining order on July 1, saying it couldn't be applied to Simon & Schuster because the publisher had not signed an NDA with the Trumps.

Simon & Schuster also said it didn't know about the NDA when it commissioned the book.

Source: Politico

However, it's unclear whether it can publish the book without consequences, since the temporary injunction still bars Mary Trump and "any agent" of hers from publishing the book.

A statement from the publishing house did not address whether it would publish the book even if the injunction was not dropped against Mary Trump.

"We support Mary L. Trump's right to tell her story in 'Too Much and Never Enough,' a work of great interest and importance to the national discourse that fully deserves to be published for the benefit of the American public," Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg said in a statement to Politico.

"As all know, there are well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions, and we remain confident that the preliminary injunction will be denied."


Mary Trump filed an affidavit on July 2 seeking to get the injunction dropped in full. She argued that her uncle and his siblings had already violated their agreement — thus making it null and void.

The court filing was the first time Mary Trump has publicly addressed her book.

In the document, she said that the 2018 New York Times story on Trump proves that he lied about the assets in her grandfather's estate, and that she never would have signed the agreement had she known their true value. 

She also said that her uncles Donald and Robert had spoken publicly about the settlement "on numerous occasions," which means they already violated the agreement to secrecy. 

Mary Trump also said she "never believed" the agreement would prevent her from writing a book about "the conduct and character of my uncle, the sitting President of the United States, during his campaign for reelection." 

You can read the court filing here.

A judge has yet to rule on Mary Trump's latest request, so the book's future remains up in the air. Meanwhile, it remains one of Amazon's top sellers, thanks to the multiple preorders for her book.

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Kenya Airways Begins Job Cuts Amid Nationalization, Virus Losses

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Kenya Airways Plc started a three-month round of job cuts as lawmakers debate a bill to nationalize the carrier and its losses mount due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The process is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka said July 3 in a memo to employees, without providing the number of workers to be affected. When domestic flights resume, depressed demand for air travel will cut the number of workers needed for operations and some employees will proceed on unpaid leave from July 6, according to the memo.

“We have projected that demand is going to slow down to at least 50% between now and December,” Kilavuka said in a June 26 interview. “Our assets need to reflect that. Our operations need to reflect that, that goes without saying.”

The airline employed 3,734 people by end 2019, with a total wage bill of 13.5 billion shillings ($126.6 million). That accounted for 11% of the airline’s total operating costs in the year, according to its annual report. Passenger flights accounted for 81% of the airline’s revenue by the end of 2019, compared to 6.8% from cargo.

Read More
  • Kenya Airways Shares Suspended From Trading for Three Months
  • Kenya Moves to Nationalize Carrier With Ticket Losses Mounting
  • Kenya Airways Seeks State Support to Survive Next Six Months

With the Kenyan airspace closed to most commercial passenger traffic since March, Kenya Airways estimates it will lose between $400 million and $500 million in revenue by the end of this year. If flights do not resume in July, the estimated losses will rise by at least 50%, Kilavuka said last month. In the interim, the airline’s freight business has been moving 800 tons to 1,000 tons each week. Freight traffic in 2019 was just under 176 tons daily, nearly 19% higher than current levels.

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Source: Read Full Article


Kimberly Guilfoyle, Trump campaign official and girlfriend of president's son, tests positive for coronavirus

  • Trump Jr., the eldest son of President Donald Trump, tested negative, according to a person familiar with the situation.
  • Neither Trump Jr. nor Guilfoyle traveled with the president on Air Force One as the president went to Mount Rushmore for a July 4th weekend celebration, the person said.
  • Guilfoyle is expected to drive back to the East Coast to avoid interactions with other people, two people familiar with the matter said.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior Trump campaign official and Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, tested positive for coronavirus while in South Dakota on Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Trump Jr., the eldest son of President Donald Trump, tested negative, the person said.

Neither Trump Jr. nor Guilfoyle traveled with the president on Air Force One as the president went to Mount Rushmore for a July 4th weekend celebration, the person said.

They both planned to attend but never made it to the site. Requests for comment from Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. were not immediately returned Friday night.

Guilfoyle is expected to drive back to the East Coast to avoid interactions with other people, two people familiar with the matter said.

The White House says Trump is tested for the coronavirus daily.

The New York Times first reported that Guilfoyle tested positive.

