|Bid||34.16 x 3200|
|Ask||34.22 x 3200|
|Day's range||33.58 - 34.39|
|52-week range||28.63 - 45.86|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.57|
|PE ratio (TTM)||16.68|
|Earnings date||05 Feb 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||34.03|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Dahlem is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Berlin, its lovely, leafy streets lined with large mansions — villas, the Germans call them(4) — built mostly in the early 1900s. As I walked from the thatch-roofed Dahlem-Dorf U-Bahn station to dinner at the home of a not-exactly-Daddy-Warbucks friend one recent evening, I initially puzzled at how he managed to afford such posh surroundings. Then I saw a villa with six doorbell buttons at the front gate instead of just one. I noticed one or two more such subdivided villas after that, plus a couple of small plaques indicating that there were doctor’s offices inside. My friend’s place turned out to be in a small apartment building that was newer than the surrounding houses, but built to about the same scale.Such mixed housing is not entirely unheard of in the U.S., but it is found mainly in neighborhoods that predate zoning, which began its stateside rise in the 1910s and 1920s.(5) In the zoning era, especially since World War II, the general rule for residential neighborhoods has been single-family houses and only single-family houses, with no apartments or businesses allowed.In Germany, which is usually credited with inventing zoning, this practice of dividing cities into areas intended for certain activities and building forms dates all the way back to the 1870s. Development in Dahlem, a former country estate that had ended up in government hands, was even managed by a Royal Commission for the Division of the Domain of Dahlem that dictated that buyers of plots had to erect villa-like buildings on them within two years or pay a fine.German zoning and planning innovations got lots of attention elsewhere, and the American reformers who began to advocate more restrictive urban development rules in the early 1900s were quite open about their Teutonic inspiration, at least until World War I. But while German laws and regulations do a lot to shape how and where people can build, they don’t dictate that single-family housing be segregated from all else. In fact, pretty much no other country does this to the extent that the U.S. does. As University of Georgia professor of landscape architecture and planning Sonia Hirt wrote in her charming and enlightening 2014 book “Zoned in the U.S.A.”:I could find no evidence in other countries that this particular form — the detached single-family home — is routinely, as in the United States, considered to be so incompatible with all other types of urbanization as to warrant a legally defined district all its own, a district where all other major land uses and building types are outlawed.Single-family zoning is now on the defensive in the U.S., with the Minneapolis City Council voting in 2018 to allow up to three housing units on every residential parcel, and the Oregon legislature doing something along the same lines (the rules vary by size of city) last year. Although similar legislation has so far failed in California, other reforms to allow homeowners to add units to existing houses have in the words of one expert put the state “on the precipice of single-family zoning functionally not existing,” and the bolder reforms aren’t dead yet.These efforts have engendered some alarmed — and alarmist — reactions. “Dems Declare War On Suburbs, Seek To Ban Single-Family Housing,” conservative journalist Luke Rosiak wrote on Twitter(6) in promotion of his Daily Caller article about a bill just introduced in the Virginia legislature that he claimed “could quickly transform the suburban lifestyle enjoyed by millions.” Suburbanist thinkers Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox argued in City Journal that without widespread homeownership, “America will become increasingly feudal in its economic and social form.”Kotkin and Cox hinted but were careful enough not to claim outright that abolishing single-family zoning would have this effect. Their caution was warranted. Germany is in fact a country where both homeownership and single-family houses are minority phenomena, and I’ll leave you to decide whether that means it’s feudal. Lots of other affluent nations have homeownership rates similar to or higher than that of the U.S. (the highest tend to be in the formerly communist states of Eastern Europe) without U.S.-style single-family-only zoning.The most famous explanation for why single-family zoning is so prevalent in the U.S. is probably Dartmouth College economist William Fischel’s “Homevoter Hypothesis”: Except in a few cities, local politics is dominated by homeowners, homeowners favor policies that increase their property values and single-family zoning is perceived as doing just that.Hirt, who was born and grew up in Bulgaria, acknowledged the power of this reasoning in “Zoning in the U.S.A.,” but she argued that it is incomplete. “If real-estate economics was and continues to be the key factor, if residential property values inevitably decline in surroundings where multiple land uses and housing types are allowed,” she wrote, “shouldn’t people in the other capitalist democracies be equally fearful about their home’s environs and their home’s values?” She proposed instead that a particular set of cultural beliefs determined the form that zoning took in the 1920s, and that this form has subsequently shaped Americans’ notions “of the places in the city where we can and should meet each other, the streets we can and should travel on, how many cars we can and should have, and the kinds of homes we can and should live in.”Some of these pro-single-family-housing cultural beliefs date at least to the founding of the U.S., and the preferences of certain founders for the country over the city. Others were unique to the 1920s and really pretty nutty. Corner grocery stores were depicted as vectors of disease and disorder, while the landmark 1926 Supreme Court decision that established the legality of zoning asserted that “very often the apartment house is a mere parasite.” This was an era when lots of reformist types also supported eugenics, and the role of similar bigotry in the rise of zoning can’t be denied. But it was also driven by comparatively innocent beliefs that just happen to have been totally wrong. Zoning advocates argued, for example, that channeling residential development into neighborhoods of detached single-family houses far removed from shops and offices would be a boon to Americans’ health, while in fact the extreme dependence on automobiles that often resulted has been the opposite.Would getting rid of single-family-only zoning suddenly reverse all of this and transform suburbia? Uh, no. Ibraheem Samirah, the suburban Virginia dentist and newly elected state lawmaker who sponsored the zoning reform bill discussed above, said he thinks any change “would be much more long-term, much slower.” His hope, he told me last week, is to shift the balance in local housing politics a little by giving homeowners the opportunity to profit from developing their own properties instead of just fighting nearby development. “I’m trying to broaden the coalition for more affordable housing beyond developers to property owners,” he said.In Berlin, meanwhile, it’s not as if the absence of single-family zoning has solved all the city’s real estate problems. Purchase prices and especially rents are still low by the standards of the world’s major cities, but they’ve risen so much over the past two decades that the local government felt compelled to impose a five-year rent freeze last fall. Single-family zoning is not the sole cause of high housing prices in California, Virginia or elsewhere in the U.S. But it is kind of strange.(1) The Germans capitalize the first letters of nouns, and their plural for Villa is Villen, but close enough.(2) The first comprehensive zoning ordinance in the U.S. was New York's, enacted in 1916, but Los Angeles had begun setting aside "residence districts" in 1904 and the zoning code that really provided the model for the rest of the country was that of Berkeley, California, which was enacted after New York's but also in 1916.(3) His tweets appear to automatically self-delete, so I linked to a Vox article that quoted the tweet.To contact the author of this story: Justin Fox at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stacey Shick at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He was the editorial director of Harvard Business Review and wrote for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk’s rocket company has one last, major hurdle to clear before it attempts an historic first flight of astronauts for NASA: proving it can safely abort a mission if something goes wrong after takeoff.A test of the abort procedure set for Saturday was delayed by 24 hours due to sustained winds and rough seas in the recovery area, SpaceX said on Twitter. It’s now targeting a six-hour window starting at 8 a.m. Eastern time Sunday.A Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon spacecraft is now slated to launch tomorrow from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About 84 seconds after liftoff, SpaceX plans to demonstrate Dragon’s ability to eject from the rocket during an emergency.The in-flight abort test includes a series of complex maneuvers before Dragon’s parachutes should deploy and the craft splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean about 10 minutes after liftoff. The Falcon 9 rocket is expected to break up offshore, according to SpaceX’s press kit.“You design this with the hopes that you never have to use it, but this is showing that it works in the real world,” said former astronaut Garrett Reisman, former director of space operations at Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and a professor of astronautics at the University of Southern California.The procedure is the final big test before NASA can certify that SpaceX is ready to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. U.S. Air Force Colonel Bob Behnken and former Marine Corps test pilot Doug Hurley will be Dragon’s first passengers.“There’s a lot riding on this,” said Reisman, who remains an adviser to SpaceX.Americans have not flown into space aboard a U.S. craft since the shuttle program ended in 2011. Sending astronauts to the space station also is an important step for Musk’s Hawthorne, California-based company. The billionaire chief executive officer aims eventually to transport people to the Moon and Mars.Read more: Boeing and SpaceX Are Racing to Bring Astronauts, Then Tourists, to Space“This is the culmination of years of work,” Benji Reed, SpaceX’s director of crew mission management, said during a pre-launch press conference with NASA on Friday.NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co. a combined $6.8 billion in contracts in September 2014 to revive America’s ability to fly to the space station without buying seats on Russian Soyuz capsules. Since then, the agency and both companies have suffered delays that have put the program more than two years behind schedule.In December, Boeing’s Starliner failed to dock with the station because of a problem with the mission’s timing software. The Chicago-based company and NASA are investigating, and the agency will decide if Boeing needs to perform a second flight without crew.SpaceX’s Dragon capsule successfully docked with the station in March as part of its Demo-1 test.(Updates with test moved to Sunday.)To contact the reporter on this story: Dana Hull in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at email@example.com, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Move over materials, there’s a new kid on the block. The C$300 billion ($230 billion) industrials group has ousted miners and forestry stocks to become the third-most valuable collection of companies on Canada’s equity market, behind banks and energy.Comprised mainly of transportation, engineering and construction stocks, industrials are generally seen as cyclical stocks and had blockbuster gains last year with a 24% rally. That was behind only tech and utilities.Last year Ballard Power Systems Inc.’s shares more than doubled after reporting a technology breakthrough that will reduce the amount of high-cost platinum used in its fuel-cell products. Air Canada came in second in the group after announcing a planned acquisition of tour operator Transat AT, accelerating its global presence in the leisure industry.Ballard’s surge has continued this year, climbing about 70% in January, as China signaled it wouldn’t further cut subsidies for electric vehicles, easing some fears for battery investors.One drag on the sector has been Bombardier Inc., which saw its stock slump and bonds tumble this week after the company said it was rethinking the A220 jet program with Airbus as it seeks ways to increase cash flow to help with paying down its $10 billion debt load. But, at a shadow of its former self, its contribution to the sectoral gauge is less than 1%.Markets -- Just The NumbersChart of The WeekEconomyCanadian businesses reported improved sentiment amid reduced concern about global trade conflicts, according to a Bank of Canada survey. Future sales like new orders have picked up, particularly outside of the energy sector, the Ottawa-based central bank’s fourth-quarter survey of executives found.Economists will see a big data dump on Jan. 22 with new housing price figures, inflation and the Bank of Canada’s rate decision.PoliticsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bid to complete the Trans Mountain oil pipeline won a major victory Thursday as the nation’s top court rejected an appeal brought by British Columbia aimed at challenging the controversial project. The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the case, the court said in a statement.TrendingInCanada1\. St. John’s, Newfoundland, has declared a state of emergency as a blizzard ramps up with 75 centimeters of snow expected in the province.2\. And if you missed it, we taste-tested McDonald’s Corp. and Beyond Meat Inc.’s new PLT burger, which is getting a trial run in Ontario.\--With assistance from Steven Frank.To contact the reporter on this story: Divya Balji in Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kyung Bok Cho at email@example.com, Jacqueline Thorpe, David ScanlanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk’s suggestion for how to fix Twitter? Identify the bots.Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla Inc. chief executive officer, was asked Thursday by Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey how he would fix the social network, where Musk has almost 31 million followers.“Give us some direct feedback,” said Dorsey, who spoke to Musk via a video call from a company meeting in Houston. Musk was projected onto a giant screen as thousands of Twitter employees watched the two executives chat. “If you were running Twitter,“ Dorsey continued, “what would you do?”“I think it would be helpful to differentiate” between real and fake users, Musk replied, according to a video posted to Twitter by an employee. “Is this a real person or is this a bot net or a sort of troll army or something like that?”“Basically, how do you tell if the feedback is real or someone trying to manipulate the system, or probably real, or probably trying to manipulate the system,” Musk continued. “What do people actually want, what are people actually upset about versus manipulation of the system by various interest groups.”It’s possible at least one of the groups Musk had in mind was “TSLAQ,” a loose collective of critics, skeptics and short sellers who often tweet using the hashtag combining Tesla’s ticker symbol with the -Q that is added when listed companies go bankrupt.Musk faces relentless criticism from the group on Twitter. The billionaire is one of the site’s most popular users and one of its most controversial. He called a British caver a “pedo guy” in 2018 and was later sued for defamation. Later that same year, he tweeted that he was thinking of taking Tesla private, prompting a temporary halt on trading and a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit.Musk, one of many high-profile Twitter users to speak at the company event this week, also predicted that humans would send a tweet from Mars sometime in the next five to nine years, according to videos posted by employees. After Dorsey and Musk finished chatting, model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, another popular user, made an appearance on stage.\--With assistance from Dana Hull.To contact the reporter on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Facebook Inc. “very irresponsible” and “shameful” for the way the company allows false information to spread on its social media platform.She said that during the last election Facebook made no attempts to look at Russia’s use of the platform to spread disinformation and doesn’t view it as their obligation to try to stop it in the future.“They intend to be accomplices with misleading the American people,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday in response to a question about whether Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executive have too much power. “I think their behavior is shameful.”Companies including Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have been under pressure to take action to prevent the spread of false and misleading information on their sites. Facebook’s new policy to address “deepfake” videos has come under fire from some lawmakers and disinformation experts who say it fails to address other kinds of online manipulation.QuickTake: How Deepfakes Make Disinformation More Real Than EverThe California Democrat was asked about the social media company, given its proximity to her San Francisco district.“All they want are their tax cuts and no antitrust action against them, and they schmooze this administration in that regard,” Pelosi said. “They have been very irresponsible.”The company is facing antitrust probes by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, as well as a majority of state attorneys general led by New York’s Letitia James.Facebook declined to comment on Pelosi’s remarks. The company has been working to better detect instances of foreign governments trying to manipulate U.S. users, and in recent years has taken down several campaigns similar to Russia’s effort during the 2016 presidential campaign.But Facebook has stopped short of fact-checking politicians, saying last week that it would allow candidates to continue to lie in their ads. Facebook executives have said the company shouldn’t determine truth or falsity in political speech. Instead, Facebook is putting political ads in a public archive, where voters can see who paid for which messages.(Updates with context on Facebook actions in the final two paragraphs.)\--With assistance from Ben Brody and Sarah Frier.To contact the reporter on this story: Billy House in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at email@example.com, ;Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Today’s Food and Drug Administration moves much faster than it used to. That may not always be a good thing. A review of drug approvals by the agency from researchers at Harvard Medical School released Tuesday found that the FDA is approving drugs more rapidly with weaker evidence than it did in the past. That can be beneficial when it leads to needed medicines getting to market quickly, and I believe that’s the agency’s intent. As the study’s authors highlight, however, this emphasis on speed and flexibility could be eroding standards. It may be time for a gut check.The gold standard for demonstrating efficacy — and the surest way of winning drug approval — is to demonstrate success in large, well-controlled studies that result in a hard outcome. But there are faster ways to get to market. In 1992, Congress created the accelerated approval program, which can green light medicines based on “surrogate” endpoints that predict rather than confirm benefit for patients, or those that have shown a shorter-term benefit. It’s one of several initiatives that have changed how the agency works. According to the study, 80.6% of approvals between 1995 and 1997 were supported by at least two pivotal trials. That number dropped to 52.8% between 2005 and 2017. Companies that get accelerated approval have to prove their drug works with a confirmatory trial in order to gain full approval, but there’s no hard timetable no when that must be done. Thus, drugmakers often don't hurry to conduct those tests. This is problematic at best, dangerous at worst.Here’s just one case: In 2016, Sarepta Therapeutics Inc. sought approval of a medicine to treat a rare muscle-wasting disease in young boys based on weak evidence from a tiny trial. In the face of significant public pressure, the FDA approved Exondys 51 even though one of its scientists called the treatment “an elegant placebo” in a report. Sarepta is selling the drug for over $300,000 a year but has continually delayed a confirmatory trial. It’s now years away from completion, and there have been no real consequences for the delay.When companies do complete post-approval trials, it sometimes reveals a mistake. Eli Lilly & Co.’s cancer drug Lartruvo got accelerated approval in 2016. Lilly then pulled the medicine from the market last year after a larger trial found no benefit. That’s a rare outcome, but there are many expensive drugs on the market that have never moved beyond surrogate endpoints. A study of 93 accelerated cancer drug approvals between 1992 and 2017 found that only 19 had proved to help patients live longer in a followup trial. There are some good reasons for faster approvals, as former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb outlined in a Twitter response this week to a critical New York Times editorial penned on Jan. 11. Scientists are better at evaluating the safety of medicines and trial design has improved, for example. And advances have made it easier to create drugs that target small populations and have dramatic effects, Gottlieb wrote.He makes good points. But the agency arguably hasn’t found the right balance between embracing advances and maintaining a high bar. It certainly has a ways to go on post-approval follow up. America is entirely unable to control the price of new medicines; the approval of marginal drugs has financial consequences. The FDA will soon face one of its most important and controversial decisions yet. Biogen Inc. is seeking approval for the first purportedly disease-modifying Alzheimer’s drug — a medicine that could be used by millions of people and cost billions — without good evidence that it works. The agency often uses unmet need as a justification for shifting standards, and there’s no bigger unmet need than Alzheimer’s. That doesn’t justify an approval based on one failed trial and another that is a questionable success at best.The agency will have to decide whether to review or approve the medicine in the next year or so. This choice is an opportunity to resist public pressure and move back toward demanding firmer proof of efficacy before drugs hit the market. To contact the author of this story: Max Nisen at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Max Nisen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering biotech, pharma and health care. He previously wrote about management and corporate strategy for Quartz and Business Insider.