Day: March 3, 2020

Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Tokyo falls back, other Asian markets track Wall St gains

TOKYO (AP) — Shares in most Asian markets tracked overnight gains on Wall Street, but Tokyo’s benchmark fell back today as gnawing concerns over the virus outbreak chilled buying sentiment.

Traders were awaiting talks between central bankers and other financial leaders of the Group of Seven industrial nations on how to tackle the slowdown brought on by the outbreak that began in China and has spread to dozens of countries, killing about 3,100 people and sickening more than 90,000.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 finished 1.2% lower after gaining in the morning. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7% after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its key interest rate to a record-low 0.5%.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed but inched up less than 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.6%. India’s Sensex was little changed after rising earlier in the day, while Taiwan’s benchmark surged 1.4%.

Monday on Wall Street, technology companies led the broad gains, where the S&P 500 index jumped 4.6% to 3,090.23 in its best day since December 2018. Apple climbed 9.3% and Gilead Sciences rose 8.7%. The biotechnology company has been testing one of its drugs as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. The Nasdaq added 4.5% to 8,952.16. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 2.9% to 1,518.49.

Even with Monday’s big rally, the major U.S. indexes remain in the red for the year.

AUSTRALIA-ECONOMY

Australia cuts rate to record low 0.5% because of virus

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s central bank has cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a record low of 0.5% in response to the economic shock of the new coronavirus.

The reduction at the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monthly meeting is the first since October last year and the fourth since June last year. Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said his board took the decision to “to support the economy as it responds to the global coronavirus outbreak.”

DRUG PRICE FIXING

Feds: Sandoz Inc. to pay $195M over antitrust allegations

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says pharmaceutical company Sandoz Inc. will pay a $195 million penalty to resolve criminal charges of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for generic drugs.

The Justice Department said it was the largest fine the department had levied in a domestic antitrust case. Under the agreement, criminal prosecution will be deferred for three years.

As part of the agreement, the generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey will admit guilt and pay the penalty, which the Justice Department says is the largest fine the department had levied in a domestic antitrust case.

Officials said the company conspired between 2013 and 2015 with other drug manufacturers and their executives to raise prices for critical medications, hurting vulnerable consumers such as the elderly. The price-fixing affected more than $500 million in Sanoz’s generic drug sales.

APPLE-BATTERYGATE SETTLEMENT

Apple to pay up to $500M over battery-related phone slowdown

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — IPhone owners could get $25 from Apple after the company agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle claims over intentionally slowing down older phones to preserve older batteries.

Apple and lawyers representing iPhone consumers agreed to a deal stemming from Apple’s 2017 admission that it was slowing down phone performance in older models to avoid unexpected shutdowns related to battery fatigue.

That admission led to Apple offering discounted battery replacements at $29, but many people claimed they had already spent hundreds of dollars to buy new phones because Apple didn’t reveal the cause of the problem. If they had known they could just buy new batteries, they might not have bought new phones, some consumers in the case said.

Apple did not admit wrongdoing. But as part of the settlement, the company will pay $310 million to $500 million, including about $93 million to lawyers representing consumers.

KUSHNER-OPPORTUNITY ZONES-SALE

Kushner sells stake in firm using tax breaks he lobbied for

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has sold his stake in a company investing in Opportunity Zone projects offering tax breaks he had personally lobbied for in Washington, sparking criticism that he was benefiting from his White House role.

A filing at the Office of Government Ethics released Monday shows that Kushner received permission to defer capital gains on the sale of his stake in Cadre, a digital platform for smaller investors to buy stakes in commercial properties. Kushner’s holding in the private Cadre is worth between $25 million and $50 million, according to a financial disclosure report he filed with federal ethics officials last year.

Kushner pushed for the Opportunity Zone tax breaks to be included in Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. The breaks offer investors big cuts in capital gains taxes if they put money into businesses and buildings in 8,700 poor, struggling neighbourhoods across the country that otherwise might not attract the money.

WELLS FARGO ARCTIC OIL

Wells Fargo third major bank to end Arctic oil investment

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Wells Fargo & Co. has become the third major U.S. bank to announce it will not support financing for oil and gas projects in the Arctic.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the bank identified the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska’s North Slope as an area where it will not invest.

Well Fargo joins The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in the decision not to provide Arctic funding.

Well Fargo says the decision applies only to project finance and that the bank plans to continue ongoing relationships with oil and gas companies in the Arctic.

AUSTRALIA-ECONOMY

Australia cuts rate to record low 0.5% to fight virus impact

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s central bank has cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a record low of 0.5% in response to the economic shock of the new coronavirus.

The reduction at the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monthly meeting today is the first since October and the fourth since June.

Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said his board took the decision to “to support the economy as it responds to the global coronavirus outbreak.”

