• Japan’s growth slowed to a crawl in the 3 months that ended in September, as a weakening global economy and trade conflicts threatened its fragile streak of economic expansion Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 14:30

    TOKYO — Japan’s growth slowed to a crawl in the three months that ended in September, as a weakening global economy and trade conflicts threatened its fragile streak of economic expansion.

    Japan’s economy — the third largest after the United States and China — grew at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent in the third quarter, according to data released on Thursday by the country’s Cabinet Office. The results were below the expectations of economists, who had predicted that growth would slow, but less quickly.

    The performance was a sharp drop from the previous quarter, when the economy grew at a revised rate of 1.8 percent, a stronger-than-expected result that suggested the country’s economy was more resilient than many analysts had expected.

    But the numbers on Thursday suggest that Japan may not be able to fend off looming threats to its growth for much longer.

  • “Nobody wants blood on his or her hands,” said a member of Hong Kong’s cabinet. “But because no decisive action is taken, Hong Kong is being destroyed.” Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 14:25
    Riot police officers chasing protesters in the Causeway Bay shopping district in Hong Kong this month. A city known for stability has changed dramatically in the past few months.Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
  • The failure of Facebook and YouTube to keep the whistle-blower’s name off social media is the latest indication of how difficult it is for these companies to police their sprawling platforms. Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 14:25

    SAN FRANCISCO — A week ago, YouTube and Facebook said they would block people from identifying the government official thought to be the whistle-blower who set in motion an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

    It hasn’t worked out so well. A name believed by some to be the whistle-blower has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. Videos discussing the identity of the whistle-blower have been watched by hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube. And images professing to be of the person have circulated on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, under dozens of different hashtags.

    The purported name of the whistle-blower appeared on Facebook pages that, combined, were followed by over half a million Facebook users, according to CrowdTangle, a tool that analyzes interactions across the site. It is unclear how many of those users saw the post, but the name was easily searchable within various Facebook pages, including right-wing news sites and an individual...

  • Greg Mankiw, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, says he is no longer a "Republican economist." Here's what he's looking for in economic policy from Democratic presidential candidates.  Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 13:50

    A few weeks ago, I drove to my local city hall and changed my voter registration from Republican to independent. That was a momentous change for me, a lifelong Republican.

    My allegiance to the G.O.P. was initially familial. My father had grown up in the 1920s and 1930s in Bayonne, N.J., a city that he said was run by a corrupt Democratic machine. He became a Republican to support the rule of law rather than party bosses. When I was a child, he had me deliver Republican campaign fliers door to door, long before I had any idea what politics was all about.

    My real political views started forming when I studied economics in college during the 1970s and read the works of Milton Friedman, the defender of free markets and limited government. His book “Capitalism and Freedom” remains one of my favorites. Friedman associated himself with the Republican Party, making me comfortable there as well.

    Early in my career, my own work was academic and far from politics. Most...

  • According to Climbing Business Journal, which tracks gym openings nationally, the commercial climbing gym industry grew at a rate of 6.9 percent in 2016, 10 percent in 2017, and 11.8 percent in 2018 Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 12:35
    Rock tales instead of cocktails: At the peak hours of 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the walls at First Ascent Gym in Chicago are filled with climbers who have come to hang out, socialize and decompress after work.Credit...Evan Jenkins for The New York Times
  • Antigovernment protests have the potential to alter Hong Kong’s character, a city long known for its world-class transport, gleaming towers of global finance and cosmopolitan aura. Some of the wounds may be lasting. Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 11:20
    Riot police officers chasing protesters in the Causeway Bay shopping district in Hong Kong this month. A city known for stability has changed dramatically in the past few months.Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
  • Under a proposal described in court documents, the estate would have no role in evaluating claims. The program would be set up by a team led by Kenneth Feinberg, who led the 9/11 victims fund. Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 10:00

    But lawyers for some women have expressed distrust of the process, saying the plan was presented to a judge without being discussed with the plaintiffs. And at least one woman already intends to bypass any compensation program.

    A lawyer for the woman, Jennifer Araoz, who said she was asked to give massages to Mr. Epstein when she was 14 and raped by him a year later, has no intention of discontinuing her lawsuit against the estate.

    “Each victim, however, must make an individual decision as to how to best pursue legal remedies for their injuries,” said the lawyer, Daniel Kaiser. “Jennifer has decided that the best legal course of action for her is her court action filed in New York State Court.”

    A compensation program could have benefits for the accusers. It would most likely be faster and cheaper than litigating their claims against Mr. Epstein, who committed suicide in August at the Manhattan Correctional Center after his arrest on federal sex-trafficking...

  • Bill Gates and other business leaders talked about trust and responsibility at the DealBook conference: “My God, just think about it. I mean, is there any piece of software in the world that you’re willing to trust?” Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 08:45

    “There’s an old saying, ‘Things move at the speed of trust,’” Brian Chesky, co-founder and chief executive of Airbnb, said on Wednesday at The New York Times DealBook conference. “Well, how could you possibly trust something on a platform if you don’t even know if it’s true?” If there is one singular issue that defines the intersection of business and policy at this moment, it is a deepening trust deficit. That appeared to be the conclusion of some of the most consequential leaders who came together for this year’s conference, “Playing for the Long Term.” The words “trust” and “responsibility” were peppered throughout more than a dozen conversations as well as what needs to change to regain that trust.

    Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist, talked about the distrust between the United States and China, and his worries that such mistrust is missing a bigger point.

    “If you’re so paranoid,” he said, “you know, what about the code that’s being written by somebody...

  • President Trump said publicly that other “great companies” should have a chance at the contract. He has openly criticized Jeff Bezos, the Amazon C.E.O., who also owns The Washington Post. Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 07:25

    Amazon on Thursday said it planned to officially challenge the Pentagon’s surprise decision last month to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft, setting off another legal battle over the lucrative, decade-long project.

    Amazon said it had notified a federal court of its plans to protest the government’s decision. In a statement, a spokesman for the company suggested that the contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, known as JEDI, was awarded based on political motivations.

    “It’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence,” said Drew Herdener, the Amazon spokesman, in the statement.

    “Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias — and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified,” he said.

  • Violent confrontations with the Hong Kong police and mass arrests of protesters have eroded faith in the government and the legal system. Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 03:25
    Riot police officers chasing protesters in the Causeway Bay shopping district in Hong Kong this month. A city known for stability has changed dramatically in the past few months.Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
  • “We will keep an open mind, but both the estate and the new administrators have a lot to prove,” said the lawyer for one accuser Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 01:50

    But lawyers for some women have expressed distrust of the process, saying the plan was presented to a judge without being discussed with the plaintiffs. And at least one woman already intends to bypass any compensation program.

    A lawyer for the woman, Jennifer Araoz, who said she was recruited to give massages to Mr. Epstein when she was 14 and raped by him a year later, has no intention of discontinuing her lawsuit against the estate.

    “Each victim, however, must make an individual decision as to how to best pursue legal remedies for their injuries,” said the lawyer, Daniel Kaiser. “Jennifer has decided that the best legal course of action for her is her court action filed in New York State Court.”

    A compensation program could have benefits for the accusers. It would most likely be faster and cheaper than litigating their claims against Mr. Epstein, who committed suicide in August at the Manhattan Correctional Center after his arrest on federal sex-trafficking...

  • Amazon had been considered the front-runner for the contract, partly because it had built cloud services for the Central Intelligence Agency. Link
    DealBook Fri 15 Nov 2019 00:30

    Amazon on Thursday said it planned to officially challenge the Pentagon’s surprise decision last month to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft, setting off another legal battle over the lucrative, decade-long project.

    Amazon said it had notified a federal court of its plans to protest the government’s decision. In a statement, a spokesman for the company suggested that the contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, known as JEDI, was awarded based on political motivations.

    “It’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence,” said Drew Herdener, the Amazon spokesman, in the statement.

    “Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias — and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified,” he said.

  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell painted an optimistic picture of the United States economy in testimony before Congress on Wednesday, though he said trade tensions and sluggish global growth continue to pose risks. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:50

    WASHINGTON — Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, painted an optimistic picture of the United States economy before Congress on Wednesday, though he warned that threats to the outlook persisted.

    “In particular, sluggish growth abroad and trade developments have weighed on the economy and pose ongoing risks,” Mr. Powell said during his prepared remarks.

    The United States’ central bank has cut interest rates three times since late July, as tensions from President Trump’s trade war and slowing growth abroad unnerved companies and weighed on investment. Lower borrowing costs have helped to cheapen mortgage costs and could keep consumers, the main engine of economic growth, spending.