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- An online feud between two of the top Democratic presidential candidates took an odd turn Wednesday morning when defenders of Senator Elizabeth Warren helped promote a hashtag ostensibly attacking her. It was an instructive moment in the mechanics of online political discourse as passions around the 2020 election season rise.The situation began Tuesday at the Democratic presidential debate. Some of the most dramatic moments of the night were exchanges between Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, in the wake of reports that he had told Warren a woman could not be elected president, which she confirmed and he denied.After the debate, a video circulated appearing to show Warren refusing to shake Sanders’ hand, followed by a sharp exchange ending with Sanders turning and walking away abruptly. Warren said to Sanders, “I think you called me a liar on national TV.”On Wednesday morning, the hashtag NeverWarren appeared at the top of Twitter’s trending topics. As of late Wednesday afternoon it had been mentioned more than 80,000 times, according to Ben Nimmo, director of investigations for social media monitoring company Graphika. “It looks like it started off among some long-standing Sanders supporters,” he wrote in an email, “but the most striking thing is that all the most-retweeted posts are of people criticizing the hashtag and the mentality behind it, and/or calling for unity.”The hashtag fit into a long-running narrative about Sanders supporters, who some Democrats criticized in 2016 for being insufficiently supportive of Hillary Clinton in the general election. Even before the debate Tuesday a faction of his fans had signaled they might not vote for any other Democratic nominee. This faction was clearly somewhat responsible for pushing the anti-Warren hashtags Wednesday.The Sanders campaign itself didn’t seem to be involved. His spokeswoman, Briahna Gray, repeatedly Tweeted the hashtag WomenForBernie, but did not use the NeverWarren hashtag. Some pro-Sanders activists discouraged others from using it.A significant amount of the NeverWarren activity actually came from those trying to rebut its message. NBC News reporter Ben Collins used a disinformation identification tool to determine that the three most popular tweets using the hashtag were all denouncing it. Mehdi Hasan, a columnist at the Intercept, tweeted, “Yep, let’s be clear: if you’re tweeting in support of this ludicrous NeverWarren hashtag, you’re not only dumb but you’re also telling the world that you’re ok with kids in cages and bans on Muslims.” That message has received more than 1,700 retweets.Britt Julious, a Chicago Tribune columnist, posted a tweet attacking the hashtag (while still deploying it). She received more than 1,200 retweets.“I thought it was odd that it was trending when I woke up this morning. When I looked through the hashtag, I saw that it was a lot of Warren supporters who seemed upset that it was trending,” Julious wrote in an email, saying she remembered a similar dynamic during the 2016 campaign. “Twitter tends to have that echo effect. Like one person will say something weird and then someone else finds it, replies back trying to shoot it down, and the pileup begins.”There has been evidence of significant manipulation of trending topics for years, including numerous media reports exposing coordinated activity pursuing commercial and political ends.Nor is this the first example in the 2020 Democratic primary. Late last year, a comedy troupe managed to get the hashtag DropOutBloomberg onto the list of trending topics, after members pretended the Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign had fired an intern for tweeting a bizarre (and fictional) Bloomberg campaign staff dance video. Some of the people tweeting the hashtag were clearly in on the joke. Others didn’t seem to be. (Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)A major reason things like this happen is that Twitter has automated its trending topics. The company’s algorithms look for hashtags that are included in large numbers of tweets, not necessarily the underlying message of the tweets. A Twitter spokeswoman wrote in an email that “people can choose to Tweet with a hashtag they might disagree with, and our Trends product neutrally represents their behavior in the form of a trending topic.“Alex Stamos, a disinformation expert and former Facebook executive, said many Twitter users don’t realize that by quote tweeting a message that they disagree with, they’re only fueling the underlying hashtag. “Some of these hashtags, it’s like a ten-to-one ratio of people criticizing the hashtag do to people pushing it,” Stamos said in a phone interview.Activity on Twitter can inspire news coverage that fails to interpret the context. The Hill and the Daily Wire wrote about the NeverWarren hashtag. CNN’s Chris Cillizza also mentioned it without explaining that much of the engagement came from Warren’s defenders.Stamos cautioned that Twitter isn’t representative of actual public sentiment and that some of the accounts tweeting about Warren have racked up thousands of tweets within a few days of creation, a suspicious sign. “There’s empirical evidence over and over again that Twitter does not reflect political reality in the United States.”Meanwhile, pro-Sanders accounts flooded Warren’s Twitter mentions with images and emojis of snakes--an icon typically lobbed at women accused of being dishonest.In a tweet, Stamos encouraged users to change their behavior to avoid accidentally promoting that which they oppose. He wrote, “1) Don’t use a hashtag to criticize that hashtag. 2) Stop quote-tweeting small-follower accounts as criticism. 3) Don’t believe that the population of ‘people’ on Twitter is reflective of anything, including ‘candidate X’s followers.’”(Updates third paragraph with Warren’s post-debate remarks)To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Joshua BrusteinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Get Jonathan Bernstein’s newsletter every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe.It’s not yet clear how much of what Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and the New York Times in an interview will turn out to be true. Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman under indictment for campaign-finance violations, may have strong incentives to make things up. On the other hand, he’s also turned over a considerable amount of supporting evidence that he worked closely with Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. And what he alleges — that Trump was fully informed all along of a plot to pressure Ukraine to help Trump’s re-election by throwing dirt at Joe Biden — is generally consistent with the evidence that the House considered when it drew up and voted on impeachment. Still, the legal analyst Susan Hennessey was correct Wednesday when she cautioned on Twitter that everyone should be duly cautious about the Parnas allegations. There’s danger here for those building the case against Trump; false accusations based on the word of a criminal could be damaging. But the danger for Republicans is pretty obvious, too. As someone said Wednesday evening on Twitter, Republican senators don’t even know what they’re covering up for, or at least what they would be covering up for if they follow the White House’s preference to rush through the Senate impeachment trial that starts next week and refuse to hear from relevant witnesses and collect relevant documents. Some of those senators, to be sure, just don’t care. They’ve decided they can live with (both politically and ethically) any revelations that may come down the road — that no one who they care about will hold them accountable for burying important evidence, no matter what it turns out to be. Others may really be so fully inside the conservative information-feedback loop that they sincerely think that Trump is an honest, innocent man being railroaded by partisans; they may not even be aware of the considerable evidence to the contrary.But for anyone else? As I said just 24 hours and a couple rounds of ugly revelations ago: “If new ugly details are still emerging, who’s to say that more won’t turn up later?”Of course, that doesn’t make decision-making easy for Republicans who are worried — that is, Republicans who are comfortable voting to acquit on the current evidence, but are concerned that they’ll be abetting a coverup if they try to cut the trial short and then will be exposed as more evidence comes out anyway. It’s easy to say that they should just demand a thorough trial. But that, too, has real costs for them; it means voting against the leader of their party on procedural issues, and therefore winning the wrath of the White House and some of their strongest supporters. That’s not something that any politician does lightly. And even a thorough trial could end up producing no new significant reasons to vote to remove Trump, either because that evidence doesn’t exist or because the House Democratic impeachment managers can’t produce it.It’s easy to say that the political side of those considerations should be irrelevant and that Republican senators should care only about justice. To that I’ll only say: Good luck getting politicians to ignore politics.A better argument might be that those Republican senators should factor into their considerations the institutional and personal self-interest they have in keeping constraints on the presidency in general and this president in particular. Allow him to treat impeachment as a joke, and both he and all future presidents will be more likely to treat the threat of future impeachments as minor inconveniences. That would be true in any case. It’s especially true if they suspect that Trump really is trying to get away with something, even if they think the proof isn't there or that it doesn’t quite rise to the level of removal from office.1\. David M. Edelstein at the Monkey Cage on the U.S., Iran, China and Russia.2\. Matt Grossmann talks with Justin Grimmer, Will Marble, John Sides, and Lynn Vavreck about bigotry and Trump voters.3. I really like Paul Waldman’s item on Trump and dishwashers. 4\. Charles Gaba on the individual mandate.5\. S.V. Date on Trump and the truth.6\. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Conor Sen looks back on a great decade for the wealthy.7\. And Alyssa Rosenberg on what a woman in the Oval Office would face.Get Early Returns every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe. Also subscribe to Bloomberg All Access and get much, much more. You’ll receive our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, the Bloomberg Open and the Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer sits down with Chairman of the Children’s Health Defense, and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Donald Trump famously declared that trade wars are easy to win.With the phase one trade agreement between the U.S. and China now inked, observers are hesitant to declare a winner. While most welcomed the truce they also cautioned that the toughest negotiations are yet to come.For now, obvious beneficiaries include America’s farmers, refiners, crude and gas exporters who could see Chinese demand soar. U.S. finance firms including investment banks, credit card companies and ratings firms won allowances that will hasten their ambitions to grab a bigger slice of China’s $45 trillion financial industry.On the Chinese side, the truce offers relief for a slowing economy and gives breathing space for the government to meet its growth targets.Potential losers include Brazilian soy bean farmers and Australian suppliers of liquefied natural gas amid stiffer competition for their Chinese order book. The World Trade Organization has been left on the sidelines as globalization gives way to managed trade.Even with the deal, Chinese goods remain levied with stinging U.S tariffs while American firms still face heavily subsidized Chinese competitors.Trump hailed the agreement as “remarkable” and Xi Jinping described it as “good for China, the U.S. and the whole world.”Here’s a sample of some other reaction:Steve Schwarzman, chief executive officer of Blackstone Group Inc:“You have to remember that the U.S. and China, other than the WTO deal in 2001, fundamentally haven’t had a trade agreement since the 1940s so what has been achieved is very, very significant. It provides a base line for a better world economy.”Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President for Asia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce“Let’s celebrate while we can and then we will regroup and move on. The enforcement tools are there and I believe both sides are sincere. This is one of those agreements where both sides could agree to do these things and get them done. With the best of intentions we can bank this and hope it goes forward and we can begin the hard work of negotiating on subsidies.”Chinese state mediaThe deal’s signing received almost 20 minutes of live airtime on Chinese state television in the middle of the night. CCTV published a commentary on its app arguing the deal has two salient features: balance and equality and is a “win-win”.The People’s Daily made a similar argument in an article published via WeChat, a social-media platform.Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Communist Party-backed Global Times, welcomed the deal in a tweet.Joerg Wuttke, head of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China:“The good news is the downward spiral has been stopped for business, that means more predictability but unfortunately for the likes of EU business and others such as Brazil it means that for the next two years $200 billion will be traded between two nations without competition.”Timothy Stratford, managing partner in Covington & Burling LLP and a former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative“It is a fairly fragile truce. There are going to be a lot of challenges implementing the agreement.”Tom Orlik, Bloomberg Economics“China -- the main loser from the trade war -- is the main beneficiary of the truce. Our China team have raised its forecast for the country’s 2020 GDP growth to 5.9% from 5.7%. The composition of growth will also be a little more balanced, with less need for state investment to offset weak exports and private-sector capex.”Former U.S. Treasury officials had a mixed response on what the deal will mean for the yuan’s stability.Here’s Brad Setser, who worked at Treasury during the Obama administration and is now at the Council on Foreign RelationsAnd here’s Mark Sobel, a former Treasury and International Monetary Fund officialWendy Cutler, a veteran trade negotiator now at the Asia Society Policy Institute“It is a solid deal and the administration should get credit for achieving this deal, that said, it falls way below the expectations they set out at the beginning of this negotiation when they were going to address all the issues that are keeping U.S. companies out of the Chinese market. This negotiation proved a lot tougher than they thought.”Andy Rothman, a former U.S. diplomat in Beijing who’s now an investment strategist at Matthews Asia.“I have two serious concerns about the deal. First, the targets for increases in China’s imports from the U.S. appear to be unrealistically high, which could set up the deal to fail, leading to additional tariffs or even a full-blown trade war. Second, Lighthizer acknowledged today that “This deal will work if China wants it to work.” Over the long term, will the Chinese government want it to work if the Trump administration continues to pursue confrontational policies on almost every issue aside from this deal?”Hubert Tse, partner at Boss & Young law firm in Shanghai, who advises global banks, insurers and financial institutions in China.“The U.S. financial firms are clear winners, it’s a major step-forward for them in China. It’s unimaginable 10 years ago for Wall Street banks and financial institutions to have majority control in China ventures, let alone outright ownership.”Michael Hirson, New York-based practice head for China and northeast Asia at Eurasia Group“If serious frictions do arise – we see this as all but inevitable – will Trump once again raise tariffs on Chinese goods? The president will be somewhat cautious about taking actions that derail phase one, especially ahead of elections. However, his restraint has limits: criticism that he is failing to live up to the enforcement provisions of his deal could sting.”Arthur Kroeber, a founding partner and managing director at research firm Gavekal Dragonomics“Leaving aside the continuing risk to the tech sector, the implausibly high targets for increased U.S. exports to China leave open another source of risk. Under the terms of the deal, if China fails to live up to its commitments, the U.S. is free to reimpose tariffs. If, as is likely, it proves impossible to double U.S. exports to China within the next two years, a renewed trade war could well be a feature of a Trump second term. For the moment, though, it is probably best to enjoy the calm of the storm’s eye for as long as it lasts.”\--With assistance from Kismet Singh, Sharon Cho, Stephen Stapczynski, Miao Han, Jun Luo and Zhang Dingmin.To contact the reporter on this story: Enda Curran in hong kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Malcolm Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jeffrey BlackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Wikipedia is available in Turkey again after a nearly three-year ban.The Turkish government agency in charge of internet technologies lifted the ban after the nation’s top court ruled last month that the restriction violated free speech.A detailed explanation of the court’s ruling was published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday, prompting regulators to restore access to the website.“As access to Wikipedia is still actively being restored across Turkey, some users in Turkey may experience restored access sooner or later than others,'’ the website said in a statementThe site was blocked in April 2017 after Wikipedia refused to remove entries that accused the government of cooperating with terrorist organizations.The Turkish government has blocked access to other popular websites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook in the past, for allegedly promoting terrorist propaganda or insults against Turkish political figures.The limits on free speech have been denounced by opposition parties as well as the European Union and human rights groups.To contact the reporter on this story: Asli Kandemir in Istanbul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stefania Bianchi at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Onur Ant at email@example.com, Amy TeibelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Pinterest (PINS) becomes the third largest social media network, surpassing Snapchat, per a recently released eMarketer Report. The report predicts Pinterest's user growth to continue in 2020.
(Bloomberg) -- The FBI is pressing Apple Inc. to help it break into a terrorist’s iPhones, but the government can hack into the devices without the technology giant, according to experts in cybersecurity and digital forensics.Investigators can exploit a range of security vulnerabilities -- available directly or through providers such as Cellebrite and Grayshift -- to break into the phones, the security experts said.Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the perpetrator of a Dec. 6 terrorist attack at a Navy base in Florida, had an iPhone 5 and iPhone 7, models that were first released in 2012 and 2016, respectively. Alshamrani died and the handsets were locked, leaving the FBI looking for ways to hack into the devices.“A 5 and a 7? You can absolutely get into that,” said Will Strafach, a well-known iPhone hacker who now runs the security company Guardian Firewall. “I wouldn’t call it child’s play, but it’s not super difficult.”That counters the U.S. government’s stance. Attorney General William Barr slammed Apple on Monday, saying the company hasn’t done enough to help the FBI break into the iPhones.Apple in New Clash With U.S. Over Access to Terrorist’s IPhones“We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements,” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday.The comments add to pressure on Apple to create special ways for the authorities to access iPhones. Apple has refused to build such backdoors, saying they would be used by bad actors, too.Indeed, Strafach and other security experts said Apple wouldn’t need to create a backdoor for the FBI to access the iPhones that belonged to Alshamrani.Neil Broom, who works with law enforcement agencies to unlock devices, warned that the software version running on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 7 could make it more difficult to break into the handsets. But it would still be possible.“If the particular phones were at a particular iOS version, it might be as easy as an hour and boom, they are in. But they could be at an iOS version that doesn’t have a vulnerability,” he said.On Tuesday, a Department of Justice spokesman said he didn’t have any update on the government’s efforts to unlock the device. Apple referred to comments it made on Monday.Apple Says It’s Helping FBI Investigate Florida Terrorist AttackStill, new vulnerabilities and exploits are uncovered all the time. Apple and security firms such as Cellebrite play a cat-and-mouse game nowadays. The iPhone maker releases a new device or a new version of its iOS operating system that locks everything down. Then security firms and researchers start probing, and often find ways to hack into the handsets after several months. Those exploits sometimes turn into tools that the FBI and police can use to access data on iPhones.Broom said U.S. agencies work with security firms, including Cellebrite, that would “bend over backwards” to help the government in hopes of winning big contracts.“Our technology is used by thousands of organizations globally to lawfully access and analyze very specific digital data as part of ongoing investigations,” Cellebrite, owned by Japan-based Sun Corp., said in a statement. “As a matter of company policy we do not comment on any ongoing investigations.” In 2016, Bloomberg News reported that Cellebrite helped the FBI break into an iPhone belonging to a shooter behind an attack in San Bernardino, California. The company has declined to confirm its participation.The Behind-the-Scenes Fight Between Apple and the FBIGrayKey is offered by Grayshift, a firm based in Atlanta that counts former Apple software security engineer Braden Thomas among its staff. Grayshift didn’t respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.A new security flaw known as “Checkm8” affects chips in iPhones released between 2011 and 2017, according to Strafach and other researchers. That includes the iPhone 5 and iPhone 7.