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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
"We were concerned, and we wanted to see action," said Liza McDonald, the fund's head of responsible investments. Loading "Collective engagement – so the board is hearing the same consistent message about actions and outcomes – is an important tool that we have." Aware Super, formerly known as First State Super, said the board's announcement on Friday that three top Rio Tinto executives, including Mr Jacques, iron ore boss Chris Salisbury and corporate affairs boss Simone Niven, would be leaving reflected "clearer and stronger" accountability for the incident that investors had been seeking. However, the fund said it remained concerned about the lack of independent oversight in Rio's investigations into how the site was destroyed without traditional landowners' consent. Ms McDonald said the fund believed the review launched following the disaster, led by non-executive director Michael L'Estrange, did not go far enough in interrogating the company's processes and policies. "Were people honest and really able to open up when [the review] was conducted by a board member?" she asked. Loading "Was there any bias in it – conscious or unconscious – when, at the end of the day, the person undertaking the review was a board member who
WASHINGTON — Top officials from the nation’s hobbled airlines visited the White House on Thursday to plead for financial relief as Congress continues to delay on passing another round of urgently-needed coronavirus stimulus. CEOs from American, United, Hawaiian, Delta and Southwest Airlines met with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to push for more aid before the $25 billion bailout approved in the March CARES Act expires on Sept. 30 — risking up to 30,000 jobs in the industry. “We airline CEOs are here on behalf of the people that work for us, keeping our country moving when our country is largely paralyzed,” American Airlines chief Doug Parker said after the meeting. “Without action they’re going to be furloughed on October 1 and it’s not fair,” he added. Meadows told reporters that the industry would need another $25 billion through March 2021 with the travel industry decimated by the virus and demand for hotels and flights still at record lows. “Compared to $1.5 trillion, it’s a rather small amount of additional assistance that could potentially keep 30 to 50,000 workers on the payroll,” Meadows said. “The recovery is going to take a little bit longer because COVID has not abated in a way that allows them to return to a normal operating schedule,” he went on. “There still is real assistance that needs to be granted.” Meadows said President Trump would be willing to support more financial assistance for the airlines and revealed recent conversations with certain House Democrats had been productive. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. REUTERS White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the White House today. AP A man arrives at a largely empty Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International airport amid the coronavirus pandemic. AFP via Getty Images Up Next Close A quick-thinking woman held a fatal stabbing suspect at gunpoint... 3 View Slideshow Back Continue But the former North Carolina congressman singled-out Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid a months-long stand-off on another round of relief. “I’m not optimistic Speaker Pelosi is going to see this as an opportunity to actually have meaningful conversations,” he said. Democrats have been unwilling to budge on certain issues included in the $3.4 trillion HEROES package they passed in May — including funding for federal and state governments. On Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrat leaders of blocking bipartisan negotiations after they rejected his $650 billion “skinny” bill that included $300-per-week federal supplement payments to the unemployed. “Our friends across the aisle have tried to change the subject to election security or immigration from Venezuela or anything besides the hundreds of billions of dollars in relief they’ve been filibustering,” McConnell (R. Ky) said on the Senate floor. So far, the virus has claimed the lives of 197,000 people in the US and infected 6.65 million. Another 60 million people have filed jobless claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D. NY) singled-out Trump for refusing to approve funding for Democrat-run states like New York, calling it “monstrous,” without addressing Democrats’ own filibustering. “What kind of person looks at the number of dead citizens in the country he is supposed to lead and in an attempt to glamorize himself, dismisses every American who has died in a state that didn’t support the president politically?” Schumer asked. “What a disgrace. It’s monstrous. Not a shred of empathy. Not an ounce of sorrow. What kind of president do we have?” he continued. Pelosi told Democrats on Tuesday that she would keep the House in session over the October break in the hopes of reaching a deal. But aides on both sides of the aisle told The Post they weren’t optimistic that would happen before the November election — blaming political point-scoring.
Rich Americans have drastically slashed their personal spending during the coronavirus crisis — and poor workers have suffered as a result, researchers say. The top 25 percent of income earners are responsible for more than half of the nation’s drastic plunge in consumer spending since the start of the pandemic, according to a new study from Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based research group. Big spenders cut back most when it came to high-touch goods and services with a bigger risk for catching COVID-19, such as restaurants, hotels and transportation, the researchers found. That had a big trickle-down effect on the businesses and workers that rely on their money. Small merchants in the most affluent zip codes lost more than 70 percent of their revenue when the virus struck, while those in the poorest areas lost just 30 percent, the study says. The layoffs that accompanied those losses followed a similar pattern — over 70 percent of low-wage workers at small businesses in rich areas lost their jobs within two weeks of the start of the crisis, compared with less than 30 percent in the lowest-rent ZIP codes. “Businesses in more affluent areas not only laid off more low-wage workers but are also posting fewer jobs to hire new workers, suggesting that the recovery may take longer in such areas,” the Opportunity Insights researchers wrote. But rich people weren’t spending less because they needed to pinch pennies, according to the study. Spending on landscaping and other luxury items that don’t require physical contact did not drop, and professional services firms saw much smaller losses, suggesting the broader reduction “was driven primarily by health concerns rather than a reduction in income or wealth,” the researchers said. The data reveal new dimensions of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, sparked by a pandemic that forced restaurants, retailers and other businesses to scale back operations or close altogether. The crisis led to record unemployment and the biggest economic contraction since the Great Recession before many states began to ease their lockdowns. The study is based on a real-time database Opportunity Insights built to track the economic fallout from the coronavirus using data from credit card processors, payroll companies and other private sector sources. The federal government regularly reports economic data — such as the record 13.6 percent plunge in consumer spending in April — but they are released on a lag and aren’t detailed enough for granular analyses, according to the researchers.
"You could say we are in a long-term correction of excessive dollar strength." Loading The Australian dollar is fetching around 72 US cents but is likely to remain in a narrow range as markets monitor a coronavirus outbreak in Victoria. Against the euro, the US dollar stood at $US1.1833 in Asia on Wednesday following a 0.4 per cent decline in the previous session. The British pound bought $US1.3149 having risen 0.7 per cent against the dollar on Tuesday. Sterling has managed to shrug off a lack of progress in trade negotiations between Britain and the European Union. The dollar bought 0.9082 Swiss franc, close to the lowest in more than five years against the safe harbour currency. The dollar managed to hold onto slim gains against the yen , last trading at 106.35. Powell's speech at Jackson Hole - held online due to the coronavirus outbreak - is by far the biggest event of the week, but the data calendar leading up to Thursday has been discouraging. Data later on Wednesday are forecast to show growth in US durable goods orders slowed in July, following from the US consumer confidence report for August, which fell
Forget the iPhone 12, Apple’s hottest new product is a face mask. The iPhone maker has reportedly created its first face mask designed in-house, and is beginning to send them out to corporate and retail workers as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. The Apple Face Mask, as it has been dubbed, was developed by the same design teams that work on the iPhone and iPad, Bloomberg reports. The triple-layer mask includes “large coverings on the top and bottom for the wearer’s nose and chin,” as well as adjustable straps for comfort. Apple told Bloomberg that it was careful when researching materials to not disrupt medical professionals’ access to personal protective equipment. The Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has also developed a face covering called the ClearMask, which is fully transparent. The mask is meant to leave the mouth visible to make communication easier for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Apple store employees currently use standard issue masks, but will begin to receive the Apple Face Mask in the coming weeks. Customers who visit Apple Store locations will still receive basic surgical masks, and are required to have their temperature taken upon arrival.
Alex Rodriguez is fuming over losing the Mets to billionaire Steve Cohen and griping that the process was rigged, multiple sources tell The Post. Sources close to the former Yankees slugger say they lost the Queens team on Friday, Aug. 28 after the Mets’ banker — Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co. — reached out to ask for a sneak peek at what was being offered. The request came days ahead of the official Aug. 31 bidding deadline. A-Rod — who has been vying for The Amazins with his superstar fiancee Jennifer Lopez — reluctantly complied with the request only to learn later that same day that the Mets were in exclusive deal talks with Cohen. The founder of Point72 Asset Management had offered $2.35 billion for the team — or just $50 million more than the $2.3 billion bid offered by Rodriguez and his group of investors. The former Yankees’ third baseman is now convinced that the Mets spoonfed his bid information to Cohen so the billionaire financier and art collector could have the highest offer and win the team. “They took the bids and showed them to Cohen,” a source familiar with A-Rod’s thinking claimed. The Mets and Cohen declined comment. Greenberg didn’t return calls for comment. Experts tell The Post that it’s unusual for a seller to set a bidding deadline and then push for that information in advance. But they also note that there’s not much that can be done even if Cohen had been given a sneak peek because the Mets are a private company and can play ball with whomever they want. “It’s not normal but things like this do happen,” said Steven Smith, a managing partner at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner who specializes in sports transactions. “In the end, the sellers’ goal is to get the highest price for the team.” But A-Rod’s camp contends the 14-time All-Star would have considered raising his offer if he had been given the chance. A bidding war, sources contend, might have resulted in an extra $100 million for the New York team. But the Mets never went back to see if A-Rod wanted to match or better Cohen’s offer, sources said. Rodriguez has been trying to reach Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon since Friday but can’t get him on the phone, they added. “It was fixed,” a second source close to the A-Rod camp said. Rodriguez and Lopez are furious because they now feel they were led on all these months into thinking they might have a shot at the team. They blame Mets’ co-owner Saul Katz who, insiders say, was more recently driving the negotiations. Cohen and the Mets are now expected to close their new deal in days. The deal calls for Cohen to fork over roughly $1.6 billion in cash, to assume the team’s substantial debt and to cover some of the $200 million the Mets will lose this season due to the coronavirus, sources say. The total package is estimated to be worth $2.35 billion. That’s $250 million less than the $2.6 billion Cohen had offered last year before he walked away in February over issues of control. As The Post previously reported, that deal fell apart after Mets COO Jeff Wilpon made it clear that any sale to Cohen would require that he retain his title for five years, his salary and various perks, including a private plane. Of course, the Cohen deal could very well fall apart again. Major League Baseball is expected to spend three months once the deal closes investigating Cohen’s background before putting his ownership up for a vote. Three-quarters of the league’s owners would need to approve the purchase before it can be finalized. Cohen has some strikes against him, most famously a 2013 insider trading plea by his former firm, SAC Capital Advisors, which resulted in a $1.8 billion fine and Cohen agreeing to return outside money until January 2018. Cohen, himself, was not charged. If Cohen gets rejected by the MLB or the deal otherwise falls apart, it’s unclear whether Rodriguez would be willing to step up to the plate again considering how burned he and his investment partners now feel, a source familiar with his thinking said. “Who knows?” this person quipped when asked whether the slugger might take another swing.
For their earliest philanthropic endeavours in the 1990s, the elder Gates worked from a basement office at home or, as a British newspaper reported, from the vinyl booth of a burger joint where he often ate lunch. Funding pleas The William H. Gates Foundation, started in 1994 with an initial stock gift of $US94 million, concentrated its giving on global health and community groups in the Pacific Northwest. The elder Gates scanned pleas from the serious to the whimsical. One man suggested funding a ballroom dancing television channel, he wrote in his 2009 memoir, "Showing up for life." The elder Gates operated the slide projector at his son's first keynote address at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, in 1983. In the book, he also recounted getting an appeal from his son and his son's wife, Melinda. They had learned that many children die each year from illnesses that are rarely fatal in developed countries, such as measles, malaria and diarrhoea. "Dad, maybe we could do something about this?" they wrote. The foundation, now known as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has committed more than $US50 billion to expand childhood immunisation, eradicate polio,
