|Bid||38.55 x 1800|
|Ask||38.79 x 3200|
|Day's range||37.94 - 38.97|
|52-week range||26.19 - 45.26|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||0.11|
|PE ratio (TTM)||22.41|
|Earnings date||26 Jul 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||39.87|
The Dashboard Act would require companies with over 100 million users to disclose the value of their data and would allow users to request the deletion of the data that companies collect on them. Chris Miglino, CEO of SRAX explains that his company is doing what The Dashboard Act plans to do right now.
Twitter's website is getting a major overhaul. The upgraded experience simplifies navigation with a new -- and fairly large -- left-hand sidebar that directs you to all of Twitter's key sections, including Notifications, Direct Messages, Explore, Bookmarks, Lists, and more. The popular dark modes, Dim and the very black Lights Out mode, are now supported along with more ways to personalize Twitter through different themes and color options.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In part of his latest Twitter barrage, President Donald Trump has been accusing four first-term congresswomen of infecting the Democratic Party with anti-Israel bias. His rant has left Israelis scratching their heads.Referring to Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, four women of color collectively known as “the Squad,” Trump accuses the Democrats of using “foul language & racist hatred” in an effort to delegitimize the Jewish State. “I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.,” he tweets.Nothing could be further from the truth. Israel has never felt less abandoned by the U.S. and Trump knows it. He is, after all, the president whose policies have turned America’s historic bi-partisan embrace into a big bear hug. Like most Israelis, I appreciate Trump’s willingness to stand up for Israel in international forums, his decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan and the long overdue relocation the American embassy to Jerusalem. I approve of his disinclination to fall for the Palestinian narrative of the conflict at face value.But it seems the president would like to foment a civil war among Democrats, using Israel as a wedge. Donald Trump knows full well that the Democratic Party is not about to turn into a hotbed of leftist anti-Semitism and Israel bashing like Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Yes, they tend to be more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than do Republicans. But, according to the latest Gallup Poll, Americans in general prefer Israel to the Palestinians by a 3-to-1 margin. This simple arithmetic explains why Congressional party leaders are solidly pro-Israel. You can’t win a national election in the U.S. by running against Jerusalem. And if Democrats are not great fans of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, you can hardly blame them. Bibi is a Republican in all but party registration. But if opposing Netanyahu and his right-wing brand of politics is a hate crime, nearly half of Israeli voters – and two-thirds of American rabbis – would be guilty. In truth, criticism of Israel by Democrats is usually undertaken in a tone of a wise friend advising a misguided mate to steer clear of temptation. This was the tone used by former President Barack Obama when he advised Israel to accept the U.S.-brokered Iran nuclear treaty and a two-state agreement with the Palestinians. Mainstream Democratic critics do not customarily go beyond this warmed over version of party doctrine. This has frustrated Trump, which is why he has so eagerly jumped on the Squad. “So sad,” he tweets, “to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion.”A fair reading of the Squad’s criticisms of Israel does not come close to revealing passionate hatred. If you want to see what that looks like, read the recent statement of a Hamas leader in Gaza calling on his followers to murder Jews wherever they are found. The anti-Israel rhetoric of Tlaib and Omar is more militant than that of their progressive sisters, but none have come close to expressing open support of Palestinian terrorism or for the genocidal threats by the regime in Tehran. When they have gone beyond the boundaries of good taste or credibility (Omar intimating that American Jews are loyal to Israel, Tlaib falsely claiming that Palestinians welcomed Jewish holocaust survivors in 1948) they have pleaded ignorance or fudged their remarks. Trump wants more -- and less. In one of his tweets, he called for the progressives to apologize to Israelis. This is intended to provoke an intraparty donnybrook. Israel has no interest in that, any more than it requires an apology from the congresswomen. Nothing they say about this country will be any worse than the things you can hear in Israel’s own legislature, the Knesset, every day.To contact the author of this story: Zev Chafets at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Therese Raphael at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Zev Chafets is a journalist and author of 14 books. He was a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and the founding managing editor of the Jerusalem Report Magazine.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- California Senator Kamala Harris raised $11.8 million in the second quarter, putting her fifth in fundraising among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.Harris reported that 45 percent of her contributions came from low-dollar donors of $200 or less, and she spent $7.4 million during the quarter, leaving her $13.3 million cash on hand as of the end of June, according to her filing.South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the surprise leader with $24.9 million after beginning his campaign with little name recognition, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.The California senator’s campaign said it had raised $2 million after her appearance in the Democratic debate on June 27, when she challenged Biden over his record on school desegregation as a Delaware senator in the 1970s. Her campaign said she raised $3.2 million in the final three days of the quarter.Biden’s Fundraising Haul Trails Only Buttigieg’sFormer Vice President Joe Biden raised $22 million in his first two months in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, lagging the $24.9 million in second-quarter fundraising reported by upstart South Bend, Indiana Mayor Peter Buttigieg.Biden’s report with the Federal Election Commission showed that 38% of his contributions came from small-dollar donors of $200 or less. The frontrunner raised more money per day than any rival, his campaign said when it announced his fundraising numbers July 3. He spent about half of his contributions -- leaving him with $10.9 million cash on hand at the end of June, according to his FEC report.Biden, who kicked off his campaign on April 25, didn’t take any contributions toward the general election -- which campaigns can accept and hold in reserve, according to his campaign. He also reported contribution refunds of more than $540,000.Big Donors Help Fuel Trump Second-Quarter Fundraising SurgePresident Donald Trump’s campaign and joint fundraising committees reported raising a total of $68 million in the second quarter, and ended June with $80.2 million in the bank, as bigger donations began to supplant Trump’s small-dollar support, according to their filings with the Federal Election Commission.Grassroots donors, those contributing $200 or less, supplied 35% of Trump’s haul, down from 56% in January-March. Small-dollar donations totaled $23.7 million to the three committees, with the bulk, $19.5 million, received by Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which benefits the president’s campaign and the Republican party.The $108 million figure reported earlier Monday included money raised by the Republican National Committee, which doesn’t report its fundraising to the FEC until Saturday.Trump Victory, which focuses on big donors, raised $29.1 million, just shy of $30.2 million Trump MAGA tallied. Joseph Nakash, chief executive officer and co-founder of Jordache Enterprises, donated $250,000, the biggest political contribution he’s made and his first to Trump. Billionaire Phil Ruffin gave $255,200 while his wife, Oleksandra Nikolyenko-Ruffin, gave $244,800. Marvel Entertainment chairman Isaac Perlmutter and his wife, Laura, each gave $360,000.Longtime GOP donors supported Trump as well. Roofing supply billionaire Diane Hendricks gave $360,000 as did Marlene Ricketts, wife of TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts. Trump’s first pick to head the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, gave the same amount, as did Robert “Woody” Johnson IV, the current U.S. ambassador to the U.K.Some of that money was earmarked for the Republican National Committee. The RNC announced it raised $51.3 million.Buttigieg Money Haul in Second Quarter Tops Democratic RivalsPete Buttigieg raised $24.9 million in the second quarter, the most of any candidate who has announced fund-raising totals for the period, and had $22.7 million cash on hand as of June 30 to cement his status as a top-tier 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.The fundraising haul more than tripled the amount the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, raised in the first quarter, in which he reported $7.4 million in campaign donations, according to his finance report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.Buttigieg’s campaign held 70 fundraisers in the second quarter, most of which focused on high-dollar donors. But he also staged events catered to grassroots supporters and generated 44 percent of his total contributions from small-dollar donors of $200 or less, according to his reportHollywood Women Donate to Warren Who Swears Off Big DonorsElizabeth Warren is attracting a host of big names in Hollywood -- even though she swore off taking money from big donors.Entertainers Jane Fonda, Scarlett Johanssen, Bette Midler and Barbra Streisandeach gave the Massachusetts senator $2,800 -- the maximum amount a donor can give to a primary campaign. Comedian Amy Schumer gave $5,600, including an additional $2,800 for the general election, should Warren win the nomination. Prolific Democratic bundler Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks Animation and his wife Marilyn Katzenberg each gave Warren got $2,800 checks.Still, small-dollar donors, those giving $200 or less, fueled 67% of Warren’s fundraising. That was just behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who got 70% of his haul from grassroots donors in the second quarter.Beto O’Rourke’s Fundraising Collapses as Poll Numbers RecedeFormer Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke’s fundraising dwindled to $3.6 million in the second quarter from $9.4 million in the early days of his presidential run, his campaign said, when he seemed like a rising star.Unlike other top 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, O’Rourke waited until Monday’s filing deadline to disclose his figures -- fueling speculation that the numbers wouldn’t be good. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden reported early second-quarter fundraising totals of $24.8 million and $21.5 million, respectively.O’Rourke’s campaign said he received 119,888 donations with an average contribution of $30. He has met the 130,000 unique donor requirement for the fall primary debates set by the Democratic National Committee. However, his poll numbers dropped before and after a shaky performance in the June 26 debate and stand at less than 3% in recent surveys compiled by RealClearPolitics.Sanders’ Money Haul Slips in June, Claims He Has ‘More People’Senator Bernie Sanders had $27.3 million cash on hand at the end of June after raising $18 million for his Democratic presidential bid in the second quarter, slipping to fourth place from his perch as the biggest fund raiser among the 2020 contenders, according to totals the candidates have announced and campaign reports.The Vermont senator got almost 70 percent of his contributions from small-dollar donors of $200 or less, according to his report filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission, and almost all of the contributors gave $100 or less, his campaign said. Sanders also transferred $6 million from other accounts during the period.Sanders’s total roughly matched what he took in between January 1 and March 31, which had him leading the pack of Democratic candidates then in the race. But this time he’s trailing Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.Sanders’s campaign sought Monday to differentiate his fundraising from that of his rivals, saying in an email to supporters that he’s backed by contributors that are teachers, students and workers at Walmart, while other Democrats are being funded by pharmaceutical executives, lobbyists, hedge-fund managers and “many of the people we are fighting against.”“The truth is, those folks out-raised us by a bit this time around,” the campaign said in the email. “But there’s a limit to the number of rich folks out there who can give large donations to beat us. They may have the big checks, but we have more people.”Warren’s Second Quarter Fundraising Puts Her in Third PlaceElizabeth Warren raised $19.1 million in the second quarter, putting her in third place behind Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to totals the candidates have announced and campaign reports filed so far.Warren, who spent $10.5 million in the quarter, still had $19.8 million cash on hand as of June 30. Warren’s second-quarter funds came from 384,000 people, 67% of whom were small-dollar donors of $200 or less, according to her campaign and filing with the Federal Election Commission. Her fundraising surged from the $6 million the Massachusetts senator raised in the first quarter, when she spent $5.2 million.The senator’s intake compared with the surprise $24.8 million haul by Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who began his campaign with little name recognition. Biden, the former vice president, raised $21.5 million since entering the race in late April.Biden Leads Close Contest in New HampshireA new survey of New Hampshire Democrats finds former Vice President Joe Biden in a close contest for the lead with Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.Biden had 20.8%, Harris had 17.5% and Warren had 16.7% in the poll conducted by St. Anselm College. All the results were within the margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points, meaning the three candidates are in a statistical tie.Behind them was South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 11.5%. Senator Bernie Sanders had 9.9% in New Hampshire, which he won in the 2016 primary.The poll suggests that the first-in-the-nation primary is wide open as Harris and Warren gain on front-runner Biden after strong debate performances.Former Representative Beto O’Rourke plummeted to 0%, according to WMUR, which reported on the survey.Gillibrand Fundraising Dipped to $2.3 MillionDemocratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand took in $2.3 million in the second quarter, down from $3 million in the first three months of the year, according to her filing with the Federal Election Commission.The New York senator, who has struggled in the polls since entering the race, ended June with $8.2 million in the bank after spending a total of $4.2 million. In addition to the money she’s raised for her presidential bid, she transferred $9.6 million from her Senate campaign in the first quarter.Gillibrand’s campaign said in an email that 65% of its online donors identified as women. The campaign said it is still on pace to hit the 130,000 donors needed to qualify for the third set of debates in September. -- Bill Allison and Mark NiquetteJulian Castro Raises $2.8M in Second QuarterFormer Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, hoping to emerge in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field after a strong debate performance last month, reported raising $2.8 million during the second quarter -- more than double the $1.1 million he raised in the first three months of the year.That still puts him well behind the Democrats who have announced their second-quarter totals so far: South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at $24.8 million and former Vice President Joe Biden at $21.5 million.Castro’s filing with the Federal Election Commission showed that almost 75% of his contributions came from donors giving $200 or less. He reported $1.1 million in the bank as of June 30. Monday is the deadline for presidential candidates and committees to report their second-quarter fundraising and spending. -- Bill AllisonTrump, RNC Raise $108M in Second QuarterPresident Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $108 million and have $123.7 million cash on hand, according to revised figures announced Monday. That’s more than the top five Democratic campaigns combined.“Yet another record-shattering fundraising haul gives us a major advantage over the crowded field of Democrats as the RNC continues investing in our world-class field program and growing our incredible grassroots army,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.Trump’s campaign committee and two joint fundraising vehicles, Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again, raised a combined $56.7 million, and ended June with $80.2 million in the bank. The RNC brought in $51.3 million, preliminary numbers showed, with $43.5 million in the bank.The top five Democrats running to replace Trump -- former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised a combined $95.4 million so far.Candidates must officially report second-quarter fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission on Monday. Campaigns voluntarily announce the amounts they raised ahead of the deadline as a demonstration of the extent of support.Last week, the Trump campaign announced fundraising figures of $105 million for the second quarter and $100 million cash on hand.Trump’s campaign had over 957,000 individual donations, of which 98% were $200 or less, with an average donation of $41.48. -- Bill AllisonDemocrats Support Work Stop by Amazon WorkersDemocratic presidential candidates are supporting a work stoppage by Amazon warehouse workers in Minnesota who are protesting working conditions during the online retailing giant’s Prime Day sale.“I fully support Amazon workers’ Prime Day strike,” tweeted Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts senator who has proposed breaking up Amazon. “Their fight for safe and reliable jobs is another reminder that we must come together to hold big corporations accountable.”Julian Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development secretary from Texas, also took to Twitter to express solidarity. “A company worth $1 trillion can absolutely afford to provide reasonable conditions for its employees,” he wrote.Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has co-sponsored legislation that would tax Amazon, Walmart Inc. and other big employers to compensate for the federal benefits received by their workers, also jumped in.After the bill was introduced last year, Amazon announced that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.“A higher wage is only one component of the fight for workers’ rights,” Sanders wrote Monday. “Amazon workers deserve safe working conditions, fair scheduling, and reasonable production demands.”Workers at Amazon’s Shakopee, Minnesota, warehouse -- one of 100 sorting and fulfillment centers it operates nationally -- planned to walk off the job Monday on one the company’s busiest days. Amazon has become a frequent target of Democratic candidates, who have used it as an emblem of income inequality. -- Gregory KorteTrump Crushes Democratic Contenders on TwitterRetweets are not endorsements, and neither are Twitter followers. But if they were, President Donald Trump would be winning the Twitter primary.Nineteen percent of adult Twitter users in the U.S. follow @realDonaldTrump on Twitter, compared to 14% who follow one or more of his Democratic rivals, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.Perhaps not surprisingly, more Republicans (31%) follow Trump than Democrats (13%). And those who follow Trump on Twitter are more likely to approve of his job performance (54% approval) than those who don’t (24%).One defining characteristic of Trump’s tweets is that he often uses the social media platform to make inflammatory or controversial statements. Over the weekend and into Monday, for example, he let loose a torrent of posts going after four Democratic lawmakers of color, at one point suggesting that the women, all but one of whom was born in the U.S., should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”The Pew analysis is based on a representative sample of U.S.-based Twitter users and doesn’t include overseas, spam or bot accounts. Trump has 61.9 million Twitter followers in all. The top candidate for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has 9.4 million. -- Greg KorteDemocratic Field Turns Out for Iowa AARP ForumsNineteen Democratic presidential candidates descend on Iowa this week for five days of forums hosted by the AARP and the Des Moines Register.“Older voters turn out in force in every election, so any candidate who wants to win in 2020 needs to focus on soaring prescription drug prices and other issues they care about,” John Hishta, senior vice president of campaigns for the lobbying group for older Americans, said in a statement.Monday: former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in Des Moines.Tuesday: Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, and former HUD secretary Julian Castro in Davenport.Wednesday: Representatives Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard, and Senator Michael Bennet in Cedar Rapids.Friday: Senator Elizabeth Warren, author Marianne Williamson, former Representative Beto O’Rourke and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang in Sioux City.Saturday: Senator Bernie Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in Council Bluffs.\-- Tyler PagerO’Rourke Reveals His Family Owned SlavesDemocratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who’s said he supports studying reparations for African Americans as a means of addressing the legacy of slavery and legal discrimination, now says the issue has become personal. His ancestors include slave owners.In a new Medium essay, O’Rourke said his great-great-great grandfather Andrew Cowan Jasper, in the 1850s owned two women named Rosa and Eliza, according to documents he was recently given. Another ancestor, Frederick Williams, “most likely” owned slaves in the 1860s, O’Rourke said, adding that his wife, Amy, is also a descendant of a slave owner.“Something that we’ve been thinking about and talking about in town hall meetings and out on the campaign -- the legacy of slavery in the United States -- now has a much more personal connection,” the former U.S. representative from El Paso, Texas, said in the post dated Sunday.The revelation follows an NBC News report citing U.S. Census records that found Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also a descendant of slave owners. McConnell said he opposes government reparations because slavery “happened 150 years ago” and nobody living today is responsible.O’Rourke looks at the situation differently. “They were able to build wealth on the backs and off the sweat of others,” and those benefits ultimately passed to O’Rourke and his own children, he said. -- Terrence DoppSanders, Biden Intensify Fight Over Health Care (6 a.m.)Democrats are headed into a week of sparring over health care as two leading presidential contenders prepare to intensify their fight over the issue.On Monday, front-runner Joe Biden will unveil a plan that relies heavily on defending the Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010 when he was vice president. It would give Americans the choice of a Medicare-like, public option for insurance while increasing the value of tax credits, lowering the cap on the cost of insurance and offering coverage to 4.9 million Americans in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under Obamacare. the proposal would cost an estimated $750 billion in its first decade.Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who champions a “Medicare for All” government-run insurance system, plans a Wednesday speech in Washington to “confront the Democratic opponents of Medicare for All and directly challenge the insurance and drug industry.”After months of maintaining a steady grip on second place behind Biden in polls, Sanders has slid to third or fourth in some surveys, and his advisers have encouraged him to take on Biden more directly.Biden, seeking to move past missteps in the past few weeks, has become increasingly aggressive in warning that Medicare for All – also supported by two other top rivals, Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren – would mean giving up on the hard-fought gains of Obamacare and starting from scratch.“I admire the rest of the field, from Bernie to Elizabeth to Kamala who want, you know, Medicare for All, but let me tell you, I think one of the most significant things we’ve done in our administration is pass the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said Saturday in New Hampshire. “I don’t know why we’d get rid of what in fact is working and move to something totally new.”Biden also highlighted over the weekend that Medicare for All would need to be funded with tax increases for middle-income Americans, something that Sanders openly acknowledges. But Sanders maintains that his plan would ultimately save consumers money because they’d no longer have to pay other costs.“Obviously what Biden was doing is what the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries, Republicans, do: ignoring the fact that people will save money on their health care,” Sanders said in an interview with the New York Times published Sunday. “They will no longer have to pay premiums or out-of-pocket expenses. They will no longer have high deductibles and high co-payments.” -- Jennifer EpsteinCory Booker Unveils Health Care PlanSenator Cory Booker rolled out a plan Monday to expand Medicaid long-term care services to those with assets up to $200,000 and income as high as 300% of the federal poverty level.People above those thresholds would also be allowed to buy into the program, an initiative aimed at allowing every American to live at home while aging, according to a white paper from his presidential campaign.The proposal, which Booker is set to discuss at an AARP forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, would include raising Medicaid funding for direct care workers and paying them at least $15 per hour.“In one of the richest nations in the world, no person should ever go broke or have to quit their job to afford long-term care or to take care of a loved one,” Booker said.Health care is a focal point of the Democratic policy debate as candidates clash over bigger ideas like Medicare for all and offering a “public option” for insurance, both of with Booker has endorsed as ways to expand coverage. -- Sahil KapurComing Up This Week:Nineteen of the two dozen or so Democratic candidates will participate in AARP’s five forums in Iowa between Monday and Saturday.The Tuesday event in Davenport will feature Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, and former HUD secretary Julian Castro.The Wednesday event in Cedar Rapids will feature Representatives Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard, and Senator Michael Bennet.The Friday event in Sioux City will feature Senator Elizabeth Warren, author Marianne Williamson, former Representative Beto O’Rourke and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.The Saturday event in Council Bluffs will feature Senator Bernie Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.\--With assistance from Sahil Kapur, Jennifer Epstein, Terrence Dopp, Tyler Pager, Gregory Korte and Bill Allison.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at firstname.lastname@example.org;Bill Allison in Washington DC at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sara Forden, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Meredith Whittaker, who helped lead employee protests at Google over the search giant’s military work, artificial intelligence and policies, is leaving the company.A Google spokeswoman confirmed Whittaker’s departure after another Google worker tweeted about the move on Monday. Whittaker didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment."Today is @mer__edith’s final day at Google. Watching her experience as a whistleblower at Google and a victim of retaliation cannot signal good things for how AI institutions will react to negative criticism. NotOkGoogle," Chris Lu, a software engineer at Google, wrote on Twitter.Over the past year, some staff at Alphabet Inc.’s Google have erupted in protest, prompting the company to drop a Pentagon AI contract and a search project in China. Whittaker, who led Google’s Open Research group, was one of the most outspoken voices. She was one of six women who organized massive walkouts after reports that Google paid handsome sums to executives accused of sexual harassment.While at Google, Whittaker also served with AI Now, an ethics organization affiliated with New York University that she co-founded. The group often criticizes businesses and government agencies for using AI systems, like facial recognition, in policing and surveillance. Whittaker also publicly denounced some Google decisions, including the appointment of Kay Coles James, a conservative think tank leader, to an AI ethics board. Google soon nixed the board."People in the AI field who know the limitations of this tech, and the shaky foundation on which these grand claims are perched, need to speak up, loudly. The consequences of this kind of BS marketing are deadly (if profitable for a few)," Whittaker wrote on Twitter on Sunday.In April, about six months after the big employee walkout, Whittaker and another protest leader, Claire Stapleton, said the company was retaliating against them for their role in the activity. In an email to colleagues, Whittaker said her Google manager told her to "abandon [her] work on AI ethics" and blocked a request to transfer internally. At the time, Google denied it retaliated against Whittaker.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at email@example.com;Joshua Brustein in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Monday pressed major social media companies on how they plan to handle the threat of deepfake images and videos on their platforms ahead of the 2020 elections. The Democratic congressman wrote letters to the chief executives of Facebook Inc , Twitter Inc and Google, which owns YouTube, asking about the companies' formal policies on deepfakes and their research into technologies to detect the doctored content. Facebook spokesman Andy Stone confirmed the company had received the letter and said it would respond to Schiff accordingly.
Twitter (TWTR) stock gained around 2.2% through Monday. The social media company's stock continues to post positive gains leading up to its earnings report on July 26. YTD, TWTR is up over 34%.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. faced its latest Washington crisis Monday, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joining a parade of policy makers and politicians who’ve bashed its proposed cryptocurrency, demonstrating the hurdles the company must overcome to ever make the token a reality.Speaking from the White House, Mnuchin said he has serious concerns about the national security implications of Facebook’s coin and other virtual currencies. He said the potential for money laundering and other illicit activities is high, and vowed that Treasury would crack down on law breakers when it finds them.“This is indeed a national security issue,” Mnuchin said in a briefing for reporters at the White House. “We will not allow digital asset service providers to operate in the shadows.”Bitcoin pared an earlier decline after Mnuchin’s comments, and was down 9.6 percent to $10,765.78 at 2:42 p.m. in New York.Many CriticsHe is far from the first official to express skepticism. President Donald Trump took to Twitter July 11 to criticize Facebook’s effort, saying he’s not a fan of Bitcoin and that cryptocurrencies are often used to facilitate “unlawful behavior.” And some of Trump’s staunchest foes in Congress, including Representative Maxine Waters, have also faulted Facebook, going so far as to demand that the company halt all work on the coin, called Libra.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell chimed in last week, telling lawmakers that he has “serious concerns’’ about the token and cast doubt on Facebook’s timeline for launching it by next year.The opposition from both Republicans and Democrats might put fresh pressure on Facebook -- already under fire in Washington over scandals tied to data privacy -- to assess whether its cryptocurrency is worth it. The fireworks will start again tomorrow when the company faces a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee followed by another Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee.In prepared remarks before the Senate panel, the top Facebook executive working on Libra, David Marcus, went further than the company has previously to try to assuage policy makers’ concerns that the coin could be a threat to the financial system.Read More: Facebook’s Crypto Plan Unites Trump and Democrats in DisdainMarcus said the token won’t launch until regulatory questions are fully addressed and he added that Facebook will get “appropriate approvals.” He said the coin isn’t isn’t intended to compete with countries’ sovereign currencies and won’t interfere with central banks on monetary policy.“The time between now and launch is designed to be an open process and subject to regulatory oversight and review,” Marcus wrote. “We know we need to take the time to get this right. And I want to be clear: Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals.”In his remarks, Mnuchin said that Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network “will hold any entity that transacts in Bitcoin, Libra or any other cryptocurrency to its highest standards.” He broadly criticized cryptocurrencies, echoing Trump, who said in his series of tweets last week that they are “not money.”“Bitcoin is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Mnuchin said. “We are concerned about the speculative nature of Bitcoin and will make sure that the U.S. financial system is protected from fraud.”Crypto AnxietyMnuchin said he would address the issue with the finance ministers from other major global economies at a Group of Seven summit in France this week. He’s also discussed the issue “extensively” with the Fed’s Powell, he said.The sentiment poses risk for the broader digital coin industry. In the run-up to this week’s hearings, a number of competing digital coin companies are distancing themselves from Facebook. Some industry groups are also conducting briefings for congressional staff, pointing out that Facebook’s plan is light on details and not necessarily representative of all tokens.For Facebook, Mnuchin indicated that U.S. approvals may take a while.