Germany is forcing a marriage that may not work – CNBC

Picture taken on March 17, 2019 shows the headquarters of German banks Deutsche Bank (L) and Commerzbank in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany.










FRANK RUMPENHORST | DPA | Getty Images

Picture taken on March 17, 2019 shows the headquarters of German banks Deutsche Bank (L) and Commerzbank in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany.

Back in 2007, Deutsche Bank had its own balance sheet of 2 trillion euros ($2.25 trillion) and a market capitalization of nearly 50 billion euros, compared to Commerzbank’s relatively humble total assets of 270 billion euros and a market cap of 17 billion euros. Over the last ten years the gap has narrowed.

Deutsche Bank has lost 600 billion euros of its assets and down more than 60 percent in terms of market capitalization. Commerzbank on the other hand has gained around 100 billion pounds or so in its total assets but lost half of its market cap.

A merger would give Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank access to nearly 1.9 trillion euros of total assets and the German government seems to want to step on the accelerator to get this done.

But any tie-up would likely be viewed as an embarrassment for the likes of John Cryan, the former CEO of Deutsche Bank, Christian Sewing, the bank’s current boss and Peter Altmaier, the German economy minister. All along, the three have been reaffirming their faith in Deutsche Bank’s strategy and its position as one of Europe’s strongest banks.

Sewing took over as CEO in April last year and in September he said that the bank may consider merger talks once it has boosted its profitability over the next 18 months. Little did Sewing know that he would be pressured into merger talks even before the end of this 18-month period.

While the merger will give Deutsche Bank access to a much bigger balance sheet, it could also mean a multi-billion euro financial hole because it would force the re-valuation of the lenders’ assets and a risk of 30,000 jobs being cut.

The merger, if it were to happen, will be embedded with certain caveats. The German government still owns about 15 percent of Commerzbank and a merger would mean a bigger say from the government in the bank’s dealings. It could also mean the banks may be pressured to be more risk averse in their dealings as compared to ten years ago.

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What you need to know about Starbucks’ new rewards program – USA TODAY



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Move over almond milk, there’s a new non-dairy obsession in town. Susana Victoria Perez has more.
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Starbucks is offering a new way for you to get free stuff.

Starting on April 16, Starbucks Rewards loyalty program is getting a  makeover, allowing members to earn Stars – aka rewards points – sooner, and use those points to buy more items than before. 

“We know that with loyalty programs, people like to have different options for redeeming,” said Matt Ryan, chief marketing officer at Starbucks. Under the new points earning structure, “depending on what you want, in as little as two or three, visits you can have it.”

Starbucks reworked its Rewards structure to include tiers. Now if you spend $13, on your next visit, you can get an extra espresso shot or dairy substitute free of charge. The updated program also now lets you use points to buy packaged coffee and select merchandise for the first time. 

In addition to the redesigned program, Starbucks credit and debit cardholders will be able to accrue points forever with no expiration date. 

More Starbucks: Starbucks launches co-branded Visa credit card

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Ryan said that cardholders tend to be “the ones who have thousands of Stars in their accounts.” He said that “they want to be able to do is use them in big chunks.” So under the suite of new enhancements, they’ll be able to do that.

Starbucks is also doing away with the elite “Gold” status that you get once you’ve spent $150 or earned 300 points. Under the changes, there’s just one level and customers can begin redeeming Stars immediately after they are earned. 

Don’t fret, though. Starbucks says that all gold-level members will keep their Star balances;  the points will roll over. Members at the “Welcome” level (under 300 points) will see their balance reset, and they will be immediately eligible to earn Stars toward Rewards.

The coffee chain’s rewards program is widely used. Ryan said that the program makes up about 40 percent of the company’s transactions in the U.S. and it has grown 26 percent in the last two years. 

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As of December 2018, there are 16 million active members.

“All the metrics have been ticking up. When we make things better for the customer, it’s better for our business,” Ryan said.

The new Starbucks Rewards structure:

  • 25 Stars: Extra espresso shot, dairy substitute or additional flavor
  • 50 Stars: Brewed hot coffee, hot tea or select bakery Items
  • 150 Stars: Handcrafted drink, hot breakfast or yogurt parfaits
  • 200 Stars: Lunch sandwich, protein box or salad
  • 400 Stars: Select merchandise or packaged coffee

In April 2016, Starbucks Rewards ditched its one-star-per-transaction model in favor of the revenue-based loyalty program that’s free to join.

