A day in the life of a Twitch executive in Australia, who takes breaks to play Frisbee with his dog and sets aside an hour of ‘old man time’ with no screens before bed

twitch exec lewis mitchell sits at home desk with headphones on
Mitchell, who’s been at Twitch for five years, works from home in the Wollongong area, about an hour south of Sydney.

  • Lewis Mitchell is head of content for the Asia-Pacific region at Twitch, a live-streaming platform for gamers.
  • In between meetings with Twitch employees around the world, he throws a Frisbee for his dog, Beanie.
  • In the last hour before bed, which he calls his “old man time,” Mitchell avoids screens and reads books.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Lewis Mitchell is the head of content for the Asia-Pacific region at Twitch, the live-streaming platform that draws more than 30 million visitors every day, according to the company.

twitch executive lewis mitchell smiles with arms folded against light gray backdrop

Based in Sydney, Australia, he oversees a team of three people.

Mitchell — who’s in his mid-30s and moved to Australia from England when he was 15 — took a somewhat roundabout journey to working at Twitch. He originally wanted to be an animator but decided to go into coding instead, spending a few years as a developer before changing gears and going into radio broadcasting. 

As a gamer himself, Mitchell had been aware of Twitch, which was launched in 2011. But it was when he discovered Twitch Plays Pokémon — a social experiment on the live-streaming platform where more than a million players controlled a single character — that he knew he had to try and get a job there.

“It was the first time I’d seen a digital platform that was content-based around video games, and I’m just like, I have to work here,” Mitchell said.

He joined Twitch in May 2016 and started his current role as head of content while Sydney was in lockdown this spring.

Mitchell works from his home in the Wollongong area, about an hour south of Sydney. Here’s a look at his daily routine.

8 a.m. to 9 a.m: Mitchell starts his day drinking coffee on his balcony while he scrolls through Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and news apps to catch up on current affairs.

twitch exec lewis mitchell sits on chair swing on porch while drinking coffee and checking phone

Some “noisy but awesome” Kookaburras — a type of kingfisher bird native to Australia and New Guinea — often sit in the Jacaranda tree nearby, he said.

Mitchell said he’s appreciated being able to get more sleep while working from home in the pandemic. 

“If left to my own devices, I would absolutely be waking up at 11 o’clock and going to bed at like 1:00 in the morning,” he said. “But having that little bit of extra time has been really helpful.”

9 a.m. to 11 a.m: His work day kicks off with meetings with Twitch employees in the US.

twitch exec lewis mitchell sits at home desk with headphones on
Mitchell, who’s been at Twitch for five years, works from home in the Wollongong area, about an hour south of Sydney.

“I’ll grab insights of high-level decisions during these meetings, then take them back to the APAC teams,” he said.

During the pandemic, Twitch has seen record numbers. In June 2020, the number of people streaming on Twitch in the Asia-Pacific region was double the year prior, according to the company. Last year, the total minutes viewed on Twitch grew to 1 trillion minutes.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m: Mitchell has a couple of hours of team meetings with the Asia-Pacific group and one-on-ones with country leads.

screenshot of google hangouts meeting

Twitch has 1,800 corporate employees around the world, according to a spokesperson for the company.

2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m: In the afternoon, he takes a break to take his Goldendoodle for a walk. Her name is Old Bean, but he and his wife just call her Beanie.

a hand holds a purple frisbee with a white dog in the background

“She loves a Frisbee, but hasn’t mastered the art of dropping it yet, so we take two Frisbee’s for the bribery,” Mitchell said.

2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m: When they get back, Mitchell makes a sandwich for lunch – “usually in the presence of a hopeful dog looking for cheese,” he said.

twitch exec lewis mitchell makes a sandwich for lunch while his dog looks on

3 p.m. to 5 p.m: He has more meetings in the afternoon, this time with the heads of departments in Asia Pacific to talk about how to improve the region for Twitch creators.

twitch exec lewis mitchell stretches

During these meetings, Mitchell stands and does some stretches.

Working from home in the pandemic, Mitchell said he’s learned the importance of investing in a good chair: He used to use gaming chairs but recently splurged on a Herman Miller office chair.

“I will say so far, it’s felt amazing,” he said. “My back is not hurting anywhere near as much.”

5 p.m. to 7 p.m: Mitchell spends the last couple hours of his day catching up with streamers and going through emails.

twitch exec lewis mitchell works on his computer

“I find it important to make sure I’m up-to-date with the type of content and tools people are utilizing the most to engage,” he said.

7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m: Mitchell fits in a workout, either a jog outside or in the small home gym he put together during the pandemic.

a home gym with weight lifting and treadmill

7:30 p.m: For dinner, he makes some burritos.

view of meat cooking on a stove with a bowl of vegetables on the side

After dinner, Mitchell spends time with his wife and they watch TV together. “Highly recommend ‘The Hour,'” he said.

From about 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m, he finishes going through some emails and does any reading he needs to do for the rest of the week. 

11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m: Mitchell calls this his “old man time,” when he avoids looking at screens for the last hour before bed.

twitch exec lewis mitchell sits in chair reading while wearing bathrobe and sweats

“I’ll get into my slippers and dressing gown, and sit in my old man chair,” he said.

He recently finished the works of fantasy writer Robin Hobb and has also been reading about stoic philosophy.

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A Chinese gaming billionaire just paid $500,000 over asking for a historic Los Angeles mansion. Take a look at the $25 million property.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california
The 14,000-square-foot mansion housed USC presidents for 40 years.

  • Chinese gaming billionaire Tianqiao Chen bought a historic $25 million Los Angeles mansion earlier this month.
  • He paid $500,000 over the asking price for the residence, which housed USC presidents for 40 years.
  • Chen, the founder and chairman of Shanda Group, is known as one of the pioneers of China’s online-gaming industry.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Tianqiao Chen, a Chinese billionaire who made his $1.5 billion fortune in the games industry, just bought a historic 14,000-square-foot mansion in San Marino in Los Angeles County.

Chen Tianqiao
Chen in 2005.

Chen offered $500,000 over the $24.5 million asking price, beating multiple other competitive offers, a spokesperson for Douglas Elliman, one of the brokerages who held the listing, told Insider.

“The [winning] offer was compelling, but we had buyers waiting in the wings,” Listing agent Ernie Carswell of Douglas Elliman told Mansion Global.

Chen, the 48-year-old founder and CEO of Shanda Group, is credited with pioneering the gaming industry in China. He founded gaming company Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited in 1999 and became a billionaire by age 30. In 2004, Shanda was the largest online-gaming company in China. Chen left China around 2012 and lived in Singapore for a time. He’s now based in Silicon Valley, according to real-estate news site Dirt.

In 2016, Chen and his wife, Chrissy Luo, donated $115 million to create the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech, which is just a five-minute drive from their new home.

Chen declined to comment on the purchase via his company.

Called the Seeley Mudd Estate, the 14,000-square-foot home is also known as the University of Southern California (USC) Presidential Mansion because it housed the university’s presidents for 40 years.

a view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

The residence has hosted multiple holiday parties each year for university donors, faculty, trustees, and special guests since 1979, according to Douglas Elliman. And every Thanksgiving, the university president would invite USC students who were unable to travel home for the holiday to a dinner at the residence.

