San Francisco, Feb 22 (AP/UNB) — Google said Thursday it will no longer require that its workers settle disputes with the company through arbitration, responding to months of pressure from employees.
The change will take effect March 21 and will apply to current and future employees. Employees that have settled past disputes won't be able to re-open their cases.
Google said last year it would end forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault cases, and Thursday expanded that practice to all worker disputes. Google's parent company, Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc., has its nearly 100,000 employees.
The updated practices only apply to Google employees, and employees of Google projects such as Deep Mind and Access. Other Alphabet subsidiaries, such as Waymo, are not included.
Mandatory arbitration requires employees to settle their disputes with the company privately and outside of court. The practice, widespread in U.S. employment contracts, can lend itself to secrecy and has faced criticism recently.
Google workers who staged a walk out late last year have continued to press the tech giant to drop forced arbitration requirements. Protest organizers commended Google for Thursday's announcement, but wrote in a Medium post that they would not officially celebrate until the changes went live in employee agreements.
Google won't make all employees re-sign their work contracts, it said, but will post the policy change internally and update its contracts for new employees.
The company also said it would extend the change to its agreements with contract workers. But it will not require vendors to change their own contracts, meaning some workers could still be held to the previous standard.
Other tech companies including Facebook, Uber and Microsoft have recently ended forced arbitration for sexual assault and harassment claims.
Google Walkout organizers who are focused on forced arbitration issues said they would continue working on ending the practice at other companies. Members of the group plan to meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., next week to advocate for a federal law against forced arbitration.
Cape Canaveral, Feb 22 (AP/UNB) — An Israeli spacecraft rocketed toward the moon for the country's first attempted lunar landing, following a launch Thursday night by SpaceX.
A communications satellite for Indonesia was the main cargo aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, which illuminated the sky as it took flight. But Israel's privately funded lunar lander — a first not just for Israel but commercial space — generated the buzz.
Israel seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after Russia, the U.S. and China. The spacecraft — called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or "In The Beginning" — will take nearly two months to reach the moon.
The moon, nearly full and glowing brightly, beckoned as it rose in the eastern sky. A half-hour after liftoff, the lunar lander was free and on its way.
"We thought it's about time for a change, and we want to get little Israel all the way to the moon," said Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of Israel's SpaceIL , a nonprofit organization behind the effort.
The four-legged Beresheet, barely the size of a washing machine, will circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it's captured by lunar gravity and goes into orbit around the moon. Touchdown would be April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.
NASA's Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s took about three days to get astronauts to the moon, but they used monstrous Saturn V rockets. The $100 million Beresheet mission couldn't afford its own rocket — even a little one — so the organizers opted for a ride share. That makes for a much longer trip; the moon right now is nearly 230,000 miles (370,000 kilometers) away.
"This is Uber-style space exploration, so we're riding shotgun on the rocket," Winetraub explained at a news conference on the eve of launch.
The U.S. Air Force also has a small research spacecraft aboard the rocket, for a one-year mission in orbit around Earth.
The Soviet Union was the first to put a spacecraft on the moon, Luna 2, in 1959. NASA followed with the Ranger 4 spacecraft in 1962. Last month, China became the first country to land on the far side of the moon.
The Beresheet mission originally was part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition and even made the final cut before the contest ended last year without a winner. The organizers decided to press ahead on their own, with donations from billionaires as well as schoolchildren.
Lunar surface operations are meant to last just two days. Beresheet will measure the magnetic field at the landing site, and send back data and pictures. A time capsule is aboard the lander — which includes a picture of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died aboard space shuttle Columbia in 2003 — as well as a lunar library containing 30 million pages on a disk from the U.S.-based Arch Mission Foundation.
Ramon's widow, Rona, was a big supporter of Beresheet; she died of cancer in December.
Following liftoff, SpaceX recovered the first-stage booster, which flew twice last year. The booster landed smoothly on an offshore ocean platform, after the hottest re-entry yet, according to SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk. Sparks from burning metal were visible in the landing video.
