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Money & Finance

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  1. Here’s an interesting chart for you. Hmmm… how does this Credit Suisse report from 2017 related to Bezos’ comments? Let’s start with what he said and to whom. So to start with, he’s actually saying that his 24 year old company is late middle-aged by large company standards, and the Credit Suisse data shows that it’s actually geriatric compared to the average. Secondarily, context is key. He wasn’t talking to investors but likely senior staff, people who make a difference to Amazon’s ongoing ability to innovate and grow. And what is he telling them? This is fairly standard motivational stuff for corporate talks. The only reason it’s interesting is that Amazon is a trillion-dollar company and Bezos is the richest man in the world. Otherwise, it’s generic CEO pablum that the people listening were probably playing internal games of buzzword bingo to. There aren’t that many really old companies running around any more. And many of them sell legacy products, as Jim Beam does. The world is changing more rapidly than ever, and corporations are struggling to keep up in the face of disruption. Bezos is right, but he’s also somewhat banal. Jeff Bezos said Amazon will go bankrupt, is this true or just a publicity stunt?
  2. When handsome 24-year-old footballer Daniel Correa Freitas joined the throng of family and friends celebrating the 18th birthday of a friend, he had little idea of the horror that lay in store. A champagne-fueled evening in a local nightclub had culminated early in the morning at an impromptu party at the family home of Allana Brittes. It was here, at 8 a.m., that Freitas sent a series of selfies on WhatsApp showing him lying in bed alongside Allana’s mother, Cristiana. “I’m going to devour the birthday girl’s mom…and the dad is here,’’ a grinning Freitas wrote to friends. One replied: “That guy is going to beat you up.” Little could the friend have known the extent to which this casual, jocular prediction would come true. Just hours after that exchange Freitas was dead, his body dumped in bushes in a nearby town — he had been castrated and nearly decapitated. Revenge attack after ‘rape’ The gruesome discovery in the southern Brazilian city of San Jose dos Pinhais has made headlines around the world, not in the least because of the bizarre events that have unfolded in its aftermath. Mod Three days after Freitas’ body was found, Allana’s father, Edison Brittes Jr., a well-known businessman, admitted to killing him, claiming it was a revenge attack after finding Frietas attempting to rape his wife, Cristiana. The murder investigation has been full of twists and turns, and among the issues puzzling detectives now are toxicology reports showing the amount of alcohol in Freitas’ bloodstream. Yet, while Edison insisted he acted alone, police have also arrested both Cristiana and Allana on suspicion of helping to cover up the soccer star’s murder – and they are still looking for another three people they believe may have been involved in his death. The soccer player on the cusp of stardom The claims and counterclaims in the shocking case have transfixed the Brazilian public, who are still coming to terms with the shocking death of a boy who played in their equivalent of the English Premier League. Freitas, who was signed by leading club Sao Paulo two years ago, was tipped for a glittering future. A popular figure among teammates, his soulful eyes and athletic frame meant he had no shortage of female admirers — among them Allana, whom he met in 2017 while playing on loan for her home city of Curitiba. This week, she insisted to police that their yearlong friendship was purely platonic, although it was strong enough for Freitas to make the two-hour journey from Sao Bento, where he was based, to join her intimate 18th birthday celebration. Only 20 people were invited to the party in a Curitiba nightclub on Oct. 26. The party eventually ended in the early hours of the 27th at the family home. ‘I’m going to devour the birthday girl’s mum … and the dad is here’ Exactly what happened next is the subject of the ongoing police investigation, but at some point after 8 a.m., Freitas sent a series of WhatsApp messages to friends in which he claimed he was about to have sex with Cristiana. Modal Trigg Accompanied by a selfie showing him lying in bed alongside either a sleeping or possibly unconscious Cristiana — still wearing the dress she wore to the party — the grinning footballer wrote: “I can sleep here. There are several women sleeping all over the house.” In a subsequent message, he took things further: “I’m going to devour the birthday girl’s mum … and the dad is here.” He followed it up with another message 10 minutes later, which read simply: “I ate her.” He was found dead by passers-by, practically beheaded with severed genitals hours later. In the immediate aftermath, Edison did his best to appear normal, even calling a friend of Freitas to commiserate over his death. In a recording, obtained by Brazilian news outfit Globo News, he called Freitas’ death “a tragedy,” offering to help and insisting that the victim had left the family’s house alive. “Man, we don’t know what happened. He has not left (his) cellphone, he’s gone,” he said. “Allana is in shock, man. God, I had to try to soothe (her) down.” ‘He was beaten and killed cruelly’ His daughter, meanwhile, was also at pains to suggest she knew nothing. In a series of text message exchanges with Freitas’ anguished mother and aunt she too insisted that Freitas had left her home alone at around 8 a.m. “He just said goodbye, got up and left,” she wrote in one message to Freitas’ mother, adding, “Let’s have faith. It will be all right.” When his mother sent a subsequent audio message saying that Freitas was dead, Allana responded that she did not believe it. “Tell me it’s a lie,” she wrote. A day later, she posted a picture of herself with Freitas on Instagram suggesting she was upset that he had not sent her a birthday card. “This year you did not send me one,” she wrote, alongside a crying emoji. Murder confession and screams from the bedroom Two days