USC decided to sell the estate to cut costs during the pandemic and downsized to a smaller home for the university president in Santa Monica, per the Los Angeles Times.

Built in 1934, the American Colonial-style mansion sits on more than seven acres in San Marino, an upscale Los Angeles suburb.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Its $25 million price tag makes it the most expensive home sale in San Marino history, according to Douglas Elliman. 

It has housed more than just USC presidents.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

The seven-acre estate was assembled from parcels that once belonged to WWII General George S. Patton and railroad tycoon Henry Huntington.

The home’s historic details include imported 17th-century wood paneling in the living room and walnut hardwood flooring.

a living area in the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

The house has eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

a large master bedroom inside the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

Carswell, one of the listing agents, said he expects the home’s new owner to upgrade the kitchen and give the house a more open floor plan.

kitchen in the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

The home is in “beautiful condition, but is not in the style of today,” the agent told Mansion Global in February, when the home went on the market.

Elliman’s Austin Alfieri and Brent Chang of Compass also shared the listing.

The property’s grounds feature expansive lawns, a forest of magnolias, sycamores, oaks, and Chinese elms, English rose gardens, and multiple fountains.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

The home’s al fresco dining and entertaining areas give the owner plenty of opportunity to enjoy the Southern California weather.

an outdoor patio area at the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

There’s also an outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area and outdoor kitchen.

an outdoor swimming pool at the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

At the far end of the property sits a sunken championship tennis court.

a tennis court at the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

Source: Douglas Elliman

The estate also includes a carriage house garage with its own gas station and car wash, an office, and a chauffeur’s apartment.

aerial view of the usc presidential mansion in san marino california

In a whimsical touch, there are also “children’s cabins” at the edge of the forested section with running water so that children can play house and have tea parties.

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What dodging North Korean missiles taught me about shooting down Kim Jong Un’s growing arsenal

North Korea Hwasong-12 missile launch
A photo of what North Korea’s government said was the August 29, 2017, test launch of a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile.

  • A North Korean missile launch in August 2017 sent people in South Korea and Japan scrambling to bunkers.
  • The missile broke up and fell into the Pacific, but North Korea’s growing missile arsenal remains a concern.
  • The US, South Korea, and Japan all have missile defenses, but stopping an incoming missile is no easy feat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As a South Korean military interpreter participating in a combined exercise with the US on August 29, 2017, my day began with a jolt, as a North Korean ballistic missile hurtled toward Japan at 6:00 a.m.

Not knowing the exact trajectory in the first few minutes, I quickly headed into underground bunkers near Seoul with my fellow service members.

Radars predicted that the missile would cross Japan’s airspace over its northernmost island, Hokkaido. Japan was faced with two options: shoot it down or let it pass.

The Japanese government chose not to intercept that missile. It ultimately fractured into three pieces and landed in the Pacific Ocean, but debris could have fallen onto unsuspecting citizens. Even worse, an actual nuclear strike could wipe out an entire city.

With North Korea demonstrating its ability to reach most of the US, improving missile-defense systems has quickly become a concern for everyday citizens.

Tokyo’s decision to disregard that ballistic missile compelled me to ask whether South Korea, Japan, and the US were well prepared for such missile threats.

Layered defenses, split-second decisions

Japanese TV report on North Korea missile launch
A TV news program reporting on North Korea’s missile launch, in Tokyo, August 29, 2017.

The US defends its territory with a layered system that has several chances to intercept a North Korean missile: in the boost phase soon after launch near the Korean Peninsula and Japan, again over the ocean during the missile’s midcourse phase, and lastly near US territory as the missile enters its terminal phase.

All three options, however, need much improvement.

An intercept over the ocean is challenging because Aegis ships and fighter jets must anticipate where it will impact, which is made more challenging by the fact that Aegis ships and fighters have never attempted to intercept a ballistic missile in combat.

For land-based defense, the Pentagon has slammed its own flagship system, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, for its insufficient radars and unreliability: Its success rate is barely over 50%.

Improving the intercept ability of South Korea and Japan has therefore been important to the US’s own national interests.

aegis
US Navy Aegis-equipped destroyer USS Hopper launches a Standard Missile 3 during an exercise in the Pacific Ocean, July 30, 2009.

The US’s recent termination of the missile guidelines it imposed on South Korea in 1979 is a step toward allowing its allies to prepare defenses for North Korea’s long-range missiles.

With limits on the range and payload of its missiles now lifted, South Korea will be able to develop advanced missile-defense systems that could help deter long-range missile attacks.

My experience dodging North Korean missiles, however, highlights the need to review the intercept process further to reduce the risks posed by needing to make a split-second decision. Hesitance to shoot down missiles shows that technological ability does not necessarily equal safety.

Why did those countries decide not to respond during that August 2017 missile test? Within minutes of the launch, most countries could tell from radar tracking that the missile was headed toward the Pacific Ocean.

In the case of Japan, the government may have decided not to attempt to do so simply because it was an unnecessary risk. The missile appeared unlikely to harm civilians, and, more importantly, a failed attempt would send a catastrophic message that its US-backed missile system cannot stop North Korean missiles.

THAAD
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor in Seongju, South Korea, June 13, 2017.

A second possibility, however, is that Japan’s Aegis destroyers were unable to intercept the missile in the first place.

The North Korean missile reached an altitude of 550 km, higher than the 500-km range of the Aegis Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor. The Aegis interceptor may also have not been in the right place, as the missile passed over a region that is not a routine training area.

Why didn’t South Korea try to shoot it down? South Korea’s US-made Terminal High Altitude Defense (THAAD) system reports a 100% test rate, but it has never been used in combat.

THAAD is also designed to shoot down missiles as they re-enter the atmosphere during their terminal phase. The North Korean missile was only in range during its first two phases: boost and midcourse.

Military and diplomatic challenges

Kim Jong Un smiles during inspection of North Korean missile site
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, at the test launch of a Hwasong-12 IRBM in Pyongyang, August 29, 2017.

What can be done about future missile tests?

In order to shoot down a missile during its boost phase, a ship with an SM-3 would have to be right next to the launch site and intercept immediately upon launch.

As the US military has noted, boost-phase intercepts are quite unlikely due to the challenges in anticipating a launch and the decision process needed to approve such a response. For fighter jets to intercept a missile in that phase, the jets would need to be at a provocatively close distance to the launch site.

None of the missile defenses in Japan or South Korea – which include US-made Patriot missile systems – can intercept missiles during their midcourse phase.

South Korea could technically develop a midcourse defense in the future, but past pushback from China indicates there will be a substantial challenge to doing so. Seoul suffered as much as $7 billion in economic losses when China boycotted Korean products in response to the deployment of the THAAD system.

With nearly one-quarter of South Korea’s exports and one-fifth of Japan’s exports going to China, safely navigating the US-China rivalry while ensuring a defense against North Korean missiles will be a complex military and diplomatic task.

Jessup Jong is a Korean Army veteran (Intelligence Branch at the Transportation Command) and a master’s student at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. His latest book is “Human Suffering in North Korea.”

