Business Updates: Apple to Allow Parler App Back on iPhones

Credit…Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA, via Shutterstock

Parler, the social network popular with conservatives, is making its comeback.

The app had been kicked off iPhones, Android devices and even the internet in January after tech companies said Parler had not effectively policed content on the network around the time of the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.

But on Monday, Apple said in a letter to two federal lawmakers that it had approved Parler’s return to iPhones because the app had agreed to more aggressively patrol what its users posted, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The New York Times.

An Apple lobbyist said in the letter that the iPhone maker had removed Parler from the App Store in January because it wasn’t taking down “posts that encouraged violence, denigrated various ethnic groups, races and religions, glorified Nazism, and called for violence against specific people.”

Since then, Apple employees have “engaged in substantial conversations with Parler in an effort to bring the Parler app into compliance.” Last week, Apple told Parler that it was welcome back because of changes it had agreed to make to the app, the lobbyist said in the letter. Parler would return to the App Store when it submitted its new app, he said.

Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Parler’s return to iPhones follows the revival of its website after it went offline for about a month. Amazon had pulled support for Parler’s social network in January, forcing its website to go dark. Parler came back online in February with the help of a small web-hosting company near Los Angeles called SkySilk.

Since then, some users have returned to Parler, but it appears there is less overall activity on the social network since the time of the election. Most of the conversation around Parler revolved around politics, and the user base was overwhelmingly supportive of former President Donald J. Trump. Executives at Parler, including its co-owner Rebekah Mercer, the conservative donor, hope the iPhone app can help the social network regain steam.

“I think there was virtually no chance we could stay out of it,” Doug Parker, the head of American Airlines, said to employees. “You have to take a stand on these things.” 
Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

The American Airlines chief executive, Doug Parker, spoke to workers last week about his decision to publicly oppose restrictive voting legislation pending in Texas, saying that people of color feel “as though these laws are making it much harder for people like them to vote.”

Mr. Parker said in a meeting with employees that he wasn’t trying to take sides in a partisan dispute, but that for him, voting rights was “an equity issue,” according to a recording of the conversation obtained by View From the Wing, a travel industry blog.

American Airlines declined to comment on the recording.

The airline, which is based in Fort Worth, was among the first major companies to publicly oppose the voting legislation that Republicans were advancing in Texas. Just days after Georgia passed a voting law that would make it harder for some people to vote, the company came out against similar legislation pending in Texas, saying it was “strongly opposed to this bill and others like it.”

In the meeting with employees last week, Mr. Parker said he felt the company was going to have to weigh in on the issue. “I think there was virtually no chance we could stay out of it,” he said. “You have to take a stand on these things.”

He added that legislation that targets minority populations is bad for the economy, noting that when such laws pass, companies, sports leagues and entertainers sometimes take their business elsewhere.

“The more we divide ourselves, and the more divisive we become, the less likely it is that people are going to travel to states that take divisive stances, and that’s not good for us either,” Mr. Parker said.

Mr. Parker’s comments come as companies around the country are calibrating their opposition to restrictive voting laws being advanced by Republicans in almost every state. Hundreds of companies last week signed a letter opposing “discriminatory legislation.” Yet there is so far scant evidence that Republican lawmakers are reining in their efforts as a result of the corporate community’s outcry.

A coal mine in Gillette, Wyo.
Credit…Mead Gruver/Associated Press

The country’s largest mine workers union signaled on Monday that it would accept a transition away from fossil fuels in exchange for new jobs in renewable energy, spending on technology to make coal cleaner and financial aid for miners who lose their jobs.

“There needs to be a tremendous investment here,” Cecil E. Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America, said in an interview. “We always end up dealing with climate change, closing down coal mines. We never get to the second piece of it.”

The mine workers’ plan, which Mr. Roberts is presenting at an event with Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, calls for the creation of new jobs in Appalachia through tax credits that would subsidize the making of solar panel and wind turbine components, and by funding the reclamation of abandoned mines that pose a risk to public health.

The mine workers are also calling for spending on research on carbon capture and storage technology, which would allow coal-fired plants to store carbon dioxide underground rather than release it into the atmosphere, and for policies that allow coal plants to remain open if they commit to installing the technology.

The union wants the federal government to support miners who lose their jobs through retraining and by replacing their wages, health insurance and pensions.

Many of these proposals appear in President Biden’s $2.3 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan, including funding for research into carbon capture, which critics deride as prohibitively expensive, and money for reclaiming mines.

“Change is coming, whether we seek it or not,” stated a document that the mine workers union released on Monday, titled “Preserving Coal Country.” It notes that employment in the coal industry had dropped to about 44,000 as of last December, down from 92,000 at the end of 2011.

