• 'Totally on trend': Why a 'booty shakin' lllama is one of this year's hottest toys
    Yahoo Finance

    'Totally on trend': Why a 'booty shakin' lllama is one of this year's hottest toys

    With the holidays areound the corner, one of the most exciting items for kids this year might be “The Booty Shakin’ Llama,” according to “The Toy Guy” Chris Byrne.

  • What the Disney+ ‘hack’ should teach you about your own security
    Yahoo Finance

    What the Disney+ ‘hack’ should teach you about your own security

    Disney+ was launched on Nov. 12, and just a week later, security concerns emerged regarding users' accounts. One theory as to why this all happened? Users reused their usernames and passwords from other sites for Disney+.

  • Trump’s ‘America First’ Tensions Exposed as Esper Ends Asia Trip

    Trump’s ‘America First’ Tensions Exposed as Esper Ends Asia Trip

    (Bloomberg) -- The tension between bolstering U.S. alliances while pursuing an “America First” foreign policy tripped up Defense Secretary Mark Esper on a tour through Asia -- while still leaving the Pentagon chief exposed to Washington politics thousands of miles away.Over the course of a week, Esper had the unenviable job of pressing South Korea and Japan to spend vastly more money to host U.S. troops, rescuing a soon-to-expire intelligence pact between the Asian allies and extending an olive branch to the notoriously fickle North Korean regime as a year-end deadline for nuclear talks seems all but dead.It was rough going.Esper landed in Seoul with Trump demanding South Korea pay about $5 billion for the privilege of hosting U.S. troops, a 400% increase from current levels. Similar demands last year cratered discussions between the two countries and threatened to divide the allies just as they were trying to present a united front against North Korea’s nuclear program.“Korea is a wealthy country, and could and should pay more to offset the cost of defense,” Esper said Friday, a message he reiterated days later in Manila. It’s an argument the Trump administration has made to allies around the world, but in Asia it failed.Negotiations broke down soon after Esper left Seoul, with the U.S. side saying it cut talks short because the South Koreans “were not responsive” to American demands for “fair and equitable burden-sharing.”The South Korean Foreign Ministry said both sides were far apart when their U.S. counterparts left the negotiating table.“Japan and South Korea see the U.S. troops as both an aid and a burden in many ways,” said Paul Sullivan, a security expert at the National Defense University in Washington. “Paying more is a political issue for both countries, as there are many people in both countries who find their presence disturbing.”Esper also struggled to get South Korean president Moon Jae-in to renew an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, even after repeatedly warning that North Korea and China were the only beneficiaries of their countries’ discord. The agreement is to expire Nov. 23.As the U.S. was prodding America’s allies to do more, Esper and his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-Doo, announced that they would postpone some joint military exercises planned this month in an “act of goodwill” to keep alive nuclear negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.But North Korean nuclear adviser Kim Kye Gwan said Pyongyang was done giving Trump “things to boast about,” the state’s official KCNA news agency reported on Monday. With little progress being made toward Kim Jong Un’s deadline, North Korea is no longer interested in talks that Washington “uses to buy time,” KCNA reported.A senior U.S. defense official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, called that reaction unhelpful.Japan’s military chief, Taro Kono, indicated that there is little to be upbeat about when it comes to talks with North Korea. “No one could be optimistic,” he said, pointing to Pyongyang’s testing of ballistic missiles -- something Trump has dismissed as insignificant -- as a “serious threat” to the region.As Esper sought to focus on national security issues, the president weighed in with a politically-charged decision to pardon two Army officers over murder charges and promote a Navy SEAL who had been demoted following a conviction for posing with a corpse -- decisions that current and former senior military officers were believed to be strongly against.Trump, who presents himself as a champion of the military and law enforcement, took the action as he pursues re-election while facing an impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House.Esper deflected questions about his views on those specific cases, saying he has “great faith” in the military justice system. U.S. military personnel “are trained from day one about the laws of armed conflict and how to conduct themselves during wartime,” Esper said. If members of the armed forces don’t act in accordance with laws, the U.S. military will take action “to make sure that they are held accountable,” he added.Esper has made Asia-Pacific strategy a priority and this was his second trip to the region since taking office in July. But as he prepares to return to Washington on Thursday, the U.S. is still viewed as being more heavily engaged in the Middle East.A senior U.S. official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. received expressions of support from regional allies for what they are doing in the region. He added that there were no complaints from Southeast Asian nations that the U.S. was distracted by domestic events or by America’s focus on containing Iran in the Persian Gulf.Saying he was responding to increased concerns from Asian partners about China’s footprint in the region, Esper said the U.S. is conducting more patrols in the South China Sea. Those patrols send a signal to Beijing that the U.S. intends to maintain freedom in an area that’s crucial for global trade, he added. Chinese officials said the U.S. was working to “fan the flames” in the region.En route to Asia, Esper told reporters that the purpose of his trip was “to reinforce the importance of allies and partners” and “make sure that they understand clearly” that the Asia-Pacific region is the Pentagon’s “number one priority.”But specific doubts about Trump’s policies, whether it’s his 2017 decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal or his more general pressure on allies to spend more for American troops -- have undermined regional confidence in the U.S., according to James Dorsey, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.“There is every reason for Asian nations to hedge their bets,” he said.Underscoring his country’s role and history in Asia, Esper on Tuesday took part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines, where thousands of Americans who died in World War II are buried, along with soldiers and sailors from the Philippines and other allies.\--With assistance from Jihye Lee.To contact the reporter on this story: Glen Carey in Hanoi at gcarey8@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 3 Top-Ranked Cheap Tech Stocks Under $10 to Buy Before Thanksgiving

