Technology 

French competition watchdog investigates IT services sector

PARIS (Reuters) – Several French IT companies have been searched on suspicion of anti-competitive practices, the country’s competition watchdog said on Friday. The regulator did not name any of the companies that were targeted but said they were active in the fields of IT services, consulting, engineering and software. “At this point, these searches obviously do not prejudge the guilt of the companies and organizations that are concerned by these suspected practices…”, the regulator said. France has a number of large IT and consulting groups, including Alten, Altran, Assystem, Atos,…

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Hong Kong Fire Service’s lycra-clad mascot causes a stir

Hong Kong Fire Service’s lycra-clad mascot causes a stir By Sherie Ryder, BBC UGC and Social News Stuart Lau, BBC Monitoring Image copyright Hong Kong Fire Services Department Image caption ‘Anyone’ vows to help inform the public about fire prevention and safety In the world of social media, we can find lots of uplifting stories about heroes and helpers, but we can also find controversy caused by almost anyone. In Hong Kong ‘Anyone’ happens to be a character created for the Hong Kong Fire Service to raise safety awareness. The…

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Alibaba’s on-demand online services unit valued at $30 billion: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Alibaba Group’s newly formed on-demand online services unit has rocketed in value to as much as $30 billion after raising $4 billion in fresh funds, people with knowledge of the situation told Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People stand near a sign of Alibaba Group at its campus in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, May 27, 2016. REUTERS/John Ruwitch/File Photo Alibaba (BABA.N) combined the operation of food delivery service Ele.me and online restaurant guide business Koubei under a single management team and holding vehicle in October. It announced a…

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Children’s services: What do we know about the children most in need?

Image copyright Getty Images More families struggling, more children needing protection, difficulties recruiting enough social workers and tighter budgets are all factors in what councils in England say is a crisis facing children’s services. The latest figures show demand for support rising steeply and this summer council leaders warned they would have to overspend next year to meet demand. So why are services designed to protect the most vulnerable children in society under so much pressure? 1. Demand has increased considerably The past decade has seen pressure increase across the…

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M5 pedestrian killed in traffic near Frankley Services

Image copyright Google Image caption The man was hit on the M5 near Frankley Services A man walking on a motorway in the early hours of Saturday was struck and killed by oncoming traffic. The pedestrian, in his 50s, was hit by a single vehicle on the M5 near to Frankley Services in Worcestershire at about 02:00 GMT. West Mercia Police said it was yet to be established why he was on the carriageway. A portion of what police described as a central route for people across the country was…

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Pound up over reports of EU financial services deal

Image copyright Reuters Sterling has jumped by as much as 0.6% against the US dollar amid reports the UK has struck a deal with the EU on post-Brexit financial services. The Times newspaper said London had agreed in negotiations with Brussels to give UK financial services firms continued access to the bloc. Sources said a tentative agreement had been reached on all aspects of a future partnership on services. An initial deal on exchange of data had also been agreed, the paper said. It added the deal was expected to…

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US attacks UK plan for digital services tax on tech giants

The US has hit back against a UK plan to impose a new tax on sales by technology giants. US political leaders and business groups say the proposal would violate tax agreements by targeting US firms. They warned the tax could spark US retaliation and hurt prospects for a US-UK trade deal. In a statement on Wednesday, Representative Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas, called the measure “troubling”. “If the United Kingdom or other countries proceed, that will prompt a review of our US tax and regulatory approach to determine…

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Budget 2018: Tech giants face digital services tax

Technology giants will be forced to pay tax on the sales they generate in the UK, under new plans announced in the Budget. Chancellor Philip Hammond plans to introduce a digital services tax from April 2020 following a consultation. He said “established tech giants” will be targeted rather than start-ups. Companies such as Amazon and Facebook have been criticised for the small amount of tax they pay in the UK. Both the 36-member OECD and the European Commission have been trying to reach a consensus on imposing a digital tax…

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Amazon India say services boosting large appliance sales

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Amazon’s investment in an extensive delivery network, and offering installation services and monthly payment plans, helped make large appliances a major category during its annual festive sale, the head of its Indian business said on Monday. FILE PHOTO: An employee of Amazon walks through a turnstile gate inside an Amazon Fulfillment Centre (BLR7) on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa/File Photo The bulk of orders for goods such as washing machines and refrigerators came from India’s smaller towns and cities, said Amit…

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Google tells U.S. lawmakers it is mulling options on China services

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google unit has told U.S. lawmakers it is considering “a variety of options” for offering additional services in China. FILE PHOTO: A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet-based company’s offices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 9, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo The company has come under criticism after reports it is considering re-entering the Chinese search engine market and would agree to comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies. In an Aug. 31 letter to senators made public on Friday,…

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