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Vauxhall plans 400 job cuts at Ellesmere Port as sales fall

Vauxhall plans 400 job cuts at Ellesmere Port as sales fall

Business
Vauxhall is cutting about 400 jobs at its Ellesmere Port car plant due to falling sales.The carmaker, now owned by France's PSA Group - maker of Peugeot and Citroen - is "facing challenging European market conditions," a spokesman said.Ellesmere Port, which makes the Astra models, will move staff from two production shifts to one in early 2018.PSA said that manufacturing costs at Ellesmere were higher than other "benchmark plants" in the group.Vauxhall employs about 4,500 people in the UK, with about 1,800 at Ellesmere Port. The company also has a factory at Luton, which makes vans.PSA became Europe's second biggest carmaker after Volkswagen in August when it completed the purchase of Vauxhall and German brand Opel from US car giant General Motors.UK Prime Minister Theresa May personally s...
WTO countries fret over Brexit plans

WTO countries fret over Brexit plans

Business
The UK and EU have formally set out plans for World Trade Organization commitments post-Brexit, but they have already been opposed by some countries.The issue is about how much of certain goods can be imported at reduced tariffs after Brexit. These quotas currently apply to imports anywhere in the EU.But seven nations, including the US and Canada, have already made it clear that they think plans to divide existing quotas will put them at a disadvantage.After Brexit, exporters of goods will need to know what access they can expect to the separate markets of the UK and EU. The dissenting nations object to proposals from London and Brussels about how they plan to handle access to their markets for about 100 mainly agricultural goods. They feel that proposals for dividing quotas for goods impo...
White House plans order to expand health care options

White House plans order to expand health care options

Health
The White House is finalizing an executive order that would expand health plans offered by associations to allow individuals to pool together and buy insurance outside their states, a unilateral move that follows failed efforts by Congress to overhaul the health care system. President Donald Trump has long asserted that selling insurance across state lines would trigger competition that brings down premiums for people buying their own policies. Experts say that's not guaranteed, partly because health insurance reflects local medical costs, which vary widely around the country. Moreover, White House actions may come too late to have much impact on premiums for 2018. Trump was expected to sign the executive order next week, likely on Thursday, a senior administration official said Sunday. U...
Big Tech has big plans to help reconnect Puerto Rico

Big Tech has big plans to help reconnect Puerto Rico

Technology
Facebook and Google once aimed to connect the world. Now they would be happy just to reconnect part of it. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to send a "connectivity team" to help restore communications in ravaged Puerto Rico. Google parent company Alphabet offered to send its Wi-Fi balloons. They were among several tech companies proposing disaster response ideas, most aimed at getting phone and internet service up and running. Some of these plans, of course, are more aspirational than others. BATTERY POWER Tesla CEO Elon Musk often takes to Twitter to mull over ideas, but on Friday his musings about sending his company's solar-powered batteries to help restore Puerto Rico's power attracted the attention of the island's governor. "Let's talk," said Gov. ...
Questions arise on China's plans as N. Korea war talk rises

Questions arise on China's plans as N. Korea war talk rises

World
Securing North Korea's missile launchers and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons sites would likely be a chief priority for China in the event of a major crisis involving its communist neighbor, analysts say, although Beijing so far is keeping mum on any plans. Despite China's official silence, its People's Liberation Army likely has a "vast array" of contingency plans involving military options, said Dean Cheng, an Asia security expert at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington. The PLA and paramilitary People's Armed Police could also be deployed to deal with refugees and possible civil unrest, he said. What's less clear is whether and under what conditions China would commit troops as an occupying force should North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime fall apart, Cheng sai...