Hundreds of orange robots zoom and whiz back and forth like miniature bumper cars — but instead of colliding, they’re following a carefully plotted path to transport thousands of items ordered from online giant Amazon.
A young woman fitted out in a red safety vest, with pouches full of sensors and radio transmitters on her belt and a tablet in hand, moves through their complicated choreography.
This robot ballet takes place at the new Amazon order fulfillment center that opened on Staten Island in New York in September.
In an 80,000-square-meter (855,000-square-foot) space filled with the whirring sounds of machinery, the Seattle-based e-commerce titan has deployed some of the most advanced instruments in the rapidly growing field of robots capable of collaborating with humans.
The high-tech vest, worn at Amazon warehouses since last year, is key to the whole operation — it allows 21-year-old Deasahni Bernard to safely enter the robot area, to pick up an object that has fallen off its automated host, for example, or check if a battery needs replacing.
Bernard only has to press a button and the robots stop or slow or readjust their dance to accommodate her.
Amazon now counts more than 25 robotic centers, which chief technologist for Amazon Robotics Tye Brady says have changed the way the company operates.
“What used to take more than a day now takes less than an hour,” he said, explaining they are able to fit about 40 percent more goods inside the same footprint.
For some, these fulfillment centers, which have helped cement Amazon’s dominant position in global online sales, are a perfect illustration of the looming risk of humans being pushed out of certain business equations in favor of artificial intelligence.
But Brady argues that robot-human collaboration at the Staten Island facility, which employs more than 2,000 people, has given them a “beautiful edge” over the competition.
Bernard, who was a supermarket cashier before starting at Amazon, agrees.
“I like this a lot better than my previous jobs,” she told AFP, as Brady looked on approvingly.
What role do Amazon employees play in what Brady calls the human-robot “symphony?”
In Staten Island, on top of tech-vest wearers like Bernard, there are “stowers,” “pickers” and “packers” who respectively load up products, match up products meant for the same customers and build shipping boxes — all with the help of screens and scanners.
At every stage, the goal is to “extend people’s capabilities” so the humans can focus on problem-solving and intervene if necessary, according to Brady.
At the age of 51, he has worked with robotics for 33 years, previously as a spacecraft engineer for MIT and on lunar landing systems of the Draper Laboratory in Massachusetts.
He is convinced the use of “collaborative robots” is the key to future human productivity — and job growth.
Since Amazon went all-in on robotics with the 2012 acquisition of logistics robot-maker Kiva, gains have been indisputable, Brady says.
They’ve created 300,000 new jobs, bringing the total number of worldwide Amazon employees up to 645,000, not counting seasonal jobs.
“It’s a myth that robotics and automation kills jobs, it’s just a myth,” according to Brady.
“The data really can’t be denied on this: the more robots we add to our fulfillment centers, the more jobs we are creating,” he said, without mentioning the potential for lost jobs at traditional stores.
The ‘R2D2’ model
For Brady, the ideal example of human-robot collaboration is the relationship between “R2D2” and Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars.”
Their partnership, in which “R2D2” is always ready to use his computing powers to pull people out of desperate situations “is a great example of how humans and robots can work together,” he said.
But despite Brady’s enthusiasm for a robotic future, many are suspicious of the trend — a wariness that extends to the corporate giant, which this month scrapped high-profile plans for a new New York headquarters in the face of local protests.
Attempts by Amazon employees to unionize, at Staten Island and other sites, have so far been successfully fought back by the company, further fuelling criticism.
At a press briefing held last month as part of the unionization push, one employee of the facility, Rashad Long, spoke out about what he said were unsustainable work conditions.
“We are not robots, we are human beings,” Long said.
Sharing the benefits
Many suspect Amazon’s investment in robotics centers aims to eventually automate positions currently held by humans.
For Kevin Lynch, an expert in robotics from Northwestern University near Chicago, the development of collaborative robots is “inevitable” and will indeed eventually eliminate certain jobs, such as the final stage of packing at Amazon for instance.
“I also think other jobs will be created,” he said. “But it’s easier to predict the jobs that will be lost than the jobs that will be created.”
“Robotics and artificial intelligence bring clear benefits to humanity, in terms of our health, welfare, happiness, and quality of life,” said Lynch, who believes public policy has a key role to play in ensuring those benefits are shared, and that robotics and AI do not sharpen economic inequality.
“The growth of robotics and AI is inevitable,” he said. “The real question is, ‘how do we prepare for our future with robots?”