Musk said the booster will fly a fourth time in April, during a launch abort test of the new crew Dragon capsule. No one will be aboard.
San Francisco, Feb 22 (AP/UNB) — Several companies, including AT&T and Nestle, are pulling advertisements from YouTube over concerns about inappropriate comments on videos of children.
A video from a popular YouTuber and a report from Wired showed that pedophiles have made unseemly comments on innocuous videos of kids. The comments reportedly included timestamps that showed where kids innocently bared body parts.
YouTube says it disabled comments on tens of millions of videos and deleted offending accounts and channels.
Nestle and Fortnite maker Epic Games say they paused ads on YouTube while the company works on the issue. AT&T says it has removed ads until YouTube can "protect our brand from offensive content of any kind."
YouTube has faced advertiser boycotts in the past, including a widespread boycott in early 2017. Since then YouTube has made efforts to be more transparent about how it deals with offensive comments and videos on its site.
But the latest flap shows how much of an ongoing problem offensive content continues to be, said eMarketer video analyst Paul Verna.
"When you think about the scope of that platform and what they're up against, it is really like a game of whack-a-mole to try to prevent these problems from happening," he said.
Still, because of the powerful advertising reach of YouTube's parent Google, brands are unlikely to stay away from YouTube for long, he said.
Digital ad spending in the U.S. is expected to grow 19 percent in 2019 to $129.34 billion this year, or 54 percent of estimated total U.S. ad spending, according to eMarketer, with Google and Facebook accounting for nearly 60 percent of that total.
"At the end of the day, there's a duopoly out there of Google and Facebook," for digital advertising, he said. "Any brand that doesn't play the game with either is potentially leaving a big marketing opportunity on the table."
Dhaka, Feb 21 (UNB)-Huawei has released a series of solutions for autonomous driving mobile networks at a pre-MWC 2019 briefing in London, facilitating network construction in the 5G era.
To help operators cope with several challenges, Huawei has been launching this series of solutions for autonomous driving mobile networks, including the MBB Automation Engine (MAE) and BTS5900 series base stations with powerful computing capability.
Huawei’s newly launched solutions can help operators achieve automation in all scenarios and accelerate 5G construction by providing optimal operations & maintenance efficiency, resource efficiency, energy saving efficiency, and superior user experience.
Huawei’s MAE and BTS5900 series base stations with more powerful computing capability, enables automation in all scenarios, improving the O&M efficiency by 10 times, improving user experienced data rate by 30%, and saving energy consumption by 30%.
Peter Zhou, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Wireless Solution said, "Automation is a new direction in the development of the wireless industry. And we are eager to work with industry to continuously build automation capabilities in the field of wireless communication, promote the automation process of mobile networks and embrace a fully connected, intelligent world.”
“We have cooperated with a number of operators. Huawei's automation solutions have started to bring automation value into some key scenarios", he said.
The number of 3G and 4G users around the globe reached 500 million within ten and five years, respectively. It is estimated that 5G will take only three years to reach 500 million users.
MWC 2019 will be held from February 25 to 28 in Barcelona, Spain. More information is available on http://www.huawei.com/mwc2019/.
Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) - The government has decided to strengthen the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) to help it play a significant role in protecting the security of the country and its people.
The decision came from a meeting on Wednesday at the NTMC office in the city, which was attended by top officials of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Bangladesh set up the NTMC in 2013 under the Home Ministry as part of building digital Bangladesh, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters.
He said various issues were discussed at the meeting. “We’ve decided to strengthen NTMC’s logistics and manpower.”
Asaduzzaman said they planned to form a central data hub as well as a common platform to allow other agencies access necessary information instantly from the NTMC. “These initiatives will be taken with the prime minister’s approval,” he said.
Replying to a question, the minister said the NTMC monitors criminals and suspects named by intelligence agencies.
The NTMC provides interception facilities to Bangladeshi law enforcement and intelligence agencies following the law.