Tag: EU

EU may force Apple to ditch iPhone cables

By Kyle Venktess for IOL

There can be nothing worse than being told no – as you watch the red sliver of hope on your phone go rapidly down – when you ask: “Has anyone got an iPhone charger?”

Now it’s crunch time for cables in the EU. Soon you won’t need to scramble through cables to find the right charger for your device.

TickerNews reports that the European Union has provisionally agreed new portable electronic devices must use a USB Type-C charger.

This is set to commence by autumn 2024. IOL Tech recently published a story talking about the likelihood of Apple amending this one critical challenge faced by iPhone users since their inception.

No more Apple chargers in the EU?

It’s crunch time for cables in the EU, soon you won’t need to scramble through cables to find the right charger for your device The European Union has provisionally agreed new portable electronic devices must use a USB Type-C charger. This is set to commence by autumn 2024.

But under the current post-Brexit arrangements, the EU ruling would apply to Northern Ireland, EU and UK officials.

Apple products such as iPhones and iPads will have to conform to the new regulation, as will, eventually laptop computers, writes TickerNews.

The agreement will be brought before the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers after their summer recesses, where it can be formally approved and then published.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who accurately predicted numerous Apple product features before their launch, stated that 2023’s iPhone could feature Type-C as the standard charging mechanism.

“It’s expected to see existing USB-C-related suppliers of Apple’s ecosystem (e.g., IC controller, connector) become the market’s focus in the next 1-2 years, thanks to vast orders from iPhones and accessories’ adoption of USB-C ports,” Kuo said.

Type-C’s relationship with Apple

While the next iPhone could come with Type-C charging, Apple married Type-C connectivity to products recently.

Today, most new Macbooks available from Apple ditched all their ports in favour of a Type-C input, further universalising the USB input.

To this end, most iPhones sold today come with just a cable, with no wall plug – on the one end, Apple’s Lightning input for the smartphone’s charging port and on the other end – a Type-C male connection. Apple’s new Magic Mouse for Mac products also comes with the same cable as new iPhones.


Britain leaves the EU tomorrow

By Tom Edgington for BBC News

The UK formally leaves the European Union (EU) at 23:00 on Friday, 31 January. But it will immediately enter an 11-month transition period.

During the transition the UK will continue to obey EU rules and pay money to the EU. Most things will stay the same but there will be some changes:

1. UK MEPs lose their seats
Familiar faces such as Nigel Farage and Ann Widdecombe are among the UK’s 73 MEPs who will automatically lose their seats in the European Parliament.

That’s because, at the moment of Brexit, the UK will leave all of the EU’s political institutions and agencies.

However, in addition to the UK following EU rules during the transition period, the European Court of Justice will continue to have the final say over legal disputes.

2. No more EU summits
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have to be specially invited if he wants to join other leaders at EU Council summits in the future.

British ministers will also no longer attend regular EU meetings that decide things such as fishing limits.

3. We will be hearing a lot about trade
The UK will be able to start talking to countries around the world about setting new rules for buying and selling goods and services.

It has not been allowed to hold formal trade negotiations with countries like the US and Australia while it remained an EU member. Brexit supporters argue that having the freedom to set its own trade policy will boost the UK’s economy.

There’s also a lot to be discussed with the EU. Agreeing a UK-EU trade deal is a top priority, so extra charges on goods and other trade barriers aren’t needed when the transition ends.

If any trade deals are reached, they won’t be able to start until the transition period ends.

4. The UK’s passports will change colour
Blue passports will be making a return, more than 30 years after they were replaced by the current burgundy design.

Announcing the change in 2017, then Immigration Minister, Brandon Lewis, praised the return to the “iconic” blue-and-gold design, first used in 1921.

The new colour will be phased in over a number of months, with all new passports issued in blue by the middle of the year.

Existing burgundy passports will continue to be valid.

5. Brexit coins
About three million commemorative 50p Brexit coins bearing the date “31 January” and the inscription: “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”, will enter circulation on Friday.

The coin has received a mixed reaction, with some Remain supporters saying they will refuse to accept it.

