Questions Raised About Apple’s Motives for Pulling New York Times App From China

Questions Raised About Apple's Motives for Pulling New York Times App From China
Apple has removed the New York Times app from its digital store in China, acting on what it says were orders from the Chinese government.

But the fact that the move was made on the same day a New York Times reporter contacted Apple about a potentially embarrassing story for the California-based company – as well as the fact that other international news apps were unaffected – has raised doubts about the precise motives behind the action.

The New York Times, which offers content in both English and Chinese, is one of a growing number of foreign news organizations whose content is blocked in China, although some people here use special software to bypass the censorship system.

The Times said the app had been removed from Apple stores on December 23, apparently under regulations issued last June preventing mobile apps from engaging in activities that endanger national security or disrupt social order.

But that was the same day that New York Times reporter, David Barboza, first contacted Apple for comment on a story about billions of dollars in hidden perks and subsidies the Chinese government provides to the world’s largest iPhone factory, run by Apple’s partner Foxconn. That story went online on Dec. 29.

GreatFire.org, an anti-censorship group, worked with the New York Times to launch a version of its Chinese-language app in July that circumvented Chinese censorship in ways the government could not easily prevent.

It pointed out that its Chinese-language Android app continues to work unobstructed in China, while its own own FreeWeibo app had earlier also been removed from the Apple store. It tweeted that, its opinion, the censorship was related to the Times piece about subsidies for Foxconn.

Even if the timing was merely a coincidence, the news underlines how American information technology companies are being forced to play by China’s rules if they want to do business here – even at some cost to their reputation in the West.

It is also another example of how the noose is gradually tightening under the world’s largest system of censorship known as the Great Firewall of China.

But it also comes as China redoubles its own efforts to spread the Communist Party’s message far and wide across the world, including in the United States.

The latest move throws up another barrier for Chinese readers, especially new customers. The app is available in Apple stores in Hong Kong and Taiwan, for example, but users need a credit card billing address outside mainland China to download it, the Times reported.
“For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Apple spokesman Fred Sainz told the Times. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”

The Washington Post’s website is not blocked in China, and its English-language app is available on the Apple store, but many other news organizations are blocked.

The Times said it had asked Apple to reconsider its decision. Criticism also rained down online.

As my colleagues Emily Rauhala and Elizabeth Dwoskin reported last month, California’s Internet companies may have once dreamed of liberating China through technology, but these days they seem more willing than ever to play the Communist Party’s game; case in point, news that Facebook is developing a censorship tool that many interpreted as an attempt to get its service unblocked here.

The news of the Times’ app being blocked was not reported by Chinese media, but filtered through to a few Netizens.

“We are closing our doors to the outside world,” lamented one user of Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. “This is a restoration of the Cultural Revolution or another historical retrogression,” said another.

The news also comes as China Central Television (CCTV), a propaganda arm of the Communist Party and the country’s largest TV network, launched a new global platform on New Year’s Day to try to improve China’s image overseas.

In a congratulatory letter, President Xi Jinping urged the newly launched China Global Television Network to “tell China’s story well, spread China’s voice well, let the world know a three-dimensional, colorful China, and showcase China’s role as a builder of world peace.”

The Washington Post is one of many Western newspapers that carries a regular paid supplement by China Daily, another Communist Party mouthpiece.

© 2016 The Washington Post

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Tags: Apple, iTunes, New York Times, New York Times App, China, iTunes China, Apps

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8 Indian tech Startups that raised over USD 1 million in 2016

8 Indian tech Startups that raised over USD 1 million in 2016Indian entrepreneurs are attracting a steady rise of angel and steady investors towards their startups with ease, and the figures are shockingly higher than they ever have been. From all genres of startups in the sub-continent, technology startups have attracted the most investments and attention. Indian tech startups are disruptive, game changing and have revolutionized the way business works fundamentally. It has been the sincere hard work of all teammates, the idea that was revolutionary enough to catch the eye of investors risking millions of $ worth of investment into these ideas.

But who won what? Here’s a list of 8 technology startups that raised over a million USD in India recently:

IoT & M2M Solutions: USD 4 million
Altizone, a Pune based startup which deals with IoT & M2M Solutions received Private equity from Wipro Ventures & Lumis Partners worth 4 million US$ in early February. Claiming to revolutionize loT & M2M solutions, the startup offers promising options.

Driving data & an analytics platform: USD 13.5 million
Zendrive received a whooping 13.5 million US$ from Sherpa Capital, Nyca Partners and Thomvest Ventures on 5th February 2016 in the form of private equity. This Bangalore based startup provides safe driving data & an analytics platform. Using analysis of aggressive driver behavior and real time coordination with speeds and location, it provides feedback to drivers on how to drive more responsibly keeping our roads safer.

Solar power solutions: USD 1 million
Based in Mumbai, on 12th February iGrenEnergi received 1million US$ from Sunil Mehta via seed funding. They provide solar power solutions including disruptive products to optimize energy generation, conversion, storage as well as smart grid interactions.

