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Malaysia Airlines could close if restructure talks fail - Executive Traveller
The long-struggling Malaysia Airlines faces another challenge as creditors weigh in on a restructuring plan.
Malaysia Airlines is prepared to shut down if ongoing talks with leasing companies about a restructuring plan fail, The Edge Malaysia cited the national carriers chief executive officer as saying. A sizable number of creditors support the companys plan, some are against it and others are still undecided, airline CEO Izham Ismail told the business weekly in an interview Saturday. The company needs to get the 50:50 (undecided) ones with those who have agreed, Izham was cited as saying in the publication. Once creditors make their decision, Malaysia Airlines will choose whether to proceed with the restructuring plan or execute Plan B, which may involve the passing of its air operators certificate to a new carrier under a different name, he added. The company is working hard to get the cooperation of those involved so it can move on to the next phase in making the business sustainable, Malaysia Airlines said in a emailed statement Sunday. The restructuring involves several stages and we will not be able to share more information at this point in time, it said. Malaysia Aviation Group, the holding company for the Malaysia Airlines, is pleased with the level of support it has received from lessors and is confident that there are appropriate legal mechanisms available should that support not be universal, it said in a statement Saturday. Reuters reported on Friday that a group of leasing companies rejected the restructuring plan put forward by Malaysia Airlines, citing people familiar with the matter and a letter from a London law firm. The airline, wholly owned by Malaysias sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional since 2014, announced earlier this month that it had embarked on an urgent restructuring exercise that involves renegotiating with lessors, as it sees little sign of the pandemic easing. The company has cut salaries for management and pilots, offered unpaid leave to employees, and has sought payment deferrals and contract renegotiations since March. It is now reviewing its network and fleet plans. Syndicated This article was published under license from Bloomberg Media and the original article can be viewed here
Google, Oracle Financed Many Supporters in Supreme Court Faceoff - BNN
Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Oracle Corp. will face off in the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a multibillion-dollar copyright dispute with sweeping implications for technology and media companies worldwide.
(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.s Google and Oracle Corp. will face off in the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a multibillion-dollar copyright dispute with sweeping implications for technology and media companies worldwide. But the finale of the high-stakes litigation, which has been grinding through the federal courts for a decade, may be remembered for another reason: as a case study in the subtle art of influencing Supreme Court justices. The bare-knuckle Google v. Oracle brawl features dozens of outside groups that have written, signed or recruited others to join friend-of-the-court, or amicus curiae, briefs. Many have received funding from one of the companies for reasons unrelated to the case but didnt disclose it. Amicus briefs are the primary way that groups lobby judges in America and justices on the Supreme Court in particular, said Paul Collins, who studies such briefs as a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. There is a tacit quid pro quo with the idea being that these groups are expected to support their funders positions. Its unheard of for a company to outright lobby the Supreme Court, yet legal experts say amicus briefs, which are supposed to provide independent perspectives from third parties, can influence the outcome. Theres no evidence that anyone broke the Supreme Courts rule requiring amici -- which means friends in Latin -- to declare whether a litigant contributed money intended to fund the preparation of the brief. But the rule has a loophole: It doesnt require brief writers or signatories to disclose general funding unconnected to the specific court case. Its a significant loophole, said Collins. Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee last year proposed a measure requiring amici to disclose funding sources. The 60 friend-of-the-court briefs in Google v. Oracle is four times the number filed in the average high court case. Among the combatants are a Hollywood lobby shop, a dark-money group with an anti-big-tech agenda and an advocacy organization for blind people. The case pits tech companies that want freer use of programming languages against entertainment and media businesses that favor stronger copyright protections. Google is challenging an appeals court ruling that it violated Oracles copyright when it included some Oracle-owned Java programming code in the Android phone. Sun Microsystems developed the Java language before Oracle bought the company in 2010. On at least 14 briefs on behalf of