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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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Foreign business skeptical of China's promised opening
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, business
BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Beijing has some way to go to convince foreign businesses that it is serious about liberalizing China's economy, despite President Xi Jinping's speech at Davos on Tuesday and new proposals to relax restrictions on foreign investment. Xi made a vigorous defense of globalization at the World Economic Forum and painted a picture of China as a "wide open" economy, but foreign businesses see it through a very different lens. An annual survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in China released on Wednesday showed that more than 80 percent of its members felt less welcome in China than before and most had little confidence in China's vows to open its markets.
OPEC sees smaller oil glut, upbeat on non
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, business
LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC signaled a falling oil supply surplus in 2017 on Wednesday as the producer group's output declines from a record high and outside producers show positive initial signs of complying with the first joint supply-reduction deal since 2001.
Deutsche Bank CEO looks to future after mortgages settlement
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, business
Deutsche Bank will be free to focus on a new growth strategy instead of devoting most of its energy to cleaning up past mistakes, Chief Executive John Cryan said after settling its most costly legal headache. "Given other lawsuits, it is still too early to talk of having drawn a line under all matters," Cryan said in a message to the company's around 100,000 employees on Wednesday. Germany's biggest bank on Tuesday finalised a $7.2 billion settlement with the DoJ over its sale of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
U.S. lobby says China protectionism fueling foreign business pessimism
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, business
More than 80 percent of members of a U.S. business lobby in China say foreign companies are less welcome than in the past, a survey released on Wednesday showed, with most saying they have little confidence in China's vows to open its markets. The American Chamber of Commerce in China's annual survey reinforces growing pessimism in the foreign business community, as it grapples with a slowing Chinese economy and complains of increasing protectionism. The chamber's report comes a day after China's President Xi Jinping gave a speech at the World Economic Forum championing open markets, and Beijing unveiled proposals to reduce restrictions on foreign investment in China.
Global growth outlook shaky on trade protectionism fears: Reuters poll
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, business
The global economic outlook remains shaky, despite recent pockets of resilience, according to the overwhelming majority of economists polled by Reuters who said a rise in protectionist trade policies would hamper growth. With elections due in a number of major euro zone countries, political change in the bloc was picked as a close second choice for potential disruptions to the global economic revival. Three months ago, economists overwhelmingly cited a pickup in international trade as essential for improvement in the world economy.
Stocks, dollar steady after Trump
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, business
By Patrick Graham LONDON (Reuters) - Stock markets steadied and the dollar recovered some ground on Wednesday after unease over how U.S. policy will develop under Donald Trump's presidency drove the currency to its weakest since early December. Traders in Asia said shares were helped by hopes that the concern about a stronger dollar expressed by the U.S. President-elect at the weekend would benefit emerging markets where companies have borrowed heavily in dollars. Energy and cyclical stocks gained the most.
Bjorn gets extra wildcard pick as Europe tweak Ryder Cup criteria
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, sports
(Reuters) - The European Tour amended its selection criteria for the 2018 Ryder Cup on Wednesday, handing captain Thomas Bjorn an extra wildcard pick and tweaking the qualifying system so the team contains more in-form players. Europe lost to the United States by a crushing 17-11 margin at Hazeltine National last year, prompting the European Tour to change its selection criteria for the 2018 edition in Paris. Tournaments in the latter half of the season will also be given a greater points weighting to ensure the team contains the players who are in the best form before the Ryder Cup begins.
Police say 526 possible victims in UK soccer abuse scandal, 184 suspects
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, sports
British police investigating allegations of widespread child sex abuse at soccer clubs dating back to the 1970s said on Wednesday they had now identified 184 potential suspects and 526 victims, adding other sports had also been implicated in the scandal. Police forces across the country launched inquiries after former player Andy Woodward revealed in November he had been abused as a boy by a youth team coach, prompting other ex-professionals to come forward with allegations. Victims say the scale of wrongdoing is likely to be worse than in the case of TV star Jimmy Savile, a cigar-chomping BBC television host who abused hundreds of youngsters over six decades until his death in 2011.
Pharma
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
Clinical trials which conclude that the drug being tested works are more likely to be conducted by researchers with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, a study said Wednesday. The investigation, published in The BMJ medical journal, was fuelled by concerns about bias on the part of doctors and scientists running drug trials. Nearly 60 percent of some 400 principal investigators in 195 clinical drug trials analysed had traceable financial ties to the drug industry, the researchers found.
Trump tax cuts could mean more Novartis investment in U.S.
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
By Ben Hirschler DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Donald Trump's plans to cut U.S. corporate tax rates could trigger increased investment in the United States by Novartis, its chief executive told Reuters, despite the president-elect's recent harsh words on drug prices. "When we build a new manufacturing site we think about the tax rate, we think about the economy of the country, we think about jobs, so a booming U.S. economy would make the U.S. more attractive for investment," Joe Jimenez said on Wednesday.
Sudan inflation rises to 30.47 pct in December
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, health
Sudan's annual inflation rate rose to 30.47 percent in December from 29.49 percent in November, the Central Statistics Office said on Wednesday, as food and energy prices kept rising after subsidies were cut in early November. Sudan's economic problems have been building since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country's oil output, its main source of foreign currency and government income. A dollar shortage and a ballooning black market for hard currency have made imports more expensive.
Tesla will also make Model 3 motors at its Nevada Gigafactory
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
The production of lithium-ion battery cells began at Tesla’s massive Nevada Gigafactory earlier this month, but in the future, the factory will make more than just batteries. As announced by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval last night, and reported by Fortune and the Reno Gazette-Journal, Tesla is adding production for electric motors and gearbox components for its mass-market Model 3 sedan to the factory.
Julian Assange remains silent on extradition promise
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange welcomed President Obama’s decision to commute the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning on Thursday, but it is not clear whether he will agree to extradition to the US, as WikiLeaks previously said. "Ms. Manning is a hero, whose bravery should be applauded," Assange said in the statement released Tuesday. In a tweet published last week, WikiLeaks said: “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case.” The organization posted a similar tweet in September 2016.
Surprise: Google is still tinkering with Google+
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
Sometimes you’re so deeply invested in a project that even when it’s just not working you can’t stop fiddling, telling yourself: “If I just change this one thing maybe it’ll all be fine.” So seems to be the situation with Google and Google+, the company’s also-ran social network. This week, the search giant announce a handful of changes for the service, including hiding “low-quality” comments by default, adding a zoom functionality for photos on the web, and bringing back its events feature — letting users create events and invite others. Google is still trying to make Google+ work, centering it around communities.
Atomic clocks 'failed' onboard Galileo navigation satellites
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
The European Space Agency announced Wednesday there were "failed" clocks onboard some of the 18 navigation satellites it has launched for Galileo, Europe's beleaguered rival to America's GPS. "Unfortunately we have right now the situation that we have failed rubidium clocks as well as failed hydrogen maser clocks" -- nine in total, Woerner said. Three rubidium and six hydrogen maser clocks are not working, said Woerner.
ASML etches 'remarkable' 2016 profit
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
ASML, the Dutch maker of machines used to etch computer processors and make memory chips, announced Wednesday a record 6.1 percent jump in full-year net profit. Net profit rose to 1.47 billion euros ($1.57 billion) and sales climbed more than 8.0 percent year-on-year to 6.79 billion euros, ASML said in a statement. It "has been a remarkable year for ASML on many fronts," chief executive Peter Wennink said from the high-tech company's headquarters in Veldhoven, in southern Netherlands.
Microsoft to add ebook store to Windows 10
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
Microsoft is reportedly planning to bring ebooks to the Windows Store. MSPoweruser reports that the new ebooks store will be integrated into the regular Windows Store alongside apps, games, music, TV shows, and movies. It appears Windows 10 users will be able to purchase books from a wide range of authors and publishers, and read them within Microsoft Edge.
