Breaking New

Nike shakes up its executive team, announces job cuts

John Donahoe took over as Nike CEO in January 2020.

Kim Kulish | Corbis via Getty Images

Nike on Wednesday announced a number of leadership changes as well as job cuts, in an effort to focus on its digital business and selling more directly to customers as the coronavirus pandemic shifts buying habits. 

The company said the changes it is making will lead to a “net loss of jobs across the company,” which will result in pre-tax, one-time employee termination costs of roughly $200 million to $250 million. As of May 31, 2019, Nike had approximately 76,700 employees worldwide, according to its annual report. 

A spokeswoman declined to tell CNBC exactly how many jobs will be impacted, but insisted that this is not a cost-cutting move, and instead is meant to invest resources in stronger parts of the business. 

Among the leadership changes, which are all listed here, Nike has named the former head of its global categories, Amy Montagne, as vice president of its Men’s business. It named the former head of its specialty businesses, Whitney Malkiel, as head of Women’s. And the former head of Nike’s North American Kids business, McCallester Dowers, has been named head of Kids, globally. They are all reporting to Michael Spillane, who is becoming head of a new Consumer Creation division, Nike said. 

“We are announcing changes today to transform Nike faster, accelerate against our biggest growth opportunities and extend our leadership position,” Nike President and Chief Executive John Donahoe said in a statement. “Now is the right time to build on Nike’s strengths and elevate a group of experienced, talented leaders who can help drive the next phase of our growth.” 

Donahoe had previously hinted when Nike reported earnings last month that the retailer was looking to streamline its business with a focus on digital, as it took a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While it reported an unexpected fiscal fourth-quarter net loss and a sales decline of 38% year-over-year, Nike’s digital sales soared 75%, representing about 30% of total revenue, as shoppers flocked to Nike’s website for sneakers and workout gear. 

Nike shares were down less than 1% in morning trading. The stock is down about 3% this year. Nike has a market cap of $153 billion. 

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Breaking New

Lionel Messi cuts off contract renewal talks with Barcelona

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has called off negotiations over renewing his contract with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans when his current deal expires in 2021, according to a report by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Friday.

The report said Messi and his father Jorge had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club, which was signed in 2017, but that he no longer wishes to stay at the Camp Nou.

The report added that Messi is angry about leaked media reports that appeared to make him seem responsible for events at the club, such as the January sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde, and that he is frustrated about the squad’s lack of quality.

The Argentine’s representatives and Barcelona did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Messi, who turned 33 last month, scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid, but the milestone strike ended in disappointment as Barca drew the game 2-2 in the latest blow to their bid to retain the Spanish title.

Barca trail Real Madrid by four points in the title race with five games remaining after Real beat Getafe 1-0 on Thursday.

Previously known for his shy personality off the pitch, Messi has become more vocal in his criticism of the club in the last year.

In January he hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal, who he said had implied players had led to Valverde being sacked.

In a February interview with newspaper Mundo Deportivo, he declared the team was not good enough to win this season’s Champions League.

Then in April, he criticized the board for implying players were not willing to accept a pay-cut to help the team’s financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Cory Wharton Breaks Silence After MTV Cuts Ties With Taylor Selfridge

Not happy. Cory Wharton, who has been part of the MTV family since 2014’s The Real World: Ex-Plosion, has spoken out following the firing of Taylor Selfridge after racially charged tweets resurfaced.

“One of my favorite athletes of all-time is Kobe Bryant and one of his favorite philosophies is ‘Control what you can control.’ What I can’t control, though, is the decisions that MTV as a company has made,” Wharton, 29, said in a statement obtained by Us Weekly on Wednesday, June 10. “To those of you that were ready to watch the special, I want to say thank you for your support. I have such an amazing community that supports me, my family and my daughters.”

The Challenge star continued: “I have not parted ways with MTV. That needs to be understood. I’ve learned that burning bridges is never the solution. Even though I have no ill-will against MTV, I am disappointed and saddened by their decision. As all of you know, narrative is a very powerful tool. I feel like the narrative that you want about me should be accurate. It should be true, and it should be from me. This is why I am putting all of my time, energy and effort into my YouTube channel, “The Wharton Family.” That’s where you’ll get an inside look at my family as we build our life together.”

Wharton noted that next week, on Wednesday, June 17, the birthing video will be uploaded onto the family’s YouTube page. “It won’t be the special, but it will introduce you guys to Mila,” he added.

