Monthly Archives: December 2015

EMC says it will ‘restructure’ and do another round of layoffs at the beginning of 2016

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EMC CEO Joe Tucci.
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EMC

On Thursday afternoon, EMC announced in a filing with the SEC that it was going to do another round of layoffs.

It did not say how many people it will be cutting. It did say that the cuts would cost it about $250 million and that this was part of its previously announced plans to trim $850 million annually from its expenses.

Here is what it’s saying about the upcoming restructuring:

On December 30, 2015, as part of the previously announced program to reduce our existing cost base by $850 million annually, and consistent with prior restructuring actions to keep pace with changes in the industry, EMC Corporation management approved a restructuring plan.

The plan consists of a reduction in force which will be substantially completed by the end of the first quarter of 2016 and fully completed by the end of 2016. The total charge resulting from this plan is expected to be approximately $250 million, with total cash payments associated with the plan expected to be $220 million.

EMC told investors of its plan to cut expenses by $850 million, which it said would include job cuts, back in July.

At that time, EMC said it would start by snipping $50 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, including an unnamed number of layoffs.

In October, Dell announced plans to buy EMC for a massive $67 billion, the largest tech acquisition ever. But Dell’s plans to finance the deal are complicated and could result in Dell taking on nearly $50 billion in debt.

Dell is spinning off units and looking to sell other various chunks of itself to help reduce the debt burden.

So, Dell acquisition or not, EMC is clearly continuing its plan to cut its own expenses, and its workforce.

Kanye West’s Yeezys helped Adidas blow Nike out of the water as the most popular sneaker brand on Instagram in 2015

This year was an amazing year for sneakers, if Instagram is any indication.

British-based graphic designer Dan Freebairn, who posts his artistic renditions of popular sneakers on his Instagram account, @KickPosters, decided to see just how amazing it was.

He dug into the numbers, and it turns out the most popular sneaker brand by sales, Nike, can’t keep up with its European rival on Instagram.

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Dan Freebairn/@kickposters

Adidas racked up 78.8 million likes on its account, @adidasoriginals, likely due to the insane popularity of its Yeezy Boost collaboration with Kanye West. Nike, even across its @nike, @nikesportswear, and @jumpman23 (Jordan) brands, couldn’t keep up with the popularity of Yeezy.

The sneaker’s iterations, of which six have been released so far (the most recent on December 31), have all sold out instantly and subsequently sold for thousands on Ebay. In fact, West’s collaboration with Adidas is even more popular than the collaboration with Nike he did back in 2009, according to NikeKicks.com.

Who managed to get a pair so far?

A post shared by YEEZY BOOSTS (@yeezyboosts) on

Another sneaker, the Adidas Ultra Boost, was also very popular with sneaker fans this year.

Adidas made a number of other smart moves in 2015 to put it on top. It invested in proprietary technology and designs, and it had a number of popular collaborations including one with Star Wars. It also reinvested in old styles like the Stan Smith.

However, when adjusted for likes-to-followers ratio, the tables turn on Adidas somewhat. It seems Vans actually has the most active users, with more likes per follower than any other sneaker brand.

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Dan Freebairn/@kickposters

STOCKS FALL AND THE YEAR’S OVER: Here’s what you need to know

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Trader Peter Tuchman wears plastic glasses to celebrate the last trading day of 2015 on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, December 31, 2015.
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REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The year’s over.

First, the scoreboard:

    Dow: 17,425.0, -178.8, (-1.0%) S&P 500: 2,043.9, -19.4, (-0.9%) Nasdaq: 5,007.4, -58.4, (-1.1%)

And now, the top stories on Thursday:

