Category Archives: News

worldwide news

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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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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Pakistan’s New Government to Open Talks with IMF for Financial Assistance

Pakistan’s new government will open talks with the International Monetary Fund for emergency financial assistance to ease a mounting balance of payments crisis, the finance ministry said Monday.

New Prime Minister Imran Khan spent nearly two months since taking office looking for alternatives to a second IMF bailout in five years, which would likely impose tough conditions on government policy that would limit his vision of an Islamic welfare state.

But on Monday, he decided his finance minister should meet with officials at this week’s annual conference of the IMF and the World Bank in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss a potential package, the finance ministry said in a statement.

“Today, it was decided that we should start talks with IMF,” Finance Minister Asad Umar told GEO TV in an interview Monday night.

The finance ministry did not specify how much in emergency financing the government would seek, but Umar earlier said the government would need at least $8 billion to cover its external debt payments through the end of the year.

Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves dropped in late September to $8.4 billion, barely enough for those debt payments.

The new government blames the previous administration for the country’s economic woes.

‘About time’

Khan’s decision came after the Pakistani stock markets tumbled by 3.4 percent Monday after Khan said the day before that he was still exploring options outside the IMF.

Khan’s government had been seeking economic lifelines from its allies, including new bridge loans from China and a deferred payments scheme for oil with Saudi Arabia, but there were no large-scale deals.

Pakistan’s current account deficit widened 43 percent to $18 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, while the fiscal deficit has ballooned to 6.6 percent of gross domestic product.

The rupee has fallen by more than 20 percent in four devaluations since December. On Monday, the currency was trading at 128 per U.S. dollar on the open market and 124.20 in the official interbank rate.

Monday’s news was welcomed by brokers as a clear signal that could help steady markets tired of nearly two months’ of uncertainty since Khan’s government took office.

“It was much needed and about time,” said Saad Hashemy, research director for Pakistani brokerage Topline Securities. “Now what remains to be seen is the amount of funds and the associated to-do list,” he added. “That is, how much more currency devaluation, extent of further interest rate hikes, energy tariff hike, taxation measures etc.”

As the world’s lender of last resort for governments, the IMF typically sets such conditions on its assistance.

If a package is agreed on, it would be Pakistan’s 13th IMF bailout since the late 1980s.

“The challenge for the current government is to ensure that fundamental economic structural reforms are carried out to ensure that this spiral of being in an IMF program every few years is broken once and for all,” the finance ministry said.

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Pakistan’s New Government to Open Talks with IMF for Financial Assistance

Pakistan’s new government will open talks with the International Monetary Fund for emergency financial assistance to ease a mounting balance of payments crisis, the finance ministry said Monday.

New Prime Minister Imran Khan spent nearly two months since taking office looking for alternatives to a second IMF bailout in five years, which would likely impose tough conditions on government policy that would limit his vision of an Islamic welfare state.

But on Monday, he decided his finance minister should meet with officials at this week’s annual conference of the IMF and the World Bank in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss a potential package, the finance ministry said in a statement.

“Today, it was decided that we should start talks with IMF,” Finance Minister Asad Umar told GEO TV in an interview Monday night.

The finance ministry did not specify how much in emergency financing the government would seek, but Umar earlier said the government would need at least $8 billion to cover its external debt payments through the end of the year.

Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves dropped in late September to $8.4 billion, barely enough for those debt payments.

The new government blames the previous administration for the country’s economic woes.

‘About time’

Khan’s decision came after the Pakistani stock markets tumbled by 3.4 percent Monday after Khan said the day before that he was still exploring options outside the IMF.

Khan’s government had been seeking economic lifelines from its allies, including new bridge loans from China and a deferred payments scheme for oil with Saudi Arabia, but there were no large-scale deals.

Pakistan’s current account deficit widened 43 percent to $18 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, while the fiscal deficit has ballooned to 6.6 percent of gross domestic product.

The rupee has fallen by more than 20 percent in four devaluations since December. On Monday, the currency was trading at 128 per U.S. dollar on the open market and 124.20 in the official interbank rate.

Monday’s news was welcomed by brokers as a clear signal that could help steady markets tired of nearly two months’ of uncertainty since Khan’s government took office.

“It was much needed and about time,” said Saad Hashemy, research director for Pakistani brokerage Topline Securities. “Now what remains to be seen is the amount of funds and the associated to-do list,” he added. “That is, how much more currency devaluation, extent of further interest rate hikes, energy tariff hike, taxation measures etc.”

As the world’s lender of last resort for governments, the IMF typically sets such conditions on its assistance.

If a package is agreed on, it would be Pakistan’s 13th IMF bailout since the late 1980s.

“The challenge for the current government is to ensure that fundamental economic structural reforms are carried out to ensure that this spiral of being in an IMF program every few years is broken once and for all,” the finance ministry said.

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WSJ: Google Hid Protracted Data Leak to Avoid Consequences

Google exposed the personal data of about 500,000 Google+ users to potential misuse by outside developers for years through a bug, then concealed the error to avoid consequences, according to an investigation published by The Wall Street Journal Monday.

Parent company Alphabet Inc responded by announcing it would shut down Google+, a largely defunct social network launched in 2011 to compete with Facebook. Shares of Alphabet Inc fell by about 1 percent in response to the story.  

“Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response,” Google said of the error in a statement to VOA News. “None of these thresholds were met in this instance.”

