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LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Protests broke out across Pakistan on Thursday after the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in a district south of Lahore, due to public anger at what is seen as the authorities` failure to investigate such cases.
QUITO/LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was "naturalized" as an Ecuadorean on Dec. 12, at his request, Ecuador`s foreign minister said on Thursday, adding that she was seeking a "dignified" solution to his situation with Britain.
  • Google acquired Cambridge-based startup Redux ST which developed advanced haptic technology.
  • An in-person demo of the company`s technology made me feel as if I was handling physical buttons.
  • Redux ST also developed technology that played sound using a smartphone`s screen as a speaker.

LONDON — Google has quietly acquired a small British startup that has developed advanced haptic feedback technology which makes flat glass screens feel like real, physical buttons, and also plays music through the screen itself.

Bloomberg first reported that Redux ST had been acquired on January 11, although it seems that the deal took place in August 2017.

Redux ST`s technology is an interesting fit for Google, and could be used in its Pixel smartphones and ChromeBook laptops, or even in its self-driving cars.

I met with Redux ST at the Mobile World Congress technology conference in Barcelona in early 2017, before Google acquired the startup. I sat on a bed in a cramped, hot, hotel room with three Redux ST employees who showed me two devices they had developed.

The main device was a large touchscreen on a shelf. It looked like an Android tablet but much bulkier and with large bezels at the sides. This device showcased Redux ST`s advanced haptics. 

Redux ST

Redux ST`s technology made it feel like I was actually pressing buttons, rotating dials, and moving puzzle pieces around. The screen remained flat, but the vibration behind it tricked my fingers into feeling three-dimensional buttons that weren`t really there.

It was like a more impressive version of the Home button technology Apple used on iPhone (before the iPhone X). There was a circle in the bezel that you applied pressure on to close apps, but it didn`t depress like an actual button. Instead, Apple used vibrations to fool you into thinking you pressed a button.

Redux ST`s device had a series of demos that walked through the ways it could use haptic feedback. One demonstration had me turning a volume dial, and I felt a kind of "ticking" feeling as I rotated the wheel.

Redux ST

Another had me pressing buttons on a virtual keypad. If I closed my eyes, I would have felt like I was actually pressing buttons that had a physical presence.

Redux ST

One demo tasked me with assembling a puzzle from pieces displayed on the screen. The pieces made a clicking vibration feeling as I slotted them in, which helped me find the right place for them.

And perhaps the most intriguing section of the demo was based around how the technology could be used in vehicles. I could press buttons and drag sliders more easily when they felt physical. That makes sense for a screen in a car — anything that stops the driver having to take their eyes off the road is a good thing.

Redux ST

The second device I was shown was a dummy smartphone. It had a screen and a metal case, but was essentially just a speaker mocked up to look like a phone.

The interesting thing about that device was that there were no speaker grilles or holes for sound to come out of. Instead, the sound came through the screen itself.

Redux ST employees said that they could just emit audio from the top half of the phone, for example, so that you wouldn`t have audio coming out near your mouth whilst on a call.

Google could use Redux`s tech to make its products more immersive

So what could Google be doing with that technology?

Perhaps it just wanted one of Redux ST`s patents on playing audio through a screen. It`s a neat trick with no discernible drop in audio quality. And cutting out speaker grilles makes it easier to waterproof a smartphone`s internal components.

Buying up Redux ST`s patents would also allow Google to proceed with its own development of haptic feedback without any worries of competing with a smaller company that had already patented the technology. Google settled a lawsuit over haptic feedback patent infringement in Android phones in 2012, and it won`t be keen to get into a similar fight again.

Or maybe Google has ambitious plans to embed haptic feedback within its Chromebook laptops and Pixel phones.

In 2015 Google announced that it had been experimenting on a new kind of sensor. Project Soli used radar technology to track the movement of people`s fingers. The announcement video even gave the example of a user turning a virtual dial, just like Redux did in its demonstration.

Finally, the haptic feedback technology would work well in one of Google`s self-driving cars. Anything likely to improve safety will make regulators look more kindly on its cars.

Sure, for most of the time people will be sitting back and not driving, but there`s always the chance that people in the vehicles could have to take over operations and drive it themselves if the software fails.

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NOW WATCH: Here`s why Boeing 747s have a giant hump in the front

roulette dealers gambling casino

  • Gambling companies are leading the way in the initial coin offering market, according to Credit Suisse research. 
  • The report found gaming and gambling companies stand to benefit from the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. 

 

Investing in an initial coin offering (ICO) is a bit of a gamble in and of itself, so it`s fitting that more gambling and gaming companies have raised money via the fundraising method than any other category.

ICOs took off in 2017 in tandem with the entire market for digital coins. It`s sort of like a crypto twist on the initial public offering process, but for younger companies. Celebrities have played their part in hyping up the space, with entertainers from Paris Hilton to Floyd Mayweather Jr. promoting the fund-raising method for some companies. 

A wide-ranging report by Credit Suisse, the Switzerland-based bank found, found a "high number of gaming and gambling companies" have used the mechanism to raise money. Here`s the chart from the report: 

Screen Shot 2018 01 11 at 11.22.50 AM 

"Momentum is such that ICO funding in the tech sector almost surpassed traditional angel and seed funding in 3Q17," the report said. "This trend shows no sign of slowing, leading to concerns from industry experts and regulators of over-capitalization."

In total, more than 4 billion has been raised via ICOs, according to estimates by Autonomous NEXT. Business Insider reported about the massive 500 million ICO to build a floating cryptocurrency casino in Macau

According to the Credit Suisse report, gambling companies such as casinos have a lot to gain from blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The anonymity of cryptocurrencies is one such benefit. 

"Demand for anonymous gambling is evident in the relatively high usage of pre-paid cards – such as the paysafecard– on gambling websites and in consumer behaviour surveys," the report said. "Gambling with cryptocurrencies – as opposed to fiat money – can currently be conducted without the need to provide identification documents, or in some cases, without the need to create an account."

Still, regulators are ramping up efforts to clamp down on initial coin offerings. China and South Korea are among the countries that have flat out banned ICOs. The Securities and Exchange Commission`s recently launched Cyber Unit has halted a number of ICOs for not following securities laws. 

SEE ALSO: There is a 500 million ICO to build a floating cryptocurrency casino in Macau

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NOW WATCH: The 5 issues to consider before trading bitcoin futures

On March 14, students worldwide are joining CNN for #MyFreedomDay, raising awareness of modern slavery.
The company’s cryptocurrency has also seen an incredible runup in value, but investors may have gotten the wrong idea.

Amazon Echo Install Base

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Smart speakers with display screens, also known as smart displays, are gaining traction among some of the biggest tech players in the smart speaker market.

