jtyost2 + business   4117

Smart speaker recordings reviewed by humans
Amazon, Apple and Google all employ staff who listen to customer voice recordings from their smart speakers and voice assistant apps.

News site Bloomberg highlighted the topic after speaking to Amazon staff who "reviewed" Alexa recordings.

All three companies say voice recordings are occasionally reviewed to improve speech recognition.

But the reaction to the Bloomberg article suggests many customers are unaware that humans may be listening.

The news site said it had spoken to seven people who reviewed audio from Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa service.
privacy  technology  software  hardware  surveillance  business  amazon.com  AmazonAlexa  AppleSiri 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Boeing 737 Max grounding hits American Airlines outlook - BBC News
American Airlines has cut its sales outlook after being forced to cancel hundreds of flights involving the grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The airline now expects a key measure of total revenue to be flat or grow by 1% during the first quarter, compared to previous forecasts of a 2% increase.

The firm is the second largest operator of the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the US.

The jet is at the centre of two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia within five months of each other.

American Airlines also said that it was unable to forecast how much the disruption would cost the company.

Since the Boeing 737 Max 8 was grounded in the US on 13 March, American Airlines has cut 1,200 flights and has extended cancellations through its second quarter to 30 June, which will affect about 90 flights a day.
boeing  AmericanAirlines  business  boeing737  airline  airplane  safety  regulation  faa 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Pinterest Dials Down Expectations as I.P.O. Nears
Pinterest set a price range for its initial public offering on Monday that will value the company below its last private-market peg of $12 billion.

In an updated prospectus, the digital pin board company said that it planned to price its offering at $15 to $17 a share. At the high end of that range, the business would be valued at about $11.3 billion, accounting for stock options and restricted stock.

Pinterest, which was valued at $12 billion in 2017 by venture capitalists and other private investors, is part of a horde of high-profile but unprofitable tech start-ups that are now moving toward the public market.

A stock market valuation of less than $12 billion for Pinterest raises questions about investor demand for these companies. Lyft, the ride-hailing company that is deeply unprofitable, went public last month amid a great deal of hype — until its shares promptly fell below its offering price on its second day of trading. The stock has since recovered.

How Lyft and Pinterest perform in their public debuts will be critical in the lead-up to the public offering of Uber, the largest of this generation of tech start-ups. Uber is expected to go public in the next few months at a valuation of around $120 billion, in what would be the biggest offering by an American company.

Several other smaller companies are planning public offerings, including Zoom, a video conferencing company; PagerDuty, a software company; and Slack, an office communications company.

Pinterest’s filing on Monday will coincide with the beginning of the company’s so-called road show, during which it plans to pitch institutional investors before its final pricing and first day of trading. High demand from investors over the next several days could lead the company to raise the price of its shares.

Private investors have poured $1.5 billion into Pinterest. A market debut below $12 billion would spell a loss for some of them.
Pinterest  business  stock 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Did The U.S. Just Lose Its War With Huawei?
"There are two things I don’t believe in," Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, referring to Germany's standoff with the United States over Huawei's inclusion in her country's 5G rollout. "First, to discuss these very sensitive security questions publicly, and, second, to exclude a company simply because it’s from a certain country."

Europe now seems likely to settle on 'careful and considered' inclusion of Huawei instead of any blanket bans. Chancellor Merkel stressed this week that a joined-up EU response would be "desirable", and Italy and the U.K. are also backing away from Washington's prohibition on Huawei's 5G technology. If they fold, it is likely the broader European Union will follow suit. And if those key European allies can't be carried, what chance Asia-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East?

There comes a tipping point in any battle, and with this one, we may be just about there. Even as the head of the U.S. European Command told the Armed Services Committee "we’re concerned about [Germany's] telecommunications’ backbone being compromised... If [Huawei] is inside of their defense communications, then we’re not going to communicate with them," the industry was delivering a very different message.

"We’ve not seen any evidence of backdoors into the network,” said Vodafone’s most senior lawyer in the U.K. “If the Americans have evidence, please put it out on the table.”

What Vodafone and other industry leaders have to say carries serious weight. Governments will be swayed by the network operators, and so the telecoms industry will likely decide Huawei's fate. They control investments and 5G rollout schedules. They also have the technical expertise and talk glowingly about the Chinese manufacturer's innovation. The company filed more patents than anyone else last year: “An all-time record by anyone,” the WIPO director general told reporters.
usa  china  technology  telecommunications  hardware  business  economics  privacy  Huawei  germany  UnitedKingdom  EuropeanUnion  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Tesla shares sink as car deliveries drop
Tesla's share price closed down 8.2% after the electric carmaker warned on profits following a 31% drop in vehicle deliveries during the first quarter.

The firm blamed problems with shipments to Europe and China, where it began selling its Model 3 car for the first time.

Total deliveries hit 63,000 in the three months to March, below analysts' forecasts which had already been cut.

Tesla now expects quarterly profits to be "negatively impacted".

The company encountered problems shipping the Model 3 to China in March after customs authorities suspended clearance because of misprinted labels on certain cars.

Tesla also saw shipments disrupted in Europe following strike action at the port of Zeebrugge, where its vehicles are delivered before being distributed to a number of countries in the EU.
tesla  business  automotive 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Ethiopian Airlines crash: Boeing reduces 737 production
Boeing is temporarily cutting production of its best-selling 737 airliner in the continuing fall-out from crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Production will drop from 52 planes a month to 42 from mid-April, Boeing has said in a statement.

The decision is a response to a halt in deliveries of the 737 Max - the model involved in the two accidents.

The plane is currently grounded as preliminary findings suggest its anti-stall system was at fault.

An Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crashed only minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa in March, killing all 157 people on board.

The same type flown by the Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed into the sea only five months earlier, shortly after taking off from Jakarta. That accident claimed the lives of 189 people.
boeing  business  boeing737  airline  safety  airplane  regulation  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
The Auto Industry Is Overdue a Bout of Mega-Mergers
One underappreciated reason is that the car industry has become dangerously competitive.

Thanks to the decline of Detroit’s giants, the rise of China’s state-owned joint-venture partners, and the burgeoning success of mid-size car companies, the market share of the top four automotive companies has dropped precipitously over the past two decades. At the turn of the century, those firms accounted for more than two-thirds of industry revenue (levels over 50 percent are typically considered oligopolistic). In 2017, that had fallen to little more than one-third.
economics  automotive  business  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
One Trump Victory: Companies Rethink China
Whatever deal Washington and Beijing reach over the trade war, President Trump has already scored a big victory: Companies are rethinking their reliance on China.

The two sides are nearing an agreement, with Mr. Trump saying on Thursday that an “epic” trade pact could be weeks away and that he may soon meet with President Xi Jinping, China’s top leader. But already, spurred by tariffs and trade tensions, global companies are beginning to shift their supply chains away from China, just as some Trump administration officials had wanted.

The move, known as decoupling, is a major goal of those who believe the world has grown far too dependent on China as a manufacturing giant. As Beijing builds up its military and extends its geopolitical influence, some officials fear that America’s dependence on Chinese factories makes it strategically vulnerable.

Now companies in a number of industries are reducing their exposure to China. GoPro, the mobile camera maker, and Universal Electronics, which makes sensors and remote controls, are shifting some work to Mexico. Hasbro is moving its toy making to the United States, Mexico, Vietnam and India. Aten International, a Taiwanese computer equipment company, brought work back to Taiwan. Danfoss, a Danish conglomerate, is changing the production of heating and hydraulic equipment to the United States.

Mr. Trump’s victory in this department is not unalloyed. Despite his promises to bring jobs back to the United States, most of the work is shifting to other countries with lower costs. Reshaping global supply chains also takes time, and China will remain a vital manufacturing hub for decades to come.

Still, chief executives say the trade war has prompted a fundamental reassessment of China as the dominant place to make things. Even Chinese companies are expanding overseas, although they still have most of their production in China.

“China was the factory of the world,” said Song Zhiping, the Communist Party chief at the China National Building Materials Group, a state-owned giant. “Things are changing. That’s why Chinese companies are going out of China.”
DonaldTrump  economics  trade  diplomacy  business  tariff  china  usa 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Turns out Amazon buying Eero wasn’t the startup success story we thought
When Amazon bought mesh Wi-Fi router company Eero, our first reactions were of exhaustion, consternation and concern: why couldn’t a tiny company with an excellent privacy-minded product be left to its own devices, instead of getting snapped up by the big data giant from Seattle?

Now, we know why. Mashable reports that Amazon paid just $97 million for Eero, far less money than the $148 million it reportedly raised as a startup. That’s something you don’t do unless your business is in trouble, and it means Amazon may have actually saved Eero from a different fate.

The Verge can confirm that $97 million number, by the way, as well as many of the others in Mashable’s story — we’ve seen similar documents, and we believe they’re the real deal. Eero declined to comment.

There are many potential side effects to the fact that Amazon purchased Eero in a fire sale rather than at a profit, and Mashable’s report details some of them, like how Eero’s executives are making out like bandits with multi-million dollar golden parachutes, while rank-and-file employees are now sitting on worthless stock options — or worse, shares they purchased for $3 that are now worth $0.03 each. It’s a cautionary tale about how stock options work.

But — and we’re very deep in speculation territory now — I’m curious if it also means that we should expect less from Eero, under Amazon, than we might have if it were more of a success story for the startup. If Amazon was able to pay so little for Eero, it may well have smaller ambitions for the company, and it would be that much easier to justify killing it off as a failed experiment if anything goes wrong.
amazon.com  business  technology  hardware  software  eero  stock  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Jeff Bezos: World's richest man agrees $35bn divorce
The world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie have agreed a record-breaking divorce settlement worth at least $35bn (£27bn).

Ms Bezos will retain a 4% stake in online retail giant Amazon which her husband of 25 years founded.

She will also give up her interests in the Washington Post newspaper and Mr Bezos' space travel firm Blue Origin.

The deal dwarfs a previous $3.8bn record set by art dealer Alec Wildenstein and his wife Jocelyn.