    But as investors increasingly expect trade tensions to ease and as the effects of the recent rate cuts play out, the Fed has indicated that it may shift to a wait-and-see mode as it tries to gauge whether further action is necessary. Mr. Powell upheld that message before...

  • Across seven states, recent pay increases have not clearly pushed people out of jobs, Arindrajit Dube, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found in an analysis published this month. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:29

    RIPLEY, N.Y. — Meeder’s, a cozy diner nestled in New York’s southwest corner, has seen its labor bill skyrocket in recent years amid steady increases in the state’s minimum wage.

    To cover the costs, its owners have lifted menu prices and bought new equipment, including a mixer that allows them to churn out their 26 varieties of pie more efficiently. But with business booming, they have avoided laying off workers or cutting back on hours.

    As the federal push for a $15 minimum wage gains momentum, local examples offer insight into how a hefty wage increase might work and whether concerns that higher pay could lead to job or income losses for vulnerable workers are justified.

    Unemployment is at a half-century low, yet wage growth remains moderate and inflation is muted, making this a unique — and potentially optimal — environment in which to test higher wage floors.

  • To drive down sky-high insulin prices, the World Health Organization will certify generic versions. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:24

    With insulin prices skyrocketing and substantial shortages developing in poorer countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it would begin testing and approving generic versions of the drug.

    Agency officials said they hoped to drive down insulin prices by encouraging makers of generic drugs to enter the market, increasing competition. At the moment, the world’s insulin market is dominated by three companies — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — and they have steadily pushed up prices for two decades.

    “Four hundred million people are living with diabetes, the amount of insulin available is too low and the price is too high, so we really need to do something,” Emer Cooke, the W.H.O.’s head of regulation of medicines and health technologies, said as she announced the plan.

    The approval process, which the W.H.O. calls “prequalification,” will permit United Nations agencies and medical charities like Doctors Without Borders to buy approved...

  • Our economics reporter writes that some people have the idea that “data journalism” means staring at spreadsheets until a story appears, but in the real world that almost never happens. At the end of the day, data isn’t the story; people are the story. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:24
    “I wish I could tell you I was running some hotshot rig with multicore processors and a boatload of RAM,” Ben Casselman said, but a laptop suffices for his economics reporting.Credit...Karsten Moran for The New York Times
  • Saddled with debt and struggling to adjust to changing consumer habits, the largest milk company in the U.S. filed for bankruptcy protection – signaling another grim chapter in the recent struggles of the dairy industry. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:24

    When Samuel E. Dean Sr. founded his milk company at a processing facility in Illinois, milkmen still delivered pints to homes all over the United States and children dutifully drank three glasses a day.

    That was 1925. Nearly a century later, milk is quickly going out of fashion and Dean Foods — which is now the largest milk company in the United States — has found itself unable to compete as plant-based and lactose-free dairy alternatives rise in popularity.

    Saddled with debt and struggling to adjust to changing consumer habits, Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, signaling another grim chapter in the recent struggles of the dairy industry. The company, whose portfolio of brands includes TruMoo and Lehigh Valley, said it was in talks to sell itself to Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative that sells milk from thousands of farms.

    Across the food and beverage industry, the challenges facing Dean Foods are becoming increasingly...

  • Attempts to create tech-focused alternatives to traditional banking have struggled to be more than a niche product Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:24

    Google already has a valuable stash of your digital data. Now it wants your cash, too.

    The search giant is teaming up with two banks, Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union, to begin offering a “smart checking” account next year. What fancy new features will “smart checking” include? Google isn’t sure. Neither are its partners.

    The project, code-named Cache, is envisioned as an extension of the Google Pay digital payments system. Its goal is to help banks’ customers “benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools,” according to Craig Ewer, a Google spokesman. The focus will be mobile-first users, he said, but the specifics of what will be offered are still being worked out.

    Technology companies have been trying to plant stakes in consumers’ wallets for more than a decade, with limited success. And banks have realized that digital-native millennials have the same core banking needs — a safe place to stash cash and easy ways to retrieve it — as the...

