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Mitch McConnell Warns White House Not To Accept Stimulus Deal Before Election

WASHINGTON ― With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) once again extending a self-imposed deadline for a stimulus bill on Tuesday, an already doubtful deal is now running into a new roadblock: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell has always been an obstacle to an agreement between Pelosi and the White House, with the Kentucky Republican mostly staying on the sidelines as the speaker and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have tried ― and failed ― for months to find a compromise on another coronavirus relief bill.

But with Pelosi and the Trump administration finally making strides just two weeks before Election Day, McConnell has finally started lobbying against a deal.

A senior GOP aide told HuffPost on Tuesday that McConnell had informed Senate Republicans that he advised the White House not to finalize an agreement before the Nov. 3rd election, warning President Donald Trump that adding a major measure to the legislative calendar now could derail the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Such a warning is, of course, outlandish. Barrett’s confirmation hasn’t been in doubt since even before she was nominated, and it’s looking like the Senate will confirm her next Monday. But keeping senators in town past Oct. 26 will eat into valuable campaigning time for many vulnerable Republicans seeking reelection. And passing $2 trillion in new spending is anathema to McConnell and many Republicans.

“It’s clear Senate Republicans are uncomfortable spending $2 trillion right before an election,” a senior GOP aide told HuffPost on Tuesday.

Many GOP senators have privately said they’d like to avoid voting on new spending, with conservatives rediscovering their debt clocks and penny-pinching ways as the prospects of a Joe Biden presidency grow by the day. If a deal had Trump’s backing, however, it’d be difficult for many Republicans to vote against it, particularly just days before the election.

A recent poll from The New York Times and Siena College suggests that a $2 trillion stimulus is extremely popular: 72% of respondents support such a deal, while only 21% oppose it. So the best-case scenario for Senate Republicans, it seems, is if such a deal never materializes.

“Right now, procedurally, the mechanics of getting the deal done [before the election] would be challenging, to say the least,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters on Tuesday.

“The number I’m less concerned with than the provisions,” added Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) Tuesday when asked if he could support a larger stimulus package. The vulnerable North Carolina Republican opposes providing aid to cities and states but is supportive of other popular items like unemployment benefits and another round of stimulus checks.

GOP senators would certainly prefer not having to publicly oppose a deal or the president. So many have chosen to positively posture about a theoretical agreement while picking apart what’s currently on the table. After passing trillion-dollar tax cuts and spending roughly $3 trillion on coronavirus relief already ― on top of the roughly $3 trillion that the Federal Reserve has spent easing the stock market ― Republicans are once again finding their tea party tricorn hats just in time to handicap the economic recovery under a Democratic president.

Should Biden win, it’s unlikely any Republican senator would go along with a stimulus deal, making it difficult to find 60 votes in the Senate even if Democrats take back the majority. So if Pelosi and the White House can’t reach a deal soon and have Trump pressure Republicans before the election, it’s possible there’s never another stimulus.

But there’s been some sudden hope about the prospects of a deal. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Tuesday that it was a “false choice” between confirming Barrett and passing a stimulus deal before the election. “We can actually do both, we will do both,” he said.

And Pelosi said Tuesday she was “optimistic” about a deal before the election, walking back a Tuesday deadline for movement on a stimulus bill.

“It isn’t that this day is the day we would have a deal,” she said. “It’s a day when we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step. Legislation takes a long time.”

A senior aide for Pelosi tweeted that she and Mnuchin had spoken for about 45 minutes Tuesday afternoon and that the deadline that Pelosi set on Sunday “enabled” both sides to see that “decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise.”

The aide added that committee chairs would work to resolve differences about funding levels and language and that Pelosi and Mnuchin would talk again on Wednesday.

Still, there is a long way from trading paper and working on language to a final agreement. And with just those two weeks before Election Day, it’s very possible McConnell and other Republicans slow down a deal enough that it’s impossible to do before the election.

And afterward, if Biden does win, those same GOP senators skittish about opposing Trump might finally feel emboldened enough to openly break from the president. Some are already introducing daylight.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the veteran Republican negotiator and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is already expressing concern about the debt and said that passing a bill in the Senate would be difficult even if Trump fully threw his weight behind it at this point.

“I’ve never done that with any president,” Shelby said Tuesday. “I’ve never jumped when somebody wanted something. I think that’s not what a senator or member of Congress should be about.”

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World News

SEE IT: Electric GMC HUMMER EV 'Supertruck' revealed

2021 GMC Yukon debuts with more room, better tech

The 2021 GMC Yukon is all new and features a long list of improvements aimed at making it roomier and more luxurious than before.

The GMC HUMMER EV will be staking its claim to the self-proclaimed title of “World’s First All-Electric Supertruck” with an impressive arsenal of all-electric drive and tech when it goes on sale next fall.

(GMC)

The battery-powered pickup revealed on Tuesday night will be the first GM product built on its new Ultium electric vehicle platform, which will spawn a lineup of zero-emissions trucks across the automaker’s brands, including a HUMMER EV SUV.

GMC

The hulking pickup wears modern styling inspired by the gas-guzzling HUMMER H2. It will launch with a fully-loaded Edition 1 model priced at $112,595 that has all-wheel-drive, three electric motors good for a combined 1,000 hp and the ability to accelerate to 60 mph in around three seconds.

GMC

The short-bed crew cab is equipped with removable roof panels that fit in the front trunk for storage on the go, power opening rear window, power tonneau cover and GMC’s six-position MultiPro tailgate. The Edition 1 also comes with an air suspension system that can increase its ride height by six inches and four-wheel steering with a unique CrabWalk mode that allows the vehicle to drive diagonally at low speeds.

A 360-degree camera system provides 18 different views, including from underneath the truck to help when negotiating tough off-road terrain, while power washers keep the lenses clean as the standard 35-inch tires do their best to get them dirty.

GMC

The HUMMER EV will offer the latest version of GM’s Super Cruise driver aid, which allows for hands-free driving and lane changes on over 200,000 miles of mapped-out highways. It has the capability to be updated with additional functionality as the software is developed.

GMC

The most important attribute, however, could be its range, which GM estimates at 350 miles per charge. The HUMMER EV is also compatible with 350-kilowatt public fast-charging stations, where it can recharge at a rate of 100 miles worth of electricity every 10 minutes.

GMC

GM will introduce a $99,995 model with the tri-motor drivetrain in fall 2022 and follow that up with a $89,995 model with two motors in spring 2023 and an entry-level $79,995 version without the air ride or four-wheel-steering in spring 2024.

GMC

Reservations are now being accepted for the Edition 1 with a $100 deposit.

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Markets

Stock futures rise as stimulus talks continue, Netflix shares fall after earnings miss

U.S. stock index futures rose in overnight trading on Tuesday after White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have made "good progress" on stimulus talks, before adding that they "still have a ways to go" before an agreement is reached.

Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 91 points, indicating an 80-point rally at the open on Wednesday. S&P 500 futures traded 0.39% higher, while Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.4%.

Following Pelosi and Mnuchin's meeting on Tuesday, Meadows told CNBC's "Closing Bell" that the two will talk again on Wednesday, and that he hopes to see "some kind of agreement before the weekend."

Mnuchin and Pelosi's conversation Tuesday continued a desperate attempt to hash out an agreement before the Nov. 3 election. Democrats and the Trump administration have struggled for months to overcome fundamental disagreements over additional stimulus measures — including the dollar amount — as the economy continues to feel the burden of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stocks have been trading based on lawmakers' perceived progress — or lack thereof — and on Tuesday finished the session higher after Pelosi told Bloomberg TV that she's "optimistic" about a potential aid deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session 0.4%, or 113.37 points, higher. At one point during the session the 30-stock average had been up more than 300 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.5% to end the day at 3,443.12, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3% to close at 11,516.49.

"The back and forth political discussions on the stimulus deal and continued election uncertainty give us extra justification for short-term market uneasiness," said David Bahnsen, chief investment strategist at The Bahnsen Group, which oversees $2.5 billion in client assets. "Very few market actors actually doubt that some fiscal relief bill is coming. The question is purely when, and of what composition," he added.

A slew of companies reported quarterly earnings after the bell on Tuesday, most notably Netflix. Shares of the streaming giant slipped more than 6% after the company missed earnings estimates, and reported fewer-than-expected subscriber additions. On the other hand, shares of Snap jumped more than 23% after the company reported a surprise earnings beat.

Looking ahead to Wednesday Biogen, AutoNation, Baker Hughes and Abbott Labs are among the names set to report ahead of the opening bell. After the market closes Tesla will release its third quarter results, with CSX, Las Vegas Sands and Chipotle Mexican Grill also on deck.

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Business

The best hair masks

  • Hair masks are an affordable and easy way to strengthen, deep condition, and nourish without going to a salon — especially in the winter when all the cold air is drying out your hair.
  • You can use one in the shower to treat your hair weekly, or if you have really damaged hair, every few days. 
  • Our top pick is the It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask, but we also like ones from Brigeo, Function of Beauty, Living Proof, and Olaplex.

