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Ex-president Mugabe auctions off farm equipments

An advertisement by Ruby Auction in Zimbabwe let the cat out of the bag, making pubic plans that former president Mugabe is auctioning off five combine harvesters and other farm equipment.

According to reports some of the items including dozens of vehicles, ranging from bulldozers to Ford Rangers belongs in part to his wife Grace.

Bidders will also see on the auction, combine harvesters, tractors, pick-ups and heavy trucks this Saturday at the family farm, north of the capital, Harare according to bloomberg news agency.

Critics say the sale could be a sign that his family business could be in financial crises.

Robert Mugabe is the former President of Zimbabwe. He governed the country for 37 years, before being overthrown by the army in November 2017 and was forced to resign under threat of prosecution.

Source: africanews.com

Uber falls more than 7% in disappointing Wall Street debut

For nearly two years, Uber raced to rebuild its executive bench, overhaul its internal culture and repair its tarnished brand after suffering a long list of PR crises, all with the stated intention of being ready to go public in 2019.

But that wasn’t enough to guarantee investor enthusiasm on Wall Street.
Shares of Uber fell more than 7% on its first day of trading Friday, marking a rocky Wall Street debut for a company that endured plenty of bumps on its long road to going public. Uber opened at $42 a share, below its IPO price of $45, and ended the day even lower at $41.57.

That disappointing first day performance sets Uber apart from the vast majority of its tech peers. In the past five years, only 10% of venture capital-backed US technology IPOs finished the first day in the red, according to data provided to CNN Business from Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO-focused exchange-traded funds.

Uber did succeed in raising $8.1 billion in one of the largest public offerings ever, a substantial war chest that should fund the company’s expansion into new cities and service categories. But that amount was still at the low end of what Uber originally set out to raise.

The company’s public debut comes at the end of a turbulent week filled with headlines about striking workers, steep losses in the ride-hailing industry and broader market jitters over an escalating trade war between the United States and China.

The less-than-stellar offering could prove to be just the first rude awakening Uber faces as it transitions to the public market. Over the last decade, Uber emerged as the poster child for a generation of technology startups that raised — and lost — unprecedented amounts of money while avoiding going public as long as possible. But that may not fly on Wall Street.

Lyft (LYFT), Uber’s chief rival in the United States, has languished on the stock market since going public in late March. Shares in Lyft fell below their IPO price on their second day of trading and have continued to tumble since. The stock is now down about 25% from the IPO price.

Like Lyft, Uber has a history of bleeding money as it subsidizes the cost of rides and invests in an increasing array of transportation options. Uber lost $1.8 billion in 2018, more than any US startup has ever lost in the year prior to going public. The previous company to hold that dubious honor, however briefly: Lyft.

“It’s amazing what [Uber has] built, but they are still not done doing it. They’ve been subsidizing the business,” said Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital. “The boat doesn’t float on its own bottom.”
As Smith points out, tech companies that have come to market in recent years with massive losses — including Lyft and Snap — are currently “not trading above their IPO price.”

Uber, for its part, has pitched itself as an “Amazon for transportation” in that it offers a broad range of services, including meal deliveries and freight shipping. But the Amazon comparison can also be read as a clear signal to investors. Amazon lost money for years while investing to build a massive business. Now, it makes billions in profit each quarter.

Uber’s first Uber’s long and bumpy road

Uber launched in 2009 with the goal of offering private cars on-demand, simply by opening an app on your smartphone. In the decade since, it bulldozed ahead of ride-hailing rivals through a mix of aggressive fundraising, dirty tricks and a take-no-prisoners attitude toward expansion in the United States and abroad.

Along the way, Uber destabilized the taxi industry, became the most valuable US startup and emerged as the darling of Silicon Valley, spawning an entire category of companies billing themselves as the “Uber for X.”open up about their wild ride

But that changed in 2017 when former engineer Susan Fowler rocked the company by making public allegations of sexism and harassment in a lengthy blog post. An internal investigation revealed a reckless office culture where “toe-stepping” was a prized value and executives had unchecked power.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s cofounder and then CEO, admitted he needed to “grow up” after being caught on camera arguing with an Uber driver.
Kalanick was ultimately ousted in June 2017. At that point, Uber was operating without a CEO, CFO, COO or CMO.

Uber replaced the brash Kalanick with Dara Khosrowshahi, a seasoned executive who ran Expedia (EXPE) previously. Khosrowshahi quickly stressed that Uber had to change. “What got us here is not what’s going to get us to the next level,” he said.

