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‘Go to hell!’ A divided America struggles to heal after ugly election

(Editors note: Attention to language in paragraph 30 that may be offensive to some readers)

By Jason Szep

ELLSWORTH, Maine ( ) – “He lies,” huffed Janet Foster.

“And he’s a dirty old man,” chimed in her sister Jean as they discussed Donald Trump’s flaws a few days before he was elected the new president of the United States.

“Well, I am with him,” their brother Paul, 60, interjected, raising his voice over snacks of cheese, muffins and crackers in the family’s living room. “Hillary Clinton is like a puppet – you know it’s all scripted.”

The 2016 U.S. election was unprecedented in the way it turned Americans against each other, according to dozens of interviews in rural United States and across some of the most politically charged battleground states.

It divided families like the Fosters in rural Ellsworth, Maine, broke up friendships and turned neighbor against neighbor.

In a recent /Ipsos survey, 15 percent of respondents said they had stopped talking to a family member or close friend as a result of the election. For Democrats, this shoots up to 23 percent, compared to 10 perce上海夜生活论坛nt for Republicans. And 12 percent had ended a relationship because of it.

There was no comparative polling data from previous elections. But interviews with relationship counselors and voters suggest this election stood out by summoning passions, anger and a divisiveness in ways that will make healing difficult after Clinton’s loss to Trump on Tuesday.

Sarah Guth, a Democrat in Colorado, says her father – an ardent supporter of Trump – no longer speaks with her after they clashed on Facebook over their political views.

“He crossed a line,” she said.

After attending a Trump rally, Guth wrote on Facebook that she saw 10 minorities among thousands of people. “I’m increasingly convinced that this election is about race,” she wrote. “I mean a fear among the white majority that their rule is coming to an end.”

Some posters told her “to go to hell,” she recalled in an interview. “And then my dad very publicly attacked me, telling me that I should be ashamed of myself.” The two have not spoken since.

Ty Turner-Bond, a 35-year-old black man in North Carolina, says he lost friends because of his support for Trump. Some called him an “Uncle Tom,” a slur for African Americans accused of deferring to white people; others threatened violence.

“PEOPLE ARE TENSE”

In Springfield, a city on Ohio’s Mad River, Duke Level, 57, voted for Trump because he wanted “a wrecking ball” to hit Washington. The owner of Un Mundo Cafe isn’t surprised this election created divisions, and he fears they could get worse.

“This is one of those crossroads crisis moments in history,” he said.

Hours earlier, Trump rallied about 5,000 supporters a few miles away in a dirt-floored livestock arena. He blasted Clinton as “the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency,” drawing chants of “lock her up,” as well as a few of “string her up.”

Down the street, Richard Scott, 51, an African-American supporting Clinton, shook his head when told of those chants. Those words, he said, recalled 20th Century lynchings of black Americans – including in Springfield where a black prisoner was shot and hung from a pole on Main Street in 1904.

“It’s terrible,” he said.

Weeks ago, he planted a Clinton sign in his yard. His neighbors put up Trump signs. Outside the funeral home he owns, a pro-Clinton sign was defaced with a “Hillary for Prison” sticker. “People are tense,” said Scott.

The election hardened an already-clear racial divide in the former industrial city of 60,000 people – a snapshot of America at about 75 percent white and 18 percent black. Interviews with residents suggested its northern areas, mostly affluent and white, would vote for Trump, while its mostly black, lower-income southern section would largely support Clinton.

“There is a division in this town, economically and racial. And we saw that in this election,” said Bob Leath, 58, owner of Buckeye PC Repair who voted for Trump to “clean house” in Washington. “If you voted for Clinton, you were most likely either young, lower-income or from the south side of the area.”

For some, the tensions reach the bedroom. Sam Nail, a Cincinnati marriage counselor, said he has two couples who cited the election season as a “stressor” in their relationship.

Much of the anger gets uncorked on social media and will be hard to undo. Some is well publicized. National Review writer David French has written about “an unending torrent of abuse” he and his family faced online from white nationalist Trump supporters, including a Tweeted image of his 7-year-old daughter’s face in a gas chamber.

Others are less well known, like Brenda Thomas’ tangles with her older brother on Facebook. She says her brother unleashed a daily stream of Facebook posts on Clinton and President Barack Obama that she found objectionable. She said when her husband, a Republican, tried to reason with him, he was “unfriended” on Facebook.

“I feel that I have to walk on eggshells with him and it causes problems at family functions,” said Thomas, 63, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Karen Wilson, describes this election as “stressful” on Facebook. “I’ve got family members who are mad at me for deleting entire Facebook threads when I thought they were becoming too negative. I’ve deleted Facebook friends who I realized I never should have been friends with in the first place,” said Wilson, 43.

Fourteen percent of respondents in the /Ipsos poll said they had blocked a family member or close friend from social media because of the election. For Democrats, this rises to 23 percent compared to 8 percent for Republicans.

“FREE SPEECH ATTACK”

The divisions tore into the fabric of some communities. In Provo, Utah, Trump supporter Loy Brunson awoke on an October morning to find his car spray-painted with the words “AmeriKKKa” – a reference to “KKK” white supremacists – and “Fuck Trump.” His two Trump yard signs were destroyed.

“So I doubled down, got motivated and put up 85 signs in my yard,” he said. Within days, all but six of those were stolen.

“This was more than vandalism,” he said in an interview. “This was a free speech attack.”

Some blame the divisiveness on campaign rhetoric that inflamed racial, ethnic and class tensions that have long simmered in America. Angry and extremist language moved into the mainstream.

George Lakoff, a linguistics professor at University of California, Berkeley, blames Trump’s use of language, which he ranks as among the most violent of any candidate in modern times. He specifically notes Trump’s suggestion in August that gun rights activists could take matters into their own hands if Clinton defeated him, as well as the New York businessman’s comments that she should go to prison.

“When you have extremes of that order, you have extremes of anger, extremes of fear,” Lakoff said.

In Mississippi, Chad Scott, an activist in the Clay County Republican Party, fears a post-election split between the party’s working-class Trump supporters and business-minded elites – a sentiment echoed in Maine, where Foster, the Ellsworth resident at odds with his sisters, witnessed the election’s political vitriol first hand. 

Foster’s van was one of 20 vehicles spray-painted outside a Trump rally on Oct. 15 in the city of Bangor. And across Ellsworth, pro-Trump yard signs were stolen almost as fast as they were planted, Republican officials say.

