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Теніс: Світоліна вийшла до півфіналу турніру в Дубаї

Українська тенісистка Еліна Світоліна перемогла іспанку Карлу Суарес-Наварро в чвертьфіналі турніру Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Поєдинок завершився перемогою українки з результатом – 6:2, 6:3.

За право зіграти у фіналі Світоліна позмагається зі швейцаркою Беліндою Бенчич, яка 21 лютого в трьох сетах переграла колишню першу ракетку світу румунку Сімону Халеп.

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Signs Point to China, US Deal to Avert Further Tariff Hike

As China and the United States resume high-level talks in Washington Thursday, there are signs that the two may be closing in on a deal.

Reuters news agency is reporting that top trade officials from both sides are trying to hammer out the details of six broad agreements aimed at resolving the most difficult issues from forced technology transfers, to state subsidies and cyber theft.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said there is no “magical date” for reaching a trade deal, a comment some felt suggests that the March 1 deadline, which could trigger a steep hike in tariffs from both countries, could be postponed if progress is being made.

Meanwhile, a senior Communist party adviser, speaking at a forum organized by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, predicted Washington and Beijing would reach a trade deal in early March . He also said that Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, is likely to be released by April or May.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference hosted by the newspaper, Xie Maosong, an adjunct professor at the Central Party School, said he was confident that is what would happen because of what he called the countermeasures China had taken.

Those “countermeasures” include Bejing’s detention and charging of two Canadian citizens — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — for endangering state security.

Meng is currently on bail in Canada awaiting possible extradition to the United States.

According to a Reuters report on Thursday, U.S. and Chinese negotiators are working on six broader agreements as well as a 10-item list of shorter-term measures.

Analysts tell VOA, that while it appears a more comprehensive deal is coming together, the details of any agreement will be key in determining whether it is a success or just an opportunity to kick long-standing issues down the road.

Christopher Balding, an economist and associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam, said deals like the one China and the United States are working on take time.

There will be a lot of paperwork and time spent making sure individual agreements for industries are worked out, he said.

“The other issue that is going to be the real hang up, and this is going to be the real hang up for Beijing, is that there is some type of verification mechanism,” Balding said. “It’s not just the agreement, but what comes after the agreement.”

William Choong, a senior fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, said while they are two entirely different issues, the way President Trump is handling China is similar to how he is working with North Korea.

Choong said much like the meeting between Kim Jong Un and Trump in Singapore led to a North Korea deal 1.0, next week we’re going to get a 2.0 deal with North Korea in Vietnam.

The trade deal that is coming up is similar, he said.

“It will not be the all and end all. We are going to see more iterations along the road,” Choong said. “Whatever agreement they settle on, that the Americans and Chinese agree on, will be enough to let go of some of the steam, some of the pressure that has built up.”

That will give Trump a chance to kick the March 1 deadline further down the road, he added.

Chinese state media reports on Thursday were upbeat about the meetings.

An editorial in the China Daily, entitled “Decisive Talks Must be Forward Thinking,” said, “both sides should cherish the narrowing of their differences that has been achieved, as it has involved more than just picking off low-hanging fruit.”

Calling President Trump’s suggestion that the deadline could be delayed a “conciliatory signal,” the paper also added that it would be “naïve to think that such a Gordian knot of differing goals and ambitions will be simple to unravel, especially as the discussions are now about the most divisive and touch-a-nerve issues.”

It also said Washington needs to be realistic about what China can and cannot do. What that actually entails will only be clearer when the complete agreement is released.

“China more than anything wants this to go away because it is hindering a lot of their confidence building measures and investment decisions, that’s what they are really hoping to get out of it [a deal],” Balding said.

Choong agrees, noting that what Beijing wants is to get Trump off its back. But, he added, how China could change course enough on issues such as forced technology transfers is unclear.

“I do not know how the Chinese are going to put something that is significant enough in the agreement to actually placate the Americans,” Choong said. The Chinese, he said, are looking for a way to play Trump, much like North Korea has done.

“If Trump gets enough on paper that looks satisfactory, he can go away to the Twitter-verse and say look I’ve got this big deal with the Chinese.”

 

 

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НБУ встановив курс гривні на рівні 27 грн за долар

Національний банк України зміцнив офіційний курс гривні на 22 лютого до 27 гривні за долар порівняно зі встановленим на сьогодні курсом 27,09 грн за дол.

Курс гривні до євро на 22 лютого складає 30,65 порівняно з 30,72, встановленому на сьогодні.

