Why are the cryptocurrencies crashing?

Within the past weekend, Bitcoin has fallen drastically to $7,335.57, at its lowest on Sunday. Fortunately, as CoinDesk conveys, the value of the cryptocurrency gradually recuperated. By Monday afternoon, the value of Bitcoin picked up again returned to an average of $8,585.

Although we can never know for certain the reason underlying such change, many have pointed to the advertising ban of bitcoin throughout the weekend. Sky News has reported the advertising ban for initial coin offerings, token sales and cryptocurrency wallets all across the world that Twitter has supposedly imposed and will be implemented within a fortnight.

Another one of those attempts to reprimand cryptocurrency scams, this move is not unheard of. Several tech giants have already imposed strict rules and regulations on these advertisements early on. In the start of the year, Facebook, runner-up to the world’s biggest online advertisement platform, has announced its plan to impose bans on all cryptocurrencies-related advertisements. Its reason for taking such drastic measures is to avoid circulation of “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”. Moreover, just last week, Google has announced its plans to reinforce the financial services policy. Hence, advertisements circling cryptocurrencies, and such will be curbed within three months.

“Facebook was previous, but now Twitter is also rumored. Much of crypto(currency) demand is retail, so this may negatively impact demand,” suggests Joe DiPasquale, the Chief Executive Officer of BitBull Capital.

The former statement remains to be unsubstantiated as Twitter has not disclosed anything.

There was considerable news pointing to the high price of mining as the underlying cause of the fall in bitcoin’s value since last week. That was reiterated by DiPasquale, “Now that it’s dropped below that, there’s less incentive for miners to continue to keep machines on unless they are in a lower-cost energy area or have a way of producing at less than cost”.

The mining of bitcoin includes the utilization of certain software and expensive hardware to solve mathematics equations in order to earn bitcoins. With the current rate, they are now looking at a mere $8,000 for one bitcoin. This, in addition to regulatory issues, have largely impacted the value of bitcoin within the past few weeks.

Initially valued at a fine five figures of $11,000 just a couple of weeks ago, a statement issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expressing its concerns over cryptocurrency exchanges as well as the lack of security and privacy on Binance, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange momentarily brought down the value of bitcoin.

According to the grapevine, finance ministers of G-20, as well as governors of central banks, have agreed to consolidate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A G-20 representative has informed CNBC that these discussions will take place in a private and confidential setting before making its way to the press conference.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) serves as a regulator for G-20 economies all across the world. They have begun to take actions after receiving a number of calls from various countries regarding the security of cryptocurrencies.

“The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time,” proclaims Mark Carney, Chair of the Financial Stability Board as well as Governor of the Bank of England.

“Even at their recent peak, their combined global market value was less than 1 percent of global GDP,” Carney continues in an effort to juxtapose the size of cryptocurrency investments with the rest of the global financial system.

“The more speculative coins are being hit particularly hard. Liquidity is among their primary features and many of the holders lack long-term conviction, therefore they’re rotating into larger coins with stronger long-term prospects,” asserted by Spencer Bogart, one of the partners of Blockchain Capital.

He underlines the “potential for a liquidity crunch” as phrased by CNBC. He believes that to be the decisive factor for investors to let go of alternative coins and focus on more prominent cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Bitcoin was not the only cryptocurrency that had experienced a fall over the weekend. Ethereum went down by an alarming seventeen percent, reaching a nadir of $460.09, as reported by CoinDesk. That, however, is nothing in comparison to Ripple, which has suffered a decreased of fourteen percent to a meek $0.55. Similarly, the value of bitcoin cash and Litecoin have both deteriorated significantly at about ten percent.

While it may seem like bitcoin may be making a comeback, as people lose confidence in these currencies, the value subsequently decreases, too. Should investors pull out now or continue to await more positive results?

Featured image via flickr/ Zach Copley

United Airlines Attempts to Avoid a PR Mess

United Continental Holdings Inc., the Chicago-based airline has become the airline that has the most controversial issues for some time now. Perhaps you have heard about the David Dao incident. The passenger was physically coerced into leaving the flight because of a mistake made by the airline. They overbooked the flight, leaving no available seat for a customer who had already paid for his seat. That was not the worst part. Dr. David Dao had suffered from a severe concussion in addition to losing a couple of his teeth as well as a broken nose from the violence asserted by the airline employees. Put aside the fact that he was a paying customer like everyone else and deserves to be treated like one. No human being should ever be treated like this, especially a senior citizen.

Truth be told, United Airlines’ awful customer service actually began ten years ago.

There is a song with over 17 million views titled, United Breaks Guitars, by Dave Carroll, a Canadian musician. As the name suggests, Carroll’s guitar was broken by the United Airlines’ baggage handlers. That was not the main problem. It is the fact that they adamantly refused to take responsibility for breaking the singer-songwriter’s $3,500 guitar. Even in the Dr. Dao’s incident, Oscar Munoz, CEO of the United Airlines had criticized the passenger instead of taking responsibility. He did not actually apologize to Dr. Dao until the third statement of apology was issued in response to the controversy.

As a result of this incident, another passenger, Shirley Yamauchi was afraid to stand her ground and became yet another victim of United Airlines. This incident occurred three months after Dr. Dao’s incident. Yamauchi was on a United flight along with her two-year-old toddler. She lawfully purchased two tickets, one for herself and one for her son. However, another passenger showed up with a ticket for her son’s seat, which means that United has once again overbooked the flight. The other passenger proceeded to take his seat, so Yamauchi sought for help from a flight attendant. Like every incident United has had, the employee did not stand by her. In fact, she was told that the flight was full and that there was nothing they could do. In the end, Yamauchi had to place her son on her lap throughout the course of the flight. This was reported by Hawaii News Now.

Within the same month of Dr. Dao’s incident, there were three other unpleasant episodes. First, Lucie Bahetoukilae, a French passenger who had a ticket to fly home, was placed on the wrong plane and sent to San Francisco instead, as reported by WABC. It is understandable for slight miscommunications to occur for the reason that the passenger only spoke French. However, the employee that scanned her boarding pass and the employee who seated her both had the chance to look at her ticket. That was part of their job. What were they doing?

Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell were two people in love who were flying to Costa Rica to get married. Nonetheless, their day was ruined by the United Airlines, as usual. KHOU reported that when they approached their seats on the plane, they found another passenger who was laid across the seats, fast asleep. Hence, they took a seat in the empty seats nearby. When the flight attendant approached them, the couple openly admitted that they were not in their assigned seats – for a reason – and were willing to pay the additional fee as they were seated at the economy plus spots. Following the instructions of the flight attendant, they returned to their original seats with no problem. Here’s the strange part: a U.S. Marshall came on board and kicked them off the plane. Still, the couple did as they were told with no commotion. On the following Saturday, the airline issued a statement that criticized the couple saying that they “wouldn’t follow crew instructions”. If they did not, would they have gotten off the plane? Wouldn’t they have ended up like Dr. Dao?

