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Starbucks suspends social media ads over hate speech – BBC News

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Starbucks has announced it will suspend advertising on some social media platforms in response to hate speech.

The coffee giant joins global brands including Coca-Cola, Diageo and Unilever which have recently removed advertising from social platforms.

A Starbucks spokesperson told the BBC the social media “pause” would not include YouTube, owned by Google.

“We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online,” Starbucks said in a statement.

The brand said it would “have discussions internally and with media partners and civil rights organizations to stop the spread of hate speech”. But it will continue to post on social media without paid promotion, it said.

The announcement came after Coca-Cola called for “greater accountability” from social media firms.

Coca Cola said it would pause advertising on all social media platforms globally, while Unilever, owner of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, said it would halt Twitter, Facebook and Instagram advertising in the US “at least” through 2020.

The announcements follow controversy over Facebook’s approach to moderating content on its platform – seen by many as too hands off. It came after Facebook said on Friday it would begin to label potentially harmful or misleading posts which have been left up for their news value.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would also ban advertising containing claims “that people of a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status” are a threat to others.

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The organisers of the #StopHateforProfit campaign, which has accused Facebook of not doing enough to stop hate speech and disinformation, said the “small number of small changes” would not “make a dent in the problem”.

Starbucks said that while it was suspending advertising on some social platforms, it would not join the #StopHateForProfit campaign. More than 150 companies have paused advertising in support of #StopHateforProfit.

Coca-Cola also told CNBC its advertising suspension did not mean it was joining the campaign, despite being listed as a “participating business”.

The campaign has urged Mr Zuckerberg to take further steps, including establishing permanent civil rights “infrastructure” within Facebook; submitting to independent audits of identity-based hate and misinformation; finding and removing public and private groups publishing such content; and creating expert teams to review complaints.

In an interview with Reuters, one of the campaign’s organisers said it would also call on European firms to join the boycott. “The next frontier is global pressure,” said Jim Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media. He added that the campaign hoped European regulators would take a harder stance on social media firms such as Facebook.

In June, the European Commission announced new guidelines for companies to submit monthly reports on how they are handling coronavirus-related misinformation.

Last year, Facebook reported a 27% increase in advertising revenue on the previous year.

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Crude Oil Shortages Beginning To Bite In Key Markets – OilPrice.com

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Crude Oil Shortages Beginning To Bite In Key Markets | OilPrice.com

Alex Kimani

Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com. 

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    Europoort Refinery

    Last monthOPEC and its non-OPEC allies, known as OPEC+, agreed to extend their deep production cuts through July in an effort to rebalance oversupplied markets in the face of pandemic-hit demand. The cuts were supposed to take ~10% off the markets with July’s cut clocking in at 9.6 million bpd.

    But now there are signs that the pendulum could have swung a bit too far, with the markets beginning to experience shortages of key crude grades.

    There are growing signs that the markets are undersupplied with Urals and Arab Light thanks to continuing deep production cuts as well as a rebound in demand by key customers such as China and Northern Asia.

    The price of Urals, Russia’s flagship grade, has flipped to record premiums to the Brent crude benchmark, briefly changing hands at $2.40 a barrel above Dated Brent last week to reflect the undersupply. 

    That marks a sharp turnaround compared to a discount of more than $4.50 a barrel recorded in April. Urals for delivery to Rotterdam, the main oil refinery hub in northwest Europe, were selling at a premium of $1.90 by the end of June, matching a prior record high. This, in effect, means that Rotterdam Urals were selling at ~$45 a barrel, a far cry from the $15 a barrel they commanded in early April.

    Oil markets in backwardation

    A similar pattern is being observed for other sour crude grades, which are commanding premium prices even with global oil demand still 10% below normal levels.

    Under ordinary circumstances, medium-sour crude that Saudi Arabia and its OPEC partners pump is usually cheaper than light sweet crude with a lower sulfur content. However, OPEC, which mostly pumps medium-sour crude, has dramatically cut output to its lowest level since 1991. Further, Iran and Venezuela, which also supply medium and heavy sour crude, have both seen production severely curtailed due to U.S. sanctions as well as a lack of investment.

    Consequently, Saudi Aramco has been able to raise the price of the crude it sells to refiners for three months in a row. And now for the first time ever, Aramco is selling its most dense crude, known as Arab Heavy, at the same price as its flagship Arab Light, a clear indication of strong demand for medium-heavy sour grades. Under normal circumstances, Arab Heavy sells at a discount of $2-to-$6/barrel to Arab Light. Related: Big Oil’s Investment Risk Is Spiking

    To make matters even more interesting, medium-heavy sour crude for immediate delivery is commanding premiums to forward contracts, a situation known as backwardation. That’s a 180-degree turn from the situation just two and a half months ago when oil markets were in deep contango, meaning forward contracts were selling at a big premium to near-term contracts.

    Production cuts working

    CME data shows that oil futures in general are beginning to flirt with backwardation— a positive sign for oil markets. Back in May, the markets were in super-contango with futures for June delivery trading at just half the value of January 2021 futures; the situation is far less dramatic with futures for August delivery trading at $40.90/barrel compared with $41.54 for January 2021 futures.

