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Spanish authorities on alert for any bid by exiled Catalan leader to return

Spanish authorities on alert for any bid by exiled Catalan leader to return MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish authorities are monitoring borders to make sure that fugitive Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont does not sneak back into Spain to take up the presidency of the regional parliament again, a senior minister said on Tuesday. Puigdemont has said he can rule from self-imposed exile in Belgium, where he fled to in October to avoid arrest for his part in organising an illegal referendum on a Catalonian split from Spain and a subsequent…

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Element.AI opens London outpost with focus on ‘AI for good’

Element.AI opens London outpost with focus on ‘AI for good’ Element.AI — which last year raised $102 million from the likes of Microsoft, Intel, Nvidia and more to build an incubator-meets-consultancy to work with multiple businesses as they launch new services and systems based on artificial intelligence — is entering the next phase of its growth this week. The Canadian startup — co-founded by Jean-François Gagné, Nicolas Chapados, and Yoshua Bengio — is opening an outpost in London, its first international expansion. One main focus will be to work with charities, non-governmental…

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Aspect Ventures raises $181 million fund

Aspect Ventures raises 1 million fund Aspect Ventures has finalized its second fund. The team led by Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw has closed $181 million, up from $150 million it raised at its inception three years ago.  An SEC filing last year alerted us that the team was fundraising, but now it’s officially official. Aspect is also adding Melinda Gates and Cisco to its roster of LPs. The team is “looking forward to putting this new money to work,” said Kendra Ragatz, general partner and COO at Aspect. She’s particularly…

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Netflix shares hit record high after blockbuster results

Netflix shares hit record high after blockbuster results (Reuters) – Shares in Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) rose 9 percent to a record high in premarket trading on Tuesday after the video streaming service trounced Wall Street targets for new subscribers in the fourth quarter. At least eight brokerages raised their price targets for the company’s shares by as much as $50. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets and KeyBanc were most bullish, setting targets of $300 (£215) compared to the $248 it traded at on Tuesday. In a statement after markets closed…

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Entertainment 

Tributes paid to Teletubbies actor Simon Shelton

Tributes paid to Teletubbies actor Simon Shelton Tributes have been paid to actor Simon Shelton, best known for playing purple Teletubby Tinky Winky, following his death at the age of 52. Actress Emily Atack said her “wonderful uncle” had been “taken so suddenly” and was “the kindest and most talented man you could ever wish to meet”. Shelton took over the role of handbag-carrying Tinky Winky after original actor Dave Thompson was sacked in 1997. Other roles included The Dark Knight in children’s TV show Incredible Games. According to the…

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Lloyds Bank readying Berlin base ahead of Brexit – source

Lloyds Bank readying Berlin base ahead of Brexit – source LONDON (Reuters) – Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) aims to get its Berlin branch ready for business in Europe by the end of the year ahead of Britain leaving the European Union, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Lloyds this month filed an application with Germany’s financial regulators to convert its local branch into a subsidiary, the person said, which will enable it to keep its continental operations within the EU, unaffected by Brexit. The move is more…

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Magnitude 7.9 quake off Alaska prompts tsunami warning

Magnitude 7.9 quake off Alaska prompts tsunami warning (Reuters) – A magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit the Gulf of Alaska in the early hours of Tuesday, prompting authorities to warn people in the area to move away from the coast in case it causes a tsunami. The quake hit 256 km (157 miles) southeast of Chiniak, Alaska at a depth of 10 km at 0931 GMT, the U.S. Geological Survey said. “If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground. Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with…

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Turkey seeks no clash with Russia, Syria, U.S., but will pursue Syria goals – minister

Turkey seeks no clash with Russia, Syria, U.S., but will pursue Syria goals – minister ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey seeks to avoid any clash with Syrian, Russian or U.S. forces during its operation in northern Syria but will take whatever steps it needs for its security, Turkey’s foreign minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday. The United States and Russia have both urged Turkey to show restraint in its military campaign, Operation Olive Branch, to crush Kurdish YPG control over the Afrin district on its southern border. Syria has condemned…

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Business 

UK government borrowing narrows after EU credit

UK government borrowing narrows after EU credit UK government borrowing nearly halved in December from a year earlier, helped by a rebate from the European Union. Public sector borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, fell to a lower-than-expected £2.6bn last month, a £2.5bn fall from December 2016. The UK received a £1.2bn rebate from the EU due to a reduction in the bloc’s budget and changes to contributions. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also noted the collapse of Carillion could affect public finances. The ONS said that the government had stated…

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DuckDuckGo adds tracker blocking to help curb the wider surveillance web

DuckDuckGo adds tracker blocking to help curb the wider surveillance web Some major product news from veteran anti-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo: Today it’s launched revamped mobile apps and browser extensions that bake in a tracker blocker for third party sites, and include a suite of other privacy features intended to help users keep surfing privately as they navigate around the web. The apps and browser extensions are available globally for Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox and Safari as of now. (DDG tells us Opera is also on its radar but there’s…

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