Apple’s 2017 iPhone Models Give Taiwan’s Weary Tech Sector a Reprieve

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A boom in production of Apple iPhones is helping lift the economy of Taiwan, an industrial center that still relies on high-tech manufacturing contracts despite increasing competition from offshore. Apple’s phone sales in the third quarter this year grew 5.7 percent over the same period of 2016, ahead of a cross-brand increase of 3 percent to 383 million units, market research firm Gartner says. Orders for older iPhones as well as the iPhone X, which is seen taking off next year, have solidified orders for parts supplied by tech firms in Taiwan, analysts say. Tech specialists say the Silicon Valley icon is looking this year to Taiwanese firms for chip production, camera modules, displays and final assembly. Taiwanese-owned Foxconn Technology often assembles Apple gear at sprawling factories in China, for…
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New Kind of Retirement Community: A Little India in Silicon Valley 

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With people coming from around the world to work in Silicon Valley, some struggle with the best ways to care for their aging parents. Increasingly, the solution is an “affinity” retirement community, where older people from places like India and China can live near — but not with — their adult children. These communities break from traditional custom that parents and children live together. “The children are so busy these days, they are all the time working, taking care of their kids, so we do not want to interfere in their lives,” said Asha RaoRane, an Indian national who wanted to move to the U.S. to be near her three daughters who had immigrated to San Francisco. Her daughters started exploring the idea of a traditional senior retirement community, but…
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Indian Retirees Maintain Independence, Fun and Freedom Later in Life

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Young people come from around the world to work in Silicon Valley, California. As these workers build a life away from home, many struggle with how to bring their aging parents to their new community. But what happens to foreign parents entering their later years in a new country? VOA's Deana Mitchell visits a unique community in Silicon Valley that caters to retirees from India. ...
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Facebook Highlights Dangers of Using Facebook

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With nearly 2 billion users, Facebook's survival depends on people continuing to use its service.  That's why observers were surprised by an unusual company blog post Friday that highlighted some of the potential harm of using the social media service.  Titled Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?, the company cited studies that suggested some of the possible downsides of using social media.  In one study, people who passively read about others' lives reported feeling worse about themselves. One possibility is "negative social comparison" when reading about others online, the company said, because "people's posts are often more curated and flattering" than how they are in their real, offline lives.  But there's a potential solution, according to Facebook, which reported $10 billion in revenue — its highest…
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US Prosecutors Move to Cash in on $8.5M in Seized Bitcoin

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U.S. attorneys in Utah prosecuting a multimillion-dollar opioid drug-ring are moving quickly to sell seized bitcoin that’s exploded in value to about $8.5 million since the alleged ringleader’s arrest a year ago. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah cites the digital currency’s volatility in court documents pressing for the sale. The bitcoin cache was worth less than $500,000 when Aaron Shamo was arrested on drug charges, but the value of the digital currency has skyrocketed since then. Bitcoin was created as a digital alternative to the traditional banking system, and is prone to swings in value based on what people believe its worth. For federal prosecutors in Utah, sales of seized assets like cars are routine, but bitcoin is new territory, spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch said Thursday. Shamo is accused of…
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German Government Says It Backs ‘Open and Free Internet’

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The German government says it backs an "open and free internet" following the U.S. decision to repeal net neutrality rules. A spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry said Friday that Germany had "taken note" of the U.S. move but declined to comment directly on it. However, spokeswoman Beate Baron said the German government supports rules introduced across the European Union last year forbidding discriminatory access to the internet. Baron told reporters in Berlin that "an open and free internet is indispensable for the successful development of a digital society that everyone wants to take part in." The Republican-controlled U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday repealed Obama-era rules requiring all web traffic to be treated equally. ...
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Scientists Working on Writing Five-day Forecast for Solar Storms

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Charged particles from the sun are responsible for the brilliant auroras at the earth's poles. But there can be cases of too much of a good thing. When huge solar storms push massive waves of energized particles into Earth's path, they can wreak havoc on our satellites and electric grid. That is why researchers are trying to figure out what causes solar storms. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports. ...
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Trump Touts Progress on Slashing Federal Regulations

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U.S. President Donald Trump has touted progress on slashing federal regulations, which he says cost America trillions with no benefit. Speaking Thursday from the White House, the president said his administration had exceeded its goal of removing two federal regulations for every new one, by removing 22 for every new one. Opponents have criticized some of the deregulation, especially dismantling of the net neutrality rules that guarantee equal access to the internet. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports. ...
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What Is Net Neutrality?