Over the past few days, Google, Baidu, and Facebook, among others, have announced smart-display products or strategies.

These devices — including Amazon’s Echo Show — can perform all the same functions as smart speakers, but they also offer the ability for users to make video calls, watch videos, look at photos, and search the internet, using both their voice and hands. Smart display devices introduce a new form factor to support voice assistants, providing voice assistant companies with another avenue to reach consumers inside the home.

Here are the biggest announcements so far around smart speaker devices at CES 2018:

  • Google and its partners — LG, Lenovo, Sony, and Harman via JBL — unveiled four new Google Assistant-powered smart displays.
    • LG’s new ThinQ WK7 smart display features an 8-inch touch display, about an inch larger than the Echo Show, and boasts Meridian Audio, Chromecast connectivity, and YouTube and Duo support.
    • The Lenovo Smart Display looks similar to a tablet, as it has a full HD touchscreen that can be oriented horizontally or vertically. The device, which will start at 200, provides access to YouTube and can be used to control all of users’ connected devices.
    • JBL’s smart display, dubbed JBL Link View, features an 8-inch touch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, and two front-firing 10E stereo speakers.
    • Details on Sony’s smart display aren`t yet available.
  • Baidu introduced the DuerOS-powered smart display, dubbed Little Fish VS1.The Little Fish VS1 screen-enabled smart speaker is powered by the latest and most advanced version of Baidu’s conversational AI system, DuerOS 2.0. The device boasts technology that recognizes and responds to individual faces. The display features video calls and media playback, and is connected to Baidu’s core services, which include Baidu Search, the iQiyi streaming service, and a family cloud photo album.
  • Facebook made its first foray into the consumer hardware business with a new video chat device. The device, called Portal, can be controlled via voice commands. It features a screen that’s intended to hold video calls, and stream music and video from services like Spotify and Netflix. Portal will be equipped with facial-recognition technology to enable users to link their faces with their respective Facebook accounts. Although Portal is similar in design to smart displays like Amazon’s Echo Show, Facebook plans to market the device as a tool to keep users connected to family and friends by encouraging them to spend more time browsing and messaging on its social network.

Smart display devices that are equipped with voice assistants could drive greater usage of smart speakers overall. Some of the main hurdles facing the smart speaker market are keeping users engaged and making the device more of a need-to-have, as opposed to a nice-to-have. For instance, 61% of consumers say they don’t interact with voice assistants because they aren’t interested in them, according to data from Pew Research Center. Coupling smart speakers with digital screens help to provide new use cases for the technology, which could spike consumer interest and drive uptake of smart speakers.

Peter Newman, research analyst for BI Intelligence, has put together a Smart Speaker report that analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, this report evaluates each device`s potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. Finally, the report draws some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Amazon`s new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show. The Echo Look, though, seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest.
  • Apple’s HomePod looks likely to find a place in the smart speaker market but won’t dominate its space like the iPhone or iPad did.
  • The smart speaker market will evolve rapidly in the next few years, with more devices featuring screens, a variety of more focused products emerging, and eventually, the voice assistant moving beyond the smart speaker.

In full, the report:

  • Showcases exclusive survey data on initial consumer reactions to the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod.
  • Highlights the aims and strategies of major players in the smart speaker market.
  • Provides analysis on the direction this nascent market will take and the opportunity for companies considering a move into the space.

 Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you`ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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Red Robin burger

  • Jack in the Box is considering swapping some cashiers with robots to save money as minimum wage rises. 
  • Red Robin is also cutting positions, with plans to save 8 million in 2018 by eliminating bus boys. 
  • "As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense" to consider adding new automated technology, Jack in the Box`s CEO said. 

 

Minimum wage increases are sending shock waves across the fast-food industry. 

On Tuesday, Jack in the Box`s CEO said the fast-food chain is considering swapping some cashiers with robots as the minimum wage rises in California.

"As we see the rising costs of labor, it just makes sense" to consider adding new automated technology, CEO Leonard Comma said Tuesday at the ICR Conference.

Jack in the Box previously tested technology such as kiosks, and found they resulted in a higher average check and helped with efficiency. However, Comma said, installing the kiosks was too great of a financial investment — at least until now, as minimum wages are rising. 

Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box wasn`t the only fast-food chain to announce it was considering cutting employees as minimum wages increase. 

Burger chain Red Robin announced on Monday that the chain estimates it will save 8 million this year by eliminating bus boys from restaurants. The West Coast-centric chain said it already saved almost 10 million by cutting expediters, the people who plate the food in the kitchen, The New York Post reported.

"Probably the most challenging thing we`re facing in the industry right now is labor costs," Red Robin CFO Guy Constant said. 

Minimum wages are increasing in 18 states in 2018, including California and Washington, where Jack in the Box and Red Robin are respectively based. 

Robots on the rise

McDonald`s self-service kiosks are seen in a prototype restaurant housed in a warehouse in Chicago`s West Loop area, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 1, 2017.  REUTERS/Lisa Baertlein

In 2017, Wendy`s announced plans to install self-ordering kiosks within a year. McDonald`s is adding kiosks to 2,500 stores, though it pledged not to replace cashiers with kiosks. Walmart — which announced Thursday it is giving workers a pay raise — has been testing automation in the form of shelf-scanning and floor-cleaning robots. 

Smaller chains such as Eatsa and CaliBurger have been working on automating the entire restaurant experience.

"With government driving up the cost of labor, it`s driving down the number of jobs," then-Carl`s Jr. and Hardee`s CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider in 2016. "You`re going to see automation not just in airports and grocery stores, but in restaurants."

Other executives say that the trend towards automation isn`t purely a money saving play. 

"The way history goes, automation is a natural. If you look at your phone, that`s a form of automation," Dunkin` Brands CEO Nigel Travis told Business Insider. 

If all Dunkin` Donuts customers ordered and paid using their mobile phones, Travis says the chain would be able to cut 30% of labor in stores. However, he says, Dunkin` Donuts biggest challenge in 2018 is finding enough workers who are good at their jobs, which can result in understaffing. 

Automation "doesn`t have to be a replacement" for human workers, Travis said. "It can be a natural support for running the business." 

Automation has the potential to radically shrink the number of restaurant industry jobs, especially entry-level positions. Currently, the restaurant industry makes up roughly 10% of the American workforce. 

Automation is a threat to 800 million jobs, according to a study by McKinsey Global Institute. 

