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Websites Selling Trump Merchandise Are Shut Down: Live Updates

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Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Shopify, the company that powers e-commerce sites for more than one million merchants, said on Thursday that it had closed online stores tied to President Trump, including those run by the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign.

A company representative said that the sites violated a policy that prohibits the support of organizations or people “that threaten or condone violence to further a cause.” Users who navigated to sites like TrumpStore.com and shop.donaldjtrump.com were met with messages that the sites were unavailable.

Cached versions of the sites show that they had sold merchandise like $45 pairs of Trump-branded champagne flutes, $30 “Make America Great Again” hats and a $24 poster of a cartoon of Mr. Trump punching into the air.

Shopify, which said that it “does not tolerate actions that incite violence,” declined to say how many sites were affected over all.

“Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause,” the Shopify representative said. “As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.”

Shopify’s technology makes it simple for individuals to make retail websites with as little as an email address and a credit card. At the outset of the pandemic last year, the company closed thousands of sites that claimed to be selling virus-fighting products.

Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Calls on social media began to build on Thursday, urging Simon & Schuster to reconsider its plans to publish a book by Senator Josh Hawley, one of several members of Congress who tried to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Mr. Hawley, a Missouri Republican and Trump ally, has been criticized for challenging the results and accused of helping incite the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

His book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” is scheduled to be published in June. Simon & Schuster declined to comment.

Simon & Schuster, one of the “Big Five” book publishers in the United States, has released several major political books in recent years, including “Too Much and Never Enough” by Mary L. Trump, a niece of the president, “Rage” by Bob Woodward, and “The Room Where It Happened” by John Bolton, a former national security adviser in the Trump administration. Penguin Random House, the largest U.S. publisher, in November announced its plans to buy Simon & Schuster.

Last year, another member of the Big Five, Hachette, canceled plans to publish a book by Woody Allen after sustained pressure that included an employee walkout and condemnation from Ronan Farrow, Mr. Allen’s son who had been published by Hachette. The book was later released by Arcade Publishing.

Rebukes on Twitter aimed at Simon & Schuster came from several writers and at least one Simon & Schuster author.

The conservative publisher Regnery, which published a book in the fall by Senator Ted Cruz, another leader of the push to overturn the election results, did not appear to be facing similar pressure. Tom Spence, Regnery’s president and publisher, said the company did not have any further deals with Mr. Cruz at the moment but would work with him again. Mr. Spence also said that if Simon & Schuster canceled Mr. Hawley’s book deal, “We would be interested.”

American Airlines planes at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in November.
Credit…Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock

American Airlines said on Thursday that it had banned alcohol on flights to and from Washington at least through Thursday night and was taking other precautions to keep its employees and passengers safe after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

The company said it had increased staffing at the area’s three main airports. United Airlines said it has also stepped up airport staffing and had moved crews out of hotels in downtown Washington earlier in the week. American, United and Delta Air Lines said they were in close contact with local and federal authorities.

Even before the attack on the Capitol, airline crews and passengers had reported encountering unruly passengers headed to Washington early on Wednesday. Flight attendant unions expressed concern after members reported having to confront passengers who were being disruptive, behaving aggressively or flouting mask requirements. Video and photos posted on social media showed pro-Trump passengers cheering, singing and yelling at other passengers.

“We are incredibly concerned about recent politically motivated incidents on board passenger aircraft,” Julie Hedrick, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents 27,000 American flight attendants, said in a statement. “Regardless of one’s political beliefs, the cabin of a commercial aircraft must, out of necessity, be a calm environment for the safety of everyone onboard.”

In a note to members on Wednesday, Ms. Hedrick said that the airline would move all layover crews to airport hotels through next Sunday and offer private transportation to area airports. “Remain extra vigilant on flights departing from the Washington, D.C., area for the next few days, and involve your fellow crew members if you have safety concerns,” she wrote.

In a separate statement, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, which has tens of thousands of members at 17 airlines, called on airlines and law enforcement to take “all steps” necessary to keep passengers and crews safe.

“The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard,” she said in the statement on Wednesday.

A Freightliner truck, made by Daimler, ready for snow in Iowa City, Iowa. Daimler, which also makes Mercedes-Benz cars, employs more than 25,000 in the United States. 
Credit…Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen, via Associated Press

German car and truck maker Daimler, which operates factories in Alabama and other states, joined other Europeans on Thursday in expressing dismay at the storming of the Capitol in Washington, suggesting that political polarization is bad for the economy.

“The United States Congress has been a symbol of freedom and democracy around the world for centuries,” Daimler, which builds Mercedes-Benz cars at a factory in Tuscaloosa, Ala., said in a statement. “We are saddened to see lawlessness and violence on Capitol Hill and hope that there will now be a peaceful transition of power to the incoming administration.”

“As a company, we depend on a reliable and stable political framework that supports the creation of prosperity, employment and economic growth,” Daimler said.

Almost all of Alabama’s congressional delegation supported efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election. Representative Terri Sewell, a Democrat whose district includes Tuscaloosa, was an exception.

Besides being a major part of the Alabama economy, Daimler also builds Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Thomas Built Buses in Portland, Ore., and several other locations. The company employs more than 25,000 people in the United States, where it generated more than $20 billion in sales during the first half of 2020.

