The US Labor Department said the number of American workers applying for unemployment benefits rose to 744,000 for the week ending April 3. It is an increase of 16,000 from 728,000 a week earlier. This reflects the slow recovery of Covid-hit job market. Applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed and gig workers totaled 151,752 last week, a decrease from the previous week.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said he backs a hike in corporate tax rate as part of an infrastructure upgrade. This comes after Bezos faced criticism from President Joe Biden, Congress and the public. Biden had said Amazon was one of those top companies that ’use various loopholes where they pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax,’ whereas middle-class families pay over 20% in tax rates.
The Group of 20 major industrial countries issued a joint statement that also announced that agreed on a proposal to boost the resources of the International Monetary Fund by $650 billion. This is aimed at providing support to poorer nations who have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the proposal still needs approval from the IMF’s board and then contributions from member countries.
The US commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, said President Joe Biden is willing to negotiate on his push to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to pay for the $2.25 trillion ’American Jobs Plan.’ While briefing reporters, Raimondo said, ’There is room for compromise. That is clear.’ She also asked American corporations not to walk away if they didn’t like a 28% hike. She termed it as ’unacceptable.’
Larry Connor, real estate firm The Connor Group’s managing partner will reportedly team up with deep sea specialist EYOS Expeditions as he looks to explore both the Challenger Deep and the Sirena Deep of the Mariana Trench next week. He is also gearing up to be the pilot for Axiom Space’s 10-day AX-1 mission to the ISS, flying on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, in January 2022.
Patreon has tripled its valuation to $4 billion in a $155 million funding round led by Tiger Global. The platform received new attention amid the COVID-19 pandemic as creators were forced to push more of their work online. Patreon reported that more than 30,000 creators signed up for the service in the first weeks of March 2020. Patreon makes money by taking a 5-12% fee from creators.
40-year-old Kim Kardashian has been named a billionaire by Forbes. She is 2674th on the list of Forbes Billionaires, and her net worth has increased from $780million to $1billion since October. Billionaires fared better than ever over the last 12 months, despite the coronavirus pandemic wrecking havoc on global economy. Currently, the list of billionaires is the longest it has ever been.
The value of the cryptocurrency market went past $2 trillion for the first time on Monday. The recent rally has been fueled by Ethereum, the second-largest digital coin. At the current price of $2114, Ethereum has returned over 180% since the beginning of the year. The overall crypto market has doubled in just over two months, as retail and institutional investors pile into the space.
US Senate GOP Leader McConnell lashed out at the corporate sector on Monday, warning CEOs to stay out of the debate over a new voting law in Georgia. ’Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order,’ McConnell said. Major Georgia employers Coca-Cola, Delta Air have spoken out against the law.
The International Monetary Fund predicted that global economic growth will accelerate to a record high this year in a powerful rebound from the pandemic recession, on the back of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and vast sums of government aid. The IMF expects the world economy to expand 6% in 2021, up from the 5.5% it had forecast in January.
General Motors plans to produce an all-electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup at its new flagship assembly plant for EVs that’s under construction in Detroit. The new pickup is part of a $2.2 billion investment to produce an array of its next-generation EVs beginning later this year with an all-electric GMC Hummer pickup.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been working on developing a national digital currency, and is currently testing the digital yuan that aims to replace some of the cash in circulation. A PBOC director said interest in the digital yuan is ’very strong and everyone is paying close attention.’ 200 million yuan ($30.4 M) of the currency is already distributed in pilot projects across the country.
Credit Suisse announced the removal of two key execs, cutting of bonuses for directors, slashing of dividend amid the fallout of two key business relationships. The bank revealed $4.7B in losses reeling from exposure to Archegos. Besides, it is yet to disclose the losses from exposure to funds of Greensill. Chief risk officer Lara Warner and investment banking chief Brian Chin are stepping down.
Documents published by the US trade representative show that America is pushing with its plans to impose retaliatory tariffs on six nations that tax US digital companies. The new tariffs that could be around US$1 billion a year. Media reports said goods entering the US, like Austrian grand pianos, British merry-go-rounds, Turkish rugs and Italian anchovies, could face up to 25% in tariffs a year.
Johan Lundgren, the chief executive of EasyJet slammed some of the plans proposed by the UK government to restart travel, as he said that COVID-19 tests should not be required for passengers travelling to low-risk destinations. Britain’s airlines and travel industry expressed their disappointment at PM Boris Johnson’s warning that it was too soon to say when international holidays could resume.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday urged the adoption of a minimum global corporate income tax to curtail corporate tax avoidance. Citing a ’thirty-year race to the bottom’ in which countries have slashed corporate tax rates in an effort to attract multinational businesses, Yellen said the Biden administration would work with other advanced economies in the G20 to set a minimum.
Amazon apologized to Congress member, Rep. Mark Pocan after a denial by the retail giant related to staff’s working conditions. Last week, Pocan rebutted Amazon’s claim of it being a ’progressive workplace’ via Twitter, by surfacing stories of workers urinating in bottles due to the absence of bathroom breaks. Post Amazon’s rejection and subsequent apology, Pocan stood to be ’unconvinced’.
The United States added a solid 916,000 jobs in March as hiring surged across the country, Labor Department data showed. Experts are attributing this robust addition in the job market to the rapid Covid-19 vaccination campaign along with businesses easing the pandemic restrictions. March had been the best month of job gains since August, with employers hiring 280,000 more workers than February.
Accusing the Bank of England of not doing enough to mitigate climate change, green activists in London splashed black paint on the front face of the central bank’s headquarters in London. Members from an environmental group called Extinction Rebellion said they used biodegradable paint to protest against the bank’s funding of fossil fuels. London police arrested one activist for the vandalism.
Microsoft has scored a $22 billion worth government contract to produce augmented reality devices for the US Army. The Army said it had awarded Microsoft a contract to produce augmented reality systems based on its HoloLens 2 device called Integrated Visual Augmented Systems (IVAS). The devices are designed to help soldiers, ’fight, rehearse and train using a single platform.’
Fearing being hacked, Amazon’s own staff reported tweets by its PR account as ’suspicious’ after it sent tweets taunting public officials, The Intercept reported citing company documents. The employees were alarmed by the ’unnecessarily antagonistic’ tone and prompted a security engineer to report it as ’suspicious activity.’ Recode said those tweets came at the behest of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Chinese tech giant Huawei, which has been hit by US sanctions, managed to boost its 2020 profits and revenues because of a strong domestic demand for its services. Its revenue for 2020 was around $136 billion, up by 3.8% from 2019. Profit was up 3.2% to around $9.86 billion. The company’s sales in China were 66%, up from 59% in 2019. However, the company’s sales dropped by 24.5% in the Americas.
The International Monetary Fund is set to upgrade its global outlook based on the $1.9 trillion US stimulus and global progress in Covid-19 vaccination. However, the IMF said financial conditions would remain uncertain. IMF’s Kristalina Georgieva said the global economy was better than last year after governments spent some $16 trillion to contain the pandemic and mitigate its impact on economy.
Starting Tuesday, PayPal is allowing users to shop using cryptocurrencies. ’Checkout with Crypto’ lets users select a crypto of their choice for payment when checking out. PayPal converts the amount of crypto needed for the purchase and sends it to the seller to complete the sale without any additional transaction fees. The platform supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash.