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Screwfix, BAE Systems and BT among 18 companies shamed for late payments

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More than a dozen big name businesses have been suspended from the Government’s Prompt Payment Code for failing to pay suppliers on time. Screwfix, Prudential, British American Tobacco, BAE Systems, BT and British Gas owner, Centrica, were among 18 companies who were found to be taking longer than 60 days to make payments, according to the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM). CICM chief executive Philip King, who administers the code on behalf of the Government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department, said: “We will continue to challenge signatories to the code if the obligatory Payment Practice Reporting data suggests that their practices are not compliant. “We are encouraged that of the 18 who have been suspended or removed today, all but one has already submitted action plans to achieve future compliance, and we are working closely with those businesses to support a better payment culture.”.

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Dropping gas prices slow annual inflation rate to 2%

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Canada's price picture softened to two per cent last month following a sharp drop in gasoline prices compared to a year ago. The annual inflation number for June hit the Bank of Canada's ideal target as it came down from 2.4 per cent in May, Statistics Canada said Wednesday in a new report. The average of Canada's three gauges for core inflation, which are considered better measures of underlying price pressures by omitting volatile items like gasoline, decelerated slightly to 2.03 per cent, down from a revised 2.1 per cent the previous month. Last week, the Bank of Canada predicted overall inflation to drop temporarily in the third quarter of 2019 to 1.6 per cent as it reflects movements in gas prices, airfare volatility and the recent elimination of countermeasures against U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

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Apple, Google Continue Inclusive Push With New Emojis

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Apple and Google are rolling out dozens of new emojis that of course include cute critters, but the tech giants also continue to push the boundaries of inclusion and diversity. Apple Inc. is releasing new variants of its holding hands emoji that allow people to pick any combination of skin tone and gender, 75 possible combinations in all. There are also wheelchairs, prosthetic arms and legs, as well as a new guide dog and an ear with a hearing aid. And then there's the sloth, the flamingo, the skunk, the orangutan, as well as a new yawning emoji. Apple said its new emojis will be available in the fall with a free software update for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

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Avnet Advances IoT Security with Microsoft Azure Sphere Developer Resources

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To help developers create highly secure, end-to-end IoT solutions, leading global technology solutions provider Avnet (Nasdaq: AVT) is giving away 20,000 free Azure Sphere starter kits. Additionally, developers will have access to a series of resources including webinars, lectures, road tests and design contests hosted by Avnet -- as part of Avnet’s ongoing relationship with Microsoft’s Azure Sphere Ecosystem. The starter kit leverages the Avnet-developed Azure Sphere module that is based on Microsoft’s secure Azure Sphere operating system (OS) and Azure Sphere Security Service hosted on a MediaTek MT3620 secure MCU. “By working with Microsoft, we’ve combined the superior security benefits of Azure Sphere with Avnet’s hardware and software capabilities. As a result, we’re delivering secure IoT support that designers need to take their concepts from the back of a napkin all the way to production, faster than before.”.

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The Brief, powered by BP – Building Ursula’s platform – EURACTIV.com

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She never threw her hat into the ring but was instead picked by national governments. And the backing of the three largest political families in the European Council (EPP, Socialists and Liberals) was supposed to suffice in getting her approval in the European Parliament. And so it was. Her human qualities shone with the personal stories she told about her father and the refugee child she hosted. But she still needs to articulate a vision about the future of Europe, because her birth credentials (in Brussels) are not enough to provide that. More importantly, she will need to build her platform inside the Parliament to ensure that her proposals see the light of day. Although the vote in the plenary was secret, von der Leyen would certainly have failed to meet the 374-seat threshold without the votes of populists and eurosceptics from Italy’s Five Star Movement and Poland’s Law and Justice. The European Parliament confirmed Ursula von der Leyen by a wafer-thin majority as the new European Commission president, giving her the reins of the EU executive for the next five years.

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Why I feel now could be the time to buy into the BT share price

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BT Group (LSE: BT-A) and TalkTalk Telecom Group (LSE: TALK) — have both fallen by at least 50% over the last five years. However, both businesses remain profitable and now have determined management teams who I rate highly. One of Mr Lewis’s first big decisions was to close the firm’s headquarters in Cheshunt and move staff to another nearby corporate office. As well as saving money, I believe this was an important psychological step towards the change of culture that he wanted to implement as part of his turnaround plan. For this reason, I was pleased to see this morning that BT has sold its London HQ for £210m and will be moving to a new London location within 30 months. The money is a drop in the ocean when set against BT’s £11bn net debt. But my reading of this news is that chairman Jan du Plessis and new chief executive Philip Jansen are serious about making the changes needed to transform this business. With BT shares now trading on 7.7 times forecast earnings with a yield of 7.9%, I think the shares look tempting as a long-term buy.