Ms Bezos made the announcement in a tweet - her first and only one since joining the microblogging website this month - stating that she was "grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage to Jeff with support from each other".
divorce  amazon.com  business  legal  JeffBezos 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Trump to have dinner at his for-profit golf course near L.A. during West Coast trip
President Trump plans to have dinner at his for-profit golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Friday night, with his son Eric Trump, the city council and dozens of friends and supporters, according to one person who was told about the gathering.

Trump is in the middle of a West Coast trip, which will also include stops at the U.S.-Mexico border and fundraisers in Beverly Hills. His official White House schedule has a blank spot from about 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It appears Trump will take that time to make a side trip to his golf club.

Trump’s dinner — which would be his first visit to the California course as president — comes at a pivotal moment for that club, which is one of the largest new development opportunities for the company since Trump took office and said he handed control of the company to his sons, Eric and Don Jr.

Once, Trump envisioned the seaside course as a rival to Pebble Beach. But it has suffered from blue-state backlash since Trump entered politics, with charity tournaments departing and golf-revenue declining.

Now, the Trump Organization faces a critical choice: how, and when, to develop 23 newly-approved home lots on the course’s west side.

But now that he is president, the Trump Organization says Trump is no longer involved in that sort of decision.

“Everything he does is for the good of the American people — he has zero involvement in the Trump Organization,” Eric Trump told Forbes Magazine last year.

Invitees to Friday’s dinner include members of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private event. Guests were told they could order off the menu, and they would pay their own bills. The dinner is not a political fundraiser; the person said it appeared Trump simply “wanted dinner companions.”
DonaldTrump  legal  ethics  business  government  transparency 
april 2019 by jtyost2
A former Netflix executive says she was fired because she got pregnant. Now she’s suing.
A former Netflix executive says she was fired because her boss was angry that she was pregnant and planning to take maternity leave.

Tania Zarak, who helped develop international original content for the online streaming service, is suing the company for pregnancy discrimination and retaliation, according to the lawsuit she filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

In her complaint, the 38-year-old filmmaker said she was shunned at work and secretly removed from projects after she told her boss, Francisco Ramos, in early November that she was pregnant.

Pregnancy discrimination is a form of gender discrimination that is illegal under federal law and California state law. As of press time, Netflix had not responded to Vox’s request for comment.

Zarak was helping produce several Spanish-language series, including a remake of a Mexican telenovela, and a series about a legendary female Mexican American singer. Though not named in the complaint, the latter is likely the highly anticipated Selena series that Netflix announced it was producing in December.

Zarak said she was named as one of the executives managing the Selena series, but that after she announced her pregnancy, Ramos stopped adding her to emails about the show and didn’t include her in any meetings. When she asked him what was going on, she says, he said he didn’t know she was on the show.

She also says Ramos made repeated demeaning comments about her appearance after the pregnancy announcement, such as “you don’t look happy” or “you look frustrated,” which she believed were intended to create an emotionally abusive and negative atmosphere.

After a month of this behavior, Zarak went to human resources and told them what was happening. She complained that Ramos was ignoring her and not giving her enough work because she was pregnant. She asked to change departments, but the manager told her to speak to Ramos about it.
Legal  discrimination  Netflix  ethics  business  gender  pregnancy  lawsuit  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Google “pilot program” puts a row of ads on the Android TV home screen
Buying a product knowing it has ads in it is one thing, but users on Reddit and elsewhere are understandably angry about ads suddenly being patched into their devices—especially in cases when these devices are multi-thousand-dollar 4K Sony televisions. There is an option to disable the ads if you dig into the settings but users are reporting the ads aren't staying disabled. For now, uninstalling updates for the "Android TV Core Services" app is the best way to remove the ads.

Remember, for now this is a "pilot program." So please share your valuable feedback with Google in the comments.
Advertising  google  privacy  television  GoogleAndroid  business  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Trump's tax cuts added $3.7 billion to JPMorgan's profits
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon hailed President Donald Trump's tax cuts in the bank's annual investor letter on Thursday, saying the law gave a boost to earnings to the tune of $3.7 billion.

The letter outlined the bank's record earnings performance "even without the impact of tax reform."

JPMorgan made a record profit in 2018, posting net income of $32.5 billion and an astonishing $111.5 billion in sales, "reflecting strong underlying performance across our businesses."

Dimon added: "All things being equal (which they are not), the new lower tax rates added $3.7 billion to net income."

"The new tax code establishes a business tax rate that will make the United States competitive around the world and frees US companies to bring back profits earned overseas," Dimon wrote in the letter. "The cumulative effect of capital retained and reinvested over many years in the United States will help cultivate strong businesses and ultimately create jobs and increase wages."

The bank's fourth quarter was part of an unconventional earnings cycle for the industry, mostly because the late-arriving tax law that has caused many banks to book losses on deferred tax assets that declined in value
JPMorganChase  business  banks  politics  economics  taxes  USA  government  2018  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
The absurdly high cost of insulin, explained
When inventor Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1923, he refused to put his name on the patent. He felt it was unethical for a doctor to profit from a discovery that would save lives. Banting’s co-inventors, James Collip and Charles Best, sold the insulin patent to the University of Toronto for a mere $1. They wanted everyone who needed their medication to be able to afford it.

Today, Banting and colleagues would be spinning in their graves: Their drug, which many of the 30 million Americans with diabetes rely on, has become the poster child for pharmaceutical price gouging.

The cost of the four most popular types of insulin has tripled over the past decade, and the out-of-pocket prescription costs patients now face have doubled. By 2016, the average price of insulin rose to $450 per month — and costs continue to rise, so much so that as many as one in four people with diabetes are now skimping on or skipping lifesaving doses.

Members of Congress have been pressuring drug companies and pharmacy benefit managers to bring insulin costs under control. And on Wednesday, one health care company showed that it’s attempting to respond to the problem.

The insurance behemoth Cigna, and its pharmacy benefit arm Express Scripts, announced a new program that’ll cap the 30-day cost of insulin at $25. That’s a 40 percent reduction from the $41.50-per-month fee people with Express Scripts benefits were paying in 2018.
drugs  health  healthcare  insurance  insulin  patent  economics  business  usa  government  monopoly  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Federal authorities are reviewing whether President Donald Trump's private Mar-a-Lago resort could be vulnerable to foreign spying, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

Disclosure of that inquiry follows the arrest on Saturday of a Chinese national, who arrived at the Palm Beach, Florida retreat the president has referred to as his Winter White House with two passports, four cellphones and a thumb drive that investigators said was infected with malware.

The criminal investigation involving the woman, Yujing Zhang, was continuing Wednesday. Federal authorities led by the FBI also launched an examination of potential intelligence vulnerabilities at Mar-a-Lago out of "an abundance of caution," as it was unclear what threat, if any, Zhang represented, said the person familiar with the probe, who was not authorized to comment publicly.
legal  government  security  SecretService  DonaldTrump  MarALago  business  fbi  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
If you just message “hi” and nothing else I assume I’m getting fired
It has at least partly to do with the fact that conversations online never really end or begin, so it’s immediately alarming that she is not just saying the thing she ostensibly intends to tell or ask me. It’s botlike, like she wants to be sure first that I am there, the “shut the door and have a seat” of messages, before she launches into some exchange that she knows I won’t like.

“Hi” implies “I need to have a full conversation with you that you’re going to be present for,” which is never good. Once I respond, if she responds to my response fast enough, I can’t theoretically pretend to not have seen what she just said, because I was literally physically JUST there, responding; no one responds and then immediately logs off. Once I respond, she has me, but I don’t know what for. It’s like she has laid a trap that is very obviously a trap that I have to now just walk into knowing I’m about to get lit up for something. Except that I don’t, really, because all she said was “hi!”
Culture  communication  internet  slack  business  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
AT&T is being criticized for upgrading its phones to ‘fake’ 5G. Now Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are piling on.
T-Mobile never wastes an opportunity to roast the competition.

So it was only a matter of time before the wireless carrier tweaked AT&T over its decision to advertise its mobile data network as “5G E” on certain smartphones, replacing the old “LTE” symbol that most users are familiar with. The change is active in hundreds of markets nationwide and applies to AT&T customers using the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, the LG V30 and the LG V40.

On Monday, T-Mobile tweeted a video showing a disembodied thumb applying a “9G” sticky note to one of its smartphones. The sticker covered up the label showing that the device was in fact connected to T-Mobile’s LTE network.

“Didn’t realize it was this easy, brb updating,” the tweet said.

T-Mobile chief executive John Legere joined in the ribbing Monday: “Does @ATT really think that customers would fall for their mountain of ‘5G E’ BS?!” Legere tweeted. “Their ‘5G E’ is just LTE-A.”

Verizon piled on Tuesday as well, publishing an open letter in major newspapers claiming that “when we say ‘5G,’ we mean 5G.”

"People need a clear, consistent and simple understanding of 5G so they are able to compare services, plans and products, without having to maneuver through marketing doublespeak or technical specifications,” Verizon said.

And Sprint’s chief technology officer, John Saw, said Tuesday in a statement that “AT&T is blatantly misleading consumers — 5G E is not real 5G."

The jabs from other carriers arguing that AT&T’s “5G E” isn’t true 5G is the latest salvo in a growing marketing war over next-generation mobile networks. And the result is a whole lot of confused consumers.
marketing  advertising  business  mobile  att  sprint  verizon  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Shorts line up for a Lyft ride despite surge pricing
What a difference a week makes. Lyft Inc has gone from IPO darling to short sellers’ best friend.

Investors have ramped up bets against Lyft, which went public in an IPO priced on Thursday at the top of its already-elevated target range, even as borrowing fees became the most expensive in the market for shares in the ride-hailing service.

More than 38 percent of Lyft’s 32.5 million publicly listed shares, valued at $856 million, were sold short by the end of Tuesday’s session, according to data from S3 Partners. S3 did not disclose Wednesday’s levels. Lyft raised $2.34 billion in its IPO.

In comparison, short-selling in Snap Inc, which was famously popular among shorts after its 2017 market debut, did not exceed 20 percent of its float until 10 weeks after its initial public offering.

After rising as much as 23% on Friday in its first trading day, Lyft finished up 8.7 percent. Ahead of the offering, Lyft, which has warned it may never be profitable, had faced criticism for its dual-class share structure and its strategy for autonomous driving. Investor worries also include new laws aimed at increasing driver pay.

