TWTR - Twitter, Inc.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
33.19
-0.70 (-2.07%)
At close: 4:04PM EST
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Previous Close33.89
Open34.11
Bid33.14 x 4000
Ask33.17 x 1000
Day's Range32.97 - 34.11
52 Week Range28.63 - 45.86
Volume12,117,777
Avg. Volume15,261,925
Market Cap25.767B
Beta (5Y Monthly)N/A
PE Ratio (TTM)16.17
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings DateFeb 05, 2020
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target Est34.05
  • Bloomberg

    Earthquake in Eastern Turkey Kills at Least 21 People

    (Bloomberg) -- A magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Turkey’s eastern Elazig province late Friday killed at least 21 people and injured hundreds. About 30 people remain under the rubble of collapsed buildings, the NTV news channel said on Saturday.Four buildings were wrecked in the Elazig city center, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said in a statement on its website. Twelve of the hundreds of aftershocks had a magnitude of over 4, AFAD said. The Elazig Airport is operative and communication is back to normal after an initial disruption, according to the agency.The earthquake occurred at 8:55 p.m. local time on Friday at a depth of 6.75 kilometers (4.2 miles) on the East Anatolia Fault Line. Tremors were felt in many cities across the region, Turkish TV outlets reported.In a Twitter post, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was following the rescue efforts closely. “We’re with our nation, with all our institutions,” Erdogan said.Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Environment & Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca were in Elazig on Saturday to coordinate rescue efforts.Turkey is situated in a seismically active area and is among countries, including China and Iran, that can experience catastrophic earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1999, a 7.5-magnitude quake shook the western Marmara region killing thousands of people and damaging more than 300,000 buildings. Turkish GDP contracted 3.4% that year.(Updates with ministers’ visit in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Cagan Koc in Istanbul at ckoc2@bloomberg.net;Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at tbilgic2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, Nathan Crooks, Jacqueline MackenzieFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    How China’s Economy Is Taking a Hit From Coronavirus

    Beijing authorities shut the Forbidden City and other attractions and Walt Disney Co. is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland. Some airlines, and higher-end restaurants, which families visit during the Lunar New Year holiday, may feel the impact as well.

  • Republican senators told their heads ‘will be on a pike’ if they vote against Trump: report
    MarketWatch

    Republican senators told their heads ‘will be on a pike’ if they vote against Trump: report

    The Trump administration is getting medieval in the impeachment trial, according to a CBS News report. As House Democrats continued to present their opening arguments in the impeachment trial accusing President Trump of abusing his power on Thursday, a Trump confidant told CBS News that Republican senators were warned about voting against the commander-in-chief.

  • Facebook (FB) to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in the Cards?
    Zacks

    Facebook (FB) to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in the Cards?

    Facebook's (FB) fourth-quarter 2019 results are likely to reflect continued subscriber growth, driven by rapid adoption of Stories and Gaming endeavors.

  • Google and Apple Clash Over Web Browser Privacy
    Bloomberg

    Google and Apple Clash Over Web Browser Privacy

    (Bloomberg) -- Google engineers said a tool Apple Inc. developed to help users avoid web tracking is fundamentally flawed and creates more problems than it solves.The Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature on Apple’s Safari web browser, which is meant to block tracking software used by digital advertisers, can be abused to do the exact opposite, according to a paper released Wednesday by Google researchers. Google told Apple about the problem in August, and in December the iPhone maker published a blog post saying it had fixed the issues and thanking Google for its help.But Wednesday’s paper concluded that the problems go beyond the issues that Apple addressed. Instead of making a big list of cookies to block, Apple’s ITP continuously learns what websites users visit and which kinds of cookies try to hitch a ride. Over time, this creates unique cookie-blocking algorithms for each web surfer that can be used to identify and track them, according to the paper.“I can assure you that they still haven’t fixed these issues,” Justin Schuh, engineering director for Google’s Chrome browser, said on Twitter. Apple’s December blog post “didn’t disclose the vulnerabilities or appropriately credit the researchers,” he added. Apple said the bugs mentioned in the report were patched in December, but declined to comment further. “Our core security research team has worked closely and collaboratively with Apple on this issue,” a spokesman for Google said. This isn’t the first time the two tech giants have clashed over privacy. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has criticized internet companies for collecting too much personal information, and last year Google researchers reported a two-year long vulnerability in the iPhone maker’s software.Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari are two of the most popular web browsers, with Chrome used by more people overall but Safari dominating on iPhones. Apple has been touting Safari privacy features to persuade more consumers to use it. Apple first introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in 2017. The tool targets cookies, bits of code that let marketers follow people around the web and send them targeted ads.Google refused to block cookies for years, arguing that targeted ads help publishers and keep the internet free. But last week, the internet giant said it would eventually phase them out, setting off a race among advertisers to adapt. Privacy advocates have lauded Apple’s approach to tracking, and criticized Google for taking so long to do the same. But the paper suggests Apple may have to go back to the drawing board to find a new way to block tracking.“This bug is quite counter-intuitive, but rather very serious,” said Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity researcher.(Updates with Google statement in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in New York at gdevynck@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.net, Jillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Latin America’s Trash Brims with Hidden Cash

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Late one evening last week, my phone lit up. “Gather all our jars and bottles and fill them up,” my wife messaged me. “If we wait until the contaminated water comes, it’ll be too late.” Ok, so I confess was skeptical. I live in Rio de Janeiro, an excitable town where emergency lurks in every WhatsApp group and Twitter feed.This was different, as I soon found. Tales of tainted water spreading through the city’s pipes were multiplying. Hundreds of people had reportedly fallen sick from drinking the dark, fetid stuff. In two weeks, more than 60 Rio neighborhoods were blighted, triggering a run on emergency rooms, bottled water and conspiracy theories. “I suspect sabotage,” Rio state governor Wilson Witzel said.Political hubris was the more likely culprit. For years, state and local authorities grooming the city ahead of international events such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games had heralded transformative public works that either fell short or never happened. Half a decade on, raw sewage and untreated solid waste flow unchecked into the streams feeding the municipal reservoir, giving rise to toxic algae blooms in the potable water source for nine million people. Brazil’s second largest metropolis ranks 51st in water quality nationwide, down 12 places from 2018. Fewer than 37% of households are connected to sewage mains, prompting the state attorney’s office to file suit against state authorities.Forget, for a moment, the conflagration in the Amazon rain forest. Rio’s blighted tap water is a reminder that, for much of Latin America, the environmental monster in the room is mismanaged urban waste. Organic or solid, domestic or industrial, human refuse chokes city streets and fouls urban waterways.The emergency this time was in Rio, but it might have been in Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires or Bogotá. Latin America is the world’s most urbanized region, with 83% of South Americans living in cities. As cities go, so goes trash.  By 2025, Latin America’s projected 567 million city dwellers are expected to throw out 671,000 tons of trash a day, a 25% increase. “The Latin American middle classes have grown and are consuming more and more,” said Marcos Alegre, Peru’s former vice minister for environmental management. “Waste per capita is growing as never before.”Fortunately, where there’s waste, there’s also opportunity. Latin Americans, belatedly, seem to be catching on. In January 2018, China, once the world’s dumpster, banned imports of most plastics and cardboard. Environmental degradation was one reason, but mostly the move was calculated to wean Chinese industry from imported scrap and jump-start domestic recycling. It also helped to wean Latin America from the world’s biggest scrap buyer. Nothing like losing the world’s janitor to goose greener sensibilities and start a global drive to repurpose trash.A 2018 UN study showed that Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru shipped 60,000 tons of used plastic a year to China, compared with just 11,000 tons to the U.S. Not coincidentally, all these countries have extremely low recycling rates. Now China’s new import restrictions may send refuse the other way.Argentina took the lead in the Americas: Late last year, outgoing President Mauricio Macri issued a ruling to facilitate imports of plastic scrap that will feed a nascent recycling hub. It was a bold plan: Argentina, like most of its neighbors, has a dismal record in managing its refuse. Green groups howled that Argentina would become the next China, the country flooded with low-grade plastic that would only end up in the incinerator. With Macri voted out of office for failing to revive the economy, incoming President Alberto Fernandez is expected to revoke the decree.Argentina’s false start is a caveat for willful technocrats banking on innovation without a political pact or safeguards. “The decree was a promising example of what could be a policy of sustainable management,” said former Argentine secretary for innovation and sustainability Prem Zalzman. “But first we need to establish a social consensus while also ensuring that good monitoring and enforcement are in place to avoid importing dangerous materials.”Latin Americans neglect recycling at their own peril. The region has a laudable 94% average collection rate for household and industrial garbage. Yet a third of the haul ends up in open dumpsites, exposing 170 million to contamination, pests and disease. Only about 10% of collected waste gets recycled region wide, and much of the rest goes up in smoke. “For every four tons of toxic waste you burn, you get a ton of toxic ash,” said Melissa MacEwen, who heads the energy, environment and resources department at Chatham House.The way forward is a mix of smarter government, environmental education and partnerships with the private sector. A number of initiatives are under way. In Guayaquil, Ecuador, mass transit users can deposit their used plastic bottles in a vending machine for about two cents each, redeemable for bus fare. Since the 1980’s, Curitiba, one of Brazil’s greenest cities, has swapped food for garbage to keep the streets clean. One Argentine town has even experimented with behavioral incentives – pep talks and inspirational messages – to encourage residents to sort household trash for recycling.Cleaner cities also call for some conceptual recycling. Urban waste collection and disposal are costly, and although most people agree that burden should be shared, they are often loath to shell out for the service they believe general taxes ought to cover. In Argentina, the fees and tariffs residents pay for collection cover only 18% of total expenditures. Such shortfalls, naturally, jeopardize collection, proper disposal and recycling. Hence it’s no mystery that aside from major metropolises like Buenos Aires, Santiago and Sao Paulo, “there is no infrastructure for waste treatment and recovery,” the United Nations Environment Program concluded in a recent study.Greening up waste management is a job for many partners. Governments must invest in collection, transport and treatment. Residents must help foot the bill. The legion of freelance trash pickers who serve the public good on the cheap by scouring the streets for scrap should be invited into the formal economy and allowed to do their job in safety. None of this will work, however, unless the private sector pitches in and gets creative.  To that end, policymakers are calling on companies to join in a pact to keep discarded materials from dirtying the streets and atmosphere. The result is what international waste wonks call the Extended Producer Agreement, whereby businesses shoulder the responsibility for handling and recycling the used goods they sell. That’s key to building “the circular economy,” greenspeak for the notion that nothing goes to waste that can be re-purposed. After all, one person’s trash is another’s merchandise. With the right scavenging technology, there’s a treasure trove in precious metals to be recovered in discarded mobile phones and other electronics— a  potential boon to Latin America, where electrical and electronic equipment waste grew 70% from 2009 to 2018, compared with 55% globally.Uruguay and Chile pioneered such pacts for recovering lead batteries and non-returnable containers. Costa Rica requires companies and distributors to take responsibility for their products from factory to reprocessing centers. In Colombia, consumer goods must be made with traceable components, a key to curbing potentially hazardous waste like pesticide containers, tires, light bulbs and medication. Ecuadoran companies must submit waste management plans to regulators.Such arrangements turn on the circular economy’s bet that responsible waste management will not just spare companies punitive costs but also stimulate sustainability and competition for customers through greener products. “We have to drastically reduce the volume and variety of waste packaging,” said MacEwen. “It’s harder to recycle a colored plastic bottle than a clear one. More than recycling, that means product design is the way to go.” Manufacturers may be reluctant to retool, she allows.Another market frontier is tapping organic waste for energy. No other region squanders as much food as Latin America. Organic waste, including sewage, may not be the biggest contributor to climate-baking greenhouse gases, but it is a huge source of methane, 28 times more potent for trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Better than a third of Peru’s methane emissions can be traced to landfill burning.Now this waste is fouling the skies and waters. It could light up homes and power industries. Argentina’s Environmental Complex Norte III converts 16,000 tons of daily solid waste from greater Buenos Aires into enough energy for 25,000 homes. By transforming instead of burning waste, the plant also avoids releasing more than 1 billion tons of carbon emissions a year. Generating biogas from organic waste is still incipient in the region, with around 20 plants in eight Latin American countries. Yet with landfills aplenty and regional energy demand growing by more than 3% a year, analysts reckon far more waste will have to be turned into energy.Latin America’s aspiring middle class needs the juice, preferably without the collateral environmental damage or political double-talk. More than 90% of consumers in seven South American countries demanded corporate sustainability, compared with 81% globally, and 85% said they would change their buying habits (compared with 73% of their global peers) to ease their environmental footprint, according to a recent Nielsen survey. Water pollution and shortages, polluted air and excessive waste packaging lead the list of worries for regional consumers.They’ll get no argument from water-challenged Brazilians. This week pediatricians in Rio de Janeiro counseled parents to avoid bathing young children in the swill dripping out of their taps. My friend David says he won’t even let the dog drink it. Latin Americans know they need to clean up their act, lest the potential blessings of the circular economy go down with the crud in the drain.To contact the author of this story: Mac Margolis at mmargolis14@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gibney at jgibney5@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • What We Learned in Davos About Climate, Economics and Trump
    Bloomberg

