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Asia news roundup: Uber deal hits speed bumps, exec accused of bitcoin theft, and more

  • LandSpace Technology, a startup working on the country’s first liquid rocket engine, has closed its series B funding round led by renewable energy company Goldwind.
  • The Chinese big data firm has announced the closing of its series C funding round, led by an affiliate of Warburg Pincus.
  • The Chinese startup, which sells live event tickets on its platform, has announced the completion of its series B funding with investments by SIG, Sequoia Capital, GGV Capital, and Dianping founder Zhang Tao. Piaoniu did not disclose the amount of money raised or how it would use the funding.
  • Private equity firm Belt Road Capital Management has invested in Oway Group, a company that runs an online travel service provider and a ride-sharing app.
  • The year-old startup has closed its seed round with investment from VC firm Lok Capital.

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Google's SMS replacement ready to launch

  • Google has started the global roll-out of its new Chat messaging service, which is designed to replace SMS text messages on Android phones.
  • Google has tried several times to launch its own feature-rich mobile messaging app, but its attempts have failed to win over a large audience.
  • This time, rather than try to launch yet another messaging app, Google has been working to integrate a new messaging standard with its Android operating system.
  • Mobile operators, phone manufacturers and app-makers will be able to use the new technology to develop messaging apps that are compatible with one another.
  • The standard is known as the Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services (RCS) - but it will be given the more consumer-friendly name of Chat when it is rolled out to Android devices.
  • Since RCS is a communications standard, it is up to individual mobile networks and phone-makers to switch on the functionality.

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How to avoid getting stuck with the middle seat on a Ryanair flight

  • Personally, I found the outrage to be a bit misplaced: even after paying for a preferred seat allocation Ryanair is still regularly the cheapest option available, but, mostly because it actually makes it easier, as a lone traveler, to avoid a middle seat.
  • It appears that you should avoid checking in too late as you run the risk of all non-middle seats already having been assigned, particularly if a large proportion of passengers pay to choose their seat.
  • In the new system, parties of two are less likely to sit beside each other as they need to pay for that, and so are more likely to take up two middle seats instead of one, improving your chances of avoiding a middle seat even further, meaning it is still the preferable system.

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Korean Air CEO fires his own daughters from their executive roles

  • One of the women, Heather Cho, became the focus of international outrage four years ago during the 'nut rage' scandal when she abused cabin crew staff over how she was served macadamia nuts on a Korean Air flight.
  • The water scandal reignited frustration in South Korea with family-run conglomerates, known as "chaebol." Many South Koreans are tired of what they see as corrupt and entitled behavior by rich chaebol members, especially the second- or third-generation children of the company founders.
  • Heather Cho served five months of a one-year prison sentence over the 2014 'nut rage' incident after a Korean court found her guilty of violating aviation law.
  • Last year, a massive political corruption scandal engulfed Samsung, Hanjin Group, the parent company of Korean Air, and other giant conglomerates.

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The latest Snapchat Discover channel promises to get inside your head using Japanese psychology

  • Following the success of its maiden millennial male-focused channel Brother, Elisabeth Murdoch's media startup Vertical Networks is rolling out a second Snapchat Discover franchise.
  • The California-based mobile content studio is unveiling "Mindsy," a bi-weekly channel on Snapchat's content hub based on a Japanese study of psychology and self-discovery called Kokology.
  • Unlike many Snapchat Discover channels - which typically feature a mix of video, animation and magazine-like images - Mindsy will essentially be an interactive mobile game.
  • According to Wright, Vertical Networks has a history of testing out new ideas and formats on Brother, before spinning them off into their own shows or channels.
  • Vertical Networks' "Interactive Studio" team then paired the most successful game formats with Kokology, and Mindsy was born.
  • The 12-person Mindsy team also dug into Vertical Networks's data from its different properties to help design the new channel.

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5 things you need to know today

  • Nashville's hailing a hero and looking for a shooter after a gunman killed four people in a rampage at a Waffle House.
  • Here's what happened: A nearly naked man opened fire early yesterday morning in a Waffle House in Nashville's Antioch neighborhood.
  • President Trump will make that demand of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when the two meet in late May or early June, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • President Daniel Ortega scrapped a controversial pension reform plan after days of sometimes violent demonstrations that killed dozens.
  • Looks like the drive to get the late boxer Jack Johnson a pardon picked up a big-time supporter: the President of the United States.
  • President Trump tweeted that he was weighing whether or not to grant a posthumous pardon to Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion.

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10 things you need to know before the opening bell

  • Intermediate Treasurys turned in consecutive quarters of negative total return for the first time 1973, according to data compiled by Morgan Stanley.
  • Germany's central bank has brought home $95 billion in gold bullion and put some on display to prove it's real.
  • Germany's Bundesbank has stashed 3,400 tonnes of gold, worth 117 billion euros ($187 billion), in central bank treasuries in New York, London and Paris since the Cold War, to keep it safe from a possible Soviet invasion — and now its bringing it back.
  • Several reliable sources — including Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Morgan Stanley, and KGI Securities — all expect the tech giant to launch a lower cost iPhone this year.
  • Halliburton and Kimberly-Clark report ahead of the opening bell while Alphabet releases its quarterly results after markets close.

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Neymar named the 6 players who will take the 2018 FIFA World Cup by storm — and he didn't mention Messi or Ronaldo

  • Brazil national team striker Neymar expects six players to take the 2018 FIFA World Cup by storm — and his list doesn't include Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, two of the top goalscorers on the planet.
  • Neymar already has one eye on the tournament and listed a number of players he expects to "make a difference" in an interview with Live Soccer, as reported by Eurosport.
  • Mohamed Salah won the Premier League Player of the Year award at an event on Sunday, and Neymar expects the Egyptian to take his Liverpool form with him to Russia.
  • Neymar's list is by no means complete as the Brazilian failed to mention two obvious picks — Portugal national team striker Cristiano Ronaldo and creative Argentinean forward Lionel Messi.

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Stop looking for ‘the one’ on dating apps, Hearst exec Joanna Coles says

  • If you want to meet and date more people, then dating apps are a great “arrow in your quiver,” says former Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles.
  • Now the chief content officer at Hearst (the publisher of Cosmo), Coles is the author of a new book, “Love Rules: How to Find a Real Relationship in a Digital World.” She told Recode’s Kara Swisher that her research for the book turned up story after story of prolonged digital flirtations that ended after one in-person meeting.
  • If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.
  • Sign up for our Recode Daily newsletter to get the top tech and business news stories delivered to your inbox.

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Heptio launches Gimbal to help enterprises load balance Kubernetes and OpenStack

  • Heptio and Yahoo Japan subsidiary Actapio today announced a new open source project called Gimbal that aims to help enterprises load balance network traffic in hybrid environments, including Kubernetes clusters and OpenStack deployments.
  • The new software will help route requests between multi-tenant Kubernetes clusters and legacy OpenStack environments, something that’s important for enterprises that want to keep their existing technology deployments running while developing new applications.
  • According to Heptio cofounder and CEO Craig McLuckie, the project is designed to replace costly hardware and software load balancers that enterprises use today.
  • Actapio turned to Heptio to help with the deployment of Kubernetes but didn’t want to rip out its investments in existing technologies.
  • Gimbal is also designed to replace cloud providers’ native load balancers, so companies can build applications that rely on open source software rather than proprietary offerings.

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