Nordstrom Shelves Ivanka Trump’s Brand

The Seattle-based American luxury retail store, Nordstrom Inc., recently decided to do away with Ivanka Trump’s brand for this season, blaming the brand’s poor performance.

However, the decision is said to have followed the constant threats and boycott campaigns led by the anti-Trump organization Grab Your Wallet after it blacklisted retailers associating themselves with President Donald Trump or First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s merchandise.

Fearing boycott by anti-Trump supporters, the retail store finally gave in to the demands of the organization and released an official statement to part ways with Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories brand. Although the Nordstrom spokesperson didn’t comment whether the ban was a permanent or seasonal one, he went on to say, “each year we cut about 10% [of brands] and refresh our assortment with about the same amount. In this case, based on the brand’s performance, we’ve decided not to buy it for this season.”

Grab Your Wallet has been hosting campaigns against Trump ever since a video from way back in 2005 went viral showing Trump passing nasty comments about groping women on the Hollywood gossip show Access Hollywood. The campaigns, which date back to October 2016, saw many retail giants deserting brand products of Trump and his daughter Ivanka in the wake of immense pressure from anti-Trump supporters. A Canadian online shopping website Shoes.com became the first retailer to ditch Ivanka Trump’s shoe collection. Many other retailers have followed suit ever since the campaign gained momentum.

Shannon Coulter, who helps run Grab Your Wallet, lauded Nordstrom’s decision to shelve the First Daughter’s brand merchandise, which now finds itself limited to just 4 units of shoe styles on Nordstrom’s website – a figure that is in stark contrast to the 71 products in December.

“The cause and effect here is very clear,” Shannon wrote in an email addressing Nordstrom’s decision to sever its ties with the 35-year-old’s brand this season. “Over 230,000 tweets and who knows how many millions of dollars’ worth of missed purchases later, they finally heard us.”

The Grab your Wallet organization has haunted more than 60 businesses to stop selling goods benefiting the Trump family. The number also includes the business leaders who have supported Trump in any way or given donations to him during the recent presidential election campaign. In a befitting reply to Trump’s victory, Coulter said, “the people who voted against Donald Trump may have lost at the ballot box, but they can win at the cash register”.

Ivanka Trump had been associated with Nordstrom since 2011. In an email to Fortune in November, Co-president Pete Nordstrom had responded to customers’ threats by saying, “no matter what we do, we are going to end up disappointing some of our customers. Every single brand we offer is evaluated on their results—if people don’t buy it, we won’t sell it.”

Further clearing its stand on Twitter, the company had tweeted, “we hope that offering a vendor’s product isn’t misunderstood as us taking a political position; we’re not. We recognize.” The recent turn of events in the political upheaval of U.S.A has, however, once again proved to be fatal for business retailers like Nordstrom.

Meanwhile, after having served as an advisor and confidant to Trump, Ivanka recently relocated from New York to Washington. Maintaining further distance, she also plans to resign from all management positions from her company and Donald Trump’s organization, as disclosed by the attorneys of the Trump Organization.

Silicon Valley Tech Leaders Speak Out on Trump’s Immigration Order

Many of the Silicon Valley technology leaders spoke out against Trump’s executive order curing immigration of nationals from seven essentially Muslim countries into the US. The technology leaders who voiced their opinions include CEOs of Uber, Google, IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, and more.

Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, said that it would be painful to see the negative effects of this ban on the personal lives of many of Google’s employees. He added, “We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”

A spokesman Google said that they are concerned about the effect this ban will have on bringing in great talent into the country.

The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook also spoke against the order and said that the company does not support this policy. He said the Apple believes in allowing immigration as it is important for the growth of the company and the country as a whole.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook voiced his concerns too and said that he is concerned about the impact that this order will have on its workforce.

The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, posted this comment on LinkedIn, “As an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

The Senior Vice President of Human Resources at IBM, Diane J. Gherson said their employees have been sent a company update on the background of the 90-day immigration ban issued by an executive order by US President Donald Trump. She said that the company has identified three employees who are directly affected by this. They have been contacted and there are no concerns at present.

A spokesperson from Tesla said that such a blanket entry ban on all citizens of some predominantly Muslim countries may not be the best solution for the challenges faced by the country. The company’s Human Resources and legal teams are collaborating to help those Tesla employees who are impacted by this order.

Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber in an email to the company’s employees wrote that this order will affect many innocent people and promised that he would raise these concerns at the business advisory group meeting with the US President.

Uber’s CEO also took note of the fact that there are many drivers in Uber from the countries which have got visa bans who may have to travel outside of the US and they will not be able to reenter the country and thus could have no income for at least 90 days. He added that efforts are on at Uber to identify such drivers and work out a pro bono compensation plan for them.

All the CEOs reiterated that they will provide all the required company support to those employees directly affected by this order. They all conceded that their “first order of business” in response to the immigration ban is to help the personnel and their families who are affected by this order directly.

