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Good Morning, it’s Thursday, 15 March 2018 and this is the Morning Edition of The Nightshift.
Britain is expelling 23 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy who was living in the U.K. Expect British diplomats to be expelled from Russia as a counter move.
Closing the toy box for good. National toy retailer Toys R Us (and subsidiary Babies R Us) is closing all of its stores and will layoff approximately 33,000 employees nationwide. The national chain–loved by generations of kids and parents–has been in bankruptcy for over a year. The company, unable to develop a feasible turnaround strategy, will instead shut down operations and liquidate. It is the end of 70 years of retail operations.
In other business news, Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of tech startup Theranos, has been charged with massive fraud by the SEC, fined $500,000 and banned from being involved in publicly held companies for a period of 10 years. Theranos famously had a blood testing machine that could provide a suite of diagnostic tests on a single pin prick of blood. The claims and technology proved to be overly ambitious. Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford at 19 to found Theranos, was once the billionaire princess of Silicon Valley.
I Heart Media, a goofy name for a company that owns 858 radio stations, has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The company absorbed a massive amount of debt when it was purchased in a leveraged buyout. The CEO is Bob Pittman, most famous for founding MTV. Pittman has been a bust as CEO but the real problem is simply the sheer number of radio stations the company owns. At one time, the FCC had rules which limited the number of broadcasting outlets a company could own or control; this ruling, in place for generations, was designed to prevent national radio/tv monopolies from developing and to keep radio/tv ownership focused on the communities in which the stations operated. Big firms like I Heart Media took advantage of relaxed ownership rules to buy up stations all over the country (for debt, of course) and control programming and sales operations from a central location, taking the “local” out of operations and desensitizing their outlets to local events, culture, and coverage. The strategy bombed spectacularly and the company was unable to service the massive debt it piled up. Simple solution to this problem: Put ownership limits back in place. Bigger is not always better, despite what some LBO specialists say.
The NCAA tournament starts full rounds of play today. Finish your brackets by noon, Eastern.
Today is National Everything You Think Is Wrong Day…a chance to, perhaps, re-calibrate our thoughts. One of the sites that follows “National Days” was unable to ascertain the creator of the day. Just as well…they’d probably be wrong.
What We’re Listening to in the Media Bunker: The March Playlist, compiled by music editor/music correspondent DJ Tschugge. The Nightshift is the only news site that provides you with music to get and keep you moving. And remember–we add new music every day.
The front pages (and sometimes more) of the world’s great English language newspapers are linked below. The International Headlines are all at your fingertips, below. As always, thanks for dropping by. We have added the English language feed of Agence France-Presse to the news index along with the McClatchy DC News Bureau.
The Times (London
Financial Times (UK)
The Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
The Wall Street Journal (European edition)
Washington Post (Washington, D.C.)
New York Times (New York)
The Boston Globe (Boston)
The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles)
Daily News Egypt (Cairo)
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)
The Moscow Times (Moscow)
Le Figaro (Paris)
Bloomberg.com (New York)
The Jerusalem Post (Jerusalem)
The Japanese Times (Tokyo)
The Local (Oslo)
The Buenas Aires Herald (Buenas Aires)
The Sidney Morning Herald (Sidney)
Deadline Hollywood (Hollywood)
FiveThirtyEight (New York City)
Politico (Washington, DC)
Lawfareblog (Washington, DC)
Wired (San Francisco, CA)
The Weather Channel
CNN News Text Site
McClatchy DC Bureau
The Fine Print: Embed image courtesy of our friends at Getty Images, who have the photographic history of the 20th and 21s century on file and online. If you need an image, they are your source. This image has not been altered in any way. We thank them for sharing. This post is number 1695 for this site. The Nightshift is a continually evolving experiment in news communications and is a production of Perception Engineering and The Media Bunker. It’s rapid iteration.Thanks for reading. Now–catch up on the world.