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Biden signs order to implement EU-US data privacy framework By Reuters

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© Reuters. Photo from the Reuters archive/Francois Lenoir

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By David Shepherdson and Philip Blinkinsop

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order to implement a framework for data transfer between the European Union and the United States announced in March that adopts new U.S. privacy protections for intelligence gathering.

The deal seeks to end the deadlock in which thousands of companies found themselves after Europe’s Supreme Court overturned two previous deals over concerns about US surveillance.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters that the executive order “is the culmination of our combined efforts to restore confidence and stability to transatlantic data flows” and “will ensure the privacy of personal data for the European Union.”

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The framework addresses the concerns of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which in July 2020 overturned the former EU-US Privacy Shield as a valid data transfer mechanism under EU law.

The European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said he was “absolutely certain” there was a new legal challenge, but was confident the agreement met the court’s demands.

“We have a real improvement for Privacy Shield,” he told Reuters in an interview. “It’s completely different.” “Maybe the third try is the good one.”

The White House said that “transatlantic data flows are critical to enabling the $7.1 trillion EU-US economic relationship” and that the framework will “restore the important legal basis for transatlantic data flows.”

The US Chamber of Commerce and Microsoft (NASDAQ 🙂 welcomed the executive order, but digital rights activist group Access Now and European consumer organization BEUC said it did not appear that people’s rights were adequately protected.

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The White House said Biden’s orders strengthened “existing guarantees of privacy and civil liberties” for US intelligence collection and created a binding, independent, multi-layered remedy mechanism for individuals who believe their personal data was unlawfully collected by US intelligence agencies.

It would take about six months to complete the complex approval process, Reynders said, noting that the former regime only had compensation to the ombudsman within the US administration, which was rejected by the EU court.

Biden’s order builds new safeguards on US intelligence-gathering activities, requiring them to do only what is necessary and proportionate, and creates a two-step system of fairness – first to an intelligence oversight agency, then to a court with independent judges, which would then make its decisions. Agencies are required.

Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in March that the interim agreement provides stronger legal protections and addresses EU court concerns.

It said Raimundo would on Friday send a series of letters to the EU from US agencies “outlining the operation and enforcement of the EU-US data privacy framework” which “will form the basis for the European Commission’s assessment in a new adequacy decision”. .

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Under the order, the Civil Liberties Protection Officer (CLPO) in the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence will investigate complaints and make decisions.

The US Department of Justice is working to establish a Data Protection Review Tribunal to independently review CLPO decisions. Judges with expertise in data privacy and national security will be appointed from outside the US government.

European privacy activists have threatened to challenge the framework if they do not believe it adequately protects privacy. Austrian Max Schrems, whose legal challenges led to the collapse of the previous two data flow regimes between the European Union and the United States, said he still needed to analyze the package.

“At first glance, it appears that the core issues have not been resolved and will return to the EU court sooner or later,” he said.

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Hidden Gems: The Most Underrated Tourist Attractions in the U.S.

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When you take your kids on vacation, they’ll probably want to go to a popular theme park.

But theme parks have gotten more expensive these days and the more you spend, the more you expect, which could set you up for disappointment.

In a study by tourism site HawaiianIslands.com, some of most overrated tourist spots are theme parks.

Volcano Bay Water Park at Universal Studios in Orlando ended up the most overrated attraction in the U.S., according to the HawaiianIslands research of more than 17,000 Tripadvisor reviews. Some 39 reviews out of every 1,000 expressed disappointment by their experience and labeled the park “overrated.”

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BP doubles down on hydrogen as the fuel of the future by Reuters

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© Reuters. The BP logo is seen at a BP gas station in Manhattan, New York City, US, November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Files

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Written by Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – Bernard Looney, chief executive of British Petroleum (NYSE), is betting on hydrogen to power the low-carbon companies of the future as governments in major economies raise money to develop fuels for decarbonization.

Low-carbon hydrogen already has a large fan base and is expected to play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry and some forms of transportation.

But it is expensive to produce and often needs government subsidies to compete against fossil fuels.

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The US, for example, offers significant incentives to produce them under President Joe Biden’s $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

BP has been responsive and is in the early planning stages of developing a large, low-carbon hydrogen center around its refinery in Whiting, Indiana, Tomica McLeod, BP’s newly appointed head of US hydrogen, told Reuters.

When Looney took office nearly three years ago, he pledged to reshape BP and cut carbon emissions by reducing oil and gas production and developing renewables. He is preparing to brief investors on February 7 on the current situation.

