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How far Chinese moms will go to have U.S. babies

Written By limadu on Selasa, 31 Maret 2015 | 14.44

chinese mom fraud

Some are even willing to commit visa fraud, lie to immigration officers and pay tens of thousands of dollars to shady middlemen -- as long as the payoff is a U.S. passport for their newborn.

An underground "birth tourism" network that stretches from the U.S. to China has sprung up to cater to growing numbers of Chinese mothers who travel stateside to give birth, according to affidavits filed by federal law enforcement officers. The moms are lured by laws that grant U.S. citizenship to anyone born on American soil.

Department of Homeland Security agents carried out a series of "birth tourism" raids earlier this month as part of a larger criminal investigation targeting companies in California that have netted millions helping pregnant Chinese women fraudulently secure visas and scam hospitals.

Related: Why Chinese moms want American babies

Documents made public as part of the investigation shed light on the lengths that expectant Chinese mothers are willing to go for an American baby. Here's a look at some of the tactics:

Lie on your visa application

Pregnant women from China are allowed to vacation in the U.S., after securing a travel visa from the U.S. government. But if someone misrepresents the reason for visiting, that's visa fraud.

DHS documents describe one Chinese woman, and her partner, who claimed to be traveling to the U.S. for tourism on their visa application. A U.S. consular officer concluded after an interview that they were "credible tourists" traveling for fun, according to DHS.

On the visa application, the woman even put a Los Angeles hotel as the address where she would be staying. But she later listed a different one on a U.S. passport application for her newborn. That second address was for a unit in a high-end Irvine, California apartment complex where one birth tourism company had rented a number of homes, according to DHS.

The company that used the apartments, You Win USA, was one of three targets in the DHS raids carried out early March. DHS is investigating the people who run You Win, and similar businesses, for alleged visa fraud, tax evasion, failure to report overseas assets and scamming hospitals.

DHS spokeswoman Virginia Kice said no criminal charges have yet been filed, and no arrests made. DHS is reviewing evidence seized during the raids and statements from witnesses.

You Win recommended moms who wanted to give birth in the U.S. apply for tourist visas far in advance to avoid detection by U.S. authorities, and even coached clients how to lie in their interview, according to DHS documents.

Over the past two years, You Win's alleged visa fraud scheme resulted in more than 400 births at just one California hospital, Fountain Valley Regional. The hospital didn't respond to a request for comment.

chinese maternity arrest The federal government carried out a series of raids in early March on maternity hotels.

Leave without paying hospital bills

Some You Win clients allegedly defrauded hospitals by not paying what they owe. They "either fail to pay anything or pay a greatly-reduced amount designed for indigent or low income patients lacking insurance," according to DHS.

Records obtained by the agency show the couple found to be "credible tourists" paid only $4,080 of a $28,845.29 medical bill from the California hospital where their child was born. The expectant Chinese mother told the hospital that she was unemployed -- though she had listed a job on her original visa application.

DHS documents suggest the couple could have afforded to pay the full bill. They opened a Citibank account within weeks of arriving in the U.S. last February, and wired over $200,000 from China into the account. Plus, numerous charges were made from the account over the course of three months at places like the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, Bose, Rolex in Costa Mesa and Louis Vuitton in Beverly Hills.

Sail past immigration at the airport

In an undercover investigation, DHS found that You Win employees not only prep moms to pass the visa interview, but also train them to clear immigration once they arrive. "The earlier the better, in order to conceal the pregnancy," one You Win agent said, according to government documents.

chinese mother cartoon A cartoon posted on You Win's website shows a pregnant mom entering the U.S. on the left, and returning to China on the right with her American baby.

You Win even suggested that moms fly from China to places like Hawaii before connecting to Los Angeles -- where immigration security is tighter.

California, in particular, is popular with Chinese moms -- they have their pick of maternity hotels, and if their ties to the state deepen over time, the children may be eligible for lower tuition rates at University of California schools.

According to the federal affidavits, You Win clients pay up to $60,000 for the company's services. These firms often also line up chauffeurs, meals, translators and sightseeing trips.

The long run

Once moms get a U.S. passport for their kid, they essentially have a ticket out of China if they grow weary of pollution, food safety scares and political volatility. At 21, American-born children can apply to sponsor their parents for residency in the U.S.