SEE ALSO: Fast-food CEO says `it just makes sense` to consider replacing cashiers with machines as minimum wages rise

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NOW WATCH: FMR. HEALTH INSPECTOR: Restaurant letter grades are bogus

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday opposition leader Alexei Navalny appeared to be Washington`s pick for the Russian presidency, which was why the United States had complained about Navalny not being allowed to run for office.
GAZA (Reuters) - Two Palestinian youths were shot dead by Israeli troops during clashes on Thursday in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinian medical sources and witnesses said.
BARDONECCHIA, Italy (Reuters) - It took Abdullhai almost three years to get from his home in Guinea to a rocky, snow-covered Alpine mountain pass in the dead of winter, for what he hopes will be the final stage of his journey into France.

Screen Shot 2018 01 11 at 11.02.58 AM

  • Kodak stock is down more than 12% in trading Thursday.
  • Shares more than doubled this week after the once-bankrupt company said it was pivoting to blockchain.


At CES this week, Eastman Kodak announced it would launch its own cryptocurrency and leverage the blockchain to protect photographic copyright.

The once-bankrupt company’s stock almost tripled on the news that it was also jumping on the blockchain bandwagon, but is now sinking once again, down 12% in trading Thursday.

While many companies that have seemingly no relation to the cryptocurrency universe, like iced tea, have pivoted to blockchain and also seen their stock prices rise, BI’s tech reporter Becky Peterson points out that Kodak`s technology could actually be a huge help in tracking the use of copyrighted images on the internet.

As part of the new service, photographers can license their photos through KodakOne and will be paid in KodakCoin, which can then be exchanged for dollars. The exchange rate between the two is yet to be determined and the coin will go on sale January 31 as part of an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO.

A beta version of KodakOne will launch in Q4 2018, and a full commercial version will go live in Q2 2019, the company said. 

Kodak, which is based in Western New York State, is still up 195% since the announcement. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012 and announced it would stop making digital cameras in order to focus on the enterprise digital imaging market. 

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

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NOW WATCH: A crypto expert explains the difference between the two largest cryptocurrencies in the world: bitcoin and Ethereum

amazon seattle biosphere dome

  • More than 200 cities, states, and regions submitted proposals to host a new 5 billion Amazon campus, dubbed HQ2.
  • Amazon claims its second headquarters would create 50,000 jobs in the to-be-determined city.
  • But some residents worry that the new headquarters would increase traffic, spur gentrification, and lead to prolonged construction similar to "Amazonia" in Seattle, the location of Amazon`s original headquarters.
  • A new report looked at HQ2`s potential impact on 15 cities, and found that it could increase rent prices by up to 2% annually.

 

More than 200 cities, states, and regions across North America are vying to become the home of Amazon`s second headquarters. The company said in late last year that it plans to invest 5 billion in the construction of a new campus, dubbed HQ2, which it hopes will eventually hold 50,000 Amazon employees.

CEO Jeff Bezos said HQ2 will be equal in size to Amazon`s current headquarters in a Seattle neighborhood locals now call Amazonia. Since the late 1990s, the company has grown from a small set-up in Bezos` garage into a global e-commerce giant. Cities in the running include New York City, Philadelphia, Denver, San Jose, and Toronto.

Many city leaders are optimistic about the thousands of jobs Amazon claims HQ2 would create. But some residents worry that it would also spur the same problems that Seattle has seen since Amazon arrived: increased traffic, soaring housing prices, and prolonged construction.

In The Oregonian, a Portland resident questioned how the city would cope with the population growth HQ2 could bring. Meanwhile, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch expressed worries about higher rents that could price out "young artists and dreamers ... crushing any and all cultural diversity and vibrancy." 

James Thomson, an ex-head of Amazon Services (the division that recruits sellers to the company`s marketplaces), told the Toronto Star that inviting an Amazon HQ comes with risks.

"The expense is a trade-off against schools, infrastructure, health care, etc.," he said. "Can Toronto support 50,000 high-net earners who all want nice homes, nice restaurants, easy commutes, etc.? Amazon is NOT a fan of unions or regulation."

As of bid day, 73 community organizations across 21 states have signed an open letter to Bezos listing several concerns around a possible HQ2 in their cities, including out-of-state hiring, lack of investment in transportation infrastructure, unaffordable housing, and gentrification.

Their worries about higher rent prices are not be unfounded, according to a recent report from the real estate website Apartment List. The site made a few predictions about HQ2`s potential impact on housing prices in 15 major cities, based on historical home-building statistics and data from the US Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the report, the metro areas with the highest rent increases would include Raleigh, North Carolina (1.5% to 2% annually); San Jose, California (1% to 1.6%); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1.2% to 1.6%); and Baltimore, Maryland (1% to 1.3%).

The study suggests that most cities would add more jobs than they would housing units and struggle to keep up with residential demand, though different cities would likely have different rates of housing construction. 

seattleIn Seattle, Amazon is the largest property taxpayer and private employer. Since 2000, the area has added 99,000 new jobs, with 30% of them in tech, contributing to a construction boom. Since then, Amazon has continued to spur an influx of high-skilled, majority-white tech workers.

According to the Washington Technology Industry Association, there are now 250,000 people working in tech jobs in Washington state, a number that`s growing at about 10% annually. Nearly 90% of those jobs are in King County, Seattle, the home of Amazon`s campus. Seattle is also now the second-highest-paying city in tech, with an average salary of 99,400, according to the tech recruiting company Dice Holdings.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the growth has made Seattle`s housing less affordable for some longtime residents, who have accused Amazon of perpetuating income inequality in the city.

From 2005 to 2015, Seattle`s median rent went from 1,008 to 1,286, an increase nearly three times the national median. Recent data shows Seattle`s median home price hit 730,000 in mid-2017, up nearly 17% from a year ago.

As Bloomberg notes, the expansion of the city`s tech industry (most notably Amazon) has clogged roadways as well. Seattle drivers spent an average of 55 hours in traffic in 2016, placing it among the top 10 worst US cities for congestion, according to the most recent analysis by Inrix. In June 2017, King County Metro even added more buses to accommodate Amazon`s summer interns.

In The Seattle Times, columnist Danny Westneat warned Amazon`s next, "Other North American City" about all these issues.

"If there’s one thing we know in Seattle, it’s boom and bust. We’ve gone from billboards urging the last one leaving to turn out the lights to now, our first million-dollar neighborhood. Both the rush, and the relapse, of the fast buck are in our civic DNA," he wrote. "So heads up, Other North American City: Amazon is about to detonate a prosperity bomb in your town."

Amazon has recently tried to temper this image. In May last year, it announced efforts to house 200 local homeless people in one of its new Seattle buildings. Two months earlier, Bezos gave 35 million to Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in addition to earlier gifts of 30 million. And in 2016, Amazon donated 10 million to fund a new University of Washington computer science and engineering building.

