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The U.S. government has filed its biggest antitrust lawsuit against Google in 20 years

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The U.S. government has filed its biggest antitrust lawsuit against Google in 20 years

The U.S. Department of Justice has finally hit out at Google. The U.S. Department of Justice and 11 states filed antitrust lawsuits against Google Inc. on Oct. 20, Reuters reported. The reason is Google’s illegal monopoly in search and search advertising. It is also the largest antitrust lawsuit in 20 years.

But Google responded that the Justice Department’s lawsuit was “seriously flawed.”

The New York Times also quoted officials from the Department of Justice as saying that this will be the largest legal action initiated by the US government on the market influence of technology giants in a generation. The scale and influence are comparable to the case of the US government suing Microsoft for a monopoly in the last century. However, Google was not to be outdone and formed a large team to counter the actions of the US government. The duration of this Google lawsuit may also be as long as the Microsoft case, as long as more than ten years.

The Justice Department official said that a federal court in Washington, DC will preside over the lawsuit. The Justice Department is expected to accuse Google of passing several “exclusive business contracts” to exclude other competitors and maintain the company’s illegal monopoly in the search business.

For example, Google has reached an agreement with several mobile phone manufacturers that use the Android system to pre-install the Google search application on these phones, thereby excluding other competitors. In addition, Google has paid billions of dollars to Apple to make Google search the default search engine for iPhones.

The Department of Justice believes that Google currently controls nearly 80% of search usage in the United States. And, because Google uses these contracts to maintain a monopoly, competition, and innovation in the search market have been harmed.

However, Google has long denied that it violated US antitrust laws. Google argued that more and more users are now turning to sites such as Amazon to search for information, and the search engine market is actually facing huge competition. In addition, Google’s services are “good news” for many small businesses.

The New York Times predicts that Google will organize a “global network” of lawyers, lobbyists, and economists to counter prosecutions by the US Department of Justice. Previously, Google has also encountered similar antitrust investigations in Europe. In 2010, the European Commission launched a formal antitrust investigation against Google, and in 2013 the two parties reached a settlement.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement: “The Justice Department’s litigation today is seriously flawed.” The spokesperson said, “People use Google because they choose to do it, not because they are forced to do so, or because they Can’t find a substitute. This morning (referring to later) we will have a more complete statement.”

In fact, the US Department of Justice launched an antitrust investigation against Google more than a year ago. The current Minister of Justice William Barr is the driving force behind all this.

In early 2019, he confirmed at a hearing that Google will be reviewed. At that time, he said: “Many people want to know how such a huge behemoth in Silicon Valley formed under the nose of antitrust enforcement.”

Later, Barr handed over the investigation to his deputy Jeffrey Rosen, who hired an assistant from a large law firm to oversee the case and other technical matters. At present, the prosecutors have investigated Google’s competitors in technology and media and collected information and documents that can be used to open a case.

In addition to Republicans, Democrats are also dissatisfied with Google’s monopoly. According to the New York Times, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has also been strongly criticizing that the power of the Internet is concentrated on a few technology giants.

Earlier this month, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee released a huge report on tech giants, accusing Google of monopolizing online searches and advertisements when users enter queries.

The report said: “Large listed companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs all rely on Google to provide traffic. And there is no other search engine that can replace Google.” In addition to Google, companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Facebook are also “abusing” Their market power”.

The report also stated that Google controls 90% of the online search market. According to data from the web analytics company eMarketer, Google’s search revenue in the United States last year reached 34.3 billion U.S. dollars. By 2022, this number is expected to grow to 42.5 billion US dollars.

In fact, nearly 10 years ago, Google also faced strict scrutiny by the US antitrust regulator. At that time, the US Federal Trade Commission investigated whether Google was “abusing of power” in the search market. But in 2013, five members of the committee finally decided not to file a lawsuit.

Bill Baer, ​​the former head of the Antitrust Department of the Department of Justice, commented on this lawsuit, saying: “This is the most newsworthy monopoly lawsuit filed by the government since the Microsoft case in the late 1990s. The US government believes that It’s important that a very successful technology platform engages in illegally maintaining a monopoly position, thereby harming consumers and competition.”

In July 1994, the US Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft for the first time, claiming that Microsoft had signed an exclusive and anti-competitive licensing agreement with computer manufacturers to prevent computer manufacturers from using Microsoft competitors’ operating systems. In November 2001, the US Department of Justice and Microsoft reached a settlement on the case.

The New York Times stated that the duration of the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Google may exceed Trump’s term. Previously, the government’s investigation and a lawsuit against Microsoft took more than ten years to resolve. Some experts believe that even after the Democrats come to power, they are likely to continue this lawsuit.

In recent years, Google has been subject to antitrust investigations in many markets around the world. In addition to the European Union, Reuters reported exclusively on September 30 that two people familiar with the matter pointed out that China is also preparing Google to initiate an antitrust investigation to investigate allegations that Google has used the advantages of the Android mobile operating system to hinder competition.

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The hotel industry in Greece is experiencing a cold winter, and the total hotel business last year fell 78% year-on-year

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Affected by the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the Greek hotel industry suffered heavy losses. The reporter recently visited several hotels randomly on the streets of Athens, most of which were closed. Some hotels that are still reluctantly operating are sluggish.

According to a recent report issued by the Greek Tourism Forecast and Research Institute, the total business volume of hotels in Greece in 2020 will be 1.831 billion euros, which is a 78% drop compared with 8.357 billion euros in 2019. Of the 3,965 hotels operating throughout the year, only 59% (2328) chose to reopen after Greece’s first total blockade in 2020, and 63% of the reopened hotels were forced to reopen before the end of 2020. As of the end of 2020, only 863 hotels in Greece remain in operation throughout the year, accounting for 22% of the total.