The government had planned to introduce a similar coin on 31 October, the date Brexit was previously meant to happen.

However, those coins had to be melted down and recycled after the deadline was extended.

6. The UK’s Brexit department shuts down
The team that handled the UK-EU negotiations and no-deal preparations will disband on Brexit day.

The Department for Exiting the European Union was set up by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2016.

For the upcoming talks, the UK’s negotiating team will be based in Downing Street.

7. Germany won’t extradite its citizens to the UK
It won’t be possible for some suspected criminals to be brought back to the UK if they flee to Germany. Germany’s constitution does not allow its citizens to be extradited, unless it’s to another EU country.
“This exception cannot apply anymore after the UK has left EU,” a spokesman from the German Federal Ministry of Justice told BBC News.

It’s unclear if the same restrictions will apply to other countries. Slovenia, for example, says the situation is complicated, while the European Commission was unable to provide comment.
The UK Home Office says the European Arrest Warrant will continue to apply during the transition period. (That means Germany will be able to extradite non-German citizens.)
However, it adds that if a country’s laws prevent extradition to the UK it “will be expected to take over the trial or sentence of the person concerned”.

Because the transition period begins immediately after Brexit, the vast majority of other things remain the same – at least until 31 December 2020 including:

1. Travel
Flights, boats and trains will operate as usual.
When it comes to passport control, during the transition period, UK nationals will still be allowed to queue in the areas reserved for EU arrivals only.

2. Driving licences and pet passports
As long as they are valid, these will continue to be accepted.

3. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
These are the cards that provide UK nationals with state-provided medical treatment in case of illness of accident.
They can be used in any EU country (as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and will continue to be valid during the transition period.

4. Living and working in the EU
Freedom of movement will continue to apply during the transition, so UK nationals will still be able to live and work in the EU as they currently do.
The same applies for EU nationals wanting to live and work in the UK.

5. Pensions
UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive their state pension and will also receive the annual increase.

6. Budget contributions
The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget during the transition. This means existing schemes, paid for by EU grants, will continue to be funded.

7. Trade
UK-EU trade will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced.

EU plans to speed limit all cars

By Gwyn Topham for The Guardian 

All new cars sold in the UK and Europe are to be fitted with devices to automatically stop drivers exceeding the speed limit under sweeping changes to vehicle safety rules that the EU has provisionally agreed.

Although Britain may no longer be part of the EU when the rules come into effect, the UK regulator, the Vehicle Certification Agency, has said it will mirror safety standards for vehicles in the UK.

The speed limiter is one of a range of safety features to be made mandatory from 2022, along with automated emergency braking, electronic data recorders and improved visibility built into lorries for drivers to see vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians around the vehicle.

Safety campaigners described the move as one of the biggest leaps forward in 50 years and said it could save 25,000 lives by 2037.

The package of measures needs to be ratified by the European parliament, which is likely by September.

The speed limiter device, called intelligent speed assistance (ISA), uses GPS data and sign recognition cameras to detect speed limits where the car is travelling, and then will sound a warning and automatically slow the vehicle down if it is exceeding the limit.

However, drivers will be able to override the device simply by pushing hard on the accelerator, reassuring some motoring groups that have argued that in certain situations – such as when trying to swiftly overtake a vehicle in front – speeding up could be safer.

The AA’s president, Edmund King, has said the case is not clear that ISAs will improve safety, although he welcomed plans to make automated emergency braking mandatory.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council, said: “There have only been a handful of moments in the last 50 years which could be described as big leaps forward for road safety in Europe. The mandatory introduction of the seatbelt was one, and the first EU minimum crash safety standards, agreed in 1998, was another.

“If last night’s agreement is given the formal green light, it will represent another of those moments, preventing 25,000 deaths within 15 years of coming into force.”

Volvo recently became the first manufacturer to announce it would limit the speed of all its new cars, albeit to 112mph – above the speed limit everywhere bar German autobahns.

Other measures agreed by the EU include making data recorders mandatory to help investigate vehicle crashes and assist research into increased safety. Another feature already standard in many new cars, a lane departure warning system, will become obligatory.

