Snap shares sink as IPO euphoria vanishes

Shares of Snapchat parent company Snap sank on Monday as euphoria that marked its public debut on Wall Street last week vanished like the service's ephemeral messages.Snap shares were down 2.26 percent to $23.77 at the close of formal trading on the Ne...

Chance the Rapper gives $1 mn amid Chicago school row

Fast-rising star Chance the Rapper on Monday donated $1 million to Chicago's schools as he waded into the middle of a political feud that threatens to close down classrooms weeks early.The "Coloring Book" rapper, who last month won three Grammys includ...

War-scarred Syrian children may be ‘lost to trauma’: aid group

Syrian children terrified by shelling and airstrikes are showing signs of severe emotional distress and could grow up to be a generation "lost to trauma," Save the Children warned Monday.Interviews with more than 450 children and adults showed a high l...

Peru president targeted in Odebrecht bribery probe

Peruvian prosecutors ordered Monday investigations into President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's possible links to an international corruption scandal involving construction firm Odebrecht.State corruption attorney Katherine Ampuero said she had ordered a "pr...

Hazard and Costa restore Chelsea’s 10-point lead

Eden Hazard's dazzling goal inspired Chelsea to a 2-1 victory at West Ham United on Monday as Antonio Conte's side restored their 10-point advantage in the Premier League.Hazard finished off a lightning counter-attack in the 25th minute and Diego Costa...

Portugal formally scraps sale of its Miro collection

Portugal's Socialist government has formally put an end to an unpopular scheme to auction off 85 state-owned works by famed Spanish artist Joan Miro, the finance ministry said Monday.It announced a final agreement with the London auctioneers Christie's...

Argentina teachers’ strike closes schools

A teachers' strike for higher pay in Argentina forced the suspension of classes Monday at the start of the new school term, in a challenge to embattled President Mauricio Macri.Thousands of teachers dressed in white marched in the capital Buenos Aires ...

Sevilla pay for Rico error in Alaves draw

A howler from goalkeeper Sergio Rico cost Sevilla the chance to close to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona in a 1-1 draw at Alaves on Monday.Wissam Ben Yedder drilled home into the far corner to put the visitors in front with the only clea...

US troops train Iraqi forces in key bridging skills

Iraqi soldiers manoeuvre sections of floating bridge on a muddy, man-made lake as American trainers instruct them in skills that have played a key role in the war against jihadists.Green metal boats churn a frothy wake as they propel the sections befor...

Swift childhood cancer deaths more common than thought: study

Childhood cancer often strikes its youngest victims the hardest, and the death rate for infants may be up to four times higher than previously thought, US researchers said Monday.The study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology examined deaths within a mo...

New Israeli law bars entry to boycott supporters

Israel's parliament on Monday evening said it had passed into law a bill barring entry into the country to those supporting a boycott of the Jewish state."The knesset (parliament) passed on its second and third readings the Entry into Israel bill," it ...

EU’s big four behind ‘multi-speed’ Europe idea

The heads of continental Europe's biggest economies, in a joint view of the European Union's future at a troubled time, on Monday endorsed the idea of a "multi-speed" EU in which some members could deepen their integration faster than others.Their meet...

Disgraced athletics chief’s son slams ‘witch hunt’

Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former IAAF chief Lamine Diack, slammed corruption allegations against him over the awarding of the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio as a "witch hunt", in an exclusive interview with AFP on Monday."Rio won fairly," Papa Ma...

Thomas rubbishes claims of Sky riders mutiny

Veteran rider Geraint Thomas gave embattled Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford his full support on Monday whilst claiming the whole team were behind him.A report in Cycling News quoted an unnamed Team Sky cyclist saying he and other riders were considering ...

Turkey steps back from striking Syria’s Manbij

Turkey on Monday stepped back from threats to strike Syrian Kurdish militia forces deployed in Manbij, a former Islamic State group bastion, unless it was in cooperation with Russia and the United States.Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's announcement ca...

GM eyes autonomous future as it sells Opel

The move by US auto giant General Motors to offload money-losing European brand Opel marks its latest effort to focus on more profitable markets and autonomous driving technology.

The largest US automaker announced Monday the sale of European brands Opel and Vauxhall to French automaker PSA for 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion), pulling away from a region that has produced 16 years of losses totaling $15 billion.

While the transaction is expected to drop GM from its rank as the world's third biggest automaker in terms of sales, it could provide the company with $1.4 billion in available cashflow, analysts said.

"GM opts for profitability over scale," Jairam Nathan, analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets, said of the deal.

Maryann Keller of the automotive consultancy Maryann Keller & Associates, described the move as born of "common sense" and the recognition of the need to prepare for a new era.

"The height of Europe's technical leadership was when cars were largely propelled by mechanical components," Keller said in a note. "But that leadership has eroded with the introduction of advanced electronics in all vehicle systems.

"With the auto industry now aiming for autonomous and connected cars, the epicenter of technical leadership is in the US and not across the Atlantic."

- Profitability over sales -

In Europe, GM has suffered as it has built smaller cars that have leaner profit margins in a region where labor laws are less flexible than in the United States.

Since taking over at GM in 2014, chief executive Mary Barra has emphasized profitability over sales. In early 2015, the company stopped production in Thailand and Indonesia and abandoned Russia.

Barra said Monday that GM would continue to sell a modest number of cars in Europe through its Cadillac line as well as continued presence with the iconic Corvette and Camaro sportscars.

While GM has pulled back from less-profitable regions, it has continued to invest in North America, where robust sales of sport utility vehicles and pickups have led to strong profits the last couple of years.

GM also is targeting China, which led the global auto market in 2016 with 28 million in car sales last year.

Sales of GM's Buick line and Wuling, part of a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, in 2016 sold two times as many cars as Opel and Vauxhall.

Overall, GM's sales in China rose seven percent to 3.9 million cars.

GM President Dan Ammann said the Opel deal allows the company "to more sharply focus our time and resources on higher-growth, higher-return investments in our core automotive business and in new technologies that are transforming our industry."

GM is in a race with longtime rival Ford and others to produce autonomous cars, seen as the next big frontier in the industry that is expected to demand resources and attention.

Analysts Keller said, "The auto industry is in the process of redefining 'what is a car' as well as the purpose of automakers in the car?s evolutionary future."

"This paradigm shift will require automakers to seek significant capital to fund future acquisitions and investments."