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Darden Restaurants Entangled in Private Jet Scandal

Darden Restaurants Entangled in Private Jet Scandal

They contracted flight services to a board member

Wikimedia Commons/ Anthony92931

Darden's top brass are in some hot water.

Life is good for the leaders of a company as big as Darden, which owns the Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Red Lobster chains. One thing you have to be on the lookout for, however, are conflicts of interest, and the company’s top brass are under fire for just that. According to the New York Post, the company has disclosed that they paid about $1 million in company-jet-related expenses to Signature Flight Support Corporation, whose president and CEO sits on Darden’s board.

Darden apparently owns a twin-engine, eight-seat Cessna Citation Sovereign, and this controversy is popping up at a very bad time for the company. Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis is being accused of mismanaging the company and making some costly, ill-advised moves, like making the menu at Olive Garden overly complex and confusing. Most analysts agree that it’s not wise for one person to be both CEO and chairman of the board, and Darden shares have fallen 3.5 percent over the past year.


The Untold Truth Of Candace Owens

Rising conservative star and Communications Director for Turning Point USA, Candace Owens was launched into the media spotlight in 2018. An outspoken black Trump supporter, Owens' full embrace of right-wing ideology is perhaps best summed up by her tweet from April of that year: "I truly believe that @ realDonaldTrump isn't just the leader of the free world, but the savior of it as well. May God bless America— the last stand for western civilization."

A brief look at Owen's YouTube channel tells you all you need to know about her political positions, with video titles like, "Women Marching In America Again? What a JOKE," "How to escape the Democrat Plantation (an easy guide)," Halloween Is Cancelled Because of Liberalism," "Nobody Like Feminism: that's what happened, Hillary," and "No Transgender People in the Army: Who Cares?"

But what else do we know about the new Tomi Lahren, who says police shootings of black men aren't about racism? Take a red pill and let's take a look at the untold truth of Candace Owens.


Restaurants, Bars & Lounges

Epicures are abuzz over The Venetian's restaurant scene.

CNN

BRERA osteria

Italian, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour, $

BRERA osteria marks a new chapter in Italian cuisine on the Las Vegas Strip. Savor homemade pastas, wood oven-baked breads, cured meats, olive oils, and mouthwatering mozzarella.

Majordōmo Meat & Fish

American, Asian, Seafood, Steakhouse, Dinner, Happy Hour, $$

Majordōmo Meat & Fish is a new restaurant from Chef David Chang. Pulling from a diverse range of food traditions, like smoked prime rib and inspired by the energy of Las Vegas. Majordōmo Meat & Fish will be built on the DNA of its sister restaurant in Los Angeles. Smoked Prime Rib Dinner* 65 8oz prime rib, bing with butter & honey, market salad and mashed potatoes. Served with horseradish and au jus.

Estiatorio Milos

Seafood, Greek, Lunch, Dinner, $$

Estiatorio Milos has a long-standing reputation for setting standards of impeccably fresh Mediterranean seafood. Founded by Costas Spiliadis in 1979, Milos today has locations in Montreal, New York, Athens, London, Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Cabos.


Starboard Has the Right Recipe for Papa John&rsquos

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- After a dismal year spent grappling with the fallout of offensive comments made by its founder, it looks as if Papa John’s International Inc. has finally found a way to stop its free fall.

The pizza giant announced on Monday that it had received a $200 million investment from Starboard Value LP and that three new directors would join Papa John’s board, including Starboard CEO Jeffrey C. Smith.

There had been a flurry of speculation in recent months about a private-equity takeover of Papa John’s. But whatever other transactions may have been explored, the deal that Papa John’s ended up with is about as good an outcome as the company could have asked for.

That’s not just because a private equity buyout would most likely have saddled it with a significant debt burden. It’s also because Starboard’s investment in Darden Restaurants Inc., the corporate parent of Olive Garden, has been a clear success story. And so it stands to reason Starboard can be a force for good at Papa John’s.

In 2014, Starboard delivered blistering criticism of the Olive Garden chain, such as being too generous with free breadsticks and, most notoriously, not salting its pasta water. Starboard cleaned house, managing to toss Darden’s entire board of directors. And the results speak for themselves.

Olive Garden has emerged as a restaurant industry star, delivering 17 consecutive quarters of comparable sales growth. Darden shares have soared since its shareholders elected Starboard’s slate of directors, hitting a record high in September.

That’s a particularly impressive feat given what a tough stretch the past several years have been for the restaurant industry overall as it grapples with oversaturation. The sit-down dining segment has faced the added challenge of diners fleeing for fast-casual formats such as Panera Bread or Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

Given that track record, I’m optimistic about what Starboard can do with its slice of Papa John’s. It’s true there might not be quite as much of a jolt with its arrival as there was at Darden, given that only three new directors, including current Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie, have been appointed as part of this investment.

But it is enough of a change that it should help the beleaguered pizza chain turn the page on a dark chapter. As I’ve noted before, Papa John’s was struggling well before the Schnatter controversy flared. Its marketing and menu both needed an overhaul, and these are the kinds of problems Starboard can help it address. (The company said about half of the proceeds of the firm’s investment will be used to pay down debt, with the rest going toward advancing strategic priorities.)

The Schnatter-related stains on the brand — related to his use of a racial slur on a business phone call — will be more difficult to fix. The company has been working to redefine its brand with consumers, such as with TV commercials showing that Papa John’s is more than just Schnatter. New board members can help investors believe in that transformation story and a commitment to change.

And that is an urgent message to deliver, because Papa John’s on Monday offered up more evidence of just how dire things are. The company tucked a sales update into its press release about the Starboard news, and it wasn’t pretty. Comparable sales in the North America division fell 8.1 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 30. In the month after that, the company said comparable sales in North America fell 10.5 percent from a year earlier, an abysmal result it said reflects both “consumer sentiment challenges” and ineffective promotions.

Securing this investment from Starboard is Papa John’s biggest step yet away from the Schnatter era. Investors are right to reward the company for moving on.

To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at [email protected]

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.


Bombardier sees more CSeries jet deals after Delta

DUBLIN, June 1 (Reuters) - Canada's Bombardier Inc believes it has turned the corner with its troubled CSeries jet programme and is confident of posting further wins on top of a recent major order from Delta Air Lines, its chief executive said.

Interviewed at a meeting of global airlines in Dublin, Alain Bellemare declined to say when the Canadian company might come up with another sale such as Delta's pivotal order for 75 jets, but said he was confident it would be embraced by all types of airlines, including low-cost carriers.

"We are confident that we will continue to see orders from the likes of Delta in the future," Bellemare said.

"I think going forward we will see a variety of different business models adopt this aircraft."

Bellemare said talks over a $1 billion cash injection from the Canadian government were moving forward and he hoped for a deal soon.

"They are still ongoing and progressing. These are complex negotiations and we are working towards a win-win solution," he said, adding, "we are not there yet".

Asked how far it was willing to go in accepting conditions such as constraints on its choice of suppliers, Bellemare said Bombardier would need to remain free to run its business.

"There has got to be the right solution for them and for the business. We are a global company and we work in a very complex environment all around the world, so we have to maintain operational flexibility. It is very critical."

He rebuffed suggestions that a federal aid package, combined with a $1 billion planned investment by Quebec in the CSeries, would lead to the plane programme being nationalised.

"The financial structure around the aircraft doesn't change the fact that this product is a Bombardier product," he said.

Bellemare was appointed CEO just over a year ago at a time when the CSeries was running short of cash amid weak sales.

"There was a rough patch and it was a little bit difficult in 2015, but Bombardier is a solid company with good financial resources today, and we are here to stay."

Asked whether Bombardier would consider expanding its two 110- to 130-seat CSeries models to compete with larger Airbus and Boeing jets, the head of its commercial airplanes unit, Fred Cromer, said, "At this point it is all on the CS100 and CS300."

