Competition Commission of India fines Google ?1.36 billion for ‘search bias’

Sunday, February 11, 2018

On Thursday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), a government anti-trust watchdog, fined US-based internet technology company Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. ?135.86 crore (about ?1.36 billion, US$21 million) for manipulating their search results in favour of its products and syndicates, which affected business of rival companies. In the 190-page long decision, CCI said, “Google was leveraging its dominance in the market for online general web search, to strengthen its position in the market for online syndicate search services”.

In the ruling passed 4–2, the watchdog said, Google’s “search bias” caused “harm to its competitors as well as to users”. In 2012, Consumer Unity and Tests Society (CUTS), which is a non-profit organisation, and Bharat Matrimony filed a complaint against the search engine for manipulating the search results.

Google is to pay the fine within 60 days. CCI had fined them five percent of the average profit Google made over three fiscal years due to its Indian user base. Per the law, CCI could have fined Google up to ten percent of the profit.

Last year, Google was fined by the European Commission (EC) for favouring certain shopping services for the amount of €2.42 billion (about US$3 billion). That accounted for five percent of “average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet”, EC’s official statement read. Google was also fined by Russian Federation Antimonopoly Service for US$6.8 million in 2016 for favouring its own digital services.

“Whilst finding Google to have abused its dominant position, the CCI has nonetheless exercised restraint in recognizing the dynamic nature of online markets and not found Google guilty of every allegation”, Naval Shah, who was representing Bharat Matrimony from Shardul Amarchand law firm, told Reuters News agency.

A Google spokesperson said, “We have always focused on innovating to support the evolving needs of our users. The Competition Commission of India has confirmed that, on the majority of issues it examined, our conduct complies with Indian competition laws”.

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

New York executive files $60 million libel lawsuit over insurance scandal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A former Marsh & McLennan Cos. executive has hit former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer with a $60 million defamation lawsuit over an online magazine article regarding an insurance bid-rigging scandal.

William Gilman, a former Marsh managing director, filed a complaint last Friday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, over allegations Mr. Spitzer defamed him in a Slate article published a year ago. A copy of the complaint was made public on Monday.

Gilman, who had a final insurance fraud charge dismissed in January, said Spitzer acted with “actual malice” by suggesting that he was guilty of crimes of which he was never accused.

Although he wasn’t named in the article, Mr. Gilman complained that Spitzer defamed him by writing that “Marsh’s behavior was a blatant abuse of law and market power: price-fixing, bid-rigging and kickbacks all designed to harm their customers and the market while Marsh and its employees pocketed the increased fees and kickbacks.”

“While Mr. Spitzer’s statements do not refer to Mr. Gilman by name, Mr. Gilman is readily identifiable as the subject of the defamatory comments,” said the complaint. “Mr. Spitzer was well aware of his own allegations as attorney general and the resolution of those allegations in favor of Mr. Gilman and yet, recklessly disregarded these facts.”

In 2004 Mr. Spizter, then the state’s Attorney General, announced an investigation into the practices at Marsh & McLennan, particularly fees paid by insures to brokers who place business with them. Gilman, who worked for the company at the time, was charged in 2005 with 37 counts of insurance fraud. Gilman’s final charge was dropped last January.

“I haven’t seen the lawsuit and so will not comment on it,” said Spitzer. “The illegalities rampant at Marsh & McLennan leading to their fine of $850 million and the multiple judicial findings of illegality are clear from the public record.”

Mr. Gilman is now seeking at least $10 million in compensatory damages; $20 million in general damages, including damage to his reputation; and $30 million in punitive damages.

How To Know It’s Time To Get A New Mattress

byAlma Abell

In order for a person to get the best out of their mind and body, they will need to make sure they have all of their proverbial ducks in a row. There are a number of different things that can really affect a person’s well-being in a negative way. Among the most common problem a person will face is not having an adequate sleep surface. The longer you have the same sleep surface in place, the harder it will be to get the right amount of sleep. Here are a few things to consider when trying to figure out if it is time to replace your current Sealy Mattress in Flowood, MS.