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Bitcoin enthusiasts still cracking $1 million puzzle from 2015

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Bitcoiners are still trying to solve a four-year-old puzzle now worth $1 million. The challenge is not your traditional “find five bitcoin hidden in this painting.” Rather, it’s a fiendishly difficult series of wallets loosely tied together that only a select few are ever likely to crack. But that hasn’t stopped intrigued bitcoin experts from giving it a go. The puzzle is a group of bitcoin addresses that hold incremental amounts of bitcoin. If you can crack the private keys in each one, your prize is the bitcoin held inside. At the time the challenge was discovered in 2015, the addresses held 32 bitcoin, worth $13,000 at the time. Some of the wallets have been cracked and the bitcoin taken. But more money has been added to the remaining uncracked addresses and the total treasure chest now sits at 102 bitcoin, worth just shy of a million dollars.

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Facebook is the riskiest Big Tech company: top strategist

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Don’t be misled by the message from Facebook’s stock (FB) running up a borderline insane 55% so far this year — this is one wildly risky tech investment. If not the riskiest among the FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google) cohort because of heightened scrutiny by worried lawmakers. “There is going to be an enormous amount of focus on how Facebook polices content during the upcoming election — which is why I personally think they are the riskiest of the tech names from a policy perspective,” Isaac Boltansky, Compass Point director of policy research, said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. Nonetheless, a strong bid remains under Facebook’s stock price into its second quarter earnings release on July 24. Lost in all these conversations is a sense of fear around the stock price from ongoing backlash in DC that could lead to profit crushing regulation on Facebook.

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BHP iron production rebounds after cyclone hit third quarter – CityAM

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Anglo-Australian miner BHP saw iron ore output rebound in the fourth quarter of the year, and forecast even higher production going forward. Iron ore production hit 63m tonnes in the three months to June, a 12 per cent increase on the quarter before. “We finished the 2019 financial year with an 11 per cent increase in quarterly production, driven by strong operational performances across our portfolio, including annual production records at a number of our petroleum, copper, iron ore and metallurgical coal operations,” he said. “For both [BHP and Rio] iron ore is a major part of their business and they are both beneficiaries of the supply constraints that have emerged after the tragic dam collapse in Brazil, iron prices have risen sharply and are reaching levels not seen since 2013,” he said.

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Microsoft nets billion-dollar AT&T Azure cloud contract

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Microsoft has announced a major new partnership with AT&T that could net the company as much as $2 billion. The deal will see the American telco giant switch to Microsoft's Azure cloud system as the two companies work together on technologies such as cloud, AI and 5G to improve the lives of customers around the world. The deal is not exclusive, with AT&T free to utilise other cloud providers alongside Azure - a point it highlighted with a seperate deal with IBM yesterday that will involve cloud migration. AT&T was the first US operator to switch on 5G, and is anticipating a huge growth in mobile data in coming years that will be supported by Azure and other Microsoft technologies.

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Amazon is turning advertising into its next huge business — here's how

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CNBC17 July 2019, 15:17 UTC. If you were browsing Amazon in search of deals for Prime Day, you undoubtedly came across a lot of ads. This rich trove of data has made Amazon into the third-largest digital ad platform in the U.S. and a growing contender to take on the digital ad duopoly of Google and Facebook. Earlier this year, eMarketer said it expected Amazon to claim 8.8% of U.S. digital ad spend in 2019, up from 6.8% in 2018, while expecting Google to drop from 38.2% to 37.2%. Amazon's ad boss, Paul Kotas, said at the time that the move was meant to make the company's ad options "simple and intuitive for the hundreds of thousands of advertisers who use our products to help grow their business." Even with this move, Amazon's ad business is complicated and can be hard for people outside the industry to understand.

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ASML on the up despite wider semi slowdown

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Bucking a trend that is expected to see an overall drop in the semiconductor equipment market this year, ASML is sticking by its prediction of an “up” year for its sales - despite demand for memory chips falling close to 50 per cent. CEO Peter Wennink said that a strong second half performance was still indicated in its bookings, and that the company received orders for ten more of its extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography systems in the latest quarter. 5G pull The main reason for that is the continued strong demand for logic devices, as chip manufacturers transition to new processes for patterning intricate features that can only be produced economically with EUV equipment. Third-quarter revenues are expected to come in at €3 billion, while the fourth quarter should be even higher as ASML ships 12 of the giant EUV systems, each of which sells for upwards of €100 million. If so, that would bring this year’s EUV shipment total to 30. And one potential issue that Wennink does concede is the pressure that ramp will put on the EUV supply chain towards the end of the year.

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Apple Set to Fund Original Podcasts

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The content will only be available through its own audio service (via Bloomberg News). The conversations are said to only prelimenary. However, this would be a big move for Apple. The news of the potential investment comes alongside Apple’s funding original content for the forhtcoming Apple TV+ service. Previously, he worked on various Apple audio services and also served as App Store Lead and Business Development Manager.

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Companies to Watch: Amazon under investigation, Bank of NY Mellon tops earnings, CSX falls short in Q2

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Companies to Watch: Amazon under investigation, Bank of NY Mellon tops earnings, CSX falls short in Q2. Amazon (AMZN) is now facing a formal antitrust investigation in Europe. Officials there are looking into whether the e-commerce giant is using data from independent merchants, who sell on the site, to compete against them. The financial services company beat on earnings, and revenue was roughly in-line with estimates. However, that revenue was down 5% from a year ago, as they collected fewer fees and lower interest income.

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Ageas: Transparency notification

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In accordance with the rules on financial transparency*, Ageas notifies that on 12 July 2019, its interest has exceeded the threshold of 3% of the shares issued by Ageas. * article 14, paragraph 1 of the law of 2 May 2007 on disclosure of major holdings us provisions. It offers Retail and Business customers Life and Non-Life insurance products designed to suit their specific needs, today and tomorrow. As one of Europe's larger insurance companies, Ageas concentrates its activities in Europe and Asia, which together make up the major part of the global insurance market. It operates successful insurance businesses in Belgium, the UK, France, Portugal, Turkey, China, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, and the Philippines through a combination of wholly owned subsidiaries and long term partnerships with strong financial institutions and key distributors.

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Christine Lagarde resigns from IMF after nomination to become European Central Bank president

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Christine Lagarde resigns from IMF after nomination to become European Central Bank president. Christine Lagarde has submitted her resignation from her role of managing director of the International Monetary Fund after she was nominated to be the next president of the European Central Bank. Ms Lagarde has already given up her day-to-day duties as head of the global crisis lender, and the agency has named David Lipton, a senior deputy, as acting managing director. “With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB president and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the Fund,” Ms Lagarde said in a statement.

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European markets subdued on trade war concerns but inflation data buoys stimulus hopes

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European markets were subdued on Wednesday as fears of a trade war spilled over onto the continent, but eurozone inflation data kept hopes alive of fresh stimulus. The DAX DX:DAX+0.05% and the CAC FR:PX1+0.08% both rose 0.1% after posting earlier losses, and the Stoxx 600 XX:SXXP+0.11% climbed 0.2%. What’s moving the markets? Eurozone inflation rose 1.3% year-on-year to June, beating expectations but remaining some way short of the European Central Bank’s target of just below 2%. Speaking to MarketWatch, Michael Brown, senior market analyst at Caxton FX, said: “Firmer than expected headline eurozone CPI figures for June are a positive surprise for the ECB, but are unlikely to deter the policymakers from enacting additional policy stimulus, with weak economic momentum persisting.”.

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The Only Way Is Down for Central Bankers Already at Peak Rates

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The People’s Bank of China has eased lending conditions but so far held fire on rates, but Australia, India, New Zealand and Russia are among those to have already injected fresh stimulus into their economies.The action marks a turnaround from the end of last year when investors were bracing for tighter monetary policy the world over, led by the Fed. What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Major central banks face different pressures. For the Fed, economic fundamentals appear robust, it's the fear of what's to come that's prompting action. For Europe, growth below potential demands a response, but space to provide it is limited. The BOJ’s current pledge is to keep interest rates extremely low until around spring next year as it assesses the impact of the tax hike on the economy. As the tax increase approaches, the BOJ may want to reaffirm its easing commitment by extending its guidance without referencing the tax. What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “The BOJ is unlikely to budge for the foreseeable future regardless of inflation slowing and external pressures increasing. Even so, part of its strategy may be to give the 10-year yield a little more wiggle room and a tweak of its forward guidance. Two of the five members voted for a rate cute in May and since then Chris Loewald from the central bank's research department was appointed to the panel and Deputy Governor Daniel Mminele, who was seen as hawkish, left the Reserve Bank. What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “We expect the South African Reserve Bank to follow the winds of monetary policy change and ease its stance in 2H19. Sluggish inflation will give Lee something of a free hand but with the benchmark rate at only 1.75% — half a percentage point above a record low – he has little policy room to maneuver, especially given that financial stability remains a concern. While the consensus is for at least one rate cut by the end of this year, economists surveyed by Bloomberg see two cuts at most — totaling 50 basis points — by the end of 2020. What Bloomberg's Economists Say: “Pressure is mounting on the BOK to reduce its benchmark interest rate.

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BAE Systems awarded M109A7 extended range work - LWI - Land Warfare

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ERCA will be integrated onto the M109A7 and will require the M109A7’s current 39-caliber turret to be replaced with a 58-caliber, 30ft long gun barrel with the objective of creating firepower double the current range. While increasing range, the goal is to maintain the weight found in current systems to minimise performance impacts on the chassis. Scott Davis, vice president or programs, BAE Systems’ Combat Vehicles business, said: ‘ERCA is a significant technological step forward for the army’s artillery portfolio. Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract by the US Army for M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) launchers, the US Department of Defense ... KRAS receives Barak-8 order. Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems India (KRAS) has received a $100 million contract for Barak-8 surface-to-air missile kits from Rafael.The order will see 1,000 missile kits ... Germany requests PAC-3 MSE from US.

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