Boycotts can be extremely effective - as Facebook is finding out. In the late 18th century, the abolitionist movement encouraged British people to stay away from goods produced by slaves. It worked. Around 300,000 stopped buying sugar - increasing the pressure to abolish slavery. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign is the latest movement to use boycott as a political tool. It claims that Facebook doesn t do enough to remove racist and hateful content from its platform. It s convinced a series of major companies to pull its advertising from Facebook - and some other social media companies - including Coca-Cola, Unilever and Starbucks. Loss of trust Can that boycott hurt Facebook? The short answer is yes - the vast majority of Facebook s revenue comes from ads. David Cumming from Aviva Investors told the BBC s Today programme that the loss of trust, and a perceived absence of a moral code, could "destroy the business". On Friday, Facebook s share price dropped by 8% - making chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, theoretically at least, £6bn poorer. But whether this could be bigger - an existential threat to Facebook s long-term future - is far less clear. First of all, this isn t the first boycott of a social media company. In 2017, major brand after major brand announced they would stop advertising on YouTube - after ads were placed next to racist and homophobic videos. That particular boycott is now almost totally forgotten. YouTube tweaked its ad policies, and three years on YouTube s parent company Google is doing just fine. And there are more reasons to believe this boycott isn t as damaging to Facebook as you might think. Lots of low spenders Firstly, many companies have only committed to a one-month boycott in July. Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, much of Facebook s advertising revenue comes from thousands and thousands of small- to medium-sized businesses. CNN reports that the highest-spending 100 brands accounted for $4.2bn in Facebook advertising last year - or about 6% of the platform s ad revenue. So far, the vast majority of medium-sized companies have not signed up. Mat Morrison, head of strategy at advertising agency Digital Whiskey, told me there s a huge number of smaller businesses that "can t afford not to advertise". He says that for smaller businesses - which are priced out of advertising on TV - cheaper and more focussed ads on platforms like Facebook are essential. "The only way our business works is having access to these highly targeted audiences, that aren t mass media audiences, so we ll continue to advertise" Morrison says. In some ways Facebook looks like a good choice of company to lobby. The structure of Facebook gives Mark Zuckerberg a huge amount of power to affect change. If he wants something, he ll get it. You only need to change the mind of one man. But the reverse is also true. Shareholders aren t able to put pressure on Mr Zuckerberg in the same way as other companies. If he doesn t want to act, he won t. So far though, he has shown signs he s prepared to move. On Friday, Facebook announced it would begin to tag hateful content - and look out for further announcements this week. These changes won t be enough to make Stop Hate for Profit go away though. And elsewhere others are taking action of their own. This Monday, Reddit has banned The_Donald forum as part of a wider crackdown on "subreddits" whose members have engaged in harassment and threatening behaviour. The community was not officially linked to the President, but had helped widely spread memes that supported him, before Reddit took earlier steps to limit the posts reach. In addition, Twitch has temporarily banned an account run by the Trump campaign. The Amazon-owned video-streaming site said two videos broadcast via the platform of Mr Trump s rallies had broken its rules on hateful conduct. One dated from 2015, before he was elected, at which he had said Mexico was sending rapists to the US. The other was from earlier this month, in which the President had described a fictional "tough hombre" breaking into the home of an American woman. "We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content," Twitch said in a statement. This year is going to be a rocky year for all social media companies. Facebook is by no means the exception. But companies will always be guided by their balance sheets. If the boycott drags on into the autumn - and if more and more companies sign up - this could be a defining year for the social network.
Astronomers say big cool patches on a "supergiant" star close to Earth were behind its surprise dimming last year. Red giant stars like Betelgeuse frequently undergo changes in brightness, but the drop to 40% of its normal value between October 2019 and April 2020 surprised astronomers. Researchers now say this was caused by gigantic cool areas similar to the sunspots seen on our own parent star. There had been speculation that Betelgeuse was about to go supernova. But the star instead began to recover and by May 2020 it was back at its original brightness. Betelgeuse, which is about 500 light-years from Earth, is reaching the end of its life. But it s not known precisely when it will explode; it could take as long as hundreds of thousands of years or even a million years. When the giant star does run out of fuel, however, it will first collapse and then rebound in a spectacular explosion. There is no risk to Earth, but Betelgeuse will brighten enormously for a few weeks or months. It should be visible in daylight and could be as bright as the Moon during night time. Because it takes about 500 years for the light to reach us, we would be viewing an event that had happened centuries in the past. Various scenarios have been put forward to explain the recent changes in the brightness of the star. Astronomers have previously considered that dust produced by the star was obscuring it, causing the steep decline in brightness. Red giants exhibit a behaviour known as pulsation, caused by changes in the area and temperature of the star s surface layers. Pulsations can eject the outer layers of the star with relative ease. The released gas cools down and develops into compounds that astronomers call dust. To test the dust idea, the astronomers used the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) in Chile and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. These telescopes measure electromagnetic radiation in the submillimetre wave spectral range. The wavelength of this radiation is a thousand times greater than that of visible light. This part of the electromagnetic spectrum is particularly good for observing the distribution of cosmic dust. "What surprised us was that Betelgeuse turned 20% darker even in the submillimetre wave range," said co-author Steve Mairs from the East Asian Observatory in Taiwan, which operates the JCMT. The result isn t compatible with the presence of dust, say the researchers. Instead, the astronomers say, temperature variations in the photosphere - the luminous surface of the star - most likely caused the brightness to drop. "Corresponding high-resolution images of Betelgeuse from December 2019 show areas of varying brightness. Together with our result, this is a clear indication of huge star spots covering between 50% and 70% of the visible surface and having a lower temperature than the brighter photosphere," said co-author Peter Scicluna from the European Southern Observatory (Eso). "For comparison, a typical sunspot is the size of the Earth. The Betelgeuse star spot would be a hundred times larger than the Sun. The sudden fading of Betelgeuse does not mean it is going supernova. It is a supergiant star growing a super-sized star spot." said co-author Prof Albert Zijlstra from The University of Manchester, UK. Compared with our Sun, Betelgeuse is about 20 times more massive and roughly 1,000 times larger. If placed in the centre of the Solar System, it would almost reach the orbit of Jupiter.
Mobile network O2 has been sending some of its former customers refunds, 15 years after the end of their contracts. Several people posted on Twitter that they had received a letter and cheque from parent company Telefonica stating: "You ve got a refund." Some were suspicious that the letter was sent by cyber-fraudsters. But O2 confirmed that it had sent cheques to a group of people who were over-charged more than 10 years ago - with interest. "We identified a billing issue which meant some customers were charged twice on their final bill before leaving O2. We have been contacting those affected to apologise and send their refund," the company said in a statement. One customer said they had been offered a refund of £127, while another was sent a cheque for about £2. In the attached letter, Telefonica said the refund amounts included 4% interest. "We have a responsibility to do all we can to reimburse any customer for what s rightfully theirs, even if they ve since left the network and it s a low-value amount," the company said. O2 said it had identified a group customers it had over-charged at the beginning of the year, but had delayed sending out cheques until coronavirus lockdown measures had been eased. It told the BBC it was not a common issue. The company also said it had made efforts to trace former customers latest addresses, so that it could issue the 15-year-old refunds.