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Satellite photos show China’s new aircraft carrier coming together quickly and reveals more about its design

Chinese aircraft carrier
The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, departs Hong Kong, Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

  • Satellite imagery shows China has made significant progress on its new carrier in recent weeks.
  • A CSIS analysis of the latest imagery said that certain aspects of the design can now be confirmed.
  • Different from its predecessors, the ship has a flat flight deck and catapults.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

China has made significant progress on its newest aircraft carrier in recent weeks, according to an analysis of the latest satellite imagery.

High-resolution satellite photos taken in May by Maxar Technologies and analyzed by experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies showed the carrier taking shape at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, but there was still a lot of work to be done.

Satellite image of China's third carrier under construction
A Maxar Technologies high-resolution satellite photo of China’s third aircraft carrier, an unnamed vessel simply known as Type 003, under construction at Jiangnan Shipyard. (Click to enlarge)

A satellite photo taken by Maxar about six weeks later and analyzed by CSIS shows China has nearly finished work on the carrier’s flight deck, sponsons, and basic superstructure, the Washington, DC-based think tank reported.

Satellite imagery of China's third carrier under construction
A Maxar Technologies high-resolution satellite photo of China’s third aircraft carrier under construction. (Click to enlarge)

Work on the ship, which will be China’s third aircraft carrier but its first modern flattop, began in 2018.

In a Department of Defense report on the Chinese military published the following year, the Pentagon said that the vessel “will likely be larger and fitted with a catapult launch system.” Recent satellite imagery confirms this earlier assessment.

CSIS estimates the length of the new ship to be approximately 318 meters, making it larger than both of its predecessors, Liaoning and Shandong. And the superstructure, also known as the island, is smaller, leaving more room on the flight deck for a larger air wing.

The carrier’s flight deck is flat, and a catapult-assisted launch system is clearly visible in the latest photos, though it is unclear if the ship will use steam catapults like the US Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers or electromagnetic ones like those on the newer Ford-class carriers. Either way, catapults will be a substantial improvement over previous designs.

Catapults allow for a more diverse air wing of not just fighters but also early warning aircraft. They would also allow China’s fighters to reach their potential. Both the Liaoning and Shandong feature ski jump designs that limit how much weaponry and fuel China’s heavy J-15 carrier-based fighter jets can launch with, reducing the overall combat power of the carriers.

Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier
Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier

China’s newest carrier, a conventionally powered flattop, is expected to be comparable to the US Navy’s decommissioned Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carriers, though it is likely to have more advanced onboard systems than the ships first fielded in the 1960s.

In June, the CSIS experts that have been following this carrier’s development predicted that China would not be able to launch the ship until 2022, but in their latest progress report, they wrote that “recent imagery suggests that the vessel may be ready to launch later this year.”

“We didn’t expect it to be moving quite so quick,” Matthew Funaiole, a senior fellow with the China Power Project at CSIS, told Insider.

“It looks like they have moved a little faster than we expected,” he said. “They are moving at quite the clip. At this point, I would not be surprised if it ends up being put into the water sometime later this year.”

Funaiole and other experts at CSIS wrote in their June report on the new aircraft carrier that the vessel is expected to “be a formidable addition to China’s navy and allow it to more effectively project power” when it finally enters service, which could be years after launch.

China has been rapidly churning out new, more capable ships, such as its new carrier, but there is more to building a great power navy than just the quantity and quality of the ships in the fleet.

China has made considerable strides as it builds a carrier force, especially with its newest carrier, but it will likely take time to develop the carrier operations knowledge and experience necessary to use its carriers effectively. The Chinese navy has had aircraft carriers for less than a decade.

China is expected to build additional aircraft carriers, potentially pursuing a nuclear-powered carrier like the 11 flattops operated by the US Navy, though that remains to be seen.

Read the original article on Business Insider

With close military encounters on opposite sides of the world, Russia is sending a message to the West

The British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender arrives in the Black Sea port of Batumi on June 26, 2021.
British destroyer HMS Defender in the Black Sea port of Batumi, June 26, 2021.

  • Russia’s military had close encounters with its US and European rivals in the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean in June.
  • The incidents and exercises were messages about Russia’s military capabilities, experts told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Close encounters between Russia’s military and US and European forces in June were signals from Moscow to its rivals about its capabilities and how it was willing to use them, experts said this month.

On June 23, Russian combat aircraft flew over the British destroyer HMS Defender as it conducted an “innocent passage” near Crimea.

Russia claimed it fired warning shots and dropped bombs near the warship, which the UK denied, though the British defense minister said Russian jets performed maneuvers that were “neither safe nor professional.”

In the same area a day later, Russian jets repeatedly flew close to Dutch frigate HNLMS Eversten while conducting mock attacks, creating what the Dutch Defense Ministry called “a dangerous situation.”

Eversten’s commander said it was in international waters and that the Russian actions were “irresponsible and unsafe.”

Those incidents have “a larger message,” said Matthew Rojansky, director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute.

A Russian fighter jet flying past the HNLMS Eversten in the Black Sea
A Russian fighter jet flying past the Dutch frigate HNLMS Eversten in the Black Sea, June 24, 2021.

“Moscow is increasingly willing and able to enforce what it sees as territorial and operational red lines, and Crimea and the Black Sea are a major focus of attention,” Rojansky told Insider.

Tensions remain high after Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine, and Moscow has sought to “set the precedent” that it controls its territorial claims there, Rojansky said, citing the 2018 Kerch Strait incident.

“All this traces back to Putin’s words in March 2014, when he justified the Russian seizure of Crimea as being about keeping NATO out,” Rojansky added.

Russia’s military drilled around Crimea throughout the end of June and early July, focusing on attacking the ships of “a notional enemy.” The US- and Ukrainian-led exercise Sea Breeze also kicked off in late June and was the largest iteration in its 21-year history, with 32 countries participating.

Moscow described Sea Breeze as “openly anti-Russian,” but US and NATO officials stressed that it was defensive in nature and done in accordance with international law.

“It’s one of the most robust Sea Breeze exercises we’ve conducted to date, and we’re proud of that,” chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said July 6.

F-35 fighter jet over HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier
Aircraft from HMS Queen Elizabeth during an exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, June 2021.

The Black Sea incidents also overlapped with Russian and British-led exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, sailing with US F-35B fighter jets aboard, conducted exercises and combat operations against ISIS during the final days of June.

US and British jets found themselves in a “cat-and-mouse” game with Russia, which angled to keep an eye on them as Russian warships and aircraft conducted reconnaissance and air-defense drills.

Their proximity was not a coincidence, according to Michael Kofman, research program director in the Russia Studies Program at CNA.

Russia has deployed more forces to its improved military facilities in Syria, while the UK is putting HMS Queen Elizabeth, its newest carrier, through real-world testing during its maiden deployment.

“A force-on-force interaction that’s not planned is probably one the best ways to generate these kind of lessons and experience for the Royal Navy,” Kofman said on a recent podcast, adding that Russia used “the British deployment as an opportunity to essentially … train strike missions against NATO ships.”

‘Ready and present’

The Russian navy Varyag missile cruiser ensuring air defence in the Mediterranean Sea.
Russian guided-missile cruiser Varyag.

