Tariffs Against China Delayed Until End Of Year, Some Products Excluded From List Of Affected Goods

For many years, according to businesspeople, financial market experts, and government officials around the world, Chinese manufacturers have forced business owners to divulge trade secrets to them in order to do business with one another. Businesses around the world have adhered to such demands by Chinese businesspeople because China is home to many of the world’s most valuable manufacturing offers.

United States President Donald Trump, a longtime businessman, has also long been aware of allegations against the Chinese government and its businesspeople for requiring foreign business entities, many of which have been and currently are based in the United States, to give up such information.

As a means of protecting the business and financial interests of the United States, President Donald Trump lobbied a litany of tariffs against the People’s Republic of China on March 22, 2018.

Just as President Trump, as well as financial experts around the world, had expected, Chinese government officials moved to place their own tariffs on products imported from the United States just two weeks after the United States made its move, on April 2, 2018. From there, the two countries have levied a ton of tariffs against one another, all of which have been maintained since they were implemented.

According to CNBC, earlier today, on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, the United States Trade Representative office released a report that a line of tariffs that were slated to be enacted in the next few weeks by the Trump administration would be held off until the end of the year. Further, the U.S. Trade Representative office indicated that a handful of the consumer items that have been subject to tariffs for over a year will be excluded from the United States’ list of tariffed products.

The aforementioned tariffs were slated to be written into law in the next few days and be realized on Sept. 1.

As predicted, stock markets around the world have rallied since the outset of the announcement, with the Nasdaq, S&P 500, and Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 1.95 percent, 1.46 percent, and 1.41 percent at the end of trading hours yesterday, respectively.

Bibles were dropped from the list of tariffs, which is substantial relative to the global supply of bibles, as the United States imports more from China than anywhere else. Frozen haddock, salmon, and cod fillets, as well as radioactive compounds and elements, were dropped from the list.

A portion of goods, however, will be faced with a renewed tariff on Sept. 1, including shelled nuts, unworked human hair, and American flags.

Facebook to Pay $5 Billion Fine to FTC for Exposing User Data

Facebook has been in the news recently for not doing enough to protect its users’ privacy data. These issues came to a head and received more international attention after Facebook Inc. may have been the unwitting participant in a Russian propaganda campaign designed to mislead voters and give eventual President Donald Trump a leg-up during the campaign. The Federal Trade Commission’s decision to fine Facebook Inc. was more general, however, and centered around issues like Facebook’s inability to employ basic privacy practices and safeguard user data from advertisers and nefarious actors (e.g., scammers).

The Federal Trade Commission’s probe began last year as an inquiry into whether Facebook had violated its own 2012 consent decree. Part of the fine levied against Facebook stemmed to a breach in this 2012 consent decree that resulted in the improper sharing of 87 million users’ data with the political consulting outfit Cambridge Analytica. Coming full circle to politics, Cambridge Analytica was associated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign and could have received Facebook user information that it shouldn’t have had the social media firm lived up to its 2012 consent decree.

The Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to levy a $5 billion fine against Facebook. Interestingly, given the political angle, the three Republicans on the commission were thrilled with the outcome whereas the two Democratic commissioners were less enthusiastic. The Democrats felt as though the fine wasn’t nearly hefty enough given the financial clout of Facebook and the damage done to Facebook users and the U.S. political system. Notwithstanding the celebrations and grievances of Federal Trade Commission commissioners, the decision to fine Facebook $5 billion still faces court approval and could theoretically be struck down or effectively redecided.

Republican FTC Chairman Joe Simons was one of those commissioners excited about the fine against Facebook, so he lamented the fact that it might be watered-down due to the Federal Trade Commission’s limited legal authority and unwillingness to mount a sustained court challenge should the FTC’s fine be subsequently questioned or overruled in court. Commissioner Joe Simons felt that he got about as much as the FTC could have mustered by rhetorically answering “no” to the question that he posed to himself during a press conference – namely, would it have been possible to further curtail Facebook’s ability to collect and store customer data and fine Facebook $10 billion instead of $5 billion? Still, $5 billion is onerous.

