France to close Charlie Hebdo investigation in 2018

French police officers hold a wreath of flowers, in Paris, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (AP)
Updated 09 January 2018

France to close Charlie Hebdo investigation in 2018

PARIS: French authorities have announced that the Charlie Hebdo investigation will come to a close in 2018, three years after the shooting that profoundly shocked France and marked the beginning of a series of attacks that have claimed 241 lives in total, according to an AFP toll.
Two French militants, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who had sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda killed 11 people at Charlie Hebdo’s offices in 2015 over the coverage of Islam and the prophet Mohammed.
Anti-terror magistrates investigating the incidents are expected to finalize their probe in the next few months but have been unable to determine how the Charlie Hebdo killers — Cherif and Said Kouachi — coordinated with the supermarket shooter, Amedy Coulibaly.
Le Monde newspaper reported Sunday that 14 people had been charged in connection with the attacks and that investigators had traced the weapons to arms traffickers in north-east France and Belgium.

Slain journalists

French President Emmanuel Macron laid a wreath on Sunday in honor of the slain journalists of Charlie Hebdo which faces falling sales and stifling security measures three years after it was attacked.
At a low-key commemoration ceremony to mark the January 7, 2015 massacre, Macron was joined by journalists from the magazine, members of his government and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.
“We must never forget these terrible days,” Francois Hollande, president at the time of the attacks, wrote on Facebook on Sunday while saying France could be “proud” of its reaction to the bloodshed.
Charlie Hebdo, which prides itself on being provocative, returned to the murder of its famed cartoonists and writers in its latest issue which laid bare the struggles of the surviving staff.
“The 7th of January 2015 propelled us into a new world of armed police, secure entrances and reinforced doors, of fear and death,” wrote contributor Fabrice Nicolino in a column.
“And this in the heart of Paris and in conditions which do not honor the French republic. Do we still have a laugh? Yes,” he added.

Heavily protected

The magazine pays between 1.0-1.5 million euros (1.2-1.8 million dollars) in security costs annually at its heavily protected offices which are at a secret location, its editor Riss wrote.
Sales meanwhile have fallen sharply since a wave of popular support — a “Je suis Charlie” defense of press freedom — following the bloodshed. It revived the financial fortunes of a business that has faced regular difficulties in the past.
Company revenues fell to 19.4 million euros in 2016, down from more than 60 million in 2015, according to figures first reported by the BFM news channel and confirmed to AFP by the magazine.
Its journalists and editors still regularly receive death threats and the magazine courted fresh controversy in November with a front-page on the Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan who has been accused of sexually assaulting women.
The Swiss academic, who is widely read and followed in France, was depicted with a huge erection above the line: “I am the sixth pillar of Islam.”
The magazine also regularly mocks Christian and Jewish leaders as well as politicians of all stripes.
Two days after the Charlie Hebdo attack, another French extremist took hostages at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, killing four people before elite police raided the premises and shot him dead.

(With AFP)

Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

Updated 20 October 2018

Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

  • The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers
  • The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size

BRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc’s Google will charge hardware firms up to $40 per device to use its apps under a new licensing system to replace one that the European Union this year deemed anti-competitive, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The new fee goes into effect on Oct. 29 for any new smartphone or tablet models launched in the European Economic Area and running Google’s Android operating system, the company announced on Tuesday.
The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size, the person said. It is standard across manufacturers, with the majority likely to pay around $20, the person added.
Companies can offset the charge, which applies to a suite of apps including the Google Play app store, Gmail and Google Maps, by placing Google’s search and Chrome Internet browser in a prominent position. Under that arrangement, Google would give the device maker a portion of ad revenue it generates through search and Chrome.
Tech news outlet the Verge reported the pricing earlier on Friday, citing confidential documents.
The European Commission in July found Google abused its market dominance in mobile software to essentially force Android partners to pre-install search and Chrome on their gadgets. It levied a record $5-billion fine, which Google has appealed, and threatened additional penalties unless the company ended its illegal practices.
The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers to become the default apps for search and browsing, analysts said.
Qwant, a small French search company that has been critical of Google, said in a statement on Friday that it was “satisfied that the European Commission’s action pushed Google to finally give manufacturers the possibility to offer such choices to consumers.”