U.S. lawmakers want regulation of Facebook, Twitter political ads

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar - Press PhotoWASHINGTON - 19 October 2017: U.S. lawmakers, alarmed over hackers' use of the internet to influence last year's election, introduced legislation on Thursday to extend the rules that apply to political advertising on television and radio to social media like Facebook Inc.Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner and Republican John McCain introduced the "Honest Ads Act," which would amend existing election law covering television and radio outlets to impose those rules to paid internet and digital advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google. He said advertisements could have been purchased using dollars, euros or pounds.He and Klobuchar acknowledged that the companies have resisted the legislation but said, "It's our hope that the social media companies and platform companies will work with us. "Separately, Facebook and Twitter said Thursday they would send their general counsels to testify Nov. 1 before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.An executive from Google also is expected to appear at the public hearings, although the company has not yet said who will testify. A Google spokeswoman said on Thursday she had no update.General counsel Colin Stretch will be the Facebook representative to testify before both committees, company spokesman Andy Stone said. The company's high-profile Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg will not appear.A Twitter spokeswoman said Acting General Counsel Sean Edgett will represent the microblogging site.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2017 18:56 UTC


Nestle speeds up overhaul to counter slowest growth in decades

A Kit Kat chocolate bar is seen in this illustration photo taken July 20, 2017 - REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File PhotoZURICH - 19 October 2017: Nestle, the world’s biggest packaged food group, is doubling spending on its restructuring this year to up to 1 billion Swiss francs ($1 billion) to cope with its weakest sales growth in more than two decades.Europe’s largest company by market value is under pressure to improve returns from activist investor Daniel Loeb, whose Third Point hedge fund revealed a $3.5 billion stake in June.It must also review its business model and brand portfolio to ensure its products stay appealing to consumers who often prefer fresh, local foods to Nestle’s Maggi soups or KitKat chocolate bars.Organic sales rose 3.1 percent in the third quarter, up from 2.4 percent in the second, in line with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll. Performance was helped by improved trading in Europe and Asia.Still, Nestle forecast growth for the full year around the 2.6 percent it generated for the first nine months, implying a slowdown in the fourth quarter and the year as a whole. Last year’s sales rose 3.2 percent.“Going forward, everyone is well advised to be cautious and you see that reflected in our expectations for the fourth quarter,” Chief Executive Mark Schneider said on Thursday.Finance chief Francois-Xavier Roger cautioned that Europe and Asia might not be able to repeat the good performance over the final three months, but confirmed Nestle’s goal of returning to mid-single-digit organic growth by 2020.Nestle said it would spend up to 1 billion Swiss francs this year on restructuring, double its initial plan, as it seeks to cut structural costs, such as by closing factories, boosting efficiency and sourcing globally.Yet its overall forecast for restructuring costs of 2.5 billion francs between 2016 and 2020 remained unchanged.The acceleration will reduce this year’s operating margin by 0.4 to 0.6 percentage point, while the underlying margin -- before restructuring costs -- is expected to rise by at least 0.2 percentage point in constant currency, Nestle said.Nestle last month set a target for the underlying margin to reach 17.5-18.5 percent by 2020, up from 16.0 percent in 2016.Slowing growth rates at packaged food groups have sparked the interest of activist investors, with Procter & Gamble (PG.N) also becoming a target recently.Unilever reported lower-than-expected third-quarter sales on Thursday, losing market share to smaller competitors and dampening hopes that an aborted takeover offer from Kraft Heinz would spark a swift improvement.Nestle shares were 0.8 percent lower at 1530 GMT, slightly lagging the European sector .SX3P.They have gained 16 percent so far this year and are trading at 28.3 times forward earnings, according to Reuters data, at a premium to Danone at 24.2 times and Unilever at 25.8 times.Analysts said Nestle’s performance was disappointing when compared to Danone that saw strong baby food sales in China boost growth in the third quarter to 4.7 percent.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2017 15:33 UTC


