After years of spending, tech’s political machine turns to high gear

When Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced legislation last month aimed at major technology companies, a near-endless parade of groups quickly voiced disapproval. TechFreedom, a tech-focused Washington nonprofit, said the proposal would “set up a partisan bloodmatch” between big companies and regulators. The Computer & Communications Industry Association said the bill would set up “government censorship of online speech” and limit freedom. Each of those think tanks and advocacy groups is backed by


When Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced legislation last month aimed at major technology companies, a near-endless parade of groups quickly voiced disapproval. TechFreedom, a tech-focused Washington nonprofit, said the proposal would “set up a partisan bloodmatch” between big companies and regulators. The Computer & Communications Industry Association said the bill would set up “government censorship of online speech” and limit freedom. Each of those think tanks and advocacy groups is backed by
After years of spending, tech’s political machine turns to high gear Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-03  Authors: allan smith, mary catherine wellons
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, washington, political, machine, gear, high, google, groups, bill, institute, think, turns, facebook, internet, techs, companies, tech, spending


After years of spending, tech's political machine turns to high gear

Colin Stretch (L), General Counsel of Facebook, Sean Edgett (C), Acting General Counsel of Twitter, and Richard Salgado (R), Director of Law Enforcement And Information Security of Google, are sworn in prior to testifying during a US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing on Russian influence on social networks on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 31, 2017.

When Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced legislation last month aimed at major technology companies, a near-endless parade of groups quickly voiced disapproval.

There was plenty of pushback from tech advocacy groups.

TechFreedom, a tech-focused Washington nonprofit, said the proposal would “set up a partisan bloodmatch” between big companies and regulators. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a tech-focused civil liberties nonprofit, said it would “let the government decide who speaks.” Engine Advocacy, an organization that advocates for policies that help startups, said the legislation, “in an effort to address a nonexistent problem” would “dismantle the sensible regulatory regime that is responsible for the development of the Internet.” The Computer & Communications Industry Association said the bill would set up “government censorship of online speech” and limit freedom.

Those concerns were echoed by a litany of conservative and libertarian-leaning think tanks. Libertarian think tank R Street said the legislation “hurts conservatives” while the Competitive Enterprise Institute, another conservative think tank, said it was “highly regulatory and should be rejected.” The Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and Americans for Prosperity lambasted the proposal too, calling it “the latest potential disaster ” that “would blow up the internet. ”

Each of those think tanks and advocacy groups is backed by Google, Facebook or both. The companies are not only two of the main targets of Hawley’s bill, but they’re also the focus of broader political scrutiny that now spans both parties and has spilled over into the Democratic presidential race.

With lawmakers ramping up debate over privacy, antitrust and, in Hawley’s case, legal protections the platforms rely on, the Silicon Valley giants are unleashing some of the Washington power they’ve spent the past few years building up, going from a low-key player into the biggest spender in D.C.

And while tech-funded think tanks and advocacy groups have fought other initiatives, the fervor over Hawley’s bill has revealed just how well powerful companies have laid the foundation in Washington to fight efforts to rein them in.

“I’ve never seen pushback in such a fashion before,” Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, a conservative think tank, told NBC News. “Even with net neutrality, these groups were all over the place — even though Facebook and Google supported it. It’s safe to say that it’s largely due to pressure from the social media giants that hasn’t been seen before.”

In recent years — after relatively little interaction between Silicon Valley and Capitol Hill — Google and Facebook have ramped up their spending on lobbying, with both companies spending more on such services in 2018 than any year prior, data from the Center for Responsive Politics showed.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent more on federal lobbying than any other company in 2018 at more than $21.7 million. Facebook spent nearly $13 million. That does not include money those companies have spent bolstering think tanks and other Washington influencers, who help shape discussion about policies that affect those companies.

Of course, that comes as the tech giants face calls to be broken up from politicians including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential contender, and amid a broader bipartisan push for more stringent regulations and intense scrutiny in Capitol Hill hearings.

“Corporate funded groups are always engaged in issues like this; have done so for many years,” Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Digital Democracy, told NBC News. “But clearly the stakes are higher now, because we have never ever had a time when serious regulation (privacy, antitrust) is on the agenda. And bipartisan. So [last month’s] reaction shows there are five-alarm bells ringing in D.C. from Google and Facebook that have galvanized the groups they support.”

The connection goes as follows: Google provides, in its own terms, “substantial funding” to R Street, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine Advocacy, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, TechFreedom, the Cato Institute, and AEI. Those organizations also receive funding from a variety of other corporate benefactors.

