WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - AT&T Inc spent close to half the total in the record-setting U.S. sale of airwaves for mobile data, with Dish Network Corp spending heavily to manage a surprise win at No.2 ahead of Verizon, results showed on Friday. AT&T bid a total of $18.2 billion to win licenses of so-called AWS-3 spectrum. Dish itself did not win any licenses, but had invested in bidding partners SNR Wireless LicenseCo LLC and Northstar Wireless LLC, which bid a total of $13.3 billion. The two companies, backed also by financial firms including BlackRock Inc but with little to no revenue, had applied to receive a discount as small-business entities, bringing their net bid amount to $10 billion.
By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Ride service Uber, which is trying to enhance its image after several controversies, on Friday released the findings of a report on its handling of passenger data and said it would act on all the report's recommendations for improvements. Lawyers at Hogan Lovells, who wrote the report commissioned and paid for by Uber, found that the smartphone app-enabled service had appropriate guidelines and procedures in place for internal access control, data security and data retention. The report said Uber could improve privacy and data security by taking steps such as providing training for employees, making policies easier for customers to understand, and tightening access controls. Management at the San Francisco-based company, which announced the report's findings in a blog post, said on Friday it had already begun putting the recommendations into effect.
(Reuters) - The head of China's commerce regulator met with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd chairman Jack Ma on Friday to discuss combating fake products, the official Xinhua news agency reported, with the two adopting a conciliatory tone after a row over illegal business on the Internet company's platforms. The meeting took place the same day the regulator, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), backtracked on an earlier report that had excoriated the Chinese online commerce company for not doing enough to suppress counterfeiting on its websites. SAIC issued what it called a "white paper" on Wednesday saying many products sold on Alibaba's websites infringed on trademarks, or were banned, substandard or fake. "The most recent SAIC posting speaks for itself.
By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp brought back annual performance bonuses for its chief executive and her top lieutenants for 2014 despite falling profits and a tumbling stock price, a regulatory filing showed on Friday. The technology company, which has posted lower revenue for 11 quarters in a row as it struggles to transform itself into a cloud-based software and services company, withheld annual bonuses in 2013 at the executives' own request. The bonuses returned as a feature of IBM's executive compensation for 2014, according to a document filed with securities regulators on Friday, despite the fact that IBM's net profit from continuing operations fell 7 percent last year and its stock shed about 14 percent. IBM CEO Virginia Rometty will get a $3.6 million annual incentive payout for 2014, according to the filing.
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge appeared skeptical on Friday about Uber's bid for a quick pretrial ruling that its drivers are contractors and not employees, a critical question facing Silicon Valley's sharing economy. App-based ride service Uber, and smaller rival Lyft, face separate lawsuits seeking class action status in San Francisco federal court, brought on behalf of drivers who contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. At a court hearing on Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said Uber's bid for a pretrial ruling its drivers are contractors is a "tough argument" to make, given that the drivers serve Uber's business goals.
In fact, that snap of the shutter you hear when taking a picture is a wonderful symphony of mechanical engineering at work, and happens so fast that you can't really enjoy it all with the naked eye. Luckily, the Slow Mo Guys have painstakingly chronicled what's happening with the mechanical shutter of a Canon 7D using a very fast (and expensive) Phantom Flex camera, recording various shutter speeds at a mind-boggling 10,000 frames per second. The result shows what happens when you click that shutter button, including the viewfinder mirror lifting while the rolling shutter exposes a portion of the sensor. Slow Mo Guy Gavin Free also shows how the rolling shutter effect can end up creating bizarre and often unwanted effects in both stills and video, something that is thankfully not apparent in this video of melons being detonated, which was filmed using a different shutter technology.