Egypt s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat announced on Tuesday that internet usage among citizens has increased due to the coronavirus. He explained that prior to the coronavirus pandemic peak internet usage was typically five hours from six pm until 11 pm, but has increased to over 15 hours per day now. “We are continuing to invest in the infrastructure of the internet,” Talaat said during a phone interview with the “Ala Massoulity” (By My Responsibility) TV show. Loads have increased twice recently, he said, and added that Egypt has 95 million mobile service subscribers. This change in internet patterns will also change the way citizens live, Talaat said, and credited the state project to develop Egypt s internet as the reason it has been possible for networks to accommodate this sudden shift. He noted that his ministry is providing electronic service packages online and is working to develop digitizing more internet government services before the coronavirus crisis ends. The National Telecom Regulatory Authority agreed with mobile phone operators back in March to promote the buying and selling of goods or services online amid the coronavirus outbreak through offers on e-transaction services on each company s web application, as well as through the use of e-payment services. Customers will receive 30 times the charged balance as free minutes or units when using e-payment options under the offer, which extends for one month, as part of the government s efforts to encourage Egyptians to stay at home as much as possible to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Some of Apple s latest changes to the iPhone experience will look very familiar to Android users. On Monday, Apple (AAPL) unveiled a long list of updates coming to its newest iPhone operating system, iOS 14, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, some of which borrowed from features previously introduced by other tech companies, including Slack (WORK), Facebook s WhatsApp and, of course, Android, which is owned by Google. As part of the changes in iOS 14, the iPhone home screen will look quite a bit more like an Android device. iPhone users will soon be able to pin widgets, or shortcuts to features found inside an app, to their home screens. They can now be stacked or customized based on work, activity or travel. Widgets have long been a part of Android devices, as well as on Windows phones.Beyond that, Apple s new App Library automatically organizes the apps on your home screen so you don t have to scroll through several pages, similar to Android s app drawer. Apple also unveiled a significant new feature called App Clips, which offers a small part of an app for use at the moment it s needed, such as ordering food from a restaurant or paying for parking. It s a similar concept to Google s instant app feature, which was first announced in 2016. With Google s tool, apps and games can run without being installed, allowing users to try them out first. Apple also appears to have taken some inspiration from a rival product to address a pain point for some iPhone users: videos (and FaceTime calls) taking over the entire screen when you re performing some other function. Now, users will be able to multi-task and switch to other applications while still watching a video with a feature called Picture in Picture. Samsung Galaxy phones have been able to do this for years.While tech companies are fond of touting their unique "innovations," it s also common for them to copy or borrow features from one another, whether it s Facebook cloning Snapchat features or Samsung copying Apple. Android isn t the only place where Apple appears to be taking inspiration. Its new updates to group chats, such as mentioning people directly, have been popular features on WhatsApp and workplace messaging app Slack. Apple will also allow you to pin conversations to the top of your inbox. Pinning individual messages is a widely-used function on Slack.
one of the world s most popular games, has reportedly removed police cars in its latest season as protests against police brutality have erupted across the United States. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news, and multiple users on Reddit also noticed the change. Epic Games, Fortnite s developer, didn t immediately respond to CNN Business request for comment. Police cars in earlier versions of the game were for decorative purposes and couldn t be driven by players, according to the newspaper. Epic Games regularly releases new Fortnite seasons to keep players engaged. But the rollout of the most recent season of the game, which was released last week, was briefly delayed because of the widespread protests and outrage over George Floyd s death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. "Recent events are a heavy reminder of ongoing injustices in society, from the denial of basic human rights to the impact of racism both overt and subtle against people of color," Epic Games said in a blog post on June 3. "The team is eager to move Fortnite forward, but we need to balance the Season 3 launch with time for the team to focus on themselves, their families, and their communities." Floyd s death has sparked calls for Corporate America to do more in the fight for racial justice. Many companies have expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement but remained publicly silent on iFloyd s death has sparked calls for Corporate America to do more in the fight for racial justice. Many companies have expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement but remained publicly silent on its proposal to defund police departments. One notable exception is Ben & Jerry s, which used its Juneteenth message on Friday to called on Americans to "dismantle the old system and build a new one that guarantees freedom and justice for all." The company also posted a detailed breakdown on its website and social media profiles of what the movement to defund police means.
Apple may be gearing up for a big update under the hood of its computers that could result in several changes for its users. The company could announce a long-rumored switch to its own chips for its Mac computer lineup — instead of the Intel (INTC)processors they currently use — at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference that starts Monday, according to a report from Bloomberg. The ARM-based chips, which Apple (AAPL) makes in-house and already uses a version of in iPhones and iPads, could make their way into new iMacs and MacBooks by 2021. And while there s likely to be a transition period, analysts say the move could eventually result in big benefits for the company as well as its users. "I think it is likely that we will see the switch happen in stages," said Adwait Mardikar, an analyst at tech research firm Canalys. "We might see the switch to Apple chips for Apple s MacBook lineup in 2021, but I believe it will be quite a while before we see the entire Mac lineup on its own chips." Better battery and sleeker devicesWhen that does happen, the major changes Mac users are likely to see include better battery life and sleeker devices. Apple s in-house chips have a smaller architecture and are more efficient because they are designed for smartphones, according to David McQueen, research director at ABI Research. ARM is the processor design developed by UK-based chipmaker Arm Holdings, which it then licenses to various tech manufacturers for their own use. "Moving to ARM-based chips can bring efficiencies and better battery life without sacrificing performance," McQueen said. "It may also help to cut out some size issues, possibly allowing Macs to be made thinner, while also negating the need for fans," he added. McQueen says having the same chips running on iPhones, iPads and Macs would also make it easier to standardize the user experience across all three devices."It will allow all Apple devices to work more seamlessly together," he said. "It should also make it much easier for developers to create apps that are capable of running across Apple devices." There s another big potential benefit to using the same chips for iPhones and Macs, particularly with the growth of 5G networks. "Although Apple has given no indication that it is looking to do so, this switch does also open the doors for Apple to launch MacBooks with cellular connectivity capabilities," Mardikar said. How Apple will benefit For Apple, bringing processor production in-house will likely allow the company to offer better performance upgrades with each generation of devices because it will no longer be tied to Intel s upgrade cycle for new chips. "They also get to control their own product launch cadence," said Jitesh Ubrani, a research manager at IDC. "In the past, they had to really wait on Intel to launch new processors before they could refresh the Mac lineup."Switching to in-house chips could also allow Apple to better integrate its supply chain and lower manufacturing costs. But unfortunately for consumers, that s unlikely to result in cheaper computers. "I think Apple s main use for switching over would be to offer a better product, not necessarily a cheaper product," Ubrani said. "You may see better value in some cases but I don t think we ll see cheap iMacs or cheap MacBooks going forward." While Apple is likely capable of handling the chip switch and has been able to power high-performing devices such as the iPad Pro, it could potentially struggle to match the firepower of Intel chips on some of its more advanced computers, according to Mardikar. "The real challenge for Apple will be its high-end computers — the MacBook Pro, iMac Pro and Mac Pro," he said. "These run on high-performance CPUs like Intel Xeon chips, and it remains to be seen if Apple can come up with processors that can match the performance." The company will also likely have to give developers a lot of lead time to adapt to the new setup. "At the end of the day the switch is not going to be successful if it doesn t have the apps, and consumers are not going to love it if they don t have access to their favorite apps," said Ubrani. "It s not like every developer can switch over right away... My guess is they would have some sort of a bridge solution ready until everyone is ready to port over."
Covid-19 has brought untold hardship to Africa, but lockdowns are also driving a move to online shopping in a continent where it has been slow to take off. The whole of Africa had only around 21 million online shoppers in 2017 — about the same number as Spain. That s less than 2% of the world s total, according to the latest UN data. Covid-19 had infected more than 260,000 people in Africa, as of June 18, and lockdown restrictions have forced many open-air markets and retailers to shut, with consumers being told to stay at home. In response, digital entrepreneurs across the continent have launched new services for ordering and delivering supplies. "E-commerce has been a turnkey solution," Torbjörn Fredriksson, head of e-commerce and digital economy at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), tells CNN Business. It has enabled "supply chains to continue to function and to get food from farms to tables," he adds. Opening up online Farmcrowdy began life in 2016 as a digital platform providing small farmers across Nigeria with access to finance and support. But in April, it launched Farmcrowdy Foods, an online store where people can buy fresh food from farmers. Kenneth Obiajulu, the company s managing director, told CNN Business that it started developing the marketplace model in 2019, but decided to fast track the launch as Nigeria s lockdown made it difficult for farmers to sell produce. Through the food platform, Farmcrowdy collects produce from its network of more than 25,000 farmers situated in the rural north of the country, before transporting it to storage facilities in the south, near Lagos, where there is most demand. "We list all the produce that we have sourced directly from the farmers. Then individuals can order it and get it delivered to their homes," says Obiajulu. Since launching, during what it describes as a pilot phase with limited marketing, it has received more than 2,000 orders via its hotline, WhatsApp and mobile app.Nigerian startup Flutterwave, which began as a digital payments company, also launched an online marketplace in April, where businesses can set up a storefront on the platform and list and sell their goods. The service is now available in 15 African countries. Olugbenga Agboola, the company s founder, told CNN Business in May that the online store was created as a lifeline for small companies that have been closed during lockdowns, and that more than 1,000 businesses had signed up to sell products. Jumia (JMIA), one of the continent s largest e-commerce operators, reported a four-fold increase in sales of groceries in the second-half of March, compared with the same period last year — although its food delivery service was impacted by restaurants shutting down. Shifting shopping habits Starting from a low base, e-commerce in Africa was on the rise before the pandemic. According to UNCTAD, the number of online shoppers on the continent has grown by 21% annually since 2014, higher than the world s average growth rate of 12%. The launch of new platforms in response to Covid-19 has accelerated this growth, says Fredriksson. A recent study from market research firm Nielsen found that around 30% of online consumers in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya shopped more online during the lockdown period. But Fredriksson warns that it won t all be plain sailing. "The shift to online platforms and services is far from automatic in Africa," he says, adding that many countries lag in terms of broadband access, transport and infrastructure. The biggest hurdle is gaining consumer trust, says Obiajulu. But the pandemic could be the turning point. "Individuals won t be buying the same way as they used to before," he says. "People are becoming comfortable with the fact that they don t need to step into the market to get what they need to eat. We are positioning ourselves for that new normal."
China and India are locked in a tense diplomatic and military standoff after a deadly border skirmish earlier this week. The economic stakes are high too, given the huge trading relationship and particularly close ties in technology. India imports more goods from China than any other country. And over the past decade, India and China have enabled each other s rise as emerging technology powerhouses. Chinese tech giants have invested billions of dollars into India s biggest startups, while its smartphone makers dominate the country s market and Indians have flocked to apps like TikTok. Now, the dispute threatens those ties. Growing anti-China sentiment in India has already led to calls for a boycott of Chinese products and services, while new rules on foreign investment could constrain China s ability to cash in on India s internet boom. Deep ties China has created a significant place for itself in India s technology sector over the last five years, according to a report published by Indian foreign policy think tank Gateway House. Unable to convince India to sign on to its global infrastructure project known as the Belt and Road Initiative, China entered India s tech scene by flooding the market with cheap smartphones from brands such as Xiaomi and Oppo and plowing money into Indian startups.Gateway House estimates that Chinese investors have poured some $4 billion into Indian tech startups since 2015. Alibaba (BABA), for example, has invested in Indian e-commerce company Snapdeal, digital wallet Paytm and food delivery platform Zomato. Tencent (TCEHY), meanwhile, has backed Indian messaging company Hike and ride hailing app Ola. Gateway House found that more than half of India s 30 unicorns — private firms worth more than $1 billion -— have Chinese investors. And Huawei is still in the running to help build 5G networks in India s fast-growing internet economy, despite a US-led campaign against the Chinese company. "China was hoping to be the dominant player in this internet market," said Amit Bhandari, fellow at Gateway House and co-author of the report. But earlier this year, India signaled it was taking steps to curb China s growing influence. In April, the government announced that foreign direct investments (FDI) from countries that share a land border with India would be subject to more scrutiny. Analysts say the new rules are vague. For example, investments in social media platforms that would raise questions about data storage and privacy will likely receive more scrutiny, Bhandari said. The government says the rules are intended to fend off opportunistic acquisitions and takeovers of Indian companies grappling with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. They also appear to be aimed squarely at China. Pakistan, India s arch rival, is not going to invest in India in any meaningful way, according to Bhandari, and the rest of the countries that share a border with India are small and not known for making large investments. "It was directed at China, but not in a direct way," he said. Bhandari said tightening FDI rules was a message to Chinese firms that they can still export software and hardware to India, but they won t be able to dominate Indian s internet ecosystem. Basically, "China will not have a free run in this market," he said. The government policy was initially met with skepticism by some in India s tech sector. Then a cross-border skirmish between Chinese and Indian forces broke out in May, resulting in minor injuries to troops.The incident — at a remote, mountainous crossing close to Tibet — was the latest in a long line of border flare-ups, and it fueled a fresh round of anti-China sentiment in India. Tensions ramped up considerably on Tuesday, when at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed during a clash with Chinese troops, according to the Indian army. Redirecting China s influence China is bristling at the negative attention. State-run tabloid The Global Times said in an article published earlier this month that India s move to tighten FDI rules "shows the Indian government has been hijacked by domestic anti-China sentiment." The tabloid also criticized a recent app downloaded by millions of people in India called "Remove China Apps" that promised to help users scrub Chinese software from their smartphones. Google (GOOGL) yanked it from its app store earlier this month for violating terms. "If India allows narrow-minded nationalism to spread to the field of science and technology, it will definitely hurt its own interests in turn," the Global Times wrote.Chinese companies are seeking to establish a long-term presence in India, and their investments in Indian companies give them an enduring stake in the market, according to a Brookings India report published in March. "I don t think there s a widespread understanding of how difficult it would be to completely reduce India s reliance on China," said Ananth Krishnan, former Brookings India fellow and author of the report. India relies on China for everything "from heavy machinery and all kinds of telecom and power equipment, to active pharmaceutical ingredients," said Krishnan, who is now a reporter with The Hindu newspaper. In his Brookings report, Krishnan estimated that the total current and planned investment from China into India is at least $26 billion. Trade between the two countries reached more than $87 billion in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to India s Department of Commerce. China was India s second largest trading partner that year, just behind the United States. But the relationship is one-sided. China exports far more to India than the other way round. "These are structural dependencies on China which boycott campaigns aren t really going to address," he said. Krishnan said the recent tightening of FDI rules weren t aimed at stopping Chinese investment into India, but rather about "redirecting Chinese investment to areas where it will be of greater use to India — into actual [manufacturing] facilities and generating jobs." Cutting off China could mean job losses for Indians Chinese smartphone makers have already built factories and created jobs in India. India s emergence as the biggest overseas market for Chinese mobile phone companies is one of the most significant developments in China s relations with India over the past five years. Last year, four of the top five best-selling smartphone makers in India were Chinese: Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Realme, according to market research firm IDC. South Korea s Samsung, the only non-Chinese brand, was the No. 2 seller.The India sales of those top Chinese smartphone brands totaled more than $16 billion in 2019, according to IDC. And all of them have manufacturing facilities in India. Doing so allowed the Chinese firms to both embrace Prime Minister Narendra Modi s "Make in India" program and avoid stiff import tariffs. Xiaomi manufactures 95% of the phones it sells in India locally. "So if you re talking about cutting down the sales or shipment for these guys, it also impacts the factories that they have in India," which will "absolutely" affect Indian jobs, said Kiranjeet Kaur, an analyst with IDC. She added that campaigns urging Indians to boycott Chinese goods have happened before, during previous border skirmishes. But they never put a dent in sales of Chinese smartphones in India. So even though many Indians are vowing to cut off Chinese hardware and software, "I really don t think it s going to change their buying decisions at all," Kaur said. "They re so dependent on these Chinese phone ecosystems, there s hardly any other choices."