Google, some of the authors or their employers received money from the search giant, while the writers of seven briefs supporting Oracle received funds from the software firm, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Many omitted disclosing that theyd received donations, grants, membership dues or other compensation from one of the companies. Some of these same groups also sought to shape public perception of the case with op-eds, blog posts and media interviews. At stake in the case are pre-written directions known as application programming interfaces, or APIs, which allow different software programs to communicate with each other, a function commonly known as interoperability. By using those shortcuts, programmers dont have to write code from scratch for every function in their software, or change it for every type of device. Oracle says the Java APIs are available to those who want to build applications that run on computers and mobile devices. But because the Java APIs are copyrighted, Oracle claims, a license is required to use the shortcuts for a competing platform or to embed them in an electronic device. Google argues that the software interfaces werent eligible for copyright protection. The company also says that, even if the APIs are copyrightable, then Googles use of them would qualify as a fair use exception. In 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sided with Oracle, reversing earlier court rulings. In two separate rulings, the court said APIs are copyrightable and that Googles use of them failed the fair use defense. Oracle has said its entitled to at least $8.8 billion in damages. Earlier: Google Gets Supreme Court Hearing in Oracle Copyright Clash Almost 250 engineers, scientists, developers, companies and nonprofits came together to support our position, said Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesperson. They are often on different sides of various issues, but they joined together to argue for software interoperability, which has allowed American innovation to flourish. Tom Goldstein, Googles outside counsel, said in a statement that the companys unrelated donations to amici were never a factor in our talking with them about their position on these issues. Oracle didnt respond to a request for comment. The case has spawned no shortage of commentary from tech industry executives and public-policy experts about how it will reshape legal protections for software code. Among the groups that filed supportive briefs and also received general funding from Google, according to a list of recipients it regularly discloses, are think tanks Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy & Technology. Trade groups such as the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Internet Association also took unrelated Google funding and filed pro-Google amicus briefs. All the organizations duly disclosed that Google provided no money to fund their briefs, but took different approaches in disclosing other aid from the litigant. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the trade groups, for example, did disclose such funding. The Center for Democracy & Technology and three co-signers -- the Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice, the National Consumers League and the National Federation of the Blind -- didnt. The Center for Democracy & Technology brief argues that copyrighting APIs would block companies from making software that consumers find useful. If you changed the names of the parties in the lawsuit to two companies that Ive never heard of, said Avery Gardiner, general counsel at the center, we would have filed the same brief. The National Federation of the Blinds director of public relations, Chris Danielsen, said his group signed the brief after representatives of one of the parties and the Center for Democracy and Technology asked it to weigh in. We had very minimal involvement other than lending our name, Danielsen said. He said the interests of blind people in the Google v. Oracle case was more tangential than in others the federation has commented on, but that it matters because blind people need access to the technology enabled by APIs. The executive director of the National Consumers League, Sally Greenberg, said the group believed the briefs position was in the best interest of consumers and would have signed on even if it didnt receive money from Google. The Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice didnt respond to a request for comment. Consumer-advocacy group Public Knowledge has been filing briefs in the case for years out of concern that a favorable ruling for Oracle would prevent small developers from entering the market, said policy counsel Meredith Rose. She said Public Knowledge had conversations with Google and others about their legal strategy and denied that Googles funds affected her groups views. In a 2019 political activity report, Oracle disclosed the names of the think tanks and advocacy groups it had recently financed, including those that later weighed in on the high court case, such as the Copyright Alliance, the Hudson Institute, the American Conservative Union and the Internet Accountability Project. None disclosed receiving unrelated Oracle funds. The