“They and others have a lot of work to do before they get us comfortable,” he said. But he said the company is “being very candid with the administration and where they are.”Trump said four days ago that companies issuing cryptocurrency, including Facebook, should be subject to banking regulations.Mnuchin said the president has “legitimate concerns.” He advised investors to “be careful” before purchasing Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. “There’s a lot of good things to invest in,” he said.“I have no idea why Bitcoin trades where it is,” Mnuchin said. “I’m not commenting whether it’s high or it’s low.”\--With assistance from Robert Schmidt, Austin Weinstein and Ben Bain.To contact the reporters on this story: Josh Wingrove in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Margaret Talev in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jesse Westbrook, Jillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Stocks may not have more room to run going by the way investors are placing their bets, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The view is shared by Jefferies, which recommends investors pause for a breather.Global equities could climb as much as 8% if bond valuations remain where they are and investors become the most overweight since September, JPMorgan strategists led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note July 12. That’s likely true even if the Federal Reserve cuts rates by more than what markets have factored in, as occurred in 1995 and 1998, they said.“Our position-based analysis points to limited upside for equities from here even if the 1995/1998 insurance-rate-cuts scenario plays out over the coming months,” the strategists wrote. “And any equity upside would become even more limited if bond markets fail to sustain their H1 gains.”Comparing global M2, or the cash balance of non-bank investors, with equity and bond holdings held by them, reveals a 20.8% bond allocation that’s above the post-Lehman Brothers historical mean, the strategists wrote. The exposure to stocks at 43.6% is higher than the post-Lehman collapse average of 40%.“Investors globally are rather overweight equities especially compared with the post-Lehman period,” the strategists wrote.Jefferies notes that recent flows into equity funds have been almost absent and earnings revisions haven’t bottomed out. Those factors may cause this year’s rally to pause, global equity strategist Sean Darby wrote in a note dated July 15.Equity investors have enjoyed strong gains so far in 2019, with the S&P 500 up 20% and the MSCI All-Country World Index gaining 16% through July 12, as the Fed pivoted to dovishness, and recently signaled likely rate cuts. Also, investors’ worst fears about trade tensions haven’t yet been realized and the American economy is still showing some strength. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield is down more than 50 basis points this year. It was at 2.09% as of 1:40 p.m. in New York, while the S&P 500 was little changed at 3,011.26.While a 25-basis point reduction by the Fed has been priced in, the move “will accomplish nothing aside from temporarily sating market expectations and quieting the White House Twitter account,” Darby said. “The weaker parts of the U.S. economy – fixed investment and manufacturing – are being affected by trade tensions.”Jefferies said a self-reinforcing feedback loop has emerged, where markets are leading central bankers rather than the other way round.“The bottom line is that we would issue a ‘pause’ on the risk rally,” Darby wrote.(Updates market moves in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Joanna Ossinger in New York at email@example.com;Gregor Stuart Hunter in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Anstey at email@example.com, Ravil ShirodkarFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Two key Republican senators pressed the Federal Trade Commission to investigate how Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc. decide what content appears on their social media platforms, calling the companies’ power a potential threat to democracy. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri made their demand in a letter sent to the FTC on Monday, a day before a hearing by a Senate panel into social media bias that will feature testimony from a top Google executive. The letter and hearing come just days after President Donald Trump aired similar grievances at a White House summit of conservative tech critics, fringe social media voices and GOP lawmakers including Hawley. “Big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter exercise enormous influence on speech,” the two Republican senators wrote in the letter, which Hawley’s office provided. “They control the ads we see, the news we read, and the information we digest. And they actively censor some content and amplify other content based on algorithms and intentional decisions that are completely nontransparent.”The request comes as Republicans increasingly allege that the companies engage in systematic anti-conservative bias, an unsupported claim. But the possibilities for abuse “are alarming and endless,” including potentially swaying elections, the senators said.Like Trump, both senators have been vocal about claims that social media silences conservatives. Cruz, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on Google’s “censorship.” The company’s global policy chief, Karan Bhatia, will testify, he said in a Monday opinion piece.“We go to extraordinary lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in such a way that political leanings are not taken into account,” Bhatia wrote in Fox News.All three companies have previously said they don’t make content decisions based on politics, though they have acknowledged occasional mistakes in taking down or limiting the reach of content or accounts of conservatives.“Importantly, these mistakes have affected both parties and are not the product of bias,” Bhatia wrote in his opinion piece. Spokesmen for Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on Monday.Cruz has said his views are based on anecdotes rather than rigorous data, which he blames on the opaque nature of the companies’ decisions regarding content.Hawley has previously proposed legislation that would require tech platforms to prove to the FTC that they’re politically neutral in their content decisions if they want to keep a key liability shield that protects them from lawsuits over content that third parties post on their platforms. Hawley was the featured speaker during Trump’s summit, during which the president called his bill “very important.”Almost 65% of Republicans or those who lean Republican believe big tech companies support liberal views over conservative ones, and 85% think it’s at least somewhat likely the companies are intentionally censoring political viewpoints, according to a Pew Research Center survey from last year.The FTC has authority to collect non-public information from companies and study matters related to competition and consumer protection, even if the issue isn’t related to a law enforcement matter. It has opened an investigation into how Internet service providers collect and use consumer data, and the agency has also started a task force to probe potentially anti-competitive conduct by tech giants.The Justice Department and FTC also have taken the first steps toward specific investigations of four big tech firms for antitrust violations. The Justice Department has taken responsibility for Google and Apple Inc., while the FTC will oversee Facebook and Amazon.com Inc.(Updates with Google response from fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from David McLaughlin.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at email@example.com, Mark Niquette, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump continued his attack Monday on four female Democratic lawmakers, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, after his call for them to “go back” to where they came from was met with outcries of racism by Democrats -- and pushback from several Republicans.Three of the four women Trump was apparently referencing were born in the U.S.; none is white. The comments came as U.S. authorities prepared raids to round up undocumented immigrants for deportation.Republicans largely remained silent on the issue. Representative Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, said on Twitter that Trump “was wrong” to make the remark. One of Trump’s key allies in Congress, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, offered his own advice to the president. “Mr. President you’re right about their policies, you’re right about where they’ll take the country. Just aim higher,” Graham said on Fox News.Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said Trump’s statement was “wrong.” “We should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry,” Toomey said in a statement.The tweets from Trump started Sunday and continued Monday morning and seemed aimed at first-term Representatives Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. “The Squad,” as the progressive quartet is known, has been engaged in an intra-party dispute with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Trump said the lawmakers “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and should go back and help fix the countries and “then come back and show us how it is done.”Trump later returned to Twitter to say it was “sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel.”On Monday, Trump said in a tweet the “Radical Left Congresswomen” should apologize to “our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said.”Trump on Monday told reporters at the White House his comments were “not at all” racist. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said on Twitter that the president “loves this country & doesn’t like it when elected officials constantly disparage it & spew anti-Semitic rhetoric” and called on Democrats to get rid of “anti-Semitism in their ranks.”Trump’s comments come as U.S. immigration officials prepare to conduct raids in about ten cities around the U.S. to round up individuals who’ve received deportation orders, and as reports continue to circulate about poor conditions for migrants in U.S. detention facilities on the U.S. border with Mexico.The Trump administration also said Monday that it was going to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants who cross the U.S. southern border.In response, Pelosi called the president’s tweets “xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” and Democratic Representative Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico decried “a racist tweet from a racist president.”Ocasio-Cortez sent four tweets of her own, saying Trump was “angry” because he doesn’t “believe in an America” where women like those in the Squad are elected to Congress.“You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder,” she said.Pressley said on Twitter “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere.” Omar said Trump was “stoking white nationalism bc you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”Tlaib was also blunt: “Want a response to a lawless & complete failure of a President?” she tweeted. “He is the crisis. His dangerous ideology is the crisis.”Democratic presidential hopefuls also weighed in. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that “unfortunately, there’s an American tradition of telling people to go back to where they came from” and that Trump was trying to “gin up his base” by keeping Americans divided.“You don’t expect to hear it from the president of the United States,” de Blasio said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.Lujan, assistant Speaker and a member of the Hispanic Caucus in the House, became emotional on “Fox News Sunday” when shown Trump’s tweet. “That is a racist tweet. Telling people to go back where they came from? I think that’s wrong,” he said.Representative Brendan Boyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, noted in a tweet that “I’m young, from an immigrant family, also very critical of Trump. Funny thing though, he never tells me to ‘go back where I come from.’ Hmm I wonder why?”Republicans mostly tried to stay out of the fray.Graham, on Fox, encouraged Trump to “aim higher,” but went on to call the agenda of the four lawmakers “disgusting” and label them “communists,” “socialists” and “anti-Semitic.”Pelosi last week told the New York Times that the vocal freshmen lawmakers were just “four people” among the Democratic House majority after a party split over a $4.6 billion border funding bill.Among the lawmakers implied in Trump’s tweet, only one -- Omar, 37 -- was born outside the U.S. She migrated as a young girl with her Somalian family after spending four years in a refugee camp. Tlaib, 42, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, was born in Detroit.The 45-year-old Pressley, an African-American, was born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, was born in New York to parents of Puerto Rican origin.Trump’s comments echo the bigoted shouts that minorities hear daily to “go back where you came from,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.“If Trump shouted the same thing at a Muslim woman wearing hijab in a Walmart, he might be arrested,” Awad said in a statement.Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, defeated by Trump in 2016, also responded to Trump’s tweet: “They’re from America, and you’re right about one thing: Currently their government is a complete and utter catastrophe.”(Updates with Trump comments in ninth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Talev in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ros Krasny in Washington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth Wasserman, Kevin WhitelawFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin slumped briefly below $10,000 on Monday, following another weekend sell-off that saw some digital tokens plunge by more than 20%.The largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 17% from Friday before paring its drop to 11% at $10,571 as of 11:50 a.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Other highly traded coins also retreated: Ethereum declined 17% and Litecoin fell 13%.The tumble comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized digital coins on the heels of this year’s stellar rally. Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he is “not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” adding that “Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”Read about weekends as the “Wild West” for Bitcoin.Bitcoin “continues to trade lower as comments from President Trump put downward pressure on the cryptocurrency,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. in Toronto. Drawing Trump’s ire means “it could fall further to $8,000, giving back all the gains made in June.”Bitcoin initially climbed after Trump’s comments, but has since more than erased the gains.Technical indicators were ominous, too. The GTI Vera Convergence Divergence indicator, which detects positive and negative trends, flashed a sell signal as Bitcoin hovered around $10,000.Though it remains the key support line for the coin, a sustained break below that threshold could signal further losses ahead. The last time the indicator flashed a sell signal -- in early June -- Bitcoin dropped about 10% over the subsequent two trading sessions.(Adds GTI Vera indicator paragraphs.)\--With assistance from Todd White, Olivia Rinaldi, Vildana Hajric, Brendan Walsh and Kenneth Sexton.To contact the reporter on this story: Joanna Ossinger in Singapore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Anstey at firstname.lastname@example.org, Adam Haigh, Yakob PeterseilFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s long seemed that nothing could unite President Donald Trump and Democrats on Capitol Hill. Then Facebook Inc. decided to create a cryptocurrency.Washington’s bipartisan distrust of the social-networking giant will be on display this week as it defends the digital-money proposal in two congressional hearings. In a sign that the testimony is likely to be an ordeal for Facebook, Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to bash the effort.The presidential lashing was just the latest setback for Facebook, which rolled out its plan for a token called Libra in June –- a move that many policy makers called hubristic and ill-timed, considering the political turmoil that continues to swirl around the company. Last week, Facebook agreed to pay about $5 billion in a record privacy settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.Facebook’s traditional pre-hearing courtesy visits to discuss Libra in the House and Senate aren’t going well, according to interviews with lawmakers and congressional staff. While the company has taken pains to describe its initiative in utopian and futuristic terms, lawmakers have been more interested in data security, the company’s awesome market power and why it decided to base the operation outside the U.S.Facebook’s Libra Crypto Coin: 5 Things We Know, and 5 We Don’t“Look at their arrogance, look at their role in the 2016 presidential campaign, look at the fact that they’ve rarely shown any contrition on much of anything,’’ Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the Banking Committee’s top Democrat, said in an interview. “There’s going to be a group of us that’s going to demand some real information.’’Complaints about Libra haven’t just come from politicians. Trump-appointed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers last week he has “serious concerns’’ about the token and cast doubt on Facebook’s timeline for launching it by next year. He also warned that the U.S. regulatory system may not be equipped to handle the enormous digital payment system envisioned by Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users.Democrats, including Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters of California, have already demanded that the company put its plans on hold while Congress investigates. Republicans, though less vocal, also haven’t been supportive.Power to DominateThe controversy around the project, however unwanted by Facebook, nevertheless highlights the company’s power to dominate policy debates and, to some extent, set the agenda in Washington. Until Facebook jumped in a few weeks ago, cryptocurrency was more of a fringe issue that attracted an unusual crowd of libertarians, speculators and blockchain geeks. Many in Congress were uninterested.The stakes are high for both Facebook and the broader digital coin industry as David Marcus, a top executive at the company, prepares to testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.In his prepared remarks, released by the Senate panel Monday, Marcus acknowledged the extensive criticism and pledged to work closely with regulators and governments across the globe. He also addressed one of Washington’s top concerns, saying Libra isn’t intended to compete with national currencies or interfere with central banks on monetary policy. “We know we need to take the time to get this right,” Marcus said in the testimony. “And I want to be clear: Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals.”Existing LawsMarcus, whose preparation has included a mock hearing, also told the senators that while Facebook has spearheaded the Libra project, it’s not acting alone. The company has said that it envisions a governing body that would include at least 100 organizations. There are currently 28 listed as founders for the Libra Association, although none has paid the $10 million entrance fee.Libra, he added, will help consumers across the world transfer money much more efficiently and cheaply. And, Marcus warned that if “we fail to act, we could soon see a digital currency controlled by others whose values are dramatically different.” Though he didn’t offer specifics, the People’s Bank of China has already said it’s developing a digital currency.Facebook has been making similar arguments in briefings with lawmakers and congressional aides, according to interviews. The major companies that have partnered with Facebook on the project, including Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., have been mostly silent about Libra and largely absent from the lobbying effort.Few details on Libra have been disclosed beyond a 12-page white paper issued in June, which said Libra will be built on a new blockchain infrastructure accessible from anywhere in the world. Facebook and its partners have set up a non-profit organization in Switzerland to oversee the payment network. The token will be backed by a reserve of bank deposits and short-term government securities.Trump, in his tweets last week, said he’s “not a fan” of digital coins in general because of their potential use in criminal activity. As for Libra, Trump wrote that it “will have little standing or dependability.” He added that if Facebook really wanted to get into finance it should become a bank -- and be regulated like one.Though the price of Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies has gained on the surge in mainstream interest in the concept, a number of competing digital coin companies are distancing themselves from Facebook. Some industry groups are also conducting briefings for congressional staff, pointing out that Facebook’s plan is light on details and not necessarily representative of all tokens.Libra is more of a “company-issued asset” rather than than a true cyptocurrency like Bitcoin, said Coin Center Executive Director Jerry Brito, who’s been involved in some of the meetings on Capitol Hill. A key complaint among purists has been that Libra isn’t decentralized. “There is no company that issues Bitcoin,” Brito added.$5 Billion SettlementBlockchain Association Director Kristin Smith, whose group represents several large crypto companies, said she’s generally not opposed to Facebook’s entrance into the market. She acknowledged, however, that there’s a lot of potential risk.“It’s mixed,” she said. “We certainly don’t want the whole industry to become associated with some of the issues that Facebook has had as a company in the past.’’Along with complaints that it allowed Russia to hijack its platform to support Trump’s election campaign, the company has also drawn fire for numerous consumer privacy breaches. The $5 billion FTC settlement, which still needs final approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, resolves an investigation stemming from Facebook’s involvement with Trump campaign consultant Cambridge Analytica.Need to ClarifySmith attended a news conference at the Capitol last week with four moderate Democratic and Republican members of the House who are strongly supportive of the financial technology industry. They, too, weren’t leaping to endorse the Libra project.Representative Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the financial services panel, said at the event that he hopes the focus on Facebook’s proposal will prompt lawmakers to consider legislation that clarifies the regulatory landscape. Some of the laws governing digital currency, he noted, go back to the 1930s.“We have to have the conversation,’’ he said. “I don’t want to lose the jobs and innovation elsewhere.’’Gottheimer plans to strike a similar theme at the Facebook hearing this week, but it’s not clear how many other members of the House panel will be interested in the finer details of Libra or digital payments.Some lawmakers predicted that the hearing may quickly devolve into a series of anti-Facebook rants, on issues like fake news in the 2016 campaign, data protection, the company’s market dominance and the FTC settlement. Those topics are often easier to understand for some members of Congress who are decidedly not techies.In what may be a harbinger, Financial Services Committee member David Scott, a Georgia Democrat, mistakenly referred to the digital token Libra as Libor, an interbank lending rate, while questioning the Powell last week. The Fed chief didn’t bother to correct him.