Tribune News Service
Business Budget for Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Updated at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC)
Adds FARM-FAIROAKS-ABUSE:TB, BUDGET-GAP:BLO, FARM-HEMP-NC:RA, CPT-ALEXA:SE
This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.
^Targeting consumers who skip commercials, brands turn to sponsored documentaries<
^BRAND-DOCUMENTARIES:LA—<Since the dawn of TV, entertainment and advertising have been closely intertwined. In the 1950s, companies sponsored programs such as "The Colgate Comedy Hour," where it was common to hear pitches for household products before the show and even see them mentioned in the program's narratives. But as technology evolved, more consumers fast-forwarded through ads and cut the cord altogether. Brands sought out viral video content that they could sponsor on social media, fueling the growth of companies such as BuzzFeed and Vox. Now, they are going a step further by partnering directly with filmmakers.
Whether the aim is to encourage people to buy photo printers, athletic shoes or even fried chicken, companies such as HP, Nike and Church's Chicken are increasingly pouring money into documentaries in hopes of capturing the attention of consumers who shun traditional commercials. The trend has been a boon to filmmakers such as East Hollywood's Dirty Robber. But it has also stirred debate over the role of advertising in nonfiction storytelling.
1400 by Wendy Lee in San Francisco. MOVED
^Soaring insurance deductibles and high drug prices hit sick Americans with a 'double whammy'<
HEALTHCARE-DEDUCTIBLES-DRUGS:LA — Wendy Matney hesitated to tell her family not to call 911.
"It seemed almost selfish to say, 'Please don't call because we can't afford this,' " said the 39-year-old home health aide, who has a form of epilepsy that causes frequent, sometimes violent, seizures.
Matney has been to the hospital enough, though, to know a trip means thousands of dollars in bills under the family's high-deductible health plan. And she and her husband — struggling with more than $20,000 in medical debt — can afford no more.
Hit with a hospital lawsuit over unpaid bills, the couple are declaring bankruptcy, effectively giving up hope of moving out of their trailer and buying a house.
2000 by Noam N. Levey in Bristol, Tenn. MOVED
^In wake of Fair Oaks Farms animal abuse case, an arrest and a lawsuit<
FARM-FAIROAKS-ABUSE:TB — Chicago-based Fairlife, under fire after the release of a video showing animals being mistreated at one of its supplying dairy farms, is being sued for fraud for promoting the "extraordinary care and comfort" of its cows on its milk labels.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Chicago federal court by a California man who was a consumer of Fairlife milk, seeks class-action status. It names Fairlife as well as Mike and Sue McCloskey, owners of Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana where the alleged abuse took place, as defendants.
The suit comes as Animal Recovery Mission, an animal welfare nonprofit based in Miami, continues to release more videos from its undercover investigation of Fair Oaks Farms, which runs a popular agritourism business.
1450 by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz in Chicago. MOVED
^OTHER BUSINESS NEWS <
^Sprint and T-Mobile merger faces lawsuit from 10 states: 'Bigger isn't always better'<
^SPRINT-TMOBILE-LAWSUIT:KC—<Attorneys general from 10 states are suing to block Sprint's proposed merger with T-Mobile.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the multistate effort, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit Tuesday in New York federal court. She was joined by peers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia and Wisconsin.
In the court filing, James argued the merger would be bad for consumers by limiting wireless competition.
600 by Kevin Hardy and Steve Vockrodt. MOVED
^With Star Wars expansion open, Disney gets permits to launch Marvel land<
DISNEY-MARVEL-LAND:LA — If you thought the Walt Disney Co. would stop and catch its breath after opening its hugely popular Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge expansion last month, think again.
The Disneyland Resort has moved full steam ahead on building next year's planned expansion, a land at California Adventure Park themed for the superheroes of Marvel comics and movies.
The city of Anaheim has approved a handful of building permits for projects such as a bathroom overhaul, a retail outlet, a microbrewery, a character meet-and-greet area, plus improvements to behind-the-scenes buildings.
700 by Hugo Martin in Los Angeles. MOVED
^At Tesla annual meeting, Elon Musk softens claims of a robotaxi fleet next year<
^AUTO-TESLA-MEETING:LA—<Less than two months after touting a plan to put driverless taxis on the road, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk on Tuesday walked back the ambitious timetable.
On April 22, just days before Tesla turned to public markets to raise $2.3 billion in debt and equity, Musk had announced at an event called Tesla Autonomy Day: "Next year for sure — we'll have over a million robotaxis on the road."
On Tuesday, speaking to shareholders at the company's annual meeting, Musk hedged his earlier statement, saying Teslas would be "capable" of such driverless operation. "We will have a million cars capable of self-driving" next year, he said. "We'll still need regulatory approval.
800 by Russ Mitchell. MOVED
^GM investing $150 million at Flint Assembly for heavy-duty pickups<
AUTO-GM-FLINT:DTN — General Motors Co. is investing $150 million at Flint Assembly in a move to boost production of the automaker's profit-rich heavy-duty pickup trucks.
Flint's production will increase by 40,000 units and improvements to the line will be completed in the first half of 2020, GM President Mark Reuss said.
The investment in heavy-duty production comes two weeks after GM said it would invest $24 million at its Fort Wayne, Ind., truck plant to increase production of full-size trucks.
350 by Nora Naughton in Flint, Mich. MOVED
^3M suspends operations in Venezuela, citing unrest<
^3M-VENEZUELA:MS—<3M Co. will take a $160 million charge after suspending operations in Venezuela because of ongoing unrest in the South American country.
The Maplewood-based manufacturing giant said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that Venezuela presented an "unstable environment" and that its "heightened unrest" was expected to continue for some time.
As a result "3M has concluded that it no longer meets the criteria of control and therefore deconsolidated its Venezuelan subsidiary as of May 31," 3M officials said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
400 by Dee DePass. MOVED
^US budget gap balloons to $739 billion with four months to go<
BUDGET-GAP:BLO — The U.S. budget deficit widened to $738.6 billion in the first eight months of the fiscal year, a $206 billion increase from a year earlier, as expenditures climbed faster than revenue.
The shortfall was 38.8% more than the same period a year ago, the Treasury Department said in its monthly budget review released on Wednesday. So far in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, a revenue increase of 2.3% hasn't kept pace with a 9.3% rise in spending.
250 by Sarah McGregor in Washington. MOVED
^NC lawmakers see hemp as the state's next big cash crop. But police are opposed<
FARM-HEMP-NC:RA — A bill moving forward in North Carolina would put hemp on stronger legal footing in the state, by explicitly allowing it to be used not just for ropes and clothing but also for human consumption, in smokable or edible forms.
The wide-ranging North Carolina Farm Act of 2019 has provisions for everything from hog farms to shooting ranges and machine repair. But its proposed rules on hemp have been attracting the most attention, pitting farmers and police against one another.
1100 by Will Doran in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED
^TECHNOLOGY STORIES <
^Amazon speaks out in favor of regulating facial-recognition technology<
CPT-AMAZON-FACIAL-RECOGNITION:SE — Amazon has joined the ranks of other technology companies, including Microsoft and Google, in acknowledging the risks of facial-recognition software and calling on the federal government to impose national regulations on the technology.
Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy told an interviewer Monday that he welcomed federal legislation limiting the misuse of cloud-based facial-recognition software, such as Amazon Rekognition, at Recode's Code 2019 conference in Arizona.
650 by Melissa Hellmann in Seattle. MOVED
^FTC urges judge to enforce antitrust sanctions against Qualcomm during appeal<
^CPT-QUALCOMM-ANTITRUST:SD—<The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has opposed Qualcomm's request to put on hold enforcement of a federal judge's sanctions for violating monopoly laws arguing that a delay would allow the San Diego company to continue to levy an artificial surcharge on rival chip makers.
In a legal brief filed with the U.S. District Court in San Jose on Tuesday, the FTC said Qualcomm failed to show how renegotiating hundreds of patent licenses agreements as required by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh would cause the company irreparable harm — a legal hurdle for granting a stay.
650 by Mike Freeman. MOVED
^Suit alleges Amazon's Alexa violates laws by recording children's voices without consent<
CPT-ALEXA:SE — A lawsuit filed in Seattle Tuesday alleges Amazon is recording children who use its Alexa devices without their consent, in violation of laws governing recordings in at least eight states, including Washington.
"Alexa routinely records and voiceprints millions of children without their consent or the consent of their parents," according to a complaint filed on behalf of a 10-year-old Massachusetts girl on Tuesday in federal court in Seattle.
The complaint, which seeks class-action status, describes Amazon's practice of saving "a permanent recording of the user's voice" and contrasts that practice with other makers of voice-controlled computing devices that delete recordings after storing them for a short time or not at all.
650 by Benjamin Romano in Seattle. MOVED
^DAILY MARKETS GRAPHIC <
Find here a daily Wall Street roundup graphic featuring Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq data.
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^Tech Q&A: Fix iPhone's wireless printing, audio after installing Windows 10<
^CPT-TECHQA:MS—<We have an HP Officejet 4500 printer, and are able to print wirelessly to it from my HP PC and my wife's Mac. But we can't print wirelessly from our two new iPhone XS models because neither of them recognizes the HP printer. Is the printer installed incorrectly, or is it just too old to work with the iPhones?
550 by Steve Alexander. MOVED
^Tech review: Why everyone needs a Ravpower Filehub in their computer bag<
^CPT-TECHREVIEW:DA—<I love multi-tools.
I've had tools from Gerber and Leatherman for years. I don't carry one on my belt, but I always have one in my car, at home, on my desk at work and in my computer bag.
I'm just attracted to tools that try to be as useful as possible.
I've been using a new gadget from Ravpower that reminds me a lot of my multi-tools — it's called the Filehub 2019 AC750 Wireless Travel Router ($59.99, www.ravpower.com ) and it can do way more than I expected.
1000 by Jim Rossman. MOVED
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