• Business

    Trade war: China says US talks ‘laid ground’ to resolve dispute

    China said talks with the US “laid the foundations” to resolve a damaging trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. The negotiations in Beijing this week were “extensive, deep and detailed,” China’s commerce ministry said. The US highlighted China’s pledge to purchase more agriculture and other goods, without providing specifics. Neither side has said when the two countries will meet again for further negotiations. The midlevel talks in Beijing concluded on Wednesday. They weren’t expected to produce a final deal but optimism about progress had buoyed global stock markets this week. A quick guide to the US-China trade war A statement from the US Trade Representative said the talks…

  • Business

    Thousands raised to free Aboriginal women jailed over debts

    Campaigners in Australia have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help free Aboriginal women jailed for being unable to pay fines. Western Australia is the nation’s only state that regularly jails people for unpaid fines, often on minor crimes. Experts note the law disproportionately affects indigenous Australians, as well as poor and vulnerable people. The state government says it plans reforms this year that will make it harder for people to be jailed. In the meantime, campaigners have begun fundraising to pay for fines incurred by Aboriginal women, raising almost A$200,000 (£110,000; $143,000) since Saturday. A government report in 2016 noted that Aboriginal women were the most likely to…

  • Business,  Tech

    Mysterious radio signals from deep space detected

    Astronomers have revealed details of mysterious signals emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada. The precise nature and origin of the blasts of radio waves is unknown. Among the 13 fast radio bursts, known as FRBs, was a very unusual repeating signal, coming from the same source about 1.5 billion light years away. Such an event has only been reported once before, by a different telescope. “Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there,” said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia (UBC). “And with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able…

  • Business

    Jaguar Land Rover to cut up to 5,000 jobs

    Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will today announce it is cutting up to 5,000 jobs from its 40,000 strong UK workforce. Management, marketing and administrative roles are expected to be hardest hit, but some production staff may also be affected. The layoffs are part of a £2.5bn cost-cutting plan amid what industry insiders have called a “perfect storm”. They mean a downturn in Chinese sales, a slump in diesel sales and concerns about UK competitiveness post-Brexit. JLR is particularly exposed to the first two of these factors. China is the company’s biggest and hitherto most profitable market. But sales in China have fallen nearly 50% in recent months as cautious Chinese…

  • Tech

    Slack ‘bans users’ who have visited US sanctioned countries

    Some users of communication service Slack have reported their accounts have been closed over visits to countries under US sanctions. The move, which Slack says is to comply with US regulations, is believed to be affecting users who have visited nations including Iran and North Korea. But many on social media say they were not warned in advance. Some have said they had not visited the countries in recent years, and believe their bans were in error. Cuba, Syria and Crimea are other countries and regions where Slack says its systems may not be used. Slack said it would individually review cases if users thought their account had been wrongly…

  • Tech

    Gatwick airport: How countries counter the drone threat

    Rogue drones “deliberately” flown over one of the UK’s busiest airports caused travel chaos this week. Incoming planes were forced to divert to airports up and down the country as the drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), repeatedly appeared over the airfield at London’s Gatwick Airport. The situation was so serious the Army was called in to support the local police in tackling the issue, with the runway finally re-opening on Friday morning. For some time now, governments around the world have been looking at different ways of addressing the dangers of drone use in areas where they pose safety risks. Here we look at some of the solutions –…

  • Business

    How ‘miniature suns’ could provide cheap, clean energy

    We’re just five years away from harnessing almost unlimited power from “miniature suns”, some start-ups say: nuclear fusion reactors that could provide abundant, cheap and clean energy. In a world of global warming caused by our addiction to fossil fuels, there is an urgent need to find sustainable alternative sources of energy. If we don’t, the future looks decidedly bleak for millions of people on this planet: water and food shortages leading to famine and war. Nuclear fusion has long been heralded as a potential answer to our prayers. But it’s always been “thirty years away”, according to the industry joke. Now several start-ups are saying they can make fusion…

  • Business

    The bar where your cash is worthless

    Cashless establishments may be safer and more convenient, but are they more popular with the public at large? After yet another break-in at south London pub the Crown and Anchor, Arber Rozhaja decided enough was enough. Burglars were after cash lying around after lock-up, but what if there was never any cash on site at all? Mr Rozhaja, operations director at the pub’s parent firm, London Village Inns, calculated the volume of cash transactions and was bowled over. “Somewhere in the region of 10-13% of the total revenue would be cash and the rest was card,” he says. So in October, the Crown and Anchor went fully cashless. Customers can…

  • Business

    ‘Intimacy plus’: Is that what makes podcasts so popular?

    If you mention the word “podcast” to people, many immediately come up with a list of “must listens”. But this popularity is fairly recent. Why have podcasts taken so long to become visible, and does that mean you can make a living out of them? It’s easy to make a podcast. All you need is something you want to say, a microphone, a recording device (known as a tape recorder in the old days) and some editing software. For enthusiasts, part of the beauty of audio has always been that you don’t have to be a technological wizard to create something magical. While podcasts have been around for a good…

  • Business,  News,  Politics

    US stocks suffer worst week in a decade

    US stocks suffered one of the worst weekly falls in a decade as trade tensions with China, interest rate rises and a possible government shutdown rattled markets. All three indexes closed lower, with the technology-focused Nasdaq down 20% since its peak, placing it in so-called “bear market” territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its biggest weekly drop in percentage terms since 2008. The S&P 500 fell 7% for the week. It is the biggest weekly percentage drop since August 2011 while the Nasdaq’s 8.36% decline is the sharpest since November 2008. The Dow Jones fell 6.8% during the week. What’s knocked markets off course? US economy under Trump: Is…