Business News, Updates

Business News, Updates


Inside the derelict, ramshackle fixer-upper homes in San Francisco that still sell for millions of dollars in the city's inflated housing market

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 08:26 AM PST

sf house hunting 2x1Open Homes Photography; Open Homes Photography for Sotheby's; Jeremy Rushton/Coldwell Banker; Ruobing Su/Business Insider

  • Fixer-uppers selling for at least $1 million in San Francisco regularly make headlines.
  • In a city where housing demand outweighs supply, the value of homes and land is sky-high, meaning even dilapidated single-family homes throughout the city are worth a pretty penny.
  • But the purchase of the property is only the first step in taking on a fixer-upper project — renovations typically mean shelling out millions more.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The glamour of flipping a "fixer-upper" has in part been fetishized by home-renovation TV shows on channels like HGTV. One of the most recent and high-profile ones that come to mind is of course Chip and Joanna Gaines' "Fixer Upper," where homeowners paid on average $173,221 for their fixers upfront in the Texas town of Waco before the famous couple gave it their signature touch.

It's common to not only watch on TV but read about how old, decaying structures are reborn into the homes of families' American dreams.

In San Francisco, though, the concept of a piece in the city's tight housing market being a "fixer-upper" has a wholly different connotation. The city's limited housing stock and subsequent housing shortage and crisis translate to even these dilapidated houses selling for north of $1 million.

Business Insider has reported on a portion of the city's "fixer-upper" homes in recent years, including a recent sale of one of the city's famed Painted Ladies purchased by a tech founder for $3.55 million (in cash, mind you.) 

Here's how San Francisco's fixer-uppers have fared on the market, why new owners can't simply demolish their new fixer-upper even if they want to, what their listing agents had to say about them, and what some of them are like inside.

As demand outweighs supply in San Francisco, the value of land and the homes sitting atop it — whether they're intact or otherwise deteriorating — rises.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

That what Coldwell Banker listing agent Jeremy Rushton told Business Insider is so stupefying about seeing a property in disrepair with such a high price tag. 

"If prices doubled next week, all these homes would still look the same," Rushton said. "In the 90s, when they were a third of what they're worth now, they looked the same as they do now."

And that's why San Francisco fixer-uppers get so much attention, Sotheby's real-estate broker Herman Chan told Business Insider in an email. On top of that, people love a good before-and-after project.

"[It's a] rags to riches story," Chan said. "It's so American."



Rushton told Business Insider that he considers any given property a fixer-upper when it's in too rough of shape to justify investing in a paint job, new floors, or staging before it hits the market.

Courtesy of Jeremy Rushton with Coldwell Banker

Peruse any real-estate listing site, and you'll see a bunch of these fixer-uppers listed for sale in San Francisco. Some are bluntly categorized as a "fixer." Other spoiler alerts are a lack of interior photos in the listing or a disclaimer screaming  "BUILD YOUR CUSTOM DREAM HOME" or "Bring your contractors and architects!" Listings don't usually attempt to sugarcoat it.

"Properties really speak for themselves no matter what they are," Rushton said. But historically, that doesn't sway buyers — these homes are almost always snatched up after not sitting idly on the market for long.

 

 



"Everybody has seen a rundown house, but to see a rundown house that's worth a million-plus, I think that's really what surprises people," Rushton said.

Open Homes Photography

At press time, Zillow held four San Francisco listings tagged as fixer-uppers. Redfin had 14 real-estate listings categorized under "Fixer Upper in San Francisco." Nine of them are north of $1 million.

One is a century-old home on a 3,000-square-foot lot in the city's Richmond District and is a "Great FIXER opportunity." Only one photo is included in the listing: one of its dark brown exterior; no interior shots. The last sentence in the listing reads "Bring your contractors & buyers looking for a blank canvas." It's asking $1.65 million and is listed as a "Hot Home" on Redfin, with a note detailing that it is expecting to sell faster than 97% of other homes in the area.   

Some are barely salvageable — it's possible to find real-estate listings blatantly quipping that it's dangerous to live in, like a listing in the city's Bayview Heights. It's an "Old Run Down Shack on Property Not Habitable. Contractor Special. Utilities believed to be at or on site. Build your custom dream home." The only photos are from the street, with said shack hidden beyond a rickety fence. Asking price is $500,000. 

Business Insider reported on a Victorian home in the Castro neighborhood whose interior was scathed by a fire and still sold in 2018 for $2 million, more than double its original asking price. And many others have been listed over the years, most priced more than $1 million.