Mid-June also saw a major Russian exercise in the central Pacific Ocean, with warships and aircraft conducting what Russian officials called their largest exercise there since the Cold War.

Much of their activity was several hundred miles from Hawaii, but US officials said some Russian ships came within 30 nautical miles of the islands.

Russian long-range-bomber operations during the exercise twice prompted US F-22 fighters to scramble for potential intercepts, though US officials said Russian aircraft never came close to Hawaii. (US and Russian aircraft regularly intercept each other over the Pacific.)

The exercise was “unprecedented” in its size and its distance from Russia, according to Carl Shuster, a retired US Navy captain who was director of operations at US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center in the 1990s.

“The Soviet Navy never conducted exercises this close to the Hawaiian Islands,” Shuster told Insider.

“The Russian political statement was ‘we’ve returned as a Pacific maritime power and can reach your territory just as you are reaching ours in the Black Sea,'” Shuster added. “The target audience of course was the Russian people and the American leadership.”

US Navy cruiser USS Chosin and Russian Navy destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov
Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, foreground, with US guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin in the Yellow Sea, March 31, 2006.

The Pacific exercise – which took place around the Biden-Putin summit in Switzerland – was also a demonstration of military capability, featuring what Moscow called “the tasks of detecting, countering and delivering missile strikes against an aircraft carrier strike group.”

The ships involved included guided-missile cruiser Varyag, Russia’s Pacific Fleet flagship, and destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, which carries Kalibr missiles, a weapon that worries US commanders and “presented the potential military threat that gave the message credibility,” Shuster said.

US military forces “remain ready and present in the Indo-Pacific,” Lt. Col. Martin Meiners, a Pentagon spokesman, told Insider, calling it the US’s “priority theater.”

The Russian warships that conducted the Pacific exercise returned to port earlier this month, but encounters between Russian and NATO forces in the Black Sea and the Pacific have continued. Russian officials continue to call the HMS Defender incident a “provocation” and warn about future run-ins.

“Russia will continue to foil such actions using the harshest methods, regardless of the nationality of the violator,” Mikhail Popov, deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said this week.

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The US captured one of its most important military outposts from an enemy who didn’t even know it was at war

US troops plant US flag on Guam during WWII
US officers plant the American flag on Guam eight minutes after Marines and soldiers landed on the island, July 20, 1944.

  • In June 1898, the US Navy sailed to Guam to capture the island from the Spanish.
  • The Spanish, who didn’t know they were fighting the US, surrendered the island without a fight.
  • Guam is still a US territory, and it now hosts some of the US’s most important military bases.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In eight months of fighting in 1898, the US secured its status as a global power by defeating Spain in the Spanish-American War.

Fought on two continents, the war had a number of important moments for the US military. It led to the independence of Cuba (with the US as the dominant power there) and to US control of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam.

While there were battles in both Puerto Rico and the Philippines, Guam was taken without a fight. Indeed, the Spanish on the island had no idea they were even at war.

An important stop

Map of Guam in the Pacific
Guam was an important stopover point between the Americas and the Philippines.

In the 1898, the big prize for Spain and the US in the Pacific was the Philippines. Guam was an important stop between the Americas and the Philippines, but neither Spain nor the US paid much attention to it.

The Americans had already positioned Commodore George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron off China in anticipation of striking the Spanish fleet at Manila. But after a May 9 meeting of the US Navy War Board, which was formed to develop a strategy for the war, it was decided that Guam should also be taken to support operations in the Philippines.

To seize it, Secretary of the Navy John Long issued sealed orders to Capt. Henry Glass of the USS Charleston, a protected cruiser en route from California to Manila.

In Honolulu, Charleston was joined by three troop transports. As instructed, Glass only read his orders after leaving Hawaii on June 4.

“You are hereby directed to stop at the Spanish Island of Guam,” the orders read. “You will use such force as may be necessary to capture the port of Guam, making prisoners of the Governor and other officials, and any armed force that may be there.”

Glass was also ordered to destroy any Spanish fortifications or naval vessels he encountered.

Complete surprise

Navy cruiser Charleston in harbor at Agana Guam
USS Charleston at the entrance to the harbor of Agana, Guam, June 20-21, 1898.

Though the orders said the operation “should not occupy more than one or two days,” Guam’s defenses were not entirely known, so while en route Charleston’s crew spent days firing on practice targets in the ocean.

Charleston arrived off Guam on the morning of June 20. Encountering only an abandoned fort and no Spanish ships in Agana, the capital city, Glass ordered his ship to sail to Apra Harbor.

To the crew’s disappointment, the only vessel there was a Japanese trading ship. Charleston fired several shots at Fort Santa Cruz to see if it was occupied, but it was also abandoned.

Spanish officials soon sailed out to meet Charleston in two small boats, one of which had a US flag on its topsail.

Upon boarding the Charleston, the Spaniards apologized. They had interpreted Charleston’s gunfire as a salute, and they told the Americans they could not respond in kind because of a lack of gunpowder.

The Capt. Henry Glass monument on Guam
The Capt. Henry Glass monument on Guam.

It turned out the island hadn’t communicated with Manila since April 14 – 11 days before the US declared war on Spain – and no Spanish Navy vessel had visited Guam in 18 months.

Glass told the Spaniards that their countries were at war and that he was taking over the island. He demanded Guam’s governor, Don Juan Marina, surrender the island in person aboard Charleston.

The delegation returned, and Marina requested to speak to Glass on the island instead, as he was not legally allowed to board a foreign warship.

The next day, Glass sent an envoy to demand the Spanish surrender and gave them a half-hour to comply. Twenty-nine minutes later, Marina surrendered.

The island’s garrison, which had fewer than 60 men, was disarmed and taken as prisoners aboard one of the transport ships, as were Marina and other Spanish officials.

The Americans then set sail for Manila, where they assisted Dewey for the rest of the war.

An important base

B-29 over runway at Harmon Field Guam during WWII
A B-29 bomber over the runway at Harmon Field, Guam, April 13, 1945.

After the surrender, Glass personally examined Fort Santa Cruz, where he raised the American flag.

The fort itself “was entirely useless as a defensive work, with no guns and in a partly ruinous condition,” Glass wrote in a report to Long.

Glass described the other forts on the island as having “no value,” and that the only guns that could be found were obsolete cast-iron guns used for saluting “but now condemned as unsafe even for that purpose.”

While the Spanish had neglected Guam, the US turned it into an important base.

The Japanese captured it on December 10, 1941, but the US retook it in a bloody 21-day battle in summer 1944, and used it as a base for B-29 bombing missions for the rest of the war.

Air Force Cope North Guam
An eight-plane formation over Guam during exercise Cope North 21, February 9, 2021.

Guam is now home to roughly 170,000 people, and its importance for the US military has only increased.

It is now the US’s “most critical operating location west of the international dateline,” Adm. Philip Davidson said before retiring as head of US Indo-Pacific Command earlier this year.

The major bases on Guam are Andersen Air Force Base, which often hosts US long-range bombers, and Naval Base Guam, which is home to a submarine squadron and is frequently visited by other warships.