The third incident involves Simon, the son of the world’s largest rabbit. Simon was three-foot-long and was anticipated to grow even bigger. According to PEOPLE magazine, a group in Iowa had purchased the enormous continental rabbit for fundraising purposes. Needless to say, the darling creature was found dead when the United flight landed. Guy R. Cook is the attorney who represented the group in Iowa in this proceeding. Based on Cook’s letter to PEOPLE magazine, the airline proceeded to cremate the rabbit’s carcass without permission or instructions from Simon’s owner.

Earlier in that year, Kathleen Considine, the owner of Jacob the golden retriever voiced her complaint about United Airlines through Facebook. After being in United PetSafe program, Jacob was returned to Considine in a distressed condition and subsequently passed away soon after. In a report by WDIV, the airline reiterated the safety and comfort of pets in their PetSafe program – so was Simon the rabbit.

On Monday night, Kokito, a ten-month-old French Pitbull that was placed in a pet carrier passed away after being in the overhead compartment for a three and a half hours long flight. Initially placed under the seats, a flight attendant persistently told the passenger to stow it in the overhead bins. Then, the spokeswoman of the airline came out to justify their mistake by saying that the flight attendant was not aware of the presence of Kokito. Several passengers on board have contradicted this statement as they mentioned that the sound of the dog barking was a clear indication.

Earlier this week, United Airlines has, once again, made a mistake.

Irgo the German Shepherd was scheduled to fly back to Kansas City on a United flight while a Great Dane in the United’s care was bound for Tokyo. However, there was a mix-up within the airline and the two dogs were sent to the wrong locations. Irgo arrived at Tokyo while the Great Dane was sent to Missouri.

Learning from previous mistakes, the United Airlines immediately transported Irgo back to Kansas City, Missouri with a private jet.

UPDATE: Irgo should be arriving about 7:30pm CT at the Wichita airport. He is being flown by private charter, and being treated like the king he is!!! I will update you all when I get my baby back!!

Posted by Kara Swindle on Thursday, March 15, 2018

While we are glad that Irgo is receiving the proper care and treatment, the conscientious approach taken by the airline is ostensible. “It is pennies to try to stop that news,” says Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group. He insinuated that though the cost of chartering a private jet may be high, it was a trifling price to pay in order to avoid further controversy, especially because the most recent case of Kokito was less than a week ago.

United Airlines time and time again raised commotions because of their own mistakes and more often than not, they have refused to take responsibility for it. Now, they are taking extreme measures just for the sake of maintaining their reputation. They see these problems and treat them from the standpoint of public relations. The truth is that these are matters concerning life and death.

A statement from the letter written by Cook, the attorney in Simon the rabbit incident, to PEOPLE magazine rightfully concluded the problem with United Continental Holdings Inc.:

“The importance of Simon’s death goes beyond the life of a single rabbit, it reflects an attitude of United Airlines that lacks basic decency and respect for the people and the property it is hired to serve.”

A detailed examination of all of the cases mentioned above reveals the one thing they all have in common. All of these incidents have resulted from a gross negligence and the lack of effort on the airline’s part. All of the incidents could have been prevented if the employees involved had just shown a little more respect and care towards the customers, their pets and their belongings. In fact, it could have been turned around if they had taken the proper responsibility and owned up to their mistakes as soon as these things happen.

More than five incidents have happened within this airline, to customer’s possessions and the people and their pets. Two of them happened under the PetSafe program that they insisted was safe (notice the name of the program) for the pets. They repeatedly overbook their flights and cause inconvenience to the passengers. The chief executive officer himself has shown disrespect by refusing to apologize to Dr. Dao while saying that their employee had taken the correct approach – which is ridiculous.

Why are people still opting for United Airlines’ services? Have they not done enough harm to their customers and to animals? Why aren’t the board members of United Continental Holdings Inc. taking disciplinary actions towards said employees? Is it because the shares were only 0.6 percent lower after everything? Will they not be concerned unless it affects them drastically in terms of money?

On a larger narrative, this is just another side effect of our money-oriented society. There isn’t another reason for overbooking flight besides profit motives. Refusing to take responsibility is just the refusal to pay compensation costs.

When all’s said and done, there is nothing we can do unless the society is willing to act collectively. Unfortunately, the United Airlines essentially acts as a metonymy for the callousness and money-oriented society that we live in. It is the “if it does not concern me, I don’t care” mentality that is perishing the world.

Featured image via flickr/ Ikarasawa

Flights are cancelled as a direct result of global warming

With the deterioration in global warming, it is no wonder we have been experiencing such extreme weathers in 2018. Owing to the phrase ‘global warming’, many have been questioning the validity because of the extreme cold that we have experienced – and are still experiencing – this year. While the change in climate has not been in compliance with the presumed direction, there is a simple reasoning behind it.

Why are we so concerned about the North Pole melting (aside from the worries over polar bears)? This is because as it melts, more evaporating water will subsist which consequently leads to a higher precipitation rate. The precipitation then exists as rain, snow and hail as we know it. This has been proven by the 2006 Lake Erie occurrence. Lake Erie is one of the Great Lakes in North America that normally freezes during winter. However, the warm weather, from global warming, prevented the lake from being frozen during winter for the first time ever. Subsequently, the rate of snowfalls was greater than before.

The east coast seems to be suffering the most from the extreme cold this year. Back in January, plenty of flights to and fro the New York area were cancelled due to the sudden snowstorm. However, as we step into the spring season with summer fast approaching, the relentless cold storms are becoming somewhat of an odd occurrence.

FlightAware, the flight-tracking site have enclosed that over seven hundred flights to and fro Boston that was scheduled for Tuesday have been canceled because of the storm. This time, meteorologists have revealed that the intense snowstorm will leave behind at least a foot of snow. Of that seven hundred, more than half were flights that were departing from Boston whereas the rest are incoming flights. Delta Airline has called off a majority of its Tuesday shuttle service between Boston and LaGuardia in New York while American Airlines have completely shut down the hourly shuttle service between the two locations. In addition, American Airlines have also called off all of the Tuesday Boston flights and may be shutting down more flights around the Northeast region. Ross Feinstein, the spokesperson of the airline said that they initially had a total of a hundred and seventy-eight Boston flights scheduled for Tuesday.

Even though customers will not be charged for the flight change, it seems as though Southwest Airlines are expecting travelers to pay for the surcharge because the flights on some dates are more expensive than others. This is rather unreasonable since the customers do not have a say in the matter. Yet again, who is to blame but ourselves? JetBlue, Delta and American Airlines will not be charging their passengers for any changes due to the storm. While it is certainly a nuisance for travelers, it must not be easy for the airlines and all of their employers as well. Announcing the cancelation of flights in advance may be a way to avoid wasting everyone’s time but the process to call everyone back in order to resume their duties will indubitably be troublesome since it is almost impossible to predict what happens next.

Just last week, a snowstorm from the northeast region has affected over two thousand flights.

