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Business Highlights: Wage theft, Facebook to decide on Trump

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How companies rip off poor employees — and get away with it

U.S. companies that cheat their workers out of pay are unlikely to be fined or punished even after they’re caught. A Center for Public Integrity analysis of Labor Department data found that in 2019, 8,500 employers were cited for taking about $287 million from workers. Companies that hire child care workers, gas station clerks and restaurant servers were among the businesses most likely to get caught. The analysis found, however, that the government rarely penalized repeat offenders and often let companies pay workers back less than they owe. Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative newsroom based in Washington, analyzed data from October 2005 through September 2020 that included all cases in which the Labor Department determined there were minimum wage or overtime violations.

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Facebook board’s Trump decision could have wider impacts

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Since the day after the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, former President Donald Trump’s social media accounts have been silent — muzzled for inciting violence using the platforms as online megaphones. On Wednesday, his fate on the biggest platform, Facebook, will be decided. The social media giant’s quasi-independent Oversight Board will announce its ruling around 9 a.m. ET. If it rules in Trump’s favor, Facebook has seven days to reinstate the account. If the board upholds Facebook’s decision, Trump will remain “indefinitely” suspended. Either decision could lead to major repercussions for U.S. politics and regulation of social media.

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Bill and Melinda Gates divorce could shake up philanthropy

NEW YORK (AP) — As much as billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates want to keep their pending divorce private, the split is already sending shockwaves through the worlds of philanthropy and public health. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of nearly $50 billion and donates about $5 billion annually to causes around the world. In a statement following the Gates’ divorce announcement on Twitter, the foundation said they would remain co-chairs and trustees and that no changes in the organization were planned. Experts note any changes that might happen because of the split would be incremental, but some worry the divorce might affect the foundation’s future plans.

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Technology shares sink broader market although Dow has gain

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing lower on Wall Street Tuesday, dragged down by big technology companies like Apple and Microsoft. The declines marked the sixth straight losing day for technology stocks. Investors continue to focus on corporate earnings and gauge the economic recovery’s progress. Earnings and most economic indicators have been signaling steady improvement, but investors remain concerned about the lingering threat from COVID-19, inflation and other factors that could crimp progress. The S&P 500 index fell 0.7% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 1.9%, while the Dow eked out a small gain. The price of oil rose while bond yields slipped slightly.

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US trade deficit hits record $74.4 billion in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit surged to a record $74.4 billion in March as an improving U.S. economy boosted purchases of imported foreign goods. The Commerce Department reported that the March deficit was 5.6% higher than the February gap of $70,5 billion. The trade deficit is the gap between what America buys from abroad and what it sells to other countries. Imports rose 6.3% to $274.5 billion while exports increased 6.6% to $200 billion. The U.S. imports so much more than it exports that in dollar terms, the rise in imports was greater. The politically sensitive deficit with China in goods rose 11.6% to $27.7 billion, as usual, the largest deficit with any single country.

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Pfizer’s posts $4.9B 1Q profit as vaccine strategy pays off

NEW YORK (AP) — Selling vaccines during a pandemic has boosted Pfizer’s bottom line and proven that a strategy it embarked upon over a decade ago is now paying off handsomely. The New York-based pharmaceutical giant earned $4.9 billion in the first three months of the year and dramatically raised its profit forecast for all of 2021 thanks to strong demand for its COVID-19 vaccine. The company, along with its German partner BioNTech, anticipate strong revenue from the vaccine and booster shots for the next three years. Once viewed as a marketing machine for blockbuster treatments such as Viagra and Lipitor, Pfizer has transformed itself into a powerhouse for delivering drugs that treat cancer, rare diseases — and vaccines.

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Gap to sell Intermix clothing chain to private equity firm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gap Inc. has signed a deal to sell the upscale clothing chain Intermix to private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners. Gap said Tuesday that Altamont Capital intends to acquire the entire Intermix business, including all store leases, e-commerce and assets. It didn’t disclose the purchase price. The move comes as Gap is trying to slim down its portfolio of brands to better focus on its namesake business as well as Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta. Last month, Gap completed a deal to sell Janie and Jack, a children’s clothing chain to Go Global Retail, a company that invests in fashion and consumer brands.