The development occurred on a day in which there were more than 53,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported across the United States, according to NBC News counts.

Guilfoyle, who is Trump Victory Finance Committee chair, spoke at Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in the introductory program ahead of Trump's remarks in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 23.

But it is unknown when or where she was exposed to the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.

While the site of exposure is not known, since the Tulsa rally multiple people who attended have tested positive for the virus, including a journalist and at least two members of the campaign's advance team.

In addition, six campaign staffers tested positive hours before the rally but were not present at the event.

On Thursday it was announced that former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who attended the Tulsa rally, tested positive for COVID-19.

He received the positive result on Monday, and on Wednesday he developed symptoms serious enough that he required hospitalization, a  posted to his Twitter account said.

Cain, 74, did not need a respirator and was awake and alert at an Atlanta area hospital, the statement said.

It is not known when Cain was exposed to or contracted the illness.

Trump's campaign said in a statement Thursday that Trump did not meet with Cain at the Tulsa rally.

There have been more than 2.7 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with more than 130,000 deaths linked to the disease, according to NBC News' count.

Cases have been rising in a number of states, and 19 states have either rolled back or paused reopening plans due to the illness.

Source: Read Full Article


See what London's major sites look like under lockdown

London has seen more than its share of crises. The 2000-year old metropolis has endured an influenza pandemic, the Blitz and several financial meltdowns over just the past century.

Time and again, London has come roaring back, relying on a spirit of resilience and reinvention that is being summoned once more as the British capital seeks to recover from what may be this century’s greatest upheaval: the coronavirus pandemic.
The spread of the virus and efforts to contain it turned one of the world’s liveliest urban meccas into a virtual ghost town, driving millions of people out of the city’s center and its financial district, and bringing commerce to a sudden halt.

Spectators at the New Year's Day Parade. Over 10,000 performers paraded from Piccadilly Circus to Parliament Square.
The scale of the shutdown would have been unimaginable just six months ago, when around 500,000 people poured into the area around Piccadilly Circus for the annual New Years’ Day Parade and it was common to wait 90 minutes for a table at the busiest restaurants.
Then the pandemic hit. Virtually overnight, shops closed, tourists fled, offices and streets emptied out and the city’s 9 million residents holed up at home. Nowhere was the standstill captured more acutely than in the mainstay of London city life: the Tube.

Underground journeys for the month of March tumbled 43% from the 106 million recorded in February, and plunged even further in April, during the height of lockdown, to just 5.7 million. Social distancing rules mean the Tube can only handle up to 15% of its normal traffic, according to London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
The fallout from lockdown has been severe. London’s economy is expected to contract nearly 17% this year, according to figures from the city government, a sharper drop than the 14% decline the Bank of England expects for the United Kingdom as a whole.

    Companies in London are expected to shed some 460,000 jobs, or about 7% of the workforce, with manufacturing, construction, retail, and accommodation and food services the hardest hit. Employment is not expected to fully recover until 2022.
    With transportation severely constrained, and a potential coronavirus vaccine still many months away, the people and companies that have made London into a hub for real estate, finance, the arts, hospitality and technology are desperately trying to reinvent themselves in hopes of surviving the pandemic.
    One sign of progress: pubs, restaurants and hair salons can reopen on Saturday, provided they follow social distancing guidelines.

    The physical city

    What the pandemic means for London’s sprawling collection of corporate headquarters is still unclear. Paul Cheshire, professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics, is quick to dismiss the suggestion that the office is dead as “nonsense,” arguing that what happens in the long term will be less dramatic.
    More people will spend more time working from home, or in decentralized office spaces, but this won’t abolish companies’ demand for locations in the city center, which have been shown to increase productivity and facilitate idea sharing, he said.

    Commuters walk across London Bridge on February 3, 2020. The city went into lockdown on March 24.
    What happens to real estate, which accounts for 15% of London’s economy, matters a great deal to the city.
    The government has protected commercial tenants from eviction through August, but those measures will at some point expire. According to property management platform, Re-Leased, just 45% of commercial rents for the third quarter had been paid by early July. But that was an improvement on the previous three months and “a sign of the capital’s resilience,” said Re-Leased CEO, Tom Wallace.
    The pandemic has accelerated existing trends around agile working and the desire for more flexible office space, where several different companies share meeting and social areas, as well as facilities such as showers, bike racks and kitchens.

