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Brexit or not, Prudential says it made sense to move some business to Luxembourg

Prudential, the United Kingdom’s largest insurer, said it finished transferring some operations to Luxembourg about a week ago in preparation of Britain’s impending exit from the European Union.

European business after Brexit.

But even without the divorce between the U.K. and the EU, it made sense for Prudential to make such a move, the insurer’s Chief Executive Mike Wells said on Sunday.

“Strategically, it’s not a bad thing for us to have product and structure closer to our European clients,” Wells told CNBC’s Martin Soong at the China Development Forum in Beijing.

“Even without Brexit, the Luxembourg product probably would have been an appropriate strategic step. I would say Brexit effectively defined the time frame that you want to make sure the work is accomplished,” he said. “We finished that actually last weekend.”

Prudential is one of the many financial institutions that have moved part of their operations out of London to other European cities such as Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin.

Consultancy EY said in a report this month that an estimated 1 trillion pounds of assets have been moved out of the U.K. because of Brexit.

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Passengers being airlifted from Viking Sky luxury cruise ship in storm off Norway, 8 with injuries

OSLO, March 23 (Reuters) – Rescue helicopters evacuated dozens of people from a luxury cruise ship that suffered engine failure on Saturday in stormy weather off the west coast of Norway, police and rescue workers said.

The maritime rescue service said the Viking Sky, with about 1,300 passengers and crew on board, had sent out a mayday signal as it had been drifting towards land.

The crew were later able to restart one engine and the ship was at anchor about 2 km from land and the passengers were considered safe although the evacuation was set to continue, the rescue service said.

Only 87 people had been evacuated by 1750 GMT, and the airlift was set to continue throughout the night, rescue service spokeswoman Borghild Eldoen said. Eight of those evacuated had suffered light injuries.

Passengers were hoisted one-by-one from the deck of the vessel and airlifted to a village just north of the town of Molde on Norway’s west coast.

Cruise passengers described the moment when the ship’s engines stopped, and the evacuation that followed.

“We were having lunch when it began to shake. Window panes were broken and water came in. It was just chaos. The trip on the helicopter, I would rather forget. It was not fun,” American passenger John Curry told public broadcaster NRK.

A second vessel, a freighter with a crew of nine, was also being evacuated nearby after suffering engine failure, diverting helicopters and thus delaying the cruise ship airlift, the rescue center added.

Two purpose-built vessels operated by the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue had been forced to turn back due to the severe weather, the service said.

Waves were 6-8 meters high, with wind blowing at 24 meters per second, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The storm was expected to last at least until midnight local time (2300 GMT).

The stretch of water known as Hustadvika and surrounding areas are known for fierce weather and shallow waters dotted with reefs, and Norway is evaluating whether to build a giant ocean tunnel through a nearby mountain to improve safety.

The Viking Sky, built in 2017, belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises, part of the Viking Cruises group founded by Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen. According to the company’s website, its passenger capacity is 930.

Several vessels and four helicopters took part in the rescue and facilities to receive passengers have been set up on land, the rescue service said.

All search-and-rescue teams in the region are mobilizing, including 60 volunteers from the Norwegian Red Cross, a spokesman said.

Viking’s operational headquarters, located in Basel, Switzerland, did not respond when contacted by telephone.

—Additional reporting by Stine Jacobsen; editing by Angus MacSwan and Andrew Cawthorne

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Zynga CEO says this is the next big catalyst for mobile gaming

If you’re a mobile games fan, you can expect “bigger, better and badder” franchises coming down the line thanks to 5G.

Zynga, whose claim to fame resided with its Facebook-based games like “‘Farmville” before it transitioned to creating its own mobile gaming services and brands.

Gibeau told CNBC that while there’s a number of catalysts that could boost the mobile games industry, 5G sits “at the top of the list.” Research firm Newzoo estimated the industry would generate more than $63 billion in revenue for 2018.

“When you look at the history of games over the last years, anytime game developers were given [an even bigger] bandwidth, they innovated in ways they didn’t expect,” he said.

