Reality check: The Serengeti gets packed during peak safari season

  • Africa’s best-known safari destination is the Serengeti, 12,000 miles of grasslands, forests, swamps, and woodlands teeming with wildlife.
  • Eighty percent of tourists to Tanzania visit the Northern Circuit, where the Serengeti is located. During peak season the parks are flooded with safari jeeps.
  • That meant that any time there was something spectacular happening — like a pride of lions feeding — the area was swarmed with other tourists. The crowd sometimes scared off the wildlife.

Going on safari is about taking a journey into nature; “safari” is the Swahili word for journey. But, if you thought that would mean you’ll be rumbling through the savannah with only the wind as your companion, think again.

For many, the dream safari is the Serengeti, a park spanning 12,000 square miles in northern Tanzania that looks like the setting of The Lion King. Most visit the Serengeti to see the Great Migration, where 1.5 million wildebeest migrate annually along a nearly 2,000-mile cycle in search of new grass and fresh water.

It’s by far one of the most popular safari destinations. Out of the 1.4 million annual visitors to Tanzania, 80% visit either the Serengeti, the adjacent Ngorongoro Crater, or Mount Kilimanjaro — the three destinations that make up Tanzania’s Northern Circuit.

Most visitors travel to the Serengeti during one of two peak seasons: January through February, or June through October. The first is known as “calving season,” when wildebeest and zebra migrate south to find grasses suitable to give birth to new calves. During the second, the dry season, wildebeest and zebra migrate north in search of water.

In February, I took a safari through the Serengeti. While dry season is a more popular time to visit than calving season, the Serengeti was still bustling with tourists.

Anytime something spectacular was happening — like someone spotted a pride of lions or a leopard in a tree — half a dozen jeeps or more soon pulled up to watch, too.

Take, for example, the pride of lions I photographed at the top of this article. We spotted them near one of the main roads in the park. As soon as jeeps saw our car stopping, they, too, immediately pulled up. Within five or ten minutes, there was a traffic jam.

It looked like this:

“Safari” is the Swahili word for journey.
Annie Zheng/Business Insider

It’s more than annoying. Sometimes it scares the wildlife. One morning, my guide had heard word that there was a caracal cat hiding out beneath a tree in the bush near our camp. By the time we got there, there were too many jeeps around.

The cat had gotten spooked and hid under some bushes until the jeeps left.

The crowds sometimes scared off the wildlife.
Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

The number of tourists in Tanzania’s northern parks and game reserves is a big reason many safari junkies swear by the country’s Southern Circuit, made up of Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha, Mahale, and Gombe national parks.

While there is a lot of tourist infrastructure around the Serengeti, the southern parks are about as off the grid as you can get, requiring a day’s drive or an extra flight. There is little in the way of development, with most people staying at camping sites or a few high-end lodges.

Because so few tourists visit, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see another jeep during your jaunt through the wilderness. It’s practically untouched by tourism, a near impossibility in 2019.

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Why 1 New Zealander turned over his gun before assault rifles ban

  • A small number of New Zealanders turned in their firearms to authorities even before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an assault weapons ban on Thursday.
  • One Twitter user, a farmer named John Hart, posted a photo of his arms surrender form and said owning his semiautomatic rifle wasn’t worth the risk that it could be misused.
  • Authorities said just 37 firearms had been voluntarily handed over in the initial days after the massacre — meanwhile, there are an estimated 1.2 million guns across the country.

A handful of New Zealanders have gone viral after announcing they surrendered their weapons in the wake of the Christchurch massacre— and they did it even before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an assault rifles ban.

John Hart, a 46-year-old farmer, has been on a media blitz since he announced on Twitter two days after the attacks that he had turned in his semiautomatic rifle for destruction by authorities.

The Christchurch massacre left 50 people dead after a gunman opened fire on two mosques on March 15. Ardern said days later that he had purchased his semiautomatic rifles legally, with a license he received in November 2017.

For Hart, that was all it took for him to sour on his own semiautomatic rifle, which he originally purchased to help kill goats and wild pigs on his farm.

“For me, the main reasoning was that these types of weapons are convenient for some types of tasks, but they aren’t the only way to perform those tasks,” Hart told CNN.

Read more: What’s really keeping the US from adopting new gun laws like New Zealand’s

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks during a press conference with Police Minister Stuart Nash at the Parliament House in Wellington on March 21, 2019.
Agence France-Presse/Yelim Lee via Getty Images

He said he quickly filled out an arms surrender form and told the police station he intended to turn in the gun.

“I had had that gun since it was made. I’m glad it had never harmed a person,” Hart said. “Now I can know that it never harmed a person, so I have some reassurance in that.”

