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Stocks close slightly higher as gains in tech offset worries about the economy
Stocks rose slightly on Thursday as broad gains in major tech names served as a counterweight to disappointing unemployment data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 46.85 points, or 0.1%, to 27,739.73, snapping a three-day losing streak. The S&P 500 gained 0.3%, or 10.66 points, to 3,385.51. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1%, or 118.49 points, to 11,264.95, hitting a new record close.
Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Alphabet and Microsoft all rose at least 2%. Amazon climbed 1.1%. Intel shares gained 1.7% after the company announced an accelerated buyback plan, calling its stock cheap. Tesla jumped 6.5% to close above $2,000 for the first time ever.
Tech has been the best-performing sector in the market this year, leading the S&P 500 back from its late-March low. Facebook is up more than 30% year to date and Apple has rallied more than 60% over that time period. Amazon, meanwhile, has surged over 78% in 2020 while Netflix gained more than 50%.
“This tech outperformance is to be expected given the uniqueness of this environment, but that uniqueness is beginning to fade,” said Jeff Kleintop, chief global investment strategist at Charles Schwab. “It seems we’ve left the recession behind us and, hopefully, we’re now past the peak of new coronavirus cases in most of the developed world, including the U.S.”
“That may mean a return to more cyclical leadership in this road to a recovery,” Kleintop added. He also noted the small-cap Russell 2000 index has outperformed the S&P 500 this month.
Jobless claims back above 1 million
U.S. weekly jobless claims totaled 1.106 million last week, the Labor Department reported. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected 923,000 first-time applicants during the week ended Aug. 15. In the week prior, the tally had dropped below 1 million for the first time since mid-March.
The jump in unemployment claims came as lawmakers struggled to move forward on a new coronavirus stimulus bill. Recently, an additional unemployment benefit for those impacted by the pandemic expired.
USPS email tells managers not to reconnect sorting machines
While Postmaster General Louis DeJoy may be suspending changes to postal service operations, it doesn’t necessarily mean machines that had been removed will be put back in use, according to an email obtained by CNN.
The email, sent hours after DeJoy’s public suspension of changes on Tuesday, instructs postal workers not to reconnect any mail sorting machines that have previously been disconnected.
“Please message out to your respective Maintenance Managers tonight,” wrote Kevin Couch, a director of maintenance operations. “They are not to reconnect/reinstall machines that have been previously disconnected without approval from HQ Maintenance, no matter what direction they are getting from their plant manager.”
DeJoy announced Tuesday he would pause many of the new policies he put in place, including the removal of high-volume mail sorting machines, after postal workers, the public and some lawmakers, sounded alarms the changes were causing massive delivery delays, potentially putting the November election in peril.
t’s unclear if there’s been additional guidance since Couch sent the email, which appeared to have been sent to managers in the western region.
The USPS has not been attempting to reassemble or replace the mail sorting machines or letter collection recently removed in at least nine states, according to the union officials CNN spoke to in those states.
CNN spoke with union officials across the US on the local, regional and national level, and was only able to identify two facilities — Dallas and Tacoma, Washington — that had attempted to reassemble and reintroduce mail sorting machines back into USPS’s daily operations.
The Postmaster General and USPS have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks over changes put in motion ahead of the 2020 election. Many Americans have since grown concerned over the USPS’ ability to handle the expected influx of ballots as more voters choose to vote by mail because of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Judge rules against Trump in tax records subpoena fight
A federal judge on Thursday said New York state prosecutors could have access to President Donald Trump’s accounting records for a criminal investigation, siding harshly against the President.
The ruling by US District Judge Victor Marrero follows a landmark Supreme Court decision this summer that appeared to set up potentially lengthy delays on subpoenas for Trump’s records. Yet the ruling on Thursday snaps attention back to the ongoing criminal probe of Trump’s business dealings, and revives the possibility that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance could reach the records before the presidential election.
“Justice requires an end to this controversy,” Marrero wrote.
Trump has already appealed. He’s asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for emergency help as he tries to stop the subpoena from being enforced next week.
