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Facebook Germany says it will start tackling fake news in weeks

Picture shows Facebook logo at Facebook office in BerlinFacebook said on Sunday it would update its social media platforms in Germany within weeks to reduce the dissemination of fake news. "Last month we announced measures to tackle the challenge of fake news on Facebook," the U.S. technology company's German-language newsroom said. "We will put these updates in place in Germany in the coming weeks." German Justice Minister Heiko Mass has repeatedly called on Facebook to respect laws against defamation in Germany that are stricter than those in the United States.



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Russia says facing increased cyber attacks from abroad

Man types on computer keyboard in this illustration picture takenRussia is facing increased cyber attacks from abroad, a senior security official was quoted on Sunday as saying, responding to Western accusations that Moscow is aggressively targeting information networks in the United States and Europe. U.S. intelligence agencies say Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a cyber campaign aimed at boosting Donald Trump's electoral chances by discrediting his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.



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On sensitive U.S. stopover, Taiwan leader connects to Twitter

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen leaves a luncheon during a stop-over after her visit to Latin America in BurlingameBy Jane Lanhee Lee SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, carving a careful diplomatic path on her stopovers in the United States, visited the headquarters of micro-messaging service Twitter Inc on Saturday and reactivated an old account. "Had a great visit to @Twitter HQ today. A source at the meeting said Tsai met with Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde and that CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey was not present.



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On sensitive U.S. stopover, Taiwan leader connects to Twitter

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives for a luncheon during a stop-over after her visit to Latin America in BurlingameBy Jane Lanhee Lee SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, carving a careful diplomatic path on her stopovers in the United States, visited the headquarters of micro-messaging service Twitter Inc and opened her official account on Saturday. A source with knowledge of the president's travel through San Francisco told Reuters she met with the "head of Twitter" but declined to confirm if that person was CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not provide further details of her meetings in the U.S. tech capital.



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Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snap

Lynton, CEO Sony Entertainment and CEO and chairman Sony Pictures Entertainment, speaks during an investors' conference at the company's headquarters in TokyoBy Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton will step down to become chairman of the board of messaging app owner Snap Inc, a move that puts an experienced Hollywood executive in a prominent role as the technology company prepares for an initial public offering. Lynton will give up his current position at Sony's movie and television unit on Feb. 2 but remain as co-CEO for six months to help find a successor, Japanese conglomerate Sony Corp said in a statement on Friday. Lynton was an early investor in the company co-founded by 26-year-old CEO Evan Spiegel, and has served on its board for nearly four years.



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Sony Entertainment CEO Lynton to step down; to become Snap Inc chairman

Lynton, CEO Sony Entertainment and CEO and chairman Sony Pictures Entertainment, speaks during an investors' conference at the company's headquarters in Tokyo(Reuters) - Sony Corp said on Friday Michael Lynton would step down as chief executive of its movie and music businesses, Sony Entertainment, effective Feb. 2. Lynton will join as chairman of Snap Inc, the parent of popular messaging app Snapchat. (http://bit.ly/2jG9IWI) Snap - in which Lynton is an early investor - is expected to go public early this year, vying for a $25 billion valuation. Lynton, who has been with Sony for 13 years, will stay on as co-CEO of Sony Entertainment for the next six months. (Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)



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Wal-Mart's leadership expands exec roles in online push

A clown sits inside a bus seen in front of a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Friday announced a management shuffle that integrates the running of its physical outlets and online operations, and extends broader authority to the former head of online retailer Jet.com, which Wal-Mart bought for $3.3 billion last year. It was the second time Wal-Mart has shuffled its e-commerce decks after it acquired Jet.com in August and appointed Marc Lore to run its e-commerce business. In November, Wal-Mart announced a number of management changes and said Jet.com co-founder Nate Faust would lead fulfillment operations for both Jet.com and Wal-Mart.com.