“We are an integral part of the economy and public in the U.S.A.,” Daimler said.


By: Ella Koeze·Source: Refinitiv

Stocks rose again on Thursday, after having maintained gains on Wednesday even as chaos erupted in Washington as a pro-Trump mob overran the Capitol building, as investors kept their focus on the prospects for increased federal spending by the incoming government.

The S&P 500 rose almost 1.5 percent, a gain that put it on track to close at a record. The index had climbed 0.6 percent on Wednesday. Most indexes in Europe and Asia, oil prices and government bond yields were higher.

The gains on Thursday reflect Wall Street’s eagerness to look past violence in Washington and to the impact of a government unified under Democratic leadership, analysts said. The rally began on Wednesday after it became apparent that Democrats would effectively control the Senate, after winning a pair of runoff votes in Georgia, and be able to more forcefully push forward with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s plans to bolster the economy with government spending.

“As disturbing as these events were, markets were largely unfazed, which, we hope, points to this being an aberration,” equity analysts at J.P. Morgan wrote to clients on Thursday. “The longer-term cue for markets and policy comes from the result of the two Georgia senate runoffs, which both went to Democrats and thus enlivened the ‘blue wave.’”

Investors are also banking on the rollout of coronavirus vaccines to eventually energize business activity that has been dormant during the pandemic, and, as they have for months, also looked past fresh evidence of the economic catastrophe unfolding. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that 922,000 workers filed new state claims for unemployment benefits last week, while another 161,000 new claims were filed under a federal program.

Treasury bond yields continued to rise, lifted by expectations that additional fiscal spending in Washington will generate more bond issues, climbing above 1.07 percent on 10-year notes. The yield rose above 1 percent this week for the first time since March.

Economists at Goldman Sachs said they expected Democrats to pass $750 billion in fiscal stimulus in the first quarter of the year. The U.S. investment bank also raised its forecast for economic growth this year to 6.4 percent from 5.9 percent.

Oil was holding on to an 11-month high, after Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday it would cut oil production. The U.S. crude benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, hit $51.28 a barrel before slipping a bit, while Brent crude reached $54.90.

Websites Selling Trump Merchandise Are Shut Down: Live Updates 2
Credit…Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, is now the richest person in the world.

An increase in Tesla’s share price on Thursday pushed Mr. Musk past Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

Mr. Musk’s net worth was $188.5 billion at 10:15 a.m. in New York on Thursday, $1.5 billion more than that of Mr. Bezos. Mr. Musk’s wealth has increased by more than $150 billion over the past 12 months, thanks to a rally in Tesla’s share price, which surged 743 percent in 2020. The carmaker’s shares were up as much as 6.5 percent on Thursday.

“How strange,” Mr. Musk said on Twitter. “Well, back to work,” he added.

Mr. Musk, a South African-born entrepreneur, would not have been able to edge out Mr. Bezos — who has held the title of the richest person in the world since Oct. 2017 — were it not for Mr. Bezos’ philanthropy, including his donation of $680 million worth of Amazon shares in November, as well as his divorce, which caused him to relinquish about 25 percent of his stock in the e-commerce giant to MacKenzie Scott, his ex-wife.

But the rally in Tesla’s stock price was also propelled by the company’s success last year. Tesla delivered nearly 500,000 cars in 2020 as sales rose 36 percent from the year before. The company reported profits in the last four quarters, and its stock was added to the S&P 500 index.

The Royal Divinity Food Bank in Birmingham, Ala., says it has been feeding hundreds more families each month since the pandemic began. The job market has improved, but millions remain unemployed.
Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Times

New claims for unemployment benefits remained high last week, the government reported on Thursday, the latest evidence that the pandemic-racked economy still has a lot of lost ground to make up heading into a new year.

A total of 922,000 workers filed initial claims for state benefits during the final week of 2020, the Labor Department said, while another 161,000 new claims were filed under a federal pandemic jobless program. Neither figure is seasonally adjusted. On a seasonally adjusted basis, new state claims totaled 787,000.

The labor market has improved since the coronavirus pandemic broke out and closed down the economy. But of the more than 22 million jobs that disappeared in the spring, 10 million remain lost.

With a recently enacted $900 billion relief package that includes an extension of federal unemployment benefits, most of the unemployed can at least look forward to more financial help.

Still, “this winter is going to be very difficult,” said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist at Oxford Economics. “We’re seeing overall economic momentum is slowing, and that feeds through to the labor market.”

“Employers are very cautious about rehiring at the same time they have had to increase layoffs,” Ms. Bostjancic said, “but the resurgence of the virus is really the main culprit here.”

A fuller picture of December employment will come Friday when the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report, and most analysts are expecting minor payroll gains — or even the first net loss since April.

As for Thursday’s report, there was a sharp increase in claims for extended state benefits — payments to the long-term unemployed whose regular benefits have run out. But new claims under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program fell, most likely reflecting the exhaustion of benefits before Congress acted.

Some fuzziness surrounding the count could be related to the difficulty of seasonally adjusting the numbers over the holidays, said Ernie Tedeschi, the head of fiscal analysis at Evercore ISI. The unadjusted number for new state claims was up by 77,000 from the previous week, while the seasonally adjusted number scarcely budged.

But longer-term trends, Mr. Tedeschi noted, are more meaningful than any week-to-week changes.

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