Is the Sleep Your Getting Quality?

The first thing you need to consider when trying to decide whether or not to get a new sleep surface is the quality of the sleep you are getting. If you are spending the whole night tossing and turning, then it is safe to assume that the sleep surface you have is in need of replacement. Not being able to get the quality sleep you deserve can lead to a number of different issues.

Are You Getting Healthy Sleep?

The next thing to consider when trying to decide if you need a new sleep surface is whether or not the sleep you are getting is healthy. If you are waking up feeling like you have been hit by a truck, then it may be time for a new sleep surface. As a sleep surface begins to age, you will start to notice that you are not getting the support you once did. This can make your back and neck ache horribly after a long night’s sleep. By getting a new sleep surface, you will be able to feel rested and relaxed upon waking up from a slumber.

How Hygienic Is Your Sleep Surface?

Another very important factor to weigh when trying to decide on whether or not to get a new sleep surface is how hygienic the existing sleep surface is. If you are noticing a bad smell and cannot seem to get rid of it, then you may be dealing with a dirty sleep surface. The money you pay for a new sleep surface will be more than worth it in the end when you are able to get the hygienic sleep you are looking for.

When in the market for a Sealy Mattress Flowood, MS, visit our website to know more.

Sex industry plans live sex-on-demand video for hotels

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sex industry producers think over a new service: on-demand live sex video that can be watched from a hotel room. Will this service be popular? Will large hotel chains go along? These and some other issues were talked about during panel discussion at annual Las Vegas, Nevada trade show for sex entertainment industry producers, marketers and payment processors Internext.

There were two opinions on this issue. Gregory Clayman, the owner of the live-action company Video Secrets expressed confidence that in the nearest future sex industry would be selling images of couples making love live over the hotel’s entertainment systems.

At the same time Anne Taulane, managing editor of Lodging magazine, said she doubted whether major hotel chains would be enthusiastic about this idea as she was convinced that on-demand sex video was more available to the mainstream than viewing live sex performers over hotel’s entertainment system.

The panelists praised Mastercard and Visa programs which helped to reduce chargebacks or refusals to pay for ordered sex video and debated whether requiring a credit card would prevent minors from viewing sexually explicit materials in the Internet. As the result they came to the conclusion that the government must intervene to cope with these problems.

Consensus reached on incentive package for Iran

Friday, June 2, 2006

In Vienna, top diplomats from the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, and Germany reached an agreement on Thursday on an incentive package to offer to Iran in exchange for its giving up uranium enrichment.

The specifics of the incentive package were not revealed, but a delegation from Europe led by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is expected to formally deliver the offer to Iran in the coming days. Iran would then have several weeks to respond.

In a prepared statement, British foreign secretary Margaret Beckett said, “We have agreed on a set of far-reaching proposals as a basis for discussions with Iran. We believe they offer Iran the chance to reach a negotiated agreement based on cooperation.”

Beckett did not mention any sanctions to be taken against Iran if it refuses to comply. The United Nations Security Council is expected to take up the question of sanctions should Iran turn down the offer.

The agreement comes a day after the United States offered to participate in multilateral negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program if Iran suspends its uranium enrichment program. Iran agreed to the idea of holding talks but rejected the preconditions.

In the first direct reaction by the Iranian government to the offer, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Thursday; “Iran welcomes dialogue under just conditions but won’t give up our rights,” Iranian state-run television reported. “We won’t negotiate about the Iranian nation’s natural nuclear rights but we are prepared, within a defined, just framework and without any discrimination, to hold dialogue about common concerns,” he said.

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Mo Ibrahim: Some African countries too small to continue to exist independently

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sudanese-born British mobile communications tycoon Mo Ibrahim told a news conference in Tanzania today that some African countries are too small to keep functioning independently, and need to integrate in order to survive.