    What We Learned in Davos About Climate, Economics and Trump

    (Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.The global economic expansion is on a firm footing for now, but it remains at risk of trade tensions and the long-term future is jeopardized by environmental challenges.That was the upshot of a week spent talking to policy makers, investors and corporate executives at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.The stars? President Donald Trump and 17 year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose views clashed throughout the week.Here are the takeaways as the global elite leave the Alps:Boiling PointIt might as well have been called the World Climate Forum given how much the conversation revolved around rising temperatures, lowering emissions and the use of plastic.“The themes in Davos have overwhelmingly been sustainability to the point that it probably crowded out some other important discussions,” Bill Winters, chief executive of Standard Chartered, told Bloomberg Television.Can the talk turn to action? Thunberg was skeptical, calling a “climate strike” for Friday and lamenting that her “demands have been completely ignored.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel said fighting global warming was a “matter of survival,” while Trump dismissed the “prophets of doom.”The biggest oil companies did discuss more ambitious carbon targets at a closed-door meeting.Under pressure to avoid funding dirty energy, bankers are sketching out sustainability policies. But Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said banks didn’t “want to be the sharp end of the spear” and that clients should do more.The lack of international standards on what makes businesses environmentally responsible also remains a concern and governments are split over the appeal of a carbon tax.A new risk: the spreading coronavirus. Axa CEO Thomas Buberl said there will be more such viruses popping up, in part because “it’s getting warmer everywhere.”For more, check out the newly-launched Bloomberg GreenThe Trump ShowFour years since many delegates openly doubted he could win the presidency, the Davos crowd has fallen for Trump.The consensus was that he’ll secure re-election in November and thus preserve the low tax, light regulatory policy mix they like.“It was clear the business community was pretty supportive of his policies,” said billionaire David Rubenstein.With an impeachment trial hanging over him at home, Trump essentially delivered a campaign speech by highlighting his handling of the world’s largest economy. “We’ve regained our stride, we’ve rediscovered our spirit,” he said.“Trump doesn’t drive people crazy at Davos,” said Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer. “They think he’s going to win a second term and there was zero panic about the prospect that might happen.”Trade Tensions SimmerTrump’s protectionist instincts still unnerve economy watchers even after last week’s interim trade deal with China though.He signaled he’s changing focus from Beijing to deal with the “frankly more difficult” European Union, and is willing to use the tariff playbook again.“The threat of tariffs has led to people being willing to renegotiate trade deals,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.The U.S. is considering duties on European auto imports and threatening retaliation for any levies on digital services revenues. Trump also still wants a “very dramatic” overhaul of the World Trade Organization.Still, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the U.S. and Europe are making progress toward a global pact on the taxation of digital services.U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid risked a clash with Trump after suggesting the U.S. will need to wait in line for a post-Brexit trade deal until Britain finishes negotiating one with the European Union. “I thought we’d go first,” said Mnuchin.Delegates also bet the U.S. and China would soon be at odds again.Stable World EconomyThe sabre-rattling over trade aside, most seemed confident that the global economy is on a good track after last year’s recession scare. The International Monetary Fund predicted it would grow 3.3% this year after 2.9% in 2019.The “overwhelming likely scenario is the economy chugs along this year,” Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said in an interview.While that was the majority view, there were some extreme positions on the outlook for markets.Bob Prince of hedge fund Bridgewater said central banks had ended the “boom-bust” cycle. But Scott Minerd of Guggenheim argued easy monetary policy had created a “Ponzi scheme.”The central bankers present argued that they still had room to ease monetary policy further if needed, but not much, so governments should do more to support demand.“We have to see more action going beyond monetary policy to boost growth,” said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.Banking GrumblesU.S. banks are stealing a march on their European counterparts.Summing up the scene, Credit Suisse Group CEO Tidjane Thiam said that he is only “moderately optimistic” about the region’s economic outlook.Executives from UBS, Deutsche Bank and ABM Amro lined up to bemoan negative interest rates. Sub-zero rates are “not a good place to be,” lamented Kees van Dijkhuizen of ABN.By contrast, Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan wants to increase market share among American consumers. Citigroup’s Michael Corbat was bullish on the outlook for credit cards and indicated he doesn’t feel pressed to cut staff in his U.S. branch network.Tech TremorsApple CEO Tim Cook returned to Davos for a second year with technology also playing a bigger role than usual.The industry’s most influential leaders, including Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, said they were less of a threat to society than the rise of artificial intelligence.A rift over the future of digital payments was also on display, while the news that the phone of Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos had been hacked unnerved many.And Facebook came under fire from Davos regular George Soros, who accused it of conspiring to hekp re-elect Trump.Read MoreDavos’s Global Elite Are Laggards in Stock-Market PerformanceWall Street’s Piano Man Plays His Part in Disrupting Davos SceneFree Markets Made Davos. Now Governments Are Crashing the PartyThree Perspectives On the Biggest Issues at DavosGoldman to Refuse IPOs If Board Is All White, Straight Men\--With assistance from Zoe Schneeweiss, Jonathan Ferro, Francine Lacqua, Tom Keene, Haslinda Amin, Harry Wilson, Sridhar Natarajan, Torrey Clark, Chad Thomas, Sonali Basak, Eyk Henning, Andrea Dudik, Aaron Rutkoff, John Fraher, Dandan Li, Javier Blas, Marc Daniel Davies, Sophia Chalmer, Salma El Wardany, Giles Turner, Amy Thomson, Natalia Drozdiak and Josh Wingrove.To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Kennedy in London at skennedy4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Flanders at flanders@bloomberg.net, Zoe Schneeweiss, Paul GordonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • It Took 50 Years for Climate Change to Top the Davos Agenda
    Bloomberg

    It Took 50 Years for Climate Change to Top the Davos Agenda

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.It took five decades for global elites to put climate change at the center of the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that’s meant to shape the future and solve planet-sized problems. This year, with rising temperatures and cutting emissions finally dominating the agenda, it seemed almost no one could stop talking about it.“Something which was largely on the periphery of finance has come into the mainstream,” Mark Carney, a Davos regular and the governor of the Bank of England, said at the Bloomberg Climate Forum. “These issues have moved very swiftly from being corporate social responsibility issues or more niche issues within finance to fundamental value drivers.”The usual contradictions between green talk and the world’s rich and influential descending onto the Swiss ski resort in private jets and limousines were made more stark by this climate focus. Yet the calls for action didn’t come primarily from young activists like Greta Thunberg, who returned for her second consecutive year of speeches and planned a climate strike on Friday to mark the end of the event. “The climate and the environment are a hot topic,” Thunberg said of this new focus. “But if you see it from another perspective, pretty much nothing has been done, since global CO2 emissions have not been reduced.”For the first time, environmental issues made up the entire top-five risks ranked by WEF’s members. Even the names given to meeting sessions in the program had changed. Two years ago, attendees could listen to a discussion titled “The New Energy Era.” This year, there was “The Future of Fossil Fuels.”How to address climate questions took the center of debates, with alarms sounded by powerful people. “Climate change is becoming an investment risk,” agreed Blackrock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink in remarks this week. “This is becoming a dominant theme with more of our investors.”Fink fired the starting gun last week, shortly before heading to Davos and wearing a global warming-themed scarf, by sending a letter to investors in the roughly $7 trillion asset-management firm declaring that arrival of a “fundamental reshaping of finance.” Now BlackRock plans to adopt climate considerations in its strategy and press for more companies to embrace environmental benchmarks.But the lack of global standards on what makes businesses environmentally responsible remains a palpable concern. Even BlackRock is likely to remain invested in coal, and a common complaint among executives at Davos was that they can’t be the ones setting the standards. “I say to our clients, ‘I don’t want to be the sharp end of the spear,’” enforcing industry standards, said Michael Corbat, chief executive officer at Citigroup Inc. “You should set those, you get proper buy-in, and we will be here to support you.”Standards are hard to find. The international community failed to agree on rules to set up a global carbon market at COP25, the annual United Nations climate conference held in December. That left governments, financial institutions and companies scrambling to figure out how much emissions are worth and how much to voluntarily pay for offsetting their toll on the climate.With no rules for a global carbon market, the European Union is determined to protect its own, which has been working for over a decade. The region is targeting carbon neutrality by 2050 and is considering imposing taxes on imports linked to high carbon dioxide emissions as part of a strategy to force trade partners to become greener.“There is no point in only reducing greenhouse-gas emissions at home if we increase imports of CO2 from abroad,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a Davos audience. “It is a climate issue, but it is also an issue of fairness towards our businesses and workers — we will protect them from unfair competition.”U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a closing panel that a carbon tax would be a “tax on hard working people” as he bet on technological advances to help tackle environmental challenges.Davos attendees, including the U.K.’s Prince Charles, voiced support for a carbon tax. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said reducing emissions could be a “ matter of survival” for Europe. But a carbon tax could also test Europe’s ties with China just as the leadership in Beijing faces pressure to set ambitious climate targets in its next five-year plan. At the same time, there was talk at Davos about how China’s fractious relationship with the U.S. would challenge any effort to rein in emissions.“The trade war and the U.S. withdrawal of the Paris Agreement took away the pressure on China almost entirely,” said Ma Jun, the director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, one of the country’s top climate groups. “This is a moment of confusion and of different opinions.” Davos found space for conflicting views. Outside the forum, a costumed protester dressed as a plutocrat with a cigar and a money-filled briefcase posed for photos a few feet away from man saying earnestly, “What we need is to promote a circular economy.” Someone etched the slogan “Act on Climate” into the snow near the helicopter landing zone used by U.S. President Donald Trump. His speech here included swipes at unnamed environmental alarmists. “We are clean and beautiful and everything’s good,” he told an audience that included Thunberg and other young climate activists. “We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.”Ian Bremmer, president of consulting firm Eurasia Group, noticed how reaction to Trump’s policies isn’t uniformly negative at Davos. “You can have Greta here, you can have a bunch of people talking about climate and sustainability,” he told Bloomberg TV, “but the reality is that Trump doesn’t drive people crazy at Davos the way he does in the United States.”Towards the end of the week, Mnuchin questioned the 17-year-old activist’s authority to talk about economic issues. “After she goes and studies economics in college,“ he said, “she can go back and explain that to us.” Thunberg made her reply in a tweet, citing scientific research.From Thunberg’s perspective, as she explained at Davos, the demonstrations that took millions to the streets last year were unexpectedly successful in making elites talk more like climate activists. But she saw little sign of progress beyond that talk. At a press conference on Friday, she declared the forum a failure on addressing the case for climate action.“Before we came here, we had a few demands for the WEF, and the demands have been completely ignored,” she said. “Of course we expected nothing less.”The Swedish teen sounded alarm bells at Davos in 2019 with a speech that famously declared: “Our house is on fire.” This year she made her disdain for those she blames for rising greenhouse-gas emissions even more clear. “We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching ‘net-zero emissions’ or ‘carbon neutrality’ by cheating and fiddling around with numbers,” Thunberg said. “The facts are clear, but they’re still too uncomfortable for you to address.”(Updates adding paragraph 13 with Mnuchin on carbon tax, adds Thunberg quote in paragraph before last.)\--With assistance from Yuliya Fedorinova, Jake Rudnitsky, Akshat Rathi, Viren Vaghela, Josh Wingrove, Javier Blas and Saleha Mohsin.To contact the authors of this story: Laura Millan Lombrana in Madrid at lmillan4@bloomberg.netAaron Rutkoff in New York at arutkoff@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at fjackson@bloomberg.net, Reed LandbergFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • ‘We’re all on a digital detox’: How senators are handling device withdrawal during the Trump impeachment trial
    MarketWatch

    ‘We’re all on a digital detox’: How senators are handling device withdrawal during the Trump impeachment trial

    This is what happens when U.S. senators are left to their own devices, so-to-speak. President Trump’s impeachment trial is officially underway, with senators serving as jurors. Each side gets 24 hours over three days to present its case, and the decades-old rules state that the senators must listen to each speaker in silence — and that includes a ban on cellphones in the chamber.

  • Bloomberg

    Sonos Apologizes After Backlash Over Updates for Aging Speakers

    (Bloomberg) -- Sonos Inc. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Spence apologized to customers after a backlash over the company’s plan to halt software updates for older products.The Santa Barbara, California-based speaker maker earlier this week said it would stop providing updates and new features for speakers launched in the 2000s, including the Connect, ZonePlayer, the original Play:5 and Bridge.The company warned that even if customers only had one older speaker, their entire Sonos sound systems might lose access to services and functionality would “eventually be disrupted.” It also suggested users buy new speakers with a 30% credit for each legacy device traded in. Sonos devotees quickly went berserk on social media, accusing the company of purposely degrading existing hardware to spur new sales.“I have over 1000USD of *speakers* that must be retired now? Terrible product life cycle support,” Scott Jenson, a longtime Google executive, wrote on Twitter. “I clearly have no choice to upgrade but I’m certainly NOT going to trust my money with Sonos ever again.”In a statement Thursday, Sonos didn’t reverse the decision to nix software updates in May, but pledged to keep older speakers “updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible.” The company also said it would “work to offer an alternative solution” to major issues that can’t be addressed.“We heard you. We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward,” Spence wrote in a letter posted on Sonos’s blog. “First, rest assured that come May, when we end new software updates for our legacy products, they will continue to work as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away.”Sonos’s original announcement suggested that legacy products would eventually stop working with newer speakers. On Thursday, the company said that would no longer be the case. “We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state,” Spence wrote. Jenson applauded the response on Twitter Despite the backlash, it’s common for technology companies to cut off software updates for older devices. Apple Inc.’s latest iOS operating system doesn’t support iPhones sold before 2015 and iPads made before 2014. That spurs millions of people to spend hundreds of dollars buying new handsets.Apple’s Lower Prices, Users’ Aging Handsets Drive IPhone DemandSonos is under pressure from larger rivals including Apple, Amazon.com Inc. and Google, which sell internet-connected speakers with digital assistants built in. Sonos sued Google recently, accusing the tech giant of ripping off its designs.Spence testified at a Congressional antitrust hearing this month and argued that Sonos was different from larger rivals because it supports products for many years. “Our business model is simple — we sell products which people pay for once, and we make them better over time with software updates,” Spence said.Some users on Twitter quickly contrasted that statement with this week’s decision to end software updates on many speakers.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at mgurman1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.net, Jillian WardFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • What is now known and what remains unknown about the hacking of Jeff Bezos’s phone
    MarketWatch

    What is now known and what remains unknown about the hacking of Jeff Bezos’s phone

    What happened to the Amazon founder and Washington Post owner’s phone, and who was behind it? Are other high-profile Americans at risk? And why is the U.N. involved in investigating the matter?