These homes are typically priced below-market-rate. So as startling as these prices may seem, the listings (before renovations) are actually somewhat of a bargain — the city's median home value is $1.4 million.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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'No coordination coming from the government,' says America's top flight attendant amid coronavirus outbreak and plummeting demand for air travel

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 08:25 AM PST

sara nelson groupAndrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

  • Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, blasted the Trump White House on MSNBC's The Last Word for not effectively coordinating a response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the US.
  • Nelson blamed President Donald Trump for putting flight attendants and the public at risk by making it harder for labor and the government to work together. 
  • Airlines have been working diligently to ensure air travel remains safe but cannot do so much without government coordination and assistance. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

America's head flight attendant criticized the Trump administration for what she claims is a lack of coordination between the government and labor unions to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the US.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, praised the work of airlines during an appearance on MSNBC's The Last Word but accused the White House of not taking the outbreak as seriously as previous administrations did. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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DON'T MISS: How to lessen the chances of getting sick when traveling on planes in the age of coronavirus, according to experts

Nintendo revealed its 10 best-selling Nintendo Switch games, and the No. 1 game has already sold over 20 million copies

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 08:24 AM PST

Super Mario OdysseyNintendo

  • Nintendo's Switch is outrageously popular, and Nintendo's games on the Switch are selling like gangbusters.
  • Several games have already sold over 10 million copies, including 2018's "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," and one game has topped 20 million.
  • In a surprise twist, neither a "Super Mario" nor a "Legend of Zelda" game is the best-selling game on the Switch — it's "Mario Kart!"
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Nintendo's Switch console is three years old, and it's already moved over 50 million units.

That puts the Switch on about the same sales pace as Sony's wildly popular PlayStation 4, which recently topped 100 million units sold. Even crazier? Nintendo has a staggering six games with over 10 million copies sold.

The Japanese gaming powerhouse provides surprisingly granular sales data, including a breakdown of its best-sellers. In the latest financial filing from Nintendo, which has information through the end of 2019, we got a closer look at the 10 best-selling games Nintendo has already released on the Nintendo Switch.

Here's the rundown:

OF NOTE: Nintendo is only running down its first-party games here.

Nintendo

It's entirely possible — but very unlikely — that a third-party game is the top-selling title on Nintendo's Switch. "Minecraft," for instance, has likely sold a lot of copies on Switch. The same could be said for "Diablo 3" and "Overwatch." 

That said, these games are unlikely to have reached the sales numbers represented by the top five games on the list below.



10. "Luigi's Mansion 3": 5.37 million units sold

"Luigi's Mansion 3"/Nintendo

9. "New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe": 5.85 million units

Nintendo


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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People are stealing masks and other sterile supplies from hospitals and research facilities amid a global shortage

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 08:03 AM PST

Various N95 respiration masks at a laboratory of 3M, that has been contracted by the U.S. government to produce extra marks in response to the country's novel coronavirus outbreak, in Maplewood, Minnesota, U.S. March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Nicholas PfosiReuters

  • Amid a rising number of reported COVID-19 cases in the United States, there's been a growing demand for medical masks, leading to a global shortage and theft. 
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that his administration had directed state police to investigate cases of the theft of masks and other equipment from hospitals and medical facilities, putting healthcare workers at risk. 
  • As the demand for masks increases, they have also been reported stolen from other facilities where they are necessary, like from a research lab at Harvard.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

People are stealing face masks and other health equipment from hospitals and other facilities where their existence is necessary amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, claimed that thefts were happening in New York at a press conference Friday, CNBC reported. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Several of my colleagues report racist microaggressions in the wake of coronavirus, and they're not alone. Here's why racism and xenophobia spread with infectious disease.

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 08:00 AM PST

nyc subwayGetty/NurPhoto

  • Since the novel coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, it has infected more than 95,000 people. 
  • What's also spreading are xenophobic and racist attacks against people of Asian descent, including microaggressions, or indirect expressions of intolerance like rude comments or dirty looks. 
  • A number of Business Insider employees have experienced or witnessed microaggressions in recent weeks. 
  • Josue David Cisneros, a University of Illinois professor who studies the link between racism and disease, said that America's history of anti-immigrant rhetoric plays a role. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A novel coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 3,250 people and infected more than 95,000 on every continent except for Antarctica. (The vast majority of cases are in China.) There have been at least 11 reported deaths in the US so far. But the disease isn't the only thing spreading.

