QB sneak? Robert Griffin III selling 7-bedroom Texas mansion for $2.6M

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III throws a pass during an NFL football training camp practice at the team's headquarters, Friday, July 20, 2018, in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is hoping to score a sale of his massive estate in Conroe, TX, for $2.6 million.

The mansion wasn’t in the QB’s grasp for long. He’d purchased the waterfront property in 2016 for $2.25 million, according to real estate records.

Now that the 28-year-old Heisman Trophy winner is in camp with Baltimore, he may not need to relax at the lakefront retreat that’s located just a few hours’ drive from his childhood home, in Copperas Cove.  But he’ll pocket a small profit if the home sells for its asking price.

Let’s see what the spacious spread has to offer…

Built on just over an acre in 2007, the Mediterranean-style mansion has seven bedrooms and 10 baths. It features a two-story foyer, game room with wet bar and wine grotto, home theater, study, playroom, and four balconies. The chef’s kitchen has a spacious island, “ornate” cabinetry, and high-end appliances.

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 (Realtor.com)

The master suite boasts a master bath with dual vanities, a garden tub, and rain shower. The backyard sports a covered patio, beach-entry pool with swim-up bar, spa, outdoor kitchen, and bathroom. There’s also a private dock with two boat slips.

This isn’t the only real estate deal the former Redskins star has tackled. He recently sold a Florida mansion he used as a training retreat. The 13,000-square-foot property inReunion was sold for $3.2 million in June. Griffin had purchased the place in 2017 for $2.85 million.

Also in 2017, he listed his farmhouse-style property in Leesburg, VA. The space is rented through 2022 and is described as an “investor’s dream.” The 9,000-square-foot luxury home is still available for purchase for $2.7 million.

Griffin got his pro start with Washington, winning the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Injured in 2015, he was released by the team and then joined the Cleveland Browns, where he also suffered through an injury-filled season. He spent 2017 as a free agent and signed with the Ravens in the off-season.

Lance Loken of Houston Portfolio Real Estate represents the listing.

Apple value edges towards $1tn as shares hit new record

Apple shares hit a record at the start of trading on Wall Street, pushing the market value of the tech giant closer to the $1 trillion mark.

The shares rose more than 5% to above $200, close to the roughly $206 price needed to make it a $1tn company.

The rise came after Apple reported strong demand for its most expensive iPhones, boosting quarterly revenue despite just 1% growth in shipments.

The average iPhone price hit $724 (£552), well above the expected $694.

The firm said its $999 iPhone X – launched last year – remained its most popular iPhone model in the quarter and had driven the higher sales price.

Revenue growth of 31% in Apple’s services business, which includes the App store, Apple Music and Apple Pay, also boosted the firm’s performance.

Overall the tech giant’s revenue jumped 17% year-on-year to a quarterly record of $53.3bn (£40.6bn), with every region except Japan reporting double digit growth.

Profits rose to $11.5bn, up 32% compared to the same period in 2017.

“The lesson Apple’s management has learned from the iPhone X, is when you sell a smartphone for more than $1,000 you can sell fewer units and still reap the financial benefits,” said analyst Thomas Forte from DA Davidson & Co.


Graphic: How Apple has grown since 2001
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If Apple’s momentum continues, it could be the first US company to hit a $1tr market value.

Globally, PetroChina reached that milestone in 2007, though the market cap, which is generally calculated by multiplying the number of shares in a company by its current share price, was measured using the price of its Shanghai-listed shares, not those traded elsewhere, and has since fallen.

Apple already claims a market capitalisation of about $980bn, making it the world’s most valuable company, ahead of Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet and Microsoft.

To reach the $1tn threshold, Apple will need to see further increases to its share price – though exactly how high the price has to climb depends on how many shares Apple has.

That is changing as the firm is engaged in a generous share buyback programme, which it expanded by $100bn in May.

Tariff tensions

The company is also vulnerable to trade tensions between the US and China, which have led to new tariffs and rattled global stock markets.

The US is mulling additional duties on $200bn in Chinese imports, which could affect Apple’s operations. In recent days, state media in China have also had reports that fault Apple for not doing enough to counter spam in its messaging service.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook told financial analysts on Tuesday that the firm is assessing the risk from the latest US tariff proposal but has not felt direct effects from the higher duties already put in place.

