China's crackdown on sugar smuggling leaves global storage headache

China's crackdown on sugar smuggling leaves global storage headacheLONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) – A crackdown on sugar smuggling into China has left abundantly supplied markets in elsewhere Asia struggling to absorb excess supplies, causing a wider storage problem for global markets. Vast tonnages of sugar smuggled into China are believed to be produced mostly in India or Thailand and shipped to Myanmar, Laos or Vietnam before entering the Chinese mainland. The crackdown comes as Beijing faces pressure from industry to extend hefty sugar import tariffs beyond 2020 and keep growth in licensed imports into China historically low.


Kik says it’s ‘here to stay,’ following shutdown reports

It’s been a rough run for Kik of late. The once mighty messaging service announced in late September that it would be shutting down its app. CEO Ted Livingston noted in a blog post that the startup would be trimming its headcount from over 100 people to “an elite 19 person team,” following a protracted 18 month battle with the SEC.

Today the service noted on Twitter, however, “Great news: Kik is here to stay!!!! AND there’s some really exciting plans for making the app even better. More details coming soon. Stay tuned.”

The news follows an October 7 tweet from Livingston that noted, “Some exciting news: we may have found a home for Kik! We just signed an LOI [letter of intent] with a great company. They want to buy the app, continue growing it for our millions of users, and take the Kin integration to the next level. Not a done deal yet, but could be a great win win. More soon.”

Along with the previously noted shutdown of Kik Messenger, the executive added that the far leaner team would be shifting its focus to its cryptocurrency, Kin. “[N]o matter what happens to Kik, Kin is here to stay,” Livingston said of the two-year-old currency at the time. “Kin operates on an open, decentralized infrastructure run by a dozen independent companies. Kin is a currency used by millions of people in dozens of independent apps.”

Kin was the subject of an SEC lawsuit earlier this year, following its $100 million ICO raise. “The SEC charges that Kik sold the tokens to U.S. investors without registering their offer and sale as required by the U.S. securities laws,” the commission wrote in June.

What the future ultimately looks like for Kik is still very unclear following the fairly cryptic tweet. We’ve reached out to the company for comment.

UAW boosts strike pay as GM walkout continues

UAW boosts strike pay as GM walkout continuesThe United Auto Workers union said Saturday it will boost strike pay for 48,000 hourly workers at General Motors Co by $25 a week to $275 as a strike against the largest U.S. automaker nears the end of its fourth week. Talks were continuing late Saturday afternoon to try to resolve the longest nationwide strike at GM since 1970, both sides said. The UAW also said it would allow members striking to take on part-time jobs without reducing their strike pay – as long as they perform picket-line duties.


Electric moped startup Revel could expand to Texas next

Revel, the New York-based shared electric moped startup, appears to be preparing to expand into Texas, according to job listings first spotted and reported by Thinknum Alternative Data.

The expansion into Texas would be Revel’s fourth market and its first west of the Mississippi River, a move that would be consistent with comments CEO and co-founder Frank Reig made earlier this week to TechCrunch.

Revel, which launched in 2018, has more than 1,400 mopeds in Washington, D.C., and Brooklyn and Queens, New York. The company announced Thursday that it raised $27.6 million in a Series A round led by Ibex Investors. The equity round included newcomer Toyota AI Ventures and further investments from Blue Collective, Launch Capital and Maniv Mobility.

Revel plans to use the funds to expand its fleet of scooters within the cities it currently operates as well as  into new markets. Reig wouldn’t name where Revel will launch next. However, he provided a few hints.

Revel is targeting about 10 cities by mid-2020, Reig said in an interview earlier this week. He added that likely candidates would be major U.S. cities with temperate weather conditions. That puts cities in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California as likely destinations.

Thinknum, which tracks companies and creates data sets that measure hiring, revenue and other factors, charted out job listings at Revel. What the company found was nearly a dozen jobs posted since July that will be based in Texas.

While Revel’s job listings point to Texas, the company isn’t ready to talk.

“We can’t confirm specific launch timelines right now, but Revel is having productive conversations with markets in Texas among other places,” a company spokesperson said in response to TechCrunch’s inquiry. “We look forward to bringing our service to new cities in the coming months.”

Revel is different from other shared mobility-as-a-service providers, especially scooter companies, because it doesn’t use gig economy or contract workers. It only employs full-time workers. This would suggest that Revel isn’t merely experimenting with Texas; it has intentions to build out operations there.

The job listings include openings for a manager, mechanic and customer service support. Some of these jobs actually list Texas City, Texas as the destination. It’s not clear if this is actually where Revel will deploy. Texas City is about 42 miles southeast of Houston.

Steam will soon let you play local-only multiplayer games with far off friends

 

Co-op video games are wonderful.