Turning in guns immediately after the attack was far from a trend among New Zealanders — just 37 weapons were surrendered to police stations in the first five days after the massacre, authorities said, according to The Guardian. Meanwhile, there are an an estimated 1.2 million firearms across the country, according to the 2017 Small Arms Survey.

Ardern announced Thursday that New Zealand will implement a ban on all “military-style semiautomatic weapons,” along with all assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and “all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semiautomatic weapon.”

“In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” she said.

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How Glossier grew from beauty blog to billion-dollar business

  • Glossier announced Tuesday that it had raised an additional $100 million in funding in a round that valued the company at $1.2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • CEO Emily Weiss launched the company in 2014, off the back of a successful blog that she launched in 2010.
  • Glossier has found success in selling makeup directly to customers through Instagram, where the brand has more than 1.9 million followers.

Glossier is making big moves to dominate the global beauty industry.

On Tuesday, the company announced it had raised $100 million in a funding round that valued Glossier at $1.2 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Founder and CEO Emily Weiss started the company in 2014 after running a well-known blog, Into The Gloss, for four years. Weiss has turned traditional beauty retail on its head and cracked the code for selling makeup directly to consumers through Instagram, where the brand has more than 1.9 million followers.

See how Weiss built the company up from a beauty blog into a billion-dollar business:

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Soylent CEO says people are starting to embrace genetic engineering

  • The CEO of Soylent, the startup behind Silicon Valley’s favorite meal replacement shake, says he believes people are beginning to embrace foods made with genetic engineering.
  • Soylent began publicizing its use of GMOs nearly four years ago, when anti-GMO rhetoric was at an all-time high.
  • Now, “the pendulum is swinging in favor of the science,” the CEO told Business Insider.

America may run on Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, but Silicon Valley runs on something else: Soylent, a meal-in-a-bottle that’s meant to contain all the nutrients you’d normally find in breakfast or lunch.

Pick up a bottle of the stuff and you’ll notice something else that sets it apart from many other American products. Each container is printed with a small stamp on the side resembling a strand of DNA.

“Produced with genetic engineering,” the label reads.

Soylent uses six ingredients made with the technique, meaning they fall under the label of “GMO” or genetically-modified organism. Those ingredients include its soy protein blend, one of its sweeteners, two kinds of oils or fats, along with its corn fiber and some of its flavorings.

The company decided to go public about its use of the technology nearly four years ago, when public distrust of GMOs was at an all-time high. At the time, sales of products made with the opposite kind of label — one that read “GMO-free” — was skyrocketing. But Soylent bucked the trend. In addition to adding the genetic engineering label to its products, the company came out with a series of billboards that read “Pro-GMO” and published a lengthy blog post explaining its decision to use the ingredients.

Soylent faced a fair amount of pushback for its decision at the time. Advocacy blogs and several journalists accused the company of hiding dangerous ingredients in its products; others called the approach a marketing stunt.

But Soylent CEO Bryan Crowley thinks his company made the right choice, he told Business Insider. Here’s why.

‘We think the pendulum is swinging in favor of the science’

Soylent CEO Bryan Crowley thinks the tide on GMOs is starting to shift in a favorable direction.
Courtesy Soylent

Crowley thinks the tide on GMOs is finally starting to shift. People are increasingly embracing the approach, he said during an interview on the periphery of the Future of Food-Tech Conference in San Francisco.

“We think the pendulum is swinging in favor of the science,” Crowley said.

To his company, the decision to go public about their ingredients was less about marketing and more about following the consensus reached by researchers.

Read more: This Silicon Valley food-replacement favorite has a new mission — win over the mainstream

“It’s not about being pro-GMO. It’s about being pro-science,” he said.

The scientific consensus on GMOs is that they are not harmful.

Organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission have called GMO foods safe to eat. A large 2013 study on GMOs found no “significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops.”

Most of the food we eat today has been genetically modified in some way; everything from corn to watermelons have been selectively bred for thousands of years to give us the traits we find desirable, like large amounts of sweet, edible flesh or small seeds. Insulin, the medication that people with diabetes depend on to regulate their blood sugar, is also made with genetically modified ingredients.

Still, Crowley admits he was once hesitant about GMOs too. Roughly a decade ago, he assumed that GMO-free products were healthier than their GMO-containing counterparts, he said.

“I did very little research” at the time, Crowley said. “I just accepted it.”

But after digging into the peer-reviewed research, Crowley said he changed his mind. And he thinks others are beginning to do the same.

“People aren’t just accepting something because it’s on a package,” he said.

