1 US-MONGOLIA 'THIRD NEIGHBOR TRADE ACT' ON THE WAY WWW.THEDIPLOMAT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      2 CHINA'S FIGHT AGAINST SMOG MAKES PALLADIUM 2018'S BEST METAL WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      3 MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRESENTS GMS LICENSES WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      4 MONGOLIA CALLS FOR GLOBAL ATTENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      5 ADB OPENS A NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT IN ARVAIKHEER, MONGOLIA WWW.AGENPARL.EU PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      6 CHINA TO BOOST COOPERATION WITH INDIA, MONGOLIA: DEFENSE MINISTER WWW.GLOBALTIMES.CN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      7 DEATH ON MONGOLIA’S ‘COAL ROAD’ WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      8 MONGOLIA SHAKEN BY WIDENING LOAN SCANDAL WWW.ASIA.NIKKEI.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      9 MONGOLIA’S UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS BY 2.2 PERCENT WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/16      10 MEETING MEAT DEMAND: MONGOLIA TO TRADE 17.9 PERCENT OF LIVESTOCK WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/16      БНСУ-ЫН АЖ АХУЙН НЭГЖҮҮДИЙН АУТСОРСИНГ ЗАХИАЛГЫГ ГҮЙЦЭТГЭХ ЗАЛУУЧУУДЫГ СОНГОН, ШАЛГАРУУЛНА WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     НҮҮРСНИЙ ЭКСПОРТ 10 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, 31.3 САЯ ТОНН БОЛОВ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     СУДАЛГААГААР ЖДҮ ЭРХЛЭГЧИД ЗЭЭЛИЙН ХҮҮНИЙ ЗАРДАЛ ХАМГИЙН ИХ ХҮНДРЭЛ УЧРУУЛДАГ ГЭЖ ХАРИУЛЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ERDENE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: ХАЙГУУЛЫН ЗАРДАЛ III УЛИРАЛД 42 ХУВИАР БУУРСАН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ГОРХИ, ТЭРЭЛЖИЙН БАЙГАЛИЙН БОХИРДОЛД АНХААРАЛ ХАНДУУЛЖ ЭХЛЭВ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ИРЭХ БААСАН ГАРАГТ ХОТЫН ДАРГЫГ ОГЦРУУЛАХ ЭСЭХИЙГ ХЭЛЭЛЦЭНЭ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     “АМГАЛАН” ХОТХОНД БАЙРЛАХ ГЭРТЭЭ КАННАБИС ТАРЬЖ, УРГУУЛЖ БАЙСАН ТУРК ИРГЭНИЙГ БАРИВЧИЛЖЭЭ WWW.MEDEE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ӨНӨӨДӨР АВТОМАШИНЫ ДУГААРЫН ХЯЗГААРЛАЛТ ҮЙЛЧЛЭХГҮЙ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ГАШУУНСУХАЙТЫН НҮҮРСТЭЙ МАШИНЫ ЦУВАА 120 КМ БОЛЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/16     ТАТВАРЫН ОРЛОГО 32.2 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, ТӨСВИЙН ТЭНЦЭЛ 341.9 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙН АШИГТАЙ ГАРЛАА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/16    

Events

Name organizer Where
Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018" Frontier Securities Tokyo Japan
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London

NEWS

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Alibaba restructures e-commerce business to get ready for 'new retail' www.chinadaily.com

 
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd announced on Friday its plan to restructure its e-commerce business in an effort to get ready for the era of data-driven new retail.
 
Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said that the company's business-to-customer site Tmall will be merged with its digital marketing unit Juhuasuan.
 
The decision aims to bring synergy among the company's business, marketing and operation units and explore all kinds of opportunities to digitalize existing businesses and make new businesses out of data, a move intended to better empower retailers.
 
Zhang made the announcement in an internal memo that was later made public on Friday. "We need to unify the service strategies for our customers and make sure the entire retail group can coordinate and act smoothly like one person," he said.
 
