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Biden to showcase foreign policy credentials with 2020 decision looming

  • Munich, Germany (CNN) - Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday will return to a familiar place on the world stage, delivering remarks at an annual gathering of political leaders and security experts in Munich, Germany, as he draws closer to a decision about whether to run for president in 2020.
  • Biden will speak to the Munich Security Conference, giving him an opportunity to showcase his foreign policy acumen as he weighs entering a Democratic presidential primary field that is currently light on national security credentials.
  • It was a vote that animated much of the foreign policy debate in the 2008 Democratic primary, with Biden and Hillary Clinton being among the candidates who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq while Barack Obama opposed the war.

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What 12 world leaders' desks around the world look like

  • Trudeau's desk was built sometime around 1880, according to the CBC, and was used by former prime ministers Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Lester B.
  • The Kenyan State House in Nairobi houses Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's office, containing his unique desk that features an L-shape that extends to his left.
  • Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's workspace inside of the villa features a rounded cream desk with green trim and a light green chair.
  • Quirinal Palace is one of the official residences of the Italian president.
  • In it is Italian President Sergio Mattarella's office and desk, which is a deep wood with gold trim and burgundy-tinted top.
  • Finnish President Sauli Niinistö recently showed off his office and desk during his 2019 New Year's speech.
  • Today, the president's office can be found inside the Leopoldine Wing of the palace.

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Here's how fintech is taking over the world — and what's coming next

  • Digital disruption is affecting every aspect of the fintech industry.
  • Over the past five years, fintech has established itself as a fundamental part of the global financial services ecosystem.
  • Fintech startups have raised, and continue to raise, billions of dollars annually, pushing incumbent financial institutions to get in on the action.
  • Legacy players have begun using fintech to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving financial services landscape.
  • Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores recent innovations in the fintech space as well as what might be coming in the future in our brand new exclusive slide deck, The Future of Fintech: How Fintech Is Taking Over The World and What Comes Next.

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America’s 1% hasn’t had this much wealth since just before the Great Depression

  • New research says America’s ultra-rich haven’t held as much of the country’s wealth since the Jazz Age, those freewheeling times before the country’s finances shattered.
  • Zucman said all the research on the issue also points to large wealth concentrations in China and Russia in recent decades.
  • In 1929 — before Wall Street’s crash unleashed the Great Depression — the top 0.1% richest adults’ share of total household wealth was close to 25%, according to Zucman’s paper, which was distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • “As I’ve explained countless times (but nobody seems to listen), growing U.S. wealth inequality is the byproduct of an unsustainable bubble in asset prices such as stocks and bonds,” Jesse Colombo, an analyst at Real Investment Advice, wrote on his blog in response to Zucman’s paper.
  • Late last year, Moody’s said the growing gaps in wealth could cause it to downgrade the rating on the federal government’s bonds.

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Trump admits he 'didn’t need to' declare national emergency but wants to get the border wall 'done faster'

  • The president has struggled to make good on this pledge since entering the White House, and a fight with congressional Democrats over funding for the wall recently led to the longest government shutdown in US history.
  • Trump ended the shutdown in late January by signing a bill that temporarily funded the government and he's set to sign a new funding bill on Friday.
  • The new bill includes just $1.4 billion for physical barriers on the border, much less than the $5.7 billion the White House was seeking.
  • The declaration was the culmination of threatening to use his emergency powers to get funding for the border wall for weeks.
  • In recent weeks, some prominent Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Chuck Grassley have also expressed concerns about the precedent Trump will set by declaring a national emergency and warned that he will face opposition the courts.

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Anti-vaccination ads on Facebook are targeting pregnant women, while a measles outbreak spreads across the country

  • Facebook is aggressively being used by anti-vaccination advocates to target pregnant women with sponsored advertisements to spread false information and conspiracy theories as the US battles a climbing measles outbreak.
  • A sponsored ad found by Quartz journalist Jeremy Merrill shows the anti-vaccination organization Stop Mandatory Vaccination targeting women ages 20 to 60 who have expressed interest in pregnancy living in the state of Washington — where the governor recently declared a state of emergency over the measles outbreak.
  • A Daily Beast report said there are nearly 150 anti-vaccine advertising spots run by 7 Facebook pages targeting women over the age of 25.
  • In response to Markay's reporting, Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat from California, sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to express concern over the "information that discourages parents from vaccinating their children" that has run rampant on each's platforms.

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Here's the pitch deck that helped employee rewards startup Zestful raise a $1.2 million seed round before it had any customers

  • When Mat Vogels started raising a seed round for his employee rewards startup Zestful, his company had no customers.
  • Vogels said before setting out to fundraise, he had conversations with 50-100 startup founders who had recently raised their seed rounds to ask whether it was better to raise with a little bit of traction or none at all.
  • In fact, Vogels found that companies that had started trying to obtain customers before raising their seed round, actually had a more difficult time fundraising.
  • With that lesson in mind, Vogels set out to fundraise with little more than his founder story and the pitch deck he provided to Business Insider recently.
  • Ultimately, Vogels said the key to raising a round without any customers was to create a sense of immediacy around the problem his company was trying to solve.

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The NBA's 3 biggest stars make more money off the court than they do playing basketball and it could explain why big-name players are so quick to switch teams

  • Superstars LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant — the top three total earners in the league this season — will all make more money in endorsements than they will from their huge NBA salaries, per Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen.
  • The trend stops there, with the next seven players on the total earnings list — including Russell Westbrook and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden and Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets, and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks — making more money from their teams than they do from sponsorships.
  • Notably, James, Curry, and Durant all play for big-market franchises in Los Angeles and San Francisco which explains, in large part, why their endorsement payouts outweigh their salaries.
  • A consensus top-five NBA player who has spent the first seven seasons of his impressive career in New Orleans, Davis recently requested a trade from the Pelicans a full year and a half before the start of his free agency.

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Facebook’s top PR exec is leaving

  • Facebook’s top communications executive, Caryn Marooney, is leaving the social media giant after eight years.
  • Because Facebook needs all the experienced communications hands it can get these days — along with the Russian malfeasance, it also has faced intense criticism over data snafus, hacking, the spread of disinformation, deaths in India and elsewhere due to sloppy management of the platform, and controversies over privacy, including a recent incident with Apple.
  • The head of policy and comms, Elliot Schrage, announced he was leaving last year and was replaced by Nick Clegg, who was deputy prime minister of the UK.
  • And still another, Debbie Frost, Facebook’s longest-serving PR exec who leads global communications and public affairs (think: election integrity efforts) also told colleagues she was leaving a few weeks ago.

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For the first time, Amazon has bought adaptation rights for its own books

  • Today, Amazon.com published a new entry in its “Original Collections” series, The Fairer Sex, a collection of eight short Kindle works by Michelle Miller.
  • What’s novel about this particular collection is that the company isn’t just publishing the stories, but Amazon Studios has acquired the media rights for the series, a first for the company, according to Deadline.
  • The eight romance stories were timed to drop on Valentine’s Day. They’re available for free in both print and audio versions for Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited members.
  • This is the first time Amazon has kept the entire content pipeline in-house, selling Miller’s stories and potentially locking them down as a film or television project that could air through Prime Video.
  • Spotify also recently acquired a pair of podcast studios, which would allow it to develop its own pipeline of IP that could be scaled up into films or TV projects down the road.

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