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Here’s what we learned about Disney’s upcoming films at the D23 Expo

R2-D2 and BB-8 attend Go Behind The Scenes with Walt Disney Studios during D23 Expo 2019 at Anaheim Convention Center on August 24, 2019 in Anaheim, California.

Frazer Harrison | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Disney is the king of the box office. The company, which houses a half dozen studios under its film umbrella, has hauled in nearly $8 billion globally since January, and still has three more film releases before the end of the year.

On Saturday, the company gave fans more to feast on. In addition to providing information about already announced and upcoming releases like “Frozen II,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Black Widow,” Disney shared details about previously unannounced projects like “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Black Panther II” during a panel at its D23 Expo in Anaheim.

The panel was packed with more than 7,000 Disney fans eagerly awaiting every scrap of a detail or glimpse into Disney’s upcoming catalog of feature films.

Here’s a breakdown by studio of what movie audiences can expect from Disney in the coming years.


Co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn was the host of the panel Saturday. He began the presentation showcasing the titles from 20th Century Fox that Disney had acquired and would be released in the next year and beyond.

“Ford v Ferrari” will hit theaters in November; “Spies in Disguise,” an animated feature comes in December; “The King’s Man,” arrives in February of next year; and the first sequel to “Avatar” will be released in 2021.

The recent Fox acquisition is just another feather in Disney’s cap and the work of CEO Bob Iger. Horn praised Iger’s 14-year tenure at the helm of the company saying, “three of the studios we are celebrating today wouldn’t be possible without Bob Iger.”

Fox marks the fourth major studio acquisition that Iger has completed during his time with the company.

Star Wars

“The Rise of Skywalker,” the final film in the Skywalker saga arrives to theaters in December. The much anticipated film has been kept under wraps by the folks at Lucasfilm. A teaser trailer was released in April at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, but very few stills, clips or videos have been released since.

Fans got a brief glimpse at another teaser which received deafening applause and chants for it to be played again.

In the footage was a duel between Rey and Kylo Ren, C-3PO with red eyes, a glimpse of General Leia and shots of the group of heroes standing on a cliff above a bustling desert city. However, the shot that truly made the crowd roar was a quick scene with Rey in a hooded black robe unfolding a red double-sided lightsaber.

“It’s hard for me to understand the story is ending,” said Anthony Daniels, the actor behind C-3PO said on stage at the Expo. “But what an ending. You’ll love it.”

Fans are still eagerly awaiting an official trailer for the upcoming film, but these new visual will keep them buzzing until one is released.


The 23 film epic that is the “Infinity Saga” has ended and Marvel is headed toward a new beginning. Old favorites and new faces met at D23 as the studio announced a sequel to “Black Panther” due out in May 2022, as well as the cast behind the upcoming “Eternals.”

“Game of Thrones” alum Kit Harrington was announced as the character Dane Whitman, AKA the Black Knight, and Angelina Jolie was revealed as the warrior Thena.

Other cast members include Richard Madden as Ikaris, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Dong-seok Ma as Gilgamesh and Lauren Ridloff as Makkari.

Also during the panel, Marvel revealed footage from “Black Widow,” which teased that fans will finally get to see exactly what happened in Budapest all those years ago.


Following the monumental success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, Disney will release a film based on the iconic Jungle Cruise ride.

The film features Dwayne Johnson as the skipper and Emily Blunt as a scientist looking for a magical tree with healing properties.

The company also provided more context for its upcoming sequel to “Maleficent.” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” takes places several years after the first. Aurora is now older and she and her adoptive mother must deal with a world that wants to keep them apart.

Jolie, who reprises her role as Maleficent, said the film explores how family is not just defined by blood, but love.

Still from Disney’s remake of “The Lion King” featuring Mufasa and a young Simba on Pride Rock.


Disney revealed several clips from “Mulan,” which hits theaters next year, which detail the epic battle sequences and costuming for the reimagining. The film will blend together elements of the original ballad of Mulan with the animated Disney feature.

The studio also revealed an image of Emma Stone in “Cruella,” but not much else was revealed about the film. Stone did reveal via a video that the movie is set in 1970’s London.


Next year, Pixar will release two original features “Onward” and “Soul.”

“Onward,” which will arrive in theaters in the spring, centers around two elf brothers who lost their father at a young age. The pair are given a chance to see him via a magic spell. However, when they attempt to perform the spell, something goes wrong.

The brothers now must travel on a quest to complete the spell and reunite with their dad. The story takes place in a mythical realm where centaurs, unicorns and gnomes roam.

The second film, due out in the summer, is “Soul.”

The feature focuses on the question “why am I here?” and tells the story of how each person on the planet received their soul. Souls are trained in a place called the “You Seminar,” and only after completing the course are they placed into a body.

Pixar executives explained that the film details how souls earn their personalities, traits and quirks.

The story centers around Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher who dreams of becoming a famous jazz musician. Gardner has a misstep on the streets of New York and is accidentally transported back to You Seminar. There he meets a soul named Twenty-Two, who has been at the Seminar for years, and is terrified of Earth.

Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and Daveed Diggs are all lending their voices to the film.

Walt Disney Animation

To end the presentation, Disney revealed its Thanksgiving feature for 2020: “Raya and the Last Dragon.” The animated adventure film centers around Raya, a warrior in search of the last dragon in the fictional world of Kumandra. The production team pulled inspiration from South East Asia.

However, when she finds this creature, it’s not quite as she had expected. Sisu is trapped in human form and needs help to reclaim her power and transform into her true form.

Cassie Steele voices Raya while Awkwafina voices Sisu.

Disney releases Frozen II trailer to hit theaters in Nov. 2019.

Source: Disney

The studio also revealed the first glimpses of “Frozen II,” including three new songs. If you thought “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Let It Go” were catchy — just wait. Bobby and Kristen Lopez, the Academy Award-winning duo behind the music of the first film, have returned with gusto.

