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Logan Broadbent Shows Us How to Throw a Boomerang Like a Pro

Logan Broadbent Shows Us How to Throw a Boomerang Like a Pro

Ever wonder what makes a boomerang fly? World champion thrower Logan Broadbent says it's pretty simple.

"Basically the best way to think of it is that each wing is an airplane wing," he says. "The top side is curved and the bottom side is relatively flat and that shape allows the boomerang to generate lift. But a boomerang is thrown vertically so the directional lift is to the side, unlike an airplane flying horizontal where the directional lift is up in the air. So you throw it nice and vertical, straight up and down, it'll curve around and come back."

Broadbent, a former boomerang trick shot champion, first joined the US Boomerang team at age 14, and currently ranks number two in the world. Broadbent is also the Boomerang Ninja on the TV show American Ninja Warrior.

Competitive boomerang throwers take part in different events. They can compete for the longest distance flown to the maximum time in the air. There's also an event called “fast catch” in which the first person to catch five throws wins. One of the toughest parts about competitive throwing is adjusting to changing conditions, Broadbent says. He makes most of his own boomerangs and uses a number of hacks and tricks to gin up his performance—from material selection to modifications that add weight and spin to his throws.

“If I want to add drag to help slow down the spin rate in higher wind conditions, I may add a couple rubber bands on there," he says. "If I want to add a little more weight to get it to go further, to stay more vertical in flight or even to lay out quicker, I may add pennies on each one of these wings.”

Watch the video above to see Broadbent in action and to hear much more about boomeranging.

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Original author: Wonbo Woo
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Uber to open third Latin America support center in Bogota

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FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo for Uber Technologies Inc. on the day of it's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Ride-hailing app Uber will spend $40 million over five years to open its third support center in Latin America in September in the Colombian capital Bogota, the company said on Wednesday.

The center, which Uber said in a statement will eventually create 600 jobs, will “give specialized support in services and security to users, partner drivers and partner deliverers for the applications Uber and Uber Eats in Latin America.”

Uber is popular in Colombia even though the government has said it is illegal to use the app and it will suspend for 25 years the licenses of drivers caught working for the platform.

Uber said in the statement that it hopes to have a dialogue with the government that will contribute to regulation of ride-hailing apps.

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said last month it is beginning to recruit drivers ahead of its launch in Bogota in the coming months.

Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Chinese travel site Mafengwo raises $250 million in Tencent-led funding round

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese travel site Mafengwo said it has raised $250 million in a funding round led by Tencent Holdings Ltd as it expands in the booming online travel market.

In a statement on Wednesday, the company said General Atlantic, Qiming Venture Partners, Yuantai Investment, NM SS Holdings Limited and Hopson Emerald Limited were the other investors who participated in the fundraising.

Mafengwo competes with CTrip.com International Co Ltd, Fliggy, backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and many other rivals.

Mafengwo, or “wasps’ nest” in Chinese, is an online community where Chinese tourists share travel tips and shop for bespoke travel products.

The nine-year-old company also expanded into bookings for travel services via affiliate partners.

Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Anshuman Daga

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Measles Had Been Eliminated. Now It’s Nearly a Daily Threat

Measles Had Been Eliminated. Now It’s Nearly a Daily Threat

The year 2019 isn’t even halfway over yet, and it’s already the worst year for measles since NBC stopped airing episodes of Saved by the Bell. Since January 1, the rash- and fever-causing virus has sickened 880 people across 24 states. That’s more than all the cases of the past three years combined. The epicenter for this year’s spike is two outbreaks in New York—in Brooklyn and Rockland County—that public health officials have been struggling to curb since last fall. And the longer the virus continues to circulate in these communities, and spread to new ones, the more likely it is the US will be plunged back into a time when measles hot spots persist as a constant daily presence.

“Of the more than 3,400 cases of measles reported in the US from 2001 to 2019, one third have occurred in the past 18 months,” Adria Lee, a measles epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on a call with physicians and reporters Tuesday. She added that 94 percent of the cases reported so far in 2019 have been acquired in the US, not imported from abroad. “The ongoing outbreaks in close-knit communities and increased global measles activity is putting the US at risk for losing its elimination status.”

Megan Molteni covers DNA technologies, precision medicine, and genetic privacy for WIRED.

If you recall your epidemiological history, the US declared measles eliminated in 2000. Since then, sporadic annual outbreaks have stemmed from unvaccinated travelers bringing the virus back as a most unwelcome souvenir of their time abroad. These flare-ups used to be easily contained by the high walls of herd immunity. But growing anti-vaccine sentiment and viral misinformation campaigns have left increasingly numerous pockets of the country vulnerable, leading to larger and longer outbreaks. And all it takes is 12 months of a single strain of measles circulating within its national borders for the US to lose its hard-won elimination status.

In case you were wondering how close the nation is to crossing that threshold, put September 2019 on your calendar.

That’s when the longest-circulating measles strain, D8, will have been spreading on American soil for a whole year. According to the CDC, D8 is the main strain being transmitted through the Orthodox Jewish communities in New York State, and was originally imported there from a traveler to Israel. It has been in the CDC’s infectious disease surveillance system since September 2018. If it doesn’t get stamped out in the next few months, the US will become the second country in the Americas to return to the dark pre-elimination ages. And while nothing material will happen on that day—no national alert text notification or mobilizing of the National Guard or anything like that—it is a symbolic backslide for the US. Losing elimination status not only puts the US at risk for other infectious diseases, it jeopardizes the country’s role as a global leader in public health.

“We showed other countries that if you do what we did, you too could get rid of measles,” says Walter A. Orenstein, who was the director of the United States Immunization Program at the CDC from 1988 to 2004. Currently, Orenstein leads Emory University’s Program on Vaccine Policy and Development, but for 26 years he was the US vaccine czar, overseeing two presidential initiatives, first under Carter, and then Clinton, to expand the nation’s collective immunity to infectious diseases, chief among them, measles. “Every World Health Organization region now has the goal to eliminate indigenous measles transmission. It was in part the success of the US that helped in triggering that. We demonstrated it was doable in a country as large and populated as the US.”

On March 16, 2000, Orenstein was among the officials that convened a panel of 22 experts to discuss the state of measles in the US. For nearly four decades, since the invention of the first measles vaccine, the national public health agency had been striving toward a singular goal—driving the virus from US borders. Through a combination of policies that required schoolchildren to get vaccinated and made the highly effective shots accessible to the poorest parts of the population, by the late ’90s, measles was sickening only about 100 people per year—less than one case per million Americans. And nearly all of the cases were imported. The special commission’s job was to decide if that was good enough to finally declare measles stamped out.

While the group of doctors, epidemiologists, and public health experts agreed that the virus appeared to no longer be circulating within US borders, they argued over how to label the accomplishment. They couldn’t really say that measles had been eradicated, for practical purposes more than anything. With the rest of the world, minus Cuba, still firmly in the grips of a measles contagion that killed three-quarters of a million people every year, it would have been close to impossible to ensure that travelers and immigrants wouldn’t bring at least a few cases across US borders now and then. They could call it “eliminated,” but many worried that this would be confusing for the general public, and could even instill a false sense of security, potentially unraveling a decades-long vaccination campaign. But in the end, elimination stuck, because people like Orenstein thought it would be useful for the rest of the world to have a measuring stick, a milestone on the way to total eradication. The definition they agreed upon was the absence of endemic measles transmission in a region for greater than 12 months in the presence of a well-performing surveillance system.

The Americas—an area encompassing 35 countries and 12 territories—reached this goal just a few years later. But it wasn’t until 2016 that the WHO declared it the first of six global regions to eliminate measles. The other five committed to accomplishing the same goal by 2020. Now the chances of that happening are looking increasingly grim. In the first four months of 2019, 179 countries reported 168,193 cases of measles, an increase of 117,000 over 2018, according to the WHO. The biggest spikes have hit Madagascar, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where thousands of children have died. These upticks aren’t happening in a vacuum—the Philippines, Ukraine, and Israel account for the majority of cases imported into the US.

The reasons for these recent failures vary from political instability to economic turmoil to vaccine hesitancy, which the WHO cited as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. And in an increasingly connected world, elimination status is fragile, as the US is finding out. It’s a lesson its neighbor to the south, Venezuela, has also learned recently. Racked by a collapsing economy and crumbling health system, vaccination rates sank to a dismal 52 percent in 2018. An ensuing measles epidemic sickened 7,809 and killed 74. It lost its elimination status in June of last year and has yet to claw it back.

If the US does lose its elimination status, it won’t be due to economic chaos or a lack of public health resources; it will be because viral misinformation proved harder to contain than the virus itself. Orenstein thinks the time has come for a new presidential initiative designed to combat not structural barriers to vaccination, but philosophical ones. “I’m sad and frustrated to see people suffering unnecessarily because they just don’t understand the facts,” he says. With better behavioral research, maybe it will be possible to find messaging that works. Because the need to combat vaccine hesitancy is bigger than just the current outbreaks.

“Measles, because it’s so contagious, is an indicator disease,” says Orenstein. “It’s often the first one you see, but it means that other vaccine-preventable diseases are also on the rise.” Measles might be making headlines today, but tomorrow the story could be about something much worse.

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Original author: Megan Molteni
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If Huawei Loses ARM's Chip Designs, It's Toast

If Huawei Loses ARM's Chip Designs, It's Toast

How do you kill a company? The answer, in the context of Chinese electronics giant Huawei, appears to be depravation, removing ready access to the elements that distinguish smartphones from very expensive chunks of anodized aluminum and glass. The latest blow: Chip designer ARM has reportedly severed ties with the company. Huawei could arguably survive without Google. Without ARM? Not so much.

It’s important to clarify that nothing at this point is certain, or permanent. The BBC first reported ARM’s move Wednesday morning, citing an internal memo that noted ARM’s use of "US origin technology,” which makes it subject to a sweeping ban put in place by the Trump administration. ARM finally confirmed the ban Wednesday afternoon. As it did with Google, though, the US Commerce Department could grant a waiver that allows ARM to continue servicing Huawei. And broader tensions between China and the US could otherwise resolve, potentially taking some of the pressure off Huawei.

But if those caveats don’t come through? It’s hard to see where Huawei goes from here.

ARM Wrestling

Even if you’ve never heard of ARM, you interact with its technologies every day. The company makes the designs that manufacturers like Qualcomm use to produce chips. ARM-based CPUs power everything from smartphones to Internet of Things devices to, more recently, data centers.

ARM’s ubiquity also has increasingly let smartphone companies produce their own chips, in a bid to wean themselves off of Qualcomm and create purpose-built processors. Huawei was an early ARM acolyte; its subsidiary, HiSilicon, has made ARM-based systems-on-chips since at least 2012.

"All of the options are going to be painful."

Eric Hanselman, 451 Research

Conventional wisdom to this point had been that Huawei’s CPU self-reliance would be an important factor in fending off US offenses. Even if Google cuts ties—which it did, until receiving that 90-day waiver—Huawei could still create a functional operating system by creating a so-called Android fork, and convincing developers to tailor their apps to Huawei’s modified version. Huawei customers would have to live without the Google Play Store and related apps, but those felt like solvable problems, especially in a Chinese market that already has plenty of available alternatives.

But the open-source version of Android is designed for ARM-based chips. It also works on x86 processors, made by Intel, AMD, and others, but those US-based companies had already cut ties with Huawei as part of the sanctions. Which means, absent ARM, Huawei’s most obvious backup plan effectively goes poof. The company would need not only to redesign its own chips from scratch—a process that takes years—it would find itself cut off from the world’s most popular operating system. This is like telling Coca-Cola that it can’t use carbonated water.

"All of the options are going to be painful,” says Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research. “Changing out a core means you’ve got to do significant work not only in the silicon, but also in your software ecosystem. That’s not going to be simple.”

A Slow Fade

Losing access to ARM won’t cripple Huawei overnight, even in a worst-case scenario. The electronics giant will still be able to use its current, licensed technology, which means that it can continue to package any chips already in play. Mobile processors generally receive annual bumps; Huawei introduced its Kirin 980 SoC last fall, and it would have continued to ship it for the next several months regardless.

But going forward, if the ban holds up, Huawei handsets will become frozen in time. The BBC reports that its upcoming chip, the Kirin 985, may have snuck in under the wire, but after that the company will be stuck on the latest and greatest ARM designs as of May 22, 2019. To become unstuck, it will need to embark on the costly, time-intensive process of designing its own core. The question is whether customers will bother to wait it out.

The damage would also extend far beyond smartphones. “Every place where Huawei uses ARM IP would be impacted,” says Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, “all the way from embedded IP in tiny surveillance devices to large enterprise data center chips.”

This is like telling Coca-Cola that it can’t use carbonated water.

What remains unclear, and could make the difference between devastation and inconvenience, is exactly which ARM technologies are impacted. It’s an international company, recently acquired by Japanese giant Softbank but with headquarters still in the UK. Huawei’s fate may hang in the balance of whatever slice of ARM’s offerings originated in the US, where the company has eight offices and a long-running research partnership with the University of Michigan.

“If it is some of the system-on-chip capabilities, if it’s some of the architecture extensions, things like that, the resolution could be relatively simple. You just design that technology out,” says Hanselman. “If it happens to be core instruction set, or core logic, then that would be a whole lot more difficult.”

“ARM is complying with all of the latest regulations set forth by the US government,” the company said in a statement. "ARM values its relationship with our longtime partner HiSilicon and we are hopeful for a swift resolution on this matter," it added in a follow-up statement several hours later. "Under the current restrictions ARM cannot license any export-restrictive IP to HiSilicon."

