UK competition watchdog probes Facebook use of ad data

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain’s competition watchdog said Friday it has opened an investigation into Facebook’s use of advertiser data s the EU announced a similar probe into the social media giant. “We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook’s use of data to assess whether its business practices are giving it an unfair advantage in the online dating and classified ad sectors,” Andrea Coscelli, head of the Competition and Markets Authority, said in a statement. […]

Most Asian markets up ahead of US jobs but Fed taper talk builds

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Most Asian markets rose Thursday, with focus on the upcoming release of key US jobs data, while traders were also trying to gauge when the Federal Reserve will begin reconsidering its ultra-loose monetary policies in light of a robust economic recovery. Oil prices also extended gains, fuelled by growing optimism that the reopenings and coronavirus vaccine rollouts will lead to a surge in activity over the coming months and ramp […]

Nestle eyes new strategy as leaked file show many products unhealthy

ZURICH, Switzerland (AFP) — Global food giant Nestle said Monday it was developing a new nutrition strategy after the Financial Times reported on an internal document showing that most of its food and drinks were unhealthy. An internal presentation circulated among top executives earlier this year had revealed that more than 60 percent of Nestle’s mainstream food and drinks portfolio did not meet “recognised definition of health”, the British business daily reported. The presentation, seen […]

Asian markets mixed as traders await fresh catalysts

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian investors on Monday struggled to build on last week’s gains as profit-takers stepped in while awaiting the next buying catalyst, with eyes on the upcoming release of key US jobs data. Still, despite worries that the expected surge in economic activity this year will send prices soaring and force central banks to tighten monetary policy, a forecast-beating jump in a closely watched US inflation gauge was taken in stride. […]

Asian markets extend gains as recovery gathers pace

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets rose again Friday, putting them on course to end an upbeat week on a healthy note, with traders welcoming another forecast-beating reading on US jobless claims that reinforced optimism about the recovery in the world’s top economy. There was also some cheer from reports that Joe Biden is planning a $6 trillion budget proposal for later in the day that includes his vast infrastructure deal and spending on […]

Bezos to hand over Amazon CEO reins on July 5

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Wednesday that he will hand over operational control to his successor on July 5, leaving as the e-commerce giant flexes its muscles in television and cloud. Bezos is ceding his chief executive role to Andy Jassy, who heads Amazon Web Services, the lucrative cloud computing unit at the Seattle-based company. Bezos will take the role of executive chair. Bezos announced his departure date at […]

In US, 2.5 million unemployed soon to be without income

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — States across America are moving to cut pandemic unemployment benefits, a painful blow for millions of people who will soon be left without income. With punishing jobless levels during the Covid-19 pandemic, unemployment benefits had been extended — especially to the self-employed — and extended further until September 6, even for those who had reached the maximum duration. But now 21 out of 27 states governed by Republicans — including […]

Bitcoin tumble slows with help from Elon Musk

by Sebastien Ricci with Joseph Sotinel in London NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Bitcoin’s value plunged on Wednesday after China signaled a new crackdown on the cryptocurrency, but its losses were cushioned after Tesla head Elon Musk spoke up on Twitter. The virtual currency fell to almost $30,000 — less than half the record value it reached last month — before climbing back over $39,500 around 2000 GMT. It was still above its level […]

Bitcoin tumbles below $40,000 after China issues warning

BEIJING, China (AFP) — Bitcoin plunged below $40,000 for the first time in more than three months Wednesday after China said cryptocurrencies would not be allowed in transactions and warned investors against speculative trading in them. The comments sent the unit diving more than 10 percent and dealt it another blow soon after being battered by comments from tycoon Elon Musk and his Tesla car company. Trading in cryptocurrencies has been banned in China since […]

UK unemployment dips, aided by Covid furlough scheme

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — British unemployment dipped to 4.8 percent in the first quarter, official data showed Tuesday, helped by the UK government’s jobs furlough scheme keeping millions in work during the pandemic. That compared with 4.9 percent in the three months to the end of February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. Britain’s government is paying the bulk of wages for millions of private-sector workers during the coronavirus pandemic, […]

Thai economy shrinks 2.6% in first quarter

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Thailand’s economy shrank in the first quarter, official data showed Monday, as it was battered by coronavirus restrictions that have hit the key tourism sector hard. The kingdom last year suffered its worst full-year performance since the Asian financial crisis of 1997 with a 6.1 percent contraction. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said gross domestic product shrank 2.6 percent on-year in the first three months. […]

Asian markets mixed as traders weigh recovery and new infections

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets were mixed Monday as optimism about the global recovery was offset by concerns about a spike in new infections in several countries that have officials battling to avert new lockdowns. Wall Street provided another strong lead after data showed US retail sales were flat last month, which helped ease traders’ fears that a surge in inflation could force the Federal Reserve to wind back its ultra-loose monetary policies […]