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No U.S. charges for South Carolina ex-deputy seen throwing student

The department said that while it looked at whether former school resource officer Benjamin Fields used unreasonable force, there was no evidence to indicate that he willfully deprived the student of her civil rights. The video of the arrest by the white officer of the black student in October 2015 at Spring Valley High School in Columbia raised questions of possible racial bias and reignited concerns that the proliferation of police in U.S. schools could criminalize behavior once handled more quietly by school officials. "This decision is limited strictly to an application of the high legal standard required to prosecute the case under the federal civil rights statute," the department said in a statement.
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Startup investors fret over risks of mass data collection

An illustration picture shows a network cable next to a pack of smartphones in BerlinBy Heather Somerville SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Reuters) - Nearly every technology startup wants the same thing: more data. Whether ordering an Uber, streaming music, shopping online or tracking a health condition, consumers are giving an unprecedented amount of information to technology companies. Collecting big data helps Airbnb, for instance, know whether its customers prefer to travel to the beach or mountains, and Uber knows popular drop-off locations and how to price trips.



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Trump blames 'both Democrats and Republicans' for allegations

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City(Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Friday accused his political opponents, "both Democrats and Republicans," for putting together a dossier of unverified claims linking him to Russia and said the document was probably released by intelligence agencies. "Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans - FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists," Trump said in a series of posts on Twitter. On Wednesday, U.S. spy chief James Clapper said that media leaks of the material had not come from U.S. intelligence agencies and that the agencies had not judged whether the information was reliable.



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Louisiana man pleads guilty to threatening shooting at D.C. pizzeria

Yusif Jones, 52, faces five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate threatening communications in Louisiana federal court when he will be sentenced on April 12, the office of United States Attorney Stephanie Finley said in a statement. Jones was accused of calling Besta Pizza on Dec. 7 and threatened to "shoot everyone in the place" in order to "save the kids." The call was traced back to Jones in Shreveport and he was arrested, the statement said. The call was placed three days after Edgar Maddison Welch took a rifle into Comet Ping Pong restaurant down the street from Besta Pizza "to self-investigate" a fake news report known as "Pizza Gate" that it was operating a child abuse ring, police said.
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Europe erects defenses to counter Russia's information war

General view shows Spasskaya Tower and Kremlin wall in MoscowBy Andrea Shalal BERLIN (Reuters) - Nations in Europe, where Germany and France this year hold elections, are erecting defenses to counter possible Russian cyber attacks and disinformation to sway Western politics, but intelligence experts say this might be too little and too late. The issue of Russian "influence operations" has taken on new urgency after U.S. intelligence agencies released a non-classified assessment that President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to move the U.S. election in favor of Donald Trump. European nations and NATO are setting up centers to identify "fake news", bolstering cyber defenses and tracking use of social media which target Russian-speaking communities, far-right groups, political parties, voters and decision-makers.



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Fox sells Super Bowl digital-only ad packages for up to $700,000

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Oakland Raiders at Houston TexansBy Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Fox broadcast network is selling digital-only advertising packages for next month's Super Bowl for as much as $700,000 for a 30-second spot, though most advertisers are buying both online and TV spots, network officials told Reuters on Thursday. The strategy is a departure from last year, when broadcaster CBS Corp sold commercial slots for its digital live stream only to advertisers who also purchased TV ads. An additional 1.4 million viewers watched on digital platforms, CBS said.



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Trump and spy chief differ on what was said in call on Russia dossier

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York CityU.S. spy chief James Clapper and President-elect Donald Trump gave different accounts of a phone conversation they had about a dossier of unverified, salacious claims linking Russia to Trump, who is locked in a war of words with the intelligence agencies he will command in eight days. A newcomer to politics, businessman Trump has been at odds with U.S. spy agencies for months, disputing their conclusions that Russia used hacking and other tactics to try to tilt the 2016 presidential election in his favor. On Wednesday, he acknowledged the point but opened a new battlefront, responding to media reports of unsubstantiated claims that he was caught in a compromising position in Russia by accusing intelligence agencies of practices reminiscent of Nazi Germany.



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Illinois man sues police over flag burning arrest

An Illinois man is suing members of a local police department alleging his rights were violated when he was arrested last year after he posted photos of himself burning an American flag on social media and they were shared widely, according to court documents. Bryton Mellott, 22, of Urbana, Illinois, a city around 140 miles (225 km) south of Chicago, set an American flag on fire on July 3 in a friend's backyard to protest the conditions of many Americans' lives. Many states, including Illinois, continue to have flag desecration laws on the books, though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that burning of the flag is protected as an expression of free speech.
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Lloyds online banking services hit by intermittent glitch

People walk past a branch of Lloyds Bank on Oxford Street in LondonBy Anjuli Davies LONDON (Reuters) - Some Lloyds Banking Group customers were struggling to access their online accounts for a second day after the British bank said on Thursday it was working to identify an intermittent glitch in its system. Responding to complaints on social media from some people who had been unable to access online and app services since Wednesday, Lloyds acknowledged there was a problem but said the vast majority of its customers were able to log in to internet banking services as normal. "We have been having intermittent service issues with internet banking," a spokesman for Lloyds said.