YouTube announced on Monday the launch of YouTube Music and YouTube Premium services in Egypt. YouTube Music is a music streaming application and YouTube Premium is a paid subscription website providing ad-free access to the catalogue of the famous video website worldwide.
Scientists have identified a green light in the atmosphere of Mars. A similar glow is sometimes seen by astronauts on the space station when they look to the Earth s limb. The glow comes from oxygen atoms when they re excited by sunlight. The phenomenon has long been predicted to occur on other planets, but the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) - a joint European-Russian satellite at Mars - is the first to make the observation beyond Earth. "It s a nice result," said Dr Manish Patel from the UK s Open University. "You d never plan a mission to go look for this kind of thing. Today, we have to be very clear about the science we re going to do before we get to Mars. But having got there, we thought, well, let s have a look . And it worked." Martian mud flows like boiling toothpaste America s next Mars rover will be called Perseverance The woman making history in sea and space To be clear, this is different to classic aurora like the Northern and Southern Lights. These emissions are the consequence of collisions between atmospheric molecules and charged particles that are racing away from the Sun. On Earth, this type of interaction is heavily influenced by our planet s strong magnetic field, which pulls those particles down on to the poles. Image copyrightESA Image caption Artist s impression of the TGO at Mars: The observation was made with a spectrometer, which analyses light Aurora are not focussed in quite the same way on Mars because this world doesn t have a global magnetic field, but such emissions nonetheless exist and have already been observed. The green glow seen by astronauts at the edge of the Earth - and now by the TGO at Mars - has a separate origin. It s sunlight that s doing the work. Oxygen atoms are raised to a higher energy level and when they fall back to their resting state, they produce the tell-tale green emission. Earth has abundant oxygen in its atmosphere. But on Mars it s largely present only as a breakdown product of carbon dioxide. Sunlight will free one of the oxygen atoms in CO2, and it s the transition of this atom that s glowing green on the Red Planet. The TGO detects the excited oxygen not with an imager but with its Nomad spectrometer package. This instrument sees the oxygen at very particular altitudes. In a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, these altitudes are at 80km and 120km above the surface. The precise altitudes are dependent on the pressure of CO2. "And by looking at the altitudes of where this emission is, you can actually tell the thickness of the atmosphere and how it s varying," explained Dr Patel. "So, if you were to keep observing this phenomenon, you could see the height of the atmosphere change, something it does for example when it heats up during dust storms. This is an issue we face when we try to land on Mars because we re never quite sure just how thick the atmosphere will be when we plough through it to get to the surface." Theoretically, therefore, you could use observations of the green glow to help inform the models that guide the entry, descent and landing of Mars probes. The glow at Mars was detected by the TGO s Nomad instrument, which is led by the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (IASB-BIRA). Dr Patel is the co-principal investigator on Nomad s ultraviolet and visible spectrometer.
For all its promise, the rollout of 5G has also been fraught with rumors and conspiracy theories — most recently, a narrative spread on social media that the wireless network technology fueled the coronavirus pandemic. It did not. While baseless, the theory gained such prominence that social media platforms were forced to take action to stop its spread after a string of cell towers were set on fire. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency responded to the rumor saying, "5G technology does NOT cause coronavirus," and UK government officials called it a "crackpot conspiracy." The theory attempting to link the pandemic to 5G is nonsensical. Covid-19 is caused by a contagious virus, and it s spreading in areas of the world that don t yet have 5G technology. But such theories are not new; concerns about 5G s effects on health were spreading even before coronavirus. Experts say these fears, too, are unfounded. "Is there anything to worry about? The short answer is no," said Chris Collins, a professor and research director in the radiology department at the New York University School of Medicine. "If people are not worried about current cell phone technology, they should be worried even less about 5G." What is 5G? 5G is the next generation of wireless network technology that is steadily being rolled out across the United States and around the world. It provides faster data speeds and network capacity than existing 4G LTE technology, and is expected to enable such new innovations as smart cities and robotic surgeries. To understand why a small group of people are freaking out about it, it s time for a little gobbledygook: At its core, 5G is a set of technical specifications which a section of the radio frequency spectrum wireless devices use to communicate with the cell network. It s the same way 3G and 4G worked only, with 5G devices can access a wider range of radio frequency waves than before, allowing for improvements to speed and bandwidth. There are three different types of 5G networks: networks that use the low-band, mid-band and high-band of the radio frequency spectrum. Low-band networks provide wide coverage but only mild improvements to speed, mid-band networks balance speed and coverage and high-band networks provide superfast speeds but signals don t travel very far. Eventually, low- and mid-band networks are expected to cover much of the country. High-band networks will be built mostly in cities because they require installing multiple small cell sites in a given area to make up for the fact that signals struggle to travel. Debunking 5G fears Many conspiracy theories about the dangers of 5G focus on the radio frequencies that signals travel over. But experts point out that low-band and mid-band 5G networks operate at largely the same frequencies as existing networks. "There s nothing different in terms of exposure," said Kenneth Foster, professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, whose research focuses on the health and safety aspects of electromagnetic fields interacting with human bodies. Major advancements from 5G will come as a result of high-band networks, where signals travel over millimeter wave frequencies. But millimeter wave frequencies should prompt even less concern, NYU s Collins said, because they can t penetrate surfaces such as walls, trees or human skin (that s one of the reasons they don t travel well). "It s a little ironic that there s all this worry about 5G, because the difference is that 5G is going to operate at higher frequencies," Collins said. "It will actually not penetrate as deep into the body ... it really doesn t get past the skin." Millimeter wave frequencies are already used in other technologies people are familiar with, including airport security scanners. "If you think about these airport scanners, that s using mmWave energy," Collins said. "You know it doesn t penetrate the body, because all you see in the image on the screen is the outer surface of the body." Is there anything to worry about? The short answer is no." CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, PROFESSOR AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE Like FM radio waves and visible light, radio frequency waves are a form of "non-ionizing" radiation, which means they don t have enough energy to damage the DNA inside of cells and cause cancer, unlike X-rays, for example. Decades of research suggest that the only way wireless technologies could interact with the body is by heating the skin, but power levels are so low that s not a problem, experts say. What are governments doing? The US Federal Communications Commission, like government agencies elsewhere, regulates radio frequency exposure levels from wireless devices like cell phones. Exposure levels from 5G radio frequencies fall well below the agency s limits. "The weight of scientific evidence has not effectively linked exposure to radio frequency energy from mobile devices with any known health problems," the FCC notes on its website. Still, some critics argue that too few studies have been done on the potential effects of 5G. In response, most government agencies have stressed that they will continue to track research on 5G as network infrastructure expands. "We first need to see how this new technology will be applied and how the scientific evidence will evolve," Vytenis Andriukaitis, head of the European Commission s Cabinet said in a 2017 response to critics that asked the Commission to put the 5G rollout on hold over fears about possible health effects. "Rest assured that the Commission will keep abreast of future developments in view of safeguarding the health of the European citizens at the highest level possible," Andriukaitis said. Foster said such a response is the best possible course of action in response to fears over 5G. "We can only protect against dangers that we know exist," Foster said. "The EU s approach is as good as you can get — if something indicates a problem that is reasonable, well then we ll look at the literature."
