|Bid||197.00 x 1000|
|Ask||198.55 x 800|
|Day's range||195.95 - 203.50|
|52-week range||159.28 - 224.20|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.08|
|PE ratio (TTM)||30.60|
|Earnings date||21 Apr 2020 - 26 Apr 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||248.43|
Facebook is aiming to build on its VR hardware launches of 2019 with an investment in virtual reality software. Facebook announced today that it has acquired Bay Area VR studio Sanzaru Games, the developer of "Asgard's Wrath," considered by many enthusiasts to be one of the Oculus Rift's best games. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the studio will continue to operate its offices in the U.S. and Canada with "the vast majority" of employees coming aboard following the acquisition, Facebook says.
Just under a month ago Facebook switched on global availability of a tool which affords users a glimpse into the murky world of tracking that its business relies upon to profile users of the wider web for ad targeting purposes. Facebook is not going boldly into transparent daylight -- but rather offering what privacy rights advocacy group Privacy International has dubbed "a tiny sticking plaster on a much wider problem". The problem it's referring to is the lack of active and informed consent for mass surveillance of Internet users via background tracking technologies embedded into apps and websites, including as people browse outside Facebook's own content garden.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Don’t think about a white bear.What did you just see in your mind’s eye? If the answer was “a white bear,” you’ll have grasped one of the problems facing public health officials in talking about the risks from the Covid-19 coronavirus.The message most experts will want to convey is, naturally, “Don’t panic.” But it’s almost impossible for humans to hear that instruction without its alarming echo: “Panic.”If Covid-19 turns into a global pandemic, as looks increasingly likely, this problem is going to crop up again and again. Doctors want to convey information that will help people limit their own risks and minimize the burden on health systems. At the same time, they worry that the very act of sharing information will encourage people to act as if they’re in the grip of an emergency.Take canned goods. Many public health experts would recommend that people keep well-stocked food and medicine cupboards at the moment. In the event of a serious pandemic, that will mean you’re not forced out of the house too often, or left at the mercy of supply chains that may be damaged by illness in the workforce. The best way to do this is probably to marginally upgrade your normal daily purchases — an extra pack of tissues here, one more bag of rice there — and build up a stockpile over a course of weeks. That’s clearly not what’s happened in places where coronavirus is spreading, though: We’ve already seen a toilet paper heist in Hong Kong and panic-buying in orderly Singapore.One obvious reason for this is that it’s not all that hard to clear out a supermarket. Grocery stores typically have no more than two to four weeks of inventory on hand at any one time, and much of that will be held off-site. If everyone buys sufficient supplies to see themselves through an extra few weeks, it’s not unlikely that you or someone you follow on Facebook is going to find some empty shelves, and take this as evidence that society’s foundations are quaking.The behavior that leads to such shortages isn’t necessarily irrational. If you think a horde of panic-buyers are about to descend on your local shops next week and leave them out of stock, the rational approach might be to do your own panic-buying first. Once everyone starts thinking that way, a stampede is all but inevitable.How should we deal with this situation?One lesson can be learned from the failure of China’s initial response to Covid-19: Treat the population like adults.“Tell us everything, being very clear that this is a dynamic situation that could change,” said Jacqueline Street, a research fellow in public health at the University of Wollongong in Australia. “Don’t just say our hospitals are prepared, say how our hospitals are prepared.”The more that information is shared — not just on confirmed cases and deaths, but on how many tests came back negative, and on which subgroups of the population are most and least at risk, for example — the more individuals will be able to make their own judgments about safety and act responsibly.Another lesson: The only thing we have to fear, is the fear of fear itself.No public official wants to be accused of spreading alarm, but a measure of concern in the face of a novel pandemic infection is both justified and salutary. The small behavioral changes that will be needed to reduce risks from Covid-19 — more care over hand-washing and touching, staying away from major public events in countries where the disease is spreading — won’t come unless people are alert to the risks of infection. “Actual panic is quite rare in these situations,” said Julie Leask, a professor of risk communication at the University of Sydney’s nursing school. “People are clearly very concerned, but a level of concern is, in a way, important for gaining good cooperation.”Despite the way things may look if you spend a lot of time on social media, humanity isn’t really one bad press conference away from descending into bloody anarchy. The situation isn’t helped when our political leaders fail to prioritize pandemic preparedness — President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed to cut funding for the area — or to speak up in defense of ethnic-Chinese people at risk of prejudice. But sharing timely information with the public; encouraging readiness; and putting a bit more pressure on supply chains now when they’re best able to bear it — all of that is a better strategy than waiting and then sounding a red alert at the last minute.At this point, the fear of coronavirus is probably spreading through the world’s population even faster than the virus itself. That may not be a bad thing if it encourages behaviors that will slow down the outbreak. A measure of fear may be not so much infecting our societies, as inoculating them. To contact the author of this story: David Fickling at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Three of the jurors who convicted Republican operative Roger Stone for lying to Congress and witness tampering testified that political bias played no role in their decision, pushing back against Stone’s contention that he deserves a new trial.U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not issue a ruling at the end of a Tuesday hearing on Stone’s request. But the judge said a juror’s social media posts criticizing President Donald Trump did not necessarily mean she was biased against Stone, who was convicted in November and sentenced last week to three years and four months in prison.At the beginning of the hearing in Washington, the judge sharply criticized the president and “false” news reports for promoting claims of bias she said could endanger jurors. “The risk of harassment and intimidation of any juror who may testify in the hearing later today is extremely high,” Jackson said, adding that “the jury has even been publicly criticized by the President of the United States.”The notion that Stone’s trial was tainted by left-leaning jury members, particularly the foreperson, has been promoted aggressively by Trump and right-wing media in recent days. The president, who has also hinted he may pardon his longtime ally, tweeted further on the issue Tuesday.At the beginning of the hearing, Jackson specifically criticized Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for falsely claiming an Obama administration official was placed on Stone’s jury and that another juror was married to a “Deep State” bureaucrat. The judge also noted that Carlson had accused the foreperson of being an “anti-Trump zealot” and broadcast her Twitter handle during his program.Jackson allowed Stone’s lawyer, Seth Ginsberg, to question the foreperson and two other jurors in the case. Ginsberg said the foreperson lied on her jury questionnaire when she denied having opinions on federal law enforcement agencies or Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The charges against Stone stem from testimony he gave a congressional committee also probing Russian meddling.Ginsberg said the foreperson had written Facebook posts supportive of the Mueller investigation and had also retweeted a CNN contributor who criticized Stone’s supporters for complaining about his arrest while remaining silent on police shootings of African Americans.If such views had been known, Ginsberg said, the foreperson would have been excused from the jury.Read More: Roger Stone Gets Over Three Years in Jail for Trump Cover-UpGinsberg questioned the foreperson about social media posts dating back to 2017 in which she criticized Trump policies. In one post, she suggested Trump supporters wanted to keep people of color out of the U.S.But Jackson told Ginsberg he was making an assumption that the juror was biased against Stone based on her more general