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Business and Technology News


Business News Roundup, April 25

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 23:29:52 UT

Ireland Apple making tax payments Ireland says it will begin collecting more than $15.9 billion of back taxes from Apple, 19 months after the European Commission ruled that a tax deal with the tech giant amounted to illegal state aid. The commission ordered Ireland to collect back taxes for the years 2003-14. Ireland disagreed, saying the ruling undermined the integrity of the country’s tax system. But Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe planned to sign an agreement Tuesday setting up the escrow account that will hold the payments while Apple and Ireland appeal.

For the first time, Facebook spells out what it forbids

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 23:13:46 UT

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what sorts of things Facebook would like you not to do on its service, you’re in luck. For the first time, the social network is publishing detailed guidelines to what does and doesn’t belong on its service — 27 pages worth of them, in fact. So please don’t make credible violent threats or revel in sexual violence; promote terrorism or the poaching of endangered species; attempt to buy marijuana, sell firearms or list prescription drug prices for sale; post instructions for self-injury; depict minors in a sexual context; or commit multiple homicides at different times or locations.

YouTube says computers are catching problem videos

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 23:07:34 UT

The vast majority of videos removed from YouTube toward the end of last year for violating the site’s content guidelines had first been detected by machines instead of humans, the Google-owned company said this week. YouTube said it took down 8.28 million videos during the fourth quarter of 2017, and about 80 percent of those videos had initially been flagged by artificially intelligent computer systems. The new data highlighted the significant role machines — not just users, government agencies and other organizations — are taking in policing the service as it faces increased scrutiny over the spread of conspiracy videos, fake news and violent content from extremist organizations.

Zelle money-transfer service vulnerable to hackers

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 22:57:11 UT

Big banks are making it easy to zap money to your friends. Maybe too easy. Zelle, a service that allows bank customers to instantly send money to their acquaintances, is booming. Thousands of new users sign up every day. An estimated $75 billion zoomed through Zelle’s network last year. That’s more than twice the amount of money that people transferred with Venmo, a rival money-transfer app. But the same features that make Zelle so useful for customers, its speed and ubiquity, have made it irresistible to thieves. Hackers and con artists have used the system to steal from victims — some of whom had never used Zelle or even heard of it until someone used it to clean out their bank accounts.

Comey book sells, Yahoo fined for breach, Bezos says regulation is ‘fine’

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 22:37:56 UT

Number of the day 600,000 That’s how many copies of former FBI Director James Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” sold in its first week. The book’s publisher, Flatiron Books, said more than a million copies are in print and that it has gone to press several times. Michael Wolff’s hugely popular “Fire and Fury,” about the Trump White House, has sold more than 2 million copies in the three months it has been out. “A Higher Loyalty” had been the No. 1 title on Amazon before being published on April 17.

Cabridge Analytica fights back after data scandal

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 22:00:43 UT

LONDON — Cambridge Analytica unleashed its counterattack against claims that it misused data from millions of Facebook accounts, saying Tuesday it is the victim of misunderstandings and inaccurate reporting that portrays the company as the evil villain in a James Bond movie. Clarence Mitchell, a high-profile publicist recently hired to represent the company, held Cambridge Analytica’s first news conference since allegations surfaced that the Facebook data helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. Christopher Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica’s parent, also claims that the company has links to the successful campaign to take Britain out of the European Union.

Shire studies Takeda takeover bid

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 21:26:55 UT

Shire is considering a new offer from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. after the Japanese drugmaker revised its roughly $60 billion bid for the biotechnology company once again. Shire’s board “is considering its position” on a new bid, the company said Tuesday after Bloomberg News reported that the companies were nearing a preliminary agreement. The Massachusetts drugmaker did not disclose the value of Takeda’s latest offer. The new proposal marks at least the fifth attempt by Takeda to woo Shire since it first expressed interest in a takeover less than four weeks ago.

Retailers warned on Juul sales to kids

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 21:24:12 UT

Federal health officials have announced a nationwide crackdown on underage use of a popular e-cigarette brand after months of complaints from parents, politicians and school administrators. The Food and Drug Administration issued warnings to 40 retail and online stores as part of a monthlong operation against illegal sales of Juul to children. Investigators targeted 7-Eleven locations, Shell gas stations and Cumberland Farms convenience stores as well as vaping shops. FDA regulators also asked San Francisco’s Juul Labs to turn over documents about the design, marketing and ingredients of its product. The rare request focuses on whether certain product features are specifically appealing to young people.

After community outcry, San Francisco's Costumes on Haight will keep its doors open

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 19:35:00 UT

Costumes on Haight is a gay-owned store that survived even after its original owner's passing from AIDS, Bieschke said. These spaces are increasingly becoming unicorns in San Francisco, he said, citing the recent closures of multiple "gay businesses" – The Gangway, Worn Out West, Retro Fit.

Ship traffic, April 25

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 18:57:28 UT

Ship traffic Due to arrive today SHIP FROM PORT Bangkok Bridge Long Beach OAK

These San Francisco neighborhoods spend the least cash: What it says about the future

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 11:00:00 UT

The white consoles appeared in San Francisco concept stores and hip coffee shops seemingly overnight. They were sleek and fast and, simply, different from the clunky cash registers you'd grown accustomed to.

Business News Roundup, April 24

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 22:57:57 UT

Banking Wells investors prepare protest Wells Fargo & Co.’s investors have a big day ahead — and so do the company’s critics. Activist groups are planning a march Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa, where the bank is holding its annual shareholders meeting, as well as “sister” protests in cities across the U.S. Organizers are signaling a long list of grievances, including the San Francisco firm’s consumer banking scandals, labor practices and work with the National Rifle Association.

California, coffee and cancer: 1 of these doesn’t belong

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 22:50:40 UT

About two-thirds of smokers will die early from cigarette-related illnesses. Cigarettes are also very addictive. Because of this, it seems reasonable to place warnings on their labels. If a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has his way, California businesses will have to put similar warnings on something else that can be addictive: coffee. His ruling, being challenged by coffee producers, is harder to justify in terms of health — if it can be justified at all. California’s Proposition 65, enacted in 1986, mandates that businesses with more than 10 employees warn consumers if their products contain one of many chemicals that the state has ruled as carcinogenic. One of these chemicals is acrylamide.

Alphabet sales growth tops forecasts, while spending surges

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 22:34:58 UT

Alphabet posted its strongest sales growth in almost four years, indicating marketers kept flocking to its services even as lawmakers scrutinized how Internet companies harness user data to sell ads. Costs also surged as the Mountain View company, the parent of Google, bought real estate and invested in opportunities such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, consumer devices and a voice-control digital assistant. Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said demand for mobile search ads and a strong performance by the YouTube video service helped drive revenue growth. Google’s business of selling targeted ads on other sites across the Web also contributed, Porat said on a conference call with analysts.

Railroads’ $25,000 bonuses; more Volkswagen woes; a $500 apple

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 22:11:55 UT

Number of the day $25,000 That’s the size of signing bonuses that some railroad workers are being tempted with by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Corp. The Wall Street Journal reported that the freight railroads have been hauling more products across the Western United States, and have been struggling to attract workers in a historically tight labor market. That’s all, Volks? Volkswagen has acknowledged that a progress report found that it has failed to hold executives accountable for wrongdoing that led to its huge emissions fraud, and that it is not making a serious enough attempt to remake its culture.