Sony has kicked off its PlayStation 5 launch event with a first look at Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The video game centres on the star of the firm s recent hit movie - Into the Spider-Verse - and briefly showed off some of the new console s graphics power. Racing game Grand Turismo 7 and an "enhanced" version of Grand Theft Auto 5 have also been announced. The games machine will compete against Microsoft s forthcoming Xbox Series X. Sony s forthcoming console is set to go on sale later this year, seven years after the PS4. In addition to being able to deliver improved visuals, the new machine also has a customised hard drive that will make it possible to radically reduce load times. Sony is building a library of launch titles that will only be available on its next-generation machine. This contrasts with Microsoft s approach, which is to initially release new first-party games on both its current and next-gen consoles. However, the coronavirus pandemic may pose a challenge to both companies. Although they have both said that production is on track for winter 2020 releases, it is unclear what level of demand there will be. "Console gaming has proven to be resilient to economic downturns because it continues to offer good per-hour entertainment value," Piers Harding-Rolls wrote in a research note for Ampere Analysis. "Even so, the recession and growing unemployment in key sales territories will undermine adoption - less so at launch [but] more significantly after mid-2021." Sony streamed a pre-recorded video rather than a hosted live event because of the virus. The video is being broadcast at 1080p resolution, much lower than the PS5 is capable of. The PS4 outsold the Xbox One globally by more than a 2:1 margin, but the gap has been much smaller in the UK. In advance of Thursday night s event, one industry insider said there were two things he was most excited about. "The first is the new controller - the adaptive triggers offer deeper and more meaningful feedback for gameplay," explained Robert Karp, development director at UK developer Codemasters. "The other is the super-fast loading. On PS5, waiting to get into the action is a thing of the past."
Google has removed video app Zynn from its Play Store amid accusations it has been stealing content from other apps. The TikTok-style app offers cash payouts to users who sign up and watch videos, and has became one of the most downloaded apps in the US. But it has sparked a number of complaints from social media influencers who claim their videos are being reposted without permission. Zynn said it had launched a new method for users to report plagiarism. Google takes down app that removes Chinese software Google deletes millions of negative TikTok reviews The popular video platform is funded by Kuaishou, the Chinese rival to TikTok owner ByteDance. Zynn was first made available officially to users at the beginning of May. However, according to Wired, many of the copycat accounts on the platform uploaded their first posts in February. Users earn money on the app by watching videos and inviting friends to sign up. Earnings can then be used to buy gift cards, or transferred via PayPal. Now a number of popular TikTok users, some with millions of followers, have come forward claiming that accounts pretending to be them have begun appearing on Zynn. “I feel that it s honestly sad that they are stealing creators content and impersonating people,” a TikTok influencer told Wired. The app s community guidelines ban users from posting "anything that you do not own or do not have permission from the owner to share". Google has removed the app from its Play Store amid the controversy, although the tech giant has yet to confirm its reason for doing so. The BBC has asked Zynn and Google for comment. A spokesman for Apple said the company is "investigating" the app, which is currently still available on its app store.
IBM is canceling its facial recognition programs and calling for an urgent public debate on whether the technology should be used in law enforcement. In a letter to Congress on Monday, IBM (IBM) CEO Arvind Krishna said the company wants to work with lawmakers to advance justice and racial equity through police reform, educational opportunities and the responsible use of technology."We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies," he said, noting that the company no longer offers general purpose facial recognition or analysis software. "IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values," he added. Krishna is of Indian origin and IBM s first CEO of color. His predecessor, Ginni Rometty, was the company s first female CEO. An IBM spokesperson told CNN Business on Tuesday that the company will now limit its visual technology to "visual object detection," which could, for example, help manage manufacturing plants or assist farmers with crop care.Krishna s letter follows huge anti-racism protests in America and around the world in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed while in police custody. Several American corporations have expressed solidarity with the protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement. But companies have been called on to take more concrete steps to combat racial injustice, such as hiring and promoting more black executives. IBM is a market leader in artificial intelligence. IBM Watson, its AI platform for businesses, is used by companies such as General Motors (GM), KPMG and ESPN Fantasy Football. And its fast talking AI machine, Project Debater, featured in a Cambridge University event last year on the dangers of artificial intelligence. The problem of algorithmic bias in data science has become more pronounced, and there s evidence that AI-powered algorithms display bias against women and black people. Federal researchers found widespread evidence of racial bias in nearly 200 facial recognition algorithms in an extensive US government study last year, highlighting the technology s potential for misuse. "Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool that can help law enforcement keep citizens safe. But vendors and users of Al systems have a shared responsibility to ensure that Al is tested for bias, particularly when used in law enforcement, and that such bias testing is audited and reported," Krishna said. IBM has previously cautioned against blanket bans on facial recognition technology, advocating instead for "precision regulation" that would ensure it protects human rights. IBM CEO, Arvind Krishna IBM CEO, Arvind Krishna National policy should encourage the use of technology that brings greater transparency and accountability to policing, such as body cameras, Krishna added. He welcomed the Justice in Policing Act, a bill put forward by Democrats Monday aimed at cracking down on police brutality. The proposed legislation includes the creation of a National Police Misconduct Registry, a measure supported by Krishna, who said that Congress should adopt policies that encourage or compel states to review and update their use-of-force policies. Addressing the need to expand educational and economic opportunities for communities of color, Krishna urged Congress to consider increasing the reach of Pell Grants and Pathways in Technology (P-TECH). The P-TECH program, developed by IBM in 2011, enables students to earn both a high school diploma and associate s degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) without incurring student debt. It has a focus on students of color in areas of the United States that are poorly served by education.Eligibility for Pell Grants should be expanded, including for incarcerated individuals, beyond traditional four-year degree programs, Krishna said. "Pell Grants are an important pathway for students of color to go to college. But there are virtually no Federal funds available for non-college skills training or job certification programs for in-demand New Collar jobs," he explained. "New Collar" jobs refer to those in fields such as cybersecurity and cloud computing. IBM sees an "urgent demand" for these skills, Krishna said.
