Shenzhen, May 29 (AP/UNB) — Chinese tech giant Huawei filed a motion in U.S. court Wednesday challenging the constitutionality of a law that limits its sales of telecom equipment, the latest action in an ongoing clash with the U.S. government.
Huawei's chief legal officer Song Liuping said at press briefing that Huawei had filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to rule on whether it is constitutional for the U.S. to implement a military spending provision that bars the government and its contractors from using Huawei equipment.
Huawei is the biggest global maker of network equipment, but it is now fighting to maintain access to major markets for next-generation communications as the U.S. claims the company threatens international cybersecurity.
In March, Huawei launched its suit against the U.S. law in Plano, Texas, the headquarters of its U.S. operations. The summary judgment motion seeks to accelerate the legal process to give U.S. customers access to Huawei equipment sooner, according to a Wednesday statement from Huawei.
Song said the "state-sanctioned campaign" against the company will not improve cybersecurity.
"Politicians in the U.S. are using the strength of an entire nation to come after a private company," he said. "This is not normal."
Dubai, May 28 (AP/UNB) — The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with its long days of fasting and prayer meant to draw worshippers closer to God and away from worldly distractions, is being reshaped by technology.
People in the Middle East spend close to 58 million more hours on Facebook during Ramadan and watch more YouTube videos — everything from beauty tips and recipes to sports and TV dramas — than any other time of the year, making the holy month not only the most important one for Muslims, but also the prime time of the year for advertisers.
For Facebook, which also owns Instagram, and Google, which owns YouTube, Ramadan brings a welcome boost of business in the region.
"Consumption and time spent on our platforms does indeed increase," said Ramez Shehadi, Facebook's managing director for Mideast and North Africa.
People stay up a lot more at night during Ramadan and have more downtime — especially before iftar, the evening meal that breaks the daylong fast, and the "suhoor," when people gather to eat before another day of fasting. Many also work shorter hours during the day.
All that translates to 5% more time spent on Facebook's platforms, or what is nearly 58 million more hours, Shehadi said. Put another way, there are almost 2 million hours of additional time spent daily on Facebook in the Mideast during Ramadan.
Ramadan is also the peak season for advertising in the region, as TV dramas and soap operas get a 151% increase in viewership on YouTube during the holy month, according to Google.
"Our revenue is a function of people's engagement," Shehadi said. "The more that they engage on our platforms, the more that advertisers want to be able to reach those that are engaging. That's what drives our revenue."
So much ad revenue is spent during Ramadan that Google launched "The Lantern Award" to celebrate the most creative and engaging ads of the month.
Yet Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and drink, including water, during the day. It's also about disconnecting from vacuous distractions and focusing on contemplation, introspection, acts of good, charity and connecting with God. It can appear then as a contradiction that this is also when companies ramp up their efforts to get people to buy more, view more and engage in excess consumerism.
Google does not disclose total watch time for YouTube during Ramadan, but says that in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example, viewing of sports videos jumps by 22%, travel videos by 30%, and action games, simulation and video games by 10-20% during the holy month.
People also spend 27% more time watching religious content on YouTube in Ramadan.
"To us, YouTube brings people together. We see a lot of people wanting to watch things together," said Joyce Baz, Google's head of communications in Mideast and North Africa.
She added that Google products, like its search engine, are there "to simplify people's lives so that they can focus on things that matter like being with their loved ones and family." Google's "Qibla Finder," for example, helps Muslims find the direction of Mecca to pray toward, wherever they happen to be.
Google says this year's top trending search queries during the first week of Ramadan in Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia included a surprising mix of Game of Thrones, prayer times, Ramadan TV shows, movie timings and English Premier League results.
Meanwhile, some of the most popular downloaded apps in the Mideast on the Google Play store during Ramadan include games like Stack Ball, streaming apps like Vu and Shahid and online retailers Noon and Jolly Chic.
Iftar evening meals are a major social affair during Ramadan, ranging from lavish spreads at home to decadent five-star hotel buffets. This translates into a 16% spike in beauty product searches and an 18% spike in searches for beauty tips on YouTube, compared to the rest of the year. Also, according to Google maps, trips to the malls increase by more than 20% in the last weeks of Ramadan in preparation for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which ends the holy month.
