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The latest news on Features from Business Insider

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    dollar general 3190

    • Dollar stores are having a moment. 
    • Dollar Tree currently has 14,000 locations, with plans to open hundreds more by the end of 2018. Comparable sales were up 2.3% at Dollar Tree in the third quarter.
    • Dollar General currently has about 15,000 locations, with plans to open 975 more in 2019. Comparable sales were up 2.8% at Dollar General in the third quarter.
    • While not a traditional dollar store in that its products are priced up to $5, Five Below opened 53 stores in the third quarter, bringing its store total to 745. Five Below's comparable sales grew by 4.8% in the quarter.
    • We shopped at all three dollar stores and found that one of them offered a much better experience than the other two.

    Dollar stores have been growing like crazy recently, with Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Five Below all opening tons of new stores in 2018. From 2010 to 2015, dollar-store sales grew from $30.4 billion to $45.3 billion in the United States. 

    Dollar Tree, which recently acquired the Family Dollar chain, currently has around 14,000 locations. In the third quarter of 2018, Dollar Tree reported comparable sales were up 2.3%. Dollar Tree said that in 2019, it plans to open 350 more namesake locations, 200 new Family Dollar locations, and rebrand 200 Family Dollar locations as Dollar Tree stores.

    Dollar General currently has around 15,000 locations. It is on track to open 900 new stores in 2018. During a call with investors on Tuesday, the company said it plans to open 975 more stores in 2019.

    While not a traditional dollar store in that its products are priced up to $5, Five Below announced its own plans to grow earlier this year. In the third quarter of 2018, Five Below reported comparable sales grew by 4.8%. It opened 53 new stores this quarter, bringing its store count to 745.

    One of those stores that opened was a flagship location on New York's Fifth Avenue, one of the most expensive shopping destinations in the US.

    We compared what it's like to shop at the three rapidly growing stores and found that one offered a far better experience. Here's the verdict:

    SEE ALSO: Five Below, the discount-store chain that's growing across America, just opened a store in one of the most glamorous parts of New York City. Here's what it's like to shop there.

    We visited Five Below in Queens, New York.



    Everything in the store cost $5 or less, and there were a few sales being advertised on top of the already low prices.



    There were wheelbarrows filled with school supplies for $5 or less at the front of the store ...



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Fast Food Signature Burgers 5

    Burger King has a new, bizarre deal. But, it is just the latest in the fast-food industry's long history of strange promotions. 

    On Tuesday, Burger King announced that if customers go within 600 feet of a McDonald's location, they can order a Whopper for one cent via the revamped Burger King app. The counterintuitive deal is intended to promote Burger King's recently relaunched app. 

    Burger King has a history of bizarre ads and deals. And, it isn't alone — the fast-food industry has perhaps some of the strangest promotions in the world. 

    Here are some of the weirdest deals, advertisements, and promotions that fast-food chains have used to win over customers:

    SEE ALSO: 'We were sober': Burger King finally explains why it tweeted gibberish for hours

    Burger King's Whopper deal

    "If a guest is inside one of these geofenced areas and has the new BK App on their device, the app will unlock the Whopper sandwich for a penny promotion," Burger King said in a press release on Tuesday. "Once the 1¢ Whopper sandwich order is placed, the user will be 'detoured' away from McDonald's, as the app navigates them to the nearest Burger King restaurant for pick up."

    The Whopper deal started Tuesday and runs through December 12.

    Read more:Burger King is giving away Whoppers for 1 cent — but you have to go to McDonald's to get them

     



    Burger King's obsession with foods that turn your poop green

    In 2015, Burger King launched a Halloween burger made with a black bun that turned people's feces a greenish color.

    Despite people's bathroom-related freak-outs, the chain has doubled down on scatological deals, launching the Scary Black Cherry slushie this year. And, many customers reacted with eager anticipation around what color their poop would be after drinking. 

    Read more: Burger King has a new spooky black slushie, but all people can talk about is how it's turning their poop weird colors



    Burger King's Google Home ad that was hacked to say the Whopper is made of a 'medium-sized child'

    In 2017, Burger King launched a TV ad that triggers people's Google Homes with the command, "Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?"

    When Business Insider tested the ad, Google Home recited the definition of a Whopper burger from its Wikipedia page. However, someone had edited the Whopper's Wikipedia page to say that the burger is made of a "medium-sized child," instead of a beef patty, and that it contains the toxic chemical cyanide.

    Burger King edited the Wikipedia entry and won an award at Cannes Lions for the ad. 

    Read more:Burger King's newest TV ad has a disastrous flaw



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    trader joe's 5

    • Retail work can be rough — but some retailers have proven to be positive and dynamic workplaces.
    • Glassdoor just ranked the best places to work in 2019.
    • Among retailers, apparel company Lululemon took the top spot in 2019.

    Retail work isn't always easy— but some companies provide a better environment for employees than others.

    Glassdoor just ranked the best places to work in 2019. Eight retail companies made the job site's list this year, accruing average scores on Glassdoor well above the site average of 3.4

    Glassdoor also provided Business Insider with seven additional companies that just missed out on the top 100 rankings. A Glassdoor spokesperson confirmed that none of the scores indicate ties, as the ratings go beyond the thousandth decimal place.

    Here are the top retailers to work for in 2019:

    SEE ALSO: Ikea announced it would be raising wages for its most 'disgruntled' group of US employees

    DON'T MISS: From entire lawn sets to used toilets, these are the most ridiculous returns employees from Costco, Walmart, and Target say they've ever gotten

    15. LUSH North America

    Glassdoor score: 4.1

    "The culture of Lush is really great," a Glassdoor reviewer wrote on June 1, 2018. "They're extremely accepting of all kinds of people, they give a lot to charity, and seem to truly believe in the products."



