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Low morale, staff firings, and new pricing plans coming: Inside the walls of MoviePass (HMNY)

MoviePassHollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • MoviePass fired three staff members on Friday, including two who made up the entirety of its human resources staff, a source at the company told Business Insider.
  • MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe has not been on all-hands calls in two months, according to the source, who said this was is a sign of his lack of involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business.
  • "Mitch has been and continues to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company," MoviePass told Business Insider in a statement. 
  • The company is planning to unveil a three-tier pricing plan, with the most expensive being similar to AMC Theatres’ subscription plan, AMC Stubs A-List.

On Thursday MoviePass’ parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, disclosed it lost $130 million last quarter, and suffered a "significant decline" in MoviePass subscribers. 

The following morning, MoviePass staff came to work to a startling discovery. MoviePass’ two-person HR department had been fired, a source at the company told Business Insider.

Now some at MoviePass are wondering if they could be next on the chopping block, and if payroll, which was one of the duties of HR, will suddenly become an issue, according to the source. 

To top it all off, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe has been hard to find, according to the source. 

Lowe has not been on an all-hands call in two months, which the source said was a sign of his lack of involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company. Some of Lowe’s duties, including running the all-hands, are being done by Khalid Itum, MoviePass’ VP of Business Development. 

"Mitch has been and continues to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company," MoviePass told Business Insider in a statement. 

Shortly after Business Insider called MoviePass for comment, another all hands was called to inform staff of a forthcoming story, according to the source. 

Read more: MoviePass competitor Sinemia is being sued by angry customers who say it ripped them off with new fees

On a call Monday, Itum told the staff the company was "not going anywhere." In fact, MoviePass plans to make a big splash soon by unveiling a three-tier pricing plan for subscribers, the company source said.

This would include the current pricing level of $9.95 for three titles per month as the bottom-tier option, and a top-tier price that would be similar to what AMC is offering with its AMC Stubs A-List, at $19.95 a month for three movies per week.

"We have been listening closely to our subscribers," MoviePass also told Business Insider in a statement. "While we can’t share specifics at the moment, we’re looking forward to releasing our new programs intended to maximize positive member experience."

The last official subscriber count the public got from MoviePass was when it crossed three million subscribers in June. The company source told Business Insider that tens of thousands of subscribers canceled in October.

NOW WATCH: How ‘The Price Is Right’ is made

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SEE ALSO: "Creed II" escapes a sequel slump with thrilling fight scenes and a gripping performance by Michael B. Jordan

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13 Amazon Black Friday deals you can get a week early — including the all-new Echo Show and Kindle Paperwhite

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

echo show black friday dealsAmazon

  • As part of Amazon’s Early Black Friday offerings, many of its devices, including Echo and Fire TV products, are already on sale. 
  • Find all the deals, along with information about how the different device specs compare, below. 
  • We’ll be updating this page through Black Friday and Cyber Monday as we learn more about new Amazon device promotions.
  • To potentially save more on Black Friday, you can visit Business Insider Coupons to find up-to-date promo codes for a range of online stores.

If you’ve ever wanted to own an Amazon device, be it a  Kindle e-reader, Echo speaker, or Fire TV Stick, then you should know that the best times of the year to buy one — if you want to enjoy the lowest prices, anyway — are Prime Day, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Historically, Amazon has offered discounts of $15 to $50 off its popular gadgets on both holidays, and each year the deals just get better.

Now that it’s moving on to new and improved versions of its devices, you’ll be able to save on certified refurbished units of the older models and double (or even triple) up on new devices to save more. 

Below, we’ve rounded up all the Amazon device deals in one place for you to shop. We’ve also provided easy comparisons among options within the same family so you don’t waste time going back and forth between pages trying to distinguish their differences. 

