500 млн євро від ЄС мають надійти в середині грудня – Мінфін

500 мільйонів євро від Європейського союзу мають надійти в середині грудня, повідомило Міністерство фінансів України.

У відомстві підкреслили, що ЄС надає макрофінансову допомогу у вигляді позик. Точна відсоткова ставка траншу буде відома під час виходу Європейської комісії на зовнішній ринок запозичень, але не перевищуватиме 2%. Кошти надійдуть у державний бюджет.

30 листопада Європейський союз схвалив виплату 500 мільйонів євро макрофінансової допомоги для України.

Україна та ЄС підписали кредитну угоду про залучення 1 мільярда євро у вересні. 8 листопада її схвалив парламент.

Canada, Mexico, US Sign Trade Deal

The leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States signed a new North American trade deal Friday. Justin Trudeau, Enrique Pena Nieto and Donald Trump inked the deal in Argentina, ahead of the opening of the G-20 summit.

It will, however, take a while for the agreement to take effect as lawmakers from all three countries have to approve the scheme, officially known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

The pact underpins $1.2 billion in annual trade among the three countries.

It replaces NAFTA, a pact that Trump had roundly criticized in his 2016 presidential campaign, terming it the worst trade deal in history and blaming NAFTA for the loss of American manufacturing jobs since it went into effect in 1994. 

Trump called the deal a “model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever” at a news conference with his North American counterparts in Buenos Aires, Argentina, ahead of the G-20 conference.

When the three countries agreed on the USMCA deal earlier this year, the U.S. leader said, “This landmark agreement will send cash and jobs pouring into the United States and into North America.” 

Joshua Meltzer, a senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, told VOA at that time that the deal was not that much different from NAFTA.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a vastly different deal at all.” Meltzer said. “It’s an agreement that’s over 20 years old and so it clearly needed to be updated.I think certainly it reduces a level of anxiety about how the administration was going to square its rhetoric on trade with an actual trade deal. We certainly see some increased protectionism in some areas, particularly in the auto sector.But overall it’s an update of a trade agreement, it’s comprehensive, and it’s largely good for improving integration between the three economies.” 

ЄС схвалив виплату 500 мільйонів євро макрофінансової допомоги для України

Європейський союз схвалив виплату 500 мільйонів євро макрофінансової допомоги для України. Про це повідомив кореспондент Радіо Свобода в Брюсселі.

Президент України Петро Порошенко назвав рішення Брюсселю важливим сигналом «незмінної підтримки Євросоюзу в умовах останніх викликів з боку російського агресора».

«Щиро вдячний Єврокомісії за позитивне рішення про виділення Україні першого траншу Четвертої програми макрофінансової допомоги ЄС в обсязі 500 мільйонів євро», – зазначив президент.

Україна та ЄС підписали кредитну угоду про залучення 1 мільярда євро у вересні. 8 листопада її схвалив парламент. 

Міністр закордонних справ Павло Клімкін вважає, що Україна отримає новий транш макрофінансової допомоги до кінця 2018 року.

Реалізація Меморандуму про взаєморозуміння та Кредитної угоди дозволить Україні залучити додаткові фінансові ресурси Європейського Союзу у сумі до 1 мільярда євро для їх подальшого спрямування до державного бюджету, зазначали на Банковій.

Rosenstein Calls for Tech Firms to Work With Law Enforcement

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein called on social media companies and technology firms Thursday to work with law enforcement to protect the public from cybercriminals.  


Speaking at a symposium on online crime, Rosenstein said that “social media platforms provide unprecedented opportunities for the free exchange of ideas. But many users do not understand that the platforms allow malicious actors, including foreign government agents, to deceive them by launching vast influence operations.” 


He said it was up to the companies to “place security on the same footing as novelty and convenience, and design technology accordingly.”  


He warned that if the technology sector failed to do so, government would have to step in.  


“I think the companies now do understand if they do not take it upon themselves to self-regulate — which is essentially the theme of my talk today — they will face the potential of government regulation,” he said. 

Extortion scheme


Rosenstein’s remarks came a day after the Justice Department charged two Iranian hackers in connection with a multimillion-dollar cybercrime and extortion scheme that targeted government agencies, cities and businesses. 


Rosenstein said many tech companies are willing to work with law enforcement and to prevent the use of their platforms to spread disinformation. 


But he said that “some technology experts castigate colleagues who engage with law enforcement to address encryption and similar challenges. Just because people are quick to criticize you does not mean that you are doing the wrong thing.” 


U.S. law enforcement officials have long been pushing tech companies to make it easier for them to access information on private devices such as cellphones and social media accounts. But most firms have resisted, citing privacy of the users.  


Rosenstein said data encryption practices were a “significant detriment to public safety.”  


“Improvements in the ability to investigate crime and hold perpetrators accountable must match the pace at which technology is making crimes easier to commit and more destructive,” Rosenstein said. 

Deutsche Bank Offices Raided in Money Laundering Probe

Police raided six Deutsche Bank offices in and around Frankfurt on Thursday over money laundering allegations linked to the “Panama Papers”, the public prosecutor’s office in Germany’s financial capital said.

Investigators are looking into the activities of two unnamed Deutsche Bank employees alleged to have helped clients set up offshore firms to launder money, the prosecutor’s office said.

Around 170 police officers, prosecutors and tax inspectors searched the offices where written and electronic business documents were seized.

“Of course, we will cooperate closely with the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt, as it is in our interest as well to clarify the facts,” Deutsche Bank said, adding it believed it had already provided all the relevant information related to the “Panama Papers”.

The news comes as Deutsche Bank tries to repair its tattered reputation after three years of losses and a drumbeat of financial and regulatory scandals.

Christian Sewing was appointed as chief executive in April to help the bank to rebuild. He trimmed U.S. operations and reshuffled the management board but revenue has continued to slip.

Deutsche Bank shares were down more than 3 percent by 1220 GMT and have lost almost half their value this year.

Offshore links

The investigation was triggered after investigators reviewed so-called “Offshore-Leaks” and “Panama Papers”, the prosecutor said.

The “Panama Papers”, which consist of millions of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, were leaked to the media in April 2016.

Several banks, including Scandinavian lenders Nordea and Handelsbanken have already been fined by regulators for violating money laundering rules as a result of the papers.

The prosecutors said they are looking at whether Deutsche Bank may have assisted clients to set up offshore companies in tax havens so that funds transferred to accounts at Deutsche Bank could skirt anti-money laundering safeguards.

In 2016 alone, over 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered on the British Virgin Islands, generating a volume of 311 million euros, the prosecutors said.

They also said Deutsche Bank employees are alleged to have breached their duties by neglecting to report money laundering suspicions about clients and offshore companies involved in tax evasion schemes.

The investigation is separate from another money laundering scandal surrounding Danish lender Danske Bank, where Deutsche Bank is involved.

Danske is under investigation for suspicious payments totaling 200 billion euros from 2007 onwards and a source with direct knowledge of the case has told Reuters Deutsche Bank helped to process the bulk of the payments.

A Deutsche Bank executive director has said the lender played only a secondary role as a so-called correspondent bank to Danske Bank, limiting what it needed to know about the people behind the transactions.

Under scrutiny

Weaknesses in Deutsche Bank’s controls that aim to prevent money laundering have caught the attention of regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. The bank has publicly said that it agreed it needed to improve its processes to properly identify clients.