The film will answer questions like “why does Elsa have powers, but Anna doesn’t?” “Where did Elsa get her powers?” and “Where were Anna and Elsa’s parents going when they died?”

The creative team revealed that Evan Rachel Wood would voice Anna and Elsa’s mother in a flashback and Sterling K. Brown would voice Lieutenant Mattias, the leader of a group of people who have been trapped in an enchanted forest for decades.


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How Goldman Sachs nabbed the top three tech deals of 2019 and took a big lead in M&A

Sam Britton, head of tech, media and telecom M&A at Goldman Sachs

Source: Goldman Sachs

In the perpetual battle for tech investment banking supremacy, Goldman Sachs has taken a commanding lead this year over its Wall Street rivals, thanks to its top role in the three biggest deals of 2019.

The guy at the center of the action, Sam Britton, is a mountain biking New England transplant who you’ve probably never heard of. He is so publicity averse that he preferred not to have his individual photo at the top of this story (sorry, Sam). He’s a far cry from the swashbuckling Wall Street legends like Bruce Wasserstein, Jimmy Lee and Felix Rohatyn, who once controlled banking and were perfectly comfortable posing for magazine covers.

Britton, 50, is the head of Goldman’s technology, media and telecom M&A group, which is always a powerhouse in Silicon Valley but rarely has enjoyed this level of dominance.

Normally neck and neck with Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman has opened up a 12 percentage point market share advantage globally — 39% to 27% — over both banks when it comes to advising tech mergers and acquisitions, according to Dealogic. Last year, Goldman was third. In 2017, it finished first, beating out JPMorgan by less than four percentage points, based on Dealogic’s data.

Asked to explain the recent string of successes, Britton insisted on sharing credit with a team that’s been together for two decades and has advised on every kind of big deal imaginable, whether it’s an IPO, strategic acquisition, private equity buyout or massive asset sale.

“When Goldman is hired to sell a company, we’re not delivering a banker — we’re delivering a composite of experts,” Britton told CNBC in a recent interview. “These are people I’ve been in the trenches with for 20 years.”

From IPO to M&A

Britton’s biggest win of the year came in June, when Salesforce agreed to buy Tableau Software for $15.7 billion, which was by far the largest acquisition ever for the cloud software company in addition to being the most expensive tech transaction of 2019. The second-biggest deal was the sale of Ultimate Software for $11 billion to a consortium of private equity firms, and the third-largest was this month’s $10.7 billion sale of Symantec’s enterprise business to Broadcom.

That’s helped Goldman Sachs capture more than 48% of U.S. market share for tech deals this year, topping Morgan Stanley’s 38%, according to Dealogic. The gap is a bit narrower in the U.S. than it is globally.

The Tableau mandate speaks to how Goldman starts seeking out tech companies well before they become big businesses. Goldman won the lead left spot on Tableau’s IPO in 2013, which Britton attributes to a longstanding relationship between the company’s founders and Goldman’s George Lee, who joined the bank in 1994 and is co-chairman of the global tech group.

Being called on to work on a $15-billion-plus acquisition is the ultimate reward. The 1% or so a bank makes from that sort of deal produces many times the amount of revenue that it gets from the few percentage points worth of fees on a $300 million IPO — about what Tableau raised.

“You have to have durability with relationships, like with George Lee taking Tableau public,” said Britton, who grew up in Connecticut, studied at Yale University and got his MBA from Columbia Business School in New York. “We would never have been involved in the sale without that.”

In the M&A world, the selling bankers who are out to get the highest price tend to be known as the most ruthless negotiators. Qatalyst Group, the boutique technology bank founded by Frank Quattrone, has earned such a reputation after years of getting sky-high premiums for clients.

Not just about the transaction

Britton’s approach is different, according to those who have done deals with and against him.

“A lot of M&A guys are process oriented,” said John Hodge, who was a technology M&A banker at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse for nearly 20 years before moving to private equity. “They say ‘here’s what you need to do,’ and execute. There are others who have specific industry expertise from years of experience.”

Hodge, who’s now a partner at buyout firm Rubicon Technology Partners, puts Britton in a third category of bankers who “are very rare” and “actually true advisors to boards of directors.”

“He’s got everything you need and then combines a layer of critical thinking on top of his skills,” Hodge said.

Britton says he picked up his analytical style from his father, a mathematician who would jokingly chide his banking skills as nothing more than “division and multiplication.” He’s used his strength with numbers to advise eBay for decades on a series of acquisitions and divestitures, including the sale of Skype, the spinoff of PayPal and, according to people familiar with the matter, the company’s current plan to spinoff or sell StubHub and its Classifieds business. Britton declined to comment on that process.

He’s quick to deflect his success to a team of technology bankers who have been together since the 1990s and now manage various practices. They include Lee as well as Ryan Limaye and Nick Giovanni, who are co-heads of global tech banking, and Tammy Kiely, who was promoted last year to co-lead tech, media and telecommunications deals.

Giovanni said in an interview that the team consists of “sector experts who develop deep client relationships that last much longer than any single transaction.”

And unlike at other financial firms, where advisors get commissions for specific transactions, Goldman pays out the whole team for its collective results, Britton said.

About five years ago, Britton said he saw the changing tech landscape and made a conscious decision to focus more on subscription software, bulking up Goldman’s software banking team and learning as much as he could about what acquirers like Salesforce, Oracle, Cisco, HPE and IBM would be pursuing. The three top deals of 2019 have all been in software, while semiconductor, data center and internet acquisitions have been sparse.

Symantec, a 37-year-old software company that’s made all sorts of acquisitions and divestitures over the years, had never turned to Goldman to lead a deal prior to its recent sale process. A series of related transactions led by Britton put his group in position to get the call.

It started in 2011, when cybersecurity company Blue Coat Technologies hired Britton for a $1.3 billion sale to buyout firm Thoma Bravo. Britton was then tapped by Thoma Bravo to sell Blue Coat to Bain Capital in 2015 for $2.4 billion. A year later, Bain sold Blue Coat to Symantec for $4.65 billion, again hiring Britton on the deal.

