Sir Richard Branson gives a thumbs up from a seat during the unveiling of a scale model of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip2 at a news conference 28 September, 2006 in New York. DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images
Virgin Galactic’s space tourism business is struggling to take off as the pandemic and testing setbacks keep pushing back the start date of its commercial service. And its founder Sir Richard Branson’s aggressive stock selloff is hurting investors’ confidence in the company.
Last year, Branson cashed out $500 million worth of Virgin Galactic shares as the pandemic took a toll on Virgin Group’s other travel and leisure businesses. This week, the billionaire dumped another $150 million of Virgin Galactic stock, a Wednesday SEC filing revealed.
Branson, and four entities under his control (including Virgin Group), sold 5,584,000 shares of Virgin Galactic at prices between $26.85 and $28.73. Its share price tumbled 14 percent on Thursday.
Virgin Group intends to use the cash from this sale to “support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that continue to be affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19,” the company said in a statement. Virgin Group remains the largest shareholder in Virgin Galactic, owning a quarter of the company.
Last month, another key shareholder, Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya, who helped take the company public in 2019, sold all of his personal stake in the company, worth about $213 million. Palihapitiya said he plans to redirect the money “into a large investment towards fighting climate change.”
The news adds to the already mounting uncertainty among investors over Virgin Galactic’s future. Analyst ratings are slipping. Six months ago, eight out of eight analysts covering the stock rated shares “buy,” per Barrons. This month, only four out of 10 analysts covering the stock have a “buy” rating.
In May, the company is going to test fly its SpaceShipTwo vehicle again after the first attempt failed last December.
“Valuation is complicated by long-term uncertainty,” Bernstein analyst Douglas Harned wrote in a note Tuesday. “A catastrophic failure by any provider could have a crushing effect on demand for all. We expect risk per flight to be low. But, as activity ramps, chances of an accident would increase.”
On the operational side, Virgin Galactic has also lost several key executives in recent months. Its chief financial officer Jon Campagna left the company in March. (He was replaced by Doug Ahrens, an outside hire.) Longtime CEO George Whitesides, who switched to a new role called chief space officer last July, left the same month to pursue unspecified opportunities in public service.
Late last year, Virgin Galactic’s chief operating officer Enrico Palermo, who was in charge of the manufacturing of the SpaceShipTwo vehicle, left to return to his native Australia as the new head of the Australian Space Agency.
Virgin Galactic is currently headed by Michael Colglazier, a former Disney executive, who joined in July to replace Whitesides.
When we asked you to vote for your favourite takeaway dish, the classic Chinese dishes or go-to curries weren’t up there – it was plain old fish and chips.
Among more than 10,000 votes in our Australia’s Favourite poll this week, the Aussie classic took home 17 per cent.
The deep fried goodness was closely followed by another great meal for the waistline – burger and chips – and the humble kebab came in third.
We apologise for not also listing souvlaki and yiros in everyone’s much loved cuisine category.
Turns out, the reason people love a classic fish and chips combo is because of the price.
As reader Nick shared, he ordered $21.90 worth of food from the local fish and chip shop, which also does burgers, and his haul included a steak sandwich, potato scallops (or cakes depending which state you live and another debate for another time) and all the deliciously bad things we love.
But you’re also likely to be able to get a hot chook and chips – another classic we admittedly added late to the poll due to popular demand (sorry again, Alby).
“The 2 out in front both have chips with them,” reader Daniel pointed out.
“There’s your answer! Nothing better than going down to the local Fish and Chip shop and getting a few dollars worth of chips with a potato scallop (or potato cake for some states) thrown in for good measure.”
A range of sweet snacks sold at independent grocers and service stations across the country have been recalled over soy and wheat fears.
Yummy Snack Foods has recalled their Pink Berry Bliss (500g, 600g tub and 250g mini tub), Drake Brand Strawberry Yoghurt Mix (400g), Yummy Brand Choc Orange Lounge Mix (300g mini tub, 500g and 640g large tub), and Drake Brand Chocolate Orange Mix (400g) with all best before dates.
Food Safety Australia said the recall was due to the presence of undeclared allergens, by way of soy and wheat.
“Any consumers who have a soy or wheat allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed,” a statement said.
The products had been available for sale at independent grocers including IGAs, fresh food markets and other retail including liquor stores, Asian grocers and BP service stations in NSW, ACT, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory, and Western Australia.
“Consumers who have a soy or wheat allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund,” Food Safety said.
What would you do if you found out your husband was cheating? Break up with him? Publicly shame him? Break his stuff? One woman had a very different response and her tactics have been called both genius and evil by various commenters.
Thea Loveridge on TikTok, posted that she discovered her husband had cheated on her throughout her pregnancy. To make matters worse, she said that the ‘other woman’ was her husband’s ex-girlfriend and someone who had caused dramas in the relationship before.
When Thea’s husband went to jail for an unrelated assault soon after, Thea took the opportunity to get her revenge on the woman.
The husband’s mistress was unaware of his sudden arrest and continued messaging him.
“She was trying to figure out where he was, all confused why he wasn’t talking to her,” Thea said. “I messaged her and told her that he was dead.”
And the ruse didn’t end there. Thea decided to take the trick all the way and says she got her husband’s sister to help send out fake funeral invitations and even shared photos of his supposed ‘service’.
“It’s been three years and she still thinks he’s dead. She posts little tributes every year on her Facebook page.”
When people accused Thea of making the story up she shared a screenshot of one of the emotional tributes.
It read (sic): “One month tomorrow u left. U said goodbye to your demons. There was nothing anyone could do. This was ur peace. If I could have done more I would have but I know u left knowing I always had ur back and always loved you. Rip Scott. Forever my last love.”
And her husband? Well, people wanted to know why he didn’t tell the woman he was still alive, but Thea claims he decided it was easier to stay dead and has simply never made contact with her again.
It was a divisive video
Some people thought it was brilliant.
“This is pure evil. I absolutely LOVE it,” wrote one person.
“Imagine she married another man and finds out he’s alive and now she’s conflicted and her relationship is over,” wrote another.
Others thought it went too far.
“I feel like you could get sued for emotional distress,” said one person.
What do you think? Just desserts or way too cruel? Tell us in the comments on Facebook.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and was reproduced with permission
TurnSignl App Aims to Make Police Interaction Safer for Civilians
TurnSignl provides on-demand access to lawyers to help drivers through their interactions with police. George Frey/Getty Images
The national conversation around policing and racial justice has been dominated by Minnesota for much of the past year ever since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. And as if things couldn’t get worse for the state’s image, at the height of the Chauvin trial, in the nearby suburb of Brooklyn Center, another routine traffic stop turned deadly when a veteran officer mistook her 9mm handgun for a taser and delivered a deadly shot to a Black 19-year-old named Daunte Wright.
So, it’s probably not surprising that it is also in Minnesota where an idea has come to life that aims to level the playing field for drivers during routine police traffic stops.
An app called TurnSignl provides those pulled over by police with instant video access to a live criminal defense attorney. “It’s as if you have a buddy in the passenger seat who happens to be a licensed attorney with a specialization in vehicular regulations, search and seizure, and other issues that routinely come up during traffic stops, particularly when they involve people of color and other especially vulnerable populations,” said Jazz Hampton, co-founder and CEO of TurnSignl, in an exclusive interview with Observer. “Our expert lawyers, in addition to knowing the law, are also trained in de-escalation to make sure that things don’t go sideways. The goal is to make sure everyone—the driver and passengers as well as the police officers—makes it home safely.”
TurnSignl supports drivers with an always-on, immediate video connection to a licensed attorney to help them navigate interactions with law enforcement. TurnSignl
In addition to providing immediate access to a vetted lawyer, TurnSignl serves as a “reverse body cam,” recording the entire interaction and instantaneously uploading it to servers in the cloud.
“We have seen so many instances in which law enforcement has bodycam or dashcam footage of traffic incidents that they hold on to for a variety of reasons,” observed Mychal Frelix, another co-founder of TurnSignl. “With our app, drivers will have their own independent and secure record of what actually transpired. The era of ‘he said, she said’ in traffic stops has come to an end.”
The app’s most brilliant feature is decidedly analog in nature: a decal that a driver can place on the rear of the car and the inside windshield to alert law enforcement that the vehicle is part of the TurnSignl network. These stickers essentially serve a role akin to security logos that homeowners place near their home’s front entrance alerting potential criminals that the house is under constant surveillance.
“The app is not anti-cop,” emphasizes Andre Creighton, the third co-founder of TurnSignl. “But the decal quickly conveys to police officers that the diver is someone who takes his or her safety seriously. It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card and if you were speeding, you were speeding. What we are doing is creating an environment that ensures that a routine speeding ticket doesn’t escalate into a violent or deadly outcome.”
TurnSignl gets its name from broken turn signals and taillights, common pretexts historically used by law enforcement to pull over drivers of color. But Hampton, Frelix and Creighton—all Black entrepreneurs—emphasize that this is not only a product for people of color.
