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Customers browse produce during the grand opening of the Lidl Ltd. store in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Benjamin Boshart | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Customers browse produce during the grand opening of the Lidl Ltd. store in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

World food prices declined in November to their lowest level in more than two years, led down by much weaker vegetable oil, dairy and cereal prices, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 160.8 points last month, down from a revised 162.9 in October, reaching its lowest level since May 2016.

The October figure was previously given as 163.5.

FAO said global cereals output in 2018/19 was seen at 2.595 billion tonnes, down marginally from the previous forecast and 2.4 percent below last year’s record high production.

FAO’s forecast for world wheat production in 2018/19 was 725.1 million tonnes, 2.8 million tonnes lower than the previous forecast.

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EU to drop threat of Huawei ban but wants 5G risks monitored

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The European Commission will next week urge EU countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks but will ignore U.S. calls to ban Huawei Technologies, four people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

European digital chief Andrus Ansip will present the recommendation on Tuesday. While the guidance does not have legal force, it will carry political weight which can eventually lead to national legislation in European Union countries.

The United States has lobbied Europe to shut out Huawei, saying its equipment could be used by the Chinese government for espionage. Huawei has strongly rejected the allegations and earlier this month sued the U.S. government over the issue.

Ansip will tell EU countries to use tools set out under the EU directive on security of network and information systems, or NIS directive, adopted in 2016 and the recently approved Cybersecurity Act, the people said.

For example, member states should exchange information and coordinate on impact assessment studies on security risks and on certification for internet-connected devices and 5G equipment.

The Commission will not call for a European ban on global market leader Huawei, leaving it to EU countries to decide on national security grounds.

“It is a recommendation to enhance exchanges on the security assessment of digital critical infrastructure,” one of the sources said.

The Commission said the recommendation would stress a common EU approach to security risks to 5G networks.

The EU executive’s guidance marks a tougher stance on Chinese investment after years of almost unfettered European openness to China, which controls 70 percent of the global supply of the critical raw materials needed to make high-tech goods.

The measures, if taken on board, will be part of what French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday was a “European awakening” about potential Chinese dominance, after EU leaders held a first-ever discussion about China policy at a summit.

Germany this month set tougher criteria for all telecoms equipment vendors, without singling out Huawei and ignoring U.S. pressure.

Big telecoms operators oppose a Huawei ban, saying such a move could set back 5G deployment in the bloc by years. In contrast, Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks.

The industry sees 5G as the next money spinner, with its promise to link up everything from vehicles to household devices.

Alongside from the Huawei issue, the bloc also plans to discuss Chinese subsidies, state involvement in the Chinese economy and more access to the Chinese market at an EU-China summit on April 9.

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Tim Cook reportedly met with an vice premier in China

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Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the annual session of China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China March 26, 2018.

Jason Lee | Reuters

Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the annual session of China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China March 26, 2018.

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with a top official in China Friday as he tours the country ahead of the China Development Forum and Apple’s own event on Monday.

State-run news agency Xinhua reported that Cook met with Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Friday. Apple did not immediately return a request for comment on the topic of the meeting or other reasons for Cook’s trip to China, but Xinhua said Sun “made positive remarks” about Apple’s role in relations between the U.S. and China.

According to local reports, Cook also visited an online education company that is incorporating augmented reality into its product and met with a Chinese musician as he touted Apple’s streaming service. Cook has been in the country since Thursday and has posted about the trip on Weibo, 9to5Mac reported.

It’s unclear if Cook will be in attendance at this weekend’s Chinese Economic Forum, though Apple is listed as a participating group on the event’s website. Cook attended the forum last year, where he had called for data privacy regulation following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal that revealed the agency exploited millions of user data without their explicit consent.

Cook’s trip follows a turbulent year for commerce between the U.S. and China due to ongoing trade tensions between the two countries. Apple’s revenue in the region was hit hard in its first quarter 2019, dropping nearly $5 billion from the previous year. Cook had cited economic slowdowns in China as a chief cause for its disappointing revenue in the quarter, but still expressed optimism in an interview with CNBC following the report.

“I’m encouraged by the comments coming out of both countries,” Cook told CNBC’s Josh Lipton at the time. But the path forward between the two countries still remains unsettled.

Cook is expected back in the U.S. by Monday, when Apple is hosting its own event where analysts anticipate it will unveil a new streaming service.

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Watch: CNBC’s full interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook



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Putin’s missile with ‘unlimited’ range is too expensive and hasn’t flown more than 22 miles

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Putin’s push to develop weapons of this caliber has sparked concerns of a budding arms race among China, the U.S. and Russia.

What’s more, the latest revelations come a little more than a year after the Russian leader touted his nation’s growing hypersonic arsenal. Of the six new weapons Putin unveiled last March, CNBC learned that two of them, a hypersonic glide vehicle and air-launched cruise missile, will be ready for war by 2020.

The hypersonic glide vehicle, dubbed Avangard, is designed to sit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. Once launched, it uses aerodynamic forces to sail on top of the atmosphere.

One U.S. intelligence report, according to a source, noted that the hypersonic glide vehicles were mounted to Russian-made SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles — and one test featured a mock warhead.

Previous intelligence reports, which were curated last spring, calculate that Avangard is likely to achieve initial operational capability by 2020, a significant step that would enable the Kremlin to surpass the U.S. and China in this regard.

The hypersonic cruise missile dubbed “Kinzhal,” which means “dagger” in Russian, has been tested at least three times and was mounted and launched 12 times from a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet.

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