Posts tagged with "Reuters"

Trump intervenes with Netanyahu, blocking Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel

August 19, 2019

“I don’t know why they would,” President Donald Trump said last week, when asked whether he thought that Israel should provide entrance to two U.S. Democratic representatives for a fact-finding visit.

The freshman lawmakers—Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota—are Muslims who have been disparaged, even by many of their fellow Democrats, for their posture on Israel; including their support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a global campaign designed to press Israel on human rights issues surrounding the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nonetheless, it has been Israel’s position, as a close ally of the United States, to allow members of Congress to freely visit the nation—including the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The visit of the two lawmakers would have followed a visit by the largest-ever U.S. delegation—a group of 41 Congressional Democrats and 31 Congressional Republicans—who traveled to Israel to express solidarity with the Jewish state, following what they characterized as anti-semitic remarks by Tlaib and Omar.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump intervened to urge Israel to block the upcoming admission of the two Muslim observers.

According to a report by The Hill, President Trump “broke new ground [last] Thursday when he urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deny two Muslim congresswomen entrance to the country for a fact-finding visit, accusing them of harboring hatred toward “Israel & all Jewish people.”

The move reverberated across Washington, as pro-Israel groups condemned the president for threatening U.S.-Israel relations; foreign policy experts chimed in with warnings of frayed diplomatic ties; and stunned Democrats issued waves of statements denouncing Trump for pressuring a foreign government to deny his American political opponents rights of free passage.

Indeed, in a surprise response on August 16, even BDS condemned the move. The  statement from the opposition organization left no doubt that even the Palestinians object to the U.S. president’s unprecedented intervention.

“The Palestinian-led BDS movement condemns the far-right Israeli government’s McCarthyite decision to prevent Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar from visiting the Occupied Palestinian Territory over their support for Palestinian freedom. We call for cutting US military aid to Israel,” BDS said in its official release, adding, “Israel’s far-right government, with Trump’s collusion, has again put itself on par with apartheid South Africa in the past, and other rogue regimes in the present.”

The statement ended with kudos for the two Muslim lawmakers. “We salute Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, and we call for escalating pressure on Congress to implement the Leahy Law, which conditions U,S, military aid to other governments on their respect for human rights, by cutting U,S, military aid to Israel.”

 “I can’t think of any other president, Democrat or Republican, doing something as outrageous as this,” Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Hill on August 15 during a phone interview. “If this is just providing cover for Netanyahu, that’s wrong. If this is Donald Trump playing politics, that’s wrong.

“Once again, Donald Trump is denigrating the office of the presidency,” he added.

Some Republicans also broke ranks to criticize the president’s intervention. “Israel is a U.S. ally and a thriving bastion of democracy and hope for freedom-loving people of the world. It would benefit all of us for Reps. Tlaib and Omar to see that firsthand,”  Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said to Reuters’s Patricia Zengerle.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), a staunch ally of Israel who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, called Israel’s decision a “mistake,” while Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) singled out the Trump administration for urging Israel to deny the women entry.

Research contact: @thehill

Apple, Goldman Sachs market virtual Apple Cards to consumers

August 7, 2019

Apple and Goldman Sachs Group rolled out a virtual credit card on August 6, in a deal designed to enable the iPhone maker to diversify from device sales and to build out the Wall Street bank’s new consumer business.

Apple intends to market the card to iPhone owners, Reuters reports—offering 2% cash back on purchases via the Apple Pay service, no fees, and an app to manage related finances.

On the Goldman Sachs side, the new card is intended to help build the new Marcus by Goldman Sachs consumer brand; which the bank started in 2015 to even out volatile results from businesses, such as trading and investment banking.

On Tuesday, Apple shares were up about 1 percent at $195.30 in trading before the bell. According to the Reuters report, the company said a limited number of the people who had expressed interest in the Apple Card would start receiving sign-up invitations immediately.

