Jordan, Iraq Reopen Main Border Crossing on Baghdad to Amman Highway

Tureibil, Iraq’s main international border crossing with Jordan and a key trade route, officially reopened Wednesday after being officially closed for three years. Privately-owned U.S. security firms, along with Iraqi ground and air forces, will be responsible for safety along the 500-kilometer route from Baghdad to Amman, which goes through Iraq’s Anbar province. Iraqi forces have cleared areas near the highway of Islamic State militants in recent months, and parts…

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Harvey May Cut US Economic Growth as It Boosts Gasoline Prices

Energy companies, homeowners, and others are calculating the cost of Hurricane Harvey, which has already boosted gasoline prices and may slow the growth of the huge U.S. economy. Gasoline prices surged to a two-year high recently as record floods forced refineries and other oil industry operations to close in Texas and elsewhere. Oil industry analysts say nearly one-quarter of the U.S. refining capacity is shut, which prompted worries about future…

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Alexa, Cortana Talk to Each Other in Amazon-Microsoft Deal

Microsoft and Amazon are pairing their voice assistants together in a collaboration announced Wednesday. Both companies say later this fall, users will be able to access Alexa using Cortana on Windows 10 computers and on Android and Apple devices. They’ll also be able to access Cortana on Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo. Microsoft says the tie-up will allow Alexa customers to get access to Cortana features such as…

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Peru Opposition Leader Investigated in Connection With Odebrecht

The Peruvian attorney general’s office has opened a criminal probe into opposition leader Keiko Fujimori for allegedly laundering money for scandal-plagued Brazilian builder Odebrecht, Fujimori’s attorney said on Tuesday. The twice-defeated right-wing presidential candidate and eldest daughter of Peru’s imprisoned former leader Alberto Fujimori denied that she or her political party ever took money from Odebrecht. “I’m certain the investigation will confirm that Odebrecht did not give us any money,”…

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Harvey’s Floods Scatter Cattle in Texas, Swamp Cotton Fields

South Texas ranchers are scrambling to relocate cattle from massive flooding spawned by Tropical Storm Harvey, with many hauling livestock up to the north of the state while others rush to move the animals to higher ground nearby. About 1.2 million cattle are located in a 54-county disaster area drenched by Harvey, which made landfall as a hurricane last weekend. With more torrential rain in the forecast, ranchers are expressing…

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World’s Biggest Drone Drug Deliveries Take Off in Tanzania

Tanzania is set to launch the world’s largest drone delivery network in January, with drones parachuting blood and medicines out of the skies to save lives. California’s Zipline will make 2,000 deliveries a day to more than 1,000 health facilities across the east African country, including blood, vaccines and malaria and AIDS drugs, following the success of a smaller project in nearby Rwanda. “It’s the right move,” Lilian Mvule, 51,…

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Study: Cereal, Drink Companies Often Overlook Risk of Forced Labor in Sugarcane

Food and beverage companies face the risk of forced labor in countries where they obtain sugarcane but most fall short in efforts to tackle the problem that threatens millions of workers, according to a study released on Tuesday. Most of 10 companies studied offered only limited details of how they assess and monitor risks of forced labor in specific countries, and most of grievance procedures for workers are weak, said…

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With Harvey Looming, Traders Rush to Ship Oil From Louisiana

Oil traders were scrambling Tuesday to move crude and fuel supplies through ports in Louisiana as Tropical Storm Harvey barreled toward the state, threatening to close the last major oil terminals still operating on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Harvey pummeled the heart of the U.S. energy industry in Texas, dumping a record amount of rain and triggering catastrophic flooding in Houston. Harvey was the strongest storm to hit the state…

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Are Consumers Ready to Give Augmented Reality a Try?

You might have gotten a taste of “augmented reality,” the blending of the virtual and physical worlds, as you chased on-screen monsters at real-world landmarks in last year’s gaming sensation, “Pokemon Go.” Upcoming augmented reality apps will follow that same principle of superimposing virtual images over real-life settings. That could let you see how furniture will look in your real living room before you buy it, for instance. While “Pokemon…

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World Bank: Tackle Middle East Water Scarcity to Save Money, Boost Stability

The Middle East and North Africa region loses about $21 billion each year because of an inadequate supply of water and sanitation, the World Bank said Tuesday, warning that urgent action is needed to prevent ripple effects on stability and growth. Poor management of water resources and sanitation in the world’s most water-scarce region costs about 1 percent of its annual gross domestic product, with conflict-hit states losing as much…

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