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Two influential “special rapporteurs” with the intergovernmental organization said they were “gravely concerned” at the apparent surveillance of the world’s richest man by one of its most conspicuous dictators. A Saudi government official called the allegations “silly.” (The Guardian)

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Talking point: The alleged hacking began in May 2018, when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly sent Bezos a picture via WhatsApp of what the rapporteurs called “a woman resembling the woman with whom Bezos is having an affair, months before the Bezos affair was known publicly.” What followed, according to a forensic analysis, was a massive migration of data from Bezos’s iPhone. Bezos was later the subject of a January 2019 National Inquirer exposé detailing his affair with former broadcaster Lauren Sanchez—though American Media, which owns the tabloid, said it harvested the dirt from Sanchez’s brother. In an apparent response Wednesday, the Amazon entrepreneur tweeted a picture of himself at a memorial for journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist at the Bezos-owned Washington Post who was murdered in 2018, allegedly at MBS’s behest.

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At a company summit for merchants in New Delhi, the CEO also said the company is aiming to have US$10 billion worth of export transactions involving Indian-made products through its marketplace by 2025. (LiveMint)

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Talking point: Amazon and other foreign-controlled e-commerce platforms operating in India face a major challenge keeping small merchants happy. Bezos’s Delhi visit was met with protests. Corner-store operators—“kiranas,” in your correspondent’s native Bombay—argue online discounting unfairly undercuts them. Neighbourhood traders are a key political constituency for the ruling party, and it has shaped the country’s e-commerce policy to suit them. In December 2018, it introduced rules targeting listing practices commonly used by Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart; in November 2019, it reportedly planned to offer subsidies for small retailers to go online, as well as to adopt accounting software and digital payments. Amazon also needs to court these firms to hold off Reliance Industries, one of India’s largest conglomerates, which this month launched a grocery-delivery service that works with local stores.

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The multi-billionaire Amazon mogul, who also owns the Washington Post, has become close to several NFL team owners—and would be happily welcomed by league, according to unnamed league sources who spoke to CBS Sports. (CBS Sports)

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Talking point: While none of the 32 teams are presently up for sale, the NFL wields tremendous economic clout and its owners can exert considerable political pressure in their markets. Bezos is increasingly making a play for political influence; Amazon has spent more money lobbying in Washington than any other company so far this year. The company also spent US$1.5 million backing pro-business candidates in the Seattle municipal election, though the effort backfired, with one candidate elected in part on a promise to tax the tech giant. Bezos reportedly also called fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg earlier this year to ask him to run in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Bloomberg, who would be pro-business compared to many other Democratic candidates, threw his hat in race semi-officially last week.

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Gildan’s Glenn Chamandy was the top Canadian in the Harvard Business Review rankings, at 49th place. Bell’s George Cope and Sun Life’s Dean Connor also made the list, which looks at both financial and environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. (Harvard Business Review)

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Talking point: This is the first time since 2014 Bezos hasn’t come first—and he didn’t even make the top 100, largely because of a methodology change that increased the importance of ESGs in the rankings. Harvard Business Review changed its methodology because both companies and investors are increasingly focused on more than just the bottom line. In August, for example, the CEOs of 181 of the most powerful companies in the U.S. announced that a corporation has a broader social remit and should not focus solely on helping shareholders. The Canadian CEOs on the list were generally bolstered by stronger ESG metrics than financial ones. Brookfield Asset Management’s Bruce Flatt was an outlier; although he did much better on financial performance than any other Canadian CEO—reaching 25th place overall—he ranked 855th on one of the ESG metrics.

