Saturday, February 29, 2020

There are $4 flights in China — but don’t expect many other coronavirus airfare deals

Flights within China can cost as little as $4 as a result of the coronavirus.

A one-way flight between Shanghai and Chongqing, which takes three hours, costs 29 yuan ($4.10) on China’s largest low-cost carrier Spring Airlines, the South China Morning Post reported. That’s less than the price of a tall caffe latte at a Starbucks in China — 32 yuan, or $4.50.

For less than $10, travelers can take a Spring Airlines flight from Shanghai to Harbin, which is the capital of the Heilongjiang province in Northern China.

Other airlines are also offering cheap flights within China. Shenzhen Airlines, which is a subsidiary of Air China, is offering $14 flights between Chongqing and Shenzhen, as is Chengdu Airlines for its route between Shenzhen and Chengdu.

Airlines have slashed prices as they resume service after thousands of flights were cancelled across China in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, which had sickened nearly 84,000 people worldwide and caused over 2,800 deaths as of Friday. Most cases of the illness have occurred in China — the virus first emerged in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province.

Read more: If the coronavirus spreads in America, food delivery companies could see a surge in demand — are they ready?

Analysts told the South China Morning Post that prices could come down even lower because domestic airlines in China can receive government subsidies to offset potential losses.

Around the rest of the world, travel discounts won’t be as easy to come by despite the infectious disease outbreak that’s rattled markets and caused factories and shipping to slow down. Although demand for flights between the U.S. and China has fallen some 48% because of the coronavirus, according to travel company Hopper, it’s actually more expensive to make those trips. Airfare prices for U.S.-China flights have increased more than 14% since the beginning of January, largely due to the wide number of airlines that have cancelled flights between the two countries.

Airfares have dropped slightly for flights between the U.S. and some Asian destinations. The price of a trip between the U.S. and Vietnam has dropped 5.7% since early January. Airfare costs to Thailand and Japan have also fallen, in part because of lower demand, Hopper found.

Hopper recorded 38% fewer searches for flights to Vietnam between the beginning of January and end of February, for instance. The only country to see an increase in flight searches in South or East Asia in that time was Bangladesh.

Also see: One possible coronavirus side effect — cheaper almonds for U.S. shoppers

The U.S. State Department has issued travel advisories advising caution in traveling to China, Japan and South Korea because of the high numbers of coronavirus cases in those countries.

“Tourism to destinations in Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and much more of SE Asia is likely to be heavily impacted by the virus, as 30% or more of available flights from the US to these countries included a layover in China,” Hopper economist Hayley Berg wrote in a report.

Outside of Asia, demand for flights between the U.S. and Italy fell sharply after the country reported a large number of cases. The State Department had also advised caution in traveling to Italy. However, Hopper found that prices remained stable in the days following the travel advisory announcement, at an average of $764 per ticket.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Facebook now lets ANY Android or iPhone take mind-boggling 3D photos

FACEBOOK users can now create 3D photos with almost any recent smartphone model.

The feature lets you post more immersive snaps that move as you tilt your phone.

It launched in 2018, but was only available for expensive phones with multiple cameras.

Now, however, even old single-camera phones can create the same type of 3D photo.

You can even create 3D photos using images you took a very long time ago.

"This has been made possible by teaching our AI systems to infer 3D structures from 2D photos within a fraction of a second," Facebooke xplained.


The firm continued: "We pioneered this immersive format as a new way of sharing memories with a fun, lifelike dimension on Facebook."

How to create a 3D photo on iPhone with Facebook

Here's what to do:

  • First, tap What's On Your Mind? at the top of the News Feed
  • Then tap Write Something in a group, or Create A Post on a Page
  • Then tap 3D photo
  • Choose the photo you'd like to use
  • Then tap Share or Post

Some very old phones may not be able to create 3D photos, but most modern handsets should support the feature.

How to create a 3D photo on Android with Facebook

Here's what to do:

  • First, tap What's On Your Mind? at the top of the News Feed
  • Then tap Write Something in a group or on a Page
  • Scroll down and tap 3D Photo
  • Then Share or Post your image

Some very old phones may not be able to create 3D photos, but most modern handsets should support the feature.

In other news, find out how to see if someone else is logged into your Facebook account.

Facebook will now pay users for voice recordings in a bid to improve the firm's AI tech.

Chronology may be coming back to your Instagram feed as an app expert has spotted a "Latest Posts" feature being tested.

And, here are the six TikTok settings you need to change right now to protect your kids.

What do you make of this clever feature? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Read Full Article

Thursday, February 27, 2020

What mortgage? How to buy a home without one

Investors take advantage of mortgage refinancing on market selloff

Barron’s senior editor Jack Hough and FOX Business’ Ashley Webster discuss how the coronavirus tanking markets is a plus for mortgage refinancing.

Americans are optimistic about the housing market, and millions plan to make a purchase within the next 12 months.

Continue Reading Below

Mortgages are the most common way people are able to afford to make a home purchase, but it is not the only way to buy a house.

For those looking for alternative financing methods there are other options. For example, pay for a property in cash.

According to the National Association of Realtors, all-cash transactions accounted for 20 percent of all transactions in December. In January, that percentage rose slightly to 21 percent.

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“While cash buyers are often investors, if a potential homeowner has the money, there is nothing to stop them from buying for cash,” Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, told FOX Business. “Since many people do not have the cash on hand to afford a home, mortgages are a great product as they increase the accessibility of the housing market to a larger share of the population. In countries without advanced mortgage market, homeownership is reserved for the elite.”

In addition to investors, second-home buyers often comprise a significant share of all-cash transactions.

There are advantages to buying a house in cash – including the likelihood that a sale will close sooner and the fact that you won’t have to pay interest on a loan.

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Another, less popular option, is seller financing. This is when the current homeowner agrees to put up part of the money needed to buy a property – in lieu of getting a mortgage from a lender. The buyer then makes monthly payments to the owner.

However, considering mortgage rates are so low, if you can get a mortgage – you may want to consider doing so.

“At current mortgage rates, it’s an incredible time to use leverage to buy a home with a mortgage,” Jarred Kessler, real estate expert and CEO of EasyKnock, told FOX Business. “We may see a once in a lifetime opportunity at these rates.”

It is important to note that while it is traditionally believed that a buyer needs to put 20 percent down on a home, you can get a mortgage with a much lower down payment. In fact, the median down payment in 2018 was 5.37 percent.

READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS BY CLICKING HERE  

Source: Read Full Article

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

FCC studying how much Huawei, ZTE equipment is used in US telecom networks

US is hurting China by hurting Huawei: Huawei chief security officer

Huawei Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy criticizes the U.S.’ decision to file new charges against Huawei due to alleged racketeering and the theft of trade secrets.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is studying how much equipment made by Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE are used by U.S. telecom networks.

Continue Reading Below

The commission on Wednesday began collecting information from a number of telecom companies regarding the use of equipment from the two Chinese government-supported companies, according to a press release.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH AJIT PAI

"Huawei and ZTE have been initially designated as threats to national security," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "Given that those designations may become final this spring, we are moving forward quickly to identify where equipment and services from these suppliers are embedded in our communications networks and, where they do have a foothold, to be in a position to help remove them."

"Today, we’ve begun to collect the data we will need to protect our networks and protect the American people," he added.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE 

The FCC banned companies that use Huawei and ZTE technology from receiving U.S. government subsidies in November. The FCC recommended that telecom companies using this equipment transition to U.S.-approved products to keep their federal subsidies and proposed a reimbursement program to rural network providers to offset additional costs.

"If the Chinese government is willing to use its leverage over things like professional basketball and Taiwanese flag emojis, imagine what could happen if we allowed Chinese company equipment into our 5G networks," Pai said at the time.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Singapore factory output surprises with 3.4% rise in January, thanks to pharma

SINGAPORE – Singapore manufacturing output rose 3.4 cent year on year in January, compared to the 3.7 per cent drop in the previous month, according to figures released by the Economic Development Board (EDB) on Wednesday (Feb 26).

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output fell 3.8 per cent last month.

The latest figures, with or without the biomedical segment’s contribution, were better than the 5.8 per cent year on year contraction analysts had predicted in a Bloomberg poll.

On a seasonally adjusted month on month basis, overall manufacturing output increased 18.2 per cent, while excluding biomedical production the expansion was 11.8 per cent.

The biomedical sector’s 41.1 per cent year on year growth in January was lifted by pharmaceuticals output that surged 59.4 per cent.

The jump in growth was on the back of a different mix of active pharmaceutical ingredients being produced and higher production of biological products.

Output of the medical technology segment fell 5.3%.

Electronics output decreased 7.2 per cent from a year ago in January. The sector that accounts for over a quarter of Singapore’s factory production had managed a 1.1 gain in December, recovering from a 19.1 per cent slide in November.

January’s decline in electronics was spread over most segments within the sector, expect for infocomms & consumer electronics that grew 17.7 per cent.

Precision engineering output expanded 18.1 per cent in January compared to the same period in 2019.

The machinery & systems segment rose 25.3 per cent, due to higher production of semiconductor and process control equipment. The precision modules & components segment grew 1.5 per cent amid an increase in output of optical products.

Chemicals production fell 5.5 per cent year on year last month. Most of the chemical segments saw a drop in output, except specialties which grew 7.2 per cent on higher output of industrial gases and additives.

Transport engineering output shrank 9.3 per cent with all segments recording declines. The marine & offshore engineering segment shrank 10.5 per cent, amid less activity in offshore projects. The aerospace segment also fell, contracting by 6 per cent with seasonally lower levels of repair and maintenance activities from commercial airlines. The land transport segment reported lower output in vehicle parts and accessories.

General manufacturing contracted 10.6 per cent, in part, due to the Lunar New Year holidays. The miscellaneous industries segment contracted 8.8 per cent with lower output of batteries and wooden furniture & fixtures. The food, beverages & tobacco segment declined 11.8 per cent on account of lower production of milk powder products, while the printing segment fell 11.2 per cent.

Source: Read Full Article

Monday, February 24, 2020

Asia stocks extend global selloff on coronavirus pandemic fears

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG, AFP) – A selloff that wiped out global stock gains for the year continued in Asia on Tuesday (Feb 25) amid concerns authorities around the world are struggling to keep the coronavirus from spreading.

Tokyo stocks dropped more than 3.5 per cent at the open after a public holiday, tracking falls on global markets as fears mounted that the new coronavirus outbreak will derail economic growth.

The Nikkei 225 index sank 3.58 per cent while the broader Topix index was down 3.53 per cent

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 2.1 per cent while South Korea’s Kospi index was down0.2 per cent. Futures in Hong Kong pointed to a weaker start.

US futures edged higher after US stock benchmarks slumped more than 3 per cent, with the S&P 500 Index dropping the most since February 2018. European stocks also tumbled.

Asia set the tone for the sell-off Monday, but the risk-off mood doesn’t look set to ease as the epidemic spread to more than 30 countries, with Afghanistan, Bahrain and Kuwait reporting their first cases. The yield on 10-year Treasuries approached the 2016 record low. The yen held gains after jumping almost 1 per cent and oil was steady after it slumped.

This week’s market moves come after a series of warnings from companies over the potential impact of the virus on business and global supply chains. Governments and businesses are curbing travel and trade in an attempt to contain the novel pathogen that can be transmitted by people without symptoms.

While the head of the World Health Organization called new cases “deeply concerning,” he said the outbreak isn’t yet a global pandemic.

“Markets hate uncertainty and the coronavirus represents the most uncertain macro risk markets have faced in years,” said Alec Young, managing director of global markets research at FEST Russell. “Investors are also acutely aware that many misjudged the economic severity of the virus early on, making them more open to entertaining worst-case scenarios now.”

Elsewhere, Italian bonds dropped on concern that the spread of the coronavirus may push the economy into a recession. Italy reported at least six deaths, and Milan, the country’s financial hub, is in virtual lockdown.

Have a question on the coronavirus outbreak? E-mail us at askst@sph.com.sg

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Universal Credit: Available support for housing costs including grants up to £36,000

Universal Credit is a singular payment to help with living costs. It’s paid monthly and is designed to help those on low incomes or who are out of work. The new system is designed to simplify previously existing benefit payments. Universal Credit has, so far, replaced child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and working tax credit. As it stands, benefit claimants do not have to switch over to the new Universal Credit system so long as their circumstances do not change. The rollout of Universal Credit has been controversial since it was launched and the full rollout has been delayed many times.

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Despite this, the new system does offer some new and unique perks.

Universal Credit receivers may get additional support if they are on a particularly low income or they have fallen on hard times.

If a claimant has no income whatsoever, they may be able to receive the “BT Basic” package.

BT Basic is a low cost phone service offered by BT which is designed specifically for people on low incomes.The service aims to help with budgeting.

It provides more call types to be included within the predetermined call allowance.

Along with this a new “price cap” is included to ensure money is saved. The application for this service is done directly through BT.

They will need to be called and they will require a number of personal details, which includes national insurance numbers and information on what benefits are being claimed.

They then take this information and work with the department for work and pensions to see if the claimant qualifies.

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Claimants with specific disabilities could also receive a disabled facilities grant.

This is a grant from a local council that allows changes to be made to the claimant’s home. The changes will be focused around making their living situation more comfortable and safe.

Examples that the government provides include widening of doors, ramp installations, stairlifts, new heating systems and lighting controls.

These grants, depending on specific circumstances, could be as high as £36,000.

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The council could even reduce the tax bill a Universal Credit claimant pays.

If the claimant is on a particularly low income, they can apply for a council tax reduction (sometimes called council tax support).

The tax bill could be reduced by as much as 100 percent but it will be dependent on very specific circumstances.

It will be dependant on where the claimant lives as each council has a different scheme as well as living arrangements, such as how many people are living in the house.

The government, through the non-ministerial department Ofwat, can even take steps to reduce water bills. Claimants with water meters in their homes can apply for the “WaterSure” scheme. This scheme allows water bills to be capped. The aim is to allow people to feel at ease over using water in their houses. Ofwat does not want people to cut back on how much water they use due to worrying about how high their bill will be.

There is strict eligibility criteria for this scheme however. Along with Universal Credit, the applicant will need to either be responsible for and receive child benefit for three or more children under the age of 19 living in the property or have (or someone living in the property must have) a medical condition which requires significant additional use of water. The application for this scheme, just like with the BT Basic package, will need to be done through water companies.

All of these schemes (along with others offered by the government) have varying eligibility criteria. It can be tricky to understand what schemes and benefits are available for individual claimants. This can always be discussed with work coaches via Jobcentres and the department for work and pensions.

There are also several government departments and charities which can provide guidance. The Money Advice Service, Money Advice Trust and Citizens Advice can all point claimants in the right direction.

Source: Read Full Article

Tesla Rival Sets Out to Banish 160-Year-Old Lead Tech From Cars

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Your sleek new Tesla Model S or electronic BMW has a distinctly 19th century feature that you may not be aware of, among its batteries. A company in Estonia wants to change that.

Skeleton Technologies Group OU is working on supercapacitors, light-weight and long-life components that can distribute intensive bursts of power. These may help eliminate lead-acid batteries, a piece of technology invented in 1859 that still lurks under the hoods of Teslas in addition to the main lithium-ion power source.

Supercapacitors have some way to go before they are widely adopted. There is still a gap with the popular lithium-ion units on how much energy they can store, Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Taavi Madiberk admits. Even so, the technology is promising for offering higher peak power output and reliability in extreme temperatures and Skeleton has already sold it to clients across the transport industry.

“Sometimes people think that lead is a problem of the past because it relates to internal combustion engines but in practice all electric vehicles have 12-volt lead acid batteries,” Madiberk said. “We are working on a viable alternative to replace all lead acid batteries.“

Musk’s PhD

Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk actually moved to Silicon Valley in the first place to do research on supercapacitors in his PhD studies at Stanford University, he wrote in ablog post in 2006. While Musk eventually dropped out from Stanford to start his new ventures, he hasn’t abandoned his bet on supercapacitors, also referred to as ultracapacitors.

Tesla, also searching for a breakthrough for electric car batteries, bought Skeleton’s competitorMaxwell Technologies Inc. last year. Musk’s company, like other manufacturers, still uses the relatively cheap and recyclable lead-acid battery in addition to the lithium-ion unit.

The sector is at a stage where the lithium-ion battery industry was around 1999, according to Madiberk, whose company also has a base in Germany. Back then, lithium-ion batteries cost over $5,000 per kilowatt hour, compared with under $200 now. Supercapacitors may similarly go from $5,000 to as low as $300, he said, without giving an exact timeline.

The technology may be useful for some tasks such as regenerating energy from braking, perhaps in conjunction with a lithium-ion unit, said James Frith, an analyst at BloombergNEF who focuses on energy storage. However, it’s only one of a number of available routes for the industry.

“There’s been a lot of interest in supercapacitors over the years,” Frith said. “The trouble is that lithium-ion batteries have been coming down in price quite rapidly.”

To replace lead-acid batteries, Skeleton is cooperating with some major European carmakers, Madiberk said, without disclosing names. Its products reach an energy density — a key measure of performance — of 60 watt-hours per kilogram, exceeding regular lead-acid batteries. Their raw material, a patented graphene composite, provides cost advantages in the long term not just compared with lead-acid but also lithium-ion batteries, he said.

Operating Profit

“If you look at the supplies of cobalt, lithium, nickel, manganese, then sooner or later with electrification we see significant bottlenecks,” Madiberk said. “The issue with lead is, of course, it’s toxic: the manufacturing process is environmentally harmful.”

In heavy transportation, Skeleton has supplied systems that recuperate the braking energy of trams made by Czech manufacturerSkoda Transportation AS and which reduce the fuel consumption of hybrid-electric buses made by the U.K.’sWrights Group Ltd. Having signed orders totaling more than 150 million euros ($163 million) last year, the company targets revenue of 1 billion euros by 2025 when it sees its serviceable market reaching about 60 billion euros. It expects to reach a profit on the operating level by the end of next year.

Aside from Tesla, Madiberk lists U.S.-basedAVX Corp. andChina State Railway Group as key competitors. The raw materials Skeleton uses have given it a competitive advantage over the bigger rivals, he said.

The company’s products had the highest power and maximum peak current from five supercapacitor makers, including Maxwell andIoxus Inc., in last year’sstudy by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Supercapacitors may find their niches if the cost becomes competitive, said Frith, the analyst at BloombergNEF.

“The heavy transportation applications probably is the best use case for supercapacitors,” Frith said. “There definitely is a lot of areas within the automotive market where they could find applications.”

Source: Read Full Article

Saturday, February 22, 2020

HMRC scam warning: Follow this protocol to protect your money against common scams

Many people turn to HMRC for guidance on how to correctly handle their affairs, meaning it offers scammers many opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. The problem is so big that HMRC have departments entirely dedicated to reporting all manner of scams. As they detail, these scams could be done through phone calls, texts or “phishing” emails.

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Phishing scams are based around a scammer pretending to be associated with the intended source, in this case HMRC, with the aim of stealing the victims data, credentials or money.

HMRC themselves provide useful advice for spotting these type of scams. They detail that they will never send out an email, text or phone individuals with information on a tax rebate or penalty. Nor will they ask for any personal or payment information.

HMRC provides guidance on recognising scams for anyone who is unsure of what to look out for.

Problems with scams stretch over into the private sector too, particularly those that are online focused. McAfee, the global computer security firm, are dedicated to protecting consumers from these types of problems.

According to recent research from McAfee, 18 percent of British people were either the victim of a scam or know somebody who was in 2019, with 71 percent of those scammed losing more than £500.

It’s likely that some of this money was lost via malicious HMRC schemes, with the government revealing that 20,750 fake HMRC websites were taken down over 2017/18.

This increase in online scams focused around HMRC was examined by John Fokker, the head of cyber investigations for McAfee.

As he details: “Fraudsters can use a variety of approaches to get their hands on your money and personal information.

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“Money related scams are high on the agenda for cybercriminals, praying on unsuspecting Britons with the aim of gaining access to personal information such as banking details or payment information.

“We’ve seen an increase in HMRC scams. These can involve cybercriminals sending fraudulent emails by spoofing genuine email addresses or changing the display name to appear genuine.

“However, these emails often contain malicious links or requests for consumers to disclose personal or payment information.

“Although the implementation of Domain-based Message Authentication (DMARC) by HMRC enables email service providers to identify fraudulent emails and prevent delivery into our inboxes, there’s still a chance these emails may get through.

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“It’s important to remember that HMRC will never send notifications by email about tax refunds or rebates, so if you receive one of these emails, it is recommended to forward these to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

“Other tactics include cybercriminals sending phishing SMS messages or bogus phone calls, which again involve them fraudulently posing as HMRC.

“To confirm, HMRC will never ask for financial information via text, so if you receive a similar message, do not open any links and send the SMS message to 60599 then delete it.”

With the problem being so prevalent, many may be worried about falling victim. Fortunately, Mr Fokker was able to provide advice on avoiding HMRC scams exclusively with express.co.uk. His top tips are as follows:

Phishing emails, just don’t click

“Clicking on links within phishing emails often direct you to an illegitimate webpage, aiming to capture your personal details. These links can also result in malware being downloaded onto your device, which can then track and take personal information when you buy online.”

Be wary of phone scams

“If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from HMRC requesting personal information, it’s best to hang up and ring back using their official contact number. Additionally, scammers may also leave urgent “callback” requests through pre-recorded phone robots known as ‘robo calls’ and they’ll politely ask for you to verify your identity over the phone. These robo calls will even alter caller ID numbers to make it look as if HMRC are calling. Again, it’s always best to dial the official contact number if in doubt.”

Go to the source

“If you receive a message that appears to be from your bank or government saying there is a problem with your HMRC status, call them directly to confirm the issue. As a rule of thumb, if you ever receive an email requesting personal info, always go directly to the company’s website to be sure you’re working with the real deal and determine the legitimacy of the request from there. If there’s still anything in question, feel free to call their support line.”

Stay secure

“Install comprehensive security software all of your computers and devices…Look for software that protects you from malware, phishing attempts, and risky websites, as well as providing identity protection”

Source: Read Full Article

Bloomberg L.P. drops NDAs for workers amid Mike’s debate lambasting

Bloomberg is ‘a man of extraordinary character:’ Doug Schoen

Mike Bloomberg’s adviser Doug Schoen defends the Democratic presidential candidate after a questionable performance in the Nevada debate.

Bloomberg L.P., the financial data and news behemoth owned by Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg, will no longer force women who settle sexual harassment cases with the company to sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from publicly disclosing any alleged improprieties.

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The move announced late Friday in a company-wide memo reviewed by FOX Business, comes as Bloomberg himself faces withering criticism following Wednesday’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas when opponents attacked him for derogatory comments he’s made about women during his long career in business and politics, as well as his company's workplace culture, which has led to numerous sexual harassment cases.

The new policy also comes just days before Tuesday's Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, where these issues will be undoubtedly front and center again.

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Bloomberg’s debate performance and seemingly inability to answer questions including those about how his company treats women was widely criticized. A recent poll by Morning Consult showed Bloomberg lost 3 percent of his support that had been surging nationally before the debate.

Bloomberg has spent close to $500 million in ads touting his record of accomplishment while a three term mayor of New York City, and as a entrepreneur who has created thousands of jobs and donated heavily to charities. Bloomberg ranks as one of the richest people in the country, worth an estimated $60 billion, per Forbes.

But with what aides concede was a poor debate performance, Bloomberg's candidacy is facing challenges. While he is losing ground nationally, two of the top opponents, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren each gained 2 percent more in national support, according to the Morning Consult poll.

Warren, in particular, accused Bloomberg during the debate of sexual misconduct while running Bloomberg L.P. comparing some his comments to that of President Trump, who has also used coarse and misogynistic language when referring to women. But some of Warren's most effective attacks came when she lambasted Bloomberg for allegedly silencing women who have filed sexual harassment claims against his company by forcing them to sign so-called non disclosure agreements (NDAs).

BLOOMBERG'S MONEY COULD WIN 2020 RACE EVEN IF HE DOESN'T

Those attacks hit home, prompting Chairman of the Board of Bloomberg L.P. Peter Grauer, to announce a change in policy regarding confidentiality agreements in a memo released Friday evening, people with knowledge of the matter say.

“Central to our values at Bloomberg L.P. has always been operating with transparency. Given this commitment, Bloomberg L.P. will no longer offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward,” the memo said.

The memo, released at 8:24 pm and addressed "To the Bloomberg team," added that Bloomberg L.P. “will always aim to be an example in creating opportunity for all our people, supporting their careers and fostering a work environment where inclusion is central.”

A spokesman for Bloomberg L.P. Ty Trippet, declined comment.

Earlier on Friday, Bloomberg announced that three women would be released from their non-disclosure agreements, but it is unclear how many more remain.

In his statement, Bloomberg said, “I’ve done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days.” He added, “I recognize that NDAs, particularly when they are used in thecontext of sexual harassment and sexual assault, promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Source: Read Full Article

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

'They can’t go back': Star casinos defy high-roller coronavirus fears

Casino group Star Entertainment has seen a surprise bump in VIP gambling turnover so far this year, defying expectations that the coronavirus and resulting China travel ban would clear its high-roller tables.

The company, which has casinos in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, on Thursday reported a 2.4 per cent increase in normalised revenue, including a 2 per cent bump in VIP turnover for the six months to December 31.

The Star has seen a bump in VIP turnover so far this year. Credit:Peter Rae

That is in contrast to its major competitor, James Packer's Crown Resorts, which on Wednesday said its high-roller turnover fell 34 per cent in the first half, driving a 5 per cent fall in overall revenue amid the fallout from revelations it went into business with "junket" partners with links to organised crime.

Star Entertainment chief executive Matt Bekier said the coronavirus caused a sharp drop in domestic visitors in Sydney of about 20 per cent, as people avoided going out amid uncertainty around the infection.

Sydney had stayed subdued but business had mostly recovered in Queensland. While the travel shutdown had stopped many Chinese VIP visitors coming to Australia, it had stopped others going home.

"They’re still in Australia because they can’t go back," Mr Bekier said. “So we’ve been able to keep these customers, we’ve taken them to multiple properties and we’ve done well in the first six weeks."

VIP turnover was up in the first six weeks of 2020 compared to the same period last year, however, Mr Bekier said comparisons could be difficult because of the short time-frame. Domestic revenue was flat so far this year.

Mr Bekier said the medium-term impact of the virus would depend on how quickly borders open up. While it would put pressure on the international VIP business, which represents 8 per cent of its earnings, he was confident the group could cover that by growing its domestic business.

Normalised earnings before interest in the first half of the year was $3 million ahead of market expectations at $307 million.

Macquarie analyst David Fabris said the flat domestic performance so far this year was a "good outcome", given high growth in the prior period, but he forecasts VIP volume will fall 47 per cent in the second half.

"VIP remains the moving part given the coronavirus impacts," Mr Fabris said. "[The] impact will depend on the length of the border closures and speed of market recovery."

Normalised net profit after tax – which strips out the impact of lucky or unlucky streaks on the gaming room floor – was 2.1 per cent higher at $126 million.

Statutory profit was 48.5 per cent lower at $77 million, affected by an unusually low win rate and significant items relating to The Star's proposed Ritz-Carlton Sydney development.

Star's shares were up 4 per cent  at $4.30 in afternoon trading. Like other China-exposed companies, its shares have fallen sharply amid uncertainty around the coronavirus. Even after Thursday's rally the stock is trading 9 per cent lower since January 16.

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Hackers using coronavirus to scam people, install malware on devices

No one knows when coronavirus spread is going to stop: Mark Simon

Apple Daily senior executive Mark Simon believes China is not telling the full truth when it comes to the coronavirus because it’s a Communist organization.

Hackers have seized trending coronavirus news as a way to target victims online and install malware on their devices, new research shows.

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The number of internet domain names that include coronavirus-related words has jumped in recent weeks, meaning bad actors are creating fraudulent websites related to the new virus outbreak to trick curious users into giving up sensitive information or downloading viruses by accident, according to intelligence at cybersecurity research company Check Point Research's 2020 Global Threat Index.

"We follow global trends and try to understand what kind of [cyber activity] we can see already happening or what we can anticipate could happen," Check Point Head of Threat Intelligence Lotem Finkelstein told FOX Business.

Increase in coronavirus-related domain names. (Check Point Research)

Finkelstein said there are "thousands and thousands" of discussions going on between cybersecurity experts about how cybercriminals use trending topics from coronavirus holidays like Valentine's Day to "lure customers" with spam campaigns using self-made websites, social media, email and text messages.

WHAT IS 'PHISHING'?

One example of such a website discovered by Check Point is vaccinecovid-19.com, which went live on Feb. 11 and is registered in Russia. The unsecured website offers "the best and fastest test for coronavirus detection for [about $300]," according to the report.

The website includes a button that users can click to give up their personal information, which is how bad actors can install malware to gain access inside a device and retrieve the sensitive personal information of their victims, such as passwords and credit card information. New sites with domains that use real, trending words such as "vaccine" and "coronavirus" "are being registered globally,"  Finkelstein said.

Coronavirus scam website. (The Conference Board)

Check Point discovered thousands of these new websites centered on coronavirus being created every week since about mid-January. Many of these sites are "created in haste" so scammers can "get as much gain as they can" while the virus is still a global trend,  Finkelstein explained.

SPEAR-PHISHING ATTACKS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

"We discovered over 1,600 [websites] in the past week that seemed to be fishy had the word 'corona' in them," he said. "[Cybercriminals] try to get customers to complete an action so they unknowingly download malware such as ransomware."

The most prominent coronavirus-themed scam was a mass email that targetted Japanese users by pretending to be a Japanese disability welfare service provider. The email claimed to hold important information about the virus in a separate attachment that, if opened, installed malware on victims' devices, the report shows.

FACEBOOK, YAHOO MOST IMITATED BY PHISHING SCAMMERS IN FAKE EMAILS

Bad actors will often mention popular news to get users' attention and trust in emails and fraudulent websites so they give up information or download malware-containing files onto their devices. Sometimes scammers even track the online behavior of their targets to study their interests before they send an email or text in an attempt to increase the chance of gaining user trust.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). (CDC via AP)

"It's always mind-play between cybercriminals versus the public — the potential victims — and the cybersecurity world," Finkelstein said. "The cybersecurity world is always trying to search for these things before they have a major impact. Once we start seeing a trend, we know how to bring attention to these issues" so people know how to avoid such scams.

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To avoid being tricked by these emails and websites, Check Point research recommends being wary of email address names rather than trusting that every message that appears in an inbox is coming from a trustworthy source.

Check Point also recommends hovering cursors over links before clicking on them to know where the link directs users or not clicking links at all and instead going directly to a company's website for promotions offered via email rather than clicking on the links in emails.

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Users should also watch out for offers that seem too good to be true, spelling errors, unusual phrasing and unfamiliar senders, according to the research group.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Myanmar prepares to let foreigners trade local stocks from March

YANGON (BLOOMBERG) – Myanmar plans to let some foreigners trade local stocks from March, in an initial step toward expanding the country’s small bourse.

Expatriates residing in the nation will be the first allowed to trade on the Yangon Stock Exchange, with permission for other foreigners coming later in stages, Htay Chun, a commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar, said in an interview on Tuesday (Feb 18) in Yangon.

Allowing foreigners to buy stocks is one of the ways Myanmar hopes to bolster its otherwise moribund Myanpix equity index, which is almost four years old but has only five stocks. Critics say the long-delayed step is an example of the slow pace of regulatory change in the South-east Asian nation.

Myanmar also plans to establish a second board with looser listing rules than the main market. Htay Chun said foreigners would be allowed to trade on the second board, and that it may be set up by the third quarter of the year.

“We’re aiming to have as many as 10 companies on the second board when it launches,” he said.

Foreigners could make up 15% of Myanmar stock trading initially, rising to as much as 40% eventually, Ryota Sugishita, chief consultant at Japan’s Daiwa Institute of Research, said last year.

CORPORATE BONDS

Existing rules allow overseas investors to own a maximum 35 per cent of a local company. Firms must meet 17 criteria to be eligible for listing on the main board, such as being profitable for at least two years and having a minimum of 100 shareholders.

In the bond market, the securities regulator is working toward a framework that would allow companies to issue bonds potentially as early as the second half of 2020, Htay Chun said.

Public backing from senior politicians like de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi would help Myanmar to deepen its capital markets, he said.

“If they stressed the importance of the capital markets, more people would be interested in investing here,” Htay Chun added.

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Malaysia Saw MH370 as Murder-Suicide, Says Former Australia Leader

Malaysia’s top leadership considered from the outset the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in 2014 a mass murder-suicide by the pilot, according to Tony Abbott, who was Australia’s prime minister at the time.

“My very clear understanding from the very top levels of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on here they thought it was a murder-suicide by the pilot,” Abbott said in aclip from a documentary airing Wednesday on Sky News.

Abbott declined to name any individuals to support his claim. Najib Razak was Malaysia’s prime minister when the plane went missing.

MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014, on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. Satellite data showed the jet abandoned its normal route shortly into the flight, crossed Malaysia and then cruised south over the Indian Ocean to its end. Underwater searches failed to locate the wreckage.

Missing Malaysia Jet Weeks Away From Keeping Secrets Forever

Official inquiries into the tragedy failed to offer a technical explanation for the plane’s disappearance, or explicitly blame the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah. The Malaysian government’s 2018 report into the disaster said the aircraft’s systems were probably manipulated and investigators couldn’t rule out “intervention by a third party.”

MH370 Was Likely Deliberately Steered Off Course, Report Finds

Australian officials said Zaharie’s flight simulator at homeshowed a course had been plotted to the southern Indian Ocean. At the same time, satellite data suggested the doomed plane was on autopilot as it flew south, the investigators said.

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Miners dig in against Victoria's gold royalty hike

Australia's powerful mining industry is pressuring Victoria to reverse its introduction of a gold royalty, warning the impost will stunt the growth of the fast-growing sector in the state and deter future exploration and mine developments.

The Minerals Council of Australia's renewed push, contained in a submission ahead of the Andrews government's May budget, comes as the Victorian opposition plans to move a disallowance motion against the royalty hike in the Legislative Council on Wednesday that refers to the increase as a "tax grab".

A gold nugget discovered by a prospector on the outskirts of Ballarat last year that is worth about $130,000. Credit:AAP

Victoria last year announced it would introduce a 2.75 per cent royalty on the market value of gold produced, ending its run as the only jurisdiction without one. The government expects to reap $56 million over four years from the royalty.

But the move has prompted a bitter backlash from the mining sector, amid concerns it could imperil a boom in the state's goldfields, where gold production, exploration, expenditure and employment are all rising in what some have termed a modern-day gold rush.

"The development of Victoria's minerals industry should become a priority for Victoria’s economy," the Minerals Council submission said.

"But Victoria's geological prospectivity alone is not enough for the state to convert its minerals endowment into a pipeline of new investment and jobs. Policy settings are crucial to capture new opportunities for jobs, regional development and investment in mining."

A spokesman for the Andrews government said Victorian taxpayers deserved a fair share of the profits made from extracting gold from their land.

"This royalty brings us in line with every other state and all other minerals extracted in Victoria," the spokesman said.

"Profits from the gold royalty will be invested across the state – helping to deliver the infrastructure and services Victorians need."

The industry, however, is urging the royalty be delayed and replaced by a "progressive royalty structure that encourages investment".

Victoria’s mining sector produces gold, antinomy and brown coal, while the state is considered "highly prospective" in other minerals including rare earths which are used in wind turbines and batteries as well as in technologies such as smart phones and laptops, the Minerals Council said.

"Demand for Victoria’s minerals is set to grow as essential inputs to modern technology," the Minerals Council's Victorian director James Sorahan said.

"A strong and sustainable minerals industry creates jobs and supports economically diverse regional communities."

Employment in the state's mining sector rose 41 per cent in 2018-19 to an average of 16,000 jobs. Including the mining equipment, technology and services sector, about 121,000 Victorian jobs are supported by the industry.

The Victorian government said it would work with the resources industry and local communities to "make sure our gold industry continues to grow, but provides a fair return for Victorians".

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sweetener sees Caltex open books to Canadian suitor

Canadian convenience giant Alimentation Couche-Tard has gained full access to takeover target Caltex Australia’s books, in a signal its sweetened $8.8 billion offer for the fuel retailer may be high enough to get its bid over the line.

Caltex decided on Monday to provide the Quebec-based retailer with an ”opportunity to conduct additional due diligence on a non-exclusive basis," giving the Canadian's offer fresh impetus while effectively leaving the door open for other interested parties circling the business.

Caltex has squeezed a higher bid out of its Canadian suitor.Credit:AAP

"The Caltex board considers that it is in the interests of shareholders to engage further with Alimentation Couche-Tard,” Caltex said in a statement to the ASX.

The detente between the suitor and its target follows Couche-Tard, which is French for night owl, submitting a fresh indicative bid of $35.25 per share on Thursday – an increase of 0.75¢ per share on its previous offer.

Caltex, led by Steven Gregg, had previously rejected Couche-Tard's first friendly offer of $32 per share. The Canadians then followed up with a higher $34.50 bid but both lower offers were considered inadequate by Caltex's board and not "compelling" for shareholders.

Shares in Caltex rose more than 4 per cent on Monday, tapping $35.03, before closing up 3.9 per cent at $34.85.

Couche-Tard indicated last week its revised offer was its "best and final price" in the absence of a competing proposal.

Under Australia's takeover code, a final offer "means just that," RBC Capital Markets analyst Irene Nattel said last week, although the "best and final" language was also designed to flush out any other serious contenders.

Britain's EG Group is also circling Caltex and is reportedly in discussions with Macquarie Group for a joint bid that would see EG keep Caltex's main retail business and Macquarie take on the refinery and infrastructure assets.

Another potential suitor is thought to be US giant Chevron Corporation, which formerly owned 50 per cent of Caltex's Australian operations. Chevron jumped back into the Australian fuel retailing market last year with its $425 million acquisition of Puma Energy's local network.

Chevron has also put Caltex on notice that it intends to withdraw the existing licence to use the Caltex brand in Australia, prompting Caltex to revive its Ampol brand and change its name accordingly.

Couche-Tard's modest 2 per cent increase in its offer comes against a backdrop of a weak refining environment and intense competition in the retailing sector which has impacted margins.

The non-exclusive nature of Couche-Tard's due diligence leaves Caltex open to exploring offers from other interested players if they emerge.

The Canadian's offer was subject to various conditions and there was no certainty it would result in a transaction, Caltex said.

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Genius iPhone trick lets you find ANY photo in your camera album in seconds

IT'S often hard to find certain photos in your iPhone camera roll – but Apple has built a neat tool to help you out.

You can search for exact photos using keywords – just like a Google Image query – including "lake", "dog" or "cheese".

It's handy when you've taken a photo a while ago and can't find it manually.

Simply search for a key term in the app, and all the photos that match should appear.

That's because Apple has designed the Photos app to recognise senes and objects using machine learning.

You can even search for events, like a concert you went to: "Photos for iOS can use the time and location of your photos along with online event listings to find matching photos."

It's also possible to search by location, so you can enter a place name – like Birmingham – to track down photos of your trip to Brum.

How to search Photos on iPhone

First, open the Photos app on your iPhone.

Next, tap on the Search tab in the bottom right-hand corner – which has a magnifying glass as its icon.

Then simply type in the name of a place, a search term, or even a person's name (if they're assigned in your Photos app) to find matches.

And if you're worried this means Apple is snooping on your photos, don't.

All of the processing happens on your iPhone, rather than being sent up to Apple's servers in the cloud – so there's no risk that anyone at Apple can actually see your snaps.

"When you search your photos, all of the face recognition and scene and object detection are done completely on your device," Apple explains.

"Apple harnesses machine learning to enhance your experience — and your privacy. We’ve used it to enable image and scene recognition in Photos, and more, without requiring your data to leave your device."

iPhone tricks to try today

Here are some of the best…

  • Typing cursor – When typing, hold down the space bar to turn your keyboard into a trackpad, letting you move around words and sentences more easily
  • Close all Safari tabs – To do this in one go, simply hold the overlapped squares in the bottom right-hand corner, and press close all tabs
  • Delete lots of photos quickly – Hold down on a photo and then drag your finger diagonally in Photos to select lots of images at once, then hit delete
  • Convert currency quickly – Swipe down from the top of your Home screen (or swipe left to right on an iPhone X), then tap in the bar and type a currency (like $200) and it will automatically covert to your local currency
  • Check if you're due a battery upgrade – Batteries inside smartphones degrade over time. Just go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health, and check out the Maximum Capacity reading. Generally a battery is considered worn when you're down to 80% capacity. If you're below, you can buy a battery swap from Apple
  • Move apps around faster – Hold an app until it starts wiggling, then (while still holding) tap other apps, causing them to stack so you can move them around easier

In other news, this WhatsApp trick lets you see who you chat with the most.

One simple button press can improve bad iPhone signal instantly.

And read our guide on how to text on your iPhone faster.

Do you know any clever iPhone tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments!

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Coronavirus: Budget will have measures to support workers, firms

Businesses here are concerned about cashflow issues amid the coronavirus outbreak, and next Tuesday’s Budget will include measures to help stabilise the current situation and support workers and businesses, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

At the same time, there will be measures to help firms position themselves strongly for the recovery.

Mr Chan said business leaders whom he spoke with are looking at how to use the current situation to boost the training of their workers and to review some of their business models or production processes so they will be ready when the economy strengthens.

“This speaks very well for our business community that while they manage the current situation, they are at the same time having an eye on the future, to make sure that we are one of the fastest to recover,” he said following the two-hour dialogue with about 25 business leaders at the Singapore Business Federation Centre.

Addressing the media, Mr Chan said the businessmen also agreed on the importance of diversifying both supply chains and labour sources, help for which smaller companies can turn to trade associations and chambers.

But asked if work-pass regulations may need to be reviewed to accommodate new sources of labour, he said there were limits.

“Not every country will have the kind of labour and the skill set that we need, so sometimes we are constrained, but it is always ongoing work not just at the government level, but at each of the companies.”

Mr Chan noted that though the Government can refer to past support measures rolled out during crises such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003, H1N1 swine flu outbreak and the global financial crisis, each was different from the rest, and measures must be applied in context.

China’s contribution to the world economy and involvement in the global supply chain for high-end technological products have grown significantly since 2003, he said.

“The volume of trade between Singapore and China has certainly gone up, the linkages between the Chinese economy and the rest of the world economy have certainly tightened,” said the minister.

Mr Ernie Koh, executive director of furniture manufacturer Koda, said he has diversified his supply chains over the last few years such that Chinese suppliers now account for about 15 per cent, down from 30 per cent to 40 per cent.

“But if one component is missing, we cannot ship,” he added.

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Business leaders noted that some industries face greater challenges than others.

At Resorts World Sentosa, where tourist arrivals and attendances have dropped very significantly, staff have been asked to take their annual leave earlier in the year, said chief executive Tan Hee Teck.

On preparing for the eventual recovery, Singapore National Employers Federation vice-president Alexander Melchers noted that the economy rebounded significantly after the Sars outbreak and companies in most industries closed almost on budget.

“Make sure you are prepared; There will be an economic rebound, and we want to be ready for it,” said Mr Melchers, who is also Singapore general manager of luxury good distributor C. Melchers Gmbh & Co.

“Staff need to be there, they need to be skilled, they need to be ready, they also need to be motivated.”

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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Trump’s bid to end Public Service Loan Forgiveness could mean ‘major life changes’ for some student-loan borrowers

J.P. Gilbert, a 30-year-old assistant public defense lawyer based in central Florida, hasn’t missed a single loan repayment since he started paying off his student loan debt five years ago. He’s been diligent about making payments on time and keeping his government job so that in five years he can qualify for student loan forgiveness.

But President Donald Trump’s recently proposed budget cuts would put a stop to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that’s made it possible for people like Gilbert to work in the public and nonprofit sector. In 2019, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the program costs $12 billion annually.