views on issues like immigration or racism. “Having an opinion about Trump’s policies doesn’t mean she can’t fairly and impartially judge the evidence on Roger Stone,” the judge said.Two other jurors testified that the foreperson did not pressure anyone to give a particular verdict and conducted the deliberations in an impartial manner. One of the jurors said the foreperson even pressed the panel to consider one of the charges more carefully after they were ready to give a guilty verdict.The foreperson has been widely attacked online for tweeting support for four prosecutors who resigned from the case when their tough sentencing recommendation for Stone was revised downward by senior Justice Department officials. Jackson said at the beginning of the hearing that the juror had done nothing wrong by stating her opinion.One of the four prosecutors, Michael Marando, appeared at the hearing Tuesday to answer Jackson’s questions about the jury selection process. The judge also asked one of the prosecutors why they hadn’t Googled the potential Stone jurors.Googling Jurors“I think it’s a regular practice for lawyers these days to Google potential jurors, isn’t it?” the judge asked. The prosecutor replied that it “just didn’t happen” and suggested it might have been a “cost and strategy” issue.Jackson, an Obama appointee, hasn’t been receptive to Stone’s earlier allegations of bias. A previous request for a new trial -- based on claims that a different juror was biased -- was denied on Feb. 5. Over the weekend, she rejected his claim that she herself was biased and denied his request to argue his latest motion before another judge.She expressed a measure of skepticism about his latest request on Tuesday, noting that his filing was somewhat hyperbolic.“Like the motion for recusal, it’s marked by a tone that I haven’t seen previously in pleadings in this case and was particularly reliant on adjectives,” Jackson said.(Adds detail from hearing)To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at email@example.com, Anthony LinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. said it has acquired development studio Sanzaru Games to join the Oculus gaming group inside its virtual-reality division.Sanzaru has produced a number of games, including from the Sonic the Hedgehog and Marvel Studios franchises, according to its website. The studio’s most popular VR game, Asgard’s Wrath, was highly reviewed at the time of its release in October, and was included in several games-of-the-year lists.The “vast majority” of Sanzaru’s nearly 100 employees will join Oculus, including the company’s founders, and Sanzaru will operate independently out of their existing offices, Facebook said Tuesday. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. The deal comes three months after Facebook acquired Beat Games, the maker of another popular VR game called Beat Saber.“We’re exploring many ways to accelerate VR,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in an email. “We believe it is great for content to be developed outside of Oculus and Facebook. That said, there are instances where it will make sense for us to have a deeper stake in order to more fully support content development and enhance the user experience.”To contact the reporter on this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at email@example.com, Andrew Pollack, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The planned digital tax, a new bill that could impact encryption, developments on U.S. Google's antitrust case and Amazon's challenge of the JEDI contract and other news is covered in this article.
(Bloomberg) -- Hosni Mubarak, who became Egypt’s longest-serving ruler in more than 150 years before being forced from office by a popular uprising, has died. He was 91.Mubarak’s passing was announced Tuesday by state media, with the presidency later describing him as a hero of the nation’s 1973 war against Israel. No cause of death was given, although his family said in January he’d undergone surgery and was in intensive care in the hospital.Dubbed the “pharaoh” by his detractors, Mubarak had ruled for 30 years and was widely accepted to be preparing his younger son Gamal as successor when the Arab Spring surged into Cairo in January 2011. After 18 days of mass protests, he was gone, his image of an all-powerful ruler shredded.Mubarak attended his trial for the killing of more than 850 protesters by security forces in the final days of his regime in a hospital bed and faced other serious charges, but was only found guilty of fraud and avoided serving additional time in jail. In photographs, a man famously known for jet-black dyed hair and swagger was seen seated, tired and graying.The statement by the presidency, and another from the armed forces, were a stark contrast to the response of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s administration to the death of Mubarak’s Islamist successor, Mohamed Mursi, last year.Military CareerMohammed Hosni Said Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928, in Kafr El Meselha in the Nile Delta. Opting for a military career when Egypt was still a monarchy, he entered the Air Force Academy in 1950. Four years later, King Farouk was overthrown in a coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.In 1964, Mubarak was appointed head of the Egyptian military delegation to the Soviet Union, the sole supplier of weapons to Nasser’s regime. From 1967 to 1972, he served as air force chief of staff, became deputy minister for military affairs and was promoted to air marshal after the October 1973 Arab-Israel war.After Nasser’s death, Egypt was led by President Anwar Sadat, who appointed Mubarak as vice president in April 1975, effectively designating him as heir apparent. That succession came earlier than expected, with Sadat gunned down by Muslim fundamentalists on Oct. 6, 1981, during an annual parade marking the 1973 war anniversary. Sadat was killed while Mubarak, seated next to him, escaped with a hand wound.Mubarak cracked down on violent groups and went on to govern in a low-key, stolid style that contrasted with the glitter of the Sadat years.“Having Sadat as president was like being married to Miss World,” Layla Takla, an opposition member of parliament, said at the time. “It was great for a while, but then you needed someone to do the cooking and look after the children.”Suppressed RivalsWhile Mubarak provided some room for dissent -- within specific red lines that included no criticism of his family -- he failed to follow through on pledges to open the country’s political system. Suppression of a wide array of perceived rivals, under an emergency law promulgated in 1981, marked his years in power and helped fuel the discontent that led to his downfall.In the late 1980s, the country was on the verge of bankruptcy when it stopped paying its foreign debts. It was only when Mubarak agreed to send forces as part of the U.S.-led coalition to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1990 that creditors agreed to write off debts.In 2004, Mubarak appointed a government that revived the sale of state assets. By 2009, it attracted more than $40 billion of foreign direct investment in industries such as oil and gas, and telecommunications. Emirates Telecom Corp. and Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo SpA were drawn to the country.Out of TouchBut critics saw him as out of touch with the lives of most Egyptians -- embracing the elite while the poor were left to grapple with an inflation rate that reached more than 20% in 2008. His supporters blamed explosive population growth and the economic mismanagement of past administrations for the ills of a nation that grew to 85 million people by the time of Mubarak’s ouster.Egypt’s per-capita gross domestic product in 2009 was $2,160, almost identical to $2,155 a decade earlier, according to International Monetary Fund data.Mubarak never backtracked on the policy of diplomatic rapprochement with Israel, though his only visit to the Jewish state was for the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. He managed to restore links with fellow Arab rulers who were enraged by Sadat’s decision to sign a peace treaty with Israel.“There isn’t among us anyone who wants to take the region back to the destruction of war or to the phase of no war and no peace,” he told Arab leaders in 1996. “We are sincerely determined to struggle for peace until the end.”Key AllianceHe also retained Egypt’s alliance with the U.S., which began with Sadat’s noisy break with the Soviet Union. Egypt receives about $1.3 billion a year in U.S. military aid.Mubarak presided over several years in which domestic Islamic extremism flared in Egypt. In 1997, violence reached a zenith when 58 foreign tourists in Luxor were gunned down. The massacre, which harmed Egypt’s tourism industry, turned many Egyptians firmly against religious violence.The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement that had renounced violence in the 1970s, gained in popularity amid dissatisfaction over corruption and economic inequality.His experiences at home prompted warnings to his allies. In September 2001, he chided the West for failing to take terrorism seriously, warning that serious events were imminent. A few days later, on Sept. 11, al-Qaeda struck the U.S.‘Gates of Hell’Mubarak opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, warning that “the gates of hell” would be opened in the Middle East. He argued that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be tackled as the first step to regional peace.He tried to end the rivalry between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, an Islamic movement that took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 but faced criticism at home and in several Arab countries for keeping Gaza’s border largely closed as Israel sealed its frontier with the coastal enclave.It was his ever-tighter grip on domestic freedoms that proved his undoing.In 2005, Mubarak had opened presidential elections to multiple candidates. Yet the regulations were so restrictive that no strong challengers emerged; the runner-up, lawyer Ayman Nour, won only 7% of the vote to Mubarak’s 88%. After the election, Nour was jailed for four years on fraud charges that human-rights groups say were trumped up.Muslim BrotherhoodIn elections later that year, the Muslim Brotherhood won 88 seats in the 454-member parliament -- a surprise result that prompted a crackdown on Islamic activists and on anti-Mubarak secular politicians, judges, newspaper editors, bloggers and street demonstrators. Hundreds of Brotherhood activists were rounded up and some put on trial in closed-door military courts.His fall came at the hands of an unexpected coalition of opposition parties, the Brotherhood and, most poignantly, a youth movement whose Facebook and Twitter-driven demonstrations mobilized the streets.Mubarak never officially designated anyone as his likely successor, only appointing intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as vice president in January 2011 in a bid to defuse mounting protests. The rise of his son, Gamal, up the ranks of the ruling National Democratic Party led Egyptians to conjecture that he’d succeed his father.Instead that job went, briefly, to Mursi and then after a 2013 military-backed revolt to former army chief El-Sisi, who critics say has dragged Egypt back to the brand of autocracy mastered by Mubarak. When Mursi died in June 2019, collapsing during a court appearance after his health deteriorated in prison, the government marked his passing with a brief statement.Mubarak is survived by his wife, Suzanne Thabet, and sons Gamal and Alaa.(Updates with presidency comment, other details in first four paragraphs)To contact the reporters on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Alaa Shahine in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at firstname.lastname@example.org, Michael Gunn, Tarek El-TablawyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Algeria and Ethiopia’s governments were responsible for the most documented incidents of internet shutdowns in Africa last year, when such episodes climbed almost 50%, according to advocacy group Access Now.Algeria had six incidents and Ethiopia experienced four, the group said in a report. Benin, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Gabon, and Liberia appeared on the list for the first time. In total the continent had 25 occurrences in 2019, eight more than the previous year, as governments tried to control the “free flow of information, deny people their right to access information and free expression,” it said.Governments justified their actions by claiming they were meant to fight “fake news, hate speech or content promoting violence,” and as precautionary measures for “public safety, national security, school exams and technical problems,” Access Now said.The shutdowns in 2019 were longer, geographically more targeted and included throttling access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.Globally, 33 countries switched off access. India led with 121 incidences, more than half the 213 events recorded around the world.To contact the reporter on this story: Samuel Gebre in Addis Ababa at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Malingha at firstname.lastname@example.org, Helen Nyambura, Chris KayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The world is finding out that China’s problem is everyone’s.The coronavirus is spreading further beyond China’s borders, with clusters in Italy, South Korea, Japan and Iran, and cases topping 80,000 globally.While the outbreak isn’t yet a pandemic, the challenges for governments are rising.Travel bans, quarantines, stress on health-care systems and business closures are just the start. Some countries have nixed annual events that usually draw big-spending crowds.Emerging cases in North Africa and the Middle East are starting to fan chatter in Europe about its porous borders. In a continent wrestling with far-right parties, the virus could quickly become embroiled in anti-migration rhetoric.There’s potential for unrest unless governments show they’re acting to curtail contagion. Ukraine was rocked by protests recently, reportedly due to fake reports about the illness.Iran faced criticism it was too slow to explain the outbreak there, for fear it would further lower turnout for last weekend’s parliamentary ballot. Israel has warned false reports could be used to scare people away from a March 2 vote.There are also increasing questions over whether the virus’s spread could dampen the economic gains that are central to President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.Fear can move faster than reality, especially when it comes to a virus. But governments not thinking ahead could find themselves under pressure on a variety of counts.Global HeadlinesTake two | Michael Bloomberg is trying for a do-over in tonight’s Democratic presidential debate, turning his focus to newly minted front-runner Bernie Sanders after a much-criticized debut at last week’s face-off. Seven Democratic candidates will meet in Charleston, South Carolina, ahead of that state’s Saturday primary, the last of the February preliminary rounds before the 14-state Super Tuesday contest on March 3.(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.) Click here for more about why Trump hasn’t been able to head off a drawn-out Republican brawl for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia that has triggered jitters within the party about potentially losing it in November.Tit for tat | The U.S. is weighing whether to expel Chinese journalists after Beijing kicked out three Wall Street Journal reporters. The move, which is the subject of intense debate at the White House, would be part of a push by the Trump administration to show it will resist restrictions on Americans working in China, Nick Wadhams, Jennifer Jacobs and Saleha Mohsin report.In control | After a wild day that saw the collapse of Malaysia’s ruling coalition, one thing is clear: Mahathir Mohamad remains in charge. The 94-year-old is now the only one left in charge after the king appointed him interim premier and dismissed the cabinet following his resignation as prime minister yesterday due to a rift within his alliance over who would succeed him.MeToo momentum | The guilty verdict handed down to Harvey Weinstein yesterday is another sign the MeToo movement is bringing unprecedented changes to virtually every corner of business and political life. In a single year, Bloomberg’s own accounting found 425 public allegations of sex-related misbehavior among prominent people working across industries, including politics, media, technology and finance.Trade tussle | The U.K. and the European Union are increasingly at odds ahead of next week’s trade talks, with each accusing the other of backing away from past promises. Regaining freedom from the EU’s legal system will take priority over securing a trade deal for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. And in a move that may defy the deal that broke last year’s Brexit deadlock, the U.K. is refusing to ask ports to prepare for new checks on goods moving to and from Northern Ireland.What to WatchTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a Russian delegation will arrive in Turkey tomorrow to discuss tensions in Syria’s Idlib province ahead of a possible visit by President Vladimir Putin. Two of the top contenders to lead Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union joined forces to create a powerful team that would likely ease pressure on the German leader to step down early. A desert-locust outbreak ravaging pastures and crops on both sides of the Red Sea has reached the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first time in more than 75 years.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at email@example.com.And finally ... Beijing was once infamous for its smog, but along with other Chinese cities it has seen remarkable improvements in air quality, according to a new report from AirVisual. Not so in India: It dominates a list of the world’s most polluted urban areas, and its capital, New Delhi, is by far the worst-off major metropolis. While China’s leaders waged an all-out war on pollution, Indian policymakers have only just decided to act. And experts say their plans lack the legal mandate and financial heft to have an impact. \--With assistance from Michael Winfrey, Iain Marlow and Kathleen Hunter.To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Lakestar has raised $735 million for its European investment funds, part of a wave of capital that’s fueling the continent’s venture capital scene.The money will be split between two funds with a third going to early stage companies and the rest to more mature “growth” companies, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.This year has already seen Atomico, the London-based tech investment firm, raise $820 million for its fifth fund targeting European startups. Other significant new funds include Balderton Capital and Northzone, who raised a combined $900 million late last year.“Finally venture capital has become a profitable asset class of its own in Europe,” Lakestar founder Klaus Hommels said in an interview.The firm started raising the fund in 2018, people familiar with the discussions said at the time, the year that Stockholm-based Spotify Technology SA achieved a valuation above $25 billion with its direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange and Adyen NV raised about 947 million euros ($1 billion) in its June debut in Amsterdam.Hommels, an early backer of Spotify Technology SA, Facebook Inc. and Skype, founded Lakestar in 2013. The company now has offices in Switzerland and London, and recent investments include hotel data startup Impala and German-based Scoutbee and Sennder -- companies focused on supply chain and logistics.The money, which will be used to invest in early stage and growth companies, will be split among two funds. One third of the capital will be used to invest in early stage investments while the rest will be allocated to a fund investing in growth companies.Speedinvest GmbH, the Austrian venture capital firm, on Tuesday also announced that it has raised 190 million euros for its third fund, and is planning to invest in fintechs and in startups focusing on the industrial and health sectors.\--With assistance from Matthias Wabl.To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Syed in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.com, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s a power struggle that goes back decades.In Malaysia, 94-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who made a dramatic return to the premiership in 2018, is locked in a race with Anwar Ibrahim for the leadership after their tenuous alliance collapsed.The two put aside a bitter rivalry in the 2018 election to defeat Najib Razak and oust UMNO, the group in power since Malaysian independence in 1957.To say they are “frenemies” is putting it mildly. Mahathir fell out with Anwar in 1998, when Anwar was his deputy prime minister, over how best to tackle the Asian financial crisis. After Anwar was fired, he was jailed in the majority-Muslim nation on charges of sodomy and abusing power. He was jailed again in 2015 for a subsequent sodomy allegation.Since winning the 2018 vote, Mahathir has prevaricated repeatedly about handing power to Anwar. Those bubbling tensions have now burst open.Mahathir today abruptly resigned the premiership and his party post, even as that group and others continue to back him. It’s likely a gambit to get parties to fall in line behind him. But don’t count Anwar out. He’s also an astute politician with loyal followers.There is much at stake. Does Malaysia move toward policies that treat all races equally, or still give preferential treatment to ethnic Malays? Economists have long argued the latter approach holds the country back. Mahathir also has slammed the Trump administration over its stance on trade and China (he’s a fan of telecoms giant Huawei).The wrangling could yet end up in an election. But in the meantime, Game of Thrones is playing out in real life.Global HeadlinesSpectacle over substance | It was bear hugs all around today when U.S. President Donald Trump stepped off the plane in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, where nearly one in four Indian-Americans trace their roots. But the bonhomie masks trade tensions between the two nations, which struggled to sign even a modest agreement before Trump’s visit. For now, they’ll have to be content with a $3 billion defense deal and the promise of more talks.Top status cemented | A chief criticism of Bernie Sanders always has been that his energetic but narrow base — young, mostly white, heavily male and largely disaffected — would make it easy for Trump to roll over him come November. Nevada’s primary suggested otherwise. Sanders’s commanding win broadened his coalition to look more like the Democratic Party as a whole.Click here for more about how Vice President Mike Pence already is positioning himself for the Republican nomination in 2024.Italy rattled | Italy is struggling to cope with a surge of coronavirus infections, with the government coming under fire for a muddled response and accusations by its leading right-wing politician, Matteo Salvini, that it’s failing to defend the nation’s borders. Italy, now Europe’s epicenter of the outbreak, has imposed a lockdown on an area of 50,000 people near Milan and canceled the remaining days of the Venice Carnival.Click here for the latest on the worldwide spread of the virus. Read about China’s temporary move to ease Wuhan’s quarantine. China’s top legislature postponed its annual session in the capital.Beyond Merkel | Germany’s Christian Democrats posted their worst result since World War II in Hamburg’s state elections yesterday. The CDU will hold a special party conference April 25 to choose a successor to outgoing party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Underpinning all of that is the deep uncertainty over how, and when, the party will move past the era of Angela Merkel. Throwback win | Iran’s hard-liners registered a victory in parliamentary elections, handing the legislature to people determined to turn the clock back on reconciliation with the West. Expect a retreat from commitments to the hollowed-out nuclear deal as the Islamic Republic’s economy bleeds from Trump’s sanctions onslaught.What to Watch This WeekPressure is mounting on protesters at blockades that have slowed Canada’s rail network as provincial governments indicate they’re ready for police intervention, an approach Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signaled he’d be open to after acknowledging the failure of his government’s efforts to negotiate a solution. Democratic candidates hold their 10th debate tomorrow in South Carolina ahead of that state’s primary on Saturday. The Trump administration is poised to argue before the Supreme Court today that victims of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi should be compensated by Sudan, which at the time harbored the attack’s plotters, Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members. Britain’s Labour Party starts voting today on a leader to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, with final results expected April 4. South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni presents his budget on Wednesday, but he’s unlikely to convince Moody’s Investors Service that he has a credible plan to rein in government debt.Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congratulations to reader Marc Koffman, who was the first to name Roland Burris as the person former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed to fill to fill the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at firstname.lastname@example.org.And finally ... Raw sewage on potholed streets, piles of garbage on sidewalks and water and power shortages — such conditions have become routine in some of South Africa’s towns. But in Makana, something extraordinary happened last month. The High Court granted a civil rights group’s application to have the council dissolved because of its failure to carry out its duties. The decision sent shock waves through the ruling African National Congress, which controls scores of other municipalities hobbled by corruption and mismanagement. \--With assistance from Ben Sills and Ruth Pollard.To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at firstname.lastname@example.org, Kathleen HunterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s sister-in-law opposed the findings of a disciplinary tribunal that found her guilty of professional misconduct in her handling of the final will of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s first premier who died in 2015.