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November 5, 2022 – rdspinvestments

November 5, 2022

Explainer-Will Twitter layoffs violate U.S. law?

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Stock Markets 34 minutes ago (Nov 06, 2022 11:00AM ET)

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Explainer-Will Twitter layoffs violate U.S. law?© Reuters. Elon Musk photo and Twitter logo are seen through magnifier in this illustration taken November 4, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc (NYSE:) has begun laying off employees under its new owner, Elon Musk. The San Francisco-based social media giant on Friday started laying off staff, expected to number up to 3,700 people – half of its workforce, according to internal plans reviewed by Reuters last week. Twitter is already facing a proposed class action claiming the layoffs are imminent and will violate U.S. and California laws if employees are not given advance notice or severance pay.

WHAT DOES U.S. LAW REQUIRE?

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires businesses with 100 or more employees to provide 60 days’ notice before engaging in mass layoffs. The law defines mass layoffs as those affecting at least 500 employees during a 30-day period, or at least 50 employees if layoffs impact at least one-third of a company’s workforce. Employers can provide workers with 60 days of severance pay in lieu of giving notice.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING THE WARN ACT?

An employer found to have violated the WARN Act can be ordered to give laid-off workers 60 days of back pay. The law also imposes penalties of $500 per violation per day. Comparable laws in California and other states impose similar penalties.

WHAT HAS TWITTER BEEN ACCUSED OF?

The lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court late on Thursday claims Twitter locked employees out of their accounts on Thursday, signaling that they will soon lose their jobs. One of the five named plaintiffs, who is based in California, says he was terminated on Nov. 1 without notice or severance pay.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. Late on Friday, Musk tweeted that “everyone exited was offered three months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.”

According to WARN filings provided by the Employment Development Department of the State of California in response to a Reuters request, Twitter gave notice on Friday that it would be cutting 93 staff at its office in Santa Monica, 106 staff in San Jose, and 784 staff in San Francisco. Each notice said the terminations were expected to begin Jan. 4.

The breakdown of staff showed that in San Francisco, the bulk of workers laid off, 592 of the 784, were classified as professionals, with 147 first/mid-level officials and managers, the remainder being senior managers, sales workers and administrative support. The breakdown for Santa Monica and San Jose showed a similar profile of workers.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said on Friday that it appeared Twitter was making an effort to comply with the WARN Act by offering to pay some employees through Jan. 4. She said employees were told they would be presented with severance agreements next week requiring them to waive their ability to sue Twitter in exchange for a payout.

Liss-Riordan said she is also investigating “how Twitter chose employees for layoff and whether any discrimination or retaliation was involved.”

HAVE OTHER MUSK-RUN COMPANIES BEEN SUED UNDER THE WARN ACT?

Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc was sued in Texas federal court in June for allegedly violating the WARN Act through an abrupt nationwide purge of its workforce, including 500 layoffs at a factory in Sparks, Nevada. Liss-Riordan also represents the workers in the Tesla case. Tesla has said it was merely “right-sizing” by firing poorly performing workers and not engaging in layoffs that required advance notice.

Last month, a federal judge said Tesla workers must pursue their claims in private arbitration rather than court. The same issue could arise in the lawsuit against Twitter, as more than half of private-sector U.S. workers have signed agreements to arbitrate employment-related legal disputes.

HAS THERE BEEN AN INCREASE IN WARN ACT LITIGATION?

Employers faced a spike in lawsuits brought under the WARN Act and state laws during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many businesses abruptly shuttered or terminated many of their employees. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz Corp, restaurant chain Hooters and Florida hotel operator Rosen Hotels and Resorts Inc all settled WARN Act lawsuits over pandemic-related layoffs. Rosen settled claims by 3,600 workers for $2.3 million and Enterprise agreed to pay $175,000 to nearly 1,000 workers. Hertz and Hooters paid undisclosed sums.

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Buffett’s Berkshire loses money as stocks, Hurricane Ian offset rising demand

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Economy 19 hours ago (Nov 05, 2022 02:00PM ET)

Buffett's Berkshire loses money as stocks, Hurricane Ian offset rising demand© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shareholders shop for discounted products at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 4, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:) Inc on Saturday posted a $2.69 billion third-quarter loss as rising inflation, falling stock investments and a big loss from Hurricane Ian offset improvement in many of the conglomerate’s businesses.

Operating profit nevertheless rose by 20%, topping analyst forecasts.

