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Facebook Used People’s Data to Favor Certain Partners and Punish Rivals, Documents Show

LONDON — Facebook used the mountains of data it collected on users to favor certain partners and punish rivals, giving companies such as Airbnb and Netflix special access to its platform while cutting off others that it perceived as threats.The tactics came to light on Wednesday from internal Facebook emails and other company documents released by a British parliamentary committee that is investigating online misinformation. The documents spotlight Facebook’s behavior from roughly 2012 to 2015, a period of explosive growth as the company navigated how to manage the information it was gathering on users and debated how best to profit from what it was building.The documents show…

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Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Are Set to Return in a Downsized Test

SAN FRANCISCO — Eight months after one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian, the ride-hailing company is close to putting its autonomous vehicles back on the road in a drastically reduced version of earlier efforts.Uber was driving its autonomous vehicles on public roads in four cities — sometimes at night — at speeds as high as 55 miles an hour when testing was halted after the accident. Starting within a few weeks, it plans to run the vehicles on a mile loop between two company offices in Pittsburgh. They won’t operate at night or in wet weather, and they won’t exceed 25 m.p.h., Uber…

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Wisconsin Republicans move to undercut incoming Democratic governor

(Reuters) - Facing the loss of complete control of state government next month, Wisconsin Republicans passed legislation on Wednesday to weaken the powers of the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general. FILE PHOTO: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers greets supporters at an election eve rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Nick OxfordThe final votes in the state Senate and Assembly came around dawn, following hours of debate during which Democrats accused Republicans of a naked last-minute power grab that ignores the results of the Nov. 6 election. Republicans defended the legislation as a good-faith effort to ensure the legislative and executive branches remain equals.…

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World’s biggest oil traders paid bribes in Brazil scandal: prosecutors

RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Leading global oil traders Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore paid more than $30 million in bribes to employees at state-owned Brazilian company Petrobras in a scheme that may still be going on, prosecutors said on Wednesday. Brazil's state-run Petrobras oil company headquarters is pictured in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio MoraesTop executives of the international companies had “total and unequivocal” knowledge of the graft involving Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, investigators said at a news conference. The bribes took place between 2011 and 2014, investigators said. The details being made public were just the “tip of the iceberg”…

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‘Badass’ national security women offer Democrats a Trump antidote

HENRICO, Va. (Reuters) - Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger had a potent defense against attacks by President Donald Trump and other Republicans casting her party as weak on national security: her career as a covert CIA counter-terrorism officer. FILE PHOTO: Virginia Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (R) talks with Jorg Huckabee-Mayfield during a visit to the horse rescue stables she and her husband operate in Burkeville, Virginia, U.S. October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File PhotoIn November’s elections, she was one of five Democratic women with national security or military backgrounds who captured Republican-held U.S. House of Representatives seats. “The Badasses,” as the women have dubbed themselves, had…

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Day of mourning in Kosovo for Bush, seen as hero for 1992 letter

The Kosovo flag flies at half staff to honour former President George H. W. Bush in Pristina, Kosovo, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Laura HasaniPRISTINA (Reuters) - Flags flew at half staff across Kosovo on Wednesday in honor of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, who is seen as a figure of national importance in their country for having written a letter threatening Serbia if it attacked. Bush died last week at the age of 94. To Albanians who make up majority in Kosovo, he is best known for his 1992 letter to then President of Serbia Slobodan Milosevic in which he warned him not to start a…

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Master of bygone civility, Bush is hailed at funeral as U.S. ‘soldier-statesman’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President George H.W. Bush was hailed at his state funeral on Wednesday as a warrior-statesman of uncommon personal kindness who went from being a hero of American conflicts to representing a bygone era of civility in politics. Amid an unusual bipartisan spirit at the service at the Washington National Cathedral, both Republican and Democratic politicians honored a president who called for a “kinder, gentler” nation. Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died last week in Texas aged 94. He occupied the White House from 1989 to 1993, navigating the collapse of the Soviet Union and expelling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces from oil-rich…

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Tech We’re Using: How the Digital Era Has Changed the Daily Crossword

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Sam Ezersky, the assistant editor of puzzles for The Times, discussed the tech he’s using.What is your process for making a crossword puzzle, and what are the most important tech tools that you rely on?Some crossword grids are easier to flesh out than others, but they tend to follow a similar design approach: brainstorming a “theme set” around an interesting idea for wordplay, building the puzzle grid’s skeleton around this set and filling it with all the answers through trial and error. Once the grid is complete, the final step is…

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Factbox: Britain’s Brexit vote – How many lawmakers are backing PM May?

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s parliament is debating whether to support Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, a decision which will define Britain’s departure from the European Union and could determine her own future as leader. The odds look stacked against May winning parliamentary approval for her deal, which has come under fire from all sides, including euroskeptics, supporters of the EU and the Northern Irish party propping up her minority Conservative government. Below is a running tally of the number of lawmakers who have so far explicitly indicated during the debate whether they plan vote for and against the Brexit deal on Dec.11. Lawmakers are entitled to…

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Saudi energy minister meets U.S. Iran envoy in Vienna, Tehran irate

VIENNA (Reuters) - Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih met U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook in Vienna on Wednesday, sources familiar with the meeting said. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh criticized Hook over the meeting for what he said was his “meddlesome approach”. Hook, a senior policy adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, met Falih a day before an OPEC meeting in Vienna which is due to debate oil production cuts. U.S. President Donald Trump has urged Saudi Arabia to refrain from output cuts in order to keep oil prices low. He said higher oil supplies were a payback from Riyadh for U.S. support…

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