Гривня зміцнилася стосовно долара на 1 копійку, свідчать дані на сайті Національного банку України.
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Suraj Nachre works long hours and regularly misses meals but he treasures his job as a driver for a food delivery startup — working in a booming industry that highlights India’s expanding apps-based gig-economy.
The 26-year-old is one of hundreds of thousands of young Indians who, armed with their smartphones and motorcycles, courier dinners to offices and homes ordered at the swipe of a finger.
A surge in the popularity of food-ordering apps like Uber Eats and Swiggy provides a welcome source of income for many as India’s unemployment rate sits at a reported 45-year high.
But they also shine a spotlight on the prevalence of short-term contracts in the economy, raising questions about workers’ rights and conditions and the long-term viability of the jobs.
“(These delivery workers) are treated as independent contractors so labor laws governing employees are not applicable and they lack job security,” Gautam Ghosh, a human resources consultant, told AFP.
“While jobs created by food delivery apps are crucial, they may not exist in 10 years so for the majority of youngsters they are a stopgap arrangement,” he added.
India’s army of food delivery drivers, mostly men but some women too, became a talking point on social media late last year when a rider for the Zomato platform was filmed sampling a customer’s order.
The video, apparently shot on a mobile phone, showed the man taking bites from several food parcels before wrapping them again. It sparked anger online and he was promptly sacked.
Many internet users rallied to his defense, however. They insisted that the two-minute clip showed he was hungry and desperate, and said Zomato had acted harshly in dismissing him.
“It is a challenging job,” said Nachre, expressing sympathy for the unnamed delivery man who was working in the southern city of Madurai before being fired.
“We work 12 hours straight in soaring heat and heavy rains. Sometimes I don’t even have time to eat,” he added.
Nachre drives for the Scootsy platform. He leaves home at 9:00 am and does not return until after 1:00 am. Navigating Mumbai’s abysmal traffic makes work stressful, he says.
“We’re always in a rush to deliver and customers keep calling us. We know we have to be on our toes all the time or customers might complain and we may lose our jobs,” Nachre told AFP.
India’s food delivery apps, backed by major international investment, are offering new avenues of employment for Indian youngsters who lack higher education but possess a driving license.
Their importance to the likes of Nachre was highlighted recently when a leaked government report said India’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in 2017-18, the highest since the 1970s.
“This job is lucrative,” said Nachre, who has no post-school qualifications and earns a minimum of 18,000 rupees ($253) a month.
In his previous job running errands at an office he made only 8,000 rupees.
The app-based food delivery industry is worth an estimated $7 billion to Asia’s third-largest economy, according to market research firm Statista, and is expanding rapidly.
Swiggy announced at the end of last year that it had received $1 billion in funding from foreign backers including South Africa’s Naspers and China’s Tencent.
That put the valuation of the five-year-old company, headquartered in Bangalore, at more than $3 billion.
Zomato, Swiggy’s nearest challenger for market dominance, is being aggressively backed by Alibaba’s Ant Financial. The Chinese giant recently pumped in $210 million, valuing the Delhi-based startup at $2 billion.
The food delivery platforms are soaring as India’s growing middle classes take advantage of better smartphone connectivity and cheap data plans that are fueling a gig economy centered on technology.
Informal, casual labor has long been the bedrock of India’s economy but now Indians can access a host of services on their phones from hiring a rickshaw to booking a plumber or yoga teacher.
FlexingIt, a global consulting agency, estimates the country’s gig economy has the potential to grow up to $30 billion by 2025.
Analysts say it is time the government started to regulate the sector.
“There is no regulator overlooking this sector. Working conditions definitely need to get better for these workers,” Anurag Mahur, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers told AFP.
Thirty-year-old Tushar Khandagale, who delivers for Zomato, is the sole breadwinner in his family.
With millions of youngsters entering India’s workforce every year and looking for a job, Khandagale would relish a long-term contract that offered him some security.
“I hope to stay in this job. It pays well and my family depend on me,” he said.
Peru on Tuesday launched a new, “sustained” effort to uproot illegal gold mining in one of the Amazon’s most biodiverse corners, sending 1,500 police and military officers to the region after deforestation from wildcat mining hit a new high last year.
The government of President Martin Vizcarra said it was suspending civil liberties and tasking the armed forces with restoring the rule of law in districts rife with illegal mining in Madre de Dios, or Mother of God, a low-lying rainforest region known for its high biodiversity, carbon-rich forests and indigenous tribes that shun contact with outsiders.
The state of emergency will be in place for 60 days, the defense ministry added in a statement.
The operation got off to a rough start, with two police officers and a prosecutor killed when a bus transporting security forces flipped over, the interior ministry said.
If successful, the operation would mark the first time Peru has been able to stop an illegal industry responsible for releasing tons of mercury into the environment as well as supporting sex trafficking and child labor in mining camps.
The crackdown might also impact the production and shipment of gold from Peru, the world’s sixth-largest producer, as illegal ore often makes its way into the legal supply chain through middlemen and shell companies. Previous crack-downs in Madre de Dios have spawned contraband smuggling into Bolivia.
High gold prices during the 2009-2010 global financial crisis fueled an illegal gold rush in Madre de Dios that has continued to expand.
“It’s been growing for better part of a decade,” said Luis Fernandez, a Wake Forest University ecologist who has been studying the issue since 2007.
“In every town there are little shops that buy gold from miners that emit levels of mercury from coal-fired power plants,” Fernandez said. “We’re just starting to learn what the impacts will be on the population.”
Wildcat miners in Madre de Dios are often tipped off about government plans to destroy illegal mining camps in the jungle, allowing them to hide expensive machinery and flee. They then regroup once security forces leave the region.
Environmentalists say criminal groups that finance the mining are now better organized and more violent than ever.
In 2018, deforestation from wildcat mining in southern Peru, where Madre de Dios is located, peaked at 9,280 hectares (22,931 acres), topping the previous high of 9,160 hectares in 2017, according to a January report by Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), which uses satellite images to track deforestation for the NGO Amazon Conservation.
The defense ministry said the current operation, which it dubbed “Mercury 2019,” will be an “unprecedented” and “sustained” crackdown on illegal mining. Three temporary military bases with 100 military officers in each are being set up in the region to oversee efforts, it said.
Levitating objects and plastic boxes may not seem to have anything to do with landscape painting, but they are the contemporary take on an ancient Chinese art style called “shan shui hua” or mountain water painting.
Dating back more than 1,000 years, this style of landscape painting, which uses brush and ink, has evolved over time. The art form is evolving once again in an exhibit called “Lightscapes: Re-envisioning the Shanshuihua” at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles.
The goal of Nick Dong and Chi-Tsung Wu, the two artists in the exhibit, is to connect the new, digital generation to this traditional type of art and to capture its essence in a new way through modern technology.
The exhibit forces the viewer to slow down and experience a different world. That’s one of the objectives of the ancient masters of Chinese shan shui paintings.
Escape from reality
“Actually, it was for all these artists to create a world which they want to hide, avoid, escape from reality. So, they create a mountain (and) imagine they could live there,” said Dong, an artist born in Taiwan who now lives in Northern California.
Trained in both Chinese and Western art styles, Dong and Wu use experimental materials and light in the various art pieces in the exhibit.
In a contemporary approach to what’s real and what is not, one installation involves a slowly moving light directed at clear plastic boxes attached to a wall.
“If we see this through the light, through the different perspective, we could see there’s another world behind that,” Wu said about his installation called Crystal City.
That other world Wu referenced are shadows that look more real and solid than the actual plastic boxes. Wu said the art installation is symbolic of the modern digital age.
“We spend most of our time in our daily life, no matter to work or to our social life or our entertainment, all on this cyberspace,” he said.
That space is an escape for many people similar to the landscape paintings.
Philosophy and the spiritual
To capture the philosophical elements of the landscape painting, magnets are used to levitate objects to show that there is a force between everything in nature.
Another art piece in the exhibit is a take on one’s relationship with the universe. To view Dong’s representation of heaven, one has to step into a room filled with mirrors from ceiling to floor. There is a stool in the middle of the room.
“We’re all searching. We’re all longing for growth, become better and, ultimately, good enough to go to heaven. So, in my mind, heaven is a place of selfless, so eventually once you’ve entered the installation, at first you’ll see a lot of your reflection. But once you sit down, you trigger the mechanism of the room. The mirror actually starts to reflect, and you yourself will disappear within the space. You vanish. All you have is this empty, wide-open space. For me, it’s the ultimate evolution,” Dong explained.
The art pieces in the exhibit are ways the artists hope the modern-day viewer will be able to experience what the ancient artists of the landscape paintings were trying to achieve.
