letter to shareholders.

“I’ll venture a rare prediction,” he wrote in February. “BNSF will be a key asset for Berkshire and our country a century from now.”

Peter S. Goodman and Clifford Krauss contributed reporting.

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LoadSpring Solutions and Blattner Technologies Announce Strategic Investment Agreement

BURLINGTON, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LoadSpring Solutions, Inc., the enterprise market leader in project platform solutions, has accepted a strategic majority interest investment from Blattner Technologies. Blattner Technologies is on a mission to be the leading provider of Predictive TransformationTM services and tools in the data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning industries.

LoadSpring’s partnership with Blattner Technologies aligns with our industry focus on digital transformation and advancing data usability, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Blattner’s focus on AI and predictive technologies will help lead to our customers’ next generation of advancement.

“Today’s investment announcement will enable LoadSpring to rapidly expand its vision of driving the project controls industry to a future where it aspires to be. This new partnership, including the additional board membership, will accelerate our platform development and AI/analytics technology innovation to enable faster geographic and industry expansion, truly unlocking LoadSpring’s potential. Together, our expertise in providing global cloud solutions for project-based organizations and our new partner’s expertise in building companies will provide next-generation solutions for our customers,” states Eric Leighton, President and CEO of LoadSpring Solutions, Inc.

Blattner Technologies’ CEO Russ Blattner says, “LoadSpring has the resources and tools to complement the list of companies Blattner Technologies is acquiring in our mission to build a predictive transformation model that takes our customers from the basics of data management and analytics to operationalizing AI/ML and true predictive analytics throughout an organization.”

LoadSpring’s global office locations and executive management teams will remain in place, with Eric Leighton continuing in his leadership role as President and CEO. Blattner Technologies representatives Russ Blattner and John Leschorn, along with Terrance Berland, co-founder of Unicorn & Lion, LLC, will join the LoadSpring Board of Directors, providing operational and technology vision to drive customer solutions into the future.

“This investment combines secure technology infrastructure and next-generation tools and analytics to create a truly distinctive solution offering for customers. This is an industry trend that will continue as organizations better understand the power of controlling and mining their data and look for partners that can bring them complete solutions, not just pieces,” says Terrance Berland, a member of the Forbes Technology Council.

About Blattner Technologies

Nashville, TN Blattner Technologies – Building on a 115-year legacy of innovation by the Blattner family of companies, Blattner Technologies is on a mission to be the leading provider of Predictive TransformationTM services and tools in the data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning industries.

About LoadSpring

Founded in 1999, LoadSpring is a global project management provider obsessed with offering advanced managed cloud services. LoadSpring delivers expert project management and control solutions, fast data and business intelligence access, and hundreds of best-of-breed project-based applications. Data safety is assured through SOC 2 Type II security certification, providing an impenetrable cloud environment. LoadSpring customers and partners get higher productivity and ROI through our proprietary project platform while reducing the burden on their IT departments.

For more information, contact Stacey Witt at switt@loadspring.com

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Emerson Unveils New ‘Go Boldly’ Tagline and Global Campaign to Reflect Company’s Evolving Strategic Direction

ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Emerson (NYSE: EMR), a global technology and software leader, today announced a new “Go Boldly” tagline and global ad campaign reinforcing the evolution of the longtime manufacturing powerhouse. Building on the company’s cultural transformation and role as a technology and software partner across essential industries, “Go Boldly” spotlights the ways Emerson is helping the world’s largest companies reach their sustainability goals and optimize operations.

Through new investments, including its recent transaction with AspenTech, Emerson is accelerating its value creation strategy while building on its software capabilities to offer end-to-end technologies that are poised to transform industrial manufacturing and production. “Go Boldly” campaign stories showcase how Emerson is using this automation to help provide cleaner power, reduce energy emissions and enable real-time insight into plant operations across key industries through advanced software.

“Emerson is aggressively transforming our internal culture, driving a greater focus on inclusion and empowerment, while continuing to strengthen our software portfolio and helping our customers explore novel automation technologies,” said Katherine Button Bell, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Emerson. “‘Go Boldly’ is an invitation to join us in making the world healthier, safer, smarter and more sustainable through innovation and our deep industry knowledge.”

