Lotteries to attract 28% GST from March 1

Currently, a state-run lottery attracts 12% GST, while a state-authorised lottery attracts 28% tax.

A 28% Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be levied on lotteries from March 1, according to a notification.

The GST Council had in December last year decided to impose a single rate of 28% on state-run and authorised lotteries.

The revenue department notified the GST rate on supply of lotteries and amended its earlier Central Tax (Rate) notification.

Accordingly, the Central Tax rate for supply of lotteries has been amended to 14% and a similar percentage will be levied by the states. This will take the total GST incidence on lotteries to 28%.

“This notification shall come into force on the 1st day of March, 2020,” the revenue department notification said.

Currently, a state-run lottery attracts 12% GST, while a state-authorised lottery attracts 28% tax.

There were demands that a uniform tax rate should be imposed on lotteries following which a group of ministers were set up to suggest the GST rate. Following this, the GST Council in December voted for a single rate of 28% on supply of lotteries.

AMRG & Associates Senior Partner Rajat Mohan said: “Gambling in the form of Lottery has been allowed in a few states, where it has penetrated at grass root levels, now changing the tax rate from a prospective date would help the dealers in effectively implementing the new tax rate”.

EY Tax Partner Abhishek Jain said a uniform rate on lottery brings a parity between state-run and authorized lotteries; thereby aligning an equal footing for businesses in the same line.

Source: Read Full Article

Die another day: however ugly the figures, Aston has survived again

Sitting behind the wheel of Aston Martin’s new luxury SUV in Wales last week, Prince Charles was marking his own anniversary with the carmaker.

It is 50 years since the Queen gave him an Aston Martin Volante for his 21st birthday – a half-century in which fortunes for both the prince and the company have peaked and troughed .

Many executives at the car manufacturer would be forgiven for wanting to be transported back five decades, considering the fraught times that it has gone through of late.

Last month, a £500m rescue deal led by the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll saved the company from collapse, as its huge debt pile threatened to cause it to go bust for the eighth time in its 107-year history.

Under the deal, the car brand will from 2021 be used by the Formula One racing team that Stroll owns. Shareholders who have watched the latest round of difficulties for the company will be hoping that the new deal will finally resolve the problems that have been dogging the maker of James Bond’s cars.

This Thursday will see the announcement of full-year results for 2019, but investors have already been warned to expect bad news. Last month, the company issued its second profit warning in 12 months after flagging a “very disappointing” year of falling sales and higher costs. It predicted adjusted profits of between £130m and £140m for 2019 – almost half the £247m it made the previous year and well below analyst forecasts of £196m. Aston Martin blames a decline in cars sold through dealers alongside higher marketing costs and a fall in its average selling price.

The price of the company’s shares has plummeted since they launched on the stock market in October 2018 at £19. They now sit at just above £4, prompting some analysts to describe Aston as the one of the biggest flops on the market in recent memory, at a time when there is a lot of competition for luxury cars. The value of the company at launch was £4bn, but it had plummeted to £1bn by the beginning of this year.

Aston’s chief executive, Andy Palmer, has said the company was forced to discount more heavily than intended to sell cars at the end of last year, and paid higher-volume bonuses to dealers in a big sales push in December.

The company is now pinning its hopes on the new DBX sports utility vehicle, for which it has received 1,800 orders since its launch in late November. It hopes the £158,000 4×4 will widen its appeal to wealthy women – nearly all its current customers are men. Deliveries from Aston’s new factory in St Athan will commence between April and June.

The rescue deal led by Stroll includes an investment of £182m in return for 16.7% of the struggling carmaker, and includes an immediate £55.5m capital injection.

Stroll’s consortium includes business partners from many of the fashion investments in which he made his fortune, together with Anthony Bamford, chairman of the digger maker JCB, who is also known for his political donations to Boris Johnson and the Leave campaign. Forbes estimates Stroll’s net worth at $2.6bn.

On Friday, Charles joined a reception to celebrate the factory, placing a winged badge on the front of a DBX that will be located in the reception area of the company’s newest facility. Both staff and investors – and probably 007 too – will be earnestly hoping that this is ninth time lucky.

Source: Read Full Article

Intuit Nears Deal to Buy Credit Karma for $7 Billion: WSJ

Intuit Inc. is close to buying Credit Karma Inc. for about $7 billion in cash and stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter it didn’t identify.

The purchase, which could be announced by Monday, will push the maker of TurboTax deeper into the consumer finance space, the newspaper said. The acquisition would also be Intuit’s largest in its 37-year history, it added.

Broadening its sales base is important at a time when Morgan Stanley said it’s expecting tax-preparation software companies to face headwinds for the revenue they get from each tax return this year due to the combined effect of a rising mix of free filings and lower need for services that assist do-it-yourself filers.

Still, Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss had expected Intuit to hit the high end of its implied consumer tax guidance as TurboTax continues to gain market share. Intuit shares have risen 14% since the start of the year, compared with a 3.3% advance in the S&P 500 Index.

Tax-Prep Analyst Sees More Free Filers Hampering Revenue Growth

Under current negotiations, closely-held Credit Karma would operate as a standalone unit with its Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lin staying in charge, one person told the paper. The San Francisco-based company is backed by funds such as private-equity firm Silver Lake and financial-technology venture firm Ribbit Capital, it added.

Credit Karma, which was co-founded by Lin, was considering an initial stock offering before late 2019 amid a series of weak-performing trading debuts, the newspaper said. Its website gives users access to credit scores and recommends financial products from credit cards to personal and car loans.

Intuit is expected to report its second-quarter earnings on Monday.

Credit Karma Changed Its Approach to Gain Customer Trust

Source: Read Full Article

‘There’s no demographic’: founder of men’s make-up brand War Paint declares victory

As a teenager Danny Gray wouldn’t leave home without sneaking into his sister’s bedroom and borrowing some of her concealer and foundation to cover his acne.

Gray is now 34 and his face is acne-free. But he has continued his daily make-up routine – primer, foundation and sometimes bronzer – ever since. But the products he uses are no longer borrowed from his sister or bought shyly from Boots, they are from his own company: War Paint for Men.

Earlier this month John Lewis announced it would permanently stock the brand in its flagship Oxford Street store and online after a one-month trial saw sales “exceed expectations by more than 50%”.

Gray launched his make-up range in 2018 after considering it for more than a decade, and took it to the BBC’s Dragons’ Den to find a backer. All five of the TV dragons expressed an interest in backing the business. In its first year War Paint for Men sold more than 50,000 products – more than five times as many as Gray suggested he would achieve in his pitch to the Dragons.

Standing beside the War Paint for Men display in John Lewis, Gray said it was on the first day of the trial in the department store that he knew the brand would be a success.

“To be honest with you, on the first day I was shitting myself,” he said. “As you can probably tell I’m a pretty straightforward guy, I don’t mince my words. On the first day, I was standing there and my whole life was on the line. The first guy looked over and said ‘make-up for men, you have got to be joking’ and walked off. It was not the greatest of starts.”

However, a few minutes later two friends in their 60s walked over. “They were both straight, had never used make-up before and didn’t know we had the brand in there,” Gray said. “They sat down and I explained how the products worked. They both bought concealer, and I knew from that second that this would work.”

Over the trial Gray sold products to customers ranging from 14-year-old boys to a 75-year-old man. “People say what’s your demographic? It must be a 24-year-old who lives at home, goes down the gym every day and has enormous muscles and fake teeth,” Gray said. “But actually our customer base varies in every way. We have all ages and every sexual orientation you can imagine. There isn’t a demographic – this is for all men.”

Men’s makeup: share your experiences

John Lewis’s beauty buyer, Charlotte West, said: “Self-care isn’t just for women. We know that men want to look and feel great too which is why we continue to invest in services in products to help them achieve this. We are delighted to have War Paint permanently on board at John Lewis & Partners following its extraordinarily successful trial. We know that men have used make-up for some time now so it made sense to position War Paint as a permanent fixture alongside other male grooming brands and services.”

