Less than a week after Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said he would take two months of paternity leave, the social media company announced it is extending its parental leave policy to full-time employees outside the United States. Employees may take leave at any point up to a year after the birth of their child, Lori Matloff Goler, the company's head of human resources, said in a Facebook post late Wednesday. Facebook currently offers only U.S.-based workers up to four months of paid leave.
By James Davey and Li-mei Hoang LONDON (Reuters) - Britons splashed out on "Black Friday" bargains on Friday but many opted to go online rather than head to the shops for an event imported from the United States that has become a key feature of the UK retail calendar. Researcher Conlumino is forecasting the event will generate UK sales, both in stores and online, of 1.6 billion pounds ($2.4 billion), up 20 percent on 2014. "There’s been plenty of anecdotal evidence around...to suggest that Black Friday, in terms of store-based retail, has been something of a damp squib in the UK this year," said Bryan Roberts of researcher Kantar Retail.
By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Security Agency will end its daily vacuuming of millions of Americans' phone records by Sunday and replace the practice with more tightly targeted surveillance methods, the Obama administration said on Friday. As required by law, the NSA will end its wide-ranging surveillance program by 11:59 p.m. EST Saturday (4:59 a.m. GMT Sunday) and expects to have the new, scaled-back system in place by then, the White House said. The transition is a long-awaited victory for privacy advocates and tech companies wary of broad government surveillance at a time when national security concerns are heightened in the wake of the Paris attacks earlier this month.
By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union wants to enhance the power of the bloc's national privacy regulators in policing a planned new EU-U.S. data pact after the previous one was struck down by a top EU court on concerns about mass U.S. surveillance. Brussels and Washington are locked in negotiations to forge a new framework enabling data transfers from Europe to the United States, which are otherwise subject to cumbersome and lengthy legal processes under EU data protection law. The previous pact, known as Safe Harbour and used by over 4,000 U.S. and European companies, was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in October because U.S. national security needs trumped the privacy of Europeans' data.
By Vera Eckert and Christoph Steitz FRANKFURT (Reuters) - If Elon Musk's vision of millions of households producing all their own power becomes a reality, it will probably happen first in Germany. The South African-born entrepreneur's company Tesla, best known for its electric cars, sparked global interest in the idea of self-powered homes in April, when it said it would start selling lithium-ion batteries for households next year. The batteries, called Powerwalls, connect to solar panels on the roof of a house and aim to store enough power during the day to drive kettles and washing machines at night, raising the prospect that households one day will be able to rely fully on clean energy and become independent of the power grid.
NEW YORK/PARIS (Reuters) - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will launch a multi-billion-dollar clean energy research and development initiative with heads of state on Monday, the opening day of the U.N. climate change summit in Paris, the French government said Friday. Gates and a group of developing and developed countries will launch the Clean Tech Initiative, in which countries will commit to doubling their clean energy technology research and development budgets by 2020 and private investors will boost their own investments in the sector.