“Our view on tariffs is that they show up as a tax on the consumer and wind up resulting in lower economic growth and sometimes can bring about significant risk of unintended consequences,” he said.

However, he said he was optimistic that “this will get sorted out”.

Global ranking

Apple sold 41.3m iPhones in the April through June period, up 1% from last year.

The appetite for the firm’s most expensive phones marked a contrast with the world’s largest smartphone seller Samsung, which disappointed investors by warning of lower than expected sales of its high-end Galaxy S9 .

But Chinese tech company Huawei, which reported 15% revenue growth in the first half of this year, overtook Apple to become the world’s second-biggest smartphone seller in the quarter, according to market research firms Canalys and IDC.

WhatsApp starts charging business users

WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp is launching new pay-to-use tools for businesses to communicate with their customers.

The move will allow its owner, Facebook, to make money from WhatsApp, which has lacked a revenue stream since dropping subscription fees.

Companies will be able to provide information and services, such as delivery dates or boarding passes, to customers via the platform.

In return, the businesses will pay a fee for a confirmed delivery.

The messages are set to cost between 0.5 cents to 9 cents (0.3p to 7p) a message depending on the country the user is based in. They can be automated or provided by human customer assistants.

The price means they will often be more expensive to use than more basic SMS-based texts.

Like other messages sent via the platform, they will be encrypted, meaning WhatsApp will not be able to read them itself.

However, the Wall Street Journal reported that companies would be allowed to store copies of the messages elsewhere in a decrypted state.

Transport company Uber, the online store Wish and travel service Booking.com are among the first companies to adopt the new facilities.

Facebook paid $19bn to buy WhatsApp in 2014 and there has long been speculation about how Facebook intended to make money from it.

The move comes three months after WhatsApp’s former boss Jan Koum announced he was quitting the service he had co-founded.

Tesla boss Elon Musk facing two lawsuits

Tesla car at a charging station

Tesla boss Elon Musk is facing legal action on two fronts amid allegations over his firm’s business practices.

In one case, a former employee that Tesla accused of sabotage has hit back with his own lawsuit accusing it of “dangerous and wasteful” behaviour.

In the other, ex-employees of its SolarCity subsidiary say they were wrongfully dismissed after uncovering evidence of fake sales records.

Tesla, best known for electric cars, denies all the claims in the lawsuits.

In June, the carmaker filed a lawsuit accusing Martin Tripp, a former technician at Tesla’s Nevada factory, of hacking into its systems and passing confidential information to third parties.

Now Mr Tripp is suing for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is seeking at least $1m.

Mr Tripp maintains he was a whistleblower who leaked information to the Business Insider website because of environmental and safety issues.

The counter-claim, like the original lawsuit, was filed in the federal court in Nevada.

In it, Mr Tripp says he acted because of Tesla’s “high levels of waste and scrap”, as well as what he called “unnerving, dangerous and wasteful business practices”.

He also accuses Mr Musk of falsely implying in a tweet that he was bribed by Business Insider.

Inflated valuation

In a separate case, three former SolarCity workers say they were fired after their own attempt to blow the whistle on wrongdoing.

In a lawsuit filed in the San Diego Superior Court, they say they discovered fake sales accounts that were used to inflate the company’s valuation and justify bonuses for certain employees.

They say they told Mr Musk and other managers of their concerns, but were then dismissed in May 2017.

Tesla said it had fully investigated the issues and the facts did not support the allegations.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged of Tesla’s plan to build a factory in Shanghai, its first outside the US.

Last month, it signed an agreement with Chinese authorities to build the factory, which is expected to be producing 500,000 vehicles within five years of construction.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Tesla plans to invest $5bn (£3.8) in the project and is considering raising funds in China to finance at least part of that investment.

Facebook and Instagram introduce time limit tool

Close-up of someone on a mobile phone

Facebook and Instagram are releasing a new tool to limit how much time people spend on their apps.

The announcement follows concerns that excessive social media use can have a negative impact on mental health.

Users will now be able to check how much time they’ve spent scrolling, set a reminder for when they’ve reach their allotted time, and mute notifications for a period of time.

