|Bid||30.16 x 3200|
|Ask||30.18 x 2200|
|Day's Range||29.98 - 30.47|
|52 Week Range||26.26 - 45.86|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.56|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||14.71|
|Earnings Date||Feb. 6, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||34.33|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Three months before Slovakia’s national election, Robert Fico, the nation’s former three-term prime minister and current leader of the ruling party, has been charged with hate speech, an offense that can potentially land him in prison for five years. Though what he said is certainly reprehensible, the case shows why censoring political speech, as many European countries routinely do, isn’t a great idea.The story began in October 2016, when Milan Mazurek, a nationalist member of the Slovak parliament, said in a radio interview that the government shouldn’t be funding housing for the country’s Roma minority — “people who have never done anything for our nation or our state, but on the contrary, chose to live in an asocial way and suck on our social system.” Both Mazurek and the radio station later were fined, and the legislator lost his parliamentary mandate. Slovakia’s Supreme Court made the final decision in the case in September 2019.Soon afterward, Fico posted a video on Facebook, in which he said: “Milan Mazurek only said what nearly the whole nation thinks. If you punish someone for telling the truth, you make him a national hero.” That’s what landed him in trouble with the National Criminal Agency, which charged him on Thursday with disparaging nation, race and belief and with inciting ethnic hatred.The Roma, often described as Europe’s largest ethnic minority, are highly visible in Slovakia. They make up just 2% of the country’s population, but they largely live in segregated, often miserable settlements on the edge of villages or towns. An attempt to map them in 2016 found 804 such settlements. Few serious attempts at desegregation have been made: They are politically unpopular. Slovakia has one of the most anti-Roma populations in Europe.So in a way, what Fico said about Mazurek’s conviction making nationalist ideas even more popular makes sense — even if describing the ex-legislator’s word as “the truth” was unworthy of a mainstream European politician who has headed his country’s government for a total of 10 years. The Roma, after all, were an ethnic group the Nazis persecuted with an ardor matched only by that of the Holocaust.Yet Fico, as is his wont, couldn’t resist making a populist statement as his party, Smer, battles to retain its lead ahead of the election, set for Feb. 29 of next year. Though Fico is probably the most senior and high-profile political figure in Europe to be charged with inciting ethnic hate, European countries don’t shy away from using their hate speech laws against politicians. Far-right German politician Lutz Bachmann, founder of the anti-Islamic Pegida movement that staged huge demonstrations in eastern Germany, was fined 9,600 euros in 2016 for calling refugees from the Middle East “cattle,” “filth” and “scum.”French far-right leader Marine Le Pen spent years fighting criminal charges after her 2010 comment comparing Muslims praying in the streets to Nazi occupiers; she was acquitted in 2015, but now another trial is pending for her for posting gruesome images of Islamic State victims on Twitter in 2015, after a series of terror attacks in Paris. Lesser activists are regularly charged and sometimes sentenced.But Fico’s case, coming as it does in the heat of an election campaign, shows the potential for hate speech laws to be abused for political ends — something Fico himself, unsurprisingly, raised in a Facebook post on Friday. He claimed he was charged for “expressing an opinion” and accused the opposition of using the charges to attack his party, which stood firmly behind him.Thanks in large part to Smer’s long rule, Slovakia’s democratic institutions are hardly a shining example to the rest of Europe. Last year, Fico was forced to resign as prime minister after the murder of an investigative journalist and his fiance sparked mass protests. A wealthy businessman has been charged with ordering the killings.Corruption, even state capture, has emerged as a major problem, resulting in the election of anti-graft activist Zuzana Caputova to the country’s relatively weak presidency this year. The party behind the Caputova phenomenon, Progressive Slovakia, is the second most popular in the country behind Smer.But if it’s time for a change of ruling party, it shouldn’t come thanks to the prosecution of Smer’s leader for something he said. The charges could even backfire, given the Slovak public’s distrust of the Roma and the growing popularity of nationalist parties.It would be far better for the downtrodden minority and the country as a whole if the opposition could convincingly argue the case for a stronger and smarter integration effort and present a contrast to Fico’s rhetoric. Constructive moderate speech can win lots of votes, as Caputova proved earlier this year. Given Europe’s history with extreme nationalism, banning politicians from saying whatever they want on matters of race and ethnicity may look like an effective insurance policy against the emergence of another Hitler. It could be argued, though, that letting them speak their minds and play openly to nationalist sentiment would also strengthen resistance to populism. In a way, that’s what has happened in the U.S. since the election of Donald Trump as president. Speech, even disgusting speech, shouldn’t be a crime unless it calls directly for violence. Fico should be allowed to fight on free of harassment. If he loses, it’ll be a sign that European values are alive in Slovakia. If he wins, it’ll be as clear a sign of more nationalist trouble in Eastern Europe — and a signal for moderate forces to organize more effectively.