  • Bloomberg

    ‘Train Daddy’ Byford Quits NYC Subway After 2 Years

    (Bloomberg) -- Andy Byford, a Briton lionized as New York City’s “Train Daddy,” resigned as chief of the subway agency just two years after taking over the busiest mass-transit system in the U.S.Byford, 55, who started his career in the U.K. and ran Toronto’s transit agency, had been credited with improving subway service and persuading state and city lawmakers to pour billions into a system plagued by service interruptions and equipment breakdowns.New York City Transit, part of the state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has 8 million daily riders. Under Byford, average on-time performance exceeded 80% last year for the first time since 2013. That’s up from 67.1% in 2018.Byford’s departure came after friction with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over finding billions to revamp signal technology developed almost a century ago, purchase new subway cars and buses and upgrade equipment and station maintenance. The subway chief moved to resign in October, but stayed after being assured that he would retain influence over policy and operations. Byford’s decision Thursday seems final.In a letter to MTA Chief Operating Office Mario Peloquin, Byford said he was quitting because a cost-cutting plan advanced by Cuomo would centralize major decisions on projects, “leaving agency presidents to focus solely on the day-to-day running of service.”‘Train Daddy’Byford was a popular figure, riding the transport he supervised, greeting commuters and inquiring about their experience. Stickers showing his hairless head as the first car of a train, Thomas the Tank Engine style, blossomed around the city with the slogan “Train Daddy loves you very much.”On Thursday, Stephen Mortley, 40, a marketing executive on the 5 train headed toward Brooklyn, said Byford’s departure was disappointing.“Byford had so much in the pipeline that we wanted and he was on the cusp of doing,” Mortley said. “We could see the trains getting better. It’s an unfortunate clash of egos for him to quit and I blame both the governor and Byford because it shows no concern for the common man.”Despite his popularity among straphangers, there was one important figure he failed to win over: Cuomo. The governor has had a fraught relationship with the agency he oversees, taking credit for improvements like the opening of the long-awaited Second Avenue line, but ducking criticism as the overall system decayed.DisagreementsOn Thursday, Cuomo said Byford “was a good man,” but the two disagreed over centralizing operations. Cuomo wants to consolidate construction projects throughout the MTA, which would diminish Byford’s power over timetables for subway construction and maintenance. The governor objected to Byford’s seven-year time frame to overhaul the signaling system, saying the job could be done faster.“The MTA has to find economies of scale, it has to find efficiency and that’s what it’s trying to do,” Cuomo said at a Manhattan news conference. “They have to do a better job on construction.”Byford’s arrival in January 2018 came after a “summer of hell” marked by daily breakdowns, delays, track fires and equipment failures that cost the city economy millions of dollars in lost employee work time. In 2020, the system’s ricketiness persists, but full-out commuting meltdowns are rarer.“Andy was instrumental in moving the system forward,” MTA Chairman Patrick Foye said in a statement.Subway SignalsReinvent Albany, a government watchdog group, blamed the resignation on the governor.“We view Byford’s resignation as a very bad sign for the MTA and NYC Transit, which we believe have been politicized by Governor Cuomo,” said Rachael Fauss, a spokeswoman. “Byford is widely known to have chafed at the politicization of the MTA under Governor Cuomo, whose penchant for secretiveness, message control and top-down directives conflicted with Byford’s philosophy of building trust through consultation, personal accountability and transparency.”Fauss said the two disagreed over Cuomo’s demand that the MTA depend on a new radar-like wireless technology for subway signaling, which she characterized as an untested technology.Byford and Cuomo also clashed over the governor’s insistence upon a quick and inexpensive fix for a damaged East River tunnel linking Manhattan and Brooklyn. Byford had favored an 18-month closing, requiring transformational adaptation of local streets for bicycles and buses. Cuomo prevailed.“There are very few people in government who could communicate a plan of action,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “He was beloved and respected by the workers and the riding public. It’s a loss to New York City.”Byford’s leadership was praised by Danny Pearlstein, policy and communications director for the Riders Alliance, an advocacy group. He said it’s up to Cuomo to maintain Byford’s momentum.“Management will come and go, but the governor is responsible to keep a team in place that will build on Byford’s success,” Pearlstein said. “Riders will keep holding the governor accountable.”(Updates with quote from Byford resignation letter in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Flynn McRoberts at fmcroberts1@bloomberg.net, Stephen MerelmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • From this angle it sure appears as if Prince Charles snubbed Mike Pence
    MarketWatch

    From this angle it sure appears as if Prince Charles snubbed Mike Pence

    Trump critics absolutely love it when world leaders diss the president, and they were relishing what they thought was another opportunity on Thursday to cackle at the White House’s expense. But were they mistaken?

  • Saudi social-media accounts threaten to boycott Amazon over allegations that crown prince ‘MBS’ hacked Jeff Bezos’s phone
    MarketWatch

    Saudi social-media accounts threaten to boycott Amazon over allegations that crown prince ‘MBS’ hacked Jeff Bezos’s phone

    The Arabic hashtag for “Boycott Amazon Products” was the top trending topic in Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning

  • Trump hits uncharted Twitter territory while reacting to his impeachment trial
    MarketWatch

    Trump hits uncharted Twitter territory while reacting to his impeachment trial

    Donald Trump really has become the commander-in-tweet. The president’s @realDonaldTrump account sent a record 142 tweets and retweets during the second day of his impeachment trial on Wednesday, according to the data tracking service Factba.se, marking his all-time highest number of tweets in a single day since becoming president.

  • AMD to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in the Cards for the Stock?
    Zacks

    AMD to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in the Cards for the Stock?

    AMD's fourth-quarter results are likely to reflect deal wins on strength in EPYC server processors and uptick in holiday sales amid increasing expenditure on product development.

  • Comcast's Bad Omen for AT&T
    Bloomberg

    Comcast's Bad Omen for AT&T

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Cord-cutting isn’t stopping. As it turns out, that’s not such bad news for cable giants like Comcast Corp. It is, however, for AT&T Inc. The streaming wars intensified in the fourth quarter amid Walt Disney Co.’s advertising blitz for its new Disney+ service that overtook billboards, shopping malls, public transit and Twitter feeds. At the same time, Apple Inc. began giving away Apple TV+ free to anyone buying a new iDevice of some sort. Comcast is the first of the traditional media giants to report results for this period, giving a glimpse on Thursday morning at how the pay-TV industry fared as consumers were given more reasons than ever before to ditch cable, skip the box office and start streaming from their couches.Comcast itself reported a generally strong quarter: It signed up 442,000 net new internet customers, one of its biggest boosts ever, while the NBCUniversal media networks took in higher ad revenue and guests also spent more money at its theme parks. Film was a weak spot, with adjusted Ebitda in that business dropping nearly 50%, as its musical “Cats” bombed in theaters. Even more telling, though, was that Comcast’s cable unit lost more video subscribers than expected — 149,000, mostly residential — a sour indicator for AT&T, which is scheduled to report its own results on Jan. 29. “We expect higher video subscriber losses this year,” Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, said on Thursday’s earnings call. (Even Netflix Inc. is forecasting higher churn in the U.S., after subscriber gains slowed.)Although Comcast may be best known (or hated) by consumers for its cable-TV service, that’s actually its least relevant business. Internet users at Comcast have outnumbered video subscribers since at least 2015, and Comcast management has done a good job of shifting attention to the growth coming from broadband. In unveiling its Peacock app last week, Comcast also gave investors confidence that it’s taking a different tack in streaming than its rivals, choosing to go the free, ad-supported route, which will help Peacock garner eyeballs and not have to compete on price like the others are. AT&T is another story. The wireless carrier is carrying a boatload of debt from its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner, a deal that tied AT&T’s fortunes to the more volatile and uncertain future of pay TV. Its DirecTV/Entertainment Group — about 25% of total company revenue — has lost customers more rapidly than the rest of the industry on account of price hikes aimed at lifting profit and reducing debt. So if video customers were abandoning Comcast last quarter, they were most certainly dumping DirecTV, a technologically inferior product.Even AT&T TV Now, a virtual skinny-bundle service (formerly known as DirecTV Now), has been shrinking as customers look to cheaper options. AT&T’s WarnerMedia division will introduce HBO Max in May for a monthly subscription price of $15, the same rate as regular HBO but with the added bonus of a library of Warner Bros. films, content from its Turner networks, old episodes of “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” and a slate of original content. But HBO is still the main reason to get HBO Max, and so the question becomes, does everyone who wants HBO already have it? AT&T is investing $2 billion in the product this year, an expense that will ramp up to $4 billion by 2024. It’s not expected to start making money until the following year.Between the debt and streaming foray, the new AT&T still has a lot to prove — and a lot to spend. It won’t help matters if its media networks take a big hit from cord-cutting and if a chunk of those cord-cutters are fleeing DirecTV specifically.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Watch out! Planters kills off Mr. Peanut in Super Bowl pregame ad
    MarketWatch

    Watch out! Planters kills off Mr. Peanut in Super Bowl pregame ad

    Planters just killed off its iconic Mr. Peanut mascot in a Super Bowl pregame ad. The Kraft Heinz (KHC)snack brand changed the name on Mr. Peanut’s official Twitter (TWTR)account on Wednesday to “The Estate of Mr. Peanut” and tweeted that the natty nut known for his top hat, monocle, spats and cane had passed away. It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Mr. Peanut has died at 104.

  • One Soft Cheer for a Few Senate Republicans
    Bloomberg

    One Soft Cheer for a Few Senate Republicans

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Get Jonathan Bernstein’s newsletter every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe.After two days of the Senate impeachment trial, it’s time for one cheer for that much-maligned group, Senate Republicans who are not always knee-jerk defenders of President Donald Trump.Only one cheer. The trial leaves much to be desired. The request for witnesses and documents made by the impeachment managers from the House of Representatives should be a no-brainer, not something to maybe possibly be granted down the road. And yet when the Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported that Republicans were looking to Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as a key figure on the question of whether there would be enough votes to allow witnesses to be called, I noticed that the reactions on Twitter were united in assuming that Alexander would ultimately do whatever Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted.I have plenty of criticisms of Alexander and other supposed defenders of the Senate. They have allowed Trump to treat Congress with contempt. They’ve approved clearly unqualified nominees. They’ve failed to use their leverage to push Trump to give up his lawless ways. But I’ve watched two days of the impeachment trial so far and I’m sure of one thing: It’s not what Trump wanted. It’s almost certainly not what McConnell wanted. In fact, it’s not what I and some others feared — a full-on show trial focused on smearing former Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and any other Democrat whom Trump wants to target. There’s been a bit of that, and I’m sure there will be more. It’s what the president’s lawyers want to do with their time. But if those who believe that all Republicans will ruthlessly exploit every opportunity by taking maximum advantage of their partisan power were correct, we would never have had hours and hours of Democratic House managers speaking on the Senate floor, and to the TV cameras, about Trump’s malfeasance. Indeed, if it was up to McConnell, I think the only question would be whether he would have dismissed the trial on Day One — or worse. The reporting on McConnell, and just everything we know about him, suggests that the only reason he didn’t just throw the whole thing out is that four or more Republicans insisted on something that at least looked like a fair trial. And that’s given House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and the rest of his House manager team a chance to make their case to the nation, whether Republican senators are listening or not.I don’t want to oversell this: The appearance of a marginally fair trial is a pretty minimal thing to grant, especially if eventually the House’s request for subpoenas is denied. Republicans haven’t pushed back against restrictions on the media. They haven’t stopped McConnell’s express-train scheduling, although they did slow it a bit. And of course, there’s still nothing close to a guarantee of calling witnesses and securing other evidence. So at this point I’m only giving one cheer for whichever Republicans stood up to McConnell (and Trump). But it’s not nothing.1\. Julie Novkov at A House Divided on the history of U.S. impeachments beyond the presidency.2\. Lori Poloni-Staudinger and J. Cherie Strachan on women running for president.3\. Nate Silver on what the polls are saying after the Jan. 14 Democratic debate.4\. Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux on Elizabeth Warren and electability. 5\. Nate Cohn on how things look for Bernie Sanders.6\. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Noah Smith on housing.7\. And Ronald A. Klain and Nicole Lurie on what the U.S. should be doing to lower the risk of infectious-disease epidemics.Get Early Returns every morning in your inbox. Click here to subscribe. Also subscribe to Bloomberg All Access and get much, much more. You’ll receive our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, the Bloomberg Open and the Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bezos Hack Claim Clouds Start of Big Year for Saudi Crown Prince
    Bloomberg

    Bezos Hack Claim Clouds Start of Big Year for Saudi Crown Prince

    (Bloomberg) -- The incendiary claim that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was involved in hacking Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone will refocus critical attention on the controversial young leader just as he was seeking to repair rifts and build for a year in the global spotlight.United Nations experts on Wednesday called for an investigation into the allegations, first reported by The Guardian. They pointed to information that suggested a possible role for Prince Mohammed, 34, in the surveillance of Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, in an effort to influence the newspaper’s reporting on Saudi Arabia and in light of separate claims the prince was involved in the 2018 murder of Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.A probe would take time, yet the damage to Saudi Arabia’s image the allegations bring could be more immediate, with speculation swirling as the kingdom prepares to host G-20 finance ministers next month. That’s one of dozens of events meant to showcase the prince’s economic program to transform his nation and lure billions in foreign investment ahead of the grouping’s main extravaganza in November.The allegations reinforce the existing perception among some “that he’s not a good guy,” said Kamran Bokhari, founding director of the Center for Global Policy in Washington. People have already made up their mind about Prince Mohammed, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, and unless he enacts major political reforms, it’s unlikely public opinion will shift in the West, he said.Officials have spent the past year trying to rebuild the country’s reputation after Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. They have won support from President Donald Trump, who defended the prince and shielded the kingdom against any major retaliation by U.S. lawmakers. The government pulled off a flagship investment conference in October and then sold an initial stake in its oil giant Aramco against the backdrop of a missile attack that temporarily knocked out its biggest crude processing facility.Riyadh has also attempted to disentangle from regional problems with limited results. It showed openness to talks in a long-running Gulf dispute with Qatar, helped end fighting between two factions that were Saudi allies in the war in Yemen, and sought de-escalation with chief foe Iran, which it blames for the missile strike -- rejecting Tehran’s denials.A Saudi court sentenced five people to death for Khashoggi’s murder, who had criticized Prince Mohammed’s rule in his writing, while three others were given prison terms totaling 24 years in a move designed to close a damaging chapter, at least locally. The kingdom denies the prince was involved in the killing and the court cleared his former top aide.“We have seen in recent months a far more consultative and multi-lateral approach, partly triggered by doubts about U.S. reliability and given the fact of the chairmanship of the G-20,” said James M. Dorsey, a Middle East scholar at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.The hacking report doesn’t help in the rebranding of Saudi Arabia and Prince Mohammed, he said. If Bezos, the world’s richest man, can be a target, what about other people doing business in the kingdom?“If you are a businessman communicating with the Saudis, you are going to become a lot more cautious and ask yourself -- am I being monitored?” Dorsey said.Saudi Arabia has promoted a veneration of the crown prince in an effort to swing nationalist opinion behind his reforms, which have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent at home. On Thursday, a hashtag urging Saudis to boycott Amazon products was trending on Twitter, with users defending Prince Mohammed, suggesting other online shopping companies and posting photos of Bezos sitting next to or hugging Khashoggi’s fiancee.In a response to queries citing an unidentified official, Saudi Arabia’s information ministry rejected news reports on the Bezos phone breach as “wholly unsubstantiated allegations,” and said it doesn’t conduct or condone such illicit activities.‘Demonstrably False’“We request the presentation of any supposed evidence and the disclosure of any company that examined forensic evidence so that we can show it is demonstrably false,” it said Wednesday.Saudi Arabia is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and the Trump administration rebuffed talk of the prince’s involvement in the Khashoggi murder despite reported CIA findings that he ordered it.Read more: A QuickTake explains the Saudi crown prince Even so, Washington has been pushing Riyadh and other Gulf states to end the nearly three-year diplomatic and trade crisis with Qatar, saying it was playing into the hands of Iran at a time when the U.S. is seeking to weaken the Islamic Republic’s miltary and economy.Saudi Arabia had shown an openness to talks with Doha ahead of taking over the G-20 chairmanship in December, raising hopes among Gulf officials of an end to the crisis.Riyadh hosted Qatar’s foreign minister late last year to discuss the regional row, but those efforts have since lost momentum, according to three Gulf officials briefed on the discussions who asked not to be named.While the hack reports are seen as denting the kingdom’s image, investors are unlikely to pull back, after already weathering the Khashoggi fallout.Bond OrdersSome Western companies distanced themselves from the kingdom in the months after his killing -- their executives staying away from a 2018 investment conference -- but others continued to pour in money. That’s continued. The government sold $5 billion of debt its first Eurobond offer of the year on Tuesday, with orders worth more than $23 billion.Several overseas investors in Saudi Arabia said it was too early to gauge the impact of the Bezos claims, but said they were unlikely to change their existing views on the kingdom.Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa research at Eurasia Group, a consultancy, said that while individual countries would proceed with the kingdom at their own pace, the trajectory was unlikely to change.“There will be incidents along the way that take things off-track for short periods of time and just make it very difficult for the kingdom to define this on its own,” he said.\--With assistance from Simone Foxman and Fiona MacDonald.To contact the reporters on this story: Sylvia Westall in Dubai at swestall@bloomberg.net;Donna Abu-Nasr in Riyadh at dabunasr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, ;Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net, ;Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Benzinga