Internet Accountability Project, a dark-money group -- one that declines to disclose its financial backers -- often criticizes Google and other tech companies over their privacy practices and market dominance. The self-described conservative groups staff also wrote opinion pieces and participated in media interviews praising Oracles position. Internet Accountability Project President Mike Davis said in a statement the group was proud to file a brief explaining the legal history behind our nations copyright laws -- and how Google blatantly violated them when Google ripped off Oracles computer code to start Android. Copyright Alliance Chief Executive Officer Keith Kupferschmid said in a statement that the group weighed in on the case at the direction of its members. American Conservative Union Executive Director Daniel Schneider said in an interview it never even occurred to him to disclose the funding that was unrelated to the brief because the organization has supported strong intellectual property rights for years. Some groups that supported Oracle werent funded by it, but represent media companies that have long criticized Google for making money off their content without paying for it. The Motion Picture Association, Recording Industry Association of America, News Media Alliance and the Association of American Publishers have joined Oracles cause to protect copyright standards that content creators rely on. The input on Google v. Oracle is unusually large but not an anomaly. During the 2017-2018 term, 890 amicus briefs were filed on 63 cases the court reviewed. Thats about 14 briefs per case, according to an analysis by the Arnold & Porter law firm. Academic studies show such briefs are more likely to sway the justices when they are deciding whether to review a case than when they are mulling a ruling, said Collins, the political science professor. At the decision-making stage, research shows, the justices do adopt arguments verbatim from amicus briefs, Collins said. But the side that has more amicus briefs tends to have a slight advantage in the Supreme Court, he added. Probably most significantly, certain briefs, particularly those filed by really well-known lawyers, have a good amount of influence. If numbers are a guide, then Oracle might have a leg-up, with 32 amicus briefs supporting its position against 26 for Google. The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, is also taking Oracles side. A lawyer from the U.S. solicitor generals office will speak on the companys behalf in Wednesdays oral argument. The case is Google v. Oracle America, 18-956. ©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Philippines Lets Malls Reopen Further While Virus Deaths Rise - Bloomberg
The Philippines has allowed malls and several businesses to reopen further even as the Southeast Asian nation recorded more coronavirus deaths last month.
An employee sanitizes an escalator inside a mall in Manila. Sign up here for our daily coronavirus newsletter on what you need to know, and subscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis. The Philippines has allowed malls and several businesses to reopen further even as the Southeast Asian nation recorded more coronavirus deaths last month. The task force against the virus outbreak has approved economic managers’ recommendation to reopen more industries and public transport, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said at a briefing Monday. Essential shops in malls, miners and money exchanges are now allowed to operate at full capacity, he said. Restaurants can now operate round-the-clock, while malls can stay open until 11 p.m. Salons and barbershops can also run at 75% capacity. Current quarantine classifications are expected to be maintained, and will only be changed as last resort if Covid-19 cases are rising, Roque said. The economic contraction, projected to be as much as 6.6% this year, might reverse the country’s gains in poverty reduction, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua. He said poverty incidence might “temporarily climb” to 17.5% although the government’s goal of reducing it to 14% by 2022 remains achievable. About 16.6% of Philippine population lived below the poverty line in 2018, latest Asian Development Bank data show. The Philippines is seeking a balance between curtailing the worst outbreak in Southeast Asia and reviving an economy that plunged into recession in the second quarter. Covid cases in the country have risen to nearly 325,000 as of Oct. 5. Coronavirus deaths rose by over 1,900 in September, the highest monthly increase since the start of the pandemic. New virus cases, meanwhile, decreased to more than 90,000 last month from 127,000 in August. Improved contact tracing has been the critical factor in slowing the virus spread, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a separate virtual briefing Monday. (Updates with latest Covid tally and Economic Planning chief’s comments.)
ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Lopez Quits as Broadcaster Rebuilds - Bloomberg
ABS-CBN Corp.’s chairman emeritus, Eugenio ‘Gabby’ Lopez III, has quit and has relinquished his board seats in the Philippine media company and other ventures controlled by the Lopez family.