The US stock market just booked a negative year, albeit a modestly negative year. For some context, 2014 closed with the S&P 500 at 2,058.9, the Dow at 17,823.0, and the Nasdaq at 4,736.0. And so 2015 ended with the S&P down, the Dow down, and the Nasdaq up. The final US trading session came with two disappointing economic reports. First was initial jobless claims, which jumped to 287,000 from 267,000 a week ago. This was a bit higher than the 270,000 expected by economists. Still, the number remains low when you put it into historical context. “Despite the modest rise in initial claims towards year-end, both initial and continuing jobless claims improved considerably in 2015 and both series remain at or near their lowest levels since the early 1970s,” Barclays Rob Martin observed. “These data indicate that, at least from the separations side, the labor market remained strong to the very end of the year.” The Chicago Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) was a big flop, with the headline index unexpectedly plunging to 42.9 in December, the lowest level since July 2009. New orders were particularly weak and order backlogs dropped at their fastest pace since March 1951. “The steepness of the decline in the Barometer in recent months ends a particularly volatile year, which has seen orders and output move in and out of contraction,” MNI Indicators chief economist Philip Uglow said. “It lends weight to the Fed’s gradual approach to tightening, with the flexibility to change direction if needed.” And the Chicago PMI report is about more than just the Midwest. It also signals what could come from the national ISM manufacturing reports we get next week. “On average, the ISM-adjusted regional surveys and Markit PMI suggest a decrease in the national manufacturing ISM index of around half a point,” BNP economist Derek Lindsey said. “The Chicago PMI is one of the regional surveys that is most closely correlated with the national index.” The data lately has been bad enough that at least one Wall Street strategist has already cut his outlook for stocks in 2016. “On November 20, we published our 2016 outlook with an S&P 500 price target of 2,300,” RBC’s Jonathan Golub said. “Since that time, WTI has fallen by nearly 10% and bottom-up analyst estimates for 2016 have fallen by 1%. Further, economic trends have softened, with the November ISM at 48.6, well below the 53.7 average of the past 3 years.” Golub now sees the S&P ending next year at 2,225.

George Lucas apologizes for calling Disney — the new owner of ‘Star Wars’ — ‘white slavers’

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Getty

George Lucas has issued a statement apologizing for essentially calling Disney, the new(ish) owner of his company Lucasfilm and the “Star Wars” franchise, “white slavers.”

Lucas let the snide remark slip in a recent interview with Charlie Rose. Here’s the full statement, via The Wrap:

“I want to clarify my interview on the Charlie Rose Show. It was for the Kennedy Center Honors and conducted prior to the premiere of the film. I misspoke and used a very inappropriate analogy and for that I apologize. “I have been working with Disney for 40 years and chose them as the custodians of ‘Star Wars’ because of my great respect for the company and Bob Iger’s leadership. Disney is doing an incredible job of taking care of and expanding the franchise. I rarely go out with statements to clarify my feelings but I feel it is important to make it clear that I am thrilled that Disney has the franchise and is moving it in such exciting directions in film, television and the parks. Most of all I’m blown away with the record breaking blockbuster success of the new movie and am very proud of JJ and Kathy.”

At the end Lucas is referring to “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

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George Lucas (R) speaking to Charlie Rose (L).
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YouTube/Charlie Rose

In the Rose interview, Lucas opened up about the difficulty to let go of the “Star Wars” franchise.

“It’s a very, very, very hard thing to do,” Lucas said. “You have to say, ‘I have to move on,’ and everything in your body says, ‘Don’t. You can’t.’ These are my kids.”

Rose then said, “Those were your kids … and you sold them.”

“I sold them to the white slavers that take these things and, and …” Lucas then stopped himself and laughed.

Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, which not only gave them ownership of the “Star Wars” franchise but another iconic brand, “Indiana Jones.”

Watch a clip from the interview that includes the “white slavers” remark here:

Dubai went ahead with a 1.6-ton fireworks display after a huge fire at a nearby luxury hotel

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Fireworks going off in the water off Dubai’s beaches. The fireworks show started at the Burj Khalifa and then travelled the length of the city’s beachfront. It lasted more than 20 minutes.
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Business Insider

Even though the Address hotel in downtown Dubai was still smoldering from a massive fire that engulfed the the building, the city went through with its display of 1.6 tons of fireworks at the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, just blocks away.

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#1#3_’D3F)_AJ_/(Jpic.twitter.com/B8RttBxWbFDecember31, 2015

A downtown Dubai resident told Business Insider he was “appalled” the city was going ahead with the celebrations after the fire reportedly left 14 injured, and that smoke from Address had obscured the view of the Burj Khalifa, but that there were many places to view fireworks all around the city.