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- With less than a month left, Canada’s ETF industry is heading for a blowout year with inflows poised for a record and assets crossing the C$200 billion ($151 billion) mark.Exchange traded funds attracted C$4.5 billion of investments in November -- the biggest monthly increase for the year -- pushing inflows to C$23 billion in 2019 and inching closer to the record set two years ago at C$26 billion, , according to National Bank of Canada. The iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index ETF, which tracks top stocks, brought in almost C$700 million in November, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“We saw for the first time in a while where equities brought in a lot more money than fixed income,” said Mark Noble, senior vice president for ETF strategy at Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. “The market seems to have found a little bit more confidence.”It’s little wonder, stocks surged 3.4% in November, the biggest gain since January. The S&P/TSX Composite Index has climbed 19% this year and on a total returns basis, it’s up 22%.That helped push assets under management across C$200 billion in the month, National Bank of Canada data show. The industry has doubled its assets in three and a half years, said Daniel Straus, vice president of ETFs and financial products research at the firm.“A lot of pent up demand for investment found its way back into the market,” he said. Investors had tiptoed back into passive investing this year after the global rout at the end of 2018. “Investor demand was finally released in concert with the holiday season and then you end up having this kind of blind optimism across the board.”Just The NumbersChart of The WeekPoliticsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered his Throne Speech where he called on lawmakers to find common ground and said he’d be open to new ideas in order to work with other parties. He also cited climate change and efforts to “strengthen the middle class” as two of the main messages sent by votes in the divisive election in which he lost his majority.Earlier in the week, Donald Trump called Trudeau “two-faced” after a hot-mic video captured the Canadian prime minister joking about the U.S. president’s extended remarks to reporters at a NATO summit this week.EconomyCanada posted its biggest monthly job loss in a decade, setting up a test of the Bank of Canada’s resolve to hold off lowering interest rates. Just days earlier, the nation’s central bank stood pat on interest rates, citing a resilience in the nation’s economy that allowed it to “chart its own course in monetary policy.”Separately, a shipment of paintings and sculptures potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars helped drive an increase in exports in October, Statistics Canada said Thursday. That resulted in the northern nation’s widest surplus with its biggest trading partner since the 2008 financial crisis.October new housing price data are due on Dec. 12 and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz -- who announced Friday he won’t seek a second term at the helm of the central bank -- will be speaking at an event in Toronto that day.TrendingInCanadaThirty years ago today, a gunman claiming to fight feminism killed 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montréal in a mass shooting.(Updates with closing prices.)To contact the reporter on this story: Divya Balji in Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jacqueline Thorpe at email@example.com, ;Kyung Bok Cho at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steven FrankFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 6, 2019 / The securities litigation law firm of The Gross Law Firm issues the following notice on behalf of shareholders in the following publicly traded companies. ...
LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / December 6, 2019 / The Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit against Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter" or "the Company") (NYSE:TWTR) for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors who purchased the Company's securities between August 6, 2019 and October 23, 2019, inclusive (the ''Class Period''), are encouraged to contact the firm before December 30, 2019.
(Bloomberg) -- Peloton Interactive Inc. has been pilloried online and punished on the stock market following the release of a holiday ad for its stationary exercise bike that was deemed culturally insensitive. But the backlash could be a good thing for the company in the long run.The commercial, which features a woman documenting a year in her life with the Peloton bike her male partner gave her, struck some viewers as out of touch -- suggesting the already thin “Grace from Boston” was undergoing a strenuous workout in order to lose weight for the guy. The video, released about a month ago, went viral on social media, eliciting a scathing parody by comedian Eva Victor and prompting Peloton to close comments on the official YouTube video.As the internet buzz seemed to hit a peak earlier this week, Peloton’s stock fell 9%. But some experts say the increased attention could end up boosting sales. The shares were up 3.7% on Friday in New York.“They might benefit more because people are looking it up and learning more about it,” Laura Ries, president of advertising consultancy firm Ries & Ries, said. It’s still a short-term bump for a company that has historically been largely successful with marketing, with a total member base of 1.6 million people including more than 560,000 who have one of the proprietary bikes or treadmills plus a fitness subscription, according to Peloton’s most recent quarterly report. The official Peloton ad on the company’s YouTube channel has been seen by more than 3.6 million people.The controversy comes at a crucial time for the New York-based company, which is new to market scrutiny after listing shares in September, as it seeks to capitalize on the all-important holiday sales season and expand in new markets like the U.K. and Germany. The shares had gained 27% since its initial public offering before the wave of internet commentary dragged it down on Tuesday. The company is also facing increased competition in the booming at-home fitness market, especially among workout apps. Nike Inc., Aaptiv Inc. and apps like Kayla Itsines’s Sweat with Kayla have all gained followings for exercise programs available on a user’s phone.Peloton has been punished by Wall Street for its focus on growth over profitability. The company sells a stationary bike starting at about $2,000 and a treadmill that costs about $4,000, in addition to a basic “connected fitness” subscription plan at $39 a month for those pieces of hardware, and the separate digital apps that don’t require equipment. Its loss narrowed in the three months ended Sept. 30 to $49.8 million.The stock surged almost 10% last Friday after the company was reportedly seeing strong demand on Black Friday. And earlier this month, Peloton lowered the price of its digital subscription app to $12.99 a month from $19.49 in conjunction with the launch of new apps for Amazon’s Fire TV and the Apple Watch, a move that could entice new users. JMP Securities analysts raised their price target on the stock after the subscription reduction, saying it “broadens Peloton’s reach, improves conversion, and reduces purchase friction.” Ronald Josey, a JMP analyst, said there are “a lot of good things going on” at the company and that people will continue to buy the bike and other products despite the controversy.According to the most recent earnings report, Peloton expects its user base to grow to 680,000 or more by the end of its second quarter thanks to holiday sales and New Year’s resolutions.Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing a the NYU Stern School of Business, said the commercial itself is tone deaf and borderline offensive. But “in this attention-driven economy, anything that gets attention is arguably a positive,” he said in an interview. “It’s bringing Peloton into the social discourse on very regular basis, which is what ads are supposed to do.” If Peloton had to do it again, Galloway said, “I’d argue they probably would.”(Updates shares in third paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected a company error in the subscription price.)To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Verhage in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly Schuetz, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.The new leaders of Germany’s Social Democratic Party signaled a readiness to stick with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government but pledged a tough stance in defending a list of fresh demands.Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, a pair of outspoken government critics and Berlin outsiders, were confirmed as party leaders during a convention in Berlin on Friday. They had won a leadership contest last weekend against a tandem led by coalition loyalist Olaf Scholz, Merkel’s finance minister and vice chancellor.Their unexpected victory threw the future of Merkel’s rule into doubt. But they subsequently softened their stance and put forward a list of legislative proposals that was approved by the convention late on Friday. The motion sets out conditions for the party to remain in government, including an increase in the minimum wage, additional investments, and tougher action on climate change.“I was and I remain skeptical about the coalition,” Esken told delegates. “We are giving the coalition a chance to continue. Nothing more and nothing less, however long it may last.”In a speech aimed at her own leftist constituents, Esken made demands that went beyond what the party leadership had agreed the day before, saying that a 12 euro ($13) minimum wage is the minimum the SPD should strive for and that “massive” investments are required.Official SPD Wish ListWalter-Borjans and Esken both adopted a tough tone that could herald difficult negotiations, questioning Merkel’s commitment to a balanced budget and mocking calls for increased defense spending by the leader of her Christian Democratic Party.Germany needs a development and investment program, at least 10 years long and worth an additional 45 billion euros ($50 billion) per year, Walter-Borjans said. “If the black zero and the break on debt stand in the way of a better future for our children, then it must go,” he said in reference to Germany’s zero-deficit spending policy.A former finance minister from North-Rhine Westphalia, Walter-Borjans signaled an SPD shift to the left, saying it once again needs to become the party of income redistribution. He called for increased controls of big business and criticized calls by CDU chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer for more defense spending.“AKK wants a European aircraft carrier. With us Social Democrats that won’t be built,” he told delegates. Finance Minister Scholz, who has stuck to fiscal discipline despite calls for increased spending, reaped strong applause when he was mentioned by the party’s outgoing interim leader but was mentioned only in passing by the incoming duo.The three-day convention marks the SPD’s latest effort to get itself on track after reluctantly entering a coalition to support Merkel for her fourth term two years ago. While the party’s leaders have softened their campaign pledges, they will still be under pressure from a restive base and negotiations with Merkel’s bloc won’t be easy.Reopening a climate package that took months to secure may find little support from the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU. Equally, increasing the minimum wage could become a major bone of contention.The head of the Christian Democratic-led bloc in the Bundestag, Ralph Brinkhaus, congratulated the new SPD chief, bidding for “good and constructive” cooperation with them.Pushing too hard could be risky as pulling out of the coalition could trigger a snap election. That could be disastrous with support for the SPD on par with the far-right AfD. The CDU, led by the embattled Kramp-Karrenbauer, also has little incentive to seek an early national ballot, and Merkel is keen to see out her tenure, especially with Germany set to hold the rotating European Union presidency in the second half of next year.The dynamics of the convention will give an indication of how much time Merkel has left, even if the SPD’s new leadership is stepping back from the brink for the time being.(Updates with delagates’ approval of coalition demands in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Chris Reiter.To contact the reporter on this story: Birgit Jennen in Berlin at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Chad Thomas at email@example.com, Raymond Colitt, Iain RogersFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 6, 2019 / Levi & Korsinsky, LLP announces that class action lawsuits have commenced on behalf of shareholders of the following publicly-traded companies. To determine ...