ABS-CBN Corp.’s chairman emeritus, Eugenio ‘Gabby’ Lopez III, has quit and has relinquished his board seats in the Philippine media company and other ventures controlled by the Lopez family. Lopez, who previously served as chief executive and the son and namesake of ABS-CBN’s founder, resigned effective immediately for personal reasons, the company said in a statement. He also gave up his board seats in ABS-CBN Holdings Corp., Sky Vision Corp., Sky Cable Corp., First Gen Corp., Rockwell Land Corp. and First Philippine Holdings Corp. “While he left ABS-CBN’s day-to-day management sometime ago, Gabby remained the face of the company,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance Inc. “Given the heat he has received, this could shield ABS-CBN and the family’s other businesses from any potential political threat.” ABS-CBN was forced to reduce its programming, terminate 45% of its 11,000 workers and take a 5.6 billion peso ($115 million) impairment charge after its bid to renew a franchise to operate free-to-air television was rejected by Congress in July, CEO Carlo Katigbak told shareholders in a meeting on Thursday. The broadcaster had been a target of President Rodrigo Duterte’s attacks, accusing it of biased news coverage, which ABS-CBN had denied. Philippine Lawmakers Deny TV Giant ABS-CBN’s Franchise Bid (3) Mario Luza Bautista, general corporate counsel and board adviser, was elected ABS-CBN director to fill the seat vacated by Lopez. ABS-CBN shares rose as much as 2.7% before paring gains to 1% to 7.07 pesos at the 1 p.m. close in Manila. — With assistance by Siegfrid Alegado (Rewrites lead and adds analyst’s comment in third paragraph.)
Philippines Central Bank Adopts Policy of Active Gold Trading - BNN
The Philippine central bank is shifting to active gold trading as the monetary authority seeks to better manage the country’s international reserves, Governor Benjamin Diokno said on Saturday.
Gold casting grain sits inside a glass container at the Uralelectromed Copper Refinery, operated by Ural Mining and Metallurgical Co. (UMMC), in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Russia, on Thursday, July 30, 2020. Gold surged to a fresh record Friday fueled by a weaker dollar and low interest rates. Silver headed for its best month since 1979. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg , Bloomberg (Bloomberg) -- The Philippine central bank is shifting to active gold trading as the monetary authority seeks to better manage the countrys international reserves, Governor Benjamin Diokno said on Saturday. The bank has moved from passive gold trading because of a change in the price dynamics of the metal, a new law that makes purchases of it from small miners more attractive and the countrys record-high reserves, Diokno said in a mobile-phone message to reporters. Studies show that the optimal portfolio mix of gold to reserves should be 9.8%, while a World Bank survey suggested around 9.55%, according to Diokno. The Philippines ratio exceeds 10%. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will always be opportunistic in its reserves management, the central bank chief said. The country posted gross international reserves of $98 billion at end-July. ©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Mercedes Straddles Old and New With Electric S-Class Reboot - BNN
For decades, the Mercedes S-Class has defined the gold standard in luxury sedans, chauffeuring around captains of industry and heads of state. But as more consumers gravitate toward SUVs and electric cars define cutting-edge technology, Daimler AG must prove …
(Bloomberg) -- For decades, the Mercedes S-Class has defined the gold standard in luxury sedans, chauffeuring around captains of industry and heads of state. But as more consumers gravitate toward SUVs and electric cars define cutting-edge technology, Daimler AG must prove its flagship remains relevant. The latest iteration of the S-Class, which the German carmaker presents on Wednesday, will try to please tastes old and new -- offering not just the high-powered combustion variant but also an improved hybrid version and, for the first time, a sleek all-electric sibling sold from next year. Despite its origins in the 1950s, the S-Class still pulls in major money for Daimler, particularly in China, where the company sells more of the models most expensive variant, the Maybach, than anywhere else. Rivals BMW AG and Volkswagen AGs Audi have long tried to gain a bigger slice of the market but never managed to quite crack Daimlers dominance. The stakes for the latest version of the model could hardly be higher. Traditional carmakers are pouring billions of euros into electrifying their fleets while still relying on combustion-powered cars for profits. Tesla Inc., which sells a competing product in the Model S sedan, zoomed past them to become the worlds most valuable car company by far, shrugging off the deepest industry slump in decades triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The new S-Class has to be the best car in the world in every respect, said Roman Mathyssek, a consultant at Arthur D. Little GmbH. Nowadays that is