The 5G race has heated up with the biggest telecom names launching the network in a handful of cities. Verizon recently announced that it would be testing 5G in Chicago and Minneapolis starting April 11, while Sprint has teamed up with Google and Samsung for a May launch.

And while Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst at Wells Fargo, says that 5G still needs infrastructure and investment before more significant developments can kick in, its potential for gaming is undeniable.

“The big thing to remember with 5G is two words: low latency,” she said, referring to the shorter delay in data transfers that 5G networks will reportedly bring. “With gaming especially, you want low latency, that’s what 5G promises [which would bring gaming] to a whole new level.”

But Fritzsche stresses that the development of 5G networks is very much in its “batting warmup” stages and that the biggest telecom companies are far from a widespread rollout of the service.

Nevertheless, that eventuality has Gibeau predicting a future where thanks to the potential to stream content quickly, mobile gamers can expect higher fidelity games and easier access to product given that more efficient streaming means that players “[are] able to play the game right off the add.”

Discussions of the potential of higher connectivity streaming came to a head this past week at the Game Developers Conference, where Google unveiled its Stadia gaming service platform. A number of independent publishers like Rovio, that created the “Angry Birds” franchise, also have their own game streaming services in the works.

This impact on distribution is particularly important to Gibeau, whose own company is constantly looking to expand what it calls its “forever franchises” like “Words with Friends” and “Zynga Poker.” Essentially, they are franchises at the core of Zynga’s mobile games business whose longevity and growth Gibeau wants to extend even as the company starts building new games based on the popular “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” and “Game of Thrones brands.”

“As 5G rolls out, this is a continuous improvement for all parts of the mobile,” he said. “[This is especially true with the] global expansion in mobile in emerging markets.”

“You’re seeing the proliferation of high-performance devices,” Gibeau added. “They’re opening markets that won’t be reached by console and PC games.”

Newzoo also estimates that by 2020, mobile games would generate almost 60 percent of the global games industry revenue.

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Patriots’ Robert Kraft apologizes to family, friends in first statement since prostitution sting

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft released his first public statement Saturday since being charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution.

and two dozen other men were charged in February in a police sting as part of a human trafficking probe focusing on massage parlors in Florida. Kraft was hit with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution and has pleaded not guilty. The businessman was not accused of human trafficking.

Authorities said Kraft had visited a spa in Jupiter, Florida, on Jan. 19 and 20 in two different Bentleys and received sexual services in exchange for money. Both visits were captured by cameras police had hidden in the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Kraft will have until his next court appearance on March 28 to decide whether to accept the deferred prosecution offer or to move the case toward trial.

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Attorney General Barr reportedly won’t share Mueller report findings with Congress on Saturday

Attorney General William Barr will not be sending a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report to members of Congress on Saturday, a senior Justice Department official told NBC News.

the conclusions from Mueller’s final report as soon as this weekend.

NBC reported that Barr was reviewing the document on Saturday at the Department of Justice. The special counsel had delivered the report to Barr on Friday.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the investigation of Russian election meddling and possible collusion with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, are working closely together, the official told NBC.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing related to Mueller’s probe, which he has long attacked as a “witch hunt.” The president, at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this weekend, has kept quiet about the probe since the report was delivered.

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Elon Musk touted a lenient return policy for Tesla, but customers should read the fine print

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has in recent days made several statements about refunds and deposits for vehicles that contradict the language in Tesla’s official policies. In one case, sales employees say they haven’t gotten any guidance about whether to honor his commitments.

filed a motion to hold Musk in contempt of court for allegedly violating an agreement they struck last fall, after the Tesla CEO tweeted about taking Tesla private at $420 a share. Those tweets appeared to spark a temporary spike in Tesla’s stock price.

On Saturday March 16, in an end-of-quarter effort to boost vehicle sales, Musk took to Twitter urging customers to buy soon before prices went up. He reminded them of Tesla’s lenient return policy.

Specifically, Musk wrote in three tweets:

  • “Reminder to buy our S3XY cars before midnight on Monday! Prices rise slightly worldwide on Tuesday. You can order online at http://Tesla.com
  • “To be clear, orders are fully refundable, even after you’ve had your Tesla for a week”
  • “If someone really wants to return the car in good faith on day 8, that’s fine.”

In his tweets, Musk emphasized that “orders are fully refundable.”

Tesla is now accepting $2,500 “pre-order payments” for the Model Y SUV, which it says it will start manufacturing next year.

However, the company’s “Model Y Motor Vehicle Pre-Order Agreement” contains no provision for people who show up to get their cars, and don’t like what Tesla presents to them — for example, a Model Y with too many miles on the odometer, smaller-than-anticipated seats, chipped paint or a cracked windshield.

Additionally, history suggests that when customers refuse to take delivery of a Tesla they ordered, they may not get their pre-order payment refunded.

In Tesla forums online, customers have traded notes and complained about its refund policy. Several say they haven’t gotten their money refunded for “deposits.” (Tesla previously referred to “pre-order payments” as “deposits” when it was preparing to deliver earlier model vehicles, including the Model 3 electric sedan and its first SUV, the Model X.)

Others have sued Tesla to get their deposits back after rejecting delivery.

A one-time Tesla fan, William Carrol, shared records with CNBC that show he ordered a Model X in 2016, placing a $5,000 deposit down before the all-electric SUV was available for him to test-drive it in any nearby showroom.

He said, “I had never seen a Model X. When the vehicle arrived at the [Tesla store] I decided that it was not large enough for my family and so I decided against the purchase,” he said. “I asked for a refund but was told that they would not issue a refund. I will never do business with Tesla again and am still furious about it today.”

Given this ambiguity, CNBC asked Tesla: If a customer meets up with Tesla to take delivery of their Model Y, but does not want to pay for and take possession of the car because they’ve identified some flaws with it, do they get their pre-order payment of $2,500 back?

A Tesla spokesperson emphasized that the pre-order deposit is applied toward the purchase price of the Model Y, and is “fully refundable” until the customer takes delivery. After that, the customer may return the car under Tesla’s returns policy and seek to get their payment back. However, as CNBC has previously reported, the process of getting a refund after returning a car is not always smooth or speedy.

A quick review of Model 3 FAQ page finds:

“Please note that after receiving a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you will not be eligible to receive a refund for your order deposit.”

The “order deposit” is what Tesla is now calling a “pre-order payment.” So, based on the Model 3 language, it’s not always “fully refundable.”

Customers seem to be confused about the policy, as shown by this recent tweet to Musk from a prospective Model Y customer:

In addition, Musk indicated that Tesla would be lenient on its 7-day return policy.

But since Musk tweeted, Tesla has not amended its vehicle return policy, which says returns must occur “by the end of the seventh (7th) calendar day following the delivery date.”

Two Tesla sales employees who spoke under condition of anonymity told CNBC they’ve seen no guidance from the company about expanding the return window from 7 days to 8, or what constitutes “good faith” on the part of a customer who brings back a new vehicle seeking a full refund.

A Tesla spokesperson referred back to Musk’s tweet when asked about the “day 8” policy.

Musk has been known to tweak certain plans or policies, or make compromises to avoid a customer revolt.

For example, Tesla cancelled and re-started its referral program several times. The program turns fans into an unofficial sales force, and once offered wild incentives, like a chance to score a free new electric car. On Thursday, Musk brought the referral program back in a much tamer form.

More dramatically, the CEO recently said Tesla would close all of its stores and only sell vehicles online, in part to cut costs and be able to offer its Model 3 vehicles at a the long-awaited base model price of $35,000. But he soon relented, slowing down store closures after a customer and investor backlash.

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Musk is making a fool of the judge, not the SEC

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Silicon Valley techies are turning to a cheap diabetes drug to help them live longer

Ariel Poler is a veteran angel investor in his early fifties who spends his days traveling around the Bay Area to meet with entrepreneurs. Now in his early fifties, he also thinks a lot more about his own health, so he makes an effort to keep his stress levels low by eating well and taking regular kite-surfing trips.

Unlike some in Silicon Valley, who are increasingly investing in wonder drugs and starting companies to crack the code on aging, Poler isn’t planning to live forever. But he does hope that his metformin use, coupled with his commitment to nutritious food and exercise, will help delay the onset of serious health issues. “Maybe I won’t get cancer until later, like 85 instead of 83,” he says with a shrug.

He’s not alone. Metformin is undergoing a bit of a renaissance in Silicon Valley tech circles — among people who do not have diabetes.

CNBC interviewed a dozen executives and investors working in the tech industry who take the drug as a hedge against aging. Some were willing to speak publicly about it, while others preferred to remain anonymous as they did not want their employers to find out. Bolstering their case, there are also some high-profile supporters in the medical field, including the renowned aging researcher Nir Barzilai.

Metformin is not a new innovation. The drug, which is available in generic form for about 5 cents a pill, has been around for decades.

But in recent years, researchers have studied the long-term effects and found that diabetics who took it for years wound up experiencing unintended health benefits, including a reduced cancer risk compared to the general population. Further studies of the drug in mice showed evidence of an improved life span.

The drug is thought to mimic some of the positive effects of calorie restriction by lessening the amount of sugar the body produces and absorbs. Calorie restriction is a huge challenge for people to maintain, as it involves eating a lot less over a long period of time, but some studies have shown that it can help to extend the human life span.

Poler, alongside his doctor, has reviewed the research on metformin and talked to other friends in the medical fields about the potential downsides of his $2-a-month habit.

“Some people told me it was a slam dunk for its anti-aging effects,” he adds, over coffee in San Francisco. “And some were skeptical, but most gave it a thumbs up that it’s fairly safe.”

The side effects associated with prolonged metformin use include diarrhea, slow blood sugar, and abdominal pain. The most serious risk is that excessive acid accumulates in the body, causing a condition known as lactic acidosis.

Poler hasn’t experienced any of these side effects, so he intends to continue taking it for the long-term.

Others who take metformin maintain that it’s already benefiting them.

“I followed the mounting evidence, then when a biotech investor friend Bob Nelsen (Nelsen, of Arch Venture Partners, regularly takes 500mg of the diabetes drug metformin for its anti-aging effect) told me he was taking it, I had a discussion with my physician and reviewed the studies,” explained Zen Chu, a prominent angel investor. “Even though I’m not pre-diabetic, it was low-risk so I tried it and I could rapidly feel that improved my metabolism as well. “

All of them agree that metformin’s effects have been under-studied, in part because there isn’t much of a financial incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to research the impact of an extremely cheap, generic drug. That could explain why doctors don’t routinely recommend it to people without diabetes, and why metformin hasn’t made it into the mainstream.

Medical experts said they have mixed feelings about whether people without diabetes should take the drug, in light of this lack of research.

“Theoretically someone can take it without diabetes, as there are some known side effects but they’re usually tolerated if the patient gradually increases dosage over time,” said Greg Burrell, a practicing physician and the co-founder of Carbon Health, a start-up with a chain of medical clinics across the Bay Area.

Burrell said he wouldn’t “block” a patient from taking it, but he would also educate them about the lack of human data. Animal trials can be useful, but humans and mice often react differently to medications so it’s not enough to prove safety and efficacy.

“I would suggest to my patients to wait for more human results,” he said.

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5 Other Uses for Hemp You May Not Know About

Hemp-derived CBD gets all the love in the media, but the plant is remarkably versatile.


3 min read

Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which allows hemp cultivation and distribution across state lines, hemp is suddenly all the rage. Lost in the conversation is how versatile the plant is. In addition to being a great source for CBD, hemp can also be found in a host of household products. 

Related: What Does the New Farm Bill Mean For Legal Cannabis?

 

Fabric

Despite making up less than 1 percent of all textile products, hemp is a good source of fabric. Why? Hemp fabric is anti-microbial, has a high tensile strength, breathes better than cotton, and gets softer with ages. Hemp has also been shown to be environmentally friendly. In order to grow enough cotton to make just one T-shirt, you would need 720 gallons of water. Hemp requires half as much water. Hemp has been called a “carbon sink,” because it can store up to 9.82 tons of carbon dioxide per acre, which greatly offsets the carbon impact of producing hemp fabrics.