Huawei launched a major public relations campaign in the United Kingdom on Monday in a bid to persuade British politicians and the public that it can be trusted to help build the country s 5G network. The Chinese telecom giant said it plans to take out a series of full page advertisements in most of the UK s national newspapers and online for the next three to four weeks in a campaign it s calling "The Commitment." It comes as the United Kingdom undertakes a new security review of the company, just four months after Prime Minister Boris Johnson shrugged off US objections and granted Huawei a limited role in building out the next generation of super-fast interconnected wireless networks. Johnson had announced a 35% cap on Huawei s involvement in Britain s 5G network, but he s under pressure from some lawmakers within his own party to ban the Chinese telecommunications company altogether.The Huawei ad takes the form of an open letter, addressed to the British people, highlighting that the company has been operating in the country for 20 years, but that "some now question our role in helping Britain lead the way in 5G.""We re also playing our part in creating jobs, training the engineers of tomorrow, investing in new technology and supporting universities," the letter says. With the letter, the company is making "its position very clear, in a very public way, at a critical time for the UK," a Huawei spokesperson told CNN Business. "It also allows people to read and take our message at face value, at a time when the debate around Huawei has become littered with unsubstantiated allegations, which are delivered as facts," the spokesperson added. The US Commerce Department said last month it was moving to restrict Huawei s ability to manufacture and obtain semiconductor chips using American-made software and technology. The new UK review is looking into any impact the US restrictions could have on UK networks, a government spokesperson told CNN Business. The Commerce Department move is the Trump administration s latest effort to crack down on the Chinese 5G supplier and smartphone maker, which has come under intense scrutiny from US national security officials. The Trump administration had been pressing the United Kingdom for a total ban on Huawei products, alleging that Beijing could use them for spying. Washington had warned that US-UK intelligence sharing could be put at risk.US Republican Senator Tom Cotton said last week that military cooperation could also be adversely affected if Britain goes ahead with its plan to allow Huawei to build part of the country s 5G network. And asked whether the issue could affect negotiations on a US-UK trade deal, Cotton told BBC radio: "That s possible because 5G technology is so vital — not just to our security, but also our prosperity." Under Chinese law, Chinese companies can be ordered to act under the direction of Beijing. Huawei has consistently denied that it would help the Chinese government to spy, and says it is "100% owned by employees."
An unprecedented fuel spill that has polluted huge stretches of Arctic rivers was caused by melting permafrost, Russian officials said Friday, ordering a review of infrastructure in vulnerable zones. The spill — which has colored remote tundra waterways with bright red patches visible from space — has highlighted the danger of climate change for Russia as areas locked by permafrost for centuries thaw amid warmer temperatures. News of the cause of the accident came amid a huge cleanup effort outside the Arctic city of Norilsk which President Vladimir Putin said should be bankrolled by metals giant Norilsk Nickel. A national-level state of emergency was announced after 21,000 tonnes of diesel fuel spilled from a reservoir that collapsed last Friday. Norilsk Nickel owns the reservoir through a subsidiary. Three criminal probes have been launched, and Russia’s prosecutor general’s office said in a statement that preliminary findings indicate sagging ground as the reason for the disaster. “To prevent a similar situation on especially hazardous structures on territories prone to melting of permafrost,” the prosecutor general has “ordered a comprehensive review of such objects,” it said. Norilsk, one of the country’s biggest industrial centers, lies above the Arctic circle and Norilsk Nickel had already said it suspects permafrost thawing. Other factors may be at play too: the country’s technical safety watchdog told TASS news agency that since 2016, it has been unable to check the condition of the 35-year-old reservoir, because the company said it was under repairs. The metals giant tried to contain the damage on its own for two days before specialists were called in from companies and agencies across Russia and managed to stop the spill from spreading further. Speaking with officials at the site by video call, Putin told Norilsk Nickel chief Vladimir Potanin he expected the company to pay for a comprehensive cleanup. “It’s necessary to carry out all the compensatory measures to restore biodiversity and the environment,” he said. Potanin estimated that the operations would cost about 10 billion rubles ($146 million), on top of any fines. “We will spend whatever is needed,” said Potanin. “We will return the ecosystem back to normal.” Russia’s environmental watchdog Svetlana Radionova said the damage was being calculated, and called the accident “unprecedented in scope”. – Worst spill in Arctic history – A vast Arctic state, Russia is warming 2.5 times faster than the world average. Sixty-five percent of the country is covered by permafrost and the environment ministry warned in 2018 that the melt threatens pipes and structures, as well as buried toxic waste, which can seep into waterways. Northern regions have also rung the alarm, with the eastern Arctic Yakutia area for years lobbying Moscow to pass legislation protecting permafrost. Environmentalists said the spill was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region and the second worst in modern Russian history. The Ambarnaya River, which is affected by the spill, feeds into Lake Pyasino, a major body of water and the source of the Pyasina River that is vitally important to the entire Taimyr peninsula. Satellite images released by the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos show a large spot of reddish fuel had travelled over 20 kilometres (12 miles) toward the lake from the spill site. Russia’s fisheries agency and some environmentalists have said that the floating barriers erected on the river by responders are unable to stop the majority of the pollution, which can quickly dissolve or sink. The spill also polluted 180,000 square meters of land before reaching the river, regional prosecutors said. The area has been pummelled by decades of pollution from metals production and other industrial activity in Norilsk, Russia’s most polluted city. World Wildlife Fund expert Alexei Knizhnikov said local residents have long since stopped fishing in the river. He added that despite damage to permafrost, the disaster could have been avoided if the company followed the rules, such as erecting a barrier around its fuel reservoir to contain spillage.
