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Business | The Guardian

Latest US financial, market & economic news and analysis.

Published: Sun, 17 Dec 2017 03:10:48 GMT2017-12-17T03:10:48Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017

Global shopping centre giants go on a Christmas buying spree

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 16:00:06 GMT2017-12-16T16:00:06Z

Two huge mergers have brought consolidation to the world of big retail property – a sign that even the largest malls are feeling the economic chill

With Christmas just eight days away, more than 200,000 shoppers will brave the crowds to trawl Westfield London’s 300-plus stores for gifts this weekend.

The gleaming centre, which lights up the west London skyline, is one of the “supermalls” that now tower over the UK retail sector, pulling in millions of shoppers thanks to a magnetic mix of high street and luxury brands, as well as more upmarket restaurants and cinema screens than your average town centre.

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Alabama unions see Doug Jones's win as a victory for organized labor

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 12:00:01 GMT2017-12-16T12:00:01Z

Jones could play a tremendous role in engaging political and community leaders to get behind efforts to organize the state’s growing auto industry

Union organisers are hoping that the surprise election of Democrat Doug Jones to a Senate seat in Alabama this week could be a big win for organized labor in a state that has long fought to curtail their power.

As big auto factories have set up shop in southern states Republican politicians have worked hard to defeat the unions, particularly the United Auto Workers which has lost a number of key battles to anti-union forces. Jones is pledging to do something different: use his Senate office to actually help workers organise.

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Uber stole trade secrets, bribed foreign officials and spied on rivals, filing says

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 01:06:42 GMT2017-12-16T01:06:42Z

Document by former Uber security manager details company’s alleged ‘unethical, unlawful’ practices amid legal battle with self-driving car company Waymo

Uber allegedly engaged in a range of “unethical and unlawful intelligence collections”, including the theft of competitive trade secrets, bribery of foreign officials and spying on competitors and politicians, according to an explosive legal document published on Friday.

It’s the latest chapter in the discovery process for the company’s messy legal squabble with Waymo, Google’s driverless car spin-off, which has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets.

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Rupert Murdoch reshapes media empire with $66bn Disney deal

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 12:40:20 GMT2017-12-14T12:40:20Z

Sale of 21st Century Fox assets includes stakes in Sky in the UK and Hollywood film studio as tycoon focuses on Fox News and newspapers

Rupert Murdoch has begun the breakup of his global media empire, announcing a $66bn (£50bn) deal with Disney to sell assets including his Hollywood film studio and a controlling stake in Sky.

Disney is buying the bulk of Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox media and entertainment business, in a significant strategic withdrawal for the Australian-born mogul after 60 years of deal-making and expansion from newspapers into film and TV.

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BP returns to solar power with $200m stake in Lightsource

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 14:18:39 GMT2017-12-15T14:18:39Z

Tie-up with Europe’s biggest solar developer will focus on alternative energy projects in US, India and Middle East

BP has paid $200m (£149m) for a 43% stake in Europe’s biggest solar developer, marking its return to the sector from which it withdrew six years ago.

The investment in the London-based Lightsource marks a turnaround for the British oil firm, which rebranded as Beyond Petroleum in 2000 but shut its alternative energy headquarters nine years later.

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Inequality on Apple's doorstep: how the GOP tax bill could worsen the divide

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:00:16 GMT2017-12-15T12:00:16Z

In Cupertino, the world’s most valuable company could reap enormous benefits from Republicans’ plan – even as the measure threatens sorely needed affordable housing and healthcare benefits for local residents

Yvonne Scott feels like she’s trapped in a cell. The 65-year-old and her husband, Hector Chavez, 60, have been living in their car for nearly a year since they were evicted, parking each night in church and grocery store lots in the shadows of Silicon Valley.

“It’s like being incarcerated, being enclosed. You can’t move freely. No bathroom,” Scott said. “It’s dangerous. We don’t belong in a vehicle.”