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Business Insider

‘It looks like a fire that’s going to bring a building down:’ Here’s an account of the New Year’s Eve blaze in Dubai

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A fire engulfs The Address Hotel in downtown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates December 31, 2015.
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REUTERS/AHMED JADALLAH

At 9:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, a multi-story fire broke out at the Address hotel in Dubai close to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper at 905 yards (828 meters).

Business Insider caught up with a resident of downtown Dubai who had an unobstructed view of the blaze from the 5th floor of his apartment just blocks away from the Address.

From his vantage point, he said, he could see a silent crowd of spectators gathered in the park outside of the Burj Khalifa.

Our source, who preferred not to be named, noted the crowd was a safe distance away from the raging fire.

“It looks like a fire that’s going to bring a building down,” our source said of the fire, which raged alongside dozens of floors of the Address.

However, the most recent reports as of 3 p.m. New York time indicated the inside of the buliding was not harmed and the fire was largely under control.

Despite the menacing appearance, from what our source tell, “there isn’t much in the way of chaos.”

Downtown Dubai was already closed to traffic from 3 p.m. local time Thursday in preparation for a fireworks show and celebration set to take place near the hotel. Our source reports there was a massive police presence all day and that the city was packed with foot traffic.

“Initially I saw flames on a few floors, but it very quickly spread,” our source tells us. “It’s a very windy day.”

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Google Maps

Another source who lives on the other side of the Address told us that there were no explosions. She learned of the fire when ash was drifting into her garden. She saw people rushing away from the scene and emergency vehicles descending on the scene.

The city decided to go on with the fireworks despite the fire.

This was absolutely the biggest car story of 2015

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It got even cheaper in 2015.
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Matt Rourke

The year 2015 was huge for cars.

It started off with a thrilling Detroit Auto Show in January and didn’t lose a step for the next 12 months.

The stories, good and bad, just kept on coming. Highlights included the debut of the new Ford GT supercar, the new Ferrari 488 GTB supercar, and the long-awaited launch of Tesla’s Model X SUV.

The main lowlight was the massive Volkswagen emission-cheating scandal, but there was also some alarming car hacking and the grim repercussions of the deadly Takata airbag and GM ignition switch recalls.

One story rose above all others, however.

Gas.

Specifically, the plunging price of the substance the fuels the vast majority of vehicles on planet Earth.

Less than $2 a gallon?!

The oil-price collapse translated into sub-$2-a-gallon prices for many Americans at the pump. This was one of the biggest drivers of a stunning recovery in US auto sales from the depths of the Great Recession. By the time the math is finished on 2015, nearly 18 million new cars and trucks will have rolled off dealer lots, a record.

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of cheap gas to the American Way of Life, which for better or worse is completely bound up with driving. Just a few years back, everyone in the auto industry was deeply concerned, almost terrified, that gas prices were going to plateau at around $4 a gallon, then begin a steady march to levels that would make the internal-combustion engine cost prohibitive.

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Cheap!
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Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Automakers raced to build smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. A vision of widespread electrification transformed Tesla from an exotic luxury startup into a powerful force in the business of transportation.

Other factors were at play – a weak economy, tight credit, crumbling infrastructure – but overwhelmingly it was expensive gas that had everyone freaked out.

Now, of course, people with small cars and hybrids can fill up for less than $20 some parts of the country. And the big trucks and SUVs that send profits surging through the automakers’ veins are selling exceptionally well once again. There’s a significant difference between spending over $100 each week to gas up your Chevy Suburban – and spending half that.

Surprise!

Did this catch the entire auto industry by surprise?

In fact, it did. And it hurt some car companies. The most worrisome risk in, say, 2011 or 2012 was whether you had too many gas-guzzlers in the fleet. You were staring down both the high price of gas and federal fuel-economy regulations that didn’t favor these vehicles. It was a scary, looming double-whammy.

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Take out a $20 and have $2 left over when you’ve filled ‘er up.
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Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

But then when the price of gas swooned, if you had the moneymaking SUVs and pickups to serve what is after all the meat of the US market, you were in great shape. Punitive risk shifted to car makers that lacked pickups and large SUVs – they were stuck trying to move unappealing sedans and small cars.

