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The innovators: smartphone shortcuts at the click of a Flic

Silicone button connects a wide range of smartphone functions, from taking a selfie to triggering a panic alarm

When engineer and Shortcut Labs co-founder Joacim Westlund wanted to track his tobacco consumption, he developed an app for it. But pulling out his phone and navigating through multiple apps to find the right one proved frustrating, so he decided to create a shortcut through the process.

From that niche frustration has come Flic, a silicone button the size of two pound coins stuck together that triggers specific functions on a smartphone. It has an adhesive back so it can be stuck on a wall or cupboard, or attached with a clip to a belt, jacket or a bag strap.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

US-appointed egg lobby paid food blogs and targeted chef to crush vegan startup

Internal emails reveal coordinated attack by American Egg Board to quash the rise of Hampton Creek’s egg alternative in possible breach of federal regulations

A government-controlled industry group targeted popular food bloggers, major publications and a celebrity chef as part of its sweeping effort to combat a perceived threat from an egg-replacement startup backed by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, the Guardian can reveal.

Related: Government-backed egg lobby tried to crack food startup, emails show

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Berkeley lays on the shares with a trowel

Tony Pidgley’s housebuilder has its AGM this week. But whatever the news there, he’s already done well

If you are a politician who accepts the odd small token of esteem from top businesspeople, you have to admit to it. For example, Boris Johnson once received a glass paperweight and an engraved trowel worth £500 from the housebuilder Tony Pidgley, so there’s a record of the London mayor being presented with these objets (if not what he did with them).

Frustratingly, however, there’s no central record of the gifts doled out by politicians to businessmen, although one such offering to Pidgley’s trade will be in evidence this week.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Central banks can do nothing more to insulate us from an Asian winter

The ECB’s new tree sculpture offers an ironic counterpoint to the lack of growth in the world’s second-biggest economy

The European Central Bank proudly announced on Friday that it is erecting a 17-metre-high bronze and granite tree outside its Frankfurt headquarters – an artwork intended to “convey a sense of stability and growth” – and, with its gilded leaves and massive trunk, presumably also wealth and power.

But when Mario Draghi, the ECB’s president, appeared before the world’s media on Thursday at his regular press conference, it was the limit to central bankers’ power that was on display.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Labour leadership races can change fast; interest rates, not so much

Jeremy Corbyn looks like a racing certainty. But whatever happens, the election will be more definite than the endless false alarms sounded over the base rate

That bookmaker Paddy Power had not only stopped taking bets on Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour party but was actually paying out was, shall we say, hot news. While it did not exactly spoil my holiday, it did make me kick myself that I had not placed a small wager on Corbyn a month or so ago, when the quoted odds were 100-1 against him.

I am something of a horseracing man, although I hasten to add that I only bet in tiny amounts. As the presenters of the Today programme’s tips know, the old music-hall joke applies all too often: “I follow the horses. The trouble is that the horses I follow also follow the horses… ”

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

China's central bank governor says yuan has stabilised against the dollar

Zhou Xiaochuan tells G20 meeting in Turkey the exchange rate ‘tends to be stable’ in the wake of the yuan’s devaluation and stock market chaos

China’s central bank governor has told a meeting of the G20 that China’s currency has stabilised against the dollar after the country’s surprise announcement in August to revalue the yuan amid stock market turmoil.

Related: Why is China’s stock market falling and how might it affect the global economy?

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Primark hopes luck of the Irish will see it win US hearts, and dollars

This week the chain opens a store in downtown Boston. But can it succeed where so many UK giants have failed?

The Burnham building in Boston, Massachusetts, is widely regarded as one of the finest pieces of architecture in the city. It was designed for the Filene’s department store chain in 1912 by Daniel Burnham, the Chicago architect behind the Selfridges building on London’s Oxford Street, and is on America’s national register of historic places.

But its recent past has been traumatic. In 2007 it fell empty when the branch of Filene’s that it had housed since before the first world war closed. A property developer then gutted the interior, sparking fury in the Boston area.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

A rates hike may hurt the US economy – so why don't the 2016 candidates seem to care?

Despite volatile markets and a deceptively tepid recovery, the Federal Reserve looks unequivocally committed to raising interest rates – but try getting any of the candidates for president to admit such action could undermine the recovery

There was something for everyone in August’s US jobs report. The headline figure for jobs growth was less than expected, but the last two months were revised up. Wages grew, but the number of people out of the workforce remains worryingly high. What’s a central banker to do? Sadly the answer is exactly what they want to do, and no one – not even Donald Trump – seems to think that’s an issue.

At their annual retreat in Jackson Hole last month, several top officials of the Federal Reserve board reiterated their desire to raise interest rates, even if the recent market turmoil may have put these plans on hold for the moment.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Is company's claim of meat without murder too good to be true?

Brooklyn startup Modern Meadow says it is developing laboratory-grown meat but the process currently relies on the blood of unborn calves

Meat without murder, or “animal” flesh grown in a lab for human consumption, has been touted as an ethical gourmand’s dream for nearly a century, but is it a fantasy too good to be true?

Not according to Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn biotech startup that is promising to bring so-called in vitro meat to a dinner table near you, although it is not without its critics.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS