2020年1月7日 星期二

DealBook: Japan Takes Aim at Carlos Ghosn’s Wife

Prosecutors in Tokyo want to arrest Carole Ghosn over what they say was false testimony about her knowledge of her husband's legal case and team.
January 7, 2020
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Carlos and Carole Ghosn last April.
Carlos and Carole Ghosn last April.  Kazuhiro Nogi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Japan issues arrest warrant for Carole Ghosn
The Japanese authorities said this morning that they were seeking to detain Carlos Ghosn’s wife, Carole, accusing her of providing false testimony about her husband’s legal case, according to Makiko Inoue and Eimi Yamamitsu of the NYT.
“They said Mrs. Ghosn testified in April that she did not know a person who was involved in Mr. Ghosn’s case, even though she was in communication with that person while the person was wiring money between companies at Mr. Ghosn’s request,” the NYT reports.
It’s meant to ramp up pressure to bring Mr. Ghosn back to the country to face criminal charges, the NYT adds.
But the chances of getting Mrs. Ghosn are slim. She’s believed to be in Beirut with her husband, and it’s not clear that the Lebanese authorities will cooperate with a Japanese request to extradite him.
More: Did this box spirit Mr. Ghosn out of Japan?
Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York and Michael J. de la Merced in London.
  Josh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Facebook bans ‘deepfakes,’ but not all fake videos
The social network said yesterday that it planned to ban “deepfakes” that use A.I. to manipulate video. But there are plenty of exceptions, which may let videos like a controversial one involving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stand.
Facebook announced that it would delete misleading videos if they were the product of A.I. that “merges, replaces or superimposes content onto a video, making it appear to be authentic.” Clips edited to make the speakers say words that they hadn’t said, in ways that aren’t obvious to the viewer, could also be taken down.
The company won’t ban videos “manipulated for the point of parody or satire,” the WaPo notes. Other forms of manipulation wouldn’t be outlawed either, though “they could be fact-checked and limited in their spread on the social networking site.”
That may include a video of Ms. Pelosi last year that was edited to make her sound drunk, which was done using simple editing techniques, the WaPo adds.
Critics say the policy is too narrow. Expect Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, Monika Bickert, to face tough questions on the issue when she testifies before Congress tomorrow.
Shoppers at a mall in Paramus, N.J.
Shoppers at a mall in Paramus, N.J.  Seth Wenig/Associated Press
U.S. consumers are paying for Trump’s trade war
President Trump repeatedly, and incorrectly, asserts that China is bearing the cost of his trade battle with Beijing. A new research paper says that claim isn’t true, Jeanna Smialek and Ana Swanson of the NYT report.
“U.S. tariffs continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” according to the working paper by Mary Amiti of the New York Fed, David Weinstein of Columbia University and Stephen Redding of Princeton.
They studied the value of imports from before and after the imposition of tariffs — and found little impact on China. “We’re just not seeing foreigners bearing the cost, which to me is very surprising,” Professor Weinstein told the NYT.
It’s the latest piece of academic research to show that Mr. Trump’s trade fight has come at a steep price to American consumers and companies, even if it’s forcing China to revise its trade relationship with the U.S.
Tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods, some of which are as high as 25 percent, remain in place, even though the U.S. and China are moving to sign an initial trade deal this month.
More: The wine industry is worried about the Trump administration’s threat to impose 100 percent tariffs on wine imported from Europe. And The New Yorker takes a deep dive into the current state of the U.S.-China relationship.
Blackstone peers into its crystal ball for 2020
The investment giant’s top investment strategists, Byron Wien and Joe Zidle, have taken their latest shot at predicting what’s in store this year. (They wrote that Mr. Wien’s forecasts for last year got many things right.) Here are some of their “surprises” — events that investors think have a roughly 33 percent chance of happening — for 2020.
• The Fed lowers its main funds rate to 1 percent from 1.75 percent. (The central bank signaled last month that it was in no hurry to continue cutting rates.)
