Alibaba, other China ADRs surge as Ant Group capital plan approval fuels hope for relaxing scrutiny

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Alibaba has faced growth challenges amid regulatory tightening on China’s domestic technology sector and a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. But analysts think the e-commerce giant’s growth could pick up through the rest of 2022.
Kuang Da | Jiemian News | VCG | Getty Images

Chinese tech stocks that trade in the U.S. jumped Wednesday morning after Chinese officials approved an expanded capital plan from Ant Group.

The American depository receipt shares of Alibaba jumped more than 6% in premarket trading following the news, as did shares of JD.com. Elsewhere, shares of Baidu and NetEase rose more than 5% each, while Trip.com popped 4.5%.

The moves come as investors are seeing signs of a more relaxed Chinese regulatory environment. Ant Group, which previously had its own IPO plans scuttled by regulatory concerns, was allowed to double its registered capital as part of the new plan.

A softer regulatory touch among its tech stocks, as well as the reversal of zero-Covid policies, is seen by some investors as a sign that the Chinese government will be supportive of private sector growth this year.

“China has struck a notably accommodating tone in recent months, pivoting away from its stringent COVID controls and dialing back its regulations on previously highly depressed sectors (i.e., property). The recent Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) has set government’s priority for 2023 to revive consumption and support the private sector,” Fawne Jiang of Benchmark Capital wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.

ADRs are similar to common stock, but represent a more indirect form of ownership. They also allow Chinese shares to trade in the U.S. without the companies having to follow U.S. accounting regulations, which has led to concern that they may be delisted at some point in the future.

However, last month the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board — a U.S. accounting watchdog — announced that it had received access to examine accounting firms in China and Hong Kong. That move is seen as a positive step in lowering the risk of delisting.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

Correction: Chinese tech stocks that trade in the U.S. jumped Wednesday morning. An earlier version misstated the day.

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Damar Hamlin's doctors are working to get him breathing without a ventilator after his mid-game cardiac arrest left him in critical condition


Cincinnati
CNN
 — 

After suffering a cardiac arrest mid-game on Monday, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains sedated on a ventilator as doctors work toward getting him to breathe on his own, according to an update from the player’s uncle.

The 24-year-old player was still in critical condition as of Tuesday night, his uncle Dorrian Glenn told CNN, after his collapse on the field the night before halted the Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals and stunned a packed stadium that had just moments before been rippling with the excitement of Hamlin’s tackle of a Bengals wide receiver.

In just seconds, medical personnel were rushing onto the field to administer CPR and resuscitate Hamlin in front of his teammates, many of whom fell to their knees, sent up a prayer or were openly weeping and embracing one another.

Hamlin would be resuscitated twice that night – once on the field and again when he was hurried into the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was still being treated Tuesday night, his uncle said.

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“I’m not a crier, but I’ve never cried so hard in my life. Just to know, like, my nephew basically died on the field and they brought him back to life,” Glenn said.

Hamlin is on a ventilator to relieve some of the strain on his lungs, which have been damaged, according to Glenn. The doctors told Glenn his nephew has also been “flipped over on his stomach” in the hospital to help with the blood on his lungs, he said, adding, “It seems like he’s trending upwards in a positive way.”

Damar Hamlin, 24, has been with the Buffalo Bills for two years and played every game this season.

The game was suspended with nearly six minutes left in the first quarter and was later officially postponed. The NFL said Tuesday that the game will not be resumed this week and no decision has been made on whether to continue it at a later date.

On-field injuries are not uncommon in the league, which often resumes play even after severe cases, but several current and former players have said Hamlin’s cardiac arrest felt especially disturbing as medical personnel fought to save his life while fans and players looked on.

Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins said he realized the gravity of his teammate’s condition when Hamlin continued to stay on the ground as more and more medical staff were called over.

“In that moment, you’re just thinking like, ‘What can I do? What can we do?’ And it just immediately breaks you down into prayer,” Dawkins told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Whether you’re a believer or not, only a higher power can really take control of what is next. And our people that help also assisted that higher power.”

Fans hold a candlelight prayer service for Hamlin at the UC Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hamlin’s collapse is just the latest in a series of tragic blows for the players and Buffalo community, which in the past few months has endured a racist mass shooting and a historic blizzard that left at least 41 people dead in Erie County, New York. “It has been, you know, just (a) constant beating for Buffalo,” Dawkins said.

