From Airlines to Pizza Parlors, EU Businesses Adopt Data Law

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Lisa Meyer's hair salon is a cozy place where her mother serves homemade macaroons, children climb on chairs and customers chat above the whirr of hairdryers. Most of the time Meyer is focused on hairstyles, color trends and keeping up with appointments. But now she's worried about how the European Union's new data protection law will affect her business as she contacts customers to seek permission to store their details. Even though she supports the law, Meyer fears it may cut her mailing list by 90 percent as people choose to withhold their data or simply overlook her emails.   "It will be difficult to market upcoming events," she said at her shop, Lisa Hauck Hair & Beauty in London.   Businesses from pizza parlors to airlines across the EU's…


EU Parliament to Broadcast Zuckerberg Hearing

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A European Parliament meeting on Tuesday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be broadcast live, parliamentary officials and the company said on Monday after controversy over plans for a closed-door hearing. Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who was criticized by legislators and some senior EU officials over arrangements for the discussion on public privacy concerns, tweeted that it was "great news" that Zuckerberg had agreed to a live web stream. A Facebook spokeswoman said: "We’re looking forward to the meeting and happy for it to be live streamed." Zuckerberg, who founded the U.S. social media giant, will be in Europe to defend the company after scandal over its sale of personal data to a British political consultancy which worked on U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign, among others. He will meet…


China Puts its Own Spin on Agreement to Reduce Trade Deficit

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China's state media are playing up what it says is a trade war truce and de-escalation in tensions after negotiators from Washington and Beijing agreed to hold off on tariffs and “substantially reduce” the U.S. trade deficit. However, economists and business leaders argue that there is more to managing the relationship than balancing imports and exports. State media in China are focusing heavily on the argument that Beijing did not give any ground and adopting their own take on the deficit question — focusing instead the country’s pledge to boost imports from the United States. An editorial in the China Daily entitled “Sino-US agreement benefits both countries and the world” said that: “For China, ‘significantly increasing' imports of U.S. goods and services, such as agricultural and energy products, will help meet its…


Xinhau: China Launches Satellite to Explore Dark Side of Moon

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China launched a relay satellite early on Monday designed to establish a communication link between earth and a planned lunar probe that will explore the dark side of the moon, the official Xinhua news agency said. Citing the China National Space Administration, Xinhua said the satellite was launched at 5:28 a.m. (2128 GMT Sunday) on a Long March-4C rocket from the Xichang launch center in the southwest of the country. "The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the moon," Xinhua quoted Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, as saying. It said the satellite, known as Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, will settle in an orbit about…


Washington Digests US-China Trade Announcement

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Washington is digesting China’s stated intention to purchase more American goods and reduce the trade imbalance between the two countries. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, last week’s talks between U.S. and Chinese negotiators did not yield specific commitments from Beijing in dollar figures, sparking criticism from some lawmakers in Washington. ...


Facebook’s Zuckerberg, EU Lawyers Locked in Negotiations

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Facebook and European Union officials were locked in high-stakes negotiations Sunday over whether founder Mark Zuckerberg will appear Tuesday before EU lawmakers to discuss the site’s impact on the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of Europeans, as well as Facebook’s impact on elections on both sides of the Atlantic and the spreading of fake news. Being debated is whether the meeting would be held after EU Parliament President Antonio Tajanibe agreed to have it live-streamed on the internet and not held behind closed-doors, as previously agreed. The leaders of all eight political blocs in the parliament have insisted the format be changed. Lawmakers say it would be deeply damaging for Zuckerberg, if he pulls out simply because they want him to hold what they say is the equivalent of a…


American Inventors You’ve Never Heard Of

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Edison did it. Eastman did it. And so did Steve Jobs. They invented products that changed our lives. But for every well-known inventor there are many other, less recognizable individuals whose innovative products have greatly impacted our world. Fifteen of those trailblazing men and women -- both past and present -- were recently honored for their unique contributions in a special ceremony at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum, which is nestled in a corner of the vast atrium of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office building in Alexandria, Virginia. Augmented reality Stan Honey was honored for inventing a graphics systems that makes it easier for television viewers around the world to see key moments during live sporting events… such as sailing, car racing and American football. “What we…


