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Egypt’s President Sisi pushes toward term extensions in constitution

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An Egyptian youth walks past a polling station in the capital Cairo's western Giza district on March 25, 2018 ahead of the vote scheduled to begin the following day, decorated on the outside with giant privately-sponsored electoral posters depicting incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and giant pieces of cloth stacked together to show the colors of the Egyptian flag.

MOHAMED EL-SHAHED | AFP | Getty Images

An Egyptian youth walks past a polling station in the capital Cairo’s western Giza district on March 25, 2018 ahead of the vote scheduled to begin the following day, decorated on the outside with giant privately-sponsored electoral posters depicting incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and giant pieces of cloth stacked together to show the colors of the Egyptian flag.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is likely to win constitutional changes allowing him to dramatically extend his tenure in power — just over a year after telling CNBC that he would never pursue such a thing.

Discussing the political developments while at the Milken Summit in Abu Dhabi Tuesday, Egyptian billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble that he expected the controversial move would be pushed through. Asked whether he believed it was the right or wrong step for Egypt, the country’s second-richest man simply replied, “We’ll see.”

Egyptian lawmakers are pushing ahead for a change to the country’s constitution that would enable Sisi to stay in power until 2034. Currently, the former armed forces chief is due to stand down after completing two four-year terms in 2022.

Just last week, a parliamentary committee in Cairo approved proposed constitutional amendments that would increase presidential terms from four to six years and essentially reset the clock, allowing Sisi two additional terms.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC in November 2017, Sisi said he was committed to the limits set out by the current constitution.

“I am with preserving two four-year terms and not to change it … I am not for any amendments to be made to the constitution in this period,” Sisi told CNBC’s Gamble. “The constitution grants the right of the parliament and the president to request amendments. I am talking about the four-year terms. We will not interfere with it.”

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Social media ‘like’ button may be stopped for children in UK proposals

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“The employment of nudge techniques in the design of online services can be used to encourage users, including children, to provide an online service with more personal data than they would otherwise volunteer,” it added.

“Similarly, it can be used to lead users, particularly children, to select less privacy enhancing choices when personalizing their privacy settings. Or spend more time than they intend on a particular service.”

Using such techniques are “based on the exploitation of human psychological bias” and go against the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a European data law that came into effect in May 2018, the ICO says.

It is in social media firms’ interest to have people spend more time on their apps as they can collect data on what they do as well as attract advertising. For example, Snapchat’s new ad-supported gaming platform was welcomed by advertisers as a way to increase the time spent on the app when parent company Snap announced new functions earlier this month.

The ICO’s document also makes the case for social media firms to have location options off by default when children are using their apps, as well as make their services “high privacy” by default. The ICO also published research showing that teenagers would prefer higher privacy settings. “Everything should be set to private and then you can change it for what you want to share,” one teen said.

Under the U.K.’s Data Protection Act 2018, the ICO is required to produce a code of practice for online firms to follow when designing for children, including services that are likely to process their personal data. Companies that break the law face fines of up to £17 million ($22.3 million), or 4 percent of global turnover.

The draft code of practice is out for consultation until May 31 and is expected to come into effect before the end of the year.

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Nokia drops after Goldman downgrade citing Samsung competition

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Shares of Finnish telecommunications firm Nokia dropped around 3 percent on Monday after analysts at Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock from “neutral” to “sell.”

Analysts Alexander Duval and Hameed Awan wrote in a note that Nokia faces downside risks amid increasing competition from Swedish rival Ericsson and South Korean tech giant Samsung.

Nokia shares have outperformed the broader European tech sector by roughly 2 percent over the past 6 months, as investors hoped the rollout of new 5G wireless networks would boost the Finnish firm’s revenues. The Goldman analysts said investors might be too optimistic about Nokia given the company’s own projections for a slow start to the year.

“We believe there is scope for further downside to consensus, as our new estimates now factor in lower network revenues, a more conservative margin trajectory and more muted growth in the highly profitable patents business,” the analysts said.

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Fading fears of hard landing good for stocks—strategist

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Hofer cautioned that more data is needed to confirm whether a “soft landing” will be achieved. And if it is, stocks will likely push higher, he predicted, while pointing out that it will not be at the pace seen so far this year.

“But at least we can hold on to what we have, which is already quite important, and so profit-taking should actually be quite minimal,” Hofer said.

The strategist said that a further “gentle 5, 10, 15 percent” in gains is possible the rest of the year, adding that “green shoots of recovery” are visible and will likely increase.

“And if you do have that U.S.-China trade deal that we’re expecting, which is a higher quality one, then investor sentiment in China is going to go through the roof and it should be relatively clear sailing,” he said.

Speaking earlier on CNBC’s “Street Signs,” Hofer described such a deal as one that contains methods for enforcement and monitoring.

“If all we get is an agreement from China to buy more U.S. agricultural product, I think the market will be very disappointed with that,” he said.

China is scheduled to release economic growth numbers for the first quarter of 2019 on Wednesday and economists polled by Reuters expect GDP to increase 6.3 percent from the same period last year. China’s economy grew 6.4 percent in the last quarter of 2018 from a year earlier.

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