    14. Ralph Lauren

    Glassdoor score: 4.1

    "I feel incredibly fortunate to work for a company that has uncompromising brand and customer service standards and strong balance sheet," a Glassdoor reviewer wrote on June 27, 2018.



    13. Publix

    Glassdoor score: 4.1

    "A great company to work for," one Glassdoor reviewer wrote on November 12, 2018. "Great for a first job to anyone looking for a job. Flexible hours to meet family needs."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Bill Gates book

    • We've rounded up Bill Gates' many book recommendations in 2018.
    • Over the past year, Gates gave his stamp of approval to more than 20 titles, including two books on meditation.
    • In addition to science and data-driven stories, the list features popular books like Trevor Noah’s memoir, "Born a Crime," and John Green's "Turtles All the Way Down."

    Bill Gates isn't shy about recommending books. As an avid reader, he's given his stamp of approval to hundreds of titles, including some unlikely beach reads.

    This year alone, he's highlighted more than 20 books that captured his attention or expanded his worldview.

    Read more:Bill Gates reveals his 5 favorite books he read in the past year

    In typical Gates fashion, the list features nonfiction titles about artificial intelligence and global inequality. But it also features some surprises, like two books on meditation and Trevor Noah’s memoir, "Born a Crime."

    Whether you're searching for a gift or simply want to add to your collection, here are the books Gates thinks you should read. 

    "Bad Blood" by John Carreyrou

    Business Insider readers will no doubt be familiar with"Bad Blood." It's the story of Theranos, a blood-testing startup that deceived its investors, patients, and business partners into thinking its technology actually worked.

    When Elizabeth Holmes founded the company at just 19 years old, it attracted huge investments and catapulted her to worldwide fame. ThenThe Wall Street Journal broke the story that the company was faking test results, leading to the closure of its labs and testing centers. Holmes and her former business partner, Sunny Balwani, are now facing jail time on fraud charges.

    The book's author, John Carreyrou, spoke with Business Insider earlier this year about how Theranos was able to pull off the scam.

    "I think Elizabeth lost sight of the fact that her company wasn't a computer-software company," he said.

    Gates called the story "a cautionary tale about the virtues of celebrity" and a lesson for Silicon Valley.



    "Army of None" by Paul Scharre

    Paul Scharre's book,"Army of None, explores a timely and important question: Why should we put computers in charge?

    In an age when autonomous weapons can be programmed to wipe out human targets, "Army of None" makes the case for combining artificial intelligence with our own judgment, so that no algorithm can make the final call on a human life.

    Gates said the book filled a void in his canon.

    "My first attempt to educate myself on autonomous weapons was a bust," he wrote. "I read a book that was dry and felt really outdated. Then a few months ago I picked up 'Army of None' ... It's the book I had been waiting for."



    "Educated" by Tara Westover

    Fans of the Netflix documentary "Wild Wild Country" will enjoy Tara Westover's memoir,"Educated," the story of a woman raised in a Mormon survivalist home. As a child, Westover grew up under the influence of her conspiracy-theorist father, who believed that doomsday was upon them.

    Despite Westover never stepping foot in a classroom until age 17, she was able to study enough to gain admission to Brigham Young University. From there, she earned a Gates Scholarship (a fact Gates himself discovered upon reading her book), which brought her to the University of Cambridge.

    Her tale is one of trauma, separation, and, ultimately, self-discovery. It also touches on the polarization in America between red and blue states, rural and urban areas, and college-educated citizens and those without higher degrees.

    When Gates spoke with Westover about this subject, she had this to share: "I worry that education is becoming a stick that some people use to beat other people into submission or becoming something that people feel arrogant about," she said. "I think of [it] as this great mechanism of connecting and equalizing."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Nick Ayers

    President Donald Trump announced that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is on his way out of the administration, saying Kelly will be leaving "at the end of the year" and he will announce his replacement in the next day or two.

    Though Kelly said in July he would stick with Trump until 2020, months of tense clashes have stirred rumors the retired Marine would soon be replaced by Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff. 

    Ayers has been the long-suspected replacement for retired Marine Gen. Kelly, with reports saying he's been Trump's top choice to assume the spot since 2017.

    Here's some background on the man who could become the Trump administration's third chief of staff. 

    Nick Ayers, 36, is reportedly the top candidate to be the next White House chief of staff. He would be one of the youngest people to hold this position in decades.



    Ayers currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff.



    In a White House consumed by chaos, Ayers would have his work cut out for him. Chief of staff is arguably the toughest job in Trump's administration.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    video game

    • Lots of people buy video games, try them briefly, and forget about them for one reason or another.
    • There are plenty of games that deserve a second chance, or a revisit if you gave up on them the first time.

    Not every video game makes an excellent impression the first time around. But many games, especially in recent years, tend to improve greatly after their initial public launch. Updates, expansions, and even remasters can give an old video game new life.

    While there are dozens of video games worth revisiting, we highlighted the three that we think should be at the top of your "second chance" list. 

    SEE ALSO: 'Red Dead Online,' the online multiplayer mode for 'Red Dead Redemption 2' will launch tomorrow as a beta test

    "Destiny 2"— Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    "Destiny 2" was rough at launch, to say the least. I was a big "Destiny" player even before the sequel came out, but was extremely disappointed in all of the ways "Destiny 2" had regressed: Fun systems were made less fun, the all-too-rare "exotic" items were suddenly way too easy to obtain, and the game was generally more boring than the first outing.

    Like the first "Destiny" game, though, "Destiny 2" experienced a massive overhaul in the form of an expansion, which arrived in September, exactly one year after the launch of the base game. The new expansion, "Forsaken," drastically changes the way players experience "Destiny" for the better. I would even call it the best "Destiny" expansion to date.

