Category Archives: Business

economy and business news

Hawaii Volcano Eruption Costs Tourism Industry Millions

People nixing vacations to Hawaii’s Big island has cost the tourism industry millions of dollars as the top attraction, Kilauea volcano, keeps spewing lava.

Cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million, said Ross Birch, executive director of the island’s tourism board.

The booking pace for hotels and other activities, such as tours for lava viewing, zip lines and glass bottom boats have fallen 50 percent. A handful of cruise ships have also decided not to come into port even in Kona on the west side of the island, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) away from the volcano.

This is the “first leak we’re seeing out of the bucket,” Birch said.

Tourism is one of Hawaii’s biggest industries and a big part of the local economy. The Big Island topped other islands in the archipelago pulling in $2.5 billion in revenue last year. 

On Monday, another fissure spewing lava and unhealthy gas opened up, and a crack in the Earth that emerged a day earlier was sending molten rock on a slow run for the ocean, officials said.

The National Weather Service has warned residents of “light ashfall” throughout the day in Kau, the island’s southernmost district, after a burst of volcanic emissions around 9 a.m. 

Nearly 20 fissures have opened since the Kilauea volcano started erupting 12 days ago, and officials warn it may soon blow its top with a massive steam eruption that would shoot boulders and ash miles into the sky. 

A fissure that opened Sunday led authorities to order 10 people to flee their homes, Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe said. Overall, nearly 2,000 people have been told to evacuate since May 3, and lava has destroyed more than two dozen homes. 

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the flow from the crack that emerged Sunday was heading on a path that would take it to the ocean, about 2 miles (3 kilometers) away. No homes or roads were threatened by the flow.

Lava on Sunday spread across hundreds of yards of private land and loud explosions rocked the neighborhood not far from the Leilani Estates subdivision, where more than a dozen other active vents opened over the past week.

Nearby resident Richard Schott, 34, watched from a police checkpoint as the eruption churned just over a ridgeline and behind some trees.

“I’ve actually seen rocks fly over the tree line, and I can feel it in my body,” Schott said. “It’s like a nuclear reaction or something.”

Few fissures, ground deformation and abundant volcanic gases indicate eruptions on the eastern flank of Kilauea are likely to persist, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.

“The appearance of the fissures in the past couple of days does not change the overall picture or concern,” Geological Survey scientist Steve Brantley said.

Christian and Maritza Ricks, who moved to the area from California in April, stopped at the side of the road to watch and listen to the latest eruption.

“I guess it’s just part of living on the island,” Ricks said.

He said he wasn’t really afraid of the destruction happening around him. 

“In a way, it’s kind of exciting to see what’s going on and be this close to it,” Christian Ricks said.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported a fissure opened Saturday just east of the Puna Geothermal Venture energy conversion plant, where steam and hot liquid are brought up through underground wells and the steam feeds a turbine generator to produce electricity. 

As a precaution, plant workers last week removed 50,000 gallons (189,265 liters) of a flammable liquid stored at the site.

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Study Finds Uber’s Growth Slows After Year of Scandal; Lyft Benefits

Uber Technologies’ growth has slowed as a series of scandals has allowed the ride-hailing company’s chief U.S. competitor, Lyft, to grab more market share, digital research firm eMarketer said in a report on Monday.

The research firm has lowered its forecasts for Uber’s growth for the next several years. It projects 48 million U.S. adults will use Uber at least once this year, up 18 percent from last year but well off eMarketer’s earlier forecast of more than 51 million.

EMarketer based its analysis on data from Uber and Lyft, such as trip numbers and app downloads, as well as customer surveys from researchers at JP Morgan and other firms.

Series of scandals

The report quantifies the effect of a series of scandals at Uber last year, which included an internal probe of sexual harassment and workplace behavior; a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into whether Uber managers violated U.S. laws against bribery of foreign officials; a lawsuit by Alphabet alleging trade secrets theft that Uber settled for $245 million; and the departure of Uber’s chief executive officer, who was pushed out by investors concerned about the growing list of problems.

