Exclusive: U.S. lawmakers urge AT&T to cut commercial ties with Huawei – sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers are urging AT&T Inc, the No. 2 wireless carrier, to cut all commercial ties to Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] and oppose plans by telecom operator China Mobile Ltd to enter the U.S. market because of national security concerns, said two congressional aides.

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Foreign governments, candidates, trade groups spent at Trump properties: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sixty-four trade groups, foreign governments, Republican candidates and others stayed at or held events at properties linked to U.S. President Donald Trump during Trump’s first year in office, a political watchdog group said in a report released on Tuesday.

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America Last? EU says Trump is losing on trade

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s trade tsar has no idea what Donald Trump will tell his audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week, but she is clear what the EU’s message to the U.S. president will be.

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AngelList launches Syndicates in India

 AngelList has expanded its syndicates program to India in the latest overseas move for the US crowdfunding platform. The launch comes some 18 months after we reported that AngelList had hired Utsav Somani to launch the service and develop its business generally in India, where it also offers its hiring product. Syndicates was launched in the US in 2013 with the purpose of giving… Read More

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The James Webb Space Telescope Has Emerged From the Freezer

The James Webb Space Telescope has emerged from a large vacuum chamber that was home to temperatures of just 20 degrees Celsius above absolute zero. Scientists have reviewed the data and given the instrument a clean bill of health. “We now have verified that NASA and its partners have an outstanding telescope and set of science instruments,” said Bill Ochs, the Webb telescope project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We are marching toward launch.” Ars Technica reports: The $10 billion telescope underwent tests inside Chamber A at Johnson Space Center, which was built in 1965 to conduct thermal-vacuum testing on the Apollo command and service modules. Beginning in mid-July, after the telescope was cooled down to a temperature range of 20 to 40 Kelvin, engineers tested the alignment of Webb’s 18 primary mirror segments to ensure they would act as a single, 6.5-meter telescope. (They did). Later, they assessed the fine guidance system of the telescope by simulating the light of a distant star. The Webb telescope was able to detect the light, and all of the optical systems were able to process it. Then, the telescope was able to track the “star” and its movement, giving scientists confidence that the Webb instrument will work once in space. Webb still has a ways to go before it launches. Now that project scientists know that the optic portion of the instrument can withstand the vacuum of space, and the low temperatures at the Earth-Sun L2 point it will orbit in deep space, they must perform additional testing before a probable launch next year.


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Saudi Arabia just lifted its cinema ban, and well, the movie choice was interesting

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Saudi Arabia has just lifted a 35-year-old ban on cinemas, and picked an, uh, interesting movie for the first screening.

Ready? The Emoji Movie. Yep.

The very first film hitting cinema screens in three and a half decades was 2017’s animated feature about a city populated by talking emojis. It’s currently sitting at 9 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — although, granted, it has a 39 percent audience score. And it’s targeted at children.

But hey, let’s celebrate the fact that it was shown at all.

The conservative kingdom’s Ministry of Culture and Information agreed to issue licenses for cinemas on Dec. 11, 2017. According to Reuters, the country’s first permanent theatres could open as early as March 2018, and the authorities are sponsoring temporary cinemas for now — one, in Jeddah’s cultural hall, apparently has a popcorn machine. Films will be censored to adhere to the “moral values” of the kingdom — exactly what these censored films look like remains to be seen. Read more…

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Try not to wince at the horrifying sight of this egg sack teeming with tiny spiders

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Spiders on their own are disconcerting enough. So how about a sack full of tiny little crawling spiders? 

A video of a funnel web egg being cut open to reveal hundreds of the insects inside was posted on the Facebook page of the Australian Reptile Park on Sunday.

The park acknowledged it’s the “stuff of nightmares” for some people in its post, but said it loves these finds.

It’s because the Australian Reptile Park is the only place in the country that milks funnel web spiders of their venom, which is used to make antivenom. Read more…

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Being bilingual may help autistic children

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often have a hard time switching gears from one task to another. But being bilingual may actually make it a bit easier for them to do so, according to a new study which was recently published in Child Development.

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Twitter hits back again at claims that its employees monitor direct messages

 Twitter is pushing back against claims made by conservative activist group Project Veritas that its employees monitor private user data, including direct messages. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Twitter representative said “we do not proactively review DMs. Period. A limited number of employees have access to such information, for legitimate work purposes, and we enforce strict… Read More

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