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Bill Maher: anti-Israel boycott movement ‘A bulls— purity test’

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Bill Maher criticized the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel on his show Friday night, following Israel’s ban on permitting Democratic representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting the country.

“It’s a bulls— purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class,” Maher said on HBO’s “Real Time.”

Following pressure from President Donald Trump, Israel on Thursday banned reps. Omar and Tlaib, both of whom are vocal supporters of the BDS movement, from visiting the country. Tlaib asked Israel to allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother living in the West Bank, promising to “respect any restrictions and will not promote any boycotts against Israel.” But when Israel accepted her offer, she rejected it.

Read more: Israel blocking 2 US Muslim congresswomen from entering the country is a huge show of weakness that will probably backfire

The BDS campaign seeks to further isolate Israel from the international community under the charge that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is akin to apartheid. It’s supported by a minority of Democratic lawmakers — the House of Representatives in July passed a measure to condemn it by a vote of 398 to 117. But Trump has sought to make it a wedge issue as part of his political strategy to erode bipartisan support for Israel, and to make Tlaib, Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayana Pressley — four Democratic representatives on the left — the face of the Democratic party.

Maher, who has a history of inflammatory comments about Muslims, suggested that the occupation of Palestinian territory arose from violent uprisings, referring to the history of Palestinian suicide bombings and intifadas — organized grassroots violent attacks on Israelis.

“It’s predicated on this notion, I think — it’s very shallow thinking — that the Jews in Israel, mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong,” he said. “As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied.”

The Israeli occupation of Palestine and conflict between Jewish and Arab populations dates back to as early as the 1920s when large groups of Jews migrated to the area in reaction to worldwide anti-Semitism.

Maher also criticized Omar’s history of antisemitic comments, for which she’s apologized.

“She apologized for it, but it’s out there: Jews control the world, control the money,” he said, adding of the lawmakers: “I can see why they don’t get a hero’s welcome.”

Tlaib’s grandmother, Muftia Tlaib, criticized Trump after he pressured Israel to bar her granddaughter from visiting.

“Trump tells me I should be happy Rashida is not coming,” the elder Tlaib said. “May God ruin him.”



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The Telemental Health Report from Business Insider Intelligence

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The US is in the midst of a swelling mental health crisis that’s expected to slam the healthcare system with $238 billion in costs in 2020.

Telemental 4x3



Business Insider Intelligence


Health systems and hospitals need to shore up defenses to prep for the ever growing number of patients with mental health conditions who are flooding into emergency departments (EDs) — which will only become more difficult to manage given that hospitals are contending with a thinning pool of psychiatrists. 

One way hospitals can more effectively triage patients and gain quicker access to mental health specialists when they need them is by equipping EDs with telemental health technology — which allows doctors to virtually connect with remote psychiatrists when patients come into the ED in need of a psychiatric consultation.

Telemental health solutions have helped hospitals better allocate a meager army of mental health specialists, pare down wait times for patients, and optimize the flow of patients in and out of ED beds. And it’s offering them an entry point into a growing telemental health market that’s projected to balloon to $747 million in the US in 2021 — more than triple its worth five years prior.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence explores how the onus of the US’ mental health crisis falls on health systems and hospitals, and how they can navigate the costly dilemma via telemental health. We first dive into the challenges providers are presented with amid the crisis and how traditional mental health strategies are falling short in addressing them. We then take a look at how some early moving health systems developed telehealth strategies to address their hospitals’ unique issues and outline some of the potential barriers to adoption.

Here are some of the key takeaways of this report: 

  • Deploying telemental health presents cost-saving opportunities for hospitals by way of stretching out shrinking pools of psychiatrists, avoiding value-based care (VBC) penalties that arise from unnecessary patient readmissions, and tapping into a new market of patients.
  • Health systems varying in size, location, and spending power differ in their approaches to telemental health: Some rely on the power of currently employed mental health specialists, while others tap into a new crop by partnering with third-party vendors. 
  • We predict more health systems will turn to telemental health as the mental health crisis continues to swell and lay the pressure on EDs, but some barriers — like upfront costs and murky reimbursement policies — remain.

In full, the report: 

  • Details the mental health crisis and how it’s negatively impacting health systems and hospitals. 
  • Explains how implementing telemental health can help hospitals better manage mental health patients and best make use of staff and resources.
  • Outlines how three early moving health systems are deploying telemental health — and the opportunities it presents for others like them. 
  • Considers what the future of telemental health looks like for health systems and what could impede and propel more widespread adoption. 

Want to learn more about the fast-moving world of digital health? Here’s how to get access:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >>  Purchase & Download Now
  2. Sign up for Digital Health Pro, Business Insider Intelligence’s expert product suite keeping you up-to-date on the people, technologies, trends, and companies shaping the future of healthcare, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
  3. Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Enterprise Memberships
  4. Current subscribers can read the report here.



