Economic Insider

A Poultry Disaster: Virus Afflicting Millions of Birds

The United States faces an unexpected, highly contagious and deadly bird flu virus, harming poultry farms and businesses across the country.

The disaster wiped out more than 52.7 million animals across the country. Avian influenza, or HPAI, causes widespread poultry casualty. Since February, the virus has afflicted chicken yards and farms across 46 states.

According to experts, the disaster overwhelms previous records, including the high number of recorded deaths in 2014-2015, totaling 50 million. The spike in cases started over the winter. However, it died down for several months and re-emerged during the summer.

However, the World Health Organization found that wild birds drive the proliferation of the virus.

“I’m hopeful that this is not the new normal for us. We don’t know what it is about it. But it does seem to be able to grow and transmit better in wild birds. Wild birds are the perfect mechanism to spread a virus. Because they fly everywhere,” said Dr. Richard Webby, the WHOS’s Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals director.

Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture revealed that in 11 states they monitored, more than 1 million birds died within each state. The states include those from Utah to the Midwest and Delaware.

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A new poultry problem

Webby added that the virus is a new kind affecting poultry animals in the country. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the virus rarely affects humans. However, they reported a case back in April in Colorado. But the patient recovered after a few days.

While this might worry some, the CDC ensured the public that the crisis would not significantly impact the country’s food supply. This remains true as long as the authorities handled it well.

“The bird populations haven’t seen viruses like this before. So in terms of their immune response, they’re all immunologically naïve. Right now, it’s like a kid in a candy store racing around,” added Webby.

“When the virus came into the Americas, it started to interact with the viruses we have in our wild birds here. So from the outside looking in, they look very similar. But when you go on the inside and look, the viruses we have here are quite different now from what was in Europe.”

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Selective infections

Amy Hagerman, an assistant professor from Oklahoma State University, said she remains baffled as to why the influenza virus only affects several birds.

But she warned poultry owners to start vaccinations as soon as possible to prevent the virus from further affecting food products.

“For whatever reason, turkeys and layer birds tend to be more susceptible. The chicken that most people think of, their chicken tenders, their chicken sandwiches. All of those things haven’t tended to have the same impact,” she said.

“Generally speaking, these complexes are over a million birds, easily. So it takes fewer egg-laying operations being affected by HPAI to drive up the price of eggs and egg products,” she added.

“One of the big complications is timing on a vaccine. Generally you need two doses of a vaccine and then a length of time to achieve full effectiveness. If you have a bird that has a very short feeding window before it’s ready for harvest, that can be a lot more challenging. Because you also need to allow the withdrawal period after the vaccine before the bird is harvested.”

Photo Credit: Nathan Howard

Source: NPR

Media Companies Ache Amid Budget Cuts

Amid budget cuts and economic uncertainty, some media businesses decided to dismiss several employees and halt new recruiting.

For instance, the management of CNN informed its many workers that staff dismissals would start. The corporation recently underwent its worst round of layoffs. Chris Licht, the company’s chief executive, claims they were forced to make this decision because the business could not keep up with the rising spending.

Earlier, Licht tweeted about potential alterations and layoffs at the business. However, he acknowledged that the decision would result in a significant loss for the business.

“It will be a difficult time for everyone. If your job has been impacted, you will learn more through an in-person meeting or via Zoom, depending on your location. In those meetings, you will receive information specific to you about the notice period or any severance that would apply and your anticipated last day. I want to be clear that everyone who is bonus eligible will still receive their 2022 bonuses, which are determined by company performance,” Licht said in a memo.

Meanwhile, NPR, a media organization, declared a hiring moratorium. The management assured them that they would not lay off workers, nevertheless.

The corporation said it needed to reduce its budget by at least $10 million. According to NPR Chief Executive John Lansing, the company decided due to a considerable decline in income.

“As we did during the pandemic, we are prioritizing our staff and not anticipating layoffs at this time. But, unfortunately, it means we won’t have the skills and support of those who would have been in the roles that must remain vacant,” Lansing said.

Read Also: Walmart Employee Lodges a $50 Million Lawsuit Against Company After Virginia Shooting

Media corporation CNN

The executive for CNN Licht informed staff that they would receive a message about their dismissal.

The firm decided to make staff reductions due to the difficulties it confronts. Additionally, the United States’ dire economic situation worsens the situation, impacting the company’s future.

“Our people are the heart and soul of this organization. It is tough to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. I recently described this process as a gut punch because I know that is how it feels for all of us,” he wrote to the employees.

“Today, we will notify a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors, as part of a recalibrated reporting strategy. Tomorrow, we will notify impacted employees, and tomorrow afternoon I will follow up with more details on these changes.”

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NPR’s hiring freeze

Lansing, the CEO of NPR, met with 700 other employees. The executive presented the company’s plans and issues during the all-staff meeting.

The NPR members discussed how the budget cuts are affecting their daily operations. However, they also spoke about damage control so the business could continue working on a smaller budget.

Photo: Saul Loeb

“It’s a slowdown in the advertising market, just like every other media company. The pacing [of revenue] just indicates a range of potential pain. And that’s what drives those numbers,” Lansing said.

“NPR is going to be in New York for a long time. The effects of the pandemic are just barely understood at this point. But updating the New York office was a critical need for NPR, absolutely,” he added.

Photo Credit: Ron Harris

Source: CNN

 

Walmart Employee Lodges a $50 Million Lawsuit Against Company After Virginia Shooting

A Walmart employee lodged a $50 million lawsuit against the business for its potential responsibility in the Virginia store shooting last week.

According to the employee, Walmart maintained the perpetrator despite his “propensities for violence, threats, and strange behavior.” The perpetrator, 31-year-old Andre Bing, opened fire inside the shop and shot six people. He then committed suicide. As a result, the tragedy instilled terror among Walmart customers and workers. The case, filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court, marked the first action taken against the firm after the event.

Donya Prioleau, who lodged the case, said that the incident caused her to incur from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physical and mental suffering. The lawsuit further said that Prioleau observed the incident and was nearly wounded by the gunshot. More distressingly, she watched several colleagues collapse and eventually die after being struck by gunshots fired by Bing at 10 p.m. inside the Walmart shop.

“Ms. Prioleau looked at one of her coworkers in the eyes right after she had been shot in the neck. Ms. Prioleau saw the bullet wound in her coworker’s neck, the blood rushing out of it, and the shocked look on her coworker’s helpless face,” the lawsuit said.

“Bullets whizzed by Plaintiff Donya Prioleau’s face and left side, barely missing her. She witnessed several of her coworkers being brutally murdered on either side of her,” it added.

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The Walmart shooter’s suicide note

Authorities discovered a cell phone after a comprehensive examination. The phone belonged to the assailant, and it contained a suicide note. The officers read the message and came up with various ideas about what caused his outburst. The complaint principally faulted Walmart for overlooking Bing’s poor mental health. Meanwhile, Bing attributed his confusion to pestering. His coworkers, he alleges, tormented him to the point of shattering his will.

“Sorry, everyone, but I did not plan this I promise things just fell in place like I was led by Satan. My only wish would have been to start over from scratch and that my parents would have paid closer attention to my social deficits,” Bing wrote.

“Idiots harassed me with low intelligence and a lack of wisdom. The associates gave me evil twisted grins, mocked me and celebrated my downfall the last day,” he added.

Read Also: Adidas Starts an Inquiry to Alleged Harassment by Ye

A mismanagement from the company

According to the lawsuit, Bing already had a list of people to pursue. His ‘kill list’ must include the persons he called ‘idiots’ in his suicide letter. In addition, many staff had previously observed Bing’s odd conduct before the incident. However, the complaint claims that Walmart ignored Bing’s health.

“Despite Mr. Bing’s long-standing pattern of disturbing and threatening behavior, Walmart knew or should have known about Mr. Bing’s disturbing and threatening behavior, but failed to terminate Mr. Bing, restrict his access to common areas, conduct a thorough background investigation, or subject him to a mental health examination,” the lawsuit said.

Meanwhile, the authorities and the firm admired those who acted bravely during the crisis.

“We are grateful to the first responders who mobilized to assist victims. I have directed federal officials to provide any support and assistance needed to the people of Chesapeake,” said president Biden.

“The devastating news of last night’s shooting at our Chesapeake, VA store at the hands of one of our associates has hit our Walmart family hard. My heart hurts for our associates and the Chesapeake community who have lost or injured loved ones. We are here for them today, and in the challenging days ahead, they will have our support,” announced Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a LinkedIn post.

Photo Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Source: NPR

Adidas Starts an Inquiry to Alleged Harassment by Ye

Adidas confirmed it is opening an inquiry in response to allegations of abuse he made to Yeezy staff members while working with the company.

Ye reportedly exposed his workers to pornographic and sexually explicit content. It continued for a while. Ye would show the material during staff meetings with Yeezy and target the female employees. Adidas promised to look into the issue.

The business, though, still needs to confirm its assertions. The anonymous group made the accusations against Ye in a published Rolling Stones piece. Adidas also committed to resolving the issue.

“It is currently unclear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true. However, we take these allegations very seriously and have decided to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations,” said the company.

The story also mentioned a group that wrote to Adidas with complaints about how senior executives disregarded their accusations. The Adidas employees accused the authorities of delaying in taking action and refusing to provide an apology to the harassed individuals.

Adidas is still waiting on a response from Ye’s side on the accusations made against the singer. The probe comes after Ye’s employment with the firm was terminated due to his anti-Semitic comments.

Read Also: Wefox CEO Slams Tech Firms for Firing Staff

Adidas terminating the contract with Ye

Many people urged to “cancel” Ye after he made antisemitic comments. Numerous businesses, including Adidas, dissolved their alliance with Ye due to the calls.

Companies like Gap and Foot Locker also opted to let Ye go, resulting in him suffering billions of losses. Adidas resigned in October, calling his behavior “unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous.”

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous. And they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” said Adidas.

“After a thorough review, the company has decided to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect,” it added.

“This is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022. Given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter. In addition, Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products and previous and new colorways under the partnership. More information will be given as part of the company’s upcoming Q3 earnings announcement on November 9, 2022,” the statement explained.

Read Also: House Republicans Slam TikTok Over Security Concerns

Not tolerating violent behavior

Adidas further stated that the brand does not support violent conduct. However, the company intends to investigate the matter as Ye performed the activities while still partnering with the business.

“He (Ye) has, in years past, exploded at women in the room with offensive remarks. And would resort to sexually disturbing references when providing design feedback. So this type of response from a brand partner is one that Adidas employees should never be subjected to. Nor should Adidas leadership ever tolerate,” said the letter addressed to the company.

“No wonder he didn’t want senior business managers in the room. He wanted to continue to use his power to violate you quietly. And threaten your role and existence within the team,” it added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Source: CNBC

Wheat Prices Surge Following Russia’s Cancellation of Grain Export Agreement

The global commodities market saw huge wheat and corn prices rise after Russia’s withdrawal from the grain export deal.

The agreement allowed grain exports from Ukraine to other countries to transport via the Black Sea. It continued to function despite the ongoing discord between Russia and Ukraine. However, Russia withdrew from the agreement unprecedentedly, distorting Ukraine’s essential grain and wheat exports.

According to the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat prices could soar by 5.5% to $8.74 per bushel. Meanwhile, corn per bushel could climb by 2.3% to $6.96. Meanwhile, Malaysia may feel the effects of the new arrangement, with palm oil prices possibly rising.

“Taking into account the act of terrorism committed by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts on October 29 this year against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civil vessels involved in the security of the ‘grain corridor,’ the Russian side suspends its participation in the implementation of the agreements on the export of agricultural products from the Ukrainian ports,” said the Russian defense ministry.

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The international community takes steps

Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said, “We’ve seen the reports from the Russian Federation regarding the suspension of their participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative following an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We are in touch with the Russian authorities on this matter.”

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme warned that the crisis would result in widespread hunger. According to the organization, if Russia persists in using food as a weapon in its invasion, many people will suffer. Senior Western officials quickly expressed their displeasure with Russia’s handling of the Ukraine conflict.

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Affecting the network of global grain supply

According to agricultural data firm Gro Intelligence, Russia and Ukraine account for more than a third of global wheat exports. Meanwhile, the countries are top worldwide for maize, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and barley exports. Taking these two countries out of the formula means dispossessing the global market of these products, which will influence the supply chain.

Russia canceled the agreement following a purported drone attack by Ukraine on its Black Sea Fleet. However, Ukraine dismissed the accusations, claiming that Russia sabotaged its own forces to find a reason to terminate the agreement. And put more pressure on nearby Ukrainian forces.

The International Rescue Committee added that Russia’s drawdown from the grain deal would be horrendous for impoverished countries. The situation exacerbates the already acute hunger in these countries.

“We underline the urgency of doing so to contribute to food security across the world and to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Photo Credit: Elena Larina

Source: CNN

Wefox CEO Slams Tech Firms for Firing Staff

Wefox CEO, a multibillion-dollar digital insurance firm located in Europe, attacks other tech companies for cutting off thousands of workers.

According to Julian Teicke, widespread layoffs of employees would not benefit those struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising prices. Due to financial difficulties, several businesses, including Meta, Twitter, and Amazon, announced the termination of a sizeable portion of their personnel. Layoffs, in the opinion of the businesses, will enable each to deal with the dreadful state of the world economy.

Wefox CEO Teicke expressed his disappointment with how his colleagues handled the issue. Many venture capitalists believe the best action is reducing expenses and laying off employees. Recruiting must be frozen, and companies must drastically reduce the workforce to balance the growing costs of resources.

“I’m a little disgusted by statements like, ‘never miss a good crisis’ [or] ‘we have to cut the fat,'” said Teicke in an interview.

According to Doug Leone of Sequoia Capital, investors need to create plans to cope with the economy’s issues in the most effective ways. Leone contends that in the upcoming years, people with the necessary crisis management skills will fare better than others.

“You have a great opportunity in front of you if you play your cards right. You have an opportunity to pass ten cars. So do not waste a good recession,” he said.

Read Also: House Republicans Slam TikTok Over Security Concerns

Wefox CEO unimpressed with others

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the CEO of Klarna, claimed that he considers himself “lucky” even though his business cut thousands of employees earlier this year. Siemiatkowski said that 90% of those fired had, in fact, already secured new employment. So he views himself as fortunate for that reason. But because of their poor management, the Wefox CEO still needs to be more fond of others.

“If we would have done that today, that probably, unfortunately, would not have been the case,” said Siemiatkowski.

“These are people that have maybe quit other jobs to join your business. These are people that have maybe moved to other places because of you. And these are people that have maybe ended romantic relationships,” Teicke said.

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A significant responsibility

Wefox CEO acknowledged that managers and CEOs have a powerful impact on their workers’ life, perhaps to raise his concerns. However, he added that CEOs have a responsibility to safeguard their workers. And today, with everyone experiencing economic troubles, it has become much more noticeable.

“I believe CEOs have to do everything in their power to protect their employees. I haven’t seen that in the tech industry, and I’m disgusted by that. These are humans. I don’t believe in mass layoffs. We’re going to focus on performance but not on mass layoffs,” he said.

Wefox won’t dismiss staff, claims Teicke. Furthermore, he adds that his business has become “crisis-resistant” by preparing for the most catastrophic case. Finally, Teicke added that Wefox must research the macroeconomic situation to maintain its viability despite challenges in the European economy.

Photo Credit:  Wefox

Source: CNBC

House Republicans Slam TikTok Over Security Concerns

Global content-sharing platform TikTok faces another round of criticism, this time under the lens of House Republicans.

According to them, TikTok deliberately misled congress about how the company handled the data of its US-based users. The complainants wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and amplified the issues raised earlier by US lawmakers.

In addition, the letter highlighted the national security concerns that TikTok poses to the US. Experts contend that Republican members of the House will echo the calls to put TikTok under fire, having gained the majority of the House of Representatives.

“Both claims appear to be misleading at best, and at worst, false,” said Comer and McMorris Rodgers.

“Americans deserve answers about how TikTok knowingly allows China to access their data, and E&C Republicans will continue to demand those answers,” said Sean Kelly, the spokesperson for Rodgers.

“One immediate next step is to pass the American Data Privacy and Protection Act this Congress. This would require companies like TikTok to alert users if their personal information is being stored or accessed in countries like China. And give people the option to stop that information from being shared,” Kelly added.

US officials grow concerned about how TikTok could use the US-based user data for their benefit. For example, Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said that TikTok poses an “enormous threat” because it can obtain data. It also allegedly influences the content that US users see.

“That is a distribution model that would make RT, Sputnik. Or some of the Russian propaganda models pale in comparison,” Warner said.

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TikTok repeatedly denies the allegations

TikTok management repeatedly dismissed the allegations thrown at them. It said that the company would “satisfy all national security concerns.” They further said that ByteDance, its Chinese-owned parent company, have no US data access since it remains stored in the US.

TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas appeared in front of the Senate. She then answered the questions thrown to them by authorities.

“Will TikTok commit to cutting off all data and data flows to China, China-based TikTok employees, ByteDance employees? Or any other party in China that might have the capability to access information on US users?” asked Senator Rob Portman.

“Again, we take this incredibly seriously in terms of upholding trust with US citizens and ensuring the safety of US user data,” Pappas said.

“As it relates to access and controls, we are going to be going above and beyond in leading initiative efforts with our partner, Oracle, and also to the satisfaction of the US government through our work with [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States], which we do hope to share more information on,” she added.

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Cutting data from China

Amid criticisms, Pappas promised TikTok would cut off “all data and metadata flows to China.” However, she ensured the Senate panel that Chinese authorities do not influence US users’ content algorithms.

Although Chinese employees have access to the data, Pappas said that she will not “give that data to China.” Moreover, she denied the existence of a ‘Master Admin’ who has access to all data of US users.

“Those allegations were not found. There was talk [in the article] of a master account, which does not exist at our company,” she said.

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon

Source: CNN

IEA Warns of Looming Recession Due to OPEC+’s Decision

The world economy is moving closer to a recession, according to a warning from the International Energy Agency following the dramatic reduction in oil output by OPEC+ members.

The oil-producing countries of OPEC+ shocked the world, notably the United States, by announcing a 2 million barrel per day reduction in output. The reduction is the organization’s sharpest output decline since the pandemic’s inception.

“With unrelenting inflationary pressures and interest rate hikes taking their toll, higher oil prices may prove the tipping point for a global economy already on the brink of recession,” said the IEA.

The IEA cut its forecast for the increase of global oil consumption by 20% starting next year as a result of the OPEC+ agreement. Additionally, the agency anticipates a decline in growth projections, especially for important institutions.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that in 2023, people will start to notice the evident impacts of the recession. As a result, they have lowered their projections for GDP growth from 3.2% to 2.7%.

Oil prices will remain high until there is a large revival of oil production as a result of Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting nations’ production curbs, which will significantly reduce the amount of oil available globally.

“The massive cut in OPEC+ oil supply increases energy security risks worldwide,” said the IEA.

Read Also: McDonald’s Collaborates with Streetwear Brand for an Adult Happy Meal

The US is affected

The cutbacks announced by Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC+ members have disturbed the whole world. Moreover, gas prices will diminish the sway of Democrats, who have been anchored on the promise of relieving inflationary pressures on the country’s inhabitants, as the US midterm elections approach.

Thus, none is more outraged than the US, which condemned the move as “shortsighted.”

“OPEC is trying to shock and awe with a big production cut number that is going to get people’s attention. And they’re trying to support prices to keep them from falling further,” said Yasser Elguidi from Energy Aspects.

“I am in the process; when the House and Senate come back, there’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia,” said president Biden in an interview.

Read Also: OPEC Production Cuts Prompt US President Biden to Rethink its Relationship with Saudi Arabia

The price increase

The IEA predicts that the reduction will result in an increase in oil prices. According to estimates, OPEC will cut the output by 2 million barrels per day. However, the IEA predicts that the reduction will only amount to 1 million barrels per day because Russia may not agree with the organization’s decision. Oil prices will eventually reach an average of $100 per barrel as a result of countries failing to fulfill their production targets and the current OPEC output cuts. And if things become worse, this rate may go up.

The IEA continues by stating that this development would encourage non-OPEC nations that produce oil to maximize their operations and produce more than their daily average. However, the issue is the nation’s rising inflation as well as its limited capacity for investment and financial assistance.

Photo Credit: IEA

Source: CNN

McDonald’s Collaborates with Streetwear Brand for an Adult Happy Meal

McDonald’s, the leading fast food restaurant, intends to appeal to older consumers with their new adult Happy Meal. A free toy is also included in the bundle.

McDonald’s said it would provide goods geared toward adults while retaining the whimsical aspect of the Happy Meal, which is generally sold in red cardboard boxes, as the company tries to add some twists to its typical offers. McDonald’s is not the only company taking the initiative, of course.

On October 3, all participating locations will be able to sell the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box bundle, which is a project between McDonald’s and a well-known streetwear brand.

“We’re taking one of the most nostalgic McDonald’s experiences and literally repackaging it in a new way that’s hyper-relevant for our adult fans,” said the Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s USA, Tariq Hassan.

“I can’t wait to give fans a unique piece of art and culture as we dive headfirst into the dynamic world of Cactus Plant Flea Market together next week. With menu favorites like the Big Mac and McNuggets at the center of this collab, this is another way we’re reigniting a new generation’s love for our food and the brand.”

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In a press release, McDonald’s stated:

The Cactus Plant Flea Market Box, a first-of-its-kind collaboration made exclusively for McDonald’s fans by one of the most important brands in culture. 

It all starts with the box, which has been totally redesigned in Cactus Plant Flea Market’s signature style alongside McD’s iconic Golden Arches. 

The box will be available in-restaurant, in the drive-thru, by delivery or on the McDonald’s App starting October 3, while supplies last.

It differs from the Happy Meal

Smaller menus were included in the original Happy Meal for kids to eat. However, given that the adult Happy Meal is meant for older customers, McDonald’s chose to include more food in the box, such as a Big Mac or ten McNuggets. In addition, fries and drinks are served with the main dish.

The collectibles are, of course, the pièce de résistance of every Happy Meal. There is one of four figurines that collectors will want to amass within each Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. For this edition, McDonald’s has also included the mascots Hamburglar, Birdie, Grimace, and Cactus Body.

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The present agreement is the company’s first foray into working with brands, despite McDonald’s reputation for bold and ambitious collaborations. For example, one may remember the company’s partnership with the famed K-Pop boy band BTS. McDonald’s raised billions of dollars thanks to the artists for its Famous Orders marketing campaign.

McDonald’s debuted a menu influenced by rapper Travis Scott two years prior. A lot of McDonald’s stores ran out of the box since it was so well-liked by music fans.

As part of the partnership, McDonald’s will also sell clothing and accessories from Cactus Plant Flea Market, its current partner.

Photo Credit: McDonald’s

Source: CNBC

Patagonia Founder Will Use all of the Company’s Revenue to Fight Climate Change

Photo Credit: New York Times

The creator of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, declared that he would donate every penny of the business’ profits to the campaign to tackle the climate crisis. According to the announcement, the Chouinard family will not benefit financially from the business. Instead, the money made by Patagonia would be donated to groups and causes that support environmental initiatives, land preservation, and biodiversity.

The Chouinard family created Patagonia fifty years ago, and ever since, the company has provided clothing to a variety of outlets. The corporation is worth $3 billion, based on a report by the New York Times.

The corporation has issued a statement stating that regular business activities and employee pay rates would continue as usual. Partner businesses and organizations would get the funds that were not reinvested as well as from operational costs for maintenance and other expenditures. As an illustration, Patagonia established the Holdfast Collective and Patagonia Purpose Trust, two nonprofit organizations and trusts focused on specific causes.

Holdfast Collective currently holds 98% of the non-voting stock, while Patagonia Purpose Trust controls all voting stock or 2% of the total shares.

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Capitalism, reimagined

It is critical that society and businesses reinvent capitalism, according to a message published by Patagonia on its website.

“While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact. One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money. But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.”

Another path was to take the company public. What a disaster that would have been. Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.

Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.”

Patagonia anticipates making more than $100 million in revenue and charitable contributions yearly once everything is in place. Additionally, this number will change based on how well the business does and customer buying patterns.

Gear for outdoor pursuits, including camping, fishing, and rock climbing, is one of the many goods offered by Patagonia. Other outdoor clothing is also available for purchase from the brand, along with food and drinks made using ecological materials.

The brand will still be competitive

According to Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert, the company’s aim could only be accomplished if the business continued to behave in the same way as previously and continued to generate income, potentially even more aggressively.

“I think what people fail to understand about Patagonia, both the past and today and the future, is that we are unapologetically a for-profit business,” stated Gellert.

“We are extremely competitive. The Chouinards are extremely competitive about the business. We focus on making high-quality products, standing behind that product for the usable life of it. We compete with every other company in our space, aggressively. I don’t think we have lost that instinct.”

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The family didn’t decide to declare their intentions for several years, according to Gellert. He continued by stating that while the owners intended to devote the business to noble causes fully, there was also a focus on establishing a structure that would uphold and maybe even strengthen Patagonia’s fiscal performance.

According to Gellert, despite the recently-enacted deal, Patagonia continues to pay its taxes.

“We are a company that very much believes in that. We are a company that has avoided complex structures both in the U.S. and globally to sidestep taxes. We are actually one of the few companies that have lobbied consistently and publicly for higher taxes, particularly in support of climate legislation,” Gellert explained.

Patagonia is one of the few corporations taking the initial steps toward rethinking what capitalism means as the globe struggles to combat the impacts of the climate crisis. The business changed its website’s tagline to read, “Earth is now our only shareholder.”

Source: CNBC

Bob Iger Plans to Meet with Disney Employees

Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, promised to address the staff at a town hall meeting on Monday at nine o’clock.

He advised the staff via memo that the meeting would cover many business-related topics. Iger will start by outlining the direction of the business. Additionally, he will answer any inquiries the staff members want to make about the business in light of Disney’s financial difficulties. Iger returned to his office after Disney summoned him. In a startling shift of leadership, he succeeded his successor Bob Chapek.

“On Monday, I will return to the Walt Disney Studio Lot, a place I have always loved. I’m eager to rejoin dear colleagues and meet new team members who’ve become part of our company this past year,” he said.

Iger changed the corporation in several ways within a few days of taking command of it. After ultimately parting in 2020, he oversaw Disney for 15 years. Chapek made it a point to carry out his goals as his successor.

However, the outcome could have been more favorable for the business, leading many to wish for a management change and the appointment of Iger again. Iger stated that he would restructure Disney’s media division rather than keeping Kareem Daniel as the unit’s leader and Chapek’s right hand.

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Iger to make a new plan

Experts say Iger needs to develop a fresh approach to restore Disney’s profitability. It would take time, the new CEO acknowledged. But he has already begun deploying the reforms, and many people are confident that this will help Disney reach the next level.

Rich Greenfield, an analyst with LightShed Partners, stated that Iger’s difficulty would be determining whether an asset should be kept or sold. When he was the CEO of Disney, Iger bought several businesses, including Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and segments of 21st Century Fox.

“Bob Iger should sit down this weekend and make a list of the assets he wants Disney to keep and the ones he wants to get rid of. What does Disney look like over the next five years? What are the assets we need to have? That needs to come first, and every decision follows the answer,” said Greenfield.

“The old plan can’t be the new plan. That plan wasn’t working. So Iger is going to have to make some hard decisions,” he added.

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Remaining optimistic

Many people still trust Iger within the corporation. However, Disney announced in a statement that they wished to reintegrate Iger due to current financial problems. Sadly, this also meant that Chapek’s management style was unproductive, even if he followed Iger’s playbook while running the business.

“Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team. Most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago. And he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide. All of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership,” said the Disney’s Chairman of the Board, Susan Arnold.

“During his 15 years as CEO, from 2005 to 2020, Mr. Iger helped build Disney into one of the world’s most successful and admired media and entertainment companies. With a strategic vision focused on creative excellence, technological innovation and international growth,” added the statement.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla

Source: CNBC

Bill Gates Shares his 2022 Holiday Reading List

During Christmas, Bill Gates, a billionaire and business tycoon, suggests five publications that people should peruse at home.

Gates is well known for being a voracious reader who reads 50 books a year on average. He reviews the books before giving people recommendations. Gate considers them as great works, and he wants to share them with others in the belief that doing so would help them advance personally and professionally. Gates published a list of new books and some of Gates’ all-time favorites this year. He talked about his meaning for the books and how they may help others.

The 2022 holiday reading list by Gates

Robert Heinlein’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’

The 1961 science fiction book portrays the story of a person nurtured on Mars. As he traveled onto an extraterrestrial world, the protagonist traveled to Earth and attempted to comprehend how people think about religion and conflict.

“I met Paul [Allen] around [that] time, and we got to know each other by talking about sci-fi. I love sci-fi that pushes your thinking about what’s possible in the future. He also does the classic sci-fi thing of using a fictional setting to ask profound questions about human nature,” Gates said.

Bono’s ‘Surrender’

Bono and Gates go way back together. Bono, a multibillionaire music star and author, participates in several advocacy initiatives with Gates. They have been friends for many years, and Gates likes reading his longtime friend’s autobiography since he shares his views on global health issues and climate change.

“They share the same values. All four are passionate about fighting poverty and inequity in the world, and they’re also aligned on maintaining their integrity as artists,” he said.

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Doran Kearns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’

Gates claimed that the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s writings completely astonished him. Abraham Lincoln’s progress through the US political arena is chronicled in the nonfiction book from 2005. It talks about the occasions leading up to his 1860 election as president. The businessman claimed that the book captured Lincoln’s ability to lead, which allowed him to bridge the divides among his cabinet members to perfection.

“Lately, I’ve been thinking about Goodwin’s book because it feels very relevant in 2022. There are significant parallels between the current and the 1860s, when the nation was dealing with violent insurrection, difficult questions about race, and ideological divides between states and regions,” he said.

Robert Gallwey’s ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’

As a coach, Gallwey authored the book to assist students to improve their forehand command and as a “guide to the mental side of peak performance”. Gates read the literature over forty years ago. Nonetheless, he recommends the book to his friends. He feels that people may apply the teachings in the book in real life.

“For most of us, it’s too easy to slip into self-criticism, which then inhibits our performance even more. Instead, we need to learn from our mistakes without obsessing over them,” Gates said.

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Paul Strathern’s ‘Mendeleyev’s Dream’

The book deeply covers the history of chemistry. His interest in the 2000 book was sparked by his long-standing admiration for the periodic table and Dmitri Mendeleyev, who created it.

“Aside from being a neat piece of art, the periodic table reminds me of how one discovery can lead to countless others. So all the complexity of the universe comes from the properties on that chart. Because we understand atoms, we can make chips, and therefore we can make software, and therefore we can make AI. Everything goes back to the periodic table,” he concluded.

Photo Credit: Ali Cherkis

Source: CNBC

Amazon will Continue Firing Employees until 2023

The company’s employees received a memo from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Thursday informing them that layoffs will continue until the following year.

“I’ve been in this role now for about a year and a half, and without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we’ve made during that time (and we’ve had to make some very tough calls over the past couple of years, particularly during the heart of the pandemic),” Jassy said.

“It’s not lost on me or any of the leaders who make these decisions that these aren’t just roles we’re eliminating, but rather, people with emotions, ambitions, and responsibilities whose lives will be impacted,” he added.

According to the business, the management will contact some employees about their possible terminations. Among the affected departments include devices and services. The corporation also provided a voluntary buyout option to its employees. The buyout offers the corporation a chance to ramp up employee layoffs. Additionally, it offers compensation packages to the fired employees for a specific time.

According to sources, Amazon will cut approximately 10,000 employees from its workforce. The number could rise depending on how the business struggles with different conditions. In light of the deteriorating economic situation in the United States, Amazon will reduce its staff, according to the statement. Inflation in the US slows daily operations and discourages consumers from making purchases.

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Amazon, with other companies

Several businesses, including Amazon, have cut their workforces in recent months. For example, Facebook’s parent firm, Meta, let go of 13% of its staff. Meanwhile, Twitter, Salesforce, Shopify, and Strip also announced they would fire several employees. However, with the holidays rapidly approaching, Amazon felt pressure to add warehouse staff.

“Those decisions will be shared with impacted employees and organizations early in 2023. We haven’t concluded yet exactly how many other roles will be impacted (we know that there will be reductions in our Stores and PXT organizations). Still, each leader will communicate to their respective teams when we have the details nailed down,” Jassy added.

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A hard choice

The business made a challenging choice, according to Jassy. But they the market conditions forced them to adjust, leaving them with no other options. He compared how the economy deteriorated over time and how quickly Amazon hired new employees. As a result, the business suffered a considerable revenue loss.

“Amazon has weathered uncertainty and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so. We have big opportunities ahead, both in our more established businesses like Stores, Advertising, and AWS, but also in our newer initiatives that we’ve been working on for several years and have conviction in pursuing (e.g., Prime Video, Alexa, Kuiper, Zoox, and Healthcare),” added the statement.

“I want to thank each of you for your continuing contributions during this challenging time and as we gear up to deliver for customers during the busy shopping season,” it concluded.

Photo Credit: Mike Blake

Source: CNBC

Russia Will Continue Black Sea Wheat Export

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russia chose to lengthen the Black Sea Grain Agreement.

Russian Foreign Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov earlier hinted that Russia would not extend the UN-brokered pact. Hence, several stakeholders became anxious about its likely termination. However, Ukraine and other partners must maintain the agreement’s provisions. Otherwise, Russia will stop collaborating with Ukraine on the grain agreement.

The combined wheat exports of Russia and Ukraine account for one-third of global supplies. If the nations vote to terminate the agreement, prices will skyrocket. Moreover, dependent countries will face supply shortages. Other countries fear the possibility because of high rates of inflation in their respective countries.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative. To facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine. The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions,” said Guterres.

Without the renewal, the transaction will expire on Saturday. However, under the revised terms, Ukraine and Russia will continue to fund export operations for an additional 120 days. Russia withdrew from the agreement a few weeks earlier in response to reported attacks on its Black Sea Fleet.

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Russia abandoned the agreement before

The Russian ministry issued a statement months ago. He said the act purportedly done by Ukraine is an act of terrorism. The minister further explained that Russia withdrew from the agreement because he learned that Ukraine participated on the attack of its Black Sea Fleet.

Russia insisted that Ukraine assaulted its Black Sea fleet. On the other hand, Ukraine dismissed the allegations thrown by Russia. Meanwhile, the UN reacted and responded quickly to the emergency. Other analysts forecast a significant surge in world wheat prices if Russia withdraws altogether from the agreement. As a result, the United Nations appealed to Russia.

“We’ve seen the reports from the Russian Federation regarding the suspension of their participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative following an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We are in touch with the Russian authorities on this matter,” said the UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

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Keeping the provisions

Lavrov expressed doubts about the deal’s continuation. In an interview, he claims Ukraine is using the export agreement to transfer guns and for military purposes. Furthermore, he does not want the UN to interfere with Russia’s exports. If the UN honors its pledge, Russia will be happy to work with the countries to complete the deal.