This should be a wakeup call to everyone out there who has been denying the reality of climate change and global warming. Aside from that, a frequently mentioned argument questions the cold weather as opposed to global warming. To further clarify this, it should be understood that climate and weather are not the same thing. The National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration (NOAA) describes climate as the average of weather throughout the course of three decades, at least. What we experience within a short period of time can have a very different outcome on a larger narrative.

The United States have been the largest contributor to this issue for the past fifteen decades. At present, US is slightly behind China, who produces twenty-eight percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. What are you doing to counter global warming/climate change at this instant? Are you even aware of the severity of the situation?

Featured image via flickr/jseliger2

The Mysterious Case of Amelia Earhart

The disappearance of Amelia Earhart, the first female who flew across the Atlantic Ocean on her own, have baffled millions of people since 1937. Back then, hers was a name that was widely recognized due to her achievements in air travel. Consequent to the incident, she has come to be the subject of many public discussions – and the name Amelia Earhart has become even more prominent since. 2nd July 1937 was the day that she vanished into thin air, along with Fred Noonan, her navigator at the time. It happened over the course of her journey to Howland Island – in the Pacific – from Papua New Guinea. It was part of her expedition to fly around the world.

This mystery has lasted over eight decades and is fast approaching one whole century. In conjunction with this matter, many have come up with their own theories to explain the incident. The most unsettling question continues to be the same. Where are her remains?

With the advancement in forensic science, recent discoveries have revealed, or rather, overturned previous findings. Three years after her disappearance, back in 1940, about thirteen human bones were discovered on Gardner Island. Gardner Island, also referred to as Nikumaroro, was a secluded land amidst the Pacific that lies 1,200 miles away from the Marshall Islands. This led to a theory that suggests that Earhart did not die in a plane crash. In fact, Gardner Island is presumed to be the island where she had landed her plane on after some mishaps. This theory believes that she was stranded on the remote island and was never rescued until she eventually passed away. This theory has been brought up due to the statement made by Richard Jantz, a former anthropology Professor at the University of Tennessee, who allegedly claims that the bones belonged to Earhart.

The forensic analysis done in 1941 had eliminated this possibility because of the result that suggests it was the remains of a man, as opposed to Earhart. This examination was carried out by Dr. David Hoodless, the principal of the Central Medical School in Fiji, an island in the South Pacific Ocean. Three aspects were taken into consideration in his analysis. According to the New York Post, they are:

  • the ratio of the femur’s circumference to length
  • the angle of the femur and pelvis
  • the subpubic angle (the angle formed between two pelvis bones)

The gender can be determined by evaluating the subpubic angle. A notably narrower subpubic angle points to a male structure and vice versa.

The examination concludes that the bones were likely to have belonged to, says Jantz and quote, “short, stocky muscular European”. The height of said male is estimated to be around 5 feet and 5.5 inches. This, aside from the presumed gender, negates any hints of it being Earhart. Her flying license and driving license indicate that her height is around 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 7 inches respectively, which is in compliance with the estimation from her pictures. Both of these numbers far exceed the estimated height of whom the bones had belonged to. Noonan the navigator was eliminated from the possibilities because he was towering at the height of 6 feet and a quarter inch.

Nonetheless, Professor Jantz has pointed out the inaccuracy of the 19th century forensic science methods. The outdated approach may have, by a high percentage in the margin of error, miscalculated the actual height. This means that the height, in actuality, matches that of Amelia Earhart’s. With the utilization of up-to-date methods of analysis, Professor Jantz has reached a different conclusion in terms of sexual characteristics.

“When Hoodless conducted his analysis, forensic osteology was not yet a well-developed discipline. Evaluating his methods with reference to modern data and methods suggests that they were inadequate to his task; this is particularly the case with his sexing method. Therefore, his sex assessment of the Nikumaroro bones cannot be assumed to be correct,” quoting an official statement made by Richard Jantz in a paper that has been published in the Forensic Anthropology journal.

The only criteria that Jantz have shown approval of – in Dr. Hoodless’ report – is the measure of the subpubic angle. Even so, he has made a remark saying that it should be open “to considerable variation, much of which was little understood in 1941.”

Through research of his own, Jantz has allegedly proved his theory. He collected statistical figures from a sum of 2,776 individuals and made a juxtaposition of it with the numbers from Dr. Hoodless’ investigation from 1941. In addition, Jantz made approximations through the observation and close study of Earhart’s pictures and the sizing of her apparels.

“This analysis reveals that Earhart is more similar to the Nikumaroro bones than 99 percent of individuals in a large reference sample. This strongly supports the conclusion that the Nikumaroro bones belonged to Amelia Earhart,” concludes Professor Jantz.

All in all, this remains to be yet another theory. While Professor Jantz’s analysis and justification were implemented on the grounds of the new and improved analysis methods, other scholars of our generation have expressed their support and are still in agreement with Dr. David Hoodless’ findings that took place 77 years ago. There are also those who believe that her life ended in the Marshall Islands instead of Gardner Island.

Like any other controversial issue, the debates do not seem to be settling down anytime soon. In fact, another “alleged” evidence, in this case, was brought up just last year. That is most definitely not the first and will not be the last of it.

Featured Image via Flickr/IMLS Digital Collections and Content

Xiaomi: Alternative for Android Smartphones

Attributable to the 21st-century advancement in technology, there are not many folks out there who are not in possession of a smartphone. As a matter of fact, smartphones are no longer considered as a luxury item, instead, they have become a necessity to our generation just like water and oxygen. They are the first thing that we look at every morning and the last thing we have our hands on before we go to bed. As a result, the industry behind all of this technology has skyrocketed in recent years. As the demand for smartphones increases, it should come as no surprise that different brands of suppliers are contending to get ahead.

With the United States’ dominance in the global market, foreign suppliers have long been anticipated to demand entry to the circle. Many have not been able to pass the barriers to entry, in addition to minor factors. This is because the United States has maintained a strict policy in these affairs on the grounds of upholding national security interests. ZTE, one of the smartphone manufacturer that originated from China obtained the position as the third runner-up in the United States market last year. Samsung is another multinational conglomerate company that, as we all know, is a leading smartphone provider.

A recent report from the Wall Street Journal reveals a new player in the competition amidst android smartphone providers across the States. Xiaomi, another multinational firm from China, has made its way into Spain earlier on, after finding success in Southeast Asia and India.

“We’ve always been considering entering the U.S. market,” Lei Jun, the Chairman of Xiaomi, expressed in the event of China’s legislative session that takes place once a year in Beijing, China.

Conversely, Xiaomi is not new to the United States market. They have been the retailer of quality gadgets such as television set-top unit for android, cameras, speakers, headphones and so forth for some time now. Due to the exclusivity of the smartphone market, however, Xiaomi has not been able to navigate through government policies imposed by the United States.

Despite the complicated regulations and proceedings, Jun is determined to overcome these challenges. He insisted that Xiaomi, as a firm, will familiarize themselves with United States rules and regulations in the course of months. At the meantime, they will continue to enhance and upgrade their products based on customers’ demands.