    Unfortunately, many people are missing out on all of the new goodies in "Destiny 2 Forsaken" because the 2017 launch of "Destiny 2" was so bad. But if you give "Destiny 2" a chance, you'll enjoy a really fun and addicting sci-fi shooter that feels way more rewarding than it was a year ago. If you've ever wanted to know what it would feel like to be a superhero in space, "Destiny 2" is your opportunity — but you need to get it with the "Forsaken" expansion to really enjoy everything the game has to offer.

    Price: "Forsaken Legendary Collection," which includes the base game and all three expansions, costs $35 on Amazon



    "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt"— Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    I'll admit it: The first time I tried playing "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," I found it overwhelming. There were too many quests to do, and too many large areas to explore. I had other games I wanted to play at the time, so I put it down and moved on.

    This summer, though, I found myself looking for a new game to play, so I decided to give "The Witcher 3" another chance. I started a new game, and I was immediately enthralled. 

    By the time I played "The Witcher 3," the game's developers CD Projekt Red had vastly improved the game's stability, fixing numerous bugs and issues that hampered the game's performance. And the game also had two massive new expansions available for me to play, including the gorgeous "Blood and Wine" expansion, which features my favorite locale and storyline in the entire game.

    "The Witcher 3" can be a magical experience. It presents you a massive, immersive fantasy world filled with monsters, magic, and memorable quests and characters. The game's looks and performance have significantly improved since launch, and if you pick it up now, you can enjoy all of the excellent expansions as soon as you're ready for them. With so much to do, "The Witcher 3" is one of the best values you can get right now in a video game.

    Price: Game of the Year Edition, which includes base game and all expansions, costs $36 on Amazon



    "Dark Souls Remastered"— Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

    This year, fans were treated to a remastered version of the original "Dark Souls" game, which first came out in 2011 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. "Dark Souls" was notorious for being an extremely difficult game, but it also featured incredible design elements like interconnected environments and a surprisingly deep combat system. 

    "Dark Souls Remastered" features the original base game and all of its expansions, fully remastered for current-generation game consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game also launched for the Nintendo Switch in October, so you can play "Dark Souls" on the go.

    Many people may have missed "Dark Souls Remastered" because it came out around the same time as other popular games like "God of War," which was one of the most talked-about games of 2018, but with the holiday season approaching, now is the best time to revisit this challenging game.

    Price:$27 to $32 (depending on platform) on Amazon



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    FACEBOOK PRIVACY HEARING ZUCKERBERG PHOTOGS CAMERAS

    • From Facebook's Cambridge Analytica debacle to Google's sexual misconduct investigations, 2018 has been a year rocked by scandal in tech industry. 
    • Here are the 18 biggest tech scandals that happened this year.

    In the tech world, 2018 was rocked by scandal. 

    Over the last 12 months, many tech companies have found themselves at the center of our country's most pressing social and political issues. 

    Facebook provided Cambridge Analytica — a data firm used by President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign to target voters — with 87 million users' personal information without obtaining proper consent. 

    Google reportedly paid an executive tens of millions of dollars after he was let go over a sexual misconduct investigation.

    And WhatsApp became a hotbed of misinformation, influencing political elections and costing people their lives. 

    What follows are the 18 biggest scandals in the tech industry over the course of the last year:

    February: Uber and Waymo go to court over stolen trade secrets regarding self-driving car technology.

    In February, Uber and Google's self-driving car spinoff, Waymo, went to court over allegations that Uber stole trade secrets relating to Waymo's self-driving-car technology.

    The case centered around Anthony Levandowski, a high-profile engineer who was accused of taking information with him when leaving Google and bringing that information to Uber when he joined the company.

    The trial was hugely anticipated among those in tech, as it included two of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, and even featured testimony from Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick.

    Ultimately, Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million in equity.



    March: Google’s Project Maven contract to partner with the Department of Defense on AI technology is revealed.

    In March, a report by Gizmodo revealed that Google had a contract in place with the US Department of Defense for the use of artificial intelligence technology, known internally as Project Maven.

    Critics of the AI tech — which speeds up the process of analyzing video images — believed it could be used for increasing the accuracy of drone-missile strikes, which often result in civilian casualties. As a result, thousands of Google employees signed a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, urging the company to end the contract, saying: "We believe that Google should not be in the business of war."

    In June, after facing intense internal and external pressures, Google announced it would not renew its current contract with the DoD, which expires in 2019.



    March: A self-driving Uber car hits and kills a woman in Arizona.

    In March, a woman in Tempe, Arizona, was killed by a self-driving car operated by Uber. It was the first time a pedestrian had been killed by an autonomous vehicle.

    Uber, which had been competing with companies like Waymo and GM to bring self-driving services to market, subsequently paused all of its autonomous vehicle testing.

    Now, as the company prepares to return its cars to the roads, new reports from Business Insider have revealed the internal debates and dysfunction leading up to March’s tragic accident.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    happy people in coffee shop

    • If you're looking for a new job, you might want to check out companies where employees are happier than the norm. 
    • Glassdoor has released its annual ranking of the best places to work, which takes into account its database of 45 million company reviews provided by anonymous current and former workers
    • Tech companies dominated the listing, but plenty of firms in healthcare, consulting, manufacturing, and food got kudos for their excellent workplace cultures

     

    The average American spends some 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime, but 80% are outright dissatisfied with their work

    For that overwhelming majority, the secret to job satisfaction might just be a new company. Glassdoor, a job site with 45 million company reviews, has just released its annual Employees’ Choice Awards for the Best Places to Work. 

    The rankings are compiled from anonymous employee feedback that former or current workers can provide right on Glassdoor. To compile the listing, Glassdoor scans their massive database of company reviews.

    Workers writing a company review are asked to assess the pros and cons of working at the company, growth opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, senior management, work/life balance, if they would recommend the workplace to a friend, and the company's six-month business outlook. 

    Those reviews are compiled in Glassdoor's awards algorithm, which also assesses the quality of reviews represented in its ranking. 