NEW YORK, Dec. 06, 2019 -- Attorney Advertising -- Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC reminds investors that a class action lawsuit has been filed against the following.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Social-media companies insist they’re making progress in fighting the manipulation of their platforms. But two researchers, working on an extremely modest budget, have just shown that their defenses are routinely bypassed by an entire manipulation industry, largely based in Russia.In a report for NATO’s Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, Sebastian Bay and Rolf Fredheim described an experiment they ran between May and August. In the first two months, during and just after the European Parliament election campaign, they hired 11 Russian and five European “manipulation service providers,” who they found simply by searching the web. The companies then delivered 3,530 comments, 25,750 likes, 20,000 views and 5,100 followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube — all fake.Given how serious the social-media platforms claim to be about purging inauthentic activity, the experiment’s success rate was stunning. Four weeks after they were posted, a vast majority of the fake engagements were still live; even reporting them to the platforms didn’t get most removed.The study reveals a major weakness in the way the social-media giants report their anti-fraud efforts. Facebook has a lot to say about how much content it removes, for instance, but that’s like the mayor of a town reporting that 50% of its roads are now pothole-free: You never know which 50%. The important metric is how much manipulative content gets through. Bay and Fredheim found that, once professionals get involved, most of their work sticks, to the extent that they often deliver more engagements than promised for the money. Defenses only work on the most basic level. The pros are always a step ahead.NATO, of course, is mostly interested in political manipulation, and the researchers found that some of the same accounts that helped carry out their study “had been used to buy engagement on 721 political pages and 52 government pages, including the official accounts of two presidents, the official page of a European political party, and a number of junior and local politicians in Europe and the United States.”An important question is whether such efforts actually work. One recent paper tried to determine what effect the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency has had on U.S. political attitudes. The IRA, whose employees and owner were indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into meddling in the 2016 election, used some of the same techniques as the NATO Stratcom researchers. But, the paper said, their fake accounts were effectively preaching to the converted. Even for users who directly interacted with the IRA accounts, the researchers found “no substantial effects” on their political opinions, engagement with politics or attitudes toward members of the opposing party.This doesn’t mean social-network manipulation is ineffective for political purposes; much more research would be needed to draw any sweeping conclusions. What’s clear now, though, is that the manipulation industry isn’t primarily geared toward political uses. Bay and Fredheim found that “more than 90% of purchased engagements on social media are used for commercial purposes.” Even though it’s Russian-based, this industry isn’t about evil Kremlin masterminds trying to turn technology against American democracy. Rather, it’s about talented Russian engineers, stuck in the wrong country for launching grand commercial ventures like Facebook or YouTube, trying to make money by milking the existing platforms.What that usually amounts to is helping online “influencers” cheat advertisers. The abysmally low removal rates for fake video views in the Stratcom experiment show the platforms aren’t fighting such abuses hard enough. They don’t have to: They’re still essentially black boxes from an advertising client’s point of view. As a result, perhaps billions of dollars (estimates vary wildly) are lost to such fraud each year.Platforms have spent enough time trying, and failing, to prove that self-regulation can work for them. Governments should act to protect not so much voters as advertisers from the manipulation industry, penalizing social-media companies for their inability to prevent fraud and demanding more transparency. Now, as Bay and Fredheim wrote, “data is becoming scarcer and our opportunities to research this field is constantly shrinking. This effectively transfers the ability to understand what is happening on the platforms to social media companies. Independent and well-resourced oversight is needed.”Policy makers need to realize that the platform-manipulation industry doesn’t thrive because it’s a Kremlin weapon. Political weaponization is only a side effect of a parasitic industry built on the flaws of the social-media business model. It’s the model that needs to be regulated.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Timothy Lavin at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Turkey and Libya officially approved a contentious maritime deal that may fuel an energy showdown in the gas-rich waters of the eastern Mediterranean, where both countries are at odds with Greece.The Nov. 27 preliminary agreement demarcates an 18.6-nautical mile (35-kilometer) line that will form the maritime boundary separating the two countries’ respective exclusive economic zones. Libya’s presidential council and Turkey’s parliament approved the memorandum of understanding, Anadolu Agency said Friday. It is now expected to be filed with the United Nations.