BP sources told Reuters that hydrogen will play a starring role alongside offshore wind.

BP has reformed its structure to create a dedicated hydrogen division led by Philippe Arbelaez which has 150 employees. It has also made several investments in large hydrogen projects, including in Australia, Europe and Britain.

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The company told Reuters that it is also studying the potential for developing green hydrogen in Oman, and is also studying projects in Mauritania.

Company sources said BP’s spending on low-carbon hydrogen remains modest but is expected to grow into the hundreds of millions by the end of the decade as projects start.

BP spent nearly a quarter of its $15.5 billion budget in 2022 on the low-carbon business, when it included the $4.1 billion acquisition of US biogas producer Arkea, according to Reuters calculations.

Company sources said that in February Anja Isabel Dutzenrath, head of renewables at Looney and BP will unveil its clean hydrogen production target for the first time, aiming for a 10% share of hydrogen in “core markets” by 2030.

“Hydrogen is going to be a huge focus, and it’s moving much faster than we ever thought,” CFO Murray Auchinclose told Reuters last month.

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Most hydrogen is currently used in oil refining and fertilizer making and is usually made by heating, a highly polluting process known as gray hydrogen.

But gray hydrogen becomes “blue hydrogen” if polluting emissions are captured. There’s also “green hydrogen,” which is produced by splitting water using electrolysis that’s powered by renewable energy.

To expand its blue hydrogen business, BP is drawing on its expertise in oil and gas to build carbon capture and storage facilities, where carbon is injected into depleted reservoirs.

It also plans to boost its renewable energy generation capacity to 50 gigawatts by 2030, which will be partially used for electric power generation.

BP declined to comment on whether it would set a hydrogen production target or its hydrogen spending plans.

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tax credits

McLeod said BP’s project at the Whiting refinery would initially replace about 200,000 tonnes of gray hydrogen used by the refinery each year with blue hydrogen. The project could start operating by 2026-2027 and expand to green hydrogen.

“Our focus in the US, and it’s similar around the world, is how do we decarbonize and reimagine our own assets,” she said.

The low-carbon fuel in the second phase will be used by other heavy industries in the region to reduce about 36 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted there each year.

The project will rely on subsidies, highlighting the challenge hydrogen faces in competing with low-cost fossil fuels.

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The IRA is offering a $3 per kilogram tax credit for clean hydrogen, which makes green hydrogen equal to or even less than the cost of gray and blue hydrogen, according to analysts.

“With the hydrogen production tax credits now in place … it has allowed green hydrogen to be more competitive,” McLeod said.

McLeod said the subsidies would initially allow green and blue hydrogen to compete with gray hydrogen, allowing consumers to switch to cleaner fuels.

“Demand growth for new hydrogen applications will be a function of cost competitiveness,” said Andy Brogan, global head of oil and gas at EY.

“There are physical components to energy demand where hydrogen is the only clear technologically viable alternative to carbon intensive options,” Brogan said. “However, these are often price sensitive, so rapid acceleration will depend on cost.”

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BP is already one of the largest investors in hydrogen projects among the world’s largest oil and gas companies, including Shell (LON:), TotalEnergies, Repsol (OTC:) and Italy’s Eni, according to Globaldata, a data provider.

BP in June acquired a 40.5% stake in a 26-gigawatt renewable energy project in Australia that could produce green hydrogen. It is developing two projects in Britain where it aims to produce 1.5 gigawatts of blue and green hydrogen by 2030.

Hydrogen production by technology https://www.reuters.com/graphics/HYDROGEN-PRODUCTION/gkvlwgymlpb/chart.png

BP Spending Plans https://www.reuters.com/graphics/OIL-MAJORS/ENERGY-TRANSITION/gkvlgnoxdpb/chart.png

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After 23 Royal Caribbean Cruises, What I Learned About Tipping

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Tipping has always been a mostly voluntary practice that is supposed to revolve around customers rewarding service staff for good service. The problem is that restaurants generally consider tips as part of their wages and don’t pay minimum wages to waiters (which is legal in most places). This makes tipping, while usually optional, very demanding.

That’s kind of how tipping works at Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get a free report and Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) – Get a free report ships. It’s still technically optional, but opting out of daily tips—what cruise lines call the fee added to your onboard account each day for each person in your room—literally takes money out of the hands of the lowest-level workers on cruise ships.



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