“I disagree with the Disciplinary Tribunal’s report and will fight this strongly when it is heard in open court,” Lee Suet Fern, a lawyer, said in a comment posted Sunday on the Facebook page of her husband Lee Hsien Yang, the younger son of the city-state’s longest-serving leader.The tribunal found that with her husband, Lee Suet Fern made the former prime minister sign the will “urgently” without the presence or involvement of his usual lawyer, who prepared his first six wills, CNA reported Monday. She also misled her father-in-law on the terms of the last will, that included a clause on the demolition of his house, according to the local news outlet, citing the tribunal’s findings.Read how a house provoked a feud in Singapore’s Lee familyHer conduct directly contravened rules that prohibits a lawyer from preparing a will when a family member of the lawyer is going to get a significant gift from the estate, CNA reported.The charges of professional misconduct against Lee Suet Fern were brought by The Law Society of Singapore after the Attorney-General’s Chambers made a complaint in January last year. Her case will now be referred to the Court of Three Judges, the highest disciplinary body to deal with lawyers’ misconduct, and she could be fined, suspended or disbarred if found guilty, according to CNA.The law society has “no discretion to review the merits or propriety” of the tribunal’s findings or verdict once a determination has been made, its president Gregory Vijayendran said in an emailed response to Bloomberg queries about Lee’s disagreement with the tribunal’s report. The matter will be handled by the Court of Three Judges, he said.Lee Suet Fern is a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and a director at its Singapore affiliate Morgan Lewis Stamford LLC. She advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt capital markets and corporate finance, according to Morgan Lewis’s website.(Updates with law society’s response in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Chanyaporn Chanjaroen in Singapore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joyce Koh at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrea TanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Stunned by Europe’s biggest surge of the coronavirus, Italy appears to be operating in near panic mode.The government imposed a lockdown on an area of 50,000 people near Milan, authorities canceled the remaining days of the Venice Carnival, and universities closed. The Chinatown area in Prato near Florence saw many small businesses close as Chinese nationals voluntarily remained at home for two-week periods.Matteo Salvini, leader of the League party, used the outbreak to attack Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for not defending the borders. He cited the docking of the Ocean Viking humanitarian ship in a Sicilian port with 274 African migrants on board to say Italy needs “to make our borders armor-plated.” He called on Conte to resign “if he isn’t able to defend Italy and Italians.”The rise in infections to around 150 from just a handful a week ago comes at a bad moment for Conte’s administration, already under fire for failing to mount a coherent response to the spread of the virus. As Conte chairs a series of marathon meetings in Rome to counter the spread of the disease, his plan for tax reforms and investments to restart an ailing economy has stalled, and now businesses are set to be affected by measures against the virus.Italian 10-year government bond yields rose the most in more than a month and the benchmark stocks index fell the most since September 2018 as the government dealt with the spread of the virus. The FTSE MIB was down 4.2% at 9:23 a.m. in Milan.Conte’s government was censured by Beijing for an early ban on all flights to and from China, a decision criticized by Walter Ricciardi, a member of the World Health Organization’s executive council, because it stopped authorities from tracing arrivals as travelers could use stopovers to reach Italy.Efforts to contain the coronavirus could have been initially thwarted by difficulty in identifying the roots of the spread.Almost all of Italy’s cases are linked to a 38-year-old man who sought treatment at a hospital in the Lombardy region on Feb. 18. While there, he infected dozens of patients and medical staff, who then spread it further afield. Tracking efforts initially focuses on a friend of the man, a businessman who had returned from China, but tests proved negative and the origin of the contagion remains a mystery. A fourth death from the virus was reported in Lombardy on Monday, Ansa news agency said.“Conte is on difficult ground: He’s got to find an explanation for the big spread of the virus,” said Sofia Ventura, a political science professor at Bologna University, which announced it’s closing Monday along with other universities and schools in the northern Emilia-Romagna region.Conte hasn’t ruled out suspending the Schengen agreement that allows free movement between the borders of European Union members. To guarantee “maximum protection,” the government would take “any measure to safeguard the health of citizens,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a EU summit in Brussels on Friday. The League called for a suspension of Schengen.Austria’s state railroad temporarily halted traffic from Italy across a key Alpine crossing on Sunday, with a train from Venice to Munich held on the Italian side of the Brenner Pass after authorities received information that two people aboard had flu-like symptoms. Rail traffic had resumed as normal by Monday.Salvini’s political calculation is clear. While his League is the country’s most popular party, he was interior minister in Conte’s first coalition when his effort last year to force fresh elections backfired. He now has to contend with the resurgence of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, which has leapfrogged ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.“Borders are the perfect issue for Salvini, and he’s out for revenge, with his ally and rival Giorgia Meloni of the Brothers of Italy party rising in opinion polls,” said Ventura of Bologna University.In his Facebook video, Salvini zeroed in on African migrants like the ones who landed in Sicily, saying “God forbid” one of them turned out to be a virus-carrier.Conte and Salvini skirmished over the spread of the virus, with the premier saying on La7 television that the only leader he had not managed to reach to discuss the issue was Salvini despite phoning him and sending him a message. “If he’d had the goodness to reply, I’d have explained to him why more severe measures couldn’t be taken earlier,” Conte said.At the port of Pozzallo, the latest migrants to attempt the deadly journey from north Africa were placed in isolation on Sunday, while the crew were confined to the ship. None of the cases in Italy so far have been linked to African migrants.Health authorities still don’t know the origin of the disease’s spread, according to emergency commissioner Angelo Borrelli.“It’s difficult to express forecasts for the spread,” he said. “The only concrete and valid measure to be taken is therefore the one of closing off territories.”Conte himself was left acknowledging that he hadn’t expected the surge.“I was surprised by this explosion of cases, which had been kept under control until a short time ago,” he told RAI television Sunday. But he insisted: “The line of maximum precaution has paid off, even though it doesn’t appear so.”(Updates with shares in fifth paragraph, fourth death in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Alessandro Speciale, Marco Bertacche and Chiara Remondini.To contact the reporters on this story: John Follain in Rome at email@example.com;Jerrold Colten in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at email@example.com, Karl Maier, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim said he had a “very good meeting” with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday as rumors swirled of a looming shakeup that could reconfigure the ruling coalition.The meeting took place after reports surfaced that Mahathir’s supporters were maneuvering to form a new government that will exclude Anwar, the man positioned to be his successor. The old rivals joined hands two years ago for a stunning election win that ousted an alliance in power for six decades.“Suffice that we are clear so far,” Anwar told reporters before joining a People’s Justice Party meeting. “It was a very good meeting and I am touched by his attitude and stance to not bow down to a group that wants to usurp power without setting an agenda of change.”Despite pledges ahead of the May 2018 election to hand power to Anwar, the 94-year-old premier has repeatedly said he’ll step down only after resolving problems inherited by the previous administration. Anwar said they had an “understanding” it should take place around May this year.Mahathir Shows No Sign of Handover of Power, Choice of SuccessorOn Sunday, Anwar confirmed that some members of his own party were working with Mahathir’s camp to reconfigure the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, and had met with the country’s king on Sunday. Anwar is scheduled to have an audience with Malaysia’s king at 2 p.m. on Monday, New Straits Times reported, citing his political secretary.While the monarchy’s role in Malaysia is largely ceremonial, the king retains some discretionary powers and political leaders typically meet the ruler before announcing major political changes. Mahathir wasn’t present at the meeting with the king or a dinner later attended by many party leaders from ruling and opposition groups, including the United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO, the party he once led before defecting.