Australia approves tough new veto powers over foreign agreements amid China row

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s parliament on Thursday passed legislation giving the federal government power to veto any agreement struck with foreign states, a move likely to anger China and intensify a bitter diplomatic spat between the two countries.

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives at Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan, November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The law allows the Commonwealth to block any agreement between Australian states, councils or institutions and a foreign government, such as a controversial 2018 deal between the state of Victoria and China.

“Australia’s policies and plans, the rules that we make for our country are made here in Australia according to our needs and our interests,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Morrison has stressed the law is not aimed at any country but it is widely seen by analysts as directed at China.

“It creates another trigger for the relationship

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Microfluidic system with cell-separating powers may unravel how novel pathogens attack

Microfluidic system with cell-separating powers may unravel how novel pathogens attack
An image of the in-droplet cell separation microfluidic chip, showing the microfluidic channels and electrodes. Enlarged view shows a host cell and pathogenic bacteria cells being separated to top and bottom within a single water-in-oil microdroplet. Credit: Dr. Arum Han/Texas A&M University College of Engineering

To develop effective therapeutics against pathogens, scientists need to first uncover how they attack host cells. An efficient way to conduct these investigations on an extensive scale is through high-speed screening tests called assays.

Researchers at Texas A&M University have invented a high-throughput cell separation method that can be used in conjunction with droplet microfluidics, a technique whereby tiny drops of fluid containing biological or other cargo can be moved precisely and at high speeds. Specifically, the researchers successfully isolated pathogens attached to host cells from those that were unattached within a single fluid droplet using an electric field.

“Other than cell separation, most biochemical

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IBM Maximo Powers Autostrade’s Civil Infrastructure Monitoring

International Business Machines Corp.’s IBM Maximo applications are being used by Autostrade per l’Italia Group for its latest civil infrastructure monitoring digital system. Autostrade per l’Italia Group put in 60 million Euros for the development of the digital system.

By combining IBM’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT Internet of Things (IoT) solutions as well as drones along with Fincantieri NexTech’s 3D digital modelling technology, the civil infrastructure monitoring system will screen infrastructures (viaducts, bridges, flyovers and tunnels) managed by Autostrade Tech to improve maintenance.

The new digital system will enable civil engineers to conduct improved inspection of infrastructure by providing access to all the information, through a mobile device, pertaining to the structure’s original construction details and the subsequent routine inspections.

IBM Corp. Price and Consensus

International Business Machines Corporation Price and Consensus

International Business Machines Corporation price-consensus-chart | International Business Machines Corporation Quote


Fincantieri NexTech will help engineers to create a 3D digital version of

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what powers will new UK tech regulator have?

The government has unveiled its first tentative steps towards the regulation of digital monopolies, following an investigation by the competition watchdog into the digital advertising industry.

logo: Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

logo: The focus on digital advertising could narrow the regulator’s scope to just two companies: Google and Facebook.

© Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images
The focus on digital advertising could narrow the regulator’s scope to just two companies: Google and Facebook.

A new body, the Digital Markets Unit, will be established to lead the effort. But what it will do, what powers it will have, and who it will cover, are still unclear.

Which companies are being regulated?

Officially, the answer isn’t settled. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended in its review that the new regulations only cover platforms funded by digital advertising, and designated as having “strategic market status”.

Related: New UK tech regulator to limit power of Google and Facebook

It is “highly likely” that Google and Facebook will be given

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Innovative FinTech Startup Powers Mobile Engagement for Emerging Markets with 8×8

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–8×8, Inc. (NYSE: EGHT), a leading integrated cloud communications platform provider, today announced that OKO, a provider of index insurance and other farming-related services to smallholder farmers in emerging countries, has selected 8×8 to transform communications with farmers across Africa, dramatically improving service delivery and providing enhanced customer experiences via the 8×8 Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) Chat Apps API.

OKO provides effective, affordable crop insurance to farmers in emerging markets by using new technologies in satellite imagery and weather forecasting to simplify and automate the claim management process, making crop insurance accessible to thousands of smallholder farms. Serving the agricultural community across Africa, OKO was using SMS to communicate and engage with farmers for purchasing crop insurance and sharing valuable information, such as weather updates, to minimise crop damage. However, SMS communication was often limited and ineffective due to the low literacy rate of farmers.

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Opinion | At-Home Covid Tests and Other Powers of a Tech Billionaire

Chamath Palihapitiya is one of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech investors. He’s also among the most candid. “I aspire to be a Koch brother before I aspire to be an under secretary,” he tells Kara Swisher on this episode of “Sway.” His definition of power has little to do with politics — it’s profits, he says, that empower you to “control the resources.”

Mr. Palihapitiya made his first fortune as an early executive at Facebook. He has since multiplied his wealth as an investor, with big bets and bold forecasts about the future. These days, he’s behind one of the most lucrative and controversial trends — SPACs, the acronym for blank check or special purpose acquisition companies, which some call the next bubble.

On this episode of “Sway,” Mr. Palihapitiya shares his predictions for American economic recovery

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Tech Rebound Powers Stocks Higher; Treasuries Rise: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Stocks rallied globally as investors rushed back into technology and health-care firms on bets that the U.S. election results will trigger no major changes to taxes or regulations that have underpinned the bull market for years.


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The Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed at the open, buoyed by tech shares and some strong corporate results. Chip shares including Dialog Semiconductor Plc were among the biggest gainers following an upbeat forecast from Qualcomm Inc. on demand for 5G devices. Societe Generale SA advanced after its quarterly profit almost doubled analyst estimates.

Futures on the tech-laden Nasdaq 100 jumped another 2.4% after the underlying gauge surged on Wednesday when the vote count failed to produce a clear Democratic sweep as some had expected. The reduced likelihood of a multitrillion-dollar stimulus package in a divided Congress helped push Treasuries higher again on Thursday.

Meanwhile, U.K. bonds jumped after the Bank

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U.S. agency needs new powers to protect local news industry: senator

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission needs new powers to protect the struggling U.S. local news industry from unfair competition from large technology companies, a senior U.S. lawmaker said.

Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a report released Tuesday that “local news has been hijacked by a few large news aggregation platforms, most notably Google and Facebook, which have become the dominant players in online advertising.”

The report added the “trillion-dollar companies scrape local news content and data for their own sites and leverage their market dominance to force local news to accept little to nothing for their intellectual property.”

Google scrapes the web to get headlines and story snippets, while Facebook features content posted by publishers or users and “receives billions in profits from the news content created by others,” the report said.

The chief executives of Facebook FB.O Twitter TWTR.N

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Intel Powers on DG2, Its First Discrete Graphics Card for PC Gaming

(Credit: Intel)

Intel’s first dedicated graphics card for PC gaming is moving from the drawing board to early production.  

Intel CEO Bob Swan this week said the company is now producing initial samples of the “DG2” graphics card. “We also powered on our next-generation GPU for client DG2,” Swan said during an earnings call. “Based on our Xe high-performance gaming architecture, this product will take our discrete graphics capability of the stack into the enthusiast segment.”

Swan’s comments suggest Intel is on track to deliver the gaming graphics card in 2021. Interestingly, the company is tapping an unidentified third-party foundry to manufacture the GPU with rumors suggesting the supplier is TSMC.  

The card follows DG1, another discrete GPU — but designed for laptops that specialize in content creation, not gaming. During the call, Swan revealed the DG1 is “shipping now and will be in systems from multiple OEMs in Q4.”

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