Not to mention hybrids, which lost much of their allure, even though cheap gas greatly reduced their operating costs, as I discovered when I bought a Prius and commenced monthly fill-ups for a fraction of what I had been paying to keep the tank full in just one of the two cars I used to own.

Maybe in the future gas and cars won’t be so closely linked. But that future is a long way off. And we were reminded of it unquestionably in 2015, when cheap gas got Americans moving again – and moving a lot.

DON’T BUY: Here are 15 US housing markets where it makes more sense to rent

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Dan Zen/Flickr

Buying a home can be a good investment, but in some areas the cost discrepancy between renting a place and buying a place can be massive.

RealtyTrac, a real-estate research firm, compiled data from 504 counties in large housing markets across the US. They found that in these markets the cost to rent, as a percentage of median wages, was lower than a monthly home payment about 42% of the time.

We’ve taken RealtyTrac’s data and found the top 15 places you can save big by renting instead of buying.

To broaden the scope a bit, we excluded the giant New York and California markets that dominate the top of RealtyTrac’s list (though we’ve included that data later on as well).

Texas is the most represented state on the list with one-third of the counties. There is only one county on the list, however, in the Midwest.

Find out below which counties have the biggest savings for renters over buyers.

(Note: We’ve included counties with populations over 300,000 and where savings on buying instead of renting is more than 10% of wages. Additionally, average monthly house cost was computed using an insurance-payment rate of 0.35% of median home value and a property-tax rate of 1.04% of median home value.)


15. Montgomery County, TX

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Homes in Montgomery County, TX.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

Population: 472,162

Median Weekly Income: $982

Average Monthly Rent: $1,386

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,821

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 10.23%


14. Collier County, FL

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Courtesy of RealtyTrac

Metro Area: Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL

Population: 328,209

Median Weekly Income: $846

Average Monthly Rent: $1,479

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,869

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 10.65%


13. Multnomah County, OR

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Google Maps

Metro Area: Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Population: 747,641

Median Weekly Income: $983

Average Monthly Rent: $1,576

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,052

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 11.17%


12. Denton County, TX

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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Population: 687,857

Median Weekly Income: $867

Average Monthly Rent: $1,337

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,790

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 12.06%


11. Charleston County, SC

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Apartments in Charleston, SC.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Charleston-North Charleston, SC

Population: 358,736

Median Weekly Income: $1,108

Average Monthly Rent: $1,301

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $837

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 13.52%


10. Chester County, PA

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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Population: 503,075

Median Weekly Income: $1,108

Average Monthly Rent: $1,502

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,295

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 13.91%


9. Loudon County, VA

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Homes in a neighborhood in Leesburg, VA.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Population: 326,477

Median Weekly Income: $1,108

Average Monthly Rent: $2,144

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,813

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 13.93%


8. Travis County, TX

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The 21st Street co-op apartment building in Austin, TX.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Austin-Round Rock, TX

Population: 1,603,248

Median Weekly Income: $1,090

Average Monthly Rent: $1,629

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,301

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 14.22%


7. Fort Bend County, TX

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A home in Katy, TX.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

Population: 608,939

Median Weekly Income: $945

Average Monthly Rent: $1,386

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,971

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 14.28%


6. Bucks County, PA

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Homes along a street in Langhorne Manor, PA.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Population: 625,977

Median Weekly Income: $925

Average Monthly Rent: $1,502

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,085

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 14.54%


5. Clackamas County, OR

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The historic Caroline Bremer House on West Linn, OR.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Population: 380,532

Median Weekly Income: $922

Average Monthly Rent: $1,576

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,159

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 14.60%


4. Waukesha County, WI

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Houses in the McCall Street Historic District in Waukesha, WI.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI

Population: 391,200

Median Weekly Income: $1,517

Average Monthly Rent: $1,146

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,751

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 14.72%


3. Collin County, TX

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The SB Wyatt House in Plano, TX.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