Google, in addition to Facebook, also backs the Competitive Enterprise Institute, while Facebook has provided backing for Americans for Prosperity through The State Policy Network.

Earlier this year, Wired reported on how Google specifically influences Washington, D.C., noting that experts aligned with the company’s viewpoints “frame populist fervor to regulate Big Tech as the work of unserious ‘hipster antitrust’ activists who don’t understand the law, and argue that consumers are better off with the status quo.”

“Scholars and experts may hold these positions independent of financial incentives from tech companies like Google, but both regulators and the public are sometimes left in the dark about potential conflicts of interest,” Wired added.

Google and Facebook did not respond to requests for comment from NBC News.

Hawley’s bill is hardly without opposition from non-tech sources.

A first-term senator who has made battling big tech core to his brand, Hawley proposed the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, which would make big tech platforms liable for content posted by their users unless they can earn immunity through FTC audits that prove they’re “politically neutral” when it comes to their algorithms and content-removal practices. The legislation would alter protections enjoyed by tech platforms under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

Critics of all stripes have said that if those protections were to change, the internet “would probably be decimated overnight ” and that changes to the law could create the opposite effect, causing platforms to purge many more users.

“Senator Hawley has written a bill to deputize the federal government as the Speech Police in flagrant violation of the First Amendment,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and a major player in the passage of the Communications Decency Act, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Internet Association — a lobbying group that includes Google and Facebook as members but advocates on industry-wide issues and counts many tech companies in its fold — issued a strong rebuke of the proposal, indicating the totality of the tech objection to the proposal.

Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute who focuses on monopoly power, told NBC News that last time he “saw this kind of collective temper tantrum by all their trade groups was” during the legislative battle over a pair of bills aimed at curtailing sex trafficking online, which altered Section 230 to remove liability protection for sites that “knowingly” publish any material pertaining to sex trafficking.

But, unlike Hawley’s bill — which Stoller says he does not support — much of that backlash was joined by grassroots activism from sex workers, advocates and survivors of sex trafficking.

On the Hawley bill, Schilling said: “It’s a very tough case to make that the Facebook and Google money don’t play a factor in such a strong and united pushback on this issue.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-03  Authors: allan smith, mary catherine wellons
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, washington, political, machine, gear, high, google, groups, bill, institute, think, turns, facebook, internet, techs, companies, tech, spending


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Police repeatedly fire tear gas on protesters as confrontation turns violent in Hong Kong

Protesters flee the area after police fired tear gas during demonstrations outside the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Isaac Lawrence | AFP | Getty ImagesHong Kong police repeatedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets into large crowds of protesters gathering around the local legislature on Wednesday. After one instance of tear gas being fired, protesters yelled “Shame on the Hong Kong police.” A spokesman at the Hong Kong office of China’s foreign ministry declined to c


Protesters flee the area after police fired tear gas during demonstrations outside the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Isaac Lawrence | AFP | Getty ImagesHong Kong police repeatedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets into large crowds of protesters gathering around the local legislature on Wednesday. After one instance of tear gas being fired, protesters yelled “Shame on the Hong Kong police.” A spokesman at the Hong Kong office of China’s foreign ministry declined to c
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-12  Authors: kelly olsen
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, legal, tear, legislature, local, hong, protesters, gas, confrontation, kong, violent, repeatedly, protest, china, turns


Police repeatedly fire tear gas on protesters as confrontation turns violent in Hong Kong

Protesters flee the area after police fired tear gas during demonstrations outside the Legislative Council Complex in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Isaac Lawrence | AFP | Getty Images

Hong Kong police repeatedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets into large crowds of protesters gathering around the local legislature on Wednesday. That came as lawmakers postponed debate on proposed legal changes condemned by hundreds of thousands in the city. The protests, which kicked off over the weekend, were aimed at stopping a government plan to allow extraditions to mainland China. The heart of the issue, demonstrators say, is the city’s ceding its autonomy to Beijing. Large crowds overflowed roads and pathways leading to the Legislative Council, the local assembly, while police in riot gear were deployed. Police early on raised a red warning flag that reads: “Stop Charging or We Use Force.” Crowds surrounded Legco — as the council is informally known — in the morning but by late afternoon had largely been pushed to areas south of the facility. In the afternoon, explosion-like sounds could be heard and smoke from tear gas was seen rising from near one protest point where police squared off with demonstrators. Video showed authorities using gas canisters and other methods to push back demonstrators. Protesters wearing white or black paper face masks dispersed and shouted amid the smoky tear gas. Police walked through cleared areas knocking debris out of the way. Sirens from emergency vehicles were occasionally heard. Massed protesters shouted “go away” to police and yelled out warnings and made gestures with their hands to send signals to others in the crowd. After one instance of tear gas being fired, protesters yelled “Shame on the Hong Kong police.” Security was heavy in central Hong Kong from the morning with non-authorized access blocked to the legislature. Activists have called on opponents of the proposal to surround the facility days after the biggest public demonstration in years shook the global finance and trade hub of 7.4 million people.

