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The most recent example was Proposition C, which was on the November ballot in San Francisco.

The measure called on corporations in the city with revenue over $50 million to pay a tax of 0.5 percent of gross receipts towards homeless programs. Benioff committed almost $8 million to passing the bill, and between mid-October and election day, he tweeted about it more than 50 times.

With Block now having CEO-level authority, Benioff said he could afford to take two solid weeks to focus on Prop C, convening meetings in Salesforce Tower with local business leaders, non-profits and homelessness experts.

But something unexpected happened to give Benioff the momentum he said he needed.

“God sent me this angel from heaven — Jack Dorsey,” Benioff said. “And then,” he gestures with his hand to show an airplane taking off.

Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, took the other side of the issue, because of the higher tax on financial services like Square, which he said would struggle to stay in San Francisco. Other local entrepreneurs like Stripe CEO Patrick Collison and Zynga founder Marc Pincus joined Dorsey in siding with San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who opposed the measure because she said the city didn’t have the controls in place to ensure the money was spent wisely.

Benioff said that ultimately, “there’s people that want to give money to the homeless and people who don’t.” To those business leaders who opposed Prop C, “then I say, ‘what is your plan?’ Benioff said. “They didn’t have one.”

Prop C passed with about 60 percent support, and Benioff’s only regret was that he didn’t get started sooner. “We moved the numbers a huge amount in a short period of time he said,” he said. “It was crazy.”

The more Benioff’s profile grows the more questions arise about his future and his political ambitions. He’s been at least near the politics arena, hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in her 2016 run for president. Benioff told Recode’s Kara Swisher in a recent interview on MSNBC that he will never run for office. Yesil said “it’s a question that’s been asked of him for the last 20 years.”

If you take Benioff at his word, he has no plans to step back from day-to-day life at Salesforce, and sharing the top role with Block buys him more time to do the things he wants. He’s in the process of writing his fourth book, this one about Salesforce’s journey from $1 billion to $10 billion in sales, and is aiming to have it ready for Dreamforce 2019.

In working on the book and preparing for Salesforce’s upcoming 20th anniversary this year, Benioff has been reaching out to early employees for various artifacts and memorabilia. Tien Tzuo, Salesforce’s 11th employee who’s now founder and CEO of Zuora, said Benioff emailed him recently looking for hand drawn sketches of the original AppExchange, the company’s app marketplace that was launched in 2005.

“His emails are very short and very specific,” Tzuo said.



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Indonesia can spur growth with Fed rate hike pause: Sri Mulyani

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People enter the Bank Indonesia headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. 

Graham Crouch | Bloomberg | Getty Images

People enter the Bank Indonesia headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. 

The Federal Reserve‘s pause in interest rate hikes is a relief for many emerging economies, and represents an opportunity for Indonesia to accelerate growth, the Asian country’s finance minister told CNBC on Monday.

“For us … this is an opportunity to actually accelerate the growth, but we really have to be very careful,” Sri Mulyani Indrawati told CNBC at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong.

“Because this pause in increasing rates is also showing that the global economy environment is not good. So we really have to be very careful in seeing this signal,” she added.

The U.S. central bank surprised investors by adopting a sharp dovish stance last Wednesday, projecting no further interest rate hikes this year, and justifying its more temperate outlook by cutting 2019 growth outlook for the world’s largest economy.

Meanwhile, a raft of weak economic data around the world also stoked recession fears.

Germany’s manufacturing activity dropped to its lowest level in more than six years in March, according to data from IHS Markit; while in the euro zone as a whole, manufacturing fell to its lowest level since April 2013.

The halt in rate hikes — and the Fed signalling in January that it will be “patient” with monetary policy — is “relieving pressure” for many emerging economies, Sri Mulyani said. That’s especially welcome for Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, as it suffers from capital outflows, she said.

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pro-military party leads election race

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“There is suspicion about extra ballots where the number of ballots was higher than the number of voters in some districts,” said Pheu Thai Party spokesperson Ladawan Wongsriwong. “There is also suspicion about reports of vote-buying.”

He said the party’s legal team was considering whether to submit complaints to the Election Commission.

The Election Commission had planned to announce the unofficial results for the 500-seat lower House of Representatives on Sunday evening but said its announcement had been delayed until Monday, without giving a reason.

With 94 percent of overall votes counted, the commission reported that the pro-junta Palang Pracharat was leading with 7.69 million votes. The Thaksin-linked Pheu Thai Party trailed with 7.23 million votes.

The numbers released were for the popular vote, but these did not reflect parliamentary constituency seats won. Pheu Thai could still take the lion’s share of these, which are decided on a first-past-the-post basis, because of its concentrated popularity in the north and northeast of the country.

Based on a Reuters tally of partial results of the 350 constituency seats contested on Sunday, Pheu Thai was on track to win at least 129 and Palang Pracharat at least 102.

Another 150 “party seats” in the lower house will be allocated under a complex proportional representation formula.

However, Prayuth looked in a good position to remain in office thanks to a new, junta-devised electoral system.

The lower house and the upper house Senate, whose 250 members are appointed by the junta, will together select the next prime minister.

The means Prayuth’s party and allies have to win only 126 seats in the lower house, while Pheu Thai and its potential “democratic front” partners would need 376.

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Fed’s Charles Evans says US economy is slowing but remains strong

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Concerns about an inverted yield curve spooked U.S. financial markets on Friday but Evans said there are long-term trends behind that.

An inverted yield curve, considered an important recession indicator, occurs when short-term rates surpass their longer-term counterparts.

“Now I think we have to take into account that there has been a secular decline in long-term interest rates,” he said, adding that some of that is structural, such as in lower trend growth and lower yield interest rates. “I think in that environment, it’s going to be more natural that yield curves are somewhat flatter than they have been historically.”

“I look at the nature of the U.S economy, I look at the labor market, it’s strong, the consumer continues to be strong,” he said.

The Fed had kept its benchmark rate near-zero for seven years as it looked to stimulate the housing market and overall economy. That period coincided with the longest bull market on record for stocks.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and his predecessor, Janet Yellen, have aimed to hike rates back to a point where policymakers would have leeway to reduce rates to battle any future downturn in the world’s largest economy.

Record low rates were accompanied by a massive bond buying program to ensure liquidity to financial markets. But that came at the cost of ballooning the Fed’s balance sheet to $4.5 trillion, which it has moved to reduce through a program that allowed proceeds from the bonds to roll off each month and that is set to conclude at the end of September.

The Fed came under intense pressure from financial markets at the end of last year to stop raising interest rates amid rising economic uncertainty including the outlook for China’s slowing economy and concerns over President Donald Trump’s trade war with the country.

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