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"Net neutrality'' regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, have been repealed. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to dismantle Obama-era rules that have been in place since 2015, but will forbid states to put anything similar in place. Here's a look at what the developments mean for consumers and companies. What is net neutrality? Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, and it's pretty much how the internet has worked since its creation. But regulators, consumer advocates and internet companies were concerned about what broadband companies could do with their power as the pathway to the internet — blocking or slowing down apps that rival their own services,…
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US Dismantles Internet Neutrality Regulation

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The U.S. on Thursday dismantled two-year-old "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet in favor of policies that would reduce regulation of major internet service providers and hand them sweeping powers to decide what web content consumers can access. The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to adopt a plan advanced by chairman Ajit Pai, appointed to his position by President Donald Trump, for a "light touch" on regulating major telecommunication companies and end what he says is the federal government's "micromanaging" of the internet. The meeting was briefly interrupted for security reasons before the vote took place. A video feed of the meeting showed law enforcement officers enter the room with dogs. No reason was immediately given for the disruption. WATCH: What is 'net neutrality'? Pai's controversial…
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As ‘Net Neutrality’ Vote Nears, Some Brace for Long Fight

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As the federal government prepares to unravel sweeping net-neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet, advocates of the regulations are bracing for a long fight. The Thursday vote scheduled at the Federal Communications Commission could usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet, a radical departure from more than a decade of federal oversight. The proposal would not only roll back restrictions that keep broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from blocking or collecting tolls from services they don't like, it would bar states from imposing their own rules. The broadband industry promises that the internet experience isn't going to change, but its companies have lobbied hard to overturn these rules. Protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that cable…
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Blockchain — The New Must-Know Word

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There is a new word in the English language that all internet users should learn, because it may define the next stage in global financial transactions. It may not be translatable to many other languages so it may become an international term, much like "computer" or "internet," used and understood around the world. The word is "blockchain," and VOA's George Putic explains its meaning. ...
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Microsoft Updates Bing Search to Highlight Reputable Results

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Microsoft on Wednesday rolled out new features on its Bing search engine powered by artificial intelligence, including one that summarizes the two opposing sides of contentious questions, and another that measures how many reputable sources are behind a given answer. Tired of delivering misleading information when their algorithms are gamed by trolls and purveyors of fake news, Microsoft and its tech-company rivals have been going out of their way to show they can be purveyors of good information — either by using better algorithms or hiring more human moderators.   Second-place search engine  Microsoft is also trying to distinguish its 2nd-place search engine from long-dominant Google and position itself as an innovator in finding real-world applications for the latest advances in artificial intelligence. “As a search engine we have a…
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Trump Administration Calls for Government IT to Adopt Cloud Services

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The White House said Wednesday the U.S. government needs a major overhaul of information technology systems and should take steps to better protect data and accelerate efforts to use cloud-based technology. "Difficulties in agency prioritization of resources in support of IT modernization, ability to procure services quickly, and technical issues have resulted in an unwieldy and out-of-date federal IT infrastructure," the White House said in a report. The report outlined a timeline over the next year for IT reforms and a detailed implementation plan. The report said one unnamed cloud-based email provider has agreed to assist in keeping track of government spending on cloud-based email migration. President Donald Trump in April signed an executive order creating a new technology council to overhaul the U.S. government's information technology systems. The report…
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Growing Levels of E-Waste Bad for Environment, Health and Economy

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A new report finds growing levels of E-waste pose significant risks to the environment and human health and result in huge economic losses for countries around the world.  Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from the launch of the International Telecommunication Union report in Geneva. The global information society is racing ahead at top speed.  The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) reports nearly half of the world uses the internet and most people have access to mobile phones, laptops, televisions, refrigerators and other electronic devices. But ITU E-waste Technical Expert, Vanessa Gray, said the ever-increasing expansion of technology is creating staggering amounts of electronic waste. “In 2016, the world generated a total of 44.7 million metric tons of e-waste—that is, electronic and electrical equipment that is discarded," Gray said. "So, that basically…
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Italian Laser Device Detects Potentially Dangerous Food Fraud

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'Food Fraud' costs the food and beverage industry an estimated $30 billion every year. Food fraud is the deliberate substitution or misrepresentation of food products for economic gain. It can be as harmless as selling watered down olive oil, or as dangerous as substituting starch or plastic for rice. But a new laser test developed in Italy can spot the fakes with incredible accuracy. VOAs' Kevin Enochs reports. ...
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Trump Signs into Law US Government Ban on Kaspersky Lab Software

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President Donald Trump signed into law on Tuesday legislation that bans the use of Kaspersky Lab within the U.S. government, capping a months-long effort to purge the Moscow-based antivirus firm from federal agencies amid concerns it was vulnerable to Kremlin influence. The ban, included as part of broader defense policy spending legislation that Trump signed, reinforces a directive issued by the Trump administration in September that civilian agencies remove Kaspersky Lab software within 90 days. The law applies to both civilian and military networks. "The case against Kaspersky is well-documented and deeply concerning. This law is long overdue," said Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who led calls in Congress to scrub the software from government computers. She added that the company's software represented a "grave risk" to U.S. national security. Kaspersky…
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China Displays Clout at Internet Conference But Some Doubts Remain