Memphis’s Methodist Hospital System Suspends Wage Garnishment Practice Over Unpaid Bills

Memphis, Tenn.’s largest hospital system, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, is immediately suspending its court collection activities pending a review of their policies. When attorney R. Alan Pritchard appeared in Shelby County General Sessions Court in Memphis on July 3, he asked the court to drop over 24 cases related to unpaid hospital bills.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare came under fire recently after MLK50 and ProPublica Local Reporting Network published an article highlighting the aggressive debt collection tactics the hospital system uses against low-wage patients who cannot pay their bills. In June, Mary Washington Healthcare in Virginia was similarly exposed in the Journal of the American Medical Association for seeking legal action against low-income individuals for unpaid bills. The hospital also suspended the practice until they can review their policies.

Critics of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare say the non-profit hospital pays no tax in return for serving Memphis. Instead, the health system filed 8,300 lawsuits in five years to collect debts. They point to the case of Carrie Barrett who ran up a $12,019 bill in 2007 for a necessary heart catheterization. The non-profit system garnished her less than $13 wage multiple times and added interest to her debt. Barrett, now 63, owes $33,000 which she cannot pay.

According to NPR.org, part of the problem is Methodist’s policy of ignoring patients needing financial assistance to help with their out-of-pocket expenses. The hospital owns its own collection agency which goes after judgments to garnish wages. Lawmakers expressed surprise at the hospital system’s debt collection practices as did the Rev. Anthony Anderson, an elder at Memphis’s Faith United Methodist Church.

According to the hospital system’s own statements, they made $86 million in 2018 after expenses. In 2017, CEO Dr. Michael Ugwueke earned $1.6 million in total compensation and his assistant, former CEO Gary Shorb earned $1.2 million as Ugwueke’s advisor.

Chinese Drone Manufacturer DJI Voices Concerns Against Potential Interference From United States Government

Beginning last year, the United States has been in a trade war with the People’s Republic of China. The two countries are the largest two economies in the world; by gross domestic product (GDP), the United States’ economy is the largest, whereas China has the world’s most powerful economy by measure of purchasing power parity (PPP).

Since the start of 2019, the Trump administration has raised concerns about doing business with Chinese tech firms, namely Huawei.

One of the largest drone manufacturers on the planet, DJI, a Chinese manufacturer of tech products, recently spoke out against the Trump administration’s and Congress’ recent actions taken against Chinese tech giants.

Although the United States federal government hasn’t taken any actions against DJI specifically, the company is worried that it may soon have to quit doing business in the United States, reports Reuters. Americans collectively purchase more drones from DJI than any other manufacturer, regardless of whether they’re found in China or elsewhere.

The Senate’s Transportation Subcommittee, which is part of the Senate’s Commerce Committee, shared in a meeting last week that prolific Chinese drone manufacturer DJI could be of as much concern as Huawei in terms of collecting information from American users and then directly turning around and sharing those insights with the Chinese government.

This is of concern because China has been accused of having unfair intellectual property guidelines that allow Chinese manufacturers, which largely provide the most value in terms of all manufacturers, to require businesses from the United States to share their organizations’ patents, trade secrets, and other helpful information with them. Chinese manufacturers have been able to demand the sharing of such information with widespread success for many years, thanks to the best manufacturers on planet Earth in terms of providing the highest value for the lowest cost having outshined the rest of the world’s manufacturers by leaps and bounds.

Some industry experts based in the United States have alleged that DJI directly sends all information that it collects from American users and the American market to the Chinese government. However, DJI has repeatedly denied such allegations.

Even though some American government officials and industry experts believe that DJI is operating against the concerns of the United States government and the country’s economy, DJI has been awarded the rights to several government contracts. For example, DJI just came out with a drone system intended solely for use by governments earlier today, which the United States is already expected to utilize.

South Dakota v Wayfair Has Far Reaching Implications For Online Retailers

The South Dakota v Wayfair decision will have a major impact on small online retailers. The U.S. Supreme Court sided with South Dakota, which sued Internet retailer Wayfair, along with six other online retailers, for not collecting a 4.5 percent sales tax. While Wayfair didn’t have a presence in the state, it made at least 200 sales to residents. South Dakota also wants out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax if they make at least $100,000 in sales, regardless of the number of orders.

