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China inflation: October PPI, CPI data



China’s producer price index (PPI) rose 3.3 percent in October from a year earlier, slowing from the previous month’s increase of 3.6 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.

The number matched expectations in a Reuters poll of analysts for a 3.3 percent rate last month.

Producer price inflation cooled for the fourth straight month in October — an indication of slowing economic momentum amid escalating trade tensions with the U.S.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.5 percent last month, also in line with market expectations of a 2.5 percent gain.

China has set its consumer inflation goal at 3 percent for 2018, same as last year.

The state planner recently said there is no sign of accelerating consumer inflation and expected prices to remain within a reasonable range.

— CNBC’s Huileng Tan contributed to this report.

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World Federation of Advertisers ask tech companies to be responsible



Advertisers haven’t been afraid to pull money out of Facebook or YouTube campaigns, following the exposures of controversial content hosted on the platforms, but they always seem to come crawling back.

They’re caught in a Catch-22. Tech companies may get caught hosting content like terrorist videos or targeted comments from pedophiles, but their massive audiences make their platforms next to impossible for advertisers to quit in the end.

But at least one major advertising group, representing close to a trillion dollars worth of buying power a year, has started to formulate plans to get tech companies to clean up their mess.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), whose members include PepsiCo, P&G and Diageo, called on its members to put pressure on platforms to do more to prevent their services and technology from being “hijacked by those with malicious intent” in brands’ capacity as “the funders of the online advertising system.”

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s CMO, took the role of president of the WFA in late March. Since the internet companies receive so much revenue from advertising, “They cannot completely ignore the rightful preferences of the advertisers,” he said in an interview with CNBC this week.

And he said it’s about a broader issue than just providing a “safe” place for brands. For something like the New Zealand shooting that was live-streamed on Facebook and passed around on YouTube and Twitter, “it is not a brand safety issue. It’s a societal safety issue, and as marketers we have a responsibility to society.”

The WFA in late March urged its members to “think carefully about where they place advertising” and consider a moral responsibility bigger than the effectiveness than social media platforms for brands. The call came after reports of comments from pedophile groups on YouTube videos, content regarding self-harm and suicide on Instagram and the live-streaming of a mosque shooting in New Zealand on Facebook.

But despite the problems, walking away isn’t as obvious as it might seem to be, Rajamannar said.

“There are these big social media giants who have got a humongous reach, they’ve got a humongous ability to precisely target the right kind of an audience, which you cannot ignore,” he said. “You cannot walk away from that scale just like that.”

The potential trade-offs to that scale have been more evident for marketers in recent months.

“Do you want live streaming of a shooting happening? You definitely don’t want that,” he said. “There is some tangible action that is happening. Is it adequate? No. And should it be expedited? Yes.”

He said the request for platforms in the near-term is a clear plan.

“We are saying, ‘Show us the game plan.’ We want to see the game plan clearly,” he said.

Rajamannar said one common answer from platforms to how they’re fixing content issues is that the companies are adding more people. Facebook and YouTube have hired thousands of individuals in recent years to monitor content on their respective platforms.

“That’s not exactly a plan. So we are saying, is it a technology-based solution … Is it people-based? Is it a hybrid? We are asking them to think through their strategy and come and share with us,” he said.

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Air strikes and explosions hit Libya’s capital Tripoli



Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed unity government arrive in Tajura, a coastal suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on April 6, 2019, from their base in Misrata.

MAHMUD TURKIA | AFP | Getty Images

Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed unity government arrive in Tajura, a coastal suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on April 6, 2019, from their base in Misrata.

Several air strikes and explosions shook the Libyan capital Tripoli overnight, residents said, in an escalation of a two-week offensive by eastern forces on the city held by the internationally recognized government.

A Reuters reporter and several residents said they saw an aircraft circling for more than 10 minutes over the capital late on Saturday, and that it made a humming sound before opening fire on several areas.

An aircraft was heard again after midnight, circling for more than ten minutes before a heavy explosion shook the ground. It was not clear whether an aircraft or unmanned drone was behind the strike, which triggered heavy anti aircraft fire.

Residents had reported drone strikes in recent days, but there has been no confirmation and explosions heard in the city center this time were louder than in previous days.

Residents counted several missile strikes, one of which apparently hit a military camp of forces loyal to Tripoli in the Sabaa district in the south of the capital, scene of the heaviest fighting between the rival forces.

Authorities closed Tripoli’s only functioning airport, cutting air links to a city of an estimated 2.5 million residents. The airport in Misrata, a city 200 km to the east, remained open.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) force loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar started an offensive two weeks ago but has been unable to breach the government’s southern defenses.

If a drone strike was confirmed this would point to more sophisticated warfare. The LNA has so far mainly used ageing Soviet-made jets from the air force of Muammar Gaddafi, toppled in 2011, lacking precision firepower and helicopters, according to residents and military sources.

In the past the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have supported Haftar with air strikes during campaigns to take eastern Libya. Both countries flew air strikes on Tripoli in 2014 during a different conflict to help a Haftar-allied force, U.S. officials said at the time.

Since 2014 the UAE and Egypt have provided the LNA with military equipment such as aircraft and helicopters, helping Haftar gain the upper hand in Libya’s eight-year conflict, U.N. reports have established.

The UAE even built an air base in Al Khadim in eastern Libya, one such report said in 2017.

The air strikes, which were also filmed by residents in video posted online, came after a day of heavy clashes in southern districts, with shelling audible in the city center.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffers capsule anomaly during Florida tests



A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 11, 2019.

Joe Skipper | Reuters

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 11, 2019.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffered an anomaly in one of its Crew Dragon capsules while conducting engine tests at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday, the company said.

“The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand,” the company said in a statement.

The issue was earlier reported by Florida Today, which said orange smoke was seen rising above SpaceX’s facilities, and that the anomaly was contained with no injuries.

SpaceX said its teams are investigating and are working closely with U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partners.

“NASA has been notified about the results of the SpaceX Static Fire Test and the anomaly that occurred during the final test,” its administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a tweet.

“This is why we test. We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program,” he added.

NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing a total of $6.8 billion to build competing rocket and capsule systems to launch astronauts into orbit from American soil.

In March, the privately owned SpaceX successfully completed its mission of sending an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth, a mission seen as crucial to NASA’s plans to resume human space flight from U.S. soil.

SpaceX’s first crewed test flight is slated to launch in July with U.S. astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

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