Today’s mortgage and refinance rates: December 3, 2022 | Rates dip below 6% for the first time since September

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Average 30-year fixed mortgage rates have dropped below 6% for the first time since late September. Just a few weeks ago, rates were over 7%.

As more economic data has shown that inflation is starting to slow, mortgage rates have pulled back somewhat from their decades-high peaks. But November’s jobs report, which showed that the labor market remains strong in spite of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to slow the economy, could cause rates to tick back up.

The Fed has said repeatedly that one of the key indicators it’s watching for to sign that inflation is cooling is labor market conditions. In a speech he gave at the Brookings Institution this week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the economy has a labor force shortfall of around 3.5 million workers. Because job openings still far exceed the number of available workers, wages are still growing at what the Fed sees as an unsustainable rate.

The current labor shortfall is largely due to an unusually high number of retirements. When workers were laid off during the pandemic, many older workers opted to retire rather than try to re-enter the workforce. COVID deaths and a drop in net immigration also make up part of the shortfall, according to the Fed

Last month’s higher-than-expected job gains means that the labor market is still running hot. If the Fed decides it needs to act more aggressively to cool economic growth, mortgage rates could increase. But so far, markets still largely expect the Fed …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

More than 100 Jewish passengers who were barred from flight in ‘racial profiling’ incident get $21,000 each from Germany’s Lufthansa airline

Orthodox Jewish passengers wait in line after being barred from boarding a connecting Lufthansa flight to Budapest.

Lufthansa has reached a settlement with more than 100 Orthodox Jewish men who were barred from a flight.
Each passenger will receive “$21,000 and change” from the German airline, Hamodia reported.
The May 4 incident saw passengers accuse Lufthansa of racial profiling. The airline later apologized.

More than 100 Orthodox Jewish passengers who were barred from a Lufthansa flight in May 0f this year have reached a settlement with the airline for approximately $21,000 each, the Jewish-interest newspaper Hamodia was first to report.

A passenger told Hamodia that each passenger would receive “$21,000 and change” from Lufthansa. He described the settlement as “fair” and said that he had already received a check for $17,400 after attorney fees, Hamodia reported.

The passengers were represented by the American Center for Law & Justice — a conservative law firm and political advocacy group which focuses on religious freedom.

In an email to Insider, Lufthansa confirmed that a settlement had been reached with “the vast majority of passengers.” The airline declined to comment further.

The incident on May 4 involved a large group of Orthodox Jewish men who were barred from taking a connecting flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, for an annual religious pilgrimage to the grave of a revered rabbi.

A handful of the passengers did not wear masks, prompting the airline to deny boarding to more than 100 visibly Jewish passengers.

Speaking to Insider shortly after the incident, a passenger described it as racial profiling to “the highest degree I’ve ever witnessed in my life.” Another passenger, Yitzy Schmidt, told Insider: “I was guilty by association, and that association is being an Orthodox Jew.”

Lufthansa initially defended the decision, citing mask-wearing regulations in Germany, but videos later emerged …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Parents urged to vaccinate children under five amid surge in serious flu cases

child getting vaccine

The number of under-5s in hospital with serious flu is on the rise (Picture: Shutterstock)

Parents have been urged by the NHS to vaccinate their children amid a surge in serious flu cases among children under five.

Figures from NHS England reveal flu hospitalisations are nearly 20 times as high in comparison to this time last year.

This week, 230 kids in the age bracket were hospitalised for with the illness, compared to 12 this time last year.

Over the last six weeks, hundreds more have been admitted to hospital with the infection.

To tackle the rise, the NHS is writing to 800,000 parents across the UK, urging them to get their children vaccinated before Christmas.

Uptake in children aged two to three is down 9% on last year, with just 35% in the age group receiving the jab.

Pregnant women have been advised to get vaccinated as uptakeis down, with 29.6% having had the vaccine this year compared to 34.4% last year.

NHS national director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: ‘With almost 18 million jabs already administered, our flu vaccination programme continues to make great strides in protecting the public, but it is vital we make sure no group falls behind.

Pregnant women have also been urged to get vaccinated against flu this winter

‘Young children, whose health can of course be affected by illness, can also pass on flu to other vulnerable family members, so we encourage parents to think about getting their flu vaccination at thousands of available sites ahead of the Christmas period.’