      Companies “want their offices to count,” said Darren Richards, head of real estate at British Land, a leading UK property company. He predicts that greater numbers of older offices in need of refurbishment will likely be released onto the market in the future, as companies prioritize higher quality spaces.
      British Land, which owns 7.1 million square feet of commercial real estate in areas like Broadgate, Paddington, Mayfair and Regent’s Place, said that currently its tenants are not seeking to get rid of office space. Businesses still “want space fundamentally,” though they are contemplating how much and for what purpose, Richards said.
      Still, the penetration of online shopping during the coronavirus will mean a reduction in brick-and-mortar outlets, which could radically alter the landscape of London’s vast retail space and create yet more uncertainty for the city’s real estate market. “What would have happened over five years is happening over months,” said Richards.

      The City, reinvented

      London’s financial heart, referred to as the City of London, has a proven track record of reinvention.
      Storied institutions like Lloyd’s of London, the Bank of England and the London Stock Exchange have been around for centuries, withstanding radical social, political and economic turmoil.
      Today, the City is home to well over 250 international banks and handles 43% of global foreign exchange trading, according to the Bank for International Settlements. Financial services contributed £65 billion ($81 billion) to the London economy in 2018, or about 15%, figures from City Hall show.
      And despite four years of uncertainty over Brexit, the United Kingdom has been Europe’s top location for international financial services investment over the past two decades, with London claiming the bulk of those flows.

      People observe social distancing as they look out at the skyline of London's financial district on June 9.
      “London’s dominance as the preeminent European financial center remains unrivaled,” said Omar Ali, EY’s UK financial services managing partner.

        UK financial services will continue to be a leading recipient of overseas investment even after the pandemic, according to an EY survey conducted in April.
        Investors ranked the availability of capital as the most important consideration influencing their future location choices, followed by safety and security measures introduced to prevent a future major crisis, whether that relates to health, the environment or cyber security.

        London's dominance as the preeminent European financial center remains unrivaled."

        Omar Ali, EY

        There are factors working against the City, however. The UK government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has been widely criticized, and business and consumer confidence remains depressed.
        “We failed to take advantage of the fact that we’re an island and didn’t move fast enough. There was a lot of complacency and hubris,” said Richard Burge, the CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
        The government’s approach to negotiating its post-Brexit trading relationship with the European Union has also drawn reproach. A group of business leaders warned this week that Britain’s decision not to extend the current transition period beyond the end of the year is a “huge gamble.”
        The City of London may yet be tested. Crucially, there is currently no guarantee that UK financial firms will retain access to the European Union after this year — an export market worth £26 billion ($32.4 billion) in 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics, or 40% of the sector’s total value.

        Still good for startups

        As London seeks to retain its status as a leading global business center, the city’s technology sector, which boomed following the global financial crisis, could help.
        Google, (GOOGL) Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) have big offices in London, and startup investment has continued during the pandemic, suggesting that losses in real estate and financial services could be made up in the tech sector. Startups based in London have raised $4 billion in venture capital since the start of the year, more than Paris, Stockholm, Berlin and Tel Aviv combined, according to figures compiled in June by Tech Nation and Dealroom.

          “It’s a global arms race but London is still ahead,” said Brent Hoberman, the co-founder of Founders Factory, an accelerator. “I think London absolutely remains as the global magnet for tech talent,” he added, attributing its attractiveness to world class educational institutions, diverse culture and early entrepreneur success stories.
          Lockdowns have only accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in everyday life, and boosted information and health technology companies, playing to London’s strengths, said Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s leading early stage venture capital investors with stakes in companies such as Citymapper, Vivino, Lyst and Revolut.

          London absolutely remains the global magnet for tech talent."

          Brent Hoberman, Founders Factory

          The city is home to a large share of digital consumer businesses, Chandratillake said, including online grocer Ocado, digital banks such as Revolut and Monzo, and food delivery companies such as Deliveroo and Gousto.
          London also boasts an outsized share of technology companies in areas such as cyber security and workforce management, now servicing armies of home workers. And the coronavirus has boosted investment into health technology, benefiting London and the United Kingdom more broadly.
          “The city is the most genetically diverse in the world, almost all citizens use the same health system and there are a variety of tech projects, both government-funded within the NHS [National Health Service] and privately-funded startups, that have grown rapidly against this backdrop and stand in a very strong position,” Chandratillake told CNN Business.
          The pandemic could even help to catalyze new ways of doing business. London & Partners, the trade and investment body for London, said it recently organized a trade mission via Zoom (ZM), where a group of human resources tech entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to potential investors and customers in New York.
          “If we assume a reduction in travel, it points towards naturally digital sectors in which London has existing strengths,” said managing director of strategy and corporate affairs, Allen Simpson.