South Korea’s LG Group Chairman Dies at 73

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South Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate, LG Group, said its Chairman Koo Bon-moo did Sunday. Koo, 73, had been struggling with an illness for a year, LG Group said in a statement. “Becoming the third chairman of LG at the age of 50 in 1995, Koo established key three businesses — electronics, chemicals and telecommunications — led a global company LG, and contributed to driving (South Korea’s) industrial competitiveness and national economic development,” LG said. A group official said Koo had been unwell for a year and had undergone surgery. The official declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. Before its chairman’s death, LG Group had established a holding company in order to streamline ownership structure and begin the process of succession. Heir apparent Koo Kwang-mo is from…


US, China Agree to Increased Trade Cooperation

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The United States and China agreed to take measures to reduce the U.S. trade deficit in goods by having China purchase more American goods, particularly agriculture and energy products, according to a joint statement the two nations released Saturday. "There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China," the joint statement said. "To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services. This will help support growth and employment in the United States." The statement concluded joint talks Thursday and Friday between the two countries, which included several U.S. Cabinet secretaries and China's State Council Vice Premier Liu He. President Donald Trump made reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China a key campaign promise. The…


India, EU Give WTO Lists of US Goods for Potential Tariff Retaliation

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India and the European Union have given the World Trade Organization lists of the U.S. products that could incur high tariffs in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump's global tariffs on steel and aluminum, WTO filings showed Friday. The EU said Trump's steel tariffs could cost $1.5 billion and aluminum tariffs a further $100 million, and listed rice, cranberries, bourbon, corn, peanut butter, and steel products among the U.S. goods that it might target for retaliation. India said it was facing additional U.S. tariffs of $31 million on aluminum and $134 million on steel, and listed U.S. exports of soya oil, palmolein and cashew nuts among its potential targets for retaliatory tariffs. One trade official described the lists of retaliatory tariffs as "loading a gun," making it plain to U.S.…


Canada’s Trudeau Talks Tech at MIT Gathering

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Canadian computer scientists helped pioneer the field of artificial intelligence before it was a buzzword, and now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hoping to capitalize on their intellectual lead. Trudeau has become a kind of marketer-in-chief for Canada's tech economy ambitions, accurately explaining the basics of machine learning as he promotes a national plan he says will "secure Canada's foothold in AI research and training." "Tech giants have taken notice, and are setting up offices in Canada, hiring Canadian experts, and investing time and money into applications that could be as transformative as the internet itself," Trudeau wrote in a guest editorial published this week in the Boston Globe. Trudeau has been taking that message on the road and is likely to emphasize it again Friday when he addresses a…


China Ends US Sorghum Anti-Dumping Probe, OKs Toshiba Deal

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China has dropped an anti-dumping investigation and given long awaited approval for the sale of Toshiba's memory chip business, in gestures that could suggest a thaw between Beijing and the U.S. as trade talks resumed in Washington. The Commerce Ministry said Friday ended the probe into imported U.S. sorghum because it's not in the public interest. A day earlier, Beijing cleared the way for a group led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital to buy Toshiba Corp.'s computer memory chip business. The moves signaled Beijing's willingness to make a deal with Washington amid talks between senior U.S. and Chinese officials aimed at averting a trade war between the world's two biggest economies, analysts say. "I think China is willing to make concessions," said Wang Tao, chief China economist at…


EU Mulls Direct Iran Central Bank Transfers to Beat US Sanctions

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The European Commission is proposing that EU governments make direct money transfers to Iran's central bank to avoid U.S. penalties, an EU official said, in what would be the most forthright challenge to Washington's newly reimposed sanctions. The step, which would seek to bypass the U.S. financial system, would allow European companies to repay Iran for oil exports and repatriate Iranian funds in Europe, a senior EU official said, although the details were still to be worked out. The European Union, once Iran's biggest oil importer, is determined to save the nuclear accord, that U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned on May 8, by keeping money flowing to Tehran as long as the Islamic Republic complies with the 2015 deal to prevent it from developing an atomic weapon. "Commission President Jean-Claude…


Inventors Honored in Hall of Fame Special Ceremony

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Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Apple founder Steve Jobs are some of America's best known inventors. But there are other, less recognizable individuals whose innovative products have greatly impacted our world. More than a dozen of them were recently honored for their unique contributions in a special ceremony at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum in Alexandria, Virginia. VOA's Julie Taboh has more. ...


