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Tesla Hikes Price for All EV Models in the US Market Amid Global Supply-Chain Issues

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By Reuters | Updated: 16 June 2022

Tesla raised prices for all its car models in the US, its latest price hike amid ongoing global supply-chain issues.

The electric carmaker increased its Model Y long-range price to $65,990 (roughly Rs. 51,53,000) from $62,990 (roughly Rs. 49,00,000), its website showed on Thursday, after delaying the deliveries of some long-range models in the United States by up to a month.

The price hike comes as costs of raw materials have surged, including aluminum that is used in cars.

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has warned about the risk of a recession in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Musk said he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy after cutting about 10 percent of jobs at Tesla.

Tesla recently cancelled three online recruitment events for China scheduled this month, the latest development after chief executive Elon Musk threatened job cuts at the electric car maker, saying it was “overstaffed” in some areas.

However, Musk had not commented specifically on staffing in China, which made more than half of the vehicles for the automaker globally and contributed a quarter of its revenue in 2021.

The company cancelled the three events for positions in sales, R&D and its supply chain originally scheduled for June 16, 23 and 30, notifications on messaging app WeChat showed late on Thursday, without stating a reason.

Notification of a June 9 event to recruit staff for “smart manufacturing” roles was not visible and it was not immediately clear it had been held as planned.

The China operation is still allowing resume submission for more than 1,000 openings posted on the social media platform, such as aerodynamics engineers, supply chain managers, store managers, factory supervisors and workers.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Oracle to Pay About $23 Million to Resolve Another SEC Bribery Case Involving India Unit

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By Reuters | Updated: 27 September 2022

Oracle will pay about $23 million (nearly Rs. 190 crore) to resolve charges that its units in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and India used slush funds to bribe foreign officials in order to win business, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.

The case covered alleged wrongdoing from 2014 to 2019, and is the second time the SEC charged Oracle with violating the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an anti-bribery law.

According to the regulator, Oracle’s Turkey and UAE units also used slush funds to pay for foreign officials to attend technology conferences in violation of Oracle policies.

Employees of the Turkey unit also used the funds to pay for the officials’ spouses and children to accompany them, or take side trips to Los Angeles and Napa Valley, California, the SEC said.

“The creation of off-book slush funds inherently gives rise to the risk those funds will be used improperly, which is exactly what happened here,” Charles Cain, Chief of the SEC’s FCPA unit, said in a statement.

Oracle, based in Austin, Texas, agreed to pay a $15 million (nearly Rs. 120 crore) civil fine and about $7.9 million (nearly Rs. 60 crore) of disgorgement and interest. It did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.

“The conduct outlined by the SEC is contrary to our core values and clear policies, and if we identify such behavior, we will take appropriate action,” Oracle spokesman Michael Egbert said.

In 2012, Oracle agreed to pay a $2 million (nearly Rs. 16 crore) fine to settle SEC charges concerning the creation of millions of dollars of unauthorised side funds by Oracle India from 2005 to 2007.

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U.S. begins antitrust review of Amazon’s takeover of vacuum maker iRobot – Politico

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By Reuters, September 3, 2022

Sept 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has begun a review of Amazon.com’s $1.7 billion takeover of robot vacuum maker iRobot Corp (IRBT.O) to decide if the deal violates antitrust law, Politico reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. anti-trust body’s iRobot review is wide-ranging and would include both head-to-head competition and whether the deal would illegally boost Amazon’s market share in both the connected device market and the retail market in general, the report added.

Amazon logo at the company’s logistics center in Bretigny-sur-Orge

The logo of Amazon is seen at the company’s logistics center in Bretigny-sur-Orge, near Paris, France, December 7, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

Sept 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has begun a review of Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O) $1.7 billion takeover of robot vacuum maker iRobot Corp (IRBT.O) to decide if the deal violates antitrust law, Politico reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. anti-trust body’s iRobot review is wide-ranging and would include both head-to-head competition and whether the deal would illegally boost Amazon’s market share in both the connected device market and the retail market in general, the report added. (https://politi.co/3emgp1t)
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Amazon declined to comment, while iRobot and the FTC did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

The e-commerce giant has steadily expanded its devices lineup with more speakers showcasing its Alexa voice assistant and with home security doorbells and cameras from Ring, which it acquired in 2018.

Amazon in August announced its all-cash deal of $61 per share to acquire iRobot, maker of the robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba.

The world’s largest online retailer is pushing to expand its stable of smart home devices as well as expanding the e-commerce giant’s virtual healthcare and adding brick-and-mortar doctors’ offices for the first time.

The online retailer in July had agreed to buy primary care provider One Medical.

One Medical on Friday said the U.S. anti-trust body had sought more information from the company and Amazon about the primary care provider’s $3.49 billion acquisition by the online retailer.

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Japan’s Rakuten Mobile says service restored after 2-1/2 hour system failure

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By Reuters, September 4, 2022

TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s Rakuten Mobile Inc said on Sunday that its service for users on Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII plans had been restored, after a system failure caused difficulties making calls and sending data for over two hours.

