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The future of startup cryptocurrency Ripple hangs on the SEC’s case | Instant News

Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s chief executive, last year publicly contemplated at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the initial public offering for the San Francisco startup.

The company recently raised about $ 200 million in a venture funding round led by Tetragon Financial Group, with a valuation of $ 10 billion. The value of its flagship product, a cryptocurrency called XRP, has fallen over the previous year. But Ripple is poised to rebuild the infrastructure for cross-border trade, said Garlinghouse, promising that its future is bright.

A year later, the IPO was canceled. Instead, Ripple’s future hinges on the judge’s decision in a civil suit filed in December by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Regardless of the outcome, this case is expected to set a major precedent for how US regulators create rules and laws covering cryptocurrencies. It also highlights a broader truth about most digital currencies: Beyond the two largest, bitcoin and ether, most of the hundreds of others have struggled to find utilitarian value beyond speculation.

At the heart of the SEC’s suit is the debate about XRP, a bitcoin-like digital asset created by the founder of Ripple that will grow to become the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency. It is designed to be part of a network that will help banks cut costs in cross-border transfers. The related software, however, never gained traction, the SEC accused, leaving XRP with no apparent purpose, other than to funnel sales to Ripple.


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At the Biden-Harris Inauguration, New Fashion Designers Win Big | Instant News

FASHION at the inauguration on Wednesday Front and center American designers, including several emerging American designers – specifically looking to benefit from the attention. President Joe Biden’s Ralph Lauren suit received respectful reviews, but a suit designed by Sergio Hudson and Alexandra O’Neill, a less well-known name, was chosen to earn special praise. This level of exposure can make a big difference, said Ikram Goldman, a Chicago retailer who was drawn to the work of many undersung designers while helping to style Michelle Obama during the Obama administration. “It’s an unknown designer worn by people in the limelight,” he pointed out, “and the combination … makes an impact on many levels.”

Chief among them, sales. Batsheva Hay, who designed the high-neck burgundy dress worn by Ella Emhoff – the stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris – said her e-commerce deals started hitting record highs after the inauguration: “Compared to a typical day, I do it at least five times as much lots of sales on my web site. “Miss Hay saw an unprecedented level of interest manifest in other ways too. A photo that he posted on Ms. Emhoff in her dress received more than 12,000 likes, thousands more than her usual post.

Online interest has also surged for the family team behind the bird-embellished ring worn by poet Amanda Gorman. “We had the most people we visited on our website yesterday,” said Octavia Giovannini-Torelli, who runs the Of Rare Origin jewelery line with her mother and sister. “We respond to every client who has contacted.” Since Wednesday, their website has displayed a banner that reads: “We are honored (and panicked) to see the view from above at this historic Inauguration.”

Sergio Hudson, the Los Angeles-based designer who created the plum outfit Michelle Obama wore at Wednesday’s inauguration and the black cocktail dress Vice President Harris wore that evening, said her Instagram following doubled from about 50,000 to more than 130,000 in the hours after inauguration. He said he barely had a chance to check sales and web traffic among all the resulting interviews.

This increase in attention is very welcome after a year, thanks to the impact of the pandemic, into one of the worst fashion businesses. “It means validity in the industry at a time when I feel the industry is struggling,” said Hudson. “Last year was terrifying. You want to be a designer all your life and then in one year you’re like, watching the entire industry crumble…. This shows that people still believe in fashion. ”


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Google and Fitbit say “I do,” but marriage can still be annulled | Instant News

Google and Fitbit Inc. announced last week that the merger of the two companies has ended, but Alphabet Inc.’s antitrust dilemma may make this huge transaction far from complete.

Controversial acquisition conclusion It triggered immediate opposition from a ranking member of the Senate’s Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee and possible future chairperson Senator Amy Klobuchar, as well as some privacy organizations, who opposed Fitbit’s Personal information can be fed into letters
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“Although Fitbit is a personal health care device in the first place, it collects information and uses it to collect highly personal information,” St. John’s University law professor Anthony Sabino told MarketWatch. “I can see that Justice is deeply concerned about Google’s ability to access this kind of caring customer information through Fitbit, at least as an issue in antitrust litigation, which does not surprise me at all.”

