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Sri Lanka protesters vow to continue anti-government campaign despite new PM

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ranil Wickremesinghe, newly appointed prime minister, arrives at a Buddhist temple after his swearing-in ceremony amid the country’s economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 12, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

By Uditha Jayasinghe and Alasdair Pal

COLOMBO (Reuters) -Sri Lanka’s new prime minister will begin forming a unity government on Friday, but his appointment has failed to appease anti-government protesters demanding the resignation of the president for the country’s disastrous economic crisis.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed veteran opposition politician Ranil Wickremesinghe as the island nation’s prime minister late on Thursday after a week of violent clashes that left 9 people dead and over 300 injured.

The president’s elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, quit as prime minister on Monday as the violence spiralled and is in hiding in a military base.

“We will stop this struggle when our people get justice,” said Chamalage Shivakumar, one of the hundreds of people who have camped out at a protest site in the main city Colombo.

“Whoever they appoint as prime minister, we will not stop this struggle until people get relief.”

Wickremesinghe is the only lawmaker from his United National Party in the country’s parliament and will be reliant on rival political parties to form a government. An alliance led by the Rajapaksas holds about 100 of parliament’s 225 seats, while the opposition has 58 seats. The rest are independent.

On Friday, Wickremesinghe met India’s high commissioner, or ambassador to Sri Lanka, his first publicly known contact with a foreign government since his appointment.

“Discussed continued cooperation for economic recovery and stability in Sri Lanka through democratic processes,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a tweet.

New Delhi is battling China for influence in strategically important Sri Lanka, which lies on key shipping lanes between Asia and Europe and is home to major infrastructure projects financed by both countries.

Protesters said the appointment of Wickremesinghe will do little to ease the anger against the president, who they say is ultimately responsible for the worst economic crisis to hit the nation since it became independent in 1948.

Buffeted hard by the pandemic, rising oil prices and populist tax cuts by the Gotabaya brothers, Sri Lanka is critically low on foreign exchange, and rampant inflation and fuel shortages have brought thousands onto the street in a month of protests that had remained predominantly peaceful until this week.

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Lattice Semiconductor Upgraded by Susquehanna on ‘Perfect Roadmap’

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© Reuters. Lattice Semiconductor Upgraded By Susquehanna On ‘Perfect Roadmap’

By Sam Boughedda

Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:LSCC) was upgraded from Neutral to Positive by Susquehanna analyst Christopher Rolland on Tuesday.

The analyst, who also raised the firm’s price target on Lattice from $58 to $65, said that with the company’s shares down -35% for the year-to-date, they are using any macro weakness to selectively upgrade its third semiconductor company this year.

“While we downgraded shares of LSCC last April, both revenue outperformance and margin expansion have significantly bested our expectations, allowing share to grow into a reasonable valuation,” wrote Rolland.

“Looking forward, we believe the growth and margin story should continue to upside, helped by the company’s long-term product roadmap and the upcoming midrange Avant product launch,” he added.

Rolland stated that the company’s new midrange product Avant is a “potential game-changer” and will double their addressable market to $6 billion.

Other factors which influenced the analyst’s rating change included recent insider buying from Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Esam Elashmawi, and Lattice’s balance sheet being “pristine into a potential downturn.”

Lattice stock is down 2.5% in early trading Tuesday.

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Tesla loses bid to move sexual harassment lawsuit to arbitration

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesla vehicle drives past Tesla’s primary vehicle factory after CEO Elon Musk announced he was defying local officials’ coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions by reopening the plant in Fremont, California, U.S. May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Ste

By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) – A California state judge has rejected Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Inc’s bid to send a lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment at the company’s flagship assembly plant to private arbitration, allowing it to move forward in court.

California Superior Court Judge Stephen Kaus in Oakland denied Tesla’s motion to compel arbitration in a brief order without explanation on Monday.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, Jessica Barraza, had argued that an arbitration agreement she signed was invalid because it improperly required her to bring legal claims in confidential proceedings while still allowing Tesla to sue in open court.

Barraza in the lawsuit filed in November claims workers and supervisors at the Fremont, California plant routinely made lewd comments and gestures to female employees, and that the company failed to address complaints.

The lawsuit is one of at least seven pending in California state court to make similar claims against Tesla. Kaus is presiding over five more of those cases.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Nor did a lawyer for Barraza.

Along with the pending sexual harassment claims, Tesla is facing separate lawsuits accusing it of tolerating widespread race discrimination at its plants. A California judge last month awarded $15 million to a Black former factory worker who said he was subjected to racist slurs and graffiti from coworkers.

Tesla has said it does not tolerate harassment and has disciplined and fired workers who engaged in misconduct.

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Moderna CEO to Exercise Options, Donate Hundreds of Millions to Charity

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© Reuters Moderna (MRNA) CEO to Exercise Options, Donate Hundreds of Millions to Charity

By Senad Karaahmetovic

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO Stéphane Bancel announced his plan to donate to charity all of the after-tax proceeds of the original stock options he received upon joining the biotechnology company in 2013.

The donation is expected to amount to about $355 million (assuming the stock is priced at around $140 per share), and after $280 million in tax payments.

Bancel, who received the original stock option grant (due to expire in August 2023) in 2013, said he has never exercised a single stock option since joining the company 11 years ago.

He added that he offloaded Moderna stock under 10b5-1 plans and gifted the shares to charity, all of which were purchased using his family’s savings before Moderna went public.

Bancel said the stock option “will expire and be worthless” if not exercised now and it presents an opportunity “to create a positive change in the world.”

In an effort to prevent a high number of shares from flooding the market at once and potentially affecting the company’s stock price, Bancel has set up a 10b5-1 plan through which he plans to exercise 40,000 shares on Wednesday and 40,000 on Thursday each week, starting May 25, until fully exercised.

“My family also has our investment entity OCHA LLC, which, under another 10b5-1 plan, sells 10,000 shares each Thursday. These proceeds are invested in private companies trying to have a positive impact on the world: healthcare companies and companies focused on addressing the adverse impact of climate change. The 10b5-1 plan for OCHA LLC is scheduled to run through the end of 2022,” said Bancel in a blog post.

Moderna shares are down nearly 1% in pre-open Tuesday.

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