The mobile carrier, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten Group Inc (4755.T), did not say how many users were affected by the issue, which lasted about 2-1/2 hours after starting shortly before 11:00 a.m. local time.

Nussey

TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s Rakuten Mobile Inc said on Sunday that its service for users on Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII plans had been restored, after a system failure caused difficulties making calls and sending data for over two hours.

The mobile carrier, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten Group Inc (4755.T), did not say how many users were affected by the issue, which lasted about 2-1/2 hours after starting shortly before 11:00 a.m. local time.
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It said in a statement that service was restored at around 1:26 p.m. on Sunday (0426 GMT Sunday).

Japan’s internal affairs ministry in August issued rare administrative guidance to rival wireless carrier KDDI Corp after tens of millions of users were affected by network troubles in early July.

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Taiwan Plagued by Cyberattacks on Convenience Stores, Train Stations Over Nancy Pelosi Visit

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By Reuters | Updated: 5 August 2022

As US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a brief visit to Taiwan this week that enraged Beijing, the welcome she received from government officials and the public was in sharp contrast with a different sort of message that began popping up elsewhere on the island.

On Wednesday, in some branches of 7-11 convenience stores in Taiwan, the television screens behind cashiers suddenly switched to display the words: “Warmonger Pelosi, get out of Taiwan!”

The largest 24-hour convenience store chain on the island was the victim of what Taiwanese authorities are calling an unprecedented amount of cyberattacks on government websites belonging to the presidential office, foreign and defence ministries as well as infrastructure such as screens at railway stations, in protest against Pelosi’s visit.

Taipei has not directly blamed the attacks on the Chinese government but has said that the attacks on government websites — which paralysed the sites’ operations — originated from addresses in China and Russia. It also said the firms whose displays were changed had used Chinese software that could have contained backdoors or Trojan horse malware.

Taiwan’s digital minister Audrey Tang said the volume of cyberattacks on Taiwan government units on Tuesday, before and during Pelosi’s arrival, surpassed 15,000 gigabits, 23 times higher than the previous daily record.

Lo Ping-cheng, Taiwan Cabinet spokesman, said on Wednesday that the government had stepped up security at key infrastructure including power plants and airports and increased the cyber security alertness level across government offices. On Thursday, he said no related damage had been detected so far.

“Government departments have been very careful. In these past few days, in terms of public security, we have set up a three-tier government security and communication mechanism, it is already tough and defensive enough, so these adaptations have been beneficial,” he told a briefing.

Theatre, rather than threat

Pelosi’s visit triggered furious responses from the Chinese public and Beijing, who said the trip to the self-ruled island it regards as its territory infringed its sovereignty. On Thursday, China fired missiles around Taiwan as part of a series of unprecedented military drills.

A cybersecurity research organisation said the attacks against Taiwanese government websites before Pelosi’s visit were likely launched by Chinese activist hackers rather than the Chinese government.

Hacker group APT 27, which has been accused by Western authorities of being a Chinese state-sponsored group, claimed responsibility for the cyberattacks on Taiwan on Wednesday, saying on YouTube that they were done to protest how Pelosi had defied China’s warnings with her visit. It also claimed it had shut down 60,000 internet-connected devices in Taiwan.

Asked about the cyberattacks in Taiwan on Thursday at a regular Chinese foreign ministry briefing, a spokesperson declined to comment. The Cyberspace Administration of China, which regulates the country’s internet, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Experts said that the cyberattacks, combined with China’s live firing exercises, provide Taiwan’s leaders with a preview of what an invasion from China would look like.

In recent years, several reports from think tanks in Taiwan and the United States have emphasised the high likelihood that, in the event of a military assault of Taiwan, China would first launch a debilitating cybersecurity attack on Taiwan’s key infrastructure, such as its power grid.

Still, Eryk Waligora, a cyber threat intelligence specialist at Accenture, said the latest ones appeared to be “more theatre than threat” so far. He said past attacks, like a campaign between November last year to February that forced several financial institutions in Taiwan to suspend online transactions, were more sophisticated technically, and damaging.

“There have certainly been far worse cyber-attacks,” he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Chinese Long March 5B Rocket Falls to Earth, NASA Says Beijing Failed to Share Trajectory Information

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By Reuters | Updated: 1 August 2022

A Chinese rocket fell back to Earth on Saturday over the Indian Ocean but NASA said Beijing had not shared the “specific trajectory information” needed to know where possible debris might fall.

US Space Command said the Long March 5B rocket re-entered over the Indian Ocean at approximately 12:45pm EDT Saturday (16:45 GMT), but referred questions about “reentry’s technical aspects such as potential debris dispersal impact location” to China.

“All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. “Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth.”

Social media users in Malaysia posted video of what appeared to be rocket debris.

Aerospace, a government funded nonprofit research centre near Los Angeles, said it was reckless to allow the rocket’s entire main-core stage – which weighs 22.5 tons (about 48,500 lb) – to return to Earth in an uncontrolled reentry.

Earlier this week, analysts said the rocket body would disintegrate as it plunged through the atmosphere but is large enough that numerous chunks will likely survive a fiery re-entry to rain debris over an area some 2,000 km (1,240 miles) long by about 70km (44 miles) wide.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment. China said earlier this week it would closely track the debris but said it posed little risk to anyone on the ground.