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His plan involves adding 100,000 electric vans to the company’s delivery fleet by 2024, investing US$100 million in reforestation projects and launching a new website to report the company’s progress on reducing emissions. If successful, it expects to meet the Paris Climate Agreement targets 10 years ahead of schedule. The firm is calling on other companies to match its ambitions. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon … can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can,” it said in a press release. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Thursday’s announcement comes on the eve of a global climate strike that is expected to feature millions of protesters, including more than 1,000 workers in Amazon’s retail and technology divisions. This isn’t the first time Amazon workers have pressured the firm to reduce its emissions; for nearly a year, an internal group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice has been asking the company for a report on the risks climate change poses to its business and how it plans to reduce its fossil-fuel dependence. Shareholders called for the same thing at this year’s annual general meeting, but Amazon rejected the resolution.

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In his annual letter to shareholders, Bezos suggested other retailers match or beat Amazon’s November 2018 move to increase its minimum wage to US$15. The rule applies to Amazon subsidiaries like Whole Foods, and seasonal and temporary employees. (TechCrunch)

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Talking point: The snark is good publicity for Bezos, but wages were just one of Amazon’s many complaints from workers. In January, my colleague Catherine reported that Amazon drivers working in its delivery partners’ Mississauga and Scarborough fulfillment centres were alleging anti-union tactics from the company. In the U.K., an investigative journalist claimed in 2016 that warehouse workers were urinating in bottles for fear of missing productivity targets and described the culture as being like “a prison.” And, despite Bezos’s challenge, not all Amazon-linked workers are happy with their pay. Pilots at the companies that fly for Amazon Air are protesting low pay today, nearly two months after a flight contracted by Amazon Air crashed in February.

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MacKenzie left Jeff with 75 per cent of Amazon’s stocks, and all stocks in the Washington Post and Blue Origin. MacKenzie retains four per cent of Amazon. In a statement posted on Twitter, MacKenzie said she was “grateful” to finish the process of dissolving her marriage with Jeff. (Washington Post)

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Talking point: The decision puts Jeff firmly in control of the company, valued at US$893 billion. Under Washington state laws, MacKenzie would have been entitled to half of the US$137-billion Bezos fortune if the two didn’t reach an agreement. Her remaining stake is estimated to be worth US$35.7 billion, and she is now among Amazon’s four biggest shareholders and one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world. However, MacKenzie gave Jeff voting control over her remaining shares, meaning his ownership share is undiluted, though she’ll be entitled to a substantial chunk of the company’s value.

Correction: A previous version of this briefing incorrectly stated Amazon’s valuation and the net worth of Jeff Bezos. The piece has been updated.

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On today’s episode of “Is This Really the World We Live In,” New York Post readers woke up to the headline “Bezos exposes Pecker”—but let me explain. In a Medium post Thursday, Amazon CEO Bezos accused the National Enquirer of extortion over sexual pictures sent between him and his reported girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez. A lawyer for the aptly-named David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer and CEO of American Media Inc. (AMI), allegedly said he would publish the nudes if Bezos did not retract comments made by Bezos’s security chief, who suggested AMI’s coverage of Bezos’ divorce had “political motives.” Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are looking into whether AMI violated an earlier agreement where it promised not to break any laws in exchange for avoiding prosecution for campaign finance violations, according to the Associated Press. (CNBC)

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Talking point: There are larger political implications to all of this, especially in the media world. Bezos owns The Washington Post, which President Donald Trump has criticized for its coverage of him. Pecker has been friends with Trump for years. The Canadian connection in all of this lies with Postmedia News, which shares about 80 per cent of its ownership with AMI. Pecker used to be on Postmedia’s board of directors.

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The wealthiest person in the world and his wife are getting a divorce after 25 years of marriage, according to a joint statement released on Bezos’s Twitter account Wednesday morning. (Vox)

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Talking point: The divorce could be “the most expensive” in history, due to Washington state’s divorce laws, according to CNBC. State laws suggest all property and debt amassed during a marriage is evenly divided by the court if the couple cannot negotiate a deal. That means MacKenzie could be entitled to half of Bezos’s money: US$69 billion. A settlement would also require him to sell some of the 80 million Amazon shares he currently owns. That would then dilute his ownership and control of the company, which would also be a symbolic move, as Bezos has been the face of the company since he founded it in 1996.