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Research in climate change suggests that even an incremental increase in average global temperatures can trigger disastrous effects around the world. Although efforts are being made to curb carbon dioxide emissions and sustain stable environments, climate scientists warn that “there will still be consequences" if more drastic actions are not taken. Global businesses that depend on vast energy usage are now paying attention to new corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

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Have you ever tried streaming a show, watching a YouTube video, or downloading an album, only to discover that the media is unavailable due to your location? This common occurrence in the media and communications industry is known as geo-blocking. Platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and YouTube are entertainment services in which geo-blocking frequently occurs, due to the companies’ negotiations with studios. As media piracy has increased in recent years, studios are becoming more particular about which regions have access to on-demand streaming. Such precautions have been made in certain countries to increase incentive for purchase and to decrease illegal production of copyrighted material.

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On June 27, antitrust officials from the European Union levied a fine of 2.42 billion euros ($2.7 billion) on Google, citing market interference and obstruction of competition. The ruling targets Google Shopping, the e-commerce service that displays related products for sale on top of results pages for search terms. Margrethe Vestager, Competition Commissioner for the EU, alleged that Google's promotion of its Shopping results provides an unfair advantage to the service, impeding fair competition from rival e-retailers and violating EU antitrust rules. The decision, coming at the end of a seven-year investigation by the European Commission, makes for the largest fine ever imposed by the EU upon an individual company for antitrust infractions.

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On March 1, over 1.5 million shopkeepers in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu started a mass boycott of Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, pulling the beverages off their shelves and replacing them with domestic soft drink brands. All of the involved vendors are members of the Tamil Nadu Traders Association, a retailers organization that directed the boycott toward United States-based soft drink brands. The Association cited two primary reasons for the boycott: PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company's exorbitant use of the area's groundwater, and the continued "meddling" by American organizations in Indian traditions.

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The Korea Fair Trade Commission, a corporate regulator based in South Korea, declared that it would fine mobile chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. a hefty $853 million over the company’s purported abuse of antitrust laws. The announcement comes at the end of the Commission's three-year investigation of Qualcomm and constitutes the highest such fine charged to an individual United States-based company. The Commission concluded that Qualcomm broke antitrust laws by refusing patent access to competing chipmakers and by withholding necessary phone chips in order to pressure mobile manufacturers into strict licensing agreements. In addition, the Commission claimed that Qualcomm used patents from other chipmakers without fair compensation. Qualcomm has stated they will appeal this decision to the Seoul High Court, professing that their licensing practices follow decades-old industry standards. 

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In this installment of the globalEDGE Mega Trends in Business series, we take a look at how global businesses are responding to climate change. Day by day, governments the world over are increasing collaborative efforts against climate change by solidifying various international deals and agreements. With this, regulatory pressure is mounting on multinational companies to ensure that their practices meet environmentally-friendly standards. Several firms are answering the call and taking active stands against the threat of climate change, framing it as a business issue as well as an environmental one. Some corporations are forming coalitions across countries to reach a common consensus on necessary action. Others are shifting their business and investment practices in order to adapt to government legislation. Whatever the process, it is clear that climate change will be an unavoidable factor in future global business practices.

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The Philippines Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has sent a 65-page complaint to about 47 different energy and mining giants, accusing them of contributing to climate change and thus violating the fundamental rights of Filipino citizens. Grievances listed include violation of the rights to "life, food, water, sanitation, adequate housing, and to self determination." The document demands that the corporations respond within 45 days with formal plans to either eliminate or lessen their carbon footprints. Major companies listed in the dispatch include Shell, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and BHP Billiton. Both human rights and environmental organizations are calling this a "landmark case." 

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As part of the normalization process that began a little less than a year ago, the United States has taken additional steps in renewing full relations between itself and Cuba. On September 18th, the U.S. government announced revisions to its sanctions against Cuba that would make business and travel between two countries much easier. On top of this, President Obama may be working to end the embargo that the United States has on Cuba. Insistence on removing the embargo comes from personal requests by Cuban President Raul Castro, Pope Francis, and the United Nations, who condemned the embargo. Obama may aid Cuba in ending the embargo to the U.N.'s wishes, an unprecedented move by a world leader. While most are in favor of continuing to open trade between the U.S. and Cuba, completely removing the embargo proves to be a controversial subject.