“The Apple Card doesn’t play in the same league as premium rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or AmEx Platinum,” said Sara Rathner, an expert on credit cards at NerdWallet.

She noted, “Those cards charge ultra-high fees, but in return you get some pretty sweet perks: massive sign-up bonuses, annual statement credits, free Global Entry, and a higher point-earning rate for travel expenses.”

Apple will offer an option for a physical card made of titanium, but with no visible number. Instead, the card’s number is stored on a secure chip inside the iPhone, which will generate virtual numbers for online or over-the-phone purchases that require a number.

Apple said purchase information would be stored on the user’s iPhone and that it cannot see the data. Goldman will not be allowed to use data for marketing purposes, even for selling its other products.

Gene Munster, managing partner with Loup Ventures and a longtime Apple watcher, said the card’s adoption is likely to be low in the first year, but it could generate about $1.4 billion of high-margin revenue by 2023.

That would add about 1.8% to Apple’s overall earnings and complement the much larger Apple Pay business for total payments revenue of $5.38 billion by 2023. Apple has roughly 50 million U.S. Apple Pay users now.

But at Apple’s size—$265.6 billion in sales for fiscal 2018—the revenue matters less than the effect on keeping Apple customers tied to its brand, Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies said for the Reuters story.

“If it works, it’s one more thing that causes you to stay deeply loyal and entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, even if something better comes along,” he said.

Research contact:  @Reuters

Amash renounces Republican party; will not rule out a run against Trump

July 9, 2019

Representative Justin Amash (I-Michigan)—who last week renounced his membership in the Republican party—said on Sunday that President Donald Trump’s personal attacks against critics might intimidate others in the G.O.P. from speaking out against him; but clarified, “It doesn’t scare me,” Reuters reported.

Amash, 39, became the first Republican congressman to speak out in favor of impeaching Trump in mid-May, after the release of the Mueller report. He said the investigation of Russia’s interference into the 2016 U.S. election had found abundant evidence that Trump had obstructed justice—bucking his party and echoing the conclusions of many Democrats.

Indeed, Amash believes that other Republicans would have joined him in denouncing the president’s oppositional and unethical conduct, had they not been afraid of being singled out by their colleagues for personal, nasty attacks.

“It’s a big part of it. They’re afraid they’ll be attacked,” Amash said on CNN’s State of the Union program on July 7.

“I get people sending me text messages, people calling me, saying ‘thank you for what you’re doing,'” Amash told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a wide-ranging interview.. “They’re not saying it publicly. And I think that’s a problem for our country, it’s a problem for the Republican Party, it’s a problem for the Democratic Party when people aren’t allowed to speak out.”

In response to requests for comment, the president has denied any wrongdoing.

Amash told CNN he is running in Michigan for reelection to Congress as an Independent. Asked about possibly running for president as an independent or libertarian, Amash said, “I still wouldn’t rule anything like that out.”

Trump officially began his re-election campaign on June 18 and more than 20 Democrats are campaigning for their party’s nomination to run against Trump in 2020.

When Amash said he was leaving the party, Trump tweeted, “Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress is ‘quitting’ the Party.”

On Sunday, Amash said that “most people understand that’s not how people are supposed to talk about each other and to each other.”

He said Trump “thinks people owe loyalty to him. But people are elected to Congress with an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not an oath to support and defend one person.”

Amash said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is mistaken in holding off fellow Democrats from pursuing impeachment proceedings.

In the same interview, Amash said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should start impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“From a principled, moral position, she’s making a mistake. From a strategic position, she’s making a mistake,” Amash said. “If she believes, as I do, that there’s impeachable conduct in there, then she should say so. She should tell the American people, we’re going to move forward with impeachment hearings and potentially articles of impeachment.”

Research contact: @CNNPolitics

America will run out of avocados in three weeks if Trump shuts southern border

April 3, 2019

President Donald Trump’s has threatened again this week to close the U.S.-Mexico border, continuing his all-out effort to coerce the political leaders of both nations to block South American immigrants from coming across.

