Donald Trump Is Disqualified From Illinois Ballot, Judge Rules

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is disqualified from Illions Ballot

Feb 29 – An Illinois state judge on Wednesday barred Donald Trump from appearing on the Illinois’ Republican presidential primary ballot because of his role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but she delayed her ruling from taking effect in light of an expected appeal by the former U.S. president.

Cook County Circuit Judge Tracie Porter sided with Illinois voters who argued that the former president should be disqualified from the state’s March 19 primary ballot and its Nov. 5 general election ballot for violating the anti-insurrection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The final outcome of the Illinois case and similar challenges will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard arguments related to Trump’s ballot eligibility on Feb. 8.

Porter said she was staying her decision because she expected his appeal to Illinois’ appellate courts, and a potential ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The advocacy group Free Speech For People, which spearheaded the Illinois disqualification effort, praised the ruling as a “historic victory” in a statement. A campaign spokesperson for Trump, the national frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, said in a statement this “is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal.”

Colorado and Maine earlier removed Trump from their state ballots after determining he is disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Both decisions are on hold while Trump appeals. Section 3 bars from public office anyone who took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and then has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, attacked police and swarmed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Trump gave an incendiary speech to supporters beforehand, telling them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” He then for hours did not act on requests that he urge the mob to stop.

The Supreme Court is currently weighing Trump’s challenge to his Colorado disqualification. The justices in Washington appeared skeptical of the decision during oral arguments in the case, expressing concerns about states taking sweeping actions that could affect the national election.

Baidu May Be The World’s Most Unloved AI Stock

Honk Kong Feb 29 – Global investors just can’t get enough of AI stocks, except if it’s Baidu (9888.HK), . China’s $36 billion search-engine operator lags artificial intelligence leaders like Microsoft (MSFT.O), opens new tab, but has made progress on its answer to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Yet its stock plunged 8% in New York trading on Wednesday despite decent results, opens new tab. It now trades below 10 times forward earnings. Blame a wider rout in Chinese equities and overly high expectations.

Quarterly results show the company is starting to monetise its AI bets. The numbers look promising: revenue from its flagship generative AI product, Ernie Bot, and the foundational model used to train it, topped 656 million yuan ($91 million) in the three months to the end of December. That’s less than 2% of Baidu’s top line, which primarily consists of advertising revenue, but boss Robin Li believes AI-related services will generate “several billion” yuan in incremental sales this year.

To that end, Baidu is doing the right things. The company in November launched a paid version of Ernie Bot. It has also partnered with companies including Lenovo (0992.HK), and Samsung (005930.KS), to integrate AI apps into hardware. As of December, enterprise clients using its Ernie large language model stood at 26,000, up 150% from the same quarter the previous year.

After the latest selloff, Baidu’s New York shares have fallen by a quarter in 12 months. In contrast, OpenAI-backer Microsoft and Google-owner Alphabet (GOOGL.O), are both up over 50% over the same period, thanks to the global AI craze that has boosted stocks across the U.S., Europe and Japan. A selloff in Chinese equities is one factor, but even upstarts are attracting more excitement: Moonshot AI, a Chinese startup founded a year ago, recently raised over $1 billion at a $2.5 billion valuation, Bloomberg reported, opens new tab.

Baidu’s current single-digit earnings multiple is far below its five-year average of 15 times. That implies shareholders are attributing very little, if any, value to its AI efforts. Li has his work cut out convincing investors Baidu deserves some AI love. Chinese search-engine operator Baidu on Feb. 28 reported revenue of 34.9 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) in the three months to Dec. 31, an increase of 6% year-on-year. Net income fell 48% to 2.6 billion yuan due to a one-off 3 billion yuan loss relating to the changes to the terms of the company’s preferred stock.

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