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New study finds dogs are 97% accurate when sniffing out lung cancer

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 04:00

A small US study has found that beagles may be able to sniff out lung cancer with nearly 100 percent accuracy, suggesting that using dogs to detect the disease could be an effective way for mass cancer screening. Carried out by researchers at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, the team chose three beagles for the study, a breed of dog known for its excellent sense of smell. The team spent eight weeks training the dogs before carrying out the tests, which involved the dogs sniffing blood serum samples from both healthy patients and those with non-small cell lung cancer at nose level.


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EU urged to halt trade talks with S. America over Brazil abuses

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 03:26

Hundreds of activist groups on Tuesday urged the EU to "immediately halt negotiations" for a trade deal with Mercosur countries over Brazil's alleged harm of its indigenous people and rainforests. The appeal from more than 340 groups could further complicate the European Union's bid to conclude 20 years of talks for a free trade agreement with Brazil and its Mercosur partners Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. In an open letter, Greenpeace as well as an array of NGOs across Europe and Latin America reminded the EU it had previously suspended trade preferences with Myanmar and the Philippines over alleged human rights abuses.


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Facebook Wants Its Cryptocurrency to One Day Rival the Greenback

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 03:00

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. unveiled plans for a new cryptocurrency that the social-media giant hopes will one day trade on a global scale much like the U.S. dollar.Called Libra, the new currency will launch as soon as next year and be what's known as a stablecoin -- a digital currency that's supported by established government-backed currencies and securities. The goal is to avoid massive fluctuations in value so Libra can be used for everyday transactions in a way that more volatile crypotcurrencies, like Bitcoin, haven’t been.Read More: Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Project: Who’s In and Who’s OutLibra is the culmination of a year-long effort to devise an easy way for Facebook users to send and receive money through its messaging services. Private messaging is one of the company’s fastest growing products, and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is embracing this by integrating all Facebook’s messaging products to let users communicate between its different apps. This focus comes at a time when user growth of the main social network has plateaued in some major markets, and regulators are scrutinizing the company’s frequent privacy failures. Payments are a potential way to turn messaging into a business that complements Facebook’s advertising operation, which generates almost all its revenue. To come anywhere close to matching the U.S. dollar for utility and acceptance, Libra will need to be widely trusted. So Facebook and its partners are mimicking how other currencies have been introduced in the past.“To help instill trust in a new currency and gain widespread adoption during its infancy, it was guaranteed that a country’s notes could be traded in for real assets, such as gold,” the companies wrote in a white paper. “Instead of backing Libra with gold, though, it will be backed by a collection of low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks."The total number of Libra can change, and new digital coins can be issued whenever someone wants to exchange their Libra for an existing fiat currency, so the price shouldn’t fluctuate any more than other stable currencies, according to David Marcus, head of the Facebook blockchain team that’s spearheading the project.“It would make a scenario where there’s a run on the bank completely impossible, because we are backed one-for-one,” he said. Libra will also be audited, he added, an important step in an industry with limited transparency.Facebook has closely guarded its crypto plans for more than a year, though many of the details have already been reported by Bloomberg News and other outlets. Read about how Marcus tapped PayPal talent to build Facebook’s blockchain team.Marcus, who used to run Facebook Messenger, said Facebook plans to build a new digital wallet that will exist inside Messenger and its other standalone messaging service, WhatsApp. Once Libra is up and running, the currency and the digital wallet should make it easier for people to send money to friends, family and businesses through the apps. Libra will run on the so-called blockchain, a database that can use millions of computers to verify transactions, eliminating risks that come with information being held centrally by a single entity.  