However, even a brief shutdown at America’s southern border would strain the economies of both nations by disrupting billions of dollars in trade, about $137 billion of which is in food imports.

Nearly 50% of all imported U.S. vegetables and 40% of imported fruit are grown in Mexico, according to the latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture.

From avocado toast to margaritas, American shoppers—who are heavily reliant on Mexican imports of fruit, vegetables, and alcohol—quickly would become bereft.

Indeed, the stoppage quickly would become “hard to swallow” for U.S. residents—especially those who love avocados, according to a report by Reuters. Those of us north of the border would run out of avocados in three weeks, if imports from Mexico were cut off, according to  Steve Barnard, CEO of Mission Produce, the largest distributor and grower of avocados in the world.

“You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100% of the avocados in the United Stated right now. California is just starting and they have a very small crop, but they’re not relevant right now and won’t be for another month or so,” Barnard said in an interview with Reuters.

In addition to avocados, the majority of imported tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries, and raspberries come from Mexico. While there are other sources of produce globally, opening those trade channels would take time.

And shortages of fruit and vegetables will rack up the already-soaring prices at the cash register.

On the other side of the border, Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. exports of refined fuels like diesel and gasoline, some of which moves by rail. It is unclear if rail terminals would be affected by closures.

Research contact: @Reuters

Travelers ask agents to book other aircraft after Boeing 737 MAX is grounded

March 14, 2019

Travel agents and websites have begun to respond to consumer concerns by rerouting passengers on other aircraft after the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX planes by nations worldwide—including China, Singapore, India, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, and the European Union—Reuters reports (and finally, the USA).

Several news outlets, including MSNBC,  reported that the United States had not grounded its 737 MAX aircraft, following a call received by President Donald Trump from Boeing President Dennis Muilenburg, imploring him to let them fly. (Editor’s note: That was true until late afternoon on March 13, when the president bowed to pressure and grounded the Boeing 737 MAX planes in the United States.)

However, U.S. passengers have the same fears as their global counterparts: Two of the new Boeing aircraft have crashed within the past five months—both just moments after takeoff—including Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10 and Indonesian Lion Air Flight JT610 on October 28.

The pilots of both flights had reported a technical issue when the controls were switched to autopilot after departure. Indeed, according to flight data from the earlier Lion Air incident, the aircraft took a sudden downward turn after the autopilot was switched on and made a sharp nosedive into the sea.

Boeing, itself, has commented, “[We are] deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”

Among the U.S. carriers that operate the Boeing 737 MAX are Southwest (with 34 of the planes), American Airlines (24), and United (14).

But, whether or not they are ticketing and flying, U.S. travelers do not want to board the aircraft until authorities worldwide have said it is good to go. Therefore, travel agents and websites are moving fast, Reuters says.

Kayak.com, part of the Booking.com stable, was the first big travel search website to say it would modify search filters to allow customers to exclude particular types of planes from queries, Reuters notes.

“We’ve recently received feedback to make Kayak’s filters more granular in order to exclude particular aircraft models from search queries,” a spokesperson for the website told Reuters in an email responding to questions., adding, “We are releasing that enhancement this week and are committed to providing our customers with all the information they need to travel with confidence

Several travel agents said they were dealing with the cancellation of flights due to the grounding of nearly two-thirds of the Boeing 737 MAX planes in most countries outside North America, prompting a wave of re-bookings.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which manages travel for big global businesses, said some clients wished to explore the possibility of temporarily restricting travel on Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.

U.S. travel firm Expedia, Germany’s Trivago and Indian online travel agents MakeMyTrip and Yatra did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment about the impact the crash is having on bookings.

According to Reuters, the twin crashes have spooked the airline industry and heaped pressure on Boeing, whose shares have plunged, wiping $25 billion off its market value in the space of less than three days.

