Why today’s GM news is devastating for Nikola

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From its name on down, it’s clear that zero-emission vehicle startup Nikola aims to emulate Tesla’s soaring trajectory. But over the past six months, Nikola’s efforts to follow that blueprint have faced a series of setbacks including fraud allegations, key resignations, and a reported fraud inquiry by federal regulators.

On Monday, the headwinds grew stronger when Nikola’s announced that General Motors will effectively withdraw from a planned partnership that was first announced in September. Investors had seen the deal as a huge win for Nikola, by giving it a massive jolt of credibility.

Under the proposed agreement, GM would have provided battery and fuel-cell technology to Nikola and manufactured Nikola’s planned Badger electric pickup.

In exchange, GM was to take an 11% stake in Nikola, … Read the rest

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Hawaii seeks to be seen as a remote workplace with a view

Software engineer Raymond Berger begins his work day at 5 a.m., before the sun comes up over Hawaii.

Rising early is necessary because the company he works for is in New York City, five hours ahead of Maui, where he is renting a home with a backyard that’s near the beach.

“It’s a little hard with the time zone difference,” he said. “But generally I have a much better quality of life.”

The pandemic is giving many workers the freedom to do their jobs from anywhere. Now that Hawaii’s economy is reeling from dramatically fewer tourists, a group of state officials and community leaders wants more people like Berger to help provide an alternative to relying on short-term visitors.

Coinciding with the approach of winter in other parts of the U.S., “Movers & Shakas”—a reference to the Hawaii term for the “hang loose” hand gesture—launches Sunday as a campaign … Read the rest

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Biden’s national coronavirus strategy is starting to take shape—and it’s very different than Trump’s

Congress is bracing for President-elect Joe Biden to move beyond the Trump administration’s state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 crisis and build out a national strategy to fight the pandemic and distribute the eventual vaccine.

The incoming administration’s approach reflects Democrats’ belief that a more comprehensive plan, some of it outlined in the House’s $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill, is needed to get the pandemic under control. Republicans have resisted big spending but agree additional funding is needed. With the nation on edge but a vaccine in sight, the complicated logistics of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans raise the stakes on the major undertaking.

“We have an incredible challenge on our hands,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, which is approaching the anniversary of its first reported case of the virus last January.

A vaccine can only go so far, Murray warned, without a distribution plan. “A vaccine can … Read the rest

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R.I.P. Black Friday? Pandemic, online shopping lead to thin crowds

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The major retailers wanted sparse crowds on Black Friday in this COVID-19 era. They certainly got them.

On Friday morning, only a few dozen people were lined up outside the Macy’s flagship in Manhattan before it opened, compared to 15,000 or so in recent years. A nearby Aéropostale and Victoria’s Secret were devoid of any customers at all at 7 a.m. And at the sprawling Newport Centre in Jersey City, N.J., across the Hudson River, it was a ghost town: not a single customer inside its Sears store, and only a smattering of shoppers at its J.C. Penney or Kohl’s.

Even at the nearby Target, Best Buy and Home Depot, which were busy in comparison, the crowds were modest compared to previous years. Best Buy, … Read the rest

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Former World Bank president James Wolfensohn dies at 86

James Wolfensohn, who served as the president of the World Bank for 10 years and was a guiding force for a couple of the most well-known cultural institutions in the U.S., has died. He was 86.

Wolfensohn died Wednesday at his home in Manhattan according to the Institute for Advanced Study, where he had been a past chair of the board. His son and one of his two daughters also confirmed his death in media reports.

Wolfensohn, born in Australia, worked on Wall Street for many years before taking over as the head of the World Bank, a loan-offering global development organization, in 1995. He was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton.

In his time there, he took on issues like corruption in the organization’s development projects, and emphasized paying attention to the needs and priorities of the countries doing the projects.

He was also a lover of the arts, serving … Read the rest

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