Vance’s office has been examining whether Trump or the Trump Organization violated state laws in connection with hush money payments made to women alleging affairs with Trump. The investigation has also looked into whether business records filed with the state were falsified and if any tax laws were violated, CNN has reported.
Trump had sued Vance to stop the grand jury subpoena of his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA for years of his records. But the judge said the case was no longer valid and should be tossed from court.
Trump’s appeal came an hour after the trial judge’s decision. Previously, Vance had agreed to wait seven days on the subpoena after a ruling. The appeals court could hear Trump’s challenge and will separately have to decide if the subpoena should be put on hold.
Trump claims “consideration for ‘the Presidency itself’ requires” more delay, protecting his records from prosecutors while appeals are ongoing. Speaking at the White House late Thursday morning, Trump referred to the inquiry as a “continuation of the witch hunt,” a line he’s repeatedly used in an attempt to discredit the investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
But Marrero rejected Trump’s attempt to use the court system for more delays. He built into his ruling a prohibition for Trump to revise his lawsuit as a way to keep it alive even if he’s lost additional rounds in court.
Trump’s legal strategy to “enable the clock to run,” Marrero wrote, “amounts to absolute immunity through a back door, an entry point through which not only a President but also potentially other persons and entities, public and private, could effectively gain cover from judicial process.”
Vance’s office has said it seeks the accounting records for an investigation into the Trump Organization that spans years and includes looking into the hush money payments that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen secured for women during the 2016 campaign. The women alleged they had affairs with Trump, which Trump denies. Cohen had also publicly accused Trump of inflating his assets to banks and insurers, and the district attorney has interviewed Cohen.
The subpoena asked for records from Mazars related to Trump, the Trump Organization, his foundation and several related subsidiaries. The requested documents, court records said, pertain not just to business in New York, but also in other states like Florida and California and countries including Turkey, Dubai, Canada and Indonesia.
Trump had claimed the state grand jury’s subpoena was too broad and that he should be protected from criminal investigation as President with sweeping immunity. Marrero called that argument “as unprecedented and far-reaching as it is perilous to the rule of law and other bedrock constitutional principles on which this country was founded and by which it continues to be governed.”
The judge also rejected accusations that Vance’s subpoena served to help Democrats who have wanted to expose Trump’s tax returns for political reasons.
“While the Mazars Subpoena may well have been issued for that particular purpose, the lack of specific facts tying the Mazars Subpoena to those politicians prevents the Court from reasonably inferring that the Mazars Subpoena reflects an effort to advance the Democrats’ goals rather than legitimate ones,” his opinion said.
House Democrats separately subpoenaed the same set of Trump accounting records as Vance from Mazars. Trump’s challenge to the congressional probe is still unresolved in Washington, DC’s federal trial court following the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Ex-Trump aide Bannon pleads not guilty in border wall scheme
President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was pulled from a luxury yacht and arrested Thursday on allegations that he and three associates ripped off donors trying to fund a southern border wall, making him the latest in a long list of Trump allies to be charged with a crime.
The organizers of the “We Build The Wall” group portrayed themselves as eager to help the president build a “big beautiful” barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, as he promised during the 2016 campaign. They raised more than $25 million from thousands of donors and pledged that 100% of the money would be used for the project.
But according to the criminal charges unsealed Thursday, much of the money never made it to the wall. Instead, it was used to line the pockets of group members, including Bannon, who served in Trump’s White House and worked for his campaign.
He allegedly took over $1 million, using some to secretly pay co-defendant Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran who lost both legs in a mortar attack in Iraq and the founder of the project, and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses.
“This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist,” said Philip R. Bartlett, inspector-in-charge of the New York office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which arrested Bannon aboard a luxury yacht at 7 a.m.
Hours after his arrest, Bannon, 66, of Washington, D.C., pleaded not guilty during an appearance in a Manhattan federal court. He is the latest addition to a startlingly long list of Trump associates who have been prosecute d, including his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, whom Bannon replaced, his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Trump has also made clear that he is willing to use his near-limitless pardon power to help political allies escape legal jeopardy, most recently commuting the sentence of longtime political adviser Roger Stone.