The minister said that Guterres assured him that the UN will cooperate. He added the UN must not sanction any grain or fertilizer supply coming out of the country. Also included in the terms is the entry of Russian ships to ports in Europe and vice versa.

Photo Credit: Mehmet Emin Calsikan

Source: CNN

Robertson Human Asset: A Point of Contact for Organizations Looking for the Right Top Talent

Becoming an agent of change has everything to do with establishing the right mindset, and this is indeed what Robertson Human Asset is all about. Linda Robertson has first-hand experience with the struggles of corporations that did not have programs, processes, tools and partners to recruit top talent or support, train and retain their key contributors. Thus, launching Robertson Human Asset was her way of taking a step in the right direction toward connecting organizations with the right talents.

Since 2000, Robertson Human Asset has placed high-performing sales and management professionals into growing companies while providing business-to-business consulting solutions and services to assist them with revenue generation. In addition to these, Linda is also at the forefront of delivering coaching services to individuals and management teams to help them identify existing opportunities for growth and expansion. Her unique approach, which has contributed to her outstanding success, helps clients develop the right systems and processes and hire the right staff.

Robertson Human Asset recruitment services cover job roles like medical and dental Sales Representatives, VP of Sales, Regional Directors, Directors of Marketing, CEO, and various medical device sales leadership roles all over Canada and the United States. The company caters to clients with employee sizes between 30 and 300. “Our goal is to let our clients know that they need to think about hiring strategies to thrive and grow within the markets they serve. And this growth can only happen by working with the right company,” Linda said.

Linda’s passion for coaching candidates and helping them find roles that make them happy every day spurred her to build Robertson Human Asset. She makes sure to teach her candidates how to invest in their careers to achieve growth and success. “Investment goes beyond spending your money. The best investments often come in the form of time and effort. I always tell people to make learning a part of their daily routine. When people talk about professional development, they usually think of courses paid for by the company. But learning is more powerful if you’re doing it on your terms and enjoying it. I often recommend picking topics related to their career. They can listen to podcasts, attend seminars, take courses, etc.,” Linda said.

As the founder of a reputable company in the recruitment space and an expert career coach, she shares that the most important tip everyone should take seriously is to focus more on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. “Delegate your weaknesses if you can, or use tools and systems to help you in these areas and enhance and develop your areas of strength and mastery. They are your areas of genius and where you will be a success,” she said. The other important tips she shared include networking with mentors, inner circle, outer circle, loose acquaintances, and staying consistent and true to one’s career and personal goals.

Over the next few years, Linda sees Robertson Human Asset keeping up its high standards of recruitment services and career development assistance. The numerous positive results it has achieved for individuals and organizations are too significant to ignore, and plans are in place to keep those results up.

 

Athlete’s Thread Helps College Athletes Make Profit With Licensed Merch

When the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a new policy allowing college athletes to make their own brands and profit from it, Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi knew they had to step up and help athletes take advantage of the opportunity, hence the birth of Athlete’s Thread

Banking on their experience as founders of Greek House, a platform providing custom apparel to over 500 colleges built in 2013, McGurrin and Shanadi want to leave a massive impact in the collegiate licensing space. Their first venture was followed by the establishment of College Thread and, eventually, Threadly. Today, they aim to expand their services to student-athletes who want to launch their own businesses and help each one of them, not only the star athletes, make money from their name, image, and likeness, making it fast and easy for them to conceptualize their merch, produce enough supply, and reach online stores in no time. 

“While Athletes Thread is a new opportunity, this is ten years of experience leading us up to this point, and we’re ready to scale like crazy after refining and perfecting our technology,” said McGurrin. “The best part about this is helping tell the unique story of every student-athlete. We believe that if you’re a student-athlete, even if ESPN isn’t telling your story, you’re already a hometown hero and have a huge community behind you that would love to support you. What we really want to do is help all of these students realize how much they have accomplished and be the driving force to not only get their story out but help them be successful,” he added. 

Athlete’s Thread is taking an active role in uplifting the lives of student-athletes with customized apparel. The company’s solution provides its clients with the opportunity to showcase their personalities and tell their stories through their merch. The platform currently hosts over 2,000 athletes from 12 colleges, while 58 colleges are currently waiting to go live. Some of the athletes from the Athlete’s Thread family include Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and break-out athletes Jahmyr Gibbs, Jalen Milroe, and Trashon Holden from the University of Alabama. 

“We’ve found out how to take products, and athletes live in less than three days of getting signed on. Our platform has really simplified making officially licensed merchandise for both athletes and colleges,” said Shanadi. “Our mindset working with all these athletes, the colleges, and the athletic directors is to help them tell their story, but also make sure we are helping them be successful both on and off the field,” he added.

Over the few years, Athlete’s Thread aims to welcome over 8,000 athletes into its community and expand beyond merchandise and apparel.  

“It’s already complex enough being a student and athlete at the same time, so when you start hearing about licensing compliance and taxes, it can become overwhelming. So, there’s also a little bit of fear of the unknown and how do I do this safely,” said McGurrin. “So what we’re also trying to do is demystify the name, image, and licensing process and make it extremely easy for the athletes to where we’re essentially removing their risk,” he added.

Aiming to scale their company to become a leader in the sports merchandise industry, McGurrin and Shanadi are taking groundbreaking steps in assisting athletes with their branding ventures, becoming a solid force in providing athletes with a well-rounded boost using their name, image, and likeness. 

My Plan Keeper Protects Retirees Against Market Volatility

In this era of economic volatility, finding a safe place to store one’s assets and finances can be confusing. Just recently, the S&P 500 was down 21.43% and the bond market, largely considered by many to be a “safer” option, was down YTD 15.79%. Equities market and bond markets have been down in quarters and months together but it’s more rare for them both to be down in annual returns. For many seniors in retirement or those already gearing up for it, this news is enough to send someone into a panic. My Plan Keeper is a company that helps people, especially seniors, protect their finances, as well as their life plans, from an economy that’s become too complex to understand.

My Plan Keeper was founded and is owned by Carla Garcia. As a financial advisor and relationship manager, Carla has spent the last 20 years serving a wide range of clients, including business owners, professional athletes, healthcare workers, government employees, and hardworking individuals. She spent a major part of her career working for Merrill Lynch and Citi Personal Wealth Management in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale markets, which allowed her to gain extensive experience with domestic and international clients.

“I built this company so that my clients no longer be confined to a small group of solutions and also to help clients build confidence and bring awareness to the importance of building a solid foundation to protect their existing plans by adding safe money strategies that a bank typically won’t offer them,” she said. “Being independent is truly a game-changer for me because I can now represent my clients 100%. I hope many advisors realize what a disservice they are doing to their clients by strictly offering what their institution has in inventory. Now I have hired experts in the field who give me access to not only a huge warehouse of solutions but to truly unbiased research, making sure I am offering our clients only the best that fit their needs.”

After mulling it over for some time, Carla decided to take a leap of faith and leave her six-figure job because she was fully dedicated to her new mission of giving clients the genuine security they needed. Today, My Plan Keeper Company offers honest advice and strategies backed by solid research so that clients can safeguard their financial and life plans and live the best possible life. Carla’s passion for helping her retirees drove her to learn the ropes and become certified to offer Medicare plans. She knew she needed to do so for clients to understand better and for them to avoid sales agents who focus more on getting money.

What makes My Plan Keeper stand out is its genuine mission to positively impact the retirement community. Unlike other organizations, they are not money managers. Instead, a Financial Keeper acts as an objective outsider so that clients can have the power to implement solutions and build a solid foundation for their plans. “I do not want to sit here and position myself as a financial advisor. I am a Financial Keeper, a retirement expert and a safe money strategist who has witnessed so many clients succeed and many fail. I am taking that wisdom and sprinkling it. My Plan Keeper will provide a positive impact socially for generations to come,” Carla shared. 

“The retirement planning community is very large, and there is a lot of competition and misinformation. Unfortunately, we are all built to believe in what we believe, so we get a lot of mixed opinions,” she said. Adding to her point, Carla emphasizes that sentiment and emotions drive market results, so financial planners and advisors often offer clients market-risk products to generate pay and revenue. “One thing we can not predict is when markets will stabilize, but when it comes to retirement, income is the pillar, and retirement income should not depend on portfolio returns,” Carla added.

Other organizations that aim to help retirees often neglect to protect their plans against market volatility, inflation, long-term care cost, sequence of return risk, taxes, and even Medicare.

Carla Garcia holds many licenses, including FINRA Series 7 and 66, as well as a CRPC® designation. Moving forward, she aims to develop her brand further and help thousands of new retirees with tools that will revolutionize how people plan and protect.

 

Transportation Department says Fines Await Airline Companies that Do Not Give Refund to Customers for Cancelled Flights

The United States Department of Transportation warns airlines that refuse to refund passengers for canceled flights.

The Department of Transportation’s Pete Buttigieg announced on Monday that the agency investigated six airlines for prospective fines of up to $7.5 million for failing to reimburse passengers for canceled flights. To prepare for potential consumer refunds, airline companies should set aside more than $600 million, according to the DOT. The firms will use this in light of cancelled flights.

“When a flight gets canceled, passengers seeking refunds should be paid back promptly. Whenever that doesn’t happen, we will act to hold airlines accountable on behalf of American travelers and get passengers their money back. Flight cancellation is frustrating enough, and you shouldn’t also have to haggle or wait months to get your refund,” the Transportation secretary said.

In lieu of a refund, the transportation agency learned that businesses frequently issue credits for future trips. However, under the policy, companies must give refund to customers. Nevertheless, according to the DOT, many airlines only offer refunds if they intend to retain their profits.

Because of this, a lot of clients contact the authorities with complaints. For example, airline complaints increased 57 times in only one year between 2019 and 2020, according to Bill McGee, an aviation advocate with the American Economic Liberties Project. In 2019, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported 1,500 refund complaints. However, the next year, it rose to 89,000.

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Transportation department helping customers

Although the aircraft sector now partially recovered from the pandemic, companies nevertheless canceled several lights. And for many people, this is a source of concern. Airlines often resort to issuing vouchers and credit for future travel when a flight cancellation occurs due to constraints or plans altering. The problem is that they run out even before the buyer has another free moment to travel.

“But still, flights do get canceled. And when that happens, DOT will be here to make sure that a refund is available and that it’s processed as promptly as possible, that we’re going to have people’s backs when they experience a disruption,” Buttigieg added.

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A late initiative

In McGee’s opinion, the proposal is a positive move in the right direction. The issue may have been the subject of complaints from thousands of customers for a while. But nobody bothers to hear them. McGee further added that despite being guilty of the crime, many airline firms still need to receive punishment from the law. For instance, the three biggest airline corporations in the world, United, Delta, and American, have received numerous customer complaints.

“Why is it that none of these other airlines have been fined? And why is it taking so long? Why is it taking (almost) three years to investigate this, particularly since all the data is public? Airlines that brazenly skirt the rules deserves fines. But this latest round of enforcement from the USDOT comes almost three years too late and leaves out the most egregious US offenders,” McGee said.

Airlines affected by Monday’s move include:

  • Air India – $121.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.4 million penalty
  • TAP Air Portugal – $126.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.1 million penalty
  • Aeromexico – $13.6 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty
  • El Al – $61.9 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty
  • Avianca – $76.8 million in required refunds paid and a $750,000 penalty

For travelers, you can file your complaints on the DOT website.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Source: NPR

Jezz Bezos will Donate Most of His Wealth to Global Causes

Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest people, plans to donate his fortune to charity during his lifetime. Lauren Sanchez, his partner, agrees and supports the choice.

According to the Amazon founder, Bezos plans to invest most of his $124 billion yearly net worth in worthwhile projects. He stated that he would use his fortune to combat climate change and assist those who serve the community politically and socially. The news comes after Bezos faced public outcry for declining to join Giving Pledge. The organization serves as a channel for the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate a portion of their money to philanthropic causes.

Bezos said in an interview that when he and his partner began dating three years ago, they already had efforts to construct the Bezos Courage and Civility Award. Dolly Parton got the honor this year, receiving $100 million. Parton is the third award recipient, following chef Jose Andres and CNN climate activist Van Jones.

“When you think of Dolly. Look, everyone smiles, right? She is just beaming with light. And all she wants to do is bring light into other people’s worlds. And so we couldn’t have thought of someone better than to give this award to Dolly, and we know she’s going to do amazing things with it,” Sanchez said.

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Bezos acknowledging Parton

Bezos stated that the Courage and Civility Award serves as a reminder of those who go above and beyond to serve the community. Over a decade, Parton gave her money to several causes and charities. Parton, for example, donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to assist with vaccination research.

“I felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help heal this world. I’m a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that’s going to help us through this crazy pandemic,” she said at the time.

Furthermore, in 1998, she established the Dollywood Foundation to assist children worldwide. She later introduced The Imagination Library to help youngsters have access to literature. She also handed $15,000 in scholarships to college students through the Dolly Parton Scholarship. Parton used the initiative to reach out to people who couldn’t afford a college education. Bezos and Sanchez saw Parton’s desire to serve others. As a result, they decided to honor the artist with the Courage and Civility Award.

“Jeff [Bezos] and I are so proud to share that we have a new Bezos Courage and Civility Award winner — a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in every aspect of her work,” wrote Sanchez in an Instagram post.

“I try to put my money where my heart is. I will do my best to do good things with this money. Thank you @JeffBezos #LaurenSanchez,” answered Parton in a Tweet.

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Dividing the donation money

Bezos and Sanchez must still agree on how much money they will donate to charities.

“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way. It’s not easy. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work and a bunch of very smart teammates, hard-working teammates, and I’m finding — and I think Lauren is finding the same thing — that charity and philanthropy are very similar. There are a bunch of ways that I think you could do ineffective things, too. So you have to think about it carefully, and you have to have brilliant people on the team,” he said.

Photo Credit: Gareth Cattermole

Source: CNN

Elon Musk Temporarily Rescinds from Launching Blue Check Plan

After the midterm elections, new Twitter CEO Elon Musk promised to reinstate the paid Twitter Blue subscription plan.

Twitter announced the delay a day after the company unveiled its iOS app, which enables users to get the blue checkmark on their profiles by subscribing to a monthly plan. According to Twitter’s new owner Elon, the system stops the spread of spam accounts on the website. Before Musk purchased the company, users had warned about the risks of spam and bot accounts.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” said the CEO.

“Previously, we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. Any name change will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark,” Elon added.

Elon deferred it after the feature was supposed to go live because of this week’s midterm elections. Aside from the polls, a significant backlash from the general public forced the company to reschedule the rollout of the new feature.

The product team manager at Twitter wrote, “The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues, but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real time. The Twitter team is legendary. New Blue, coming soon!”

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Trolling Elon

Many criticized the idea of charging for a blue checkmark on Twitter and stated their opposition. Ironically, as Elon did, well-known people with large followings demonstrated this by altering their Twitter handle and profile picture. For instance, Sarah Silverman, a comedian, used Elon’s profile picture as her own on her verified Twitter account.

She tweeted, “I am a freedom of speech absolutist, and I eat doody for breakfast every day.”

Following the stunt, Twitter suspended Silverman’s account was briefly; as a result, she went back to using her original name and photo. In addition, actress Valerie Bertinelli morphed her account to look like Musk in a similar effort.

“The blue checkmark simply meant your identity was verified. So scammers would have a harder time impersonating you. That no longer applies. Good luck out there! [Y]ou can buy a blue check mark for $7.99 a month without verifying who you are,” she tweeted.

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Cutting Twitter’s workforce

Another conundrum Twitter faces cutting off nearly half of its workforce. As a result, Twitter plans to reduce costs, according to Elon, who claims that the company loses over $4 million every day needlessly. In addition, many believe Elon will be able to make more money for the business due to the monthly blue check subscription. However, the CEO claimed to have another reason for the verification feature.

“Far too many legacies ‘verified’ checkmarks were handed out, often arbitrarily, so in reality, they are not verified. With a Google search, you can buy as many as you want. Piggybacking off payment system plus Apple/Android is a much better way to ensure verification,” he said.

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke

Source: CNN

Twitter Executives Abandons Posts Following Mass Terminations

Only a few days after Elon Musk dismissed hundreds of employees from Twitter, the company’s senior executives announced their resignations.

The organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Lea Kissner, declared she would step down on Thursday. The role, which has since been filled, was one of the most critical parts of the business, especially now that Twitter is dealing with many security and privacy issues.

Elon Musk, Twitter’s newest CEO and owner, is also under public scrutiny for some hasty managerial choices. She remained silent about her decision to resign from her position as CISO.

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter. I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing people, and I’m proud of the privacy, security, and IT teams and our work. I’m looking forward to figuring out what’s next,” Kissner wrote.

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More Twitter resignation

Meanwhile, reports claim that Yoel Roth, the director of integrity and safety, also decided to leave his position. Regarding the adjustments Twitter had to make once Elon became the new owner, Roth has regularly communicated with investors and other stakeholders. He spoke about how Twitter manages damaging data posted to the site during an appearance alongside Musk at a Twitter Spaces conference on Wednesday.

“Verification! Impersonation! Twitter Blue! There’s a lot going on around identity on Twitter — let’s break down what our policies are, and some of the big questions we still need to answer,” he wrote.

“First, impersonation has always been banned on Twitter. Misleading profiles make Twitter worse for everyone. Last year, we banned more than half a million accounts for impersonating people and brands.”

“When Verified accounts use impersonation as a tactic — whether for parody or not — it creates an especially confusing experience. It’s been our long-standing practice to suspend Verified users when they do this.”

“The planned changes to Twitter Blue to make Verification more widely available raise the stakes for this impersonation. Here’s what we’re going to do about it:”

“In the short term, we’ll ramp up a proactive review of Blue Verified accounts that show signs of impersonating another user. When we find them, we’ll suspend them. See something that looks off? You can report it directly in the app.”

“Long-term, we need to invest more in identity verification to complement proof-of-humanness. Paid Verification is a strong (not perfect) signal of humanness, which helps fight bots and spam. But that’s not the same thing as identity verification.”

Read Also: Elon Musk Temporarily Rescinds from Launching Blue Check Plan

FTC making its move

The head of Musk’s legal team, Alex Spiro, stated that the FTC and his team are often in communication. He stressed that Twitter would try its utmost to adhere to legal standards. But a source overheard Spiro mentioning how Musk is unfazed by the FTC. On the other hand, an FTC spokesperson claimed that the agency follows any activity from Twitter “with deep concern.”

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them,” the spokesperson added.

Photo Credit: Jakub Porzycki

Source: CNN

Meta Announces Dismissal of Over 11,000 Staff

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, diminishes its workforce by more than 13%. More than 11,000 employees will be laid off as a result of this.

It was the toughest choice Meta had to make in its history, according to a memo from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to his personnel on Wednesday. The letter also outlined several actions intended to increase the effectiveness of the company. For example, through the first quarter of 2023, Meta will scale back on discretionary spending and hire no new employees. Meta’s share rose 7.7% on the same day.

The company chose to lay off its workers due to Meta’s poor third-quarter performance. Investors’ apprehension about the company’s future caused it to lose over 20% of its shares. Furthermore, the costs and expenses of the business increased significantly, by about 19% annually, according to Meta investors. The company’s costs also surpassed $22.1 billion in the third quarter. In addition to the cost increase, sales are down 4%.

“I want to take accountability for these decisions and how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry for those impacted,” said Zuckerberg.

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Meta cutting on its workforce

The CEO continued by saying that Meta will make fewer recruits in 2023. The company will pay out compensation to the workers who were impacted by the widespread layoffs as a result. According to Zuckerberg, Meta should reimburse the 11,000 employees for 16 weeks of work. Additionally, the worker receives two additional weeks of pay for every year working for Meta. Furthermore, Zuckerberg swore to pay for the affected workers’ health insurance for six months.

“This is a sad moment, and there’s no way around that. So to those leaving, I want to thank you again for everything you’ve put into this place,” the CEO added.

“That means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most others will stay flat or shrink over the next year. So, in aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today,” he added.

Meta currently lays its eyes on developing the metaverse. Through the use of augmented reality headsets and virtual reality tools, this new “universe” contains a different world. According to Zuckerberg, it has already cost them $9.4 billion to develop the site. Further, the completion of the metaverse depend on the volume of additional funding.

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Zuckerberg’s message to his employees

Several quotes from Zuckerberg’s letter to Meta staff are presented below:

Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history. I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1.

Everyone will get an email soon letting you know what this layoff means for you. After that, every affected employee will have the opportunity to speak with someone to get their questions answered and join information sessions.

Some of the details in the US include:

  • With no cap, we will pay 16 weeks of base pay plus two additional weeks for every year of service.
  • We’ll pay for all remaining PTO time.
  • RSU vesting. Everyone impacted will receive their November 15, 2022, vesting.
  • Health insurance. We’ll cover the cost of healthcare for people and their families for six months.
  • Career Services. We’ll provide three months of career support with an external vendor, including early access to unpublished job leads.
  • Immigration support. I know this is especially difficult if you’re here on a visa. However, there’s a notice period before termination and some visa grace periods, so everyone will have time to make plans and work through their immigration status. In addition, we have dedicated immigration specialists to help guide you based on what you and your family need.

Photo Credit: Meta

Source: CNBC

Twitter Bankruptcy Might be a Better Choice

Elon Musk stated that Twitter might go bankrupt due to many changes within the firm, including the firing and departure of key people.

Before Musk’s takeover, social media competitors such as Facebook and TikTok overwhelmed Twitter’s advertising income. As a result, the company’s earnings are sluggish and irregular compared to other firms. However, the possibility of Twitter going bankrupt is only sometimes acknowledged by many, including business leaders. However, now that Musk owns Twitter, he expresses concern about the company’s decline.

Musk paid $44 billion for the firm. However, after obtaining Twitter, the new CEO faced various obstacles, including repaying a $13 million debt. Musk faces a substantial liability because the debt exceeds seven times the company’s income in 2022.

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Twitter ceasing its operations

According to Andy Wu of Harvard Business School, Musk may be compelled to declare bankruptcy for various reasons. Musk must first address Twitter’s debt and yearly payments. If Musk and other investors believe Twitter will not generate any money, declaring bankruptcy may be a more plausible option for them.

“It’s hypothetically possible that he could use more of his Tesla stock to bail out Twitter or turn to his cadre of co-investors, who would probably have no trouble finding the money. So the saying, ‘if you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem, but if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem’ might apply here,” Wu explained.

“Bankruptcy would also allow Musk to refinance the debt, making the company more financially stable. But, in addition to potential financial returns, I sense that Musk and his co-investors are ideologically driven, that values really drive them,” he added.

Wedbush Securities, an investment group, believes Musk overpaid for Twitter. The company’s social networking platform is only worth $25 billion. As a result, Wedbush Securities described Musk’s acquisition of Twitter as “one of the most overpaid tech acquisitions in history.” Wedbush Securities also stated that filing for bankruptcy would allow Musk to restructure the company’s debt more advantageously.

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Losing more revenue

Many questioned Twitter’s long-term sustainability as a business. Musk claims that the corporation loses roughly $3 million every day. As a result, he chose to lay off around 11,000 staff. Furthermore, the bearish attitude of investors about investing in internet advertising led other businesses to slash costs. For example, Meta laid off 11,000 employees, while Snap cut off 20% of its workforce.

Musk recognized another method to create revenue: Twitter Blue. This function allows users to get a Blue Checkmark for $8 per month. However, celebrities and ordinary individuals received it with condemnation. Some even went so far as to duplicate Musk’s profile to convey their concern about anyone obtaining the blue mark for a fee.

“Eight dollars is not cost-prohibitive for scammers. So it is essential that Twitter figures out this whole official or not issue,” said Rache Tobac from Social Proof Security.

“Right now, we have people making jokes, impersonating the president, impersonating Nintendo, and Elon Musk is laughing at those jokes because he thinks they’re funny right now. What’s not going to be funny is someone impersonating an election official. And meddling and causing interference with the election results,” she added.

Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu

Source: NPR

Fast Fire Watch Co., A Renowned And Reliable Service To Keep Your Home Secure

As a business owner, one of your primary concerns is always the safety of your location. That is why it is essential to have a fire safety system that will sound the alarm in the event of an emergency and then turn on the sprinklers to prevent the spread of a fire. However, sometimes these systems fail for one reason or another. When that happens, you need to be able to rely on The Fast Fire Watch Co. to keep the area safe until the system can be repaired. This is where fire watch guards come into play. If you have never had to hire a fire watch guard service before then, you may not know what Fast Fire Watch Co does. Keep reading to discover what they are and how they can help keep your business safe in a fire. 

A fire watch guard is hired to oversee an area when the fire alarm system fails. For example, when the fire alarm goes off at a business, the first thing that happens is that all the employees must evacuate the building and lock the doors behind them so the fire doesn’t spread. Once the building has been evacuated, a fire watch guard is sent in to ensure that the doors remain locked and that the building stays free of smoke and fire damage until the fire department arrives. Fire watch guards by Fast Fire Watch Co are reliable and available for different events and industries, such as dispensaries, construction sites, commercial buildings, and special events.

At Fast Fire Watch Co., a fire watch guard’s main job is to ensure that the building remains safe and that no one enters or leaves while the fire alarm system is out of service. Once they arrive, they will ensure that all employees have safely exited the building and that all windows and doors are locked. When they enter your building, they will also check the hallways for smoke damage and ensure that the fire extinguishers are working correctly to prevent any fire.

After the fire trucks leave and the firefighters have left the premises, it is up to the Fast Fire Watch Guards to ensure that the building is secure. There is no chance of anyone reentering while the system is down. This is a dangerous job and one that someone with experience dealing with fires should only perform. Fast Fire watch guards are always vigilant to ensure that there is no danger to the people inside the building and that the building does not catch on fire while no one is there to prevent it from happening.

Before settling on a fire watch guard service, it is essential to understand the licensing requirements and ensure that they adhere to those standards. This will help to ensure that they can offer you the support you need when you need it most. At Fast Fire Watch Co., Our fireguards are licensed and trained to provide unmatchable service and a safe environment.

AirAsia Earns More than Expected Amid Economic Uncertainty

Despite the economic downturn, AirAsia X’s revenue has grown. According to aviation experts, “strong demand” influences a positive aviation outlook.

“We’re looking to add 20 more aircraft to the fleet for the first time in a long, long time, even before Covid,” said Tony Fernandes, the CEO of Capital A, the parent company of AirAsia.

“In AirAsia, we have 205 aircraft, and in AirAsia X, we have about 20 aircraft. So getting slots and getting them ready for service has been a big challenge.”

Fernandes stepped down as CEO of AirAsia this week. Despite the market’s bad reactions, the company pushed through and earned more than anticipated. AirAsia X is the airline’s low-cost service. Shares dropped at the end of October after the former CEO left the service. Nonetheless, the company outperformed expectations by 5%.

“Unfortunately, whatever I do gets blown out of proportion. I went in there [AirAsia X] for a short period … I just went in there to kickstart an airline that would have been heavily restructured and was in hibernation,” Fernandes added.

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AirAsia operating under Capital A

Bursa Malaysia regard AirAsia as PN17. This indicates that the firm is currently experiencing financial woes. However, with the recent report, company management is confident they will be able to exit PN17 soon.

“I think we’re coming out of PN17. While I was very against it, I thought it was harsh to put us into PN17. We’ve turned a negative into a positive. My job now is to ensure we deliver profitability, good cash flow growth, have the right funding on all of these, and from where we were. The sky looks really good,” the Capital A CEO added.

Fernandes, who left AirAsia to oversee Capital A, stated that he would concentrate on the overall business. He stated that he is trying to discover Capital A’s true value.

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Boosted by e-commerce

“I’ve been through many economic slowdowns, and people will go to the best-value operator,” said Fernandes.

The pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce. Fernandes is also responsible for the company’s e-commerce operations. He believes that e-commerce is here to stay.

Capital A intends to expand its offerings in the future. For example, plans have already been laid out for its engineering firm, Asia Digital Engineering, and its restaurant brand, Santan. Capital A also plans to expand its consulting division. Following the report, Fernandes became more confident that AirAsia X will continue to perform well, given its current services and cost structure.

Photo Credit: AirAsia

Source: CNBC

Starbucks Sales Gone Up Despite Economic Problems

The cost of Starbucks’ products has gone up. However, people continue to purchase more despite the price increases.

The coffee chain increased the cost of its beverages due to inflation. Despite facing challenges, Starbucks still saw monthly sales growth. The company’s earnings reports show that it outperformed forecasts for the quarter. Sales for the company reached record heights in the report, which ended in October. For instance, Starbucks chains in North America saw an 11% increase in earnings during the same time last year.

The average ticket at Starbucks increased by 10%. This indicates that consumers spent 10% more this year than last. Starbucks’ executive vice president and chief financial officer, Rachel Ruggeri, reported that the company’s sales increased by 15% during the most recent quarter compared to last year. To put it numerically, Starbucks increased its sales by more than $6.1 billion. However, compared to last year, the profit dropped from $1.3 billion to $1.1 billion.

According to David Reibstein, a professor at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, price increases ought to occur more frequently. These are brought on by inflation. Starbucks and other coffee shops in the US are not an exception. According to Reibstein, customer loyalty for many of these businesses alters the narrative.

“As they raise the price, they’ve got so much customer loyalty that they’re still able to keep those particular customers,” he said.

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Starbucks facing challenges

The company’s profit division is rising, but it needs help managing its human resources. The company is trying to fight off the unionization occurring concurrently in all of its locations nationwide. Starbucks closed a location in Ithaca, close to Cornell University, earlier this year. However, the coffee chain reopened the store as a result of union pressure. Unionization eventually persuaded federal labor officers to order Starbucks to open the store after hearing the union representing Ithaca workers’ demands.

Due to the unions’ success in advancing workers’ rights, other groups of Starbucks employees decided to vote in favor of unionization. As a result, three hundred stores have already decided to unionize. And in just over a year, 250 of these have already consented to unionization. The first Starbucks location to unionize was in Buffalo, New York.

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Operating the company

The management said it would continue to run its more than 9,000 chains in the nation despite the tension it felt due to the workers’ unionization. This turns into a union issue. Only about 3% of all the stores that Starbucks owns are unionized. Additionally, the negative publicity generated by unionization efforts lessens the incentive for other stores to follow suit.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ acting CEO, disclosed that the company would open more than eight new locations daily. The choice supports its objective to open about 45,000 locations by 2025.

“We continue to manage the business through today’s challenging operating environment. Right now, we’re at a stage where everybody is expecting inflation and not overly put out by the fact that Starbucks is doing it,” Reibstein said.

Photo Credit: Alex Tai

Source: NPR

BP Beats Analysts’ Expectations in Third Quarter

British Petroleum (BP), an oil and gas company, reported strong third-quarter earnings due to high market demand and prices.

In September and the three months prior, the oil company reported an $8.2 billion replacement cost profit. BP earned $8.5 billion during the previous quarter. However, BP management anticipated lower profits as a result of the crisis. However, they were able to outperform forecasts and increase their earnings. Only about $3.3 billion in profits were generated by the company during the same period the previous year. Refinitiv analysts estimate that the company’s net profit will only be $6 billion.

The company also stated that due to $2.5 billion in share repurchases, its debt decreased from $22.8 billion to $22 billion. Additionally, the company saw a $2.2 billion net loss for the quarter. In the morning markets, shares of BP increased by 1% due to its recent upswing.

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Headwinds for BP

The increase in gas prices was very beneficial for international oil companies. Due to Russia’s reductions in oil exports, market demand and oil prices have increased. For instance, BP, Exxon, Chevron, and TotalEnergies reported combined earnings of almost $50 billion. The current profits faced by massive oil companies have prompted many to call for higher oil taxes for businesses making record profits.

Joe Biden, the president of the United States, threatened to raise taxes if oil companies refused to cap or lower oil prices. However, organizations that support the oil industry claim that higher taxes would only result in less investment and higher oil prices.

“This quarter’s results reflect us continuing to perform while transforming. We remain focused on helping to solve the energy trilemma – secure, affordable and lower carbon energy. We are providing the oil and gas the world needs today – while at the same time – investing to accelerate the energy transition,” said Bernard Looner, the CEO of BP.

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A necessity

Environmental organizations stepped up their calls for a tax on oil companies. In light of the economic crisis British citizens are experiencing, they explained, businesses must lower oil prices. The third quarter’s results only highlight the need for price reductions.

“The case for a bigger, bolder windfall tax is now overwhelming. This must address the ridiculous loophole that undermines the levy by enabling companies to pay the bare minimum if they invest in more planet-warming gas and oil projects,” explained Friends of the Earth campaigner Sana Yusuf.

“Some of the billions of pounds raised should be used to pay for a street-by-street home insulation program to cut energy bills and reduce emissions,” Yusuf said.

“A proper windfall tax on the profits of big polluters is no longer a far cry; it is now a necessity. But the new U.K. Government must also urgently put us on track for a rapid transition away from dirty fossil fuels and onto renewables and decent home insulation, so we can fix this broken energy system once and for all,” added Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a campaigner from Global Witness.

The BP CEO, however, maintained his position and stated, “We are facing a very difficult winter ahead in the U.K., in Europe and across the world. Our job is to pay our taxes; our job is to invest. We just announced a $4 billion acquisition in the United States last week in renewable natural gas, so that’s what our job is to do. We will continue to do that and do the very best that we can.”

Photo Credit:  Whitney Curtis

Source: CNBC

 

LaDeidra Stokes-Roberts Sheds Light on the Powerful Role of Passion in Helping Others Succeed and Rise Above

Many believe that to become a successful person, one must work hard and be determined to pursue their goals. However, people are missing that grit and dedication can only be activated if one is genuinely passionate about their crafts. True enough, passion plays a powerful role in climbing the pinnacles of greatness. It serves as one’s driving force that transcends limitations, breaks barriers, and defies odds, transforming one’s vision into action. As someone who has turned her dreams into reality, thanks to her zealous spirit, LaDeidra Stokes-Roberts sheds light on the power of passion through her story of success.

“I hope my story can inspire others and enable them to understand what passion can do,” shared LaDeidra.

For as long as LaDeidra Stokes-Roberts can remember, she has always been fascinated by studying people’s minds and behaviors. This entrepreneur, mental health counselor, and children’s life coach have always believed that she can help people better by understanding the human mind and helping them enhance people’s strengths and deal with their weaknesses. On top of that, her mother, Richardean B. Stokes, also had a similar passion for helping others understand themselves, fueling LaDeidra to pursue counseling and social work. For this reason, LaDeidra began carving her own path and studied at South Carolina State University.

After finishing her studies at South Carolina State University, LaDeidra Stokes-Roberts continued to improve her craft by finishing a Master of Arts Degree in Human Services Counseling/Marriage and Family Cognate at Liberty University. She also holds a master of science degree in human services from Capella University. While working to obtain her third master’s degree in social work, LaDeidra has become a registered mental health counselor intern for the State of Florida.

The academic milestones that she has achieved have surely equipped LaDeidra Stokes-Roberts to be an expert in the field. However, being an expert only meant something to LaDeidra when she fulfilled her goal of helping others grow and succeed. For this reason, she decided to work on her passion-driven vision and breathe life into RBS Counseling & Educational Services, LLC and RBS Consulting and Training Services. 