Kindle PaperwhiteAmazon

If you want to read up on Amazon’s complete portfolio of devices, check out this ultimate guide. Otherwise, start shopping below. These Black Friday Amazon device deals are already live. 

amazon echo devices bannerShayanne Gal/Business Insider

Many Echo devices are on sale today, from the simple  Echo Dot to the features-packed Echo Show. Each one uses Alexa to accomplish any number of tasks, from answering questions to reordering supplies on Amazon. Depending on your budget and preferences, you’ll probably prefer one model over another. Here’s a quick comparison:

amazon fire tablets bannerShayanne Gal/Business Insider

Fire tablets are optimized for the best portable entertainment experience, whether you like to watch movies or play games. There are three main types, and the number refers to the display size. All are available in bright colors and have high-quality video recording features, so their main differences come down to resolution, storage size, battery life, and audio capabilities. The following tablets are on sale:

amazon fire tvs bannerShayanne Gal/Business Insider

Armed with a Fire TV device and your favorite streaming subscriptions, including Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, you’ll feel like traditional cable is truly a thing of the past. It’s a great tool for would be cord cutters. Fire TV devices also use Alexa for convenient hands-free control, so you don’t have to juggle or manage yet another remote control. These Fire TV devices are on sale today:

amazon kindles bannerShayanne Gal/Business Insider

If you love reading, you won’t regret getting a Kindle, which makes it that much easier to enjoy the pastime. The e-readers are light and comfortable to hold, give you the ability to download millions of books with the click of a button, and let you make highlights and notes. They’re also easy to read in bright light, unlike your phone. 

amazon security cameras bannerShayanne Gal/Business Insider

These security cameras keep your home safe when you’re not there by giving you live notifications and video clips of the scene.

Looking for more deals? We’ve rounded up the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on the internet.

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This surprisingly low-key eye treatment I swear by is less than $10

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

downloadAquaphor

  • Drugstore staple Aquaphor can be used on the under-eye area and face to lock in skin’s moisture, especially in the dry winter months, for under $10.
  • A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology has found a link between dry and skin and wrinkles, and Aquaphor delivers a level of hydration that can keep fine lines from forming.
  • It can also be used as a balm for dry skin, dermatitis, and scrapes.

Years ago, I worked as a journalist on the entertainment news beat — which meant I spent a good amount of time face to face with impossibly beautiful actresses, singers, and socialites. In person, these women were even more flawless than you can imagine: perfect, plump skin, no fine lines in sight, and an otherworldly glow that can’t be attributed to highlighter (or an Instagram filter) alone.

Luckily, the bulk of my job involved interviewing celebs about their beauty must-haves, and I paid special attention anytime anti-aging products came up in conversation. I always expected my high-profile interviewees to rattle off a long list of luxury serums, moisturizers, and creams that I couldn’t afford (or maybe even pronounce); and most of the time, that’s exactly what happened.

Until the day one of Hollywood’s elite (who shall remain nameless — a journalist never reveals her sources, after all) confided in me her surprisingly low-key anti-aging eye treatment: Aquaphor, an under-$10 drugstore staple that you probably already have in your bathroom cabinet.

I admit that Aquaphor seems like an unexpected choice for eye care. The mineral-packed jelly is actually intended to heal cracked hands and feet or treat minor scrapes, and doesn’t boast any fine line-fighting skincare ingredients like retinol or vitamin C. However, its ability to cover the outermost layer of skin with a watertight seal and lock in hydration makes it an anti-aging agent, as well.

Why? Because hydration has been shown to be the most important factor in remaining wrinkle-free. One study published in the British Journal of Dermatology observed a group of 122 women over a period of eight years, and found that over time, well-moisturized skin looks significantly younger than dry skin. In fact, subjects with hydrated skin saw only 22% more wrinkles over eight years, while participants with dry skin saw 52% more wrinkles. In other words, moisturization (along with sun protection, of course) is the key to bouncy, younger-looking skin — and Aquaphor is nothing if not extremely moisturizing.

A quick peek at the ingredients list proves it: With petrolatum as its base, Aquaphor creates a water-protective barrier around the area of application to help the skin retain moisture. It also includes hydration-sealing emollients like natural mineral oil and lanolin, and a waxy mineral substance called cerasin, which makes the formula safe for sensitive skin. Finally, Aquaphor is packed with pathenol, a derivative of vitamin B that stimulates skin cell regeneration, and chamomile, a natural anti-inflammatory.

It’s worth noting that Aquaphor doesn’t add hydration; it simply prevents a natural function known as Transepidermal Water Loss (or TEWL), in which water evaporates from the skin. This process speeds up as you age, leading to drier, thinner skin — aka fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. By keeping your moisture levels locked and sealed, Aquaphor basically defies the forces of time and nature. (Traditional moisturizers act in pretty much the opposite way — they add moisture, but don’t seal it in.)