While other foreigners also come to the U.S. for the sole purpose of giving birth, the Chinese appear to be the only group willing to pay high sums for the services of these birth tourism companies.

Following the raids carried out by DHS agents, websites linked to You Win were taken offline. Multiple calls to numbers DHS linked to the company were unsuccessful. At least one of the phone numbers has been disconnected.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) March 30, 2015: 8:46 PM ET


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How Hong Kong's subway turns a $2 billion annual profit

The city's subway is the face of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) -- a publicly traded company that pulled in $5.2 billion in revenue last year.

With a $2 billion annual profit, the Hong Kong's subway is an anomaly among major rail networks. New York's subway, for example, suffers from chronic funding gaps and will spend nearly $2.5 billion in 2015 to service its debt.

How does Hong Kong's train and bus network manage to clear its mind-boggling margins?

First off, this is one impressive subway system. Even with more than 5 million daily commuters, MTR trains boast a 99.9% on-time arrival rate. Fares are notoriously cheap ($.50 to $3), but cover roughly 175% of the system's operating costs.

But the company's real profits are derived from a lesser-known side of the business: property development. Some 50 major properties across Hong Kong are owned, developed or managed by MTR, including two of the city's tallest skyscrapers.

"Sometimes critics say it's a property development firm doing a side business of rail," said Tim Hau, a professor at University of Hong Kong's School of Economics and Finance.

Here's how it works: MTR enjoys a special relationship with the Hong Kong government, which is also its majority shareholder. The government provides land -- at no cost -- for use by the train operator, and MTR is then allowed to develop the areas above and around its stations.

Related: Taking a ride on the world's most envied metro system

MTR often builds shopping malls right on top of stations -- it owns 13. Last year, rents at the malls went up by an average of 14%. Below ground, each subway stop is jam-packed with retail outlets, which all pay rent to MTR or have a profit-sharing agreement in place.

You can find every kind of retail in the stations -- even Michelin-starred dim sum restaurants.

Wong Sau Lan has been managing one such restaurant, called Tim Ho Wan, for the past two years. She said the restaurant's MTR outlet, located in a subway station that serves the central business district, is twice as popular as its flagship restaurant.

For the 14 hours that Tim Ho Wan is open each day, people will, on average, wait 40 minutes for the MTR dining experience.

MTR is now exporting its model abroad. It's already been commissioned to build and run lines in China, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia, and more projects are in the works.

"They'll go wherever there's a profit," said Hau. "There aren't that many viable competitors in the world."

Related: Beijing's Growing Subway

Related: China's incredible high-speed rail system

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) March 30, 2015: 8:50 PM ET


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Elizabeth Warren tells Wall Street: 'Bring it on'

The senator from Massachusetts said Monday that she will continue to call for financial reforms and for big Wall Street banks to be broken up, despite potential retaliation against Democratic candidates.

Last week, Reuters reported that Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), Goldman Sachs (GS) and J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) might withhold campaign contributions to Senate Democrats because of Warren's negative portrayal of Wall Street.

"You bet I believe it's a serious threat," Warren told a packed room at a Barnes & Noble in New York City's Union Square -- a few miles north of Wall Street.

"It is so brazen. If they think they can say in public, 'I don't like your tone, I don't like the way you talk about financial regulation' ... I got news for them: bring it on," the Democrat said.

Related: Elizabeth Warren says the market is broken

Warren stressed that she only wants two things from Wall Street: banks shouldn't be able to cheat people, and no financial institution should be able to risk destroying the economy because it's too big to fail.

"If they want to fight on either one of those, I'm ready," she said to much applause.

Warren says no to presidential run: Several members of the audience held up "Elizabeth Warren for President" signs and chanted "Run, Liz, Run" during the event.

"No, I am not running for president," Warren said. "I am not going to run for president."

Elizabeth Warren event March 30 Moumita Ahmed, left, and Emiljana Ulaj hold signs urging Elizabeth Warren to run for president at an event on March 30, 2015 where the senator spoke.

Instead, she called herself a "nerd" who loves her Senate job. Her top priorities at the moment are reducing the interest rate on student loans, increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health and raising the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.