It`s not yet clear where Amazon will make its new home. The company plans to announce a decision in 2018, and start construction by 2019. The company said the ideal city would have at least 1 million people, an international airport, and a "stable and business-friendly environment."

SEE ALSO: The 10 spots in the US that are most prepared for disaster

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NOW WATCH: Amazon can `overwhelm the competition with brute force`

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar`s admission that soldiers were involved in the murder of 10 Muslims in September was an important step and the United States hoped it would be followed by more transparency and accountability, the U.S. ambassador said on Thursday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has set up a team to investigate individuals and organizations providing support to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Islamist group in Lebanon that the U.S. has branded a terrorist organization, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday.

bitcoin price

  • Cryptocurrency prices are falling after a Reuters report said the South Korean government is preparing a bill to further crack down on the industry. 
  • Bitcoin is down 5% Thursday morning. 
  • Japan is likely to benefit from crackdowns in South Korea and China. 


Cryptocurrency markets around the world were rattled Thursday after a report said that South Korean leaders were preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading. Authorities also reportedly raided cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, according to Reuters.

Bitcoin initially slumped more than 9% Wednesday night on the news, and was still down 8% Thursday morning. Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was down 5%. Ripple`s XRP, the third-largest, had initially slumped 10%, but then skyrocketed on separate news that the company had partnered with MoneyGram. 

In total, the value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen 18% from previous highs reached on Sunday — sitting at 682.44 billion Thursday morning, according to CoinMarketCap.com. The website, one of the most popular for crypto pricing data, caused a stir earlier this week by unexpectedly shifting its data to exclude South Korean exchanges, appearing to show a drop in global prices and inducing some feat selling.

South Korea has been a hot spot for all cryptocurrencies, and the tokens have traded at significant premiums on its exchanges due to tight controls on capital in the country. Bitcoin, for instance, has traded at a more than 40% premium on South Korean exchanges relative to those in the US. According to Josiah Hernandez, chief strategy officer at Coinsource, that demand will make it hard for regulators to follow through on a full ban.

China is also preparing to tighten its grip on the red-hot cryptocurrency space this week, with two of the largest bitcoin mining operations in the country looking to set up shop elsewhere in Singapore, the US and Canada. The country banned wildly popular initial coin offerings, or ICOs, last year.

Japan is likely the beneficiary of crackdowns in other Asian countries. Sebastian Quinn-Watson, an executive at Blockchain Global, told Business Insider this week, "End point, high quality, well-run exchanges will thrive and poorly-run exchanges will perish and the consumer and market will benefit."

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Bitcoin mania, a Nobel Prize-winning economist talks Trump, and a deep dive on unstoppable tech stocks

2018 Nissan Leaf

  • Electric cars are cheaper to own over the long term than gas-powered vehicles.
  • But consumers aren`t always guided by cost when they buy a vehicle.
  • Thus far, the EV value proposition hasn`t created a big market for the new technology.


Compared to just a decade ago, we have a lot more choices when it comes to buying an electric car.

Short-range EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3 have been around for years, and long-range, mass-market EVs like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model S have started to arrive.

Electric vehicles continue to make up a tiny percentage of global sales — only about 1% — but more are on the way, so presumably that datapoint will improve over time. Unfortunately, much of the analysis around EVs` potential tends to lump all EVs together, ignoring some of the obvious dynamics of the auto market.

On average, running a vehicle on electricity is over 50% more cost-effective that running a car on gas. There`s really no debate about this, and the simple fact was recently backed up in a University of Michigan study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

Another rule of thumb that`s developed around EVs is that although the initial cost to buy a vehicle is higher than what`s needed to purchase a comparable gas-powered car, a crossover point typically occurs at about 50,000 miles. At that juncture, the EV owner has earned back the up-front cost and will see cheaper operational costs for the life of the vehicle. 

I should point out that the cost-of-ownership analysis has to be seen as somewhat unpredictable today, mainly because we know how much it costs to maintain a gas-powered car, but we don`t know how much it will ultimately cost to replace batteries on aging EVs.

The luxury market is different

Tesla Model S

In the luxury market, the cost of ownership is more dramatically divergent. Fleetcarma.com took a look at the cost of owning a Tesla Model S versus a Mercedes C-Class (in the process giving the Model S a bit too much credit for its luxury bona fides) and the cost of owning a Model X versus a Porsche Cayenne.

The bottom line is that it`s much pricier to own the Mercedes and the Porsche.

However, this welter of analysis runs smack into a wall when it comes to actual consumer behavior. It`s currently incontrovertible: very few people want to buy an electric car. Range limitations and a host of additional lifestyle changes have been cited to explain this. But competitive EVs have been around for years and haven`t much moved the needle. 

We`re in the early days of seeing whether the 35,000 Tesla Model 3 and the similarly priced Chevy Bolt can change that. 

But then we have to more closely scrutinize the underlying logic of cost-of-ownership analysis itself. The critical assumption is that owning an EV is a no-brainer. Sure, you have to get used to lengthy recharging times versus filling up on gas. But who wouldn`t want to save 500 a year — or much more when it comes to a luxury vehicle?

In the mass market, if charging infrastructure can be both faster and more widespread, we might see a big change in the coming decades. A lot of automakers are betting that EVs will witness a future surge in popularity, and the entire industry is waiting to see how much centrally planned muscle China, with its enormous car market, puts behind EVs.

Sometimes you just want a BMW that runs on gas

BMW M2

In the luxury market, the idea that a customer is cross-shopping a Mercedes or Porsche with a Tesla and is somehow worried about fuel costs is trickier to deal with. Mercedes and Porsche buyers are probably less sensitive to fuel costs than Honda buyers — and more invested in why they`ve chosen a particular luxury brand. 

The luxury market is a segment of the overall auto market, and blunt cost-of-ownership numbers can`t really address why somebody might spend, say, close to 100,000 on a high-performance BMW when they could get a perfectly good car for about 30,000. The truth is that some customers just want a BMW and they don`t entirely care how big the sticker price is and how much the gas will cost them.

Folks who work in or have spent a lot of time around the auto industry have a sort of innate understanding of this irrational aspect of car ownership. Why would anybody want spend 400,000 on a Ferrari? Because it`s a Ferrari. It`s the same dynamic that makes a person covet an 8,000 Rolex when a 200 Seiko can handle the same job. It`s also understood that owning a car on its face is an irrational decision: the vast majority of vehicles are bought with borrowed money and depreciate to the point where they`re worth nothing.

It can get even more intense the more you learn about yourself, your preferences, your lifestyle, and your needs. I`ve driven just about every electric car on the market. I get the economics. I`ve seen what happens with cost of ownership on numerous gas-powered vehicles. I`m an ideal customer, in that I understand all the advantages of EVs. And yet I have a used Toyota Prius, because for me the car is cheap to own and easier to use than an all-electric vehicle.

