2 black men arrested at Starbucks get an apology from police

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Rashon Nelson initially brushed it off when the Starbucks manager told him he couldn’t use the restroom because he wasn’t a paying customer.

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He thought nothing of it when he and his childhood friend and business partner, Donte Robinson, were approached at their table and were asked if they needed help. The 23-year-old entrepreneurs declined, explaining they were just waiting for a business meeting.

A few minutes later, they hardly noticed when the police came into the coffee shop — until officers started walking in their direction.

“That’s when we knew she called the police on us,” Nelson told The Associated Press in the first interview by the two black men since video of their trespassing arrests April 12 touched off a furor around the U.S. over racial profiling, or what has been dubbed “retail racism” or “shopping while black.”

Nelson and Robinson were led away in handcuffs from the shop in the city’s well-to-do Rittenhouse Square neighborhood in an incident recorded on a white customer’s cellphone.

In the week since, the men have met with Starbucks’ apologetic CEO and have started pushing for lasting change at the coffee-shop chain, including new policies on discrimination and ejecting customers.

“We do want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anybody again,” Robinson said. “What if it wasn’t us sitting there? What if it was the kid that didn’t know somebody that knew somebody? Do they make it to jail? Do they die? What happens?”

On Thursday, they also got an apology from Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, a black man who at first staunchly defended his officers’ handling of the incident.

“I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law, and not that they didn’t do anything wrong,” Ross said. “Words are very important.”

At a news conference, a somber Ross said he “failed miserably” in addressing the arrests. He said that the issue of race is not lost on him and that he shouldn’t be the person making things worse. “Shame on me if, in any way, I’ve done that,” he said.

He also said the police department did not have a policy for dealing for such situations but does now, and it will be released soon.

Nelson and Robinson said they went to the Starbucks to meet Andrew Yaffe, a white local businessman, over a potential real estate opportunity. Three officers showed up not long after. Nelson said they weren’t questioned but were told to leave immediately.

Yaffe showed up as the men were being handcuffed and could be seen in the video demanding an explanation for the officers’ actions. Nelson and Robinson did not resist arrest.

“When you know that you did nothing wrong, how do you really react to it?” Nelson said. “You can either be ignorant or you can show some type of sophistication and act like you have class. That was the choice we had.”

It was not their first encounter with police. But neither had been arrested before, setting them apart from many of those they grew up with in their gritty southwest Philadelphia neighborhood.

Nelson and Robinson spent hours in a jail cell and were released after midnight, when the district attorney declined to prosecute them.

Nelson said he wondered if he’d make it home alive.

“Any time I’m encountered by cops, I can honestly say it’s a thought that runs through my mind,” Nelson said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

Starbucks has said the coffee shop where the arrests occurred has a policy that restrooms are for paying customers only, but the company has no overall policy. The men’s attorney, Stewart Cohen, said they were illegally profiled.

The arrests prompted protests at the Starbucks and a national boycott. Kevin Johnson, CEO of the Seattle-based company, came to Philadelphia to meet with the men, called the arrests “reprehensible” and ordered more than 8,000 Starbucks stores closed on the afternoon of May 29 so that nearly 175,000 employees can receive training on unconscious bias.

Robinson said that he appreciates the public support but that anger and boycotting Starbucks are not the solution.

The men said they are looking for more lasting results and are in mediation with Starbucks to make changes, including the posting in stores of a customer bill of rights; the adoption of new policies on customer ejections and racial discrimination; and independent investigations of complaints.

“You go from being someone who’s just trying to be an entrepreneur, having your own dreams and aspirations, and then this happens,” Nelson said. “How do you handle it? Do you stand up? Do you fight? Do you sit down and just watch everyone else fight for you? Do you let it slide, like we let everything else slide with injustice?”

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Whack is The Associated Press’ national writer for race and ethnicity. Follow her work on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/emarvelous

Southwest Airlines sought more time for engine inspections

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Southwest Airlines sought more time last year to inspect fan blades like the one that snapped off during one of its flights Tuesday in an engine failure that left a passenger dead.

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The airline opposed a recommendation by the engine manufacturer to require ultrasonic inspections of certain fan blades within 12 months, saying it needed more time to conduct the work.

Southwest made the comments last year after U.S. regulators proposed making the inspections mandatory. The Federal Aviation Administration has not yet required airlines to conduct the inspections but said late Wednesday that it would do so in the next two weeks.

The manufacturer’s recommendation for more inspections followed an engine blowup on a 2016 Southwest flight. On Tuesday, an engine on another Southwest jet exploded over Pennsylvania, and debris hit the plane. A woman was sucked partway out of the jet when a window shattered. She died later from her injuries.