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the slowdown in the global economy that started in 2018 appeared to be coming to an end. Lowe said it’s too early to tell when the outlook will begin to improve.

AUSTRALIA-NEWS AGENCY

Australian Associated Press closing after 85 years

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — National news agency Australian Associated Press announced on Tuesday that it is closing after 85 years.

AAP Editor-in-Chief Tony Gillies said in a tweet: “The saddest day: AAP closes after 85 years of excellence in journalism. The AAP family will be sorely missed.” AAP Chief Executive Officer Bruce Davidson said operations would cease at the end of June.

AAP employs more than 170 journalists who work in bureaus in all states and territories of Australia. It also maintains correspondents in New Zealand, London and Los Angeles as well as using a network of contributors from the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. AAP’s domestic news coverage is complemented by alliances with the major international news agencies including The Associated Press.

Australian media organizations are under mounting financial pressure with global digital giants Google and Facebook taking a growing chunk of advertising revenue.

DISNEY-FIRST MICKEY RIDE

First ride featuring Mickey Mouse debuts at Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. was built on the shoulders of Mickey Mouse, so it may come as a surprise that there never has been a theme park attraction based on the lovable rodent.

That’s about to change with the debut of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride on Wednesday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.

The ride gives visitors the impression that they are watching a cartoon featuring Mickey and Minnie come to life as the Disney characters look for the perfect place for a romantic picnic and then end up on a train ride on the “Runnamuck Railroad.”

The ride features trackless vehicles, multiple dimensional sets and projections on multiple planes, as well as animatronic figures and theatrical effects.

The Associated Press

@repost Equalization of Net Family Property

Via Family Law Questions

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/03/03/update-on-the-latest-in-business-16/

By The Wall of Law March 3, 2020 Off

Judge overturns porn conviction of Jared Fogle associate

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge has overturned the child pornography conviction of an associate of Jared Fogle who provided evidence that led to a criminal case the against disgraced former Subway pitchman.

Russell Taylor was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2015 for producing pornography. In a 32-page ruling issued Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled that Taylor’s defence attorney, Brad Banks, was ineffective because he failed to challenge three charges not supported by the legal facts of the case.

Pratt found that Banks did not inform Taylor that three of the sexual exploitation charges he was admitting to involved hidden-camera images of young, male relatives that did not involve the “sexually explicit conduct” necessary for the criminal charges, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Vacating Taylor’s conviction, Pratt said Banks’ error ruined the entire proceedings, including his guilty plea and sentencing.

The stage is now set for a possible new trial on 10 remaining felony charges. Pratt’s ruling said federal prosecutors and attorneys for Taylor agreed that was the “proper relief.”

Brandon Sample, one of Taylor’s appellate attorneys, told the newspaper that the ruling “vindicates Mr. Taylor’s longstanding assertion that his plea was the product of ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Steven Whitaker, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler, said Monday that Taylor remained in federal custody and declined further comment.

The Associated Press sent an email Monday seeking comment from Banks to his Indianapolis law office. A woman who answered the phone at that office said Banks “will have no comment at this time.”

Taylor was sentenced in December 2015 after he pleaded guilty to 12 counts of child exploitation and one count of distribution of child pornography. He admitted using cameras hidden in his homes to produce pornography of the children, some as young as 9 years old.

Taylor was executive director of the Jared Foundation, a non-profit that Fogle started to raise awareness and money to fight childhood obesity. He provided evidence that led to the criminal case against Fogle, his one-time boss and close friend.

Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November 2015 for trading in child pornography and paying for sex with underage girls. He had pleaded guilty to distributing and receiving child pornography and travelling out of state to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.

Fogle became a Subway pitchman after shedding more than 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) as a college student, in part by eating the chain’s sandwiches. Subway ended its relationship with Fogle after authorities raided his suburban Indianapolis home in July 2015.

Taylor was being held at a federal prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi; Fogle was being held at a federal prison in Littleton, Colorado, Bureau of Prison records show.

The Associated Press

@repost Divorce Questions

Via Common Law Divorce

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/03/02/judge-overturns-porn-conviction-of-jared-fogle-associate/

By The Wall of Law March 3, 2020 Off

Buttigieg’s White House bid ensures place in LGBTQ history

NEW YORK — A divisive debate over same-sex marriage animated the 2004 presidential election as voters across the country approved constitutional amendments banning such unions. Sixteen years later, with those bans invalidated and his husband by his side, Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay man to become — however briefly — a leading presidential candidate.

Buttigieg fell short of his goal to win the Democratic nomination and defeat President Donald Trump. But his candidacy will likely be remembered as an example of the remarkable advances made by LGBTQ Americans in their quest for equality and acceptance.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, suspended his campaign Sunday, saying he saw no path to victory after a poor showing among black voters left him a distant fourth in South Carolina’s primary. But activists hailed Buttigieg as a trailblazer and an inspiration for what they hope will be future waves of LGBTQ candidates at every level of U.S. politics.