New interracial couple emoji coming to Windows
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
Emojis for interracial couples have been added to the latest Windows 10 Creator's update, expanding the usual de facto yellow-skinned characters with a range of options, pairings and skin tones.
Microsoft is bringing Cortana to the Android lock screen
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
Microsoft recently overhauled the user interface of Cortana on Android, but the company has more plans for the digital assistant. The software maker is currently testing out a new way to access Cortana from the Android lock screen, with just a swipe. It’s a new feature that’s clearly designed to replace Google’s own quick access, and to convince Android users to switch to Cortana.
Ukraine's power outage was a cyber attack: Ukrenergo
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
By Pavel Polityuk, Oleg Vukmanovic and Stephen Jewkes KIEV/MILAN (Reuters) - A power blackout in Ukraine's capital Kiev last month was caused by a cyber attack and investigators are trying to trace other potentially infected computers and establish the source of the breach, utility Ukrenergo told Reuters on Wednesday.     When the lights went out in northern Kiev on Dec. 17-18, power supplier Ukrenergo suspected a cyber attack and hired investigators to help it determine the cause following a series of breaches across Ukraine. Preliminary findings indicate that workstations and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, linked to the 330 kilowatt sub-station "North", were influenced by external sources outside normal parameters, Ukrenergo said in comments emailed to Reuters.
German e
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
German engineering group Aumann is planning a stock market-listing as the maker of parts for electric engines seeks cash for its expansion, people close to the matter said. Private equity owner MBB has asked Citi,Berenberg and Hauck & Aufhaeuser to start with preparations of an Aumann initial public offering, which may take place as early as April or May and see around 40 percent of Aumann's shares sold, the people added. Analysts at brokerage Equits said in a note last year that Aumann could be valued at 300 million euros ($320.49 million)including debt or 1.5 times Aumann's estimated 2017 sales in a potential IPO.
Toshiba eyes stake sale in chip business as writedown looms: source
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
By Makiko Yamazaki and Kentaro Hamada TOKYO (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp wants to sell a minority stake in its core semiconductor business and is considering potential buyers including U.S. partner Western Digital Corp , a source said, as the Japanese group prepares for a multi-billion-dollar writedown. The laptops-to-engineering conglomerate, still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal two years ago, shocked investors in December by announcing major cost overruns at a U.S. nuclear business it bought in 2015. The exact scale of that number is due to be made final next month, Toshiba said.
Toshiba loses court appeal against EU cartel fine on joint venture
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
By Waverly Colville BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Japanese consumer electronics group Toshiba on Wednesday lost an appeal against an EU cartel fine levied on its joint venture with Panasonic five years ago, after Europe's highest court said it had decisive influence over the business. The company was part of a group of seven cathode ray tube makers fined a total 1.47 billion euros by the European Commission in 2012 for fixing prices and restricting output for cathode ray tubes for televisions and computer screens for a decade. Toshiba subsequently challenged the EU competition enforcer's ruling at the Luxembourg-based General Court which cut the fine imposed on its MTPD joint venture to 82.8 million euros ($88.5 million) from 86.7 million euros.
South Korea's Netmarble seeks M&As, U.S. expansion: founder
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
South Korea's largest mobile game company, Netmarble Games Corp, is seeking more mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property rights to expand its share of the gaming market in North America and Europe, its founder said. The Tencent-backed firm - with plans for a public listing estimated at billions of dollars in the first half this year - aims to raise its ranking in key markets to reach its goal of becoming a global top 5 game company by 2020, Bang Jun-hyuk told Reuters. Netmarble wants to place within the top 10 in mobile games in China and Japan, Bang said on the sidelines of a news conference on Wednesday.
India to consider Apple request for investment incentives with 'open mind'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, technology
India will consider Apple's request for incentives to invest in the country with an "open mind", Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters on Wednesday. "We will very much like Apple to come and have a base in India," Prasad said. Apple has sent a list of demands to the Indian government, seeking tax concessions and several other policy exemptions, as necessary pre-requisites before it starts production of its iPhones in India.
