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Google To Prohibit Fake News Websites From Using Its Ad-Selling Software
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 08:36 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's straight-from-the-source department:
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a policy update that will prohibit fake news websites from using its ad-selling software. The move would ultimately make it more challenging for those fake news sites to earn revenue. Reuters reports: The policy change is imminent, Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville told Reuters. "Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher's content, or the primary purpose of the web property," she said in a statement. The policy change comes amid an intensifying debate over how much responsibility technology companies bear for monitoring the accuracy of content as more and more people access news through sites such as Facebook rather than traditional media companies. Facebook, in particular, has been criticized over the spread of inaccurate articles promoting U.S. president-elect Donald Trump on the site. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has denied that the site influenced the outcome of the election. Google's AdSense advertising network is a key financial driver for many publishers. The company places various restrictions on where its ads may be placed, including bans on pornographic and violent content. Work on the policy update began before the election, Faville said.

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Apple Considering Expansion Into Wearable Glasses, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 07:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fruity-spectacles department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple is weighing an expansion into digital glasses, a risky but potentially lucrative area of wearable computing, according to people familiar with the matter. While still in an exploration phase, the device would connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer's field of vision, and may use augmented reality, the people said. They asked not to be identified speaking about a secret project. Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers, according to people familiar with those discussions. The company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing, the people said. Apple hasn't ordered enough components so far to indicate imminent mass-production, one of the people added. Should Apple ultimately decide to proceed with the device, it would be introduced in 2018 at the earliest, another person said. The glasses may be Apple's first hardware product targeted directly at AR, one of the people said. Apple has AR patents for things like street view in mapping apps. It was also awarded patents for smart glasses that make use of full-fledged virtual reality. Apple is unlikely to leverage VR in a mass-consumer product, Cook suggested in October. Apple's challenge is fitting all the technology needed into a useful pair of internet-connected glasses that are small and sleek enough for regular people to wear.

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VW Admits Audi Automatic Transmission Software Can Change Test Behavior
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 05:55 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fool-me-once-shame-on-you department:
In response to a report via Bild am Sonntag last week, which found a new type of defeat device hidden inside an Audi automatic transmission, Volkswagen finally came around to admitting the findings. "Adaptive shift programs can lead to incorrect and non-reproducible results" in emissions tests, VW told Reuters on Sunday. CNET reports: Software in the AL 551 automatic transmission may detect testing conditions and shift in a way that minimizes emissions, only to act "normally" out on the road. Much like Dieselgate's defeat device, that leads to higher-than-imagined pollution, which could be in excess of legal limits. Audi's AL 551 can be found in both gas and diesel vehicles, including the A6, A8 and Q5. Volkswagen isn't going full mea culpa here, though. The automaker also told Reuters that its adaptive transmission software is meant to change shift points in order to improve on-road performance. Many automatic transmissions these days learn from driver input and tailor shifting to match a driver's style, which leads to a smoother drive. VW Group did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Shazam Keeps Your Mac's Microphone Always On, Even When You Turn It Off
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 05:55 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-listening department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: What's that song? On your cellphone, the popular app Shazam is able to answer that question by listening for just a few seconds, as if it were magic. On Apple's computers, Shazam never turns the microphone off, even if you tell it to. When a user of Shazam's Mac app turns the app "OFF," the app actually keeps the microphone on in the background. For the security researcher who discovered that the mic is always on, it's a bug that users should know about. For Shazam, it's just a feature that makes the app work better. Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker who now develops free Mac security tools, discovered this issue thanks to his latest software OverSight, which is designed to alert users when apps use their webcam and microphone. After he released OverSight, Wardle received an email from a user who noticed that the security app alerted him that Shazam was still listening even after he had switched the toggle to "off." Curious about this discovery, and worried his own software might be issuing a false alarm, Wardle reverse engineered the Shazam app to figure out what was happening. After a few hours analyzing the code, Wardle found out that, in fact, Shazam never stops listening, as he explained in a blog post published on Monday. James Pearson, VP of global communications for Shazam, said in a statement to Motherboard: "There is no privacy issue since the audio is not processed unless the user actively turns the app 'ON.' If the mic wasn't left on, it would take the app longer to both initialize the mic and then start buffering audio, and this is more likely to result in a poor user experience where users 'miss out' on a song they were trying to identify."