Children born between September 1, 2018 and August 31, 2020, are eligible for a free flu vaccine, as are pregnant women.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: ‘It is very encouraging to see good flu vaccination uptake already but …read more

Source:: Metro News

Check out the 1,000-year-old manor house steeped in British history on sale for $13.4M. The enchanting property has a moat and graffiti left by a king.

The exterior of Great Tangley Manor.

A historic manor house in Surrey, England, is on sale for £11m ($13.44m).
The foundations of Great Tangley Manor date back to 1016, according to real estate company Strutt & Parker.
The moated property has window etchings left by Queen Mary, King George V, and King George VI.

A moated British manor house with 1000 years of history is for sale for £11m ($13.44m).

Great Tangley Manor, which the Savills and Strutt & Parker listings claim is “the UK’s oldest continuously inhabited house,” is located in Surrey in southeast England.

The property has a total of 10 bedrooms, six bathrooms, and seven living rooms, according to the listings. It also has an indoor heated swimming pool, a sauna, a tennis court, and a WWII air raid shelter, the listings said.

A bedroom at Great Tangley Manor.

The property has 9.93 acres of land, according to Strutt & Parker, which features a walled garden, a meadow, and a moat that encircles the property.

A moat and bridge at Great Tangley Manor.

Great Tangley Manor is steeped in history. Strutt & Parker said the foundations date back to 1016 and that it was once Prince John’s hunting lodge in the 12th century.

Timbers in the dining room come from the Spanish Armada that was wrecked off the coast of England in 1588, the real estate company said, and were gifted to the owner for contributing to the Crown during the Anglo-Spanish War.

An interior shot of Great Tangley Manor.

Over the past millennium, it has been visited by royals and a slew of historic figures, Strutt & Parker said in an email to Insider.

Queen Mary, King George V, and King George VI visited the property, the real estate company said, leaving their signatures on the windows. The etchings can …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

FBI director warns that TikTok could be exploited by China to collect user data for espionage

FBI Director Chris Wray, left, and TikTok, right, in a composite image.

FBI Director Chris Wray said on Friday that he has national security concerns about TikTok, per AP News.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet technology company headquartered in Beijing.
Wray warned that China could use TikTok to collect user data for espionage operations, AP News said.

FBI Director Chris Wray raised national security concerns about TikTok on Friday, warning that the Chinese-owned social media app could be used for espionage operations, AP News reported.

Wray told an audience during an event at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy that he has concerns about how China has the ability to control the recommendation algorithm of TikTok, according to AP News.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet technology company headquartered in Beijing.

The TikTik app,  a short-form video hosting service, is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. It has one billion active users spread across 154 countries. In the US, it has an estimated 80 million active monthly users.

The algorithm recommendations enable China to “manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations,” Wray said, per AP News. He added that China could collect users’ data for traditional espionage operations, the news agency reported.

“All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn’t share our values and that has a mission that’s very much at odds with what’s in the best interests of the United States,” Wray said, per AP News. “That should concern us.”

In August 2020, former US President Donald Trump set a deadline for TikTok to find a US buyer. He issued executive orders that would effectively ban TikTok from operating in the US if ByteDance did not sell it …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

A Twitter engineer said it was a ‘bummer’ to lose her job while 8 months pregnant in Elon Musk’s mass layoffs

Twitter laid off about 3,700 employees on November 4.

A Twitter employee said it was a “bummer” to get laid off while eight months pregnant.
The software engineer, who’s worked at Twitter since 2019, said she was proud she’d been a “Tweep.”
Malabika Das tweeted the same day Elon Musk laid off about half its workforce on November 4.

A Twitter engineer who was eight months pregnant said it was a “bummer” to lose her job as part of Elon Musk’s mass layoffs.

Malabika Das tweeted on November 4: “Proud to ‘ve been part of the #Tweeps community! Built valuable relationships, learned from extremely talented engineers and got to know some amazing people in the 3 yrs I spent here. Bummer that this happened while 8 months pregnant. Still, #LoveWhereYouWorked.” 

—Malabika Das (@das_malabika) November 4, 2022

 

The software engineer joined Twitter in December 2019 in San Francisco, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Her tweet came the same day that around 3,700 Twitter staff were told by email that they’d been laid off. 

Employees were told the day before that they would get an email by 9:00 a.m. PST if they had lost their jobs. However, some staff had lost access to company systems the night before.

That happened to a content marketing manager at Twitter, who was also eight months pregnant at the time, when she got locked out of her company laptop.

After the mass cuts on November 4, Elon Musk gave the remaining staff an ultimatum in a midnight email, telling them to either sign up to an “extremely hardcore” work culture, or resign.

About 2,000 workers chose to quit and Twitter later asked some to return to the company.

Twitter and Das did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider. 

Read the original article …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Previewing Ravens vs. Broncos: 7 things to watch, including Lamar Jackson’s deep shots, historic run defense and more

A crushing road loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars ended the Ravens’ four-game winning streak. Sunday’s game in Baltimore offers a prime opportunity to start over.

The Denver Broncos (3-8) have lost three straight games and seven of their past eight overall. Since trading away star outside linebacker Bradley Chubb on Nov. 1, Denver has graded out as the NFL’s worst team, according to Football Outsiders’ efficiency metrics, with a 29th-ranked offense, 27th-ranked defense and 32nd-ranked special teams.

After a week of controversy (quarterback Lamar Jackson’s viral vulgar tweet) and speculation (offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s connection to Stanford’s head coaching vacancy), the Ravens (7-4) need a palate cleanser. Here’s what to watch in the teams’ Week 13 matchup.

Offense

1. Jackson has struggled with his downfield passing all season. In Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars, though, there were hints of a potential turnaround.

Jackson went 3-for-7 on attempts of at least 20 air yards, according to TruMedia, including a 62-yard bomb to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The fourth-quarter throw traveled 63.2 yards in the air, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, the longest completion of Jackson’s career.

Through 11 games, Jackson is 12-for-41 (29.3%) on deep passes, 30th in accuracy among 38 qualifying quarterbacks. His off-target percentage (43.9%) on passes of at least 20 air yards is third worst, according to TruMedia, behind only the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson and Atlanta Falcons’ Marcus Mariota.

That inaccuracy has seemingly emboldened some defenses to drop a safety into the box in hopes of stifling the Ravens’ ground game. When they’ve struggled to run against heavy boxes, passing woes have often followed.

“You’re always constantly setting the hook,” Roman said Thursday. “The better you can run it, the better you should be able to throw it, the better looks you should …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

It’s not just Elon Musk. Tech CEOs everywhere are quietly asking their employees to step it up or risk getting fired.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk.

Tech CEOs are turning up the heat, even if it’s not as blatantly “hardcore” as Elon Musk’s verbiage.
Major tech CEOs have been asking employees to step up throughout this year’s stingier economy.
Employees at Google, Amazon and others have all been asked to work harder or risk their jobs.

Elon Musk has been cranking up the intensity at Twitter since taking over. Per Musk, there’s a new “extremely hardcore” vision, “dense and intense” office structure, and an “arduous” road ahead — and employees need to be on board or leave the building.

Although other tech CEOs have not issued edicts as aggressive as Musk’s, this year’s economic downturn prompted leaders across the tech industry to tell workers they’ll need to work harder, albeit couched in more diplomatic language.

If their language wasn’t as belligerent as Elon’s, the message was still similar: people would be expected to step up or find somewhere else to work.

At Meta, ‘there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be her’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told staff in early July that he would dial up the intensity of employee performance goals.

“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” Zuckerberg reportedly said. “And part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might just say that this place isn’t for you. And that self-selection is okay with me.”

Later that month during the Q2 earnings call, Zuckerberg doubled down on that vision and shared that the company planned to “steadily reduce headcount growth over the next year,” and that “many teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Banksy mural in Ukraine prized off the wall by thieves

A hole where a Banksy painting was removed

Thieves managed to get the graffiti off a wall but were caught at the scene (Picture: Reuters)

A group of people managed to prize a Banksy mural off a wall in Ukraine.

Several works by the cult graffiti artist popped up on the walls of buildings damaged by fighting in November.

His pieces can sell for millions of pounds at auction – and this appears not have been lost on opportunist thieves in Kyiv.

The region’s governor said a group managed to slice off a section of board and plaster and made off with the painting.

It depicts a woman in a gas mask and dressing gown holding a fire extinguisher on the side of a scorched building.

They were spotted at the scene in the city of Hostomel, where fierce fighting raged around an airport during the botched assault on the capital. 

The mural was retrieved and is being taken care of by police, Oleksiy Kuleba said in a statement.

The mural depicts a woman in a gas mask standing on a chair and holding a fire extinguisher (Picture: Ukrinform/Shutterstock)

It was painted on the side of a badly damaged building in the Hostomel suburb of Kyiv (Picture: Avalon)

Other works by the mysterious street artist popped up in Ukraine, including this one in Borodyanka (Picture: PA)

He added: ‘These images are, after all, symbols of our struggle against the enemy…We’ll do everything to preserve these works of street art as a symbol of our victory.’