An overwhelming swell of support has surrounded Hamlin and his family as messages of prayers and well wishes have flooded in from star athletes, fans and national leaders. A fundraiser started by the player for his Chasing M’s Foundation toy drive has raised nearly $6 million since his hospitalization.

At a prayer service for the player Tuesday night, community members described the heartbreak of watching “one of our own” endure such a crisis.

“All you can do right now is pray for Damar. The man, not the football player, not the Buffalo Bill, but the person. He has to pull through,” said the city’s poet laureate Jillian Hanesworth.

It is still unclear what led to Hamlin’s cardiac arrest – a condition that results from electrical disturbances that cause the heart to suddenly stop beating properly. Death can occur quickly if help isn’t rendered immediately. It is not the same as a heart attack or heart failure.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained that when the heart is not beating well, fluid can sometimes back up into the lungs and make it hard for medical staff to oxygenate the patient. So, they will flip the person on their stomach into a prone position to make breathing easier.

Gupta also said it sounds like Hamlin is still having a significant amount of cardiac dysfunction and his heart cannot pump enough blood.

One of the treatment options is to decrease the body’s demand for oxygenated blood, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“So you want to improve the amount of circulation, but in the interim, you can also decrease the demand by sedating somebody, by keeping them on a breathing machine,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll even use cooling agents, hypothermia it’s called, to basically almost put the body in more of a hibernation-like state so it’s not demanding as much oxygenated blood. That’s part of the reason he would be on a breathing machine as well.”

In a statement Tuesday, Hamlin family thanked the UC Medical Center staff “who have provided exceptional care to Damar.”

“On behalf of our family, we want to express our sincere gratitude for the love and support shown to Damar during this challenging time. We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country,” the statement said.

Several star athletes – including tennis player Coco Gauff, the NFL’s JJ Watt and NBA legend Lebron James – have applauded the NFL’s decision to postpone the game and have emphasized the importance of Hamlin’s safe recovery over that of the game’s outcome

Former NFL player Donté Stallworth said the league’s decision to postpone the game wouldn’t have happened years ago. “Five, ten years ago the game probably would have resumed,” he told CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

“I don’t know if you can make the game any much safer,” he said. “This is a brutal sport. I think people forget that. They look at players more as commodities sometimes – especially with fantasy football. Sometimes we forget the human side, that these players are actually human beings and they have families and they have wives and kids,” he added, pointing out that Hamlin’s “mother was there witnessing this with her own eyes.”

Dawkins said he was relieved and grateful that his team did not have to continue playing.

“The fact that we did not have to go back out there on that field and play just shows that there is care, and that’s all we can ever ask for is that we get treated as people,” he said. “Because most people just treat us as athletes, as superstars, and some people like celebrities, but in that moment they treated us like people.”

Bills players and staff are still processing Monday night’s events, a source within the team tells CNN’s Coy Wire.

The continued shock of Hamlin’s hospitalization – on top of the city’s mass shooting in May, deadly December blizzard, having a home game in November moved to Detroit and getting stuck in Chicago during the holidays – has been heavy on everyone associated with the club, the source said.

“Everyone is exhausted,” the source told Wire, adding that the team’s flight back to New York didn’t land until 3:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.


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Southwest Airlines' schedule stabilizes after holiday meltdown but costs are still piling up

Pristine Floyde searches for a friend’s suitcase in a baggage holding area for Southwest Airlines at Denver International Airport on December 28, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Michael Ciaglo | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines stabilized its schedule over the weekend after about 16,000 cancellations since late last month, but its systemwide holiday meltdown could cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Southwest had canceled 304 flights since Friday, 2% of its schedule, most of them on Monday when U.S. airlines faced bad weather and ground stops in Florida tied to a Federal Aviation Administration equipment outage. For comparison, from Dec. 21 through Dec. 29 Southwest had scrubbed about 45% of its operation, a far bigger share than other major airlines, according to FlightAware.

Now come two more difficult tasks for Southwest: going through thousands of passenger reimbursement receipts and improving the internal technology that contributed to the meltdown.

Southwest's unique routing system compounded and snowballed, says former Continental Airlines CEO

“We have plans to invest in tools and technology and processes, but there will be immediate work to understand what lessons are learned here and how we keep this from ever happening again, because it cannot happen again,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan, who took the helm in February, told staff Friday.

Jordan said employees from other departments have volunteered to help customers and process refunds. The carrier is working with FedEx to help get customers their luggage.

“We’ve cut the number of bags in half since Thursday and we’re on track to get the majority if not all bags shipped to our Customers later this week,” Jordan told staff on Monday.