Trump failed to nix the PSLF program when he proposed axing it in last year’s budget proposal.

The program, enacted by President George W. Bush in 2007, allows borrowers who work in certain public or nonprofit sector jobs to have their federal student loan debt erased after making on-time payments for 10 years.

The program has strict — and some say, confusing — rules that applicants must adhere to for an entire decade. Ultimately only 1% of borrowers who applied in 2018 for loan forgiveness had their applications accepted. That amounted to just 96 borrowers out of a pool of 29,000 who had about $5.52 million in debt discharged under the program.

Applicants typically understand that adhering to the program’s guidelines — which include having their employers submit annual certification reports to verify their roles — by no means ensures that their student debt will be wiped away. But that small glimmer of hope is why Gilbert has continued to work as a public defense lawyer.

“I love the work that I do but outside of the love of what I do the really biggest thing about me being in this job is the ability to qualify for the loan forgiveness program,” Gilbert said. He now has a six-month-old daughter, and if the PSLF program ended, he’s not sure that he would be able to keep his job, he told MarketWatch. He graduated from Stetson University’s College of Law which currently costs $44,468 a semester for full-time students.

Other borrowers said the program’s demise would force them to rethink some life goals.

“I feel strongly about the career I went into,” Mai El-Sadany, a 30-year-old legal and judicial director at the Tahrir Institute For Middle East Policy, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C., said. “But I would have to make serious life changes and not be able to save up for a house.”

Like Gilbert, El-Sadany also took out student loans to attend law school, in her case, at Georgetown University. She owes around $62,000 after paying 53 of the 120 qualifying payments toward forgiveness, which she hopes to be granted in Sept. 2025.

The Democratic-controlled House Budget Committee criticized Trump’s budget proposal, which in addition to ending the PSLF program, would affect Medicare prescription-drug pricing, Medicaid, food stamps and disability benefits.

The budget “doubles down on making college less affordable and unattainable for many American families with a $170 billion cut to student loan programs over 10 years,” the chairman of the committee, John Yarmuth, said Monday. “This includes increasing costs for new students by eliminating subsidized student loans and making it more difficult for students to repay their loans by eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.”

Because the House and the Senate already passed a two-year budget deal last fall, it is unlikely that the two chambers will take Trump’s proposal into consideration.

Republican Senate Budget Committee Chairman, Mike Enzi, said he will not hold a hearing on the budget cuts because it would only spark “animosity” between Democrats and Republicans, The Hill reported on Monday. Enzi, a Wyoming senator, is retiring later this year.

For these two reasons, it is unlikely that the government will cut spending on student loan forgiveness by $170 billion and end the PSLF program, as Trump’s plan proposes.

The PSLF program, El-Sadany said, “is really important irrespective of social background,” adding that it sends an important message to nonprofit and government workers that they are appreciated by the government.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Heartbreak for Jan Cameron and her Black Prince

It’s a fair bet that Jan isn’t happy. Fresh from pocketing about $300 million from selling her shares in Bellamy’s in December and sealing the success of its takeover, Cameron will front up to Hobart’s Magistrates Court in four weeks to face criminal charges for misleading the corporate regulator.

The financial penalty for breaching the two sections of the Corporations Act has the potential to set her back about $40,000 – loose change for one of Cameron’s financial means.

But the charges also carry the potential penalty of disqualification from company directorships. This would presumably become more of a problem for Cameron who has been a serial investor for decades.

Jan Cameron will face Hobart’s Magistrates Court in March.Credit:Erin Johanson

For the regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), a win against Cameron would represent a juicy high-profile scalp and serve as a warning to others.

For her part, it seems clear Cameron won’t be going down without a fight. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions moved to charge Cameron a few months back but was frustrated by her various legal manoeuvres.

ASIC alleges that she failed to disclose her true substantial shareholding in Bellamy’s and that she misled the regulator when she failed to properly disclose her relationship with another shareholder The Black Prince Foundation.

Cameron’s Black Prince association spilled into the public domain in 2017 when Cameron alongside Black Prince was attempting to stage a board coup at Bellamy’s.

An offshore registered entity, Black Prince Private Foundation, had held a 14.4 per cent shareholding in Bellamy’s since 2014. It was registered in Singapore and domiciled in a popular tax haven, the Caribbean.

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald in 2017 Cameron denied having a personal interest in Black Prince Private Foundation, claiming to only have a 2 per cent direct shareholding in Bellamy's. It also reported that she denied knowing the identity of the owners of Black Prince.

Bellamy’s board, under siege from Cameron, wasn't satisfied. So it went digging.

It was subsequently revealed that Cameron and her long time lawyer Rodd Peters were directors of a charitable organisation, Elsie Cameron, to which Black Prince is answerable.

For a businesswoman who shuns publicity, Cameron has received plenty over the past 30 years.

Friday’s sensational action from ASIC may provide answers as to why Cameron did not disclose her alleged association with Black Prince.

Cameron told The Australian Financial Review in 2017, after a tracing notice had uncovered the relationship between the Elsie Cameron charitable trust and Black Prince, that she was "naively hoping" to keep the donation to the Elsie Cameron Foundation private rather than "splashed across the news".

"Just because it's in a tax haven, it's got nothing to do with tax issues," she was quoted saying at the time.

ASIC alleges Cameron’s first breach occurred in 2014 when Bellamy’s was initially listed and she failed to disclose a 14.74 per cent interest.

ASIC also alleges that in February 2017, Cameron lodged with Bellamy’s a substantial holder notice that was misleading.

For a businesswoman who shuns publicity, Cameron has received plenty over the past 30 years.

She founded and later sold out of sportswear retailer Kathmandu – cementing her title as Australia’s fourth richest woman.

She made headlines again a few years later for investing in numerous other retail brands – most of which failed and devoured the bulk of her fortune.

Since selling out of Kathmandu, her investment in Bellamy’s appears to have been the basis of her wealth revival.

For a period she served as a director of the organic dairy marketing company, which itself went through some hair-raising financial problems.

It was acquired by China Mengniu Dairy Company in December last year for 1.5 billion.

A classic entrepreneur, she is described as a tough businesswoman but not one who has been romanced by the trappings of the rich – boats, planes and mansions around the world.

She manages her array of international investments from Tasmania.

And while she is well known as an environmental activist and animal welfare warrior, she is also known as one who doesn’t shy away from a corporate or a political brawl.

She is now facing a legal brawl with the regulator which will attract unwanted publicity.

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