On Monday, Lyft’s second trading day, the stock opened lower and quickly lost ground, ending down 11.9 percent and below its $72 per share IPO price.

“The shorting started on Friday, but once the stock dropped 10% in the first 15 minutes of trading on Monday, it became a momentum and technical short because it was such a quick and savage move,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, head of predictive analytics at S3.

Investors who sell securities short borrow shares and then sell them, in a bet that the stock price will fall, allowing them to buy the shares back at a lower price, return them to the lender and pocket the difference.

Tuesday was the first day short sellers could borrow shares in Lyft, the same day the company received its first “sell” rating from Wall Street.

By Tuesday’s close, the cost of borrowing Lyft stock had risen to 101.4 percent of the amount borrowed on an annualized basis, according to S3.
lyft  business  stock  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Nice People Matter? NPM may stand for Not Politely Managed – job cuts leave staff sore
According to our source, NPM needs to show revenue growth to attract further funding, but that's been difficult with organization accounts that cost just $7 per month and developer accounts that are free. The organization needs an enterprise product but it's more than a year late delivering NPM Enterprise.

Silverio worries about how the remade NPM will handle its stewardship of a critical piece of JavaScript infrastructure.

"The actual concern I have is that the JavaScript package manager and language commons are in the hands of a VC-funded company, which may or may not be having financial trouble," she said. "If they're not okay, this is something the entire JavaScript language community needs to pay attention to now."

Musing about the worst possible outcome, she said, "You could imagine this new CEO selling the company to Oracle."

If NPM had chosen to speak with us, there would no doubt be individuals who disagree with that assessment and insist they too care about the JavaScript community. The problem is that when companies make statements like "Nice People Matter" or, as Google did, "Don't be evil," and their behavior doesn't follow, it becomes hard to take such claims at face value. ®
business  venturecapital  npm  javascript  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
HR experts: We’d nip Biden’s behavior in the bud
Political campaigns don’t take place in a traditional office — as Lucy Flores explained in her personal essay describing an encounter with Biden at a 2014 Nevada rally, where she says he sniffed her hair. There is no HR department to contact for someone in a situation like the one Flores described.

But what if there was?

I spoke with four human resources experts and consultants and asked how behavior like Biden’s — both as described by these women and as exhibited in many public events — would be treated in a traditional workplace. Experts say that while the type of behavior Biden has engaged in would probably not add up to a lawsuit for a company, it’s the type of thing you want to head off as soon as you see it. Especially as the consensus about what sorts of actions corporations are supposed to police among employees evolves.

“Even if it’s not illegal, if it makes someone uncomfortable, it’s going to affect their ability to do their job, and ultimately, that’s what HR cares about,” Rita Risser Chai, a former Silicon Valley attorney with expertise in sexual harassment and workplace training.
legal  ethics  business  JoeBiden  feminism  gender  sexism  discrimination 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Trump’s company made late tax payments on L.A. golf course properties, incurring fines
The Trump Organization is primarily a real estate company, and it is standard practice in that industry to promptly pay property taxes. Until last year, the Trump Organization had a near-perfect record of paying its hundreds of property-tax bills on time.

But last year, the company began to miss some deadlines it had met before.
DonaldTrump  TrumpOrganization  taxes  legal  business 
april 2019 by jtyost2
For Many British Businesses, Brexit Has Already Happened
In the political realm, no one knows how Brexit’s long-running theater of the absurd will end. But for much of the business world, Britain’s departure from the European Union has effectively happened.

Nearly three years of uncertainty since the June 2016 referendum has forced companies to plan for the worst — the prospect that Britain could crash out of the bloc without a deal governing future relations. The twisting road to Brexit has already slowed economic growth, discouraged investment, and damaged the reputation of the nation as a haven for commerce.

Global banks and other financial services companies are steadily shifting thousands of jobs and more than $1 trillion in assets to European cities to ensure that they are able to serve customers across the English Channel regardless of the rules that national regulators impose after Brexit.

Japanese automakers have scrapped plans to expand in Britain, in part because Brexit undermines the country’s virtues as a hub for European trade.

Whatever comes next — a deal with Europe, an unruly exit, or another vote that could cancel the proceedings, making Brexit the mother of all mulligans — the jobs and the money are unlikely to return.

“Multinational companies came here with a clear understanding that Britain would offer a stable place to do business in exchange for access to the European Union,” said Peter Dixon, a global financial economist at Commerzbank AG in London. “The Brits have reneged on that contract. It’s destroyed, if you like, the sense that Britain is such a great place to do business. It’s a credibility hit. It’s a deep wound.”

Since the 1980s, Japanese automakers have invested in factories in Britain to exploit the country’s duty-free access to Europe. Before the 2016 vote, Nissan warned that leaving the European Union could force the company to reassess its plans for its plant in Sunderland, in the north of England.

Months after the vote, Prime Minister Theresa May offered Nissan a mysterious cocktail of promises that won Nissan’s confidence. But in February, the company said it would not build a new sport utility vehicle in Sunderland. At about the same time, Honda said it was closing a factory in southwest England, in the town of Swindon, eliminating 3,500 jobs.

Honda’s decision was motivated partly by a trade agreement that Japan struck last year with the European Union. The deal eliminates the need for a factory in Britain, because Honda can now ship cars made in Japan directly into Europe without incurring duties.
brexit  government  economics  business  EuropeanUnion 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Saudi Aramco Is World’s Most Profitable Company, Beating Apple by Far
The earnings of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s giant oil company, have long been a matter of guesswork because they were kept secret. On Monday, Moody’s Investors Service, the credit rating agency, lifted the veil, revealing that the company made $111.1 billion last year, meaning it was probably by far the world’s most profitable company.

It handily beats out Apple ($59.5 billion in net income in 2018) and Alphabet, the parent company of Google ($30.7 billion), and runs laps around other oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell ($23.9 billion) and Exxon Mobil ($20.8 billion).

Moody’s attributed Aramco’s profitability in part to economies of scale stemming from enormous production volumes extracted from oil and gas assets of unmatched size. Aramco has some of the world’s largest oil fields, leading to very low costs.

“Aramco’s scale of production in combination with its vast hydrocarbon resources is a very strong competitive advantage,” Moody’s analysts wrote.

Aramco produced 13.6 million barrels per day in 2018 on average, more than three times the 3.8 million barrels per day reported by Exxon Mobil, according to the report. Overall, its revenue was about $360 billion.
saudiarabia  oil  business  economics  SaudiAramco  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Behold the Beefless ‘Impossible Whopper’
Burger King is introducing a Whopper made with a vegetarian patty from the start-up Impossible Foods. The deal is a big step toward the mainstream for start-ups…
nutrition  environment  climatechange  business  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Sears tells retirees to pay for their own life insurance
In February, the roughly 40,000 people still employed at Sears learned they continue to have jobs, at least for awhile, after a bankruptcy judge approved Eddie Lampert's bid to buy what remains of the retailer out of bankruptcy. But this month, an undisclosed number of Sears' 90,000 retirees learned the retailer had ended their life insurance benefits.

The unwelcome news came in a letter notifying eligible retirees that their life insurance benefit had been canceled March 15, said Ron Olbrysh, who chairs the National Association of Retired Sears Employees, or NARSE. Olbrysh said he received the notice March 20. It offered retirees the option to convert into a whole life policy all or a portion of the prior amount of their group coverage that Sears was paying for (not to exceed $10,000).
sears  business  ethics  insurance  from instapaper
april 2019 by jtyost2
Lyft, Uber, Pinterest: Are internet unicorns really worth billions?
Lyft, Uber, Pinterest: Are internet unicorns really worth billions? At the end of the day h…
lyft  business  uber 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Saudi Arabia 'hacked Amazon boss's phone', says investigator
An investigator for Amazon boss Jeff Bezos says that Saudi Arabia hacked Mr Bezos's phone and accessed his data.

Gavin de Becker was hired by Mr Bezos to find out how his private messages had been leaked to the National Enquirer tabloid.

Mr de Becker linked the hack to the Washington Post's coverage of the murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia has not yet commented on the allegation.

Mr Bezos owns the Washington Post.

Mr de Becker said he had handed his findings over to US federal officials.

"Our investigators and several experts concluded with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos' phone, and gained private information," he wrote on the Daily Beast website.
saudiarabia  WashingtonPost  jeffbezos  legal  ethics  crime  business  privacy 
april 2019 by jtyost2
Opinion | The Incredible Shrinking Trump Boom
As Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, a casual glance at the data seems to suggest that American companies earn a lot of their profits at their overseas subsidiaries. But a closer look shows that the bulk of these reported profits are in a handful of small countries with low or zero tax rates, like Bermuda, Luxembourg and Ireland. The companies obviously aren’t earning huge profits in these tiny economies; they’re just using accounting gimmicks to assign profits earned elsewhere to subsidiaries that may have a few factories, but sometimes consist of little more than a small office, or even just a post-office box.

These basically phony profits then accumulate on the books of the overseas subsidiaries, rather than the home company. But this doesn’t affect their ability to invest in America: if Apple wants to spend a billion dollars here, it can always borrow the money using the assets of its Irish subsidiary as collateral. In other words, U.S. taxes weren’t having any significant effect in deterring real investment in the U.S. economy.

When Trump cut the tax rate, some companies “brought money home.” But for the most part this had no economic significance. Here’s how it works: Apple Ireland transfers some of its assets to Apple U.S.A. Officially, Apple Ireland has reduced its investment spending, while paying a dividend to U.S. investors. In reality, Apple as an entity has the same total profits and the same total assets it did before; it hasn’t devoted a single additional dollar to purchases of equipment, R&D, or anything else for its U.S. operations.

Not surprisingly, then, the investment boom Trump economists promised has never materialized. Companies didn’t use their tax breaks to invest more; mainly they used them to buy back their own stock. This in turn, put more money in the hands of investors, which gave the economy a temporary boost – although for 2018 as a whole, one of the biggest drivers of faster growth was, believe it or not, higher government spending.

So the theory supposedly behind the Trump tax cut has turned out to be a complete bust. Corporate accountants got to have some fun exploring new frontiers in tax avoidance; the rest of us just ended up saddled with an extra $2 trillion or so in debt.