On Tuesday, Southwest began offering travelers whose flights were canceled or significantly delayed between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2, and who didn’t travel or rebook, 25,000 Rapid Rewards points, a roughly $300 value, according to the airline.

The miles required to redeem for a ticket vary depending on demand and capacity. Over Easter weekend, for example, it currently costs more than 25,000 Rapid Rewards points to travel roundtrip between Baltimore and Los Angeles, but it would more than cover a ticket a week later.

Bad weather kicked off the issues last month, impacting flights throughout the U.S. But Southwest crews struggled to get reassigned automatically after all of the changes and were forced to wait on hold for hours with crew scheduling services. Hundreds of thousands of passengers were impacted, and Southwest is still working through a backlog of misplaced luggage.

The carrier had canceled about two-thirds of its flights for much of the last week in an attempt to get crews and planes where they needed to go, before operating close to normally on Friday.

The chaos could cost Southwest between $600 million and $700 million, according to estimates from Bank of America airline stock analyst Andrew Didora on Tuesday. That includes both lost revenue from refunds and the reimbursements to affected passengers, which could include expenses like hotels and rental cars.

Didora cut his fourth-quarter adjusted earnings forecast for Southwest to 37 cents a share from 85 cents.

A Southwest executive last week said the cancellations will “certainly” hit its fourth-quarter results but that it will take weeks to work through customers’ reimbursement requests.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg vowed to hold Southwest accountable if it didn’t provide customers with refunds and reimbursements, though such fines associated with a failure to pay back customers can take months if not years.

Southwest shares fell 3.2% to $32.60 on Tuesday, a bigger drop than rivals. The Dallas-based airline is scheduled to report results on Jan. 26 but is likely to preview the meltdown’s costs before then.

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Volkswagen’s new electric car is a direct shot at Tesla’s Model 3. Here’s our first look at the ID.7 sedan.

Business Insider 

Volkswagen revealed the ID.7, its newest electric car, on Tuesday at CES 2023.

Volkswagen revealed the ID.7 sedan, its latest electric car, at CES 2023. 
The ID.7 will compete with Tesla’s trendy Model 3 in the US, China, and Europe. 
VW touts a new “intelligent” climate system that automatically directs the air vents and turns on before a driver gets into their car.  

Volkswagen is on a mission to beat Tesla at its own game. And on Tuesday it revealed its latest electric car at CES 2023: the ID.7 sedan.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
The ID.7 will compete with Tesla’s uber-popular Model 3 when it goes on sale in the US, China, and Europe.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
It follows up an onslaught of Volkswagen EVs launched over the last few years, including the ID.3 hatchback, the ID.4 SUV, and the ID.Buzz minivan.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
VW pegs range at up to 700 kilometers, or 435 miles. But that’s according to the European testing standard, which is typically more generous than the US EPA.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
VW says the ID.7 will offer some fancier features, like a standard heads-up display and a massive 15-inch touchscreen.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.

Read more: I’ve driven 15 different electric cars this year — these are the 3 I’d buy (if I had the money)

That’s three inches bigger across than the display in VW’s ID.4 SUV.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
Plus, the ID.7 features a new, advanced climate system that can start heating or cooling the cabin when the car senses its owner approaching with the key fob.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.

Read more: See the 8 coolest electric cars hitting streets next year, from Chevy’s $105,000 truck to Hyundai’s spaceship-like sedan

 

The direction of the air vents in the ID.7 is digitally controlled through the touchscreen.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
VW says this will improve user experience, but in my experience, regular vents with manual tabs work just fine.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
There is one neat benefit to having the vents be electronically directed: They can move automatically to distribute cool or warm air better — like an oscillating fan.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.

Read more: I’ve tested 19 different electric cars — and while I love the technology, I wouldn’t buy one yet

VW also says that the “intelligent” system will react when it detects the sun’s glare inside the cabin — and adjust the air direction and temperature accordingly.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
Another highlight, per VW: The company pushed the ID.7’s wheels far out to either end, giving it extra interior space.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.

Read more: Car prices could drop 20% next year. Here’s where to expect the best deals first.

VW hasn’t said how much the ID.7 will cost or when it’ll go on sale. We should learn more — and get a better, un-camouflaged glimpse at the ID.7 — closer to when it goes on sale.The Volkswagen ID.7 electric sedan.
Read the original article on Business Insider

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Manhattan apartment sales plunge in fourth quarter as brokers fear a frozen market

Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Manhattan apartment sales fell by 29% in the fourth quarter, sparking fears of a frozen market in which buyers and sellers stay on the sidelines due to economic and rate fears.