Although the Greek government has introduced financial incentives and subsidies to support the hotel industry, Alexandros Vasilikos, chairman of the Hellenic Hotel Association, pointed out that the Greek hotel industry will face many uncertainties and risks in 2021. He emphasized that continuing to strengthen liquidity is what the hotel industry urgently needs to do at present. This is not only related to the interests of the industry itself and employees, but also related to the interests of the Greek national economy and related supporting industries.

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Iron ore giant Vale has started divesting its coal business after announcing the carbon-neutral plan

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On January 20, the global iron ore giant Vale of Brazil announced that the company and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Mitsui”) signed an agreement of intent on the same day. According to the agreement, the two parties will orderly promote Mitsui’s Moatize coal mine and the Nacala logistics corridor withdrew.

It is worth noting that this is also the first step Vale has taken to spin off its coal business.

The agreement determined the main terms for Vale to acquire Mitsui’s 15% stake in Moatize Coal Mine, 50% of its stake in the Nacala Logistics Corridor, and all other minority credit bonds. According to the intentional agreement, Vale will acquire Mitsui’s shares in the Moatize Coal Mine and the Nacala Logistics Corridor at a price of US$1.00 per share.

In the past 15 years, Vale has cooperated with the governments of Mozambique and Malawi to mine the Moatize coal mine and develop the 912-kilometer-long Nacala logistics corridor to serve coal transportation.

The goal of both parties is to complete the acquisition in 2021, and the specific completion time depends on the determination of the final agreement and the realization of the prerequisites for the acquisition. After the transaction is completed, Vale will merge the Nacala logistics corridor entity and all its assets and liabilities, including the Nacala financing project, which has an outstanding balance of approximately US$2.5 billion.

Vale said that after acquiring Mitsui’s shares and simplifying the governance structure and asset management process, Vale will start the divestiture of its coal business. By then, Vale will maintain the operations of the Moatize Coal Mine and the Nacala logistics corridor. , Looking for third parties interested in these assets.

Vale stated that it will continue to support the project to reach production capacity while it is diligently looking for investors in the coal business. It said that the two ongoing initiatives at the Moatize Coal Mine will bring sustainable results, including a new mining plan and a new operating strategy for the coal processing plant. The new mining plan calls for prioritizing the mining of ore bodies with better quality and higher stripping ratios in order to improve the quality of the product portfolio while reducing costs.

According to reports, the two existing concentrators at Moatize Coal Mine will restart operations and adopt a new process that has been implemented since November 2020. After the full implementation of the new process, Vale expects that the concentrator will continue to reach production, and its production and operation rates in the second half of 2021 and 2022 are expected to reach 15 million tons/year and 18 million tons/year respectively.

Vale emphasized that as the first step for Vale to divest its coal business, the signing of this intentional agreement is in line with the company’s capital allocation principles and the goal of simplifying its product portfolio while strengthening its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

It is worth mentioning that previously, on May 12, 2020, Vale announced that it would invest at least US$2 billion to achieve a direct and indirect absolute emission reduction of 33% by the end of 2030. Vale also plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through this plan.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Vale has operations on five continents and is the world’s largest producer of iron ore and pellets and the largest producer of nickel metal. Vale operates a large-scale logistics system in Brazil and other parts of the world, including railways, shipping terminals, and ports, and also has a logistics center to support the global distribution of iron ore.

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California Disney refunds annual card users, and Paris Disney’s re-opening date is delayed by 48 days

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Recently, according to information released by the Disney Company, Ken Potrock, President of Disneyland Resort (California Disney Resort), said in a statement that due to the ongoing uncertainty of the new coronavirus epidemic and the false news of the reopening of the California Disney Resort, Appropriate refunds will be made for eligible California Disney Resort annual card users, and the current (annual card) plan will be canceled.

It can be seen that due to the impact of the US epidemic, the California Disney Resort has been unable to reopen for a long time. Prior to this, California Disneyland has been “working hard” for the reopening.

On October 21st last year, Disneyland in California announced through the Disney Company: “We have proven that we can responsibly reopen under the science-based health and safety measures that are strictly enforced in theme parks around the world. However. , California continues to ignore this fact and instead requires the state government to know the guidelines that do not work. This makes the standards we meet very different from those of other reopened businesses and state-run facilities. We hope that, together with the union, Let people return to work, but these state government guidelines will keep us closed for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands of people to lose their jobs, cause small family businesses to inevitably close down, and cause damage to Southern California communities Irreparable destruction.”

But in the comments on the news on Twitter, most people believed that under the current conditions, the park should not be reopened.

Up to now, of the six Disney parks in the world, only Shanghai Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Orlando Disneyland in the United States are open. In addition to Disneyland in California, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris are also closed.

On December 1, 2020, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort announced that in response to the government’s request and in line with the current epidemic prevention measures taken by Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland will be temporarily closed from December 2. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will maintain close contact with the Hong Kong government and health authorities and will announce the reopening date depending on the situation. This is the third time Hong Kong Disneyland has closed the park since the outbreak of the new coronavirus in 2020.

In addition, Disneyland Paris has also been closed twice.

On October 29, 2020, Disneyland Paris has closed again after reopening on July 15. According to news from the official website of Disneyland Paris, in order to celebrate the Christmas holiday, Disneyland Paris will accept reservations from December 19, 2020, to January 3, 2021, and hopes to open it according to the prevailing situation and government guidance. From January 4th to February 12th, Disneyland Paris will be closed.

But for now, Disney Paris may not be able to reopen as scheduled on February 13.

On January 18th, local time in France, the updated message of Disneyland Paris said: “If conditions permit, we will reopen Disneyland Paris on April 2, 2021, and accept reservations from that date.”

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