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TikTok is trying to stop a suicide video from spreading

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Tyumen, Russia - January 21, 2020: TikTok and Facebook application on screen Apple iPhone XR
Anatoliy Sizov via Getty Images

Since Sunday evening, TikTok has been trying to stop the spread of a graphic video showing a man committing suicide with a gun (via The Verge). The clip opens with an image of a grey-bearded man sitting in front of his desk. The seemingly innocuous nature of the video’s start and its appearance in TikTok’s For You feed, which automatically surfaces content based on a person’s interests, has led to people accidentally exposing themselves to the clip. TikTok has tried to stop the video from circulating by banning the accounts of people who try to re-upload it multiple times.

“Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who’ve reported content and warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the person and their family.”

The episode highlights a significant weakness of TikTok’s algorithm. While all social networks have had, to some extent, trouble moderating their platforms, TikTok’s recommendation engine makes it difficult for the company to prevent content like this from spreading altogether. The TikTok community has tried to protect itself by sharing content warnings, telling their followers to avoid the video if it shows up on their For You feed. People have also shared the video on Twitter and Instagram after it was originally streamed over Facebook Live.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), some 45,000 Americans die from suicide each year. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/tiktok-suicide-video-221041082.html

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U.S. stock futures are mixed after Dow snaps a 4-day winning streak

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Stock futures were mixed in early trading on Friday after another sell-off on Wall Street led by major technology names.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average pointed to a nearly breakeven opening. S&P 500 futures were also little changed, while Nasdaq 100 futures traded higher.

During Thursday’s regular trading session, the S&P 500 declined 0.8% for its biggest drop in a week. The Dow dipped 130 points, snapping a four-day winning streak. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 1.3% and briefly dipped back into correction territory, down 10% from its record high. 

“Tech inflicted a lot of the damage as that group extends the sell-off that commenced back on Sept.3,” Vital Knowledge founder Adam Crisafulli said in a note on Thursday. “The summer excess is still being wrung out of tech and the process has a bit more to run.”

Some of the biggest technology stocks have suffered double-digit losses so far this month as investors rotated out of high-flying market leaders. Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple have all lost at least 10% this month.

Investors also remained on edge about the outlook on further coronavirus stimulus as well as the timing of a viable vaccine. 

Republicans and Democrats are still struggling to agree on how much aid to continue to provide in a follow-up bill to the previous $2 trillion package. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he liked “the larger numbers,” urging GOP lawmakers to go for a bigger coronavirus stimulus, but his comments left Republicans skeptical.

Meanwhile, the path to a Covid-19 vaccine, which is critical to the economic recovery, still seems unclear. Health officials said vaccinations would be in limited quantities this year and not widely distributed for six to nine months.

“A safe and transparent vaccination process is critical to encouraging widespread inoculations once effective vaccines are identified and tested.” Mark Haefele, UBS Global Wealth Management’s chief investment officer, said in a note. “In our central scenario, we expect widespread vaccine availability by 2Q21.”

On Thursday, the Federal Reserve, which just began a second round of Wall Street stress tests, said it’s weighing whether to continue capping U.S. banks’ dividend payments and share buybacks.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/17/stock-futures-are-flat-in-overnight-trading-after-dow-snaps-a-4-day-win-streak.html

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The next wave of the global recovery could send commodity prices soaring

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A freight train carrying iron ore travels along a rail track towards Port Hedland, Australia, on Monday, March 18, 2019.

Ian Waldie | Bloomberg via Getty Images

The next phase of the economic recovery is likely to be driven by commodity-intensive infrastructure investment, analysts have told CNBC, potentially setting the stage for further gains across the industrial space in the coming months.

The prediction comes at a time when market participants are closely monitoring the strength of the global economic recovery, as many countries grapple with an upsurge in the number of reported Covid-19 infections.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted forecasters to issue dire economic projections this year, with the OECD warning on Wednesday that the outlook remains “exceptionally uncertain.”

One sign the recovery may be gaining momentum, however, came as the world’s second-largest economy reported industrial output expanded the most in eight months in August.

China, which has been in recovery mode for months now, published data on Tuesday that showed industrial output growth accelerated to 5.6% in August when compared to a year earlier. It bolsters the view that Beijing’s demand recovery continues to gather pace, with government stimulus helping to fuel a rebound.

“We’ve already seen a metals-intensive response in China, highly metals-intensive,” Max Layton, head of EMEA commodities research at Citi, told CNBC via telephone.

“It has been absolutely stunning how strong China has rebounded on the construction side of things,” he continued, reflecting on the “spectacular” rally seen across the industrial commodity space as a result.

I’m watching things like iron ore very closely now because those sorts of industrial commodities are going to skyrocket if we do get this bounce-back driven by infrastructure.

Andy Critchlow

Head of news in EMEA at S&P Global Platts

Layton identified “three big catalysts” for commodity investors to track through to the end of the year: Coronavirus vaccine news; the strength of China’s economic recovery; and the scale of the U.S. easing package.

Iron ore prices could ‘skyrocket’

“I do think that a lot of the stimulus will be infrastructure driven. We already know that there is a massive infrastructure deficit in a lot of developed countries and that is something that could be addressed in this period,” Nitesh Shah, director of research at New York-based WisdomTree Investments, told CNBC via telephone.

“Why waste a good crisis? You can actually get through a lot of the infrastructure programs that you’ve been waiting decades to actually get through the door in this time,” Shah continued. “I’m not as optimistic on a big ‘V-shaped,’ rigorous recovery but even some sort of recovery is good for the industrial space.”