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The S&P 500 fell 28 points, or 0.7%, to 4,164.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.80, or 0.1%, to 34,133.03. The Nasdaq fell 261.61 points, or 1.9%, to 13,633.50. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 29.17 points, or 1.3% to 2,248.29.

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What Do Facebook Ads Have To Do With The Uyghur Genocide?

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In recent months, several reports suggested a concerning link between Facebook ads and the Uyghur genocide. In March 2021, Epoch Times reported on “evidence linking Facebook ad revenue to Chinese companies profiting from that genocide.” They indicated that one of the companies “continues selling through Facebook hair it admitted was from Uyghurs. Similar companies ‘suggested’ by the social media platform appear also to be selling Uyghur hair. Since a woman’s long hair is highly valued in Uyghur culture, the hair products being sold are almost certainly a product of the ongoing persecution, and not donated or sold freely.” These allegations come months after, in August 2020, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) seized over 13 tons of human hair products from Xinjiang. 

In this photo illustration a Facebook logo seen displayed on...

In this photo illustration a Facebook logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration: … [+] Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook did not respond to these allegations that it profited from ads linked to Uyghur genocide. Yet it did not take long before Facebook became the centre of attention again, because of its links with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) which stands accused of committing genocide against the Uyghurs.

In April 2021, the WSJ reported that “some Facebook staff are raising concerns on internal message boards and in other employee discussions that the company is being used as a conduit for state propaganda, highlighting sponsored posts from Chinese organizations that purport to show Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs thriving in China’s Xinjiang region, according to people familiar with the matter.” Reportedly, “a Facebook spokesman said that the ads taken out by Beijing pertaining to Xinjiang don’t violate current policies so long as the advertisers follow Facebook’s rules when purchasing them. He said the company is monitoring reports of the situation in Xinjiang ‘to help inform our approach and due diligence on this issue.’”

WSJ further reported that “Facebook hasn’t determined whether to act on the concerns, say people familiar with the matter. The company is watching how international organizations such as the United Nations respond to the situation in Xinjiang, one of the people said. The U.N. this week called on firms conducting Xinjiang-linked business to undertake “meaningful human rights due diligence” on their operations.”

Such responses to very serious allegations of benefiting from Uyghur genocide are highly inadequate. We are talking about atrocities targeting a religious group with methods including torture and abuse, rape and sexual violence, separation of children from their parents, forced sterilizations, forced abortions, forced labor and much more.

Waiting for the response from the U.N. cannot be seen as the right policy to address serious allegations of genocidal atrocities, especially considering stagnation at the U.N. and China’s powerful position there. While States and U.N. experts have been calling for action, and among others, for unfettered access to Xinjiang, this request has been ignored by the Chinese government. And so the vicious circle of impunity continues.

One would expect that Facebook would conduct a comprehensive review of the allegations and evidence in support. Ultimately, Facebook should make sure that they sever any ties with atrocities against the Uyghurs.

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Eutelsat Expands Use of Express Wi-Fi in Partnership With Facebook to Extend Wi-Fi Connectivity …

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PARIS–()–Regulatory News:

Eutelsat Communications (Paris:ETL) (Euronext Paris: ETL) is expanding its use of the Express Wi-Fi platform in partnership with Facebook to provide broadband services via satellite across several regions in Sub-Saharan Africa. With Express Wi-Fi, Eutelsat aims to connect thousands of people in rural and underserved communities spanning Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

Express Wi-Fi is a platform developed by Facebook Connectivity that enables partners to build, grow and monetize their Wi-Fi businesses in a scalable way, while providing their customers with fast, affordable, and reliable internet access. Express Wi-Fi is used in more than 30 countries, including in multiple Asian, South American and African markets, helping millions of people connect over Wi-Fi.

Eutelsat and Facebook have previously conducted successful pilots in rural and underserved areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) enabling local businesses to offer affordable internet access to customers on a pre-paid basis. To date, Eutelsat’s use of the Express Wi-Fi platform has enabled access to affordable broadband for thousands of individuals across the DRC.

