Daily Archives: February 19, 2015

Apple wants to start making electric vehicles as early as 2020 – Bloomberg

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Source: Newsjyoti India Technology

Apple wants to start making electric vehicles as early as 2020 -Bloomberg

Feb 19 (Reuters) – Apple Inc aims to
begin producing an electric vehicle as early as 2020, Bloomberg
cited people with knowledge of the matter as saying, a seemingly
aggressive target for a mobile devices maker with little
experience in car manufacture.

The iPhone maker is pushing its “car team” of about 200
people to meet that goal, Bloomberg reported. But Apple may
decide to scrap its car-making effort, or delay it, if
executives grew unhappy with its progress, the news agency cited
the people as saying.

(here)

(Reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Bernard Orr)


Source: Newsjyoti

Two lawsuits seek to end Colorado's recreational pot sales

(Reuters) – Two lawsuits seeking to shut down Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry were filed on Thursday by state residents who say legalized pot violates federal racketeering laws, hurts business and diminishes property values.

The complaints, one aimed at state government officials and the other at marijuana businesses, were filed in U.S. District Court in Denver by a hotel operator and the owners of a Colorado horse ranch.

Colorado is among four states where voters have approved the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes, although pot is illegal for any purpose under federal law.

President Barack Obama’s administration has allowed states that permit medicinal or recreational marijuana leeway in regulating its use.

In a news conference to announce the lawsuits, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, David Thompson, accused Obama of turning a blind eye to the enforcement of federal drug laws, saying: “In this country, only Congress can change federal law, not the president.”

Thompson, a lawyer with Safe Streets Alliance, a Washington-based organization aimed at reducing youth drug use and violence, said Colorado’s regulatory scheme amounted to an illegal drug conspiracy and as such was “a quintessential racketeering enterprise.”

The hotel operator’s lawsuit said: “Marijuana businesses make bad neighbors. They drive away legitimate businesses customers, emit pungent, foul odors, attract undesirable visitors, increase criminal activity, increase traffic, and reduce property values.”

Another plaintiff, Hope Reilly, told reporters she planned to open an animal-assisted therapy program for children on the 105-acre horse property she owns in the south of the state.

“Having a recreational marijuana cultivation facility next door interferes with that,” she said.

In December, Colorado’s marijuana laws were challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court by the neighboring states of Nebraska and Oklahoma, which say marijuana sold in Colorado has been smuggled across state lines.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office has vowed to defend against that lawsuit, and a spokeswoman for the office said on Thursday the agency would likewise fight the latest legal action in order to uphold state law.

The owners of the marijuana businesses named as defendants in the lawsuit could not immediately be reached for comment, but supporters of the industry spoke in favor of the state’s regulatory efforts.

Democratic State Representative Jonathan Singer said Colorado had reaped millions in taxes and fees for much-needed programs since recreational cannabis became legal.

“The sky hasn’t fallen,” Singer said. “We have to stop rehashing the fights of old.”

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

UPDATE 2-TurboTax maker Intuit posts smaller-than-expected loss

(Adds CEO comment)

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 19 (Reuters) – Intuit Inc reported a
smaller-than-expected quarterly loss due to a strong demand for
its online tax-preparation software, TurboTax, at the start of
the U.S. tax-filing season.

The company’s shares rose as much as 6 percent to $96.45 in
after-market trading on Thursday.

Intuit also raised the full-year online subscriber growth
estimate for its flagship accounting software, QuickBooks.

The company said it now expects QuickBooks online
subscribers of 975,000 to 1 million, up from 925,000-950,000
forecast earlier.

Intuit said it would make “significant investments” in the
current quarter to beef up online security.

The company had temporarily stopped transmitting state
returns earlier this month using its do-it-yourself TurboTax
software after noticing attempts to use stolen identity
information to file fraudulent returns.

“We continue to believe these instances of fraud did not
result from a security breach of our systems,” Chief Executive
Officer Brad Smith said in a conference call.

Intuit’s net loss widened to $66 million, or 23 cents per
share, for the second quarter ended Jan. 31, from $37 million,
or 13 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company reported a loss of 6 cents
per share, way below the 13 cents analysts had expected,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total net revenue rose 3.3 percent to $808 million.

Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria said Intuit had a “very
good start” to the tax season, considering that the company
faced issues like fraud and tax code changes brought by the
Affordable Care Act.

Total expenses jumped 9.4 percent to $906 million.

Intuit, which competes with shop-front tax preparer H&R
Block Inc, also maintained its full-year forecast.

(Reporting by Avik Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj
Kalluvila)


Source: Newsjyoti Hot Stock News

Judge nixes Revel sale, but no sign of bidders

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 19 (Reuters) – A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Thursday
terminated the $95.4 million sale of Atlantic City’s Revel Hotel
and Casino to Florida developer Glenn Straub, clearing a path
for a third attempt to sell the troubled property.

Judge Gloria M. Burns in Camden, New Jersey, also ordered
that Straub’s $10 million deposit be released to Revel’s
attorneys. They argued that they should be allowed to keep it
under the terms of the deal after Straub missed a Feb. 9
deadline to close on the transaction.

But while the ruling allows Revel to accept new bids, it is
unclear whether anyone will step up to make a third offer on the
distressed New Jersey gambling hub’s newest casino, now in its
second bankruptcy since it opened in 2012 with a $2.4 billion
price tag.

The termination marks the second time a sale of the Revel
has failed. Brookfield Asset Management, which won with its $110
million bid late last year, backed away from the deal in
November after failing to reach an agreement with the owners of
Revel’s on-site power plant.

At a hearing earlier in the week, Shaun Martin, Revel’s
Chief Restructuring Officer, said many investors who have
already done due diligence on the property have continued to
express interest, but there have been no serious offers.

It’s unclear exactly what next awaits Revel, but it is
running out of money. If the case lasts another three to five
months without a sale, Revel will likely be liquidated, Martin
said. It remains unclear what, precisely, that would mean for
the property.

Straub’s lawyer, Stuart Moskovitz said he would appeal the
judge’s ruling over the deposit.

Straub had stalled finalizing the purchase, citing
litigation involving several businesses that operated inside the
casino, including restaurants, a night club and the power plant.

He asked for an extension after those businesses won a
series of court victories. The businesses argued that they would
be wiped out if the sale proceeded without considering their
interests.

Revel’s lawyer, John Cunningham said he would ask permission
at a later hearing to spend Straub’s $10 million deposit.
Cunningham said Revel wanted to spend the money “in lieu of
further (debtor in possession) financing that we do not have a
commitment from Wells Fargo to spend.”

Wells Fargo & Co has loaned the resort money to
survive during bankruptcy.

(Reporting by Daniel Kelley in Trenton, New Jersey; Editing by
Christian Plumb)


Source: Newsjyoti Company News

Cricket-Cyclone Marcia threatens Clarke's return for Australia

SYDNEY Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:04am IST

SYDNEY Feb 20 (Reuters) – Michael Clarke’s return to the Australia World Cup team looks like being put on hold with a potentially destructive cyclone set to hit the Queensland coast on Friday.

The storm, which will see winds of 285 kph (177 miles) hammering the northeast coast of the state, will bring torrential rain to Brisbane, where Australia are scheduled to play Bangladesh on Saturday.

With people in Brisbane and surrounding areas warned to stock up on supplies and volunteers handing out sandbags in the Queensland capital, it looks highly likely that the match at the Gabba will be washed out.

The teams have already been forced to practise indoors and if the Pool A match does not get underway or is abandoned then they will be awarded a point each.

That will be a blow to Clarke, who missed Australia’s 111-run drubbing of England in their tournament opener last weekend and has only played a warm-up against the United Arab Emirates since sustaining a hamstring injury last December.

The match against Bangladesh was the deadline peremptorily handed to the batsman by selectors to prove his fitness for the campaign and Darren Lehmann said on Wednesday that Clarke would play.

“I’ll be like a 10-year-old boy come tomorrow morning when I open the curtains and I’ll be praying the rain has disappeared,” Clarke wrote in his column for New Limited newspapers on Friday.

“But having said that our number one priority is hoping everyone in Queensland stays safe.” (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; editing by Ian Ransom)

Source: Newsjyoti Cricket

Dentist, brother-in-law charged with Shaw insider trading in U.S.

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 19 (Reuters) – A Louisiana dentist has been indicted for
insider trading in connection Chicago Bridge & Iron Co’s
2012 purchase of energy construction company Shaw Group Inc
based on a tip from a Shaw insider, his brother-in-law.

Jesse Roberts III, the dentist, traded in Shaw after
learning about the upcoming merger from Scott Zeringue, a Shaw
vice president of construction operations, U.S. Attorney Walt
Green of the Middle District of Louisiana said on Thursday.

Roberts, 43, was charged with securities fraud and
conspiracy. Zeringue, 48, pleaded guilty last June to a related
conspiracy charge.

Both men were also civilly charged on Thursday by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission, which said the scheme
resulted in nearly $1 million of illegal profit.

Zeringue settled the SEC case by paying $96,018 and
accepting a 10-year ban from being a public company officer or
director.

Lawyers for both men did not immediately respond to requests
for comment.

Shaw shares rose about 55 percent on July 30, 2012 after
CB&I, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, said it would
buy the company for about $3 billion in cash and stock. The $46
per share price represented a premium of roughly 72 percent.

Investigators said Zeringue, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
learned about the merger through his job.

They said Zeringue then tipped Roberts, of Ruston,
Louisiana, who later passed the tip to others and rewarded his
brother-in-law with $30,000 in cash for the original tip.

The SEC said Roberts made more than $765,000 by trading Shaw
call options before the merger. It also said Zeringue made about
$2,000 from illegal trades, and others made more than $154,000.

“Roberts loaded up on option contracts that he knew would
earn him a huge but illegal profit,” Stephen Cohen, an associate
director in the SEC enforcement division, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Steve
Orlofsky and David Gregorio)


Source: Newsjyoti Company News

UPDATE 1-Nordstrom profit falls due to higher investments, discounts

(Adds details, forecast)

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>Feb 19 (Reuters) – Upscale department store operator
Nordstrom Inc reported a lower-than-expected quarterly
profit as it spent more on technology upgrades and store
expansion, and increased discounts at its Rack brand stores in
the holiday shopping season.

The company, which bought Chicago-based Trunk Club in August
to gain market share in men’s’ clothing and to boost its online
business, also forecast 2015 profit of $3.65 to $3.80 per share
and sales growth of 7 to 9 percent.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $3.76 per
share on revenue of $13.47 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
I/B/E/S.

Nordstrom also forecast a bigger loss for its Canada
business in 2015 as it continues its expansion with store
openings in Ottawa in the spring and Vancouver in the fall.

Loss before interest and taxes in Canada is expected to
widen to about $60 million in fiscal year 2015 from $32 million
in 2014.

Nordstrom said margins fell in the fourth quarter as it
tried to clear inventories with deeper discounts. Merchandise
inventories, however, stood at $1.73 billion as of Jan. 31,
higher than the $1.53 billion reported a year earlier.

Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 13.5
percent to $1.08 billion.

Nordstrom’s net income fell to $255 million, or $1.32 per
share, in the quarter ended Jan. 31, from $268 million, or $1.37
per share, a year earlier.

Same-store sales rose 4.7 percent. Analysts polled by
Consensus Metrix had expected a growth of 3.4 percent.

Net sales rose 9 percent to $3.94 billion, helped by higher
demand for its skincare and makeup products.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.35 per share
on revenue of $4.01 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
I/B/E/S.

The company’s shares were slightly up at $77.50 in extended
trading.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan and Nayan Das in Bengaluru;
Editing by Don Sebastian)


Source: Newsjyoti

Pakistan and Afghan officials say Afghan Taliban signal readiness for talks

People walk past a picture of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on a street in Kabul February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

People walk past a picture of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on a street in Kabul February 19, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Omar Sobhani


(Reuters) – Senior Pakistani army, Afghan and diplomatic officials said on Thursday the Afghan Taliban had signalled they were willing to open peace talks with Kabul.

The reports raised hopes for a breakthrough in peace efforts following the withdrawal of most U.S.-led troops last year, and of a boost for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The renewed push for negotiations appeared to be driven by evolving relationships between Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, which recently offered to help broker talks.

On Thursday, a senior Pakistani military official said Pakistan’s army chief, General Raheel Sharif, told Ghani during a visit this week the Taliban were willing to begin negotiations as early as March.

“They have expressed their willingness and there will be progress in March. But these things are not so quick and easy,” the official, who is close to the army chief, told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“But there are very clear signals … and we have communicated it to the Afghans. Now many things are with the Afghans and they are serious.”

Taliban representatives including official spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid cast doubt on the possibility of talks, saying they still opposed negotiations. The group has repeatedly said it will talk to the United States but not the Kabul government.

A senior member of the Afghan Taliban said by telephone from Qatar their negotiators would hold a first round of talks with U.S. officials in Qatar on Thursday.

But U.S. officials in Washington denied the United States was holding talks, direct or indirect, with the Taliban. A White House spokeswoman said the United States remained supportive of an Afghan-led reconciliation process in which the Taliban and the Afghan government engaged in talks.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States had not held indirect talks with the Taliban since May 2014, when it worked through Qatar to free Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. The U.S. soldier, who disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009, was freed in a controversial prisoner swap for five inmates from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A senior aide to Ghani, who declined to be identified, said the Afghan government had asked that talks be held in Beijing, a nod to China’s recent efforts to help broker an end to the war.

Ghani himself has not directly commented on the possibility of talks but promised transparency.

“I will not conduct any negotiation in secret from my people,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.

A later statement said Ghani met members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council on Thursday, quoting the president as saying: “Now there is a big opportunity for peace in the country.”

A senior diplomat in the region said that venues being considered for the talks included Islamabad, Kabul and Dubai as well as Beijing.

NO BREAKTHROUGH ON BATTLEFIELD

Exactly what might have pushed some Taliban towards talks was not clear, but the Afghan war is grinding on with no clear winner.

With the departure of most U.S. and other foreign troops, Afghan security forces are struggling to defeat the insurgency, while the Taliban have been unable to hold much territory.

The Taliban are also losing support within Pakistan, which has developed closer relations with Afghanistan since Ghani took power late last year.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have long been marred by mistrust. Islamabad has for years been close to the Taliban, as it fretted over the influence of India in Afghanistan. But Ghani has sought to improve ties.

“Afghanistan and Pakistan relations have changed dramatically since President Ghani came to office,” said Barnett Rubin, a senior fellow at the Center on International Cooperation and former U.S. State Department official.

Pakistani Senator Afrasiab Khattak, who comes from Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on the Afghan border, said Ghani’s efforts had led to a commitment by Pakistan to encourage the Taliban to talk, possibly through threatening to end their use of Pakistani soil as a refuge.

“Without sanctuaries, nobody can have sustainable fighting. Those who will talk, will talk. Those who do not agree can face co-ordinated action on both sides of the border,” Khattak said.

Ghani has also lobbied China, which is worried about the spread of militancy in its west, to use its ties with Pakistan to persuade it to press the Taliban to talk.

Pakistan, for its part, is pushing the Taliban to agree to talk in exchange for an Afghan promise to capture and hand over the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, who is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban are separate from the Afghan Taliban, although they share the goal of establishing an Islamist theocracy.

The Kabul diplomat warned that any talks might hinge on the Afghan Taliban’s reclusive leader, not seen in public since 2001.

“The final decision is still upon Mullah (Mohammad) Omar … The Taliban leadership is consulting him,” the diplomat said.

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Andrew Roche and James Dalgleish)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Congressional delegation meets Cuba's heir apparent

U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi talks, flanked by U.S congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and U.S congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) (R) during a news conference in Havana February 19, 2015. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa


(Reuters) – Nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives met Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Thursday, marking the first time Cuba’s heir apparent to power has received an official American delegation.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and eight other House Democrats concluded their two-day visit by meeting Diaz-Canel, 54, who is first in line to the seat of power held by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro since 1959.

The meeting came two months after the United States and Cuba announced a rapprochement and plans to restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostilities.

The nine Democrats, all supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy change on the Communist-led island, were due to be escorted directly to the airport after the meeting.

Diaz-Canel and the Americans talked about Cuba’s market-style economic reforms, bilateral relations and prospects of the U.S. Congress lifting the country’s 53-year-old trade embargo of Cuba, official Cuban media reported.

It was the first time Diaz-Canel has met any American officials since he became first vice-president two years ago, Cuban officials said. As president, Raul Castro has received American delegations led by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

Diaz-Canel, who is most likely to become president when Castro steps down in 2018, has generally kept a low profile but occasionally speaks publicly of Cuba’s need for a more dynamic and critical press and for a more open Internet.

The United States and Cuba held historic talks in Havana last month aimed at re-establishing diplomatic ties. A second round is scheduled for Feb. 27 in Washington.

Obama, a Democrat, has already started to lift barriers to trade and travel but needs the Republican-controlled congress to completely lift the trade embargo.

“There is strong bipartisan support to lift the embargo in the congress, however it’s not universal and it certainly does not appear to be shared by those in power who have the ability to bring a bill to the floor,” Pelosi told reporters.

Other members of the delegation were Representatives Jim McGovern, Eliot Engel, Rosa DeLauro, Collin Peterson, David Cicilline, Anna Eshoo, Nydia Velazquez and Steve Israel.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by David Gregorio)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics