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04-23-2014 Science&Technology
Netflix plans price raise as streaming subscribers grow

Video streaming service Netflix Inc said it intends to raise its subscription price for new customers by $1 or $2 a month to help the company buy more movies and TV shows and improve service for its 48 million global subscribers.

Investors welcomed the announcement on Monday by Netflix, which had suffered from a consumer exodus and stock plunge after it announced an unpopular price increase in July 2011. The company's shares jumped 6.7 percent in after-hours trading to $371.97, after the company released plans for price hikes and posted a rise in first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations.

Chief Executive Reed Hastings said Netflix had improved its selection of TV shows and movies and added original series like critically acclaimed Kevin Spacey thriller "House of Cards."

With added revenue from higher prices, "we will be able to license much more content and deliver it in very high quality video," Hastings said on a webcast.

The company, in a quarterly letter to shareholders, said it plans to impose "a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only."

Subscription fees will rise in each of the 41 countries where Netflix operates, Hastings said in an interview. Existing customers will keep their current price for one to two years, he said.

Netflix has "room to raise prices," FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said, because "they're still seeing a lot of demand" for the service.

The company said in its earnings report it added 2.25 million customers to its U.S. streaming business during the quarter that ended in March, in line with the company's earlier guidance, for a total of 35.7 million. In international markets, its customer base reached 12.7 million, a gain of 1.8 million during the quarter.

Net income for the quarter reached $53 million, an increase from $3 million a year earlier. Earnings-per-share came in at 86 cents, topping the average forecast of 83 cents, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

During the quarter, it released the second season of critically acclaimed Kevin Spacey drama "House of Cards."

Netflix is investing in original series, such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" to attract and keep subscribers. If faces competition from online video players like Inc and Hulu, as well as on-demand content from cable operators.

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Source: Reuters

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04-23-2014 Science&Technology
IBM, Atos, HP looking at Lufthansa IT infrastructure unit: paper

Lufthansa's IT infrastructure business, which the airline is trying to sell, is drawing interest from IBM, Hewlett-Packard and France's Atos, German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported, without citing any sources.

Lufthansa earlier this month said it was seeking a buyer for the business, part of its IT unit Lufthansa Systems, and has already held some early talks with interested parties.

IBM declined to comment on the article.

Atos and HP were not immediately available for comment.

"We are in talks with several sector heavyweights about a takeover of the IT infrastructure, and we want to secure most of the jobs following a sale," Lufthansa's Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne told FAZ in an interview published on Tuesday.

According to the plans, Lufthansa Systems will be divided into three parts - Infrastructure, Airline Solutions and Industry Solutions. The infrastructure division, which employs 1,400 people, will be sold, while the other two will remain within the Lufthansa group.

While the infrastructure business accounted for 40 percent of Systems' total turnover of 640 million euros ($883.45 million), it made up only 25 percent of the unit's profit. ($1 = 0.7244 Euros)

Source: Reuters

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04-23-2014 Science&Technology
Orange's Spanish unit cuts broadband tariffs as competition heats up

The Spanish division of French telecoms group Orange said it would cut broadband tariffs 45 percent to 16.95 euros ($23.40) per month from Tuesday, potentially reigniting a price war for fast Internet access.

The move comes amid increased merger activity in the telecoms sector, following years of falling company revenues and price wars to retain cash-strapped customers during an economic squeeze. Industry sources say Orange, the third-largest operator in Spain, may be interested in buying Jazztel.

Vodafone, the largest operator in Spain after Telefonica, earlier this year agreed to buy local cable company Ono, upping the heat on Orange to increase market share in Spain.

Source: Reuters

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04-23-2014 General
'More activity' at North Korea nuclear test site

Activity has increased at North Korea's nuclear test site, South Korea says, ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama to the region.

The military was "currently detecting a lot of activity in and around the Punggye-ri nuclear test site", a South Korean defence ministry spokesman said.

North Korea could be planning to hold a "surprise nuclear test or just pretend to stage a nuclear test", he said.