Though this may sound promising, the encounter with Huawei may suggests otherwise. Prior to this, Huawei had introduced its featured smartphone, Mate 10 Pro, in the United States. They were considered as a prospective partner by the local phone service provider, AT&T. In spite of that, their plans ended unsuccessfully due to government interference.

Many people are putting down their iPhones in exchange for Android devices that allow more room for customization. As we look forward to Jun’s promising plans, the anticipation of these smartphones offered by Xiaomi will no doubt be exciting for all the Android users out there! In fact, consumers in Southeast Asia have expressed their approval online since the appearance of Xiaomi gadgets many years ago. With an addition to the competition, other smartphone providers will undoubtedly improve their products in order to keep up. As a consequent to an increased number of substitute products, the manufacturers will have to lower their cost of production in order to compete, which means that the final benefactor in the smartphone market will be the consumers who holds the purchasing power.

The two leading brands, Apple and Samsung, will experience a decrease in value. This is because with more participants in the run for a portion of the pie, their halves become smaller. Replacing the pie with market value shows the loss that Apple and Samsung will suffer from, as more companies get ahead.

Featured Image via Flickr/Jon Russell

Fox News will no longer broadcast in the UK

21st Century Fox announced Tuesday that it will pull Fox News from UK airwaves, The Guardian reports. The network’s final broadcast across the pond took place at 4:00 p.m. local time Tuesday.

A spokeswoman told The Guardian: “[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK. Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.”

21st Century Fox awaits British authorities’ approval of its bid to acquire Sky TV, the UK’s top pay television network. The US media giant already owns 39% of Sky and is seeking to acquire the remaining 61% in the £11.7 billion ($15.2 billion) deal.

Sources told The Guardian the decision to pull Fox News out of the UK was strictly economical and in no way related to the pending acquisition.

But, UK media regulators and lawmakers have raised concerns about the “corporate culture” of the network. According to CNN, the British Office of Communications (Ofcom), which was tasked with reviewing the proposed takeover, said following its review that the sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and former anchor Bill O’Reilly, were “deeply disturbing,” and evinced “significant failings of the corporate culture.”

O’Reilly and Ailes both denied the allegations, CNN notes.

Ofcom found no evidence that senior management at Fox had been aware of the alleged misconduct prior to July 2016. CNN reports that 21st Century Fox management (namely, Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James)  “pressured Ailes to resign,” which he did in July 2016.

In April, Fox and O’Reilly parted ways. “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement per foxnews.com, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

Despite its concerns regarding the sexual harassment allegations, Ofcom concluded that 21st Century Fox qualified as a “fit and proper” holder of Sky. The regulatory agency did not deem further investigation of the network’s broadcasting practices necessary.

Still, British lawmakers and lobbyist groups are urging Karen Bradley, the UK’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to refer the Fox-Sky deal for additional review. In response to those petitions, Bradley’s office asked Ofcom to conduct further research. Friday, the office confirmed that it has received “additional advice” from Ofcom concerning the deal, Deadline reports.

“The Secretary of State will now carefully consider that advice before making her decision on referral on the basis of all the evidence before her, and will do so as soon as is reasonably practicable,” the office says, per Deadline.

Bradley said late last month that while she saw no reason to further review 21 Century Fox’s adequateness as a broadcaster, she was likely to refer the deal for review by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

“Unless new evidence…changes my mind in coming weeks, the bid will therefore be referred for a Phase 2 review on at least one ground: media plurality,” Bradley told Parliament in mid-July, per Variety.

Deadline notes that CMA reviews can take up to six months. If the deal is not finalized by the end of this year, 21st Century Fox will pay Sky shareholders £170 million ($219 million).

Twenty-two million viewers across five European countries—the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria—pay for Sky service,

The European Union has already approved the acquisition. UK authorities represent the final regulative hurdle before finalization.

If the deal dissolves, Fox will pay Sky an additional £200 million ($258 million).

Featured Image via Flickr/Johnny Silvercloud

Icelandic airline WOW brings cheap transatlantic flights to four midwestern US cities

Icelandic budget airline WOW Air announced Wednesday that it will expand its service to four Midwestern US cities—St. Louis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit—beginning in Spring 2018, USA Today reports.

WOW will run four flights a week between each city and the airline’s hub, Keflavik International Airport near Reykjavik, Iceland. One-way tickets will start at $99.99. Passengers will have the option of scheduling connecting flights from Reykjavik to any of 12 other cities in Europe, including Paris, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, and more. Connection itineraries originating in the US will start at $149.99

“Our unique opportunity is to use Iceland as a hub. We can then distribute the traffic to our main destinations in Europe,” said WOW Air founder and CEO Skúli Mogensen, per USA Today. “…That’s really the key. Instead of having a single point-to-point flight, we actually give you a very affordable flight to multiple destinations in Europe via Iceland.”

WOW already serves seven other cities in the US. In 2015, the airline began serving Boston and Baltimore/Washington (BWI). Later, it expanded its service on the east coast, adding flights in and out of Newark, NJ and Miami, FL, and made inroads on the west coast in LA and San Francisco.

Now, WOW is looking to establish a presence in the Midwest. Earlier this year, it announced plans to serve Pittsburgh and Chicago.

Some doubt whether there exists an adequate market for trans-Atlantic travel in WOW’s four newest cities. Morgensen, who says his company is “very excited about these cities,” expects low fares to spur demand.

“With those kind of prices, we have seen in other markets that we enter that we have stimulated the market significantly,” he said, adding: “We like the region. We think there’s opportunity there. We think it’s under-served.”

Indeed, competition is sparse. Though trans-Atlantic service in and out of Detroit is common, WOW will be the only airline to fly between St. Louis and Europe, according to USA Today. Moreover, only Delta flies between Cincinnati and Europe.

WOW will battle for the Cleveland market with fellow Icelandic airline Icelandair, which announced Cleveland-Reykjavik service Tuesday. According to USA Today, no commercial airplane has flown across the Atlantic from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport since 2009, when United, which was based out of CHIA until 2014, discontinued a flight from Cleveland to London Heathrow.

Like WOW, Icelandair will run four flights a week between Cleveland and Reykjavik, with connections available from Reykjavik to other destinations throughout Europe. Icelandair, though, will serve more than twice as many European destinations as WOW.

But, Mogensen is confident WOW’s low fares will give the company an edge over Icelandair and other competitors.

“We welcome competition from all airlines,” he said. “No other airline has offered as low fares as we have done over the Atlantic.”

For comparison, a one-way Icelandair ticket from Denver to Reykjavik costs upwards of $250. WOW’s one-ways to Iceland from the Midwest, as mentioned, will cost less than $100.

Icelandair plans to fly Boeing 757s in and out of Cleveland, while WOW intends to use the single-aisle Airbus A321.

Tickets for WOW flights out of its four new US service cities went on sale Wednesday. Detroit service will begin April 26, 2018; Cleveland flights will start on May 4, 2018; Cincinnati service will commence May 10, 2018, and St. Louis service will begin May 17, 2018.