Related: Elizabeth Warren is worth millions

Emiljana Ulaj was one of the people holding a sign at the bookstore and urging Warren to run. An immigrant from Albania, she has a full-time job but believes the American Dream is at risk.

"I hope she's just deliberating about running and didn't chose this moment to announce," Ulaj, 28, told CNNMoney. She was pleased to hear Warren stand up to the banks, "That's when you know you're making change."

What's ahead: The stakes for Warren may be higher if Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York with close ties to business, becomes the Senate Democratic leader after Sen. Harry Reid retires in 2016. Schumer is widely viewed as the top candidate for the leadership post.

Schumer and Warren would likely clash on financial regulation, and he might push her to soften her tone in order to help fundraising. If the banks didn't contribute, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee could lose up to $15,000 per bank a year -- and possibly more if individual bankers stopped donating as well. Warren is already trying to fight back by asking supporters for donations in a blog post Friday.

Related: Wall Street welcomes expected Chuck Schumer promotion

Warren is currently promoting her book, "A Fighting Chance." She read from a passage about her fight against the big banks to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she says has forced banks to return $5 billion "to consumers they cheated."

Elizabeth Warren: 8 ways to restore the middle class

CNNMoney (New York) March 30, 2015: 10:36 PM ET


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Ford's big Lincoln Continental is coming back

Written By limadu on Senin, 30 Maret 2015 | 14.44

This car has a big job: To regain for Lincoln the respect it once had, decades ago, as a luxury car brand.

In recent years, Lincoln has mostly sold upgraded versions of Ford cars with little difference beyond the design and some added features.

The Continental is, officially, a concept vehicle but something very much like it will go on sale next year, according to Ford (F). And the production car will also be called the Lincoln Continental, making it one of only two Lincoln models, along with the Navigator SUV, to have a name instead of letters like MKZ or MKC.

The Continental is about the same length as a Mercedes-Benz S-class or long-wheelbase BMW 7-series, two expensive high-end luxury cars it is designed to compete against.

Besides BMW and Mercedes, the Continental will also be competing against a new Cadillac flagship sedan. That car is expected to be unveiled in New York this week, as well, in the days leading up to the New York Auto Show.

1956 lincoln continental mark II In the 1950s, Continental was a separate brand offering opulent ultra-luxury cars like this Mark II.

The concept Lincoln has a reclining rear passenger seat, a fold out table in the back with an attached tablet computer and even a champagne cooler. Options like that may be available on the production car. Ford boasts that the Continental has a new turbocharged engine not available in any Ford brand car.

The concept car's front lights, starting with lighted Lincoln four-pointed star, come on in sequence. In the production car, that will happen as the car's owner approaches with the key fob. The interior is bathed in soft golden mood lighting.

1961 lincoln continental The 1961 Lincoln Continental was a styling icon for its era.

Continental is a hallowed name within the Ford Motor Co. In the 1950s, Continental was actually a separate brand priced above Lincoln and offering cars with an even greater level of opulence. Later, in the early 1960s, the Lincoln Continental, with its simple, straight lines and backwards-opening rear doors, became a stylish icon of the Kennedy era.

Photos - Cool car from the Geneva Motor Show

The Continental name also resonates among Chinese car buyers, according to Ford executives, despite the fact that Lincolns only went on sale there last year.

CNNMoney (New York) March 30, 2015: 12:05 AM ET


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Half of Americans are saving next to nothing

income saving habits For many of us, it's time to step up our savings plan.

Roughly half of Americans are saving 5% or less of their incomes, including 18% that are not saving anything, according to a survey from Bankrate. Only about a quarter of people are saving more than 10% of their earnings.

So how much should you be saving? Bankrate recommends 15%.

"Between emergency savings and the ever-increasing burden of retirement savings that is on the individual, the goal should be 15% of your income," said Greg McBride, the personal finance website's chief financial analyst.

Currently, one in seven people are saving more than 15%, the report showed.

"For a lot of people, it won't happen overnight. It's going to take some time, but it's doable, as the middle class is showing."

Those in the middle class are proving to be the super savers with 35% of people with an annual income of $50,000-$74,999 saving more than 10% of their earnings.

Related: The average tax refund is now $2,893

Of those taking home more than $75,000 a year, 32% were saving more than 10% of their income, according to McBride.