Research contact: @Morrison1996

Suit yourselves: Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code

March 6, 21019

Goldman Sachs Group —one of the leading investment banking firms worldwide, known for its buttoned-up, bespoke culture—announced on March 5 that it is relaxing the dress code for all of its employees, Reuters reported.

The firm, which has been in business since 1869, told employees to “suit themselves” in an internal memo to its 36,000 employees  outlining the new “firmwide flexible dress code.”

Management said the shift was due to “the changing nature of workplaces generally in favor of a more casual environment.”

The memo was signed by CEO David Solomon, a former investment banker who took the role in October;along with CFO Stephen Scherr and COO John Waldron.

Historically known as a white-shoe investment bank, Goldman Sachs traditionally required formal business attire. But since 2017, the bank began relaxing its dress code for employees in the technology division and other new digital businesses. This created a divide in the workforce as clear as denim versus pinstripes.

Like other Wall Street banks, Goldman has been competing to secure the best employees. Large technology firms and hedge funds often have more relaxed offices and perks. What’s more, over 75% of Goldman employees are members of the Millennial or Gen Z generations—people born after 1981.

“All of us know what is and is not appropriate for the workplace,” the memo reads—also reminding employees to dress “in a manner that is consistent” with clients’ expectations. “Of course, casual dress is not appropriate every day and for every interaction and we trust you will consistently exercise good judgment in this regard.”

Research contact: @eadilts

Martha Stewart signs on with Canopy to ‘cook up’ a new line of CBD products

March 1, 2019

Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is going to pot, literally. She has signed on as an adviser to Canada-based marijuana producer Canopy Growth—agreeing to help develop and launch a line of pot-based products for both humans and animals, Reuters reported on February 28.

For 77-year-old Stewart—who has worked as a model, a stockbroker, a cookbook developer, a magazine editor, and a television star—this is simply another transition. And it’s one that she welcomes.

She famously has said: “Without an open-minded mind, you can never be a great success.”

The deal between Canopy and Sequential Brands Group, which owns the Martha Stewart brand, will seek to leverage Stewart’s mastery of consumer branding to launch a line of products based on CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

Sequential’s shares surged 51% to $1.81 in early trading.

“I’m especially looking forward to our first collaboration together, which will offer sensible products for people’s beloved pets,” Stewart commented on the deal.

In Canada, where both pot and CBD are legal for recreational use, cannabis companies have been pouring cash into their businesses—both to fend off competition and develop new products

According to Reuters, Canopy also has announced plans to invest between $100 million and $150 million in a hemp industrial park in New York State. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved edible CBD; nor has New York State.

But word is, both approvals may be coming soon.

Research contact: @MarthaStewart

Trump: Contacts with Russia are just ‘peanut stuff’

December 18, 2018

The president admits that he sees “the elephant in the room”—that is, his campaign associates’ frequent contacts with Russian oligarchs, lawyers, and government officials. However, Donald Trump told Reuters last week during an interview, it was all just “peanut stuff,” despite his earlier blanket denials of any such interactions.

Indeed, during a February 2017 news conference covered by Breitbart, President Trump said, “Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia …. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

Now—more than two years after the 2016 election and about 18 months into the Mueller investigation—court filings, public statements, and news reports indicate that at least 16 Trump associates had contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign or transition.

It has been thoroughly demonstrated that the president and his associates reached out to Russia in many ways:  via face-to-face meetings; direct phone calls, text messages, emails, and video chats; and through a host of intermediaries.

However, as CNN reports, all of those who made the contacts—from former White House officials, to his personal lawyer, to his own son and daughter—uniformly deny participating in any “collusion” with the Russians.

The Reuters interview came a day ahead of the sentencing hearing in New York’s Southern District Court for Trump’s personal lawyer and “fixer,” Michael Cohen—who was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in hush-money cover-ups during the campaign, as well as for other felonies. What’s more, Cohen’s testimony to Robert Mueller about the president’s involvement with Russia represents a ticking time bomb that could explode within weeks, doing damage to everyone in Trump’s inner circle.