Between blow-drying, heat-styling, color processing, skipping hair cuts, and more, your hair can incur some serious damage. Thankfully, at-home hair masks are one of the easiest ways to give your strands a little TLC without leaving your house or breaking the bank.

Whether you want to repair, strengthen, add shine, or protect your hair from future damage, the right hair mask can help transform your hair and even improve its overall health. But with so many on the market, working out which one is right for you can be overwhelming.

So we did the research and put our own hair to the test to find the best hair masks. 

Here are the best hair masks:

  • Best hair mask overall: It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask
  • Best deep conditioning hair mask: Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Mask
  • Best personalized hair mask: Function of Beauty Customized Hair Mask
  • Best overnight hair mask: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Perfector
  • Best hair mask for strengthening: Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3

Updated 10/20/20 by Maria Del Russo: Updated links and prices. Replaced "best overnight hair mask" because our previous mask was no longer available. We are currently re-testing products for this guide, including hair masks for natural hair. 

The best hair mask overall

It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask transforms dry, damaged hair into super-soft and smooth strands while also restoring elasticity.

It's a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask is a sulfate-free conditioning treatment that was made to treat many types of hair. The mask contains linseed and apricot extracts, which help soothe and repair your scalp while leaving you tangle-free.  

The mask also features almond extract to promote healthy and shiny hair, and oat extract, which strengthens and restructures hair to make it smooth and soft. The lightweight mask is versatile enough to be used as an everyday conditioner for hair, or as a periodic treatment.

Plenty of members of the Insider Reviews team have tried this mask and love it. Editor Maria Del Russo calls this mask her go-to winter hair mask because it effectively nixes the static that tends to plague her mane when the temperature dips.

"I use it twice a week instead of my conditioner, and it cures any dry hair fuzz that pops up," she says. The only drawback? "It's very easy to use too much, and when you do, it can really weigh your hair down," she says. So make sure to start with less than you think and add little by little if you feel you need more. 

Pros: Leaves hair tangle-free and super soft, soothes and repairs scalp, treats damaged hair, can be used daily

Cons: Can weigh your hair down if you use too much

Best deep conditioning hair mask

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Mask deep conditions for an extra boost of hydration and moisture.

The Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask is formulated with a host of ingredients to help restore hydration and transform lackluster hair into shiny, healthy locks. Rosehip oil delivers fatty acids, which work to add hydration while removing frizz, while algae extract delivers a rush of amino acids and antioxidants to strengthen.

Vitamin B, on the other hand, actually works to improve the texture of the hair, leaving you with softer, more elastic strands over time. Vitamin B is especially great for folks who have suffered damage because of chemical or heat treatments. It helps to repair the brittle texture you get from over-styling. 

The mask works on all types of hair including chemically-treated, relaxed, and keratin-treated hair. It is also cruelty-free and made without any silicones, parabens, sulfates, and artificial dyes. In a blind clinical trial run by the brand, 80% of women said they saw a "noticeable improvement in hydration".

Pros: Makes hair super soft and silky, deeply hydrating, cruelty-free, makes hair shiny

Cons: Customers have claimed the formula used to be thicker, and that the thinner formula isn't as effective

Best personalized hair mask

If you're looking for a customized formula that addresses one or many concerns, try Function of Beauty.

Function of Beauty develops personalized hair-care products, including a hair mask. At $19 for a 7.5 oz jar, it's not cheap. But it's also a weekly deep-conditioning treatment that's catered specifically to your needs, so I think the price is justified. There's also an option to subscribe to regular deliveries of each product, so you'd never run out.

To create your custom formula, you'd have to take a short online quiz and indicate your concerns and needs. I said that I wanted to hydrate and repair my dry, heat-damaged hair, but wanted to make sure the formula wouldn't be too heavy and weigh my fine hair down. 

A few weeks later, the mask arrived at my door. Since I've been using it, I've noticed that my hair definitely feels stronger and healthier, and it has a lot more shine than before. While each formula is made specifically for your particular hair needs, it generally contains hydrating Japanese sake extract, as well as argan and jojoba oils.

The Insider Reviews team has tested and reviewed other Function of Beauty hair-care products, here's the full review.

Pros: Personalized formula for your specific hair needs, has one-time or subscription option for flexibility 

Cons: Is only available online 

The best overnight hair mask

Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Night Cap helps add shine and tame frizz overnight, and the results last for multiple shampoos. 

If the idea of applying a hair mask in the shower sounds a little too time-intensive for you, then look for a mask that does the work while you snooze. Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Mask helps to soften and add shine to your strands overnight, so you wake up with more hydrated hair than you fell asleep with. 

Living Proof's hair mask is made with the brand's patented healthy hair molecule OFPMA. This molecule seals the hair cuticle, which is what makes the hair look frizzy. Your hair cuticle lays like shingles on a roof, and when they're dry or damaged, they fray. This is what makes your hair look frizzy. But by sealing the cuticle, your strands look smoother — and it also helps protect pigment fading if you color-treat your hair. 

I like to use this mask when my hair is going through a particularly rough patch, like in the dead of winter, or after I've been using my dryer for a while. I'll shower at night, towel-dry my hair until it's damp, and then rake two pumps through my hair from ear-length down. I try to avoid the crown of my hair, so it doesn't look oily in the morning. 

When I wake up, my hair is air-dried, soft, and much more manageable than before, making this a clutch option to use before a party or another event where your hair needs to look its best. Just be forewarned, it can take some trial and error to get the correct amount for your hair type just right. The first few times I tried it, I used too much, and had to wash my hair again in the morning because all of the product didn't absorb, which made my strands greasy. — Maria Del Russo, style & beauty guides editor

Pros: Works while you sleep, seals the hair cuticle, leaves hair feeling soft and frizz-free

Cons: Might be a little too heavy for finer hair types

Best hair mask for strengthening

If color-treating and heat-styling have weakened your hair, then you need Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3, which is a favorite of professional hairstylists

Hair-care brand Olaplex is used in top salons, but the Hair Perfector No. 3 was created for general retail when the brand realized how many of its clients wanted to use it at home.

The mask is made with Olaplex's patented bond-building technology, which relinks the broken parts of hair caused by chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage. It's not a conditioning mask for that reason — it actually works to rebuild the bonds in your hair. Olaplex works on many hair types and is formulated without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

If you have color-treated hair or regularly heat-style, Hair Perfector No. 3 is a great restorative treatment that will bring softness and shine back to your hair. Some users with particularly damaged hair recommend leaving it in for a bit longer than the instructed ten minutes.

You can have too much of a good thing, though. "You should only use it once a week," says Lucille Javier, a color specialist at Mark Ryan Salon in NYC. "It's a bonding treatment, so it can only do so much. The hair can only absorb so much. Using it more than once a week is wasteful." Instead, she recommends alternating between Olaplex and a conditioning mask if you want to use a hair mask more than once a week. 

Pros: Repairs and strengthens hair, leaves it feeling soft and bouncy, professional-grade treatment at home

Cons: Not as strong as the in-salon treatment, you should only use it once a week

Check out our other hair-care buying guides

The best curling irons

The best anti-frizz hair products

The best straightening brushes

 

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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World News

With Amy Coney Barrett In The Wings, SCOTUS Conservatives Hint At Radical Voting Decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling protecting absentee voting rights in the state on Monday by locking 4-4 and thus accepting the lower court’s decision in the case.

While the non-decision is a victory for voting rights advocates, it’s also an ominous warning sign for a court soon to seat a new conservative justice: Conservatives on the court could return to this case soon, with a new majority,  and potentially hand the 2020 election to Donald Trump. 

For now, Pennsylvania absentee voters will be able to mail their ballots on or before Election Day and have them still count if they arrive up to three days after the election, as the state Supreme Court ruled. Many states allow ballots to arrive after Nov. 3 so that people voting by mail don’t effectively have an earlier election deadline than people who go to the polls.

But four justices ― Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh ― voted to prevent the implementation of this new rule and to consider a radical argument that could eviscerate the right to vote granted in 49 state constitutions.

By taking away the power of state courts to interpret what their own state constitutions say about the right to vote, the soon-to-be six conservatives appointed by Republicans on the Supreme Court could become the ultimate arbiters of any expansion of voting rights.   

The looming confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who likens her judicial philosophy to the late arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, could potentially provide the fifth vote to take up this issue at a later date — or even intervene in Pennsylvania in the days before or after the election.

“A newly seated Justice Barrett casting a fifth vote in this type of case would basically allow the U.S. Supreme Court to impose its restrictive view of the right to vote not only to the U.S. Constitution but also to state constitutions,” said Josh Douglas, an election law expert at the University of Kentucky College of Law.