Foster worries about the divisions ahead.

“My sisters will forgive me for my political views,” he said.  “But the country is going to be on fire.”

PG&E close to reshaping leadership with investor backing: WSJ

( ) – PG&E Corp is close to naming a new chief executive officer and revamping its board backed by some of its largest investors, the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday, as the power utility restructures after filing for bankruptcy because of potential liabilities from California wildfires.

Bill Johnson, who is set to retire as the CEO of Tennessee Valley Authority in April, is the front-runner to get the top job at PG&E, the Journal reported.

PG&E has also made offers to 10 new independent board candidates and is expected to unveil the slate as soon as next week, saying it has significant shareholder support, according to the report.

Johnson’s new role, which could also be announced next week, has not yet been finalized and other candidates were still being interviewed, the newspaper added.

The utility filed for bankruptcy protection in January in anticipation of liabilities from the wildfires, including the catastrophic 2018 Camp Fire that killed 85 people.

PG&E declined to comment, while no one was available at U.S.-owned TVA to comment on Saturday.

A trio of activist investors, that together own nearly 10 percent of PG&E stock, has been working with the company to change its management, the Journal reported.

The three hedge funds, Abrams Capital Management LP, Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Redwood Capital Management LLC, said in a filing on Friday they had agreed with PG&E to work together to appoint a new CEO and refresh its board. bit.ly/2HqIxyM

The board slate 上海夜生活论坛they have helped PG&E assemble is expected to include experts on cyber security, nuclear security and restructurings, the Journal said.

PG&E’s previous CEO, Geisha Williams, stepped down in January after less than two years on the job.

Last month, the company said it expected only five of its current 10-strong board to stand for reelection at an annual shareholder meeting in May. It also said it expected the board to include 11 independent directors by the time of the meeting, without specifying how big the board would finally be.

The Journal said the efforts of the three investors are separate from those of another PG&E investor, BlueMountain Capital Management, which earlier in March named its own slate of 13 people it hopes to install as directors at the embattled power utility.

Gerrard’s remarkable managerial record

The Liverpool legend recently returned to the club as a coach in the youth formations and his record as a manager is more than impressive.

The Reds icon Steven Gerrard ended his career in the MLS before returning to Anfield in a different position from what most fans are used to seeing him. Steve G took on a coaching role in the youth system of the club in February 2017, trying to inspire and help youngsters develop and hopefully advance to the first team of Liverpool.

Even though Gerrard is relatively new to the profession, his record as a manager is quite impressive. After 21 games with the Under 18 formations, the Reds have topped the U18 Premier League, finished first in their U19 UEFA Youth League Group and lost just one game ever since his arrival.

Speaking to the club’s website ab上海夜生活论坛out the team he is leading, Gerrard revealed:Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers relishing Liverpool return Andrew Smyth – Brendan Rodgers is relishing Leicester City’s trip to his old club Liverpool, whom he described as a “privilege” to work for during his three-year stint.

“Credit to the lads, they have created an atmosphere and a spirit in the group where they are hard to beat, and the reaction and response to going a goal down was superb.

“They showed unbelievable character to come back, not just to equalise but to go on and win it in the way we did, the players deserve every single bit of credit.

“I thought my performance today was poor and I got certain things wrong as the game went on but the players bailed me out and I thought they were superb.”

Bernardo Silva comfortable with City rotations

The Portugal international is not a regular starter at the Etihad Stadium, but insists he enjoys life in England.

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is adamant he has no issues with the constant rotations at the Citizens. The 23-year-old joined Pep Guardiola’s team in the summer transfer window from AS Monaco in a £43.5m move.

Even though City paid a serious amount for his services, the Portuguese has not been part of the starting XI on a regular basis, mostly appearing as a substitute. Silva has started only five Premier League games so far, but insists he is happy to be involved with the Citizens squad and their project.

“It’s fantastic to be part of this group, and to be part of a team that wins so many games in a row and has been so successful so上海夜生活论坛 far.“ the 23-year-old told ESPN Brasil.Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

“The atmosphere in this club at the moment is fantastic, and like I said, it’s great to be part of this team.”

“We still have a game before the New Year, so we still have a game on the 31st against Crystal Palace. ” he added.

“Of course that’s a good difference. But in football everything is possible, we have to keep winning to keep the distance and not give a chance for our rivals to approach.” Silva concluded, urging his team-mates to not relax.

Emre Can to leave Liverpool

According to Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool should accept the fact that Emre Can might leave the Reds next summer

According to GOAL, the Germany international’s contract expires at the end of the season and there is interest from Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp says losing a player due to a pre-contract agreement with another team is a “part of football”. The Reds are yet to agree on a contract extension with the midfielder, if they want to.

Even though Can’s contract expires in June 2018, the 23-year-old can start negotiations with other clubs in January, six months prior to his possible departure from Anfield.

Juventus have shown interest in the central-midfielder earlier, and the Turin side have been tipped now, with speculations saying Can may join the Italian side.

Furthermore, Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes praised the qualities of the youngster during a press conference 上海夜网on Friday, which again led to speculations about Can’s possible transfer move to Germany.Ronaldo opens up about retirement plans Nedim Maric – Cristiano Ronaldo is still playing at a top-level even at 34 years of age.Juventus is looking to end the 23-year-old drought of not winning…

“Emre Can is a good boy, he has developed very well, is dynamic and powerful,” Heynckes said.

Jurgen Klopp said everything is okay, and the midfielder doesn’t show signs about being bothered by his possible transfer.

“As long as Emre doesn’t give me one sign that his mind is somewhere else then I don’t have to talk about this. Everything is okay from my side, but nothing new.”

“It’s part of football. If it happens, we can’t change it,” the coach said about the possibility of Can leaving.

Klopp concluded the topic by saying Liverpool have to accept it if Can leaves, since it is a normal situation in football.

“We have to accept even an ending contract. There are two sides who could have done different. One is the club, the other is the player. It is a normal situation.”

Abidal hopeful that Mbapp\u00e9 will win the Ballon d’Or

The former Catalan has backed up the youngster, insisting he has the potential to win the award in the future.

Former Barcelona full-b上海夜生活网ack Eric Abidal is hoping that Kylian Mbappé will become the best footballer in the world. The 18-year-old has established himself as one of the most promising footballers of our generation, scoring 26 goals during a remarkable campaign with AS Monaco last season. He has also reached the final 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or award this year, but will likely not win the competition with Ronaldo and Messi being the favourites as usual.