Fatima el-Barbar, an Egyptian mother living in Dubai, said she searches more for recipes and watches her favorite TV dramas online during Ramadan. But she said that between her job, taking care of the children, preparing iftar each night, her daily prayers and reading the Quran, the Muslim holy book, there's little time for the internet.
"I actually have less time for the internet in Ramadan than in other days of the year," she said.
To help companies better understand consumer habits in Ramadan, Google identified six categories of audiences: dedicated watchers, devoted fasters, foodies, groomers, travelers and shoppers.
"YouTube is a companion during Ramadan, a platform where viewers can watch what they want, whenever they want throughout the day," Google says in its own pitch to advertisers.
To more authentically connect with roughly 180 million users in the Middle East, Facebook and Instagram launch special Ramadan icons to give people more customized ways of expressing themselves online. Instagram also has a campaign to promote acts of kindness during the month.
"We're trying to be magnifiers and propagators of goodness as opposed to what might seem on the surface like an extension of consumerism," Shehadi said. "It resonates with the ethos of Ramadan and certainly the ethos of Facebook, which is around bringing people together around things that matter to them."
Haitham el-Ghoneim, a Jordanian resident in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, said he uses Facebook to connect with friends during Ramadan, sharing traditional greetings for the holy month and checking on his family in Jordan.
Still, he doesn't think the rest of it — all that time spent online, on games, scrolling and ads — is a good thing. "It's not being spent in a useful way. It's mostly fake news, or jokes and things that have no benefit," he said.
Santa FE, May 27(AP/UNB) — Murray Gell-Mann, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who brought order to the universe by helping discover and classify subatomic particles, has died at the age of 89.
Gell-Mann died Friday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His death was confirmed by the Santa Fe Institute, where he held the title of distinguished fellow, and the California Institute of Technology, where he taught for decades. The cause was not disclosed.
Gell-Mann transformed physics by devising a method for sorting subatomic particles into simple groups of eight — based on electric charge, spin and other characteristics. He called his method the “eightfold way” after the Buddhist Eightfold Path to enlightenment.
Later Gell-Man developed the theory that identified “quarks,” indivisible components of Earth’s matter that make up protons, neutrons and other particles. Experiments confirmed the existence of quarks, and these objects now form the basis for our physical understanding of the universe, Caltech said in a statement.
“It would be hard to overestimate the degree to which Murray dominated theoretical particle physics during his heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. He contributed so many deep ideas that drove the field forward, many of which are just as relevant today,” said John Preskill, the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech.
In 1969, Gell-Man was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions.”
Born and raised in New York City, Gell-Man received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Yale University in 1948 and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951.
In later years, Gell-Mann became interested in the issues of complexity at the heart of biology, ecology, sociology, and computer science. He co-founded the Santa Fe Institute to study complex systems and authored the 1994 book “The Quark and the Jaguar” to present his ideas to a general audience.
He is survived by his children Nicholas Gell-Mann and Elizabeth Gell-Mann; and stepson Nicholas Southwick Levis, according to the Caltech statement.
San Francisco, May 24 (AP/UNB) — Facebook removed more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, twice as many as the previous six months, the company said Thursday.
Nearly all of them were caught before they had a chance to become "active" users of the social network.
In a new report, Facebook said it saw a "steep increase" in the creation of abusive, fake accounts. While most of these fake accounts were blocked "within minutes" of their creation, the use of computers to generate millions of accounts at a time meant not only that Facebook caught more of the fake accounts, but that more of them slipped through.
As a result, the company estimates that 5% of its 2.4 billion monthly active users are fake accounts, or about 119 million. This is up from an estimated 3% to 4% in the previous six-month report.
The increase shows the challenges Facebook faces in removing accounts created by computers to spread spam, fake news and other objectionable material. Even as Facebook's detection tools get better, so do the efforts by the creators of these fake accounts.
The new numbers come as the company grapples with challenge after challenge, ranging from fake news to Facebook's role in elections interference, hate speech and incitement to violence in the U.S., Myanmar, India and elsewhere.
