A rise in oil prices and higher imports contributed to a widening of the UK’s goods trade deficit in December. The gap between exports and imports rose to £13.6bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said , which was higher than analysts’ forecasts. Separate ONS data showed industrial output […]
Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies. The suspects had tried to use one of Russia’s most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports say. The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russia, is a restricted area. The centre’s press service said: “There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining.”
The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet – to prevent intrusion – and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre’s security department was alerted. They were handed over to the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian news service Mash says.
“As far as we are aware, a criminal case has been launched against them,” the press service told Interfax news agency.
Channel tunnel train service Eurostar is launching a new service between London and Amsterdam. Eurostar is due to launch the service on 4 April and it says the journey between London and Amsterdam will take three hours and 41 minutes. However, for an initial period, the Eurostar service will only run direct from London to Amsterdam. Passengers travelling from Amsterdam to London will have to change at Brussels to clear passport controls. Eurostar says the connection at Brussels is a temporary measure until the British and Dutch governments reach an agreement to allow passport checks to be conducted on departure in the Netherlands. It says this should be in place by the end of 2019. The rail company will be running two services a day, departing at 08:31 and 17:31 respectively, with one-way fares starting at £35.Eurostar also says the new service will cut the journey time between London and Brussels by 17 minutes to one hour and 48 minutes.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Last July, U.S. President Donald Trump stood beside his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, in Warsaw and promised to help wean the nation off Russian energy imports. He offered U.S. fuel as an alternative, “so that you can never be held hostage to a single supplier.” Trump was tapping into longstanding European concerns about Russia’s ability to shut off natural gas supplies – which it has done in past pricing disputes. U.S. lawmakers say Russia’s influence over energy has proven effective in silencing critics of its human rights abuses, annexation of Crimea, and incursion into eastern Ukraine, an assertion the Kremlin has denied.
Six months after Trump’s trip, Poland has contracted for imports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude oil, and coal, and announced it will not renew a gas supply deal with Russia’s state-owned Gazprom when it expires in 2022 – halting an exclusive and troubled relationship dating to 1944. The episode exemplifies a key goal of Trump’s “energy dominance” agenda – using rising energy exports to bolster Washington’s geopolitical influence.The policy also seeks to boost domestic production through rollbacks of environmental regulations and expanded energy leasing in federal territories, but those efforts have so far had little impact. Trump nonetheless inherited a booming oil and gas industry that has given his administration more international clout in energy markets than any White House has enjoyed in decades.
HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Ant Financial Services Group is planning to raise up to $5 billion in fresh equity that could value the online payments giant at more than $100 billion, people familiar with the move told Reuters. A fundraising would bring Ant, in which e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is taking a one-third stake, a step closer to a hotly anticipated initial public offering by establishing a more current valuation. Ant’s last fundraising in 2016 valued the owner of Alipay, China’s top online payment platform, at about $60 billion. The new round should start with a valuation of between $80 billion to $100 billion, the people said.
Ant is currently in talks to appoint advisers for the fundraising which is expected to be launched in the next couple of months, they added. Ant declined to comment on its fundraising plans. All the people spoke to Reuters on the condition they not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Google has been fined 1.36bn rupees (£15.2m; $21.2m) by India’s competition regulator for abusing its dominance in the country. Users searching flight details were directed to Google’s own flight search page, the Competition Commission of India found. Rival business were disadvantaged by that “search bias”, the regulator said. A Google spokesperson told Reuters that they were reviewing the CCI’s concerns.
In its 190-page report, the CCI found that the company had abused its dominant position, causing harm to both its competitors and Google users.
(Reuters) – Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp (NWSA.O) reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit on Thursday, as growth in its online real estate business helped offset a fall in advertising revenue. Sales in its news and information services business, which accounts for about two-thirds of total revenue, fell marginally to $1.30 billion in the second quarter. Advertising revenue fell 6 percent, but those declines were made up by a similar increase in circulation and subscription revenue.
The company’s Dow Jones unit helped drive most of those gains on the back of continued digital subscriber growth at the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper’s average daily digital subscribers jumped 28.6 pct to about 1.4 million. The company, which is controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, also owns the New York Post and major newspapers in the UK and Australia. Earlier in the day, rival New York Times Co (NYT.N) also posted strong revenue growth, driven by its online business.
We know that plastic waste is a big problem for the planet – our oceans are becoming clogged with the stuff and we’re rapidly running out of landfill sites. Only 9% is recycled. Burning it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. So could plant-based alternatives and better recycling provide an answer? We have grown to rely on plastic – it’s hardwearing and versatile and much of our modern economy depends on it. And for many current uses there are simply no commercially viable biodegradable alternatives.
The humble single-use drinking straw is a case in point. Primaplast, a leading plastic straw manufacturer, says “greener” alternatives cost a hundred times more to make.