In the Name of Safety: NYC Tradition – Blessing of the Bikes

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For almost 20 years, cyclists have gathered in New York's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine for what might seem like an unusual ceremony the blessing of the bikes. Held the day before the city's Five Boro Bike Tour, the ceremony is meant to bring luck and safety to those who travel around the Big Apple on a bike. Evgeny Maslov has the story, narrated by Anna Rice. ...


Silicon Valley Startup Peddles 3-D-printed Bike

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After a career that included helping Alphabet's Google build out data centers and speeding packages for Amazon.com to customers, Jim Miller is doing what many Silicon Valley executives do after stints at big companies: finding more time to ride his bike. But this bike is a little different. Arevo, a startup with backing from the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency and where Miller recently took the helm, has produced what it says is the world's first carbon fiber bicycle with 3-D-printed frame. Arevo is using the bike to demonstrate its design software and printing technology, which it hopes to use to produce parts for bicycles, aircraft, space vehicles and other applications where designers prize the strength and lightness of so-called "composite" carbon fiber parts but are put…


Switzerland Seeks a Study of Starting Its Own Cryptocurrency

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Switzerland’s government has requested a report into the risks and opportunities of launching its own cryptocurrency, a so-called “e-franc” that would use technology similar to privately launched coins like bitcoin but have backing of the state. The lower house of the Swiss parliament must now decide whether to back the Federal Council’s request for a study into the subject, which has been discussed in Sweden. Cryptocurrencies have drawn scrutiny from lawmakers and international governing bodies coming to grips with the technology’s rapid ascent. The coins use encryption and a blockchain transaction database designed to enable anonymous transactions that do not require centralized processing. Other countries interested Several countries have begun evaluating the viability of introducing their own state-backed digital currency, with Sweden’s Riksbank saying an e-crown might help counteract issues…


New US Sanctions Hit at Hezbollah-Linked Financier, Companies

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The United States sought on Thursday to further choke off funding sources for Iranian-backed Hezbollah, imposing sanctions on its representative to Iran, as well as a major financier and his five companies in Europe, West Africa and the Middle East. The U.S. Treasury said Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi was a Hezbollah financier operating through Belgium, Lebanon and Iraq, and was a close associate of Gambia's former president Yahya Jammeh, who is accused of acquiring vast wealth during his decades-long rule. It also imposed sanctions on Hezbollah's representative to Iran, Abdallah Safi Al-Din, who it said served as an interlocutor between Hezbollah and Iran on financial issues. The department said it had blacklisted Belgian energy services conglomerate Global Trading Group; Gambia-based petroleum company Euro African Group; and Lebanon-based Africa Middle East Investment…


UN Forecasting Global Economy Will Expand by Over 3 Percent

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The United Nations is forecasting that the global economy will expand by more than 3 percent this year and next year — but it warns that increasing risks could trigger "a shock to investment and trade" and a sharp drop to 1.8 percent growth in 2019.   The U.N.'s mid-year report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects launched Thursday says growth in the world economy is surpassing expectations, reflecting further economic expansion in developed countries and broadly favorable investment conditions.   However, the report said, "downside risks" have increased including "a rise in the probability of trade conflicts between major economies."   Dawn Holland, chief of the U.N.'s Global Economic Monitoring Branch, cited the Trump administration's imposition of tariffs in January and proposed new tariffs against China as well…


Iran Signs Oil Deal With UK Group as France’s Total Exits

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Iranian state TV is reporting that the country has signed an agreement with a British consortium to develop an oil field, just as another major company, France's Total, says it will withdraw from Iran because of the renewed U.S. sanctions. The new agreement is the first between Iran and a company from a key Western ally of the United States since Washington last week announced it will pull out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers. The U.S. said it was reinstalling sanctions against Iran. Managing Director of Pergas International Consortium Colin Rowley, and Bijan Alipour, managing director of National Iranian South Oil Co., signed a preliminary deed on the partnership in the presence of British Ambassador Rob Macaire in Tehran on Wednesday night. The project,…