Facebook created a new subsidiary, called Calibra, to build the new wallet and focus on the company’s blockchain efforts.Facebook's track record in payments and commerce has been spotty. A few years ago, it began letting people buy flowers or hail an Uber through its Messenger service. Those features have not been huge hits. In 2010, it began offering Facebook Credits, a way to buy virtual goods inside Facebook games. But in 2012 it scrapped Credits, and in 2013 it started working with third-party services like PayPal process some payments. Facebook's revenue from "payments and other service" was less than 2% of total sales in 2018. If successful, Libra could make Facebook a much bigger player in financial services. That’s a big “if,” though. Cryptocurrency companies have been trying to build cross-border, digital currencies on the blockchain to disrupt traditional banking and payments for a decade. Nothing has caught on at the scale of traditional money yet. When it finally arrives, Libra will be late to a party that’s been going on so long, many of the party-goers have either left or collapsed. Some past attempts to make coins usable for commerce, such as Bitcoin, haven’t widely caught on yet because price volatility mainly attracted traders and speculators. Predecessor stablecoins, like Tether, have been used by some traders to park funds in during times of high volatility, but have not been broadly adopted for commerce.Read more about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s early plans for cryptocurrency. U.S. regulations may represent another hurdle for Facebook. Creating a digital currency doesn’t just require buy-in from financial institutions who need to accept it, and consumers who need to trust it, but it requires approval from regulators, too. The Securities and Exchange Commission has shut down about a dozen businesses issuing their own tokens for violations of securities law. Marcus said Facebook has been in contact with regulators and central banks, but added that the company hasn’t received a “no-action” letter from the SEC yet. That would have safeguarded the project from regulatory action by the agency. One way Facebook hopes to appease regulators is through the Libra Association, a governing body tasked with making decisions about Libra. At least 27 other firms, including Visa Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc., are part of the group. Marcus described these members as “co-founders,” and said they will have an equal say in how the cryptocurrency is managed. “Facebook will not have any special privilege or special voting rights at the association level,” said Marcus, the former president of PayPal. “We will have competitors and other players on top of this platform that will build competing wallets and services.”All Libra Association members are putting a minimum of $10 million into a reserve to help support the cryptocurrency’s value. This buy-in comes with voting privileges. However, the association’s governance structure is still in flux, and most of the group’s crucial decisions, including the creation of its charter, have not yet been decided, according to several members of the group. They asked not to be identified discussing private details. “Facebook will not have any special privilege”Libra’s timing could also pose challenges. Facebook is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission over the company’s privacy practices. Some have called for the company to be broken up, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Asking consumers to put more trust in the social media giant, and giving Facebook a strong entry into the world of digital payments and banking, will likely draw further criticism. Opinion: Crypto-evangelists hoped digital currencies would challenge Big Tech’s data control. Zuckerberg has other plans.The company plans to keep financial data gathered from Libra users separate from Facebook user data. That’s why Facebook’s digital wallet will exist under the Calibra subsidiary, which will house user transaction data on separate servers, Marcus said. If a WhatsApp user uses her Calibra wallet to send money to a friend or pay a retailer, those interactions won’t be stored alongside her social-media profile. “There’s a clear distinction between Calibra and what Calibra has access to, and what Facebook Inc. has access to,” Marcus said. “It’s very clear that people don’t want their financial data from an account to be comingled with social data or to be used for other purposes.”\--With assistance from Jennifer Surane.To contact the authors of this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netOlga Kharif in Portland at okharif@bloomberg.netJulie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Project: Who’s In and Who’s Out