    University Of Minnesota Student Imprisoned In China For Tweets Critical Of Chinese Government

    The 20-year-old student, Luo Daiqing, allegedly tweeted some “indecent” images of a “national leader” between September and October 2018, according to the court paperwork. “While he was studying at the University of Minnesota," Luo "used his Twitter account to post more than 40 comments denigrating a national leader's image and indecent pictures," which "created a negative social impact," says the court document dated Nov. 5, 2019.

  • Bloomberg

    Why the Saudi Crown Prince Needs Cyberweapons

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s hard to overestimate just how much damage Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has done to his country in the last 15 months. Yet it’s also difficult to see how the U.S. can defend its interests in the region without his cooperation.The damage became visible on Oct. 2, 2018, when a Saudi hit team lured Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to murder him. The latest revelation is a hacking campaign against Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com Inc., who also owns the Washington Post. As a UN report released Wednesday notes: “The information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the Crown Prince in surveillance of Mr. Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.”A security consultant for Bezos made a version of this claim last year. The UN report fills in more details. It says that Bezos and the crown prince, known as MBS, attended a dinner on April 4, 2018, where the two men exchanged their WhatsApp contact information. On May 1, a video was sent to Bezos from MBS’s account that included malware that allowed the Saudis to keep tabs on his phone. More than six months later, on Nov. 8, MBS trolled Bezos, sending him a photo of a woman that resembled his paramour. This was months before the National Enquirer published a story about Bezos and his extramarital affair.UN reports are not always reliable, of course. The Wall Street Journal reported last March that the Enquirer got its scoop about the Bezos affair from his lover’s brother, to whom it paid $200,000. That said, the specifics of the report support what’s widely known about the Saudis’ extensive cyberespionage operation. In November, for example, the Justice Department charged two former employees of Twitter and a Saudi national with spying for Saudi Arabia. In October, Facebook sued an Israeli company, alleging it had compromised the accounts of 1,400 users of WhatsApp, which Facebook owns. That company has also sold its products to Saudi Arabia.The company, the NSO Group, issued a statement Wednesday saying its technology “cannot be used on U.S. phone numbers” and “was not used in this instance.” And the UN report, it should be noted, does not explicitly say that it was, noting that the hack “likely was undertaken” by the use of spyware “such as the NSO Group’s Pegasus-3 malware.”It’s worth paying attention, however, to something else in the NSO Group’s statement. These kinds of hacks “put a strain on the ability to use legitimate tools to fight serious crime and terror.”This is an understatement. Saudi Arabia has already shown that it cannot be trusted with powerful cybertools such as those developed by the NSO Group. Technology that is vital to combating jihadist groups should never be used to target dissidents — or the owners of U.S. newspapers, for that matter.A straightforward response to the latest episode of this Saudi scandal would be to ban any exports of advanced cyberweapons to the regime. And it’s a tempting proposition.Before Western governments take that step, they might recall that it took years after the Sept. 11 attacks to get Saudi Arabia to fully commit to fighting the jihadist groups its religious leaders had inspired and some of its wealthiest citizens had financed. MBS represents a departure from this double game. His reforms infuriate not just the liberal activists he jails and disappears, but the reactionaries who prospered under the previous system.If it were just another dictatorship, it would be easy enough to quarantine Saudi Arabia until it reforms. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia remains a vital partner against Iran and the jihadists in the Middle East. Its enemies are also the West’s enemies. For now, as my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Bobby Ghosh notes, the challenge is to press MBS to stop acting like the thugs he’s fighting.To contact the author of this story: Eli Lake at elake1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Cynics Are Wrong. The Impeachment Trial Matters.
    Bloomberg

    Cynics Are Wrong. The Impeachment Trial Matters.