However, Abidal has recognized the enormous talent of Mbappé and says he will be rooting for this fellow countryman to win the most prestigious individual award one day.

“Yes he can,” said Abidal when asked whether Mbappé could become one of football’s greatest players, according to Goal.Neymar keeps winning matches for Paris Saint-Germain Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Another solitary goal from Neymar gave Paris Saint-Germain the victory at Bordeaux on Saturday. Mbappe played football again.With this latest goal against Bordeaux, that…

“But I can say also he has to, because he has a lot of talent.

“He is only 18-years-old. PSG have hired one of the best players of his age so he deserves a good career. But he has to work. Talent is not enough, you have to work every day.

“And with Neymar and other good players around him he has to learn from them.

“I’m French and he’s French too so I hope in a few years he wins some titles with his club and maybe in a personal capacity too, like a Ballon d’Or.”

Ballon d’Or shortlist announced

The list of nominees for the prestigious award has been announced throughout the day.

France Football, the publication that awards the trophy has already announced the 30 names on the shortlist for this year’s award. The Ballon d’Or trophy was previously affiliated with FIFA, for the period 2010 to 2015, but since then, it has returned to the French publication.

For the past nine years, either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo have picked up the trophy. Ronaldo won his fourth Ballon d’Or last year and therefore moved just one behind Messi. The odds are favouring the Portuguese to equal the record of Messi and win his fifth this year.Top 5 most incredible snubs from football awards in 2019 Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Even though award season still hasn’t finished, we need to talk about the Top 5 most incredible snubs from football in 2019.Every year we…

After FIFA and France Football ended their collaboration in 2015, the trophy is now awarded based solely o上海夜生活n the votes of a panel of journalists, who will have to choose between the 30 finalists.

The 30 names shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or 2017 are:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) Edinson Cavani (PSG) Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) David de Gea (Man Utd) Paulo Dybala (Juventus) Edin Dzeko (Roma) Radamel Falcao (Monaco) Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich) Harry Kane (Tottenham) N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) Sadio Mane (Liverpool) Marcelo (Real Madrid) Dries Mertens (Napoli) Lionel Messi (Barcelona) Luka Modric (Real Madrid) Neymar (PSG) Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) Luis Suarez (Barcelona) Eden Hazard (Chelsea) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan) Kylian Mbappe (PSG) Isco (Real Madrid)

Dybala is content to remain

The Argentine international has been linked with a potential move to Barcelona as a replacement for Neymar.

Paulo Dybala insists he is happy at the Old Lady amid speculations about his future, but the decision is not his to make.

The Argentina international has been named replacement for Neymar at Camp Nou, should the Brazilian join Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

The 23-year-old Dybala joined the club from Turin in 2015 and has impressed with his performance ever since. He has won the Scudetto twice and assisted the team in reaching the Champions League final last season.

Speaking to the club’s website, the Argentine said:Higuain happy to be reunited with Ronaldo at Juve George Patchias – Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo have been reunited at Juventus after playing at Real Madrid together six years ago, and Higuain is happy about…

“I’m happy here,” he was quoted as saying by the club’s website.

“I’m fine with Juventus, I’m going to train at my best to make it a gr上海夜生活eat season.

“If an offer comes in, the club will notify me and they’ll tell me if they want to accept or not. First it depends on the club and then on me.”

The player still has a contract with Allegri’s side until 2022. He scored 19 goals in 48 appearances for Juventus last season and is deemed one of the greatest talents in Europe.

Morata to persuade Real duo to join him at Manchester United

Alvaro Morata is already with one step on Old Trafford, and the Spanish striker is trying to persuade two of his Real Madrid teammates to join him in England.Written by Cosmin Mihalescu. June 12, 2017.

The 24-year-old striker is set to become the most expensive Spanish player ever transferred, with Manchester United ready to pay €70m for his services. The previous record was the one of Fernando Torres, who moved from Liverpool to Chelsea in 2011, for €58,5m.

But Morata is not looking to come alone from Santiago Bernabeu to Old Trafford. According to his social media activity, the striker would entertain the idea of persuading two of his colleagues to join him at Manchester United.Kane: Spurs out of excuses after shock Carabao Cup exit Andrew Smyth – Harry Kane concedes that Tottenham only have themselves to blame following a shock Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Colchester United.

Alvaro Morata liked a recent post on a Manchester United fan page, which was stating that the striker “is set to join Manchester United and has told Gareth Bale to join him and make the United squad better, and James Rodriguez has been told by his stepfather to join United in the summer, to get more playing time.”

James Rodriguez has previously been linked with a move to Old Trafford, but recent reports suggest that he is closer to a move to PSG, with the Parisians lookin上海夜生活网g to strengthen their team after a failed season.

Regarding Gareth Bale, the Welshman could be sold by Real Madrid, who are looking to raise money and create space for the biggest transfer in history – Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.

Julian Brandt: A future Ballon d\u2019Or winner?

The young Bayer Leverkusen star Julian Brandt is predicted a massive future, and seems like a obvious bid as a future winner of the Ballon d’Or.Written by Jonas Porsborg. May 3, 2017

He’s maybe not a rising star anymore, but in record time Julian Brandt has made a name in the world of football, as one of the best attacking midfielders of his age. Again this season the 21-year-old has impressed Leverkusen and the Bundesliga, by performing outstanding games for the Leverkusen-side who’s been struggling to follow Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the top of the league.

Julian Brandt has played impressive 92 games for Leverkusen at the age of just 21 (he had his birthday just yesterday!), and has already scored 18 goals. Brandt also made it to the UEFA Euro 2016 and was a part of the German squad scoring silver medals at the Olympics 2016.Inter Milan V Lazio: Players to Watch Taimoor Khan – Inter Milan are set to host Lazio at the San Siro on Thursday and the game is definitely going to be an exciting affair…

Of course there are long list of suitors for the future Ballon d’Or, bu上海夜生活t Julian Brandt seems like an obvious candidate to lift the trophy. Then he would follow the steps of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the trophy the last seven years.

In other words Julian Brandt are maybe heading for the finest company, and time will tell if the German international will step up on the highest throne in the world of football.

Exclusive: PSA, Dongfeng to drop two China auto plants, halve workforce – document

BEIJING/PARIS ( ) – Peugeot maker PSA Group (PEUP.PA) and partner Dongfeng Group (0489.HK) have agreed to cut thousands of jobs in China and drop two of their four shared assembly plants, according to a document seen by , in a last-ditch bid to curb mounting losses as the world’s largest auto market loses steam.

Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobiles (DPCA), the carmakers’ joint venture based in Wuhan, central China, will halve its workforce to 4,000 as it closes one plant and sells another under plans agreed last month between PSA boss Carlos Tavares and Dongfeng Chairman Zhu Yanfeng, the document showed.

Both carmakers declined to comment on details of their restructuring plans. “We are working with our partners to improve the overall performance of our business in China in all its dimensions,” a PSA spokesman said.

The agreement may avert a threatened withdrawal by PSA, according to two sources at the French carmaker who said their chief executive had signaled that PSA might otherwise exit the 27-year-old partnership with its 12.2% shareholder Dongfeng, or even leave China altogether.

“We’re just a whisker away from having to withdraw from China,” said one person close to the PSA board. “It really is that serious.”

PSA is attempting a reboot in adverse conditions. Once an auto industry cash cow, the Chinese market contracted last year for the first time since the 1990s and is expected to decline another 5% in 2019, squeezed by a worse上海夜生活ning U.S.-China trade war.

Many Western carmakers were already struggling before the downturn, as Chinese consumers abandoned their mid-market brands for increasingly assertive domestic rivals here including the global manufacturers’ own local partners.

PSA’s deep China problems go back even further, spanning four years of plunging sales and 400 million euros ($450 million) written off its DPCA stake, which is now valued at 500 million euros.

Its sales in the country shrunk almost threefold to 251,700 vehicles last year from a 2014 peak of 731,000.

“We’re not giving up,” a PSA spokesman said. “We are still pursuing our action plan to cut fixed costs.”

DPCA will now close its original assembly plant, Wuhan 1, and redevelop the site in a commercial partnership with the local government, according to the plans. The factory’s tooling and production will be transferred to the Wuhan 3 facility.

Headcount across DPCA will fall from 8,000 to 5,500 by the end of 2019 and to 4,000 within another three years, as it also sells off its idling Wuhan 2 facility, according to the document – which noted ongoing discussions with unidentified potential buyers.

Underperforming vehicles will be dropped as the Peugeot and Citroen lineups are streamlined around more profitable models, mirroring the European turnaround strategy now powering record margins in PSA’s home markets.

HURDLES

The carmakers’ dealings have often been fraught, and PSA executives including Tavares have voiced frustration with DPCA’s management. The French group’s shares briefly spiked on an Aug. 7 report that Dongfeng was preparing to divest its PSA stake, acquired in a 2014 bailout.

Questioned by analysts about China operations, Tavares pledged during PSA’s July 24 earnings call to “accelerate variable cost reduction, reduce fixed cost” and boost pricing.

“Our partner is in the same mindset,” he said of Dongfeng. “They also want to accelerate.”

The restructuring faces hurdles, not least the challenge of finding a Wuhan 2 buyer amid mounting uncertainty – although Chinese government restrictions on greenfield sites may help.

Over the past 18 months, Dongfeng’s Chairman Zhu tried repeatedly to persuade Honda (7267.T) or Nissan (7201.T) to take over one of the DPCA plants, reported on Aug 1.

GM faces declining sales and price wars in largest markets

(This July 31 story corrects name of GM unit to GM Financial in paragraph 8)

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT ( ) – General Motors Co’s (GM.N) investors will see on Thursday how the Detroit carmaker is weathering declining sales and mounting price pressures in its largest markets when it reports second-quarter earnings.

Slumping industry demand in China, the world’s largest auto market, and an escalating price war in the lucrative U.S. pickup truck segment are ratcheting up the pressure on GM. Other automakers, including U.S. rival Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Germany’s Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE), offered disappointing forecasts last week.

In April, GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said her “confidence in the year ahead remains strong,” citing the company’s new full-size pickup truck launch and the automaker’s ongoing business transformation.

Investor David Kudla, chief investment strategist for Michigan-based Mainstay Capital Management, said GM must “carefully juggle” its restructuring with the rollout of its high profit vehicles even as it invests for the industry’s future while facing such headwinds as declining global sales.

For the full year, GM has forecast adjusted earnings of $6.50 to $7 a share and adjusted automotive free cash flow in the range of $4.5 billion to $6 billion.

For the second quarter, analysts expect GM to earn $2.08 billion, or $1.44 a share, on revenue of $36.1 billion, according to IBES data provided by Refinitiv.

GM must deliver as much as $10 billion in cash flow in the final three quarters of 2019 to hit its full-year target, amid stagnant U.S. demand and plummeting industry sales in China. It reported a negative cash flow of $3.9 billion in the first quarter.

In April, GM said it would hit its full-year target through strong performance, and annual dividends from China and GM Financial.

In 2018, the Detroit company reported negative cash flow of $3.3 billion in the first quarter, but ended the year at positive $4.4 billion.

Auto sales in China, GM’s largest market, are headed for a decline for the second year running after demand contracted for the 12th straight month in June.

In the second quarter, GM’s China sales slid 12%, a slight improvement over the 17.5% decline in the first quarter.

GM has laid out plans to introduce around 20 new models or variants of older ones this year, most in the second half. Profit pressure could increase as it launches a series of lower-margin electric vehicles over the next several years.

Last week, Ford posted a lower-than-expected profit and provided investors with a full-year earnings forecast that fell short of analysts’ expectations, and luxury carmaker Daimler reduced its 2019 sales outlook for Mercedes-Benz cars.

GM’s profits in the lucrative pickup truck market have also been pressured by an escalating price war with Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (FCHA.MI). The three Detroit automakers dominate the segment.

GM executives previously said they were “bullish” on sales in the segment for the rest of the year, and have cited the introduction of more profitable models as the launch continues.

GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg said this month that U.S. industry sales were strong in the first half and should remain so in the second half and get even more support if the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates as expected.

The company’s U.S. inventory of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks at the end of July was 108 and 110 days, respectively, according to Automotive News. In comparison, inventory for the Ford F Series and FCA RAM trucks stood at 88 and 75 days, respectively.

GM no longer discloses monthly sales dat上海夜网a and a company spokesman said the Automotive News estimates were incorrect. He added that truck inventories were approaching “optimal levels” and GM tries to maintain about a 100-day supply because of the complexity of truck offerings.

Last week, GM backed off the target for commercial deployment of cars by its Cruise self-driving unit beyond 2019, citing a need for more testing.

