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International Women’s Day highlights – Women of the world, unite!

From protests to musical performances, strikes to sporting events - activities celebrating International Women's Day are taking place across the globe. DW reports on the latest events. As International Women's Day (IWD) rolls across the globe, individuals in countries everywhere are observing it through marches, protests, music, sports, strikes, at both local and national levels. While some of these events celebrate the achievements women make in the world everyday, others push for further gender equality and activism. Deutsche Welle brings you the latest highlights below. All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) 16:03 US President Donald Trump comments on International Women's Day (IWD) Trump, who in the past has been accused of harboring mysogynistic views on account of derogatory comments he had made about women, said on Twitter that he was "honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world," adding in another tweet that he had "tremendous respect for women." 14:50 German women innovate in the digital realm One of the main battles for women today remains breaking into and rising to the top of traditionally male-dominated professions. While German politicians debate quotas for women in boardrooms and parliaments and how best to address the country's gender pay gap, women in technology are forging ahead at a grassroots level. Linda Kruse designs video games empowering girls to stand up for their rights while furthering their interest in STEM subjects. And other women, like Kim Salmon, fight tirelessly against online hate speech targeting outspoken females. 14:42 "Well-behaved women seldom make history" Everyone knows the famous quote from renowned historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. But who are some of these revolutionary women who refused to stand down, rose to powerful positions, and changed the course of history? Here are DW's ten top picks: 14:34 Female lawyer in Malaysia fights for indigenous rights As a woman in a predominantly male profession, Siti Kasim knows what it means to have a marginalized voice. She has dedicated her legal career to campaigning for the rights of indigenous peoples and the LGBT community. "I could never see injustice or condescension of any sort since childhood. I cannot tolerate people who have no respect for others," she told DW. 14:26 Arab refugee women speak out about life in Germany In an interview with DW, female refugees from Arab countries commented on their new lives in Germany, including what women's rights means for them. 14:14 No to sexism and abortion restrictions in Poland Woman in Warsaw are protesting outside the headquarters of the Law and Justice party to demand the government loosen highly restrictive reproduction rights laws which the conservative government is looking to tighten. The recent declaration of Polish EU parliament representative Janusz Korwin-Mikke that women are "weaker," "smaller," and "less intelligent" than men - and thereby deserving of lesser pay - has further inflamed women's rights activists. 13:26 Lebanese women's rights activists march in Beirut Students, writers, and NGO activists began their walk through the streets of Lebanon's capital city from the Achrafieh Sassine square at noon local time. Organizers' demands include better representation in parliament, better legal protection for women, and a reform of the penal code. 13:08 Putin tweets IWD congratulations The Russian President highlighted women's roles as tireless family caretakers, stating "how do they manage it all?" He also said "we love and treasure you," before noting men's celebration of women through music and poetry. Russia has strong historic links to IWD. On March 8, 1917, women's worker protests kicked off the Russia Revolution that eventually led to the fall of the Romanov dynasty. The Soviet government enshrined the date as an official holiday shortly thereafter. 12:55 India launches Women Cricket League (WCL) The WCL aims to provide women cricketers on par with their male counterparts. League founder Parul Jain: "It's important that young girls see cricket as a viable option to play at the highest level...This will lead to greater interest in women's cricket in India, which has generally been given much less importance than the men's sport." India, a global cricket powerhouse, joins Australia and Great Britain as countries with leagues for women. 12:43 Silent women's voices in China Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a dispatch today condemning the Chinese government's stifling of women's rights activists. Last month, official censors temporarily shut down Women's Voices, a blog headed by Chinese feminists. HRW also critically spotlighted Beijing's restrictions on women's reproductive freedoms and government-sponsored campaigns pushing women over 27 - "leftovers" - to marry. 12:30 Women in Tokyo take to the streets Women marched through the streets of the Japanese capital demanding better pay and working hours. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "womenomics" policy, aimed at increasing female labor force participation, has butted heads with an all-consuming work culture, increasing the burden for women who straddle home and office. New Zealand releases study on gender pay gap The country's government published its findings entitled "Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in New Zealand" one day ahead of International Women's Day, the first comprehensive study since 2003. After revealing that 80 percent of the pay shortfall for women was "unexplained" - that is, due to conscious or unconscious bias - women have flocked to social media to share stories of employment bias. 12:04 Global work walk out by women As part of IWD, "A Day Without Women" initiative will see women around the world go on strike on Wednesday to draw attention to gender inequality in the workplace. In Australia, around 1,000 early childcare workers, a predominantly female sector, walked off the job at 15:20 local time (04:20 UTC) - the time after which Australian women begin working for free. 11:56 BBC Radio3 all-day broadcast of music by female composers - the classical music radio station of Britain's public broacasting network is devoting their March 8 airtime to women musicians of the past and present. A special highlight includes the live noontime broadcast and premiere of Fanny Mendelssohn's Easter Sonata for piano, a work long attributed to her younger brother Felix. 11:43 Google Doodle honors women pioneers - the internet giant highlights 13 women from around the world who broke through gender barriers in a variety of fields, including Miriam Makeba (South African civil rights activist and singer), Cecilia Grierson (Argentina's first medical degree recipient) and Lotifa El Nadi (Egypt's first female pilot). 11:42 IWD hashtags dominate Twitter - #BeBoldforChange, the campaign call of IWD 2017, along with multilingual #InternationalWomensDay hashtags, are drawing thousands of tweets from individuals, companies, politicians and activists around the world.