 

Plastic

One of the most significant contributors to pollution on Earth is plastic. Between 5.3 million and 14 million tons of plastic are discarded into the oceans annually by countries with ocean coastlines. From straws to shrink wrap, plastic is everywhere in our society; which is unfortunate, because it takes hundreds if not thousands of years to decompose. That’s where hemp can help. It’s biodegradable, uses fewer resources than the leading sources for plastic (like cotton), and contains high concentrations of cellulose; which is a critical ingredient in plastic creation. Companies like Porsche have started to introduce cars with bodies made from hemp-bioplastic.

 

Construction Material

You may not be able to make an entire house of hemp, but you can get close with something called hempcrete. The substance is made when you mix hemp’s pulpy wood-like center with a lime-based binder. The result is a building material that weights approximately 1/8th as much as concrete and about 1/20th the strength. When used as structural support, hempcrete can increase the load strength of a study wall by a factor of three to four times. Hempcrete is mold-resistant, carbon-negative, and works as an insulator.

Related: These Hemp Entrepreneurs Are Disrupting the Hospitality Industry

 

Soap

Typically made from hemp seeds, hemp soap is full of polyunsaturated fatty acids like Omega 6 and 3. Hemp soap is also full of vitamin E, which may be good for reducing UV damage, and vitamin A, which acts as an antioxidant. Because hemp naturally possesses anti-bacterial properties, most hemp soaps are also free of harmful additives like triclosan, which dries out the skin.

 

Batteries

Researchers are looking at using hemp as an inexpensive and more efficient component of batteries. A team of scientists at the University of Alberta discovered that the pulpy wood-like center of hemp stalks can be converted into carbon nanomaterials that are used in the creation of supercapacitors. Supercapacitors are essentially batteries that can charge and discharge within a matter of seconds. Supercapacitors can’t store a lot of energy, and scientists are hoping that those made of hemp can increase their capacity in an eco-friendly way.

Related: Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: What’s the Difference?

 

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Everything Hemp USA

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With the Right Mindset, Your Setbacks Can Set You Up for Success

Merril Hoge, former NFL running back and football analyst, discusses how his own experiences with concussions spurred him to research chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).


2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In this video with host of The Playbook Dave Meltzer, former football player and analyst Merril Hoge breaks down how he began to view setbacks as setups — tools that could help set him up for success later. He also talks about the two most important tools for entrepreneurs and the evolution of safety equipment and medical treatment in sports.

Editors’ note: In this video, Hoge says, “There’s no scientific evidence that football causes CTE, hockey causes CTE, concussions cause CTE … it’s not even scientific yet. It’s science fiction.” He cites a lack of scientific evidence in prominent journals and studies.

While the CDC admits that understanding among researchers about the causes of CTE is currently limited, it does state, “The research to date suggests that CTE is caused in part by repeated traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, and repeated hits to the head, called subconcussive head impacts.”

The CDC further states, “Subconcussive head impacts are bumps, blows, or jolts to the head. Unlike concussions, which cause symptoms, subconcussive head impacts do not cause symptoms. A collision while playing sports is one way a person can get a subconcussive head impact.”

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: David Meltzer

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Trump sends top officials to Beijing to continue China trade talks

President Donald Trump is sending U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing, China, on Thursday to continue U.S. trade talks with China, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday.

On Feb. 22 Chinese President Xi Jinping had delivered an optimistic message to Trump, calling on the U.S. and China to redouble their efforts to meet halfway on a trade deal that had been the subject of high-level bilateral meetings in Washington that week.

Lighthizer, who had attended the Oval Office meetings, said negotiations had made some progress but noted that “a few very big hurdles” remained.

The U.S. negotiators will be accompanied by Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and other senior officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of the Treasury.

According to Sanders, the United States looks forward to welcoming a delegation from China, led by Vice Premier Liu He, for meetings in Washington starting on April 3.

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