Facebook also said Thursday that it removed 7.3 million posts, photos and other material because it violated its rules against hate speech. That's up from 5.4 million in the prior six months.
The company said it found more than 65 percent of hate speech on its own, before people reported it, during the first three months of 2019. That's an improvement from 52 percent in the third quarter of 2018.
Facebook is under growing pressure to combat hate on its platform, as material continues to slip through even with recent bans of popular extremist figures such as Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan.
Facebook employs thousands of people to review posts, photos, comments and videos for violations. Some things are also detected without humans, using artificial intelligence. Both humans and AI make mistakes and Facebook has been accused of political bias as well as ham-fisted removals of posts discussing — rather than promoting — racism.
A thorny issue for Facebook is its lack of procedures for authenticating the identities of those setting up accounts. Only in instances where a user has been booted off the service and won an appeal to be reinstated does it ask to see ID documents.
While some have argued for stricter authentication on social media services, the issue is thorny. People including U.N. free expression rapporteur David Kaye say it's important to allow pseudonymous speech online for human rights activists and others whose lives could otherwise be endangered.
Dipayan Ghosh, a former Facebook employee and White House tech policy adviser who is currently a Harvard fellow, said absent greater transparency from Facebook there is no way of knowing whether its improved automated detection is doing a better job of containing the disinformation problem.
"We lack public transparency into the scale of disinformation operations on Facebook in the first place," he said.
And even if just 5 million accounts escaped through the cracks, Ghosh added, how much hate speech and disinformation are they spreading through bots "that subvert the democratic process by injecting chaos into our political discourse?"
"The only way to address this problem in the long term is for government to intervene and compel transparency into these platform operations and privacy for the end consumer," he said.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called for government regulation to decide what should be considered harmful content and on other issues. But at least in the U.S., government regulation of speech could run into First Amendment hurdles.
And what regulation might look like — and whether the companies, lawmakers, privacy and free speech advocates and others will agree on what it should look like — is not clear.
Of the 3.4 billion accounts removed in the six-month period, 1.2 billion came during the fourth quarter of 2018 and 2.2 billion during the first quarter of this year. More than 99 percent of these were disabled before someone reported them to the company. In the April-September period last year, Facebook blocked 1.5 billion accounts.
Facebook attributed the spike in the removed accounts to "automated attacks by bad actors who attempt to create large volumes of accounts at one time." The company declined to say where these attacks originated, only that they were from different parts of the world.
Starting with this report, Facebook is disclosing how it deals with the sale of "regulated goods" — that is, drugs and firearms. Facebook prohibits the purchase, sale or gifting of firearms, as well as drugs including marijuana, which is legal in some states and countries. The company said it "took action" on 1.5 million cases involving drugs and 1.4 million involving firearms. This generally means removing the material from Facebook but can also involve suspending users or adding warning screens to videos showing objectionable content.
Dhaka, May 23 (UNB)- Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd. has donated necessary equipment to PFDA-Vocational Training Center for special children.
Zhang Zhengjun, CEO, Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Ltd. handed over these equipment to the school authority at a program arranged by the authority on Thursday.
Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed, MP, as the chief guest, inaugurated the ceremony in the presence of Sajida Rahman Danny, Chairman of PFDA-Vocational Training Center and Huawei officials.
Through this event Huawei handed over Ultra Sound therapy (UST), Ultra red radiation (IRR), Short wave diathermy (SWD), Short wave diathermy (SWD), Electrical muscle stimulator (EMS), Traction machine (Pelvic and cervical traction) with bed and other equipment to PFDA-Vocational Training Center.
This equipment will help this institute as well as the students to take immediate physical aids in emergencies. Students will get necessary physiotherapy for their wellbeing. CCTV cameras will help the teachers as well as authority to understand not only the behavioral pattern students but also find the root cause of any sudden behavior of them. In parallel these equipment will help to avoid any kind of potential risk as well.
“To help the special children, both public and private organizations should work hand in hand. And Huawei and PFDA-Vocational Training Center today are setting a great example with that inspiration,” said the minister.