Icelandair says its Cleveland service will begin May 2018, but has yet to provide specific dates.

Mogensen says WOW will make more announcements regarding expanded US service in the near future.

“We will continue to add destinations in the U.S. in the next weeks and as always offer the lowest fares.”

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin State Assembly approves bill to incentivize proposed in-state Foxconn factory

Thursday, by a vote of 59-30, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled State Assembly approved legislation that would provide $3 billion worth of incentives—mostly cash—to technology manufacturer Foxconn over 15 years, Reuters reports.

Foxconn, based in Taiwan, has proposed to build a 20 million square-foot liquid-crystal display (LCD) plant on a 1,000-acre plot in the southeastern sector of the state. The company’s initial investment in the plant, which would be operational by 2020 will be $10 billion.

The bill still awaits approval by the state senate and a joint finance committee, both of which Republicans control. Republicans generally support the bill, while Democrats oppose it, but the Assembly’s vote Thursday did not strictly follow party lines; two Republicans voted against, and three Democrats in favor, according to Reuters.

Proponents point out that the plant would bring tens of thousands of jobs to the area, and “transform Wisconsin’s economy,” as Foxconn said in a statement. The facility would create 10,000 construction jobs and 22,000 ancillary jobs, according to Reuters. Initially, it would employ 3,000, but could ultimately employ 13,000.

“We are ready to take advantage of this historic opportunity … and build a long-lasting relationship with Foxconn,” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican who was instrumental in the orchestration of the deal, said in a statement, per Reuters.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them [i.e. legislators] to transform Wisconsin’s economy and make it a center of worldwide high-tech manufacturing,” Foxconn said in a statement.

President Donald Trump, who made the domestication of jobs a primary platform of his campaign, has played a large part in negotiating with the company for the plant. Trump met with Foxconn’s founder and chairman, Terry Gou, three times to discuss the plan, according to Fortune.

“I would see Terry, and I would say, ‘Terry, you have to give us one of these massive places you do great work with,’” Trump said, per The Washington Post. The president says he also told Gou, “The American worker will not let you down.”

In a testament to the importance of the deal for the Trump Administration’s economic agenda, Gou, Trump, Walker and others announced the completion of the negotiations in the East Room of the White House, the Post reports,

“The construction of this facility,” said Trump late last month, “represents the return of LCD electronics—and electronic manufacturing—to the United States.”

The bill’s detractors point out that the incentives would put Wisconsin’s government in considerable debt. The government would not break even on the deal for almost 25 years, according to a legislative analysis released last week, Reuters says.

Critics have called the incentives a “corporate welfare” project (Reuters’ words), and believe policymakers are rushing the bill.

“I think we need more time,” Democratic Representative Jill Billings said. “I want a better deal and more guarantees for my taxpayers.”

Early in the debate, Reuters says, the legislative body nixed a motion by Democrats to allow the finance committee to review the bill prior to the vote. The Assembly also shot down three amendments proposed by Democrats.

Many worry about the impact the making of LCDs has on the environment. According to a 2008 CNET article, the “chemical vapor deposition” process that produces LCDs, semi-conductors and synthetic diamond relies on a “missing greenhouse gas” known as nitrogen trifluoride, the globe-warming effect of which could be as much as 17,000 times stronger than that of CO2, according to an independent report cited by CNET.

Foxconn builds electronics for Apple, Google, Amazon, and a host of other tech giants.

The Washington Post points out that the move to build a factory on American soil is unprecedented for Foxconn, which stations most of its production operations in underdeveloped countries, where the cost of labor is cheaper.

The Post further notes that the company has a reputation for overworking employees and for dangerous work environments. In 2011, an explosion at a Foxconn factory in China killed three workers and injured 16. Some Foxconn workers report working seven days a week, living in cramped dorms, and standing so long that their legs would swell.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

Chrysler to join BMW, Intel in autonomous driving consortium

Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler announced plans Wednesday to join an autonomous car development consortium with Germany’s BMW and American tech giant Intel, MarketWatch reports. UK-based Delphi Automotive PLC and German component manufacturer Continental AG each joined the group earlier this summer.

Israeli collision-avoidance software developer Mobileye was originally an independent member of the alliance, but in March, Intel acquired Mobileye.

The group has released a statement indicating intentions to build a self-driving framework “that can be used by multiple automakers around the world, while at the same time maintaining each automaker’s unique brand identities.”

The coalition aims to have a fleet of 40 test vehicles on the road by the end of the year. BMW said in March that it plans to field a Level 5 autonomous vehicle by 2021.

“In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers,” Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “Joining this cooperation will enable FCA to directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective.”

In May, Fiat Chrysler partnered with Google’s parent company, Alphabet, whose self-driving subsidiary is branded Waymo. In total, the automaker has given Waymo 600 Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

Marchionne has indicated that the Alphabet-Chrysler alliance is by no means exclusive.

“We need to be ready to collaborate with as many people as we can find,” he said in the company’s quarter two earnings report.

USA Today points out that cooperation is key to defraying the prohibitive costs of an autonomous vehicle, particularly for a company like Chrysler, which may be unable to allocate a huge budget toward autonomous vehicle development.

At this stage, investments in autonomous vehicle development are not yielding fruits on the bottom line because the gap between the capabilities of the technology and the trust levels of consumers is too wide to justify selling self-driving cars on the open market.

Marchionne has voiced concerns about the liability associated with the safety questions around self-driving cars. He also worries about the lack of regulation in place to assign responsibility for that liability.

For instance, if a Fiat Chrysler vehicle featuring, say, technology developed by Waymo and cameras built by Nvidia malfunctions, there are no regulations governing which of those companies would be held legally responsible.

“That’s a big issue going forward, because when you’ve got tier-one suppliers that will start providing autonomous driving equipment — both software and hardware — into these vehicles, the question about who owns liability associated with the running of those operations is a big issue yet untouched,” Marchionne said in January, per Aaron Marsh of FleetOwner.

Still, cooperation seems to be the strategy across the industry with respect to the push toward autonomous vehicles, although Ford and General Motors each has its own in-house self-driving development operation.

Auto manufacturers are increasingly partnering with tech companies and component-producers. Such automotive giants as Audi, Tesla, and Toyota have partnered with Nvidia Corp., whose Drive PX platform is among the most advanced systems of autonomous driving technology in the industry.

In April, Damlier AG, of which Mercedes-Benz is a subsidiary, formed an alliance with components producer Robert Bosch GmbH. Together, the companies are working toward developing a fleet of autonomous taxis that customers can hail. If the plan takes shape, the automotive alliance will compete with ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.

Google’s Waymo has unveiled a similar system in Phoenix. Using an app proprietary to Waymo, customers can hail one of the 600 Chrysler vans mentioned above

Damlier and Bosch have also developed an autonomous valet system that can navigate a multi-story parking garage, find a spot, and park with no human input.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

Kapensky Labs Hands Source Code Over to US Government, Alarming Trend Continues

Eugene Kapersky, CEO of security company Kapersky Labs, has agreed to share his company’s source code with the US Government in order to “prove that we don’t behave maliciously.”

Kapersky Labs, which operates out of Russia and has mediated interactions between the US and Russian governments for years, has apparently become a casualty of the United States’ mounting suspicion of Russia. In the wake of rumors that Russia hacked the 2016 US presidential election and suspicions of Russian connections to President Trump’s campaign, a proposal to sever all relationships between the Department of Defense and any US government agency employing the services of Kapersky Labs has been brought before the Senate.

Jeanne Shaheen, a Democratic senator from New Hampshire, says there is “a consensus in Congress and among administration officials that Kaspersky Labs cannot be trusted to protect critical infrastructure.”

Kapersky Labs’ official statement maintains the company’s political impartiality. “As a private company,” the statement reads, “Kaspersky Labs has no ties to any government, and the company has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts.”

The Russian government employs American companies to protect its own national security, and Russian Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov has pledged to retaliate should the US impose any “unilateral political sanctions” requiring Kapensky Labs or other companies to surrender source code. But Russia has demanded and been granted access to the source code for firewalls, anti-virus applications, and other encrypted software created by American companies like IBM, McAfee, and HP.

Symentac, the American software company behind Norton Antivirus and other popular products, broke the mold last week, denying Russia access to its products’ source code. The requests of the Russian government, a Symentac spokesperson said, “pose a risk to the integrity of the products.

One risk is that governments could probe the source code for weaknesses, and exploit those weaknesses to launch cyberattacks. Though governments seize source code under the pretense of ensuring ethical business practices, there is nothing to prevent those governments from using that source code unethically.

According to an article by Rhett Jones of gizidmo.com, the NSA harbored documents exposing security vulnerabilities. Among those vulnerabilities was a weakness in the Windows operating system which the kept as a potential cyber-weapon rather than sharing it with Microsoft.

When information regarding the Windows security flaw leaked, opportunistic hackers created WannaCry, a piece of “ransomware”—that is, malicious software which prohibits access to a computer system until some ransom is paid—which held victims’ data hostage until a sum between $300 and $600 dollars was paid.

Many suspect Russia’s government of having carried out a number of its own cyberattacks. In March of this year, two Russian intelligence agents were indicted in connection with a widespread hacking operation which uncovered data from over a half billion Yahoo accounts. One hacker offered to share the birthdates, email addresses, usernames, and passwords of over 200 million Yahoo users in exchange for just $2,000.

Luckily for Yahoo and victims of the scam, payment information and in many cases passwords were sufficiently encrypted as to remain protected from the hackers.

Neither government trusts the other, and private companies like Kapensky Labs are caught in the middle. In the name of protecting themselves, governments are seizing information from companies. Yet the governments themselves have proven time and again that, whether because of ineptitude, moral corruption, or some combination of both, they cannot be trusted with such information.

Still, the companies are complying with the governments’ demands for the source code. In so doing, they are setting a precedent that empowers corrupt governments and forces ethical private companies to put themselves in danger. There is an intricate web of fear that cannot be untangled: the governments fear each other and the private companies from whom they are seizing information. The companies fear—or at least should fear—the governments, so they hand over the source code. When other companies see their competitors complying with the government, they are forced to do the same.

It is a complicated matrix of forces which seems to propel itself. And Kapensky Labs is the latest domino to fall.

Roundup Facing Potential Warning Label

California is becoming the first state to require popular weed killer Roundup to come up with a label warning that it is known to cause cancer. Roundup’s main ingredient is glyphosate, a chemical that will appear on California’s list of potentially cancerous chemicals. With the new addition, Roundup may be required to add a warning label on their product.

Glyphosate is a chemical that Monsanto introduced it in 1974 as an effective way of killing weeds while leaving plants and crops intact. Dues to efficiency, glyphosate has been successful due it being sold in 160 countries worldwide. In California, U.S.’ leading farming state, farmers use it on 250 types of crops. With such a large market, should the Roundup indeed contain a cancer-causing chemical, then it is understandable as to why regulators are pushing so hard for Roundup to be issued warning labels.

Roundup has responded by doing everything it can to prevent having to put a label on their products. Monsanto, the chemical’s maker, has filed an appeal after losing in court to block the labeling. Monsanto argued that Roundup does not cause cancer and that a warning label on their products will harm the company’s business.

State regulators are still deciding if there is a high enough amount of glyphosate in Round to pose a risk to human health. Monsanto is justified in arguing against the compulsory warning label on the grounds that without verification as to whether there is a high enough chemical dose to warrant a warning label, a warning label could be hurting business despite no detrimental health impacts.

There has been some evidence, as presented by Michael Baum, an attorney who represents more than 300 people claiming a loved one who became sick or died from exposure to Roundup. If glyphosate does indeed cause cancer, there would be more unheard cases that would further provide evidence to the need for a warning label, considering the time passed since glyphosate has been introduced, and the large market that the product has been sold to.

But putting aside whether glyphosate does, in fact, cause cancer, and must, therefore, be placed on California’s cancer-causing chemical list, is it in Monsanto’s best interest to fight or comply with adding a warning label to Roundup. It is better in the long run that Monsanto does put a warning label on their products, which will more than likely hurt its company’s business now, than having to pay much higher compensation fees in the future should the correlatives that Roundup causes cancer be proven true.

Monsanto will either have to research a new chemical to put in their product that proves to be as close as efficient to Roundup as possible without the chemical causing cancer, or take the loss of revenue. Either way Round will be getting a warning label. Monsanto have an opportunity here to utilize the label not as a punishment, but as a means of fulfilling their contract for consumer safety. The damage to their reputation will result in a larger loss of faith in the company for failing to take responsibility regarding consumer health and safety, than the damage a decrease in sales adding a warning label to the product will cause.

Competitors of Monsanto also have an opportunity here to provide a safe alternative product that is ideally as effective as Roundup, increasing their own customer base at the expense of Monsanto. It will be interesting to see what Monsanto do in this situation, especially if glyphosate is proven to be a cancer-causing chemical.

Featured Image via Flickr/Mike Mozart

Trump Butts Heads With Canada Over Dairy Tax

Some might be worried about the fights being started overseas but what about the one right in our own back yard? On Tuesday, President Trump attacked Canada about their tax on ultra-filtered milk. It wasn’t long until Trump took to Twitter.

It was just last week that Trump made comments on the dairy issue. He called it a “disgrace” and even went as far as to blame the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump stood up for dairy farmers saying, “What they’ve done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace.”

Yet this issue about milk tax is just one of many issues that Trump has with the free trade agreement. He made his feelings about the free trade agreement known when he rallied against it during his campaign.

So, what is his plan? The president said on Monday that Canada can expect new tariffs. Trump and his administration say that they plan on placing new tariffs on softwood lumber that goes from the United States into Canada.