Previous Supreme Court decisions, such as Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, said states couldn’t collect sales tax if the online retailer didn’t have a physical presenter in the state. Quill Corp. v. North Dakota was decided in the early 1990s; Internet sales have skyrocket since then. Brick and mortar retailer have to collect sales tax so many people are turning to online retailers to avoid paying sales tax on big-ticket items.

According to harvardlawreview.org, smaller online retailers now have to understand and comply with each state’s laws about collecting sales tax, besides keeping up with any rapid changes in the laws. Large retailers typically already have the resources to do this, but the compliance burden on small online companies is enormous. Unless the federal government creates a uniform law for all fifty states, it will force small online retailers to spend more on compliance, which will decrease their ability to compete with major brands online.

An e-commerce seller could end up with a large tax bill if they don’t keep track of sales tax laws across the country. For unprepared website owners, this could be a disaster. States can go back years to collect from website owners who should have been collecting sales tax from residents, but didn’t do so. Tack on interest and penalties, the website owner could face a hefty bill.

TSA Is Now Allowing All CBD Products That Are In Farm Bill Compliance On Airplanes

In 2014, the United States Congress passed the 2014 Farm Bill. Among other things, the 2014 Farm Bill made it legal to sell hemp, or cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC in terms of dry weight, inside the states that were a part of the Hemp Pilot Program.

Four years later, in 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which contained – in part – clauses that made it legal for businesses and individuals to engage in the sale or distribution of products derived from hemp in an interstate commercial fashion. Now, across much of the United States, stores selling hemp have popped up out of seemingly nowhere.

Before the 2018 Farm Bill, over half of the states in the nation had already legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational use. Having access to cannabis, even though it’s not the same as traditional pot – the kind that gets you high – in states that do not recognize cannabis as being legal is certainly better than nothing and gives people the hope that cannabis legalization may soon come to their states.

For the past few months, people flying within the United States have been confused about whether they can carry cannabis if it’s legal in their state of departure, if they have a prescription for medical-use cannabis, and tons of other situations.

Fortunately, the United States Transportation Security Administration, also known as the TSA, released a few new guidelines regarding flying with cannabis in one’s possession.

According to NBC News, the guidelines effectively make CBD, or cannabidiol, that is derived from hemp legal to fly with, at least in general. People will be able to fly with medicines that contain CBD, though they have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. People can also fly with CBD-heavy cannabis products that are derived from hemp.

The reason why the Transportation Security Administration decided to change its guidelines regarding cannabis is because of widespread confusion about whether the drug Epidiolex, a drug that is often used to treat epilepsy in children that have been approved by the FDA, is legal to fly with or not.

To put it simply, everybody in the United States who wants to fly within the nation are allowed to bring hemp products that are compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill with them on flights. Cannabis that has more than 0.3 percent THC by dried weight is not legal to fly with – the TSA will bust you if they find it.

Nestle is Facing a Lawsuit for Supplying Counterfeit Water

Judge Jeffrey Alker recently rejected Nestle Water North America’s proposition to dismiss a lawsuit that has been revised. The judge claimed that Nestle Waters had defrauded its loyal client base. Allegedly, the company filled bottles of Poland Spring water which is its main brand, with groundwater. The federal judge reiterated that clients might pursue claims regarding Nestle Waters North America’s deception into overpaying for a substandard brand.

The experienced judge allowed consumers from New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to present their claims. He added that federal law stalled claims from consumers in Vermont. Nestle Waters has since insisted that there wasn’t fraud. The water it produced met the state federal requirements. The earlier of the lawsuit was dismissed in May.

Regarding its consumer’s claims, Nestle Waters’ spokesperson insisted that they would remain confident about their legal position. The company holds that it will defend Poland Spring brand against the meritless lawsuit adding that the water is harvested from a natural spring valley making it 100 percent spring water.

Different attorneys representing the plaintiffs didn’t comment about the issue. According to the consumer’s complaint, the water supplier sells about 1 billion gallons of Poland Spring annually. Research indicates that not a drop of this water comes from its advertised source. The actual water source is neither genuine nor legal. It’s also not from natural spring.

The authentic Poland Spring is situated in Maine. It ran dry about 40 years ago. According to the complaint, Nestle Water is claiming this non-operational water source to be the primary source of its brand. Earlier on, Meyer dismissed the case while stating that the consumers were attempting to enforce policies for spring water. The move pre-empted their claims.

In his final decision, Meyer concluded that the plaintiffs would try to prove that Poland Spring water didn’t meet the state’s requirements for consumption standards but that it met specific spring water standards. This would imply that the brand mirrored the federal requirements.

Fox Ordered to Pay $178 Million to ‘Bones’ Creative Team

The history of show business is filled with stories of large companies ripping off performers and not paying them their fair share of the proceeds. Fox was accused of doing that by the stars and producers of the crime drama ‘Bones’ that ran on Fox for 12 years. The show was a monster hit and is now syndicated around the world. The people who made the show a success felt that they were not seeing their fair share of the literally millions of dollars that the show generated and continues to generate.

The dispute was brought before an arbitrator. This is not a court setting. Therefore, arbitration cases are kept private and away from the scrutiny of the public and the media. However, the outcome of this particular arbitration case has surprised everyone. It has sent shock waves through the show business community. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered Fox to pay a total of $178 million. There was a $50 million ruling of damages. This is not being disputed. However, there was also a massive $128 million ruling for punitive damages. This amount was so big that Fox has decided to fight it in court. The decision to go to court has made the case a matter of public record. This has allowed the media to get their hands on all of the details of the arbitration case.

The arbitrator said that he believed a pair of Fox executives had lied when they were under oath when they were being questioned for the case. He also said that Fox had kept tens of millions of dollars that should have been divided among the producers and stars of the show. The ruling might encourage the creative teams of other hit shows to file legal action against the networks that aired their shows. Old shows can be worth a lot of money. Netflix famously paid $100 million to keep the rights for ‘Friends’ for just one more year. Therefore, it makes sense that producers and stars of hit shows would want to get the cash they are owed.

Fox has vowed to fight the $128 million punitive damages ruling vigorously when the case goes to court. It is scheduled to begin in late April. However, it is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. The wheels of justice turn very slowly. Fox has the money to keep this case going a long time.

Reference: https://www.bworldonline.com/fox-ordered-to-pay-179m-to-bones-actors-producers/

Protecting Your Rights Through the SEC Whistleblower Program

If you know of a company or corporation that is in violation of federal security laws, you have a chance to collect between 10 and 30 percent of the total fines if you give information to the government that leads to legal action. Many people are interested in collecting the reward but have a range of questions they would like for someone to answer.

Moving forward and reporting a company for violating these laws can feel intimidating, especially if you fear retaliation. Learning as much as you can about the SEC whistleblower system and how it can protect you is smart. It lets you move forward with confidence and know what to expect along the way.

SEC Whistleblower Explained

Learning about the SEC whistleblower program is a good place to start when your goal is to decide what path makes sense for you. The information in this section paints a clear picture, and you will have no trouble deciding what to do. Implemented by Congress, the whistleblower system exists to reward those who report violations of federal security laws.

The system also defines who is eligible to collect compensation and what the information must contain before the whistleblower can receive payment. Under the SEC whistleblower program, regulations list the legal penalties an employer can face for trying to discourage someone from reporting violations. The system has stipulations in place that highlight the penalties an employer can face for retaliating against an employee for giving information to the government.

Whistleblower Eligibility

At this point, you are likely wondering who qualifies as a whistleblower under the SEC. Reviewing this guide helps you understand when you qualify and when you can expect compensation for your report. What you are about to learn also helps you decide what you should do to increase your odds of filing a successful report. As long as you supply the SEC with relevant information about a violation, you are a whistleblower.

Before you can get paid, the information you provide must lead to legal action against the company that committed the violation. Some people think any relevant tip about a violation can earn them a part of the reward, but that is not the case. The information you offer must be new, meaning you have to tell the SEC something they did not already know. If you work for a company and know about security violations, taking action could be the best choice you ever make.