No straight shot to EV dominance

Electric cars charging

Don`t get me wrong — I`m not saying that an EV tipping point won`t eventually be upon us. But it`s not going to be a straight shot to that point. We`ve already seen this, as EV market penetration is now pretty weak — much weaker than predicted 10 years ago. EVs are big money-losers for the carmakers, largely because the scale of their production is small. Auto companies are staying in that game because they have more strict fuel-economy and emissions laws on the horizon and they`ve seen the bottom drop out of diesel, thanks to the Volkswagen scandal.

There`s also a choice problem in the auto industry: when it comes to choices, there are many of them. A single automaker, like General Motors, makes dozens of different models. In the US alone, no single carmaker controls even 20% of the market, and some large global players, such as VW, are making do with a meager share of less than 5%.

That makes it tough to be a car-company executive, but for consumers, it means abundant choice. Electric vehicles are entering that system as another option. So the notion that there`s a purely binary decision at stake — EV versus gas-powered car — doesn`t make sense and can`t be justified on the simplistic grounds that EVs are in the end cheaper to own. 

When you get right down to it, what we`re dealing with isn`t any kind of bogus factual situation: EVs are clearly less expensive once the up-front cost is overcome. The issue is an error of interpretation: What does the lower ownership cost of EVs mean when that fact hits the actual market?

Sadly for some EV enthusiasts, it doesn`t mean that electric cars take over the world.

SEE ALSO: Ford CEO Jim Hackett has the toughest job in the auto industry ahead of him

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NOW WATCH: Watch Elon Musk show off Tesla’s first electric semi — which can go from 0-60 mph in five seconds

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey`s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that jailed journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay be released, saying their rights have been violated, broadcaster CNN Turk reported.
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will not extradite any suspects to the United States if Washington does not hand over the cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating a failed 2016 military coup, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
CAIRO – 11 January 2018: Health Minister Ahmed Emad el-Din said on Thursday during a symposium, entitled “Toward Elimination of Viral Hepatitis”, that Egypt is a leading country in eliminating Hepatitis C as the ministry follows an efficient system to combat it.

Emad el-Din added that the ministry has finished the waiting list, but comprehensive medical surveys should be conducted on citizens across Egypt. He pointed out that the ministry has already surveyed five million Egyptians.

The Ministry of Health has taken a 75-million loan from the World Bank to improve the efficiency of the health sector.

It is anticipated that Egypt will be hepatitis C free by 2022, announced Yehiya el-Shazly, president of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infections, around a year ago.

The following are the steps that were already taken by the Health Ministry:

1- Seventy HCV governmental treatment centers and clinics have already been established across the country.

2- The Ministry of Health provides a three-month treatment course for only LE 1,500 (84.78).

3- Two million citizens infected with HCV have already been treated, the Ministry of Health announced in December 2017.

4- Member of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Yehiya el-Shazly, announced in February 2017 that the ministry has provided alternative treatment courses for 45,000 patients who went into remission.

5- Several field inspection campaigns were carried out in nine Upper Egypt governorates throughout 2017 in order to understand the scope of the spread of HCV and to consequently provide necessary controls to curb its prevalence.

6- The ministry also plans to conduct similar campaigns in the villages of the Nile Delta during the first three months of 2018.

7- The ministry`s national strategy also includes issuing certificates for patients who are proven to be fully recovered.

8- The ministry is set to launch a massive campaign which will provide diagnoses for more than four million citizens.

Ripple XRP price

  • MoneyGram has partnered with Ripple to use its XRP cryptocurrency in money transfers.
  • MoneyGram`s stock is up 13% after the news, while XRP reversed early losses to go up 1%. 


Shares of MoneyGram, the second-largest money transfer company in the world, spiked as much 12.75% Thursday after the company said it had signed a partnership with Ripple to test using the company’s XRP cryptocurrency to improve transfer settlement times and costs. XRP is climbing as well, spiking as much as 14%.

Last week, Western Union spiked on an unverified rumor that it planned to also use XRP. Ripple said in a tweet that it has signed three of the world’s five largest money transfer companies, but did not elaborate on which.

New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper also said last week that he was unable to verify many of the cooperating banks the company had previously announced. CEO Brad Garlinghouse denied those claims. 

“The payments problem doesn’t just affect banks, it also affects companies like MoneyGram, which help people get money to the ones they care about,” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in a press release. “By using a digital asset like XRP that settles in three seconds or less, our clients can move money as quickly as information.”

XRP saw significant losses, down as much as 13%, Wednesday evening into Thursday morning on news South Korean regulators planned to crack down on cryptocurrency exchanges. But the token had begun to pare those losses after the Moneygram news, and was up 2.39% in the last 24 hours at the time of writing.

XRP powers Ripple’s XRapid cross-border payments for emerging markets product as well as its other liquidity and transfer services.

XRP is currently trading at 1.97, according to Markets Insider data, much lower than its high of 3.315 reached late last year. The cryptocurrency is still up 5517% over the past 12 months, but down 31% over the past week. 

MoneyGram sent nearly 600 billion in cross-border payments in 2016, according to its website. 

"Every day blockchain technology is changing the norm and encouraging innovation,” CEO Alex Holmes said in a release. “Ripple is at the forefront of blockchain technology and we look forward to piloting xRapid. We’re hopeful it will increase efficiency and improve services to MoneyGram’s customers."

Moneygram stock price

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NOW WATCH: THE BOTTOM LINE: Chipotle vs. Qdoba, the bear case on Apple, and diagnosing a bitcoin bubble

Sundar Pichai

  • Google and Amazon are expanding their efforts to promote their digital assistants to a number of third-party manufacturers, as the war between the two escalates.
  • Amazon recently removed Google products from its e-commerce platform, and Google dropped support for YouTube on Amazon`s online platforms.
  • This is why devices they make themselves are still important, and why Google is reportedly planning to launch an overhauled store to sell its own gadgets.


The war between Google and Amazon is escalating.

A new report from Bloomberg says that Google is planning to launch a revamped website for its store in February, which will better promote its hardware lineup and its Google Assistant software.

The Assistant is Google`s digital helper, which is at the heart of all of its products. That seems to be more important to Google than its Google Home speakers, whose hardware is essentially just a case wrapping the assisting technology.

Google reportedly wants its hardware lineup to have a recognisable, Apple-esque look, which is why the website will use the Assistant to unify its ecosystem of products.

Bloomberg`s sources claim that Google`s renewed emphasis on hardware — in this case with the redesigned store — is part of an ongoing effort to fend off Amazon as it`s the e-commerce colossus Google is apparently most afraid of.

