Archive for April, 2019

Apr 16 2019

Motorola returns to China with launch of 3 new smartphones – National

BEIJING – Motorola, acquired last year by computer maker Lenovo Group, has unveiled three smartphones for its return to China following a two-year absence from the most populous mobile phone market.

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Motorola was a mobile phone pioneer in China but pulled out in 2013 after its acquisition by Google Inc. Computer maker Lenovo Group bought Motorola last year as part of its effort to become a global competitor in wireless devices.

“This is a day of rebirth,” said Liu Jun, Lenovo’s executive vice-president, onstage at a Beijing conference centre to unveil models for China.

In a crowded market, Motorola is trying to set itself apart by allowing buyers of its flagship Moto X to customize their phones.

Buyers can pick colours, features and exterior materials that include leather and wood, said Rick Osterloh, president of Motorola. The 16 gigabyte version will start at 3,299 yuan ($540).

The Moto X Pro will have a more powerful processor, bigger screen and other features. The third model, the Moto G, will start at 1,299 yuan ($212) for an 8GB model, competing with low-priced Chinese brands including rising star Xiaomi. All three models will run Google’s Android operating system.

The company also unveiled an earpiece, the Moto Hint, to go on sale later.

Mobile phone sales in China rose 24.4 per cent to 112 million handsets, including 103 million smartphones, in the second quarter of last year, according to Analysys International, a research firm in Beijing.

READ MORE: Motorola unveils MotoG smartphone aimed at emerging markets

The $2.9 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility was one of a flurry of acquisitions by Lenovo, which wants to grow faster outside its traditional personal computer business. The company also bought IBM Corp.’s low-end server business for $2.1 billion.

Motorola and Lenovo say their combined sales would make them the world’s No. 3 smartphone producer behind Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

As it tries to re-establish itself in China, Motorola faces intense competition from Apple and Samsung as well as ambitious local brands that include Xiaomi, Huawei and Vivo. Xiaomi, known for ultra-low-price handsets that cost as little as 699 yuan ($114), passed Samsung last year as the country’s most popular smartphone brand by number of units sold.

Motorola needs to stake out a clear position in a market that ranges from premium models to ultra-low-price handsets, said industry analyst Zhu Dalin of Analysys International.

“Motorola has just released three mobile phones that cover the whole price range of the market,” said Zhu. “But it has not made clear what its market position will be.”

Motorola said a Chinese version of its Moto Maker website that allows buyers to pick features for phones will be operating by the end of May.

The company will face challenges in expanding Internet-based sales, an increasingly popular strategy in China that allows brands to hold down costs, said Zhu.

“It is difficult to open a channel by relying on Lenovo, which doesn’t have the upper hand in e-commerce,” said Zhu.


Apr 16 2019

Police urge Google to disable police tracking feature on Waze app – National

WASHINGTON – Sheriffs are pressuring Google Inc. to turn off a feature on its Waze traffic software that warns drivers when police are nearby. They say one of the technology industry’s most popular mobile apps could put officers’ lives in danger.

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Waze, which Google purchased for $966 million in 2013, is a combination of GPS navigation and social networking. Fifty million users in 200 countries turn to the free service for real-time traffic guidance and warnings about nearby congestion, car accidents, speed traps or traffic cameras, construction zones, stalled vehicles or unsafe weather conditions.

To Sergio Kopelev, a reserve deputy sheriff in California, Waze is also a stalking app for law enforcement.

READ MORE: Waze could lead way to Israeli Internet growth

There are no known connections between any attack on police and Waze, but Kopelev and others are concerned it’s only a matter of time. They are seeking support among law enforcement trade groups to pressure Google.

Brown and Kopelev raised concerns during the meeting of the National Sheriffs Association winter conference in Washington. They pointed to the Instagram account of the man accused of fatally shooting two New York Police Department officers last month. Ismaaiyl Brinsley posted a screenshot from Waze along with messages threatening police. Investigators do not believe he used Waze to ambush the officers, in part because police say Brinsley tossed his cellphone far from where he shot the officers.

The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, Jim Pasco, said his organization has concerns.

The emerging policy debate places Google again at the centre of a global debate about public safety, consumer rights and privacy.

Waze users mark police presence on maps without much distinction other than “visible” or “hidden.” Users see a police icon, but it’s not immediately clear whether police are there for a speed trap, a sobriety check or a lunch break.

A Waze spokeswoman, Julie Mossler, said the company works with the New York Police Department and others around the world.

“These relationships keep citizens safe, promote faster emergency response and help alleviate traffic congestion,” Mossler said.

Google declined to comment.

Google has a complicated relationship with government and law enforcement. The company is regularly compelled to turn over to police worldwide copies of emails or other information about its customers.

READ MORE: More cameras, better signal timing and traffic apps can help ease gridlock now

Last year, after disclosures that the National Security Agency had illicitly broken into Google’s overseas Internet communication lines, Google and other technology companies rolled out encryption for users, which the U.S. government said could hamper law enforcement investigations.