          Saving London’s culture

          While London’s tech and finance sectors look set to weather the current crisis, social distancing and a reduction in travel spells disaster for its once booming arts and culture scene, which helps attract tourists, ambitious young professionals and investment. For theaters, museums, restaurants and bars, it’s an existential threat.
          Leisure and hospitality “really strategically matter,” said Simpson. “People come from all over the world partly because London is a cool place to live.”
          Nearly 40% of Londoners are born outside the United Kingdom, making London one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It is home to 1 million EU nationals and was the world’s third most visited city in 2018, narrowly behind Paris and Bangkok, according to Mastercard.
          Last year, London boasted 21.7 million overseas visitors who spent £15.7 billion ($19.6 billion) on the local economy and supported 250,000 jobs, according to the Office for National Statistics.
          “That revenue keeps certain things alive in London,” said UK Tourism Alliance director Kurt Janson. “The West End theaters couldn’t survive if not for overseas visitors.”

          London's West End theater district on a Saturday evening in April.
          In an open letter to the government signed by UK Theatre and nearly 100 actors, writers and directors, the Society of London Theatre worried that “British theatre is on the brink of ruin.”
          “Theatres do not have the money to operate viably with physical distancing,” they said. The industry has called for an emergency relief fund, ongoing wage support and more help for freelancers and self-employed artists.
          Museums, galleries and London’s iconic tourist attractions are also at risk. Several have not yet announced plans to reopen, despite being allowed to do so on Saturday. In a joint statement issued late last month, directors of museums such as the Tate, British Museum and National Gallery said it was a question of “how and when we can open our doors again in a financially sustainable manner, for the long term.”
          The National Gallery has said it will reopen on July 8, while the Tate Britain and Tate Modern will reopen on July 27 and the Tower of London on July 10.
          London’s pubs and restaurants face an even greater threat from social distancing.
          Already, Michelin-starred Texture and the upmarket Indian Accent, a Mayfair outpost of the Delhi original, have permanently closed. They are unlikely to be the only casualties.
          Murat Kilic, the owner of Amber, in the hip East Aldgate neighborhood, told CNN Business that he is not confident about reopening. Amber is opening its doors on Saturday for the first time in nearly four months, but at less than half its previous capacity.
          Kilic worries that when government support is wound down in October, he could risk eviction unless his landlord agrees to temporarily reduce monthly rent payments.
          For Joseph Ryan, business looks set to boom over the July 4 weekend at his two pubs in London. Howl at the Moon and The White Hart have far more bookings than usual, Ryan said, but he is less optimistic about the longer term outlook.
          Indoor capacity has been cut in half, seating is now mandatory, wooden panels have been erected between tables, and staff will be wearing masks and gloves.
          “We’re confident about this weekend, but thereafter we’re not so sure,” said Ryan. “The novelty might wear off.”

          The shopping and entertainment hub, Covent Garden, on July 1, 2020.
          Whether Londoners are quick to return to bars and eateries remains to be seen. Worryingly, household income and expenditure are set to tumble by 5.5% and 12% respectively this year, and are not expected to reach 2019 levels before at least 2023, according to City Hall.
          How quickly a new London emerges depends on the coronavirus: if cases continue to fall and social distancing is eased further, the economic outlook will brighten. A second wave could prompt further lockdowns and all the economic pain that brings.
          London will find “workarounds” to the immediate challenges posed by the virus, said Burge of the London Chamber, from becoming a city of cyclists and walkers to standing outside bars in the drizzle. “That’s what we do,” he said. “London will come through.”
          — Eoin McSweeney contributed reporting.
          Source: Read Full Article


          THE GLOBAL NEOBANKS REPORT: How 26 upstarts are winning customers and pivoting from hyper-growth to profitability in a $27 billion market

          • This is a preview of the Business Insider Intelligence Global Neobanks premium research report. Purchase this report here.
          • Business Insider Intelligence offers even more banking coverage with our Banking Briefing. Subscribe today to receive industry-changing financial news and analysis to your inbox.