Bannon was taken into custody on a 150-foot (45-meter) yacht called Lady May, which was off the coast of Connecticut, authorities said. The boat is owned by exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and currently for sale for nearly $28 million. According to Marine Traffic, a commercial tracking service, the vessel’s transponder signal went dark on June 17, shortly after it departed a port in Connecticut en route to Miami, potentially indicating its beacon was inoperable or had been turned off.
At his hearing, Bannon appeared by video with his hands cuffed in front of him and a white mask covering most of his face. He rocked back and forth on a chair in a holding cell with his lawyers on the telephone. The magistrate judge approved Bannon’s release on $5 million bail, secured by $1.75 million in assets.
When he emerged from the courthouse, Bannon tore off his mask, smiled and waved to news cameras. As he went to a waiting vehicle, he shouted, “This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall.”
Kolfage, 38, of Miramar Beach, Florida, did not respond to requests for comment. Also charged were Andrew Badolato, 56, of Sarasota, Florida, and Timothy Shea, 49, of Castle Rock, Colorado, the owner of an energy drink company called Winning Energy. The company’s cans feature a cartoon superhero image of Trump and claim to contain “12 oz. of liberal tears.” Shea appeared at a brief virtual hearing in Denver.
Other prominent members of the wall group included former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, its general counsel; Erik Prince, founder of the controversial security firm Blackwater; former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado; and former major league baseball pitcher Curt Schilling. They were not named in the indictment.
After the arrest, Trump quickly distanced himself from Bannon and the project.
“When I read about it, I didn’t like it. I said this is for government, this isn’t for private people. And it sounded to me like showboating,” he told reporters at the White House.
An immigration plan unveiled by Trump last year included a proposal to allow the public to donate toward his long-promised wall, as the Kolfage group had originally said was its mission before shifting its focus to private construction. But Trump later denounced the project publicly, tweeting last month that he “disagreed with doing this very small (tiny) section of wall, in a tricky area, by a private group which raised money by ads” and claiming, “It was only done to make me look bad.”
Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press he had been made aware of the investigation into Bannon months ago but did not say whether the president had been informed.
According to the indictment, the defendants used fake invoices, another nonprofit and sham vendor arrangements to try to hide their efforts to siphon money. Under the arrangement, Bannon and his co-defendants allegedly paid Kolfage $100,000 up front and an additional $20,000 monthly, all while claiming they served as volunteers and that Kolfage was not paid.
The indictment said Kolfage “went so far as to send mass emails to his donors asking them to purchase coffee from his unrelated business, telling donors the coffee company was the only way he ‘keeps his family fed and a roof over their head.’”
Kolfage eventually spent some of the over $350,000 he received on home renovations, payments toward a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments and credit card debt.
All four were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Originally called “We the People Build the Wall,” the campaign launched in December 2018 and raised approximately $17 million in its first week. But it soon drew scrutiny, according to the indictment. The crowdfunding site that hosted the campaign suspended it and threatened to return donations unless the money was transferred to a legitimate nonprofit. Bannon was brought in around that time.
Dustin Stockton, who helped start the campaign and then left the project to work on the upcoming presidential election, said it seemed clear that prosecutors were “attacking political infrastructure that supports President Trump right before the election.” He was not charged in the case.
Benjamin Harnwell, who with Bannon launched an institute in Italy to train future populists, called the indictment “spurious” and evidence that the “forces of darkness” would stop at nothing to destroy the combative Bannon.
A voice of nationalist, outsider conservatism, Bannon led the conservative Breitbart News before being tapped to serve as chief executive officer of Trump’s campaign in its critical final months. He later served as chief strategist during the turbulent early days of Trump’s administration and was at the forefront of many of its most contentious policies, including its travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries.
