Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) unveiled its Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone as it battles to regain the market leadership it lost to Apple Inc (AAPL.O) after the embarrassing withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7s.
Boasting some of the largest wrap-around screens ever made, the long-awaited S8 is the South Korean technology company's first new premium phone since its September recall of all Galaxy Note 7 smartphones equipped with fire-prone batteries. Samsung halted their sales in 10 markets, and the phones were banned from aircraft in the United States, denting a revival of the firm's mobile business.
Two versions of the Galaxy S8, code-named Dream internally, were launched at a media event in New York on Wednesday, with 6.2-inch (15.75 cm) and 5.8-inch curved screens - the largest to date for Samsung's premium smartphones. They will go on sale on April 21.
"We must be bold enough to step into the unknown and humble enough to learn from our mistakes," D.J. Koh, the company's mobile chief, said at the event after acknowledging that it had been a challenging year for Samsung.
U.S. carriers T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) announced retail pricing for the smaller S8 around $700. The larger phone will sell for $840 at Verizon and $850 at T-Mobile.
The S8 features Samsung's new artificial intelligence service, Bixby, with functions including a voice-commanded assistant system similar to Apple's Siri. There is also a new facial recognition application that lets users unlock their phones by looking at them.
Samsung is hoping the design update and the new features, focused on making life easier for consumers, will be enough to revive sales in a year Apple is expected to introduce major changes to its iPhones, including the very curved screens that have become staples of the Galaxy brand.
The S8 is also crucial for Samsung's image as a maker of reliable mobile devices. The self-combusting Galaxy Note 7s had to be scrapped in October just two months after their launch, and the recall was particularly damaging, investors and analysts say.
"The Galaxy S8 is the most important phone for Samsung in a decade and every aspect will be under the microscope following the Note 7 recall," said Ben Wood, a veteran smartphone industry analyst with UK-based CCS Insight.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has launched Neuralink, a start-up which aims to develop technology that connects our brains to computers.
A report from the Wall Street Journal, later confirmed in a tweet by Mr Musk, said the company was in its very early stages and registered as a “medical research” firm.
The company will develop so-called “neural lace” technology which would implant tiny electrodes into the brain.
The technique could be used to improve memory or give humans added artificial intelligence.
According to the Journal, leading academics in the field have been signed up to work at the company which is being funded privately by Mr Musk.
Specialists in the field envision a time when humans may be able to upload and download thoughts.
In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Mr Musk confirmed the existence of the company and said more details about the firm would be made public next week via WaitButWhy - a site known for illustrating its lengthy post with often crude but charming stick figure drawings.
Mr Musk is considered one of Silicon Valley’s most visionary figures - and surely now its busiest.
As well as heading electric carmaker Tesla, Mr Musk is involved with running space exploration company Space X, a project to reinvent transport called Hyperloop and, most recently, a firm investigating the feasibility of boring tunnels underneath Los Angeles - and a new project to power Australia.
Tweeting about Neuralink, Mr Musk conceded it would be “difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to”.
Uber has pulled its self-driving cars from the roads after an accident which left one of the vehicles on its side.
Pictures posted online showed the car on its right side on an Arizona street, next to another badly damaged vehicle.
The car - a Volvo SUV - was in self-driving mode at the time of the crash, on Friday, Uber said. No one was hurt.
A spokeswoman for the police in Tempe, Arizona said the accident occurred when another vehicle "failed to yield" to the Uber car at a left turn.
"There was a person behind the wheel. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision," spokeswoman Josie Montenegro said.
Uber's self-driving cars always have a human in the driving seat who can take over the controls.
The company pulled its self-driving vehicles off the road in Arizona at first, followed by test sites in Pennsylvania and California - all three states where it operated the vehicles.
The incident follows a tumultuous few weeks for the car-hailing app service, after several negative stories about workplace practices and ethics.
A number of executives have quit in recent weeks, including the president, Jeff Jones.
A ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on flights from Turkey and some countries in the Middle East and North Africa to the US and UK has come into effect.
Officials say devices "larger than a smartphone" must travel in the hold because of an increased risk that they could contain explosives.
At least one airline is allowing devices to be used up until boarding.