          Neobanks — digital-only banks with industry-leading capabilities that don't operate physical branches or rely on legacy back-ends — have exploded onto the global scene in recent years.

          Increased consumer interest in neobanks is stimulating competition globally, creating an increasingly competitive landscape which has driven neobanks to roll out extravagant features, like overdraft protection and sign-up incentives. 

          Beyond scaling rapidly by user count, neobanks are navigating the best route to profitability. Today, the average neobank loses $11 per user, per Accenture, and though neobanks' expenses are partially offset by not operating costly branch networks, they still need to find sustainable business models.

          Some major strategies are beginning to coalesce: Most neobanks operate under a "freemium" model, in which they offer their product for free, but charge for additional features, while others offer multitier subscriptions with varying levels of premium accounts. Additionally, other players are targeting niche segments, like small businesses or gig economy workers, in their pursuit of profitability.

          In The Global Neobanks report, Business Insider Intelligence explores how the neobank market has grown rapidly, and what's in store as the industry pivots from hyper-growth to sustainability. We discuss how 26 neobanks in key global markets are prioritizing scale versus profitability, identifying best practices to emulate and pitfalls to avoid.

          The companies mentioned in the report include: ABN Amro, Adyen, Ant financial, ANZ, Aspiration, Banco Inter, Bank Leumi, Banco Sabadell, Banco Votorantim, Bnext, bunq, Chime, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Dave, Finleap, ING, Judo, Klar, Kuda, Mastercard, Monzo, Moven, MYbank, National Australia Bank, Neon, Nubank, N26, OakNorth, Open, Pepper, Penta, Revolut, Raising, Rabobank, Santander, Starling, Standard Chartered, Tandem, TD Bank, TransferWise, Tencent, Uala, Uber, Volt, Varo, WeBank, Westpac, Xinja, 86 400.

          Here are some key takeaways from the report:

          • With an estimated 39 million users globally, neobanks' valuations have skyrocketed thanks to their attractive value propositions which include personal finance management features, low rates, and superior user experiences.
          • But the same features that have helped neobanks catch on have pushed profitability further out of reach. Neobanks have been forced to roll out flashy features to stand out to users, and marketing these features has driven up expenses. 
          • There's no universal path to profitability for neobanks — but a few major categories are emerging. Freemium pricing strategies, multitiered subscriptions, and targeting niche demographics are three strategies neobanks are employing in pursuit of profit.  
          • Individual neobank landscapes vary by market, but their inherent advantages are allowing neobanks to emerge in markets globally. Regional factors have made certain markets particularly ripe, such as fintech-friendly regulations, negative consumer perceptions of incumbents, and gaps in banking services for underbanked populations. 

          In full, the report:

          • Sizes the neobank market by value, number of users, and number of accounts to 2024.
          • Explores the factors that will propel the neobank market to new heights over the next five years, and the challenge of reaching profitability underpinning this growth.
          • Highlights key players in various global markets — including Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa — that are representative of the general neobank landscape and that have excelled in global footprint, features, users, or total funding raised. 
          • Spotlights some of the smaller players that represent the emerging opportunity in a given market.
          • Discusses how different neobanks in key global markets are prioritizing scale versus profitability, identifying best practices to emulate and pitfalls to avoid. 

          Interested in getting the full report? Here's how to get access:

          1. Business Insider Intelligence analyzes the banking industry and provides in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more. >> Check if your company has BII Enterprise membership access to the full report
          2. Sign up for the Banking Briefing, Business Insider Intelligence's expert email newsletter tailored for today's (and tomorrow's) decision-makers in the financial services industry, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
          3. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

          Exclusive FREE Slide Deck: 10 Up and Coming Fintechs by Insider Intelligence

          Source: Read Full Article


          America\u2019s 40 Most Delicious Beers

          When it comes to beer, there’s nothing wrong with everyday thirst-quenching lager, readily available, easy to quaff, and usually inexpensive.

          Lovers of craft beer, though, look for something more than just a cooling tipple, choosing from an ever-growing wealth of artisanal brews offering complexity and unique combinations of flavors and aromas — beers to anticipate, seek out, savor, and remember. These tend to be unique examples of the brewmaster’s art — specialties that aren’t likely to be among the biggest beer brands in America.