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China made an impressive display of its clout in the digital economy during a three-day internet conference in Beijing last week by pulling together the participation of U.N. agencies, the World Telecom Union and CEOs of major US based IT companies like Google, Apple and Cisco System. The conference started with a message from Chinese president Xi Jinping who said, “China would never close its doors. They will only be open wider and wider going forward.” But at the same time, Xi and Wang Huning, one of the ruling Communist Party’s seven most powerful men, emphasized the need for “cyber sovereignty,” which allows individual countries to establish cyber boundaries to protect their respective sovereign interests. Xi said that besides benefits, “the internet has also brought many new challenges to the…
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Silicon Valley Job Fair Caters to New Immigrants, Refugees

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Khaled Turkmani fled Syria and traveled through five countries before he ended up in San Francisco. He immediately began to look for work in the technology industry. Despite his degree in computer science, Turkmani spent nine months working at “survival jobs” - selling shoes and assembling furniture. He also worked as a web site developer earning $10 an hour, a job he says typically pays U.S. workers $50 an hour.   “It was super painful,” he said. “But for me, work is work.”   Turkmani, who has asylum, is lucky. He found a training program called Upwardly Global, a non-profit that teaches skilled immigrants and refugees how to search for their first professional jobs in the United States.   At the organization, Turkmani learned about networking, America-style, and is now…
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Fusion Reactor Under Construction in France Halfway Complete

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The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, ITER, now under construction in southern France, is often called the most complicated scientific instrument in the world. The project was launched in 1985 at the US-Soviet summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Its director says it is now 50% complete and on track to produce cheap energy from what will essentially be a tiny sun in its core. VOA’s George Putic reports. ...
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A Silicon Valley Job Fair Caters to New Immigrants and Refugees

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More than a million college-educated immigrants in the U.S. are in low skilled jobs, according to estimates. But they have trouble finding work in their professions, including in the U.S. tech industry, which desperately needs skilled workers. A special technology industry job fair this week in San Francisco brought together refugees and new immigrants with potential employers. VOA's Michelle Quinn reports. ...
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Digital World Provides Benefits and Risks for Children

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The U.N. Children’s Fund says the explosion of digital technology and growing internet access holds both benefits and risks for children.  UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s Children report explores ways to protect children from the potential harm of the expanding digital world.  The U.N. children’s fund reports one in three internet users around the world is a child.  Despite this huge and growing online presence, UNICEF says little is known about the impact of digital technology on children’s wellbeing and little is being done to protect them from the perils of the digital world. UNICEF Director of Data Research and Policy Laurence Chandy tells VOA the internet can be a game changer for children. “We sincerely believe that especially for kids in places where opportunities are few or for…
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North Dakota: The Silicon Valley of Drones

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North Dakota’s vast flatlands have long been known for fertile fields of canola seeds, grazing cattle, and oil drilling. But in recent years, those wide open spaces have also become the U.S. proving ground for commercial drone research and testing. VOA’s Lin Yang and Beibei Su recently visited Grand Forks, the Silicon Valley of drones. ...
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Satellite Technology Helps Protect Ocean Wildlife

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Scientists around the world are increasingly using satellite technology to study life on earth. Small, inexpensive transponders attached to animals track their movement and interaction with humans, helping scientists and activists protect endangered species. Oceana, an international organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the world’s oceans, teamed with shark researchers to study the fishing industry’s impact on one shark species. VOA’s George Putic reports. ...
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UN Calls on Social Media Giants to Control Platforms Used to Lure African Migrants

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The U.N. migration agency called on social media giants Friday to make it harder for people smugglers to use their platforms to lure West African migrants to Libya where they can face detention, torture, slavery or death. The smugglers often use Facebook to reach would-be migrants with false promises of jobs in Europe, International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Leonard Doyle said. When migrants are tortured, video is also sometimes sent back to their families over WhatsApp, as a means of extortion, he said. "We really ... ask social media companies to step up and behave in a responsible way when people are being lured to deaths, to their torture," Doyle told a Geneva news briefing. There were no immediate replies from Facebook or WhatsApp to requests by Reuters for…
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Net Neutrality Advocates Speak Up as FCC Set to Strike Down Rules

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Net neutrality is a simple concept but a dense and often technical issue that has been argued over for years in tech and telecom circles. Now everyday folks are talking about it. That's because the Federal Communications Commission has scheduled a vote next week to gut Obama-era rules meant to stop broadband companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet. The protests aren't likely to stop the agency's vote on Thursday, but activists hope the outcry will push Congress to intervene and will show support for stricter regulation down the road. Net neutrality has been a hot button before, thanks to assists from Silicon Valley and TV host John Oliver speaking out about what they see as threats…
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