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ProSieben, Mediaset and TF1 join forces in Internet push

European broadcasters TF1, ProSiebenSat.1 and Mediaset said they would join forces in the rapidly growing market for video content broadcast on Internet platforms such as YouTube. Italy's Mediaset and France's TF1 will take a stake in ProSieben's Studio71 via a capital increase that values the unit at 400 million euros ($425 million), the companies said on Thursday. Studio71 was founded in 2013 and creates shows and content for Internet platforms such as Alphabet's Youtube.
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India's Tata Consultancy beats third-quarter profit estimates

A private security guard stands at the exit gate of the headquarters of TCS in MumbaiIndia's biggest software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) said it would continue to focus on expanding its digital business after beating analyst estimates with a 10.9 percent rise in profit for the quarter to December. The company's digital business grew 30 percent annually in the December quarter. "Our investments in digital, our investments in building the right skills in people are positioning us to capture that segment extremely well," TCS Chief Executive Officer N. Chandrasekaran said .



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Trump, tech tycoons talk overhaul of H1B visas

File photo of Miller arriving for meetings at Trump Tower in New York CityBy Mica Rosenberg, Stephen Nellis and Emily Stephenson NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has been actively considering ways to revamp a temporary visa program used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill high-skilled jobs, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Possibilities for reforming the distribution of H-1B visas, which are used largely by the tech industry, were discussed at a meeting last month with chief executives of tech companies at Trump Tower, said two sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to talk about the closed-door talks. Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller proposed scrapping the existing lottery system used to award the visas.



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Trump news conference sets worldwide social media afire

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a conference in New YorkBy Melissa Fares NEW YORK (Reuters) - In his first news conference since the Nov. 8 election, President-elect Donald Trump set social media ablaze on Wednesday with remarks including harsh criticism of the press and a defense of his goal to improve ties with Russia. The session, held in the lobby of his Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan, featured a number of viral moments, like an exchange with a reporter whom Trump accused of peddling "fake news." "I'm not going to give you a question," Trump told the journalist from CNN, which reported on Tuesday that the Republican president-elect had been briefed by U.S. intelligence agencies about allegations that Russian operatives had compromising information about him. "You are fake news!" he told the reporter in a moment that reverberated on Twitter.



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Amazon halts sales of Indian flag doormat after visa threat

An Amazon delivery truck is seen in Los AngelesBy Sankalp Phartiyal MUMBAI (Reuters) - Amazon.com removed doormats resembling the Indian tri-color flag from its Canadian website on Wednesday, after an Indian government threat to rescind visas of the U.S. company's employees if they did not stop selling the product. "Amazon must tender unconditional apology," India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter. "They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately." "If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official," she added.



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Facebook launches project to improve ties with news media

A man poses with a magnifier in front of a Facebook logo on display in this illustration taken in SarajevoThe launch comes less than a week after the company said it was hiring former CNN reporter, anchor and host Campbell Brown to lead its news partnerships team. As part of the new project, Facebook said on Wednesday it would focus on improving its current storytelling formats such as Live, 360, and Instant Articles. Facebook said it would test a feature using Instant Articles to allow readers to see multiple stories at a time, as a package, from their preferred news organizations.



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Instagram adds advertising to Instagram Stories

File photo prior to an Instagram Direct announcement in New YorkFacebook Inc's Instagram is bringing more than 30 advertisers into one of its fastest-growing features, Instagram Stories, in a bid to boost advertising revenue, the company said on Wednesday. The social media company will become a more important player in maintaining Facebook?s growth in advertising revenue in 2017. During the last two earnings calls, Facebook executives said they may soon reach a limit on the amount of ads they can place before users, one of the factors that had driven ad revenue growth.



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Hamas sets 'honey traps' to hack Israeli soldiers' phones: army

Israeli soldier speaks on mobile phone while walking alongside beach near NahariyaBy Maayan Lubell TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Using photos of young women and Hebrew slang, the Palestinian militant group Hamas chatted up dozens of Israeli soldiers online, gaining control of their phone cameras and microphones, the military said on Wednesday. An officer, who briefed reporters on the alleged scam, said the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip uncovered no major military secrets in the intelligence-gathering operation. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum declined to comment.



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Priebus says 'salacious garbage' in the report on Russia 'didn't happen': NBC

President-elect Donald Trump and his incoming chief of staff on Wednesday beat back reports that Russian officials had assembled a file of compromising information on the Republican businessman, due to enter the White House in 9 days. Trump spokesman Reince Priebus, asked about the report on NBC's "Today" show, said he had brought the matter up with Trump. ""He said it was 'total garbage and I'm keeping it clean,'" Priebus said.
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Swiss clinch U.S. data exchange pact along lines of EU deal

Switzerland has struck an accord on exchanging personal data with the United States along the lines of a deal Washington and the European Union agreed last year aimed at ensuring Europeans' data privacy, the government said on Wednesday. Under that Privacy Shield agreement that came into force in August, the United States agreed to limit the collection of and access to Europeans' data stored on U.S. servers because of EU concerns about data privacy and mass U.S. surveillance.
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Trump calls Russia reports 'fake news - a total political witch hunt'

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump listens to questions from reporters while appearing with Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma after their meeting at Trump Tower in New York, U.S.(Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump, in an apparent reference to media reports that the intelligence briefing he received last week included an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising information on him, said on Twitter on Tuesday: "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT." (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Eric Walsh)



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Exclusive: Regulators criticize banks over Uber loan - sources

A photo illustration shows the Uber app logo displayed on a mobile telephone, as it is held up for a posed photograph in central LondonLed by Morgan Stanley, the banks helped the ride-sharing network tap the leveraged loan market in July for the first time, persuading institutional investors to focus on its lofty valuation and established markets rather than its losses in countries such as China and India. The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which are trying to reign in risky lending across Wall Street, took issue with the way in which the banks carved out Uber's more mature operations from the rest of the business, the people said, declining to be named because talks with the regulators are private.



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Snapchat becomes latest tech firm to pick London despite Brexit

A woman walks past Snapchat's new international headquarters in Soho, central LondonBy Paul Sandle LONDON (Reuters) - Messaging app Snapchat said it would make London the home of its international operations, delivering another vote of confidence in Britain's tech standing as the country prepares to leave the European Union. The company, which has 150 million daily users globally, will book sales in countries where it has no local entity in Britain rather than routing them through lower tax jurisdictions like Ireland and Luxembourg as some other U.S. tech companies do. Snap Inc, which plans to go public this year in the biggest U.S. stock market debt since 2014, said the UK's strong creative industries made the country "a great place to build a global business".



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Russian hackers claim to have compromising information on Trump: CNN

Russian Hackers Claim To Have Sensitive Information on TrumpBy Eric Beech and Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Classified documents presented last week to President-elect Donald Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising information about him, CNN reported on Tuesday. The allegations were in a two-page synopsis appended to a report presented by U.S. intelligence officials to Trump and President Barack Obama on Russian interference in the 2016 election, CNN said, citing multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work U.S. intelligence officials consider credible, CNN reported.



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EU privacy proposal could dent Facebook, Gmail ad revenue

An illustration photo shows a man holding a smart phone with a Facebook logo as its screen wallpaper in front of a WhatsApp messenger logo, in ZenicaBy Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Online messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Gmail will face tougher rules on how they can track users under a proposal presented by the European Union executive on Tuesday which could hurt companies reliant on advertising. The web companies would have to guarantee the confidentiality of their customers' conversations and get their consent before tracking them online to target them with personalized advertisements. For example, email services such as Gmail and Hotmail will not be able to scan customers' emails to serve them with targeted advertisements without getting their explicit agreement.



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Russia hacked Republican state campaigns but not Trump's: FBI head

FBI Director James Comey waits to testify to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on "Russia?s intelligence activities" on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Dustin Volz and Jonathan Landay WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia hacked into Republican state political campaigns and old email domains of the Republican National Committee but there is no evidence it successfully penetrated President-elect Donald Trump's campaign, FBI Director James Comey said on Tuesday. Comey also told lawmakers Russia did not release information obtained from the state campaigns or the old RNC email domains, comments that may buttress the U.S. intelligence view that Moscow tried to help Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign.



