A Chinese government spokesman has sidestepped questions about a report that its spies inserted chips into computer equipment that might allow them to hack into U.S. companies and government agencies.
The spokesman, Lu Kang, responded to questions Monday from reporters by directing them to statements by the equipment supplier and customers including Apple and Amazon. Those companies denied any knowledge the equipment had been altered.
Lu said, “Do you feel that you still need China to respond to these statements?”
Bloomberg News cited unidentified U.S. officials as saying malicious chips were inserted into equipment supplied by Super Micro Computer Inc. to American companies and government agencies.
Bloomberg said the components included code that caused the products to accept changes to their software and to connect to outside computers.
Average US Price of Gas Spikes 7 Cents per Gallon to $2.97
The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has spiked 7 cents a gallon over the past two weeks, costing $2.97.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says that’s 41 cents a gallon higher than at this time last year.
Lundberg said Sunday that rising crude oil prices are the main reason for the increase at the pump.
The highest average price in the contiguous 48 states is $3.82 a gallon in Los Angeles. The lowest average is $2.58 in Houston.
The average price of diesel also rose 7 cents over the past two weeks, to $3.28.
Former Trump Aide Hope Hicks to Work at Fox Company
President Donald Trump’s former communications chief Hope Hicks has been hired as communications director at the newly revamped Fox company.
Hicks was head of the communications team at the White House before leaving in March. She worked for Trump at his company before he was elected. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Fox was “beyond lucky” to have her.
She’ll work in Los Angeles along with Danny O’Brien, who was named head of government affairs for the company. He’s a longtime Washington hand who most recently worked at General Electric.
Fox is reorganizing following the sale of most of Twenty-First Century Fox’s entertainment assets to the Walt Disney Co.
Netflix Chooses New Mexico for New US Production Hub
Netflix has chosen New Mexico as the site of a new U.S. production hub and is negotiating to buy an existing multimillion-dollar studio complex in the state’s largest city.
It is the company’s first purchase of such a property, and local officials said Monday that upcoming production work by Netflix in Albuquerque and other New Mexico communities is expected to result in $1 billion in spending over the next decade.
More than $14 million in public economic development funding is being tapped. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, a Democrat, both touted the investment and said years of work to put New Mexico on the movie-making map are paying off.
Previous Netflix series produced in New Mexico include the Emmy-winning limited series “Godless” and “Longmire.”
2 American Researchers win Nobel Economics Prize
Two American researchers have been awarded the Nobel Prize for economics for studying the interplay of climate change and technological innovation with economics.
William Nordhaus of Yale University and Paul Romer of New York University were announced winners of the 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize on Monday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The academy said Romer’s work “explains how ideas are different to other goods and require specific conditions to thrive in a market.” Previous macroeconomic research had emphasized technological innovation as a driver of growth but had not modelled how market conditions and economic decisions affected creation of new technologies, the academy said.
Nordhaus in the 1990s became the first person to create a model that “describes the global interplay between the economy and the climate,” the academy said. He showed that “the most efficient remedy for problems caused by greenhouse gases is a global scheme of universally imposed carbon taxes.”
He has been a faculty member at Yale since 1967.
The economics prize is the last of the Nobels to be announced this year. Last year’s prize went to American Richard Thaler for studying how human irrationality affects economic theory.
The peace prize was awarded Friday to Denis Mukwege of Congo and Iraqi Nadia Murad for their work to draw attention to how sexual violence is used as a weapon of war.
GE Firm Buys 5% Stake in Abu Dhabi’s State Driller
A subsidiary of General Electric Co. has agreed to purchase a 5-percent stake in the drilling arm of Abu Dhabi’s state oil company for $550 million.
The deal announced on Monday with Baker Hughes, also known as BHGE, values the drilling subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. at around $11 billion. ADNOC says that valuation includes some $1 billion in debt.
It also marks the first time Abu Dhabi has sold a stake in its businesses to a foreign interest.
ADNOC Drilling operates over 90 drilling rigs, making it the Mideast’s largest drilling company.
Overall, ADNOC produces some 3 million barrels of crude oil and 10.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day.
BHGE’s dual headquarters are in London and Houston.
Google Plus to Close After Bug Leaks Personal Information
Google is shutting down its underwhelming Plus social network for regular users, following its disclosure of a flaw discovered in March that exposed personal information of up to 500,000 people.
The announcement came in a Monday blog post , which was also Google’s first public description of the privacy bug.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous individuals, reports that Google deliberately avoided disclosing the problem at the time, in part to avoid drawing regulatory scrutiny.
The Google Plus flaw could have allowed 438 external apps to scoop up user names, email addresses, occupations, gender and age without authorization.
The company says it didn’t find any evidence that any of the affected personal information was misused. It says that’s one reason it delayed disclosing the problem.
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