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- U.S. Representative Adam Schiff began the House impeachment managers’ case for the conviction of President Donald Trump with a masterful opening statement in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.In a bit over two hours — especially impressive after a session that ended well after midnight on Tuesday — Schiff did an excellent job of weaving together the basic facts of Trump’s attempt to pressure a foreign government to help his 2020 re-election campaign, and to explain why it should persuade senators to remove the president from office. He effectively used video clips from House impeachment hearings to make the argument more vivid. And he included just enough poetry to drive home the importance of the president’s actions and the Senate’s choices.As he summed up the first article of impeachment, charging Trump with pressuring Ukraine to launch a criminal investigation of a leading Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, Schiff, who is chair of the House Intelligence Committee, talked not about Trump but about Russian President Vladimir Putin, and about the differences between Putinist autocracy and U.S. democracy. It was a powerful framework for thinking about why Trump’s actions should not be excused or ignored.I can hear a lot of cynics, however, humming their chorus. It doesn’t matter, the lyrics go; everyone has made up their partisan minds. And it’s almost certainly true that a somewhat better or somewhat worse presentation from either side isn’t going to make the difference between whether Trump will be acquitted — the almost certain result at this point — or convicted and removed. Indeed, there’s evidence that a lot of Republican senators aren’t bothering to pay attention.And ...Nevertheless, don’t believe the cynics.For one thing, it is certainly possible that a few of the less-zealous partisans in the Senate — Republicans such as Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, Maine’s Susan Collins, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Utah’s Mitt Romney, and Democrats including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Alabama’s Doug Jones, and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema — could change their votes on procedural matters and even possibly their final votes based in part on what they hear during the trial. And, for that matter, on how the trial presentations are covered by the press. Trial oratory wouldn't be the only factor, or even a major factor, but could it matter at the margins? Sure.But that’s only the beginning. The Senate trial is receiving tons of media coverage. It’s going to affect how the people paying attention, including reporters and editors, think about impeachment and about Trump. It could have effects on Trump’s approval ratings, which in turn could make it easier or harder to get things done. It might even, at the margins, have small effects on the 2020 elections. It could have effects, too, on Trump’s professional reputation, which also could make it easier or harder for him to convince people to go along with things he wants. There are also a lot of specific precedents that will be set about how Senate impeachment trials work in the future. This trial, whatever the verdict, will either raise or lower the bar for what a future House of Representatives might do, and how a future Senate is likely to act. What happens in the trial will also affect the course of the presidency. Will future presidents take the threat of impeachment seriously? Or will they think of it as a small annoyance that isn’t worth avoiding? Will they feel secure in resisting what has been up to now routine congressional oversight, or will they accept that bargaining with Congress is part of the rules of the game? Will they feel emboldened to ignore the law when it comes to appropriations, or will they accept that spending law is binding? All presidents take domestic politics into account in foreign affairs, and rightly so, but will future presidents remember this episode and feel licensed to conduct foreign affairs for their own narrow personal interest — or will they remember this episode and exercise caution?Or, to put it more or less as Schiff did: Will the U.S. wind up a stronger democracy after this trial — or a lesser one?The answer to all those questions depends in part on how the public comes to understand what happened in 2019-2020. And that understanding will be, in part, created by what happens in the Senate right now, how it is reported, and how the citizenry reacts to it. The public assessment will be affected by the performances of the House managers and the president’s lawyers. So yes, the cynics are surely correct that senators aren’t likely to be persuaded by Schiff, his colleagues or his trial adversaries when they finally vote on removing the president. But that doesn’t mean that the conduct of the trial won’t affect the rest of Trump’s administration and the future of U.S. democracy. To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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    Bezos Hack Began With Saudi Goodwill Tour, Intimate Dinner

    (Bloomberg) -- In the spring of 2018, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, arrived in the U.S. for a three-week cross-country tour to pitch a progressive vision for his kingdom, including an economic plan less reliant on oil, and to charm America’s elite.He visited MIT and Harvard, talked space travel with Richard Branson and hobnobbed with celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, according to media reports. The crown prince also met with business executives, including Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.It was an encounter likely weighted with tension. Both Amazon’s e-commerce site as well as its most profitable business, Amazon Web Services, had been pushing to expand in the Middle East, including in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist at the Bezos-owned Washington Post, had written columns sharply critical of the crown prince including one, while Bin Salman was visiting the U.S., saying that “replacing old tactics of intolerance with new ways of repression is not the answer.” They met at a small dinner in Los Angeles on April 4. It’s not clear what the two men talked about, but it apparently went well enough that they exchanged phone numbers.Nearly four weeks later, on May 1, Bezos received a WhatsApp message from the crown prince’s account, which arrived “unexpectedly and without explanation, meaning it was not discussed by the parties in advance of being sent,” according to a November 2019 report by FTI Consulting Inc., a business advisory firm, which was published by Vice.The message included a 4.22 MB video. Within hours of receiving it, “a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos’s phone began,” according to the report.News of the alleged hack was reported by The Guardian on Tuesday and confirmed Wednesday by two United Nations experts, who said in a statement, “The information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the crown prince in surveillance of Mr. Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia.”The Saudi Embassy has denied involvement in the hack, calling the allegations “absurd.”The details from the U.N. statement add a remarkable twist to last year’s already remarkable accusation by Bezos that the National Enquirer tried to blackmail him by threatening to publish embarrassing personal photos and texts from him a month after it published an article saying he was having an extramarital affair.Bezos’s security team launched an investigation into how the texts leaked, led by security consultant Gavin de Becker. It didn’t take long for De Becker to home in on Saudi Arabia. De Becker said the Saudi government was targeting Bezos as the owner of the Washington Post.A few months earlier, in October 2018, Khashoggi was murdered by agents of the Saudi government and the Washington Post published “ever-expanding revelations” about the role of the Saudi government and of the crown prince personally, according to the U.N. experts. That was soon followed by an online campaign against Bezos: In November 2018, the top-trending hashtag on Saudi Twitter was “Boycott Amazon.”On Nov. 8, 2018, Bezos received another message from the crown prince’s WhatsApp account, when Bezos and his wife were exploring a divorce and before his marital problems became public, according to the FTI Consulting report. It showed a picture of a woman who resembled Lauren Sanchez, with whom Bezos was having a then-secret relationship, and read: “Arguing with a woman is like reading the Software License Agreement. In the end you have to ignore everything and click I agree,” according to the report.De Becker’s inquiry included interviews with current and former executives at the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., discussions with Middle East experts and cybersecurity officials who have tracked Saudi spyware. He concluded, in a March 30, 2019 column in the Daily Beast “with high confidence that the Saudis had access to Bezos’ phone and gained private information.”But the investigation wasn’t over. De Becker hired FTI Consulting on Feb. 24, 2019 to do an analysis of Bezos’ iPhone X, according to the company’s report. The analysis was conducted in a “well-equipped and secure lab environment, including forensic imaging of Bezos’ phone and analysis of phone behavior in a sandboxed network,” the report says.What the FTI investigators found was that the amount of data being transmitted out of Bezos’s phone changed dramatically after receiving the video file from the crown prince’s account. His phone averaged about 430 KB of egress per day in the six months prior to receiving the WhatsApp video. Hours later, the egress jumped to 126 MB, according to the report.The FTI Consulting report was completed in November, and was passed along to experts at the U.N. who were already looking into the Khashoggi murder. One of those experts, David Kaye, the U.N. special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said evidence shared with his team was reviewed by four independent experts, who asked some questions of the authors, leaving the U.N. team ultimately satisfied with the results.Kaye said they sent a letter to the Saudi government warning that their statement was coming.“The allegations here are very grave, they’re about a foreign government compromising the communications account of a phone of an American citizen,” Kaye said in an interview. “There’s clearly enough for federal authorities to examine this.”The crown prince hasn’t yet addressed the allegations. But on Feb. 16, 2019, two days after Bezos had received a briefing on the Saudi online campaign against him, his WhatsApp account sent another message to Bezos telling him to be skeptical of what he was hearing.“Jeff all what you hear or told to it’s not true and it’s matter of time tell you know the truth,” the message says, according to the FTI Consulting report. “There is nothing against you or Amazon from me or Saudi Arabia.”\--With assistance from Matt Day.To contact the reporters on this story: David Wainer in New York at dwainer3@bloomberg.net;Alyza Sebenius in Washington at asebenius@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Martin at amartin146@bloomberg.net, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.