    Then, companies receive a score on a scale of one to five — five being the highest. The scores have been rounded to the nearest tenth in our article, while Glassdoor ranked the companies by looking at their score rounded to the thousandth. The employers on this list scored between 4.2 and 4.6 on Glassdoor; the average company rating is 3.4.

    Many of these companies in the list of large US workplaces (having more than 1,000 employees) are Bay Area tech firms. Of the 100 workplaces, 23 have headquarters in San Francisco, and 29 are in tech. 

    That's because tech firms are facing a major labor shortage and are keen to woo employees with excellent work cultures, Glassdoor chief economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain told Business Insider.

    Read more: The 50 best places to work in 2018, according to employees

    But you don't have to be a techie to enjoy the benefits of an excellent workplace, which often includes mission-driven company cultures, smart coworkers, transparent senior leadership, great compensation and benefits, and work-life balance. 

    "To work at a company that treats you ethically and gives you good pay and benefits, you don't necessarily have to be in tech,"Chamberlain said. "There's something for everybody."

    What's more, you don't even need to be in an office job or to have a college degree to work at a company that will treat you right. In-N-Out Burger, Trader Joe's, lululemon, and other employers powered by associates all topped the list, as well as healthcare providers that are largely staffed by nursing assistants and similar roles. 

    Here is a countdown of the best 50 workplaces, along with their headquarters location, a description of the company from Glassdoor, and a quote from a current or former employee. You can see all 100 companies on Glassdoor.

    SEE ALSO: Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth more than $100 billion — see how they spend it, from trapeze lessons to a 600-foot 'air yacht'

    DON'T MISS: 16 things you should never wear to work — even if you work in a business casual environment

    50. Crowe

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: Chicago

    Crowe is an accounting, technology, and consulting firm.

    "Very flexible work environment, with the ability to work remotely as needed. The company also strives to push career advancement of every employee." Crowe audit business analyst



    49. Johnson & Johnson

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

    Johnson & Johnson is a biotech and pharmaceuticals company. 

    "Great people, great culture, and the company really cares about their employees. Really good work life balance and flexibility to work remote."Johnson & Johnson manager 



    48. SpaceX

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: Hawthorne, California

    SpaceX is an aerospace company dedicated to making human life on Mars possible. 

    "SpaceX believes in its employees and its missions so much, that they invest in you and you invest in the company. All our employees are owners of the company."SpaceX employee 






    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    lede

    A great pair of boots is an absolute must for the fall and winter, and Nordstrom has a wonderful selection for men and women.

    While you could shop their new arrivals, Nordstrom's sale section is full of hidden gems. There, you can find deeply discounted styles, ranging from classic Chelsea boots to chukkas to snow boots, from top brands like UGG, Timberland, Hunter, Cole Haan, FRYE, and more.

    To help you sort through all the options, we rounded up 30 boots for men and women that you can buy on sale right now at Nordstrom. If you're also looking for great deals on clothes, accessories, and even home goods, check out the rest of Nordstrom's sale section.

    Shop men's boots at Nordstrom here >>

    Shop women's boots at Nordstrom here >>

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    DON'T MISS: 25 cold weather wardrobe staples for women we swear by for our own closets

    Men's J&M 1850 Karnes Brogue Cap Toe Boot

    J&M 1850 Karnes Brogue Cap Toe Boot, $136.90 (Originally $229) [You save $92.10]



    Men's UGG Dalvin Zip Boot with Genuine Shearling

    UGG Dalvin Zip Boot with Genuine Shearling, $129.90 (Originally $260) [You save $130.10]



    Men's Cole Haan Tyler Chukka Boot

    Cole Haan Tyler Chukka Boot, available in two colors, $149.90 (Originally $250) [You save $100.10]



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Trump Truck

    • President Donald Trump floated the false idea this past week of using tariffs to make America rich.
    • Trump also went so far as to spread false information claiming that people in the country illegally get more aid from the government than Americans get in Social Security benefits.
    • These misstatements, along with Trump's recent statements on taxes, immigration, and the environment, are resoundingly untrue.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump floated the idea this past week of using tariffs to make America rich, as if these taxes are a pipeline of cash from Asia, which they're not.

    He displayed a slippery grasp of science as well as trade policy as he set about trying to discredit his White House report on climate change. And his description of a manufacturing revival, as if created by a wave of his "magic wand," was a sleight of hand.

    Trump's penchant for misstatements did not stop with his own rhetoric. He spread around to his millions of Twitter followers a wildly false claim that people in the country illegally get more aid from the federal government than Americans get in Social Security benefits. The supposed evidence for that was a single instance of the government helping a refugee family — the Canadian government, assisting refugees in Canada.

    A look at some of his recent statements, complete with grammatical Twitter errors, and how they compare with the facts:

    SEE ALSO: Karen and Charlotte Pence are planning 2 more picture books about the family bunny after John Oliver made a gay-themed parody

    SEE ALSO: Why the white evangelicals who propelled Trump to victory keep excusing his misogyny, racism, and debauchery

    SEE ALSO: Trump's language and behavior are demolishing democracy and paving the way for a revival of fascism

    Trade

    Trump: "Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the USA. because of the Tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go. If companies don't want to pay Tariffs, build in the U.S.A. Otherwise, lets just make our Country richer than ever before."— tweet Thursday.

    The facts: That's not how it works. Yes, money from tariffs is going into the federal treasury, but it's coming from US businesses, not from overseas. Tariffs are paid by the importer, not the exporter or government in another country.

    Beyond that, tariffs paid by US companies tend to result in higher prices for consumers. So a tariff is a transfer of wealth from business to government, and sometimes from consumers to government as well. It is not a foreign payment to the US.



    Trump, on the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement: "The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern, and balanced trade agreement in history. All of our countries will benefit greatly. It is probably the largest trade deal ever made, also. "— signing ceremony Friday.

