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Aug 2, 2018

Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island and the book written one text at a time | Australia news I The Guardian

theguardian.com

Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island and the book written one text at a time | Australia news

Helen Davidson


A Kurdish Iranian writer sought refuge in Australia but was instead sent to the country’s notorious offshore detention centre. For the next five years he wrote a book, one text message at a time.
Behrouz Boochani became a well known and award-winning voice from Papua New Guinea’s remote Manus Island, acting as a source for journalists in Australia and internationally, writing his own articles and creating a movie, Chauka, Please Tell Us The Time.
Boochani is one of thousands of asylum seekers to be sent to offshore processing camps in Papua New Guinea, or the tiny Pacific Island nation of Nauru, under Australia’s policy, which was developed to stop the growing number of people seeking asylum by boat.
Boochani could not physically attend his book launch on Thursday night because the Australian government has refused to let him or the thousands of others in the same situation over the past five years settle in the country.
Instead he Skyped in from the refugee accommodation centre where he lives in East Lorengau.
The book has been described as a fusion of styles, part creative writing, part strategic resistance. It was sent largely via messaging services such as Whatsapp to interpreter Moones Mansoubi over almost five years. His phone was confiscated twice.
“The main reason I wrote this book on my phone, and sent it out bit by bit, was really that I didn’t feel safe with the guards and authorities,” Boochani told Guardian Australia.
“Because they, at any time, could attack our room and take our property. In February 2014, during the riots, all the refugees lost our property. Seven months ago in November, when they relocated us, we lost our property again. So imagine if I had written this book on paper. I would definitely have lost it.”
In that five years Boochani has seen or experienced every major event in the detention centre including riots, murders, deaths, self-harm, suicide attempts, shooting attacks by intoxicated PNG soldiers and last year’s 23-day standoff when detainees refused to be forcibly removed from the centre into what they said was unsafe alternative accommodation. Boochani was arrested during the standoff.
“For a long time I tried to describe the situation on Manus Island, to describe the life in Manus prison camp, but I think the journalism language doesn’t have the capacity to describe this life, and the suffering and how the system is working here,” Boochani said.
“I worked on this book for five years. I thought that the best way for me to express my thinking and to tell the story of Manus prison camp and the stories of Manus Island – and Nauru as well – is to write a novel.”
Boochani said he was a novelist first, before filmmaker or journalist, and said writing had helped him survive.
“I could keep my identity and keep my humanity,” he said. “This system is designed to take our identity, designed to reduce us to numbers.
“The best way for me, I can say I survived through my artworks, through my journalism work.”
Boochani would like to leave the island but not to come to Australia. Like other refugees, he has kept his situation secret from family. They do not know he has written a novel.
“I try to protect them, like other refugees here, they always care about their families, they don’t tell the real story,” he said. “It’s very strange and hard to explain this, but I didn’t tell them yet. They sometimes hear things and they know I am doing some work, that always I am writing.”
Five years after the relaunch of Australia’s offshore processing regime, both camps have technically been closed but hundreds continue to languish without a clear future.
A few hundred have resettled in the US under a deal struck between the Australian government and Obama-led US administration, others have settled in PNG or temporarily on Nauru. Many others remain in a limbo – Boochani included.
“Until now, they didn’t do an interview with me,” he said of the immigration authorities. “I don’t know [why]. Many people are the same as me, so I don’t want to say it’s a kind of punishment, I don’t know.”
• No Friend But the Mountains: Writing From Manus Prison is published by Picador Australia and released on 31 July. It will be launched at the University of NSW on 2 August, presented by Live Crossings, UNSWriting, Pan Macmillan Australia and Picador.

World Alert: Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe’s ruling party declared winner of first post-Mugabe elections I The Washington Post

washingtonpost.com

Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe’s ruling party declared winner of first post-Mugabe elections



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HARARE, Zimbabwe — Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner of Zimbabwe’s first elections of the post-Mugabe era on Thursday. He represents Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and was an ally of the longtime leader before working with the military to depose him last November, after he which he assumed the role of president.
His main opponent, Nelson Chamisa, disputed the result, claiming that his party had documented widespread rigging. He vowed to lead nationwide protests.
Mnangagwa’s election comes amid a tense atmosphere in the capital, Harare, where the military opened fire on rioting opposition supporters Wednesday, killing at least six people, police said at a news conference Thursday. The number of injured remained unknown.
ZANU-PF and MDC leaders traded blame for the violence, and international election observers roundly criticized the lack of restraint from both sides. But it was the military that fired live rounds at unarmed protesters, and it remained unclear whether Mnangagwa played any role in their deployment.
On Thursday, Harare’s streets were eerily empty. Almost all businesses were closed.