Data analytics: Almost USD 1 million
BetterPlace, a Bangalore based tech startup raised almost a million dollars (970,000 US$) via seed funding from United Seed Fund on 16th February 2016. They provide data analytics based verification services platform with a motto to “safe power every Indian”. Verification services can be used to hire safer employees, partner safer colleagues, safer living spaces and training in safety for its clients.

In-building connectivity: USD 2.3 million
Via a private equity, iBus Networks scored a funding of 2.3 million US$ from Vallabh Bhanshali, N Squared Management LLC, Jagdish & Sandeep Mehta Family Office. Based in Bangalore, iBus aims to provide next generation in-building connectivity.

Local language mobile OS: USD 5 million
Indus OS, a Mumbai based startup raised 5 million US$ via a private equity from Omidyar Network last week. The startup has developed a local languages based mobile OS, which can offer tremendous potential.

Electronic payments solution: USD 35 million
An electronic payments solution startup called EPS raised a staggering amount of 35 million US$ from APIS Partners. They are offering ATM solutions and electronic transfers of funds catered to specific needs and have their startup based in Mumbai.

Cloud based data processing: USD 30 million
The Bangalore based enterprise cloud based data processing startup raised 30 million US$ from Institutional Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, CRV via private equity. Cloud data processing offers large potential for possible growth in the future.

Does this list inspire you and your tech startup? What’s the highest funding story you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page, Entrepreneur India

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In photos: Raised in laboratories, these Bangalore beagles are finding real homes

In photos: Raised in laboratories, these Bangalore beagles are finding real homes
Photo Credit: Ajay Palekar
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“Debbie actually chose me,” said Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna, who adopted one of the 23 beagles up for adoption at a recent camp in Bengaluru. Channamallikarjuna had never seen laboratory beagles before, and even though she had done her research, she was tentative about how to approach the dogs. While some beagles walked around freely, others seemed to huddle in a corner as if unsure of what was going on. Channamallikarjuna remembers seeing Debbie, who was getting her infected eyes cleaned. “I went and sat in a corner near these introverted beagles,” Channamallikarjuna said. “She just came and lay down on my lap.”

For Channamallikarjuna and her husband, Debbie’s gesture meant that they had found a new member of their family. And despite all the challenges associated with getting a seven-year-old beagle acquainted with the real world, the couple took Debbie back to their home in Mysore.

Debbie was part of the third round of laboratory beagle adoptions conducted in recent years by animal rescue NGO Compassion Unlimited Plus Action. Animal testing is legal and beagles are among the most common test subjects along with mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats and monkeys. As one of the oldest known dog breeds – one that hasn’t been genetically moulded by breeders – beagles are not predisposed to genetic diseases that affect many pedigree breeds. They are also small, compact and easily transportable.

The beagles in the current batch being rehabilitated have not had tests performed on them. Some of them have been used for breeding purposes, while others were in captivity while research projects were pending approval and eventually scrapped. The dogs have been confined to laboratory environments and have spent most of their lives in small cages.

Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna

“Beagles are very docile,” said Chinthana Gopinath, a volunteer with CUPA and coordinator for the adoption camp. “Even when they are kept in a cage and hands are constantly going in and pulling them out for injections or dissections, even then they are not given to aggression.”

Waiting for adoption day to begin. Source: Ajay Palekar
Waiting for adoption day to begin. Source: Ajay Palekar

Gopinath has earlier seen dogs as young as a year old or as even old as 11 emerge from the laboratory having been tested with chemicals for drug toxicity.

“Usually, it is very common with laboratories that once they are done with testing, they euthanise the dogs,” said Gopinath. “The one thing animal NGOs ask is that once testing is done, release them into NGOs care to give them a shot at life with peace and love and all of those things.”

Swapping number tags for collars and names. Source: Ajay Palekar
Swapping number tags for collars and names. Source: Ajay Palekar
Finding new families. Source: Ajay Palekar
Finding new families. Source: Ajay Palekar

In a few days, around 30 dogs are set for another round of adoptions. The adoption camps are a brief happy interlude in the dogs’ lives. Readjustment and recovery is a long process, as their new pet parents well know.

“These dogs have a hell of a time coping with pathogens once they are brought out,” said Srilakshmi Amirtheshwaran, a dog psychologist who has been working with canine adoptions for about 12 years. “The microbes in the atmosphere immediately latch on to their underdeveloped immunity and that is a challenge for vets.” Used to near-silent facilities, the beagles are often terrified by noise. The presence of other dogs might be stressful to them and human touch can be intimidating.

Yet, for families across Bengaluru, Mysore and Chennai the challenge is worth it. Channamallikarjuna has seen how quickly Debbie is learning to adapt to her house, from starting to eat normally to climbing up and down stairs. “When there is an unfamiliar sound or movement she just freezes, but if you leave her alone she comes back to normal. On the first day, if we spoke even in low voices she would tuck her tail between her legs,” she said. “These might be the last years of their lives and I just wanted to give one a chance to live in a happy home.”

Debbie learning to use the stairs. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Debbie learning to use the stairs. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Debbie in her new home. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna
Debbie in her new home. Source: Seemanthini Channamallikarjuna

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