Dhaka, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) - President Donald Trump concedes that some Apple Inc. products may become more expensive if his administration imposes "massive" additional tariffs on Chinese-made goods, but he says the tech company can fix the problem by moving production to the U.S.
"Start building new plants now. Exciting!" Trump said Saturday in a tweet aimed at the Cupertino, California-based company.
This week, Apple said that a proposed new round of $200 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese imports would raise prices on some of its products, including the Apple Watch and the Mac mini.
The company is highly exposed to a trade war between the U.S. and China. It makes many of its products for the U.S. market in China, and it also sells gadgets including the iPhone in China, making them a potential target for Chinese retaliation against the Trump tariffs.
Trump tweeted Saturday that "Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China — but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive," if the company made its products in the U.S. instead of China.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has not announced plans to move manufacturing from China to the U.S.
In its letter this week to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Apple said that "because all tariffs ultimately show up as a tax on US consumers, they will increase the cost of Apple products that our customers have come to rely on in their daily lives."
The company said tariffs would hit "a wide range of Apple products," including computers, watches, adapters, chargers and tools used in its U.S. manufacturing, repair and data centers. Apple said the tariffs would raise the cost of its U.S. operations and put it at a disadvantage to foreign rivals.
The White House has accused China of stealing U.S. intellectual property and forcing American companies to share their technology with Chinese companies. The tariffs would pressure China to stop that behavior, the administration has said. Apple said "it is difficult to see" how tariffs would advance the government's goal.
The presidential tweet is the latest salvo in a dispute between the Trump administration and companies that fear tariffs will hurt their business.
The Trump administration has imposed tariffs of $50 billion on imports from China, mostly equipment and material used by manufacturers. CEO Tim Cook said in July that those measures had no effect on Apple. The company is concerned, however, about the Trump administration's proposal to add 25 percent duties on another $200 billion in Chinese goods, including a wider assortment of consumer-related items.
San Francisco, Sep 9 (AP/UNB) — Engineers set to sea Saturday to deploy a trash collection device to corral plastic litter floating between California and Hawaii in an attempt to clean up the world's largest garbage patch in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.
The 2,000-foot (600-meter) long floating boom was being towed from San Francisco to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an island of trash twice the size of Texas.
The system was created by The Ocean Cleanup, an organization founded by Boyan Slat, a 24-year-old innovator from the Netherlands who first became passionate about cleaning the oceans when he went scuba diving at age 16 in the Mediterranean Sea and saw more plastic bags than fish.
"The plastic is really persistent and it doesn't go away by itself and the time to act is now," Slat said, adding that researchers with his organization found plastic going back to the 1960s and 1970s bobbing in the patch.
The buoyant, U-shaped barrier made of plastic and with a tapered 10-foot (3-meter) deep screen, is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in that gyre but allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it.
Fitted with solar power lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, the cleanup system will communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land where it will be recycled, said Slat.
Shipping containers filled with the fishing nets, plastic bottles, laundry baskets and other plastic refuse scooped up by the system being deployed Saturday are expected to be back on land within a year, he said.
Slat said he and his team will pay close attention to whether the system works efficiently and withstands harsh ocean conditions, including huge waves. He said he's most looking forward to a ship loaded with plastic coming back to port.
"We still have to prove the technology... which will then allow us to scale up a fleet of systems," he said.
The Ocean Cleanup, which has raised $35 million in donations to fund the project, including from Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, will deploy 60 free-floating barriers in the Pacific Ocean by 2020.
"One of our goals is to remove 50 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years," Slat said.
The free-floating barriers are made to withstand harsh weather conditions and constant wear and tear. They will stay in the water for two decades and in that time collect 90 percent of the trash in the patch, he added.
George Leonard, chief scientist of the Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, said he's skeptical Slat can achieve that goal because even if plastic trash can be taken out of the ocean, a lot more is pouring in each year.
"We at the Ocean Conservancy are highly skeptical but we hope it works," he said. "The ocean needs all the help it can get."
Leonard said 9 million tons (8 million metric tons) of plastic waste enter the ocean annually and that a solution must include a multi-pronged approach, including stopping plastic from reaching the ocean and more education so people reduce consumption of single use plastic containers and bottles.
"If you don't stop plastics from flowing into the ocean, it will be a Sisyphean task," Leonard said, citing the Greek myth of a task never completed. He added that on September 15 about 1 million volunteers around the world will collect trash from beaches and waterways as part of the Ocean Conservancy's annual International Coastal Cleanup. Volunteers last year collected about 10,000 tons of plastics worldwide over two hours, he said.
Leonard also raised concerns that marine and wildlife could be entangled by the net that will hang below the surface. He said he hopes Slat's group is transparent with its data and shares information with the public about what happens with the first deployment.
"He has set a very large and lofty goal and we certainly hope it works but we really are not going to know until it is deployed," Leonard said. "We have to wait and see."
The system will act as a "big boat that stands still in the water" and will have a screen and not a net so that there is nothing for marine life to get entangled with. As an extra precautionary measure, a boat carrying experienced marine biologists will be deployed to make sure the device is not harming wildlife, Slat said.