Zimbabwean police officers cordon off the streets around the MDC opposition party headquarters in Harare on Thursday. Zimbabwe's acting president said Thursday that his government had been in touch with the main opposition leader in an attempt to ease tensions after election-related violence in the capital. (Jerome Delay/AP)
Police cordoned off a large area of downtown surrounding the opposition MDC’s headquarters. Late in the day, they presented a warrant to MDC staffers and searched the building looking for laptops and weapons but did not confiscate any items.
Nelson Chamisa made his first appearance in public since the vote on Monday, visiting a hospital where those injured in Wednesday’s violence were being treated. He vowed to contest any results that did not match with what his party had independently tabulated. On Wednesday, he had criticized the election commission’s delay in announcing a winner, tweeting, “The strategy is meant to prepare Zim mentally to accept fake presidential results.”
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After the Bell: Stocks making the biggest moves after hours: GPRO, AIG & more I CNBC

cnbc.com

Stocks making the biggest moves after hours: GPRO, AIG & more

Amelia Lucas


A man tries out a GoPro HERO5 Black  Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
A man tries out a GoPro HERO5 Black 
Check out the companies making headlines after the bell:
GoPro shares rose as much as 10 percent before giving up most of its gains in the extended session after reporting smaller-than expected losses for its second quarter. The camera tech company reported a loss of 15 cents per share versus the loss of 22 cents per share estimated by Wall Street. Revenues for the quarter of $283 million also beat estimates of $270 million from analysts.
AIG stock was down more than 5 percent during after-hours trading after missing earnings estimates by 16 cents for its second quarter. The insurance firm reported earnings of $1.05 per share, while Wall Street estimated earnings would hit $1.21 per share. The company also missed on revenue, reporting $11.63 billion for the quarter, down from the $11.99 billion expected by analysts.
Symantec stock plunged more than 8 percent in after-hours trading following the release of its first quarter results and weak earnings guidance for next quarter. The software company said it expects earnings for its second quarter to be between 31 and 35 cents, while Wall Street estimated it would be 38 cents.
Take-Two Interactive shares jumped nearly 12 percent during after-hours trading after beating revenue estimates for its first quarter. The video game company reported revenue of $288 million, $30 million more than the $258 million expected by Wall Street. Earnings for the quarter were 62 cents, but it is unclear if the company's numbers are comparable to Wall Street estimates of 7 cents.
Shake Shack shares dropped nearly 6 percent in extended-hours trading after the company issued a weak same-store sales outlook and did not change its full-year revenue forecast, despite posting strong earnings for its second quarter. The New York City-based company said in its second quarter earnings release that it expects same-store sales to increase from 0 percent to 1 percent year over year in 2018. Shake Shack believes its total 2018 revenue will be between $446 million and $450 million.
The milkshake and burger chain beat estimates for both its top and bottom line in its second quarter. It reported earnings of 29 cents per share versus estimates of 18 cents per share and revenues of $116 million versus the $111 million expected by Wall Street.

EU FX I CNBC: Dollar, yen rise as US-China trade war worries perk up

cnbc.com

Dollar, yen rise as US-China trade war worries perk up

CNBC


The dollar rose against a basket of currencies on Thursday, as a flare-up in trade tensions between the United States and China drove traders to buy the U.S. currency.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was up 0.48 percent at 95.07.
"Overall, the dollar is stronger today, and most of it seems to be coming on the back of increased trade tensions," said Charles Tomes, senior investment analyst and trader at Manulife Asset Management in Boston.
U.S. President Donald Trump sought to ratchet up pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, his administration said on Wednesday.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Trump directed the increase from a previously proposed 10 percent duty because China has refused to meet U.S. demands and has imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.
China on Thursday urged the United States to "calm down" and return to reason.
The yen, which tends to rise during periods of geopolitical or financial stress, strengthened on Thursday. The dollar was 0.05 percent lower against the yen, while the euro was down 0.56 percent against the Japanese currency.
"The risk-off tone is holding," said Tomes.
China's offshore yuan, which has been under pressure on worries the months-long trade dispute will hurt its economy, slid another 0.33 percent to as low as 6.838 yuan to the U.S, dollar, its weakest since May 2017.
The Australian dollar, seen as a proxy for Chinese growth because of Australia's export-reliant economy, also sold off, slipping 0.43 percent against its U.S. counterpart.
The U.S. currency was further bolstered by an upbeat assessment from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday. The Fed kept interest rates unchanged but characterized the economy as strong, continuing the central bank on track to increase borrowing costs in September.
Meanwhile, the pound fell even as the Bank of England lifted interest rates from crisis-era lows, after Governor Mark Carney said monetary policy needed to "walk not run" and expressed concern about the risks of a cliff-edge Brexit.
Sterling has lost almost 10 percent of its value since hitting a post Brexit-referendum high in April, amid worries that Britain will fail to secure a trade deal before it exits the European Union in March. On Thursday, the pound was 0.75 percent lower at $1.3026.
The South Africa's rand weakened against the U.S. dollar amid concerns about the government's plans to amend the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