“This agreement also amounts to a political message that Turkey can’t be sidelined in the eastern Mediterranean and nothing can be really achieved in the region without Turkey’s participation,” Cagatay Erciyes, a senior foreign ministry official in charge of maritime and aviation boundary affairs, said Thursday.Greece, Cyprus and Egypt see the deal as a brazen Turkish bid for dominance in the contested waters. Libya is also in conflict with Greece over off-shore exploration licenses Athens issued for waters south of Crete, which is located between Turkey and Libya.Turkey, which has dispatched warships to accompany its drilling ships off the divided island of Cyprus, will issue more such permits for the Mediterranean following the deal with Libya, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Wednesday.Turkey Starts Naval Drills in Disputed Mediterranean Waters“Erdogan’s strategy has been to intensify tensions to such an extent as to force serious concessions from Greek Cyprus during future negotiations on the status of the island and how its natural gas wealth will be distributed,” said Anthony Skinner, Middle East and North Africa director at risk analyst Verisk Maplecroft. “Standing up strongly for Turkish Cypriots constitutes part of Erdogan’s nationalist credentials but also forms a key part of Turkey’s political identity and will remain a priority national interest.”Libya’s Ambassador to Greece Expelled Over Turkey Deal: ANAGreece said the agreement violated the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones of its own islands, including Crete, and expelled Libya’s ambassador to Greece.Erciyes said Greek islands were “lying on the wrong side of the median line between mainlands,” arguing that the islands’ minimal coastal lengths comparing to Turkey’s mainland should not generate continental-shelf or economic exclusive zone. Erciyes shared a map of Turkey’s claimed exclusive economic zone, including reference points to the latest agreement with Libya marked as “E” and “F.”The eastern Mediterranean has become a gas hot spot with big finds for Cyprus, Israel and Egypt in recent years. Turkey -- which captured northern Cyprus in the wake of a 1974 coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece -- vehemently opposes the Cypriot drilling without an agreement on sharing any proceeds with Turkish Cypriots. Egypt, whose relations worsened with Turkey after its elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was overthrown in 2013, also denounced the deal with Libya.Turkish drilling ships Fatih and Yavuz are currently operating off divided Cyprus in waters declared by Turkey as its own economic exclusive zone and under agreements with the northern Turkish Cypriot state, which is recognized only by Turkey. The European Union has said it is weighing sanctions against Turkey over its oil and natural-gas exploration off Cyprus, and Cyprus wants the International Court of Justice to resolve its dispute with Turkey.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out any concessions on the deal with Libya. “As long as the legitimate government in Libya stands firm on its feet, this new step will achieve its goal,” he said Thursday.Turkey, Libya’s GNA Sign Military, Security Cooperation PactAnkara last week also signed a defense agreement aimed at strengthening forces controlled by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s government in Tripoli, with the capital under attack from eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar.Turkey’s main opposition party CHP backed the agreement but Haluk Koc, a senior CHP lawmaker, said Turkey was taking a political risk due to the “fragile” situation of Sarraj in Libya.Libya’s Maritime Deal With Turkey New Hurdle to Ending War (Updates with Greece expelling Libya’s ambassador in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara at firstname.lastname@example.org;Firat Kozok in Ankara at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at firstname.lastname@example.org, Taylan Bilgic, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. found more than 3,000 allegations of sexual assaults involving drivers or passengers on its platform in the U.S. last year, part of an extensive and long-awaited review in response to public safety concerns.The ride-hailing company released an 84-page safety report Thursday, seeking to quantify the misconduct and deaths that occur on its system and argue that its service is safer than alternatives.U.S. customers took about 1.3 billion trips last year, Uber said. About 50 people have died in Uber collisions annually for the past two years, at a rate about half the national average for automotive fatalities, according to the company. Nine people were killed in physical assaults last year, Uber said.Uber drivers reported nearly as many allegations of sexual assault as passengers, who made 56% of the claims. There is little comparable data on assaults in taxis or other transportation systems, and experts have said the attacks are widely under-reported. The assault claims reported to Uber ranged from unwanted kissing to forcible penetration.“Uber is very much a reflection of society,” said Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer who helped spearhead the two-year research effort. “The sad, unfortunate fact is that sexual violence is more prevalent in our society than people think. People don’t like to talk about this issue.”Uber had committed more than a year ago to release a safety study, a promise Lyft Inc. made soon after. Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing provider in the U.S., has yet to publish a report. On Thursday, Uber said it would regularly share data with Lyft and other companies about drivers accused of serious safety lapses and continue publishing safety reports every two years.Uber has faced a steady stream of complaints in court across the country over driver misconduct, and Lyft has recently seen an explosion in legal claims by passengers. Just in California, at least 52 riders have sued Lyft this year over allegations they were assaulted or harassed by their drivers, according to filings reviewed by Bloomberg.