(Writing by Tim Hepher, Allison Lampert Editing by G Crosse and Chris Reese)

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SEC approves Nasdaq proposal to allow IPO alternative to raise funds

In a filing https://bit.ly/3vc3jHV dated May 19, the SEC said Nasdaq's proposed rule change was consistent with the regulator's rules and regulations and could be beneficial to investors as an alternative to a traditional initial public offering. The move is a big breakthrough for the exchange operator that has been pushing for an alternative for companies to raise money. Reuters had reported in August https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nasdaq-direct-listing-exclusive-idUSKBN25L1BC that Nasdaq had filed with the SEC to change its rules to enable companies that debut on the stock market through a direct listing to raise capital.

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The U.S. central bank, known as the Federal Reserve, has a dual mandate of managing inflation and promoting full employment. When Fed officials are said to be “dovish,” it means they are more interested in promoting job creation than in … Continue reading → The post How Dovish Monetary Policy Affects Interest Rates appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

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‘The Large LBO Is Back’: Goldman Sees Return of Mega Deals

(Bloomberg) -- It’s shaping up to be a big year for debt-financed acquisitions and leveraged buyouts, according to Christina Minnis, global head of acquisition finance at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.The bank has underwritten five bridge loans in 2021 with a size of more than $10 billion, near the record of eight for a year. “We’re actually on a pace to beat that record,” Minnis said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday. “I actually think we are in the first few innings of very large transactions.”Goldman recently wrote an $18 billion check to help AT&T Inc. finance its mega media deal with Discovery Inc. Dealmaking worldwide climbed to a record $1.1 trillion in the first quarter as the economy rebounded, and is already nearing the $2 trillion mark thanks to AT&T’s spinoff.The frenzy is not just reserved for blue-chip companies, with the outlook for leveraged buyout activity also robust. Private equity sponsors are expected to partner up for large club deals as the size of transactions increases, with some looking at buyouts that require $10 billion of equity, Minnis said. “The world of the large LBO is back.”Read more: Goldman’s Ambition to Match JPMorgan on AT&T Deal Meets RealityTop buyout firms are currently bidding for Medline Industries Inc., a medical supply company that could fetch about $30 billion and mark the return of major club deals.On the financing side, direct lenders will play an important part as dealmaking surges, Minnis said. Owl Rock Capital Partners, for example, is leading a $2.3 billion loan to help fund the buyout of Calypso Technologies Inc. by Thoma Bravo, one of the biggest deals ever seen in the private debt market.“I don’t see the direct lenders pulling back at all, in fact I see them being a very important force,” and Goldman Sachs will partner with many of them going forward, Minnis said.The Covid-19 outbreak caused many companies to shift into survival mode, but now they’re focused on how to grow in a post-pandemic world, Minnis said. And she’s bullish on Europe as well, noting exceptionally busy activity both in the region and through cross-border deals.“The European leveraged finance markets are very strong, as strong as we’ve seen in years,” she said.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Nvidia sets 4-for-1 stock split, shares rise

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Why Nvidia Stock Jumped After Announcement Of Four-For-One Split?

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Apple App Store profits look ɽisproportionate,' U.S. judge tells CEO Cook

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U.S. Dollar Index (DX) Futures Technical Analysis – Could Be Setting Up for Start of Counter-Trend Rally

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Zara owner Inditex to close all stores in Venezuela, local partner says

Inditex, owner of brands including Zara, Bershka and Pull & Bear, will close all its stores in Venezuela in coming weeks as a deal between the retailer and its local partner Phoenix World Trade has come under review, a spokesperson for Phoenix World Trade said. Phoenix World Trade, a company based in Panama and controlled by Venezuelan businessman Camilo Ibrahim, took over operation of Inditex stores in the South American country in 2007. "Phoenix World Trade is re-evaluating the commercial presence of its franchised brands Zara, Bershka and Pull&Bear in Venezuela, to make it consistent with the new model of integration and digital transformation announced by Inditex," the company said in response to a Reuters request.

Commerce Secretary tells how to fix the crazy car shortage

So we have auto shortages and billions of dollars of car sales lost, prices gone bananas for used cars and thousands of jobs at risk. What the hell happened? Well COVID yes, but executives made some bad calls too. That plus over-dependence on a fragile and non-U.S.-based supply chain.

Nvidia Shares Jump After Announcing 4-for-1 Stock Split

(Bloomberg) -- Nvidia Corp. shares jumped Friday after the graphics-chipmaker said it would split its shares 4-for-1 in an effort to make them more accessible to investors and employees.The split, in the form of a stock dividend, is subject to shareholder approval at the Santa Clara, California-based company’s annual meeting on June 3, Nvidia said in a statement Friday. The move, if approved, would increase the common stock to 4 billion shares. The shares jumped 3.1% as trading got underway in New York Friday.Currently Nvidia has about 622.4 million shares outstanding, valuing the company at $363.8 billion, based on Thursday’s closing share price of $584.50. The stock has gained 12% so far this year.If shareholders approve the plan, each Nvidia stockholder of record on June 21 will receive a dividend of three additional shares of common stock for every share held, to be distributed after the close of trading on July 19. Trading is expected to begin on a stock split-adjusted basis on July 20.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Hong Kong to restrict crypto exchanges to professional investors

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Hong Kong will have to be licenced by the city's markets regulator and will only be allowed to provide services to professional investors, according to government proposals published on Friday. Investor protection and preventing money laundering are particular concerns. Dozens of cryptocurrency exchanges operate in Hong Kong, including some of the world's largest.

World’s Best Rally Has Morgan Stanley to Newton Eyeing Europe

(Bloomberg) -- For so long the laggards of global equity markets, European stocks are back in favor and with the likes of Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley joining an increasingly bullish chorus, investors are taking note.The Euro Stoxx 50 Index of eurozone blue-chips is up 13% so far in 2021, outperforming the S&P 500 in the opening five months of the year for the first time since 2017 and topping all other major regional benchmarks. That’s coincided with a recent pick-up in inflows into European equity funds, while the latest Bank of America Corp. global fund manager survey showed that euro-area stocks are now the biggest regional equity overweight.“This outperformance has further to run, given the scope for Europe to play catch-up with the U.S. as vaccine programs gather pace,” said Catherine Doyle, a strategist on the real return team at BNY Mellon’s ‎Newton Investment Management, which is overweight Europe relative to global equities.What makes Europe so attractive right now is the vast presence of cheap sectors sensitive to an economic recovery being hastened by a ramp-up in vaccination efforts that initially trailed the U.S. and U.K. The region is also less susceptible to the inflation worries that have spooked markets of late, given a relative dearth of the worst-hit sectors such as technology.Such factors are providing a catalyst to historically low valuations. The Euro Stoxx 50 Index trades at about 17.6 times 12-month earnings, compared with 21 times for the S&P 500, and 26 times for the Nasdaq. Unlike most global indexes, it has yet to reach its record high or even surpass its 2008 peak.Europe’s recent outperformance is only just starting to get the attention of market players. Credit Suisse raised continental European stocks to overweight on Thursday, citing catch-up potential for the region’s economic growth that has lagged the U.S., its exposure to the green energy boom and low investor positioning compared to other regions.Morgan Stanley favors European equities over the U.S. on earnings recovery as the Biden administration plans to boost corporate taxes. And U.S. investment management firm Eaton Vance is “significantly” overweight Europe in global and international equity portfolios, according to Chris Dyer, director of global equity, who sees the region’s outperformance continuing versus the U.S.Equity InflowsAccording to Bank of America and EPFR Global data, European equity funds have attracted inflows over the past six weeks. Yet there’s still a long way to go to catch up with peers. For 2021 to date, the region has attracted just $4.8 billion compared with a whopping $181 billion plowed into U.S. equity funds. Last year, investors pulled about $43 billion from European stock funds, the most among major regions.International investors are also voting for euro-area equities by piling into exchange-traded funds. The U.S.-listed SPDR EURO STOXX 50 ETF is set for its biggest month of inflows since 2017 with about $300 million new additions in May, while the iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF this week had its largest single-day inflow of $187 million since October 2019.To be sure, strategists surveyed by Bloomberg see limited scope for gains from current levels by the end of 2021, with the average forecast of 4,012 for the Euro Stoxx 50, down 0.3% from the Friday close. This kind of market might favor stock pickers over index followers.Newton’s Doyle likes automakers such as Volkswagen AG, which can thrive on the adoption of electric vehicles, energy firms such as RWE AG that are making a push for a green-energy transition, and low-cost airline Ryanair Holdings Plc, which she expects to benefit from rising passenger volumes as travel resumes. Volkswagen is down 12% from its April peak and up 42% year-to-date, while RWE has fallen 5.6% this year and Ryanair is down 0.2%.‘Final Unlocking’Luke Newman, who runs long-short funds at Janus Henderson Investors, says he’s net long euro-area equities and net-short the U.S. market because Europe is only now entering the “final unlocking.”READ: More Than 1.54 Billion Shots Given: Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker“Within the unlocking trade, continental Europe has lagged the U.S. and U.K. given the infections waves and vaccine rollouts,” Newman said in a video interview. “We feel that now is the time when the market is prepared to look out not necessarily at this year, but at 2022 and 2023, and start to assume recovery for those less-favored unlocking areas of the market.”He sees Safran SA, a French aircraft engine manufacturer, which is up just 3.4% this year, and Sodexo SA, a French food services and facilities management company, which has gained 13% in 2021 but is down 10% from its March peak, as some of the companies that can benefit from the rebound.Kevin Thozet, member of the investment committee at Carmignac, says the European market is in a “sweet spot” due to its balance of cyclical and quality names, such as luxury companies, which represent a large part of the index. The French asset manager with 39 billion euros ($48 billion) under management holds shares that include LVMH, Hermes International and Ferrari NV, in addition to Safran and Ryanair.“The big attraction in the U.S. was, for a very long time, the technology sector. There are tech companies in Europe, but they aren’t as important. This didn’t help European equities in the past, but there’s a rotation in place right now and Europe benefits,” Thozet said in an interview.Fiscal and monetary stimulus, along with a rebound in consumer spending, should enable economic activity in the euro area to return to pre-Covid levels by late 2021, according to Wei Li, global chief investment strategist at the BlackRock Investment Institute. BlackRock lifted euro-area equities to neutral in February and prefers them to the European credit market.“In addition to a more positive macro backdrop, we see valuations in the euro area as supportive,” she said by email. “We still expect a rapid activity restart beginning in the second half of this year.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Will Biden cancel massive student loan debt? Suddenly, that's looking doubtful

New signs indicate the president may be shying from forgiving even $10,000 per person.

CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar nears 6-year high as inflation concerns ease

* Canadian dollar strengthens 0.2% against the greenback * For the week, the loonie is on track to gain 0.6% * Canadian retail sales rise 3.6% in March * Price of U.S. oil rises 1.9% TORONTO, May 21 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rose against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as investor worries about U.S. inflation receded and domestic data showed retail sales climbing in March, with the loonie moving closer to a six-year high notched earlier in the week. Canadian retail sales rose 3.6% in March from February, surpassing estimates for a 2.3% increase, data from Statistics Canada showed. World stock markets edged higher after a volatile week, taking their lead from a stronger Wall Street as U.S. business activity data tempered inflation fears.

UPDATE 4-Apple App Store profits look ɽisproportionate,' U.S. judge tells CEO Cook

A federal judge on Friday grilled Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook over whether the iPhone maker's App Store profits from developers such as "Fortnite" maker Epic Games are justified and whether Apple faces any real competitive pressure to change its ways. Cook testified for more than two hours in Oakland, California, as the closing witness in Apple's defense against Epic's charges that the iPhone maker's App Store controls and commissions have created a monopoly that Apple illegally abuses.


Ghislaine Maxwell: Jeffrey Epstein&rsquos &lsquolady of the house&rsquo and &lsquomadam&rsquo

Shortly after Ghislaine Maxwell arrived in New York from England in the early 1990s, she was looking for a new start. She had just lost her father, a British media mogul, along with much of her family fortune and her social standing. Soon she was on the rise with the help of her new boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, a rich financier. It was the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship.

With Epstein, Maxwell was able to resurrect the lifestyle she coveted. She flew on his private jet, she settled into his mansions in New York and Florida and she eventually landed her own five-storey town house in Manhattan. For Epstein, who had grown up in Coney Island and was a college dropout, the gregarious Maxwell provided new social pathways. Her friends in high places included the UK’s prince Andrew, who became a frequent guest in Epstein’s homes.

Now, with Epstein under federal indictment on charges of sexually trafficking and abusing girls, there are mounting questions about what else happened in his close relationship with Maxwell. He has pleaded not guilty, and she has denied any wrongdoing and has not been criminally charged. But in recent years, Maxwell has struck confidential settlements in civil court with two women who say she participated in Epstein’s sexual exploitation of them. Thousands of sealed records from one of those cases are expected to be released in coming weeks, potentially revealing more about Epstein’s alleged predation and what Maxwell may have known about it.

What is clear is that their partnership was deep, entangled and continued even after their romance ended. Over more than a decade, Maxwell, now 57, helped manage Epstein’s homes, facilitate his social relationships and recruit masseuses to help satisfy his seemingly insatiable appetite for massages, according to his former employees. Some of Epstein’s accusers allege that in their experiences the massages were just a pretext for sexual abuse by Epstein, according to court records.

One former employee of Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, referred to her as “lady of the house”. Euan Rellie, an investment banker who attended the University of Oxford with Maxwell and was a guest at dinner parties that she and Epstein hosted in New York, said she “seemed to be half ex-girlfriend, half employee, half best friend, and fixer.”

One of Epstein’s accusers, in court papers, used another word: madam. After Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to Florida state charges of soliciting prostitution and served 13 months in the Palm Beach County jail, Maxwell moved on, cultivating other high-profile associations, seeming largely unscathed by her long ties to Epstein. She took up environmental causes and founded a nonprofit intended to save the oceans. She gave a talk at a TED event. And she continued to work the social circuit: attending Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, being photographed with Arianna Huffington and Martha Stewart, smiling next to Elon Musk at a Vanity Fair Oscar party.

But there were also signs of trouble. In 2015, a lawsuit accusing Maxwell of complicity in Epstein’s abuses drew news media attention. In 2016, the town house in Manhattan’s upper east side, where she had resided, was sold and she disappeared from New York’s party circuit. The next year, her lawyers claimed she was in London but said they did not know her address, angering a judge overseeing another lawsuit against her. Last weekend – just a week after the new charges brought by New York federal prosecutors against Epstein became public – Maxwell’s nonprofit, the TerraMar Project, shut down. The website posted a message saying it was “sad to announce that it will cease all operations”.

An old friend, Christopher Mason, drew a connection between the scandals Maxwell has been caught up in – the first involving her father, whose life ended in disgrace, and the second that of Epstein, the most defining male figure in her adult life.

“Her father was a swashbuckling rogue,” Mason said in an interview. “Jeffrey had a less social persona, but he was in his way swashbuckling, too.”