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US Finalizes Rules That Require Quiet Hyrbid and Electric Cars To Make Noise At Low Speeds
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 04:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's look-where-you're-going department:
In an effort to prevent injuries among pedestrians, the U.S. government has finalized rules that require quiet hybrid and electric vehicles to emit alert sounds when they are traveling at low speeds. Reuters reports: The rules, which were required by Congress, will require automakers like Tesla Motors Inc, Nissan Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp to add the sounds to all vehicles by September 2019. The U.S. Transportation Department said it expects the rules would prevent 2,400 injuries a year by 2020 and require the addition of alert sounds to about 530,000 2020 model vehicles. The U.S. National Highway Transportation Department said the rules will cost the auto industry about $39 million annually because automakers will need to add an external waterproof speaker to comply. But the benefits of the reduced injuries are estimated at $250 million to $320 million annually. NHTSA estimates the odds of a hybrid vehicle being involved in a pedestrian crash are 19 percent higher compared with a traditional gas-powered vehicle. About 125,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are injured annually. The rules will also help the blind and visually impaired. The rules apply to hybrid and electric cars, SUVs, trucks and buses weighing up to 10,000 pounds and seek to prevent crashes at intersections or when electric vehicles are backing up. At higher speeds, the alert is not required because other factors like tire and wind noise adequately warn pedestrians, NHTSA said.

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Charter Customer Sues Over Hidden Fees, Claims 'Massive Billing Fraud'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 04:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's read-the-fine-print department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A Charter customer has sued the cable company, alleging that it falsely advertises a lower price than it actually charges and falsely tells customers that extra fees tacked onto their bills are mandated by the government. The complaint, filed in California State Superior court in San Diego, takes aim at the "Broadcast TV" and "Sports Programming" surcharges that are added to customers' bills despite not being included in the advertised rate. "Charter is committing massive billing fraud by disguising price increases above the advertised and promised service package price in the form of the bogus 'Broadcast TV and Sports Programming Surcharges' line item on customer bills," said the lawsuit filed last week by Michael Song. The plaintiff is a subscriber in California, where Charter, the second largest cable company in the US after Comcast, operates via its newly acquired Time Warner Cable (TWC) subsidiary. Song is paying an extra $8.75 a month from those two fees combined. In addition to subtracting the fees from the advertised price, Charter falsely tells customers that it collects the fees to comply with government mandates, the lawsuit says. A Charter/TWC bill from last month is included in the complaint, and it says, "TWC imposes surcharges to recover costs of complying with its governmental obligations." Song's complaint also has a transcript of a chat with a Charter customer service agent, who claimed that Charter pays the broadcast fee back to the government. The customer service agent apparently has only a limited grasp of English, but the chat transcript helps illustrate one of the ways in which customers are being misinformed about their bills. Song's lawsuit repeatedly refers to the Broadcast TV and Sports Programming surcharges as "bogus" and "hidden," since they subtract a portion of the standard monthly charges from the "services" section of the bill.

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New MacBook Pro's Dedicated AMD Graphics Chips Are 'Significantly' Faster and Support Dual 5K Displays
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
Whereas Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pros feature integrated Iris Pro graphics, the 15-inch MacBook Pros feature dedicated AMD graphics, resulting in significant performance improvements over previous MacBook Pro models. Ars Technica's Andrew Cunningham found the Radeon Pro 455 graphics chip in particular to be a "significant boost" over the dedicated GPUs available in the 2012-2015 MacBook Pro models, such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650M, Nvidia GeForce GTX 750M, and AMD Radeon R9 M370X. MacRumors reports: AMD's Polaris-based Radeon Pro 450, Radeon Pro 455, and built-to-order Radeon Pro 460 GPUs in the new 15-inch MacBook Pro support up to six displays, whereas Intel's integrated GPUs affixed to the logic board can drive a total of three displays. The expanded support enables the new MacBook Pro to drive two of Apple and LG's new UltraFine 5K displays at 60Hz simultaneously. Intel's GPUs can't because, due to bandwidth limitations of the DisplayPort 1.2 spec, the two 5K displays technically function as four displays. This method is known as Multi-Stream Transport (MST). Apple could have used Nvidia's faster Pascal-based GPUs, which support DisplayPort 1.3, but Thunderbolt 3 and most monitors do not support the higher-bandwidth spec yet. In the meantime, Nvidia's GPUs can only drive up to three displays beyond the main MacBook Pro screen -- not enough for dual 5K displays over MST. Apple officially says the 15-inch MacBook Pro offers up to 130% faster graphics performance, and up to 2.5x more computing power per watt, compared to the previous-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro, but those stats are based on the built-to-order Radeon Pro 460 chip that costs between $100 and $200 extra.

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Facebook Disputes Gizmodo Report, Says It Never Built and Withheld Any News Feed Changes Based on Their Political Impact
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 03:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's someone's-lying department:
Tech news site Gizmodo reported Monday that Facebook planned a News Feed update that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but "disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people's feeds" so it chose to never release the update. Facebook has denied the claims in the report. A spokesperson told Slate: "The article's allegation is not true. We did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party. We always work to make News Feed more meaningful and informative, and that includes examining the quality and accuracy of items shared, such as clickbait, spam, and hoaxes. Mark himself said, "I want to do everything I can to make sure our teams uphold the integrity of our products." This includes continuously review updates (sic) to make sure we are not exhibiting unconscious bias.

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Google Surfaces Fake News About Election Results
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's real-news-about-fake-news department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Last week, Facebook faced criticism that the platform's habit for surfacing fake news contributed to the election of Donald Trump -- a claim Mark Zuckerberg denied. This week, Google faces a similar problem, as its search algorithm surfaces fake election results. As Mediaite's Dan Abrams first reported, when you search "final election numbers" or "final vote count 2016," the first result in Google's "in the news" box is from a scrappy-looking Wordpress blog called 70 News that appears to be run by one person. The article, posted on November 12th, features the headline "FINAL ELECTION 2016 NUMBERS: TRUMP WON BOTH POPULAR ( 62.9 M -62.2 M ) AND ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES ( 306-232)HEY CHANGE.ORG, SCRAP YOUR LOONY PETITION NOW!" First, the numbers in this post are inaccurate. Though millions of votes have yet to be counted, but Clinton has already been shown to be leading the popular vote by a sizable margin. Current counts have her ahead by around 668,000 total votes, with some polling experts projecting Clinton will ultimately rack up a 2 million-vote lead. Second, the writer of the 70 News post claims that the source material for the article is "Twitter posts," specifically, this tweet from a user named Michael. Michael, on the other hand, is sourcing an article from the ultra-conservative tabloid USA Supreme, which argues that Clinton might win the number of votes "counted" but will not win the number of votes "cast" because of ignored Republican absentee ballots. (Michael also believes that Trump has been singled out by God to be president of the United States, a conspiracy theory popular with 4chan users who believe that Pepe the Frog is a reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian deity.) And yet Michael -- by way of 70 News, by way of Google -- has become the sole source for a story squatting at the top of Google's search results. 70 News has since updated its post with a single line admitting that CNN is showing different numbers -- the headline and the body of the post remains the same.

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Online Bullying Counselling on Increase, Says Childline
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-bullying department:
An anonymous reader shares a BBC report:The number of children and young people needing counseling about online bullying has increased by 88 percent over five yearst, according to a helpline. The NSPCC's Childline service said it counselled more than 4,500 children in the past year compared to about 2,400 in 2011-12. The total number suffering online abuse is thought to be far higher. Some children as young as seven told Childline how they were tormented, abused and scared to go to school. The charity said online trolls caused misery and humiliation for thousands of children. Childline's president Dame Esther Rantzen said the figures should be a wake-up call.
"Bullying can wreck young people's lives, especially now that the bullies don't stop at the school gates," she said. Cyber-bullying can follow them home until it becomes a persecution they cannot escape.