Many Americans are already dealing with another kind of flare-up: xenophobia and racism. There have been reports of blatant verbal and physical attacks around the world, from men trying to push a woman off her bike in the Netherlands, to a man in London being punched and kicked as he walked down the street. But what's impacting thousands more people of Asian descent are microaggressions, or indirect expressions of intolerance. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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I got 2 CDs right after college and I've earned a decent amount of interest, but I wish I'd opened a high-yield savings account instead

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 07:50 AM PST

woman working at deskTetra Images/Getty Images

In 2018, just two months after I graduated college, I walked into my local bank and opened two certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. I had some extra money saved up from jobs and internships throughout my time in college and was hoping to use that money to move out of my parents' house once I got a job. 

I had heard of investing, but was risk averse. My dad suggested I open a CD, a bank account with a fixed interest rate that's typically much higher than a regular savings account. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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A medical expert is going viral for a passionate post warning that mass panic about the coronavirus could do more damage than the disease itself

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 07:45 AM PST

Australia brawl toilet paperNine News/Twitter

  • Abdu Sharkawy, a doctor in Toronto, Canada, wrote a Facebook post late Friday that's going viral.
  • The doctor, an infectious disease expert, argued that, while the coronavirus will be bad, people's selfishness could make it far worse.
  • He cited incidents like people stealing face masks from hospitals and panic-buying supplies as proof that the virus is bringing out the worst in people.
  • The post urges people to be calm and compassionate instead. It has been shared at least 300,000 times, 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A post from an infectious disease expert is going viral after he warned that people's exaggerated reactions to the spread of the coronavirus could do more damage than the disease itself.

Abdu Sharkawy, a doctor and expert at the University of Toronto in Canada, wrote late Friday that the disease is indeed dangerous but that the often self-interested measures to contain are in some cases proving worse.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Meet the graphic designer mapping the absurdities of millennial life on incredibly shareable graphs and charts across Instagram

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 07:30 AM PST

Matt ShirleyMatt Shirley

  • Content specialist Matt Shirley started to create a funny chart a day as a self-challenge in May 2017 but has since gained over 334,000 Instagram followers.
  • Although his charts are not usually supported by real data, he likes to implement graphic design techniques to create light-hearted posts that followers can relate to.
  • His graphics include commentary on life in an office and which states dislike each other the most.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Another day for content specialist Matt Shirley means another opportunity to design a chart based on whatever comes to mind.

But unlike most professional data visualization experts, Shirley's daily chart is more likely to be about people blocking him in traffic or why he'd rather take the stairs than an elevator than about a heavier topic like income inequality or the monthly jobs report.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Chuck Schumer blasting conservative Supreme Court justices is more proof that Democrats are trying, and failing, to copy Trump's bluster

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 07:21 AM PST

Chuck Schumer Supreme Court abortion caseSarah Silbiger/Getty Images

  • When Chuck Schumer said Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh "won't know what hit" them this week, he was channeling Trump's schoolyard-bully persona.
  • In play-acting like Trump, Schumer launched yet another partisan "civility" conversation but buried his real message in noise.
  • "If you can't beat Trump, act like Trump" has become a political maxim of our time. But only Trump is Trump, and his critics undermine themselves when they try to ape his "tough guy" act.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Whenever the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library opens, it ought to have at least an exhibit immortalizing his sickest burns. Call him a schoolyard bully if you want. It won't matter. He knows who he is, and he'll hit you first and dirty.

But it's not easy to pretend to be a bully. You either have the instinct or you don't. Trump's the real deal. And perhaps his greatest trick since entering political life has been to coax his political enemies into acting as juvenile and boorish as he is.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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5 ways to revamp your LinkedIn if you're looking to make a career change

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 07:00 AM PST

woman laptop

  • LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for professionals, especially those looking to make a career change.
  • Let your network know that you're looking for new opportunities, and ask if your friends can connect you with anyone in that industry.
  • Jane Heifetz of the Harvard Business Review recommends focusing your past experiences and narrowing down your skill set in a specific, relevant way. 
  • Tell a story in your summary section, upload new images, and use the 'recommended' feature wisely.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you're gearing up to make a significant change in career paths, you probably already know that now is the time to be putting your best networking foot forward. And that includes how you're presenting yourself on online networking platforms, like LinkedIn, too. 