Warren Buffett’s charity lunch postponed after cryptocurrency…

NEW YORK/HONG KONG ( ) – Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun postponed his $4.57 million charity lunch with Warren Buffett after falling ill with kidney stones, according to a statement from a foundation he backs.

Sun had been scheduled to dine with Buffett on July 25 at the Michelin-starred Quince restaurant in San Francisco after he won an auction to benefit Glide, a charity in the city.

Sun’s Tron Foundation said all parties have agreed to reschedule the lunch. Buffett’s assistant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), has long been a skeptic of cryptocurrency.

He once called bitcoin “probably rat poison squared,” and at Berkshire’s annual meeting in May likened wagering on bitcoin to betting on zero or double-zero on a Las Vegasroulette wheel.

Sun had said that he hoped dining with Buffett would “bridge the gap between institutional and traditional investors and the realm of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.” Buffett has raised about $34.2 million for Glide, a charity that serves the poor, homeless and those battling substance abuse, in 20 annual auctions since 2000. Glide said on Tuesday it has received Sun’s entire donation.

Sun on Tuesday denied a Chinese media report suggesting he engaged in improper activities in China.

He wrote on his Weibo social media account that rumors circulating online about illegal fundraising and about money laundering were untrue, and that Singapore-based Tron complied with local laws there.

Later on Wednesday, he said a report by Chinese financial magazine Caixin, stating he had been barred from 上海夜生活网foreign travel by Chinese authorities, was “completely false”.

Tron launched its TRX token in 2017, raising about $70 million in an initial coin offering, and acquired San Francisco-based BitTorrent for $120 million last year. It has said its goal is to establish a decentralized internet.

Tron’s cryptocurrency was down 11.2% on Tuesday afternoon, according to the website CoinMarketCap.com, giving it a value of about $1.68 billion.

Big ax falls as Deutsche Bank to lay off 18,000 in $8.3 billion…

FRANKFURT/SYDNEY/HONG KONG/NEW YORK ( ) – Deutsche Bank laid off staff from Sydney to New York on Monday as it began to slash 18,000 jobs in a 7.4 billion euro ($8.3 billion) “reinvention” that will lead to yet another annual loss, a plan that knocked its already battered shares.

Germany’s largest lender said on Sunday it will scrap its global equities unit and cut some fixed-income operations in a retreat from a long-held ambition to make its struggling investment bank, with 38,000 staff, a force on Wall Street. Deutsche Bank has almost 91,500 staff around the world.

(GRAPHIC: Deutsche Bank in numbers – tmsnrt.rs/2Jow9hq )

Its shares erased early gains and closed down 5.4% in Frankfurt after its finance chief flagged “significant uncertainty” over breaking even in 2020. Its bonds also fell. U.S.-listed shares dropped 6.1%.

Some analysts were skeptical that the bank could grow future earnings quickly enough to reach a new target to achieve a return on tangible equity of 8% by 2022, compared with a negative return last year.

“The question of where the real earnings power will come from for Deutsche Bank going forward has not been answered,” said David Hendler, an independent analyst at New York-based Viola Risk Advisors. “It’s doubtful whether they will be able to build a better bank in just three years.”

Ratings agency Fitch said that the bank’s future credit rating will depend on how successfully it executes the plan. Fitch downgraded the bank to “BBB” status, the lowest investment-grade status, just last month.

“The restructuring measures involve large staff cuts and significant leadership changes, which could disrupt the aim to improve core earnings,” it said in a note published Monday.

Rating agency Moody’s said there were “significant challenges” to executing the plan swiftly, adding it would keep its negative outlook.

“It’s a risky maneuver, but if it succeeds, it has the potential to bring the bank back on course,” said a person close to one of the top 10 shareholders.

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JP Morgan analysts called the plan “bold and for the first time not half-baked” but questioned the credibility of execution, revenue growth and employee motivation.

The bank said on Sunday that it would not need to raise capital to initiate the cuts, which will result in it making a loss of 2.8 billion euros in the second quarter. It will not pay a dividend either this year or next.

Hundreds of employees at the bank’s Wall Street office were summoned to the building’s cafeteria on Monday morning to learn their fates, sources within the bank told . During one-to-one meetings with management and human resources, they were told they were being laid off and informed of their severance terms, the sources said.

Deutsche Bank had been one of the few European banks to maintain a significant presence in the United States after the 2007-2009 financial cri上海夜生活sis. However, it has struggled to compete with U.S. rivals, hampered by regulatory investigations and litigation.

REINVENTING THE BANK

The United States had been seen as a likely focus of the cuts although the bank maintained it wants to keep a significant presence, in part to service European corporate clients doing business in the country. However, some shareholders have pushed for a full U.S. retreat.

Deutsche Bank said it remained committed to the United States, its second-biggest market.

“We will retain a significant presence here and remain a close partner to our U.S. clients and to international institutions that want to access the U.S. market,” it said in a statement.

In London, where hundreds of job cuts were expected, Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said he was “reinventing” the bank, which is expected to post a loss this year. That would put it in the red for four of the past five years after a series of damaging setbacks.

Founded in 1870, Deutsche Bank has long been a major source of finance and advice for German companies seeking to expand abroad or raise money through the bond or equity markets.

Big cuts to its investment bank reverse a decades-long expansion that began with its purchase of Morgan Grenfell in London in 1989 and continued a decade later with a takeover of Bankers Trust in the United States.

The investment bank generated about one-half of Deutsche Bank’s revenues but is also volatile. CEO Sewing, who flagged the restructuring in May after a failed merger attempt with Commerzbank, wants to focus on more stable sources of revenue.

“We are creating a bank that will be more profitable, leaner, more innovative and more resilient,” Sewing wrote in a note to staff on Sunday.

As part of the overhaul, Deutsche Bank will set up a so-called “bad bank” to wind down unwanted assets, with 74 billion euros ($83 billion) of risk-weighted assets.

‘PRETTY GLOOMY’

Deutsche Bank did not give details on the job cuts, but said they would be spread around the globe, including in Germany.

In Sydney, Hong Kong and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, where Deutsche Bank used to rank among the top 10 in league tables for equity capital market (ECM) deals, several bankers said entire teams in sales and trading were going.

Deutsche Bank’s Asia-Pacific head of ECM, Jason Cox, left, and ECM teams were disbanded in Japan, Australia and most of Asia, people with direct knowledge of matter said, adding that only a few syndicate bankers, including those working on current deals, will remain.

