Massive US Tech Show Becomes A Digital Event

This undatde handout photo released on January 11, 2021, courtesy of Consumer Technology Association(CES), shows behind the scenes on the set of the all-digital CES 2021. (Photo by Handout / Consumer Technology Association(CES) / AFP)

 

Several autonomous disinfection robots are being shown at CES, and other gadgets include wearables that monitor vital signs and could provide early detection for coronavirus infections.

– Wearables, companions –

Other devices aim to help cope with the isolation of coronavirus lockdowns including companion robots and monitoring systems for the elderly living alone.

CES has more than 300 speakers lined up, and a heightened focus on sessions diving into issues such as privacy and 5G internet.

Speakers include chief executives Mary Barra of General Motors, Hans Vestberg of Verizon and Corie Barry of Best Buy.

Sessions will be immediately available for replay on demand, and remain accessible until mid-February, according to CES organizers.

When the virtual show floor opens on Tuesday, attendees will be able to click into online exhibition booths for demos and chats.

Some unveilings that would normally draw crowds in Las Vegas are going ahead in the virtual space: Audi is set to launch its electric sports car, while other companies will be releasing gadgets adapted to superfast 5G wireless networks which are gaining traction.

But some analysts say the lack of in-person events has pushed many participants to the sidelines.

Show organizers said they hope to deliver a new kind of experience which can be useful to the expected online crowd of 100,000 or more.

“CES is one of the most experiential events in the world, where attendees can actually see and touch and experience the latest innovations,” CTA spokeswoman Jean Foster said during a briefing ahead of the show.

“And while we can’t recreate that magic that happens in Las Vegas, we can bring our audiences a new and unique whole digital experience.”

Milan Fashion Week Goes Digital In July

 

Italy will stage its first digital Fashion Week in Milan in July, as the luxury fashion sector struggles to rebound from the coronavirus crisis.

“This is a concrete response to the need for promotion and business on the part of brands,” Italy’s National Chamber of Fashion said in a statement.

“Milano Digital Fashion Week” from July 14-17 will allow for the presentation of spring/summer 2021 men’s collections and spring/summer 2021 men’s and women’s pre-collections, along with a platform designed to give access to showrooms.

The digital offerings will include photo and video content, backstage interviews with designers, as well as webinars and live streaming of keynote speeches, visible on www.cameramoda.it, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Weibo and YouTube.

The French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion announced a similar initiative on Wednesday, with an online presentation of spring/summer 2021 men’s ready-to-wear from July 9 to 13.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming ready-to-wear week and haute couture shows in Paris in June and July have been cancelled.

In March, Italy’s fashion chamber announced that men’s shows scheduled for June would be pushed back until September, joining the women’s shows.

The coronavirus emergency erupted in Italy in late February, during Milan’s Fashion Week, causing some designers to present their runway shows without audiences.

Thousands of Chinese buyers and media were prevented from traveling to the shows, forcing the fashion chamber to offer digital alternatives to the runway shows and showrooms.

France Rejects ‘Optional’ US Digital Tax Proposal

French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire addresses the “day of the automobile industry” meeting at the Economy Ministry in Paris on December 2, 2019. ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

 

 

A US proposal for international digital taxes to be made “optional” is “not acceptable,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday.

Le Maire urged the United States to negotiate “in good faith” with fellow OECD members to reach agreement on taxing global computing giants rather than resorting to “regrettable” trade measures that target symbolic products.

France has been at the forefront of efforts to tighten taxation of  digital giants and parliament infuriated the administration of President Donald Trump in July by adopting a law taxing digital firms like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon for revenues earned inside the country.

In a letter addressed Thursday to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated support for ongoing talks on a deal that is to be finalised by June, but also made new propositions that unsettled trade partners.

The notion of a “safe harbor regime” that Mnuchin presents as a solution to US concerns includes the principle of “optionality” which Le Maire, however, said would not work.

“Frankly, I do not believe in the US proposal for an optional solution, where companies choose freely to be taxed or not,” Le Maire told an audience in Paris.