Report: Twitter to Shed Hundreds of Jobs

Twitter

Apparently as part of plans to guarantee profitability, social media company Twitter Inc is believed to be considering further dismissal of hundreds of its employees as early as this week, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the business news website reports that the social network may announce job cuts that would affect about 300 employees, representing roughly 8 percent of its work force. That will be the same percentage as the number of positions cut last year when co-founder Jack Dorsey returned as the company’s chief executive.

A source said the job cuts, the total of which is still likely to change, may be announced before Twitter releases its earnings result for the third quarter on Thursday.

The social networking website is trying to cut down on spending as it experiences a slowdown in sales growth.

It has struggled greatly to grow its user base, even losing ground to newer rivals such as Instagram. This contributed to the disappearance of all the leading suitors that were thought to be interested after it announced that it was up for a takeover.

Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, and Walt Disney were among the top companies that were believed to have been interested in Twitter at some point, although they eventually announced that they would not be making an offer.

The last-standing major contender Salesforce.com was forced to withdraw from the race after its shareholders expressed disapproval of a takeover deal for the social network.

There was also speculation recently that Softbank may be considering buying Twitter, but there is no substantial evidence yet as regards that.

Dorsey has come under increasing scrutiny for having failed so far to turn around the fortune of the money-losing Twitter since taking over as the chief executive. The fact that he combines the CEO job of the social network and that of mobile payment firm Square has also called to question his ability to devote sufficient attention to the affairs of the former.

The Twitter chief executive has already completed one round of employee shedding, but this has not reversed the losing trend facing the company. He has not been able to grow the number of the social network’s users.

Twitter shares have shed more than 40 percent in the past 12 months, down from a 52-week high. Among the consequences of this is that the company has not found it easy attracting investors and paying its employees.

The fall in stock value, combined with constant losses, has made it hard for the microblogging site to pay its engineers with shares. This makes it somewhat disadvantaged when it comes to competing for talent with more formidable rivals such as Facebook and Google.

It is believed the proposed job cuts would help lessen the woes of the social media network, which has yet to confirm them.

Twitter on Monday rescheduled the release of its third-quarter results before the opening of market on Thursday, a move some considered rather unusual for a West Coast tech company. It had initially planned to release the report after the close of market on the day.

Obamacare Premiums to Rise 25 Percent on Average in 2017

Obamacare

President Barack Obama’s administration has confirmed that premiums for Obamacare health insurance plan will rise sharply from next year in a move that is likely to generate a bit of storm as the U.S. presidential election draws near.

The news will serve as another setback for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which some have argued over time as being ineffectual. Many companies, both big and small, have expressed similar view over the past year, with tens of insurers leaving the ACA exchanges.

A report from the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday revealed premiums for midlevel benchmark plans will rise by an average of 25 percent across 39 states in the U.S. in 2017. The change will be higher in some states and lower in others.

The Obama administration argued that prices are gradually becoming aligned with costs. It said rates through 2016 were 12 to 20 percent less than initial projections by the Congressional Budget Office. Premiums will be roughly in harmony with Congressional Budget Office projections next year with the proposed increases.

“Consumers will be faced this year with not only big premium increases but also with a declining number of insurers participating, and that will lead to a tumultuous open enrollment period,” Larry Levitt, who tracks the Obama healthcare law for Kaiser Family Foundation, told the Washington Post.

Many insurance companies have pulled out from the Obamacare health insurance program. America’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group, is among those that have scale back their participation. Humana and Aetna have taken similar steps.

Oscar, a company set up mainly for ACA purposes, has announced that it would be pulling out of the Dallas and New Jersey markets, according to Business Insider.

The administration said 83 insurers are leaving the ACA exchanges while 15 will be joining.

Most people enjoying Obamacare health insurance will be protected from the effect of higher premiums, the administration stated. It explained that subsidies guaranteed by the law will neutralize shock from the increase since they are designed to increase with premiums. Also, clients will be able to save money if they chose to migrate to cheaper plans.

Majority of the over 10 million customers served through HealthCare.gov and state-run counterparts are provided with generous financial assistance. Enrollment in the federally-run online market is concentrated among households with very low incomes.

The administration has advised an estimated 5 to 7 million people who are currently not enjoying the taxpayer-funded subsidies to take advantage of offers available on HealthCare.gov

The Republicans have seized on the increased premiums to say the Obamacare health insurance markets are heading towards demise. Its presidential candidate, Donald Trump, told audience at a campaign rally in Tampa, Florida Monday evening that “it’s over for Obamacare.” He claimed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton planned to make it more expensive, promising to deliver “great health care at a fraction of the cost” with his own plan.

However, President Obama remains optimistic about the healthcare plan.

“You’re getting better quality, even though you don’t know that Obamacare is doing it,” he told audience in Florida last week.

Cash Strapped Nurses Turning Using Payday Loans to Stay Afloat

Nurse

As any student nurse can attest to, it can be rather expensive and time-consuming to become a nurse.