But Bannon, who clashed with other top advisers, was pushed out after less than a year. And his split with Trump deepened after he was quoted in a 2018 book making critical remarks about some of Trump’s adult children. Bannon apologized and soon stepped down as chairman of Breitbart.
Bannon, who served in the Navy and worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and as a Hollywood producer before turning to politics, now hosts a pro-Trump podcast called “War Room,” which began during the president’s impeachment proceedings and has continued during the pandemic.
A day before the indictment was unsealed, Kolfage was a featured guest on the show and solicited donations.
Top Finance and Hip-Hop News – 9.16.20
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Breonna Taylor settlement is among largest payouts linked to a police shooting
The $12 million settlement with Breonna Taylor’s family is a historic move for Louisville, Kentucky, but across America it’s the latest financial repercussion in a police misconduct case.
More than six months after Taylor was killed inside her apartment as police officers executed a “no-knock” search warrant, the city is poised to pay its highest-ever settlement, a city spokeswoman told CNN.
The city previously paid $8.5 million for the wrongful conviction of Edwin Chandler, who served nine years in prison for a 1993 murder before he was exonerated, CNN affiliate WLKY reported.
Cities across the country have previously reached monetary agreements following high-profile police shootings. Cleveland agreed to pay $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice and New York City agreed to pay Eric Garner‘s family $5.9 million.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who has represented the families of several police brutality victims — including George Floyd and Jacob Blake — said he believes Taylor’s settlement is one of the largest amounts ever paid out for a Black woman killed by police in the US.
While it’s unclear where the payout to Taylor’s family stands among all police misconduct lawsuits in the nation, here are other large payments that stemmed from police shootings in recent years:
Netflix Orders 10 Episodes of Animated ‘Good Times’ Series Co-Produced By Steph Curry
Netflix has given a 10-episode, straight-to-series order to a new animated take on Norman Lear’s classic sitcom “Good Times.” Carl Jones, whose credits include animated series “The Boondocks” and “Black Dynamite,” as well as TBS’ Tracy Morgan star “The Last O.G.,” will create, showrun and executive produce the project.
The new animated series will follow “the Evans family as they navigate today’s world and contemporary social issues. Just as the original did years ago, ‘Good Times’ strives to remind us that with the love of our family, we can keep our heads above water.
Lear and his Act III Productions company are partnering with basketball star Steph Curry and his production company, Unanimous Media, as well as Seth MacFarlane and his shingle Fuzzy Door, to develop the show.
The original “Good Times” aired for six seasons on CBS, from 1974 to 1979, and was created by Eric Monte and Mike Evans, and developed by Lear. It was a spin-off of “Maude,” which in turn was a spin-off of Lear and Bud Yorkin’s “All in the Family.”
LIL NAS X TAKING HIS ‘OLD TOWN ROAD’ ACT TO CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Lil Nas X can now call himself an author. The “Old Town Road” hitmaker has penned a children’s book titled C Is For Country, which is scheduled to be released in January 2021.
“I’m dropping the best kids book of all time soon!” he wrote on Instagram. “C IS FOR COUNTRY, out January 5, 2021 from @randomhousekids. I can’t wait to share it with you all. You can pre-order it right now at the link in my bio.”
C Is For Country is being published by Random House Kids, a division of the Penguin Random House company. Artist Theodore Taylor III is handling the book’s illustrations.
According to Random House, the book tells the story of “Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown.” The main character gets its name from Lil Nas X’s second multi-platinum selling hit.
C Is For Country is recommended for children ages 3-7 and can be pre-ordered here. The initial release includes hardcover copies, e-books and audiobook downloads.
Top Finance & Hip-Hop News – 9.10.20
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Trump told Bob Woodward he knew in February that COVID-19 was ‘deadly stuff’ but wanted to ‘play it down’
President Donald Trump acknowledged the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic in a February interview with journalist Bob Woodward and acknowledged downplaying the threat in an interview a month later, according to an account of Woodward’s new book.