“Right now we are waiting for information,” Anwar said in response to a question at a Sunday event streamed on Facebook. “But we know there’s an attempt to topple PH to form a new government,” he added, pointing to “former friends” in Mahathir’s party and those who may have defected from his own camp.A spokesperson for Mahathir’s Bersatu party couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on Anwar’s remarks.The political intrigue could bring fresh tumult to Malaysia, and deter investors looking for stability at a time when the global coronavirus epidemic and trade wars are hurting growth. Malaysia’s benchmark stock index has already dropped more than 20% from its peak in 2018, and is set to enter a bear market for the first time in 12 years. The ringgit on Monday slumped as much as 0.9% to 4.2271 per dollar, the weakest since September.‘Sell Signal’“It’s a sell signal,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axicorp Ltd. “The current situation will likely mean there will be horse-trading going on and that may be more likely to boost spending rather than fiscal prudence and, perhaps, the risk here is more massive deficits. But the more parties involved, the more complicated the horse-trading.Should he break ties with Anwar, Mahathir would need alliances with UMNO and another opposition group, Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party or PAS, because he wouldn’t have enough parliamentary seats to retain power without them. He must have the support from 112 out of 222 members of parliament.Anwar’s People’s Justice Party, or PKR, has 50 seats in parliament, and it’s not clear how many will stick with him. Azmin Ali, deputy president of the party, was reported to have met with the king on Sunday. Azmin, who is also economic affairs minister, has at times been publicly at odds with Anwar.Leaders from PAS, UMNO, Bersatu and the PKR faction aligned to Azmin gathered for a banquet dinner on Sunday night at the Sheraton Hotel PJ, which was mobbed with supporters, media and on-lookers. Police manned the entrance, questioning cars that wanted to enter. Most politicians either deflected questions or refused to speak to the media, with UMNO Secretary-general Annuar Musa saying he was “here for free food.”“Thank you everyone for waiting here for a long time,” Azmin told reporters late on Sunday. “God willing, we will continue our pursuit of reformation for the country and bring prosperity to all Malaysians.”The ethnic Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party, also part of the ruling coalition, has 42 seats and it isn’t known where their loyalties lie, though they weren’t mentioned as being in audience with the king on Sunday. DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng is Malaysia’s finance minister, and he may be replaced if his party isn’t part of the new government.Bersatu has 26 seats, and another ruling coalition party, Amanah, has 11. UMNO and PAS have 56 between them, while some parties in the states of Sabah and Sarawak are expected to support Mahathir.“We’ve been through worse before,” a visibly-tired Anwar, 72, said on Sunday. “This is just a small test.”Bitter DecadesThe relationship between Anwar and Mahathir has been marked by decades of bitterness and public attacks, stemming from Mahathir’s decision during a prior stint in power to sack Anwar as his deputy amid a dispute on how best to respond to the Asian financial crisis two decades ago.After he was fired in 1998, Anwar was jailed in the majority Muslim nation for committing sodomy and abusing power, charges he denied. He was convicted in 2014 -- during former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s rule -- on a subsequent sodomy charge and jailed in 2015 when his appeal was denied.Anwar was pardoned by the king a week after 2018 election victory and thanked Mahathir for his help in getting released. Mahathir had promised during the election campaign to stand aside for Anwar once he was free but almost immediately pushed back the potential timeline by a number of years.Questions on the timeline for the handover of power never ceased, fraying the ruling alliance and making it harder for the government to focus on fulfilling campaign pledges.At a Friday press conference, Mahathir said he had unanimous agreement from Pakatan Harapan leaders to stay in power through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings later this year, which Malaysia is hosting. He said he held the prerogative to decide whether to step down at all. Anwar, who was at the media briefing, concurred and said he would need to be patient.“We have been most moderate in our approach, always supportive, and almost god-like in our level of patience,” Anwar said on Sunday. He referenced the legend of a deity with a magic arrow and said, “at the right moment, we will use our magic arrow.”(Updates with Anwar set to meet king)\--With assistance from Philip J. Heijmans.To contact the reporters on this story: Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at firstname.lastname@example.org;Hadi Azmi in Kuala Lumpur at email@example.com;Liau Y-Sing in Kuala Lumpur at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Yudith Ho at email@example.com, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Adam D’Angelo could have retired when he left Facebook at the age of 23. Instead, the social network’s former chief technology officer, who saw his Facebook stake soar in value to over $100m after the company’s 2012 initial public offering, enthusiastically threw himself into a career as a tech entrepreneur.
(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Tom Steyer became the seventh candidate to qualify for the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night in South Carolina, his campaign said in a statement. Steyer, who didn’t qualify for the Nevada debate last week, made the cut by garnering 18% in a CBS News/YouGov South Carolina poll released on Sunday. To qualify, candidates need to have won a delegate to the national convention from Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada, or have reached at least 10% in at least four national polls or 12% in two polls in South Carolina.Steyer will be joined on stage by Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg.(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)Steyer has spent heavily to court African American voters who make up 60% of South Carolina’s Democratic electorate. Biden holds a small lead in the state, followed by Sanders, with Steyer in third place, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.The Charleston debate will be hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, in partnership with Twitter.Buttigieg Acknowledges Missteps to Black Voters (2:28 p.m.)Pete Buttigieg acknowledged missteps in handling issues of race in a speech at a black church on Sunday, vowing to do “a lot of listening” and surround himself with people who would let him know when he made mistakes.The Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has struggled to make inroads with African Americans. He’s polling in the low single digits with black voters, well behind rivals such as Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. As the primary moves to South Carolina on Saturday, he’s trying to improve his standing with black voters who make up more than 60% of the state’s Democratic electorate.“I have been humbled,” Buttigieg said at the First Baptist Church of James Island in Charleston, South Carolina. “Humbled by the persistence of the forms of institutional racism that did not bypass our city, humbled by the ways in which we have struggled to make inequities better, especially when it came to things like disparities in arrests in the police department that I oversaw, and issue after issue where I saw that having the right heart was not enough.”Buttigieg has been criticized for his oversight of criminal justice issues in South Bend -- particularly the number of arrests of black residents for marijuana possession, and his handling of a police-involved shooting last summer in which a white police officer killed a black man.“My point standing before you is not to claim that I understand more than I do but rather to promise, as the scripture says, not to lean on my own understanding too much but to do a lot of listening along to way,” Buttigieg said. “Not to say that I get it, but to promise to always surround myself with people who will let know when I don’t.” -- Tyler Pager Biden Says Facebook Pulled Down Fake Accounts (1:14 p.m.)Joe Biden said Facebook has pulled down fake accounts, run by Russians, that were saying negative things about him online.In an interview with CBS News, Biden said “the Russians” are working against his bid to be the Democrats’ choice to be president.“They spent a lot of money on bots on Facebook -- and they’ve been taken down -- saying Biden is a bad guy. They don’t want Biden running,” he said on “Face the Nation.” “Fake accounts, yes. And they’re taken down.”Biden said he hadn’t spoken to Facebook about the matter, but that his staff had told him the accounts were removed. He also seemed to dismiss rival Bernie Sanders’ comments that recent online vitriol attributed to his supporters might instead have been part of Russian interference in the 2020 election.