Population: 811,308

Median Weekly Income: $1,145

Average Monthly Rent: $1,337

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,078

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 14.92%


2. The District of Columbia

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Homes on Logan Circle in Washington, D.C.
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Wikimedia Commons

Metro Area: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Population: 619,371

Median Weekly Income: $1,599

Average Monthly Rent: $2,144

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $3,207

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 15.33%


1. Fairfax County, VA

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A home in Fairfax, VA.
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asianjournalusa/Flickr

Metro Area: Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Population: 1,101,071

Median Weekly Income: $1,517

Average Monthly Rent: $2,144

Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment: $3,194

Difference in median income needed to rent instead of buy: 15.98%


California and New York

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A row of homes in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
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Wikipedia

The top of RealtyTrac’s list is monopolized by counties surrounding New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and some other Southern California counties (21 of the top 25 overall to be exact).

In order to broaden the geography a bit we removed them from consideration, but here’s a rundown of those counties with over 25% rent-to-buy savings. (Counties listed from most to least savings from renting.) And as always you can check out the full data over at RealtyTrac.

New York County, NY: 75.43% less to rent than buy

Rochester County, NY: 68.89% less to rent than buy

Kings County, NY: 58.87% less to rent than buy

Westchester County, NY: 56.95% less to rent than buy

San Francisco County, CA: 46.61% less to rent than buy

San Mateo, CA: 36.94% less to rent than buy

Alameda, CA: 32.21% less to rent than buy

Orange County, CA: 29.66% less to rent than buy

Bergen County, NJ: 29.11% less to rent than buy

Queens County, NY: 26.18% less to rent than buy

Santa Clara County, CA: 26.03% less to rent than buy

Rockland County, NY: 25.01% less to rent than buy


NOW CHECK OUT: 17 housing markets where it’s smarter to buy than rent»

15 photos that show why the rich and famous love to travel to St. Barts

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Bonito offers diners views of the Gustavia Harbour.
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TripAdvisor/Bonito

Saint-Barthélemy (also known as St. Barts or St. Barths) is a French-speaking Caribbean island that’s popular among the rich and the famous.

It is home to an array of stunning beaches, luxury yachts, designer boutiques, and breathtaking restaurants that have helped it become a travel hotspot.

We’ve rounded up 15 photographs that display what St. Barts is like and some of its must-see destinations.

From the best places to party to restaurants with incredible views, here’s why St. Barts remains a celebrity favorite.


A popular destination for celebrities, St. Barts has a variety of designer boutiques, an array of fine-dining restaurants, yacht and jet ski rentals, and breathtaking scenery like mountains, green hills, and glistening bays.

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Shutterstock/Leonard Zhukovsky

Click here to learn more about St. Barts »


It’s home to stunning beaches, most of which remain crowd-free even during the peak season. Some of the best ones, including Saline Beach and Colombier Beach (generally visited by boat), offer miles of white sands and peace and quiet.

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Shutterstock/Leonard Zhukovsky

Click here to learn about Saline Beach »

Click here to learn about Colombier beach »


Yachts are a common form of travel here and celebrities can often be seen mooring their personal ships on the island. Travelers can also charter crewed luxury yachts, superyachts, and sailing yachts during their stay.

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Shutterstock/Travel Bug

Click here to learn more about St. Bart’s yachts »


St. Jean is a popular beach for partying thanks to beach clubs like Nikki Beach, where you’ll be doused with top-notch service, stunning ocean views, and wild celebrations throughout the day.

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Facebook/Nikki Beach St. Barth

Click here to learn more about Nikki Beach »


While you’re there, enjoy the sunshine at the Eden Rock hotel, perched on the sands of St. Jean Bay. Grab a table at the Sand Bar and enjoy the beach scenery while sipping delectable cocktails or book a room at the resort, which is known as a favorite for the traveling elite.

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Facebook/Eden Rock – St Barths

Click here to learn about Eden Rock »


Guests can even request personal butlers to accompany them with any needs throughout their stay.

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Facebook/Eden Rock – St Barths/Roméo Balancourt Paris Photography

There are also villas available for rent, as many visitors prefer the additional privacy. St. Barts is home to hundreds of these villas, some spectacularly expensive, others relatively affordable.

