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Archive for November 2011


Britain set in motion the withdrawal of some diplomatic staff and families from Tehran on Wednesday as Iran’s parliament speaker blamed Britain’s “domination-seeking” policies for the storming of British compounds by hard-line Iranian protesters the day before.

Norway, meanwhile, closed its embassy in Tehran due to security concerns after Tuesday’s assault on the British Embassy and a residential complex. Mobs hauled down British flags and ransacked offices in retaliation for Britain’s support of tighter sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Protestors remove the flag of the British embassy in Tehran on November 29, 2011. Iranian protesters stormed two British Embassy compounds in Tehran on Tuesday, smashing windows, hurling petrol bombs and burning the British flag in a protest against sanctions imposed by Britain, live Iranian television showed.   Reuters

In London, the Foreign Office said some diplomatic staff and dependents would leave Iran. But it declined to say how many people were being removed or give other details.

“Ensuring the safety of our staff and their families is our immediate priority,” said the statement. It noted some diplomatic work is ongoing, though the embassy is officially closed.

The Iranian government has expressed regret about “unacceptable behavior” of protesters, whose attacks began after anti-British demonstrations apparently authorized by authorities.

But Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that the “wrath of (students) resulted from several decades of domination-seeking behavior of Britain.”

Larijani — addressing an open session of parliament Wednesday — also called the U.N. Security Council’s condemnation of the embassy attack a “hasty move.”

Larijani’s comments reflect the deepening diplomatic crisis between Iran and Britain, whose relations have in the past gone through periods of upheavals. On Sunday, Iran’s parliament approved a bill to downgrade relations with Britain, one of America’s closest allies with diplomatic envoys in the Islamic Republic.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-il Photo:AP

An unidentified spokesman at Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the construction of an experimental light-water reactor and low enriched uranium are “progressing apace”.

The statement, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, said that North Korea has a sovereign right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and that “neither concession nor compromise should be allowed”.

Concerns about North Korea’s atomic capability took on renewed urgency in November 2010 when the country disclosed a uranium enrichment facility that could give it a second route to manufacture nuclear weapons, in addition to its existing plutonium-based programme.

North Korea has been building a light-water reactor at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex since last year. Such a reactor is ostensibly for civilian energy purposes, but it would give the North a reason to enrich uranium. At low levels, uranium can be used in power reactors, but at higher levels it can be used in nuclear bombs.

Earlier this month, North Korean state media said “the day is near at hand” when the reactor will come into operation. Washington worries about reported progress on the reactor construction, saying it would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions.

via the telegraph



The latest film of teen vampires and werewolves franchise “Twilight Saga” has grossed a total of 508 million U.S. dollars in ticket sales from global box office since it was screened 12 days ago, producer and distributor Summit Entertainment said Tuesday.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” has also reached a milestone in North America, taking in 223 million dollars in selling ticket stubs in theaters in the United States and Canada, according to the studio.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the success of this film and a franchise that the fans have continued to support over the past several years,” the company’s Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger said in a statement.

The film has topped the foreign box office for a second-straight weekend with 76 million dollars in receipts from 68 markets, according to latest statistics.

Industry analysts said as the penultimate film of the popular series, “Breaking Dawn” was expected to take in about 650 million dollars from the global box office and Summit Entertainment would reap 228 million dollars in profit.


Facebook.com founder Mark Zuckerberg smiles at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Facebook has agreed a settlement with the US’ Federal Trade Commission that will see it being subject to independent privacy audits for the next 20 years.

The company yesterday settled complaints that it disregarded its users’ privacy and agreed to establish a raft of measures to better protect its 800m members’ data.

The agreement will also mean the social networking site will have to seek users’ consent for certain changes to privacy settings.

“I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes,” co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a lengthy post on the company’s official blog.

He said a few “high-profile” mistakes, such as changes to the service’s privacy policy two years ago, “have often overshadowed much of the good work we’ve done.”

To ensure that Facebook did a better job, Mr Zuckerberg said the company had created two new corporate privacy officer positions to oversee Facebook products and policy.