Cory Wharton Breaks Silence After MTV Cuts Ties With Taylor Selfridge
Cory Wharton and Taylor Selfridge. Courtesy Taylor Selfridge/Instagram

On Tuesday, June 9, the network announced that they were severing ties with Selfridge, 26, while also deciding not to air Teen Mom OG at Home: Cory & Taylor’s Baby Special, which was set to run that night.

“MTV pulled Teen Mom OG at Home: Cory & Taylor’s Baby Special from its Tuesday schedule and is ending our relationship with Taylor Selfridge in light of her past racist statements on social media,” a spokesperson for the network said in a statement to Us. “MTV strongly condemns systemic racism and stands with those raising their voices against injustice.”

Selfridge, who appeared on Are You the One? and Ex on the Beach before dating Wharton, shared her side of the story via Instagram, claiming that she “made the decision last week to not film the next season of Teen Mom OG with Cory for the benefit of myself and my daughter. ”

Cory Wharton Taylor Selfridge and baby Mila Cory Wharton Breaks Silence After MTV Cuts Ties With Taylor Selfridge
Cory Wharton, Taylor Selfridge and baby Mila. Courtesy Cory Wharton & Taylor Selfridge

The reality star noted that “the reality tv lifestyle” is not what she wants at this time of her life.

“With current events being what they are and reality tv being selective in who they apply rules to or what is considered acceptable behavior, I do not have any further respect,” she wrote. “Once again, I apologize to anyone I have hurt or offended in the past. I have addressed my mistakes many times on the network and I would like to move on and continue to be the best version of myself. My past does not define who I am today and I hope you guys can see the change. Please respect my decision to provide a normal, healthy life for my family.”

Wharton and ex-girlfriend Cheyenne Floyd joined the cast of Teen Mom OG in 2018, which followed their journey with 3-year-old daughter Ryder. Selfridge began appearing on the show when she started dating Wharton in 2019. The pair welcomed a daughter, Mila, in April and filmed the birth amid the COVID-19 pandemic for the special.

“I am kind of camera shy. I don’t really enjoy cameras in my face, but I don’t think that I would have been on camera delivering if there was production there,” Selfridge said on the “Watch With Us” podcast ahead of the special’s original premiere date. “I would have said no to that. I wouldn’t want production in there at all. Cory was basically filming, so it wasn’t a big deal to me.”

Selfridge’s firing comes one day after MTV cut ties with The Challenge‘s Dee Nguyen, following offensive comments made about the Black Lives Matter movement. Wharton is part of the current season of The Challenge, airing now.

Listen on Spotify to Watch With Us to hear more about your favorite shows and for the latest TV news!

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Breaking New

President Trump now says he’s open to entitlement cuts, including Medicare

“We have tremendous growth. We’re going to have tremendous growth. This next year I — it’ll be toward the end of the year. The growth is going to be incredible. And at the right time, we will take a look at that,” he added.

Asked by CNBC whether he was willing “to do some of the things that you said you wouldn’t do in the past, though, in terms of Medicare,” Trump said: “We’re going look.”

“I mean we’ve never had growth like this. We never had a consumer that was taking in, through — different means, over $10,000 a family,” he said.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump said he wouldn’t have to touch Social Security because his plan to boost economic growth to at least 4% would take care of the entitlement’s long-term problems.

Social Security is one of the most popular government programs across party lines, along with Medicare. The issue is sure to be a top political issue in the 2020 general election campaign — and it’s even emerging as a heated talking point in the Democratic primary.

Most recently, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has pushed for a “Medicare for All” program and said he wants to expand Social Security benefits, has targeted former Vice President Joe Biden’s record. In the 1980s and 1990s, many high-ranking Democrats, including Biden, sought to signal their seriousness about reducing the federal deficit by expressing a willingness to negotiate with the GOP over plans to slow Social Security’s growth or raise the retirement age.

The President did not offer further details during the interview about what he’s considering cutting.

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that entitlement cuts are not something he would entertain.

“The President said in an interview yesterday at Davos that he will take a look at cutting Social Security and other entitlements after the 2020 election and that it is, actually, he said, the easiest of all things,” Schumer said. “The President promised that unlike other Republicans, he wouldn’t touch Social Security and Medicare. He’s already broken that promise and gone after Medicare. Now, it looks like Social Security is in the President’s crosshairs as well.”

Speaking to press amid the Senate impeachment trial, Schumer added: “(E)ven as this important trial continues, Americans should hear that the President is casually talking about cutting their Social Security at a Swiss ski resort with the global financial elite.”

When Trump announced his run for president in 2015, he promised to “(s)ave Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it. Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it.”

And on Thursday, following Democratic responses to his comments at Davos, Trump reiterated his claim that he would “save” Social Security.

“Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!” Trump tweeted.

As recently as November, the President asserted at a campaign rally that Democratic policies were putting health care entitlements at risk, promising that Republicans would “safeguard” Medicare.

Trump has prioritized major increases to defense spending and implemented tax cuts over reducing the federal deficit, which has ballooned to record highs under the current administration.

And while Trump has talked about preserving entitlements and safety net programs, his previous budget proposals have signaled that the Trump administration has been open to cuts.

The administration’s fiscal 2020 budget proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security, student lending and nutritional assistance for low-income families — a pitch that was unpopular with Democratic lawmakers. The proposal aimed to reduce spending on Medicare by $845 billion over 10 years.

CNN’s Gregory Krieg, Sarah Westwood, Pamela Brown and Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

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Breaking New

Google cuts Xiaomi’s Nest access for showing random photos of strangers’ homes

“We’re aware of the issue and are in contact with Xiaomi to work on a fix,” Google said in a statement on Friday. “In the meantime, we’re disabling Xiaomi integrations on our devices.”

The move comes two days after a Xiaomi camera owner in the Netherlands said he saw still images of homes that aren’t his own as he tried to stream video from the smart device to Google Nest Hub. The images included a baby fast asleep in a crib, an old man dozing off in an armchair, and a sun-filled living room.

The incident was first reported by Android Police.

Xiaomi, a Chinese technology company best known for its inexpensive and wildly popular smartphones, told CNN Business in a statement that it had fixed the issue and apologized for the inconvenience caused to users.

“Upon investigation, we have found out the issue was caused by a cache update on December 26, 2019, which was designed to improve camera streaming quality,” it said.

It said the incident the user experienced happened during the integration between Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p — the model the Dutch user owns — and the Google Home Hub “with a display screen under poor network conditions.” It has suspended the integration service until the root cause is solved.

According to Xiaomi, the issue would not occur if the camera is linked to Xiaomi’s own Mi Home app.

Home security cameras have long had security issues. Last week, Wyze Labs, which makes smart cameras and connected home gadgets, confirmed database holding millions of customers’ information were exposed to the public.

The leaked data included customer email addresses, as well as the email addresses of those people who were given permission to view the camera feeds. A list of cameras in customers’ home and tokens used to connect to smart phones and personal assistants were left open for public view.

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Breaking New

After two years, Trump’s tax cuts have failed Americans (opinion)

But none of those promises have been fulfilled. From a purely economic standpoint, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has been an enormous flop.

Let’s start with jobs. Has the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created millions of new jobs, as was promised? In a word, no. In the four years prior to the passage of the GOP tax law, the economy added an average of 213,000 jobs each month, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the nearly two years since the law passed, average job creation has actually declined by an average of 11,000 per month.
The White House promised that the tax cuts would result in an annual wage increase of $4,000 per household. Again, not even close. In the two years since the law passed, wage growth, after accounting for inflation, rose only slightly, from 1% to just under 1.4% per year for nonsupervisory workers, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That difference — even if it were fully attributable to the tax cuts — amounts to less than $400 for a full-time worker. So much for your $4,000 raise.
We have been told, over and over again, that tax cuts for the rich are good for the overall economy. However, there’s not much solace to be found in gross domestic product either. In the four years before the law passed, real GDP grew by an annual average rate of about 2.4%, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the nearly two years since, the GDP growth rate has inched only slightly higher to an annual average of 2.5%.

These lackluster results should not, in the end, be very surprising. The claim that a huge tax cut for the wealthy and corporations would trickle down to everyone else was based on an outdated and discredited set of ideas for how the economy works. In that old framework, the way to produce a better economy is to get out of the way of job creators and let the free market do the rest. A tax cut for corporations, then, should have reduced the cost of capital and induced them to invest more, which ultimately is supposed to create jobs and push up wages.

But even that very first step never happened. In the last two years, the growth rate of private direct investment has substantially declined. In the four years before the law passed, private direct investment grew by about 3.3% annually, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In the two years since the law was enacted, that rate is down to 2.5%.