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 03:00

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. made a renewed push into payments on Tuesday, announcing plans for a cryptocurrency called Libra.Read More: Facebook Wants Its Cryptocurrency to One Day Rival the GreenbackIt will be governed by the Libra Association, a group of companies that will have an equal say in how the cryptocurrency is managed. Almost 30 firms have joined and Facebook hopes another 70 or more will enter the fold in the future.Read Facebook’s Project Libra white paper hereWho’s In:Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc., the world’s largest payments networks, as well as PayPal Holdings Inc. are on board. For Visa and Mastercard, it’s a chance to offer the world of cryptocurrencies the same services they provide in card payments. All three companies know the challenges of building a network and can offer expertise in encouraging consumers to use the instrument and cajoling merchants into accepting it.Companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., and Spotify Technology SA keep millions of credit cards on file, and they risk losing customers when people get a new card or number. E-commerce firms also pay higher "card not present" rates when processing payments, so anything that can reduce these expenses is welcome.“Libra has the potential to bridge the gap between traditional financial networks and new digital currency technology, while reducing the costs for everyone,” said Peter Hazlehurst, head of payments at Uber.International companies, including e-commerce firm MercadoLibre Inc. and telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc, signed onto Libra, too. Blockchain technology and stablecoins are potential solutions for the messy world of cross-border payments, which suffers from delays and high costs.Who’s out:Large banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., already have their own payments businesses that reap billions of dollars in fees. With regulators still deciding how to treat cryptocurrencies, banks and investment firms are treading cautiously.So far, no large brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Target Corp. and Walmart Inc., are taking part. The industry is always interested in lowering the cost of accepting payments, but traditional merchants have historically been hesitant to accept cryptocurrencies due to volatility and lack of consumer adoption.The largest U.S. technology companies, Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc., are noticeably absent. Many of these firms have their own digital payments businesses and some are experimenting with blockchain technology. Apple has poured scorn on Facebook for repeated privacy missteps and other big tech firms are trying to avoid being associated with the social-media giant.Square Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is a cryptocurrency fan, but even his firm isn’t part of Libra at launch. Square’s cryptocurrency team made its first hire last week and it’s Cash App is a popular way for consumers to buy and sell Bitcoin.Here’s the full list of founding members and partners:Andreessen Horowitz Anchorage Bison Trails Booking Holdings Inc.Breakthrough Initiatives Facebook’s CalibraCoinbase Inc.EBay Inc. Farfetch Ltd.Iliad SA’s Free Lyft Inc.Mastercard MercadoLibre Inc.’s Mercado Pago PayPal Naspers Ltd.’s PayURibbit Capital Spotify Technology SAStripe Inc.Thrive Capital Union Square Ventures Uber Visa Vodafone Group Xapo Creative Destructive Lab Kiva Mercy Corps Women’s World Banking To contact the reporters on this story: Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.net;Julie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.net;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Uganda clears three experimental Ebola treatments, watches for spread

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 02:44

Health workers have got the all-clear to use three experimental Ebola treatments in Uganda, a week after the deadly disease spread over the border from Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said on Tuesday. Two people who had travelled from Congo died in Uganda last week, the World Health Organization said. A three-year-old boy who was sent back to Congo after testing positive for the disease died at the weekend, Congo's health ministry said.


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Uganda clears three experimental Ebola treatments, watches for spread

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 02:38

Health workers have got the all-clear to use three experimental Ebola treatments in Uganda, a week after the deadly disease spread over the border from Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said on Tuesday. Two people who had traveled from Congo died in Uganda last week, the World Health Organization said. A three-year-old boy who was sent back to Congo after testing positive for the disease died at the weekend, Congo's health ministry said.


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NASA boss says 'no doubt' SpaceX explosion delays flight program

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 02:23

The explosion that destroyed a SpaceX astronaut taxi in April "no doubt" delays NASA's drive to return Americans to the International Space Station from U.S. soil later this year, the U.S. space agency's chief said on Tuesday. "There is no doubt the schedule will change," Bridenstine told reporters at the Paris Airshow. Bridenstine's comments cast fresh doubt on billionaire Elon Musk's goal of returning astronauts to the orbiting research lab from U.S. soil this year, though a person familiar with the matter said SpaceX has privately expressed confidence that it can rebound.


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Trump to Swap Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ for Modest Upgrades