Any time you're planning to change companies — but particularly if that change involves moving across industries — it's essential that your network be aware of what your unique value proposition is and how it can specifically apply to the type of role you're after. And if you've gotten overly comfortable with your elevator pitch after being in the same line of work so long, learning now to reframe that can be tricky.

That's why Jane Heifetz, contributing editor to the Harvard Business Review, cautioned career changers against the temptation of creating an "everything under the sink" LinkedIn presence in an HBR guide she wrote. By failing to narrow down your experience and skill sets in a specific, relevant way, Heifetz says the end result often feels garbled and unfocused. Instead, she recommends that professionals on the cusp of a career change utilize their LinkedIn profile in the following five ways: 

1. Ditch the auto-generated headline

Srdjan Pav/Getty Images

LinkedIn will auto-generate a headline for you consisting of your current job title. Erase that, and use those 120 characters to write something eye catching and relevant to your intended field instead. 

"If I'm searching for someone like you on LinkedIn, my search results will reveal only your name and headline — and I could easily overlook you," Heifetz wrote. "But if you write an irresistible headline, I'll take the time to click to your entire profile."



2. Tell a story in your summary

Justin Lewis/Getty Images

Your summary is a potentially powerful opportunity to tell your professional story in a way that connects past experience to your intended new path. 

"Tell a compelling story and write it in the first person," she wrote. "Craft a cohesive narrative that pulls together what might otherwise appear to be fragmented pieces of your professional past. This will avoid leaving your profile reader wondering what the heck you're trying to do now — or why you appear scattered and unfocused."



3. Tailor your experience

Reuters

Once you've properly angled your headline and summary, it's time to take the same approach to your profile's experience section. Heifetz recommends continuing to write in first person, as well as honing in your accomplishments (not just your responsibilities). 

"Highlight only the accomplishments most relevant to the new type of work you're seeking," she wrote. "Make those accomplishments concrete by noting the problem you solved, how, and the specific results you generated."




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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READ MORE: How entrepreneurs can use their local library to access free resources and get ahead in their business

The Death of Cash

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 07:00 AM PST

Both globally and in the US, the payments ecosystem is evolving. Death of Cash

Two related trends: the slow death of cash and the fast rise of digital payments, are transforming how consumers, businesses, governments, and even criminals move money.

Annual global non-cash transactions are expected to pass the 1 trillion milestone by 2024. This major transformation is being propelled by several factors, including increased usage of digital wallets, more small vendors adapting to accept credit cards, and the explosive growth of mobile commerce.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Use this comprehensive guide to find influencers to market your startup, gain 200,000 followers, and win loyal customers

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 07:00 AM PST

LIVELY brand ambassadorCourtesy of LIVELY

If you're thinking of using influencers to market your startup, there are several factors to consider.

First, brands need to think about both their reach and target customers. Influencer content has to reflect your brand image, values, and speak to customers in a way that will resonate with them.  

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Chinese hotel being used to quarantine coronavirus patients collapses, trapping 70 people under rubble

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:59 AM PST

China hotel collapseCNS Photo/Reuters

  • The Xinjia Hotel in Quanzhou, China, collapsed around 7:30 p.m. Saturday local time. 
  • The building was being used to quarantine people who had either tested positive for COVID-19 or had come in contact with those had already been infected.
  • An estimated 70 people were trapped when the hotel caved in, but Reuters said at least 34 have since been rescued.
  • A woman, who identified herself as Chen, told the Beijing News that her sister was at the hotel. She isn't answering her phone now, Chen said, adding, "I'm under quarantine too and I'm very worried. I don't know what to do."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A hotel in China that is being utilized to quarantine coronavirus patients collapsed on Saturday, leaving around 70 people trapped beneath the rubble.

The five-story, 80-room Xinjia Hotel is located in Quanzhou, in the southeastern Fujian Province, Reuters reported based on information from the city's government officials.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The founder of a coworking destination on a Thai island says there's an important step you should take before becoming a digital nomad

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:56 AM PST

kohub coworking spaceKate Taylor/Business Insider

  • KoHub, a coworking space on the Thai island of Koh Lanta, attracts "digital nomads" from around the world looking to work remotely from the beautiful island.
  • Founder James Abbott says that the one piece of advice all digital nomads should follow is to get a job that pays and allows remote work before starting their trip. 
  • Launching a trip as a digital nomad without knowing where your funding is coming from can cause people to cut corners and isolate themselves from the community, Abbott says. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

KOH LANTA, Thailand — Working from home is just the start. 