Essentially, these institutions provide children and families with mental health, education, and life coaching services. They are designed to identify the individuals’ strengths and weaknesses and enhance one’s well-being throughout the sessions. The programs include fun and hands-on activities, as well as initiatives that are dedicated to giving back to the community. RBS also provides fidget boxes or bags that help those children who struggle with focus, stress, and anxiety.

By pursuing a passion-driven journey toward success, LaDeidra Stokes-Roberts has established institutions designed to help and enlighten children and families. In this dog-eat-dog world, LaDeidra believes that people need all the help they can get to live a happy and normal life. With no intentions of slowing down any time soon, LaDeidra hopes to continue materializing her vision while inspiring others never to give up on their passion.

 

To and From the Airport, TPA Shuttles Welcomes Florida Travelers to a Convenient Transportation Experience

The beautiful Sunshine State is home to remarkable scenery and friendly people. It is known for being an amazing travel destination, but transportation services leave so much to be desired. No matter where they go, avid travelers from all over the world know the drudgery of finding convenient transportation that’s accessible, affordable, and, most of all, safe. Luckily, TPA Shuttles provides all of these amazing benefits in spades, giving travelers an exceptional transport option with its fleet of luxury Mercedes-Benz sprinter vans.

Founded by Ahmed Abuelenen, TPA Shuttles was initially conceptualized when he noticed the many pain points of his community’s transportation system. As a Florida local, Ahmed discovered the growing need for better transportation by experiencing the many challenges firsthand. Thus, he created an intuitive solution that would finally solve the longstanding issues once and for all.

Florida welcomes more than 100 million tourists and visitors each year, most of whom have to suffer through the lack of high-quality transportation options that are readily available. TPA Shuttles plays an important role in the ever-growing travel industry, providing high-quality transportation services going to and from Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Orlando International Airport (MCO). 

TPA Shuttles boasts a professional team of drivers who travel back and forth between Tampa International Airport and Orlando International Airport. The drivers make their runs 16 times a day on the daily, making sure no passenger is left behind. Apart from its reasonable $50 fixed rate, the shuttle service gives travelers the option to either make an online reservation or pay when they step into the company’s luxury Mercedes-Benz sprinter vans. 

TPA Shuttles provides faster, more convenient, and more affordable transportation services than ride-sharing apps, car rentals, or other services by other companies in the area. With its customer-centric approach, its dedicated team of drivers goes above and beyond expectations. 

In its efforts to serve every passenger to the best of its abilities, TPA Shuttles operates under extended hours to cater to customers traveling in the early mornings or late nights. The company currently offers eight trips each for Tampa International Airport and Orlando International Airport. Pick-up and drop-off are scheduled at two-hour intervals, and vehicles depart 30 minutes after arrival to give ample time for clients should there be possible delays. 

In the name of luxury and convenience, TPA Shuttles promises to maintain the same level of quality with each trip. The drivers have been rigorously trained to bring the best possible customer experience, no matter the conditions. For passengers unable to make an advanced reservation, TPA Shuttles provides them with available spaces and an option to use cashless payments on-site.

Each passenger is valuable to the TPA Shuttles team. Whether they may be boarding with children, service animals, or pets, the drivers will welcome everyone with open arms. With regards to maintaining the gold standard of the company’s services, drivers undergo a rigorous screening process to ensure that they can meet the requirements of quality, competence, knowledge, and friendliness that TPA Shuttles is known for.

TPA Shuttles also conducts regular inspections, maintenance, and vehicle repairs to guarantee the safety of its passengers. It is fully compliant with the CDC’s guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19, training its drivers to sanitize each vehicle between rides. 

Ahmed Abuelenen’s brainchild has definitely become a travel staple within the Sunshine State. Many satisfied clients have voiced their positive experiences with TPA Shuttles, and the company’s success isn’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon. 

 

How Ryan O’Rourke Became a Must-Watch Force in the Sports Betting World

Sports betting has become increasingly popular, thanks to its popularity in the United States and Europe. On top of that, the digital space has contributed to the massive change in the industry’s landscape, enabling sports betting to be attainable to even the most uninterested and ordinary individuals. As a matter of fact, a whopping 25% of Americans have admitted their participation in sports betting in the past year. Without a doubt, times have changed, and sports betting is growing rapidly because of it. 

As one of those few talented individuals who have seen the potential impact of the sports betting industry, Ryan O’Rourke utilizes his technical know-how to help bettors have a winning chance at betting. With his brilliance, passion, statistical know-how, and competitive edge, this power player is bound to take the industry by storm.

Ryan O’Rourke is an increasingly notable personality in the sports betting industry. He is mostly known for his impactful betting choices during the 2018 NBA season, where he made $100,000 from February to April of that year. From then on, he knew that sports betting was the path he would take to succeed in the years to come. “That’s when I knew I had something,” shared Ryan.

However, before he delved into the sports betting world, Ryan O’Rourke was a Division 1 collegiate athlete at Arizona State University. He played sports at a high level, which allowed him to spot minute nuances that others would miss in every game. Although this might have potentially explained Ryan O’Rourke’s success in the sports betting arena, it was not until he watched a movie called Two for the Money that actors like Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, and Renne Russo graced the scenes. Ryan’s curiosity for the industry grew when Brandan Lang, who Matthew McConaughey played, had an eye for picking winners. From then on, he dedicated his career to fitting the molds of perfection. 

Today, Ryan O’Rourke has made significant strides in the industry, having developed a system that guarantees winning picks. He managed to create a system similar to how the line makers develop lines which allowed him to have a competitive advantage for his picks. “I developed a system with my statistics background, and after 2-3 months of hitting a high percentage of picks — I realized this is not luck,” explained Ryan.

When asked about his challenges in making it in the sports betting industry, Ryan O’Rourke recalled his realization, sharing that the industry is not a foolproof money-making venture, emphasizing the ups and downs of the trade. However, Ryan assures his picks have a 59% to 66% win rate. So long as one believes in his techniques, they have a fighting chance to defy the odds.

As Ryan O’Rourke continues to demonstrate his prowess in a highly perceptive industry, he wishes to help more people achieve their goals by assisting them in making more profit out of sports betting. In the years to come, he hopes more individuals will dive deep into the sports betting world with a calculated belief that they can win a bet.

 

Airline Demand and Airfares Soar as the Holidays Draw Near

The holidays are just around the corner. Meanwhile, airlines said demand grows as simultaneously with airfares.

For instance, nonstop flights from Chicago to any trip to New York from November 22 to 27 start around $500 for round trips. In addition, airline rates from Los Angeles to Seattle begin at $500 for found trips.

While this presents bad news for travelers, the condition helps airline companies gain big during the last quarter of this year. The three largest airline corporations in the United States, American, Delta and United, forecasted record-breaking profits totaling more than $2 billion.

Airline management provides several pointers and essential information so you can smartly book your tickets this hectic Holiday season.

Demand for holiday travel is robust

Compared to last year, advance bookings for the season significantly soared. While companies did not provide any numbers, market experts predict that the volume of passengers booking flights is higher than the pre-pandemic levels. November and December show a tremendous increase.

Although tickets have become expensive, travelers quickly buy them, if only to get to where they want to be this holiday.

“It’s going to be a very strong holiday season – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s,” said Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta.

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Two years of airline delays prompted people to purchase more

“I know there are some pretty significant macro shifts in spending – out of goods and into services, which we are a beneficiary of,” added Bastian.

“After two years of delaying travel, it is clear that consumers are getting out and seeing the world. So we’re glad to see people back on the road.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Nocella, the chief commercial officer of United Airlines, noted the overwhelming strength of the holiday demand of airlines.

“We are seeing a lot of strength for the holidays or approaching the Thanksgiving time period. And our bookings are incredibly strong. However, the bookings are a little bit different this year. And they’re more spread out across multiple days than they were on any single day,” he added.

You need to buy now because prices will soar during the holidays

Lead economist of Hopper, a booking and travel app, Hayley Berg, said airlines increased ticket rates as the months passed. Some routes are already up by 40%. Compared to 2019, airfares of several routes increased by 20-30%.

“We see airfare to those top destinations, the ones with the highest demand at the holidays, are much higher than they typically are at this time of year. And they’re only going to increase from here,” Berg explained.

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Fly on Monday before the holiday, and return days after the holidays

“We’re going to have fewer flights available and more travelers looking to go home or go on vacation for the holidays. That means that you might be paying a much higher price and unable to get a seat on the specific flight you want to take,” Berg said.

“Most travelers will want to fly a few days before the holiday and return a few days after. That means prices are those dates are going to be extremely high. And capacity is going to sell out, and airports are going to be chaotic,” she added.

However, Berg said prices seem to go down a Monday before the holiday and on the holiday itself.

Photo Credit: Julia Nikhinson

Source: NPR

Elon Musk is the New Owner of Twitter

Now, Twitter is owned by Elon Musk. After several months of trepidation, the CEO of Tesla purchases the social media site for $44 billion.

Musk removed Parag Agrawal, the CEO of Twitter, and other company executives after the purchase. After declaring his intent to buy it last April, Musk tried to back out of the agreement. On Twitter, there are a colossal amount of bots, according to a whistleblower. So, Musk decided against buying it at first after learning this. As a result, he now controls one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms, despite his original plan being unsuccessful.

“This is not a way to make money. My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” Musk said a few months ago.

A trial was nearly initiated had Musk not purchased the business. Thanks to the acquisition agreement, Musk and Twitter, fortunately, avoided going to court. However, experts are concerned about how the new CEO will approach the company’s operations in light of Musk’s firing of Twitter executives. However, Musk claims he already has plans for the business. Further discussion of free speech and fewer restrictions is also included.

Musk, for instance, wishes to get rid of Twitter’s rule and permanently ban accounts that repeatedly break it. Sadly, this results in previously banned accounts reappearing. Additionally, the Tesla CEO plans to crack down on bots by allowing a system of one account per person.

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Musk wants to make changes

Elon initially told the public he wanted to buy Twitter to stop bots. Customers loved the concept.

“Elon, the next step is the bots. Please. We are begging you,” a user said.

“All user accounts need a verified human behind it, can be anonymous to the public, but required and verified by twitter behind the curtain. Rid this world of Bots and trolls!” another user tweeted.

“I am looking forward to tweeting and not having 50 bot replies within the first 10 seconds,” added another.

Musk expresses additional worries about spam bots and fake accounts. He claims that the existence of these phony accounts prompted him to acquire Twitter.

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The primary reason

Musk sent out a tweet to sponsors that read:

“I wanted to reach out personally to share my motivation in acquiring Twitter. There has been much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising. Most of it has been wrong.”

“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence. There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hat and divide our society.”

“In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”

“That is why I bought Twitter. I didn’t do it because it would be easy. And I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real responsibility.”

Photo Credit: Patrick Pleul/Twitter

Source: CNN

Miss Universe Organization Investigates Miss USA After Reports From Candidates

Following claims of a rigged October competition, the Miss Universe Organization decided to probe into Miss USA President Crystle Stewart.

Stewart serves as Miss Brand Corporation’s CEO. In addition, she leads the organization of the yearly Miss Universe USA pageant with the organization’s help. Since the country’s admission, the United States has already won eight Miss Universe crowns. Along with Shawn Weatherly (1980), Chelsi Smith (1995), Brook Lee (1997), and Olivia Culpo, this group also includes Miriam Stevenson (1954), Carol Morris (1956), Linda Bement (1960), Sylvia Louise Hitchcock (1967), and Olivia Culpo (1980). (2012).

“After thorough deliberation, Miss Universe Organization has decided to suspend Miss Brand immediately. Miss Universe Organization will be taking over the Miss USA program while a comprehensive,” said the Miss Universe Organization.

Stewart informed the public that she would assist with the probe in the meantime. She stated that she wished for a proper inquiry. Further, she contradicted several pageant competitors’ claims.

“The current allegations that the 2022 Miss USA pageant favored one contestant over another are misleading and not factual. The last thing I would ever want to do is discredit or deny the contestants an equal opportunity to a fair competition. Furthermore, I would never jeopardize my dream of running an organization that empowers these young women,” she stated.

Read Also: High Airfares to Continue Until Next Year says Analysts

Favoring a Miss Universe candidate

On October 3, Miss USA concluded, and R’Bonney Gabriel won. Thanks to her victory, she qualified to compete in this year’s Miss Universe pageant as the country’s representative. Nevertheless, several Miss USA contestants perforated their displeasure on social media over the results. They claim that the group staged the pageant, clearly indicating bias and resulting in Gabriel being crowned.

A Montana-based Miss USA candidate, Laa O’Keefe, shared a TikTok video in which she described how Gabriel attended a sponsor’s spa. In her response, Gabriel mentioned that the spa was one of the sponsors when she won Miss USA Texas, adding she paid for the services and just so happened to film a video when she was a guest at the spa.

“We can’t blame this girl, and it’s really sad because her performance was amazing, and she probably could have won fair and square. But, the issue is not with Miss Texas or R’Bonney winning. The issue is with the alleged corruption of the Miss USA organization,” said O’Keefe.

“I want to start by saying it was not rigged because I would never enter any pageant or any competition that I know I would win. I have a lot of integrity,” Gabriel answered.

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Clearing her name

During a previous interview, Gabriel stated that she was ready to respond to queries. She is also adamant that the company will resolve the problem. Gabriel added she will speak with all individuals concerned to clear her name and maintain her status.

“I think I’m open to talking to her about it. And I would love to communicate with her because I think there’s a lot of allegations coming up that aren’t true,” she said.

“I will talk to anybody because I want to be transparent, and I want everybody to know that there was no unfair advantage and nothing was rigged, and as a titleholder and as Miss USA, I don’t want girls to think that this is how pageantry works. This is to celebrate women. We work very hard, and I have respect for all the women that showed up on that stage.”

Photo Credit: Miss USA

Source: CNN

Mobile Homes have Increased in Value, but Homeowners Hesitate to Sell

Online platform LendingTree revealed that the value of mobile homes had increased, so much that the rate parries that of single-family homes.

LendingTree gathered data from 2021 and 2016. The company discovered the average value of mobile homes rose by 34.6% yearly. It almost parries with that of single-family homes, which grew 35.4% during the same period. However, experts end their comparisons in the markets’ growth rates.

According to mobile home residents, buying a mobile property gets troubling over time. As soon as mobile homes sustain damage, they could become unattractive and lessens its marketability. This proves especially burdensome for those who purchase mobile homes as an investment. Moreover, entering the current market means facing a more competitive rental and housing market.

Read Also: Adidas Separates From Kanye West After Artist’s Antisemitic Comments

A problem for mobile homeowners

Big corporations have recently started to purchase mobile home parks. As a consequence, rental for the land where mobile homes sit is on the increase. The condition leaves elderly and low-income residents scrambling to meet monthly bill requirements. Yvonne Maldonado, a community organizer, talks about how the non-improvement of the warranty of habitability affects their living as mobile homeowners.

The warranty of habitability refers to the responsibility of landlords to keep all of their housing and rental space livable. However, Maldonado argues that services offered by private companies, like trash and snow removal, do so little to keep home spaces’ livable’ for most.

Holly Hook from Swartz Creek Estates in Michigan tried to sell her home after a company bought the mobile park she’s residing in. However, the home’s selling value fell versus the acquisition value. According to Hook, she acquired the property for $28,000. But the selling price started at $10,000, not even half of the amount she paid when she purchased the home.

“It gets harder and harder to sell, and you actually lose value in a lot of cases. The community used to be really laid back, and people didn’t worry about paying the rent because it was quite steady for years and years. All that relaxation and that feeling of security is just gone,” she said.

Homeowners have legitimate concerns. However, they fear that speaking up would lead to retaliation from the companies that own the property they reside on.

“A lot of people feel powerless,” added Hook.

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A powerless situation

According to the US Census, the average selling price of a brand-new mobile home starts at $124,900. Alyson Snow, a lawyer from the University of San Diego’s School of Law, explained that the hike in mobile home prices is caused by scarcity.

She said that the pandemic presented problems for manufacturers in rolling out the parts needed to create homes. Moreover, the lockdowns led to fewer builders available to assemble and furnish homes.

“Those shortages created fewer mobile homes in the market. You are at the mercy of who’s going to rent you the land,” she added.

Photo Credit: Brittany Murray

Source: NPR

Certified Bankability Expert® Peter Diamond Teaches How to Gain Control of Your Wealth, Time & Energy in His New Book the Diamond Wealth Real Estate System

Control over your wealth and time may seem like an impossible goal for so many people today. The rising prices and limited wage incomes make it difficult to make ends meet, let alone live the dream. But financial experts like Peter Diamond aim to educate people and open the mindset beyond the traditional wage-earning mentality of trading our most valuable time for money. Peter Diamond’s new book, The Diamond Wealth Real Estate System, solves a huge problem and provides a clear roadmap to success of enjoying life now while planning for the future at the same time. The traditional mindset of working until you are 65 or over, only to find out that you have not saved a sufficient amount of money to fully enjoy whatever you have left, is not enough. The Diamond Wealth Real Estate System is the best way to enter the real estate game and start earning some passive income outside of your job. It also provides a way for assets to compound on their own without your direct involvement. 

Peter Diamond is the world’s first Certified Bankability Expert® and a seasoned CFO whose goal is to help people learn how to gain financial independence by minimizing liability and risk. He has become a leading resource and advisor for many families and individuals regarding taxes and real estate. Peter’s expertise goes beyond basic economic principles, dives into an all-encompassing approach to better personal finance, and educates people on valuing time over money and cash flow over wages. With Peter Diamond’s new book, anyone can enter the real estate game with little to no money out of pocket on the front end.  

When inflation and the rising cost of living continue to overpower people’s earning capacities, they find it extremely difficult to survive the day, let alone plan for the future. Peter provides people with a clear roadmap to save thousands of dollars over the traditional way of purchasing income-producing real estate properties. The Diamond Wealth Real Estate System makes each house acquire a perpetual source of income that can be passed down to future generations. Peter Diamond’s buy-and-hold strategy is the best way to enter the real estate game and provides people a way out of the traditional rat race.

For those who find themselves trapped in a cycle of earning a fixed wage and trading their most valuable time for money, Peter Diamond is the person to learn from. The vast majority have their life savings stuck in their primary house, which according to Peter, is actually a liability and not an asset. Their company IRA or 401(k) plans are also not in their control. With The Diamond Wealth Real Estate System, each person will take control of all their investments and time and create a predictable self-compounding investment strategy. On top of it all, with Peter Diamond’s system, they can do all of the essential steps without needing to quit their current wage-earning job. Once the passive income matches or exceeds the current wage-earning income, people will achieve the freedom they seek.

For years, people have followed the rigorous method of the traditional system: go to college, work at a wage-earning job, save money, invest in an IRA or 401(k) and have a primary residence, then retire at 65. Peter Diamond believes that this traditional system is broken and flawed. He solves this problem by providing the most efficient and fastest way for the average Joe to enter real estate. He encapsulates his ideas and strategies in one memorable quote from his book: “The American Dream is Alive and Well and Real Estate is Your Ticket In.” 

Peter Diamond’s book is available for sale on Amazon as well as his website

Grey_hart Shares His Experience with Setbacks, Bouncing Back, and Finding His Place as an Artist and NFT Creator

Life is rarely a straightforward journey. If anything, it is filled with countless crossroads, detours, and even roadblocks. However, this inherent unpredictability makes the experience much more special and one-of-a-kind. This is something that Grey_hart can attest to; after all, the inspiring man went through several paths before finally becoming an NFT creator.

Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, the entrepreneur now resides in Denver. Prior to settling down in Colorado, he spent a few years in California to fulfill his dream of becoming a renowned artist. The talented individual was the frontman of the band People Like Us. In addition, he went to the prestigious Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles, which taught some of the biggest names in the music scene, such as Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Anderson Paak.

Aside from pursuing his music career, Grey_hart also ventured into the cannabis industry. Unfortunately, this experience would be less than pleasant as the dispensary he was trimming for turned out to be guerrilla farmers. As a result, he and one of his bandmates, Donnie, spent months of labor without receiving anything in return.

Nevertheless, he persevered and continued his foray into the cannabis space, eventually going solo and founding his own business, Chef Slabalicious. On top of that, he partnered with one of his previous bosses to create the Buddha Boyz. The enterprise is highly successful and even received several awards and accolades for its extracts. But, as fate would have it, the med market began expanding to the recreational market, ultimately taking small-time and organic brands out of business.

Despite having gone through so many setbacks and hurdles, Grey_hart remained optimistic. So now, he has forayed into the highly popular NFT space as the rep for Mad Meerkat. This remarkably promising crypto/Web3/gamefi project is making a buzz in the industry and the community. 

Not only that but he is set to launch his very own collection, the Broken Hearts NFT. It is a line of 101 tarot cards created by the creative Grey_hart himself using MIDJOURNEY’s AI software. The project’s theme hovers around the subject of a broken heart. Each image features a unique, one-of-one artwork containing various traits and elements related to heartbreak and the spiritual journey involved in getting through it. Some designs contain astral guides, spirit animals, and even metaphors and feelings made into imagery. 

When asked to share what inspired him to curate the collection, the visionary meaningfully answered, “My biggest influence for this project is a culmination of all of the letdowns I’ve experienced and the triumph in getting through them. If you’ve experienced heartbreak of any kind in your life, there’s sure to be an image that speaks to you in some form.”

The Broken Hearts NFT is slated to drop on October 31, 2022, via Ebisu’s Bay. For the time being, interested parties and aspiring token holders can check out the project’s official trailer.

Grey_hart is a testament that success will always find those who persist no matter what life brings, and as the young man insightfully explained, “Never give up. Trust your intuition; it doesn’t lie. Never forget where you came from or who you hang with, but also remember you’re a product of your surroundings and the people you associate with. Small changes can lead to big improvements. Help more than you hurt because you never know when you’ll need to have someone that’s got your back as well. Most importantly, don’t set limits for your potential.”

As he continues establishing himself as an authority in the NFT space, the outstanding artist remains committed to his passion for music. In fact, he has shared plans to work on a few songs and collaborate with bigger artists. As such, fans and music lovers should keep an eye out for the gifted musician’s upcoming releases.

Adidas Separates From Kanye West After Artist’s Antisemitic Comments

Kanye West’s collaboration with Adidas ended due to public pressure. The rapper received backlash recently for his antisemitic remarks.

Following the decision, the business also declared the end of its Yeezy line. The Adidas and Kanye alliance, which has now gained international acclaim, includes the Yeezy footwear line. The artist’s footwear line alone brought him billions of dollars and elevated him above his status as a mere power in the entertainment business. The apparel firm emphasized that they denounce anybody or anything that speaks negatively towards the Jewish people.

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” said Adidas in a statement.

“After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect,” it added.

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Adidas letting go of huge revenue

After the new agreement, Yeezy items would no longer be produced. The business will also avoid doing business with Kanye and his other enterprises. Adidas said that severing connections with the artist would result in substantial losses for the business totaling millions of dollars.

“This is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022, given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter. Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products and previous and new colorways under the partnership. More information will be given as part of the company’s upcoming Q3 earnings announcement on November 9, 2022,” the statement added.

Read Also: High Airfares to Continue Until Next Year says Analysts

The reaction of other brands

After Kanye made a slew of offensive comments on national television, more companies followed suit and severed their relations with him. Audiences once overheard the artist suggest that slavery was a decision. Additionally, he told Fox in a leaked interview that he would rather his children learned about Chanukah than Kwanzaa.

“It would at least include some financial engineering,” he added.

Companies abandoned their cooperation with Kanye due to his repeated incidents of inflammatory statements. In addition, the apparel retailer Gap declared that it will remove Yeezy-branded goods from all of its shelves.

“Antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values,” Gap said.

The Anti-Defamation League has been watching Kanye since the musician appeared at Paris Fashion Week wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt. The ADL regard it as hate speech.

The ADL wrote to Adidas, saying, “What more do you need to review.? Ye sends a powerful message that antisemitism and bigotry have no place in society.”

Footlocker also expressed similar views, when it terminated its contracts with Kanye. Moreover, the business stated its opposition to racist and hateful remarks directed at any individual.

“Foot Locker, Inc. does not tolerate any form of antisemitism or hateful and discriminatory behavior. While we remain a partner with Adidas and carry a wide assortment of their collections – we will not be supporting any future Yeezy product drops,” they said.

Photo Credit:  New York Times

Source: NPR

High Airfares to Continue Until Next Year says Analysts

This year, many passengers found it difficult to find affordable airfares. Unfortunately, analysts say this will extend until 2023.

Airlines place responsibility for several causes for the rise in ticket costs. High gas prices, inflation, and a shortage of seats for customers are a few of them. In addition, because of workforce shortages, constrained flight schedules, and delays, airline management is forced to increase costs dramatically. Yet, even with this, travelers continue to buy tickets without hesitation.

“Holiday flights are going to be expensive once again. This is because the pricing power has shifted back to the airlines for winter holiday travel,” said Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Last May, Hopper, a fare-tracking company, observed a significant increase in domestic airfares. Costs increased more this year than the previous, though. Hopper stated that the average flight increased by 19% to $274 compared to costs from the previous year. Meanwhile, the cost of domestic roundtrips increased this year by 40% to $390.

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A windfall caused an increase in airfares

The three largest US airlines—Delta, American, and United—remain profitable despite the nation’s rising inflation. In fact, during the third quarter of 2022, they all reported sales and profit highs. As the Christmas season approaches, market analysts anticipate that the airlines will maintain their streak. Additionally, this trend occurs without decreasing airfare pricing.

Due to the significant losses they suffered during the Covid pandemic, analysts claim that airlines are now optimizing their revenue streak. However, in light of the worldwide lockdowns, airline firms suffered an unprecedented loss, forcing several to declare bankruptcy or temporarily cease operations. In addition, many airline employees left their employment since the firms could no longer afford the expenses.

“With hybrid work, every weekend could be a holiday weekend. That’s why September, a normally off-peak month, was the third strongest month in our history,” added the CEO of Unites, Scott Kirby.

“If you go look at our Thanksgiving schedule right now, there’s less peak-to-trough variability there than certainly, I’ve seen in the schedule for a number of years,” said Vasu Raja, the chief commercial officer of American.

Read Also: Procter & Gamble Defeats Expectations, Sees Growth

Limited seats of airlines

One of the top US airline firms, Delta, stated that it still needs to return to its full capacity. American plans to restore between 95% and 100% of its seating capacity by the following year. The three major airlines said they would reduce their planes’ seating capacity by as much as 10% for the fourth quarter. And this is the main reason why airfares are rising.

“It shows you customers want to treat themselves. I think that’s a phenomenon that continues not just now. But also if there is any type of stagnation in the economy as well,” said Robert Isom, the CEO of American.

Booking ahead

To avoid exorbitant prices and completely booked flights during the busy season, Keyes, Scott’s creator of Cheap Flights, recommended customers make their reservations early.

“When you are opening your Christmas presents, ideally, that’s when you should be thinking about booking those summer flights,” he said.

“You can make your plans in pencil rather than in pen. Last-minute fares tend to move in one direction, and it’s not down,” Keyes added.

Photo Credit: Mario Tama

Source: CNBC

Manufacturing Industry Manages to Grow Amid Economic Hurdles

The United States manufacturing sector performed well this year, nearing record-high and evidenced by its growth and consistency.

In the last 12 months, factories in the country added around 467,000 jobs. Moreover, the Federal Reserve said the factory production in September achieved its highest in 14 years. The accomplishment happens amid the country’s economic downturn, characterized by high-interest rates, oil price hikes, and investors’ low confidence in the market. However, the manufacturing sector kept producing cars, candy bars, and computers, satisfying consumers’ demands.

Wall Street experts and economists have already expected a recession is coming to the globe. However, the conditions do so little for the manufacturing sector to back down on expansion and improvement. Labor scarcities and supply disruptions present a problem for the industry, but executives stay confident they could expand manufacturing amid increasing demand.

Read Also: Procter & Gamble Defeats Expectations, Sees Growth

A see-saw in the manufacturing industry

Auto production saw a back-and-forth trend in its sales. And this is primarily due to the shortage of semiconductors. However, production in September rose by 1%, which implies despite the hurdles, the sector is capable of defeating expectations.

“Since we bought them, we’ve grown the company from 33 employees to 53 employees. We’ve invested in new technology, robotic press brakes, and new bathrooms for the employees. It’s an aggressive push to reinvest back into the factory because we’re so enthusiastic and optimistic about the future,” said Drew Greenblatt, a manufacturing company, following its purchase of the Madsen Steel Wire Products factory.

The semiconductor shortage

The disruption of the supply of semiconductors remains a problem for the manufacturing sector. For example, semiconductors are essential for creating automobiles, and during the pandemic, companies struggled to find adequate sources of semiconductors. However, now that the pandemic has come to a close, the condition somewhat eased. But company managers think the condition is still far from normal.

“I try to keep enough parts on the shelf. But if I have two on the shelf and I sell two, I can’t sell another one till I get a new one back. And with four or five months’ lead time, I can’t anticipate that far in advance what I’m going to need,” says Betty Jane Parrott, CEO of a family-owned business.

“A lot of the baby boomers retired during COVID, and they were the ones that had years and years of experience. We’ve been looking for qualified welders for probably a year. The skilled people, the trained people, are very, very hard to find,” she added.

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The industry bounces back

Factories employed more than expected. It approaches the employment levels from its pre-pandemic rates, employing an average of 20,000 individuals monthly. The sector welcomed around 27,000 new employees in August and added another 22,000 the following month.

“Manufacturing is roaring back, the strongest manufacturing job recovery since the 1950s,” said President Joe Biden.

“Every president wants to increase manufacturing. But the future of jobs is in the service sector,” Betsey Stevenson from the University of Michigan said.

“We’ve become so much more productive at making things, and we just only need to spend a small share of our resources — our people, our time, our factories, our equipment — making stuff,” he added.

“We’re just seeing the demand. We want to have the best technology for our people to make it through potentially stormy times,” Greenblatt concluded.

Photo Credit: Charles Mostoller

Source: NPR

Procter & Gamble Defeats Expectations, Sees Growth

Procter & Gamble disclosed it defeated analysts’ expectations in its recent quarterly reports.

The consumer goods company said the higher prices of its products compensated for low sales and headwinds in the currency. Among the popular products manufactured by Procter & Gamble include Tide detergent, Pampers diapers, and Charmin toilet paper. According to recent projections, Procter & Gamble should hit its goal next year, possibly more than it initially expected.

However, the stronger dollar value retracts the company from reaching its fiscal targets. As a result, the company anticipates to lose an extra $1.3 billion in sales this year, marking a $400 million decrease from its prediction in July.

Consequently, the outlook in 2023 is not that good. Procter & Gamble predicts their net sales to decrease from 1% to 3%. However, the company assumed the decrease to only reach 2%. Moreover, the company already presumes a lower earning per share starting next year. However, recent morning trading rose by 3%.

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Procter & Gamble pushed through

Wall Street predicted that Procter & Gamble to fall short in earnings per share and revenue. However, the consumer firm surprised analysts, and the comparison is shown below:

  • Earnings per share: $1.57 vs. $1.54 expected
  • Revenue: $20.61 billion vs. $20.28 billion expected

Quarterly net sales jumped by 1%, totaling $20.61 billion. Analysts expect sales only to reach $20.28 billion. However, exchange rates adversely affected the company’s revenue, dragging it by 6%. Meanwhile, the organic revenue soared by 7%, but higher oil prices reduced it by 3%.

Procter & Gamble resorted to increasing its product prices to cope with the rising costs of raw materials. However, this led to consumer pressure, reducing spending among the company’s customers. Nevertheless, the company’s executives stuck by their strategy, believing it would help the company increase its revenue.

“We feel very good about the consumer reaction to our price increases because we don’t see any major trade downs,” said Andre Schulten, Procter & Gamble chief financial officer.

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Increased competition

As a result, increased prices of P&G’s products allowed competing brands to draw in new buyers. For instance, the laundry detergent products of the company cost more due to market circumstances. This led to customers buying other brands instead. However, Schulten said the supply disruptions experienced by the company are already fixed. Therefore, consumers should be compelled to repurchase its products.

Moreover, Schulter revealed that the decision to retract from Russia following its conflict with Ukraine led to a loss of revenue. Russian sales comprise almost 2% of the total global sales of Procter & Gamble. Hence, cutting off Russia meant losing that many sales.

The company reported losses on its products, except for Gillette and Venus razors. However, the sector showed a growth of 1% despite the company seeing a significant loss in its grooming appliances.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle

Source: CNBC

Burger King Reveals Revival Plan with $400 Investment on Store Upgrades, Advertisement

Photo Credit: Burger King

Fast food chain Burger King announced that the company would spend over $400 million in the next two years for its renovation and advertisements. The decision follows the report of the company revealing low revenues in the United States.

Burger King management convened in Las Vegas to discuss the company’s turnaround mission for its US-based chains. The fast food chain’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, gathered its brands during the annual franchisee convention to finalize the plan and envisions the planned investment to generate revenue for the company by 2025.

During the second quarter, Burger King reported stagnant sales. The fast food chain trails behind McDonald’s and Wendy’s, only proving that the company lacks a boost in its sales. The CEO of Restaurant Brands, Jose Cil, said he was concerned regarding Burger King’s performance.

As the company executive, Cil has been keen on making investments to increase the sales of its brands, including the revival of Tim Hortons, a sister chain of Burger King. Meanwhile, Cil also assigned Tom Curtis, the former executive of Domino’s Pizza, to become president of Burger King in the US and Canada. With Curtis on deck, Cil ordered several changes in the company’s drive-thru features and encouraged their customers to use the Burger King mobile application.

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More changes for Burger King

Burger King is slated for dynamic changes within the next years. The company will spend $200 million to rehabilitate and improve around 800+ locations across the United States. In addition, enhancements of technology, kitchen equipment, and other related changes have been allocated around $50 million. Burger King has over 7,000 locations in the country, and the management looks to make changes in most chains.

Burger King is confident that more revenue will start coming with the new changes. According to reports by the company, remodeled chains bring in a 12% increase in sales during the first year and eventually outperform other chains in the long run. That is why the company is gearing to remodel strategic locations so it can maximize profit.

“We might see remodels start to hit the market mid-2023 and going forward. It should really be a gradual ramp of the business over the course of the couple of years. We expect that to start having an impact on sales over the next quarter,” Cil said in an interview.

Apart from physical changes, Burger King will also amp up its advertisement department by 30%, spending around $120 million more in the next two years. The additional funding for its ads would take effect in the latter part of this year.

Moreover, $30 million would be poured into mobile application improvements. This would radically encourage many customers to frequently use its mobile app, a feature that many fast food chains are currently looking into.

Changes to the company’s menu are also on their way, as Burger King will start developing new flavors and ingredients for its Whoppers, Chicken Sandwich, and other menus. The additional funding will be directed to training employees to produce the best and most delicious menu.

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The plan receives thumbs up from franchisee

When Restaurant Brands International presented its strategy, 93% of its franchisees expressed support. As an effort to put the vision into effect, operators will counterpart some of the funds that would be allocated to renovations and employee training.