Deutsche Bank had slipped in recent years in Asia, hitting 17th last year and 18th in 2019, Refinitiv data showed. So far this year, it ranks 8th regionally for merger-and-acquisition activity.

“The new investment bank will be smaller but more resilient, with a focus on our financing, capital markets, advisory services and sales and trading businesses,” Asia-Pacific CEO Werner Steinmueller said in a staff memo.

One laid-off equities trader in Hong Kong said the mood was “pretty gloomy” as people were called into meetings. “They give you this packet and you are out of the building,” he said.

Several workers left offices holding envelopes with the bank’s logo. Three employees took a picture of themselves beside a Deutsche Bank sign outside, hugged and then hailed a taxi.

“If you have a job for me, please let me know. But do not ask questions,” said one Deutsche employee.

One senior banker, still with a job, questioned how well the slimmed-down franchise in Asia would compete.

“Will clients stick with us, or is the game over?”

Exclusive: U.S. clears SoftBank’s $2.25 billion investment in…

( ) – Cruise, a U.S. self-driving vehicle company majority-owned by General Motors Co, told on Friday that a U.S. national security panel approved a $2.25 billion investment in the firm by Japan’s SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank has come under increasing U.S. scrutiny over its ties to Chinese firms in the face of an escalating trade and technology war between Washington and Beijing. It is in the process of raising its second $100 billion investment vehicle, dubbed Vision Fund, after deploying its first one of equal size.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews deals for potential national security concerns, approved the investment based on fresh assurances that Cruise’s technology would be completely off limits to SoftBank, a source familiar with the matter said.

A SoftBank spokesman declined to comment. The Treasury Department, which leads CFIUS, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The approval unlocks a seat for SoftBank on Cruise’s board, formalizing its oversight, and cements key financing for Cruise, which has raised $7.25 billion in capital since last year, the company said.

“Today’s news is another important step toward achieving our goal to develop and deploy self-driving vehicles at massive scale,” Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a statement to .

However, approval for the deal did not always appear certain as CFIUS scrutinized it closely, according to two people close to the deal.

The $2.25 billion investment was unveiled by SoftBank in May 2018 amid a wave of investments by the Japanese technology and telecommunications conglomerate in artificial intelligence, data analytics, financial services and self-driving cars.

RED FLAGS

The investment raised red flags with CFIUS because SoftBank invests in numerous mobility units, some based in China, and encourages companies it invests in to share information.

CFIUS was especially concerned about SoftBank’s co-investments with Tencent Holdings Ltd, a Chinese social media and gaming giant, and its investment in China ride-hailing firm Didi, which it fears could take technology from Cruise, sources said.

The committee, emboldened by a law last year aimed at strengthening the inter-agency panel, has flexed its muscles increasingly against Chinese companies as Beijing and Washington remain locked in a heated trade and technology row.

reported that Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd has been seeking to sell Grindr LLC, the popular gay dating app, after CFIUS said its ownership posed a national security risk. CFIUS halted a plan last year by Ant Financial, owned by the chairman of China’s internet conglomerate Alibaba, to acquire MoneyGram International Inc.

The Cruise deal was structured to allow $900 million of the investment to be disbursed initially, with the remainder provided once Cruise AVs are ready for commercial deployment and contingent on regulatory approval. The two tranches would combine to give SoftBank a nearly 20 percent stake in Cruise.

However, the Japanese firm separately announced a joint investment with GM, T. Rowe Price, and Honda of $1.15 billion earlier this year, further boosting its stake.

Softbank’s investment, followed by Honda’s announcement in October that it will pour $2.75 billion into Cruise, is still one of the biggest and most high-profile investments in self-driving technology to date.

Its Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology fund,上海夜网 unveiled a $1.5 billion investment in China’s top used car platform, Chehauduo Group, in February. reported in December that the same fund was hiring an investment team based in China to boost its presence in one of the world’s most vibrant tech markets.

It is not the first time SoftBank has gone through a protracted CFIUS review. It has had to accept U.S. restrictions on how it runs some of its companies, including wireless carrier Sprint Corp and investment firm Fortress Investment Group.

SoftBank lost its claim to two seats on the board of Uber Inc when the ride-hailing giant floated in the stock market in May. SoftBank never received permission for the board seats from CFIUS following an agreement in 2017 to invest $9 billion in Uber.

The autonomous vehicle industry could revolutionize transportation but faces engineering, safety and regulatory challenges, as well as skepticism among potential users.

GM Cruise and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo are often described as leading the pack of technology and auto companies competing to create self-driving cars and integrate them into ride services fleets.

U.S. denies Tesla, GM, Uber 25% Chinese tariff relief

WASHINGTON ( ) – The Trump administration is expanding efforts to block the use of Chinese technology in advanced vehicles, denying additional requests by Tesla Inc for tariff relief on key components of its electric vehicles, and rejecting ride-hailing company Uber’s petition to waive tariffs on electric scooters and at least 50 separate requests by General Motors Co.

After the United States slapped 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports last year under the two countries’ trade dispute, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) allowed companies to petition for exemptions.

Government documents show the USTR rejected requests to exempt Tesla’s Model 3 car computer and center screen in May 29 letters, saying they both concern “a product strategically important or related to ‘Made in China 2025,’ or other Chinese indu上海夜生活论坛strial programs.”

In May, reported that USTR had rejected a separate request by Tesla to exempt the company’s Autopilot “brain” from the tariffs.

The more than 50 requests by GM rejected by USTR were for exemptions from Chinese-made parts used in vehicles including electronic controllers used for high voltage battery controls in hybrid and electric vehicles. It also rejected GM requests for high frequency antennas, push-button ignition switches, battery cables, electric motor parts and brake parts.GM declined to comment. In filings it said that some parts were not available outside China or that it would be cost prohibitive to shift production elsewhere.

The USTR denied Uber Technologies Inc’s request on May 29 for an exemption from the 25% tariff for its Chinese-made electric bikes that customers rent through its app. Uber declined to comment.

USTR also rejected dozens of requests by Nissan Motor Co. It denied nearly two dozen requests from Fiat Chrysler for parts including wire harnesses and an electrical power steering pump used in vehicles like the company’s 2019 Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler.

Fiat Chrysler warned USTR in one request that without exemptions it will “reduce its margins, pass the additional cost onto consumers, or some combination of the two.”

The denials of relief for more than 7,000 products to date out of 13,000 requests illustrate a systematic approach by the Trump administration to thwart China’s efforts to develop high-technology industries that Washington alleges benefited from theft and forced transfer of U.S. intellectual property.