Ibrahim, speaking at the beginning of a two-day-long event encouraging good governance on the continent, commented that “some of our countries, and I’m really sorry to say this, are just not viable….We need scale and we need that now — not tomorrow, the next year or the year after.”

“Intra-African trade is 4–5 percent of our international trade. Why? This is unacceptable, unviable, and people need to stand up and say this,” he continued. “Who are we to think that we can have 53 tiny little countries and be ready to compete with China, India, Europe, the Americans? It is a fallacy.”

“We are poor, we are hungry, we are going without. Something is drastically wrong. I think we have the right to ask our leaders: are they really serious?” he said.

A reporter for the BBC suggested that the tycoon was talking about economic, not political, integration.

Ibrahim also surprised many African leaders when he did not give out his Ibrahim Prize in October, worth US$5 million. The prize is given to former sub-Saharan African leaders whose governance has been deemed good. Prize judges didn’t say why it wasn’t given out this year. Former presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Festus Mogae of Botswana both have received the prize in the past.

China offers Africa financial aid including $10 billion in loans

Sunday, November 8, 2009

China has offered Africa concessional loans worth US$10 (€6.5) billion as part of a host of new measures aimed at improving the economy of African nations. The announcement was made at the opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Leaders of nearly 50 African countries are attending the two-day conference.

China had already stated today at the 3rd Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs, held immediately before the FOCAC, that Chinese firms would be encouraged to invest in Africa, while both sides would work together to improve the tourism, telecommunications and finance industries. China also said that governments should work with businesses to ensure co-operation between China and Africa.

As well as the loans, made over three years, China will write off the debt of Africa’s poorest countries, build 100 African green energy facilities and systematically lower import duties on 95% of all African products exported to China. Another promise is a loan of one billion dollars aimed at small and medium sized businesses in Africa. There will also be efforts to promote each other’s culture and increased medical assistance to Africa. Medical assistance comes in the form of 500 million yuan (US$73.2 million) of goods for the 60 hospitals and malaria centers China has already built, as well as 3,000 doctors and nurses. Roads will also be improved.

China also plans to assist with satellite weather monitoring, to help combat desertification and work within the urban environment, all aimed at reducing global warming. The new energy facilities will focus on solar, biogas and small-scale hydroelectrical installations. Another new measure is a promise to aid African farmers to ensure the continent is fed, increasing the number of demonstrations of agricultural technology in Africa to 20 and sending 50 teams of agricultural technology experts to the continent. Training in agricultural technology will be provided to 2,000 people.

“The Chinese people cherish sincere friendship toward the African people, and China’s support to Africa’s development is concrete and real,” said co-chair Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as the FOCAC opened up, adding “Whatever change that may take place in the world, our friendship with African people will not change.” He described this friendship as ‘unbreakable’. Two years ago China pledged US$5 (€3.37) billion at the last FOCAC in Beijing and now, according to Jiabao, “China is ready to deepen practical cooperation in Africa.”

We want more investment from China

China has fulfilled its 2006 pledge, investing a total of US$7.8 (€5.26) billion in Africa last year alone. 49 African countries are represented at the FOCAC, which was created in 2000, although Jiabao noted that relations between China and Africa go back fifty years. China had already forgiven or reduced the debt for thirty nations at that FOCAC summit.

According to Chinese state-owned paper China Daily, trade between China and Africa increased by 45% last year, to give a total value of US$107 (€72.1) billion, a tenfold increase since 2001 and up from US$491 (€331) million in 2003. The Chinese have a 9.8% market share, the largest of any nation, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. China has paid for schools, hospitals, malaria clinics and Chinese scholarships for African students. 50 more schools are to be built and 1,500 people trained to staff them.

Since 2006 Chinese energy firms have committed to spend at least US$16 (€10.8) billion securing African oil and gas. China’s Sinopec Group, an oil giant, bought up Addax Petroleum Corporation from its Swiss owners that year, gaining control of oilfields in Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon. China promised earlier this year to spend US$9 (€6) billion on infrastructure in the Congo in exchange for mineral deposits for mining operations.