The franchisees will receive the fund from Burger King so they can start implementing the program presented by Restaurant Brands. In addition, the operators will be presented with a revamped incentive model slightly different from the usual structure it has adapted throughout the years.

“There were many long nights and plane rides,” said the US and Canada Burger King president.

Source: CNBC

After Months of Decline, Gas Prices Could Increase

The price of gas in the United States was already high even before OPEC+ announced it would cut the production of oil significantly. However, with the decision comes a higher risk of price hikes.

This is sending waves of fear among Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet with worsening inflation and the energy crisis.

On Wednesday, AAA recorded an increase of 3 cents in the price of oil per gallon, putting the hike at $3.83 dollars. This increase marked the biggest hike in oil prices in the country within just one day.

From June until September, gas prices were declining, which meant good news to businesses and households that relied heavily on gas to keep their operations running. However, after 99 days, the downward trend stopped.

Oil prices have hiked since then. While the changes were gradual and small, recent events should make them change. Oil cartels and other oil-producing countries have agreed that they will cut the production of petrol by 2 million gallons a day, which comprises about 2% of the total global supply of oil.

Consequently, the future of oil is facing an upward trend, with a current rise of 2%. And this could increase.

Read Also: OPEC Production Cuts Prompt US President Biden to Rethink its Relationship with Saudi Arabia

Tipping the scale

The OPEC move is not helping the global economy at all. For the most part, it only serves to worsen economic conditions and push it a step closer to a global recession.

Tim Kloza, the global head of OPIS, said that many US refineries are shutting down for maintenance work due to OPEC’s decision. Currently, around 18% of the refineries in the US are not operating.

“A lot of it was put off in spring because they were making so much money. The margin of error in US refining capacity is so slim right now that you can’t lose any capacity without affecting prices,” he said.

However, Kloza added that California and its oil production and consumption programs might drive oil prices down. But that can only happen if its execution will not be affected by the recent move of OPEC.

“I don’t think we’ll see major moves in national prices. Even if we see California prices come back to the pack,” he said.

Naturally, once gas prices increase, so do the prices of commodities. Consumers will be lesser inclined to purchase market products as they brace for an impending abnormal rise in the prices of goods and commodities.

In addition, the gloomy mood of businesses and the overall economy of the US is evident, affecting investors who want to venture into new investments.

Read Also: Data Shows American Workforce is Producing Lesser Output

Not a good sign for Democrats

OPEC’s move is detrimental to Biden’s campaign. Democrats have long ridden the waves of declining oil prices and used it as leverage for their campaign. The Democrat campaign is centered on the promise that they will make it easier for consumers as the globe heads to a recession.

Easing oil prices is one promise that could turn the tides in their favor. With the new conditions in mind, Biden is concerned it might affect voters’ minds.

As a result, Biden and his allies have echoed calls addressed to OPEC members to revert their decision and maintain the current production volume it is currently imposing, especially now that the winter and holiday season is just around the corner.

Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu

Source: CNN

Peloton Decides to Cut Back on Costs Again, Slashing Jobs and Increasing Prices

To escape its present financial problems, Peloton will undertake another round of layoffs. The business is likewise raising the prices of its goods and services.

Barry McCarthy, the CEO of Peloton, stated that his new management’s cost-cutting plan would assist the business in making up for the losses it suffered in the previous fiscal year.

Peloton has reduced employment a few times recently; the most recent layoff occurred in August of this year. This time, the fitness center will let rid of 500 staff members.

“A key aspect of Peloton’s transformation journey is optimizing efficiencies and implementing cost savings to simplify our business and achieve break-even cash flow by the end of our fiscal year,” stated Peloton in a statement.

The corporation also stated that the layoffs are a part of the restructuring process, which started this year in February. In addition, McCarthy began serving as the company’s CEO during this time frame.

McCarthy backed Peloton’s choice and told the company’s staff that it was a price worth paying to prevent Peloton from falling, particularly in light of the fact that the US economy is now struggling due to inflation and other challenges, which is driving up the price of raw materials.

McCarthy stated that Peloton’s retail division had large losses in 2021, amounting to $100 million.

“Together, we have dramatically restructured Peloton’s business. You should be incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. This has not been easy,” said the CEO.

With the most recent round of dismissals, Peloton has already let go of more than 12% of its workforce. Less than half as many people work for the firm now as there were for Peloton a year ago, about 4,000.

The decision was the “heaviest in its marketing operation,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

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The decision made by the company in August

When the business announced a deficit of more than $1.2 billion in August, workforce reductions were implemented. Comparing the amount to what Peloton made last year, the overall revenue has decreased by 30%. In August, Peloton made the decision to let go of roughly 800 workers, claiming that this was done to make the business “more efficient, cost-effective, and agile.”

“We have to make our revenues stop shrinking and start growing again. Cash is oxygen. Oxygen is life,” said McCarthy.

Peloton also made the decision to scale back the number of its operating outlets in North America as part of its cost-cutting plan. Re-establishing the gym environment as the primary fitness setting is the company’s biggest issue. The outcome was stagnation in Peloton’s subscription and bike sales.

Peloton’s natural enemy

An expert noted that Peloton would face significant difficulties given its natural opponent. As more people attend gyms and other leisure activities in person, thanks to the ease of constraints, the corporation cannot compel individuals to stop attending gyms.

“(The changes are a) continuation of the company trying to right-size itself after grossly overestimating post-pandemic demand for its products,” said the economist.

“While Peloton has already taken some corrective action, its losses are spiraling out of control, and there is a desperate need to course correct to stabilize the balance sheet and restore investor confidence.”

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McCarthy, as the CEO

Tech executive McCarthy served as the CEO of Peloton. The firm is hopeful that he will be able to aid them in recovering from their situation. The price increases, layoffs, and shop closings were announced by Peloton when he took control in February. For instance, Peloton upped the cost of its Bike+, raising the price by $500 to $2,495 while increasing the cost of its treadmill by $800 to $3,495.

McCarthy decided to take out a $750 million loan from Wall Street in order to cover its operating costs after Peloton reported reduced sales and the firm only had $879 million in reserves.

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller

Source: CNN

Data Shows American Workforce is Producing Lesser Output

Recent data show that the United States labor force is underperforming as compared to last year. Americans were found to produce less work than before and take a shorter time to work.

Unfortunately, economists say this will profoundly impact the nation’s economy in the long run.

However, American workers do not unnecessarily underperform without reason. For example, Brian Bouser, age 22, said that he decided not to put a lot of effort into his work due to an instance where he suddenly got a text message from his boss saying that his pay was going down from $25 per hour to $13.50.

What’s more, Bouser did not receive any explanation from his boss why this was so.

Bouser is a part-timer and currently enrolls at the University of Louisville. As a working student, he said he needed the money to pay for his bills and other expenses, and his wage going down meant either readjusting his expenses or finding another job that paid more. Moreover, when he asked his friends, he found that his case was not isolated.

There were many like him whose salaries were lessened, and some even cut in half. Ironically, the salary cuts were imposed when companies are scrambling to find people to work for them due to the holiday season and the economy in shambles.

However, Bouser knew that this was natural in the business world.

“I used to think having a job would make me secure. I no longer think that,” he said.

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The economic ennui is manifesting

According to Julia Pollak, ZipRecruiter’s chief economist, the economic ennui is becoming more pronounced in recent months. This is due to major changes within the US economy, prompting workers to feel insecure about their jobs.

When the pandemic forced countries to close down businesses and usual operations, the US saw massive layoffs in jobs, with over 20 million people out of their posts just weeks after the pandemic struck the country. The layoffs were indiscriminate.

Whether you were a top performer or not, the layoffs affected everyone. When the country opened up again, industries and the job market restarted. However, firings and job cuts were still high, with existing employees burned out due to less employee population.

As a result, productivity plummeted. Productivity among American workers dropped by 4.1%, the biggest dip on record. Since 1948, productivity among Americans has seen an upward trend, but that changed only this time.

And Pollack added that a number of factors could be blamed for this. Frustration, burnout, and ennui all incite lower productivity among the workers in the market.

Read Also: OPEC+ says it Will Reduce Daily Oil Production by 2 Million Barrels

An ominous sign for the economy

Pollack stated that if this trend continues, it will not be suitable for the country’s economy. To make matters worse, the economic ennui seems to be a challenging problem to counter and might take years to counter, which would have already affected the economy by then.

“Once you’ve had that sort of Ecclesiastes moment of thinking everything is futile and pointless, how do you get people to believe that hard work pays off again?” she said.

Photo Credit: Netflix

Source: NPR

Industry Leader and CEO of Porcellan Co. Dr. Hisham El Seddik Leading a Successful Business Venture in the UAE

Establishing a new venture and scaling for growth and expansion in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can be challenging for many new and established business owners, and no one knows how to navigate this challenge better than the CEO of Porcellan Co., Dr. Hisham El Seddik. For over three decades, this thriving industry leader has helped scale several companies to tremendous growth, catapulting them to the top of their industry. He now aims to share his invaluable insight on leading a successful business and succeeding in the UAE.

Dr. Hisham El Seddik is a passionate leader with 18 years of exceptional track record in driving business growth and the esteemed CEO of Porcellan Co., one of the most prominent designers, manufacturers, and marketers of high-quality porcelain tiles in the Middle East and North Africa, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 

As the CEO of the renowned international company, Porcellan, Dr. Hisham El Seddik has extended his unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the UAE market to implement efficient business strategies in all areas of business operations while keeping abreast of trends within the ceramic market inside and outside the Middle East, providing innovative insights into new product development to serve the company’s large-scale distribution channels, specialized dealers, retailers, and end-users. 

As a result of his dedication and astute business acumen, all products manufactured by Porcellan match the quality and aesthetic criteria of architects, interior designers, and homeowners, thus playing a pivotal role within the strong local and regional presence of Jamal Al-Ghurair Group (JAG) by decisively redefining the concept of porcelain tiles. 

On top of that, the power player is also a certified crisis and risk manager, an assistant professor in strategic management, and a holder of a doctorate in business administration with the ability and passion for developing the vision of all companies he directs and manages by triggering performance improvement while delivering growth. In addition, he is well-versed in managing highly engineered systems, which require a deep understanding of critical business drivers in multiple markets, seizing control of critical problem areas, and ensuring that the team delivers on customer commitments.

Before leading the team at Porcellan Co, Dr. Hisham El Seddik honed his vast managing directorship and entrepreneurial skills by successfully establishing companies in the field of Agriculture and Trading in Egypt. From scratch, he would later establish and build a world-renowned ceramics company in Egypt called Royal Ceramica, scaling the company from being a factory start-up to a successfully functioning facility. 

The brilliant entrepreneur optimized the company operations for tremendous growth, scaling the enterprise into a Fortune 500 company with over $56 million in revenue and a team of almost 2,000 employees. As a result, Royal Ceramica is now renowned as the second-largest ceramic company in the country, competing in regional and global markets. 

In the coming years, Dr. Hisham El Seddik remains committed to helping entrepreneurs or expatriates relocating to the UAE find their foothold in the corporate world, expand their network and make smart investment decisions that elevate and expand their businesses. 

How Thomas Berkley Built an ATM Business Empire

People tend to take the convenience of an ATM for granted. Every day, millions of people use ATMs to dispense their money from banks that allow them to purchase goods and services. What many people don’t know is that ATMs can actually become a lucrative investment for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Thomas Berkley knows this fact all too well, allowing him to build his seven-figure business by utilizing these ever-prevalent machines.

Thomas Berkley is a ten-year Air Force Veteran who is passionate about teaching and leading others. When he turned 18 years old, he enlisted in the Air Force to serve his country. There, he met his first business mentor, who would change the trajectory of his life forever. His mentor came from a small town back in Ohio, and they both clicked instantly due to their shared passion for business and helping others. 

Berkley’s mentor would then share some of his business knowledge with him, most especially about his long-standing ATM business. “He told me that an individual could own the exact same ATMs that banks did, minus the cute coat of paint. He took me under his wing and helped me start my own ATM business right out of the military, and everything skyrocketed for me from there,” fondly recalled Berkley. 

In 2018, Thomas Berkley took to social media to boost his platform and share his knowledge with an even bigger audience. He created his first YouTube video about how to start an ATM business. The video was a resounding success, gaining an overwhelming response from his audience. After that very first video, Berkley’s subscribers hounded him for more. 

Eventually, people started inquiring whether he could do everything for them for a fee. Thus, Thomas Berkley established ATM Freedom University to educate aspiring entrepreneurs on how to build, manage, and operate their own ATM businesses. The company also offers a “Done For You” service that allows clients to build a passive income without having to worry about the nitty-gritty details. 

Fast forward to today, ATM Freedom University has helped over 600 students build successful ATM businesses. The seamless hands-free process has allowed entrepreneurs to maximize their time and profits, putting their trust in the hands of the wildly successful Thomas Berkley and the knowledge he has amassed in the industry over the years.

Berkley has built a pristine reputation for himself in the world of business. He is a ClickFunnels Two Comma Club award winner for building a seven-figure company and runs multiple six-figure companies under his belt. In addition, he has a personal portfolio of over 50 ATMs across Ohio. He is also the esteemed founder and CEO of ATM Freedom University.

ATM Freedom University is a cut above the rest. There are no other companies out there doing it like they are. “We’re the only company that negotiates contracts for our students, and we’re the only ones who have techs all over the US that will install, program, and service clients’ machines for them,” shared Thomas Berkley. 

Ultimately, Thomas Berkley attributes much of his success to his relentless passion, business expertise, and unfettered determination. His love for teaching and leading others has led him to create financial freedom for those who have had the pleasure of working alongside him. There’s nowhere to go but up from here for the firebrand entrepreneur, and it’s extremely exciting to see how others have elevated their quality of life because of Thomas Berkley.

OPEC+ says it Will Reduce Daily Oil Production by 2 Million Barrels

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Plus (OPEC+) said it would drastically reduce oil output.

The declaration states that the OPEC+ members would decrease their daily oil production by 2 million barrels. Oil and gas costs would soar if a cut of this scale were to be done.

The world is already suffering from a steady rise in gas and oil costs. Additionally, the situation will worsen due to the last conference held by OPEC+ oil-producing nations.

In advance of the midterm elections, US President Joe Biden has made it his goal to lower petrol prices. However, the US and Saudi Arabia are anticipated to dispute due to its choice.

The White House described the action as “shortsighted.” The US statement also stated that the government would “deliver another 10 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the market next month, continuing the historic releases the President ordered in March.”

OPEC+ was established in 2016 and consisted of 13 OPEC countries and 11 non-OPEC members. The firm justified its choice, stating that it was brought on by the erratic markets and the dire oil market circumstances in the world economy.

As of right now, neither the members nor the effect of the gas cut has any idea what it will entail for the world market.

The globe consumes 100 million barrels of oil each day. Accordingly, depending on how OPEC+ countries distribute their oil production, a reduction of 2 million barrels should have a clear impact.

Read Also: Black Entrepreneurship is Barred by a Couple of Issues Widening the Wealth Gap

What the motive is

Although it is defended as a precaution taken by the nations in reaction to the present market circumstances, it is believed that Saudi Arabia is attempting to increase oil and gas prices to benefit its own economy.

After dropping $90 a barrel in September of last year, the price of a barrel is now $120. Therefore, reducing the supply would result in higher per-barrel costs.

Furthermore, according to Yasser Elguidi of Energy Aspects, Saudi Arabia is pressing for an output decrease to drive barrel prices beyond the $100 mark.

The action will make the market more competitive and reduce the supply, which will raise prices. So naturally, the public was taken aback by OPEC’s proposal.

“OPEC is trying to shock and awe with a big production cut number that is going to get people’s attention. And they’re trying to support prices to keep them from falling further,” said Elguidi.

Elguidi remarked that OPEC’s action represents a change from its previous practices. The organization had to reduce output during the pandemic since lockdowns reduced demand.

The decrease in output, however, runs counter to the upward trend in production now that the demand is increasing.

Others interpret this as a rejection of Biden’s request to the organization. The US president traveled to Saudi Arabia to request more output.

Read Also: Experts say There is 98% Chance of Global Recession, Here are the 5 Indicators

However, the decision might be interpreted as Saudi Arabia’s revenge for the nations’ disagreements.

It should be recalled that Biden accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in part of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“It seems clear that this is not the outcome that Biden wanted when he went over to Saudi Arabia looking for more oil. And so that could definitely be an issue going forward,”Jacques Rousseau from ClearView Energy Partners said.

“About a week ago, they effectively came and asked OPEC to cut production by a million barrels a day. I think that’s a recognition that they are going to lose some volume going forward, and whatever they’re going to lose in volume, they need to make up for in price,” added Elguindi.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Source: NPR

Black Entrepreneurship is Barred by a Couple of Issues Widening the Wealth Gap

The United States is known to many across the world as the land of opportunity. Many locals and foreigners visit the country because of the market conditions in which a business can thrive.

Simply put, the best way for an individual to become a millionaire in the US is to own a business. However, a report from the Alliance for Entrepreneurial Equity reveals that of all the business executives in the country, only 2% are black.

The underrepresentation of Black people in the business sector widens the racial wealth gap in the country.

In a survey done by the Federal Reserve in 2019, it was found that of the US population, only 16% were owned by Black individuals, who owned only 3% of the total wealth in the country.

Meanwhile, White households comprise 87% of the country and rake in 68% of the total wealth.

Entrepreneurial ventures among Black is not the problem, as a variety of Black-owned businesses offer different services.

However, the problem is systemic racism leading to a lack of support and funding needed to bolster the businesses owned by Black people. According to experts, this persistent issue creates a big gap for Black Americans.

Read Also: Experts say There is 98% Chance of Global Recession, Here are the 5 Indicators

“The issue is not starting the business, but being able to keep the businesses afloat, being able to help the businesses grow and scale over time,” said Brandon Andrews, an entrepreneur.

During the first half of last year, Black entrepreneurs only owned 1.2% of the total venture dollars. Gayle Jennings O’Byrne said that the lack of financial support is due to “all those -isms and biases that have built up over the 400 years that we’ve been part of this country.”

O’Byrne added that the racism is not blatant; rather, it is subtle.

“It looks like, ‘Hey, great job. That’s an awesome idea. Keep going. Come back to me, you know, a year from now. I’d love to see how you’re doing. Hey, stay in touch,’” she said.

How to strengthen Black entrepreneurs

Experts say that aside from the lack of funding for Black entrepreneurs helping them to start a business, the problem is also the lack of sustained support for the businesses.

“How do we empower those micro businesses? How do we ensure that they have access to capital? How do we ensure they have access to business education?” Andrews posed a question.

“We know that Black business owners and Black entrepreneurs tend to hire from their community, hence spreading the economic benefit,” said Kenneth Ebie, a director and officer of Black Entrepreneurs NYC.

Alfa Demmellash, the CEO of Rising Tide Capital, said, “We don’t just need a handful of successful millionaire-billionaire entrepreneurs. Communities of color are actually enabling communities. We saw this during the pandemic.”

“It’s like if you are sitting at home and you needed that food to be brought to you, who’s cooking the food? Who’s driving that truck? Who’s bringing it to your home? Who’s cleaning your home? Who’s taking care of sanitation? It’s literally our livelihoods.”

“They’re the essential workers, and they’re essential entrepreneurs. They create culture. They create livelihoods. [But they] are invisible and are never invested in because that’s not seen as having great [investor] return.”

Read Also: Puerto Ricans Scramble to Find Fuel, Food as Businesses Close Down Due to Power Interruption

Start-up investing does not favor minorities

Other methods of generating wealth are available for citizens in the US, like, for instance, investing in a start-up company. However, there is also another for Black Americans in the form of the accredited investor rule.

“Most people in our communities literally are legally barred from doing it in the United States because of that accredited investor definition,” an entrepreneur said.

The rule is enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission that requires an individual to have at least a net worth of more than $1 million to be allowed to invest in a start-up, an income of $200,000 for individuals two years before investing and an assurance that the income will continue.

“So there’s, again, systemic oppression that’s there that keeps our communities from having access to even spend our money on our businesses in the way that we might do otherwise,” added Andrews.

Photo Credit: Klaud Vedfelt

Source: CNN

Experts say There is 98% Chance of Global Recession, Here are the 5 Indicators

The worsening market conditions of economies around the world are becoming more pronounced. The drop in currencies, the rising prices of commodities, and other developments that affect the global supply chains indicate that the world is entering a recession.

The question now is not if the world will enter into a recession but when our world will enter it.

Experts have ruled an impending recession became certain after the Federal Reserve announced taking a more aggressive stance in dealing with the worsening economy in the United States by committing to interest rate hikes.

According to economists, the move is the most aggressive campaign by the Fed to thwart inflation, even if that would lead to a recession.

Ned Davis, a research firm, said there is a 98% chance of a global recession. The firm has been right in many things, having ruled of the high probability in 2008 and 2010, which have been historically dismal years for many economies worldwide.

However, the company does not conclusively rule out a recession without considering several factors. Whenever economists caution about a crisis, they are essentially basing these on five key factors:

Value of US Dollar

The US dollar is a major player in economies around the world. So international finance and global banking in many countries will be affected if the dollar changes in value.

And the dollar’s value has been increasing to a record high, the highest within two decades; the answer is simply lying about the Fed’s decision.

The dollar becomes stronger and more valuable to investors when interest rates are increased. And for the past months since March, the Feds have raised interest which significantly made the dollar parry with the pound and dwarf other currencies.

Moreover, in times of crisis in other giant economies, like, for example, a war in Europe or a crisis in the UK, investors are more compelled to purchase dollars in the form of bonds.

Read Also: Puerto Ricans Scramble to Find Fuel, Food as Businesses Close Down Due to Power Interruption

Stagnant local market sales

Rising prices exhaust people. This means that when the prices keep soaring, the spending pattern of people becomes less and less evident. In the US, shopping is the number 1 driver in keeping the world’s largest economy up and running.

However, as a consequence of inflation and the policies enforced by the Feds, US markets have no choice but to increase their prices, which ultimately discourages Americans from buying services and products.

Americans are saving more than expected

As the country is heading towards the holiday season, corporations are expecting to see an uptick in sales and demand, which is true every year.

However, according to many companies, like FedEx, the trend that is currently showing may indicate that the holiday season may be different than before.

“I think so. These numbers, they don’t portend very well,” said FedEx CEO.

ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Poltak said, “We’ve not seen the normal September uptick in companies posting for temporary help. Companies are hanging back and waiting to see what conditions hold.”

Entering the Bear Territory

Now that the economy is in turmoil, with bonds being widely affected, investors are worried about where to put their money. Economists likened the current stock drops on Wall Market to the phenomenon last 2008, which did not end well for the US economy.

Wall Market has recently seen a 20% or more downs from major market players like the S&P 500 and Dow, with the former seeing a 24% drop for this year and the latter with at least a 20% dip, which only means that they are already within the bear market.

Read Also: UK Government Spending Plan ‘suggests incompetence’ says Billionaire Ray Dalio

Politics and war

The United Kingdom has been dealing with a lot in the past few months, with the new Prime Minister Liz Truss receiving backlash for her financial expenditure programs.

The UK is experiencing high rates of inflation like the US, brought on primarily by the Covid-19 pandemic and the way between Russia and Ukraine.

Politics and war affect economies worldwide, especially those involved in the conflict, which are major players in the global supply chain.

For example, Russian cuts on gas have forced gas prices to go higher in the UK and surrounding countries. Ultimately, this has led to strained power lines.

Photo Credit: StockMarket

Source: CNN

Maldivian Resorts Spearhead Fight Against Improper Waste Disposal

With the majority of its islands barely a few feet above sea level, the Maldives is the world’s lowest-lying country. Most of the nation’s population won’t be able to live there by 2050 because, according to NASA, 80% of the country’s 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean will be inundated in seawater.

But this is not the only issue the country is now dealing with. People worldwide visit the Maldives because of its beautiful beaches and locations.

Over 1.7 million visitors visited the Maldives annually before the outbreak. While the number decreased after the pandemic crippled the tourism industry, the movement is slowly gaining pace now that most countries have nearly thwarted the pandemic.

Due to a large number of visitors, the nation must deal with problems with inappropriate trash disposal. The Maldives tourist authority has repeatedly urged individuals to be responsible for the disposal of non-biodegradable waste.

However, it is insufficient to eliminate cases of inappropriate trash disposal.

The country’s abundant corals have suffered as a result. The treasure is particularly significant to the Maldives since it shapes their national identity.

But when scientists conducted a study of the region in 2016, they found that more than 60% of the Maldives’ pristine reefs were affected by coral bleaching caused by climate change.

“A large draw for tourism is the healthy ocean environment that visitors come to see. Clearly, this type of environment must be preserved in order to continue attracting high-spending tourism,” stated James Ellsmoor, the CEO of Island Innovation.

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Tourism, a paradox

The Maldives’ economy is mostly growing due to the tourist industry. Frequent tourist visits encourage local enterprises, which thrive primarily on delivering and selling products and services.

Simply put, the tourist industry is extremely important to the 540,000 residents of the Maldives.

However, the tourism industry is held accountable for environmental harm.

For example, resorts in the Maldives utilize a lot of energy annually to serve their millions of visitors. Therefore, an excessive amount of waste is being released into the environment.

Therefore, the 150+ resorts in the country are urged to “go green” in order to protect the environment.

“The high cost of importing fuel to power noisy, polluting generators simply does not make sense when compared to the much lower cost of solar, wind and battery storage,” Ellsmoor said.

In response to this situation, the Maldives government announced its efforts to save the environment, striving to become a carbon-neutral nation by 2030.

As a result, all single-use plastics should be prohibited in the Maldives starting next year.

Thankfully, Maldivian resorts have taken up the cause and are leading the charge to achieve sustainability, offering the same high level of luxury service while safeguarding the environment.

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Resorts are taking the helm

Up until now, little attention has been paid to waste in the Maldives. This is because the vast amounts of waste dumped into the environment over a long period were mostly caused by the tourism industry.

But a number of resorts and institutions have stepped up in response to recent appeals to protect the Maldives’ future.

Soneva Resorts, for instance, introduced its Eco Centro program. The project collects the resort’s trash and recycles about 90% of it.

Additionally, Soneva Resorts is the driving force behind Makers’ Place, which enables people to reinvent recycling and include art into it, producing marketable art and items like wall tiles and glassware.

This year saw the launch of Fairmont Maldives’ Sustainability Lab. The facility would collect plastics discovered on the resort property and those nearby, then modify the plastic for trade.

Maldivians who participate in the program develop their artistic talents, generate income, and preserve the environment.

The management of Fairmont Maldives says its goal is to become the “first zero-waste-generating resort in the country.”

“(We are) encouraging the next generation to care passionately about protecting the ecosystem and marine life that inhabits it,” said Sam Dixon, the company’s manager and resident marine biologist.

Photo Credit:  Parley Maldives

Source: CNN

TikTok Vows to Address Issues Concerning National Security

Photo Credit: Stefani Reynolds

TikTok has stated in the Senate that it will not halt the transfer of user data from the United States to China. Opponents have slammed TikTok after evidence suggests that data from US-based users were routinely accessed from China. Instead, the Senate was guaranteed by the short-form video application that it would address all national security issues mentioned at the session.

TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas spoke before the Senate and exchanged viewpoints with politicians, notably Senator Rob Portman, who asked about TikTok’s present structure.

“Will TikTok commit to cutting off all data and data flows to China, China-based TikTok employees, ByteDance employees, or any other party in China that might have the capability to access information on US users?” Senator Portman asked.

Portman’s query arises from his fear that the Chinese government may gain access to sensitive information about US customers. Since then, lawmakers have raised concerns about how these data may be utilized in campaigns, operations, and other activities that could damage the country.

The Senate has previously summoned TikTok. However, the problem was resolved many weeks later. It was then reignited after BuzzFeed published a video of a TikTok employee indicating that employees in China had access to US-based users.

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The issue will be addressed by TikTok

Pappas noted that TikTok does not operate in China, despite the fact that a Chinese corporation owns it.

“Again, we take this incredibly seriously in terms of upholding trust with US citizens and ensuring the safety of US user data. As it relates to access and controls, we are going to be going above and beyond in leading initiative efforts with our partner, Oracle, and also to the satisfaction of the US government through our work with [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States], which we do hope to share more information on,” Pappas added.

Portman then questioned Pappas about the mysterious ‘Master Admin,’ who was referenced in the video. According to the BuzzFeed piece, the employee in question had complete access to everything. Pappas refuted the assertion, claiming that the ‘Master Admin’ identity does not exist in the system.

Pappas confirmed that Chinese staff has access to US users’ data, but she underscored that “under no circumstances [would] they give that data to China.” However, the CEO remained tight-lipped about alleged Chinese government control over ByteDance, TikTok’s parent organization.

Read Also: Powell says Feds will Carry on with their Task of Thwarting Inflation

Threatening national security in the US

Several parties have hotly debated the concerns surrounding TikTok, frequently emphasizing the risks it may cause to national security.

“The fact that the Chinese government, if it really wants to, can make any company in its borders comply with data access requests, I think, is really at the root of a lot of these concerns about TikTok,” stated a Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council fellow, Justin Sherman.

“There are real national security questions being asked. But if all you’re doing is writing letters about specific companies and not actually writing and testing laws and regulations to control for risks, in the long run, nothing’s really going to change too much,” Sherman explained.

Meanwhile, TikTok responded to these charges and stated weeks ago that TikTok “consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside of the US, including China, can be granted access to US user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls.”

Source: CNN

Bertrand Competition

What is Bertrand competition

Bertrand competition is a model of competition between two or more firms, where the companies create a uniform good and compete on price. Theoretically, this price competition leads to the companies selling their products at marginal costs and making no profit since the products are perfect substitutes. The result is also known as the Bertrand paradox, which was originally formulated by Joseph Bertrand in his competition essay of 1889.

Bertrand Competition is a situation when two or more firms sell an identical product and the firm that charges the lower price wins all of the customers. When Bertrand competition occurs, all firms are forced to set equal prices for their products so that they can be on equal level with their competitors. Firms trade off on expensive advertisement and try to get customers by low prices. With this system, firms make zero profits but keep going with hopes of earning profits in some time later in the future. Yet, the firms can not earn profits because they have to set the same price for their products since their products are perfect substitutes. Bertrand competition is a perfect competition leading to zero profits.

Model Assumptions

There are two assumptions in the Bertrand Competition Model. First of all, we assume that the companies are selling a homogenous product such as toothpaste. This means that the product does not have any differences between each other. Secondly, we assume that firms sell their products on a perfectly competitive market. This means that the market is very competitive and has many firms in it, which makes it easy for consumers to switch from one company to another one if they would find something better in some time later. This would give the firms a reason to set their prices lower. There are a lot of reasons that lead to perfect competition, but it all comes down to the fact that firms are competing among themselves and there is no outside influence.

Bertrand-Nash Equilibrium

Firms set their prices equal to marginal costs and experience a loss in the distinctive Nash equilibrium of the Bertrand competition model. Let’s try to figure out why this occurs. Assume that two businesses engage in price-setting competition while producing a homogeneous product at constant marginal costs, denoted by the symbol c. Customers choose the company with the lowest price because they see the products offered by the two businesses as exact equivalents. If businesses charge the same price, then we will assume that demand is shared equally.

If there are no fixed costs, the profit of firm I is calculated as i=(pic)Di(pi,pj), where Di(pi,pj) represents the demand encountered by firm I if firm I charges price pi and firm j charges price pj. The pricing of both firms’ products determine the demand Di(pi,pj) that firm I faces: 1. Firm I has no demand and earns no profit if it charges a higher price than firm j (pi>pj), which results in all customers choosing firm j. 2. All customers will purchase from firm I if firm j charges a greater price than it does (pj>pi), and firm I will benefit by i=(pic)D. (pi). 3. Demand is distributed equally between firms I and j if they charge the same price (pi=pj), and firm I earns a profit of i=(pic)12D. (pi).

So why do businesses, in an equilibrium market, set prices based on marginal costs? Imagine two companies—call let’s them Airbus (firm A) and Boeing (firm B)—produce the same passenger plane for 10 (million) US dollars in marginal expenses in order to better grasp this. Customers purchase goods from the business with the lower pricing. Let’s imagine Boeing demands a price that is 50 million dollars per plane (pB=50) or more over marginal costs. In this case, Airbus has three possibilities. The price it charges can be the same, higher, or lower. Because all clients would continue doing business with firm B, a higher price is obviously not very reasonable. When two businesses set the same price, they share the market’s demand equally and each earns a profit of i=(pc)D(pi)2=20D. (p).

If firm A charges less than pB, the utmost price it can set is 49.99 million US dollars, which is slightly less than firm B’s price in order to attract all clients. Now that the entire demand has been met, Airbus makes a profit of A=39.99D. (pA). If firm A charges a price that is just marginally less than firm B’s pricing, this profit is more than the shared profit at equal prices.

Naturally, though, if Airbus charges a price that is a little lower than Boeing’s, there will be no market for Boeing’s products and Boeing will lose all of its money. It can meet all demand and turn a profit by setting a price that is just a little bit lower than Airbus. To put it another way, each business seeks to undercut its rival’s price in order to satisfy all market demand. Only when charging less does lowering profits stop, which occurs when pricing is equal to marginal costs, does the motive to undercut the competition go. The other firm cannot reasonably charge a greater or lower price if the competitor prices at marginal costs.(At a price above the firm’s marginal costs, the firm has no clients; at a price below the firm’s marginal costs, it loses money.) This outcome is irrespective of the number of firms in Bertrand competition, which means that even if there are only two firms in the market, prices are equal to marginal costs and profits are zero (as in perfect competition).

Image source: https://inomics.com/

Take a look at the image above for the optimum response functions of symmetric businesses in a Bertrand game. For a particular price p1, the blue line represents the best reaction function of firm 2 and the green line, the best response function of firm 1; pM stands for the monopoly price. If you look attentively, you can see that the green line, which indicates where both firms charge the same price when it is above marginal costs and below the monopoly price, is just below the 45-degree line. Firm 1 will charge a price that is marginally less than any price set by firm 2 during this time. This also applies to firm 2, of course. The ideal reaction functions are upward sloping since each company will raise its prices in response to a competitor’s increase in pricing. The unique Nash equilibrium of the game is represented by the junction of the two lines (the red dot). Firms are only playing a mutual best response at one time, and given the competitor’s price choice, no firm has an incentive to vary. This is the moment where the price equals marginal costs, as seen in the figure.

Ending Words

By this point, you should hopefully have a pretty good idea of what a Bertrand equilibrium is, what happens when prices are not in equilibrium and why firms set their prices equal to marginal costs when pricing. Although you might want to know what happens when one or more firms do not follow marginal costs, the whole point is this article is to help you understand the basic theory behind Bertrand competition. In the real world, it is hard to say whether or not businesses actually engage in price-setting competition since they are usually quite secretive about their internal operations. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that competition will be fierce in a free market where consumers and suppliers are completely free to act as they wish.

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Sources

Inomics,com

ECIPE, The European Centre for International Political Economy

The European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) is a non-profit policy research think tank. It was started in 2006 by Fredrik Erixon and Razeen Sally.

