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UK gambling sites agree to TV ad blackout during soccer matches

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Britain’s biggest gambling firms have voluntarily agreed to a TV ad blackout running from “whistle-to-whistle” during soccer matches.

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA), an industry lobby group whose members include bookmaker’s William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, will agree to stop the ads during live broadcasts, which have become commonplace across English soccer.

No formal announcement from the RGA has been made, but it is looking to confirm the move early next year.

“We made a number of proposals which are being considered by the members of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling.” Clive Hawkswood, the chief executive of the RGA, told CNBC. “We are of course hopeful that IGRG will agree changes to the Code, but that process has not been completed yet.”

Anti-gambling campaigners and politicians have voiced concerns about the volume of bookmaker’s adverts on TV and how it potentially glamorizes gambling.

U.K. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, said via social media Thursday it was a “welcome move.”

“Gambling firms banning advertising on TV during live sport is a welcome move and I am pleased that the sector is stepping up and responding to public concerns,” he said.

Over half of the soccer teams in England’s top two leagues in England currently have gambling sites as their main shirt sponsor and the increasing influence of these companies has grown relatively unchecked in recent years.

“Investors in U.K. gambling stocks may be worried about another regulatory measure in the shape of a proposed ban on advertising during live sports events, but the effect on earnings should be modest,” said Irish wealth management company Davy Research.

The brokerage says FTSE 100 companies Paddy Power Betfair and GVC Holdings, which owns big betting firms Ladbrokes and Coral, both spend between £40 million ($51 million) and £50 million annually on British TV advertising, some of which may now be redeployed.

Davy said the returns on TV advertising are modest and the change won’t materially affect earnings forecasts. On Thursday, GVC shares closed 5.6 percent lower, Paddy Power Betfair down 2.8 percent and William Hill registered a near seven-year low.

“However, it is a necessary development, in our view, and nudges the sector towards a more sustainable footing.” Davy went on to say.

Bet365, which sponsor the shirt and stadium of Stoke City, has become one of the most prevalent advertisers on British TV, using BAFTA-nominated actor Ray Winstone to promote its in in-play advertising on TV. It’s owned by Peter and Denise Coates and recently logged profits of £660 million in its latest accounts.

Television advertising helped the U.K. gambling industry see £5.35 billion wagered online during 2017, according to the Gambling Commission. That’s compared to the £5.55 billion spent in betting shops, casinos, arcades and bingo halls combined.

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Airbus A380 superjumbo: The rise and fall

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Airbus’ Global Market Forecast from the year 2000 predicted that 1,235 “very large aircraft” would be delivered to customers between 2000 and 2019. But as of January 2019, Airbus had received 313 firm orders and delivered just 234 aircraft.

The firm’s lofty target was swiftly undermined by the arrival of more fuel-friendly offerings such as Airbus’s own A350 or Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

The smaller aircraft were lighter and could be run more efficiently as the expectation of a steep rise in passenger travel failed to materialize. It was also found that very few routes could operate the A380 at full capacity.

Timing does seem to have been a problem. As the A380 hit the world’s runways, a worldwide liberalization of flight routes known as “Open Skies” was underway. This allowed airlines to downsize their planes and fly more regularly.

Added to that is the rise of the ultra long-haul flight. Airlines have asked both Boeing and Airbus to come up with planes that can haul passengers from one side of the world without stopping.

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Facebook’s security team tracks posts, location for ‘BOLO’ threat list

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In early 2018, a Facebook user made a public threat on the social network against one of the company’s offices in Europe.

Facebook picked up the threat, pulled the user’s data and determined he was in the same country as the office he was targeting. The company informed the authorities about the threat and directed its security officers to be on the lookout for the user.

“He made a veiled threat that ‘Tomorrow everyone is going to pay’ or something to that effect,” a former Facebook security employee told CNBC.

The incident is representative of the steps Facebook takes to keep its offices, executives and employees protected, according to more than a dozen former Facebook employees who spoke with CNBC. The company mines its social network for threatening comments, and in some cases uses its products to track the location of people it believes present a credible threat.

Several of the former employees questioned the ethics of Facebook’s security strategies, with one of them calling the tactics “very Big Brother-esque.”

Other former employees argue these security measures are justified by Facebook’s reach and the intense emotions it can inspire. The company has 2.7 billion users across its services. That means that if just 0.01 percent of users make a threat, Facebook is still dealing with 270,000 potential security risks.

“Our physical security team exists to keep Facebook employees safe,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “They use industry-standard measures to assess and address credible threats of violence against our employees and our company, and refer these threats to law enforcement when necessary. We have strict processes designed to protect people’s privacy and adhere to all data privacy laws and Facebook’s terms of service. Any suggestion our onsite physical security team has overstepped is absolutely false.”

Facebook is unique in the way it uses its own product to mine data for threats and locations of potentially dangerous individuals, said Tim Bradley, senior consultant with Incident Management Group, a corporate security consulting firm that deals with employee safety issues. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s general duty clause says that companies have to provide their employees with a workplace free of hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm, Bradley said.

“If they know there’s a threat against them, they have to take steps,” Bradley said. “How they got the information is secondary to the fact that they have a duty to protect employees.”

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Stocks bounce off their session lows, Netflix leads the gains

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Treasury yields also fell on the weak data. The benchmark 10-year rate traded around 2.66 percent, down from about 2.69 percent.

The U.S. dollar also fell against other major currencies. The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.1298 against the dollar, while the yen gained 0.2 percent.

Lael Brainard, a Federal Reserve governor, told CNBC on Thursday that downside risks to the economy “have definitely increased.”

The data come amid ongoing the U.S.-China trade talks. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that talks were “going very well” as both sides look to reach an agreement before an early March deadline. On Thursday, Bloomberg News reported Trump may be willing to extend the deadline by 60 days.

Furthermore, the South China Morning Post reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with U.S. delegates on Friday, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq came into Thursday’s session riding four-day winning streaks. Both indexes, along with the 30-stock Dow, were up at least 1 percent as of Wednesday’s close.

“A lot of people, including myself, think a trade will get accomplished,” said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence. “The fact that President Trump is potentially willing to extend that deadline is good news that a trade deal will get done. It’s just a matter of when.”

—CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.

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