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Showing posts from December, 2019

Opioid deaths rise after car-factory closures, according to a study over two decades

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The closing of a car factory can be an economic gut punch for the surrounding community, but new research suggests there could also be ramifications for those laid-off workers.Over nearly two decades, counties where automotive plants closed saw an increase in the rate of opioid overdose deaths after the closures compared to counties where plants stayed open, a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine found. The work was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Princeton, N.J.Disappearing manufacturing jobs are a dark spot in a brightening economy, with unemployment at a 50-year low and wages on the rise for many American workers this year. At the same time, income inequality has worsened as the loss of manufacturing jobs has closed off traditional paths to the middle class, especially for people who don’t have a college degree.“We’ve noticed over the last 40 years as the erosion of the American dream may be incredibly cons…

This simple tech check-up will save you money and get your tech in order for the new year

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It's time to do a tech checkup before 2020.By following these tips, you can save money, begin backing up photos and get your home network in tip-top shape for the new year.I saved more than $200 a month doing this myself.The new year is traditionally a time to take stock and get organized for the year ahead.It's also a perfect time for an annual tech check-up. Asking the right questions and making a few simple moves could save you money and stress in the year ahead. For instance: Are you even using all the data you pay for on your wireless bill each month? Are you still paying for digital subscriptions you don't use? Do you have any old gadgets taking up space? How are you going to make sure all the great photos you took this year don't disappear if your phone or computer dies?Here are some tips to give yourself a quick tech check for 2020.Cancel subscriptions you don't need or useYou might be surprised at the number of digital subscriptions you pay for. I just wen…

Walmart sets up data operation here on the quiet

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Global retail giant Walmart has quietly established a data science and software development operation with more than 80 staff in Dublin.It is currently hiring software engineers for its Walmart Labs and Intelligent Retail Lab (IRL) operations here, the Irish Independent can reveal.The US supermarket titan has 11,438 stores in 27 countries around the world, and annual revenues of $14.4bn (€12.8bn).The Dublin office is also hiring a small number of recruits for Jet.com, the ecommerce platform co-founded by Wexford man Mike Hanrahan, which was acquired by Walmart in 2016 for more than $3bn (€2.7bn). Mr Hanrahan now heads up the IRL – a retail AI lab inside an existing Walmart Store – which is based in New Jersey and is part of an incubation arm of the company called Store No8.Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.Log InNew to Independent.ie? Create an accountAccording to the IRL website, it aims to better understand how Walmart customers shop for …

North Korea's Kim urges 'positive and offensive' security measures at key party meeting

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Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, stressed the need to take "positive and offensive measures for fully ensuring the sovereignty and security of the country," reported state media KCNA.The weekend meeting was convened to discuss policy matters amid rising tension over Kim's deadline for Washington to soften its stance in stalled negotiations aimed at dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.Kim also discussed state management and economic issues, the report said, as the country's economy has been hit by international sanctions over its weapons programmes.North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called at a ruling party meeting for "positive and offensive measures" to ensure security ahead of a year-end deadline he has set for denuclearization talks with the United States, state media KCNA said on Monday.Kim convened a weekend meeting of top Workers' Party officials to discuss policy matters amid rising tension over his
deadline for Washingto…

Helping tech start-ups secure government projects

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An initiative to help tech start-ups secure government tenders has enabled about 75 firms to win more than $430 million worth of deals in the past five years that they might otherwise have missed out on.The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) initiative has two strands – Accreditation@SGD caters to more established companies, while Spark focuses on firms at an earlier stage of development.Companies are evaluated on the technical, financial and operational aspects of their business. Those that receive the stamp of approval get first consideration for government projects and benefit from a streamlined procurement process that shortens the amount of time needed to close a deal.The IMDA also actively showcases accredited companies to potential government and enterprise customers to raise their profile.More than 1,000 projects have been awarded to companies under the two programmes.Accreditation@SGD started in 2014 in response to the challenges faced by local technology companies i…

From classic British beauties to quality convertibles, Sun readers share their much-loved motors – The Sun

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EVERY week you send us photos of your sweet rides – from the moderns you modify to the survivors you support, and all the wonderful things in between. Here, then, is an assortment of your much-loved motors.This column wouldn’t be the same without you – so, thank you, have a Happy New Year.1953 Jowett JupiterOwner: Tony Jackson, from Congleton, Ches.Tony says: “This is a Cheshire farm barn rescue that I’ve owned since 1981. One of Bradford’s finest and the only sports car made by the company founded in 1902 by Bill and Ben Jowett. The car club was established in 1923 – the oldest in the world.”Alfie’s verdict: Every day’s a school day, Tone – I’d never heard of this car before now, thanks for introducing me to it. A beauty.1999 Mazda Xedos 6Owner: Mike Hayward, from Dursley, Gloucs.Mike says: “This is my marvellous Xedos 6. It’s a 2-litre V6 with 110,000 on the clock. These cars were originally made to compete with BMW and Mercedes, which they did admirably. I’ve resprayed it from old-…

Trans-Cab lodges offer for public listing on SGX

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Taxi operator Trans-Cab lodged an offer for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) yesterday.The company, which acquires vehicles and rents them out to licensed taxi drivers, was incorporated here in 2009.It said in documents submitted to the SGX that it generated net cash flows before working capital changes of $60.7 million in the 2018 financial year. This was partially offset by an outflow of $8.7 million.After taking into account income tax of $2.3 million, net cash flow from operating activities amounted to $49.7 million. Net profit rose 74.3 per cent, from $3.5 million in the six months to June 30 last year, to $6.1 million in the same period this year, despite a fall in revenue.Mr Teo Kiang Ang is executive chairman and chief executive of the company.Trans-Cab first announced listing plans in 2014 but called it off because it had been unaware that there was an additional insurance premium of $1.83 million pending.It was reported in September that the f…

SGX’s regulatory arm serves Metech notice to reconvene EGM

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SINGAPORE – The regulatory arm of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has instructed Catalist-listed Metech International to hold another extraordinary general meeting (EGM) as an earlier meeting on the reappointment of its chairman was based on “inaccurate and incomplete information”.An SGX RegCo notice on Friday (Dec 27) told Metech to reconvene the EGM to vote on the resolution to re-elect Mr Simon Eng, its controlling shareholder, chairman and chief executive, as a director of the company.SGX RegCo head of listing compliance June Sim said it will investigate the circumstances that led to the non-disclosure of Mr Eng’s public reprimand in Metech’s annual report for financial year 2019.“We will review the company and its continuing sponsor’s compliance with the Catalist rules, and the discharge of their duties and obligations,” she said, adding that appropriate action will be taken if Catalist rules are breached.Metech, a provider of e-waste management systems, filed details of Mr Eng’s pu…

Record online sales give short US holiday shopping season a boost: Report

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NEW YORK (REUTERS) – US shoppers spent more online than in retail stores during the shortest winter shopping season in the past six years, with online sales hitting a record high, a report by Mastercard Inc showed.The holiday shopping season is a crucial period for retailers and can account for up to 40 per cent of annual sales. But this year, Thanksgiving, which traditionally starts the US holiday shopping period, was on Nov 28, a week later than last year’s Nov 22, leaving retailers with six fewer days to drive sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas.“Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard.E-commerce sales this year made up 14.6 per cent of total retail and rose 18.8 per cent, according to Mastercard’s data tracking retail sales from Nov 1 through Christmas Eve.Overall holiday reta…

SPH acquires 7 student lodging assets for $720m

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Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has expanded its purpose-built student accommodation portfolio with the acquisition of seven assets in the United Kingdom for £411 million (S$720 million).This will add 2,383 beds to SPH’s portfolio, bringing the total number to 7,726 across 18 cities in the UK and Germany, the media group said yesterday.It also grows SPH’s footprint across seven additional UK cities: Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, Brighton, Durham, Edinburgh and York.The two assets in Oxford and Brighton are under development and expected to be operational for the 2020/21 academic year.SPH, which publishes The Straits Times, will spend about £37 million in estimated construction costs for both assets, to be paid progressively till their completion.About 84 per cent of the beds are close to top-ranked universities, including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.The transaction increases SPH’s presence in cities where the supply of student housing is limited, the company not…

Time capsule 1974 Ford Maverick up for auction hasn't been driven in 45 years

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Ford making cars out of coffeeFord is teaming up wtih McDonald’s to turn the waste from coffee production into a new type of plastic that’s lighter and stronger than conventional materials.If you’re looking for an unusual last-minute gift for the automotive enthusiast in your life, there’s a classic car like no other being offered through an online auction that ends on Christmas Eve.(Bring A Trailer)It’s a 1974 Ford Maverick listed on Bringatrailer.com that has just 66 miles on the odometer and an interesting story to go with them. According to the Portland, Oregon-based seller, a brother and sister inherited some money and the brother surprised his sibling with the car as a present. The problem was, she didn’t drive and didn’t want to, so he parked the medium yellow gold four-door in her garage and it sat there for 35 years until she passed away.STANFORD'S AUTONOMOUS DRIFTING DELOREAN LOOKS READY TO RACE(Bring A Trailer)The 66 miles allegedly represent the distance from the Ford …

Google Santa Tracker is live NOW – how to follow Father Christmas on a map and play free games

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GOOGLE'S famous Santa Tracker is now live, with a map for following Father Christmas (from 10am UK time on Christmas eve) as well as loads of fun games to play.The digital Santa's Village includes an Elf Maker that lets you design your own Santa's helper, plus Wrap Battle, a festive dance-mat style game.One of the best bits about the run-up to Christmas is tracking Santa's journey around the world.Each year Google operates a Santa Tracker that lets follow the jolly old fella as he drops off presents.The site is live right now, although you won't actually be able to follow Santa until he makes a move on Christmas Eve.Check back at the following link on December 24 to start the tracker:Click hereSanta typically begins his journey at the International Date Line, halfway around the world from London.That means for Brits, Santa will start delivering presents at noon on Christmas Eve – albeit very far away.According to NORAD, he'll then travel to South Pacific island…

Chemist Warehouse sees sales and profits slow amid tough retail landscape

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Multi-billion dollar retailer Chemist Warehouse has experienced a slowdown in sales and a halving of yearly profits as it feels the bite from increased competition and tightened government regulation.The sluggish result is in line with the broader retail market which has struggled over the past 18 months through low consumer confidence and weak spending, with big-name retailers such as Myer and IGA-owner Metcash reporting weak results for the past financial year.Revenue and profit at Australia’s largest pharmacy chain is beginning to waneCredit:Brook MitchellFinancial documents filed with the corporate regulator last week for the East Yarra Friendly Society, a company estimated to represent about half of Chemist Warehouse's retailing locations, showed the company's statutory profit was just $6.5 million for the 2017-18 financial year.This marks a drop of almost 50 per cent from its $12.96 million profit in the preceding financial year and a massive decline in from the $101 mil…

Trump signs bills to avoid shutdown, scrap Obamacare taxes and raise tobacco buying age

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President Donald Trump signed bills Friday to prevent a government shutdown and make major changes to U.S. health policy.The legislation, which boosts funding for both domestic programs and the military, keeps the government running through Sept. 30.The sprawling bills go beyond just preventing a shutdown. They scrap some taxes used to fund the Affordable Care Act, including the "Cadillac tax" on high-cost plans. They also hike the age for tobacco purchases to 21.President Donald Trump signed bills Friday to prevent a government shutdown and make major changes to U.S. health policy.The president approved the $1.4 trillion appropriations package with only hours to spare before funding lapsed Saturday. The legislation, which boosts funding for both domestic programs and the military, keeps the government running through Sept. 30.In a statement from the White House press office, Trump said, "The government funding bills I just signed into law contain big victories for my A…

EMERGING MARKETS-EM stocks dip on profit-booking ahead of holiday season

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* Stocks retreat from 18-month highs* Chinese blue-chip, Hong Kong shares slip* Broader sentiment remains positive* Trading in currency markets mutedBy Sagarika JaisinghaniDec 19 (Reuters) – Emerging market stocks retreated from 18-month peaks on Thursday as investors took some cash off the table in the run-up to the Christmas holiday season.An index tracking developing world stocks fell 0.3%, after gaining for six straight sessions following improved global sentiment in the wake of a U.S.-China trade deal and easing global recession fears.But with few major updates on the trade dispute expected before the new year, analysts say global stocks have little reason to continue the record-setting rally.“Strategically, we are positive on emerging markets, but tactically it might be time to take profits right now and wait for new indications on the trade side,” said Jakob Christensen, head of EM research at Danske Bank.Shares in mainland China ended the day flat, while blue-chip equities fel…

Entire genetic code of a 5,700-year-old girl extracted from a piece of ancient 'chewing gum'

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THE entire genetic code of a 5,700-year-old human has been extracted from little more than a piece of ancient "chewing gum".Scientists found that the person who chewed the gum was a young girl living in Denmark, with dark skin and blue eyes.It means the ways in which scientists obtain DNA from our distant ancestors are broader than previously thought.The "gum" is actually a piece of birch pitch.This is made by heating birch bark, and has been used by our ancestors since between 760,000 and 126,000 years ago.But small lumps of this material have also been found at archaeological sites, often with tooth imprints.This suggests that the chunks of birch pitch were chewed by our distant ancestors.The close contact with our ancestors' mouths makes them ripe for DNA extraction.Experts at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark were able to sequence the human DNA contained in the birch pitch specimen.From this, they were able to determine that the individual who chewed …