But some people say it doesn’t go far enough.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a radical change or that it’s going to really change a lot about the way that most people use Facebook or Instagram,” Grant Blank, from the Oxford Internet Institute, tells Newsbeat.

“It strikes me as a way to balance their corporate interest of keeping people spending as much time as possible on Facebook, while still being responsive to people who find the continual notifications to be disturbing or distracting.”

Screenshots of FacebookImage copyrightFACEBOOK
Image captionYou can access the tools on the settings page on either app by tapping “Your Activity” on Instagram or “Your Time on Facebook” on Facebook

Facebook published a blog post in December 2017 that acknowledged the negative effects of spending too much time on the platform.

In one experiment, students at the University of Michigan who were randomly assigned to scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes were “in a worse mood” at the end of the day than those assigned to be more active on the site – posting or talking to friends.

Another study from UC San Diego and Yale showed people who clicked on four times as many links or liked twice as many posts “reported worse mental health than average”.

‘What a waste of my time’

Lifestyle vlogger and Instagrammer Em Sheldon, 24, tells Newsbeat that checking up on her friends is an “all-day thing”.

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“While I think it’s part of the job, I do think it’s a problem because we become dependent on our phones and on checking social media.

“If I’ve got some free time, I’ll fill that void by scrolling.

“Social media is 24/7 for me, but I think it’s something that has crept up over time – the need for me to just constantly be on it.”

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Asked if the new feature would reduce how much time she spends on Facebook and Instagram, Em said she “doesn’t know if it would help” because “I’m aware that I use social media too much”.

But she does agree that having reminder notifications could be useful.

“Maybe it would give me the kick I need to put my phone down.

“If something popped up saying: ‘You’ve been using this app for six hours’, I’d be like, ‘Wow, that is a lot. What a waste of my time’.”

Fifteen hours a day on Twitter

Harry Hugo, co-founder of digital marketing company The Goat Agency, says the changes have been a “long time coming”.

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“With the emergence of mental health issues – especially among young people, who are spending the most time on these platforms – it’s really important that we put things in place that can help limit that.

“If they understand that they’re spending hours a day on these platforms, maybe it will make them think twice.”

Harry understands the idea of spending a lot of time online, saying he used to use Twitter for 15 or 16 hours a day when he was a teenager – “which sounds unbelievably unhealthy now I look back at it”.

Ultimately, he thinks it’s up to people to take responsibility for their own social media use.

“We’re the ones that open the phone, we’re the ones that tap on Instagram. We can’t just put it in the hands of Apple or Facebook to fix these problems.

“Obviously these things are great preventative techniques, but they’re not going to change it for good.”

Trial to test if GM fed salmon are more nutritious

Salmon

Researchers in the Highlands of Scotland are giving farmed salmon feed made from genetically modified crops.

The aim of the scientific trial is to increase the nutritional value of the fish.

The feed is rich in healthy fish oils, which the team hope will be absorbed by the salmon.

Critics argue that GM technology is “propping up” an unsustainable system of industrial food production.

Why does it matter?

Tests have shown that levels of an oil called omega-3 have decreased by half in farmed salmon in the past 10 years. It is what makes the fish so healthy. The oil is thought to be involved in brain development and reduces the risk of heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.

Even at current levels, farmed salmon is still a rich source of omega-3 – but levels are continuing to fall.

The salmon get their omega-3 from eating other oily fish, such as anchovies, that have been ground up and added to pellets that are sprayed into their pens.

But there’s a limited supply of anchovies and a growing demand for the salmon. So that means that all across the world there’s less oily fish to go round to make food for salmon.

So what’s the answer?

Researchers have added a gene from a type of marine algae to a camelina plant to produce the omega-3 fish oil. Lab tests show that fish fed on this oil have boosted levels of omega-3. The question that the researchers are now trying to answer is whether the same happens on a real fish farm.

Fish farm

Prof Douglas Tocher, of University of Stirling, who is leading the study is hoping his GM produced fish food will help turn things around and make farmed salmon as good for you as it once was.

“These are essential nutrients to our diet to maintain our health; particularly cardiovascular health, some inflammatory diseases and some cancers. Here in the UK, particularly up in Scotland, we suffer quite badly from many of the diseases for which dietary omega-3 has beneficial effects”.

Prof Tocher’s colleague, Dr Monica Betancor, of University of Stirling, says that GM technology is needed to feed an increasing population.

“We are feeding a starving world and we need to find an alternative.

“The population is growing very fast and omega-3 should be available to everyone, not just to those who can afford it.

“There is going to be a gap between supply and demand, and that gap can be filled by GM technology.”

Will I be able to buy it in the shops?

GM Plants

If the trial is successful it will be used by the industry to produce “GM healthy salmon” which will be on sale in North and South America and Asia but – as it stands – is unlikely to be used in the UK and the European Union because of perceived resistance to GM products.

Prof Johnathan Napier, who developed the GM plants at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden believes that Brexit might provide the UK government with an opportunity to rethink its approach to GM.

“I think the technology has a great deal to offer. It’s not necessarily a silver bullet but I think we should use it along with other approaches we could adopt. Especially now that we are going to be leaving the EU, we could make this an opportunity as to how we regulate GM.”

I bet not everyone agrees with them?

Liz O’Neill, who is the director of the campaign group GM Freeze, believes that the GM solution increases what she sees as an intensification of the mass production of food:

“Fish farming is a fundamentally unsustainable and inefficient form of producing food. So, yet again, GM is being used as a sticking plaster to prop up unsustainable farming methods and the industrialised production of our food.

“Using prime agricultural land to grow a crop that is then fed to fish who are kept in potentially environmentally damaging fish farms is not a holistic solution to the problem. People want a short food chain and they want to be connected with their food.”

Drug makers Sanofi and Novartis stockpiling for Brexit

Pills being produced by Novatis

Two of the world’s biggest drugs firms are stockpiling medicines in case of supply disruptions after Brexit.

France’s Sanofi is increasing its stocks by four weeks to give it a 14 week supply of medicines.

Switzerland’s Novartis said it was also preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Sanofi, which makes insulin, is worried about any transport delays following Brexit, as most of its supplies have to cross the Channel.

“The uncertainty in the Brexit negotiations means that Sanofi has been planning for a ‘no deal’ scenario,” said Hugo Fry, managing director, Sanofi UK, adding this was in line with recommendations by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

“Patient safety is our main priority and we have made arrangements for additional warehouse capacity in order to stockpile our products, where global supply allows, in the UK and increase UK-based resource to prepare for any changes to customs or regulatory processes,” said Mr Fry.

Sanofi’s Brexit preparations were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Quality control

The extra four weeks of supply is being built up as most of Sanofi’s supplies arrive in the UK through the Channel Tunnel. Disruption to this route in 2005, when there were strikes in France, led to around four weeks of disruption.

Another area of concern is the need to send batches of medicine back to the continent for quality control, which could become difficult if there is a hard Brexit. This means that some quality controls tasks performed by its Haverhill manufacturing facility in Suffolk will be conducted in the remaining 27 EU countries.

“This will lead to 12 planned job losses across several functions by summer 2020 although we are doing all we can to mitigate redundancies where possible,” Mr Fry said.

  • NHS to stockpile drugs for a no deal Brexit

“Sanofi is confident that its contingency plans will ensure that people in the UK can access the treatments they need after the UK leaves the European Union,” said Mr Fry.

Wider problem

Novartis did not disclose the extent of its plans but said that there were no plans to change its 1,500 workers in the UK .

“Alongside most other pharmaceutical companies, Novartis is preparing for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. We are planning to hold increased inventories across our portfolio of medicines from both Novartis and Sandoz,” the company said in a statement.

“Novartis has been in close consultation with the UK government about Brexit-related issues since before the 2016 referendum, both directly and via industry associations. We have apprised officials of our preparedness plans and status, including plans to increase our UK inventory holding,” it added.

Sanofi said it had written to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Last week, Mr Hancock said the NHS in England was preparing to stockpile medicines and blood in case the UK left the EU without a deal. He told the Health Select Committee that he had asked the department to work up options for stockpiling by industry”.

Other pharmaceutical companies have also begun to increase their stock piles. Last month, AstraZeneca said it was increasing drug stockpiles by about 20%in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.

It is not just pharmaceutical companies that are talking about stockpiling.

Plane manufacturer Airbus has said it may have to build supplies as its operates as “just in time” supply chain that replies on frictionless trade across the EU. UK engine maker Rolls-Royce has also warned about the need to stockpile parts

Ivanka Trump’s fashion company is shutting down

Ivanka Trump, a Senior White House advisor and daughter to President Trump, announced she would be closing her clothing brand after 18 months in Washington, D.C. Ivanka has faced criticism of having a conflict of interest since joining the White House staff.

Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter, is closing her namesake fashion brand, more than a year after she formally separated herself from the company and entered the White House as a senior adviser.

Apparel sales at the brand, which Ms. Trump launched in its current form in 2014, soared in the year of the 2016 presidential election. But the company also became a lightning rod for critics of her father’s policies, with one anti-Trump group last year urging shoppers to boycott stores selling Trump-branded goods. Retailers including Nordstrom Inc. and Hudson’s Bay have stopped selling Ivanka Trump products in the past 18 months, citing their performance.

Abigail Klem, who took over as president of the brand last spring, informed its 18 employees Tuesday that the company would be shutting down. Ms. Trump is set to address the staff later in the day.

Ms. Trump had contemplated the move in recent months as she grew frustrated by the restrictions she placed on the company, IT Collection LLC, to avoid possible conflicts of interest while serving in the White House.

National Lipstick Day: 5 things you never knew about the cosmetic

It's no secret that makeup - especially lipstick - offers a uniquely powerful tool for transformation.

It’s no secret that makeup is a powerful tool for transformation, making its popularity around the world for centuries simply logical. Lipstick in particular is universally beloved, as it can finish a look with a flourish or make a bold statement on its own.

In honor of National Lipstick Day on July 29, read up on these five fun facts about the much-adored cosmetic.

1. For almost as long as people have been getting dressed up, they’ve been wearing lipstick. According to BuzzFeed, history’s first use of lip paint can be traced back to around 5000 BCE in the modern-day Iraq and Kuwait region.

2. Since its early days, lipstick has been favored by royalty. Cleopatra may be famed for her eyeliner, but the Egyptian ruler was also known to tint her lips with a mixture of carmine and henna, Avon reports. Queen Elizabeth I too shared a penchant for lip color, famously lipstick as part of her signature look.

3. Despite appearances, when silent films first hit the silver screen in the 1920s, many actresses were not actually wearing black lipstick. The film stock was sensitive to color – making red lip stains appear black on screen, Makeup.com notes.

4. The average American woman will spend roughly $1,780 on lipstick in her lifetime, according to BuzzFeed.

5. The “lipstick index” is veritable phenomenon. Coined by Leonard Lauder, the former chairman of Estée Lauder, the theory claims that sales of the product often spike in times of financial hardship, as lipstick is a relatively affordable splurge, The Economist states.

Vest dispenser at San Francisco airport making good money despite passengers’ mocking

The San Francisco International Airport has a vending machine selling vests, but despite the internet's jokes, it actually brings in thousands of dollars a month.

A vending machine selling vests at the San Francisco airport is being mocked online, but officials say it makes thousands of dollars a month.

The “Uniqlo To-Go” machine, which dispenses $50 down vests in multiple colors, brings in around $10,000 each month at SFO, according to Doug Yakel, a spokesperson for the airport.

“This is the first time we’ve had clothing available for sale from a vending machine, which we thought was very unique,” Yakel told Business Insider.

The concept of the Uniqlo clothing vending machine isn’t new. The Japanese retailer has been selling popular items in malls and airports across the country for about a year now.

uniqlo vending machine1

The Japanese company has been selling popular items in vending machines across the U.S. for about a year.  (Uniqlo)

Many of the machines sell two of the brand’s popular items, a thermal T-shirt and a lightweight down jacket, but the fact that the one in San Francisco is selling vests has made it the butt of many jokes.

For some reason, vests have become the unofficial uniform of Silicon Valley and are synonymous with investors in the area, Business Insider reports. So when someone posted a photo of the vending machine on Twitter, people couldn’t help but point how very “San Francisco” it was.