Google`s Pixel phones may be getting rave reviews, even better than those of the iPhones and Galaxys of the smartphone realm, but that`s not where the war is at.

Smart speakers and IoT, digital assistant-enabled devices — where Amazon has a two-year lead — are more important.

"In the smart-speaker market specifically," Bloomberg reports, "[market research firm] EMarketer estimates Echo will command a 68 percent share this year, compared with 25 percent for Google Home."

Google isn`t really a hardware company. It doesn`t make devices to compete with other manufacturers and make money off hardware sales, but rather to expand the reach of its software offering and get people to use its products (namely the Assistant, and, as a direct consequence, Search) more.

Every query Amazon`s Alexa gets is one Google loses; and Amazon is playing the same game, using its own virtual butler to lure in as many Prime subscribers as it can. In this view, Alexa (the assistant) is more important than the Echo itself.

"A lot of our partners sell on Amazon," Steve Rabuchin, Amazon`s Alexa vice president, told Bloomberg. "We`re happy if someone picks a Sonos one over one of our devices. They still sign in as an Amazon customer."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

vox media

  • Vox Media officially recognized its editorial union.
  • Vox joined several other digital media companies who have unionized over the past several years.


Vox Media management voluntarily recognized the legitimacy of its employee union.

After almost two months of meetings with representatives from the Writers Guild of America East, the committee to organize the union announced Wednesday that the company would officially recognize a bargaining unit. 

"We have worked hard to form a unit that represents the people who build this company every day and want to look out for each other," the Vox Media Union Organizing Committee said in a statement. "That work has finally paid off."

Management had publicly said it was open to the prospect of a union, but talks had slowed as the two sides negotiated over whether individual employees should be permitted to join the editorial union. Organizers had taken actions including organizational happy hours, lunches, and a "Slack Strike" to push management to voluntarily recognize a larger bargaining unit. 

Vox joined several other digital media newsrooms that have formed employee unions.

Staffers at Vice, HuffPost, and Thrillist successfully voluntarily unionized over the past several years. 

Other newsrooms have also faced headwinds after attempting to form a union.

Gothamist and DNAinfo shut down last year after their editorial employees voted to unionize, staffers attempting to form a union at the The Los Angeles Times have faced harsh words from management following their unionization drive.

SEE ALSO: Vox employees are going on a `Slack Strike` to push for a union

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How the net neutrality repeal will hurt small businesses — including anyone who sells things on sites like Etsy

Detail of ‘Plucking the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens’ (c.1908) by Henry Arthur Payne.

The Game of Thrones continues to attract an audience and many people interested in it also have a passion for history and the true stories that inspired the series. Now you can gain some new insight into the who’s who of the Wars of the Roses and their legendary ancestors by exploring a digital version of English royal family genealogy as depicted on the Canterbury Roll.

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis backed incumbent Milos Zeman in the country`s presidential election, which starts with a first round on Friday and Saturday.
TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian protesters burned down a regional national security headquarters near the Algerian border, prompting authorities to send in troops after police retreated, witnesses said, as unrest over prices and taxes continued nationwide.

evolving business

Sting WWE

  • The WWE has already arrived where many TV companies aspire to go: it`s built a successful subscription streaming product without undercutting its traditional channels.
  • The wrestling brand has had to ramp up its data chops to better its programming and sell merchandise.
  • "We`re ahead of the curve," said WWE CMO Michelle Wilson.

Suddenly, it seems every big TV player — led by ESPN — is contemplating the launch of paid subscription services, and they may look to any unlikely rival for inspiration. When it comes to running a direct-to-consumer streaming offering, the WWE has a four-year head start.

Business Insider caught up with the WWE`s chief marketing officer Michelle Wilson at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this week to talk about the future of media delivery in an "over the top" world, what it means for a media company to become a data and tech company, and what advertising will look like in a few years.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Mike Shields: You guys are seemingly at the forefront of where a lot of the TV industry, particularly sports, seem to want to go, in terms of having a subscription streaming product.

Michelle Wilson: It`s kind of crazy that we made our announcement four years ago at CES. We were definitely ahead of the curve. At the time it was just Netflix and Hulu that were out there. Obviously we`ve had a long history of success with paid television as a way to reach the broadest audience around the world. We love paid television. But as we were looking at digital and social platforms that were emerging, it started to occur to us that there`s another way to reach our fan base, particularly younger consumers. We had pay-per-view events that were 60 each, and they were reaching a limited audience, yet it was our most premium content. It was one of those business situations where we said, "How do we grow that base?"`

Shields: What kind of ideas did you look at?

Wilson: One of the things we explored was a linear cable network, much like the MLB Network, the NFL Network. We looked at an ad-supported channel. We looked at a premium paid channel like HBO. We actually had an opportunity to go in that direction. Simultaneously, we started doing research among our fans about how they were consuming content. They were consuming five times as much content on services like Netflix and Hulu.

Shields: So these were probably younger cord-cutters or cord nevers.

Wilson: As we started looking at that and contemplated a linear network, we presented that to our CEO Vince McMahon, and he`s a real visionary. He said to me and George Barrios, our CTO, "Maybe we shouldn`t do the standard linear network." He was fascinated about this opportunity to go direct to consumer. That was our business model when we started to do live events. We got feedback directly from our consumers. Technology was disrupting the middleman [in media distribution]. And so he basically said, "I want to do that." For us, it was disrupting our own business model to be prepared for the future.

Shields: A big motivation for these media companies eyeing this model — other than catering to these younger demographics — is owning consumer data and all that goes with it.

unnamed 5Wilson: When we were going through cable distributors, there was literally no transparency on data. We didn`t know what homes were buying what events, how often they were buying, who was buying. They were like, "Here`s how many buys you got," and that`s it. That was part of our frustration. How do we make our business better without that data? So that was a clear part of the decision. How do we become more control of our destiny with data?

Shields: How has that paid off?

Wilson: I don`t think we had any idea what we were getting into. In 2014 we had one pseudo data scientist. Now we have 40. And we have outside people helping us.

Because there`s literally so much data. We had to build muscle around data and analytics. What`s great about that is that it`s helping us, not only with our streaming services, but other lines of business, like e-commerce and live event ticket sales. I think we`re ahead of the curve when it comes to most media companies. We now have 10 million data files on consumers [between the streaming network`s nearly 2 million subscribers and any consumers who have made individual content or merchandise purchases]. We know when people buy T-shirts, when people log on to watch shows, and how long they watch.

Shields: How do you balance giving your paying customers something of value, while also putting shows on TV and distributing content on social media?

Wilson: It`s a great, delicate balancing act. We`ve developed metrics where we decide where to put a piece of content. We literally have a group where we sit in a room, and we say "This particular show, is it about brand building, and therefore, do we need to build the greatest reach? Is it about economics, and do we want to monetize it? Or is it about fan engagement?" We kind of always think about engagement, monetization and reach. I`ll give you a perfect example. When we looked at `Total Divas" [a reality show about female wrestlers that airs on the E! network], we thought, "Do we put it on our network, to serve our most ardent fans? Or is this about building our brand?" With this show we thought it could bring in more women to the franchise. You`re not necessarily going to get that on the WWE platform versus a broad platform like E! The reverse is something like Stone Cold Steve Austin doing podcasts. That content makes sense on our network.

Shields: Do you ultimately want everyone to become a paying subscriber?

Wilson: Our view is that we want the whole ecosystem to be healthy. It`s not really an endgame to drive everyone to subscriptions.

Shields: Do you have any advice for sports networks or leagues as they mull similar subscription launches?

Wilson: It`s funny, because we meet and talk with them all the time and they ask us. We tell them about this balancing act we do. You have to be disciplined. In some cases for us, we`ve had to make some unpopular decisions for what we think is the right thing for our fan base. You may take some short term hits. We lost money as a company in 2014 when we launched the paid network. Some people said, "They don`t know what they`re doing." Now they say, "They were smart, they knew what they were doing." 

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: I tried Peloton`s new 4,000 treadmill — and now I get why the company has such a cult following

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NOW WATCH: WWE CMO: The most valuable lesson Vince McMahon taught me about business

Screen Shot 2018 01 11 at 8.41.31 AM

  • Cryptocurrency prices are falling after a Reuters report said that the South Korean government is preparing a bill to further crack down on the industry. 
  • Ripple`s XRP is being hit the hardest, down nearly 13%.
  • Japan is likely to benefit from crackdowns in South Korea and China. 


Cryptocurrency markets around the world were rattled Thursday after a report said that South Korean leaders were preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading. 

Bitcoin initially slumped more than 9% Wednesday night on the news, and was still down 8% Thursday morning. Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was down 5% while Ripple`s XRP, the third-largest, was down 13%. 

South Korean authorities also reportedly raided cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, according to Reuters.

In total, the value of all cryptocurrencies has fallen 18% from previous highs reached on Sunday — sitting at 682.44 billion Thursday morning, according to CoinMarketCap.com. The website, one of the most popular for crypto pricing data, caused a stir earlier this week by unexpectedly shifting its data to exclude South Korean exchanges, appearing to show a drop in global prices and inducing some feat selling.

Asia at large is a hot market for Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency, and the coin is taking the biggest hit Thursday, down nearly 13% at the time of writing. 

South Korea has been a hot spot for other cryptocurrencies as well, and the tokens have traded at significant premiums on its exchanges due to tight controls on capital in the country. Bitcoin, for instance, has traded at a more than 40% premium on South Korean exchanges relative to those in the US. According to Josiah Hernandez, chief strategy officer at Coinsource, that demand will make it hard for regulators to follow through on a full ban.

China is also preparing to tighten its grip on the red-hot cryptocurrency space this week, with two of the largest bitcoin mining operations in the country looking to set up shop elsewhere in Singapore, the US and Canada. The country banned wildly popular initial coin offerings, or ICOs, last year.

Japan is likely the beneficiary of crackdowns in other Asian countries. Sebastian Quinn-Watson, an executive at Blockchain Global, told Business Insider this week, "End point, high quality, well-run exchanges will thrive and poorly-run exchanges will perish and the consumer and market will benefit."

SEE ALSO: Sign up to get the most important updates on all things crypto delivered straight to your inbox.

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NOW WATCH: Bitcoin can be a bubble and still change the world

CAIRO - 11 January 2018: Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouli chaired a meeting on Thursday to follow up the status of the ongoing projects in the sectors of youth and sports, health, education and higher education.

The meeting, attended by the ministers concerned, touched on the establishment of a number of sports institutions and the development of youth centers in villages.

The meeting also tackled establishing new hospitals and upgrading others in order to enhance the relevant services provided to citizens.

Concerning higher education, the conferees probed the projects currently implemented to expand in establishing universities, institutes and university hospitals nationwide.
CAIRO – 11 January 2018: The Third Field Army has destroyed five motorbikes, a four-wheel drive vehicle and two explosive devices affiliated to terrorist groups in Central Sinai, military spokesperson, Tamer al-refa’ay, said in a statement on the official website on Thursday.

Strongholds and hotbeds are sought out and targeted by Army forces affiliated to the Third Field Army law enforcement as part of intensive efforts to uproot terrorists.

Simultaneously, quantities of narcotics were seized at one crossing leading to Central Sinai, within the framework of the army’s crackdown to eliminate the Takfiri and criminal elements in Sinai.

Egypt’s army has conducted a fierce battle against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula for five years. The peninsula had been a hotbed for terrorists since the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013.

Earlier today, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with the defense and interior ministers and the head of the General Intelligence Service to tackle the latest security developments in Egypt.

The president was briefed on efforts exerted by the Egyptian army and police to eradicate terrorist groups nationwide, the spokesman added
ABUJA (Reuters) - More than 15,000 Cameroonian refugees have fled to Nigeria amid a crackdown on Anglophone separatists, the United Nations (UN) refugee agency and Nigerian government officials said on Thursday.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain, France and Germany made a joint plea to Donald Trump on Thursday to uphold a pact stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons, a day before the U.S. president is expected to decide whether to re-impose sanctions in a move likely to sink the deal.
Researchers have found worrying security holes in apps companies use to control industrial processes.
Join the CNN Freedom Project on March 14 2018 for #MyFreedomDay -- when students around the world will be holding events to raise awareness of modern slavery.
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has refused a request by Ecuador for diplomatic status to be given to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a spokesman for Britain`s Foreign Office said.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis will meet victims of the dictatorship of the late Augusto Pinochet when he visits Chile next week, the Vatican said on Thursday.
On March 14 2017 -- #MyFreedomDay -- students around the world raised awareness of modern slavery.

protest Snapchat delete snapchat venice beach protest

  • Parents should ban their children from using Snapchat, according to England children`s commissioner Anne Longfield.
  • Longfield, who speaks to policymakers on behalf of children and young people, told LBC that Snapchat had "addictive" features to encourage users to keep messaging each other.
  • She said schools often banned Snapchat and that parents should follow suit.
  • Snapchat is to meet with Longfield to explain aspects of its app that might be harmful to kids.
  • Snapchat parent Snap said it took children`s safety seriously.


LONDON — Parents should ban their children from instant messaging app Snapchat because it`s so "addictive", according to the woman tasked with overseeing children`s wellbeing in England.