Trump, during the Reuters interview, criticized Cohen for cooperating with prosecutors and called for his former personal lawyer to receive a long sentence.

Research contact: @maeganvaz

Trump aborts parley with Putin after news breaks on business dealings with Russia

November 30, 2018

Following an abrupt cancellation of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin—which had been scheduled to take place on December 1 at the G20 summit in Argentina, according to a leaked Kremlin document seen by Reuters—U.S. President Donald Trump now has an empty space on his “dance card” at 4:30 p.m. (GMT) that day.

CNN reported on Thursday that Trump attributed the cancellation to Russia’s refusal to release Ukrainian Navy ships and sailors seized during a maritime confrontation between the two nations on November 25.

But while Russia’s position on the incident has not changed since it attacked the Ukrainian ships, CNN pointed out that the president had begged off suddenly—less than one hour after his longtime former attorney and “personal fixer” Michael Cohen leveled fresh allegations in court about Trump’s business dealings with Russia.

Cohen pleaded guilty before a federal judge in New York City to lying Congress about pursuing a real estate deal on behalf of his ex-boss for another Trump Tower in Moscow during the presidential campaign.

“For his part, Trump tweeted en route to the summit,  Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting (…) in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!”

Aboard the plane, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters the President made his decision in consultation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton. Sanders said she was not aware of any phone calls between Trump and Putin.

Earlier Thursday, Trump told reporters, “I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven’t terminated that meeting.

“I was thinking about it,” he said, “but we haven’t. They’d like to have it. I think it’s a very good time to have a meeting. I’m getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that,” he said at the White House as he prepared to board Marine One.

However, according to a report by the Russian news outlet Sputnik, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov insisted that the meeting was still on. “Preparation is continuing; the meeting has been agreed. We have no other information from American counterparts,” Peskov said.

Removing the meeting from his agenda at the G20 won’t necessarily preclude some type of encounter between the two leaders, who last met formally in Helsinki in July, CNN said. The summit, which officially begins on November 30, will provide several chances that will bring them into the same room for meetings and a dinner.

Research contact: @JDiamond1

Mitch McConnell: GOP intends to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid after midterms

October 26, 2018

It’s the talk of the Beltway, according to the Los Angeles Times: Did Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) just admit that the GOP intends to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid after the midterm elections?

The scuttlebutt started, the Times reported on October 19, after the Senate majority leader gave an interview to Bloomberg  on October 16, in which he singled out “entitlements”—that’s political code for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—as “the real drivers of the debt” and called for them to be adjusted “to the demographics of the future.”

To make it short and sweet, McConnell intends to cut benefits.

Indeed, Bloomberg said, the Senate Majority Leader blamed rising federal deficits and debt on “a bipartisan unwillingness to contain spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.”

What’s more, although Republican legislators spent most of last winter trying to gut the Affordable Care Act, McConnell also telegraphed a plan to try again to repeal healthcare coverage after the midterm elections.

That’s despite indications that the ACA is becoming more popular with the public, not less, and voters’ concerns about preserving its protections for those with preexisting conditions may be driving them to the polls — and not to vote Republican. A poll released on October 18 by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found that fully 71% of U.S. voters say healthcare is the most important issue driving them to the polls in the midterm elections.

In an October 17 interview with Reuters, McConnell commented that the GOP’s failure to repeal the ACA was “the one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view.”  He said Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month.

The CBO projects the current fiscal year deficit at $973 billion, and says it expects annual deficits to exceed $1 trillion into the next decade. The CBO attributed much of the deficit to “recently enacted legislative changes. … In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax act.”

The Congressional Budget office sees things differently. The CBO projects the current fiscal year deficit at $973 billion, and says it expects annual deficits to exceed $1 trillion into the next decade. The CBO attributed much of the deficit to “recently enacted legislative changes. … In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax act.”

Research contact: @hitzikm