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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution gets $35m to explore deep reaches


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution gets $35m to explore deep reaches

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has been awarded $35 million to explore a part of the oceans nicknamed the “twilight zone.” The money will help launch a multiyear study of the mid-water depths of the world’s oceans, between 200 and 1,000 meters below the surface, where light still reaches but visibility is low. WHOI officials say they are racing to document this little-known part of the world before the commercial fishing industry alters its delicate ecosystem. “We’d like to do the reverse of what we’ve always done . . . to understand an ecosystem before we exploit it,” said WHOI president Mark Abbott. The institution was one of several awarded grants by the Audacious Project, a coalition of philanthropic organizations that is housed at TED, which streamed the awards ceremony live Wednesday evening. The institution hopes to promote its research by live streaming some of its deep water ventures and providing real time data feeds as the project gets underway. WHOI will begin testing equipment and designing field programs this summer and plans to begin ocean exploration next year. — MARGEAUX SIPPELL


FTC says warning stickers about voiding warranties are illegal

If worries about voiding your warranty have ever kept you from trying to repair your own electronics, or from visiting the cheap repair shop on the corner, the government has some good news for you. The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that warning stickers that say people will void their warranties are not only meaningless, but also illegal. These types of stickers are common on many electronics — for example, if you try to open an Xbox One X, you’ll find a black sticker over one of the screws; Microsoft has cited the sticker’s absence as a reason to reject people’s warranty claims in the past. Sony’s PlayStation has a sticker that says, ‘‘Warranty void if seal damaged.’’ The agency said it sent letters about the labels to six ‘‘major’’ companies that make game consoles, automobiles, and cellular devices. The FTC did not name the companies that received the letters. The agency said that these types of messages are in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits companies from putting repair limits on warranties, and they may also violate rules against false representation. — WASHINGTON POST



Shanghai investors could get access to London stock exchange

China is aiming to start a stock trading tie-up between Shanghai and London this year, according to a top official, creating a system that would give investors in the world’s most populous country direct access to shares listed in the United Kingdom. The timing was announced by People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang (left) at a panel discussion during the Boao Forum for Asia on Wednesday, unveiled as part of a broader package of policies that will further open up the nation’s financial sector. The program with London Stock Exchange Group PLC would be the third system to give foreigners access to the mainland equity market, the world’s second-biggest by value. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Johnson & Johnson and talc mining company ordered to pay $80 million

Johnson & Johnson and a talc-mining company were ordered by jurors to pay $80 million in punitive damages for hiding that their products, including J&J’s iconic baby powder, had been tainted by asbestos. The New Jersey jury’s award brings to a total of $117 million that J&J and a unit of Imerys SA must pay investment banker Stephen Lanzo III over his claims the companies’ asbestos-laced talc products caused his cancer. The punitive damages were $55 million for J&J and $25 million for Imerys. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Aluminum prices soar as US sanctions kick in

Aluminum approached a six-year high after top exchanges said they’ll stop accepting metal from United Company Rusal, increasing concerns about how the market will replace supplies from the Russian smelting giant hobbled by US sanctions. The metal advanced as much as 3.5 percent on Wednesday to $2,277.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. That was just $13 away from the peak in December, when it touched the highest since March 2012. Prices have rallied as much as 13 percent since Thursday, the day before the US sanctions were announced. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Security officer sues after firing for dragging passenger from United flight

An aviation security officer fired after dragging a passenger from a plane last year has filed a lawsuit against United Airlines and the City of Chicago. James Long was one of the officers called to a plane in April 2017 after Dr. David Dao refused to give up his seat. Video taken by other passengers shows Long dragging a bloodied Dao from the plane. Long was fired in August. Long filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court against the Chicago Department of Aviation and United. The suit alleges Long didn’t receive proper training to respond to the situation and that United should have known security officers would use physical force. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Google could acquire Nokia’s airplane broadband business

Google is in talks to acquire Nokia’s airplane broadband business as it seeks to tap into new services and reach more users by offering in-flight high-speed Internet, people familiar with the matter said. Nokia’s technology could help Google offer a faster alternative to existing Wi-Fi on airplanes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Talks are advanced and an agreement may be reached soon, the people said. Nokia’s LTE A2G cellular-based system also creates a direct link between an aircraft and the ground instead of just bouncing the signal off of a satellite, enabling in-cabin high-speed Internet services using Wi-Fi, according to its website. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Chicago Tribune editorial staff will begin unionization effort

The Chicago Tribune’s editorial staff announced an effort to unionize, delivering a fresh challenge to owner Tronc Inc. following the resignation of its chairman amid accusations of sexual misconduct. The plan to form a bargaining unit comes two months after Tronc said it would sell its flagship newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, to billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong in a $500 million deal. Before the sale, Times employees voted to unionize and pressured Tronc into replacing editor in chief Lewis D’Vorkin. Citing issues they said include irregular raises, lack of diversity, and the absence of job security, the employees wrote that ‘‘a series of corporate owners — Tronc being only the most recent — has jeopardized our ability do great work.’’ The workers said they would soon begin circulating union cards for the NewsGuild, the same Communications Workers of America affiliate that is headed into bargaining with the Los Angeles Times. — BLOOMBERG NEWS