To participate, you need to have the Starbucks app on your phone or register at a Starbucks location. Once you’re signed up, you earn two stars for every dollar you spend.

Other perks include a free birthday reward, the ability to order ahead (aka mobile ordering), free in-store refills, access to member events and the ability to pay via the app. 

Follow USA TODAY reporter Dalvin Brown on Twitter @Dalvin_Brown

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/19/starbucks-redesigns-its-loyalty-program-so-you-get-free-stuff-sooner/3174227002/

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Netflix says it will not join Apple TV service – CNBC

Asked about the looming competition, Hastings said the biggest challenge for Netflix is to “not get too distracted” by rivals but still “learn lessons” from them.

“These are amazing, large, well-funded companies with very significant efforts,” Hastings said. “They are going to do some great shows. I’m going to be envious. They’re going to come up with some great ideas. We’re going to want to borrow those.”

But, he added, “we will make this a better industry if we have great competitors.”

Hastings also said he expected Netflix, like other U.S. technology companies, to be blocked in China “for a long time.”

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National Enquirer paid brother of Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend $200,000 for text messages: WSJ – Fox News

The National Enquirer paid the brother of Jeff Bezos’ mistress $200,000 for the private text messages between the two lovers that were published in January, according to a Wall Street Journal report Monday night.

Michael Sanchez, the brother of Bezos’ girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, reportedly provided the intimate communications to American Media LLC, this after months of speculation as to how the tabloid obtained messages revealing lurid details about the Amazon CEO’s alleged love affair.

The Journal’s finding, attributed to people familiar with the matter, parallels the conclusion reached by private investigators working for Bezos as of early February. Those investigators reportedly found that Michael Sanchez had leaked the texts to the Enquirer, although they didn’t appear to conclude who might have paid for them.

To put Sanchez’ alleged six-figure payment into context, Bezos, who is worth an estimated $144 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, makes more than $230,000 per minute.

JEFF BEZOS SCANDAL: NATIONAL ENQUIRER SAYS IT ‘ACTED LAWFULLY,’ BUT PROBES ‘BLACKMAIL’ CLAIM

Sanchez, a talent agent who has managed television pundits and reality show judges, denied sending “the many penis selfies” allegedly in possession of the Enquirer. He declined to comment on whether he provided any photos of the billionaire to the tabloid, the WSJ reports.

A spokesman for Bezos and Amazon declined to comment on the latest report, as did Lauren Sanchez.

Last month, Bezos accused the Enquirer’s parent company of “blackmail attempts” in a scathing blog post. The tabloid, he said, threatened to publish “intimate photos” of him, including a “below the belt selfie,” if he did not end an investigation into the company and its alleged political ties.

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Jamie Dimon: The US economy has been ‘fundamentally anti-poor’ – CNN

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Poll: 38 percent say Ocasio-Cortez ‘villain’ in New York losing Amazon HQ deal | TheHill – The Hill

Almost 40 percent of New York voters believe Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) bears responsibility as a “villain” in Amazon’s decision to back out of its plan to put a second headquarters in Queens, according to a new poll. 

The Siena College poll, which was released on Monday, found that 38 percent of New York voters thought of the freshman congressman as a “villain” when they were asked to consider her role in the tech giant’s exit. 

The survey asked respondents to identify figures in the Amazon debate as either a hero, villain or role player. Twelve percent called Ocasio-Cortez a hero, while 24 percent said she was a role player. 

Thirty-four percent of New York voters listed local Queens activists as villains. About 30 percent of respondents viewed both Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) as villains, according to The Associated Press

Amazon itself was considered a villain by 26 percent of respondents. 

The survey’s release comes more than a month after Amazon abruptly canceled its plans to build a second headquarters in New York City.

Ocasio-Cortez, a rising progressive star in the Democratic party who became the youngest woman elected to Congress last year, celebrated the news at the time. 

“Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez, who repeatedly criticized the deal, said on Twitter

Ocasio-Cortez was among many New York politicians who denounced the state’s deal with Amazon. Many of the critics condemned the move to give Amazon $3 billion in state and city incentives. 

