Lawmakers slam Big Tech as CEOs grilled at antitrust hearing

first_imgAbusing platforms? Apple’s Cook faced tough questioning over the market power of the company’s App Store and its treatment of developers.”We treat all app developers the same,” Cook said. “We do not retaliate or bully people.”Some lawmakers sought to play down the competitive harms of the companies, which have also won praise for innovating and introducing new technologies.”Being big is not inherently bad,” said Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin. “Quite the opposite, in America you should be rewarded for success.”Cicilline, the panel chairman, expressed concern that the firms would emerge even stronger from the coronavirus outbreak.”Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these corporations already stood out as titans in our economy,” he said. “In the wake of COVID-19, however, they are likely to emerge stronger and more powerful than ever before.”Bezos, in his first appearance before a congressional committee, defended Amazon’s dealings with third-party sellers after a blistering attack from Cicilline.”Isn’t it true that small businesses have no real option but rely on Amazon to connect with customers to make online sales?” the committee chair asked.”We’ve heard from third party sellers again and again during the course of our investigation that Amazon is the only game in town.”Bezos disputed the characterization while adding, “There are a lot of options for small firms..  I think we are the best one.The CEOs, in their prepared comments, highlighted their American roots and values.”I walked away from a steady job into a Seattle garage to found my startup, fully understanding that it might not work,” said Bezos, the world’s richest person.Zuckerberg called Facebook a “proudly American company” and added that “our story would not have been possible without US laws that encourage competition and innovation.”Cook described Apple as “a uniquely American company whose success is only possible in this country,” and that the California giant is “motivated by the mission to put things into the world that enrich people’s lives.”The hearing takes place against a backdrop of antitrust investigations in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.Current US antitrust laws make it difficult for enforcers to target companies simply for being large or dominant without also showing harm to consumers or abuse of market power.The committee, however, could lay a blueprint for antitrust in the digital era that would require a fundamental rewrite of the century-old competition rules. Republican Gregory Steube of Florida disputed Google’s removal of a video promoting the unproven COVID-19 treatment  hydroxychloroquine, saying it was seeking “to silence physicians in their opinion.” “Simply put, they have too much power,” said Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island who chairs the panel which has been conducting a year-long investigation into the business practices of the four companies.”This power staves off new forms of competition, creativity, and innovation,” Cicilline said. “The dominant platforms have wielded their power in destructive, harmful ways in order to expand.”While the hearing was called to focus on whether the companies have abused their dominant positions in the market, violating antitrust laws, it veered quickly into the hot topic of political bias.”I’ll just cut to the chase — big tech is out to get conservatives,” said Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio. “That’s not a suspicion. That’s not a hunch. That’s a fact.” Topics : Trump weighs in  Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook are too powerful and will likely emerge from the coronavirus pandemic even stronger, the head of a US congressional antitrust committee said Wednesday at a high-stakes hearing which featured a grilling of the CEOs of the four US tech giants.Tim Cook of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google appeared jointly by video before the House of Representatives subcommittee conducting an investigation into market dominance.Democratic lawmakers questioned the vast market power of the companies while Republicans accused Facebook and Google in particular of stifling conservative voices. President Donald Trump, who has accused Facebook and Twitter of censoring his remarks and being biased against conservatives, weighed in with a tweet shortly before the hearing began.”If Congress doesn’t bring fairness to Big Tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with Executive Orders,” Trump said. “In Washington, it has been ALL TALK and NO ACTION for years, and the people of our Country are sick and tired of it!”Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Google’s Pichai pushed back against claims that their platforms filtered out conservative views.”Our goal is to offer a platform for all ideas,” Zuckerberg said. “We want to give everyone in the world a voice.””We approach our work in a non-partisan way,” said Pichai. “We’ll continue to conduct ourselves in a neutral way.”last_img read more

Revealed: The Brisbane River suburbs to suit every budget

first_imgThe tennis court at the home at 65 Carnegie St, Westlake.In Fairfield, just 4km from the CBD, the median house price is a reasonable $736,500. Riverfront homes in Hawthorne line the banks of the Brisbane River. Map of Brisbane’s river suburbs. Image: Fraser of Place – New Farm, who specialises in selling riverside property in the western suburbs, said there were still affordable opportunities to buy in the city’s riverside suburbs, with a handful of renovators and smaller, older homes still available.“Some of these properties offer huge potential for investment and, if renovated nicely, can end up paying off in the future,” Ms Fraser said. “However, these opportunities are becoming less common.”Ms Fraser said she expected it to become more challenging for buyers on a tight budget to secure a property close to the water over the next three years, with solid price growth predicted. This house at 4 Brixton St, Toowong, is for sale for between $800,000 and $850,000.Kirsty and Jeff Claudius have just upgraded to a bigger house in the riverside suburb of Chelmer after recently selling their three-bedroom home in the same suburb.The couple has lived in the area for the past 12 years because they like it so much.According to, Chelmer has a median house price of $1.25 million.“We definitely like being near the water,” Mrs Claudius said.“It’s just a nice outlook, it makes it nice and leafy around the area and a nice community feel.” The view from the rooftop terrace of the home at 34 Addison Ave, Bulimba.BRISBANE RIVER SUBURBS TO SUIT EVERY BUDGETFrom least expensive to most expensiveSuburb Median House PriceRiverview $245,000 Goodna $295,000 Wacol $308,985 Redbank $312,500 Pinkenba $370,000 Rocklea $410,000Riverhills $508,800Barellan Point $515,000 Oxley $566,500 Bellbowrie $567,500Karalee $570,000 Moggill $590,000 Jindalee $593,750Seventeen Mile Rocks $630,000Murarrie $635,000 Kenmore $702,500 Milton $715,000 Newstead $721,412Morningside $723,000 Westlake $730,000 Mount Crosby $735,000 Fairfield $736,500Corinda $785,000Sherwood $817,500East Brisbane $835,000Indooroopilly $850,000Graceville $850,000Yeronga $865,000Anstead $897,500 Toowong $915,000 Kangaroo Point $941,500 Dutton Park $953,000Highgate Hill $956,000Fig Tree Pocket $993,000West End $1.015m St Lucia $1.0675m Tennyson $1.091m Hawthorne $1.1mChelmer $1.25mAuchenflower $1.275mBulimba $1.35mNew Farm $1.4375mHamilton $1.5mPinjarra Hills $1.52m (Source: This house at 2 Gwydir St, Riverhills, is for sale for $554,000.On the opposite side of the river in Bellbowrie, 18km from the CBD, the median house price is also affordable at $567,500.A four-bedroom, two-bathroom house on a huge 1012 sqm block has just hit the market there for offers over $585,000.The property comes with a saltwater pool and large deck and is walking distance to the river and local shopping centre. This house at 13 Banyan St, Bellbowrie, is for sale for offers over $585,000.In Westlake, where the median house price is $745,000, it is possible to pick up a property by the river on a big block of land for under $1 million. This house at 65 Carnegie St, Westlake, is for sale. The view of the river from the home in Riverhills.“After 2011, there was a bit of a stigma in buying a riverside home, but now the positives of buying near the river far outweigh the negatives,” Mr Evenden said.“Just being able to wake up and look at the water every morning — people put an emotional premium on that view.” For first homebuyers, a three-bedroom bargain is also for sale in the same suburb for $554,000.The recently renovated house is on a bigger than average 653 sqm block and only a 20 minute drive to the city. This house at 1 Leopard St, Kangaroo Point, is back on the market after selling for $18.48m. Riverhills is a riverside suburb and has a median house price of only $508,800.The riverfront property at 9 Curlew Place is in a flood-free position in a quiet cul-de-sac just metres from the water.Marketing agent Jackson Evenden from Ray White Sherwood – Graceville said properties in the suburb were tightly held and rarely became available for sale.Mr Evenden said buyers were starting to see the value in suburbs like Riverhills, where properties by the river were half or a third of the price of those 10 minutes away in Sherwood and Graceville. It is still possible to find a home to suit every budget along the Brisbane River.“People love living by the water; whether it be for the ease of taking out their boat or going for a run, walk or ride along the Brisbane River,” Ms Fraser said. “It is a way of life here now in Brisbane and it’s extremely highly-sought after, yet opportunities are few and far between because these properties are tightly held.”Despite the not-so-distant memory of the 2011 floods, demand for riverfront real estate in the Queensland capital is stronger than ever, according to recent sale of a luxury, riverfront apartment at New Farm for more than $6 million at 10/170 Bowen Terrace is testament to that. This home at 965 Brunswick St, New Farm, is scheduled for auction.Right now, there is a five-bedroom character home for sale for offers over $855,000 at 18 Luya St, Fairfield, while around the corner in Yeronga, a three-bedroom house is up for grabs for offers over $695,000.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus11 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market11 hours ago This five-bedroom house at 2 Rhyndarra St, Yeronga, is for sale.Bargain hunters should also head to inner-city Toowong.While the median house price is getting up there at $901,250, there is currently a three-bedroom house on a bigger than average 647 sqm block for sale for between $800,000 and $850,000. This house at 65 Longman Tce, Chelmer, recently sold for $6.6m.If your pockets are somewhat deeper, Kangaroo Point, Bulimba and New Farm have some of the hottest riverside property in the city.In Kangaroo Point, the most expensive house ever sold in a single transaction in Brisbane is back on the market. This house at 34 Addison Ave, Bulimba, is for sale. This two-level apartment at 10/170 Bowen Tce, New Farm, has just sold for more than $6m.But while the Brisbane River is home to many of the city’s most prestigious residences, less than 20 minutes from Brisbane city, the riverside suburb of Riverhills has a median house price of $508,800, according to now, on the banks of the river, a four-bedroom, two-bedroom house on 661 sqm is on the market for $789,000. MORE: Strike the right notes There is something to suit every budget along the Brisbane River, if you know where to look.YOU don’t have to be a billionaire to live on Brisbane’s ‘brown snake’, but agents warn now is the time to get a bargain before it’s too late.From a humble cottage a few minutes’ walk from the water, to the glamour of a luxury riverfront pad in Bulimba, there are still options to suit all budgets in the city’s river suburbs.But with spring selling season just around the corner, agents are crying out for more property listings to meet demand and affordable options by the water are fading fast. RELATED: Amazing waterside homes for every budget This house at 9 Curlew Plc, Riverhills, is on the market for $789,000. This house at 8 Richmond St, Chelmer, recently sold for $950,000.Mrs Claudius said she believed buying in a riverside suburb like Chelmer or Graceville was also a good investment.“If you’re a first homeowner, it’s pretty hard to get in, but there are still a few gems around,” she said.“Definitely in the long run property prices are going to continue rising.“It’s close to the train lines here, there are great little cafes around … and good schools for the kids.” The pool overhanging the river at 1 Leopard St, Kangaroo Point.The riverfront home at 1 Leopard Street fetched a record $18.488 million in 2017.In Bulimba, the luxury pad belonging to rugby star Quade Cooper and his model girlfriend, Laura Dundovic, is on the market.The four-bedroom, three-bathroom property at 34 Addison Ave was renovated before the couple moved to Melbourne this year, and includes a lap pool, rooftop terrace and 12m marina berth.last_img read more

Fire Pit Ordinance passes at City Council meeting

first_imgGreensburg, IN—During Monday evening’s Greensburg City Council meeting, the Council approved the ordinance that will allow fire pits in the city limits but with several restrictions. This is meant for fire pits that can be purchased or homemade pits that are made out of masonry blocks and can be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in depth. There are also restrictions listed for gas-starter fire pits.Mayor Josh Marsh reminds residents that fires aren’t meant to be a nuisance to your neighbors. No brush fires, trash burning, tires, or other types of cleanup fires. This ordinance is intended for use of firewood and starters for a small backyard fire.last_img read more