more complex than ever before as all the traditional automotive luxury and refinement features need to be cleverly blended with cutting-edge environmental credentials, connectivity and autonomous functions. Autonomous Driving The hybrid model comes with an improved 100-kilometer (62-mile) battery range, and the series features software that enables level-3 autonomous driving, including assisted lane changing and a mechanism that keeps the car at a safe distance from other vehicles. Tesla has been aggressively marketing its self-driving technology, and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has said the company is close to achieving the requirements for fully-autonomous driving -- or level-5 -- this year. Teslas shares quintupled this year, valuing the company at $464 billion. Daimler, the worlds bestselling luxury-car maker and biggest commercial-vehicle producer by revenue, is worth $55 billion. The valuation gap between Tesla and its peers will remain wide or wider until carmakers have viable electric-vehicle businesses and can start shedding legacy assets, Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois said in a report last week. After the coronavirus outbreak shuttered factories and showrooms, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius expanded a restructuring push to restore earnings. While Mercedes has maintained its sales lead over BMW and Audi in recent years, underlying profits deteriorated due to regulatory costs, ballooning expenses for new technology and poor efficiency. The Stuttgart-based manufacturer plans to cut more than 15,000 jobs worldwide and Kallenius pledged to put a stronger focus on larger luxury cars like the S-Class or the GLE SUV to lift returns. Defending their strong presence in the luxury-car segment during the accelerating shift toward electric cars will be key for German manufacturers to compete in the future, said Bankhaus Metzler analyst Juergen Pieper. Its interesting to see that after years of various efforts to become more efficient, Kallenius and his new team now really seem to start changing things from scratch, Pieper said. ©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Manila Malls May Become E-Commerce Storage Amid Retail Slump - BNN
Property developers in the Philippines are considering novel alternative uses for shopping malls as people stay home and prefer to buy things online.
People gather at the SM by the Bay amusement park in the SM Mall of Asia complex, operated by SM Prime Holdings Inc., in Manila, the Philippines, on Monday, June 17, 2019. Manila, one of the largest and most congested urban areas in the world, has a solution to its problems: build artificial islands in the sea. Manilas dilemma is one shared by many fast-growing cities in developing nations. Rapid growth in populationboosted by migration from rural areasis overwhelming services, roads, transportation, power and drainage. , Bloomberg (Bloomberg) -- Property developers in the Philippines are considering novel alternative uses for shopping malls as people stay home and prefer to buy things online. SM Prime Holdings Inc., the nations biggest landlord, is leasing out some of its parking lots for longer-term car storage, while a unit of Ayala Land Inc. plans to convert areas in its shopping centers to e-commerce backend facilities and medical clinics. Southeast Asias worst coronavirus outbreak has made Filipinos fearful of going about their daily business and theyre seeking to avoid high-traffic spots. Thats putting extra pressure on retail landlords already weathering slump in demand and a recession. The Philippines is home to some of Asias biggest malls; capital Manila and surrounds boast total retail space of 7.3 million square meters, according to Joey Bondoc, a research manager at Colliers International Group Inc. Thats more than twice the size of New Yorks Central Park. Retail vacancy rates in Manila are forecast to climb to 12% this year while rents will drop for the first time since the global financial crisis, forcing shopping centers to either innovate or evaporate, Bondoc said. Read more: Virus Threatens Propertys Dominance of Philippine Stock Market AyalaLand Logistics Holdings Corp. is studying turning parts of its malls into last-mile fulfillment facilities, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. We continue to explore opportunities, said Francis Montojo, the units chief finance officer. He added that other commercial areas may be converted to healthcare clinics or office space. SM Prime, meanwhile, has leased out a floor in the car park of a shopping mall to a bank, as well as leased another floor in an office tower, President Jeffrey Lim said in a text message. Retail developers must look at possible areas to pivot and re-purpose space, said Kash Salvador, an associate director at property services company Santos Knight Frank. We see an opportunity in storage and warehousing given higher logistics demand as shoppers go online. Mall owners should also consider leasing vacant space to co-working companies as businesses seek smaller offices in various locations, Colliers Bondoc said. ©2020 Bloomberg L.P.