The brand is also stocked in Harvey Nichols and Jarrold department store in Norwich, as well as selling directly online to customers in 77 countries last year. It will soon launch in German and Australian stores, and in the last few weeks Gray held discussions with distributors from Japan and Ireland. Prices range from £18 for a tub of concealer to £90 for a full set including foundation, concealer, tinted moisturiser, bronzer, anti-shine powder, a face sponge and brush.

Gray, who lives in Buckinghamshire with his fiancee and two young children, said he decided to take the plunge and set up his own make-up business during a round of golf with his best mate. “I had been talking about the gap in the market for men’s make-up for more than 10 years, and he finally snapped and said to me: ‘Danny will you stop talking about it and do something?’” he said. “I went straight to my car and sat there for three hours calling people and figuring out how to get it off the ground.”

War Paint for Men isn’t the only company to produce men’s make-up. Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel all have men’s make-up lines, and giant make-up producer Mac has launched a gender neutral range.

Gray said those brands might not appeal to men who haven’t considered wearing make-up as it is generally sold from beauty concessions. “Make-up for men hasn’t been on show or accessible for a guy to go and ask for it,” he said. “Am I going to go to the other beauty counter as a 34-year-old guy and ask about make-up? No.”

Gray, who suffers from body dysmorphia, said that learning how to apply make-up gave him a big self-confidence boost. “I was bullied in middle school and when I was getting acne I wouldn’t have been able to get out of the house without make-up,” he said. “My sister showed me how to put on a bit of concealer, and I couldn’t believe what it could do.”

He said men are prepared to spend hundreds of pounds a year on moisturisers and other skincare products but won’t stretch to make-up to cover blemishes. “The reason men do skincare regimes isn’t to prolong their lives but to reduce your wrinkles, make you look better and give you more confidence,” Gray said. “But what they’ve not got is anything to deal with the dark eyes, blemishes and broken capillaries.It seems crazy to me to spend all that money on skincare but then not use a bit of make-up.”

Men’s grooming is the fastest growing segment of the beauty market, and was valued at £500m last year according to market research firm NPD Group. The trend is said to be partly driven by TV shows such as Love Island. Gray said some forecasters are predicting that within five years one in four men will use some type of make-up.

An injection of cash from a family member helped get Gray’s business up and running, before he sought investment on Dragons’ Den last year. All the Dragons competed to invest in War Paint and Gray eventually accepted a joint bid from Tej Lalvani and Peter Jones for £70,000 in return for a 12% stake in the company.

However, he eventually rejected their offer and decided to go it alone. He is now working to secure a first round of non-family funding to help expansion, and has already rejected a takeover approach from a major international cosmetics brand.

Gray said make-up had helped him get out of a “very dark place” and he hoped War Paint for Men could help other men suffering with self-confidence issues.

“I’m not trying to change the world, or save people’s lives but there’s so many guys out there who struggling with stuff they don’t need to,” he said. “There are tools help you get through.”

Sign up to the daily Business Today email here or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Source: Read Full Article

Biohaven Pharma (BHVN) Has A Pair Of Important Catalysts In Q1

Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. (BHVN), which disappointed investors early this month, following negative results from its phase III trial of Troriluzole in Generalized Anxiety Disorder, has two more catalysts to watch out for this quarter.

Biohaven is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a pipeline of product candidates targeting neurological diseases, including rare disorders.

The Company’s most advanced drug candidate is Rimegepant, an orally available, selective and potent small-molecule calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist, for the treatment of migraine.

CGRP is expressed in various nerve cells, and when it is released causes blood vessels to dilate and press on the nerve endings, leading to pain. Therefore, blocking CGRP is known to reduce pain in migraine pathophysiology.

Near-term Catalysts:

Biohaven’s New Drug Applications for Rimegepant ODT and tablet formation, seeking approval for the acute treatment of migraine, are under FDA review, with a decision expected this quarter.

Rimegepant is also being evaluated in the preventive treatment of migraine and a phase III trial in this indication is underway, with topline data due this quarter.

Competitors & Market Potential:

Aimovig, co-developed by Novartis and Amgen, Teva’s Ajovy, Eli Lilly’s Emgality and Allergan’s Ubrelvy are approved CGRP inhibitors for migraine – the same class of drugs to which Biohaven’s investigational Rimegepant also belongs to.

Rimegepant, if approved, could bring in $897 million in annual sales in 2024, according to EvaluatePharma.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraine affects 39 million men, women and children in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide. It is the 6th most disabling illness in the world.

Will the armamentarium of CGRP inhibitors for migraines get a new addition this year?

BHVN has traded in a range of $36.69 to $67.86 in the last 1 year. The stock closed Friday’s trading at $45.34, down 1.18%.

Source: Read Full Article

I ended up with a massive bill for a plastic surgeon I didn’t want

Dear John: On May 28, 2018, I dropped a glass and it broke. When I went to pick up the pieces, I severely sliced my right hand and went to the emergency room at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

When I arrived at the ER, the first question the nurse asked me was: “Do you want a plastic surgeon in case there is a scar?”

I immediately said no. My exact words were, “Absolutely not. I just need to see a doctor immediately.” After I declined the plastic surgeon, I waited approximately 15 minutes for the doctor to arrive.

It was not the doctor; it was the plastic surgeon that I absolutely declined. He gave me 10 stitches, and I was out of work for a week. I went to my primary physician to remove the stitches, and went back to work immediately that day.

I now have a bill of $20,680 in collection that is severely damaging my credit score. I wrote several letters to LIJ and the doctor’s office telling them that I declined a plastic surgeon. And my brother took me to the ER, so he can attest to that.

John, please help me with this because there is no way I can afford this in my lifetime, after declining the request/need for a plastic surgeon. Thanks C.M.

Dear C.M.: OK, I took care of this for you. My understanding is that you now owe nothing.

The doctor is willing to accept the $3,000 he got from your insurance company, which, of course, is a gift to him because you didn’t want him to do the work in the first place.

But that’s another story. And if I were your insurance company, I’d take this doctor to task for inserting himself into a situation where he wasn’t wanted.

Anyway, here’s what happened.

I didn’t call the doctor’s office. And I didn’t call the hospital, which had no responsibility in sending the bill. I did call the company that owns the hospital. That’s Northwell Health.

My contact there was very disturbed by your story and Northwell, which was extremely helpful, took up your cause with the doctor.

The doctor office’s explanation? According to Northwell, the doctor didn’t like the $3,000 he was getting (for 10 stitches!) and wanted the insurance company to pay more. But he couldn’t get more unless you filled out some forms because your insurance is out of state.

For some reason you didn’t sign the forms, and they couldn’t reach you. So the office upped his bill to $20,000 and gave it to a collection agency. (Why? I guess because they wanted to get your attention.)

Thankfully, there aren’t many doctors who behave this badly. The American Medical Association should contact Northwell to get this guy’s name and look into this so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Anyway, he wanted to get your attention. I hope we got his.

Source: Read Full Article

Baby Yoda busting out at Toy Fair New York

What’s cute, green and everywhere you look at Toy Fair?

Adorable little Baby Yoda — the breakout star of the Disney+ streamer “The Mandalorian,” has stolen the hearts of “Star Wars” fans across the galaxy and soon will bombard those fans with countless products.

Toy FairToy FairI.jpbaby-yoda-toy-fair-the-childToy FairToy FairToy FairToy Fairbaby-yoda-toy-fair-the-child-1

View Slideshow

Source: Read Full Article

Our Vacation in Brownsville Showed Us the Border Crisis Up Close


Brownsville is a run-down border city at the southeastern tip of Texas, where the Rio Grande ends its journey to the Gulf of Mexico—more as a polluted creek than the grand waterway of our imaginations. Downtown is a lifeless grid of one-way streets. All the action is on a neon stretch along the interstate and on the nearby resort of South Padre island, a 30-minute drive from the airport. My wife and I hadn’t traveled there from London to play in the sand, though.

