Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous, Brian Sozzi, and Ines Ferre discuss the market action for Draftkings, after it signed a deal with the New York Giants.
Apple is temporarily scrapping its controversial 30% App Store fee for Facebook’s new online events feature
Facebook said on Friday that businesses holding online paid events on the social platform will be able to avoid Apple’s 30% fee through the end of the year.
Previously, Facebook said it could not get Apple to budge on its policy, which stipulates that the iPhone maker takes up to a 30% cut on transactions made through the App Store.
Now, Apple will allow Facebook to use its own payment system called Facebook Pay, enabling businesses to avoid the commission rate.
Apple’s App Store fee has been at the center of antitrust concerns surrounding the tech giant.
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Little more than a month after Facebook called out Apple for collecting its App Store fee on a new feature aimed at helping small businesses, the iPhone maker is changing course.
Facebook announced on Friday that businesses hosting paid events on the social platform will be able to keep all of their online event earnings through December 31.
Previously, small businesses holding paid events and classes on Facebook were subject to the commission Apple charges for transactions made through the App Store, which can reach up to 30%. That’s because Apple requires apps in the App Store to use its in-app payment system rather than their own.
But Apple’s App Store policies also stipulate that apps offering goods and services experienced outside of the app — like a class, for example — can offer other alternative payment methods besides Apple’s in-app purchase system.
However, many of these businesses have gone virtual during the pandemic, meaning this rule technically wouldn’t apply since the event is being experienced in the same app through which the access was purchased. Apple is giving Facebook, and other apps like ClassPass and Airbnb, until the end of the year to implement an in-app purchase system for businesses hosting online paid events through their platforms.
Facebook acknowledged that it had approached Apple about reducing its commission or enabling Facebook to use Facebook Pay to absorb the costs back in August when it announced that businesses would be able to earn money from online events hosted on Facebook.
Facebook said at the time that Apple had dismissed its requests.
Now, however, Facebook says it will be permitted to process paid events using Facebook Pay rather than Apple’s payments system, meaning businesses will be able to avoid the 30% commission through the end of 2020.
Creators on Facebook Gaming, the company’s Twitch rival, however, and will still be subject to Apple’s usual rules.
“Apple’s decision to not collect its 30% tax on paid online events comes with a catch: gaming creators are excluded from using Facebook Pay in paid online events on iOS,” Vivek Sharma, vice president of Facebook Gaming, said in a statement. “We unfortunately had to make this concession to get the temporary reprieve for other businesses.”
Facebook has also said it will not collect any fees from paid online events until at least August 2021.
Apple’s App Store policies, particularly its commission on in-app purchases, have been a point of contention for app developers and lawmakers who argue that the rule gives Apple an unfair advantage in the industry. Apple CEO Tim Cook testified on the topic alongside the CEOs of Facebook, Google parent Alphabet, and Amazon in July, where lawmakers grilled Cook on whether Apple treats all developers fairly.
Apple commissioned a report ahead of the hearing showing that its 30% commission on App Store transactions is standard for the industry, drawing comparisons to other online marketplaces.
But part of those concerns center not only on the fee itself, but the ways in which Apple enforces them. Documents revealed during the House antitrust subcommittee’s investigation have shown that Apple offered Amazon a special deal that only charged a 15% fee on subscriptions, for example.
Apple said in a statement to Business Insider that its App Store guidelines are “clear” and “consistent” and apply to all developers.
“The App Store provides a great business opportunity for all developers, who use it to reach half a billion visitors each week across 175 countries,” the company said. “To ensure every developer can create and grow a successful business, Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone.”
App makers have started to speak out about their concerns more prominently over the last year. After publicly accusing Apple of unfair treatment, companies like Spotify, Epic Games, Basecamp, and Tile among others have created an advocacy group called the Coalition for App Fairness.
“Fortnite” maker Epic Games has also been locked in a legal spat with Apple recently over the game’s removal from the App Store after it intentionally skirted Apple’s payment policy.
Facebook has also come under increased scrutiny when it comes to the size and scope of its business. Lawmakers’ concerns around Facebook have hinged on the reasoning behind its acquisitions of rivals like Instagram.
The ability for small businesses to avoid Apple’s App Store commission is just one change to Apple’s policies that Facebook has been pressing for recently. Facebook is now pushing for Apple to enable Facebook Messenger to be a default messaging option on the iPhone, according to The Information. Facebook has also spoken out about how changes in Apple’s iOS 14 iPhone update could hurt its advertising business.
Read the original article on Business Insider
Ron Paul hospitalized after apparently suffering medical emergency during livestream
Former Rep. Ron Paul says he’s “doing fine” after being hospitalized in Texas.
After alarming video emerged on Friday showing Paul starting to slur his words as he spoke during a livestream, Fox News reported that the former congressman was hospitalized for “precautionary” reasons. Fox News’ Harris Faulkner also reported that Paul is “lucid and optimistic” at the hospital, according to the Washington Examiner.
A picture that was soon posted to Paul’s Twitter account showed him giving a thumbs up at the hospital, while a message from the former congressman said, “I am doing fine. Thank you for your concern.” His son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), also tweeted, “Thank God, Dad is doing well. Thank you for all your prayers today.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was among those who had quickly wished Paul well on Twitter following the livestream, tweeting, “For many decades, he has been an extraordinary warrior for liberty. May God’s healing hand be upon Dr. Paul, and may God’s peace and grace be upon the entire family.”
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Trump’s proposed college student visa changes worry international students — again
Leon Lewis-Nicol can still hear the gunshots. If he closes his eyes, he can picture the burning buildings.
As a child in Freetown, Sierra Leone, a nation in West Africa devastated by civil war, Lewis-Nicol often imagined a better, safer life. His family fled the fighting, then returned to Sierra Leone, before ultimately moving to Ghana, some 900 miles away, when he was 15. But friends who traveled around the world used to speak of an even safer place, with clean streets and unlimited opportunities: the United States.
Lewis-Nicol knew he had to go.
Now, the 24-year-old is here, studying to receive his master’s degree in jazz performance from Millikin University, a small, private school in Decatur, Illinois. He’s been in the states four years, set to graduate in 2022. But he wonders if other West African natives like him will soon have the same chance.
This week, President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled proposed rule changes that would dramatically alter student visas, leaving the international student community reeling just a few weeks into the 2020-21 academic year. The proposed changes — which are detailed in a 256-page document online and have already drawn hundreds of public comments — could devastate science research and tech innovation nationwide, experts warn.
“The overall tone of the proposed rules sends a chilling message to current and prospective international students that we are no longer a welcoming nation,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor and attorney at Cornell Law School who specializes in immigration law. “It says we’re more focused on national security threats, and that we suspect they could be coming here to do harm rather than help the U.S.”
Put another way: “It feels terrible,” Lewis-Nicol said. “The stigma is that if you’re from Africa, you’re not wanted and that your dreams are not as valid.”
The proposal comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s introduction — and then abandonment — of a controversial rule barring international students from living in the U.S. while taking fall classes online due to the pandemic. The administration scrapped the policy after a slew of lawsuits.
According to Yale-Loehr’s analysis, the latest proposed changes would, among other things:
Require most international students to finish their studies in four years — even though, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, most first-time college students take more than five years to earn a bachelor’s degree, and many doctoral programs also take more than four years;
Limit stays for some international students to just two years;
Require many international students to apply for extensions to their visas with no guarantee that they’d receive them, especially if the immigration agency determines that the student is not making sufficient progress toward their degree.
Students born in certain countries — particularly African nations, as well as Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq — would be limited to two-year visas, which means no four-year degrees.
To stay in America, or go home? Coronavirus pandemic brings stress, fear for international students.
At Millikin in Illinois, roughly 50% of the international student population comes from countries whose citizens would be restricted by the rules, such as Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Nepal, among others.