The US ban covers eight countries, while the UK restrictions apply to six.
Nine airlines from eight countries - Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait - are affected by the US ban. They operate about 50 flights a day to the US.
UAE airline Emirates is offering complimentary packing and shipping services at gates to enable passengers to use their electronic devices after check-in and until boarding.
That also means passengers flying on two-leg trips from other countries to the US through Dubai can use their laptops on the first leg of their flights.
The UK ban meanwhile affects all flights out of Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Lebanon.
The British ban applies to any device, including smartphones, larger than 16cm (6.3in) long, 9.3cm (3.7in) wide or 1.5cm (0.6in) deep. However, most phones will be smaller than the limit.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the US and UK to lift the bans as soon as possible.
The US Department for Homeland Security has cited attacks on planes and airports over the past two years as the reason for the ban,
Bombs, it said, had been hidden in such items as a soft drink can, used in the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt in October 2015 with the loss of 224 lives, and the laptop used in the unsuccessful Somali attack last year.
European security experts are to meet next week to discuss the US and UK bans, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Royal Jordanian Airlines has tweeted suggestions of things to do during a long flight instead of using an electronic device.
It followed up with another tweet suggesting that passengers "do what we Jordanians do best - stare at each other!"
Aviation experts say the ban could hit airline profits as risks include a fall in passenger numbers, decreasing customer satisfaction and higher costs linked to screening baggage.
Twitter is considering adding a paid membership option for businesses and power users.
The micro-blogging service, which has struggled to grow its user base in recent years, is carrying out surveys to “assess interest” in the idea.
Paying members would get access to an enhanced version of Tweetdeck, Twitter’s souped-up interface that offers more functionality than Twitter.com.
The company has not made any indication it is considering charging regular users of the service.
But a premium membership scheme could offer Twitter a new revenue stream at a time when users are increasingly turning to other networks such as Snapchat.
Twitter’s active user base has plateaued - and advertising revenues, currently the firms only meaningful income stream, are in decline. Twitter’s struggles come despite the online advertising market growing considerably in the past year.
Twitter has surveyed a small selection of its users about the idea.
In a statement, the company said: "We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we're exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”
In an email to selected users, the company described how the new tool would work.
"This premium tool set will provide valuable viewing, posting, and signaling tools like alerts, trends and activity analysis, advanced analytics, and composing and posting tools all in one customizable dashboard,” the note said.
"It will be designed to make it easier than ever to keep up with multiple interests, grow your audience, and see even more great content and information in real-time.”
If it goes ahead with premium accounts, Twitter will be competing with more established players like SocialFlow and HootSuite - companies that have offered enhanced ways to use Twitter for many years.
Why it has taken the company this long to roll out its own initiative is not clear. In 2009, co-founder Biz Stone said the firm had hired a product manager to develop premium features, but these never materialised - and Mr Stone left the company in 2011.
Swiss bank UBS will start charging customers who deposit more than a million euros, as negative interest rates hit banks' profits.
The annual 0.6% charge will take affect from May.
UBS already imposes charges for large accounts held in Swiss francs by companies and some wealthy clients.
Banks' profits have been hit by the European Central Bank's policy of stimulating growth through negative interest rates and increased liquidity.
The ECB penalises banks that store euros with it in an effort to make them lend rather than hoard their cash.
It imposes a so-called negative rate, equivalent to four euros annually on each 1,000 euros that lenders deposit with the central bank.
Banks in Sweden and Switzerland, which are outside the eurozone, pay a similar charge.
A UBS spokesman said: "This charge reflects the increasing costs seen across the industry of reinvesting cash from deposits in money and capital markets, the continued extraordinarily low and negative interest rates in the euro area and increased liquidity regulations."
Commerzbank has even considered storing cash in vaults to avoid paying ECB fees.
The policy of penalising banks has come under criticism in Germany because it discourages saving.
U.S. and European shares tumbled on Tuesday on concerns that higher interest rates and pro-growth U.S. policies were on hold, boosting safe-haven Treasuries and gold prices, while the euro hit a more than six-week high against the dollar on soothed French election worries.