Apple had a record Christmas quarter after crushing all expectations and setting a new world record for the most profitable quarter ever in the history of any company. While iPhone sales — specifically the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus versions — brought in a significant chunk of revenue and profit, Apple also sold plenty of iPads and Macs during the period. In fact, the company keeps selling lots of OS X computers each quarter, with Apple constantly tweaking their design and performance. FROM EARLIER: New leak may reveal the first case for Apple’s biggest iPad yet While some people may not necessarily notice all the little changes some of these devices go through from year to year, Apple has come a
Solar energy is definitely taking off and now researchers may have come up with the absolute best way to generate cheap solar power by installing solar panels in public parking lots. Rooftop solar power is making coal obsolete in Australia The Washington Post reports that solar power proponents are increasingly turning their eyes toward America’s parking lots as the perfect locations for mass solar panel installations. The reasons for this are easy to understand: Parking lots taking up huge chunks of our landscape and absorb a ton of heat in hot weather. Why not put them to good use by installing solar panels over them? The one big issue, the Post says, is that such solar panel installations
Two high-level employees at Nest have departed the company this week, The Verge has learned. Sources say that Nest's vice president of technology Yoky Matsuoka, as well as Greg Duffy who co-founded Dropcam, are no longer with the company. Matsuoka was previously the head of innovation at Google, as well as a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. She's leaving to join Twitter.
Google Earth probably isn’t your go-to Google app on a day-to-day basis, but it’s a fun tool to mess with when you want to explore a foreign country or take a virtual road trip across the Midwest. What you might not know is that Google has maintained a premium version of the app called Google Earth Pro for years, but as of today, the paid features are now free for everyone. READ MORE: Google explains how its email killer is changing your life “Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops,” writes Stafford Marquardt, Product Manager of Google Earth Pro.
When Google-backed augmented reality company Magic Leap quietly applied for a patent, it did so with dozens of pages of futuristic (and slightly creepy) scenarios: a social media charm bracelet, a gargoyle bursting out of a box in a store, gamified cucumber chopping... As it turns out, Magic Leap's patent art isn't so much its vision of the future as one created by various students and designers. If patents are about originality, does this mean Magic Leap is hurting its claims? In this case, Magic Leap is patenting an optical system that has nothing to do with the interfaces displayed here.
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of a new standard for broadband Internet. From now on, anything less than 25Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream is no longer considered broadband — but there has been one unexpected (and perhaps unwanted) victor as result. As of January 29th, Comcast’s broadband market share is now greater than 50%. READ MORE: Comcast is sorry it called customer an ‘a**hole’ on their bill According to a Comcast filing from December 2014 regarding the upcoming Time Warner Cable merger, the provider noted that it would control “56.8 percent excluding mobile broadband and 44.7 percent including mobile broadband,” reports Ars Technica. So how does Comcast already have a 50% market share on broadband without
Supernovas, the violent explosions of massive stars after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel, have long been one of the most fascinating mysteries of the universe. Rather than having uniform layers of ejected material, the new 3-D map found the supernova remnant has frothy cavities that were possibly created by radioactive nickel during the explosion that decays to form iron. In a star that is massive enough, the star explodes in a supernova when it runs out of nuclear fuel, combining lighter elements through fusion reactions until it reaches iron, at which point the star's inner core collapses. A supernova is so violent and bright that many can be observed with the naked eye and are a common occurrence in our universe.
Earlier this week, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo predicted that Uber's biggest impact on the world would not be in transforming transportation, but in changing the labor market and the way we think about work. Uber's explosion is the envy of employers everywhere. Uber marketed itself as a technological innovation, not a car company, and classified its drivers as independent contractors — selling them on the arrangement by promising flexible work hours and the freedom to be their own boss. Before this labor revolution can take place, Uber will have to prove its world-changing business model isn't screwing over drivers. Two lawsuits filed by a group of drivers, one against Uber and Lyft (a smaller, rival e-hailing company), filed on behalf of drivers are currently winding their way through San Francisco federal court.
The Sundance documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck is far from a traditional biopic. Directed by Brett Morgen, the filmmaker behind movies like The Kid Stays in the Picture and the Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane, it eschews conventional narrative in an attempt to bring audiences inside the mind of Cobain through his paintings, personal recordings, journals, and some disturbing home video footage. I sat down with Morgen during the festival to talk about the origins of the project, the absence of Dave Grohl (he appears only in archival footage), and a striking animated sequence which uses Cobain’s recorded recollection of how he lost his virginity and almost committed suicide during his teenaged years. When did you hear Nirvana for the first time?
You may have seen this earlier today in much blurrier form, but now HBO is giving it a proper release. The first trailer for Season 5 of Game of Thrones has just been put up to stream on the show's Facebook page. You can watch the trailer on YouTube above, or you can check it out in the Facebook embed below for slightly better quality video. The series returns on April 12th.
