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Ubers Secret Tool for Keeping the Cops in the Dark

In May 2015 about 10 investigators for the Quebec tax authority burst into flouting local labor laws and taxi rules has made it a favorite target for law enforcement agencies around the world. That’s where this remote system, called Ripley, comes in. From spring 2015 until late 2016, Uber routinely used Ripley to thwart police raids in foreign countries, say three people with knowledge of the system. Allusions to its nature can be found in a smattering of court filings, but its details, scope, and origin haven’t been previously reported….

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How China Will Shake Up the Oil Futures Market

China, the world’s biggest oil buyer, is on the verge of opening a domestic market to trade futures contracts. It’s been planning one for years, only to encounter delays. The Shanghai International Energy Exchange, a unit of Shanghai Futures Exchange, will be known by the acronym INE and will allow Chinese buyers to lock in oil prices and pay in local currency. Also, foreign traders will be allowed to invest — a first for China’s commodities markets — because the exchange is registered in Shanghai’s free trade zone. There are…

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The Strange Case of the Look-Alike Credit Cards

First National Bank of Marin was a small Las Vegas lender with an image problem. Federal investigators accused it of issuing credit cards to strapped consumers, then piling on so many fees and obligations that some new clients couldn’t buy a sandwich without hitting their credit limit. But by 2006, it had settled the claims and was ready to expand. It changed its name to Source: Credit One Bank If that looks familiar, there’s a good reason. In 2008, credit-card titan Source: Capital One Financial Corp. And so began the improbable story of…

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The Future Price of Investing: Zilch

Could fees for investing ever fall all the way to zero? For investors in bring customers in the door, razor-thin costs are where the asset growth is. Of the $738 billion that investors put into index funds and ETFs in the past 12 months, $509 billion went to funds costing 0.1 percent or less, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Investors are really cost-obsessed, so these asset managers are betting if they lower the fees, they’ll make a little money because they’ll get all the assets,” says Balchunas. For individual…

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How a Tokyo-Born Outsider Became the Face of Czech Nationalism

Tomio Okamura’s background is about as multicultural as you can get. The son of a Czech mother and a Japanese-Korean father, he suffered racist bullying in Japan and the Czech Republic that was so severe he developed a stutter and wet his bed until the age of 14. Which may or may not help explain why his Czech political party is adamantly opposed to immigration, wants the country to leave the European Union and compares Islam to “Hitler-style Nazism.” The message is resonating: Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy may become the fourth-strongest…

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The Making of a Millionaire and a Massacre

Five days after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, Jeremiah Cottle, ashen-faced and unshaven, looks toward the four flags by his company’s front gate in Moran, Texas. There’s the Lone Star State flag, the Stars and Stripes, a POW-MIA one, and another with the green-and-black logo of his company, Bump Fire managers told the court they’d hired subcontractors to make its bump stocks and that they had sold more than 2,000 in Texas alone, Slide Fire’s main market. In court, Slide Fire said Bump Fire’s price-cutting had cost…

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