"This strategy sits alongside our plans to further increase our existing partnerships with our international and Hollywood studio partners." Stan recently failed to renew a longstanding deal with entertainment giant ViacomCBS, owner of Network Ten, for popular Showtime content when the US company announced it would launch its own streaming product in Australia. It was also hopeful of landing a multi-million dollar deal with WarnerMedia,the owner of premium studio HBO, in May but lost out to News Corp's Foxtel. Both Stan and Foxtel lost Disney content when the US behemoth launched its direct-to-consumer streaming service, Disney+ last year. The Nine-owned streaming service does have long-term output deals in place with ViacomCBS' Paramount studio, which makes popular shows such as YellowStone and The Great, and deals with other studios including Starz and Sony. In the coming months Nine's television division, led by Michael Healy, will work closely with Mr Sneesby and his team to commission new programs and films. Nine will use its production capabilities to accelerate Stan Originals​ production. All content commissioned will run through Stan's financial accounts. Analysts view Stan as a strategically important asset for Nine, which reports results this week. The business turned cashflow positive
Robinhood Markets, the fintech startup credited with helping popularize trading among millennials, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Regulatory Authority over its handling of a system outage in March, Bloomberg News reported on Monday. One area of focus for the investigation is Robinhood’s lack of customer response, the report said, citing people with direct knowledge of the discussions. Robinhood is one of the hottest fintech startups in Silicon Valley, having been valued at $11.2 billion in its most recent funding round. The company, however, has been criticized for not doing enough to moderate excesses after one of its customers took his life believing he had lost more than $730,000 using the free trading app. Robinhood, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has experienced several outages since early March, particularly on days of high trading volumes. The SEC and the FINRA did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
NSW state final demand – a broad measure of spending across the economy – plunged by a disastrous 8.6 per cent in the June quarter. It was the biggest ever decline in that key indicator of state economic performance. The percentage fall was also larger than every other state and territory. The state’s biggest challenge is now jobs and the Berejiklian government’s most important role is to do all that it can to increase employment and keep businesses afloat. Infrastructure spending is one of the best tools the government has at its disposal to do that. The Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has called on the states and territories to spend an additional $40 billion over the next two years on infrastructure, as well as training and other programs. He points out Australian governments are in a good position to take on more debt to do this because they have “ready access to the capital markets and they can borrow at historically low rates of interest”. If Dr Lowe’s advice is followed, NSW would spend about $13 billion more than currently budgeted over the next two years, much of it on infrastructure. Big transport projects have become
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos topped Forbes’ list of richest Americans for the third year in a row, while President Trump’s ranking dropped as the coronavirus pandemic slammed his office buildings, hotels and resorts, the magazine said Tuesday. The aggregate wealth of the Forbes 400 list rose to a record $3.2 trillion, as the richest Americans continued to do well even though the pandemic has devastated the economy and caused more than 1.8 million Americans to lose their jobs. Bezos’ fortune of $179 billion, as of July 24, is up 57 percent from last year. Eric Yuan, chief executive officer of Zoom Video Communications, which has become ubiquitous in the work-from-home era, was one of 18 newcomers on the list with a net worth of $11 billion. Trump’s ranking dropped to No. 352 from 275 last year as his net worth fell to $2.5 billion from $3.1 billion, as office buildings, hotels and resorts, have suffered during the pandemic. His business, the Trump Organization, owns property in all three categories. Trump has long refused to release his tax records, and has been locked in a battle with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who subpoenaed Trump for eight years of personal and corporate returns. The annual list can serve as a way to track the wealthiest people in the country who hold the most power, said Kerry Dolan, assistant managing editor of wealth at Forbes, in an interview with Reuters TV. “As a society, we all should know who is behind the biggest companies and what they’re doing with their money,” she said.
He said that result was a testament to the 'hard border' and he took aim at "eastern states commentators" who claimed the state was a drag on the national economy. Loading "What today's data highlights in particular in respect of the June quarter is that Western Australia, and indeed those states with hard borders or strong borders like South Australia and Queensland are certainly no drag on the national economy," he said. "We all had the strongest results for the June quarter compared to those states that have been more liberal with their borders. "I want to put to bed this idea that Western Australia is a drag on the national economy, it has been an important contributor, not just to the economy of Australia but to the finances of every single treasury in our federation." Both Mr Wyatt and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenburg noted the mining sector's role in propping up state and federal economies. Loading "As always I’m thankful to Western Australia and its strong mining sector and Queensland’s mining sector, and indeed mining right around the country," Mr Wyatt said. "It is a highly productive sector, it’s a big export earner and it is