(Updates with Marcus testimony beginning in 10th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Lydia Beyoud, Austin Weinstein and Julie Verhage.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Schmidt in Washington at email@example.com;Ben Bain in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at firstname.lastname@example.org, Gregory MottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Donald Trump took to Twitter early Sunday morning to tell Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressleyto to “go back” to their countries ”fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the nationalist-populist League party, is having a hard time waving off accusations that one of his close aides plotted to get Kremlin funding for the political force. It should be clear by now that such aid is readily available to European populist parties. If voters don’t see it as a deterrent – and so far they don’t – then it’s only going to become more brazen. The first report of a Moscow meeting between Gianluca Savoini, Salvini’s former spokesman, and some Russians with high-level government contacts appeared in the Italian magazine L’Espresso in February. At the meeting, an oil deal was supposedly discussed: The Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft would sell some Russian diesel fuel to an Italian intermediary at a discount; the intermediary would then sell it on to Italy’s Eni SpA and use the profit to fund the League.Last week, Buzzfeed published what it said was the transcript of a secret recording of that meeting. It contains some titillating details about how the proposed deal would be structured to hide the Russian involvement, the amount of fuel to be sold (250,000 tons a month for a year), the size of the discount (4%) – and a Russian demand for a kickback. Buzzfeed calculated the Italians stood to receive about $65 million so the League could “sustain a campaign.”As in February, there’s still no evidence that the deal actually took place, that the League received any Russian money or that Salvini even knew about the negotiations. An Italian lawyer, Gianluca Meranda, has since come forward claiming that he’d been present at the meeting and that the transaction hadn’t been completed. And Salvini has said that he’s “never taken a ruble, a euro, a dollar or a liter of vodka in financing from Russia.”As Samuel Greene, director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London, pointed out in a recent Twitter thread, it’s natural for Putin to offer enticements to potential allies, and he doesn’t much care about European laws (or Russian ones, for that matter). “What should be much more surprising and troubling,” Greene wrote, “is the increasing number of players in our own political establishments who are willing to sell out -- politicians and voters who no longer think our own rules matter. That's the threat.”As I’ve written before, European populists are perfectly aware of the toxicity of accepting Russian money in any form. In some countries, Italy among them, political slush funds are not unheard of – but Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has drawn so much attention, including from intelligence services, that accepting the Kremlin’s financial aid increases the probability of getting caught. That explains Salvini’s obvious caution – and that of Brexit campaign funder Arron Banks, who apparently turned down offers of lucrative Russian deals. And yet the aftermath of the sting operation that brought down the Austrian government just before the European Parliament election in May suggests voters may increasingly be willing to shrug off such Russian involvement. Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, then leader of the Freedom Party, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, was recorded holding talks with a woman he thought was a Russian billionaire’s niece. He discussed a plan to buy Austria’s biggest tabloid newspaper to ensure favorable coverage for his party and told her she could make an illegal donation to the party through a special foundation. Then-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz forced Strache to resign and dissolved the coalition. But the Freedom Party’s support didn’t collapse. In the European Parliament election, it won 17.2% of the vote, less than the 20.5% it garnered in the 2017 national election but still a surprisingly high percentage under the circumstances.Strache himself received the second highest number of votes among Freedom Party candidates and won one of the party’s three European Parliament seats. He refused to take it, saying he didn’t want to move to Brussels. Indeed, he only paid a political price because his coalition partner, Kurz, used the scandal to shake off an uncomfortable alliance with the far right. The Freedom Party is polling close to 19% in the run-up to the national election in October.The League’s polling numbers are on the rise despite the Russia scandal. It’s conceivable that populist voters simply don’t care about the Kremlin scare, either because they’re generally sympathetic toward Russian President Vladimir Putin (who cleverly echoes hard right rhetoric as he seeks allies in Europe) or because they write off media reports of Russia scandals as fake news. The more Russia scandals hatch and pass without consequences, the more the latter perception will be reinforced: one can’t cry wolf too many times. Voters also know these parties have a harder time gaining funding and may simply be willing to ignore such freelancing if it helps their larger anti-establishment cause. It has long been clear that legal forms of aid, such as French nationalist Marine Le Pen’s Russian bank loans, are fine with such politicians’ supporters. The Brexit Party’s voters have also brushed off concerns about Russian interference in the 2016 referendum. Ultimately, if voters keep showing they don’t mind politicians’ Kremlin links, all the politicians need to do is set up legal structures to receive Putin’s aid with a minimum of risk. That may not be straightforward, but it’s more a technical task rather than a political one.So far, the European establishment has failed to impress on a significant number of voters the idea that Putin is a threat. That’s part of its general vulnerability. Whether or not the Kremlin may becomes an agenda-setting player in European politics, the record so far suggests it will continue to look for open doors and increasingly find them. To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Therese Raphael at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As he has so many times since bursting onto the presidential stage in 2015, Donald Trump played the race card on Sunday. He launched nearly three dozen broadsides on Twitter throughout the day, but a trio of his tweets stood out because they demonstrated how casually he likes to uncork his venom and how unwilling the Republican Party is to contain him.Here are all three of those Trump tweets, which he published at 5:27 a.m. on Sunday, pulled together:So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!Trump was targeting four new Democratic congresswomen of color (nicknamed “The Squad”) who have become ubiquitous advocates for progressive policies and occasional thorns in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s side: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.Omar is from Somalia. The other three women were born in the U.S. Pressley is black and was born in Ohio. Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York and is of Puerto Rican descent. Tlaib was born in Michigan and her parents were Palestinian immigrants.So Trump’s tweets could have been translated as: “If you’re a black woman born in the U.S. and a member of Congress, I think you belong in Africa.”Or, perhaps: “If you’re a woman of Hispanic descent born in the U.S. and a member of Congress, I think you belong in Puerto Rico – and I still seem to think that’s another country.”If there was ever any doubt that the president is a racist and a bigot and is willing to pander to racists and bigots to continue holding office, the tweets he aimed at “The Squad” on Sunday should put all of that to rest.But, of course, it’s unlikely to put anything to rest.After all, the hosts at Fox and Friends contributed on Sunday by just having a few laughs about the president’s tweets. Meanwhile, Matt Wolking, the self-described “Deputy Director of Communications - Rapid Response” for the president’s 2020 campaign, did his part by responding so rapidly to the widespread criticism that he simply pretended the media misrepresented what Trump tweeted. And by my count only one Republican legislator criticized Trump all day. Representative Chip Roy of Texas crossed lines to offer what was ultimately a tepid critique of Trump’s Twitter storm. Other than Roy, crickets.Some principled conservatives were willing to step up. George Conway, the husband of a prominent Trump adviser, Kellyanne Conway, tweeted that Trump’s comments were “bigotry, pure and simple.” And, he added, addressing Trump directly: “You are a disgrace to the office you hold, and you are a disgrace to the nation.” David French, a conservative columnist with the National Review, tweeted that he “could think of few worse things for the soul of the GOP or the health and unity of our republic than adopting a strategy of ‘be racist to own the libs.’”French’s observation that Trump may have been trolling the Squad to score political gains by keeping the group at odds with Pelosi probably gives the president more strategic heft than he merits. He isn’t playing three-dimensional chess most of the time, and he’s profoundly a guy from Queens who never liked the idea that his world was changing. The roots of Trump’s racism, and the path it has taken throughout his life, are usefully mapped in this oral history that Atlantic magazine published in June.The president also is shamelessly hypocritical. His rants about the migrant threat at the U.S.’s southern border and his call for the Squad to self-deport glide past the fact that his mother was a Scottish immigrant and his father was the son of a German immigrant. Trump’s first and third wives were immigrants from Eastern Europe, and his wife Melania’s parents became U.S. citizens last year by taking advantage of a chain migration program that the president and his principal immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, have publicly derided.All of this follows a week in which Trump promised to launch a federal sweep nationwide to round up undocumented immigrants so he could deport them. It also comes on the heels of Tennessee declaring a state holiday to celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate general and slave trader who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.This past week – and Trump’s tweets on Sunday – are reminders that the president has chosen to divide and exploit rather than lead. A useful lesson to draw from that is that Trump and his most dedicated supporters have ripped the band-aid off whatever reassuring notions the U.S. might have had about the progress of civil rights and the withering of racism in the country. And it ultimately will be up to voters to decide what to do about the racism and vitriol that Trump has put in front of them. To contact the author of this story: Timothy L. O'Brien at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- India was forced to put on hold its second mission to the moon after discovering a glitch at the last moment, a setback to its ambitious plan to become the first nation to land on the south pole of Earth’s closest neighbor.The mission, called Chandrayaan-2, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, was canceled 56 minutes before its scheduled launch early Monday morning because of “a technical snag,” the Indian Space Research Organisation said. ISRO, the nation’s equivalent of NASA, will reschedule the launch. A spokesman didn’t return calls seeking details about the new timeline and the glitch.The scheduled landing on Sept. 6 would have added India to an elite club of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. and China in making a soft landing on the moon, in which vehicles touch down without damage. Space-faring nations, as well as billionaires Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, are competing in an unofficial space race, from launching satellites to sending astronauts and paying tourists into space.It may take several months for India to be able to attempt a launch again, said Susmita Mohanty, co-founder and chief executive officer of Earth2Orbit, a Bangalore-based space startup that has worked with Alphabet Inc.’s Google and ISRO.