ECIPE operates in accordance with the ideals of an open society, one that upholds the customs and tenets of economic freedom and free trade. International trade, rules, digitalization, and other international economic policy concerns that are significant to Europe are the main topics of our work. We are a research-based think tank with the objective of delivering reliable economic and political analyses to decision-makers and observers. We have a diversity of member countries and other countries that are significant to trade and economic policy in the European Union (EU).

Organization and Supervision

ECIPE performs policy research and publishes articles, briefs, and books. We host seminars, conferences, and roundtable discussions on European and international trade policy, regulation, the Single Market, the digital economy, and globalisation.

ECIPE maintains a secretariat in Brussels and employs highly skilled experts who perform economic research and political analysis. We have a network of non-residential Associates and Senior Fellows and provide a platform for other centres and institutions to present their research in Brussels.

ECIPE is controlled by a Board of Trustees, which is in charge of general administration, policies, and is responsible for managing and administering assets in the organisation. The Board of Trustees comprises all major members of the organisation who have a seat on the Board. In order to ensure transparency and accountability, all major decisions require a majority vote by their members. The Chairman of the Board is elected by his fellow Trustees. The current Chairman is Fredrik Erixon, who is also currently the Director of ECIPE.

Areas of Focus

ECIPE works in accordance with the ideals of an open society, one that upholds the customs and tenets of economic freedom and free trade. International trade, rules, digitalization, and other international economic policy concerns that are significant to Europe are the main topics of our work. We are a research-based think tank with the objective of delivering reliable economic and political analyses to decision-makers and observers. We have a diversity of member countries and other countries that are significant to trade and economic policy in the European Union (EU).

TOPICS OF RESEARCH

ECIPE research covers the following topics: the effects of globalization, new forms of economic interdependence, transformation processes in the global economy, factors shaping economic prosperity, free trade and its alternatives. ECIPE also focuses on the European Union’s economy, trade policies, developments in the WTO, digital trade, EU-China relations and China’s new role in global governance.

What do we offer?

Policy papers – analysis of the main economic and political issues for international trade and European integration with the objective of increasing knowledge about Europe’s role within the multilateral trading system.

Methodological advice and training – support from ECIPE experts in order to improve the quality of economic evaluation.

Training Courses – training courses on topics related to international trade and globalization, EU trade policy, and WTO studies.

Knowledge transfer – ECIPE’s website offers a rich source of information about international trade and globalisation.

Working Papers – early drafts of the ECCIPE research reports are released as Working Papers. The main aim is to receive comments from external readers before finalizing the research report in order to enhance readability and improve the quality of the content.

Events – ECIPE organizes conferences, seminars and workshops with economic and political decision-makers as well as opinion leaders. In addition, ECIPE hosts an annual conference at the World Trade Organization’s headquarters in Geneva.

Workshops – ECIPE organizes workshops on topics such as the Economics of Trade Policy Development, WTO and the EU, “China goes global” workshop and more.

ECIPE offers a platform for critical discussions on the development of the international economic order in Europe. It has taken a lead in presenting research-based results that influence thinking about trade policy issues at both the EU and national level.

ECIPE has been acknowledged by other research institutes in Europe and around the globe as an independent and reliable source of economic and political analysis that aims to improve governance in international trade. In addition, ECIPE works as an intermediary between the academic community and European Union institutions, national governments, international organizations, business associations and other interested parties.

Financing

ECIPE is an independent non-profit think tank that develops innovative ideas and provides strategic advice to EU institutions, governments, business and opinion leaders. ECIPE is not affiliated to any political party. Its income comes from the following sources:

  1. Research projects and grants;
  2. Membership fees;
  3. Donations from non-EU countries and institutions;
  4. Donations from EU member states, business associations and other international partners; and
  5. Contributions for aggregated costs such as office space, travel expenses, translation costs etc.

ECIPE is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan think tank. We are driven by a strong mission to create new ideas for the betterment of our world.

The income from the above sources is used for research, the publication of reports, international events and conferences. ECIPE does not receive funding from EU institutions or member states.

Income from donations is used to cover aggregated costs such as office space, travel expenses, translation costs etc.

Contact details

Website: http://ecipe.org/
Address: Avenue des Arts 40, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
Country: Belgium
Sub-region: Western Europe
Phone: +32 (0)2 289 1350 Fax +32 (0)2 289 1359

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Cinnamon toast crunch crocs: Where to buy, price, and More details

Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast may be a delightful way to start the day, but your love of cereal should not stop there; it is now possible to extend it to your footwear. Recently, Crocs and General Mills collaborated to release a pair of clogs with a cereal theme, commemorating the beloved cinnamon-sugar treat in style. And these cushy sneakers are as enjoyable as a bowl of overflowing cereal.

Similar to their delicious cereal inspiration, the limited-edition Cinnamon Toast Crunch-themed crocs have a tan and white sugary swirling design. The all-terrain shoes also have a striped heel strap in the recognisable red, green, blue, and purple colours of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The comfortable shoes are not just as satisfying to wear as the cereal, but they are also as versatile. The comfort of the shoes is apparent and undeniable; the foam material conforms to any foot shape, and can be worn throughout the day. For those times when you need some extra cushioning or support, you can appreciate that the Croslite foam material helps to break in your shoes with every step.

Some may say that a pair of cereal shoes are more appropriate for a child’s wardrobe than an adult. However, while they may look like they are made for a child, these shoes are cute, comfortable, colorful and fun. This makes them perfect for anyone who enjoys the taste of cereal and the playful design of a wild stallion with a tasty snack. Regardless of whether you enjoy eating cereal in the morning or whether you destroy your feet while working out in your new shoe, these shoes are bound to make your day more enjoyable than ever before.

Where to buy it:

The sneakers are offered both offline and online at Foot Locker, Champs Sports, and Eastbay.

what is the price?

These shoes are very reasonably priced, especially compared to other Crocs products. They may be more expensive than other Crocs shoes because they were made to be a pair of slippers, but they are still a quality product and will last for years. The retail price of these shoes is between $45 and $70 and are offered in kid’s and men’s sizes.

What Crocs had to say:

Whether you wear them to work or school, these shoes are sure to brighten your day. Similar to your favorite cereal, the Crocband Clog is sweet and delights the senses. The fun pattern and comfortable material represent the vibrant colours of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. The sugary texture of the clogs adds a ‘crunch’ sound when walking in them, mimicking the sounds of cereal falling into an empty bowl.

When they were being designed, the designers were inspired by the simplicity of the cereal’s packaging. The packaging art is made up of bright, bold colours to catch your attention. As you can see, the designers succeeded in creating an artful design that satisfies the eyes as much as it satisfies the stomach. Perhaps this is why they were eager to work with General Mills and create a shoe that met your taste buds’ satisfaction just as well as it met your preference for comfort.

Why Crocs and General Mills collab:

It is no secret that General Mills is well known for their cereal products. They have been producing a large number of different cereals to target audiences of all different demographics. One such cereal is Cinnamon Toast Crunch and, according to the manufacturer’s website, this product has been enjoyed by customers since 1993. With a 22 year history, it should come as no surprise that General Mills seeks to create brand loyalty and encourage customers to purchase their products again and again.

As a company that produces footwear, Crocs was the ideal choice to collaborate with General Mills. They offer more than just a comfortable shoe, they provide the feeling of being on vacation and sleeping on your favorite blanket. In their own words, “It’s fun, it’s colorful and it’s comfortable”. This is entirely in line with the experience of eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the first time. More specifically, these shoes are very much like walking on clouds or swimming in a sea of marshmallows.

Marketing analysis:

The advertising campaign was created with a specific purpose in mind and was executed accordingly. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crocs shoes were advertised through several different types of media. They were made to boost sales for both Crocs and General Mills, with the goal of attracting consumers from a variety of different markets. Specifically, the purpose was to add value and appeal to existing Crocs consumers by adding more value to their brand, while also providing a strong incentive for new customers.

The advertisements contained several different marketing messages, all of which are used to promote the idea that the shoes are made with the same care and quality as the cereal. One such message is “the same quality that goes into every box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch from General Mills is now in their Crocs”, but another says “now you can finally be one with your bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch”. The purpose of the advertisement is to inform, and convince people that the shoes are exactly as delicious as they appear.

why do we want to buy it?

Advertising was used to convince people that the shoes are just as delicious as they appear. The company wanted to show that the product was made with the same quality as the cereal itself, so this message was used heavily throughout the campaign. It sets a subliminal message that, no matter what else may be going on in a person’s life, if they have Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crocs on their feet, then everything will be okay. The messaging is meant to give consumers the feeling that their current problems will be resolved, and just as easily as it is with cereal, all they have to do is enjoy these new shoes.

Reviews:

Many consumers have had positive experiences with these shoes and have found that they are both comfortable and fun to wear. They have compared the shoes to being like walking on clouds, marshmallows, and even an air mattress. Their comfort level is so high that many people who have worn them claim to forget that they are wearing them. In fact, many people say that they could sleep in these shoes if they had the chance. Oftentimes, these sneakers can be worn throughout the day without needing any sort of discomfort relief or support.

One con is that they can be difficult to clean because of the variety of colours used in the design. Grease and dirt tend to stick to these shoes like glue. Additionally, because the shoes are made of rubber, they can be damaged by things like liquid, heavy objects, and sharp objects. If you take care of them correctly and treat them with respect, it is possible to get quite a few months out of them. If you do not clean or care for your shoes properly, however, it will only be a matter of weeks until they start to deteriorate.

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EV Global Sales Surge, IEA says it’s Reaching Records High

Photo Credit: Roger Kisby

Electric car sales are growing and might reach an all-time high if the current trend continues. The International Energy Agency is pleased with the progress and believes that more effort has to be made by other industries to guarantee that the world accomplishes net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) revised its Tracking Clean Energy Progress report, reporting strong responses from numerous industries to minimize carbon emissions. However, the agency underlined that “stronger efforts” from sectors are required if net zero emissions are to be achieved by the middle of the twenty-first century.

According to the IEA, worldwide electric vehicle sales doubled in 2021, making up nearly 9% of total automobile sales.

“(2022 was) expected to see another all-time high for electric vehicle sales, lifting them to 13% of total light-duty vehicle sales globally,” said the agency.

According to the group, overall EV sales topped 6.6 million in 2021. Furthermore, during the first quarter of 2022, EV sales broke records and totaled 2 million, representing a 75% rise in total sales over the same time in 2021. If this situation persists, the IEA believes the country will be well on its way to another milestone by 2030 and maybe more by 2050.

“(It is) not yet a global phenomenon. Sales in developing and emerging countries have been slow due to higher purchase costs and a lack of charging infrastructure availability,” said the IEA.

Read Also: UK Government Reveals Plan to Counter Looming Economic Recession

We need more efforts

They stressed that other areas must be addressed despite the bright forecast for electric car sales. For example, other countries are not yet on pace to meet the goals they have set for themselves.

“Areas not on track include improving the energy efficiency of building designs, developing clean and efficient district heating, phasing out coal-fired power generation, eliminating methane flaring, shifting aviation and shipping to cleaner fuels, and making cement, chemical, and steel production cleaner,” the IEA added.

The 2015 Paris Agreement attempted to ensure that all United Nations member countries were on the same page when it came to combating climate change, intending to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Further, they envisioned to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”

The idea could only be realized if human-caused carbon emissions were reduced.

The IEA’s positive outlook

Despite the present energy crisis problems, the IEA is confident that nations will stick to their pledges. However, while hopeful, IEA executive director Faith Birol stated that he will exercise prudence and will actively oppose any backward trends in the battle for net zero emissions.

“There are more signs than ever that the new global energy economy is advancing strongly. This reaffirms my belief that today’s global energy crisis can be a turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system,” he said.

“But this new IEA analysis shows the need for greater and sustained efforts across a range of technologies and sectors to ensure the world can meet its energy and climate goals.”

Read Also: Patagonia Founder Will Use all of the Company’s Revenue to Fight Climate Change

Along with the IEA report, there are debates and discussions on countries’ climate targets and energy issues, especially since Russia has turned off its gas supply in many countries, pushing others to expand their fossil fuel dependency.

In response, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke strongly against the utilization of fossil fuels and stated that the UN would work hard to pressure states that fail to meet their climate change pledges.

“Polluters must pay. And today, I am calling on all developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies,” the director general said.

“That includes the banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest and underwrite carbon pollution. Of course, fossil fuels cannot be shut down overnight. A just transition means leaving no person or country behind. But it’s high time to put fossil fuel producers, investors and enablers on notice.”

Source: CNBC

Bed Bath & Beyond Closes a Third of its Stores

Photo Credit: NBC

Bed Bath & Beyond announced that it would close more than 50 of its 150 stores nationwide. Despite the company’s efforts to stay afloat, the worsening economic conditions, coupled with the weakening purchasing power of the citizens, forced Bed Bath & Beyond to shut down a third of its facilities.

The company said it was essential to making a move as it currently struggles with financial problems. In addition, downsizing the workforce of the company could aid them in gaining stability amid their current fiscal woes. The massive layoff by Bed Bad & Beyond is projected to remove about 20% of its employees.

On the upside, Bed Bath & Beyond recently closed a $500-million deal to finance its planned operations now that the holiday season is just around the corner.

In a statement, the company said that while it is giving up several of its stores, it will continuously review its options so it can better serve the bulk of its customers.

Read Also: Now that the Queen’s Funeral is Over, Young Brits Think the Country Should Solve Even Bigger Problems

Problem after problem

The company has been on a rollercoaster ride lately. Following the major downturn of the company’s finances, Bed Bath & Beyond’s former Chief Financial Officer Gustavo Arnal jumped from a high-rise building in New York, killing himself and putting the spotlight on the company. Shares of the company went down by 20% after Arnal’s unfortunate demise.

Laura Crossen, the senior vice president of finance at Bed Bath & Beyond, was named interim CFO.

“[Bed Bath & Beyond is] financially up against the wall, so it’s going to be harder to stay in stock from key vendors. If you’re Dyson and Keurig and you’re trying to maintain a halo over your brand, the last thing you want is discounting,” said Berna Barshay, a retail analyst.

While the problems persist, Bed Bath & Beyond is hopeful that they could bounce back from the slump and re-emerge in the 2023 market stronger with the deal they recently acquired.

Read Also: U.N. Secretary General Emphasizes Need to Halt Use of Fossil Fuels

Here is the list of stores that Bed Bad & Beyond decided to close down:

Arizona

  • Santa Cruz: 5225 South Calle
  • Phoenix: 34750 N. North Valley Parkway

California

  • Burbank: 201 East Magnolia Blvd.
  • Lakewood: 75 Lakewood Center Mall
  • Larkspur: 2601 Larkspur Landing Circle
  • Marina: 117 General Stilwell Drive
  • Palmdale: 39421 10th Street
  • Redding: 1140 Hilltop Drive
  • San Leandro: 15555 East 14th Street, Suite 240 Seekonk
  • Santee: 9918 Mission Gorge Road

Connecticut

  • Stamford: Ridgeway Shopping Center, 2275 Summer Street
  • Waterford: 850 Hartford Turnpike

Florida

  • Sanford: 111 Towne Center Blvd.
  • Sawgrass: 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd., Anchor C

Georgia

  • Johns Creek: 2623 Peachtree Pkwy
  • Snelville: Presidential Market Center, 1905 Scenic Hwy Suite 5000

Illinois

  • Bourbonnais: 2056 North State Route 50
  • Carbondale: University Mall, 1265 E. Main Street
  • Fairview Heights: Fairview Center, 6611 N. Illinois
  • Gurnee: 6132 Grand Ave., Gurnee Mills Mall
  • Joliet: 2850 Plainfield Road
  • Schaumberg: 915 East Golf Road

Iowa

  • Dubuque: 2475 N.W. Arterial
  • Waterloo: 1522 Flammang Drive

Louisiana

  • Bossier City: 2900 Meadow Creek Drive

Massachusetts

  • Dorchester: 8B Allstate Road, Suite 1
  • Milford: 230 Fortune Boulevard
  • Seekonk: 35 Highland Avenue

Michigan

  • Chesterfield Township: 50551 Waterside Drive
  • Farmington Hills: 31075 Orchard Lake Road
  • Northville: Northville Retail Center, 17223 Haggerty Rd.
  • Walker: Green Ridge Square, 3410 Alpine Avenue NW
  • White Lake: 9050 Highland Road

Minnesota

  • St. Cloud: 3959 Second Street South

New Jersey

  • Flanders: 30 International Drive, Suite 1
  • Manalapan: 13 Route 9
  • Paramus: 34 E Ridgewood Ave

New York

  • Farmingdale: 251 Airport Plaza Blvd.
  • Middletown: 470 Route 211 East, Suite 3
  • Mt. Vernon: 500 East Sandford Blvd.
  • New Hartford: 4805 Commercial Drive
  • Plattsburgh: 73 Centre Drive, Suite 100

Nevada

  • Sparks: 195 Los Altos Pkwy

North Carolina

  • Charlotte: The Arboretum, 3413 Pineville-Matthews Rd.

Ohio

  • Colerain: 3681 Stone Creek Blvd.
  • Perrysburg:10027 Fremont Pike
  • Princeton Road: Bridgewater Falls, 3451 Princeton Road
  • Sandusky: 4020 Milan Road, Unit #910

Oregon

  • Beaverton: 2780 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. Beaverton

Pennsylvania

  • Wynnewood: 70 E. Wynnewood Blvd.

Puerto Rico

  • Bayamon Plaza Del Sol, 725 West Main Avenue Bayamon PR 00961

Texas

  • Port Arthur: Central Mall 3100 Highway 365 Suite 114
  • Wichita Falls: 3201 Lawrence Road Suite A

Virginia

  • Christiansburg: 135 Shoppers Way NW
  • Leesburg: 532 Fort Evans Road

Washington

  • Lakewood: 5830 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., S.W.

Source: CNN

UK Government Reveals Plan to Counter Looming Economic Recession

Photo Credit: Sky News

Under the newly-appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss, the United Kingdom government revealed its own strategy to counter the country’s worsening economic condition. The program features tax cuts and investment incentives that could bolster economic growth amid the various hurdles that households and businesses face at the moment.

Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng sat down with the House of Commons and explained the course of action the new government would take. According to him, authorities wanted to do “a new approach for a new era focused on growth.” Further, Kwarteng established a 2.5% rate of economic growth over the next months.

“We believe high taxes reduce incentives to work, deter investment and hinder enterprise,” said Kwarteng.

  • The U.K. government revealed a list of their plans which include:
  • Cancellation of a planned rise in corporation tax to 25%, keeping it at 19%, the lowest rate in the G-20.
  • A reversal in the recent 1.25% rise in National Insurance contributions — a tax on income.
  • A reduction in the basic rate of income tax from 20 pence to 19 pence.
  • Scrapping of the 45% tax paid on incomes over £150,000 ($166,770), taking the top rate to 40%.
  • Significant cuts to stamp duty, a tax paid on home purchases.
  • A network of “investment zones” around the U.K. where businesses will be offered tax cuts, liberalized planning rules and a reduction in regulatory obstacles.
  • A claim-back scheme for sales taxes paid by tourists.
  • Scrapping of an increase in tax rates on various alcohols.
  • Scrapping of a cap on bankers’ bonuses.

In recent estimates, the tax cuts will amount to £45 billion within four to five years.

“It’s half a century since we’ve seen tax cuts announced on this scale,” said the Institute for Fiscal Studies director, Paul Johnson.

U.K.’s currency value declined to a 37-year low against the U.S. dollar, marking another economic difficulty for the nation. Meanwhile, the Bank of England said that the economy of the country would most likely enter into a recession during the third quarter of 2022. The announcement was also coupled with the increase of the hiked interest of 50 basis points.

Read Also: Russians Flee as Putin Announces Partial Military Mobilization

The package might not be the best solution

The proposal forwarded by the U.K. government could pose long-term problems to the treasury. The government has since announced shouldering the energy expenditures of companies and households, which could pressure the government to incur more foreign debts. The U.K. would have to spend more than £100 billion in just two years.

The government spending in the last month exceeded projections. For instance, in August, the government borrowed a total of £11.8 billion, which is relatively higher than the forecasted amount. In the same month last year, government borrowing was £6.5 billion less.

Minister Kwarteng reported that the U.K. recorded the second-lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among the G7 nations. As a result, the government should craft plans that can significantly reduce the nation’s debt.

Read Also: U.N. Secretary General Emphasizes Need to Halt Use of Fossil Fuels

The decision had seismic effects

Chris Sanger, the head of tax policy, described the initiative by Truss as ‘seismic.’

“The reversal of the decision to deny VAT rebates for travelers leaving the U.K., only implemented on leaving the E.U., and the introduction of a new super-powered special economic zone, reinforce the message that the U.K. wants to attract foreign direct investment and travelers. In essence, the government is doubling down on growth, providing tax cuts across the board,” he said.

The British Chambers of Commerce director general Shevaun Havilland expressed optimism about the plan. However, this could only be possible if the plans ensure growth and create an infrastructure that helps businesses grow.

“The introduction of investment zones also has the potential to finally deliver on the Government’s long-standing promise to level up, if the scheme is truly UK-wide.”

However, Havilland warns that the government should learn from past lessons and calibrate the plans so that it can get the investment zones correct from the get-go. The program will only impede new economic activity if not enforced and formulated correctly.

Source: CNBC

TikTok is a Music Industry Trendsetter, Helping New Artists

TikTok has had an undeniable positive impact on the music industry. On-the-rise artists and choreographers have risen to prominence as a result of a single video that captured the attention of TikTok users all over the world.

For example, Zoi Lerma, a bagel shop employee in Los Angeles, choreographed Benee’s “Supalonely.” She then shared her video on TikTok, where it received positive feedback from users. The video has since garnered over 45 million views on TikTok, propelling Benee to global fame.

Content makers and users have uploaded over 5.7 million videos of Benee’s “Supalonely.” In addition, Benee received nominations and prizes for the song’s success, including New Artist of the 2020 People’s Choice Awards, as well as sales of over 1 million copies and 2.1 billion streams across all platforms. Benee also played two sold-out concerts in New Zealand.

“When it started trending on TikTok and picking up on TikTok, I would hear it on the radio or, you know, hear it in stores. I would hear it everywhere,” said Lerma.

Read Also: Apple is Set to Unveil New Devices this September

TikTok has generated revenue for the music industry

TikTok’s ubiquity is what makes it one of the most prolific hitmakers of the twenty-first century. The program, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, provides a platform for artists and content producers to express and present their abilities in short films. A user might submit anything, including animals, personal life, hobbies, ASMR, singing, dancing, and many other things.

The videos, for the most part, capture the attention of many people and quickly go viral within hours of being posted. As a result, TikTok is a trendsetter, even regaining the popularity of previously successful songs. For example, Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” hit the charts two years ago after a viral video featuring the song was released. Furthermore, TikTok has evolved into a revenue-generating platform for music labels and artists.

An analyst and consultant at Midia Research, Tatiana Cirisano, said, “If a song is going viral on TikTok, and the artist is unsigned, and as a result, it’s getting a million streams on Spotify, the labels are scrambling to sign that song or that artist. They’re obsessed with expanding their market share and making sure they don’t lose any market share to independent artists.”

“With hundreds of songs generating over 1 billion video views and dozens of artists signing record deals as a result of success on the platform, TikTok starts trends that reverberate throughout the culture, the industry, and the charts,” stated TikTok in a release.

Additionally, teenagers have begun using TikTok frequently. According to a poll taken, TikTok is used by around 67% of youths in the nation, with 16% of them claiming to use it more often. The format of TikTok is thus imitated by various social media platforms. As an illustration, Facebook’s Reels, which are modeled after TikTok’s interface, were recently introduced by Meta.

TikTok had more than 1 billion users globally a year ago, and this number is growing.

Read Also: Quiet Quitting is Becoming a Trend Among Employees, Managers Should Know About it

Allegations made against TikTok

While TikTok is burgeoning, U.S. authorities are becoming concerned about the danger that the company may cause its users. A little more than two months ago, Congress ordered that TikTok answer questions about suspected access to user information in the United States.

“In light of this new report, we ask that your agency immediately initiate a Section 5 investigation on the basis of apparent deception by TikTok and coordinate this work with any national security or counter-intelligence investigation that may be initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice,” the lawmakers stated.

The statement was made in reply to a BuzzFeed story revealing that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent firm, routinely accessed the information of many of its users, particularly those in the United States. TikTok, on the other hand, was eager to dispute the charges.

“[TikTok has] consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside of the U.S., including China, can be granted access to U.S. user data on an as-needed basis.”

Source: CNBC

Twitter Downplayed Threats to User Data Alleges Whistleblower in Senate Hearing

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko testified before Congress, informing them that Twitter lacks the ability to eliminate the dangers to its users’ data. He continued by saying that there may be spies among the company’s employees.

The whistleblower recounted in his testimony a situation in which a Twitter employee ignored a problem with a spy concern. Even though it may have provided hazards to the company’s operations, the employee, according to him, downplayed the worry.

Zatko also disclosed that, before coming forward in January as a whistleblower, the FBI had warned Twitter that there were Chinese spies working for the company. However, it’s unclear at this time whether Twitter has already addressed the issue. Meanwhile, the FBI appears to be keeping quiet about the matter.

Twitter has recurring issues, according to Zatko. These can jeopardize the user data security of the firm. Furthermore, the company’s alleged incompetence in resolving the problems creates a threat to US national security.

To back up his accusations against Twitter, Zatko highlighted a number of problems. The issues raised by the whistleblower included Twitter’s improper treatment of user data, its breach of the consent agreement reached with the US Federal Trade Commission in 2011, and its decision to provide the majority of its workers access to private user data.

All of the flaws Zatko listed in front of Congress relate to Twitter’s difficulty in locating and getting rid of these threats.

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A mission for Zatko’s camp

According to Zatko’s legal aid, Alexis Ronickher, they are doing their share to keep people safe on the internet.

“Mr. Zatko is hopeful that the Committee’s work today has helped educate the public about just how dire the security and privacy situation is at Twitter and how impacted we all are by these failures. He continues to believe that through this public disclosure process, real-world harm for Twitter users may be avoided and our country’s national security better protected,” he said.

Legislators also emphasized the implications of Zatko’s charges during the session. To safeguard the people and the nation, they argued, any danger to Twitter should be taken seriously. The head of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Dick Durbin, stated that Twitter is a strong platform and should not allow its defense measures to be easily breached.

External threats to Twitter

Zatko expanded on his revelation by claiming that China and Russia may be able to eavesdrop on data stored in the US. Over 7,000 Twitter workers, according to Zatko’s testimony, have access to sensitive user information, making that information accessible if the company employed spies.

The whistleblower continued by saying that private information such as email addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, locations, home addresses, languages, and other details might all be exploited by foreign governments for whatever reason.

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Additionally, Twitter lacks an internal system monitoring mechanism that can determine who has accessed sensitive data, which implies that any employee may do so anonymously, and the firm won’t know who it is. The perpetrator of the terrible deeds would then be difficult to identify.

“There were thousands of failed attempts to access internal systems that were happening per week, and nobody was noticing. This fundamental lack of logging inside Twitter is a remnant of being so far behind on their infrastructure and the engineering,” Zatko added.

“A Twitter engineer, understanding how the running systems and the data flows were operating, could then access and inject, or put forward, information as … any of the senators sitting here today.”

Source: CNN

Shell CEO to Step Down From Post, New CEO named by Selection Board

Photo Credit: Shell

Ben van Beurden, the current CEO of the oil corporation Shell, has announced that he will step down from his position at the end of the year. Beurden has been working as the CEO of the business for about ten years. Wael Sawan, who now serves as the department’s director of integrated gas, renewable energy, and energy solutions, will take over on January 1 of the following year.

The information was released in response to suspicions that Shell planned to change its leadership. The change is verified by the announcement. The changes won’t happen right now, though, because the corporation will still be run for at least three more months by van Beurden, the present CEO.

The Shell Board Succession Committee reportedly met frequently recently to plan van Beurden’s retirement. According to sources, the committee has also talked about his potential replacement.

Read Also: Job Market is Robust in August Report Exceeding Economists’ Expectations

The new leadership

Wael Sawan has been employed by Shell for more than 25 years and will take over as the next business leader in 2023. The Lebanese-Canadian national has experience in departments that deal especially with downstream retail and commercial developments.

“I’m looking forward to channeling the pioneering spirit and passion of our incredible people to rise to the immense challenges and grasp the opportunities presented by the energy transition,” Sawan said.

He went on to say that it is an honor to succeed van Beurden as the company’s CEO and that he will work hard to take it to new heights.

“We will be disciplined and value-focused as we work with our customers and partners to deliver the reliable, affordable and cleaner energy the world needs,” he said.

The retiring CEO

Recently, Shell’s stock increased 0.7%, contributing to the 40% increase in the company’s share price since the year’s commencement.

Van Beurden, now 64, started working for the firm in 1983 and has since contributed significantly. He was appointed CEO in 2014. He served as a director in several Shell divisions before his executive appointment, including the department of chemicals and refining.

Read Also: TikTok is a Music Industry Trendsetter, Helping New Artists

After negotiating a $53 billion acquisition transaction with major rival BG Group under his direction, Shell made the largest acquisition of the corporation in 2016. Nevertheless, Van Beurden continued to operate his cool despite the epidemic’s difficulties.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to have served Shell for nearly four decades and to lead the company for the past nine years,” said the CEO.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved together. I have great confidence in Wael as my successor. He is a smart, principled and dynamic leader, who I know will continue to serve Shell with conviction and dedication.”

Van Beurden might continue to serve as a Board advisor for the organization through June 2023, according to Shell. He will no longer be an employee of the firm after that time.

Source: CNBC

Stephanie Tourtellotte Playing a Notable Role in Solving Real Estate Challenges

Real estate is one industry that has significantly changed many people’s lives with ease of use by streamlining the process of home buying. The convenience of searching for homes with the aide apps, to virtual home viewings and online loan applications, the process is no longer as daunting. 

 Many Real Estate professionals have built careers out of their passion for helping people through the homebuying process. Stephanie Tourtellotte, Our Southern California real estate expert with 23 years of experience, is one of those who are passionate about solving clients’ problems and making their lives significantly easier.

Stephanie Tourtellotte owner of Sterner Homes  has gained significant experience working with amazing clientele all over Southern California. She has also grounded herself as a key part of the community with her efforts toward fixing homelessness and her efforts to aid and relieve hunger. 

Over the years, Stephanie Tourtellotte has become an expert at efficient time management as she helps her clients solve their real estate concerns within the shortest time frames possible. “For our sellers, we have the ability in-house to pre-qualify the buyer, bringing offers to the table so that time is used efficiently. We help our sellers know in advance what they will be netting and letting go of any of the common buyer qualification trap doors that so often slow or stop a transaction. For our buyers, we do the homework ahead of time, completely pre-approving them so they can shop confidently and so that the sellers we present these great  offers to can confidently choose to work with us,” she said. 

We are currently in a sellers market, interest rates are back where they started pre-covid, yet based on historical data they are still considered low, but moving steadily upwards week by week.  The trend going into winter with the change in the rates indicates a cooling trend for home sellers, yet not a quick overnight shift over to a buyers market. Inventory is still on the low side. 

Sterner Homes caters to a vast range of clientele, from relocation specialists to VA buyers and sellers, first-time single-women homebuyers, young professionals, and upgraders. “We recommend to our clients the highest-impact home staging designs, based on our experience selling thousands of homes at no extra cost,” Stephanie said. The professionals at Sterner Homes take immense pride in their strong negotiation skills, creativity and willingness to pay attention to customers’ needs and end goals. Regardless of the number of steps each real estate transaction requires, the company pays utmost attention to the people it helps and takes care of their needs every step of the way.

Stephanie Tourtellotte’s drive is fueled by her desire to be an outstanding real estate professional. “I knew that I wanted to be better than everyone else and offer a more responsive, tailored experience for my buyers, sellers and mortgage clients. I also knew that not many agents would go the distance to help their clients overcome various obstacles that get in the way, and I just knew I could go the distance in helping clients with tailored plans to follow to realize their homeownership dreams,” she explained.

Her goal is to show each and every client, in every transaction, that they are highly valued. This is why she maintains utmost professionalism to keep them assured and seeking to with her and Sterner Homes over and over. “Reliability is important,  I strive to give every client the feeling that they are our top priority,” she shared.

Powell says Feds will Carry on with their Task of Thwarting Inflation

Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, reaffirmed his commitment to fighting inflation at a conference held on Thursday. He pledged to use aggressive policy implementation and mitigation measures to minimize the consequences of the nation’s economic downturn.

Experts and other government representatives came together to analyze fiscal issues of crucial national relevance at the Cato Institute’s 40th Annual Monetary Conference.

During the conference, Powell aanounced, “The Fed has, and accepts, responsibility for price stability. We need to act right now — forthrightly, strongly.”

Since then, Powell has made known the strong actions the Fed will undertake while he is Chairman. The Federal Reserve is preparing the public for the expected rise in commodity prices, which might change individuals’ spending, income, and investment patterns. He made this announcement in a speech at the Jackson Hole annual conference last month.

According to Powell, the general population could believe that increased inflation in the nation is the norm. He argued that the ineffective attempts by the government to regulate market pricing may have contributed to this mentality. Powell concludes that the Fed’s delay and resistance to enact more substantial restrictions that would have halted the nation’s spiraling prices are to blame.

Vice Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Lael Brainard concurs with Powell’s assertion that consumers already view inflation as a common occurrence. “It is especially important to guard against the risk that households and businesses could start to expect inflation to remain above 2% in the longer run,” Brainard said.

Read Also: Job Market is Robust in August Report Exceeding Economists’ Expectations

Rate hikes most likely

A rise in the basis points that the Fed will set during its policy meeting this month is already anticipated by many investors. Their forecast is for a basis increase of at least 75 points. Moreover, the rise is most likely to occur even if the upcoming releases of the Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index are better than what was forecasted.

“Their message is that we should expect them to remain in restrictive policy mode even after we start to see inflation data head in the right direction,” He went to pretty extensive lengths to dispel assumptions of any pivot coming forward soon,” Globalt Investments portfolio manager Keith Buchanan said.

The Fed has already been criticized for underplaying the impending inflation months ago. However, senior agency staff members have apologized to the public and stated that they have learned from their blunder and will work to mitigate its repercussions.

“It would be sufficient for them to acknowledge that the near-term rate is trending in the right direction, but, definitely, they should not allow that to [influence] their trajectory. The real dilemma is, how much good data do they need in hand before they pause?” said deputy chief investment officer from Hirtle Callaghan Brad Conger.

Read Also: TikTok is a Music Industry Trendsetter, Helping New Artists

 More work is needed from the Fed

The potential of low unemployment seems to worsen the central bank’s existing problems, aside from the other ones it is currently facing. The United States now has its lowest jobless rate in fifty years. In addition, Loretta Mester, president of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank, stated that the country’s main economic concern right now is inflation.

“Given current rates of inflation, I believe that the Fed has more work to do in order to get inflation under control. This will entail further rate increases to tighten financial conditions,” Mester stated.

