Apple is expected to release four 5G-capable iPhones in 2020, according to a forecast report from JPMorgan released Monday. According to analysts at JPMorgan, the new iPhones will likely roll out in the second half of 2020 and come in a number of sizes, including one measuring 5.4 inches, another at 6.7 inches and two at 6.1 inches. The report noted the largest iPhone will likely have sensor shift technology, allowing for better quality videos and photos when capturing motion. None of the projections detailed in the report, which are based on supply chain checks, are a certainty. The report s predictions differ a bit from other speculation, some of which suggest the 2020 iPhone lineup will resemble the 2019 models with higher-end iPhones at 5.4 and 6.7-inches and a cheaper 6.1-inch phone. The report comes as companies including Samsung and OnePlus launch 5G-capable devices and carriers such as Verizon, AT&T (which owns CNN s parent company WarnerMedia) and T-Mobile (TMUS) work on expanding their 5G networks. 5G technology, the next generation of ultra-fast wireless connections, is expected to usher in more smartphone innovation, including better video streaming, and encourage significant technical advancements, such as connecting self-driving cars. Following the iPhone 11 launch in September, some critics questioned Apple (AAPL) s decision to hold off on launching a 5G-capable device this year, arguably giving rivals such as Samsung -- with its two existing 5G-capable models -- and OnePlus an edge in the market. At a time when Apple s smartphone sales are slumping and its new models look the same as older models, a 5G iPhone could have provided a jolt to the business. But Apple s shift away from Qualcomm (QCOM) components to those made by Intel (INTC) over the past couple of years reportedly stalled development for 5G modems in time for this year s cycle. The delay may also represent a calculation that consumers are not clamoring for 5G just yet. It s also worth noting that although Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS) are expanding their 5G networks in the US, service is still somewhat limited.
Amazon has removed a number of Christmas ornaments featuring images of the Auschwitz concentration camps from sale, amid anger from the museum that manages the site. Pictures of the Nazi death camp complex were used on a variety of tree ornaments, a mouse pad and a bottle opener, which the Auschwitz Memorial described as "disturbing and disrespectful." Images used showed the train tracks leading to the entrance of Auschwitz II-Birkenau and a number of scenes inside the camps, where around 1 million Jewish people are estimated to have been killed during World War II. Amazon removed the products, which were being offered by third-party sellers, when the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted about them. The memorial then noticed more products for sale also bearing images of the death camp, which operated in Nazi-occupied Poland. Those products also appear to have been pulled from sale. Most of the sellers products feature pictures from tourism sites around the world. One company, which offered a tree ornament showing a freight car on the tracks to Auschwitz, is also still selling Christmas ornaments featuring the Genbaku Dome on the Hiroshima bomb site. An Amazon (AMZN) spokesperson told CNN Business in a statement: "All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account. The products in question have been removed." This is not the first time the site has been forced to pull products from its marketplace. Earlier this year, a range of products were removed after complaints that they were offensive to Muslims. In March, a number of anti-vaccination documentaries were taken down from its Amazon Prime Video streaming services following a CNN Business report.
Thousands of activists on Saturday occupied several opencast coal mines in eastern Germany, seeking to put pressure on the government to phase out the fossil fuel — a divisive issue in the country s rust belt. Wearing masks and dressed in white, hundreds of campaigners stormed into the Jaenschwalde Ost mine while another 450 sat down on a railroad connected to the site. Similar action hit the Welzow-Sued mine, also in the Lausitz basin. Meanwhile, MIBRAG which operates another mine — the Vereinigtes Schleenhain site — south of Leipzig said about 1,200 protesters blocked a coal-excavator, forcing the group to halt operations. “We have nothing against peaceful protests and the exercise of democratic rights, but we reject all forms of breach of laws and violence,” MIBRAG chairman Armin Eichholz said in a statement. Both MIBRAG and Czech-controlled LEAG which operates the two Lausitz mines said they were filing legal action against the protesters. Police were able to clear the mines only after several hours. In these mining regions, thousands of jobs depend on coal. But some residents are also threatened with the loss of their homes over a planned expansion of mining. Underlining the division over the coal industry, dozens of pro-coal militants also gathered in the Lausitz basin. “Ende Gelaende wants to destroy our infrastructures, it s not the right way to do it… we need coal in the region,” Thomas Hauke, 62, told AFP, referring to the anti-coal group organising the protest. – Lost year – All three mines hit Saturday produce lignite, a low-grade type of brown coal that is considered the most harmful to human health and the environment. Calling Saturday s coordinated action a success, a spokeswoman Ende Gelaende (Game Over) said around 4,000 turned up for the blockades and related protests. “Despite all the nice speeches and promises, 2019 was another lost year for the climate,” said Nike Malhaus. The occupation is being supported by other environmental groups, including the German branch of Fridays for Future which is also holding a protest at a power station in the region. It marks the second time this year that Ende Gelaende has occupied a coal mine. In June, several hundred climate activists carrying sleeping bags blocked the vast Garzweiler lignite mine near Cologne for several days. Campaigners say the government s plans to phase out coal by 2038 announced this year do not go far enough. They want that date brought forward for Germany to meet its international commitments to slash carbon pollution. “Germany pretends to be a pioneer in climate protection abroad, yet its climate policy making is disastrous. We will not be standing by while politicians and corporations destroy our future,” said Malhaus. – Far-right surge – The mining industry in the Lausitz basin, which stretches all the way into Poland, is vital to the local economy. LEAG is one of the region s largest employers with 8,000 workers. Opposition to the government s plants to shut down coal mines was seen as a factor behind a surge for the far-right AfD party in regional elections in September. The AfD is now second after the center-left Social Democrats in the Brandenburg region where the Lausitz mines are located. The local council in Cottbus, a city a few kilometers from the Lausitz basin, passed a motion condemning the occupation with the support of all parties except the Greens. Malhaus admitted there was “a climate of defiance towards our movement on the local level”. But she also pointed to local support in the Lausitz. “We have a lot of campaigners here so it s not true to say that all inhabitants of this region are in favour of coal,” she said. LEAG has also faced strong opposition to its plans to expand lignite mining in the region, which would result in the resettlement of two villages. Germany s decision in 2011 to abandon nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster in Japan has made the country more dependent on coal as renewables struggle to fill the gap.