Berkshire benefited from increased demand and prices for new home sales, industrial products and energy, while the U.S. Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting campaign helped Berkshire generate more income from insurance investments.

“On balance, results were strong and demonstrated resilience given the impact of inflation, higher interest rates and supply chain challenges,” said Jim Shanahan, an Edward Jones & Co analyst with a “buy” rating on Berkshire.

Buffett’s company took advantage of declining equity markets to add more stocks to its $306 billion portfolio, buying a net $3.7 billion and building a now 20.9% stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:).

Berkshire also bought back more of its own stock but was cautious, repurchasing $1.05 billion, similar to the second quarter. It also bought back some stock in October.

The conservatism may reflect the “significant disruptions” that Berkshire said its several dozen businesses still see from supply chains and events beyond their control, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Berkshire also said rising costs from fuel and accidents hurt respective results at two of its best-known businesses, the BNSF railroad and Geico auto insurer.

Cathy Seifert, a CFRA Research analyst with a “hold” rating for Berkshire, said the company may be “at an inflection point, not unlike the economy,” where it will need to contain costs to prepare for slowing demand and a possible recession.

“Bottom line, this was a healthy quarter, but one needs to be concerned over its trajectory over the next 12 months,” Seifert said.

HUNKERING DOWN

The quarterly net loss equaled $1,832 per Class A share, and compared with a profit of $10.34 billion, or $6,882 per share, a year earlier.

Results included $10.45 billion of losses from investments and derivatives, as the stock prices of many large Berkshire investments other than Apple Inc (NASDAQ:) fell.

Accounting rules require Berkshire to report such changes even if it buys and sells nothing. This causes large quarterly swings in results that Buffett says are usually meaningless.

Operating profit, meanwhile, rose to $7.76 billion, or about $5,294 per Class A share, from $6.47 billion, or $4,331 per share, a year earlier.

Results improved despite a $2.7 billion after-tax loss from Ian, a strong Category 4 hurricane that slammed into Florida on Sept. 28. Revenue rose 9%, while expenses rose 7%.

“The concern is which of the rising expenses are going to become more permanent,” said Tom Russo, a partner at Gardner, Russo & Quinn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who invests more than $1 billion in Berkshire.

Russo said results reflect “an enterprise hunkering down and conserving resources while it awaits large ‘elephants,'” a term Buffett uses to describe large acquisitions.

Berkshire ended September with $109 billion of cash, up from $105.4 billion in June, though it spent $11.6 billion last month to buy the Alleghany (NYSE:) Corp insurance business.

A strengthening U.S. dollar led to $858 million of third-quarter gains from Berkshire’s non-dollar-denominated debt.

Meanwhile, the Fed’s aggressive raising of short-term interest rates fueled a 21% increase in insurance investment income, with income from U.S. Treasuries and other debt nearly tripling to $397 million.

BNSF, GEICO

Profit at BNSF fell 6% as expenses jumped by one-third, including increases of 27% for compensation and 80% for fuel, some of which was passed on to customers through surcharges.

Geico suffered its fifth straight quarterly underwriting loss, losing $759 million before taxes, reflecting more frequent and costly accident claims, rising used car prices and car parts shortages. Written premiums barely changed.

Seifert said Geico, run by Berkshire portfolio manager Todd Combs, has fared worse than many other auto insurers, and may suffer further erosion in underwriting if its “limited revenue growth and claims cost inflation” persists.

Offsetting the declines were profit increases of 6% from Berkshire Hathaway Energy and 20% from manufacturing, service and retail businesses including Clayton Homes, though rising mortgage rates will likely cut into future home sales.

Berkshire also said rising rates may significantly lower any reduction in shareholder equity resulting from an upcoming accounting change for some insurance contracts.

Buffett, 92, has run Berkshire since 1965.

Investors closely watch Berkshire because of his reputation, and because results often mirror broader economic trends.

The company also owns familiar consumer brands such as Dairy Queen, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom and See’s Candies.

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Powell Talks a Hawkish Game, but Will Be Wary of Another Policy Mistake

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Stock Markets Nov 05, 2022 12:57PM ET

Powell Talks a Hawkish Game, but Will Be Wary of Another Policy Mistake© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The Fed’s delayed response to tackling red-hot inflation forced it into a game of catch up, ushering in the fastest pace of rate hikes in decades, but now even as Fed chairman Jerome Powell doubled down on further hikes there are still lingering expectations that as the economy buckles under pressure a pause will come sooner rather than later.