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Facebook/Eden Rock

Head to one of the island’s well-known spas and enjoy luxurious massages. The Guanahani spa by Clarins at Hotel Guanahani is considered one of the best spas in the Caribbean and incorporates traditional healing methods into its treatments.

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Facebook/Le Guanahani St. Barth

Click here to learn more about the spa »


There are also more than 100 restaurants to choose from. One of the most famous is Maya’s Restaurant, which has been serving a daily menu of succulent fresh seafood, chicken, beef, and lamb, since 1984.

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Maya’s Restaurant

Click here to learn about Maya’s Restaurant »


Another trendy hotspot is Bonito, which serves up French-Latin cuisine with impeccable views of the Gustavia Harbour. Sample mouthwatering ceviche or braised beef cheeks while listening to the sound of the waves at its dining room area, or enjoy a cocktail in its relaxed lounge section.

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TripAdvisor/Bonito

Click here to learn about Bonito »


Speaking of Gustavia, here is where you’ll find some of the island’s best shopping (and it’s duty free). Here you’ll find designer shops like Hermès, Chopard, and Louis Vuitton.

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Flickr/Joanna Kalafatis

Even casual spots like La Langouste are known for their incredibly fresh seafood choices. Lobster lovers should be sure to sample the tender and juicy lobster here.

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Facebook/Jacques Perrot

Plus there’s plenty of partying to be had on St. Barts. The First is a trendy bar to start your evening off. Have a few cocktails with tapas and music before heading downstairs to the Yacht Club.

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Facebook/The First

Click here to learn about The First »


Or try the supper club La Plage, located at Tom Beach Hotel. Island regulars and occasional celebrities can be spotted at this chic hangout, where you’ll be treated to tropical breezes and incredible views. Parties vary from upscale dining and live fire shows to afternoon beach parties and seaside barbecues.

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Facebook/LA PLAGE St Barths

Click here to learn about La Plage »


Finally, for a wild night head to Le Ti St. Barth, a funky hilltop spot adorned with a lounge area, a torch-lighted terrace, high-quality food, and parties that range from full-moon celebrations to cabarets.

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Facebook/Le Ti St Barth

Major cities are canceling New Year’s Eve celebrations in the wake of recent terrorist attacks

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A worker dismantles equipment that would have been used to celebrate New Year in central Brussels, December 31, 2015. Authorities in the Belgian capital Brussels on Wednesday called off the city’s traditional New Year’s Eve fireworks display, citing fears of a militant attack.
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Reuters/Francois Lenoir

In the shadow of horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, several major cities have canceled their New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Brussels and Paris have scrapped their fireworks displays entirely, while much of Europe will welcome 2016 in a subdued fashion.

Belgium canceled official festivities on Wednesday in its capital due to significant risk of a terrorist act, Bloomberg reported.

The termination of Brussels’ fireworks came as police detained eight suspects and members of a motorcycle club called the Kamikaze Riders in connection with a New Year’s Eve plot, IBTimes UK reported.

Belgium remains at the core of the investigation surrounding the November 13 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead after two of the suicide bombers, Brahim Abdeslam and Bilal Hadfi, were tied to Brussels.

Grief-stricken Paris has also canceled its main fireworks display. A smaller celebration, however, involving a five-minute video performance shown on screens along Champs-Élysées will still take place, Sky News reported.

Approximately 600,000 people typically gather around the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Élysées to ring in the new year, according to Sky News.

While Turkey has yet to cancel festivities, the nation remains on high alert after authorities found suicide vests and bombs during a raid on two suspected ISIS militantsbelieved to have crossed into Turkey from Syria.

Despite threats, however, some cities kept celebrations as planned.

On Thursday, Emanuel Lutchman, a 25-year-old man who planned to attack a restaurant in New York, on New Year’s Eve was detained and charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS.

According to the Justice Department, Lutchman purchased two black ski masks, zip-ties, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia, and latex gloves for the planned attack.

US Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. of the Western District of New York had a message for others who may be planning to provide support to ISIS: “You will be caught, you will be prosecuted, and you will be punished.”