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Wanted at Chinese Start-Ups: Attractive Women to Ease Coders’ Stress

Wanted at Chinese Start-Ups: Attractive Women to Ease Coders’ Stress BEIJING — China’s vibrant technology scene is searching for people like Shen Yue. Qualifications: Must be attractive, know how to charm socially awkward programmers and give relaxing massages.
Ms. Shen is a “programmer motivator,” as they are known in China. Part psychologist, part cheerleader, the women are hired to chat up and calm stressed-out coders. The jobs are proliferating in a society that largely adheres to gender stereotypes and believes that male programmers are “zhai,” or nerds who have no social lives.
“They really need someone to talk to them from time to time and to organize activities for them to ease some of the pressure,” said Ms. Shen, a 25-year-old who has a degree in civil engineering from a university in Beijing.
Chinese women have made great strides in the workplace. The country has the world’s largest number of self-made female billionaires, while many start-ups have women in senior roles. But..

Fraud against small businesses has cost 50,000 UK jobs, new study shows

Almost one in four SMEs has fallen victim to fraud
Fraud against small businesses has led to the loss of up to 50,000 UK jobs, according to research by Barclays.
A study carried out by YouGov on behalf of the bank found that 44 per cent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) had been targeted by fraudsters and almost one in four (23 per cent) had fallen victim to fraud.
Read more UK consumers at risk of fraud because British bank security 'lagging' The study showed 10.6 per cent of all SMEs surveyed had suffered a cyber-attack, with 8.58 per cent of those making staff redundant to cover the cost of cybercrime. Based on a total of 5.687m small businesses in the UK, that equates to 52,120 jobs lost.
The average cost of fraud to a business was £35,000, which means the total cost could be up to £40bn to date.
Ian Rand, chief executive of Barclays Business Banking, said: “Fraudsters are targeting hard-working entrepreneurs, in some cases impersonating suppliers and..

Charles Zwick, Who Balanced Budget Under Johnson, Dies at 91

Charles Zwick, Who Balanced Budget Under Johnson, Dies at 91 Photo Charles J. Zwick, left, with Brig. Gen. Paul L. Barton of the Air Force in 1961, when Mr. Zwick was a researcher for the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, Calif. Credit RAND Corporation Charles J. Zwick, who as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s last budget director helped engineer the only federal surplus posted within a span of nearly four decades, died on Friday at his home in Coral Gables, Fla. He was 91.
The cause was cancer, his wife, Barbara, said.
In 1968, Mr. Zwick faced a clamor among congressional conservatives for cutbacks in Great Society social-welfare programs. But he also had to contend with Johnson’s demands to safeguard that agenda and relieve the continuing budgetary pressures imposed by the Vietnam War.
Mr. Zwick managed to reconcile these competing forces with an income tax surcharge.
“When you couldn’t support both guns and butter without an increase in taxes, then you were in trouble,” Mr. Zwick said i..

Gig economy union saves outsourced cleaners at EY from redundancy after protests

Workers had been told last month they faced job cuts and cuts to hours before company u-turned
A union for gig economy workers has scored a victory by saving the jobs of workers who cleaned the London offices of accountancy firm EY.
A group of 65 cleaners contracted through outsourcing company ISS, were told last month that some would lose their jobs and others may be given reduced hours aimed at achieving “operational effectiveness and financial efficiency”.
ISS, which posted revenues of £9.4bn last year, said it had agreed these changes with EY.
Read more Gig economy union files £200,000 holiday pay claim against CitySprint Following action by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), ISS wrote to the workers on Monday night telling them that it had cancelled the planned redundancies and reduction in hours. The company also thanked the staff and their appointed representatives for their professionalism.
The u-turn came after IWGB staged two protests, the first ..

European Regulators Ask if Facebook Is Taking Too Much Data

European Regulators Ask if Facebook Is Taking Too Much Data Data. It is the gasoline that fuels advertiser-supported internet giants like Facebook and the gold that companies mine for their algorithms.
Now regulators in Europe are asking whether Facebook is excessively collecting details about the online activities of internet users — in effect, forcibly extracting a valuable commodity from consumers.
The authorities in a number of European countries contend that Facebook has unfairly used its leverage to collect details about the activities of both Facebook users and nonusers on millions of third-party sites that use tools like Facebook’s “like” button and analytics service. Some of those regulators have developed a novel argument: data coercion.
This month, Italy’s Competition Authority said Facebook was using “undue influence” to get consumers to “consent to the collection and use of all the information concerning them.” In February, a court in Belgium found that Facebook had collec..

Economic Scene: The Facebook Fallacy: Privacy Is Up to You

The Facebook Fallacy: Privacy Is Up to You Photo Tourists at Facebook’s headquarters on April 10, the day its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, testified at a Senate hearing. Researchers say his pledge to give users more say over the use of their data is undercut by a phenomenon known as the “control paradox.” Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times Was Mark Zuckerberg pulling their leg?
As Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive parried questions from members of Congress about how the social network would protect its users’ privacy, he returned time and again to what probably sounded like an unimpeachable proposition.
By providing its users with greater and more transparent controls over the personal data they share and how it is used for targeted advertising, he insisted, Facebook could empower them to make their own call and decide how much privacy they were willing to put on the block.
He must be kidding.
As Mr. Zuckerberg surely knows, providing a greater sense of control over thei..

UK breaks coal free energy record again but renewables still need more support

Fossil fuels benefit from high hidden subsidies. A change in approach is needed to curb them
Today is the fourth the UK has entered with not a watt of electricity generated by coal.
It’s the longest such streak since the 1880s and comes only days after the last modern era record of 55 hours was set.
That represents good news for those of us who have children and would rather like there to be a planet for them to live on when we’re gone.
Read more National Grid profit warning after £140m hit from extreme weather Wind power provides 44% extra energy to National Grid National Grid ends gas supply warning. Long term we need to use less Coal generated power is dirty power, and not just through the carbon that gets pumped into the atmosphere when it burns.
The fact that the UK is increasingly able to call upon cleaner alternatives for its requirements, to the extent that records are being regularly broken, is a welcome development.
The trouble is one of those alternatives is gas..

Government has no choice but to outsource public services, says NAO boss

“There are a lot of areas where government does not have capacity to anything but outsource,” Sir Amyas Morse said
The government has no choice but to outsource services because, after decades of doing so, it no longer has the capacity to carry out work in-house, the head of the public spending watchdog told MPs.
“I think there are a lot of areas where the government does not have the capacity to do anything but outsource,” Sir Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office said.
He added that in many areas, the government didn't even have the resources to act as a prime contractor who runs a project while subcontracting work out.
Read more Carillion collapse contributed to 21% drop in Santander UK profits “The government is not set up to deliver all of these contracts itself, and that's been the case for a number of years,” Sir Amyas told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
He added that he was not saying that this was a fault, ..