Category: World news

Cambridge Analytica data scandal has knocked 10% off share price so it is right to ask how the boss is running the firm

Politicians and regulators won’t be the only people who want a word with Mark Zuckerberg. With Facebook’s shares sliding more than 10% since the data breach involving Cambridge Analytica, shareholders would probably also like to quiz their chief executive about how he has been running the firm.

But what are outside investors’ chances of exerting real influence? What if, after a few more chapters in this saga, the majority owners of Facebook conclude the “catastrophic failure of process”, as one MP put it, is so damaging that a new boss is required to restore credibility in the eyes of users, advertisers and the outside world?

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Madrid wants veto over UK territory enjoying single market access post-Brexit

The hard-fought agreement between the UK and EU over a 21-month transition period after Brexit has been thrown into doubt after Spain refused to endorse the deal without further concessions over Gibraltar.

With days to go before the 27 EU leaders are expected to welcome the two sides coming together over a 129-page withdrawal agreement, including the terms of the transition, Madrid said it was withholding its support.

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Fans of jambon-beurre say its demise has been exaggerated despite hamburger sales of 1.4bn

It was lunchtime and outside the boulangerie just off Baron Haussmann’s celebrated Grands Boulevards in Paris, Pierre almost choked on his ham and butter baguette.

Claims that the French now eat more burgers than the traditional jambon-beurre baguette sandwiches were definitely not to his taste; what’s more, he did not believe them.

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Maria Efimova surrenders in Greece after Malta and Cyprus issued European arrest warrants

A whistleblower at the centre of a corruption scandal surrounding Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, has handed herself in to police in Athens.

Maria Efimova, who claimed a private bank where she worked had been used to move funds for Maltese politicians and the children of the president of Azerbaijan, voluntarily attended a police station in Syntagma Square on Monday night.

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Statement from the board says move is a step towards justice for victims ‘silenced by Harvey Weinstein’

US film and TV studio The Weinstein Company, whose ex-chairman Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment and assault, said on Monday it has filed for bankruptcy with an offer from an affiliate of private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners to acquire its assets.

Crucially, the company also said it was releasing all employees from non-disclosure agreements.

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An executive order bars the use of any Venezuelan cryptocurrency issued since 9 January, including the recently launched petro

The Trump administration has banned all use by Americans of a Venezuelan cryptocurrency, saying that its introduction is intended to skirt US sanctions. In a separate move, the administration also slapped sanctions on four current and former senior Venezuelan officials accused of corruption and mismanagement.

Related: Venezuela's new bitcoin: an ingenious plan or worthless cryptocurrency?

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Jubilee Debt Campaign says 126 nations spend more than 10% of revenues on interest

The expected rise in US interest rates will increase financial pressures on developing countries already struggling with a 60% jump in their debt repayments since 2014, a leading charity has warned.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign said a study of 126 developing nations showed that they were devoting more than 10% of their revenues on average to paying the interest on money borrowed – the highest level since before the G7 agreement to write off the debts of the world’s poorest nations at Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005.

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US protectionism is in accord with the spirit of the times – but it won’t have a happy ending

Much to the delight of Hollywood, Donald Trump wants to open a new front in his trade offensive by punishing China for theft of America’s intellectual property rights.

The US entertainment industry is not awfully keen on Trump, having strongly backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but is even less keen on its movies and TV shows being ripped off by the world’s most populous country.

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Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters

How Cambridge Analytica’s algorithms turned ‘likes’ into a political tool

The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.

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The country named the world’s happiest in a UN report was relatively slow to recover after the financial crisis

If you can’t buy happiness, perhaps you should move to Helsinki. Finland has emerged from a 10-year economic depression to be ranked by the UN last week as the happiest place to live on the planet. The most important factor in Finland topping the UN’s happiness ranking is the country’s history of equality. It has managed to strike an amicable balance between the sexes, between workers and bosses, and within the education and welfare systems. An equal society can bond together to survive the bad times when so many countries pull themselves apart.

At the turn of the century Finland was riding high. It boasted one of the world’s most successful tech companies – Nokia – and a had a well-deserved reputation for embracing the internet revolution. It had escaped from the shadow of the Soviet Union to become a robust neighbour to Russia.

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Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena for documents from the Trump Organization, where Ivanka Trump has played a leading role

Ivanka Trump is likely to face new legal scrutiny by Robert Mueller following reports that the special counsel has demanded documents from the Trump Organization, where she served as a senior executive.

Trump, who is married to Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser who was recently stripped of his security clearance, has been described by her father as a “natural-born dealmaker” and was known to have played a leading role in deals between the Trump Organization and a Russian national who has come under scrutiny and bragged about his ties to top Kremlin officials.

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Leading builder says it can’t boost production to build the extra homes that Britain badly needs

And finally, Berkeley Group closed down 5.4% on the London stock market tonight, amid disappointment that it won’t boost its house-building programme.

Other housebuilders also suffered, with Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon both losing around 1.3%.

Traders received an insight into the psyche of Berkeley Group today after the company hit out at planning permission policies and buy-to-let lending practices.

The homebuilder maintained their positive forecasts and stated that its position is ‘resilient’, but the commentary about the backdrop indicates some nerves. The company is focused on London and south-east England, and house prices are a touch softer now, which is also weighing on the stock.

Berkeley’s announcement is still causing a stir on social media.

Chris Blythe, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Building, isn’t impressed:

What is meant is that our homes are too expensive and if we built more we would have to reduce our prices and make less profit. So we will bank our land until the government blinks and provides more subsidies to us to maintain our 30%+ margins

Rant of the day...It’s no surprise Berkeley Homes won’t increase production. None of the volume builders will for the simple reason it will impact on their margins. Why would they build more for less!

Not to give more help to buy for a start. Perhaps Berkeley could make their homes less costly

Berkeley Homes are not building any extra homes due to 'economic uncertainty' but are on track to make 3.3 billion profit. How can you make 3.3 billion just building homes, bricks and motor. Guess who's getting ripped off in this process

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Reported order is first time special counsel has asked for documents directly related to Trump’s businesses in course of investigation

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, the New York Times reported on Thursday, in a sign that the investigation is inching closer to the president.

Related: Trump Organization 'negotiated with sanctioned Russian bank in 2016'

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JFTC investigating firm over antitrust allegations that it demanded fees from suppliers for discounting products

Amazon’s Japanese headquarters in Tokyo have been raided by the country’s fair trade watchdog on suspicion of violation of antitrust regulations.

The Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) said on Thursday that Amazon Japan was being investigated after allegations that the company improperly asked suppliers to shoulder part of the costs of discounting their products on the retail site. Amazon Japan said Thursday that it was “fully cooperating” with JFTC, but declined to comment on the details of the allegations.

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All the day’s economic and financial news, as investors worry that Donald Trump will launch a tit-for-tat trade battle with Beijing

Donald Trump’s new top economic advisor has called for a “trade coalition of the willing” of allies to work with America to tackle China over trade. Larry Kudlow argues that Beijing deserves a ‘tough response’ - a sign that the White House isn’t ending its protectionist push.

The aluminum price has hit a three-month low today, suggesting that the new US tariffs are beginning to bite.

The cost of a tonne of aluminum fell to $2,085 per tonne, its lowest level since before Christmas 2017.

“If you look at the impact, the trade tariffs will, in the end, be deflationary globally,”.

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