Category Archives: Business

economy and business news

US Official: US Foreign Military Sales Total $55.6B, Up 33 Percent 

Sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments rose 33 percent to $55.6 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, a U.S. administration official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The increase in foreign military sales came in part because the Trump administration rolled out a new “Buy American” plan in April that loosened restrictions on sales while encouraging U.S. officials to take a bigger role in increasing business overseas for the U.S. weapons industry.

There are two major ways foreign governments purchase arms from U.S. companies: Direct commercial sales, negotiated between a government and a company; and foreign military sales, where a foreign government typically contacts a Department of Defense official at the U.S. embassy in their capital. Both require approval by the U.S. government.

About $70 billion worth of foreign military sales notifications went to Congress this year, slightly less than the year before, the administration official said.

The $55.6 billion figure represents signed letters of agreement for foreign military sales between the United States and allies.

The largest U.S. arms contractors include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman.

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US Official: US Foreign Military Sales Total $55.6B, Up 33 Percent 

Sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments rose 33 percent to $55.6 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, a U.S. administration official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The increase in foreign military sales came in part because the Trump administration rolled out a new “Buy American” plan in April that loosened restrictions on sales while encouraging U.S. officials to take a bigger role in increasing business overseas for the U.S. weapons industry.

There are two major ways foreign governments purchase arms from U.S. companies: Direct commercial sales, negotiated between a government and a company; and foreign military sales, where a foreign government typically contacts a Department of Defense official at the U.S. embassy in their capital. Both require approval by the U.S. government.

About $70 billion worth of foreign military sales notifications went to Congress this year, slightly less than the year before, the administration official said.

The $55.6 billion figure represents signed letters of agreement for foreign military sales between the United States and allies.

The largest U.S. arms contractors include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman.

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Trump Says Fed Is Raising Interest Rates Too Fast

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday again criticized the Federal Reserve, telling reporters the central bank was going too fast in raising rates when inflation is minimal and government data point to a strong economy.

“Well, I like to see low interest rates. The Fed is doing what it thinks is necessary, but I don’t like what they’re doing because we have inflation really checked, and we have a lot of good things happening,” Trump said to reporters on the White House lawn before departing for an Iowa event. “I just don’t think it’s necessary to go as fast.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve last raised interest rates in September and left intact its plans to steadily tighten monetary policy, as it forecast that the U.S. economy would enjoy at least three more years of economic growth.

The Federal Reserve is mandated by Congress to aim for low inflation and low unemployment. Currently, U.S. consumer price inflation is above 2 percent annually and the unemployment rate is the lowest in about 40 years.

“Also, very importantly I think, the numbers we’re producing are record-setting,” Trump added. “I don’t want to slow it down, even a little bit, especially when you don’t have the problem of inflation. And you don’t see that inflation coming back. Now, at some point it will and you go up.”

Trump has publicly stated his concerns before, but on Tuesday said he had not discussed them personally with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, explaining that “I like to stay uninvolved.”

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Trump Says Fed Is Raising Interest Rates Too Fast

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday again criticized the Federal Reserve, telling reporters the central bank was going too fast in raising rates when inflation is minimal and government data point to a strong economy.

“Well, I like to see low interest rates. The Fed is doing what it thinks is necessary, but I don’t like what they’re doing because we have inflation really checked, and we have a lot of good things happening,” Trump said to reporters on the White House lawn before departing for an Iowa event. “I just don’t think it’s necessary to go as fast.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve last raised interest rates in September and left intact its plans to steadily tighten monetary policy, as it forecast that the U.S. economy would enjoy at least three more years of economic growth.

The Federal Reserve is mandated by Congress to aim for low inflation and low unemployment. Currently, U.S. consumer price inflation is above 2 percent annually and the unemployment rate is the lowest in about 40 years.

“Also, very importantly I think, the numbers we’re producing are record-setting,” Trump added. “I don’t want to slow it down, even a little bit, especially when you don’t have the problem of inflation. And you don’t see that inflation coming back. Now, at some point it will and you go up.”

Trump has publicly stated his concerns before, but on Tuesday said he had not discussed them personally with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, explaining that “I like to stay uninvolved.”

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Facebook Seeing Growth in Business Network Workplace

Facebook on Tuesday hosted its first global summit spotlighting a growing Workplace platform launched two years ago as a private social network for businesses.

While Facebook would not disclose exact figures, it said Workplace – a rival to collaboration services like Slack, Salesforce, and Microsoft – has been a hit and that ranks of users have doubled in the past eight to 10 months.

The list of companies using Workplace included Walmart, Starbucks, Spotify, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic.

“It is growing very fast,” Workplace by Facebook vice president Julien Codorniou told AFP.

“We started with big companies, because that is where we found traction. It is a very good niche.”

Workplace is a separate operation from Facebook’s main social network and is intended as a platform to connect everyone in a company, from counter or warehouse workers to chief executives, according to Codorniou.

Workplace claimed that a differentiator from its competitors is that it connects all employees in businesses no matter their roles, even if their only computing device is a smartphone.

“That really resonates with a new generation,” Codorniou said of Workplace’s “democratic” nature.

“Millennials want to know who they work for and understand the culture of the company.”

He cited cases of top company executives using Workplace to get feedback from workers at all levels, bringing a small company feel to big operations.

Workplace is rolled out to everyone in companies, which then pay $3 monthly for each active user.

No ‘Candy Crush’

The software-as-a-service business began as an internal collaboration platform used at Facebook and was launched as its own business in 2016.

Workplace is used by 30,000 companies and has its main office in London, according to Codorniou.

Interaction with the platform plays off how people use Facebook, and Workplace adopts innovations from the leading social network. But, it is billed as a completely separate product.

“This is coming from Facebook Inc., but has nothing to do with Facebook,” he said.

“You cannot play ‘Candy Crush’ on Workplace, but people ask. We just take what makes sense.”

The conference was used to announce new Workplace features including a version of Facebook safety check designed as a way for companies to quickly determine the status and well-being of workers in event of disaster or tragedy.

Workplace also introduced the ability to have group voice or video chats with people routinely worked with outside a company.

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Greenpeace: Coke, Pepsi, Nestle Top Makers of Plastic Waste

Drink companies Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle were found to be the world’s biggest producers of plastic trash, a report by environmental group Greenpeace said on Tuesday.

Working with the Break Free From Plastic movement, Greenpeace said it orchestrated 239 plastic clean-ups in 42 countries around the world, which resulted in the audit of 187,000 pieces of plastic trash. The aim was to get a picture of how large corporations contribute to the problem of pollution.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft drink maker, was the top waste producer, Greenpeace said, with Coke-branded plastic trash found in 40 of the 42 countries.

“These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator for Break Free From Plastic.

Overall, the most common type of plastic found was polystyrene, which goes into packaging and foam coffee cups, followed closely by PET, used in bottles and containers.

“We share Greenpeace’s goal of eliminating waste from the ocean and are prepared to do our part to help address this important challenge,” a Coke spokesman said in a statement. The company has pledged to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030.

All three companies have made pledges about their packaging for 2025. Coke says all its packaging will be recyclable, Nestle says it will be recyclable or reusable and PepsiCo says it will be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.

They are all also working to use recycled content in their packaging.

Nestle, the world’s largest food and drink maker, said it recognized the issue and is working hard to eliminate non-recyclable plastics. It said it was also exploring different packaging solutions and ways to facilitate recycling and eliminate plastic waste.

PepsiCo was not immediately available to comment outside regular U.S. business hours. 

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Greenpeace: Coke, Pepsi, Nestle Top Makers of Plastic Waste

Drink companies Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle were found to be the world’s biggest producers of plastic trash, a report by environmental group Greenpeace said on Tuesday.

Working with the Break Free From Plastic movement, Greenpeace said it orchestrated 239 plastic clean-ups in 42 countries around the world, which resulted in the audit of 187,000 pieces of plastic trash. The aim was to get a picture of how large corporations contribute to the problem of pollution.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft drink maker, was the top waste producer, Greenpeace said, with Coke-branded plastic trash found in 40 of the 42 countries.

“These brand audits offer undeniable proof of the role that corporations play in perpetuating the global plastic pollution crisis,” said Von Hernandez, global coordinator for Break Free From Plastic.

Overall, the most common type of plastic found was polystyrene, which goes into packaging and foam coffee cups, followed closely by PET, used in bottles and containers.

“We share Greenpeace’s goal of eliminating waste from the ocean and are prepared to do our part to help address this important challenge,” a Coke spokesman said in a statement. The company has pledged to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030.

All three companies have made pledges about their packaging for 2025. Coke says all its packaging will be recyclable, Nestle says it will be recyclable or reusable and PepsiCo says it will be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.

They are all also working to use recycled content in their packaging.

Nestle, the world’s largest food and drink maker, said it recognized the issue and is working hard to eliminate non-recyclable plastics. It said it was also exploring different packaging solutions and ways to facilitate recycling and eliminate plastic waste.

PepsiCo was not immediately available to comment outside regular U.S. business hours. 

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Oxfam: Nigeria, Singapore and India Fuel Wealth Gap

Nigeria, Singapore and India are among countries fueling the gap between the super-rich and poor, aid agency Oxfam said Tuesday as it launched an index spotlighting those nations doing the least to bridge the divide.

South Korea, Georgia and Indonesia were among countries praised for trying to reduce inequality, through policies on social spending, tax and labor rights.

Oxfam said inequality had reached crisis levels, with the richest 1 percent of the global population nabbing four-fifths of wealth created between mid-2016 and mid-2017, while the poorest half saw no increase in wealth.