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  • Bloomberg

    Google CEO Opens New Japan Campus in Tokyo’s Trendy Shibuya District

    (Bloomberg) -- Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was in Tokyo Tuesday to inaugurate the relocation of the company’s Japanese head office to an expansive new complex in the trendy district of Shibuya.Taking up the majority of the gleaming new 35-floor Shibuya Stream skyscraper, Google has put its name on the building and dedicated two floors to a newly launched Google for Startups Campus, which is its seventh in the world and second in Asia after Seoul.Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, the director of Google for Startups, said that the company will run an accelerator program early next year that will select 12 startups looking to scale up their work on artificial intelligence and machine learning, both critical aspects of Google’s current and future operations. She also stressed the importance of inclusiveness at an event where the Wi-Fi password was BuildInclusiveTeams.“We would like Campus Tokyo to support women founders,” she said, and that Google is proud that 37% of its Campus participants are female entrepreneurs, a higher proportion than the wider startup ecosystem. “So when they go to the next stage of growth, we’re behind them, we’re supporting them.”The Campus initiative extends Google’s effort to combine education and training for startups with evangelism for the use of its cloud and business services. Co-location with Google’s main office will make it easy for experts from Google’s developer relations and web marketing teams to make themselves available to help budding entrepreneurs, Google said.Joined by Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi on stage, Pichai said he had toured some of the venues for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, which Google will be supporting through its various services like Google Maps and Translate. “Ultimately, we want to make sure the legacy of technology innovation extends far beyond 2020. This Google for Startups Campus is one part of that,” he said at the opening.AI has been topical in Japan recently, with SoftBank Group Corp. announcing plans to combine its Yahoo Japan internet business with Naver Corp.’s Line messaging service in an effort to create an AI tech leader capable of rivaling U.S. juggernauts like Google and Facebook Inc. On Monday, Peter Thiel visited Tokyo to introduce Palantir Technologies Japan Co., which will use AI to make sense of large volumes of unwieldy data in the fields of health and cybersecurity.Google has said the move to Shibuya Stream will double its employee headcount in Japan to beyond 2,000. The company’s first office outside the U.S. was in Tokyo, opening in 2001. It said it has “invested heavily” in Japan over the years and earlier in 2019 committed to training 10 million people in digital skills by 2022. Its so-called Grow with Google program is the Campus equivalent for individual job-seekers and students.“At Google, we are deeply committed to fostering Japanese startups,” Pichai said.(Updates with details of accelerator from second paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at vsavov5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Vlad Savov, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • A Tech Company Now, Disney Has to Tackle Password Thieves