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 02:00

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is on track to obliterate former President Barack Obama’s signature plan for combating climate change by replacing sweeping curbs on power plant emissions with requirements for modest upgrades at the sites.The Environmental Protection Agency is set to unveil its rewrite of the Clean Power Plan as soon as Wednesday, finalizing a replacement rule that would establish pollution guidelines based on potential gains from efficiency upgrades at individual facilities.Like a proposal released last October, the EPA’s final rule gives U.S. states wide latitude to design their own plans for paring carbon dioxide emissions at power plants, according to people familiar with the measure who asked not to be named before it was released.The effort fulfills President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to rip up the Clean Power Plan and dovetails with his administration’s retreat from a global fight against climate change. Trump announced in June 2017 that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate accord, a global carbon-cutting agreement reached in 2015, and the EPA is now unwinding Obama-era regulations targeting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, automobiles and oil wells.Yet the latest decision -- which faces an inevitable legal challenge -- prolongs uncertainty for electric utilities and power generators that are already eschewing coal-fired power and embracing cleaner natural gas and renewables.Less AmbitiousTrump’s approach is significantly less ambitious than the Obama administration’s rule by relying on a narrow view of the “best system of emission reduction” at coal-fired power plants, said Janet McCabe, the EPA’s former acting administrator for air quality.“It constrains it only to the things that power plants can do within their fence line,” McCabe said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has said the agency’s planned power plant changes empower states to pare emissions while ensuring Americans have access to reliable and affordable energy.Environmentalists have already vowed to battle the replacement rule in federal court -- setting up potential legal wrangling that could last years. Already, court action prevented Obama’s Clean Power Plan from going into effect. The Supreme Court put off the initiative in February 2016, amid legal challenges from opponents who said the EPA had overstepped its authority.At the time it was imposed, the Clean Power Plan was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 32% from 2005 levels by 2030.In a change from its earlier proposal, the EPA will not simultaneously finalize provisions authorizing companies to upgrade old power plants without triggering requirements for costly pollution control systems, said the people. That change is expected to come later, as the EPA works to overhaul its so-called New Source Review program governing pollution controls at power plants and industrial facilities.A ShiftThose permitting changes were needed to drive more aggressive efficiency improvements at individual power plants, the EPA argued in its proposal. Stripping those provisions out could help justify weaker requirements for bolstering efficiency.The EPA’s power plant rule is set to mark a shift in how the agency credits potential health gains tied to cleaning up air pollution -- specifically fine particulate matter, or soot.Last year, the EPA predicted its initial proposal would mean an uptick in particulate matter pollution -- and the asthma attacks, respiratory diseases and premature deaths tied to it. There could be a range of 470 to 1,400 additional premature deaths in 2030 under even the most stringent proposed power plant improvements, the EPA predicted. Hospital admissions and emergency room visits for asthma would also climb.But the EPA is expected to discount the potential effects of its final rule by comparing its impacts against a baseline scenario without the Clean Power Plan in place.The agency also is set to highlight questions about the health benefits tied to low levels of soot. Administration officials debated the merits of that approach in 2017, as they moved to repeal the Clean Power Plan.In an October 2017 email exchange released as part of a federal rulemaking docket, an EPA official said the agency could choose to discount some health benefits of paring soot by asserting it was the administration’s policy to acknowledge uncertainties about the impacts. That would have the benefit of being a “policy” and not “a purely scientific call” that would require addressing recent scientific studies, EPA lead economist Al McGartland said in a September 2017 message. To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, John Harney, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Naspers' Biggest Investor Mulls Cutting $16.5 Billion Stake

