US Tech Companies Under Scrutiny in White House Russia Probe

Inside a converted port terminal, thousands of tech entrepreneurs gathered this week to pitch their ideas at TechCrunch Disrupt, an annual event that focuses on emerging technologies. But this is no ordinary time for the tech industry, which finds itself under increasing scrutiny from Washington over how Russia used social media to influence the U.S. elections. This week, Facebook announced that it would give U.S. lawmakers access to ads linked…

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London to End Uber Ride Hailing App Over ‘Security Implications’

Transport officials in London say they will not renew Uber’s license to operate in the city due to “a lack of corporate responsibility” in dealing with the ride hailing app’s safety issues. The regulatory body Transport for London said in a statement Friday Uber London “is not fit and proper” to operate in the city. TfL considers that “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation…

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Solar Boom or Bust? Companies Seek Tariffs on Solar Imports

Cheap solar panels imported from China and other countries have led to a boom in the U.S. solar industry, where rooftop and other installations have surged 10-fold since 2011. But two U.S. solar manufacturers say the flood of imports has led one to bankruptcy and forced the other to lay off three-quarters of its workforce. The International Trade Commission is set to decide Friday whether the imports, primarily from Asia,…

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Tech Under Scrutiny in Russian Investigation

The tech industry pitches itself as a force for good, connecting the world and helping information flow freely. But Silicon Valley is under increasing scrutiny with reports that people in Russia were able to use these services to target and influence U.S. public sentiment. At TechCrunch Disrupt, a big tech conference this week in San Francisco, VOA’s Michelle Quinn walked around tech booths to find out how those pitching their…

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Mercedes-Benz to Invest $1 Billion in US Electric Car Plant 

German carmaker Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to invest $1 billion to start making electric vehicles at its manufacturing plant in the southern U.S. state of Alabama. The luxury automaker said it will manufacture electric SUVs under Mercedes’ EQ subbrand at the plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in just more than three years. The expansion is expected to create 600 jobs. Daimler-Benz, which has more than 30 plants worldwide, said the Tuscaloosa…

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Next Round of NAFTA Talks Take on Thornier Issues

The United States will present new proposals and begin to weigh into thornier issues of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the third round of negotiations starting in Ottawa Saturday, U.S. chief negotiator John Melle said Thursday. The stepped-up negotiations come with four more rounds of talks left after Ottawa and a self-imposed year-end deadline to finish the talks before Mexico launches campaigning for its July presidential election. “With…

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Rohingya Crisis Dents Myanmar Hopes of Western Investment Boom

When officials from Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon toured six European countries in June, they were hoping to drum up investment in transport, energy and education. Instead, they were bombarded with questions about the country’s treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority, who have long complained of persecution by the Buddhist majority in the oil-rich, ethnically divided, western state of Rakhine. “In each of every country, that issue was always brought up,”…

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China’s Small Factories Fear ‘Rail Armageddon’ with Orders to Ditch Trucks

Thousands of small factories in China, making everything from steel to chemicals, are scrambling for access to the country’s clogged rail network as Beijing curbs the use of diesel trucks in an effort to tackle air pollution. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) last month gave tens of thousands of companies in 28 cities until Nov. 1 to halve their use of diesel trucks over the winter months, when pollution…

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Trafficking, Debt Bondage Rampant in Thai Fishing Industry, Study Finds

More than a third of migrant fishermen in Thailand clearly were victims of trafficking over the past five years, and even more workers in the industry were possibly trafficked as well, according to a report published Thursday. Routinely underpaid and physically abused, three-quarters of migrants working on Thai fishing vessels have been in debt bondage, working to pay off an obligation, said the study by the anti-trafficking group International Justice…

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Iraqis Track Abandoned Homes With Digital Tools

In camps across northern Iraq, people forced from their homes by Islamic State militants are using their phones to track what is happening to their properties, according to researchers who say returning home is crucial for building a safe future in the war-torn nation. More than three million Iraqis have been driven from their homes, land and farms, according to the United Nations, many of them by armed groups like…

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