Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada

Media playback is unsupported on your device A Saudi woman who fled her family and became stranded at Bangkok’s main airport is flying to Canada after being granted asylum status. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, had been trying to reach Australia via Bangkok, but was initially told to return to Kuwait, where her family were waiting. She refused to fly back and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room, attracting international attention. She said she had renounced Islam, which is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. The UN’s refugee agency has…

US shutdown bites as federal workers miss payday

Media playback is unsupported on your device Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have missed their first payday of the year as the partial shutdown of the US government bites deeper. Many workers, such as prison guards and airport staff, have been working without any guarantee of pay since the shutdown began on 22 December. President Donald Trump is refusing to approve a federal budget unless it includes funding for a border wall. But Democrats say the $5.7bn (£4.5bn) he wants would be a waste of money. About a…

For Huawei, another week of bad headlines means the company is facing trouble on a global scale

It was another bad week for Huawei: A public relations executive was arrested on spying charges in Poland Thursday, and the U.S. Commerce Department blocked shipment of the company’s equipment back to Hong Kong this week. This is on top of the continuing saga of the December arrest of the company’s top finance executive. div > div.group > p:first-child »> The U.S. government has shown it intends to take action on more than a decade of accusations against the company at a tenuous time for U.S.-China relations. The moves against…

Saudi teen who fled family has left Thailand for Canada

BANGKOK/TORONTO (Reuters) – An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family saying she feared for her life has been granted asylum in Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, as Thai officials confirmed the teen was en route to Toronto. Trudeau said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had asked Canada to take in Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who grabbed international attention this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies any abuse. “Canada is…

Trump touts plan to change visas for skilled foreign workers

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he plans changes to the H-1B program that grants temporary visas for specialty occupations such as technology or medicine, but his administration said later he was referring to changes that were proposed last year. FILE PHOTO: A woman leaves the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in New York, August 15, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford/File Photo“H1-B (sic) holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay,…

Uber wants to go public this year, but SoftBank has yet to seat its two board members

Between the stock market’s extreme volatility of late and the three-week-old government shutdown, the IPO market faces plenty of uncertainty in 2019. But for Uber, there’s another complicating aspect — the company’s biggest investor is still waiting for its board seats. div > div.group > p:first-child »> When Uber sold a 15 percent stake to SoftBank last January, the ride-hailing company agreed to give the Japanese conglomerate two board positions out of an eventual total of 17. SoftBank said its seats would go to Marcelo Claure, the company’s operating chief…

Why the stock market is obsessed with oil prices

Stocks are taking a cue from volatile oil prices, where traders are looking for signs of recession and other problems in the market, according to analysts. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Crude futures and stocks have been trading in tandem throughout much of the last few months in part because both markets are concerned about the same macro factors: rising U.S. interest rates, the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute and signs of slowing global economic growth. U.S. crude futures: 3-month performance However, some strategists believe equities are actually following oil…

Amazon and Google are going to be in every aspect of your life whether you want them to or not

Until recently, Amazon and Google competed for presence in our homes through their own gadgets: Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, TV add-ons like Chromecast and Fire TV and even home security systems like Nest and Ring. div > div.group > p:first-child »> But, at CES 2019, that competition was brought to a boil as partners from both companies launched dozens of products that will bring Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant into nearly every aspect of our lives. I’ve been attending CES for more than a decade,…

Google discontinues Chromecast Audio, but you can grab one for $15 while supplies last

There’s nothing quite like Google’s Chromecast Audio — a tiny disc that lets you wirelessly sling music to practically any dumb speaker, even create multi-room audio configurations like a poor man’s Sonos setup, just by plugging into its 3.5mm line-out and adding some power over micro-USB. And that’s why it’s such a shame Google is discontinuing the dongle today. The company provided The Verge (and Android Police, earlier) with this statement: Our product portfolio continues to evolve, and now we have a variety of products for users to enjoy audio.…

Square loses head of product to Visa

Mary Kay Bowman, Head of Product at Square is going to Visa to be new head of seller solutions, reporting to Chief Product Officer Jack Forestell. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Visa announced the hire in a blog post Friday. Square shares went slightly negative, about 1 percent, after the announcement. Bowman’s departure from Square comes just months after Dorsey lost key deputy and CFO Sarah Friar, regarded by Wall Street as a « rockstar CFO. » Bowman was a big hire for Square in 2015. She came from…

