Financial Daily Dose 12.15.2020 | Top Story: Moderates Push Skinnier Covid Relief Bill that Strips Out Sticking Points

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The latest lame-duck Covid relief package proposal would trim about 150 billion dollars (and a number of key sticking points, including funds “to bolster state and local governments, and a temporary coronavirus liability shield for businesses, nonprofits, schools and hospitals”) in an effort to drive a deal before the end of the year - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg

Pinterest is paying $22.5 million to resolve gender discrimination and retaliation allegations by former COO Francoise Brougher. The company didn’t admit liability as part of the deal, but the size and public nature of the settlement made waves on Monday - NYTimes and TechCrunch and WSJ

As luck (or misfortune) would have it, waging a trade war in the midst of pandemic-induced lockdowns is not ideal for reducing reliance on “Chinese-made furniture and appliances, along with Barbie Dream Houses and bicycles for the holidays” - NYTimes

Boeing has “expanded inspections of newly produced 787 Dreamliners” after discovering a “previously disclosed manufacturing defect in sections of the jet where it hadn’t been initially detected.” While Boeing and FAA officials said the issue “doesn’t pose an imminent safety hazard,” the news is another challenge for the company in an already difficult year - WSJ

While we await an antitrust case from state AGs against Google targeting its search monopoly, the Times considers how the company’s role as search engine for the world (its index now includes an estimated 500-600 billion web pages) continually reinforces its top role, with “[e]very search request provid[ing] Google with more data to make its search algorithm smarter” - NYTimes

We’re not the only ones scrutinizing Big Tech. On Monday, the FTC announced that it has “opened a wide-ranging study into how social media and streaming companies collect and use data about their users,” starting with orders to Amazon, ByteDance, Discord, Facebook, Reddit, Snap, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube to provide the Commission with ad and engagement data within 45 days - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and Law360 and TechCrunch

Meanwhile, across the pond, Irish data protection officials have issued their first fine to an American company—Twitter, in this case—for the GDPR violation of “failing to document or properly notify the regulator within 72 hours of learning of a data breach disclosed in January 2019 that exposed some users’ private tweets” - WSJ

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin appears to be backing away from plans to return Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac to private control before the end of the current administration, suggesting he’s “going to not do anything that jeopardizes taxpayers and puts them at additional risk” - WSJ

California’s Public Utilities Commission has issued a $59 million fine to Uber for “repeatedly refusing to provide the commission with information on more than a thousand sexual assault and harassment claims the ride-hailing giant received in recent years” – Law360 and HuffPost

German shoe and athletics retail powerhouse Adidas is reportedly considering options for the Reebok brand that it acquired 15 years ago. Adidas has spent years trying to revamp Reebok’s brand, and while it’s improved the brand’s business, it has underperformed compared to Adidas itself - WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Uber and DoorDash will raise prices in California to help fund driver benefits (like health care subsidies, “mileage reimbursement, occupational insurance, [and] minimum earnings”) guaranteed by California voters who passed Prop 22 last month - Bloomberg and MarketWatch

Remembering, and appreciating, John Le Carré, the spy turned writer who shared George Smiley and the internal struggle and moral ambiguity of espionage with us all - NYTimes

Stay safe.

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