EU to Trump: Stop Threatening Us with Tariffs

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The European Union has called on U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to stop threatening it with tariffs on steel and aluminum, saying Thursday it is prepared to discuss trade — but not at gun-point.   In March, Trump slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum, but granted the 28 EU countries a temporary exemption until June 1. He also temporarily exempted big steel producers Canada and Mexico, provided they agree to renegotiate a North American trade deal to his satisfaction.   "It's Europe's economic sovereignty, and what we are demanding is that we are exempted without conditions or time limits," French President Emmanuel Macron said in Bulgaria, where EU leaders have gathered for a summit with Balkans countries.   Convinced that the U.S. move…


Trump: US Has Not ‘Folded’ in Trade Dealing with China

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President Donald Trump says the United States has not “folded” in trade negotiations with China as both countries get set for another round of meetings. “We have not seen China’s demands yet,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The U.S. has very little to give because it has given so much over the years. China has much to give.” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin opens two days of talks in Washington with Chinese officials Thursday. “These meetings are a continuation of the talks held in Beijing two weeks ago and will focus on rebalancing the United States-China bilateral economic relationship,” the White House says. They are also aimed at avoiding a full-blown trade war after the U.S. and China exchanged tariffs in March. Trump told the country Wednesday that the U.S. has been…


Argentina’s Currency Crisis Over, Macri says

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President Mauricio Macri said Wednesday that Argentina's currency crisis is over, speaking as the country's currency rebounded somewhat and prices for its stocks and bonds rose.   Macri announced last week that Argentina was seeking a financing deal with the International Monetary Fund following a sharp drop in the peso. The decision brought back haunting memories for Argentines who blame the IMF for introducing policies that led to the country's 2001 economic implosion.   Argentina was forced to impose interest rate hikes and to tighten the fiscal deficit target to try to halt the devaluation of its currency, which has lost about 25 percent of its value in recent weeks.   The peso hit a new all-time low of 25.30 to the U.S. dollar Monday. But it rose at 24.8…


US Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality

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The U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to overturn the FCC's 2017 repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules, with all Democrats and three Republicans voting in favor of the measure. The Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would undo the Federal Communications Commission's vote to deregulate the broadband industry. If the CRA is approved by the House and signed by President Donald Trump, internet service providers would have to continue following rules that prohibit blocking, throttling and paid prioritization. The Republican-controlled FCC voted in December to repeal the rules, which require internet service providers to give equal footing to all web traffic. Democrats argued that scrapping the rules would give ISPs free rein to suppress certain content or promote sites that pay them. Republicans insist they, too, believe in…


Amsterdam Determined to Tame Tourism

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Amsterdam unveiled far-reaching plans Wednesday to rein in tourism, reflecting the dissatisfaction of many residents who feel the city's historic center has been overrun. The leading Green-Left and other parties negotiating a new municipal government after March elections vowed to return "Balance to the City," in a document of that name seen by Reuters. "The positive sides of tourism such as employment and city revenues are being more and more overshadowed by the negative consequences," including trash and noise pollution, the document said. Changes the document outlines include curtailing "amusement transportation" such as multiperson "beer bikes"; cracking down on alcohol use in boats on the canals; further restricting Airbnb and other home rentals; and a large tax hike. The plans announced Wednesday also include creating an inventory of all commercial beds in the city to try to cap various sectors, such as those on cruise…


Facebook’s Zuckerberg, EU Lawmakers to Discuss Data Privacy

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is slated to meet privately in Brussels as soon as next week with key European lawmakers about the data protection controversy that has affected his company. EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani confirmed the meeting Wednesday. It will be Zuckerberg's first visit with EU representatives since a whistle-blower alleged that British political consulting company Cambridge Analytica improperly collected information from millions of Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election in the United States. The collection affected about 87 million users and prompted apologies from Zuckerberg. Facebook was largely unscathed by Zuckerberg's 10 hours of testimony before U.S. legislators in April. The social media giant's share price increased after his testimony, and some lawmakers apparently failed to grasp the technical details of the company's…