У середині січня під час своєї підсумкової доповіді у Верховній Раді голова Національного банку України Яків Смолій заявив, що обсяги міжнародних резервів України сягнули найвищого рівня за останні п’ять років завдяки зміцненню гривні.

Читайте також: НБУ стримує падіння долара на рівні 27 гривень

За його даними, національна валюта протягом року зміцнилася на 1,4%, що дозволило Нацбанку купувати валюту на міжбанківському ринку.

Зміцненню гривні, пояснив він, сприяла жорстка монетарна політика, сприятливі ціни на український експорт і високий врожай.

 

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Reuters Data Show Google’s New Cloud Boss Has Big Task to Catch Rivals

Google has a new cloud computing boss and big ambitions to someday produce more revenue from that business than from advertising. Now comes the hard part: winning over big-spending customers.

Alphabet Inc’s cloud computing division remains a distant third behind Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp in terms of global revenue, according to analysts’ estimates. A few major companies manage their data on Google’s servers. But Google has nowhere near the vast customer base of Amazon, according to a new Reuters analysis of company regulatory filings.

Businesses generally are not required to disclose their cloud vendors. Reuters found 311 out of about 5,000 worldwide that did so in 2018. While not comprehensive, the data provide a window into Google’s challenge.

Thirty five of those companies named Google as a cloud provider. The largest by market capitalization were oil major Total SA and bank HSBC Holdings Plc.

Amazon Web Services led with 227 clients, including travel company Expedia Group Inc and industrials giant Siemens AG. Microsoft’s Azure cloud had 69 firms, among them weapons maker Axon Enterprise Inc and business data firm Dun & Bradstreet Co. Thirty four of the companies cited multiple clouds.

The previously untracked data show the work ahead for Thomas Kurian, who is weeks on the job as chief executive of Google Cloud. Kurian has vowed to double down where Google has seen promising results. Specifically, he plans to target governments and top companies in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, media and finance.

“A lot of our focus as we go forward is making sure that our sales organization has the background and the ability to sell to large, more traditional companies,” Kurian said at a Goldman Sachs investor conference last week. “There’s enormous appetite in those companies to consider Google.”

Google declined to comment or make Kurian available for an interview.

People familiar with his plans said he is looking to reshape his division’s culture. A key part is developing or acquiring easy-to-use, industry-specific corporate applications, an area that Amazon and Microsoft do not dominate.

“It’s about the on-ramp onto their cloud,” said Daniel Ives, a New York-based financial analyst following the cloud industry for Wedbush Securities. “The main way to get that is through applications.”

A 22-year veteran of Oracle Corp, Kurian gave the database company fresh life as the product leader behind its move to selling cloud services. His hire is already making potential customers reconsider Google, said Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research, a Monta Vista, Calif.-based firm that helps businesses negotiate cloud deals.

“They’ve worked with him,” Wang said. “There’s a trust factor that wasn’t there before.”

Kurian also must reassure some investors bewildered by Google’s cloud ambitions: Diversifying revenue beyond advertising is a plus, but it is not coming cheap.

Google, Microsoft and Amazon combined spent nearly $53 billion on capital expenses last year, driven by data center projects to house their clouds.

With gross margins of 20 percent or less, selling cloud storage or tools for which customers need specialized staff is less lucrative for a small vendor, industry experts said. But margins on the type of software Kurian likely wants to offer can top even the 60 percent of Google’s ad business.

“The next wave of growth is going to have to come from the heavy hitting applications,” said Kerry Liu, chief executive at Rubikloud, which helps retailers with cloud projects.

‘Geeky, Techy platform’

Google got serious about the cloud around 2016, five years after Amazon Web Services had become a multibillion-dollar behemoth. But Google’s reputation for limited customer support has attracted mostly newer businesses or those with significant tech know-how.

Mike Fisher, Etsy Inc’s chief technology officer, said Google’s superior AI tools helped win over the New York-based crafts marketplace. Fisher expects data-crunching algorithms to account for 25 percent of its server use this year, up from 10 percent last year.

“We’ve been more pleasantly surprised than we thought,” Fisher said of the cloud’s benefits.

Advertising software company OpenX recently agreed to spend at least $110 million on Google Cloud over five years. The Pasadena, Calif. firm bet its clients would benefit from transacting on the same infrastructure as Google’s ads system. “It’s a bit more of a geeky, techy platform, but we’re that kind of company,” said Chief Technology Officer Paul Ryan.

Kurian’s plan

To attract more traditional corporate clients, Google Cloud will need to do some handholding, executives at its partners and rivals said.