“An optional solution would clearly not be acceptable to France or its OECD partners,” the minister said.

“I have not seen many companies that accept to be taxed of their own free will. While you can always count on individual philanthropy, I am not sure that when it comes to public finances that goes very far,” Le Maire said.

The French finance minister argued for a binding text being mulled by 135 countries under OECD auspices that would replace France’s own three-percent tax on sales by digital giants within France.

– ‘In good faith’ –

Le Maire urged Washington to “return to the path of negotiations … in good faith, not on an optional basis but on a binding basis for all states that sign up to the agreement.”

France and other countries argue that multinational digital giants must pay taxes on revenues accrued in a country even if their corporate or tax headquarters are elsewhere, such as Ireland or Luxembourg where company profits are taxed at comparatively low levels.

In response to the French digital tax plan, the US has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion in French goods including champagne, cosmetics, yoghurt and Roquefort cheese.

In his letter, Mnuchin underscored the importance of the OECD talks “to prevent the proliferation of unilateral measures, like digital services taxes” that he urged member countries to suspend.

The row now threatens to block the OECD negotiations.

“It is regrettable that these trade wars lead our US allies and friends … to directly attack products that symbolise the French culture,” Le Maire said.

He said the French tax did not single out US companies, and that European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan had expressed his “full support” for a EU-wide plan that would reply to the US threat in kind should it take effect.

Meanwhile Hogan said he was planning to sit down with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer next month to discuss the American threat against French exports.

“We are looking at all possibilities, but we prefer to have a negotiated settlement,” Hogan told Bloomberg News.

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El-Rufai Launches Electronic Land Registration In Kaduna

Nasir El-Rufai-Kaduna-Elctronic Land Registration-KADGISGovernor Nasir El-Rufai has launched the Electronic Land Registration System in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.

This is aimed at eradicating all forms of sharp practices by land speculators and to make land procurement very easy and fast in the state.

Speaking during the signing of the first set of digital Certificates of Occupancy produced by the agency, Governor El-Rufai, asked the state residents to always approach the agency for all land related issues.

He also warned that his administration would deal with anyone or community that engages in land speculation or illegal selling of land without proper documentation.

The Governor said that the government has made the process of securing land titles easier and more user-friendly for citizens through the establishment of the electronic registration system.

He explained that by digitalising land titles, it would be difficult for speculators to swindle members of the public during such transactions.

Governor El-Rufai advised residents of the state to make use of the services of KADGIS, to obtain land title documents that are valid and secure.

The development is coming as part of efforts to improve Kaduna State’s revenue profile.

With the launch of the registry, all issues relating to land transactions would now be handled by an agency known as Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS), to replace the former Ministry of Lands, Survey and Country Planning.

Android-powered desktop unveiled by Motorola

Phone-making company, Motorola has introduced new desktop computer powered by Android which also offers cloud-based services provided by Wasu, including games, high-definition television and movies and web browsing.

A partnership agreement was done between Motorola Mobility and Wasu Digital a cable and telecommunications service provider to launch a new android powered computer “HMC3260″”.

The HMC3260, which is dubbed as CloudBroadBand, features an 8.5 inch LED touchscreen, Android 2.3.4 operating system and broadband internet access through EuroDOCSIS.

It also features 1 GB DDR RAM, 4 GB NAND flash memory, LAN and Freescale i.MX53 ARM Cortex A8 1GHz.

With the new CloudBroadBand, Wasu’s customers can access to a host of cloud entertainment services such as an on-demand high-definition media, games, applications and storage space.

Motorola Home Division Asia vice president and regional general manager Kevin Keefe said the Motorola HMC3260 provides subscribers with a fast broadband connection and also offers cloud-based services provided by Wasu, including games, high-definition television and movies, web browsing and more.

The powerful touchscreen interface capitalizes on the power and flexibility of Android to enable Wasu to differentiate itself from operators who only offer a pipeline for data.