The developers of the Juul e-cigarette wanted to make the experience of getting a stimulating hit of nicotine dramatically better than sucking on a stinky, smoking stick of burning tobacco. Their success made Juul the top-selling e-cigarette in the U.S. in two years. The device was created to help adult smokers quit, according to the company that makes it. But it achieved success in part by attracting a huge following among kids younger than 18, who aren’t legally allowed to purchase such produc

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For the second year in a row, wildfires in California have killed dozens of people, forced thousands from their homes and caused billions of dollars in property damage. And once again, investigators are eying power lines owned by the state’s largest utilities as a possible cause. The biggest utility, PG&E Corp., lost about a third of its market value in the days after the blazes broke out this year. Wildfires have become such a threat to utilities that they have begun switching off lines whe

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Artificial intelligence, or AI, is both the stuff of Terminator-esque, end-of-humanity scenarios and an invisible but steadily increasing part of our daily lives, suggesting what news we should read, for instance, or answering our customer-service queries. Software capable of learning a single narrow task with seemingly superhuman ability is becoming commonplace. AI promises a world of more personalized products and services that are cheaper, faster and free from human error. Many companies thin

  • Jeremy Kahn and Dina Bass | Bloomberg
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Nigerian banks, facing challenges on many fronts, are proving reluctant to take advantage of new rules aimed at boosting loans to the country’s agriculture and manufacturing industries. The measures introduced by Nigeria’s central bank in August, in the hope of stimulating growth, allow banks to use funds that are otherwise sitting in their statutory cash reserves to finance certain projects, with the condition that such loans are at a maximum interest rate of 9 percent and a minimum tenor of se

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Sri Lanka has descended into a political crisis that’s threatening to bring violence back to the South Asian island nation. The standoff was sparked in October when the president fired the prime minister, suspended parliament and attempted to install a controversial ex-president as premier. It marks a return of political upheaval to the country of 21 million people that’s still in rehabilitation following a brutal 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.

  • Iain Marlow and Anusha Ondaatjie | Bloomberg
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As Indonesia’s April 17 presidential election nears, incumbent Joko Widodo looks in a strong position to secure a second term. His challenger is once again Prabowo Subianto, a former general who lost in 2014 after a bitter campaign. Widodo, known as Jokowi, has built a strong parliamentary base and remains widely popular in the Southeast Asian nation of 262 million people. Subianto, popularly called Prabowo, is focusing on the country’s recent economic woes, including a currency sell-off and sta

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Last year, China pledged to allow overseas financial firms greater access to the world’s second-largest economy. Then came the trade war with the U.S., raising concerns that President Xi Jinping could retaliate by going back on his vow. Xi now says the opening is steadily widening. But the take-up by foreign companies has been slow.

  • Bloomberg News | Bloomberg
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Singles’ Day is the world’s biggest shopping event. In less than a decade, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. turned a quirky celebration for unmarried young adults in China into a global extravaganza drawing in thousands of retailers and hundreds of millions of shoppers of all ages -- hitched or otherwise. It’s spread to other e-commerce operators and will include more brick-and-mortar stores. The big unknown: To what extent, if any, the brewing U.S.-China trade war will cut into Singles’ Day sales.

  • Lulu Yilun Chen and Robert Fenner | Bloomberg
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The United Nations has declared asylum to be an inalienable human right, and most countries offer it. The principle is that nations should safeguard people who face persecution or danger when their own countries can’t or won’t protect them. There have long been debates over who deserves sanctuary, but today the discord goes deeper. In the wake of violence in the Middle East and Afghanistan and parts of Africa and Central America, the number of people seeking asylum has risen to record levels. Wh

  • Esmé E Deprez | Bloomberg
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Since relations between the U.S. and Turkey sank to a low point in August, the two countries have resolved a two-year standoff over an American pastor detained in Turkey. However, more complex issues continue to divide the NATO allies and threaten new crises. They include the fallout from a 2016 attempted coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s plans to buy a missile-defense system from Russia, and the U.S. alliance with a militia in Syria that Turkey considers a foe. The t

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TransCanada Corp.’s long-delayed Keystone XL is an $8 billion project to construct an oil pipeline that connects Alberta in Canada to the U.S.’s Gulf Coast refineries. It’s faced years of objections from environmentalists but was eventually approved by U.S. President Donald Trump. The project has now hit another roadblock, in the U.S. courts.

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When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in March that he was adding a question about U.S. citizenship to the next full U.S. head count, it set off a firestorm of criticism -- and a spate of legal challenges by cities, counties, states and immigrant-rights groups. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, an appointee of former president Barack Obama, is hearing the first case, led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, in a two-week trial in Manhattan without a jury.

  • Chris Dolmetsch | Bloomberg
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There’s been no shortage of excited pronouncements about how blockchain, the digital-ledger technology that makes Bitcoin work, will revolutionize everything from how stocks are traded to how Walmart Inc. keeps track of where that particular head of lettuce came from. Well, that lettuce-tracking blockchain is coming. But most of the other blockchain projects announced with enthusiasm in recent years aren’t, despite an estimated $2 billion invested by venture capitalists in the first half of 2018

  • Olga Kharif | Bloomberg
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If a ship crossing a wide and placid harbor yaws so far that it almost hits the channel markers, its captain might want to have the rudder adjusted. That’s what the Federal Reserve is attempting to do as the fed funds rate inches closer to the top of the central bank’s target range. Yet even after an unprecedented change to one of its key policy-setting tools in June, the gap between the fed funds rate and the upper bound of the range continues to narrow, and is once again at its smallest in alm

  • Alexandra Harris | Bloomberg
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Minutes after takeoff on Oct. 29, a Boeing 737 Max belonging to the budget Indonesian carrier Lion Air dove into the Java Sea at more than 600 miles an hour, shattering into pieces and killing all 189 passengers and crew. Based on preliminary findings from an investigation of the crash, Boeing Co. has warned airlines operating the new 737 Max that erroneous readings from a flight-monitoring system can cause the planes to do just that -- abruptly dive.

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