A potential breakthrough discovery of new antibodies could lead to a universal vaccine. If successful, it could protect against all types of deadly influenza viruses and even prevent pandemics, a study shows. Immunologist Ali Ellebedy was working on a study analyzing the immune response to flu infection in humans. During his research, he spotted a new type of powerful antibody in a blood sample from a patient infected with human influenza virus. Ellebedy then sent samples of the antibody to Florian Krammer — a microbiologist who proved the effectiveness of the antibodies by testing them against extensive samples of virus proteins dating back to the 1970s. These proteins, called neuraminidase, enable the virus to spread through the human body. The study, which was jointly conducted by Scripps Research, Washington University s School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, was published in the October issue of Science. Future vaccine could survive antiviral resistance Krammer told DW that the beauty of this new antibody, called 10G1, is that it binds to the parts of the virus that never change. This means that even if new strains of influenza viruses are detected, a potential vaccine containing new antibodies would still be effective. Moreover, the antibody has a powerful potential to attack both A and B subtypes of influenza viruses, making it an even better candidate for a universal vaccine that would combat human, swine, and bird strains, as well as other rarer strains of lethal flu viruses. There are three types of influenza viruses that affect humans. These are A, B, and C. Type A causes epidemics of seasonal flu. Among these are swine H1N1, bird H5N1, and human influenza flu H3N2. Type A viruses circulate between humans and other species, whereas type B and C are only known to exist in humans, causing mild infections and usually without symptoms. DW analyzed data about virus activity throughout the US and Europe, sourced by the World Health Organisation s Global Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). The results, presented in the heatmap below, show that there has been a steady rise in influenza virus activity for both A and B virus subtypes, especially in the US, the UK, Portugal, Germany and Croatia. Moreover, the results point to a high activity in the first and last weeks of the year. Not only to prevent, but also to cure Even though commonly mistaken for a cold due to similar symptoms— like coughing, a runny nose, sneezing, and experiencing a high fever — seasonal flu can be very dangerous. Untreated influenza can have fatal outcomes, as it can lead to severe respiratory infections. This is particularly the case for sensitive groups like infants, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic diseases. One of the biggest problems with current vaccines is that they usually last one season before the virus mutates. However, researchers working on this study also tried to create resistant viruses in the lab to test whether the new antibody would still work. The results proved that the antibodies still bound to the virus and neutralized it. The antibodies proved to be effective even against strains of the virus resistant to Tamiflu, a powerful cure used to treat severe cases of influenza viruses like swine and bird flu. "Infected mice [in the study] reacted very well to these antibodies even three days after they were infected, and the window for Tamiflu was closed. This means that the discovered antibodies would have a potential for the development of both vaccine and a cure," Krammer told DW. Rise in global deaths from flu There is a steady rise in global annual deaths from influenza viruses. Now, there are an estimated 290,000 to 600,000 mortality cases per year, but it is still hard to determine real numbers. "There is pretty good data for North America and Europe, so it really depends on how good the surveillance systems are. Unfortunately there are a lot of countries that don t have good surveillance systems for influenza." Further data analysis by DW shows that the year 2018 saw particularly high influenza virus activity compared to the past several years. The most common flu infections were caused by the virus A, which was not subtyped. Krammer told DW that unsubtyped A viruses mean that it is hard to identify if the virus belongs to the H1N1 swine flu, or H3N2, which is human influenza virus. A new report from the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests that influenza season in the United States started earlier this year, and that widespread virus type A activity has been recorded in Puerto Rico, and seven other states including Texas, Alabama, and Nevada. On the other hand, Krammer explained that flu seasons vary in the northern and southern hemispheres. In the north, flu seasons are common in winter, but in countries like China and Singapore, influenza is spread throughout the year because there is no real winter. That makes it even more difficult to determine the real burden of influenza. "It s still not quite clear to what extent influenza seasons are influenced by the changing weather and to what extent they are influenced by the changing behavior of humans during these weather changes," said Krammer. High risk of pandemic Krammer pointed out that the chances for a global pandemic are increasing. It s hard to predict when the next big pandemic will happen, he said, but he is certain it will happen again. He also explained that the most deadly influenza virus type, which dominated flu seasons over the past few years, is the human influenza virus H3N2. But it s impossible to say which virus will cause the next big outbreak and cause the most deaths. "We have approximately three to four pandemics per century. We had the one in 1918, 1957, 1968 and one in 2009, so it s not very predictable," he said. "The chances for a pandemic are, however, increasing because there is a lot more global interaction. Pandemic viruses come from avian species, like wild birds, chickens, ducks, where all these influenza viruses circulate. If we look at the number of chickens we raise for food, they are increasing, because the global population is increasing and we need to feed people." Prevention best way to avoid lethal flu infections Even though newly discovered antibodies have enormous potential for the development of a truly universal vaccine and cure for influenza, it will take years of costly clinical trials before it hits the market, Krammer said. The first step is to examine if it s possible for all humans to develop the 10G1 antibodies. Until a universal vaccine is developed, one of the best ways to stay safe is to take precautionary measures, Krammer suggested. "First, get vaccinated. The vaccines we have now are not perfect, but they really work. The second step is to keep ourselves healthy. If we are healthy, infections have less impact. The new generation of a vaccine we have now is against four viruses which circulate in humans which are H1N1, H3N2 and two types of influenza B viruses."