“They (ancient scholars) were able to say, ‘We’re seeking a spiritual outlet. We’re seeking a way to refine the spirit and refine the soul.’ This work, today, it’s hard to have that experience with the traditional artwork because they’re such a contained device. You see them in a museum under glass, and they’re hard to approach,” said Justin Hoover curator of the Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles.
Contemporary artists hope their use of lighting and experimental materials will make an ancient art form more tangible and real in the 21st century.
Dating back more than 1000 years ago, the style of Chinese landscape painting that uses brush and ink has evolved over time. This traditional art form is evolving once again in an exhibit called “Lightscapes: Re-envisioning the Shanshuihua.” It is on display at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. The goal: to connect the new, digital generation to this type of art and capture its essence in a new way. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has the details
Negotiators from China and the United States will resume talks this week to resolve the ongoing trade war between the world’s biggest economies.
The White House says a third round of negotiations will take place Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington between lower-level deputies before moving on to senior-level talks beginning Thursday. The statement said the talks will focus on “achieving needed structural changes in China that affect trade” between the United States and China.
Washington has long complained that Beijing forces U.S. companies to transfer their technology advances to Chinese firms, and that it limits access to China’s vast market. The Trump administration has imposed punitive tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to compel China to changes its trading practices, prompting Beijing to retaliate with its own tariff increases on $110 billion of U.S. exports.
The trade talks are the result of an agreement in December between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to stop the tit-for-tat tariff conflict for 90 days starting on New Year’s Day.
The administration has threatened to raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent if a deal is not reached by March 2, but President Trump said last week he may be willing to push back the deadline depending on how well the talks are going.
Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing’s top economic and trade negotiator, will again lead the Chinese side, while the United States will be led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro, President Trump’s top economic and trade advisors.
Nigeria’s internal conflicts have displaced nearly 2 million people, according to the United Nations, with 60 percent of them being children. A program in the Nigerian capital is trying to teach internally displaced children technology skills, including computer coding, with a mobile laboratory.
Twelve-year-old Michael Oladimeji fled with his family from Nigeria’s Borno State two years ago to escape Boko Haram terrorist attacks.
Over 10,000 people are living in camps in Abuja struggling for food, water, health care and education.
But Oladimeji was lucky – he became one of 100 students his age learning computer coding and animation at a mobile laboratory. The tech curriculum includes writing code with a program known as Scratch.
“At home I used to play with my daddy’s phone but it’s not enough for me to do my coding and to do my Scratch. So since we started this program, I’ve got the chance to do Scratch and make cartoons,” Oladimeji said.
Children like Oladimeji make up the majority of Nigeria’s 1.8 million displaced people.
But Nigeria’s Civic Innovation Lab – a technology hub – runs the initiative, which is shaping children’s futures, according to program facilitator Angu Kingsley.
“Judging from where they came from, they have little knowledge about computers and education generally. So what we’re trying to do is improve on what they already have, the knowledge they already have and build on it,” Kingsley said.
While only a hundred or so displaced kids have benefited so far, the project hopes to expand – if it can secure funding, says program head Fanto Foday.
“We only have few tablets and few computers so we’ve been having difficulties in the areas of giving assignment because when we leave we have to take the equipment, although the truck is there, they have access to the lab but they don’t really have access to the gadgets,” Foday said.
But for conflict-displaced students like Oladimeji, the chance to learn computer coding could be a game-changer.
Представники Спеціальної моніторингової місії ОБСЄ 15 лютого помітили російський стратегічний бомбардувальник, на їхню думку, над окупованим Донбасом. Про це мовиться у черговій доповіді місії, опублікованій 18 лютого.
«О 10:00 15 лютого на околиці селища Старобешеве, в районі, неконтрольованому урядом (32 кілометри на південний схід від Донецька), патруль СММ побачив об’єкт, що летів на південному сході від патруля з південного заходу на північний схід», – розповіли спостерігачі.
Зазначається, що, ймовірно, мова йде про літак Туполєв Ту-95 або Туполєв Ту-142.
Того ж дня, з 10:50 до 11:10, такий же літак, імовірно, Ту-95 або Ту-142, бачив патруль, розташований на північний схід від Любівки, непідконтрольної урядові, що за 43 кілометри на південний схід від Донецька. Він пролетів на сході від патруля з півночі на південь і потім у зворотному напрямку.
Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської анексії Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці сепаратистів. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці». За даними ООН станом на кінець грудня 2018 року, за час конфлікту загинули близько 13 тисяч людей, майже 30 тисяч були поранені.
Pyongyang is upgrading its overcrowded mass transit system with brand new subway cars, trams and buses in a campaign meant to show leader Kim Jong Un is raising the country’s standard of living.
The long-overdue improvements, while still modest, are a welcome change for the North Korean capital’s roughly 3 million residents, who have few options to get to work or school each day.
First came new, high-tech subway cars and electric trolleybuses — each announced by the media with photos of Kim personally conducting the final inspection tours. Now, officials say three new electric trams are running daily routes across Pyongyang.
Transport officials say the capacity of the new trams is about 300, sitting and standing. Passengers must buy tickets in shops beforehand and put them in a ticket box when they get on. The flat fare is a dirt cheap 5 won (US$ .0006) for any tram, trolleybus, subway or regular bus ride on the public transport system. The Pyongyang Metro has a ticket-card system and the Public Transportation Bureau is considering introducing something similar on the roads as well.
Private cars are rare
Privately owned cars are scarce in Pyongyang. Taxis are increasingly common but costly for most people. Factory or official-use vehicles are an alternative, when available, as are bicycles. Motorized bikes imported from China are popular, while scooters and motorcycles are rare.
The subway, with elaborate stations inspired by those in Soviet Moscow and dug deep enough to survive a nuclear attack, runs at three- to five-minute intervals, depending on the hour. Officials say it transports about 400,000 passengers on weekdays. But its two lines, with 17 stations, operate only on the western side of the Taedong River, which runs through the center of the city.
“The subway is very important transportation for our people,” subway guide Kim Yong Ryon said in a recent interview with The AP. “There are plans to build train stations on the east side of the river, but nothing has started yet.”
The lack of passenger cars on Pyongyang’s roads has benefits. Traffic jams are uncommon and, compared to Beijing or Seoul, the city has refreshingly clean, crisp air. Electric trams, which run on rails, and electric trolleybuses, which have wheels, are relatively green transport options.
Crowded and slow
But mass transit in Pyongyang can be slow and uncomfortable.
The tram system, in particular, is among the most crowded in the world.
Swarms of commuters cramming into trams are a common sight during the morning rush hour, which is from about 6:00 to 8:30. Getting across town can take about an hour.
Pyongyang’s tram system has four lines. In typical North Korean fashion, one is devoted to taking passengers to and from the mausoleum where the bodies of national founder Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, lie in state.
The city’s red-and-white trams look familiar to many eastern Europeans. In 2008, the North bought 20 used trams made by the Tatra company, which produced hundreds of them when Prague was still the capital of socialist Czechoslovakia.
North Korea squeezes every last inch out of its fleet.
Red stars are awarded for every 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) driven without an accident, and it’s not unusual to see trams with long lines of red stars stenciled across their sides. One seen in operation in Pyongyang last month had 12 — that’s 600,000 kilometers (372,800 miles), or the equivalent of about 15 trips around the Earth’s circumference.
The numbers work
Impossible as that might seem, the math works.
Ri Jae Hong, a representative of the Capital Public Transportation Bureau, told an AP television news crew the main tram route, from Pyongyang Station in the central part of town to the Mangyongdae district, is 21 kilometers from end to end. He said a tram might do the full route there and back on average six times a day.
By that reckoning, it would take just over 198 days of actual driving to win that first red star.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday fired one of his most senior aides and cabinet members, Gustavo Bebianno, amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates.
Bebianno was secretary general of the president’s office.
His departure punctuated Bolsonaro’s first cabinet crisis since he took office on Jan. 1 and has cast a shadow over the young government’s plans.
Brazilian markets fell on Monday as investors feared that the brewing scandal could hurt Bolsonaro’s ability to pass a pension overhaul seen as key to fiscal and economic recovery.
In a short video clip released late on Monday, Bolsonaro said he took the decision to dismiss Bebianno due to “differences of opinion on important issues,” although he did not elaborate.
Bebianno, who helped coordinate government affairs and was acting president of Bolsonaro’s right-wing Social Liberal Party for the election campaign last year, denies any wrongdoing.
Analysts at Eurasia Group said in a note on Monday, before Bebianno was dismissed, that the scandal is unlikely to dent Bolsonaro’s approval ratings. Despite the dubious optics, the president can claim to be taking a tough stand against an aide accused of illicit activity.
