March 29, 2018 / 11:46 AM / 6 months ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

What our online profiles look like and how they can be sold. Plus, internal documents reveal firms complaining of contaminated crude oil from U.S. reserve.

FILE PHOTO: An oil storage tank and crude oil pipeline equipment is seen during a tour by the Department of Energy at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, U.S., June 9, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Carson

Highlights

Exclusive: Three firms that bought crude oil last year from U.S. emergency stockpiles raised concerns about dangerous levels of a poisonous chemical in the cargoes, according to internal Energy Department emails and shipping documents reviewed by Reuters.

China warned the United States not to open Pandora’s Box and spark a flurry of protectionist practices across the globe, even as Beijing pointed to U.S. goods that it could target in a deepening Sino-U.S. trade dispute.

President Donald Trump ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin in response to heavy criticism and nominated his personal physician, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, to replace him in the latest turnover among Trump’s team.

World

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and his North Korean counterpart Ri Son Gwon pose for photographs before their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, March 29, 2018. Korea Pool/Yonhap via REUTERS

North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, South Korean officials said, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization as tensions ease between the old foes.

Rioting and a fire in the cells of a Venezuelan police station in the central city of Valencia killed 68 people, according to the government and witnesses. “The State Prosecutor’s Office guarantees to deepen investigations to immediately clarify what happened in these painful events that have left dozens of Venezuelan families in mourning,” said Chief Prosecutor Tarek William Saab on Twitter.

Commentary

Chinese claims to near-total sovereignty over the South China Sea basin were flatly rejected by a UN tribunal in 2016. Nevertheless, Beijing continues to aggressively assert control in the area, writes Peter Apps, alarming neighboring countries, “particularly the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, all of whom have competing territorial claims over waters that China claims for itself. But it also represents a major and quite deliberate challenge to the United States which, as an ally to all these nations, has essentially staked its own credibility on the issue.”

Tech

I asked Arkansas-based Acxiom, which earns over $800 million a year selling consumer profiles to the world’s largest companies, what data and insights it held on me. The result of my inquiry shows how, even with little raw data, companies attempt to build detailed pictures of individuals’ finances, relationships, personal interests and purchasing tastes.

Facebook said it would end its partnerships with several large data brokers who help advertisers target people on the social network, a step that follows a scandal over how Facebook handles personal information.

Fund managers have begun to ditch so-called FANG stocks that powered the U.S. stock market to record highs in January and are slowly rotating into commodity-related shares and other value stocks which typically outperform in late-cycle recoveries.

The family of the woman killed by an Uber self-driving vehicle in Arizona has reached a settlement with the ride services company, ending a potential legal battle over the first fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle.

Reuters TV

Volkswagen’s emissions cheat scandal has cost the German automaker tens of billions of dollars in the U.S., and now the fall out is also visible with nearly 300,000 cars it was forced to buy back sitting in parking lots around the country. Reuters visited one of them.

What a massive Volkswagen buyback looks like
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