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What people at The Washington Post say about Jeff Bezos scandals

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Jeff Bezos Lauren Sanchez Patrick WhitesellJeff Bezos with Lauren Sanchez and her husband Patrick Whitesell.Todd Williamson/Getty Images for Amazon Studios

  • Jeff Bezos has been considered The Washington Post’s savior since he bought it in 2013.
  • But recent scandal around his personal life has shaken some Post employees’ image of him.
  • Post employees expressed mixed feelings, with some saying the scandal humanized him and others being less forgiving.

Jeff Bezos has been credited with rejuvenating The Washington Post since he bought the paper a little more than five years ago. Amid great angst about the future of traditional news media, he’s been heralded as the ideal steward, using his billions to save the paper while leaving the editorial side alone. The top editor Marty Baron said that under Bezos the paper had enjoyed “complete independence” on the editorial side, hired 150 news staffers, and added “a lot” of engineers.

But in January, the tycoon became embroiled in scandal when sexy photos and texts he sent to his mistress were leaked to the National Enquirer.

He also got a black eye earlier this month when Amazon scrapped controversial plans for a big expansion in New York City.

Read more: Amazon decided to shut down HQ2 in New York, but advertisers see no sign of the e-commerce giant slowing down its attack on Madison Avenue

Against that backdrop, we decided to ask some Post employees across the paper if the recent headlines had changed their view of Bezos. It wasn’t scientific, and we granted anonymity to let people speak freely about their employer and its owner.

The Post declined to comment, and Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Here’s what seven Post employees said:

Bezos may not be as smart as he appeared to be

Some said they credited Bezos with saving the paper and worried what Bezos’ divorce news would mean for The Post’s fate. Some also were challenged to reconcile the tabloid revelations with their image of Bezos as a genius and a family man who whipped up pancakes for Post executives in his kitchen after the paper’s sale.

“It’s mixed. He’s still the savior here. But it’s awkward,” one person in editorial said. “There’s a sense that he was the smartest guy in the room, and wow, he goes out and does a really dumb thing.”

Bezos is an obscure figure for many Post employees. He’s limited his contact to its business side and rarely addressed the entire staff. He’s also been portrayed as a ruthless boss at Amazon. To some, his newly exposed fallibility softened his image.

“He’s flawed — it humanizes him a little,” one said.

Bezos has stayed out of editorial decisions, but one question that always hangs over his ownership is how The Post can cover the world’s richest man who also happens to be its owner. So the recent scandal had a silver lining of letting The Post show the world it can cover its owner as aggressively as any news outlet, one journalist there said.

After Bezos published a Medium post accusing the CEO of the Enquirer’s parent company of blackmail, one called the move “gutsy” and approved of his publishing the attack on Medium and not The Post, sparing the paper an awkward situation.

Others unhappy with Bezos spotlight

Others took a harsher view. Bezos had already lost some popularity with Post employees who have demanded better pay and benefits. Shortly after he took over, the paper made big cuts in retirement benefits.

One journalist also looked poorly on the owner of a high-profile media institution becoming the story. (In his Medium post, Bezos hinted at political motivations behind the leak to the Enquirer.)

“People lost thousands of dollars,” this person grumbled of the cuts to retirement benefits. “And to see him drag the paper into a political dispute, it’s disturbing. The president wants to attack him — he should be quiet.”

One factor that might make it easier for people to criticize Bezos is that The Post is on firmer footing than it’s been in a long time. It’s passed 1 million subscriptions and is growing its technology-licensing arm. It just won a prestigious Polk award and is said to be profitable.

“Things still feel pretty positive,” one employee said. “It doesn’t feel like we have to go to the magic Bezos well.”

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Wedding attack and tech: How OpenText’s investigations service beats the traditional approach

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At its heart, an investigation is a hunt for relevant facts in order to tell a story — a story that drives strategies for organizations, including law firms.

Tracy Drynan, head of OpenText Recon Investigations — a seamless end-to-end service that helps companies and law firms find evidence for all types of investigations including internal investigations, litigation assessments, compliance and regulatory investigations, c-suite vetting and more — says these stories are a more powerful tool than most people think.

The team led by Drynan arms both in-house and external counsel with the information needed to guide their corporate and outside lawyers with the information needed to guide their clients: an investigation empowers them. What differentiates OpenText Recon is the speed with which the team utilizes specialized tools and workflows to efficiently locate evidence. This approach gains insights into patterns, gaps and relationships in a fraction of the cost of a traditional eDiscovery review, and more quickly gathers the relevant facts to create that critical story.

“Whether it be litigation or a regulatory investigation or an internal audit, often time is of the essence,” Drynan says. “Being able to make decisions that affect your bottom line, your liability, your risks which ultimately challenge your resources, even public opinion, is critical.”

Too often, an archaic model is applied to investigations — one derived when we still existed in a paper society — that analyzes all available information but doesn’t actively hunt for relevant facts, and that produces a disconnect. An efficient model does not need to analyze every piece of information.