Powell highlighted the need to take these factors into account during the conference last month.

“Our responsibility to deliver price stability is unconditional. While higher interest rates, slower growth, and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses,” the Chairman said.

“The longer the current bout of high inflation continues, the greater the chance that expectations of higher inflation will become entrenched.”

Source: CNN

Quiet Quitting is Becoming a Trend Among Employees, Managers Should Know About it

Photo Credit: TIME

The pandemic has worried many businesses and undeniably caused harm to executives and workers for more than two years. This led to the rise of the latest trend on TikTok, the quiet quitting, which can be attributed to long work hours, stress, and understaffed businesses.

The phrase has been interpreted a lot of times incorrectly. Others believe it simply refers to quitting a job or to employees doing the bare minimum at their current positions. But according to leadership coach Kathy Caprino, it is neither.

“It’s about stopping doing work that people think is beyond what they were hired to do and not getting compensated for,” she said.

Employees should still perform the task for which they are compensated to a high standard, but they should refrain from taking on tasks outside their position’s scope because doing so will only increase long-term stress.

“While I was in my 9-to-5 job, I was still working my 40 hours a week. I was still fulfilling my job duties. I was just taking away that feeling of stress I had,” a consultant said.

Read Also: Ford Motor said it Will Reduce Company Costs by Removing 3,000 Individuals from its Workforce

A drastic shift during the pandemic

The pandemic has increased the frequency of employees accepting tasks for which they are not paid. In addition, many business executives gave their remaining employees new responsibilities due to the massive layoffs and unexpected changes in the environment brought on by the lockdown.

Chris Edmonds, CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group, claimed that the employers’ insistence on going back to the in-person system also caused the employees to become frustrated. According to a survey conducted in March 2022, only 24% of American employees believe their managers are concerned about their wellbeing.

“It’s on [managers] to genuinely and authentically understand where people are coming from. One of the things [supporting] innovation is … radical prioritization by employees and managers and leaders,” Simone Ahuja said, a Fortune 500 strategic consultant.

What is quiet quitting

Quiet qutting basically means letting go of the extra tasks that were never part of your original job description. Although there is no justification for people to be ‘quitting quietly,’ most employees believe that given the current circumstances, pandemic-related burnout might be the issue driving the trend.

According to Ashley Herd, the creator of ManagerMethod.com, employees find it difficult to open up and inform managers that they are exhausted from their jobs. Herd added that managers typically say they will act, but nothing actually happens. Consequently, employees decide to ‘quietly quit.’

“[Quiet quitting may be an employee’s way of] taking control and having boundaries. However, managers should be concerned if their expectation is for people to go above and beyond constantly. It doesn’t serve anyone if you burn out,” Herd said.

It might also imply that workers have established new priorities outside of work. It wouldn’t necessarily mean that the worker would stop performing well. Ahuja continued by saying that many people seek an identity more than the job they are paid to do. Again, this results from the pandemic-caused desire to live life to the fullest.

Read Also: NASA Will Shoot for the Moon Again with Artemis I, Decades After the Apollo Mission

What managers should do

Although there isn’t a single solution to an employee quitting quietly, it’s crucial to understand what your team is contemplating. Ahuja recommended that managers have a clear understanding of each employee’s objectives both inside and outside the workplace.

“Have a genuine inquiry — people feel cared about when they’re invited into a co-design process. Ultimately, we all want to be in a sandbox that’s fun to play in.”

“If you don’t understand the internal state of your employees, things are going to happen that you’re going to be blindsided by. We have to show that we are committed as leaders, that we’re involved and that we’re invested.”

Edmonds continued by saying that managers should interact with staff members and foster a sense of community. “The responsibility of employers is to find out what people perceive as fair, then don’t do anything less than that.”

Source: CNN

Employers want to Require Workers to Spend More Time in the Office

Photo Credit: Luis Alvarez | Getty Images

Getting employees to the traditional face-to-face setup may be difficult for many companies. Companies enforcing hybrid work setups have expressed intentions to require their employees to appear physically several times a week in offices. However, executives are having a hard time implementing it. This is in part due to the reluctance of workers to completely revert to the setup like the one in the pre-pandemic period.

However, as the months pass by and the necessity to get back to the old setup becomes apparent, companies might need to become more persuasive.

At least 69% of U.S. employers report doing the remote working setup, revealed Gartner, a business consulting firm. Of this number, 26% said that they require their employees to appear three days in the office every week, 17% direct their workers to be present two days in the office per week, and 4% opt for once a week. A relatively small percentage, 5%, require their workers to be in the office five times a week.

Thirty-one percent of the surveyed executives said that they do not set a standard frequency of on-the-site presence of their employees. For example, a commercial real estate firm JLL said that they would not impose a required number of days on their employees this fall.

“We’ve always believed in flexibility to draw the talent we need. we believe fundamentally that the office is a key part of the work ecosystem,” said the human resource officer of the company, Laura Adams.

Others predict that office occupancy will increase as time goes by, especially after Labor Day. Mark Ein, a chairman at the management firm Kastle System said that the current office occupancy has already doubled compared to the earlier periods in 2022. However, even with this, the percentage is only 43% of what it was during the pre-pandemic period.

Ein remains positive that the number will soon increase, given companies’ urge to revert their systems back to what it was before. As Covid became more manageable to many U.S. states, company executives are confident in getting back on track.

“Short of another surge – in which the scientific community says it’s unsafe to come to work – CEOs are saying it’s no longer an issue of safety, and kids are in school,” said Johnny Taylor, the president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource and Management.

“They’ve accepted that we’re not going back to the good old days, but [feel] employees don’t want to give anything.”

Employers dilemma

Others surmise that if there is continued reluctance from employees, employers may opt to let go of other workers and find others who are willing to appear in the office as required. If this trend happens, it will give more advantages to companies.

“The game changer would be if widespread layoffs begin taking place. At that point, employees might voluntarily begin spending more time in the office to protect their jobs,” explained Gallup’s director of research and strategy for workplace management Ben Wigert.

However, according to Brian Kropp, Gartner’s chief of research, employers do not readily expunge employees for non-compliance. A survey found that only 3% of employers will fire their workers who do not meet the in-office requirement they want to enforce.

“If you’re not meeting the attendance [requirement], you get in trouble, but you don’t get fired. They will try to make it work … because the labor market is still so competitive. So they’re not willing to make their hiring problem even worse,” said Kropp.

Employee threats could backfire

According to workplace experts, threats by means of pay cuts and termination for non-compliant workers may not be a good solution. Face time in the office is necessary. However, research reveals that the time spent in the office is not directly related to fostering good relationships between employer and employees.

“The tide has not shifted entirely yet. It’s still a good job market. Employees have options. And even if the tide turns, don’t disenfranchise them through fear and distrust,” said Wigert.

Source: CNN

Starbucks Timing: When Does The Starbucks Open And Close?

Starbucks Timing– Starbucks is America’s favorite coffee shop and one of the most visited places in the world. It’s a place where teenagers relax after school, grab a quick breakfast before work, and for some, it’s even their only day in this week.

So, when does Starbucks open and close?

Starbucks is open Monday through Friday from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm depending on your location. On Saturday they open at 6:00 am and close at 10:00 pm. Sunday hours are 7:00 am until 10:00 pm. If you are unable to visit Starbucks on a particular day, they will still accept your order. As a customer you can visit Starbucks any time and purchase a beverage, but as a franchisee you have to follow the same hours of operation as the local municipality in which your store is located. Starbucks stores are also open in grocery stores. The hours for these locations will vary as well. It is important to check each store individually before planning a visit.

To check the operating hours of your local Starbucks check out their website https://www.starbucks.in/ or call them directly.

When Does Starbucks Close On Holidays?

Starbucks is open on all major holidays. They are closed on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day, but open on all other holidays including New Years Day. Although Starbucks is open on holidays, the hours of operation may vary slightly from the regular hours.

TIP: Check out the hours before you go to Starbucks. Many times you can find deals or sales on drinks, food, and other items. This can save you money and time on your next visit.
The Starbucks timing vary by state and city. However, it is very easy to find a Starbucks store open at the time that you need. You can check their official website:

You can also use the store locator from their website. Enter your city and state to find a Starbucks close to you.

Starbucks Timing – What is the best to time to visit Starbucks?

The best time to visit Starbucks is during the morning hours. At this time the store is filled with people who want to start their day or grab a coffee on their way to work. It’s also a great time for families because most children are either at school or preschool and the Starbucks stores are not crowded with teenagers and young adults who prefer to go out in the evening.

Does The Starbucks Offer Home Delivery ?

If you are looking for a way to enjoy Starbucks at your home, you don’t have to go out every morning. You can order for them and have them deliver it to your doorstep. This is a great convenience if you have a busy schedule. Many people enjoy this feature because they don’t have to worry about driving to Starbucks or having to find parking spaces. You can also order items from their menu when you are at home and enjoy it there.

This service is very popular for students and office workers who work late. You can have your favorite Starbucks products delivered to your door on a regular schedule.

Conclusion

I hope it helped you to know When Does The Starbucks Open And Close? Enjoy your favorite drinks, delicious treats and food in a convenient way. If you are interested in more articles visit our website daily. We are always ready to help you!

Thankyou for reading this post, and we hope it was helpful! Please leave a comment, or check out some of our other posts on economicinsider.com

Walmart Pharmacy Hours: When Does The Store Open And Close?

It’s important to know the Walmart pharmacy hours for you especially if you are taking your medication on a regular basis. Some people forget to keep track of these hours and end up being in an inconvenient situation such as forgetting to pick up their prescription during the evening hours when the store is closed. However, there are certain times you can get your prescriptions filled so you don’t have to worry about it. Keep reading for Walmart pharmacy hours information.

When Does Wal-Mart Pharmacy Open?

The Walmart pharmacy hours are open the same hours at the store itself. The pharmacy department hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and weekends (Saturday and Sunday) are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. If you need a prescription before these times, you can always call your local Wal-Mart and ask an associate about getting your prescription filled early.

Walmart Pharmacy Hours on Saturday and Sunday:

The Wal-Mart pharmacy hours on Saturday and Sunday are from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. However, if you’re close to the store and need your prescription filled, the store may be open longer than these hours. Always call the store before making a trip to the pharmacy if you need your medication earlier than these hours.

It is also important to note that Wal-Mart pharmacy hours are only from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Friday. That is definitely something you need to keep in mind if you’re going for your prescription at a different store and do not want to wait until the pharmacy is open again.

Walmart Pharmacy Hours on Holidays

If you need a prescription filled on a holiday, make sure to call the Wal-Mart pharmacy hours before you head to the store. The pharmacy hours are different on some holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s important to know the Wal-Mart pharmacy hours for these days in case you need your prescription filled. You can find these hours online by checking the website for your local store.

Christmas Day – Closed
Thanksgiving – Closed
New Years Day – Limited hours
Easter Sunday – Limited hours
Christmas Eve – Limited hours

Walmart pharmacy hours may also vary on other holidays, such as the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day. You may need to call ahead to the Wal-Mart pharmacy hours for these other holidays. As mentioned above, there are also certain days that are not listed on Wal-Mart pharmacy hours. On these days, you can call before making a trip to the store for your prescription.

Contact Walmart Pharmacy

If you need to contact Wal-Mart pharmacy during the store hours, you can always call the customer service number listed on the Wal-Mart pharmacy website. If you need to contact Wal-Mart pharmacy on a different day, such as during the holiday or for a prescription fill on another day, you can call toll free at 1-800-WALMART (1-800-273-3455).

What Is The Pharmacy Phone Number? (For Refills)

For Wal-Mart pharmacy refills, you need to call the number listed on the Wal-Mart pharmacy website. The number is 1-800-2-REFILL (1-800-273-3455) and is a toll free number. The customer service hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

How many Ways To Get Your Prescriptions From Walmart Pharmacy?

You have several different ways to get your prescriptions from Wal-Mart pharmacy. Here are some of the methods:

1) Using the Walmart App- The Wal-Mart app is available to download on the app store. Once you download the app, you can use it to make your regular pharmacy appointment as well as refill your prescriptions at a Wal-Mart pharmacy.

2) Going to the Walmart website- The Wal-Mart website has pharmacy information which includes the hours for the pharmacy. You can get your prescriptions refilled by signing into your account and enrolling your prescriptions, or you can do it in person at a store. You should call in advance to refill a prescription, especially if you need it filled early or on a holiday.

3) Calling the Walmart pharmacy- The Wal-Mart pharmacy number is 1-800-2-REFILL (1-800-273-3455). You can call this number at any time, but the hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Walmart Pharmacy hours for the drive-thru pharmacy:

So, if you don’t want to walk inside the store to pick up your prescriptions, the drive-thru is a convenient choice. Wal-Mart Pharmacy drive-thru hours are:

Monday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Does The Walmart Offer Home Delivery ?

Yes, Walmart well offer home delivery service to your house. If you need your prescription in a hurry, the fastest and easiest way to get it is by ordering it online. You can also call the Wal-Mart pharmacy hours to talk to an associate about any questions you may have about a specific prescription or refill. It’s important for you to familiarize yourself with the Wal-Mart pharmacy hours for the drive-thru and phone number so you can get your prescriptions filled quickly.

CONCLUSION

The Walmart pharmacy hours are important to keep in mind, especially when you need your prescription filled earlier than the store hours. If you can call ahead, it will save you time and trouble. The Wal-Mart pharmacy hours are different for certain holidays, like Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and Easter Sunday. The Wal-Mart pharmacy hours for these days are different from the store hours. You can also call to order if you need your prescription in a hurry and the drive-thru is an option.

If you have any questions about Wal-Mart pharmacy hours please feel free to contact us via our contact form. We will try our best to answer your questions in a timely manner.

Thankyou for reading this post, and we hope it was helpful! Please leave a comment, or check out some of our other posts on economicinsider.com

Job Market is Robust in August Report Exceeding Economists’ Expectations

Photo Credit: Stefani Reynolds via Getty Images

The United States labor market has surprised economists as August saw 315,000 more jobs created by companies, adding to the revised 526,000 positions the month before.

While the numbers exceeded the expectations of economists, the country’s employment rates still went up from 3.5% to 3.7%. According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate rose because many people went into the labor market searching for jobs in a post-pandemic era.

Meanwhile, inflation forced interest rates to spike up records-high. The Fed will meet in the latter part of this month to discuss the rates it will enforce on the country, and the seemingly favorable August report might prompt the agency to lower the rates.

However, the strength of the labor market is not at all what the Fed likes. The economy is already slowing down, evidenced by the relatively slow pace in the sales of several industries like housing which has been increasingly volatile as the months go by. Jerome Powell, the Fed Chairman, said that the labor market is “clearly out of balance, with demand for workers substantially exceeding the supply of available workers.”

The August report

A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the ratio of jobs to job seekers was 2:1 last week. This can be explained by the volume of job openings for applicants, which already hit 11.2 million last July, a 700,000 increase from June.

“We have a calm center and lots of conflicting factors swirling around. But effectively, what we’re seeing is that in spite of rising rates and supply chain issues that continue to plague [businesses], the jobs market is robust. There’s a lot of pent-up demand for employees,” said the senior vice president at Manpower Group, Jim McCoy.

In August, the professional and business services and health care sector saw a significant increase in monthly employment. The former added 68,000 positions, while the latter saw a 48,000 increase. With the new numbers in place, the US sees an average of 438,000 jobs per month.

“I think it’s reasonable to expect that we will not keep that pace up between now and the end of the year,” said Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick. I think that we may well have seen the low for unemployment during this cycle.”

What the Feds want

Compared to the pre-pandemic era’s monthly average, this year is greater. However, Brian Bethune from Boston College said that the Feds might accept the numbers shown in the August report.

“I don’t think the Fed wants to see things suddenly decelerate, nor do they want to see things move at too rapid of a rate for the economy to adjust,” Bethune said. “What the Fed wants is the Goldilocks economy. They want it to be moving along at a steady pace — but not too fast; not too hot, not too cold.”

Bethune justified that more workers meant easing the constraints that have been put into goods and services, especially those that are labor intensive.

“If the Fed goes and drives through the stop sign [by overcorrecting and spurring a recession], and we get a reduction in employment as a result, then we’re going to get a reduction in supply — really not the right path to go at all,” the professor added.

Apart from job availability and its ratio to the number of job seekers, there are other factors that the Fed is considering, one of which is wage growth. Powell said that continuous gains in wages could only help inflation lengthen.

“This is, no doubt, a welcome development for the Fed, but we shouldn’t see this as a sign of an imminent Fed pivot toward looser monetary policy,” said the chief economist for EY, Gregory Daco.

Daco surmised that given the current conditions in the market, along with other factors that the Feds are closely monitoring, a total of 50 basis points may be added by its authorities during its meeting later this month.

Source: CNN

Elon Musk Hopes to Delay Acquisition Deal Trial Following Twitter Whistleblower’s Disclosure

Photo Credit: Dado Ruvic

Elon Musk and his legal team are attempting to find a way to postpone the trial for Twitter’s acquisition deal in light of recent charges brought by a whistleblower accusing the company of alleged cybersecurity issues.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission were among the American agencies that took notice of the whistleblower’s disclosure. As a result, the Senate got involved and requested responses and appearances on Twitter at a committee hearing sometime in September.

Beginning on October 15, the acquisition case will be heard in Delaware Chancery Court for five days. Musk’s team filed a new timing plan with the court, though. They recommended that the trial be scheduled for a later time, possibly in October, depending on the court’s availability.

Read Also: Apple is Set to Unveil New Devices this September

The legal team of Musk wants to terminate the deal

A copy of the whistleblower’s disclosure, a 200-page report outlining the alleged security and privacy issues involving Twitter users, is annexed by Musk’s legal team. The updates to Musk’s counterclaim regarding the agreement breach he allegedly committed, as reported by Twitter, are included in the court appeal.

However, Twitter answered in one of its statements, “[Twitter is] “committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk. We have not breached any of our representations or obligations under the Agreement, and have not suffered and are not likely to suffer a Company Material Adverse Effect.”

Before going to court, Musk sent a letter to Twitter requesting that the company revoke the acquisition agreement in light of Peiter “Mudge” Zatko’s testimonies against the social media giant.

But Twitter stayed with its decision and rejected the proposal. They said, “[Musk’s letter] is based solely on statements made by a third party that, as Twitter has previously stated, are riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack important context.”

The impact of the whistleblower

Hope for Musk and his team in their long-term objective of terminating the deal has been handed with the appearance of the Zatko. The group had earlier charged Twitter with violating both intellectual property rights and a 2011 consent order from the Federal Trade Commission. However, none of the attempts to void the Agreement were successful.

With Zatko, Twitter has now discovered a new strategy for achieving its objective. The whistleblower was served with a subpoena by Musk’s legal team requiring him to show up on September 9 for a deposition.

According to Debra Katz and Alexis Ronickher, Zatko’s attorneys, “Mr. Zatko will comply with his legal obligations of that subpoena, and his appearance at the deposition is involuntary. He did not make his whistleblower disclosures to the appropriate governmental bodies to benefit Musk or to harm Twitter, but rather to protect the American public and Twitter shareholders.”

Read Also: Largest Electronic Market in China Shuts Following Covid-related Lockdown

The whistleblower and his disclosure

Zatko accepted the whistleblower position while he was employed by Twitter. He claimed that due to his position within the organization, he saw the Twitter management’s flaws in many crucial aspects of its operations.

“It was impossible to protect the production environment. All engineers had access. There was no logging of who went into the environment or what they did…. Nobody knew where data lived or whether it was critical, and all engineers had some form of critical access to the production environment,” Zatko said.

Twitter answered Zatko, “Mr. Zatko was fired from his senior executive role at Twitter in January 2022 for ineffective leadership and poor performance. What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack important context.”

“Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”

On September 13, Zatko is scheduled to appear in court and give testimony against Twitter.

Source: CNN

The Eco-Friendly Alternative of Avocado, the ‘Ecovocado’

Photo Credit: Arina Shokouhi

One of the most traded foods today is avocado, sometimes known as “green gold” by the global market. The numerous uses of its components have led to a growth in its appeal. According to the World Economic Forum, consumers purchase more than eleven billion pounds of avocados annually.

This shows that the avocado market is doing well. However, although the market for avocados is booming, the environment is being badly impacted. One drawback of cultivating avocados is this: Avocado growers need to consume at least 2,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of avocados. In addition, as demand rises, businesses must concurrently destroy forests to make room for avocado farms. These two reasons have persuaded a London-based researcher to come up with a novel strategy for reducing the need for avocado production.

Researcher and designer Arina Shokouhi created an environmentally friendly variant of avocado. With her new invention, which she named the “Ecovocado,” Shokouhi intends to persuade consumers to forego purchasing “genuine avocadoes” from the market, given the damaging effects that their cultivation has on the environment.

“It can be actually a positive solution, and we should just embrace it because we know that we can’t carry on living like this,” Shokouhi said.

Read Also: Prices of a Pint of Beer in the UK Rises at Staggering Rates

The Ecovocado

At first appearance, customers find it challenging to recognize the Ecovocado as a model of the real one. Beeswax and natural food coloring created from spinach and charcoal powders, which mimic the appearance of avocado skin, is used to create the product.

The Ecovocado’s meat is meticulously chosen to replicate the flavor and appearance of an authentic avocado. The Ecovocado meat, according to the manufacturer, contains broad beans, apples, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, and a hazelnut garnish. Shokouhi utilized a whole chestnut or hazelnut for the pit.

The end outcome of Shokouhi’s master’s program in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins art school is the Ecovocado. She worked with University of Nottingham food scientist Jack Wallman. Wallman assisted Shokouhi in completing the Ecovocado after studying the molecular characteristics of avocados. The method was laborious, according to the researchers, and it took them close to eight months to finish the recipe.

“(The) choice of ingredients was very limited, to begin with, because I want it to be 100% local. That was my first priority,” she added.

Garden peas and broccoli were previous recipe considerations. Nevertheless, she had to abandon it because the ingredients’ taste did not turn out nicely. Shokouhi’s idea to employ locally produced commodities as the primary ingredients were taken into account. Since broad beans are simple to grow and are produced in large quantities in the UK each year (740,000 metric tons are harvested annually), broad beans were chosen as their basic ingredient.

The outcome initially had a bitter flavor. But balancing the elements took a while. According to Wallman and Shokouhi, developing the ideal substitute for avocados is difficult.

Read Also: Temperatures in Europe Reach Records High Prompting Authorities to Declare Heat Signals, Warnings

Ecovocado might not equate to the real one

The Ecovocado is a product that shows promise. Others in the field, though, find a drawback to the product. The Ecovocado might not succeed as a substitute for an actual avocado, according to Dr. Wayne Martindale, an associate professor of food insights and sustainability at the University of Lincoln in the UK.

Dr. Martindale examines the qualities of avocado byproducts that can be used to make cutlery, lubricants, and other useful goods. Furthermore, he added that authorities’ moderation should be the main concern in the environmental debate over the avocado trade rather than the method of production.

Shokouhi hopes that despite this, people would think and consider supporting the Ecovocado.

“The taste maybe is not 100% exactly like avocado, but that doesn’t matter as an alternative as long as you can have it on your sourdough, and it tastes good, and it looks the same, and it’s healthy,” she said.

Source: CNN

Netflix Plans to Boost Revenue Through Ads and Crackdown on Password Sharing

Photo Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s subscriber loss in the past months was considered to be their most since inception. Established 25 years ago, Netflix recorded a total of 1 million loss of subscribers, but they managed it and are now gearing up for a better strategy. This will boost sales as well as get more subscribers.

Netflix is doing something that Wall Street has commended – lowering advertising costs and tightening up on password sharing among its subscribers.

Netflix has been struggling with issues that keep them from growing. To compete, they need to crack down on password sharing and address several problems that hinder them from maximizing profit. However, according to analysts, these steps may brush off the company’s promise of the ‘best overall experience.’

A media analyst at MoffettNathanson, said, “They’re going to make it harder for people to share with their family, make it hard for people to watch in multiple locations… If you choose it, have advertising interrupt your content.”

Read Also: Manchin-Schumer Bill to Increase Corporate Tax Rates, Gets Full Support from Biden

“So the original consumer proposition, which was incredibly great value, is now flipping on its head,” the media analyst further added.

Netflix has a great plan to boost their profit, but it’s not what consumers necessarily want.

Ads will now appear on Netflix

“We … are advertising free. That remains a deep part of our brand proposition,” announced the streaming company three years ago.

The company has always been known for its top-notch content. They believe that by staying out of the competition in terms of advertising revenue and focusing more on consumer satisfaction will make them the best choice.  

Just recently, Netflix is getting on board with Microsoft in the creation of its ad tier. The new project will be launched early next year and it’s said that this decision was based off research done by both companies, which showed immense potential for ad revenues.

The new plan will force subscribers to choose between plans that do not show ads and those with them. It’s worth noting, however, that the former option is significantly pricey than its counterpart.

Magid Vice President Zak Shaik, said, “The concern I have over an ad-funded model is whether ad revenue can cover the loss in premium subscriber revenue, as a portion of the current subs will likely downgrade to the cheaper ad option.”

Shaikh then posed questions to Netflix. “Will ads have an impact on content standards and the supposedly ‘artist-friendly’ environment of Netflix?”

“Will advertisers expect Netflix to censor certain content that right now Netflix has not had to be concerned about?”

Password sharing will be cracked down

The company has been seeing an increase in the number of subscribers who share their passwords. They’re considering cracking down on this, but it might have some negative consequences for the company.

The streaming company is in its “early stages of working to monetize the [more than] 100 million households that are currently enjoying, but not directly paying for, Netflix.” This means that password sharing would mean higher costs for the subscribers.

Read Also: Poland Procures Defense Machineries from South Korea

Subscribers who have been sharing their accounts with friends, families and acquaintances would find it difficult to continue doing so. “We know this will be a change for our members,” the company said in a statement.

Netflix has been tolerant of password sharing for years. This is because of the company’s needs of subscribers to pay, if only as a means of keeping operations afloat and maintaining its profitability, did they start on cracking down on password sharing.  

“What I worry about is that the goodwill that they’ve built over the years … dissipates over time when they do things that should be more consumer-unfriendly. All the incredible value and goodwill that they built is at risk of being jeopardized,” a media analyst said.

Source: CNN

Apple is Set to Unveil New Devices this September

Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Apple declared that it would introduce new products on September 7 at its California headquarters. As Apple prepares to release another batch of iPhones, tech-savvy people are on the lookout. Every September since 2012, the company has released new smartphone models, and this year is no exception.

Apple has been releasing prerecorded videos for its device announcements due to the pandemic. This year would be different, though, as the business gets ready for a physical setup. A large number of tech enthusiasts and members of the media would be invited to the headquarters for the launch, while others could watch it online via YouTube or the Apple website.

The world has always paid attention to Apple during this time. A signature Apple event, the company’s September event draws at least millions of people. The leading technology company’s event, which generated a lot of hype, is what drives its yearly increase in revenue in the final three months.

Apple’s chosen tagline is “Far out.” There are many different ideas about what this entails. Others think it might be a reference to the updated camera from the company that has features for taking clearer photographs of the night sky.

Apple Watches and iPhones are typically released once a year. A month later, new versions of the iPad and Mac will be released. Tech enthusiasts have therefore been on the lookout for any potential surprises that Apple may have in store for its prospective customers as August draws to a close.

Read Also: Ford Motor said it Will Reduce Company Costs by Removing 3,000 Individuals from its Workforce

New versions of the iPhone

Apple is anticipated to introduce a new line of smartphones, the iPhone 14, following the 2021 iPhone 13. Analysts speculate that the company may have abandoned the “mini” models in favor of the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screens that are common among Apple’s iPhone Pro and Pro Max models.

The Pro and Pro Max models would cost more than their other equivalent. However, according to Bloomberg News and Apple Watchers, the upcoming models will reportedly include newer features.

The FaceID sensor and camera are located in the notch that is present on later models of the iPhone. Apple may eliminate the space this year, allowing for a larger screen and nearly bezel-less screen. The iPhone 14 Pro models might also come with the A16 processor and cameras with bigger bumps.

The always-on display that shows the time and weather is an even more recent feature, though it is not new to Android phones. Given that Apple appears to have tested adding a new widget to its display, the iPhone 14 may very well include this.

The price range for iPhones will continue to be between $699 and $1099 in the interim. Of course, since Apple hasn’t disclosed the prices of its devices for the September launch, this range could change.

Read Also: Quiet Quitting is Becoming a Trend Among Employees, Managers Should Know About it

The new iOS

The iOS 16 version of Apple’s operating system would be released. The company tested the system in June of last year, and over the summer, it underwent system checks and improvements. Updates will still be provided for older iPhone models.

Users of iOS 16 can take advantage of new features like the ability to customize the iPhone lock, which enables owners to choose which widgets, including the weather, calendar, appointments, and other data, will appear on the screen. For the first time, users had the option to alter the clock’s font.

Additionally, iMessages can now be edited and unsent. For those who consistently mess up when sending an important message or a love confession, this is convenient.

The release of the new iPads and Macs won’t take place at the same time as the iPhones and Apple Watch, as Apple stated that the iOS for their iPads would arrive after the September event. As they have already hinted at a potential Mac Pro in the spring, the company is accelerating the completion of its other products.

Source: CNBC

Nova Credit, Vesti, partner to accelerate financial inclusion for Nigerian Immigrants in the US

NEW YORK, August 30, 2022 – Today Nova Credit, the world’s leading consumer-permissioned credit bureau, announced a partnership with Vesti, the finance app focused on alleviating barriers for Nigerians moving to the United States. The partnership will allow Vesti to leverage Nova Credit’s Credit Passport® to help approve more Nigerian newcomers for the new Vesti Card, which will provide a stepping stone for users to start building a U.S. credit profile upon arrival.

For more than half of recent U.S. immigrants, a top priority upon arrival is securing a credit card, according to a survey commissioned by Nova Credit. With more than 400,000 Nigerian-born immigrants in the U.S. today, many newcomers will face the same need for a line of credit upon arrival. Unfortunately, since credit profiles do not travel across borders, getting approved for a credit card as a newcomer is very challenging. 

The Vesti Card helps tackle the challenges that Nigerian immigrants, who are new to the U.S., face by providing them with financial solutions that make their relocation easier. With the support of Credit Passport®, a cross-border credit solution giving lenders access to consumer-permissioned credit data on new-to-country consumers, Vesti will gain access to the home country credit profiles of Nigerian immigrants, allowing them to evaluate and approve prospective card members even faster.

“Simplifying financial services for immigrants is at the core of our mission at Vesti,” said Olu Amusan, co-founder and CEO of Vesti. “With a similar mission of accelerating financial inclusion for underserved communities, we are super excited to work with Nova Credit to bring our missions to life for the betterment of Nigerian immigrants.”

“Vesti is doing some commendable work for the Nigerian and broader immigrant population, so the opportunity to partner with them was a clear next step for us,” said Misha Esipov, co-founder and CEO of Nova Credit. “With Credit Passport®, Vesti will now have access to the credit profiles of the thousands of Nigerian immigrants who seek opportunities in the United States each year, and even more new-to-country Nigerians will have the chance to start their life in the U.S. on stable financial footing thanks to the Vesti Card.”

To learn more about the Credit Passport®, visit: www.novacredit.com/business/credit-passport or reach out directly to connect@novacredit.com.

To inquire about a Vesti Card, visit: app.wevesti.com/creditcard

CONTACT:

Rachel Levy
V2 Communications on behalf of Nova Credit
novacredit@v2comms.com

Ford Motor said it Will Reduce Company Costs by Removing 3,000 Individuals from its Workforce

Photo Credit: Getty Images

As part of its restructuring process, Ford Motor Company confirmed that it would remove over 3,000 individuals from its global workforce. It was made public by CEO Jim Farley.

On Monday, the business began attempting to inform its workers of the need to reduce some of their workforces. According to a message from Bill Ford, the company’s chairman, two thousand salaried positions and 1,000 agency workers from the United States, Canada, and India would be subject to the massive layoff.

“Building this future requires changing and reshaping virtually all aspects of the way we have operated for more than a century. It requires focus, clarity and speed. And, as we have discussed in recent months, it means redeploying resources and addressing our cost structure, which is uncompetitive versus traditional and new competitors,” the message read.

Ford made this decision in connection to the inevitable economic crisis being felt by nations around the world. Only by making these difficult but necessary choices will the company be able to continue operating. The company will have to cut costs and reduce the number of employees. At its peak, the recession is pushing to shatter all previous records in over 40 years.

Ford declared that it had a surplus of employees prior to the announcement. In addition, Ford has been restructuring, as seen in the separation of its internal combustion and electric departments.

A Ford spokesperson said, “There are opportunities to be more efficient and more effective in all the business units and all the functions that support them.”

Read Also: The Eco-Friendly Alternative of Avocado, the ‘Ecovocado’

The total workforce of Ford

Ford employs roughly 31,000 salaried personnel in just North America. The company currently employs 186,769 people worldwide. 90,873, or 48.7% of those numbers, are based in the United States.

Ford implemented its Ford+ reorganization when Farley became CEO in October 2020. Around $3 billion in structural spending would be reduced as a result of the program, which would then be reallocated as funds to the commercial and electric vehicles departments.

“We worked differently than in the past, examining each team’s shifting work statement connected to our Ford+ plan. We are eliminating work, as well as reorganizing and simplifying functions throughout the business,” the company message added.

Adding to the overall 27% share decline this year alone, Ford’s stocks fell by 5% on Monday.

Read Also: Factories in China Shut Operations Amid Worst Heat Wave in Decades

The tourism and technology industries have suffered

The business environment following the pandemic has changed significantly, according to Julia Pollak, the chief economist at ZipRecruiter. The number of businesses that have consistently changed how they approach hiring, marketing, and restructuring is evidence of this. Numerous employers are currently attempting to undo their previous actions.

According to Pollak, “The pandemic created very unique, once-in-a-lifetime conditions in many different industries that caused a dramatic reallocation of capital. Many of those conditions no longer apply so you’re seeing a reallocation of capital back to more normal patterns.”

Executives are doubtful about the state of the economy because inflation has reached a 40-year high. The Feds have taken all reasonable steps to lessen the difficulties; however, recent happenings in politics, the weather, and international conflict have added to the already pressing issues brought on by the pandemic.

The company executive of Alphabet, Sunday Pichai, said, “It’s clear we are facing a challenging macro environment with more uncertainty ahead. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity.”

Joseph Fuller, professor of management at the Harvard Business School, said, “When we look at labor shortages related to travel, you can’t just flip a switch and suddenly have more baggage handlers that have passed security checks or pilots. We’re still seeing people not opt-in to come back because they don’t like what their employers are dictating in terms of working conditions in a post-lethal pandemic world.”

Source: CNBC

Bed Bad & Beyond says it has a Strategy that Could Help Others Amid Economic Uncertainty

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bed Bath & Beyond said it would reveal its comeback strategy as the company fended off the country’s economic turmoil. The strategy should detail steps to win back revenue and customers before the holiday season. The company issued a news release saying that it would meet with investors. Also reported in the release is the 5% rise of Bed Bath & Beyond shares amid low confidence among executives, investors, and customers.