From protests to musical performances, strikes to sporting events – activities celebrating International Women’s Day are taking place across the globe. DW reports on the latest events. As International Women’s Day (IWD) rolls across the globe, individuals in countries everywhere are observing it through marches, protests, music, sports, strikes, at both local and national levels. While some of these events ... Read More »

Australia sues Audi, ignores Skoda

Australia's consumer watchdog has launched court action against Germany's Volkswagen brand Audi over the carmaker's emissions cheating scandal. It said it was seeking proper compensation for deceptive conduct. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced Wednesday it had begun legal proceedings in the country's Federal Court against German carmaker Audi over allegations that it misled clients about diesel emission levels in their cars. The watchdog said legal action was leveled at local subsidiary Audi Australia as well as Audi's German owner, Volkswagen. The ACCC alleged that between 2011 and 2015 Audi had "engaged in misleading conduct by not disclosing the existence and operation of defeat devices in certain Audi-branded vehicles." Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement the software used to manipulate emissions tests in the laboratory breached Australian consumer law. Skoda off the hook Roughly 12,000 Audi cars would be affected by the current proceedings, the ACCC reported. By contrast, Volkswagen's Skoda cars would not be affected as the commission decided not to pursue the matter due to the low volume of Skoda car sales in Australia. The watchdog is seeking pecuniary penalties and corrective advertising. The latest action followed court proceedings launched against Volkswagen-branded cars last year. In that lawsuit, the commission claimed that more than 57,000 vehicles sold in Australia did not operate as Volkswagen advertised. Since then, Volkswagen and Audi have announced voluntary recalls to update the software in question.

Australia’s consumer watchdog has launched court action against Germany’s Volkswagen brand Audi over the carmaker’s emissions cheating scandal. It said it was seeking proper compensation for deceptive conduct. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced Wednesday it had begun legal proceedings in the country’s Federal Court against German carmaker Audi over allegations that it misled clients about diesel emission ... Read More »

Adidas profits hit the billion mark

German sports goods maker Adidas has announced record profits for 2016, beating analysts' expectations. The Bavaria-based company said net profit topped a billion euros for the first time in the firm's history. The firm said Wednesday that annual net profit increased by 60.5 percent, to 1.02 billion euros ($1.07 billion). The announcement was a surprise to analysts, beating their predictions and the company's own forecast. Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted hailed 2016 as an "exceptional year" for the company, with double-digit growth in almost all regions of the world. It was a big year for sports that featured the Olympic Games in Rio and the European Football Championships in France. The three stripes Much of 2016's success for Adidas was down to strong growth of 16.6 percent at its central three-striped brand, accounting for the biggest share of its revenues. Subsidiary Reebok grew much more modestly at 1.1 percent. Overall revenues increased 14 percent to top 19 billion euros. The company also unveiled an optimistic forecast for this year. They predicted revenue growth of between 11 and 13 percent, adjusting for currency effects, and aim to increase profits by 18-20 percent to around 1.2 billion euros. Citing its strong results, Adidas said it would offer shareholders a dividend of 2 euros per share for 2016, up from 1.60 euros the previous year. After the news was announced, shares in the company leapt on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In early morning trading, the stock gained 8.2 percent, which added $2 billion to its market value. By mid-day it was still up over 7 percent, trading at around 171 euros per share.