Bonds at Close Report: US Treasury yields fall after the 10-year breaks above 3 percent.

cnbc.com

US Treasury yields fall after the 10-year breaks above 3 percent

Alexandra Gibbs, Thomas Franck


U.S. government debt yields slipped on Thursday as the rate on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note retreated from Wednesday's highs above 3 percent.
Yields floated upward in the previous session as the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee decided to hold fire on raising interest rates and chose to upgrade its outlook on the U.S. economy to strong.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was lower at around 2.986 percent at 3:55 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was down at 3.12 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
In the statement released by the Federal Reserve, the central bank said that the labor market has "continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a strong rate." In June, the Fed described economic activity as rising at a "solid rate."
The meeting comes hot on the heels of recent doses of economic data, including a positive gross domestic product reading of 4.1 percent growth in the second quarter.
The Bank of England, meanwhile, announced a rate bump despite qualms over the future of the U.K. economy.
The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously for an increase in rates from 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent on the back of a strong labor market and credit growth.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, pointing to sustained strength in the labor market.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 218,000 for the week ended July 28, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was unrevised.
Elsewhere, politics continues to keep market watchers busy. On Wednesday, the U.S. administration announced that President Donald Trump had spoken with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and asked him to consider increasing the proposed levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods up to 25 percent, from 10 percent.
Consequently, markets around the world continue to be on edge over what these trade tensions could mean for Washington and Beijing going forward.
Meantime, investors will be keeping a close eye on the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note after it topped 3 percent on Wednesday — the first time it's reached this level since June.
— CNBC's Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.

Oil Price at Close Report: Oil rebounds strongly as US crude stockpiles are seen falling I CNBC.

cnbc.com

Oil rebounds strongly as US crude stockpiles are seen falling

CNBC


80848321DM012_High_Oil_Pric David McNew | Getty Images
Oil prices rebounded on Thursday from two days of losses, reversing course after a report suggested crude stockpiles at the U.S. storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma fell in the latest week.
U.S. stockpiles have been in the spotlight because they rose unexpectedly last week, stoking fears that the market is becoming oversupplied. Thursday's data suggests last week's increase might have been an anomaly, traders said.
Crude inventories at Cushing dropped 1.1 million barrels since Friday, July 27, traders said, citing a report issued by energy information provider Genscape. In the previous week, total U.S. inventories rose 3.8 million barrels, while supplies at Cushing fell 1.3 million barrels.
"There's an expectation that the build from this week will be gone next week," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. Additionally, he said, U.S. monthly figures for production fell in May, suggesting that output may be curbed later in the year, he said.
Brent crude futures were last up $1.23, or 1.7 percent, at $73.62 a barrel by 2:22 p.m. ET, after dropping 2.5 percent on Wednesday. U.S. crude futures rose $1.35, or 2 percent, to $68.93, having declined 1.6 percent in the previous session.
Buying also picked up after U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude dipped below $67 to a six-week low.
"Technical support came into the market there," said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital.
Futures reversed course after trading lower on concerns about oversupply early in the session.
Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have increased production, as agreed at a meeting in June, to help to compensate for an anticipated shortfall in Iranian crude supplies once U.S. sanctions come into force later this year.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russia agreed in late 2016 to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day to rebalance supply and demand. But the producers agreed at a meeting in June to hike output after removing more barrels from the market than they originally intended and to account for the sanctions on Iran.
"Oil is holding up reasonably well ... A lot of this is the risk premium priced in for Iran and when do we start seeing an impact on supply there," ING commodities strategist Warren Patterson said.
"At the moment, there is a mismatch in timing, where there is increasing OPEC supply and yet we're not seeing a significant reduction in Iranian supply," Patterson said.
The United States believes Iran is preparing to carry out a major exercise in the Gulf in coming days, apparently moving up the timing of annual drills amid heightened tensions with Washington, U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran has angered Tehran. Iranian officials have warned the country would not easily yield to a renewed U.S. campaign to strangle Iran's vital oil exports.
"There are a lot of escalation points that could occur very quickly and that worries me," Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance in Sydney, said.
Worries about the possible loss of Iranian supply are being somewhat offset by concerns that global trade tensions could slow economic growth and crimp energy demand.
Trump has turned up pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports. China said it would hit back if the United States took further steps on trade.
"It is almost certain that China will impose additional duties on oil and refined products imported from the U.S. if the Trump administration implements additional tariffs on the next tranche of Chinese goods. This could severely dent the competitiveness of U.S. oil and derivatives in the Chinese market," said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy.
— CNBC's Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.

Gold Price at Close Report: Gold falls to 1-year low as the dollar marches higher I CNBC

cnbc.com

Gold falls to 1-year low as the dollar marches higher

CNBC


Leonhard Foeger | Reuters
Gold inched down to the lowest price in over one year on Thursday after an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy by the Federal Reserve and new trade tensions between Washington and Beijing boosted the dollar.
"The belief is that there will be real and honest negotiation between USA and China," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal Management in New York, in a note. "Hence with the economy humming along and interest rate hikes guaranteed in the future (based on) the Fed announcement yesterday, the gold price will stay depressed."
Gold has slumped 11 percent since April, as rising U.S. interest rates and the perception that trade wars will damage the United States less than other nations pushed the dollar higher. The stronger dollar hurts gold because it makes bullion more expensive for buyers with other currencies. Higher bond yields meanwhile make non-yielding gold less attractive to investors.
With the U.S. dollar up nearly 0.5 percent against a basket of currencies, spot gold was down 0.53 percent at $1,209.01 an ounce, its lowest since July 2017. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $7.50 at $1,220.10.
"We are in territory - $1,200-$1,220 an ounce - where we should start to bottom out," said ABN AMRO analyst Georgette Boele.
Momentum indicators suggest prices will continue to fall, according to analysts at ScotiaMocatta, and gold has not yet snapped a steep downtrend line from mid-June.
Adding to the pressure on bullion are expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in September. Those expectations were bolstered on Wednesday by the Fed, which praised the strength of the U.S. economy, and forecast-beating employment data on Wednesday and Thursday.
Higher interest rates are a source of pressure for gold because they push up bond yields and tend to boost the dollar. Gold could fall to $1,200 ahead of a September rate announcement, Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah said.
But after that, tightening monetary policy elsewhere could begin to push the dollar lower and help gold recover to above $1,300 next year, he said.
The Bank of England raised interest rates while the European Central Bank also intends to wind down its stimulus measures.
In other precious metals, silver was down 0.1 percent at $15.33.
Miner Impala Platinum's announcement to slash about a third of its workforce supported platinum and palladium prices, traders said. Platinum rose 1.6 percent to $825 and palladium was flat at $914.10.

Asia at Close Report:S&P 500 and Nasdaq rise as Apple tops $1 trillion market cap I CNBC

cnbc.com

S&P 500 and Nasdaq rise as Apple tops $1 trillion market cap

Fred Imbert, Alexandra Gibbs




The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose on Thursday as Apple became the first U.S. publicly traded company in history to reach $1 trillion in market value.
The S&P 500 advanced 0.5 percent to 2,827.22, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.2 percent to 7,802.69. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed just 7.66 points lower at 25,326.16, nearly erasing a 200-point loss.
Apple shares rose 2.9 percent to $207.39 a share, lifting its market cap above the $1 trillion mark. Apple's stock has been on a tear since the company reported stronger-than-forecast quarterly results on Tuesday. Since then, the stock is up nearly 9 percent.
"It's good for confidence in the market to the extent that it's a widely owned stock," said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. "A lot of market-cap weighted ETFs are getting a boost from this."
The major indexes fell earlier in the session as trade worries intensified after the Trump administration threatened to slap bigger tariffs on China.
The U.S. administration announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider increasing the proposed levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods up to 25 percent, from 10 percent.
China's Ministry of Commerce responded to the U.S. announcement saying: "China is fully prepared and will have to retaliate to defend the nation's dignity and the interests of the people, defend free trade and the multilateral system, and defend the common interests of all countries."
Shares of big exporters Caterpillar and Boeing fell 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
Hkg9150532 Yoshikazu Tsuno | Getty Images
Global stock markets fell. The Shanghai Composite and Nikkei 225 dropped 2 percent and 1.03 percent, respectively. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index fell 0.8 percent.
"Investors are flirting with a combination of bad news," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. "President Trump doesn't appear to be backing down and the Chinese have threatened to retaliate."
Earnings season continued on Thursday with DowDuPont and Aetna reporting better-than-expected quarterly results. Aetna's shares rose 0.1 percent, but DowDuPont's stock fell more than 2 percent.
Tesla shares surged more than 16 percent after CEO Elon Musk said the company would be profitable in the second half. However, Tesla posted a wider-than-expected loss on the bottom line for the previous quarter.
More than 70 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results through Thursday morning, with 78 percent reporting better-than-expected profits, FactSet data shows.
"Generally earnings themselves have been robust, but appear to have been fully discounted in most cases by the market," said Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management. "In a few high profile cases earnings disappointed, triggering very sharp losses in equity prices, again reflecting high levels of positioning."
The Labor Department said weekly jobless claims rose to 218,000. Economists polled by Reuters expected an increase to 220,000. The report comes after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, but upgraded its outlook on the U.S. economy to strong. It also comes ahead of the Labor Department's monthly jobs reports, scheduled for release Friday.

The Corner of Politics and Main – Iconic Voices with Jeff Cunningham I Medium

medium.com

The Corner of Politics and Main – Iconic Voices with Jeff Cunningham – Medium

Jeff Cunningham


Can a business refuse to serve a customer based on politics? Two eminent attorneys debate the pros and cons.

In small towns across America, people enjoying a quiet meal or drink at the end of the day are finding themselves tossed into the street. You may be surprised to learn this isn’t happening in biker bars or after-hours clubs, but at quaint village restaurants like the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, or hipster hangouts like the Griffin in Atwater, California.
The message to the patron is that if your political views are not welcome in our community, your money isn’t either.
The bookstore can turn into a partisan battleground, too. Black Swan Booksellers in Richmond, Virginia, was attacked online when the owner tried to stop a woman from assaulting a former presidential advisor.
The problem is that when it comes to dealing with customers divided along ideological lines, there aren’t any simple choices. A business as big as Walmart or as small as the corner grocery is equally vulnerable to boycotts or charges of discrimination, no matter what action it takes.
To get a better handle on how to deal with political polarity infecting the marketplace, I reached out to two eminent legal minds — one is an employment attorney in New York, the other is a constitutional law professor in California — for their take on this perplexing matter.

In fact, can a business refuse to serve a customer based on their political views?

I put the question to Lorie Almon, who specializes in employment issues for the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw LLP in New York CIty, and she said that on a federal level, any private business that serves the public has the right to refuse service for any reason . However, she adds, the refusal must not be based upon any federally protected classifications including race, sex/gender, age, religion, national origin, disability, genetic information, and veteran status.

What about refusing to serve someone based on ideology?

For this one, I turned to Eugene Volokh, who publishes a highly influential legal blog, a constitutional law professor at UCLA School of Law, as well as an academic affiliate with Mayer Brown LLP. He told me that in most states there is no prohibition on ideological discrimination and a public accommodation business like a restaurant could say, “we don’t serve Republicans” or “we don’t serve communists.”

But can it also refuse to serve someone for wearing a MAGA hat?

Almon said that if a state law prohibits ideological discrimination, a political hat by itself may not be grounds for refusal of service. But if the hat is worn by a customer who is behaving in a manner that is frightening or disruptive, the restaurant absolutely has the right to ask them to leave.
Volokh adds that a business based in California should keep in mind there is a state statute banning public accommodation discrimination , which courts have interpreted as banning discrimination based on dress and on personal beliefs. It could be also interpreted as barring businesses from excluding customers because of ideological messages on their clothing.
Volokh also recalled a case going back at least 30 years involving a German restaurant that refused to serve a group wearing Nazi pins, and in this case, they were actual Nazis.
The ACLU sued on behalf of the Nazi pin wearers for impermissible discrimination based on ideology , in violation of the California statute. The court’s decision found that the German restaurant was prohibited from ejecting people based on their wearing such pins.
Not very gemütlich of the ACLU.

Does it help to post a dress code?

To Volokh, the law is “fairly clear” that with or without a sign, a business never has the right to refuse service to a customer based on grounds forbidden by state or federal law (such as race or religion), but the business may otherwise refuse service to anyone not conforming with either a dress code or behavior code.
But if you happen to have a business in one of those jurisdictions that ban discrimination based on dress or on politics, a restaurant saying, ‘No political pins,’ and especially ‘No political pins of this particular political persuasion,’ could be construed as discriminatory. So people’s clothing is afforded some degree of protection, just like their beliefs.

Are political beliefs subject to protection like religion?

As Tip O’Neill said, “all politics is local,” and it comes down to the State where you do business. According to Volokh, discrimination based on religion is generally forbidden, but based on political ideology, it has mostly been allowed, except in a few cities (such as Seattle and D.C.) and likely, in California.
Almon also observed that federal law mandates “reasonable accommodation” of religious beliefs, so that any ‘no hat’ policy would have to accommodate religious headgear such as a hijab or yarmulke.
When will we start seeing MAGA yarmulkes?

What if a customer is rude or gets argumentative?

Volokh says the restaurant owner has every right to say to the customer “look you can’t argue with strangers at the neighboring table and you can’t intrude into the dinner of the others by arguing with them.”
Volokh says the business may be confident that in this case, the restaurant would have every right to eject the person, and has that right without having to prove anything. One caveat, is if the jurisdiction bans political discrimination, they need to apply the rule uniformly.
For example, if a restaurant in Seattle ejects an anti-immigration customer for arguing with people at the table next to them, but allows environmentalist customers to do the same, that would be forbidden political discrimination.
Almon also reminds us that if the patron’s behavior rise to the level where it impacts the safety or enjoyment of other patrons or employees, the restaurant can absolutely refuse service as well.

But what if the customer you refuse decides to sue?

So I asked, does the establishment bear the burden of proving the customer was rude and aggressive? Volokh says the business doesn’t have to prove anything at the outset — but once the customer shows some evidence of possible forbidden discrimination (such as that the business ejected one customer for arguing but not another), then the business would be expected to provide a legally permissible reason for treating them differently. For example, that the ejected customer started the aggressive behavior, or was more aggressive than the others.
The critical thing is that in jurisdictions that ban political discrimination, they would have to apply the same standards at all times.

What if customers say things that are offensive to workplace policies?

Almon said that if a customer is broadcasting offensive remarks that contravene the business’ anti-harassment/EEO policies, based on race or national origin, or the like, that could certainly create an uncomfortable working environment for restaurant employees. At that point, the restaurant faces legal risk (and potential liability) by not acting to remove the offending patron.

Are political conversations in a restaurant covered by Freedom of Speech?

Almon confirms many people are confused about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment only protects people from governmental action based on their politics . Private establishments generally do not have to concern themselves with their customer’s First Amendment rights.
Almon also asks business owners to consider that a number of states have much broader protections than those offered by federal law or the Constitution. She noted that under California law (and under New York law, for that matter), there are a great number of protected classes, including LGBT status and political affiliation.
So, a California business owner who refuses to serve someone based upon a political T-shirt or some overheard conversations may inadvertently face a civil rights lawsuit if that refusal can be tied to a protected class.

What if a bar or restaurant is asked to host a rally that customers see as racist?

Almon strongly recommends that the restaurant can (and should) have politically neutral rules allowing them to decline service to patrons who are being loud, threatening, disrespectful of servers, making comments to other patrons, or displaying images or engaging in conduct that violates anti-harassment policies.
Almon thinks this is relatively straightforward, provided the restaurant handles disruptive conduct in the same way regardless of the political affiliation of the offending patrons. The restaurant would have to be sure that it doesn’t treat frightening and disruptive people with more sympathetic political views in a different manner.

What can an owner do to protect the business?

If Almon were counseling the restaurant that ejected the offending patron, she would recommend they get signed, written statements from anyone who was present and overheard the situation. She would also have the restaurant managers promptly document why they took the steps that they did, e.g., because the patron was speaking loudly for others to hear, and made a racial remark that violated the company’s EEO policy, or alarmed other diners, e.g., by making drunken threats of violence.
Almon adds, of course, that a public drunken rant is nearly always captured on someone’s iPhone. All of this evidence should help the restaurant defend any claim by the patron, showing that the patron was tossed for reasons other than his political thinking. Conversely, if the patron wanted to sue, he would have to prove that it was his unpopular political beliefs and not bad conduct, that led to his ouster.

Is more staff training a good idea?

When I asked Volokh about the owner’s role in providing staff training, he confirmed that owners are responsible for what the employees do on the job because they are acting on behalf of the business. What this means, practically speaking, is that employees need to know how to comport themselves in these politically polarized times or if they don’t, the business could be subject to a lawsuit.
With some anti-discrimination laws, there is an obligation to train. Volokh doesn’t believe there is a formal training requirement under the few existing bans on political discrimination — but if an employee hasn’t been trained and therefore doesn’t know about the law and violates it, the restaurant may run the risk of being sued and losing.