Since then, he has revamped the company’s cultural norms, which now include maxims such as “We Do The Right Thing,” in stark contrast to Kalanick’s edict to “Always Be Hustlin’.” He’s made key executive hires, including a CFO after three years without one. And he’s put to rest some outstanding crises, including a major lawsuit with Google’s self-driving car unit Waymo over the alleged stealing of trade secrets.

Under Khosrowshahi, Uber also reconsidered its efforts to operate all across the world. “One of the potential dangers of our global strategy is that we take on too many battles across too many fronts and with too many competitors,” he said last year.

Source: cnn.com

Police hunt inmates after mass prison break in Sumatra

Authorities have launched a massive manhunt on Indonesia’s Sumatra island after more than 100 inmates escaped from prison.

The prison break came early in the morning on Saturday after rioting and a fire broke out at the detention centre in the island’s Siak district.

Widodo Eko Prihastopo, the Riau province police chief, said 115 prisoners had been recaptured by late morning, but dozens of detainees from a prison population of nearly 650 remained at large.

“Police with assistance from the army and surrounding community are still searching for the rest,” Prihastopo said.

The rioting came after guards beat several inmates who were caught using methamphetamine, police said.

Three detainees suffered stab wounds and a policeman was shot during the rioting, the local health office told AFP news agency.

Prison breaks are common in Indonesia, where inmates are often held in unsanitary conditions at overcrowded prisons.

In July 2013, about 240 prisoners escaped during a deadly riot at a prison in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province.

In November last year, 113 prisoners fled from the Lambaro prison in Banda Aceh city. Earlier that year, more than 400 inmates broke out at an overcrowded prison in Riau province.

The US government has approved the deployment of a Patriot missile defence battery and another warship to the Middle East amid increasing tensions between the US and Iran.

The USS Arlington, which transports marines, amphibious vehicles, and rotary aircraft, as well as the Patriot missiles, will join the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, which already passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal on Thursday, and is currently sailing in the Red Sea, according to CNN.

The US says the deployments of military hardware to the region comes in response to “heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations”.

The Patriot missile system is a defence mechanism against aircraft, drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, and is currently deployed in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“The Acting Secretary of Defense has approved the movement of USS Arlington (LPD-24) and a Patriot battery to US Central Command (CENTCOM) as part of the command’s original request for forces from earlier this week,” a Pentagon statement said.

Earlier in the week, a US air force bomber task force, including B-52 bombers, also arrived at the US airbase Al Udeid in Qatar, US Central Command said.

“The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor the activities of the Iranian regime, their military and proxies. Due to operational security, we will not discuss timelines or location of forces. The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend US forces and interests in the region,” the statement added.

Iran has dismissed the moves as “psychological warfare” designed to intimidate it.

In an advisory posted on Thursday, the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) said that since early May there had been an increased possibility of Iran or its regional proxies taking action against US and partner interests.

These included, MARAD said, oil production infrastructure, after Tehran threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz chokepoint in the Arabian Gulf through which about a fifth of oil consumed globally passes.

“Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or US military vessels in the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf,” MARAD said.

“Reporting indicates heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and interests.”

Rising tensions

Tensions between Iran and the US have escalated sharply in recent weeks.

The US unilaterally backed out of a 2015 nuclear pact in May 2018, effectively giving countries worldwide a year to stop buying Iranian oil or face US sanctions, which Washington says are aimed at completely choking off Iranian crude exports.

Washington last month blacklisted Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group.

US officials say they have detected indications that Iran could be preparing a military response.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters news agency, officials say one of the pieces of intelligence indicated Iran had moved missiles on boats, with giving details of the claim.

One of the officials said the particular missile observed was perhaps capable of launching from a small ship.

The officials also noted growing concerns about the threat from Iran-backed militia in Iraq, which have long avoided any confrontation with US troops under the shared goal of defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS).

Rhetoric has grown heated on both sides.

Iranian news agency ISNA quoted Ayatollah Tabatabai-Nejad in the city of Isfahan as saying: “Their billion dollar fleet can be destroyed with one missile.

“If they attempt any move, they will … (face) dozens of missiles because at that time (government) officials won’t be in charge to act cautiously, but instead things will be in the hands of our beloved leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei),” he said on Friday.

Thousands of Iranians took part in marches on Friday to support the government’s decision to reduce limits on its nuclear programme. Iran has threatened to go further if other parties to the 2015 deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – fail to shield it from US sanctions.

