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U.S. and Brent crude part ways, leaving market flummoxed over oil prices

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Global oil markets have been roiled by a surprising divergence between the world’s major benchmarks, Brent crude and its U.S. counterpart, which in recent days have traded at odds with one another, wrongfooting investors betting on the exact opposite. FILE PHOTO: Oil tanker is seen at sunset anchored off the Fos-Lavera oil hub near Marseille, France, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/File PhotoGraphic - Brent soars, others lag: reut.rs/2JmAsvJ Traders worldwide have been struggling to make sense of where oil prices are headed, juggling countervailing signals from major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia on the path for future OPEC supply, against renewed U.S. sanctions…

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Trump pardons conservative, says lifestyle maven Stewart may be next

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Thursday pardoned a conservative commentator and said he was considering pardoning lifestyle maven Martha Stewart and commuting a former Illinois governor’s prison sentence, prompting critics to accuse him of subverting the rule of law. Trump announced on Twitter his decision to pardon pundit and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to U.S. campaign finance law violations and was an outspoken critic of Democratic former President Barack Obama, saying he had been “treated very unfairly by our government!” The Republican president then told reporters on a flight to Houston he was also considering a pardon for Stewart, who was…

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SoftBank joins GM in self-driving car race; GM shares soar

(Reuters) - Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) will invest $2.25 billion in General Motors Co’s (GM.N) autonomous vehicle unit Cruise, the companies said on Thursday, a deal that validates the venerable Detroit automaker’s leadership in self-driving cars and sent GM shares up more than 10 percent. The move by SoftBank’s $100-billion Vision Fund is one of the highest profile, largest investments to date in self-driving technology, an industry that could revolutionize transportation but faces engineering, safety and regulatory challenges, as well as skepticism among potential users. SoftBank has made a string of large bets in so-called mobility companies, such as ride services provider Uber Technologies Inc UBER.UL,…

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Worried About Big Tech? Chinese Giants Make America’s Look Tame

Those lives are riper for tech disruption than lives in the West. In China, small stores dominate retail. Hospitals are crowded and doctors overworked. Most people do not have credit cards. These are easier business opportunities for Alibaba and Tencent than they would be for Amazon or Facebook.In a report this week, Morgan Stanley predicted that by 2027, the total market in China in which Alibaba could be making money will be worth $19 trillion — more than Amazon’s potential market worldwide.At the moment, both Chinese giants are hustling to find more ways for people to transact using their wallet and not the other’s. Alibaba’s shopping sites…

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Trump plays down chances of quick breakthrough, North Koreans bring letter

NEW YORK/ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday played down the chances of a quick breakthrough in getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms as a delegation from Pyongyang headed to meet him, carrying a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un which suggested a proposed summit may be back on. In a brief interview with Reuters aboard Air Force One on the way to Texas, Trump said he was still hoping for an unprecedented meeting with Kim on June 12 in Singapore to push for North Korean “denuclearization.” “I’d like to see it done in one meeting,” he said.…

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In the World of Cryptocurrency, Even Good Projects Can Go Bad

SAN FRANCISCO — While scams proliferated in the unregulated world of virtual currencies over the last year, a company in Switzerland seemed to be among the more legitimate outfits creating its own cryptocurrency.The company, Envion, said it had collected $100 million from investors this year with a plan to bring clean energy to the computers that manage Bitcoin. The project was reinforced by partnerships with German businesspeople and politicians and with a German academic institution, as well as by promises of compliance with Swiss and American laws.But like so many other projects that have pulled in millions of dollars through so-called initial coin offerings, or I.C.O.s, Envion…

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U.S. allies hit back at Washington’s steel, aluminum tariffs

WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) - Canada and Mexico retaliated against the United State’s decision on Thursday to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and the European Union had its own reprisals ready to go, reigniting investor fears of a global trade war. The tariffs, announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a telephone briefing on Thursday, ended months of uncertainty about potential exemptions and suggested a hardening of the Trump administration’s approach to trade negotiations. The measures, touted by President Donald Trump in March, drew condemnation from Republican lawmakers and the country’s main business lobbying group and sent a chill through financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial…

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Mueller probe spent $4.5 million from October to March: Justice Department

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating suspected Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election spent $4.5 million between October last year and March 2018, the Department of Justice said on Thursday. FILE PHOTO - Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsIn addition, other Justice Department “components” spent $5.476 million on activities supporting the investigation, the department said in a published report. Mueller’s office is also looking into possible links between President Donald Trump’s election campaign…

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Italy’s anti-establishment leaders revive governing coalition

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s anti-establishment parties revived coalition plans on Thursday, ending three months of political turmoil by announcing a government that promises to increase spending, challenge European Union fiscal rules and crack down on immigration. The coalition deal, following inconclusive elections in March, removes the risk of a repeat vote, a prospect that had sparked a big selloff in Italian financial markets this week. The leaders of the right-wing League and the 5-Star Movement patched up their alliance after agreeing to substitute a eurosceptic they had initially proposed as economy minister, a nomination that had been rejected by the head of state. “All the conditions have…

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Pope promises ‘never again’ to sex abuse in Chile, re-opens investigation

VATICAN CITY/SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Thursday promised Chilean Catholics scarred by a culture of clergy sexual abuse that “never again” would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country, where a widespread scandal has devastated its credibility. FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis attends a meeting with faithful of the diocese of Rome at Saint John Lateran Basilica in Rome, Italy May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile/File PhotoThe pope issued the comments in a letter to all Chilean Catholics as the Vatican announced that Francis was sending his two top sexual abuse investigators back to the country to gather more information about the crisis…

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