A V-shaped recovery refers to a sharp decline in economic activity which is then matched by an abrupt rebound.

“Ultimately, if you look at the response economies are making to (the coronavirus crisis), we’ve had the fiscal response, we’ve had central banks slashing interest rates, we’ve had central banks pumping more money into economies, the next phase is massive investment in infrastructure and that’s going to come globally,” Andy Critchlow, head of news in EMEA at S&P Global Platts, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” last month.

“We saw this back in 2008-2009 in response to the financial crisis (and) what did we get out of that? We got a rally in some of the industrial commodity markets — it was a super-cycle,” he said.

“I’m watching things like iron ore very closely now because those sorts of industrial commodities are going to skyrocket if we do get this bounce-back driven by infrastructure and then that will filter into oil.”

Spot iron ore prices climbed to fresh six-and-a-half-year highs on Monday, trading close to $129 a dry metric ton on the back of a construction boom in China.

The steelmaking ingredient has since pared gains, changing hands at $126.59 on Friday. Iron ore prices have climbed more than 37% year-to-date.

Twenty kilogram gold and silver bricks sit at the ABC Refinery smelter in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on Thursday, July 2, 2020.

David Gray | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Alongside net-zero interest rates globally, demand for a hedge against a perceived inflation risk has helped spot gold futures jump more than 28% so far this year, while silver has gained around 50% over the same period.

Looking ahead to 2021, Critchlow suggested some of the world’s largest economies could soon announce “big” infrastructure developments.

These projects were likely to be led by China, India and the U.S., he argued, noting that both candidates in the upcoming U.S. presidential election had pledged to spend an “awful lot of money” on infrastructure. “That’s got to be good for oil demand and it’s got to be good for commodities across the board.”

Trump vs. Biden on infrastructure

President Donald Trump was rumored to be preparing a $1 trillion infrastructure plan earlier in the year, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source. However, his position on future investment into infrastructure has remained vague ahead of the November 3 presidential election.

The Trump campaign announced the president’s second term agenda last month, pledging to “build the world’s greatest infrastructure system.” The press release offered no further detail on how Trump planned to fulfill this promise if re-elected. In 2016, the incumbent Republican famously committed to spending $1 trillion on infrastructure, but nothing much has happened since.

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about climate change during a campaign event at the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., September 14, 2020.

Leah Millis | Reuters

By comparison, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to spend $2 trillion “to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future.” Biden has said, if elected, he plans to rebuild roads, bridges, green spaces and water systems as well as providing universal broadband.

“To the degree the market believes they are going to put through infrastructure easing, then yes, it is good news either way for the commodities that are going to be exposed to both candidates’ proposals,” Citi’s Layton said.

He suggested Trump’s prior commitments to “old school” infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges, would likely be “steels-intensive.”

Biden’s commitment to develop solar and wind technologies would likely benefit copper and, to a lesser degree, silver, he added.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/18/world-economy-infrastructure-led-recovery-could-send-commodity-prices-soaring.html

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German chipmaker Infineon prepared to handle increased competition from China, CEO says

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SINGAPORE — Geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing remain a concern for German chipmaker Infineon and it is preparing for increased competition in the semiconductor space out of China, CEO Reinhard Ploss said. 

Infineon is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world and is a top player in automotive, power and security chips. In April, the firm completed its 9 billion euro (about $10.6 billion) takeover of U.S. semiconductor company Cypress and last month reported a net loss of 128 million euros for its fiscal third quarter. 

“The geopolitical tension between the two superpowers (is) a big concern because we think we should not focus on countries, we should focus on the needs of our global society,” Ploss told CNBC during the Singapore Summit, which was held virtually this year due to the coroanvirus pandemic. 

“This needs cooperation — so the tech dispute we have is definitely a concern of different reasons but we are able to cope with it,” he added. 

U.S. and China’s bilateral relationship deteriorated in recent years due to a trade war and a race to establish dominance in crucial areas of technology including 5G and semiconductors. Washington has targeted Chinese tech companies like Huawei, ZTE and ByteDance on national security grounds. 

In Huawei’s case, the U.S. put the company on a so-called entity list that essentially limits the Chinese telecommunication equipment maker’s ability to receive specific goods made in the U.S. Officials have been pushing other governments around the world to place restrictions on Huawei, arguing that the company will give data to the Chinese government for spying. Huawei has denied that it spies for China. 

China’s semiconductor ambitions

Semiconductors play an important role in technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. Most of the chips that China uses today are imported, which makes it reliant on foreign suppliers for advanced semiconductors. To reduce that reliance, China has stepped up efforts to develop its home-grown semiconductor industry by investing in local companies and some experts have said that Beijing’s willingness to outspend the U.S. may give it an advantage. 

“Semiconductor always has been a key element for China, a major import element, and the strategy to become autonomous on this sector always had been present and (is) being followed very strictly,” Ploss said, adding that the current U.S.-China dispute has accelerated Beijing’s plans to develop the home-grown sector “very significantly.” 

“We believe at this point, especially all the strength with the acquisition of Cypress will help us to make our business in China grow successfully but we always have expected an increased competition out of China and prepare ourselves for this. So this is nothing new,” he added. 

Infineon has offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing and Wuxi

Ploss added that Infineon’s investments, manufacturing footprint and research and development centers are located in places where the company sees high levels of trust toward the treatment of intellectual property, availability of talent and a stable social environment. 

The company’s “core IP is in countries like Germany, Austria and others where we can 100% trust that IP is treated as we expect it,” Ploss said. 

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/18/german-chipmaker-infineon-prepared-to-handle-increased-competition-from-china.html

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