Alas, it’s not always possible to get everyone in front of the same TV — and not all co-op games have online play, so playing across the Internet is out.

With that in mind, Valve has been working on something it calls “Remote Play Together” that it’s planning on rolling into its Steam game launcher later this month. By more or less tricking the game into thinking all players are in the same room, it’ll let you play generally-local-only multiplayer games with your friends remotely.

Valve published a note, first noticed by PCGamer, about the upcoming feature on its developers-only Steamworks site. The note quickly made its way to the Unity developer forums.

“Your local multiplayer games will soon be improved with automatic support for Remote Play Together on Steam,” it reads. “All local multiplayer, local co-op, and split-screen games will be automatically included in the Remote Play Together beta, which we plan to launch the week of October 21.”

The pending launch was later confirmed by Valve’s Alden Kroll:

So how does it work? If you’ve ever used PS4’s remote play (which lets you push PS4 games to your smartphone) or cast a game from your PC to an Nvidia SHIELD, it’s a bit like that… just tweaked for multiplayer. One player hosts the game on their computer; Steam sends a stream of the visuals to everyone else, capturing controller/keyboard input and sending it back to player one. As far as the game knows, everyone is sitting around the same screen.

It’s important to note, of course, that some games will almost certainly fare better than others here. While streaming tech is only getting better, it inherently introduces latency — and in plenty of games, latency kills. Hopefully Valve makes it clear to players that this is all pretty unofficial; if a game isn’t playable because of latency or anything else remote play brings into the mix, it’s not really the developer’s fault. Valve says developers can opt out of the beta feature if they see fit.

Valve says Remote Play Together will officially support up to 4 players in one game, and notes that the experience will only be as good as the connections of everyone involved.

Conflicting Trade Signals Rocked Markets With Three Hours of Chaos

Conflicting Trade Signals Rocked Markets With Three Hours of Chaos(Bloomberg) — Even for investors hardened by more than a year of trade-war headlines, it’s been a chaotic few hours.Conflicting signals on the prospects for a deal between the U.S. and China sent S&P 500 futures on one of their wildest rides in recent memory, triggering four 1%-plus swings in contracts that track $24 trillion of U.S. equities in a span of three hours.The moves underscored just how jittery investors have become as negotiators meet in Washington to attempt a deal that could have major consequences for the global economy.Read more: China-U.S. Set to Talk With Global Economy Facing Trade CrucibleAfter a September with only two S&P 500 moves of more than 1%, October has seen four sessions registering that magnitude in the first seven trading days. Maxwell Grinacoff, a derivatives and quantitative strategist at Macro Risk Advisors, called the index’s 1.9% month-to-date drop a “spooky ‘Vol-tober’ sell-off” in a note on Wednesday, advising investors to employ hedges to manage the swings.“Trade talks will make for twitchy trades,“ said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank Ltd.Shortly after U.S. stock markets closed with a gain amid optimism about trade talks on Wednesday, futures began tanking on a South China Morning Post report that deputy-level discussions had made “no progress” and the principal Chinese negotiators might cut short their stay.The market rallied on separate reports that top Chinese envoy Liu He would stay in Washington through Friday, before turning lower yet again. Then came another rebound on news that the White House may roll out a previously agreed currency pact with China as part of a deal that could also suspend a planned tariff increase next week.Read more: U.S. Weighing Currency Pact With China as Part of Partial DealBy 10:47 a.m. Hong Kong time, futures were almost back where they started, trading down less than 0.2%. The yen, yuan, oil and gold saw similar fluctuations.Investor nervousness has increased against a backdrop of deteriorating economic data and escalating tensions between the U.S. in China in recent days.On Monday, the Trump administration moved to blacklist Chinese tech firms including video-surveillance company Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., alleging that they were complicit in human-rights violations in Xinjiang. U.S. officials are also reportedly moving ahead with discussions around possible restrictions on portfolio flows into China. A fight over free speech between China and the NBA, triggered by a tweet backing Hong Kong’s protesters, has added to the tense mood.“Overall the market is pretty on the edge as we’ve seen bigger negative reactions toward trade news,” said Mingze Wu, a foreign-exchange trader at INTL FCStone Global Payments in Singapore.Some investors have responded by adding hedges, helping push the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, steadily higher since late September. October futures on the index rose 1.8% on Thursday.“The difficulty in predicting the final outcome of the trade dispute poses a challenge for investors,” Mark Haefele, global chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management, wrote in a note on Wednesday. “Not even the negotiators themselves can yet be confident of the final result.”\–With assistance from Cormac Mullen, Jenny Leonard and Ruth Carson.To contact the reporter on this story: Joanna Ossinger in Singapore at [email protected] contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Anstey at [email protected], Michael PattersonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.