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Ashley ‘stabbed in the back’ by Sports Direct investors

Mike Ashley has accused Sports Direct shareholders of stabbing him and the company in the back over the shock departure of the firm's chairman.

The company's founder and chief executive claimed that investors had been "hounding" Keith Hellawell, who quit unexpectedly ahead of the company's annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday.

In what will be interpreted as a threat to take the company private again, Mr Ashley also argued that "true entrepreneurs will never be accepted in the public arena" and that the shareholders had "now made it extremely challenging for future engagement to take place".

Keith Hellawell will be replaced by David Daly
Image: Mr Hellawell's retirement marked the end to a controversial nine-year tenure

Mr Hellawell's retirement marked the end to a controversial nine-year tenure of the former West Yorkshire Police chief constable and government drugs tsar, who had previously faced criticism over allegations of "Victorian" working practices at the retailer's warehouses.

His approach to corporate governance also came under fire and at last year's AGM he narrowly survived a re-election vote when 47% of investors voted against him.

In the run up to this year's meeting, influential advisory groups had urged shareholders to oppose Mr Hellawell's re-election, arguing he had lost investor confidence and failed to appoint any female directors to the board.

In a strongly worded statement to the City, Mr Ashley, who holds 62% of shares in Sports Direct, said despite the "progress and the undoubted good performance of Sports Direct", shareholders had "failed to support Sports Direct, Keith and myself".

He added: "It is blatantly apparent that true entrepreneurs will never be accepted in the public arena.

"The media circus surrounding Sports Direct, including but not restricted to matters connected to our AGM, only proves that whatever progress Sports Direct makes, it will always be subject to disproportionate scrutiny and misrepresentation.

"In light of the above, and despite the substantial progress made over the last few years, the shareholders have now made it extremely challenging for future engagement to take place.

"On the one hand they are delighted with our performance and progress, yet with the other hand they have stabbed Sports Direct and myself in the back by repeatedly hounding Keith Hellawell."

Sports Direct shares were up by almost 1% up in early Friday afternoon trading.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Hellawell said: "Having overseen significant improvements in the working practices and corporate governance of the company, which includes a refresh of the board, now is the right time for me to step aside."

But Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of union Unite, said: "It's about time he resigned. During his tenure he has presided over shocking working conditions at the Shirebrook warehouse (in Derbyshire).

"The question now is will his replacement stand up to (Sports Direct chief executive) Mike Ashley in the interests of workers and shareholders?"

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Mr Hellawell will be replaced by non-executive director David Daly.

Some 9.8% of investors voted against Mr Ashley's re-election at the Sports Direct AGM after shareholder advisory groups criticised his "excessive influence" over the company.

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Amazon creates 50,000 jobs with split HQ plan

By James Sillars, business reporter

Amazon says its new second headquarters will be split between New York City and Arlington, Virginia – ending months of speculation.

The online retail to cloud computing firm said that its plans would create 50,000 jobs and allow it to attract "world class talent".

It already has a base in Seattle, Washington and had been seeking incentives such as tax cuts and grants from a shortlist of 20 potential sites for a second home.

Amazon
Image: Amazon is the world's second-largest listed company, behind Apple, with a market value of 800m dollars

The company confirmed on Tuesday it had selected the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens and National Landing in Arlington, close to Washington DC, with each getting 25,000 jobs as part of a $5bn total investment.

In addition to the headquarters, it said a new centre of operations for the US east coast would be built in Nashville, Tennessee, with an extra 5,000 people to be hired.

Recruiting would begin in the New Year, Amazon said.

The company had more than 230 bids from US cities before whittling the number down to 20 early this year.

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It confirmed performance-based incentives of $1.5bn from the state of New York and $573m if it meets targets of the 25,000 people hired for the Arlington site netting an average wage of over $150,000.

Amazon said the decision to split the new headquarters followed concerns about being able to recruit and house so many people in one place at once.

Founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said of the new headquarters: "These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come."

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos arrives for Senator McCain's memorial
Image: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has placed an emphasis on investment over profits at Amazon

Neil Saunders, managing director of research specialist GlobalData Retail, said: "In our view, the split reflects two things.

"First of all, the sheer size and scale of Amazon and its interest across many areas of technology, retail, and various consumer services. This arguably warrants multiple HQ locations as opposed to a couple of large offices.

"Second, Amazon's forecasted strong growth means it wants to avoid the issues it had in Seattle where its expansion caused problems with the supply of labour, property, and put pressure on general infrastructure."

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He added: "While other locations may be disappointed not to have secured Amazon's favour, it does not mean they will miss out entirely.

"Amazon is making enormous investments in warehousing, regional hubs and in retail stores. The company will expand both its customer-facing and back-end operations across America, and the world, in the years to come."

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Pound bounces back on latest Brexit hopes

By John-Paul Ford Rojas, business reporter

The pound has bounced back on renewed hopes that Britain and the EU are on the verge of a Brexit deal.

Sterling rose by more than a cent against the US dollar on Tuesday to nearly $1.30 as Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said agreement was possible in the next 24 to 48 hours.