When the Supreme Court refused to stay the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, it never took up the case or ruled on its merits. The case is technically still live, and the court could theoretically pick it back up prior to the election.

Another possibility is that a close race in Pennsylvania between President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden could lead to post-election litigation. “I’m counting on them to look at the ballots, definitely,” Trump said on Sept. 30 about his desire to see Barrett confirmed to the Supreme Court before the election.

Trump could then make the same argument presented by Pennsylvania’s Republican legislators that the state Supreme Court’s ruling extending the ballot receipt deadline was unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid. This is one argument that could lead to the invalidation of all ballots postmarked by Election Day and received in the three days afterward.

This provides yet more fuel for a potential post-election nightmare scenario, in which there is no clear winner for weeks as Trump presses his case in the courts, and Republican legislators in key states — like Pennsylvania — seize on the uncertainty to send Trump electors to Congress. 

At issue is the argument put forward by Pennsylvania Republican legislators that only a state legislature, and not a state court, may change state election law. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended the state’s absentee ballot receipt deadline by finding that voters casting their ballots through the mail due to the coronavirus pandemic could be hindered by delayed mail delivery in a manner that violated the state constitution’s right to vote.

Pennsylvania Republicans argued that the court usurped the legislature’s power to change the conduct of the election, since the U.S. Constitution vests the power to appoint state electors for the presidential election “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”

This exact argument was made by George W. Bush’s lawyers — who included future Chief Justice John Roberts, Kavanaugh and Barrett — in the infamous Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case that determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Back then, three justices ― then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas ― filed a concurrence agreeing.

“It’s a dangerous idea that a state court applying a state constitution is taking away legislative power, particularly in states like Pennsylvania where the state legislature has itself approved the constitutional provisions being applied,” Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California Irvine, wrote in a piece for Slate in October.

Such an interpretation would run counter to the 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in 2015, written by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and finding that the term “Legislature” in the Constitution refers to the whole of a state government and not solely the elected legislature.

It could also mean that the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court could override state courts’ interpretations of what their own state constitutions say about the right to vote.

The high court’s interpretation of voting rights has been increasingly hostile during Roberts’ tenure as chief justice. From his 2014 Shelby County v. Holder decision gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the shadow docket decisions crushing any attempt by the lower judiciary to ease voting restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, the Roberts Court is already deep into its project of dismantling the 20th century’s voting rights expansion.

A future 6-3 court with Barrett seated could take this up as part of that project to prevent any state judicial expansion of voting rights in the future.

“No longer can we feel secure that state constitutions can continue to be more robust than the U.S. Constitution,” Douglas said.

We want to know what you’re hearing on the ground from the candidates. If you get any interesting ― or suspicious! ― campaign mailers, robocalls or hear anything else you think we should know about, email us at [email protected].

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Business

Netflix Will Offer Free Trial Of Its Full Service For A Weekend, Starting In India

Netflix will offer a free trial of its full service to everyone in a country for one weekend, starting in India and going to other global territories.

The streaming giant revealed the plan during its third-quarter earnings interview, which followed the release of results that undershot subscriber and earnings estimates.

Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said the giveaway “could be a great way to expose a lot of people” to the service. He called it “an idea that we’re excited about and we’ll see how it goes.” No details were announced about the timing or details of the offer.

Netflix recently ended a 30-day free trial promotion. The company runs hundreds of “A/B” tests of a wide range of product features as well as promotional efforts. In terms of promotions, it has a wide range of different initiatives in different parts of the world. As COVID-19 kicked in, the company made a selection of documentary films and shows available free via YouTube as a way of helping schoolteachers.

Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said the company is “always looking at new, different ways for people to get a sample of the content that everyone’s talking about, including trying our service out in different ways.”

On a similar note, when asked by interview moderator Kannan Venkateshwar, a media analyst at Barclays, Sarandos said the company is not actively considering “reverse licensing” of its own originals to other platforms. Free streaming platforms like Pluto have set a number of deals recently with cable properties like The Walking Dead and recently Netflix drama Narcos. Sarandos said Gaumont owns Narcos and was able to make that deal.

“Mostly I think it’s important for us to keep our content on Netflix, so that people understand the value of Netflix,” Sarandos said.

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World News

Apple, Google Worked as ‘One Company’ on Search Deal, U.S. Says

The U.S. government’s antitrust assault against Google reveals new details about a secretive, multibillion-dollar deal between the internet giant and Apple Inc., the world’s largest technology company.