“It’s flawed for this reason,” Drynan says. “When you review a set of information, even when you apply advanced analytics and information retrieval science, it is still at the end bucketed for a team to analyze it contiguously. In a way, we are still following the pre-electronic paradigm — we are reviewing almost paper documents one by one, and that unfortunately is handicapping both the talent and the technology in the hunt for the facts.”

While lawyers may make a living hunting facts and building narratives, Drynan would argue their approach could be improved and points out that many of the companies hired by firms to help out during an investigation still apply that outdated model. OpenText Recon breaks that pattern and approaches the hunt differently — they don’t compartmentalize anything, which means the team can identify patterns more easily. Those patterns become the clues, which become the facts, that become the story that allow lawyers to make those critical decisions. The result is not a stack of documents, but a more nuanced report outlining the important facts to analyze.

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Canada takes aim at Netflix, Airbnb in $6.5B big-tech tax plan

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Canada’s federal government is planning to force foreign-based technology firms such as Netflix Inc. and Airbnb Inc. to charge their users a sales tax in a move aimed at boosting the government’s coffers by as much as $6.5 billion over the next five years. 

The new taxation plans, outlined in the government’s Fall Economic Statement, attempt to level the playing field between Canadian companies and foreign-based digital corporations that were largely exempt from paying federal sales taxes. Some provinces — such as Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Quebec — introduced taxes on streaming services like Netflix earlier this year. 

The government announced Monday that any foreign-based company selling digital products or services to consumers in Canada will be required to collect and remit the Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax. The new tax changes are proposed to begin on July 1, 2021. 

“Canadians want a tax system that is fair, where everyone pays their fair share, so the government has the resources it needs to invest in people and keep our economy strong. That is why we are moving ahead with implementing GST/HST on multinational digital giants and limiting stock option deductions in the largest companies,” said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, in prepared remarks. 

“And Canada will act unilaterally, if necessary … to apply a tax on large multinational digital corporations, so they pay their fair share just like any other company operating in Canada.”

Those taxes will include any sales on products or services made through digital marketplace platforms, sales to Canadians of goods that are located in Canadian fulfillment warehouses, as well as any companies whose platforms help to facilitate short-term rental accommodations in Canada. 

However, the new taxation moves wouldn’t see streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video, Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+, and Spotify Technology SA meet certain Canadian-content requirements, something the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission​ recommended be adopted rather than introduce new tax measures in a wide-ranging report released earlier this year. 

The CRTC estimates that those streaming services record annual revenue of roughly $5 billion, according to its most recent financial data. The federal broadcast regulator said in January that Ottawa should require foreign streaming services to invest in local programming rather than “digital taxes” that would likely get passed down to consumers. 

“It is more appropriate to establish a regime that requires such online streaming services that benefit from operating in Canada to invest in Canadian programming that they believe will attract and appeal to Canadians,” the report said. 

Ottawa will also consider new corporate-level taxes for foreign-owned digital corporations and is working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to develop a framework it expects to provide further details on in the next budget. It expects the new measure will result in $3.4 billion in new tax revenue over the next five years once it is introduced sometime in 2022. 

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RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. RevoluPAY To Pursue Dubai Financial Services Authority PSP License

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. (TSX-V: REVO), (Frankfurt: IJA2) (the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has dispatched Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros to pursue the petition of a Payment Service Provider (“PSP”) Money Service Business License in the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) from the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Corporate Rational For a PSP License in Dubai

In May 2020, RevoluPAY was granted the European PSD2 license. In September, RevoluPAY received Pan-European passporting approval to operate in 27 E.U. countries. The Company has further expanded its international open banking reach through definitive agreements (“DA”) with BBVA, Flutterwave, and Thunes. Additionally, via direct PSD2 SEPA passporting, the Company added sixty-eight countries and territories to its financial operations roster. In November, the Company submitted petitions for both the analogous United States MSB licenses and the Canadian FINTRAC license. The MEASA region of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia is a significant financial hub that necessitates exposure for both financial operations and a strategic base for the region’s operations. The Company considers the DIFC an excellent regional hub, having introduced robust legislation for payment services providers (“PSP”) like RevoluPAY.

Furthermore, DIFC conveniently fills the timezone gap for a global financial center between London and New York’s leading financial centers in the West and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the East. Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros is duly accredited with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which should aid the Company’s plans to obtain the Dubai PSP license and establish a corporate financial hub in the region. The Company has diligently prepared all required documentation, and Mr. Lara Riveros arrives in Dubai on the 4th of December 2020 to initiate the license petition process. The global operations of RevoluPAY expect to benefit from the multi timezone capability garnered from a supplementary and PSP licensed subsidiary domiciled in the MEASA region.

License Sought in Dubai

The Company intends to pursue the Category 3D license, which covers the following activities, “Providing or Operating a Payment Account, executing Payment Transactions or Issuing Payment Instruments, including creating and maintaining accounts for executing payment transactions, issuance of personalized sets of procedures agreed upon by the users and the provider, for initiation or execution of payment instructions.”

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