Sue Gove, Bed Bath & Beyond’s interim CEO, said, “[The company’s call will include a preview of strategies and changes being implemented across the enterprise to deliver results for all stakeholders.”

“We recognize the strong interest in our company and our plans to better serve customers, recapture market share, drive growth and profitability, ensure our vendors are supported and strengthen our balance sheet,” she added.

The company is confident that it is only a matter of time before the current strategies employed by the company will lead Bed Bath & Beyond to grow and rake in investors and customers. While this is so, the company is still searching for a new CEO to replace Mark Tritton, who was discharged from his office earlier this summer. The decision leading to Tritton’s expulsion from his designation is the loss that the company suffered due to the administrative decisions undertaken by the then-CEO, including trimming back on 20% coupons and introductions of other brands.

Read Also: Walmart Announces Expansion of Abortion Benefits to Employees

In addition, the home goods market is having difficulty with its sales. The sector saw an unexpected boost during the height of the pandemic. However, now that the economy is struggling and families are prioritizing food over everything else, the market has seen a dramatic decline in sales, leading to discounts and packages.

Bed Bath & Beyond sales were down 25% yearly, leading to a total net loss of $358 million. These conditions add to the other problems Bed Bath & Beyond faced, said the managing director of GlobalData Retail, Neil Sanders.

“If you are running up a down escalator, internally, with the external environment, you’re running up the down escalator that’s on superspeed. It’s a really difficult, if not impossible, task because this is not the best of environments to be trying to recreate your business,” said Sanders.

Bed Bath & Beyond is now turning to lenders to realize its plans to bring back its favorable fiscal condition. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is now in its final stages of signing a $400 million loan for bills payment and other operations to strengthen supplier relationships. Bed Bath & Beyond made a deal with Sixth Street Partners, a firm that has lent to struggling companies like J.C. Penney, among others.

Apart from the removal of Tritton, Joe Hartsig, the merchandising chief, also made his exit from the company. This would impact the company in several ways, but it is confident that with interventions in the docket, Bed Bath & Beyond will spring from its current predicament.

Read Also: Taiwan, US to Bolster Economic Ties Amid Disagreement From China

Tritton’s exit

Tritton was employed by Bed Bath & Beyond in 2019. As CEO, he led the company’s goal of reviving the number of customers as well as increasing online sales. Under Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond abolished underperforming branches, introduced new brands, and remodeled several stores.

However, even with the efforts, the company could not reach its objectives and missed out on many administrative goals. In one holiday season, for example, Bed Bath & Beyond lost around $175 million in sales because of stock transportation blockages.

In recent reports, after Tritton was removed from his position, Bed Bath & Beyond saw a 15% increase in its inventory despite the fall in demand. The company is also set to reduce the expenditures from $300 million to $100 million, said Chief Financial Officer Gustavo Arnal. Meanwhile, the interim CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond, Sue Gove, is hopeful that she will lead the company to greater heights under her temporary assignment.

“I step into this role keenly aware of the macro-economic environment,” she said.

Source: CNBC

Disclosure from Whistleblower Compels Senate to Call Twitter for a Hearing

Photo Credit: Jens Gyarmaty | Redux

Major developments are currently affecting Twitter. This follows the former company security chief’s announcement that he would testify against Twitter in front of a Senate committee the following month. The timing coincides with the company’s final decision-making day regarding whether or not to approve businessman Elon Musk’s takeover proposal.

Peter “Mudge” Zatko, a whistleblower, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and castigate Twitter for its cybersecurity problems and negligence when it comes to user privacy. The hearing will happen on September 13.

Zatko sent 200 pages of documents, along with supplementary exhibits, to several government agencies last month. The US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission were also given copies of the document by the whistleblower.

Because many officials were worried about the information in the disclosure sent by the whistleblower, the hearing was pushed through. Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley claim that “Mr. Zatko’s allegations of widespread security failures and foreign state actor interference at Twitter raise serious concerns. If these claims are accurate, they may show dangerous data privacy and security risks for Twitter users around the world.”

The Senate’s Intelligence Committee acknowledged the gravity of Zatko’s disclosure. According to Rachel Cohen, a spokesperson for the committee, the lawmakers’ call for the meeting is an effort to discuss the allegations. According to the senate subcommittee on consumer protection, the FTC has been urged to look into the situation and impose appropriate fines or sanctions should Twitter be found guilty of the charges.

Read Also: Bed Bad & Beyond says it has a Strategy that Could Help Others Amid Economic Uncertainty

Twitter answers the allegations

Even though the hearing was scheduled because there seemed probable cause, Twitter reacted quickly to condemn Zatko’s actions.

In a statement by Twitter spokesperson, the company stated, “Mr. Zatko was fired from his senior executive role at Twitter in January 2022 for ineffective leadership and poor performance. What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that are riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack important context.

“Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”

The identity of the whistleblower

Zatko has a history of making the public aware of cybersecurity issues. He even appeared on national television during a congressional hearing on cybersecurity in 1998.

“All my life, I’ve been about finding places where I can go and make a difference. I’ve done that through the security field. That’s my main lever,” Zatko said during an interview.

Prior to joining Twitter, Zatko held positions at a number of tech firms, including Strip and Google. He worked for the US Department of Defense as well. Zatko decided to play the whistleblower when Twitter was breached back in 2022, compromising the accounts of several important individuals, including former President Barack Obama and Elon Musk, among others.

Read Also: Ford Motor said it Will Reduce Company Costs by Removing 3,000 Individuals from its Workforce

He was subsequently hired by Twitter, where he allegedly started to notice some flaws in the company’s security protocols. The whistleblower claimed that Twitter had very lax security procedures that allowed more than 50% of the staff to access the application’s controls. The system of the company has “egregious deficiencies, negligence, willful ignorance, and threats to national security and democracy,” according to Zatko’s findings.

“It was impossible to protect the production environment. All engineers had access. There was no logging of who went into the environment or what they did…. Nobody knew where data lived or whether it was critical, and all engineers had some form of critical access to the production environment,” added Zatko in his disclosure.

“And if there’s a violation here — and that’s a big if — then I think the FTC should very seriously consider not just fining the corporation but also putting the executives responsible under order,” said  Jon Leibowitz, the Former FTC chairperson.

Source: CNN

Walmart Announces Expansion of Abortion Benefits to Employees

Photo Credit: Sundry Photography

Two months after the US Supreme Court decided to overturn the important Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion, Walmart announced last Friday that it will broaden its coverage of both travel and abortion. Walmart declared in an internal memo that its healthcare program, which covers abortion “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or lack of fetal viability,” will be put into effect immediately.

If there are no clinics offering legal abortions within 100 miles of where they live, Walmart’s work force and family members are guaranteed travel expenses. Donna Morris, Walmart’s chief people officer, sent the notice to the workers.

Given that Walmart is one of the largest employers in the US with more than 1.6 million employees, this is a significant benefit for pro-abortion citizens. Additionally, the company’s headquarters are situated in Arkansas, a state that has started to strictly implement the abortion ban as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling. The announcement came after the same declaration from companies like Apple and Target.

Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, stated last month that the company is working carefully and diligently to determine the “best path forward,” adding that it is particularly challenging for Walmart because the ruling was made by the US Supreme Court. The changes it should enact were not specified at the time of the announcement by McMillon.

Read Also: The Netflix Effect: A Reason Why More Western Women are Traveling to South Korea

Walmart supports its employees’ abortion rights

The employee handbook of Walmart states that its healthcare package covers “procedures, services, drugs and supplies related to abortions or termination of pregnancy are not covered, except when the health of the mother would be in danger if the fetus were carried to term, the fetus could not survive the birthing process, or death would be imminent after birth.”

This only demonstrates Walmart’s dedication to the Roe v. Wade rights that were then assured by the landmark case. Morris, the chief people officer, updated their coverage of abortion in a memo that was recently published. After “listening to our associates about what’s important to them,” she continued, the updates were made.

“We strive to provide quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families,” Morris added.

The updates also include a rise in financial assistance from $5,000 to $20,000 for employees participating in adoption procedures. Additionally, it has announced the opening of Walmart’s fertility center.

Walmart is currently located in a state with a trigger policy, which went into effect as soon as the SC decision was made public months ago. For the coverage expansion for their Arkansan counterparts, the company has not yet issued a statement.

Read Also: Taiwan, US to Bolster Economic Ties Amid Disagreement From China

The SC decision

A little more than two months earlier, the Supreme Court shocked the country by deciding to overturn the aspects of the precedent-setting Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed the federal right to access abortion. The landmark case that had made abortions legal in the majority of US states since 1973 was declared unconstitutional by a vote of 5 to 4.

Other states have trigger laws prohibiting abortion. These are laws that will go into effect immediately if the Roe v Wade decision is overturned by the Supreme Court. One of them is Arkansas, the state where Walmart is headquartered.

In his public remarks, Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the majority opinion that ultimately overturned Roe, said: “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

“That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ and ’implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Source: CNBC

Prices of US Homes Increase, Sales are Decreasing

Photo Credits: Daily Sabah

Last June, home prices in the US broke all previous records. Despite decreased sales of homes across the nation, the elevated home prices are still in place.

Due to buyers’ inability to afford the rising prices, home sales have been steadily declining for the past five months.

The average price rose by $416,000 over the previous month. The National Association of Realtors reports that the amount is 13.4% higher than the price from the previous year, marking the home price growth that has lasted for decades.

Sales have decreased while prices have gone up. In June of last year, fewer single-family homes, condos, co-ops, and townhomes were purchased. Sales were also at their lowest level since 2020 during that month. This makes sense given how the pandemic is affecting the economy.

The chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, said, “Falling housing affordability continues to take a toll on potential homebuyers. Both mortgage rates and home prices have risen too sharply in a short span of time.”

The number of homes on the market increased, though, by 9.6% at the end of June.

“Finally, there are more homes on the market,” Yun said. “Homes priced right are selling very quickly, but homes priced too high are deterring prospective buyers.”

Read Also: China Reeling from the effects of Intense Heat

Affordability and Availability

The median home price in Miami increased the most from a year ago, by 40.1%, according to the NAR report. Nashville had a price increase of the same percentage (30.6%) as Orlando within a year.

It’s interesting to note that regions with the highest prices also saw a rise in the number of homes with lower prices. The most people were in Austin, then Phoenix, then Las Vegas.

Although the supply of homes has increased in many cities, prices should still be reduced, buyers are now being restrained by rising mortgage rates. Mortgage rates and rising inventory both influence the pace of home sales, according to Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, but it’s unclear which factor has a greater influence.

“I expect affordability to be the bigger driver than availability moving forward,” Hale stated.

“Home shoppers continue to leverage workplace flexibility in looking for ways to reduce their housing costs — enacting their own, personal inflation-fighting plans. As mortgage rates and prices of other goods and services continue to climb, home shoppers are likely to become even more budget conscious. This is especially true if concerns about the strength of the job market — which has so far remained resilient – grow,” added Hale.

Read Also: South Korea’s SK Group to Invest $22 Billion to US

Swift market despite increase in prices

Even with these components, the market for purchases is still brisk. Within 14 days of being listed on the market, a property enters into a contract. The average duration last year was 17 days, but some people experienced 30 days.

“Whenever homes are listed, they are attracting buyers,” Yun said.

Yun hypothesizes that buyers may be taking advantage of the locked-in interest rate, which would explaine why buyers secure a property on the market more quickly.

“Mortgage rates have been trending higher,” Yun added. “Maybe buyers are trying to take advantage of a lower locked-in rate. That period is coming to an end quickly. They want to sign the contract and close the deal quickly.”

But according to Yun, the market’s quickness would only last a short while. Yun added that the housing shortage would become more evident in the future, despite the rising trend in inventory. This is as a result of builders’ declining interest in creating single-family homes and their preference for multifamily structures.

“I don’t foresee any oversupply coming, even as sales retreat,” Yun concluded.

Source: CNN

Companies have Rebranded their Skin-Whitening Products in the West, but Only in the West

Photo Credit: Adam Jones

Many skincare giants, including Pond’s, L’Oreal, Unilever, and Niea, have decided to stop using the terms “fairness” and “whitening” in their advertisements in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Many businesses in the West have delivered on the promise. However, there are still many parts of the world where skin-whitening products are marketed with the idea that being white makes one beautiful.

Many businesses echoed the call when the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction in 2020. They quickly became the topic of conversation in the sector, with many well-known individuals and social scientists endorsing the developments.

Multinational corporations swiftly issued statements expressing their support for the movement in response to the call. However, customers have noticed contradictions between what the companies have said and their ongoing marketing strategy for skin-whitening products. Although customers contacted these businesses, corporate executives promised to change their branding.

In Asia and the Middle East, for instance, Johnson & Johnson informed the public that it would no longer sell skin-whitening products. L’Oreal announced that it would stop using the terms “fair” and “whitening” in relation to its products. In response to this change, Unilever renamed its product “Fair & Lovely” to “Glow & Lovely.”

Nivea’s owner, Beiersdorf AG, promised to deviate from the terms as well. The company stated in an interview that it would review its current product offerings and marketing plans in light of its commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Despite their modest size, these actions represent the first steps taken by large corporations to lead the transformation of social perceptions of beauty. Whiteness or fairness has long been associated with success, happiness, and beauty.

In the US and Europe, these commitments are clear. In contrast, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia are a different story.

Read Also: Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

What persists in other countries

L’Oreal Singapore frequently promotes creams and serums with “powerful whitening” abilities. While its clients in India continue to market L’Oreal’s “White Activ” moisturizer.

The same thing happens in China and Japan, where several businesses use the words “white” and “beautiful” interchangeably in their product advertisements.

Additionally, it has been noted that Unilever’s website contains errors. Many have praised the US-based website for not using the word “whitening.” Unilever’s Spanish-language website still prominently displays “whitening,” though. This means that many skincare companies only changed the names of their products in the US, not elsewhere, especially in nations where the majority of the population has naturally tanned skin.

Even after changing its name from Fair & Lovely to Glow & Lovely, Unilever’s product still primarily uses light-skinned models for its advertising. The underlying message is still that white skin is more attractive than other skin tones. While promoting itself as a sunblock in the Philippines, Block & White still brags about its “5-in-1 Whitening Essentials.”

Read Also: Netflix Plans to Boost Revenue Through Ads and Crackdown on Password Sharing

Why the continued thrust in the Indo-Pacific region

According to Carlton University sociology professor Amina Mire, the desire to maximize profit is what prevents many skincare industry titans from altering their marketing approaches. Mire has been researching the skin-whitening market for more than 20 years, and she is aware that non-Western markets are “too lucrative” for these Western businesses to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

She said that Western markets would “not make any concessions — or at least very little concession — in the Asian market. They are cleaning up their websites … but on billboards and in their marketing, they know who their consumers are.”

The company’s hesitation frequently results from its knowledge that the majority of customers in the non-Western market are interested in skin-whitening products. According to Nivea, “Nivea products with whitening ingredients remain our biggest sellers throughout Asia.” This statement holds true for many other businesses that market to tan-skinned women in Southeast Asia and other Indo-Pacific regions.

Source: CNN

Inflation Reduction Act Now a Law, Setting Minimum Corporate Tax at 15%

Photo Credit: Susan Walsh

US President Joe Biden has finally signed into law a bill that proposes raising corporate taxes to help with the country’s restoration and rehabilitation in a variety of ways. The process was lengthy, requiring over a year of deliberations and assessments on tax, regulations, credits, and costs. Nonetheless, the law is a condensed version of the President’s Build Back Better Plan, which he hoped to implement last year.

Senator Joe Manchin, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Representatives Jim Clyburn and Kathy Castor are the bill’s sponsors. The Inflation Reduction Act is the name given to the measure after it was signed into law.

“With this law, the American people won, and the special interests lost. For a while, people doubted whether any of that was going to happen, but we are in a season of substance,” Biden told the press.

He believes that the new law will enable the administration to address the nation’s urgent problems. The law allots $369 billion for investments in energy and climate policies, $64 billion for the Affordable Care Act’s cost-cutting measures, and the introduction of a 15% corporate minimum tax on businesses with annual revenue over $1 billion.

The law’s $437 billion expenditure plan might raise $737 billion over the following ten years. It would represent the largest contribution from company taxes and medicine price reductions if finished. The IRS will also be more equipped, which means wealthy citizens of the nation will need to meet with the organization more frequently than before for audit purposes. As a result, in just ten years, the law would bring in an estimated $300 billion.

Read Also: Factories in China Shut Operations Amid Worst Heat Wave in Decades

The recently enacted law is not exactly what Biden had pushed for before, despite being a significant triumph for Biden’s administration. For instance, the universal child care and middle-class tax cuts, two of the features of Biden’s Build Back Better package that he and a group of Democrats pitched to Congress last year, are not included in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Another victory for Biden

The new law marks another legislative success for Biden this summer. Prior to that, he approved legislation that increased funding for domestic semiconductor manufacture and increased benefits for veterans exposed to hazardous burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, a multi-billion dollar agreement between the President and the SK Group of South Korea for investments in semiconductor production and other technological developments has also been signed.

 Biden has also announced other activities praised by many, like killing al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri by a drone attack a few weeks ago. Other activities include supporting Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.

The President expects these successes to increase public trust in his administration and, as a result, in Democrats, who are looking for a successful conclusion in the upcoming mid-term elections.

Read Also: Many Afghan Women Deal with Hunger Every Day

Biden talks to his constituents

“Today, too often do we confuse noise with substance. Too often we confuse setbacks with defeat. Too often we hand the biggest microphones to the critics and the cynics who delight in declaring failure while those committed to making real progress do the hard work of governing,” the President told the people.

“Making progress in this country, as big and complicated as ours, clearly, is not easy. It’s never been easy. But with unwavering conviction, commitment and patience, progress does come.”

Additionally, Biden was careful to use precise language and underline that the Republicans opposed the bill.

“Every single Republican in Congress voted against lowering prescription drug prices, against lowering health care costs, against the fair tax system. Every single Republican — every single one — voted against tackling the climate crisis, against lowering our energy costs, against creating good-paying jobs. My fellow Americans, that’s the choice we face — we can protect the already powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot,” Biden told the people during a press conference.

Source: CNBC

Factories in China Shut Operations Amid Worst Heat Wave in Decades

Photo Credit: Aly Song/Reuters

The Sichuan province in China ordered the factories within the province to stop their operations and shut down the facilities for six days so the province could ease the power shortage it is currently experiencing amid a heat wave grappling the country for several weeks.

The advisory is forecasted to deal significant damage to production. China’s Sichuan province is an important area of manufacture that houses tens of solar panel and semiconductors companies. The power grids in the area supply some of the world’s biggest technology companies like Intal and Foxconn, a supplier for Apple.

Analysts have also projected that raw materials for car batteries would shoot up in the following days since the province serves as the lithium mining hub of the country. Lithium is an essential component in creating electric car batteries.

Mounting problems for the country

The current heat waves affecting the greater part of China are the most extreme the country has faced in over six decades. The recorded temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit in several cities across the country. As a result, demand for air conditioning in homes and offices increased considerably. With this increase comes a heightened pressure on power grids to supply consumers’ demand.

The heat wave’s effect is exacerbated by the current drought conditions in the country. The phenomenon has negatively impacted the water levels of China’s rivers, affecting the amount of energy that hydropower plants produce.

Read Also: Thousands of Hectares of Forest Damaged by Wildfires, France Needs More Firefighters

In an urgent notice, the provincial government and state grid of the Sichuan province told 19 of its 21 cities to halt production of all factories starting Monday. The decision ought to ensure that the limited power produced by energy companies would be sufficient enough to cater to the demand of the province’s 84 million citizens.

Most extreme level in six decades

The heat and drought have affected many parts of the province since last month. For example, the southwestern part of the province has been immensely affected, causing its hydropower plants to produce reduced power outputs. According to the government’s website, the phenomena currently experienced by the region is the most extreme it felt in 60 years, and the average rainfall has reduced by 51% compared to the data from the preceding years.

Luzhou, a city in Sichuan, has announced that at nighttime, it would shut off its city street lights so it could conserve energy reserves and aid electricity grids to revive its capacity.

“Continued high temperature has accelerated glacial melting in mountainous areas and caused natural disasters such as flash floods, mudslides, and landslides in many places,” said Chen Chunyan, a chief expert at the Xinjiang Meteorological Observatory.

Many industries are affected

Apart from energy, Sichuan is also a hub for extracting important minerals that are useful in electronics and solar photovoltaic industries. International semiconductor companies like Intel, Onsemi, Foxconn and Texas Instrument have factories in Sichuan. Tesla supplier CATL has a factory in the province as well.

The power cut initiated by the provincial government of Sichuan worries several Chinese companies. According to the executives, the cut would endanger the production of their products. For example, Sichuan Haowu Electromechanical and Sichuan Lutianhua have both impressed the government with the possible losses they could incur if the cuts and suspension continue for a long time.

Other provinces are now also advising their constituents to conserve energy. The provinces of Anhui, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu have all told their citizens to prepare for possible interruptions and shortages if the dry spell continues throughout the summer. Many offices ordered employees to increase the temperature of their air conditioning systems so they could conserve energy.

Read Also: The Eco-Friendly Alternative of Avocado, the ‘Ecovocado’

The phenomenon could worsen inflation

“Affected by the continuous high temperature in many places, the price of fresh vegetables rose by 12.9% year-on-year, which was significantly higher than the same period in previous years,” said Fu Linghui, the National Bureau Statistic spokesperson.

“August and September are the key periods for the formation of autumn grain production. [We must] pay close attention to the impact of natural disaster, insects and disease on our country’s food production,” the spokesperson added.

Source: CNN

Trade Areas Blocked by China as Retaliation to Taiwan Only a Small Fraction

Photo Credit: Jerome Favre

Experts believe that the trade restrictions imposed by Beijing to Taiwan is more political than an economic move.

After the US Senate Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, China made it clear that they were against the decision of the American officials. Despite prior warnings made by the Chinese government, Pelosi still made her way into Taiwan, which was the cause of delight for many – and concern for others.

China was quick to retaliate by engaging into heightened military exercises conducted near the territorial waters of Taiwan. Following the development, many analysts say that it would be Taiwan who will feel the worse part of China’s retribution than the US.

Not a moment too soon, when China imposed economic pressure to Taiwan by suspending imports of frozen fish, sweets, biscuits, citrus. The natural sand exports of Taiwan have also been blocked by Beijing as a result of the country’s defiance against the superpower.

While Taiwan declares itself an independent, self-ruling, democratic country, China lay claim to the small island. This claim has what led the Chinese government to react to Pelosi’s visit because according to them, Taiwan should not make any foreign relations without their approval.

Read Also: Taiwan is not scared of China’s threats, Foreign Minister Says After Chinese Military Drills Continues

Trade restrictions by China

According to the report by the Taiwanese trade bureau, the value of the Taiwan-China export industry for last year reached $113 billion, while imports from China was at $82 million. These figures exclude the re-imports and re-exports.

Electrical machinery and technological parts account for the largest share of the figure reported by the trade bureau. While this is the largest, China did not target these sectors. For Taiwan’s import of technological and electrical machineries, the value is estimated at $82 billion. While 65% of the total value of the country’s exports come from these products. In conclusion, these products bring in fortune for Taiwan.

Restrictions made by China only a small fraction

The trade areas that are being targeted by Beijing is trivial compared to other areas that make up most of Taiwan’s export and import industry.

China has chosen to block the exports of natural sand; according to analysts, the area is only a very small fraction of what the country’s exports boasts. As per all available data from the Taiwanese trade bureau, the trade area was valued about $3.5 million. When compared to the exports of natural sand made by Australia and Vietnam, the value is a “drop in the ocean.”

Chinese authorities have also imposed restrictions on citrus trade which has only reached the valuation of $10 million last year.

“It’s already had restrictions on Chinese visitors to Taiwan in place for a few years, which carry more economic significance; the agricultural products now in the headlines are only a fraction of Taiwan’s export basket. And so the headline impact on Taiwan won’t really be noticeable.”,” said Nick Marro from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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Other trade restrictions made by China include the exports of bread, cakes, biscuits, and pastry, as well as frozen fishes, specifically largehead hairtal and horse mackerel, which have $50 million and $3 million in valuation last year, respectively.

“China’s economic retaliation against Taiwan is a long-standing strategy in its diplomatic playbook. That said, its decision to target relatively low-value trade items reflects the limits of its economic pressure toolbox,” added Marro.

Restrictions could still cause trouble

While the value of the restricted trade areas only account for the smaller portion of Taiwan’s whole trade industry, many experts believe that the other aspect of China’s retaliation against Taiwan can cause adverse effects on international Trade.

“China’s economic retaliation against Taiwan is a long-standing strategy in its diplomatic playbook. That said, its decision to target relatively low-value trade items reflects the limits of its economic pressure toolbox,” said the global trade lead analyst.

“It’s not just a story for Taiwan and China, but also for their neighbors, as well.”

Container xChange, a logistics platform, said that as companies enter the shipping season, the military exercises made by China may hamper the swift flow of shipments along the waters of China and Taiwan.

Source: CNBC

Uber Gains Revenue Amid Worsening Inflation

Photo Credit: Damian Dovarganes

Uber posted higher revenues even with worsening inflation and gas supply disruptions. While much of the world is still recovering from the pandemic and facing the effects of the war between Ukraine and Russia, Uber is not showing signs of slowing down.

The company said Tuesday that the company’s revenue reached $ 8.1 million within three months to June. The figure is double the sales recorded a year earlier. According to Uber, this is mainly due to the fact that people. Now prefer to use travel services rather than public transport.

The number of users and drivers of the transport platform, according to Uber, are “at all-time highs. The firm reported approximately 122 million monthly users in its quarterly earnings report. In comparison to last year, this is an increase of 21%.

Furthermore, the company announced that it has now achieved positive cash flow. This means that the money coming into the company is greater than the money going out. Excluding capital expenditures such as property and physical assets. During the most recent quarter, the company received $382 million in cash flow.

However, Uber’s other investments turned out to be unsuccessful. According to records, the business lost $2.6 million on investments made in Grab and Didi and other travel-related businesses. Didi has suffered enormous losses as a result of the Chinese government’s. Incredibly tight regulations, which are imposed on it since it predominantly operates in China.

Read Also: Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

What happened during the pandemic

As the pandemic hit major cities, Uber became the best travel option for many commuters. However, the closure of many businesses. The enforcement of housework regulations have led to a drop in consumer demand for travel service providers. In contrast, online food delivery services have grown in popularity. This condition reduced demand for Uber’s Rides business and catapulted its Eats business.

Because of the growing popularity of online food delivery, Uber’s delivery service is constantly being updated. Indeed, the company announced its new grocery ordering services last month. While this is also a feature of Uber Eats. The new and improved service allows users to do advanced delivery scheduling, order tracking, and product replacement.

Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Uber, said that the company “delivered balanced growth on a platform that’s larger than ever. With the number of consumers and earners using Uber now both at all-time highs.”

“No one wishes for a tough economic environment or elevated inflation that’s affecting so many of us. Including Uber drivers,” Khosrowshahi added. According to the company executive, Uber’s recent market position allows it to capitalize on its strengths.

This past Tuesday, shares of Uber increased by 15%.

Read Also: Gas Supply Shortage Lead European Governments to Invest in Drilling Gas

Economic crisis heavily affecting tech companies

Many companies in the technology industry have taken steps to cut costs. During the economic downturn, such as layoffs and hiring freezes.

Uber has also attempted to alter its strategy to fit the present economic climate.

“When we look at the competitive environment. This is the strongest we felt competitively globally since Nelson and I probably started here,” Khosrowshahi explained. Nelson Chai is Uber’s current CFO.

“Right now, the machine is working,” the CEO said. Citing the company’s success in enforcing discipline on its drivers so they can better serve their customers.

Uber recently revealed significant upgrades to its Upfront Fares function. Including an increase in the number of cities where it is available. This will provide Uber drivers with more knowledge about the locations of customers. Its drivers most frequently seek this option, according to Khosroshahi.

Source: CNN

Prices of a Pint of Beer in the UK Rises at Staggering Rates

Photo Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas | AFP Getty Images

Customers have reacted as a result of the staggering 70 percent increase in the price of a pint of beer since 2018 in the UK. The rise in the commodity’s price is ahead of the global inflation that is currently being seen by other nations.

According to a survey by the consultancy CGA, the average price of a pint of beer increased from £2.30 in 2019 to £3.95 in 2022. However, prices may differ depending on where you are. Between 2021 and 2022, the average cost per print increased by 15 pence, representing a nearly 4-percent rise and the largest yearly price increase since 2008.

In one of the pubs in London, the CGA reported the highest price for a pint at £8.06. The northwest English county of Lancashire has the lowest national average, which comes in at £1.79 and is from a local retailer in the area.

Many UK countries are currently experiencing the effects of inflation. Inflation in the UK hit a record high of 9.4% in June, the highest level in more than 40 years. The condition has a significant impact on domestic food and service prices. This compelled the England Bank to increase interest rates last Thursday, making it the biggest increase since 1995.

Within the next two months, the inflation rate is expected to worsen and fluctuate around 13 percent. Business executives are worried about the present market and price volatility because most of them expect customers would decide to stay at home and save money for the impending economic crisis.

Read Also: Flight Attendants Say Summer Travel is the Worst Crisis

Consumers and suppliers are under pressure as the economy continues to deteriorate. Paul Bolton, a client director at GBA, claims that a number of things are to blame for the economy’s catastrophic situation. For instance, it has been challenging for businesses to survive due to a lack of staff, supply disruptions, debts associated with the pandemic, and inflation.

Supply is affected by poor supply

“The barley price has gone up and has doubled since 2021. There are two reasons for that: one is that the harvest in North America was really poor, driven by a poor climate, so there was not much inventory to start with – and then, of course, we had the Black Sea region conflict,” said a senior beverage analyst from Rabobank, Francois Sonneville.

When grain prices rise, farmers often grow additional crops the next year, according to Sonneville. This time, however, it turned out to be challenging because of the inflation,. Which caused the prices of farming resources to rise as well.

“Where our normal inflation is running at 8, 9%, (agricultural) inflation for our businesses is running somewhere over 22, 23%. That’s a function of obviously oil prices, fuel – our tractor diesel has gone up more than three times in price. Which is a lot more, relatively, than road fuel has gone up. A farm owner found in Suffolk, Richard Hirst, explained.

Hirst added, “Fertilizer costs will have tripled for next year. We’re buying fertilizer now three times what it was last year. Our chemical inputs are going up, and just the cost of running machinery. Whether it’s spare parts or actually just the cost of buying machinery itself. All that has gone up an awful lot more than the 9 or 10% of normal inflation.”

Read Also: Taiwan is not scared of China’s threats, Foreign Minister Says After Chinese Military Drills Continues

Consumer behavior is changing

According to Andy Wood, the CEO of a brewery and hotel business. There have been significant changes in consumer behavior as a result of the price changes.

“We’re certainly seeing people come out earlier in the evening. It having their drinks, having their dinner, and then they’re going back home,” Wood added.

“We’re seeing people perhaps having two courses rather than three courses. Perhaps having a glass of wine rather than a bottle of wine. So we are seeing some changes in consumer behavior, there is no doubt about that.”

Source: CNBC

Gas Supply Shortage Lead European Governments to Invest in Drilling Gas

Photo Credit: Stuart Conway/ Photographic Services

An island called Schiermonnikoog, located in the Netherlands is home to various species and rich sports beaches. The 10-mile-long island is known to be home to more than 300 species of birds, attracting millions of tourists every year. Due to its breathtaking scenery, it is considered as one of the most beautiful places in the country.

A new initiative, though, is currently underway and has the island’s authorities worried. The governments of Germany and the Netherlands joined together to develop gas fields 12 miles off Schiermonninkoog’s coastlines.

Mayor Ineke van Gent said to reporters after news of the project came out, “We are very concerned that the gas drilling will damage the area. We also believe that there is no need to drill [for] new gas at all and that we should invest much more in renewable energy.”

Shortage of gas

The project is yet another effort made by European nations to address the issue of the shortage of gas supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Gas field developments will cover the German-Dutch territory.

The action highlights Europe’s desperate attempts to safeguard its gas supplies in the absence of supplies from Moscow. Despite the EU’s pledge to cut gas use by 15% by March 2023, the plan was implemented.

Possible price increases could result from a significant drop in supply and an uptick in demand. Further, this can result in expensive bills and outages.

Read Also: First Grain Export Since the Start of Ukraine-Russia War Out to Ease Supply Disruption

But scientists and environmentalists are dubious about the proposal. They claimed that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia is only a political ruse used by governments to launch initiatives that would ultimately make winters difficult and exacerbate the impacts of climate change.

Gas License

The gas field will begin producing gas in 2024, and the license will be valid until 2042. This would result in increased environmental damage.

Han Dolman of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research said, “In principle, we need to get rid of all the fossil fuels, and we need to get rid of them very fast.”

“It’s not an immediate solution to anything [related to] the Russian gas crisis,” the director added.

ONE-Dyas, a company leading the project, justified that its research team has done enough research and consulted experts and stakeholders since 2018. They said that locally produced gas has a lower footprint than gas that is imported from abroad.

More gas supply needed

Russia has authoritatively implemented supply limits, while European nations showed their support for Ukraine during the conflict. The supply has been reduced by 20% of daily capacity by the state-owned gas company Gazprom.

Faith Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, called the situation “perilous.” She told both companies and citizens that this year could see a long and difficult winter.

The IEA further stated that even if European nations filled 90% of their gas reserves, a supply issue would still exist next year if Russia continues to stop its exports.

Countries have been compelled by the situation to develop remedies by identifying alternate fuel sources and practicing supply management.

The government was forced to support the gas industry just to generate gas supplies despite its zero-carbon emission claims independently. Simply put, the circumstances demanded that extreme measures be employed.

Read Also: Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

“We’re turbocharging renewables and nuclear, but we are also realistic about our energy needs now. Said the secretary of the UK Business and Energy, Kwasi Kwarteng.

The initiative, however, is opposed by some. According to Tara Connolly, a campaigner with Global Witness in Brussels, the projects won’t be needed once they’re finished.

“Just before Ukraine, there was really a sense that Europe had enough gas infrastructure. Even in the event of a significant disruption,” Connolly said. “Now it’s really a different picture.”

The mayor of Schiermonnikoog stated that because the region is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is her responsibility to conserve it.

“My main concern is [the] sinking of the soil, which means that we also have problems with living on the water.”

Source: CNN

Dan Lee on Building a Successful Real Estate Business Using Humorous Marketing Videos 

Unconventional methods sometimes yield positive results in business, and often, implementing these methods can create a shift in how people approach business. Dan Lee ran his real estate business, Plum Property, in an unconventional manner, and six years later, it has become a thriving and well-known enterprise in Brisbane, Australia.

Established in his apartment with his best friend, Dan took business growth very seriously, and within the first 12 months in operation, they only met clients at cafes or the clients’ chosen locations. Dan started his company without a physical office, and none of his first few clients knew about this. So, rather than invest in flashy offices, Dan and his partner adopted an entertaining style of advertising and social media persona. This choice made all the difference and catapulted them to success over the last few years.