Study finds global warming could steal postcard
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Global warming is going to steal away some of those postcard-perfect weather days in the future, according to a first-of-its-kind projection of nice weather. On average, Earth will have 10 fewer days of ...
Gambia President Jammeh declares state of emergency
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Gambia's Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency just days before he was due to step down, with British and Dutch travel agencies scrambling to evacuate thousands of tourists Wednesday. Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia with an iron fist for 22 years, initially acknowledged opponent Adama Barrow as the victor in December elections, but later rejected the ballot count as flawed and lodged a complaint with the country's Supreme Court.
'I don't like tweeting': Trump
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Donald Trump, whose early-morning rants and policy pronouncements on Twitter have left the world hanging on his every typed word, said he doesn't like using the social media platform in comments to air Wednesday. "I don't like tweeting," Trump told Fox News's "Fox & Friends" program. Since winning the presidency in November, the Republican has exploited Twitter to make administrative announcements, weigh in on foreign policy -- and hurl barbs at anyone who crosses him.
IS lights smokescreen against regime raids in east Syria: monitor
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Fierce clashes gripped the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor on Wednesday, a monitor said, as the Islamic State group set tyres ablaze to create a smokescreen from regime warplanes. An activist group publishing news on the besieged city told AFP that IS had executed 10 Syrian regime fighters captured during the jihadist onslaught. IS launched the brutal assault on Saturday to capture the government-held third of Deir Ezzor city, as well as the adjacent military airport.
Merkel to face German voters on September 24: govt
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government Wednesday set September 24 as the date for a general election in which she will seek a fourth term, facing populist headwinds over a record migrant influx. The date, adopted by Merkel's right-left coalition cabinet, must still be formally approved by President Joachim Gauck. It was followed in distant second place by the Social Democrats (SPD), current junior partners in Merkel's "grand coalition" government.
Demolitions spark deadly violence in Arab Israeli village
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Umm Al-Heiran (Israel) (AFP) - Demolitions in an Arab Israeli village activists say has been targeted by racist policies sparked violence on Wednesday, with a policeman killed and the man accused of attacking him shot dead. A prominent Arab Israeli lawmaker was also wounded in the confrontation in Umm al-Heiran in southern Israel, where activists have long sought to draw attention to what they call the unjust practice of demolishing Arab homes.
Scramble to treat wounded after botched Nigeria air strike
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Scores of injured people were airlifted on Wednesday to hospital for treatment after a botched air strike on Boko Haram Islamists in Nigeria killed at least 52 civilians and aid workers. The medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said more than 120 people were wounded Tuesday in the bombing of a camp in Rann, in the far north of Borno state, the epicentre of the jihadists' insurgency. Six Nigerian Red Cross workers were among the dead, while 11 others were injured, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Egyptian football star Mohamed Aboutrika placed on 'terror' list
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
An Egyptian court has added former football star Mohamed Aboutrika to the authorities' terror list, his lawyer said Tuesday, based on suspicions he financed the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The government accuses him of financing the Muslim Brotherhood, which was classified as a terrorist organisation at the end of 2013. According to an anti-terror law imposed in 2015 by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, anyone on the country's terror list is subject to a travel ban, with their passport and assets liable to be frozen.
Suicide attack on pro
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
A suicide bomb attack on a camp housing former rebels and pro-government militia in northern Mali on Wednesday killed 37 fighters, a UN peacekeeping source and a local official told AFP. The camp is located in Gao, the main city in northern Mali, once the cradle of rebel uprisings and a sanctuary for Islamist fighters.
A chat with our talented FOIA fighter
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
Center research editor Peter Smith has led the charge in fighting for government information
Janet Napolitano in hospital over side effect of cancer care
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — University of California President Janet Napolitano, a former U.S. Homeland Security secretary and governor of Arizona, has been undergoing cancer treatment for five months and was hospitalized after suffering complications, the school system said.
GOP prescription of minority outreach forgotten with Trump
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
WASHINGTON (AP) — Together, they delivered a post-election autopsy with a dire prediction: Republican survival requires embracing a message of tolerance and respect in an increasingly diverse United States.
