• Heidi Klum, 46, faces backlash for revealing photos: 'All I see is a midlife crisis'

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  • Huawei Founder Sees ‘Live or Die Moment’ From U.S. Uncertainty

    (Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co.’s founder Ren Zhengfei warned in an internal memo the company is at a “live or die moment” and advised underutilized employees to form “commando squads” to explore new projects. Workers who fail will have their salaries cut every few months and may lose their jobs, the billionaire said yesterday.Since May, Huawei has occupied the uncomfortable position of being both an established global technology brand and a member of the United States Entity List, which bars it from trading with American suppliers. Despite a series of 90-day reprieves, the latest of which came yesterday, the uncertainty caused by American sanctions has already cost the company a great deal. Even if Huawei is eventually brought in from the cold, the impact of this summer’s upheaval will be widespread and painful.The most immediate of Huawei’s losses is the international smartphone market. The company’s internal estimates show it expects to sell 60 million fewer phones in 2019 than it would have done without the U.S. impositions. In 2018, Huawei grew its mobile shipments by 34% to 206 million, according to IDC data, and in the first quarter of 2019 its pace accelerated to a 50% improvement while rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. both saw shrinking sales. By the second quarter, partially affected by U.S. sanctions, Huawei’s growth had been slashed to 8.3%.Having successfully penetrated the European mobile market, Huawei was on a path to becoming the world’s biggest phone vendor, however the loss of Google’s Android, the brains inside its handsets, and the related Play Store app ecosystem made Huawei devices undesirable outside of China.Ren warned in his memo that redundant staff need to find a way to make themselves useful.“They either form a ‘commando squad’ to explore new projects -- in which case they could be promoted to company commander if they do well,” he wrote. “Or they can find jobs in the internal market. If they fail to find a role, their salaries will be cut every three months.”Read more: Huawei’s Founder Wants an ‘Invincible Iron Army’ to Fight U.S.The consumer division is, according to Huawei itself, its growth engine. Accounting for 45% of its revenue last year, the business that sells phones and other gadgets is instrumental to Huawei’s future health, and it’s taken a substantial reputation blow from all the allegations and sanctions levied against Huawei. That won’t be repaired anytime soon.On the same front is Huawei’s loss of software engineering time as it’s had to scramble to create a potential Android substitute. In the wake of the U.S. ban, the company switched to 24-hour days, working as many as 10,000 developers across three shifts and three offices to eliminate the need for American software and circuitry. Huawei ended up hurrying its HarmonyOS out this month, just to demonstrate it can code its own operating system, though it convinced very few people that it has anything approaching an Android alternative waiting in the wings.Less quantifiable but still significant will be the talent drain that Huawei suffers from the tarnishing of its global reputation and the overwork that’s resulted from its efforts to recover. The company has downsized its workforce in response to its new circumstances.Ren wrote that the company’s priorities are for employees to make “meritorious deeds” and for management “to promote outstanding employees as soon as possible and infuse new blood to our organization.”In explaining the fresh extension to Huawei’s reprieve from U.S. sanctions, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that some American telecoms are “dependent” on Huawei tech and need time to wean themselves off it. So while the Washington authorities are giving Huawei a little more breathing room, the company’s situation is still very much precarious, as its founder has indicated.Without the U.S. trade intervention, Huawei would be threatening Samsung for the crown of the world’s most prolific smartphone vendor and it would be capitalizing on its lead in 5G technology instead of counting the cost of lost customers. The company remains in a strong position, but the dynamism of its growth and the luster of its cutting-edge technology have both been diminished by the measures taken by the American government.To contact the reporters on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at vsavov5@bloomberg.net;Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Peter Elstrom, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • A woman tries to rob Family Dollar - and the cashier responds: ‘Not today,’ cops say

    Employees at the Family Dollar in the 5000 block of 14th Street West thwarted a robbery attempt just after 9 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

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  • Jeffrey Epstein signed will two days before suicide as battle for £475m estate begins

    Jeffrey Epstein signed a will just two days before he killed himself in jail, new court records show, opening a new legal front in what could be a long battle over the financier’s fortune. Court papers filed last week in the US Virgin Islands list no details of beneficiaries but valued the estate at more than $577 million (£475 million), including more than $56 million in cash. The existence of the will, first reported by the New York Post, raised new questions about Epstein’s final days inside the Metropolitan Correctional Centre, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Epstein signed the document on August 8. Less than 48 hours later, he was found dead in his cell, prompting an investigation that has cast a harsh light on staffing shortages at the Manhattan detention centre. Prosecutors on Monday moved to dismiss the indictment against Epstein but have said they are considering charging others with facilitating his alleged abuse of dozens of girls. Death of financier | Epstein's final days The filing of the will, meanwhile, had been closely followed by lawyers representing women who claim they were sexually abused by Epstein when they were teenagers and recruited into his residences to provide him massages. Several lawyers vowed to go after his assets even if the will had named beneficiaries, as Epstein’s death means there will be no trial on the criminal charges against him. One woman filed suit against the estate last week, claiming Epstein repeatedly raped her when she was a teenager. "Give his entire estate to his victims. It is the only justice they can get," one of those lawyers, Lisa Bloom, wrote in an email. "And they deserve it. And on behalf of the Epstein victims I represent, I intend to fight for it." Former federal prosecutor David S. Weinstein, who is now in private practice in Miami but not involved in the Epstein case, said states and US territories have certain timeframes within which to make a claim against someone’s estate. "There are certainly going to be a lot of lawyers involved," Weinstein said. "It’s not going to be over any time soon." A hedge fund manager who hobnobbed with the rich and famous, Epstein owned a Caribbean island, homes in Paris and New York City, a New Mexico ranch and a fleet of high-price cars. A man in a golf cart is seen at a dock in Little St. James Island, one of the properties of financier Jeffrey Epstein, near Charlotte Amalie Credit: Reuters Epstein had more than $112 million worth of equities, according to the will, and nearly $200 million in "hedge funds & private equity investments." Among the properties that will be subject to appraisal and valuation are his collection of fine arts, antiques and other collectibles. As part of his 2008 plea deal to Florida state charges, Epstein made undisclosed financial settlements with dozens of his victims. It’s unclear how those settlements might affect any claims made on his estate. The emergence of the will came as The New York Times released new details about Epstein's final days in Manhattan's high-security Metropolitan Correctional Centre. Exterior view of a 5-storey building on Avenue Foch in Paris' 16th district, location of an apartment that belonged to Jeffrey Epstein Credit: Reuters Citing sources, the newspaper said he hated his vermin-infested cell so much that he paid for lawyers to meet him for up to 12 hours a day in a different room. He rarely washed and slept on the floor instead of his bed, they said. US Attorney General William Barr shook up the leadership at the federal Bureau of Prisons on Monday, removing its acting chief following the suicide of Epstein. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, a veteran of the Bureau of Prisons, will return to the agency to serve as its director, Mr Barr said. He named another former agency official, Thomas Kane, to serve as her deputy.