The Google Play Store’s redesign is cleaner but not greener

The Google Play Store is getting a fresh new look, which, like most of Google’s redesigns of late, nixes the colorful green header in favor of a brighter and whiter style. (The Gmail app similarly lost its red header earlier this year as part of the same Material Design revamp.) Like the iOS App Store — which got a similar redesign two years ago — the new Play Store now has separate tabs for apps, games, books, and another for movies and TV shows. The tab bar will appear on…

Obamas make their Hollywood movie debut with ‘American Factory’

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Barack and Michelle Obama made their Hollywood debut on Wednesday with a documentary set in industrial Ohio that film reviewers are calling compelling and timely. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama react to the crowd during an unveiling ceremony for their portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, U.S., February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg/File Photo“American Factory,” the story of what happened when a Chinese company took over an abandoned General Motors plant, is the first product of…

U.S. home sales rise, boosted by lower mortgage rates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. home sales rose more than expected in July, boosted by lower mortgage rates and a strong labor market, signs the Federal Reserve’s shift toward lower interest rates was supporting the economy. FILE PHOTO: For Sale signs stand in front of houses in a neighborhood in Davenport, Florida, U.S., June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Phelan Ebenhack/File PhotoA separate report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday suggested the level of employment in the country was slightly lower than previously estimated, taking a bit of the shine off the labor…

First-time U.S. home buyers face supply struggle as rates fall

(Reuters) – Mortgage rates are at a three-year low and housing price appreciation has cooled, but many Americans seeking to buy their first home are facing tough times. FILE PHOTO: A real estate sign advertising a new home for sale is pictured in Vienna, Virginia, U.S. October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File PhotoWhy? There just aren’t enough homes for sale. Developers have struggled to build enough new homes, especially at entry-level prices, because of land and labor shortages and rising material costs. The supply tightness has been compounded by retirees “aging…

Hollywood actor Tim Roth says rise of populism hurt British politics

English actor and director Tim Roth holds the Heart of Sarajevo honorary award during the 25th Sarajevo Film Festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Dado RuvicSARAJEVO (Reuters) – Hollywood star Tim Roth, who launched his acting career playing a racist skinhead in 1980s Britain, said on Wednesday that the “odium of populism” had led to a deterioration in British politics and beyond. Roth, 58, who also starred in Quentin Tarantino’s films Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, was speaking at the Sarajevo Film Festival where he received the…

Trump says Apple CEO Tim Cook is a ‘great executive because he calls me and others don’t’

Apple CEO Tim Cook with U.S. President Donald Trump during a meeting of the American Technology Council on June 19, 2017.Chip Somodevilla | Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump likes Apple CEO Tim Cook. But it’s not necessarily because he’s running a big and successful business. Rather, Trump said Cook calls him « whenever there is a problem » « That’s why he’s a great executive, » Trump told reporters on Wednesday from outside the White House. « Because he calls me and others don’t. » Last week, Cook joined Trump for dinner…

Brexit solution ‘possible within 30 days’

Media playback is unsupported on your device German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested an alternative to the Irish border backstop – a key Brexit sticking point – could be found within 30 days. Speaking at a press conference alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin, she stressed it would be up to the UK to offer a workable plan. The PM said he was « more than happy » with that « blistering timetable ». He accepted the « onus » was on the UK, but said he believed there…

Analyst, who downgraded Apple, says China tariff risk was not the reason

An analyst from Rosenblatt Securities told CNBC on Wednesday that the firm downgraded Apple not because of China tariffs but for reasons relating to slow growth in production sales and a delay in the rollout of 5G networks.Rosenblatt downgraded the tech giant in July to sell from neutral. The firm said Apple will « face fundamental deterioration over the next 6 to 12 months » as product sales slow down in the second half of 2019. It maintained its 12-month $150 price target.A month later, the institutional broker still stands…

Google postpones shutdown of Hangouts for G Suite users

Google will let G Suite customers continue to use Hangouts until next year, delaying a shutdown of the service that was supposed to begin in October. Hangouts will now stay around for business customers until at least next June. The shutdown will move customers of Google’s business-focused G Suite subscription over to a pair of new chat services: Hangouts Chat, a Slack competitor; and Hangouts Meet, a video conferencing service. While the services generally include the same functionality (and more), people are pretty used to Hangouts, and Google says it’s…

Tesla shares slide on news of Walmart suing over solar-panel fires

Elon Musk Mike Blake | Reuters Shares of Tesla were down more than 3% Wednesday after Walmart sued the electric car company’s energy division for fires allegedly stemming from solar panels. Tesla’s stock went down as the broader market moved higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 300 points, or more than 1%, at one point. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York state court, Walmart alleged that Tesla solar panels installed atop seven of its stores had caught fire. Walmart is claiming breach of contract,…