Now, I’m not deeply worried about that debt. Given low borrowing costs, the costs and risks of federal debt are far less than the usual suspects – again, the same people who cheered on the Trump tax cut – have claimed. But think of all the other things we could have done with $2 trillion – all the infrastructure we could have built and repaired, all the people who could have been given essential health care.

What a colossal, corrupt waste.
economics  business  economy  statistics  DonaldTrump  congress  budget  taxes 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump’s threats to close the US-Mexico border, explained
Shutting down ports of entry would be an economic disaster. It would also disrupt the lives of border communities that rely on the flow of people between the US and Mexico — including the major cities of San Diego (and Tijuana) and El Paso (and Ciudad Juarez).

Approximately $1.5 billion worth of commerce happens along the US-Mexico border every day. Nearly half a million people cross the border legally every day through Texas ports alone.

Even reductions in port capacity or temporary shutdowns tend to lead to panic among the business community and local residents. El Paso is currently concerned that already-long waits at the ports could get longer as agents are reassigned to care for unauthorized migrants. When the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego shut down for a few hours in November, as agents responded with force (including tear gas) to an organized march of asylum-seekers, the temporary closure cost about $5.3 million in lost business revenue.

Of course, making it harder for people to cross legally generally only encourages people to cross illegally — something that’s already been seen as the US has limited the number of asylum-seekers it allows to present themselves at ports.

Trump’s Friday tweets actually tacitly acknowledge that drug smuggling is more likely to happen at ports than between them — something he generally explicitly lies about. But drug smugglers are less likely than, say, banana exporters to just throw up their hands if a port is shut down, rather than finding other illegal ways to get drugs into the US.

Every time Trump tweets something like this, border-state legislators and business associations react with alarm. Generally, DHS officials stress that they understand the importance of keeping the ports open. But Trump by all appearances does not.

It’s not that “shutting down the border” is the administration’s only proposed solution — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote a letter to Congress on Thursday asking for changes to the law regarding family detention and child deportation, and predicting that they would need more funding. But it’s the idea Trump himself can’t let go of. And now, for the first time — if for completely different reasons — there is an actual prospect that the administration will do something that looks vaguely similar to Trump’s threats.
immigration  usa  mexico  trade  business  DonaldTrump  stupid  legal  government  diplomacy 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Years of Mark Zuckerberg's old Facebook posts have vanished. The company says it 'mistakenly deleted' them.
Old Facebook posts by Mark Zuckerberg have disappeared — obscuring details about core moments in Facebook's history.

On multiple occassions, years-old public posts made by the 34-year-old billionaire chief executive that were previously public and reported on by news outlets at the time have since vanished, Business Insider has found. That includes all of the posts he made during 2007 and 2008.

Reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said the posts were "mistakenly deleted" due to "technical errors."

"A few years ago some of Mark's posts were mistakenly deleted due to technical errors. The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed to be successful so we didn't do it," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"We agree people should be able to find information about past announcements and major company news, which is why for years we've shared and archived this information publicly — first on our blog and in recent years on our Newsroom."

These disappearances, along with other changes Facebook has made to how it saves its archive of announcements and blog posts, make it much harder to parse the social network's historical record. This makes it far more difficult to hold the company, and Zuckerberg himself, accountable to past statements — particularly during a period of intense scrutiny of the company in the wake of a string of scandals.

The very nature of the issue means it is extremely challenging to make a full accounting of what exactly what has gone missing over the years. The spokesperson said they didn't know how many posts in total were deleted.
facebook  business  ethics  transparency  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Facebook’s Head of Product Leaves After Privacy Pivot
It seemed, for years, that Cox and Zuckerberg saw eye to eye on nearly everything. But there is a suggestion in Cox’s statement that, perhaps, a major recent decision drove them apart, and an employee at the company in a position to know confirmed, in a conversation with WIRED, that that is indeed a major reason why Cox is leaving. After all, many of the projects he worked on—countering filter bubbles, fake news, and hate speech—become much harder when all the data is encrypted. Cox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg published a manifesto about privacy that offered up a new direction for the company, one based on encrypted messaging and the interoperability of all of the messaging platforms that Cox oversees. And in Cox’s statement there is a hint that that might have inspired today’s announcement. “As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network. It's a product vision attuned to the subject matter of today: a modern communications platform that balances expression, safety, security, and privacy. This will be a big project, and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through.”

That certainly sounds like Cox is saying he isn’t entirely excited to see this project through.

Zuckerberg, too, may have hinted at this in an interview with WIRED last week. When asked about shifting focus at a company as big as Facebook, Zuckerberg responded, “There's a lot of work that goes into getting the teams aligned and getting the right leaders in place who believe in these priorities, and being able to execute on that.”
facebook  privacy  business  socialmedia  socialnetworking  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Lyft Prices I.P.O. at $72 a Share, Marking Arrival of Gig Economy to Wall Street
Lyft was not the first ride-hailing company. But it is poised to become the first publicly traded one, and investors’ appetite for its shares proved enormous.

The company priced its shares at $72 each on Thursday, after raising its price range amid significant demand from prospective shareholders, according to two people familiar with the offering. That puts Lyft’s value at $24.3 billion as it prepares to begin trading on the Nasdaq stock market on Friday, under the ticker symbol “LYFT.”
lyft  business  ipo  stock 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Grindr Is Owned by a Chinese Firm, and the U.S. Is Trying to Force It to Sell
The Trump Administration is expanding its efforts to block Chinese acquisitions in the United States, moving to force a Chinese firm that owns Grindr, the gay dating site, to relinquish control of the app over concerns that Beijing could use personal information to blackmail or influence American officials, according to people familiar with the situation.

The action, which is being driven by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, is unusual given that the panel typically investigates mergers that could result in control of an American business by a foreign individual or company, judging whether deals could threaten national security. This appears to be the first case in which the United States has asserted that foreign control of a social media app could have national security implications.

The administration has not announced the move, which will require that Grindr be sold, or explained it. But officials familiar with the case, which was first reported by Reuters, say the concern focused on the potential for the blackmail of American officials or contractors, if China threatened to disclose their sexual orientation, or track their movements or dating habits.

Three years ago, a Chinese firm that owns both gaming and credit services businesses, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. Ltd., a public company listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, bought a 60 percent stake in Grindr, which is based in West Hollywood, Calif., for $93 million. Early last year it bought the remaining shares for a little over $150 million.

While there were news reports about both transactions, the United States did not take action to block the acquisitions. Since then, the United States’ definition of national security threats has expanded, in part over concerns by the Trump administration and lawmakers about China’s ability to gain access to critical American technology.

Congress handed more power to the panel, known as Cfius, last year, allowing it to examine transactions that fell short of majority control of a company and involved just minority stakes. The expansion was an effort to counter Chinese minority investments in Silicon Valley companies that gave investors an early look at emerging technologies.

The Kunlun purchases had never been submitted to Cfius, giving the government the leverage to go back in after the sale to try to force a divestment. Calls to Kunlun’s office number were not answered, and emails seeking comment were not returned.

Grindr has already faced questions about its control and use of personal data. The company faced a huge backlash for sharing users’ H.I.V. status, sexual tastes and other intimate personal details with outside software vendors. After the data sharing was made public by European researchers in 2018, the company said it would stop sharing H.I.V. data with outside companies.

Last year marked the first time Cfius appeared to be concerned about the purchase of companies that contained sensitive data. The government killed a proposed merger last year between MoneyGram, the money transfer firm, and Ant Financial, a payments company related to the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Grindr  business  socialmedia  socialnetwork  lgbqt  culture  privacy  china  usa  economics  Cfius 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Sackler billions targeted in New York fraud lawsuit
The wealthy Sackler family is facing new charges it fraudulently transferred money from Purdue Pharma, the firm it owns that makes opioid painkillers.

In a lawsuit, New York's Attorney General said she will recover "billions of dollars" that were "fraudulently conveyed" from the firm to the dynasty.

Purdue is facing thousands of lawsuits over how it marketed OxyContin, but only a handful have named the Sacklers

Purdue and the Sacklers vigorously deny the allegations, a spokesman said.

A spokesperson for the Sackler family said: "Expanding this baseless lawsuit to include former directors of Purdue Pharma is a misguided attempt to place blame where it does not belong for a complex public health crisis.

The family "strongly" denies the allegations and will "vigorously defend against them".

The lawsuit claims that money was transferred from Purdue Pharma to private or offshore accounts that are held by members of the Sacklers in order to protect the funds from litigation.
legal  lawsuit  crime  ethics  fraud  business  PurduePharma  opiod 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Extreme loneliness or the perfect balance? How to work from home and stay healthy
But after two years of working from home, Blanda, an editorial director for a tech company based in Philadelphia, knows only too well the many pitfalls of this way of life, with the greatest being isolation.

“You’ll need a lot of quiet self-confidence,” he recently wrote on Twitter. “You won’t get the positive reinforcement you’d normally rely on from body language and the ‘vibe’ from being in an office.”

Beyond the lack of interaction with colleagues – there are no ideas by osmosis, no overhearing others talking – there is also the lack of interaction with the wider world. “The main way most of us are connected to our local, geographical communities is through work,” Blanda says. “When you remove that – when you’re not commuting, you don’t bump shoulders, you don’t meet the guy who happens to have a cousin on your block and now you’re friends – you have to work harder to feel connected.”
employment  work  RemoteWork  business  culture 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump Ally Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University Has Pentagon Contracts
Just months after President Donald Trump took office, the federal government signed a contract to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jet fuel from a university run by one of the president’s top political supporters.

The Pentagon’s energy procurement arm inked the contract, worth nearly $900,000, with a company called Freedom Aviation on May 9, 2017, and has purchased more than $400,000 in turbine fuel from the company since then. Freedom Aviation is wholly owned by Liberty University, a conservative school in Lynchburg, Virginia, led by high-profile Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr.
business  ethics  corruption  military  DeptOfDefense  DonaldTrump  JerryFalwellJr 
march 2019 by jtyost2
You want AIs with that? McDonald's buys into machine learning
McDonald's is buying an artificial intelligence start-up to help serve up data-driven meal choices.