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U.S. response to Russia hacking 'not the end': Carter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday that the United States' response so far to Russia orchestrating hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign was just the start. "Some responses have been made. I think you should regard that as a start and not the end," Carter said during a news briefing at the Pentagon alongside the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford. ...
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Report on Russian hacking relied on human sources, technical collection: U.S. spy chief

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on ?Russia?s intelligence activities" on Capitol Hill in WashingtonDirector of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday the U.S. intelligence community's report concluding that Russia orchestrated hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign was based on a mix of human sources, collection of technical data and open-source information. Clapper, speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said much of the report is classified due to a need to protect sensitive sources and methods. In an assessment released last week, U.S. intelligence agencies said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help Republican Donald Trump's electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign.



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Russia has tried to influence elections in 'couple dozen' countries: U.S. spy chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia has tried to influence elections in at least "a couple dozen" countries, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday. Russia continues to be a bold actor in cyberspace across the globe, Clapper testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Chris Reese)
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English sports bar pulls off stunning two-minute trick shot

An English sports bar has scored more than a million views on Facebook after capturing on camera a stunning trick shot across nine snooker tables and using more than 50 cues. In under two minutes a golf ball is putted down some stairs to trigger an eye-catching sequence of snooker and pool balls colliding, helped by variously positioned cues that steer a careful path. The video ends with a golf ball rolling down two snooker cues and into a hole on the bar top at Bristol?s Allstars Sports Bar, where staff worked through the night to complete the feat, posting their trick on Sunday with the hashtag #puttoftheyear.
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Fort Worth officer in viral arrest video suspended for 10 days

The white Fort Worth police officer seen in a viral video wrestling to the ground and arresting a black woman who called police to report a neighbor choking her son has been suspended for 10 days for neglect of duty, police said on Monday. Officer William Martin accepted the punishment and was sorry for what happened, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald told a news conference, saying the department was conducting a thorough investigation. The Facebook Live video seen more than 2.5 million times in the few days after the incident in late December ignited nationwide rage, with many saying the reason for the arrest was racial bias.
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Microsoft, Qualcomm back Israel's Team8 cybersecurity firm

The logo of Microsoft is pictured in Issy-les-MoulineauxBy Tova Cohen TEL AVIV (Reuters) - The venture arms of Microsoft and Qualcomm have invested in Team8, an Israeli creator of cybersecurity start-ups, as big multinational companies get behind Israel's burgeoning cyber industry in the face of growing threats. Team8, which also announced on Monday a strategic partnership with Citi to help develop its products, said the most recent investment brings its total raised to more than $92 million. Its other investors are Cisco, AT&T, Accenture, Nokia, Singapore's Temasek, Japan's Mitsui, Bessemer Venture Partners, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors and Marker LLC. While the number of attempted cyber attacks was 20,000 a week two or three years ago, that figure had now risen to 600,000-700,000, said Yoram Yaacovi, general manger of Microsoft Israel's development center.



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Kremlin says U.S. hacking allegations are 'reminiscent of a witch-hunt'

Russia, brushing off Obama, looks to friendlier Donald TrumpBy Maria Tsvetkova and Christian Lowe MOSCOW (Reuters) - Allegations that Russia tried to influence the U.S. election in favour of Donald Trump amount to a witch-hunt, the Kremlin said on Monday, in its first reaction to the release of a U.S. intelligence report on the alleged Russian operation. The report, a redacted version of which was released publicly last week, alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a cyber campaign aimed at helping Trump beat his rival Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no new evidence had been produced to show that Russian officials was involved.



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After U.S. intel report on Putin, British government launches cyber security review

Illustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard in WarsawThe British government said on Monday it is launching a national inquiry into cyber security to assess the extent to which the UK is protected from an ever-increasing tide of attacks worldwide. The inquiry comes only two days after U.S. intelligence agencies said Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help U.S president-elect Donald Trump's electoral chances by discrediting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. "Attention has recently focused on the potential exploitation of the cyber domain by other states and associated actors for political purposes," said Margaret Beckett, chair of parliament's joint committee on national security strategy.



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