The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)



Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)


Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Apple hit with record EU tax bill

Yahoo – AFP, Danny Kemp, August 30, 2016

The European Union has ordered Apple to pay a record 13 billion euros in
back taxes in Ireland (AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen)

Brussels (AFP) - The EU ordered tech giant Apple on Tuesday to pay a record 13 billion euros in back taxes in Ireland, a move Washington warned could damage hugely important transatlantic economic ties.

Brussels said Apple, the world's most valuable company, avoided virtually all tax on its business in the bloc by illegal arrangements with Dublin which gave the company an unfair advantage over competitors.

Apple and the Irish government immediately said they would appeal against the European Commission ruling, with the iPhone maker warning it could cost European jobs.

The White House meanwhile cautioned against "unilateral" measures by the EU.

The company's shares lost some of their shine after the ruling, down 0.7 percent in early afternoon trading, making for a more than 3 percent loss over the past two weeks ahead of the highly anticipated ruling.

"This decision sends a clear message. Member states cannot give unfair tax benefits to selected companies, no matter if European or foreign, large or small," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

"The Commission's investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years," she added.

Ireland has attracted multinationals over many years by offering extremely favourable sweetheart tax deals to generate much-needed jobs and investment.

But after a three-year investigation Brussels said the arrangement with Apple broke EU laws on state aid.

The findings come amid growing tensions between Washington and Brussels over a series of EU anti-trust investigations targeting other giant US companies such as Google, Amazon, McDonald's, Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler.

The European Commission launched an inquiry three years ago into tax breaks
that Ireland offered iPhone-maker Apple (AFP Photo/Siska Gremmelprez)

'Devastating blow'

Apple has had a base in the southern city of Cork since 1980 and employs nearly 6,000 people in Ireland, through which it routes its international sales totalling billions.

Apple chief Tim Cook said he was "confident" the EU ruling would be overturned, adding that the Silicon Valley giant was the biggest taxpayer in Ireland, the United States and the world.

"The most profound and harmful effect of this ruling will be on investment and job creation in Europe," he said.

Cook also warned that the ruling was a "devastating blow to the sovereignty of EU member states over their own tax matters", echoing the concerns of Dublin over the decision.

Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan described the ruling as "bizarre" and "an exercise in politics by the Competition Commission".

Dublin, which suffered from harsh austerity measures after it was bailed out during the eurozone debt crisis, has vigorously defended its low tax rates as a way of boosting the economy.

"If you look at the small print on an Apple iPhone, it says designed in California and manufactured in China and that means any profits that accrued didn't accrue in Ireland and so I can't see why the tax liability is in Ireland," he said.

But Vestager said Apple's Irish operation was a sham -- Apple's "so-called head office in Ireland only existed on paper. It had no employees, no premises and no real activities."

Apple paid an effective corporate tax rate of just 0.005 per cent on its European profits in 2014 -- equivalent to just 50 euros for every million, Vestager said.

The Apple tax bill dwarfs the previous EU record for a state aid case -- 1.3 billion euros for the Nurburgring race track in Germany.

While the 13-billion-euro ($14.5-billion) sum itself is unlikely to trouble Apple with its massive $600 billion of market capitalisation and $234 billion in revenue last year, the political ramifications are huge.

US anger

Washington has made increasingly angry comments over the case in recent weeks, and on Tuesday it echoed Apple's warnings that the tax bill could hurt the European economy.

"We are concerned about a unilateral approach," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, adding that the move "threatens to undermine progress that we have made collaboratively with the Europeans to make the international taxation system fair."

The US Treasury said the ruling "could threaten to undermine foreign investment, the business climate in Europe, and the important spirit of economic partnership between the US and the EU."

The Apple decision may also complicate struggling EU-US talks on what would be the world's biggest free trade deal, meant to be completed before US President Barack Obama steps down in January.

French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday said he doubted agreement could be reached by then.

Tax avoidance has moved sharply up the political agenda since EU governments adopted tough austerity policies to balance the public finances, driving public resentment that the rich paid relatively little tax.

The issue was highlighted close to home by the LuxLeaks scandal which revealed that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's native Luxembourg gave companies huge tax breaks while he was prime minister.

In October Brussels ordered US coffee giant Starbucks and Italian automaker Fiat to each repay up to 30 million euros ($34 million) in back taxes to the Netherlands and Luxembourg respectively.