Emerson’s new “Go Boldly” campaign was developed in partnership with DDB Worldwide and replaces the company’s longstanding “Consider It Solved” tagline. The campaign will debut across global multimedia vehicles including CNBC, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review.

As part of the new campaign, Emerson is also introducing its own seven-note “sonic logo” that can be integrated into any future Emerson music tracks. This new musical motif gives Emerson a distinctive, ownable and memorable sound.

For more information, visit Emerson.com/GoBoldly.

About Emerson

Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and software company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets. A leader in industrial automation, Emerson helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers optimize operations, protect personnel, reduce emissions and achieve their sustainability goals through its Automation Solutions and AspenTech businesses. Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information, visit Emerson.com.

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Japan’s Universal Entertainment takes over operations of Okada Manila casino

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MANILA, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp (6425.T) said on Sunday its local representatives in the Philippines have taken over the operations of the Okada Manila gambling resort, the latest step in a long-running ownership dispute.

Universal said in a statement accompanied by a copy of a Sept. 2 order from the local gaming regulator that the takeover of the $3.3 billion gambling resort, the largest in Southeast Asia, had been “generally peaceful”.

The regulator, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), said in its order that it was withdrawing its recognition of board members of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, the developer and operator of Okada Manila, previously installed by a group including Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada.

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Pagcor also directed Okada’s Filipino partners to stop operating the casino and disbursing funds from the property’s coffers.

Pagcor said that only Okada himself would be recognised henceforth, in compliance with a Philippine Supreme Court order in April that reinstated the pachinko mogul as chairman, stockholder and director of Tiger Resort.

Okada had been ousted from both Tiger Resort’s and from Universal’s boards in 2017.

The group of Okada and his Filipino associates, however, said on Sunday that Pagcor had defied the Supreme Court order and that they would take legal action over the matter. They did not elaborate.

In a notice issued on Saturday after the order from Pagcor, Okada Manila had said “business remains as usual” at the 44-hectare (108-acre) resort.

Okada Manila started operations late in 2016. With 993 suites and villas, 500 table games and 3,000 electronic gaming machines, it is the biggest of four multibillion-dollar casino-resorts operating in the Philippine capital, which has one of Asia’s most freewheeling gaming industries.

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Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Russia Says the Gas Pipeline to Germany Will Remain Closed

Gazprom said on Friday that it would postpone restarting the flow of natural gas through a closely watched pipeline that connects Russia and Germany, an unexpected delay that appeared to be part of a larger struggle between Moscow and the West over energy and the war in Ukraine.

The Russian-owned energy giant had been expected to resume the flow of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Saturday after three days of maintenance. But hours before the pipeline was set to reopen, Gazprom said that problems had been found during inspections, and that the pipeline would be closed until they were eliminated. It did not give a timeline for restarting.

The announcement had the hallmarks of a tit-for-tat move. Earlier on Friday, finance ministers for the Group of 7 countries said that they had agreed to impose a price cap mechanism on Russian oil in a bid to choke off some of the energy revenue Moscow is still collecting from Europe.

Eric Mamer, a spokesman for the European Commission, said that the “fallacious pretenses” for the latest delay were “proof of Russia’s cynicism.”

Russia has, during Mr. Putin’s long tenure, used energy for geopolitical ends, often with the goal of gaining leverage over European policies toward Ukraine. Mr. Putin has taken a keen interest in the oil and natural gas industries, often negotiating deals personally with energy giants in ways that barely hide the political subtext. The Nord Stream pipelines, which are designed to bypass Ukraine by sending gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, have been central to the Kremlin’s political use of energy.

In its statement Friday, Gazprom said it found oil leaks around a turbine used to pressurize the pipeline, forcing it to call off the restart. The German company Siemens Energy, the maker of the turbine, cast doubt on that account. “As the manufacturer of the turbines, we can only state that such a finding is not a technical reason for stopping operation,” the company said late Friday. Siemens also said there were additional turbines available that could be used to keep the pipeline operating.

OPEC Plus group of oil producing countries, headed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, have been hinting that they might pivot away from their gradual post-pandemic production increases and cut output to bolster falling prices. The group is expected to meet on Monday to set oil production levels.

“Putin will endeavor to demonstrate that he has not played his last card and that there are many open windows in his energy war with the West,” Helima Croft, head of commodities at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients on Friday.