Which his reaction isn’t really all that surprising. Yet how much is this tariff going to be? Well, the Department of Commerce says that a “countervailing duty” of 3 to 24 percent would be imposed on Canadian lumber exporters.

Wilbur Ross is the Commerce Secretary and says that there could be at least $1 billion duties on softwood lumber. He says that with that large of an amount it would be a “bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations.” Of course, Canada’s dairy tax is to blame for this harsh move.

What does Canada think about all this? Well, the country made a statement on the issue Monday, and it doesn’t seem like they are going to take things lying down. The spokesperson said that Canada will “vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry, including through litigation.”

Man’s Hand Built iPhone Cheaper Than Retail Version

Phones can get to be quite pricey. So, if you don’t feel like paying hundreds of dollars for a smartphone, just make your own. At least that’s what one man thought when he built his own iPhone 6s from scratch.

The crafty guy in question is named Scotty Allen. Allen has been living in China for nearly a year now. One day he decided to put together his own fully functional iPhone 6s. Allen did this by searching around the markets of Huaqiangbei for cellphone parts. Huaqiangbei is full of spare parts and other technological components.

The search for the right parts did prove to be tedious even though Allen had help from a Shenzhen local. Then there was the entire process of making the device which only seemed to be more laborious than finding the parts. Allen struggled with soldering a functional logic board and other parts. In the end, he just bought a recycled logic board that came with a Touch ID sensor.

Part searching and soldering combined with the puzzled expressions of the locals who kept wondering why he would want to build his own phone, made the entire experience an adventure for Allen.

The whole idea started when one someone mentioned that it would be possible to build an iPhone from spare parts found throughout Shenzhen. Allen then took that as a personal challenged and started the mission to craft his own device.

The entire mission to build his own iPhone 6s cost Allen a total of $1000. Most of that money was spent in parts that he ended up not having to use. When it was all said and done, Allen says he estimates it took him about $300 to build the finished product. That’s surprisingly cheaper than many of the retail prices. According to statistics on teardown, Allen’s finished product almost matches iFixit’s estimated $236 for an iPhone 6s Plus’s materials and manufacturing.

Allen chose to create the iPhone 6s because the earlier generation smartphone’s part would be far easier to find then the parts of the recent iPhone 7. When it comes to the iPhone 6s parts, Allen said it was easier to find the parts because “A lot of the parts come from recycled/broken phones.”

Yet Allen says that despite the low price of his custom iPhone 6s, it wasn’t about the money for him. He also commented that, “It happens that what I spent in parts is less than what it would cost to buy a phone in the Apple Store, but I’m also taking on a whole lot of risk that a part will break, or isn’t up to spec, and I’ll have to buy a new one later. It’s not about having a phone for less.”

It’s safe to say that no one would fly to China and search around for the parts to build their own iPhone. Unless you know where to look or what to look for, so many things could go wrong. Yet Allen’s crafty project does allow us to take a good look at the real cost of manufacturing, developing, and other factors of creating devices like iPhone’s.

United Passenger’s Actions Called ‘Immature?’

Things with United Airlines seemed to cool down after the airline kicked two young women off of its flight for wearing leggings. However, just this Sunday, the airline suffered another fiasco.

It was Sunday evening that a video of a man being dragged off of a United flight began floating around social media. The man was removed from the flight not only because it was booked but because United had to make room for its own employees.

This incident follows behind one that happened just a few weeks ago. United prevented two girls from boarding their flight due to the fact that they were wearing “form-fitting” leggings. While this and the recent incident has most of the internet in quite a stir, United says that it always attempts to “do a professional job.”  “But not everyone on the plane is professional,” is what former United Continental Holdings Chief Executive Gordon Bethune told CNBC.

As far as the two young women were concerned, United said that they were “representatives” of the company and dress code was mandatory for their travels. But what are the airline’s views on Sunday’s incident?

Bethune also went on to say that the man’s “immature” display was quite upsetting and that it was now up to United to issue an apology. He told a source that it would be best if United CEO Oscar Munoz made an apologetic statement. “I’m sure there will be reconciliation…some effort to show they care about passengers,” Bethune continued.

And it didn’t take long after the incident for Munoz to make a statement. He said, the whole thing was “an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.”

Yet while some can hardly believe that this kind of thing would be allowed, experts say that this isn’t too uncommon for airlines.  Andy Swan, who founded the social media monitor LikeFolio told a source that many airlines have a “low happiness level” when it comes to their passengers.

Public relations complications like this one are “nothing new” Swan even said. That could have something to do with the fact that United Continentals stock wasn’t all too negatively affected by the incident. In fact, shares actually rose by 1 percent.

The reality is, travelers buy their plane tickets based on whichever airlines offer the lowest prices. Unlike retailers or fast food chains who have to fight their way back to customer satisfaction, things like brand image don’t really faze airlines like United.

Munoz also said in his statement that United would be working “with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.”


After Reports, Facebook Bans the Creation of Spy Tools

The more technology advances, the more open we become to scrupulous activity. Facebook has recently responded to the reports that a few surveillance agencies have been using the social media giant as a means for spying. Since the report has been made Facebook has responded by updating its platform policy to prevent such things from occurring.

The deputy chief privacy officer at Facebook, Rob Sherman, announced this new policy platform update just this Monday. Sherman and his team say that they have made sure that the language in Facebook’s Platform Privacy are very clear in preventing unwanted surveillance tools from spying on Facebook profile information.

Sherman told a source Monday that Facebook was “adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.”

This, however, isn’t the first time that Facebook has responded to such reports. Back in November, car insurer Admiral wanted to gain access to Facebook user information. The company claimed it wanted to access user accounts so that it would be able to tell people’s risk of being in a collision based on drinking habits and even personality types.

The social media giant has taken any and all step necessary in the past few months to make sure developers stop taking advantage of the sites large range of user data. Developers have been using Facebook user data to create, market and even sell spying tools.

This new platform policy development, however, has been created to make it evident that any such actions are clearly a violation.

The reports of these actions were first issued by the American Civil Liberties Union of California (ACLU), Color of Change, and the Center for Media Justice. These organizations made claims that developers were using Facebooks data in order to form spy tools from Facebook’s API.

ACLU states that even Instagram and Twitter, along with Facebook, were giving data information to Geofeedia. Geofeedia is a social networking surveillance company which gives tracking and spying tools to protesters and activists.

In proof of these accusations, law enforcement used the software to spy on those who were out protesting police violence near the San Jose and Baltimore areas. Later the software was used to keep track of hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter.

It didn’t take long into the investigation for all three of the social media sites to get rid of the software, cutting Geofeedia off completely. Yet while Facebook has technology that can manually and automatedly monitor developers, there’s no actual guarantee that those developers will abide by the policies. Although the spy world is rather slippery in its operations, Facebook setting its rules in stone is one large step in the direction of putting surveillance to a stop.

The platform policy can be found here and reads as follows: “Protect the information you receive from us against unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. For example, don’t use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.”