Siena College found that 67 percent of New York voters viewed Amazon’s exit as a detrimental move for the state. 

The survey was conducted from March 10 to 14 among a population of 700 registered voters. The margin of error is 4.2 percent.

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Police Investigate 1st Dockless Scooter Fatality in San Diego – NBC Southern California

A man who crashed into a tree while riding a dockless scooter has died, marking the first fatality in the city of San Diego involving the scooters that can be found on street corners throughout the region. 

Christopher Conti, 53, from Woodstock, Georgia, was knocked unconscious during the collision along 10th Avenue near B street on Wednesday, March 13, San Diego police said. 

The rider was riding a Bird scooter on a sidewalk and not wearing a helmet when the rider crashed into a tree. 

It was 10 p.m. at the time of the crash. Investigators say the man failed to negotiate a left turn and struck the tree.

The SDPD traffic division was investigating the cause of the collision. 

This is not the first fatality involving the popular dockless scooters in the county. 

Esteban Galindo, 26, was riding a Bird scooter on Third Avenue in Chula Vista on Dec. 22 when he collided with a car. Galindo’s death was the first in the county connected to the dockless scooters. 

There have been other injury crashes including two people riding tandem on an electric scooter on 21st and Commercial streets in Logan Heights when they collided with a trolley in October 2018.

Since the motorized scooters were first introduced in the city of San Diego in February 2018, the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee has proposed regulations. 

The regulations would implement geofencing to create 8-mph zones, create a consistent rider education program and allow the city to gather data from each company, among other rules.

A study published in January documented 249 emergency room visits tied to the scooters at two university hospitals over a one-year period. The researchers from UCLA state that four percent of riders wear helmets which is required by California law.

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The MTA needs to take action against subway predators right away – New York Post

The MTA has waited too long to start permanently banning dangerous recidivists from the subway and bus system.

The agency has a responsibility to keep its passengers safe not only by keeping the tracks and trains in working order, but by keeping criminals and perverts out of the system.

Thieves, sexual assailants and harassers with dozens of arrests under their belts are allowed to roam the system and continue to prey on riders while the MTA sits on its thumbs.

I spent my years on the MTA board sounding the call, encouraging the agency to issue the trespass notices and work with district attorneys’ offices to make bans part of offenders’ plea bargains.

It fell on deaf ears.

It was not a priority for former Chairman Tom Prendergast, and while Joe Lhota was more interested, he was too caught up in triaging the system to focus on keeping the bad apples out. And Freddy Ferrer is just a placeholder who is counting his days before Gov. Cuomo names a replacement and he can get his life back, so he’s not going to work on it.

It would take effort and recourses on the part of the MTA. It would have to dedicate personnel to work with transit police and prosecutors. But if it means investing a little bit of resources to keep these creeps out of the system, it is worth it.

The criminals have an incentive to take a plea deal instead of taking their cases to court.

Say you’ve got some thief or pervert who wants to take a plea deal to avoid harsher consequences. There’s no reason that bans from the system can’t be part of those punishments. They do not have a constitutional right to ride the subway.

Without the MTA’s input, too many criminals cycle through the system with little penalty and no ban, allowing them to keep coming onto subway property to victimize even more women.

We know who these people are. We need to keep them out, track them and make this all very real to the people prosecuting them.

Until the MTA does that, the fault lies with them.

It has long been a frustration of mine that the MTA hasn’t acted on this. It is a necessary part of running a safe and reliable transit system.

If MTA officials don’t believe the agency has the right to permanently ban the criminals and perverts from the system, they should go to the state legislature and request that it be codified into law.

The rights of the riders and preventing more people from becoming victims are too important to ignore.

Allen Cappelli is an attorney and former MTA board member.

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Tourist wins over $1M in less than 5 minutes at Las Vegas casino – WGN TV Chicago

LAS VEGAS – Talk about lucky – and on St. Patrick’s Day no less.

According to Hawaii News Now, an unnamed resident of the Aloha State struck it rich at the Plaza Hotel and Casino Sunday in Las Vegas, winning $1,029,529.13 off a penny slot machine.

But that’s not all.

The casino reportedly told KNSV the big winner had hit the jackpot after playing for less than five minutes.

The winning game was Monopoly Millionaire, according to the Plaza Hotel.


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