Nuala O’Connor, head of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington civil liberties group, said it would not be appropriate for Google to disable the police-reporting feature.

“I do not think it is legitimate to ask a person-to-person communication to cease simply because it reports on publicly visible law enforcement,” she said. She said a bigger concern among privacy advocates is how much information about customers Waze shares with law enforcement, since the service monitors their location continually as long as it’s turned on.


Apr 16 2019

Blizzard of 2015: ‘Potentially historic’ storm heads for U.S. Northeast; could impact Maritimes

WATCH ABOVE: Meteorologist Ross Hull gives us an update on the nor’easter sweeping over the American northeast and Atlantic Canada.


More than 6,500 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday cancelledMore than 35 million people are under a blizzard warningUp to 90 cm of snow headed for Northeast U.S.Atlantic Canada to get 15 to 30 cm of snow

TORONTO – A potentially historic snowstorm could dump 30 to 90 centimetres of snow on a large part of the U.S. Northeast, while parts of the Maritimes could get a big blast of snow starting Monday night.

As of Monday evening more than 6,500 flights were cancelled or delayed along the U.S. eastern seaboard ahead of the nor’easter, the Associated Press reported.

WATCH: Global News Weather reporter Nicole Mortillaro looks at how this historic storm formed.

LIVE BLOG: Eastern U.S., Canada preparing for potentially dangerous blizzard

According to the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS), more than 35 million people are under a blizzard warning — stretching from New Jersey through Massachusetts and into Maine.

The storm promised treacherous travel by both land and air throughout the busy northeast corridor.

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In New York City, crews were busy preparing plows and salting machines ahead of the “potentially historic” blizzard.

“It’s going to be ridiculous out there, frightening,” said postal deliveryman Peter Hovey, standing on a snowy commuter train platform in White Plains, New York.

READ MORE: Images of ‘historic’ storm bearing down on U.S. Northeast

All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of streets and highways to prevent travelers from getting stranded and to enable plows and emergency vehicles to get through.

“This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. “Don’t underestimate this storm. Prepare for the worst.”

New York City’s subways and buses planned to shut down completely by 11 p.m., Commuter railroads across the Northeast also announced plans to stop running overnight.


New York Governor declares state of emergency as region braces for blizzard


New York Governor declares state of emergency as region braces for blizzard


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Salt trucks begin to prep Manhattan roads ahead of epic snow storm

Authorities also banned travel on all streets and highways in New York City and Long Island and warned that violators could be fined $300.

Snowfall totals of one to three feet will occur in New York City and into southern and eastern New England states, according to NWS.

Cities mobilized snowplows and salt spreaders to deal with a dangerously windy blast that could instantly make up for what has been a largely snow-free winter in the urban Northeast.

IN PHOTOS: Blizzard begins to hit New York City and Boston

People cross a street covered in snow in New York’s Times Square during a snow storm on January 26, 2015.

(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

A vendor steers his cart through a street in New York’s Times Square during a snow storm on January 26, 2015.

(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

A plow is driven through Times Square on January 26, 2015 in New York City. New York, and much of the Northeast, is bracing for a major winter storm which is expected to bring blizzard conditions and 10 to 30 inches of snow to the area.

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

A worker shovels snow in Times Square on January 26, 2015 in New York City.

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Overhead signs on the Long Island Expressway warn motorists of storm conditions on January 26, 2015 in the Queens borough of New York City.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Pedestrians walk along a Manhattan street in heavy snow on January 26, 2015 in New York City.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

People walk through Copley Square as a massive winter storm approaches the region January 26, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

A man who has been waiting over two hours for a city bus covers his face during heavy snow in the financial district of Manhattan on January 26, 2015 in New York City. New York, and much of the Northeast, is bracing for a major winter storm which is expected to bring blizzard conditions and 18 to 24 inches of snow to the area. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that only emergency vehicles will be allowed on area roads after 11p.m.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Francisco Mathurine, of the Times Square Alliance, clears snow from the steps in Father Duffy Square in New York, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker warned residents to prepare for roads that are “very hard, if not impossible, to navigate,” power outages and possibly even a lack of public transportation.

Boston is expected to get 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 inches) of snow, with up to 2 feet or more west of the city, and Philadelphia could see up to 30 cm (one foot), the weather service said.

WATCH: Global’s Jackson Proskow checks in from a snowy, blustery New York City 

Boston’s Logan International Airport said there would be no flights after 7 p.m. Monday, and did not expect to resume flights until late Wednesday.

Governor Dannel Malloy issued a travel ban for the entire state of Connecticut, beginning Monday night.

READ MORE: Airlines cancel thousands of flights ahead of Northeast snow

During a lunch hour press conference, Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency in New Jersey ahead of the “significant storm”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also declared a state of emergency.

