Monday, April 15

Business

Don Wright, Editorial Cartoonist With a Skewer for a Pen, Dies at 90
Business

Don Wright, Editorial Cartoonist With a Skewer for a Pen, Dies at 90

Don Wright, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist whose pointed work punctured duplicity and pomposity and resonated with common-sense readers, died on March 24 at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 90.His death was confirmed by his wife, Carolyn Wright, a fellow journalist.In a 45-year career, Mr. Wright drew some 11,000 cartoons for The Miami News, which folded in 1988, and then The Palm Beach Post, where he worked until he retired in 2008. But he reached a readership far beyond Florida: His cartoons appeared in newspapers nationwide through syndication.Mr. Wright’s readers knew where he stood, and especially what he was against, whether it was the Vietnam War; Israel’s military support for the pro-apartheid regime in South Africa (he depicted a menorah with missiles in...
Immigrants in Maine Are Filling a Labor Gap. It May Be a Prelude for the U.S.
Business

Immigrants in Maine Are Filling a Labor Gap. It May Be a Prelude for the U.S.

Maine has a lot of lobsters. It also has a lot of older people, ones who are less and less willing and able to catch, clean and sell the crustaceans that make up a $1 billion industry for the state. Companies are turning to foreign-born workers to bridge the divide.“Folks born in Maine are generally not looking for manufacturing work, especially in food manufacturing,” said Ben Conniff, a founder of Luke’s Lobster, explaining that the firm’s lobster processing plant has been staffed mostly by immigrants since it opened in 2013, and that foreign-born workers help keep “the natural resources economy going.”Maine has the oldest population of any U.S. state, with a median age of 45.1. As America overall ages, the state offers a preview of what that could look like economically — and the critic...
AI Is Poised to Replace the Entry-Level Grunt Work of a Wall Street Career
Business

AI Is Poised to Replace the Entry-Level Grunt Work of a Wall Street Career

Pulling all-nighters to assemble PowerPoint presentations. Punching numbers into Excel spreadsheets. Finessing the language on esoteric financial documents that may never be read by another soul.Such grunt work has long been a rite of passage in investment banking, an industry at the top of the corporate pyramid that lures thousands of young people every year with the promise of prestige and pay.Until now. Generative artificial intelligence — the technology upending many industries with its ability to produce and crunch new data — has landed on Wall Street. And investment banks, long inured to cultural change, are rapidly turning into Exhibit A on how the new technology could not only supplement but supplant entire ranks of workers.The jobs most immediately at risk are those performed by a...
Higher for Longer After All? Investors See Fed Rates Falling More Slowly.
Business

Higher for Longer After All? Investors See Fed Rates Falling More Slowly.

Investors were betting big on Federal Reserve rate cuts at the start of 2024, wagering that central bankers would lower interest rates to around 4 percent by the end of the year. But after months of stubborn inflation and strong economic growth, the outlook is starting to look much less dramatic.Market pricing now suggests that rates will end the year in the neighborhood of 4.75 percent. That would mean Fed officials had cut rates two or three times from their current 5.3 percent.Policymakers are trying to strike a delicate balance as they contemplate how to respond to the economic moment. Central bankers do not want to risk tanking the job market and causing a recession by keeping interest rates too high for too long. But they also want to avoid cutting borrowing costs too early or too mu...
‘3 Body Problem’: What Social Media Reaction Says About China
Business

‘3 Body Problem’: What Social Media Reaction Says About China

The first five minutes of the Netflix series “3 Body Problem” were hard to watch.I tried not to shut my eyes at the coldblooded beating of a physics professor at the height of the Cultural Revolution in 1967. By the end of it, he was dead, with blood and gruesome wounds all over his head and body. His daughter, also a physicist, watched the public execution. She went on to lose hope in humanity.I made myself sit through this violent scene. I have never seen what was known as a struggle session depicted blow-by-blow on the screen. I also felt compelled to watch it because of how the series, a Netflix adaptation of China’s most celebrated works of science fiction, has been received in China.On Chinese social media platforms, commenters objected that the series is not set entirely in China; t...
Consumers Hate ‘Price Discrimination,’ but They Sure Love a Discount
Business

Consumers Hate ‘Price Discrimination,’ but They Sure Love a Discount

Zohar Gilad runs Fast Simon, a company that helps retailers optimize their websites. Instead of offering different prices, they might display higher-end items for customers with a free-spending buying history, and clearance items for bargain hunters. Targeted coupons for hesitant browsers also create a personalized price by another name, creating a sale that might not have happened.“Say if you search for something and you didn’t buy it, you may get an email saying: ‘Hey, you have great taste. We saw you looking for black boots. Here’s a 20 percent coupon,’” Mr. Gilad said. “I think that personalization, done correctly, can be good and serve both shoppers and the merchants well.”Nonetheless, some retailers prefer the loyalty that can stem from stable prices, even if it means forgoing short-...
A Looming Question for Paramount’s Board: How to Navigate Shari Redstone
Business

A Looming Question for Paramount’s Board: How to Navigate Shari Redstone

Shari Redstone won control over her media empire in 2018 after a hard-fought struggle with CBS. In the years since, she held off on selling the family business, merging Viacom and CBS to put iconic franchises like “60 Minutes” and “Top Gun” under one roof.Now, Ms. Redstone has decided to sell her controlling stake in Paramount, a decision that could put her in conflict with some of the company’s shareholders.The question that Paramount’s board has to answer — and may eventually have to defend in a courtroom: Is the deal under consideration good for all shareholders, or just Ms. Redstone?“Are these decisions that are being made in the best interest of Paramount generally?” said Eric Talley, a law professor at Columbia. “Or are they basically the types of decisions that are only going to giv...
Poor Nations Are Writing a New Handbook for Getting Rich
Business

Poor Nations Are Writing a New Handbook for Getting Rich

For more than half a century, the handbook for how developing countries can grow rich hasn’t changed much: Move subsistence farmers into manufacturing jobs, and then sell what they produce to the rest of the world.The recipe — customized in varying ways by Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and China — has produced the most potent engine the world has ever known for generating economic growth. It has helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, create jobs and raise standards of living.The Asian Tigers and China succeeded by combining vast pools of cheap labor with access to international know-how and financing, and buyers that reached from Kalamazoo to Kuala Lumpur. Governments provided the scaffolding: They built up roads and schools, offered business-friendly rules ...
Sports Illustrated’s Owner Sues Energy Drink Mogul After Chaos at Magazine
Business

Sports Illustrated’s Owner Sues Energy Drink Mogul After Chaos at Magazine

Sports Illustrated’s owner on Monday sued Manoj Bhargava, the energy drinks mogul whose foray into media has been rife with chaos and conflict, accusing him of failing to pay millions of dollars for the rights to publish the iconic magazine.The 51-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, says that Mr. Bhargava and Arena Group, the publisher he controls, owe $48.75 million in missed payments, as well as damages for infringing on Sports Illustrated’s copyrights and trademarks.The lawsuit represents the latest public skirmish between Authentic Brands Group, which owns Sports Illustrated, and Mr. Bhargava, the 5-Hour Energy drink founder whose effort to take control of Sports Illustrated’s parent company has resulted in a series of lawsuits and turmoil ...
Fed Chair Says Central Bank Need Not ‘Hurry’ to Cut Rates
Business

Fed Chair Says Central Bank Need Not ‘Hurry’ to Cut Rates

Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said on Friday that resilient economic growth is giving the central bank the flexibility to be patient before cutting interest rates.Fed officials raised interest rates sharply from early 2022 to mid-2023, and they have left them at about 5.3 percent since last July. That relatively high level essentially taps the brakes on the economy, in part by making it expensive to borrow to buy a house or start a business. The goal is to keep rates high enough, for long enough, to wrestle inflation back under control.But price increases have cooled notably in recent months — inflation ran at 2.5 percent in February, a report on Friday showed, far below its 7.1 percent peak in 2022 for that gauge and just slightly above the Fed’s 2 percent goal. Give...