Exclusive: U.S. prepares new sanctions on Chinese firms over North Korea ties – officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration could impose new sanctions on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang within weeks, two senior U.S. officials said.

House panel to interview former Trump adviser

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Michael Caputo, who was an adviser to President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said on Thursday he would testify on Friday to a U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating possible Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

Google adds salon and spa bookings through Maps and Search

 Look out StyleSeat and other salon booking apps, starting today Google will let people book hair and spa appointments. The addition is an expansion through Reserve with Google, which rolled out a feature last year to book wellness and fitness classes right from a business listing within Search and Maps. Read More

FanDuel and DraftKings Call Off Merger After FTC Challenge

Daily fantasy sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings called off their planned merger on Thursday, less than a month after U.S. regulators sought to block the deal.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, along with attorneys general from California and D.C., filed suit in June to stop the merger because the combined firms would have controlled more than 90% of the national market for paid daily fantasy sports.

“We have determined that it is in the best interest of our shareholders, customers, employees, and partners to terminate the merger agreement and move forward as an independent company,” FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles said in a statement.

DraftKings also put out a statement, saying the company believes forgoing the merger “will allow us to singularly focus on our mission of providing the most innovative and engaging interactive sports experience imaginable, forever changing the way fans connect with teams and athletes worldwide.”

The two companies had announced the merger in November after facing a year of intense crackdowns on the industry from various states, including New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Each company was valued at more than $1 billion before the merger announcement, according to Reuters.

Now that they will not merge, DraftKings and FanDuel likely return to spending aggressively on advertising and legal help as they battle for market share and push for authorization in places that have outlawed their contests.

Texas ATM’s choices: deposit, withdraw, release trapped repairman

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Texas repairman found that one of the hardest parts about being trapped while servicing a bank’s automated teller machine was convincing customers coming for cash that he was stuck.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and iTunes Chief Eddy Cue Attend Sun Valley Media Retreat

Apple CEO Tim Cook and iTunes Chief Eddy Cue this week attended the Allen & Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, as they have done for the last several years.

Many well known tech and media moguls attend the Sun Valley event, which is essentially a retreat and is invitation only, but meetings and discussions at the conference are kept under wraps so it’s unlikely we’ll hear details on anything that goes on. In years past, Cook and Cue have kept a low profile during the week long event.

Described as a “summer camp for billionaires,” the conference includes activities like rafting, cycling, and golf, and because it brings so many major media executives together in one place, it’s been credited as the catalyst for major deals like the AOL and Time Warner merger, Walt Disney’s acquisition of ABC, Google’s purchase of YouTube, and Jeff Bezos’ acquisition of The Washington Post.

Apple has been taking a more direct approach to media in recent months with its ever-growing interest in original content, so it’s no surprise to see Cook and Cue at the event once again.

Other notable 2017 attendees include Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Jared and Ivanka Trump, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, Twitter COO Anthony Noto, 21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch, CBS Chairman Les Moonves, and Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg.

Image via Rob Latour, Shutterstock

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New Honda Accord charges into a slumping U.S. sedan market

DETROIT (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co Ltd on Friday will unveil its newest-generation Accord, one of four re-engineered midsize sedans that Asian automakers are betting on to win market share as Detroit automakers shift focus to SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks.

Russia detains CEO of turbine maker Power Machines: report

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian authorities have detained the chief executive of Russian electricity turbine maker Power Machines on suspicion of attempted divulgence of state secrets, TASS news agency reported on Thursday citing a law enforcement source.