The Red Sea Protected Area will begin collecting fees from visitors in implementation of the Ministry of Environment s decision #204 of 2019. The areas included in this decision are Wadi al-Gemal in Marsa Alam, Jabal Elba, and the Hamata Islands, also known as the remote islands of the Red Sea. The Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) rejected the decision, saying it would resort to court. Numerous other owners of tourist boats and diving centers in Hurghada also slammed the decision and threatened to stop organizing diving trips. Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad defended the move, saying that its goal was to manage the reserves more professionally. Legal disputes arose between the board of directors of the CDWS and the ministry over the ministry imposing fees on areas outside the borders of the nature reserves. The CDWS said that increasing costs on tourists coming to Egypt will send them to competing tourist destinations, which will harm the already faltering tourism sector. Jabal Elba and the Hamata Islands do not fall under the authorization of the Environment Ministry, the CDWS added, thus it has no right to impose entry fees on the two areas. The CDWS, in partnership with a number of companies owning diving centers, yachts, and hotels filed a lawsuit, demanding the cancellation of the ministry s decision. The court set December 8 to consider the case. The decision set the fees for daily visits from eight am until sunset, while visits after sunset see all categories of fees doubled. Fees were set at five dollars for foreigners and at LE25 for Egyptians. Children less than seven years old were exempted from paying fees. Large car fees were set at $10 for foreigners and LE50 for Egyptians, while smaller car fees were set at LE25. According to the new decision, $10 will be charged for diving and snorkeling yachts from 17 to 20 meters long, $20 on yachts from 20 to 25 meters long, $40 on yachts from 25 to 30 meters long, and $60 on yachts over 30 meters long.
Head of the Egyptian Space Agency Mohamed El-Qousy has said that Egypt s first telecommunications satellite Tiba 1 will be launched on Monday night at 11:08pm Cairo time. According to El-Qousy, the satellite will cover all of Egypt and provide telecommunication and internet services in remote and isolated areas. The satellite will be launched on the Ariane 5 rocket from a space centre in French Guiana, near Brazil. The decision to launch came after intensive meetings between the French company Ariane Space and a high-level Egyptian delegation at the launching base in the city of Kourou in French Guiana. The French company briefed the Egyptian delegation on the latest in technical preparations for the launch platform after tests on the operating systems were completed. The Ariane 5 rocket was initially scheduled to launch last Friday, but the launch was postponed due to a malfunction in the power supply to the ground equipment on the launching platform minutes before launch. El-Qousy has previously stated that the satellite would be operational within three months of its launch day.
Chinese firms are omnipresent at a Paris homeland security trade show, capitalizing on their vast experience in developing surveillance systems for Beijing to conquer the global market despite concerns the technology has been used to violate human rights. With 89 out of 1,100 companies demonstrating their wares at the Milipol security trade fair, China is the best represented of the 53 nations present save for host nation France. But contrary to weapons and ammunition on display at other stands, Chinese firms offer non-lethal equipment: helmets, bullet-proof vests and tactical clothing for special forces or riot troops. Jamming equipment. And cameras, lots of cameras. China is known for its heavy police surveillance, with market research firm IHS Markit estimating it has already deployed 176 million cameras to monitor public spaces across the country. That number is expected to expand to 2.76 billion, or nearly two for each citizen, by 2022. Coupled with facial recognition technology, in which China is also a world leader, the surveillance network is an important element of Chinese efforts to control its population. Concerns about the system appear to be well placed. According to a trove of government documents released by the New York Times recently the surveillance system was used against China s Uighur minority as part of a crackdown in Xinjiang. Human rights groups and outside experts say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been rounded up in a network of internment camps across the fractious region. Beijing, after initially denying the camps existed, now describes them as vocational schools aimed at dampening the allure of Islamist extremism and violence through education and job training. China s involvement in the tech fair has stirred controversy in the past. Organisers closed the stand of one Chinese firm at the previous fair in 2017 after human rights campaigners from Amnesty International called them out for allowing it to display handcuffs that deliver electric shocks and other equipment that could be considered torture instruments that are banned in the EU. The stand of Hytera Communications Corporation sports communications gear that integrate images from body cameras to smartphones equipped with big antennas. “Each police officer can have the tactical situation displayed on their smartphone,” said Sylvain Shuang, who represents the firm in francophone Africa. Coupled with images from the network of surveillance cameras, police in command centres have more information upon which to base decisions, especially since “we can integrate facial recognition systems,” he added. – Barred from US public contracts – The company already makes 40 percent of its sales outside of China, owing in part to having acquired firms in Britain, Canada and Spain. But Hytera Communications Corporation has found itself barred from seeking public contracts in the United States, as has fellow Chinese company Hikvision which is the world s top video surveillance firm. Hikvision, which has supplied cameras for the video surveillance system in the French city of Nice, is not present at Milipol this year. A number of the companies present come from the Shenzhen region near Hong Kong — home to telecommunications equipment maker Huawei. “It s the Silicon Valley of China,” said Yolen Ye, sales manager at GDU, which makes mini drones equipped with cameras. The firm has already sold a model to Thailand for use in monitoring forest fires, but the GDU says the drones are capable of tracking up to 30 targets while the cameras can feed systems that identify licence plates or faces. Chinese armaments firm Norinco is also present at Milipol, but with facial recognition technology rather than assault rifles or battle tanks. “In China, facial recognition is not a new technology and we realise this is a safe country because in most public spaces, we have this system to secure the situation,” said a representative of the state-owned firm who asked that his name not be used. It is more difficult to sell the technology in Europe as “they have fears that it impacts privacy,” he added. But he said it offers advantages in situations like preventing football violence as police can be alerted when persons known to commit violence arrive near stadiums.
Apple has abruptly canceled the Los Angeles premiere of "The Banker," a debut movie from the tech company that signaled its ambition to become a major player in streaming video. The film, which stars Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, was purchased by Apple earlier this year and was scheduled to be shown at the American Film Institute s annual festival. "The Banker" had already generated buzz as a potential contender at the Academy Awards. But Apple said that the film would not make its premiere as planned later on Thursday. "Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention. We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps," Apple said in a statement. Apple (AAPL) did not say what concerns about the film had been uncovered. It declined to comment further when asked for additional details. "The Banker" tells the true story of two African American men who hired a white man to be the face of their successful real estate and banking business in the 1960s. Apple said in a statement they were "moved by the film s entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy." The tech company had planned to release "The Banker" in theaters on December 6 before making it available on its new streaming video service, Apple TV+, in January. The long-awaited service launched earlier this month in more than 100 countries, marking Apple s entry into the "streaming wars," which pit Big Media against Big Tech in the battle for consumers time and money. It comes at an important moment for Apple. The iPhone s slumping sales mean the company has to convince customers to pay for services on the phones and laptops they already own. Apple is reportedly spending $6 billion on content for the streaming service.
Climate change could directly cost the world economy US$7.9 trillion by mid-century as increased drought, flooding and crop failures hamper growth and threaten infrastructure, new analysis showed Wednesday. The Economist Intelligence Unit s (EIU) Climate Change Resilience Index measured the preparedness of the world s 82 largest economies and found that based on current trends the fallout of warming temperatures would shave off three percent of global GDP by 2050. Its analysis, which assesses each country s direct exposure to loss as climate change brings more frequent extreme weather events, found Africa was most at-risk, with 4.7 percent of its GDP in the balance. In general, developing nations faired poorer in terms of resiliency than richer ones. “Being rich matters,” John Ferguson, EIU country analysis director, told AFP. “Richer nations are really able to be more resilient towards the impacts of climate change, so this really threatens growth trajectories of the developing world as they try to catch up with the developed world.” “When we are already dealing with global inequality, for the impacts of climate change the developing world s challenges are much greater,” he added. Of the countries evaluated, Angola stood to lose the most — as much as 6.1 percent of gross domestic product. The study put this down to a mixture of a lack of quality infrastructure, as well as its geographical exposure to severe drought, soil erosion and rising sea levels. Land degradation in Angola would prove a “significant” economic hindrance, the report said, given that agriculture is its largest employer. Nigeria (5.9 percent negative GDP), Egypt (5.5 percent), Bangladesh (5.4 percent) and Venezuela (5.1 percent) were the next most climate vulnerable nations identified in the analysis. – Act now, and later – The analysis said rising temperatures meant the global economy was projected to hit $250 trillion by 2050, as opposed to $258 trillion with no climate impact. While the United States — still the world s largest economy at market rates — is forecast to be one of the least impacted, the EIU noted that President Donald Trump s policies represented a “temporary setback” in the climate fight. Russia was predicted to lose five percent of GDP by 2050 and will “suffer more than most other countries in the world from the negative effects of climate change”, it said. This held true even when potential benefits in increased agriculture were taken into account. Melting permafrost — threatening infrastructure such as hydrocarbon pipelines — was forecast to be among the biggest drags on Russia s economy in the coming decades. Nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to work to limit temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius, and 1.5-C if possible. To do so, the global economy must rapidly decrease its greenhouse gas emissions — a source of controversy in developing nations which say their economic growth shouldn t suffer after decades of fossil fuel use by wealthier countries. “The global economy is going to suffer so it s not really a case of act now or act later. We need to do both,” said Ferguson. “Developing countries can t do this on their own. There needs to be a coordinated global effort to deal with the impacts we are talking about.”
One month after WeWork s former CEO, Adam Neumann, received a massive payout despite all but running the company into the ground, more than 12,000 global staffers are bracing for mass layoffs this week. On Monday, WeWork s executive chairman Marcelo Claure confirmed that layoffs are imminent in an email to staff obtained by CNN Business. In the email, Claure said an all-hands scheduled for Tuesday would be moved to Friday "out of respect for the people who will be separated this week." The specter of sweeping layoffs has hung over the company for much of the nearly two months since it failed to pull off an IPO. Staffers have repeatedly been told that cuts are coming to the embattled coworking startup, but details have been scarce. The unfolding saga highlights the risk of working for a high-flying tech startup. While some employees once saw their paper wealth soar as WeWork s valuation rose as high as $47 billion on the private market, WeWork s valuation has since plummeted to a fraction of that. WeWork reportedly delayed laying off staffers because it couldn t afford to pay severance, prior to accepting a massive bailout from SoftBank (SFTBF). In the email, Claure did not specify how many people will be laid off, only that "the necessary job eliminations" will "start in earnest this week in the U.S." Multiple reports in recent weeks have said WeWork could cut 4,000 jobs, if not more, with The New York Times reporting that many of those positions are part of its core coworking business. WeWork declined to comment for this story. Given the scale of the business -- which branched into co-living buildings, a gym and a school -- those impacted could include a broad mix of professionals, such as engineers, architects, interior designers and cleaning staff. About 1,000 cleaners and building maintenance staffers have already been told their jobs will be outsourced, according to a new grassroots coalition of WeWork employees advocating for them. Leading up to the layoffs, leadership has attempted to ease concerns about the cuts by promising to prioritize treating those laid off with "dignity and respect," Claure said in a separate company-wide email more than a week ago, which was also obtained by CNN Business. He emphasized that WeWork s business is secure. Claure is set to present an updated five-year plan on the business to the company s board of directors on Tuesday, according to this separate e-mail. The company plans to share the same document with staffers, which will include financial restructuring, on Friday. The company has previously said it will focus on its core co-working business moving forward, looking to sell off many of the startups it acquired over the years, as well as wind down its own business bets, including its school. Meetup, one of the startups acquired by WeWork, began cutting employees earlier this month, according to multiple reports. According to two sources, there are recurring calendar invites involving human resources and lawyers using the word "Huxley," thought to be a code name for the layoffs. The meetings began on October 28. WeWork has framed its decision to slash jobs as an attempt to "right-size" its operations and forge a way forward after nearly crumbling. In late October, SoftBank took majority ownership of WeWork as part of a deal to pump $5 billion into the company following its disastrous IPO attempt. The new package valued WeWork at $8 billion. But the impending layoffs have become a lightning rod issue because of Neumann s golden parachute included with the SoftBank bailout. Despite a flurry of criticisms for mounting losses and poor corporate governance under his watch, Neumann was given the ability to sell up to $970 million in stock back to SoftBank, a $500 million loan to repay a credit line and a $185 million fee for consulting to SoftBank. Claure has said the payout was necessary to take control of the business from Neumann. A former WeWork executive previously told CNN Business it was "disgusting" that Neumann could take so much money off the table while the fate of workers hangs in the balance. Neumann preached the importance of "community," a word that appeared 150 times in the company s IPO paperwork. There is also clear frustration about the terms of severance -- or lack thereof -- for certain employees. A newly-formed group, called WeWorkers Coalition, is advocating on behalf of the cleaners and building maintenance staffers in the US and Canada who were told their work would be outsourced beginning December 9, according to tweets from the Coalition. The cleaners and building maintenance staff have been given less than agreeable terms, the group said on Twitter. Last week, many of those workers were given offers to work at real estate services company JLL, one of the outsourcing partners, which they must sign by Monday or they will be involuntarily terminated from their job at WeWork with no severance, the group said. The staffers will lose their 401k employer contribution because they will be terminated before the end of the year, among other concerns, the group said. Those who choose not to accept the offer should be given severance like other laid off workers, according to the group. "The WeWorkers Coalition believes that the company is not following through on its promise to treat employees with dignity and respect during this restructuring process. Our hard-working colleagues deserve better than this," the group said in a tweet. After the publication of this article, a WeWork spokesperson sent over the following statement: "Those who are currently enrolled in WeWork s 401k program will receive a one-time lump sum payment equal to what they would have received as a 401k match for this year, less applicable taxes and deductions. This payment will be included in their last WeWork paycheck."