There were 2,546 sales in the quarter, down from 3,560 last year, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. The decline was the largest since the third quarter of 2020, during the depths of the pandemic.

Prices also declined for the first time since early 2020, with the median price down 5.5%.

The declines in both sales and prices mark the end of the roaring comeback in Manhattan real estate after the worst days of the pandemic and raise fears of continuing weakness into the new year. Rising interest rates, a weaker economy and a falling stock market, which has an outsized impact on Manhattan real estate, are all likely to weigh on the market this year.

Analysts say their big worry is a prolonged standoff between buyers and sellers — with sellers unwilling to list amidst falling prices and buyers pausing their searches until prices fall further.

“I could see the market moving sideways, with some modest declines in some sectors,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, the appraisal and market research firm. “And it could weaken further if there is the backdrop of recession and job loss.”

Even as prices and sales drop, however, inventory remains tight as sellers hold off on listings. There were 6,523 apartments on the market at the end of the fourth quarter, according to the report, up only 5% from last year but still well below the historical average of around 8,000. Without a large increase in inventory, analysts say prices are unlikely to fall enough to lure back many buyers waiting for discounts. The average discount from initial list price to sales price was 6.5%, up from 4.1% in the third quarter, according to Serhant.

Rising interest rates have also moved more Manhattan buyers into all-cash deals, which accounted for 55% of all sales in the fourth quarter, the highest on record, according to Miller.

As with much of the recovery, the high-end and luxury segment remains the strongest. Median sale prices for luxury apartments — defined as the top 10% of the market — increased 4% in the fourth quarter, compared to a decline in the broader Manhattan market. Median prices for luxury apartments are up 21% compared to 2019, twice the increase as the broader market.

The outlook for 2023

The pipeline of deals in the works or recently signed suggests a slow first quarter. There were only 2,312 contracts signed in the fourth quarter, down 43% over last year, according to Brown Harris Stevens. The quarter was the worst for new contracts signed in the past decade, according to a report from Serhant.

“Contracts signed are a timelier indicator of demand and registered one of the slowest finishes to any year since 2008,” according to Brown Harris Stevens.

Brokers, however, say they remain optimistic and many are predicting an upside surprise in 2023, as rates stabilize and buyers find opportunities in a softer market. John Gomes, co-founder of the Eklund Gomes team at Douglas Elliman, said December was “on fire” with a frenzy of year-end deals.

“It really caught us off guard,” he said. “Things really turned around in December.”

Gomes said one buyer paid $20 million for a townhouse in Greenwich Village that wasn’t even on the market. He said a real estate investor made offers for four separate apartments in new developments “that look like they will be accepted today.”

Ian Slater at Compass said there was a big “disjoint” in the market in August and September, with a wide divide between buyers and sellers and the market started to weaken. “Now I am seeing buyers accept interest rates as the new normal and feel more comfortable purchasing — or at a minimum that prices aren’t falling.”

Gomes said one reason for the December burst of activity is foreign buyers, who started to return to the city in December. With the dollar weakening slightly and travel restrictions lifting around the world, brokers say buyers from the Middle East and China returned in December.

Brokers say buyers are also using cash to avoid the higher interest rates and taking advantage of lower prices. And developers with new apartment buildings on the market are lowering prices to unload unsold apartments.

“Developers are being realistic, they’re making concessions on price and closing costs,” he said. “I feel optimistic about the coming year.”

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Opinion: Why Kevin McCarthy's dream is in big trouble

Editor’s Note: Jill Filipovic is a journalist based in New York and author of the book “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind.” Follow her on Twitter @JillFilipovic. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.



CNN
 — 

Tuesday should have been a joyous day for Republicans in Congress, as they kicked off two years as the majority party in the House of Representatives by swearing in new members and electing one of their own as speaker of the House. Instead, Tuesday’s vote for speaker showed just how dysfunctional the GOP has become and what a precarious position the party has put itself in.

Jill Filipovic

Despite finding themselves in the minority, it was Democrats who were jubilant on Tuesday, voting unanimously for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the first African American to lead a major party in Congress, as speaker. He succeeded Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, who led House Democrats for two decades.