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Internet Freedom Wanes As Governments Target Messaging, Social Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's internet-freedom department:
Roughly two-thirds of the world's internet users live under regimes of government censorship, according to a report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank. The report adds that internet freedom declined worldwide for a sixth consecutive year in 2016 with the governments increasingly crack down on social media services and messaging apps. From a report on NPR: "In a new development, the most routinely targeted tools this year were instant messaging and calling platforms, with restrictions often imposed during times of protests or due to national security concerns," the report says. WhatsApp emerged as the most-blocked app, facing restrictions in 12 of the 65 studied countries. The report's scope covers the experiences of some 88 percent of the world's Internet users. And of all 65 countries reviewed, Internet freedom in 34 -- more than half -- has been on a decline over the past year. Particular downturns were marked in Uganda, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ecuador and Libya. Facebook users were arrested in 27 countries, more than any other app or platform. And such arrests are spreading. Since June of last year, police in 38 countries have arrested people for what they said on social media -- surpassing even the 21 countries, where people were arrested for what they published on more traditional platforms like blogs and news sites. "Some supposed offenses were quite petty, illustrating both the sensitivity of some regimes and the broad discretion given to police and prosecutors under applicable laws," the report says.

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Amazon Expands Home Services To 20 New Cities, Seeks 'Home Assistants'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's door-to-door-services department:
Amazon today said it has expanded its Home Services business to 20 new cities across the country. Home Services is an under-the-radar offering from Amazon that lets customers hire professionals for things like plumbing, furniture assembly, car repair, home cleaning, and more. From a report on ArsTechnica:Home Services launched in 2015 and is now available in cities including Boulder, Colorado; New Haven, Connecticut; Indianapolis, Indiana; Trenton, New Jersey; and San Antonio, Texas (among other places). The expansion comes as Amazon seeks applicants for a new position called Home Assistant. The Seattle Times reported a couple of listings in the Seattle area for those jobs, which call for applicants with hospitality or service experience. Home Assistants would be "helping Amazon customers keep their home" by "tidying up around the home, laundry, and helping put groceries and essentials like toilet paper and paper towels away."

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Samsung Really, Really Wants Developers To Build Tizen Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 11:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's do-it-already department:
Samsung wants developers to build apps for its homegrown Tizen mobile operating system, and it is offering cash prizes to do so. From a report on The Inquirer:The firm has launched the Tizen Mobile App Incentive Programme, which offers devs whose apps feature in the top 100 most downloaded rankings (can't be that hard, surely) a $10,000 reward. The firm will pay up to $1m a month from February to September 2017, Samsung said, making a total of $9m up for grabs. Developers will be able to sign up for the Tizen incentive programme from January 2017, and the firm explained that applications must be developed using the Tizen SDK and aimed at the Tizen-powered Samsung Z1, Z2 and Z3.

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Facebook's Fight Against Fake News Was Undercut by Fear of Conservative Backlash
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 11:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's facebook-fake-news-problem department:
Facebook has been concerned about fake news stories that circulate on its social platform and how often such incidents occur. The company has had high-level internal debates over the matter since May, discussing different options to curb movements of hoax and false stories. Gizmodo reports Monday that Facebook executives conducted a wide-ranging review of products and policies earlier this year with "the goal of eliminating any appearance of political bias." The company even had a major update for the News Feed planned which could have supposedly filtered fake stories, but the update never saw the light of the day because it was afraid to use it. From the report:One source said high-ranking officials were briefed on a planned News Feed update that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people's feeds. According to the source, the update was shelved and never released to the public. It's unclear if the update had other deficiencies that caused it to be scrubbed. "They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous citing fear of retribution from the company. The source added, "there was a lot of fear about upsetting conservatives after Trending Topics," and that "a lot of product decisions got caught up in that." In an emailed statement, Facebook did not answer Gizmodo's direct questions about whether the company built a News Feed update that was capable of identifying fake or hoax news stories, nor whether such an update would disproportionately impact right-wing or conservative-leaning sites. Instead, Facebook said it "did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party."

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Bangladesh Hopes To Recover $30 Million More From Cyber Heist
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's give-me-my-money department:
In February, Bangladesh's central bank was thrown under the bus after hackers stole a whopping $81 million from it. The central bank has now said it hopes to retrieve $30 million more of the stolen amount. From a report on Reuters: Hackers used stolen Bangladesh Bank credentials to try to send three dozen SWIFT messages to transfer nearly $1 billion from its Fed account. They succeeded in transferring $81 million to four accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila. Most of the money was laundered through casinos in Manila. On Friday, Philippine authorities began the process of handing over $15.25 million to Bangladesh. "We are hoping to get back around $30 million which remains frozen," Bangladesh Bank deputy governor Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan, who heads its financial intelligence unit, told Reuters.