The plane, a Boeing 737 bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

Passenger Andrew Needum, a Texas firefighter, said Thursday that he was helping his family and other passengers with their oxygen masks when he heard a commotion behind him. His wife nodded that it was OK for Needum to leave his family to help the injured woman.

Texas rancher Tim McGinty, of Hillsboro, said Tuesday that he and Needum struggled to pull 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan back into the plane. Needum and retired school nurse Peggy Phillips began administering CPR for about 20 minutes, until the plane landed.

Needum on Thursday declined to detail his rescue efforts out of respect for Riordan’s family.

“I feel for her family. I feel for her two kids, her husband, the community that they lived in,” an emotional Needum told reporters. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

Federal investigators are still trying to determine how the window came out of the plane. Riordan, who was in a window seat in Row 14, was wearing a seat belt.

Philadelphia’s medical examiner said the banking executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died from blunt-impact injuries to her head, neck and torso.

Investigators said the blade that broke off mid-flight and triggered the fatal accident was showing signs of metal fatigue — microscopic cracks from repeated use.

The National Transportation Safety Board also blamed metal fatigue for the engine failure on a Southwest plane in Florida in 2016 that was able to land safely.

That incident led manufacturer CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and France’s Safran SA, to recommend in June 2017 that airlines conduct ultrasonic inspections of fan blades on many Boeing 737s.

The FAA proposed making the recommendation mandatory in August but never issued a final decision.

On Wednesday, the FAA said it would issue a directive in the next two weeks to require the ultrasonic inspections of fan blades on some CFM56-7B engines after they reach a certain number of takeoffs and landings. Blades that fail inspection would need to be replaced.

It was not immediately clear how many planes would be affected. Last year, the FAA estimated that an order would cover 220 engines on U.S. airlines. That number could be higher now because more engines have hit the number of flights triggering an inspection.

Southwest announced its own program for similar inspections of its 700-plane fleet over the next month. United Airlines said Wednesday it has begun inspecting some of its planes.

American Airlines has about 300 planes with that type of engine, and Delta has about 185. It will not be clear until the FAA issues its rule how many will need inspections.

Tuesday’s emergency broke a string of eight straight years without a fatal accident involving a U.S. airliner.

“Engine failures like this should not occur,” Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the NTSB, said Wednesday.

Sumwalt expressed concern about such a destructive engine failure but said it was too soon to draw any conclusions about the safety of CFM56 engines or the entire fleet of Boeing 737s, the most popular airliner ever built.

It is unknown whether the FAA’s original directive would have forced Southwest to quickly inspect the engine that blew up.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the plane was inspected on Sunday and nothing appeared out of order. A spokeswoman said it was a visual inspection.

The NTSB’s Sumwalt said, however, that the kind of wear seen where the missing fan blade broke off would not have been visible just by looking at the engine.

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AP Airlines Writer David Koenig reported from Dallas.

Correction: Obit-Mellon story

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In a story April 17 about the death of Matthew Mellon, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Mellon had died at a rehabilitation center in Cancun, Mexico. Police have confirmed that Mellon died in a Cancun hotel room prior to checking into the rehab facility.

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A corrected version of the story is below:

Billionaire banking heir Matthew Mellon dies at 54

Billionaire banking heir Matthew Mellon has died. He was 54.

By MICHELLE A. MONROE

Associated Press

Billionaire banking heir Matthew Mellon has died. He was 54.

Police in Cancun, Mexico, said he was found dead in a hotel room. He had struggled with drug addiction, and a rehabilitation center in the resort town said he had been due to check in there Monday.

Mellon comes from the Mellon and Drexel families of Bank of New York Mellon and Drexel Burnham Lambert.

According to Mellon’s Linked In account and documents of the Securities and Exchange Commission, he attended the Wharton School and later worked in fashion, telecommunications and finance, most recently as an adviser for the digital currency company Ripple Labs.

Mellon also served for a time as the chairman of the finance committee of the Republican Party in New York.

Mellon is survived by his first wife, fashion designer Tamara, his second wife, fashion designer Nicole Hanley, and three children.

Testifying at a trial where Mellon was acquitted of hiring a private detective to snoop into Tamara Mellon’s finances, the co-founder of Jimmy Choo shoes said she and her husband had met at a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous when both were recovering from addiction.

The two married in 1999 at Blenheim Palace, one of England’s grandest homes, with friends Elizabeth Hurley and actor Hugh Grant among the guests. They divorced several years later.

Looking At the Lithium ETF…Again

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

The Global X Lithium Battery Tech ETF (NYSEARCA: LIT) was a star in 2017, surging more than 59% on its way to one of the best performances by any non-leveraged ETF. This year, things have been different for the lithium fund as it is down nearly 14% year-to-date. Some market observers are offering differing views on […]

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As Earnings Roll in, Bank ETFs Dither

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

Amid a spate of first-quarter earnings report, the financial services sector, the second-largest sector weight in the SP 500, is not doing much to earn investors’ confidence. Over the past week, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF), the largest exchange traded fund tracking the financial services sector, is lower by nearly 1%. According to FactSet, […]

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Abu Dhabi’s Warner Bros. indoor amusement park opens in July

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Abu Dhabi will open a $1 billion indoor Warner Bros. amusement park this July, officials announced Wednesday, the latest offering in a crowded market in the United Arab Emirates where one marquee park already faces serious financial problems.

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The Warner Bros. World park, built by the Abu Dhabi government-owned Miral Asset Management, encompasses 1.65 million square feet (153,290 square meters) on Yas Island, a leisure destination for the Emirati capital.

Officials say the draw of the Warner Bros. brand, encompassing cartoons and comic books, will help them overcome the challenges faced by other theme parks in the Emirates, including a Dubai park that lost $300 million last year.

“This is history, a hundred year’s history, when we talk about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman,” said Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak, the chairman of both Miral and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism. “It’s something we grew up with, our parents grew up with and our children will grow up with. In this theme park, you will be part of their world.”

The large park looks like a big-box department store from the outside, though its bright yellow paint and massive stencils of Tweety bird and other characters give it away. Inside, the park is separated into Bedrock of “The Flintstones'” fame, Superman’s Metropolis, Batman’s Gotham City, Cartoon Junction and Yosemite Sam’s Dynamite Gulch. Only two of the park’s 29 rides have height restrictions.

Being inside also helps. Summertime temperatures easily reach above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) with high humidity across the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.

The park, opening July 25, will sell tickets from 290 dirhams ($79) for adults and 230 dirhams ($63) for children.

However, there has been trouble for other amusement park projects in the Emirates.

Dubai Parks Resorts opened a massive park worth over $3 billion in 2016 along the dusty highway connecting Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Featuring a Legoland, a movie-themed Motiongate park, a Bollywood park, a hotel and shopping district, the massive investment is majority-owned by Meraas, a firm backed by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

But the park, whose biggest foreign shareholders include sovereign wealth funds in Qatar and Kuwait, posted a loss of 1.1 billion dirhams ($300 million) in 2017. Its stock dropped by half from a high of 1.01 dirhams (27 cents) to 45 fils (12 cents) a share over the last year.

In the time since, the park has changed CEOs, sought a freeze on loan repayments for three years and fired nearly a third of its staff. It says its strategy is working and is likely pinning much of its hopes on the 25 million people it anticipates coming to the area as part of the 2020 World Expo, or world’s fair.

Dubai Parks Resorts told The Associated Press on Wednesday it still planned to finish a planned Six Flags expansion by next year and that “2017 is not reflective of the full potential of the destination.”

“The company has received support from its financing partners as well as its majority shareholder who maintain their conviction in the long-term prospects of the business,” the park said in a statement.

Dubai hosts another indoor park similar to Warner Bros. called IMG Worlds of Adventure, which opened in August 2016. That park, owned by a private company called the Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group that doesn’t publicly disclose its earnings, did not respond to a request for comment.

Al-Mubarak made a point to say the Warner Bros. park would be “the world’s biggest indoor theme park,” a claim previously made by IMG Worlds of Adventure, which is 1.5 million square feet (140,000 square meters).

Asked at a news conference about Dubai Parks Resorts’ $300 million loss last year, al-Mubarak said he believed the Warner Bros. park had “a sustainable business plan.”

“It is a business plan that’s not based on an optimistic perspective,” he said.

Al-Mubarak said he’d elaborate after the news conference. Staff at the Warner Bros. park later declined to make any official available to speak to the AP.

The Warner Bros. park does benefit from being on Yas Island, already home to the Ferrari World theme park, Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 race track, a large mall and a waterpark. Both Dubai theme parks are further out in the desert, away from other attractions.

However, such attractions could face a new challenge in coming years. Typically, Dubai and other UAE destinations rely heavily on tourism from other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional bloc encompassing Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Already, the ongoing Qatar diplomatic crisis has stopped visitors from Doha coming into the UAE. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia under its assertive 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is rapidly loosening social more in the ultraconservative kingdom. Wednesday night, it planned to a private screening of the Hollywood blockbuster “Black Panther” to mark the reopening of cinemas after a 35-year absence.