Friday, August 12, 2016

Microsoft builds massive €2bn data centre in Noord Holland

DutchNews, August 9, 2016

Microsoft is building a €2bn data centre in Noord Holland province, in the heart of the region’s agricultural area, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday. 

The work is being carried out in relative secrecy, screened off by fences running along the Agriport business park just off the A7 motorway, the paper said. 

Microsoft has been attracted by the cheap land, the good glass fibre infrastructure and sufficient energy supplies, the FD said. 

However, the project itself is fairly hush hush and all the companies involved in the work have been told not to talk in public about their roles. In negotiations with the local Hollands Kroon council, the project has been given the code name Orange, the FD said. 

Work on the project began in 2014 and the first data centre has already been completed. Three more are now being built and experts say the completed site will be the biggest data centre in Europe. 

The FD says there are more than 180 data hotels in the Netherlands, accounting for 30% of European storage capacity. Google is currently building a massive centre in Eemshaven.

Related Article:


Monday, August 1, 2016

Use the Gospel as your GPS, pope tells huge mass in Poland

Yahoo – AFP, Ella Ide, July 31, 2016

Pope Francis looks on during a mass in the Campus Misericordiae in Brzegi,
near Krakow on July 31, 2016 at the end of the World Youth Day

Pope Francis celebrated mass Sunday with over 1.5 million pilgrims in a vast sun-drenched field in Poland, wrapping up an emotionally charged trip with some choice technological metaphors.

In a nod to today's internet-dominated world, Francis urged the faithful, who had travelled to Poland from all over the world, to "download the best link of all, that of a heart which sees and transmits goodness without growing weary".

"Make the Gospel your own, so that it can serve as a satnav for you on the highways of life," he said during the very spirited service.

Even the music was given the techno treatment, with youngsters, nuns and even some bishops leaping and twirling to hymns beefed up with a thumping dance beat.

High-spirited teenagers, boy scouts, priests and families had camped under the stars in the vast "Campus Misericordiae" (Field of Mercy) near the city of Krakow ahead of the final mass of a week-long Catholic festival.

Francis encouraged the assembled worshipers to be dreamers who believe "in a new humanity", one that "rejects hatred between peoples" and "refuses to see borders and barriers".

The trip's final festivities were attended by "between 2.5 and 3.0 million people," 2016 World Youth Day spokesperson Anna Chmura told AFP. Polish police put the number at "over 1.5 million."

Hundreds of thousands of people had streamed to the grassy site on Saturday with folding chairs, sleeping bags, umbrellas and sun-hats.

Graphic showing details of World Youth Day, to which Pope Francis will 
travel July 25 - 31

'Trip of a lifetime'

"This is the trip of a lifetime, for me and my whole family," said 29-year-old Mexican pilgrim Isaac Victoria, as volunteers handed out bottles of water to the thirsty crowd.

At the evening vigil on Saturday, Francis warned that today's technology also had its dangers, chastising "drowsy and dull kids who confuse happiness with a sofa", and urging them to get out and live life rather than spending it glued to their smartphones.

Francis announced that the next World Youth Day would be held in Panama in 2019, before flying back to Rome Sunday evening.

Latin America's first pontiff had faced stiff competition at the start of his five-day trip with the memory of immensely popular Polish pope John Paul II, whom Catholics recognise as a saint. But Francis quickly made the festivities his own.

After visiting the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz, he warned that the cruelty seen there "did not end" with World War II.

The "world is at war", Francis said, but the way to "overcome fear" was to welcome people fleeing conflicts and persecution -- a message with particular resonance in Poland, which has taken a hard line against refugees.

On Saturday he prayed for God to rid the world of the "devastating wave of terrorism".

"In these dangerous times, he is convincing people not to be afraid to open up," pilgrim Kasia Czajka, 40, said.

"While John Paul II was especially focused on the young, Francis is for all people in need".

Catholic faithful wait for the arrival of Pope Francis on July 31, 2016 in
the vast "Campus Misericordiae" near the Polish city of Krakow

'Multiculturalism as opportunity'

The head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics cracked joke after joke with young people gathered nightly beneath his window, cranking up the party spirit at an event dubbed "the Catholic Woodstock".

The medieval centre of Krakow has been overrun all week by flag-waving groups from China to Samoa and Mexico, who were entertained between masses with concerts, break-dancing and football matches.

