Posts tagged with "CNBC"

House passes bill that could lead to a TikTok ban; fight shifts to the Senate

March 14, 2024

The House approved a bill on Wednesday, March 13, that calls for China tech giant ByteDance to divest TikTok, or the popular social video app will effectively be banned in the United States, reports CNBC.

The legislation, dubbed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, was introduced Tuesday, March 5, by Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illiinois) of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

Two days later, House members on the Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously to approve the bill, which refers to TikTok as a threat to national security because it is controlled by a foreign adversary.

The bill now heads to the Senate where it faces an uncertain future, as senators appear divided about the legislation—and other federal- and state-led efforts to ban TikTok have stalled.

“This process was secret and the bill was jammed through for one reason: It’s a ban,” a TikTok spokesperson said after the vote was passed. “We are hopeful that the Senate will consider the facts, listen to their constituents—and realize the impact on the economy, 7 million small businesses, and the 170 million Americans who use our service.”

President Joe Biden, who created an official TikTok account in February as part of his election campaign, has previously said that he would sign the bill if it is passed, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged that the White House is providing “technical support” in the crafting of the legislation.

Jean-Pierre said in a media briefing March 6 that once “it’s on legal standing and it’s in a place where it can get out of Congress, then the President would sign it.”

Although House members who drafted the bill have previously said that it “does not ban TikTok,” the legislation in its current form requires ByteDance to divest TikTok within roughly six months in order for the app “to remain available in the United States.”

If the bill is enacted, app store owners such as Apple and Google, along with Internet-hosting companies, would be prohibited from supporting TikTok and other apps that are linked to ByteDance.

Lawmakers from both parties have claimed that TikTok poses a national security risk because of the app’s alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party, which TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has denied during Senate hearings.

On the other hand, tech policy and civil liberties organizations—such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Knight Institute—have opposed the bill over concerns that it would violate First Amendment rights.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in an interview with CNBC earlier this week that he’s concerned that banning TikTok would also make Facebook parent Meta a stronger company.

“Without TikTok, you can make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people,” Trump said.

The former president’s comments were noteworthy considering that the Trump

Administration, citing national security concerns, previously tried to remove TikTok from app stores in 2020 and also called on ByteDance to divest itself of the app.

Research contact: @CNBC

Trump mentions cutting entitlements, and Biden pounces

March 13, 2024

After former President Donald Trump appeared to suggest that he was open to cutting federal entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare; President Joe Biden immediately seized on the comments, saying, “Not on my watch,” reports The New York Times.

Biden, as he gears up for a general election rematch against Trump, has been eager to highlight his promise not to touch Social Security or Medicare. He has argued that Republicans, led by Trump, would strip away those benefits. But in a sign of the issue’s political potency, Trump’s campaign quickly sought to clarify that Americans who rely on the programs do not need to worry.

In an interview that aired Monday, March 11, on CNBC, Trump—when asked whether he had changed his stance on altering those programs in order to rein in the national debt—said that there was “a lot you can do in terms of entitlements in terms of cutting and in terms of also the theft and the bad management of entitlements, tremendous bad management of entitlements.”

But he also appeared to disagree with the premise of the question, which posited that something had to be done about the programs’ drag on the national debt.

“So I don’t necessarily agree with the statement,” Trump said.

Still, the White House was quick to respond.

“Cutting the Medicare and Social Security benefits that Americans have paid to earn their whole lives, only to make room for yet more unaffordable, trickle-down tax giveaways to the super wealthy, is exactly backwards,” Andrew Bates, a White House spokesperson, said.

Trump’s campaign wasted no time in trying to clarify his remarks. In posts on X, campaign accounts insisted that Trump had been talking about “cutting waste,” and blasted Biden for past comments on Social Security—sharing a video in which Biden, as a senator in the 1990s, said he wanted to freeze federal spending, including on Social Security.

“President Trump delivered on his promise to protect Social Security and Medicare in his first term, and President Trump will continue to strongly protect Social Security and Medicare in his second term,” Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, commented.

Biden continued to hammer his rival on the issue at an event in Goffstown, New Hampshire, on Monday afternoon.“Even this morning, Donald Trump said cuts to Social Security and Medicare are on the table,” he said. “I’m never going to allow that to happen. I won’t cut Social Security, I won’t cut Medicare.”

Trump has had to adjust his position on entitlement reforms in the past. In 2020, as president, he told an interviewer that he would “at some point” look at making cuts to entitlement programs, prompting Democrats to jump on the comments. The president quickly said: “Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!”