One of the perks of life abroad is distance—the kind that lets you tune out whatever is too annoying, too disturbing, too infuriating. But more than a few of the headlines emanating from the United States of late have struck a nerve that made tuning out impossible, especially President Donald Trump’s insistence that American tax dollars separate migrant families and jail asylum seekers. I’m the grandson of an undocumented immigrant from what is now Poland, and my wife, Sarah, spent much of her 20s teaching in Central America. But what could we do? We tried to connect with folks on the ground without much luck. So we decided the least we could do was show up. That became the plan: just show up. We needed to see for ourselves what was going on, especially since the story had faded from the headlines after the initial outcry in 2018.

That calling was what inspired us to bring a clear purpose to part of our vacation. For our first segment, we’d bear witness to recent developments along the almost 1,000-mile border—the towns, the roads, the encampments, the wall—before moving on to the wonders of Big Bend National Park and the artistic desert outpost of Marfa. But it didn’t really work out that way. The day we set off from London, we finally heard from the local group that calls itself “Angry Tias and Abuelas,” or Aunts and Grandmothers. Cindy told us to show up at the bus station at 4 p.m. And that’s what we did.

There we met another out-of-towner. Lindsay sat at a folding table set up by the local volunteers—known collectively as Team Brownsville—as something like a customer service desk. She’s a school librarian and dairy farmer from North Carolina who’d taken a few days off work for the same reason we were there, to absorb the scene a few hundred yards away from where we were standing, across the International Bridge in Matamoros. She wanted to bring back photos and firsthand accounts to folks back home who were skeptical of what the media was reporting.

The chitchat was interrupted by one of the Team Brownsville leaders, Sergio Cordova, an educator by day, who was leading a whole battalion of volunteers who swept us into their mission. It was a squad from the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue—lawyers, teachers, a rabbi, a nurse, and just a bunch of all-around do-gooders. 

Here’s what ensued that late Saturday afternoon: Sergio took a bunch of folded-up canvas wagons—imagine Radio Flyers designed by REI—out of their supply shed, across the street from the depot. The loading was done in the parking lot. Supplies prepared by the Brooklynites included hundreds of quartered oranges, ground cloths, sleeping pads and bags, and fleeces. Once packed, the wagon train set off, through the bus station, down 14th Street, and to the International Bridge. We each had four quarters for the turnstiles but handed them off to the Mexican border officer, who held a gate open. He was accustomed to this drill, obviously. The lines of people and vehicles waiting to go the other way were endless. We crossed the Rio Grande, with folks on the Mexican side doing their laundry and bathing in the dirty water below, and passed a desultory check by the customs agents.

Then we confronted a sight for which I was unprepared, a tent city set up adjacent to the border crossing. Maybe a better word is at the border crossing. There, hugged up against the entry to the bridge, stood the first of many hundreds whom we would feed that evening. They were waiting patiently and, over the next two hours, kept coming for the rice and beans and tortillas prepared by a local restaurant, and the drinks and fruit we’d wheeled over.

The sun was down by the time we were done, so we didn’t get a good look at the surroundings until the following day. We returned with the Brooklyn battalion to serve breakfast and help at the weekly Sunday “sidewalk school.” Tarps are laid out on the concrete paths, and kids are organized by age so that volunteers can read to them in groups. (There is another setup that operates three days a week in which the teaching is done by the asylum seekers themselves.) On this Sunday, the kids received backpacks stuffed with more gifts—donations from well-wishers—to celebrate Epiphany.

The encampment comprises endless rows of dome tents, housing some 2,200 people on this day, according to our organizers. Some groups demarcated compounds with jerry-rigged cooking and bathing stations in what was apparently a public park. The lucky ones had their tents set up on pallets to avoid the mud slop when it rains. Mexican officials provided portable toilets a few weeks before our arrival. We counted 30—not nearly enough, and overflowing when we peeked inside with our noses covered.

The scene is the result of an administration policy that’s restricted the justification for seeking asylum. Asylum seekers must now remain on the other side of the border while their claims wind their way through the American system. On the U.S. side is another tent-city that houses immigration courts. In the days that followed, we spoke to numerous Central Americans—Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans—who shared remarkably similar, if unverifiable, tales. Essentially, they were fleeing violent gangs and corrupt authorities. One family of six fled their village in El Salvador the day after they were approached to sell their 16-year-old daughter.