Saudi Arabia separately signed an agreement earlier this month with Grand Prairie, Texas-based amusement park chain Six Flags to open a park near the capital, Riyadh, in 2022.

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Online:

Warner Bros. park: www.wbworldabudhabi.com

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Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap . His work can be found at http://apne.ws/2galNpz .

Morgan Stanley profit jumps 40% on trading boost

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This is a blowout year for earnings: Brian Wesbury

First Trust Advisors Chief Economist Brian Wesbury on the outlook for stocks.

(Reuters) – Morgan Stanley posted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit on Wednesday, as its trading business drew strength from increased market volatility in line with other major banks.

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Sales and trading revenue at the United States’ sixth biggest bank rose 26 percent in the quarter, driven by strong gains in equities trading.

Strength in wealth management also helped overall profit and the bank’s shares rose nearly 2 percent in premarket trading.

After a subdued 2017, volatility has returned to global financial markets, roiling stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities on fears of a trade war between the United States and China as well as concerns about inflation.

This has led to big revenue gains at banks with sizable trading operations such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc in the latest quarter.

Morgan Stanley’s total trading revenue was $4.40 billion, slightly better than Goldman’s $4.39 billion.

Morgan Stanley’s bond trading revenue rose 9.3 percent on increased client activity after several sluggish quarters, in contrast to rivals JPMorgan Chase Co. and Citigroup Inc.

Wealth management revenue rose 7.8 percent while pretax profit margin came in at 27 percent, the mid-point of Chief Executive Officer James Gorman’s target of 26 percent to 28 percent.

Under Gorman, Morgan Stanley has been relying more on businesses that generate steady fees, like wealth management, after its risk-taking nearly capsized it during the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Investment banking revenue rose 6.8 percent, helped by higher advisory fees, while total underwriting revenue rose 2 percent.

For comparison, Goldman’s investment banking revenue grew 5 percent, while total underwriting revenue rose 27 percent.

Morgan Stanley’s total revenue rose 13.7 percent to $11.08 billion.

The bank’s net income applicable to common shareholders rose 40 percent to $2.58 billion in the first quarter ended March 31.

On a per-share basis, the company’s earnings rose to $1.45 from $1. Analysts were looking for $1.25 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Wayfair follows Amazon with its own made-up holiday: Way Day

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Amazon started Prime Day. Alibaba capitalized on Singles Day. Now another e-commerce company is hoping for success with an invented shopping holiday.

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Online furniture seller Wayfair is calling April 25 Way Day and will offer discounts that it says are comparable to its Black Friday deals.

Those kind of days are a tactic online retailers use to try to increase customer excitement and boost sales. Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 to mark its 20th anniversary and has brought it back every July since. Singles Day was started in the 1990s by Chinese college students as a version of Valentine’s Day for people without dates, but it has since been closely linked with Alibaba, which adopted it as a shopping event about a decade ago. Both have become windfalls for the companies.

Wayfair, which is much smaller than Amazon and Alibaba, says it’s holding Way Day in the spring when people tend to move or clean out their houses and may be looking to buy new home goods. It has also seen more competition from Amazon, Target and Walmart, which are selling more furniture online than in the past.

The Boston-based company says Way Day may return next year if it performs well.

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Follow Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisani

Target stores offering drive-up service in Florida, Texas

Target stores in Florida and Texas are now offering drive-up service.

The retail chain announced Tuesday customers can buy items without leaving their car.

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The service began last fall in Minneapolis, where the company is headquartered. Target hopes to expand the service to nearly 1,000 stores across the U.S. by the end of the year.

Orders can be placed with the Target mobile app and should be ready in less than two hours. Customers then park in designated spots outside the store and employees bring out the orders.

Other states with Target’s drive-up service are Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Walmart officers a similar drive-up service for groceries at some locations, but Target’s service applies to any in-stock items at the store.

Both retailers have previously offered in-store pickup.

Amazon, Best Buy partner to offer Fire TV Smart TVs

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Amazon (AMZN) and Best Buy (BBY) have formed a multiyear partnership to bring Fire TV Edition smart TVs to customers in the U.S. and Canada.

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Starting this summer, Best Buy will launch more than 10 4K and HD Fire TV Edition models from Toshiba and Insignia, which will feature Amazon’s Fire TV operating system. Other models will be launched later in the year.

American consumers will be able to purchase these new smart TVs exclusively in Best Buy stores, on BestBuy.com, and for the first time, from Best Buy as a third-party seller on Amazon.com starting in the summer. They will be available for purchase in Canada later this year