  • Occupancy at WeWork’s locations is declining. In the third quarter, WeWork had enough members to fill the equivalent of 79 percent of available desks at the company’s locations, down from 84 percent a year earlier. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:19
    A WeWork location in Midtown Manhattan. The company said it lost more than $1 billion in the third quarter as it expanded rapidly around the world.Credit...An Rong Xu for The New York Times
  • Milk is quickly going out of fashion and Dean Foods — which is now the largest milk company in the U.S. — has found itself unable to compete as plant-based and lactose-free dairy alternatives rise in popularity. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:14

    When Samuel E. Dean Sr. founded his milk company at a processing facility in Illinois, milkmen still delivered pints to homes all over the United States and children dutifully drank three glasses a day.

    That was 1925. Nearly a century later, milk is quickly going out of fashion and Dean Foods — which is now the largest milk company in the United States — has found itself unable to compete as plant-based and lactose-free dairy alternatives rise in popularity.

    Saddled with debt and struggling to adjust to changing consumer habits, Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, signaling another grim chapter in the recent struggles of the dairy industry. The company, whose portfolio of brands includes TruMoo and Lehigh Valley, said it was in talks to sell itself to Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative that sells milk from thousands of farms.

    Across the food and beverage industry, the challenges facing Dean Foods are becoming increasingly...

  • The slim growth results threatened a fragile streak of expansion for Japan that has defied global turbulence Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 14:14

    TOKYO — Japan’s growth slowed to a crawl in the three months that ended in September, as a weakening global economy and trade conflicts threatened its fragile streak of economic expansion.

    Japan’s economy — the third largest after the United States and China — grew at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent in the third quarter, according to data released on Thursday by the country’s Cabinet Office. The results were below the expectations of economists, who had predicted that growth would slow, but less quickly.

    The performance was a sharp drop from the previous quarter, when the economy grew at a revised rate of 1.8 percent, a stronger-than-expected result that suggested the country’s economy was more resilient than many analysts had expected.

    But the numbers on Thursday suggest that Japan may not be able to fend off looming threats to its growth for much longer.

  • Google is teaming up with two banks, Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union, to begin offering a “smart checking” account next year. What fancy new features will “smart checking” include? Google isn’t sure. Neither are its partners. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 13:49

    Google already has a valuable stash of your digital data. Now it wants your cash, too.

    The search giant is teaming up with two banks, Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union, to begin offering a “smart checking” account next year. What fancy new features will “smart checking” include? Google isn’t sure. Neither are its partners.

    The project, code-named Cache, is envisioned as an extension of the Google Pay digital payments system. Its goal is to help banks’ customers “benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools,” according to Craig Ewer, a Google spokesman. The focus will be mobile-first users, he said, but the specifics of what will be offered are still being worked out.

    Technology companies have been trying to plant stakes in consumers’ wallets for more than a decade, with limited success. And banks have realized that digital-native millennials have the same core banking needs — a safe place to stash cash and easy ways to retrieve it — as the...

  • Seeking to rapidly expand its office-space empire, WeWork lost $1.25 billion in the three months that ended in September, up from $497 million in the same period a year earlier. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 12:29
    A WeWork location in Midtown Manhattan. The company said it lost more than $1 billion in the third quarter as it expanded rapidly around the world.Credit...An Rong Xu for The New York Times
  • Lawyers for some of Mr. Epstein's accusers were upset about a plan to take the proposal before a judge in the Virgin Islands without discussing it with the alleged victims first Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 11:09

    A proposal for a “claims resolution program” was referred to in a court filing by a lawyer for a woman who accused the financier of sexual abuse. Not all the plaintiffs’ lawyers are on board.

  • Elon Musk had announced he would build a new Tesla factory in Europe in October. On Tuesday night he revealed that the 'Gigafactory 4' would be built near Berlin. Link
    DealBook Thu 14 Nov 2019 09:54

    BERLIN — Tesla plans to open a factory near Berlin that would make batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with the company’s newest model, a compact sport utility vehicle called the Model Y.

    Elon Musk, Tesla’s chairman, delivered the news on a stage in the German capital on Tuesday after being awarded the Golden Steering Wheel, a German automobile prize, for the Tesla Model 3.

    “I actually have an announcement that I think will hopefully be well received,” he said, with leaders of Germany’s automobile industry in the audience. “We’ve decided to put the Tesla Gigafactory Europe in the Berlin area.”

    Mr. Musk provided few details about the plant, which would be Tesla’s first major factory in Europe, and did not say when and where exactly it would be built or how many people would be hired.

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