Saudi teen to depart Thailand for Canada asylum: Thai immigration chief

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Saudi woman who fled to Thailand saying she feared her family would kill her has been granted asylum in Canada and is traveling there on Friday, the Thai immigration chief told Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi woman who claims to be fleeing her country and family, is seen in Bangkok, Thailand January 7, 2019 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. TWITTER/ @rahaf84427714/via REUTERS Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, will board a Korean Air flight from Bangkok to Seoul…

Saudi teen who fled family has left Thailand, en route to Canada: official

A Korean Air plane, that Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi woman is departing for asylum to Canada in, is seen at Bangkok Airport, Thailand January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge SilvaBANGKOK (Reuters) – A Saudi teen who fled her family left Thailand on Friday night on a flight to South Korea, an airport official told Reuters. The Korean Air plane carrying Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, left Bangkok for Seoul shortly before midnight, the official said. Qunun is due to board a connecting flight to Canada from Seoul’s Incheon airport. Reporting by Patpicha…

‘New Fox’ focused on being growth company, sources say

New Fox is focused on being a growth company, sources tell CNBC. div > div.group > p:first-child »> The trimmer version of the news company said in a regulatory filing on Friday that it has « no intention’ of bidding for the regional sports networks that were part of its sale of assets to Disney last year. The second round of bids for those regional sports networks are due at the end of January, the sources said. Sinclair seems to be the sole bidder. Amazon is not bidding after considering…

Amazon may be going after cloud gaming, but Microsoft has a big head start

Amazon, Microsoft and Google are in the midst of an intense battle to win business from companies moving their workloads to the cloud. Now, there’s brewing competition among them in a very different corner of the cloud market: gaming. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Microsoft has long been a gaming powerhouse, having introduced the Xbox console in 2000. In expanding how and where people can play games, Microsoft said in October that it will start testing a cloud gaming offering this year. Its Project xCloud will work on mobile…

Universal credit: Single mums win High Court battle

Four working single mothers have won a High Court challenge over the government’s universal credit scheme. They argued a « fundamental problem » with the system meant their monthly payments varied « enormously », leaving them out of pocket and struggling financially. Lawyers for the women said the problem was likely to affect « tens of thousands of people » claiming the benefit. A DWP spokesman said: « We are carefully considering the court’s judgment. » It comes as Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd announced a raft of changes…

Andy Murray: Billie Jean King leads tributes to Briton who plans to retire this year

Media playback is not supported on this device Australian Open 2019 Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-27 January Coverage: Daily live commentaries on the BBC Sport website, listen to Tennis Breakfast daily from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and watch highlights on BBC TV and online from 19 January. Andy Murray has been « a champion on and off court », said American tennis legend Billie Jean King after the Briton revealed he plans to retire this year. Murray, who has won three Grand Slams and been…

Tearful Murray announces retirement plans

Britain’s Andy Murray fears next week’s Australian Open could be his last tournament. The three-time Grand Slam winner, who is struggling to recover from hip surgery, was in tears as he spoke to journalists in Melbourne on Friday. Aussie Open could be my last – Murray Source: BBC

CES 2019: What we’ve seen, and are still seeing, at the biggest show in tech

It’s the last day of CES, and as all the vendors prepare to break down their booths, close up their parties, and go wearily home, we here at The Verge are looking back to see what was new, surprising, or weird — and offering you our opinions on what worked and what didn’t. We bring roundups of the best laptops, the biggest Google Assistant products, and the greatest Amazon Alexa products. We look at the long-anticipated arrival of Wi-Fi 6, and discuss why you’re not going to see it in…

U.S. consumer prices post first drop in nine months

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. consumer prices fell for the first time in nine months in December amid a plunge in the cost of gasoline, but underlying inflation pressures remained firm as rental housing and healthcare costs rose steadily. FILE PHOTO: People are reflected in a mirror as they shop during Black Friday sales in New York November 29, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri The Labor Department said on Friday its Consumer Price Index dipped 0.1 percent last month, the first drop and weakest reading since March. The CPI was unchanged in November.…

Trump promises changes to H1-B visas, including potential citizenship

FILE PHOTO: Travelers make their way through Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday said he is planning changes to H-1B visas, which are issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants so they can work in specialty occupations, that would create simplicity, certainty and a possibility that the workers could become U.S. citizens. “H1-B [sic] holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to…

Netflix shares are popping after multiple upgrades, bullish commentary from Wall Street

Netflix shares jumped nearly 3 percent in the premarket Friday after multiple analysts upgraded the video-streaming giant. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Raymond James’ Justin Patterson upgraded the stock to strong buy from outperform. He also hiked his price target on Netflix to $450 per share from $435, implying a 38.6 percent surge. « Netflix is approaching a profit inflection, » Patterson said in a note Friday. « Coupled with positive app/search data and a solid content slate, we believe there is an upward bias to 2020E Revenue and…