The college’s Center for International Education is “sending things out almost constantly trying to calm the fears of our international students,” Director Briana Quintenz said.
“It’s so unfair to them that they can’t just enjoy their college experience,” Quintenz said. “They have to continually dissect these very confusing regulations that seem to be coming out all the time. … My biggest concern is that the already very rigid restrictions are going to become even more complicated, and international students are just going to stop trying to come to the U.S.”
Yale-Loehr said the proposed changes don’t necessarily come as a surprise.
“This is part of a larger anti-immigrant trend coming from this administration,” Yale-Loehr said.
If the rule passes, it would be the biggest change to international student regulation in almost 20 years.
Trump admin. drops visa rule against online-only classes: But some new international students were still barred from U.S.
After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security started a new program requiring colleges to monitor international students to ensure they were here studying and not for alternative purposes. Schools track if international students don’t take a full course load or suddenly drop out.
The system is “cumbersome,” Yale-Loehr said, but it works: Universities are able to see which students are falling through the cracks. The proposed rule changes imply the existing system needs revamping, he said, “when colleges would tell you it’s working just fine.”
But the Trump administration said the rule would strengthen the system for making sure only legitimate students friendly to the U.S. come to the country’s universities.
“Amending the relevant regulations is critical in improving program oversight mechanisms; preventing foreign adversaries from exploiting the country’s education environment; and properly enforcing and strengthening U.S. immigration laws,” said Ken Cuccinelli, a senior immigration official in the Department of Homeland Security.
Foreign students could apply to extend their stay or reapply for admission to the country, Cuccinelli said.
Economic impact would be ‘detrimental’
International students make up roughly 5% of students at American universities and colleges, and their economic impact alone is staggering. According to NAFSA, the association of international educators, 1 million international students contributed $41 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2018-19 academic year.
COVID-19, visas, Trump: International students turning away from US colleges for lots of reasons
Most international students pay full, out-of-state tuition costs, a boon to universities and one that allows them to keep costs lower for domestic students. And the money they spend on rent and at local restaurants is especially important in Midwest college towns that have been hit hard by recessions, said Gaurav Khanna, an economist at the University of California, San Diego. Then there’s the academic concerns.
“This wouldn’t just affect the university sector,” Khanna said. “While international students are here, they do critical research, but then after they graduate, a lot of them join the science and tech sector, where a lot of innovation happens.”
But international students say their contributions go beyond the economy.
Dev Purandare is a doctoral computer science student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who came to the U.S. from India four years ago. Like most international students, he grew up believing the American higher education system was second to none.
“For education, you can’t do much better,” Purandare said. “We can come here and get degrees, participate in research. But we also contribute. Over the course of my career, I’ve been a teaching assistant, I’ve taught courses, and right now I’m mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. And many of them are from California.”
The uncertain future has shaken Purandare and other students.
“It’s demoralizing to international students to have to face a new crisis every month and wonder if we’ll be able to continue what we’re doing,” he said. “The lack of stability is really harmful for productivity. I can’t make any sort of life plans. I can’t even get a cat — because what if I have to leave the next day, or the next week?”
Purandare is in the middle of his doctoral program, and his visa will be up for renewal in the next year. He’s worried about how that process could play out. But even if he’s OK, he said he’s likely to accept a post-doc position outside of the U.S., where he feels more welcome.
Lewis-Nicol, the graduate student from Sierra Leone, agrees.
Lewis-Nicol dreams of becoming such an accomplished musician, he can tour the world and win Grammys. But mostly, he wants to go back to Africa, build music schools and help his people. He thought the U.S. would be the best place to go to help fulfill his dreams, but he’s wondering now if he needs to look elsewhere. Maybe another country won’t define him solely by his birth place.
“That’s why we’re leaving our countries, because we don’t want to be put in a box. We want opportunities,” he said. “If America doesn’t want me, maybe I’ll go to Canada, or somewhere else.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump student visa rule: DHS pushes F1 changes for US colleges
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