CVS, Walmart reach new agreement for pharmacy network

January 18, 2019

(Reuters) – CVS Health Corp <CVS.N> and Walmart Inc <WMT.N> reached a multi-year agreement, under which Walmart will continue participating in CVS’s pharmacy benefit management commercial and Medicaid retail pharmacy networks, the companies said on Friday.

Financial terms of the new contract were not disclosed.

On Tuesday, CVS said Walmart was leaving its network for commercial and Medicaid prescription drug plans after the two failed to agree on pricing.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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UK PM May to discuss Brexit next steps with ministers, EU leaders

January 18, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will hold a series of meetings with some of her top ministers on Friday to discuss the way forward on Brexit after her deal with Brussels was rejected by parliament, her spokeswoman said.

May spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday, and will have further calls with EU leaders over the weekend, she added.

(Reporting by William James, Writing by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison)

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‘We will miss you’: Germany pleads with the British to stay in EU

January 18, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s protege appealed to the British on Friday to stay in the European Union, saying her compatriots had not forgotten how Britain welcomed Germany back as a sovereign nation after World War Two.

Conservative leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel as leader of the Christian Democrats, joined German politicians, industrialists and artists in a last-minute plea to Britons as the clock ticks down to Brexit in 70 days.

“Without your great nation, this continent would not be what it is today,” they said in the letter, which was published in The Times newspaper.

“After the horrors of the Second World War, Britain did not give up on us. It has welcomed Germany back as a sovereign nation and a European power.”

Besides war and peace, they outlined some of the more quirky qualities which they said they would miss if Britain left the club it joined in 1973.

“We would miss the legendary British black humor and going to the pub after work hours to drink an ale. We would miss tea with milk and driving on the left-hand side of the road. And we would miss seeing the panto at Christmas.”

“But more than anything else, we would miss the British people — our friends across the Channel,” they said.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle)

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Tsitsipas hopes to be mentally ready for ‘legend’ Federer

January 18, 2019

By Sudipto Ganguly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas said he would need to be at the peak of his mental strength against six-times Australian Open champion Roger Federer after his hopes of avoiding the “legend” of the sport in the fourth round were dashed.

Seeded 14th in Melbourne, the 20-year-old Tsitsipas beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 3-6 7-6(7) 6-4 on Friday to reach the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the second time after making the same stage at last year’s Wimbledon.

Federer was still playing his match against American Taylor Fritz at the Rod Laver Arena when Tsitsipas was asked in his court-side interview who he was cheering for.

The Greek, understandably, was rooting for a Fritz win to avoid facing the 20-times Grand Slam champion.

The pair played in the Hopman Cup recently, where the Swiss won 7-6(5) 7-6(4).

“I learned a lot since my last match with him. I know the patterns that he’s using a bit better now. He’s serving really well, so I’m going to have to utilize his, and take advantage of my returns as much as possible,” Tsitsipas said.

“He’s a legend of our sport. It will be a great day facing him in one of the best arenas, Rod Laver. I’m really excited for that match.”

The Greek said he had vivid memories of watching some of Federer’s finals against the likes of Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic over the years and hoped he would not be overwhelmed by Sunday’s experience.

“It’s not easy to play these kind of players that you’ve been watching for so long and you finally get to play them,” Tsitsipas said.

“Mentally you have to be much stronger than any other match that you have faced that week. Having such a name like Federer on the other side, it’s an extra, I would say, advantage for him, because he’s done what he’s done.

“But mentally… for players to beat him, they have to be ready and believe in themselves that they are, their game is great enough to beat such a player.”

Melbourne is home to the largest population of Greeks outside Greece and they turned out in large numbers, singing and chanting for Tsitsipas, who lost his temper in the third set of his match against Basilashvili on Friday.

The Greek had a foul-mouthed outburst at a line judge in his native language, for which he was served a code violation. He later apologized for the incident.

“It was heat of the moment. I said some really bad things. I regret saying them,” he said. “But I really wanted this really bad. At that moment it felt like it was slipping out.

“I didn’t quite think what I was saying. Yeah, I wish I could change that and wouldn’t say that. It’s not the right attitude.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Toby Davis)

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EU Commission clears Carige state-backed bond issue

January 18, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission has approved a scheme set up by the Italian government to guarantee a bond issue by Banca Carige <CRGI.MI> that would help the troubled bank raise badly needed funds.

“The Commission’s assessment showed that the measure is targeted, proportionate and limited in time and scope. The Commission has therefore concluded that this liquidity support is in line with EU rules,” the commission said in a statement.

The bonds that could be covered by the guarantee could be up to 3 billion euros ($3.42 billion), the commission said.

Carige will pay a fee to the Italian State for the guarantee.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

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German security is important for 5G network: Interior Ministry

January 18, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – National security is important for the German government in deciding which companies will get access to build its next-generation mobile networks, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Friday.

Asked whether Berlin was mulling banning China’s Huawei Technologies from building its 5G network, the spokesman said the government was not examining whether one company should be excluded from building the network, but was checking individual components.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Writing by Riham Alkousaa)

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Foxconn Cuts 50,000 Jobs Due To iPhone Sales Slowdown

In the latest indication that the slump in sales of Apple’s most recent batch of iPhones isn’t a transitory trend, Nikkei Asia Review on Friday reported that Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest and most important iPhone suppliers, is cutting seasonal staff more swiftly than in previous years, a sign that it is bracing for weak sales in the months ahead as the industry suffers its worst downturn in 10 years.