After our third day, it was time to move on. Our next stop was McAllen, about 60 miles up the border, where we’d hoped to help out at a center that served new arrivals. Once housing and feeding more than 1,000 a day, the site had maybe two dozen the day we visited—mainly Africans and Haitians. Central Americans weren’t making it over anymore.

The next morning, Sarah and I looked at each other and pretty much said the same thing at the same time: We can’t have a vacation anymore. Big Bend and Marfa were out. We spent the next eight days getting in even deeper with the everyday heroes who have assembled in Brownsville, devoting too many of their waking hours to help those seeking what hundreds of thousands before them did: a better life in the U.S. These are the names you should know, the stories you should hear: Madeleine Sandefur, one of the “Angry Tias,” who works to get refugees out of detention; Norma Pimental, an indefatigable nun in McAllen; Michael Benavides, a Desert Storm veteran and a founder of Team Brownsville. Those are just some of the people we met on our consciousness-raising adventure. Meantime, detention centers keep sprouting in the barren landscape of South Texas.

Of the many unforgettable images, an odd one sticks with me. It was in the waiting room of the Port Isabel Detention Center. We were there, thanks to one of our new friends, to visit some of the detainees. We’d emptied our pockets of all but the car keys and handed over our IDs to the private security contractor at the front gate. We’d walked by the stone monument dedicating the site to the victims of Sept. 11 and passed through the metal detectors, with nothing but the most polite interaction with the khaki-clad minders. We signed in and there we were, in the jail’s waiting room. The whole thing was an antiseptic institution with a soundless television playing adjacent to the reverse ATM that allowed you to deposit money into detainee accounts. On the screen was The Hunger Games—surely a coincidence, but a wholly appropriate dystopian fantasy for the time and place. —With Sarah Towle

Source: Read Full Article

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucuses, takes national Democratic lead

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Bernie Sanders scored a resounding victory in Nevada’s presidential caucuses on Saturday, cementing his status as the Democrats’ national front-runner amid escalating tensions over whether he’s too liberal to defeat President Donald Trump.

The 78-year-old Vermont senator successfully rallied his fiercely loyal base and tapped into support from Nevada’s large Latino community as the Democratic contest moved for the first time into a state with a significant minority population.

The win built on Sanders’ win earlier this month in the New Hampshire primary. He essentially tied for first place in the Iowa caucuses with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has sought to position himself as an ideological counter to Sanders’ unabashed progressive politics, but was fighting for a distant second place in Nevada.

The victory, while encouraging for Sanders supporters, only deepens concern among establishment-minded Democratic leaders who fear that the self-described democratic socialist is too extreme to defeat Trump. Sanders for decades has been calling for transformative policies to address inequities in politics and the economy, none bigger than his signature “Medicare for All” health care plan that would replace the private insurance system with a government-run universal system.

Despite establishment anxiety, moderates are struggling to unify behind a single candidate, and the vote on Saturday was again split between several centrists, including Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Also in the mix: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who desperately needed a spark to revive her stalled bid; billionaire Tom Steyer, who spent more than $12 million on Nevada television, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who hoped to prove her strong New Hampshire finish was no fluke.

After the chaos of Iowa’s caucuses, there were concerns about Nevada’s similar setup. But no major problems were in sight.

At noon, under sunny skies, dozens of uniformed housekeepers and casino workers cast ballots in the Bellagio, one of seven casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip among 200 locations statewide that hosted caucuses. Nevada is the third contest on a 2020 election calendar marked by chaos and uncertainty after the opening votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, overwhelmingly white, rural states.

The first presidential contest in the West is testing the candidates’ strength with black and Latino voters for the first time in 2020. Nevada’s population aligns more with the U.S. as a whole, compared with Iowa and New Hampshire: 29% Latino, 10% black and 9% Asian American and Pacific Islander.

Self-described democratic socialist Sanders has emerged as the front-runner in the race so far as a half-dozen more-moderate candidates criticize one another. Each wants to be the preferred alternative to the Vermont senator in the race to take on President Donald Trump in November.

