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The rift between US companies and the Republican Party widens? Microsoft, Google, etc. announced the suspension of political donations



The aftermath of U.S. President Donald Trump inciting rioters to hit the U.S. Capitol has not yet dissipated. Many U.S. technology companies, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, announced the suspension of political donations on January 11.

Political donations from major companies are made through their own Political Action Committee (PAC). The Political Action Committee is a campaign organization in the United States that collects funds from members or sponsors and uses it to support and oppose specific candidates, voting, and legislative activities. At the federal level in the United States, if an organization collects or spends more than one thousand dollars for the purpose of influencing elections, it should be registered as a political action committee.

The above-mentioned large technology companies are suspending their PAC political contributions. In addition to the technology industry, other industries including finance and manufacturing have also taken similar measures.

On January 11, Microsoft stated that the company had decided on January 8 to assess the “impact of last week’s events” before making follow-up political donations through PAC. Microsoft said in a statement, “PAC usually suspends donations in the first quarter of the new Congress, but this year it will take more measures to consider recent events and consult with employees.”

Google also said that in view of recent events, it will stop its PAC political donations.

A Google spokesperson said: “Following a deeply disturbing incident last week, we have frozen all NetPAC (Political Action Committee Network) political donations while evaluating and reviewing its policies.”

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: “Following the severe violence in Washington, DC last week, we have suspended all our PAC political contributions for at least one quarter and evaluated our policies.” In fact, CNBC reported that Facebook did not seem to donate to any candidates in the past few election cycles.

In addition to Microsoft, Google, and Facebook’s move to stop political donations, other technology companies have taken more targeted actions.

Later on January 11, Amazon announced that it would stop political donations to lawmakers who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election.

An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement: “We intend to discuss our concerns directly with previously supported members of Congress and evaluate future PAC political contributions based on their responses.”

Short-term rental platform Airbnb also stated that its PAC would “withdraw support for those who voted against verifying the results of the presidential election.”

A spokesperson for communications operator AT&T said the company’s PAC will “suspend political contributions to members of Congress who voted against the certification of the electoral college vote last week.”

Verizon, another communications operator, also said, “We will suspend donations to any member of Congress who voted against the election result.”

The cable and media giant Comcast has suspended voting against donations from elected officials as evidenced by the presidential election results. The company wrote in a statement: “The peaceful transition of power is the foundation of American democracy. Consistent with this view, we will stop all our political contributions to elected officials who vote against the certification of the Electoral College election results. This will enable us to Have the opportunity to review our political contribution policies and practices.”

The Wall Street Journal said that companies’ decision to evaluate or suspend PAC donations is the latest sign that they are upset by the Republicans taking action to question the outcome of Biden’s victory in the 2020 US presidential election. It may also mean that there is a widespread presence in the corporate world. Washington’s willingness to keep a distance — at least temporarily — will. These decisions may represent a widening rift between the Republican Party and big companies.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out that according to campaign funding data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization, Republican candidates and committees received a total of US$205 million in corporate PAC campaign donations in the 2020 general election. Democratic candidates and related organizations received $155 million in donations from corporate PACs.

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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



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



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



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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