It also climbed by half a cent against the euro to hit a six-month high of €1.15.

The UK currency was further helped by official labour market data showing wage growth reached a new near-decade high over the summer.

Sterling had tumbled close to $1.28 against the dollar on Monday after a weekend of political turbulence and reports that a number of ministers were on the verge of resigning over Theresa May's Brexit plans.

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Mrs May said in her annual address to the Lord Mayor's banquet on Monday that negotiations were approaching the "end game" though cautioned that significant issues still stood in the way of an agreement.

On Tuesday, Mr Lidington told the BBC that a deal was "almost within touching distance".

Downing Street later said Mrs May had told the cabinet good progress was being made but that "there remained a small number of outstanding issues as the UK pushes for the best text that can be negotiated".

The pound has been gripped by volatility amid uncertainty about whether the UK will leave the EU next March without a trade deal in place.

Simon Harvey, market analyst at Monex Europe, said later on Tuesday: "The market is almost static this afternoon as traders remain glued to their screens anticipating an emergency cabinet meeting.

"Should a deal be put on the table, sterling will likely rally up towards the $1.34 level. However, this rally may be short-lived as a key hurdle in the Brexit timeline remains – getting a deal through Parliament."

Experts including the Bank of England expect a sharp shock to the economy if there is a "no deal" withdrawal and the UK's independent fiscal watchdog has drawn comparisons with the impact of the three-day week in 1974.

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Officials and businesses have been working on contingency preparations for such a scenario.

Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods said on Monday that it would soon start stockpiling goods as it looks to protect itself from the risk of delays at ports.

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Amazon got massively different tax breaks from New York and Virginia (AMZN)

  • Amazon has made its decision on HQ2, and now comes the hard part: delivering.
  • Arlington, Virginia and New York City have both offered Amazon millions in incentives in exchange for choosing sites in two districts.
  • New York ended up offering about $1 billion more, though.

The chips are down, and now it's time for money to exchange hands.

Amazon has chosen Long Island City in Queens, New York and National Landing in Arlington, Virginia as its two cites for HQ2. Both will get roughly half of the promised HQ2 investment — $2.5 billion and 25,000 jobs — dumped on the cities throughout the next 10 years.

Arlington, Virginia and New York City have both offered Amazon millions in incentives in exchange for the privilege of choosing sites in two districts.

That's about where the similarities stop, though. The two packages offered by the cities and states are wildly different.

First off is the total package size. All told Virginia offered a sizable $573 million in performance-based direct incentives. But New York opened its purse strings wide and has offered to the tune of $1.525 billion.

Both are based on the company's promise to hire for 25,000 jobs, and will be paid over the next 10-15 years.

New York State’s Excelsior Program is responsible for $1.2 billion of the New York incentive number. It was calculated based on the salaries Amazon expects to pay employees over the next 10 years. Taking into account an average wage Amazon estimates will exceed $150,000, that equals about $48,000 of state subsidy per employee.

The $1.2 billion will be paid over the next 10 years, as hiring for the new office ramps up. New York is also giving a $325 million cash grant based on the 4 million to 8 million square feet of office space it intends to occupy, courtesy of Empire State Development.

Amazon has also said it will apply for other incentives including New York City’s Industrial & Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) and New York City’s Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP).

The smaller package offered by Virginia includes a similar incentive. Virginia will offer Amazon $22,000 for each job the company hires for in the office over the next 12 years. Using for calculation of the predicted 25,000 jobs, that will equal $550 million.

In addition to that, Amazon will also get a cash grant from Arlington for $23 million if the company is able to grow the city's tax on local hotel rooms over the next 15 years.

Read more about Amazon's HQ2:

  • Amazon made an important investment in Seattle, and it highlights a key issue for HQ2
  • Amazon HQ2 candidates are going to great lengths to keep their plans secret
  • HQ2 is making cities consider projects they've been ignoring for years — and it shows the power of Amazon
  • 7 horrible things that could happen to cities if they win Amazon's HQ2 bid
  • The cities where homeowners will benefit the most if Amazon's 2nd headquarters lands there

SEE ALSO: Amazon is breaking a central promise of HQ2 by reportedly placing it in 2 different cities

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Hilary Duff ate her placenta in a ‘delightful’ smoothie after giving birth, but doctors think it’s a bad idea

  • In a recent episode of the "Informed Pregnancy" podcast, Hilary Duff said she consumed her placenta in smoothies after giving birth to her second child, People reported.
  • Some claim that the practice has benefits like improving milk supply and preventing postpartum depression.
  • But a recent paper in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that eating the placenta is "potentially harmful with no documented benefit."

Hilary Duff consumed parts of her placenta after giving birth to her second child, Banks, in October, People reported on Thursday.

In an episode of the "Informed Pregnancy" podcast, released on November 8 but recorded 10 days after she gave birth, Duff said she ate the placenta — the organ that develops in the uterus to deliver oxygen and nutrients to a fetus — inside smoothies.