“We remain committed to releasing our own safety transparency report and working within the industry to share information about drivers who don’t pass our initial or continuous background checks or are deactivated from our platform,” Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said in a statement.Any number of deaths or violence is a reminder of the risks inherent to taking a ride with a stranger and the limited oversight the company has over what occurs. By publishing the data, Uber is taking an unusual step for a company, by drawing attention to the dangers of its product. The stock fell about 1.5% in extended trading after Uber put out the report.Uber shares had already fallen more than 35% from its May initial public offering through Thursday’s close. Its largest shareholder is Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., which has struggled with its bets on Uber, WeWork and other startups in recent months.Uber has faced similar complaints in countries beyond the U.S. The company was sued in 2017 by a woman who alleged top executives violated her privacy after one of its drivers in India allegedly raped her.Regulators in London cited uncertainty about Uber’s ability to ensure the well-being of its passengers as a reason they revoked the company’s license to operate there last week. Uber will be able to continue operating in the U.K. capital as it appeals the decision. Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive officer, said at an event earlier this week that “a precursor to trust is transparency.”According to the study, the proportion of assaults to total trips decreased by 16% last year as Uber implemented new safety tools, such as contacting drivers and customers when the system identifies unusual activity, as well as adding a button to dial 9-1-1 from the app. “I do think Uber is one of the safest ways to get from point A to point B,” said West.Uber disclosed five categories of sexual assault allegations. In 2018, Uber received 1,560 reports of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, 594 reports of non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, 376 reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part, 280 reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and 235 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration.The extent of sexual misconduct, while staggering, isn’t unique to Uber, said Ebony Tucker, executive director at Raliance, an advocacy and consulting firm focused on preventing sexual violence. Uber’s findings “didn’t surprise any of us,” she said. “Sexual assault is pervasive. It’s everywhere.”Counting assaults is a complicated exercise. Only about a third of claims the company received about penetration without consent were reported to the police, Uber estimated. In about a quarter of cases, Uber said its team didn’t successfully communicate with the victim after the initial report. Women reported 89% of the rape allegations, the company said.Uber opted not to disclose many other troubling forms of sexual misconduct that it had previously identified as possible reporting categories. For instance, the company didn’t say how many times drivers and riders made inappropriate comments to one another, nor did it disclose incidents of indecent exposure.But advocates for victims of sexual violence called the decision to release data a potential watershed moment. “It’s really unprecedented for a company to collect this kind of systematic data over time and then share it with the public,” said Karen Baker, chief executive officer of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, which advised Uber on the study. Baker said she has urged other companies in the hospitality and transportation industries in the U.S. to follow suit.Both Baker and Uber’s legal chief said the company may see an increase in reports of sexual misconduct in the future. That would actually be a positive sign, Baker said, because it would reflect victims’ confidence that their claims would be taken seriously.(Updates with Lyft statement in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Robert Burnson.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at email@example.com;Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. managed to borrow at some of the lowest costs ever in the junk-bond market as investors clamored for a piece of the technology company’s debut sale.The size of the offering was increased to $700 million from a planned $600 million after Twitter received more than $6 billion in orders for its debt, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It ultimately sold the notes at a yield of 3.875%, matching the yield Popeyes parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. paid to borrow in September. The coupon is the lowest for securities maturing in eight years or more in the U.S. high-yield market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The strong demand for the bonds shows how eager investors are to get their hands on higher paying securities, especially ones with BB tier ratings that carry less risk than lower-rated junk bonds. Double B rated notes have returned 14.1% this year through Wednesday, compared with the broader high-yield market’s 12.1% gain. Large cash-flow positive technology companies like Twitter are also a relative rarity in a market that’s become accustomed to deals from cash-burners like Netflix Inc. andTwitter and Restaurant Brands may have each other to thank for some of their junk bond market success. The fast-food operator brought its deal just weeks after Popeyes sold out of its famous chicken sandwich. Crowds descended onto stores eager to try a menu item that became a sensation on the microblogging site.\--With assistance from Gowri Gurumurthy.To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Boston in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nikolaj Gammeltoft at email@example.com, Christopher DeReza, Allan LopezFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, Dec. 05, 2019 -- Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, reminds purchasers of the securities of Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) between August 6, 2019 and.
LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / December 5, 2019 / The Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit against Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter" or "the Company") (NYSE:TWTR) for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors who purchased the Company's securities between August 6, 2019 and October 23, 2019, inclusive (the ''Class Period''), are encouraged to contact the firm before December 30, 2019.
(Bloomberg) -- The co-founder of DeepMind, the high-profile artificial intelligence lab, is set to move to the U.S. to take up a role at parent company Google.Mustafa Suleyman, who ran DeepMind’s “applied” division, was placed on leave in August after controversy over some of the projects he led. In a blog post Thursday, DeepMind said Suleyman is leaving for an unspecified role at Google.The post, written by fellow co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Demis Hassabis, added that the company wanted to ensure it was the “best place in the world for fundamental breakthroughs in AI, and that we conduct this work thoughtfully and responsibly.”Suleyman was a key public face for DeepMind, speaking to officials and at events about the promise of artificial intelligence and the ethical guardrails needed to limit malicious use of the technology.DeepMind was heavily criticized for its work in the U.K. health sector. DeepMind Health’s first product was a mobile app called Streams that was originally designed to help doctors identify patients at risk of developing acute kidney injury. In July 2017, the U.K.’s data privacy watchdog said DeepMind’s partner in the project, London’s Royal Free Hospital, illegally gave DeepMind access to 1.6 million patient records. Suleyman apologized in a statement at the time.In a tweet in August, Suleyman said he was looking forward to returning to DeepMind.Founded in 2010, DeepMind was bought by Google for 400 million pounds (currently $486 million) in 2014, an ambitious bet on the potential of AI that set off an expensive race in Silicon Valley for specialists in the field.“Over the past year, we’ve also been formalizing a leadership team with the seasoned experience and skills for our second decade,” Hassabis said in the post.To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Turner in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- After an international outcry that included a Twitter campaign led by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Amazon has removed Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments from its site. Most observers — myself included — were heartened by this decision. Does the world really need these products, or, for that matter, an Auschwitz-themed mouse pad and bottle opener?Still, the question arises: Where should a company such as Amazon.com Inc. draw the line when it comes to selling third-party merchandise? I propose a standard: Focus on whether the merchandise contributes to further understanding, one way or another, rather than whether it might embody evil.(1)This principle runs counter to how the world of social media works, I realize. “Cancel culture” tends to issue decisions based on the worst aspects of a product, writer or public figure, because that is what is endlessly circulated and condemned. But there is another way of thinking about the problem — namely, by focusing on the positive.It is still possible, for example, to buy Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” on Amazon, either through third-party merchants or Amazon itself. That book is more offensive than an Auschwitz bottle opener, as it directly calls for the extermination of the Jews and the conquest of Europe, and it probably still inspires neo-Nazis today. Nonetheless, I hope “Mein Kampf” continues to be for sale.For all of its evil, “Mein Kampf” is an essential document for understanding the rise of Nazism and Hitler. As such, it should be allowed in spite of its potential downside. There is both intrinsic and utilitarian value in maximizing public access to as much knowledge as possible.In contrast, it is hard to argue that an Auschwitz-themed mouse pad has anything positive to offer, whether to our historical knowledge or otherwise. At best, it is an act of obnoxious trolling and thus it was appropriate for Amazon to take it down. (As of this writing, it still appears to be unavailable.) Of course as a separate matter, Amazon should ban unsafe and illegal products as well.This positive-contribution standard can also apply to a social media platform such as Twitter. There will never be hard and fast lines about whether any given individual should be allowed to keep posting or maintain an account, even if the content is widely considered objectionable. Better to focus on whether that person offers substantive contributions, rather than judging them by their very worst or most offensive utterances.Of course that will lead to Twitter, Facebook and the like tolerating some pretty bad material. But if “cancel culture” is not appropriate for Hitler himself — and that seems to be the case — then surely other evil thinkers today should be tolerated as well. Maybe we can learn something from them, even if what we learn is not exactly what they are intending to teach us. The Nazi-sympathizing films of Leni Riefenstahl are not banned, for instance, and indeed are still watched for their aesthetic merits.I once had a Marxist professor (H. Bruce Franklin) who edited a book titled “The Essential Stalin.” I did not necessarily agree with his views, but I did learn a lot about Stalin and Marx along the way. And I am certainly glad that no one stopped him from teaching that class. To this day, I think of him as one of the best professors I ever had.One alternative option is for Amazon to allow everything on its site, in the interests of free speech and the free distribution of products. But Amazon has no obligation — as a private company — to sell offensive material, and Amazon is not outlawing whatever other channels people might have for buying the Auschwitz-themed mouse pads and other objectionable items.Another option would be an Amazon-authorized independent third party to rule on merchandise decisions, much as Facebook appears to be doing for controversial posts. Yet this does not solve the basic dilemma. At times public outcry will demand that Amazon act swiftly, such as with the Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments. A third-party adjudicator, presumably, would be bound by bureaucratic procedures, just as a court system is, and furthermore it would face a heavy volume of cases.It may strike you as odd that the standard I propose would allow Amazon to sell one of the most vile books of the 20th century yet prohibit the sale of a few tasteless ceramic ornaments. But Amazon — and its customers — should be grateful for any effort that reduces or eliminates their chances of encountering truly useless junk.(1) To be clear, my conflicts of interest in any Amazon-related column are massive. Not only does Amazon sell my books, but it also receives thousands of dollars of my business each year, it helps shape the future and fiscal future of my place of employment and affects just about every facet of my daily life.To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 4, 2019 / The Klein Law Firm announces that class action complaints have been filed on behalf of shareholders of the following companies. If you suffered a loss, you have until the lead plaintiff deadline to request that the court appoint you as lead plaintiff.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 4, 2019 / Pomerantz LLP is investigating claims on behalf of investors of Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter" or the "Company") (NYSE:TWTR). Such investors ...
(Bloomberg) -- Arpita Chaudhary, a newly recruited police constable in India’s western Gujarat state, became an overnight celebrity after posting a clip of her 15-second gambol -- clad in her civvies -- on the smash-hit social video app, TikTok.Then she paid the price. A snippet of her gyrating to a Bollywood song against the backdrop of a prison cell went viral and, days later, Chaudhary was suspended from her job. She had danced inside the police station while on duty.The short video app wildly popular with lip-syncing teenagers around the world has taken India by storm. Police officers, city workers and physicians looking to escape the humdrum of their work lives are finding its lure irresistible. They are regaling their countrymen with at-times cringe-worthy videos, shot inside police stations, public offices and government hospitals.In a recent TikTok video, two women officials of the Delhi Police groove to a movie song, and local media speculated that it appeared to have been shot while they were guarding VIPs in India’s capital.“Indians are bitten by the TikTok bug as the app makes it easy to create content using nothing more than a phone,” said Prasant Naidu, founder and CEO of the Bangalore-based digital technology consultancy Lighthouse Insights. “But it’s raising apprehensions because it’s Chinese-owned, stores Indian user data overseas and its mass base makes it easy to spread propaganda and porn.”More than 200 million users in India devour and share videos mimicking Bollywood dancing, movie dialog and comedy, making India TikTok’s biggest global market. ByteDance Inc., the Chinese internet giant behind TikTok, has a separate app called Douyin with similar features in China, where TikTok doesn’t operate. Videos of cavorting public officials highlight the lack of control over its use among government and law enforcement agencies and is lending strength to a backlash in India against the app. Some even say it’s a security risk.Prominent lawmaker Shashi Tharoor of the main Congress party last summer told Parliament that apps like TikTok are a “national security” threat and Indians are vulnerable to spying through the app because of the country’s lax data protection regulations. He is concerned that like other apps from China, TikTok has too close a relationship with China’s government. Tharoor said ByteDance’s paid influence could affect India’s democratic processes.Economic groups aligned with the ruling BJP have called for banning the app, saying it’s being used for “anti-national” content including videos advocating religious violence, inciting sentiments against particular social groups and poor treatment of women.A Southern court temporarily banned downloads of the app amid complaints that its content was degrading culture and encouraging pornography. In a Mumbai court, a litigant alleged that “unfiltered sexual content” from the app was harming young Indians and leading to crime.Security experts and lawmakers are more worried that TikTok seeks to access user information such as location, phone contacts, call records and audio. While other apps seek similar consent, “TikTok is from China with whom we have history and it becomes strategic and sensitive,” said Nikhil Pahwa, founder and editor of Medianama, which tracks the growth of India’s digital ecosystem.India is still working on a privacy and data protection framework, with the Personal Data Protection bill that regulates collection and transfer of data being considered. As long as rules and regulations regarding data are not robust, “these kind of apps can easily use the loopholes in law to collect user data,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at consultancy Counterpoint Research.The world’s most downloaded app is controversial elsewhere. Indonesia had banned TikTok, saying it failed to block pornography and blasphemy. In the U.K., it is being investigated for collecting personal data of young users. The U.S. government has fined the app $5.7 million for collecting data of users under 13 without parental consent and is targeting the app for a national security review.Yet in no other country has the app taken hold as it has in India, with police officers and others risking their jobs to produce short videos. In one viral TikTok post set to a high-voltage movie song, five gun-wielding officers of a police SWAT team returning from an encounter in the central state of Uttar Pradesh are shown strutting across a field in slow motion, action movie style. Their chief unlocks his gun’s safety catch and pretend-fires at invisible bad guys.The SWAT team starring in the TikTok video was transferred out of the region.“We do not sanction unprofessional display of weapons and grotesque caricaturing of police,” the Uttar Pradesh police said in a statement.In another TikTok video shot in the southern city of Hyderabad, two physiotherapy students re-enact romantic movie scenes inside a government hospital and in another, four security guards prance about in the hospital’s emergency ward.The videos have continued to go viral, propelling ByteDance to the No. 1 spot among the world’s most valuable private companies. India, where millions of users continue to come online each month, is vital to its global ambitions. When the local court prohibited new downloads, ByteDance said the weeks-long ban caused “financial losses” of about to $500,000 a day.To stave criticism, TikTok has begun WaitASecToReflect digital literacy workshops to encourage users to pause before posting or sharing. TikTok implored users to “Bura na post karo, Bura na share karo, Bura na comment karo” [Post no evil, share no evil, comment no evil] and removed about 6 million videos since its India launch in early 2017.Meanwhile, the videos have even entered the political realm. In a regional election earlier this year, the ruling BJP nominated as its candidate a TikTok star whose sole qualification was her massive following on the app, where she lipsyncs to Bollywood songs. She lost the election narrowly.Police constable Chaudhary, still suspended from duty, has been luckier in parlaying her TikTok fame to success. Her music video TikTok ni Diwani (TikTok Crazy) scored over 2 million views within days of its release.To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Jodi Schneider, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 4, 2019 / Levi & Korsinsky, LLP announces that class action lawsuits have commenced on behalf of shareholders of the following publicly-traded companies. To determine ...
LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / December 4, 2019 / The Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit against Twitter, Inc. ("Twitter" or "the Company") (NYSE:TWTR) for violations of §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors who purchased the Company's securities between August 6, 2019 and October 23, 2019, inclusive (the ''Class Period''), are encouraged to contact the firm before December 30, 2019.
Dec.06 -- Twitter Inc. boosted the size of its bond offering to $700 million from $600 million as it managed to borrow at some of the lowest costs ever in the junk-bond market. Bloomberg’s Molly Smith reports on "Bloomberg The Open."