China's biggest e-commerce player earlier announced its plan of repositioning itself as a service provider to build digital and physical infrastructure for the future of commerce.
 
"With e-commerce itself rapidly becoming a traditional business, pure e-commerce players will soon face tremendous challenges," Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said in mid October.
 
"This is why we are adapting and it's why we strive to play a major role in the advancement of this new economic environment," Ma added.
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Apple Watch sales to consumers set record in holiday week, says Apple's Cook www.reuters.com

 
Sales of the Apple Watch to consumers set a record during the first week of holiday shopping, and the current quarter is on track to be the best ever for the product, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters.
 
Responding to an email from Reuters, Cook said the gadget's sell-through - a measure of how many units are sold to consumers, rather than simply stocked on retailers' shelves - reached a new high.
 
Cook's comments followed a report on Monday from technology research firm IDC estimating that the tech giant sold 1.1 million units of the Apple Watch during the third quarter of 2016, down 71 percent from the year-ago quarter. The comments offer a glimpse of the gadget's performance during the holiday quarter, which is typically Apple's strongest.
 
"Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year," Cook wrote.
 
"Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch," he said.
 
Cook did not respond to a request for specific sales figures for the gadget.
 
Apple has disclosed few details about the performance of the Apple Watch, its first new product released under Cook. The company has not broken out sales of the gadget in its earnings, instead lumping it into an "other products" category that includes devices such as the iPod and Apple TV.
 
Strong sales of the Apple Watch are to be expected during the holiday quarter as the gadget is a more natural gift than some of the company's other products such as the iPhone or Mac computer, said analyst Bob O'Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. Apple also lowered the price of the gadget this year, potentially helping the holiday sales comparison, O'Donnell noted.
 
Apple is facing mounting pressure to show new sources of growth as sales of the iPhone, the company's lifeblood, begin to level off. O'Donnell said he remains skeptical the Apple Watch can fill the void, citing uncertain demand among consumers for smartwatches.
 
"While I’m not surprised that there is a good week, there are still, I think, significant concerns about the category," he said.
 
IDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Japanese banks to lend to Gazprom www3.nhk.or.jp

 
A group of lenders including major Japanese banks are preparing a joint loan for Russia's government-backed energy giant Gazprom.
 
Sources close to the deal say Sumitomo Mitsui, Mizuho and US lender JPMorgan Chase are in final negotiations for the 860-million-dollar loan.
 
The move comes as Japanese and Russian officials are discussing economic cooperation ahead of a bilateral summit scheduled for December 15th.
 
The 3 banks have loaned money to Gazprom before. The banks said they are expecting growth in global energy needs.
 
The government-affiliated Japan Bank for International Cooperation is also setting up a yen-denominated credit line worth more than 260 million dollars. The funds will be offered to businesses in Russia through a major local bank.
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East and West Tsankhi blocks of Tavan Tolgoi coal deposits both in operation www.mongolia.gogo.mn

 
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi CEO: Mongolia’s debt to Chalco to be settled by next spring
The Mongol Messenger has previously reported that Erdenes Tavantolgoi JSC, has concluded on a negotiation to increase the price of coal of the East Tsankhi block of the Tavan Tolgoi deposits by 1.8 times or 85 percent. Since last week, an each coal price extracted from the block has been sold for USD 50 for each ton to TTJVCo - the operating company at the coal mine. This action is believed to improve the effectiveness of a contract with TTJVCo and increase a price of Tavan Tolgoi’s coal.
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, which is a subsidiary of the Erdenes Mongol LLC - owner of the Tavan Tolgoi deposits, is a development manager of the East Tsankhi coalfield. Newly-appointed CEO of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi M.Ariunbold said “Chinese government’s aim to eliminate its domestic coal production is influencing the coal price and demand to remain higher and stronger. Concerning the preliminary forecast of the coal price on the index price of exchanges, a ton of coal removed from the east Tsankhi block is projected to be sold for USD 60 beginning from the first quarter of 2017”.
Mongolia has been intermittently paying off its USD 350 million debt to China’s aluminum company Chalco since 2011 in form of deliveries of coal from the East Tsankhi mine. When the contract was made in 2011, it was agreed that the base price of ton of coal to be set at USD 70 and the price would be established seasonally based on the index price of 4 exchanges located in China. “After a series of talks between a working group set-up by the Mongolian Government and Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi and the Chinese side, we have now brought the current coal price to the level that was set in the 2011 agreement. To clarify, as stated in the agreement, a ton of coal should cost USD 70, which is the payment of delivering the coal from mine to the border point. If the delivery cost is excluded, each ton of coal price would be USD 50 at the deposit”.
On the debt repayment to Chalco, CEO Ariunbold said in his interview for itoim.mn website “We are now left with around USD 80 million of debt to repay to Chalco. In the past, the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi has been giving 65 percent of the total coals extracted from the East Tsankhi mine for the payment of the TTJVCo’s operations at the mine and the remaining 35 percent has been rendered to Chalco for reimbursement”.
In addition, the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi has requested the Chalco and TTJVCo companies to load larger amount of coal in each shipment to China in order to repay the debt more quickly. He continued to say that if Mongolia would keep the current amount of coal on each shipment to transport to Chalco, the debt would be completed within the early spring of 2017 and after that, East Tsankhi coal would be exported to other buyers.
Another largest section of the Tavan Tolgoi, is the West Tsankhi coal. The Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi has reported that explorations at the block were resumed in order to take advantage of coal price surge and increase state budget revenue. A consortium of Mongolian companies, “SGS”, LLC, Khishig Arvin Industrial LLC and Monnis LLC has been selected as the main operator at the West Tsankhi. The developments are expected to produce 1.1 million tons of coal within the first two months and a ton coal is planned to be sold for USD 60 according to CEO Ariunbold. The total resource of the West Tsankhi mine is estimated at around 4.5 million tons.
Exploration and sales activities of the both the East and West Tsankhi mines are expected to benefit the country’s economy immensely by bringing over USD 100 million of revenue to the state budget as taxes and fees annually, creating more than 5 thousand jobs and increasing foreign currency flow of the country.
 
 
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Mongolia’s Foreign Ministry and US Department of State hold political consultations www.en.montsame.mn

 
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and the US Department of State organized the 11th political consulations on December 1 in Washington D.C., reports the Foreign Ministry on Monday.
 
The Mongolian delegation was headed by the State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry D.Davaasuren, whereas the U.S. side was led by Daniel Russel, the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Present were also, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the US B.Altangerel and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the US to Mongolia J.Galt.
 
Our delegates gave insight to the actions by the Government of Mongolia, specifically, the priorities in foreign policy, activities for overcoming the economic difficulties, attracting more foreign investment and regaining the investors’ trust.
 
The sides also touched upon the matters of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, especially, drawing American investment to Mongolia, deepening cooperation in the fields of defense, agriculture, energy and security, finalizing and enforcing the transparency agreement, and establishing the second compact agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
 
Furthermore, the parties exchanged views on introducing a consular cooperation mechanism, commemoration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations to happen next year, and strengthening the people-to-people ties and educational cooperation.
 
The American side underlined and applauded Mongolia’s active participation in consolidating democracy, sharing its democratic experiences within the region and the fact that the country is acting as the role model in international peacekeeping operations, and confirmed the US’ support in Mongolia’s involvement in such deeds.
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Korea corporate chiefs questioned over political scandal www.reuters.com

 
The heads of South Korea's top conglomerates including the Samsung and Lotte Groups were questioned on Tuesday in an unprecedented parliamentary hearing into the political scandal that appears poised to bring down President Park Geun-hye.
 
A parliamentary panel is investigating whether the conglomerates, known as chaebol, were pressured by Park or a friend and aide to give money to two non-profit foundations backing Park's policies in exchange for special treatment.
 
Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee, who sat at the center of the witness table, said Park had asked him during a one-on-one meeting for support for boosting cultural and sports-related developments but did not specifically request money.
 
"There are often requests from various parts of society including for culture and sports. We have never contributed seeking quid pro quo. This case was the same," Lee said, adding that he was embarrassed by the situation and was appearing with a "heavy heart."
 
Samsung donated 20.4 billion won ($17.46 million) to the two foundations, the most of any group, and prosecutors raided its offices last month.
 
The corporate titans ran a gauntlet of media and protestors as they entered the National Assembly building that sits along the southern bank of the Han River.
 
None of the chaebol, which are among 53 corporate groups that gave money to the foundations, has been accused of any wrongdoing in the case, but a protestor outside the parliamentary building could be seen holding a sign saying: "Arrest the chaebol chiefs."
 
Park faces an impeachment vote on Friday, setting the stage for her to be the first democratically elected South Korean leader to leave office early in disgrace. Huge demonstrations have called for her to quit and her approval rating has plunged to just 4 percent.
 
Last week she asked parliament to find a way and a time for her to step down, an offer that was rejected by the opposition Democratic Party as a stalling tactic. Media reports said she may make a speech this week offering to step down in April, a recommendation made by her conservative Saenuri Party.
 
Middle school students who were leaving the parliamentary building as chaebol bosses arrived chanted “Park Geun-hye step down!" and a scuffle between metal workers' union members and men who appeared to be guards broke out when Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo, 78, arrived with his son and presumed successor, Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun.
 
It is the first time such a large group of major Korean corporate chieftains has appeared for a parliamentary hearing.
 
"This will be a good opportunity to express corporations' position," the chairman of the Hanwha Group, Kim Seung-youn, told reporters on his way into the building.
 
Each witness was allowed to bring one lawyer and one company official to the hearing, and, if needed, an aide for medical support, according to a lawmaker's office.
 
The hearing began at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) and was expected to run until 10 p.m., according to one participant.
 
($1 = 1,168.3000 won)
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Uber launches artificial intelligence lab www.bbc.com

 
Ride-sharing service Uber has acquired a New York-based artificial intelligence start-up which it hopes can speed up its progress in creating self-driving cars.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see Uber gain 15 specialist researchers who will form a new division at the company known as Uber AI Labs.
Geometric Intelligence’s co-founder Gary Marcus told the BBC the team would have a wide brief - ranging from improving traffic predictions to working towards a future of flying cars.
Recent reports have suggested Uber’s aggressive growth, which has required heavily subsidising fares, meant the firm lost more than $2bn (£1.6bn) last year. That figure is likely to go up in 2016.
But Uber’s chief product officer Jeff Holden said the enormous losses were not a serious concern to the company.
"We’re actually in very good shape," he told the BBC.
"Those sorts of things look bad from the outside."
Efficiency
Regardless, Uber is pushing forward with attempts to become a far more efficient transport company.
In the near term, that means the new AI team will be improving on the company’s ability to predict when and where cars may be needed, drawing in data from various factors, such as weather forecasts.
Longer term it means accelerating the roll-out of Uber’s self-driving car fleet, which is already being tested on roads in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
Currently, those cars, made by Volvo, have a person sitting at the wheel ready to take control.
But eventually the aim is to remove the need for a human altogether, putting the several hundred thousand Uber drivers out of a job.
"Historically what you’ve seen is as technology has taken jobs away from people, new jobs have opened up," Mr Holden said.
Mr Marcus said job losses would be a necessary by-product to achieve safer roads.
"The way I think about it is there are trade-offs, but one of the plusses is that eventually the roads are going to be much safer for people."
Looking further into the future, Mr Marcus imagines a world of flying cars taking us to work.
"They’re going to allow people to take long commutes at 75 or 150 mph where you’d otherwise get stuck in traffic. It’s really, in a not-too-distant future, going to be something that is practical."
Uber recently published a white paper exploring the idea.
Real-world consequence
The Geometric Intelligence team will become Uber employees and most of the team will relocate to Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco.
The start-up has up until now been funded by private investors and will maintain its close ties with New York University.
Mr Marcus said his company stood out because it used a different approach to artificial intelligence, one which takes inspiration from how a child’s brain develops, particularly when discovering language.
Companies like Facebook and Google are investing heavily in so-called "deep learning". This technique involves feeding a computer millions of pieces of information, such as images, so it can learn patterns and begin to recognise objects and categorise what it sees.
Mr Marcus said he felt this approach fell short.
"Deep learning is not all that it’s cracked up to be," he said.
"It’s very good for certain problems, but it doesn’t allow us to do the kind of inferences that people often do. We need next-generation techniques."
Existing technology is promising, he said, but has too low a success rate to be considered safe to use in self-driving cars.
"What I see is approximation with statistics. What people do is get something that works 80% of the time and they’re happy. Nobody dies if I tell you you’d like this book and you don’t."
Geometric Intelligence’s approach is to work on systems that as well as using large data sets, can also be taught rules that mean it can learn without relying on having pre-inputted information.
"When you work on a problem with a real-world consequence like driving, you want to be as close to 100% as possible."
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Monte dei Paschi shares fall after Italian referendum result www.theguardian.com

 
A rescue deal for the world’s oldest bank – Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena – hung in the balance on Monday after Italian voters rejected constitutional changes and plunged the government into crisis.
 
Shares in MPS, which was founded in 1472 , fell amid fears the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will affect its attempts to clinch a €5bn (£4.2bn) lifeline from investors.
 
The shares plunged 10% initially before ending the day 4% lower while shares in other major Italian lenders were also lower amid speculation that the Italian government might have to prop up MPS.
 
As the news emerged of Renzi’s defeat in a referendum on constitutional reform, there was a sharp drop in the euro and a rise in the cost of borrowing for Italian government. But after the initial reaction the euro recovered to touch its highest level against the dollar since November and Italian bond yields were also little changed.
 
The Dutch finance minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, arriving in Brussels for a meeting of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, called for calm.
 
“Italy is a large economy, one of the largest in Europe, it has strong institutions. You can see that market reaction so far has been moderate,” said Dijsselbloem.
 
The market’s focus was largely on MPS, which is also Italy’s third largest bank, where concerns were raised during the stress tests on the sector by the European Banking Authority in July. The bank was ranked as the weakest of the 51 European institutions subjected to the annual assessment.
 
A consortium led by the Wall Street bank JP Morgan was meeting to discuss the fundraising but unlikely to make any formal decision for a few days to test the political backdrop after Renzi’s resignation.
 
There were also reports that MSP bank officials are meeting representatives from the Qatar Investment Authority – the gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund – to try to secure backing.
 
Even so, there are expectations that the Italian government will need to step in, despite new EU rules which prevent state aid unless bondholders have been forced to take losses.
 
Alberto Chiandetti, a manager at the Fidelity European Opportunities and Fidelity Funds Italy investment funds, said: “The focus is on whether an anchor investor will materialise or not. If not, Monte Paschi needs a plan B and in that scenario, bank shares are likely to suffer most. We should know [on Monday] whether such an anchor investor exists for Monte Paschi.”
 
The prospects of a capital injection for MPS being found entirely from private investors appeared to be receding, analysts said. “I think a precautionary recapitalisation is ultimately still probable as a private sector-only solution is now highly unlikely to work,” said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director of consultancy Eurasia Group.
 
Renzi has been credited with helping to create a backstop fund – known as Atlante – for a banking industry that has €360bn of bad debts and is highly fragmented with more than 500 lenders.
 