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 01:07

(Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd.’s biggest shareholder is considering whether to reduce its 245 billion rand ($16.5 billion) stake in Africa’s biggest company because of concern it’s overexposed to a single stock, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund is being encouraged by its manager, the Public Investment Corp., to reduce its Naspers shareholding of about 16%, said three of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. Any decision is ultimately up to the GEPF.Naspers’s value has grown 72-fold since 2004 on the back of the success of an early-stage investment in Chinese games developer Tencent Holdings Ltd., which listed in Hong Kong that year. That’s turned Naspers, a Cape Town-based internet technology investor once focused on South African newspapers, into a 1.53 trillion rand ($101 billion) global entity. But it’s also made the company dependent on China, where it has little influence. The shares gained as much as 1.9% in Johannesburg as Tencent gained in Hong Kong.“Naspers success is dependent on the Chinese government,” said Tahir Maepa, deputy general manager for members affairs of the Public Servants Association, whose 240,000-members make it the biggest labor union representing contributors to the GEPF. “It’s a huge risk, not only for the PIC, it’s a risk for the South African economy and the JSE,” he said, adding that the GEPF should “definitely” cut its stake.The rapid growth also means Naspers accounts for almost 25% of a shareholder-weighted index on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. While that will be reduced when the company spins off its Tencent stake and other internet-focused assets into a new vehicle listed in Amsterdam next month, its 73% holding in that entity, known as NewCo, will only cut its weighting in Johannesburg by about a quarter, according to Naspers. Furthermore, Naspers and NewCo are both reliant on the Tencent investment, which is worth more than the company as a whole.Tencent has been struggling with a Chinese government crackdown on addiction to computer games, and regulators are currently working on an overhaul to the approval process for new titles.Read More: China Outlines New Approval Process for World’s Top Games MarketNaspers currently makes up almost 21% of the value of the GEPF’s listed equity holdings, the fund said in an emailed response to questions. “The GEPF does review its benchmarks from time to time,” although “not all reviews lead to changes.” The pension fund didn’t answer a query about whether it has held talks with the PIC about the Naspers stake.Naspers declined to comment on discussions with specific investors. “The formation and listing of NewCo is in response to shareholder requests,” spokeswoman Shamiela Letsoalo said in an emailed response to questions. The move will allow investors to move “some of their weight off the JSE onto (Amsterdam’s) AEX index while at the same time continuing to lock in continued high returns,” she said. “This will likely result in shareholders having more balanced weightings and will help to reduce any overhang.”Read More: Naspers CEO Bets on Dutch Listing to Fix Tencent DiscountWhile Naspers acknowledges that the company’s assets and management will overlap with NewCo “there are also important differences,” Letsoalo said. The parent group will separately own news business Media24, online marketplace Takealot and “continue to invest in South Africa’s fast-growing ecommerce and internet segment,” she said. “These differences will cause many investors to view them separately within their portfolio.”NewCo will hold various internet businesses around the world, including Russian social-media network Mail.ru Group Ltd. and Indian food-delivery service Swiggy as well as Tencent.The debate over the stake in Naspers has been going on for months. One element being discussed is whether the GEPF should change its holding from an arrangement known as a full SWIX, or shareholder-weighted index, to one called a capped SWIX, where a single stock can make up a maximum of 10% of the funds, three of the people said. Any sell down would be done in phases, one of the people said.Phased SelldownLast October, another of the PIC’s clients, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, sold Naspers shares to switch from a full SWIX position to a capped one, the fund said in an emailed response to questions. Prior to this it had used derivatives to hedge the risk but found this too costly, it said.What to do with the GEPF’s Naspers stake is being considered by the fund’s board of trustees, one of the people said. Pierre Snyman, a member of the board and chairman of the Public Servants Association, declined to comment.Some senior members of the GEPF are opposing cutting the shareholding, said one of the people.“The PIC does not publicly discuss its strategy on specific investee companies,” Deon Botha, its head of Corporate Affairs, said in a response to queries.(Adds shares in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net;Loni Prinsloo in Johannesburg at lprinsloo3@bloomberg.net;Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: John McCorry at jmccorry@bloomberg.net, ;Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, John BowkerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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AstraZeneca's Lynparza gets EU nod as first-line ovarian cancer maintenance treatment

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 01:05

Lynparza, being jointly developed by AstraZeneca along with U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co , can now be used in patients who are in response following chemotherapy for advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer in Europe, AstraZeneca said. BRCA genes are responsible for producing proteins which repair damaged DNA, and if the genes are mutated, they can cause cancer growth.


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Sony Analysts Question Loeb's Push After Strategy Flip Flop