Philippe Baudrier, General Manager of Konnect Africa commented: “We are delighted to partner with Facebook in this ambitious scheme, aimed at getting more people online in the most underserved areas of sub-Saharan Africa. This initiative is the perfect example of the power of satellite connectivity to bridge the digital divide, with unmatched economic and social benefits. We are proud once again to leverage the unparalleled coverage of EUTELSAT KONNECT to satisfy this growing demand.”

“At Facebook, we’re committed to working with partners to help expand connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, which continues to be the region with the highest coverage gap,” said Fargani Tambeayuk, Head of Connectivity Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook. “Connectivity is essential to ensuring access to jobs, education, healthcare and more. We’re proud to partner with Eutelsat to combine the power of the Express Wi-Fi platform and EUTELSAT KONNECT, with the goal of increasing satellite broadband coverage across rural and underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.”

About Eutelsat Communications


Founded in 1977, Eutelsat Communications is one of the world’s leading satellite operators. With a global fleet of satellites and associated ground infrastructure, Eutelsat enables clients across Video, Data, Government, Fixed and Mobile Broadband markets to communicate effectively to their customers, irrespective of their location. Over 6,600 television channels operated by leading media groups are broadcast by Eutelsat to one billion viewers equipped for DTH reception or connected to terrestrial networks. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat assembles 1,000 men and women from 46 countries who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of service.

For more about Eutelsat go to www.eutelsat.com

About Facebook Connectivity


Connectivity is at the heart of Facebook’s mission to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Critical to this mission is high-quality internet access, which gives people a voice and creates opportunities to share knowledge that can strengthen local communities and global economies. Facebook Connectivity works closely with partners including mobile network operators, equipment manufacturers and more to develop programs and technologies—including Express WiFi, Magma and Terragraph—that increase the availability, affordability and awareness of high-quality internet access, bringing more people online to a faster internet. To learn more, visit: https://connectivity.fb.com

www.eutelsat.com – Follow us on Twitter @Eutelsat_SA

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Facebook Removes Ukraine’s ‘Fake’ Political ‘Influence-for-hire’ Network

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Reuters Photo

Facebook attributed the network to individuals and entities including politician Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian lawmaker blacklisted by the United States.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated:May 07, 2021, 14:04 IST
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Facebook Inc (FB.O) has taken down a network of hundreds of fake accounts and pages targeting people in Ukraine and linked to individuals previously sanctioned by the United States for efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, the company said on Thursday. Facebook said the network managed a long-running deceptive campaign across multiple social media platforms and other websites, posing as independent news outlets and promoting favourable content about Ukrainian politicians, including activity that was likely for hire. The company said it started its probe after a tip from the FBI.

Facebook attributed the activity to individuals and entities sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department including politician Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian lawmaker who was blacklisted by the U.S. government in September over accusations he tried to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election won by President Joe Biden. Facebook said it removed Derkach’s accounts in October 2020.

Derkach told Reuters he would comment on Facebook’s investigation on Friday.

Facebook also attributed the network to political consultants associated with Ukrainian politicians Oleh Kulinich and Volodymyr Groysman, Ukraine’s former prime minister. Kulinich did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Groysman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Facebook said that as well as promoting these politicians, the network also pushed positive material about actors across the political spectrum, likely as a paid service. It said the activity it investigated began around 2015, was solely focused on Ukraine and posted anti-Russia content.

“You can really think of these operators as would-be influence mercenaries, renting out inauthentic online support in Ukrainian political circles,” Ben Nimmo, Facebook’s global influence operations threat intelligence lead, said on a call with reporters.

Facebook’s investigation team said Ukraine, which has been among the top sources of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” that it removes from the site, is home to an increasing number of influence operations selling services.

Facebook said it removed 363 pages, which were followed by about 2.37 million accounts, and 477 accounts from this network for violating its rules. The network also spent about $496,000 in Facebook and Instagram ads, Facebook said.

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