          The choices seem almost limitless. As of last summer, according to the Brewers Association, there were 7,480 active craft breweries around America — 1,016 more than in 2018. Craft brewers love to experiment, so new beers are constantly pouring onto the market, and it’s not uncommon for a single producer to have a dozen or more beers on the market at any given time. Keeping up with the craft beer scene can be a full-time job. These are the 35 most popular craft beers in America.  

          To make the job at least a little easier, 24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of what might fairly be called the 40 most delicious craft beers made in America. The ranking is based on scores and reviews from a variety of sources, with particular attention paid to BeerAdvocate’s annual rating of what it considers to be the world’s top 250 beers

          Click here for America’s 40 most delicious beers.

          They come from 14 different states, some of which are clearly champions of the craft beer game. Nine of the 40, for instance, are from California. Six are from Michigan, and four each hail from Iowa and Vermont. 

          Many are IPAs — India Pale Ales, made with a pronounced hop flavor. Many more are stouts, which are dark beers made with roasted malt or barley, often barrel-aged like wine and sometimes with additional flavors added — coffee, chocolate, vanilla, fresh fruit, even chiles.

          Fair warning: Craft beers can be hard to find, and some of them are extremely rare (the Dark Lord range made by Indiana’s 3 Floyds Brewing, for instance, is available only at the brewery on one day a year). They can also be seriously expensive, in some instances $50 or $100 a bottle or more. And every beer here won’t be to everyone’s taste — but taken as a whole, they represent the best of American craft brewing today.

          A number of specialist publications and organizations rate craft beers regularly, among them the American Homebrewers Association, Rate Beer, BeerAdvocate, and 52 Brews. The list that follows is based on their most recent ratings, as well as other lists of what are widely considered the best-tasting beers American breweries have to offer from sites including Ranker, Vinepair, and Paste. While numerical scores were considered, equal weight was given to the comments of reviewers in describing the aromas and flavors — the deliciousness — of their favorite beers. BeerAdvocate scores are given as a point of reference, but because these rankings are drawn from numerous sources, the scores don’t necessarily correspond to each beer’s position on the list.

          Source: Read Full Article


          Hillary Clinton says she 'would have done a better job' at handling the coronavirus pandemic

          • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her administration could have saved more lives and modeled "more responsible behavior" during the coronavirus pandemic.
          • "I know I would have done a better job," Clinton told a Hollywood Reporter podcast on Friday. 
          • Her comments come amid mounting case totals in the US. The nation reported its highest number of daily coronavirus cases on Friday: more than 56,000. 
          • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

          Hillary Clinton isn't relieved to be outside the Oval Office right now.

          "I will tell you, it's frustrating to be on the sidelines in a pandemic," the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee told The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast on Friday. 

          She added that her administration would have been more successful at handling the coronavirus outbreak in the US.

          "We wouldn't have been able to stop the pandemic at our borders the way that Trump claimed in the beginning, but we sure could have done a better job saving lives, modeling better, more responsible behavior," Clinton said. "I don't think we necessarily should have had as deep an economic assault on livelihoods and jobs as we have. So I know I would have done a better job."

          The US's initial response to the pandemic was hampered by testing delays, restrictive testing criteria, a lack of airport screenings, and a shortage of medical supplies. Advice from federal agencies has also been steadily plagued by inconsistencies. In January, President Trump insisted the outbreak was "totally under control." The next month, he said the virus would "go away" by April.

          But 18 of the 30 states that started reopening as of May 7 were still seeing daily new cases rise, according to data from the New York Times. Some public-health experts believe this allowed the outbreak to swell even further.

          Over the last week, the US has recorded its highest numbers of coronavirus cases to date: around 47,000 daily cases, on average. Friday marked the peak of the outbreak so far, with more than 56,000 cases. New cases are now rising in the majority of states.

          The nation's death count has almost reached 130,000.

          In recent weeks, public-health experts have amplified their call for a nationwide mask mandate to reduce coronavirus transmission. At least 21 states have instituted a statewide mask mandate so far, but the specifics differ state to state — and some cities and counties have implemented their own policies.

          "More attention and commitment to a national directive and national policy for face masks is critically important," Dr. Howard Koh, former assistant secretary for health under President Obama, told Business Insider. "We have 50 states going in 50 different directions."

          In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said that he believed some Americans wear face masks to show their disapproval of him. The president has repeatedly been photographed without a mask at public events.