But Friday was a day of mourning as Francis walked silently through the notorious wrought-iron "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free) gate at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, where 1.1 million people were murdered.

Freeing himself from the imposing security laid on for his visit, Francis sat on a bench among the trees and bowed his head in prayer before meeting Holocaust survivors and Catholics who had helped save Jews.

"Lord, have mercy on your people. Lord, forgive so much cruelty," the pope wrote in a memorial book.

In a heartfelt appeal to the world's young, he said it was up to them to fight xenophobia and "teach us how to live in diversity, in dialogue, to experience multiculturalism not as a threat, but an opportunity".

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Yahoo seals $4.8 bn deal to sell core assets to Verizon

Yahoo – AFP, Sophie Estienne, with Rob Lever in Washington, July 25, 2016

Yahoo will become a separate investment company, changing its name after 
the acquisition by Verizon of its core assets (AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan)

Yahoo sealed a deal Monday to sell its core business to telecom giant Verizon for $4.8 billion, ending a two-decade run as an independent company for the internet pioneer.

The agreement announced by the two companies after months of negotiations comes following a years-long decline for the iconic firm that introduced many people around the world to the internet.

Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam said Yahoo would be integrated into its recently acquired AOL unit to create "a top global mobile media company, and help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising."

The acquisition, expected to close in early 2017, pending shareholder and regulatory approval, will exclude Yahoo's cash, certain patent holdings, and its big share in China's Alibaba Group and stake in Yahoo Japan.

The deal will, however, turn over the popular Yahoo News, Mail and other online services used by more than a billion people worldwide.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, said in a statement: "Yahoo is a company that has changed the world, and will continue to do so through this combination with Verizon and AOL."

She told a conference call that Verizon "offers significant strategic alignments in Yahoo's focus on informing, connecting and entertaining our users."

She added that the agreement is "an exceptional outcome for Yahoo shareholders" and that Verizon was chosen because it "believed in our vision the most."

With the sale of its core, Yahoo will be left as a separate investment company and change its name after the transaction.

Yahoo shares fell 2.7 percent after the long-expected deal was announced. Verizon lost 0.4 percent.

Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer hails "an exceptional outcome
for Yahoo shareholders"

Bringing synergies

The deal comes with Yahoo, a onetime leader in the online space, coping with years of decline and struggling to keep up with rivals like Google and Facebook.

Yahoo will operate independently until the acquisition and then fall under the aegis of the AOL unit chief, Tim Armstrong, a former Google colleague of Mayer.

Mayer's future role with Yahoo was unclear.

In an email to employees, she wrote that "I'm planning to stay... It's important to me to see Yahoo into its next chapter."

But it was not clear if she would remain after the transition. According to documents filed with regulators this year, Mayer would get a severance package of $55 million if removed within a year of a change of control.

Mayer arrived in 2012 from Google seeking to revitalize Yahoo, which at its peak had a market value of over $100 billion.

The company was founded in 1994 by two Stanford University students, Jerry Yang and David Filo, as "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web." It went public in 1996 in one of the most hotly anticipated stock offerings of the time -- surging 270 percent in the first day of trading.

Yahoo remains a major force online, but has lagged its rivals in its ability to "monetize" its audience through advertising that is linked to customers' browsing and other online activities.

Research firm eMarketer estimated that Yahoo's share of the digital advertising market would fall this year to around 1.5 percent, with Google getting some 30 percent and Facebook 12 percent.

Several other bidders had been in talks, according to reports, including Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, who was being backed by billionaire Warren Buffett.

Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam says Yahoo will be integrated into its 
recently acquired AOL unit to create "a top global mobile media company"

Verizon strategy

But Verizon appeared to be the leading candidate because of its ability to integrate AOL's advertising technology into Yahoo services.

Technology analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates said the deal makes sense with telecom companies such as Verizon and AT&T seeking to move beyond their role as carriers.

Verizon, he said "is looking at ways to stay competitive primarily with AT&T" and that Yahoo gives it "the ability to expand into the online content arena" and a large base of users.

But Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates said Verizon should keep its goals more modest and may get a small benefit from the Yahoo brand.

"I don't think they have enough juice to take down Google and Facebook," Kay said.

With better operating efficiencies and lower costs, "they'll be lucky if they get their money back" from the deal, he said.