“With the Checkm8 vulnerability, you should be able to get a forensically sound image of the file system, unless they had a crazy long passphrase,“ Strafach said.The iPhone 7 includes the Secure Enclave, a dedicated chip for storing fingerprint data and other sensitive information on the device, but even that could be breakable, he said.“It’s simply a question of whether the government will pay a contractor to get into these phones,” Strafach added. “If it can’t be done with the Checkm8 vulnerability, they can pay a contractor to do it.”The Checkm8 flaw may support updated hacking tools from Cellebrite. The Israel-based company offers a “UFED Physical Analyzer,” a special “Touch2” tablet and software for PCs called “4PC” to law enforcement agencies and other customers. That all costs about $15,000, according to Broom. There’s often an annual maintenance fee of more than $4,000, too, Broom said.The FBI would likely also need other tools to unlock the iPhones, such as Grayshift’s GrayKey or Cellebrite Premium, a special on-premise service for law enforcement agencies. Those could cost $100,000 to $150,000, according to Broom.“They already have these tools around the country. So they wouldn’t be paying anything more to break into these phones, they could just be waiting for a certain exploit like Checkm8 to become available,” Broom said.Japanese Pinball Maker Tied to IPhone Hack Set for Terror FightOn Monday, Apple said it has provided “all of the information” it has related to the device, via internet-based services such as iCloud.However, some data of potential interest to the FBI would only be available on the iPhones. For instance, iMessage texts are encrypted when stored in the cloud, but they are often readable on the devices.This won’t end the standoff between the FBI and Apple, though.It is becoming more difficult for firms like Cellebrite to hack into iPhones as the devices get more sophisticated, said Yotam Gutman, marketing director at cybersecurity company SentinelOne.Breaking into an iPhone 11, the latest Apple smartphone, would be a lot harder, if not impossible, Strafach said.(Updates with Cellebrite comment in 14th paragraph)\--With assistance from Gwen Ackerman and Amy Thomson.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Jillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Whenever somebody on Twitter takes issue with the network’s rules or content policies, they almost always resort to the same strategy: They send a tweet to @jack.A quick scan of Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey’s mentions show just how often he’s called upon to lay down the law for the service he helped create. But what users don’t know is that they’re imploring the wrong Twitter Inc. executive. While Dorsey is the company’s public face, and the final word on all things product and strategy, the taxing job of creating and enforcing Twitter’s rules don’t actually land on the CEO’s shoulders. Instead, that falls to Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde.As Twitter’s head of legal and policy issues, Gadde has one of the most difficult jobs in technology: Her teams write and enforce the rules for hundreds of millions of internet users. If people break the rules, the offending tweets can be removed, users can be suspended, or in extreme cases booted off Twitter altogether. Dorsey may have to answer for Twitter’s decisions, but he’s taken a hands-off approach to creating and enforcing its content policies.“He rarely weighs in on an individual enforcement decision,” Gadde said in a recent interview. “I can’t even think of a time. I usually go to him and say, ‘this is what’s going to happen.’”That leaves Gadde, 45, as the end of the line when it comes to account enforcement -- a delicate position in a world where Twitter’s rules are both an affront to free speech and an invitation to racists and bigots, depending on who’s tweeting at you. “No matter what we do we’ve been accused of bias,” Gadde said. “Leaving content up, taking content down -- that’s become pretty much background noise.”Like most corporate lawyers, Gadde generally operates in the background herself, though her influence has helped shape Twitter for most of the past decade. A graduate of Cornell University and New York University Law School, Gadde spent almost a decade at a Bay Area-based law firm working with tech startups before she joined the social-media company in 2011. Her eight-plus years at Twitter are about equal to the amount of time Dorsey has worked there over the years.But as Twitter’s role in global politics has increased, so has Gadde’s visibility. She was in the Oval Office when Dorsey met with U.S. President Donald Trump last year, and joined the CEO when he met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2018. When Dorsey posted a photo with the Dalai Lama from that trip, Gadde stood between the two men, holding the Dalai Lama’s hand. InStyle just put her on “The Badass 50,” an annual list of women changing the world. “Vijaya defines the word,” tweeted Twitter Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Berland.When Gadde first joined Twitter, the internet was a different place. At the time, a lot of politicians were just getting familiar with the platform. Trump primarily used his Twitter to share announcements about his TV appearances (though this would quickly change). The official presidential account, @POTUS, wouldn’t even come into existence until 2015, under then-President Barack Obama.When Gadde took over as general counsel in 2013, the social-media service had an “everything goes” mentality. A year prior, one of Twitter’s product managers in the U.K. famously said that Twitter viewed itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party,” a label later repeated by then-CEO Dick Costolo. The company simply “let the tweets flow,” said one former employee.That freedom is part of what drew Gadde to Twitter in the first place. An immigrant from India, Gadde moved to the U.S. as a child and grew up in east Texas, where her dad worked as a chemical engineer on oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, before moving to New Jersey in middle school. “I was the only Indian child most of my education until I went to college,” she says now. “You feel voiceless. And I think that that’s kind of what drew me to Twitter -- this platform that gives you a voice, and gives you a community and gives you power.”Twitter’s commitment to giving everyone a voice, though, has also come with a general reluctance to take it away. Twitter’s decisions in recent years to ban certain users, including conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and far-right media troll Milo Yiannopoulos, were news in part because Twitter’s decisions to act were so uncharacteristic. Gadde acknowledges the change, saying that the company has come to realize in recent years the responsibility it has to protect the safety of its users, including when they’re not using the product. “I would say that the company has shifted its approach dramatically [since I started],” she said.Perhaps no user presents a bigger quagmire for Gadde and her team than Trump, the platform’s most famous user, whose tweets often push the boundaries of Twitter’s rules. The president’s habit of blasting messages to his 70.9 million followers has taken on a new vigor thanks to a looming impeachment trial and re-election bid. Following the U.S. drone strike in early January that killed a top Iranian general, Trump threatened Iran with military force in a number of tweets, including the targeting of cultural sites. That prompted many observers, including some former Twitter employees, to ask why he hadn’t been suspended -- a cycle that has played out several times following other Trump tirades.Last month, Trump attacked his Democratic rivals, blasted Congress over impeachment proceedings, and even mocked teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. According to a USA Today analysis, his tweets contain more negative language than ever. The study looked at whether Trump tweeted words with positive or negative connotations, and found he “is posting fewer tweets with words that convey joy, anticipation and trust, and more that convey anger.” Trump sent or retweeted more than 1,050 messages in December, according to Hootsuite -- more than any other month since taking office.“The way he uses social media is a reflection of just how unusual a candidate, and now a president, Trump is. A big part of that is that he breaks all the rules,” said Patrick Egan, a professor of politics and public policy at New York University. “Something that a lot of people really like about him is that he says the kind of things he’s not supposed to say, and of course that’s exactly the kind of thing that can get you into trouble on social media.”Inside Twitter, Trump’s tweets are a frequent topic of conversation among employees, and Gadde’s authority also means that she has the unique job of punishing the world’s most famous tweeter -- should it ever come to that. “My team has the responsibility to do that with every single individual who uses Twitter, whether it’s the president of a country or it’s an activist or it’s somebody we don’t know,” she said. “I honestly do my best to treat everyone with that same degree of respect.”Twitter has so far decided that Trump hasn’t crossed any lines, but the company is prepared for such a scenario. While it’s unlikely that Twitter would ever suspend a well-known politician – the company also has a newsworthiness policy, which means it’s less likely to take action on tweets from elected officials -- it’s devised another penalty for world leaders: A warning screen unveiled last summer that hides a tweet from public view and limits its distribution, but still allows people to view the tweet with the click of a button. It’s a way to publicly acknowledge that a politician has violated Twitter’s rules while admitting what they said is too newsworthy to be taken down. “It’s preserving a record of what is said in the public interest,” Gadde explained.The process is designed like this: A content moderator, who may be a third-party contractor, reviews a tweet that has been flagged and determines whether it violates Twitter’s rules. If they decide that it does, moderators can usually enforce punishment at this stage, but Twitter requires a second layer of review for offenders who are considered public figures -- in this case, a verified politician with more than 100,000 followers, Gadde said.The tweet is then sent to Twitter’s trust and safety team, and if they also agree that the post violates the rules, Twitter convenes a special group of employees from across the company to review it. This group, about a half-dozen people from various teams, is meant to bring in a diverse set of perspectives, Gadde explained. That panel then makes a recommendation to Del Harvey, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, and her boss, Gadde, for a final decision.Barring some kind of emergency, using the label will ultimately be Gadde’s call. “Vijaya has a young kid still, so she’s very used to being woken up any hour, which is helpful,” Harvey joked to a group of reporters last summer.Gadde won’t go so far as to say the new warning label was created with Trump in mind -- “We try to think of these things globally and not just about the United States,” she said -- but added that even though the screen, referred to internally as the Public Interest Interstitial, hasn’t been used since its debut last June, it will eventually make an appearance. Gadde said Twitter has used the newsworthiness policy a “handful” of times in the past as justification for leaving offending tweets up. But the company didn’t have the warning label back then, so the general public didn’t know anything had even been discussed behind the scenes, she said. “We know it happens, and that it will happen.”Twitter actually pointed to this policy in September 2017 when answering questions about the decision to leave up a tweet from Trump that appeared to threaten North Korea with nuclear war. Twitter also has a policy against threats of violence. A White House spokesman, Steven Groves, declined to answer questions about Trump’s use of Twitter.Historically, Twitter’s rules around free speech have been so lax that a number of celebrities and journalists, including singer Lizzo, actress Millie Bobby Brown and New York Times writer Maggie Haberman, have stepped away from the service -- at least temporarily -- with many citing bullying and harassment. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, a former Democratic candidate for president, thought Twitter’s enforcement weak enough that she implored the company to suspend Trump in a letter in October, saying he uses his account to obstruct justice and intimidate people, including the whistle-blower whose report ultimately led to his impeachment. Twitter responded that Trump’s tweets didn’t break the rules.The newsworthiness exemption gives Twitter a lot of wiggle room when it comes to removing high-profile tweets, but Gadde said the point of the warning label, and the company’s attempt to explain it, are part of a broader effort to be more transparent about how and why the company makes decisions -- something she admits hasn’t always been clear. As Twitter has grown, so has the company’s understanding that it can’t simply sit by and let people tweet whatever they want, Gadde said. It’s one of the many ways her job has evolved over the years.“We’re trying to do so much more of our work in public,” she said. “I want people to trust this platform.”\--With assistance from Jordan Fabian.To contact the reporter on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos got a bitter reception during his India visit this week after the country’s antitrust regulator initiated a formal investigation hours before his arrival and infuriated small store owners demonstrated in the streets.Bezos is in New Delhi for the Smbhav summit, an Amazon India gathering for small and medium businesses, where he announced Amazon will invest a fresh $1 billion to help bring such companies online. He also committed the retail giant to exporting a total of $10 billion of made-in-India goods by 2025.“The 21st century is going to be the Indian century,” the Amazon founder said. “This country has something special: its dynamism. I also predict that the most important alliance in the 21st century will be between India and the United States.”Dressed in blue jeans and a vest echoing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s favorite garment, Bezos lit a ceremonial lamp to inaugurate the summit. A day earlier, he put out a rare tweet to publicize his visit to the Mahatma Gandhi memorial, where he wore a white tunic and a rust-colored Indian vest.Inside Jeff Bezos’s $5 Billion Bet That Amazon Can Win IndiaIndia is arguably Amazon’s most important overseas market and a key growth driver, however the small businesses that the CEO is hoping to endear himself to are organizing in opposition. The Confederation of All India Traders announced that members of its affiliate bodies across the country would stage sit-ins and public rallies in 300 cities to raise a war cry against the world’s largest online retailer.In a letter to Modi last week, the confederation’s Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal alleged that Amazon, much like Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart, was an “economic terrorist” who engaged in predatory pricing that deprived the government of tax revenue and “compelled the closure of thousands of small traders.”Priyadarshini Durairaj, digital marketing officer at Chennai-based Naga Ltd., said she was at Smbhav with an open mind. “Brands like ours,” she said of Naga, which makes and sells pasta on Amazon and other online and offline outlets, “need to understand platforms’ plans and offerings for sellers like us.”India’s e-commerce market is projected to grow to $150 billion by 2022, according to a 2018 report by software industry group Nasscom and consulting firm PwC India. Competition for this rapidly expanding sector is intensifying as Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, prepares to go live with JioMart, an online shopping platform challenging Amazon and Walmart directly. The latter’s Flipkart Online Services Pvt is also delving deeper into the countryside in its pursuit for more customers. Amazon, for its part, opened a huge office complex in the southern city of Hyderabad in September, underscoring its commitment to the country.India Opens Antitrust Probe Into Amazon, Flipkart Amid ProtestsThe Competition Commission of India said it would probe the deep discounts, preferential listings and exclusionary tactics that Amazon and Flipkart are alleged to have used as anti-competitive levers. India’s trader bodies have long argued that both retail giants were flouting rules by promoting sales and discounts through their favored sellers, many of whom they have preexisting commercial arrangements with. The regulator has ordered for the investigation to be completed within two months.“India needs to address the traders’ protests in a responsible manner,” said Durairaj, “They cannot counter deep discount models.”Bezos last visited India in 2014 under starkly different circumstances. During that trip, the Amazon founder wore local festive garb, rode atop a festooned truck for a photo opp and presented Amazon’s Indian unit with a giant check for $2 billion. Since then, Amazon has pledged a further $3.5 billion to expand in the country before today’s announcement of an additional $1 billion, taking the cumulative total to $6.5 billion.(Updates with details of new investment. A previous version of this story misstated the location of Amazon’s office complex, which has been corrected.)To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Vlad Savov, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The last Democratic presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses demonstrated one thing above all: The candidates’ strategists have learned the lesson of every previous campaign in which two leading candidates in a multi-candidate race engaged in serious negative campaigning, only to find both of them destroyed.That was the story, for example, of Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt in 2004, when those two Democrats attacked each other bitterly only to see Massachusetts Senator John Kerry surge from behind to defeat them. Or, perhaps, it’s the lesson to draw from the Republican contest in 2016, when Senator Marco Rubio of Florida self-immolated when he launched strong attacks against Donald Trump before Super Tuesday. Or from the fact that the two candidates who challenged former Vice President Joe Biden most aggressively in several 2019 debates, California Representative Eric Swalwell and ex-Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, Texas, didn't survive.On Tuesday night in Des Moines, Iowa, no one took on Biden, the front-runner. No one really took on anybody. Sure, there were politely framed disagreements on policy questions. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts supported the revised version of the free-trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders opposed it. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota explained why she opposed eliminating private health insurance under a single-payer, government health-care plan while Sanders and Warren made their cases for it. Biden and Klobuchar argued for a continued U.S. military presence in the Middle East, while Sanders and Warren argued for less intervention. But it was never personal, or even especially heated. That was probably the correct political strategy even if it didn’t make for the most thrilling debate.As usual, I’ll avoid proclaiming who “won” the debate. As far as that goes, what matters is what the media collectively decides — which candidates are portrayed as having done well, which clips get shown on the broadcast network morning shows and are highlighted on media Twitter feeds, which politicians get more time on the cable news networks the next day. I do think that each of the five plausible nominees (excluding the sixth Democrat on the Iowa stage, California businessman Tom Steyer, who made little impression) probably did what their campaigns hoped they would do. Sanders showed his enthusiasm for his self-described democratic socialist ideas. Klobuchar drew some contrasts with the others, and continues to be the only debater who regularly uses humor. She also managed (sometimes, at least) to talk like a regular person while also showing skill at deploying pre-programmed zingers, a tricky balance to pull off. Pete Buttigieg, the ex-mayor of South Bend, Indiana, seemed to me to be a bit over-programmed this time, but I suspect he succeeded in showing off the thoughtful moderation that his fans like in him. Biden avoided controversy. Warren? To me, she always sounds like the best current Democratic politician when it comes to singing the liberal songbook, and she was certainly on her game tonight. She was particularly good (and better than Klobuchar) in her defense of the proposition that a woman can win the presidency — an argument she was undoubtedly eager to make after provoking a dust-up with Sanders over the matter of female political potency.What distinguished Tuesday’s debate from others earlier in the campaign was that in the aftermath of the recent Iran crisis, the moderators started with foreign policy and national security and stayed with it for a while. My impression was that Biden and Klobuchar are the only leading contenders who are deeply interested in the topic. Sanders recites slogans and can legitimately brag about being correct about Iraq (and Vietnam, for that matter). Warren can speak coherently on virtually any public policy topic, while Buttigieg can lean heavily on his military record as a naval intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan. But none of those three manages to convey, at least as I hear them, anything like the passion that Sanders and Warren display for domestic policy. What I’d like a better sense of is whether they have command of foreign-affairs detail, but that’s probably too much to ask these stylized debates to deliver.Polling in advance of the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses is predicting a close contest between Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg and Warren, but the state has a history of substantial late swings. Watch carefully in the aftermath of the debate: If the media do settle on a single “winner” over the next couple of days, that could push one of those four to the top — or help Klobuchar gain the support she would need to join the top tier.To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s global image is taking another hit, as smoke from wildfires sweeping the nation disrupts the Australian Open tennis tournament.Practice for the first Grand Slam of 2020 was suspended Wednesday and qualification for the tournament was delayed over air quality concerns. Further decisions on play will be