Cuomo said the New York City subway system will run on schedule until 7 p.m. Monday night, then it will be reduced to limited service. He asked for New Yorkers to leave work early if possible.

During an afternoon press conference, De Blasio ordered all non-emergency vehicles off city streets by 11 p.m. The mayor said 1,800 plows have been deployed and schools ordered closed Tuesday.

“We have to take every conceivable measures to protect the people of this city,” De Blasio said. “If it’s not an emergency, you cannot be on the roads after 11 p.m.”

Many residents flocked to stores over the weekend to stock up on snow removal equipment, groceries and supplies prior to the arrival for the storm.


The NBA postponed the game between Brooklyn Nets and the Portland Trail Blazers as well as the the New York Knicks game against the Sacramento Kings, due to the impending storm.

The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots expected to be out of town by the time the storm arrived in Boston. The team plans to leave Logan Airport at 12:30 p.m. Monday for Phoenix, according to the Associated Press.

The Maritimes

Environment Canada issued winter storm warnings for much of the east coast, as the nor’easter tracks up the coastline.

General snowfall amounts of 15 to 30 cm are expected for much of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick overnight and into Tuesday, while P.E.I. is expected to get 15 to 25 cm, according to the national weather service.

READ MORE: Heavy snowfall, blizzard conditions for Maritimes, forecasters warn

Winter storm watches were issued for a large portion of southern Quebec, while snow squall warnings were issued for a small portion of the Greater Toronto Area.

Travel advisories have been issued for the Atlantic provinces, warning of flight delays and cancellations.

About 75 flights in and out of Toronto Pearson International Airport have been cancelled as a result of the approaching weather system.


Apr 16 2019

Raonic reaches Australian Open quarter finals with 5 set victory – National

WATCH ABOVE: Raonic humble during post-match press conference.

MELBOURNE, Australia – Milos Raonic tied a Canadian tennis record by reaching his third career Grand Slam quarter-final with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3 win over Spain’s Feliciano Lopez on Monday at the Australian Open.

Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., joins Robert Powell as the only other Canadian man to reach the quarter-finals at three major events (1908, 1910 and 1912 Wimbledon).

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Raonic made it to the Wimbledon semifinals last summer and reached the French Open quarter-finals in 2014. But he had never been past the fourth round in Melbourne.

“There was some great tennis played today and it’s only going to get better,” said Raonic after the match.

“It’s an exciting time for Canadian tennis,” he added. “It’s great to see a lot of red and white at these matches. It’s a pleasure to play.”

The eighth seed will next face top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who posted a 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 win over Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.

Raonic is the first Canadian man to make the quarter-finals in Melbourne since Michael Belkin did it back in 1968.

“It’s great to be doing what I’m doing and that it is making a difference,” Raonic said. “It is, I guess, part of some history, if you look really deep.

“But at the end of the day, I’m always pushing myself for what I want to achieve. I’m always looking in the mirror and saying, ‘That’s who I have to compare myself to – to myself.”

In women’s play, seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., will play a Tuesday quarter-final against five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova of Russia.

Raonic needed to go five sets and more than three hours to beat Lopez, breaking for 5-3 in the final set and hammering home huge serves – including three aces in the final game – before an errant return from the Spaniard sealed the win.

The 24-year-old Raonic finished with three breaks and 30 aces in a victory that also featured a massive 81 winners.

“I’m happy with the attitude that got me through. I stayed calm even though things weren’t always panning out how I would have liked,” he said. “I missed a lot of break-point opportunities, but overall I can’t complain too much. I fought my way through.”

Raonic improved his career record against Lopez to 2-2. He lost to the 14th-ranked Spaniard last summer in a Rogers Cup quarter-final in Toronto.


Apr 16 2019

Dozens of Philippine police commandos killed in clash – National

MANILA, Philippines – At least 43 Philippine police commandos were killed in a fierce battle with Muslim guerrillas after launching an assault in which they may have killed one of southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorists, officials said Monday.

A police Special Action Force member remained missing while 11 others were wounded in the daylong clashes Sunday in a far-flung village of Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province in the biggest single-day combat loss for the Philippine government in recent memory, officials said.

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Interior Secretary Mar Roxas called the commandos “fallen heroes” who sacrificed their lives to try to capture Malaysian bombing suspect Zulkifli bin Hir, or Marwan. The top terror suspect may have been killed by the commandos, he said.

Another top terror suspect, Filipino bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman, managed to escape, according to Roxas.

After attacking Marwan, the police commandos came under fire from hardline Muslim insurgents in the marshy village of Tukanalipao while some strayed elsewhere and got entangled in a firefight with insurgents belonging to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main Muslim rebel group, which last year signed a new peace deal with the government, national police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said.

The United States has offered up to $5 million for Marwan’s capture and $1 million for Usman. Both have been blamed by U.S. and Philippine authorities for deadly bomb attacks and providing bomb-making training to al-Qaida-linked militants in the country’s south.