German sports goods maker Adidas has announced record profits for 2016, beating analysts’ expectations. The Bavaria-based company said net profit topped a billion euros for the first time in the firm’s history. The firm said Wednesday that annual net profit increased by 60.5 percent, to 1.02 billion euros ($1.07 billion). The announcement was a surprise to analysts, beating their predictions ... Read More »

Frankfurt used as remote hacking base for the CIA: WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks documents reveal CIA agents were given cover identities and diplomatic passports to enter the country. The base was used to develop hacking tools as part of the CIA's massive digital arsenal. WikiLeaks released a trove of CIA documents on Tuesday that it claimed revealed details of its secret hacking arsenal. The release included 8,761 documents that it claimed revealed details of "malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized 'zero day' exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation." The leaks purportedly revealed that a top secret CIA unit used the German city of Frankfurt am Main as the starting point for numerous hacking attacks on Europe, China and the Middle East. Frankfurt base WikiLeaks reported that the group developed trojans and other malicious software in the American Consulate General Office, the largest US consulate in the world. The programs focused on targets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The documents revealed that CIA experts worked in the building under cover and included advice for life in Germany. "Do not leave anything electronic or sensitive unattended in your room," it told employees, also advising them to enjoy Lufthansa's free alcohol "in moderation." The Frankfurt hackers, part of the Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe, were said to be given diplomatic passports and a State Department identity. It instructed employees how to safely enter Germany. A WikiLeaks tweet published an section of the Frankfurt information. The consulate was the focus of a German investigation into US intelligence capabilities following the 2013 revelation that NSA agents had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone. German daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported the building was known to be home to a vast network of intelligence personnel including CIA agents, NSA spies, military secret service personnel, Department of Homeland Security employees and Secret Service employees. It reported the Americans had also established a dense network of outposts and shell companies in Frankfurt. Televisions turned into bugs An intelligence expert who examined the dump, Rendition Infosec founder Jake Williams, told news agency Associated Press the documents appeared legitimate. Bob Ayers, a retired US intelligence official currently working as a security analyst told AP the release was "real bad" for the agency. Jonathan Liu, a spokesman for the CIA, told AP: "We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents." According to WikiLeaks the documents revealed that the CIA could remotely activate certain Samsung smart televisions equipped with cameras and microphones to turn them into bugs. Smartphones hacked WikiLeaks also claimed that if the CIA had hacked a cell phone, it could then bypass encryption methods used by popular chat programs such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal and Confide. This prompted some concern at first online that all such messaging "Apps" were no longer effectively encrypted - but the exploit only applied to people whose phones are already compromised. According to the leaks, the CIA has undocumented exploits on popular smartphone models. In a series of tweets NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said deliberately leaving vulnerabilities in software and hardware open left public users susceptible to attacks. Snowden said the documents appeared to be genuine. The documents also revealed that the CIA had the ability to conduct false flag attacks using malware stolen from other nations. According to WikiLeaks the trove showed that the CIA had lost control of its arsenal of hacking tools. WikiLeaks said it was given the files by an anonymous source who wanted to shed public light on the hacking programs. The collection of documents vastly outnumbered the trove on the NSA released by Snowden.

WikiLeaks documents reveal CIA agents were given cover identities and diplomatic passports to enter the country. The base was used to develop hacking tools as part of the CIA’s massive digital arsenal. WikiLeaks released a trove of CIA documents on Tuesday that it claimed revealed details of its secret hacking arsenal. The release included 8,761 documents that it claimed revealed ... Read More »

Children in Aleppo: ‘I’d rather die’

