google-site-verification: googled3ad79e48fba1031.html This Week in Business: G.M. Idles Plants, and Sundar Pichai Goes to Washington – Raidar Gist
Monday , January 21 2019
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This Week in Business: G.M. Idles Plants, and Sundar Pichai Goes to Washington

Hi there! I’m Zach Wichter. Charlotte Cowles is off, so I’m bringing you the gist of business news from the week that was and the week to come. I’ll look really good if I can get more new subscribers than Charlotte normally pulls in, so help me out by clicking here.

Speaking of bestowing gifts, it’s officially the festive season, and for the rest of the year, you’ll hear the incessant soundtrack of holiday music pretty much wherever you go. For shopping inspiration, consult The Times’s epic gift guide. These super-sharp and pleasingly hefty Japanese nail clippers are a revelation.

Nov. 26-Dec. 2

General Motors made a jarring announcement early in the week: The company plans to idle five North American factories, cutting around 14,000 jobs. Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chief executive, said the move would keep the company competitive in a changing auto market. But not everyone was convinced. Employees and other residents of Lordstown, Ohio, a town near one of the plants, said they felt like victims of corporate greed. In other car-trouble news: At the Tesla plant in California, African-American workers said they had experienced racial threats, demeaning assignments and more.

Starwood loyalists have yet another reason to be mad. The rewards program integration with Marriott’s (the two hotel companies started a long merger process in 2016) has not been going smoothly, and on Friday, Marriott announced an enormous breach of the database of its Starwood reservation system. Information about 500 million guests — including some customers’ names, addresses, dates of birth, passport numbers, email addresses and phone numbers — was lifted from the company’s networks. The breach was larger than the Equifax debacle last year.

Police officers, prosecutors, tax authorities and other agents descended on Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt on Thursday, as part of an investigation into whether the bank helped clients launder money in an offshore tax haven. Management board members’ offices were searched the next day, dramatically raising the stakes for the bank. Deutsche Bank said it was cooperating with the authorities. It’s had a lot of practice: The raid is only the latest dose of turmoil for Deutsche, which for years has seen significant executive turnover and legal settlements running into the billions.

Dec. 3-9

Tech executives must be racking up points, what with all their flights from the Bay Area to Washington. Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, is the latest. He will testify there on Wednesday and is likely to hear accusations from Republican lawmakers that his company suppresses conservative-leaning news. Separately, there are reports that the White House plans to host a discussion with influential tech executives. No word on whether Sheryl Sandberg will attend. The Times reported this past week that the Facebook exec personally ordered staff to research the finances of the billionaire George Soros, a decision that profoundly backfired.

OPEC is set to meet on Thursday. Most experts believe the oil-producing nations will more or less maintain the status quo for production, so your drive over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house should remain affordable. Mr. Trump hopes to push oil prices even lower, but analysts say it’s probably in everyone’s best interests if they stay near current levels. (Those prices are pretty good compared with a decade ago, when my driver’s ed instructor predicted that I’d be paying at least $6 per gallon when I became an adult. Fortunately, he was wrong. I take the subway anyway.)

Three intrepid space explorers, including one American, head to the International Space Station on Monday. Anne McClain, the American astronaut, will join a Russian and a Canadian on her first trip to space. It’s been a banner month for NASA, which landed a probe on Mars last week. Elsewhere in the space space, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic continue to make promises for manned private-sector spaceflights. Mr. Branson said his company’s first mission was imminent.

New Zealand barred Huawei, a Chinese tech company, from supplying hardware to Kiwi companies building the next-generation mobile data network amid rising fears that Huawei products could be used for snooping. Back in the States, the Federal Reserve raised hopes that it might be closer to ending its drive to raise interest rates, setting off a market surge last Wednesday. And financial markets in the United States will be closed this coming Wednesday to honor the memory of former President George Bush, who died late Friday at age 94.

$120 million. That’s the value of an exit package that Leslie Moonves may never collect from CBS, if the board decides he was fired for cause.


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