1.GOOGLE: An attorney for the U.S. The Justice Department said on Tuesday that he wanted depositions planned for August in an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google to be live rather than on Zoom.
The government hopes to question, or depose, three people in August, one Google employee and two people who left Google, one in 2011 and 2013.
The government sued Google last year, alleging that it broke antitrust law in seeking to hobble rivals. That lawsuit has been combined for discovery purposes with a broader antitrust lawsuit brought by 38 states and territories.
“We wanted to let the court know that it is our hope to do all or most of these depositions in person,” said the Justice Department’s Kenneth Dintzer, noting that the three first people that he wanted to depose were in California. “It is our understanding that California is re-open.”
Dintzer also said in the status conference, which was being held remotely, that he hoped to also return to regular court hearings.
Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also discussed whether the Justice Department should be allowed to see performance reviews of executives that the government is considering calling as witnesses.
Mehta said that after reading a sample of the reviews that they were potentially useful but urged the government to request performance reviews only of people they wanted to depose. He further asked the two sides to agree on a protocol for safeguarding anything personal in them.
2.FACEBOOK:- –Facebook Inc launched its newsletter product “Bulletin” on Tuesday, a standalone platform for free and paid articles and podcasts that will aim to rival Substack.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the platform, which is live at Bulletin.com, and introduced some of the writers that the company has recruited in a live audio room on Facebook .
Facebook is pushing to compete in the fast-growing email newsletter trend, as high-profile journalists and writers have left media companies over the past year to strike out on their own.
Self-publishing platform Substack is a leader in helping writers sell email subscriptions, and has lured journalists with cash advances. Other tech companies are also competing in the field, including Twitter Inc , which acquired newsletter platform Revue.
Facebook said it would not take a cut of Bulletin creators’ revenue at launch and that creators can choose their own subscription prices. It is launching the platform with a number of high-profile personalities and writers, including sportscaster Erin Andrews, author Malcolm Gladwell and “Queer Eye” star Tan France.
The social network has had a tumultuous relationship with the news industry, which came to a head in February after a showdown with the Australian government over paying news outlets for content. Following the conflict, Facebook pledged to invest $1 billion in the news industry globally over the next three years.
The company said the articles and podcasts would also be available through the Facebook News Feed and through Facebook’s News section.
“We built Bulletin on a separate website to enable creators to grow their audience in ways that are not exclusively dependent on the Facebook platform,” it said on the new site.
Facebook said it was primarily launching with U.S. creators and it was not accepting new ones at this time. But it said the Bulletin site was available worldwide and it would look to add more international names after the beta test.
3.GENERAL MOTORS:-A top executive of General Motors Co on Tuesday expressed strong support for efforts by the United Auto Workers union to organize U.S. electric vehicle battery plants it is building with a partner, but stopped short of endorsing unionization without a formal worker vote.
“We are supportive of the UAW, we are partners with the UAW. We believe there has been good that has come out of that partnership and that good is transferrable to other operations,” GM executive vice president Gerald Johnson said during a briefing for reporters about broader efforts by the company to expand its environmental, social and governance efforts.
Johnson said the decision to join a union should be up to workers, but he did not endorse a so-called “card check” organization that bypasses a secret ballot vote.
The UAW can “make their case without interruption and with complete neutrality” from the automaker, Johnson said.
“We expect we will work together with the UAW going forward in these sites,” he said.
GM said on Tuesday it is establishing a $25 million fund to provide grants to community organizations to help promote adoption of electric vehicles.
In April, outgoing UAW President Rory Gamble called on GM and Ford Motor Co to commit to union representation at new joint venture EV factories, and GM responded that its Ultium LLC battery facilities “are part of a joint venture and are a separate company – Ultium Cells LLC.” GM’s partner in that venture is South Korean EV battery maker LG Energy Solution.
In May, GM said the UAW is “well-positioned” to represent workers at the Ultium plants in Ohio and Tennessee.
U.S. President Joe Biden told automakers during a visit to Dearborn in May that they should deepen their partnership with the UAW.
4.TWITTER:-Police in India have registered three new cases against Twitter Inc for allegedly hurting sentiments and promoting child pornography, marking an escalation in the row between the U.S. firm and Indian authorities.
Police in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have named Twitter India chief Manish Maheshwari in complaints after the politically sensitive regions were depicted outside a map of India on its careers website.
Late on Tuesday, police in the capital New Delhi said in a statement they have registered a case against Twitter for “availability of child sexual abuse and child pornographic material” on its platform.
Twitter did not comment on cases related to India’s map. On the New Delhi case, Twitter said it has a zero tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation.
The police cases come as Twitter faces a public relations nightmare and a backlash from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government that has in recent weeks repeatedly criticized it for not complying with a new set of IT rules.
The tussle, coupled with discontent over the regulatory scrutiny of other U.S. tech firms like WhatsApp and Amazon , has upset the business environment in a key growth markets, so much so that some companies are rethinking expansion plans.
5.VOLKSWAGEN – Ohio’s Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for the state’s attorney general to move forward with a lawsuit against Volkswagen AG over its “Dieselgate” scandal and manipulation of emissions-control systems.
The court ruled 6-1 that the federal Clean Air Act did not pre-empt state law-based claims that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is pursuing, or prohibit state oversight after a vehicle or engine is sold.
“This is a major decision that will ensure that Volkswagen can be held accountable,” Yost said in a statement.
VW promised an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the decision could create “regulatory chaos” and inhibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate emissions by giving state and local governments overlapping authority.
The German automaker has agreed to pay more than $25 billion in the United States for claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers, and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.
VW admitted in 2015 to having secretly used illegal software to evade emissions rules, and pleaded guilty in 2017 to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Ohio sued in 2016, accusing VW of conducting deceptive recalls and updates of diesel vehicles that were sold or leased in the state.
A trial judge said federal law pre-empted Ohio’s claims, but a mid-level appeals court revived the state’s case, prompting VW to appeal.
In upholding the appeals court ruling, Justice Patrick Fischer said federal law did not pre-empt or conflict with Ohio’s claims that VW violated the state’s Air Pollution Control Act through the post-sale tampering with vehicles’ emissions-control systems.
That, he said, made VW’s fear it could be punished for following Ohio law “unfounded.”
“There is no conflict between the relevant federal and state statutes or any obstacle to Congress’s objectives,” Fischer wrote.
Justice Michael Donnelly dissented, and said the case could theoretically result in a more than $1 trillion judgment.