Robot versions of Japan s Olympic and Paralympic mascots thrilled hundreds of school children in Tokyo on Monday, striking sporting poses and displaying hearts in their electronic eyes. The event at a local elementary school was billed as a chance to showcase some of the technology Japan hopes will wow visitors at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Some 600 pupils clapped and shouted “kawaii (cute)!” as the toddler-sized versions of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic mascots were unveiled. The futuristic-looking pair, Miraitowa and Someity, can show “feelings” in their gleaming eyes by displaying hearts or stars. School principal Jun Ninomiya told children the “robots will play active roles behind the scenes” at the summer games. “Have fun and find out what functions they have and what they can do,” he told the children at Hoyonomori Elementary School in Tokyo. Blue-and-white Miraitowa is the mascot for the Olympics and pink-and-white Someity is for the Paralympics. With huge eyes and pointy ears, the mascot robots have multiple joints and arms which can be remotely controlled. The robots, paired with regular, full-sized mascots, demonstrated different poses representing various Olympic sports for the children to guess. The pint-sized pair can t talk but cameras inside their heads enable them to recognize expressions on the face of the person standing in front of them and respond. They can also mirror each other s moves, meaning one at a public viewing place could pass moves onto the other one at an actual Olympics venue, helping spectators feel like they were cheering at the venue, organizers say. The robots, developed in collaboration with auto giant Toyota, are part of a push by Japan to put its tech sector back on the map after years in which the country s reputation as an industry leader has flagged.
Government oversight officials issued a scathing report about delays in NASA s commercial crew program, warning that Boeing and SpaceX are facing "significant safety and technical challenges" with their spacecraft — which could leave NASA astronauts stranded on the ground next year. The report, published Thursday by NASA s Office of Inspector General, also said that the space agency unnecessarily allocated $187 million to Boeing. As a result, the OIG estimates that NASA will pay roughly $90 million per seat to fly its astronauts on Boeing s Starliner spacecraft. That s more than the space agency has paid Russia for use of its Soyuz capsule, which the United States has relied on to ferry people to and from the International Space Station since 2011. Soyuz seats have cost NASA up to $86 million, according to OIG, and $55.4 million on average. OIG estimates SpaceX s Crew Dragon will cost NASA about $55 million per seat for the first six missions. NASA and Boeing both pushed back on the assertion that Boeing was awarded additional money unnecessarily. NASA said it s currently working to purchase more seats from Russia to ensure its astronauts won t be left without a ride to space next year if the commercial crew program encounters more delays. NASA tapped SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to build vehicles capable of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The two companies were awarded fixed-price contracts worth $2.6 billion and $4.2 billion respectively, and both spacecraft were slated for completion by 2017. SpaceX and Boeing (BA) told CNN Business Friday that they now expect to be ready for their first crewed missions in early 2020. In a statement, Boeing disputed the OIG claim that seats aboard Starliner will cost $90 million. That calculation was based only on what NASA has agreed to pay for the first six flights, and for NASA to pay a premium for those missions when Boeing agreed to speed up Starliner production in 2016 to meet the space agency s scheduling needs. "The final prices agreed to by NASA and Boeing were reviewed and approved by numerous NASA officials at the Kennedy Space Center and Headquarters, culminating in a 29-page price justification memorandum for the record," NASA said in a letter responding to the OIG report. But OIG s report argues that NASA allocated the extra funds based on "flawed assumptions." Essentially, the oversight officials say, Boeing was paid to help fill a schedule gap that was, in part, the company s own fault. Shortly after that, the OIG report says, the space agency purchased more seats aboard Russia s spacecraft to close that same schedule gap--and bought those seats from from Boeing. (The company had the right to sell Soyuz seats as part of a settlement Boeing previously reached with a Russian manufacturer.) OIG said that boiled down to poor communication: The NASA and Boeing officials who negotiated those contracts weren t in direct contact with each other. Boeing did not dispute that characterization. The report warned that the commercial crew program continues to struggle with many of the same issues that have bedeviled program for years, a more negative view than the upbeat press releases coming from SpaceX s and Boeing s spacecraft development efforts lately. Both companies completed key tests of their vehicles this month and told CNN Business on Friday that they will be ready to fly their first crewed missions in early 2020. Even so, major milestones still lie ahead before Starliner and Crew Dragon can host astronauts. SpaceX needs to complete a full test of Crew Dragon s emergency abort system. And Boeing must have an uncrewed test mission that will send an empty Starliner capsule to the space station, a flight currently scheduled for December 17. OIG s report states that both companies face "significant safety and technical challenges with parachutes, propulsion, and launch abort systems that need to be resolved." It also cautioned that as NASA works to get commercial crews on schedule, it "continues to accept deferrals or changes" from SpaceX and Boeing. And, ultimately, that may "elevate the risk of a significant system failure or add further delays to the start of commercial crewed flights," the report said. NASA responded in a letter, saying that is a "well-known" concern, and the agency has "been careful" to "avoid undue schedule pressure."
It s a flip phone in an age when no one makes calls anymore. The camera isn t great. The battery life stinks. The screen is plastic. The processor is slow. It s superdupercrazy expensive (think an iPhone 11, then double that). But ... I kinda want the new Motorola Razr. Motorola has brought back the Razr, the legendary flip phone from 2004 that became the bestselling phone of all time (before the iPhone stole that title several years later). The old Razr was impossibly thin — still, even by today s standards — and had that stunning blue-backlit metal keypad. We overuse the word "iconic," but the original Motorla Razr was one iconic piece of technology. That s why Motorola has been trying to replicate its Razr success for the past decade. It brought the brand back in 2011 with the Droid Razr, a super-thin smartphone that Motorola hoped would vault it back into relevance after Apple (AAPL) and Samsung had leapfrogged it. The Droid Razr failed to capture any significant attention. The new Motorola Razr isn t going to be ignored. It can t be. It s a stunning achievement: a modern smartphone (well, mostly — we ll get to that), that folds into something that very closely resembles the original Razr phone. It looks so cool, and the folding mechanism is a piece of engineering genius that could solve a smartphone problem that no one else is trying to solve. I m not sure Motorola was trying to do that, but it solves it nonetheless. Folding phones are all the rage in 2019, but they ve mostly been built to make a smartphone kinda-sorta-not-really tablet sized. That s a neat idea for people who want a better video, multitasking or typing experience on their smartphones. It s a niche thing now, but it has the potential to gain traction if the technology improves. Motorola, by contrast, is using its hinge to make a 6.2-inch smartphone-sized phone ... smaller. I m fairly certain Motorola s primary rationale for the hinge was a nostalgia play: to replicate its famous flip phone. But whether intended or not, the Razr is perhaps the most pocketable smartphone on the market. Women of the world rejoice! Men, too! A smartphone that will fit in your pocket. Motorola achieved this ultimate pocketability with an ingeniously well-engineered hinge. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Razr is perfectly flat when folded: it has no gap. The Razr has two pieces of metal that snap up against the screen to hold it firmly in place when it s opened. Everyone who played around with the phone during its unveiling event Wednesday night said opening and closing the phone was among the most satisfying features of the Razr. Hanging up a phone call with flip is a bygone of the last decade that I miss. Another byproduct of a flip phone is a second screen. When closed, the Razr s front screen displays the time, lets you quickly respond to texts and you can take selfies (the phone has just one camera, which faces front when flipped closed). The second screen offers some helpful tricks, but it s only helpful because you can t access most of the phone s features when it s closed. It s a convenience built in to overcome a built-in inconvenience that other smartphones don t possess. But the Motorola Razr isn t about engineering marvels, pocketability, tricks or convenience. It s about making a smartphone look like the 2004 Razr. It s about buying something that makes your friends jealous. It s about taking us back to those fond memories of our first cell phone. It achieves that. That s why, for some people, it won t matter that the phone is using yesterday s technology. It runs Android 9 a month after Android 10 hit the market. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, which is decidedly mid-range. It has a 2510 milliampere hour battery, which is seriously puny. Its screen is plastic and not nearly as sharp as its competitors. And the camera is good on paper, but Motorola has never been known for top-notch camera software. For all that, it costs $1,500. And you can only get it on Verizon. I don t care. I ve convinced myself. I want it.
Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump s climate change denialism was “so extreme” that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming. She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months. “He s so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way,” the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday. “I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up,” she continued. “Because it feels like if we just continue like now, nothing s going to happen. So maybe he is helping.” A young Australian couple have volunteered to aid her in her return journey. Elayna Carausu, 26, and Riley Whitelum 35, live on their catamaran with their 11-month-old boy and document their adventures on social media, and responded to Greta s appeal for help with an environmentally friendly return trip to Europe. They had originally planned to spend the winter in the United States but will now carry Greta and her father Svante Thunberg on their 14-meter (45 feet) catamaran, “La Vagabonde.” After months of campaigning in the US and Canada, including an appearance at a key UN climate summit in September, which was the reason for her visit, she offered a lukewarm assessment on the impact. “It depends,” she said, in her usual matter-of-fact way of speaking. “In one way, lots of things have changed, and lots of things have moved in the right direction, but also in a sense we have, we have gone a few more months without real action being taken and without people realizing the emergency we are in,” said the high-schooler, who will return to her education next year. The trip itself should last two to three weeks, depending on weather conditions. The young couple and their son Lenny (who has his own Instagram account) and the Thunbergs will be joined by professional British sailor Nikki Henderson who was called to lend a hand. Their destination is Portugal, some 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) away, in order to participate in the COP 25 UN climate summit in Madrid, Spain from December 2 to December 13. The venue was originally in Chile but was shifted because of political unrest, forcing Greta to change her travel plans. “If I get to the COP 25 in time, then I will participate in that, because I have received an invitation to do so,” she said, wearing a windbreaker emblazoned with the words “Unite for Science.” “And then I will go home, I think.”
Egypt is planning to launch its first satellite for communication purposes, TIBA-1, on November 22. The satellite will be launched by Arianespace on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou Spaceport, in French Guiana, South America. TIBA-1 is manufactured by the consortium of French companies Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense & Space, some of the largest international companies in the field. Preparations so far have included TIBA-1 s fit-check – an initial milestone validating the satellite s compatibility with the adapter that will serve as the payload interface with Ariane 5 – which was performed in the Spaceport s S5 payload preparation facility s S5C large clean room hall, according to a statement by Arianespace. Based on the Eurostar E3000 satellite platform, TIBA-1 was developed by Airbus for operation by Egypt s government and Thales Alenia Space. This communications spacecraft will weigh approximately 5,640 kg at liftoff and was designed for a service life exceeding 15 years, the statement added. The satellite aims to promote development by providing telecommunications infrastructure and broadband internet to remote and isolated areas, support development projects in these areas, as well as bridging the digital gap between urban and rural places. TIBA-1 also contributes to advancing the sectors of petroleum, energy, mineral resources, education, health and all other government sectors. It will support all state agencies in the fight against crime and terrorism, and contributes to providing broadband Internet services for government and commercial purposes. The new satellite will also provide internet and telecommunications services to some Nile Basin countries based on Egypt s efforts to cooperate with the African continent, especially in light of Egypt s presidency of the African Union in 2019 and its hosting of the African Space Agency. TIBA is the first of the “TIBA Sat” series, which Egypt plans to launch in the near future.