The mystique

She grew up in a 53-room mansion in Buckinghamshire, where childhood activities included sailing on a family yacht named the Lady Ghislaine and rubbing shoulders with aristocrats and royals. Her father, Robert Maxwell, was a Czech-born second World War hero who founded Pergamon Press, an extremely successful publishing house for science and medical books. After that he bought British tabloids, including The Mirror, as well as a stake in MTV Europe and American publishing giant Macmillan.

Related

Maxwell was the youngest of his nine children and, if the name of his yacht is any indication, a favourite. She attended Oxford and moved to New York in 1991, around the time her father bought The Daily News. But later that year, her father tumbled off his boat and died in the midst of mounting debt, and it was shortly revealed that he had pillaged his employees’ pensions. With much of her family’s publishing empire gone, Maxwell moved into a modest upper east side apartment.

But once she and Epstein were dating, she was back in the type of grand residences she desired. Juan Alessi, who helped manage Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for a decade, described Maxwell as essentially his supervisor, according to a deposition in a civil case brought by some of Epstein’s alleged victims. “She would tell me, I am going to take care of the house,” he recalled.

Once Maxwell began spending a lot of time at the Florida house in the late 1990s, the visitors began coming. Young women, from the Palm Beach area and Europe. Celebrities, such as David Copperfield and Donald Trump. A new guest corridor of the house was constructed Prince Andrew was among the regulars, Alessi said.

Rellie, the Oxford friend, said he found Epstein elusive to the point of imperiousness. At a party the financier and Maxwell hosted in New York during the late 1990s, Epstein did not appear until all the guests had taken their seats. The real draw was Maxwell, the “charming, likable front person,” Rellie said. “A big part of the reason people talked to him was because of Ghislaine.” Mason, a journalist and an author who writes about the rich, described her as “saucy” – she talked openly about sex – “fantastically entertaining” and funny, but also vulnerable. She was striking, with short black hair, dangly earrings, and fitted trousers or dresses and stiletto heels.

In 1994, Maxwell selected Mason to perform a ribald song at Epstein’s birthday party that referred to the couple’s sexual relationship. Rellie knew that Maxwell, whose lawyers did not respond to requests for comment, came from a family that had been engulfed in scandal but said it gave her a kind of frisson. “That was part of the mystique,” he said. “New York people enjoy salacious stories. Having somebody who has a colourful past, including a dad who was controversial, made her interesting.”

In 2000, she moved into a 7,000sq ft (650 sq m) town house in Manhattan, at 116 East 65th Street – less than 10 blocks from Epstein’s mansion – that was purchased for $4.95 million by an anonymous LLC, with an address that matches the office of J Epstein & Co. Representing the LLC was Darren Indyke, Epstein’s longtime lawyer. Maxwell began entertaining Park-Avenue types who noted its Downton Abbey-meets-Art-Deco vibe, with brightly coloured rooms and mirrored surfaces. (“A mix of heavy and heavy,” as one society friend put it.)

In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Epstein described Maxwell as his “best friend”. He said she was not on his payroll, though the story noted that she seemed to organise much of his life.An advertisement that appeared in Yoga Journal 10 years earlier sought a yoga instructor for “a private individual” with “fantastic perks such as extensive travel.” The number listed was for Epstein’s office. Interested parties were to call “Miss Maxwell.”

She continued to reside, at least part-time, in Epstein’s homes in New York and Florida. “Mrs Maxwell was like the lady of the house,” said Alfredo Rodriguez, who worked in the Palm Beach mansion in 2005, explaining that household expenses were paid out of a bank account in Maxwell’s name, according to a deposition in a court case.

More than massages

Epstein sought a steady stream of beautiful young women, including models, who were expected to look attractive as they hung out at his homes or rode on his private jet. The houses had massage tables in multiple rooms and masseuses to serve Epstein, Maxwell and guests who stayed there. Alessi counted upward of 200 people coming to the Palm Beach home to provide massages over the course of several years, and said Epstein would request as many as three masseuses a day.

Maxwell helped with the recruiting, according to former employees. “I remember one occasion or two occasions she would say to me, ‘Juan, give me a list of all the spas in Palm Beach County’,” Alessi said. “And I will drive her from one to the other one.”

During some massage sessions, Epstein also engaged in sexual exploitation and abuse of girls, according to criminal charges and numerous civil cases that have been filed against him. Two accusers have said Maxwell participated in the abuse. In a 2009 lawsuit against Epstein, Virginia Giuffre alleged that Epstein and Maxwell sexually abused her starting when she was 16. She said she had been working as a changing-room assistant at the Mar-a-Lago Club when Maxwell invited her to Epstein’s home with promises that she could learn massage therapy and earn a lot of money. Once there, she said, Maxwell helped Epstein force her into sexual activity with him, then paid her $200 that day. She said it was the beginning of an arrangement that lasted several years. She also claimed that Maxwell took sexually explicit photos of her. Maxwell denied the claims.

In an affidavit in a separate civil case, Maria Farmer has alleged that Epstein and Maxwell sexually assaulted her in 1996 when she was a graduate student and that they also flew her 15-year-old sister to his ranch in New Mexico, ordered her to take off her clothes and improperly touched her.

Another woman, Sarah Ransome, also submitted an affidavit in that case, saying that when she was 22, she accepted invitations from Epstein to the US Virgin Islands, where she had “sexual relations” with him and other guests, according to court records. She said Maxwell had recruited others for Epstein, some of them young teenagers, and said “she appeared to be in charge of their activities, including what they did, who they did it with and how they were supposed to stay in line.” Maxwell and Epstein have not publicly responded to Farmer’s or Ransome’s claims.

In another lawsuit, Ransome alleged that Epstein, Maxwell and three other associates engaged in a sex-trafficking venture that targeted young women. They denied the allegations, and the case resulted in a confidential settlement.

Fading from view

After Epstein returned from jail, his public appearances with Maxwell came to an end, said Peggy Siegal, a prominent professional hostess, who included Epstein in movie screenings and other social events. “She was no longer in the picture,” Siegal said. But Maxwell was still very visible on the social circuit. She popped up at benefits for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and book parties for Huffington. “I didn’t get the sense she was being shunned,” said author Jay McInerney.

When Maxwell received a subpoena in the lawsuit filed by Giuffre, she was leaving a session of the Clinton Global Initiative at the Sheraton Hotel, prompting coverage in The New York Post. The next year she attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, apparently still in the good graces of Bill Clinton, with whom she had socialised and sometimes travelled on Epstein’s private plane.

In April 2013, she stood with Lloyd C Blankfein, then chief executive of Goldman Sachs, at a benefit supporting marriage equality. In October of that year, she was pictured alongside Michael R Bloomberg, then the mayor of New York, at a book party for Tamara Mellon, the Jimmy Choo matriarch.

But Maxwell disappeared from the social scene after 2015, the year Giuffre filed the defamation suit against her. By 2016, Maxwell was no longer being photographed at events. That April, the New York town home where she had lived was sold for $15 million. By 2017, her lawyers were saying that she was in London but that they did not believe she had a permanent residence.

Rellie was not surprised she was no longer mingling in New York amid the rich and connected. “I think I’ll be seeing less of her in the future,” he said. – New York Times


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But being Simpson’s “last one standing” defender probably hasn’t helped Bailey reverse some of his own bad choices and legal scandals that contributed to his devastating downfall and left him at age 83 bankrupt, disbarred and working above a hair salon in a small town in Maine.

As O.J. Simpson returns to the public spotlight in a Nevada parole board hearing Thursday to ask to be released from a 33-year sentence for assault and armed robbery, Bailey is also back in the news. He’s the subject of a profile in Town & Country magazine that chronicles his post-O.J. plummet from wealth and fame.

“I won’t say it’s depressing, because I don’t think I ever get depressed,” Bailey told Town & Country writer Andrew Goldman.