Because of the financial pressures involved in becoming nurses, midwives, and healthcare professionals, a growing number of students are turning to payday loans and food banks, says a new survey.

According to Unison, a public service union, 20 percent of nursing students took out payday loans from services that offer instant money with no credit check to make ends meet. Also, 10 percent conceded to using food banks to feed themselves or their families. The survey revealed that there are numerous financial pressures facing student nurses.

Moreover, the poll discovered that two-thirds of student nurses work additional jobs to supplement their income. This means that not only are they studying to be nurses, they are also taking on extra work. Many of them are working in the healthcare industry, while others are working as servers or bartenders.

Overall, 86 percent of student nurses admitted to being in the red and owing thousands of dollars.

“There appears to be no end to the misery heaped upon healthcare students by a government that seems to driven by cutting costs,” said Christina McAnea, Unison’s head of health, in a statement. “This report shows many healthcare workers are already suffering from debt and working excess hours just to keep their heads above water.”

The survey was conducted between September 2015 and June 2016 with 726 student nurses.

Is this a shock? Not really, says Josie Irwin, a member of the Royal College of Nursing.

“It is no surprise,” Irwin told the Metro newspaper. “They put up with the rise in the cost of living because of their commitment to caring for patients, but they can only be stretched so far.”

This isn’t the first study to find that student nurses are utilizing payday loans. In 2015, CashFloat, a British payday lender, discovered that 11 percent of nurses applied for a payday loan. This is up from six percent in 2013. With payday loans remaining ubiquitous, the numbers likely rose this year.

Is this negatively affecting their studies or their career? If one-quarter are working up to 10 hours per week and one in seven working a minimum of 21 hours, it can be deduced that it is hurting them.

“Students want a salary that reflects their unpaid work onwards and which stops them worrying about running up huge debts or taking on other jobs that will prevent them from concentrating on their studies. They won’t have to work excessive hours or revert to relying on food banks to eat,” McAnea added.

With many nurses, both professional and students, having families at home and having to bear the brunt of inflation, payday loans remain an attractive option for many of them.

“Besides long hours and intense pressure at work, I am forced to take payday loans to pay my bills and support my family,” another National Health Service (NHS) nurse told the British newspaper.

As Great Britain faces a nursing shortage and tight budgets, it is quite likely this trend of being overworked, underpaid and stressed out will continue. There is no relief in sight.

Britons More Interested in Immigration Control, Survey Shows

Immigration

There has been so much talk on how the U.K. economy would suffer if shut out of the European single market, but people in the country are more interested in greater control over the borders, according to a recent survey.

Prime Minister Theresa May has shown greater interest in controlling immigration as negotiations on Britain’s exit from the European Union continues. It now appears she is not alone in prioritizing stronger control over the country’s borders.

Roughly 56 percent of respondents in a survey by polling and market research firm Survation considered border control a higher priority than participation in the single market.

In the poll carried out for the “Agenda Show” on ITV, nearly half of those who voted the Labor Party approved of the way May has approached the country’s exit from the EU so far. Overall, 58 percent of respondents supported the approach.

The pound has declined considerably against the dollar since the June 23 referendum. The slump has even contributed to some multinational companies, including Unilever, Nestle and Microsoft, announcing or considering price increases in the U.K.

The slump in currency value that set in as a result of the Brexit vote doesn’t seem to have changed the view of most Britons, however. Survation researchers said around 47 percent of respondents said they would still vote “Leave” if another referendum were to be called.

Roughly 46 percent of the respondents said they would vote “Remain” given another opportunity.

GDP data due on Thursday is expected to show a significant slowdown in the U.K. economy as a result of the tumbling pound.

Evidence from the markets suggests investors are becoming more afraid that the effects of Brexit will be hard on the debt markets. They appear not to be confident that the Bank of England would do much to boost long-term sterling bonds.

Bloomberg reports that investors have lost around 10 percent on long-term bonds issued by top UK companies such as Vodafone Group, British American Tobacco and WPP in just seven weeks. The bond sales had taken place following the announcement by British central bank in August that it would buy corporate debt in the country.

A slumping currency, unimpressive inflation figures and possibility of a hard Brexit have combined to suppress the confidence of many investors.

U.K. Finance Minister Phillip Hammond and BOE Governor Mark Carney are billed to appear before the Parliament on Tuesday. Questions to be asked by the lawmakers are expected to center around Brexit and inflation, among others.

The future of Carney as the central bank governor is also likely to be discussed at the Parliament, according to Bloomberg. The Canadian-born economist has given himself the end of the year as the deadline for deciding how long he intends to stay as the BOE head – uncertainty over this is believed to be capable of worsening investor confidence.

Majority of the respondents in the Survation poll didn’t think there was need for a general election. Only a little over 25 percent thought one was needed.

While Britons appear not to be interested much in the single market, Scotland is believed to be seeking a way to remain part of it. Sky News reports that the country is considering joining the European Free Trade Association to maintain access to the single market.

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