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SteamVR To Get Linux and Mac OSX Support Within 'a Few Months'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's more-VR-awesomeness department:
Valve is planning to introduce beta versions of its SteamVR platform for Mac OSX and Linux users within a few months, RoadToVr reports citing an executive. From the report:One thing's for sure, if you're a PC user wanting to indulge in a spot of immersive entertainment right now, the choice of operating systems on which you can do so are mostly limited to just one. Windows dominates the VR PC landscape right now and that looks set to continue for a while longer. However, Valve will soon move to encourage a diminishing of that monopoly, as it plans to bring SteamVR -- the company's Steam-integrated VR platform -- to both Linux and Mac OSX platforms within the next few months. The initiative was revealed by Valve's Joe Ludwig during a talk at this year's developer-focused Steam Dev Days event in Seattle last month. During the talk, Ludwig outlined the company's view that VR should be as open to innovation as possible, touting the benefits for the long term evolution of virtual reality and how Valve, with OpenVR, are trying to keep what Ludwig calls platform "gatekeepers" from (as they see it) stifling progression in the VR space. Additionally, Ludwig stated that it's been listening to developer and user feedback during SteamVR's first year in consumer hands, and says that they've heard clearly that a version of SteamVR is wanted on other operating systems.

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Samsung To Acquire Connected Car Firm Harman For $8 Billion
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's big-shark,-small-shark department:
An anonymous reader writes: Samsung has announced its plans to buy car tech company Harman International for $8 billion, marking the largest ever overseas deal by a South Korean firm. The electronics giant is to purchase the connected car systems company in a push to strengthen its efforts in emerging areas as its smartphone business slows. "Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time," said Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon. Samsung confirmed that it will acquire the Connecticut-based company for $112 per share in cash, representing a premium of 28% based on Harman's closing stock price on 11th November.

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The NHS's 1.2 Million Employees Are Trapped in a 'Reply-All' Email Thread
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's reply-all department:
An anonymous reader shares a Business Insider report:The NHS's 1.2 million employees are currently trapped in a "reply-all" email hell. A "test" email was accidentally sent to everyone who works at the UK health service - prompting a series of reply-all responses from annoyed recipients going out to all 1-million-plus employees of the organisations. An NHS employee told Business Insider that there have been at least 120 replies so far -- meaning that more than 140 million needless emails have been sent across the NHS's network today. As a result, they said, its email systems are running "very slow today." The NHS Pensions department is currently warning people on Twitter that "if contacting us by email please be aware that there may be delays in responding due to an issue currently affecting all NHS mail."

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Microsoft is Bringing Visual Studio To Mac
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's new-Microsoft department:
Microsoft will finally bring Visual Studio, a "true mobile-first, cloud-first development tool for .NET and C#," to Mac later this month, the company has said. From a report on TechCrunch:The IDE is very similar to the one found on Windows. In fact, that is presumably the point. By making it easy for OS X users to switch back and forth between platforms, Microsoft is able to ensure coders can quickly become desktop agnostic or, barring that, give Windows a try again. From the release: "At its heart, Visual Studio for Mac is a macOS counterpart of the Windows version of Visual Studio. If you enjoy the Visual Studio development experience, but need or want to use macOS, you should feel right at home. Its UX is inspired by Visual Studio, yet designed to look and feel like a native citizen of macOS. And like Visual Studio for Windows, it's complemented by Visual Studio Code for times when you don't need a full IDE, but want a lightweight yet rich standalone source editor.

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China Threatens To Cut Sales of iPhones and US Cars if 'Naive' Trump Pursues Trade War
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '16 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tit-for-tat department:
US president-elect Donald Trump would be a "naive" fool to launch an all-out trade war against China, a Communist party-controlled newspaper has claimed. From a report on The Guardian:During the acrimonious race for the White House Trump repeatedly lashed out at China, vowing to punish Beijing with "defensive" 45% tariffs on Chinese imports and to officially declare it a currency manipulator. "When they see that they will stop the cheating," the billionaire Republican, who has accused Beijing of "the greatest theft in the history of the world", told a rally in August. On Monday the state-run Global Times warned that such measures would be a grave mistake. "If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade, a number of US industries will be impaired. Finally the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence," the newspaper said in an editorial. The Global Times claimed any new tariffs would trigger immediate "countermeasures" and "tit-for-tat approach" from Beijing.

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