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Microsoft introduces new Surface products ahead of Windows 11 launch

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On the threshold of Windows 11, Microsoft has revealed the largest update to the Surface products by the company. With improved and advanced PixelSense displays, pen technology, mics and cameras, powerful silicon and versatile form factors, the new Surface devices are designed to help the new Windows operating system Windows 11’s innovation to the next level.

The brand affords Microsoft an opportunity to push the edge of what can be done with consumer hardware, generally with a focus on blurring the line between categories like a laptop, tablet and, more recently, phone. The Surface track record has been a solid one, overall, though messing around with form factors means no one gets it 100% right 100% of the time.

Surface Laptop Studio

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The newest product launched in tonight’s event was Surface Laptop Studio, a clever take on the two-in-one category that Microsoft has been bullish about forever, and the name fittingly pays homage to both the Surface Studio and Laptop, perhaps splitting the difference between the pair. Designed as an ideal product for developers, creative pros, designers and gamers, bringing users the power of a desktop, the portability of a laptop and a creative studio all in one.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft also introduce upgraded new Surface Go, Pro and Pro X. The Go 3 gets a new Intel Core i3, which the company promises will offer up to 60% faster performance. The 10.5-inch system starts at $400 and will also add an LTE option, which is set to arrive at some point in the coming months. The Pro 8 two-in-one sports a 13-inch screen, 11th-gen Intel Core processors and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. The thin and light Surface Pro X, meanwhile, runs on a Microsoft SQ2 ARM chip.

The new Surface Pro Signature Keyboard provides storage and charging capability for the new Surface Slim Pen 2, keeping it nearby and ready whenever inspiration strikes.

Providing a simple and delightful Pen experience is one way Microsoft enable the technology to fade into the background. The intuitive ability to put Pen to screen immerses users in their productive and creative endeavors, boosts retention and offers new levels of versatility.

Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse

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Microsoft has established a long-term commitment to sustainability and adaptability and has a commitment to becoming carbon negative, zero waste and water positive by 2030. To reach this goal Microsoft regularly evaluate every piece of the product and manufacturing processes through the lens of sustainability.

Every step matter on the journey toward greater sustainability. Microsoft in collaboration with SABIC has created a high-quality resin made of 20% recycled ocean plastic recovered or washed ashore from oceans and waterways. The Ocean Plastic Mouse, made from this resin, is an eco-friendly, comfortable accessory that takes small steps to reduce waste while putting a powerful accessory at users fingertips.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft clearly wants you to upgrade your hardware to match if the convoluted system requirements are any indication. Surface products present a further sense of refinement to the line, in anticipation of Windows 11.

The Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse is, admittedly, a bit gimmicky as the company is pushing hardware upgrades. In a more ideal world, all the company’s devices would be made of similar components. But hey, if it rescues plastics from the ocean, it’s a start. The Surface Adaptive Kit is a consumer-facing piece of what has been among the industry’s leading accessibility efforts.

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Rihiveli Island reopens under new management while dispute case continues at High Court of Maldives.

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The Rihiveli island has reopened under a new management while a dispute case over its ownership is ongoing at the High Court.

Rebranded as the “Rihiveli Maldives Resort”, the island welcomed its first guest last Friday after undergoing several renovation projects since its previous management, Save the Dream Pvt Ltd was removed by the owner, Mahaal tours Pvt Ltd.

According to the legal representatives of Save the Dream Maldives Pvt Ltd, a director of Mahaal Tours had embezzled money meant for Save the Dream Maldives Pvt Ltd. They state that except for Mohamed SHiam and Ali Shiham, the rest of the Board of Directors have confirmed by written letter that Mohamed Shiham is not the Managing Director and that the termination of the sub-lease agreement between Mahaal Tours Pvt Ltd and Save the Dream Maldives Pvt Ltd was not legitimate.

They also accuse Director Ali Shiham of embezzling $50,000.00 by funneling $550,000.00 meant for Save the Dream Maldives Pvt Ltd through his Blue Ciel Pvt Ltd, with the beneficiary receiving only $500,000.00.

The legal representatives also note that Mahaal Tours had previously even engaged in sub-lease fraud, referring to Antrac Pvt Ltd vs Mahaal Tours Pvt Ltd. The case has also drawn significant political attention as a Parliamentarian is among the Directors of the new operator.

While the High Court of Maldives is yet to schedule the next hearing, they have confirmed that they would be passing a verdict at the next hearing.

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Italy imposes antitrust fines on Apple, Google

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The Italian competition authority fined Apple and Google $11 million each for violations of the consumer code, including failing to provide enough information to customers.

Italy’s antitrust watchdog imposed 20 million euros ($22.5 million) in fines on Apple and Google on Friday, the second time the regulator has sanctioned US tech giants this week.

European countries have cracked down on the business practices of Big Tech in recent years, while the EU is moving forward with legislation to tighten regulation.

The Italian competition authority said it fined Apple and Google 10 million euros ($11 million) each for violations of the consumer code, including failing to provide enough information to customers and resorting to “aggressive methods” in the use of their data for commercial ends.

“Neither Apple nor Google provided clear and immediate information on the acquisition and use of user data for commercial ends,” the statement said.

The regulator imposed a 200-million-euro ( $225 million) fine on Apple and e-commerce giant Amazon earlier this week for restricting access for certain sellers of Apple products on Amazon.

Meanwhile, European Union member states on Thursday agreed their common position on two landmark legislations that could set unprecedented oversight on Big Tech.

READ MORE: Google to pay German media for online content under ”milestone” deal

Regulating big tech companies

The European Union’s second-highest court has previously upheld a $2.8-billion (2.4-billion-euro) fine on Google by anti-trust authorities in Brussels for search engine dominance.

Lost month’s decision was considered a major win for the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager in the first of three court rulings that will strengthen the EU’s push to regulate big tech.

The court said the commission correctly found that Google’s practices harmed competition on comparison shopping service and swatted away the company’s argument that the presence of merchant platforms showed there was strong competition.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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New coronavirus variant Omicron triggers market sell-off

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New concerns over the variant pummelled financial markets, especially stocks of airlines and others in the travel sector, and oil, which tumbled by about $10 a barrel.

The discovery of a new coronavirus variant named Omicron has triggered global alarm as countries rushed to suspend travel from southern Africa and stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic suffered their biggest falls in more than a year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday Omicron may spread more quickly than other forms, and preliminary evidence suggested there is an increased risk of reinfection.

Those worries pummelled financial markets, especially stocks of airlines and others in the travel sector, and oil, which tumbled by about $10 a barrel.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 2.5 percent, its worst day since late October 2020, and European stocks had their worst day in 17 months.

Cruise operators Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line plunged more than 10 percent each, while shares in United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines slumped almost as much.

READ MORE: Global remittances to drop 20 percent amid coronavirus – World Bank

Too late for travel curbs?

Epidemiologists warned travel curbs may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally.

The new mutations were first discovered in South Africa and have since been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

The United States will restrict travel from South Africa and neighbouring countries effective Monday, a senior Biden administration official said.

Going further, Canada said it was closing its borders to those countries, following bans on flights announced by Britain, the European Union and others.

But it could take weeks for scientists to fully understand the variant’s mutations and whether existing vaccines and treatments are effective against it. Omicron is the fifth variant of concern designated by the WHO.

The variant has a spike protein that is dramatically different than the one in the original coronavirus that vaccines are based on, the UK Health Security Agency said, raising fears about how current vaccines will fare.

Scientists issued similar warnings.

“This new variant of the Covid-19 virus is very worrying. It is the most heavily mutated version of the virus we have seen to date,” said Lawrence Young, a virologist at Britain’s University of Warwick.

“Some of the mutations that are similar to changes we’ve seen in other variants of concern are associated with enhanced transmissibility and with partial resistance to immunity induced by vaccination or natural infection.”

Several other countries including India, Japan, Israel, Turkey, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates also toughened travel curbs.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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