The most lucrative in the sequence of deals came this month, when Britton flipped sides to advise Symantec on the sale of its enterprise business to Broadcom.

To keep getting hired by different buyers of the same asset, Britton did two things at once that may explain his broader success. He stayed close with management and the board, but he also impressed them by making them pay up.

“Ultimately you are hired to get the best outcome for your client,” said Britton. “If the other side sees that firsthand, and if you focus on operating with integrity, you can build repeat business.”

WATCH: Goldman Sachs’ Gregg Lemkau on the IPO market outlook and CBS, Viacom merger


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Trump can use these powers to pressure US companies to leave China

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on August 21, 2019.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Hours after China announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods on Friday, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. companies to “start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”

The stakes are high: U.S. companies invested a total of $256 billion in China between 1990 and 2017, compared with $140 billion Chinese companies have invested in the United States, according to estimates by the Rhodium Group research institute.

Some U.S. companies had been shifting operations out of China even before the tit-for-tat tariff trade war began more than a year ago. But winding down operations and shifting production out of China completely would take time. Further, many U.S. companies such as those in the aerospace, services and retail sectors would be sure to resist pressure to leave a market that is not only huge but growing.

Unlike China, the United States does not have a centrally planned economy. So what legal action can the president take to compel American companies to do his bidding?

Trump does have some powerful tools that would not require approval from U.S. Congress:

More tariffs 

Trump could do more of what he’s already doing, that is hiking tariffs to squeeze company profits enough for them to make it no longer worth their while to operate out of China.

Trump on Friday boosted by 5 percentage points the 25% tariffs already in place on nearly $250 billion of Chinese imports, including raw materials, machinery, and finished goods, with the new higher 30% rate to take effect on Oct. 1.

He said planned 10% tariffs on about $300 billion worth of additional Chinese-made consumer goods would be raised to 15%, with those measures set to take effect on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.

In addition to making it more expensive to buy components from Chinese suppliers, tariff hikes punish U.S. firms that manufacture goods through joint ventures in China.

“National Emergency” 

Trump could treat China more like Iran and order sanctions, which would involve declaring a national emergency under a 1977 law called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or IEEPA.

Once an emergency is declared, the law gives Trump broad authority to block the activities of individual companies or even entire economic sectors, former federal officials and legal experts said.

For example, by stating that Chinese theft of U.S. companies’ intellectual property constitutes a national emergency, Trump could order U.S. companies to avoid certain transactions, such as buying Chinese technology products, said Tim Meyer, director of the International Legal Studies Program at Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville.

Trump used a similar strategy earlier this year when he said illegal immigration was an emergency and threatened to put tariffs on all Mexican imports.

Past presidents have invoked IEEPA to freeze the assets of foreign governments, such as when former President Jimmy Carter in 1979 blocked assets owned by the Iranian government from passing through the U.S. financial system.

“The IEEPA framework is broad enough to do something blunt,” said Meyer.

Using it could risk unintended harm to the U.S. economy, said Peter Harrell, a former senior State Department official responsible for sanctions, now at the Center for a New American Security. U.S. officials would need to weigh the impact of China’s likely retaliation and how U.S. companies would be affected.

Invoking IEEPA could also trigger legal challenges in U.S. courts, said Mark Wu, a professor of international trade at Harvard Law School.

Federal procurement curbs

Another option that would not require congressional action would be to ban U.S. companies from competing for federal contracts if they also have operations in China, said Bill Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Such a measure might be targeted specifically at certain sectors since a blanket order would hit companies such as Boeing (BA.N), which is both a key weapons maker for the Pentagon and the top U.S. exporter.

Boeing opened its first completion plant for 737 airliners in China in December, a strategic investment aimed at building a sales lead over its European arch-rival Airbus (AIR.PA).

Boeing and Airbus have been expanding their footprint in China as they vie for orders in the country’s fast-growing aviation market, which is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest in the next decade.

1917 Trading with the Enemy Act

A far more dramatic measure, albeit highly unlikely, would be to invoke the Trading with the Enemy Act, which was passed by Congress during World War One.

The law allows the U.S. president to regulate and punish trade with a country with whom the United States is at war. Trump is unlikely to invoke this law because it would sharply escalate tensions with China, said Wu.

“It would be a much more dramatic step to declare China to be an enemy power with which the U.S. is at war, given the president has at times touted his friendship with and respect for President Xi (Jinping),” said Wu.

“That would amount to an overt declaration, while IEEPA would allow the Trump administration to take similar actions without as large of a diplomatic cost.”


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Trump is meeting with world leaders at G7 as he escalates US-China trade war

U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania arrive in Biarritz for the G7 summit, France August 24, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Regis Duvignau | Reuters

President Donald Trump arrived in France on Saturday for the annual meeting of the Group of 7 powers, one day after he called his Federal Reserve chief an enemy of the United States and urged American companies to end business with China in the midst of an escalating trade war.

The summit comes amid fears over a global economic slowdown, and U.S. tensions with allies over trade, Iran and Russia.

Trump said Friday he will raise existing duties on $250 billion in Chinese products to 30% from 25% on Oct. 1. Additionally, tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods, which start to take effect on Sept. 1, will now be 15% instead of 10%.

In addition to the China trade war tensions, the president has maintained tough rhetoric against the European Union. The White House is set to decide in November whether they will impose duties on the autos industry in Europe.

Earlier this year, Trump vowed to set tariffs on imported vehicles and parts from the EU and Japan, but delayed that duty for 180 days in May. The president signed a deal with the EU earlier this month to boost U.S. beef exports.

Trump again threatened to tax European cars Tuesday.

“Dealing with the European Union is very difficult; they drive a high bargain,” Trump said. “We have all the cards in this country because all we have to do is tax their cars and they’d give us anything we wanted because they send millions of Mercedes over. They send millions of BMWs over.”