In his time in office, Trump’s budget proposals tried to chip away at the social safety net by calling for cuts to Medicaid and other programs. He largely avoided proposing major slashes to Social Security’s retirement program or to Medicare, although he did call for some cuts that experts said would not have had a significant effect on benefits. (The changes were not passed by Congress.)

During the Republican primary, Trump attacked his opponents, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, by suggesting that they would cut entitlement benefits.

Research contact: @nytimes

IMAX ‘runs out of seats’ for ‘Dune: Part Two’ and Legendary Entertainment ponders ‘Part Three’

March 7, 2024

After a two-month drought, “Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” has delivered a much-welcomed deluge of ticket sales to the domestic box office—and its success could bring a third franchise film to cinemas. The epic movie has opened with an estimated $81.5 million at the box office—the highest of any film released so far in 2024, reports CNBC.

The Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment film was buoyed by IMAX ticket sales, which represented around 23% of domestic ticket sales, or $18.5 million.

“The only reason it wasn’t higher is we ran out of seats,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX.

“Like an oasis in the desert, ‘Dune: Part Two’ is a sight for sore eyes across theatrical exhibition and all of Hollywood,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.

Gelfond noted that presales of the film were “really impressive” and that in many locations, tickets for IMAX screenings aren’t available until three weeks out.

“The lesson is that if you take a beautiful visual experience, a good story, and you put it in the hands of a brilliant filmmaker with an IMAX camera, you’re going to get very good results,” Gelfond said.

Notably, the entirety of “Dune: Part Two” was filmed using IMAX digital cameras.

Expectations from studio executives, theater owners and box office analysts are that the film will have a long tail in cinemas and continue to collect strong ticket sales in the weeks to come. Similar, Gelfond said, to Universal’s “Oppenheimer” and Disney’s “Avatar: The Way Of Water.”

Internationally, the film is expected to tally $97 million,—bringing its global haul to $178.5 million. IMAX represents 18% of all international ticket sales, the company said. The film will debut in China on March 8.

“I think this is a movie where you know the word of mouth is going to carry it,” Josh Grode, CEO of Legendary Entertainment told CNBC. “It is a stupendous piece of filmmaking. There’s no other way to say it. I’ve just about run out of adjectives.”

Grode didn’t dismiss rumors of a potential third film in the franchise, noting that, “We have to have all creative stakeholders aligned and support the vision.”

“I think everybody is very excited and really enjoying this moment and if Denis [Villeneuve] gets the script right and he feels that he can deliver another experience on par with what we’ve just completed then I don’t see why not,” he said.

“In any given box office year there is a turning point and in 2024 the ‘Dune: Part Two’ debut represents a milestone in a year bereft of blockbuster-sized offerings,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “The box office year of ’24 officially kicked off this weekend two months late and not a moment too soon and will help build the much-needed momentum for March and beyond for movie theaters.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Intuitive Machines’ lander touches down on the Moon in an historic first for U.S. company

February 26, 2024

A U.S. company has gone to the Moon—and into the history books. Intuitive Machines’ IM_1 mission reached the Moon’s surface on Thursday evening, February 22, in the first American lunar landing since NASA’s Apollo era, reports CNBC.

The company’s Nova-C cargo lander, named “Odysseus” after the mythological Greek hero, is the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the lunar surface since 1972. Adding to the feat, Intuitive Machines is the first company to pull off a moon landing; government agencies have carried out all previously successful missions.

“We are on the surface and we are transmitting. Welcome to the moon,” Intuitive Machines’ CEO Steve Altemus said from mission control.

There was a delay, as expected, between the landing and when engineers were able to assess its success.

A few minutes after the expected landing time, Intuitive Machines’ mission control was still trying to reconnect communications with the spacecraft to confirm whether it landed. The company’s mission control ultimately picked up a signal and announced its lander was on the surface.

“What we can confirm, without a doubt, is that our equipment is on the surface of the moon and we are transmitting. So, congratulations, IM-1,” Tim Crain, Intuitive Machines’ CTO and IM-1 mission director, said.

“Odysseus has found his new home,” Crain added.

Two hours after the landing, Intuitive Machines said in a statement that “flight controllers have confirmed Odysseus is upright and starting to send data.” [Editor’s note: By February 23, reports confirmed that Odysseus had toppled on its side but was still transmitting.]

“Today, for the first time in more than a half century, the U.S. has returned to the moon. Today, for the first time in the history of humanity, a commercial company and an American company launched and led the voyage up there,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on the livestream.

