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KLM cabin crew set for 24-hour strike on January 8

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The union says for the past year crews have been placed in an ‘unworkable situation’ by the decision which has led to an ‘enormous’ increase in the pressure of work and disadvantages passengers. Previous protests about the measure have been of much shorter duration. KLM told news website Nu.nl it had taken note of the union’s plans. The FNV says the action could lead to no KLM flights leaving Schiphol airport on January 8. ... Read More »

The world’s greenest cruise ship will have sails

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Peace Boat, a Japanese non-governmental organization which runs educational cruises, is working on an ambitious project to build the most sustainable vessel in the booming industry. Now in the last stages of planning, the "Ecoship" will be built by Finland's Arctech. It will cost about $500 million, financed in part by impact investors -- funds, rich families and individualswho want to use their cash to improve the world as well as make a profit. "Ecoship was a dream for me," said Peace Boat founder Yoshioka Tatsuya. "Using a conventional... Read More »

European Medicines agency will bring jobs, generate millions of euros

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The 890 workers will have an estimated €45m in net salaries to spend and much of that will benefit local shops, service providers, bars and restaurants, ING says. In addition, housing the EMA workers will bring in €10m to €15m while the 30,000 overnight stays which EMA visitors will book will generate €4m for the hotel sector. The Financieele Dagblad says experts suggest the EU agency will provide work for 1,500 people working in catering, cleaning, security, childcare and teaching. In addition, some 200 of the agency’s 890 staff are not exp... Read More »

Google to open artificial intelligence centre in China

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Google said the facility would be the first its kind in Asia and would aim to employ local talent. Silicon Valley is focusing heavily on the future applications for AI. China has also indicated strong support for AI development and for catching up with the US. Research into artificial intelligence has the potential to improve a range of technologies, from self-driving cars and automated factories to translation products and facial recognition software. In a blog post on the company's website, Google said the new research centre was an imp... Read More »

Ryanair pilots to strike before Christmas

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In Ireland, 79 pilots based in Dublin will strike for one day on 20 December. The airline, which does not recognise unions, said they represented about 28% of its Dublin-based captains. Meanwhile, Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in Italy plan to strike for four hours on 15 December. The airline said last week it would "ignore" the Italian move, claiming staff rarely heeded calls to walk out. Pilots based in Portugal and Germany also plan industrial action. Cockpit, the German pilots' union, said its Ryanair members would strike for better pay ... Read More »

Airbnb drops controversial payment card in France

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The French government had asked tax authorities to look into the system, suspected of facilitating tax avoidance, after it was revealed that Airbnb was allowing its hosts to use the prepaid Payoneer card. The card allows homeowners to receive payments for their rentals without money transiting through bank accounts. The decision comes as Airbnb, similar to its taxi-hailing peer Uber, is facing a growing crackdown from legislators worldwide - triggered in part by lobbying from the hotel industry, which sees the rental service as providing unf... Read More »

Europe’s Unibail-Rodamco bids $16 billion for Westfield in global shift

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The sector is grappling with challenges from online retailers led by Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and the deal, which Westfield said was “highly compelling” for shareholders, follows world No. 2 retail real estate investment trust GGP’s (GGP.N) rejection of Brookfield Property’s (BPY.O) bid. “Unibail-Rodamco’s track record makes it the natural home for the legacy of Westfield’s brand and business,” said Westfield chairman Frank Lowy, a holocaust survivor who has become a billionaire since he co-founded the group in 1960. The deal gives the Eur... Read More »

Apple ‘to buy Shazam for $400m’

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Shazam, a UK company founded in 1999, allows people to use their smartphone or computer to identify and buy music through a snippet of sound. Shazam, which says it has more than 100 million monthly users, makes most of its revenue from commissions paid on referrals to Apple's iTunes Store. Neither Apple nor Shazam have commented on the reports on the TechCrunch site. If the deal is confirmed, Shazam will become the latest in a string of UK technology firms to be bought up by larger businesses. The influential Music Business Worldwide site po... Read More »

Heavy snow disrupts road, air travel in northern Europe

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Hundreds of air passengers were stranded in Frankfurt, Germany's financial capital, as well as Britain, and many took to Twitter to complain. Some 330 flights were cancelled by 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) after heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures struck the region around Frankfurt, a spokesman for airport operator Fraport told AFP.  The airport - Germany's largest air hub and the home base for major carrier Lufthansa - had been scheduled to handle a total of 1,260 flights over the day. Elsewhere in the country, Duesseldorf airport was forced to close f... Read More »

German spy agency warns of Chinese LinkedIn espionage

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The agency alleges that Chinese intelligence used the networking site to target at least 10,000 Germans, possibly to recruit them as informants. It released a number of fake profiles allegedly used for this purpose. BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen said the accounts show China's efforts to subvert top-level German politics. "This is a broad-based attempt to infiltrate in particular parliaments, ministries and government agencies," he said. China has denied similar allegations of cyber espionage in the past and has not yet responded to the Germ... Read More »

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