Aleppo has become "a slaughterhouse," says the UN Commissioner for Human Rights. The situation for children there is especially serious. Experts are warning of depression and suicidal thoughts among the young. The image burns itself into your brain: little Omran from the Syrian city of Aleppo sitting in an ambulance, staring into space, covered in blood, clothes torn, his hair full of dust. The photograph, taken by an activist a few weeks ago, provoked horror around the world. We can only surmise from this little child's stunned expression what the war in his homeland has done to him, and to many other children and youngsters like him. Aleppo has again been forced to endure weeks of bombing by the Syrian and Russian regimes. A ceasefire was in place over the weekend. Of all the cities caught up in the Syrian civil war, Aleppo is the most fiercely contested. According to the UN, more than 250,000 people are trapped under siege in the eastern part of town. The recent bombardments were the heaviest since the start of the war in 2011. In the last offensive alone, which began on September 22, more than 500 people were killed and 2,000 wounded. Around a quarter of the victims were children - and that number could rise dramatically, as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimates that there are around 100,000 children and young people in eastern Aleppo. 'Medieval conditions' In an October 21 speech via video link to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad al Hussein, said the siege and bombardment of Aleppo "constitute crimes of historic proportions." This ancient Syrian city, "a place of millennial civility and beauty," was today, he said, "a slaughterhouse." Although Russia agreed to the ceasefire, the sick and injured could not be brought out of the city. The United Nations said it was unsafe to transport them, and secretary-general Ban Ki Moon pointed out that: "Under these medieval conditions, the vulnerable are suffering the most." Suicidal thoughts among children Katharina Ebel, the project advisor of SOS Children's Villages in Syria, confirmed that this is indeed the case. The children are under tremendous psychological strain, she said, warning of severe depression that could even lead to children having suicidal thoughts. "One boy who wanted to take his own life was only 12 years old," she told the "Passauer Neue Presse" newspaper. "So far we've always been able to prevent children from killing themselves," Ebel went on. But she reported that every day there are children who say, "I'd rather die than go on like this." Deep depression drives them to commit acts of aggression, against both themselves and others. "Many of them can't sleep any more, or have nightmares, and then they're completely exhausted during the day," she said. Children describe the rigors of their everyday lives on the website of UNICEF's #ChildrenofSyria campaign. Not only do they risk being killed on the way to school, the schools themselves are also often attacked - around 4,000 times since the war began. And even those who try to take shelter may be killed: The organization Save the Children has reported that so-called "bunker buster" bombs are being used. Some experiences are too extreme SOS Children's Villages have psychologists and social workers in every facility, "who talk to the children individually, try to alleviate their trauma, restore the children's sense of trust," Ebel said. "Sometimes it's just not possible, because what they've experienced is too extreme. Often, when a child has seen their parents die, seen them buried under rubble, seen their home destroyed, their sense of security is lost for a very long time." The Syrian winter will start to set in in just a few weeks' time. UNICEF warns that many children and their families have reached the end of their strength. Children are especially at risk from the freezing temperatures and snowstorms that have often occurred in recent years. The aid organization is also very worried about the children in the Iraqi city of Mosul, 600 kilometers (370 miles) further east. It warns that the current offensive to recapture the city means the more than 500,000 children and their families there are now in extreme danger.

Aleppo has become “a slaughterhouse,” says the UN Commissioner for Human Rights. The situation for children there is especially serious. Experts are warning of depression and suicidal thoughts among the young. The image burns itself into your brain: little Omran from the Syrian city of Aleppo sitting in an ambulance, staring into space, covered in blood, clothes torn, his hair ... Read More »

EU pushes Belgium to back CETA

The European Union has given Brussels a deadline to reach an agreement about the fair trade deal with Canada. The Belgian region of Wallonia has refused to back the deal on the grounds that it hurts European interests. The European Union issued an ultimatum to the Belgian government on Sunday over the stalled CETA free trade deal with Canada. All 28 EU governments have backed the deal, but Belgium was not able to give its official assent without unanimous support from its five regional administrations, which it has not gotten from French-speaking Wallonia. The EU has given Belgium until late Monday to overcome the resistance to the agreement or risk putting an end to years of negotiations and the possibility of what some experts say could be a 20-percent boost to trade. "The Commission has been working 24/7 to find a solution," said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on Twitter. "We now hope that Belgium will bring this matter to a successful close." Wallonia has refused to assent to the deal on the grounds that it will hurt European farmers and grants too much power to international corporations. According to Wallonian leader Paul Magnette, his administration was also given almost no time to debate the far-ranging trade deal. "Democracy takes a little time," Magnette told French news agency Agence French-Presse. "I wasn't asking for months, but you can't carry out a parliamentary process in two days." Some EU insiders have accused Magnette and his government of using CETA as leverage to make gains in domestic politics. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told state broadcaster RTB that he was meeting with the leaders of the country's five regions on Monday in hopes to hammer out any problems.

The European Union has given Brussels a deadline to reach an agreement about the fair trade deal with Canada. The Belgian region of Wallonia has refused to back the deal on the grounds that it hurts European interests. The European Union issued an ultimatum to the Belgian government on Sunday over the stalled CETA free trade deal with Canada. All ... Read More »

Spain’s socialist PSOE votes to abstain in prime minister confidence vote

اسپین کی سوشلسٹ جماعت نے قدامت پسند حکمران پاپولر پارٹی کو اقلیتی حکومت بنانے کی اجازت دے دی ہے۔ گزشتہ برس بیس دسمبر سے اسپین میں کوئی مستقل حکومت نہیں ہے۔ متعدد انتخابات میں غیر فیصلہ کن نتائج کے بعد اسپین میں حکومت سازی کے عمل میں کئی پیچیدگیاں دیکھنے میں آئی تھیں۔ سوشلسٹ جماعت پی ایس او ای کے ترجمان کا اتوار کے روز کہنا تھا کہ وہ پاپولر پارٹی کی جانب سے حکومت سازی کی مخالفت نہیں کریں گے۔ اتوار کے روز سوشلسٹ پارٹی نے پارلیمنٹ میں ہونے والی رائے شماری میں حصہ لیتے ہوئے اس قراردار کے خلاف ووٹ ڈالے جس کے ذریعے پاپولر پارٹی کو حکومت سازی کے لیے روکا جانا تھا۔ یوں دس ماہ سے جاری سیاسی عدم استحکام ختم ہونے کا امکان ہو گیا ہے اور نئے انتخابات کی ضرورت شاید اب نہ پڑے۔ سوشلسٹ پارٹی کی کمیٹی کے ایک سو انتالیس ارکان نے وزیر اعظم ماریانو راخوئے کے خلاف تحریک عدم اعتماد میں ووٹ نہ ڈالنے کا جب کہ چھیانوے نے اس کے خلاف فیصلہ کیا تھا۔ راخوئے کو اس وقت تیس سو پچاس رکنی پارلیمنٹ میں ایک سو ستر ارکان کی حمایت حاصل ہے، جس میں ایک سو سینتیس کا تعلق پاپولر پارٹی سے ہے۔ تاہم ان کو عدم اعتماد کی تحریک کے خلاف دیگر جماعتوں کے ووٹ یا ان کا ووٹنگ میں شریک نہ ہونا درکار تھا، جو کہ سوشلسٹ پارٹی کے فیصلے کے بعد ممکن ہو گیا۔ تین دہائیوں سے اسپین میں دو جماعتی نظام قائم ہے، جس میں پاپولر پارٹی اور سوشلسٹ برسر اقتدار رہے ہیں، تاہم دسمبر میں ہونے والے انتخابات کے نتیجے میں کئی چھوٹی جماعتوں نے بھی عمدہ کارکردگی دکھائی۔ دسمبر کے انتخابات کے نتائج کو وزیر اعظم ماریانو راخوئے کے لیے بڑا دھچکا قرار دیا گیا تھا۔ اسپین کی سیاسی تاریخ میں یہ پاپولر پارٹی کی خراب ترین کارکردگی تھی۔ سیاسی تجزیہ کاروں کے مطابق حکومتی سطح پر بدعنوانی کے متعدد اسکینڈلز اور ملک میں بڑھتی ہوئی بےروزگاری نے ہسپانوی عوام کو حکمران جماعت سے بدظن کر دیا تھا۔ دوسری جانب سوشلسٹ پارٹی اس صورت حال سے کوئی خاص سیاسی اور انتخابی فائدہ اٹھانے میں ناکام رہی۔ اسپین کی صورت حال پڑوسی ملک پرتگال سے مطابقت رکھتی ہے، جہاں گزشتہ برس اکتوبر میں ہونے والے انتخابات میں قدامت پسندوں کو فتح تو حاصل ہو گئی تھی تاہم حکومت بنانے میں سوشلسٹ کامیاب ہوئے تھے۔ اسپین میں ایک نئی سیاسی طاقت پوڈیموس پارٹی بن کر ابھری ہے۔ یہ جماعت بجتی کٹوتیوں کی مخالف ہے۔ سوشلسٹوں کی جانب سے راخوئے کی حمایت سے قبل حکومت سازی کے لیے اس جماعت کی حمایت حاصل کرنا ضروری سمجھا جا رہا تھا۔ مبصرین کے مطابق یہ صورت حال یورپ بھر میں ایک رجحان کا اشارہ دے رہی ہے۔ دو بڑی جماعتوں کی اجارہ داری ٹوٹ رہی ہے اور نئی جماعتیں، خواہ وہ بائیں بازو کی سیاست کر رہی ہوں یا دائیں بازو کی، یورپی ممالک کی سیاست میں نمایاں ہو رہی ہیں۔