    The facts: It's not the largest trade deal ever made. It covers the same three countries as its predecessor, NAFTA. In contrast, the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations concluded in 1994 created the World Trade Organization and was signed by 123 countries. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found the following year that the WTO's initial membership accounted for more than 90% of global economic output.

    Read more: No, Trump's new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is not really a 'landmark'



    Trump, on the pact with Canada and Mexico: "This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever." He also referred to the pact as a "landmark agreement."— ceremony Friday.

    The facts: Actually, the pact preserves the structure and substance of NAFTA, which was unquestionably a landmark, whether for better or worse.

    In one new feature, the deal requires that 40% of cars' contents eventually be made in countries that pay autoworkers at least $16 an hour — that is, in the United States and Canada and not in Mexico — to qualify for duty-free treatment. It also requires Mexico to pursue an overhaul of labor law to encourage independent unions that will bargain for higher wages and better working conditions for Mexicans.

    Read more: Regardless of what Trump says or does at the G20, China will come out on top

    But the agreement is largely an incremental revision of NAFTA. Philip Levy, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a trade official in Republican President George W. Bush's White House, says: "President Trump has seriously overhyped this agreement."

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    copy of piggy

    • An estimated $400 million in FSA funds was forfeited last year.
    • You can actually use the money you've contributed to your FSA to buy certain healthcare products the IRS has deemed eligible.
    • However, there are certain things like bug spray and tampons that you can't buy pre-tax. 

    For 2018 employees were allowed to put up to $2,650 in their FSA account, according to the IRS. These funds are use-it-or-lose-it. The IRS has allowed some employers to give their employees the chance to participate in a carryover option, which allows the rollover of up to $500, or a grace period option, which gives users two and a half months to finish up their dollars — but not both.  

    If you're not at a company that lets you push the deadline, there's still time to use up what's left in your account on things you actually use and will probably buy anyway. Think bandages, sunscreen, and baby wipes. You can even use it to pay for your prescriptions. The IRS decides which items are eligible and which ones aren't based on what they're each used for. 

    Rather than joining millions of Americans who forfeit an estimated $400 million collectively, use your pre-tax money to stock up on things you need for the coming year. Here are 50 things under $40 the IRS says you can buy, and five surprising things you can't. 

    Lip balm with SPF $2.99 No prescription needed



    Corn removers $3.79 Prescription required



    Sunscreen for babies $4.29 No prescription needed



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Johnny Manziel

    Every year the Heisman Trophy is awarded to the best player in college football.

    Despite the greatness of these players in college, winning the Heisman is not a guarantee of future success. While many past winners thrive in the NFL, there are also those that are out of the league just a few years after being on top of their sport.

    Below we take a look at every Heisman winner dating back to 1998, checking in to see how their careers have gone and what they are up to now.

    Ricky Williams ran away with the Heisman in 1998, rushing for 2,327 yards and 29 touchdowns for the Texas Longhorns.



    Williams went on to have a successful if disjointed NFL career. After leading the league in rushing in 2002 with the Dolphins, Williams tested positive for marijuana several times and announced his retirement in 2004. He did return to Miami just two years later. Recently, he founded a brand of cannabis products, "Real Wellness," serves as a commentator on The Longhorn Network, and is one of the founding owners in a new pro football league, Freedom Football League.



    Ron Dayne was awarded the 1999 Heisman, finishing his career as the all-time leading rusher in NCAA Division I FBS history with 7,125 yards for the Wisconsin Badgers.



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    teabox $85.50, 3 months

    By now, the idea of a subscription box service is far from new. It remains, however, an excellent gift choice because there's one for pretty much every interest and hobby you can think of. It's also easy to purchase online and send — no pesky gift-wrapping necessary. 

    The best subscription services provide unique discovery opportunities, curate high-quality brands, and automate everyday routines to make life easier. We think the following subscriptions fit the bill and should be on your gifting list this year.

    With some, you can buy a gift card to apply toward a plan of their choice, while with others you can designate the subscription duration and details yourself. 

    Find a subscription service gift they'll love, below. 

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    Harry's: the razors and accessories needed for a close and comfortable shave

    Gift a Harry's custom shave plan here

    The gift of a clean, smooth shave is more cherished than you might think. Harry's full line of shaving products work together seamlessly, and you can customize this combination of blades, creams, foaming gels, and post-shave balms to send to your recipient. 



    Hint: delicious, healthy waters that kick their soda habit

    Gift the Hint Flavor of the Month Club, $16.99/month

    Fans of this flavored water stock it in their pantries by the caseful. The calorie-, sugar-, and GMO-free water comes in refreshing flavors like mango-grapefruit and blood orange, which they can rotate through with this drink subscription. Anyone who's bored with regular water but wants to stay hydrated and healthy will look forward to each month's delivery. 



    Causebox: products for the socially and environmentally conscious

    Gift a Causebox membership, $199.80/year

    Causebox curates ethically made, vegan, and charitable products from the top socially conscious brands in beauty, fashion, wellness, home, and art. Each quarterly box has a retail value of more than $200 but only costs $49.95 and has the added benefit of doing good — for artisans, the environment, and your body. 



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    Trump cabinet resignations_12.08.18

    President Donald Trump announced to reporters on Dec. 8 that his chief of staff John Kelly will leave his job the end of the year, following months of news reports describing heightened tensions and conflict between Trump and Kelly. 

    The administration has been rocked by high-profile departures — including Reince Priebus as chief of staff and James Comey as FBI director — since Trump took office in January 2017.

    Here are all the top-level people who've either been fired or resigned from the administration, and why they left.

    SEE ALSO: Trump's staff turnover is higher than any administration in modern history

    DON'T MISS: MEET THE CABINET: Here's who Trump has appointed to senior leadership positions

    John Kelly

    President Donald Trump announced to reporters on Dec. 8 that his chief of staff John Kelly will leave "at the end of the year" and he plans to name his replacement in the next day or two.