Some analysts said Verizon is likely to keep the Yahoo brand, which is recognized globally and used by about a billion people.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Delft University attracts one million students for its online courses

DutchNews, July 20, 2016

Photo: Depositphotos.com 
Delft University of Technology has signed up its one millionth student for its online lecture or Massive Open Online Course programme.

The university launched its first courses, on solar energy and water treatment, in September 2013. It now offers 36 different MOOCs, ranging from ‘leadership for engineers’ to aerospace. There is even a programming class, in Dutch, geared towards children ages 8 and up 

Students can select which courses to take via edX, a non-profit platform for online education that is also used by MIT, Harvard and other universities to make their courses available to anyone on the planet with access to the internet. 

Some 20% of Delft’s subscribers hail from the United States and 13% are based in India. The most popular course so far has been solar energy, which has drawn 131,000 enrolments. Creative Problem Solving, the second most popular, has attracted 113,000. 

‘We are now working hard on the next step: ensuring that our students can earn credits for MOOCs from Delft, as well as those from partner universities and vice versa,’ the university vice president Anka Mulde told TU Delta magazine. 

‘This means that they will gain access to a wide range of courses from top lecturers around the world. The challenge lies in agreeing on which courses we recognise and how many credits our students can earn in a certain phase of their degree programme.’

Monday, July 18, 2016

Google boss defends Europe tax practices, warns of Brexit

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has refuted accusations the tech giant failed to pay enough taxes in Europe, saying it was up to politicians to improve the tax system. Pichai also warned of the possible fallout from Brexit.

Deutsche Welle, 17 Jul 2016


In an interview with Germany's "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper, Pichai said that the US company had invested "very heavily" in Europe, where it employs around 14,000 people.

"As a global company, we find ourselves between the conflicting priorities of international tax law," he said, just a few weeks after two of Google's European offices were raided by tax inspectors.

"Based on the structure of existing tax law, most companies pay the bulk of their taxes in their home countries," Pichai insisted, adding that individual governments would have to take action if they wanted more revenue to stay at home.

"Only the further development of the global tax system by politicians can lead to better results," the Google chief told the paper. If new international tax laws were passed, the search giant would adhere to them, Pichai added.

Two tax raids

Sundar Pichai has worked for
Google since 2004
Google's offices in Madrid were searched in a tax probe in late June, just over a month after police raided the Internet behemoth in Paris in a similar investigation. French officials allege the tech company owes them 1.6 billion euros ($1.77 billion) in unpaid taxes and fines.

Tax inspectors are attempting to prove that sales booked by Google in both countries are much higher than those reported to tax authorities.


Tax shaming?

In January, Google settled on a 155 million euro tax agreement with British authorities, a deal heavily criticized as insufficient compared to the revenue it generates in the country.

Tech giants like Google, Amazon and Apple have faced criticism over their tax liabilities as many of the firms take advantage of tax breaks in Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg for their European headquarters.

Pichai also warned that Britain's decision to leave the European Union may bring difficulties for internet companies as digital regulation diverges.

"As companies we see great value in Europe as a unified digital market," he said, warning that it was a challenge to keep up with varying laws and regulations in every country. "The complexity makes a bigger commitment difficult, which can be seen in investments," he added.

mm/jlw (AFP, dpa)

Back to Basics: The HK start-up taking on fashion giants

Yahoo – AFP, Liz Thomas, July 17, 2016

Australian entrepreneur Luke Grana, 32, seen at his company's, 'Grana', office
space in Hong Kong (AFP Photo/Anthony Wallace)

Hong Kong (AFP) - Luke Grana arrived in Hong Kong with no contacts, cold-calling 'angel investors' he'd found on LinkedIn armed with only his CV, a business plan, and some big ideas to overhaul fashion.

In little more than two years, his eponymous clothing store amassed $6 million in seed funding and has become the go-to shop for under-35s seeking quality staples for their wardrobe.

And yet Grana is not a designer, has little fashion experience, and his inspiration came from a business brainstorming session rather than a passion for couture.

What he does have are plans to shake things up.

"The way we shop for clothes is going to change," the 32-year-old says.

Global fashion sales currently total around $1.8 trillion a year, with online accounting for five percent, he says, citing a Euromonitor report.

"That is forecast to grow to 30 percent by 2030," he adds suggesting Grana, which has no physical stores -- only a fitting room space where customers can try the clothes before buying online -- is well placed to take advantage of this shift.