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 00:39

(Bloomberg) -- Dan Loeb is back trying to whip Sony Corp. into shape, but he’s drawing fire this time around after reversing course from his prior thesis.Loeb’s Third Point last week revealed a $1.5 billion stake in the Tokyo-based company and advocated for a spin off of its chip business to finance deeper expansion in entertainment, including games and movies. That’s the opposite of what he championed in 2013, when he called on executives to sell a part of their film division.“Loeb advocated for moving away from entertainment, but Sony is thriving today precisely because they went in the opposite direction," said Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center, referring to both movies and games. "Amid trade wars, losing chips would be a negative in terms of Japan’s national security. It’s not something that needs to be done right now."The cool reception came as Sony stakeholders gathered in Tokyo on Tuesday for the company’s annual general meeting. Loeb’s proposals are not up for a vote, although analysts said he will likely be a main topic of conversations among shareholders. Sony declined to comment on the Third Point proposal, but said it takes all shareholder suggestions seriously.Chief Executive Officer Kenichiro Yoshida repeated that message Tuesday, saying management is constantly studying how to increase long-term shareholder value. “That includes deliberations about how to structure our portfolio of businesses,” he said.Loeb laid out his thesis personally to Yoshida last week in New York. The CEO mostly listened and didn’t rebuff the activist in terms of valuation or feasibility of implementing the proposals, giving Third Point more confidence to move ahead.The hedge fund sees Sony as a different company from six years ago, which is why its focus has changed from shunning entertainment to embracing it. Sensing an opening with Yoshida’s more investor-friendly approach, Loeb is trying again with what he believes he can realistically achieve. The next step is getting a formal reaction from management.Analysts almost universally applauded his effort last week to reduce Sony’s so-called "conglomerate discount," or the idea that its many disparate businesses -- from entertainment to chips to finance -- are collectively undervalued and would benefit from being split apart. But they questioned whether Third Point’s proposals are realistic or make strategic sense.For one, some are not convinced that a standalone chip unit can finance the large investments necessary for growth and said it’s better done as part of a bigger group, which can offset temporary losses. They also argued that the unit currently enjoys strong synergy with Sony’s other product divisions and should be integrated more closely rather than spun out.“We think that spinning off the semiconductor business could in fact reduce its actual value,” Yasuo Nakane and Kenichi Saita, analysts at Mizuho Financial Group Inc., wrote in a report. “The semiconductor subsidiary’s technological assets and intellectual properties are inseparable from the electronics products and solutions.”Others questioned Loeb’s estimate for how much a standalone chips unit could fetch at a time when global phone sales are shrinking and the U.S. is waging war on one of Sony’s largest customers, Huawei Technologies Co.“We think Third Point’s US$33-39bn valuation is too high,” wrote Macquarie Group analysts Damian Thong and Hiroshi Taguchi, who currently value the chips division at $11 billion. "But there is wide scope for price discovery above the current embedded value."Then there’s the issue of Sony’s historically stubborn management. Yoshida has so far side-stepped calls to sell or spin off businesses. Instead, he has carried out two record buybacks this year, pleasing investors and preempting calls for more drastic change. And at $1.5 billion, Loeb’s new stake represents about a third of the 6.5% of voting shares he accumulated in 2013.“Third Point’s key proposals about the divestiture of Sony Financial and spin-off of the semiconductor business are unlikely to be easily accepted by management," wrote CLSA analyst Amit Garg. Still, he said the company could yield given that the buybacks "have failed, with the stock remaining at depressed multiples."Loeb is probably not helping his case by saying that sell-side analysts are part of the problem. In his presentation, he said a lack of familiarity with Sony’s many different businesses results in analysts applying discounts to divisions they’re unfamiliar with, contributing to a lower valuation for the entire company.“The lack of entertainment sector expertise among Sony’s sell‐side analysts may explain the wide skew in valuation methodologies, multiples, and target prices,” Third Point wrote in its presentation last week. "We sympathize with the challenge they face: maintaining an up‐to‐date, informed view on a diverse range of industries, most of which are outside their core expertise."(Updates with CEO’s comment from the fifth paragraph.)\--With assistance from 院去信太郎 and Kurt Schussler.To contact the reporter on this story: Yuji Nakamura in Tokyo at ynakamura56@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Roche wins Japan approval for personalized cancer drug Rozlytrek

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 00:29

Swiss drugmaker Roche's push into personalized cancer medicines hit a milestone on Tuesday with Japanese approval of a new drug, Rozlytrek, that targets patients who must be identified via genetic profiling. Japan is the first country to give its blessing to Rozlytrek, also known as entrectinib, targeting people with NTRK fusion-positive solid tumors, across 10 different tumor types including breast, colorectal, neuroendocrine, lung and pancreatic cancers. Rozlytrek aims to treat people with a rare genetic anomaly, called NTRK fusions, that drive growth in a range of tumors found throughout the body.


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What To Know Before Buying Elecon Engineering Company Limited (NSE:ELECON) For Its Dividend

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 23:03

Dividend paying stocks like Elecon Engineering Company Limited (NSE:ELECON) tend to be popular with investors, and for...