The Spanish socialist PSOE party has voted to abstain in a confidence vote, paving the way for a minority conservative government. Leaders of Spain’s center-left Socialist Party (PSOE) agreed on Sunday to abstain from a confidence vote in the conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Senior members of the party voted 139 in favor of abstaining in the vote, with ... Read More »

Banks mull Brexit exit from UK

Big banks are said to be getting ready to move some operations away from London amid uncertainty over the Brexit. Meanwhile, a newspaper reported that the UK could threaten the EU with slashing corporation tax. Large financial institutions are preparing to move some operations away from Britain in early 2017 due to mounting concerns about the possibility of a "hard Brexit." Anthony Browne, chief executive of the British Bankers' Association, said the country's future relationship with the European Union was mired in uncertainty. He said the public and political debate was "taking us in the wrong direction." "Most international banks now have project teams working out which operations they need to move to ensure they can continue serving customers, the date by which this must happen, and how best to do it," said Browne in Britain's "Observer" newspaper. "Their hands are quivering over the relocate button. Many smaller banks plan to start relocations before Christmas; bigger banks are expected to start in the first quarter of next year." Many major international banks have their European headquarters in Britain, with the financial sector employing more than two million people and making up about 12 percent of the economy. Passporting v equivalence London's banks rely on a system of "passporting" - available to all members of the European Economic Area - to serve clients across Europe. Browne expressed concern that pro-Brexit UK ministers have suggested this would not be needed, and that London could rely on so-called "equivalence," which allows non-EEA actors to have access to European markets. "The EU's equivalence regime is a poor shadow of passporting, it only covers a narrow range of services, can be withdrawn at virtually no notice, and will probably mean the UK will have to accept rules it has no influence over," said Browne. "For most banks, equivalence won't prevent them from relocating their operations." In the wake of the June referendum vote to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May says she will invoke Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the EU by the end of March 2017. While she has expressed keenness to remain part of the single market, a number of EU leaders have insisted this would depend on Britain accepting free movement of workers from the bloc. Holding a crucial card? Meanwhile, the "Sunday Times" newspaper reported that the government was considering slashing corporation tax from 20 percent to 10 percent if the EU refuses to agree a free trade agreement with the UK. Such a move could damage the EU by luring firms from the bloc to Britain. The newspaper said the idea had been proposed by advisers to Prime Minister May. "People say we have not got any cards," the paper quoted an unidentified source as saying. "We have some quite good cards we can play if they start getting difficult with us. If they're saying no passporting and high trade tariffs, we can cut corporation tax to 10 percent," the source said.

Big banks are said to be getting ready to move some operations away from London amid uncertainty over the Brexit. Meanwhile, a newspaper reported that the UK could threaten the EU with slashing corporation tax. Large financial institutions are preparing to move some operations away from Britain in early 2017 due to mounting concerns about the possibility of a “hard ... Read More »

