Massive United States-Saudi Infrastructure Fund Struggles to Get Going

Supported by Business Day Massive United States-Saudi Infrastructure Fund Struggles to Get Going Photo Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the United Nations in New York City last month. Credit Amir Levy/Reuters Last May, the private equity firm Blackstone announced that it was creating a $40 billion fund that would invest in infrastructure projects in the United States. The fund’s largest backer was the government of Saudi Arabia, which agreed to kick in half the cash.
Ten months later, the highly anticipated fund has yet to complete an initial round of fund-raising, much less start investing in infrastructure.
Although the Saudis promised to contribute up to $20 billion, Blackstone is required to raise a dollar from other investors for every dollar the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund puts in. So far, only two other investors have publicly committed to the fund, with their contributions totaling $575 million, according to data provider Preqin, which tracks such in..

Plastic-backed fridges must be 'urgently' removed from sale, says Which?

Which? said its own, more stringent, tests found that no plastic backing sample was able to withstand a flame for 30 seconds
A watchdog has called for plastic-backed fridges to be “urgently” removed from sale after finding they pose a fire risk and could even hasten the spread of a blaze.
Which? said an industry-wide investigation of more than 500 of the most popular refrigeration appliances on the market found that backing material on 45 per cent of them was made of unsafe plastic which posed a potential fire risk.
The research also found that a number of models backed with plastic which manufacturers previously claimed was flame-retardant could speed up the spread of a fire, the consumer group said.
Read more Plastic-free events show how sport can cut out ‘huge amounts of waste' All plastic-backed fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers on the market pass existing safety standards but Which? said the tests were “inadequate, not fit for purpose and do not come close to repli..

How Bill O’Reilly Silenced His Accusers

Supported by Media How Bill O’Reilly Silenced His Accusers Photo The former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had hoped to keep settlement agreements with women who accused him of harassment sealed. A judge made them public on Wednesday. Credit Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters Settlement agreements between Bill O’Reilly and two of his accusers — made public for the first time on Wednesday — filled in previously unknown details about tactics employed by the former Fox News host to silence women who came forward with sexual harassment allegations against him.
The documents show that two women who reached settlements, Andrea Mackris and Rebecca Gomez Diamond, were required to turn over all evidence, including audio recordings and diaries, to Mr. O’Reilly. In addition, Ms. Mackris was required to disclaim the materials “as counterfeit and forgeries” if they ever became public.
The settlement with Ms. Mackris confirms a New York Times investigation that found a private investigator had been used to ..

Tech Fix: Unknown Tech Brands Aren’t Like Groceries. Don’t Just Grab Them.

Unknown Tech Brands Aren’t Like Groceries. Don’t Just Grab Them. Photo Credit Minh Uong/The New York Times If there was one broad takeaway from the data leak involving Cambridge Analytica, the voter profiling firm that obtained private information from up to 87 million Facebook accounts, it’s that you should hesitate before sharing your data with an unknown brand.
This lesson applies to just about everything that touches your personal technology, including the apps that you download to your phone or computer and the free online services that you use. And, yes, it also includes those seemingly harmless personality tests run by some unfamiliar organization on Facebook — the kind that helped Cambridge Analytica get the data on users.
To make matters worse, the information that can be stolen from you is becoming increasingly personal. Smartphones, for one, are embedded with microphones, motion sensors and cameras that can spy on your every move if corrupted by a bad actor. Home gadgets lik..

U.S. Seeks 20-Year Prison Term for Turkish Banker in Sanctions Case

U.S. Seeks 20-Year Prison Term for Turkish Banker in Sanctions Case Photo The deputy general manager for international banking at the Turkish state bank Halkbank was convicted in January at a trial that depicted high-level corruption in Turkey. Credit Sedat Suna/European Pressphoto Agency United States prosecutors asked a judge in Manhattan on Wednesday to sentence a Turkish banker to about 20 years in prison for his conviction in January in a broad scheme to evade American sanctions against Iran.
The defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, 47, the deputy general manager for international banking at Halkbank, a Turkish state bank, was convicted in January at a trial that depicted high-level corruption in Turkey and increased tensions between the Turkish government and the United States.
The government’s star witness, Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, suggested in his testimony that Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally approved the sanctions-evasion scheme in 2012, when..