[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 2 points 13 minutes ago

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When tickets first went on sale for her highly anticipated Eras Tour in November 2022, fans agonized over hours-long queues and frozen screens before Ticketmaster’s website ultimately crashed.

Ticketmaster’s failure to adequately prepare for that onslaught of demand by underinvesting in the customer purchase experience might have constituted an abuse of its market power, some economists pointed out.

“The Justice Department should have never cleared the [Live Nation-Ticketmaster] merger, because as a vertically integrated monopoly, they have every interest in encouraging prices and fees to go up, and there is no [one] in a position to discipline the industry, either by using an alternative promoter or ticketing agent,” said Tim Wu, a key architect of the Biden administration’s antitrust policies and a professor at Columbia Law.

Regardless of how the DOJ frames its lawsuit, it will have to show that Live Nation Entertainment has engaged in anti-competitive behavior that has stifled competition and hurt consumers by excessively raising prices or offering products of inferior quality.

Some experts, like Fiona Scott Morton, a professor at Yale School of Management and former chief economist at the DOJ’s antitrust division, think the government may have a strong case.

“Ticketmaster is pointing at the undeniable power of others to obscure its own monopolistic role in facilitating the extraordinary growth in both fees and also, to some extent, ticket prices,” Wu said.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 3 points 2 hours ago

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Voting technology company Smartmatic and the far-right network One America News said Tuesday that they had settled a defamation lawsuit stemming from the outlet’s lies about the 2020 election.

Smartmatic filed its lawsuit against OAN in 2021, alleging that the right-wing conspiracy network “victimized” the company and spread lies about its role in the 2020 election to “increase viewership and revenue.”

Smartmatic still has pending lawsuit against Fox News, the smaller conservative channel Newsmax, and several pro-Trump figures who also pushed lies about the election.

The channel worked closely with Russian operatives on a propaganda-style documentary during Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 over allegations he pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

OAN settled a defamation suit in September with former Dominion executive Eric Coomer, whose case revealed how the network worked with former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell and others to lie about the election.

In its lawsuit, Smartmatic alleged OAN hosts and guests made dozens of false claims about the company’s role in the 2020 election.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 1 points 2 hours ago

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The recent rise of the average long-term U.S. mortgage rate, which poses a new obstacle to aspiring homeowners hoping to purchase a property during this homebuying season, could have dramatic consequences on the country's housing market.

The rise in mortgage rates comes as homebuying season, a time when the number of homes listed for sale increases, is heating up.

This climb in inventory starts in spring and normally peaks in summer before declining as the weather gets colder, marking one of the busiest times of the year for home sales.

While the jump in mortgage rates appears modest, it makes a huge difference for borrowers, who might end up paying hundreds of dollars a month more on top of what's already one of the most significant expenses in their lives.

Many might decide that they can't afford to buy a home—which is what happened when mortgage rates suddenly skyrocketed between late 2022 and early 2023 as a result of the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest rate-hiking campaign.

Between late summer 2022 and spring 2023, a drop in demand caused by the unaffordability of buying a home led to a modest price correction of the housing market.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 1 points 3 hours ago

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A second Donald Trump administration could unilaterally devalue the US dollar, the de facto reserve currency used across much of the world as a lynchpin in the global financial system.

According to Politico, Mr Trump’s crop of economic advisers is “actively debating” how to devalue the dollar to bolster American exports, even at at the expense of the dollar’s status as a reserve currency and despite the risk that a devalued dollar could pour gasoline on inflationary fires that President Joe Biden has been trying to quell during his term in the White House.

One source told Politico that “currency revaluation” would “likely be a priority” for some of Mr Trump’s top aides if he and they are returned to the White House after this year’s presidential election.

But at the same time, that boost to exports could come at the expense of the domestic economy by sending inflation rising while potentially having global effects by inviting retaliatory devaluations by aggrieved US trade partners.

Devaluation could also be a relief to many of the authoritarian leaders and regimes Mr Trump professes to admire, as it would threaten the dollar’s reserve currency status and make it much harder for the US to use economic sanctions on countries such as Iran, Russia and China.

“Lighthizer brought that up all the time because he felt like tariffs weren’t enough to achieve the objective” of rebalancing trade with the rest of the world,” said the official, who added that then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to consider it.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 2 points 3 hours ago

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MacRumors reported that the app was described as being for homebrew games but also supported ROMs provided by players.

Unfortunately, when we attempted to download Bimmy, we received an error message saying it’s no longer available.

Now, clicking on a link to Bimmy shows “This app is currently not available in your country or region.” This time, it wasn’t Apple that removed it but the developer.

But their fear is also understandable, given the cooling effect of Nintendo’s recent crackdown on emulators.

The developers behind the Yuzu app, for example, folded after Nintendo sued them, and the Dolphin Emulator team gave up on getting its emulator back on Steam after Valve received a vague legal threat from the company.

Then GitLab took down the Suyu fork of Yuzu after an email from Nintendo.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 1 points 4 hours ago

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Authorities in Germany's southeastern state of Bavaria announced on Tuesday that they will ban smoking cannabis at the popular Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich.

Cannabis consumption would be banned in beer gardens, at public festivals and on restaurant terraces if the plan comes into effect.

Clemens Baumgärtner, the head of Oktoberfest, told the web.de news portal he wanted to keep the festival cannabis-free.

"Bavaria is strengthening the protection of children and young people," said Bavarian Premier Markus Söder, also of the CSU.

"Our aim is to limit cannabis consumption in public spaces," said Bavarian Health Minister Judith Gerlach.

In Germany, adults over 18 are allowed to carry 25 grams of dried cannabis and keep up to three marijuana plants at home for personal use.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 2 points 4 hours ago

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Critics worry the legislation could empower the government to spy on journalists and compromise their confidential sources with ease — a concerning prospect that could feel far more troublesome if Donald Trump gets elected president again.

The legislation, which would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, includes a provision that would broaden the types of businesses that agencies can compel to help the government spy without a warrant.

But experts say the provision is extremely broad — and that it could potentially allow agencies to enlist office landlords, security guards, and cleaning crews as spies, without a warrant, and demand they help the government tap into communications equipment to facilitate data collection.

Seth Stern, director of advocacy at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, warns Rolling Stone that the House bill “would let intelligence agencies commandeer countless American businesses and individuals to spy on journalists and their sources on the government’s behalf.”

At Trump’s rallies, the ex-president and presumptive 2024 GOP nominee has trotted out a recurring laugh-line about sending journalists to prison — so that they can get raped and tortured into giving up confidential information about their sources.

Sean Vitka, policy director at Demand Progress, says that “with the specter of another Trump administration, we need to see clearly the ways this would be wielded to go after political opponents, the press, and countless others — all of which could be done with devastating effect but no court approval.”


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 1 points 4 hours ago

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Mike Mavity and Eric DeGree, special agent in charge of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau, are scheduled to speak.

According to court documents obtained by CBC News, on April 14, 2023, Brink's was commissioned by two Swiss banks — Raiffeisen and Valcambi — to move more than 400 kilograms of gold, and $1,945,843 in US bills, from Zurich to Toronto.

The cargo was loaded on to flight AC881, which departed Zurich at 1:25 p.m. local time on April 17 and arrived safely at Pearson at 3:56 p.m., without incident.

The two cargo shipments — emblazoned with the words BANKNOTES and GOLDBARS — were offloaded from the plane about 20 minutes later and deposited at an Air Canada storage facility about an hour and a half after that.

Brink's says it reached out to Air Canada on April 27, 2023 to let the airline know it was demanding a full reimbursement of the costs it has sustained.

In a Nov. 8, 2023 statement of defence, Air Canada rejected "each and every allegation" in the Brink's suit, saying it fulfilled its carriage contracts and denying any improper or "careless" conduct.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 1 points 4 hours ago

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Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland's fourth budget delivers a big-ticket housing program for millennials and Generation Z voters — a multi-billion dollar commitment to be paid for in part with a tax hike on the rich and corporate Canada.