AT&T reaches $85.4 billion mega-deal to buy Time Warner

Telecommunications giant AT&T has agreed to buy media company Time Warner in a deal worth $85.4 billion. The deal, the world's largest this year, could shake up the media landscape but still needs regulatory approval. AT&T Inc. has announced an agreement to buy Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion (78.4 billion euros) in a deal that should transform the telephone company into a media giant with production studios and a large library of popular content across its platforms. The agreement has the potential to reshape the media industry. The Texas-based multinational telecommunications conglomerate has agreed to pay $107.50 a share for Time Warner, it said in a press release late Saturday. The deal is half cash and half stock. AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson will head the new company and Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes, who has been in the post since 2008, will leave after an interim period following the deal, a person familiar with matter told the "Wall Street Journal." Reviewing the deal The company said that the US Department of Justice would review the deal and that the companies were determining which Federal Communications Commission licenses, if any, would be transferred to AT&T in the deal. "Such a massive consolidation in this industry requires rigorous evaluation and serious scrutiny," US Senator and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Richard Blumenthal said after the deal was announced. AT&T is the second-largest provider of mobile telephone services and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the US. It also provides broadband subscription television services through DirecTV, which it bought in 2015 for $48.5 billion to become the nation's largest pay TV provider with more than 25 million customers. DirecTV Now service is due to launch within months targeting the 20 million people in the US who don't have pay TV. The company has planned for it to be the primary TV platform by 2020, according to Bloomberg, allowing viewers to view a TV package over the internet without a cable box or satellite dish. Telephones and movies Time Warner owns HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and Hollywood's biggest television and film studio, Warner Bros. Its programming includes the Harry Potter film franchise, DC Comics, "The Big Bang Theory" and "Game of Thrones" and classic cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny. It is made up of three divisions; Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and Warner Bros. The Turner unit has rights to basketball, baseball and e-sports. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in a speech on Saturday that, should he become president, his administration would not approve the deal because it would give AT&T "too much concentration of power." "We'll look at breaking this deal up," Trump said. It is unclear where Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton stands on the deal. Her website outlines plans to protect consumers by strengthening antitrust laws and enforcement in order to "promote competition" and "address excessive concentration" of power among corporations. AT&T had $147 billion in revenues in 2015 and Time Warner reported $28 billion.

Telecommunications giant AT&T has agreed to buy media company Time Warner in a deal worth $85.4 billion. The deal, the world’s largest this year, could shake up the media landscape but still needs regulatory approval. AT&T Inc. has announced an agreement to buy Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion (78.4 billion euros) in a deal that should transform the telephone ... Read More »

3 things you need to know about Italy, the Norcia earthquake and ‘airbag’ housing

It's impossible to predict earthquakes. We know that. We also know regions such as the Apennines in Italy are prone to shake. There's little we can do but build resistant housing. Here's why. A brief history of Italian quakes Italy has experienced 125 "significant earthquakes" since 1900. Twelve of those earthquakes struck in the past 16 years. They range from a magnitude of 3.5 in 1973 to magnitude 7.9 in 1905. At magnitude 6.2, the earthquake on 24 August 2016 was the eighth strongest in the region since the turn of the last century. The 2009 L'Aquila quake measured 6.3. A US National Centers for Environmental Information database lists 318 significant earthquakes in Italy since 1450 BC, including one at Pompeii in 63 AD. A meeting of tectonic plates The US Geological Survey says the region around the earthquake's epicenter at Norcia is "tectonically and geologically complex." The quake resulted from a "shallow normal faulting" in the Central Apennines. The Apennines is a mountain range running the length of Italy from north to south. It was formed due to a process known as "subduction," where tectonic plates collide. Now this very region is being torn apart. One of the main complexities is the meeting - and parting - of the African and Eurasian plates. The Eurasia plate moves in a northeasterly direction at about 24 millimeters (about 1 inch) per year. A housing issue We often focus on the number of deaths caused by earthquakes - and it stands to reason. But the damage caused to buildings is often far greater in pure numbers. A September 1997 earthquake in Umbria and Marche killed between 11 and 14 people (depending on the source of information), injured 100 people, and destroyed 800,000 homes. It was part of the "Umbria-Marche Seismic Sequence," which involved eight shakes over two months. The US Geological Survey says housing in central Italy ranges from "vulnerable" to "earthquake resistant." Vulnerable buildings tend to be made of unreinforced brick with mud and mid-rise non-ductile concrete frames. In Japan, a company called Air Danshin Systems has been working on houses that levitate during earthquakes to make them more resistant to damage. The house sits on a deflated airbag. When it detects a quake, air is pumped into the airbag, lifting the house about 3 centimeters above its concrete foundation. The system has been described as "airbag" housing. Well, whatever works.

It’s impossible to predict earthquakes. We know that. We also know regions such as the Apennines in Italy are prone to shake. There’s little we can do but build resistant housing. Here’s why. A brief history of Italian quakes Italy has experienced 125 “significant earthquakes” since 1900. Twelve of those earthquakes struck in the past 16 years. They range from ... Read More »

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