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The Wall Street Journal

Obama Cancels Meeting With Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

VIENTIANE, Laos—President Barack Obama canceled a planned meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, in a rare diplomatic rupture that follows an outbreak of tensions between two close allies over the Philippines’ new drug war. The White House said last week that Mr. Obama was planning to meet with Mr. Duterte during his trip to Laos for a summit of Asian leaders beginning Tuesday. The meeting would have been the first between the world leaders since Mr. Duterte took office in June. But in a notable expression of U.S. concern, Mr. Obama on Monday cast doubt on those plans, suggesting he may pull out of the meeting over bombastic comments from the Philippine leader demanding their discussion not touch on his approach to human rights and referring to the U.S. leader in Tagalog …

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Pilotless sailing for freight carriers looms on the horizon

"All hands on deck" may become a thing of the past. Ship designers, their operators and regulators are gearing up for a future in which cargo vessels sail the oceans with minimal or even no crew. Advances in automation and ample bandwidth even far offshore could herald the biggest change in shipping since diesel engines replaced steam. Ship operators believe more automation will enable them to optimize ship use, including cutting fuel consumption. "The benefit of automation is as an enabler of further efficiency across the 630 vessels we operate," said Palle Laursen, head of Maersk Line Ship Management, a unit of cargo-ship giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S. British engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC is leading the Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications initiative involving other companies and universities. It foresees technologies long used to improve …

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Chefs make hotels their meal tickets

By Sophia Hollander   Hotel dining, once scorned as the refuge of wan continental breakfasts and limp salads, has become a lifeline for restaurants that would otherwise be priced out of New York City. In September, Wolfgang Puck plans to make his New York City debut at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, a partnership that exempted him from the entire $10 million in design and construction of his restaurant. He will be joined this fall by a slew of high-profile chefs with their own hotel projects, including Tom Colicchio, Keith McNally, Andrew Carmellini and Jose Garces. Since 2010, Mr. Puck had searched in vain for a local address. “I couldn’t get the right deal and couldn’t find the right location,” he said. When his new restaurant opens, it will be his 20th …

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U.K. Business Investment Weakened Ahead of Brexit Vote

LONDON— U. K. business investment fell slightly year-over-year in the three months running up to June’s vote on the country’s European Union membership, official data showed Friday, signaling that the referendum uncertainty may have weighed on the country’s business climate. Business investment decreased by 0.8% in the April-June period compared with the same period a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said, and stood at £43.9 billion ($58.05 billion). Compared with the first quarter, it grew by 0.5%. The ONS also confirmed its earlier estimates of the gross domestic product growth figures for the same period. The U.K. economy grew by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter, the data showed, and by 2.2% from the same period last year. In annualized terms, the U.K. economy grew by 2.4%. While the reporting period included the national vote …

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Tigerair to boost fleet after years of scaling back

SINGAPORE – Singapore Airlines Ltd. unit Tigerair will boost its fleet by taking back planes it subleased to an Indian discount carrier, as it seeks to resume growth after years of scaling back. Tigerair cut its investment in overseas ventures and took out planes from the Philippines and Indonesia in 2014 to trim losses. To avoid the cost of idle planes, it subleased 12 Airbus Group SE A320 jets to Indian rival IndiGo in October that year. Tigerair and IndiGo didn't disclose the terms of their deal, but an Airbus A320 fetches between $3.8 million and $4.2 million a year in rental income, according to industry estimates. IndiGo is owned by Mumbai-listed InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. (539448.BY). The Singaporean carrier now plans to take back 11 of those subleased planes, and one will …

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Pokémon Go-Related Car Crash Kills Woman in Japan

TOKYO— One woman died and another was injured in what Japanese police are calling the first fatal accident in the country involving the smartphone game Pokémon Go. Police in Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku in western Japan, said a car plowed into the two women on Tuesday night as they crossed the street. The crash broke one woman’s neck, killing her, while the other woman suffered a broken hip. Local police said the driver of the car told them that he wasn’t looking ahead because he was playing Pokémon Go, a game that involves capturing animated creatures superimposed on real images as seen through the phone’s camera. It was the first death caused by an accident related to Pokémon Go in Japan, the National Police Agency said. Overall, the agency said there have …

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FAA clears Indonesian carriers for takeoff to US

By Anita Rachman  Jakarta, Indonesia – US aviation regulators have upgraded Indonesia's aviation safety ranking, lifting a nine-year-old bar on Indonesian airlines initiating flights to the US, authorities here announced Monday. Indonesia's director general of aviation Suprasetyo said the Federal Aviation Administration raised Indonesia's status to Category 1, after extensively assessing the country's aviation operations, monitoring, and regulations. Mr. Suprasetyo, who goes by one name, said that the change in status means that any Indonesian airline can now fly to the US. "We should be grateful for all of our hard work and technical help from the US through the FAA," said Mr. Suprasetyo. "We have fulfilled the international aviation standards." The move, which comes on the heels of a recent EU decision to lift a ban on three Indonesian airlines, will boost the expansion …

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Maersk profit dips on weak freight rates

Danish shipping and energy conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S said Friday its second-quarter net profit plunged compared with a year earlier, hit by tumbling freight rates and weak oil prices as earnings dropped across all business units. Net profit dropped to $101 million from $1.07 billion a year earlier, as revenue fell 16% to $8.86 billion. Net profit for the quarter was forecast to total $188 million and revenue $9.07 billion, according to FactSet. Underlying profit, which strips out one-off items, dropped to $134 million from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Maersk Line, the world's biggest container operator in terms of capacity, swung to an underlying loss of $139 million, from an underlying profit of $499 million a year ago. Maersk Oil contributed a profit of $130 million, down from $217 million a …

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Beijing okays Foxconn acquisition of Sharp

Beijing – Chinese antitrust authorities approved Foxconn Technology Group's deal to buy troubled Sharp Corp., clearing the final hurdle to one of the biggest takeovers of a Japanese electronics company by a foreign firm. The news on Thursday came as Apple, Inc. assembler Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., reported a 31% decline in second-quarter net profit as iPhone sales fell in a maturing smartphone market. Under the terms of the takeover, announced in March, Taiwan-based Foxconn is to pay 388.8 billion yen ($3.8 billion) for about two-thirds of Sharp. Foxconn was interested in Sharp partly because of the Japanese company's business in making screens for smartphones. Sharp is also a supplier of screens used in Apple's iPhones. Foxconn said net profit for the three months ended June 30 fell to …

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China slows as stimulus impact wanes

Beijing – A swath of economic activity – from factory output to investment and retail sales – slowed last month, reflecting renewed weakness in China's economy as the effects of earlier government stimulus wane. Industrial production, long a rough proxy for growth in the world's second-largest economy, rose 6.0% in July from a year earlier, according to government data released Friday. The pace was slower than the 6.2% growth recorded in June – a rate economists expected would be sustained in July. Investment in factories, buildings and other fixed assets in non-rural areas climbed 8.1% on year in the January-July period, decelerating from the 9% increase in the first six months of the year and again lower than the 8.9% predicted by economists. "The Chinese economy is definitely on the downward trend. That …

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