In a show of confidence, Sanders left Nevada early to rally supporters in Texas, which offers one of the biggest delegate troves in just 10 days on Super Tuesday. The progressive senator told cheering supporters in El Paso that Trump is “a pathological liar running a corrupt administration.”

“When we come together there is nothing we can’t accomplish,” Sanders declared.

The Nevada verdict represents the third in a primary season that will span all 50 states and several U.S. territories, ending only at the party’s national convention in July. But with two more rounds of voting scheduled over the next 10 days — including Super Tuesday’s massive delegate haul — the party may identify a consensus candidate long before the convention.

Sanders and his allies were increasingly confident about his strength in the race. In Nevada, he has strong support from Latinos and rank-and-file union workers who have warmed to his calls to transform the nation’s economy and political system to help the working class.

There was skepticism about Pete Buttigieg’s ability to win over a more diverse set of voters after strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire. Joe Biden, who struggled in those early states, looked to Nevada’s voters of color to prove he still has a viable path to the nomination.

Elizabeth Warren and Klobuchar were fighting for momentum, hoping to benefit from a sudden surge of outside money from newly created super PACs.

Klobuchar, campaigning in her home state of Minnesota Saturday night, claimed Nevada success no matter what. “As usual I think we have exceeded expectations.”

New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who dominated the political conversation this week after a poor debate-stage debut, wasn’t on the ballot. He’s betting everything on a series of delegate-rich states that begin voting next month.

Billionaire Tom Steyer spent more than $12 million of his own money on television advertising in Nevada, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.

Trump weighed in on social media, continuing his weeks-long push to sow discord between Sanders and his Democratic rivals.

“Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations Bernie, & don’t let them take it away from you!”

The stakes were high for Nevada Democrats to avoid a repeat of the chaos in Iowa, and it appeared Saturday’s caucuses were largely successful.

The developer the Nevada Democrats had planned to use had its mobile app fail spectacularly in Iowa. Nearly three weeks later, Iowa Democratic officials have yet to post final results. But resources poured into Nevada, as Democrats realized they could ill afford another poorly executed election.

Unlike state primaries and the November election, which are run by government officials, caucuses are overseen by state parties.

Nevada Democrats sought to minimize problems by creating multiple redundancies in their reporting system, relying on results called in by phone, a paper worksheet filled out by caucus organizers, a photo of that worksheet sent in by text message and electronic results captured with a Google form. They relied on trusted commercial tech that appeared to smooth the process.

In addition, it appeared Nevada Democrats were able to successfully navigate a complicated process for adding early voting to the caucus process. Nearly 75,000 people cast early ballots over a four-day period, and the party was able to process those in time for Saturday so they could be integrated into the in-person vot.

At the Bellagio caucus site, 41-year-old Christian Nielsen, a scuba diver for the Cirque du Soleil show “O,” said he backed Sanders because he believes the country needs a “major change in the White House.”

“We need somebody in the White House who has been on the right side of history for their entire career, somebody who stands with the working class, and will make things more fair for everybody,” Nielsen said.

The Democrats’ 2020 nomination fight shifted beyond Nevada even before the final results were known.

Only Biden, Buttigieg and Steyer were still in the state when news of Sanders’ victory was announced.

Sanders and Klobuchar spent the night in Super Tuesday states. And Warren, who began Saturday in Las Vegas, was to finish the day in Washington state, which hosts its election on March 10 but has already begun offering early voting.

Source: Read Full Article

Millions of Chinese Firms Face Collapse If Banks Don’t Act Fast

Brigita, a director at one of China’s largest car dealers, is running out of options. Her firm’s 100 outlets have been closed for about a month because of the coronavirus, cash reserves are dwindling and banks are reluctant to extend deadlines on billions of yuan in debt coming due over the next few months. There are also other creditors to think about.

“If we can’t pay back the bonds, it will be very, very bad,” said Brigita, whose company has 10,000 employees and sells mid- to high-end car brands such as BMWs. She asked that only her first name be used and that her firm not be identified because she isn’t authorized to speak to the press.

With much of China’s economy still idled as authorities try to contain an epidemic that has infected more than 75,000 people, millions of companies across the country are in a race against the clock to stay afloat.