Uber did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Lyft has grown quickly, adding more than 160 cities last year, benefiting from Uber’s tarnished image and as a later entry into markets where people are already familiar with ride-hailing services, eMarketer said. On Monday, Lyft said it has 35 percent of the national ride-hailing market, and in 16 U.S. markets its share exceeds 40 percent.

“Uber’s brand image took an even bigger hit than expected as it grappled with a series of scandals and PR disasters in 2017,” said Shelleen Shum, eMarketer’s forecasting director. “Lyft, which had been rapidly expanding its coverage, seized on the opportunity to brand itself as a more socially conscious alternative.”

Lowered forecast

The research firm said it has lowered its forecast for Uber’s growth every year through 2021, reflecting the company’s competitive disadvantage after last year’s problems. EMarketer’s previous projections pegged the number of Uber users in 2017 at about 44 million, but the actual number ended up being fewer than 41 million.

Even so, Uber remains the dominant U.S. ride-hailing company. At the end of this year it will have about 77 percent of the market, down from 90 percent in 2016, while Lyft will have 48 percent, up from nearly 29 percent, according to eMarketer.

EMarketer’s projections for 2022 show Uber with nearly 74 percent of customers and Lyft with 59 percent of ride-hailing customers. Some people use both services.

Lyft operates in roughly the same number of U.S. cities as Uber, as well as in Toronto. Uber operates across the globe, although it has retreated from Southeast Asia, Russia and China after losing billions of dollars competing with local rivals.

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Study Finds Uber’s Growth Slows After Year of Scandal; Lyft Benefits

Uber Technologies’ growth has slowed as a series of scandals has allowed the ride-hailing company’s chief U.S. competitor, Lyft, to grab more market share, digital research firm eMarketer said in a report on Monday.

The research firm has lowered its forecasts for Uber’s growth for the next several years. It projects 48 million U.S. adults will use Uber at least once this year, up 18 percent from last year but well off eMarketer’s earlier forecast of more than 51 million.

EMarketer based its analysis on data from Uber and Lyft, such as trip numbers and app downloads, as well as customer surveys from researchers at JP Morgan and other firms.

Series of scandals

The report quantifies the effect of a series of scandals at Uber last year, which included an internal probe of sexual harassment and workplace behavior; a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into whether Uber managers violated U.S. laws against bribery of foreign officials; a lawsuit by Alphabet alleging trade secrets theft that Uber settled for $245 million; and the departure of Uber’s chief executive officer, who was pushed out by investors concerned about the growing list of problems.

Uber did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Lyft has grown quickly, adding more than 160 cities last year, benefiting from Uber’s tarnished image and as a later entry into markets where people are already familiar with ride-hailing services, eMarketer said. On Monday, Lyft said it has 35 percent of the national ride-hailing market, and in 16 U.S. markets its share exceeds 40 percent.

“Uber’s brand image took an even bigger hit than expected as it grappled with a series of scandals and PR disasters in 2017,” said Shelleen Shum, eMarketer’s forecasting director. “Lyft, which had been rapidly expanding its coverage, seized on the opportunity to brand itself as a more socially conscious alternative.”

Lowered forecast

The research firm said it has lowered its forecast for Uber’s growth every year through 2021, reflecting the company’s competitive disadvantage after last year’s problems. EMarketer’s previous projections pegged the number of Uber users in 2017 at about 44 million, but the actual number ended up being fewer than 41 million.

Even so, Uber remains the dominant U.S. ride-hailing company. At the end of this year it will have about 77 percent of the market, down from 90 percent in 2016, while Lyft will have 48 percent, up from nearly 29 percent, according to eMarketer.

EMarketer’s projections for 2022 show Uber with nearly 74 percent of customers and Lyft with 59 percent of ride-hailing customers. Some people use both services.

Lyft operates in roughly the same number of U.S. cities as Uber, as well as in Toronto. Uber operates across the globe, although it has retreated from Southeast Asia, Russia and China after losing billions of dollars competing with local rivals.