The technology developed by Israeli start-up Dynamic Yield can automatically change menus depending on the weather, time of day and traffic.

McDonald's is reported to be paying $300m (£227m) for the tech firm.

Number-plate recognition would also allow it to offer customers at drive-throughs their usual food order, McDonald's told Wired.

Dynamic Yield's technology would allow AI to determine what products are promoted, for example automatically suggesting McFlurry ice cream on hot days, or telling customers which items are already proving popular at that particular restaurant that day.

Most McDonald's outlets in the US are drive-throughs which is where the restaurant chain is planning to roll out the technology first.
technology  software  mcdonalds  business  advertising  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Facebook charged with home discrimination through targeted ads
Facebook has been charged for allegedly allowing housing advertisers to discriminate against users based on race, sex and disability.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has charged the site for violating the Fair Housing Act.

"Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live," HUD secretary Ben Carson said in a statement.

Facebook said it was "disappointed" by the charges.

"We're surprised by HUD's decision, as we've been working with them to address their concerns and have taken significant steps to prevent ads discrimination," a Facebook spokesperson told the BBC in an email.
facebook  housing  government  regulation  discrimination  socialmedia  socialnetwork  advertising  business  deptofhousingandurbandevelopment  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
The Outline and the curse of media venture capital
Meanwhile, the decision to carry only customized advertising might have ultimately been the right one, but media industry insiders say it also locked The Outline into a very expensive model, since customized ads are time-consuming and labor-intensive. And while its clickthrough rate may have been higher than the industry average, it didn’t have enough clicks to justify the kinds of ad campaigns it wanted to attract.
business  advertising  media  journalism  TheOutline  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
‘Long-term security risks’ from Huawei
The Chinese company Huawei has been strongly criticised in a report by the body overseeing the security of its products in UK telecoms.

The report, issued by the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of GCHQ, says it can provide "only limited assurance that the long-term security risks can be managed in the Huawei equipment currently deployed in the UK".

The report reflects what are said to be deep frustrations at the failure of the company to address previously identified problems.

Huawei supplies telecoms for telecoms companies operating in the UK and this report comes ahead of a decision by the UK over whether to allow the company to build next generation 5G networks.
china  Huawei  business  security  telecommunications  UnitedKingdom  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
U.S. and China Got Into a Trade War and Mexico Won
Mexico's gain is evident across a diverse span of sectors. After the U.S. levied tariffs on metal ores and their byproducts, Mexico’s exports to America more than doubled, while China’s sank by a quarter. Tariffs on aluminum products helped wipe out almost $500 million in imports from China. Mexico saw a 20 percent increase in sales to the U.S.

The trade war also made the U.S. more reliant on produce from Mexico, which was already the biggest source of vegetables like cauliflower, carrots and onions. In one stark example, peeled garlic cloves from China sank by almost a quarter after receiving tariffs while Mexican exports rose 54 percent.

Even small businesses in Mexico benefited. After the U.S. put 10 percent tariffs on silk yarn, one of China’s iconic exports, Mexico’s shipments to the U.S. jumped from basically nothing, just $5,500 in 2017, to $1.6 million last year. China’s imports of knitted and crocheted fabrics fell by about $3 million, almost the exact amount Mexican imports rose.

Trump’s tariffs especially targeted the auto supply chain, which had already been expanding in Mexico and has continued to gain under Trump's policies. One example: U.S. imports of Mexican passenger vehicles with gasoline engines jumped 17 percent to $32.6 billion, while shipments from China, Germany and Canada all declined.

Even before Trump’s presidency, Mexico was becoming more competitive with China, in part due to rising Chinese labor rates and Mexico’s proximity to the U.S., especially important in the e-commerce era of quick shipping.

To be sure, a lot was happening last year other than the tariffs that could have played a part in boosting Mexican exports. Some companies may have upped orders to beat Trump’s threat to dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement; he instead signed a renegotiated deal in November. Fluctuations in the value of the dollar and Trump’s global steel tariffs might have also played a role.

The Mexico bump could be short-lived if the U.S. and China strike their own trade deal, reducing the impetus to move production to Mexico. Another headwind might be new leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has rattled investors’ confidence by canceling a $13 billion airport after it was already one third built and inspiring a more aggressive labor movement, including factory strikes.

But for now, paper-straw maker Fuling Global is all in. It will begin production in Monterrey by July and if all goes well, Fuling will shift more work to Mexico and possibly start selling to the local market and then to South America.
economics  trade  economy  usa  china  mexico  business  nafta  government  DonaldTrump  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
The Apple Card is a perfect example of Apple’s post-iPhone strategy
And while Apple Pay may be a bold vision of the future, it’ll likely be years before contactless digital payments become truly mainstream in the US. In the meantime, Apple wants to sell you the benign and the boring — a credit card, a cable package, a magazine subscription — in hopes it can make its software and services as intrinsic a part of everyday life as its smartphone. Changing industries from the ground up is no longer Apple’s playbook, especially as it plays catch-up to companies like Netflix and Spotify.

Apple’s strategy mirrors that of Amazon. The e-commerce giant started out selling genuinely new and best-in-class products like the Kindle and then the AI-powered Echo speaker. But Amazon has since used the consumer goodwill it garnered and the power it wields over its digital storefront to sell you everything from microwaves and wall clocks to white label clothing brands, home supplies, and AmazonBasics-branded AA batteries.
apple  software  hardware  creditcard  business  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump's pick of Moore for Fed sparks concern among bankers
Moore has been a fierce promoter of the president on television, channeling him by accusing central bank officials of committing “economic malpractice” by raising rates in December — a move that reportedly led Trump to consider firing Powell. | AP Photo

President Donald Trump’s choice of former campaign adviser Stephen Moore to serve on the Federal Reserve Board is stirring misgivings among some bankers, who worry that the conservative economist would erode the Fed’s political independence.

Moore hasn’t been formally nominated or even fully vetted by the White House yet, but Trump’s enthusiastic announcement that he would tap the Heritage Foundation economist for the central bank caught both Washington and New York off guard.

A half-dozen bank representatives interviewed on Tuesday privately said they aren’t planning to take a position on the nomination, but their reservations are likely to come up in conversations with Republican senators, which could complicate Moore's path to confirmation amid strong opposition from Democrats.

“Bankers are very strongly and institutionally committed to the Fed,” said Karen Petrou, managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics. “They disagree individually and sometimes collectively with what it does, but I don’t think there’s any substantive dispute from the smallest to the biggest banks of the need for an independent Fed.”

Moore has picked up support from a handful of Republican senators but most GOP members of the Banking Committee have not yet taken a position at this early stage, including Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), whose backing is crucial.
StephenMoore  business  federalreserve  DonaldTrump  politics  congress  senate  stupid 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Lawsuit says TGI Fridays potato skins contain no potato skins
It is acceptable to sell French fries that are not made in France, but a new lawsuit says it is not acceptable to sell potato skin snack chips that are not made from potato skins.

A New York City woman on Wednesday sued TGI Fridays, in a proposed class action claiming that the company, known for its restaurants, misleads consumers by selling “Potato Skins” snacks that contain potato flakes and potato starch, but no skins.

The lawsuit by Solange Troncoso said the Idaho Potato Commission and others inside and outside the industry have associated potato skins with healthy eating since they started appearing on restaurant menus a half-century ago.
legal  advertising  lawsuit  business  nutrition 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Why So Much Hate for the Instagram Model? - MEL Magazine
Both in terms of the nature of the labor and the contempt and anxiety it generates, the parallels with sex work are undeniable. “I see escorts on social media as releasing content akin to social media influencers,” Cleo Constantine, a 26-year-old sex worker based in Berlin, tells me. “Our accounts are usually deleted or shadowbanned so we rarely get the followers that influencers get, but we’re releasing nonstop content; being funny, sexy, witty and engaging.”

She explains that, like influencers, sex workers produce comedy, editorial content and original photography and engage in savvy audience growth and marketing; work that very few people dismiss as unserious when men do it. But because part of the “product” is sexiness, beauty or desirability — qualities women are expected to serve up effortlessly, and for free — the labor involved is invisible, so the suggestion it’s worth paying for becomes fodder for comedians like The Fat Jew. “In this social media space, men probably think of our labor as being akin to sorority girls washing cars in Daisy Dukes for a bit of cash,” she adds. “Technically work, but we’re having a blast while we’re doing it, so it’s not ‘real’ work.”

Like the sex worker, the Instagram model breaks a cardinal rule of womanhood: That you should be naturally beautiful and desirable, and that you certainly shouldn’t charge for it. Because men expect feminine allure to be authentic, effortless and for their sole benefit (it isn’t), the revelation that women contour cheekbones into existence, augment their lips and asses, flub their Instagram locations, meticulously workshop their captions for maximum engagement and expect to turn a buck from it all is seen as treacherous.
gender  feminism  culture  advertising  business  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Don’t solve the problem.
In other words, your role as a manager is not to solve problems. It’s to help others solve problems, themselves. Leadership is stewardship. It’s navigating your team through treacherous waters, around jagged rocks, to the desired destination, and making sure folks feel nourished and rested along the way. But you can’t be a good steward if you’re scampering around trying to paddle all the oars faster, yourself. To take the boat analogy one step further, a great manager is a coxswain, not a rower.

This confusion of roles leads to a highly undesired outcome: You prevent your team from learning how to solve the problem. A dangerous reliance develops that hinges on your expertise, your “final word.” Your team never gets to fuss, flail, and figure out how to crack a nut with their own hands. When you’re the one thinking through all the problems, you’re teaching your team members to not think for themselves.

You also inadvertently slow your team down. Every problem – especially the “hard ones” – are re-routed to you. So what happens if you’re out of the office that week? Or, what if your plate is full? Well, that problem will just have to wait. And wait it does. You become a bottleneck, the inhibitor of your team. You funnel your team into single mode of dependency that’s difficult to undo.

The best leaders know this, and are keen to avoid this pitfall – so they do something else. They become the team’s accelerator. They help team members think for themselves.

How? By asking questions. Wade of Zapier adopted this practice as a CEO, describing it as a “more Socratic way” to helping his team solve problems. Ultimately, it leads to better results.