Merkel: Backstop alternative ‘possible within 30 days’

Media playback is unsupported on your device German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested an alternative to the Irish border backstop – a key Brexit sticking point – could be found within 30 days. Speaking at a press conference alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin, she stressed it would be up to the UK to offer a workable plan. The PM said he was « more than happy » with that « blistering timetable ». He accepted the « onus » was on the UK, but said he believed there…

Facebook’s tool that lets people delete their browsing history falls short of promise, analysts say

The Facebook logo is displayed during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on April 30, 2019 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan | Getty ImagesFacebook this week announced a long-awaited feature that will allow users to disconnect their account from their app and website history, which would disable Facebook from using that information to target ads at them. But one analyst is saying that the feature falls short of Facebook’s original promise, while Facebook disputes it.SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analysts said in a research note the « Off-Facebook Activity » feature « appears…

Dwayne Johnson leads Forbes list of highest-paid actors

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Action movie hero Dwayne Johnson, star of the “Jumanji” and “Fast and Furious” franchises, topped the annual list of the world’s highest-paid actors, Forbes magazine reported on Wednesday. Cast member and producer Dwayne Johnson takes photos with fans at the premiere for « Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw » in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mario AnzuoniJohnson, the former wrestler once known as The Rock, pulled in $89.4 million from June 2018 to June 2019, the magazine said. That includes his salary…

A new theory describes how hate travels across social media platforms and around the world

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.Chesnot | Getty ImagesIn a new study mapping how hate travels across the online world, researchers explored how hate groups thrive on social media even when they are banned and offered new solutions to dismantle them.The study, published in the journal « Nature » on Wednesday, maps out a phenomenon lawmakers and social media companies have struggled to understand and contain. Shortly after…

YouTube pressured to ban Chinese state media ads that spread misinformation about protesters

YouTube is being pressured to remove ads from China Central Television, a state media channel that’s allegedly spreading misinformation about protesters in Hong Kong. Users on Twitter and Reddit have posted a number of screenshots of the ads, many of which paint the Hong Kong protests as an illegitimate product of foreign influence. The users accuse YouTube and parent company Google of enabling an “infestation of ads” that “tries to sow political discord.” As a result, many supporters of the protests are demanding that Google stop CCTV from running ads…

Brexit: ‘Ample scope’ for new deal, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has said there is « ample scope » for the UK and EU to renegotiate a new Brexit deal before 31 October, as he meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. At a press conference, the prime minister reiterated his call for the current Irish border backstop plan to be ditched. Mrs Merkel said the backstop was necessary until a long-term solution to the UK-Irish border after Brexit was found. Source: BBC

Tesla slides on news of Walmart suing over solar panel fires

Elon MuskMike Blake | ReutersShares of Tesla were down about 2% on Wednesday in an otherwise strong market on news that Walmart is suing the company’s energy division.By comparison, the broader market moved higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 300 points, or more than 1%, at one point.In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Walmart alleged that Tesla solar panels installed atop seven of its stores had caught fire. Walmart is suing for breach of contract, gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards. « As…

Brexit: PM meets Angela Merkel with call to scrap backstop

Boris Johnson has arrived to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where he is expected to reiterate his call for the Irish border backstop plan to be scrapped. The pair shook hands outside the Chancellery in Berlin, as protesters nearby shouted « stop Brexit ». The PM has said the arrangement to avoid a hard border after Brexit must be removed to secure a deal. But the EU has rejected the possibility of any changes to the backstop. Mr Johnson has said the EU’s response to his demand to scrap the…

Tiny Nevada town near secretive Area 51 braces for alien hunters

RACHEL, Nevada (Reuters) – Connie West, co-owner of an alien-themed motel in the tiny U.S. desert outpost of Rachel, Nevada, believes they are coming no matter what. Not aliens, but alien hunters. A sign reading « Extraterrestrial Highway » stands along the road in Rachel, Nevada, U.S., August 16,2019. REUTERS/Rollo RossA whimsical invitation on Facebook has urged UFO enthusiasts to gather on Sept. 20 and “storm” nearby Area 51, a U.S. military base long rumored to house extraterrestrials and spaceships. More than 2 million Facebook users have said they plan…

Trade woes to shave 0.3% from U.S. GDP by 2020: congressional budget experts

FILE PHOTO: Sea gulls sit on a lamppost beside shipping containers stacked at the Paul W. Conley Container Terminal in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Brian SnyderWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Higher trade barriers, including President Donald Trump’s tariffs, are taking a toll on the U.S. economy as rising domestic prices reduce consumers’ purchasing power and increase the cost of business investment, congressional budget experts said on Wednesday. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said changes in U.S. and foreign trade policies since January 2018 will reduce inflation-adjusted U.S. gross domestic product…

Target shares surge on same-day delivery boost

(Reuters) – Target Corp beat expectations for earnings and raised its full-year outlook on Wednesday as its investments in same-day delivery and pick-up services increased traffic to its website and stores, sending shares 19% higher. FILE PHOTO: An empty shopping cart stands outside a target store during a Black Friday sales event in Westbury, New York, U.S., November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon StapletonThe retailer has spent billions of dollars on its push to compete with the ease of delivery provided by Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc, buying grocery delivery firm Shipt,…

‘You prepare for war’: how one U.S. firm tried escaping Trump’s China tariffs

Workers assemble LCD 4K televisions on an assembly line at a Panasonic factory.Toru Yamanaka | AFP | Getty Images When Larry Sloven heard last year that U.S. tariffs threatened his China electronics business, he knew that setting up shop elsewhere would be a slog rather than an adventure.The 70-year-old had spent half his life building supply chains in southern China to produce goods for big-box U.S. retailers. But he had never reshuffled one on short notice, with tariffs hanging over his head. « It is the hardest thing I’ve ever…

Greece promises US it won’t help an Iranian oil tanker reach Syria

An Iranian flag flutters on board the Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on August 18, 2019. JOHNNY BUGEJA | AFP | Getty Images After urgent prompting by the U.S, Greece confirmed it won’t help an Iranian oil tanker headed east in the Mediterranean Sea to deliver oil to Syria. On July 4, Gibraltar authorities with the help of the British Royal Marines, seized the Grace 1 oil tanker following suspicions it was delivering oil to the Syrian regime — a violation…

Instagram denies viral terms-of-service hoax that tricked Rick Perry, celebrities

Instagram app on a mobile phone.Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesInstagram has been hit by a hoax that falsely claims the Facebook-owned social media site is making major changes to its terms of service.The widely circulated fake post warns Instagram is changing its privacy policy and will make public all of users’ photos, including deleted messages. It also claims the site can « use » users’ photos against them in court, and says users have to repost the image in order to prevent Instagram from taking action.The hoax post…

Denmark defiant on Greenland after Trump cancels state visit

Media playback is unsupported on your device Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, says she is « annoyed and surprised » after Donald Trump cancelled his visit over the future of Greenland. « Our preparations were well under way, » she said, adding she had been looking forward to meeting the US president. Ms Frederiksen reiterated that the island of Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, was « not for sale ». Mr Trump was scheduled to visit on 2 September, at the invitation of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II. But last week,…

Booba attack: Gang targets French rapper video team

Shots were fired and three people were wounded when a gang armed with guns, iron bars and baseball bats attacked a team filming a video for rapper Booba in the northern suburbs of Paris. Up to 20 people took part in the attack outside a disused warehouse in Aulnay-sous-Bois, Europe 1 radio reported. Booba had already left the set by the time of the assault, shortly before midnight on Tuesday. Three people were hurt including the video director, the radio station said. One local person watching the film crew was…

Two injured as gunmen ambush French rapper Booba’s video shoot

FILE PHOTO: French rapper Booba performs during the 16th Mawazine World Rhythms International Music Festival in Rabat, Morocco, May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal/File PhotoPARIS (Reuters) – At least two people were injured after gunmen ambushed a video shoot involving French rapper Booba, authorities said on Wednesday, in the latest incidence of violence marring the suburbs of Paris. Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said around 15 individuals – some armed with baseball bats and firearms – had attacked people on the video shoot, which took place late on Tuesday…

Waymo is making some of its self-driving car data available for free to researchers

The data collected by self-driving cars used to be a closely guarded secret. But recently, many companies developing autonomous driving systems have begun to release their data to the research community in dribs and drabs. The latest to do so is Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet, which today is making some of the high-resolution sensor data gathered by its fleet of autonomous vehicles available to researchers. Waymo says its dataset contains 1,000 driving segments, with each segment capturing 20 seconds of continuous driving. Those 20-second clips correspond to 200,000…

Citigroup, BNP caught up in U.S. case against Huawei CFO: documents

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S.-based Citigroup (C.N) and French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) are caught up in the U.S. criminal case against the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, according to newly available documents. FILE PHOTO: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is escorted by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) staff during her arrival at Vancouver International airport in which she was arrested on a U.S. warrant, in a still image from video taken in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada December 1, 2018 and released August 21, 2019. CBSA/Handout via REUTERSThe banks…

Pope gives sick girl free run of audience stage, delighting crowd

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis allowed a girl suffering from an undisclosed illness to move around undisturbed clapping and dancing on the stage for most of his general audience on Wednesday, delighting the crowd. The girl, wearing a pink T-shirt reading “Love,” slipped away from her mother at the front of the audience hall and reached the big marble stage. She pranced back and forth in front of him, jumped, and occasionally let go a loud, sharp clap. Francis signaled to security to let her be. The girl returned…