After George Floyd s death at the hand of Minneapolis police, thousands took to the streets to protest, or opened their wallets to donate to help support the Black Lives Matter movement. But not everyone who wants to donate can afford to, and not everyone who wants to protest can leave their jobs to demonstrate. Zoe Amira, a 20-year-old YouTube creator, wanted to make it easier for those people to contribute to the cause simply by streaming a video. Her video, to be exact. Titled "how to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house (Invest in the future for FREE)," the hourlong video opens with text that reads: "Hello and thank you for clicking this video project. This video and the series that will soon follow are to serve as a fundraiser." It goes on to note that 100% of the ad revenue will be donated to a list of organizations, including BlackLivesMatter.com, the ACLU, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, George Floyd s Family Gofundme and a handful of other nonprofits. The rest of the video features art made by black creators. Amira, who lives in the Chicago area, calls this form of activism "ad-tivism." Whatever it may be deemed, it s seemingly caught on: The video s amassed over 5 million views, and counting, so far. "I think it s opening the door for people-powered fundraising, and that s what s really exciting about it," Amira, who has about 56,000 subscribers to her channel, told CNN."It s a low barrier to entry -- you don t need much to support something you believe in." How ad-tivism works The idea came to Amira after she noticed many people posting about matching each other s donations on social media. She said she and her friends, who are younger, felt frustrated they couldn t partake in these donation trains. She also said she has chosen not to participate in protests in person, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "I saw a lot of people especially young people that didn t have means to match even smaller donations," she said. While she has a smaller following on YouTube, she remembered that with even her videos -- which are mostly beauty-related -- had made $12 in ad revenue. "It made me think if Google could owe me $12 for some stupid videos about makeup and other things like that, then they could probably make a good deal more money for something more important," she said. YouTubers have traditionally relied on ads as a means for revenue. Through Google s AdSense program, creators are able to place ads in their videos, the views which Google tracks in real time. Viewers must disable any browser ad blockers and not skip the ads in the video to guarantee that the creator receives any compensation. Amira s unsure how much money the 2 million plus views translates to, as Google has not yet given her a revenue update. One more prominent YouTuber, whom she didn t name, estimated that one million views could translate to anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000. Some people questioned Amira s intentions. "I hope you re legit," one user tweeted at Amira, asking her to "show the receipts from the YouTube creator app/donations." The creator responded by sharing a screenshot of the video analytics to Twitter. The first count of estimated revenue is $473.44, according to Amira s tweet. RELATED: Why posting a black image with the Black Lives Matter hashtag could be doing more harm than good According to YouTube, the platform does not have a mechanism that enables creators to directly donate their AdSense proceeds from a specific video or channel to a charity. However, creators can of course decide to donate their proceeds on their own. The platform also has some features -- such as a donate button -- for creators who want to directly raise funds for eligible non-profits. Starting this week, YouTube said its Spotlight channel will provide an entry point to racial justice issues, including the latest insights from the black community on YouTube, alongside historical content and other educational videos. Google, YouTube s parent company, is also honoring Floyd. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said in a statement that Google would hold an eight minute and 46 second moment of silence on Wednesday "to honor the memories of Black lives lost." The company is giving $12 million in funding to organizations working to address racial inequities, Pichai said. That s on top of the $2.5 million in employee donations that the company is matching. A growing trend Other creators have followed Amira s lead -- there are now several playlists on YouTube, ranging from six to 51 videos, gathering videos from creators who also say the money from their ads will go to various organizations. CNN was unable to independently confirm with each of the creators whether they have contributed to the organizations they have pledged to donate to. Carmie Sellitto, a 21-year-old from London, goes by touchdalight on YouTube and has 649,000 subscribers. He decided to donate the ad revenue from his last video to BlackLivesMatter.com, he told CNN. "Seeing everything that s happening in America right now, honestly it s so upsetting." Sellitto wasn t aware of Amira s video when he decided to fundraise on his account, he said. "I just did it like purely because I didn t feel comfortable just posting like my typical content and not raising awareness for this. So I thought I would just do a good thing. And then, obviously, I saw other creators doing it and it was just a sick thing to see." He earns an average of $400 to $500 per video, and he estimates his total views per video to be around 200,000. His latest video that will serve as a fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter cause, posted on Monday, has already hit over 175,000 views on the platform in just two days. "Hopefully, I can raise a lot of money," Sellitto told CNN. Amira, who is currently on a break from her university studies, said she has received a lot of positive feedback, including from some nonprofits she plans to donate to. "I m very glad to be able to have done something," she said, "especially because I felt not being in school, that I wasn t helping or contributing in any real way. It s about what s being done, not about me and a YouTube video." Demonetization and fundraising on YouTube YouTubers have tried this before. In October 2017, Casey Neistat -- who has over 12 million subscribers on his channel -- attempted to do the same thing to help victims in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting. He later said in a tweet that the video had been demonetized, however. "Literally a video about charity," he tweeted, "where I state all Adsense is going to that charity. YouTube says NOT SUITABLE FOR ADVERTISERS." The video platform responded to his tweet, saying, "We what you re doing to help, but no matter the intent, our policy is to not run ads on videos about tragedies." Amira s video does not explicitly mention tragedy, and she does not appear in it discussing George Floyd s death. Instead, the video features various black artists -- including musicians -- and their work. RELATED: YouTubers bought thousands of toilet paper rolls a few months ago. They just gave them all away for free Other creators joining in the effort are also publishing videos that are in line with their usual style of content. Sellitto said he is not concerned about demonetization on his video. "Even if that was the case, I would just upload another video and then just get the AdSense from that again. Raising as much money as possible is obviously the best thing to do," he told CNN. According to YouTube, the videos they have seen so far have not been in violation of any of their policies that would result in demonetization, and they are in compliance with the platform s sensitive events policy. Using content from other YouTubers and artists in compilations, however, may expose creators to a potential risk of copyright claims, according to YouTube. Of course, the success of such ad-tivism -- like all fundraising efforts -- rests with the follow through of the donors, and in this case, with the viewers doing their part.
Google has removed an app that millions of Indians had downloaded hoping that it would help them boycott Chinese software. "Remove China Apps" was not available on the Google Play Store on Wednesday, a little over two weeks after it launched with the assurance that it could help Indians identify apps made by Chinese developers. Anti-Chinese sentiment has been rising in India in recent weeks as the two countries feud over a border dispute.One Touch App Labs, the developer of the app, billed it as a tool to help support "a self-reliant India" by identifying the origin of applications installed on mobile phones. The company could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Google (GOOGL) declined to comment on Wednesday about how it became aware that the app violated the Play Store s policies, which forbid products that "encourage or incentivize" people to delete or disable other apps.Remove China Apps was downloaded more than 4 million times before it was taken down, according to analytics company Sensor Tower. In India, nearly 160,000 users gave the app a 5-star rating on the Play Store before it was taken down. But it was not entirely successful in detecting apps from Chinese developers, according to some users. On Tuesday, user Sridhar Toopurani wrote in a review of the app that "while the concept is good ... it did not detect MI Video, Helo etc." Mi Video is a streaming app from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, and Helo is social media platform developed by ByteDance, the Beijing-based startup behind TikTok. Other users said the app also failed to detect PUBG, a popular smartphone game from Tencent (TCEHY). The app did identify TikTok as a Chinese app, according to several reviews. India is one of TikTok s biggest markets, though it has run into some issues in the country. The app was temporarily banned in India last year, after a court ruled that TikTok could expose children to sexual predators, pornographic content and cyberbullying. TikTok appealed the decision, saying it had cracked down on inappropriate content, and the court reversed its ruling. At the time, Bytedance reportedly told the country s top court that it was losing $500,000 in revenue each day that TikTok was blocked.Remove China Apps was launched last month just days after a cross-border skirmish between Chinese and Indian forces resulted in minor injuries to troops. The incident, at a remote, mountainous crossing close to Tibet, was the latest in a long line of border flare-ups between the neighboring powers, and has fueled a fresh round of anti-China sentiment in India. Sonam Wangchuk, an education reformer who was also the inspiration for a popular movie character in India, asked fellow Indians to boycott all things Chinese in response to the border standoff. He shared a video on YouTube last week, urging Indian citizens to stop buying Chinese goods, to "use your wallet power ... and stop virtually financing the current military bullying." The video has been viewed more than 3.7 million times. Actor Arshad Warsi addressed his 2.2 million followers on Twitter, saying he is "consciously going to stop using everything that is Chinese.""As they are a part of most of the things we use, it will take time but I know, one day I ll be Chinese free. You should try it too," he added. The Remove China App caught the attention of Chinese state-run tabloid The Global Times. The Indian software is "likely to draw punishment from China," the tabloid wrote, adding that it "has drawn ridicule from Chinese netizens, who suggest Indians could throw away their Chinese-branded smartphones." Tensions between the two countries are escalating, but they also have a longstanding business relationship. In the first three months of this year, Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi and Vivo were the top sellers in India, accounting for more than half the market, according to research firm Canalys. Samsung was third, and two other Chinese brands — Realme and Oppo — rounded out the top five. India has said it would allow Huawei to participate in some 5G trials, while other countries have been much more hesitant to to use the Chinese tech company s products. Chinese investors have also poured a lot of money into some of India s buzziest tech startups. Digital payments company Paytm is backed by Alibaba (BABA), food delivery platform Swiggy counts Tencent (TCEHY) among its investors, and car hailing platform Ola is backed by DiDi Chuxing.
