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Google quietly buys UK startup Redux that turns surfaces into speakers

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Alphabet’s Google has quietly acquired a UK startup focused on technology that turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers. Redux developed technology that eliminates the need for small speakers in mobile phones, freeing up space for batteries or other components, the Cambridge based startup said on its now defunct website. It is unclear when Alphabet -- via an Ireland-based subsidiary of Google -- acquired Redux, but the transfer of shares of Redux holding company NVF Tech to the US tech giant was confirmed on December 13, according... Read More »

Bitcoin: Warren Buffett warns cryptocurrency craze ‘will come to a bad ending’

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Warren Buffett isn’t buying the cryptocurrency craze. “I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending,” the Berkshire Hathaway CEO said during an interview with CNBC. As the price of bitcoin surged to a record high of nearly $20,000 (£14,800) in December, the alternative currency — and the idea of cryptocurrencies in general — generated intense interest from both amateur investors and from institutions like Goldman Sachs, which reportedly is setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk. Mr Buffett, known for his often-pre... Read More »

Heathrow airport reports record passenger numbers for 2017 due to bigger and fuller planes

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A record-breaking 78 million passengers hustled through Heathrow airport in 2017, marking a more than 3 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure, thanks to larger and fuller aircraft flying in and out of the international transport hub. The airport on Thursday said that Heathrow last year had also continued to grow into one of the fastest growing major European hubs for cargo. A total of 1.7 million metric tonnes of cargo passed through the airport during the 12-month period, which is approximately equivalent to the weight of 134,000 ... Read More »

Shell sells stake in Dutch wind farm to Switzerland’s Partners Group

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Terms of Partners Group’s participation in the “Blauwwind II” consortium were not disclosed. Project leader Shell, which last month put together a 13-bank consortium to provide 1 billion euros in funding to build it, cut its stake to 20 percent from 40 percent. Eneco, which disclosed on Monday it had agreed to buy 50 percent of the output from Borssele 3 and 4, cut its stake in ownership of the project to 10 percent from 20 percent. Shell has said it intended to continue investing in major offshore wind projects, arranging the highest-risk f... Read More »

Forget Bitcoin – now Dogecoin goes wild

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But even in the turbulent world of cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin is seen as a pretty wild creature. It was launched in 2013, inspired by a short-lived online craze for pictures of a particular Japanese dog breed. Last weekend, however, it nearly doubled in value and is now worth more than $2bn (£1.5bn). Dogecoin had been gaining steadily all through December, but the latest spike has prompted howls of "crypto-hype" from sceptics. Granted, it's still well behind the biggest beast in the digital currency pack, Bitcoin, which has a total value of mor... Read More »

Belgium sells 2.53 bln euros of short-term debt

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Yields on three-month paper rose to a negative 0.570 percent from a negative 0.621 percent last week. Paper expiring a year from now also rose compared to the last auction of 2017 to a negative yield of 0.546 percent. Investors have paid rather than received interest on holding Belgium's short-term borrowings for more than three years. ($1 = 0.8384 euros) ... Read More »

World Bank issues warnings on interest rates and inflation

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Financial markets are complacent about the risks of sharply higher interest rates that could be triggered by better than expected growth in the global economy this year, the World Bank has warned. The Washington-based organisation said that much of the rich west was running at full capacity as a result of a broad-based upswing in activity, but were now vulnerable to a period of rising inflation that would prompt action from central banks. Launching the Bank’s global economic prospects, the lead author Franziska Ohnsorge said: “There could be fa... Read More »

Belgium and the Netherlands swap land to change their national borders

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The area affected, which is the size of 27 football fields, sits of east of the Belgian city of Vise and west of the Dutch village of Eijsden and on the river Meuse.  As of 2018 the countries’ border now goes down the centre of the river Meuse, with the Netherlands taking control of just over 40 acres of new land, while Belgium adopts around 8 new acres. The change was made after a peninsula on the river gained a reputation for lawlessness because of the geographical difficulties policing it from the Belgian side, which on paper controlled it. ... Read More »

Jaguar Land Rover reports record annual sales

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The company said Jaguar sold 178,601 cars, up 20% on the year before, while Land Rover sales rose 2% to 442,508. JLR said sales had more than tripled since 2009. It said this was the seventh successive year of growth, which was driven by the introduction of new models and increased uptake of its clean diesel and petrol engines. Jaguar saw strong demand for the Jaguar F-Pace, XE and XF models, while Land Rover's best-seller for the year was the Discovery Sport, which sold 126,078 vehicles. The company said that growing sales in China and the ... Read More »

Apple investigated by France for ‘planned obsolescence’

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Under French law it is a crime to intentionally shorten lifespan of a product with the aim of making customers replace it. In December, Apple admitted that older iPhone models were deliberately slowed down through software updates. But it insisted it was because the phones' battery performance diminished over time. The French investigation is being led by the economy ministry's consumer protection agency. It follows a legal complaint filed in December by pro-consumer group Stop Planned Obsolescence (Hop). Hop said France was the third countr... Read More »

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