Experts say that trade conflict with Europe could be much more damaging than the current tit-for-tat conflict with China.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters upon his arrival in France that he plans to tell Trump at the summit to pull back from the trade war with China. Johnson said his priorities for the summit “are clearly the state of global trade.”

“I am very worried about the way it’s going, the growth of protectionism, of tariffs that we’re seeing,” Johnson told reporters on the tarmac.

Trump’s first meeting on Saturday was a private lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron, who will host the summit, said they were discussing world crises, including Libya, Iran and Russia, as well as trade policy and climate change.

Trump said the two leaders “actually have a lot in common.”

“So far, so good,” Trump said. “The weather is fantastic. Everybody’s getting along. I think we will accomplish a lot this weekend.”

When asked if he would place tariffs on French wines in retaliation for France’s digital services tax, as he previously threatened to do, Trump was noncommittal, but responded that he loves French wine.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said on Saturday that the EU would “respond in kind” if the U.S. imposes tariffs on France over the digital tax plan.

The G-7, which represents the world’s major industrial economies, includes the U.S., Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Italy, and the U.K.

At the summit, world leaders are expected to discuss several foreign policy matters, including Iran and tensions between India and Pakistan, as well as record wildfires in the Amazon rainforest that have spurred global outrage.

Formal talks begin Sunday morning. Many experts expect the summit to end without a joint communique because of clashes on trade.


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This couple spent 7 months visiting every U.S. national park—here’s how they did it

For most, the typical weekday morning starts off with a blaring alarm clock, a rushed cup of coffee, and a noisy, stress-inducing commute to the office. But one couple found a way to trade the rat race for peaceful mornings spent hiking among active volcanoes in the Pacific one week and waking up beside still lakes surrounded by snow-capped mountains the next. No, they’re not trust fund kids. Yes, they did it on a budget. 

Lauren and Steven Keys, both 29, spent the past seven months traveling to all 61 U.S. national parks. The journey took them from Denali National Park and Preserve in northern Alaska to Everglades National Park in southern Florida, clocking in at roughly 30,000 miles.

“Yosemite, Death Valley, Hawaii Volcanoes — as the landscape changes, your breath is literally taken away and that’s what makes the national parks special for us,” Lauren tells CNBC Make It.

The idea of visiting all of the U.S. national parks started as a “whim,” early in 2018, Lauren says, but quickly evolved into a 2019 goal for the couple. The Keys spent six months living and working in Hawaii as their extended honeymoon in 2015, so they felt confident they could take that model and build on it. Instead of simply visiting each park as a weekend getaway or on a longer vacation, Lauren and Steven packed up their lives and hit the road, primarily traveling and living out of a converted Nissan NV200 cargo van for seven months.

The two spent roughly $45,000 on the experience, but Steven plans to sell the van now that they’re home again and re-coup about $8,000 — bringing the total cost of the adventure down to about $37,000. By working remotely, renting out their apartment and living simply, they were able to complete the trip without going into debt and without backtracking on any of their financial goals. In fact, Steven was able to keep his job at a Gainesville, Florida-based tutoring company and Lauren took on freelance marketing projects.

“We’re not influencers, and we didn’t have any fancy sponsorships. We just tried to figure out how to keep costs low while finding ways to make money along the way,” Lauren says.

Getting the right set of wheels

Lauren Keys in front of their converted Nissan NV200 cargo van

Source: Lauren and Steven Keys

The foundation of their journey was the Nissan cargo van, which they purchased slightly used in April 2018 for about $12,300. “It’s the most expensive vehicle we’ve ever purchased,” Steven says, but it had to meet a lot of needs. It had to be reliable, get good gas mileage and handle well. In that regard, the van was a huge success. They didn’t encounter any mechanical problems and the van got a little better than 24 miles per gallon, which meant they kept their gas budget under $4,500 for the entire trip.

The van also had to accommodate a slightly more unusual demand: housing a bed. “We picked the smallest van you can possibly get and still fit a full-sized mattress in the back,” Steven says. Before they embarked on their trip in January, Steven’s stepfather helped the couple customize the van a bit, building a platform for the bed and some storage.

“This trip really wouldn’t have been possible in the same way financially if we hadn’t been sleeping in a van almost every night,” Steven says, adding he calculates that the van saved the couple $15,000 in lodging costs.

The reality of #vanlife

Lauren Keys hiking in the National Park of American Samoa.

Lauren and Steven Keys

After a long day at the park or on the road, the Keys snuggled down under the stars…or the parking lot lights of the local Walmart. That’s because, as the couple learned, parking at the retailer is free, while the typical park campground charged $30 a night.

The cost of living in a van goes beyond just the vehicle and gas — there’s parking, showering, laundry and Wi-Fi to consider. Walmart became their go-to overnight destination, but they also hit up travel centers, like TravelCenters of America and Love’s, too. “At first, sleeping in the van was weird because you heard sounds you’re not used to hearing — diesel engines running if you’re at a travel center or something,” Lauren says, adding that soon enough it became routine.

It was tight quarters, but the Keys basically just used the van to drive and sleep, preferring to spend as much time as they could in the parks, or working out of a coffee shop with Wi-Fi.

“That’s a big misconception about #vanlife: You don’t have to make a home out of your van, you just really need a place to sleep for free and that will drive you around efficiently. You’re going to live out in the world, whether it’s in a national park or Starbucks,” Steven says.

Yet sleeping in the van, while cost-effective, wasn’t always an option — especially when temperatures dipped below freezing or rose to scorching. In the end, the couple did have to book some hotel stays, which added up to about five weeks of their total trip. They trimmed costs here by using some credit card points they’d saved up.

Not always glamorous

Steven Keys eating a quick lunch in the back of their van.

Source: Lauren and Steven Keys

When they did sleep in the van for weeks on end, they didn’t always have access to running water or plumbing. The solution? Gyms and laundromats. They bought a $20 monthly membership to Planet Fitness, which offers locations all over the country. When they traveled to more remote areas, they learned that many laundromats also have coin-operated showers.