North Korea has carried out three nuclear tests in the past.

South Korea's foreign minister warned of the dangers of another.

"If North Korea goes ahead with another nuclear test as it has publicly warned, it will be a game changer," Yun Byung-se said.

'New form'

North Korea's most recent test was in February 2013 - an incident that triggered several months of severe tension on the Korean peninsula. It also carried out tests in 2006 and 2009.

All of the tests - which were signposted well in advance - resulted in the imposition of UN sanctions on Pyongyang. UN Security Council resolution 1718, passed in October 2006 after the first nuclear test, bans North Korea from nuclear and missile tests.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff on Monday set up a special task force to monitor the situation, the spokesman said.

Multinational talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been stalled for years.

Late last month, North Korea threatened to carry out a "new form" of nuclear test. It is not clear what that means.

While Pyongyang has tested devices, it is not yet believed to have mastered the process of making a nuclear warhead small enough to deliver via a missile.

Mr Obama is due to arrive in South Korea on Friday, after a three-day visit to Japan.

Source: BBC

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04-23-2014 Science&Technology
Airbnb in court over housing laws

Airbnb, the website that allows homeowners to rent out properties online, is to appear in court in New York in a dispute over housing and hotel laws.

The New York attorney general has asked Airbnb to disclose information about its users who may be acting illegally by renting out their homes.

Airbnb says the laws in question were not meant to apply to people who occasionally rent out their properties.

It is challenging the request for data.

New York laws prevent homeowners renting out their entire homes for fewer than 30 days to prevent illegal hotels from operating. But according to reports, court documents filed by the attorney general say that more than 60% of Airbnb listings in New York City break that law.

The documents also show that some users were offering multiple properties for rent.

"Airbnb is simply looking out for its bottom line at the expense of a law that protects quality of life for building residents and safety for tourists," Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said in a statement to Bloomberg.

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In a blog posted on the Airbnb website, the company's head of global public policy, David Hantman said: "The vast majority of our community members are regular New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet.

"Short-term rental laws were never meant to apply to New Yorkers occasionally renting out their own home." The attorney general issued a subpoena last year to find out if Airbnb was being used by the operators of illegal hotels and whether users were paying the appropriate state tax.

The company has called the attorney general's request for data on its users a "government-sponsored fishing expedition" and is in court to challenge the subpoena.

It announced this weekend via another blog on its site that it had removed the accounts of users who had multiple listings on the site and that they would not be allowed to relist, although bookings already made would be honoured.

Last week the New York Post reported that apartments for rent on Airbnb in Manhattan were being used as temporary brothels. The company said it was co-operating with the police on the matter.

"The entire hospitality industry deals with issues like this, and we have zero tolerance for this activity," it said in a statement. In Mexico, one hotel owner has listed all its rooms on Airbnb in place of a traditional booking system.

"Airbnb doesn't actually have a category for a hotel," said Stu Waddell. "I call myself a hotel. When I explain it, I say it's between a hostel and a boutique."

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Source: BBC

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04-23-2014 Politics
Conservative Koch-backed group uses soft touch in recruiting U.S. Hispanics

The conservative advocacy groups backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are known mostly for spending millions of dollars to pelt Democratic candidates with negative television ads.

But this year, one Koch-backed group is using a softer touch to try to win over part of the nation's booming Hispanic population, which has overwhelmingly backed Democrats in recent elections. The group, known as The Libre Initiative, is sponsoring English classes, driver's license workshops and other social programs to try to build relationships with Hispanic voters in cities from Arizona to Florida - even as the group targets Democratic lawmakers with hard-edged TV ads.

Taking a cue from liberal groups that have been active in Hispanic neighborhoods for decades, Libre says it aims to use these events to build support for small-government ideas in communities that typically support big-government ideals.

"If they trust us, they may seek our opinion on something else," said Michael Barrera, a former Bush administration official who now works for Libre, which says it has built a mailing list of 90,000 people during the past three years.