Under Siege

Huawei has reportedly been stockpiling US-made parts for as long as a year, in anticipation of the current crackdown. But the ARM move potentially obviates that preparation, by limiting the extent to which Huawei can go it alone.

"Huawei values its relationships with all partners around the world and understands the difficult situation they are in," the company said in a statement. "Our top priority remains to continue delivering world-class products to our customers. We are hopeful this situation will be resolved and are working to find the best solution."

It also underscores the stakes that the US has established. The Trump administration had previously brought Chinese tech company ZTE to the brink of collapse, but that imbroglio centered on specific deals ZTE made with Iran and North Korea, for which it offered specific remedies in the form of fines and a leadership overhaul. The Huawei tensions are much more amorphous; the White House has labeled it a national security threat without specifying why or how, leaving no clear path for resolution. Other companies seem likely to face a similar fate; The New York Times reported Tuesday that the US may blacklist Chinese surveillance company Hikvision over its role in oppressing the country's Uyghur population.

And while there’s always a chance that a 90-day waiver for ARM will come through, as it did with Google, it won’t be a given. “License requests involving Huawei or its affiliates will be reviewed under a presumption of denial,” a Commerce Department spokesperson said in a statement.

There are ways for Huawei to survive without ARM. But in the ongoing siege of one of China’s most important companies, the US has unquestionably cut off its most important supply route.

This story has been updated to include a statement from Huawei and further comment from ARM.

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Original author: Brian Barrett
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Social Issues Raised by Amazon Investors Aren't Going Away

Social Issues Raised by Amazon Investors Aren't Going Away

In the past, Amazon hasn’t received much pushback from its shareholders. After all, the retail giant’s stock has increased sixfold in the last five years, making investors plenty of money. That doesn’t mean the company’s annual shareholder meetings have been controversy-free, but the wave of criticism Amazon faced this year in the form of shareholder resolutions is unprecedented. Investors voted on 12 of the proposals Wednesday, and while they all failed to get a majority vote, they highlight issues that some shareholders believe could jeopardize Amazon’s business for years to come.

The proposals, which would have been nonbinding if passed, sought changes from Amazon on a range of issues, from sexual harassment to hate speech. Two concerned the company’s controversial facial recognition technology. Perhaps the most notable proposal, which addressed climate change and the company’s environmental impact, came from Amazon’s own employees. Over 7,600 of them signed onto a letter asking Amazon to adopt the resolution—a unique twist on a wider trend of tech employees pushing back on their companies’ business practices.

“It’s really hard to be motivated when you feel like you’re contributing to a problem instead of addressing it,” Rebecca Sheppard, a senior product manager at Amazon and one of the letter’s signatories, said before Wednesday. “I’m really hopeful that we get what’s missing, which is leadership from the very top of the company to support this.”

After the meeting, a tweet from Amazon Employees for Climate Justice suggested that wasn't the case yet.

In all, shareholder groups originally submitted 14 proposals to be voted on at the 2019 meeting—the most sent to any corporation this year, according to Alliance Advisors. That’s a sharp increase from previous years: Amazon saw just three proposals each in 2017 and 2018. It also fits with a broader increase in so-called shareholder activism, where groups of investors submit resolutions designed to force corporations to address issues concerning things like diversity, human rights, and the environment.

Amazon fought hard against the resolutions. A company lawyer reportedly tried persuading employees to withdraw their climate change proposal, without success. And Amazon tried asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to keep the two facial recognition resolutions from coming to a vote. A company spokesperson declined to comment about why Amazon didn’t similarly fight the climate change proposal with the SEC. Amazon’s board recommended shareholders vote against all three resolutions in its proxy statement last month.

Louise Matsakis covers Amazon, internet law, and online culture for WIRED.

It will be several days before the resolutions’ supporters know exactly by how much they lost. Even if the margin is large, these issues aren’t going away anytime soon. “These proposals, to be effective and to attract the attention of a company, they don’t need to be a 50 percent vote,” says Michael Connor, the executive director of Open MIC, a nonprofit that works with tech investors and helped write the facial recognition proposals. “It takes a long time to educate people about these issues and to bring major shareholders on.”

The climate change proposal was filed by over a dozen of Amazon’s business and tech workers, who were given company stock as part of their compensation packages. It asked Amazon to issue a report describing how it will grapple with disruptions caused by the climate crisis and lower its reliance on fossil fuels.

Amazon has already experienced some of the impacts that climate change will continue to have on its operations. The employees noted in their proposal that an Amazon Web Services server went down in Sydney three years ago, during historically high levels of rainfall. In February this year, extremely cold temperatures in Minnesota forced Amazon to close one of its fulfillment centers for multiple days. As the climate crisis grows worse, scientists expect these types of extreme weather events to increase. These factors in themselves present a business risk.

But Amazon also faces other risks if its employees perceive the company isn’t doing enough. Amazon’s “apparent inaction on issues of climate change can present human capital risks, which have the potential to lead to the Company having problems attracting and retaining talented employees,” the investor advisory firm Glass Lewis wrote in its analysis of the resolution.

Facial recognition, too, presents an ongoing challenge for Amazon to navigate. Studies have found facial recognition technology can be inaccurate and racially biased. A report released by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology earlier this month showed the New York Police Department abused the software by altering images and using pictures of non-suspects.

Many privacy and civil rights advocates are alarmed that Amazon has already given its facial recognition tools to several US police departments. So are some investors. The first of their proposals called for Amazon to stop selling its controversial Rekognition software to governments until it could assess the associated human rights risks. The second asked the company to conduct an outside civil rights audit of the product.

“It shouldn’t have come to this,” says Matt Cagle, a lawyer at the ACLU, which presented an open letter at the shareholder meeting urging investors to pass the two resolutions. “This just shows that investors are taking note of the potential costs. They’re seeing that the short term profit is not worth the long-term reputational and civil rights costs.”

Amazon has a web portal where people can report abuses of Rekognition, but the company doesn’t publicly disclose which governments are using the product, making potential misuse difficult to track. In a statement, a spokesperson for Amazon said the company has “received no reports of misuse of Amazon Rekognition by law enforcement agencies,” and noted it has been used for things like identifying trafficking victims. But Amazon’s defense of its system comes amid increasing calls to regulate facial recognition technology more widely. Last week, San Francisco banned city use of the tech, and other municipalities are currently considering similar measures.

“This is just the beginning of these types of shareholder proposals that we will see targeting companies that are involved in developing some sort of artificial intelligence tool,” says Jason Schloetzer, a professor at Georgetown Business School.

For the thousands of Amazon employees fighting climate change, at least two wins can already be celebrated. They successfully organized and attracted the attention of their employer, which appears to be working on more environmental initiatives. They’ll be watching to see how Amazon proceeds from here. “The climate emergency isn’t going away, and neither are we,” says Sheppard.

