Alberta's newly elected government suspended one of its rookie legislators on Friday after offensive pictures she posted on social media before being elected emerged. Sociology student Deborah Drever, 26, was elected for the New Democratic Party in the May 5 election that ended 44 years of Progressive Conservative rule in the province. Drever had already gained notoriety after posting photos on her Facebook account showing her posing beside a marijuana-themed shirt and another showing a manicured hand giving the middle finger to the Canadian flag.
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The founder of virtual reality glasses maker Oculus VR Inc, acquired by Facebook Inc for $2 billion, has been accused of taking confidential information he learned while working with another company and passing it off as his own, according to a lawsuit filed this week. The plaintiff, Hawaii-based company Total Recall Technologies, said it hired Oculus founder Palmer Luckey in 2011 to build a prototype head mounted display. Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus last year was its first-ever hardware deal, as the company sought a way into the fast-growing wearable devices arena.
By Maria Tsvetkova and Eric Auchard MOSCOW/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Russia's media watchdog has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian Internet laws and a spokesman said on Thursday they risk being blocked if they do not comply with the rules. Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three U.S.-based Internet firms asking them to comply with Internet laws which critics of President Vladimir Putin have decried as censorship. "In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation," said Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky. He added that, because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services.
Ancestry.com LLC, the world's largest family history website helping users trace their heritage, is exploring a sale that could value it at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter. Permira Advisers LLC, the buyout firm that owns most of privately held Ancestry, has hired investment banks to run an auction for the company, the people said this week. Permira declined to comment, while an Ancestry spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Streaming music service Spotify will soon provide video content from musicians, news organizations and TV networks in a bid to sign up more subscribers, the company said on Wednesday. A new recommendation function, similar to what rival Pandora Media Inc offers, will let people pick channels based on lifestyle activities, like "songs to sing to in the shower," or "100 plus hits form the 1980s," the Stockholm-based company said. In a splashy event in New York, Spotify founder and Chief Executive Daniel Ek highlighted the discovery nature of the revamped platform that he said will deliver more relevant music and content to Spotify users.
Australian telecommunications firm Telstra Corp Ltd said on Wednesday computer systems at its recently acquired undersea cable company Pacnet Ltd had been hacked, potentially exposing sensitive customer information to theft. Telstra said the corporate information technology network of Pacnet, email and other business management systems of the company, had been accessed by an unauthorized third party several weeks before its $550 million takeover of the firm was completed on April 16. Telstra said it didn't know who was behind the hack.
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - The governor of the Japanese island of Okinawa said on Wednesday he will travel to the United States next week to press his demand that a U.S. military base be removed from his island to lighten the burden of a people weary of hosting U.S. troops. Takeshi Onaga, who won election last year as Okinawa governor largely on his stand against U.S. bases, has accused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of looking down on the island and its people. "Unless we make the alliance something with dignity and pride, with both Japan and America deserving of respect, I don't believe that the economy in Asia will grow more stable," Onaga said.
China will spend more than $182 billion to boost Internet speeds by the end of 2017, a top government body said, as Beijing moves towards a more service-driven economy to boost growth. The State Council said the government will invest more than 430 billion yuan ($69.3 billion) this year on network construction, with at least another 700 billion yuan ($112.8 billion) spent over the following two years. China ranked 82nd in the world for average Internet connection speed, slower than Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, according to cloud computing services provider Akamai's State of the Internet report for the fourth quarter of 2014.
San Francisco may become the second California city in a month to limit length of stays arranged by accommodation services like Airbnb, which matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests. A city committee late on Monday advanced a proposal that would limit hosts to renting accommodation to no more than 60 days a year, down from 90 currently. Airbnb has grown quickly and is valued at far more than $10 billion, with analysts assuming it can overcome any major regulatory backlash.
By Christine Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - The founder of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd on Tuesday called "regrettable" a lawsuit by a group of luxury goods firms owned by Kering SA accusing the Chinese e-commerce giant of being a conduit for counterfeiters. Executive Chairman Jack Ma was speaking after Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other brands owned by Kering sued Alibaba in the United States on Friday, accusing it of knowingly making it possible for counterfeiters to sell their products throughout the world. Ma also said Alibaba was interested in investing in U.S. tech companies, confirming media reports that the e-commerce firm is in talks with Apple Inc over an electronic payments system.
By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama sent his first tweet from his very own account on Twitter on Monday, quickly amassing a million followers in five hours, the latest of many White House efforts to amplify his message with social media. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account," Obama tweeted from his verified @POTUS account. A Twitter spokesman could not immediately confirm whether Obama had set a record. According to Guinness World Records, the fastest pace to a million followers was set by actor Robert Downey Jr. in 23 hours and 22 minutes in April 2014.
By Malathi Nayak NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc is gearing up to bring connected car users exclusive content such as videos and games that can be streamed onto personal mobile devices later this year, AT&T's senior vice president of emerging devices Chris Penrose said. AT&T has signed up eight automaker partners, including General Motors Co, Audi AG and Ford Motor Co, to hook up cars with Internet access. The goal is to offer free or paid content exclusively for connected car users and sell more data, Penrose said in a recent interview. AT&T is talking to its auto industry partners and content companies to bring new content like "special" shows or gaming levels on phones and tablets in connected cars, Penrose said.
By Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Within 40 minutes of Germanwings flight 4U9525 crashing in the Alps in March French accident investigators from the BEA authority were on the phone to plane tracking website Flightradar24. "BEA called us and we of course passed the information over to them right away," the website operator's chief executive Fredrik Lindahl said.
Boutique fitness studios are keeping track of clients' progress with methods ranging from videotaping their workouts to measuring their fat, to posting a friendly nudge on their Facebook pages. Gregory Chertok, a sports psychology consultant with the American College of Sports Medicine, said research has shown that even small amounts of social support can produce large and lasting gains in physical activity. In a 2007 study by Stanford University in California, researchers showed that even a simple, computer-generated phone call could be effective in motivating the sedentary to exercise. “These exercisers are being held accountable by their fitness studios to a degree,” he said.
Malaysia's embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak broke his silence on Sunday after weeks of calls from long-time leader Mahathir Mohamad for his resignation over corruption and mismanagement allegations. The prime minister has been weakened by the attacks of his predecessor, but still retains support within the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. In his first detailed response to these attacks, Najib said that he had nothing to do with the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, and had even sworn an oath to that effect on the Koran in a mosque. Mahathir, Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, withdrew his support for Najib last year after the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition fell short of a popular majority in the 2013 elections but retained power.