One of Latin America’s most valuable startups is changing the way Brazilians bank

When David Vélez walked into a Brazilian bank branch to open an account six years ago, he was appalled by the experience.First, he had to check his bag in a locker outside. Next, he waited to pass through a security line manned by three armed guards. He sat there for 45 minutes and finally spoke to someone, who acted like they were doing him a favor by deigning to talk about opening an account. Then, he was sent off to make a phone call to bank employees elsewhere and was later forced to return to the bank a half-dozen times over the next four months.


MIT Sloan faculty insights: 6 books from 2019

By Daron Acemoglu, professor of economics, and James A. Robinson

The concept of liberty likely brings to mind declarations and New England battlefields, but in Acemoglu’s book, he proposes that political freedom comes from a difference source: the space between anarchy and authoritarianism.

“What makes this a corridor, not a door, is that achieving liberty is a process; you have to travel a long way in the corridor before violence is brought under control, laws are written and enforced, and the state starts providing services to its citizens,” the authors write. “What makes this corridor narrow is that this is no easy feat.”


Larry Page and Sergey Brin Hand Over Alphabet’s Reins

It’s officially the end of an era at Google. As the company faces a series of antitrust investigations and mounting employee unrest, its two cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, announced on Tuesday they were stepping down from their leadership roles at the company. Page had been CEO of Google parent organization Alphabet, while Brin served as president. Sundar Pichai, the current CEO of Google, will keep his job and additionally take over as the CEO of Alphabet.

Page and Brin aren’t totally out of the picture. The two cofounders will remain employees of Alphabet and retain their seats on the board, where they together control 51.3 percent of the voting power, according to the most recent regulatory filings. In other words, they still effectively control the company, though they will no longer be running it day to day.


US threatens tax on champagne and French cheese

The Trump administration is threatening to slap import taxes on $2.4bn worth of French goods, including cheese, champagne, make-up and handbags.

The planned tariffs come in response to a new French digital services tax that would affect companies including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

France, along with several other European countries, wants to limit the tech giants’ ability to avoid taxes.

But trade officials in Washington say US firms are being unfairly targeted.

French minister Bruno Le Maire called the US threat to impose tariffs in response to the tax “unacceptable” and suggested France would be prepared to retaliate.


Black Friday shoppers stay away from stores, make $7 billion-plus splurge online

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. shoppers made more purchases online on Black Friday than in the mall – hurting traffic and sales at brick-and-mortar stores, according to data that offered a glimpse into what is still one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

For the first time in several years, however, store traffic on Thanksgiving evening grew – indicating a shift in when consumers are leaving their homes to shop. It is also a sign of how Thursday evening store openings have continued to hurt what has traditionally been a day that kicked off the U.S. holiday season.


Viagogo buys rival ticketing website StubHub in $4bn deal

Secondary ticketing firm Viagogo has announced a $4bn (£3.1bn) deal to buy its rival StubHub, in a move it said would create more choice for customers.

Viagogo is buying its rival from eBay, which bought StubHub in 2007 for $310m.

It means Viagogo’s boss Eric Baker will be reunited with StubHub, which he co-founded but left before the eBay sale.

The deal comes after the UK’s competition authority suspended legal action against Viagogo after it made changes to the way it operates.

In September, Viagogo amended the way it presents information to customers which the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said meant the website was now “worlds apart” from the one that prompted the legal action.


US committed to securing trade deal with China by year’s end but can’t turn blind eye to Hong Kong violence, top official says

“We were hoping to have deal done by the end of the year. I still think that’s possible,” Robert O’Brien said during a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday.

“At the same time, we’re not going to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Hong Kong or what’s happening in the South China Sea, or other areas of the world where we’re concerned about China’s activity.”

O’Brien, Donald Trump’s fourth security advisor, said it “would be a good sign” if Sunday’s local elections in Hong Kong passed without clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police.