On the flip side, can a business show preferential treatment to a specific ideology or group?

It might interest business owners to note, according to Volokh, that while discriminating against specific sets of people by refusing to serve them may be illegal, providing discounts for particular groups are okay, because many jurisdictions don’t ban preferences (I would call this a form of positive discrimination) based on age, occupation, or military service, in places of public accommodation.
Other forms of this kind of discrimination are specially allowed by statute (some states exempt discounts for the elderly from their anti-discrimination laws). But if the law bans political affiliation discrimination, then discounts for people who have a particular political affiliation are equally banned.

European Stocks Markets at Close Report: European stocks lower on trade woes; Bank of England hikes rates I cnbc

cnbc.com

Europe stocks close lower on trade woes; Bank of England hikes rates

Silvia Amaro, Justina Crabtree, Ryan Browne


European markets closed sharply lower Thursday, after the Bank of England announced a rate hike.
 
FTSE FTSE 7578.34 -74.57 -0.97% 787577632
DAX DAX 12540.26 -196.79 -1.55% 78019395
CAC CAC 5464.14 -34.23 -0.62% 65494388
IBEX 35 --- --- --- --- --- ---
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down by 0.84 percent with almost every sector in the red. Basic resources dropped 2.92 percent and auto stocks fell 1.06 percent on the back of trade concerns. Overnight, President Donald Trump's administration sought to push China harder on trade by suggesting that it could increase import taxes to 25 percent on $200 billion-worth of goods.
Looking across the European index, Kaz Minerals led the losses Thursday, plunging 28.3 percent, after it said it had agreed to buy the Baimskaya copper project in the Chukotka region of Russia for $900 million. Broker Jefferies downgraded the stock to hold from buy.
Siemens shares fell 4.69 percent with the industrial firm missing estimates for its quarterly revenue.
On the other end, Amundi was among the top gainers, up by 5.44 percent, after reporting second-quarter profits. The London Stock Exchange also rose 3.213 percent after reporting its latest results. The group said that it has activated contingency plans in case the U.K. leaves Europe next year without any deal.
In other earnings news, French lender Societe Generale published its second-quarter results showing a 9.3 percent increase in net income from a year ago. Shares fell 2.25 percent.
In other corporate news, Rolls-Royce said Thursday it was taking a one-off charge of £554 million ($724 million) to deal with costs related to engine problems. Nevertheless, shares spiked 7.107 after the firm said it expects full-year underlying profit and cash flow to come in at the upper half of its guidance.
Meanwhile, on Wall Street, shares tumbled as traders eyed the latest development in Trump's trade battle with China. And tech giant Apple is fast approaching a market capitalization of $1 trillion — it needs to reach a share price of $207.05 to get there, due to a recent outstanding shares adjustment.

BOE announces rate hike

Elsewhere, the Bank of England announced a rate hike despite ongoing uncertainty over the future of the U.K. economy.
The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously for an increase in rates from 0.5 to 0.75 percent on the back of a strong labor market and credit growth.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said at a press conference following the rate hike that the bank's policy should "walk, not run," signaling gradual rate rises. Sterling fell 0.7 percent against the dollar, at $1.3032.

Premarket moves: Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: DWDP, TSLA, NKE, SBUX, YUM & more I CNBC

cnbc.com

Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: DWDP, TSLA, NKE, SBUX, YUM & more

Peter Schacknow


Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
DowDupont – The chemicals maker reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.37 per share, 7 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also beating forecasts. The company also said it has now realized nearly $900 million in cost savings since the merger of Dow and DuPont last year.
Cigna – The health insurer earned an adjusted $3.89 for the second quarter, above the consensus estimate of $3.33, while revenue beat forecasts as well. Cigna was helped by higher membership numbers and increased premiums.
Tesla – Tesla lost $3.06 per share for its latest quarter, more than the loss of $2.92 per share that analysts had projected. The automaker's revenue beat estimates, and the automaker said it expects profitability on a GAAP basis during the second half of the year.
Nike – The athletic footwear maker was rated "overweight" in new coverage at Morgan Stanley, which said Nike is in position to take more market share in a high growth global activewear market, and that it is successfully transitioning from a traditional business into a retail technology company.
Starbucks – Starbucks struck a partnership deal with China e-commerce giant Alibaba to deliver its coffee in Chinese cities.
Sonos – Sonos priced its initial public offering at $15 per share, below the target range of $17 to $19 a share. The wireless speaker maker raised $38.3 million in the offering, and the shares will begin trading today on the Nasdaq.
Teva Pharmaceutical – Teva posted beats on both the top and bottom lines for its latest quarter, and raised its full-year forecast. However, sales of its flagship multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone fell nearly 50 percent in North America due to generic competition.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals – The drugmaker reported adjusted quarterly profit of $5.45 per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $4.70 a share. Revenue also beat forecasts, as sales of Regeneron's flagship eye treatment Eylea rose eight percent in the U.S. and 13 percent globally.
Yum Brands – The parent of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut earned an adjusted 82 cents per share for the second quarter, eight cents above estimates. Revenue also topped forecasts, but a same-store sales increase of one percent was shy of the 1.98 percent consensus estimate as fewer customers ate at Pizza Hut locations.
Wynn Resorts – Wynn reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.53 per share, short of the consensus $1.96 a share estimate. The hotel and casino operator's revenue also missed forecasts, although it did see stronger results from its Wynn Palace property in Macau.
CBS – CBS has retained two law firms to investigate allegations of improper behavior against Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves.
T-Mobile – T-Mobile beat estimates by 5 cents a share, with quarterly profit of 92 cents per share. The wireless carrier's revenue fell short of forecast. T-Mobile also added 686,000 new wireless subscribers during the quarter, more than Wall Street was anticipating.
TripAdvisor – TripAdvisor came in 2 cents a share above estimates, with adjusted quarterly profit of 41 cents per share. The travel website operator's revenue came up short of Street forecasts. Traffic on TripAdvisor-branded websites and apps was up 10 percent from a year earlier.
Square – Square reported adjusted quarterly profit of 13 cents per share for the second quarter, 2 cents a share above estimates. The mobile payments company's revenue also beat estimates, however Square issued weaker-than-expected current-quarter guidance.
JPMorgan Chase – JPMorgan said it is among the financial firms being probed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for their handling of American Depositary Receipts between 2011 and 2015. The bank said it is cooperating with the investigation.
U.S. Steel – U.S. Steel beat estimates by 33 cents a share, with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.46 per share. Revenue topped forecasts, as well. The company boosted prices and lifted production following the imposition of tariffs on imported steel in March.
Yum China – Yum China came in three cents above estimates with quarterly earnings of 33 cents per share, although the China-based restaurant operator's revenue was slightly shy of forecasts. Comparable store sales fell a greater than expected one percent, with analysts having anticipated a 0.6 percent decline.
Barclays – Barclays saw profits nearly triple for the second quarter, coming in above analysts' estimates, and the British bank will pay a greater-than-expected dividend.
Walmart – Walmart was sued by Silicon Valley-based Zest Labs for $2 billion. Zest claims Walmart stole its technology designed to extend the shelf life of produce. Walmart said it respects the intellectual property rights of others and would respond to the complaint in court.
Fitbit – Fitbit reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, on stronger than expected sales of its newer smartwatches.

Link Building Tactics to use now I Search Engine Watch

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With the right strategy in place, link building can be a hugely effective way of building strong authority to increase longer term, sustainable organic visibility. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to find yourself returning to old, outdated methods. With so many different approaches to link building, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to make the greatest impact.
There are a variety of link building tactics that don’t require a huge amount of resource or expense, so whether you’re working for an agency or in-house, dust away the cobwebs that are plaguing your strategy and step up. Bethanie Dennis explains.

Today’s Top Story

Ways to improve your link building

With the right strategy in place, link building can be the perfect way of building strong authority to increase longer term, sustainable organic visibility. With so many different approaches, we take a look at the best ones to improve your site.
by Bethanie Dennis
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Emerging technologies present huge opportunity for content marketing

In any role, it can be all too easy to fall into a comfort zone; you figure out a method that works, perfect your execution and watch as the fruits of your labor flood in. And repeat.
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Using behavioral design to reduce bounce rate

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Why AI and international paid media is a match made in hell

When looking back on summer 2018, it’s hard to ignore the optimism that’s been in the air. Sunny weather? Check. England football triumph? Almost! AI as the next big thing in digital marketing? Try and count the number of articles, blog posts and sound…
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How Alexa and Siri are changing SEO: AI and voice search

The Internet changes rapidly, which means marketers and business leaders must hurry to change with it. While most Internet searches were once done on laptops and desktops, people are now using their smartphones with similar devices to conduct searches for…
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