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This Week in Business: PayPal, The UK, and More


PayPal To Fund Academic Research On Illegal Firearms Transactions

PayPal announced plans to start funding research on illegal firearm sales on Tuesday. Currently, it plans to team up with both criminologists and experts to monitor the sales across the US. Overall, the plan is to help law enforcement to find what forms of payment people use to finance illegal gun sales.

Overall, the hope is that the research will help reduce gun violence. Both the Crime and Community Resilience at Northeastern University and the University of Chicago Crime Lab are heading the effort. Currently, PayPal bans the use of its services for firearm transactions, including popular payments app Venmo.

The UK Economy Saw Zero Growth

The UK economy saw zero growth in the final quarter of 2019. Both the manufacturing and service sectors slowed down around the time of the British election. However, recent research showed that the overall economy has grown in the new year.

“It’s likely that political uncertainty and unwinding stockpiles caused the economy to flag at the end of last year,” said Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors. “However, firms entered 2020 with more of a spring in their step. Confidence has shot up while hiring plans and investment intentions have also risen a notch, but the post-election bounce may tail off.”

T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Approved By Judge

A federal judge has approved the pending T-Mobile and Sprint merger, moving the takeover deal closer to completion. In doing so, he rejected a claim that said the deal would create a monopoly and violate antitrust laws. “The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint will create another telecommunications behemoth in an already dangerously consolidated market,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero clears the opposition for the deal, which already had federal approval. “The court concludes that the proposed merger is not reasonably likely to substantially lessen competition,” Judge Marrero wrote. Currently, states like New York and California are planning an appeal.

Nissan To Temporarily Shut Down Japan Factory

Japanese carmaker Nissan announced plans to temporarily shut down one of its factories in Japan. Currently, the factory can’t get parts from China. The factory in question produces the carmaker’s Serena and X-Trail models. In addition, due to China’s coronavirus outbreak, other global car brands are seeing similar disruptions in production. “It only takes one missing part to stop a line,” said Mike Dunne, a consultant.

White House Calls For Biggest NASA Budget In Decades

The White House asked Congress for $25.2Bn in funding for NASA on Monday. This is the biggest budget NASA has received in decades. President Trump outlined a five-year plan to eventually land astronauts on the Moon and Mars. “They are backing up our vision for a renewed era of discovery by giving NASA ever-increasing budgets every year,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Monday after the White House released its plan. “Now we must deliver.”