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Hyperloop passenger capsule arrives in Toulouse for testing on new track

  • Hyperloop Transportation Technologies says its full-scale passenger capsule has arrived at its research center in Toulouse, France, where the company is building a 320-meter test track.
  • The Hyperloop capsule, called the Quintero 1, was constructed in Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain.
  • It is built using what HTT calls “Vibranium,” a “specially made dual-layer smart composite material.” The Hyperloop capsule is 105 feet long and weighs 5 tons.
  • HTT says the remaining tubes to complete the Toulouse Hyperloop test track will be arriving soon so the full system can be assembled this year.

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Vivo’s sleek Apex 2019 5G smartphone eliminates bezels, seams, and ports

  • Internally, Apex 2019 sounds exactly like what we’ve been expecting from multiple early 5G smartphone vendors this year: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855-based device with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
  • Going even further than Apple by eliminating every physical button, notch, speaker hole, and port from its housing, Vivo has come up with substitutes for most of the expected technologies that normally reside in those areas.
  • To eliminate physical buttons from the device, Apex 2019 uses a combination of curved glass with capacitive touch and pressure sensors, registering edge-of-screen frame presses as button inputs.
  • Instead of speaker grilles, Vivo says that the entire display is used as a speaker using a “screen vibration function.” While that would make for an interesting experience right next to your face, close-ups of the device suggest that there may be a tiny conventional ear speaker above the display.

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Yang Hengjun, Stern Hu, Charlotte Chou: Detentions shade Australia-China ties

  • Over the past 10 years, there have been some very high-profile cases including Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu, whose arrest came at the height of the "iron ore wars"; education entrepreneur Charlotte Chou, who faced questionable charges after falling out with her business partner; and Crown Resorts executive Jason O'Connor, who was on a business trip to Shanghai when he was detained along with 18 other employees in a series of overnight raids.
  • Charlotte Chou's case attracted attention after it was revealed she had been taken away from her one-year old son late at night and questioned for three days without sleep before signing a confession on the promise she would be released.
  • In all these cases and those of others detained in China, DFAT's preference has been to make any strong representations to Chinese authorities behind closed doors and avoid so-called "megaphone diplomacy".

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IMF's Lagarde says a China slowdown, if fast, would constitute a real risk

  • The International Monetary Fund's Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, told a panel in Davos that the current slowdown in China's economy is "legitimate," but warned it could pose a major risk if the downtrend started to accelerate.
  • Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Lagarde said while China's slowing growth has been a concern, it looked to be under control.
  • Shong said he didn't currently have any real concern over China's cooling economy.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised down its estimates for global growth on Monday, warning that the expansion seen in recent years is losing momentum.
  • On Monday, China said its official economic growth came in at 6.6 percent in 2018 — the slowest pace since 1990.
  • Economists polled by Reuters had predicted full-year GDP to come in at that pace, which was down from a revised 6.8 percent in 2017.

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Nearly three quarters of the world will use just their smartphones to access the internet by 2025

  • Almost three quarters (72.6 percent) of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025, equivalent to nearly 3.7 billion people.
  • Just over 1.3 billion are forecast to access the internet via smartphone and PC by 2025, according to a report published Thursday by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC), using data from mobile trade body GSMA.
  • WARC estimates that around 2 billion people currently access the internet via only their smartphone, which equates to 51 percent of the global base of 3.9 mobile users.
  • Companies are forecast to spend more on advertising their products via smartphone than they do on TV by the end of 2019 — if current growth rates are maintained — in 12 countries including the U.S., U.K. and China, according to WARC data.

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Why Cyber Insurance Is a Smart Move for Business and Investors

  • Cyber security may be an oxymoron: most of us will end up victims of a digital hack at some point (if we haven’t already).
  • So, it’s only natural that people want cyber insurance to help minimize the potential fall out of identity theft or a banking hack.
  • However, previous estimates of the size of the cyber insurance market have been too optimistic.
  • The simple fact is that insuring against information security risks is nothing like insuring against fires or floods, for which large datasets are available and whose probabilities tend not to change in unpredictable ways.
  • As a result, premiums for cyber insurance have climbed to incorporate unanticipated risks and payouts.
  • But they won’t take on every unanticipated risk: Zurich got out of paying Mondelez for damages related to the NotPetya cyber attack, by declaring that attack an act of war.

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Airbus CEO Begs U.K. Lawmakers: 'Don't Listen to the Brexiteers' Madness'

  • The CEO of Airbus has a message for British “decision-makers” who buy into the idea that a no-deal Brexit wouldn’t be so bad: tens of thousands of jobs would go, and people really should be scared.
  • Airbus’s U.K. factories at Filton and Broughton, transferred to the company by BAE Systems 18 years ago, make wings for all of Airbus’s models and design their fuel systems.
  • They employ some 14,000 people and, Enders said in his message, they also support a further 110,000 jobs in the U.K. Other countries are indeed actively luring businesses away from the U.K. as Brexit looms.
  • Sony’s European headquarters are leaving London for Amsterdam — and the Dutch are in talks with another 250 companies too, the smaller country’s investment agency has revealed.

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Billionaire Brexiteer Dyson Sparks Accusations of Hypocrisy after Moving UK Headquarters to Singapore

  • British appliance maker Dyson Ltd has announced that it is moving its headquarters from its home country.
  • While most of Dyson’s appliances including vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and air purifiers are designed in the UK, they are manufactured in Asia with Singapore being one of the Asian countries that hosts a Dyson factory.
  • The appliance maker has indicated that initially only the billionaire founder and two executives will move to Singapore.
  • This comes barely three months since Dyson picked the city-state as the location that will help the firm fulfill its electric car ambitions.
  • Besides being located in Asia which is one of the fastest growing markets for Dyson, Singapore has also inked free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States.
  • Dyson’s relocation announcement coincides with the appliance maker announcing revenue growth of 28% to $5.7 billion.

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The West’s unconscious bias against tech in Afrika limits innovation

  • In case you’re wondering why I had to fly over 3,000km from Uganda to the DRC, it’s only because Portugal has no designated physical presence in Uganda that offers long-term visas for a period of more than 6 months.
  • The interview personnel didn’t specify how long it would take but promised that I’d be informed of the visa decision soon and a digital copy would probably be emailed to me if successful.
  • Correspondence from the Portugues embassy in DRC stating [in French] that the reason(s) for the visa refusal would be communicated to my translator.
  • The World Bank’s gambit on Afrikan digital economies has witnessed its investment arm’s, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), participation in the funding of tech enterprises such as the $8,6 million equity round into Kenya’s Africa’s Talking, a mobile software platform for basic telephony services like Twilio.

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Vivo’s Apex 2019 is a seamless 5G phone with a ‘full-display’ fingerprint sensor and 12GB of RAM

  • Vivo has announced the Apex 2019, the futuristic follow-up to last year’s “concept smartphone” that introduced the pop-up selfie camera later seen on the Nex. To be clear, the Apex 2019 probably isn’t ever going to ship as a real product in exactly this form, but Vivo is taking it to Mobile World Congress next month and we may well see some of its features show up in the company’s product lineup over the next year.
  • There’s a dual-camera setup on the back of the phone, but Vivo hasn’t provided technical details, probably because they wouldn’t strictly be relevant for a device that isn’t going to ship.
  • In any case, it’s a feature that you can expect to be a key area of competition in smartphones this year — the original Apex implementation never ended up shipping, but last week Oppo and Xiaomi revealed details of their own takes on the idea.

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