Republicans struck a far dourer note. Minority leader Kevin McCarthy was unable to scrounge up the votes he needed for the speakership – the first time in a century that the vote has had to go beyond a first ballot. Even though McCarthy knew he didn’t have the votes he needed going into the selection process, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik from New York put on a bizarrely confident show when she announced his nomination, citing midterm wins that delivered a Republican majority to the House under McCarthy’s leadership.

But the Republican House majority is a narrow one, and Republican candidates far underperformed expectations in the midterms, as a promised red wave was more of a small but toxic red tide. Voters generally rejected Republican extremism, but the party has unfortunately moved so far toward conspiracy and the cult of former President Donald Trump that many of its most untethered members – including but not limited to Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio – were reelected.

lauren boebert 01 03 2023

CNN report: Boebert called ‘bullsh*t’ in response to McCarthy inside GOP meeting

A “furious” Greene was one of the few on the Republican far right to cast her vote for McCarthy. These are people with views extreme enough and divorced enough from reality that they would have once been called “fringe.” But how fringe is a view if it’s held by more than a dozen elected members of Congress?

But don’t cry for McCarthy. He has spent the past several years courting and catering to those in his party who engage in conspiracy theorizing and election denial, and has even supported members who have played footsie with White nationalists.

He seems to understand just how damaging Trump and the cult of personality around him has been to the GOP – his private phone calls made in the aftermath of January 6, 2021, made clear that he worried that members of his own party were endangering other lawmakers with their rhetoric – but then chooses to empower those dangerous members anyway.

Now, he’s reaping the consequences of helping to reshape his party in the image of Trump. A hallmark of Trumpism was a rejection of decency and moderation and the intentional destruction of the institutions that kept our country stable and the kind of traditions that helped to build trust and functional governance. His most rabid followers in Congress have followed his lead, embracing this spirit of narcissism and burn-it-all down rage.

And McCarthy, who in the early days after the January 6 attack said Trump bore responsibility for it but didn’t support his impeachment, and who helped usher conservative extremists into office and then protect them once there, is experiencing the all-too-predictable outcome of handing power to the unhinged.

Now, the GOP is in a precarious position. Even if McCarthy manages to squeak out the leadership, a powerful and vocal contingent of his party has publicly humiliated him and expressed their lack of confidence in his control (it seems worth pointing out that several of the extremists who voted against McCarthy are also among the loudest and most recognizable members of Congress).

That does not bode well for the Republican Party’s ability to govern, and instead suggests that the next two years might be characterized not just by intense partisan divides, but by a profoundly dysfunctional GOP heading into a contentious presidential election.

This is the Republican Party that Trump made. But it’s also the party that McCarthy has nurtured. And now, he’s meeting his monster.

Correction: A previous version of this piece misidentified Rep. Lauren Boebert’s state. She is a US Congresswoman for the state of Colorado.


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If You’re New to the Gym, These Are the 7 Best Machines To Get Started With, According to a Trainer

Well+Good 

Starting a gym routine can be intimidating, especially if you can’t afford personal training or have little experience working out. Everyone else might seem to know what they’re doing, which machines to go to, how to use them, and how much time to spend on them. But when you’re a newbie, where do you begin?

“Start with 20 minutes on a cardio machine and five to six strength machines,” suggests Stephanie Thomas, an ACE-certified personal trainer and the creator of Bride Groups: 90 Day Wedding Sculpt.

Here, she breaks down the best machines to use at the gym for beginners to start with for both cardio and strength, and how you should go about using them. Although most are fairly intuitive, she says that you should always ask a trainer or staff member for guidance if you have any questions: “They will be happy to show you how to use it and this will ensure you are staying safe!”

And remember: Always wipe down each machine after you’ve used it.

The best beginner-friendly cardio machines

Treadmill

Thomas says that the treadmill is a straightforward way to start a low-impact cardio workout—we already know how to walk, so no specific training is needed.

“Stand on the side rails of the machine and hold onto the side handles before turning it on. The display will be different on various models, but simply start the machine and select a low speed,” says Thomas. “Also, note where the stop button is so you are prepared to stop the machine when you want to complete the workout. Once your speed is set, start walking on the treadmill belt. I suggest starting at a normal walking pace and increasing the incline to increase the heart rate.”

Thomas suggests that beginners start with a 20-minute workout. Warm up with a brisk walk for 5 minutes and then gradually increase your speed and incline as feels comfortable based on your fitness level. After 15 minutes or so, decrease the speed and incline and finish with one or two minutes of easy walking to cool down.

Elliptical

“This machine is great for beginners because it’s low impact, easy-to-use, and works your entire body. You can use it for a longer, full-body cardio session, or simply as your warm-up before a strength workout,” says Thomas. “It’s likely that the elliptical will have step-by-step instructions on the front console. Step onto the machine, turn on the monitor, start pedaling by pushing the pedals in a forward motion.”

She suggests setting the resistance to whatever level feels best for you—manageable and not too hard at first, or you can select a program to begin.

“Stay upright and don’t lean too far forward or backward while pedaling,” she says. “When you are ready to complete the workout, make sure the machine has come to a complete stop before stepping off.”

A good beginner-friendly 20-minute elliptical workout Thomas suggests is to start with a low resistance warmup for about 5 minutes. Then, try increasing the resistance to a difficult intensity for two minutes, and then go back down to a moderate resistance for two minutes. Repeat this until you’ve reached 20 minutes. End with a one- or two-minute cooldown.

Stationary bike

When you walk through the selection of cardio equipment at most gyms, you are likely to see a handful of different types of exercise bikes. There might be traditional upright stationary bikes, indoor cycling bikes (commonly referred to as spin bikes), Airdyne or fan-resistance bikes, and recumbent bikes. Any of these can be a great cardio machine for beginners.

“The hardest part is adjusting the seat,” says Thomas. But once you’ve done that, “all you have to do is hop on, set the resistance, and spin!” (If you are unsure of how to properly adjust the bike, ask a staff member to show you.)

For a 20-minute bike workout for beginners, Thomas recommends warming up at a low intensity for five minutes. Then, increase the intensity for two minutes, and go back to a moderate resistance for three minutes. Repeat this pattern until you’ve reached about 20 minutes. End with a one- or two-minute cooldown.

The best beginner-friendly strength machines

Whenever you’re trying a new strength machine, Thomas suggests reading the instructions and info on what muscles you will be targeting first. Start with only a small amount of resistance, then adjust it to what feels comfortably challenging to you. “You will know you’ve selected the right weight when you can complete the full range of motion of the exercise but still feel somewhat challenged,” she says. “The last one to three reps should feel especially challenging but you should still be able to complete them with proper form,”

Also: Make sure you’re breathing deeply throughout the exercise, she says. “A good rule of thumb is to exhale when you lift the weights and inhale as you lower the weights.”

Chest press machine

Thomas recommends beginners try using this weight machine rather than free weights because it makes it easy to have good form. This machine primarily targets the muscles of your chest, but also the biceps and triceps.

“When you’re just getting started, this is a safer option than the bench press (which works the same muscles). Plus, it encourages a full range of motion so you can get the most out of the exercise,” explains Thomas. “Complete 10 to 15 reps, rest for 60 to 90 seconds. Repeat three times.”

Seated leg extension machine

This one targets the quadriceps in the front of the thighs. “It’s low-impact and great for strengthening the muscles in the legs,” says Thomas. She suggests doing 10 to 15 reps, and then resting 60 to 90 seconds before trying one or two more sets.

Shoulder press machine

“This machine allows you to experience the benefits of a shoulder press but without the core stability and balance you need with a dumbbell or barbell shoulder press,” says Thomas. “It focuses on working the shoulder muscles and, just like all strength machines, it helps you learn the correct form of the exercise.”

For beginners, she recommends completing 10 to 15 reps, resting for 60 to 90 seconds, and completing two or three sets.

Seated leg curl machine

“This is a similar machine to the seated leg extension, but it targets the hamstrings (on the backs of your thighs),” says Thomas. “For a balanced leg workout, beginners will want to include both the leg extension and the leg curl machines in their workouts.” She suggests doing 10 to 15 reps, and then resting 60 to 90 seconds before trying one or two more sets.

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Harman Introduces Updated Ready Care And External Car Microphone At CES

Carscoops 

We experienced Harman’s Ready Care technology at the North American International Auto Show last year, and now they’re using CES to announce a handful of interesting developments.

The biggest change is an expanded sensor suite that includes “in-cabin radar sensor solutions.”  While that’s a bit vague, the new sensors allow for contactless measurement of vital signs including the driver’s heart rate, breathing rate, and inter-beat levels to determine their “state of well-being.”  It builds on the earlier version, which was equipped with a camera that used remote photoplethysmography to detect the driver’s vital signs.

Also: We Tried Out Harman’s Ready Care Technology That Helps You Drive Smarter And Safer

The additional sensors also provide new functionality as the system now has child presence detection.  This can remind parents not to forget their kids in the car, which can save lives as 23 children died of vehicular heatstroke in the United States in 2021.