While all of that sounds great, I’ll be the first to say that applying Aquaphor as an eye cream is not the most user-friendly experience. The thick, jelly-like texture is slippery and goopy and doesn’t exactly sink into the skin; but the payoff is so, so worth it. I’ve been using this as my go-to eye treatment every night since this celebrity spilled her secret, and my skin has never looked more hydrated or glowing.

I reach for Aquaphor to treat any dry patches of atopic dermatitis that pop up — they’re always gone by morning — and have even been known to slather a light layer on my cheekbones and brow bones during the day as a subtle highlighter. Aquaphor is also my #1 in-flight hydration hack. Frequent fliers, take note: I slather my face in the stuff after boarding, and by touch-down I’m the glowiest girl on the plane.

I can’t get enough: I keep an extra-large jar in my bathroom, and travel-size tubes in my pockets, purses, and bedside table. With the weather getting colder and skin getting drier, I suggest stockpiling Aquaphor to keep the delicate under eye area plump and hydrated. You’ve got nothing to lose (except $10).

Buy the Aquaphor Healing Ointment for $9.96 (7 oz.) at Amazon.

Buy the Aquaphor Healing Ointment for $4.99 (1.75 oz.) at Ulta and Target.

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American challenger Fabiano Caruana missed his best chance to win a game against Magnus Carlsen at World Chess Championship

World Chess Championship 2018Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for World Chess

  • American Challenger Fabiano Caruana fought for a win in Game 6 at the 2018 World Chess Championship, but Magnus Carlsen was able to make a draw.
  • The first five games were interesting, but all also ended in draws.
  • Six more games remain to be played in London, with the score deadlocked at 3-3.

The midway point of the 2018 World Chess Championship in London has arrived. For the first time since Norway’s Magnus Carlsen took the title in 2013, the two highest-rated players on the planet are competing for the win.

Carlsen, 27, is taking on Fabiano Caruana, 26, and the latter is the first American to make it to the championship match since Bobby Fischer in 1972. The players are well-prepared contestants who have faced each other numerous times over the past few years. Before Game 6 of the match, Carlsen’s FIDE rating was 2835, Caruana’s 2832, but Carlsen has a career edge in wins, with a lead on decisive results against Caruana.

In Game 1, Caruana showed some nerves with the white pieces, as Carlsen played the Sicilian Defence against Caruana’s 1. e4 opening, avoiding the drawish Berlin Defence in the Ruy Lopez. The Rossolimo variation of the Sicilian quickly developed, and Carlsen developed an edge before Caruana was able to wrangle a hard-fought draw after 115 moves and seven hours.

Game 2 led to another draw, after 49 moves. Game 3 saw the Rossolimo Sicilian again appear, this time with some befuddlements created by Caruana, who also missed chances to sharpen the position despite better preparation than Carlsen. Nonetheless, the result was another draw.

In Game 4, Carlsen opened with 1. c4, the English game, a move essayed by Fischer at times, but infrequently seen in recent World Championship play. It manifested a theme for the 2018 WCC: an intriguing opening that peters out into draws. This time, the bloodless result occurred after 34 moves.

Game 5 was another Rossolimo Sicilian, but this time Caruana uncorked the obscure Gurgenidze variation, a gambit with the b pawn. A new theme crystallized: Caruana’s deeper opening preparation versus Carlsen’s oft-touted ability to ignore complicated opening theory and find the best analysis of nearly any position.

And still, a draw after 34 moves. The WCC consists of 12 classical games, followed by rapid/blitz tiebreaks. This was how the 2016 Championship match, played between Carlsen and Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, ended. Karjakin and Carlsen won games, but a deadlocked score after 12 games gave Carlsen an advantage given his superior rapid and blitz skills. This led to speculation that Carlsen was looking to draw the classical games against Caruana and again throw the Championship to faster chess, where he’s also better by his results that Caruana.

The thriller of Game 6

World Chess Championship 2018Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for World Chess

Another wrinkle was that by starting with the white pieces, Caruana had to deal with two games in a row with black after Game 6. And so in Game 6, things got a bit crazy. Carlsen opened with 1. d4, the Queen’s Pawn game, and Caruana was at last able to use the Petroff Defence, at which he’s considered an expert. Carlsen dealt with it by moving a knight an almost absurd number of times in the opening, a violation of a fundamental chess principle. 

Caruana wasn’t confused by the gonzo tactic, and by the endgame, Caruana had found a slight edge, after Carlsen sacrificed a knight in exchange for two extra pawns. By move 54, Caruana was winning. For the first time in the 2018 Championship match, Carlsen found himself fighting for a draw rather than pressing for a win. Ten moves later, Carlsen’s king was cornered, and the World Champ was trying to salvage an analytically lost position.