made using on-site data, in collaboration with the tournament’s medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and Victoria state’s environmental protection agency.Air quality in pockets of host-city Melbourne ranked worse than New Delhi and Shanghai on Wednesday, according to the World Air Quality Index. In similar conditions Tuesday, Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupović retired from her match after collapsing to her knees in a coughing fit and Australia’s Bernard Tomic sought medical treatment when he struggled to breath.The Australian Open “should be postponed until the air quality is good,” Yuming Guo, head of the Monash Climate, Air Quality Research (CARE) Unit at Monash University said by phone. Playing in such conditions increases blood pressure, reduces lung function and can sometimes lead to death, he said.Tennis Australia, the organizers of the event, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The fires have burned across an area twice the size of Switzerland while claiming at least 28 lives and destroying thousands of homes, bellowing choking smoke that’s reached as far away as South America. They’ve also pumped out more than half the country’s annual carbon-dioxide emissions, another setback for the fight against climate change.The costs are mounting. Economists estimate the wildfires and associated drought could cut up to half a percentage point off GDP growth as agriculture, tourism and sentiment take a hit. The drag on the economy comes at a time when Australia can ill afford it, with households already reining in spending in response to record-high debt and stagnant real wages.The tournament, one of Australia’s key overseas tourism draw cards, brought in an estimated A$290 million ($200 million) last year with a record 780,000 people through the turnstiles, according to the Victoria state government. And as the tennis wraps up, the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to begin in the same city, an event that drew in more than 320,000 attendees in 2019.To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Burgess in Melbourne at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Johnson at email@example.com, Rebecca JonesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As the gateway for China’s trade with the world for more than 70 years, Hong Kong might be expected to benefit from the phase one deal that Beijing will sign with Washington on Wednesday. Chances are, things won't pan out that way. Consider the $200 billion increase in Chinese imports from the U.S. over the next two years that Washington hopes to see as a result of the agreement. Such a rise would involve nearly doubling inbound trade.That’s difficult, but not impossible. China’s imports of chicken, pork and beef have already been unusually low in recent years due to trade disputes that mostly predated the Trump administration, as we’ve written. Remove barriers to agricultural purchases and Chinese imports from the U.S. could be $35 billion to $53 billion larger, according to a 2018 study by academics at Iowa State University, more than halfway toward the $100 billion-a-year target.It may take a while to ramp farm production up to those levels — on the flip side, however, meat prices this year are likely to be higher than the researchers expected, thanks to the protein gap that’s emerged in China as a result of African Swine Fever. Other sums could be added on top: Returning soybean purchases to pre-trade war levels alone would add $10 billion; ensure the U.S. gets 10% of China’s purchases of crude oil and liquefied natural gas, and you could easily get above $80 billion.After that things get harder. Planes and automobiles might help, but the parlous state of China’s car market and America’s aerospace champion puts question marks over both. That’s where Hong Kong comes in. America’s largest trade surplus with any economy is with the port city, largely thanks to its role as an entrepot. About $10 billion of Hong Kong’s imports from the U.S. are only pausing in the city en route to the mainland, and are Chinese imports in all but name. Beijing has considered re-routing that trade through mainland ports to plug the gap in the target, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News last month. Things have already been heading in this direction for several years. In the mid-2000s, Hong Kong still vied with Singapore for the title of the world’s busiest container port before Shanghai pulled ahead in 2007, followed by Shenzhen in 2013, Ningbo in 2015, then Guangzhou and Qingdao in 2018. Tianjin may follow any day, driving Hong Kong to the edge of the top 10 global ports. Xiamen, which is deepening its ship channel to take the largest container vessels, may be next.The push by U.S. trade negotiators to further liberalize China’s economy, if anything, may be accelerating this shift. Cabotage laws have traditionally banned foreign-flagged vessels from carrying goods between mainland ports, even if the ship owner is Chinese. Moving a container between, say, Tianjin and Shenzhen is often easier and cheaper if it stops at a “foreign” port such as Hong Kong or Busan in South Korea, giving those cities a crucial role as transshipment points into China.That’s changing, though: Shanghai won an exemption from the cabotage regulations in 2013, and now the government is reported to be considering further opening up the coastal trade amid lobbying from other ports. Under the latest revision of China’s foreign investment catalog in July, even entirely foreign-owned shipping companies are allowed to carry out domestic trade. On paper, the market for coastal shipping in China is now considerably more open than it is in the U.S.All of that represents a profound challenge not just to Hong Kong’s status as a port, but to the city’s very economic model. Trading and logistics is one of the “four pillars” of Hong Kong’s economy, accounting for about one-fifth of the economy and total jobs — a larger slice of value-add and employment than financial services, as my colleague Nisha Gopalan has written.The trading business depends on its connectivity — something which in turn is heavily related to volumes. If total traffic through Hong Kong keeps declining, port charges remain high, and coastal shipping moves more and more to other harbors, the industry that has kept the city’s working class employed through the decline of manufacturing will be staring at irrelevance.To contact the author of this story: David Fickling at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Rachel Holt, one of the first employees at Uber Technologies Inc. who rose to become one of the most powerful women at the company, is leaving to start a venture capital firm.Holt is teaming up with Dayna Grayson, a venture capitalist from New Enterprise Associates, to create the new firm, Construct Capital. Both women announced the moves on Twitter but didn’t offer details such as the target fund size. Neither responded to requests for comment.The new firm increases the representation of women in venture capital, an industry dominated by men who bankroll startups mostly led by men. Just 12% of startup investment firms in the U.S. have women in decision-making roles with the power to write checks, according to a report by industry research firm PitchBook and advocacy group All Raise. Female venture partners are twice as likely to invest in startups with at least one female founder and more than three times as likely to back startups with female chief executive officers, the report noted.Holt joined Uber in 2011 and later managed the North American ride-hailing business. Most recently, she led development of new mobility projects, such as electric bicycle and scooter rentals. Her departure to start a VC firm was reported earlier Tuesday by news site Axios.In a statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called Holt’s departure “bittersweet.” Dennis Cinelli, an Uber executive who also did a stint at scooter startup Bird Rides Inc., will take over Holt’s role on an interim basis while Khosrowshahi searches for a replacement, a spokesman said.To contact the reporter on this story: Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s highest court ruled President Martin Vizcarra acted constitutionally when he dissolved Congress last year, clearing up doubts about the legality of the move less than two weeks before the election of a new legislature.The seven-member Constitutional Court voted 4-3 to reject a lawsuit filed by opposition lawmakers who said the dissolution was illegal, according to video broadcast via the court’s social media Tuesday. All justices agreed that the election of a new Congress must go ahead as scheduled on Jan. 26.Vizcarra shut down Congress on Sept. 30 and called a fresh vote following months of political gridlock as his administration sparred with the opposition-controlled legislature over measures to fight corruption. A series of graft scandals implicating former presidents, judges and lawmakers has roiled the country over the past few years. The dissolution of Congress, the country’s least popular institution, sent Vizcarra’s approval rating soaring, though opposition parties labeled the move a “coup.”Court President Marianella Ledesma said the dissolution of Congress was a “traumatic” event in the country’s political life, though she considered the move constitutional.Vizcarra said dissolving Congress eased political tension and helped avoid the sort of mass unrest that’s affected neighboring countries in recent months.Read More: As Crisis Rocks Latin America, Peru Is an Island of Uneasy CalmAn adverse ruling might have encouraged lawmakers to investigate Vizcarra for dissolving the last Congress. Some former lawmakers seeking re-election say he should be impeached.Four of the seven justices said Vizcarra was entitled to dissolve Peru’s unicameral Congress after his cabinet lost a no-confidence vote.Justices will have one week to draft a document explaining their vote, Ledesma said.(Adds result of vote in second paragraph, justice’s comment in fourth)To contact the reporter on this story: John Quigley in Lima at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at email@example.com, Bruce Douglas, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Yahoo Finance speaks at length about the future of retail and the cloud business in an exclusive interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Grindr is sharing detailed personal data with thousands of advertising partners, allowing them to receive information about users’ location, age, gender and sexual orientation, a Norwegian consumer group said.The service -- described as the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people -- gave user data to third parties involved in advertising and profiling, according to a report by the Norwegian Consumer Council that was released Tuesday. Twitter Inc. ad subsidiary MoPub was used as a mediator for the data sharing and passed personal data to third parties, the report said.