Saving more is easier said than done, which is why McBride suggests making it automatic by having a portion of each paycheck be directly deposited into a savings account and a retirement plan. "Saving needs to happen before you pick up your paycheck."

Bankrate's Financial Security Index, which surveyed 1,000 adults in the U.S., also showed consumers are feeling better about their debt and financial situation compared to a year ago, which could actually be bad news for savings accounts.

"People get frugal fatigue, as the economy improves I think a lot of people will fall back into familiar habits ... more spending, more debt, less savings."

Tool: How fast will my savings grow

CNNMoney (New York) March 30, 2015: 12:01 AM ET


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Andrew Sullivan: Blogging nearly killed me

andrew sullivan

His prodigious output was supplemented by dispatches from readers, public debates with fellow bloggers and ruminations on everything from the Geneva Conventions to "South Park." Blogging was a medium -- and a lifestyle -- that he helped pioneer. It also nearly proved to be his undoing.

"The truth is, I had to stop primarily because it was killing me," Sullivan said Sunday night at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan. "I used to joke that if blogging does kill someone, I would be the first to find out."

He described the grueling pace that he maintained along with a small editorial staff.

"This is 40 posts a day -- every 20 minutes, seven days a week," Sullivan said.

Sullivan has been lying low since he penned his farewell post for "The Dish," the politics and culture blog he founded in 2000. When CNNMoney requested an interview earlier this month, Sullivan declined, saying he was "in detox from media for a while."

In announcing his retirement from blogging in January, Sullivan cited "increasing health challenges." He said those health struggles weren't related to the HIV he's lived with for more than 20 years, but rather the stress of a profession that he helped make mainstream.

On Sunday, while speaking to veteran journalist Jeff Greenfield, Sullivan said that the "crushing" workload was only part of what made his job so overwhelming. The experience, Sullivan said, was often dehumanizing.

"Here's what I would say: I spent a decade of my life, spending around seven hours a day in intimate conversation with around 70,000 to 100,000 people every day, " Sullivan said. "And inevitably, for those seven hours or more, I was not spending time with any actual human being, with a face and a body and a mind and a soul."

Sullivan said the job resulted in lost friendships and minimal contact with his family. He said his husband, whom Sullivan married in 2007, called himself a "blog widow."

Related: Andrew Sullivan bids farewell to blogging

No longer tethered to his computer, Sullivan said he's resolved to exercise and meditate each day, and to get eight hours of sleep. He expressed relief that he wasn't forced to cover the recent controversy over Hillary Clinton's emails.

"I couldn't imagine blogging the next election," he said. "I will not spend another minute of my time writing about the Clintons. Period. Or the Bushes."

Sullivan was one of the earliest adopters of the blog medium, and The Dish was housed at mainstream news organizations such as Time and The Atlantic. In 2013, Sullivan broke from The Daily Beast, making The Dish an independent organization subsidized by subscriptions. He asked readers to pay a minimum of $19.99 for full access to the blog.

Calling The Dish's readers the "most wonderful people" for whom he's ever written, Sullivan on Sunday celebrated the 30,000 subscribers who signed up for his blog. He touted the accomplishment as one that even a certain online juggernaut would be hard-pressed to match.

"I'm intensely proud of having 30,000 subscribers to a site, which is 30,000 more than BuzzFeed will ever have," Sullivan said. "That's my one response to BuzzFeed. When you get 30,000 people willing to pay you 40 bucks a year to read this, then my hat's off to you."

Sullivan's reflections on his shuttered blog were coupled with his thoughts about the industry at large. He lamented both the proliferation of "sponsored content," or paid advertisements that deliberately resemble news stories, and the obsession with page views.

Sullivan recalled a recent visit to The Huffington Post newsroom, where editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington eagerly trumpeted the website's staggering traffic numbers.

"She was so excited," Sullivan said, before mimicking Huffington's Greek accent. "'Andrew, we had 176 million [unique visitors] last month.'"

He said "one of the kids" at The Huffington Post later confessed that he didn't know what the 176 million figure even meant.

"I said, 'You are the smartest kid here,' " Sullivan said. "It means nothing, really."

At one point during Sunday night's conversation, Greenfield read a question from an audience member who complained of "Dish-withdrawal." Is there another website that is comparable to Sullivan's creation?

"I've been looking, and I can't find it," Sullivan said.

Related: BBC sacks Clarkson ... what next for Top Gear?

Related: Lara Logan of '60 Minutes' hospitalized again

CNNMoney (New York) March 30, 2015: 1:50 AM ET


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The activist nun reforming profit-prisons

Written By limadu on Minggu, 29 Maret 2015 | 14.44

Mercy Investment Services Inc. is the investment fund for the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, an international religious order.

The fund is managed by Sister Valerie Heinonen, a soft-spoken nun who's been buying shares in for-profit prison companies since early 2000. She's not doing it in the hopes of making big bucks. Rather, she tries to use her leverage as an owner to reform the industry.

"What we want is the establishment of a human rights policy at these companies," Heinonen told CNNMoney.

Even more importantly, she wants the policy to be thoughtfully implemented, monitored and transparently disclosed to shareholders.

Related: 19 stocks to buy now

The issue: Hundreds of prisons and immigrant detention centers in the U.S. are being run or co-run by for-profit companies.

For decades, investors have put billions of dollars into the two largest such companies, Geo Group (GEO) and Corrections Corporation of America (CXW). Many investors saw dollar signs as prison populations swelled. The stock of Geo Group has risen 130% in the past three years.

While profits have been huge, some money managers feel it is unfair for Wall Street to profit from what they see as the inhumane warehousing of human beings. This issue is back in the forefront given the surge of immigrant detainees following the mass deportation effort of the Obama administration.

Immigrant federal prisoners are mostly segregated into 13 "Criminal Alien Requirement" prisons, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. These institutions are unusual in three respects.

"They are some of the only federal prisons operated by for-profit companies instead of being run as federal institutions by the Bureau of Prisons; they house exclusively non-citizens; and they are low-custody institutions with lesser security requirements than the medium and maximum-security institutions run directly by BOP," the ACLU says.

Accusations of mistreatment at for-profit prisons are plentiful.

Related: More undocumented workers moving into management

Prison treatment: Among them, according to an ACLU report released in 2014, is a riot in 2012 where about 300 prisoners at a facility run by CCA in Natchez, Mississippi, housing immigrant detainees over "inadequate food, poor medical care, and mistreatment by guards." The report said "the uprising resulted in the death of one guard and the injury of nearly 20 other people."

GEO Group and CCA say they are committed to protecting the human rights of prisoners and detainees.

"Our company adopted a Global Human Rights policy two years ago, which we believe was a first for any private correctional organization in the United States," Geo Group told CNNMoney in a statement.

CCA said its human rights policy is publicly available on its website and is incorporated into the ethics and professionalism course that every new employee receives. "It has been shared across our organization in communications from our CEO and others in leadership," a CCA spokesman said.

willacy detention facility Guards search male detainees inside Homeland Security's Willacy Detention Center, a facility with 10 giant tents that can house up to 2000 detained undocumented immigrants, 10 May 2007 in Raymondville, Texas.

Last month, part of an immigrant detention center in Willacy County, Texas was burned by detainees rioting in protest of what they said were inhumane conditions at the facility. Last week the Federal Bureau of Prisons abruptly canceled its contract there with Management and Training Corporation, the third-largest privately run, for-profit prison company in America.

"Inmates started three small fires during the disturbance but they were minor. Damage by inmates to infrastructure like water and sewer was the reason inmates had to be transferred to other facilities," said Issa Arnita, director of corporate communications for MTC.

The treatment of immigrants at detention centers exploded into the national consciousness this summer as a torrent of undocumented children flowed into the U.S. Kids were being picked up by the border patrol but placing them in immigrant detention facilities was difficult. There just weren't enough facilities available. What was available, however, were prison beds.

With investor money, companies like Geo Group and CCA have been building prisons across the United States, but as crime rates and incarceration levels declined nationwide, those beds sat empty. Now, many of those beds are being used to house immigrants.

How the nuns strive for change: Mercy has raised questions about food, housing and education for the detained children and adults.

"We've also been concerned about legal access for people," Heinonen said.

Implementation and monitoring of human rights policies and transparency in communicating progress to investors is a work in progress.

"How often do the guards get a refresher course and what kind of oversight is there," Heinonen asked.