China s annual Singles Day online shopping bonanza brought in a record $38 billion in sales for Alibaba. The country s biggest e-commerce company had already topped last year s record 16 1/2 hours in, before it posted a final tally of 268.4 billion yuan ($38.4 billion) at the end of the day. That s an increase of about 25% over last year s $30.8 billion, a slightly slower rate of growth than Alibaba (BABA) recorded in 2018, when the company reported a 27% uptick in Singles Day revenue. Analysts had warned of weaker growth this year given China s slowing economy and the trade war with the United States. The event regularly racks up bigger sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. "Singles Day is being held up as a bellwether of Chinese consumers willingness to spend in the face of a domestic slowdown" wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda, in a note Monday. But "deeply discounting prices always brings consumers out to play, no matter how bad the economy might be," he added. "We continue to feel very confident about the growth potential of the economy," Alibaba chief marketing officer Chris Tung told CNN in an interview. "We are pushing deeper towards the less developed areas of China, to reach more new online shoppers, so there s a huge untapped opportunity there." Pre-sales, which kicked off three weeks ago, saw Estée Lauder (EL) rake in a record 1 billion yuan ($143 million) in pre-orders, Alibaba said on Sunday. Alibaba users also pre-ordered 100 million yuan ($14 million) worth of Apple (AAPL) iPhone 11s, the company said. Singles Day is an informal, anti-Valentine s Day holiday in China celebrating people who aren t in relationships. Its date, November 11, was chosen because the date is written as four ones, or singles. Alibaba started offering Singles Day discounts in 2009 and has since turned the day into a 24-hour bonanza of online shopping in China. Other Chinese e-commerce platforms like JD.com and regular brick-and-mortar stores also take part, and the event is starting to gain traction outside China. Alibaba s Southeast Asia subsidiary Lazada offers Singles Day discounts in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Brands like Nike (NKE) and Brooks Brothers are offering Singles Day discounts on their websites in the United States. But the Singles Day event in China is by far the splashiest. International companies flock to Alibaba s celebrity-studded live telecast and its various online platforms, eager to hawk everything from liquor to sports cars. Taylor Swift closed out this year s four-hour long show, performing three songs shortly before midnight.
The Red Sea Regional Branch of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) in Hurghada will file a legal complaint against the General Petroleum Company (GPC) in Ras Ghareb for polluting the Ras Ghareb Corniche Beach with crude oil and harming the environment, environmental activists said on Sunday. The agency will file the complaint to the Red Sea Prosecution to investigate, the activists added. The technical report s results claimed that the crude oil footprint taken from the Ras Ghareb Beach matched with the company s crude oil. The activists noted that the branch will assign the technical committee to identify the financial compensations which the company will pay for the crude oil pollution. The EEAA has continued its oil pollution control work, which includes cleaning the oil spots along the one-kilometer Ras Ghareb Corniche Beach, fearing that the pollution will extend to further areas and harm the environment. Crude oil spills re-emerged on November 6 on the Ras Ghareb Corniche beach, which has been the site of petroleum pollution from crude oil in several areas. A committee of environmental researchers from the Red Sea moved to the site of the pollution, obtained a sample of the spill, and sent it to the laboratories of the Environmental Affairs Agency in Suez to determine the spill s source, in order to legal action amid calls from Ras Ghareb citizens to stop the frequent oil pollution on the city s shores. The Environment Ministry announced on July 5 that it spotted a crude oil spill covering 1,500 meters off the coastal area of Ras Ghareb, north of the Red Sea governorate, and declared emergency while cooperating with the Petroleum Ministry to determine the spill s source. The marine environment protection societies warned against the recurrence of the oil pollution crisis, as it poses great danger to the environment by causing the death of marine life and polluting diving areas and coral reefs.