In its complaint, the FTC said that Facebook had repeatedly violated laws against deceptive and unfair practices.

For example, it said Facebook promised users that it would not share personal information with advertisers, but it did.

Tue company has often been criticised for its privacy practices since its founding in a Harvard dorm room in 2004.

In September the Data Protection Commissioner here began an audit of Facebook’s operations outside of North America, following complaints from a group called ‘Europe Versus Facebook’.

The group made 22 complaints about the way the website retains user information and as Facebook has its European headquarters in Dublin it came under the remit of the Irish data commissioner.

If Facebook is found to have violated any of the provisions of its settlement with the FTC, the company is subject to fines of $16,000 (€12,044) per day for each violation, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

“Nothing in this order will restrict Facebook’s ability to innovate,” said Leibowitz. But, he added, “Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy.”

Under the settlement, Facebook is barred from being deceptive about how it uses personal information, and is required to get permission before changing the visibility of the personal information users have posted.

Facebook noted that it had reversed some of the privacy settings at issue in the FTC’s complaint prior to the settlement, including restoring users’ ability to limit who sees their Friends List.

It also said it fixed a problem more than a year ago which had “inadvertently” allowed advertisers to obtain the user ID numbers of some Facebook members.

In a statement, Facebook said that the settlement “strikes the right balance between innovation and regulation, and gives us the ability to introduce new sharing, connecting and control features that will continue to improve Facebook.


A Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablet on display at a trade fair in Germany at the start of September

Samsung Electronics will be allowed to sell its latest Galaxy tablet computers in Australia during the crucial Christmas shopping season after it won a rare victory against Apple and overturned a sales ban in the country.

The decision by a federal appeals court in Australia comes after setbacks for Samsung in Europe, where Apple successfully sued to block sales of Samsung’s tablets in Germany, Europe’s largest market. Samsung has also had to modify some of its smartphone features for the European market following a temporary sales ban on its three Galaxy smartphones in the Netherlands.

Samsung and Apple are locked in about 20 legal disputes in nine countries including the US, South Korea, Japan and the UK, and analysts said this latest verdict should bolster Samsung’s position in these cases. “The ruling shows that Apple’s claims on design are relatively weak while Samsung can fight back with its patents on 3G technology,” said Jae Lee at Daiwa Securities.

The intensifying legal wranglings between the two companies highlight their complex relationship. Samsung is an important supplier of parts for Apple products, but the South Korean company is also the biggest maker of smartphones based on Google’s Android platform and therefore Apple’s biggest competitor in smartphones and tablets.

In Australia, Apple was granted an injunction in October, temporarily blocking sales of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet. Federal Court Justice Lindsay Foster on Wednesday reversed the sales ban but granted a stay until Friday. Apple will have to go to the High Court to extend the period further.

via FT


Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has added 200 new locations in five cities across the Kingdom to its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network as part of its ambitious growth plans.

STC said it was the first operator in the region to launch and adopt the 4G technology and presently covers key areas including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Jubail, Al Khobar, Al Ahsa.

The LTE network offers download speeds of more than double that of 3G and is designed for data, rather than voice.

STC said it has further increased the 4G coverage with deployment in new locations at Makkah, Madinah, Abha, Khamis Mushayt, Dhahran.

With this expansion, the total locations covered in the Kingdom have exceeded 600 offering users the best coverage in addition to higher speeds than the existing ones available in other networks, it added.

The Saudi company said it has ambitious plans to deploy advanced technologies during the next phase taking customers from 2G and 3G to the mobile Broadband networks:  HSPA+, 4G LTE with unprecedented speeds where new expansion of the 3G advanced network offers speeds reaching 84 mg/sec while the 4G advanced technology offers speeds starting with 100 mb/sec reaching to more than 1000 mb/sec during the next few years.

STC began deploying this new technology since the beginning of 2010 when it announced the successful trials of the technology making it is the solution for mobile telecommunications in the next era.

This technology enhances the capacity and effectiveness of the networks with real speeds reaching more than 100 mbps when receiving data, it added as per trade arabia.


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