Bailey’s other Simpson colleagues did all right for themselves career-wise. Johnnie Cochran, the lead defense attorney of the so-called “Dream Team,” earned up to $5 million from helping to win Simpson’s acquittal on double murder charges and went on to defend other high-profile defendants until he died of a brain tumor in 2005. Simpson’s DNA expert Barry Scheck gained international respect as the founder of the Innocence Project, and Robert Shapiro continues to represent celebrity clients, most recently Rob Kardashian Jr. in his custody battle with Blac Chyna.

Once upon a time, Bailey enjoyed international respect for his legal prowess. He was on the cover of magazines for fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn the conviction of Sam Sheppard, a neurosurgeon imprisoned for killing his pregnant wife and whose case would inspire the movie “The Fugitive.” Bailey also defended Albert DeSalvo, accused but never prosecuted for being “The Boston Strangler,” as well as fugitive newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.

Such cases also brought Bailey enormous wealth, which he used to support four wives and to buy a mansion, luxury cars, a helicopter and a private jet.

But last year, Bailey filed for bankruptcy after decades of scandals inside and outside the courtroom left him disbarred. At one point, he was accused of misappropriating funds from his defense of an alleged drug dealer. Pretty much all he was left with was a 1999 Mercedes station wagon.

These days, Bailey runs a consulting business above a hair salon in Yarmouth, Maine, which is operated by his current girlfriend, Debbie Elliott, a curvaceous 62-year-old blonde. His office is decorated with models of jets he once owned.

Bailey has tried to practice law again, after being disbarred first in Florida and then in Massachusetts, where he first began practicing in 1961. After Bailey moved to Maine he took the bar exam at age 79.

“I passed it at the top of the pack,” he told Town & Country. But Maine’s bar association rejected him.

Alan Dershowitz, another famed attorney who was a colleague from the Simpson case, believes Bailey is paying the price for defending the NFL football legend, who was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

“Without a doubt,” said Dershowitz, who has known Bailey for 40 years. “I think it was a major factor in the vindictive way in which he’s been treated.”

“It’s a terrible tragedy,” added Dershowitz.“I have seen lawyers who have done so much worse allowed back in after a couple of years.”

Bailey won’t object to that view, saying, “People at every level, judges on down, pointed the finger and said, ‘If you hadn’t prostituted your talents for this guy, he would have gone to jail.'”

Still, he continues to proclaim Simpson’s innocence, unlike other attorneys who, according to Dershowitz, more or less “play he game” of saying they never knew whether Simpson was guilty or innocent they just wanted to give him the best possible defense.

Bailey truly believes Simpson didn’t do it. Moreover, he admitted to Town & Country that he sees something of himself in Simpson’s fate: a great man brought low by false accusations.


Coronavirus and labor law: Know your rights, from paid sick leave to working from home

As Lee Olesky heard the first reports of the novel coronavirus in Sacramento County, where she is employed as a social worker, she began to panic.

Olesky, 41, visits the homes of sick and elderly people on a daily basis, and worried she could carry the new illness to her clients. At the office, she doesn’t have an assigned seat but works at “floating” cubicles used by countless other field workers.

The anxiety built until, last week, she casually asked her supervisor whether she could work from home for the rest of the month as a precaution. Her supervisor was skeptical, and “kind of made a face,” but approved her request. Still, Olesky is required to venture out into the world for field visits daily as part of her job. She’s not alone.

The coronavirus outbreak has sparked drastic measures to prevent its spread across California, the United States and the world, and on Wednesday was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

While some office workers may be able to self-quarantine entirely, many workers — typically low-wage blue-collar workers — will be asked to continue to show up to work as usual. Still others will lose work and wages as events are canceled and operations halted because of the viral outbreak. And a few will be asked to carry the weight of the heightened safety measures enacted to protect the many.

“You think, ‘That’s great, airlines are increasing the number of cleanings,’” for example, said Seema Patel, clinical director of the East Bay Community Law Center and a lecturer at Berkeley Law. “But who is doing that work? And do those workers have the same protections as the executives of airlines?”

A public health crisis is where paid sick time laws and unemployment insurance come into play as crucial safety nets, legal experts say.

Exactly how the outbreak affects you, the way you work, the precautions you are able to take or what benefits you might be able to access in the event you or a family member becomes sick — all that depends heavily on where you work and live and the generosity of your employer.

Here’s what labor lawyers, state officials and government agencies say could unfold in the workplace, and the rights workers have in California.

Do employees have the right to work from home?

There is no federal or California law that gives employees the right to work remotely, or the right to ask to work remotely. However, it probably won’t hurt to ask, especially given the unprecedented nature of the current public health landscape, experts say.

For workers in San Francisco, an ordinance called the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance gives some employees the right to request flexible or predictable arrangements — including working from home — to assist with caregiving responsibilities. This ordinance does not grant this flexibility it only provides a formal process for workers to request this type of accommodation.

If a worker is immunocompromised and the employer hasn’t already issued guidance to employees about working from home, it is possible the worker might be able to seek telecommuting accommodations per state and federal disability law, said UC Berkeley labor law professor Catherine Fisk.

What is the best way to ask to work from home?

Emphasize that working from home is not self-indulgence, but rather a public health measure.

“It’s not just about the employee afraid of getting sick it’s the employee who’s afraid of being a vector for the illness,” whether it’s bringing an infection home to their family or from outside to their co-workers, Fisk said.

Employers should be thinking about the safety measures and benefits they can provide as they balance performing essential functions with protecting their workers from this infectious disease, Fisk said.

Many corporations in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are taking it upon themselves to help prevent spread of coronavirus by asking workers to perform their jobs remotely for the indefinite future.

Many companies have already begun to evolve their work-from-home policies as concern about preventing the spread of the coronavirus has bloomed.

Twitter became the first major U.S. corporation to strongly encourage its employees to work from home as a preventive measure on March 2. Google, Amazon and Microsoft, among others, have since followed suit.

“I think both employers and employees need to be negotiating thoughtfully about minimizing risk to everybody,” Fisk said.

What happens if I or a family member gets sick?

Your employer may provide paid sick days as part of your terms of employment. Many low-wage workers do not have access to paid sick days, as federal law did not require employers to provide them. That seems to be changing: President Trump signed an emergency coronavirus relief law March 18 that includes paid sick leave benefits for employees at small to midsize firms impacted by the virus.

Some part and full-time employees who have contracted COVID-19 who are in quarantine who are caring for a family member affected by the virus or caring for children whose schools have closed may be eligible for paid leave equivalent to two weeks of work per the new federal law.

Here’s who qualifies for paid sick leave, and who doesn’t, under the new federal emergency coronavirus relief package.

California already had a paid sick leave law. Employees in the state that meet certain requirements are entitled to at least three days of paid sick leave, and several California cities provide additional sick time.

If you are ill, or if you or a family member has been exposed to the coronavirus, you can take a sick day as a precaution. You don’t have to be diagnosed with the coronavirus in order to take a paid sick day.

Paying for sick employees to stay home helps reduce the spread of the seasonal flu, studies show. It could help reduce the rate of spread of the coronavirus, too.

Some companies have begun to adopt more flexible and generous sick leave policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, said Tuesday that on top of its existing paid sick leave policy, it would provide up to two weeks of paid leave for employees who fall ill or are quarantined because of a confirmed exposure to the coronavirus.

Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden, previously did not provide its roughly 170,000 hourly employees with paid sick leave, except in the handful of states (including California) where it’s the law. Olive Garden said March 9 that it would permanently provide paid sick leave to all of its hourly employees.

Democrats in Congress, led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), are trying to pass a sick leave bill, legislation that has been stalled for more than a decade. The legislation would make two weeks of sick leave accessible in the event of a public health crisis.

Which California cities have stronger paid sick day laws?

Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco all have local laws that mandate additional paid sick time.

I’m a gig worker. Am I entitled to benefits such as paid sick leave?

Assembly Bill 5, a state law that went into effect Jan. 1, aimed to make it harder to misclassify workers as contractors, which means a new swath of workers in California could be entitled to benefits such as three paid sick days and disability leave. Some of the biggest gig companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have continued to insist that their workers should be considered contractors under the law. That means some gig workers may not be able to access many of these benefits unless companies are forced to comply or workers’ classification status is fully hashed out in a legal battle.

Some Uber and Lyft drivers filed a complaint Wednesday in California, asking courts to issue immediate injunctions forcing the ride-hailing companies to classify them as employees in accordance with AB 5, as concern about the coronavirus grows.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wrote a letter calling on Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash and Instacart to provide some type of financial safety net for drivers and couriers who become ill. Lyft said it would provide funds to drivers diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed under quarantine Uber said drivers and couriers diagnosed or quarantined would receive compensation for up to 14 days.

On March 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged bars, nightclubs, wineries and breweries in California to shut down operations, and the same day, L.A. officials ordered bars to close and forced restaurants to halt dine-in service to slow the spread of coronavirus. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted that hospitality workers impacted by the governor’s orders would likely be eligible for unemployment insurance even if they are classified as independent contracters and receive 1099 tax forms, because of AB5.

What if I run out of sick days?

If you have tested positive for the novel coronavirus or been exposed to it and are unable to work as a result, you may be able to file a Disability Insurance claim with the state of California.

This type of insurance offers short-term benefits to eligible workers who have lost wages because of an illness or injury unrelated to work or pregnancy. Payments dispensed from this insurance are dependent on income but are roughly 60% to 70% of wages and range from $50 to $1,300 per week.

If a family member falls ill you might be eligible to receive paid family leave from the state to take care of them.

For those not able to secure paid leave, state (California Family Rights Act) and federal laws (Family and Medical Leave Act) provide employees who meet certain specifications with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.

What can I do if my workplace has shut down or my hours have been reduced?

If your hours have been reduced or your employer has shut down operations because of the coronavirus, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits that range from $40 to $450 per week. You can file a claim with California’s Employment Development Department.

Some California cities — aiming to protect low-wage workers on the brink of homelessness — have begun preparing temporary moratoriums on evictions for people whose wages have been affected by coronavirus-related work stoppages.

San Jose moved to install a moratorium of at least 30 days on evictions against residents who can demonstrate coronavirus-related loss of income. On March 13 San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a temporary moratoriums on evictions. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a similar order March 15. Oakland City Council said it would send a letter to Alameda County Superior Court asking the court to halt ongoing eviction cases and refrain from taking new cases.


Be Cautious of Restaurant Stocks Like Darden as Input Prices Rise

Input prices are taking a cue from the move in food and gas prices. RealMoney Pro contributor Chris Versace breaks down how much potential there is for more widespread inflation after the May ISM manufacturing index rose more than expected to 56.3% in May from 55.2% in April. As companies like Chipotle and McDonald's have announced price increases, Versace explains how likely it is that other companies will follow suit and what that means for investors in casual restaurant stocks. Versace says companies like Darden and Bloomin' Brands stand the potential to suffer this summer and it will be important for investors to garner more from the upcoming Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index data.

SEC approves Nasdaq proposal to allow IPO alternative to raise funds

In a filing https://bit.ly/3vc3jHV dated May 19, the SEC said Nasdaq's proposed rule change was consistent with the regulator's rules and regulations and could be beneficial to investors as an alternative to a traditional initial public offering. The move is a big breakthrough for the exchange operator that has been pushing for an alternative for companies to raise money. Reuters had reported in August https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nasdaq-direct-listing-exclusive-idUSKBN25L1BC that Nasdaq had filed with the SEC to change its rules to enable companies that debut on the stock market through a direct listing to raise capital.

How Dovish Monetary Policy Affects Interest Rates

The U.S. central bank, known as the Federal Reserve, has a dual mandate of managing inflation and promoting full employment. When Fed officials are said to be “dovish,” it means they are more interested in promoting job creation than in … Continue reading → The post How Dovish Monetary Policy Affects Interest Rates appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

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‘The Large LBO Is Back’: Goldman Sees Return of Mega Deals

(Bloomberg) -- It’s shaping up to be a big year for debt-financed acquisitions and leveraged buyouts, according to Christina Minnis, global head of acquisition finance at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.The bank has underwritten five bridge loans in 2021 with a size of more than $10 billion, near the record of eight for a year. “We’re actually on a pace to beat that record,” Minnis said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday. “I actually think we are in the first few innings of very large transactions.”Goldman recently wrote an $18 billion check to help AT&T Inc. finance its mega media deal with Discovery Inc. Dealmaking worldwide climbed to a record $1.1 trillion in the first quarter as the economy rebounded, and is already nearing the $2 trillion mark thanks to AT&T’s spinoff.The frenzy is not just reserved for blue-chip companies, with the outlook for leveraged buyout activity also robust. Private equity sponsors are expected to partner up for large club deals as the size of transactions increases, with some looking at buyouts that require $10 billion of equity, Minnis said. “The world of the large LBO is back.”Read more: Goldman’s Ambition to Match JPMorgan on AT&T Deal Meets RealityTop buyout firms are currently bidding for Medline Industries Inc., a medical supply company that could fetch about $30 billion and mark the return of major club deals.On the financing side, direct lenders will play an important part as dealmaking surges, Minnis said. Owl Rock Capital Partners, for example, is leading a $2.3 billion loan to help fund the buyout of Calypso Technologies Inc. by Thoma Bravo, one of the biggest deals ever seen in the private debt market.“I don’t see the direct lenders pulling back at all, in fact I see them being a very important force,” and Goldman Sachs will partner with many of them going forward, Minnis said.The Covid-19 outbreak caused many companies to shift into survival mode, but now they’re focused on how to grow in a post-pandemic world, Minnis said. And she’s bullish on Europe as well, noting exceptionally busy activity both in the region and through cross-border deals.“The European leveraged finance markets are very strong, as strong as we’ve seen in years,” she said.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Nvidia sets 4-for-1 stock split, shares rise

The company's stock, which was last up at over $600 in premarket trading, has gained nearly 12% this year after its value more than doubled in 2020. Stock splits can potentially attract retail investors who make small trades. Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia said stock holders of record on July 21 would receive dividend of three additional shares after the close of trading on July 19, with the stock trading on a split-adjusted basis beginning July 20.

Why Nvidia Stock Jumped After Announcement Of Four-For-One Split?

The stock is trying to settle above the $600 level.

Apple App Store profits look ɽisproportionate,' U.S. judge tells CEO Cook

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U.S. Dollar Index (DX) Futures Technical Analysis – Could Be Setting Up for Start of Counter-Trend Rally

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Zara owner Inditex to close all stores in Venezuela, local partner says

Inditex, owner of brands including Zara, Bershka and Pull & Bear, will close all its stores in Venezuela in coming weeks as a deal between the retailer and its local partner Phoenix World Trade has come under review, a spokesperson for Phoenix World Trade said. Phoenix World Trade, a company based in Panama and controlled by Venezuelan businessman Camilo Ibrahim, took over operation of Inditex stores in the South American country in 2007. "Phoenix World Trade is re-evaluating the commercial presence of its franchised brands Zara, Bershka and Pull&Bear in Venezuela, to make it consistent with the new model of integration and digital transformation announced by Inditex," the company said in response to a Reuters request.

Commerce Secretary tells how to fix the crazy car shortage

So we have auto shortages and billions of dollars of car sales lost, prices gone bananas for used cars and thousands of jobs at risk. What the hell happened? Well COVID yes, but executives made some bad calls too. That plus over-dependence on a fragile and non-U.S.-based supply chain.