    Tensions brewed between Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, and Trump for months, with CNN reporting the day before Trump's announcement that their relationship had deteriorated to the point where they stopped speaking altogether. 

    Kelly's replacement is rumored to be Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's current chief of staff and a longtime Republican operative. 

     



    Jeff Sessions

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation on November 7 after nearly two years in the position, with Trump announcing that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions' Chief of Staff, would serve as acting attorney general until he nominates a permanent replacement.

    Trump frequently criticized Sessions in harsh terms over Sessions' recusal from overseeing the special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

    "You know, the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty," Trump told Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt in an August interview. "He was an original supporter." Trump lamented that he "put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department."



    Don McGahn

    White House counsel Don McGahn left the Trump administration on Wednesday after a tumultuous 21-month tenure, a source close to the administration told Business Insider on October 17.

    McGahn was said to be on his way out of the White House, which was likely to happen after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.



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    ariana grande travis scott kali uchis

    While the Grammy Awards have often been criticized for being out of touch, there's plenty to celebrate about the 2019 nominations.

    The late rapper Mac Miller secured a posthumous nod for best rap album, while the outrageously gifted Kendrick Lamar led the pack with the most nominations. Janelle Monáe's groundbreaking "Dirty Computer" is up for album of the year." Female nominees dominated many of the major categories, including best new artist.

    But as many fans know, for every success from a major award show, there is usually a source of rage or confusion.

    Here are INSIDER's picks for the 14 biggest snubs, in no particular order.

    Mitski's singular nomination for best recording package is just plain rude.

    Best recording package is an award that honors the visual look of an album, not its sonic achievements.

    It is also the only category that recognized "Be the Cowboy," the fifth album from Japanese-American indie rock musician Mitski, and easily her most masterful to date — despite landing within the top five in everymajorroundup of this year's best albums.



    Ariana Grande's "Sweetener" didn't get much love.

    Ariana Grande is optimistic, alluring, and more confident than ever on her fourth studio album, "Sweetener." By many accounts, including Grande's, it's her best album yet.

    "This feels like the most 'me' an album has ever felt. It just feels super close to home,"Grande recently revealed. "A lot of people were like, 'How does it feel stepping out of your comfort zone?' And I'm like, 'Nah, I don't feel like I've stepped out of my comfort zone. I feel like I found it.'"

    But while "Sweetener" did secure a nomination for best pop vocal album, it was shut out of most major categories, including album of the year.

    Grande's hit single "God Is a Woman" was thankfully recognized for best pop solo performance, but the most glittering, nuanced, and impeccably crafted tracks on the album (most notably "No Tears Left to Cry,""Get Well Soon," and "R.E.M.") were completely ignored.



    Travis Scott was one of the most successful artists this year, but his No. 1 album "Astroworld" was nearly ignored.

    Travis Scott has never been a Grammys darling, but "Astroworld" demonstrated a growth in skill and musical maturity that many thought would change his fate; after all, he somehow managed to get Drake, John Mayer, and Stevie Wonder on the same album. 

    "A real driver on this album too was when we got snubbed for the Grammys in 2016," Scott's A&R told Rolling Stone earlier this year. "We were like, man, are they not respecting us? That's when it was like, 'No, y'all got it f---ed up.' We went back and wanted to make an album that was undeniable."

    And yet: Scott secured a nomination for "Best Rap Album," but was still denied entry to the coveted "Album of the Year" category.



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    Urban Meyer

    • Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will retire at the end of the season.
    • Meyer won three Big Ten titles and the 2014 National Championship in his seven years at Ohio State, but his final season in Columbus was marred by controversy.
    • Many speculated that the domestic violence scandal from the start of the season, combined with his ongoing health problems, could drive Meyer out of the Buckeye State.
    • Meyer has not indicated what he will do next, and his long and tumultuous career may not provide a clear answer.
    • Let's take a look back at Meyer's roller-coaster past and what he may choose to do in the future.

    Urban Meyer will coach his final game for the Ohio State Buckeyes when they take on the Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

    Meyer won three Big Ten titles and the 2014 National Championship in his seven years at Ohio State, but his final season in Columbus was marred by controversy. He was widely criticized for mishandling domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith and was subsequently suspended for three games to start the 2018 season. 

    Many speculated that Meyer's ongoing health problems, combined with the scandal, could drive Meyer out of the program.

    According to Pete Thamel of CBS Sports, the decision was driven by "a myriad of factors," but that "foremost among them was his happiness with the state of the Ohio State program."

    Meyer has yet to indicate what he will do next, and his nonlinear path to Ohio State doesn't provide a clear answer. Let's take a look back at his roller-coaster past and what he may choose to do in the next stage of his career.

    Urban Meyer has earned a reputation as a giant of college football, but he hasn't always been a household name.



    Meyer started his head coaching career at Bowling Green in 2001.

    He spent 15 years prior in assistant coaching positions with various programs, including Ohio State, Illinois State, Colorado State, and Notre Dame.

    Source: Cleveland.com



    After coaching the Falcons to 17-6 overall record in his two years at the helm, Meyer left Bowling Green for Utah.

    He coached the Utes to a 10-2 record in his first season at the helm to earn Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors.

    Source: Cleveland.com



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    france yellow vest protest

    • Yellow vest protesters took to the streets across France on Saturday, in what quickly devolved into violent clashes with police.
    • The demonstrators began by protesting a planned fuel tax hike weeks ago, but participants have continued even after the French government canceled the increase.
    • The protesters continue to be outraged over French President Emmanuel Macron, economic inequality, and worsening living standards.

    For the fourth weekend in a row, yellow vest protesters took to the streets across France to demonstrate against President Emmanuel Macron, high taxes, and economic inequality.

    The weekly protests have steadily grown more violent, and French officials said by the end of Saturday, dozens were injured and hundreds arrested.