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The Chatbots in Insurance Playbook – Business Insider Intelligence

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How_AI_Based_Chatbots_Learn_To_Execute_Human_Like_Interactions_February_2020



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Incumbent insurers are using chatbots to transform from passively engaging customers to putting customer engagement at the forefront of their business models.

The insurance sector has been far behind other sectors of financial services when it comes to delivering on customer engagement — but today, insurers are tapping advances in chatbot technology to deliver frequent and individualized customer interactions. Advancements in automation, machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) have enabled conversational assistants to deliver customer engagement that’s so on par with live agents that the bots can supplant staff entirely.

And within the insurance realm, chatbot tech has the potential to reshape everything from product recommendation to admin to claims processing.

In The Chatbots In Insurance Playbook, Business Insider Intelligence’s proprietary transformation maturity scale allows firms to measure the maturity of their chatbot deployments, while case studies exploring the chatbot implementations of three insurance players at various stages of their transformation journeys aim to guide firms looking to advance along our maturity scale. Finally, a market forecast of the global chatbot opportunity in insurance highlights the significant cost-savings potential the tech can bring across the industry.

Here are a few key takeaways from the report:

  • Three case studies highlight chatbots’ potential to improve customer satisfaction, slash man-hours needed for customer service tasks, and speed up transaction and processing times. 
  • Insurtech Lemonade wanted to use bot technology to supplant human customer service processes, but it needed to ensure this wouldn’t create a subpar user experience or erode trust.
  • To do this, Lemonade created a chatbot solution that could hold conversations that mirror those with live agents, while speedily solving complex customer problems. 
  • Insurer Zurich UK worked with white-label chatbot provider Spixii to expand its initially limited digital capabilities to provide customers with an immediate way of declaring claims.
  • The insurer knew it had to meet customer demand for an “always-on” digital experience around claims, and while Zurich UK identified chatbots as a good solution, it needed to ensure the tech would provide a cohesive experience across online and offline channels. 
  • Future Generali India Life Insurance (FGILI) was overwhelmed by a continued hike in calls from existing clients and needed to find a better way to manage communications as it scales its business.
  • To achieve this, it deployed a chatbot solution, dubbed Robotics Enabled Virtual Assistant (REVA) — which includes both basic and complex capabilities — to maintain a strong customer experience while freeing up live employees to grow its business.

In full, the report:

  • Allows insurers to identify strengths and weaknesses in their chatbot deployments by measuring their capabilities across key categories using Business Insider Intelligence’s Chatbots In Insurance Digital Maturity Model.
  • Utilizes three case studies to show how different insurance firms are using chatbots to transform business operations and customer engagement. 
  • Provides a market forecast of the global chatbot opportunity in insurance to highlight the significant cost-savings potential the tech can bring across the industry.

Interested in getting the full report? Here’s how to get access:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Sign up for Fintech Pro, Business Insider Intelligence’s expert product suite tailored for today’s (and tomorrow’s) decision-makers in the financial services industry, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
  3. Check to see if you already have access to Business Insider Intelligence through your company, or inquire about access if you don’t. >> Check If You Have Enterprise Access
  4. Current subscribers can read the report here.



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Warren Buffett backs Kroger, Biogen, adds $2.5 billion to market caps

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  • Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed stakes in Kroger and Biogen on Friday.
  • The famed investor spent about $740 million on shares in the supermarket and biopharmaceuticals giants last quarter.
  • News of the famed investor’s backing added $2.5 billion to the pair’s combined market cap in after-hours trading.
  • Kroger stock jumped 6% and Biogen stock rose 2%.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett famously moves markets with his investment decisions. The so-called “Oracle of Omaha” showcased his clout when he revealed new stakes in Kroger and Biogen on Friday, spurring investors to add $2.5 billion to the pair’s combined market capitalization in after-hours trading.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate shelled out $549 million for a 2.4% stake in US supermarket giant Kroger in the fourth quarter of 2019, SEC filings show. It also paid $192 million for a 0.4% stake in Biogen, a biopharmaceuticals titan that develops and delivers therapies for neurological diseases.

News of Buffett’s backing drove Kroger’s stock up about 6% in after-hours trading on Friday, boosting its market cap by over $1.3 billion to nearly $24 billion. It also drove Biogen stock up 2%, lifting its market cap by more than $1.2 billion to north of $59 billion.

The billionaire investor’s new bets seem to be paying off, even excluding the impact of his stamp of approval. Kroger’s stock rose about 10% between October 1 and the close of trading on Friday — before Buffett revealed his stake. Biogen’s stock rocketed 47% over the same period.

The stock rallies reflect progress at both companies. Kroger is realizing gains from its sweeping “Restock Kroger” initiative, which involves remodeling stores, optimizing processes, investing in digital offerings, and partnering with the likes of Microsoft and Ocado.

Meanwhile, stronger sales of Biogen’s treatments for multiple sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy boosted the company’s revenue by 7% and its net income by 33% in 2019.



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