Ask questions and a team member can come to the answer themselves. Ask questions and the problem they’re facing becomes more lucid, less daunting. Ask questions and your team member might even come up with a better answer than you would have.

To be a great manager, here are 16 questions you can start with instead of jumping in to solve the problem yourself:
management  business  leadership 
march 2019 by jtyost2
In Test of Boeing Jet, Pilots Had 40 Seconds to Fix Error
During flight simulations recreating the problems with the doomed Lion Air plane, pilots discovered that they had less than 40 seconds to override an automated system on Boeing’s new jets and avert disaster.

The pilots tested a crisis situation similar to what investigators suspect went wrong in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last fall. In the tests, a single sensor failed, triggering software designed to help prevent a stall.

Once that happened, the pilots had just moments to disengage the system and avoid an unrecoverable nose dive of the Boeing 737 Max, according to two people involved in the testing in recent days. The automated system, known as MCAS, is a focus of investigators trying to determine what went wrong in the Lion Air disaster in October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash of the same Boeing model this month.

The software, as originally designed and explained, left little room for error. Those involved in the testing hadn’t fully understood just how powerful the system was until they flew the plane on a 737 Max simulator, according to the two people.

Compounding the flaws, pilots received limited training about the system before the first crash. During the final minutes, the captain of the Lion Air flight flipped through a technical manual trying to figure out what was happening.

In a tacit acknowledgment of the system’s problems, Boeing is expected to propose a software update that would give pilots more control over the system and make it less likely to trigger erroneously, according to three people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meetings.

There are common procedures in place to counteract MCAS, as currently designed. If the system starts pushing the plane’s nose down, pilots can reverse the movement via a switch at their left thumb, a typical reaction in that situation. In doing so, they can potentially extend the 40-second window, giving them more time to avoid a crash.

To fully neutralize the system, pilots would need to flip two more switches. That would shut off the electricity to a motor that allows the system to push the plane toward the ground.
boeing  business  safety  airline  airplane  boeing737  faa 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Why you’re likely going to hear more about being “sober curious”
“You will never regret not drinking,” she added. Good says she’s comforted by the fact that she could still drink if she wanted, but she’s in control of that choice. “There’s always that moment when it’s hard to make the decision ... but you can have that in your mind and just trust that feeling and then, like magic, you’re really glad you’ve made that decision.”

Sober curiosity may be one of the most accessible paradigms to come from the wellness movement; it’s totally free to go to a bar, restaurant, or party and not drink anything. It’s also cost-effective to make the experience about you, not what other people are doing, Warrington said. The idea is checking in with yourself and finding where the desire to drink is, and then asking where that pressure comes from.
"Sober curiosity may be one of the most accessible paradigms to come from the wellness movement"

A sober-curious space doesn’t have to mean no one drinks; it just means it’s no one else’s business if you don’t. In this way, conscious gathering could help address issues such as drunk driving or alcohol-related sexual assault, Warrington said. For her, accountability could increase if the power of alcohol were to decrease.

Sober curiosity is changing gendered social dynamics, too. The gap in drinking behavior between men and women has practically disappeared, according to a 2015 study by the University of Michigan. Nearly 80 percent of men and 60 percent of women were regular drinkers in 1975. Fifty years later, about 40 percent of all people are drinkers.

Warrington said sober curiosity surprisingly didn’t come at a social or physical loss, though. She said in the years since her last drink, she’s felt healthier than ever, with better sleep, acute focus at work and deeper intimacy in all her relationships. She even posted on Instagram that her eyes looked bigger.

The author said she felt her high and low emotions to a fuller extent when alcohol didn’t mask them.

“My intense and difficult emotions I’m grateful for,” she said. “It feels like I’m really living.”
culture  alcohol  business  advertising  marketing 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Mastercard Sees Other Banks Ditching Credit Card Numbers Like Apple Did
This week, Apple Inc. introduced the Mastercard Inc.-branded Apple Card, which won’t have a number on the physical card as a way to improve security in case a customer loses it. That could encourage other banks to also ditch the static number in favor of more secure limited-use numbers, said Craig Vosburg, president of North America for Mastercard.

“We want security to be at the highest level possible across the ecosystem, and we want to do that in ways that don’t introduce friction and make payments inconvenient for consumers,” Vosburg said in an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg Television.

Craig Vosburg, president of North America at Mastercard
business  creditcard  AppleCard  ApplePay  software  technology  security  mastercard 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming sells 10 million copies
Michelle Obama's memoir is on course to become the most popular autobiography to date, according to its publisher.

Becoming, first published just five months ago, has already sold more than 10 million copies, Bertelsmann said.

"We believe that these memoirs could well become the most successful memoir ever," said Thomas Rabe, chief executive of the German firm.
MichelleObama  business  publishing 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Lawmaker proposes unemployment insurance payments for self-serve kiosks
Nevada businesses such as grocery stores or movie theaters could be required to pay unemployment insurance for each self-service terminal or kiosk used by customers under a bill proposed by Democratic Assemblywoman Susie Martinez.

Introduced Friday, AB394 is short and straightforward, requiring all Nevada businesses with self-service terminals, kiosks or similar devices owned by an employer to pay into the state’s Unemployment Compensation Fund for each such device owned — and in an amount equal to the average contribution paid by the business for its other employees. Funds paid would go to an administrative budget account that administers the unemployment compensation program.

Martinez, a legislative freshman who works at the Flamingo and is a shop steward for Teamsters Local 986, said in an interview that she brought the bill forward based on her own experiences seeing the hotel industry replace front-desk workers with kiosks.

“I’ve seen it happening; it’s happening right now,” she said. “We had so many employees, and every time that machine keeps taking work from us. It’s like our jobs are being taken away by machines.”

The measure could spark a wider discussion as to how increased automation could affect Nevada’s workforce, which is overwhelmingly dominated by service-industry jobs and could see major disruptions from advancements in technology. McDonald’s, for example, announced last year it would spend up to $53 million to upgrade its restaurants with enhancements, including self-service kiosks.

Bryan Wachter, a lobbyist for the Retail Association of Nevada, said in an interview that he had serious concerns with the policy and implementation of the bill — which he called “almost a minimum wage on robots” — and said it would have a lopsided effect on businesses with large amounts of turnover because of how the state’s unemployment compensation formula works.
employment  economics  business  unemployment  nevada  politics  government  legal  robotics 
march 2019 by jtyost2
WeWork’s Losses Swell to Nearly $2 Billion as It Seeks Global Expansion
For WeWork, one of the most important measures of its success is its breakneck growth — even if that means huge losses.

The co-working company disclosed on Monday that its losses more than doubled last year to about $1.9 billion, even as its total revenue also doubled to about $1.8 billion. But instead of expressing concern about the mounting losses, executives argued that they were a sign of the company’s giant ambitions.

“We can very much, if we chose to, moderate our growth and become profitable,” Artie Minson, WeWork’s president, said in a telephone interview. “But it’s a time for us to continue to accelerate.”

Michael Gross, the company’s vice chairman, added, “We’re looking at building this business out, not just maximizing profitability over the next one to two years.”

WeWork’s valuation of about $42 billion makes it one of the world’s most valuable privately held companies. Begun as a co-working space in Manhattan eight years ago, it has also become one of the biggest corporate landlords in the world. It has continued to expand rapidly into new markets around the world.

But the costs of the company’s rapid growth stand out, even among the crowd of technology darlings that run huge losses to expand their empires. Uber lost $1.8 billion last year, an improvement over the $2.2 billion it lost in 2017, while Lyft lost $911 million last year.

Such companies argue that for now, they are willing to tolerate red ink because the cost of slowing down is too high. But several companies that went public with huge losses, including Groupon and Snap Inc., now trade well below their initial public offering prices. And many shareholders expect the businesses they invest in to eventually make money.
WeWork  business 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Gucci Makes a Shoe and Keen Gets the Last Laugh
On the Runway What if online call-out culture could be weaponized with humor instead of anger? Keen employees, and Ridley the dog, wore its Newport Retro shoes…
fashion  copyright  business  innovation  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Purdue Pharma Will Settle Major Opioid Lawsuit
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has settled a closely watched lawsuit with the state of Oklahoma, two months before a trial to examine the role of opioid manufacturers in the drug crisis is set to begin, a person close to the situation said.

Details of the agreement are to be revealed by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

A spokesman for Purdue Pharma declined to comment.

So far, the trial, which includes other pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson and Johnson is still on track to begin May 28. Yesterday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court turned aside a bid by the defendants to delay the start by 100 days.

Details of the settlement were not immediately available but people with knowledge of the negotiations said it would involve a large payout from Purdue Pharma. But settling the case with a company that many believe ignited the opioid crisis also means that the public will not hear a full recounting of Purdue’s actions in promoting OxyContin to doctors and underplaying its addictive properties, including testimony by the Sackler family, who were not personally named in the state’s lawsuit.
opiods  legal  lawsuit  health  PurduePharma  business  oklahoma  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Southwest Moves 737 MAX Aircraft To Victorville For Storage
Southwest Airlines, the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 737 MAX, is now sending their fleet to storage at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville.

They’ll be parked there until they get the green light to go back into service. The planes were grounded after two deadly crashes in six months.
southwestairlines  boeing  business  airline  airplane  safety  regulation  faa  boeing737  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Apple launches its own credit card and TV shows
Apple is launching its own credit card, Apple Card, in the US this summer.

There will be both an iPhone and physical version of the card, with a cashback incentive on every purchase.

The tech giant also unveiled a new TV streaming platform, Apple TV+, with content from existing services like Hula alongside original material from high profile stars and directors.

It revealed a new gaming portal and enhanced news app as well, in an event to showcase its new focus on services.

The credit card will have no late fees, annual fees or international fees, said Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey.

It has been created with the help of Goldman Sachs and MasterCard.

The event was held in California and Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was clear from the start that the announcements would be about new services, not new devices.

It is a change of direction for the 42-year-old tech giant.
apple  business  software  technology  television  creditcard 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Michael Avenatti: Stormy Daniels lawyer accused of fraud
US lawyer Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against US President Donald Trump, has been charged with fraud.

Prosecutors says he tried to extort more than $20m (£15m) from Nike, threatening to use his profile to inflict reputational harm on the firm.