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Off-duty Chicago police officer shot to death after leaving nightclub

  • A 23-year-old off-duty Chicago police officer was shot and killed early Saturday morning while leaving a nightclub.
  • Another victim, an unidentified man who was not a police officer, is in critical condition. Police say he is in surgery and expected to survive.
  • Police say the shooting appears to be random: “We know that they did not have any sort of confrontations with anybody, they did not have any incidents that we believe would have provoked any sort of shooting.”
  • The police officer, who was later identified as John P. Rivera, had just finished a shift earlier that evening.

In what appears to be a random attack, a 23-year-old off-duty Chicago police officer was shot and killed after leaving a nightclub early Saturday morning. He was shot in the mouth, chest, and right arm, later pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The officer — who was later identified as John P. Rivera — was seated in a car with three other people when they were ambushed by two unidentified men, police said. One man fired shots into the car, striking the officer and one other victim, before fleeing on foot.

The second victim, an unidentified man who is not a police officer, is in critical condition. Police say he is undergoing surgery and is expected to survive.

The two other people in the car, including another off-duty officer, were not injured.

In a separate incident on February 13, 2018, officers saluted as an ambulance as it left Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Rivera — who would have been with the department for two years in May — had just finished a shift around 9 or 10 p.m. on Friday night. Police say he went to the nightclub purely for pleasure and they currently have no suspected motive for the shooting.

“We know that they did not have any sort of confrontations with anybody, they did not have any incidents that we believe would have provoked any sort of shooting,” Police Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio said during a press conference outside the hospital.

Rivera and the shooter had “no conflict… no problems, no words exchanged, there was no robbery demand, no carjacking demand,” Riccio said.

The shooter is still at large, though police say they do have a person of interest in custody.

“It’s a very sad day, we’re mourning the loss of yet another Chicago police officer,” Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said during the press conference.

The Chicago Police Department did not immediately return INSIDER’s request for comment.

According to The Chicago Tribune, over 343 people have been shot in the city so far in 2019. This falls below the rate of shootings in the city for the previous three years.

This post has been updated with the name of the police officer who was killed.

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How to watch northern lights in New York and other states this weekend

  • A geomagnetic storm is said to be hitting Earth on Saturday, which is expected to cause northern lights in northern regions of the globe.
  • The northern lights could potentially be seen in the northern-most United States.
  • The northern lights will be most visible at night when it’s dark.

People who wouldn’t usually expect to see colorful northern lights may get a chance to experience the night sky show on Saturday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued a moderate geomagnetic storm watch alert on Friday, saying that the storm watch is in effect for Saturday.

According to NOAA’s chart, the northern lights will likely extend down to upstate New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana, northern Idaho, and Washington state.


The geomagnetic storm that’s causing the northern lights began on Friday, but the lights themselves are only likely to be visible at night.

When to look out for the northern lights

Residents in the northern-most United States will have the highest chance of seeing the northern lights when it gets dark on Saturday.

The sun will begin to set in New York and northeastern states at 7:11 p.m.

According to NOAA’s forecast, the northern lights will be most visible in the northeastern United States starting at around 10:55 p.m.


The Canadian Space Agency’s tips on how to watch the northern lights

Despite the unusually high likelihood that people further south on Earth could see the northern lights, catching them won’t be a given. Luckily, the Canadian Space Agency has some tips which we’ve quoted below:

  • Consult the weather forecast before leaving. Cloud cover obscures the aurora.
  • If possible, choose a night without moonlight. The bright glare of the Moon—especially the full Moon—illuminates the night sky and makes fainter auroras invisible. (BI: Unfortunately, the moon will be 92% illuminated on Saturday night, making for less ideal conditions to see the northern lights clearly).
  • Dress warmly and choose a location with dark skies. Light pollution from bright city lights makes it difficult to see the aurora.
  • If the aurora is moving slowly, keep your eyes peeled! The intensity can change very rapidly at any moment.
  • Look around you in all directions. During periods of heightened activity, the aurora can appear anywhere in the sky, not just on the northern horizon.

Some experts aren’t too optimistic

“I would not drive out of my way for this particular event,” said Terry Onsager, a physicist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, told The New York Times. Onsager said there’s no guarantee that the geomagnetic storm will actually hit earth, and if it does, it will do so in the middle of the day on Saturday when the northern lights are least visible. The best chance to see the lights would be at night.

There might also be cloud cover in many parts of the northeast, according to Ohio-based NBC4 meteorologist Ben Gelber, who also spoke with The New York Times.