Bitcoin is without a doubt the best economic invention of my lifetime. Created six years ago by a person (or persons) identified as Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is a game changer for two important reasons. The first is its practical use. Using Bitcoin, it is possible to send and receive payments anonymously and instantly without any...
NEW YORK (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama urged Hollywood to give a more accurate portrayal of veterans and defended the Oscar-nominated "American Sniper," which has received criticism for its depiction of war.
(Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 "Chris Kyle Day" in the state, in honor of the late Navy Seal sharpshooter portrayed in the film "American Sniper." The movie, starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle who was killed by a disgruntled U.S. veteran on a Texas gun range in 2013, has been a box office hit as well as a flashpoint of debate between liberals and conservatives. Abbott, a Republican, made the announcement during a speech at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Affairs Mid-Winter Convention in Austin, according to a statement from the governor's office. "In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero – a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield – I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas," Abbott said during the speech, according to the statement.
By Natasja Sheriff NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mental illness sparked a false confession by the accused killer of Etan Patz and the real suspect in the 1979 disappearance of the boy in New York City is another man - a convicted child molester - a defense attorney told the jury on Friday. In his opening statement at the murder trial of Pedro Hernandez, the attorney said investigations both immediately after the boy vanished on May 25, 1979 and later in 2012 turned up nothing to connect the former delicatessen worker to the crime, except his own words in a 2012 confession to police. "He cannot distinguish between what is real and what is not," defense attorney Harvey Fishbein told the jury in a state court in Manhattan. Massive publicity surrounded the 6-year-old boy's disappearance while walking alone to a school bus stop for the first time in New York's Soho neighborhood, sparking a national movement to find missing children.
(Reuters) - New York City has settled with the family of an unarmed black teen fatally shot by police in 2012, agreeing to pay $3.9 million, officials said on Friday. Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot dead on Feb. 2, 2012 inside the bathroom of his Bronx apartment after being followed by police officers who said they believed he was carrying a gun. "This was a tragic case," New York City Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci said in an email. The officer, Richard Haste, was indicted for the fatal shooting in June 2012.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut panel developing a report on the Newtown massacre debated Friday whether the victims counted in the dedication should include the shooter's mother, a woman who has been faulted for contributing to the tragedy by fostering her son's fascination with guns.
Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria battled Western-backed rebels Friday as the jihadists pressed their bid to seize control of northern areas, a monitoring group and rebels said. The fighting comes nearly three months after Al-Nusra Front expelled another group of Western-backed opposition fighters from Idlib province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadists launched their offensive against the Western-armed Hazem movement on Thursday in Aleppo province. "The jihadists expelled the rebels from Regiment 111, once a regime army base that Hazem had taken over," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
On Thursday, school President Philip Hanlon announced that starting March 30, all students, regardless of age, will be prohibited from possessing hard alcohol on campus. The school’s Greek societies have also been warned that they need to improve their behavior or risk being banned. The White House says the behavior has led to an “epidemic” of sexual assault on school campuses. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries and 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida prosecutor announced on Friday he will not pursue an aggravated assault charge against former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman stemming from a domestic incident earlier this month after the alleged victim recanted. Zimmerman, who was acquitted in 2013 in a fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, has had several brushes with the law since his trial. His latest arrest on Jan. 9 in central Florida was in connection with a domestic disturbance involving his then-girlfriend who had accused him of throwing a wine bottle at her and smashing her cell phone during an argument. Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, in February 2012, when he was patrolling as a neighborhood watch volunteer.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring an end to "mindless austerity," President Barack Obama called for a surge in government spending Thursday, and asked Congress to throw out the sweeping budget cuts both parties agreed to four years ago when deficits were spiraling out of control.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill on Thursday to approve the long-pending Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite the White House saying earlier in the day that President Barack Obama would veto the measure. The Republican-led Senate passed the bill that would approve TransCanada Corp's project to carry 800,000 barrels per day of heavy Canadian crude to Nebraska on the way to Gulf Coast refineries and ports. The House has passed its own pipeline bill and will work with the Senate to send the bill to the Obama's desk. After the potential veto, Obama is expected to make his own decision on the pipeline after the State Department finishes a review in coming weeks.