A frequent guest on TV news and talk shows, Mr Avenatti emerged as a fierce critic of President Trump.

At one point he said he was considering running for president himself.

Prosecutors in New York announced the charges relating to the alleged attempt to extort money from Nike on Monday.

Mr Avenatti, according to a criminal complaint, met a lawyer for Nike earlier this month and allegedly threatened to release damaging information about the company unless it made "multi-million dollar payments" to him and another, unnamed co-conspirator.

He also, allegedly, demanded $1.5m (£1.13m) for an individual he claimed to represent.

"I'll go take $10bn (£7.56bn) off your client's market cap," Mr Avenatti reportedly told a Nike lawyer during a meeting last week.

He was arrested in New York at 12:30 EST (17:30 GMT), shortly after announcing that he would hold a press conference about a scandal surrounding Nike on Tuesday.
MichaelAvenatti  legal  ethics  crime  nike  business 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Tenant rights bill would limit late fees, called 'slap in the face' by real estate industry
There’s little disagreement that Nevada is facing a housing crunch; rental prices are up, and the supply of affordable dwellings has generally not kept up with the state’s population growth.

But a bill aiming to give more power to tenants heard Friday in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor highlighted the tension between advocates seeking to expand tenant rights and property managers and developers — one who called the bill a “slap in the face” — and who have advocated for tax credits and fewer regulations and restrictions on construction.

Proposed by Democratic Sen. Yvanna Cancela, SB256 would institute a slew of restrictions for landlords at rental properties, including limits on late fees and restrictions on discriminating against renters who receive government benefits or, for applicants for low-income housing, who have a prior history of not paying rent. It also expands the legal actions a tenant can take against a landlord and redefines “rent” to only include monthly payments and not nonrefundable fees charged by a landlord to a tenant.

Cancela said the bill was a direct response to issues raised during an interim legislative committee on affordable housing, dedicated to digging into the issues facing many of the 469,000 Nevada households that rent, or about 45 percent of the state. Nevada has a wait list of more than 9,500 households for low-income housing, and it’s estimated that statewide only 15 affordable homes are available for every 100 extremely-low income renters in need of housing.

“Bad actors in this space have more incentive to harass tenants to try and get them to move and to use security deposits to do repairs on the units and charge more rent,” she said. “Good landlords already do the bulk of what is in Senate Bill 256. But these minimum protections are needed for those who might exploit tenants.”

The bill gives renters the ability to request a landlord or property management company conduct an inspection within several days after giving notice to end a rental agreement and to receive an itemized list of any deficiencies that could result in a deduction in a held security deposit.
legal  housing  nevada  politics  economics  construction  business 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Video-conferencing company Zoom files for IPO with over $300 million in sales and even a profit
Zoom, which provides video-conferencing software that can be used across devices, filed its IPO prospectus on Friday, joining a crop of Bay Area start-ups preparing to hit the public markets.

Unlike most tech companies at this stage, Zoom is profitable.

In the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, Zoom had a net income of $7.6 million on $330.5 million in revenue, according to a regulatory filing. Revenue was up 118 percent from the prior year.

Zoom will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol ZM and is initially looking to raise as much as $100 million, though that number will likely change.

Zoom has gained popularity by creating an easy-to-use service that works smoothly on mobile devices and is affordable for small groups and teams, which has created a wide and diversified customer base. The company said that its top 10 customers account for less than 10 percent of revenue. Its thousands of clients include Conde Nast, Uber and Williams-Sonoma.

Zoom cites Cisco's Webex, Microsoft's Skype, Google and LogMeIn as its competitors, and says that Amazon and Facebook "have in the past and may in the future make investments in video communications tools."

Zoom relies on its own data center infrastructure and also uses the Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure public clouds.

Zoom was founded in 2011 and is based in San Jose, California, with more than 1,700 employees. Emergence Capital is Zoom's biggest outside stakeholder, with 12.5 percent ownership, followed by Sequoia at 11.4 percent. Founder and CEO Eric Yuan, who was previously a vice president at Cisco, owns 22 percent.
zoom  business  technology  stock  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Tesla Sales Slump as ’19 Starts Is Hinted At in State Data
For weeks, analysts have speculated that Tesla has seen a marked drop in sales since the beginning of the year, and the electric-car maker’s recent gyrations on price cuts and cost-saving initiatives have only bolstered their suspicions.

Recently compiled data on new-car registrations from a large portion of the United States seems to offer further support for that view. According to the Dominion Cross-Sell Report, a compilation drawn from state motor vehicle records, registrations of new Tesla vehicles fell significantly from January to February in the 23 states the report covers. The states include California, which accounts for about half of Tesla’s sales, as well as Texas, Florida and Washington, three other big markets for the carmaker.

Last month, 6,252 Teslas were registered with motor vehicle agencies in the 23 states, compared with 23,310 in January and a monthly average of 13,000 to 17,000 in the fourth quarter. The totals tend to reflect a lag because cars are often not registered until the month after purchase.

In December, Tesla was scrambling to sell cars before the end of the year because the federal tax credit available to its customers was set to fall by half on Jan. 1, to $3,850. So a surge in January registrations would not be unexpected. The question is whether an ensuing downturn like the one reflected in the Dominion data would prove lasting.
Tesla  business  automotive 
march 2019 by jtyost2
The Great American Cardboard Comeback
It was Sept. 21, 2017, and the paper mill that had employed Mr. Strick, his father and his grandfather was shutting down after 128 years. Demand for the glossy white paper that the mill produced for brochures was plummeting as advertising continued its flight to the internet.

The village of Combined Locks, Wis., founded when the mill opened in 1889, braced for the loss of its largest employer and feared that the community would be left with a hulking industrial wasteland, just like the other failed paper mills dotting the state. And for the first time since high school, Mr. Strick, who was then 58, started looking for a new job.

Then something unexpected happened: Amazon and China, two forces that are often blamed for destroying American employment in retail and manufacturing, helped Mr. Strick get his job back.

“No one is shocked when a paper mill closes anymore,” said Kyle Putzstuck, the president of Midwest Paper Group, which bought the Combined Locks mill soon after it was shuttered. “The shocking thing is when one reopens.”

The reason for the revival has to do with the millions of packages that Amazon and other online retailers ship around the world — specifically, the humble cardboard used to construct them. Over the past five years, e-commerce has fueled demand for billions more square feet of cardboard.

An industry that has struggled mightily during the digital age has a rare opportunity for growth. Since reopening, the mill in Combined Locks has switched most production from white paper to brown, installed equipment that can crush used cardboard to make new paper, and hired back about half of the 600 workers laid off during the shutdown.

The smooth brown paper they produce goes to cardboard-making vendors, who sell it in turn to Amazon and other retailers, who ship them to your doorstep.

“Brown is the future,” Mr. Strick said one morning this winter at the mill, where he had resumed his job as a maintenance supervisor.
Cardboard rolls in production. Whitten Sabbatini for The New York Times

Brown paper sales slowed following the Christmas e-commerce rush, but industry analysts say the conditions are still ripe for long-term growth. That’s where China comes in. Until early last year, much of the used cardboard consumed in the United States was being shipped to China, where it was recycled into new boxes.
manufacturing  business  ecommerce  economics  china  usa  carboard  paper  Wisconsin  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Federal Reserve cuts growth forecast, signals no more rate hikes in 2019
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday suggested it would not raise interest rates in 2019, a dramatic about-face that indicated the central bank’s worries about the economy are intensifying.

“Growth is slowing somewhat more than expected,” Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said at a news conference. “While the U.S. economy showed little evidence of a slowdown through the end of 2018, the limited data we have so far this year have been somewhat more mixed.”

The Fed entered the year expecting growth of 2.3 percent and that two rate hikes would be necessary to keep the economy from overheating, but on Wednesday it cut its growth forecast to 2.1 percent for 2019 and signaled it was done hiking rates for the year.

The Fed pulled back from its plan to raise interest rates as Europe and China deteriorated economically and U.S. consumers and businesses showed worrying signs of lower spending. Those concerns have been amplified as companies such as FedEx predict a mediocre year and trucking volumes have declined.

The Fed’s new projections widened the already large gap between its growth estimates and those coming from the White House, which is predicting 3.2 percent this year and 3.1 percent the next. Powell declined to comment on the gulf between the outlooks, but most outside experts view the administration’s predictions as overly rosy.

President Trump and Wall Street have urged the Fed not to raise rates anymore. Trump argued that the Fed’s hikes were spooking the stock market and causing people to hold off on investments. Powell has insisted the Fed’s decisions are independent of politics, although he did acknowledge that leaders of the U.S. central bank have monitored markets “carefully,” especially after the financial crisis.

Investors initially cheered the Fed’s latest actions. The Dow Jones industrial average rallied 200 points during Powell’s news conference, but by the end of the day many began to wonder whether this was a signal that the U.S. economy is starting to catch whatever ailment much of the rest of the world has. The Dow closed the day with a 142-point loss.
federalreserve  interestrates  economics  economy  politics  government  usa  2019  business 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Here’s what Disney owns after the massive Disney/Fox merger
Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of the film and TV assets held by 21st Century Fox — the company behind everything from the Alien movies to The Simpsons — is one of the biggest media mergers ever. It also marks the first time a major movie studio has simply ceased to exist as an independent entity since the decay of MGM in the 1980s, taking the number of big movie studios in Hollywood from six down to five (Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, and Paramount).

And as of 12:02 am Eastern time on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, the merger is officially complete.

In this era of ever-accelerating media consolidation, the implications of this deal are pretty staggering — not to mention alarming to anyone who’s at all concerned about said consolidation. And if you’re an employee of either Disney or the former Fox, the threat of expected layoffs hangs over your head. So the deal comes complete with lots of dark portents.
Disney  business  monopoly  culture  fox 
march 2019 by jtyost2
The Fed’s Rate-Raising Days Are Over. Wall Street Couldn’t Be Happier.
Money has finally started to chase this year’s stock market rally, which has been driven largely by the Fed’s sharp turn away from last year’s steady rate increases.

Just three months ago, investors were in a panic over the idea that the Federal Reserve might push borrowing costs too high and tip the United States economy into a recession.