Banksy confirmed he had painted the mural and six others last month in places that were badly affected by heavy fighting after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

One of the other murals shows a girl gymnast performing a handstand on a small pile of concrete rubble. Another shows an old man having a bath.

Police …read more

Source:: Metro News

People are turning to fish heads, protein shakes, and unsold food apps to save money on groceries

Vegetables on sale at an Aldi supermarket in Lancashire, England.

The rising price of groceries and energy bills has caused a cost-of-living crisis in the UK.
Insider spoke to Brits who are replacing dinner with protein shakes and batch cooking pasta.
An app that offers unsold food saw a 100% month-on-month rise in the first half of the year.

“The rising costs made me feel awful at first,” says John Junior, a mental health activist and public speaker from Cheshire in England’s north-west.

Junior, who is non-binary, went viral last year when they shared how an episode of the soap opera Hollyoaks helped save their life by featuring a storyline about suicide. 

Insider spoke to Junior and other Brits to hear how they are saving money on groceries amid the cost of living crisis.

According to the data company Kantar, the price of groceries in the UK rose by 14.7% in October, meaning an extra £682 ($780) on the yearly food bill. It is the highest such inflation since Kantar began tracking prices in 2008.

Costs have been rising across the board, with the government stepping in to limit energy prices this winter after the official regulator said the price cap would nearly double to £3,549 ($4,158) a year.

Jeremy Hunt, the finance minister, told The Times that the help with bills will cost the same as the entire National Health Service. 

Junior says the energy bill for their 5-bedroom home has been their biggest concern, so they have cut costs on other essentials like groceries.

“It’s so expensive living here,” they added, “But my dad died here so I would never move.”

Batch cooking and then freezing pasta sauces has been Junior’s main way to save money, as well as planning meals and switching to budget supermarkets like Lidl.

“It’s costing me £1.80 per meal …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

From casino plans to building preservation, 2022 was a busy year in Chicago architecture

The battle to preserve downtown’s Consumers Building (left) and Century Building (right), is among the top architecture stories of 2022.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The year 2022 was a busy one on the Chicago architecture beat.

The city grappled with trying to figure out the fate of a likely Bears-less Soldier Field, while the CTA took steps to secure funding for the planned $3.6 billion Red Line extension.

And a lot of things happened in between. Here are some of the highlights:

The Casino: A much-criticized process led to the city’s decision in May to let Bally’s build a casino and entertainment complex on the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street along the North Branch of the Chicago River. And the architecture? The renderings so far show it to be a low-stakes collection of brightly lit, antiseptic buildings — and a glass tower that’s anonymous enough to be a successful candidate for the witness protection program. A major issue will be making sure the casino buildings don’t wind up creating a gaming compound that blocks (or doesn’t promote) the public’s access to the river.

…read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

From Bank of America to Morgan Stanley, Wall Street giants are expecting stocks to crash more than 20% next year. Here’s what they’ve been saying.

Three major Wall Street banks all see the S&P 500 tanking over 20% next year.

Three major Wall Street banks expect the S&P 500 to tank over 20% at some point next year. 
US stocks face a recession, cuts to earnings outlooks and liquidity risks as the Fed hikes rates.
Here’s what Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank say about what could drag stocks lower.

Three top Wall Street banks are singing from the same downbeat hymn sheet, as each predicts US stocks could fall by more than 20% next year.

For Bank of America, a Federal Reserve-induced liquidity crisis could put pressure on the S&P 500 stock index. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank say lower earning outlooks and a US recession could trigger the selloff.

The benchmark index has risen from October lows to around 4,000, but analysts believe the rally is just a respite in the bear market it entered this year. 

The Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest-rate hikes to combat inflation at 40-year highs, fears its tightening could tip the US into recession, and the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have pulled the S&P 500 down 15% in 2022.

It’s now payback time for stocks, which got used to decades of low interest rates and easy money from fiscal and corporate stimulus. Here’s where the S&P 500 is headed, and why, according to the major banks. 

Morgan Stanley 

Morgan Stanley expects the S&P 500 to fall 24% to between 3,000 and 3,300, probably in the first four months of 2023. Its chief US equity strategist, Mike Wilson, sees a build-up of companies lowering their earnings outlooks then due to recession, which hits stock valuations.