The report alleges that the bug became active in 2015, only being discovered by Google and shut down in March of this year. Google confirmed that it had discovered the bug in March, but would not say when it became active.

The Wall Street Journal says it reviewed an internal memo circulated among Google’s legal staff and senior executives that warned of “immediate regulatory interest” and public comparisons to Facebook’s user information leak to Cambridge Analytica should the mistake become public.

According to the paper, the memo said that while Google could not find evidence that the exposed data had been misused, it also could not prove that misuse did not happen.

CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly informed of the decision to not tell users after it had already been made by an internal committee.

The data exposed included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile pictures, places lived, occupations and relationship status. It did not include phone numbers, the content of emails or messages, or other kinds of communication data.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers. Hours after the story broke, “Google+” was a top trending term on Twitter.

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WSJ: Google Hid Protracted Data Leak to Avoid Consequences

Google exposed the personal data of about 500,000 Google+ users to potential misuse by outside developers for years through a bug, then concealed the error to avoid consequences, according to an investigation published by The Wall Street Journal Monday.

Parent company Alphabet Inc responded by announcing it would shut down Google+, a largely defunct social network launched in 2011 to compete with Facebook. Shares of Alphabet Inc fell by about 1 percent in response to the story.  

“Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response,” Google said of the error in a statement to VOA News. “None of these thresholds were met in this instance.”

The report alleges that the bug became active in 2015, only being discovered by Google and shut down in March of this year. Google confirmed that it had discovered the bug in March, but would not say when it became active.

The Wall Street Journal says it reviewed an internal memo circulated among Google’s legal staff and senior executives that warned of “immediate regulatory interest” and public comparisons to Facebook’s user information leak to Cambridge Analytica should the mistake become public.

According to the paper, the memo said that while Google could not find evidence that the exposed data had been misused, it also could not prove that misuse did not happen.

CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly informed of the decision to not tell users after it had already been made by an internal committee.

The data exposed included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile pictures, places lived, occupations and relationship status. It did not include phone numbers, the content of emails or messages, or other kinds of communication data.

Google also said it would begin restricting the data it provides to outside developers. Hours after the story broke, “Google+” was a top trending term on Twitter.

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Twitter Says it Will Crack Down on Abusers in Letter to Advisers

Twitter will strengthen rules rules to prevent sexual harassment and abuse on its platform, the social media company said Monday in an email to the collection of safety advocates, researchers and academics it uses help set its policies. There will also be harsher penalties for misconduct.

The new guidelines include immediately and permanently suspending the accounts of anyone who posts or is the source of non-consensual nudity. Twitter’s definition of non-consensual nudity will be expanded to include photos that are taken covertly.

Third parties will now be able to report unwanted sexual advances from one user to another. Previously, only those directly involved in the matter could do so.

Twitter also promised to publish new rules adding hate symbols and imagery to its definition of sensitive media.

The changes come on the heels of a series of tweets from CEO Jack Dorsey Friday pledging to limit the number of bullies and harassers using Twitter.

The micro-blogging platform faced intense criticism last year after it temporarily banned actress Rose McGowan last year for a tweeting out contact information for person she said was connected with Harvey Weinstein, who has faced accusations of sexual assault from McGowan and others.

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Twitter Says it Will Crack Down on Abusers in Letter to Advisers

Twitter will strengthen rules rules to prevent sexual harassment and abuse on its platform, the social media company said Monday in an email to the collection of safety advocates, researchers and academics it uses help set its policies. There will also be harsher penalties for misconduct.

The new guidelines include immediately and permanently suspending the accounts of anyone who posts or is the source of non-consensual nudity. Twitter’s definition of non-consensual nudity will be expanded to include photos that are taken covertly.

Third parties will now be able to report unwanted sexual advances from one user to another. Previously, only those directly involved in the matter could do so.

Twitter also promised to publish new rules adding hate symbols and imagery to its definition of sensitive media.

The changes come on the heels of a series of tweets from CEO Jack Dorsey Friday pledging to limit the number of bullies and harassers using Twitter.

The micro-blogging platform faced intense criticism last year after it temporarily banned actress Rose McGowan last year for a tweeting out contact information for person she said was connected with Harvey Weinstein, who has faced accusations of sexual assault from McGowan and others.

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Facebook Wants People to Invite Its Cameras into Their Homes

Facebook is launching the first electronic device to bear its brand, a screen and camera-equipped gadget intended to make video calls easier and more intuitive.

But it’s unclear if people will open their homes to an internet-connected camera sold by a company with a shoddy track record on protecting user privacy.

Facebook is marketing the device, called Portal, as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to fuss with positioning and other controls. The device features a camera that uses artificial intelligence to automatically pan and zoom as people move around during calls.

The Portal will feature two different screen sizes. It will go on sale in early November for roughly $200 to $350.

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Facebook Wants People to Invite Its Cameras into Their Homes

Facebook is launching the first electronic device to bear its brand, a screen and camera-equipped gadget intended to make video calls easier and more intuitive.

But it’s unclear if people will open their homes to an internet-connected camera sold by a company with a shoddy track record on protecting user privacy.

Facebook is marketing the device, called Portal, as a way for its more than 2 billion users to chat with one another without having to fuss with positioning and other controls. The device features a camera that uses artificial intelligence to automatically pan and zoom as people move around during calls.

The Portal will feature two different screen sizes. It will go on sale in early November for roughly $200 to $350.

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