Iranian TV channels showed protesters marching after Friday prayers in Tehran and said similar marches had been held across Iran.

Source: aljazeera.com

US President Trump raises tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods

The US has more than doubled tariffs on $200bn (£153.7bn) worth of Chinese products, in a sharp escalation of the countries’ damaging trade war.

Tariffs on affected Chinese goods have risen to 25% from 10%, and Beijing has vowed to retaliate.

China says it “deeply regrets” the move and will have to take “necessary counter-measures.”

It comes as high-level officials from both sides are attempting to salvage a trade deal in Washington.

Only recently, the US and China appeared to be close to ending months of trade tensions.

China’s Commerce Ministry confirmed the latest US tariff increase on its website.

“It is hoped that the US and the Chinese sides will work together… to resolve existing problems through co-operation and consultation,” it said in a statement.

Tariffs are taxes paid by importers on foreign goods, so the 25% tariff will be paid by American companies who bring Chinese goods into the country.

Chinese stock markets rose on Friday, with the Hang Seng index up 1% and the Shanghai Composite nearly 2% higher.

However, earlier in the week stock markets had fallen after US President Donald Trump flagged the tariff rise on Sunday.

The US imposed a 10% tariff on $200bn worth of Chinese products – including fish, handbags, clothing and footwear – last year.

The tariff was due to rise at the start of the year, but the increase was delayed as negotiations advanced.

What will be the impact of the tariff rise?

The US-China trade war has weighed on the global economy over the past year and created uncertainty for businesses and consumers.

Even though Mr Trump has downplayed the impact of tariffs on the US economy, the rise is likely to affect some American companies and consumers as firms may pass on some of the cost, analysts said.

Deborah Elms, executive director at the Asian Trade Centre, said: “It’s going to be a big shock to the economy.

“Those are all US companies who are suddenly facing a 25% increase in cost, and then you have to remember that the Chinese are going to retaliate.”

In a statement, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said it was committed to helping both sides find a “sustainable” solution.

“While we are disappointed that the stakes have been raised, we nevertheless support the ongoing effort by both sides to reach agreement on a strong, enforceable deal that resolves the fundamental, structural issues our members have long faced in China.”

‘Serious escalation’ of the trade war

No breakthrough, and no deal – just, more tariffs.

With this move, US President Donald Trump has effectively dealt a fresh blow to not just the Chinese economy – as he had presumably hoped – but also to US’s.

The previous set of tariffs of 10% on $200bn of Chinese goods have to some extent been absorbed by American importers, but economists say a 25% tariff will be much harder for them to stomach.

They will almost certainly have to pass on that cost to American consumers – and that means higher prices.

Make no mistake, this is a serious escalation – and the trade war between the world’s two largest economies is back on.

This means the rest of us should be prepared for more pain ahead.

How will the tariff increase affect negotiations?

Despite this week’s escalation in tensions, talks were held between Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

A White House spokesman said US officials had agreed with the vice-premier to resume talks on Friday morning, according to media reports.

Even though there had been growing optimism about progress in trade talks recently, sticking points have persisted throughout.

These have included issues around intellectual property protection, how fast to roll back tariffs and how to enforce a deal.

Analysts say the Chinese are still willing to negotiate to retain the moral high ground and because they recognise the importance of solving the trade war.

“A trade war will be bad for China, both the real economy and the financial markets. It will also be bad for the world economy,” said Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

“Better for China to play the role of conciliatory statesman than angry retaliator.”

Why are the US and China at odds?

China has been a frequent target of Donald Trump’s anger, with the US president criticising trade imbalances between the two countries and Chinese intellectual property rules, which he says hobble US companies.

Some in China see the trade war as part of an attempt by the US to curb its rise, with Western governments increasingly nervous about China’s growing influence in the world.

Both sides have already imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of one another’s goods. The situation could become worse still, as Mr Trump has also warned he could “shortly” introduce 25% duties on $325bn of Chinese goods.

What exactly sparked the US President’s latest actions, which apparently took China by surprise, is unclear.

Ahead of the discussions, Mr Trump told a rally China “broke the deal” and would pay for it.

The International Monetary Fund said the row poses a “threat to the global economy”.

“As we have said before, everybody loses in a protracted trade conflict,” the body which aims to ensure global financial stability said in a statement, calling for a “speedy resolution”.

Source: bbc.com