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Infineon CEO: We expect chip prices to rise significantly

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VILLACH, Austria (Reuters) – Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss said on Friday that he expected silicon chip prices to rise significantly, adding that semiconductor makers needed to cover the cost of investments to meet booming demand.

“We expect significant price increases,” Ploss told a news conference at an opening ceremony for Infineon’s new power-chip plant in Villach, Austria.

Ploss added that Infineon would not sell to the highest bidder at a time when customers were willing to pay astronomical prices. “We are a reliable partner when things go up and when they go down,” he told reporters.

(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, Writing by Douglas Busvine, Editing by Thomas Escritt)

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/infineon-ceo-we-expect-chip-prices-rise-significantly/17946

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VW’s 9-month electric vehicle deliveries to China more than triple

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen’s deliveries of battery-powered electric vehicles to China more than tripled in the first nine months of the year, the carmaker said on Friday, less than two months after it flagged the need to change its e-car strategy there.

Deliveries of battery electric vehicles (BEV) to the world’s largest car market stood at 47,200 in the January-September period, up from 15,700 in the same period last year.

“As planned, we significantly accelerated the BEV market ramp-up in China in the third quarter, and we are on track to meet our target for the year of delivering 80,000 to 100,000 vehicles of the ID. model family,” Christian Dahlheim, head of group sales, said.

Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess in July said the carmaker had to change its approach to how it markets its BEVs in China after first-half deliveries stood at just 18,285.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/vws-9-month-electric-vehicle-deliveries-china-triple/18644

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From spy satellites to mobile networks, S.Korea hopes new rocket gets space programme off ground

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By Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea plans to test its first domestically produced space launch vehicle next week, a major step toward jumpstarting the country’s space programme and achieving ambitious goals in 6G networks, spy satellites, and even lunar probes.

If all goes well, the three-stage NURI rocket, designed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to eventually put 1.5-ton payloads into orbit 600 to 800km above the Earth, will carry a dummy satellite into space on Thursday.

South Korea’s last such booster, launched in 2013 after multiple delays and several failed tests, was jointly developed with Russia.

The new KSLV-II NURI has solely Korean rocket technologies, and is the country’s first domestically built space launch vehicle, said Han Sang-yeop, director of KARI’s Launcher Reliability Safety Quality Assurance Division.

“Having its own launch vehicle gives a country the flexibility of payload types and launch schedule,” he told Reuters in an email.

MILITARY AND CIVILIAN BENEFITS

It also gives the country more control over “confidential payloads” it may want to send into orbit, Han said.

That will be important for South Korea’s plans to launch surveillance satellites into orbit, in what national security officials have called a constellation of “unblinking eyes” to monitor North Korea.

So far, South Korea has remained almost totally reliant on the United States for satellite intelligence on its northern neighbour.

In 2020 a Falcon 9 rocket from the U.S. firm Space X carried South Korea’s first dedicated military communications satellite into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NURI is also key to South Korean plans to eventually build a Korean satellite-based navigation system and a 6G communications network.

“The program is designed not only to support government projects, but also commercial activity,” Oh Seung-hyub, director of the Launcher Propulsion System Development Division, told a briefing on Tuesday.

South Korea is working with the United States on a lunar orbiter, and hopes to land a probe on the moon by 2030.

TRIAL LAUNCH

Given problems with previous launches, Han and other planners said they have prepared for the worst.

The launch day may be changed at the last minute if weather or technical problems arise; the craft will carry a self-destruct mechanism to destroy it if it appears it won’t reach orbit; and media won’t be allowed to observe the test directly.

At least four test launches are planned before the rocket will be considered reliable enough to carry a real payload.

According to pre-launch briefing slides, the rocket’s planned path will take it southeast from its launch site on the south coast of the Korean peninsula, threading its way over the ocean on a trajectory aimed at avoiding flying over Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other major land masses.

“This upcoming launch may be remembered as the hope and achievement of Korean rocketry historically no matter the launch is successful or not,” Han told Reuters.

SENSITIVE TECHNOLOGY

Space rockets on the Korean peninsula have been fraught with concerns over their potential use for military purposes, leaving South Korea’s efforts lagging more capable programmes in China and Japan.

“Modern rocketry in Korea couldn’t devote its capability much in R&D of rockets because of long-standing political issues,” Han said.

The United States has viewed North Korea’s own satellite launch vehicles as testbeds for nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile technology. A North Korean space launch in 2012 helped lead to the breakdown of a deal with the United States.

“North Korea, of course, will not look favourably on South Korea’s rapidly advancing space capabilities, which are far more technologically advanced than those possessed by the North,” said James Clay Moltz, a space systems expert at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

South Korea’s push into space comes as it speeds ahead with its own military ballistic missile systems after agreeing with the United States this year to end all bilateral restrictions on them.

