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King Charles seen in public and Harry flies in to see him after cancer diagnosis

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King Charles seen in public and Harry flies in to see him after cancer diagnosis
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain’s King Charles leaves the London Clinic with Queen Camilla after receiving treatment for an enlarged prostate in London, Britain January 29, 2024. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/File Photo

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By Michael Holden and Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – King Charles smiled and waved to passers-by on Tuesday as he was seen in public for the first time since it was revealed he was suffering from a form of cancer and as his estranged younger son Prince Harry flew to Britain to see him.

Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that Charles, 75, on the throne for less than 18 months since the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth, had been diagnosed with the disease and would postpone his public engagements to undergo treatment.

Charles waved to passers-by on Tuesday afternoon as he was driven the short distance from his Clarence House home in central London to Buckingham Palace. He and his wife Queen Camilla then took a helicopter to his Sandringham estate in rural eastern England to begin his recuperation.

Shortly before the king’s departure, Harry, who has fallen out with the rest of the royal family since he stepped down from royal duties almost four years ago, was pictured arriving at Clarence House, and had a brief reunion with his father according to newspaper reports.

However, a royal source said there were no plans for Harry to see his elder brother, heir-to-the-throne Prince William, during his visit to Britain.

William is expected to step up to fulfil some of the monarch’s duties, along with other senior royals while Charles begins a series of out-patient treatments.

The palace has said the king was remaining “wholly positive”, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier on Tuesday said the cancer had been caught early.

Despite the diagnosis, Charles is planning to continue with much of his private work as monarch including his weekly audience with the prime minister and dealing with state papers. Sunak said he was in regular contact with the king.

“That will of course continue as normal and we’ll crack on with everything,” he said.

The cancer was discovered when Charles stayed three nights in hospital last month where he underwent a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate. Beyond confirming it was not prostate cancer, the palace has not given any further details.

The royal family usually keep medical matters private, but the palace said Charles had chosen to go public as he was patron of a number of cancer-related charities.

While the king will receive expert private care, his diagnosis will draw attention to Britain’s rising cancer waiting times within the state-run National Health Service (NHS) which is widely regarded as being in crisis.

Survival rates for cancer in Britain lag those of other European countries for nine out of 10 of the most common types of the disease, according to an NHS Confederation report published in January.

SURPRISE DIAGNOSIS

The surprise diagnosis, which has dominated British media since the announcement was made, is another personal blow for Charles during his year and a half on the throne.

Early last year, Harry published his autobiography “Spare”, which contained damning revelations about his father and elder brother, while Charles has also had to contend with ongoing allegations against his brother Prince Andrew relating to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Harry, who quit royal duties in 2020, jetted back to Britain from California where he lives with his American wife Meghan and two children to see his father after Charles told him and his other immediate family of his diagnosis.

The king’s cancer revelation comes as Kate, the Princess of Wales and wife of heir William, recuperates at home after spending two weeks in hospital following planned abdominal surgery for an unspecified but non-cancerous condition.

She is not expected to return to public duties until after Easter and the absence of the senior figures will put pressure on the other working royals to perform extra engagements.

Charles has always been keen to have a more slimmed down monarchy but with his younger brother Andrew and Harry no longer involved, all those who currently carry out royal engagements are aged over 50 apart from William and Kate, with some now in their 80s.

His sister, Princess Anne, often tops the list for being the busiest royal, followed by Charles.

Royal biographer Matthew Dennison said that Charles, as a workaholic, would be impatient to return to “the everyday business of the public side of monarchy.”

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Wendy’s, blasted over CEO’s pricing comment, vows no price hikes at busy times

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Wendy's, blasted over CEO's pricing comment, vows no price hikes at busy times
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Wendy?s restaurant displays a “Now Hiring” sign in Tampa, Florida, U.S., June 1, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones/File Photo

By Waylon Cunningham and Deborah Mary Sophia

DALLAS (Reuters) -Wendy’s said on Wednesday it has no plans to raise menu prices at times of peak demand, after the burger chain weathered heavy criticism on social media since its CEO said earlier this month it would start testing “dynamic pricing”.

CEO Kirk Tanner told investors on a call this month that starting as early as 2025, Wendy’s (NASDAQ:) would begin testing features including “dynamic pricing and daypart offerings”. Dynamic pricing refers to surge pricing based on demand, especially during peak hours of the day.

This practice often raises prices at busy times, similar to how Uber (NYSE:) adjusts ride fares.

Tanner’s comment this week sparked an online backlash. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in a post on the social media platform X on Wednesday called it “price gouging plain and simple.”

Wendy’s, in a statement to Reuters, said on Wednesday it “would not raise prices when our customers are visiting us most.”