The latest action by Gazprom will raise fears of a permanent shutdown of the pipeline, which had been the key conduit for gas to Germany, a country heavily dependent on Russian natural gas. Like other European Union nations, Germany has been rushing to fill storage facilities before winter as insurance against Russian cutoffs.

since late July. Well after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the pipeline was typically transporting around five times that level.

Britain’s energy regulator said that fuel bills for 24 million households would rise by 80 percent beginning in October, putting pressure on the next prime minister, expected to be Liz Truss, to turn immediate attention to coming up with a massive aid package to head off a catastrophic winter.

Britain’s government is not the only one working to mitigate the energy crisis in Europe. Facing dire circumstances, lawmakers and regulators across the continent are increasingly intervening in the energy markets to protect consumers.

At the same time, the European natural gas market has changed substantially over the last year as Russia crimped supplies and Europe turned to other sources. Flows from Russia to Europe have declined sharply.

imports of liquefied natural gas shipped by sea from the United States and elsewhere, and increased pipeline flows from producers including Norway and Azerbaijan. The problem is that the shifts have forced gas prices higher, as Europe vies with Asia for limited supplies of liquefied gas.

Until Friday’s announcement there was increasing optimism about the prospect for navigating the winter with less Russian gas, leading to the fall in natural gas prices in recent days. Wood Mackenzie, an energy research firm, has projected that Russian pipeline gas imports will steadily decline from supplying more than a third of European demand in recent years to around 9 percent in 2023.

Even the importance of Nord Stream has diminished. Analysts say that Gazprom has so constrained Nord Stream volumes this summer that the pipeline’s performance is no longer crucial to the overall fundamentals of the market. But news about the conduit still has a psychological impact, and some analysts expect gas prices to jump when markets open on Monday.

“A complete shutdown will obviously have implications on market sentiment given how tight the market is,” said Massimo Di Odoardo, vice president for global gas at Wood Mackenzie. Such an event, he added, would “increase the risk of further cuts via other pipelines bringing Russian gas to the E.U. via Ukraine and Turkey.”

Andrew E. Kramer contributed.

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Bonaventure Appoints Veteran Real Estate Finance Executive Barry H. Bass as CFO

ALEXANDRIA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bonaventure, an integrated alternative asset manager focused on the development, construction, and property management of innovative lifestyle multifamily communities in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions, today announced the appointment of Barry H. Bass as Chief Financial Officer. Bass brings more than three decades of real estate finance experience to Bonaventure, having previously served as the CFO of several public and private real estate companies.

Bass, who works out of Bonaventure’s corporate headquarters in Alexandria, VA, is responsible for overseeing the finance functions of the company and its private REIT, including financing activities, financial reporting, accounting, treasury and tax. Over the course of his distinguished career, Bass served as CFO of Carr Properties, a privately held REIT, and First Potomac Realty Trust (NYSE: FPO), where he helped the office and industrial REIT complete its initial public offering.

“Barry is a proven talent with an exceptional track record, and we are thrilled to add him to our executive team,” said Dwight Dunton, founder and CEO of Bonaventure. “His broad financial expertise, deep capital markets knowledge and vast network of industry relationships will be of significant value to the company as we accelerate our growth plans, expand our investor base and introduce new product offerings. We are focused on continuing to add best-in-class talent like Barry to the Bonaventure team.”

Prior to joining Bonaventure, Bass was CFO of Holistic Industries, one of the country’s largest multi-state cannabis operators. He also served as Managing Director and Chief Business Officer at Willco Companies, a private developer, owner and manager of primarily office and flex/industrial assets in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Bass graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Government and attended the Babson Graduate School of Business.

“I’m excited to join such a great team and contribute to the growth and innovation happening at Bonaventure,” said Bass. “The company’s vertically integrated platform, entrepreneurial culture and ability to grow through development and strategic acquisitions are strong competitive advantages that position the enterprise for long-term success. I’m committed to doing all I can to help advance the company’s strategic priorities and create value for its investors and residents.”

About Bonaventure

Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, Bonaventure is an integrated alternative asset management company specializing in multifamily design, development, construction, asset management and property management with over 6,000 apartment units across 26 communities primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States. Since its founding in 1999 by Dwight Dunton, Bonaventure has become one of the top 15 most experienced HUD developers in the nation and has completed $500 million in HUD loans and over $2.25 billion in transactions. With its focus on building enduring value through ingenuity, Bonaventure boasts a full suite of investment capabilities. To learn more, visit www.bonaventure.com.

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Cannabis fintech Bespoke to expand BNPL base in cash-starved industry

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An employee puts down an eighth of marijuana after letting a customer smell it outside the Magnolia cannabis lounge in Oakland, California, U.S. April 20, 2018. Friday marked the first ‘4/20’ since the sale of recreational marijuana became legal on January 1. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

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Aug 25 (Reuters) – Fintech firm Bespoke Financial is looking to expand its ‘buy now pay later’ service for cannabis businesses in California and Massachusetts later this year, its Chief Executive George Mancheril said on Thursday.

The push comes after a successful pilot launch in July that allowed cannabis retail outlets to buy products from producers using the service that allows them to pay back after its sale.

The service that uses partner point-of-sales firm Blaze’s software is coming to the weed sector struggling to get funds from banks as it is classified as illegal under federal rules.

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Amid slow banking and legal reforms, the sector is going through a downturn, with marijuana stocks losing nearly 80% of their value from their high in February last year.

“Cannabis has always been its own microcosm, where because of federal illegality we have less access to capital relative to other industries,” Mancheril said in an interview with Reuters.

The plan by Bespoke and Blaze also comes at a stormy time for other BNPL firms as their valuations take a hit from spiraling inflation that has slowed consumer spending.

The two fintech firms believe their service can sidestep such worries as they tap into larger fees from companies, especially the niche cannabis industry, rather than consumers.

“With B2B, there’s a way to actually underwrite risk and to measure risk, in a way that’s much more difficult than on the consumer level,” Mancheril said.

The sector’s financing hurdles is a boon for Bespoke as there is no competition from larger BNPL firms, said Karan Wadhera, managing partner at Casa Verde Capital, a venture capital firm that funds cannabis startups including Bespoke.

“We’re not seeing Affirm or Klarna, and definitely not Apple come into our space anytime soon.”

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Reporting by Ruhi Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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What Will Happen to Black Workers’ Gains if There’s a Recession?

Black Americans have been hired much more rapidly in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns than after previous recessions. But as the Federal Reserve tries to soften the labor market in a bid to tame inflation, economists worry that Black workers will bear the brunt of a slowdown — and that without federal aid to cushion the blow, the impact could be severe.

Some 3.5 million Black workers lost or left their jobs in March and April 2020. In weeks, the unemployment rate for Black workers soared to 16.8 percent, the same as the peak after the 2008 financial crisis, while the rate for white workers topped out at 14.1 percent.

Since then, the U.S. economy has experienced one of its fastest rebounds ever, one that has extended to workers of all races. The Black unemployment rate was 6 percent last month, just above the record low of late 2019. And in government data collected since the 1990s, wages for Black workers are rising at their fastest pace ever.

first laid off during a downturn and the last hired during a recovery.

William Darity Jr., a Duke University professor who has studied racial gaps in employment, says the problem is that the only reliable tool the Fed uses to fight inflation — increasing interest rates — works in part by causing unemployment. Higher borrowing costs make consumers less likely to spend and employers less likely to invest, reducing pressure on prices. But that also reduces demand for workers, pushing joblessness up and wages down.

“I don’t know that there’s any existing policy option that’s plausible that would not result in hurting some significant portion of the population,” Mr. Darity said. “Whether it’s inflation or it’s rising unemployment, there’s a disproportionate impact on Black workers.”

In a paper published last month, Lawrence H. Summers, a former Treasury secretary and top economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, asserted with his co-authors that the Fed would need to allow the overall unemployment rate to rise to 5 percent or above — it is now 3.5 percent — to bring inflation under control. Since Black unemployment is typically about double that of white workers, that suggests that the rate for Black workers would approach or reach double digits.

The Washington Post and an accompanying research paper, Jared Bernstein — now a top economic adviser to President Biden — laid out the increasingly popular argument that in light of this, the Fed “should consider targeting not the overall unemployment rate, but the Black rate.”