Cuban President Raul Castro gave an endorsement to peace between the United States and his communist country, with the two nations in talks to restore ties after decades of animosity. Asked by a journalist at a summit of Latin American and Caribbean states what he would most like to see after the US economic embargo of Cuba is lifted, Castro barked: "Peace, peace between us, peace between the United States and us. Castro first said he would have to consider the question because the end of the economic embargo may be a long way away. US and Cuban diplomats met last week in Havana in landmark talks aimed at renewing ties that broke off in 1961.
By Steve Holland and Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday formed a political organization to explore a potential run for his party's presidential nomination, the latest high-profile politician to test the 2016 waters. Graham would attempt to use his South Carolina home base to his advantage for any potential run, since the Southern state is typically the third to hold a nominating contest in presidential election years, after Iowa and New Hampshire. "What I'm looking at is, is there a pathway forward on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire for a guy like me?
New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits plunged to the lowest level in nearly 15 years last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, dropped to a seasonally adjusted 265,000 in the week ending January 24, a hefty decline of 43,000 from the prior week's slightly upwardly revised level of 308,000. It was the lowest level for initial claims since mid-April 2000. The Labor Department said there was no particular factor influencing the week's claims data, which is often volatile.
By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The number of new confirmed Ebola cases totaled 99 in the week to Jan. 25, the lowest tally since June 2014, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, signaling the tide might have turned against the epidemic. "The response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic," the WHO said. "To achieve this goal as quickly as possible, efforts have moved from rapidly building infrastructure to ensuring that capacity for case finding, case management, safe burials, and community engagement is used as effectively as possible." The outbreak has killed 8,810 people out of 22,092 known cases, almost all of them in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Cases and deaths have fallen rapidly in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the past few weeks, with just 20 deaths recorded in Liberia in the 21 days to Jan. 25.
Malaysia declared on Thursday the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident, clearing the way for the airline to pay compensation to victims' relatives while the search for the plane goes on. "We officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident ... and that all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives," Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement. The announcement is in accordance with standards of annexes 12 and 13 in the International Civil Aviation, said Azharuddin. It will allow families of the passengers to obtain assistance through compensation, he said.
The French co-pilot was at the controls of an AirAsia plane before it crashed into the sea last month after flying through an area of towering clouds, killing all 162 people on board, investigators said Thursday. The announcement came as fishermen found two more bodies from the crash in waters off Sulawesi island in central Indonesia, around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from where the plane crashed, a search and rescue official said. On Thursday, Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, which has been analysing the plane's black boxes, said that prior to the crash, the aircraft had climbed fast in an area packed with huge storm clouds, and the stall alarms started going off. They also revealed that the Airbus A320-200's less experienced French co-pilot, Remi Plesel, was flying the plane before it went down, rather than Captain Iriyanto, a former fighter pilot who had around 20,000 hours of flying time.
WASHINGTON (AP) — State Department officials met Wednesday with a special House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, a day after the panel's Republican chairman complained about resistance from the Obama administration and vowed to "ratchet up" his inquiry.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A bid to end Arkansas' practice of commemorating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day was rejected by lawmakers Wednesday after opponents said the move would belittle Southern heritage.
By Thomas Grove MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday military action by the Ukrainian government would prompt an "inevitable further escalation of the conflict" with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and undermine any peacemaking. Russia has stepped up criticism of Kiev since violence has intensified in the conflict, where a ceasefire collapsed after rebels drove Ukrainian government forces out of Donetsk airport. The separatists say they want to drive back government forces and their artillery out of range of the cities they hold and improve their grip on strongholds. "The latest military actions provoked by Kiev will lead to the inevitable further escalation of the conflict (and) undermine efforts taken by the international community to end the bloodshed," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
An attack overnight in northern Mali by a pro-government armed group including suicide bombers killed a dozen people, security sources said Wednesday. "GATIA fighters, accompanied by suicide bombers, attacked a rebel Tuareg and anti-government Arab position in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday near the town of Tabankort. A security source in MINUSMA -- the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali -- confirmed the deaths, adding that two fighters blew themselves up while a third was killed before he was able to detonate his explosives. GATIA is the commonly-used name for the pro-government Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defence Group.
Saying that Congress must do its constitutional duty, a senior House of Representatives Democrat will introduce legislation on Wednesday that authorizes President Barack Obama's war on the so-called Islamic State but forbids sending U.S. ground troops into combat.
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