    A Tech Company Now, Disney Has to Tackle Password Thieves

    (Bloomberg) -- Some customers who signed up for Walt Disney Co.’s new Disney+ streaming service have seen their usernames and passwords sold online to third parties and have been locked out of their newly opened accounts.Disney said its system hasn’t been hacked and that it’s working to quickly address the issue. It’s possible that hackers obtained the names and passwords from data breaches at other companies.“Disney takes the privacy and security of our users’ data very seriously, and there is no indication of a security breach on Disney+,” the company said in a statement.Disney+ is the company’s effort to build a direct connection to consumers, as many people shift to watching movies and shows on demand rather than on cable and satellite TV. The $7-a-month service launched a week ago and quickly signed up more than 10 million customers, a number far exceeding predictions.Still, the debut was marred by many complaints from customers who couldn’t log on or had trouble watching programs. But the number of gripes collected by the website Downdetector has dropped sharply over the past week and now amounts to just a few dozen.Growing ExposureSpeaking at the Code Media conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Disney’s direct-to-consumer chief blamed the initial troubles on faulty coding in the app that the company is working to fix. Kevin Mayer said Disney executives were “very surprised” by the number of people who subscribed.The sign-up process was complicated, he said, because some customers already had subscriptions to Disney services such as Hulu and wanted to add the new one. Many customers also forgot they already has Disney accounts.“Not only was it huge demand, but the complexity,” Mayer said. “If you were a current subscriber, how does it work? Those were legitimate questions.”While Disney has long collected customers’ names and passwords for its theme parks and online games, the expansion into online video on a global basis brings the potential for more technology snafus.ZDNet reported over the weekend that Disney+ users’ accounts were being put up for sale on hacking forums within hours of the service’s launch at prices of $3 to $11 each. Some customers reported they had used old passwords, but others said they hadn’t, according to the website.While there may be few thousand compromised Disney accounts, that’s small compared with the hundreds of thousands of usernames and passwords on the black market hijacked from platforms like Hulu, Netflix and HBO, said Andrei Barysevich, chief executive officer and co-founder of the security firm Gemini Advisory.‘Very Effective’Reusing names and password combinations from previous attacks at other sites can be a “very effective method” for hackers, he said.“This is one of the biggest problems, not just streaming services, but pretty much every e-commerce business has been battling for the last couple of years, because there’s an abundance of compromised emails and passwords on the dark web,” Barysevich said.At Code Media, a conference for media executives, operators of rival services praised the Disney+ launch. David Nevins, chief creative officer at CBS Corp., called the sign-ups “impressive,” while AT&T Inc. President John Stankey said that while Disney+ “was off to a good start,” keeping customers happy and subscribed will be an ongoing issue.“How many of the 10 million customers are there six months from now?” Stankey asked. “It’s managing churn.”(Updates with executive comments starting in sixth paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net;Kiley Roache in New York at kroache@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, Rob GolumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The Retail Apocalypse

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    The economy is digitalizing and retail is no exception with Amazon and other online retailers sweeping through the entire space, creating the retail apocalypse.