Over the last decade, "digital nomads" have gone from the fringe to the mainstream, as people move to work remotely while traveling the world. With the rise of remote work and the high cost of living in Western cities known for their tech scenes, such as San Francisco, Paris, and London, millions of people have kicked off careers as digital nomads. 

Six years ago, James Abbott established KoHub, a coworking space on Koh Lanta, an island in southern Thailand. Koh Lanta offers gorgeous beaches, a chill party scene, and lush jungle. Thanks to KoHub, it is also becoming a destination for digital nomads looking for a space to work remotely and a community of others doing the same. 

"I run it like an organized anarchy," Abbott recently told Business Insider. "So I let it evolve into what it needs to be — just trying to shape it, and keep it on the rails and financed."

Digital nomads swarm to KoHub during high season, escaping from the cold of the Northern Hemisphere to the balmy beach climate. And, according to Abbott, most take one crucial step before trying out a career as a digital nomad — or regret not doing so. 

Before you decide to launch your own career as a digital nomad, Abbott advises taking a major step.

Kate Taylor/Business Insider

"The first piece of advice is get a job that makes money ... that you can do remotely, before you leave home," Abbott said. "People miss that."



Arriving at the first stop on your digital nomad journey with no money, no job, and no idea how to get one is a recipe for disaster.

Kate Taylor/Business Insider

While Abbott says he doesn't usually see many people showing up at KoHub without jobs, it is a common issue in the digital nomad community, especially in famously inexpensive destinations like Chiang Mai, Thailand.



If you're worried about money, Abbott says, you can quickly build a situation that is not sustainable.

Kate Taylor/Business Insider

"You can't afford to come to a space," Abbott said. "You can't afford to be part of that community. You're constantly cutting corners."

"You become obsessed about saving every penny," Abbott added. "And, you're not obsessed about the right things, which is socializing. And then you won't last." 




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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LeBron James refused NBA proposal for playing games without fans in the stands amid coronavirus concerns: 'That's who I play for'

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:50 AM PST

lebron jamesJason Miller/Getty

  • Lebron James rejected the NBA's proposal that teams might play games in arenas with no fans in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
  • "If I show up to an arena and there ain't no fans in there, I ain't playing," James told reporters hours after the NBA released a memo saying it was considering mandating that attendees for the games could be limited to only "essential staff."
  • The NBA's move comes as countries including Italy, Japan, and South Korea have canceled major sporting events or athletes have played to empty venues.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Lebron James pushed back against the National Basketball Association's (NBA) newest proposal that could bar fans from attending games in an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

The organization released a memo on Friday to all of its 30 teams that they were weighing the possibility of playing games in empty arenas, which James flatly rejected when speaking to reporters Friday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The UK has reported 211 coronavirus cases and 2 deaths. Here's what we know about how the virus is spreading across Britain.

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:41 AM PST

coronavirus ukGetty

  • The UK had reported 211 coronavirus cases and two deaths linked to the virus as of Saturday afternoon.
  • The deaths are an older woman with underlying health conditions in Reading and a man in his 80s in Milton Keynes.
  • The UK's chief scientific adviser said that coronavirus outbreaks may become an annual event and that a vaccine is unlikely to be created this year.
  • Officials are considering plans to order the public to work at home for at least three months.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The UK has reported a total of 211 coronavirus cases and two deaths linked to the virus.

An older woman with underlying health conditions died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on Thursday. A man in his 80s also died at a hospital in Milton Keynes on Friday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sought to delay rather than contain an epidemic.

The coronavirus causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19. More than 3,200 people have died and more than 100,000 others have been infected, mostly in China. Cases have been recorded in at least 80 countries.

The UK has seen a rising number of cases of "community spread": people with no known exposure to others with the virus or travel history to countries where outbreaks have been reported.

For the latest global case total, death toll, and travel information, see Business Insider's live updates here.

Tom Colson contributed reporting to this post.

As of Saturday afternoon, there had been at least 211 cases in the UK, according to government figures.

A new figure of 206 positive cases was published on the official gov.uk website at around 2.30 p.m. 

There were also 5 cases announced in Scotland just before, to make 211 altogether.

According to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care, the 206 cases did not include the five from Scotland.



5 new cases were reported in Scotland on Saturday afternoon.