China calls on US to bar Taiwan from Trump inauguration
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday called on the U.S. to bar a Taiwanese delegation from attending Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, underscoring concerns that the incoming president could seek to redefine relations between Beijing, Taipei and Washington.
Business euphoria over Trump gives way to caution, confusion
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
By Patrick Rucker and Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Early optimism among business lobbyists and executives that Donald Trump's election heralded better days has slowly given way to uncertainty as the president-elect fires off mixed and sometimes confusing messages on healthcare, taxes and trade. Some of that has frayed as questions arise over the nuts and bolts of Trump's campaign promises, although many in the business community said they remain optimistic. Doubts deepened over the weekend as Trump declared he would replace President Barack Obama's signature healthcare plan known as Obamacare with "insurance for everybody" - a goal far beyond Republican designs - and criticized a key component of a plan in Congress to overhaul corporate taxes.
Trump's health pick set to defend investments at U.S. Senate hearing
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, politics
By Toni Clarke and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for health secretary was expected to face hard questions from a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday about his personal stock investments and proposals to dismantle Obamacare. Representative Tom Price, a Georgia orthopedic surgeon who has been in politics for more than 20 years, was chosen by fellow Republican Trump, who will become president on Friday, to head an agency that manages scores of healthcare programs. The Department of Health and Human Services runs the Medicare program for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor and President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which was enacted in 2010 and brought health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who previously lacked it.
Hong Kong actor Andy Lau injured while working in Thailand
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, entertainment
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong actor Andy Lau has been injured while working in Thailand.
Polanski to preside over French cinema awards ceremony
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, entertainment
PARIS (AP) — Filmmaker Roman Polanski will preside over this year's Cesars Awards ceremony, the French equivalent of the Oscars.
Syria to send its UN envoy, military delegation to talks
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria will send its U.N. ambassador and a military delegation to Russian and Turkish-brokered talks with the armed opposition next week.
UK disabled bus passenger wins partial court victory
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
LONDON (AP) — A disabled bus passenger has won a partial victory in a British court after a dispute with a woman who refused to move her baby stroller from a space used to accommodate wheelchairs.
Kosovo premier wants Serbia leave aside threatening language
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo's prime minister has called on Serbia to refrain from threatening language and turn to dialogue and cooperation.
France says Mali army camp explosion is major 'symbolic attack'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
PARIS (Reuters) - France's interior minister described Wednesday's deadly car bomb explosion at an army camp in Gao, northern Mali, as a "major and highly symbolic attack" in an area visited days ago by French President Francois Hollande. The comment came from Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux, who spoke to reporters shortly after news of the explosion with a provisional death toll of 25. France sent troops to Mali at the request of the government there in early 2013 to prevent an advance by Islamist rebels on the capital Bamako. ...
Biden warns against Russia threat to liberal order
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Russia is the main threat to the Western-led world order, US Vice President Joe Biden told Davos elites on Wednesday, in his final speech before leaving office. "The greatest threat ... springs from the external actors who equate their success on fracturing the liberal international order," Biden said two days before he makes way for Donald Trump's administration in Washington.
Iraq military: Troops have 'full control' of eastern Mosul
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's military says government troops are now in "full control" of eastern Mosul after routing Islamic State militants from that part of the northern Iraqi city.
VW will appeal court order to buy back customer's diesel car
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen says it will appeal a court ruling that it must buy back a German customer's diesel car rigged to cheat on emissions tests.
Basi, world's oldest captive panda, turns 37
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Basi, the oldest giant panda living in captivity, celebrated her 37th birthday on Wednesday wearing a crown and getting a special birthday cake. Tourists eagerly snapped photos as Basi, whose age is equivalent to 140 human years, slurped a soup of maize flour and eggs from a cake-shaped bowl at the Fuzhou Giant Panda Research Centre in southern China. Basi has high blood pressure and needed cataract surgery several years ago, but overall she was in good health, CCTV said.