Dean & DeLuca
closes its store
in Wine Country
Luxury food chain Dean & DeLuca has closed its store in St. Helena as part of the company’s overall struggle. There are more than 60 Dean & DeLuca cafes and markets operating in Asia, and three more in the Middle East, but the chain is foundering in the United States. Since it was bought by Pace Development in 2014, Dean & DeLuca has pulled out of lease agreements, promised and revoked sponsorships, closed its stores in North Carolina, Kansas and Maryland, and consistently withheld payment from vendors, who are increasingly vocal in their outrage.
Google, can you hear me?
Google said its contractors are able to listen to recordings of what people say to Google Assistant. The company acknowledged that after some of its Dutch language recordings were leaked. Google is investigating the breach but said contractors listen to recordings to learn about language patterns and accents.
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French move toward taxing big tech
French President Emmanuel Macron’s government waded into a potentially messy fight with the White House on Thursday as French lawmakers voted to impose a tax on Facebook, Google and other American technology giants despite a blunt warning from the Trump administration. The measure, which the White House said could amount to an unfair trade practice, is likely to be signed into law by Macron within two weeks, placing France squarely in the crosshairs of President Trump’s escalating trade wars. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the French Senate before the vote that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer, the White House’s top trade negotiator, phoned him Wednesday to say that the United States is opening an investigation into the French tax using a mechanism Trump had already employed to impose sweeping tariffs on China. It was the first time in the history of French-American relations that the United States had taken such a step, Le Maire said.