In September, Germany’s financial watchdog – BaFin – ordered Deutsche Bank to do more to prevent money laundering and “terrorist financing,” and appointed KPMG as third party to assess progress.

In August, Reuters reported that Deutsche Bank had uncovered further shortcomings in its ability to fully identify clients and the source of their wealth.

Last year, Deutsche Bank was fined nearly $700 million for allowing money laundering through artificial trades between Moscow, London and New York. An investigation by the U.S.

Department of Justice is still ongoing.

Deutsche Bank has been under pressure after annual losses, and it agreed to pay a $7.2 billion settlement with U.S. authorities last year over its sale of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.


Trump Studying New Auto Tariffs After GM Restructuring

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that new auto tariffs were “being studied now,” asserting they could prevent job cuts such as the U.S. layoffs and plant closures that General Motors Co. announced this week. 


Trump said on Twitter that the 25 percent tariff placed on imported pickup trucks and commercial vans from markets outside North America in the 1960s had long boosted U.S. vehicle production. 


“If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here,” Trump said, “and G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland.” 


The United States has a 2.5 percent tariff on imported cars and sport utility vehicles from markets outside North America and South Korea. The new North American trade deal exempts the first 2.6 million SUVs and passenger cars built in Mexico and Canada from new tariffs. 


Several automakers said privately on Wednesday that they feared GM’s action could prompt Trump to act faster than expected on new tariffs. 


GM did not directly comment on Trump’s tweets but reiterated that it was committed to investing in the United States. On Monday, the company said it would shutter five North American plants, stop building six low-selling passenger cars in North America and cut up to 15,000 jobs. The company has no plans to shift production of those vehicles to other markets. 


The administration has for months been considering imposing dramatic new tariffs on imported vehicles. 


The U.S. Commerce Department has circulated draft recommendations to the White House on its investigation into whether to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported cars and parts on national security grounds, Reuters reported earlier this month. 


“The President has great power on this issue – Because of the G.M. event, it is being studied now!” Trump said. 


Shock to industry

The prospect of tariffs of 25 percent on imported autos and parts has sent shock waves through the auto industry, with both U.S. and foreign-brand producers lobbying against it and warning that national security tariffs on EU and Japanese vehicles could dramatically raise the price of many vehicles. 


Trump has also harshly criticized GM for building cars in China. The United States slapped an additional 25 percent tariff on Chinese-made vehicles earlier this year, prompting China to retaliate. 


China currently imposes a 40 percent tariff on U.S. automobiles, while the United States has a 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese vehicles. 


U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Wednesday that he “will examine all available tools to equalize the tariffs applied to automobiles.” 


Additional tariffs on Chinese-made vehicles and parts would have a limited impact, said Kristin Dziczek, an economist at the Center for Automotive Research. She noted only a small number of vehicles were exported from China to the United States annually. 


The White House previously pledged not to move forward with imposing national security tariffs on the European Union or Japan while it was making constructive progress in trade talks. 


Trump wants the EU and Japan to buy more American-made vehicles. He wants the EU and Japan to make trade concessions, including lowering the EU’s 10 percent tariff on imported vehicles and cutting nontariff barriers. 


The White House in recent weeks has reached out to the chief executives of German automakers, including Daimler AG, MW AG and Volkswagen AG about meeting to discuss the status of auto trade.  

Stocks Leap as Fed Chief Hints Interest Rate Increases May Taper Off

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell boosted U.S. stock markets on Wednesday when he said interest rates were “just below” estimates of a level that neither brakes nor boosts a healthy economy. Many took his comments as a signal that the Fed’s three-year tightening cycle is ending. 

The S&P 500 and Dow posted their biggest percentage gains in eight months, while the Nasdaq saw its largest advance in just over a month following Powell’s speech to the Economic Club of New York. 

Powell said that while “there was a great deal to like” about U.S. prospects, “our gradual pace of raising interest rates has been an exercise in balancing risks.” 

Earlier in the day, in its first-ever financial stability report, the Fed cautioned that trade tensions, Brexit and troubled emerging markets could rock a U.S. financial system where asset prices are “elevated.” 

‘Close to neutral’

“[Powell is] now acknowledging he’s close to neutral, which suggests maybe not quite as many rate hikes in the future as investors believed,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors in Chicago. “It’s certainly a change of language and welcome news to investors.” 

The U.S. Commerce Department affirmed that U.S. GDP grew in the third quarter at a 3.5 percent annual rate, but the goods trade deficit widened, consumer spending was revised lower and sales of new homes tumbled, suggesting clouds are gathering over what is now the second-longest economic expansion on record. 

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 617.7 points, or 2.5 percent, to 25,366.43, the S&P 500 gained 61.61 points, or 2.30 percent, to 2,743.78 and the Nasdaq Composite added 208.89 points, or 2.95 percent, to 7,291.59. 

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but utilities were positive. Technology and consumer discretionary were the biggest percentage gainers, each up more than 3 percent. 

The S&P 500 Automobile & Components index was up 1.4 percent after President Donald Trump said he was studying new auto tariffs in the wake of General Motors Co.’s announcement that it would close plants and cut its workforce. 

Humana cuts forecast

Health insurer Humana Inc. cut its 2019 forecast for Medicare drug plan enrollment but upped its estimated enrollment in the company’s Medicare Advantage plan. Its stock ended the session up 6.2 percent. 

Salesforce.com Inc. beat analysts’ earnings estimates and forecast better-than-expected 2020 revenue, sending its shares up 10.3 percent. Other cloud software makers rose on the news, with the ISE Cloud Index gaining 3.5 percent. 

Microsoft Corp briefly surpassed Apple Inc. in market cap but Apple took back its lead by closing. Nevertheless, Microsoft closed 4.0 percent higher as it benefited from optimism regarding demand for cloud computing services. 

Among losers, Tiffany & Co. shares dropped 11.8 percent after the luxury retailer missed quarterly sales estimates on slowing Chinese demand. 

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.95-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.58-to-1 ratio favored advancers. 

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and six new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 37 new highs and 129 new lows. 

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 8.04 billion shares, compared with the 7.82 billion-share average over the last 20 trading days. 

Trump: US Tariffs on More Foreign Vehicles Would Have Prevented GM Plant Closures

U.S. President Donald Trump touted the use of U.S. tariffs on foreign small trucks Wednesday, saying their placement on other foreign vehicles would have prevented the closure of several General Motors plants and the loss of thousands of coveted manufacturing jobs.

Trump noted on Twitter that brisk U.S. small truck sales in the country are due to a 25-percent tariff on small truck imports.

The president reiterated on Twitter that “countries that send us cars have taken advantage of the U.S. for decades.” Trump added he has “great power on this issue,” which he said “is being studied now.”

Trump has threatened to eliminate all federal subsidies to GM in response to the company’s planned closure of five plants and the elimination of 14,000 jobs in North America. Questions remain, though, about whether Trump has the authority to act against the automaker without congressional approval.

Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 are available to those who buy GM electric vehicles. Killing the subsidies may have little financial impact on GM because it is on the cusp of reaching its subsidy limit.

Many of the jobs would be eliminated in Midwestern U.S. states, a region where Trump has long promised a manufacturing rebirth.

GM, which said it has invested more than $22 billion in U.S. operations since it came out of bankruptcy in 2009, has tried to appease the Trump administration while justifying its decisions.

“We appreciate the actions this administration has taken on behalf of industry to improve the overall competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing,” GM said in a statement Tuesday.

Before GM can shutter factories next year in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada, it must reach agreement with the United Auto Workers union. The union has vowed to fight the closures legally and in collective bargaining.

GM’s restructuring reflects changes in buying trends in North America, prompting vehicle manufacturers to shift away from cars and toward SUVs and trucks.






With An Eye on Past Problems, Facebook Expands Local Feature

Facebook is cautiously expanding a feature that shows people local news and information, including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements.

Called “Today In,” the service shows people information from their towns and cities from such sources as news outlets, government entities and community groups. Facebook launched the service in January with six cities and expanded that to 25, then more. On Wednesday, “Today In” is expanding to 400 cities in the U.S. — and a few others in Australia.

The move comes as Facebook tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling and rather a place for communities and people to come together and stay informed.

Here are some things to know about this effort, and why it matters:

The big picture

It’s something users have asked for, the company says. Think of it as an evolution of a “trending” feature the company dropped earlier this year. That feature, which showed news articles that were popular among users, but was rife with such problems as fake news and accusations of bias.

Anthea Watson Strong, product manager for local news and community information, said her team learned from the problems with that feature.

“We feel deeply the mistakes of our foremothers and forefathers,” she said.

This time around, Facebook employees went to some of the cities they were launching in and met with users. They tried to predict problems by doing “pre-mortem” assessments, she said. That is, instead of a “post-mortem” where engineers dissect what went wrong after the fact, they tried to anticipate how people might misuse a feature — for financial gain, for example.

Facebook isn’t saying how long it has been taking this “pre-mortem” approach, though the practice isn’t unique to the company. Nonetheless, it’s a significant step given that many of Facebook’s current problems stem from its failure to foresee how bad actors might co-opt the service.

Facebook also hopes the feature’s slow rollout will prevent problems.

How it works

To find out if “Today In” is available in your city or town, tap the “menu” icon with the three horizontal lines. Then scroll down until you see it. If you want, you can choose to see the local updates directly in your news feed.

For now, the company is offering this only in small and mid-sized cities such as Conroe, Texas, Morgantown, West Virginia, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Large cities such as New York or Los Angeles have added challenges, such as an abundance of news and information, and may need to be broken up into smaller neighborhoods.

The posts in “Today In” are curated by artificial intelligence; there is no human involvement. The service aggregates posts from the Facebook pages for news organizations, government agencies and community groups like dog shelters. For this reason, a kid couldn’t declare a snow day, because “Today In” relies on the school’s official page. Discussion posts from local Facebook groups may also be included.

For now, the information is tailored only by geography, but this might change. A person with no kids, for example, might not want to see updates from schools.


Facebook uses software filters to weed out objectionable content, just as it does on people’s regular news feed. But the filters are turned up for “Today In.” If a good friend posts something a bit objectionable, you are still likely to see it because Facebook takes your friendship into account. But “Today In” posts aren’t coming from your friends, so Facebook is more likely to keep it out.



Porsche Shows off New Edition of Mainstay 911 Sports Car

Porsche says its future is in electric cars but for now it is rolling out a more powerful version of its internal combustion mainstay, the sleek 911 sports car.

Stuttgart-based Porsche, part of Volkswagen, is to show off the eighth version of its brand-defining model at the Los Angeles Auto Show.


The new 911 doesn’t look much different than earlier editions of the car. The new one has bigger wheel housings and a slightly wider body but the same long hood, sloping roof and prominent headlights that have marked successive versions since 1963.


The company said in a news release Wednesday that the new 911 Carrera S and 4S have flat six-cylinder turbocharged engines putting out 443 horsepower, 23 horsepower more than the predecessor. The Carrera S has a top speed of 191 mph and accelerates from zero to 60 mph (96.5 kph) in 3.5 seconds.


The rear-drive 2020 Carrera S has a base price of $113,200 and the 4S all-wheel drive version starts at $120,600, not including a $1,050 delivery fee. They can be ordered now and will reach dealers in summer 2019.


Porsche boss Oliver Blume says that the 911 remains “the core of our brand, we are making it even more emotional.”


Blume says nonetheless by 2025 about half of all new Porsche cars and SUVs will have electric motors, whether they are all-electric or hybrids combining batteries with internal combustion engines.


He was quoted by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper as saying that the company would be ready for a world in which some cities and countries are talking about banning internal combustion cars in coming decades. “It’s clear, the future belongs to electric mobility,” he said.


The company is developing an all-electric sports car, the Taycan, that would compete with sports car offerings by Tesla, BMW and others.




US Charges 2 Iranians in First Online Ransom Case

In the first case of its kind, the U.S. Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against two Iranian hackers for allegedly launching so-called ransomware on the computer networks of U.S. municipalities, hospitals and other public institutions and extorting millions of dollars.

Ransomware is a type of malware used by cybercriminals to lock down computers and extort money from their users in exchange for providing the keys to unlock them. Once used primarily against individuals, ransomware has been increasingly employed in cyberattacks on businesses.

Faramarz Shahi Savandi, 34, and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, 27, are accused of creating the SamSam Ransomware in December 2015 and installing it on the computer networks of more than 230 public and private entities in the United States and Canada, according to a 26-page indictment unsealed Wednesday.

With the targeted computer users unable to access their data, Savandi and Mansouri, operating out of Iran, would then demand a ransom payment made in the form of the virtual currency bitcoin in exchange for decryption keys for the encrypted data.

According to the indictment, the two Iranians received more than $6 million in cryptocurrencies from their victims which they converted into Iranian currency, or rial, using Iran-based bitcoin exchanges. About half of the infiltrated entities refused to make a ransom payment and suffered over $30 million in lost data, according to the indictment.

The victims included the cities of Atlanta, Newark and San Diego, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the University of Calgary in Calgary, Canada, and six U.S. public health care-related entities.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the six-count indictment at a press conference in Washington.

“Every sector of our economy is a target of malicious cyberactivity,” Rosenstein said. “But the events described in this indictment highlight the urgent need for municipalities, public utilities, health care institutions, universities, and other public organizations to enhance their cybersecurity.”

The two indicted Iranians remain at large and have been placed on the FBI’s wanted list. They’re charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, among other related crimes.

The indictment marks the first time the Justice Department has brought charges against cybercriminals involved in a ransomware and extortion scheme, according to Rosenstein.  

Ransomware has grown in sophistication and distribution in recent years. According to a report by the cybersecurity firm Bitdefender, ransomware payments were expected to reach a record $2 billion in 2017.

‘Trend’ from Iran

The charges are also the latest in a string of indictments brought against Iranian hackers and cybercriminals in recent months. In March, prosecutors charged nine Iranian hackers with penetrating the computer networks of hundreds of American and foreign universities and other institutions to steal valuable research material. Unlike some of the previously indicted Iranian hackers, however, Savandi and Mansouri are not believed to have ties to Tehran.

“The actions highlighted today, which represent a continuing trend of cybercriminal activity emanating from Iran, were particularly threatening, as they targeted public safety institutions, including U.S. hospital systems and governmental entities,” said Amy Hess, executive assistant director of the FBI. “As cyberthreats evolve and cybercriminals develop more sophisticated techniques, so do we.”

The 35-month computer hacking scheme led by Savandi and Mansouri began in January 2016 with an attack on an unidentified business in Mercer County, New Jersey, and moved on to public entities such as the City of Newark and health care providers such as Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. 

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said the Iranian hackers carefully chose their targets. A few days prior to attacking the network of Kansas Heart Hospital, for example, they “conducted online searches concerning the hospital and accessed its website,” he said.

Kimberly Goody, manager of cybercrime analysis at cybersecurity firm FireEye, said the hackers probably chose to target health care and government organizations because “they provide critical services and believed their likelihood of paying was higher as a result.”

The indictment does not name the entities that paid a ransom.

Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.

Ocean Shock: Building a Silicon Valley of the Sea

This is part of “Ocean Shock,” a Reuters series exploring climate change’s impact on sea creatures and the people who depend on them.

Norway has built the world’s biggest salmon-farming industry. But it wants to go bigger. With their lucrative oil fields now in decline, Norwegians have ambitious plans for aquaculture to power their economy far into the future.

Climate change could make those dreams harder to realize.

Salmon feed is based on fishmeal, produced by grinding up wild-caught fish. With warming waters and ocean acidification pushing underwater ecosystems to the breaking point, Big Aquaculture is seeking ways to feed fish that aren’t hostage to increasingly unpredictable seas.

“Feed has a couple of bottlenecks: We’re still using marine resources, for example fishmeal and fish oil, to then put into fish. This is not necessarily sustainable in the long term,” said Georg Baunach, co-founder of Hatch, an accelerator focused on supporting aquaculture startups. “And that’s why we need innovation in feed.”

Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and scientists are racing to identify alternatives, turning the Norwegian cities of Bergen and Stavanger into a Silicon Valley of the Sea. Spending on research and development in Norway’s aquaculture sector increased by 30 percent to 2.3 billion kroner, or $275 million, between 2013 and 2015, according to official data quoted by Hatch, as startups and research institutes raced to develop disruptive new technologies.

The innovators aren’t short of ideas. At Norway’s biggest oil refinery, a startup called CO2Bio is harnessing greenhouse gases to culture algae that can then be harvested as a sustainable source of fish feed.

At the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, the Aquafly project is investigating whether black soldier flies fed on waste products from the food industry or the seaweed growing off Norway’s coast could be another viable feed ingredient.

“The insects are also part of this whole circular economy, where instead of throwing away things you would reuse and recycle and upcycle,” said Nina Liland, one of the Aquafly researchers. “Potentially you could use food waste from households to produce insects that could be used for fish feeds: That would be an optimal scenario.”

Various companies are working on projects to recycle more of the vast amounts of waste dumped into the sea by Norway’s aquaculture industry into products such as biogas or fertilizer.

Researchers are also looking for ways to combat the sea lice parasites that thrive in salmon cages, which are a major brake on the industry’s plans to expand.

Time may not be on the fish farmers’ side. With climate change projected to intensify in the coming decades, the challenge will be to turn promising new ideas into viable projects fast enough to shield their dreams of a prosperous future from the growing turmoil at sea.

Report: Trump Says ‘Not Even a Little Bit Happy’ with Fed’s Powell

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday kept up his criticism of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, saying rising interest rates and other Fed policies were damaging the U.S. economy, the Washington Post said.

“So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay,” the Post quoted Trump as saying in an interview, referring to the man he picked last year to lead the Fed.

“Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”

In recent months, the Republican president has repeatedly criticized Powell and the Fed’s interest rate increases that he said was making it more expensive for his administration to finance its escalating deficits. Trump has called the Fed “crazy” and “ridiculous.”

“I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump told the Post on Tuesday. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”

Global Trade at Stake as Trump and Xi Come Face to Face

To hear President Donald Trump tell it, he was made for a moment like this: A high-stakes face-off. A ticking clock. A cagey adversary.


The man who calls himself a supreme dealmaker will have the opportunity this week to put himself to the test. The question is whether he can defuse a trade war with China that is shaking financial markets and threatening the global economy — and perhaps achieve something approximating a breakthrough.


Trump is to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, during the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Friday and Saturday. Unless the two leaders can achieve a truce of sorts, their conflicts will likely escalate: On Jan. 1, the tariffs Trump has imposed on many Chinese goods are set to rise from 10 percent to 25 percent, and Beijing would likely retaliate.


Most analysts have said they doubt Trump and Xi will reach any overarching deal that would settle the dispute for good. The optimistic view is that the two sides may agree to a cease-fire that would buy time for more substantive talks and postpone the scheduled escalation in U.S import taxes.


Yet no one really knows. Each side seems prepared to wait out the other in a conflict that could persist indefinitely.


In advance of the meeting, Trump has sounded his usual note of boastful confidence. Speaking to reporters on Thanksgiving Day, he said:


“I’m very prepared. You know, it’s not like, ‘Oh, gee, I’m going to sit down and study.’ I know every stat. I know it better than anybody knows it. And my gut has always been right.”


Most trade analysts are skeptical that any significant agreement is likely this week.


“Expectations should be very low,” said Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Institute and a former U.S. trade official who negotiated with China. “We need to be very clear-eyed. It’s going to be a very difficult negotiation. The issues at hand don’t lend themselves to quick solutions.”


The trade war erupted last fall after Trump imposed import taxes on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and Beijing retaliated with tariffs on U.S. exports. The justification for the U.S. move, according to Trump, is that Beijing has long deployed predatory tactics in its drive to supplant America’s technological dominance. The administration alleges — and many trade experts agree — that Beijing hacks into U.S. companies’ networks to steal trade secrets and forces American and other foreign companies to hand over sensitive technology as the price of access to China’s market.


Beijing disputes those allegations and asserts that Trump’s sanctions are merely an effort to hinder an ambitious rival.


Besides the scheduled escalation in U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods — an additional $50 billion in Chinese imports already face the higher tax — another threat looms: Trump has threatened to tax $267 billion more in Chinese imports. At that point, just about everything Beijing ships to the United States would face a higher import tax.

Growing concerns that the trade war will increasingly hurt corporate earnings and the U.S. economy are a key reason why U.S. stock prices have been sinking. As of Friday’s close, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has shed roughly 10 of its value since setting a record high Sept. 20.


Joining other forecasters, economists at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development last week downgraded their outlook for global economic growth next year to 3.5 percent from a previous 3.7 percent. In doing so, they cited the trade conflict as well as political uncertainty.


Some big U.S. companies, in reporting quarterly earnings in October, warned that they were absorbing higher costs from Trump’s increased tariffs, which have been imposed not only on Chinese goods but also on imported steel and other goods from other countries.


“We need some certainty,” said Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council and a former American diplomat. “The U.S. and China cannot go into a trade war and not affect global markets … We need to resolve our differences.”

Yet as Trump and Xi prepare to meet, the backdrop is hardly encouraging. Acrimony between the two sides disrupted this month’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Papua New Guinea. The 21 APEC countries, torn by differences between Beijing and Washington, failed to agree on a declaration on world trade for the first time in nearly three decades. Vice President Mike Pence and Xi sniped at each other in speeches.

Then last week, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer issued a report charging China’s efforts to steal U.S. trade secrets have “increased in frequency and sophistication” this year despite American sanctions.


“China fundamentally has not altered its acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, and indeed appears to have taken further unreasonable actions in recent months,” the report concluded.


The tenor of the report suggested that the United States would take a hard line into this week’s talks. In the meantime, “the amount of uncertainty is unprecedented and very disquieting to the markets,” said Allen of the U.S.-China Business Council.


Trump himself sought Monday to increase the pressure on China. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said it was “highly unlikely” that he would agree to Beijing’s request to suspend the tariff hikes that are set to take effect Jan. 1. And he repeated his threat to target an additional $267 billion in Chinese imports with tariffs of 10 percent or 25 percent.


Clouding the outlook are mixed messages from the Trump administration. The White House appears divided between hawks like Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, and free traders like the top White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. On Nov. 9, Navarro delivered a combative speech suggesting that Trump didn’t care what Wall Street thought of his confrontational China policy.

Four days later, Kudlow went on CNBC and dismissed Navarro’s remarks as “way off base.”‘


“They were not authorized by anybody,” Kudlow said. “I actually think he did the president a great disservice.”


Regardless of which approach Trump takes to Buenos Aires, Trump and Xi don’t have to resolve their differences this week. A cease-fire that suspends any further escalation of the U.S. tariffs wouldn’t be unprecedented. The administration and the European Union, for instance, reached a truce last summer that suspended threatened U.S. tariffs on European auto imports.


“My personal guess — and I’m sticking my neck out here — is that there will be some kind of cease-fire agreed to,” said Matthew Goodman, a senior adviser on Asian economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Goodman noted that Trump appears concerned about tumbling stock prices, and Xi is contending with a decelerating Chinese economy. A truce would bring at least a temporary calm.


“No one is expecting they will come out with a solid agreement,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “What the market wants — what the market needs — is a sense that they are negotiating and that the negotiations will continue.”

Банк «ВТБ» визнаний неплатоспроможним, вкладники отримають 942 мільйони гривень – НБУ

«ВТБ Банк» визнаний неплатоспроможним – таку заяву 27 листопада оприлюднив Національний банк України. Це рішення НБУ пояснює захистом інтересів вкладників і кредиторів банку.

За інформацією НБУ, 97% вкладників «ВТБ», тобто понад 59 тисяч людей, отримають свої банківські внески в межах суми, гарантованої Фондом гарантування вкладів фізичних осіб. Сума виплат, за оцінками, складе 942,7 мільйони гривень.

За даними регулятора, банк був віднесений до категорії проблемних 13 листопада, і власники не вжили заходів, щоб виправити ситуацію.

«Зважаючи на відсутність реальних дій з боку власників АТ «ВТБ Банк» для запобігання неплатоспроможності, а також відсутність вжитих та реалістичних заходів для покращення ліквідності банку, та у зв’язку з тим, що діяльність АТ «ВТБ БАНК» не відповідала вимогам банківського законодавства і нормативно-правовим актам Національного банку України, сьогодні Правлінням Національного банку України прийнято рішення про віднесення АТ «ВТБ Банк» до категорії неплатоспроможних», – йдеться в заяві.

НБУ не очікує, що визнання банка неплатоспроможним вплине на всю банківську систему Україну, тому що його частка становить 0,6% від активів платоспроможних банків.

Читайте також: Росія відмовилася визнати рішення суду за позовом українського «Ощадбанку»​

У «ВТБ Банку» ще на початку листопада оприлюднили заяву після арешту його активів Апеляційним судом Києва. Прес-служба фінансової установи повідомила, що «ВТБ» змушений запровадити комісії та ліміти на зняття готівки через те, що суд заборонив йому продавати стягнені заставні активи й майно, аби поповнити власну ліквідність. Однак, згідно з заявою, менеджмент банку «робив усе можливе для розблокування діяльності банку в максимально стислі терміни».

Згідно зі структурою власності «ВТБ», яку оприлюднив НБУ, 99% установи є власністю російського банку «ВТБ», який своєю чергою, належить:

Російській державній корпорації «Агентство зі страхування вкладів» – 47,2%
Міністерству фінансів Росії – 32,8%
Російському федеральному агентству по управлінню державним майном – 12,1%

У вересні 2018 року Апеляційний суд Києва заарештував акції трьох російських банків – «ВТБ», «Сбербанку» та «Промінвестбанку».

Google Blocks Gender-Based Pronouns From New AI Tool

Alphabet Inc’s Google in May introduced a slick feature for Gmail that automatically completes sentences for users as they type. Tap out “I love” and Gmail might propose “you” or “it.” But users are out of luck if the object of their affection is “him” or “her.”

Google’s technology will not suggest gender-based pronouns because the risk is too high that its “Smart Compose” technology might predict someone’s sex or gender identity incorrectly and offend users, product leaders revealed to Reuters in interviews.

Gmail product manager Paul Lambert said a company research scientist discovered the problem in January when he typed “I am meeting an investor next week,” and Smart Compose suggested a possible follow-up question: “Do you want to meet him?” instead of “her.”

Consumers have become accustomed to embarrassing gaffes from autocorrect on smartphones. But Google refused to take chances at a time when gender issues are reshaping politics and society, and critics are scrutinizing potential biases in artificial intelligence like never before.

“Not all ‘screw ups’ are equal,” Lambert said. Gender is a “a big, big thing” to get wrong.

Getting Smart Compose right could be good for business. Demonstrating that Google understands the nuances of AI better than competitors is part of the company’s strategy to build affinity for its brand and attract customers to its AI-powered cloud computing tools, advertising services and hardware.

Gmail has 1.5 billion users, and Lambert said Smart Compose assists on 11 percent of messages worldwide sent from Gmail.com, where the feature first launched.

Smart Compose is an example of what AI developers call natural language generation (NLG), in which computers learn to write sentences by studying patterns and relationships between words in literature, emails and web pages.

A system shown billions of human sentences becomes adept at completing common phrases but is limited by generalities. Men have long dominated fields such as finance and science, for example, so the technology would conclude from the data that an investor or engineer is “he” or “him.” The issue trips up nearly every major tech company.

Lambert said the Smart Compose team of about 15 engineers and designers tried several workarounds, but none proved bias-free or worthwhile. They decided the best solution was the strictest one: Limit coverage. The gendered pronoun ban affects fewer than 1 percent of cases where Smart Compose would propose something, Lambert said.

“The only reliable technique we have is to be conservative,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, who oversaw engineering of Gmail and other services until a recent promotion.

New policy

Google’s decision to play it safe on gender follows some high-profile embarrassments for the company’s predictive technologies.

The company apologized in 2015 when the image recognition feature of its photo service labeled a black couple as gorillas. In 2016, Google altered its search engine’s autocomplete function after it suggested the anti-Semitic query “are jews evil” when users sought information about Jews.

Google has banned expletives and racial slurs from its predictive technologies, as well as mentions of its business rivals or tragic events.

The company’s new policy banning gendered pronouns also affected the list of possible responses in Google’s Smart Reply. That service allow users to respond instantly to text messages and emails with short phrases such as “sounds good.”

Google uses tests developed by its AI ethics team to uncover new biases. A spam and abuse team pokes at systems, trying to find “juicy” gaffes by thinking as hackers or journalists might, Lambert said.

Workers outside the United States look for local cultural issues. Smart Compose will soon work in four other languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French.

“You need a lot of human oversight,” said engineering leader Raghavan, because “in each language, the net of inappropriateness has to cover something different.”

Wispread challenge

Google is not the only tech company wrestling with the gender-based pronoun problem. Agolo, a New York startup that has received investment from Thomson Reuters, uses AI to summarize business documents.