You probably wouldn t pay $3,500 for an augmented-reality headset that lets you play around with virtual objects in your living room. Your employer might, however, if it could help you do your job. That s what Microsoft is betting on as it begins shipping the latest version of its HoloLens headset on Thursday, eight months after the company unveiled the device. It makes sense: Microsoft still won t say how many people are using HoloLens, but they re mostly business customers. This is the case for other companies offering AR headsets, too, as the technology has only really appealed to consumers thus far in smartphone apps for things like gaming and trying on makeup. Greg Sullivan, director of Microsoft Mixed Reality, told CNN Business the most popular uses of the headset include remote assistance (such as helping a field worker install or repair equipment with help from a faraway expert), visualizing complicated 3-D environments (such as checking out how a life-size virtual model of a new HVAC system would fit into a real-world warehouse), and employee training. The HoloLens 2 is more comfortable and easier to use than the last version, which could make it more helpful for the tasks companies want to do with it. These changes, along with that $3,500 price tag, indicate that Microsoft is targeting the device to businesses. The initial version of HoloLens, unveiled in 2015, introduced many people to the idea of a device for seeing three-dimensional images that appear to be placed in the world around them, such as a virtual ball rolling around on a real table. The headset was first rolled out in 2016 for developers, then for enterprise users. But the device felt fairly clunky and experimental: It had a small field of view that could make it hard to see virtual objects in their entirety, thus breaking the illusion of melding the digital and the real, and required a finicky finger gesture to interact with virtual objects. HoloLens 2, meanwhile, seems more like Microsoft s first true stab at a commercial AR headset. It has a field of view that s more than double that of the initial HoloLens, which makes it possible to see virtual objects that are larger (or more of a virtual object when you re standing close to it). The display is higher-resolution, too, so objects look crisper. Microsoft also redesigned and simplified the ways users interact with virtual objects, making it more realistic as a work tool. I checked out these changes firsthand in October in a Microsoft office in San Francisco. The first thing I noticed was that the headset felt more comfortable and balanced on my head — a result of changes such as moving the batteries from the headset s arms to its rear. As someone who tends to get headaches after wearing AR or virtual-reality headsets for a while, this was a relief. The ways users interact with digital objects is also better and, at times, impressively futuristic. HoloLens 2 includes eye tracking that lets you do things like scroll down a virtual screen of text hovering in the air in front of you in a more natural, precise way than you could previously. And it has fully articulated hand tracking that keeps tabs on the positions of all your fingers, as well as new gestures like a virtual lasso that can shoot out of your palm to let you grab virtual items. During some demos, such as one in which I used a finger to paint in midair and used my hands to manipulate my art work, I found this means you don t need to be so precise about how you re pointing at and poking things, which may make it easier for someone using the headset for, say, manipulating or annotating 3-D models at work. "What we have wanted to evolve to is an interaction model that you don t have to be told how to do it," Sullivan told me. This is a far cry from the first version of HoloLens, which didn t track the wearer s eyes or fingers; it considered the position of their head to figure out where attention was focused, and required you to perform a precise index-finger gesture that Microsoft referred to as an "air tap" to select virtual objects — essentially, a mid-air mouse click. I thought the gesture didn t feel natural, and, while I can click a real computer mouse all day, doing so in the air was exhausting. I was also pleased to notice that virtual objects, such as a hummingbird that followed me as I walked around the room, were bright even as sunlight streamed through the office windows. Microsoft still has plenty of work ahead of it. While virtual images looked good and appeared stable even as I shook my head around during my demos, an even bigger field of view would make it a lot easier to envision large 3-D objects such as a car (and we know that auto makers are among HoloLens users). The headset is barely lighter than the previous version, weighing in at 1.2 pounds, which means you re not going to forget it s on your head. There s the price tag, too: While $3,500 is affordable for many companies, it will still keep this kind of tool out of the hands of many others who might otherwise want to try it.
Crude oil spills have re-emerged on the beaches of Ras Ghareb Corniche, which has been the site of petroleum pollution (from crude oil) in several areas. Oil spills covered the beach for up to a kilometer amid warnings of damage to the marine and beach environment and the spread of pollution to other areas. The Environmental Affairs Agency in Hurghada and the Ministry of Environment s task force in the Red Sea received a notification of the incident on Tuesday. A committee of environmental researchers from the Red Sea moved to the site of the pollution, obtained a sample of the spill, and sent it to the laboratories of the Environmental Affairs Agency in Suez to determine the source of the spill and take legal action amid calls from residents of the city of Ras Ghareb to find a way to stop the frequent oil pollution on the shores of the city. The General Petroleum Company (G.P.C.) has caused oil pollution in Ras Ghareb beach in six different incidents, damaging the marine environment and the beach. A technical committee was formed in each incident to determine the financial value of the damage and a financial compensation, and prosecutors launched investigations into the incidents and interrogated the company s officials.
Visitors to China can now access the country s massive cashless economy. Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial launched a new international version of its mobile payments app Alipay on Tuesday, marking the first time tourists and business travelers can use mobile payments in mainland China. The service could remove one of the biggest headaches for visitors to China, where everyone from taxi drivers to luxury malls have come to rely on mobile payments. Alipay users can now download and buy prepaid cards within the app using international debit and credit cards. The prepaid cards expire after 90 days and any remaining money is automatically refunded. Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY) dominate cashless payments in China with their Alipay and WeChat Pay platforms. With more than a billion users, the digital payment systems have largely replaced plastic cards and cash at registers, changed how friends and families give gifts to one another and even changed how panhandlers ask for money. Even Apple (AAPL) accepts Alipay in its local stores in China, after its own payment system failed to gain traction. Mobile payments in China hit $42 trillion in 2018, up more than 28 times from five years ago, the People s Bank of China said in a report earlier this year. Ant Financial said Tuesday that the new international service will allow it to tap into the growing number of visitors to China. Nearly 31 million foreigners traveled to China in 2018 and they spent $73 billion while they were touring the country, according to government statistics. The number of visitors and how much they spent both rose by about 5% compared to a year earlier.
Following promises of more transparency, Facebook has a colorful logo that nods to how change is underway at the company and its subsidiaries. On Monday, the company announced a new logo for Facebook Inc. to distinguish the corporate parent from its apps, including its eponymous social media platform. The logo, which features the word Facebook (FB) in all capital letters in a new font, alternates between blue, green and hues of purple, red and orange -- all colors that represent its other brands. (Blue for Facebook, green for WhatsApp and purple, red and orange for Instagram.) The move highlights its effort to be more clear with consumers about the apps it owns. A recent survey by nonpartisan think tank Pew found that only 29% of Americans correctly answered that Instagram and WhatsApp are owned by Facebook. "People should know which companies make the products they use," Facebook said in a blog post Monday. The company plans to use the new logo on products and marketing materials in the weeks ahead. In June, the company started adding the words "from Facebook" across all its apps. Soon, that language will feature the new logo, too. Earlier this year, the company laid out plans to integrate its messaging platforms, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, and make privacy a bigger focus. This includes encrypting communications and making it possible for users to send messages to their contacts using any of its services and SMS. The move could effectively cement Facebook s dominance over the messaging market for years to come. The efforts come at a time when Facebook and other tech companies are facing heightened antitrust scrutiny. In October, the New York attorney general announced that 47 state attorneys general are now investigating Facebook for evidence of anticompetitive practices. All the states involved "are concerned that Facebook may have put consumer data at risk, reduced the quality of consumers choices, and increased the price of advertising."
With the expansion of media spaces available in all forms, media started to pursue former ministers, officials, and governors to make comparisons between the current and former officials, to cry upon the spilt milk and attack the current officials! Many former officials enjoy talking to media about alternative plans, strategy and magic tools to solve problems! Unfortunately, media support such attitude instead of