“I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump said in a March 19 call with Woodward, according to an audio clip posted Wednesday on The Washington Post’s website. The newspaper obtained a copy of the book, “Rage,” which is scheduled to be released next week.
In the same interview, Trump acknowledged that the disease was more deadly than he previously thought.
“Now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob. But just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older,” Trump said, according to an audio clip, and then added, “young people, too, plenty of young people.”
Trump is locked in a difficult re-election battle against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, with his poll numbers sagging as he continues to get low marks from voters for how he handled the response to the virus.
Trump, speaking to reporters Wednesday afternoon, said he’d been trying to avoid “panic” and was showing “leadership.”
“We have to show calm,” he said. “Certainly I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy. We want to show confidence. We have to show strength.”
He sidestepped a question about whether lives could have been saved if he had been more forthright about the dangers posed by the virus.
“I think if we didn’t do what we did, we’d have had millions die,” Trump said.
Of his approach, Trump said, “We don’t want to go around screaming, ‘Look at this, look at this.'”
Biden noted Wednesday that over 190,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and called Trump’s words “beyond despicable.”
“It was a life-and-death betrayal of the American people,” Biden said.
Woodward’s book is based on 18 on-the-record phone calls he had with Trump from December to July. Woodward, a highly respected veteran journalist who is an associate editor of The Post, also attributes details about the internal workings of the White House to a series of interviews with unnamed aides.
Woodward details that Trump was briefed on the virus in January.
“This is deadly stuff,” Trump told Woodward in a Feb. 7 phone call.
“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump told Woodward, according to The Post. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”
The book says Trump was given dire warnings in January about the virus that would lead to a worldwide pandemic in March.
“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump on Jan. 28, according to the book. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”
Trump blocked some Chinese nationals from coming into the country in the days after the briefing, but he continued to play down the danger posed by the virus and repeatedly compared it to the flu.
“We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great,” Trump said Jan. 30. A few days later, he said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
Despite the early warning about the virus’s deadliness and its ability to be transmitted through the air, Trump continued to hold packed political rallies throughout February and told reporters at the White House on Feb. 27: “This is a flu. This is like a flu.”
On March 9, weeks after he told Woodward that the coronavirus was more than five times deadlier than the flu, Trump tweeted: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf., slammed the president Wednesday in an interview on MSNBC, saying his “downplaying” cost lives.
The “denial about the threat is responsible for many of the deaths and infections that we have today, not all of them, but many of them, could have been prevented,” Pelosi told Andrea Mitchell.
The book also sheds further light on how much distrust some of Trump’s top officials had in the president.
Woodward recounted a conversation — which he attributed to unnamed sources — between Dan Coats, then the director of national intelligence, and James Mattis, who was the defense secretary at the time, in which Mattis told Coats, “The president has no moral compass.”
Coats agreed, according to the book.
“To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie,” Coats is quoted by Woodward as saying.
According to the book, Trump — who came under fire last week for having reportedly referred to dead U.S. service members as “losers” and “suckers” — had little regard for his own generals.
In a conversation with trade adviser Peter Navarro, Trump complained: “My fucking generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals.” The sources for that account were not named.
Navarro told reporters later Wednesday that Woodward had put “words in my mouth” that he had never said for his last book. “I don’t believe a word of what Bob Woodward says,” Navarro added.
Woodward also drew some criticism on social media, as well, where some complained that he should have spoken up about Trump’s comments much earlier. Woodward told The Associated Press that he was initially skeptical that Trump wasn’t being truthful.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD LAUNCHES BLACK EFFECT PODCAST NETWORK WITH IHEARTMEDIA
Charlamagne Tha God is hoping he has the next media empire on his hands. On Wednesday (September 9), the brash radio personality in partnership with iHeartMedia announced the launch of the Black Effect Podcast Network. The groundbreaking media network is slated to host 18 podcasts starting this fall.
The replay of his nationally-syndicated radio morning show The Breakfast Club will find a new home with the Black Effect Podcast Network. Charlamagne looks to “amplify, elevate, and empower” Black voices in the community he believes deserve to be heard on a larger scale and put in positions to succeed.