Have a tip about Amazon? Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via Signal at 347-966-3806.

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Original author: Louise Matsakis
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A Critical Hit to Huawei, the Student Space Race, and More News

A Critical Hit to Huawei, the Student Space Race, and More News

Trouble is brewing for a Chinese electronics giant, students sent a rocket into actual space, and the highly infectious measles just won't go away. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less.

Today's Headlines

Huawei may have been dealt a critical blow in its war with Trump

President Donald Trump has deemed Chinese electronics giant Huawei a national security threat—a problem the company thought it could weather. But now some of its suppliers are backing away, potentially leaving Huawei crippled. How bad is it? "This is like telling Coca-Cola that they can't use carbonated water."

A rocket built by students has reached outer space

A rocket built entirely by USC students soared past the Kármán line—the boundary that marks the end of Earth's atmosphere—reaching 339,800 feet and a top speed of 3,386 mph. It's only the second amateur rocket group in history to have accomplished the feat. The students' next goal? Claiming the highest amateur rocket launch in history.

Cocktail Conversation

In 2000, the US declared the deadly measles virus eliminated. But since January 1 of this year, measles has sickened 880 people across 24 states—more than all the cases of the past three years combined. That declaration could be officially reversed this September, entering us into a dark era of highly infectious disease.

WIRED Recommends: Cannondale Treadwell

Cannondale's latest addition to its bicycle lineup clocks in as a lightweight fitness bike—i.e. a hybrid of sorts. It's no hassle to run errands or zip down to the beach with, but it's also effective for longer expeditions. The really cool thing? It can track all your rides with onboard sensors.

More News You Can Use

Far-right propaganda flooded Facebook ahead of EU elections.

COMING SOON: This daily roundup will soon be available via newsletter. You can sign up right here to make sure you get the very first one when it's available!

Original author: Alex Baker-Whitcomb
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U.S. urges South Korea to reject Huawei goods, citing security risks: Chosun Ilbo

SEOUL (Reuters) - The U.S. government is lobbying South Korea not to use Huawei Technologies Co Ltd products, a South Korean newspaper reported on Thursday, amid a wider push by Washington to get its allies to reject the Chinese tech firm’s goods.

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FILE PHOTO: A staff member is seen inside a Huawei retail store in Shanghai, China May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

In one incident, a U.S. State Department official said in a recent meeting with a South Korean counterpart that local telco LG Uplus Corp, which uses Huawei’s equipment, should “not be allowed to serve in sensitive areas in South Korea”, Chosun Ilbo reported. The official added Huawei needs be eventually driven out of the country, if not immediately.

LG Uplus shares dropped 6 percent in Thursday’s morning trade, which compared to a 0.4 percent drop in the benchmark KOSPI.

“LG Uplus has not received any statements or requests from either South Korea’s foreign ministry or the United States regarding our use of Huawei equipment,” a LG Uplus official told Reuters on Thursday.

Washington has been pressing its allies not to use equipment made by Huawei over concerns it could be used for espionage or cyberattacks, a concern that Huawei says is unfounded.

The anti-Huawei campaign intensified last week, when U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that effectively banned the use of Huawei equipment in U.S. telecom networks on national security grounds. Additionally, the Commerce Department put limits on the firm’s purchases of U.S. technology.

While South Korea is a U.S. ally, China is its biggest export market. China took in nearly a quarter of South Korea’s total exports in the first four months of this year, according to South Korea government data.

The U.S. government has repeatedly sent the message to South Korea’s Foreign Ministry through various diplomatic channels that using Huawei products could cause security problems, Chosun Ilbo reported, citing an unnamed diplomatic source in Seoul.

“The U.S. has stressed the importance of security for 5G equipment, and we are aware of the U.S.’s position,” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that Seoul and Washington have been in continued talks on this issue, but declining to elaborate.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Reporting by Joyce Lee and Heekyong Yang; Additional reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Sam Holmes

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Panasonic says on its China website it is supplying Huawei normally

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FILE PHOTO : Panasonic Corp's logo is pictured at Panasonic Center in Tokyo, Japan, February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Japan’s Panasonic Corp said on its China website on Thursday it continues to supply Huawei Technologies Co Ltd normally.

The company had said earlier that it stopped shipments of certain components to Huawei.

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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Uber and Lyft to turn the wheels on car ownership: industry experts

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ride-hailing apps like those of Uber Technologies and Lyft Inc are expected to alter the state of car ownership towards subscription-based services and shared ownership, auto industry experts said at a conference on Wednesday.

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FILE PHOTO: Uber and Lyft signs on a car in Redondo Beach, California, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson -/File Photo

At the annual Collision Conference in Toronto, speakers said ride-hailing apps are also set to play a role in testing automation for safety.

“Your phone will be your car,” said Andre Haddad, CEO of Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing company that enables users to rent their cars out to others.

Haddad said that while car sales have never been higher globally, people are realizing that owning a vehicle is increasingly becoming unaffordable due to car payments, insurance, and parking.

“Many more are realizing they can share their car when they’re not using it or rent it out to recover the big costs of ownership,” he added.

Uber said it is the largest ride-hailing firm in the world with 91 million users globally and a 65 percent market share in North America.

Both Uber and Lyft went public this year, but are trading well below their offer prices.

Haddad said that car ownership among young adults was on the decline, with fewer adults under the age of 25 purchasing cars.

At the same time, he said the demographics would stabilize and demand for cars for events like weekend trips or vacations would maintain their interest.

Scott Hempy, CEO of Filld, a mobile gas delivery service, said labor trends like working remotely or from home had contributed to the reduced interest in cars, and that ride-sharing would change the insurance industry to per mile charges, rather than a flat fee.

Ride-sharing fleets and taxis are expected to be the testing ground for automation, according to Zaki Fasihuddin, the CEO of Volvo Cars Technology. Fasihuddin said ride-sharing cars would be the first practical applications for autonomous vehicles, at the ultimate goal of reducing all fatalities.

“Give consumers the choice,” said Fasihuddin. “Ride-sharing is a viable option. Nowadays people take that for granted, and that’s a valid mode of transportation.

Reporting by Tyler Choi; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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PC maker Lenovo books fourth-quarter profit surge, says production unaffected by trade war

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Tech giant Lenovo Group Ltd on Thursday reported a market-beating three-fold surge in quarterly profit helped by strong personal computer (PCs) sales, and said its production plans had not been affected by the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war.

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FILE PHOTO: The Lenovo logo is seen in this illustration photo January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

Still investors, worried that the conflict was morphing into a technology cold war, dumped shares of Asian tech companies, with Lenovo’s stock price falling as much as 6.3% to its lowest in nearly four months.

Dual-headquartered in China and the United States, the world’s largest PC maker on Thursday said it is “well poised to navigate the turbulence in the geopolitical and macro-economic environment”.