  • Salesforce Conference Interrupted by Immigration Protesters

    Salesforce Conference Interrupted by Immigration Protesters

    (Bloomberg) -- Salesforce.com Inc.’s annual software conference in San Francisco, where it introduces new products and discusses its commitment to social causes, was interrupted for the second year in a row by protests against the company’s work with the U.S. government.Co-Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff’s keynote speech was twice halted by activists complaining about the software maker’s contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that guards the U.S.-Mexico border and intercepts many immigrants. The first protester described Salesforce’s work as helping to support “concentration camps,” a reference to migrant detention facilities.Benioff told the first protester he would get 30 seconds to speak, then be asked to leave. Salesforce put a 30-second clock on the multimedia screen at a convention center room where Benioff was giving his Dreamforce presentation. After the time elapsed, security escorted the protester out of the room.“I want to tell you why I stopped the program and let him speak for 30 seconds,” Benioff said. “It’s because I value free speech in this country. I value everybody’s speech. When we’re talking about doing it together, all the voices have to be included. So I am so happy to hear from everyone today, who has every point of view and will take everything into consideration.”When a second group of protesters interrupted Benioff’s remarks, he didn’t give them time to speak.Benioff has made clear in the past that he would not cancel Salesforce’s contract with CBP, which he says doesn’t play a role in the agency’s enforcement of controversial immigration policies. He has described Salesforce, the leader in customer-relations software for the cloud, as a good corporate citizen, having donated 1% of its equity, products, and employees’ time to philanthropic causes -- a model that has been emulated by many younger software companies. Still, hundreds of Benioff’s employees called on him to reconsider the contract in 2018 and activists have continued to speak out against the deal. Last year, protesters brought a cage outside the Dreamforce conference to speak out against the CBP contract.Apart from the protests, Salesforce announced greater advancements with its voice-based artificial intelligence system, an expanded partnership with Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud-computing unit and more functionality in its Customer 360 initiative, which lets corporate clients unify data about their customers in one place.Benioff later held a fireside chat with Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook. The two executives discussed the growing partnership between their companies as more clients use iPhones for work; Apple’s commitment to user data privacy; and Cook’s focus on sustainability efforts. Cook also joined the conversation about immigration. He mentioned his strong support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy that lets some people who migrated to the U.S. as children legally stay in the country.(Updates with Cook’s appearance in the final paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the name of the agency in the second paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Tories Attacked Over Fact-Checking Twitter Stunt: U.K. Votes