          But Dr. Theo Vos, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), told Business Insider that mask-wearing has "quite a potential to make a substantial dent in this epidemic."

          IHME's coronavirus models, which are often cited by the White House, predict another 50,000 coronavirus deaths from July to October in the US. The researchers found that nearly half of those deaths could be prevented if 95% of the US population wore masks.

          Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

          Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

          Source: Read Full Article


          Top British Chef’s Simple Recipe for Perfect Fish Sticks to Make at Home

          Nathan Outlaw is one of the most-respected chefs in the U.K., known for his love of fish and for the creative seafood dishes that won him two Michelin stars at his flagship restaurant in  the west of England. 

          More recently, he opened a London restaurant called Siren at the Goring, the royal family’s favorite hotel, just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, serving beautiful food such as a lobster tart and turbot with seaweed hollandaise and char-grilled fennel.

          But this quietly spoken chef favors simplicity over luxury. He’s giving up the Goring and the Michelin stars, replacing Restaurant Nathan Outlaw with a more casual venue and an a la carte menu celebrating the finest fish.

          Here is his recipe for one of the simplest fish dishes of all: Fish fingers (or sticks) served in a soft white bap (or roll). They come with mushy peas, which are popular in the U.K. but little-known elsewhere. They are dried marrowfat peas soaked overnight in water with bicarbonate of soda. It’s fine just to substitute frozen peas, or there are recipes online to make your own.

          I asked Nathan for a recipe requiring no special kitchen equipment or skill and he adapted this one from the Fish Finger Roll in his book, Nathan Outlaw’s Everyday Seafood. If you have a blender and are happy to make your own mayonnaise, that is a great recipe. The version below is for novices like me and I can honestly say these are the best fish fingers I have ever tasted.

          Fish Finger Baps, Pea Mayo

          Ingredients (serves four):

          600 grams (21 oz) haddock, sustainably caught cod fillet or similar white fish, skinned, pin-boned and cut into eight 2-3 cm (about an inch) wide fingers

          100g plain flour

          2 medium eggs, beaten

          100g breadcrumbs

          Sunflower oil for frying

          Salt and pepper

          6 tbsp good quality bought mayonnaise

          1/2 small can mushy peas (or 100g of frozen peas, defrosted and mashed)

          2 tbsp mint, picked and chopped

          1 iceberg or cos lettuce, finely chopped

          2 large gherkins, grated

          1 lemon cut into wedges

          4 large floury baps (soft bread rolls)


          Richard Vines is Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

          Source: Read Full Article


          UK manufacturers to export surplus medical ventilators

          UK manufacturers are to export surplus medical ventilators after they produced 14,000 to treat coronavirus patients only to find that most were not needed.

          Boris Johnson hailed the success of the “ventilator challenge”, which began in mid-March when he urged British industry to help produce up to 30,000 of the devices amid fears that NHS supplies could be overwhelmed.

          “Thanks to these efforts, everyone who needed a ventilator has had access to one, and the NHS has the vital machines it needs to continue providing life-saving support against this deadly virus,” he said.

          Official figures show that occupancy of medical ventilator beds reached a peak of 3,301 in April, indicating that demand peaked at less than half of the UK’s pre-pandemic capacity of nearly 9,000.

          The prime minister called for 30,000 machines after early scientific modelling based on data from China indicated that vast numbers would be needed to treat Covid-19 patients.

          The health secretary, Matt Hancock, later revised the target down to 18,000. But social distancing measures and a realisation among doctors that less invasive methods of ventilation were preferable meant NHS capacity was never stretched.

          The Cabinet Office said on Friday that production on ventilator projects had stopped and that the leading model, produced by the specialist firm Penlon, had received approval for export.

          Four different devices were approved for production during the effort, boosting the UK’s supply to 25,000.

          The Cabinet Office said independent testing had shown that a further four designs, including the CoVent made by Dyson, could have been used.

          Dr Tom Clutton-Brock, the director of the medical devices testing and evaluation centre, which tested the devices, said: “Designing, manufacturing and testing ventilators usually takes years. So it’s outstanding the progress which has been made in a space of months.

          “Having tested all of these devices, it’s impressive that several new models met the regulator’s requirements. These models would all have been clinically usable as pandemic ventilators and could have supported large numbers of critically ill patients.”

          Source: Read Full Article