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Business news in brief

This article was originally published August 12, 2017 at 1:46 a.m. Updated August 12, 2017 at 1:46 a.m.

China reviews Internet firms for dissent

BEIJING -- China's online monitoring agency is investigating reports of multiple violations at news services run by Tencent Holdings Ltd., Baidu Inc. and Weibo Corp., as the government continues to tighten scrutiny over Internet content.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said Friday it's instructed its Beijing and Guangdong branches to look into reports that some of the country's largest online services are carrying user-generated content laden with "violence, porn, rumors" disruptive to social order. It didn't specify what actions may be taken. Tencent, Baidu and Weibo said in separate statements they will cooperate with the government on removing questionable content and rectifying any issues.

China has applied increasing pressure over Internet media in the run-up to a Communist Party congress later this year that is expected to consolidate President Xi Jinping's authority. Intent on muzzling potential sources of disruptive information, the government has shut live-streaming services and websites, tightened regulations governing Internet access, and issued repeated warnings about the need to clean up content through various agencies. Observers say the enhanced scrutiny is also characteristic of Xi's administration.

The latest inquiry centers on three of the country's largest repositories of online musings, all with hundreds of millions of users: Tencent's WeChat messaging service, Weibo's Twitter-like blog and Baidu's "Paste Bar" forums.

-- Bloomberg News

S.C. utility drops proposal to raise rates

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The state-owned electric utility Santee Cooper has dropped plans for rate increases in the next two years, after it canceled plans to finish two new nuclear reactors in South Carolina.

Company leaders in Moncks Corner, a town about 30 miles north of Charleston, said Friday that they will no longer seek increases of 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent that had been planned to help pay for the now-abandoned reactors.

Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. announced July 31 they were giving up on new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station northwest of Columbia. The two utilities had already spent $9 billion, much of it paid from their customers.

Santee Cooper Chief Executive Officer Lonnie Carter said it would have had to raise rates by 41 percent to continue with the project.

-- The Associated Press

Rocket to put supercomputer into orbit

HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- Space Exploration Technologies Corp. will carry a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. computing system that is designed to last longer and help pave the way for extended periods of space travel, such as the journey to Mars.

SpaceX will take the system, a box that can process data from experiments, on its Dragon Spacecraft that will be launched from Cape Canaveral on Aug. 14 to the International Space Station.

Other computing systems used in space have to be replaced frequently because the difficult conditions caused them to degrade, a spokesman for Hewlett Packard said. Its Spaceborne Computer is designed to last for a year, which it says is roughly the amount of time it would take to travel to Mars. NASA aims to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.

"A mission to Mars will require sophisticated on-board computing resources that are capable of extended periods of uptime," Alain Andreoli, senior vice president and General Manager at Hewlett Packard's Data Center Infrastructure Group, said in a blog post.

"To meet these requirements, we need to improve technology's viability in space in order to better ensure mission success," Andreoli said. "By sending a supercomputer to space, [HP Enterprise] is taking the first step in that direction."

-- Bloomberg News

Tata Steel, U.K. back pension changes

LONDON -- Tata Steel and British authorities said Friday that they have agreed on a plan to restructure the firm's British pension system, ending one aspect of uncertainty for 130,000 current and retired steelworkers.

Indian-owned Tata announced plans last year to sell its U.K. operations, including the Port Talbot steelworks in Wales. But after interventions from the British government and unions, it agreed to keep the business, which employs 8,000 people in Britain.

A sticking point was $19.5 billion in British pension liabilities, which Tata considered onerous. Steelworkers voted this year to accept lower benefits if it meant protecting jobs.

Tata Steel U.K. said Friday that it had signed an arrangement with pension trustees to separate the plan from the company, in exchange for a $715 million cash injection and stake for the pension fund in Tata's business.

The deal addresses one obstacle to a proposed merger between Tata's British businesses and Germany's Thyssenkrupp.

Unions welcomed the agreement, saying it helped end members' uncertainty about their retirement income.

-- The Associated Press

Google cancels gender-issues meeting

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai canceled an internal town-hall-style meeting meant to address gender discrimination after employee questions for management began to leak online.

Pichai said in an email to staff that several Google employees became fearful for their safety and grew concerned about being outed for speaking up at the meeting.

He said the company will aim to create several other forums "where people can feel comfortable to speak freely." Pichai's email was sent about an hour before the event was to start Thursday afternoon.

The meeting was meant to hear out employee grievances over a flare-up that has consumed Google for much of the week. It began last weekend after engineer James Damore circulated a memo that claimed biological gender differences helped explain why women are underrepresented at the company.

Google fired Damore on Monday. The engineer has claimed he had a right to voice concerns over workplace conditions and filed a labor relations board complaint prior to being fired.

-- The Associated Press

Business on 08/12/2017

Print Headline: China reviews Internet firms for dissent S.C. utility drops proposal to raise rates Rocket to put supercomputer into orbit Tata Steel, U.K. back pension changes Google cancels gender-issues meeting


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