Pakistan sentences Musharraf to death for treason

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani court on Tuesday sentenced the country’s former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf to death in a treason case related to the state of emergency he imposed in 2007 while in power, officials said.It’s the first time in Pakistan’s history that a former army chief and ruler of the country has been sentenced to death. Musharraf, who was sentenced in absentia, has been out of the country since 2016, when he was allowed to leave on bail to seek medical treatment abroad.He has been living in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and is said to be very ill and unlikely to travel home to face the sentence. Pakistan and the U.A.E. have no extradition treaty and Emirati authorities are unlikely to arrest Musharraf. If he were to return, however, Musharraf would have the right to challenge his conviction and sentence in court.The ruling Tuesday by a three-judge panel was not unanimous and one of the judges had opposed the death sentence, according to Akhtar Sheikh, one of…

Apple's £399 'iPhone 9' to feature 5G 'when it launches in early 2020', report claims

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APPLE is gearing up to launch a budget iPhone in 2020 that connects to super-fast 5G networks, according to reports.The "iPhone 9" has not been officially announced by the California tech titan but is reportedly the smallest and cheapest iPhone in over a decade.Costing as little as £399, the mobile is a followup to 2016's petite iPhone SE, according to a report from Japanese site MacOtakara.The gadget news blog has a solid track record for Apple rumours, and has predicted a number of iPhone features in recent years.It cites "informed sources", but doesn't reveal who they are – which makes the claims tricky to verify.The report states that the iPhone 9 will be out in early 2020, a claim that lines up with multiple other leaks and rumours that have surfaced in recent months.It will also connect to 5G, the next generation of mobile networks that gives you super-fast mobile internet capable of downloading an HD movie in seconds.That would be a surprise, as even…

'Children are a bottomless pit of financial needs'

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The Irish author Sinéad Gleeson is from Dublin.At the An Post Irish Book Awards last month, she won the Bookselling Ireland Non-Fiction Book of the Year for her debut essay collection, Constellations.She has previously worked as a journalist and broadcaster, presenting The Book Show on RTÉ for four years. For further information, visit sineadgleeson.com.What’s the most important lesson about money which your career as a writer has taught you?Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.Log InNew to Independent.ie? Create an accountTo never take it for granted.What’s the most expensive thing about being a parent?Children are a bottomless pit of financial needs – which is thankfully offset by them being kind and funny.What’s the best advice you ever got about money?To save and to buy a house. I got this advice from my parents.What’s your favourite note?The Scottish £5.What’s the most expensive place you ever visited?On holiday in rural Italy, we went to…

Blow for Boeing as Qantas picks Airbus' ultra long-haul jet

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SYDNEY • Qantas Airways picked Airbus to provide ultra long-range planes for planned direct services that will stretch halfway around the world, a blow for Boeing after a two-year competition to land the deal.The Australian airline chose the A350-1000 over Boeing’s 777X for proposed services connecting Sydney with New York and London. Qantas is preparing an order for as many as 12 planes, it said in a statement yesterday.The choice of aircraft brings Project Sunrise, as Qantas calls the unprecedented non-stop services, closer to reality. But the airline yesterday also pushed back its final decision to go ahead with the ultra long-haul routes until March. That wins it time to secure a new agreement with pilots that is required for the extra-long flights.The rival plane manufacturers had been chasing the contract ever since Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce in 2017 invited them to take up the challenge. Qantas, which plans to start the commercial services as soon as 2022 or 2023, has fl…

The No. 1 reason you should NOT sign your employer’s non-compete clause

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At least one quarter of all private sector workers are under non-compete clauses that can close off job prospects and stifle business competition, a trend that’s intensified in the past several years.That’s according to Tuesday findings from researchers at Cornell University and the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, who say lawmakers need to ban the provisions.The researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of businesses and concluded anywhere from 27.8% and 46.5% of all private sector workers have signed non-compete clauses. A 2015 study estimated 18.1% of workers had signed the non-compete clauses, which can bar workers from decamping for similar work at a competitor during a certain period of time.Businesses might also prohibit workers, like those in sales, from working for competitors or starting their own business in certain geographic areas.Heidi Shierholz, the Economic Policy Institute’s senior economist, said there’s one big reason people should…