Its technology cannot reliably determine in some documents which pronoun goes with which name. So the summary pulls several sentences to give users more context, said Mohamed AlTantawy, Agolo’s chief technology officer.

He said longer copy is better than missing details. “The smallest mistakes will make people lose confidence,” AlTantawy said. “People want 100 percent correct.”

Yet, imperfections remain. Predictive keyboard tools developed by Google and Apple Inc propose the gendered “policeman” to complete “police” and “salesman” for “sales.”

Type the neutral Turkish phrase “one is a soldier” into Google Translate and it spits out “he’s a soldier” in English. So do translation tools from Alibaba and Microsoft Corp. Amazon.com Inc opts for “she” for the same phrase on its translation service for cloud computing customers.

AI experts have called on the companies to display a disclaimer and multiple possible translations.

Microsoft’s LinkedIn said it avoids gendered pronouns in its year-old predictive messaging tool, Smart Replies, to ward off potential blunders.

Alibaba and Amazon did not respond to requests to comment. Warnings and limitations like those in Smart Compose remain the most-used countermeasures in complex systems, said John Hegele, integration engineer at Durham, North Carolina-based Automated Insights Inc, which generates news articles from statistics.

“The end goal is a fully machine-generated system where it magically knows what to write,” Hegele said. “There’s been a ton of advances made but we’re not there yet.”

Lawmakers Criticize Facebook’s Zuckerberg for UK Parliament No-Show

Facebook came under fire on Tuesday from lawmakers from several countries who accused the firm of undermining democratic institutions and lambasted chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for not answering questions on the matter.

Facebook is being investigated by lawmakers in Britain after consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher, drawing attention to the use of data analytics in politics.

Concerns over the social media giant’s practices, the role of political adverts and possible interference in the 2016 Brexit vote and U.S. elections are among the topics being investigated by British and European regulators.

While Facebook says it complies with EU data protection laws, a special hearing of lawmakers from several countries around the world in London criticized Zuckerberg for declining to appear himself to answer questions on the topic.

“We’ve never seen anything quite like Facebook, where, while we were playing on our phones and apps, our democratic institutions… seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California,” Canadian lawmaker Charlie Angus said.

“So Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision not to appear here at Westminster [Britain’s parliament] to me speaks volumes.”

Richard Allan, the vice president of policy solutions at Facebook who appeared in Zuckerberg’s stead, admitted Facebook had made mistakes but said it had accepted the need to comply with data rules.

“I’m not going to disagree with you that we’ve damaged public trust through some of the actions we’ve taken,” Allan told the hearing.

Facebook has faced a barrage of criticism from users and lawmakers after it said last year that Russian agents used its platform to spread disinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation Moscow denies.

Allan repeatedly declined to give an example of a person or app banned from Facebook for misuse of data, aside from the GSR app which gathered data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Legal documents reviewed by Reuters show how the investigation by British lawmakers has led them to seize documents relating to Facebook from app developer Six4Three, which is in a legal dispute with Facebook.

Damian Collins, chair of the culture committee which convened the hearing, said he would not release those documents on Tuesday as he was not in a position to do so, although he has said previously the committee has the legal power to.

Указ про введення воєнного стану наразі не накладає обмежень на економічну діяльність в Україні – Мінекономрозвитку

Указ про введення в Україні воєнного стану наразі не накладає обмежень на економічну діяльність на всій території держави. Про це повідомили у міністерстві економічного розвитку і торгівлі.

«Суб’єкти господарювання та громадяни можуть здійснювати економічні операції в звичайному режимі», – ідеться у повідомленні.

У міністерстві обіцяють оперативно повідомляти про будь-які зміни в режимі здійснення економічної та зовнішньоекономічної діяльності.

Водночас на тлі повідомлень про запровадження воєнного стану в Україні в обмінниках відбулося стрімке зростання курсу долара США – в середньому до 29 гривень за одну одиницю американської валюти.

У НБУ 26 листопада завили, що ліквідність банківського сектору становить близько 75 мільярдів гривень, що є достатнім для його належного і безперебійного функціонування в разі запровадження воєнного стану.

25 листопада російські прикордонники у Керченській протоці відкрили вогонь по українських кораблях і захопили три кораблі. Шістьох українських військових поранено, двоє у важкому стані. (Росія заявляє, що надала медичну допомогу трьом пораненим, про інших трьох не згадувала).

Свій осуд з приводу дій Росії висловили представники Польщі й Естонії, а також Канада і Грузія. В Євросоюзі і НАТО закликали до «стриманості і деескалації».

26 листопада, після подій у Керченській протоці Верховна Рада ухвалила запровадження з 28 листопада воєнного стану у низці областей України.

App Shows US, Canadian Commuters the Cleanest, Greenest Route Home

A mobile application launched in dozens of U.S. and Canadian cities on Monday measures the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions of inner-city travel, its creators said, letting concerned commuters map their so-called carbon footprints.

Mapping app Cowlines can suggest the most efficient route as well which uses the least fuel, combining modes of transport such as bicycling and walking, within cities, its Vancouver, Canada-based creators said.

Some two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to settle in urban areas by 2050, according to the United Nations.

The trend presents an environmental challenge, given that the world’s cities account for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions.

Not only will the app measure a trip’s emissions and suggest alternatives, it will provide the data to cities and urban planners working on systems from subway lines to bike-sharing programs, said Jonathan Whitworth, chief strategy officer at Greenlines Technology, which created the app.

“As you would imagine here in Canada, especially Western Canada, most people are driven by the environmental side of it,” Whitworth told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The app aims to encourage users in 62 U.S. and Canadian cities to use cleaner modes of transportation, from mass transit to walking or biking, he said.

In the United States, mass transit accounts for less than 2 percent of passenger miles traveled, according to Daniel Sperling, founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis.

“People are starved for good information and data for good travel choices,” said Sperling.

The app’s suggested route is a cowline – city planner parlance for the fastest route, said Whitworth. In pastoral settings, a cowline is the most direct path cattle use to reach grazing grounds.

The app shows users after a trip how many kilograms of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions they are responsible for, Whitworth said.

While other apps such as Changers CO2 Fit track users’ carbon footprints, Cowlines claims its methodology, certified by the International Organization for Standardization, is most accurate, he said.

Whitworth said the company also plans to sell the data it collects.

Experts: African Fishing Communities Face ‘Extinction’ as Blue Economy Grows

Fishing communities along Africa’s coastline are at a greater risk of extinction as countries eye oceans for tourism, industrial fishing and exploration revenue to jumpstart their “blue economies,” U.N. experts and activists said on Monday.

The continent’s 38 coastal and island states have in recent years moved to tap ocean resources through commercial fishing, marine tourism and sea-bed mining, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

“There is a great risk and a great danger that those communities will be marginalized,” said Joseph Zelasney, a fishery officer at U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“The resources that they depend on will be decimated,” he added at a side event at the Blue Economy Conference organized by Kenya, Canada and Japan in Nairobi.

The world’s poorest continent hosts a blue economy estimated at $1 trillion but loses $42 billion a year to illegal fishing and logging of mangroves along the coast, according to UNECA estimates.

Seismic waves generated by prospectors to search for minerals, oil and gases along the ocean floor have scared away fish stocks, said Dawda Saine of the Confederation of African Artisanal Fishing in Gambia.