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Trump Urges Quick NAFTA Resolution in Talks with Trudeau

U.S. President Donald Trump urged for a quick conclusion to a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement during a phone call Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

The White House said Trump “underscored the importance” of quickly reaching a deal, while Trudeau’s office said the two spoke of the “possibility of bringing the negotiations to a prompt conclusion.”

The talks have come under increased pressure to quickly produce a deal after U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said this week he would need to be notified of a new agreement by May 17 to give the current Congress a chance to pass it this year.

Canada, the United States and Mexico are renegotiating their 24-year-old free trade pact in a process triggered by the Trump administration. Trump has been highly critical of the 1994 deal, blaming it for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs that hurt the U.S. economy.

He has repeatedly threatened to leave the pact if a satisfactory updated agreement is not reached.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday that none of the contentious issues the three countries have been discussing appear to have been resolved. Ross, who is not directly involved in the NAFTA talks, told reporters in Washington Monday that the big issues are still a “work in progress.”

Last week, the latest round of NAFTA talks ended in Washington without any major breakthroughs on how to renegotiate the deal. Those talks were the first to involve all three of the top officials in the negotiations — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

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Trump Urges Quick NAFTA Resolution in Talks with Trudeau

U.S. President Donald Trump urged for a quick conclusion to a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement during a phone call Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

The White House said Trump “underscored the importance” of quickly reaching a deal, while Trudeau’s office said the two spoke of the “possibility of bringing the negotiations to a prompt conclusion.”

The talks have come under increased pressure to quickly produce a deal after U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said this week he would need to be notified of a new agreement by May 17 to give the current Congress a chance to pass it this year.

Canada, the United States and Mexico are renegotiating their 24-year-old free trade pact in a process triggered by the Trump administration. Trump has been highly critical of the 1994 deal, blaming it for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs that hurt the U.S. economy.

He has repeatedly threatened to leave the pact if a satisfactory updated agreement is not reached.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday that none of the contentious issues the three countries have been discussing appear to have been resolved. Ross, who is not directly involved in the NAFTA talks, told reporters in Washington Monday that the big issues are still a “work in progress.”

Last week, the latest round of NAFTA talks ended in Washington without any major breakthroughs on how to renegotiate the deal. Those talks were the first to involve all three of the top officials in the negotiations — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

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Trump Vows Action to Ease Job Loss at Chinese Tech Giant

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is trying to find a way to let giant Chinese technology firm ZTE “to get back into business, fast” after the U.S. had barred the company from using American components.

“Too many jobs in China lost,” Trump said in a Twitter comment days after ZTE announced it had ceased “major operating activities” because of the cutoff of U.S.-made parts that provide a quarter or more of the parts needed to build its wireless stations, optical fiber networks and smartphones.

Trump has often complained about China stealing U.S. jobs, but said he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to ease the economic fallout at ZTE and had ordered the U.S. Commerce Department “to get it done!”

ZTE halted manufacturing at its Shenzhen factory after the Commerce Department blocked access to American-made components until 2025, contending that ZTE had failed to punish its workers for violating U.S. trade controls against North Korea and Iran.

The U.S. fined ZTE $1.2 billion last year but said last month the company had failed to live up to the agreement and lied about punishing the employees believed to be involved in skirting the sanctions, instead paying them bonuses.

ZTE, with 75,000 employees and business in more than 160 countries, is the No. 4 smartphone vendor in the U.S. When the U.S. sanctions were announced in April, ZTE said it had worked to improve its compliance with the trade bans and sent the U.S. commerce agency information to support its request to end the U.S. export ban.

Trump’s move to help the Chinese technology firm could signal a thaw in trade relations between the world’s two biggest economies, the U.S. and No. 2 China.

The U.S. leader has proposed tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese imports, and Beijing has responded in kind. The two countries have held trade talks during the tariff standoff, but there has been no immediate resolution to call off the tariff hikes.