‘A large crowd’

Lawmakers were scheduled to discuss the proposal Wednesday but the legislature announced in a brief statement on its website that the meeting would be “changed to a later time.” Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration, Matthew Cheung, later issued a video statement saying: “Due to a large crowd blocking areas around the Legislative Council building, the president of Legislative Council ordered to delay the meeting to another time,” according to a CNBC translation. “The government urges citizens who are occupying the roads to return to the pedestrian walkways so that traffic can resume soon,” said Cheung, the No. 2 official in Hong Kong. “I also wanted to call for the citizens here to remain calm and restrained, to leave peacefully soon and not to break the law.” The Legco press office subsequently confirmed to CNBC that lawmakers will not meet Wednesday. Dennis Kwok, one of the legislators who has led opposition to the government plan, said he’s doing so because of Hong Kong and the mainland’s fundamentally different legal characters. “It’s because we do not trust the legal system in China, where there is no independence of judiciary and there is no respect for human rights and due process,” Kwok told CNBC on Wednesday. “And sending people there to face serious criminal trials with no human rights safeguard is below our standard.” A spokesman at the Hong Kong office of China’s foreign ministry declined to comment when contacted by CNBC for reaction to Kwok’s remarks. Police said that 240,000 people participated at the peak of Sunday’s protest that saw throngs march down a main street shouting slogans and carrying signs denouncing the legislation and demanding Hong Kong’s top official, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, resign. Organizers, however, claimed a turnout of slightly more than 1 million. The last time Hong Kong saw a protest of such scale was in 2003 when an estimated 500,000 people rallied against a proposed security law that also raised fears of closer links to China. Sunday’s protest was overwhelmingly peaceful, but there were clashes at night between protesters and police at the legislature with injuries suffered and arrests made. Lam, who next month starts the third year of a five-year term, on Monday rejected calls to quit , telling reporters that she will push ahead with the plan in the local assembly.

‘Hong Kong is Hong Kong’

Lam also said the idea for the legal change came from her government, denying widespread suspicions that she is acting at the behest of Beijing authorities. The government says it is necessary to close a legal “gap” that prevents it from extraditing a local man to Taiwan for allegedly killing his girlfriend while on a visit there last year. It wants to amend a local ordinance to that effect, but the change would also apply to China and other locales with which Hong Kong lacks extradition treaties. The government says the bill includes strong safeguards, including those that will prevent human rights abuses, and has claimed it won’t be used for political purposes.

A demonstrator displays the U.K. flag behind a police line on June 10 in Hong Kong. Chan Long Hei | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

But Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s president, in a Tuesday Facebook post lauded the Hong Kong protesters and criticized the proposal, saying the self-governing island would not accept the accused man’s extradition under the proposed legal change. Many in Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system from mainland China, fear being caught up in mainland courts, which are widely criticized by human groups as a political tool of the Chinese Communist Party. “I think Hong Kong is Hong Kong. It’s not China,” said Jeace Chan, who participated in Sunday’s demonstration and was having breakfast Wednesday before heading to the legislature to join the latest protest aimed at stopping passage of the bill. “This is our goal,” she added.

Hong Kong’s role as a business hub


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-12  Authors: kelly olsen
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, legal, tear, legislature, local, hong, protesters, gas, confrontation, kong, violent, repeatedly, protest, china, turns


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Amazon’s shareholder meeting turns testy as investors demand action on climate crisis and diversity

Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday turned hostile as shareholders demanded change on a number of issues, ranging from renewable energy use to equal pay. Dozens of shareholders, including current employees, joined the meeting in Seattle, presenting their case in over 12 different proposals. They included demands that the company take action on climate change through energy use, as well as improving diversity and pay equality in its workforce. Emily Cunningham, an Amazon employee who


Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday turned hostile as shareholders demanded change on a number of issues, ranging from renewable energy use to equal pay. Dozens of shareholders, including current employees, joined the meeting in Seattle, presenting their case in over 12 different proposals. They included demands that the company take action on climate change through energy use, as well as improving diversity and pay equality in its workforce. Emily Cunningham, an Amazon employee who
Amazon’s shareholder meeting turns testy as investors demand action on climate crisis and diversity Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-22  Authors: eugene kim paayal zaveri, eugene kim, paayal zaveri
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, diversity, meeting, demand, amazons, change, annual, shareholders, turns, testy, investors, crisis, asked, shareholder, bezos, energy, climate, amazon, presentation


Amazon's shareholder meeting turns testy as investors demand action on climate crisis and diversity

Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday turned hostile as shareholders demanded change on a number of issues, ranging from renewable energy use to equal pay.