    Tories Attacked Over Fact-Checking Twitter Stunt: U.K. Votes

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn ended their first head-to-head election debate on Tuesday as the Labour leader seeks to reverse the prime minister’s double-digit lead in the polls. The prime minister kept trying to steer the conversation to Brexit, and drew laughter at different points. Meanwhile, his rival took a shot against the monarchy and got cheered for his defense of the state-owned National Health Service.Key developments:A snap YouGov poll of 1,600 people gave Johnson the narrowest victory, with 51% saying he won, against 49% saying Corbyn performed bestICM/Reuters poll puts Conservatives on 42% (+3), Labour 32% (+1), Liberal Democrats 13% (-2), Brexit Party 5% (-3).ssssConservatives Masqueraded as Fact Checkers (10:21 p.m.)The Conservative Press Office changed its Twitter account’s name and appearance during the debate to “factcheckUK”, which described itself as an organization “Fact-checking Labour from CCHQ.” It then tweeted messages including “FACT: Jeremy Corbyn has failed to say what his own Brexit position is on Brexit nine times so far in this debate.” They culminated with a “factcheckUK verdict: Winner, Boris Johnson.”The move outraged genuine fact-checking sites, with FullFact calling it “inappropriate and misleading.” But Conservative Chairman James Cleverly defended it. “We are calling out the stuff that Labour is putting into the public domain that is demonstrably wrong,” he said.Swinson Makes Pitch for Middle Ground (10:15 p.m.)Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said her party represents the views of most British people better than Labour and the Conservatives. Swinson was upset about not to be invited to the earlier debate and instead was only featured in a later interview with the leaders of other small parties.“You have very extreme candidates leading those parties at the moment taking them to the fringes of politics,” she said. “Those parties are not in a space where most people in Britain are.”Swinson also reiterated how she would not give either Corbyn or Johnson the support to become prime minister, even if it meant the country would need another election to find a working government.Closing Remarks Wrap Up the Hour of Debate (9:04 p.m.)In his closing remarks, Corbyn called on the public to focus on his party’s strong areas of NHS, the environment and higher investment. “This is a once-in-a-generation election: to end privatization and give the NHS the funding it needs, to give the people a final say on Brexit, to tackle the climate emergency which threatens our futures, and to invest in good jobs in every region and nation of our country,” he said.“Vote for hope and vote for Labour on the 12th of December.”As he did throughout the debate, Johnson used his closing remarks to return to familiar territory: his promise to get Brexit done by the end of January. “The choice is very simple: we can get Brexit done or we can spend another year with another referendum,” he said.“If we have a working majority Conservative government, I pledge we will have a Parliament that works for you, that focuses on the NHS and the cost of living, because when we get Brexit done by Jan. 31 we will go forward.”Christmas Presents to Each Other (8:53 p.m.)The candidates are asked what they would leave under the Christmas tree to each other.Corbyn draws applause for his answer: “I know Mr Johnson likes a good read. So what I’d probably leave for him is ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens so he could then understand how nasty Scrooge was.”Johnson tried yet again to shift the conversation to Brexit by suggestion Corbyn read his EU deal.Corbyn Says Monarchy Needs to ‘Improvement’ (8:45 p.m.)Asked by the host, Julie Etchingham, if the royal family is fit for purpose following revelations over Prince Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Corbyn managed a pithy response that drew laughter. “It needs a bit of improvement,” Corbyn said. Johnson, by contrast, said “the institution of the monarchy is beyond reproach.” He said Epstein’s victims should be “the focus of everyone’s sympathies.” That sounded like another veiled criticism of Prince Andrew but didn’t pack the same punch as Corbyn’s answer.Audience Laughed at the Candidates (8:34 p.m.)The audience of voters in the studio laughed ironically when Johnson said that the truth matters in the election. Johnson hit back, saying he was “open-mouthed” about Corbyn’s denial of anti-Semitism in the Labour party. They also had a giggle at Corbyn’s expense when the question was raised on whether he had a clear position on Brexit.There was more cackling later on when the funding of the NHS returned as a topic. Johnson: “We will continue to fund the NHS massively as we are. We can only do so because we have a strong and dynamic economy.”Is Austerity Over? (8:45 p.m.)Corbyn took a question about how much his government would spend to speak of the austerity years, and committed to reducing corporation tax to 2010 levels. “We’ve had austerity for 9 years in this country, we’ve had a growth of billionaires in this country, we’ve had a growth of extreme poverty in this country,” he said. “This election is a turning point in the way in which going to we’re going to manage our economy in the future. We will end austerity.”Johnson was quick to interrupt and proclaim his own desire to spend more than previous governments. “I believe in investing massively in our public services,” he said.Arms Race of Election Pledges Comes Too Late for Many in U.K.Corbyn Responds to Criticism of Anti-Semitism (8:29 p.m.)Corbyn has been dogged by criticism