Mercy and the prison companies say they continue to meet regularly in order to address these issues.

Mercy's relationship with prisons started out pretty warm and fuzzy.

"A number of orders have members who are chaplains in prisons and perhaps this conversation came from what these people saw," she said.

Mercy initially focused on executive compensation. It introduced an investor resolution onto the ballot of both Geo Group and CCA, tying compensation to social as well as financial criteria.

"By the time we got started with the human rights policy, we had had had some success with other shareholder initiatives," Heinonen said. "For example, with the environmental initiative, everyone was recycling their waste."

However, this type of activism can be long and arduous.

Some investors, rather than pushing to reform an industry, simply want to unload their stakes in companies that don't conform to their moral code.

For example, Columbia University students have been recently organizing rallies to push the University to divest itself from private prison companies.

But there's a problem with this strategy: Unless investors sell en-masse, it can do little to spur reform and mainly only helps ease investors' minds about where their profits are generated.

For individuals interested in reforming these companies, Heinonen's recommendation is pretty simple: "I know friends who get materials from companies they used to work for and they just throw them out," she said. "I'd encourage people to read their proxy statements and go out and vote."

Related: Wall Street bets on prison growth from border crisis

Related Undocumented immigrant journalist partners with Los Angeles Times

Related: Cash for passports - how much it costs to buy a visa

Correction: An earlier version of this story said part of the Willacy County immigrant facility was burned to the ground. A Willacy spokesman said that inmates set three small fires that caused minor damage. The story has been updated to reflect that.

CNNMoney (New York) March 28, 2015: 1:36 PM ET


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Angie's List halts Indiana expansion over anti-gay law

CEO Bill Oesterle announced Saturday that the company had put its proposed campus expansion project in Indianapolis "on hold" following the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Angie's List, a business-rating website, was expected to break ground on the campus expansion within days.

"We are putting the 'Ford Building Project' on hold until we fully understand the implications of the freedom restoration act on our employees, both current and future," Oesterle said in a statement.

"Angie's List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents."

Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act gives businesses owners who oppose homosexuality for religious reasons the right to turn away gay, lesbian and transgender people. Governor Mike Pence signed the law Thursday, hailing it as a victory for "religious liberty."

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Pence reiterated the Governor's argument that the law does not discriminate against gay people and is similar to 1993 federal law designed to protect American's freedom of religion.

Other businesses have also spoken out against the law saying, it will make it harder to attract employees and customers. They note that Indiana doesn't currently have any laws prohibiting discrimination against gay people.

NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever: "The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere."

Pacers and Fever owner Herb Simon added: "The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Bankers Life Fieldhouse have the strongest possible commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination on any basis. Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family's involvement and it always will be."

Apple: CEO Tim Cook tweeted that "Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law... Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same — regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love."

Indiana Chamber of Commerce: "In our eyes, the law is entirely unnecessary. Passing the law was always going to bring the state unwanted attention."

Eli Lilly: "We certainly understand the implications this legislation has on our ability to attract and retain employees. Simply put, we believe discriminatory legislation is bad for Indiana and for business."

Eli Lilly (LLY) employs more than 11,700 workers in Indiana, mostly in Indianapolis.

Related: Tim Cook 'disappointed' by Indiana anti-gay law

NCAA: "We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees."

Indianapolis is a major destination for conventions and sporting events, including the upcoming NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said the NCAA will "work diligently" to ensure competitors and visitors at next week's Final Four are not "negatively impacted by this bill."

Gen Con, the video game convention: The law would "factor into our decision making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years."

The convention brought 56,000 people to the state last year, according to Gen Con CEO Adrian Swartout.

Related: Guinness returns to sponsor N.Y.'s St. Patrick's Day Parade

Salesforce: CEO Marc Benioff said on Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) that his company will "dramatically reduce our investments" in Indiana, calling the law an "outrage." Benioff called on other CEOs in the tech industry to follow suit.

Yelp: CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said the company will "make every effort" to expand its corporate operations in states that do not have such laws on the books. "These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws."

Related: Will Alabama pass the Tim Cook bill?

CNNMoney (New York) March 28, 2015: 7:03 PM ET


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'Things will not change' after sex bias verdict without push

ellen pao after verdict

Ellen Pao lost her sex bias suit against prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers on Friday when a San Francisco jury ruled that the firm did not discriminate against her.

Pao, a former junior partner at Kleiner Perkins, sued the firm in 2012, claiming she was passed over for promotions and eventually terminated because she was a woman, and because she had complained about discrimination.

Following the official verdict, Pao took to Twitter to say, "Thank you, world," the first in a series of tweets.

"Because of social media and live reports, the problem of gender discrimination in venture capital has received attention around the globe," read one tweet, followed by: "If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change."

ellen pao tweet

Others took to the social media platform to echo her sentiment that the battle may have been lost, but hopefully the fight for equity in Silicon Valley is just beginning.

"I hope our industry can keep making progress," tweeted Alexis Ohanian, who is the executive chairman and co-founder of Reddit, the firm where Pao now serves as interim CEO. (He followed with another tweet, welcoming Pao back "full-time" to Reddit after five weeks of trial.)

Chris Sacca, an angel investor who has backed big-name startups including Twitter, Uber and Instagram, tweeted: "Verdict aside, we have a deep gender discrimination problem in tech. Thx to @ekp for reminding us. Let's not let the conversation end here."

On Friday, the hashtag #thankyouellenpao gained momentum, and tweets using the hashtag are continuing to roll in. But what started as praise for Pao's efforts is now flooded with hate tweets.

Interspersed with tweets like "THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING #ThankYouEllenPao" are tweets like "#ThankYouEllenPao, you failed in business, court, life, but you have a hashtag now so..."

A tweet from Tracy Chou, a software engineer at Pinterest, illustrated the need for more awareness of gender issues in Silicon Valley.

"White male in tech: I care about women in tech. me: so what do you think about #ellenpao. white male in tech: who?" tweeted Chou, who is based in San Francisco. This was a real conversation she had on Friday.

"I was pretty taken aback," she told CNNMoney.

Prior to the verdict coming down, Sarah Kunst, partner at Fortis Partners, encouraged the conversation around women in tech to continue.

"Hey reporters frantically seeking women in tech + vc for #ellenpao comment? Keep getting comments from us about tech issues post verdict," she tweeted.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that a judge had found Kleiner Perkins not liable. It was a jury's decision.

Related: 9 reasons to be hopeful about diversity in tech

Related: Saadia Muzaffer is fighting for women in tech

CNNMoney (New York) March 28, 2015: 10:11 PM ET


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'Ask SeaWorld' marketing campaign backfires

Written By limadu on Sabtu, 28 Maret 2015 | 14.44

So when it solicited questions about its animal care online as part of a new marketing campaign this week, it seemed to fuel critics rather than dissuade them.

SeaWorld (SEAS) came under fire for its treatment of killer whales when the documentary "Blackfish" aired on CNN in 2013, criticizing the company's practices. PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, has long called out SeaWorld on its animal care.

"Why do you LIE & tell guests collapsed dorsal fins are normal when only 1% suffer this in the wild?" was posted by PETA Thursday. It was retweeted 487 times, and went unanswered by SeaWorld directly.

The company is trying to set the record straight on what it says is "false accusations by activists who oppose whales and other animals in zoological settings."

Related: SeaWorld says PETA 'lies' about killer whales

SeaWorld is encouraging people to use the hashtag #AskSeaWorld on Twitter to ask about topics ranging from breeding to conservation to safety and training. Some questions and answers are posted to the website AskSeaWorld.com.

But a lot of the questions came from activists and animal lovers unhappy with the company.

"Why are your parking lots bigger than your Orca tanks?" asked several Twitter users.

On Friday, SeaWorld addressed what it said were thousands of trolls and bots, hijacking the Q&A.

Related: Harry Potter tour owls 'distressed,' PETA claims

"No time for bots and bullies. We want to answer your questions," it posted on Twitter.

The "Ask SeaWorld" campaign is only part of the company's new marketing push. A website SeaWorldCares.com features videos, research and articles showing how it's a leader in the care and protection of killer whales.

The negative image hasn't helped the company's stock. It's down nearly 40% in the past year and is about 50% below its all-time high.

SeaWorld could not immediately be reached for comment.

Related: Ringling Bros. to phase out elephants from circus shows

CNNMoney (New York) March 27, 2015: 7:38 PM ET


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