But Caruana couldn’t delve 30 or 40 moves into the position, finding a very esoteric plan, and was unable to move in for the kill. Regrettably, for the challenger, another draw was agreed to after 80 moves. However, Caruana headed into the second half of the match having notched his strongest game to date in World Championship Play.

After a rest day on Saturday, the match will resume Sunday, tied 3-3, after both players have collected 0.5 points for each draw.

NOW WATCH: Here’s what a computer is thinking when it plays chess against you

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SEE ALSO: An American finally has a shot at winning the World Chess Championship for the first time since Bobby Fischer in 1972

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Clover Health, a $1.2 billion startup backed by Alphabet, is still losing money — but less than it was before

Vivek Garipalli (1)Courtesy Clover Health

  • We just got a look at the third-quarter financial results for Clover Health, an Alphabet-backed health insurance startup valued at $1.2 billion. 
  • Clover sells Medicare Advantage plans. According to New Jersey insurance filings reviewed by Business Insider, Clover posted an $18.7 million loss through the first nine months of the year. 
  • Clover previously told Bloomberg in March that it expects to generate $330 million in revenue for the entirety of 2018. Through the first nine months, it’s generated $223 million. 

We just got a look at how healthcare startup Clover Health is doing through the first nine months of 2018.

Clover lost $18.7 million in the first nine months of 2018, according to a state insurance filing reviewed by Business Insider. The company offers private health insurance plans for seniors, a product called Medicare Advantage.

The results put it in better shape than it was in in 2017, when it posted a net loss of $31.6 million through the first nine months of the year, according to the filing. By the end of 2017, it reported a $21.5 million loss in its business in New Jersey. 

The insurer currently operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Georgia, and is expanding to more states in 2019, including parts of South Carolina, Arizona, and Tennessee. Business Insider reviewed filings from New Jersey, which makes up the majority of Clover’s business now. 

Other notable figures from the first nine months: 

  • Clover’s revenue in New Jersey was $223 million
  • The company paid out $204.9 million in medical expenses for its customers. 
  • Clover had 31,902 Medicare Advantage members as of September 30. 

Bloomberg in March reported that Clover expected 2018 revenue to hit $330 million in 2018. For the full year of 2017, the company generated $267 million in revenue.

Clover’s New Jersey Medicare Advantage plan currently has a three star rating out of five from the government, down from 3.5 in 2017. That reduces the amount of money the government will pay Clover for insuring seniors.

Clover Health sells Medicare Advantage health insurance plans. When seniors in the US turn 65, they can choose to be part of either traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage, which is operated through private insurers like Clover and often provides additional healthcare benefits. The hope for San Francisco-based Clover and other technology-based health insurers is to use data to improve patients’ health.

The Medicare Advantage market is highly competitive. Oscar Health, another Alphabet-backed insurer, is planning to enter the Medicare Advantage market in 2020. In October, investors poured $300 million into Devoted Health, another startup planning to launch Medicare Advantage plans in Florida in 2019. 

Read More: We got the first look at Oscar’s financials since Google’s parent company made its $375 million investment — and the health insurer’s losses are narrowing

Clover, Devoted, and eventually Oscar are going up against healthcare giants that have been entrenched in the market like Humana, UnitedHealth Group and soon-to-be-merged CVS Health and Aetna. Those companies tend to generate substantial profits from Medicare Advantage.

In January, CNBC reported that Clover had hit some rough patches, including upsetting members who faced unexpected bills, and missing financial targets.

Founded in 2014, the company most recently raised $130 million in May 2017 from investors including Alphabet’s venture arm GV at a $1.2 billion valuation. In total, the company has raised to $425 million. 

NOW WATCH: You’ve been blowing your nose all wrong — here’s how you should do it

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The Coast Guard’s ‘push-out-the-border strategy’ is fighting drugs in the Pacific — and it just brought home $500 million in cocaine

US Coast Guard cutter James cocaine drug bust narco sub low-profile vesseUS Coast Guard

  • The Coast Guard offloaded nearly 38,000 pounds of cocaine on Thursday — a haul worth $500 million.
  • The past three years have seen some of the service’s highest levels of seizures on record.
  • The Coast Guard and its partners are trying to catch traffickers on the high seas, where the cargoes are larger and more vulnerable.

FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida — While scouring the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean over the past several months, the crew of the US Coast Guard cutter James seized 19,000 pounds of cocaine.

The James’s haul was about half of the 38,00o pounds of cocaine its crew offloaded on Thursday in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Those drugs were seized in 19 interdictions at sea carried about by six US Coast Guard ships — nine of which were conducted by the James.

The total haul had an estimated wholesale value of about $500 million.

"Operating in the dark of night, often under challenging conditions, these outstanding Coast Guard men and women … driving our boats, flying our armed helicopter swiftly interdicted drug smugglers operating in a variety of vessels used to move these tons of narcotics, from the simple outboard panga to commercial fishing vessels to low-profile high-speed vessels and even semi-submersibles designed to evade detection," Capt. Jeffrey Randall, the commander of the James, said Thursday.

US Coast Guard cutter James cocaine drug seizure offloadCoast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray

The drugs were unloaded just a few weeks after the end of fiscal year 2018 on September 30. During that fiscal year, the Coast Guard intercepted just over 458,000 pounds of cocaine — the second highest total ever. Fiscal year 2017 set the record with 493,000 pounds seized, topping the previous record of 443,000 pounds set in fiscal year 2016.

The increase in seizures comes amid growing cocaine production in Colombia, the world’s largest producer of the drug and the main supplier to the US market. Production of coca, the base ingredient in cocaine, has steadily risen since hitting a low in 2012.

Read also: The Coast Guard is catching more drug-running subs, but most ‘very stealthy’ narco subs are probably going undetected

Colombia is the only South American country that borders both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but most of the cocaine it sends to the US takes a westerly route.

"In 2017, at least 84 percent of the documented cocaine departing South America transited the Eastern Pacific," the US Drug Enforcement Administration said in its most recent National Drug Threat Assessment.

US Coast Guard Cutter James cocaine brick drug bust seizureChristopher Woody/Business Insider

"Shipments around the Galapagos Islands increased to 17 percent of overall flow in 2017, up from four percent in 2016 and one percent in 2015," the DEA report found. "In 2017, 16 percent of cocaine moved through the Caribbean, nine percent traveling through the Western Caribbean and seven percent through the Eastern Caribbean."

The Coast Guard’s activity in the eastern Pacific, where it works with other US agencies and international partners, is meant to stanch the drug flow at its largest and most vulnerable point: at sea.

"The Coast Guard’s interdiction efforts really employ what I call a push-out-the-border strategy. We’re pushing our land border 1,500 miles deep into the ocean here a little bit, and that’s where we find the success taking large loads of cocaine down at sea," Adm. Karl Shultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard, said Thursday during the offload.

"When we take down drugs at sea it reduces the violence. It maximizes the impact. When these loads land in Mexico, in Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, they get distributed into very small loads, very hard to detect, and there’s associated violence, corruption, instability," Shultz added. "It’s just very hard to govern in that space when there’s that much associated disarray here that surrounds these drugs, so we’re really proud of the ability to push that border out."

US Coast Guard Cutter James cocaine brick drug bust seizureChristopher Woody/Business Insider

Coast Guard officials have said after having success against self-propelled semi-submersibles, which are like subs but typically can’t fully submerge, the service has seen an uptick in the use of low-profile vessels, which look similar to speedboats but sit lower in the water, often with their decks right at water level.

"The low-profile vessel, it’s evolutionary," Schultz told Business Insider in an interview earlier this year. "The adversary will constantly adapt their tactics to try to thwart our successes," he said, adding that the increase "reflects the adaptability" of traffickers.

Now read: An ISIS-inspired tactic is raising concerns in US ports

Asked on Thursday about smuggling trends the Coast Guard has observed above and below the water, Schultz said again pointed to increased use of low-profile vessels.

"We’re seeing these low-profile vessels now, which is a similar construct [to semi-submersibles] but with outboard engines," Schultz told reporters. "They paint them seafoam green, blue. They’re hard to detect … from the air."

Semi-submersibles and low-profile vessels are pricey, running $1 million to $2 million each. But the multiton cargoes they carry can fetch hundreds of millions of dollars, making the sophisticated vessels an expense traffickers can afford.

US Coast Guard Cutter James cocaine brick drug bust seizureChristopher Woody/Business Insider

Schultz and Randall both touted the Coast Guard’s work with its US and foreign partners.