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Earlier this year, Comcast Corporation was planning on taking over Time Warner Cable Inc., a deal that was met with harsh reactions from the public as well as many media companies and organizations. The fear was that a merger between two of the biggest media conglomerates in the United States would significantly reduce competition in the telecommunications industry. After the Department of Justice threatened an antitrust lawsuit against the companies, the merger plan was canceled about a month ago. Now Charter Communications Inc. has taken Comcast's place, having proposed a $56.7 billion plan for the takeover of Time Warner Cable. This time, the deal seems to be different and has gathered more support. Here is a closer look at the potential benefits and ramifications of this proposal.

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In this high-tech century, news about hackers breaking into corporate information systems is not surprising anymore. Rather, it has become a common administrative issue for businesses and requires special attention from the board of directors, since cyber-security breaches can result in significant business losses if not handled properly. This blog post will review the recent findings from the World Economic Forum and McKinsey and provide the approaches that company leaders can follow to reduce cyber risks.

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An important economic issue that is affecting several countries is the rising number of shadow businesses: businesses unregistered with their country's government. These businesses exchange goods and services, both legal and illegal, without paying taxes to their government. Typical examples of these include small taxicab services, roadside food stalls, and drug dealing. These businesses are causing concern because of their increasing prevalence in developing countries, which many worry is crippling economic growth and development. Other countries with smaller numbers shadow businesses are looking for ways to try and incorporate the operations of these businesses into their national economies. Here is a closer look.

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On Monday, June 2nd, the Obama administration announced through the EPA that new rules have been put into effect to reduce carbon pollution by coal and power plants by 30% by 2030. This is a historic occasion, as it marks the first time that the United States government has acted to try and regulate power plant emissions. The new rules have been met with high praise by many environmental groups and activists. However, debate has sparked over the potential economic impact of these rules. While concerns have been voiced over the effects on the coal and energy industries, many economists are also claiming these rules will lead to an overall positive outcome for the U.S. and the world. Here is a closer look.

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Technology companies all over the world have engaged in lawsuits against each other over various controversies since the beginning of the industry. Major corporations that produce smartphones, such as Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple, have often engaged in 'smartphone patent wars', which are lawsuits over patent and design disputes. Often, these companies have sued each other in several countries at a time in order to protect their creative patents and keep up their presence in the global market. A typical case of this happened only two years ago when, on January 2012, Motorola sued Apple in a German court over allegations of Apple infringing on Motorola's technology patents. The results of this particular case and some others, however, spell a different story for the future of smartphone patent wars.

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Corporate style management is set to replace the current bureaucratic system of the Holy See in the near future. On the 24th of February, the Pope announced in a public statement that he is planning to make changes to its financial system by centralizing budgetary and administrative functions. As the first economic overhaul to the Vatican in over 25 years, it was decided that the Holy See will begin to operate with a system of corporate governance.

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On January 15, the DC District Court of Appeals struck down the FCC's Open Internet Rules, also known as the net neutrality rules, on the basis that they had no legal grounding.  The net neutrality rules forced broadband providers to have all sources of Internet traffic, from social media to online gaming, to be treated equally in terms of regulation. With these rules gone, the way internet services will be used in the coming future will be very different. Not only will public consumption be affected, but businesses dependent on the internet and the tech industry in general have reason to worry.

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Corporate governance is a hotly contested issue of late. With the global economy still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis many have tried to answer the question what can prevent this from happening again? Better corporate governance has been proposed as a piece of the solution.

Corporate governance is an encompassing term that refers to the system by which corporations are directed and controlled. Within this there are many different ways to govern corporations and depending on a variety of factors, companies will differ in their structures. This is apparent when looking across cultures around the world. One of the most overarching differences is between the western way of corporate governance in comparison to emerging economies.

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Today the shareholders of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. prepare for one of the most contentious stockholders votes of recent memory. One of the main issues centers on Jamie Dimon, who is the CEO of the company as well as the Chairman of the board of directors. Many of those who hold stock believe that these roles should be separated; in the vote last year the proposal was rejected but still received the backing of 40% of stockholders, which is nothing to take lightly. The arguments in favor of this separation range from too much power being concentrated in a single person to a person can only focus on so many things and being CEO of company as large as J.P. Morgan Chase is enough of a task in itself. Regardless of the facts of this specific case, it brings into the question the larger issue of corporate governance. It would be beneficial to see how different countries operate – both in theory and practice – and see how those companies perform under different structures.

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It's a problem many of us deal with, especially those running small businesses. In today's world, email stands out as one of the domninant forms of communication. When on vacation, or away on business with no access to your email, the load tends to pile up rather quickly. In the following video, Gina Trapani of Fast Company offers some tips on how one can work smarter and develop a system for dealing with such mountains of email: