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LG Energy Solution Raises $10.8 Billion in South Korea’s Biggest IPO

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By Reuters | Updated: 14 January 2022

South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution (LGES) raised $10.8 billion (roughly Rs. 80,045 crore) in its initial public offering (IPO), attracting record demand for a deal in South Korea, the company said on Friday.

LGES shares were priced at KRW 300,000 (roughly Rs. 18,710) each, at the top of a range announced in a regulatory filing last month, raising KRW 12.8 trillion (roughly Rs. 79,840 crore).

The listing, set to take place on January 27, will be the biggest in the country after Samsung Life’s KRW 4.8 trillion (roughly Rs. 29,945 crore) IPO in 2010.

The pricing values LGES at KRW 70.2 trillion (roughly Rs. 4,37,930 crore), making it South Korea’s third most-valuable company after Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix.

GES, LG Chem’s battery subsidiary, supplies Tesla, General Motor, and Volkswagen AG, among other automakers.

A total of 1,988 domestic and foreign institutional investors placed bids, LGES’ filing showed, valuing total bids at record $12.8 trillion (roughly Rs. 9,48,77,180 crore).

LGES said the institutional book for the IPO was 2,023 times covered – the largest ever for an IPO in South Korea.

LGES expects to offer 34 million new shares in the IPO and parent LG Chem plans to offer 8.5 million existing shares.

The parent company will own 81.8 percent of LGES after the listing.

The IPO comes as global battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) sales, estimated at 2.5 million units in 2020, are forecast to grow more than 12-fold to 31.1 million by 2030 and account for nearly a third of new vehicle sales, according to consulting firm Deloitte.

Analysts said they are closely watching LGES’ IPO and how its stock trades later this month to gauge the health of the 2022 IPO market.

South Korea saw its hottest IPO market on record last year. More than 20 companies went public on the main KOSPI market, raising about 17 trillion won, beating the previous record of 8.8 trillion won raised in 2010, according to the Korea Exchange.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Internet

Yemen Goes Offline, Loses Internet Connection After Saudi-Led Airstrikes

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By Associated Press | Updated: 21 January 2022

Yemen lost its connection to the Internet nationwide early Friday after Saudi-led airstrikes targeted the contested city of Hodeida, an advocacy group said, plunging the war-torn nation offline.

NetBlocks said the disruption began around 1am (3:30am IST) local and affected TeleYemen, the state-owned monopoly that controls Internet access in the country. TeleYemen is now run by the Houthi rebels who have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since late 2014.

Yemen faces “a nation-scale collapse of Internet connectivity” after an airstrike on a telecommunications building, NetBlocks said.

The San Diego-based Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis and San Francisco-based Internet firm CloudFlare also noted a nationwide outage affecting Yemen beginning around the same time.

Over 12 hours later, the Internet remained down.

The Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel said the strike on the telecommunications building had killed and wounded people. It released chaotic footage of people digging through rubble for a body as gunshots could be heard. Aid workers assisted bloodied survivors.

Meanwhile, Al-Masirah said another early Friday airstrike on a prison in Yemen’s northern Saada province also killed and wounded people. There was no immediate independent confirmation of how many people were hurt in either attack.

The Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels acknowledged carrying out “accurate airstrikes to destroy the capabilities of the militia” around Hodeida’s port. It did not immediately acknowledge striking a telecommunication target as NetBlocks described, but instead called Hodeida a hub for piracy and Iranian arms smuggling to back the Houthis.

The undersea FALCON cable carries Internet into Yemen through the Hodeida port along the Red Sea for TeleYemen. The FALCON cable has another landing in Yemen’s far eastern port of Ghaydah as well, but the majority of Yemen’s population lives in its west along the Red Sea.

A cut to the FALCON cable in 2020 caused by a ship’s anchor also caused widespread Internet outages in Yemen. Land cables to Saudi Arabia have been cut since the start of Yemen’s civil war, while connections to two other undersea cables have yet to be made amid the conflict, TeleYemen previously said.

A Saudi-led coalition entered Yemen’s war in 2015 to back its ousted government. The war has turned into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with international criticism of Saudi airstrikes killing civilians and targeting the country’s infrastructure. The Houthis meanwhile have used child soldiers and indiscriminately laid landmines across the country.

The war reached into the United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally, on Monday when the Houthis claimed a drone and missile attack on Abu Dhabi, killing three people and wounding six.

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Pegasus Spyware: Israel’s Attorney General Orders Probe of NSO Claims

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By Associated Press | Updated: 21 January 2022

Israel’s attorney general said Thursday he was launching an investigation into Israeli police’s use of phone surveillance technology following reports that investigators improperly tracked targets without authorisation.

In a four-page letter, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said he had not yet found evidence substantiating the claims in the Israeli business daily Calcalist, which said police monitored the leaders of a protest movement against then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mayors, and other citizens without court approval. But Mandelblit said many questions remained unanswered, and that he was forming an investigative committee headed by a top deputy.

The specific cases mentioned by the newspaper “raise a very troubling picture,” he said, but don’t provide “sufficiently concrete information” to identify the cases of alleged misuse.

Mandelblit’s letter came a few hours after Israel’s police chief said he had ordered an extensive investigation into the newspaper’s claims. In a report this week, Calcalist said police had used the NSO Group’s Pegasus hacking software to surveil some of Netanyahu’s political opponents, as well as a raft of other alleged misuses of the technology.
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The police have dismissed the report as inaccurate and said they only operate according to the law. But the publication drew an outcry from lawmakers and prompted multiple investigations by various Israeli authorities into the allegations.

The NSO Group does not identify its clients and says it has no knowledge of who is targeted. The company says its products are intended to be used against criminals and terrorists, and that it does not control how its clients use the software. Israel, which regulates the company, has not said whether its own security forces use the spyware.

The Israeli spyware company has faced mounting scrutiny over its Pegasus software, which has been linked to snooping on human rights activists, journalists and politicians across the globe. In November, the US Commerce Department blacklisted NSO, barring the company from using certain US technologies, saying its tools had been used to “conduct transnational repression.”

In announcing his investigation, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said that immediately following the report’s publication, police launched “a thorough internal investigation” that has yet to find any instances of unlawful surveillance. He called on the paper to provide “concrete details that will allow us to inspect the alleged incidents.”

Tuesday’s Calcalist article didn’t name any of the people whose phones were allegedly hacked, nor did it cite any current or former sources in the police, government or NSO. The report referred to eight alleged examples of the police’s secretive signal intelligence unit employing Pegasus to surveil Israeli citizens, including hacking phones of protesters, mayors, a murder suspect and opponents of the Jerusalem Pride Parade, all without a court order or a judge’s oversight.

Shabtai said that “if it turns out that there were specific instances in which regulations were violated, the police under my command will work to improve and correct,” pledging full transparency. At the same time, he defended the police’s lawful use of such technologies to combat crime.

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Intel Said to Plan $20-Billion Chip Manufacturing Site in Ohio

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By Reuters | Updated: 21 January 2022

Intel on Friday is set to announce it will invest $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,48,850 crore) in a massive new manufacturing site near Columbus, Ohio to develop and manufacture advanced semiconductor chips, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The planned investment includes 3,000 permanent jobs on the 1,000-acre site in New Albany, Ohio. Time magazine, which first reported the news, said Intel will build at least two semiconductor fabrication plants.

US President Joe Biden is making remarks Friday on the US government’s efforts “to increase the supply of semiconductors, make more in America, and rebuild our supply chains here at home,” the White House said earlier.

Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger is set to appear with Biden on Friday at the White House, sources told Reuters. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The initial $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,48,850 crore) is the first step of what could be an eight-factory complex costing tens of billions of dollars.

Intel declined to comment on its plans but said in a statement that Gelsinger would disclose details Friday of “Intel’s latest plans for investment in manufacturing leadership” as it works “to meet the surging demand for advanced semiconductors.”

Chipmakers are scrambling to boost output after manufacturers around the world, from autos to consumer electronics, faced shortages of chips. Intel also is trying to win back its position as maker of the smallest and fastest chips from current leader TSMC, which is based in Taiwan.

