Facebook buys maker of hit VR game ‘Beat Saber’

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook-owned Oculus on Tuesday said it is buying the studio behind hit virtual reality game “Beat Saber” as it looks to expand VR technology to wider audiences. Oculus, which makes Rift and Quest VR headgear, did not disclose financial terms of the deal to acquire Prague-based Beat Games. “Beat Games is joining us in our quest to bring VR to more people around the world,” Oculus director of augmented […]

New York sues e-cigarette firm Juul for targeting youngsters

  NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — New York on Tuesday became the second state this week to sue Juul, the United States’ largest electronic cigarette manufacturer, for illegally targeting minors with its marketing campaigns. The lawsuits come as the vaping industry faces intense scrutiny over an epidemic of lung ailments linked to e-cigarette use that has killed more than 40 people and sickened more than 2,000 in recent months. The New York action, which […]

Twitter spy case highlights risks for big tech platforms

by Rob Lever Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The allegations of spying by former Twitter employees for Saudi Arabia underscore the risks for Silicon Valley firms holding sensitive data which make the platforms ripe for espionage. The two Saudis and one US citizen allegedly worked together to unmask the ownership details behind dissident Twitter accounts on behalf of the Riyadh government and royal family, according to a federal indictment. Analysts say the […]

Facebook apologizes after black workers complain of bias

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook apologized on Friday after black employees anonymously shared feelings of workplace bias in an online post. The post shared at Medium by a “FB Blind” profile laid out perceived slights by managers, white colleagues, and the human resources department. “No one at Facebook, or anywhere, should have to put up with this behavior,” corporate communications vice president Bertie Thomson said in response to an AFP query. “We are […]

Twitter offering ‘topics,’ from sports teams to K-pop

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Twitter said Wednesday it is rolling out a feature that lets users follow topics the way they do people, starting with sports and K-pop, as part of its efforts to bring in and keep more users on the service. The new “Topics” option was expected to be available to Twitter users on mobile devices powered by Android or Apple software or through web browsers by November 13. “We are […]

Philippine pop culture to take center stage at the EBC PopCon 2019

By Caesar Vallejos, OPEN FOR BUSINESS From Kenkoy to Pugad Baboy, icons of Pinoy pop culture will be showcased at the two-day EBC PopCon 2019. On November 8-9,  the Eagle Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) Building will be transformed as a pop culture show center that will house comic books, toys, games, anime displays, cartoon characters, cosplay, fun entertainment and other interests.  A 1940s Batmobile replica and life-size statues will also be on display at the EBC […]

Shorter hours boost sales in overworked Japan: Microsoft

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — In a country notorious for overwork, Microsoft Japan trialed a radical idea: working less. And it found that four-day weeks and other reforms both boosted sales and cut costs. The Japanese unit of the US IT giant closed its offices every Friday in August, giving all 2,300 full-time workers special leave. It also restricted meetings to a maximum of 30 minutes and encouraged online chats as an alternative to face-to-face communications. […]

Unity through sportsmanship in action as INC holds “Unity Games” in Central Europe

  By Malou Francisco  EBC Central Europe Bureau/ Eagle News Service (Eagle News) — Unity through sportsmanship was again exemplified as participants from Belgium – Luxembourg – Netherlands – Germany – came together on a chilly Sunday late October in the historical Dutch city of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Many of them traveled up for more than eight hours in buses, cars, and rented vans. Some had not had enough sleep days before the trip as […]

French media take copyright fight to Google

by Frédéric POUCHOT Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — French media firms said Thursday that they would drag Google before the country’s competition regulator over its refusal to compensate them for displaying their content in defiance of a strict new EU copyright law. The APIG press alliance, which groups dozens of national and regional newspapers, said it would also press the French government to take action against the US internet giant. “We are outraged,” […]

Zuckerberg defends Facebook’s hands-off policy for politicians

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday defended the huge social network’s policy of refraining from fact-checking politicians, saying it’s not the job of tech firms to “censor.” Speaking to students at Georgetown University in Washington, Zuckerberg responded to critics who argued that Facebook is enabling political leaders including President Donald Trump to propagate misinformation. Zuckerberg said the policy — which does not include the fact-checking of political speech or […]

California unveils early warning earthquake app

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — California on Thursday launched the country’s first earthquake warning system in the hope that residents will be alerted within seconds of a possible impending disaster and can “drop, cover and hold on.” The app, created by the University of California, Berkeley, and unveiled on the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta quake, uses ground motion sensors located across the state to detect the start of earthquakes before humans […]

First man to perform spacewalk dies

by Marina LAPENKOVA Agence France-Presse RUSSIA, Moscow (AFP) — Alexei Leonov, a legendary Soviet cosmonaut who was the first man to perform a spacewalk in 1965, died in Moscow on Friday aged 85 after a long illness. The Russian space agency Roscosmos said it was saddened to announce the death of “cosmonaut No 11” who was twice decorated with the country’s top honour, the Hero of the Soviet Union. Tributes poured in from across the […]