“That’s when we think the deceleration on the revisions on the earnings side will kind of reach its crescendo,” Wilson told CNBC. 

An economic downturn tends …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Voting rights for the incarcerated should be restored in Illinois

Voting forms are seen at The Loop Super Site at 191 N. Clark St. on the first day of early voting for the Illinois primary elections, Tuesday morning, May 31, 2022.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

I have always been an advocate for others.

Whether it was advocating for the shy kid in class or protesting the apartheid in South Africa, I’ve always been in the fight. My grandparents taught me about the importance of mutual aid and supporting your community. We were the house on the block you could go to for help.

But, in 2015, it was time to fight for myself.

I was convicted of wire fraud — though I maintain my innocence — and started a sentence of four years in federal prison — away from my family, my children, my career as an attorney and an ordained minister and my community. 

Opinion bug

Opinion

I can’t begin to describe the isolation and trauma that someone endures being incarcerated. It is incomprehensible. There wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t experience or witness sexual, physical or verbal assault and abuse — with no way to hold the lawmakers, judges, or even facilities accountable with my vote.

Malcolm X once said: “The most neglected person in America is the Black woman,” and behind prison walls, that was especially true.

We were mothers, daughters and caregivers. We were the backbone to our communities. 

And, yet, we were disenfranchised. 

We weren’t able to vote in critical elections or voice the concerns of …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

Mum scared daughter ‘won’t wake up in the morning’ because of mould in flat

mouldy flat

Mushrooms and mould were found on the flat’s walls (Picture: Liverpool Echo)

A mum says she is terrified her young daughter will not wake up one day because of mould and damp in her flat.

Demi said she has been battling with squalid conditions in her Liverpool home for years.

Landlord Sanctuary Housing say they carried out work on it recently which has improved the situation but the 27-year-old wants out completely.

She said she has been shaken by the death of Awaab Ishak, a toddler who died in December 2020 after exposure to mould in a rented house in Rochdale.

Demi’s daughter is the same age as Awaab and says she’s already suffering with health issues.

‘When I saw on the news about the little boy who died in a cold, mouldy flat, I was sat there with tears rolling down my face with my daughter asleep in the next room with mould all over her windows,’ she said.

‘I just ran in and moved her to be next to me, she has had breathing problems the whole time we have been here. She has been referred to Alder Hey with it and has to use an inhaler.

‘I keep wondering if my baby is going to wake up in the morning and I can’t deal with it. We need to make a stand.’

Demi says the housing association painted over the problems (Picture: Liverpool Echo)

The mum has had mould in her flat ever since she moved in and images shared by her online show the extent of the spread in January 2021.

The photos show a huge patch of mould on a wall with a form of fungus growing out of it and rotting window ledges.

She says despite the housing association coming out to paint over …read more

Source:: Metro News

How to tell if your colleagues are keeping information that could help you do your job better to themselves – and how to stop them

“Quiet constraining” refers to withholding information from coworkers or managers.

“Quiet constraining” is the latest business catchphrase, following on from “quiet quitting.”
It refers to the withholding of valuable information from coworkers or managers. 
An expert told Insider it could cause real issues and further encourage individualism.

Are you withholding information from your colleagues that could help them do their job better? If you are, you might be guilty of “quiet constraining.”

Connor Campbell, a business finance expert at NerdWallet, says failure to reveal a more efficient way to execute a task has the potential to hinder growth and cause conflict in the workplace.

The phrase has been coined after Insider led the way on “quiet quitting” with an article in March about “coasting culture”, or setting stronger work-life boundaries while still collecting a paycheck. 

Kahoot! recently surveyed 1,635 employees in the United States and found that 58% admitted to holding on to information that could benefit their coworkers. 

Just over three quarters of Gen Z workers, defined by Pew Research as those born after 1997, are the most likely to be guilty of “quiet constraining,” the survey found.

Moreover, 95% of them feel bored at work, compared to 87% of workers overall, primarily due to online employee training and virtual team meetings. 

Introduce employees to new recruits

Campbell says there are ways businesses can help crack down on “quiet constraining.”

He says it’s important to introduce new employees to their colleagues. They should be told about new recruits and “given a run-down of their strengths and what they’ll be bringing to the team. This makes the new member of staff less of a rival, and more of a team member,” Campbell adds.

He also suggests setting up one-on-one meetings or calls to help employees to get to know their colleagues better. 

Share knowledge …read more

Source:: Businessinsider