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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 »

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 »

The four companies that shape our lives

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The four most important tech companies aren’t even just tech companies anymore. They each have embedded themselves in our lives, hugely influencing us by playing to our basic human instincts: from the eternal human search for answers to our need for love. That’s what Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at New York University, argues in his new book, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. He also says that the companies’ deep pockets and massive customer base are what allow the companies to start competing in d... Read More »

Hamilton Crawford: UK Property Prices Slump

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Hamilton Crawford report reveals British housing prices are decreasing as political uncertainty grows. Property prices in the UK are no longer soaring and are instead falling at their quickest pace in 8 years according to a report by Hamilton Crawford which cited political uncertainty and anticipation of the recent interest rate hike by the Bank of England as the probable cause. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ benchmark property price index for the UK dropped more than anticipated to +1 last month, a level in keeping with fl... Read More »

Uber’s top dealmaker in Europe steps down

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Fraser Robinson, who led Uber’s $3.5bn investment deal with Saudi Arabia last year, will step down this month from his role as head of business development in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will continue working with Uber as an adviser, according to a company-wide email obtained by the Financial Times. There have been several high-profile departures from Uber’s European executive team recently, including European policy head Christopher Burghardt, and UK head Jo Bertram, who both left in October. The exit of Mr Robinson marks a chang... Read More »

First tax havens blacklist published by EU

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A "watchlist" of 47 countries promising to change their tax rules to meet EU standards has also been issued. The "grey list" includes several with UK links, including Hong Kong, Jersey, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, as well as Switzerland and Turkey. Both lists have been criticised as omitting the most notorious tax havens. The lists follow the leaking of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, revealing how companies and individuals hid their wealth from tax authorities around the world in offshore accounts. EU tax commissione... Read More »

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