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Trump Vows Action to Ease Job Loss at Chinese Tech Giant

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is trying to find a way to let giant Chinese technology firm ZTE “to get back into business, fast” after the U.S. had barred the company from using American components.

“Too many jobs in China lost,” Trump said in a Twitter comment days after ZTE announced it had ceased “major operating activities” because of the cutoff of U.S.-made parts that provide a quarter or more of the parts needed to build its wireless stations, optical fiber networks and smartphones.

Trump has often complained about China stealing U.S. jobs, but said he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to ease the economic fallout at ZTE and had ordered the U.S. Commerce Department “to get it done!”

ZTE halted manufacturing at its Shenzhen factory after the Commerce Department blocked access to American-made components until 2025, contending that ZTE had failed to punish its workers for violating U.S. trade controls against North Korea and Iran.

The U.S. fined ZTE $1.2 billion last year but said last month the company had failed to live up to the agreement and lied about punishing the employees believed to be involved in skirting the sanctions, instead paying them bonuses.

ZTE, with 75,000 employees and business in more than 160 countries, is the No. 4 smartphone vendor in the U.S. When the U.S. sanctions were announced in April, ZTE said it had worked to improve its compliance with the trade bans and sent the U.S. commerce agency information to support its request to end the U.S. export ban.

Trump’s move to help the Chinese technology firm could signal a thaw in trade relations between the world’s two biggest economies, the U.S. and No. 2 China.

The U.S. leader has proposed tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese imports, and Beijing has responded in kind. The two countries have held trade talks during the tariff standoff, but there has been no immediate resolution to call off the tariff hikes.

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Management Training in India Aims to Empower Professional Women

There’s a push to level the playing field for women in India, where women account for 42 percent of university graduates but only 24 percent are hired as entry level professionals. Of these, 19 percent are likely to reach senior level management. To make matters worse, the number of women who leave the work force is also higher than men. As Ritul Joshi reports, a specially designed management course for women in New Delhi is teaching them to make their way in a male dominated work force.

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Management Training in India Aims to Empower Professional Women

There’s a push to level the playing field for women in India, where women account for 42 percent of university graduates but only 24 percent are hired as entry level professionals. Of these, 19 percent are likely to reach senior level management. To make matters worse, the number of women who leave the work force is also higher than men. As Ritul Joshi reports, a specially designed management course for women in New Delhi is teaching them to make their way in a male dominated work force.

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Latest Round of NAFTA Talks Ends Without Breakthrough

Senior officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico ended the latest round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement without any major breakthroughs on how to renegotiate the deal.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Friday after a week of talks in Washington that the United States will continue to work with its partners to update the 1994 trade pact. 

“The United States is ready to continue working with Mexico and Canada to achieve needed breakthroughs on these objectives,” he said.

The talks involved all three of the top officials in the NAFTA negotiations: Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

The talks have come under increased pressure to produce a deal quickly after U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said this week he would need to be notified of a new agreement by May 17 to give the current Congress a chance to pass it this year.

Guajardo said Friday that revising the deal will take time. “We’re not going to sacrifice the quality of an agreement because of pressure of time. We’ll keep engaged,” he said.

Freeland echoed those comments. “The negotiations will take as long as it takes to get a good deal.”

She told reporters that there was a long “to-do” list to finish a renegotiation of NAFTA, but said the talks were making progress.

U.S. President Donald Trump again heaped criticism on NAFTA during a meeting with auto executives Friday at the White House. “NAFTA has been a horrible, horrible disaster for this country. And we’ll see if we can make it reasonable,” he said.

Trump has long criticized NAFTA, blaming it for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs that hurt the U.S. economy.

The auto industry has featured prominently in the NAFTA talks, with one of the key sticking points being a U.S. demand to increase the U.S.-made components in vehicles that receive duty-free status in NAFTA.

Trump praised Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne on Friday for plans to move production of its popular Dodge Ram truck back to the United States from Mexico.

“Right now, he’s my favorite man in the room,” Trump said.

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