Business News at a Glance
Posted June 15, 2018 10:07 p.m. EDT
U.S. and China Expand Trade War as Beijing Matches Trump’s Tariffs
The Trump administration Friday escalated a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, moving ahead with tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods and provoking an immediate tit-for-tat response from Beijing. The president is battling on a global front, taking aim at allies and adversaries alike. China’s response was swift Friday, focusing on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods including beef, poultry, tobacco and cars. The trade actions could ripple through the global economy, fracturing supply chains and costing jobs at U.S. companies that will be forced to absorb higher prices.
Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Indicted on Fraud Charges
Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of Theranos, the lab testing company that promised to revolutionize health care, and its former president, Ramesh Balwani, were indicted Friday on charges of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars as well as deceiving hundreds of patients and doctors. The criminal charges were the culmination of a rarity in Silicon Valley — federal prosecution of a technology startup. In the fabled universe of overnight billionaires and unicorns, companies with billion-dollar valuations, Holmes had catapulted herself and her company into the buzz-filled world of “disrupters” by pledging to upend the health industry.
Feeling Good About the Economy? You’re Probably a Republican
Americans are feeling better about the economy. Or at least Republicans are. A combination of low unemployment, peppier economic growth and a record-setting stock market has pushed measures of consumer confidence to their highest levels since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. That optimism is spilling over into spending, as well: Retail sales rose in May at their fastest pace in six months. Sixty percent of Republicans believe they are better off now than they were a year ago, compared with 17 percent of Democrats, according to a survey conducted by the online polling firm SurveyMonkey.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Cartoonist Fired as Paper Shifts Right
Rob Rogers joined the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a staff editorial cartoonist in 1993 and for years his cartoons have appeared in the newspaper roughly five days a week. But in late May, he said, they began disappearing. Over the past three months, Rogers said, 19 cartoons or proposals for cartoons were rejected by either the editorial page editor, Keith Burris, or the publisher, John Robinson Block. On Thursday, he was fired. Burris said Friday that while he may be more to the right than Rogers, his goal is to make sure the Post-Gazette is “independent and thoughtful,” without any ideological intent.
AT&T Executive Taking Over HBO and CNN
After AT&T closed its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner on Thursday, the wireless giant immediately appointed John Stankey, a 30-year veteran of AT&T, to oversee the part of the business that includes CNN, HBO and valuable film franchises such as “Harry Potter.” Stankey, 55, who once led wireline operations at AT&T and more recently oversaw the start of its streaming service, DirecTV Now, is now in charge of a $31 billion conglomerate that comprises Warner Bros. film studios, Turner and HBO. The Time Warner name will also be retired and the company will be re-christened WarnerMedia.
McDonald’s to Switch to Paper Straws in Britain as Country Turns Against Plastic
The queen has backed efforts to curb the use of plastics. The Church of England has encouraged a similar push. Increasingly, companies here in Britain and elsewhere are joining that campaign, too. On Friday, McDonald’s became the latest to do so. The fast food chain outlined plans to phase out plastic straws across its 1,361 restaurants in Britain, which currently use 1.8 million plastic straws a day, by the end of next year. A million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die from eating or getting tangled in plastic waste each year, according to the British government.
Apple and Oprah Winfrey Sign a Content Deal
Apple and Oprah Winfrey have joined forces in a multiyear content deal, the company announced Friday. It is the latest high-profile producing partnership for the technology behemoth, which is developing TV series with writers and actors including Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Wiig and M. Night Shyamalan as it ramps up its plans to create and distribute original content. In a news release, Apple said Winfrey would “create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.” It did not offer any specifics about what type of programming she would create or the terms of the deal.