for allowing the rise of anti-Semitism within Labour. As the debate reached the half-way mark the Labour leader responded by saying that “antisemitism is an absolute evil and scourge within our society” and that “we do take this very seriously indeed because I do not want to live in a society where racism is rife.” Johnson tried to shift the the topic back to Brexit rather than address the moderator’s question about whether the tone in politics had degenerated.Will There Be Another Vote on Scottish Independence? (8:19 p.m.)Johnson repeatedly claimed that a Corbyn government would usher in a second referendum on Scottish independence because Labour would rely on Scottish National Party support to form a government. Corbyn insisted he hadn’t done any deals with the SNP “and there will be no deals,” he said, adding “There would be no deal with the SNP, no support for a referendum in the early years of a Labour government.” Johnson said that didn’t amount to a denial.Johnson and Corbyn Trade Blows on Brexit and NHS (8:13 p.m.)Johnson tries time and time again to draw Corbyn into revealing where he stands on Brexit: “We don’t know on what side Mr Corbyn will campaign. Is he going to campaign for leave or remain?”Corbyn defied the prime minister over his pledge to get Brexit done within a matter of weeks: “When you say you want to get it done, you will have to embark on probably seven years of negotiations with the U.S. to complete a trade deal.”Then the debate shifted to the state-owned National Health Service, much-beloved by voters. Corbyn told Johnson: “You’re going to sell our NHS to the United States and big pharma.”“Our NHS will never be for sale,” Johnson replied.Both Men Began with Short Introductory Remarks (8:06 p.m.)Corbyn and Johnson kicked off the debate with their key messages.“People want to get Brexit done and to unleash the potential of this entire country,” Johnson said, arguing that a vote for Corbyn is a vote for “dither and delay and deadlock.” He later added that his deal could pass Parliament within a “few weeks”“We will build a fairer Britain that cares for where wealth and power are shared,” Corbyn told a live studio audience. “Too many families are without a proper home struggling to make ends meet while tax cuts are handed to the super-rich.”A Brief History of U.K. Election Debates (7:45 p.m.)Unlike in the U.S., televised election debates are still relatively new to U.K. politics, with details on how many candidates are invited to take the stage a point of dispute in each campaign.It started in 2010, with then-prime minister Gordon Brown taking on Conservative leader David Cameron and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats, whose success gave rise to a wave of so-called “Cleggmania” and an immediate poll bounce.In 2015, there was one seven-way debate featuring not only the original three parties but also UKIP, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Labour leader Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron to “debate me one-on-one”, but failed to get his wish.In 2017, the BBC eventually hosted a seven-way debate featuring Corbyn, but Theresa May decided to send then-home secretary Amber Rudd in her place.This campaign has proved no less eventful. The Lib Dems and the SNP lost a legal challenge against ITV on Monday over their exclusion from tonight’s event. The broadcaster had warned it would cancel the debate on Tuesday if the politicians had won.Debate Format: All You Need to Know (7:40 p.m.)Tonight’s hour-long TV debate is being held in Salford, north-west England, in front of a studio audience of around 200 people.ITV journalist Julie Etchingham will moderate, having hosted similar debates in the 2015 and 2017 general elections. Etchingham also took charge of the Conservative party leadership debate this summer, featuring Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.Questions will come from viewers, with ITV saying they will reflect a range of political backgrounds. Both leaders will have a minute to make their opening statements, and then 45 seconds for their closing remarks at the end of the debate. Corbyn will speak first in both instances after lots were drawn.The debate will be followed at 10 p.m. by interviews with leaders from the smaller parties. The Liberal Democrats’ Jo Swinson, the Scottish National Party’s Nicola Sturgeon, the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage and co-leader of the Green Party Sian Berry will all feature in the consecutive face-to-face interviews.Corbyn and Johnson Prepare for Battle (5 p.m.)Both the main party leaders are keen to be seen preparing for tonight’s head-to-head TV debate in their own ways. Johnson visited a boxing gym and posted a photo of himself on his Instagram account wearing a pair of boxing gloves, each emblazoned with “Get Brexit Done.”Corbyn, meanwhile, struck a more relaxed pose, posting a video of himself leaning back in a barber’s chair as he received a beard-trim. Time will tell whether the Labour leader’s fresh cut or his opponent’s hard-man impression will help win over voters.“I’m looking forward to it,” Corbyn told Sky News. Asked if he was nervous, he replied “not in the slightest, why would I be?”Earlier:Arms Race of Election Pledges Comes Too Late for Many in U.K.Brexit or Corbyn? U.K. Business Agonizes Over Election ChoiceLeaders on the Attack Before TV Showdown: U.K. Campaign Trail\--With assistance from Tim Ross, Jessica Shankleman, Thomas Penny and Robert Hutton.To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Flavia Krause-JacksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Will Macy's Stock Continue Its Plummet After Q3 Earnings?