It also hosts some 7,000 US military personnel, with more arriving as the Marine Corps relocates 5,000 Marines from Okinawa as part of a realignment plan. Their new home, Camp Blaz, is the Corps’ first new base in 68 years.

US Navy 7th Fleet USS Blue Ridge Guam
US, Australian, Japanese, and South Korean naval ships in Apra Harbor at US Naval Base Guam, May 22, 2019.

Guam is an unincorporated US territory, meaning people born there are US citizens but have limited political rights while they live there.

The US presence there has often irritated the local population, as when thousands of US sailors were quarantined there after a COVID-19 outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in spring 2020.

The US military presence also makes Guam a target.

North Korea has threatened it specifically in the past, and the island is believed to be a focal point of Chinese plans to neutralize US bases in the region in case of conflict.

China’s DF-26, its first conventionally armed ballistic missile capable of reaching Guam, has been dubbed the “Guam Killer.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A day in the life of Google’s New Zealand country director, a single mother who oversees more than 1,800 employees and flies to Australia once a month

google exec caroline rainsford sits at table in office with laptop
Rainsford said she was offered her job at Google eight months into her year-long maternity leave, and Google encouraged her to take the full year.

  • Caroline Rainsford is Google’s New Zealand country director based in Auckland.
  • She’s also overseeing 1,800 Googlers in Australia to cover the managing director’s year-long maternity leave.
  • As a single mother, Rainsford advocates for working mothers: “You can absolutely be both and make it work.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Caroline Rainsford, 39, is Google’s country director for New Zealand. She oversees about 50 employees in Auckland.

google executive caroline rainsford stands in front of google logo background in professional headshot smiling
Rainsford has worked at Google for nearly four years.

Rainsford, who previously worked at L’Oréal, Philips, and GE, got a recruiting call from Google in 2017. At the time, she was three months into her maternity leave for her second child.

After a five-month interview process, Google offered her the role and asked how long she intended to take for her maternity leave. (In New Zealand, parents are entitled to one year of maternity leave — six months of which are paid.)

She told the recruitment team that she was planning on taking the full year, but for this opportunity she would end it early if necessary.

“And they said, ‘No, we’re happy to wait for you,'” Rainsford said. “And so I started in this company with just the best experience. Being a mother was always first. So in my approach as a leader, I feel like I’m this custodian to make sure that everyone has that experience now if they want to be a working mother.”

On top of her New Zealand duties, Rainsford has been managing more than 1,800 Googlers in Australia for the past several months while their managing director is on a year-long maternity leave.

selfie of smiling blonde woman with office cafe, fruits and vegetables in the background
Rainsford checks out the new café at Google’s Sydney office.

She’s been flying to Sydney once a month ever since Australia and New Zealand opened a travel bubble in April.

“With working more closely on the Australian business, it was important that I got over to Sydney to get valuable face time with some of the team,” she said. 

Here’s a look at Rainsford’s daily routine in Auckland while she oversees both Google New Zealand and Google Australia.

6 a.m: “On a weekday I usually wake up at 6 a.m. naturally thanks to two small children-shaped alarm clocks,” Rainsford said.

blonde child sits at counter at home eating breakfast
Rainsford’s four-year-old son, William, eating breakfast.

Rainsford said she tries to get eight hours of sleep each night so she’s at her best for a full day of parenting and working.

“The kids and I usually have Vegemite toast for breakfast — a classic in any Kiwi household,” she said.

7:45 a.m: Rainsford drops her son William, four, and daughter Olivia, six, off at school three mornings a week. “I love doing this as they tell me all the good stories in the car on the way,” she said.

two blonde children standing close together outside smiling

Rainsford employs a nanny who takes the kids to school the other two days of the week.

As a single mother, Rainsford’s message to young women is that you can “have it all.”

“I think that it’s really about integration.” she said. “… Everybody at Google New Zealand and a lot of Australia know my two children. The nice thing about the last year and a half is it’s made us all way more vulnerable and it’s made us more open to who we actually are as people.”

On the days she doesn’t do school drop-off – or if the traffic isn’t too bad – Rainsford takes a morning walk around the waterfront of Auckland.

selfie of a woman in sunglasses smiling with sea and nature scene behind her

“The eastern bays are stunning and it hasn’t been too bad getting through the past 12 months with this on my doorstep,” she said.

On Friday mornings, Rainsford plays golf.

woman plays golf outside in new zealand
Rainsford playing golf at a course called Millbrook in Queenstown.

“I used to play golf before I had children,” she said. “One of my goals since joining Google has been to sharpen my skills, so every Friday morning I go and play. Sometimes I only have time for 40 mins of chipping but it is amazing mindfulness!”

9:30 a.m: Rainsford starts her work day by answering emails and preparing for the day ahead before her meetings kick off.

selfie of smiling woman sitting at home office

“I’m a huge planner so I always know the most important things I need to get done during the day,” she said. “I also have a sign above my screen in my home office that says, ‘Are you doing what matters?’ and it helps keep me focused on the important stuff.”

Since Googlers were allowed to return to the office in November, Rainsford is working three days a week from home and two days a week at the office.

10:30 a.m: Rainsford heads into the office and has a virtual meeting with Google leaders from the Singapore and US offices.

google exec caroline rainsford sits at table in office with laptop

Rainsford said her number of daily meetings has increased by about 20% since she took over Australia, so she now has an average of eight to 10 meetings per day.

“This has been a really great stretch opportunity for me — something that I encourage everyone to think about in their career and work life,” Rainsford said. “It’s important to feel challenged … it can be where you see the most growth in your abilities.”

11:15 a.m: Rainsford takes 10 minutes to pop over and check on the progress of Google’s new office, which – like the current office – is in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter.

interior office space under construction with views of city of auckland in background

“The views are stunning from this vantage point, across Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour,” she said.

The building will be targeting a 5 Star Green Design from the Green Building Council of Australia and will feature a vertical planted green screen with native species and rainwater harvesting, she said.

Rainsford heads back to the current office for a client meeting before lunch.

12 – 12:30 p.m: Rainsford has lunch at the office with some of the Google New Zealand team. “Since we’ve been back in the office, I know the team (and I) have really appreciated this space again,” she said.

three coworkers sit around a table in an office talking

When she’s in the Auckland office, Rainsford schedules fewer meetings so she can spend informal time with her team. During the pandemic, she’s tried to be more open with them as a leader about how she weathers challenging times.

“I think there’s going to be a new breed of leadership,” she said. “We will see more vulnerability coming from leaders.”

The biggest lesson she’s learned during COVID-19 is how important it was to reset expectations for her employees, Rainsford said.

“I have this amazing exec business coach and he said to me, ‘OK, you’re in lockdown now across Australia and New Zealand. How are you thinking about resetting expectations with your team? Because they’re not going to be able to achieve like what they would normally, given this pandemic,'” she said. “And so we spent ages in the teams talking about really leveling expectations.”

After lunch, Rainsford heads to a session of a week-long director training course she’s taking through New Zealand’s Institute of Directors.

group selfie of five people sitting at a table with laptop and documents
Rainsford with other attendees of the Directors course (not Google employees).

“This was a one-off course so I can learn about governance,” she said. “I really want to join a few Australia-New Zealand boards in the coming years to support New Zealand business growth and transformation.”