“There is no concern on military applications in NURI launch vehicle development,” said Chang Young-keun, a missile expert at the Korea Aerospace University. Unlike the liquid-fuelled NURI, South Korea’s military missiles use solid fuel, which is better for weapons, he added.

South Korea is not seen as a “threat” by either Russia or China, so it seems unlikely to affect their space programs, which are already highly militarized, Moltz said.

“Many space launch technologies are inherently dual-use,” he said, but noted that he hopes NURI’s development will “not lead to an arms race in space, but instead a safer ‘information race’” where South Korea has better intelligence to head off any future crisis.

(Reporting by Josh Smith. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/from-spy-satellites-mobile-networks-skorea-hopes-new-rocket-gets-space-programme-ground/18637

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Fourteen U.S. state attorneys general press Facebook on vaccine disinformation

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By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The attorneys general of 14 U.S. states sent a letter to Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg asking if the top disseminators of vaccine disinformation on the platform received special treatment from the company.

The line of inquiry was generated after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen used internal documents to disclose that the social media platform has built a system that exempts high-profile users from some or all of its rules.

In the letter, which was sent on Wednesday, the 14 Democratic attorneys general said they are “extremely concerned” with recent reports that Facebook maintained lists of members who have received special treatment, and want to know if the “Disinformation Dozen” were part of those lists.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate describes the “Disinformation Dozen” as 12 anti-vaxxers who are responsible for almost two-thirds of anti-vaccine content circulating on social media platforms.

Facebook spokesman Alex Burgos pointed to earlier comments by the company that it had removed over three dozen pages, groups and Facebook or Instagram accounts linked to those 12 people, including at least one linked to each of the 12, for violating its policies. It has also applied penalties to some of their website domains.

COVID-19 disinformation has proliferated during the pandemic on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube. Researchers and lawmakers have long accused Facebook of failing to police harmful content on its platforms.

In July, President Joe Biden said social media platforms like Facebook “are killing people” for allowing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines to be posted on its platform. https://reut.rs/3iZ9ZVC

Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, left the nearly $1 trillion company with tens of thousands of confidential documents and has called for transparency about how Facebook entices users to keep scrolling, creating ample opportunity for advertisers to reach them.

The letter was sent by the attorneys general of Connecticut, California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/fourteen-us-state-attorneys-general-press-facebook-vaccine-disinformation/18636

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Rubio calls on Biden administration to blacklist Huawei spin-off Honor

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By Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Republican U.S. senators led by Marco Rubio on Thursday called on the Biden administration to blacklist Honor, a former unit of embattled Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, describing the firm as a threat to national security.

In a letter dated Thursday, seen by Reuters, Rubio described Honor as essentially an “arm” of the Chinese government with newly unfettered access the same prized U.S. technology currently denied to Huawei. The letter adds to a growing chorus of China hawks calling for the blacklisting.

By spinning off the Chinese telecom giant’s budget smartphone brand in November 2020, “Beijing has effectively dodged a critical American export control,” Rubio wrote in the letter also signed by Senators John Cornyn and Rick Scott.

“By failing to act in response, the Department of Commerce risks setting a dangerous precedent and communicating to adversaries that we lack the capacity or willpower to punish blatant financial engineering by an authoritarian regime.”

Honor and the Department of Commerce in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Huawei declined to comment beyond noting a prior statement that said it would not hold any shares or be involved in managing Honor following the spinoff. The Chinese Embassy in Washington said the U.S. had kept “smearing” Huawei without presenting solid evidence to support its accusations.

The Trump administration placed Huawei on a trade blacklist in 2019, arguing the company posed a national security threat, which Huawei denies. Putting the company on the so-called entity list has meant its U.S. suppliers have had to obtain special licenses to sell key items like semiconductors to the firm.

Google was also barred from providing technical support to new Huawei phone models and access to Google Mobile Services, the bundle of developer services upon which most Android apps are based.

As sanctions against the company began to bite amid tighter controls, Huawei announced the Honor sale to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers.

In August a group of 14 Republican Congressmen led by Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also called on the Commerce Department to blacklist Honor, alleging the company was spun off to evade U.S. export controls and to give Huawei access to blocked semiconductor chips and software.

On Monday, Honor said on Twitter https://twitter.com/Honorglobal/status/1447547538748280834 it had “succeeded in confirming cooperation with a number of supplier partners in the early stage” and that its Honor 50 smartphones would be equipped with Google Mobile Services.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Additional Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Diane Craft and William Mallard)

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Source: https://datafloq.com/read/rubio-calls-biden-administration-blacklist-huawei-spin-off-honor/18635

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