The United States has sought to address what it believes is imbalanced trade with China, unleashing waves of tit-for-tat import tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods.

Lenovo said it was less exposed to the U.S. market than competitors and that most of its products are not subject to the new tariffs.

“We definitely don’t want to see this situation,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing told Reuters in an interview. “We’ve always said we wish the two governments can get the agreement as early as possible.”

Yang said Lenovo has contingency plans to shift production to its centers outside China - such as in India, Mexico, Hungary, Brazil and the United States - but so far has not made such adjustments.

PC GROWTH

Lenovo’s net profit in the fourth quarter ending March rose more than three fold to $118 million from a year prior when it suffered a writedown. The result compared with the $91.4 million average of seven analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

“The growth strategy of PC and Smart Device (PCSD) focusing on commercial, high-growth and premium segments has paid off in delivering record revenue for the fiscal year,” Yang said in a statement.

PCSD revenue rose 10%, with PC shipments growing 9%. Overall revenue rose 10% to $11.71 billion, in line estimates.

The global PC shipments declined 4.6% during three months, showed data from consultancy Gartner.

For the full year, Lenovo swung to a profit of $597 million, from a loss of $189 million a year earlier, when it had written down $400 million due to U.S. tax reform.

Annual revenue rose to a record $51 billion, which Lenovo attributed mainly to record sales at its PCSD business, which accounts for three quarters of the total.

Lenovo’s mobile business, which it has been trying to turn around, continued to lose money on an annual basis. Its nascent data center division also booked a loss but revenue grew 37%.

Going forward, Chief Operating Officer Gianfranco Lanci said he expects Lenovo’s mobile business to maintain pre-tax profitability, and that the data center business would focus on growing profit rather than revenue.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Anshuman Daga and Christopher Cushing

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Netflix's 'See You Yesterday' Challenges the Meaning of Time Travel

Netflix's 'See You Yesterday' Challenges the Meaning of Time Travel

Everyone knows the time-travel rules: Don't go back and meet your previous self; don't crush on your mom; and, as tempting as it is, don't try to kill an evil tyrant. Despite their obviousness, these tropes are still trotted out in most time-travel movies—including, most recently, Avengers: Endgame. See You Yesterday considers that history and says: We can make it better.

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The new Netflix sci-fi movie isn't concerned with stopping robot uprisings (Terminator), writing a high school history paper (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure), or reliving the 1980s (Hot Tub Time Machine). Rare for the genre, See You Yesterday imagines time travel as a way to correct a societal wrong, to undo evil of a more on-the-ground variety: Its protagonists, teenage science whizzes Claudette/CJ (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Crichlow), build a time machine to try to stop CJ's brother from being shot by police.

It says a lot that this kind of storyline is the exception. Implicitly, the choice challenges the concerns of those who for years have been able to make science fiction movies (or at least been able to make sci-fi movies that got in front of large audiences). Whereas filmmakers of the past have been interested in traveling through time to stop the Singularity or relive the heyday of the Walkman, director Stefon Bristol's movie, produced by Spike Lee, seeks to address police brutality against black Americans. It confronts real tragedy—the kind of life events true time travel could reconcile.

But, in Bristol and cowriter Fredrica Bailey's most heartbreaking and insightful turn, it doesn't work. Each time CJ and Sebastian go back, rewinding the clock in their East Flatbush, Brooklyn, neighborhood, their attempt to avert tragedy causes a new one. The damage is cyclical; fixing one incident doesn't solve the problem. The truth about police brutality is that it keeps happening, regardless of whether anyone can go back and alter the past. What needs to change is the world, the way law enforcement operates in America, not any one set of circumstances.

"I think our main goal is just to continue the conversation of police brutality," Bailey recently told The Root during the movie's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. "As a society, we have a tendency sometimes—things kind of ebb and flow and then they disappear, so Stefon and I want to bring this back to the forefront and say, 'Hey, while we're tackling all these other worthy issues, also remember that these are problems in our communities, and it's still something that we need to focus on and find a solution to.'"

See You Yesterday itself provides no solutions. Its conclusion is open-ended—whether CJ and Sebastian succeeded in righting the wrongs of the past is entirely up to viewers. For decades, science fiction has consisted of allegories for what could've been in the past, or what the world could be in the future. Utopias and dystopias. See You Yesterday doesn't have time for any of that; its catastrophes are in the present. It can only point to them and demand change—before it's too late.

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Original author: Angela Watercutter
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A Rocket Built by Students Reached Space for the First Time

A Rocket Built by Students Reached Space for the First Time

In the early morning of April 21, 10 students from the University of Southern California’s Rocket Propulsion Lab piled into the back of a pickup truck with a 13-foot rocket wedged between them and drove down a dusty dirt road to a launchpad near Spaceport America, in southern New Mexico. When they arrived, their teammates helped them lift the 300-pound rocket onto a launch rail. Dennis Smalling, the rocket lab’s chief engineer, began the countdown at 7:30 am. When he reached zero, Traveler IV shot up off its launchpad, exhaust and flames pouring from its tail.

The USC team is one of several groups of college students across the United States and Europe that have been racing to send a rocket above the Kármán line, the imaginary boundary that separates Earth’s atmosphere and space. For most of the history of spaceflight, sending a rocket to space required mobilizing resources on a national scale. The V-2 rocket, which was the first to reach space in 1942, took well over a decade to develop and cost the Nazis a fortune. In the eight decades since, dozens of other countries—and a handful of billionaires—have produced their own rockets capable of suborbital flight. But several student teams, including some from the top aerospace universities in the US (Princeton, MIT, UC Berkeley, Boston University), set out to show that they could do it too.

As Traveler IV crossed the sky, the USC team and dozens of spectators watched in apprehensive silence, shielding their eyes from the rising desert sun. They scanned for signs of the rocket and listened to the avionics lead, Conor Hayes, call out the altitude. Eight kilometers ... 13 kilometers ... 17 kilometers. Just under three minutes after launch, a member of the launch team radioed in with the words that everyone was waiting to hear: “The drogues have fired.” The first set of parachutes had deployed at apogee, suggesting the rocket had made it to space as planned. Peter Eusebio, the team’s recovery lead, let out a whoop and turned to embrace Sidney Wilcox, the team’s launch coordinator, and the pair began jumping with glee. All that was left to do was find the rocket.

USC Rocket Propulsion Lab

The USC rocketeers recovered their spacecraft 12 miles downrange from where it had launched. For an object that had just been traveling at five times the speed of sound, it was in pretty good shape. And when they analyzed the flight data, they concluded with near certainty that the rocket had breached the Kármán line, making the USC Rocket Lab only the second amateur group to ever send a rocket to space. The vehicle had reached an altitude of 339,800 feet and achieved a top speed of 3,386 mph.

Although breaching the Kármán line was the goal of the collegiate space race, this “official” space boundary is somewhat arbitrary. NASA, for instance, gives astronaut wings to any pilot that flies 50 miles above Earth’s surface, which is some 60,000 feet below the Kármán line. By these metrics, the USC team was well into space proper, even accounting for any measurement errors by the onboard accelerometer tracking the rocket’s ascent.

The USC Rocket Propulsion Lab has been chasing this goal since it was founded in 2005. It began only a year after the Civilian Space Exploration Team became the first group in history to send an amateur rocket into space; that group repeated the feat in 2014.

USC Rocket Propulsion Lab

Like the Civilian Space Exploration Team, the USC lab focused on solid fuel rockets, which require far less complicated—and dangerous—motors than the liquid fuel rockets launched by SpaceX or Blue Origin. Some of the rockets being developed by the leaders of the collegiate space race have two stages, but the USC team opted for a single-stage rocket. If you’re trying to get to orbit, which requires reaching speeds of more than 17,000 mph, a two-stage rocket is a must, so as to jettison the dead weight of empty propellant tanks. But for lower altitudes and speeds, a single-stage rocket can do the trick.

In 2013, the USC rocket team attempted its first space shot with the Traveler I, which exploded just seconds after launch. A similar fate befell Traveler II, which was launched the following year. Clearly, it was time to make some changes. Following the failure of the first two Traveler rockets, the USC team began to develop the Fathom rocket and Graveler motor as testbeds for flight systems that would be used on subsequent space shots. The Fathom rocket was effectively a scaled-down version of the Traveler rocket that allowed the USC team to build multiple rockets in quick succession to see how the subsystems worked together. After extensive ground tests, the team’s Fathom II rocket set a record when it reached an altitude of 144,000 feet in 2017. Other collegiate rocket teams had reached only about 100,000 feet. The time seemed ripe to attempt another spaceshot.

In September 2018, the USC team launched Traveler III, which may have been the first collegiate rocket to make it to space. The team expected it to reach about 370,000 feet, but the USC team failed to activate the avionics payload, so none of its flight data got recorded. Prior to the launch of Traveler IV, Tewksbury says, the team overhauled its operational procedures to avoid a similar gaffe.

USC Rocket Propulsion Lab

USC may have been the first collegiate team to make it to space, but the race is far from over. A number of teams, including USC, are exploring liquid-fueled rockets, despite the greater engineering challenge. They offer several advantages, including greater degrees of control and the ability to carry more payload mass to altitude. The huge costs of building such rockets makes them daunting for universities, but the same thing could have been said about solid-fueled rockets just 15 years ago.

Tewksbury says the USC team is up for the challenge. But the team is also not done with its solid-fuel rockets. The Rocket Propulsion Lab hopes to also claim the title of the highest amateur rocket launch in history. This means adding another 50,000 feet to their altitude, but once you’ve traveled 64 miles into the atmosphere, what’s another dozen miles?

Updated 05-22-2019, 11:00 pm ET: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the avionics lead as the range lead and stated the rocket traveled 29 miles down range. The rocket actually traveled 12 miles down range.

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Original author: Daniel Oberhaus
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Judge Finds Qualcomm's Pricing Policy Violates Antitrust Law

Judge Finds Qualcomm's Pricing Policy Violates Antitrust Law

The US has joined China, the European Union, and South Korea in ruling that Qualcomm violated antitrust laws.

Qualcomm is the largest maker of modem chips for connecting smartphones to wireless networks. Its customers, including Apple and Samsung, complain that the company uses unfair practices, such as threatening to withhold supplies of chips, to force companies to agree to excessive licensing fees for its technology. Apple and Qualcomm settled their own separate, complicated legal battle last month.

The Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm in 2017, alleging that the company drove up smartphone prices by overcharging customers and unfairly blocking competitors from the modem chip market, but the case didn't make it to trial until January. Late Tuesday night, US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled in the FTC's favor and ordered Qualcomm to negotiate or renegotiate its modem chip licensing terms with its customers, barred the company from entering into exclusivity deals that prevent customers from buying modem chips from other companies, and required the company to submit to monitoring by the FTC for the next seven years. Koh also upheld her previous ruling that Qualcomm must license its patents to competitors under fair and reasonable terms.

Qualcomm will appeal the decision. "We strongly disagree with the judge’s conclusions, her interpretation of the facts and her application of the law," the company's general counsel, Don Rosenberg, said in a statement.

If Qualcomm loses its appeal, smartphone makers might be able to pay the company less for its technology, though it’s unclear whether that will translate into lower prices for consumers.

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The WIRED Guide to 5G

Qualcomm has historically charged a fee both for the chips it sells to device makers like Apple and Samsung, and a patent licensing fee of around 5 percent of the total value of a device, up to about $20. That means if you paid $300 for a phone, Qualcomm would get $15 on top of whatever the manufacturer paid for any Qualcomm chips included in the phone. If you paid $1,000, Qualcomm would get $20.

In the FTC case, Apple argued that this license overvalued Qualcomm's chips relative to other technologies, such as touchscreens, that go into a smartphone. But Apple and other customers say they were unable to renegotiate patent licensing prices because Qualcomm threatened to cut off supplies of chips. Koh's order specifically bans Qualcomm from cutting off chip supplies, but it doesn’t necessarily stop the company from charging patent licensing fees separate from the cost of chips.

Qualcomm argued that it underpriced the chips themselves because it didn't account for the value of its intellectual property when selling the chips. It also said that the average price of smartphones dropped by 34 percent between 2010 and 2017, and asserted that the drop is evidence that it hasn’t harmed competition.

Qualcomm has been competing with companies like Intel and Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek in the modem chip business. Last month Intel abandoned its plans to make chips capable of connecting to 5G networks, leaving smartphone makers more dependent on Qualcomm than ever.

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Original author: Klint Finley
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Las Vegas Orders Up a Boring Company Loop

Las Vegas Orders Up a Boring Company Loop

Since Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk joke-tweeted the Boring Company into existence two and a half years ago, the fledgling tunneling tech company has dug one (test) hole, in the parking lot of SpaceX’s suburban LA headquarters; participated in at least one high-profile press conference with the mayor of Chicago; promised Dodgers fans it would make it easier to get to their seats; been sued by at least two neighborhood groups in Los Angeles (they did not want tunnels near their homes); and completed at least two very lengthy and official environmental review for projects in Maryland and LA.

But never has the Boring Company had a paying customer. Until now. Late Wednesday, the board of directors of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority voted to grant a $48,675,000 contract to the Boring Company to build a 0.83-mile, three-station version of the company's Loop mass-transit system inside of Vegas' sprawling, revamped convention center, which is currently under construction.

As previously outlined by BoCo, the Loop system is made up of 8- to 16-passenger battery-powered autonomous electric vehicles, built to shoot people from station to station at speeds of up to 150 mph. This Las Vegas system is slated to transport at least 4,400 passengers per hour between the center’s new exhibit and south halls, about a 20-minute walk by foot.

The Boring Company has also pledged to build an escalator or elevator system for each of the three stations, pedestrian entrances and exits, tunnel lighting, power and video surveillance systems, a control room, and cell phone, Wi-Fi, intercom, and ventilation systems. The convention center hopes to time the opening of the Loop with the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show.

The Boring Company

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman was the only board member to vote against granting the Boring Company its bid. During the bidding process, Goodman had asked fellow board members to consider a more expensive proposal from another company, Doppelmayr. “Doppelmayr has been in existence for 125 years,” Goodman wrote in a letter, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “They already have projects here that are operating successfully. The Boring Co. is 3 years old and has yet to deliver a final package on anything.” Goodman’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tunnel engineering experts have cast doubt on the Boring Company’s ambitious plans. Musk, who has made destroying traffic congestion one of his (many) missions, aims to speed up tunnel boring by a factor of 10 and reduce costs by a factor of 15, in part by reducing the diameter of its tunnels and automating parts of the boring process. But critics wonder whether the Boring Company can pull off projects as cheaply as promised. It has yet to show off a purpose-built tunnel boring machine, though Musk has previously said it would begin to assemble one this year. And in December, when the Boring Company opened up its 1.1-mile Loop prototype in its Los Angeles test tunnel, riders said the trip was bumpy, and it hit top speeds of only 50 mph.

Musk, moreover, is not the world’s biggest fan of deadlines. “Sometimes, I'm not on time,” he told Tesla investors last month. “But I get it done.”

According to a contract posted by the Convention Center’s board prior to Wednesday’s vote, the Boring Company agreed to a number of provisions, just in case it fails to complete its work. The contract requires it to take out a payment recovery bond, which would repay the Convention Center Authority if BoCo does not complete its project. The Boring Company would also have to shell out approximately $1.6 million to “close and secure” an unfinished project. According to the contract, the company would receive just over half of its payment after construction is completed, 70 percent after testing and commissioning, and the full payment only after it demonstrates it can daily move at least 4,400 people each hour. (It will not, however, be required to “destroy traffic.”)

“Las Vegas will continue to elevate the experience of our visitors with innovation, such as with this project, and by focusing on the current and future needs of our guests,” LVCVA CEO and President Steve Hill said in a statement Wednesday. The Boring Company did not respond to a request for comment.

Other company projects in Los Angeles and between Washington, DC, and Baltimore are awaiting official approvals. Last June, BoCo officially "won" a bid to build a high-speed airport connector in Chicago, but it has yet to sign a contract with a city. (Chicago's new mayor has signaled she's not at all in favor of moving forward with the project.)

The Boring Company appears to be staffing up for its push into Sin City. According to its website, the LA-based company is hiring for a handful of Las Vegas positions, including civil engineers, an architect, a crane operator, and a tunnel boring machine operator. Viva Las Vegas; live in Las Vegas.

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Original author: Aarian Marshall
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VW’s ‘Dieselgate’ Settlement Isn’t Buying Many Electric Vehicles

VW’s ‘Dieselgate’ Settlement Isn’t Buying Many Electric Vehicles

For all the moves backing up its newfound enthusiasm for an electric future—70 new battery-powered models by 2028, a $1 billion investment in its own battery plant, a national network of high-power charging stations—Volkswagen may make no bigger contribution to that vision than the $15 billion it paid to settle the Dieselgate scandal in the US. Most of the money went to repurchase cars from deceived customers and to promote electric cars in general. But nearly one-fifth was meant to help state governments jumpstart the shift away from driving on dirty diesel.

Alex Davies covers autonomous vehicles and other transportation machines for WIRED.

So it’s just a bit distressing that, for the most part, the officials charged with spending that money don’t seem especially intent on putting it toward a cleaner future. Many, in fact, are using it to buy new diesel vehicles. Just a handful of states have laid out plans that ensure their VW moolah will exclusively power electric vehicles.

That’s the takeaway from a newly released report by the US Public Interest Research Group, whose authors went over the high-level plans each state had to submit before collecting its check. It’s a wasted opportunity to use the cash to move toward zero-emission vehicle fleets and improve the health of people and the planet, says Matt Casale, who wrote the report with Brendan Mahoney.

The money in question comes from a $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust that VW funded as part of the 2016 settlement, which it signed with the Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Trade Commission. The deal settled allegations that VW cheated emissions tests and deceived customers with its “Clean Diesel” advertising campaign. The money is distributed based on how many offending cars were registered in each state (plus Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico). California received more than $422 million; each state got at least $8.125 million.

The attached strings required states to spend the funds on relatively clean vehicles for public fleets, including electrics, cleaner diesels, and natural gas burners. Those vehicles can’t be passenger cars, so things like police cars are out. States can’t spend more than 15 percent of the pot on EV charging infrastructure. The plans didn’t have to detail precisely how states would spend the money; most outline funds and grants that government agencies can use to offset the costs of new vehicles.

When the settlement was finalized, US PIRG recommended that states spend 15 percent on their windfalls on infrastructure, and put the remainder into fully electric buses to replace vehicles that are commonly diesel-powered and tend to travel in densely populated areas, around children. The Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council made similar recommendations.

Once each state (except Florida, the slacker) had filed its plan, US PIRG graded them using a rubric based on the perhaps impractical notion that using this money to do anything but support the use of zero-emissions vehicles should count as a failure. It rewarded plans that restrict spending to electric vehicles (especially buses) and infrastructure. It punished those that allow the use of the funds for new diesels. Even new diesel systems that are far cleaner that what’s on the road today (and what VW was selling) get little credit here. The fuel’s exhaust, even when emitted below regulatory limits, is a carcinogen that’s especially harmful to kids and tends to affect low-income communities particularly. “The longer we have these vehicles on our roads that are emitting this exhaust,” Casale says, “the less healthy we’ll be.”

USPIRG’s grading system is harsh—four out of eight points converts to a D—and so the grades are grim. Just four states scored an A+ or A. Twenty-one, plus Washington, DC, got a D. Fourteen, plus Puerto Rico, got an F. Every state other than Hawaii, Washington, and Rhode Island will let local governments and departments use the money to buy diesel vehicles, if they want to. Arizona (which received an F) is buying 330 new diesel-powered school buses. New Jersey (C) allows local governments to have the cost of a diesel vehicle fully reimbursed. Wisconsin (F) does nothing to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles. So their local officials and transit agencies have no financial reason to go with a battery over an internal combustion engine. But some choose to, anyway. In Wisconsin, cities including Racine are dipping into the fund to purchase new battery-powered buses.