Now, Wall Street is toying with the idea that the central bank could actually be cutting interest rates by the end of the year.

Those forecasts are evident in the market for interest rate futures, where the odds of another interest rate increase in 2019 have fallen to zero, from about 30 percent in December, while the chance of a decrease in rates has risen to more than one in five.

One reason for the changing forecasts? The Fed’s own signal to be more patient as it evaluates whether or not to keep raising interest rates. Since the central bank’s chairman, Jerome H. Powell, first spoke about this newfound patience, stocks have soared more than 15 percent.

“It’s been a night-and-day difference, the outlook for stocks going from December into the first quarter this year,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York. “And I think you could say that Federal Reserve policy was very important in underpinning the stock market rally.”

The Fed could add more fuel to this rally on Wednesday, when the central bank concludes its latest monetary policy meeting. It is expected leave interest rates untouched and further emphasize that it is in no hurry to lift them.
economics  economy  usa  federalreserve  interestrates  business 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump spooks markets with China trade tariffs warning - BBC News
US stocks have fallen after President Donald Trump said his administration was considering leaving tariffs on China for a "substantial period".

Mr Trump said that a trade deal with Beijing was "coming along nicely", but his comments dampened hopes a deal would be reached soon.

US negotiators are due to visit China next week to resume talks.

Wall Street baulked at Mr Trump's comments, with the benchmark Dow Jones falling almost 1%.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 also fell.

Mr Trump said: "We're not talking about removing them, we're talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal."
china  tariff  trade  economics  economy  usa  business  diplomacy  DonaldTrump  politics 
march 2019 by jtyost2
NV Energy calls for higher exit fees on growing list of departing companies
Unless NV Energy is allowed to impose significantly higher impact fees on departing businesses, the utility will lose millions of dollars, cripple expected electric demand for decades and likely result in higher costs for residential customers, the company said in regulatory filings.

In a strongly worded, 29-page “alternative impact analysis” submitted last week by the utility as part of the South Point Hotel and Casino’s application to leave the utility’s electric service, NV Energy made clear its concerns with the legal process (dubbed 704B after the section in state law) used by more than a dozen businesses in the last two years to leave the utility’s electric service.

“In summary, all signs point in one direction: a comprehensive review and reform of the 704B process is needed,” the utility wrote in the filing. “Until such a review is completed and reforms are made, the (Public Utilities Commission) should insist upon a compelling showing by the applicant that the proposed transaction is in the public interest or use a much longer period for analyzing the impact of 704B transactions on base tariff general rates to protect the interest of remaining consumers.”

The utility’s filing isn’t immediately binding, but if adopted by energy regulators could price out multiple large Nevada companies applying to leave NV Energy’s electric service, the utility’s finances and, potentially, on power bills for the company’s residential and business customers.

In the filing, the utility said that if all pending exit applications were approved, its expected electric load would not recover to 2015 levels for up to two decades, and the multi-million dollar loss of expected revenue would mean the utility’s other customers would need to pay higher power costs.

“All other things being equal, (NV Energy’s) remaining customers will pay base tariff general rates that are $17 million higher than they otherwise would be in the next general rate review proceeding and potentially $30.3 million higher than they otherwise would be in the subsequent general rate review proceeding,” the utility wrote.
nevada  energy  business  NVEnergy  greenenergy  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Facebook won’t let employers, landlords or lenders discriminate in ads anymore — ProPublica
Facebook advertisers can no longer target users by age, gender and ZIP code for housing, employment and credit offers, the company announced Tuesday as part of a major settlement with civil rights organizations.

The wide-ranging agreement follows reporting by ProPublica since 2016 that found Facebook let advertisers exclude users by race and other categories that are protected by federal law. It is illegal for housing, job and credit advertisers to discriminate against protected groups.

ProPublica had been able to buy housing-related ads on Facebook that excluded groups such as African Americans and Jews, and it previously found job ads excluding users by age and gender placed by companies that are household names, like Uber and Verizon Wireless.

“This settlement is a shot across the bow to all tech companies and platforms,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, a lawyer with Outten & Golden in Washington who represented the plaintiffs along with the ACLU. “They need to understand that civil rights apply to the internet, and it’s not a civil rights-free zone.”
facebook  legal  civilrights  discrimination  employment  housing  business  advertising  humanrights  usa 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Boeing: US orders review of 737 Max licence to fly - BBC News
The US government has ordered a review of the way Boeing's 737 Max aircraft got its licence to fly.

It comes after two crashes in five months, amid suggestions from experts that there were "clear similarities" between the disasters.

Transport secretary Elaine Chao has asked the US inspector general to audit the aircraft's certification process.

One focus of crash investigators has been the Max's anti-stall system, which Boeing says needs a software update.

In a memo to inspector general Calvin Scovel, Ms Chao said she wanted the review in order to "assist the Federal Aviation Administration [the regulator] in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively".

After the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft last week - which followed a Lion Air disaster in October - there were questions about why the FAA took so long to ground the 737 Max.
usa  regulation  business  boeing  boeing737  government  DeptOfTransportation  faa 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Lyft Sets $23 Billion Value as High-End Goal for I.P.O.
Lyft hopes to be valued at up to $23 billion in its initial public offering, the ride-hailing company said in a regulatory filing on Monday as it entered the final stage of its push to become the next big publicly traded technology start-up in the United States. The target value is significantly greater than the $15.1 billion Lyft’s was valued at in its last private funding round last year.

The filing, an updated prospectus, coincided with the start of the company’s so-called road show, a two-week run of meetings during which Lyft executives and advisers will try to persuade prospective investors to grab a piece of what will probably be one of the year’s biggest public offerings — at least until Lyft’s ride-hailing rival, Uber, proceeds with its own offering in the next few months.

The new prospectus proposes a high-end share price of $62 to $68, a range that would generate about $2.1 billion, and perhaps as much as $2.4 billion if demand for shares is great enough for the company to increase the number it makes available.

The filing also sheds new light on the holdings of Lyft’s founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer, who started the company in 2007 and have built it into a smaller but still fierce rival to Uber.

Mr. Green and Mr. Zimmer are set to reap hundreds of millions of dollars apiece as a result of the offering, the prospectus shows. Mr. Green’s stake would be worth about $569 million at the high end of the expected initial share price; Mr. Zimmer’s would be worth about $393 million.
lyft  business  stock  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Doing More to Protect Against Discrimination in Housing, Employment and Credit Advertising | Facebook Newsroom
Our policies already prohibit advertisers from using our tools to discriminate. We’ve removed thousands of categories from targeting related to protected classes such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. But we can do better.

We believe that the changes we’re announcing today as part of our settlements with the NFHA, ACLU, CWA and other groups will better protect people on Facebook:

Anyone who wants to run housing, employment or credit ads will no longer be allowed to target by age, gender or zip code.
Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns overall. Multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for these ads. Additionally, any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.
We’re building a tool so you can search for and view all current housing ads in the US targeted to different places across the country, regardless of whether the ads are shown to you.
legal  lawsuit  facebook  business  advertising  discrimination  housing  employment  economics  civilrights  humanrights  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Facebook agrees to overhaul targeted advertising system for job, housing and loan ads after discrimination complaints
Facebook on Tuesday agreed to overhaul its lucrative targeted advertising system to settle accusations that landlords, lenders and employers use the platform to…
facebook  advertising  business  legal  housing  employment  discrimination  lawsuit  civilrights  humanrights  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Deutsche Bank and Trump: $2 Billion in Loans and a Wary Board
In 1999, a senior Deutsche Bank executive discovered that a credit officer’s signature on a Trump loan document had been forged. Mr. Offit was never accused of forgery and the loan did not go through. He was later fired.

Next, another banker, Justin Kennedy, stepped up to help lead the bank’s commercial real estate group. Mr. Kennedy was the son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who occasionally visited Deutsche Bank’s offices. The younger Kennedy developed a relationship with Mr. Trump and helped him borrow money from Deutsche Bank, including on the fateful Chicago project.

Finally, there was Ms. Vrablic. Deutsche Bank recruited her to its private-banking division in 2006. One of her existing clients was Jared Kushner, who later introduced her to his father-in-law, Mr. Trump, according to a person familiar with the relationship.

Ms. Vrablic, an intensely private person who rarely discussed personal matters with her colleagues, steered more than $300 million in loans to Mr. Trump over the ensuing years. When he was sworn in as president, Ms. Vrablic sat in the V.I.P. section of the audience.

She expects to be called to testify before Congress.
DonaldTrump  business  legal  ethics  DeutscheBank  loan  bankruptcy 
march 2019 by jtyost2
As Costs Skyrocket, More U.S. Cities Stop Recycling
Recycling and garbage bins in Sunrise, Fla., which has decided to burn its recycling collections in a facility that turns waste into energy. Credit Scott…
recycling  economics  trash  trade  china  business  garbage  environment  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Trump’s General Motors tweets, explained
’s decision making has little to do with Trump or government policy in general — though the steel tariffs aren’t helping — but Trump is well aware that this plant closure isn’t a great look for him. As Heather Long at the Post notes, Trumbull County, where Lordstown is, voted for a Democrat in every election since the 1970s — until Trump in 2016.

Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin were what pushed Trump over the top in 2016 and will likely be very important for his reelection bid as well. There was a mini recession in parts of the economy leading up to the 2016 election that resulted in reduced investment in manufacturing in the Upper Midwest and localized economic pain that could have bolstered support for Trump there. If things get worse, not better, under his watch, that could harm his reelection prospects.

Trump is well aware of the optics, though it’s not particularly clear he is hyper-concerned about the loss of the jobs themselves. As mentioned, Green has twice written to Trump about the state of affairs in Lordstown and hasn’t received a response. Instead, the president is complaining about it on Twitter.

It’s not dissimilar from what he’s done with Harley-Davidson, which after the Republican tax cut bill was passed announced a nearly $700 million stock buyback plan and plans to close a plant in Kansas City. The president of the International Association of Machinists, like Green, sent a letter to Trump asking for help and, also like Green, received no answer. Trump publicly bashed Harley when it subsequently announced it would shift some production overseas.
DonaldTrump  politics  usa  GeneralMotors  business  tarrifs  trade  economics  ohio  union  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
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