Mr. Roberts said the union would resist any climate legislation that did not help ensure a livelihood for its members.

“We’re on the side of job creation, of a future for our people,” he said. “If that isn’t part of the conversation at the end of the day, we’ll be hard pressed to be supportive.”

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said combating climate change would be a top priority for her department.
Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

The Treasury Department is forming a new climate “hub” and has tapped a former Obama administration official to lead the agency’s effort to fuse climate and economic policy across President Biden’s agenda.

The move comes as the Biden administration is preparing to take new steps to address the financial risks associated with climate change. It is taking a series of executive actions that would affect mortgages, retirement funds, insurance companies and companies that do business with the federal government.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Monday that she had hired John E. Morton to lead Treasury’s new climate office and to advise her on climate matters. Mr. Morton was senior director for energy and climate change on the National Security Council in the Obama administration and held senior roles at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. He has been a partner most recently at the climate change advisory and investment firm Pollination.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance in January, Mr. Morton said that the response to climate change should be viewed as an economic opportunity and also made the case for some of the new financial risk disclosure requirements that Ms. Yellen and regulators were considering.

“The issue of climate risk disclosure within financial institutions is going to move from what is now a relatively voluntary haphazard set of coalitions to a more mandatory requirement in the years ahead,” Mr. Morton said. “And that from my perspective as a consumer is really good.”

Mr. Morton’s appointment was met with disappointment from some progressive groups. Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform, two left-leaning advocacy organizations, expressed concern that he lacked regulatory experience and suggested he might be too accommodating of big business.

“Mr. Morton should seek input and guidance on robust regulatory action from those groups most affected by the climate crisis and their allies, not Wall Street firms seeking to profit from the transition or to avoid addressing the roots of the problem,” they wrote in a joint statement on Monday.

Ms. Yellen said on Monday that the consequences of climate change were “steep” and that addressing it would be a top priority for Treasury.

“Climate change requires economywide investments by industry and government as well as actions to measure and mitigate climate-related risks to households, businesses and our financial sector,” Ms. Yellen said in a statement. “Finance and financial incentives will play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis at home and abroad and in providing capital for opportunities to transform the economy.”

The Treasury Department is currently focused on climate-related financial risks and how to use the corporate tax system to combat climate change.

The Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., where Amazon employees recently voted on unionization.
Credit…Bob Miller for The New York Times

The union that was soundly defeated in its efforts to organize an Amazon warehouse in Alabama is seeking to overturn the results of the election, accusing the company of corrupting the voting process by intimidating and surveilling workers

On Monday, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union filed objections to the election with the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the voting-by-mail process last month.

The union lost its bid to organize the warehouse by a more than 2-to-1 ratio. Many workers said that the union had failed to persuade them of the benefits of organizing and that they were largely satisfied with the pay, benefits and working conditions at Amazon.

In a statement on Monday, Amazon said: “Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda. We look forward to the next steps in the legal process.”

At the heart of the union’s complaint is a mailbox that Amazon installed in the warehouse parking lot where workers could drop off their ballots. The union said Amazon had brought in the collection box without approval from the labor board. The company also used video cameras that could monitor the workers who dropped off their ballots there and encouraged them to drop the ballots in the box rather than mail them from home, the union said.

The union said these actions by Amazon had “created the impression that the collection box was a polling location and that the employer had control over the conduct of the mail ballot election.”

The union also accused Amazon of other tactics that may have intimidated workers, such as hiring local police to patrol the parking lot area while organizers were outside and pulling possibly pro-union workers out of “captive audience” meetings that the company held to address the organizing drive among the staff.

The company “would request the employee to come forward, have them identified and then removed from the meeting in the presence of hundreds of other employees, thereby interfering with and/or chilling the right of employees to freely discuss issues related to the union organizing campaign,’’ the union said in its filing with the labor board.

The union has asked the labor board to hold a hearing on its petition to set aside the results. If the union is successful with its legal challenges, the labor board could order that another election be held.

An English Premier League match in January between Arsenal and Newcastle. Arsenal is among the founding members of the new Super League.
Credit…Pool photo by Adam Davy

A dozen of Europe’s top soccer clubs announced plans to create a new league that would rival the longstanding Champions League, The New York Times’s Tariq Panja reports. The plan would concentrate the sport’s wealth with just a handful of teams — if it survives potential legal challenges.

The Super League, as it is known, was hatched in secrecy over several months. Among the founding clubs are Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United of England; Real Madrid and Barcelona of Spain; and AC Milan and Juventus of Italy. More teams are expected to round out the league’s 15 slots for founding, permanent members.