“If you find a snag, it is better to go fix it than launch it and regret later,” Mohanty said. “These missions are fairly complex, which is why no nation has successfully landed on the Moon since 1972, except China.”India has specialized in low-cost space launches since the early 1960s, when rocket sections were transported by bicycle and assembled by hand inside St. Mary Magdalene Church in Thumba, a fishing village near the tip of the Indian peninsula. The nation sent an orbiter to Mars at about a 10th of the cost of NASA’s Maven probe, and in 2017 it launched a record 104 satellites.ISRO’s next priority is the $1.4 billion Gaganyaan mission, which aims to put three Indian “gaganauts” -- at least one of which will be a woman -- into orbit. The plan, made public in a surprise announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, will put the South Asian nation on track to become the fourth to send humans to space.The launch of the moon mission, which was scheduled to take place at a tiny barrier island in southeastern India, attracted more than 100 reporters. Two Chandrayaan modules -- an orbiter and a lander -- were stacked together inside a launcher equipped to lift heavy satellites into orbit, while a third module, the lunar rover, was supposed to roll out on landing and operate for at least 14 days on the surface.The aim of the mission is to explore virgin territory on the lunar surface and analyze crust samples for signs of water and helium-3. That isotope is limited on Earth yet so abundant on the moon that it theoretically could meet global energy demands for 250 years if harnessed. India’s first mission to the moon -- Chandrayaan-1 -- was launched in October 2008, completed more than 3,400 orbits and ejected a probe that discovered molecules of water in the surface for the first time.(Updates with comment from industry expert starting in fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Shivani Kumaresan.To contact the reporters on this story: Anurag Kotoky in New Delhi at email@example.com;Ganesh Nagarajan in Chennai at firstname.lastname@example.org;Zoya Khan in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ville Heiskanen, Angus WhitleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in warned Japan that any effort to block his nation’s economic growth “will not succeed,” in the latest escalation of rhetoric between feuding neighbors.Moon told a cabinet meeting on Monday that he was aware that export restrictions imposed by Japan earlier this month targeted South Korea’s semiconductor industry and “the nation’s core competitiveness.” He expressed confidence that local companies would be able to surmount short-term difficulties to reduce their dependence on Japanese suppliers.“We will overcome this situation in whatever scenario,” Moon said. “South Korea has come this far by enduring even tougher challenges than this.”The first face-to-face discussions between Japan and South Korea about the export controls on Friday exposed deep divides between the two U.S. allies, with each side providing differing accounts of what was said. The administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe argues it must impose new licencing requirements on South Korean purchases of three specialty production materials to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.The move has exacerbated a flare-up in the long-running dispute over whether Japan has sufficiently compensated Koreans who suffered under its 1910-45 occupation of the peninsula. Tokyo, which says the two issues are not linked, has given Seoul until Thursday to meet its demand for third-party arbitration over South Korean court seizures as part of forced-labor cases against Japanese companies.The dispute comes at a delicate time for Moon, as slumping exports and growing joblessness drag on the South Korean economy. Last week, his government hit the brakes on an ambitious plan to raise the minimum wage in a sign of increasing worries about growth.Moon has also advised executives from about 30 companies, including Samsung Electronics Co., SK Group, Hyundai Motor Co. and Lotte Group, to prepare for a prolonged fight with Japan. On Monday, he told his cabinet that Japan’s measures could damage its own economy, as South Korean companies sought new suppliers.‘Boycott Japan’“Japan’s export curbs are different from the traditional protectionist trade measures, as well as in purpose,” Moon said. “These measures break the frame of economic cooperation between South Korea and Japan that has been growing on interdependency and common growth for half a century.”Moon’s warning was echoed by Fitch Ratings, which said in a report on Monday that the efforts to restrict exports could wind up hurting Japanese suppliers of the materials, as well consumer firms. Almost 67% of South Koreans plan to join the “Boycott Japan” movement and stop buying products from their neighbor, a Realmeter survey released on Thursday found.“Prolonged trade conflict between the two countries could backfire and hurt Japanese companies over the long term,” Fitch said.To contact the reporter on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Niluksi Koswanage at firstname.lastname@example.org, Brendan Scott, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police arrested more than 40 people after attempts to clear the remnants of a mass anti-government march resulted in dramatic clashes with demonstrators inside a suburban shopping mall, piling more pressure on embattled leader Carrie Lam.Scuffles broke out in New Town Plaza as police moved to clear stragglers from a rally earlier Sunday in Sha Tin, a popular destination for locals and visitors from China and home to one of the city’s horse racing tracks. Rally organizers said 110,000 people had turned out to protest the city’s chief executive and her controversial bid to allow extraditions to the mainland, while police estimated the crowd at 28,000.The unrest came as the Financial Times reported that Lam had offered to resign in recent weeks, only to be refused by authorities in China, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Beijing insisted that she remain in office to fix “the mess she created,” according to one person.Lam on Monday vowed she would continue in her position as Hong Kong’s leader.“The chief executive’s tenure is five years. Although I face a lot of difficulties, I have repeatedly said publicly that I still have the responsibility and enthusiasm to continue my work during my tenure,” she told reporters at a hospital after visiting officers injured in the clashes.New MessageCrowds of Hong Kong protesters have turned out in unprecedented sizes every week since mid-June. In recent days their ire has focused on China, which has ruled the former British colony since 1997. Thousands of demonstrators last Sunday walked through the Tsim Sha Tsui area popular with mainland tourists toward the city’s new high-speed rail station to China.Beijing has continued to back Lam publicly. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday that he hadn’t heard anything about the FT’s report and that the central government “firmly supports” her leadership. Sunday’s protesters threw objects including umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at police, some from the floors above as officers tried to disperse the crowd, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. Lam on Monday referred to those who attacked police as “rioters,” a term that has angered protesters because it carries certain legal connotations. Security chief John Lee called the incidents an escalation of violence and said the demonstrators who attacked police were “well organized.”Ten officers were injured, including at least one who lost a finger, in fights between riot police and umbrella-wielding protesters Sunday evening, Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said in a 2:30 a.m. briefing Monday. One protester suspected of biting off part of an officer’s finger was among those arrested, he said.Twenty-two demonstrators were also injured at the mall, RTHK reported, citing the city’s hospital authority. Three were in serious condition, it said. The mall is owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.Hong Kong’s Demonstrators Get Creative With War of the WallsOpposition lawmaker Alvin Yeung held a late-night media briefing in the mall, saying the police hadn’t let protesters leave safely. The mere presence of the riot officers could have triggered demonstrators’ emotions and made them nervous, he said.“If we are aware of illegal behavior and if we know those who breached the law are in the mall, then don’t we have a responsibility to follow inside to make arrests?” Lo said in response a question early Monday.How China Can Recover Even If Hong Kong’s Lam Quits: QuickTakeLam last week declared that the original cause of the protests -- the extradition bill -- was “dead.” But she stopped short of officially withdrawing it, leaving open the potential for authorities to revive it with 12 days’ notice and providing new momentum for protesters.Further protests are being planned in neighborhoods across the city by demonstrators organizing themselves online and vowing to spread the word until Lam responds to their demands.On Saturday, scuffles also broke out between police and demonstrators after a rally against parallel traders ended in Sheung Shui, near the China border. More than 30,000 people took part in the largely peaceful march, according to North District Parallel Imports Concern Group convener Ronald Leung. Police estimated the turnout at 4,000.The Civil Human Rights Front, a leading protest organizer, has called for a July 21 rally in Admiralty, ground zero for previous gatherings that brought out historic crowds. Its major demand will be an independent probe into what it calls excessive use of force by police in dispersing previous demonstrations with weapons including tear gas, batons and rubber bullets.Lam needs to get a grasp on protesters’ grievances and respond to their appeals, the group said Monday.“Otherwise, this campaign will eventually cause irreparable deaths due to the ongoing conflict between the police and the people,” it said.(Updates with Carrie Lam comment in fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Gloria Cheung, Reinie Booysen, Stanley James, Kari Lindberg, Will Davies, Shamim Adam, Fion Li, Dominic Lau, Alfred Liu and Aibing Guo.To contact the reporters on this story: Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Stephen Tan in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received? For Monica Lewinsky, the answer is easy. “An internship at the white house will be amazing on your resume,” she quipped in a Sunday-morning tweet, adding an embarrassed-face emoji.
