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HarperCollins Publisher, Striking Workers Agree To Federal Mediation

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NEW YORK – HarperCollins Publishers and the union that represents about 250 striking workers have agreed to go to federal mediation. This is the first sign that a deal might be possible since the strike started in early November.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to continue bargaining with HarperCollins and hope they are finally ready to put a fair offer on the table,” said Olga Brudastova, president of UAW Local 2110. “At this point, we’ve been on strike for over two months. It is time for us to settle any outstanding issues and try to rebuild our relationship.”

HarperCollins, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, put out a statement saying that it hoped meeting with an outside mediator would lead to “a way forward.” The publisher hadn’t met with union representatives in months.

publisher

Publishers Want To Find A Middle Ground

A company statement says, “We went into negotiations hoping to find a middle ground, and we have stayed committed to getting a fair and reasonable contract throughout this process.” “We are hopeful that a mutually agreed upon mediator can help find the solutions that have eluded us so far. For the past 80 years, HarperCollins has had a union with a long history of successful and fair contract negotiations. The company now has the same goal and is working hard to achieve it.”

Federal mediation, as defined by the government, is a “voluntary process” in which a “neutral” third party attempts to assist labor and management in reaching an agreement.

The UAW and HarperCollins have disagreed on union protections, workplace diversity, and wages, with the UAW requesting that the publisher raise the starting salary from $45,000 to $50,000 — a range comparable to other large New York publishers’ pay.

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Went On Stike For One Day

Since last spring, editorial assistants, marketers, and other mid- and entry-level employees who were part of the HarperCollins union had worked without a contract. They went on strike for one day over the summer and left the job indefinitely on November 10. More than 100 workers demonstrated in front of News Corp’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan last week.

The impasse has brought to light an ongoing debate about working conditions in book publishing, which has long offered low pay to younger employees, making it difficult for many to live in New York City. Many writers, including Neil Gaiman, Lauren Groff, and Angie Thomas, have expressed support for the HarperCollins employees, and more than 150 agents have said they will only send book proposals to the publisher once a settlement is reached.

HarperCollins is the only one of the so-called “Big Five” New York publishers to have a union, which went on strike for two and a half weeks in 1974.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

World

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

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The body of leading Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been returned to his mother, according to his spokesman.

In a post on X, Kira Yarmysh thanked everyone who asked that the authorities hand over his remains.
“The funeral is yet to take place,” she wrote.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila, was reportedly told to agree to a “secret” funeral. If she refused, he would be buried in the penal colony where he had died.

She had spent the previous week in the town near the prison where he died, attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of his remains before requesting that they be delivered to her.

After signing a death certificate stating that he died of natural causes, she was allowed three hours to settle on a “secret” burial for her son.

Ms Yarmysh claims his mother was warned that if she did not consent, he would be buried on the grounds of the prison where he had died.

However, Lyudmila appears to have declined to engage with the authorities.

Ms Yarmysh stated that the funeral plans were still unclear.

“We don’t know whether the authorities will interfere with it being carried out in the way the family wants and as Alexei deserves,” she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Yulia Navalnaya, Navalny’s widow, accused Vladimir Putin of holding her late husband’s body “hostage” and demanded its unconditional release.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

“Give us the body of my husband,” she pleaded in a video message.

“You tortured him living, and now you continue to punish him in death. “You mock the remains of the deceased.”

Ms Navalnaya again accused the Russian president of being responsible for her husband’s death.
The Kremlin has dismissed the charges, calling the Western outrage to the killing “hysterical”.

Navalny died on February 16 in a Russian prison located inside the Arctic Circle.
Details concerning what happened to him are scant. His team has offered security officers €20,000 ($22,000; £17,000) as a prize and aid in fleeing Russia in exchange for information concerning his death in custody.

navalny

Navalny: Body Returned To Mother, Spokeswoman Says

For years, he was the most prominent critic of Russia’s leader.

In August 2020, a team of would-be assassins from the Russian secret services poisoned Navalny with the Novichok nerve agent.

He was airlifted to Germany and recovered before being imprisoned upon his return to Russia in January 2021.