“Pete’s candidacy represents a revolution in American politics, forever transforming what is possible for an LGBTQ candidate and making clear America will elect an openly LGBTQ president,” said Annise Parker, a former mayor of Houston. She now heads the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which recruits and supports LGBTQ candidates for political office.

“Pete spoke in small-town restaurants in Iowa, held rallies in New Hampshire and battled it out on the presidential debate stage,” Parker said. “He inspired LGBTQ youth to come out in valedictory speeches, to attend their first Pride parade, and to believe America has a place for them.”

While there have been gay governors and members of Congress, Buttigieg resonated with some voters for his potential to win the nation’s highest office. He battled Bernie Sanders to a virtual first-place tie in the opening caucuses in Iowa and finished just one percentage point behind Sanders in New Hampshire before slipping to third in Nevada. He was expected to endorse fellow moderate Joe Biden on Monday, according to two people familiar with Buttigieg’s decision who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

While he often campaigned with his husband, Chasten, and was comfortable discussing his sexual orientation, it was rarely a focus of his own speeches or of commentary from his critics or opponents.

“The fact that Pete was gay didn’t really come up that much, which itself was an important marker,” said Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay issues. “It’s such an angry, intolerant time. But Pete’s campaign proved that Americans are still capable of tolerance and accepting of differences.“

One exception came in mid-February, when Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show that “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”

Buttigieg, in response, held up his marriage as a contrast with Trump, who has been accused of infidelity and sexual assault — allegations he has denied.

“I mean, I’m sorry, but one thing about my marriage is it’s never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse with him or her,” Buttigieg said. “So they want to debate family values? Let’s debate family values.”

Still, Buttigieg was a controversial figure in some LGBTQ circles. As a white man with a Harvard degree, he acknowledged enjoying privileges that aren’t extended to women, people of colour and the poor. His ties to organized religion concerned LGBTQ people who have been marginalized, excluded and mistreated by churches.

That fueled a debate over whether Buttigieg is “gay enough.” Some critics said that wasn’t the point. Buttigieg, they argue, reached political prominence by presenting himself to heterosexuals as a safe, unassuming gay person.

“Buttigieg isn’t just gay — he’s also white, male, upper-class, Midwestern, married, Ivy League–educated, and a man of faith,” Christina Cauterucci, who covers LGBTQ issues for Slate magazine, wrote in a widely circulated article last year. “That doesn’t mean he’s not gay enough — there’s really no such measure. … But it does makes him less exciting as the supposed gay trailblazer some on the left desperately want him to be.”

Yet Evan Wolfson, a lawyer who played a key role in the long campaign to legalize same-sex marriage across the U.S., suggested that Buttigieg’s All-American resume was part of his appeal.

“His being gay proved an advantage — a signal of freshness, of empathy, of hope,” Wolfson said. “Americans responded to these urgently needed qualities, and to Pete’s demonstration that gay people can be just as talented, just as effective, and just as patriotic as anyone.”

Ethan Geto, a New York-based political consultant who advised Hillary Clinton on LGBTQ issues, was active in Democratic campaigns back in 1972, the first year that openly gay delegates were invited to speak about gay-rights issues at the party’s national convention.

“The LGBTQ community has travelled a long, hard road to equality,” Geto said via email. ”An openly gay candidate could not have been this successful if American society had not come to understand that LGBTQ citizens are found in every walk of life, are present in almost every extended family.”

Another veteran activist hailing Buttigieg was Gene Robinson, who in 2004 became the U.S. Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop.

“Because of Pete, there’s a gay kid somewhere in Idaho or Alabama who now thinks he can be president,” Robinson tweeted.

Buttigieg struck a similar tone Sunday as he announced his departure from the race.

“We send a message to every kid out there wondering if whatever marks them out as different means they are somehow destined to be less than,” Buttigieg told supporters. “To see that someone who once felt that exact same way can become a leading American presidential candidate with his husband by his side.”

___

Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont contributed to this report.

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

David Crary, The Associated Press

@repost Collaborative Family Law

Via Attorney Separation Agreement

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/03/02/buttigiegs-white-house-bid-ensures-place-in-lgbtq-history/

By The Wall of Law March 3, 2020 Off

Buttigieg’s White House bid ensures place in LGBTQ history

NEW YORK — A divisive debate over same-sex marriage animated the 2004 presidential election as voters across the country approved constitutional amendments banning such unions. Sixteen years later, with those bans invalidated and his husband by his side, Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay man to become — however briefly — a leading presidential candidate.