Gelsinger last fall also said he planned to announce another US campus site before the end of the year that would eventually hold eight chip factories.

He told the Washington Post the complex could cost $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7,44,125 crore) over a decade and eventually employ 10,000.

Gelsinger is driving Intel plans to expand, especially in Europe and the United States, as it seeks to heat up competition with global rivals and respond to a worldwide microchip shortage.

Intel and Italy are intensifying talks over investments expected to be worth around EUR 8 billion (roughly Rs. 67,490 crore) to build an advanced semiconductor packaging plant, Reuters reported late last year.

The Biden administration is making a big push to convince Congress to approve $52 billion (roughly Rs. 3,86,945 crore) in funding to dramatically increase chip production in the United States. The Senate in June voted 68-32 for the chips funding as part of a broader competitiveness bill, but it has been stalled in the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she hopes to “go to conference” on the chips funding measure soon.

Still, Intel’s plans for new factories will not alleviate the current demand crunch, because such complexes take years to build. Gelsinger previously said he expected the chip shortages to last into 2023.

In September, Intel broke ground on two factories in Arizona as part of its turnaround plan to become a major manufacturer of chips for outside customers. The $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,48,850 crore) plants will bring the total number of Intel factories at its campus in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler to six.

Intel told Time it considered 38 sites before picking New Albany, Ohio in December. Ohio has agreed to invest $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,440 crore) in infrastructure improvements to facilitate the factory, Time said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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5G Spectrum Bands in India Will Not Interfere With Aircraft Radar Altimeters: ITU-APT Foundation

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By Press Trust of India | Updated: 21 January 2022

Proposed 5G services rolled out in India will be in spectrum bands that will have sufficient safeguards and will not interfere with civil aircraft altimeters, ITU APT Foundation of India said on Thursday.
Several airlines have cancelled their flight to the US following 5G services roll-out in the country alleging that 5G signals could interfere with key safety equipment, altimeter, on which pilots rely for take off and altitude readings.

“In India, there is no risk from 5G services to aircraft and we are fully safeguarded as we are only allocating 3300-3670 MHz, which is more than 500 MHz below the altimeter spectrum. Thus the C band frequencies that are being auctioned for 5G in India are completely safe and there is no risk to the Civil Aviation Radar altimeters,” ITU-APT Foundation of India President Bharat Bhatia said in a statement.

ITU-APT Foundation of India is recognised by UN body International Telecommunications Union and it works on spectrum related issues.

The aircraft around the world use the frequency band 4200-4400 MHz for radio Altimeters and the 5G system being deployed in the US in frequency band of 3700-3,980 is close to this frequency band.

“In India, the government is not considering frequencies above 3.7 GHz for public 5G services at present, the frequency band in question in the USA where this potential interference has been observed,” Bhatia said.

At present, spectrum band allocation for 5G services is at a discussion stage. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has floated a consultation paper to take views of interested players for determining price and rules for spectrum allocation.

The spectrum will be allocated through auction after the government finalizes price post review of recommendation of TRAI.

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Science

US Researchers Test Pig-to-Human Transplant in Donated Body

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By Associated Press | Updated: 21 January 2022

Researchers on Thursday reported the latest in a surprising string of experiments in the quest to save human lives with organs from genetically modified pigs.

This time around, surgeons in Alabama transplanted a pig’s kidneys into a brain-dead man — a step-by-step rehearsal for an operation they hope to try in living patients possibly later this year.

“The organ shortage is in fact an unmitigated crisis and we’ve never had a real solution to it,” said Dr. Jayme Locke of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who led the newest study and aims to begin a clinical trial of pig kidney transplants.

Similar experiments have made headlines in recent months as research into animal-to-human transplants heats up.

Twice this fall, surgeons at New York University temporarily attached a pig’s kidney to blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient to watch them work. And earlier this month, surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center gave a dying man a heart from a gene-edited pig that so far is keeping him alive.

But scientists still needed to learn more about how to test such transplants without risking a patient’s life. With the help of a family who donated a loved one’s body for science, Locke mimicked the way human organ transplants are done — from removing the pig “donor” kidneys to sewing them inside the deceased man’s abdomen.

For a little over three days, until the man’s body was removed from life support, the pair of pig kidneys survived with no sign of immediate rejection, her team reported Thursday in the American Journal of Transplantation.

That was only one of several key findings. Locke said it wasn’t clear if delicate pig kidney blood vessels could withstand the pounding force of human blood pressure – but they did. One kidney was damaged during removal from the pig and didn’t work properly but the other rapidly started producing urine as a kidney should. No pig viruses were transmitted to the recipient, and no pig cells were found in his bloodstream.

But Locke said the kidney experiment could have more far-reaching impact – because it shows that a brain-dead body can be a much-needed human model to test potential new medical treatments.

The research was conducted in September after Jim Parsons, a 57-year-old Alabama man, was declared brain-dead from a dirt bike racing accident.

After hearing this kind of research “had the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives, we knew without a doubt that that was something that Jim would have definitely put his seal of approval on,” said Julie O’Hara, Parsons’ ex-wife.

The need for another source of organs is huge: While more than 41,000 transplants were performed in the US last year, a record, more than 100,000 people remain on the national waiting list. Thousands die every year before getting an organ and thousands more never even get added to the list, considered too much of a long shot.

Animal-to-human transplants, what’s called xenotransplantation, have been attempted without success for decades. People’s immune systems almost instantly attack the foreign tissue. But scientists now have new techniques to edit pig genes so their organs are more human-like — and some are anxious to try again.

The recent string of pig experiments “is a big step forward,” said Dr. David Kaczorowski of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Moving on to first-stage trials in potentially dozens of people is “becoming more and more feasible.”

A heart transplant surgeon, Kaczorowski has done experiments testing pig organs in non-human primates that helped pave the way but “there are only things we can learn by transplanting them into humans.”

Hurdles remain before formal testing in people begins, including deciding who would qualify to test a pig organ, said Karen Maschke, a research scholar at the Hastings Center who will help develop ethics and policy recommendations for the first clinical trials under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists also still have much to learn about how long pig organs survive and how best to genetically alter them, cautioned Dr. Robert Montgomery of NYU Langone Health, who led that centre’s kidney experiments in the fall.

“I think different organs will require different genetic modifications,” he said in an email.

For the newest kidney experiment, UAB teamed with Revivicor, the subsidiary of United Therapeutics that also provided organs for the recent heart transplant in Maryland and the kidney experiment in New York. Company scientists made 10 genetic changes to these pigs, knocking out some genes that trigger a human immune attack and make the animals’ organs grow too large — and adding some human genes so the organs look less foreign to people’s immune systems.

Then there are practical questions such as how to minimise time spent getting pig organs to their destination. UAB housed the altered pigs in a germ-free facility in Birmingham complete with an operating room-like space to remove the organs and ready them for transplant.

Revivicor chief scientific officer David Ayares said future plans include building more such facilities near transplant centres.

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GM to Deliver Electric SUV Cadillac Lyriq to Customers in ‘Few Months’

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By Reuters | Updated: 21 January 2022

General Motors’s pre-production version of electric SUV Cadillac Lyriq have been assembled and the final production version is expected to be delivered to customers in a few months, President Mark Reuss said in a LinkedIn post on Thursday.

Detroit-based GM, recently dethroned as the No.1 US automaker, is competing with century-old rival Ford Motor over which company will sell more electric vehicles by 2025.

“Our teams have worked tirelessly on the Lyriq, bringing the launch up nine months ahead of schedule,” Reuss said.

Lyriq, an all-electric mid-size SUV, was unveiled by GM in August 2020 in a move to transform its traditional combustion engine lineup to an electric one.

GM’s Cadillac will offer the Lyriq, Symboliq, Celestiq, Escalade EV as well as a compact SUV by 2025.

Separately, the automaker halted production of its EV model Chevrolet Bolt in August after a major battery recall and recently extended the halt to late February.

The company is considering investing more than $4 billion (roughly Rs. 29,805 crore) in two Michigan plants to boost its electric vehicle production capacity, according to sources and documents made public in December.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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