Egypt submits 107 cooperation projects to EU

Secretary General of Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FECC) Alaa Ezz -- REUTERSCAIRO – 19 October 2017: Secretary General of Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FECC) Alaa Ezz said Thursday that Egypt submitted 107 projects out of an overall 300 ones submitted by 14 countries to EU-funded cooperation without borders program.The program is funded by the EU with a sum of €480 million given to 14 countries on the coast of the Mediterranean sea to revive cooperation between business organisations and civil societies to develop trade, industry, environment, renewable energy and human resources fields, as well as boosting investments, Ezz explained.Ezz made these remarks on the sidelines of the Egyptian-Portuguese forum, where six companies, half of which are from the north and the other from the south are participating.The forum includes preparation of detailed study of projects to select the best ones regardless of the number of projects allocated to each country, he underlined.The FECC secretary general pointed out that the Egyptian chambers of commerce received funds to finance 22 projects out of 81 ones during the past period, all of which were implemented except for five being currently carried out.He expressed his hope for receiving funds for the largest number of projects in the coming period, adding that the announcement of projects which will receive funds from the EU program will take place in early January.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2017 15:22 UTC


Egypt is moving through right path: AFP CEO

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agence France-Presse (AFP), Emmanuel Hoog - Press PhotoCAIRO – 19 October 2017: “Egypt will achieve a remarkable renaissance in the near future thanks to the current reform program,” stated Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Agence France-Presse (AFP), Emmanuel Hoog, on Wednesday during a three-day visit to Cairo.In an interview with Egypt Today, Hoog stated that “even though Egypt has faced many challenges during the past period, it’s moving along the right path.”When asked if western media outlets are biased against Egypt, he stated that there is no clear or deliberate bias against Egypt because of its regional importance. Egypt’s news are the focus of major newspapers and international news agencies.On the future of printed newspapers, Hoog said that print press is suffering from the specter of extinction at the moment due to several factors such as the tendency of many media entities to launch websites.Press papers face the biggest threat whereas electronic media has the ability to survive in areas of conflict. “I say that the key to press papers’ success is to ensure the diversity of content and news,” he added.Hoog praised the transparency and professionalism of Egyptian editors who work in AFP offices.He also asserted that all news agencies know the value of Egypt regionally and among African countries.Agence France-Presse (AFP) is an international news agency headquartered in Paris, France.The agency was established in 1944 and is considered the third largest news agency in the world, after the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2017 15:22 UTC


Greece defends F-16 warplane upgrade amid cost criticism

AFP | Greece is one of only five NATO members meeting their alliance spending commitmentsATHENS – 19 October 2017: Greece on Thursday defended its decision to upgrade its fleet of US-made F-16 warplanes, arguing that the multi-million cost will not destabilise its precarious budget. "We are discussing the upgrade of (around 90) aircraft at a maximum cost of 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) over a period of ten years," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told reporters. "I do not judge the fiscal cost excessive...it's about 110 million euros per year, this does not affect fiscal targets at almost any point," he said.The programme would start running after 2018, when the country is scheduled to exit its current European economic bailout, the spokesman said.He said it was "logical" that European creditors may have questions on the issue and Athens is prepared to provide details "if formally asked". "The (upgrade) has not been concluded, we are in advanced talks," Tzanakopoulos said, adding: "(We) do not intend to repeat the mistakes of the past when defence spending was inordinately inflated. "Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who rubber-stamped the upgrade during an official visit to Washington this week, has said the planes risked being rendered inoperable without the upgrade.Speaking at the Brookings Institute, Tsipras -- who took a surprise flight aboard an F-16 just before the Washington visit -- said Greece is obliged to keep up defence spending because of its geographic proximity to volatile areas.Greece spends two percent of its budget on defence, one of only five NATO members to meet this alliance requirement.The F-16 upgrade falls within this threshold, Tzanakopoulos said.

Source:Egypt Today

October 19, 2017 14:15 UTC


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