Dozens of shareholders, including current employees, joined the meeting in Seattle, presenting their case in over 12 different proposals. They included demands that the company take action on climate change through energy use, as well as improving diversity and pay equality in its workforce. Two of the resolutions asked for Amazon to stop the sale of its facial recognition software to government agencies, which the backers say raises concerns of racial bias and discrimination.

While large companies often face dissent among investors at their annual meetings, Amazon is in a particularly sensitive spot because of its growing size, influence and CEO Jeff Bezos’s incredible wealth – he passed Bill Gates in 2017 to become the world’s richest person. Amazon is facing pressure among policymakers, regulators and activists for how it pays and treats warehouse workers, how it collects consumer data and promotes products and how it uses artificial intelligence.

Emily Cunningham, an Amazon employee who led the climate change initiative, asked Bezos to come out on stage to listen to her presentation. Bezos did not appear until later when he took questions from the crowd. Roughly 50 people in the room, however, stood up during her presentation in support of her resolution asking Amazon to reduce its use of fossil fuels.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-22  Authors: eugene kim paayal zaveri, eugene kim, paayal zaveri
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, diversity, meeting, demand, amazons, change, annual, shareholders, turns, testy, investors, crisis, asked, shareholder, bezos, energy, climate, amazon, presentation


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Gold steadies as equities dip; focus turns to Fed minutes

Spot gold inched up 0.1% to $1,278.41 per ounc, having touched its lowest since May 3 at $1,273.22. “With equities trading lower, gold is expected to trade a little higher going into the Fed minutes on expectations that there is no immediate rate increase coming for the rest of the year,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. Gold tends to appreciate on expectations of lower interest rates, which reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. “We have equitie


Spot gold inched up 0.1% to $1,278.41 per ounc, having touched its lowest since May 3 at $1,273.22. “With equities trading lower, gold is expected to trade a little higher going into the Fed minutes on expectations that there is no immediate rate increase coming for the rest of the year,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. Gold tends to appreciate on expectations of lower interest rates, which reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. “We have equitie
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-20
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Gold steadies as equities dip; focus turns to Fed minutes

An amphora filled with ancient gold Roman coins found in the Cressoni theatre complex is seen in Como Italy, September 5, 2018.

Gold steadied on Monday after recovering slightly from a more than two-week low hit earlier in the session, as equity markets fell ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s release of minutes from its last meeting.

Spot gold inched up 0.1% to $1,278.41 per ounc, having touched its lowest since May 3 at $1,273.22.

U.S. gold futures settled $1.50 higher at $1,282.90.

“With equities trading lower, gold is expected to trade a little higher going into the Fed minutes on expectations that there is no immediate rate increase coming for the rest of the year,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Investors shifted focus to the Fed minutes due on Wednesday, which is expected to provide insights into the May 1 central bank meeting in which policymakers decided to keep interest rates steady and signaled little appetite to adjust them any time soon.

Gold tends to appreciate on expectations of lower interest rates, which reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Global stocks took a hit as concerns mounted about an escalating fallout from a U.S. crackdown on China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, intensifying a prolonged trade war between the world’s two biggest economics.

The greenback limited bullion’s appeal as the dollar index held near a two-week high. Last week the index posted the biggest weekly rise since early March, supported by robust U.S. housing data and a report pointing to lower unemployment.

“We have equities trading lower with all the geo-political news out there, yet gold can’t sustain any rally. There seems to be a flight to safety into the dollar because of the better economic data coming out of the U.S.,” Haberkorn said.

While gold is a safe store of value during times of uncertainty, investors are preferring the dollar, as they did last year during the U.S.-China trade spat.

Iran was served a new warning by U.S. President Donald Trump, who tweeted that if the country wanted to fight, that would be Iran’s “official end.”

On the technical side, “$1,265 is now a critical support that must hold. A daily close below that region implies a much deeper correction could be imminent,” OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said in a note.

Among other metals, silver was up 0.5% at $14.47 an ounce, having touched a more than five-month low at $14.33.