Google helped cover the cost of the course. 

3 p.m.: She dials into a Women & Google panel held in Sydney, where she was one of six women participating in a Q&A.

five women sit on stage for a panel with two other women participating virtually on screen

“We spoke about the intensity of work in the first few months of 2021 as well as some of our career highs and lows,” Rainsford said.

Then Rainsford heads to watch her daughter Olivia’s after-school activity: rugby.

caroline rainsford poses outside with her six year old daughter

“Since COVID I have learned that it is possible to make time to attend my children’s most important moments,” Rainsford said. “Like when my daughter got player of the day at rugby. She is six and plays in an all-girls team. She is very good at chasing the other team!”

5:45 p.m: Rainsford speaks at a Digital Boost Launch Event at The Mind Lab, an education center in Auckland.

caroline rainsford speaks at podium at event

In New Zealand last month, Google searches for “online learning” spiked more than 600% from the year before, showing a growing appetite to learn new skills, according to Rainsford.

5:30 to 7:30 p.m: Rainsford spends time with and has dinner with her children.

selfie of mom and two children smiling at dinner table
“Olivia has a potato in her mouth,” Rainsford said.

“I have a tradition that once a week we have a family roast and the kids have to sit at the table with me,” she said. “It means we talk about the day. I cherish it.”

Rainsford tries to limit her kids’ screen time throughout the day, but while she’s cooking dinner, she lets them watch YouTube Kids on the tablet. “Some of their favourite local creators are Rainbow Learning and BBC Earth for the volcano content,” she said.

After the kids are asleep, Rainsford gets back on her computer and takes some time to get any “life admin” done.

selfie of smiling woman sitting in front of computer at home office

“That’s birthday presents for friends, or ordering flowers for my Mum to say thank you, or even booking our next New Zealand staycation,” she said. 

Before bed, she spends some time watching Netflix (right now it’s “The Queen’s Gambit”) or reading. “I am currently reading a book called ‘Mental Fitness — Build Your Mind for Strength and Resilience Every Day.’ It’s so relevant given our current environment.” 

Rainsford said that despite her busy schedule, her two young children, and the pandemic, she doesn’t regret taking on the challenge of leading Australia for a year.

“Sometimes doing these things that are out of your comfort zone are really, really good, and you should embrace them,” she said. “But I think a lot of particularly young females would say no to a lot of this. So I’m hoping that Australia will convey that you can take on these additional challenges even at the most unusual time.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

In Australia, a former McDonald’s executive reinvented Kmart. Now Kmart ‘influencers’ are some of the most prolific creators on the Aussie internet.

A bed styled with peach bedding and a gray pillow
  • By 2008, Kmart’s performance was lagging in Australia.
  • The former chief executive of McDonald’s Australia took over, and the brand had a resurgence.
  • A huge online fanbase arose, and its viral content raises questions about digital labor’s value.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The heavily abridged story of Kmart Australia goes like this: After opening its first store in Burwood, Victoria in 1969, Kmart expanded to become a mainstay of Australia’s department store scene.

Nestled between the upmarket Myer and David Jones, and cheaper two dollar store offerings, Kmart offered Australian households access to affordable essentials, selling microwaves, mugs, trackpants, and paperbacks by the pallet.

By 2008, Kmart was the black sheep in parent company Wesfarmer’s portfolio, generating earnings before interest and tax of $114 million (AUD) – well behind stablemate Target on $223 million (AUD).

With the brand reportedly slated for sale, Wesfarmers hired Guy Russo, former managing director and chief executive of McDonald’s Australia, to take the helm at Kmart.

One of his first tasks: Slashing the number of stock-keeping units (or ‘SKUs’), reversing Kmart’s “more is more” strategy and swapping periodic sales for a constant flow of discounts.

“When we removed the SKUs and dropped the price, we found our customer,” Russo told the “Scaling Up” podcast last year. “They were a customer that really wanted value.”

Removing brands was a ‘masterstroke’

Kmart also gutted its reliance on brand names, leaving its competitors to squabble over the big-name labels.

“Removing brands, I think that was the other masterstroke,” Russo said. “We used to sell some really significant brands, but when we dropped the price of underpants to a buck each, the brands weren’t selling at ten bucks each. All of the sudden, the brands took a natural death.”

Wesfarmers put faith in Russo’s vision, providing funds to renovate stores as the brand cut inventory costs. “Make them look like Disneyland,” Russo recalls telling colleagues.

Layouts changed, with traditional departments axed. Electronics aisles gave way to all-purpose “kitchen” sections, where customers seeking coffee machines could pick up new mugs and cutlery along the way.

“The last little masterstroke – although we got a lot of criticism for it – is [putting] the registers in the middle,” Russo said.

The move forced customers to spend a few more moments surrounded by product.

‘Affordable’, not ‘cheap’

It was expensive, time-consuming, and one of the most successful brand rehabilitations in Australian history. Kmart pulled off one of the hardest tricks in retail: convincing customers it was “affordable,” not “cheap.”

When Russo retired as chief executive of Wesfarmer’s department stores in 2018, the segment posted earnings before interest and tax of $660 million (AUD), led by “continued strong growth in Kmart.”

“The marketing got done by our customers, which was the best part,” Russo said.

The online Kmart fandom

One such customer is Helen James, who runs the Instagram account @i_heart_kmart for an audience of 121,000 followers. James is a star in a constellation of content creators, acolytes, and thrifty shoppers who form the Kmart fan community. It’s a massive, influential, and under-researched group, whose online ranks have grown with the company’s resurgence in the last decade.

A screenshot of a Kmart group shows a white cabinet in front of a white wall.

“I would go in store and just see so many cool, on-trend pieces for ridiculously low prices, so I would take photos and then post them to my page,” James told Business Insider Australia. “Instagram was just starting to take off, Kmart was just starting to refresh their image and homewares range, and I basically bought the two together.”

Jasmine Pisasale’s Instagram account, which uses the tagline “Lawyer by day, Bargain Hunter by night,” started seven years ago as an escape from Pisasale’s “stressful” job.

“I found Kmart to be more than just a shopping experience,” she told Business Insider Australia. “I love to pass time walking through the stores… It brings me a sense of excitement – ‘what am I going to see in Kmart today?'”

Her lifestyle shots show artfully rumpled linens, throw blankets draped over low-slung armchairs and, more recently, Pisasale’s young son, exploring the beach for the first time while wearing a Kmart-branded bucket hat.

Around 32,000 fans have “watched me get married and have my first child along the way,” Pisasale said.

James and Pisasale have leveraged their followings for active partnerships with the brand. Both have participated in invite-only Kmart events, which influencers use to share sneak-peeks at unreleased products with their own fans.

The world of Kmart ‘hacks’

Before and after shots of redesigned stools with black metal legs and wooden seats.

Over on Facebook, Kmart “hack” groups have become a dominant part of the Australian social media experience.

Content from the groups has been featured in Daily Mail Australia with the headline “Shopper transforms Kmart shelves into chic furniture.” News Corp’s parent-centric KidSpot has run the story “Kmart hack: How to turn $8 fruit bowl into mesh light shade,” and 7 News now dedicates several articles a week to ‘cult buys’ and other Kmart-related phenomena.

One of the larger groups, founded in 2015, now boasts 470,000 members. A group dedicated to recipes for Kmart’s cult-favourite pie maker has almost 65,000 members.

The Kmart look

For the most part, the Kmart look features textiles in muted colors: beige and burnt ochre, rosy salmon layered over blue-greys. Tables, drawers, and shelving units are typically a sunbleached woodgrain applied to cheap particle board while accent pieces are pearlescent silver, quartz, or chalky coral.

The general aesthetic is inoffensive – Scandinavian with a touch of beach house. But certain looks can still be tacky, according to the community. Many groups outright ban posts featuring Kmart’s infamous marble-effect book contact after users were condemned for covering entire countertops with it.

The virality of the groups has generated revenue for the brand and has transformed the “hack” community into one of the most powerful forces in the Australian influencer economy and a kind of focus group for Kmart.

“I recall some influencers at a past event asking about the possibility of expanding their plus size range, and the style team took it on board and made significant efforts to expand the styles available,” Pisasale said.

A light wood bedside table with a pair of pink slippers.

“They really do listen to community feedback, which I love,” James said. “Womenswear, the Curve Collection, the quality of materials, the introduction of more sustainable products … I think over the years all of these improvements have really been driven from a grass roots level.”

But Kmart does not pay any of the influencers associated with its brand for these insights.

“As a business we do not do paid or sponsored content,” a Kmart representative told Business Insider Australia. “Rather we have a ‘gifted for review’ program where media and social media influencers are sent product (where relevant to them or their family) to review, trial and are encouraged to share their feedback.”

James recently received a new sideboard through the program, which also invites key figures to seasonal events and product launches. But a question remains: in the modern influencer economy, should an online community, whose tastes help dictate the success of a billion-dollar company, ask for more than a free sideboard in return?

The uneasy relationship between marketing and ‘playbor’

Analysis of the influencer market suggests Kmart is getting a bargain.

A 2020 report by global social media analytics firm HypeAuditor found Australia’s professional Instagram creators can command four-figure fees per post.

For a brand like Kmart, the question then becomes one of scale: Why pay for access when everyday Instagrammers and a hivemind of 450,000 Facebook users will promote your product for free?

Catherine Archer, a senior lecturer in strategic communications at Perth’s Murdoch University, is one of several academics focused on digital “playbor,” the sticky middle ground between online fandom and paid service to a brand.

The benefit of these groups to Kmart is obvious, she said. But unlike traditional influencers, whose success is determined by click-through rates, it is harder to calculate their objective value to the brand. This under-researched commercial relationship makes compensation difficult to determine, if the conversation comes up at all.

“It’s all a bit blurred when you get to the ethics of interacting with people who are just like us, the everyday community,” Archer said. “Sometimes people don’t realize how absolutely amazing they are for that brand.”

Savvy operators can forge careers out of online fan accounts, but for the most part, there are “a lot of people who don’t make any money out of it.”

A group of photos: A mirror attached to a wall, a shelf with colorful containers, a hallway, and storage containers with calligraphy font.

Certainly, nobody is forcing hundreds of thousands of bargain hunters to proselytize for Kmart. The influencers Business Insider Australia spoke to expressed their genuine devotion to the brand, and appreciation for the way staff took their messages onboard.

“Customer feedback through all of these channels are incredibly important to the entire Kmart team from design, buying, our quality technicians, stores and across to our distribution centers,” a Kmart spokesperson told Business Insider Australia.

“It allows us to listen to our customers, apply learnings where possible and continue to deliver great quality products at the lowest prices for everyone in the family.”

The brand does listen closely: At least one major “hack” page, which does not advertise any official relationship with the brand, appears to be quietly administered by Kmart employees. The company did not respond to questions about that group.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The US Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier has left the Pacific to cover the Afghanistan pullout

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)
US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) sailed through the Indian Ocean this week into the 5th Fleet area of operations to cover the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Afghanistan

  • The US Navy’s only forward-deployed carrier is no longer in the Pacific.
  • USS Ronald Reagan is moving into the Middle East to support the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
  • Some questioned whether the move shows the US isn’t focused enough on countering China.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Japan-based US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has left the Pacific and is now moving into position in the Middle East to cover the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

The aircraft carrier, which is home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan in the 7th Fleet area of operations, has entered the 5th Fleet for the first time since 2012.

This is the first time that a Japan-based carrier has been sent to the Middle East since the USS Kitty Hawk deployed to the region in 2003 to support the invasion of Iraq, according to USNI News.

The carrier is accompanied by the cruiser USS Shiloh and destroyer USS Halsey and will “provide airpower to protect US and coalition forces as they conduct drawdown operations from Afghanistan,” the Navy said Friday.

The US military is currently in the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, where it has been fighting for nearly two decades, in accordance with an agreement with the Taliban negotiated during the last administration and upheld by the Biden administration.

US Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East, said this week that the military has completed more than 50% of the retrograde process, which involves pulling out personnel and equipment and turning over bases and other facilities to the Afghan military.

The Pentagon’s plans to relocate the Ronald Reagan to support the withdrawal were first reported in late May by the Wall Street Journal, which argued in a later editorial that the move “highlights the US Navy’s dearth of ships to meet its military missions,” an important topic as the Biden administration thinks about what the future fleet should look like.

Questions have also been raised about whether or not the decision to relocate the Ronald Reagan sends the wrong message, one that contradicts US assertions that the strategically-significant Indo-Pacific region and China are top priorities, but the Pentagon has said this is not the case.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters in early June that the US military wants to make sure that it has “the ability to keep this a safe and orderly withdrawal.”

“And there are ample, I would say, military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region aside from the Ronald Reagan to meet our security commitments to our allies,” he added.

The US military still has a carrier in the Pacific, specifically the USS Carl Vinson, which has been conducting carrier air wing qualifications in the vicinity of Hawaii.

The commander of US Third Fleet said recently that the Vinson, as well as the other ships in the strike group, were “positioned to respond if called.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A day in the life of a Twitter exec in Singapore, who fits in an hour of ‘me time’ during his workday and doesn’t plan on going back to the office full-time

twitter executive arvinder gujral sits at desk in home office
Arvinder Gujral doesn’t plan on going back to the office full-time post-pandemic.

  • Arvinder Gujral is Twitter’s managing director for Southeast Asia, based in Singapore.
  • Gujral says he developed a healthier lifestyle in the pandemic and he doesn’t plan on going back to the office full-time.
  • He fits in a workout before his morning meetings and sets aside an hour each day to read or write fiction.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Arvinder Gujral, 46, is Twitter’s managing director for Southeast Asia, based in Singapore.

twitter executive speaks into microphone onstage at event

He’s responsible for growing Twitter’s business across Southeast Asia and reports directly to Yu Sasamoto, the company’s vice president for the Japan, South Korea, and Asia Pacific region, according to a Twitter spokesperson. The spokesperson said it’s against company policy to disclose how many employees Gujral oversees.

Before joining Twitter in 2013, Gujral was the head of digital and innovation at Aircel, a telecom operator in India. He has also lived and worked in Silicon Valley.

Gujral told Insider that he’s started living a healthier lifestyle during the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic struck, I was on a plane almost every week — meaning irregular sleep, an unhealthy carb-led diet, drinking during weekdays, and no time to work out,” he said. “My current routine corrects all these mistakes made during my travels.”

When he returns to traveling for work again, Gujral says he will bring his healthy lifestyle with him. Still, he said he can’t wait to visit his teams in the region to share a coffee “or something stronger” with them in person.

Here’s a peek into Gujral’s daily routine in Singapore, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

6:30 a.m: On a typical work day, Gujral wakes up at about 6:30 a.m. so that he and his wife can get their two sons – aged 14 and seven – ready for school.

twitter executive Arvinder Gujral smiles while his son hugs him
Gujral gets a hug from his son.

First, he checks his notifications on his phone and does a quick scan through Twitter.

He and his wife make sure their sons have their breakfast, shower, and are on the school bus by 7:30 a.m.

“This is almost always followed by a huge collective sigh of relief — it’s usually a last minute sprint down to the bus stop,” Gujral said.

Once the kids are out the door, Gujral sits down on the couch to drink his “daily magic potion,” a protein shake breakfast made with cacao, protein, banana, peanut butter, and Greek yogurt.

protein shake sitting on table with tv in the background

“I typically enjoy my breakfast while switching between Bloomberg, CNBC, and CNA on the television,” he said.

8 a.m: Gujral does his morning workout, usually alternating between yoga and a home dumbbell gym routine.

twitter executive Arvinder Gujral works out with dumbbell at home

“Yoga is a relatively recent addition to my life (all credit to my wife), and it has really helped me manage the various aches and pains channel ling throughout my decaying (!), worn-out body,” Gujral said.

The dumbbell is the only home gym investment he’s made since Singapore’s coronavirus lockdown, but it allows him to work out almost every part of his body at home, he said.

While he works out, Gujral listens to podcasts instead of music. 

“I am a firm believer in ‘continuous learning’ and I use this time to learn about philosophy, astronomy, anthropology, history, as well as occasionally mixing it up with plain old fiction thrillers,” he said.

Some of his favorites include “The Daily” from The New York Times, “Against The Rules” by Michael Lewis, “The Seen And The Unseen” by Amit Varma, and “Throughline” and “Planet Money” by NPR.

 

After the workout, it’s time to get to work in his home office, which he converted from a guest bedroom when Twitter employees started working from home in March 2020.

a laptop sits on a desk with bookshelves and a window in the background

Twitter provided a budget for all global employees to set up a home office, so Gujral bought an office desk and ergonomic chair (helpful for his lower back issues), a printer, and a standing desk.

“I share this room with my younger son whose study desk is also in the same room, so you can imagine taking calls becomes quite a challenge on days when he is home,” Gujral said.

Before the pandemic, Gujral said he liked to keep his work and home worlds separate.

“Now that the inter-mix has happened there is no going back,” he said. “While I miss the serendipity that an office environment provides, I don’t see myself going back full-time to the office in the near-term.”

9 a.m: After a quick shower, it’s time for the first virtual meeting of the day.

screenshot of virtual team meeting

It’s with the board of Interactive Advertising Bureau Southeast Asia and India (IAB SEA+India), of which he’s a member. 

Gujral’s next virtual engagement is moderating an “inclusive marketing” webinar panel with Campaign Asia, a magazine that covers the marketing and advertising industry in Asia.

screenshot of three people speaking on inclusive marketing webinar

His fellow panelists include the Global CMO of Dole and the Chief Investment Officer of media agency Mindshare. The marketing community still has “much more distance to cover” in diversity and inclusion, Gujral said.

11 a.m.: Gujral has two more morning meetings: One is a sales finance meeting, where they review plans for the upcoming quarter, and the other is with Twitter’s product lead for the region.

screenshot of virtual meeting with smiling man with headphones

“Anyone else find that work definitions slowly end up creeping into family life?” Gujral said. “I have to admit, I’ve found myself talking in quarters even when talking to my wife about events in our life happening!”

12 p.m: Lunchtime. “For me the biggest gain from the current pandemic climate has been the ability to have lunch at home with my wife every day without the kids around,” Gujral said.

a bowl of grains, fruit, vegetables, and cheese on a table

Gujral said they like to keep lunch light and simple.

“There are times where our lunch is nothing more than a plate of fruits, an acai bowl, or just some baked veggies with a protein on the side,” he said.

12:30 p.m: “I use the hour between 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. as me-time,” Gujral said. This is usually when he reads or does some writing.

twitter executive Arvinder Gujral sits in a blue chair reading the new yorker

“Inspired by a virtual class on the ‘Art of Clear Writing,’ I’ve been exploring the ‘potential author’ in me (that’s been stated in my Twitter bio since 2008),” Gujral said.

He publishes some of his short stories on Substack.

1:30 – 5:30 p.m: The rest of the afternoon is taken up by a series of back-to-back meetings.

screenshot of virtual team meeting

In between meetings, Gujral gets what he says is his “one and only caffeine fix” of the day.

glass of chai and rusks on table

He enjoys an Indian chai tea, in which he dunks three measured rusks, an Indian crispbread snack.

After his meetings finish at 5:30 p.m., Gujral plays cricket with his seven-year-old son.

“I’ve devised a novel scoring system and our game becomes highly competitive,” Gujral said. “It’s incredible how much trash talk a seven-year old is capable of.”

6:30 p.m.: Gujral has dinner with his family, with a “no-phones-on-table” rule.

a plate of salmon and vegetables

“This is when we all catch up with each other and hear from our teenage son,” Gujral said. “Teenagers seemingly live in a parallel universe, operating on a completely different time zone, so my wife and I really treasure these moments when our two worlds collide.”

Their dinners typically fluctuate between Indian food like vegetable kebabs, palak paneer, lentils, and chicken curry, to non-Indian fare like roasted chicken, Tuscan butter salmon, or pasta, Gujral said. “I try to avoid carbs at dinner as much as possible,” he said.

After dinner, Gujral cuddles with his seven-year-old while reading him a book in bed — right now it’s “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” His son is tucked in for bed by 8 p.m.

8 – 9 p.m: After dinner, Gujral typically spends another hour working.

twitter executive arvinder gujral sits at desk in home office

He finishes up any final tasks and prepares for the following day.

After Gujral has wrapped up his work for the evening, he and his wife start their daily ritual of deciding which show to watch on which platform.

hand holding a kindle reader showing novel titled 'death in the east'

“Rom-com or thriller? To preserve my marriage of more than 20 years, I cannot reveal the victor,” Gujral said.

At 11 p.m., they head to bed.

“My bedtime routine after a shower has been the same for the last 20 years,” Gujral said. “Regardless of what time I go to bed, I must have a book in my hand. The only thing that’s changed is that I’ve replaced physical books with a Kindle since we’ve run out of space. We are a family of voracious readers.”

Gujral usually alternates between reading a thriller and a thought-provoking book. He recently finished “The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak and is now reading “Death in the East” by Abir Mukherjee. 

He reads for about 30 to 45 minutes before going to sleep.

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