Claire Grady, third in command at the Homeland Security Department, put the service’s high-seas interdictions squarely within the government’s broader efforts to go after drugs and the smugglers bringing them north.

"We must take actions abroad in addition to our actions at home. This merging of the home game and the away game represents the layered defense that we employ to keep the drugs off our streets and dismantle the criminal organizations that wreak violence and instability," Grady said aboard the James on Thursday.

"The Coast Guard is critical to this effort, and the seized narcotics that you see behind me represents a major victory."

NOW WATCH: Here’s what $1 billion worth of cocaine looks like

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SEE ALSO: Mexican troops are in the streets to fight the drug war, and the country’s defense chief says legalization may be ‘a way out’

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The US Navy wants to launch new missiles and drones from its most advanced attack subs to take on next-level adversaries

Sailors line the deck during the commissioning of the USS New Hampshire, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008, in Kittery, Maine.AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

  • With an eye on rivals Russia and China, the US Navy is looking at potential new payloads for the service’s most technologically advanced submarines.
  • The newer Virginia-class attack submarines will feature the Virginia Payload Module, which gives this sub the kind of strike firepower the aging Ohio-class guided-missile subs are capable of delivering.
  • The VPM also offers new opportunities, as it could serve as a launch platform for new land-attack missiles and possibly even undersea drones.

The US Navy is getting creative with the weapons payloads of the Virginia-class submarines, one of the deadliest and most technologically advanced subs in the world.

The Virginia Payload Module (VPM), a weapons system intended to give the late-block Virginia-class attack submarines (SSNs) a bit more punch, was initially viewed solely in the context of giving these submarines the kind of firepower seen on the aging Ohio-class guided-missile submarines (SSGNs).

"We were only really allowed to talk about it as a replacement for SSGN strike," Program Executive Office for Submarines Executive Director George Drakeley said at last week’s Naval Submarine League symposium, USNI News reported Thursday. "The handcuffs are off now, and lately we’ve been talking about other capabilities," he said at the event.

The US Navy awarded BAE Systems a contract earlier this year to develop new payload tubes — the new VPMs — for two Block V Virginia-class submarines, Defense News reported in June. One of the four VPM tubes reportedly has the ability to carry and launch up to seven Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAMs). This technology can triple the sub’s payload capacity, significantly boosting its firepower.

There are also opportunities to innovate and apply this technology to new missions, a necessity as the US refocuses its efforts on preparation for high-end conflict with rival powers. "We’re in a great power competition now, and so we need to be focusing on other potential capabilities," Drakeley told those in attendance.

Both Russia and China are increasingly advancing their undersea warfighting capabilities. "In the undersea domain, the margins to victory are razor thin," Adm. James G. Foggo III, the commander of US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, told Pentagon reporters in October.

A new report evaluating the National Defense Strategy, which also highlights the threat posed by great power competition, recommended the US bolster its submarine force. But numbers are not everything, as capability is also key.

"We have to get past the days of just ADCAP (advanced capability Mk 48 heavyweight torpedo) and TLAM (Tomahawk land-attack missile) as being our two principle weapons," Rear Adm. John Tammen, the director of undersea warfare on the staff of the chief of naval operations, explained to attendees.

Tammen told USNI News that the surface warfare community is looking into a next-generation land-attack weapon, and the undersea warfare directorate would then look at ways to adapt it to the VPM, giving the Virginia-class subs an alternative to the Tomahawks.

At the same time, the Navy is also interested in VPM-launched unmanned undersea vehicles, but the pairing process has proven something of a challenge.

This new technology, as long with new torpedo systems, could potentially be seen on the Block VI and VII Virginia-class SSNs.

NOW WATCH: Navy SEALs explain the dangers of overplanning in both the military and business

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The criminal-justice reform bill Trump just backed might already be in jeopardy — here are some of the GOPers who have come out against it

donald trumpAssociated Press/Andrew Harnik

  • The criminal-justice reform bill that President Donald Trump backed on Wednesday has already hit a few snags among conservatives.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly warned Trump the bill likely won’t be brought forward this year, as was intended.
  • Trump’s new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, has also voiced his concerns about the bill directly to Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Washington Post.

President Donald Trump celebrated a rare moment of bipartisan unity this week when he announced his backing for a major criminal-justice reform bill — but a number of conservatives, including in Trump’s own cabinet, have reportedly expressed reservations with the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell privately told Trump on Thursday it was unlikely the bill would be brought to the floor this year as its proponents intended, The New York Times reported Friday.