later her father was arrested on suspicion of murder – a murder to which he quickly confessed, claiming to have acted in a “moment of madness” after hearing his wife’s anguished screams from their bedroom. Modal Trigge In a televised interview with a Brazilian television station, he described smashing down the master bedroom door down to find the soccer star lying on top of his wife. “She was screaming and begging for help,” he said. “What I did was what any man would do, because the woman that was there was not my wife, she was every woman in Brazil. “It could be your daughter, sister, mother or wife. At that moment it was my wife, Cris, who I have been married to for 20 years.” He added: “When I threw him off my wife, I threw him on the floor and stopped her being raped by that monstrous scumbag. I hit him a lot, a lot and took him out of the house. I don’t know if he was awake or unconscious or if he had just closed his eyes. “I wasn’t thinking of anything. I had a knife in the car, a small knife, which was with the tools in the trunk. I did not know I was going to do that, I was desperate, besides myself with rage. I looked in the trunk and saw what was there.” More than one attacker? Adding that he had put the soccer star’s body in the trunk of the car, he insisted that while his friends had helped him take him out of the house they had tried to stop him from committing the crime. “But they could not do it,” he insisted. His version of events was apparently backed up this week by both Allana — who told police she too heard screaming from her mother’s bedroom – and Cristiana herself, who in a statement to detectives claimed she woke to find the player rubbing his penis against her before her husband stabbed him. “Cristiana confirms that she suffered sexual abuse without penetration by (Freitas) who rubbed his penis on her,” her lawyer Claudio Dalledone Jr. revealed this week. “She was drunk, asleep and thought it was a dream. She saw him on top of her and started screaming.” The police are not yet convinced this is the truth, as investigator, Amadeu Trevisan, made clear this week. “The facts don’t add up,” he declared, emphasizing that it had not yet been proven whether Freitas had had sex with the suspect’s wife – and, moreover, that police believed that three more people participated in the soccer star’s beating. “We are identifying who was in the house with the main suspect on that night. We believe three people entered the room with (Edison) and the player (in order) to kill Daniel. “Regardless of what happened between Daniel and the wife of the main suspect, the reaction of the aggressor was disproportionate. He was beaten and killed cruelly.” Of that there is no doubt. Yet on Thursday night, as they prepared to question Cristiana, Edison defiantly continued to insist that he committed the crime on his own – hinting that he would do the same again if he had to. “Rumors always get started but the truth will come out,” he said. “I know I did what I did. I want everybody watching to think what they would do to keep the moral integrity of your family and help a small and fragile woman.” https://nypost.com/2018/11/09/new-evidence-emerges-in-case-of-castrated-dead-soccer-star/?utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral
  3. The Tyndall F-22 problem is part of a larger F-22 problem. The USAF has a little over 180 F-22s in inventory. Of that 180 only about 120 are flyable. The other 60 or so are long term hanger queens that are useful for cannibalizing parts. Of the 120 that can fly, there is an availability rate of about 50% versus a Pentagon mandate for 80% availability. We probably only have around 60 F-22s to cover the entire world on any given day. That is part of the reason why the F-22 platforms hang around the US in places like Washington DC, Panama City, Honolulu, and Anchorage. They are in a defensive posture, guarding the US. There are hardly enough F-22s flying for the pilots to get the flight hours that they need to stay proficient. This F-22 readiness issue is caused by money. The USAF doesn't have the budget to operate at full capacity, so they cut operating budgets where they must. The F-22 hasn't been a full fledged weapons system since Congress cut the build order to 187 units, and they are so expensive to maintain that there is good savings by not doing the repairs, so the F-22 is an operational component that is ripe for cuts. The F-22 inventory is scheduled for major upgrades to each platform over the next few years. During that time, Pentagon budget officials and Congressmen are going to look at the F-22 for justification for those upgrades. The US Navy and US Marines have no reason to support F-22 upgrades because the F-22 upgrades take money out of their budgets. In the aftermath of the 187 platform decision, the Pentagon fully funded the F-35 program because that program could supply the number of new, 5th generation fighters that the USAF, US Navy, and US Marines need. All three services that fly fighters could get behind the F-35 program because they each have a variant or two of the F-35. Yes, the F-35 program eats cash like crazy. By the end of 2018, there will be about 350 operational F-35s. Around 250 of them will belong to the US. All parts for F-35s are in mass production at this time, so there shouldn't be F-35 hanger queens. Even the old F-35s at Eglin AFB will be upgraded to block 3F or 4F capability. As the ALIS support system starts functioning properly and maintenance units get experienced, the F-35 availability rate and flight hours per platform will start to approach the levels of previous platforms. More money will be needed for the F-35 program to be fully implemented. When everything is right, the F-22 is a beautiful airplane. It looks great at airshows when it does that quick turnaround that totally kills its airspeed. There aren't enough of them for the program to ever be fully functional. They will continue to sit around in WWII hangers with inadequate protection. I would love for a high level Pentagon official to shed some light on this situation. The American taxpayer needs to know. Why did we lose 17 F-22 fighters in Hurricane Michael? Why were they not evacuated?