But the timing could not be worse. Days before unveiling its landmark pension reform proposal, the government is mired in scandal, even if it is one that probably will not have much lasting impact on the administration or pension reform.
“It is indicative, however, of a political team in disarray,” they wrote, adding that everything points to “an end result that will probably lead to the approval of a less ambitious version of the government’s proposal for pension reform.”
The scandal is denting investor sentiment, which had brightened last week after early details of Bolsonaro’s social security reform proposals were released. The full package will be presented to senior lawmakers on Wednesday.
Brazil’s Bovespa stock market fell 1 percent on Monday, the dollar rose almost 1 percent to 3.7350 reais and January 2020 interest rates rose two basis points to 6.39 percent.
Last week, the Bovespa rose 2.3 percent, within touching distance of its record-high 98,588. Interest rates fell 15 basis points, the biggest weekly drop in two months, and the real also rose.
The Bebianno scandal got personal after one of Bolsonaro’s sons branded him a liar on Twitter, putting pressure on the president to dismiss him just weeks into his term.
China’s government on Monday accused the United States of trying to block its industrial development by alleging that Chinese mobile network gear poses a cybersecurity threat to countries rolling out new internet systems.
And in a potential blow to the U.S.’s effort to rally its allies on the issue, British media reported that the country’s intelligence agencies have found it’s possible to limit the security risks of using Chinese equipment in so-called 5G networks.
The U.S. argues that Beijing might use Chinese tech companies to gather intelligence about foreign countries. The Trump administration has been putting pressure on allies to shun networks supplied by Huawei Technologies, threatening the company’s access to markets for next-generation wireless gear.
The company, the biggest global maker of switching gear for phone and internet companies, denies accusations it facilitates Chinese spying and said it would reject any government demands to disclose confidential information about foreign customers.
The U.S. government is trying to “fabricate an excuse for suppressing the legitimate development” of Chinese enterprises, said the spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Geng Shuang. He accused the United States of using “political means” to interfere in economic activity, “which is hypocritical, immoral and unfair bullying.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, speaking last weekend in Germany, urged European allies to take seriously “the threat” he said was posed by Huawei as they look for partners to build the new 5G mobile networks.
The 5G technology is meant to vastly expand the reach of networks to support internet-linked medical equipment, factory machines, self-driving cars and other devices. That makes it more politically sensitive and raises the potential cost of security failures.
Pence said Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipment makers provide Beijing with “access to any data that touches their network or equipment.” He appealed to European governments to “reject any enterprise that would compromise the integrity of our communications technology or our national security systems.”
In what could amount to a turning point for the U.S. effort to isolate Huawei, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre has found that the risk of using its networks is manageable, according to the Financial Times and several other British media outlets.
The reports cited anonymous sources as saying that there are ways to limit cybersecurity risks, and that the U.K.’s decision would carry weight with European allies who are also evaluating the safety of their networks.
The British government is to finish a review of its policies on the safety of 5G in March or April. The office of British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday that “no decisions have been taken.”
If eventually confirmed, “such a decision by the U.K. would be a strong message and could be influential in the medium term,” said Lukasz Olejnik, a research associate at Oxford University’s Center for Technology and Global Affairs.
The British review “could inevitably serve as an input or a reference point in other countries’ risk assessments,” he added.
European officials, including a vice president of the European Union, have expressed concern about Chinese regulations issued last year that require companies to cooperate with intelligence agencies. No country in Europe, however, has issued a blanket veto on using Huawei technology in the way the U.S. has urged.
The U.S. Justice Department last month unsealed charges against Huawei, its chief financial officer — who had been arrested in Canada — and several of the companies’ subsidiaries, alleging not only violation of trade sanctions but also the theft of trade secrets.
The United States has not, however, released evidence to support its accusations that Huawei and other Chinese tech companies allow the Chinese government to spy through their systems. That has prompted some industry analysts to suggest Washington is trying to use security concerns to handicap Chinese competitors.
“China has not and will not require companies or individuals to collect or provide foreign countries’ information for the Chinese government by installing backdoors or other actions that violate local laws,” said Geng.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre admitted last summer that it had concerns about the engineering and security of Huawei’s networks. While not commenting Monday on the media reports, it added: “We have set out the improvements we expect the company to make.”
Huawei said in a statement Monday that it’s open to dialogue and that “cybersecurity is an issue which needs to be addressed across the whole industry.”
Національний банк України підвищив офіційний курс національної валюти до долара на 19 лютого до 27,18 гривні за долар.