The states allowing for diesel, Casele says, are thinking short-term, to their disadvantage. He notes that Arizona’s new diesel buses run $111,000 a pop. A new electric bus costs more than twice that, so diesel appears to be a logical choice, especially if it’s cleaner than what’s on the road now. But Casale and USPIRG note that electric vehicles are cheaper to operate than gas and diesel vehicles (cheaper fuel, less maintenance), and can drastically reduce public health costs stemming from increased rates of asthma and other respiratory problems. Meaning, they can cost less in the long term.

This would not be the first time short-term thinking has led states away from using a windfall the way advocates hoped they would. Every year, the 46 states that signed the 1998 accord settling lawsuits against the tobacco industry receive a share of $9 billion. At the time, it seemed like a “no-brainer” that states would use the money to fund lavish anti-smoking education efforts, says John Schachter, director of state communications for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. But there are no restrictions on how the money can be used, and most of it—especially since the financial downturn a decade ago—has gone into states’ general funds, to be used for all sorts of things. Meanwhile, the states collectively spend just 20 percent of what the Centers for Disease Control recommends on those education efforts. Rising concerns around youth e-cigarette use, though, could provide what Schachter calls “an unfortunate boost to our campaign.”

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Original author: Alex Davies
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Google exposes G Suite issue that stored plain-text passwords on its servers for 14 years

Google has begun forcing “a subset of our enterprise G Suite customers” to change their passwords after an issue that inadvertently left passwords exposed for more than a decade.

In a post to its Google Cloud blog Tuesday, the company outlined an error made back in 2005 that stored a copy of actual user passwords rather than the usual scrambled “hashed” version, thus making it possible for an outside attack to gain access to usable passwords. Google explains that the issue has been fixed and the company has “seen no evidence of improper access to or misuse of the affected passwords.”

Google says the passwords were still stored on its “secure encrypted infrastructure,” so the likelihood of an outside attack was low.

Google blames a legacy feature set for the issue. Back in 2005, G Suite domain administrators were given the ability to set and recover passwords on the client side for their own users, so they needed access to unhashed passwords. Google has since jettisoned this functionality and requires all G Suite passwords to be reset rather than recovered, just like Gmail.

Additionally, Google unearthed a separate issue that started in January that also led to unhashed passwords being stored for up to 14 days. Like the other issue, Google has fixed the problem and hasn’t found any evidence of “improper access to or misuse of the affected password.” 

As a result, Google is informing all affected clients to change impacted passwords and will reset any that aren’t manually changed. Google apologized for the issue and promised it “will do better” in the future.

While this particular issue doesn’t affect Gmail users (outside of G Suite subscribers), it drives home the need to use strong, unique passwords for every critical site and service you use. If you aren’t using a password manager yet, you should be. Our roundup of the best password managers can get you on the right track if you need help selecting one.

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Original author: Michael Simon
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Leaked ARM memo suggests Huawei's losing access to yet more essential technology

The hits keep coming for Huawei. Following the revocation of its license to use Google apps and the Play Store on its Android phones and a ban by several major chipmakers, including Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm, a leaked memo obtained by the BBC has revealed that ARM has ordered its employees to cease “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with the beleaguered China-based tech giant.

While ARM is a UK-based company, its chip designs contain technology that originated in the U.S. and subsequently are believed to be subject to the Commerce Department’s blanket ban. The memo says ARM employees are no longer able to “provide support, delivery technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters.”

While Google’s revocation of Huawei’s Android license might seem like a bigger story, losing ARM could be just as devastating to the company. Huawei is one of the few phone makers that doesn’t use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips in its phones. Its homegrown Kirin processors have made the P30 and Mate 20 handsets among the fastest around. The Kirin chips also include didactic image signal processors that aid in things like low-light and portrait photography. 

huawei p30 pro camerasHuawei

The ARM-based Kirin processors are part of what makes Huawei’s cameras so great.

However, those chips are built using the ARM foundation, which could put future releases in jeopardy. What’s more, it means Huawei may have lost access to the only two chipset architectures supported by Android: ARM and x86. So even if it were able to design a completely new chip devoid of ARM’s intellectual property, there’s no guarantee that it would work with the Android Open Source Project code. While this year’s crop of processors are likely already designed, losing ARM would mean Huawei would have to design a completely new chip architecture and OS within the next year, which seems like an impossible task.

The move would also affect Honor phones, which is an affordable product line made by Huawei. Just this week, Honor launched the 20 Pro powered by Huawei’s top-of-the-line Kirin processor.

In a statement, Huawei expressed optimism over the issue and took a shot at the U.S.-led campaign: “We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognize the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions. We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved, and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world.”

Based on the memo, ARM seems unsure whether it falls under the U.S. ban, so it’s possible Huawei could be granted a reprieve. Plus, the U.S. government has signaled it may be willing to bend in the interest of consumer safety. Following the Android license revocation, it granted a 90-day temporary general license so Huawei could continue to ensure existing handsets receive security updates.

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Original author: Michael Simon
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U.S. startup accuses Huawei executive of involvement in trade-secrets theft: WSJ

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FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is seen at a bus stop in Mexico City, Mexico February 22, 2019. Picture taken February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

(Reuters) - A Silicon Valley chip startup has accused a top executive of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Deputy Chairman Eric Xu, of participating in a conspiracy to steal its trade secrets, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing court documents.

The allegations were made in a lawsuit set for trial on June 3 in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, in which CNEX Labs Inc claimed that Huawei engaged in a multi-year conspiracy to steal the company’s solid-state drive computer storage technology, including with the help of a Chinese university, the WSJ reported.

Huawei said in a statement on Thursday the allegations against Xu were “groundless”.

CNEX did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

California-based CNEX is developing technology to enhance the performance of solid-state drives in data centers and has been in a dispute with Huawei since 2017.

It had accused Huawei of enlisting a Chinese university professor working on a research project to improperly access the startup’s technology.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Anne Marie Roantree in Hong Kong; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Christopher Cushing

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Taiwan's TSMC says chip shipments to Huawei not affected by U.S. ban

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is seen during an investors' conference in Taipei, Taiwan, April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

HSINCHU, Taiwan (Reuters) - TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, said on Thursday its shipments to China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd are not affected by U.S. action aimed at curbing the telecom equipment maker’s access to American technology.

The comment was made by spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun at the TSMC 2019 Technology Symposium in Taiwan’s tech hub of Hsinchu.

TSMC, formally Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, previously said it would maintain supplies to Huawei for the time being, and that it was assessing the impact of Washington’s decision to limit access to goods incorporating U.S. technology.

Reporting by Yimou Lee; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Christopher Cushing

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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About Terminal Madness

Terminal Madness started out as a Computer Bulletin Board, ( BBS ) back in the early 90's. Fascinated that one could get all the information they ever wanted "on line", for FREE, the "BBS" was named Terminal Madness.

Now, about 22 years later, that fascination with computers and information continues.

From the USA, to the Dominican Republic, to Curacao and back to the USA.

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