Russia Warns As Finland Joins NATO, Spotify Highlights Struggle With Live Audio, Anticompetitive Charges Against Activision Blizzard: Today's Top Stories


Finland Joins NATO Doubling Border Length, Russia Issues Warning

  • The Finland foreign minister signed the accession document, and Finland has become the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) security alliance.
  • The move is a strategic and political blow to Russia's Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly complained about NATO's expansion toward Russia and partly used that as a justification for invading Ukraine.

Dogecoin Fans Ask Elon Musk To Take It To The Moon As Official Twitter Currency

  • The cryptoverse has a new request for Twitter Chief Elon Musk after his recent logo tweak: make Dogecoin (DOGE/USD) the official currency of the microblogging platform.
  • One such call was made by David Gokhshtein, who runs crypto media firm Gokhshtein Media asked Musk on Twitter if he would consider making DOGE the platform's official currency.

Richard Branson's Space Dreams Crash As Virgin Orbit Files For Bankruptcy

  • Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc VORB has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a day after flagging substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern for at least 12 months.
  • Virgin Orbit lodged the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Tuesday.
  • The company listed assets and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million, per the filing.

Meet The Astronauts Who Will Fly To The Moon 50 Years After The Last Human Landings

  • NASA and the Canadian Space Agency named the four astronauts who will be part of their Artemis II mission on Monday.
  • NASA astronauts Reid WisemanVictor Glover, and Christina Hammock Koch, and CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen shall be part of the 10-day Artemis II mission around the Moon, NASA said in a statement.

Nio Rejects Elon Musk's Ruthless Moves: Says Tesla Can't Fix EV Prices In China

  • Nio Inc NIO CEO William Li has said that the Chinese EV maker will not take part in pricing wars while adding that Elon Musk's Tesla Inc TSLA cannot decide EV prices in China.
  • Li, at a recent industry conference, said Nio would not be a part of EV price wars as its gross margins are too low.
  • Blind price cutting will create ruthless competition in the country, he added while speaking at an industry conference.

Ron DeSantis Draws Disney CEO's Ire Over 'Don't Say Gay' Law Retaliation

  • Walt Disney Co DIS CEO Bob Iger hit back at Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday for apparently retaliating against the entertainment behemoth.
  • Iger said at the company's annual shareholder's meeting that though Disney may not have handled its position on Florida's so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill well, corporations have a right to air their opinions, reported Reuters.
  • "To seek to punish a company for the exercise of a constitutional right, that just seems really wrong to me," said Iger.

Lockheed Martin, F-35 Joint Program Office Ink £147M Contract To Support UK's F-35 Fleet

  • Lockheed Martin Corp LMT and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) signed the Lightning Air System National Capability Enterprise (LANCE) 23-27 contract to support the United Kingdom's F-35 fleet. 
  • The contract is valued at ~£147 million and will ensure and enhance the UK F-35 fleet's availability and capability to conduct combat missions worldwide.

Natura Divests Aesop To L'Oréal For $2.5B; Plans To Focus On Strategic Priorities

  • French skincare giant L'Oreal Co LRLCY has agreed to acquire Aesop, the Australian luxury beauty brand, from Natura &Co Holding S.A. NTCO.
  • The proposed transaction values Aesop at an enterprise value of $2.525 billion.
  • Aēsop, created in 1987, currently operates around 400 points of sale across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.
  • The brand, which became part of Natura in 2012, registered $537 million in sales in FY22.



Spotify Pulls Down Curtains On Spotify Live, Highlights Struggle With Live Audio

  • Spotify Technology S.A. SPOT is shutting down its live-audio app Spotify Live, a company spokesperson confirmed on Monday. 
  • The company says it will continue to explore live features on its central platform.
  • After a period of experimentation, Spotify decided to sunset the Spotify Live app.
  • Based on its learnings, it no longer makes sense as a standalone app, highlighting the company's struggle with live audio. 


Wall Street Journal

US DOJ Slaps Anticompetitive Charges Against Activision Blizzard Related To Esports Leagues

  • The Justice Department prosecuted Activision Blizzard, Inc ATVI for restricting competition for players in Activision's Overwatch and Call of Duty professional esports leagues and suppressing the wages of esports players in these leagues.
  • The complaint alleges that Activision's two esports leagues and the independently-owned teams in each league implemented a so-called Competitive Balance Tax that penalized teams in the Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues, respectively, if a team's player compensation exceeded a threshold set by Activision.



US Court Favors Bayer In Lawsuit Against Merck On Talc Liabilities

  • Merck & Co MRK remains on the hook for asbestos-related liabilities involving talc product lines it sold to Bayer AG BAYRY as part of a $14.2 billion deal concluded in 2014.
  • According to the deal, Bayer acquired Merck's existing OTC business.
  • Vice Chancellor Nathan Cook of the Delaware Chancery Court said the purchase agreement "clearly and unambiguously" left Merck liable for claims related to products sold before the transaction closed.

Despite Tensions, German Insurers Renew Insurance Cover For Russia-Owned Nord Stream Pipeline

  • Allianz SE ALIZY and Munich Re have renewed insurance coverage for the damaged Russia-controlled Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, contrasting Germany's public stance of cutting ties with Moscow.
  • Russia has a 51% stake in Nord Stream 1 through a subsidiary of the state-owned energy group Gazprom.
  • Russia's foreign ministry has reportedly accused European countries of trying to hide the results of their investigations of the Nord Stream gas pipeline blasts that happened in September last year.

After Denying, Pfizer & Merck Marginally Cut Prices For Their COVID-19 Treatments In China

  • Pfizer Inc PFE and Merck & Co Inc MRK have reportedly lowered the prices of their respective COVID-19 treatments in China.
  • Pfizer cut the price of Paxlovid by about 100 yuan ($14.54) to 1,790 per box of 30 pills, while Merck marginally lowered the price of a 40-capsule bottle of its oral treatment molnupiravir by 74 yuan to 1,426 yuan.



Walmart's Job Cuts To Affect 2,000 Positions In Its E-Commerce Warehouses

  • Walmart Inc's WMT workforce reduction at five e-commerce fulfillment centers in the U.S. reportedly will affect more than 2,000 positions.
  • The affected employees, though, will be given assistance to find other roles at the company.
  • The job cuts include more than 1,000 positions at a warehouse in Fort Worth, Texas, about 600 jobs at a Pennsylvania fulfillment center, 400 in Florida, and 200 in New Jersey.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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