The ‘world’s most powerful’ tidal turbine gets $8.97 million in new funding round

An innovative form of ocean energy generation is set to go into commercial production after a crowdfunding round raised £7 million ($8.97 million). div > div.group > p:first-child »> Orbital Marine Power, a Scottish engineering company, will use the money to construct a production model of its Orbital O2 2MW turbine, which it claims will be the « most powerful tidal generating platform in the world » when launched. In a statement Thursday, it described the unit as a floating turbine that « can be towed, installed and easily maintained.…

Apple reportedly plans to launch three new iPhones this year — including an XR successor

Apple plans to unveil three new iPhone models later this year, including a successor to the XR, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. div > div.group > p:first-child »> The tech giant’s new phones will include new camera features, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the situation. The higher-end model will be fitted with a triple rear camera, while the lower-end models will be fitted with a double rear camera, the report said. One will feature a liquid-crystal display (LCD), the display that Apple’s lower-end iPhone XR model currently…

Nissan ex-chief Ghosn seeks bail after indictment on two new charges

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan ex-Chairman Carlos Ghosn has requested his release on bail after being indicted in Tokyo on Friday on two new charges, his lawyers said, as the once-feted auto executive awaits a lengthy criminal trial that could be as long as six months away. Ghosn was the overlord of an alliance that included Nissan Motor (7201.T), Mitsubishi Motors (7211.T) and France’s Renault (RENA.PA), until his surprise November arrest and removal as chairman of both Japanese automakers sent shockwaves through the industry. The former executive, lauded for rescuing Nissan…

Myanmar court rejects appeal by jailed Reuters reporters

YANGON (Reuters) – A Myanmar court on Friday rejected the appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act, saying the defense had not provided sufficient evidence to show they were innocent. Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were convicted by a lower court in September in a landmark case that has raised questions about Myanmar’s progress towards democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates. “It was a suitable punishment,” said High Court Judge…

Shareholder lawsuits over sexual harassment are putting Google executives on the defensive

In October, the New York Times published a story that several other outlets had been chasing, in some cases for years: the story of how Andy Rubin, the founder of Android, had received a $90 million payout upon leaving the company despite having a credible complaint of sexual misconduct against him from another Google employee. The story, which included several other examples of male Google executives receiving multimillion-dollar payouts after being accused of sexual harassment, sparked a furor inside the company that led to 20,000 employees walking off the job.…

Snow brings parts of Europe to standstill

Heavy snowfalls brought chaos to parts of Germany and Sweden on Friday, leaving roads blocked, trains halted and schools shut. The Red Cross helped drivers stuck on a motorway in the southern German state of Bavaria as schools and rail services were also hit. A nine-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree on Thursday. Northern Sweden was hit by a storm that made roads impassable. Austrian rescuers had to battle through chest-deep snow to reach a snowboarder. The 41-year-old Pole had lost his way after going off piste at…

Poland arrests Huawei employee over spying allegations

Poland’s counterintelligence agency has arrested an employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei over spying allegations. div > div.group > p:first-child »> According to Polish TV broadcaster Telewizja Polska, Huawei’s sales director and an ex-security agent were arrested on Tuesday by officers of the country’s Internal Security Agency, charged with espionage. The Huawei employee is reportedly a Chinese national, while the former security agent is a Polish national who recently worked for Orange Polska. Huawei and French telecommunications firm Orange’s offices were searched and documents seized by the Internal Security Agency,…

‘Chinese, Polish nationals’ arrested in Poland for ‘spying’

Polish security services have arrested a Chinese national and Polish national for spying, according to local press. Poland’s public TV channel TVP reports that the Chinese national is a sales director at Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s Polish branch. Huawei told the BBC it had no immediate comment. The tech company has been a focal point of international scrutiny, with several countries raising security concerns about its products. TVP reports that the Polish national, « Piotr D » was a former high-ranking member of Poland’s internal security agency (AWB). The news…

Jakiw Palij: Nazi guard deported by US dies in Germany

A former Nazi collaborator who served as a labour-camp guard in World War Two has died in Germany aged 95, local media report. Jakiw Palij, who was thought to be the last Nazi collaborator living in the US, was deported to Germany last year after a lengthy legal battle. Palij had been stateless since 2003 when a federal judge revoked his US citizenship over his Nazi links. Reports say he died in a home for the elderly in the town of Ahlen. Before his deportation, the former guard lived in…