“The people who did these terrible things to the Culinary Workers and the women who run that operation, I guess anything’s possible, but they’re identified as Bernie supporters,” Biden said. -- Magan CraneSouth Carolina’s Clyburn to Endorse Wednesday (10:06 a.m.)South Carolina’s Representative James Clyburn, known as a kingmaker in the state, told ABC News he will endorse a Democratic presidential candidate on Wednesday morning, after the next debate. An endorsement from Clyburn could help save a candidate’s flagging campaign.Clyburn gave no indication who he would support, but warned that nominating Bernie Sanders could make it difficult for the Democrats to hold on to competitive House seats that gave them the majority in 2018.“It’s going to be tough to hold on to these jobs if you have to make the case for a self-proclaimed democratic socialist,” Clyburn said. He said South Carolinians are “leery” of the label “socialist.”South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary is widely seen as a must-win for former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s yet to come in first in any primary contest, weakening his claim that he is the one who can beat President Donald Trump.In a separate NBC interview, Clyburn said Tuesday night’s debate would have a big impact, and that Elizabeth Warren did herself “a lot of good” with her scrappy performance in last week’s debate. “She demonstrated to the viewing public that she has tenacity,” he said. -- Steven T. DennisCOMING UPSouth Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29. The leading candidates will debate there on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Fourteen states and one U.S. territory will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3.(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)\--With assistance from Erik Wasson, Magan Crane, Steven T. Dennis and Tyler Pager.To contact the reporter on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at email@example.com, Ros Krasny, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Finance chiefs and central bankers from the world’s largest economies say they see downside risks to global growth persisting as the coronavirus raises uncertainty and disrupts supply chains.While delegates at the Group of 20 meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, spent much of their time talking about a response to the outbreak that originated in China, their final communique only mentioned the epidemic once, saying they’d enhance risk monitoring. And although it said the participants agreed on a “menu of policy options” to counter the emergency, the statement included few details on a coordinated response.The coronavirus has so far killed more than 2,300 people and infected about 80,000. Countries such as Japan, and institutions including the OECD, have been pushing for nations with surpluses to spend more to help avert a deeper economic slump.The G-20 countries “agreed to be ready to intervene with the necessary policies related to these risks,” Saudi Finance Minister Mohammad Al Jadaan said Sunday in remarks concluding the meetings at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the Saudi capital. “Global economic growth is continuing but remains slow and downside risk persists, including those arising from geopolitical, remaining trade tensions, as well as policy uncertainty.”China’s representatives were absent from the G-20 gathering as authorities there focus on countering the fallout. The world’s second-largest economy is likely to pick up quickly after the coronavirus is contained and stage a “V-shaped” recovery, according to Chen Yulu, a deputy governor at the People’s Bank of China.International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Saturday the outbreak had led the lender to cut its forecast for Chinese growth to 5.6% from 6% and to trim 0.1 percentage points from its global growth forecast, but that it’s also looking at more “dire” scenarios.“We do not know what will be the next steps, indeed if the epidemic will turn to pandemic or not,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Bloomberg TV in Riyadh. “But we have to be prepared and that is exactly what we decided today among the G-20 members.”Budget AppealsGermany was the primary target of the calls for more spending. So far, the export-driven country has showed little interest in significantly boosting expenditures, arguing fiscal stimulus can’t bolster foreign demand.“Fiscal policy should be flexible and growth-friendly while ensuring debt as a share of GDP is on a sustainable path,” the communique said. “Monetary policy should continue to support economic activity and ensure price stability, consistent with central banks’ mandates.”The delegates managed to extract a key concession from the U.S. by including a mention of climate change in the final communique for the first time since President Donald Trump took office in 2017. Jadaan called it a “very important issue” on the Saudi agenda.The concession came after several days of heated debate, including France finance chief Bruno Le Maire cornering Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin late Saturday as the G-20 economic leaders dined, according to two people familiar with the matter. Mnuchin said he didn’t bow to European pressure on the issue, and the mention of “climate” in the communique was simply a statement of fact about what the financial stability board was doing.Tax DebateThe final communique didn’t include any breakthroughs on efforts to introduce a global minimum tax or a tax system for multinational tech giants like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., according to the people.Europeans have balked at a U.S. proposal that new global rules should be a “safe harbor” regime. If there’s no agreement, several European nations, who have called for an agreement by year-end, will go ahead with taxes on revenues of multinational digital firms. That could spark a transatlantic trade war as the U.S. says such measures are discriminatory and has already threatened France with tariffs.In a press briefing after the meetings concluded, Mnuchin said there was a disproportionate focus on some elements of the digital tax discussion, and called on his counterparties to “step back” and focus on the global minimum tax, for which he said there was broad agreement. He declined to define what he meant by “safe harbor,” but said the U.S. has been consistent in stating that the digital services tax would be discriminatory to U.S. companies.France and the U.S. have held tense discussions on the subject since France introduced a 3% levy last year on the digital revenue of companies that make their sales primarily online. The move was supposed to give impetus to international talks to redefine tax rules, and the government has pledged to abolish its national tax if there is agreement on such rules.France and other countries have insisted that the digital tax and the global minimum tax, which is designed to prevent multi-national companies from shifting their profits to low-tax locales to avoid taxation, be implemented as part of the same package.“We’re striving between now and July 2020 -- whether at the Berlin OECD conference or the meetings in Jeddah of the G-20 ministers -- to reach an agreement related to the tax,” Al Jadaan said.(Updates with French finance minister comments in seventh paragraph. A previous version was corrected to say the final communique did mention the coronavirus outbreak.)\--With assistance from Saleha Mohsin and Vivian Nereim.To contact the reporters on this story: Toru Fujioka in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jana Randow in Frankfurt at email@example.com;William Horobin in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Harvey at email@example.com, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysian Attorney-General Tommy Thomas faced calls to resign after he dropped terrorism charges against 12 people who were alleged to have links to Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.Islamist opposition party PAS, which controls two Malaysian states, threatened a “massive public rally” if the government didn’t heed its demands to fire Thomas, reinstate the charges and curb the powers of the attorney-general.Thomas on Friday said there was “no realistic prospect of conviction” of the 12 people for their alleged involvement with the LTTE. Two of them were state assemblymen from the ruling alliance. Thomas said he was exercising his discretion, as allowed by the Malaysian constitution, to discontinue proceedings.All 12 people had photos of slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and other leaders on their phones or Facebook accounts, Thomas said.“If such conduct can constitute a criminal offence, it would bring the law into disrepute,” he said. “Ardent” online supporters should not be regarded as terrorists or planning to conduct acts of terror, Thomas said.