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EU to probe Amazon over use of merchant data

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Amazon became the target of an antitrust investigation by the European Union on Wednesday over its use of merchants’ data, underlining the increasing regulatory scrutiny about how tech companies exploit customers’ information.

The European Commission has been seeking feedback from retailers and manufacturers since September into Amazon’s dual role as a marketplace for merchants and acting as a competitor following complaints from traders about Amazon’s practices.

The Commission said its investigation would focus on Amazon’s standard agreements with marketplace sellers and its use of data in choosing winners of the “buy box”, which allows consumers to add items from a specific retailer directly to their shopping carts.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who can fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover, said the issue was crucial as more and more Europeans shop online.

“E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior,” she said.

Amazon said it would cooperate fully with the EU investigation. The company reached a deal with Germany’s antitrust authority on Wednesday to overhaul its terms of service for third-party merchants.

Under its terms of service for Europe here set out on its website, merchants grant Amazon “royalty-free” rights to use in a range of ways their materials, such as technology, trademarks, content and product information.

“There have been concerns around the world that competition authorities have failed to appreciate the market power that comes from ownership of data,” he said.

In Amazon’s case, he said the Commission needed to show “the standard agreements with retailers were anti-competitive in somehow allowing Amazon to use the data to manipulate market outcomes, or that Amazon had in some way abused its dominance.”

The Commission had been struggling to define the market in which Amazon operates in order to identify where the competitive harm could have been, sources said.

This would not be Amazon’s first run-in with the Commission. Two years ago, it was told to pay back taxes of about 250 million euros ($280 million) to Luxembourg because of illegal tax benefits. That same year it settled with the regulator over its distribution deals with e-book publishers in Europe.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Samson Siasia ban for life by Fifa

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Former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has been banned for life and fined $50,000 by Fifa for agreeing to ‘the manipulation of matches.’

Siasia was coach of Nigeria between 2010-2011 and for a spell in 2016 but the time period when Fifa believes he committed his infractions is unclear.

He has also served as coach of the country’s Under-20 and Under-23 sides.

In a statement, Siasia was found ‘guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.’

The sanction stems from an ongoing ‘large-scale investigation’ Fifa is conducting into the behaviour of Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer from Singapore.

He is the third African to be banned by Fifa for his links to Perumal after former Sierra Leone FA official Abu Bakarr Kabba and former Botswana FA official Mooketsi Kgotlele were suspended in July for five years and for life respectively.

A former international, Siasia won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, for whom he played over 50 times while scoring 16 goals.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Liverpool sweat over Adrian fitness

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Liverpool first choice keeper Allison Becker missed the UEFA Super cup final against Chelsea Fc due to calf injury.

Jurgen Klopp has stated they could play their second Permier League game against Southampton on Saturday without Adrian after a collision with a pitch invader.

Manager Jurgen Klopp says the Spaniard was injured during post-match celebrations following Liverpool’s win over Chelsea in the Super Cup on Wednesday.

“A supporter jumped over something, was chased by some security guys, slipped and kicked his ankle. Crazy,” Klopp said after Adrian saved Tammy Abraham’s penalty in the shootout win.”

He added: “Apart from that it was a brilliant night for him.”

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Adrian was injured by a fan shortly after his team-mates congratulated him for the decisive penalty save during the Super Cup shootout

The incident happened as the Liverpool players were huddled together celebrating the match-winning save.

A supporter, attempting to join the group, ran towards them, slipping as he was grabbed by a steward, and collided with several players.

Klopp said: “There’s no doubt about how much we love our fans, there’s no doubt about that at all, but if they all could stop doing that – that’s the worst example we have so far heard about.

“We played against Manchester City and someone ran on the pitch then.

“At Norwich, there was someone as well.

“I don’t know what you can do about it in the stadium but that means there is a lot of responsibility for the supporters as well. If the one person cannot hesitate or stop himself, then the people around should do it because it’s not funny. It’s crazy. You think ‘wow, how can something like this happen?'”

Liverpool’s third-choice keeper Andy Lonergan, 35, who was an unused substitute for the game in Istanbul which finished 2-2 after extra time, could deputise for Adrian if the 32-year-old is ruled out.

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