The road safety charity Brake called it a “landmark day”. Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “These lifesaving measures come at a vital time, with road safety in a concerning period of stagnation with more than 70 people still being killed or seriously injured on British roads every day. The government must commit to adopting these lifesaving regulations, no matter what happens with Brexit.”

The UK has one of the lowest rates of road deaths among European nations, although the number of accidents has plateaued this decade, after a long trend of improving safety. In 2017, 322 people died on British roads when the vehicle was either exceeding the speed limit or judged to be travelling too fast for the conditions.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We continuously work with partners across the globe to improve the safety standards of all vehicles. These interventions are expected to deliver a step-change in road safety across Europe, including the UK.”

Source: BBC

Google has been hit with a €1.49bn (£1.28bn) fine from the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers.

It is the third EU fine for the search and advertising giant in two years.

The case accuses Google of abusing its market dominance by restricting third-party rivals from displaying search ads between 2006 and 2016.

In response, Google changed its AdSense contracts with large third parties, giving them more leeway to display competing search ads.

Google owner Alphabet makes large amounts of money from advertising – pre-tax profits reached $30.7bn (£23bn) in 2018, up from $12.66bn in 2017.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites.

“This is illegal under EU anti-trust rules,” said EC commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Last year, the EU competition authority hit Google with a record €4.34bn fine for using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals.

This followed a €2.42bn fine in 2017 for hindering rivals of shopping comparison websites.

The European Commission said that websites often had an embedded search function.

When a consumer uses this, the website delivers both search results and search adverts, which appear alongside the search result.

Google’s “AdSense for search” product delivers those adverts for website publishers.

The Commission described Google as acting like “an intermediary, like an advertising broker”.

In 2006, Google started to include “exclusivity clauses” in contracts which stopped publishers from placing ads from Google rivals such as Microsoft and Yahoo on search pages, the Commission said.

From 2009, Google started replacing the exclusivity clauses with “premium placement” clauses, which meant publishers had to keep the most profitable space on their search results pages for Google’s adverts and they had to request a minimum number of Google adverts.

Publishers also needed to get written permission from Google before making any changes to how rival ads were displayed, letting Google control “how attractive, and therefore clicked on, competing search adverts could be”, the Commission said.

Search giant
The restrictive clauses “led to a vicious circle”, Ms Vestager said in a media conference.

“Google’s rivals, they were unable to grow, and to compete, and as a result of that, website owners had limited options for selling advertising space on those websites, and were forced solely to rely on Google,” she said.

“There was no reason for Google to include these restrictive clauses in their contracts, except to keep rivals out of the market,” she added.

Between 2006 to 2016, Google had more than 70% of the search intermediation market in the EU. It generally had more than 90% of the search market and more than 75% of the online search advertising market, the Commission added.

By Jillian D’Onfro for CNBC

In response to the European Union’s $5 billion antitrust ruling in July, Google will change how it bundles its apps on Android phones and charge a licensing fee for phone makers that want to pre-install apps like Gmail, Maps and YouTube in the EU.

Google will also end restrictions on phone makers selling modified or “forked” versions of the mobile operating system.

Previously, Google tied together a suite of 11 different apps that phone makers would have to pre-install if they wanted to license its app store, Play. In July, the EU ruled that this bundling was anti-competitive — pushing consumers toward Google’s search engine and weakening rival app makers — though it only specifically called for Google to separate Chrome and Search from Play.

In response, Google said in a blog post on Tuesday that it will start offering separate licenses for Search and Chrome, as well as a license for its suite of apps like Maps, Gmail and Docs. That means that if phone makers want to pre-install those apps, they will have to pay a fee, though the amount was not specified. Google says the new licensing fee will offset revenue lost through compliance efforts that it uses to fund the development of Android, which it offers as a free, open source platform. The licenses for Search and Chrome will not have a fee.

Although Google doesn’t make money from Android directly, it generates advertising revenue through search as well as Chrome, Maps and Gmail, serving ads within those apps and using data it collects from users to better target ads across its platforms.

“Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA [European Economic Area],” wrote Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of platforms.

Google’s previous agreements with phone makers also prevented them from selling modified versions of Android if they wanted to use its suite of apps, but the company will now allow manufacturers to build forked smartphones and tablets for the EEA.

Overall, Google’s Android powers more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones. These changes, which will come into effect on Oct. 29, will only affect phones for the EEA, a group consisting of 28 EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

By Harry Pettit for MailOnline 

An ’embarrassing’ leak shows the European Union has fallen short of its own data protection laws.

The European Commission’s website has published 700 records, including the names, addresses and mobile numbers of conference attendees, according to a report.

Officials in Brussels admitted the authority that designed the rules is not itself compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The Commission has previously warned that those who breach these rules, which came into force last week, could face millions in fines.

Following the leak, a spokesperson said the authority was exempt from GDPR laws for ‘legal reasons’.

Officials in Brussels will follow a similar set of new laws that ‘mirror’ those laid out in GDPR.

These rules will not enter force until autumn, according to the Telegraph.

The spokesperson added that the Commission is ‘taking and will continue to take all the necessary steps to comply’.

GDPR aims to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the EU, which means cracking down on how companies use and sell user data.

Under GDPR, companies are required to report data breaches within 72 hours, as well as allow customers to export their data and delete it.

Companies scrambled to comply with the rules before they were ratified on May 25 with the Commission threatening hefty fines for those who breached them.

The bureaucracy’s website exposed 700 records that include people’s names, professions, and even some postcodes and addresses.

Officials in Brussels admitted the authority that designed the rules is not itself compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR aims to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the EU.

The records, some of which featured the private information of Britons, were collected during EU meetings and conferences and stored on data spreadsheets.

Tech website Indivigital found the documents are among thousands hosted by the website Europa.eu that are freely accessible online.

Many of them could be found by simply searching for the document on Google.

This leak would constitute a breach of GDPR rules were the blunder committed by other organisations or businesses.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation is an EU-wide law that cam into force on May 25 2018.

It gives greater power to regulators to penalise companies who mishandle personal data or are not transparent about how their business uses it.

For consumers, it brings new powers that require firms to obtain clear consent from users before processing their data.

It also grants users a right to easily access the data collected from them and transparency on how it is being used.

Everyday users have to do very little to comply with GDPR – it’s more targeted at big online businesses.

Under the new rules, any company that controls or processes the data of EU citizens must adhere to the GDPR guidelines.

This ends territorial-based accountability used by some firms not based in the EU to previously avoid sanction.

The law also states that notification of a data breach must occur within 72 hours of being first discovered, increasing transparency around leaks.

The weight of fines able to be issued has also increased under GDPR.

Regulators will be able to issue penalties equivalent of up to four per cent of annual global turnover or 20 million euro (£17.5 million) – whichever is greater.

For tech giants such as Google and Facebook, this could mean the risk of fines running into the hundreds of millions.

Fines for such a breach can reach up to £17.5 million ($23 million) or four per cent of global turnover – whichever is largest.

Jon Baines, a data protection expert at law firm Mishcon de Reya, described the ‘irony’ of the EU’s admission.

‘Although the information disclosed here does not appear to be particularly sensitive, it does raise questions about the general level of compliance, and whether any further inadvertent disclosures have been made,’ he told the Telegraph.

Steve Gailey, security expert at database security firm Exabeam, added that the exposure ‘is embarrassing for the EU, coming hot on the heels of GDPR’.

Britain leaves the EU

Prime Minister Theresa May has signed the Article 50 letter of notification that she will send to the European Union on Wednesday to formally get Brexit underway.

May was pictured in Downing Street on Wednesday evening adding her signature to the historic letter, which will formally notify the European Commission of Britain’s departure from the EU.

The letter will be handed to European Council President Donald Tusk at 12:30 p.m (BST) tomorrow by British ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow, immediately after May finishes debating Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in this week’s instalment of Prime Minister’s Questions.