Attempts to commemorate his death have been greeted with a heavy-handed response from Russian authorities, with improvised monuments removed and hundreds jailed.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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Business

In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

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OMAHA, Nebraska – Warren Buffett credited his longtime partner, the late Charlie Munger, with creating the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate he is credited with leading, and warned shareholders in his annual letter on Saturday not to listen to Wall Street pundits or financial advisors who advise them to trade frequently.

Buffett said he always writes his letters with knowledgeable, long-term investors in mind, such as his sister Bertie, and attempts to give them what he believes they want to know about Berkshire.

“She is sensible – very sensible – instinctively knowing that pundits should always be ignored,” Buffett wrote about Bertie. “After all, if she could accurately forecast tomorrow’s winners, would she openly share her unique insights, increasing competitive buying? That would be like discovering gold and then throwing out a map to the neighbours indicating its whereabouts.”

Buffett told investors that Berkshire is a safe place to park their money as long as they don’t expect “eye-popping performance” like in the past because there are no attractively priced acquisition targets large enough to make a meaningful difference in the Omaha, Nebraska-based company’s results. However, he stated that Berkshire would be ready to invest $167.6 billion when the casino-like stock market seizes.

Munger, Buffett’s longtime investing partner, died in November at the age of 99, removing one of the key sounding boards Buffett relied on for decades as Berkshire acquired companies such as See’s Candy, Geico Insurance, BNSF Railway and others to reshape the failing textile mill they took over in the 1960s into the massive eclectic conglomerate Berkshire is today.

buffett

In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

Buffett devoted a portion of last year’s annual letter to Berkshire shareholders to an homage to Munger, but this year’s edition began with even more appreciation for the revered curmudgeon’s services to the company over the years. Buffett stated that “Charlie was the ‘architect’ of the present Berkshire”, who recognised early on that buying excellent enterprises at reasonable rates was preferable.

“Charlie never sought to take credit for his role as creator but instead let me take the bows and receive the accolades,” Buffett said in a statement. “In some ways, his connection with me was like that of an elder brother and a caring father. Even when he knew he was correct, he handed me the reins, and when I made a mistake, he never reminded me of it.”

buffett

In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

Buffett also discussed how Berkshire’s insurance businesses, such as Geico, excelled last year, but its enormous utilities and BNSF railway underperformed. He also informed shareholders that he has no plans to sell its shares in approximately 30% of Occidental Petroleum and 9% of five significant Japanese trading companies but that he has yet to buy the oil company completely.

Berkshire’s diverse portfolio of operations and the good performance of its investments generated a profit of $37.57 billion, or $26,043 per Class A share, in the fourth quarter. This is more than double Berkshire’s $18.08 billion profit, or $12,355 per Class A share, posted a year ago.

However, Buffett emphasised that investors should mainly overlook such bottom-line figures since the paper worth of its stocks heavily influences them. Instead, he has always encouraged investors to focus on Berkshire’s operating earnings, which exclude investments.

By that metric, Berkshire reported a 28% increase in operating earnings to $8.48 billion, or $5,878.21 per Class A share. This is up from $6.63 billion, or $4,527.06 per Class A share.

buffett

In His Annual Letter, Warren Buffett Tells Investors To Ignore Wall Street Pundits

FactSet Research questioned three analysts, and they expected that Berkshire would report quarterly operating earnings of $5,717,17 per Class A share.

Berkshire’s stock has established several new peaks in recent weeks, reaching $632,820 per Class A share Friday morning as investors eagerly awaited Buffett’s letter. Buffett is admired for his extremely successful track record and the wise advice he has given over the years. His yearly letter is consistently one of the most-read papers in the corporate sector.

Berkshire also repurchased $2.2 billion of its stock in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to $9.2 billion for the year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Entertainment

Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

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Reddit, the discussion board site noted for its constantly online user base and for sparking much internet debate, filed for its long-awaited initial public offering on Thursday.

