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Nissan and Renault in talks to merge and form a new company, say reports

The two companies have been in an alliance for almost 20 years, but could now begin operating as one entity
Shares in Renault rose almost 5 per cent on Thursday following reports the French motor company is in talks with Nissan exploring a potential merger.
The two firms formed an alliance in 1999, and describe it as a “buffer to protect its partners during regional downturns”.
Last year, the partnership became the world's largest car maker, ahead of Volkswagen.
Read more UK car production slumps further in February amid Brexit fears However, the groups are now in discussions about a possible merger that would create a single new company, trading as one stock, according to Bloomberg, which also reported that Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of both companies, is driving the negotiations and would run the combined entity.
Earlier this year, Reuters reported that Nissan was in talks to buy the bulk of the French government’s stake in Renault. The Renault-Nissan alliance said at ..

India Spurns the Dalai Lama’s Celebration, Worried About China

India Spurns the Dalai Lama’s Celebration, Worried About China Photo The Dalai Lama at a Tibetan Buddhist temple in McLeod Ganj, India, in August. India has sheltered the Dalai Lama and his followers since a Chinese crackdown on Tibetans 60 years ago. Credit Harish Tyagi/EPA, via Shutterstock McLEOD GANJ, India — An original song of thanks to India had been rehearsed, and a stadium in New Delhi had been reserved for a celebratory rally — all a gesture of gratitude from the Dalai Lama and his followers for India’s role in sheltering them after a Chinese crackdown on rebellious Tibetans 60 years ago.
Instead, the planned “Thank You India” celebrations, set for this coming weekend, set off apprehension in New Delhi and embarrassment among Tibetans.
A directive from India’s foreign secretary urged officials to discard their invitations, and it was blunt in saying the timing of the events coincided with a “sensitive time” for New Delhi’s relations with Beijing. A series of high-level meetin..

Beg, Borrow or Steal: How Trump Says China Takes Technology

Beg, Borrow or Steal: How Trump Says China Takes Technology Arranged marriages. Whispered warnings. Outright theft.
For years, American companies have complained that the Chinese government finds ways to get them to hand over their most valuable trade secrets. Those companies — which usually complain anonymously, fearing Chinese retribution — have found a sympathetic ear in the Trump administration.
American trade officials on Thursday cited those practices as a major motivation for their plans to levy tariffs and penalties on $60 billion in Chinese imports and to take a tougher stance on the vast and lucrative trade relationship between the two countries. The report outlines in blunt terms how intellectual property — everything from product designs and sensitive data to general know-how — has become a point of contention in global trade relations, joining longstanding areas of dispute like steel.
The landscape is more complex than the Trump administration’s complaint suggests. America..

Business leaders call for apprenticeship levy reform

Research by the Institute of Directors found that fewer than one in five employers will use contributions from the levy to take on more apprentices
The government is facing fresh criticism from businesses over the apprenticeship levy, with just one in seven employers saying it is fit for purpose.
Research by the Institute of Directors found that fewer than one in five employers will use contributions from the levy to take on more apprentices.
Most of the 640 businessmen and women surveyed said they offered training to staff, but many complained about the administrative burden of the levy.
Read more UK house price growth slows to seven-month low, Nationwide data shows Under the levy system, introduced a year ago, employers with an annual wage bill of at least £3m have to pay 0.5 per cent of their staff costs into a fund topped up by government to finance training.
The government has set a target of three million people starting apprenticeships by 2020.
Seamus Nevin, of the IoD,..

UK household saving ratio hits record low in 2017, says Office for National Statistics

The share of income that UK household's save hit its lowest since records began in 2017, as expenditure outstripped inflation-eroded pay.
The Office for National Statistics reported that the full year household “saving ratio” was just 4.9 per cent in the year, down from 7 per cent in 2016 and the lowest readings since the series began in 1963.
Overall GDP growth for the final quarter of the year was unrevised by the ONS at 0.4 per cent.
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Quebec City Mosque Gunman Pleads Guilty to Murder

Quebec City Mosque Gunman Pleads Guilty to Murder Photo Alexandre Bissonnette, a former university student who killed six men at a mosque in Quebec last year, attended a court session in Quebec City last week. Credit Mathieu Belanger/Reuters MONTREAL — A former university student who killed six men at a mosque in Quebec City early last year pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Wednesday, hastening the conclusion of a case that shocked Canadians and underscored the presence of Islamophobia in multicultural Canada.
“I’ve thought about this a long time. In my heart, this is the decision I’ve made,” the gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, 28, told a Quebec City courtroom, after previously pleading not guilty.
Several of the victims’ family members sobbed openly in court after the judge read out the names of the six men killed in the attack, in which five others were seriously wounded, according to Mohamed Labidi, the president of the mosque, the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, who attend..