Congress is currently in a lame-duck session before the recently elected and re-elected lawmakers take over in January. Supporters of the reforms had hoped to drum up enough support to pass the bill before the incoming Congress takes over.

But McConnell has appeared reluctant to bring the bill forward for a vote, telling its supporters they should first secure 60 votes, but adding that he would have to "see how it stacks up against our other priorities going into the end of our session."

The First Step Act would overhaul certain federal sentencing laws, including reducing mandatory minimum sentences for drug felonies and offering judges more room for discretion. It also emphasizes more rehabilitative services and job training opportunities, and mandates that federal prisoners must be placed in facilities within 500 miles from their families.

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, who recently replaced Jeff Sessions, has already told Trump about his concerns with the legislation, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told The Washington Post.

Whitaker was particularly troubled by the "drug part of the bill" and how sentencing guidelines would change, Graham said.

"He said he doesn’t want to kill it," Graham told The Post. "He just wanted to express his concerns."

Read more: Trump’s support of a major sentencing reform bill sparks rare moment of bipartisan hope — but advocates warn the bill has a long way to go

matthew whitakerAssociated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A schism within the Republican majority in the Senate also poses a threat to the bill — hardline conservatives such as Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas have long been some of the loudest voices opposed to the reforms, and have spoken out against the legislation for months.

In a USA Today op-ed published Thursday, Cotton called the bill "a misguided effort to let serious felons out of prison," and said Congress should instead strengthen sentences for "dangerous drug crimes."

Shortly before Trump announced his backing of the bill, Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana also told Politico he was "doubtful" of the bill’s prospects.

Though the support of law-enforcement unions like the Fraternal Order of Police went a long way toward gaining Trump’s support for the bill, not every association signed on.

The National Sheriffs’ Association has long expressed doubts over the reforms, and published an open letter to Senate leaders on Thursday saying they couldn’t support the legislation without multiple revisions to the way the bill treats fentanyl and heroin dealers, as well as sex offenders and offenders with major criminal histories.

"We feel unless the changes recommended below are enacted, this legislation creates a high-risk path for dangerous criminals with gun crime histories to [receive] early release from prison," the letter said. "This amounts to a social experiment with the safety of our communities and the lives of Sheriffs, deputies and police officers in the balance."

NOW WATCH: Fox News’ Harris Faulkner is the only black woman in cable news with a daily show: ‘It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility’

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The best value plays in your DraftKings lineup for Week 11 of the NFL season

TY HiltonAndy Lyons/Getty Images

We’re officially heading into the second half of the 2018 NFL season, and some traditional fantasy players may already be out of the running in their leagues.

Thankfully, with daily fantasy games, every week, there is a new chance to find value and make some money.

Last week, our daily fantasy value picks had a monster week — Mitch Trubisky was one of the best quarterbacks in all of fantasy, and Aaron Jones and Austin Hooper both finishing the top five of their respective positions. This week, we’re back at it trying to provide you with value plays to build out your daily fantasy lineups.

Take a look below for our picks at every position that looks set to outplay their pricing this week in DraftKings. They’ll come in handy for when you’ve constructed the perfect lineup only to find that you don’t have quite as much money left for your flex as you expected.

QB: Dak Prescott, $5,200

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Dak Prescott has been a solid fantasy quarterback for three of his past four games and faces a great matchup this week against the Atlanta Falcons.

Every game in Atlanta seems to end up in a shootout, so Prescott should be well-positioned to build up some cheap yards and touchdowns.

RB: Dion Lewis, $4,800

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Derrick Henry was the star of the day last weekend for the Titans, but his value is shaky week-to-week, and his big day on Sunday likely only drove down the price of Dion Lewis, all to your benefit.

According to ESPN, the Colts have allowed 26 points per game to opposing backfields, so there should be plenty of points to go around to allow Lewis to outplay his value.

RB: Doug Martin, $4,500

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Doug Martin hasn’t lit up the scoreboard since stepping into the starting role for the Oakland Raiders, but he has been playable, reaching double-digit fantasy points last weekend against the Chargers.

This Sunday, Martin will have his best opportunity yet to take advantage of his carries, going up against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league in the Arizona Cardinals. At $4,500, he feels like a steal for his potential production.