Normally, the 50,000 contract workers who have been let go at Foxconn’s most important factory in Zhengzhou would have been kept around for a few more months, as the manufacturer gradually reduced its employee head count.

The report comes after Apple announced plans to cut iPhone production for the second time in two months.

Around 50,000 contract workers have been let go since October at Foxconn Technology Group’s most important iPhone factory at Zhengzhou, in China’s Henan Province, according to an industry source familiar with the situation. Normally, the contracts of these workers would be renewed every month from August until mid- to late January, when the workforce is traditionally scaled back for the slow iPhone production season.

The depth of the cuts isn’t deeper than in previous years, it’s just happening much earlier than expected, as many workers were asked to leave before year-end as expectations for holiday sales slumped.

The scale of the cuts is not necessarily deeper than previous years, it is simply significantly earlier, industry sources said. “It’s quite different this year to ask assembly line workers to leave before the year-end,” a source with knowledge of Foxconn’s reductions said.

Other important iPhone suppliers have let workers go much earlier than usual as they struggle with slower-than-expected demand for Apple’s iconic product. The California tech giant earlier this month shocked the market by warning of a slump in revenues at the end of 2018. This year is also shaping up to be difficult, with further declines expected in the smartphone market, while the ongoing U.S.-China trade war is taking a heavy toll.

Foxconn isn’t alone in its cutbacks: Other companies further down the supply chain are also cutting jobs.

Pegatron, Apple’s second-biggest iPhone assembler, began canceling monthly labor contracts in November. A source close to the company said its normal practice was to reduce the 200,000-strong head count by tens of thousands every month until reaching about 100,000 – the minimum required for daily operation, according to one source familiar with the situation. “And for [2018], it just happened sooner than in the past because of poor demand.”

Industry sources said early cutbacks were happening further down the supply chain as well. One key component supplier based in Shenzhen had asked 4,000 workers to take an extended “vacation” from October to March, a person with knowledge of the situation said. “The company has not actively laid off those workers yet. It will decide whether or not to lay them off after March 1,” the source said.

To be sure, Foxconn’s cutbacks stretch beyond its iPhone manufacturing units. It is also paring back the number of managers and consolidating business units as it aims to cut 100,000 permanent positions.

Meanwhile, Foxconn – formally Hon Hai Precision Industry – is in the middle of an aggressive cost-cutting program as it braces for a difficult 2019. In addition to letting contract workers go early, it is hoping to reduce expenses with an organizational restructuring, according to people close to the Taiwanese company. It has recently merged business units making Apple’s MacBooks and iPads with another division making laptops and desktops for Dell and Acer.

The result of the consolidation will be steep cuts to management jobs and back office support staff such as human resources, administration, accounting and finance, and utility support jobs. “Previously, each business unit had its own supporting staff, and by merging business divisions, Foxconn can slash some 50% of those supporting jobs and even condense managerial positions too,” a person familiar with the reshuffle told the Nikkei Asian Review.

The reorganization is part of Foxconn’s push to cut 100,000 jobs out of about 1.1 million by the end of 2018 across all of its affiliates and subsidiaries, as reported by Nikkei Asian Review in November. Foxconn aims to cut costs by some 20 billion yuan ($2.96 billion) in 2019 compared with 2018, according to an internal document dubbed the “1031 project” seen by Nikkei.

To be sure, Foxconn’s embrace of automation has been partly responsible for the reduction in its head count. But as smartphone sales slowed last year, Foxconn and other iPhone suppliers revealed steep declines in revenue, with Foxconn’s yoy revenue falling 8% in December compared with the same month last year.

But as Apple CEO Tim Cook has decided to stop breaking out iPhone sales and to place more emphasis on the company’s software and other product offerings should, investors (including the Oracle of Omaha himself) who are hoping for a return to $1 trillion market cap should probably hope that the company hurries up and launches its next-generation iPhone Air Pods. Or maybe – just maybe – cutting prices on its increasingly expensive flagship product.

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Chinese drone maker DJI expects $150 million loss due to corruption: report

January 18, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The world’s largest maker of consumer drones, China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, expects losses of more than 1 billion yuan ($150 million) for 2018 due to internal corruption, the state-run China Securities Journal said on Friday.

The newspaper cited an internal company report on corruption, which said that more than 40 people at privately-held DJI had been investigated. DJI did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the report.

Several Chinese technology companies have recently launched initiatives to stamp out corruption and earlier this month, Beijing-based ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said it had dismissed more than 80 employees in 2018 over corruption.

DJI’s human resources department was quoted by the newspaper as saying it employed 12,000 people at the end of 2018 and expects to grow to 14,000 by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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Ukraine foreign minister says arms talks with U.S. ongoing

January 18, 2019

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on Friday that arms negotiations were ongoing with the United States.

Asked about the prospect of the U.S. selling lethal weapons to Ukraine, Klimkin said: “We are now conducting such negotiations. I cannot talk about individual systems. This is a confidential issue.”

“We are talking about a very serious strengthening of the defense capabilities of both our armed forces and our defense sector as a whole,” he told reporters at a press conference.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; editing by Matthias Williams and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Vía One America News Network