Libre's task is complicated by Republican lawmakers' reluctance to act on a proposed overhaul of the United States' immigration laws and the harsh rhetoric used by some Republicans that many Americans have seen as anti-Hispanic or anti-immigrant, pollsters say.

And even as Libre launches an ad campaign that paints President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act as an expensive failure, Obamacare remains more popular among Hispanics than it is in the overall population.

Democrats who are struggling to counter waves of Koch-financed attack ads ahead of the November 4 congressional elections say Libre is a front group for wealthy donors who care little about the needs of Hispanics. As a group, Hispanics are less affluent and less educated than the overall U.S. population.

At a recent Hispanic business fair in Orlando, Libre set up panel discussions on family-owned businesses and the shortcomings of Obamacare. Neither event drew much of an audience, but by the end of the day Libre had added 150 names to its mailing list.

Several of those who signed up said they were drawn in by the chance to win a tablet computer that was raffled off by Libre, rather than any enthusiasm for conservative ideas. None said they were aware of Libre's conservative agenda.

"That's a politics group? I didn't know that. I thought they work in computers," said retiree Rosa Vacaliuc, a self-described liberal Democrat.

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Source: Reuters

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04-23-2014 Politics
Biden to Ukraine: 'You will not walk this road alone'

As the crisis in Ukraine shows no signs of easing, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden promised support for Ukraine and stressed that the United States won't recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea.

"Ukraine is and must remain one country," he said in Kiev on Tuesday at a news conference with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Biden also met with acting President Oleksandr Turchynov and lawmakers during his trip to Ukraine. "No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation," Biden said. "We will never recognize Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea."

Biden called on Russia to "stop supporting men hiding behind masks and unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in eastern Ukraine." He warned of additional sanctions if such "provocative behavior" does not end.

Ukrainian and U.S. officials say they think Russian special forces are in the region and are behind efforts to seize government buildings and generally promote unrest. The U.S. vice president promised financial support, assistance in reducing Ukraine's dependence on Russian energy sources and nonlethal aid for security forces. "You will not walk this road alone.

We will walk it with you," Biden told Yatsenyuk. As he spoke, the White House announced a new $50 million package of assistance to help Ukraine pursue political and economic reform and strengthen its partnership with the United States.

Biden also said he expects an International Monetary Fund package for Ukraine to be finalized imminently.

The backing is likely to sit well with Ukrainian leaders struggling to keep their country afloat amid dire financial problems, the ongoing showdown with Russia over its annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in Ukraine's pro-Russian east. Tensions remain high as pro-Russian militants show no sign of leaving occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine despite an international deal agreed to in Geneva, Switzerland, last week.

'Humiliating threats'

In his meeting with lawmakers and the acting President, Biden again stressed that the United States wants to stand with the people of Ukraine. Ukraine faces very daunting problems and "some might say humiliating threats," he said in an apparent reference to Russian interference, but success is within its grasp. "We want to be your partner and friend, we want to assist," Biden said. "We are not suggesting we have all the answers. We are suggesting we stand with you in every endeavor you undertake."

Biden also issued a warning to the leaders in Ukraine, urging them to "fight the cancer of corruption that's endemic" in the country and reform the judicial system.

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Source: CNN

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04-23-2014 General
First sign of South Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

The first distress call from a sinking South Korean ferry was made by a boy with a shaking voice, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn.

He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.

The Sewol ferry sank last Wednesday on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional honeymoon island of Jeju.

Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers on a high school outing. Only 174 people have been rescued and the remainder are all presumed to have drowned.

The boy who made the first call, with the family name of Choi, is among the missing. His voice was shaking and sounded urgent, a fire officer told MBC TV. It took a while to identify the ship as the Sewol.

"Save us! We're on a ship and I think it's sinking," Yonhap news agency quoted him as saying.

The fire service official asked him to switch the phone to the captain, and the boy replied: "Do you mean teacher?"

The pronunciation of the words for "captain" and "teacher" is similar in Korean.

The captain of the ship, Lee Joon-seok, 69, and other crew members have been arrested on negligence charges. Lee was also charged with undertaking an "excessive change of course without slowing down".

