Online review site Yelp is wading into the national debate over transgender bathroom access with a new feature that will enable consumers to search for businesses offering gender-neutral restrooms.
In a blog post Friday, Yelp said it would collect information from customers and business owners to add a “Gender Neutral Restrooms” category to its listings. Yelp defines such restrooms as locking, single-stall toilet facilities accessible to people of any gender.
“At Yelp we thrive on inclusion and acceptance,” the blog post said. The new feature will be phased in over several weeks.
Rachel Williams, Yelp’s head of diversity, said the initiative marked the first time during her tenure that the company had sought to integrate a social issue into its website and app.
“The hope is that this feature gets business owners thinking about how they’re presenting themselves — who they’re supporting and why,” Williams said. “Maybe it will start some conversations.”
She said the idea for the feature came from employees in Yelp’s products section who were “incensed” by efforts in some parts of the United States to curtail transgender people’s civil rights.
— Associated Press
A private Catholic high school in Silicon Valley that made $24 million from an initial public offering of shares in Snap will use the windfall for financial aid, professional development, teacher training and school programs, the school’s president said Friday.
The board of St. Francis High School in Mountain View, Calif., agreed to invest $15,000 in seed money in Snap in 2012 based on a recommendation of a venture capitalist who is also a parent of a student.
That’s when the company was just getting started. Snap is the company behind the Snapchat photo and video messaging application.
The school held onto the investment until this week, when Snap shares sold for $17 each in an IPO. St. Francis sold 1.4 million shares at that price, generating a gain of about $24 million.
The stock had soared to $27 a share by Friday’s closing bell.
— Associated Press
● Mercedes is recalling about 1 million cars and SUVs worldwide because a starter part can overheat and cause fires. The recall covers certain C-Class, E-Class and CLA cars, and GLA and GLC SUVs, all from 2015 through 2017, including nearly 308,000 in the United StatesS. The German automaker reported 51 fires worldwide, with about 30 in the United States. The company has no reports of injuries. Mercedes said in U.S. government documents released Friday that if the engine and transmission won’t turn over, a current limiter in the starter motor can overheat from repeated attempts to start the vehicles. That can cause the current limiter to overheat and melt nearby parts. Replacement parts will be available in July.
● Energy companies won a victory Friday when a federal appeals court refused to revive a Louisiana levee board’s lawsuit blaming dozens of oil and gas companies for damage to the state’s coast. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruling upheld a federal judge’s 2015 decision in favor of energy companies that argued that the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East lacked legal standing to bring its damage claims, which could have cost the oil companies billions of dollars. The board had argued that damage to the coast done by decades of drilling and canal dredging contributed to the loss of coastal wetlands.
● Digital currency bitcoin hit a record high Friday on optimism about the approval of the first U.S. bitcoin exchange-traded fund by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have a pending application with the SEC for a bitcoin ETF, which was filed nearly four years ago. On March 11, the twins expect to receive a final decision from the SEC on whether they can list their ETF. On Friday, bitcoin climbed to a record $1,298 on the BitStamp platform. Bitcoin last traded at $1,263.01, up nearly 5 percent on the day. So far this year, bitcoin has surged more than 30 percent.
● A federal judge on Friday rejected Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam’s bid to void much of his insider-trading conviction and shorten his 11-year prison sentence. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan said Rajaratnam failed to show his innocence on five of the 14 counts on which he was convicted, or that two other counts should be vacated because the main government witness committed perjury. Prosecutors said Rajaratnam made up to $63.8 million from 2003 to 2009 through insider trading in stocks such as eBay, Goldman Sachs and Google.
● Johnson & Johnson said Friday that a state court jury in Missouri had returned a verdict in its favor in the fourth trial to arise out of thousands of lawsuits alleging that the company’s talc-based products can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. The jury sided with J&J in a lawsuit by Nora Daniels of Tennessee, who alleged that she used J&J Baby Powder for 36 years and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2013. The verdict came after three straight jury verdicts in St. Louis against J&J awarding plaintiffs $195 million. More than 2,500 lawsuits are pending in state court in St. Louis.
— From news services