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AT&T CEO says hiring Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was a ‘big mistake’: Reuters

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President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen leaves federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen leaves federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 16, 2018.

Telecommunications giant AT&T said Friday that hiring President Donald Trump‘s lawyer Michael Cohen as a consultant was a “big mistake.”

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, in the same memo apologizing for the hiring of Cohen, also revealed that the company’s senior vice president for external and legal affairs Bob Quinn, “will be retiring.”

Stephenson said from now on the External & Legal Affairs group would be reporting to company general counsel David McAttee.

Here is the full memo:

All AT&T employees worldwide Team, Our company has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons these last few days and our reputation has been damaged. There is no other way to say it – AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.

To be clear, everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate. But the fact is, our past association with Cohen was a serious misjudgment. In this instance, our Washington D.C. team’s vetting process clearly failed, and I take responsibility for that.

Here is more information on this issue, if you’re interested. For the foreseeable future, the External & Legislative Affairs (E&LA) group will report to our General Counsel David McAtee. Bob Quinn, Senior Executive Vice President – E&LA, will be retiring. David’s number one priority is to ensure every one of the individuals and firms we use in the political arena are people who share our high standards and who we would be proud to have associated with AT&T.

To all of you who work tirelessly every day to serve customers and represent the brand proudly, thank you. My personal commitment to you is – we will do better.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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‘Risk of civil unrest’ around election

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the company has been taking steps to address the increased risk of potential civil unrest associated with the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.

“I’m worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or weeks to be finalized, there is a risk of civil unrest across the country,” Zuckerberg said on a call discussing Facebook’s third-quarter earnings. “Given this, companies like ours need to go well beyond what we’ve done before.”

Zuckerberg noted steps that Facebook has taken in response to this increased risk. This includes helping users register to vote, providing users with accurate information about the election, banning new political ads one week prior to the election, blocking ads that try to delegitimize the election results and banning problematic content, such as groups focused on the QAnon conspiracy theory and Holocaust denialism.

“This is not a shift in our underlying philosophy or strong support of free expression,” Zuckerberg said. “Instead it is a reflection of the increased risk of violence and unrest.”

Facebook is not alone in these concerns. Walmart on Thursday also removed guns and ammunition from sales floors in stores where those items had been displayed because of isolated incidents of “civil unrest” in some areas around the U.S.

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Dow futures fall more than 300 points as Apple and Amazon shares decline after earnings

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U.S. stock futures fell in early morning trading Friday after some of the technology heavyweights came under pressure following their quarterly reports.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 355 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 also traded in negative territory.

Shares of Apple fell more than 4% in extended trading after the tech giant reported a 16% decline in iPhone sales and failed to offer investors any guidance for the quarter ahead. Amazon dipped 1.87% even after the e-commerce giant reported blowout third-quarter results with a big beat on the top line.

Wall Street staged a modest rebound on Thursday on the back of better-than-expected U.S. gross domestic product and jobless claim data. The 30-stock Dow gained more than 100 points for its first positive day in five, while the S&P 500 rose 1.2% to snap a three-day losing streak. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.6%.

Still, major averages are on pace to post their worst weekly performance in months. The Dow is down 5.9% week to date, on pace for its worst week since March 20. The S&P 500 has fallen 4.5% this week, headed for its worst week since June 12.

Volatility remained elevated as investors grappled with rising new cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and abroad. The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), also known as Wall Street’s “fear gauge,” touched a high of 41.2 Thursday, its highest level since June 15.

“Pre-election market volatility is not unusual and has arisen around swirling questions about elections, COVID-19, and economic and earnings growth,” Paul Christopher, Wells Fargo’s head of global market strategy, said in a note Thursday. “This indigestion triggered declines in the S&P 500 Index.”

The Dow and the S&P 500 are also set to post their second straight month of losses as Wall Street wraps up a turbulent October. The 30-stock average is down 4% this month, and the S&P 500 has lost 1.5%. The Nasdaq outperformed, rising just 0.2% in the same period.

Shares of Alphabet soared more than 7% in extended trading after the Google parent company posted quarterly results that topped Wall Street expectations. Meanwhile, Twitter dropped more than 14% after the social media company reported user growth that fell short of expectations.

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Amazon (AMZN) earnings Q3 2020

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