And they had to hit up laundromats anyway because they were only able to store about two weeks’ worth of clothes in the van (although Steven swears Lauren packed a bit more than that). The other issue with the lack of storage was food. With no cooler and limited space, Lauren and Steven were limited to dining out.

“We did eat out the majority of our meals because it was too difficult to cook most of the time,” Steven says. They are both vegans, which made it hard to find “random food on the road,” Lauren says. They primarily stuck to fast food joints: the impossible burger from Carl’s Jr., veggie pizza slices from Blaze Pizza, and burrito bowls from Chipotle.

Even then, Steven says they tried to limit costs. They often ordered off the dollar menu instead of a combo meal and figured out restaurants where they could easily split a meal. “We definitely weren’t doing the Supersize Me diet, but I think we’re both happy to be back home and be able to cook,” Steven says.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing either. Steven and Lauren started their journey in the midst of the longest government shutdown. The 35-day shutdown furloughed National Park Service personnel and many parks were essentially left largely unsupervised. When the couple drove to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, they couldn’t get in since the visitor’s center functions as the entrance to the caves. In order to check that park off their list, they had to make a 20-hour detour later in their trip.

Making money while on the road

Steven Keys shooting at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Source: Lauren and Steven Keys

Since Lauren and Steven are not millionaires who can simply jet off for seven months, they needed to earn a living while they traveled the country. When planning for the trip, both approached their employers about the possibility of working remotely. Steven’s manager was game, Lauren’s was not.

“I started the trip with not a whole lot of plans,” Lauren says, but she wasn’t worried because the couple had a fairly robust savings cushion. Instead, she became the couple’s chief travel planner and researcher until she snagged freelance marketing work halfway into the adventure. Steven was able to bank about 10-12 hours a week. The two also run a photography business and were able to book a few gigs and sell some of their prints while exploring each park.

To keep the cash flowing in, the Keys also rented out their condo in Gainesville while they were away and worked some side hustles on the road, including entering a few Magic: The Gathering tournaments that netted Steven a profit of about $350 and a winning streak at Nevada casinos that banked them another $350.

Because they needed to juggle work and visiting the parks, their day-to-day schedule varied. “Every day we kind of set out to do what we wanted to do,” Lauren says. If it was a work day, they posted up in a Starbucks for a couple of hours, if it was a driving day they downloaded some podcasts to listen to and burned rubber, and if it was in the park day they talked to the rangers and found some good hiking.

Going even cheaper

Source: Lauren and Steven Keys

Looking back, one of the biggest expenses of the trip were the charter planes, boats and rental cars Lauren and Steven had to hire to get to some of the more remote parks in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For these, the Keys had to leave the van behind, flying to these destinations. When visiting Glacier Bay, for example, the couple used Delta points to fly from Seattle to Juneau leaving the van in Seattle for a few days. Even though seven months sounds like a long trip, it really only left an average of 3.5 days for each park once travel time was calculated in.

To get to Kobuk Valley and Gates of the Arctic in Alaska, they drove over 2,000 miles from Seattle to Fairbanks, chartered a plane out of a tiny air strip off the Dalton highway, flew 40 minutes to a small village and then took a second charter flight in order to hit both parks in a single day trip. Unfortunately, it was a rough ride. “It was non-stop vomiting,” Lauren says with a laugh.

Traveling to those far-flung parks set them back about $11,300, something that Lauren and Steven say the average traveler may want to skip. But for them, all of the hustling, planning and budgeting was worth it. If you treat travel as a lifestyle, rather than a week-long vacation, you’re going to get more value for your dollar, Steven says.

What’s next

On Aug. 5 on the ferry ride back from the Dry Tortugas National Park located just west of Key West in Florida, the crew announced to all the passengers that Lauren and Steven had completed their final park. They, justifiably, received a standing ovation.

This definitely not the last trip the couple will be taking. Even though they’ve only been home for less than a month, they’re already talking about the lessons they’ve learned and what they can apply toward their next adventure. “What draws us to doing these longer form types of travel has always been that feeling of being completely free,” Lauren says.

Lauren and Steven took selfies at every one of the 61 U.S. national parks’ visitors signs. Here they’re

Lauren and Steven Keys


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LinkedIn is training food truck workers, teachers and athletes to fill the tech talent gap

Enrique Torrendell joined LinkedIn as a software developer in the company’s Reach engineering apprenticeship program in 2017, and he remains with the company more than two years later.


Enrique Torrendell was stumped.

It was 2017, and Torrendell, who previously managed a food truck business in New York, had just started a new gig at LinkedIn as a software developer. Days into the new job he couldn’t figure out the correct code to write.

“At one point I thought, ‘I’m just going to go back to HR and be like thank you but I think we all made a mistake,'” Torrendell, who’s now 35, told CNBC.

The former food industry worker was part of Linkedin’s inaugural Reach initiative, an engineering apprenticeship program for people with non-technical backgrounds, including veterans, teachers, mothers who left the workforce and athletes. As part of a push to create a more diverse workplace and train people for other jobs in technology, LinkedIn has since introduced two more apprenticeship programs.

One of them attracted former NFL kicker Derek Dimke, who still works at the company.

The practice isn’t limited to LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft. Apprenticeship programs have gained popularity across the tech industry in recent years. In July, Twitter launched an engineering apprenticeship aimed at women and minorities. Amazon is looking to bolster technical talent internally, and announced earlier this month that it will invest $700 million to train about one-third of its U.S. workforce in “high-demand areas like medicine, cloud computing, and machine learning.”

There are more than 500,000 unfilled computer science jobs across the U.S., according to Those positions have become harder to fill with foreign workers since 2017 due to the Trump Administration’s policies that have limited immigration and cracked down on H-1B visa approvals.

At the same time, there’s an increasing number of ways for people to learn programming skills, whether through a host of online courses or from coding bootcamps, which have produced more than 15,000 graduates a year in the U.S. since 2015, according to Course Report.

“We want to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce,” said Brendan Browne, LinkedIn’s vice president of global talent acquisition, in an interview. “I’m not sure how we can really execute on that vision fully unless we actually live up to it by bringing the most diverse talent from a variety of walks of life into the company.”

Browne summed up the strategy this way: “Just bring in a bunch of people who don’t look like me, train them and just get out of their way.”

‘This can be learned’

In late 2016, Torrendell quit his food service job and enrolled in Flatiron School, which provides software and design programs and coding bootcamps, to pursue a career in technology. After completing the program, Torrendell was hired by LinkedIn for the Reach program and was initially working with the team that focuses on profile pages.

Despite his initial struggles, Torrendell didn’t quit on Reach, a multi-year program. He bought himself a massive whiteboard and drew out every step of the process he needed to code to finish the project until it all finally clicked.

“If everyone else that is working here can do it — I mean, they’re all working fine and we’re all humans — then this can be learned,” Torrendell remembers thinking.

Source: Flatiron School

More than two years later, Torrendell is now one of the lead iOS engineers at LinkedIn in Mountain View, California, and proof that people without background in computers can learn the ropes and be successful. Last year, LinkedIn introduced Unlock, an eight-week apprenticeship program geared towards people switching careers to sales, and Ramp, a nine-month program designed for those interested in working in recruiting.

Since the launch of the programs, LinkedIn has hired dozens of its apprentices into more permanent jobs.

There are currently 36 people going through the Reach program. Of the 29 graduates, 15 are software engineers at LinkedIn, the company said. Another works for the company in product operations and two moved to technical program manager roles at Microsoft. Six others are now software engineers at different companies.

LinkedIn said it hired the 28 apprentices who went through its Unlock program, though four have pursued non-sales roles. The company also hired eight of the 12 people from the inaugural Ramp apprenticeship, with two of the other graduates taking recruiting roles at other tech companies.

“These folks with non-traditional backgrounds help us understand our customers better because they come from industries that our customers are in,” said Annie Whetstine, Unlock’s program manager.

LinkedIn is currently accepting applicants for its next batch of Reach and Unlock apprentices and will kick off its next Ramp program in September.

Ivy Hopkins, a 43-year-old mother of two, had spent four years trying unsuccessfully to get back into the workforce before she was accepted into the Ramp apprenticeship in June 2018. After the program, LinkedIn hired her as a campus recruiter.

“This changed everything,” Hopkins said. “Any person with any background that is not standard, we bring so much experience” and many different points of view, she said.

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Trump’s tariffs on monkeys could ‘severely damage’ US medical research and send labs to China

A rhesus monkey on a calorie-restricted diet (left) and a control group monkey (right) who were subjects in a pioneering long-term study of the links between caloric restriction and aging at the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.

Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison

Researchers who use laboratory monkeys to study human diseases are worried that President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on China will damage U.S. biomedical research and send animal testing labs to China.

The Trump administration is set to impose a 15% levy on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports as part of the escalating U.S.-China trade war. The first of those tariffs will go into effect Sept. 1 with the remainder imposed Dec. 15.

The new tariffs are a concern for U.S. researchers who are struggling to acquire live animals in the midst of intense scrutiny from animal rights groups and continued bans by airlines on transporting them. Animal rights activists, in contrast, view the tariffs as a temporary victory that could slow down the imports of monkeys.

“Subjecting nonhuman primates to increased tariffs would severely damage vital primate research in the United States, [and] create a strong incentive for U.S.-based research and development to migrate to China,” said Matthew R. Bailey, executive director of the National Association for Biomedical Research.

Roughly 80% of all imported nonhuman primates used in scientific research in the U.S. come from China, according to the NABR. Monkeys are used to develop treatments for illnesses like AIDS, Ebola and Parkinson’s.

As demand for lab monkeys continues to rise, U.S. scientists are reporting delays in research projects because they can’t obtain enough animals, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Since most U.S. research projects are constrained by grant-dependent budgets, they would be unable to absorb a 5% to 25% cost spike for monkeys, according to the NABR. While some researchers will be forced to scale back projects due to the tariffs, others might cease U.S. operations and move research to China.

“The proposed tariff would hand China an even greater cost advantage, which will incentivize many researchers to conduct studies in China instead of the United States,” Bailey wrote in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer.

For instance, when the U.S. restricted research on chimpanzees in 2015, research moved to China, where scientists obtained the primates for substantially less money — $1,500 in China compared with $6,000 in the United States, according to the NABR.

China is a big biotech competitor

While some of the monkeys are imported from Mauritius, Cambodia and Vietnam, not enough of them pass research standards in those countries to meet U.S. demand. Some U.S. researchers argue that they cannot develop treatments without the cheap access to Chinese primates.

The number of nonhuman primates tested in U.S. labs increased by 22% from 2015 to 2017, according to the Department of Agriculture. In 2017, U.S. researchers experimented on 75,825 nonhuman primates, mostly rhesus macaques, the Chinese- and Indian-derived monkeys with brown fur and a reddish-pink face.

Under scrutiny from animal rights organizations, researchers have long argued that nonhuman primates are essential for developing treatments for human diseases. This includes the polio vaccine, blood transfusions and organ transplants as well as developing treatments for malaria and improving existing treatments for Parkinson’s.

Charles Roberts, a research director at Oregon National Primate Research Center, which has more than 4,000 primates, said that tariffs were less of a concern for academic research, and more of a problem for pharma researchers.

“The bigger picture is that in terms of utilizing nonhuman primates to make advancements in medical treatments, that momentum is shifting to China. They are putting huge investments in, whereas the U.S. isn’t,” he said.

“In China, they don’t have issues with animal rights extremists, whereas in the U.S. we are always justifying why we are using nonhuman primates. That has an effect on research, whereas in China they are not worried about that.”

In the U.S., there are seven federally funded U.S. primate research centers that are partnering with the National Institutes of Health. In the U.S., about two-thirds are rhesus macaques, but others study cynomolgus macaques, baboons and other species, according to the NIH.

A pseudo victory for animal rights groups

The new tariffs come as primate research centers in the U.S. struggle to acquire live primates from China, facing intense scrutiny from animal rights groups and bans on transportation.

Harvard University shuttered its national primate research center in 2015 following an investigation into four animal deaths. That same year, the NIH ended funding for all invasive chimpanzee studies and said those animals were no longer needed for research.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which advocates for animal rights, says it would like a total ban on monkey imports, or higher tariffs, in order to slow breeding in China. PETA has lobbied major airlines to stop transporting live animals for research, forcing some primate suppliers to use charter flights instead.

For animal rights activists, the potential for tariffs to slow down breeding in China and primate imports to the U.S. is a partial victory. But they point out that testing will inevitably continue, whether it’s in China or other countries with less restrictive research regulations.

“To the extent that tariffs prevent the shipment of monkeys from coming to the U.S., it’s a good thing, since it keeps the animals out of the laboratories,” said D.J. Schubert, wildlife biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute.

“But it won’t persist for an extended period of time,” he added. “The use of animals in biomedical research has moved from the U.S. — where labs think they are subject to restrictive regulations — to Asia, Latin America and Africa.”


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The investing mistakes you want to avoid as the market sinks — and what to to instead

It’s no secret that today’s markets are uncertain.

Between recent triple-digit drops to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and renewed fears of a looming recession, this year’s record run-up on stocks has been put on pause.

Whether that’s just a blip or signs of a prolonged downturn is to be determined.

In times like these, investors are susceptible to getting swept up by their emotions.

Dan Ariely, chief behavioral economist at personal finance app Qapital and professor of behavioral economics at Duke University, said that there are ways to avoid getting caught up — and making investment moves you could regret later.

Henderson Bay, New Zealand

chameleonseye | iStock Editorial | Getty Images

Resist the urge to check your portfolio

Watching the stock market can be a roller coaster of emotions.

“What happens on the day that it goes up?” Ariely said. “You feel happy.

“On the day it goes down, you feel extra miserable.”

But the best action to take in this market may sound counterintuitive: Don’t look at your portfolio.

Ariely recalled how during the financial crisis, he found himself caught up in checking his accounts more frequently.

“I wasn’t going to sell,” he said. “I wasn’t going to buy; I was just kind of looking obsessively.”

One Friday morning, he noticed he was consumed with checking his investments. And that put him in a bad mood.

Dan Ariely, behavioral economist and psychologist.

Photo: Mary R.

To change that, he locked himself out of his accounts, and then enjoyed the weekend with his wife.

“If we’re going to look at it going up and down, we’re just going to be more miserable,” Ariely said. “We’re not only going to be more miserable, but act on it.”

Those panicked decisions based on emotions often lead to regrets later, he said.

Of course, there are times when you have to log in. The key is to be intentional when you do.

“Decide what change you want to make, and only then open your portfolio,” Ariely said. “It’s never a good idea to open up your portfolio for fun and then decide what to do.”

Use caution when making decisions about the future

The decisions you make about the stock market are always decisions about the future, Ariely said.

Inevitably, many investors decide how to invest based on what happened in the past.

“It’s water under the bridge,” Ariely said. “It’s gone. It’s over.”

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And when past performance clouds your decisions, it also adds and emotional burden to your approach.

Instead, Ariely suggests, try to starting with a clean piece of paper or spreadsheet. Imagine all your assets are in cash, and then decide how you would invest that money today.

“It’s the right way to say, ‘What do we want and let’s implement it,’ rather than seeing what we have already,” Ariely said.

“That’s the right way to invest.”


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‘China is not paying for it’: Trump tariff hike hits everyone from beer brewers to book publishers

KM4 | Getty Images

They brew beer, make musical instruments, publish children’s books and design headphones.

Their industries are diverse, but they all have something in common: They represent American small and medium-sized businesses that rely on China either for production or essential equipment.

And they are dreading President Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs in a trade war that reached new intensity on Friday.

The trade fight erupted more than a year ago, but past rounds of import duties have mostly affected parts and components that are not obvious to the average U.S. consumer.

It’s this latest round that could impact everything from the craft beer you drink on the weekend to the musical instrument you play or the book your kid reads.

While some industries were granted a reprieve until Dec. 15 in the midst of the holiday shopping season, others will face higher tariffs as soon as Sept. 1, just before Labor Day.

Trump said on Friday that he “hereby ordered “ American companies to find an alternative to China and make their products in the United States.

The president also raised the tariff rate on $300 billion of Chinese imports from 10% to 15% in response to Beijing imposing tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Small and medium-sized companies are now scrambling to adjust their business plans in response.

‘It’s an unjustified tax’

Adrian Sawczuk has a passion for beer. He’s been a home brewer for a decade now, so when he and his wife, Dara, decided they wanted to open a business together, a brewery was a natural fit.

They’ve have had plans in the works for two years now. Tidal Creek Brewhouse is slated as a 10-barrel operation that will make craft beverages in house and serve the community and tourists in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The couple leased a property last year and is currently in the contracting and permitting process. They were even on the verge of ordering $300,000 of brewing equipment from China.

Then came the Trump’s Aug. 1 post on Twitter, in which he made good on his threat to raise tariffs on virtually all remaining imports from China. Then he increased those tariffs from 10% to 15%.

Brewery machinery is one of the many categories of goods that will be hit. Now, the Sawczuks’ plans are in limbo. A 15% tariff on $300,000 of equipment is significant for a small business.

“That money in my mind is just an unjustified tax,” Sawczuk said.

He would order the equipment from a domestic manufacturer — the problem is there just aren’t that many in the U.S. that offer the equipment he needs at a price that makes sense for the business. And it would create a supply problem if breweries suddenly started sourcing all their equipment domestically, Sawczuk said.