A two-year process of negotiations will then get underway where May and her negotiating team will try to come to a divorce agreement with EU figures. The discussions are set to cover how much Britain must pay the EU as part of its divorce settlement and what long-term free trade deal — if any — can be finalised before the two-year window expires.

Britain is set to officially drop out of the EU no later than March, 2019.

In an address to Parliament on Wednesday, May is set to call on the country to “come together” and support a “truly global Britain” as the nation braces itself to leave the 28-nation bloc after nearly half a century of being a member.

The prime minister is expected to say:

“When I sit around the negotiating table in the months ahead, I will represent every person in the whole United Kingdom – young and old, rich and poor, city, town, country and all the villages and hamlets in between.

“And yes, those EU nationals who have made this country their home.

“It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country.

“For, as we face the opportunities ahead of us on this momentous journey, our shared values, interests and ambitions can – and must – bring us together.

“We all want to see a Britain that is stronger than it is today. We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed.

“We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren. We all want to live in a truly Global Britain that gets out and builds relationships with old friends and new allies around the world.

“These are the ambitions of this Government’s Plan for Britain. Ambitions that unite us, so that we are no longer defined by the vote we cast, but by our determination to make a success of the result.

“We are one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future.

“And, now that the decision has been made to leave the EU, it is time to come together.”

Source: www.businessinsider.com

The rand remained the worst performing emerging market currency on Monday 27 June, but an analyst said there is a silver lining for the local unit.

It continued to show its volatile nature on Monday, after losses against the dollar swung between 2% and 8,5% on Friday.

By 08:30, the rand was 4.25% lower against the dollar at R15.19 and 4% higher against the pound at R20.35.

The harsh swings are in reaction to the UK’s vote to exit the European Union, which caused extreme volatility in most emerging market currencies, but especially the rand.

“It is difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel and that is reflected in the pound this morning, as it trades down below 1.34, over 2% lower,” says Adam Phillips of Umkhulu Consulting.

“This has dragged the euro down by 0,83% and the rand is leading the emerging market currencies lower.

“Gold continues to shine with the yen and the former might help us in South Africa a little, although other commodities are staying on the fence.”

Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns says not all is negative in a note on Monday.

“The silver lining for the rand remains that global monetary conditions will be easier after the Brexit vote,” he says.

“Fed futures, amazingly, have completely priced out further hikes this year and are even toying with the idea that the Fed could cut rates.

“Further ECB (European Central Bank) and BoJ (Bank of Japan) easing is all but assured. Switzerland has already reacted with currency intervention on Friday.”

The victory for Brexit tore through world markets on Friday, pummelling the pound and high-yielding assets as more than $2.5trn was wiped from global equity values. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned without spelling out when the UK intends to leave the EU, and eight members of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team quit amid calls for his ouster.

US Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Brussels and then London on Monday as Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland – whose people voted to stay in the EU – teases the possibility of a second referendum on independence from the UK.

The next days and weeks will likely be key for central banks as they seek to limit volatility in financial markets. The European Central Bank is hosting a three-day meeting in Sintra, Portugal that will include speeches from its president, Mario Draghi, and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host European Council president Donald Tusk in Berlin on Monday to talk about the UK’s plan to exit the bloc.
Cairns says the result of uncertainty is volatility. “Expect jittery and ragged trade in global markets through this week, implying the risks of severe rand weakness are not over yet.

“The UK may be tearing itself apart,” he says. “Opponents of Brexit have called for another referendum, a re-Brexit, and are arguing for Parliament to vote to stay in the EU.

“Scotland wants another independence referendum. And both the Labour and Conservative Parties are in turmoil. Reflecting the uncertainty… some market participants are calling for further 5% to 10% losses (in the pound to dollar losses).

“The bigger threat is that Europe might also be torn apart,” he says. “As expected, independence parties from across the union have called for their own countries to hold referendums.

“Do we get Departugal, Italeave, Czechout, Oustria, Finish, Slovlong, Latervia, Buygium and no more Germania? These are not minor concerns.”

By Matthew le Cordeur and Bloomberg for Fin24

At the time of writing, the rand was appreciating. Why? Because the latest opinion polls out of the UK pertaining to the vexed Brexit issue were more favourable to the “remain” side. This referendum is therefore of critical importance not only to the UK and Europe, but also to us here at the southern tip of Africa.

Currency issues seem to loom large in any discussion about the domestic economy. And a Brexit or ‘leave’ can flesh open a fresh wave of rand volatility detrimental to our already ailing economy.

Emerging markets are already under strain. The Brexit threat adds global uncertainty and a potential capital (and currency) flight to safer havens. While sterling may well devalue immediately after any Brexit vote, it is the US dollar that may strengthen, thereby affecting the ZAR.

South Africa simply cannot afford a further decline in the rand/dollar value. Coupled with the threats of rating agency downgrades towards the end of the year, a new era of currency volatility not related to our domestic political economy is clearly a danger.

To kickstart the flagging foreign direct investment needed to grow our economy, South Africa needs not only to be attractive to domestic political and economic policy, but also requires a broader ‘risk averse’ global investor climate.
Clearly, any Brexit-induced shock to the international financial system will do us no favours.

It is often said that a fair proportion of the value of our currency is reflective of international macro-economic and sentiment-driven trends. Indeed, a Brexit vote will not only create currency instability, but it can also precipitate a sense of unease within the existing European Union over a host of member countries and even national regions which are increasingly sceptical of the entire EU project. The EU certainly does not need to encourage a rising tide of nationalism that a Brexit vote may fuel.

A Brexit vote could lead to other national referenda and in an already emotionally charged atmosphere in Europe, with security, immigration and debt concerns looming large, a weakened or balkanised EU would further hamper any recovery in global trade – already pretty lacklustre. South Africa too would bear the brunt of this as the EU continues to be its major trading partner.

Trade remains at of the heart of the UK-SA relationship. Any Brexit vote would hamper levels of trade between UK-based companies and South Africa as a result of negative economic consequences on London. Our country would
also be harmed by the possible renegotiation of trade agreements between the UK and her EU counterparts.

If the preferential trade agreements which form the cornerstone of the EU are diminished as a result of any UK exit, this will surely have a knock-on effect here in South Africa. After all, South Africa remains the UK’s largest African trading partner and while it has slipped lower on our domestic radar screens in terms of export trade, the UK remains our seventh largest import and export market in global terms (2014 figures).

Although some have speculated on what this might mean in terms of a direct statistical effect on our GDP, it’s the unintended consequences of any Brexit that pose a greater risk to our domestic economy.

So it will be a tense week for both politicians and markets in both the developed and emerging economies. The ramifications of a domestic vote in the UK are global, emphasising the interconnectivity of the UK economy in a much more globalised world.

Making predictions are always risky, but given the high level of uncertainty as to what a Brexit might mean for a voter in Manchester or Edinburgh, it may just be that the voters opt for the old adage of ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know’.

After all, the EU was always a risky experiment and leaving it would be just the same.

By Daniel Silke for Fin24

Staples’ proposed takeover of Office Depot has been approved by European regulators after the US office supplies retailer agreed to sell some of the European operations of its smaller rival.

The approval comes two months after the US antitrust regulator filed a complaint to block the $6,3-billion deal on concerns that it would reduce competition for nationwide contracts for office supplies in the United States.

Global reaction

Staples said that it agreed to sell Office Depot’s contract distribution business in Europe and all operations in Sweden.

The companies will also divest Office Depot’s retail, online and catalogue operations in Europe.

“The commitments remove the entire overlap between the merging companies in all markets where concerns were raised, thus ensuring that an important alternative will remain available on these highly concentrated markets,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Besides the litigation with the US Federal Trade Commission, the companies are facing heavy scrutiny from the Canadian Competition Bureau.

Staples had said it was willing to continue talks with the FTC to address the regulator’s concerns.

The acquisition has been approved in Australia, New Zealand, China and Europe.

By Foo Yun Chee and Abhijith Ganavaparam for www.reuters.com

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