The Wall Street Journal stated that, for its part, the US Department of Justice believes that it has not yet formally approved the transaction and is still under review, even though the transaction allowed the deadline to be formally opposed last week. report. The next steps may depend on who elected President Biden to install in key locations.

Antitrust experts are keen to watch who will lead the antitrust efforts of the Biden Administration’s Justice Department-candidates include Terrell McSweeney, who is considered business-friendly, and Jonathan Kanter, who is progressive. The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Joseph Simons, will step down on January 29 and will be responsible for the antitrust investigation of Facebook Inc.

And Amazon.com Inc.
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His successor will not only “play an important role in the investigation,” but will also face pressure from a five-member committee of two Democrats, which said Simmons was not active enough. FTC Financial Practice Department.

The federal government and state attorneys general are conducting antitrust investigations into Google, as well as the acquisitions of the White House and the Senate controlled by the Democratic Party. These are all things at stake.

Legal proceedings against other members of Big Tech are becoming more popular. last weekThe Connecticut Attorney General, William Tong, revealed that in the distribution agreements between the state and some publishers for e-books, “an antitrust investigation has been conducted on Amazon regarding potential anti-competitive provisions.”

However, the current focus is on Google, U.S. Department of Justice prosecution, A group of state AG Led by TexasAnd another group Led by Colorado and Nebraska AG In recent months.

Google and antitrust: Big Tech’s first goal is to face more and more legal actions

Google has always (as in most actions) insisted that Fitbit transactions will greatly benefit consumers and are subject to appropriate scrutiny by regulators.

“Google will continue to protect the privacy of Fitbit users, and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users’ health data will not be used for Google ads, and that this data will be stored separately from other Google ads Data,” Fitbit CEO James Park said in a letter to Fitbit users on Thursday.

However, under the leadership of the new government and the Democratic-controlled Senate, will lawsuits by the Justice Department or these two states undermine the status of the transaction? “Technically speaking, yes, although it has been very unusual since it was approved,” said Douglas Gansler, an expert on antitrust law and the former attorney general of Maryland.

According to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976, the transaction can proceed if there is no formal objection from the Department of Justice during the waiting period. Google has completed the waiting period and is therefore entitled to complete the transaction. Similarly, the Ministry of Justice can continue the investigation after the waiting period. Miller believes that it is unusual for regulators to withdraw transactions after the waiting period, but there are certain risks.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of the School of Global Business at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, put forward a theory that Democrats can apply a “Glass Steger Act” to the Internet . The 1933 law forced banks to separate their commercial and investment banking operations to ensure that the merger would not weaken competition. On the technical side, this could mean forcing social media companies to run their platforms separately from applications and businesses that benefit from user data.

He said: “Any transaction made by Google, especially with equipment manufacturers, has a certain inherent instability.”

Legal scholars said that despite this, the Justice Department took the opportunity to raise an objection before the transaction was completed, which made the reversal process extremely difficult.

Sabino of St. John’s University said that the Justice Department would revoke approval of the transaction as “very unlikely.” Even when an investigation led to its filing of an antitrust lawsuit in October, it encountered opposition, and the European Union approved the acquisition last month. Sabino told MarketWatch: “It’s simply unfair to go back now.”

He added that, however, the Fitbit purchase “will have an impact on the pending case. [DoJ] Antitrust litigation. After all, the key to federal lawsuits (now about a dozen or more states have joined) is Google’s ability to collect information about users through Google searches, YouTube usage, etc. “

Then there is the historical pandemic and economic chaos inherited by the Biden administration, which may put antitrust cases against big technologies into trouble.

“Technical antitrust issues will not get the necessary push and push from the White House. Therefore, even if many House Democrats and prominent senators like Amy Klobuchar are keen to pursue this goal, the entire agenda may be possible. Will be on it.” Chakravorti said.

Klobuchar seems very keen on closing deals.

Klobuchar said in a statement last week: “Google announced that it will close its acquisition of Fitbit, and the transaction is still under review by the Department of Justice, which once again shows the company’s lack of concern about compliance with antitrust laws.”

The senator opposed to the senator’s acquisition of large technology companies said: “Before Biden’s executive officers took over, the rush to complete the transaction is even more disturbing.” “Although the merger was completed prematurely, I still urge the department to comply with the law. Seek all appropriate remedies to protect competition and consumers from any anti-competitive effects caused by this transaction.”

