Stock markets have retreated again over worries of further US interest rate rises after the Federal Reserve defied Donald Trump to increase rates for the fourth time this year.

The EU has confirmed it is “actively investigating” a potential breach of its diplomatic communications network, following reports that secret cables had been stolen by hackers.

The Bank of England has welcomed a “crucial and positive” move by the EU to help keep a key part of the financial system functioning in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

A handful of banks will be forced to write multimillion pound cheques to buy shares in the construction giant Kier Group after some of its biggest investors snubbed the chance to take part in a £250m fundraising.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to merge its consumer healthcare unit with that of rival Pfizer, to create a new market leader with almost £10bn in annual sales.

 

Santander has been fined more than £30m for “serious failings” in processing the accounts of dead customers, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says.

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White House investigating Google after Trump accuses it of bias

US President Donald Trump accused Google’s search engine of promoting negative news articles and unfair coverage of him, without providing any requisite evidence or details

Trump’s attack against the Alphabet Inc unit is the latest in his repeated grievances against technology companies, including both social media giants Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc — which he has accused of silencing conservative voices—as well as e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com Inc — which he states is hurting small businesses and benefiting from a favourable deal with the US Postal Services. He is known for frequently berating news outlets for what he perceives as unfair coverage.

Google on their part, have denied any political bias—stating officially that its search engine is “not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results towards any political ideology.”

Trump tweeted multiple times that Google search results for “Trump News” were “rigged” against him because they showed only coverage from outlets like CNN and not conservative publications– suggesting the practice was illegal.

“I think Google is really taking advantage of our people,” Trump stated on Tuesday in the Oval Office. “Google, and Twitter and Facebook, they are really treading on very, very troubled territory, and they have to be careful. It’s not fair to large portions of the population.”

Facebook on their part, declined to comment. Twitter did not comment when asked for a response. In a congressional testimony, both companies have denied engaging in partisan censorship.

Neither Trump nor the White House detailed how or under what legal justification they would use to probe Google.

Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic adviser, later told reporters that the White House was “taking a look” at Google, stating that the administration would do “some investigation and some analysis,” without providing any further details.

Earlier this summer, Joseph Simons,  the new Republican chair of the Federal Trade Commission stated that the agency would keep a close eye on big tech companies that dominate the internet. In a previous investigation, the FTC had decided that Google was likely justified in developing a search function that harmed other companies.

Congressional sources cautioned that it may be difficult for Trump to find a way to probe Google about news search results, and that Congress is unlikely to pass any applicable laws. The Federal Communications Commission ceded jurisdiction over regulating online communications when it repealed its net neutrality rules.

Ted Lieu,a Democratic US member of Congress tweeted in response to Trump that such restrictions on Google would violate the US Constitution.

His tweet said:  “If government tried to dictate the free speech algorithms of private companies, courts would strike it down in a nanosecond.”

Shares of Alphabet Inc. fell 0.8% to US$1,245.86.

-GBO Correspondent.

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