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Top Secret (Sort Of): The Story of How the Navy Makes Stealth Destroyers Stealth

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 23:00

Smith explained the rationale for the “split-delivery” acquisition of the three ships, which follow a path from commissioning, through a transport to a home port of San Diego for further combat preparation. While there are some differences between the three ships, such as the use of a steel deckhouse for the Johnson, the developmental trajectory for all three ships has been interwoven.Eluding radar, quietly sailing into enemy territory and launching long-range precision attacks from less-detectable positions all begin to paint the picture of how a “stealthy” offensive surface destroyers could transform modern maritime warfare.Can a massive surface destroyer, armed with Tomahawk missiles, deck-mounted guns, sensors, antennas and heat-generating onboard electrical power, truly be considered stealthy? Surely, tall, vertical masts, hull-mounted sensors and protruding antenna could never be a low-observable ship, yet performing these missions comprised the technical starting point from which engineers launched into building a first-of-its-kind stealth warship.(This appeared earlier in 2019.)


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Google and Drugmaker Sanofi to Join Forces on Data Technologies

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 23:00

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google will bring its artificial-intelligence and cloud-computing capabilities to a new partnership with pharma giant Sanofi.The project is aimed at accelerating the discovery of new medicines, increasing the understanding of what treatments work for patients and making Sanofi’s operations more efficient, the Paris-based drugmaker said in a statement Tuesday. The companies didn’t provide financial details.The pact is the latest sign of increasing collaboration between the technology and health-care industries. Pharma companies like Sanofi are teaming up with AI specialists, hiring data scientists or even snapping up tech startups in a bid to become faster and more efficient as costs rise.The new partnership will allow Sanofi to come up with more personalized approaches to treatment, the company said. The drugmaker and Google also plan to apply artificial intelligence to forecast sales and improve marketing and supply efforts.To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in London at jpaton4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Eric Pfanner at epfanner1@bloomberg.net, Timothy AnnettFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Merkel Seeks Momentum for Net Zero Emissions in Europe by 2050

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 22:00

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking to build momentum within the European Union about moving toward adopting a goal for zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century.Germany, which is Europe’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, is asking heads of EU states to endorse further work on how to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. That would be the first time leaders mention the date in a political statement and will help build the case for action.Merkel “made it clear that we want a discussion about how we can be climate neutral in Germany by 2050 -- and that also goes for Europe,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Monday, reiterating the substance of a German document seen by Bloomberg. EU leaders may not yet be ready to give their final endorsement to the long-term climate strategy but “the question of how we get to greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 must be resolved this year,” he said.Germany and other wealthier EU nations pushing for a net-zero target are meeting resistance from a handful of countries, especially Poland and Bulgaria, that are concerned tightening limits on fossil fuels will damage their economies. The political challenge for Merkel this week to persuade all member states to endorse a date into their political statement after the two-day summit starting on Thursday in Brussels.The issue highlights political sensitivity surrounding the topic, with nations divided over the pace they should pursue emissions cuts and which energy sources and technologies should be encouraged. At least 17 countries, including France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden, have already indicated their support for the EU target of zeroing in on emissions by 2050.It was first outlined by the European Commission in November and aimed at showing how determined the bloc is to honor the Paris Agreement on climate change, even as President Donald Trump sought to take the U.S. out of the 2015 deal.To enshrine the target in law, the first step is to get a political nod from EU heads of state. Opponents of a quick decision are led by Poland and Bulgaria. The latest version of a draft summit statement, which may still change during the talks on Thursday night, calls for finalizing “guidance” on the long-term strategy by the end of this year.For Merkel, the heat is on to speed up Germany’s own drive to cut emissions. The opposition Greens have surged past Merkel’s bloc of Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union to garner the most support among the electorate, according to recent polls. Merkel told her caucus this month that the government can no longer afford an “easy-peasy” approach to tackling pollution.Under the Paris deal, Germany set itself the goal of reducing CO2 output by 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Targeting net-zero emissions by the middle of the century would imply tighter limits than already is planning. And for now, Germany’s record in reducing emissions is short of the goal. By next year, the country may have cut emissions by just 32%, according to government figures.\--With assistance from Alexander Weber and Iain Rogers.To contact the reporters on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Brussels at ekrukowska@bloomberg.net;Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Ewa KrukowskaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Merkel Seeks Momentum for Net Zero Emissions in Europe by 2050