Buttigieg fell short of his goal to win the Democratic nomination and defeat President Donald Trump. But his candidacy will likely be remembered as an example of the remarkable advances made by LGBTQ Americans in their quest for equality and acceptance.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, suspended his campaign Sunday, saying he saw no path to victory after a poor showing among black voters left him a distant fourth in South Carolina’s primary. But activists hailed Buttigieg as a trailblazer and an inspiration for what they hope will be future waves of LGBTQ candidates at every level of U.S. politics.

“Pete’s candidacy represents a revolution in American politics, forever transforming what is possible for an LGBTQ candidate and making clear America will elect an openly LGBTQ president,” said Annise Parker, a former mayor of Houston. She now heads the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which recruits and supports LGBTQ candidates for political office.

“Pete spoke in small-town restaurants in Iowa, held rallies in New Hampshire and battled it out on the presidential debate stage,” Parker said. “He inspired LGBTQ youth to come out in valedictory speeches, to attend their first Pride parade, and to believe America has a place for them.”

While there have been gay governors and members of Congress, Buttigieg resonated with some voters for his potential to win the nation’s highest office. He battled Bernie Sanders to a virtual first-place tie in the opening caucuses in Iowa and finished just one percentage point behind Sanders in New Hampshire before slipping to third in Nevada. He was expected to endorse fellow moderate Joe Biden on Monday, according to two people familiar with Buttigieg’s decision who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

While he often campaigned with his husband, Chasten, and was comfortable discussing his sexual orientation, it was rarely a focus of his own speeches or of commentary from his critics or opponents.

“The fact that Pete was gay didn’t really come up that much, which itself was an important marker,” said Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay issues. “It’s such an angry, intolerant time. But Pete’s campaign proved that Americans are still capable of tolerance and accepting of differences.“

One exception came in mid-February, when Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show that “America’s still not ready to elect a gay guy kissing his husband on the debate stage.”

Buttigieg, in response, held up his marriage as a contrast with Trump, who has been accused of infidelity and sexual assault — allegations he has denied.

“I mean, I’m sorry, but one thing about my marriage is it’s never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse with him or her,” Buttigieg said. “So they want to debate family values? Let’s debate family values.”

Still, Buttigieg was a controversial figure in some LGBTQ circles. As a white man with a Harvard degree, he acknowledged enjoying privileges that aren’t extended to women, people of colour and the poor. His ties to organized religion concerned LGBTQ people who have been marginalized, excluded and mistreated by churches.

That fueled a debate over whether Buttigieg is “gay enough.” Some critics said that wasn’t the point. Buttigieg, they argue, reached political prominence by presenting himself to heterosexuals as a safe, unassuming gay person.

“Buttigieg isn’t just gay — he’s also white, male, upper-class, Midwestern, married, Ivy League–educated, and a man of faith,” Christina Cauterucci, who covers LGBTQ issues for Slate magazine, wrote in a widely circulated article last year. “That doesn’t mean he’s not gay enough — there’s really no such measure. … But it does makes him less exciting as the supposed gay trailblazer some on the left desperately want him to be.”

Yet Evan Wolfson, a lawyer who played a key role in the long campaign to legalize same-sex marriage across the U.S., suggested that Buttigieg’s All-American resume was part of his appeal.

“His being gay proved an advantage — a signal of freshness, of empathy, of hope,” Wolfson said. “Americans responded to these urgently needed qualities, and to Pete’s demonstration that gay people can be just as talented, just as effective, and just as patriotic as anyone.”

Ethan Geto, a New York-based political consultant who advised Hillary Clinton on LGBTQ issues, was active in Democratic campaigns back in 1972, the first year that openly gay delegates were invited to speak about gay-rights issues at the party’s national convention.

“The LGBTQ community has travelled a long, hard road to equality,” Geto said via email. ”An openly gay candidate could not have been this successful if American society had not come to understand that LGBTQ citizens are found in every walk of life, are present in almost every extended family.”

Another veteran activist hailing Buttigieg was Gene Robinson, who in 2004 became the U.S. Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop.

“Because of Pete, there’s a gay kid somewhere in Idaho or Alabama who now thinks he can be president,” Robinson tweeted.

Buttigieg struck a similar tone Sunday as he announced his departure from the race.

“We send a message to every kid out there wondering if whatever marks them out as different means they are somehow destined to be less than,” Buttigieg told supporters. “To see that someone who once felt that exact same way can become a leading American presidential candidate with his husband by his side.”

___

Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont contributed to this report.

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

David Crary, The Associated Press

@repost Divorce Mediation

Via Separation Property Settlement

source https://toronto.citynews.ca/2020/03/02/buttigiegs-white-house-bid-ensures-place-in-lgbtq-history/

By The Wall of Law March 3, 2020 Off