Following the Fed’s fourth-straight 0.75% rate hike earlier this week, Powell said that “the ultimate level of interest rates will be higher than previously expected.”

The unexpectedly hawkish tone sparked a ferocious scramble to reprice where interest rates will peak, with consensus now expecting a terminal rate of roughly 5% rather than around the 4.6% level the Fed had projected at its September meeting.

The hawkish tone from the Fed chief, however, doesn’t appear to have squeezed all the life out of investor bets on a sooner rather than later Fed pause.

“They want to slow, they don’t want to [overtighten] and be seen as blowing it twice,” Tim Courtney, Chief Investment Officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors told Investing.com in an interview on Friday.

Others suggest that there is already enough evidence of slowing inflation to provide the Fed with an offramp from its hawkish path toward higher rates.

“We’re seeing inflation coming down in a lot of different ways. Housing has peaked, and commodity prices including in oil and gas, lumber, and steel, are “way down from the highs,” Eric Diton, President and Managing Director at The Wealth Alliance, said in an interview on Thursday with Investing.com’s Yasin Ebrahim.

Fed Facing ‘Difficult’ Demolition Job on Labor Market

The Fed has put the labor market in its primary crosshairs in the hope that rising rates will stifle demand for employees, keeping a lid on wage growth, and ultimately help tame inflation.

But as the better-than-expected October payrolls data indicated on Friday, tackling growing wages and employment, is proving “very difficult for the Fed to do much about,” Diton added.

“Part of it is just the fact that the labor pool is shrinking,” Diton says, pointing to shifting demographic trends including retiring baby boomers, who had less kids than their parents did, people taken out of the workforce by the effect of long-COVID, and lower immigration. “All those things point to a shrinking labour pool, and I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge to overcome for the Fed.”

Diton, however, pushes back against those calling for the Fed to cut rates, insisting that the central bank shouldn’t be “quick to ease,” but has to “give the incredible pace of tightening time to permeate through the economy.”

“I don’t want to see them hike any more than then than they already did, but I think they’re going to,” he added.

Beyond inflation, meanwhile, other factors including political pressure may also twist the Fed’s hand into a less hawkish stance, with the U.S. mid-term elections now just days away.

“Even though the Fed is talking very hawkish, I think they’ll stop because there are other pressures coming to them for example, how much the United States government is spending on interest on its debt,” Courtney added.

Earlier this week, The Congressional Budget Office estimated that by 2052, interest costs could be nearly three times what the federal government has historically spent on R&D, nondefense infrastructure, and education, combined.

Stocks Nearing Fair Value as End Game to Fed Hikes Looms

The damage on from the Fed’s higher interest rate regime has pushed the the bulk of the market, excluding mega cap names, to fair value, suggesting that there isn’t much more room to go down, according to Courtney.

“If you look at the mega cap names, they are still trading above their long-term average on a price-to-earnings multiple at about 23, 24, or 25 times earnings, but stripping out the largest stocks and just looking at the rest of the market, they’re trading slightly below their average of the last 30 years,” Courtney added.”I think most of the market has already priced in [the rate hikes] and is in a valuation range where it’s okay right now.”

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Biden comments on coal-fired plants slammed by Manchin ahead of U.S. midterms

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Biden comments on coal-fired plants slammed by Manchin ahead of U.S. midterms© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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By Trevor Hunnicutt

JOLIET, Ill. (Reuters) -Comments by President Joe Biden about shutting coal-powered energy plants days before critical midterm elections drew fire on Saturday from a key conservative Senate Democrat.

“No one is building new coal plants because they can’t rely on it, even if they have all the coal guaranteed for the rest of their existence of the plant,” Biden said on Friday at an event touting his administration’s economic policies in Carlsbad, California.

“We’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar.”

The remark cast light on a touchy political issue for Biden and his fellow Democrats – inflation near four-decade peaks – that voters say is their top concern. Higher energy costs following Russia’s war in Ukraine have helped lift prices, along with the economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania, where Biden was scheduled to campaign later on Saturday, is both a major producer and consumer of coal. Tuesday’s midterms will determine whether Democrats retain control of Congress and hinge on races like the one for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

Senator Joe Manchin, who represents coal-producing West Virginia, said on Saturday Biden’s remarks were “outrageous and divorced from reality” while also dismissing “the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs.”

“Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden and instead believe he does not understand the need to have an all in energy policy that would keep our nation totally energy independent and secure,” Manchin said in a statement. “It seems his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day.”

Later on Saturday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the comment was intended to highlight the country’s energy transition.

“The President’s remarks yesterday have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

“He is determined to make sure that this transition helps all Americans in all parts of the country, with more jobs and better opportunities; it’s a commitment he has advanced since Day One. No one will be left behind,” she added.

Biden has long made shifting the United States from fossil fuels a part of his program to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions. He plans to travel to the COP27 climate summit in Egypt just two days after the congressional elections.

The power industry is the source of a quarter of the nation’s greenhouse gases and Biden campaigned on a pledge to cut net emissions to zero by 2035.

U.S. carbon emissions from the power sector have already dropped sharply in recent years as utilities retire old coal-fired power plants in favor of , solar and wind power – a shift driven by decreasing prices for these sources and state and federal incentives for renewable energy.

President Raisi says Iran thwarted U.S. destabilisation

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Forex 10 hours ago (Nov 05, 2022 03:06PM ET)

President Raisi says Iran thwarted U.S. destabilisation© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attends a photo op session before an extended-format meeting of heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan September 16, 2022. Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/

DUBAI (Reuters) – President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran’s cities were “safe and sound” after what he called a failed attempt by the United States to repeat the 2011 Arab uprisings in the Islamic Republic, Iranian media reported on Saturday as protests continued for a 50th day.

Iran’s clerical leadership has struggled to suppress demonstrations which erupted in September after the death of young Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini who had been detained by morality police for flouting strict laws on women’s dress.

Hundreds of people, mostly protesters, have been killed according to activists in one of the most serious waves of unrest to sweep the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution which overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah.

As Iranian authorities marked the anniversary this week of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by radical students, President Joe Biden backed the protesters, saying: “We’re gonna free Iran. They’re gonna free themselves pretty soon.”

Students and women have led many of the current protests, with women throwing off and burning veils in defiance of the strict dress codes and students chanting down officials on university campuses, according to unverified video footage.

“The Americans and other enemies sought to destabilise Iran by implementing the same plans as in Libya and Syria, but they failed,” Raisi was quoted by Iranian news agencies as telling a group of students on Friday.

A popular uprising in Libya led to a NATO intervention in 2011 and the overthrow and killing of the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi by rebel fighters. In Syria, mass demonstrations against Iran’s ally President Bashar al-Assad were confronted with force and the country spiralled into a conflict which continues 11 years on.

By contrast, Iranian cities were now “safe and sound”, Raisi said, promising retribution for the unrest the country had seen.

SLOGANS, CRACKDOWN

The activist HRANA news agency said 314 protesters had been killed in the unrest as of Friday, including 47 minors. Some 38 members of the security forces had also been killed. At least 14,170 people have been arrested, including 392 students, in protests in 136 cities and towns, and 134 universities, it said.

Some of the worst bloodshed has been in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, where many of the predominantly Shi’ite Muslim country’s Sunni minority live.

Senior Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid said the response to Friday’s protests in the southeastern city of Khash had been tougher than elsewhere in the country.

“Should live ammunition be the response to slogans and stone throwing? One wonders … why protesting people of this province are mercilessly massacred?” the cleric asked in a statement on his website.

Amnesty International said up to 10 people may have been killed after security forces opened fire on protesters who threw stones and were reported to have attacked a government building.

Students in a dozen universities in Tehran and in Karaj, west of the capital, in the northern city of Rasht, and Mashhad in the northeast protested on Saturday, chanting slogans such as “Woman, Life, Freedom,” according to videos posted by HRANA.

Rights group Hengaw posted a video which it said was from Sanandaj, capital of Kurdistan province, with protesters starting fires to block a main street late on Saturday. There were also protests in the cities of Bukan, Saqez, and Marivan in the northwest.  

A social media video said to be from the southwestern city of Ahvaz showed a young man torching a statue of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. strike in 2020 in Iraq.

Reuters could not verify the videos.

The crisis has dragged Iran’s currency to new lows. The U.S. dollar was selling for 362,100 rials on the unofficial market on Saturday, after losing nearly 12% of its value since the protests started, according to foreign exchange website Bonbast.com.

In an apparent effort to curb the currency’s fall, the government on Saturday authorised online sales by currency dealers, to make it easier for people to buy hard currency.