Authorities are also investigating the Yoo family, which controls the company that owns the ferry, Chonghaejin Marine Co Ltd, for possible financial wrongdoing amid growing public scrutiny.

An official at the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) told Reuters it was investigating whether Chonghaejin or the Yoo family engaged in any illegal foreign exchange transactions. The official did not elaborate.

Another person familiar with the matter told Reuters that prosecutors were looking into suspected tax evasion by the firm, its affiliates or the Yoo family with assistance from the National Tax Service. A spokesman at the tax agency declined to comment on the matter.

"There are lots of reports in the media, so as the regulator we need to check if they are true," another FSS official said.

Neither the Yoo family nor the company was immediately available for comment.

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Source: Reuters

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Yesterday's Most Popular   

04-22-2014 Science&Technology
04-22-2014 Science&Technology
At Mt. Gox bitcoin hub, 'geek' CEO sought both control and escape

In June 2011, when customers of now-bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox agitated for proof that the Tokyo-based firm was still solvent after a hacking attack, CEO Mark Karpeles turned to the comedy science fiction novel "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy".

During an online chat, Karpeles moved the equivalent of $170 million in bitcoin at today's market rates - the virtual equivalent of a bank manager flashing a wad of cash in a wallet to establish credit. The gesture - with a sly wink to the "geek" culture Karpeles believed he shared with many of his 50,000 customers at the time, including an interest in coding, Japanese manga comics and science fiction - succeeded.

By moving 424,242 bitcoins, Karpeles, then 26, evoked the random number, 42, described as the "meaning of life" in Douglas Adams' sci-fi novel. "Don't come after me claiming we have no coins," Karpeles said, according to a transcript of that online discussion. "42 is the answer."

As the price of bitcoin soared from a few dollars to above $1,000, Mt. Gox grew to become the world's largest exchange for the digital currency, handling flows worth $3 billion in 2013, by the company's own reckoning.

But even as Mt. Gox boomed, French-born Karpeles seemed both keen to maintain total control of key operations and indifferent to commercial success, according to former staff and associates who spoke to Reuters, but asked not to be named because of ongoing investigations into the exchange's collapse.

Creditors who want to know how Mt. Gox at one point lost some $500 million worth of bitcoin and another $27 million in cash from its bank accounts, are seeking answers from Karpeles, who has spent recent days huddled in meetings with lawyers in Tokyo.

Mt. Gox and its lawyers declined repeated requests for comment for this article.

Lawyers for Karpeles told a U.S. judge last week that he was "not willing" to travel to the United States - as ordered by the judge to answer questions in a bankruptcy court - until his attorneys can "get up to speed" on a new subpoena from the U.S. Treasury Department. Karpeles doesn't want to go to the U.S. as he fears he could be arrested by authorities there, a person familiar with his thinking said.

"Regardless of whether it was a massive fraud or whether he was just grossly negligent, at the end of the day he's at fault," said Steven Woodrow, a lawyer representing a U.S. class action against Karpeles brought by Mt. Gox creditors.

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Source: Reuters

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04-22-2014 Science&Technology
Apple, Google vie to offer exclusive game apps: WSJ

Apple Inc and Google Inc are wooing game developers to ensure that top game titles arrive first on devices powered by their respective operating system, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Both the companies are trying to lure game developers by offering premium placement to these games on their app stores' home pages and features lists, the daily said. (

Both Google and Apple were not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

Apple had struck a deal with Electronic Arts Inc last August to promote the game "Plants Vs Zombies 2" prominently in its App Store, and had a similar arrangement with ZeptoLab to promote the sequel to its popular puzzle game "Cut the Rope", which released in December, the Journal reported.

Source: Reuters

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04-22-2014 Science&Technology
AT&T looks to expand high-speed fiber network to 21 cities

AT&T Inc said on Monday it expects to expand its ultra-fast fiber network and TV services to up to 21 U.S. cities, including Chicago and Atlanta.

AT&T, which is fighting rivals such as Google Inc as well as cable companies with its fiber-based product, is considering providing broadband Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second and its U-verse television service in cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.