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 22:00

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking to build momentum within the European Union about moving toward adopting a goal for zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century.Germany, which is Europe’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, is asking heads of EU states to endorse further work on how to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. That would be the first time leaders mention the date in a political statement and will help build the case for action.Merkel “made it clear that we want a discussion about how we can be climate neutral in Germany by 2050 -- and that also goes for Europe,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Monday, reiterating the substance of a German document seen by Bloomberg. EU leaders may not yet be ready to give their final endorsement to the long-term climate strategy but “the question of how we get to greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050 must be resolved this year,” he said.Germany and other wealthier EU nations pushing for a net-zero target are meeting resistance from a handful of countries, especially Poland and Bulgaria, that are concerned tightening limits on fossil fuels will damage their economies. The political challenge for Merkel this week to persuade all member states to endorse a date into their political statement after the two-day summit starting on Thursday in Brussels.The issue highlights political sensitivity surrounding the topic, with nations divided over the pace they should pursue emissions cuts and which energy sources and technologies should be encouraged. At least 17 countries, including France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden, have already indicated their support for the EU target of zeroing in on emissions by 2050.It was first outlined by the European Commission in November and aimed at showing how determined the bloc is to honor the Paris Agreement on climate change, even as President Donald Trump sought to take the U.S. out of the 2015 deal.To enshrine the target in law, the first step is to get a political nod from EU heads of state. Opponents of a quick decision are led by Poland and Bulgaria. The latest version of a draft summit statement, which may still change during the talks on Thursday night, calls for finalizing “guidance” on the long-term strategy by the end of this year.For Merkel, the heat is on to speed up Germany’s own drive to cut emissions. The opposition Greens have surged past Merkel’s bloc of Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union to garner the most support among the electorate, according to recent polls. Merkel told her caucus this month that the government can no longer afford an “easy-peasy” approach to tackling pollution.Under the Paris deal, Germany set itself the goal of reducing CO2 output by 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. Targeting net-zero emissions by the middle of the century would imply tighter limits than already is planning. And for now, Germany’s record in reducing emissions is short of the goal. By next year, the country may have cut emissions by just 32%, according to government figures.\--With assistance from Alexander Weber and Iain Rogers.To contact the reporters on this story: Ewa Krukowska in Brussels at ekrukowska@bloomberg.net;Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Ewa KrukowskaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Oregon Democrats rally behind cap-and-trade emissions plan

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 21:36

Oregon is on the precipice of becoming the second state after California to adopt a cap-and-trade program, a market-based approach to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions behind global warming. The House approved the plan 36-24 Monday after nearly six hours of debate, with supporters calling it the United States' most progressive climate policy. Rep. Karin Power, a Democrat from suburban Portland and one of two key lawmakers behind the measure, said it not only cuts emissions but invests in transitioning the state economy and infrastructure to better prepare for more intense weather events tied to climate change.


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In Germany, activists battle food waste with dumpster diving

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 21:13

"You've got to be fast, respect the sites and most importantly, evade police because it is illegal in Germany to take unsold goods from a bin," said the anti-food-waste activist of his midnight run. A master's student in physics, 22-year-old Andrea, who declined to give his full name, said he was not dumpster diving out of financial need. My grandmother always said: 'don't throw food away'.


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Prehistoric settlement in Turkey bears telltale signs of modern woes

Mon, 06/17/2019 - 18:09

The researchers examined 742 human skeletons unearthed at the prehistoric ruins of Catalhoyuk, inhabited from 9,100 to 7,950 years ago during a pivotal time in human evolution, for clues about what life was like at one of the earliest sizable settlements in the archeological record. The residents experienced a high rate of infections, as seen in their teeth and bones, probably caused by diseases spreading in crowded conditions amid challenges to proper hygiene, the researchers said. Overcrowding may have contributed to interpersonal violence. "A key message that people will take from these findings is that our current behaviours have deep roots in the history of humankind," said Ohio State University biological anthropologist Clark Spencer Larsen, who led the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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