    Thousands of police officers were deployed to control the riots, eventually firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and repelling demonstrators with water cannons.

    Here's how the clashes unfolded:

    The so-called "Yellow Vest" movement was first sparked weeks ago, when protestors began demonstrating against a planned fuel tax increase.



    Many of the demonstrators are working-class or impoverished residents of France.



    In response to the growing outrage and violence, Macron eventually backed down and canceled the fuel tax increase on Wednesday.

    Source: The New York Times



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    nibblegrams instagram

    • Sometimes you want to save a photo from Instagram without taking a screenshot.
    • It's actually pretty easy using Google Chrome on a Mac or Windows PC.
    • Here's how you do it. 

    There are several ways to save Instagram photos you might want to refer to later. But if you want to download a full-resolution JPG version, and it's not your account, it gets a lot trickier.

    Of course, this is by design — you didn't take the photo, so you probably don't have the copyright. Plus, Facebook, Instagram's parent company, would rather you save photos you like to its "Collections" feature.

    There are several websites that allow you to download Instagram photos, but they're all unauthorized, and many have sketchy ads. Plus, they may potentially have malware and other shady tricks.

    You can also take a screenshot of the Instagram post, but that results in a lower-resolution file. 

    So, you can take it into your own hands, and figure out how to download full-resolution Instagram photos — for example, earlier this week I wanted a photo of my cat that I uploaded years ago to a novelty account (I had since lost the original image). 

    Here's how you download Instagram photos in Google Chrome.

    SEE ALSO: Here are the top iPhone apps and games of the year, according to Apple

    Start by finding the photo you want to save. You'll need the web link, which is accessible from the button on the upper right corner of the photo.

    On the desktop version of Instagram, that menu button is on the bottom right. 



    Now, the URL for the photo is on your clipboard. In Chrome on a desktop computer, navigate to that URL.



    You're going to need to look at the HTML source file for the Instagram page — don't worry, it's not that hard.

    On Chrome, you'll find it in View > Developer > View Source. (Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari also allow you to view source.)



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    best mouse pad

    • Mouse pad surfaces affect how your mouse tracks. Soft pads increase drag for more precision and hard surfaces allow for quicker movements.

    • The SteelSeries DeX's unique 3D texture reduces drag so your mouse tracking is fluid and responsive, but it's also soft for hours of comfortable use, virtually eliminating the trade-off between comfort and speed.

    Most people probably don't think too much about mouse pads. Given modern mouse technology, this is actually quite understandable. Old-school ball mouses (remember those?) were barely usable without a good mouse pad, but the optical sensors on today's mouses are much more forgiving when it comes to working surfaces. As long as it's smooth and flat, it'll probably work.

    Nonetheless, if you've ever used an optical mouse without a pad for an extended period of time, you've almost certainly realized what you were missing. A smooth, tactile surface is still a necessity — even with the greatly enhanced sensitivity and accuracy of optical mouse sensors — whether you're doing precise tasks like graphic design and gaming, or just tackling another long day of working on the computer.

    Whereas ball mouses generally required a softer surface for traction, sensitive optical sensors have given rise to a growing number of mouse pad designs that offer different benefits. When it comes to pad surfaces, there's a general trade-off between speed and accuracy: Softer or rougher textures will create more friction than a hard, slick surface, allowing for more precision (as well as creating more drag), whereas a smoother mouse pad will allow for quicker movements (such as while playing a fast-paced video game, for example) at the cost of accuracy.

    In other words: Your mouse will move faster on a hard/smooth surface, thus making it easier to make large cursor swipes quickly, and it'll move more slowly on a soft surface, thus giving you more precise control over your cursor. How much this matters to you really depends on your needs. Gamers are admittedly more fussy about this stuff than most people. Also note that softer mouse pads will naturally be more comfortable to use for long periods of time than hard ones.

    Whatever your needs, we've covered just about all the bases below. These picks include everything from a no-nonsense budget-friendly mouse pad to ones featuring the latest innovations in surface design, so if you're looking to upgrade your setup or just replace an old worn-out mouse pad, then be sure to read through them all to see which one is right for you.

    Here are the best mouse pads you can buy:

    Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

    The best mouse pad overall

    Why you'll love it: With a unique 3D-textured surface that reduces friction despite its soft hand-feel, the SteelSeries DeX mouse pad solves the age-old problem of having to sacrifice comfort for responsiveness.

    As mentioned the intro, you generally have to make a compromise between friction and comfort when selecting the right mouse pad for your needs. A soft mouse pad might be more comfortable, but it will create more friction on your mouse, requiring you to do more work to glide it around. A harder surface won't have that "give" to it, allowing the mouse and therefore the optical sensor to glide more freely, but it's less precise and will be harder on your wrist in the long run.

    Our favorite, the SteelSeries DeX, reinvents the common mouse pad with a unique design that all but renders this dilemma solved. It has a unique 3D surface that is comfortable to use while reducing friction and increases your mouse's responsiveness. Instead of cloth or foam padding, the DeX is made of a soft rubberized polymer with a slightly raised texture. This results in a mouse pad that's easy on your hand and wrist, but the 3D surface greatly reduces the actual contact area between the pad and your mouse, thereby mitigating drag.

    The soft pad material is also completely waterproof and fully washable, and the edges are heat-bound so the DeX won't fray like many cloth mouse pads do after while. The great design of the SteelSeries DeX comes at a price, though. At around $40, it's the most expensive of our picks.

    It's nonetheless the closest thing to a perfect mouse pad that you can buy, and well worth the money. The durable polymer should last a long, long while, too. Don't be surprised if you see other companies copying the design of the DeX in the future.

