San Francisco, May 4 (AP/UNB) — The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook plans a cryptocurrency-based payment system that it could launch for billions of users worldwide.
The system would use a digital coin similar to bitcoin, but different in that Facebook would aim to keep the coin's value stable. Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies have been susceptible to wild fluctuations in value.
It could reportedly undermine credit cards by sidestepping the processing fees that generate much of their revenue.
The Journal report cited unidentified people familiar with the matter. It said Facebook is recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to launch the network. Facebook's plans may include ways to financially reward users who interact with ads or other features.
Facebook says only that it is exploring many different applications for cryptocurrency technology.
Shenzhen (China), May 3 (UNB) - Graduation ceremony of Huawei’s biggest CSR program 'Seeds for the Future 2019' was held in Shenzhen, China at the headquarters of the company where 10 Bangladeshi ICT talents selected from five renowned received extensive training on technologies.
Yan Lei, Huawei Public Relationship Director, and 10 other students from Ethiopia were present .
This year, the students received wide range of training and technological orientation in China. In Beijing, the students received Comprehensive Chinese language course and learned Chinese Calligraphy and Taiji.
In Shenzhen, they got an overview of telecommunication network, key technologies in ICT, different generations of mobile communication (from 1G to 5G), Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Edge Computing, Internet of Things, 4G and 5G Base station configuration, etc.
This year’s Seeds for the Future program started in Bangladesh on February 17 in Dhaka.
Later on, 10 ICT talents were chosen from five renowned universities of Bangladesh through selection round throughout the month of March.
The universities were Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET), Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET) and Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET).
Before moving to China, Huawei Bangladesh organized the gala event with the 10 students who gave presentations on E-transport, E-education, Safe City & Smart City, E-banking and E-governance, on 3rd April.
Posts,Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar was present as the Chief Guest both at the press conference and gala event.
On 19th April, the students left Dhaka for China and the next day, they visited and learnt about the historical places of China as part of study tour.
On the next day, Huawei welcomed the students in Beijing with opening ceremony at Huawei executive briefing center.
Then in the next two weeks, the students got idea about Chinese culture and language in local university and finally gained practical knowledge in latest technologies at the headquarters of Huawei in Shenzhen, China.
At the graduation ceremony, Yan Lei, Huawei’s Public Relationship Director said, “Congratulations to the top talents of Bangladesh. With increasing number of ICT talents, this country never stops making us impressed. “
“They are truly advancing at a fast speed and we hope that their dream of Digital Bangladesh will be fulfilled in no time. It is an honor to be a part of such a fast moving nation being a close partner of digitalization, “ he said.
Seeds for the Future is the most heavily invested CSR program of Huawei which began in 2008. It has reached 108 countries and regions benefitting more than 30,000 students from 350 universities of the world.
Among them, 3,600 students have experienced practical work experience during the study tour to Huawei's headquarters.
The main objective of this program is to help develop industry oriented skills among the students to bridge the gap between academia and industry.
About the progamme, Tasfia Zahin ,Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology student) and Student Representative of Seeds for the Future Bangladesh 2019, said, “ We learned about key technologies in ICT, the four generations of mobile communication and most importantly the 5th generation network or 5g. “
San Francisco, May 3 (AP/UNB) — After years of pressure to crack down on hate and bigotry, Facebook has banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and other extremists, saying they violated its ban on "dangerous individuals."
The company also removed right-wing personalities Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Jones' site, Infowars, which often posts conspiracy theories. The latest bans apply to both Facebook's main service and to Instagram and extend to fan pages and other related accounts.
Decried as censorship by several of those who got the ax, the move signals a renewed effort by the social media giant to remove people and groups promoting objectionable material such as hate, racism and anti-Semitism.
Removing some of the best-known figures of the U.S. political extreme takes away an important virtual megaphone that Facebook has provided the likes of Jones, Yiannopoulos and others over the years. But it does not address what might be done with lesser known figures and those who stay on the margins of what Facebook's policies allow.
Critics praised the move but said there is more to be done on both Facebook and Instagram.
"We know that there are still white supremacists and other extremist figures who are actively using both platforms to spread their hatred and bigotry," said Keegan Hankes, senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the U.S.
Dipayan Ghosh, a former Facebook executive and an internet policy expert at Harvard, said the ban isn't as big a step as Facebook appears to be painting it — it's just enforcing its existing policy.
"There will always be more purveyors of hate speech that try to come on these platforms," he said. "Will advocates have to push year after year just to get (a handful of) individuals off? At this rate it seems likely. And this doesn't address the problem of what happens at the margins."
Facebook has previously suspended Jones from its flagship service temporarily; this suspension is permanent and includes Instagram. Twitter has also banned Loomer, Jones and Yiannopoulos, though Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam long known for provocative comments widely considered anti-Semitic, still had an account Thursday. So did Watson, who rose to popularity as editor-at-large at Infowars and has nearly a million followers on the site.
Facebook said the newly banned accounts violated its policy against dangerous individuals and organizations. The company says it has always banned people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.
It added that when it bans someone under this policy, the company said it also prohibits anyone else from praising or supporting them.
For years, social media companies have been under pressure from civil rights groups and other activists to clamp down on hate speech on their services. Following the deadly white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Google, Facebook and PayPal began banishing extremist groups and individuals who identified as or supported white supremacists.
A year later, widespread bans of Jones and Infowars reflected a more aggressive enforcement of policies against hate speech. But Facebook instituted only a 30-day suspension (though Twitter banned him permanently).