“Noise and vibration drives fishes away, which means they (fishermen) have to go further to fish,” Saine said.

Pollution from a vibrant tourism sector and foreign trawlers have reduced stocks along the Indian Ocean, Salim Mohamed, a fisherman from Malindi in Kenya, said.

“We suffer as artisanal fishers but all local regulation just look at us as the polluter and doesn’t go beyond that,” he said.

The continent’s fish stocks are also being depleted by industrial trawlers which comb the oceans to feed European and Asian markets, experts say, posing a threat to livelihoods and food security for communities living along the coast.

Growth of blue economies in Africa could also take away common rights to land and water along the coastline and transfer them to corporations and a few individuals, said Andre Standing, advisor with the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements.

Most of the land and beaches along Africa’s thousands of miles of coastline is untitled, making it a good target for illegal acquisition, activists said.

“There is a great worry that we could see privatization of areas that were previously open to these communities,” Standing told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We need to have a radical vision that values communities and livelihoods or they will become extinct.”

Traditional Fisherman, Fish Shops Struggle on Kenyan Coast

Marine fisheries are one of the few economic activities present everywhere along the Kenyan coast – mostly using artisanal fishing methods in which non-motorized boats stay close to shore. In the coastal town of Malindi, thousands of households that depend on the fisheries resources face uncertainty over the sustainability of the industry. Rael Ombuor reports from Malindi.

Apple to Tutor Women in Tech in Bid to Diversify Industry

Apple is launching a new program designed to address the technology industry’s scarcity of women in executive and computer programming jobs.


Under the initiative announced Monday, female entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week tutorial sessions at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.


The camps will be held every three months beginning in January. For each round, Apple will accept up to 20 app makers founded or led by a woman. The app maker must have at least one female programmer in its ranks to qualify. Apple will cover travel expenses for up to three workers from each accepted company.

Like other major tech companies, Apple has been trying to lessen its dependence on men in high-paying programming jobs. Women filled just 23 percent of Apple’s technology jobs in 2017, according to the company’s latest breakdown. That’s only a slight improvement from 20 percent in 2014, despite the company’s pledge to diversify its workforce.


The idea behind the new camp is to keep women interested and immersed in the field, said Esther Hare, Apple’s senior director of world developer marketing.


It’s not clear how much of a dent Apple’s new program will have. Google also offers training for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, but its program hasn’t done much to diversify the workforce so far. Women were hired for nearly 25 percent of Google’s technology jobs in 2017, up from nearly 21 percent in 2014, according to the company.

Apple and other technology companies maintain that one of the main reasons so many men are on their payrolls is because women traditionally haven’t specialized in the mathematical and science curriculum needed to program.


But industry critics have accused the technology companies of discriminating again women through a male-dominated hierarchy that has ruled the industry for decades.


Apple isn’t saying how much it is spending on the initiative, though beyond travel expenses, the company will be relying on its current employees to lead the sessions.

On Cyber Monday, Pope Urges Generosity, not Consumerism

Pope Francis says the “sickness of consumerism” is the enemy of generosity as he called for the faithful to give a little something to the poor.


Francis made the comments during his morning homily Monday, so-called Cyber Monday when online retailers woo shoppers with bargains ahead of Christmas.


Francis made no mention of Christmas shopping — in Italy, the official season begins Dec. 8 — but his plea for generosity will likely be repeated in coming weeks.


Francis said giving away clothes, shoes or groceries can help the poor: “How many pairs of shoes do I have? One, two, three, four, 15, 20? … If you have so many, give away half.”


He said: “We can make miracles with generosity of little things.”



Macron Feels Diesel Tax Anger After Paris ‘Battle Scenes’

French President Emmanuel Macron, caught off guard by violent demonstrations against diesel tax hikes, warned his cabinet on Monday that the protests could tarnish France’s image and said the government needed to listen to voter anger.

The 10 days of unrest, which on Saturday left some Parisian boulevards transformed into battlefields, hit Macron as he sought to counter a sharp decline in popularity, and have again exposed him to charges of being out of touch with voters.

He has shown no sign, however, of reversing the diesel tax hikes, which he says are needed to help spur a switch to greener energy, though he is now indicating a willingness to soften the blow for motorists on modest incomes.

Police on Saturday fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets at thousands of protesters who trashed restaurants and shop-fronts and set wheelie bins ablaze on Paris’ upmarket Champs-Elysees boulevard, a tourist magnet.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the impact of these images of the Champs-Elysees […] with battle scenes that were broadcast by the media in France and abroad,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said.

After meeting with business associations, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the protests would have a “severe impact” on the economy, though it was too soon to say what the effect on fourth-quarter growth would be.

Now in their second week, the “yellow vest” protests have blocked roads across the country, impeding access to fuel depots, out-of-town shopping malls and factories.

“Behind this anger there is obviously something deeper that we must respond to, because this anger, these anxieties have existed for a long time,” Griveaux said.

Protesters will be looking for concrete answers from Macron when he unveils a new longterm energy strategy on Tuesday.

Green credentials

Macron has stepped up his defense of the diesel tax, aware that the French treasury is hungry for the revenues the levy generates and that unwinding the tax would damage his green credentials.

He has earmarked 500 million euros to help poorer citizens buy less-polluting vehicles, seeking to answer criticism that his reforms have eaten into household spending.

The weekend’s violence also exposed tensions within the amorphous “yellow vests” movement, so-called because the protesters don the high-vis jackets which all motorists in France must carry in their vehicles.

They strove to maintain a united front on Monday, forming a committee tasked with securing a meeting with the president and Griveaux said that would happen if they came forward with concrete proposals.

Canada Blindsided by GM Oshawa Closure, Workers Walk Out in Protest

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday expressed his”deep disappointment” in General Motors Co’s decision to close its Oshawa plant, a move Canadian officials only learned about on Sunday and which led workers to walk off the job on Monday.

Canadian officials promised to aid auto workers affected by the 2019 closure, part of a wider restructuring by the automaker that will cut production of slow-selling models and slash its North American workforce.

GM said the closure affects a total of 2,973 assembly line jobs. GM’s total employment in Canada is 8,150 direct jobs.

“I spoke with GM (CEO) Mary Barra to express my deep disappointment in the closure,” Trudeau tweeted on Monday.

“We’ll do everything we can to help the families affected by this news get back on their feet.”

Ontario, home to the Oshawa plant, was told by the automaker that there was nothing it could do to prevent it, premier Doug Ford said. Oshawa is about 37 miles (60 km) east of Toronto.

“The first thing I said is, ‘What can we do? What do we have to do?'” said Ford, referring to a Sunday night call with GM Canada’s President Travis Hester. “He said the ship has already left the dock.”

Ford later added: “We’re disappointed in GM. We supported GM years ago when they were in trouble.”

The Canadian and Ontario governments joined the United States in supporting GM with billions of dollars in aid after the automaker filed for bankruptcy protection during the severe 2009 global economic downturn.

Canada and Ontario also backed a 2005 investment by GM to modernize the Oshawa plant’s paint shop.

Canadian Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said that GM “only made this official announcement to us yesterday.”

A former Canadian auto executive said it would be difficult for Canadian government officials to entice GM further to keep the plant open.

“The government has done everything they could to keep them afloat.

bviously incentives by themselves don’t keep a car plant open,” said the executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “It’s all about getting a product mandate,” or a commitment to produce a specific vehicle.

Workers in the Unifor trade union walked out of the Oshawa plant “in protest,” ahead of a meeting with GM about the announcement, a union spokeswoman said.

“I’ve moved my family twice for this company and they do this to me,” a tearful worker told CBC TV as he left the plant.

Under Unifor’s four-year contract signed in 2016, GM must give the union a year’s notice before closing the plant. The automaker intends to close the plant in December, 2019.

A 2015 study commissioned by Unifor, which represents GM employees, estimated that shutting the plant would eliminate 4,100 direct jobs and reduce Ontario’s gross domestic product by C$1.1 billion.

US Top Court Open to Antitrust Suit Against Apple App Store

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday appeared open to letting a lawsuit proceed against Apple Inc that accused it of breaking federal antitrust laws by monopolizing the market for iPhone software applications and causing consumers to overpay.

The nine justices heard an hour of arguments in an appeal by the Cupertino, California-based technology company of a lower court’s decision to revive the proposed class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in California in 2011 by a group of iPhone users seeking monetary damages.

The lawsuit said Apple violated federal antitrust laws by requiring apps to be sold through the company’s App Store and then taking a 30 percent commission from the purchases.

The case may hinge on how the justices will apply one of its past decisions to the claims against Apple. That 1977 ruling limited damages for anti-competitive conduct to those directly overcharged rather than indirect victims who paid an overcharge passed on by others.

Apple was backed by Republican President Donald Trump’s administration. Some liberal and conservative justices sharply questioned an attorney for Apple and U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who argued on behalf of the administration on the company’s side, over their argument that the consumers were not directly affected by purchasing the apps from Apple.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan, explaining how an App Store purchase is handled, said, “From my perspective, I’ve engaged in a one-step transaction with Apple.”

Some conservative justices, including Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, wondered whether the 1977 ruling was still valid in a modern marketplace.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts’ questions suggested he agreed with Apple’s position. Roberts expressed concern that, for a single price increase, Apple could be held liable by both consumers and App developers.

The iPhone users, including lead plaintiff Robert Pepper of Chicago, have argued that Apple’s monopoly leads to inflated prices compared to if apps were available from other sources.

Though developers set the prices of their apps, Apple collects the payments from iPhone users, keeping a 30 percent commission on each purchase. One area of dispute in the case is whether app developers recoup the cost of that commission by passing it on to consumers. Developers earned more than $26 billion in 2017, a 30 percent increase over 2016, according to Apple.

Closing courthouse doors

Apple, also backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group, told the justices in legal papers that siding with the iPhone users who filed the lawsuit would threaten the burgeoning field of e-commerce, which generates hundreds of billions of dollars annually in U.S. retail sales.

The plaintiffs, as well as antitrust watchdog groups, said closing courthouse doors to those who buy end products would undermine antitrust enforcement and allow monopolistic behavior to expand unchecked. The plaintiffs were backed by 30 state attorneys general, including from Texas, California and New York.

The plaintiffs said app developers would be unlikely to sue Apple, which controls the service where they make money, leaving no one to challenge anti-competitive conduct.

The company sought to have the antitrust claims dismissed, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked the required legal standing to bring the lawsuit. A federal judge in Oakland, California threw out the suit, saying the consumers were not direct purchasers because the higher fees they paid were passed on to them by the developers.

But the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the case last year, finding that Apple was a distributor that sold iPhone apps directly to consumers.

«Ощадбанк» заявив про перемогу над Росією в міжнародному арбітражі на 1,3 мільярда доларів

Український державний банк «Ощадбанк» заявив про перемогу над Росією в міжнародному арбітражі на суму в 1,3 мільярда доларів у зв’язку зі збитками, зазнаними внаслідок захоплення Росією українського Криму. Це повідомлення на цей час не підтверджене з інших джерел, його також іще не коментували в Росії.

Це рішення задовольнити вимогу щодо компенсації збитків «Ощадбанку», яке ухвалив Арбітражний трибунал у Парижі в рішенні від 26 листопада 2018 року, банк назвав безпрецедентним.

Як мовиться в повідомленні, сума відшкодування становитиме 1,3 мільярда доларів США плюс відсотки, які будуть нараховуватись із моменту винесення рішення до моменту фактичної компенсації. Це арбітражне рішення є остаточним та обов’язковим для сторін. Сторони зобов’язані виконувати арбітражне рішення без зволікань.

Підготовка справи і її розгляд тривали понад чотири роки, нагадали в «Ощадбанку».

«Сьогодні ми отримали офіційне повідомлення про перемогу! Важко уявити повідомлення, яке б ми потребували наразі більше, ніж це. Враховуючи те, як саме розвиваються наші відносини з агресором, ця перемога має надзвичайне значення не лише для нас, а й для всієї України! З першого дня анексії Криму ми працювали над документуванням злочинів, вчинених проти банку окупаційною владою, готуючись до зустрічі в міжнародних судових інстанціях, – заявив голова правління «Ощадбанку» Андрій Пишний. – Сума відшкодування свідчить про те, що арбітраж прийняв усі юридичні аргументи та економічні розрахунки, надані командою «Ощаду». «Ощадбанк» буде рішуче вимагати стягнення присудженої компенсації».

Пишний також закликав інші українські компанії, як державної, так і приватної форм власності, звертатись у міжнародний арбітраж – як він сказав, «для того, щоб відновити справедливість і примусити окупанта відповісти хоча б за економічні втрати України внаслідок розбійницького нападу на нашу країну». За словами банкіра, фахівці «Ощадбанку» готові надати консультації тим організаціям, які підуть шляхом «Ощадбанку» і будуть звертатися до міжнародних судових інституцій та арбітражів проти Російської Федерації з приводу втрат внаслідок агресії у Криму.

«Після отримання в установленому порядку рішення арбітражу «Ощадбанк» почне вживати всіх можливих дій для виконання рішення та стягнення коштів з Російської Федерації. Банк буде активно добиватись виконання Арбітражного рішення щодо активів Росії у відповідних юрисдикціях у всьому світі», – наголосили у прес-службі банку.

У травні 2018 року інший міжнародний арбітраж, Постійний арбітражний суд у Гаазі, виніс рішення за позовом проти Росії через захоплення нею майна у Криму від колишніх (на час анексії півострова) акціонерів нині націоналізованого найбільшого комерційного банку України, «Приватбанку». Сам арбітраж не оприлюднив тексту рішення, але, за інформацією української сторони, в цьому випадку сума присудженого позивачам відшкодування від Росії склала близько 159 мільйонів доларів. Росія заявила, що не визнає того арбітражного рішення.

More Than 200 Chinese Arrested in Cambodia for Online Scams

Police in Cambodia have arrested more than 200 Chinese citizens accused of defrauding people in China over the internet.

Gen. Y Sok Khy, director of the Interior Ministry’s Department of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime, said 36 women were among the 235 Chinese arrested Monday in three different villages in Takeo province, south of the capital, Phnom Penh.

Online scams by Chinese gangs that operate from foreign countries and target mainland Chinese are common throughout Southeast Asia and have been found as far away as Kenya and Spain. Cambodia has arrested and sent at least 1,000 Chinese and Taiwanese residents allegedly involved in such schemes to China since 2012.

The scams are carried out by making phone calls over the internet and employing deception, threats and blackmail against the victims.

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