This would make Reddit the first social media business to go public since Snapchat in 2017. The offering will include a twist that may allow some of the most ardent of its more than 70 million daily users to purchase shares in the IPO — something generally reserved for institutional investors.

reddit

Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

The company  claimed that top users can buy shares based on their “karma,” a term the network uses to describe its users’ contributions and reputation on the website.

“Our users feel a strong feeling of ownership over the communities they form on Reddit. We want this sense of ownership to translate into real ownership — for our users to be our owners’, co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman wrote in a Thursday filing letter. “Becoming a public company makes this possible.”

The company’s registration comes amid a dip in the overall IPO market, with Wall Street hoping that a blockbuster offering will help revitalise dealmaking.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the San Francisco-based company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the “RDDT.” The filing comes nearly three years after Reddit recruited its first CFO, and officials, including co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman, began publicly discussing the potential of an IPO to raise the company’s visibility.

Reddit, which has not been profitable, plans to expand its revenue through advertising, offering more e-commerce options, and licensing its data to other companies to train their artificial intelligence models.

“Our work to make Reddit faster, easier to use, easier to moderate and govern, and simpler to navigate and find relevant communities is driving growth today and will continue to be our focus into the future,” Ms. Huffman said.

The company was sold to media giant Condé Nast in 2006 by its co-founders Alexis Ohanian, who left the company in 2020, and Huffman, who now owns 3.3%. According to the IPO filing, the company’s top shareholders are currently Advance Publications (30.1%), which owns Condé Nast, Tencent (11%) from China, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (8.7%).

History of the ‘Front Page of the Internet’
The company, dubbed the “front page of the internet,” is a social media veteran; the firm was founded in 2005, the year college buddies Huffman and Ohanian graduated from the University of Virginia. It was the same year that Facebook became Facebook, YouTube released its first video, and Twitter (now known as X) launched.

Reddit’s 18-year history as an online social hub has witnessed tremendous growth, occasional controversy, and sometimes market-shifting pranks.

The network is well-known for its “subreddits,” which are distinct, user-generated discussion boards where users establish communities around various topics ranging from sports to politics to religion and everything in between. the company  users frequently post anonymously in these areas, debating topics ranging from memes to big news events.

reddit

Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

In 2021, Reddit created widespread market disruption when a community of day traders on the WallStreetBets platform began buying up GameStop shares in an attempt to harm hedge funds that bet against it. Many Redditors who joined the craze late suffered big losses.

Still, the episode highlighted the power of the company communities. Following the WallStreetBets incident, Reddit announced a fresh $250 million investment round, valuing the firm at $6 billion. It also declared plans to grow its workforce and enter overseas markets.

A significant user outcry earlier this year over a proposal to charge some third-party apps millions of dollars in fees to continue using the network brought the company back into the public eye. As a result, hundreds of the platform’s most popular subreddits were offline for weeks. The protest ended after Reddit threatened to expel forum moderators if the blackout continued.

Thursday’s filing provides the most extensive look yet at Reddit’s business, which aims to expand beyond the traditional ad-supported model on which other social networks still rely heavily.

The company  says it had more than 73 million daily active users in the latter three months of 2023, up from 52 million in 2021. In its filing, the company stated that the platform would have over 100,000 active communities by December 2023.

The company’s revenues in 2023 were $804 million, up 21% from $666.7 million in 2022. Reddit recorded a net loss of $90.8 million in 2023, less than the $158.6 million loss it experienced in 2022.

reddit

Reddit Hasn’t Turned A Profit In Nearly 20 Years, But It Just Filed To Go Public Anyway

While the company estimates its total addressable market in advertising to reach $1.4 trillion by 2027, it also stated in the filing’s risk factors statement that it has “a history of net losses and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future.”

The company  also announced intentions to increase revenue by selling data to AI startups and focusing on the “user economy.” The filing outlines a future goal to enhance e-commerce on the site and increase user incomes through the Reddit Contributor Programme and Reddit Collectible Avatars Creators Programme. According to the filing, these systems allow users to earn monetary gifts and prizes, from which the corporation may receive a share.

On Thursday, the company also announced an expanded cooperation with Google, which includes access to Reddit data to train Google’s AI models and improve the display of Reddit content across Google platforms.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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