Kurian is well-suited to the role. Two of his former colleagues said his follow-up and candid disclosures about product limitations helped seal deals at Oracle. An early riser, Kurian impressed staff with his meticulous preparation for morning meetings as well as his recall of the tiniest details of clients’ systems from years before.

Kurian also managed billions of dollars in acquisitions at Oracle, including the purchases of software firms BEA Systems and Taleo.

Applications could come through similar deals and internally: Google is testing product recommendation software for shopping apps, a person familiar with the project said, to add to its small set of specialized tools.

Kurian told the investor conference that “you will see us continue to expand our footprint there.”

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НБУ стримує падіння долара на рівні 27 гривень

Національний банк України 21 лютого викуповує на міжбанківському валютному ринку надлишки долара США, не допускаючи таким чином значного зміцнення гривні.

«Попит і пропозиція майже вирівнялися. Уповільнення просідання курсу виникло за рахунок виходів НБУ з викупом надлишків долара в останні кілька годин сесії. Всього регулятор купив уже не менш як 10 мільйонів доларів за ціною в межах 27 гривень», – вказує профільний сайт «Мінфін», який відстежує перебіг торгів на міжбанку.

Станом на 12:00 НБУ встановив довідковий курс на рівні 26 гривень 99,95 копійки за долар.

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Samsung’s Folding Phone Aims to Rejuvenate Smartphone Market

Ten years after launching its Galaxy line of smartphones, Samsung Electronics unveiled a new form of the ubiquitous device — a phone that seamlessly turns into a tablet — to create some new excitement in the sluggish global smartphone market.

At an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold, its long-awaited foldable smartphone. Only FlexPai, by Royale, a U.S.-based Chinese company, has anything like it on the market, but the FlexPai has garnered mixed reviews.

Samsung ignored the FlexPai’s existence and unveiled the Galaxy Fold as if it were the first of its kind.

“The size of our screens is still fundamentally limited by the size of our devices until now,” said Justin Denison, Samsung senior vice president of product marketing. “With the Galaxy Fold, we are creating a new dimension for your phone and your life. We are giving you a device that doesn’t just define category, it defies category.”

 

WATCH: Samsung Rolls Out New Smartphones

Three apps at once for multitasking

When closed, the Galaxy Fold is a smartphone. When opened, the Fold turns into an expansive tablet.

The device is for the impatient multitaskers because users can run three apps at the same time and continuously use the apps while moving from phone to tablet.

The Galaxy Fold is slated to go on sale in late April. It will cost nearly $2,000. That price tag caused sticker shock at the event, eliciting gasps and some grumbling among the audience.

But it appears the Galaxy Fold is in keeping with Samsung’s aim to generate buzz for the smartphone market, while also aiming for the market’s high end, where Apple and its iPhone dominate.

Slumping smartphone sales

The challenge smartphone makers have faced in recent years is that consumers hold on to the devices for longer and longer, seeing few reasons to upgrade.

The leader in worldwide smartphone sales, the South Korean electronics firm is hoping to give consumers a few reasons to trade in their older ones, and generate buzz about what smartphones can be in the future.

Samsung’s new line of Galaxy smartphone, the S10, comes in three models, S10e, S10 and the S10+. The S10 models have bigger screens, more battery life and more cameras packed in each device than earlier Galaxy lines.

​Ultrasound fingerprint scanner

The S10 has the world’s first “ultrasonic fingerprint scanner,” which uses sound waves that bounce from a user’s fingertip to unlock a device. It’s unclear if the fingerprint scanner will work through screen savers. And the S10 can act as a charger for other devices such as watches.

The S10 line, with a price starting at $749, will start shipping March 8.

Samsung executives say that with the firm’s foldable phone and new S10 line, it is ushering in the mobile era for the next decade.

“For those who say everything possible has already been done,” said DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung’s IT and mobile communications division. “I say open your mind and get ready for the dawn of a new mobile era.”

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Samsung Rolls Out New Smartphones

Samsung has unveiled its newest line of smartphones. The top-selling smartphone maker hopes to inject excitement into a sluggish global smartphone market. Michelle Quinn attended the event in San Francisco on Wednesday and gives us a look.

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Students Build City of the Future

A future of rising oceans and stronger storms awaits the next generation as the climate warms. It will take talented engineers and city planners to tackle those challenges. The annual Future City competition aims to get middle school students excited about learning the skills they’ll need. More than 40,000 students from 1,500 schools participated this year. VOA’s Steve Baragona was at the finals in Washington.

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