    These data sets are encouraging signs that OPEC+ members could largely be sticking to their pledges. Last month, Saudi Arabia and Russia warned members of the cartel that there was no room for noncompliance whatsoever after May compliance clocked in at just 74% of agreed cuts. Notably, Iraq cut just 38% of its promised cuts while Nigeria fared even worse, cutting a mere 19% of its commitments. That said, the importance of dramatic cuts by U.S. producers cannot also be overstated. In May, Reuters reported that North American producers were on course to cut 1.7 million barrels per day by the end of June with the U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette estimating that U.S. production would drop by 2 to 3 million bpd by the end of the year.

    But more importantly, the latest oil price trends are confirmation that, indeed, the production cuts are working as intended by helping to rebalance the markets.

    The coronavirus pandemic has caused global oil demand to fall off a cliff, with U.S. consumption falling to levels last seen nearly four decades ago. With global oil production at record highs, supply quickly overwhelmed demand leading to an acute storage crunch that triggered the historic oil price crash into negative territory. 

    Source: Quartz

    Oil prices have recovered ever since but remain a long way off the $60/bbl level they were trading at last December. The current oil price of ~$40/bbl could be around the breakeven that Russia needs to balance its books but far from satisfactory for Saudi Arabia, which needs ~80/bbl or majority of U.S. shale producers who need $50-$55 per barrel to break even. 

    With the current level of cuts set to lapse at the end of July, it’s going to be interesting to see whether “OPEC+ is until death do us part,” as Prince Abdulaziz famously quipped a month ago.

    By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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      Monteregie virus infections top 60; hundreds of people overwhelm testing centre – CTV News Montreal

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      MONTREAL —
      A new testing clinic in the town of Mercier reached full capacity within two hours of opening on Thursday—a sign of how seriously Montérégie is taking its new COVID-19 outbreak, including its younger residents.

      Many of the hundreds who lined up were young and were connected with people who attended the two teenage house parties that started the outbreak.

      They admitted that having parties right now may be a bad idea.

      “The young people [saw] each other too fast,” one told CTV. “We didn’t wait.”

      People around Mercier have good reason for their anxieties. The outbreak has now infected more than 60 people, leading to the closure of many businesses.

      “It was a little bit everywhere in Mercier, so I decided to be tested just to be sure,” said one person who arrived to be tested Thursday morning.

      The region’s outbreak first started at two house parties held by teens, but it had some time to spread—in workplaces, bars and homes—before health authorities realized what was happening.

      Now people are second-guessing their health and trying to figure out if their symptoms match up.

      “The first day I was constantly tired,” said one young man, who said he’s been feeling sick for two days.

      While they were overwhelmed by the lineup, health authorities said they’re happy to see the demand and will set up another clinic for Saturday.

      “People are concerned about their health, and the health of their family, so it’s a good thing they come and get tested,” said Jade St-Jean, the spokesperson for the health district of Montérégie West.

      Officials say the testing will help give them an idea of the scope of the outbreak.

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      Torstar surges over first offer price amid rival bid – BNN

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      Torstar Corp. rallied to an eight-month high after receiving an unsolicited offer to purchase the company by a private investor group, less than two weeks before shareholders were set to vote on an initial buyout deal by two prominent Canadian business families.

      Shares of the Toronto Star parent skyrocketed 16 per cent to 72 cents on Thursday as it resumed trading after saying a competing proposal may result in a “superior offer” to an earlier bid from NordStar Capital LP. While no final decision has been made, Torstar said it’s now in discussions with the new group.

      Brothers Matthew Proud, chief executive officer of Dye & Durham Corp., and Tyler Proud, head of Avesdo Inc., are leading the $58 million competing bid, around 72 cents per share, according to several media reports.

      NordStar, owned by the Rivett and Bitove families, had offered to buy Torstar for 63 cents a share in cash in May, making for a price tag of $51 million.

      The original deal is still “in the best interest of the company,” Torstar’s board said in a press release Thursday. “The board continues to recommend that Torstar shareholders vote in favor of the NordStar transaction.”

      The break fee in the NordStar contract is $3.5 million. Currently, the arrangement has the support of Torstar’s board and its largest independent shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., ahead of a special meeting on July 21.

      Nordstar has no plans to increase its offer. Its bid fully values Torstar based on expenses it will have to incur to grow the company and its newspapers, a spokesperson for the company said in a statement provided to BNN Bloomberg.

      NordStar is controlled by Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett. Rivett was a senior executive at Fairfax, a Toronto-based insurance and investment holding company, when it built its 40 per cent stake in Torstar’s Class B shares. He announced his retirement from the firm in February.

      Bitove is a private equity executive whose family was part of the ownership group that brought the Toronto Raptors basketball franchise to the city in the 1990s.

      Torstar, which also publishes more than 70 other newspapers, has been unable to turn around years of losses in advertising revenue. Before Nordstar’s offer, Torstar’s shares had slumped almost 80% since the end of 2017.

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