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The Murdoch dynasty opens another surprise chapter | Jane Martinson

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 20:00:14 GMT2017-12-14T20:00:14Z

The gripping story beneath the Disney-21st Century Fox merger is what this means for Rupert Murdoch and his youngest son James

James Murdoch kept a life-size model of Darth Vader outside his office when he ran the British arm of his father’s media empire, either unaware or unconcerned by comparisons to evil empires or dysfunctional father-son relations.

In agreeing to sell $66bn (£49bn) worth of assets in 21st Century Fox to Disney, the owners of the Star Wars franchise, the Murdochs have once again proved that, a bit like the jedi saga, there is always another chapter. And more surprises.

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What Salma Hayek’s Weinstein story reveals about Hollywood power and pay

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:09 GMT2017-12-15T06:00:09Z

The actor’s account of her dealings with the producer is shocking. Not just for providing further allegations of sexual harassment – but for what it tells about how and why women are paid less than men

In Salma Hayek’s blistering and upsetting account in the New York Times of the harassment and threats she received from Harvey Weinstein after she rejected his advances, there was a small but telling description of how deals in Hollywood were made – the sort of secretive, manipulative, imbalanced deals that enabled Weinstein to get away with his abusive behaviour for so long. As an actor in Frida, the biopic of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo that she had taken to Weinstein as her own project, Hayek wrote that she would be paid “the minimum Screen Actors Guild scale plus 10%. As a producer, I would receive a credit that would not yet be defined, but no payment.” This kind of remuneration – or rather lack thereof – for a producing role was not, she wrote, “that rare for a female producer in the 90s” (she doesn’t say whether she earned “back-end” money after the film’s success). She was excited, Hayek wrote, adding: “I did not care about the money … In my naivety, I thought my dream had come true.”

I wouldn’t like to second-guess the truth of this, but many women will be familiar with the stories they tell themselves about why they’re not paid as much as they should be, or as much as male peers. Hayek does it in her piece – she was a “nobody” (she wasn’t), she had been “lucky” (rather than talented) to land roles in Hollywood films – it was “unimaginable” for a Mexican actor to make it in Hollywood (true, but she had done it).

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What we know – and don't know – about the Republican tax plan

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:39:17 GMT2017-12-13T19:39:17Z

Donald Trump’s $1.5tn tax overhaul received a blow after Alabama’s surprise Senate result but is now speeding towards a vote. Here’s what you need to know

Donald Trump’s $1.5tn plan to overhaul the US tax system received another blow on Tuesday night when Democrat Doug Jones emerged as the winner in a closely fought race for a Senate seat in Alabama.

Now Trump is set to make another pitch for the unpopular plans while Republicans rush to get their bill finalized before the New Year, when Jones goes to Washington. His vote could imperil the bill’s passage.

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Kansas's ravaged economy a cautionary tale as Trump plans huge tax cuts for rich

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 12:47:30 GMT2017-12-10T12:47:30Z

Kansas slashed taxes at the top to try to spur growth – but the plan crippled the state’s finances and proved disastrous for its Republican governor

Is Donald Trump about to turn America into Kansas? It’s a question some worried people who live in the state are asking as the Republican party pushes through the biggest tax overhaul in a generation – an overhaul that, they claim, bears an uncanny resemblance to a tax plan that left their midwestern home in disarray.

After a failed economic experiment meant to boost economic growth blew a hole in the Kansas budget as big as a prairie sky (a $350m deficit in the current fiscal year and nearly $600m in the next) state jobs and services have been slashed.

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Missed the bitcoin boom? Five more baffling cryptocurrencies to blow your savings on

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:25:33 GMT2017-12-11T15:25:33Z

Regretting not spending a few hundred quid on bitcoin five years ago? Get ahead of the speculators by spending thousands of dollars on a imaginary cat or the Paris Hilton-backed LydianCoin

If you are worried you’ve missed out on making millions by betting on bitcoin, don’t worry: there will be plenty more bizarre, borderline-incomprehensible digital bubbles in the future, and their value is only going to go up (until it all comes crashing down, that is). Here are five assets each competing to be the next bitcoin.

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EU to force firms to reveal true owners in wake of Panama Papers

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:23:20 GMT2017-12-15T18:23:20Z

Anti-corruption campaigners welcome move but criticise failure to include trusts in corporate ownership requirements

Companies across the EU will be forced to disclose their true owners under new legislation prompted by the release of the Panama Papers.

Anti-corruption campaigners applauded the agreement as a major step in the fight against tax evasion and money laundering, but expressed disappointment that trusts will mostly escape scrutiny.

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How investing in solar energy can create a brighter future for Africa

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:11:58 GMT2017-12-15T19:11:58Z

A new scheme aims to lighten the lives of millions who live without electricity, with the promise of a possible 6% return

How would you like to earn a return of up to 6% on your cash while at the same time providing families in countries such as Kenya with “life-changing” access to clean, affordable solar energy?

Energise Africa is a new ethical investment scheme which aims to raise £20m to provide a brighter future for more than 110,000 families and small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa over the next three years.

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Japanese company to start paying employees in bitcoin

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 04:52:26 GMT2017-12-15T04:52:26Z

GMO Internet will pay portion of salaries in the cryptocurrency – whose prices have recently surged – from February

A Japanese company will start paying part of its employees’ salaries in Bitcoin, as it aims to gain better understanding of the virtual currency, a spokeswoman has said.

GMO Internet, which operates a range of web-related businesses including finance, online advertising and internet infrastructure, will start paying up to 100,000 yen (£660/$890) monthly by Bitcoin to its employees in Japan from February next year.

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Troubled Papua New Guinea deep-sea mine faces environmental challenge

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 17:00:10 GMT2017-12-11T17:00:10Z

Community groups accuse PNG government of keeping documents for its approval under wraps

A controversial experimental deep-sea mine is being challenged in court by environmental groups who have accused the Papua New Guinea government of withholding key documents about its approval.

Nautilus Minerals Inc, a Canada-based company primarily owned by Russian and Omani mining firms, wants to extract gold and copper deposits from 1.6km below the surface of the Bismarck Sea, using a seabed mining technique never before used in commercial operations.

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Generation rent: why I’ll never live in a custom-designed barn conversion

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:00:00 GMT2017-12-15T13:00:00Z

In some homes, it is possible to stay warm without spending a fortune

When I wake up, the first thing I do is touch my nose. My face is the only part of my body left exposed throughout the night, and the nose acts as my thermometer. A warm nose means the flat is temperate enough for me to survive the shock of pulling off my duvet and heading to the freezing kitchen. A cold nose means the duvet is coming with me.

It’s cumbersome, but there really is nothing as comforting. I’ve tried all the possible contenders – Aran jumpers, fleece dressing gowns – and all pale in comparison with the 360-degree feather-down extravaganza.

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Poverty in America is a moral outrage. The soul of our nation is at stake | Rev William Barber and Rev Liz Theoharis

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 10:00:02 GMT2017-12-16T10:00:02Z

If we are to save the soul of this country from the poverty that is killing us, we must act, we must agitate, we must cause some righteous trouble

In March of 1968, as part of a tour of US cities to shine a light on poverty and drum up support for the recently-launched Poor People’s Campaign, the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr visited the northwest Mississippi town of Marks. He saw a teacher feeding schoolchildren a meager lunch of a slice of apple and crackers, and started crying.

Related: A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America

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How can companies cut the UK's class pay gap?

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:30:08 GMT2017-04-27T05:30:08Z

Professionals from poorer families earn almost £7,000 less per year than those from wealthier ones, despite businesses claiming to act on social mobility

It’s no surprise that social class can affect your life chances, but recently the education secretary highlighted the problem with a stark statistic.

Children who show signs of low academic ability at the age of five, but who come from high-income families, are 35% more likely to become high earners than those who show signs of high ability but come from poorer families, said Justine Greening.

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'Nice skirt, it would look better on my bedroom floor' – your sexual harassment stories

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 06:00:00 GMT2017-09-11T06:00:00Z

Readers share their stories of sexist comments and harassment in the workplace

When I was in my early twenties, I organised a meeting with three older male colleagues – two at senior management level and an external PR professional who was working with us on some projects.

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