The U.S. S&P 500 financial sector .SPSY fell as much as 2.8 percent and was on track for its biggest daily plunge in nine months. Analysts attributed the selling to reduced confidence that U.S. President Donald Trump's pro-growth policies, including financial deregulation, would occur soon, and to concerns of a dovish Federal Reserve.
The Fed stuck to its outlook for two more hikes this year last week, instead of the three expected by many market participants.
The tech-heavy U.S. Nasdaq Composite fell as much as 1.7 percent after hitting a record intraday high earlier on the back of Apple (AAPL.O) shares, which briefly touched a record $142.80 a share before falling.
Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 stock index also fell after earlier hitting a 15-month high. It closed down 0.50 percent, at 1,480.99.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 21, 2017.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson"Led by financials and industrials, the stock selloff suggests that investors may be less confident that the Trump administration’s pro-growth announcements will be translated into policy implementation soon," said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz in Newport Beach, California.
MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS was last down 2.72 points, or 0.6 percent, at 448.34.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was last down 193.85 points, or 0.93 percent, at 20,712.01. The S&P 500 .SPX was down 24.57 points, or 1.04 percent, at 2,348.9. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 88.32 points, or 1.5 percent, at 5,813.21.
The euro EUR= hit $1.0819, its highest level against the dollar since Feb. 2. Centrist Emmanuel Macron cemented his position as front-runner in the first televised French presidential debate on Monday versus anti-European Union contender Marine Le Pen.
The euro gained on relief over the debate results, since a win by the far-right Le Pen is seen as posing a risk of euro zone break-up.
"Any news between now and the French election next month that suggests fading risk of a Le Pen victory would probably be supportive of the euro," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.
U.S. crude oil prices hit a one-week low of $47.27 a barrel as the market discounted the latest talk by OPEC that it would extend output cuts beyond June.
Brent crude LCOc1 was last down 71 cents, or 1.38 percent, at $50.91 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 was down 84 cents, or 1.74 percent, at $47.38 per barrel.
Safe-haven spot gold and U.S. Treasuries benefited, with gold hitting a more than two-week high of $1,247.60 an ounce and benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields US10YT=RR touching a nearly three-week low of 2.421 percent.
(Additional reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe in London and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed, Scott DiSavino and Jennifer Ablan in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
Lloyds Banking Group has appointed a Scottish businessman who is a veteran of reviews into the banking sector to lead its compensation programme for the HBOS bribery scandal.
Professor Russel Griggs will be the independent reviewer charged with handling customer cases as Lloyds examines whether any small businesses should receive payouts in the wake of the scam at HBOS’s Reading office where corrupt financiers agreed inappropriate loans and used the proceeds to fund luxury holidays and prostitutes.
The scandal, the latest controversy to rock the banking industry, resulted in six people, including two former HBOS employees, being jailed last month for a combined 47 years and six months.
Lloyds, which is led by chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, said that Professor Griggs will be tasked with setting out “the scope, methodology and individual case outcomes of the review in order to ensure fair outcomes”.
He has been “selected for his experience in overseeing high-profile reviews of a complex nature and for his clear understanding of small and medium enterprises (SME), as well as his track record in ensuring the principles of fairness are followed in a number of joint Government, banking and industry initiatives”, the bank said.
Professor Griggs, a former chairman of the CBI’s UK SME Council, led a review of branch closures for the British Bankers’ Association last year, assessed the Lending Code in 2015, and in 2011 was named the regulator of a scheme to review declined applications for credit made by SMEs.
At Lloyds he will be handling the fallout from a fraud that has already cost the bank £245m and which centred on HBOS’s Reading office between 2003 and 2007. Lloyds agreed to rescue HBOS the following year during the financial crisis.
The fraud involved bribery with sex parties, holidays, cash and expensive watches and saw HBOS clients referred to a consultancy called Quayside Corporate Services and then asset-stripped.
Following last month’s sentencing, Lloyds came under intense political pressure to compensate businesses that were victims of the scam. It said today that it “has written to the majority of customers identified as having been affected by the criminal acts perpetrated by the two former HBOS employees and Quayside Corporate Services”.
The bank also plans to hold “several informal meetings with customers, providing an opportunity to hear direct from them and to listen to their views on the planned review”.