Reportable Actions

If you are like other people, you are curious about the types of violations that qualify under the SEC whistleblower program. Reviewing the types of fraud covered by the system is a great way to learn what path you should take, preventing you from wasting time on issues that are unlikely to generate attention. Also, you could discover that actions you would have otherwise overlooked fall within the definition.

The SEC welcomes reports about Ponzi and pyramid schemes, and you are free to report the theft of securities. If a company manipulates the price of a security or engages in insider trading, the people in charge of the SEC would like to know about it. Companies that release misleading information about their securities are also a target of the SEC. You can report anyone who tries bribing foreign officials in an attempt to alter the value of securities.

Rewards and Compensation

If you have submitted information that led to action by the SEC, you need to know how to collect your reward. You would otherwise lose your shot at collecting the money to which you are entitled, and you don’t want to face that problem. You must fill out the application form and mail it to the office of the whistleblower to get your money. Some people try rushing through the process to finish it as quickly as possible.

If you don’t want to lose your opportunity to collect a reward, don’t make that mistake. Take your time and ensure you complete each part of the form the right way. As long as you take your time and review the report before submitting it, you will have nothing about which to worry.

Protection From Retaliation

Employees will often want to report a violation but refuse because they fear retaliation. They are worried that the company for which they work will fire, demote or harass them for coming forward, which is a valid concern. But you should know that the SEC whistleblower system has put protective measures in place to safeguard you from that issue.

You can take legal action and seek damages if your employer retaliates against you for reporting information to the SEC. In addition to preventing retaliation, the SEC also stops employers from discouraging staff members from filing complaints. If you believe the company for which you work is trying to stop you from reporting a violation, you can contact the Department of Labor for more information.

Collecting Evidence of Retaliation

You need to know what steps you should take after filing a report if you would like to avoid retaliation. Proving retaliation is not always easy, but you can do it if you use a proven process and maintain your composure. Check the laws in your state to see if you are allowed to record audio at work or over the phone without informing the other person.

If you are, you can use audio recordings as evidence of retaliation. Make a note of the dates and times of any retaliation as well as any witnesses who were present at the time. You can even hire a private investigator to review your case and help you collect the evidence you need to protect your rights. A skilled investigator will gather information from out of sight and do what it takes to reveal the truth, and you will increase your chance of success.

Why the Government Started the Whistleblower System

You are probably asking why the government implemented the SEC whistleblower system in the first place. The aim is to ensure fair trading practices and to let investors know what they are buying before they move forward. Fraud related to securities can devastate corporations and impact the economy in ways most people don’t suspect.

As a result of the possible fallout, preventing security fraud benefits the public and maintains a balanced economy, creating a win-win situation. The SEC whistleblower program protects those who report fraud from retaliation, allowing them to come forward with peace of mind.

The Benefits of Remaining Anonymous

Remaining anonymous gives those who report fraud a range of fantastic benefits. Even though the law prohibits employers from retaliating against those who report crimes to the SEC, avoiding negative fallout is often the most desirable path.

Remaining anonymous gives you the chance to do the right thing and collect your reward without anyone knowing what you did. If you would like to file an anonymous report, you must do so with the help of an attorney. Your attorney will submit the report and pass your reward on to you, and the SEC won’t even know who you are.

Confidentiality Agreement Exceptions

If you report fraud or a related offense to your company’s human resource department, they might ask you to sign a confidentiality agreement. Some companies even require employees to sign such agreements at the start of their employment, and management will claim the agreement stops employees from reporting SEC violations.

Luckily, confidentiality agreements that try stopping employees from contacting the SEC are not valid, and those who have signed them can still come forward with information. You can call the SEC for more details if you have signed such an agreement and want more information on how to proceed.

No legal contract can stop you from bringing fraud to the attention of the government, so you can still follow steps to claim your reward as long as you have relevant details. This exception exists to prevent companies from taking advantage of confidentiality agreements as a way to hide illegal actions from the government.

The Importance of Working with an Experienced Lawyer

You might think moving forward on your own is enough to get the outcome you want, but that is not always the wise choice. Having an attorney on your side is the best bet when you want to improve your odds of success and protect yourself from retaliation.

Your advocate can give you SEC tips and show you what steps are right for your goals and current situation. The legal expert you hire will protect your rights and keep your interests in mind from start to finish, and you will be pleased with your decision. You and your legal advisor can work together to find the best way to reach your desired outcome.

Final Thoughts

The government implemented the SEC whistleblower program to give employees the chance to report fraud and other financial crimes without fear of retaliation. Those who provide accurate information that leads to action by the SEC can get up to 30 percent of the damages recovered.

Although the government provides information and offers protection, those who want to enjoy the best results must speak with a qualified legal representative before moving forward. If you have facts about a crime you would like to report, reach out to a caring legal expert the first chance you get, and you will be happy with the outcome.

Trump And China Agree To A Trade Ceasefire

Trump didn’t hold a press conference at the G20 Summit on Saturday out of respect for the passing of George H. W. Bush. But the news that Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping decided to give each other a little trade slack did hit the press on Sunday morning. Mr. Trump said he wouldn’t impose a 25 percent tariff on the remaining $200 billion in Chinese exports that currently have a 10 percent tariff status. And the Chinese president said China would buy more from the United States to reduce the gap in trade.

The trade ceasefire will help shaky financial markets be a little less shaky, according to the New York Times. But even though Trump calls the truce a win, it’s more like a pause in the battle. Trump didn’t hold a press conference at the G20 Summit on Saturday out of respect for the passing of George H. W. Bush. But the news that Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping decided to give each other a little trade slack did hit the press on Sunday morning. Mr. Trump said he wouldn’t impose a 25 percent tariff on the remaining $200 billion in Chinese exports that currently have a 10 percent tariff status. And the Chinese president said China would buy more from the United States to reduce the gap in trade.

Both sides agreed to finalize their differences in 90 days. If China doesn’t give in to Trump’s request to change their trade policy, Trump will change the duty rate on all Chinese good to 25 percent. The Chinese products that already have a 25 percent duty rate are products found in other consumer products so middlemen and wholesalers took the tariff punch for that merchandise. They absorbed the cost of the additional duty. But if Trump doesn’t get his way, the other $200 billion in Chinese merchandise like clothing, toys, and shoes will directly impact American consumers.

Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Trade Minister said China would expand U.S. imports, but only if those imports met the demand of Chinese consumers. In other words, China might import more goods from the United States if Chinese consumers want them.

Some news reports say the trade ceasefire reminds them of the deal Trump has with North Korea. Trump called his meeting with Kim Jon Un, North Korea’s leader, a win for the American people by averting a nuclear showdown with Kim. But North Korea hasn’t stopped working on their nuclear program. The only thing North Korea did was try to mend fences with South Korea. And Trump didn’t play a role in that reunion.

The G20 Summit did help Trump get away from the alligators swimming in the Washington swamp. And it helped the other 19 G20 members do what they had to do to reinforce their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord and other joint projects. Trump wasn’t his normal destructive self at the meeting. He didn’t intentionally try to irritate German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But he did have a short meeting with Russian President Putin. The topic of that meeting is still a mystery.

cean Spray Involved in Class Action Lawsuit

OOcean Spray’s Class-Act Lawsuit

Ocean Spray is facing a class action lawsuit on misleading advertising. The popular drink has claimed that their substance does not contain any flavors; yet they do.

proposed class action lawsuit was filed this week against Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. over the juice maker’s allegedly false labeling of its beverages. The popular beverage states that it does not have any high fructose corn syrup in its product, however there is now evidence that is false.

What is the claim against the beverage company?

* The claim against the beverage company is that there has been high fructose corn syrup used in packaging. It also states that additional flavors and artificial colors were used.

* The claim states that they were not honest or authentic about what they put in the beverages.

* They also mislead the public in thinking that they were being honest and ethical about the beverage.

What was the motive?

There are speculations about why this was done. Many people are having a hard time believing that a company whose product is based on wholesome, pure liquid would participate in such a lie.

The believed motives are that the company wanted to take advantage of the public’s perception of health drinks. The company freely admits they wanted to take advantage of a mindset that natural was healthier, and market their product as such.

Drinks involved in the dispute

There were eleven drinks in the dispute in total, including highly popular beverages.

Why Was There A Class Action Lawsuit?

The class action lawsuit hopes to prove that the company defrauded the public, and that the public is entitled to know the truth of what happens. The class action has currently decided to not participate with California in the class action lawsuit, however every other case has been part of this.

Only time will tell whether the drink will be able to continue to stay in business.

Read More: https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/862321-ocean-spray-must-face-artificial-flavors-class-action-lawsuit/

Sears Files Bankruptcy Petition

Sears has finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It might be the beginning of the end for the company that dominated the American retail industry for over a century. For the time being though, Sears will keep hundreds of its stores open pursuant to an agreement that it entered into with its creditors

Sears merged with Kmart in 2005. At this point in time, it still has about 700 Sears and Kmart stores up and running. Many of those stores have never been visited by millennials. The retailer intends to close 142 of those stores by the end of 2018. They’re simply not making any money. On top of those, there are another 46 stores that it intends on closing by the end of November, 2018. In all, Sears employs about 70,000 people. Sears had about $134 million of loans that were due on October 15, 2018. It filed the Chapter 11 proceedings that morning.

Sears sold everything from clothes to it’s famous Craftsman tools to Kenmore appliances. At one time it even sold prefabricated homes. According to CNBC, Richard Sears began the Sears Watch company in 1886. He sold watches by mail. He partnered with Alvah Roebuck, and the two began offering consumer products in a catalogue with delivery by mail. Sears Roebuck opened its first store in Chicago in 1925, and by the end of the year, it opened seven other stores. In 2006, only a year after the Kmart acquisition, Sears was worth more than $20 billion. Walmart, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot kept opening stores though, with a wider variety of home improvement materials and tools. Then, the Great Recession came, and with the rise of Amazon, buyers started buying products online.

Now, Sears hasn’t shown a profit since 2010. A drastically reduced cash flow doesn’t allow Sears to invest very much in itself anymore. The company’s ratio of expenditures to sales is less than one percent. Even its famous Craftsman Tool brand has been sold to Stanley Black & Decker, and 250 of its top properties have been sold. In addition to it’s present woes, Sears has 100,000 retirees, and it’s pension fund is underfunded by $1.5 billion. What comes to issue now is whether Sears will come out of bankruptcy. Few retailers have successfully done so.

Washington’s dilemma on taming the tech giants.

According to Forbes magazine report of June 2017, Washington DC was ranked third among the US tech cities, and a leading knowledge hub and innovation hotspot. Due to its skilled workforce, according to the US Bureau of labor and statistics, the metro DC area is ranked number one in high tech, with employment in the sector being 2.5 times more concentrated there than in the rest of the united states.

A controversial debate has been initiated in Washington as calls have been made to the federal government to regulate the giants in the technology industry, citing misinformation and political bias. The giant tech companies namely Google and Facebook have been on the spot for quite some time now, with several accusations being made against them. Google, for instance, has allegedly been promoting information that is either untrue, or distorted with utmost right-wing bias on subjects like spreading fake news to build support for conservative political leaders. Facebook on the other hand has received its fair share of accusations, one of them being that they sell users personal information to political consulting firms and suppress conservative news stories from trending news.

Among these reasons, the legislative and administrative organs in Washington feels that these giants have had a lot of power and influence in the industry and on people’s online activities. Capitol Hill says that big tech is to an extent of sabotaging other online advertising companies that have been struggling to establish themselves on the digital platform as they experience slowing revenue. According to LUMA partners, a leading investment bank that does analysis on digital media and marketing, there has been a fall in the number of independent ad tech companies since 2013 by 21 per cent to 185 in the second quarter of 2018. A wide spread of online advertising continues to rise to more than $88 million in 2017. However, more than 90 percent of that growth went to Google and Facebook as reported by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group in New York.

In the broader picture, we cannot deny that the giant tech companies have become increasingly attractive as more users come on board. As a result, it is going to be almost impossible for other companies to compete and for any government to challenge them. Washington is only the latest state to show its frustrations on these internet firms. France and Germany are already implementing fines on them for not following the rules governing the industry.

Encounter the Most Crowded Airlines: Load Factor Reaches a Record High

Summer has finally arrived. That means even more stacked planes and close airports. If one thinks that airline trips are much crowded than how they were before, then they are absolutely right. The passenger load factor otherwise known as (PLF) of commercial airways has risen tremendously over the past decade. In 2005, airlines had a mean load factor of 75.2%. Therefore on average, only three seats for every four seats were traded.

The recession of 2007-2010 halted the load factor growth. However, by 2018, the average load factor reached 81.7% globally. In the United States, the load factor has risen on domestic flights. It has inflated from 67.88% in 2002 to 86.08% by 2018. During that time, the number of domestic trips has had an almost stationary status. This is from 8,085,083 in 2002 to 8,176,610 in 2017. The US airline sector has gotten even better in documenting seats as revenue passenger miles rose. It has seen a significant increase from 471,652,206 in 2002 to 684,221,393 in 2017.

The era of having an entire row to space up in coach is a thing of the past. It is also inclusive of having an empty middle seat disjointing one from his or her neighbor. The airlines rarely mourn over it. On the contrary, these airlines of global repute are busy shrinking seats and cramming additional seats. As one might anticipate, the reduced cost carriers typically have the highest load factor. However, the load factor can at times fluctuate. An example is the Frontier Airlines. Its load factor grew from 73.5% in 2004 to an incredible 91.28% in 2013. From that moment, however, the load factor no matter how robust, has dropped significantly. It was noted in 2017 when it turned back to 86.36%. It may due to heightening competition from major airlines. They offer the dread “basic economy” fare. It starts with Delta’s “experiment” in 2014.

According to Forbes, as of July 2017, Ireland’s Ryanair was the most packed airline. Its load factor was 93.1% in 2016. Furthermore, the airline propelled the figure further to 94.7% in 2017. The airline is somehow involved in a “cattle car” reputation. Regardless, Ryanair successfully stacked in 130 million Millennials in the 2017-2018 fiscal years. However, other carriers challenged it for its passenger packing size. Four other different carriers boasted of 90% or even enhanced load factor in 2017. It was headed by India’s very own Spicejet. It flew an average of 92.8% full.
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How US Politics, though Illegal, are affecting the US Market

Trade tensions have been rising every passing day which is affecting the forex trading platform. The effect has been felt everywhere in the market since the threats turned to reality. Earlier this year, President Donald Trump’s administration announced imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel. Target countries included the European Union (EU) markets and China that are prominent producers of steel worldwide. The notice came by surprise to many of the United States trade allies as well as some politicians in America.

Investors have been shunning away from risk in the forex trade as currencies continue to lose value in the market. Forecasters warn of greater impacts and effects should this continue, risking business and the economy. Recently, German received an increased levy on their cars just when the Merkel government is struggling with immigration issues. However, the tensions are favorable to some currencies such as the Japanese Yen that continues to rise against the greenback significantly.

Today, the forex platform was all about trade tensions with the increasing threats and protective measures from Washington. These continue to intensify weighing on the upper betas generally while a slowdown of the increased trade plays out. The US trade allies in response to the tariffs by Trump warned of raising taxes on specific US commodities. The EU announced targeting particular products such as motorbikes among others in retaliation. Trump, having imposed the levies, forced his allies to pose trade barriers in retaliation to the tariffs. In retaliation, President Donald Trump has again threatened China and the EU to withdraw these barriers, failure to which there will be severe consequences.

Among the new threats, the administration will add tariffs to Chinese tech firms. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration plans to stop Chinese tech industries from investing in American tech corporations. Additionally, Beijing’s tech exports will be blocked. Currencies continue to deteriorate in value against the USD in the Forex space recording a significant fall with the Euro in New York closing at 1.1703. Ahead of the EU Summit, GBP/USD was stable then uneven to the top closing at 1.3280. On the NY session at +0.13% within the N. American range of 1.3289 to 1.3251.

Oil was lower besides copper that in the June rout was nose-diving. For the first time since late last year, gold recorded a close beneath the 200-D SMA. The Aussie nosedived to 0.7397 from 0.7440 ranking it as one of the most underperforming commodities. However, Kiwi hiked from 0.6901 to 0.6890 in the equity market.