Talent joining the first Black-curated podcast network includes TV host Eboni Williams, activist Tamika Mallory and actress Jess Hilarious. There are also established podcasts already onboard such as former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All The Smoke, N.O.R.E.’s Drink Champs, and The 85 South Show with DC Young Fly.
“Blackness has an immediate, culture-shifting effect on everything,” Charlamagne Tha God revealed in a statement. “Blackness controls the cool. Blackness is the culture, but Black Voices are not monolithic. The only way to appreciate the diversity of thought and experiences in Black culture is to build a platform for those voices to be heard.”
He continued, “Our goal is to shift the narrative from Black creators signing transactional deals, to instead forming legacy partnerships that build generational wealth while allowing each creative to have an equitable stake in their future. As a long-time partner of iHeart, it’s an honor to make history with them.”
CARDI B HIRED PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR TO ARREST TEEN ‘TRUMP SUPPORTER’ WHO LEAKED HER ADDRESS
Cardi B often finds herself the target of Trump supporting trolls due to her outspoken stance on politics. Normally, the Bronx-bred firecracker is able to turn a blind eye but as she said in a recent Instagram Live post, she wasn’t able to look past the person who shared her home address online.
“They be making fun of me,” she said. “I ignore them. I don’t give a fuck. Let me tell you something. Shit gets so intense that a Trump supporter posted my address and encouraged people to dox my home, to put my house on fire. I literally hired a private investigator and serve them with a warrant and arrest this boy. This boy was a fucking teenager. His parents were shook.”
Earlier this week, Cardi got into it with conservative pundit Candace Owens who called the Grammy Award-winning rapper “dumb and illiterate.” During the same IG Live stream, Cardi made it clear she wanted to use her massive platform to influence people to vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
“It’s not a secret I use my platform to encourage people to vote,” she said. “I love politics… Today, Candace Owens said some real nasty things about me. Just like I can make millions of people pop their pussy… I can make millions of people go vote.”
Owens accused Biden of pandering to the Black community after he sat down for an interview with Cardi, but she hit back and shared an Instagram photo on Monday (September 7) of what she believes pandering really looks like.
“This what PANDERING looks like,” she wrote alongside a photo of Trump. “I will never praise no politician not even Obama, FDR or Bernie ONLY THE LORD !This is how Trump panders with black people while Candice concerns how Joe panders with me.”
Cardi’s interview with Biden took place via Zoom last month. After sharing her views on topics such as healthcare, police brutality and college eduction, Biden praised the multi-platinum artist.
“One of the things that I admire about you is that you keep talking about what I call equity — just decency, fairness, treating people with respect,” he told her. “John Lewis used to say the vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool you have. Use the power to change for the change you want.
“Thank you for your willingness to help. I’ll make mistakes as president, but I’ll admit to the mistakes I make, and you’re never going to have to wonder whether I’ll keep my word. Just check me out; I’ve never broken my word on anything I said I was going to do. Never in my life.”
A new initiative launched yesterday to change the look of American boardrooms—specifically, to make them look less white.
The Board Challenge, a project of Altimeter Capital, Valence, and theBoardlist, is challenging U.S. firms to add a Black director to their boards within 12 months.
- 17 companies, including Zillow and Nextdoor, have taken the pledge.
- Another 27 members with at least one Black board member (United Airlines, Nordstrom among them) are working with the project to advance diversity efforts.
Why it’s an issue: 9% of Fortune 500 board members are Black men and women, while 66% are white men and 18% are white women, according to theBoardlist—and Black representation on boards hasn’t budged in the last few years.
Some states, like California most recently, have introduced legislation that would require, not just “challenge,” publicly held companies to appoint at least one director from an underrepresented community by the end of 2021.
Zoom out: It’s notoriously difficult for newcomers to find a seat in the boardroom. 72% of directors have previous board experience and half are current or ex-CEOs, per Heidrick & Struggles.