DExEU convinced Twitter to remove two fake accounts posing as affiliated with Dominic Raab. Photograph: David Mirzoeff/PATwitter accounts masquerading as official outlets for Dominic Raab and Liam Fox were revealed as among those the UK government succeeded in shutting down after complaining to the social media company.Details of complaints to Twitter by various departments about suspected fake accounts posing as original have been revealed by freedom of information requests from the Guardian, showing it has not always gone in favour of the UK government.The Department of Health and Social Care has tried and failed to close down an account, @NHoS which has 16 followers and appears to belong to a woman in the city of St Louis, Missouri.“We’ve researched the reported account and determined that it is not in violation of Twitter’s trademark policy,” Twitter told DHSC after the complaint was lodged.In other cases however, Twitter has suspended a number of accounts for breaching rules on impersonation after complaints lodged by the Foreign Office.One account, @UKAmbRichard, was pretending to be that of the UK ambassador to Turkey and appeared to have acquired some Twitter followers. Another, @SGSSIGov, appeared to be masquerading as the government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean.Both complaints were made last year by the Foreign Office, which also complained successfully to Twitter in 2017 about an account set up by the Russian broadcaster RT as part of a commemorative project for the centenary of the Russian Revolution.The account, @BritshEmb1917, had been set up by RT and used an image of the Foreign Office’s official crest under a profile identifying it as “the official Twitter account of the United Kingdom in the Russian Empire”.In the UK, the Department for Transport took action twice last year against accounts pretending to be one of its branches. Twitter removed both accounts – @DVLAgov_uk and @DVLAgovuk2 – posed as associated with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which maintains a database of drivers in Britain.The action against Twitter on behalf of Liam Fox was taken by his special advisers last year. The fake Dominic Raab accounts which the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) complained about were @DominicRab and @BrexitRaab.According to DExEU, Twitter instructed the user of the latter account to make it clear that it was a parody. The account was removed and then recreated but had lost all its followers.The Ministry of Defence has been particularly active. Last year, after MoD complaints Twitter removed @UKchiefofstaff, an account apparently pretending to be Gen Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the army’s chief of the general staff.In 2017 Twitter suspended @gwilliamsonUK, an account named after the then defence minister. It initially ruled that another, @Roytalnavynews, was not in violation of policies but later suspended it, as it did with @RTHonMFallon, which used the name of another then defence secretary.
(Bloomberg) -- Barry risks causing life-threatening floods after making landfall in Louisiana on Saturday, as the tropical storm lashes the state with as much as two feet of rain. The system is forecast to weaken further on Sunday as it treks inland.The storm came ashore near Intracoastal City -- about 125 miles west of New Orleans -- in Louisiana and has top winds of 65 miles (105 kilometers) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 5 p.m. in New York. Up to 25 inches (64 centimeters) of rain could fall in some areas of the state, according to the NHC.The National Hurricane Center looks for a few tornadoes to be triggered across Louisiana, Mississippi, western Alabama and eastern Arkansas as Barry slowly marches north, although flooding is the primary threat. Early Sunday, Barry was near Peason Ridge, Louisiana, moving north at about 6 miles (10 km) per hour, and that general motion is expected to prevail, carrying the storm as far as Arkansas tonight and Monday, the center said. Barry, which was earlier a Category 1 hurricane, has cut energy production in the Gulf of Mexico, helped lift oil and natural gas prices, threatened crops from cotton to sugar and disrupted ship traffic on the Mississippi.While it had threatened to raise the river’s levels in New Orleans to the most in almost seven decades, the National Weather Service now estimates a peak of about 17 feet, or almost three feet below prior forecasts. That would still be the highest since 1995.“The worst is yet to come,” said Jim Rouiller, chief meteorologist at the Energy Weather Group near Philadelphia. “This is a very different kind of storm. It will continue to consolidate and be a severe flooding event for the state of Louisiana.”Over 110,000 utility customers across Louisiana are being affected by power outages, according to data compiled from company maps.Entergy Louisiana LLC, the main provider in the state with a total of 1.08 million customers, reported that about 71,600 were affected. Almost 43,500 out of Cleco Corp.’s nearly 285,000 customers were without power.The storm is now about 20 miles southwest of the city of Lafayette. It’s expected to move generally northward through the Mississippi Valley through Sunday night.Barry will weaken to a depression by Sunday and could degenerate completely by Monday or Tuesday, the hurricane center said. Moisture from the storm will still bring rain through the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.“Life-threatening, significant flash flooding and river flooding will become increasingly likely later today and tonight as Barry moves inland, especially across portions of south-central and southeast Louisiana and Mississippi,” Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the NHC in Miami, wrote in an earlier forecast analysis.In the last three years, 83% of storm deaths have been a result of inland flooding, Ken Graham, the NHC’s director, said in an online presentation. The moisture heading toward the Gulf coast “is off the charts,” he said.For more, listen to this mini-podcast on the stormCompanies have cut 70% of oil and about 56% of natural gas output in the Gulf. Tropical-storm-force winds are reaching as far as 175 miles out of Barry’s center, according to the NHC’s advisory.While New Orleans -- where an emergency was declared Wednesday -- hasn’t undergone a mandatory evacuation, Mayor LaToya Cantrell had urged residents to be prepared to shelter in place because the slow-moving storm could bring heavy rain for 48 hours.Also read: New Orleans Told ‘Do Not Drop Your Guard’ as Barry Brings RainsWhile the threat to levees along the Mississippi isn’t as great, many secondary rivers throughout Louisiana are going to rise rapidly and flood, said Graham at the NHC. “We’re still dealing with Barry. It isn’t a hurricane anymore but it doesn’t matter, there is going to be a ton of rain out there,” he said.The storm will likely cause about $800 million to $900 million in damage, Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia, said on Friday.For a map showing assets in the storm’s path, click here(Updates with storm weakening, threat of tornadoes.)\--With assistance from Sheela Tobben, Michael Hirtzer, Kevin Varley, Shruti Date Singh, Will Wade, Mark Chediak, Stephen Stapczynski, Rachel Adams-Heard and Andres Guerra Luz.To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at email@example.com, Pratish Narayanan, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- A chunk of New York City plunged into darkness for hours as 72,000 customers on Manhattan’s West Side lost power on the anniversary of the historic 1977 blackout. Energy supply has since been fully restored, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.The outage on Saturday night affected an area stretching from Fifth Ave. to the Hudson River, and from West 42nd through 71st streets, an area that includes Times Square and Central Park. Subway services to as far away as Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx were disrupted as the power failure took a toll on the “entire system.”“While this situation was luckily contained, the fact that it happened at all is unacceptable,” Cuomo said in a briefing before he headed to a substation that caused the outage. He’s directed “a full and thorough investigation into the cause of tonight’s blackout and we will hold all parties accountable in ensuring this does not happen again,” he added.A substation explosion and fire that created a surge was the cause of the outage, in turn affecting four other substations, Cuomo said earlier in the evening, citing an update he received from Consolidated Edison Inc. or ConEd, the city’s utility. He said no passengers were stranded on trains and there have been no reports of injuries so far.Singer Jennifer Lopez canceled her concert at Madison Square Garden and said people were evacuated from the venue. The outage also caused all but three Broadway theaters to close, the New York Police Department’s Times Square Command said.The power failure happened on the 42nd anniversary of the infamous blackout that left most of the city without power. The outage led to widespread looting and arson that cost an estimated $310 million in damages, the New York Times reported.(Updates with Governor Cuomo’s comments in third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Aibing Guo.To contact the reporters on this story: Shoko Oda in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Will Wade in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew G. Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org, Linus Chua, Shamim AdamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. will facilitate the release of the tanker if it received "guarantees that it would not be going to Syria," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a tweet Saturday, after a phone call with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.Fabian Picardo, chief minister of Gibraltar, agrees that it’s important to deescalate "the current situation as quickly as possible, while noting the importance of Gibraltar enforcing EU sanctions against Syria through its legal processes," Hunt said in an emailed statement later Saturday.The incident has heightened frictions just as European nations scramble to salvage a landmark nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic.U.K. Navy Intervenes After Iran Tries to Stop British Oil Tanker(Updates with details throughout.)To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lauren Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org, Maria Jose ValeroFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.