• The S&P 500 surges above 3,500, though there will be several market corrections of more than 5 percent.
• Democrats win back the Senate in November. (Most political analysts think it’s possible but not likely.)
• Britain turns out to be a winner from Brexit, with its stock market and the pound rising.
• Boeing’s 737 Max returns to the skies and “becomes a fixture around the world.”
Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein  Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Harvey Weinstein faces new charges in Los Angeles
Prosecutors in Los Angeles filed four criminal counts against the Hollywood producer yesterday, just as his long-awaited trial in Manhattan began, Jan Ransom and Jose Del Real of the NYT report. It’s a sign of the long legal battles ahead.
The L.A. district attorney charged Mr. Weinstein with one felony count each of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint. He faces up to 28 years in prison.
There’s some overlap in the New York and California charges, with one of the victims in the Los Angeles case expected to be called as a witness in the Manhattan proceedings.
The new counts complicate Mr. Weinstein’s defense in the New York case just as jury selection is about to begin. “It’s all over the news,” Mark Bederow, a defense lawyer who is not representing Mr. Weinstein, told the NYT. “How are jurors supposed to ignore it?”
Protesters gathered outside the Manhattan courthouse yesterday, carrying signs with slogans like “justice for survivors” and “coercion is not consent.” The actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Mr. Weinstein of assault, addressed the producer at a news conference yesterday, saying, “You brought this on yourself by hurting so many.”
Ben Bernanke, right, the former Fed chairman, at the big economics conference this weekend.
Ben Bernanke, right, the former Fed chairman, at the big economics conference this weekend.  Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times
Inside economists’ fight against bias and harassment
At a major economics conference this weekend, attendees celebrated their field’s progress in combating racial and gender discrimination. But many think there’s more work to be done, Ben Casselman, Jim Tankersley and Jeanna Smialek of the NYT write.
• At the conference, a woman held “office hours” to help victims of sexual harassment and abuse, and there were panels on racism and sexism in the profession.
• But leaders told the NYT that they needed “years of sustained effort to begin to erode the structural barriers” that remain in the field. Their latest step: finalizing procedures for investigating and punishing violations of the economics association’s code of conduct.
• Next up is considering moves like grading university economics departments on diversity.
• “Embracing diversity means opening up to the kinds of new questions and new ways of seeing the world that will eventually improve economic science,” Cecilia Conrad, an economist at the MacArthur Foundation, told the NYT.
The speed read
• Boeing is said to be considering borrowing money to ease the financial strain of the 737 Max plane’s grounding. (WSJ)
• SoftBank’s Vision Fund has reportedly walked away from several deals to invest in start-ups, irking entrepreneurs. (Axios)
• Borden Dairy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the second big dairy producer to do so in the last two months. (NYT)
• Xerox has lined up $24 billion in financing for its $33 billion hostile takeover bid for HP. (WSJ)
Politics and policy
• The Environmental Protection Agency moved to tighten truck emissions standards, in part to head off even tougher rules from states. (NYT)
• State and local governments’ offers of targeted tax breaks to attract and keep businesses don’t live up to their promised economic benefits, a new study finds. (WSJ)
• Could taxes on vaping nudge people toward cigarette smoking instead? (Upshot)
• Tech giants are urging the E.U. not to hold them legally liable for content on their platforms, but signaled that they need more regulatory oversight. (FT)
• The tech industry is betting on quantum computing to create new supercomputers. But many quantum machines are still slower than traditional computers. (WSJ)
• California has sued the billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla over his efforts to close off public access to a beach near his home. (Business Insider)
Best of the rest
• The furniture seller Pier 1 Imports announced plans to close nearly half of its stores. (NYT)
• How 7-Eleven is punishing a Japanese franchisee after he closed his store for one day. (NYT)
• Impossible Foods, the maker of plant-based burgers, has something new: a vegan “pork sausage.” (WaPo)
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