  4. “A lot of founding principles of Facebook are that if people have access to more information and are more connected, it will make the world better; people will have more understanding, more empathy. That’s the guiding principle for me. On hard days, I really just step back, and that’s the thing that keeps me going.”
  5. Not sure who you've been talking to the past few months...but NYT journalists were chatting in secret with 50+ people (execs, lawmakers, lobbyists, etc.) about Facebook's (-0.26%) handling of its recent scandals. What did they find? The report claims that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg ignored warning signs, deflected blame, and sought to "shift public anger toward rival companies." And that's only the first couple paragraphs. Here's more: "At critical moments over the last three years, [Zuckerberg and Sandberg] were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates..." Apple CEO Tim Cook's criticism of Facebook "infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones." Facebook's board pushed back yesterday, calling the report "grossly unfair." It admitted the company was "too slow" to detect Russian election interference, but said it's "made considerable progress" since then. Exhibits A and B? Its ability to limit misinformation around the midterm elections, and this brand new report detailing its removal of harmful content. Plus, Zuckerberg made a point to defend himself in front of reporters yesterday.
  6. Is That an AI Lab? Nope, Just a Walmart If we've told you once, we've told you a thousand times: A booming economy and strong consumer sentiment have been great for retailers. So instead of only telling you about Walmart's (-2.01%) third-quarter financials (which, BTW, featured 3.4% U.S. sales growth and $124.9 billion in revenue), let's talk about how Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is trying to innovate. There's a major focus on winning customers online. With annual e-commerce sales growth clocking in at 43% in Q3, Walmart looks ready for the prime-time holiday season. Walmart is set to pass Apple to become the third largest e-commerce retailer by sales this year (behind Amazon and eBay), according to eMarketer. It'll snag 4% of U.S. e-commerce sales, up from 3.3% last year. And that takes tech investment. Stores are morphing into tech powerhouses, complete with distribution hubs to speed up deliveries, employees trained to work in tandem with AI/robots, and handy apps to help customers find what they need.
  7. Bitcoin fell below $6,000 on its way to hit its lowest level of the year. Other cryptocurrencies (like Ether and XRP) had an even worseday.
  8. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (-0.87%) added more than 35 million shares of JPMorgan (+1.56% after hours) to its portfolio last quarter.
  9. Via AP Do bosses... Report four consecutive quarters of sales growth at existing locations? Boost earnings guidance for the year? Invest more than $200 million renovating a specific set of stores (called "magnets") with new technology and more varied merchandise? Expect to hit $1 billion in mobile sales this year? Apparently. But we're also guessing a 7.2% drop in share price isn't part of the job description. So why did investors knock Macy's yesterday? Because everything's relative. Bloomberg's Sarah Halzack points out investors have set a high bar for retailers given a high-flying economy and strong consumer sentiment. Plus, keep in mind financials are often compared year-over-year. Q3 2017 for Macy's was "grisly." The true test will be how it performs during this holiday season.
  10. Natural gas futures skyrocketed as much as 20% yesterday. Traders are worried about skimpy supply levels (which are at a 15-year seasonal low) heading into what could be a frigid few months. Of course, new weather forecasts and supply concerns aren't the only factors at play here. Wonky hedge fund strategies also contributed a great deal to the market volatility, according to some analysts. Still, natural gas prices are up more than 50% this year. And that could mean a higher heating bill this winter (especially if you're in the Northeast, which suffers from Pipeline Deficiency Syndrome). + The more you know: A common unit of measurement for natural gas is "mmBtus," or one million British Thermal Units. A Btu is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
  11. Uber's Losses Keep Growing Uber's main refrain from its (self-reported) Q3 earnings? It takes money to make money. On the top line...the ride-hailing firm raked in $2.95 billion, up 38% annually (though growth is slowing). And gross bookings reached $12.7 billion, up 34% YoY. UberEats was a standout—the food delivery service earned $2.1 billion in gross bookings, up more than 150% from a year ago. But on the bottom line...things look a little different. Uber's net loss (on a GAAP basis) for the quarter hit $1.07 billion (it lost $891 million in Q2). So what's going on? What was in 2010 just a ride-hailing service now does food delivery, bike-sharing, scooter-sharing, autonomous vehicles, "vomit fraud," and more. After all, becoming an all-inclusive "urban mobility platform," as CEO Dara Khosrowshahi likes to call it, is expensive. Zoom out: Uber is attempting to prove itself in "competitive markets" ahead of a slated 2019 IPO. But these growing losses might make it harder for bankers to back what some expect to be a $120 billion valuation.

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