"It was the most delightful smoothie I've ever had," Duff said on the podcast, discussing the first placenta beverage she drank. "I haven't had a smoothie that delightful since I was like 10 years old. It was calorie-filled with juice and fruit and everything delicious."

Banks Violet Bair❤️ this little bit has fully stolen our hearts! She joined our world at home on Thursday afternoon and is absolute magic ✨

A post shared by Hilary Duff (@hilaryduff) on Oct 29, 2018 at 6:38pm PDT on

Duff explained that she had the placenta made into frozen cubes that she kept in her freezer to add into smoothies. By the time of the podcast recording, she said she'd had three of the drinks.

Duff added that she was "a little wigged out " by the prospect of eating her placenta at first.

"Then I did research and none of it's, like, totally proven but I don't know — I've already gone down this road of doing all this different stuff," Duff said. "I'm like, I might as well."

Duff isn't the only famous mother who's done this, People reported. Other celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen have also consumed their placentas.

Proponents of the practice argue that placenta consumption can reduce postpartum bleeding, improve mood and milk supply, and prevent postpartum depression, according to a paper published earlier this year in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG). Others argue that humans should eat the placenta because many other mammals do.

But many experts say the practice is not recommended.

Experts say eating the placenta "no documented benefit"

placenta pills

There's growing interest in placenta consumption (also called placentophagy) among women in the US, though no "contemporary human culture" includes the practice in its traditions, according to the AJOG paper.

The placenta is often dehydrated and processed into capsules that women can take as a normal pill. But that's' not the only possible preparation.

"Some women eat slices of the placenta raw directly after birth, while others deep-freeze them for later consumption," the authors wrote. "Placental material might also be mixed with fruits or juices to create smoothies that mask the unpleasant taste or might be used as a meat substitute for recipes such as lasagna or pasta."

Despite increased interest and a plethora of consumption methods, however, there is still no scientific evidence that eating the placenta has any clinical benefits for new mothers, the paper added.

The only available randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the subject studied whether placenta pills could help postpartum women get enough iron, the authors wrote. But the results showed there was no meaningful difference in iron status between the women taking the placenta pills and the women taking the placebo.

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And, as gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter wrote in the New York Times in September, the fact that many mammals eat their placentas doesn't mean the practice is good for humans.

"Most mammals have entirely different reproductive physiology [than humans]," she wrote. "Not to mention entirely different behaviors."

"These days, my cat eats grass … I suspect she does this when she has an upset stomach," Gunter added. "Imagine if your gastroenterologist suggested eating grass for an upset stomach because cats do it?"

There may be risks linked with eating the placenta

woman giving birth hospital

The AJOG paper also noted that there may be harmful effects associated with eating the placenta. First, toxic substances may accumulate in the placenta. One study found low levels of the heavy metal cadmium in the organ, for example. The placenta also contains hormones, and though there's no evidence that mother can absorb these hormones if they eat their placenta, it's possible they may have negative effects on the body. And if the placenta isn't heated to high enough temperatures before consumption, viruses like HIV, hepatitis, and Zika and potentially dangerous bacteria may not be eradicated.

In fact, in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a case of a baby who got a dangerous blood infection after the mother ingested placenta pills contaminated B streptococcus bacteria.

The AJOG paper gave clear advice to doctors: "Because placentophagy is potentially harmful with no documented benefit, counseling women should be directive: physicians should discourage this practice."

In her post for the New York Times, Gunter acknowledged that the postpartum period is difficult, and that we do need more research on ways to help new mothers as they recover from childbirth.

"However, a novel therapy based on anecdotes … is no answer," she wrote. "We know so little about eating placenta that we don’t even know what we don’t know."

Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

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10 signs your migraines are part of a bigger problem

One out of 7 Americans live with migraine headaches. If you're part of that group, then you know all too well how these severe headaches can take over your life. Over time, most people learn ways to manage the symptoms, and some even figure out how to stop them in their tracks, but what happens when your migraines start to present with different symptoms?

To help you determine if your migraines are a sign of a bigger problem or are something else altogether, INSIDER asked a few healthcare experts to share the signs you need to be aware of.

You have an acute onset pain that feels like the worst headache of your life.

"Migraines often have a prodrome or aura giving you a warning of what is about to come," Dr. Robert Carson, M.D. Ph.D. assistant professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Vanderbilt and advisor to Remedy Review, told INSIDER.

He explained that an immediate onset of the "worst headache of your life" may suggest a new structural problem leading to a headache, such as a ruptured cerebral blood vessel.

You have a headache with a fever.

A severe headache or a migraine with a fever is never something to ignore.

"A headache with characteristics different than your typical migraine but also associated with fever and a stiff neck may suggest meningitis," said Carson. Since bacterial meningitis can be fatal, Carson said getting this type of headache checked out by a doctor is important.

You have neurologic symptoms you've never had before.

If you're experiencing neurological symptoms such as facial weakness or arm weakness during one of your migraines, you need to get to a doctor right away. Carson said that FAST, an acronym medical experts use to describe a stroke, looks at facial weakness, arm weakness, speech difficulty, and time (both noting time of onset and trying to have as short of a time as possible to get medical attention).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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