The Liberal government's preferred "fiscal anchor" — the budget benchmark that guides its decisions — has long been to keep the net debt-to-GDP ratio on a declining trend, with debt levels closely tracking the overall size of the economy.

The cost to finance Canada's growing debt pile — which has more than doubled over the last nine years to $1.4 trillion — is eating up more and more taxpayer dollars as the government is forced to refinance its borrowing at higher rates.

Public debt charges will cost $2 billion more this year than the forecast in November as the Bank of Canada keeps rates relatively high to tame inflation — which has shown signs of slowing down.

The government also has committed to maintaining the already well-subscribed tax-free savings account, extending mortgage amortization terms and increasing the RRSP withdrawal limit for some first-home buyers, among other measures.

As Ottawa moves to remake the housing landscape, roll out a national dental care program and launch pharmacare, Freeland's budget includes a number of targeted tax hikes that it says will yield some $21.9 billion in new revenue over the next five years.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 3 points 6 hours ago

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Sporting a new, closely cropped beard and wearing a dark business suit and tie for the Capitol occasion, Fain responded with a raised power fist, telegraphing in one succinct image how much organized labor’s message and tone have changed of late, along with their popularity.

The winning trajectory of the union and its new, class-conscious president have caught carmakers off guard, no more so than when Fain, 55, contrasts his workers’ declining wages with corporate share buybacks and the lavish compensation bestowed upon automotive CEOs.

Recently, following a complaint filed against his SpaceX company, the rocket and satellite maker joined Amazon, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s in suing the NLRB, challenging the constitutionality of the almost 90-year-old agency.

Not one to mince words, Fain’s bold rhetoric harkens to a long-gone era, his regular use of stark terms like “billionaire class” recalling, for this reporter, childhood remembrances of elderly trade unionist relations recounting 1930s Labor Day marches down New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Fain credits his old-school class consciousness to the experience of his grandparents – poor people who emigrated from the south during the Depression to the north to work in the newly unionized automobile industry, affording them a middle-class life.

Asked about the parallels between Reagan and Trump, charismatic presidents who quietly championed the interests of wealth and organized capital while retaining a strong following among the working class, Fain acknowledged the undeniable presence of a voluble Maga contingent among autoworkers including members of his own union.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 2 points 6 hours ago

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The House sent two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate on Tuesday, forcing a trial on allegations that he has “willfully and systematically” refused to enforce immigration laws.

The House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican who is one of the impeachment managers, read the articles aloud as most senators sat in their seats, following along with their own paper copies.

As Johnson signed the articles Monday in preparation for sending them across the Capitol, he said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should convene a trial to “hold those who engineered this crisis to full account.”

Majority Democrats have said the GOP case against Mayorkas doesn’t rise to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” laid out as a bar for impeachment in the Constitution, and Schumer probably has enough votes to end the trial immediately if he decides to do so.

House Republicans charged in two articles of impeachment that Mayorkas has not only refused to enforce existing law but also breached the public trust by lying to Congress and saying the border was secure.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat who is facing a tough reelection bid in Ohio, called the impeachment trial a “distraction,” arguing that Republicans should instead support a bipartisan border compromise they scuttled earlier this year.


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[-] autotldr@lemmings.world 5 points 6 hours ago

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The Department of Justice is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The lawsuit could reportedly come as early as next month and will target the company’s alleged monopoly in the live ticketing industry.

Live Nation drew antitrust scrutiny when it merged with Ticketmaster in 2010.

But those concerns boiled over in November 2022 when a Ticketmaster crash blocked thousands of Taylor Swift fans from purchasing tickets for the Eras Tour due to “unprecedented demand.” The DOJ opened an investigation into Live Nation shortly after, The New York Times reported.

Lawmakers also levied heavy criticism against the ticketing company, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) calling Live Nation’s business practices the “definition of monopoly.” Although President Joe Biden announced last year that Live Nation and Ticketmaster have promised to get rid of hidden ticketing fees at checkout, Senator Klobuchar argued that the companies still aren’t doing enough.

In 2019, the Justice Department blocked Live Nation from coercing venues into using Ticketmaster and also extended its 2010 consent decree to ensure the companies comply.


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