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  • Retail Earnings Results, Target Preview & A New Strong Buy Stock - Free Lunch

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  • Pentagon Spy Agency Finds Trump’s Syria Pullout Aided ISIS

    Pentagon Spy Agency Finds Trump’s Syria Pullout Aided ISIS

    (Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria following Donald Trump’s order for U.S. forces to pull back aided Islamic State and damaged ties with Kurdish-led militias, according to a new assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency.The DIA’s assessment, part of a quarterly report, concluded that Islamic State “exploited the Turkish incursion and subsequent drawdown of U.S. troops to reconstitute capabilities and resources within Syria and strengthen its ability to plan attacks abroad.” The report was released Tuesday by the Pentagon’s inspector general.The report’s preparation was delayed beyond its scheduled Sept. 30 deadline, according to Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine, due to the “significant developments” last month that resulted in the drawdown of U.S. troops. Since then, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said about 500 to 600 of 1,000 American forces will remain in Syria, some at a base in the south of the country and others in northern oil fields.Trump’s abrupt decision to begin withdrawing forces, following an early October phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, drew bipartisan criticism for abandoning Kurdish allies the U.S. has counted on to fight Islamic State and for giving an implicit approval of Turkey’s offensive into the region. Turkey views the Kurdish-led forces in Syria as terrorists.The DIA report added that Islamic State is “postured to withstand” the recent death of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and probably will maintain “continuity of operations, global cohesion, and at least its current trajectory.” Absent U.S. “counterterrorism pressure, ISIS will likely have the ‘time and space’ to target the West and provide support to its global networks and branches,” DIA said.Syrian and Russian forces that moved into northeastern Syria “are unlikely to prioritize fighting ISIS,” the intelligence agency said. It said that the forces aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “had not conducted operations against ISIS in the areas that they had moved into, and that these forces probably prioritize limiting Turkey’s incursion into Syria over counterterrorism operations against ISIS.” ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said the report “confirms many of our worst fears.” In Iraq, U.S. commanders told the Pentagon inspector general that Islamic State continued last quarter “to solidify and expand its command and control structures, although it had not increased its capabilities in areas where the Coalition was actively conducting operations against.”Commanders also added that “ISIS combat power remains in restricted terrain and unpopulated areas where there is little to no local security presence.”(Updates with Schumer’s response in seventh paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at acapaccio@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Investing.com

    Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch

    Investing.com - Here's a preview of the top 3 things that could rock markets tomorrow.

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defence in congressional antitrust probe

    Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple offer defence in congressional antitrust probe

    WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four top U.S. tech companies, Alphabet's Google, Facebook , Amazon.com and Apple , responded to questions from a congressional committee by defending their practices and declining to answer some questions. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, which released the answers Tuesday, had sent the queries as part of its antitrust probe of the four giants, which face a long list of other antitrust probes. Facebook and Apple declined comment for this story while Amazon and Google had no immediate comment.

  • Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Push Back on House Tech Concerns

    Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple Push Back on House Tech Concerns

    (Bloomberg) -- Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple defended their business practices in responses to detailed questions by lawmakers conducting an inquiry into antitrust issues in the tech sector.The answers, released Tuesday by the House subcommittee overseeing the probe, come as antitrust scrutiny of the companies has escalated rapidly, with federal and state enforcers opening formal investigations into Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.The four companies received the questions from Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who chairs the panel, in September. Separately, the whole committee issued requests for extensive records on the firms’ business practices, acquisitions, executive communications and other issues. The companies also are in the process of responding to those requests.Here’s what the four firms said:GoogleDisputed the idea that it controls too much of the search market and the digital ad ecosystem.Downplayed suggestions that it prioritizes its own services.Denied that advertisers can only use Google Display & Video 360 ad service to purchase advertising inventory on its YouTube video platform, saying certain partners can buy ads directly from Google’s sales team.Denied that its search ranking system considers whether a publisher has adopted use of its Accelerated Mobile Pages -- a format that hosts web content directly inside search results. Google has said that the new format significantly accelerated loading times on websites.FacebookDefended policies that restricted some third-party app developers from using its platform, insisting it has never tied access to its data to spending on advertising even though documents from a lawsuit have told a different story.Said its changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy were consistent with its promises not to alter the chat platform’s sharing practices.Explained that it restricted video app Vine from its platform in 2013 because it “considered Vine to be an app that replicated Facebook’s core News Feed functionality.”AmazonPushed back against criticism that it unfairly competes with third-party sellers in its marketplace with its own products, saying its decision-making for how third-party sellers are treated is driven by a desire to give consumers wide selection, low prices and convenient delivery.Defended its private-label line known as AmazonBasics, saying private-label products are a “common retail practice.” It said it “generally does not distinguish the treatment of brands” based on the brand owner.Said its algorithm for listing shopping results doesn’t consider whether a merchant uses its Fulfillment by Amazon logistics service or whether a product is Amazon’s private label.Said it prohibits its private-label business from using individual sellers’ data to make decisions about product introductions, pricing or inventory.ApplePointed out that there are many apps that compete with its own services such as web browsing, maps, music and video.Said that users cannot uninstall its Safari web browser from the iPhone or switch to another default because Safari is “an essential part of iPhone’s functionality” as an operating system app.Explained that it’s not possible to reliably repair some products “because it is not feasible to split products into its component parts without significant risk of damage to those components.”\--With assistance from Naomi Nix, Gerrit De Vynck, Joe Light, David McLaughlin and Mark Gurman.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Mark NiquetteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Apple’s Long-Rumored Digital Bundle Could Hit Next Year
    The Motley Fool

    Apple’s Long-Rumored Digital Bundle Could Hit Next Year

    Consumers may get a trifecta of services from the iPhone maker for one low price.

  • Don’t Read Too Much Into Home Depot’s Earnings

    Don’t Read Too Much Into Home Depot’s Earnings

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Home Depot Inc.’s DIY renovation project has hit some snags. But its stumble isn’t necessarily a warning sign about either consumer spending or the housing market.The big-box giant reported Tuesday that comparable sales rose 3.6% from a year earlier in the third quarter. That’s not exactly a weak increase, but it was well below analysts’ expectations. The growth was slow enough that the retailer cut its full-year guidance on this measure, sending shares down more than 5% in morning trading.On a conference call with investors, Home Depot executives didn’t suggest the results reflected any softening in the larger economy. The housing market looked “healthy and stable,” they said, and noted that growth in big-ticket transactions, those over $1,000, was strong — a sign that shoppers are spending with confidence.That sunny portrait of the consumer is similar to what Walmart Inc. described last week when delivering robust third-quarter results. And it is consistent with other readings of consumer sentiment.Instead, Home Depot said it suffered because some elements of its long-term strategic plan are taking longer than expected to benefit the company’s results. In particular, executives said it was proving challenging to upgrade its technology systems to better support their website for home-improvement professionals. The company had already slashed its sales guidance once this year, but that was largely because of factors beyond its control, including tariffs on goods coming to the U.S. from China and lumber price deflation. Today’s guidance cut is noteworthy because it suggests that even Home Depot, a generally well-run chain that has essentially been untouched by the retail apocalypse, is finding the shift to a more digital-centric business to be a bumpy one.These results should hardly leave anyone in a state of alarm about Home Depot’s future. Many mature retailers can only dream of 3.6% comparable sales growth at a time when Amazon.com Inc. is encroaching on their turf. Home Depot saw comparable sales growth in all U.S. geographic divisions and across all product categories except lumber and electrical — indicators of balanced, diversified strength. In addition, Home Depot has been conservative about opening new stores for years now, a prudent decision many of its industry counterparts have not been smart enough to imitate.The downside surprise at Home Depot also puts sharper focus on the quarterly results of Lowe’s Cos., which are scheduled for release Wednesday morning. Under CEO Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s is looking to change the perception that is an also-ran to Home Depot. A strong showing in a quarter when Home Depot disappointed could help Ellison do that.Whatever happens with its chief rival tomorrow, however, Home Depot’s results are a reminder that digital transformations in retail are extremely hard to execute.To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at shalzack@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.