На 18 лютого курс був визначений на рівні 27 гривень 24 копійок за долар.
У середині січня під час своєї підсумкової доповіді у Верховній Раді голова Національного банку України Яків Смолій заявив, що обсяги міжнародних резервів України сягнули найвищого рівня за останні п’ять років завдяки зміцненню гривні.
За його даними, національна валюта протягом року зміцнилася на 1,4%, що дозволило Нацбанку купувати валюту на міжбанківському ринку.
Зміцненню гривні, пояснив він, сприяла жорстка монетарна політика, сприятливі ціни на український експорт і високий врожай.
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На початку 2019 року Світовий банк оприлюднив прогноз, в якому передбачив зростання економіки України на 2,9% протягом року.
British lawmakers issued a scathing report Monday that calls for tougher rules on Facebook to keep it from acting like “digital gangsters” and intentionally violating data privacy and competition laws.
The report on fake news and disinformation on social media sites followed an 18-month investigation by Parliament’s influential media committee. The committee recommended that social media sites should have to follow a mandatory code of ethics overseen by an independent regulator to better control harmful or illegal content.
The report called out Facebook in particular, saying that the site’s structure seems to be designed to “conceal knowledge of and responsibility for specific decisions.”
“It is evident that Facebook intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws,” the report states. It also accuses CEO Mark Zuckerberg of showing contempt for the U.K. Parliament by declining numerous invitations to appear before the committee.
“Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law,” the report added.
U.K. parliamentary committee reports are intended to influence government policy, but are not binding. The committee said it hopes its conclusions will be considered when the government reviews its competition powers in April.
And while the U.K. is part of the 28-country European Union, it is due to leave the bloc in late March, so it is unclear whether any regulatory decisions it takes could influence those of the EU.
Facebook said it shared “the committee’s concerns about false news and election integrity” and was open to “meaningful regulation.”
“While we still have more to do, we are not the same company we were a year ago,” said Facebook’s U.K. public policy manager, Karim Palant.
“We have tripled the size of the team working to detect and protect users from bad content to 30,000 people and invested heavily in machine learning, artificial intelligence and computer vision technology to help prevent this type of abuse.”
Facebook and other internet companies have been facing increased scrutiny over how they handle user data and have come under fire for not doing enough to stop misuse of their platforms by groups trying to sway elections.
The report echoes and expands upon an interim report with similar findings issued by the committee in July . And in December , a trove of documents released by the committee offered evidence that the social network had used its enormous trove of user data as a competitive weapon, often in ways designed to keep its users in the dark.
Facebook faced its biggest privacy scandal last year when Cambridge Analytica, a now-defunct British political data-mining firm that worked for the 2016 Donald Trump campaign, accessed the private information of up to 87 million users.
Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday.
Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But that threatens to become a liability for the ruling Communist Party after bankruptcies and fraud cases prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.
The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.
The ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad. It said authorities seized or froze 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) but gave no indication how much might be returned to depositors.
Police say some lenders and investment vehicles were brazenly fraudulent, while others collapsed after inexperienced founders failed to manage risk.
Monday’s statement said P2P lenders were investigated for complaints including wasting money, reporting phony investment plans and using illegal tactics to raise money.
Lending through online platforms grew by triple digits annually until 2017 when regulators tightened controls.
Depositors lent 1.9 trillion yuan ($280 billion) last year, but that was down by 50 percent from 2017, according to the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.
The outstanding loan balance stood at 1.2 trillion yuan ($177 billion) at the end of 2018, down 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Diyi Wangdai, a web site that reports on the industry.
P2P lenders are part of a privately run Chinese finance industry the national bank regulator estimated in 2015 had grown to $1.5 trillion.
The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.
Many lend to factories and retailers or invest in restaurants, car washes and other businesses. But inexperience and poor risk control means a downturn in business conditions can bankrupt them.
Finance as a whole has come under tougher scrutiny after a 2015 plunge in stock prices led to accusations of insider trading and other offenses.
In one of China’s biggest financial scams, authorities say depositors lost 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) in online lender Ezubo before it was seized by regulators in 2015.
The founder and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2017.
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Гривня зміцнилася стосовно долара на 1 копійку, свідчать дані на сайті Національного банку України. На 20 лютого вартість одного долара встановлена на рівні 27 гривень 17 копійок. Євро знецінився на 11 копійок до 30 гривень 68 копійок. …
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