Sherman told a source, “We will continue using our policies to support our community, and we hope that these efforts will help encourage other companies to take positive steps as well.”

T.J. Maxx to Possibly Open More Stores?

More than a few stores have shut their doors for good or announced mass closings which have resulted in the loss of quite a few jobs. However, on a positive note, the company in charge of discount retailers Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx says that it is looking into opening around 1,300 more locations throughout U.S. and Canada.

The part of the company that owns U.S. T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s say that around 800 more stores will be opened. There are also Sierra Trading Post and HomeGoods store brands in the U.S., coupled with Winners, HomeSense, and Marshall’s in Canada that will also be adding more stores to their portfolio.

It would seem that TJXs optimism in opening these new stores come after it reported promising sales for its fiscal year. It reported a net income of nearly $678 million in the fourth quarter. That’s added to the rise of its net income by 4 percent to $2.3 billion. These increase in sales numbers come at a contradiction with other retailers who haven’t been doing so well due to more consumers shopping online at places like Amazon.

In fact, large retailers like Macy’s reported a dip in sales by at least 2.1 percent for its fourth quarter. Macy’s is also one of the retail stores that announced it was closing a large number of its stores. At least 66 Macy’s stores were closed and 34 more will be closing.

Yet Macy’s isn’t the only retailer to announce closures. The Limited closed all 250 of his doors. Sears is another retailer that not only needed to borrow nearly $500 to stay afloat while announcing the closure of more than 150 of its stores.

However, while T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s offer a wide variety of products that attract its consumers. What keeps shoppers coming back time and time again is the bargain hunting for name brand clothes.

Even though T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s stores could be popping up all over the U.S. and Canada, there’s a possibility that even more stores will show up internationally. It’s estimated that 1,100 locations could be seen in Europe and Australia.

Restaurant Brands International Might Invest in Popeye’s

The owner of fast food chains Burger King and Tim Horton’s, Restaurant Brands International Inc., contemplates the acquisition of the Atlanta, Georgia-based Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen. Two sources, who according to Reuters wish not to be identified to do confidentiality of the agreement, announced on Monday.

The Ontario-based Restaurant Brands, Oakville, plans to spearhead the deal. It has high hopes that it will be able to bring Popeye’s Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to more consumers all over the world. Oakville has international reach that would allow great expansion for Popeye’s globally.

However, Restaurant Brands International and Popeye’s haven not reached any sort of agreement yet. There are no hints of a price or even if the deal will continue. The sources say that there is no certainty that the negotiation between the two corporations will lead to anything further.

There is, however, talk that Restaurant Brands International has its eye out for a few more companies, though those companies were not named.

Following the news, shares for Restaurant Brand went up by 5 percent. Popeye’s shares soared up by 12 percent.

Deutsche Racks Up $630 million Over Russian Money-Laundering Scheme

It wasn’t too long ago that Deutsche Bank settled with U.S. Department of Justice for $7.2 billion under certain allegations of selling faulty mortgage securities. Now, the bank agreed to pay the United states and the UK $630 million for its failure to stop fraudulent trades made from Russia totaling an estimated $10 billion.

According to the accusations, the bank’s locations in Moscow, London and New York were part of a mirror trade scam between the years of 2011 and 2015. During that time, Russian blue-chip stock was purchased in rubles and sold for the same quantity at the same price through the banks London branch not long after. Russian blue-chip stock usually holds value around $2-$3 million. When it was cleared through the New York branch, for instance, the sellers almost always paid in U.S. dollars.

Because Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority found Deutsche Bank guilty of upholding sufficient anti-money laundering security during those years, the bank was fined 163 million pounds ($204 million).

The New York branch made similar moves, fining the bank $425 million saying “The bank missed numerous opportunities to detect, investigate and stop the scheme due to extensive compliance failures, allowing the scheme to continue for years.”

This will make the second largest settlement made by the bank as of late. It settled with the Department of Justice before the Obama administration left office. Deutsche Bank paid out $3.1 billion toward civil penalties and consumers under the settlement received $4.1 billion. Deutsche Banks settlement with the DOJ was quickly followed by the Swiss lender Credit Suisse, who had been accused by the DOJ of similar allegations.

As for the Russia settlement, Deutsche says it will continue to cooperate with regulators and authorities who are still holding their own investigations. It is also known that the DOJ settled with Deutsche not too long ago, it is not part of the Russia settlement.

Deutsche is settling things with its own employees. Through an investigation last September, the bank noted that the staff who had been involved in the scheme were promptly terminated. The bank found it wise to drop back on its investment activities made in Russia.

It was found that traders with Deutsche Bank’s Moscow branch started the scheme. The majority of the trades were made by a single party who acted as both sides of the transaction.

Irina Vitjaz Returns to New York Fashion Week

Once again, the Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers (CAAFD) and iFashion Network will bring in a host of new talent from all over the globe. New York Fashion Week is much awaited by all. Designers display their work for fans and celebrities who can’t wait to watch, wear, and admire such hard work and dedication.

One of the returning designers to the February 2017 New York Fashion Week is Irina Vitjaz. Vitjaz is known for her work in Austria and Europe, but debuted a new line in New York Fashion Week last year. Resk ‘Que, noted fashion guru, will also be producing this season’s show, which marks Irina’s second show in a row working with Resk ‘Que.

The Austria native is a genius of her time and started her career in fashion at a young age. Since her work appeared at MQ Vienna Fashion Week, Vitjaz has gained the reputation of an international fashion icon.

In the past, her work has featured sheer designs and even flowing skirts that instantly captures the attention of her audience. Some have even described her style as elegant and extravagant. Vitjaz gathers inspiration from different cities spanning across the globe and makes it wholly her own.

As fashion week in New York quickly approaches fans and designers anticipate what new designs Irina Vitjaz will bring to the United States.

Will Android One be Coming to the U.S.?

If you recall Google’s Android One, you’ll remember that it was initially created to bring low-cost Androids to developing markets. The Android One, however, intentionally came without the hindrances of many other low-cost Androids. For example, lack of software, competing services, and security updates. Recently it was announced that the Android One will be bringing all those benefits to the U.S.
Most companies, ones that don’t appear in the media too often or at all, have been producing Android One devices for a while now. Companies like Micromax, Cherry, and QMobile expanded the device. Google initially started detailing what components each phone would entail. The programs soon spread to other countries like Africa and even Spain.
It’s important that Google regularly updates as many of the Android One phones as it can. Especially when it comes to security upgrades. Along with preserving its reputation, Google wants to make sure that any device it backs is of the highest quality. Google has proven this with its smartphone the Pixel.
Android One isn’t as big as Samsung’s Galaxy series and might not have been the success that Google hoped for, but the device has opened a door for the company. There’s an opportunity to provide more Android options as well as make its own devices more available to its consumers.
Although it’s still too early to tell who exactly will be making the Android One for the U.S. Aside from Google, LG is another option. According to a source the phones are estimated to be due “before the middle of the year.”