Technically, the state can intervene only once bondholders – which in the case of Italy would include savers - have taken losses. However, in uncertain circumstances the government can step in. There are also suggestions that a compensation scheme could be set up for retail bondholders forced to take losses.
 
Markets are also looking to next week when Italy’s largest bank, UniCredit, is scheduled to meet investors in London to discuss its strategy. The meeting on 13 December has prompted speculation it is readying a multibillion-euro cash call. UniCredit was ranked fifth weakest in the European bank stress tests.
 
Chiandetti said: “Currently rumoured to be around €10bn to €13bn, the amount should be disclosed at the UniCredit capital market day. A difficult environment for Italian banks will no doubt weigh on this upcoming deal and put pressure on UniCredit shares.”
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Amazon Go store lets shoppers pick up goods and walk out www.theguardian.com

 
Amazon has opened a corner store where customers can pick up their groceries and just walk out without having to queue up and pay at the checkout.
 
The company said shoppers at its Amazon Go store will have the cost of their purchases automatically billed to their Amazon Prime account. Sensors will track customers as they go about the store and record items they pick up.
 
Amazon employees can already shop at the first store near the company’s headquarters in Seattle, which will be open to the public early next year. Leaked internal documents suggest Amazon could open 2,000 of the stores across the country.
 
The internet retailer, which has grown into a $359bn (£282bn) company in the 22 years since its founding, claimed the new service was “the world’s most advanced shopping technology”.
 
“With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout. (No, seriously.)”
 
The Amazon Go store, which is 1,800 sq ft and sells most food staples, follows the Seattle-based company’s launch of a physical bookshop in its home town last year. Bookshops are also slated to open in San Diego, New York, Portland and Chicago.
 
The company, which has been offering its Fresh service in some densely populated parts of the US since 2007, has been expanding the grocery delivery service rapidly, recently adding new cities across the US. It is now available in Seattle, New York, Washington, Boston, northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Baltimore and large parts of California.
 
In June it launched outside of the US for the first time, offering grocery delivery to homes in parts of north and east London.
 
The British service is offered to Amazon Prime members in 69 postcodes for an additional £6.99 ($8.50) a month.
 
Amazon posted annual sales of $107bn last year, more than double the amount it generated just four years earlier. Its net income totalled $596m.
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Russian gas focus of fierce debate on EU's energy dependence www.rt.com

 
Lessening dependence on natural gas from Russia has topped the agenda of a European Union energy ministers meeting on Monday.
The ministers are discussing amendments to European energy deal regulations to reduce the dependence of member states and increase cooperation during gas supply emergencies.
 
“Governments can be deeply entrenched in the commercial interests of their national champions and object to the EU messing with their strategic relations with external suppliers,” said Marco Giuli, an analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, as quoted by Bloomberg.
 
He stressed that it isn’t easy for member states to cede power over energy policy and there are limits to EU action.
 
The EU is trying to use its influence as the world’s largest trading alliance to reduce the 53 percent of energy imports, including the reliance on Russia for 36 percent of gas imports.
 
The ministers will discuss the centralized coordination of gas purchases, according to three officials who talked to Bloomberg on condition of anonymity.
 
The European Commission wants to have the right to check national supply agreements before they are signed.
 
The ministers also intend to approve nine geographical zones proposed for deeper cooperation during gas crises. The plan is opposed by Germany, France, and Italy.
 
Cross-border deliveries to needy consumers in case of a supply disruption are also on the agenda. The EU plans to oblige gas companies to share information on the size of contracts between member-state authorities and the Commission.
 
The last provision will reportedly be applied to deals covering over 40 percent of annual gas consumption by a country and those with a contract term of more than a year.
 
This could have an impact on the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project that aims to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. The project is currently being implemented by Russian gas exporter Gazprom in cooperation with Germany's E.ON, France's Engie and other European companies.
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