Despite Gelber’s predictions about cloud cover, it’s still a good idea to look at your own area’s weather forecast. Syracuse, NY, where the northern lights could potentially be seen, is forecasted for a clear night on Saturday.

You can always watch the northern lights being streamed online below

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Antwon Rose’s family will challenge acquittal of Michael Rosfeld

  • Former Pennsylvania police officer Michael Rosfeld was acquitted Friday on all counts after he was charged with homicide in the shooting death of Antwon Rose II.
  • Seventeen-year-old Rose, who was black, was fatally shot by Rosfeld, who is white, last summer after fleeing from a traffic stop.
  • “It will have to be challenged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. It will have to continue to be challenged on a federal level,” S. Lee Merritt, the Rose family’s attorney, said Friday.
  • “I hope that man never sleeps at night,” Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, said of Rosfeld, to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I hope he gets as much sleep as I do, which is none.”

The family of Antwon Rose II, a black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer last summer, has promised to keep fighting for legal accountability.

Former Pennsylvania police officer Michael Rosfeld, who was charged with homicide in the death of Rose, was acquitted Friday on all counts after a four-hour jury deliberation. Rosfeld shot Rose three times last summer, after the teenager fled from a traffic stop.

“It will have to be challenged, in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. It will have to continue to be challenged on a federal level,” S. Lee Merritt, the Rose family’s attorney, said Friday.

A photo of Antwon Rose II sits with a memorial display for Rose II in front of the Allegheny County courthouse.
Gene J. Puskar/AP

“Antwon Rose was shot in his back,” Merritt continued. “He was unarmed, and he did not pose a threat to the officer or to the community, and the verdict today says that is OK, that is acceptable behavior from a police officer.”

Merritt also condemned the verdict in a tweet: “Everything has to change,” he wrote.

Rose is just one of many unarmed black men that have died at the hands of white police officers, a phenomenon that spawned the #BlackLivesMatter movement. According to the Washington Post, there were 17 such deaths in the US in 2018. In these cases, officers are rarely convicted.

Read more:Why do US police officers kill so many people?

“This case had nothing to do with race, absolutely nothing to do with race,” Patrick Thomassey, Mr. Rosfeld’s lawyer, said after the verdict, as reported by the New York Times. “And some people in this city have made it that way and it’s sad. Mike Rosfeld was doing his job. He did his job. And it had nothing to do with the color of anyone he was arresting.”

The shooting of Rose was captured on video by bystanders and posted online, triggering a series of protests in the Pittsburgh area last year. When the verdict was announced on Friday, more protests erupted outside the courthouse.

“I hope that man never sleeps at night,” Rose’s mother, Michelle Kenney, said of Rosfeld. “I hope he gets as much sleep as I do, which is none.”

Read more:The mother of Antwon Rose II reacts to Michael Rosfeld’s acquittal: ‘Hope that man never sleeps’

S. Lee Merritt, left, and Michelle Kenney, center, addressing the media.
Nate Smallwood/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via AP, Pool

Rosfeld testified that he pulled over the car — a gold Chevrolet Cruze, driven by then-17-year-old Zaijuan Hester, in which Rose was the front seat passenger — because it matched the description of a car involved in a drive-by shooting 20 minutes earlier.

He also testified that he thought he’d seen a gun in Rose’s hand, contradicting earlier statements that he gave to police. Rosfeld then shot Rose in the back, arm and side of the face as he ran away.

“It happened very quickly,” he said during the trial, as reported by the New York Times. “My intent was to end the threat that was made against me.”

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Republican reactions to Mueller Russia investigation report submission

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly delivered his final report on the FBI’s Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr.
  • Top Republicans, including Senate leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee head Lindsey Graham said in statements that they welcomed the development and looked forward to next steps.
  • Other Republicans called for the report to be made public immediately.

Special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report on the FBI’s Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr.

In the hours after news of the release broke Friday, several top Republicans joined calls from Democratic lawmakers to release the report on the two-year investigation to Congress and a version of the findings to the public.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell wrote in a statement posted on Twitter that he appreciated Barr’s intention to “provide as much information as possible” about the report.

“As I have said previously, I sincerely hope he will do so as soon as he can, and with as much openness and transparency as possible,” McConnell added.

Sen, Lindsey Graham wrote on Twitter that he was looking forward to the next steps concerning the report, as he works across the aisle to maintain transparency around any developments.

“I will work with Ranking Member [Dianne] Feinstein and our House Judiciary Committee colleagues to ensure as much transparency as possible, consistent with the law,” the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman tweeted.

“I have always believed it was important that Mr. Mueller be allowed to do his job without interference, and that has been accomplished,” he added.

Read more: Mueller has submitted his report to the attorney general. Here’s what happens next.