The Long March 5B blasted off July 24 to deliver a laboratory module to the new Chinese space station under construction in orbit, marking the third flight of China’s most powerful rocket since its maiden launch in 2020.

Fragments of another Chinese Long March 5B landed on the Ivory Coast in 2020, damaging several buildings in that West African nation, though no injuries were reported.

By contrast, he said, the United States and most other space-faring nations generally go to the added expense of designing their rockets to avoid large, uncontrolled re-entries – an imperative largely observed since large chunks of the NASA space station Skylab fell from orbit in 1979 and landed in Australia.

Last year, NASA and others accused China of being opaque after the Beijing government kept silent about the estimated debris trajectory or the reentry window of its last Long March rocket flight in May 2021.

Debris from that flight ended up landing harmlessly in the Indian Ocean.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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India’s 5G Spectrum Auction Begins; Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea in Race to Bid for 5G Airwaves

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By Press Trust of India | Updated: 26 July 2022

India’s first auction of 5G spectrum, that powers ultra-high data speeds, is currently underway with a total of 72 GHz (gigahertz) of radiowaves worth at least Rs. 4.3 lakh crore up for bidding.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and a unit of billionaire Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises are in the race to bid for 5G spectrum, that offers speeds about 10 times faster than 4G, lag-free connectivity, and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time.

In addition to powering ultra-low latency connections, which allow downloading full-length high-quality video or movie to a mobile device in a matter of seconds (even in crowded areas), Fifth Generation or 5G would enable solutions such as e-health, connected vehicles, more-immersive augmented reality and metaverse experiences, life-saving use cases, and advanced mobile cloud gaming among others.

The auction is being held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz), and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.

The bidding which started at 10:00 hrs will continue till 18:00 hrs and will carry over into the next day, if there exists a demand for spectrum and bidders are putting in bids.

The number of days the auction ultimately stretches to will depend on the actual demand for radiowaves and the strategy of individual bidders, although the broad industry consensus is that it may last up to two days.

While a total 72 GHz (gigahertz) of spectrum worth at least Rs. 4.3 lakh crore has been put on the block for the auction, market watchers do not expect an intense bidding given that plenty of spectrum is on the block, and there are four participants in the race.

Department of Telecom’s own internal estimates put the 5G auction mop up at Rs. 70,000 crore to Rs.1,00,000 crore.

Jio, it is expected, will lead the spends, followed by Bharti Airtel, while analysts see limited participation from Vodafone Idea, and Adani Group.

Reliance Jio has submitted an earnest money deposit (EMD) of Rs. 14,000 crore, the highest amongst the four players in fray for spectrum bidding. The EMD amount of Adani Data Networks stood at Rs. 100 crore, indicating a muted and limited spectrum demand from its side. Bharti Airtel has put in Rs. 5,500 crore as EMD, while for Vodafone Idea the amount stands at Rs. 2,200 crore.

While the earnest money deposit suggests that Jio, the nation’s largest telecom company by subscribers, could be the most aggressive bidder in the pack, Adani Group may be looking to buy the bare minimum spectrum needed to set up a private network.

Typically, earnest deposits give an indication of players’ appetite, strategy and plan for picking up spectrum in an auction. It also determines the eligibility points, through which telcos target specific amounts of spectrum in various circles.

Market watchers say that a telco has the ability to go after radiowaves worth up to 7-8 times the EMD amounts submitted by them, although players do tend to keep headroom for maneuvering and flexibility, based on how auction proceeds and the strategy adopted by rivals.

Based on EMD, market watchers say, Jio can technically place bids worth Rs. 1.27 lakh crore, Bharti Airtel up to Rs. 48,000 crore, Vodafone Idea (VIL) about Rs. 20,000 crore and Adani Data about Rs. 700 crore.

“We expect Reliance Jio to enhance its spectrum in 800MHz and 1800MHz bands to 10-15 MHz in each market. We also expect Jio to buy a minimum 100 MHz in 3.3 GHz band and 800 MHz in 26 GHz band across all markets,” Jefferies had said in a note on July 20.

Further, it expects Bharti Airtel to bid for 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3.3 GHz band and 800 MHz of 26 GHz spectrum enabling it to lower its SUC (Spectrum Usage Charges) immediately.

“We also expect some purchases in 900/1800 MHz bands to cover for renewals and for completion of blocks of 5/10/15MHz in a few markets. Bharti may also enhance its spectrum in 2300 MHz in the six markets where the spectrum is available,” Jefferies opined.

It saw Adani Group’s purchases likely limited to 100MHz in the 26 GHz band.

In the previous auction held in early 2021, Reliance Jio Infocomm had deposited earnest money amount of Rs 10,000 crore, while Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea deposited Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 475 crore, respectively.

In the auction conducted last year – that had lasted two days – Reliance Jio picked up spectrum worth Rs 57,122.65 crore, Bharti Airtel bid about Rs 18,699 crore, and Vodafone Idea bought spectrum worth Rs 1,993.40 crore.

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