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The United Kingdom will deploy its new aircraft carrier, loaded with two squadrons of F-35 aircraft into the politically-fraught South China Sea.

British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson confirmed in a speech Monday morning that the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail into waters that are the subject of dispute between China and other nations.

At an address given to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, Williamson said Britain was the second largest investor in the region and it must display “hard power” and “lethality” to help protect interests.

The £3 billion ($3.9 billion) carrier’s outing will also sail into the Middle East and Mediterranean and will be officially a mixed U.K./U.S. deployment.

“Significantly British and American F-35s will be embedded in the carrier’s air wing. Enhancing the reach and lethality of our forces (and) reinforcing the fact that United States remains the very closest of partners,” Williamson said.

The U.K. defense minister did not confirm exact dates for the mission.

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A ‘no-deal’ Brexit could hit 100,000 German jobs, study claims



A U.K. exit from the European Union (EU) with no pre-arranged deal could affect more than 100,000 jobs in Germany, according to a new academic study.

The Leibniz Institute for Economic Research Halle (IWH) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg looked at the effect of a hard Brexit, breaking it down to the impact on countries, districts and cities.

Researchers assumed that British imports from the European Union would collapse by 25 percent following a contract-free exit. At that decline, the authors estimated around 612,000 employed people in 43 countries around the world would be affected.

They then estimated that, in- terms of overall employment, Germany would be the worst hit of all the countries that the U.K. trades with, offering a potential impact on more than 100,000 jobs.

The report, published last week, said that the motor industry is the sector most affected by Brexit, noting that in Germany alone around 15,000 people are employed solely to facilitate exports to the U.K.

Around 59,000 jobs servicing Chinese buying of U.K. imports would also be affected according to the study, although these would be related to intermediary companies rather than direct Chinese employees.

Relative to a country’s size, Ireland and Malta rate the worst with as many as 1 and 1.7 percent of people employed in those countries affected by a “no-deal” Brexit, respectively.

The prospect of the U.K. leaving the EU without a deal is a risk, especially after the British Parliament rejected a draft agreement reached between Prime Theresa May’s government and the European Union.

Britain is due to leave the 28-nation bloc at 11:00 p.m. GMT on March 29.

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UK backs AI data analytics projects with millions in funding



The U.K. has announced £13 million ($16.79 million) in funding for 40 artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics projects.

In an announcement at the end of last week, the government said that the investment would “support collaborative industry and research projects to develop the next-generation of professional services.”

Projects to receive funding include a “bot” that will use AI to offer answers to legal questions online and AI software that will analyse accounting data before suggesting ways that businesses can cut their spending through deals on water, gas and electricity bills.

Another project will use AI and voice recognition technology to “detect and interpret emotion and linguistics to assess the credibility of insurance claims.”

Business secretary Greg Clark said that AI and data were “transforming industries across the world.”

“We are combining our unique heritage in AI with our world beating professional services to put the U.K. at the forefront of these cutting-edge technologies and their application,” he added.

The topic of AI and its potential ramifications generates a great deal of debate and discussion. Last month, a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, looked at the topic.

According to one participant in the discussion, chaired by CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick, we’re still “way, way behind having thinking robots … that will do the work of humans.”

“The key about AI is data,” Christopher A. Pissarides, professor of economics at the London School of Economics, went on to explain. “You need to have very large amounts of data with AI, and then it’s programmed to interpret the data in certain ways.”

Using chess as an example, Pissarides said computers were “very good” at the game because there were masses of data on moves from the past. “But anything new, anything that you need to stretch the way you are thinking about something, it (AI) won’t be able to do,” he added.

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US hedge fund reportedly dumps its entire stake in Barclays



U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global Management has sold all of its stake in British bank Barclays, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The New York-based hedge fund had been one of the top 10 investors in Barclays and held a stake of 2.5 percent in the bank.

It, however, started reducing its position last summer before selling the entire stake this year, the FT reported on Sunday citing anonymous sources.

Tiger was not immediately available for a comment when contacted by CNBC. Barclays declined to comment on the report.

The exit comes at a time when Barclays is facing pressure from activist investor Edward Bramson forcing his way on to the board. Bramson’s Sherborne Investors holds a 5.5 percent stake in the bank.

According to Reuters, Bramson has in the past urged Barclays to reduce resources allocated to its investment units.

Read the full FT report here.

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