Platinum edged 0.1% lower at $812.40 per ounce, while palladium rose 1.5% to $1,329.90.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-20
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, dollar, ounce, steadies, focus, equities, trade, twoweek, touched, gold, dip, trading, turns, fed, minutes, rates, lower


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Iran appears to be restarting oil shipments to Syria as Trump turns up pressure

Tanker-tracking firms believe Iran is once again shipping crude oil to Syria, resuming the illicit trade as tensions with Washington rise and the Islamic Republic faces increasing international isolation. An Iranian delivery of approximately one million barrels of crude was made into the Syrian port of Baniyas during the first week of May, according to TankerTrackers.com and ClipperData, two groups that follows oil vessels. This would be the first Iranian oil delivery to Syria since the end of 2


Tanker-tracking firms believe Iran is once again shipping crude oil to Syria, resuming the illicit trade as tensions with Washington rise and the Islamic Republic faces increasing international isolation. An Iranian delivery of approximately one million barrels of crude was made into the Syrian port of Baniyas during the first week of May, according to TankerTrackers.com and ClipperData, two groups that follows oil vessels. This would be the first Iranian oil delivery to Syria since the end of 2
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-09  Authors: leila gharagozlou, tom dichristopher, ali mohammadi, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, week, pressure, appears, crude, restarting, trump, international, oil, iranian, follows, iran, shipments, syria, turns, according, delivery


Iran appears to be restarting oil shipments to Syria as Trump turns up pressure

Tanker-tracking firms believe Iran is once again shipping crude oil to Syria, resuming the illicit trade as tensions with Washington rise and the Islamic Republic faces increasing international isolation.

An Iranian delivery of approximately one million barrels of crude was made into the Syrian port of Baniyas during the first week of May, according to TankerTrackers.com and ClipperData, two groups that follows oil vessels.

This would be the first Iranian oil delivery to Syria since the end of 2018, according to Samir Madani, founder of TankerTrackers.

The suspected delivery comes one year after the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of an international nuclear agreement with Iran and just one week after the Trump administration tightened energy sanctions in an effort to push Iranian crude exports to zero. It also follows the deployment of a U.S. carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East earlier this week.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-09  Authors: leila gharagozlou, tom dichristopher, ali mohammadi, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, week, pressure, appears, crude, restarting, trump, international, oil, iranian, follows, iran, shipments, syria, turns, according, delivery


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European markets: Brexit, earnings in focus as mood turns cautious

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index was around 0.1 percent higher in mid-morning trade with most sectors and bourses sitting around the flat-line. This after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday proposed a list of European Union products on which to slap tariffs as retaliation for European aircraft subsidies, with Airbus down 1.9 percent in early deals. The U.S. is considering tariffs on about $11 billion of EU products ranging from aircraft parts to wine. The move comes as th


The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index was around 0.1 percent higher in mid-morning trade with most sectors and bourses sitting around the flat-line. This after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday proposed a list of European Union products on which to slap tariffs as retaliation for European aircraft subsidies, with Airbus down 1.9 percent in early deals. The U.S. is considering tariffs on about $11 billion of EU products ranging from aircraft parts to wine. The move comes as th
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-09  Authors: david reid, sam meredith
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European markets: Brexit, earnings in focus as mood turns cautious

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index was around 0.1 percent higher in mid-morning trade with most sectors and bourses sitting around the flat-line. This after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday proposed a list of European Union products on which to slap tariffs as retaliation for European aircraft subsidies, with Airbus down 1.9 percent in early deals.

The U.S. is considering tariffs on about $11 billion of EU products ranging from aircraft parts to wine. The move comes as the President Donald Trump administration looks to retaliate against EU subsidies for Airbus, which the World Trade Organization ruled had “adverse effects” on America.

Other European-listed stocks such as Rolls-Royce, Thales, Dassault Systemes, BAE and Leonardo were seen as among the most exposed to Lighthizer’s threat and these firms fell lower on Tuesday morning.

Drink maker stocks also went on a wild ride with Remy Cointreau, Pernod Ricard and Davide Campari all suffering losses, although initial selling at the open was reversed to some degree by mid-morning. Other items on the U.S. list included some European-produced cheese, passenger helicopters, as well as certain types of motorcycles and ski suits.

The announcement comes shortly after a World Trade Organization ruling said the U.S. was guilty of illegal subsidies in production of Boeing aircraft.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-09  Authors: david reid, sam meredith
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, aircraft, list, turns, mood, products, focus, cautious, european, world, tariffs, brexit, trade, earnings, midmorning, subsidies, stocks, markets, organization


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Shark Tank: Mark Cuban invests in Pick-Up Pools, turns truck into pool

And on Sunday’s “Shark Tank,” an Air Force pilot pitched a unique pickup truck accessory that won an investment from Mark Cuban: a pool liner that transforms a truck bed into a swimming pool. Since their home didn’t have a pool, Prestella created a makeshift pool using a tarp and bungee cords in the back of his pickup truck, and it sparked a business idea. Prestella invented Pick-Up Pools, pool liners that transform the bed of a pick-up truck into a swimming pool. Don’t miss: ‘ Shark Tank’: Why


And on Sunday’s “Shark Tank,” an Air Force pilot pitched a unique pickup truck accessory that won an investment from Mark Cuban: a pool liner that transforms a truck bed into a swimming pool. Since their home didn’t have a pool, Prestella created a makeshift pool using a tarp and bungee cords in the back of his pickup truck, and it sparked a business idea. Prestella invented Pick-Up Pools, pool liners that transform the bed of a pick-up truck into a swimming pool. Don’t miss: ‘ Shark Tank’: Why
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-25  Authors: sarah berger, source
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Shark Tank: Mark Cuban invests in Pick-Up Pools, turns truck into pool

America loves its pickup trucks — in fact in 2018 the top three best-selling vehicles in the US were all pickups. And on Sunday’s “Shark Tank,” an Air Force pilot pitched a unique pickup truck accessory that won an investment from Mark Cuban: a pool liner that transforms a truck bed into a swimming pool.

In 2014, Tommy Prestella was living in Arkansas when his toddler daughter asked to go swimming. Since their home didn’t have a pool, Prestella created a makeshift pool using a tarp and bungee cords in the back of his pickup truck, and it sparked a business idea.

Prestella invented Pick-Up Pools, pool liners that transform the bed of a pick-up truck into a swimming pool. Thanks to a patent, he tells the Sharks, he is only person who is able to make the bed of a pick-up truck water-tight.

Prestella says he sells the product via his website for $200 to $210. But his lifetime sales total only $12,000. That’s because after selling his inventory of 20 Pick-Up Pools in 2015, the manufacturer he had been using retired. Back to square one, 2016 was a wash as he looked for a new manufacturer. Then in 2017, he was deployed to Africa and had to pump the brakes on his pool business.

While he was away, Prestella’s sister and part owner of the business found a new manufacturer, and now Prestella was in the Tank asking the Sharks for $100,000 in exchange for 25 percent of his company. He explains he wants to use the money to re-do his website and drive more traffic.

Despite the explanation for the low sales, Kevin O’Leary is not impressed. But Cuban jumps to his defense: “The guy gets deployed to an unknown, to be unnamed, location in Africa!” he says.

Cuban asks if Prestella can lower the sale price, which Prestella says he can get down to $60.

Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec and O’Leary all pass. Barbara Corcoran is interested and offers $100,000 for 25 percent with two contingencies: Since he still has an eight-year commitment with the military, his sister-turned-partner has to be fully committed, and the price of the liner has to be less than $100. Cuban is also in, and offers $100,000 for 33 percent.

Prestella turns to Corcoran and explains he loves watching her on the show, but…

“The last time somebody told me he loved me, he left me and married my sister,” Corcoran says as the other sharks laugh.

With that, Prestella accepts Cuban’s offer and the two shake on it.

Don’t miss: ‘ Shark Tank’: Why Mark Cuban invested $640,000 in this company that sells empty boxes

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC’s “Shark Tank.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-25  Authors: sarah berger, source
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Europe turns its concerns to China’s growing clout as Xi visits

“To safeguard against potential serious security implications for critical digital infrastructure, a common EU approach to the security of 5G networks is needed.” That has given China maximum leverage in negotiating with EU member countries, almost exclusively on a bilateral basis. During the Cold War, the European Union and the United States achieved a far more elaborate and coherent approach in response to a far less resourceful competitor. The European Union needs a coherent strategy toward C


“To safeguard against potential serious security implications for critical digital infrastructure, a common EU approach to the security of 5G networks is needed.” That has given China maximum leverage in negotiating with EU member countries, almost exclusively on a bilateral basis. During the Cold War, the European Union and the United States achieved a far more elaborate and coherent approach in response to a far less resourceful competitor. The European Union needs a coherent strategy toward C
Europe turns its concerns to China’s growing clout as Xi visits Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-15  Authors: fred kempe, michele tantussi, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, eu, week, united, member, visits, approach, chinas, turns, clout, china, states, xi, growing, europe, european, union, concerns, members


Europe turns its concerns to China's growing clout as Xi visits

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Italy and France next week amid a European Union firestorm over the dangers of rapidly growing Chinese trade and investments – particularly regarding next-generation telecom technology – and intensifying divisions among its members about how to deal with them.