As a brief refresher, Ready Care monitors a driver’s eyes, cognitive load, and vitals to determine their level of focus and attention to the road ahead.  It then provides personalized responses to help mitigate dangerous driving behaviors.  More interestingly, Harman noted the system is fully road-ready and will see production within the next three months.

Speaking of safety, Harman used CES to unveil a sound and vibration sensor as well as an external microphone for cars. These are designed to allow vehicles to identify emergency vehicle sirens as well as detect glass breakage and vehicle impacts.  These are useful additions as they could alert autonomous vehicles about nearby emergency vehicles and enable owners to control their vehicle with their voice.

In other news, Harman unveiled a Ready Vision augmented reality head-up display.  It will initially be available in two configurations with 12˚ x 4˚ and 15˚ x 5˚ field of views.

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The fatal flaw in US Indo-Pacific strategy

Just In | The Hill 

The law of unintended consequences is undermining U.S. strategy for the Indo-Pacific, as trade ties between U.S. allies and partners in Asia with China are growing despite U.S. admonitions against dependence on China. 

Recent data show that China’s trade with all 10 ASEAN nations rose 71 percent last year and grew 49 percent with India. In fact, despite sanctions and tariffs, China’s trade with the U.S. grew to $657 billion in 2021, a 28 percent increase over 2020, and was projected to increase in 2022.

Aligning global trade and investment with geopolitical goals rather than market forces is often problematic. In the case of U.S. policy toward Asia, there is a lack of appreciation for the degree to which Washington is fighting geography and economic gravity.

Geography (time and distance) is an important factor in trade, especially between major powers like China and the 14 smaller nations with which it shares borders.

Similarly, it is no accident that U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico accounted for 41 percent of the $4.6 trillion in U.S. global trade in 2021. NAFTA and its successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, arose to regulate booming market-driven trade and investment, not the other way around. As U.S. firms shift production from China and rewire supply chains, Mexico and Canada are becoming still more important in the near-shoring of production.

Complex supply chains with hundreds of components, often going back and forth across borders, are not easily reconfigured. Moreover, as China is a key supplier of a number of materials and components, even friend-shored supply chains may need some components from China.

The Biden administration is trying to include ASEAN nations in “friendshoring.” But as the U.S. and others redirect supply chains away from China, Southeast Asian nations may lose out, as will U.S. businesses outside regional trade arrangements.

There is a growing trend not just of friend-shoring but of weaponizing economic interdependence. The Ukraine war, where trade, financial and technology sanctions have unplugged Russia from the international economic system, is a prime example of sanctions as the U.S. weapon of choice.

China has honed to an art form economic coercion against those that criticize it, conveniently banning goods — pineapples from Taiwan, bananas from the Philippines and rare-earth minerals and fruits and vegetables from Japan.

Economic coercion is just one aspect of growing economic nationalism that is rewiring trade and investment patterns. Contrary to popular opinion, these trends don’t signal the end of globalization. Despite increased protectionism, global trade continues to grow. The World Trade Organization (WTO) forecasts 3 percent trade growth in 2023.

But globalization is diminishing with regard to capital flows, while trade and investment patterns are shifting dramatically. It is less global and more centered on regional networks. Here, the contradictions in Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy come into sharp relief. The combination of a bipartisan trade allergy, near-shoring and “Buy American” policies while Asia is deepening its economic integration is reducing U.S. economic centrality in a region where, as they say, “the business of Asia is business.”

Witness the growing regional trade arrangements, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of 15 Asia-Pacific nations — including all U.S. allies and China. RCEP lowers tariffs and regularizes rules and standards for trade, making it easier to trade with China, not with the U.S., which is absent from the arrangement. Thus, China offers cheap electronics and other consumer goods and equipment popular in Asia.

Similarly, a higher standard trade accord, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), boosts trade among 11 Asia-Pacific nations. The Bush administration started the accord as TPP, and President Obama finalized it. It was conceived as a pillar of U.S. Asia strategy to set rules and standards pressuring China to reform or be isolated. But President Trump withdrew from TPP, and bold leadership by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe renamed it and brought it to life, absent the U.S. Ironically, China has applied for membership in CPTPP.  

