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AT&T Chief Attacks Lawsuit to Block Time Warner Merger

AT&T Chief Attacks Lawsuit to Block Time Warner Merger Photo AT&T’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, called the blockbuster merger with Time Warner a “vision deal” that would allow AT&T to better compete with Silicon Valley giants. Credit Carlos Barria/Reuters WASHINGTON — AT&T’s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, on Thursday attacked the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block its merger with Time Warner, saying that a combined company would be no different from the Silicon Valley giants that make and distribute video content.
As the last witness for the defense in the Justice Department’s legal battle against AT&T’s $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner, Mr. Stephenson portrayed the 140-year-old phone giant as being in an existential crisis and in need of the deal with Time Warner to compete against tech companies.
He called the blockbuster merger a “vision deal” that would allow AT&T to better match up against Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, which he referred to as ..

Big Protests in South Africa Force Ramaphosa to End London Visit

Big Protests in South Africa Force Ramaphosa to End London Visit Photo President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa was in London for his first visit to a meeting of Commonwealth leaders since February, when he replaced Jacob Zuma. Credit Daniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images LONDON — South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who had traveled to London this week to assure global investors of his determination to tackle corruption in his country and restore faith in its public institutions, cut short his trip on Thursday to deal with unrest at home — a vivid indication of the challenges he faces.
The protests in the North West Province, in which demonstrators seeking better jobs and housing, and improved roads and hospitals, clashed with the police, were the biggest in the two months since Mr. Ramaphosa took office.
His predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was tarnished by scandal and deeply unpopular during much of his nearly nine-year tenure, and he was eventually forced out in..

A.I. Researchers Are Making More Than $1 Million, Even at a Nonprofit

A.I. Researchers Are Making More Than $1 Million, Even at a Nonprofit SAN FRANCISCO — One of the poorest-kept secrets in Silicon Valley has been the huge salaries and bonuses that experts in artificial intelligence can command. Now, a little-noticed tax filing by a research lab called Open AI has made some of those eye-popping figures public.
OpenAI paid its top researcher, Ilya Sutskever, more than $1.9 million in 2016. It paid another leading researcher, Ian Goodfellow, more than $800,000 — even though he was not hired until March of that year. Both were recruited from Google.
A third big name in the field, the roboticist Pieter Abbeel, made $425,000, though he did not join until June 2016, after taking a leave from his job as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Those figures all include signing bonuses.
The figures listed on the tax forms, which OpenAI is required to release publicly because it is a nonprofit, provide new insight into what organizations around the..

G.E. Makes a Sharp ‘Pivot’ on Digital

G.E. Makes a Sharp ‘Pivot’ on Digital No old-line company embraced the digital wave with more gusto than General Electric. The industrial giant spent billions, hired thousands of software engineers, and even created image-morphing television ads to recast itself as “a digital-industrial company.”
The scope of G.E.’s digital ambitions were put on full display in 2015, when the company set up GE Digital as its own business within the industrial conglomerate. Jeffrey R. Immelt, then chief executive, boldly declared G.E.’s goal to become a “top 10 software company” by 2020.
Today, there are no such ambitions. The spending at GE Digital is being slashed, amid layoffs and sharply narrowed aims at G.E. under John Flannery, who became chief executive last August.
Last November, Mr. Flannery told investors that expenses at GE Digital would be cut this year by more than 25 percent, or about $400 million. While he insisted the digital initiatives at G.E. are “very key” to the company, he added, “..

Pound sterling slumps after Mark Carney casts doubt on May interest rate hike

Earlier this week sterling had hits its highest level against the dollar since the June 2016 Brexit vote as trader bet heavily on another hike in the cost of borrowing next month
The pound fell sharply on Thursday evening after the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, cast doubt on another interest rate hike next month.
Speaking to the BBC in Washington, Mr Carney drew attention to the “mixed data” from the UK economy this week and said he didn’t want to be “too focused on the precise timing” of when rates might next rise.
Read more Sterling rises as Mark Carney signals hawkish stance on rates Mark Carney says Bank to revise up its GDP growth forecasts Mark Carney says inflation has further to rise Earlier this week sterling had hits its highest level against the dollar since the June 2016 Brexit vote as traders bet heavily on another hike in the cost of borrowing coming in May, following last November’s increase.
But in the wake of the Governor’s dovish comments in fell..