Western media coverage has understandably focused on the unfolding Brexit drama in London, where British lawmakers failed to agree on a viable path forward. However, what went under-reported was that at the same time the EU took its most significant steps yet – though belated and insufficient – to address China’s increasingly assertive and state-subsidized push into Europe.

After months of study, the European Commission released its “EU-China: Strategic Outlook,” included the clearest and toughest language yet toward China in an EU document. After years of a more benign approach to Beijing, it branded China as “an economic competitor in the pursuit of technological leadership, and a systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance.”

That marks a major shift in thinking ahead of next Thursday’s EU Council meeting in Brussels, bringing together all 28-member country leaders to discuss China the day before Xi lands in Rome. Although the document is couched in diplomatic language, calling upon the EU to “deepen its engagement with China to promote common interests at a global level,” its message is unmistakable on critical infrastructure and Europe’s tech base.

“5G networks will provide the future backbone to our societies and economies, connecting billions of objects and systems, including sensitive information and communications technology systems in crucial sectors,” it says. “To safeguard against potential serious security implications for critical digital infrastructure, a common EU approach to the security of 5G networks is needed.”

To achieve that, the Commission said it will lay out a path following the EU Council meeting. What’s unclear is how effective any approach would be, which would require buy in from 28 nations – 27, if Brexit goes through – which view China through vastly differently lenses.

The challenge is that China for some time has executed a clear plan that has put Europe increasingly at the heart of its global political and economic strategy while Europe has lacked any unified policy of approach of its own. That has given China maximum leverage in negotiating with EU member countries, almost exclusively on a bilateral basis.

Even worse, instead of joining in common cause regarding China, the United States and European Union have been bickering over trade and a host of other issues, from Iran to defense spending. During the Cold War, the European Union and the United States achieved a far more elaborate and coherent approach in response to a far less resourceful competitor.

Greater coordination inside Europe and across the Atlantic could bring considerably more leverage to the negotiating table. The combined EU-US GDP in 2017 of more than $36 trillion was nearly triple that of China, and even the EU GDP alone of more than $17.3 trillion eclipses the $12.2 trillion of Beijing. Instead, China comes to the table with the full weight of six times more GDP than that of Italy, which next week could become the first G-7 member state to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

China has had similar leverage in the Balkans, where the European Union and the United States have had increased concerns through its heavy investments through its 16+1 format that groups 11 Central European members of the EU with five non-EU members who may over time become candidates – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner responsible for enlargement, recently expressed concern that the EU “overestimated Russia and underestimated China” in the Balkans. What concerns him is that heavy borrowing from China among the region’s countries could imperil their already weak economies – and more than half the $9.4 billion in Chinese investments in the region in 2016 and 2017 went to the non-EU countries of this group.

The more immediate concern next week comes in Italy, where the government may sign a leaked memorandum of understanding with China regarding its Belt and Road Initiative, and cooperate in the development of “roads, railways, bridges, civil aviation, ports, energy and telecommunications.”

Italy wouldn’t be the first EU country to sign a BRI deal with China, but it has attracted the most attention because it would be the largest to do so, it is a founding member of the EU, and it is a member of the G7. The agreement would also happen despite disagreements within the Italian government (the foreign ministry is reported to have been cut out) and misgivings among other EU countries. It would happen shortly before an EU-China leaders’ summit on April 9.

At a time when the U.S. should be working more closely with the EU to frame a unified transatlantic approach to China, the atmosphere is instead colored by mistrust.

European leaders worry about President Trump’s indications that he might change his approach toward Huawei as a security threat if China compromises on trade, including an intervention in the potential extradition and prosecution of the Huawei CFO.

The Germans chafed at a letter made public last week from U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell to German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier. It stated that U.S. intelligence cooperation with Germany would suffer if the German government allowed Huawei into its 5G networks.

President Xi’s visit to Europe, and then again on April 9 for an EU Summit, should trigger what ought to have happened long ago. The European Union needs a coherent strategy toward China that will unite its members. The United States needs to develop a similar strategy of its own, then join transatlantic talks to galvanize democracies to confront what the EU itself called a “systemic rival.”

The urgent need for a common approach to China should, excuse the term, trump other transatlantic differences.