Its initiative to add digital menuboards to certain stores would instead allow Wendy’s to offer discounts to customers more easily, “particularly in the slower times of day,” it added.

“We said these menuboards would give us more flexibility to change the display of featured items. This was misconstrued in some media reports as an intent to raise prices when demand is highest … We have no plans to do that,” the company said.

Warren’s post on X, previously Twitter, said Wendy’s plan “means you could pay more for your lunch, even if the cost to Wendy’s stays exactly the same. It’s price gouging plain and simple, and American families have had enough.”

“I guess I won’t be eating at Wendy’s anymore,” one Reddit user said in a post, while others on X called for boycotts.

Analysts and consultants were skeptical of the idea of surge pricing at restaurants.

Wendy’s “dynamic pricing” was a hot topic at a restaurant conference in the Dallas area, with several executives saying customers – already skittish after recent price increases – would likely be scared off by unpredictable prices.

“I don’t see it taking off any time soon,” said Victor Fernandez, a senior analyst at restaurant analytics firm Black Box Intelligence.

Michael Lukianoff, CEO of SignalFlare.ai, who has consulted with restaurants about pricing for years, said that “dynamic pricing” is a great success in other industries such as airlines, but would not work in restaurants.

“Customers will shop elsewhere,” he said.

Wendy’s sales have already slowed. Placer.ai data showed visits to Wendy’s outlets declined in all three months of the fourth quarter of 2023.

Wendy’s shares, which dropped about 14% in 2023, were up 1% on Wednesday. The company also recently issued a profit forecast for this year below Wall Street estimates, hurt by higher commodity and labor costs.

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Apple shareholders reject AI disclosure proposal

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Apple to disclose AI plans later this year, CEO Tim Cook says
© Reuters. Apple logo is seen in this illustration taken, August 22, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) -Apple plans to disclose more about its plans to put generative artificial intelligence to use later this year, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

Cook said that the iPhone maker sees “incredible breakthrough potential for generative AI, which is why we’re currently investing significantly in this area. We believe that will unlock transformative opportunities for users when it comes to productivity, problem solving and more.”

Apple (NASDAQ:) has been slower in rolling out generative AI, which can generate human-like responses to written prompts, than rivals such as Microsoft (NASDAQ:) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:)’s Google, which are weaving them into products.

On Wednesday, Cook argued that AI is already at work behind the scenes in Apple’s products but said there would be more news on explicit AI features later this year. Bloomberg previously reported Apple plans to use AI to improve the ability to search through data stored on Apple devices.

“Every Mac that is powered by Apple silicon is an extraordinarily capable AI machine. In fact, there’s no better computer for AI on the market today,” Cook said.

Apple shareholders on Wednesday rejected a measure asking the company to disclose more information about how it uses artificial intelligence in its business and its ethical guidelines for the technology.

The proposal, which was defeated at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, was put forth by the pension trust of the AFL-CIO, the largest American labor union federation, which has also proposed AI measures at other technology companies.

A similar proposal will be heard at Walt Disney (NYSE:)’s annual meeting in April.

At Apple, the AFL-CIO asked for a report on the company’s use of AI “in its business operations and disclose any ethical guidelines that the company has adopted regarding the company’s use of AI technology.”

In its supporting statement in Apple’s proxy materials, the AFL-CIO wrote that “AI systems should not be trained on copyrighted works, or the voices, likenesses and performances of professional performers, without transparency, consent and compensation to creators and rights holders.”

Apple opposed the measure, saying that disclosures could tip its hand on strategy as it competes against rivals in the fast-moving AI field.

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UMG to generate 250 million euros in savings by 2026, flags job cuts

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UMG to generate 250 million euros in savings by 2026, flags job cuts
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Universal Music Group logo is seen displayed in this illustration taken, May 3, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) – Universal Music Group (AS:) will cut jobs and streamline its operations with the aim of generating 250 million euros ($271.03 million) in run-rate savings by 2026.

In the first phase of the plan, which will be introduced immediately, the group plans to save 125 million euros in 2025, including 75 million euros in 2024, the company said.

“Our organizational redesign achieves efficiencies in targeted cost areas while providing our labels with unprecedented capabilities to deepen artist and fan connections via new experiential, commerce, and content offerings,” the group said in a statement.

UMG also posted a 9.2% year-on-year increase in adjusted core profit (EBITDA), to 677 million euros in the fourth quarter, as its revenue rose to 3.21 billion euros, up 9.0% from previous year.

It proposed a year-end dividend of 0.27 euros per share, bringing total dividend payout in 2023 to 0.51 per share.

($1 = 0.9224 euros)

(This story has been refiled to add ‘euros’ in the headline)

(Reportin by Dagmarah Mackos, editing by Tassilo Hummel)

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