In a Trade War, China Might Boycott U.S. Goods. That Could Backfire.

In a Trade War, China Might Boycott U.S. Goods. That Could Backfire. TAICANG, China — If China calls for a boycott of American goods, Chinese workers like David Xu could be in trouble.
Mr. Xu is one of thousands of residents of this port town who cash paychecks from American companies. He works as a technician at a Procter & Gamble manufacturing and distribution center here, one of the company’s biggest in China. Across town, Nike has opened a huge distribution center, its largest in Asia.
In all, more than 40 other American companies have set up shop here, making chemicals, lighters and a broad range of other products for a Chinese market eager for American goods.
“There is no deep hatred for American companies,” said Mr. Xu, who has worked for Procter & Gamble for 13 years. “The impact of this trade conflict shouldn’t be big. After all, American companies bring so many conveniences to the lives of Chinese people.”
Continue reading the main story Some Chinese state med..

Coffee cups: major chains fail to match Costa's recycling targets

Costa Coffee has pledged to recycle as many disposable cups as it produces by 2020, raising the bar for action on disposable cup recycling in the UK.
Now the company has been joined by campaigners in calling for other major coffee chains to follow suit.
The action taken by the company involves paying waste management companies an additional £75 per tonne of waste, making it economically viable for them to take coffee cups to the specialist facilities that can recycle them.
Read more Costa's recycling commitment is a vindication of our campaign “We’re hoping that via this announcement our other competitors will come on board with us as well – we can’t see why they wouldn’t,” said Costa managing director Dominic Paul upon the launch of the new scheme.
Asked by The Independent if they were planning to make similar recycling commitments, however, other coffee giants could not match the decisive action taken by Costa earlier this week.
SumOfUs, which has been heading up a cam..

Charities' boards less diverse than those at FTSE100 firms, research finds

Just 6.6% of the trustees of leading charities are from an ethnic minority background
The boards of leading charities in England and Wales are even less diverse than those of FTSE 100 companies, new research has revealed.
Just 6.6 per cent of the trustees of leading charities are from an ethnic minority background, compared to 8.2 per cent on FTSE 100 boards, a report by Inclusive Boards found.
The agency found that almost two-thirds of the UK’s 500 largest charities have all-white boards. Oxfam, Save the Children and the British Council were among the close to 80 per cent that have no ethnic minority professionals in their senior leadership teams.
Read more £1 trillion fund manager pressures firms on diversity, climate change Nearly 60 per cent of senior leaders and 60 per cent of trustees are men, despite the fact that women make up 65 per cent of employees in the sector.
Women of colour make up just 2.9 per cent of charity trustees, suggesting that they face a double barrier..

Oil price surges to more than three year high as Middle East tensions continue and supplies fall

Saudi Arabia said to be targetting $80 oil
The price of crude oil surged to the highest its been since the end of 2014 on Thursday, with Brent pushing past $74 (£52) a barrel.
Analysts pointed to a fall in US oil supplies, revealed in data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), as a major factor in the increase. The EIA confirmed on Wednesday that crude oil stocks fell by 1.1 million barrels last week.
Read more Oil prices hit three year high over possible UK and US attack on Syria BP profits boosted by crude oil price rally Shell profits more than double thanks to soaring oil prices The price was also propped up by political tensions in the Middle East, with commodities in general rallying after US sanctions were imposed on Russian companies.
Meanwhile, the surge comes hours ahead of an OPEC meeting on Friday, where the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to agree to extend their supply cut agreement.
Commentators believe Saudi Arabia is ..