A survey of small- and medium-sized Chinese companies conducted this month showed that a third of respondents only had enough cash to cover fixed expenses for a month, with another third running out within two months.

While China’s government has cut interest rates, ordered banks to boost lending and loosened criteria for companies to restart operations, many of the nation’s private businesses say they’ve been unable to access the funding they need to meet upcoming deadlines for debt and salary payments. Without more financial support or a sudden rebound in China’s economy, some may have to shut for good.

“If China fails to contain the virus in the first quarter, I expect a vast number of small businesses would go under,” said Lv Changshun, an analyst at Beijing Zhonghe Yingtai Management Consultant Co.

Despite accounting for 60% of the economy and 80% of jobs in China, private businesses have long struggled to tap funding to help them expand during booms and survive crises.

Support from China’s banking giants in response to the outbreak has so far been piecemeal, mostly earmarked for directly combating the virus. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s largest lender, has offered relief to about 5% of its small business clients.

In an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg News, ICBC said it has allocated 5.4 billion yuan ($770 million) to help companies fight the virus. “We approve qualified small businesses’ loan applications as soon as they arrive,” the bank said.

As a group, Chinese banks had offered about 254 billion yuan in loans related to the containment effort as of Feb. 9, according to the banking industry association, with foreign lenders such as Citigroup Inc. also lowering rates. To put that into perspective, China’s small businesses typically face interest payments on about 36.9 trillion yuan of loans every quarter.

Read more…
Why China’s Debt Defaults Are Picking Up Yet Again: QuickTake
Chinese Companies Say They Can’t Afford to Pay Workers Right Now
China Car Sales Slump 92% in First Half of February on Virus (1)
Everything China Is Doing to Support Its Markets During Outbreak

Stringent requirements and shortlists restrict who can access special loans earmarked by the central bank for virus-related businesses, while local governments and banks have imposed caps on the amounts, according to people familiar with the matter. A debt banker at one of China’s largest brokerages said his firm opened a fast lane to ease debt sales by businesses involved in the containment effort, with borrowers required to prove they will use at least 10% of the proceeds to fight the disease.

That’s of little help to a car dealership. Brigita, whose firm owes money to dozens of banks, said she has so far only reached an agreement with a handful to extend payment deadlines by two months. For now, the company is still paying salaries.

Many of China’s businesses were already grasping for lifelines before the virus hit, pummeled by a trade war and lending crackdown that sent economic growth to a three-decade low last year.

At most risk are the labor-intensive catering and restaurant industries, travel agencies, airlines, hotels and shopping malls, according to Lianhe Rating.

Yang, a property manager of a seven-story mall in Shanghai, says a tenant who runs a 150-room hotel that’s usually busy has called asking for a month’s rent waiver after business dried up. She expects the massage parlor that rents space in the mall is also struggling and is open to extending some help.

A deputy financing director at a small developer in central Anhui province said his firm is even being denied loans under existing credit lines. A drop in sales has hurt the company’s credit profile and a dearth of new projects means there’s no collateral to put up. Without access to credit, the business can survive for about four months, or maybe longer if some payments can be delayed, he said.

Banks are hardly any better off themselves. Many are under-capitalized and on the ropes after two years of record debt defaults. Rating firm S&P Global has estimated that a prolonged emergency could cause the banking system’s bad loan ratio to more than triple to about 6.3%, amounting to an increase of 5.6 trillion yuan.

Wu Hai, owner of Mei KTV, a chain of 100 Karaoke bars across China, took to the nation’s premier outlet of discontent, social media platform WeChat, to voice his despair.

KTV’s bars have been closed by the government because of the virus, choking off its cash flow. The special loans from the authorities will be of little help and no bank will provide a loan without enough collateral and cash flow, he said on his official WeChat account earlier this month.

Wu couldn’t be reached for a direct comment, but on WeChat he gave himself two months before he has to shutter his business.

— With assistance by Evelyn Yu, Ken Wang, Zheng Li, Xize Kang, Jun Luo, Emma Dong, and Yinan Zhao

Source: Read Full Article