Before a pandemic forced millions around the world into lockdown, the phrase "video conferencing" generally conjured up an image of stuffy corporate meetings with people unable to physically be in the boardroom. But the coronavirus, in a matter of weeks, turned a work tool into the backbone of our social lives. And as millions of people participate in virtual birthday parties, religious events, school and college classes, the tech industry is racing to win over a new and rapidly growing user base — even though it s unclear how long people will need or want to live out so much of their lives on camera. "We may have accelerated five to seven years worth of adoption behavior," said Wayne Kurtzman, research director for social and collaboration at IDC. "Everyone was forced to do a seven-year plan in two weeks." Zoom (ZM) has been an early frontrunner, reaching hundreds of millions of daily meeting participants and becoming the go-to service for people trying to stay connected during quarantine. The company will report earnings for the three months ending April 30 on Tuesday, where it is expected to give the first official indication of just how large its surge in usage has been during the pandemic -- and offer perhaps the clearest glimpse yet at the overnight potential for the market. It s also Zoom s first earnings report since freezing new feature rollouts to shore up its security and privacy after a series of controversies. More established rivals such as Cisco (CSCO) s Webex and Microsoft (MSFT) Teams have also seen a spike in growth, and Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) are rejiggering their video offerings to meet the moment, with new services that mimic some of Zoom s most popular features. It s become the tech industry s next big battleground, and one where it isn t that lonely at the top. "I see room for multiple vendors at the top of the conferencing space," said Kurtzman. "They will each serve very real purposes in the market, but the winners will be whoever can be the easiest to use, the easiest to get value with, and the easiest to integrate to other applications needed in and outside the workplace." The prize appears to only be getting bigger. The video conferencing market was worth $14 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow to $50 billion by 2026, according to a report earlier this month from research firm Global Market Insights. "The video conferencing market is expected to witness high growth during the coronavirus outbreak," the report said. Google has not revealed how many businesses currently use Google Meet, but its G Suite, which includes the video conferencing service, is used by 6 million businesses around the world. The company made several of Meet s premium features free to use through the end of September. Facebook is touting its new video conferencing service, Messenger Rooms, as more of a consumer tool, but Kurtzman says it could also "be effectively used by small businesses who can t afford a stronger solution." The company also expanded video calling on its mobile messaging service, WhatsApp, touting the service s end-to-end encryption in an apparent swipe at Zoom s troubles on that front. Zoom carved out its place in a crowded market using a "freemium" model — with no fee for meetings up to 40 minutes and 100 participants — betting that users would convert to subscriptions thanks to its superior user experience. While that strategy has worked well so far, the free offerings from Google and Facebook could potentially siphon off some of the non-business user base. Several companies — including Facebook and Twitter (TWTR) — have suggested that remote working could become the permanent norm for many of their employees. But there are still question marks over whether the sudden video boom will outlast the pandemic, as countries and states gradually begin to emerge from lockdown. Many workers will likely either have to go back to offices or will choose to do so rather than living their entire lives on video, meaning demand for these services could drop. "Video is going to be used more, but it will also be overused more. The trade-offs of being always-on and connected apply just as much or more to video," said Adam Preset, senior analyst for digital workplace at research firm Gartner. "For some, a long day of video meetings at work is going to make video happy hour with friends much less enticing." And as Zoom has learned the hard way, having a product seen as versatile and easy to use may not be enough to keep users happy. A host of security issues emerged in early March, including controversies over the level of encryption it provides and the practice of "Zoombombing" — where trolls interrupt meetings to share profanity or pornography — prompting scrutiny from US authorities and temporary bans from schools in New York City and Singapore. Zoom responded by scrambling to make fixes, suspending all new features for a period of 90 days in order to focus on privacy and security measures. That 90-day period is set to conclude at the end of next month. "All video vendors ultimately have security issues they need to resolve," said Preset. "Short term fixes without the right motivation can be just damage control. There s really no rest if a vendor wants to retain its customer s trust and preserve its own reputation." While Zoom appears to be holding steady so far, Preset says the effects of new rivals with deep pockets may take a while to play out. "One signal will be your next colleague, friend or family member who invites you to meet in something other than Zoom," he said. But the uncertainty of how long the pandemic and lockdowns will last, and whether the video boom can outlast them, might give some companies pause before going all-in. "In enterprise, the video battle has been raging for some time between a few of the most well-known technology companies," said Preset. "Now what we re seeing is a spillover as video calls become more necessary and more prominent for consumers. It s risky to join this fray right now."
(Reuters) – Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N) said on Monday it had started an early-stage trial to test its potential treatment for COVID-19, in the world’s first study of an antibody treatment against the disease. Lilly is one of the several drugmakers and research institutions that are working on vaccines, antivirals and other treatments to help those infected with the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, which has already killed over 370,000 worldwide. An antiviral drug from Gilead Sciences (GILD.O) called remdesivir has shown some promise against COVID-19 and is being given to patients by some countries under compassionate or emergency use rule. Lilly said its early stage study will assess safety and tolerability in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and results are anticipated by the end of June. The experimental treatment, LY-CoV555, has been developed through collaboration with privately held AbCellera Biologics, which Lilly partnered with in March. Lilly’s treatment is an antibody directed against the spike-shaped protein structures of the virus and is designed to block it from locking on to human cells, thus neutralizing the virus. The drugmaker said the antibody treatment was developed after it was identified from a blood sample taken from one of the first US patients who recovered from the lung illness caused by the new coronavirus. Lilly said it expects to move into the next phase of testing, studying the potential treatment in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, if the drug is shown to be safe. Rival Regeneron Pharmacuticals Inc (REGN.O) has said it plans to start clinical studies in June to test its antibody cocktail treatment for the new coronavirus and is aiming to have hundreds of thousands of preventative doses available by the end of August. Lilly’s shares were up 2.5 percent at $156.75 before the bell.
For many years, we have never heard about any of the great Egyptians artists who used religious or moral discourse? The answer is simply because they were real artists who had real talents. Their work became masterpieces in our modern history and some of them reached international level. Thus, they didn’t need to use religion to gain the respect of their audience. This gives us hint about many artists who d