We first saw the news via The Times.

Children`s commissioner Anne Longfield told LBC on Wednesday that more schools were banning pupils from using Snapchat during the day, and that parents should follow suit. As children`s commissioner, Longfield advocates on behalf of young people to UK politicians and is independent of the government.

"Some schools are banning Snapchat," she said. "They won`t allow the apps on some screens — some schools have their own screens."

She criticised Snapchat for its "streak" feature, which praises users who have messaged their friends for more than three days consecutively. Snapchat shows emojis next to a users` names who have "streaked", and they must keep exchanging messages within a 24-hour window to keep the streak going.

"It`s Snapchat that has particularly addictive elements where you have to streak with friends and keep friendship with them. There`s a lot to be explained there," said Longfield.

She said Snapchat had agreed to meet her to explain aspects of its app. "These are things I will put to them."

She concluded: "To parents, unless you`re very sure, just don`t let your kids on Snapchat."

Longfield published a damning report last week about the negative impact of social media on children, finding that kids feel under pressure to stay on social media and to win `likes` as social validation.

Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all have a loosely enforced rule that only people aged over 13 can sign up, but the report found three-quarters of children aged between 10 and 12 have a social media account. The four most popular apps were Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, and video app Musical.ly.

Snapchat`s parent Snap defended itself in a statement to The Times, pointing out that its platform doesn`t encourage `likes` from peers like Facebook and Instagram. A spokesman said: "Snapchat is a place for friends to have fun and live in the moment when talking with friends through photos and videos without the pressure of `comments,` `likes` or `shares`. We take our responsibility to create a safe and secure experience extremely seriously and continue to invest in resources to keep our community safe online."

SEE ALSO: One of the creators of the iPhone said Apple needs to address phone addiction

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

CAIRO – 11 January 2018: A Turkish freighter, loaded with 29 containers of explosives and other materials that could be used to construct bombs used in terrorist attacks, were seized while sailing to Libya, the Greek coastguard said on Wednesday according to The Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA).

“The ship had been a moving bomb that could have had unforeseeable repercussions on people and the marine,” the Greek coastguard said to AMNA.

111
The seized possessions found on the Turkish ship
A special operations squad seized the vessel and arrested the freighter`s eight-person crew, which included two Ukrainian nationals, five Indian nationals and one Albanian, in waters off Agios Nikolaos, Crete, a few days earlier.

The skipper of the crew has admitted after questioning that he had been ordered by the ship`s owner to sail to the Libyan port of Misurata and not to Djibouti, the destination listed in the ship`s itinerary.

112
According to the ship’s bill of lading, the cargo had been loaded in the Turkish ports of Mersin and Iskenderun and was destined for Djibouti and Oman. No shipping maps were found on the ship’s logbook for the Djibouti and Oman areas, the coastguard said.

The European Union and the United Nations imposed arms embargoes that have prohibited the sale, supply or transfer of arms to Libya since 2011.

114
The eight-member crew has been arrested and will appear before a prosecutor on Thursday, according to Reuters.
CAIRO – 11 January 2018: Health Minister Ahmed Emad el-Din said on Thursday during a symposium, entitled “Toward Elimination of Viral Hepatitis”, that Egypt is a leading country in eliminating Hepatitis C as the ministry follows an efficient system to combat it.

Emad el-Din added that the ministry has finished the waiting list, but comprehensive medical surveys should be conducted on citizens across Egypt. He pointed out that the ministry has already surveyed five million Egyptians.

The Ministry of Health has taken a 75-million loan from the World Bank to improve the efficiency of the health sector.

It is anticipated that Egypt will be hepatitis C free by 2022, announced Yehiya el-Shazly, president of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infections, around a year ago.

The following are the steps that were already taken by the Health Ministry:

1- Seventy HCV governmental treatment centers and clinics have already been established across the country.

2- The Ministry of Health provides a three-month treatment course for only LE 1,500 (84.78).

3- Two million citizens infected with HCV have already been treated, the Ministry of Health announced in December 2017.

4- Member of the National Committee for Fighting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Yehiya el-Shazly, announced in February 2017 that the ministry has provided alternative treatment courses for 45,000 patients who went into remission.

5- Several field inspection campaigns were carried out in nine Upper Egypt governorates throughout 2017 in order to understand the scope of the spread of HCV and to consequently provide necessary controls to curb its prevalence.

6- The ministry also plans to conduct similar campaigns in the villages of the Nile Delta during the first three months of 2018.

7- The ministry`s national strategy also includes issuing certificates for patients who are proven to be fully recovered.

8- The ministry is set to launch a massive campaign which will provide diagnoses for more than four million citizens.
CAIRO - 11 January 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi held on Thursday a meeting with the defense and interior ministers and the head of the General Intelligence Service.

The meeting tackled the latest security developments in Egypt, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said.

The president was briefed on efforts exerted by the Egyptian army and police to eradicate terrorist groups nationwide, the spokesman added.
NEW YORK - 11 January 2018: The United Nation`s political chief pushed Wednesday in Libya for the country to hold credible elections this year in a bid to ensure a peaceful shift from a failed unity deal, The Daily Mail reported.

"The goal is a Libyan goal to end the transition phase with inclusive peaceful process that produces a unified government that is a product of the will of the Libyan people," Jeffrey Feltman said after meeting internationally backed premier Fayez al Sarraj.

A 2015 UN-brokered deal that saw the establishment of Sarraj`s Government of National Accord was meant to calm years of chaos that followed the ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

But Libya has remained mired in violent turmoil as the country is riven by divisions between the GNA in Tripoli and a rival administration backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the east.

In September, the UN presented a new plan to hold legislative and presidential elections by the end of 2018 as the GNA`s mandate neared the end of its two-year lifespan with no solution to the crisis in sight.

Feltman acknowledged that "credible elections will require an understanding in terms of political agreements" as well as new legislation and the necessary security conditions across the conflict-wracked nation.

But he insisted the UN wants "to do our part in promoting the political, the security, the technical and the legislative condition to see that the Libyan people`s desire for these elections can be realized this year."

The United Nations insists sticking to the unity deal still remains the "only viable framework to end the Libyan political crisis" and prepare for elections.
Senior European diplomats have urged the US not to kill off the Iran nuclear deal, as President Donald Trump mulls whether to reimpose sanctions on the country ahead of a Friday deadline.
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary will hold a parliamentary election on April 8, President Janos Ader announced on Thursday, a contest likely to give Prime Minister Viktor Orban`s ruling Fidesz party a third successive term in power.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said her conservatives still had high hurdles to clear in Thursday`s talks on forming a coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), who are pressing for accelerated European integration.
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