The current system, with its reliance on expensive shop space, middle men, and vast inventory, he insists is "hopelessly inefficient" -- and results in opaque pricing.

"Gen Y is more focused on transparency," the Australian entrepreneur -- part of Generation Y himself -- says.

"I made things simple. So if a t-shirt costs $7.50 to produce, we'll sell for $15 -- a straight forward mark-up."

Grana brand uses world renowned material such as Chinese silk from Huzhou 
or Peruvian Pima cotton, sourced from the same mills that work with luxury brands
such as Ralph Lauren and Lacoste (AFP Photo/Anthony Wallace)

Ahead of the curve

Quality is his other pillar. The brand uses world renowned material such as Chinese silk from Huzhou or Peruvian Pima cotton, sourced from the same mills that work with luxury brands such as Ralph Lauren and Lacoste.

"We deal direct with the mills and factories, items are then shipped to our warehouse and then shipped to the customer," he explains.

Hong Kong, the world's biggest cargo hub, is well suited for his global audience -- the US, Australia and Singapore are also key markets.

Of the hundreds of cold-calls he made in late 2013, just one replied: banker Pieter Paul Wittgen.

Wittgen, now the company's COO, was impressed enough by both Grana and his ideas that he introduced him to a wider network of 'angels'.

The firm is now has backing by big name investors including BlueBell Group, distributors for the likes of Christian Dior in Asia, and Golden Gate Ventures, a leading backer of start-ups in the region.

Grana's head of design, Anthony Hill, worked for Paul Smith.

On average Grana's customers now spend $120 per order, while sales are above expectations -- rising 25-40 percent each month -- he says.

Earnings are currently being reinvested in expansion to Japan, Korea and eventually China but Grana expects to be in profit by late 2017.

It may seem an overnight success but for Sydney-born Grana this has been a long time coming.

Clothing designer Natasha Pelling takes measurements at Grana's offices
in Hong Kong (AFP Photo/Anthony Wallace)

In his teens, he read company annual reports and business books. Aged 21 and still at university he set up his first business -- a coffee shop -- using $15,000 of life savings.

After nine months he sold for $145,000 and went on to launch and sell -- at profit -- two similar ventures.

At 24, he set up Charge Point, an electric car charging infrastructure but sold up in 2012 when he realised the concept was "ten years ahead of the industry".

He took time off to "surf and brainstorm" with his profits.

"I wasn't demotivated, I was really hungry," he insists. "During brainstorming I realised there was a disruption coming in fashion."

But his next start-up Coachy was a webcam teaching service -- an "Airbnb for tutoring" in his words.

Again he found his ideas were ahead of the curve: internet speeds then could not support his idea, so he closed up.

"I learned the importance of being in the right market at the right time."

'Do things differently'

Grana's eureka moment came during a holiday in Peru, where he came across Pima Cotton. Within the week he had visited mills and bought samples for friends and family.

"Based on their reaction I knew I had found my product. But I didn't know about styles, pricing or how to merchandise," he adds.

On average Grana's customers now spend $120 per order, while sales are above
expectations, rising 25-40% each month (AFP Photo/Anthony Wallace)

So he went and got some shop floor experience working at Zara and French Connection.

Grana seems assured this is his moment.

Certainly the focus on "timeless wardrobe essentials" is prescient: British design house Burberry announced a move to 'seasonless collections' as the trend for decluttering sees fast fashion falling out of favour.

At Grana they focus on timeless colours and and run a limited number of seasonal ones.

"There are no sales, just one standard price year round."

Social media presence has helped spread the word quickly.

Grana's adverts pop up regularly on Facebook, 17,000 follow the Instagram account, and it uses Snapchat to give a glimpse into the mills and factories it uses.

Grana concedes "fashion has a bad reputation" for exploitation but is confident his firm does not use child labour, adding independent safety audits of production will begin this year.

"I don't want to copy anything from the traditional model," he says. "We are doing things differently."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dutch court orders Apple to replace defective iPhone with new, not refurbished, phone

DutchNews, July 12, 2016

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Apple has been ordered by a Dutch court to give a customer whose phone stopped working a new replacement rather than a refurbished phone containing second-hand parts. 

Apple was taken to court by an Amsterdam woman who bought an iPhone 6 Plus in December 2014 for €799. In August 2015, the phone stopped working and Apple offered her a replacement, made up of old and new parts. 