The idea that tax cuts aimed at corporations and the rich would bestow economic gifts on all of us is flawed. Because that’s not how the economy works in real life. Corporations don’t make investment decisions based on tax giveaways. And wages don’t automatically increase with tax cuts or with productivity improvements.

President Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment has turned out to be an expensive failure. He will run on his economic record next year, but he should be careful what he wishes for. Given what a bust his tax cuts have been, voters may not be as inclined to trust his economic stewardship.

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Breaking New

City of Cincinnati retirees demand $123k in legal bills to fight health care cuts and loss of Viagra

CINCINNATI — Retired city of Cincinnati workers are asking the city to pay nearly $123,000 in attorney bills they’ve accrued fighting changes to health care benefits, such as the removal of Viagra and Cialis from prescription coverage.

The retired workers filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, asking the city to pay legal bills from January 2017 to November 2019. The retirees’ attorneys, who charge between $425 and $775 per hour, anticipate future legal bills from a widening dispute over what benefits the retirees say they are entitled to, and what the city says it can afford.

After months of brokering, the city and its retired workers reached a historic agreement in 2015 that solved a looming pension crisis. It allowed the city to move $200 million from its health care fund to the pension fund. In exchange, the city agreed not to significantly change health care benefits.

“As the court knows well, the years since the agreement was executed have seen a steady flow of disputes, motion practice, meetings, and negotiations as the parties have worked to address new and old issues under the agreement and avoid all-out litigation,” the retired workers’ attorney, Peter O’Shea, wrote in the motion for legal fees.

In June retired workers filed a motion to stop the city from removing erectile dysfunction drugs from their health care benefits – a cut that would save the city $425,000 per year. Current city employees lost this coverage in 2018.

The city will continue to cover erectile dysfunction drugs necessary as part of a medical condition, such as an enlarged prostate, but ended coverage of lifestyle or recreational use of the drugs in July.

“Not every drug which seeks to address the admittedly unpleasant effects of the aging process is, in the strictest sense, ‘medically necessary’ and subject to full insurance coverage,” the city’s attorney, Steven Goodin, wrote in a July motion.

The Cincinnati Retirement System is expected to spend an estimated $34 million on retiree health benefits in 2019 and coverage for prescription drugs accounts for half of that, City Manager Patrick Duhaney wrote in a June 4 memo to city council.

“This trend is expected to increase at alarming rates due to escalating costs for brand-name drugs, new and specialty drugs coming to market at ever-higher prices, and increased utilization,” Duhaney wrote.

The city recently added numerous new drugs to its health plan, including ones which cure Hepatitis C and dramatically improve the life expectancy for certain cancer diagnoses, and it did so without court approval, Goodin wrote.

He argued the city is entitled to make routine tweaks to its health care plan without U.S. District Court Judge Michael Barrett’s oversight.

“The (agreement) proscribes only wholesale ‘reduction of benefits’ and not routine, cost-saving tinkering with drug formularies,” Goodin wrote. “If the court were to become involved at this granular level of plan management, the parties will be before it on a quarterly basis until the consent decree expires in 2036.”

In January retired city workers asked a judge to hold the city in contempt for violating the consent decree by not making regular payments into a healthcare trust.

“Moreover, as of the date of this filing, counsel for the retirees class continues to investigate the city’s September 2019 announcement that it will transition … from a self-insured plan to a Medicare Advantage Plan effective January 1, 2020,” O’Shea wrote. “This seismic change was determined unilaterally by the city … The city’s go-it-alone process —that refuses to involve or even consult the retirees class — violates the spirit and letter of the agreement.”

That transition will continue to require “substantial involvement from counsel” to ensure that the new plan substantially complies with the agreement, O’Shea wrote.

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Breaking New

City Cuts Funding For Numerous Early Childhood Education Centers – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Funding doors have slammed shut for more than a dozen early childhood education centers in Chicago, despite decades of service.

It is happening right as the city moves toward pre-K for all. But as CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Monday, many who have lost their funding said they are not being told why.

Little Angels Childcare Center is an Englewood staple. It is a 25-year fixture helping prepare preschoolers for kindergarten in a neighborhood with its share of challenges.

“To have this place in Englewood – it’s everything,” said parent Cherelle Bilal.

It is everything to parents, and to the founder of the child care center, Nashone Greer-Adams.

“We provide phenomenal wraparound services,” Greer-Adams said.

The services are provided to 42 children at no cost to families. It is why funding is crucial.

But after submitting a request for proposal, or RFP, to the Chicago Department of Family Support Services, Greer-Adams was stunned to learn Little Angels had been defunded.

No one at DFSS will tell her why or how she scored.

“We’re asking for transparency, because how can we self-improve if we do not understand where we fell short?” Greer-Adams said.

Little Angels is one of 15 longstanding child care center losers in this RFP process, which is used to dole out $193 million taxpayer dollars.

Little Angels was rejected despite former Mayor Rahm Emanuel touting it as one of the best centers in the city, and after it was awarded more than $2 million to build a new school in a lot across the street.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said the lack of transparency is a concern not only for the city, but also for taxpayers.

“The problem of the process, obviously, is a concern,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer has introduced a resolution asking for hearings on the matter.

DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler defended her department’s process.

“DFSS, since before I got here, has a policy and practice of not releasing scores,” she said. “It was not our design to defund. We do not celebrate any longstanding partner that we valued and that did good work and was not successful. But the process, unfortunately, is pretty agnostic.”

So where does that leave centers like Little Angels, which may be forced to close their doors if they don’t get additional funding?

Morrison Butler said the commissioner would have to have conversations, but nothing is guaranteed.

Meanwhile, Sawyer said he is waiting for an audit of the process to wrap up before introducing that resolution calling for hearings.

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Breaking New

Thousands could be impacted by PG&E’s upcoming potential power cuts

(Reuters) – About 180,000 customers in California could find themselves in the dark as Pacific Gas & Electric warned that an upcoming “strong offshore wind event” could prompt the bankrupt power producer to yet again shut off power in some areas.

“The forecast remains uncertain, but there is a possibility that the weather could prompt a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) for some customers in the Sierra Foothills, North Valley and North Bay”, the company said on Sunday, adding that it was monitoring for adverse weather on Wednesday.

“At present, projections reflect a possible weather event similar to previous PSPS events that impacted about 180,000 customers.”

The company said the potential cuts were intended to avoid its equipment sparking wildfires in hot weather.

The upcoming possible outages are only the latest in a string of recent events for which PG&E has been widely criticized.

Recent shut-offs have hit hundreds of thousands of homes and workplaces in northern California and have been condemned by customers as well as authorities for being too widespread, with insufficient communication to their customers.

The utility filed for bankruptcy in January, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion from major wildfires linked to its transmission wires and other equipment.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Diane Craft

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Breaking New

California utility sees decade of power cuts to avoid wildfires

(Reuters) – Northern Californians can expect widespread power cuts aimed at preventing wildfires for a decade while Pacific Gas & Electric upgrades wires systems, cuts back trees and takes other safety measures, the utility’s chief executive said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Firefighters battle a wind-driven wildfire called the Saddle Ridge fire in the early morning hours Friday in Porter Ranch, California, U.S., October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Bill Johnson, who became CEO of bankrupt PG&E Corp earlier this year, told an emergency meeting with the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that recent power outages included lack of information and hardships that cannot be repeated.

But the day when preemptive power outages would no longer be necessary is still years away, he said.

“Eventually the technology will get us to a point where we don’t need to be doing it,” he said. “This is probably a 10-year timeline to get to a point where it’s really ratcheted down significantly.”

The state utilities regulator called the emergency meeting with senior PG&E executives after ordering the utility to take corrective actions related to its handling of the power outages, which have been criticized for being conducted on too large a scale with insufficient communication with customers.

“This is not hard,” PUC President Marybel Batjer said during the meeting to the panel of PG&E executives assembled. “You guys failed on so many levels on pretty simple stuff.”

PG&E cut off electricity to more than 730,000 homes and workplaces in northern California last week in a bid to reduce wildfire risks posed by extremely windy and dry weather.

The shutdown was unprecedented in its scope, and PG&E’s website and call center were overwhelmed by customer traffic.

“I apologize for the hardship and the lack of information. This cannot happen again,” Johnson said.

He said he expected the precautionary outages would decrease in size and scope each year.

To reduce the need for them, the utility will create smaller sections of wires so that shutoffs can be more targeted, increase vegetation management and use new materials to cover power lines, Johnson said.

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday urged the company to provide credits or rebates to affected customers.

The outage is the latest in a string of events for which PG&E has received widespread public criticism. The utility filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, citing potential civil liabilities in excess of $30 billion from major wildfires linked to its transmission wires and other equipment.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Peter Henderson and Sandra Maler

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