Business News at a Glance
Posted May 31, 2018 9:49 p.m. EDT
U.S. to Set Tariffs on Its Key Allies, Risking Reprisal
The Trump administration said Thursday that it would impose steep tariffs on metals imported from its closest allies, provoking retaliation against U.S. businesses and consumers and further straining diplomatic ties. The European Union, Canada and Mexico, which will face 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, drew up lists of tit-for-tat measures, many aimed at parts of the United States where President Donald Trump enjoys his strongest political support. The administration now faces a test of whether its strategy will extract promises from trading partners or end up backfiring on the U.S. economy.
Softbank Fund Pumps Money Into GM’s Driverless Unit
A fund affiliated with SoftBank Group of Japan said Thursday that it planned to invest $2.25 billion in the driverless-technology division of General Motors to help the automaker ramp up a ride-hailing service. The deal’s magnitude reflects the growing confidence that commercial use of autonomous cars is in sight — despite recent setbacks to some other companies, including at least two fatal accidents, that have raised questions about the technology’s safety. As part of the deal, GM said it would put an additional $1.1 billion of its own money into the unit, which is known as GM Cruise Holdings.
In the World of Cryptocurrency, Even Good Projects Can Go Bad
Envion, a company in Switzerland, had seemed to be among the more legitimate outfits creating its own cryptocurrency. It said it had collected $100 million from investors this year with a plan to bring clean energy to the computers that manage bitcoin. The project was reinforced by partnerships as well as by promises of compliance with Swiss and U.S. laws. But Envion is now melting down, with its creators accusing one another of fraud. The episode is the latest reminder of how virtual currencies have allowed entrepreneurs direct access to investors without regulatory oversight.
Telegram App Says Apple Is Blocking Updates Over Dispute With Russia
Apple was thrust into a long-simmering dispute Thursday between the encrypted messaging app Telegram and the Russian government, which has sought to shut down the service since it declined to help Moscow intercept communications sent through its platform. Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, accused Apple of refusing to allow the messaging service’s software to be updated globally after Russian authorities ordered the iPhone maker to remove Telegram from Apple’s App Store. Durov’s allegation undercuts the importance that Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has placed on privacy and adds to criticism that the company too easily acquiesces to governments.
Goldman Sachs Banker Charged With Fraud in Insider Trading Case
Federal prosecutors on Thursday accused a Goldman Sachs investment banker in San Francisco of insider trading, alleging that Woojae Jung used confidential information to trade in a dozen stocks over three years. Prosecutors said he earned illicit profits of just over $130,000. Jung was arrested in San Francisco on Thursday. He was still an employee of the bank at the time of his arrest, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office said. Goldman is not named in court papers, but Jung’s LinkedIn profile describes his career there, and Goldman handled the mergers on which he is accused of trading.
Bee Apologizes for Insult Against Ivanka Trump
Samantha Bee apologized Thursday for having used a vulgar epithet to describe Ivanka Trump on her TBS show, saying she had “crossed a line.” TBS also issued an apology, but took no disciplinary action against the late-night host. Bee’s insult of the president’s elder daughter Wednesday’s episode of “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” caused a furor made more intense because the remark came a day after ABC swiftly canceled “Roseanne” over a racist tweet by the show’s star. The different consequences provided conservatives with a fresh opportunity to accuse the media industry of having a liberal bias.