Privacy advocates are still very willing to question mergers on antitrust issues, and they worry about the consequences of big deals like Fitbit.

The Department of Justice’s failure to prevent Google from acquiring Fitbit is not only incoherent and embarrassing, but also dangerous. This transaction poses a serious security risk to the personal data of Fitbit consumers,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Freedom Project. “Google uses its extensive portfolio of Internet services to monitor its users and Profit from highly personal information. There is no reason to believe that they will not do the same to Fitbit. “

“In fact, Google had previously lied about data to antitrust enforcers. Just like an antitrust lawsuit against Google last month, the company promised to the Federal Trade Commission and Congress how it would manage DoubleClick’s Acquisition, but then Google ignored the acquisition.”

“President-elect Biden should ensure that the role of his government is to reverse this transaction as quickly as possible,” Miller said.


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Switzerland to Hold Referendum on Covid-19 Lockdown | Instant News

Switzerland’s system of direct democracy will be tested again later this year, this time with a referendum on whether to withdraw government powers to impose lockdowns and other measures to slow it down. the Covid-19 pandemic.

The landlocked Alpine state of 8.5 million people is unusual in voting for its people on important policy steps by offering a referendum if enough people sign the petition for the vote. Last year, Switzerland voted to increase its stock of cheap housing, tax benefits for children and hunting wolves.

The idea is to give citizens oversight of the powers of the federal government, and it’s a throwback to the patchwork cantons, or fiercely independent districts, that were put together in the medieval period.

Now, the country is gearing up for a referendum on whether to repeal the government’s legal authority to order another lockdown and containment of the pandemic after campaigners petitioned for about 86,000 signatures this week – higher than 50,000 needed – triggering a nationwide vote to lift last year’s Covid- 19 Act.

The vote could come as soon as June, and is likely to reflect discord in the US and elsewhere over how far the government should limit social interaction in a pandemic – or whether to lock down altogether.


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‘My Little Sister’ Review: Her Brother’s Carer | Instant News

The serene magic of “My Little Sister,” the Swiss Oscar entry, is the cumulative effect. There’s nothing spectacular about this film, written and directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, other than a view of the Alps and one of the heart-stopping parachutes of the parasailing series. And there is nothing extraordinary about the plot, although the complications of marriage around the edges may, at the hands of less talented filmmakers, have distracted attention from the center of the story about Lisa (Nina Hoss), a famous playwright who suffers from writer’s block, and sister twins. , Sven (Lars Eidinger), a famous actor who is dying of leukemia. Even so, each moment reinforces the essence of drama – the bond of love between two people who leave their mother’s womb within seconds of each other. (For playdates in physical and virtual theaters, go to filmmovement.com/my-little-sister.)

There are geographic complications too. Berlin is where Lisa and Sven grew and made their reputation, and where Sven was hospitalized. But Lisa is tied to Switzerland, where her husband, Martin (Jens Albinus), serves as headmaster of an expensive and grand international school. (The supposed school grand piano Stravinsky used to compose “The Rite of Spring.”) What’s more, Sven needed home care and wasn’t available in Berlin, because his sibling’s birth mother, Kathy (veteran Swiss actress Marthe Keller), was so far away from Florence Nightingale: “I can’t stand to see you squander like this!” she told her son who was very ill. So Sven joins his sister in a postcard-like beauty near Montreux, although the action changes as things change.

Her working condition, as well as her medical condition – Sven is determined to make her final appearance as Hamlet in a Berlin stage production directed by ex-husband Lisa. Complications, as I said, but also opportunities for the two stars to put on a dazzling appearance.

Of the two, Mr. Eidinger is less well known outside of Europe, but he is a revelation in a role without emotional boundaries. Sven is frantic, feverish, lively, bends occasionally, very funny, very intelligent; he claims to memorize every word “Hamlet,” and you believe him.

It’s very tempting to call Ms. Hoss with a known number; she’s always been in high demand and was recently seen as a music teacher in 2019’s “The Audition”. But you never know what she’s going to do, and how strong she does it is a mystery that continues. Many stars are classically prettier, although her beauty, like the gravity of her attitude, deepens with age. One thing he does with a special focus is watching, as well as listening; his watchful presence in a scene intensified the presence of those around him.


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