The Intelligence Ministry said it had blocked the bank accounts of 2,300 people accused of involvement in the currency black market and that they may face legal action, state media reported.

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Scholz: Xi opposing nuclear weapons in Ukraine reason enough to visit China

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Stock Markets 10 hours ago (Nov 05, 2022 03:25PM ET)

Scholz: Xi opposing nuclear weapons in Ukraine reason enough to visit China© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China November 4, 2022. Kay Nietfeld/Pool via REUTERS

By Andreas Rinke

BERLIN (Reuters) -German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was heavily criticised for a trip to Beijing this week, said on Saturday his and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s joint statement opposing the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine had been reason enough for the visit.

Scholz’s comments came a day after his visit to the world’s second-biggest economy alongside German corporate CEOs, the first by a G7 leader since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because the Chinese government, the president and I were able to declare that no nuclear weapons should be used in this war, that alone made the whole trip worthwhile,” Scholz said during an event of his Social Democratic party.

Xi, who secured a third leadership term two weeks ago, agreed that both leaders “jointly oppose the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” over Ukraine, but refrained from criticising Russia or calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops.

Scholz, who has been criticised for seeming to continue a strategy that exposes Germany’s economy excessively to China, its most important trading partner, said diversifying was key to limit possible repercussions should the relationship sour.

“We have a clear plan, and we are following it through. And that means diversifying for all the countries we trade with, especially, of course, a country that is so big and has such a large share of the world economy,” Scholz said.

“We will continue economic exchange with China … But it’s also clear, we’re going to position ourselves to be able to deal with a situation at any time where there are difficulties – whether it’s 10 years from now or 30 years.”

SCHOLZ TO GERMAN CEOS: ‘DIVERSIFY NOW’

During his trip Scholz told business leaders, including the CEOs of Deutsche Bank (ETR:), Volkswagen (ETR:), BASF, Siemens, BMW, Merck and BioNTech, to not put diversification on the backburner, a delegation source said.

At the closed-door meeting, he said it would take around 10-15 years to completely de-risk.

A separate government source said the impression was that the message had sunk in and that companies were diversifying while developing China ties.

This is particularly key for Germany’s carmakers active in China, the world’s top market, including Volkswagen, which has repeatedly been slammed for its plant in the Xinjiang region given reports of human rights violations there.

Battery materials, which are needed for packs that power electric vehicles, are also in focus. German automakers depend on China for lithium, nickel and cobalt, while Europe has launched programmes to build its own supply but is not there yet.

Germany’s business relationship with China has come under closer scrutiny since February when Russia invaded Ukraine, which led to the end of a decade-long energy relationship with Moscow and caused numerous companies to ditch their local businesses.

This has fuelled concerns over the potential consequences for Germany’s economy should China invade Taiwan.

“Start now, don’t put it on the back burner. Do it now,” Scholz said at a party event in comments which appeared directed at business leaders regarding diversification.

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U.S. Powerball worth world-record $1.6 billion in Saturday night drawing

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U.S. Powerball worth world-record $1.6 billion in Saturday night drawing© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A digital billboard advertising Powerball’s Jackpot of $1.6 billion is displayed in New York City, U.S., November 4, 2022. REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado/File Photo

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(Reuters) – The U.S. Powerball jackpot that will be drawn on Saturday night is the largest lotto prize ever offered at an estimated $1.6 billion, breaking the previous world record the game set in 2016, according to lottery officials.

No one has won the jackpot since Aug. 3, allowing the prize money to mushroom and generating lots of business at gas stations and newsstands around the United States, where Americans buy Powerball tickets for $2 a pop.

To win the big prize, a player must guess all six lucky numbers, including the final “Powerball.” Players have a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning the jackpot, and a 1 in 24.9 chance of winning a smaller prize, according to lottery officials.

Winners may elect to receive their money as an annuity, paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years, or a lump sum cash payment. Both types of winnings are subject to federal and local taxes.

The drawing will occur at 10:50 p.m. EDT on Saturday (0250 GMT on Sunday) in the Florida state capital of Tallahassee. It will be the 40th Powerball drawing since the Aug. 3 win.

The longest run in the history of the lottery ended on Oct. 4, 2021, when a California ticket holder won a $699.8 million jackpot after 41 drawings.

NBA-Nike suspends ties with Kyrie Irving, cancels next shoe release

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Stock Markets 15 hours ago (Nov 05, 2022 05:20PM ET)

NBA-Nike suspends ties with Kyrie Irving, cancels next shoe release© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oct 19, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – Nike Inc (NYSE:). on Friday suspended its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and canceled its next Irving-branded shoe release in the aftermath of his promotion of an anti-Semitic documentary.

The Nets had already suspended Irving at least five games after he stopped short of fully disavowing the documentary on two occasions. Irving later issued a more fulsome apology late on Thursday for promoting a project he said contained “false anti-Semitic statements.”

But the apology was not enough to stop Nike from suspending ties with Irving.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8,” Nike said in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone,” the statement said.

Several media outlets have reported the shoe deal to be worth $11 million, but Reuters could not confirm that.

The Nets will also not pay him during his suspension. He is on a $36.9 million contract this season, after having earned nearly $195 million in his previous 11 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and the Nets, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

The Nets had said he would be suspended no less than five games and until he undergoes a series of unspecified “remedial measures.”

Irving has faced heavy criticism since posting a link on Twitter last week to a 2018 commentary and defending the post over the weekend. The seven-time All Star has since deleted the Twitter post.

Posting on Instagram Thursday, he apologized to those “hurt from the hateful remarks made in the documentary,” and said he took full responsibility for his decision to share the content with his followers.

Irving said the film “contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion.”

“I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against anti-Semitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the documentary I agreed with and disagreed with,” Irving wrote.

The controversy comes at a fraught moment for Jews in the United States. The FBI warned on Thursday there was a credible threat to synagogues in New Jersey, a state that lies just across the harbor from the New York City borough of Brooklyn, which has one of the densest populations of Jews in the world.

Irving’s suspension and apology follow a controversy generated by Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who was suspended by social media platforms last month for posts that online users condemned as anti-Semitic.

Irving’s social media posts are not the first time that he has courted controversy in the NBA.

He played in just 29 of the Nets’ 82 regular season games for the 2021-22 season after refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite a mandate by the city of New York.

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Biden, Trump push Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates ahead of midterms

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World 7 hours ago (Nov 06, 2022 01:33AM ET)

Biden, Trump push Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates ahead of midterms© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A supporter hands out signs ahead of Democratic candidate for Governor and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s “Big Fights Bus Tour” stop, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 4, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Jarrett Renshaw

PHILADELPHIA/LATROBE, Pa. (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden told voters in Pennsylvania that a Democratic loss in Tuesday’s midterm elections would have “decades” of consequences, while Republicans including his predecessor Donald Trump predicted a sweeping victory.

The biggest names in U.S. politics — Biden, Trump and former President Barack Obama — visited Pennsylvania on Saturday hoping to tip the balance in a pivotal midterm Senate race between Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Republican celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.

“Folks, three days, three days until one of the most important elections in our lifetime. The outcome is going to shape our country for decades to come, and the power to shape that outcome is in your hands,” Biden told supporters at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“It’s a choice. A choice between two vastly different visions of America.”

At a rally in Latrobe, southeast of Pittsburgh, Trump listed a litany of grievances with Democrats, ranging from the party’s handling of inflation to education curricula his supporters view as too progressive.

“If you want to stop the destruction of our country and save the American Dream then this Tuesday you must vote Republican in a giant way,” Trump said.

Trump, who sources say is preparing to launch a third consecutive run for the White House after the midterms, continues to falsely claim that his 2020 defeat by Biden was the result of widespread fraud. Multiple courts, state agencies and members of his own administration have rejected that claim as untrue.

Still, opinion polls show a significant number of Republican voters accept the claim, as do many candidates for Congress, governor and state offices overseeing election administration.

“We are going to take back that beautiful house,” Trump said of the 2024 presidential race.

‘DANGEROUS CLIMATE’

Speaking to supporters in downtown Pittsburgh, Obama warned the politically motivated attack last week on Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was a product of hateful rhetoric.

“This habit we have of demonizing political opponents, of saying crazy stuff, it creates a dangerous climate,” Obama said, without referencing Republicans directly.

Republicans contend that Democrats have also engaged in political violence, citing the widespread anti-racism protests that rocked the country in 2020. On Sunday, they criticized Democrats for failing to keep their focus on inflation and crime, two of voters’ principal concerns, according to most polls.

In a pair of Saturday morning Twitter posts, Oz criticized Fetterman and Biden for failing to sufficiently support the domestic energy industry and pledged to fight inflation if elected.