Ralf Roletschek/Wikimedia Commons

According to the BBC, the five extra cases were confirmed by the Scottish government.

Two are in Lanarkshire, the area south of Glasgow.

One is in the greater Glasgow area, another in the Lothian area near Edinburgh, and the fifth further north in the Grampian region.

It brings Scotland's total number of cases to 16.



Second UK coronavirus death confirmed as man in his 80s

Getty

A man in his 80s died at Milton Keynes hospital, England, on Friday, after contracting the coronavirus.

The hospital confirmed that he had tested positive for the virus and died shortly afterwards.

It follows the death of a woman on Thursday, who also died from COVID-19. The woman, who had underlying health conditions and was in her 70s, died in the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, England.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Flight attendants from American, United, and more reveal what's making them anxious as coronavirus spreads and the airline industry spirals into a virus-driven freefall (UAL, AAL, SAVE)

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:37 AM PST

Flight attendantMehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has led to turmoil for the airline industry.

Over the past two months, airlines have seen their stock hit new multiyear lows as plummeting travel demand has forced them to suspend routes, reduce flights, waive ticket policies, and find other ways to cut costs.

Although the drop in demand initially seemed limited to flights going to one of the destinations with major outbreaks: China, Japan, South Korea, and Italy — public anxiety over the virus has led travelers to postpone vacations, and corporations to suspend business travel and cancel major conferences and expos, regardless of location or destination.

While some are nervous about being in close proximity to other people on airplanes or in airports, and others — thanks to nightmare stories about quarantines — are worried about traveling anywhere away from home, there's one group of people that can't avoid flying: Flight attendants.

Business Insider spoke with flight attendants from several different airlines to see how they feel about being on airplanes during the outbreak, now that it's more widespread, and the impact has been more costly to airlines, than it was just one month ago. After all, according to Sara Nelson, head of the Association of Flight Attendants, they're literally "on the front line of any communicable disease."

Most of the workers said they weren't terribly concerned about the virus, even if they were being careful and hoped to avoid contracting it.

However, through multiple discussions with flight attendants on background, one underlying concern was evident: That as airlines' pockets continue to lighten as passengers put off travel, hoping to avoid the virus, the flight attendants' job security could erode.

As they continue to take to the skies, here's how America's flight attendants are dealing with the threat of the coronavirus.

Are you an airline employee with thoughts on the current situation? Contact this reporter at dslotnick@businessinsider.com.

"I wouldn't describe myself as 'anxious' so much as 'aware,'" one flight attendant for American Airlines said.

Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Flight attendant schedules work differently than most workers' in other industries, but they'll typically spend 75-100 hours a month in the air, plus more on the ground.

With all that time spent on airplanes, with people from all places and all walks of life, flight attendants are frequently in close proximity to people with colds, the flu, or other illnesses and viruses — known or unknown.

"As a flight attendant I'm exposed daily to so many germs," said a United Airlines flight attendant — who, like everyone who spoke with Business Insider for this article asked not to be named because of their airlines' media policies. "I feel like we realize that we could potentially be exposed to anything and just take general universal precautions (which is something I always do regardless).

"I wouldn't describe myself as 'anxious' so much as 'aware,'" one flight attendant for American Airlines said. "In my line of work, you always have to be conscientious about your health, so washing my hands frequently, eating healthy, and trying to get enough sleep is always a priority, and in light of the COVID-19 situation, I am trying to be even more dedicated to these precautions."

"As a young, reasonably healthy person, with a non-compromised immune system, I am not overly concerned that I would catch anything more than a mild case," she said, adding that she nevertheless considers it "a civic responsibility to try to avoid spreading the illness if I can."

Other flight attendants suggested that while they could have been more concerned, personal experience, conversations with medical professionals, and research had them feeling more confident.

"I did a lot of research on it myself," a New York-based American Airlines flight attendant, who has a background in healthcare, said. "And my sister-in-law is actually a physician, so I chatted with her."

"I'm not worried at all," a Chicago-based flight attendant for the airline said. "I'm a data person, and more people die from the flu."

"From what I can tell, I'm not at much of a high risk for death as I'm not elderly or have any immune issues," he added. "Which I think you could say is most of our workforce."

Still, while many expressed confidence, others said they were taking extra precautions.

"I have grown a little more anxious as the virus has spread more throughout the US," a flight attendant for Spirit Airlines said. "Since I'm married to another flight attendant, we are taking some extra precautions to try to avoid the spread. We are Lysol'ing our hotel rooms, jump seats, and work supplies more than ever."