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eBags says their new carry-on smart luggage is indestructible — we put that claim to the test

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

eBags Fortis Pro SpinnereBags

  • Popular luggage store eBags just released its newest luggage, the Fortis Pro Traveler Spinner.
  • The bag is virtually indestructible, incredibly lightweight, and features integrated packing cubes and a USB charging system for your phone.
  • Until November 20, Business Insider readers can save 30% (that’s $60) on the bag when they use promo code INSIDER30.

When eBags was founded in 1998, it launched as a regular e-commerce retailer. Within a few years, however, the company realized it was in a perfect position to make its own products: eBags could take reviews of other products posted on its site and use them as market research, incorporating reader feedback into designs for a new in-house line.

Today, eBags is one of the best destinations for luggage and travel bags of all shapes and sizes, whether school bags, daypacks, carry-ons, or suitcases. It sells products from hundreds of brands, but its own line of eBags-branded luggage stands out for its intelligent designs, smart functions, and competitive prices. The only downside, on some products, at least, is that they aren’t as stylish as other brands — a trade-off that’s often worth making.

On eBags’ newest piece of luggage, the brand managed to bring form, function, and price without making any compromises — even style.

The new Fortis Pro Smart hardside spinner begins with a lightweight polycarbonate shell, which eBags describes as "unbreakable." While I didn’t have time to take the bag on an actual trip before this review, the Insider Picks team decided to test this out in the office.

While we stopped short of standing on top the closed bag, we can confirm that despite our kicks, drops, bangs, bends, beatings, and even a throw down half a flight of stairs, the bag did not break. We also skipped hitting the bag full-strength with a hammer — we didn’t have a hammer handy.

eBags also describes the bag as "hardly scuffable." This, I’m sad to say, was not quite the case. By the end of our abuse, the bag was showing unmistakable signs of scuffing — most particularly, scuffs. While we were able to wipe most of them away with a damp paper towel, there are still some scuffs and scratches left behind, so I would recommend ignoring the "hardly" and focusing on the "scuffable."

That said, scuffs aren’t a deal breaker, and I’m far more concerned about the function of my bag and the safety of its contents than I am with the uninterrupted shine of its outside. 

In that respect, the eBags Fortis Pro is a force to behold.

The bag unzips and opens like a standard valise, and stores clothing and contents on both sides. One half features a nifty compression strap that has two built-in packing cubes — these are perfect for storing small items like socks or undershirts. You can fill those, and then buckle the strap they rest on to hold and compress everything else in that side of the main compartment.

eBags Fortis ProeBags

There’s also an interior divider on that side, which can be removed or adjusted to fit whatever you pack. The other side of the main compartment is a large open space, and can be sealed with a zippable netting.

This is the new "smart" edition of eBags’ carry-ons, and it reflects this with an integrated USB pass through cable. You can take any USB power bank, and put it in a small interior pouch near the top of the bag. Just plug in the USB cable, and you can access power through a USB port near the handle — without removing the battery.

The bag evokes obvious comparisons to Away, the popular luggage startup.

While the Fortis Pro is certainly similar to the smaller Away carry-on, it’s a little less expensive, and has one major feature that the Away bags don’t — an expansion zipper. Simply unzip it, and you can expand the Fortis bag by about an inch and a half.

The bag is incredibly lightweight considering its size, and even when we fully loaded it, the wheels spun effortlessly, a necessity for any quality spinner bag. The telescoping handle has three positions, and the bag has a built-in TSA-approved combination lock that’s easy to set — and reset.

The eBags Fortis Pro is a solid product, and representative of the deliberation with which eBags designs its products. While the description of "hardly scuffable" is optimistic at best, I — and the Insider Picks team — remain impressed at how the polycarbonate shell withstood our pummeling and, as crucially, held its shape, even when we tried to bend and snap the shell’s edges. Plus, the bag has a lifetime warranty, so if something stronger than us gets to your bag, you’re covered.

If you’re looking for a new bag, or a gift to give for the holidays, the Fortis Pro is a great bet.

Plus, until November 20, Business Insider readers can save 30% on the bag when they use promo code INSIDER30. The bag is currently available for pre-orders, and ships the second week of December.

Click here to pre-order the eBags Fortis Pro Traveler Carry-On for $140 — you save $60 with promo code INSIDER30.

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SEE ALSO: 25 great gifts for travelers — from $400 custom Bose headphones to $16 TSA-compliant cocktail kits

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