Before the company can enter these markets, it must make agreements with local leaders in each city.

The services are currently available in Austin, Texas and some surrounding communities, and will be rolled out in parts of Dallas this summer, the company said.

AT&T also said it may consider expanding its reach to 100 cities eventually.

Earlier this month, AT&T announced it was in discussions with North Carolina Next Generation Network to bring U-verse with high-speed internet to North Carolina.

U-verse launched in 2006 and currently has 10.7 million combined Internet and TV customers.

Source: Reuters

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Breaking news headlines from world's most important newspapers

04-23-2014 |

Respuesta del Gobierno a empresarios: 'Lo mejor que pueden hacer es no aumentar los precios'

Segundo día de acampe de habitantes de villas en el Obelisco

La angustia de Cantero

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04-23-2014 |

El Gobierno de Obama apoya a Argentina en el Supremo de EE UU

Rebeldes prorrusos de Ucrania piden armas y municiones a Rusia

Bolivia y los sindicatos logran un consenso sobre la ley de minería

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04-23-2014 |

Russia Displays a New Military Prowess in Ukraine’s East

Obama Asia Strategy Hobbled by Pressure at Home and Abroad

Brain Control in a Flash of Light

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04-23-2014 |

Cameron and Osborne hold Q&A

North Korea: losing faith in regime

Drug shares soar after Glaxo deal

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Top 100 World Newspapers (*)

No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 The Wall Street Journal / United States
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The People's Daily / China 7 The Daily Telegraph / United Kingdom 8 USA Today / United States
9 Los Angeles Times / United States 10 El Mundo / Spain 11 La Repubblica / Italy 12 The Times of India / India
13 Bild / Germany 14 Corriere della Sera / Italy 15 The Examiner / United States 16 The Independent / United Kingdom
17 El País / Spain 18 The Financial Times / United Kingdom 19 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia 20 Daily News / United States
21 Chicago Tribune / United States 22 Le Monde / France 23 Marca / Spain 24 Hürriyet / Turkey
25 Die Welt / Germany 26 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 27 The Sun / United Kingdom 28 New York Post / United States
29 The Age / Australia 30 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 31 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 32 The Washington Times / United States
33 Die Zeit / Germany 34 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 35 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand 36 The Onion / United States
37 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 38 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 39 The Chicago Sun-Times / United States 40 Al-Ahram / Egypt
41 Le Figaro / France 42 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 43 The Hindu / India 44 Houston Chronicle / United States
45 The Seattle Times / United States 46 Libération / France 47 The Globe and Mail / Canada 48 De Standaard / Belgium
49 The Irish Times / Ireland 50 The Toronto Star / Canada 51 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 52 Mercury News / United States
53 The Australian / Australia 54 The Denver Post / United States 55 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 56 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea
57 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 58 Aftonbladet / Sweden 59 Kommersant / Russia 60 Bangkok Post / Thailand
61 Star Tribune / United States 62 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 63 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 64 Dawn / Pakistan
65 El Universal / Mexico 66 The Miami Herald / United States 67 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 68 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India
69 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States 70 Sports Nippon / Japan 71 L'Equipe / France 72 Die Presse / Austria
73 Detroit Free Press / United States 74 Neue Zürcher Zeitung / Switzerland 75 Clarín / Argentina 76 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
77 The Sacramento Bee / United States 78 China Daily / China 79 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 80 AS / Spain
81 The Baltimore Sun / United States 82 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany 83 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 84 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan
85 Boston Herald / United States 86 The Dallas Morning News / United States 87 The Times / United Kingdom 88 Newsday / United States
89 Orlando Sentinel / United States 90 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 91 Taipei Times / Taiwan 92 The Hindustan Times / India
93 The Economic Times / India 94 Kompas / Indonesia 95 The Observer / United Kingdom 96 Jornal de Notícias / Portugal
97 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 98 ABC / Spain 99 Le Soir / Belgium 100 The Kansas City Star / United States

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers

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