    Pros: The unique 3D texture reduces surface contact between mouse and pad for more fluid and precise tracking, the soft rubbery polymer is comfortable and waterproof, heat-sealed edges prevent cracking and fraying, and no obnoxious branding

    Cons: It's expensive at around $40

    Buy the SteelSeries DeX mouse pad on Amazon for $37.99 (originally $39.99)



    The best mouse pad with wrist support

    Why you'll love it: For wrists that need a little more comfort than a normal soft mouse pad can give, the 3M Precise mouse pad features a gel-filled wrist rest that provides some much-needed relief at a price that's just as easy on the wallet.

    Unless you specifically want the increased movement speed of a hard working surface, then soft mouse pads are generally the best option for most people, especially if you're sitting at a computer for extended periods of time. Even a soft mouse pad can become uncomfortable after hours of use, though. Although the softer material might feel better on your hand, a flat pad still doesn't offer any real support for your wrist.

    Mouse pads with padded wrist rests, like our pick from 3M, are a popular and simple way to solve the problem of wrist pain. A number of padded designs exist today, but the 3M Precise mouse pad has a few features that put it well ahead of the competition.

    Firstly, the gel pillow's leatherette covering is softer and more durable than those of other ergonomic mouse pads. These typically have rubber- or cloth-covered gel pads that are more prone to cracking, pitting, leaking, or otherwise deteriorating over time.

    Secondly, the 3M Precise mouse pad offers more than just increased hand comfort: This pad also features 3M's patented surface design that's purpose-built for optical mouses. This flat, micro-grooved layer sits on top of the soft non-slip base underneath, providing enhanced tracking for optical sensors. This results in smoother, more responsive cursor feedback compared to standard cloth-surfaced mouse pads, which haven't changed much since the days of ball mouses.

    The 3M Precise mouse pad is cheap, too, and the model without the gel-filled hand rest was almost our "best budget" pick. This particular gel-padded design rings in at just $17, making it the second most affordable selection on our roundup and a great choice if you're on the fence about buying an ergonomic mouse pad and don't want to spend too much money to try it out.

    Pros: Durable leatherette-covered gel-filled wrist rest for added comfort, the 3M Precise micro-grooved surface enhances optical mouse feedback, and it's highly affordable

    Cons: The pad is prone to curling slightly at the edges over time

    Buy the 3M Precise mouse pad with gel wrist rest on Amazon for $17



    The best oversized mouse pad

    Why you'll love it: If you're looking for an oversized desk mat to serve as a rest for both your keyboard and mouse, then the Glorious PC Gaming Race extended mouse pad has everything you need at a price point that's hard to beat.

    Mouse pads have come a long way since the '90s, and not just in terms of surface designs and materials: They've grown in size as well. Oversized pads, often referred to as "mouse mats" to distinguish them from their smaller counterparts, serve a number of purposes: They give your hands and wrists a soft place to rest upon whether you're mousing or typing, prevent your keyboard from sliding around, and protect the surface finish of your desk.

    Our favorite, the Glorious PC Gaming Race mouse mat, has everything we like. Its soft and tactile surface feels great and tracks beautifully, and unlike many other cloth mouse pads, this mat has a stitched frame around the edges that prevents warping and fraying.

    The standard pad measures in at three feet long by 11 inches wide, giving you plenty of surface area for your keyboard and mouse, while its size and rubber base secure it in place on your desk. There are even larger options, too: the XXL and XXXL.

    The mat's soft surface is an open fabric, so it will absorb dirt and anything you spill on it more readily than other designs. The Glorious PC Gaming Race mouse pad is washable, though, either by hand or in a machine on a gentle cycle (air drying is recommended), and keeping it clean is not a problem. Just know that it's going to require it at some point like any cloth mouse pad.

    The Glorious PC Gaming Race extended mat is also a solid value starting at $24, which is a great price for something of this size and quality.

    Pros: Soft and comfortable cloth surface, anti-slip rubber base, stitched edges prevent fraying, multiple sizes available for just about any desktop setup, and it's a great value at $24 for the standard mat

    Cons: The non-sealed fabric collects dust and dirt more quickly than some others

    Buy the Glorious PC Gaming Race extended mouse mat on Amazon for $23.99



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    swat team

    • A new ranking from Wallet Hub listed the safest and least safe cities in America.
    • The least safe cities missed the mark when it came to community safety, natural disaster risk, and financial safety.

    Some cities in the US miss the mark when it comes to safety.

    Personal-finance site Wallet Hub recently published its list of the safest and least safe cities in the United States, and the ones at the bottom of the list scored poorly in several key areas.

    The ranking compared safety metrics in 182 American cities — the 150 most populated in the country, as well as 32 more to ensure that each state had two representatives on the list.

    It assigned ratings to each city in 39 different safety metrics, broken down into three major groups and weighted for importance:

    • The highest-weighted category was home and community safety, including the presence of terrorist attacks, number of mass shootings, and rates of murder, rape, theft, assault, and hate crimes
    • The second most-weighted category was natural disaster risk, including the risk levels of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, hail, tornadoes, and wildfires (in some cities, data was unavailable in this category)
    • The third most-weighted category was financial safety, including rates of unemployment, poverty, foreclosures, job security, fraud complaints, and identify-theft complaints

    You can read more about the methodology here.

    Read on to see which cities were deemed the least safe in America.

    SEE ALSO: This map shows the US really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures

    DON'T MISS: 7 law-abiding citizens went undercover for 2 months at an Arizona jail — and learned the disturbing reality of life behind bars

    17. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

    Total score: 62.94

    Home and community safety ranking: 133

    Natural disaster risk ranking: N/A

    Financial safety ranking: 28



    16. St. Petersburg, Florida

    Total score: 62.69

    Home and community safety ranking: 110

    Natural disaster risk ranking: N/A

    Financial safety ranking: 122



    15. Las Vegas, Nevada

    Total score: 62.54

    Home and community safety ranking: 167

    Natural disaster risk ranking: 96

    Financial safety ranking: 152



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