Before closing their first round of investment, the company conducted a series of studies and found that women who drive alone often feel equally vulnerable when stopped by law enforcement. Teen drivers and immigrants—particularly those who are not completely fluent in English—represent other key demographics that will benefit from having a virtual lawyer in the passenger seat. “How many 16-year-olds know what to do when they get into a minor fender-bender?” asks Hampton. “This is a tool for parents of young drivers to make sure they remain calm, know what to do, and are getting the best advice on the spot.”
The TurnSignl co-founders, Mychal Frelix (Left), Andre Creighton (Center) and Jazz Hampton (Right). TurnSignl
TurnSignl will launch its beta product on May 14 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. An official rollout will follow in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and other key markets. TurnSignl plans to achieve national coverage by 2023.
Rashod Bateman, a 2021 first-round NFL draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens, is a big supporter of TurnSignl. “This is not just a product of the moment,” said the star wide receiver who played his college football at the University of Minnesota. “This is about bringing an added degree of transparency and accountability to situations that turn ugly far too often. It’s about turning down the volume and making sure everyone gets home safe.”
“TurnSignl is something that should be a standard benefit for every company that claims to value inclusion and diversity,” Bateman proposed. “After George Floyd, just about every major company in America was waving their hands and saying we need to do something about this. Now they can.”
TurnSignl believes that the app will quickly gain traction among corporate clients. “The interest we are getting from companies, some of which see this as an integral part of their in-house DEI initiatives, has been astounding,” Hampton said.
Individual subscription plans will also be available on the AppStore and GooglePlay for $9.99 a month or $75 a year. That’s cheaper than a basic Netflix subscription.
“For anyone who feels particularly vulnerable when pulled over by the police, TurnSignl is a game-changer. It will completely upend the dynamics of traditional police traffic stops,” said Ethan Bearman, a business and legal analyst with Fox Business Network who has been vocal on police reform issues. “For many Americans, especially Black and Brown Americans, TurnSignl will make interactions with law enforcement a lot less harrowing. And it will save lives.”
Jim Jefferies: ‘I wish I took better care of my body’
It’s probably no surprise that, as a comedian who has cultivated something of a bad-boy image throughout his hugely successful career, Jim Jefferies’ advice on taking illicit substances isn’t quite as straightforward as “don’t do drugs”.
As you might expect from the iconically acerbic comedian, his life advice is just a little more complicated than that.
“You won’t grow old if you take drugs – you’ve got to quit them at a fairly early age,” jokes the Los Angeles-based Aussie ex-pat.
“If you’re getting into your 40s and you’re still doing that garbage, you’re not going to be in good shape. Everything in moderation – good food, bad food, alcohol – small portions.”
So yes, he’s culled plenty of bad habits from his lifestyle but that doesn’t mean the 44-year-old has done a complete 360-degree turn.
You still won’t find him knocking out 100 sit-ups before breakfast, for example, and you’re more likely to find him lying in bed than out for an early morning jog.
“The first 30 minutes of every day is spent in bed thinking, ‘Can I get up today?’,” Jefferies says.
“I hit the snooze button four times, then a glass of water. I don’t eat breakfast – I don’t believe in breakfast. I like the food, I just don’t want to have it in the early morning.”
With a few Netflix specials under his belt, a podcast called I Don’t Know About That with Jim Jefferies and further live stand-up shows on the cards, Jefferies is busier than ever – a factor that he admits has made him reassess how he looks after himself.
“Taking care of my body is important because it’s the only one I’ve got,” he says.
“I don’t take great care of it, to be honest. I wish I’d taken better care of it. But I will say this – since marrying my wife I think I’ll live another 10 years because she’s vegan and I eat whatever food she cooks for herself.”
JIM JEFFERIES ON…
“Getting older, I’ve started to realise you just can’t not exercise – if you don’t move, you won’t move. You have to keep moving,” he says.
“Also I don’t drink any longer. I actually had the early onset of psoriatic arthritis – I was waking up and my hands were clawed. Then I gave up the booze. It’s not fixed, but it’s 90 per cent better after I did that.”
“I’ve started to do meditation lately. My wife’s into meditation and I’m just getting into it. I find it very hard to let my mind go, to let it go blank and meditate properly. I would like to get more into it.”
Foods he can’t live without
“Baked beans – I loved baked beans. Avocado – I probably eat an avocado a day. I love avocado. Pasta – they say it’s not good because it’s not refined and it’s white flour and that sort of stuff, but I’ll be happy to take a few years off my life if I keep getting to eat pasta.”
Adam MacDougall is the creator of The Man Shake. A new, healthy, weight loss shake that is low in sugar, full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals that you can have on the run and leaves you feeling full.