It is not clear what events led to Thursday's announcement. In a statement, Facebook merely said, "The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today."
Last month, it extended its ban on hate speech to prohibit the promotion and support of white nationalism and white separatism. It had previously allowed such material even though it has long banned white supremacists.
Asked to comment on the bans, Yiannopoulos emailed only "You're next."
Jones reacted angrily Thursday during a live stream of his show on his Infowars website.
"They didn't just ban me. They just defamed us. Why did Zuckerberg even do this?" Jones said, referring to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Jones called himself a victim of "racketeering" by "cartels."
"There's a new world now, man, where they're banning everybody and then they tell Congress nobody is getting banned," he said.
Watson, meanwhile, tweeted that he was not given a reason and that he "broke none of their rules."
"Hopefully, other prominent conservatives will speak out about me being banned, knowing that they are next if we don't pressure the Trump administration to take action," he wrote.
Farrakhan, Nehlen and Loomer did not immediately return messages for comment.
Harvard's Ghosh said kicking off individuals with big followings, such as Jones, goes against Facebook's commercial interest.
"As soon as they kick Alex Jones or Laura Loomer off their platform, it immediately ticks of a huge number of people," he said.
Los Angeles, May 2 (Xinhua/UNB) - NASA's InSight lander has captured a series of images of sunrise and sunset on Mars recently, according to a release of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on Wednesday.
A camera on the spacecraft's robotic arm snapped the photos on April 24 and 25, the 145th Martian day of the mission.
The shots were taken starting around 5:30 a.m. and then again starting around 6:30 p.m. in local Mars time.
As the Sun is much farther from Mars than it is from Earth, it appears only about two-thirds the size when viewed from Earth, said NASA.
A camera under the lander's deck also caught clouds drifting across the Martian sky at sunset.
Both "raw" and color-corrected versions of these images are available. It is easier to see some details in the raw images, but the color-corrected versions show the images more accurately as the human eye would see them, according to NASA.
"It has been a tradition for Mars missions to capture sunrises and sunsets," said Justin Maki, InSight science team co-investigator and imaging lead. "With many of our primary imaging tasks complete, we decided to capture the sunrise and sunset as seen from another world."
According to NASA, the first mission to send back such images was the Viking 1 lander, which captured a sunset on Aug. 21, 1976. Two years later, Viking 2 captured a sunrise on June 14, 1978. Since then, both sunrises and sunsets have been recorded by the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, among other missions.
InSight landed safely on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018, kicking off a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.
San Francisco, May 1(AP/UNB) — Apple's sales are still shrinking amid weakening iPhone demand, despite the company's increasing emphasis on services designed to bring in a steady flow of money from the 1.4 billion of its devices still in use.
Revenue for the January-March quarter fell 5% from the same time in 2017 to $58 billion, the company said in its earnings report Tuesday. That downturn followed a 5% drop in the previous quarter.
It's the first time Apple has suffered two consecutive quarterly revenue declines in two-and-half years.
Apple still posted a profit of $11.6 billion during its latest quarter, though that was down 16% compared to last year. That translated into $2.46 per share, down 10% from last year, but above the $2.36 per share forecast among analysts surveyed by FactSet.
The Cupertino, California, company also announced a 5% increase in its quarterly dividend to 77 cents per share.
That news, plus a company forecast signaling the revenue downturn may be ending in the current April-June quarter, seemed to please investors. Apple's stock gained nearly 5% to $210.50 in after-hours trading.
But even if the shares rise similarly during Wednesday's regular trading session, the stock will remain about 10% below its peak reached nearly seven months ago.
Questions still seem likely loom over the stock. Apple is continuing to grapple with challenges it hasn't had to confront since iPhone debuted 12 years ago, catapulting the company on to a head-spinning trajectory.
Until recently, Apple could count on people eagerly lining up to buy its latest iPhone models at ever loftier prices. That's no longer the case, especially now that Apple is charging $1,000 and higher for its top-of-the line iPhones. Many consumers aren't seeing enough compelling new features to persuade them to scrap their old devices for a new one.
That's part of the reason iPhone sales in its latest quarter plunged 17% from last year to $31 billion. Much of the erosion is occurring in China, where Apple is facing stiffer competition from homegrown smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi.
But Apple CEO Tim Cook signaled that the worst may be over during a Tuesday conference call with analysts. "We like the direction we're headed with iPhone and our goal now is to pick up the pace," Cook said.
Nevertheless, most analysts expect the iPhone malaise to persist at least through the fall when Apple traditionally unveils its latest models. "Apple remains the iPhone company," Chatham Road Partners analyst Colin Gillis reminded investors in a research note.
Right around the same time, Apple also is expected to launch a new video streaming service in the mold of Netflix, which has already amassed 149 million subscribers worldwide.
Cook previewed the service without disclosing how much it would cost during a celebrity-laden event last month. He touted it as an example of how Apple intends to continue make money from the iPhones, iPads and Mac computers it has already sold.
Apple already has attracted more than 50 million subscribers to a music streaming service it started four years ago. It's now is aiming to sign up tens of millions more to the video service, as well as others for video games and news.
The company's service revenue also includes sales of extended warranty programs for its devices, hefty commissions from apps that sell subscriptions and other digital goods through its App Store and fees that Google pays to be the built-in search engine on iPhones and iPads.
All told, all those services generated $11.5 billion in revenue during the past quarter, a 16 percent increase from last year.