“As your next Senator, I will focus on issues that matter to voters in all communities including lowering prices on everything from gas to groceries,” he wrote.

TRUMP READIES ANOTHER RUN

Trump, who was in Pennsylvania to gin up support for Republican Senate nominee, Oz, and Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, is also working to maintain his own profile as he contemplates another White House run.

That could set the stage for a Biden-Trump rematch, though some Democrats say heavy losses for Biden’s party on Tuesday could increase pressure on the president to step aside and let someone else carry the party’s mantle in 2024.

The Fetterman-Oz Senate race is one of three critical contests, along with Georgia and Nevada, that will determine whether Democrats hold onto their razor-thin majority in the Senate, and with it the power to confirm Biden’s nominees to posts ranging from his Cabinet to the Supreme Court.

Nonpartisan election forecasters and polls show Republicans are heavy favorites to win control of the House, with the Senate a toss-up. Control of even one would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s legislative agenda and launch potentially damaging investigations.

In Philadelphia, Biden warned that Republicans would attack Americans’ Social Security benefits if they won and that they would work to undo recent legislation designed to bring down prescription drug prices.

“They want to get rid of everything we just did,” Biden said.

More than 39 million Americans have already cast early ballots, either in person or by mail, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Election officials have warned that it could take days after Tuesday for final results to be clear in closely contested elections, such as the Pennsylvania and Georgia Senate races.

Both parties have lavished attention on Pennsylvania both because of the strategic importance of the race and because of its voters’ history of swinging from one party to the other in the past four presidential elections.

Fetterman held a commanding lead in the race throughout the summer, which Oz has whittled away in the last two months.

Some factors may be local: A stroke this spring forced Fetterman to scale back his campaign schedule and has affected his speech. At a debate last month, he often stumbled over his words, in a performance even allies privately described as shaky.

But Oz’s gains also reflect a nationwide momentum shift in favor of Republicans, as voters’ focus on inflation and crime has proven more durable than concerns about abortion. Democrats’ early lead in several other Senate races, including the contests in Georgia and Nevada, have also shrunk or evaporated completely in recent weeks.

Also playing against Democrats is Biden’s unpopularity. Only 40% of Americans approve of the president’s job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll completed on Tuesday, which has led Biden to hold back from campaigning in some key states.

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U.S. privately asks Ukraine to show Russia it’s open to talks -Washington Post

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World 7 hours ago (Nov 05, 2022 10:18PM ET)

U.S. privately asks Ukraine to show Russia it's open to talks -Washington Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Biden administration is privately encouraging Ukraine’s leaders to signal an openness to negotiate with Russia and drop their public refusal to engage in peace talks unless President Vladimir Putin is removed from power, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

The paper quoted unnamed people familiar with the discussions as saying that the request by American officials was not aimed at pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, but a calculated attempt to ensure Kyiv maintains the support of other nations facing constituencies wary of fueling a war for many years to come.

It said the discussions illustrated the complexity of the Biden administration’s position on Ukraine, as U.S. officials publicly vow to support Kyiv with massive sums of aid “for as long as it takes” while hoping for a resolution to the eight-month conflict that has taken a big toll on the world economy and triggered fears of nuclear war.

The paper said U.S. officials shared the assessment of their Ukrainian counterparts that Putin is not for now serious about negotiations, but acknowledged that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s ban on talks with him had generated concern in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America, where the war’s effects on costs of food and fuel are felt most sharply.

“Ukraine fatigue is a real thing for some of our partners,” the Post quoted one unnamed U.S. official as saying.

The White House National Security Council had no immediate comment when asked if the report was accurate, while a spokesperson for the State Department responded by saying:

“We’ve said it before and will say it again: Actions speak louder than words. If Russia is ready for negotiation, it should stop its bombs and missiles and withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

“The Kremlin continues to escalate this war. The Kremlin has demonstrated its unwillingness to seriously engage in negotiations since even before it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”

The spokesperson also noted remarks by Zelenskiy on Friday, in which he said: “We are ready for peace, for a fair and just peace, the formula of which we have voiced many times.”

In his nightly address to the Ukrainian people on Friday, Zelenskiy added: “The world knows our position. This is respect for the UN Charter, respect for our territorial integrity, respect for our people.”

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said during a visit to Kyiv on Friday that Washington’s support for Ukraine would remain “unwavering and unflinching” following next Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections.

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