Frederick Kempe is a best-selling author, prize-winning journalist and president & CEO of the Atlantic Council, one of the United States’ most influential think tanks on global affairs. He worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than 25 years as a foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor and as the longest-serving editor of the paper’s European edition. His latest book – “Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth” – was a New York Times best-seller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Follow him on Twitter @FredKempe and subscribe here to Inflection Points, his look each Saturday at the past week’s top stories and trends.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-15  Authors: fred kempe, michele tantussi, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, eu, week, united, member, visits, approach, chinas, turns, clout, china, states, xi, growing, europe, european, union, concerns, members


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‘90210’ and ‘Riverdale’ star Luke Perry dies at 52 after massive stroke

Actor Luke Perry died Monday, five days after suffering a massive stroke. Perry’s publicist, Arnold Robinson, confirmed the news, saying that his family and friends were with him when he died. The actor, famous for his turns on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and, more recently, “Riverdale,” had been hospitalized since last week after suffering a massive stroke Wednesday at his home in California. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around th


Actor Luke Perry died Monday, five days after suffering a massive stroke. Perry’s publicist, Arnold Robinson, confirmed the news, saying that his family and friends were with him when he died. The actor, famous for his turns on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and, more recently, “Riverdale,” had been hospitalized since last week after suffering a massive stroke Wednesday at his home in California. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around th
‘90210’ and ‘Riverdale’ star Luke Perry dies at 52 after massive stroke Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-04  Authors: sarah whitten, leon bennett, filmmagic, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, 90210, suffering, star, turns, massive, family, 52, world, dies, robinson, actor, riverdale, perry, week, stroke, luke


'90210' and 'Riverdale' star Luke Perry dies at 52 after massive stroke

Actor Luke Perry died Monday, five days after suffering a massive stroke. He was 52.

Perry’s publicist, Arnold Robinson, confirmed the news, saying that his family and friends were with him when he died.

The actor, famous for his turns on “Beverly Hills, 90210” and, more recently, “Riverdale,” had been hospitalized since last week after suffering a massive stroke Wednesday at his home in California.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning,” Robinson said. “No further details will be released at this time.”

Perry will appear in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” later this year.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-03-04  Authors: sarah whitten, leon bennett, filmmagic, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, 90210, suffering, star, turns, massive, family, 52, world, dies, robinson, actor, riverdale, perry, week, stroke, luke


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It turns out the World Record Egg was created by a 29-year-old advertising creative

The creators of the World Record Egg, which some marketers have estimated opened a multi-million dollar advertising opportunity, was created by advertisers after all. But the revelation that the egg was created by an advertising creative suggests the inventor understood the buzz it could create. The commercial appears to be an extension of the account’s mental health initiatives, which include donating a cut of merchandise proceeds to mental health charities. The ad directs viewers to the websit


The creators of the World Record Egg, which some marketers have estimated opened a multi-million dollar advertising opportunity, was created by advertisers after all. But the revelation that the egg was created by an advertising creative suggests the inventor understood the buzz it could create. The commercial appears to be an extension of the account’s mental health initiatives, which include donating a cut of merchandise proceeds to mental health charities. The ad directs viewers to the websit
It turns out the World Record Egg was created by a 29-year-old advertising creative Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-04  Authors: lauren feiner, ismail sadiron, eyeem, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, commercial, 29yearold, created, times, turns, advertising, record, told, world, health, creative, mental, opportunity, egg


It turns out the World Record Egg was created by a 29-year-old advertising creative

The creators of the World Record Egg, which some marketers have estimated opened a multi-million dollar advertising opportunity, was created by advertisers after all.

The account, which cracked Kylie Jenner’s record for the most ever Instagram likes on a photo, was developed by 29-year-old advertising creative Chris Godfrey, with help from friends Alissa Khan-Whelan and C.J. Brown, The New York Times reported Sunday. Before The Times revealed the identity of the people behind the account, many tried to take credit for its invention. Marketers told The Atlantic the opportunity to crack out of the famed egg could be worth as much as $10 million to a brand.

The egg’s creators said those claims of the opportunity’s value were “greatly exaggerated,” according to The Times. But the revelation that the egg was created by an advertising creative suggests the inventor understood the buzz it could create. Godfrey, who works for The & Partnership in London, told The Times he chose an egg for the universality of the object and said he was inspired by Jenner’s record-setting photo. The original egg photo had over 52 million likes as of Monday.

Now, the egg has its own commercial, produced and aired with streaming service Hulu. The commercial appears to be an extension of the account’s mental health initiatives, which include donating a cut of merchandise proceeds to mental health charities. In the commercial, the words, “The pressure of social media is getting to me” appear above an image of a cracked egg. The ad directs viewers to the website of Mental Health America, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people with mental illnesses. An MHA spokesperson told CNBC the World Record Egg reached for permission to list the organization’s site in the video, but MHA was not involved in the production of the commercial.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-02-04  Authors: lauren feiner, ismail sadiron, eyeem, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, commercial, 29yearold, created, times, turns, advertising, record, told, world, health, creative, mental, opportunity, egg


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