Instead, he’s planning on placing a smaller order to take a smaller hit from the tariffs and possibly even delay the brewery’s opening. Originally they were planning on the fall of 2019; now the first quarter of 2020 seems more realistic. He is also scaling back plans for a staff of up to 15 employees by a few positions.

One one way or another, the cost from the tariffs has to be absorbed.

“There’s a day either my shareholders are going to make less money, I’m going to pay my employees less, or I’m going to charge my customers more,” Sawczuk said.

‘Impossible to plan’

Sawczuk isn’t alone in his frustration. Win Cramer, CEO of JLab Audio, is facing similar challenges.

JLab began as a start-up in Tucson, Arizona, in 2005 and has grown into a brand whose earbuds and headphones compete with the big guys, Cramer said.

The company’s products are carried by retailers across the country — Kohl’s, Best Buy, Walmart and Home Depot.

JLab’s products were originally on a tariff list in 2018, but Cramer petitioned the government to get the products removed. But now, the products are on Trump’s Sept. 1 tariff list — a reversal Cramer doesn’t understand.

“For our business it’s impossible to plan,” he said. “We’re making shorter and shorter decisions based on the uncertainty we’re dealing with.”

As with Sawczuk’s South Carolina brewery, Cramer says the production he needs just isn’t available in the United States. JLab designs its products in California and has them manufactured in China.

“It’s misleading the public to assume that we can just build this stuff in America,” Cramer said. “The supply chain never existed for it and certainly doesn’t exist today… We can’t just flip that script.”

JLab already ordered its inventory for the fourth quarter and the shipment is on the water, en route right now — but the delivery will not arrive until after Sept. 1 when the tariffs go into effect.

“Losing 10% of our gross profit overnight is a tough pill to swallow,” he said, referring to the original tariff rate before Trump raised it to 15% on Friday.

The company, which has about 50 employees worldwide, is looking at ways to cut costs. Cramer was planning on hiring three people for the fourth quarter, but the company has decided to put that on hold.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

‘There are no trade secrets here’

While JLab Audio has put a hold on hiring several positions to save on costs, the publisher Holiday House is shifting some book printing out of China.

Founded in 1935, Holiday House was the first American publisher to focus exclusively on children’s books. Today, the Manhattan-based company has about 35 employees and publishes 120 new books a year.

Over the many years since Holiday House’s founding, much of the printing industry has moved overseas. And the four-color printing that is essential for Holiday House’s children’s book titles is now centralized in China.

Though the Trump administration agreed to postpone tariffs on children books until Dec. 15, the industry is facing disruption right now as publishers scramble to shift some printing out of China to other countries in Asia.

“There are good color printers in the U.S. and Canada, but they don’t have the capacity to service the entire industry and their prices are usually twice what you might pay,” said Derek Stordahl, Holiday House’s executive vice president.

Holiday House is moving some of its four-color printing to a partner in Malaysia, but it is facing delays as publishers big and small compete for slots with printers outside of China, he said.

“We’re going to miss print dates on some seasonal books that should be in the warehouse for Christmas and Hanukkah because of this chaos in the market, ” Stordahl said.

Stordahl doesn’t understand why books are caught in the middle of a U.S.-China trade war that is largely a battle over the future of high-tech industries. Washington has a long-standing policy of not imposing tariffs on education materials.

“None of this is high tech,” Stordahl said of book printing. “There are no trade secrets here.”

‘China is not paying for it’

Eastman Music Co., a musical instrument manufacturer and wholesaler, has an intimate understanding of U.S.-China trade relations. Eastman’s CEO, Qian Ni, came to the U.S. from China in 1986 to study at the Boston University School of Music.

His dad helped him source violins from China, which he began selling to music shops. After seeing the demand, he decided to open a company in the U.S. and set up a workshop in Beijing to manufacture instruments. The company has since grown to a little over 1,000 employees worldwide.

Eastman acquired Boston-area companies in 2004 and 2014 along with their U.S. manufacturing and is investing in growing its American production. But a majority of the company’s production still comes from its four factories in China.

The instruments Eastman produces are handcrafted by craftsmen who take years to hone their skills. Simply shifting production to avoid tariffs really isn’t an option, according to Zachary Maltzman, the company’s CFO.

“This isn’t an assembly line production that you can move to lower cost countries like Vietnam or Indonesia,” Maltzman said.

Eastman will have to increase prices on some products when the tariffs kick in, Maltzman said, but it’s unclear how big the impact will be for consumers. That’s because Eastman isn’t a retailer — it sells instruments to music shops and school districts across the country.

If a price increase is passed down the line to the end user, it’s also unclear how much more consumers are willing to pay before they stop buying instruments and demand drops off, Maltzman said.

But one thing is clear about the tariffs for him: “China obviously is not paying for it,” he said.


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EU chief Tusk says will ‘respond in kind’ if US imposes tariffs on France over digital tax

The European Union will “respond in kind” if the U.S. imposes tariffs on France over digital tax plan, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council said on Saturday.

Speaking at the G-7 leaders meet in Biarritz in France, Tusk said if President Donald Trump uses tariffs for political reasons then it can be risk for the whole world, including the EU, Reuters reported. 

Earlier on Saturday, Trump criticized the French digital tax aimed at big U.S. technology companies and threatened again to retaliate by taxing French wine.

Speaking to reporters at the White House before leaving for a Group of Seven summit in France, Trump said he is not a “big fan” of tech companies but “those are great American companies and frankly I don’t want France going out and taxing our companies.”

“And if they do that … we’ll be taxing their wine like they’ve never seen before,” he said according to Reuters.

France passed a 3% tax in July that targets roughly 30 big tech companies including Facebook, Amazon and Google. The levy applies to companies with more than 750 million euros ($830 million) in annual revenues from “digital activities,” including 25 million euros ($27 million) from within France.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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