The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday, targets paid deals Google negotiates to get its search engine to be the default on browsers, phones and other devices. The biggest of these is an agreement that makes Google search the default on iPhones and other Apple devices.

The U.S. government said Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai met in 2018 to discuss the deal. After that, an unidentified senior Apple employee wrote to a Google counterpart that “our vision is that we work as if we are one company.”

The DOJ also cited internal Google documents that call the Apple search deal a “significant revenue channel” for the search giant and one that, if lost, would result in a “Code Red” scenario. That’s because nearly half of Google search traffic in 2019 came from Apple products, according to the lawsuit.

The details, many of which have not been disclosed before, may support the U.S. government’s allegation that Google uses these agreements to block out search rivals and give consumers less choice. Google called the government’s case “deeply flawed” and said it would hurt consumers because it would “artificially prop up” lower-quality search options.

The Justice Department focused in particular on the deal between Apple and Google, saying it “substantially forecloses Google’s search rivals from an important distribution channel for a significant, multi-year term.”

Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year to make its search product the default option, according to analyst estimates. That means when a user buys a new iPhone or other Apple device, the built-in search engine in the Safari browser is Google. Apple users have the option to manually switch to Microsoft Corp.’s Bing, Yahoo Search or DuckDuckGo, but “few people do, making Google the de facto exclusive search engine” on Apple devices, according to the DOJ.

The DOJ suit cited estimates that Apple gets $8 billion to $12 billion annually from Google through the agreement. Apple’s income from the search deal is believed to be part of the company’s growing Services segment, a key metric Apple has highlighted to investors and analysts in recent years.

“By paying Apple a portion of the monopoly rents extracted from advertisers, Google has aligned Apple’s financial incentives with its own and set the price of bidding for distribution extremely high,” the DOJ said.

As part of the deal, Google is also the default search engine for Siri and system search, replacing a deal Apple had with Microsoft in 2017. Apple does not offer a way for users to switch search engines during the initial setup process for its devices, nor does it suggest to users that they can switch their search engine when they first use Safari on an Apple device.

Apple said that, in addition to being able to change the default search engine after setup, users can access third-party search apps, third-party voice assistant apps or got to another search engine’s website.

In 2019, Apple Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer told a congressional hearing that that the company “conducted an open competition to see what did we think would be best for our consumers, and consumers have always gone to Google.”

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Business

If you're over 50 and don't qualify for life insurance due to health concerns, look into guaranteed issue life insurance

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • Guaranteed issue is a type of life insurance that doesn't require a medical exam.
  • It is typically limited to individuals ages 50 and over.
  • It is more expensive than other life insurance policies that don't require a medical exam.
  • If you have health conditions that would typically disqualify you from coverage, then guaranteed issue is an option.
  • Policygenius can help you compare life insurance policies to find the right coverage for you, at the right price »

Most people get life insurance to cover the mortgage, education, and other expenses so their family can continue paying the bills after they die. The goal of having life insurance is to ease the burden on your loved ones after your loss.

Traditional insurance policies require a medical exam as part of the approval process known as underwriting. However, some people will not qualify for traditional life insurance due to health conditions. If you are concerned about not qualifying due to health and are age 50 or over, a guaranteed issue life insurance policy may be your best bet.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract between you and the life insurance company, where you pay premiums (monthly or annually) for a payout that your living relatives will receive upon your death, known as the death benefit. Should you die, the insurance company pays the death benefit to your chosen beneficiary.

The difference between term and whole life insurance

There are two types of life insurance: whole life and term life. Either can require a medical exam. Whole life premiums can be more expensive than term life premiums because they have a cash value component in addition to the death benefit. You pay a whole life policy throughout your lifetime, so the coverage is for your lifetime.

Term life, on the other hand, is considerably cheaper because it doesn't have a cash value component and coverage (as well as payment) is limited to a given term. Term life insurance covers a 10, 20, or 30-year period. If you die during that period, your beneficiaries get your death benefit. Term life insurance is generally recommended for any adult with a dependent, and its biggest draw is the low monthly payments. 

Guaranteed issue is a no medical exam life insurance policy

Traditional insurance policies require a medical exam as part of the approval process known as underwriting. No medical exam life insurance, including guaranteed issue, offers quick approval for coverage and can be good if you are in poor health. 

Whether you are concerned about a medical exam disqualifying you or simply just don't want to go to a doctor, there are three types of no medical exam life insurance policies: 

  1. Accelerated underwriting: requires a medical questionnaire
  2. Simplified issue: requires a medical questionnaire
  3. Guaranteed issue: no exam, no health questions
Guaranteed issue life insurance
  • Quick approval process, can't be denied
  • No health questions
  • Limited to $25,000 or less and a waiting period for full benefits payout
  • Good if you have poor health 
  • Limited to policyholders 50-85 years old

Guaranteed issue can be whole life or term life insurance and does not require a medical exam or questionnaire which means it falls under no medical exam life insurance. Because there are no medical exams or health questions, life insurance providers consider guaranteed issue applicants a higher risk and premiums are usually more expensive compared to other no medical exam life insurance policies for less coverage.

Guaranteed life insurance is also referred to as "final expense/funeral insurance" because the coverage amounts are so low that they basically only cover funeral and burial expenses. 

Les Masterson, managing editor of Insure, told Business Insider that funeral insurance is different from traditional life insurance in three ways:

  1. It has a lower death benefit, making it less expensive and a good option if you're on a fixed income
  2. It's easier to get this policy — no exam required
  3. It is often purchased by people who are middle-aged or older

Masterson noted that the median price for a funeral is $8,500, and death benefits for funeral insurance can fall anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000. 

According to ColonialPenn, there is usually a two-year waiting period, meaning that if the policyholder dies within the first two years of having coverage, the policy won't pay out.

Guaranteed issue vs simplified issue life insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance has no medical exam and no medical questions, but coverage is limited to up to $25,000. Simplified issue has no medical exam, but you still have to complete a health questionnaire and provide access to medical records. Simplified issue also offers higher coverage amounts up to $100,000 and cheaper premiums than guaranteed issue policies.

According to Fidelity Life, if you fail to disclose a condition and die on a simplified issue policy, the insurance company can deny paying death benefits to your beneficiaries.

Make sure any funeral insurance kicks in after your death

Funeral and burial insurance refers to insurance that covers final expenses, like funeral or cremation costs. However, this should not be confused with pre-need insurance.

When a person works with a funeral home to decide exactly what they want and they pay for everything in advance, before they die, that coverage is called pre-need insurance, Masterson told Business Insider. 

Pre-need insurance is not recommended because the beneficiary is the funeral home and coverage is specific to the chosen funeral home. If you die before paying the full amount, your family has to pay the difference. Should the funeral home go out of business or you move out of state, you may not have coverage and that defeats the purpose of pre-planning.

According to the AARP, the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) advises against buying pre-need.

How much does guaranteed life insurance cost?

Life insurance providers consider guaranteed life applicants to be a higher risk because there's no medical information. Premiums are usually more expensive compared to other no medical life insurance policies for less coverage.

For guaranteed life insurance, premium calculation depends on your age, gender, where you live, and coverage amount. Understand that there are limits on coverage amounts and it varies by insurance provider.

We found sample quotes for a 51-year-woman for $25,000 in coverage living in Illinois:

Insurance type Coverage amount Monthly insurance premium
AARP Easy Life Insurance (Guaranteed issue) $25,000 $108
Mutual of Omaha Guaranteed Plus Whole Life (Guaranteed Issue) $25,000 $73.50
AARP Level Term (Simplified issue)* $25,000 $18
AARP Level Term (Simplified issue)* $100,000 $52

*Simplified issue policies included for price comparison

In the sample quotes above, we included quotes for AARP's simplified issue coverage for comparison. Although simplified issue life insurance does not require a medical exam, it does require a health questionnaire. If you don't want a medical exam, but can qualify for a simplified issue policy, it is generally a better deal because you can get more coverage for a cheaper premium.

Who should get guaranteed issue insurance?

Guaranteed issue life insurance is for those who might be in poor health and can't qualify for traditional life insurance. It is usually marketed for those over 50 because there is a limit on the coverage amount. It is more expensive than other no medical exam life insurance policies. 

If you qualify for a simplified issue no medical exam life insurance policy, it is generally better to apply for that instead, as you should be able to get more coverage and a cheaper premium.

However, if you can't qualify for other no medical exam life insurance, then guaranteed issue life insurance is your best option.

Shop around online, or even check out those guaranteed issue life mailers that might arrive in your mailbox. Most of these offers are for low coverage amounts, but some coverage is better than none at all. If you have auto, homeowners, or renters insurance, reach out to your agent and ask if they provide no medical exam life insurance — they might be able to accommodate current customers. 

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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World News

Cuomo says non-essential travel between NY, CT, NJ, PA 'discouraged' amid spike in tristate area COVID cases

Can Gov. Cuomo withhold the COVID-19 vaccine from New Yorkers?