Yet the National Security Strategy released by the White House last October says, “Recognizing we have to move beyond traditional Free Trade Agreements, we are charting new economic arrangements to deepen economic engagement with our partners, like the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF)…”

But why are no U.S. trading partners moving away from such trade arrangements? According to the WTO, there are 355 regional trade agreements and more pending. Is the U.S. right and everyone else wrong?

The administration invented IPEF to fill the economic hole in U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy. It intends several useful things, such as trade facilitation, digital standards, clean energy, tax and anti-corruption. It is voluntary, not a binding accord, and Asian partners can pick and choose which areas to cooperate with. But there is no market access or tariff reductions. Its impact remains to be seen.

IPEF neglects one of the secrets of U.S. success in Asia — access to U.S. markets. It was this lure and a U.S. regional security umbrella that fostered the economic miracles of Japan and South Korea after World War II, and later of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and China itself. But as Asia thrived, globalization ravaged the U.S. middle class, fostering anti-trade views.

The U.S. remains the region’s key security provider. This contradiction between an increasingly fraught “Security Asia” and “Economic Asia” may not be sustainable. Most Asian states are as uncomfortable about China’s aggressive intentions as the U.S. But they know that China has been there for 4,000 years and that the U.S. may not prove reliable. In any case, many Asians do not want to choose between the U.S and China but would rather play the major powers against each other.

Some have proposed that the U.S. renegotiate and join CPTPP to address feared consequences. Absent a push to integrate itself more deeply economically into the region, U.S. Indo-Pacific policy has a flaw that could prove fatal.

Robert A. Manning is a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center. He served as senior counselor to the Undersecretary of State for global affairs, as a member of the U.S. secretary of state’s policy planning staff, and and on the National Intelligence Council Strategic Futures Group. Follow him on Twitter @Rmanning4.

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Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: General Electric, Salesforce, Alibaba and more

US Top News and Analysis 

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Cincinnati – Circa September 2021: General Electric Global Operations Center.
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Check out the companies making headlines in premarket trading.

General ElectricGE HealthCare Technologies begins trading as a separate company on the S&P 500 Wednesday. GE, in 2021, revealed plans to break up into three companies so it can focus on its aviation business. It plans to spin off its energy segment in 2024. Shares of GE were up about 2% in premarket trading.

Salesforce — Shares of the cloud giant rose about 2% in early trading after the company announced a restructuring plan that includes cutting its staff by about 10% and the closure of some offices.

Chinese ADRs – Shares of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. jumped after Ant Group received approval to expand its consumer finance business in a sign of progress in resolving regulators’ concerns. Alibaba, which owns 33% of Ant, and JD.com rose more than 6% in the premarket. Pinduoduo added 4.5%.

Microsoft — Microsoft shares dropped about 2% after UBS downgraded the tech giant to neutral from buy. UBS cited concern over the company’s Azure and Office businesses following a series of field checks.

Corning — Corning got a 2.5% lift after Credit Suisse upgraded the shares to outperform from neutral and raised revenue estimates, noting headwinds could change to tailwinds in 2023.

Target — The retail giant lost 1.3% after Wells Fargo downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight. The firm said Target’s “outlook has deteriorated” and the stock is not an attractive investment amid broader economic uncertainty.

Merck — Merck’s stock rose about 1.7% after being upgraded to buy from neutral by Bank of America. Analysts cited the company’s consistent revenue upside, as well as the substantial progress it has made strengthening its cancer drug Keytruda’s position and softening the impact of when it goes off patent

Pfizer — Shares of the pharma giant were down about 1.4% after being downgraded by Bank of America to neutral from buy. Among the reasons for the call was the uncertainty over the magnitude of the revenue decline for its Covid drugs, Comirnaty and Paxlovid.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services — Shares of the transportation and logistics company fell nearly 2% in early trading after UBS downgraded the stock to sell, predicting that earnings will be flat to modest in 2023 and will show a “real cyclical decline.”

AstraZeneca — The pharmaceutical giant saw a 1.8% lift in its shares after the European Medicines Agency validated its Type II Variation application for the treatment of a “non-small cell lung cancer.”

Honeywell — Shares of Honeywell slipped 1.8% in the premarket after being double downgraded by UBS to sell from buy. The firm said shares are at a premium and it’s anticipating an order slowdown.

Tesla — Shares gained 1% in the premarket. The stock dropped 12% Tuesday, a day after the electric-vehicle maker reported missing expectations on fourth-quarter delivery and production numbers.

 — CNBC’s Michelle Fox, Alex Harring, Sarah Min, Michael Bloom and Fred Imbert contributed reporting

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