"I'm the first to acknowledge this has never done before and that it is important to collect plastic on land and close the taps on plastic entering into the ocean, but I also think humanity can do more than one thing at a time to tackle this problem," Slat said.
San Francisco, Sept 8 (AP/UNB) — The New York Times is reporting that Jack Ma, the co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group, is retiring.
The Times said that in an interview, Ma said he planned to step down as executive chairman on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education. He will remain on Alibaba's board of directors.
Ma started Alibaba in 1999 in his apartment in the Chinese city of Hangzhou and is now among the richest people in the world.
The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and has a market value of about $421 billion. It's the world's biggest e-commerce company by total value of the merchandise sold across its platforms, which include Taobao and TMall.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
London, Sep 7 (AP/UNB) — British Airways is promising to compensate customers after reporting a major hack of its website that compromised credit card information of roughly 380,000 travelers.
Chief Executive Alex Cruz said Friday the company is "100 percent committed" to compensating customers whose financial information was stolen. He said the company had been hit by a "very sophisticated malicious criminal attack."
He said enough information was stolen to allow criminals to use credit card information for illicit purposes, and that police are investigating.
"We know that the information that has been stolen is name, address, email address, credit card information; that would be credit card number, expiration date and the three-letter code in the back of the credit card," he told the BBC, adding that no passport data had been hacked.
The company's mobile app was also breached, officials said.
British Airways revealed the hack Thursday evening and began notifying customers. Customers who booked on the company website from Aug. 21 until Sept. 5 may have been affected.
The hack was not discovered until Sept. 5 and has now been resolved, officials said.
Shares in BA's parent company, IAG, were down 2 percent on Friday.
Dhaka, Sep 6 (AP/UNB) -A chill, bearded and nose-ringed Jack Dorsey appeared unflappable as he faced hours of questioning from members of Congress Wednesday on issues as wide-ranging as political bias, hate speech, school safety and election manipulation.
At 9:30 a.m., he began at the Senate intelligence committee, alongside Facebook's practiced and polished chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and an empty chair in place of the absent Google co-founder Larry Page. In the afternoon, a 1:30 hearing featured a solo Dorsey before the 54-member House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Dorsey, who meditates regularly, live-tweeted his opening statement and answered questions in a low, measured tone. He repeatedly declined to rise to the bait offered by sometimes scathing legislators, instead holding forth as the nerdy and earnest CEO who just wants to improve his company and its role in the world.
When Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton pressed Dorsey on Twitter's allegiance to the U.S., Dorsey steered a serene middle course. Asked if he saw a difference between cooperating with the U.S. government and the Russian or Chinese governments, Dorsey demurred. "Not sure what you mean," he said.
"Are you an American company?" Cotton asked.
"We are an American company," answered Dorsey, who at 41 is the same age as Cotton.
"Do you prefer to see America remain the world's dominant global superpower?"
"I prefer that we continue to help everywhere to serve," Dorsey replied, going on to affirm the importance of adhering to Twitter's terms of service, protecting its users from 24/7 surveillance and, eventually, helping intelligence agencies when given a "proper legal order."
And so it unrolled, hour after hour, from one side of Capitol Hill to the other.
While Dorsey deferred some questions for follow-up, it wasn't the constant refrain for him that it was for Mark Zuckerberg during his own marathon congressional testimony back in April. That performance, in which the Facebook CEO skidded through the sometimes uninformed questions from members of Congress, helped Zuckerberg close the door on his company's privacy scandal — but also prompted an avalanche of online memes depicting him as an alien robot.
Dorsey, meanwhile, got high marks from Rep. Billy Long, a Missouri Republican and former auctioneer, who earlier in the hearing had drowned out a loud, conspiracy-minded protester with his old auction chant until security arrived.
"A lot of people come into these hearings and they practice and they coach them and they tell them how to act," Long said. "It's obvious that no one did that for you. You are who you are."
Though who knows. There are also people who spend hours picking out clothes and trying out hairstyles to appear effortlessly unkempt. Twitter did not respond to questions Wednesday about Dorsey's preparation for the hearings.
Compared to Zuckerberg, Dorsey "came across as more mature and more comfortable," said Richard Levick, founder and CEO of public-relations firm Levick. "His answers are thoughtful and you can see that he is really thinking about it."
Facebook's Sandberg also seemed to get a warmer reception than her boss had a few months earlier. A former Washington insider, Sandberg answered many questions directly and deflected others with little noticeable effort. But even she stumbled a bit, at one point telling senators that Facebook aims to present users with "alternative facts" when they come across fake news stories, inadvertently echoing an infamous formulation from Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Sandberg most likely meant that Facebook tries to present people with factual stories that provide more reliable information than disputed articles. And her overall performance earned points.
She no longer appeared dismissive, as Zuckerberg had been early on, about the prospect of foreign elections meddling. And she no longer insisted that Facebook was merely a neutral tech company that hires engineers and not journalists, as she did less than a year ago.
"They are realizing that they are (one of the) most powerful platforms of information," Levick said. "And they have more responsibility than the Wild West."