Like every other entrepreneur, Dan Lee and his partner experienced financial challenges in their second year of operation. With 12 employees, the company’s account was on the red end, and properties were not selling well. It took Dan borrowing money from a friend to pay salaries for a month, and with non-stop work, things improved after a while. The growth stage saw him take a leap of faith to get an office space for the company, and that was the defining moment that changed everything.

Dan believes in starting small to keep the fixed costs low while focusing on the more important task of making sales. “Clients don’t care about your flashy office; they care about service and results. Many clients like that you are a small business and are hustling to achieve your goals and are more willing to support you with their business. Treat your staff well and your best staff like heroes, engrain them in the business, and reward staff frequently for great results. Hold amazing team meetings, make them fun and motivating, celebrate the wins with everyone, celebrate anniversaries and birthdays and top performances,” he said.

Six years after it was established, Plum Property has grown its staff strength to 45 and is now the third largest real estate agency in Brisbane, Australia. “We have grown fast because of our investment in social media and our entertaining advertising style,” Dan explained. The company has been named a three-time industry finalist for the Largest Agency of the Year in Brisbane. Dan has been named twice as a finalist for the Industry Salesperson of the Year for all of his relentless efforts. Due to his entertaining marketing style of utilizing humor and digital technology, he was featured in a segment on the Today Show.

Since 2016, Plum Property has made over $1.5 billion in property sales, and Dan Lee has his sights set on achieving more milestones. Over the next few years, he sees Plum Property expanding nationally to every part of Australia and developing a new business model that will help real estate agents from all over Australia plug into a system that will enable them to work from anywhere.

Munchiez Cannabis Founder Al Adebo Shares His Inspiring Journey

The entrepreneurial journey is a road paved with success and failure. While several people give up at first sight of defeat. Some remarkable individuals convert these misfirings as sources of motivation and building blocks of success. As one of those whose losses drove them to realize their true potential. Al Adebo stands at the helm of Munchiez Cannabis.  

Munchiez Cannabis

Located in Ruidoso, New Mexico, Munchiez Cannabis is a cannabis superstore with one of the largest selections of premium medical. Recreational cannabis products ranging from exotics to mid-grade affordable options. The team has extensive experience in multiple cannabis ancillary businesses. It takes pride in providing the community with quality products and customer service. “We target the masses and not the classes,” a representative said.

At the helm of the successful enterprise is firebrand entrepreneur and go-getter Alalaye “Al” Adebo. Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Al migrated to the United States in 2013, riding on an academic scholarship. However, he soon decided to leave school and leverage his background in Applied Mathematics to pursue the entrepreneurship route. It began his career in Automotive Sales at the age of 20. “I fell in love with the idea that you can eat what you kill. It not work hourly as all my friends did at that age,” he shares. 

By the time he was 21, the dedicated go-getter became respected in the game, rising through the ranks to become a sales manager for one of the most significant high-volume Nissan Dealerships in Dallas, Texas. Working at the dealership taught Al a lot about people and business. With his new-found knowledge, the thriving entrepreneur started a side hustle and established an eCommerce business, selling wireless charges and phone accessories in 2018. But unfortunately, his venture failed as he had no passion for it and no clear-cut goal. 

He continued his six-figure job at the dealership, but despite his substantial earnings, Al never stopped believing in his potential. He wanted to be a great leader and a successful entrepreneur and soon realized that the owners of the dealerships he worked for were just regular guys with a little bit of capital and a lot of effort. So, to bring his dreams to fruition, he became a student of his craft and spent hours learning. 

ATM business

In 2019, he started an ATM business by watching hundreds of YouTube videos. He funded his business with his savings and bought five ATMs. A relentless optimist, he quit his job at the dealership, prepared to give his all to his new enterprise and become rich overnight. Alas, he was in for a rude awakening. According to him, he called over 20,000 businesses and got rejected 90% of the time. He went broke and slept in his car several times, driving across the country from state to state as he tried to stay afloat in business during a global pandemic. Through it all, he never wavered, determined to ride out the obstacles and reach the pinnacle of success. 

With the few ATMs in dispensaries, the power player wanted to expand his reach, so he surveyed and found that high-traffic locations were missing customers due to high waiting times. While hustling ATMs, he was introduced to the Cannabis world and his brainchild Herbtech Kiosk was born. Leveraging his tech background, he gathered a team of hardworking individuals from all across the world using freelance apps Fiverr and Upwork to develop the Herbtech Kiosk, a new technology elevating customer experience in the cannabis world by providing self-ordering kiosks for dispensaries nationwide. 

He traveled cross country to showcase the revolutionary technology at trade shows from Cannacon in Oklahoma City, Chicago Cannabis Expo In Chicago, and Lucky Leaf Expo in Albuquerque, NM, to name a few. Herbtech Kiosk proved to be a game changer, and fast forward to 2022, Munchiez Cannabis Dispensary was born. After New Mexico passed the law to legalize recreational cannabis, Al began operations in the city. 

Determined to stand on the shoulders of giants and reach smashing success in the Cannabis industry, Al Adebo studied the industry and saw what the winners did compare to the others. “The results validated what I need to know. Put the customer first, and the sky is the limit,” he summarized. 

Starbucks Employees Call for Extended Benefits

Photo Credit: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

The corporation increased its pay as a result of Starbucks employees’ recent unionization efforts. Meanwhile, labor leaders are calling for expanded benefits as the salary raise is officially slated to take effect this coming Monday. They believe that no bargain should be struck.

Last May, Starbucks announced it would raise workers’ wages after its workers organized into unions. The company also said that in addition to the pay rise, there would be additional perks such as credit card tips. However, a Seattle-based Starbucks chain said it would not extend benefits because it would first have to go through a negotiation process.

The union leaders wrote to Starbucks -Teo Howard Shultz that the advantages could be offered to employees of the union company without negotiations. The letter continues to take note of other advantages, such as faster sick time accrual and reimbursement of medical trips, especially for those looking for abortion and gender care.

The letter read, “Workers United refuses to stand by while Starbucks cynically promises new benefits only to non-unionized workers and withholds them from our members.” It was signed by Lynne Fox, the president of Workers United.

Of the 9,000 Starbucks locations, 200 stores are already unionized. 40 is still being voted on, data from the National Labor Relations Board reveals.

To answer these demands, Starbucks stated in a fact sheet, “The law is clear: once a store unionizes, no changes to benefits are allowed without good faith collective bargaining.”

The website says that if employees have access to the benefits that were available when they submitted the petition, they are allowed to negotiate regarding later adjustments to working conditions, benefits, and wages.

According to legal counsel, the case may be heard by an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board.

Read Also: New Zealand Opens its Borders after Years of Strict Lockdown Protocols

“Once a union has been certified, an employer is obligated to bargain with that union before making any changes to terms and conditions of employment,” Stephen Holroyd said, a lawyer at Jennings Sigmond. Holroyd is famous for his in-depth knowledge of labor unions. He has also worked for the NLRB.

Holroyd went on to say that the union’s decision could mean that Starbucks is doing what it does only because of union efforts.

More benefits due to unionization?

According to Daniel Sobol, a lawyer at Stevens & Lee, the federal courts and the NLRB have opposing views on the issue.

“If [ benefit enhancements are] done solely to chill unionizing, that could be an issue,” Sobol stated. Furthermore, he justified that Starbucks may not be obligated to impose an increase on unionized employees due to inflation.

Starbucks Workers United’s attorney stated that two cases had been assigned to the docket. He went on to say that the benefits that Starbucks is currently providing are clearly in response to its employees’ unionization efforts.

“If the union says they have no objection, then the employer can absolutely give them that benefit,” said Catherine Creighton, director of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in Buffalo, New York. According to her, the law provides that companies must inform the union and give them the opportunity to bargain.

Read Also: Monkeypox is Now a Global Health Emergency Following Declaration from WHO

According to Starbucks, it is paying over $ 1 billion for employee pay increases, as well as store training and innovations, during the second half of the fiscal year 2022. Starbucks’ CEO canceled the company’s buy-back program so that it could give its resources to improving Starbucks’ stores and increasing the benefits of its workers.

The salary increase will take place this week. Employees with at least 2 years of experience will receive a 5% salary increase. Employees with more than 7 years of experience will see a 7 or 10 percent increase over the market rate.

Source: CNBC

Mortgage demand falls amid inflation, the lowest in 22 years

Image Source: Bloomberg

As inflation continues in the U.S. Mortgage rates have dramatically increased over the past months leading to a decline in house purchases.

The Mortgage Banker’s Association reported that applications fell 6.5% last week. It is the lowest on record in the span of 22 years.

Contract interest rates went up to 5.40% from 5.33%. These are for mortgages with a 30-year fixed rate and with loan balances. Meanwhile, the points shot up from 0.51 to 0.60 for loans that need a 20% down payment.

The economic conditions have caused a significant drop in refinancing demand. The number of people who sought to refinance their mortgages was 75% lower than last year’s figure.

An economist said, “While rates were still lower than they were four weeks ago, they remained high enough to still suppress refinance activity. Only government refinances saw a slight increase last week.”

The mortgage application process is far less competitive than it was last year, with applications going down 7% in current data – 21% lower than what it was last year during the same time.

“The purchase market has suffered from persistently low housing inventory and the jump in mortgage rates over the past two months. These worsening affordability challenges have been particularly hard on prospective first-time buyers,” the economist said further.

The Mortgage Daily News said that mortgage rates have been experiencing small to moderate changes. However, the constant upswing of mortgage rates imposed by the Feds has dramatically impacted consumers and providers.

Mortgage Daily News chief operating officer said, “There’s some chance that the upper boundaries of that range end up being a ceiling for rates, but that will depend on inflation and other incoming economic data.”

“With a key inflation report set to release on Friday morning, the potential for volatility remains high.”

Source: CNBC

Amazon Accused of Lying to Congress

Source: Getty Images. In a letter released Monday, The House Antitrust Subcommittee demanded Amazon to correct previous testimony. Lawmakers believe was misleading or else face a criminal investigation. This development followed Reuters’ evidence-backed report. The report showed how the industry powerhouse’s India branch had systematically manufactured knockoffs. The popular goods and rigged search results to boost its own products over the original items. 

Addressed to Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy, the letter highlighted the business practices that the e-commerce giant previously denied engaging in. The brainchild of Jeff Bezos, Amazon hosts a third-party marketplace where independent sellers list millions of products. A significant chunk of the goods sold on the website come from its about two million sellers—third-party merchants that the multinational tech company profits off from by charging them fees. 

Back in 2019

Back in 2019, The Wall Street Journal exposed Amazon’s strategic utilization of sensitive, confidential information for its benefit, using data about its sellers, their products, and transactions to launch competing products. However, an executive claimed that the allegations have no ground in statements at a hearing in July 2019, saying that the company adheres to a policy against such practice. 

This new correspondence by the panel, which was signed by Pramila Jayapal, David Cicilline, Ken Buck, Jerrold Nadler, and Matt Gaetz, is not the first of its kind then. The Subcommittee members stated, “At best, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the Committee. At worst, it demonstrates that they may have lied to Congress in possible violation of federal criminal law.

In light of the serious nature of this matter, we are providing you with a final opportunity to provide exculpatory evidence to corroborate the prior testimony and statements on behalf of Amazon to the Committee. We strongly encourage you to make use of this opportunity to correct the record and provide the Committee with sworn, truthful, and accurate responses to this request as we consider whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate.”

In response, the internet-based enterprise asserted that it had been nothing but truthful. “Amazon and its executives did not mislead the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question,” a representative shared. “As we have previously stated, we have an internal policy, which goes beyond that of any other retailer’s policy that we’re aware of, that prohibits the use of individual seller data to develop Amazon private-label products.”

Amazon CEO

Amazon’s CEO has until the first of November to deliver a sworn response to clarify its use of private information to develop and m market its own line of products. In the meantime, the digital retailer is expected to continue receiving heat, especially from lawmakers and the public alike.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of its most high-profile critics, has called for breaking up the company. Targeting Amazon’s India branch, a group representing millions of retailers has clamored for the government to take serious action against the e-commerce titan.

Jason Miller Serves as a Launching Pad for Small Businesses Through The Strategic Advisor Board

With all the glory and grandeur, corporate behemoths have dominated several industries. Yet, while it may seem that these powerhouses have gained the upper hand, the fact remains that small businesses are just as capable. Unfortunately, however, few industry leaders and peers believe in their capacity. For this reason, Jason Miller, the esteemed founder of The Strategic Advisor Board, aims to address himself to the challenge of showing the world what small businesses are truly made of.

Contrary to what most people believe, small businesses have the capacity to catalyze change and impact lives. As a matter of fact, some of the most revolutionary entities in any industry come in small packages. Still, these small businesses are incapable of moving themselves even further because of the lack of guidance and resources. Believing in their unparalleled capacity to lead industries, Jason Miller establishes his brainchild, The Strategic Advisor Board, to successfully scale businesses from the ground up.

Launching pad

As someone with an overwhelming passion for serving as a launching pad for go-getters and dreamers across the globe, Jason Miller takes hopefuls to greater heights. His diligent efforts in scaling small-time businesses show that he prioritizes his client’s future over profit. Essentially, this seasoned CEO helps businesses create a passive income system while guiding them throughout their quest for success.

Specializing in project management, company growth, and strategic and organic implementation, it comes as no surprise how Jason Miller has become a go-to resource in growing businesses. As a matter of fact, he currently runs other companies, such as Miller & Company and more, as well as a full-service marketing and staffing agency. He also operates a government contracting branch, where different agencies of the US government can provide a hodgepodge of services.

With all that he specializes in, one of the most important aspects to Jason is valuing  the legacy you leave within your business. “In my opinion there is a big difference between a legacy and a footprint. When you leave a legacy it effects those closest to you that are immediate family. A footprint can be spread across the entire world.” Quotes Miller when asked about the importance of legacy. 

Apart from being an entrepreneurial marvel, Jason Miller is also a bestselling author in the realm of business. In fact, he was hailed as an international bestseller thrice. Currently, seven of his industry-shaking books have been featured at Barnes and Noble, as well as on Amazon.

Jason Miller featured

As a result of his accomplishments over the years, Jason Miller has been featured in multiple publications. Such as the Voyage Denver magazine, for being one of Colorado’s most inspiring companies. He has also been featured on Fox, Entrepreneur, ABC, NBC, CBS, and more. Proving worthy of his stellar reputation across the trade. Jason is also the creator of the famous Strategic Advisor Board podcast named War Room Round Table. Where he talks about business together with his co-host.

Although the milestones that Jason Miller has achieved over the years can be credited to his brilliance and hardworking attitude. He would not have reached impressive heights had it not been for his dedication to becoming every go-getter’s launching pad. “I want people to know that there is a firm that fights for small businesses across the globe,” shared Jason.

With no intentions of slowing down any time soon. Jason Miller seeks to expand the horizons of his promising entity to launch others even further. Specifically, he wants small businesses to unlock their greatness and go beyond, despite the odds stacked against them. 

South Korea’s SK Group to Invest $22 Billion to US

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The second most prominent company in South Korea has vowed to invest over $22 billion in the United States. Included in the plans are to prioritize the production of chips and clean energy resources.

The SK Group made its announcement. Its chipmaking department forecasted a weak consumer demand in the second half of 2022. The decision is also timely as the U.S. Senate recently voted and supported a bill that aims to increase the production of semiconductors in the country.

Due to restrictions, the leaders of the conglomerate met with U.S. President Joe Biden virtually. The investment by the gigantic SK Group is set to open more than 15,000 jobs.

No timeline relating to the newly-agreed partnership has been disclosed yet. However, Biden revealed that SK Group intends to increase its U.S. workforce by 20,000 by 2025, from its current 4,000.

The $22 billion in funding, according to the SK Group. It will be poured into the ramping up of the production of electric vehicle batteries, pharmaceuticals, and semiconductors.

SK Group

Meanwhile, $14 billion will be directed to the creation of ‘gigafactories’ that will take dwelling in Tennessee and Kentucky. The gigafactories is a joint partnership by the SK Group, and Ford – Ford’s chairman, Tae-won Chey, announced this matter.

Biden was delighted with the development; he said this is “evidence that the United States, Korea and its allies are back, and winning the technology competition of [the] 21st century.”

“In the past, these kinds of technology investments went to China,” the president added.

Read Also: President Joe Biden is Positive for Covid-19, White House announced

In his last visit to South Korea last May. Biden saw the advancements made by the country in terms of manufacturing. The U.S. president also met with Hyundai’s chairman and visited Samsung’s factory.

Biden felt a little disappointed, considering. He was only yards away from the members of the SK Group during their meeting. The conference was done virtually because Biden had to isolate himself after testing positive for Covid days ago.

“I feel so badly — I’m so close to you,” he said to the group. Biden then posted a video on his Twitter account showing him waving to the group from the White House balcony. Where he stayed in isolation for the time being.

The plan was announced earlier

In early 2022, the SK Group announced its plans to strengthen. Its ties with the U.S. through increased technology and clean energy investments.

According to the company’s statement:

… SK companies increase their presence around the world and in the U.S., driven by a mission to build businesses that have a positive impact on the environment and society. SK companies have more than $13 billion in U.S. assets with plans to invest an additional $30 billion by the end of 2025. Over that same period, SK companies are expected to grow from a combined 4,000 U.S. employees today to 20,000 employees.

The U.S. expansion and investments will largely be focused on clean energy and technology, including batteries for electric vehicles, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, hydrogen energy and energy storage solutions. Semiconductors and life sciences also will be areas of emphasis.

SK, which has operated in the U.S. for more than three decades, has a strong base in the U.S., with sites in more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia.

Read the full statement here.

The SK Group’s chipmaking department, SK Hynix. Is expecting losses in the sales of their electronics as they expect it to drop.

Read Also: Monkeypox is Now a Global Health Emergency Following Declaration from WHO

The second quarter was specifically strong for the company. However, they have projected that sales of their memory chips will be down in the following quarters.

The chipmaking unit said in a report that their anticipation came with the knowledge. That the smartphones and P.C.s that use their product as main components will be lower than what is projected.

The group is a well-known supplier of chips to several companies, including tech giant and leader Apple.

Source: CNN

Starbucks’ Updated Benefits Fail to Mention the Inclusion of Union Workers, Confuses the Organized Stores

In response to recent events, Starbucks updated their medical coverage so that it will now cover travels to attain some health care services after the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The update was not enough to keep everyone happy. Some employees were angry that Starbucks made no indication about whether or not unionized locations would be able to use the new benefits.

Sara Kelly, acting executive vice president of Starbucks’ Partner Resources, stated that federal labor laws require collective bargaining to determine the wage and benefits for unionized workers.

“This means it cannot make promises about any benefits for workers currently represented by unions,” she explained.

Read also: Apple Store in Maryland to Push for a Union Group

Barista Maggie Carter is still unsure about the availability of the update benefit in her unionized store in Knoxville, Tennessee.

It’s been a month since Starbucks announced their plan to update its benefits. Carter is still waiting for an answer from her manager after inquiring about it.

It was revealed that Carter believes Starbucks’ ambivalence is an effort to confuse and intimidate their unionized employees.

“This shows what Starbucks is willing to leverage in this fight,” said the barista. “It makes me feel disgusted that they’d dangle abortion over people’s heads. As if it’s a cat toy when women are literally losing their rights to bodily autonomy. It just feels dystopian.”

Starbucks Confirmation

Starbucks sent a spokesperson to confirmed that all workers in stores with unions will be eligible for this benefit.

“Because this is an expansion of existing benefits, if you are a Starbucks partner with Starbucks healthcare benefits. The travel expense cost for these kinds of medical procedures is covered, regardless of union status,” the spokesperson said.

It needs to clarify their statement for unionized employees, according to Rebecca Givan. Ph.D., an associate professor of labor studies and employment relations at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“I think they’re trying to burnish their progressive reputation. While scaring their employees away from unionizing by suggesting that none of their benefits are secure,” said Givan. Who is not associated with the company’s unionization process.

Labor unions are on the rise in America, with more companies witnessing their employees rally and organize.

Several executives from Starbucks have been very vocal against these efforts, suggesting that employees should speak directly with them instead.

Read also: Cosmetic Entity Revlon Left with No Choice But to File Bankruptcy

Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin to Hold Operations for Two Weeks to Improve Facilities

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is faced with a surprising dilemma as the company’s vehicles. They have become more in-demand, presenting him with production problems.

To meet the high-demand, he is putting productions at Gigafactory Berlin on hold to expand the factory’s space and add an extra shift.

The surge in Tesla’s consumers can be attributed to people seeking alternatives to gas-fueled vehicles.

As a result, Elon Musk is putting production as the company’s highest priority to meet the demand.

While he has factories throughout the United States, Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas. They have some of the most significant ramps despite having only recently started production.

The factory in Berlin has shown positive progress thanks to its 2170 cells. It enables a battery infrastructure that the company has grown accustomed to. Additionally, Gigafactory Berlin reports an astounding production rate of 1,000 Model vehicles per month in June.

Gigafactory Texas has been unable to reach the same numbers due to several factors. It including ramping up production of the 4680 battery cell and structural battery pack. 

However, the last week of June saw a surge in production. Tesla shifting to building Model Y Long Range with 2170 cells at the plant.

Musk and Tesla’s Expectation

Musk and Tesla are expecting Berlin to catch up. They will be shutting down the factory for two weeks to give the space an upgrade and to achieve their goal,

A German publication Bild was reported the company would be putting all operations on hold until the facilities are improved.

“Tesla therefore wants to interrupt operation for two weeks starting next Monday,” wrote Bild. “It is unclear that how many of the 4,500 employees will be sent on vacation and how many technicians will remain to convert production.”

The publication also revealed that Tesla will be adding a third shift, holding electric motor productions in Berlin. Gigafactory Shanghai having imported.

“According to employees, after the break-in production. “

The publication work should be carried out in three instead of two shifts,” . “In addition, Tesla could then start manufacturing the drive in a neighboring hall.”

While the improvements may help, Gigafactory faces the challenge of finding employees.

In the past couple of months, Tesla has been dealing with the challenge of hiring and retaining employees. Salaries are reported to be the problem and local union, IG Metall, was rumored to get involved. However, Musk defused the situation with a 6% salary increase.

Apple Store in Maryland to Push for a Union Group

The fight for fair treatment has seen some major victories in recent days. After Amazon and Starbucks employees formed unions. It seems that Apple witnessed a crack with workers at a Maryland store voting to organize one of their own.

The employees of Apple are set to vote on Wednesday for a union election in Towson, Maryland. The voting will occur at their store located in a vacant store in the center where their store is located.

The polls will be open for voting between Wednesday and Saturday at selected times, with the count happening on Saturday evening.

In an effort to show solidarity, union organizers have created a new organization called AppleCORE (Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees). The union also has the support from both the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers trade union.

The AppleCore organizers are not the first ones to try and get a union vote. In Atlanta, they pulled their petition in April. But there’s hope for employees at Grand Central Terminal Station at New York

AppleCORE Group

In a bold move that surprised many, the AppleCORE group wrote an open letter to CEO Tim Cook in May. Detailing their decision was about them as workers gaining access rights they currently don’t have.

A worker-organizer told the Washington Post that he had been working at this Towson store. They work seven years and wanted to unionize so they could have a seat at their table.

“More money is nice,” he said. “But it’s really about agency.”

Meanwhile, Apple has reemphasized the benefits and compensation it offers retail workers in a statement.

“We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and deeply value everything they bring to Apple,” the statement wrote. “We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part time employees. Also including health care,tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants, and many other benefits.”

Apple also announced that it will be raising the minimum wage for workers in America to $22 per hour.

Cosmetic Entity Revlon Left with No Choice But to File Bankruptcy

One of the most iconic and long-running brands in the cosmetic industry. Revlon neared over a century’s production but was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. 

It was revealed that Revlon was struggling because of “macro-economic issues,”. Like legacy debt and supply-chain disruptions.

The beauty brand is set to receive $575 million in financing. They help maintain Revlon’s day-to-day operations.

“Today’s filing will allow Revlon to offer our consumers the iconic products we have delivered for decades while providing a clearer path for our future growth,” said Revlon President and CEO Debra Perelman in a company statement. “Consumer demand for our products remains strong – people love our brands, and we continue to have a healthy market position.”

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Revlon, save the positive first quarter of 2022. Despite solid earnings, the pandemic left the company far too overwhelmed to mitigate its effects.

The Report Of Revlon

The reports show that it hit its highest first-quarter operating income in six years. It has $479.6 million dollars – a 7.8% year-over-year increase.

The CEO of Revlon has admitted that their supply chain challenges are still affecting the company. They blame it on an aggressive digital strategy. As a result they lost $67 million in the first quarter.

In 2016, Revlon was acquired by former rival brand Elizabeth Arden in a deal reported to be around $870 million. The purchase left the company forward-facing and on NYSE as the ticker symbol.

“We expect to benefit from greater scale, an expanded global footprint and a significant presence across all major beauty categories and channels,” said Revlon in 2016. “As a combined organization with net sales of approximately $3 billion. This acquisition will help to further accelerate our growth trajectory, position us among the top beauty players and unlock far greater upside than either company would have realized on a stand-alone basis.”

When three men, brothers Charles and Joseph Reussen along with their friend Charles Lachman came up with the idea for a beauty company in 1932. They didn’t know what kind of legacy it would create. Fast forward decades later and Revlon has been behind many famous faces, including those from the entertainment world.

Tour Dates for The Weeknd Pushed Back

Source: NME

When the pandemic spread across the globe last year, many industries had to adjust to protocols. Forcing some businesses to close shop while entertainers like musicians had to hold off on tours. After a year, the concert industry was finally revived, giving artists the chance to perform for their fans. The Weeknd, who was initially set to go on tour in the middle of last year, has had to reschedule. When news of his “After Hours” tour started to circulate.  The fans were once again ecstatic to experience the thrill of blinding lights again. However, the “Hills” artist has announced his decision to reschedule his tour to next year.

Although he had been making music in 2010, The Weeknd rose to prominence in the mid 2010s following a string of hits like. “The Hills,” “Often,” and “Earned It,” which was featured in the 50 Shades of Gray official soundtrack. Since then, he has won countless awards and become a leader in the contemporary music scene. Recognizable for his palm tree dreadlocks. The Weeknd would later abandon his trademark hair. Despite the change, the “Hills” artist remained consistent in his music development.

The Grammy-winning artist first returned to the grand stage earlier this year at the Super Bowl.  Started releasing new tracks in the following months after releasing his After Hours album in 2020. Although he initially had a tour coming up that would have taken him gracing the stage throughout the United States, The Weeknd bumped his tour to the summer of 2022. Expanding on a global tour to include Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. 

Although The Weeknd didn’t elaborate on his decision, the reschedule can be pinned down to the current situation.  The pandemic as safety precautions in the United States continue to be shaky. With inconsistency in the social-distancing protocol, it can be challenging to hold arena tours. Especially as music festivals and other events are getting organized.

The Weeknd Change

The Weeknd changing the tour dates is not only a show of concern for the safety of his audience. Also allows him to prepare a bigger presentation for them. With the tour set for next year, he hopes that the open air can alleviate concerns regarding mass gatherings. 

“The ‘After Hours’ tour dates are moving and will commence in the Summer of 2022 due to constraints of arenas. The desire to do something bigger and special for fans that will require stadiums. The artist stated on his social media pages. “New dates forthcoming. Current tickets will be refunded automatically and all ticketholders will be given priority to buy tickets for the stadium shows when they go on sale.”

Recently, The Weeknd officially changed his 2022 tour’s name to “After Hours ‘Til Dawn” on his Instagram page. Fans have speculated that the change is a reflection of the theme and teases his upcoming new album, something he has been hinting this year. They were treated to a new single titled “Take My Breath” in August, fueling fans’ excitement and anticipation. 

Apple’s Supply Chain Company Gives Away Hints of iPhone 14 Lineup’s Price Increase

Tech enthusiasts and Apple loyalists are anticipating the iPhone 14 lineup’s arrival this year. But their spirits are dampened as prices for the new phones are rumored to be skyrocketing. As a result, prospective owners will have to wait until mid-September. Find out if they’ll have to break their banks or not.

Many believe that the drastic cost increase comes from Apple’s component suppliers. However, sentiment for the price hike only doubled recently. When companies in the iPhone supply chain indirectly confirmed. The company would pass some of the rising costs of iPhones this year.

Japanese company Showa Denko K.K. is known for providing chip manufacturing for chipmaker TSMC. It also manufactures custom A-series and M-series chips in Apple devices.

The company is responsible for the A15 chips that power the iPhone 13 models. It will produce the A16 chips that are going to be available in select iPhone 14 series models. However, the lockdowns of COVID-19. Wars and the decline in the value of the yen forced Showa Denko to repeatedly raise its costs.

CFO Hideki Somemiya told Bloomberg that the company had no choice. To increase the costs it passes on to customers.

“A big theme this year common to all the players in the materials industry. How much cost burden we’d be able to convince customers to share with us,” he explained.

“The current market moves require us to ask twice the amount we had previously calculated.”

With TSMC passing on the cost increases to Apple, the prices of the iPhone 14 are strongly tied to the increase.

Prices iPhone 14

Apple has reportedly taken two steps to raise the cost of the iPhone 14 series. Since last year, there have been rumors that the apple mini series will be discontinued after 13 years and replaced by iPhone 14 Plus/Max from 6.7. Customs Service; the device would cost around $899.

The regular iPhone 14 will likely maintain its $799 price tag.

Meanwhile, the Pro models will increase, with a starting price of $1,099. The cheapest iPhone 14 Pro Max would also cost $1,199.

Years earlier, Apple and its partner couriers used a base pricing strategy where shoppers could get a $30 discount at checkout if they did business with the courier. As a result, the actual decal prices for the iPhone 13 and 13 mini are $729 and $829, respectively.

Biden administration to create 500,000 charging stations for EVs

Image Source: REUTERS/Leah Millis

The Biden administration plans to boost the electric vehicle industry. allocating funds to create charging stations across the country.

The president said that his administration will build over 500,000 charging stations by 2030. This initiative will aid the country’s transition to clean energy.

States will be subject to minimum standards and allow them to build charging stations made available to all drivers. Regardless of the brand, charging company or location, a driver will be able to use these stations.

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The President

The president said that the move aims to shift the preference of the transport sector. The sector accounts for a big fraction of greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change. By 2030, the administration would have allowed 50% sales of EVs.

“Everyone deserves a chance to benefit from EVs,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“We’re paying attention not only to the quantity of EV chargers but also their quality. Everyone should be able to find a working charging station when and where they need it,” he added.

The White House has already been starting this initiative earlier this year. Officials allocated $5 billion to states to create charging stations.

Charging stations would have a similar payment system, speed, and pricing information. These would also be updated so consumers will be informed ahead before reaching the nearest charging station.

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“We’re tackling range anxiety and vehicle charging deserts. Making sure that charging stations are easily and equally accessible. Allowing every American can get coast to coast in an electric vehicle,” Jennifer Granholm, the Energy secretary, said in a statement.

According to the 2020 Consumer Reports. EVs spend 60% less on fuel compared to gas-powered cars every year.

The U.S. is one of the largest markets for EVs, third to China and Europe.

Incentives have been given to consumers who bought EVs made by union workers. By 2035, the Biden administration promises to transition over 600,000 cars and trucks.

Source: CNBC

Crypto Restaurant Bored & Hungry Puts a Hold on the Crypto Payment Method

In the past few years, Crypto has blown up as a popular form of digital currency. As such, many businesses have started accepting it. They giving their customers more options for payment besides cash or credit cards.

In Long Beach, California, a restaurant has decided to take the concept of cryptocurrencies one step further. Their plan is that by making this change in their business. They will be able to get ahead with current trends and become more appealing for customers. Who want to use digital currency without having to use credit cards.

The recent market crash proved to be a major obstacle for Bored & Hungry, the crypto-centric restaurant. The company opened its doors in April. As aspirations of pioneering new territory by offering cryptocurrency as a mode of payment.

Payment In USD

The restaurant has only recently taken payments in USD. It remains to be seen if Bored & Hungry will once again embrace its crypto roots.

Andy Nguyen, the founder of Bored & Hungry, created his restaurant after acquiring four NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection. He decided to use these tokens as inspiration for what would become an innovative business model.

“We spent a little over $267,000 on the main ape, which is the one with our logo,” said Nguyen. “On the mutant apes, we spent between $65,000 and $75,000 each.”

The idea started as a temporary business for 90 days, but the pop-up store accumulated success. So Nguyen decided to spin it off into a permanent restaurant. Integrating the crypto method of payment as the store’s main feature.

The restaurant offers a variety of options for those wanting something different than the typical burger. Whether people are looking to indulge in some beef or vegans, Bored & Hungry offers both.

The restaurant has struggled to find its footing since the crypto market crash in May. As a result, all prices are listed in US dollars now and it’s unclear when. If they will accept cryptocurrency again, according to an anonymous employee.

PlayStation Parent Company Sony to Explore the PC Gaming Space

Sony PlayStation is a gaming system that’s been around for decades. It often stands out in a competitive industry with a huge following of fans who love playing games on the platform.

With a history spanning decades, it’s not surprising that Sony is one of the most trusted brands in electronics.

However, as technology changes so too do consumers’ needs and preferences. Particularly when they turn their attention from gaming towards PC-related products like monitors or graphics cards — an area that Sony will be focusing on.

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The company has revealed that it is launching its own gaming computer monitors and headsets, hoping to make a mark in the PC gaming market. They intend on going beyond just the PlayStation brand.

Sony is preparing to release two monitors in its PC gaming lineup called Inzone.

The Inzone M9 monitor is a high-end option. It’s retails for $900.

The Inzone M9 is a 27-inch monitor with 4K resolution. Also144Hz refresh rate, making it worth the price tag.

The Inzone M3 is perfect for budget-conscious gamers looking to get their fix. It sacrifices screen resolution but gamers will enjoy a higher refresh rate with this model.

Sony has announced that they will be releasing two new models this year, with the Inzone M9 in summer and the M3 following suit in winter.

The headphones Sony will release are the Inzone H9, Inzone H7, and Inzone H3.

The three upcoming headsets are all available for pre-order, but Sony has not announced a release date.

The Inzone H9 is a high-end model, retailing at $300. It features noise canceling technology and an “ambient sound” mode that picks up on the user’s surroundings.

The H7 is a great choice for those who want longer battery life, but don’t need to use the noise-canceling features.

The H3 is the cheapest, coming in at $100. It also requires a cable plug to work.

The Sony Corporation has taken a big step into the world of PC gaming hardware with their new partnership. This decision will pit them against some well-established brands, but it also allows for an opportunity to access esports.

“The market has been expanding with a higher interest in gaming with the spread of e-sports tournaments and the advancement of gaming entertainment,” said Sony head of game business Yukihiro Kitajima.

“With Sony’s strong history of high-end audio and visual technology products, we believe this new line will offer even more options for those looking to upgrade their current gaming systems.”

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