The woman refused to accept the offer of a refurbished phone and ended up in court. The court ruled on Tuesday that she is within her rights to expect a brand new replacement phone as the original was still covered by the first year’s guarantee. The tech firm was ordered to refund the purchase price and pay all the woman’s legal fees. 

IT legal expert Arnoud Engelfriet told broadcaster NOS that Apple will now have to adjust its policy. It is not yet clear if Apple will appeal. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

New electronic waste recycling plant in Moerdijk

DutchNews, July 7, 2016

Moerdijk port area: Ossipz via
Wikimedia Common
s
Mitsubishi Materials Corporation is building an electronic waste recycling centre in the port and industrial area of Moerdijk, North Brabant, reports the Financiele Dagblad.

The Japanese non-ferrous metals and cement manufacturer will inspect circuit boards and other waste electronic parts, transporting recyclable waste to Japan to be processed. 

About 50 new jobs will be created, according to the Brabant Development Agency. Construction has started and the centre should be operational in 2017.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

MTN to pay $1.7 bn Nigeria telecoms fine

Yahoo – AFP, Sibongile Khumalo, June 10, 2016

South Africa's MTN was hit with the huge fine amid fears that some of the
 5.1 million affected lines were being used by Boko Haram insurgents (AFP
Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Johannesburg (AFP) - South African telecoms giant MTN said Friday it would pay a $1.7 billion fine to the Nigerian government in a "full and final settlement" over its failure to disconnect unregistered mobile phone users.

The Johannesburg-based company said in a statement that "MTN Nigeria has agreed to pay a total cash amount of naira 330 billion over three years."

Africa's biggest mobile-phone operator was fined $3.9 billion last year and has since been in negotiations with the Nigerian government to reduce the size of the penalty.

The company was hit with the huge fine amid fears that some of the 5.1 million affected lines were being used by Boko Haram insurgents.

The logo of South Africa's MTN 
Group is seen on signage outside
the company's headquarters in 
Johannesburg, file. Reuters/
Mike Hutchings
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the west African country's telecoms regulator, confirmed that following six months of talks, the MTN fine had been reduced.

It said in a statement that its decision to reduce the fine was based on "professionalism and global best interest."

"We were careful not to take decisions that were likely to cripple the business interest of the operators we regulate," said the commission's executive vice chairman Umar Danbatta.

"Besides, the downturn of the global economy is biting hard on everybody and every sector, so we must therefore be sensitive and flexible in our decisions," he said in the statement.

After MTN's announcement, its shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange rose as much as 21 percent, on track for the biggest gain since 2008, according to Bloomberg News.

The country's telecoms regulator had handed down the fine last year citing an inability to trace users in a country plagued by frequent kidnappings and Boko Haram militants.

The sum was originally set at $5.2 billion before being to lowered to $3.9 billion on appeal.

'Relief to investors'

"MTN is pleased to inform shareholders that the matter has been resolved with the Federal Government of Nigeria," the company statement said.

MTN executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko "expresses his thanks and gratitude to (the Nigerian government) for the spirit in which the matter was resolved," it added.

MTN paid one instalment in February and has scheduled six other payments to cover the fine by May 2019.

"The news is a huge relief to investors, given the fact that Nigeria ended up not imposing the initial amount of the fine," Dobek Pater, telecoms specialist at the Africa Analysis consultancy, told AFP.

"MTN could not afford to lose a major market such as Nigeria and by paying the fine it shows that they still have faith in keeping their investment there."

As part of the deal has undertaken to "tender an apology" to the government and people of Nigeria over the matter, according to the NCC.

It also promised to "take immediate steps steps to ensure the listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as commercially and legally possible," said the NCC.

The Boko Haram violence has left at least 17,000 dead and forced more than 2.6 million people from their homes since 2009.

The MTN fine dominated South Africa's President Jacob Zuma visit to Nigeria earlier this year.

Commenting on the MTN penalty, President Muhammadu Buhari had in March said his government was more concerned about national security than the fine.

"You know how the unregistered GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) are being used by terrorists.

"Unfortunately MTN was very slow and contributed to the casualties," said Buhari during Zuma's visit to Nigeria.

Relations between the continent's two economic powerhouses have been strained over recent years on issues including economic rivalry and political friction.

South Africa's growth has been undermined by the slowdown in China and falling commodity prices, while Nigeria, the continent's top oil producer, has suffered from low oil prices.