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatens to withhold coronavirus vaccine until his team of doctors deem it safe; reaction from Joe Borelli, NYC GOP councilman and spokesman for the NY State GOP.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said “non-essential” interstate travel between Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania is “discouraged,” amid a spike in cases of the novel coronavirus in the tristate area.

Cuomo, on Tuesday, announced that Arizona and Maryland have been added to New York’s COVID-19 travel advisory, which required individuals who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The quarantine, which New York, Connecticut and New Jersey began imposing in June, applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

However, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania “now meet the criteria for the travel advisory,” Cuomo’s office said Tuesday, acknowledging that “given the interconnected nature of the region” a quarantine on those states “is not practically viable.”

“We are now in a situation where 43 states meet the criteria for our travel advisory. This is a really bizarre outcome, considering New York once had the highest infection rate,” Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday.

“There is no practical way to quarantine New York from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut,” he continued. “There are just too many interchanges, interconnections, and people who live in one place and work in the other.”

Cuomo said a quarantine on those states “would have a disastrous effect on the economy,” and noted that “while we’re fighting this public health pandemic, we’re also fighting to open up the economy.”

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL SLAMS NY GOV. CUOMO OVER 'HIGHLY IRRESPONSIBLE' COMMENTS ON COVID VACCINE

“However, to the extent travel between the states is not essential, it should be avoided,” Cuomo said.

As of Tuesday, Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming are on New York’s mandatory quarantine list.

It is not clear, at this point, what limiting tristate travel will look like, or how Cuomo will enforce it.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he would change his state’s quarantine criteria, saying that a state must hit a positivity rate of 5% to land on the list.

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World News

How are benefit frauds caught?

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Benefit claimants commit fraud when they deliberately fail to report a change in theory circumstances or are dishonest about their benefit claim information. It is a form of welfare fraught wherein Government benefits are paid fraudulently to an individual. But how exactly are benefit frauds caught?

What is benefit fraud?

Benefits fraud is an offence which may be committed in several ways including:

Making false representation for claiming benefits or tax credits.

Making dishonest representation for claiming benefits or tax credits.

There are special rules which happen during an investigation and the prosecution where people are suspected of benefit fraud.

Common examples of benefit fraud include:

  • Faking an illness or injury to get unemployment or disability benefits
  • Failing to report income from a business or employment to make income seem lower than it actually is
  • Living with someone who contributes to the household income without declaring that income to the authorities
  • Falsifying accounts to make it seem like a person has less money than they say they do.

How do fraud investigations work?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), local authorities and HMRC have powers to launch investigations to detect and prevent benefit fraud.

Official authorities may share information about you with one another.

They may have the right to gain access to your place of work as part of the investigation.

You may be able to avoid an official formal investigation by talking to the benefits office.

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If you are suspected of committing benefit fraud, you will be contacted by the DWP, HMRC, the Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency or your local authority.

You may be asked to visit the Fraud Investigation Officers for an interview or asked to attend an interview to talk about your claim.

You may be interviewed under caution, but can bring someone with you or seek advice from a solicitor.

In addition, your benefit may be stopped while you are investigated.

Following an interview under caution, in some cases, you may be offered a formal caution as an alternative to persecution.

But you are advised to seek specialist advice before accepting a caution.

Which benefits can be stopped if you commit benefit fraud?

The following benefits can be stopped if you commit benefit fraud:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Support Payment
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Christmas Bonus
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Graduated Retirement Benefit
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Constant Attendance Allowance (where a Disablement Pension is payable)
  • Industrial Injuries Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (where a Disablement Pension is payable)
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • State Pension
  • Social Fund Payments
  • War Pension Constant Attendance Allowance
  • War Pension Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement
  • None of the following payments can be stopped or reduced:
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Statutory Adoption Pay
  • Statutory Maternity Pay
  • Statutory Paternity Pay
  • Statutory Sick Pay.

What happens if you are found guilty of committing benefit fraud?

If you’ve committed or attempted fraud, one or more of the following may happen:

  • You will be told to pay back the overpaid money
  • You may be taken to court or asked to pay a penalty, between £350 and £5,000
  • Your benefits may be reduced or stopped.

The maximum penalty for false representation is a £5,000 fine, three months imprisonment or both.

The maximum penalty if convicted for dishonest representation is a £5,000 fine, six months imprisonment (12 months in Scotland) or both.

If you are convicted in a higher court, you may receive an unlimited fine, seven years in prison or both.

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