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Terror threat in Europe over U.S. Elections erode confidence of Globe’s big-spenders

Spending on luxury apparel, accessories and other personal items is expected to hold steady at 249 billion euros ($273 billion) this year

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People walk in front of Gucci shop in Monte Napoleone street in Milan, Italy, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. The terror threat in Europe, a strong dollar and uncertainty over the U.S. presidential elections have eroded the confidence of the globe's big-spenders, holding luxury purchases flat in 2016, according to a study released Thursday. VOA

The terror threat in Europe, a strong dollar and uncertainty over the U.S. presidential elections have eroded the confidence of the globe’s big-spenders, holding luxury purchases flat in 2016, according to a study released Thursday.

Spending on luxury apparel, accessories and other personal items is expected to hold steady at 249 billion euros ($273 billion) this year, a study by Bain Consultancy for the Altagamma association of Italian high-end luxury producers. Add in spending on luxury cars, yachts, jets, cruises, hotels, fine art, design and food, and the market tops a stunning 1 trillion euros.

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As political events and monetary policy exert greater influence on luxury spending patterns, brands have turned their focus to wooing buyers in their home countries rather than counting on tourist arrivals to buoy sales, said Bain partner Claudia D’Arpizio.

“This is not happening by default,” D’Arpizio. “Brands are refocusing on the local customer base and working to develop products that are more affordable and more inclusive to meet their needs.”

For the first time, spending by China’s super consumers shrank, albeit slightly from 31 percent of the total to 30 percent of the total. Part of the shift was due to an increase in the number of middle-class Chinese travelers, who collectively spend less than higher rollers, she said.

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While U.S. presidential elections always put the freeze on consumer spending, D’Arpizio said this year’s squeeze was a little tighter due to a strong dollar, which also hurt tourist spending, and higher oil prices.

In Europe, brands are also working to cultivate local buyers as the threat of terrorism has hurt tourism. They are seeing local consumption recover in Italy, Germany, Spain and Britain. But spending remains soft in France, with terror attacks impacting both tourists’ and locals’ sentiment, D’Arpizio said.

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Britain’s decision to exit the European Union so far has proven a boon for luxury spending, with the falling pound encouraging both domestic consumption and travelers to spend.

“Currently, London is the cheapest luxury market,” D’Arpizio said. (VOA)

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Facebook doesn’t Hire Journalists, says Sheryl Sandberg

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Sheryl Sandberg quoted that Facebook doesn't hire Journalists. ians

San Francisco, Oct 14: As people debate Facebook’s role in influencing people during the US presidential elections by Russian ads and fake news on the platform, the company’s COO Sheryl Sandberg has stressed that the social media giant is not a media organization, and therefore does not hire journalists.

Sandberg said that Facebook is run by technical workers and engineers and according to her, the company does not produce news content, therefore it can’t be a media company.

In an interview with US-based news website Axios on Thursday, she said, “At our heart we are a tech company. We hire engineers. We don’t hire reporters. No one is a journalist.”

“We don’t cover the news. But when we say that, we’re not saying we don’t have a responsibility. In fact we’re a new kind of platform… as our size grows, we think we have more responsibility,” the executive was quoted as saying.

Business Insider said a firm that is a major source of news and information for people, generates billions in ad revenue and is producing its own original television shows is classified as a media company and Facebook does all of that.

Contrary to her claim, it hired former NBC anchor Campbell Brown in January to head up the company’s news division and work with other journalists to maximise their use of Facebook’s platform.

Reportedly, Facebook does not want to harm its $500 billion valuations by admitting it is a media company. If the company accepts that it is a media firm, it would open the platform up to regulatory rules in the US and other countries which Facebook would rather avoid.

Facebook
Facebook Ads were considered during US Presidential Elections. Pixabay

Business Insider said Britain was already considering regulations that would treat it more like a media company.

Meanwhile, on the Russian ad issue, Sandberg said the election meddling on the platform “shouldn’t have happened” and she wouldn’t discuss Russia or Trump.

“We know we have a responsibility to prevent everything we can from this happening on our platforms… and so we told Congress and the Intelligence committees that when they are ready to release the ads, we are ready to help them,” she said.

Sandberg said that if the Russian-linked ads were posted by “real people” and not fake accounts, Facebook would have let their content remain on the site. “When you allow free expression, you allow free expression.”

“Facebook owes the American people an apology. Not just an apology, but determination for our role in enabling Russian interference during the election,” she said. (IANS)

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Supports Releasing Russia-linked Advertisements

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Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F, in Paris. voa

Washington, October 12: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Thursday she “absolutely” supports the public release of all advertisements produced by a Russia-linked organization during the 2016 presidential election.

Sandberg said the company is “working on transparency” following the revelation last month that a group with alleged ties to the Russian government ran $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook promoting “divisive” causes like Black Lives Matter.

“Things happened on our platform that shouldn’t have happened,” she said during the interview with Axios’s Mike Allen.

Later Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer is set to meet with Congressional investigators who are looking into what role the advertisements which began running in 2015 and continued through this year may have played in the 2016 presidential election.

The $100,000 worth of ads represent a very small fraction of the total $2.3 billion spent by, and on behalf of, President Donald Trump and losing-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaigns during the election.

Multiple congressional investigations have been launched, seeking to determine what effect alleged Russian meddling may have played in the election.

In addition, Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is conducting a criminal probe, including whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian operatives during the election season. Trump has denied working with the Russians.

Facebook had previously agreed to disclose the thousands of Facebook ads to congress. Sandberg said Thursday she thinks “it’s important that [the investigators] get the whole picture and explain that to the American people.”

In response to the Russian ad buys, Facebook Chief Operating Officer said that company is hiring 4,000 new employees to oversee ads and content. She said the company is also using “machine learning and automation” to target fake accounts that spread fake news.

She defined fake news as “things that are false hoaxes” and said Facebook is working to stamp out the bad information by teaming up with third-party fact checkers and warning users before they share news deemed fake by Facebook.

She said it is important to be cautious when going after fake news because “a lot of what we allow on Facebook is people expressing themselves” and “when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people.”

“We don’t check the information posted on Facebook before people post it, and I don’t think people should want us to,” she said.

Hundreds of fake accounts were used to distribute the Russia-linked advertisements, Sandberg said. But had those ads been posted by legitimate users, “we would have let them run,” she said.(VOA)

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Hillary Clinton finds Yoga, Alternate Nostril Breathing helpful for Relaxation

Hillary Clinton has found alternate nostril breathing yoga technique as a mantra for relaxation and peace after her loss in 2016 Presidential elections to Donald Trump.

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Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton VOA

Washington, October 12, 2017 : Hillary Clinton has demonstrated on national television how to perform yoga through alternate nostril breathing exercise. It is quite interesting to see Hillary Clinton has discovered the mantra to deal with stress.

In the aftermath of United States Presidential elections 2016, Hillary finds sitting cross legged on a yoga mat and practicing long inhale and exhale breathing techniques quite helpful. Hilary mentioned that she has been practicing it for quite some time and it has come across as a very helpful way.

The Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton has recommended yoga for everyone to try for relaxation. Yoga is an ancient Indian technique of pre-Vedic Indian tradition that involves physical, mental and spiritual training to relax the mind and body. Promoting the idea of practicing yoga for relaxation seems to be working well for Hillary, who found a new way out to live life and find peace after her loss to Donald Trump in 2016.