The index of 157 countries is being released as finance ministers and central bank chiefs gather in Bali for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings.

Nigeria, where 10 percent of children die before their fifth birthday, came in last due to “shamefully low” social spending, poor tax collection and rising labor rights violations, Oxfam said.

It said tackling inequality did not depend on a country’s wealth, but on political will.

Singapore, one of the world’s richest countries, came in the bottom 10, partly because of practices which facilitate tax dodging, Oxfam said. The city state, which has no universal minimum wage, also did poorly on labor rights.

South Korea, 56 on the list, was praised for bumping its minimum wage up by 16.4 percent last year, and Georgia (49) for boosting education spending by nearly 6 percent — more than any other country.

Denmark’s track record on progressive taxation, social spending and worker protections earned it the top spot, but Oxfam warned that recent administrations had eroded good policies and inequality had risen.

China (81) ranked way ahead of India (147), devoting more than twice as much of its budget to health and almost four times as much to welfare spending, the agency said.

Oxfam warned that world leaders risked failing on their pledge to reduce inequality by 2030 and urged them to develop plans to close the gap which should be funded by progressive taxation and clamping down on tax dodging.

“We see children dying from preventable diseases because of a lack of health-care funding while rich corporations and individuals dodge billions of dollars in tax,” Oxfam boss Winnie Byanyima said. “Governments often tell us they are committed to fighting poverty and inequality — this index shows whether their actions live up to their promises.”

The index, which included an indicator on violence against women, said less than half of countries had adequate laws on sexual harassment and rape.

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Oxfam: Nigeria, Singapore and India Fuel Wealth Gap

Nigeria, Singapore and India are among countries fueling the gap between the super-rich and poor, aid agency Oxfam said Tuesday as it launched an index spotlighting those nations doing the least to bridge the divide.

South Korea, Georgia and Indonesia were among countries praised for trying to reduce inequality, through policies on social spending, tax and labor rights.

Oxfam said inequality had reached crisis levels, with the richest 1 percent of the global population nabbing four-fifths of wealth created between mid-2016 and mid-2017, while the poorest half saw no increase in wealth.

The index of 157 countries is being released as finance ministers and central bank chiefs gather in Bali for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings.

Nigeria, where 10 percent of children die before their fifth birthday, came in last due to “shamefully low” social spending, poor tax collection and rising labor rights violations, Oxfam said.

It said tackling inequality did not depend on a country’s wealth, but on political will.

Singapore, one of the world’s richest countries, came in the bottom 10, partly because of practices which facilitate tax dodging, Oxfam said. The city state, which has no universal minimum wage, also did poorly on labor rights.

South Korea, 56 on the list, was praised for bumping its minimum wage up by 16.4 percent last year, and Georgia (49) for boosting education spending by nearly 6 percent — more than any other country.

Denmark’s track record on progressive taxation, social spending and worker protections earned it the top spot, but Oxfam warned that recent administrations had eroded good policies and inequality had risen.

China (81) ranked way ahead of India (147), devoting more than twice as much of its budget to health and almost four times as much to welfare spending, the agency said.

Oxfam warned that world leaders risked failing on their pledge to reduce inequality by 2030 and urged them to develop plans to close the gap which should be funded by progressive taxation and clamping down on tax dodging.

“We see children dying from preventable diseases because of a lack of health-care funding while rich corporations and individuals dodge billions of dollars in tax,” Oxfam boss Winnie Byanyima said. “Governments often tell us they are committed to fighting poverty and inequality — this index shows whether their actions live up to their promises.”

The index, which included an indicator on violence against women, said less than half of countries had adequate laws on sexual harassment and rape.

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Trump’s Scottish Golf Resorts Lose Millions

U.S. President Donald Trump’s golf courses in Scotland lost more than $6 million in 2017.

A report released Monday said the Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen lost $1.7 million, slightly lower than the $1.8 million lost in 2016.

His flagship Trump Turnberry resort along the Irish Sea posted a loss of nearly $4.5 million last year, substantially less than the $23.3 million loss posted in 2016. The resort has lost more than $43 million since Trump bought it in 2014.

Trump’s son Eric said in a letter that the 2017 losses at Aberdeen could be attributed to a “crash in the oil price and economic downturn experienced in the northeast of Scotland.”

He pointed to Turnberry as a success story following a major redevelopment there after the 2016 losses. He praised the 2017 number as “one of the most robust financial results in years.”

Trump visited the Turnberry resort in July, costing the U.S. government some $68,800, The Scotsman newspaper reported at the time. It said the State Department paid the resort for the rooms used by Trump and his staff, who stayed there from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

The Trump organization at the time did not dispute the charges but clarified that the U.S. government was charged at cost and that the resort did not profit from the visit.

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