Jean Ping, leader of the African Union, said the told those at the conference that the money is coming at an opportune time, because African growth was “totally compromised” by the global financial crisis. Ping said one of the lessons learned is that the world is paying for “the irresponsible and lax behavior” of large financial companies whose philosophy was to make short-term profits.

We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict

Not all Africans are happy with China’s increasing involvement in their continent. Trade practices are a concern for some, with a view that China exploits Africa for raw materials before selling back finished goods. Among these are Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid. Egypt is the richest nation in the Middle East and is discussing this perceived issue with China. Rachid told Bloomberg “What is a worry for me is if competition is unfair. That is where we are unhappy.” Jiabao described the trade as being based on “win-win programmes… and transparency.”

Others in Africa are delighted with the situation. “We want more investment from China,” Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete told the forum. Egypt’s own President Hosni Mubarak talked of “peace, security and growth,” and of “boosting cooperation between China and Africa.”

China investing in Africa: Good or bad?
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Jiabao also used his speech to respond to criticisms that China worked with nations regardless of their human rights record, such as Sudan, whose President Omar al-Beahir is wanted on a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. “Africa is fully capable of solving its own problems, in an African way,” he said, adding that “China has never attached any political strings […] to assistance to Africa.”

Beshir thanked China in a speech for diplomatic work in Sudan, including working to defuse the Darfur conflict, which the United Nations says has left 300,000 dead. “We express our deep appreciation for China’s efforts in backing the comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan and its peace efforts in Darfur,” he said, referring to a peace deal between the northern and southern parts of his country. “We thank China particularly for backing efforts by our countries to achieve peace and stability in Africa’s zones of conflict.” Jiabao said China was willing to work towards “the settlement of issues of peace and security,” in Africa.

A further criticism has been that China has brought in Chinese workers and used their own knowledge, instead of training locals. Jiabao’s speech indicated an intention to co-operate better in the fields of science and technology, as well as improve training for African students on technical courses.

“Why do some only criticise China?” asked Jiabao. “Is this a view representing African countries, or rather the view of Western countries?”

French fishermen blockade Channel ports

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

French fishing vessels have blockaded the English Channel ports of Calais, Bolougne, and Dunkirk.

Not a boat will go in nor out

The protest is an industrial action over tighter fishing quotas imposed by the European Union, with French fishing unions asking for their government to provide financial assistance or take a tougher line. CFTC Fishermans Union spokesman Bruno Dachicourt told Agence France Presse: “There are easily twenty boats blocking the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in organized ranks. Not a boat will go in nor out.”

The fishermen are protesting the lowering of European Union quotas on fishing, which place a ceiling on the amount of fish that the fishermen of each member country are allowed to catch and sell. The EU has lowered quotas in response to concerns about the sustainability of fisheries, but each drop in quota reduces the amount of work each fishing vessel can do. “The feeble amount of the quota obliges us to close the fishing zones three months after the beginning of the catch”, said Stéphane Pinto, spokesman for the CFDT trade union group representing fishermen in Boulogne.

Ferry sailings between Dover in the United Kingdom and Calais were suspended, with UK authorities implementing the Operation Stack management plan in response. Under the plan sections of the M20 motorway are closed to traffic and used as a managed lorry park. Motorists have been advised to seek alternative routes if possible. Most cars and passengers from the P&O Calais-Dover sailings at 16.10 (apparently the first sailing affected), 17.40 and 18.25 left on the “Pride of Dover” at 11.47 arriving Dover at 12.30. Two SeaFrance ferries, Renoir and another, left slightly earlier.

Fishermen have also used fires and roadblocks to interfere with access to the ports by road.

The blockades come eight days after a similar incident in the Mediterranean, when French fishermen in Marseille, Ajaccio, Toulon and other port cities interfered with oil tanker movements and blockaded ports throughout the south of the country.

Wikinews is unaware of any official statement from the British or French Governments in response to the blockade.

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