“Harm to Malaysians cannot be established by the prosecution,” he said.PAS said it wasn’t the first time the attorney-general had made decisions that favored individuals connected to the government, citing examples that involved ministers and members of parliament from the ruling alliance.The latest case is serious as it could “threaten national peace and security,” PAS said in a statement on Saturday. Its concerns were echoed by the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association, which said it was “very shocked and disappointed” with Thomas’s decision.The government has enough proof to maintain LTTE on its list of terrorist organizations, Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement Saturday.To contact the reporter on this story: Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at email@example.com, Christopher AnsteyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world threatened by trade wars. Sign up here. European finance chiefs arrived at a meeting of their global peers in Riyadh demanding the urgent creation of a new global tax system for the 21st century that would capture the profits of tech multinationals. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin responded: it’s not that simple.New rules for taxing companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. have stirred intense debate at this weekend’s Group of 20 meeting of finance chiefs. Finding a solution this year is key to maintaining a tariff truce the U.S. and Europe struck after France agreed to delay the collection of a national levy.While finance ministers from France and Germany were among those expressing confidence on Saturday that a compromise could be found in time, Mnuchin warned that he is somewhat hamstrung. “Let me emphasize: in the U.S., depending upon what the solutions are, these may require congressional approval,” he said during a discussion, sitting alongside France’s Bruno Le Maire.The pair have held tense discussions since France introduced a 3% levy last year on the digital revenue of companies that make their sales primarily online. The move was supposed to give impetus to international talks to redefine tax rules, and the government has pledged to abolish its national tax if there is agreement on such rules.The U.S. has argued the French measure discriminates against American companies, and threatened tariffs as high as 100% on $2.4 billion of French goods. Donald Trump’s government agreed to hold fire on import duties and France pushed back collecting the digital tax until the end of 2020.“One of the things we’re balancing is sticking with the fundamental issue of taxing based upon where companies are -- the more we change that to broaden this, the more we run into other issues,” Mnuchin said. He indicated Congress as a hurdle before any major changes on taxes can be agreed upon, but added “there’s a tremendous desire to get this done.”Spain, Italy and Austria also want to impose a digital service tax. Turkey, a G-20 member, introduced a 7.5% levy in December, targeting companies from Google and Facebook to Netflix Inc.“It is our collective responsibility to reach a global agreement on this issue by the end of this year,” the finance ministers of the euro area’s four largest economy said in an editorial published in European newspapers. “We now have a unique opportunity to recast the global tax system to make it fairer and more effective.”Sticking PointThe key sticking point is a U.S. proposal to make the new digital tax rules a safe-harbor regime. Doing that, the U.S. has said, would address concerns of taxpayers about mandatory departure from longstanding rules. France and others have contested that could render the rules effectively optional, which would make agreement impossible.In Riyadh, Mnuchin countered this interpretation.“What a safe harbor is -- and there’s lots of safe harbors that exist -- you pay the safe harbor as opposed to paying something else, and you get tax certainty,” he said. “People may pay a little bit more in a safe harbor knowing they have tax certainty.”Le Maire said he welcomed Mnuchin’s clarification.“We are in the process of technically assessing what it really means and what might be the consequences of such a solution,” he said. “It is fair and useful to give all the attention to this U.S. proposal.”To get agreement, Le Maire also said France would be open to a “phased” or “step-by-step” approach.German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said there’s more than a 50% chance that a deal is struck before the end of the year.“Everyone has understood that it would be bad to push the debate into the next year or the year after that,” he told reporters. “We need something that helps protect us against the race to the bottom on taxes.”The framework -- developed under the leadership of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development -- will also include a deal on a global minimum tax, which the group is close to agreeing on, according to Mnuchin.Most countries want any OECD deal to be accepted as a package: the digital service tax along with a global minimum tax. The OECD has said both reforms together could boost government tax revenues by around $100 billion.To contact the reporters on this story: Saleha Mohsin in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;William Horobin in Paris at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jana Randow, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Iranian hardliners won key seats in an election that’s expected to hand control of the legislature to conservatives empowered by the country’s turbulent and economically damaging standoff with the U.S.Nevada becomes the first state with significant minority populations to hold a presidential nominating contest. Bernie Sanders will try to cement his front-runner status, but today’s caucuses could deal a harsh blow to several other candidates limping toward Super Tuesday on March 3. Dig deeper into these topics — and check out some others that may have missed your radar — with the latest edition of Weekend Reads. Harry Reid Tells Candidates Hoping to Stop Sanders to ‘Speak Up’Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a message for the Democratic candidates desperate to stop Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination. “If you don’t like what Bernie’s doing,” he told Joshua Green ahead of today's Nevada caucuses, “speak up.”A Mother’s Pain Bares the Rifts That Are Tearing Iran ApartWhen Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran in 2013, supporters pinned their hopes on him to revive the country’s fortunes and rehabilitate its relationship with the rest of the world. But, as Golnar Motevalli explains, the shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet full of Iranians has alienated those that swept Rouhani to power. The U.S.-Iran Pistachio War Is Heating UpForty years of vicious geopolitical competition between the U.S. and Iran came close to open war in January, and it’s still too soon to call a winner — except in one field. American farmers have deposed Iran as king of the global pistachio industry, Marc Champion reports. Mass Shooting Adds Urgency to Merkel’s Push to Curb Hate SpeechA shooting near Frankfurt this week that left 11 people dead -- by a far-right activist who published a racist screed online before the incident -- has added momentum to Merkel’s long-standing efforts to eliminate hate speech and fake news from websites such as Facebook and Twitter, Stefan Nicola and Sarah Syed report. Brexit’s New Paradox: How to Build an Economy With Fewer PeopleThe U.K. only wants highly skilled workers now, but, as Olivia Konotey-Ahulu explains, construction companies say that’s not enough to fulfill big infrastructure projects.U.K. Labour Faces a Long Recovery to Catch Boris JohnsonThe next general election is still four years away, and Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson enjoys a huge parliamentary majority. But who will next lead the Labour Party still matters. With voting set to open Monday, Robert Hutton and Konotey-Ahulu break down why. A Rising Political Star Aims to Lure Italy Further to the RightGiorgia Meloni went from bartending at a Roman nightclub to leading one of Italy’s main political forces. Just how she has gotten so far was clear one afternoon last year at a rally in central Rome dubbed “Italy pride.” John Follain takes a closer look. Clouds of Black Smoke Darken South Sudan’s Growing Oil ProfitsGrass is black from oil spills, air is dark from pillars of black smoke and layers of “black gold” cover water supplies. Crude oil, key to boosting South Sudan’s economy, is destroying crucial pasture land, polluting water, and increasing birth defects. Now, Okech Francis reports, it’s finally bad enough for the government to take notice. And finally ... A desire to bear witness to recent developments along the almost 1,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico — and to the impact of Trump’s policy of separating migrant families and jailing asylum seekers — led James Hertling and his wife to spend part of a recent vacation doing volunteer work in and around Brownsville, a border city at the southeastern tip of Texas. To contact the author of this story: Kathleen Hunter in London at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.