Top Finance and Hip-Hop News – 9.9.20
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TikTok will partner with Oracle in the United States after Microsoft loses bid
TikTok and Oracle will become business partners in the United States — a deal meant to satisfy the Trump administration’s national security concerns, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Talk of a sale began as President Donald Trump issued executive orders last month seeking to ban TikTok and requiring that its US operations be spun off from its Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance.
The exact nature of the agreement between TikTok and Oracle (ORCL) remains unclear, but it was not described as an outright sale. The news about Oracle came just after Microsoft announced that it will not buy TikTok’s US operations from ByteDance.
“We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” Microsoft (MSFT)
ByteDance has not responded to a request for comment. TikTok declined to comment.
Oracle did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump and other US politicians have said the app poses a threat to national security. TikTok has denied the allegation.
The agreement with Oracle comes days before a ban on TikTok in the United States was scheduled to go into effect. After September 20, the Commerce Department is expected to clarify which types of business dealings involving TikTok will be prohibited in the country, according to an executive order Trump signed August 6.
It’s not clear whether TikTok’s partnership with Oracle would allow the short-form video app to avert that ban. The scope and language of the order, along with Trump’s own off-the-cuff remarks about TikTok, have led to confusion about how a ban would be implemented. In another executive order, Trump said TikTok had until November 12 to find a buyer.
Separately, a TikTok employee has challenged the looming ban in federal court and is seeking a judicial decision to suspend the August 6 executive order. A hearing to consider the plea is scheduled for Tuesday. TikTok has also sued the Trump administration over one of the orders, calling it “heavily politicized.”
Multiple analysts had described Microsoft’s pursuit of TikTok as a potential “coup” for the Washington state-based firm — an opportunity to scoop up one of the world’s fastest growing social media platforms at a time when TikTok may be desperate to make a deal.
A deal could have also included an American retail giant: Walmart (WMT) was also participating in negotiations with Microsoft over a potential deal. The retailer had said it was interested in how TikTok could have bolstered its access to consumers.
Walmart on Sunday told CNN Business that it “continues to have an interest in a TikTok investment and continues discussions with ByteDance leadership and other interested parties.”
“We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns,” the company said in a statement.
19 families buy nearly 97 acres of land in Georgia to create a city safe for Black people
“Welcome to Freedom!” exclaims real estate agent Ashley Scott as she surveys the nearly 97 acres of land that she and a group of 19 Black families purchased in August.
“I’m hoping that it will be a thriving safe haven for people of color, for Black families in particular,” Scott says.
The land sits just East of Macon in rural Wilkinson County, Georgia. Scott and her friend, investor and entrepreneur Renee Walters, didn’t initially plan on buying a large plot of land, but they had a vision that was clear — to create a safe space for their Black families.
“Being able to create a community that is thriving, that is safe, that has agriculture and commercial businesses that are supporting one another and that dollars circulating in our community, that is our vision.”
Dave East Accuses Delta Of Hiring Racist Trump Supporters As Flight Attendants
After being kicked off of a Delta flight, Harlem rapper Dave East is calling out the airlines for practicing bigoted behavior.
Dave took to his social media to post a video of the incident claiming that the crew racially profiled him. They didn’t think that he belonged in first-class.
No details are shared but what is captured in his three-minute recording of the aftermath as a gang of police officers lined up outside of the plane door, in the corridor connecting the plane to the terminal, next to the very polite captain.
His team is seen trying to rationalize with what looks to be an attendant and other passengers even tried to defend Nas’ protegé.
He wrote on his IG, “RACISM… @delta Fucc Delta! Racist Ain’t Even The Word! This Jamaican Man Defending me and He dont even know me!!!! He watched the racist harassment!!!! Delta Airlines Y’all Need To Stop Hiring these racist, stupid, ignorant TRUMP supporters that get nervous when they see a PERSON OF COLOR in first class!!! B##ch just ask me what I want to drink and keep it pushing!!!! S##t got me Hot”
There is no word from Delta Airlines or Dave’s camp about the resolve.
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