President Obama just announced that the U.S. will join the European Union in slapping Russia with more sanctions, in response to President Putin’s continued support of Russian separatists and refusal to cooperate with an international investigation of the MH17 plane crash.
New sanctions on energy, arms and finance will be imposed, as well as blocking exports of specific goods, and sanctions on banks and defense. The new sanctions will also make it more difficult for Russia’s oil industry to operate.
"Russia and its proxies in Ukraine have failed to cooperate [and] continued to shoot down Ukrainian aircraft in the region," President Obama said. "Russia continues to support the separatists- and encourage them, train them, and arm them."
He added, “It is not in Ukrainian capacity to out-fight the separatists.”
Russia’s economic growth is already close to zero, and energy and defense sectors in particular are feeling the sting.
"Russia is once again isolating itself from the international community, setting back decades of international progress. And it didn’t have to come to this," Obama said. "This is a choice that Russia, and President Putin in particular, has made."
The sanctions are the EU’s most restrictive since the start of the crisis in Ukraine.
"Today is a reminder that the U.S. means what it says," Obama said. He offered continued condolences to the families of the victims killed in the MH17 tragedy.
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If I own stock in your company and you move offshore for tax reasons, I’m selling your stock.
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban isn’t a fan of tax inversions, to say the least.
President Obama sat down with CNBC’s Steve Liesman earlier today for a streamlined discussion on the state of the American economy.
President Obama offered hopeful remarks on the economic recovery, noting improvement in the housing and auto industries as well as lowered dependence on foreign oil. But when Liesman pointed out the continuing struggle of the middle class, Obama agreed. He pointed to the issue of minimum wage; specifically, 28 million Americans who would be helped by a wage increase.
An increasing number of American businesses have moved their companies overseas in order to avoid high corporate tax rates. Obama criticized owners for taking their business abroad, saying these tax inversions are a way of “gaming the system.”
Lowering corporate tax rates are on his agenda, he said, but he blamed Congress for stalling these efforts.
“We have put forward very specific proposals,” Obama said. “The reason it’s not getting done right now is that Congress- you may have noticed- right now is not real productive.”
Marginal tax rates today are lower than rates under previous administrations, he added. But for the richest Americans, Obama said, loopholes still need to be closed.
“If you’re paying 15 percent on that billion dollars, when your secretary is paying 23 percent, that’s not fair.”
Watch the full interview: http://cnb.cx/1nF1Q7r
1. If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s second largest.
2. Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in February. Apple could buy nine WhatsApp’s.
3. The site has 1.35 billion monthly active users.
4. 1/7 people on earth access Facebook at least monthly on a mobile device.
5. Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Pages Manager, Paper, Slingshot, Instagram, WhatsApp and Moves..
6. Facebook has 1 billion more users than Twitter.
7. 900 million people use Facebook’s messaging apps.
8. Facebook has 1.5 million active advertisers.
- via @EliLanger-
HAPPENING NOW: American Airlines and USAirways canceled today’s to & from flights between Tel Aviv & Philadelphia due to security concerns.
In addition, Delta flight 468- a Boeing 747 from JFK with 290 aboard- was diverted to Paris after reports of rocket or debris near Tel Aviv airport. Delta has suspended service to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and its New York-JFK hub until further notice.
United has also suspended Tel Aviv operations until further notice.
A Ben Gurion airport spokesman said the airport is safe and the decisions were made independently by the individual airlines. However, reports emerged that a rocket landed near the airport as recently as an hour ago.
UPDATE #1- Official statement from American on Tel Aviv operations
The safety of our passengers and crew is American’s top priority. We have cancelled US Airways Flight 797 from Tel Aviv (TLV) to Philadelphia (PHL) and Flight 796 from PHL to TLV for July 22 in response to security concerns at TLV. We are reaching out to customers and working with other airlines to reaccommodate those affected. We remain in contact with the FAA and continue to monitor the situation.
For customers with future travel plans to Tel Aviv, we have extended our travel advisory and our flexible ticketing policy through August 31. Customers who choose to change their travel plans can do so without change fees.
We are ferrying our crew members out of TLV today. The FAA will not allow us to transport customers on this flight, which is operating with a special waiver.
UPDATE #2- The FAA has announced no American flights will come in or out of the Ben Gurion airport for up to 24 hours.
A federal appeals court panel ruled today that government subsidies aiding purchases from Healthcare.gov are illegal.
Judge Harry Edwards called the case a “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare.
Healthcare.gov is federally-run, not state-run. Government subsidies can only be granted to those who purchase insurance in a state-run Obamacare exchange.
If upheld, the ruling could essentially invalidate health care subsidies for people whose states have not yet set up individual exchanges for the program.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest aggressively defended President Obama’s landmark legislation, calling the ruling “interesting to legal theorists” but lacking any practical impact.
“You don’t need a fancy legal degree to understand that Congress intended for every eligible American to have access to tax credits,” Earnest said. “What I anticipate the Department of Justice will do is ask for an opinion from the full D.C. Circuit.”
He admitted that the legislation has drawn “decidedly mixed” legal opinion, citing four different Obamacare cases currently working their way through the courts at different stages.
Read the court’s full opinion here.
UPDATE- A panel from the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 in a separate case that the subsidies are legal.