The idea is for the league to hold exclusive midweek matches in between domestic league matches. The largely closed league would operate more like the N.F.L. or the N.B.A., doing away with a new set of teams appearing in the tournament each year, based on their domestic league performance. Five spots in the 20-team league would be filled by an annual qualifying mechanism.

Big money is at stake: The Super League’s founding clubs would split 3.5 billion euros, or more than $4 billion, as part of its formation. That implies that they would make far more than what the Champions League winner took home last year.

JPMorgan Chase, which has lent money in the past to several of the clubs, is leading financing to support the league’s formation, starting with an initial $4 billion in debt, according to a person briefed on the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. That debt would be paid back over 23 years and carry an interest rate of 2 percent to 3 percent.

The share prices of publicly traded clubs, like Juventus and Manchester United, jumped more than 10 percent in early trading.

The news spurred an outcry from the establishment. The organizer of the Champions League, UEFA, criticized the proposal as a “cynical project” and has been exploring ways to block it. The governing body of European soccer also noted that FIFA, the global soccer governing body, has threatened to expel players who participate in unsanctioned leagues from tournaments like the World Cup.

Political leaders like Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain and President Emmanuel Macron of France are also opposed to the Super League.

But the organization behind the Super League said on Monday that it had taken legal action to counter any efforts to block the project’s formation — though it also said it wanted to work with existing soccer organizations.

The British government said it would seek to make changes that would would encourage tech companies to go public in London instead of New York.
Credit…Toby Melville/Reuters

The British government and Bank of England will look into creating a central bank digital currency, the two institutions announced on Monday, the latest in a string of initiatives the government is taking to try to ensure Britain holds on to its position as a leading destination for financial services.

A task force will explore the uses and risks of a digital currency, the Bank of England and Treasury said. They haven’t made a decision on whether to introduce one.

But the move will let Britain catch up with other central banks. The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have already started researching a digital dollar and a digital euro.

Rishi Sunak, Britain’s top finance official, also said on Monday that the Treasury would make changes to the financial technology industry and public listings process based on the recommendations of two recent reviews. The changes are intended to make it more appealing for tech companies to go public in London instead of New York, and let founders retain more control of their companies when they do. There will be more regulatory help for growing fintech companies and those experimenting with distributed ledger technology like blockchain.

Since Britain left the European Union on Dec. 31, some trading in shares and derivatives has moved from London to other financial centers, and the financial industry is wondering what will go next. The government has sought to reestablish the City of London’s reputation as a financial hub. Sweeping reviews and consultations have been introduced in a range of areas, from capital markets to making finance more green.

A report by New Financial, a London-based research firm, found that more than 440 companies had moved or are planning to move staff, assets or other business out of London because of Brexit. “While this is higher than previous estimates, it underestimates the real picture,” the report published on Friday said.

Bank assets worth more than 900 billion pounds, or $1.3 trillion, about 10 percent of the total assets in Britain’s banking system, have been moved or are being moved, the report said. Its authors, Eivind Friis Hamre and William Wright, wrote that these numbers might be smaller than the reality because their analysis might have missed banks and assets managers already based in the European Union. And fewer European firms than previously expected will open an office in Britain.

“Over time we expect there to be a drip-feed of business and activity from the U.K. to the E.U.,” the report said. It recommended that the city consider the Brexit losses as unrecoverable, and set its sights on opportunities further afield.

By: Ella Koeze·Data delayed at least 15 minutes·Source: FactSet

  • Stocks on Wall Street dropped from record highs on Monday, the start of a week in which hundreds of public companies including Coca-Cola, Netflix and United Airlines will report earnings.

  • The S&P 500 fell about 0.7 percent, retracing part of last week’s gain that had lifted it to a new high. The Nasdaq composite dropped more than 1 percent.

  • Tesla fell more than 3 percent, a day after authorities in Texas said a Tesla car without anyone behind the wheel was involved in an crash that left two men dead. The police investigating the accident said they “believe no one was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.”

  • Peloton shares dropped about 9 percent after the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an “urgent warning” about the exercise equipment company’s treadmill. The agency said users with small children at home should stop using the machine after reports of injuries and one fatality.

  • GameStop rose 7 percent as the video game retailer announced that its chief executive would be stepping down by the end of July. The company, which was at the center of a retail trading frenzy earlier this year, has been shaken up by the incoming chairman, Ryan Cohen, who is an activist investor in the company pushing for a digital turnaround.


CreditCredit…By Burton Booz

Our roads are dangerous, particularly for pedestrians. Today in the On Tech newsletter, Shira Ovide explores whether having more technology to enforce traffic laws might help — or whether it would make things worse.