"I've never experienced the airline industry being as engaged and proactive as they have been with this."

Kirill Kukhmar\TASS via Getty Images

Since the early days of the coronavirus' spread, in mid-January, airlines have taken extra precautions to protect employees and passengers.

"I've never experienced the airline industry being as engaged and proactive as they have been with this," Nelson, the flight attendant union leader, told Business Insider. "So I want to really applaud the airlines."

"We're constantly getting email updates," the United flight attendant said. "I feel like the airline is taking appropriate precautions and keeping us in the loop as to what is going on."

"They've put more supplies on certain routes such as masks which can be used on the layover as well," she added.

"I have received weekly to daily emails from the company with general information updates and reminders about the general precautions to take," an American Airlines employee said. "Soap, sanitary wipes, and gloves are all regularly stocked on the planes just like always, and, of course, our first-aid supplies include protective gear like face masks in the event they're needed."

Another American flight attendant agreed.

"Our union and American have given us fairly regular updates as the situation evolves," he said. 

The Spirit Airlines flight attendant, however, said that while the airline had distributed supplies, communication has been poor.

"The airline still does not want employees wearing face masks but they have provided us with extra alcohol wipes and gloves to try and keep hands clean at work in addition to our normal hand washing," he said. "Besides that the communication about the virus is little from management."



Although the flight attendants said they hadn't experienced reduced hours, and didn't expect such a thing thanks to airlines' cost-cutting measures, being able to work enough flight hours if demand continues to drop is a definite concern.

Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Being a flight attendant can be a "comfortable" job for the most senior employees at an airline. Senior flight attendants get preference when choosing the flights they'll work for a month — bidding, as it's called in the industry — and make top pay for the hours they're in the air.

"A flight to Asia is like a 30-hour, three-day trip," a Chicago-based flight attendant for American Airlines, who, like everyone who spoke with Business Insider for this article asked not to be named, explained. "Those go very senior because you'd only need to work three trips a month to make a living. A comfortable living at that, when you're at top pay."

Despite many routes to Asia being suspended, and service on other routes being reduced, most flight attendants said they had not had any trouble getting their normal number of work hours, and didn't expect to — at least, not at first.

That's because some flight attendants choose to work fewer hours per month, either because they're earning top pay and can afford fewer hours, they have side gigs to supplement their income, or even just because they want or need some time off.

"I've actually been working more it seems, which is really surprising due to the circumstances," the United flight attendant said. "But that's usually totally normal around this time of year, so that's positive. I know March is a time when many senior flight attendants take their vacation as well, which leaves some open trips."

"I'm worried though as the virus spreads that hours and flights will be cut," the Spirit employee said. "Especially to international destinations that we serve. It's scary that we may lose a lot of flying."

"They are working on pay protections for the crews who suddenly lost hours," the Chicago-based American Airlines worker said. "They are also allowing people to start the month with no hours, typically you would be forced no less than 40 but on average about 70-75 hours scheduled."

"That helps a lot when you have people who would rather not work, allow those who do, work the trips," he added.

However, as flight schedules continue to be reduced with dropping travel demand, some of the flight attendants said they were beginning to feel more anxious about their work situations.

Flight attendants at airlines with a labor contract, including American and United, said that they expected the airline to offer voluntary unpaid leaves if they end up needing  fewer workers until demand picks back up. Flight attendants taking those leaves would not be paid, but would continue accruing seniority, would retain benefits including healthcare, and could continue using their employee travel benefits.

For someone wanting time off, or with a side job, the leave can be appealing, and would mean that the flight attendants who want to continue working will still have enough hours available.

On Wednesday, United announced it would reduce its domestic schedule by 10% and its international network by 20% for April and May, and said it would offer the leaves.

Before the announcement the United flight attendant said that she had heard it was a possibility. After an email from the airline's CEO and president, she said that while she was still hopeful and positive, she was beginning to feel slightly anxious.

"I just really hope enough people take those offers," she said. "Everything is so uncertain right now."

"This sort of thing is definitely unnerving," an American flight attendant said. "Rumors of furloughs have been flying around unchecked lately, and true new hires, the ones with barely a year or two — or in some cases only a few months — under their belts are clearly distressed."

"There are flight attendants in my base with upwards of 40 years seniority, so getting my hours in, holding decent trips — that's always something of a concern," she added, noting that she was short of 10 years of seniority. "Whether or not a pandemic will make that even more difficult going forward — I suppose it just doesn't pay to borrow trouble."

One thing that had her especially anxious was the airline's sick-leave policy, which she described as "notoriously punitive" industry-wide.

"If, like me, you have an interest in internal advancement, calling in sick can come back to haunt you," she said. "How am I supposed to care for myself, my coworkers, and the public without sabotaging my career?"

Despite her anxieties, she said she was also going to try and stay positive.

"There's very little I can do to prepare for that except try not to be frivolous in my spending, so I'm trying to just go about my life and not assume the worst."




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: United is drastically cutting flights worldwide and offering unpaid leave to employees as the coronavirus ravages the airline industry

7 habits that help you create multiple streams of income — even on a busy schedule

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:30 AM PST

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  • Monetizing your expertise in several different ways is very doable, even on a busy schedule, if you have discipline.
  • Scott Mautz is a keynote speaker and author who has diversified his income into 11 different streams of revenue, including writing, coaching, and consulting.
  • The first step to finding new ways to make money is to determine who you want to serve, and what you can offer that would benefit them. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Many dream of leaving corporate life to become an entrepreneur. The call for independence, both from "The Man" and financially, is strong. For those wanting to hang up a shingle and live off their accumulated expertise, it can be daunting though. It sounds great, but how, really, do you do it?

I recently shared the 11 streams of income I created by monetizing my expertise in my post-corporate life, so it's certainly something that can be done, and at a level that creates financial independence. Specifically, building a multistream revenue-creation model requires building the seven habits that follow.

1. Ask first whom you can serve, not what you can sell

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The latter flows from the former. Many wanting to monetize their expertise focus first on the product they can sell. What form should it take? Should I write a book? Become a speaker? That comes after determining whom to serve and what you know that would serve them well. Having a clear picture of your target audience means you know whom you won't be selling to. That's a big first step, as often when I ask wantrepreneurs, "Who's your target audience?" I hear, "Anyone with a dollar!"

It doesn't work that way.

Once you know whom you can serve, then figure out what unmet needs and wants they have, what burning problems they have that must be solved. In this way you're filling a hole and creating demand for your expertise versus hawking mere common knowledge or solving a problem nobody has. Only after achieving this clarity should you figure out what vehicle your offering should be encased in (book, blog, keynote, etc.).



2. Play the short and long game in your portfolio

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Having a robust portfolio of income streams requires habitually balancing things that bring short-term benefit (fast revenue) with longer-term plays (which build your brand and deliver financial returns further down the road). You need both to pay today's bills and create tomorrow's riches.

For example, plenty of people want to write a book, which takes time (two years on average). If your book does reasonably well, it's a great platform for big-ticket revenue items like keynotes. But in the meantime, you have bills to pay, so maybe you write for an online publication, create concise online courses, or do some short-term consulting gigs. You get the idea.



3. Even breadth requires focus and hard choices

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It's wise to spread your bets when trying to achieve financial independence, to a point. Even in creating different streams of income, I've had to make hard choices. I've opted out of heavy email list building, podcasting, and some consulting gigs, for example, to focus on activities that better fit together and support my business model and interests. Articles I write generate income but also get me keynotes and give me fodder for more books and courses, which give me more opportunities to keynote, and so on.

Do what you enjoy, and blend your revenue-generating activities into a broader, integrated plan.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: How entrepreneurs can use their local library to access free resources and get ahead in their business

READ MORE: To become more productive, motivated, and successful, surround yourself with these 4 types of people

How to find your next savings account in 5 steps

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:30 AM PST

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  • To find a new savings account, start by thinking about what you're saving for, where you'd like your account to be, and what type of bank or institution you'd like to use. 
  • Then, do your research. Find a fee-free savings account that offers a high interest rate, FDIC insurance, and has a minimum deposit that fits your budget. 
  • Ultimately, the best savings account for you is one you're happy with and excited to use. 
  • See Business Insider's picks for the best high-yield savings accounts »

If you've started to search for a new savings account, you've probably noticed that there's no shortage of options available. 

As you start looking, it's worth noting that savings accounts aren't long-term commitments, so your money can easily be moved or accessed if needed, and you can have multiple savings accounts open.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Wall Street coronavirus policies; alt-data's unhedgeable risk; JPMorgan succession planning in the spotlight

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 06:27 AM PST

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