Research contact: @CNBC

Apple releases free new sports app for iPhone

February 22, 2024

On Wednesday, February 21, Apple released a free new iPhone app for tracking sports scores—its latest effort to become a major provider of sports content and news, reports CNBC.

The app, called Apple Sports, does one thing well: It shows sports scores from all the major teams and leagues. Users in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. can download it immediately.

Apple Services SVP Eddy Cue said the company designed the app to be fast and simple for multiple quick checks per day. It will stand out from other sports scores apps because Apple doesn’t represent a team or league and isn’t incentivized to engage users for long sessions, he said.

“You want your scores basically to be real time. You want them to be … easy to get to. And nothing else is getting in the way. And that’s the primary purpose of the app,” said Cue, hoarse from cheering at the Super Bowl, in an interview last week.

Apple has moved into sports in recent years by buying rights and airing Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games, adding extra sports journalism to its News app and airing sports-related documentaries about teams such as the Golden State Warriors and the New England Patriots on Apple TV+.

Apple also bid for rights to National Football League games last year before losing out to YouTube, CNBC reports, and is expected to be a player in upcoming rights negotiations for the National Basketball Association. Apple, like Google and Amazon, sees major live sports events as a potential anchor for its streaming services.

This new app, which won’t come pre-installed on iPhones, is tightly integrated with Apple’s other Services apps, such as the TV app and News app.

For example, it will take the user’s existing preferences for favorite teams, sports, and leagues from those apps, so that when the Sports App is first opened, many will already see scores from their favorite teams.

Notifications and live activities are also handled by the Apple News and Apple TV apps—including existing features such as notifications for game start times or an alert for a close game the user is interested in.

Most game pages will include sport-specific information, such as who scored goals, which players are on the court, or who’s on first base. Pages also will include live betting odds, but users can turn them off in settings.v

The game pages will also often include an Apple TV button. That means the user can tap the button to view a livestream of the game. It works for sports Apple carries, as well as games on streaming services that are connected to the Apple TV app, many of which still require a cable subscription but will increasingly be available from over-the-top streamers.

“In an ideal world, when I’m looking at the Duke game, it says open the TV app, I’d like it to get me to the game of basketball,” Cue said. “And that’s what we try to do.”

“As a huge sports fan, there’s never been a better time; there’s never been a worse time,” Cue said. “The best time is that pretty much everything in the world is televised in some fashion. But it’s never been worse. Because of the amount of services, the rights, the blackouts, the restrictions.”

Apple will also have features that will allow users to follow college basketball’s March Madness tournament in the app, Cue said.

Here’s a list of leagues Apple says it will support: MLB, NFL, NCAA football, WNBA, MLS, NBA, NCAA basketball (men’s and women’s), NHL, Bundesliga, and LaLiga.

Research contact: @CNBC

Delta to open a new tier of ‘premium’ airport lounges this year in high-end travel push

February 14, 2024

Delta Air Lines’ popular airport lounges are getting a more exclusive tier, in the airline’s latest push to cater to high-spending travelers, reports CNBC.

The first “premium” lounge is scheduled to open in June at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport—and, at 38,000 square feet, it will be the largest of the carrier’s lounges, Delta said on Thursday, February 8.

Other high-end Delta lounges will open in Boston and Los Angeles later this year.

Delta has been building up its network of Sky Clubs in recent years to cater to swarms of travelers as more people gain entry through memberships, airline status, credit card benefits. or flying in a premium cabin. Last year, Delta said it would limit entry into its lounges in the coming years, but softened some changes after a customer uproar.

The new strategy shows Delta moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach for its airport travelers. The airline is joining United Airlines, which operates Polaris lounges; and American Airlines,  which has Flagship lounges, along with standard airport clubs.

Delta didn’t disclose the entry requirements for the new lounges. It said the JFK location will have a full-service restaurant and “wellness” areas.

Delta also said it plans to open standard Sky Clubs in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a new location in Seattle later this year. The carrier is planning to expand clubs in Miami and at New York’s LaGuardia.

The new clubs come as Delta is focusing on the increasing importance of travelers flying toward the front of the plane. The airline said “premium” revenue from business-class or premium economy tickets grew 26% last year to generate $19.1 billion in sales, while its main cabin ticket sales rose 20% to $24.5 billion.

Research contact: @CNBC

Finnair will weigh passengers plus their carry-on baggage to calculate ‘flight balance’

February 9, 2024

Finland’s flagship air carrier has announced that it plans to weigh passengers as well as their carry-on luggage before its flights depart, reports the New York Post.

Finnair said the move, which will be done on a voluntary basis through May, is designed to improve balance calculations that will enhance flight safety.

“Finnair will collect data by weighing volunteering customers and their carry-on baggage at the departure gate,” according to a statement from the company.

“The weighing is voluntary and anonymous, and the data will only be used to optimize Finnair’s current aircraft balance calculations.”

Finnair said that weighing passengers will help ensure that the airline doesn’t exceed the set maximum weight that a plane can bear before it takes off.

The company has pledged that it will not use customers’ personal data. “We use the weighing data for the average calculations required for the safe operation of flights, and the collected data is not linked in any way to the customer’s personal data,” Satu Munnukka, head of Finnair’s ground processes, said in a statement.

Munnukka noted that the airline won’t ask for the name or booking number of the passengers that volunteer to b

Observers say that changing eating patterns and diets are leading to heavier passengers, which can have a safety impact on flights.

“Three hundred people that weigh more than average can put an airplane significantly over weight, and all of our performance calculations—runway length, climb, obstacle clearance, landing distances, altitude capabilities—all are dependent on weight, among other things,” Shem Malmquist, an instructor at Florida Tech’s College of Aeronautics, told CNBC.

Most European airlines use the mean passenger weight as calculated by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which has found that men have a mean weight of 82.2 kg (181.22 pounds) while women clock in at 67.5 kg (148.8 pounds).

According to government statistics, 42% of the US population at least 20 years of age is considered obese as of 2020. In the 1960s, that number was just 10%.

Airlines have come under fire for their handling of plus-sized and obese passengers.

Airline passengers have complained about having to pay for extra seats if they don’t fit in one of them.

Several domestic carriers including United, Spirit, Frontier, Hawaiian and American require customers who are unable to fit in a single seat to purchase another ticket.

Advocates for obese people claim that airlines have shrunk the width of seats in order to squeeze more profit out of each flight.

Finnair joins Korean Air, Hawaiian Air, Uzbekistan Airways and Air New Zealand in the group of air carriers that have weighed customers.

Last year, Korean fliers reacted angrily to a new law requiring domestic carriers to weigh passengers and their carry-on luggage at least once every five years.

Research contact: @nypost

Pink Stanley Quencher Starbucks cup release sparks mayhem at Target stores

January 6, 2024

The release of a limited-edition pink version of the viral 40-ounce Stanley Quencher drinking cup designed with Starbucks led to chaos at multiple Target locations nationwide on Wednesday, January 3, reports NBC News.

Social media clips show customers in a frenzy as they tried to snatch up the products, which were released as part of the rollout of Starbucks’ new winter menu. The cups retail for $49.95 and were being sold exclusively from Starbucks stores at Target locations.

A Starbucks spokesperson said in an email that there had been an “enthusiastic” response to the product—and that they will not be restocked once they’re sold out.

A spokesperson for the privately owned Stanley did not respond to a request for comment.

Stanley Quenchers have soared in popularity in recent years, thanks to a total rethink of the product, which was first released in 2016. In particular, the appointment of Terence Riley, who helped lead the revival of footwear maker Crocs, as Stanley president in 2020 led to the company deciding to release Quenchers in new color palettes geared toward women.

That made them especially popular among Instagram users, resulting in supercharged sales. According to figures shared with CNBC, Stanley’s annual sales for 2023 are projected to top $750 million.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Taylor Swift is bringing the ‘Eras Tour’ to movie theaters. Here’s how to buy tickets.

September 1, 2023

Taylor Swift already has the highest-grossing tour of all time, but she’s not ready to stop yet, reports CNBC.

On Thursday, August 31, the pop star announced that the Eras Tour would soon be coming to North American movie theaters in the form of a concert film experience.

“The Eras Tour has been the most meaningful, electric experience of my life so far,” the 33-year-old posted on X. “I’m overjoyed to tell you that it’ll be coming to the big screen soon.”

The limited engagement will begin on October 13 and will play at the nation’s largest theater chains including AMC, Regal, and Cinemark.

Clicking the link to purchase tickets will bring you to a waiting page much like Ticketmaster’s where you’ll be put into a queue until it is your turn to select your seats.

The film will be just as long as the marathon concert, which covers all of Swift’s albums: The final runtime clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Moviegoers will have access to their own kind of Eras Tour merch, too. At AMC customers will be able to buy collectible popcorn tubs and soda cups.

Just like the actual Eras Tour, tickets are selling fast. You’ll need to move quickly if you want to score good seats. New York City’s largest IMAX theater, which previously housed “Oppenheimer’s” 70-millimeter IMAX run, was completely sold out by 9 a.m. Thursday.

Research contact: @CNBC