Fed policy, he added, implicitly treats 4 percent unemployment as a long-term goal, but “because Black unemployment is two times the overall rate, targeting 4 percent for the overall economy means targeting 8 percent for blacks.”

news conference last month. “That’s not going to happen without restoring price stability.”

Some voices in finance are calling for smaller and fewer rate increases, worried that the Fed is underestimating the ultimate impact of its actions to date. David Kelly, the chief global strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, believes that inflation is set to fall considerably anyway — and that the central bank should exhibit greater patience, as remnants of pandemic government stimulus begin to vanish and household savings further dwindle.

“The economy is basically treading water right now,” Mr. Kelly said, adding that officials “don’t need to put us into a recession just to show how tough they are on inflation.”

Michelle Holder, a labor economist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, similarly warned against the “statistical fatalism” that halting labor gains is the only way forward. Still, she said, she’s fully aware that under current policy, trade-offs between inflation and job creation are likely to endure, disproportionately hurting Black workers. Interest rate increases, she said, are the Fed’s primary tool — its hammer — and “a hammer sees everything as a nail.”

having the federal government guarantee a job to anyone who wants one. Some economists support less ambitious policies, such as expanded benefits to help people who lose jobs in a recession. But there is little prospect that Congress would adopt either approach, or come to the rescue again with large relief checks — especially given criticism from many Republicans, and some high-profile Democrats, that excessive aid in the pandemic contributed to inflation today.

“The tragedy will be that our administration won’t be able to help the families or individuals that need it if another recession happens,” Ms. Holder said.

Morgani Brown, 24, lives and works in Charlotte, N.C., and has experienced the modest yet meaningful improvements in job quality that many Black workers have since the initial pandemic recession. She left an aircraft cleaning job with Jetstream Ground Services at Charlotte Douglas International Airport last year because the $10-an-hour pay was underwhelming. But six months ago, the work had become more attractive.

has recently cut back its work force. (An Amazon official noted on a recent earnings call that the company had “quickly transitioned from being understaffed to being overstaffed.”)

Ms. Brown said she and her roommates hoped that their jobs could weather any downturn. But she has begun hearing more rumblings about people she knows being fired or laid off.

“I’m not sure exactly why,” she said.

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Dairy Farmers in the Netherlands Are Up in Arms Over Emission Cuts

WOUDENBERG, Netherlands — The dairy farmers of the Netherlands have had enough.

They have set fire to hay and manure along highways, dumped trash on roads to create traffic jams, and blockaded food distribution centers with their tractors, leading to empty shelves in supermarkets. Across the country, upside down flags wave from farmhouses in protest.

The anger of the farmers is directed at the government, which has announced plans for a national 50 percent reduction of nitrogen emissions by 2030, in line with European Union requirements to preserve protected nature reserves, that they believe unfairly targets them. Factories and cars also emit large amounts of nitrogen and have not been targeted, they say, although the government said that cuts associated with both polluters would be addressed in the future.

Agriculture is responsible for the largest share of nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands, much of it from the waste produced by the estimated 1.6 million cows that provide the milk used to make the country’s famed cheeses, like Gouda and Edam.

wrote in a letter to the Dutch minister of agriculture this month that “the transition to a sustainable agricultural and food system is urgent and necessary.” The letter also said that consumers in the Netherlands needed to do their part to make sure emissions targets were reached.

“Consumers also have to take responsibility,” it said. “Dutch people will have to consume more vegetables and fewer (-70%) animal proteins.”

All of this comes as wrenching change in the Netherlands, where dairy farms have long been as much of the national identity as the country’s windmills and canals. It is also a major producer and exporter of milk and milk products. Last year it sent €8.2 billion worth of dairy products abroad and produced a total of 13.8 billion kilos of milk, according to ZuivelNL, a Dairy organization.

to a survey by a Dutch research firm.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who this month became the country’s longest-serving prime minister and has grappled with what is known in the Netherlands as “the nitrogen crisis,” has condemned the protests, calling them “unacceptable.”

said recently on Twitter.

in July.

former President Donald J. Trump said at a rally last month.

For now, a government-appointed mediator is engaged in negotiations between the farmers and the government. The mediator has said there is a “crisis of confidence” between the two sides.

“We’re not going without a fight,” said Mr. Apeldoorn, the dairy farmer. “That’s how most farmers feel right now.”

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