Senators John Kennedy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, and Roy Blunt of Missouri, all called for the report’s release in Congress and to Americans.

Kennedy wrote that because the “report cost a lot of taxpayer money” and had sparked “so much spin & innuendo” about its contents, the attorney general should release the file as soon as possible.

“Mueller’s report needs to be released to the public ASAP,” Kennedy tweeted. “Americans deserve to know the contents, I trust them to draw their own conclusions.”

Some lawmakers, however, were less interested in the full release of the report.

Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Republican Whip, brushed off the release, writing that “the only collusion was between Democrats and many in the media who peddled this lie because they continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election.”

The Louisiana lawmaker added “#WitchHunt,” echoing one of Trump’s key phrases about the investigation.

Texas’ Sen. John Cornyn condemned the report and warned of “political harassment leading to, perhaps, a futile impeachment exercise.”

GOP leaders reportedly echoed these statements in a call Friday, in which some said they expect in the next few days Barr will provide the Judiciary Committee and Congress and the public with top initial conclusions from the report.

The special counsel’s office said there would be no more indictments following the report on the investigation that has so far charged eight Americans once affiliated with Trump’s campaign or administration, 13 Russian nationals, 12 Russian intelligence officers, three Russian companies, and two other people.

Barr’s key highlights from the report could emerge soon, as he was spotted at the Department of Justice Saturday morning.

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Barbra Streisand apologizes over remarks on Michael Jackson accusers

  • Barbra Streisand said in a statement Saturday she was “profoundly sorry” for saying Michael Jackson’s accusers were “thrilled” to be with him when they were children.
  • In an interview with The Times of London, Streisand said she believed the accusers’ allegations, but suggested that Jackson’s behavior came from “whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has.”
  • In her apology statement, Streisand she had not chosen her words carefully, and had not intended to dismiss the trauma of Jackson’s accusers.

Barbra Streisand apologized Saturday after sparking widespread backlash for saying two men who have accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them when they were children were “thrilled” to be with him, and that the alleged abuse “didn’t kill them.”

Streisand had told The Times of London in an interview published March 22 that she believed the accusations made by James Safechuck and Wade Robson in the recent documentary “Leaving Neverland.” Safechuck and Robson detailed extensive sexual abuse at the hands of Jackson when they were young children, and the years-long process of realizing that Jackson’s alleged behavior was indeed abuse.

But Streisand also said she felt sympathy of Jackson, who died in 2009, and suggested that his alleged behavior wasn’t entirely his fault.

“His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has,” she said. “You can say, ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard them say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”

Read more: Barbra Streisand on Michael Jackson accusations — she reportedly believes the accusers, but says ‘it didn’t kill them’

Michael Jackson at the 2006 World Music Awards.
Tony Barson/WireImage

Streisand’s comments triggered an uproar on social media, where the hashtag #CancelBarbraStreisand quickly trended on Twitter.

On Saturday, Streisand walked back some of her remarks and apologized in a statement on Twitter. She said her comments to the news outlet “do not reflect my true feelings.”

“I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims,” she said. “I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way.

“Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth,” she added.

Jackson denied all allegations against him while he was alive, and lawyers for his estate have since denounced “Leaving Neverland” and maintained that none of the accusations are true.

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‘Flip or Flop’ star Christina Anstead is expecting a baby

  • Christina Anstead announced via Instagram on Friday that she is pregnant.
  • The “Flip or Flop” star is expecting her first child with her husband, Ant Anstead.
  • She shares two children with her ex-husband and former HGTV costar, Tarek El Moussa.
  • Her husband also has two children from a previous relationship.

Just three months after officially becoming Christina Anstead, the HGTV star is expecting her first child with her new husband Ant Anstead.

The couple announced Christina’s pregnancy via Instagram on Friday.

“[Ant] and I are so excited to announce #babyanstead coming this September!!” Christina wrote in the caption. “The kids are all so excited to meet their new sibling.”

She also added two hashtags: #5 and #Gonnaneedabiggercar!

Christina shares two children — 3-year-old son Brayden James and 8-year-old daughter Taylor Reese — with her ex-husband and former “Flip or Flop” costar, Tarek El Moussa.

Ant also has a son and a daughter from a previous relationship, named Archie and Amelie, respectively.

The “Wheelers Dealers” host also celebrated the good news on Instagram by posting a photo of the couple’s existing four kids: “And then…… there were FIVE!!! (Well …. four and a half! Will be Five in September)!!”

Christina is geared up for a busy year; she’s set to star in a new HGTV show, “Christina on the Coast,” premiering on May 23.

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