“Every time you open an app like Grindr, advertisement networks get your GPS location, device identifiers and even the fact that you use a gay dating app,” said Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems. “This is an insane violation of users’ EU privacy rights.”The consumer group and Schrems’s privacy organization have filed three complaints against Grindr and five adtech companies to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority for breaching European data protection regulations. Schrems’s group Noyb will file similar complaints with the Austrian DPA in the coming weeks, according to the statement.Match Group Inc.’s popular dating apps OkCupid and Tinder LLC share data with each other and other brands owned by the company, the research found. OkCupid gave information pertaining to customers’ sexuality, drug use and political views, to the analytics company Braze Inc., the organization said.In a statement, Grindr said “while we reject a number of the report’s assumptions and conclusions, we welcome the opportunity to be a small part in a larger conversation about how we can collectively evolve the practices of mobile publishers and continue to provide users with access to an option of a free platform.”A spokeswoman for Match Group said OkCupid uses Braze to manage communications to its users, but that it only shared “the specific information deemed necessary” and “in line with the applicable laws including GDPR and CCPA.” Braze also said it didn’t sell personal data, nor share it between customers. Twitter is investigating the issue to “understand the sufficiency of Grindr’s consent mechanism” and has disabled the company’s MoPub account, a representative said.European consumer group BEUC urged national regulators to “immediately” investigate online advertising companies over possible violations of the bloc’s data protection rules, following the Norwegian report. It’s also written to European Commission executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager to take action.“The report provides compelling evidence about how these so-called ad-tech companies collect vast amounts of personal data from people using mobile devices, which advertising companies and marketeers then use to target consumers,” BEUC said in an emailed statement. This happens “without a valid legal base and without consumers knowing it.”The European Union’s data protection law, GDPR, came into force in 2018 setting rules for what websites can do with user data. It mandates that companies must get unambiguous consent to collect information from visitors. The most serious violations can lead to fines of as much as 4% of a company’s global annual sales.Where Tech Giants Are Getting Slapped Over Privacy: QuickTakeIt’s part of a broader push across Europe to crack down on companies that fail to protect customer data. In January last year, Alphabet Inc.’s Google received a fine of 50 million euros ($56 million) from France’s privacy regulator following a complaint by Schrems over the company’s privacy policies. Prior to GDPR, the French watchdog levied maximum fines of 150,000 euros.The U.K. threatened Marriott International Inc. with a 99 million-pound ($128 million) fine in July following a hack of its reservation database, just days after the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office proposed handing a 183.4 million-pound penalty to British Airways in the wake of a data breach.Schrems has for years taken on large tech companies’ use of personal information, including filing lawsuits challenging the legal mechanisms Facebook Inc. and thousands of other companies use to move that data across borders.He’s become even more active since GDPR kicked in, filing privacy complaints against companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc., accusing them of breaching the bloc’s strict data protection rules. The complaints are also a test for national data protection authorities, who are obliged to examine them.In addition to the European complaints, a coalition of nine U.S. consumer groups urged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of California, Texas and Oregon to open investigations.“All of these apps are available to users in the U.S. and many of the companies involved are headquartered in the U.S.,” groups including the Center for Digital Democracy and the Electronic Privacy Information Center said in a letter to the FTC. They asked the agency to look into whether the apps have upheld their privacy commitments.(Updates with FTC complaint from U.S. consumer groups in last two paragraphs)\--With assistance from Stephanie Bodoni and Ben Brody.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Syed in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at email@example.com;Nate Lanxon in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.com, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Talks to end Libya’s civil war broke down after the commander leading the monthslong assault on the capital left without signing a proposed truce agreement, throwing open the door to a possible renewal of fighting and deeper foreign intervention.A diplomatic flurry went into high gear. Talks co-sponsor Russia said commander Khalifa Haftar, only left Moscow to consult with backers, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an international conference on Libya would go ahead on Sunday as announced.But the president of Turkey, which joined with Russia to broker the negotiations in Moscow, had more menacing words for the recalictrant Haftar, whose militia is allied with one of Libya’s two rival governments.“If attacks on the legitimate government of Libya continue, we will never refrain from teaching a lesson to Haftar,” Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party.Erdogan, who supports Libya’s internationally recognized administration, also threw down the gauntlet to Haftar’s backer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, demanding he act to nail down the truce.“We did our part, it is up to Putin and his team now,” he said.The collapse of talks, which took place as a provisional cease-fire was shakily holding around the capital, Tripoli, was the latest in a long list of failed attempts to secure agreement between the country’s warring parties.That may help to explain the lack of an impact on oil markets, even though Libya holds Africa’s largest proven crude reserves. Benchmark Brent crude was trading up 1% in London on Tuesday, after falling 1.2% the previous day, as tension surrounding the confrontation between the U.S. and Iran eased.Increasingly ProminentThe Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that Haftar “welcomed” the draft agreement signed by the United Nations-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, but took two days to discuss it with allied tribes before signing it. An agreement in principle was reached to extend the temporary cease-fire that took effect over the weekend, the statement said.It wasn’t clear what Haftar objected to, but Sarraj had demanded that he retreat to lines his forces held before the offensive on Tripoli began nine months ago. Russia and Turkey, which had assumed increasingly assertive roles in the Libyan conflict as they jockey for influence in the Mediterranean, had brought Libya’s feuding leaders to the talks after concluding the intervention was too costly.Russian mercenaries back Haftar’s forces, as do Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Former colonial power Italy also has a military training mission numbering several hundred troops, and on Tuesday, its premier didn’t rule out enlarging it. Turkish soldiers are training forces loyal to Sarraj, and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have also joined the fray.There has been no immediate signal from Russia that it would withdraw support from Haftar following his rejection of the proposed accord. Speaking in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, Lavrov said Moscow and Ankara “will continue our efforts” to secure an agreement.Years of TurmoilRussia and Turkey pushed the fighting parties to accept the cease-fire as Libya endured its worst violence since the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of Muammar Qaddafi, which ushered in years of instability that divided the country between rival administrations.Haftar is a former Qaddafi-era military officer who later fell out with the autocratic leader and went into exile in the U.S. He returned to Libya after the start of the uprising and in 2014 launched a military campaign with the declared aim of routing Islamist extremists in the country’s east.His Libyan National Army then moved on to take control of key oil facilities and gained an upper hand in Libya’s south before moving on Tripoli, seeking to oust the prime minister, whose government has struggled to assert itself over much of the country.Haftar launched the offensive on Tripoli, which has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced tens of thousands, as the UN was laying the ground for a political conference to unite the country.Berlin MeetingRussian government adviser Vitaly Naumkin said Haftar’s rejection of the deal “is not a total collapse.” Both sides are interested in going to the Berlin conference “with as strong a position as possible,” state news service RIA Novosti cited him as saying.The meeting in Berlin is meant to secure an agreement to keep foreign powers out of the conflict. Invitations have been sent out to the warring leaders, their backers and international groupings including the UN, the German government press office said.Libya is a gateway for migrants destined for Europe, so the European Union is desperate for a settlement to help ease political tensions across the bloc over rising anti-immigrant sentiment.\--With assistance from Mohammed Abdusamee, Salma El Wardany, Henry Meyer and Firat Kozok.To contact the reporters on this story: Samer Khalil Al-Atrush in Tunis at firstname.lastname@example.org;Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara at email@example.com;Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at email@example.com, Amy Teibel, Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Nintendo Co. fans can soon experience a life-sized video game via a new attraction at Universal Studios Japan.Super Nintendo World is slated to open this summer in Osaka, featuring a Power Up Band wearable that lets visitors collect coins and battle bosses while exploring a physical environment. Users track their progress via a smartphone app, according to the theme park operator owned by NBCUniversal LLC.“Super Nintendo World will provide an experience you cannot have anywhere else,” USJ Chief Executive Officer J. L. Bonnier said at a briefing in Osaka on Tuesday. He wouldn’t divulge further details about rides or other digital offerings, or when they will be available.Little is known about the attraction, which amounts to a mini theme park developed with Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. Universal Studios hinted it will follow classic Nintendo game themes, revolving around a mission to recover a golden mushroom stolen by Bowser Jr., a perennial Mario antagonist. The attraction will also house familiar game locations including the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario Kart, Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Fortress. Super Nintendo World will also make it to the operator’s parks in Hollywood, Orlando and Singapore, though no dates are available.Nintendo’s late President, Satoru Iwata, first announced plans for a theme park in May 2015 as part of a broader opening-up of the company’s iconic characters for use beyond its own devices. At the time, the move prompted speculation that the Kyoto-based game maker may follow Walt Disney Co.’s strategy when it comes to maximizing the value of their intellectual properties. Since then, Nintendo has launched a number of smartphone games, including a free-to-play version of the Mario Kart franchise, but making hit titles exclusive to its own hardware is still the core business.To contact the reporters on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Yuki Furukawa in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.