Nvidia Shares Jump After Announcing 4-for-1 Stock Split

(Bloomberg) -- Nvidia Corp. shares jumped Friday after the graphics-chipmaker said it would split its shares 4-for-1 in an effort to make them more accessible to investors and employees.The split, in the form of a stock dividend, is subject to shareholder approval at the Santa Clara, California-based company’s annual meeting on June 3, Nvidia said in a statement Friday. The move, if approved, would increase the common stock to 4 billion shares. The shares jumped 3.1% as trading got underway in New York Friday.Currently Nvidia has about 622.4 million shares outstanding, valuing the company at $363.8 billion, based on Thursday’s closing share price of $584.50. The stock has gained 12% so far this year.If shareholders approve the plan, each Nvidia stockholder of record on June 21 will receive a dividend of three additional shares of common stock for every share held, to be distributed after the close of trading on July 19. Trading is expected to begin on a stock split-adjusted basis on July 20.More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Hong Kong to restrict crypto exchanges to professional investors

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Hong Kong will have to be licenced by the city's markets regulator and will only be allowed to provide services to professional investors, according to government proposals published on Friday. Investor protection and preventing money laundering are particular concerns. Dozens of cryptocurrency exchanges operate in Hong Kong, including some of the world's largest.

World’s Best Rally Has Morgan Stanley to Newton Eyeing Europe

(Bloomberg) -- For so long the laggards of global equity markets, European stocks are back in favor and with the likes of Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley joining an increasingly bullish chorus, investors are taking note.The Euro Stoxx 50 Index of eurozone blue-chips is up 13% so far in 2021, outperforming the S&P 500 in the opening five months of the year for the first time since 2017 and topping all other major regional benchmarks. That’s coincided with a recent pick-up in inflows into European equity funds, while the latest Bank of America Corp. global fund manager survey showed that euro-area stocks are now the biggest regional equity overweight.“This outperformance has further to run, given the scope for Europe to play catch-up with the U.S. as vaccine programs gather pace,” said Catherine Doyle, a strategist on the real return team at BNY Mellon’s ‎Newton Investment Management, which is overweight Europe relative to global equities.What makes Europe so attractive right now is the vast presence of cheap sectors sensitive to an economic recovery being hastened by a ramp-up in vaccination efforts that initially trailed the U.S. and U.K. The region is also less susceptible to the inflation worries that have spooked markets of late, given a relative dearth of the worst-hit sectors such as technology.Such factors are providing a catalyst to historically low valuations. The Euro Stoxx 50 Index trades at about 17.6 times 12-month earnings, compared with 21 times for the S&P 500, and 26 times for the Nasdaq. Unlike most global indexes, it has yet to reach its record high or even surpass its 2008 peak.Europe’s recent outperformance is only just starting to get the attention of market players. Credit Suisse raised continental European stocks to overweight on Thursday, citing catch-up potential for the region’s economic growth that has lagged the U.S., its exposure to the green energy boom and low investor positioning compared to other regions.Morgan Stanley favors European equities over the U.S. on earnings recovery as the Biden administration plans to boost corporate taxes. And U.S. investment management firm Eaton Vance is “significantly” overweight Europe in global and international equity portfolios, according to Chris Dyer, director of global equity, who sees the region’s outperformance continuing versus the U.S.Equity InflowsAccording to Bank of America and EPFR Global data, European equity funds have attracted inflows over the past six weeks. Yet there’s still a long way to go to catch up with peers. For 2021 to date, the region has attracted just $4.8 billion compared with a whopping $181 billion plowed into U.S. equity funds. Last year, investors pulled about $43 billion from European stock funds, the most among major regions.International investors are also voting for euro-area equities by piling into exchange-traded funds. The U.S.-listed SPDR EURO STOXX 50 ETF is set for its biggest month of inflows since 2017 with about $300 million new additions in May, while the iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF this week had its largest single-day inflow of $187 million since October 2019.To be sure, strategists surveyed by Bloomberg see limited scope for gains from current levels by the end of 2021, with the average forecast of 4,012 for the Euro Stoxx 50, down 0.3% from the Friday close. This kind of market might favor stock pickers over index followers.Newton’s Doyle likes automakers such as Volkswagen AG, which can thrive on the adoption of electric vehicles, energy firms such as RWE AG that are making a push for a green-energy transition, and low-cost airline Ryanair Holdings Plc, which she expects to benefit from rising passenger volumes as travel resumes. Volkswagen is down 12% from its April peak and up 42% year-to-date, while RWE has fallen 5.6% this year and Ryanair is down 0.2%.‘Final Unlocking’Luke Newman, who runs long-short funds at Janus Henderson Investors, says he’s net long euro-area equities and net-short the U.S. market because Europe is only now entering the “final unlocking.”READ: More Than 1.54 Billion Shots Given: Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker“Within the unlocking trade, continental Europe has lagged the U.S. and U.K. given the infections waves and vaccine rollouts,” Newman said in a video interview. “We feel that now is the time when the market is prepared to look out not necessarily at this year, but at 2022 and 2023, and start to assume recovery for those less-favored unlocking areas of the market.”He sees Safran SA, a French aircraft engine manufacturer, which is up just 3.4% this year, and Sodexo SA, a French food services and facilities management company, which has gained 13% in 2021 but is down 10% from its March peak, as some of the companies that can benefit from the rebound.Kevin Thozet, member of the investment committee at Carmignac, says the European market is in a “sweet spot” due to its balance of cyclical and quality names, such as luxury companies, which represent a large part of the index. The French asset manager with 39 billion euros ($48 billion) under management holds shares that include LVMH, Hermes International and Ferrari NV, in addition to Safran and Ryanair.“The big attraction in the U.S. was, for a very long time, the technology sector. There are tech companies in Europe, but they aren’t as important. This didn’t help European equities in the past, but there’s a rotation in place right now and Europe benefits,” Thozet said in an interview.Fiscal and monetary stimulus, along with a rebound in consumer spending, should enable economic activity in the euro area to return to pre-Covid levels by late 2021, according to Wei Li, global chief investment strategist at the BlackRock Investment Institute. BlackRock lifted euro-area equities to neutral in February and prefers them to the European credit market.“In addition to a more positive macro backdrop, we see valuations in the euro area as supportive,” she said by email. “We still expect a rapid activity restart beginning in the second half of this year.”More stories like this are available on bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Will Biden cancel massive student loan debt? Suddenly, that's looking doubtful

New signs indicate the president may be shying from forgiving even $10,000 per person.

CANADA FX DEBT-Canadian dollar nears 6-year high as inflation concerns ease

* Canadian dollar strengthens 0.2% against the greenback * For the week, the loonie is on track to gain 0.6% * Canadian retail sales rise 3.6% in March * Price of U.S. oil rises 1.9% TORONTO, May 21 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar rose against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as investor worries about U.S. inflation receded and domestic data showed retail sales climbing in March, with the loonie moving closer to a six-year high notched earlier in the week. Canadian retail sales rose 3.6% in March from February, surpassing estimates for a 2.3% increase, data from Statistics Canada showed. World stock markets edged higher after a volatile week, taking their lead from a stronger Wall Street as U.S. business activity data tempered inflation fears.

UPDATE 4-Apple App Store profits look ɽisproportionate,' U.S. judge tells CEO Cook

A federal judge on Friday grilled Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook over whether the iPhone maker's App Store profits from developers such as "Fortnite" maker Epic Games are justified and whether Apple faces any real competitive pressure to change its ways. Cook testified for more than two hours in Oakland, California, as the closing witness in Apple's defense against Epic's charges that the iPhone maker's App Store controls and commissions have created a monopoly that Apple illegally abuses.