Tesla had warned that increased tariffs on the car computer it has dubbed the “brains” of the Model 3 causes “economic harm to Tesla, through the increase of costs and impact to profitability.”

Tesla had also urged the office to approve a request by its supplier SAS Automotive USA Inc, builder of the touchscreen control screen for the Model 3, which displays navigation, media, audio and other functions.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said in an April 29 securities filing that “costs for producing our vehicles in the U.S. have also been affected by import duties on certain components sourced from China.”

Shares of Tesla were off earlier highs after first reported the decisions, but closed up 2.2% at $213.91 on the Nasdaq.

Tesla said in its tariff exemption request that “choosing any other supplier would have delayed the (Model 3) program by 18 months with clean room setup, line validation and staff training.”

China’s “Made in China 2025” strategy is focused on 10 strategic advanced manufacturing industries including new energy vehicles, where it aims to be a global leader.

reported previously that U.S. trade officials also rejected on May 29 separate requests from GM and Chinese-owned Volvo Cars for an exemption to the 25% U.S. tariff on their sport utility vehicles made in China.

Both GM and Volvo Cars, a unit of Geely, had not raised the sticker price to account for tariffs, which came into play last July.

GM’s Buick Envision, a midsize SUV with a starting price of about $35,000, has become a target for U.S. critics of Chinese-made goods, including leaders of the United Auto Workers union and members in key political swing states such as Michigan and Ohio.

USTR has also rejected dozens of other requests by suppliers for major auto companies.

Ready for a fight: Voter enthusiasm surges among U.S. Hispanics

( ) – Hispanics are more interested in voting this year than in the last U.S. congressional midterm elections in 2014 and their enthusiasm outpaces that of all U.S. adults, according to a /Ipsos national tracking poll released on Sunday.

The poll also found likely Hispanic voters nearly twice as inclined to support Democrats for the House of Representatives as Republicans in Tuesday’s elections.

Voter registration groups are using Republican President Donald Trump’s nationalist, anti-immigrant rhetoric as an opportunity to drive up Latino enthusiasm. In an illustration of their passion, one group that is part of an alliance that has reached out to more than 1 million potential voters in Arizona took its name from the Spanish word for “fight.”

Most opinion polls and political handicappers expect Democrats to win the 23 seats they need to assume control of the House. Republicans are favored to keep control of the Senate.

Latinos could play a crucial role in several races, from tight Senate battles in Arizona and Texas to Florida’s close Senate and governor’s races. In California, the flourishing Latino population has helped put in play some Republican-controlled House districts Democrats hope to flip.

The /Ipsos poll, taken Sept. 1 to Oct. 29, found that 36 percent of Hispanic voters said they were “certain” to vote, up from 27 percent in 2014. That increase is nearly double the five percentage point rise in voter enthusiasm among all Americans over the same period, the poll showed.

Enthusiasm appears especially high among Hispanic Democrats.

Forty-two percent of Hispanic Democrats said they were “certain” to vote, up from 29 percent in 2014. Among likely Hispanic voters, 60 percent said they will vote for a Democratic candidate for the House, and 32 percent would back a Republican.

Hispanics are a politically diverse group, with 55 percent of likely voters identifying as Democrats, 31 percent as Republicans and 12 percent as independent, the poll showed.

Just over half, 53 percent, of likely Hispanic voters said they were “very motivated” to pick a candidate for Congress who opposes Trump, compared with 43 percent of all likely voters, 75 percent of likely Democratic voters and 9 percent of likely Republican voters.

‘GET YOUR VOICE HEARD’

For candidates in border states with large Hispanic populations such as Arizona, a fundamental question is whether Latino voters will turn up in large numbers on Tuesday.

The voting bloc has long held potential for the Democratic Party but often disappoints. Record-low Hispanic turnout in 2014 was a warning sign for both parties.

Bea Nevarez hopes to turn that around, registering 800 people to vote this year. In the final days before the elections, she went door-to-door to encourage people to vote in Tucson.

Nevarez, 18, works for a group called “Lucha,” a Spanish word meaning “struggle” or “fight.” It is a partisan affiliate of One Arizona, a broad alliance that says it has knocked on 1.5 million doors in the state this year, part of a broad grassroots effort to reverse declining Latino participation. One Arizona says it has registered 200,000 voters this year.

“I’m out here trying to get your voice heard,” Nevarez tells reluctant voters.

Her persistence paid off when she knocked on the door of Jose Alberto and Norma Moreno, Mexican immigrants who are now U.S. citizens.

Sitting at his kitchen table, Jose Alberto Moreno, 62, at first told N上海夜生活evarez he had no intention of voting.

“I don’t believe in any of that. All politicians are liars,” said Moreno, who works at a furniture warehouse.

But Nevarez insisted, engaging him in a conversation that eventually turned to healthcare, Moreno’s main concern. After a few minutes, he agreed to vote.

“I’m going to do it now. She convinced me,” Moreno said.

The Republican National Committee said it has also reached out to voters in Arizona this year, as part of a drive in 11 states.

America’s 29 million Latinos account for nearly 13 percent of eligible voters this year, but their turnout rate has declined since 2006, according to the Pew Research Center. Only 27 percent of eligible Latinos voted in the last midterm elections in 2014, and only 16 percent of those aged 18 to 35, Pew said.

Some activists said they were motivated by watching Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff whose anti-immigrant policies brought his office multi-million-dollar penalties for racial profiling and eventually a contempt of court conviction.

He maintained that the prosecution was political, aimed at helping oust him from office. Trump later pardoned him.

“We have seen an igniting of fear, division and violence under this (Trump) administration, but that’s not new to Arizona,” said Alejandra Gomez, a co-executive director of Lucha. “We had the original Trump here under Arpaio.”

NBC, Fox News, Facebook pull Trump campaign ad linking immigration,…

NEW YORK ( ) – NBC, Fox News and Facebook (FB.O) pulled a campaign ad linking a caravan of Central American migrants and a cop killer, which U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed and CNN deemed “racist,” the media companies said on Monday. The primetime TV ads on NBC, paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, ran during a “Sunday Night Football” broadcast.

It intercut courtroom footage of Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented Mexican immigrant convicted of killing two sheriff’s deputies in California in 2014 with scenes of the caravan, which has been moving slowly through Mexico toward the United States.

The ad was placed on the popular football broadcast to encourage voters to choose candidates from Trump’s Republican Party in elections on Tuesday that will determine whether Republicans retain control of the U.S. Congress.

“After further review we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” said a spokesperson for NBC Universal, owned by Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), in a statement on Monday. The ad was earlier rejected by CNN, which labeled it “racist.”

“CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are上海夜生活 the facts,” the network tweeted on Saturday.

Fox News issued a statement about taking down the ad shortly after NBC, according to a CNN report.

“Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” Marianne Gambelli, Fox News’ president of advertisement sales, said in a statement.

Facebook Inc joined in, and said it no longer allowed paid promotion of the ad because it violated its policies regarding sensational content.

However, it did not block Facebook users from sharing the video. The company said it held advertising on its platform to a higher standard.

“This ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution.”

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U.S. probe of Google’s online ad dominance would appease long…

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON ( ) – Ad tech firms and publishers have had to stay in the good graces of Google or risk insolvency.

That is why the U.S. Department of Justice is examining the dominance of Alphabet Inc’s Google in online advertising as part of a potential antitrust investigation, two sources told .

Google’s control over the market has long hurt the profits of smaller advertising technology companies who must appease the No. 1 online ad firm to be profitable, and online publishers who need Google’s search reach and ad tools to build an audience and make money on their content.

The ad market is just one of several areas of possible inquiry.

Google has declined to comment on the potential investigation, but has repeatedly said that it acts in the best interest of its users and offers sufficient warning to industry partners potentially affected by its moves.

Google is expected to capture 37% of the $129 billion spent on online ads in the United States in 2019, compared to 22% for No. 2 Facebook Inc and 10% for No. 3 Amazon.com Inc, according to ad research firm eMarketer.

Digital advertising revenue accounted for about 85% of revenue last year for Google parent Alphabet.

The U.S. government is gearing up to investigate the massive market power of Amazon.com Inc, Apple, Facebook and Google, sources told on Monday, setting up what could be an unprecedented wide-ranging probe of some of the world’s largest companies.

Apple and Facebook did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday. Google and Amazon declined to comment.

UNFETTERED GROWTH

The U.S. government has done little to slow Google’s ad market dominance despite having several opportunities.

In 2007, the FTC approved Google’s $3.1 billion acquisition of software firm DoubleClick, saying it would not substantially lessen competition, and it made the same finding in 2010 for Google’s $750 million purchase of AdMob.

Those deals have helped make Google’s tools dominant in how businesses buy and sell ads on the internet. The Google Marketing Platform is the main way big advertisers buy ads, while Google Ad Manager is the most widely used service among publishers selling ad space on their websites or apps.

The company also owns the Chrome web browser and the Android mobile platform, which are two of the largest gateways to the internet. And its search and YouTube properties are two of the largest ad-supported applications.

Smaller ad technology vendors and website owners have said that Google’s power enables it to dictate industry policies and practices in ways that squeeze out their companies and favor its own.

“I’m worried that (Google is) moving toward a position of dominance across all of digital advertising, from control of the user to the control of display of an ad,” said Andrew Buckman, chief operating officer of British advertising firm Sublime. “It’s good Justice is looking at that.”

In a heated situation last year, Google required websites using its technology to adhere to a new European privacy law in a way that major news websites said was too strict of an interpretation of the rules and would cost them revenue. Some of those critics, including German digital publishing house Axel Springer, declined to comment on the U.S. investigation but media industry associations said they were pleased to see the action.

At a Justice Department workshop last month on competition in advertising, Breitbart News Network Chief Executive Larry Solov said a Justice Department antitrust action against Google was the best way to address concerns without “heavy regulation.”

“No one advertising and tech company, especially one with a proven viewpoint bias, should have control over picking winners and losers in publishing,” Solov said of Google.

This year, Google announced changes to Chrome affecting how ad software vendors track users online that could curtail the industry’s data collection and revenue. The plan and a similar move related to the look and feel of ads last year have attracted concern from smaller rivals including Sublime and Rumble, which did not respond to a request to comment.

Brian O’Kelley, the former chief executive of ad tech firm AppNexus, told on Sunday that he was forced to sell his company to AT&T Inc last year because of Google’s stranglehold on the market. AppNexus was valued at $1.6 billion in the purchase, the Wall Street Journal 上海夜生活reported at the time.

Among O’Kelley’s issues was that in 2015, Google began requiring advertisers to purchase YouTube ads thru its own ad-buying platforms, effectively preventing companies such as AppNexus from getting involved in the transaction. And because Google owned the dominant search and video sites, it became difficult to compete, O’Kelley said.

“Google’s monopoly forced me to sell my business,” he said.

O’Kelley said investigators will face a difficult task in reconciling antitrust and privacy issues. Restricting data collection tends to benefit companies with user relationships, such as Google and Facebook, as opposed to behind-the-scenes software vendors.

“Privacy law is good for the monopolist,” O’Kelley said.

Former French Justice minister Dati probed over fees paid by…

PARIS 上海夜生活网( ) – Former French Justice Minister Rachida Dati is being probed over consulting fees she has received from the Renault-Nissan strategic partnership, France’s financial prosecutor office said on Tuesday.

The preliminary investigation follows a complaint by an individual Renault shareholder against Dati, Ghosn and Bauer for corruption and misuse of company funds, the shareholder’s lawyer Jean-Paul Baduel said in an interview.

Payments to consultants made by the Netherlands-based joint venture have come under scrutiny after its ousted chairman, Carlos Ghosn, was arrested and charged in Japan in December for alleged financial misconduct – charges which he denies.

A full independent audit of the Dutch-registered joint venture listed suspect payments made by Renault-Nissan under Ghosn of about 11 million euros. Renault SA’s board is seeking to recover the funds jointly with Nissan Motor Co Ltd , as both companies fund the alliance.

Renault-Nissan hired Dati, 53, after she stepped down as justice minister in 2009 to stand for the European Parliament. She recently said she wanted to run for the Paris municipal election in 2020.

Security consultant Alain Bauer, who was paid by the holding company for his services in the wake of an earlier scandal over a 2011 espionage hoax at Renault, is also being probed.

Bauer and Dati’s lawyer, Olivier Pardo, both said the contracts they signed with Renault-Nissan were legal.

“Everything was reported, there was a professional agreement totally compliant with the rules and it dates back a long time ago,” Pardo said.

Ghosn’s lawyers were not reachable outside business hours in Japan.