What’s orange, weighs a ton and sinks? Why, a Woodbury dentist’s midget submarine

There’s something mysterious lurking beneath the surface of some of Minnesota’s lakes, startling fish in the metro area and amazing Lake Superior tourists in Duluth’s Canal Park.

It’s 12 feet long, weighs more than a ton and is colored bright orange. But it means no harm.

It’s just Kyle Edlund, running silent, running deep, in his garage-built midget submarine.

“I think I’m the only submarine in Minnesota that’s licensed that I know of,” said Edlund, 47, though according to the PSUBS.ORG Web site, a man has just completed another private one-man submarine in Duluth.

The underwater world of Kyle Edlund, a middle-aged Woodbury dentist, began about three years ago when he was looking at ads on Craigslist.

“I’m always cruising, looking for boats,” Edlund said. Instead of finding a fishing boat, however, he happened upon a submarine for sale in Grand Rapids, Minn.

“I said, ‘That’s the coolest thing in the world,’ ” Edlund said. “I never considered a submarine before.”

He couldn’t resist. “It ended up being about the price of a small fishing boat,” he said.

The seller was the 25-year-old submarine’s second owner. He had never used the boat. In fact, the sub hadn’t been in the water for about 20 years.

That was back when Louis Omersa owned it.

The 66-year-old Eveleth, Minn., man said he has been fascinated with submarines and World War II submarine warfare since he was in grade school. As a boy, he dreamed of someday building and diving in his own sub.

In 1971, Omersa saw a Popular Mechanics magazine story about personal mini submarines.

The hull of Omersa’s 15-foot vessel was made from a wing fuel tank from a T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer that Omersa found in a junkyard.

The semi-dry submarine, called URV-1, was partially filled with water when it was below the surface, but Omersa’s head was in a bubble of air contained by a clear Plexiglas canopy.

“Totally unlike scuba diving,” Omersa said of being in that sub.

Once, he got the sub stuck briefly at the bottom of a mucky lake.

But that didn’t deter him from taking the next step, building a completely sealed submarine in which Omersa could cruise around underwater in a “shirt-sleeve environment.”

In 1977, he got the plans for a miniature sub designed by George Kittridge, a former naval captain and submarine commander from Maine who is regarded as the father of home-built civilian submarines. Kittridge’s K-250 model is a dry submarine capable of taking one person 250 feet beneath the surface.

“That was the ultimate,” Omersa said. “It was a real submarine.”

Omersa said it took several years, several thousand dollars and several sleepless nights before his K-250 was ready.

“It is and was difficult to build,” Omersa said of the vessel, which has a hull of quarter-inch rolled steel plate, twin electrical engines, a Plexiglas dome and hatch and a viewing port. “You have to have an obsession to do this. You have to be driven.”

He assembled the vessel in his garage, encountering another obstacle: skepticism from acquaintances.

“Sometimes it got to be an aggravation. I think some of them thought I was on the road to suicide,” Omersa said.

“It’s a niche hobby,” said Jon Wallace, co-founder of PSUBS.ORG, of backyard submarine construction. “If you don’t do it right, you’re not going to come back up.”

By May 1983, Omersa took his K-250 under Ely Lake and came back up.

“It was a childhood dream come true,” he said. “I had mentally practiced diving with that sub unendingly.”

At the time, Omersa said only a few dozen personal submarines were operational around the world. He said he used the submarine in local lakes, getting down to about 60 feet. But he last dived in 1986.

“It was like I had done what I had set out to do,” he said.

Two decades later, Omersa sold the K-250 when he was going through a divorce. But he couldn’t find a buyer for his first submarine.

“I did what some of the U-boat commanders did with their subs at the end of World War II. I scuttled it,” Omersa wrote in an e-mail. “I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I was standing on the URV-1 as it went under in a lake on its final dive.”

After Edlund bought Omersa’s K-250 from its second owner, he and his friends overhauled it, replacing seals, bearings and the electrical system before taking it underwater again.

He said his first dive was just down to 15 feet, next to the dock at a lake cabin, with friends standing by holding ropes to haul him back up in case something went wrong.

“It was actually an exhilarating feeling, a ‘this-is-so-cool’ feeling,” he said.

Edlund said the sub, which is controlled with two ballast tanks and two high-end 24-volt electrical trolling motors, is easy to drive.

“As far as learning it, it’s pretty simple to get it to go up and down,” he said. “I’ve given people 15-minute instructions and taught them to operate it.”

Most of the hull space is taken up by the ballast tanks, leaving a tight-fitting cockpit with a little padded seat for the operator to perch on.

“Someone who’s claustrophobic would not be able to do it at all,” Edlund said.

There are a handful of gauges to give Edlund information such as his depth, the air pressure inside the hull and the amount of air in the scuba tanks carried in the sub to fill the ballast tanks. But the most important instrument might be the kitchen timer. That tells him if he’s been under water for an hour and must resurface, pop the hatch and get more fresh air into the cockpit.

Eventually, he’d like to add a mechanical arm to the submarine to allow him to pick up objects.

The deepest he’s been is about 50 feet.

“It’s kind of like being in your car and looking around and seeing things,” Edlund said. “You’ll see fish. You’ll see tin cans and stuff on the bottom.”

Edlund’s cousin, Matthew Hatchett, helps Edlund when he launches the boat. He’s never been in it.

“I’m not that crazy,” he said. “I don’t have a death wish.”

But Edlund said the sub was designed with several safety backups.

You’re not supposed to go below 250 feet, but the hull in theory was designed to withstand the pressure of 500 feet. If the motors die, you can add air to the ballast tanks to bring the sub to the surface. If that doesn’t work, you can pull a lever that drops 500 pounds of lead weights, which should make the sub buoyant enough to pop to the top.

If the sub gets entangled in something, you can open a valve to fill the hull with water, blow the domed hatch and shoot up to the surface in a bubble of air, using one of the scuba tanks carried inside the sub.

The main risk would be ramming something and cracking the Plexiglas window, causing a catastrophic implosion, Edlund said. But he said the sub doesn’t go fast enough for that to happen.

“I tell people it’s probably more dangerous on a motorcycle,” Edlund said.

Edlund recently dived in Square Lake north of Stillwater to test a home-built sonar system, causing a lot of head scratching among the canoers, swimmers and Jet Skiers on the lake.

When the sub is on its trailer, “a lot of people think it’s a propane tank,” Edlund said.

“You pull into a gas station, and it’s 20 questions,” Hatchett said.

Edlund said when he dived in Lake Superior, he let the Coast Guard know ahead of time in case they got excited calls from spectators.

Wallace said there are some personal submarines manufactured by companies that you can buy new, but they cost at least $70,000. Building your own would be a $20,000 project, he said. He doesn’t know how many people have done that, but he said there are about 30 personal subs among PSUBS.ORG members.

In exchange for the effort, cost and risk, Wallace said the do-it-yourself submariner can go to depths that most scuba divers can’t reach.

“Almost no one’s seen what you’ve seen,” he said.

So when Edlund offered to let a reporter go down in his sub — well, you overcome your misgivings and really pay attention when he explains the different valves, knobs, switches and levers involved in getting the sub underwater, and more important, getting it back up.

Edlund said to set the kitchen timer to go off in 15 minutes. If you don’t resurface by then, he figured he’d have about an hour to round up help to get you off the bottom.

You close the hatch, open the right combination of valves, and in matter of minutes, the waves are lapping over the top of the dome. The sky disappears and the bottom of the lake looms up. The only sounds are the electric motors and your heartbeat.

And, as Edlund promised, you say to yourself, “This is so cool.”


Watch the video: Το Καλύτερο ψητοπωλείο της Θεσσαλονίκης. ο Καλύτερος. Happy Cook (September 2021).